Now Steve Conte really caught my attention when he was drafted in to play guitar alongside Sylvain Sylvain in the Dolls and following that the solo career he was forging was all killer and no filler and even when he played in Michael Monroe band and wrote songs for someone as talented as Monroe to sing he couldn’t put a foot wrong it would seem. ‘Bronx Cheer’ was his last offering and to be fair I loved it I thought he had written some of his best material on that album and his vocals seemed to have been elevated to the next level as well. Fast forward a couple of years and after much social media jibber jabber about writing new material for another solo album I thought Conte can’t possibly top the last album but after running through this album for a couple of months I truly believe he’s mixed up his Rock album formula with a new found new wave pop seam and mined it to the maximum and taking a side step into some new territory works well and drafting in someone he really admires and holds in high regards a certain Andy Partridge from XTC is both interesting and unexpected but ultimately a fine move from the evidence of the co written tunes that make up the opening side of this album.

Clever clogs album title aside this might well prove to be Conte’s finest work to date which is no small feat for someone who has quite an impressive output over the last decade or so. Ian Hunter, Danko Jones, Steve Lillywhite, Nasty Suicide and Glen Matlock raise an eyebrow alongside several other impressive talents on show. The Melodies are constant and at every turn and the pop songs wear many outfits from bluesy rockers or more punky-edged songs Conte has covered all bases yet made a cohesive and truly wonderful album.

Ultimately Conte has evolved his repertoire and moved in another direction and quite possibly turned in his finest album thus far in an ever-impressive collection of mightily fine albums. Don’t just take my word for it check it out for yourself and immerse yourself in a fantastic album brimming with glorious songs where he goes from here, who knows, at this point, the world is his oyster and I’m happy to spend the next couple of years marvelling at ‘The Concrete Jangle’ my only complaint is it could have gone on and on, no should have gone on and on. Buy IT!

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Author: Dom Daley

First up this cold and wet UK morning is Autogramm, a synth-driven power-pop band from Seattle, Chicago and Vancouver. They have just announced their latest LP ‘Music That Humans Can Play’ with an advance single and video for the track “Plastic Punx”.

Their first album in over two years will be released on vinyl and digital formats world-wide on November 17th via Stomp Records and Beluga Records EU.

Autogramme – Bandcamp

New York City guitarist, singer-songwriter Steve Conte has released the music video for his latest single “Girl With No Name.”

The clip was shot on the streets of NYC & in studio by Natborn Productions’ Peter Perenyi & son Orion Perenyi, with motion graphics, lyrics & final touches by David Provan at 12 Inch Media.

The song follows the summer release of his single “Fourth Of July” (co-written with Andy Partridge of XTC).

Conte says, “This is a song of regret…about missed opportunity and lack of skills in meeting someone you’re attracted to.

When putting my new album together, I was looking for songs that would fit nicely alongside the songs that Andy Partridge and I had written for it and I kept thinking of this one. I wrote it back in 1984 and never forgot it – which was a good sign.

Because it came to me so long ago I can’t exactly remember my process for writing it, except that since I was young & single at that time I was probably experiencing these kinds of situations & feelings on a daily basis!

Musically, I can hear what was influencing me back then; mid 60s Beatles, mid 80s XTC, and that beloved Motown groove from a certain Diana Ross & The Supremes song…”

A follow-up LP to Conte’s acclaimed 2021 solo album Bronx Cheer, is expected in Spring 2024 via Steven Van Zandt’s Wicked Cool Records.

Marc Valentine, the unmistakably British singer-songwriter whose powerpop-fueled debut album was released last year to critical acclaim, returns with ‘Jinx Of Finchley Road’ – a digital single scheduled for release through Little Steven’s Wicked Cool Records.

Produced by Dave Draper (The Wildhearts, Ryan Hamilton, The Professionals), the song hints at nefarious and uncanny happenings in North London. Nostalgia and mystery meet in a basement full of hooks to create a single that sounds as if it was
plucked from the charts during the glory days of Britpop.

Having honed his craft over four albums with cult pop-rockers Last Great Dreamers, Valentine launched a solo career in 2022, his album ‘Future Obscure’ delighting fans and picking up praise from an array of publications.

‘Jinx Of Finchley Road’ marks his return to the spotlight, which looks set to grow even brighter through 2024.

Upcoming live dates 

Friday 15 September – Trillians, Newcastle 

Saturday 16 September – Fulford Arms, York

All links to buy and hear Marc Here

Website /Insta /Facebook

Available on vinyl for the first time this early naughties release is having its vinyl debut but with four additional songs.

Don’t bother tryign to work out which one is Len because none of these three are called Len (obviously). This trio (luckily they aren’t a four piece or five and there is actually only three of em. Bare-bones guitar, bass and drums; classicly British. they get by on great hooks and vocal harmonies; fifteen songs in total and all done and dusted in half an hour.

Chinese Burn’ is the 2007 debut album from The Len Price 3, of course it is being rereleased by Wicked Cool Records, for the first time ever on vinyl, because Wicked Cool know a good LP when they hear it.

Raw, passionate, two-minute tunes of the Who, the Kinks, and the Clash, is pretty much the MO for The Len Price 3 and they deliver a high-energy garage rock n roll.

Imagine in the swinging 60s a band like this rolled up to play the Marquee with the melodies and swing but added the punch that this record has it would have been devastating. It’s got the snot of punk and the barroom boogie of Dr Feelgood. It’s not an easy sound to perfect and many have tried and failed along the way. Let’s face it these guys didn’t cross my path for some reason back in the day but one thing fo sure I’m so glad I’ve had the chance to acquaint my ears with these tunes now thanks to Wicked Cool and their pursuit of excellent rock n roll.

Fifteen songs are present here and everyone is an explosion of great songwriting and a fantastic retro yet modern sound that has guts, power and subtlety, not a combination many bands can achieve. It’s like the Kinks and The Who made a supergroup using the Jams equipment from the rapid chops of the title track its got swing and a masterclass in songwriting.

They nail the harmonies like on ‘Viva Viva’ but it’s the cheeky rock that gives it edge kicking and screaming but always being quality. What a great album from top to bottom – ‘Swine Fever’ is a proper earworm but then ‘Amsterdam’ is as well Daltry and Townsend must be cursing these guys for having the chops at a time when Roger is more concerned with shouting his tory bollocks whilst the Len Price 3 are cutting the mustard back home writing top-notch records like this. ‘Chatham Town Spawns Devils’ – I bet it does but they’ll be pleased it’s wrapped up in such a rockin’ tune. Writing a song about ‘Big Daddy’ isn’t something you expected to hear. Cheeky boys. Before they’re done I love ‘Medway Eye’.

Quintessentially a record that could only ever have come out of England and that’s part of its charm and beauty. It’s happy and avin’ it large at the same time. The Len Price 3 dish up a tasty treat now go get yourself some it’s worth it and so are you.

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Author: Dom Daley

Texan singer-songwriter Ryan Hamilton is tired of the Bad Breaks, ‘Bad Breaks’ is most definitely available digitally on all platforms from May 16.

“Dear music business executives. I have some things to get off my chest. Are you listening?…”
So begins Ryan Hamilton’s latest single release, pissed-off and squaring-up firmly against a
self-serving music industry.

Spin magazine has hailed Hamilton as one of the ‘35 Best Lesser Known Artists of The Last 35
years’, but owing to a calamitous series of events around the release of his latest album, it
appears the gods of rock want it to stay that way.

Hamilton entered 2023 full of optimism, stating back in January, “I’ve been on the verge of
tipping the proverbial scales for several years now. I’ve had some incredible people supporting
and championing me. Now that all the pandemic-related road blocks are out of the way, it’s

Nominated every year for the past fourteen for some kind of ‘Best New’ artist award, it felt like
the elusive ‘next-level’ was finally within reach.

Originally slated for a March 10 release, ‘Haunted By The Holy Ghost’, Hamilton’s fourth record
for Stevie Van Zandt’s ‘Wicked Cool’ label, had all the hallmarks of a career high. Advance
reviews were uniformly giddy, Classic Rock magazine for one calling it ‘genius – one for the
ages’. Then, days before the album’s release, it all turned to shit. A completely random check
discovered that CDs of the album had entirely the wrong audio. A worldwide recall was hastily

Initially pushed back by over a month, in the week of its new release date, certain retailers
inexplicably reported the album was delayed by a further week. And then by another.
Completely in the dark, Hamilton was powerless to keep his loyal fan base appraised of the
unraveling situation. Reports kept coming in of various pre-orders arriving in homes early and
the album being displayed for sale in stores, such a stuttered release totally destroying
Hamilton’s chances of emulating or eclipsing his previous multiple Top 10 Official UK Chart

His response in the face of such adversity?…

To immediately write, record and schedule a stand-alone single directly addressing the music
industry that has failed him so spectacularly.
A brand new track/ single just weeks after releasing the latest album. It’s a bold move.

After the new album delays, manufacturing errors, the album leaking early… then getting
delayed – and AGAIN! etc… I decided it was time to draw a line. Do something new, something
completely different. Something that I had total control over.
One suspects the opening guitar twang on the single doesn’t evoke Beck’s ‘Loser’ by accident,
as Hamilton rails unto his audience, spoken word:
“I am not a person to you.
I am NOT a person to you.
You are the Dealer and we are the addicts.
You don’t need me.
You have Harry Styles and Taylor Swift!”
What do you think will be the industry response to the message behind the new single –
(or should you even care?)
I don’t know and I don’t care. Which is new territory for me. I think because I’ve been through so
much shit with the “Industry” over the past several months – and years… and it’s gotten me
nowhere… I really don’t care what they think. Truth is, they’ll probably just ignore me.
Both Taylor Swift and Harry Styles get name-checked on the new single, what do you
think they’ll make of it?
They will never hear it. They live in the “super famous” bubble. They don’t visit us down here in
Struggling Artist Land.
The video for Bad Breaks looks like you’re taking a real beating…
Yeah. Nothing like getting slapped in the face repeatedly! Especially when you have to do
several takes. But it’s an accurate representation of the song, and how I’m feeling.
Hamilton continues the song by championing the cause for better treatment and remuneration of
“paycheck to paycheck” artists like himself (“your critical acclaim doesn’t fill my fridge, your
awards don’t pay my bills”), positing:
“Imagine movies – without music.
Imagine television – without music.
Imagine theatre… without music.”

Once finally out in the world ‘Haunted By The Holy Ghost’ was embraced by a hugely supportive
audience (despite many CDs still carrying the wrong audio). Aware of at least a fraction of the
lows (and lows) befalling Hamilton, several fans fighting on behalf of the underdog bought extra
copies and gifted forward to friends. But with such a fractured release the album eventually
staggered into the lower reaches of the Official UK Charts across several weeks, rather than
have one big victorious birth.

For months you seemed to be on a roll promoting this album with hilarious videos
highlighting the pitfalls you’ve struggled against in the music industry. Then a
devastating cluster of cock-ups with your album led to it being delayed by nearly two
months. Does it ever feel like someone’s playing a sick cosmic joke on you?
I must have really pissed off the Music gods, because… DAMN! We had so many incredible
things on the horizon. I turned in “Haunted By The Holy Ghost” over a year ago. We had been
planning and promoting for a year. So, for it all to go to shit the way it has is pretty devastating
as far as the hopes we had for the album.
So, is this the way forward for you – writing, recording and self-releasing as often as you
want, without ‘Industry’ interference/hindrance?
Absolutely, 100%! I’ve been so beaten down by all the recent insanity, the only thing that makes
me feel excited, or inspired, is escaping and doing things on my own.
Does this mean plenty of new music on the horizon?
It means an ABUNDANCE of it. I already have another album’s worth of material.
You announced a ‘Farewell Tour – Part 1’, which was subsequently cancelled. More bad

Yeah. You can’t make this shit up. Album delayed, Tour(s) cancelled. None of it within my
control… but I’m the one paying the price for other people’s screw-ups. It’s inspired me to do
things differently moving forward. It’s gonna be better. I believe it.
Previous single ‘Asshole’, brilliantly released on Valentine’s Day, got the attention of the
Darkness’ Justin Hawkins, humorously branding it as ‘career self-sabotage’. It must feel
good to get recognition from your peers…
Absolutely! Love that guy, and I love the way he operates. To have his support and hear
someone I look up to praise a song like “Asshole” is amazing.
On even cheerier news, you recently announced that your wife is expecting and that
you’ll soon be first-time parents. Congratulations!
Thank you. I didn’t think being a dad was in the cards for me. I’ve surprised myself by how
excited I am about it.
Hopefully no saccharine lullabies for the newborn – there’s been some real stinkers from
rock-Dad’s over the years…
Haha. ZERO chance of that happening from me. I think it will have a really interesting effect on
my songwriting. But I guess we’ll find out soon enough.
And presumably you’ll be advising your offspring AGAINST a career in the music
Haha. Nah, if they want to get into the Music Business, I’ll just be their Manager and use my
wealth of knowledge on what NOT TO DO.
And what of touring? Is it ‘farewell’?…

I just confirmed a House Party Tour for early next year. Yes, really. I’m headed to the UK to play
in people’s living rooms. I’m tired of doing the same old thing that everyone else is doing. Time
to mix it up, and reconnect with the incredible people who support me and my music.
Finally, if you could give any advice to independent artists from your own experience,
what would it be?
Don’t worry about “big” shows or “big” tours. I’ve made that mistake, and been let down too
many times. Focus on your craft, promote yourself online, or with a Newsletter (something I just
started, and LOVE) … and really focus on becoming a better songwriter, or guitar player, or
singer etc.
Here’s to Bad Breaks ushering in a run of better luck for Hamilton

Keep up to date with Ryan on his social media –

We’ve been banging on about Texas singer/songwriter Ryan Hamilton since before RPM was even a thing, and for good reason. Ryan is an artist who always seems to be on the verge of breaking through with every new album, before some personal tragedy scuppers his plans and he’s back to square one.

They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, well that all depends on what is trying to kill you, I guess. In Ryan’s case it could be a cheating first wife, addiction, divorce, online abuse, the record business, cancelled tours and most recently…a delayed album due to manufacturing errors. All the above have happened in the last decade and you really couldn’t make it up, but Ryan is still soldiering on, and thank your lucky stars he is.

‘Haunted By the Holy Ghost’ follows his 2020 break up album ‘Nowhere To Go But Everywhere’ and the following lockdown album ‘1221’. Produced by go-to-guy Dave Draper who also plays bass, along with Ben Marsden on guitar and Carol Hodge and Emily Ewing on backing vocals. It was recorded at Draper’s studio The Old Cider Press and Ryan’s home studio in Texas, making the whole album a transatlantic power pop affair.

The opening song ‘Asshole’ shows Ryan’s current attitude towards the music business. It was released on Valentine’s Day as an act of self-sabotage guaranteeing zero radio airplay, which is maybe a silly idea if you are a struggling artist wanting airplay, but I’m sure he knows what he’s doing…. but its ok, because this album is choc-a-bloc with singles!

The title track is classic Ryan power pop, a radio-friendly earworm inspired by his Catholic upbringing. With an infectious hook and a euphoric feel, it is an early highlight. ‘Paper Planes’ again, is the sort of song Ryan first showed promise with on ‘Hell Of A Day’, full of quirky, power pop goodness and a euphoric middle section that takes it up a notch.

Ryan is never shy to pen an 80’s style power ballad or two, and for this album he has outdone himself. There are two ‘lighter in the air’ moments that could end up on future teen lovers’ mixtapes. The first ‘Overdose’ is not about drug addiction, but about falling madly and deeply, like ‘first love’ deep or ‘marriage material’ deep. You know, right? We’ve all been there. Elsewhere the emotive ‘Absence Of Love’, lyrically is the complete opposite to the aforementioned ‘Overdose, while full of heartbreak and yearning, it is still as emotive though.

A cover of Splender’s ‘Yeah, Whatever’ is given a lick of aural magic by Ryan and Dave Draper. Indie beats and those quirky vocals give the turn of the century alternative hit a new lease of life, as they do with George Strait’s ‘All My Exes Live In Texas’. This fun run through was a past single but shows its face here as a hidden track (it’s a homage to the CD era, kids!) after the closing song of the album.

‘Sad Bastard Song’ officially closes the 12-track album, and it is the best song here for several reasons. For one, I just love the countrified acoustics and pedal steel guitar vibes, and secondly the tongue-in-cheek lyrics may on the surface make it seem like a throwaway, comedic song for losers, but the stark reality is that these lyrics are from the heart and probably ring truer than you would think, and it’s probably my favourite song on the goddamn record.

It’s a sad fact that some of my favourite artist from the last 30 years will never get the commercial success or the critical acclaim they so rightly deserve. Times are tougher than ever for the underdog, but only one thing can make a difference…you, the music buying public. It would be a tragedy for an album this good to slip under the radar when it should be up there with the Adele’s and the Tayor Swift’s of the world, but how can Ryan compete with those big guns? Who knows, but maybe if when you finish reading these words, you were to click a link and buy this album, that would help just a little. I mean, c’mon, it’s worth it just for that cover art of Jesus in shades, right?  

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Author: Ben Hughes

1994 was a very good year for music. Everything was a bit edgy back then. Alternative was king, Grunge had killed hair metal and in turn was dying a death. Nu Metal and Industrial sounds were on the rise with Korn and NIN, Green Day and Rancid were spearheading a punk movement for the MTV generation and over in the UK Oasis were making waves, while The Wildhearts and Terrorvison were regularly seen bouncing around on Top Of The Pops.

Bands had to adapt to survive and those that did survive released arguably the best albums of their careers. From Manic Street Preachers and King’s X to Motley Crue and Warrior Soul, all with varying degrees of success but all had one thing in common and that is: those albums stand the test of time nearly 30 years on. And of course, Michael Monroe was in that mix as well with a band called Demolition 23.

Following the ill-fated Jerusalem Slim project with Steve Stevens, Michael Monroe went back to his roots, collaborated with Little Steven and wrote a punk rock album in the spirit of ‘77. Pulling in Hanoi Rocks bassist Sami Yaffa, Star Star guitar slinger Jay Hening and session drummer Jimmy Clarke, what started as a covers band jamming with friends, turned into a serious project.

Recorded in 5 days at Power Station Studios in New York City, produced and largely written by Little Steven along with Monroe and his first wife Jude Wilder, the eponymous 10 track album was a throwback to the Hanoi days and a tribute in spirit to lost friends and heroes such as Stiv Bators, Johnny Thunders and Charlie Harper.

To be honest, the production job back then was pretty spot on and you would have to play the original back-to-back with the remaster to spot the differences. But I’m pleased to say it sounds as crisp, fresh and damn right essential as it did back in 1994.

I always loved Monroe’s thought-provoking lyrics and album opener ‘Nothin’s Alright’ has always been a favourite. From the roaring, 3 chord riffage to the cool lyricism, each verse a love letter to the past 3 decades (at the time), it channeled the much-needed gap between the Sex Pistols raw energy and Hanoi’s penchant for a catchy tune.

The following ‘Hammersmith Palais’ again, is a retrospective look to times and places that are long gone. A theme that has continued through Monroe’s lyrics to this day. A punked up blast with an anthemic “oi-oi” chorus that is an instant earworm. It’s about as British punk as you can get, which is quite a thing considering its Finnish/USA writing heritage! 

A killer one-two as good as any album before it, and a pair of songs that remain constants in Michael Monroe’s live set to this day. Demolition 23 sound energized, fresh and vital in 2022.

As Demolition 23 was initially a covers band, it makes sense that a few of those tunes they jammed would feature. The Dead Boys ‘Ain’t Nothin’ To Do’ and UK Subs ‘Endangered Species’ are suitably raucous and filled with attitude. But its Johnny Thunders ramshackle ‘I Wanna Be Loved’ that blows the cobwebs off, even by today’s standards. Hening’s guitar tone is perfection and the vocal delivery has enough spit and venom to better the original. It’s a glorious blast that the band make their own.

‘Scum Lives On’ was originally on the Jerusalem Slim album. The Demolition 23 version is rawer and more in tune with the punk attitude. Even the dumb ass, tongue in cheek ‘Same Shit, Different Day’ sounds vital.

The emotive ‘You Crucified Me’ showcases the Van Zandt/Monroe ability to pen radio-friendly hit singles, and you probably forgot how good it was until you listen to this remaster. It sounds like it was recorded last week, not a lifetime ago.

The included demos of ‘Hammersmith Palais’, ‘Dysfunctional’ and ‘Scum Lives On’ are curiosos and don’t vary too much from the originals, but surely must be a testament to the fact that these 10 songs were the full recorded legacy of one of the greatest forgotten bands of the 90’s.

Of course, good things never last. Hening was replaced by Nasty Suicide on guitar by the time they started touring, but he left in March 1995 and the band folded soon after. Hening tragically passed away not long after and while Sami continues to play in Michael Monroe’s solo band, as far as I am aware Demolition 23 have only reformed once for Monroe’s 60th birthday bash in Helsinki recently.

With only a limited release in 1994 on CD, this is an album that has been crying out for the vinyl remaster treatment for years. It remains a lost classic and hopefully, this remaster will give it the distribution and worldwide regard that this long-lost classic album truly deserves. An essential purchase folks.

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Author: Ben Hughes

This is a remastered reissue of Jesse Malin’s third album, ‘Glitter in the Gutter’, originally released in 2007 on Green Day’s Adeline Records and then released on One Little Indian Records pressed on 200g vinyl.  The album has been unavailable for years and has never appeared digitally until now.  The album features Bruce Springsteen, Ryan Adams, Jakob Dylan, and more on various tracks.  It also includes a bonus track, ‘The Angel To The Slave,’ which has never been released.  In the words of Jesse Malin, “I am really happy to have it out there in the world again.”

Glitter didn’t have the wham bang factor of Malin’s debut nor the intrigue of its follow up and whilst people historically referred to the difficult second album I’d go for the third being the difficult one if an artist is lucky enough to make it to a third. Jesse brings out some big-hitting guests on this record to help pique some interest (not in a negative way) like the obvious inclusion of having the Boss in to sing on ‘Broken Radio’ even if Malin alluded to at a recent show he never bigged up the inclusion of Springsteen and didn’t really push it which on reflection was/is strange and more than humble. Now it’s not only included it’s been musically re-recorded for the new release.

It blows my mind that this album came out in 2007 it seems way more recent than that and the songs still sound fresh as Malin leaves behind the punk rock of D Gen way further back in that rearview mirror even if at the core of his solo work is a throbbing punk rock work ethic and core songwriting style. from the off his Noo Yawk vocal style shines through on ‘Don’t Let Them Take You Down’ and the rocker that is ‘In The Modern World’ still gives me a buzz in his live set.

People wondering why they should pick this up on Wicked cool; I’ll offer the rework of ‘Broken Radio’ for a starter and the bonus track that wasn’t on the original ‘The Angel To The Slave’. To be I loved this album when it came out and I still love it now. Its got an effortless rock n roll heart beating away with a carefree attitude on songs like ‘Lucinda’ and the brilliant ‘Love Streams’ and the melancholic yet stunning version of the Replacements classic ‘Bastards Of Young’ is worth purchasing alone.

Malin has always told a fatastic story and his songs are captivating and Glitter is one of his best examples throughout his whole career. Rotating his bands has kept a freshness throughout each album and when he rocks out he does it with style and panache and the reworked inclusion of ‘The Angel To The Slave’ makes you wonder what else he leaves on the cutting room floor. Signing off with ‘Broken Radion 22’ is a wonderful full stop to a fifteen-year-old record that needs to reach a bigger audience because music this good shouldn’t be exclusive in crowd treat. Jesse Malin is one of America’s gifts that keeps on giving time after time and record upon record. Even if you have this on CD, original vinyl or the one little Indian 200g vinyl audiophile version of this album when is enough ever enough? This album would Glitter anywhere never mind in the gutter. Buy It!

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Author: Dom Daley

Footprints In The Sand is from Ginger Wildheart & The Sinners’ self-titled debut album.  The thoughtful and charming Footprints in the Sand is about “patting yourself on the back occasionally, giving yourself credit for the personal struggles that you continually battle.” explains Ginger Wildheart. Guitarist and singer Neil Ivison says, “Footprints was the first song we ever wrote together…Each of us had the bones of an idea and we put the song together in about 20 minutes. Then we went straight into the live room and recorded it exactly as you hear it now, the whole thing took just a couple of hours from start to finish. That’s when things started to get really exciting for me.”  Pre Orders Here

The long-awaited Ginger Wildheart & The Sinners debut album is finally here, 3 years after The Wildhearts main man formed the country-tinged project with guitarist Neil Ivison and bassist Nick Lyndon of Stone Mountain Sinners. Picking up drummer Shane Dixon along the way, the band retreated to Mwnci studios in the heart of West Wales with Dave Draper at the helm and recorded an album that finally sees the light of day, 2 years after it was mixed.

With a release on Little Steven’s Wicked Cool Records label, the home of RPM faves such as Jesse Malin, Ryan Hamilton and Prima Donna, we expect very good things from Ginger and his boys.

This self-titled, debut long player is a 10-track affair that takes a trip down a dusty, country road, taking in a choice cover or two along the way. Opening track and first single ‘Wasted Times’ is a perfect introduction to the good time, southern rock n’ roll that The Sinners deliver. There are catchy melodies aplenty, lush harmonies for miles and a killer chorus that refuses to leave your brain. It instantly sounds like an old time classic. You wanted the boys to start big? Well, they delivered!

It seems trading his Les Paul for a Telecaster and sharing lead vocals was exactly the therapy Ginger needed after the headfuck that The Wildhearts has been for him the past few years. There’s a sense of camaraderie here, and the immediate reaction I get from this album is how remarkably upbeat, positive and fun it is. I mean, 3 songs into this album there is a tune called ‘Footprints In The Sand’ that is so uplifting it gave me goosebumps by the first chorus. I presumed it was a cover, but it’s not. With Neil taking lead vocals over dampened chords, it sounds like a classic Springsteen track, or a John Cougar Mellencamp tune, but it’s not. With a rousing, building chorus over ringing chords, you will swear you know it already. It’s the sort of anthemic, Americana I adore, and I think you will too.

‘Work In Progress’ has more southern boogie than a Georgia Satellites album, but with that certain Ginger trademark song structure. And just when you think you have the song sussed, in comes some crazy-ass female vocals that take us into Black Oak Arkansas territory. But who is the mysterious Ruby Starr impersonator? We need to know.

With no press blurb or details I have no idea who writes what regarding the original tunes, but Wildheart and Ivison wear their influences on their sleeves and covers-wise they give us a couple of classic album tracks you may or may not be aware of. The band tackle the aforementioned Georgia Satellites ‘Six Years Gone’. The faithful reworking is perfectly executed and they make it their own. But with Neil taking lead vocals again, Status Quo’s ‘Dirty Water’ is turned into the euphoric, country rock classic you never knew you needed in your life.

Elsewhere, the beautiful, acoustic balladry of ‘Breakout’ is up there with some of the frontman’s finest reflective moments. The likes of ‘If You Find Yourself In London Town’ and ‘Geordie In Wonderland’ come to mind. Full of lush harmonies and a sense of longing and regret that could well bring a tear to your eye by the end.

They finish the album with a tongue-in-cheek comedy tune that nods its head to The Wurzels. There’s a ‘live in the studio’ feel that sees all the albums’ singers take a verse. With a great gang vocal sing-a-long, and a fade out to raucous clapping and cheering, it seems the perfect way for The Sinners to bow out.

With a good deal of country twang, a whole heap of glorious melody and an overall sense of fun, Ginger Wildheart & The Sinners have delivered a debut album that is a much-needed ray of sunshine in these strange and dark times. Guaranteed to leave a smile on your face and a sense of contentment within, this album is proof that music is the greatest mood changer out there.

With the follow-up album already recorded and the band touring in October, it seems the future of the UK Americana/roots music scene is firmly in their hands.

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Author: Ben Hughes