Vancouver’s hard-rock icons ART OF DYING are set to release a new studio album, “Armageddon”, on the 4th October 2019. The album will be preceded by a new title track single taken from the album

The Art Of Dying story starts with their talismanic front man Jonny Hetherington. From hours busking on the corners of frozen streets to gatecrashing some of North America’s biggest venues, to writing and recording records of truly earth-shattering proportions, the trajectory of the quartet’s career has astonished both fans and industry insiders alike.

ART OF DYING have been able to create muscular, vivacious hard-rock bursting with lung-shattering choruses and a sincerity that is impossible to fake. Equally at home with a lead-fingered riff or a deft slow-burner, there is an ease of breadth in AOD’s repertoire.

“I was blown away when I first heard their independent record,” enthuses DISTURBED guitarist Dan Donegan. “I lived with it for quite a while and I was so impressed with the quality of the songwriting that I had a feeling there was something special going on. David (DISTURBED vocalist David Draiman) and I had been looking for someone to sign to our imprint for a while, but I wanted to make sure the guys could do it live – it’s hard to find a band that are the complete package these days. So, we invited them out on a DISTURBED tour of America, we really threw them in the deep end!”

The band introduced guitarist Tavis Stanley and bassist Cale Gontier to their ranks on the eve of the run with DISTURBED – the quartet playing onstage together for the very first time during the soundcheck of the opening show of the tour. But suddenly, everything clicked. “The moment I knew that we had it right was when our voices started harmonizing,” says Hetherington, of the band’s now-trademark three-way vocals for which David Draiman has dubbed them “Eagles in Chains” referencing a blend of 70s supergroup The Eagles and 90s grunge rockers Alice In Chains.

Now, with two critically-acclaimed and widely-played major label releases under their belts, Art Of Dying are returning with Full Length Album “Armageddon”, their most imperious effort to date. “It’s a dark record.” Says Jonny. “Even the cover art (featuring NYC artist Stefano Losi’s painting of Pharaoh Thutmose III) is inspired by the album title. Thutmose lead the historic battle in Megiddo, (aka Armageddon) the first war in history where proper records were kept and a body count was taken.”

Themes like “No One Ever Wins”, “Dark Days” and “Unoriginal” take the listener down to visit the depths of the deep end. But no Art of Dying record would be complete without the inspirational balance of spine-tingling anthems like new single “Armageddon”, “Cut It All Away” and “ShatterProof”.

Of first single “Armageddon” Jonny Hetherington says, “Life sucks. Life is beautiful. Writing Armageddon got me through a tough time and helped shake a few of the demons off my back. If you feel like your world is caving in, like you’re trapped in your own personal Armageddon, I hope you will find the strength to get out.”

If ARMAGEDDON is about one thing above all else it is a study on the power of human will and the uplifting capacity of one’s own self belief. This is rip-snorting rock ’n’ roll that will smash your self-doubt into a million pieces.

 

“Armageddon” is released through Get A Grip on the 4th October 2019. The new album is available to preorder now, including a limited transparent red vinyl pressing:
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This really is a huge one for the HRH family – the very best in sleaze rock all under one roof for a weekend of bands and booze over the 29th and 30th of August 2020

 

Tickets: Here

HRH Sleaze Cycle IV has gone into overdrive – we are bringing you one of the most exciting lineups ever, with bands from around the globe descending on The O2 Academy in Sheffield! Tracii Guns and Phil Lewis return to HRH Sleaze with the classic lineup of L.A. Guns – every time this iconic L.A. band hit the HRH stage we are treated to a masterclass in sleazy hard rock and Sleaze IV will be no different. Take a listen to their latest live album “Electric Gypsy Live” and you’ll soon hear why this legendary band are back to the very top of their game. https://youtu.be/hdpRskEqsgo

A firm favourite of the HRH family, former Hanoi Rocks frontman Michael Monroeimpressed everyone present at HRH AOR V with an incendiary performance that will be long remembered.  The latest single by Finland’s finest – “One Man Gang” – is testament to his seemingly un-faltering talent.

The HRH Family surely need no introduction to The Quireboys – suffice to say that their latest album, the critically acclaimed Amazing Disgrace, is making waves in the music world.  Spike, Guy and the gang are as busy – if not busier than they have ever been, with the quality of their recorded and live work still as vibrant and strong as it was back in 1990 when they took the world by storm with “A Bit of What You Fancy”.

Another welcome return to the HRH fold is the legendary Jizzy Pearl – one of the most recognisable voices in rock, he brings his Love/Hate to the O2 Academy Sheffield to treat us to classics from timeless albums such as Blackout in the Red Room and Wasted in America.

True veterans of the sleaze rock scene, Californians Jetboy were formed in 1983, and are in their second active spell having re-formed in 2006.  Their latest album – 2019’s Born to Fly – is a staple on Hard Rock Hell Radio and is the band’s first full album of brand new music since 1990.

Hollywood leather boyz Pretty Boy Floyd have been playing with their electric toyz since 1987 with just a 5-year break in the ‘90’s – and a minor spat in the 2000s.  Although they have only released 3 studio albums (the latest being 2017’s “Public Enemies”) the band are still very much active on the sleaze circuit playing iconic venues such as The Whisky and Rainbow Bar in Hollywood – the capital of sleaze.

Set to deliver a huge kick in the balls for HRH Sleaze IV next year will be Americans Kickin’ Valentina.  With ex-Jetboy singer D.K. Revelle now on board the band are going from strength to strength as one of the leading lights of the new wave of sleaze rock.

The quality of bands at HRH Sleaze IV is beyond compare – in addition to L.A. Guns, Michael Monroe, Jizzy Pearl’s Love/Hate, The Quireboys, Jetboy, Pretty Boy Floyd and Kickin’ Valentina we are stoked to announce a further 15 incredible bands:

Sweden’s Confess are making their HRH debut and we can’t wait – also hailing from Sweden are Pretty Wild as they continue their goal of taking over the world with their “in your face” live set, having just released their latest album “Interstate 13” this year.

Now based in L.A., Bullets and Octane have toured with the very best from Avenged Sevenfold to Stone Sour, releasing 6 albums in almost 20 years.

One of the most active bands on the UK sleaze rock circuit are Midnite City.  Formed by Tigertailz frontman Rob Wylde, the band are filling rock clubs around the country on a regular basis, and have just announced a tour of Japan.

Also joining us for HRH Sleaze IV are 3-piece The Spangles, featuring members of The Main Grains and The Idol Dead – they list cider as the band’s main interest, so that could get messy.  Self-proclaimed bastards of rock’n’roll, RanKelson are back after a 32-year break – and ready to carry on where they left off.  Circus Junkie Rebels make the short hop from Stoke, and Bare Knuckle Messiahs – led by former Tigertailz frontman Kim Hooker – make the trek from Wales.

Playing on their home turf at HRH Sleaze IV are Sheffield based Silverjet, while Londoners Paradise Alley have been active in one form or another since 1992.  Finland are represented by veterans Plastic Tears, formed in 1992 and making a rare UK appearance while Nottingham’s Todd Michaels and the Screamin’ Heartstake a short ride up the M1 to join us in Sheffield.

Last but not least, we welcome Southampton’s The Smokin Prophets, The Suicide Notes who describe themselves as the “illegitimate sons of punk and sleaze”, and hard rockers Liberty Slaves from nearby Huddersfield.

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Distill – verb – to extract the essential meaning of or most important aspects of

On their eight studio “album” Gothenburg Hard Rock Motherfuckers, The Chuck Norris Experiment have managed to do just that.  Distill everything they’ve done to date into ten blistering rock work-outs in the space of twelve minutes.  With a statistic that would make you think you’ve stumbled across a long-lost Ramones release or a new Grindcore masterpiece, you really have got to hear Shortcuts to appreciate just what a Hard Rock masterstroke CNE have pulled.

As the sampled intro to “Back It Up” warns you to “fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night” you can only sit back and let it all wash over you and wonder what the fuck has hit you as the last strains of “Begging For More” leave you doing just that.

Whether it’s the low slung swagger of “One Hand On The Hip”, the gnawing melody of the aforementioned “Begging For More” or the chest-beating singalong that is “Whatever You Say I Am” it’s like all the best bits of their debut album, Right Between The Eyes and Dead Central have had all the fat stripped off them (and lets be honest they were pretty fucking lean already) and been given a huge dose of steroids and a ton of adrenalin.  And you’d think an album with the longest track of 1:27 might be lacking in melody and intricacy, yeah?  Well, think again, because Chuck The Ripper’s leads are all over the likes of “All Your Bridges Are Burning” and “Little Demon II”. With the rest of the band on peak form and with production as crisp and punchy as you’d expect this is the best twelve minutes you’ll subject your ears to this year.

With a release as a 7 inch record (which as I write this has already sold out on pre-order), cassette and a CD in can (as well as the usual digital sources) you’ll hopefully have heeded the social media adverts and snapped up a physical copy already, but regardless, you need a copy of this in any form.  It’s a little piece of hard rock genius.

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No Balls Records

Author: Darrel Sutton

I’ve been a huge fan of Ricky Warwick for a long time and have enjoyed whatever music he has put out whether it’s the loud punk-metal of The Almighty or his storytelling solo albums and what we now come to know the great rock’n’roll of the Black Star Riders.

On the first trio of the Black Star riders albums, the songs have been largely co-written by Ricky and guitarists Damon Johnson and the legend that is guitar slinger Scott Gorham.

So it was a surprise when it was let known that Damon Johnson was moving on to pastures new and that the vacant guitar player slot was being filled by Christian Matrucci who is guitarist of Stone Sour and also to my delight I have discovered he has had various bands of his own over the years which I have found too have released top draw music but the question is  would he gell with Black Star Riders.

Fear, not Christian has not only fitted in but the music is all the better for it.

Starting off this new album titled “Another State Of Grace” we have the track “Tonight The Moonlight Let Me Down” and immediately the ears are treated to a great guitar riff and Ricky’s trademark gruff vocal. Scott and Christian’s guitar mesh together beautifully to create a great rock’n’roll sound and we even have some saxophone added into the mix which fits in perfectly.

On track two we get the song “Another State Of Grace” which was the first song to be released as a single and this song has a big Celtic sound to it with a backing chant of “hey” being shouted which really makes the track stand out.

Up next we have “Ain’t The End Of The World” which is the second single to be released and this track has what I would call the classic Thin Lizzy sound with Scott Gorham’s trademark guitar all over it yet has a freshness that while takes you back to the glory days of Thin Lizzy it also shows how the Black star riders are very much their own band with their own identity.

“Underneath The Afterglow” starts off with a great classic rock guitar riff with a great vocal by Ricky and what strikes me is how Christian’s backing vocals go together so well with Ricky’s that you would think they have been in a band together for years.

“Soldier In The Ghetto” is up next and this track adds a funky intro before relaxing back into a great Black Star riders chorus and shows a band that’s not afraid to mix things up a bit but when they do they do it well.

“Why Do You Love Your Guns” slows the pace down a bit with a beautifully crafted acoustic guitar intro before a crunchy electric guitar riff is introduced to build the song up and a great passionate vocal by Ricky makes this track another winner.

Next up we have “Standing In The Line Of Fire” and this track picks the pace back up with some pounding drums and driving bass and a shredding guitar solo that makes this a great rock song.

“What Will It Take?” is another track which features acoustic guitar mixed with electric to add to a song with great harmonies. Also, we have some great female backing vocals which yet again add another dimension to the Black star riders sound.

“In The Shadow Of The War Machine” is a awesome rocker of a track with some real biting guitar and lyrics that describe the troubled times we are living in yet even though this is a serious song it still has the great harmonies and an uplifting chorus that I hope to hear live on the upcoming tour.

Finishing off the album is the track “Poisoned Heart” and this is how an album should be finished off and that is with style with Ricky’s soaring vocals backed with great backing vocals from Christian and great all-round work from the rest of the band making sure this album goes out with a bang.

Overall words are hard to describe how great this album is because every song on here is a sure-fire crowd-pleaser with no weak tracks or filler to be heard anywhere.

This is a great album that on repeated listens is an album that will keep on giving and in this reviewer’s opinion is Black Star Riders finest work to date.

Buy ‘Another State Of Grace’ Here

Author: Gareth ‘Hotshot’ Hooper

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When you get your debut album Produced by Flood (PJ Harvey, New Order, Foals) you have to e onto something don’t you? An album that features three singles already released from the band  “Feeling Fades”, “Green & Blue” & “Don’t Cling To Life” as well as their breakthrough song ‘More Is Less’.  Its give you a fairly panoramic vision of how the band sound.

post-rock on the two-part ‘Slowdance’, to the slower,  ‘On Twisted Ground’ a song about loss and keeping your friends close is simple in its bass notes leading the way. To finish the band lay into some industrial throb of the albums sign off ‘Love, Love, Love’, Its an extremely confident album that’ll see The Murder Capital hoover up an audience because at times I hear early U2 (don’t let that put you off) and that’s not a lazy connection due to their geographic existence.  They also touch on Joy Division and I’m also hearing shades of New Model Army thrown into the melting pot as well as a whole bunch of other bands I get flashes of.

There are times when it feels cold and bleak and other times it feels crushing and warm and every available space is filled with noise and that’s not an easy thing to do.  Especially not from a band on their first album. The album’s opener is better dressed than Idles but I guess comparisons will be made. ‘More Is Less’ is like a late-night bare-knuckle street brawl when the guitars kick in and there is an excitement captured in the music. Its an album you’ll have to invest some time in to get to grips with its widescreen appeal and one I can see peeling back track after track like an onion revealing different layers with every play. It’s easy to see how Flood wanted to produce this record and a fantastic job he’s done too.

About to head out the door to tour the backside of this album The Murder Capital are reaching for the stars and they might just catch themselves some.  An amazingly confident and complete debut in the field of alt post-punk or whatever you want to call it.

 

Buy When I Have Fears Here

Author: Dom Daley

‘Peter Doherty & The Puta Madres’ will have many rushing for the exit and some will stick around and check it out whilst others are true believers that Doherty was handed the baton of real rock and rollers who always find what they’re looking for even if they don’t quite know what it is they are looking for.  They manage to write with great talents to interpret what’s coming out of their mind and who just click and make all the madness sound cohesive and at times quite beautiful,  it’s fair to say the record at times is intimate with tales of love, loss, happiness, tragedy, addiction and work on many levels. The album was recorded live to capture the essence and spirit of the Puta Madres at a family home overlooking a fishing village in Étretat, Normandy, over four days in the summer of 2018. so as the needle drops we are gently led into ‘All At Sea’ with the unmistakable wavering vocals of Doherty. The band are given the room to breathe and at times I’m reminded of albums like Dylans ‘Blood On the Tracks’ and Velvet Underground for the loose arrangments and use of instruments (ok so this might not stack up to those two albums but you get the gist).

‘Whose Been Having You Over’ has a galic flavour and once you lock into the groove its a majestic thing with some fine guitar work from Jones and Doherty and as the first track the violin of Miki Beavis is exceptional and add eastern flavours. ‘Paradise Is Under Your Nose’ is Dohertys finest five minutes and his duet with Jack Jones is on another level for a quite beautiful song.

The autobiographical ‘Narcissistic Teen Makes First XI ‘ is classic dreamy Doherty.  I promise the payback from this album is massive if you invest a bit of time and energy into it.  sure I can see how people will play it once and call it a shambles I get that but give it a chance.  There’s a gentle hand at work here and Doherty sounds content and comfortable with the musicians he’s assembled around him for this record as they play around his relaxed skiffle on tracks like ‘A Fool There Was’ as that gypsy violin leads a merry dance.

It’s not The Libertines and its not his loudest record but it might just be his best.

Author: Dom Daley

Buy Peter Doherty & The Puta Madres Here

The Kritikal Beatdown continues as Black Gladiator and Slovenly Recordings present the second album from Athens via Crete dynamic duo HAND & LEG. The new LP is called “Lust In Peace” and it advances the post-punk infused concoction of blazing garage and art-driven destructo-rock as established on their grinding debut. Murky shades of sexual negativity plow forth with the help of white-hot distortion, alternating between soul-crushing fuzz bass dirges, ungodly squalls of noise, and occasional playful rhythmic rituals that offer brief respite from the saturation of musical sadism.” 

That’s the labels blurb taken care of as we turn up the speakers to furniture shaking levels to get the full experience of this headfuck of a record. after ‘Faux’ sort of give you a peek behind the curtain its ‘Softyhead’ where shit gets interesting as we get the ying and yang of the garage rock clashing head-on with the post-punk grind but that’s only the aperitif for ‘L.I.P’ (fuck knows what’s going on here) but its loud and I mean LOUD! as the guitar fuzz hacks and slashes whilst the vocals are Numan like monotonous and flat in their delivery until the chorus when things sound like a nuclear reactor gone out of control.

This album twists and turns as it tries to find a comfortable place whilst scratching at the listener.  I daren’t ask what the lyrical content is about I’d rather just enjoy the noise pouring out of my speakers.  Take ‘Grave Gravy’ for instance its creeps into existence and your just waiting for the breakout but its more subtle than that or so you think.

At times this ten-track assault on the ears can be a challenge as the brain struggles to cope with the audio bombs going off left right and centre and the duo revel in the attack. ‘Shoplift’ doesn’t sound like a good experience and not a soundtrack you’d have liked playing whilst fingering the pick and mix in woolies.  Having said that ‘Peter Pancake’ is someone we’d all like to get to know.  Iro and Stelios have delivered a post-punk garage meets art-rock album that will fuck with you play after play. I’m guessing they like to fuck with the listener but with a cheeky wink here and there and some serious ringing in one’s ear.  The art rock crowd of the lower east side would have been all over this one and a perfect touring partner for VU has finally arrived decades too late ho-hum check out hand and leg the crazy fuckers.

Author: Dom Daley

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Slovenly Recordings presents the latest full-length hunk o’ junk from San Francisco’s last standing Budget Rockers THE CONTROL FREAKS! Remember a time when bands like The Ramones pumped out albums full of sing-a-long singles that you could jump around to well, The Control Freaks do that.  From the opening explosion of the title track, we’re off and running.  Its garage punk with plenty of pop sing-a-longs.  count in 1-2-3-4 and the wonderfully titled ‘I Hate Your Face’ muscles in.  it’s full of bluster and has a wonderful garage rock rattle.  What’s not to like?

‘Elevator Girl’ kicks off with a dirty overdriven bass before steaming off.

‘Telephone City’ seems to be the catalyst to up the insanity a notch or two as shit gets faster and a little more out of control. ‘Hate List’ takes it up a notch or two with added madness.

So yeah, like, It’s fair to say this record is packed with hit after smash hit like “I Hate Your Face,”  ‘Creep You Out’ is on the level with some top tub-thumping and sleazy guitar slashing. ‘I Am Crime’ thrashes about some more if you haven’t already had enough. and you might need A ‘First Aid Kit’ it might come in handy at some point if you’re slamming around to these tunes and the cheap keys are gonna drive you insane. Its ferocious and sweetness rolled into one take ‘Time Out’ with some sweet vocals over an absolute banger that Dee Dee would have been proud to have penned. 

‘Dowanna Love’ is the first, (yup I did say first) cover on the album by Babeez Greg takes the vocals here whilst the second comes as the penultimate and more laid back (really) ‘Nobody Wants Me’ where Sherrilynn Nelson takes the vocals and delivers the best sultry Debbie Harry style vocals for thirty years on this dark lo-fi slice of scuzzy rock.

This is one of the most consistent garage punk albums I’ve had the pleasure of in quite a while. Why would anyone mess with Jessica? she sounds a handful.  Thirteen tunes crammed onto one album with every conceivable bit of space filled to the gills with rock and roll noise noise noise.  I love it and you will too.  Go get some kids you won’t be disappointed and if you are then I suggest Rock and Roll just isn’t for you either that or you might want to check for a pulse.

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Slovenly Recordings

Author: Dom Daley

Christened as ‘A Long Weekend Of Empty Bottles’, Tyla and his Dogs announced a short run of dates celebrating the 30th anniversary of ‘A Graveyard Of Empty Bottles’ recently. Dates in York and Birmingham to be special shows previewing acoustic and electric shows that will form part of the following two nights of celebration in London.

Classed by some as the best acoustic album ever released (me included), ‘A Graveyard Of Empty Bottles’ is a timeless snapshot of the classic Dogs D’amour line up at their peak. Recorded in December 1988 over a 10 day period, the album captures the essence of a band riding on the tail end of a whirlwind year and the comedown that followed a sold out, end of the year Astoria show.

The 8 song collection of ‘soft songs for hard people’ has recently been re- recorded by the current Dogs D’amour line up, and while I initially gave it a wide birth, I have to say the new version does bring something fresh to a bunch of songs I always felt should not be tampered with. In fact, I liked it enough in the lead up to this gig, that I only went and purchased the vinyl for the collection.

 

Joining the band on this little adventure are London’s finest rock ‘n’ roll reprobates The Dirty Strangers. Still led by loveable rogue Alan Clayton, a man with more Rolling Stones connections than Mick Jagger’s heart surgeon. In fact Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards both played on their debut album back in 1987, they even roped in The Damned’s Brian James and Joe Brown along the way too.

The four-piece band play no-frills, dirty rock ‘n’ roll, just the way it should be played. The singer, dressed in a stripy top and pork pie hat, a telecaster slung over his lanky frame, leads his band through a selection of bar-room boogie rock ‘n’ roll. The raw and unadulterated twelve-bar boogie of ‘Bad Girls’, with its “woo-hoo’s” hollering and some tinkling of the ivories sounds great and the low slung rock ‘n’ roll of ‘Are You Satisfied?’ goes down a charm. The singer and bassist share a mic for vocals on several songs in full Jagger & Richards style. And it doesn’t get more rock ‘n’ roll than ‘Gold Cortina’ does it? Full of cheeky cockney charm and rock ‘n’ roll swagger, The Dirty Strangers were the perfect band to open proceedings tonight. Great stuff indeed.

 

The Fulford Arms is classed as a hometown show for Tyla and The Dogs these days. It’s intimate, it’s packed and it’s hot… very hot. The band is playing two sets tonight, one acoustic and one electric, the anticipation is high and the atmosphere is electric.

“Who gave him a mic?” says Tyla, as drummer Simon starts with the piss-taking before the singer has even picked up his acoustic guitar. The joking continues for most of the night. With the band perched on barstools they launch straight into ‘Comfort Of The Devil’ followed by the fantastic ‘I Think It’s Love Again’. With the full band treatment these versions of ‘Graveyard..’ tracks are heavier and slower, but still contain those great infectious melodies. The latter particularly benefits from the updated treatment, it’s the little nuances in the arrangements, like where the band hold the note in the chorus just that little bit longer. It sounds ace.

This band have been a unit for a good few years now, live and in the studio, and it shows. The camaraderie and ability is second to none. Tyla plays acoustic, to his right guitarist Gaz rips on a telecaster and to his left the ever cool, vampiric Matty James, all dressed in black, doesn’t even break into a sweat on bass. The guys watch their leader for cues, they play off each other to perfection.

I’ve heard a few of these songs live before, but never all of them together, what a treat to behold! ‘Saviour’ is transformed from heartfelt balladry to a more bluesy, rock ‘n’ roll groover with added tinkling of the ivories and ‘Angel’ is still the sing a long hit single that never was.

The version of ‘Bullet Proof Poet’ they pull off tonight is simply stunning. An extended, tripped out version with Gaz ripping a killer solo. A song to get lost in, it’s over in minutes, yet somehow, it feels like we’ve been lost in it for hours.

Tyla takes over on bass duties and Matty brings out the blues harp for a mesmerising, sweat-soaked blues workout. I think it was called ‘Stealin’ From The Devil’? Correct me if I’m wrong.

A couple of killer tunes from last year’s excellent return to form ‘In Vino Veritas’ album (namely ‘I Don’t Love Anyone’ and ‘Bottle Of Red’) round off set one nicely. As Gaz suggests we all go outside to cool down while the guys prepare the stage for round 2.

 

Tyla’s bottle of red is on its last legs already as he straps on that iconic road worn Gretsch and strikes out the opening chords to ‘Billy Two Rivers’, the first of a small greatest hits set. Songs to sing a long to and songs to drink to, songs that soundtrack our youth and transition into adulthood. It’s nice to see some younger dudes and dudettes in attendance, many who weren’t even born when Tyla first hit the stages with these tunes.

Classic follows classic, ‘Last Bandit’ is as amazing as ever, ‘Firework Girl enthralls and induces goosebumps and ‘How Come It Never Rains’ is the ultimate drunk and sweaty sing along it was meant to be.

By the time we get to ‘I Don’t Want You To Go’ Tyla is visibly struggling in the heat, (as we all are) and finishes the last few songs perched on an amp. The red wine has all but gone and he looks ready for a nap. But he ain’t quite done yet. ‘Satellite Kid’ rounds off the hottest, sweatiest gig of the year so far as we all sing a long and smile for the final time this evening.

 

I feel very lucky to have witnessed this band in this venue multiple times. Every gig has been different, from various album celebrations to just good, old fashioned hits shows. Sometimes I’ve been drunk, sometimes I’ve been sober, but every time it has been a blast. Like a fine red wine Tyla’s Dogs D’amour get better each time I see them, I never take it for granted and I will always come back for more. At the end of the day, it’s one of my favourite songwriters singing some of my favourite songs in my local watering hole. It doesn’t get much better than that.

 

Author: Ben Hughes

Photos courtesy of Neil Vary Gig Photography

 

 

Jesse Malin’s transition from snotty frontman for NY punks D Generation to acoustic troubadour has been a natural progression over the last 15 years. The long and winding road has seen him release 7 solo albums, collaborating with the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Ryan Adams and Brian Fallon along the way.

Critically praised, yet commercially ignored (hey, aren’t all the best songwriters? Ginger,Tyla and Butch Walker, here’s looking at you!). His live shows, whether solo or with a band, can be an immersive experience full of storytelling, comedy and crowd interaction. Jesse Malin continues to tell tales of dreamers, schemers, hustlers and dealers. These are his songs about the characters from his native New York and stories about those he meets on the road.

Jesse’s latest album ‘Sunset Kids’ is a collaboration with country legend Lucinda Williams, who Malin met by chance in a club. They discussed making an album together after she invited him to Tom Petty’s final concert.  During the writing and recording Jesse lost his father, his good friend Todd Youth and even the engineer of the album Davis Bianco.

 

Opener ‘Meet Me At The End Of The World Again’ is a re-recording of the lead track from 2017’s ‘Meet Me At The End Of The World’ EP. This version benefits from Lucinda’s lush production and masterful guidance. The verse, sung in Jesse’s lower register with the addition of warm bass and a tinkling of the ivories, comes on like prime Lou Reed. It lends itself well as a great build to the infectious chorus full of lush, gang vocals. It’s a laid back, lazy sounding slice of retro rock ‘n’ roll, the kind that only a New York resident could produce. This is Jesse walking on the wildside and that’s about as rock ‘n’ roll as you can get.

Next up, the countrified ‘Room 13’ is a reflective ode to spending time in hotel rooms (Jesse has been known to book himself into hotels to write songs in isolation, with no distractions). This is prime Malin songwriting, featuring Lucinda’s lush vocal harmonies and twangy countrified guitars, the sparse instrumentation creates space and atmosphere that only adds to the laid back, signature melodies Jesse creates.

 

There’s a nice ebb and flow to the album, from the upbeat to the downbeat. Reflective, acoustic laments like ‘When You’re Young’ and ‘Revelations’ rub (leather) shoulders with funky 70’s groovers such as ‘Do You Really Wanna Know’ and the overly cool ‘Dead On’, 2 tunes that deserve to be jammed out by cool cats in smoky bars, while whores hustle and hustlers whore around them.

The upbeat ‘Chemical Heart’ has the same feel as his version of The Hold Steady’s ‘You Can Make Them Like You’ from the excellent ‘On Your Sleeve’ covers album. Nice stabs of Hammond give this song a quirky burst of energy. It’s one of the coolest on offer, along with ‘Strangers and Thieves’, co-written by Billy Joe Armstrong as part of their Rodeo Queens side project. A euphoric, countrified rock ‘n’ roll blast if ever there was one. Lucinda’s lush backing vocals add depth, great percussion and twangy guitars give a Stonesy ‘All Down The Line’ feel. A much needed dose of urgency.

Jesse’s tales of working class guys, lost love and dreaming of breaking out of the rat race have been popular themes with the guy since D Generation burst onto MTV with ‘No Way Out’, and although the production may have changed, the message is still the same. As he suggests in ‘Shining On’, you gotta keep on, keeping on. “Call me a cab for the last plane to tomorrow” he asks on ‘Promises’ and ‘Grey Skies Look So Blue’ floats along on a summer breeze as Jesse dreams about packing his bags and getting away.

 

 

When an artist goes through tumultuous times, when a songwriter experiences heartache or pain, and truly has something to write about, THAT is when they are at their best. Like much of Jesse’s solo work, ‘Sunset Kids’ is a reflective body of work, full of heartfelt tenderness and cool rock ‘n’ roll, but for whatever reason it resonates so much more than his past albums. And with the help of Lucinda Williams, he may well have made the album of his career.

Author: Ben Hughes

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