Considering we’re in the early knockings of a new decade it’s impressive that bands take the time to put out singles at this time of year anyway.  We welcome some fresh meat onto our pages and welcome back some brothers we always have time for on RPM for their sheer excellentness and an amazing repertoire of top tuneage. Oh, and good effort on bands like Smash Fashion who are embracing the format with two new bangers which is everything we love about Rock and Roll.  So here’s an impressive starting eleven me lovers, check these treats out…

The City Kids – ‘Best Of You’ (self-released) Not to be confused with Welsh glam legends City Kidds, this is the new project from former Main Gains axe-slinger JJ Watt. ‘Best Of You’ is the first single from their upcoming debut album ‘Things That Never Were’ and all proceeds from this release go to Macmillan Cancer Support in memory of Mikey Lawless from Falling Red.

JJ handles vocals and guitar on this project and he is joined by Dennis Post (Warrior Soul/Flush The Fashion), Berty Burton (Tigertailz) on bass and Falling Red drummer Dave Sanders.

‘Best Of You’ is a low slung, gritty rock ‘n’ roll number that stays true to JJ’s roots. Think Circus Of Power meets The Yo-Yos for reference. Vocals that can’t hide a 40 a day habit and a penchant for a rum or two, mix with greasy biker rock and tons of melody, what more could you desire?

Billy Tee and Alex Holmes from The Suicide Notes add vocals, guitar and a certain swagger to the ramshackle ‘Round And A Round’, which was co-written by JJ and a certain Mr Kory Clarke. This four-track release adds demos of the single and an old Main Grains track that they never recorded called ‘You Get Nothing’ that is worth the asking price alone.

All tracks feature on the album, albeit different versions, making this release more than just a curio for lovers of The Main Grains, The Wildhearts, Warrior Soul or anyone with a love of no-frills rock ‘n’ roll. Bandcamp / Facebook




Smash Fashion – ‘Got Da Hee Bee GeeBee’s’/ ‘Benny And The Jets’ (Yeah Right! Records) Smash Fashion tip the hat to the early punk rockers and they manage to spit their gum out long enough to knock this one right out the park.  exactly what a 7″ single should sound like, “cool as” kids trust me, Snotty and with a bit of street muscle Smash Fashion turn their efforts to the classic 7″ single and do it justice – nice.  Then flip it over for some retro-tinged Hoople hand-clapping, shithouse shaking Rock and Rolla. Damn Smash Fashion just gets better and better.  Check it out right now! Its an order.   Facebook  Pick it up Here





The Hip Priests – ‘Drink To My Demons’ (Speedowax Records)  Well as I wipe my brow those Hip Priests are in the house making good on the reason why a singles club is an essential staple of any website.  Yeah, so they’ve done plenty of singles so what? This ones a sexy picture disc! They’ve not done that before so new ground there for those purveyors of awesome Garage Rock. With more power than a front row of F1, this is a tasty twosome.  ‘Drink To My Demons’ is a banger (of course it is bla bla bla) No it really is. Nobody does it better as Von Cruz spits out the lyrics and no doubt fueled by the world they live in, The Hip Priest lead the charge in 2020,  For me, all the intrigue was about the B side and how The Priests were going to tackle the Adam And The Ants B-side from the ‘Kings Of The Wild Frontier’ single – ‘Press Darlings’. Oh wow! truly spectacular this needs to be heard Adam should hand over ownership pronto The Hip Priests absolutely kill it. magic stuff. Don’t pass this one by folks, just buy it or be left with custard pie(ella) on your face. Spasm Gang members can pick it up with some rather tasty beer mats thrown in as well.  Facebook


Rotten Mind – Not One Of You (Lövely Records) Today marks the release of “Not One of You”, Rotten Minds third and last single taken from the band’s fourth album “Rat City Dog Boy”, set for release this week February 7 to be precise on Lövely Records. “Not One of You” is the most darkwave- inspired track of the LP. The reverby guitar sounds, fat and pumping bass à la Joy Division and lyrics about alienation contribute to a gloomy atmosphere.Facebook

Lövely Records Facebook




Hells Ditch – ‘Vacant Hearts’ (Disconnect Disconnect (UK), Rose Coloured Records (UK) & Bypolar Records) 

Featuring ex/current members of Bad Ideas, River Jumpers & Dearist  Hells Ditch release their debut single next month on 7″ but is available now to stream.  With a modern punk rock sound its no surprise to see the band get  Mass Giorgini who has previously worked with the likes of  Rise Against, Anti Flag and Alcaline Trio. Whilst hailing from the UK they have a sprightly American sound which will have wide appeal. Be interesting to hear some more of these guys they could do really well.

Website / Facebook


ÅSKVÄDER – ‘NOTHING TO LOSE’ (The Sign Records) Unadulterated pure ’70s Rock that’s where ÅSKVÄDER are coming from with this the first single taken from their upcoming S/T debut album, to be released on The Sign Records this coming March. Yes, they’re from Sweden (where else?) is it Action enough for the Action Rock crowd?  (I’d say it certainly is) with some of that southern Rock boogie and a raw on the prowl guitar sound, this is sharp and whilst its roots are back in the mists of time they are not.  Check it out on streaming sites everywhere.

Facebook / The Sign Records Facebook



The Venomous Pinks – ‘I Want You’ (Die Laughing Records) Tempe, AZ all-female punk rock trio The Venomous Pinks has released a new single and music video, a cover of Joan Jett & The Blackhearts’ “I Want You,” which will appear on the band’s upcoming album of the same name.

The Venomous Pinks hit this particular nail squarely on the head with a ten-pound sledge. No subtlety, no compromise just a damn good interpretation of a Jett classic.  Not a band to be trifled with. Top tune!  Website / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter



The Monsters – ‘I’m A Stranger To Me’ (Slovenly Records) Wild, reckless, outta control.  Just the way we like it here at RPM.  The lead track rattles along in spectacular fashion. With a guitar that’s like a twitching, buzz saw hacks and cuts through the moon the loon style drumming – its a rocket ride of a tune and that’s good enough for us.  Check em out.  flip it over to see if they are more than a one-trick pony and ‘Carpool Lane’ begins with some white noise before the slow Sabbath with no bottom end enters the fray …oh hang on we’re off on some hypnotic march.  Nuts I tell thee but what’s wrong with that?  Nothing that’s what.  Check out Monsters they rock!




Soraia – ‘Dangerous’ (Wicked Cool Records) Philadelphia rock quartet Soraia will release their new album ‘Dig Your Roots’ on March 13 via Steven Van Zandt’s label Wicked Cool Records. American radio is blowing up over these cats and having been influenced by the likes of Joan Jett and the vines so it’s a no brainer they were going to feature on the pages of RPM. Being part of the Wicked Cool roster isn’t too shabby either. this track released off the album ‘Dig Your Roots’ is punchy and has a decent riff on that chorus as you can see Joan Jett has indeed been an influence and its good to hear that again this month! Facebook




The Ghost Wolves – Lets Go To Mars (Dirty Water Records) Austin Texas has thrown up plenty of noteworthy bands and Ghost Wolves are certainly one of the busiest. Blending rock n’ roll, punk rock, garage and blues with electronic elements, the duo has earned a reputation as one of the hardest working bands in the modern rock n’ roll underground, touring internationally for almost 8 years straight, with nearly 1000 shows between them in 23+ countries including most of Western Europe, USA, U.K., and Japan. ‘Let’s Go To Mars’ is their latest offering on wax

Märvel – ‘Märvellous’ (The Sign Records)  The EP contains four tracks of hard hitting Rock n Roll; ‘Amaze-O’, ‘Marvellous’, ‘Public School 75’ and ‘A Taste of Platinum’.  Digital and 7″ vinyl.

Märvels debut EP “Märvellous” claimed to be recorded in 2002 for the American label New York Powerhitters during the bands exchange semester in Colorado. Märvel returned to Sweden before the songs were released, and the EP never got to reach the ears of Märvels dedicated fans. Well, Worry no more Märvel fans because the band has re-recorded the EP and it’s here. What does it sound like? Well, its got a flavour of classic Märvel of course but its got classic rock running through it from the Kiss like riffage on ‘Amaze-O’ and the pick of the four would go to ‘Märvellous’ again, more than a nod to what they learnt in Kisstory lessons at Rock school.  So you know where this  ones going kids its quality Rock! Marvel style.  Now go get one before they’re all gone gone gone.

Order the EP here:Bandcamp – Märvel

There are moments in time where you come across a band, and it is just a magical moment. Rewind back to 2017 when I heard Soraia for the first time, I heard their song ‘Why’ and could not buy the album fast enough. ‘Dead Reckoning’ ended up being my Album of the Year for 2017, and they are on the verge of releasing the long-awaited follow up album ‘Dig Your Roots.’ I came into this album with huge expectations that were never going to be easy to meet, but they have done it. While I cannot say yet that this is going to be my 2020 Album of the Year, they have set the bar incredibly high for everything else I hear this year.

‘Dangerous’ gets the album going and immediately shows that this album is not going to be as glossy as ‘Dead Reckoning’ was in terms of its production. This song hit me immediately and was not as subtle as the first two songs they released from the album. ZouZou Mansour’s vocals are laced with attitude and a confidence that could dominate the world. The backing vocals are perfectly done, and the bridge takes the song to another level.  ‘Wild Woman’ settles into a cool groove after a hooky guitar riff and then later a great solo by Mike Reisman. The mix across the album is faultless with Travis Smith’s bass getting plenty of exposure. Soraia doesn’t just write songs; they craft them in some magical place. Brianna Sig (drums) and Smith are dynamic together across the album with ‘Evergreen’ being just one example. The shouty backing vocals give the song a live feel, and the bridge here slows things down and lets Mansour’s vocals penetrate your soul.

Soraia has many roots in the garage rock of the Nuggets era but has also allowed many other ingredients and spices into their sound. ‘Foxfire’ features some nice guitar work by Reisman and carries much of that Nuggets influence as a semi-ballad that features some tasteful backing vocals. The bass line has also been stuck in my head for three days now. I have already mentioned it and will again, but I really want to stress that Mansour sings her ass off on this album with this song being just one example. ‘Darkness (is my Only Candle)’ turns up the tempo as the song builds and builds into an electrifying chorus, and the song serves as the perfect counter to ‘Foxfire.’ The keyboards here provide some extra texture to the song. The band decides to do a Prince song on this album too after covering ‘Wow’ on ‘Dead Reckoning.’ They have opted to tackle ‘Nothing Compares 2 You.’ I can remember when Sinead O’Connor had a huge hit with this song, and I will say I didn’t appreciate the song then as my musical tastes were almost strictly hard rock and metal at the time. The band incorporates more of a 60’s ballad feel with extra power added to the music. Sig’s drums really pop in the mix. I could definitely see this version of the song finding a new audience if it received some plays on mainstream radio. Mansour’s vocals will stop you in your tracks and don’t be surprised if you suddenly realize the hairs on your arm are standing. The guitar solo fits perfectly with Reisman shining across the entire song.

‘Superman is Gone’ turns up the tempo with some jangly guitar and excellent rhythm work pulling the listener into the song. Another killer chorus is delivered, and I have found myself singing this in my head over the last several days. Keeping the energy going with ‘Way That You Want It,’ Smith’s bass and Reisman guitar both stand out here with the guitar solo jumping out of the speakers. One of the immediate draws to Soraia for me was the lyrics, and this album continues that brilliance. This song takes a pretty standard topic but conjures incredibly cool imagery and really paints a sonic picture. The first song that was released from this album quite some time ago now was ‘Still I Rise’ which has become something of a person anthem for me. The band again incorporates a heavy Nuggets influence here but also keep it feeling fresh and modern.  It serves as another example of the band’s lyrical abilities. I also love how the band once again utilize some keyboards here to give the song extra texture, and the mix allows everything to be heard. Sig’s drumming is amazing across the album with this being an excellent example of her work.

Reaching the closing stretch of the album, ‘Don’t Have You’ initially features Mansour singing over just a piano as the ballad slowly builds. Mansour’s lyrics connect with me on every level; the spoken vocal here is beyond magical and adds so much character to the song. Reisman’s guitar solo is laid down perfectly.  ‘Euphoria’ serves as a hook laced closer about the power heroin can carry with it. Mansour sings with incredible power here as she again paints a canvas with her words. The groove created by the band will have you moving, and, to be fair, I have not stopped rocking and shaking since I first started typing this review. The band speeds things up as they increase the temp on the way out the door.

This album has been pretty much on repeat for three days now for me, and I have found no faults with it. As I said in the beginning, I cannot crown it Album of the Year yet as we still have 11 months to go, but I am having a hard time imagining finding a record that connects with me as much as this one does in that time. Soraia have created another masterpiece with an album that showcases each member of the band while also showing how well they come together as a group. Mark your calendar now and buy this one as soon as you can. Your soul will thank you.



Buy ‘Dig Your Roots’ Here

Author: Gerald Stansbury