Those shirtless Swedish sailors, The Boatsmen, are back with the first single from their fifth, and perhaps greatest, album “Hard Livin’”.  Slated to be released on the 29th of December this year, we wanted to give you a taste of what The Boatsmen have cooking.  It’s less than three minutes, you have three minutes.  Why wait, go give it a listen!

“Hard Livin’” will be available on vinyl and on all major streaming/download services on December 29, 2023.  Available in North America from Spaghetty Town Records. In Europe from Ghost Highway Recordings or from The Boatsmen.

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“Hooray Hooray it’s Dirtbox day.”

It feels like a mighty long time since I had that melody line spinning around in my head in the run-up to a Welsh Dirt Box Disco gig, and correct me if I’m wrong, but this must be the first time the streamlined version of the band has ever played a show in the valleys.

So, with this in mind nothing was going to stop me from making the trip up to Aberdare to catch the band’s return to a Welsh stage, not the torrential rain, and given that the gig has a 2 pm start, not even my nephew’s ninth birthday celebrations. The latter does mean I’m about an hour late getting to the venue (my apologies to openers Jaws Of Life who I missed as a result), but leaving just as the birthday cake sugar rush starts to kick in also means I am fully in the mood for a party, and thankfully Split Dogs are on hand to provide the soundtrack. 

This is my fourth time of seeing Split Dogs this year and each time it’s been with a different line-up, this time around it’s my first time catching them with new bassist Suez, and the next time I catch them they’ll have a new drummer as this afternoon is also one of the band’s last shows with current drummer Rich. Not that any of this seems to phase singer Harry and guitarist Mil in the slightest, and it’s their belief in the dozen or so songs the band have behind them to date that burns brightest, and the moment these tunes explode on stage is a joy to behold, yet again. The likes of ‘Prison Bitch’, ‘Feeder’ or ‘Punch Drunk’ live (or on CD) just leave you breathless, and in ‘Tear Down The House’ the guys might just have written the natural successor to ‘Sunday Morning Nightmare’ by Sham 69. A Sunday afternoon nightmare (of a gig) though, this most certainly was not.  

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I predict big things for Split Dogs in 2024.

These days there are not many things that can get me to do the Showaddywaddy swagger dance but the sounds of ‘Under The Moon Of Love’ blasting out of the PA as Dirt Box Disco take to the stage is enough for me to don my imaginary crapes and drapes and “waddle” my way to the front of the stage with a huge grin on my face, and it’s not just me either, as everyone around me is doing the same (smiling that is, not waddling) just as Spunk Volcano leads his gang of misfits into the opening a cappella of  ‘I Just Want To Be A Girl’ and off we go on a rollercoaster ride of a set packed full of punk rock bangers at every twist and turn. 

With the exception of two new tracks (these being the title track and the Finbarr Saunders approved ‘Up The Dirtbox’) drawn from the band’s 2023 record ‘Rokapokalips’ and ‘Unstoppable’ from their 2020 album ‘TV Sex Show’ the rest of this afternoon’s hour-long soirée focusses on the band’s first three albums and debut EP, and who can blame the lads when they have the likes of ‘Peepshow’, ‘Burning’, ‘Standing In The Queue’ and ‘My Girlfriends Bestfriends Sister’ just waiting to be screamed along to. What makes it even more perfect though is the fact that there’s a young lad in the crowd (wearing an ace battle jacket complete with a Twisted Sister back patch) singing along to these songs like they were written yesterday not a decade or so ago when he would have still been a baby.

It’s proper sunshine indoors stuff when ‘I Don’t Wanna Go Out With You’ gets us finishing off whatever is left of our voices, and not even a misjudged stage dive by one over excited punter during ‘Let’s Get Wasted!’ can’t spoil the atmosphere as ‘My Life Is Shit’ calls last orders on this most glorious of matinee shows.

Forget Whamageddon or whatever they call it, the Dirt Box Disco Armageddon is not about avoiding great music, it’s about celebrating it. I swear the guys could have played for 3 hours this afternoon and not a single person would have complained, not in the slightest. It’s just a shame they didn’t find time to slot in ‘I Don’t Want Anything For Christmas’, as I think deep cut gem would have been the real icing on the cake of one the most feelgood gigs I’ve ever been to.

Remember folks, Dirt Box Disco is for life, not just Rebellion, so get out there and support them in 2024, and let’s make every day a Dirtbox day.

Author: Johnny Hayward

It’s episode 11 of the RPM Online podcast and this episode begins with a tribute to the legends that are Shane McGowan and Geordie Walker who both passed on recently. As well as new tracks from the likes of Black Bombers, MDC, and Family Battenberg we play classics from the likes of Dead Kennedys and Frank Black. This Episode also features tracks from Ultrabomb who are touring with Bar Stool Preachers and both have albums released in 2023.

How about some Action Rock from the re-issued and first time on vinyl for the A-Bombs on Beluga Records which only leaves Wine Lips on our playlist.

In the coming episodes, we have a bunch of new songs played on episode 12 which is already recorded and coming next week before we have a couple of special interviews we’re cooking up over the festive period with some of our favourite artists as well as the writing team for RPM who are getting together to reveal their favourite releases of 2023 as well as some of the best live shows they witnessed this past year.

As 2023 draws to a close it seems right that I find myself somewhere waiting for The Wonder Stuff to rock up and rock out with some anniversary shenanigans or other and tonight it just so happens to be a celebration for their fourth album ‘Construction For The Modern Idiot’. Now, where the fuck did those decades go? Thirty years and counting and one thing is some of us are still here (always a good thing) and again Milo seems to be in great spirits and the Milo of the past few years is a refreshing youngish man and it was commented how nice it is to be nice and Milo looks like he’s having a ball a disposition he’s had for quite a few tours now and we like it.

Anyway, a Late substitution for this evening in the Empire is Dodgy frontman with a wonderful full head of hair and a lovely smile and a fistful of happy-go-lucky songs that are befitting of a man from the midlands with such an engaging smile (must be something in the air round that way). Armed with an acoustic guitar and a few tales he did a sterling job of warming up the quickly filling Empire with some classic Dodgy like ‘Staying Out For The Summer’, ‘In A Room’, ‘Grassman’ and ‘Good Enough’. His voice sounded strong but in a flash, his job was done.

Just before nine the house lights go off and the band move purposefully to their starting blocks and ‘Construction’ begins. The magnificent ‘Change Every Light Bulb’ is the sound of the charge as every track off the much’ underrated ‘Construction For The Modern Idiot’ unfolds and as good as it is to always hear ‘On The Ropes’ or the brutal ‘I Wish Them All Dead’ its also a joy to hear ‘Storm Drain’ or ‘Hush’ in all their glory and boy did they sound good. By the time we reach ‘Sing The Absurd’ it’s a realisation that we’re almost done for the entire album. The introductions are short and sweet and we’re left with a few well-placed B sides like ‘Burger Standing’ and ‘I Think I Must Have Something Really Useful To Say’ before Milo takes the band off for a sneaky smoke and then some more of a best of set. However, if you ask me you’d need another two-plus hours to whip through the remaining “Best Of” set so the second portion begins with a sprightly ‘Ooh She Said’ and a rapid bounce-a-thon ‘No For The 13th Time’ it was like the old days with everybody warmed up it’s like the decades hadn’t passed and to be quite frank there will be a lot of people who might have some regrets come the morning but living for the moment this is like the eight-legged grooves are certainly on manoeuvres. ‘Mission Drive’ is followed by ‘Caught In My Shadow’ and then ‘Size Of A Cow’ wraps up the ‘Never Loved Elvis’ tracks and everyone is beaming (including Milo)

Erika who once again looks splendid in her golden gown moves her bow to signify its ‘Golden Green’ time as ‘Hup’ makes an appearance. Some of the usual suspects are then wheeled out closing the second set with a faultless ‘Give Give Give Me More More More’.

For a final encore and much deserved I might add Milo announces that this is definitely the last fuckin time we will get to hear ‘Dizzy’ but he said that last week. ‘Unbearable’ only leaves a magnificent ‘Ten Trenches Deep’ and we are now definitely done. Sadly no time for ‘Good Night Though’ which would have been the cherry on the icing on the cake for me but that can happen next time, right Milo? A triumphant return to the Empire and a magnificent set that paid respects to a much-underrated album that is ‘Construction For The Modern Idiot’ I only wish is we could do this all again in the not-too-distant future. Tonight the Wonder Stuff were once again dishing out the Wonderful Stuff. I know it’s only rock n roll but boy do I like it. Have I said it was magnificent? Well, it was.

Author: Dom Daley

Among the most popular and enduring British hard rock bands of the past 25 years, Thunder are to launch two previously unreleased live albums on January 26, 2024, on earMUSIC.

Preorder Leeds Live: Here

Preorder Islington live Here


 
The first of the pair, “Live At Islington Academy”, captures the South London based band during the touring cycle of their eighth studio album, ‘Robert Johnson’s Tombstone’. The quintet had already completed a lengthy circuit of the UK in promotion of the record when they were contacted by Planet Rock Radio (UK) about the possibility of performing a set before a live audience at the station’s first annual Christmas Bash. As fun lovers of the most devoted kind, how could Thunder possibly say ‘no’?
 
A mere 800 lucky fans got the opportunity to see Thunder perform at the Planet Rock Christmas Party on December 19th, 2006. Hosted by Rob Birnie and Mark Jeeves, the event was a massive success as the band offered up a storming, surprise performance dominated by golden classics such as ‘River Of Pain’, ‘Low Life In High Places’, ‘You Can’t Keep A Good Man Down’, ‘Love Walked In’, ‘Backstreet Symphony’ and ‘I Love You More Than Rock ‘N’ Roll’, followed by a hot, sweaty encore of the hit single ‘Dirty Love’.
 
“From what I recall, no one in the audience seemed to have a clue that we would attend the party, let alone play, so they were all pretty shocked when we stepped on to the stage,” says frontman Danny Bowes. “It was boiling hot inside the venue, also freezing outside, and we worked them pretty hard. They looked pretty hot and sweaty when it was done. I reckon a fair few of the crowd must have caught colds on the way home.”


 
The second live album, “Live At Leeds” was a more official affair, recorded nine years later on March 3rd, 2015, as part of a three-date arena tour in support of ‘Wonder Days’, one of the finest studio records of Thunder’s career. In the pages of Classic Rock magazine, the late, great journalist Malcolm Dome declared: “‘Wonder Days’ a massive reminder that class is both timeless and incandescent.”
 
The resulting tour was shorter than the group’s traditional treks as it marked the first steps of public rehabilitation for Ben Matthews, the rhythm guitarist and keyboardist who was in recovery from throat cancer. Unsurprisingly, these shows were emotionally charged for both band and audience.
 
“My overriding memory of that night at the First Direct Arena in Leeds was mainly the look on Benny’s face when the audience reacted to him being back,” grins guitarist Luke Morley, who describes a first spell of his band stepping up to headline arenas in their homeland at last as “very satisfying”.
 
A 16-song set delivered a hatful of hits and no less than six numbers from ‘Wonder Days’, namely its title cut, ‘Black Water’, ‘Resurrection Day’, ‘Broken’, ‘The Thing I Want’ and ‘When The Music Played’.
 
Both concerts, “Live At Islington Academy” and “Live At Leeds”, stood as further evidence of Thunder’s prowess as live entertainers. And now at last you can re-live the experience.
 
On January 26, 2024, both concerts will become available on CDVinyl as well as digital download and streaming.

Tickets

Steelhouse Festival has added a further acts to its 2024 bill. Taking place over the weekend of the 26th-28th of July, it will be the Welsh festival’s 13th edition. Joining the previously announced ‘BernieFest’ opening day line-up put together in celebration of the late-great Whitesnake guitarist, and long-time friend of the festival, Bernie Marsden are headliners Skindred, and also Mr. Big. Also heading to the Steelhouse Mountain are New York alt-blues duo The Last Internationale, Canadian rockers The Commoners and American blues-guitar powerhouse Jared James Nichols. James And The Cold Gun, Creeping Jean, and Zac & The New Men represent the very best in up-and coming UK talent.

Steelhouse organisers, Max and Mikey say, “We are absolutely buzzed to welcome the mighty Skindred back for their second SH headline set. They’re at the very top of their game – a UK number 2 album, a completely sold-out UK and European tour, appearances on international mega-bills and even Jools Holland! They’re now doing their own arena shows. Everyone knows of their incendiary live performances…People, get ready, The Newport Helicopter is landing on The Steelhouse Mountain!

They go on to say, “And what do you say about Mr. Big? Incredible musicianship, huge hits in a career that spans decades. Individually they are, quite simply legends, collectively they have always been beyond belief. It’s an absolute honour to have them with us. Once again we are looking forward to hosting our visitors – old friends and new, musicians and fans – who come from far and wide to experience the festival on the mountain-top in Wales…We’re looking forward to welcoming you all…Iechyd da!”

With the first 1000 tickets selling out immediately, the event’s Stage 2 Earlybird Tickets are available now, but not for long. Last year was the biggest Steelhouse Festival ever, and the signs are that 2024 will be even better.

Over a decade has passed since the inaugural Steelhouse in 2011, and the Festival at the top of the mountain boasts not only the best views of any UK rock event but one of the most passionate, friendly and loyal followings. With a reputation for not only bringing in the biggest and best names from the international world of Rock, Steelhouse also understands the role it can play in throwing open its prestigious stage to the best of the new breed of bands. It all adds up to a compelling mix of classic and cutting edge Rock, old and new.
 

“So, once again let’s get ready to Rocio y Mynydd / Rock the Mountain!”

For many years I would tell anyone with ears that Brixton based collective Alabama 3 were one of the best live bands on the planet. Their unique brand of “sweet pretty muthafuckin’ country acid house music” and incendiary, unforgettable live shows were legendary in my circles. But I must admit a run of less than spectacular albums and a few less than professional live shows saw (me at least) lose interest a few years back. The tragic death of co-founder Jake Black (aka The Very Reverend Dr.D Wayne Love) in 2019 seemed to seal the deal that it was all over for the Alabama 3.

But then something strange happened…Alabama 3 got their mojo back! Call it triumph over adversity, a rejuvenation even, but Larry Love and the boys unified, licked their wounds and released their 13th album ‘Step 13’ in 2021. A tribute to a fallen friend, the title referred to the next phase after death as quoted by A. Ron Hubbard, and was a return to past glories.

Now in 2013, with a new album (Cold War Classics Vol 2) on the shelves and the return of vocalist Devlin Love to the live outfit, it’s time to see if Alabama 3 can still deliver the goods live.

9 o’clock sharp and Alabama 3 hit the stage at the sold out Brudenell in style to newbie ‘North Korea’. Dressed in military jacket and shades, the ever cool Larry Love commands his audience from the off. Stage right is Devlin Love, the diminutive lady with a larger than life voice. She looks even cooler in a black fur coat, figure hugging dress and stack heels. Her vocals and her stage presence gives a different dynamic to the band now that Jake is gone. 

But the ghost of the Very Reverend D Wayne is all over this show and he even makes an appearance, albeit a taped one on the overly cool set highlight ‘Hypo Full Of Love (12 Step Plan)’, which is a nice touch.

The set is a great mix of old and new, enough to satiate old fans and new recruits alike. It’s a very dance orientated show, the dub heavy bass throbs from the speakers and you can’t help but move to the groove. New tunes like ‘Petronella Says’ and ‘Whacked’ sound good, I mean really good, like they are A3 classics already after just a couple of years, maybe it’s just a testament as to how strong an album ‘Step 13’ is.

The pair of singers work the crowd like pros, inciting the crowd to get on their dancing feet and sing along to the choruses. 

Long time core members keyboard player The Spirit looks suitably miserable all night and Nick Reynolds is always cool, switching between harmonica, backing vocals and sax all night. Larry informs us it’s his birthday and he takes lead vocals on the song the band wrote about his great train robbing old man ‘Have You Seen Bruce Richard Reynolds’. The harmonica induced countrified blues is a killer set highlight for me from one of my favourite A3 albums.

I must admit I’ve not seen them this good in many, many years. Other highlights like the awesome ‘Up Above My Head’, the countrified ‘Hello, I’m Johnny Cash’ and the obligatory ’Woke Up This Morning’ prove that Alabama 3 have the tunes and are an underground alternative institution we should be proud of.

The welcome return of singer Devlin Love seems to be what the band needed at the right time. While no one could ever fill Jake’s cowboy boots, her bluesy, soulful vocals and presence adds sex appeal and spice to the countrified, dance tunes tonight.

Her lead vocals on ‘U Don’t Dans 2 Tekno Anymore’  are frankly stunning, she rules that stage. Encore time sees her return with an acapella ‘Mercedes Benz’ before the full band return dedicating Aslan’s ‘How Can I Protect You’ to the ailing Shane McGowan. 

I’ve seen Alabama 3 a bunch of times over the past 20 years, but this show was one of the best. Larry Love and his band have redeemed themselves in my eyes and take their rightful place as one of UK’s most exciting live bands currently doing the rounds. Long may they  rule. 

Author: Ben Hughes

Having seen The Cult play a blinding set in the summer when they announced Death Cult dates it seemed only fair to head to Duffys turf and catch the show in the spectacular surroundings of The Albert Hall. Once inside the old church after giving the merch a swerve due to the prices being £40 for a cap and £30 for a poster I put my wallet back in my pocket and headed for the bleachers as Lili Refrain who once again played a thirty minute set of Native chanting and floor tom loops. The minutes flew by and we were ready for what was promising to be an interesting evening of old school Cult. I’d seen social media posts complementing the band on how good they were but I’d avoided too many spoilers then the house lights went off and the swirls of dry ice engulfed the high room as the shadows took to the compact stage as ’83ed Dream’ creaked out of the PA system to howls of approval from the paced room. Duffy hunched over his White Falcon picked the chords whilst Asbury held the mic with a sturdy grip, some dark glassed his hair tied in a ball whilst wearing a leather jacket and black robe the clock was certainly turned back.

The pit was in full flight as ‘Christians’ punched into the ether and ‘Gods Zoo’ confirmed we were really doing this and the band sounded fantastic. I think its fair to say that live Asburys voice hasn’t always been as strong as it does on record but I have to say that in the summer and in Manchester he sounded unbelievable better than I’ve ever heard him. He looks in shape and his voice is strong and powerful and it really struck home on ‘Flowers In The Desert’ as the two bandmates stood alone on the stage and knocked out a really powerful rendition. It was the first sort of break in the set which had been full throttle up to that point.

Its fair to say that the next hal fof the set was spectacular and trying to think of superlatives to pour upon the set is tough because ‘Resurection Joe’ was huge sounding and it elevated the set to the next level but to follow it With the huge ‘Horse Nation’ I began to daydream as to why these songs went missing from the Cult setlist over the last few years of shows. Duffy seemed in the zone as he picked the opening riff from ‘Go West’ only to hit a hattrick of songs starting with ‘Loves’ ‘Hollow Man’ another they should play more often followed by ‘Dreamtime’ and the epic ‘Spiritwalker’ was magnificent and might well be up there as one of the pest live shows I’ve ever seen them do going back to the Love era tour.

It only left ‘Rain’ to finish the main set before the band retired, Earning a thoroughly deserved encore of ‘Moya’ and of course ‘Sanctuary’ and Manchester was now done. The Death Cult came, saw, and conquered and it felt a real privilege to have been there and witnessed such a special performance in such excellent surroundings. The band seemed to enjoy the show as much as the fans did and I hope this isn’t the last of these kind of tours because The Cult are on fire at the moment. They sound and perform better than they have done for decades and that is a fact my friends. Simply stunning.

Author: Dom Daley

Hot on the heels of last year’s Ramones tribute, ‘Basement Beat’, Brad Marino returns with 10 new songs that, ideally, would have been the soundtrack to this summer. Still, it’s a welcome return, and I can almost remember what the sun looks like whilst listening to another top notch collection of tunes.

Whether it’s the Slade-tinged title track, or the slide infused ‘Up And Up’, this is poptastic stuff. Crafting great power pop isn’t easy, but Brad has a knack with it, and none is finer than ‘Hung Up’, with its Rickenbacker-friendly melody. You’ll be “ooh”ing along in no time, perhaps due to it being one of two collaborations with Kurt Baker. They really are made for each other, musically speaking.

Just listen to this and ‘I’m Broke’ for the proof. Fingers crossed for a full album together, though they’re obviously both busy; Kurt’s ‘Rock N Roll Club’ being one of the best albums this year.

They both make it sound effortless, ‘(She’s) Doing Her Thing’ settles in your head like an old friend, in a Flamin’ Groovies style. ‘Lucy’ rattles by, complete with castanets, like Ramones on a sugar high. ‘Looking Then’ is worthy of Paul Collins, and Brad throws the kitchen sink at ‘Another Sad And Lonely Night’, but it pays off, with contributions from members of the “New England Mafia”, Joe Queer and Geoff Palmer.

It’s a no brainer, folks. If quality power pop is your bag, this needs to be in your collection. Big grins all round.

Sioux Records For Vinyl

Rum Bar Records for CD & Digital

Or Brad directy Here

Author: Martin Chamarette

The complete Klark Kent – eighteen tracks spread out over four sides of vinyl. Stewart Copeland taking over vocal duties on what is effectively a new wave, energetic romp through a whole bunch of tunes dating back to 1980 when these songs were first recorded. It was the first solo album (of sorts) for any of the Police. There is the bonus of some unearthed gems to fill out this collection that was pressed on Wax for RSD a while back but this is bigger and better.

Obviously, there is the punky side to Copeland’s work on a fairly hefty dose of his rhythmic new wave that his then-day job in the Police did to enormous levels. There is an exceptional level of musicianship and often a lot is going on throughout the records. But you do get a sense that Copeland had a lot of input into those Police records and his sense of melody is spot on quite often.

I quite like Copelands vocals and I know they can be a little thin at times but they work for the new wave style and songs like ‘Office Girls’ it suits as it does on the catchy ‘Too Kool For Kalypso’ whilst remembering this record, these songs are 40 years old.

Some of the record sounds dated, ‘Away From Home’ with its reggae roots shuffle but that also brings a particular charm with it that I found appealing. What They haven’t done is tamper with the recordings and given them a modern sheen or recording which would have killed any energy stone dead.

The single ‘Don’t Care’ has that time capsule vibe like classic Buzzcocks with the melodies and that’s what works here. A good song is a good song no matter the time or method of recording and Copeland’s rapid snare runs shine like a star. I also like his attitude that if you don’t like it you can suck his socks, so edgy.

The 18-track expanded album will be complemented by a bonus CD of Copeland’s Kent demos, released here for the very first time. But the one gripe I have with the vinyl isn’t the mission demo but the lack of liner notes, I’d love to know the boring details of who plays what where, and why that would have been nice. Oh, and a side note I’m always happy to admit I’m never keen on instrumentals and shy away from them but here I quite enjoyed checking them out and wasn’t tempted to skip not even once. Maybe I’m getting old or just growing up who knows? But one thing I do know is you should check out this record. Be it as a fan of the Police or a curious old new wave/pink rocker who always had a soft spot for the Police and those early records. This is an excellent accompaniment.

Buy Here

Author: Dom Daley