Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Spastic Hearts
self-titled


I'll be honest, I didn't know jack shit about the whole Ramones-core/pop punk movement and just how spread out it was globally until these cats I knew started rocking leather jackets and cramming as many two-minute songs and three-chord variations onto recorded tracks and into live sets.
I was too busy trying to find the next band that sounded like AC/DC when out of nowhere these frenzied and frantic rock 'n' rollers started throwing suburban house parties with cheap swill, cheap equipment and cheap high school chicks. Add about 50 pairs of Chuck Taylors and you had the recipe for teenage suburbia — Youngstown, Ohio style. 
It's all rock 'n' roll, obviously, which as the lot of us got older found out — even if we worshiped at different altars.
The Spastic Hearts are a fresh take from road-worn and weary rockers who toured two continents in Johnie 3 and The Hi-Life, not counting of course God knows how many other one-off groups prior.
And while the Hearts are still firmly rooted in the lessons of Joey and Dee Dee Ramone, they nod a great deal more towards Pink Spiders, Teenage Bottlerocket, The Huntingtons, 50s doo-wop and Chuck Berry.
Of course it's all been done before and everyone says it's stupid until the record comes out and 100 high-as-a-kite kids cram into the local dive. Then everyone wants to be as stupid as the band on stage which is how the whole damn movement started in the first place.
But make no mistake, the Hearts self-titled debut album is no paltry affair. Far from it.
"Gimmie Gimmie," "Rock 'N' Roll," and "What's Your Name," and "Rocket Ship" are fast-paced, addictive, punk rock anthems.
No self-respecting pop-punker would leave out odes to girls, either, and you get plenty of that all over the place here — "Colorado," "Kiss You," "Wait A Little Bit," "I Know," "Without You."
Perhaps the album's best song and certainly radio-friendly rocker is "Just For You." Hell yes it's about a girl again, but it's slowed to mid-tempo with an absolutely massive chorus hook and layered backing vocals that takes the Hearts to heights the group's previous bands never quite achieved.
You wouldn't want everyone at the party to look the same which is what makes rock 'n' roll beautiful, baby. There's lookers of all types, sizes and styles. It's eye candy, and the Hearts are supplying the soundtrack. 
That mix of speed and the willingness to stretch the pop-punk envelope beyond the "1-2-3-4" and leather, however, is what makes the Hearts the hottest chick at the party.
Appropriately the record ends with "Getcha Outta My Head," which like "Just For You" slows things down to a solid 4/4 and again sports the ingredients that make the Hearts the spastic rockers they are — Chucks, girls, guitars, gang vocals and great songs. 9/10 - B.J. Lisko

Friday, December 07, 2012

Flash Metal Suicide: Predator


PREDATOR
Easy Prey
1985, Metal Blade

Predator was one of the great 80’s metal mysteries. Well, maybe not great, but certainly mysterious. Their outrageous looking album dropped unceremoniously into the metal bins in 1985 with no fanfare or press, at least that I remember. Metal Blade Records was still in its juggernaut phase, due mostly to the success of Slayer, and began tossing lots of weird stuff on to the market (Pandemonium, Thrust, Mark Edwards), correctly assuming that metal addicted teenage Sleazegrinders like myself would snap up anything with the crude Xerox  sword Metal Blade logo. This one sold itself on pure audacity, though. The cover of Easy Prey featured a curvy blonde in a bikini, strolling down the beach, while a barefoot guy in a shredded t-shirt, with what looks like a condom stretched over his head, hides under the pier, ready to pounce on her. Crazy, right?

There is no subtext or subtlety to this image. It’s cheap and phony and suggestive of nothing other than male dominance and the will to provoke. In these strange and censorious times, the cover of “Easy Prey” simply would not fly. It’d be banned and burned and rightwing radio show hosts would bark like angry dogs about the impending fall of society, thanks to the wicked heathens in their black marble towers at the Metal Blade offices. But this was 1985, and we really didn’t give a fuck about any of that. We just thought it was funny, and kinda sick, and there was a hot, blonde, Californian chick on the cover, and that was all we really needed.

By the way, the back cover reveals the expected ending to the cat and mouse game on the front. Tattered t-shirt guy, now free of his mask and sporting surferboy golden locks, marches back under the pier with the unconscious girl slung over his shoulder. In his hand, a bowie knife. Just what the fuck is he gonna do to that girl, anyway? Ah, who cares, man. Rock n’ Roll!

And so it goes. The music inside was not nearly as reckless or wild as the cover, but it did the job. The band was led by one Jeff Prentice, a white-hot shredder and a full-moon howler, and Predator’s sound mixed his razzle-dazzle riffery with chunky Brit-metal, ragged punk, and the occasional proggy flourish. Musically, they were not far removed from labelmates Savage Grace, another band that liked to feature half-naked women in peril on their covers. The only difference was that we all knew who Savage Grace were, because they had that one picture disc where they dressed up like Robert Palmer and held a couple of titty-girls on leashes like dogs. Besides the girl snuffer on the cover, there were no photos of the band anywhere. There was an insert, but it was just the lyric sheet (sample: “Little lady, drive me crazy/She’s hot n’ nasty/I don’t mean maybe”) and a thanks list. The thanks list was heavy on Hawaiian metal scenesters, but nothing about Predator suggested a Polynesian background. For hardcore metal completists like me and my idiot teenage friends, it was all very frustrating.

But not that frustrating, really. I mean, we had a lot of material to work with back then. The first Sodom EP came out a month or so after Easy Prey, so it’s not like we didn’t have anything else to listen to. But I’ve always kept a copy of Easy Prey around, if only to show off to people. It truly is one of the most iconic looking albums of that weird decade.
Still, I always wondered what the story behind Predator was, so I went on a manhunt for Jeff Prentice.  I found him in Los Angeles, still working in the music industry in various projects, including the Survivor-ish rock band Outland. I was thrilled when he agreed to answer all my questions about Predator, and help me solve the 20 year mystery of the guy in the condom and the girl he abducts.

When did the band get together, and where?

Jeff Prentice: Well, the band actually got together after the record was completed. The record came to be because of a demo I did with a previous band called "Aggressor". A small label called “Azra” wanted to do a record with us and by the time they contacted me, the band had basically broken up, but of course I wanted to do the record, so I borrowed some cash and went into the studio with the drummer from Aggressor and did the record playing everything else myself. His name is Joe Aghassi and he went on to do some stuff with a band called “Axehammer”. The actual names on the record are the band I had together at the time, but none of them played on it.

Was it the first band for everybody, or were you all rock vets? If so, what other bands were you all in?

It was my first label band. I was in a couple of local bands here in L.A. Most notably “Agressor” and another semi successful band called “Deceiver” from which I pillaged a couple of members for Predator later on.

Did you tour at all? What other bands did Predator used to play with?

We toured a little. Mostly just in the western U.S. We toured with Flotsam and Jetsam back when Jason was still in the band, and with Bloodlust. We played shows with bands like Dark Angel, Slayer, Sin, Lizzy Borden, Malice, Armored Saint, and other local metal bands of the day.

Any notable "Gigs from Hell" back then?

Phoenix AZ with Flotsam and Bloodlust was pretty bad. The soundman got us and Bloodlust a horrible sound which miraculously became crystal clear for the local boys Flotsam. We also basically had to threaten the promoter’s life to get paid.

 How did you end up on Metal Blade?

The record was finished and the Azra thing didn’t materialize, so I just started sending samplers of the record out to the metal labels and the fanzines and started a bit of a Buzz. Brian from Metal Blade called me and asked for a promo pack because he wanted to see a picture of the band, which at that point was just me, so I got together a few of my long haired friends and had my girlfriend snap a picture. They signed the “band” the next week. Quite funny actually. I couldn’t believe I pulled it off.

So, the cover for "Easy Prey" is one of the most amazing things I've ever seen. Who's idea was it?

It's amazing alright!  (laughs) Again, that was really thrown together. We basically walked down to Hermosa Beach Pier, which I lived 2 blocks from at the time and shot the photos. A childhood friend of mine (Harlan Glenn, who later went on to sing in a Texas band called Juggernaut) and I came up with the concept in about 10 minutes and grabbed a camera and went to the beach. He shot the photo if I remember correctly. It’s funny, if you look near the center of the album cover, you can see a spare roll of Fuji film lying in the sand.

Who's the girl? and the guy?

The girl is my future (at the time) and ex-sister in law who just happened to be coming over to go to the beach that day. I’m the idiot with the sock on his head and the bad shirt with the holes freshly cut in it. Ha ha.

What did you think of the cover when you first saw it?

I laughed my ass off that they actually used it. Talk about low budget!

Did it get banned anywhere? Did reviews of the album mention the cover alot at the time?

I don’t think it got banned anywhere. It was all in good fun.  Nowadays the politically correct liberal fucks would be all over it. Heh heh. It did get voted the “worst album cover of all time” in some sort of Rock Encyclopedia type book my Mom owns. My big claim to fame!!

How well did Easy Prey sell?

About 40,000 world wide. I hear we did really well in Poland and the Czech Republic.

What sort of influences did you have when writing the songs on the album? What bands, but also, what about the lyrics? What was the inspiration for Hawk Mistress, Siberia, and Demon Witch?

It’s strange, but my musical influences aren’t really metal bands. I just always ended up in metal bands back then because there were a lot of them around and a “scene” here in L.A. I was more into bands like UFO, early Scorpions, Thin Lizzy, even Journey and Styx. I was really into Michael Schenker and Uli Roth as guitarists so that probably shows on the record. About the heaviest bands I was into were Priest and Maiden. So it’s probably modeled somewhat after them as well.

Musically, Siberia is probably the best song on that record. It’s certainly Thin Lizzy influenced. Demon Witch, I remember was built around that intro which I came up with while trying to figure out how to play the Hammond Organ part from Yes’s “Roundabout” on guitar. I think Hawkmistress was just an excuse to play a lot of lead guitar. That’s what I was into at the time. I was 20 years old and wanted to solo as much as possible.

The lyrics were basically something to put in between the lead guitar. I wrote stuff that I thought sounded “Metal” but in hindsight was mostly just pretty bad indeed. I tried to sing like Rob Halford, but didn’t quite have the same pipes.

So, what happened afterwards, did the band break up soon after the album came out?

The band was together with various members for a couple of years after that, but I couldn’t keep a solid lineup together. I’ve basically been a guitarist for hire guy ever since, making my living playing in Wedding Bands, Corporate Bands, Tribute bands, doing sessions, etc. Whatever I get calls for. I currently am producing a CD for a local Metal Band called “9th Circle’ in my home studio. I hope to do more of that sort of thing in the future.

Are you still in touch with anybody in the band? Did everybody continue to play music? 

Yes a few of them. One of our drummers, Andy James, went on to play with Savatage for a while, and is now a successful session guy in the Pacific Northwest. Angelo, one of our Bass Players, went on to play in a band with David Wayne from Metal Church. The name escapes me at the moment.

Oh, and please, tell us about your new project.

My new project “Outland” is more like the music I’ve always been into. More AOR-ish stuff with lots of keyboards and big vocal harmonies. We’ve been compared to Bon Jovi and Survivor. It’s more of a project than an actual band because it’s just 2 of us. Rob, my partner in the band is a high up guy in Hoshino corp which is basically Ibanez Guitars and Tama drums. We hire drummers for each record and do the rest ourselves. Pat Torpey from Mr. Big played on our last one, and Pete Holmes from Black and Blue and currently in M.S.G. just laid down half the tracks for our new work in progress. We have deals in Japan, Europe and South America. We sell the CDs in North America and the rest of the world ourselves from our website at www.outlandmusic.com  

There are some Outland reviews at: www.melodicrock.com as well.

- Sleazegrinder

Tuesday, December 04, 2012


Wolfsbane
Wolfsbane Save The World
Self-released

Album Review by Alex Eruptor




Back in the late 1980s, Tamworth terrors ‘The Mighty’ Wolfsbane scored a major record deal with Rick Rubin’s Def American label and in 1989, 1990, and 1991 released a string of stunning albums which meshed commercial hard rock, outrageous heavy metal and streetwise punk rock.  

Debut ‘Live Fast, Die Fast!’ contained tremendous songs and showcased the flashy guitar playing of teenage whizzkid Jase ‘The Ace’ Edwards and the future voice of Iron Maiden, Blaze Bayley.  It was, and still is, a great album.  Unfortunately though, Rubin substituted the fiery organic ‘live’ sound that the band had built their reputation on, and opted instead to remove most of the bass frequencies and to go with a drum sound that brought to mind ‘Made in Japan’ (and no, not in reference to the Deep Purple live album!) although over time this ‘dry’ mix has become part of its primitive charm.  Despite the support of the national music press and BBC Radio 1, Rubin’s label spectacularly failed to secure decent distribution or otherwise capitalise on the ‘buzz’ that had been generated: You might hear lead single ‘I Like It Hot’ on drive-time radio as well as on the dedicated rock shows, but you sure as hell couldn’t find it in the shops.

Lessons were learned and when Wolfsbane landed the ‘special guest’ spot on Iron Maiden’s tour at the end of 1990, future Pearl Jam producer Brendon O’Brien was brought in to handle the production of the awesome six track ‘All Hell Is breaking Loose...’ mini album released to coincide.  O’Brien also produced the follow-up ‘Down Fall The Good Guys’, but again, despite containing two singles ‘Ezy’ and ‘After Midnight’ that should have set the charts alight, mainstream success evaded Wolfsbane, who toured relentlessly around the UK and Europe gaining rave live reviews but never quite moving to the mega star status which their talent and work ethic deserved.

By the following year, Wolfsbane were temporarily without a record deal before signing to the Bronze label and demoing new material along the lines of the harder and heavier stuff in their back catalogue, which could stand up to the burgeoning new wave of alternative influenced rock.  A live album ‘Massive Noize Injection’ was their released first however and promised to capture the intense live experience which previous studio recordings had managed to gloss-over: It was a warts-and-all triumph.  

An eponymously titled studio album emerged shortly afterwards and it contained some brilliant music, perhaps their best, but alas, Blaze Bayley had already accepted an invitation to replace Bruce Dickinson in Iron Maiden and the band split up. 

After a few years in the wilderness Blaze, Jase, Jeff and Steve Danger got together for a few reunion shows, followed by a couple of tours opening for The Wildhearts and The Quireboys and most recently their own headline campaigns of the UK.  As well as remastering and reissuing their back-catalogue, Wolfsbane have recorded and released a new studio album entitled ‘Wolfsbane Save The World’ comprising eleven scorching tracks of melodious, hard riffing, and totally uplifting rock.

Kicking off with a biker anthem in ‘Blue Sky’, then two fiery rockers in ‘Teacher’ and ‘Buy My Pain’, it is clear from these opening numbers that all of the Wolfsbane ingredients are present and correct: Big choruses, great harmonies, and a larger-than-life sound which captures the ‘up and at em’ spirit which makes the live shows so great.  The overall vibe of the album is at times reminiscent of how the bands’ early, pre-‘live fast die fast’ demo tapes sounded, before the influence of the record companies.  At other times though you can hear where Wolfsbane have evolved to, the heavy riffing and intensity of the ‘white album’ that they signed-off with in the early 1990’s.  

Whether it quite reaches the dizzying heights of ‘All Hell Is Breaking Loose...’ is a matter of debate, but make no mistake: If you dig their previous work then you ought to own this album because it sounds exactly like pure, unadulterated Wolfsbane.  Naturally then, you will love this! To my ears, the two songs on offer here that are indeed most likely to save the world are the storming final track ‘Did It For The Money’, and the defiant ‘Smoke and Red Light’. The latter I played six times in a row when I first heard it, which by my reckoning is about equal to when teenage me first taped ‘I Like It Hot’ off the radio in 1990.  

It is damn good to have Wolfsbane back and such is my enthusiasm that it was pretty much a given that I’d be very excited and write a favourable review for their comeback album. But even when heard objectively, this is a fine slab of rock from start to finish, and now, more than ever, we need Wolfsbane to save the world.   


Alex Eruptor

Zen Motel
‘We Want Your Blood’
Under Dog Records

Album Review by Alex Eruptor




It has been a few years since I last heard anything new from this lot.  Plying their trade in heavy rock –meets- big melodies punk n roll Britrock, it was no surprise when CJ Wildheart hired Zen Motel to be the ‘Satellites’ in his ‘CJ & The Satellites’ project.  The favour is returned here with CJ providing guitars and vocals on three songs, namely: ‘Kill Your Radio’, ‘Death Rock City’ and ‘Bone Deep in Trouble’.  Yes, one thing you should know about ‘We Want Your Blood’ is that it contains some pretty awesome song titles.  Another thing that you should know is that the production is a more thought-through than you’ll find on your average ‘punk n roll’ type album.  There are some interesting sounds and subtle changes interwoven with the big riffs and sleazy beats, the overall effect is about as dynamic as you’ll get when self-producing, on an underdog’s budget.

After a curious intro, ‘Superhuman Colosseum’ turns into a heavy opener, worthy of its epic title.  ‘The Pit’ sounds like (and is as good as) Backyard Babies at their best, ‘Trust Your Leader’ brings to mind prime-time Crystal Pistol,  ‘Death Rock City’ is as cool a slice of low-slung scumbag rawk n’ roll as its title suggests, ‘Bone Deep in Trouble’ changes the pace a bit with acoustic guitars, keys and a beat reminiscent of LA Guns ‘Long Time Dead’, ‘Curse of the Girlfriend’ is cheesy horror with movie samples and lyrics so bad that they’re brilliant, and ‘I Will End This’ brings some modern shouty vocals into the mix and picks up where AWOL mid 2000s alt-sleazesters ‘The GaGas’ left off.

A damn fine album and the best yet from Zen Motel.  Wildhearts completists need this because of the CJ connection, but really ‘We Want Your Blood’ deserves to be judged on its own merits and demonstrates what can be achieved by underdog rawk n rollers willing and able to go the DIY route.  


Alex Eruptor

The Men That Will Not Be Blamed for Nothing
‘This may be the reason why The Men That Will Not Be Blamed for Nothing Cannot be killed by Conventional Weapons’

Leather Apron Records

Reviewed by Alex Eruptor


Steampunk: I know what it looks like (biggles goggles, clockwork mechanisms, and dusty first editions of ‘around the world in 80 days’) but until now I had no idea what it might sound like.  Unlike its nemesis cybergoth, no one really made steampunk music that you could hear outside of Whitby Goth Weekend.    Until now.  Because The Men That Will Not Be Blamed for Nothing have brought the sound of steam punk kicking and screaming into the digital age using the novel new medium of the ‘compact disc’ and have, as such, defined an entire genre. 

I’d heard the rumours of musical saw players, sticks of rock, limited edition wax cylinder and gramophone releases, and no end of Victorian gimmickry.  I’d read reviews on other websites about how good they were.  But you see, The Men That Will Not Be Blamed for Nothing have played a clever (or cheapskate!) game, issuing press releases and drip-feeding the odd demo track onto the internet, but for the most part eschewing traditional ‘CD wrappped up in a press release and stuffed into an envelope’ type mailshots.  So until now, I had no real idea what it all sounded like.

Well, after a most Churchillian introduction (perhaps a nod to Iron Maiden’s ‘live after death’ album?) it sounds like a whole bunch of different things and within the first four songs alone manages to tick a few boxes sure to appeal to ‘the punk kids of today’.  You want Zombie’s and a piss-take of British monarchy? Check out ‘Victoria’s Secret’.  Mythical sea creatures and all things nautical? Just listen to track three ‘Margate Fhtagn’.    Left-wing politics and thinly veiled criticisms of modern day tory government? Its all there in number four, ‘Doing it for the Whigs’.   Smutty Carry-On film-esque innuendo and ‘Flight of the Concords’ style musical comedy? I refer you to tracks 5 and 6 (‘The People’s Common Sense Medical Advisor’ and ‘Free Spirit’).

In true retro style the playlist is split into a traditional ‘Side One’ and ‘Side Two’, and after the strong start described above, I was pleased to discover that some of the best songs had been saved for the latter half of the album.  ‘Brunel’ is a catchy little number about one of the greatest of British engineers, and ‘The Great Stink’ is a tribute to the work of another, Sir Joseph Bazalgette,  who fixed the problems that London experienced one long hot summer as a result of using the River Thames as an open-sewer.   ‘Tesla Coil’ will make you laugh, ‘Mutiny in the Common Soldiery’ is as good an anti-war song as you’ll hear, and ‘Poor Georgie’ tells the tale of a poorly executed human taxidermy project.

So there you have it: Part comedy, part rabble rousing political punk, part history lesson, but all original and all entertaining.  It helps if you are aware of the historical reference points, but it works as a straight-up punk rock album too (and hey, you might learn something).

Alex Eruptor

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Wolfsbane Live at York ‘Fibbers’

October 2012

Words: Alex Eruptor 

Photos: Suzie Fox




As a long-time fan, tonight was the big one.  You see, I was always too young to get admission into Wolfsbane shows the first time around.  I joined the fan club. I’d bought all of the records, CDs, picture disks, demo tapes and t-shirts that I could get my hands on.  I saw Blaze when he was fronting Iron Maiden, Jase on geetar duties with Ginger from the Wildhearts, and Jeff on numerous occasions with ‘The Jellys’ (his late 90s collaboration with CJ Wildheart).  All excellent in their own way and along with The Almighty, Dogs D’Amour, Wildhearts, Quireboys, et al, provided a big chunk of the soundtrack to the first half of my 1990s.  But despite their re-grouping a few years ago I’d never seen them collectively as Wolfsbane. Fate had always somehow conspired to ensure that I couldn’t attend.  But tonight was different. Tonight Wolfsbane were in town and I was there.



By the time that we arrived at the venue, we’d missed the opening band but had arrived early enough to catch most of the second support-act ‘Scream Arena’. I’d seen them before at a Quireboys show last year, and they seem to be one of the more active of the local rock bands.  The line-up looked to be a bit different but the sound was familiar; 80s arena rock with some flashy lead guitar playing.  It’s authentic enough and reminded me of early Great White at times.  Although playing to a smaller audience this time, a fair-sized crowd had gathered and cheered their appreciation by the time that they’d finished.  A solid performance although much of their material tended to be of a similar mid-paced tempo. 

After that we walked over to the Wolfsbane merch stand. A quick browse revealed that they have re-mastered and re-released their back catalogue on CD, and more curiously, a collection of previously unreleased ‘live in the studio’ demos of the songs that would eventually be on their final album.  There were some cool new t-shirt and hoodie designs too and even a few of the original ‘Clutching at Straws/2am’ single from the mid-1980s which I guess must have been discovered in someone’s attic!



There was still just enough time to get another round of beers (and notice CJ from the Wildhearts hanging out near the bar) before the lights dimmed, the air grew colder, and the strains of intro tape ‘Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?’ began to emanate from the PA speakers.  

From the first beat of Steve Dangers drums, the first power chord to tear through Jase ‘The Ace’ Edwards speakers, and the first rumble of Jeff Hately’s overdriven bass guitar, two things are very clear: Firstly, that Wolfsbane are back,  and secondly that they mean business. Before they’ve even at the first chorus of opening number ‘Lifestyles of the Broke and Obscure’ singer Blaze Bayley has launched himself over the barrier, eyes bulging and screaming into the crowd who try to hold onto him, fists punching the air, as they sing every word back.  Fiery hard rock delivered with the conviction of a hardcore punk band.





Tonight’s set is the perfect blend of old and new, proving that favourites such as ‘Loco’, ‘I Like it Hot’, ‘Temple of Rock’, and ‘Paint the Town Red’ are classics, and that more recent material as good as ‘Teacher’, ‘Blue Skies’, and ‘Did it for the Money’, are right up there with them.  But that’s not all, a lightning quick ‘Manhunt’, one of their oldest songs, is still as brilliant as it is funny, and ‘All Hell is Breaking Loose Down at Little Kathy Wilson’s Place’ is still one of the weirdest and most imaginative songs that you will ever hear. Finally, ‘Seen How It’s Done' deals with more serious themes to end the show in dramatic style.



Tonight’s form proves that Wolfsbane are one of the greatest bands in British rock.  Their mixture of big hooks, Van Halen style hard rock/heavy metal flash, and hyperactive Ramones influenced punk continues to deliver the goods.  Their self-belief, imagination, enthusiasm and down-to-earth bond with their audience ensures that Wolfsbane continue to entertain and to inspire. 


 Above: Alex Eruptor meets Wolfsbane's drummer Steve Danger


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Advanced Demonology Presents: New Demons!

Join Ken and Swilson for a mind-melting trip into the near-future! 5.5 hours of contemporary superjams and vintage fuzzers! The freshest sounds from the very rim of Hell!


Forget about what WAS, tonight it about what IS and what SHALL BE.
Special guest: David J from White Manna!


Listen/download HERE! 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Danko Jones - "Rock And Roll Is Black and Blue"

Danko Jones
Rock And Roll Is Black and Blue
Bad Taste Records
www.dankojones.com

The unapologetic machismo rock 'n' roll that is Danko Jones is something of an anomaly, especially stateside. Danko has spent the better part of the last decade continually on the road and taking chances others who spawned from the same piss-soaked rock clubs in the mid-to-late 90s refused to do because it was either considered "selling out" or "not punk rock."
Fuck that.
Danko Jones might have been born and bred in the back alleys of Toronto and ushered in by gunk punk predecessors like the New Bomb Turks, but the band wasn't stupid enough to let peers define how far they would push the envelope. High-profile opening slots for Euro-megastars Backyard Babies,  then back to the motherland with Nickelback and Guns 'N' Roses lifted Danko's profile immensely. Sure, Danko has done all the "cool" gigs, opening for Motorhead, Nashville Pussy, Clutch and the like, but one can't help but wonder if the band hadn't done every European festival in sight or soldiered on through snickers from earlier peers if they would be as far as they are. I'm assuming there wouldn't have been any video trilogies featuring Elijah Wood, Selma Blair, Lemmy, and Ralph Macchio had Danko spent the same time they did with arena rockers as on tired rock 'n' roll bills currently limping their ways all over North America and struggling to simply break even.
On "Rock And Roll Is Black and Blue," Danko continues the same progressions musically as they do career-wise. It's still unmistakable Danko, but songs like "Beautiful Day" and "Always Away" are not only some of the best of the band's catalog, but true radio-friendly rock anthems that will undoubtedly continue to garner the group more widespread attention. The latter sounds like an Angus Young out-take from "Thunderstruck" before a monstrous chorus hook takes it to Top 40-land and at the same time brings it back to full-circle Danko swagger.
"I Believed In God" is as tongue-in-cheek with religion as Danko normally is with women and break-ups complete with the gospel chorus Jones has imagined has been standing next to him at every show since 1996.
And as always, there's plenty of sex and relationship turmoil all over this record, too.
"You Wear Me Down" sports a Clutch-esque riff over a Monster Magnet space rock chorus about yet another impending break-up. "I Don't Care" gets back to basics with the simple question, "Is she into me?" over some fast and furious punk rock riffage.
"Type of Girl" goes all AC/DC in the verse much the same way "Conceited" takes a serious nod from Motorhead's "Liar." As usual though, it's transposed and morphed just enough Lemmy shouldn't take much notice other than to agree that it rocks.
The remaining is either straight sex ("Legs," "Get Up"), splitting from the old lady ("Terrified," "Don't Do This") or scorching punk rock ("The Masochist.")
Bonus track "In Your Arms" might not be considered part of the record but is as close to Danko does Danzig as you'll probably ever hear and certainly worth a listen in it's own right.
New drummer Atom Willard — from Rocket from the Crypt fame — also gives the band a serious kick in the ass sonically and musically. There are drum fills and structures on "Rock And Roll..." you wouldn't have thought possible on a Danko Jones record just a few years prior. And in just about every instance it works.
"Rock And Roll ..." doesn't quite top "Born a Lion" (widely-considered the essential Danko album) but it's as close as the band has come since perhaps "Sleep is the Enemy." Crucial, vibrant, urgent rock 'n' roll and an early candidate for record of the year. 8/10 — B.J. Lisko

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Alex Eruptor's September CD Haul

This summer I spent a couple of weeks in California. Whilst I was there I visited Santa Cruz for a long weekend and made a couple of purchases at Streetlight records.  First up was the 'Cuts' EP by LA Guns.  I'd been after that one since it first came out in the early 1990s but it was hard to get over here in the UK, as it was only released in Japan and the USA to the best of my knowledge.  On the couple of occasions that I did manage to find it here I was put off by the crazy import price. Anyway, it was under $4 at Streetlight so I finally picked it up 20 years on. After a few listens I'd say that it is a pretty enjoyable slab of 'Guns, which includes a few choice cover versions and a couple of interesting originals. Spike from the Quireboys provides some guest backing vocals on 'Night of the Cadilacs' which is cool.



Next up on my list of purchases was Van Halen's debut album, which I'd somehow never got around to buying due to the fact that in my early 20's I had always seemed to house share with other people who had. Another bargain at under $4 used it remains a classic, EVH's guitar tone still sounds as though it comes from another planet, years in the future, as best evidenced on 'Eruption' and 'Ain't Talking bout Love'.




Arriving home in England I found a couple of new releases had been posted out to me for review. Having had time to give them both a good listen I thought both might be of interest to the Sleazegrindin' public:


Taurus Trakker
'A Rakket U Trust'




Hot on the heels of their debut album ‘Building Ten’ come another five songs of bare bones North London blues.  The first couple of tracks seem  to be a tad punkier and grimier than Taurus Trakker’s previous material, an approach that works well for them, most effectively on the opening title track.  The remainder of the songs on this EP contain more sonic contrast, and some strong songwriting:  ‘Long Gone’ is augmented by some pretty cool saxophone courtesy of Dave Wright (from original punks the X-Ray Spex, no less), ‘Nothin But Fire’ presents some fine blues guitar and poignant lyrics influenced by the life and times of the much missed Small Faces/Humble Pie frontman Steve Marriott, then final track ‘Security’ is a strong parting shot with some more cool lead guitar work.  All in all a good blend of material all with a distinctive ‘sound’ that Taurus Trakker can call their own.  Not just another generic gutter-blues band.  www.taurustrakker.co.uk.


Viva le Pink
‘London Crawlin’ EP’
Diablo Records




A couple of years ago I reviewed for sleazegrinder.net the debut album by London based solo artist Kiria.   This was mainly on the basis of the closing song from that CD, a track called ‘Live Sex on Stage’ which seemed to fit the sleazepunk aesthetic to a tee, even if it wasn’t entirely serious. The rest of the album was a mixture of pop punk and other styles which although well done, may or may not have found their way onto the playlist of the average sleazy rock n roller.  Well, Kiria is back and she has a new name ‘Missy Le Pink’, a new band ‘Viva le Pink’ and a new sound and more cohesive set of songs, this time in the rockabilly style.  Opener ‘Hell Kitty’ sounds like a statement of intent, ‘Queen O’Jack’  has a melody will be stuck in your head after a couple of spins, and ‘Pink Elephant’ is an amusing story of hallucinating after having one-too-many drinks.  All in all, this is a fun listen and works well.  If you’re after fix of a bar-room retro rockabilly, then look no further. www.facebook.com/vivalepink


So, all in all, I consider September to have been a pretty good month for my CD collection. A couple of old classics plus a couple of solid new releases that you should check out if you get chance.

- Alex Eruptor




Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Summer is a Bummer

Hey gang. I wrote a thing about bummed-out summer jams on the Classic Rock Magazine website today.
Check it OUT HERE! 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Earthen Grave- Self Titled


Claude+Elmo Music 2012







What we have here is success to communicate! Chicago strikes again with one badass, lowdown, leather-clad, unorthodox Metal tempo regalia named, Earthen Grave who have their sights set on every alternative media-mixin', DIY channel, ropin' in a Manson Ranch-size circuit of underground cult fans and friends coming out of the classical wood string works. Earthen Grave's future is so bright and explosive, we're all liable to need Russian, WWII gas masks with protective goggles to watch them live this summer. I was one of the lucky few to stream the entire album right around the time they released this blast of fog rock from their frosted-breath of a doom-sized beast of a band, only to awaken every fullmoon, hair-rasising wolfmother veins connected to my barren nether regions. Full of fuzz with little fuss, there's only one little problem with releasing a Doom Metal album this clean., and thats half the busted eardrums of all the stoner crust punks wont even be able to hear it, to know classical Doom if they could afford it.



Bassist, Ron Holzner from Trouble starring in an episode of "Where Are The Veterans Of Doom Metal Stars Now' unites with a female violinist idol, named Rachael Barton Pine, and an ALL-IN-THE-NAME -Of-Doom star lineup ranging from Illinoisy to the fields of Michigan. When six musicians collectively work together on a sound, solar flare-size foundation, it might be advised to stay seated, but if my recollection serves much purpose, that'll be damn, near impossible.



http://earthengrave.com/band





Tuesday, July 03, 2012

The Cheats - "Pussyfootin"

The Cheats 
Pussyfootin
Screaming Crow Records
www.screamingcrow.com

Pittsburgh punks The Cheats have garnered the reputation for booze-soaked, fire-breathing, shit-slinging '77-style rock 'n' roll anthems.
"Pussyfootin," a record some two years in the making, offers a lot of the similar beer-chugging, foot-stomping punk of the past but adds dashes of Swedish-style rock 'n' roll by way of the Steel City. This record was worth the wait. "Make You Pay" opens things a little more melodic than effort's past and carries a gang-vocal chorus ala Bombshell Rocks or former Cleveland streetpunkers the GC5. Any Cleveland comparisons are typically tantamount to severe beatings at any number of Pittsburgh establishments, but calling The Cheats "Dead Boys on speed" is probably passable as long as you've got an Iron City in your hand and respect the holy altar of Jack Ham. Failing that, you better know the crucial differences between the Backyard Babies and The Vines and also know that The Cheats are the finest rock 'n' roll band outta Pittsburgh since the one Todd Cheat fronted before it, Silver Tongued Devil. In many ways, "Pussyfootin" is a lot more like STD than past Cheats records taking swigs from a lot of the same bottles -- Black Halos, Electric Frankenstein, Rocket From The Crypt, Gluecifer and Joan Jett. "Better Than The Rest," "Sober Days, Wasted Nights," "Pissin' It All Away" and "Star Tattoo" are among the best tracks the band has ever written. Essential punk 'n' roll from Pittsburgh rock legends fast separating themselves from the rest of the rock heap. 8.5/10 - B.J. Lisko

Monday, July 02, 2012

The Bermondsey Joyriders
'Noise & Revolution'
(Reviewed by Alex Eruptor)


Photo: Nikki Qureshi

A couple of years back I reviewed Bermondsey Joyriders’ first album, a lo-fi-lower-than-a-snakes-belly,  spit n’ sawdust blues-punk explosion. The songs were good, the energy levels high, and the sheer self-belief  hinted that these cockney geezers were onto something even if it took a couple of spins to get past the raw production.   Since then, a great deal of shows have been played, a Spinal Tap-esque array of drummers have been and gone, and all went relatively quiet for a while. Fortunately that was merely the calm before the storm because in 2012 the Bermondsey Joyriders are back like a souped-up Ford tearing up the Old Kent Road, releasing what might just be the album of the year. Not just the blues-punk concept album of the year, but the album of the year. 

The concept itself involves the tale of greedy property developers, corrupt public figures, and a punk rock band here to save us all but tempted by the glory of rock n roll superstardom. Narrated by John Sinclair of MC5 fame, and brimming with great songs, it is a compelling listen. ‘Society is rapidly....changing!’ they yell in the eponymous pedal-to-the-metal stab-it-and-steer opening number, before ranting about hospital buildings being sold off to hamburger chains and libraries turning into computer game vendors (a first in the history of rock n roll lyrics as far as I’m aware) . From there on in the listener is sent on a musical journey taking in all manner of twists and turns.  The structure and flow of the album works really well, a mixture of styles and tempos, with a heavy 1960s vibe in a couple of places (most noticeably in the garagey ‘Shakin Leaves’) and straight-up 1977 punk rock in others (as, in, errr ‘1977’).  Some of the songs are how I’d imagine The Kinks to sound, had they formed in the midst of the punk explosion, whilst the overall flow of the album brings to mind another classic British concept album, the Small Faces’ ‘Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake’ (albeit with more streetpunk swagger than the whimsical psychadelia of Steve Marriot and Co’s Unwin narrated classic).

There’s not much new in punk rock but Bermondsey joyriders manage here to sound pissed-off, rebellious and vital, whilst having a few laughs along the way.  Yes, throughout is a sense of humour and ability to entertain that sets this apart from many of their peers. It’s loud and it’s pissed off, but there’s an attention to detail that will make you keep coming back for repeated listens and discover something new each time.  Best of all, listen out for some lyrical gems, such as the rhyming of ‘Johnny Cash’ with ‘Joe Strummer from the Clash’ in the aforementioned song, ‘1977’.

So, do The Bermondsey Joyriders save the world from the corrupt corporate authorities, or do they succumb to the temptations of the jet-setting, yacht-sailing, champagne and Bolivian marching powder snorting lifestyle that comes with being the saviours of rock n’ roll? Buy the album and find out, and...... enjoy the ride!

Alex Eruptor

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Frantic Flintstones - Freaked Out & Psyched Out
Drunkabilly

Further abhorrently good-natured tales of the endless fun of the dark slide from the psycho-circus crypts that ring-leader Chuck Harvey's been creeping out n' cracking up from for over a quarter of a century. This second Drunkabilly release finds him gleefully racking up the original Flintstones err, frantic rockabilly, with ever more delightful descriptions of his dietary-affixiated lifestyle, playing up his unhinged persona by several shots, quite relishing his survivor status, not unlike Lemmy or Jason Spaceman, cavorting ceaselessly in celebration around the crossroads of his own physical & mental disintegrationals & degredations with childlike joy. Relocating back to Berlin from Brazil, this doesn't hit as many heights as the ridiculous avalanche of lunatickling that 2009's 'Psycho Samba My Way' revels in. The eternal drug-addled deviancy may become a one trick pony but there's nay denying the knack for the life and the road - yes, chuck, the trip even - where psychobilly stompers twist & twitch among smoky country swingers. Likewise, it may not tick lyrical dexterity or subtlety boxes (find another band & music for that), but it does sort you out a square slab (one being savaged by a circular saw in human form. And a stetson) of rampaging fun. And also something to play next time you hear anyone whinge about over-indulging.
Stu Gibson

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Holly vs. The Novaks: A Scrap-Paper Interview

I try not to get drunk when I go to see bands, mostly because I have a terrible memory to begin with, and losing entire shows in alcoholes is kind of a bummer. But sometimes, on that first really warm night of early summer, say, when you are with good friends and your favourite bartender is working the bar and drinks taste as sweet as that warm early summer air feels, sometimes, sleazy readers, things can get out of hand. Case in point: last Friday at Call The Office in London, Ontario with Monster Truck and The Novaks.

If you haven't heard of Monster Truck yet, you probably will, especially if you're planning on checking out the latest Deep Purple tour or if you read Classic Rock magazine. Monster Truck comes howling its way from the steely depths of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, all spit and fire and beer and whiskey and riffs and head-banging bass and really, really great beards. This band will melt your face, in a good way. Check this out, skeptics:


But this isn't about how great Monster Truck is. This is about how drunk I got, and how I promised to write a scrap-paper "interview" with opening band The Novaks, so here goes...

Hailing from St. John's, Newfoundland on Canada's eastern seaboard, The Novaks are a straight-up rock and roll band a la fellow east-coast-Canadian Matt Mays. They have a couple of CD/vinyl records and a digital-only release available on Sonic Records, and I would tell you all about how awesome they were live except that I honestly can't remember, although I'm pretty sure I was outside on the patio discussing IUDs with some friends at that point in the evening, and for the sake of my journalistic integrity, I feel like I have to come clean. I have since checked out their tunes and think you'd probably like them, although they aren't as face-melty as Monster Truck. Here's a sample: [And technology confounds me again. I tried to post a youtube video for "There Goes The Night," which is gloriously Tom Petty-esque, but the fucker wouldn't post, so I'm leaving it up to you and Google to find it. I hate technology.]


[I tried again. It worked this time.]

So anyway, here are my interview notes (I used both sides, natch):




I will attempt to decipher their drunken mysteries to the best of my abilities, although I take no responsibility for the accuracy of the following account.

Earlier in the night, while standing at the bar waiting for the world's best bartender to make me another rum and coke, this cute guy beside me orders what looks like two glasses of water, although I know one of them is a clear liquor (vodka, maybe, or gin) because I've just watched Matt pour it.

Holly [teasing but irrepressively charming]: Is that a glass of water with a water chaser?

Guy who ended up being the lead singer of The Novaks, Mick Davis [earnestly]: No, I'm the singer in the band and it gets dry up there.

H [smiling]: I know.

And that is where our interaction ended. Mick went onstage and sang some songs and I sat outside and talked about IUDs and then Monster Truck played and I stumbled inside and my face melted and then I stumbled back outside and this guy approached me and told me he liked my bra, which was leopard-printed and visible through my thin shirt because that's how I roll.

H [coyly]: What? You can see my bra?

Guy who ended up being Mark Neary, bass player and vocalist of The Novaks, hereafter known as Mark: Yeah.

And then we chatted for a few moments and somehow we got on the topic of Sleazegrinder, mostly because I like to think it gives my drunken ramblings some sort of credibility, and I got a scrap of register tape from the bartender and scribbled down phrases like, "Need to be Loved to be heard," which is either a song lyric or the answer to a question that I forgot to write down. Mark suggested I ask where their bandname came from, and I thought that was a pretty good question.

H: So where did you get your bandname from?

Mark: It's based on Kim Novak, you know, the actress from Vertigo?

H: Yep. Cool. [And then something that looks like "we wue already the name." Your guess is as good as mine.]

Mark: Why don't you ask what people most misunderstand about us?

H: That's a great question! What do people most misunderstand about you?

There does not appear to be an answer to this question, although I do have the name of their hotel written down, as well as Mark's email address, so I think it's safe to say he was hitting on me at this point, although, now that I type that, I seem to remember asking where they were staying. I do vaguely recall being asked, "So, where do we go to have fun?" which I eventually interpreted, perhaps erroneously, as "Do you know where we can get some cocaine and get laid?". I did not know. I was having a pretty good time where I was.

I know I talked to Mark some more, and that Mick came over and we chatted and I forgot to write things down, and various people entered and exited the conversation, although things are a little fuzzy. At one point, and this remains quite clear in my alcohol-muddled brain, another guy came up to talk to us. He introduced his name as something that sounded like "Brett," so I wrote down "Brett," and then I thought it was "Bread," so I scribbled out "Brett" and wrote down "Bread" (which tells you a little something about my state of mind at that point because who the hell names their kid Bread?), but then it turned out to be "Brad," so I wrote down "Brad." That guy was either Elliot Dicks, the band's drummer, or some bar patron named Brad.

The only other item of note is something that looks like "palmfuls of water," which I probably needed at that point.

And that, as they say, is that. While the details may be eternally lost, I do remember that the boys from The Novaks were sweet and charming and funny, and I had a great time. And a great time is what rock 'n' roll is all about, fellow sleazesters, is it not?

Check out Monster Truck and The Novaks on the website of your choice, or, preferably, in a bar near you. Buy them a beer and tell them Holly sent you. And, whatever you do, wherever you find yourself, please don't ever forget to riot on.



Saturday, June 09, 2012

Advanced Demonology Podcast Episode 7

This month: join Ken and Swilson as we host an Okkult Rock party at the rim of Hell!
Four hours of non-stop party jams!


Listen/Download HERE! 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Hounds Of Hasselvander

"The Ninth Hour"

BloodRock Records 2012

Black Widow






At this point, I had fresh paw prints beneath, beyond and around me, but the moment I fell knee-deep in the epitome of Doom's savage, unknown marsh pit, The Hounds Of Hasselvander's"The Ninth Hour" engulfed me in it. I had searched long, endless, and sleepless hours to only find Joe Hasselvander sleeping lightly on the verge of immortality. How does one soley, sit awaiting with patience, the moment to strike out at the last Doom's Metal Day album quite possibly in our generations and century? He hikes and tramps solely thru desolate, unearthed weed fortresses and doomed, earth ruins in his New England hometown, and US Doom territory without a complaint or worry. Winding down into the first song took as much effort and technology as a mortician's asssitant needs and longs to check for a heartbeat. Long enough to beat every soul into a new casket-caged awakeneing, and ample enough to crop every circle in two using only precise calculated, antique masonry, Sir Joesph "Hound" Hasselvander, renounced 'Godfather Of Doom' has this 62:93 seconds album down for the blood cell count . Many have argued, however, Hasselvander has inaugurably stood to outlive many fainted and tainted Doom Metal bands non-existent along the Doom Metal's dateline. You'll now find him fishing for your doomed remnants using a natural ,raw, eco-friendly, non-jaded electical guitar mass and matter of existence before scaling and schooling it. I refer to Restless Souls  as "recyled" Doom scrap-metal he resurrects Doom with antiquity and diligence using his axe-ridden vocals with an edgy, cathredral-like, Rennaissance underlining to clean, orchestrating guitar riffs amid organs and vital signs  of predominace resulting in significant miffed and stiff attitudes by all surrounding retired Doom Metal veterans, who lay bleeding and wounded on his tearless warpath. Amply and righteously solid, Hasslevander's second Doom Metal solo album doesnt lose a lick of consistencely, along the escavation site of his toiled, unspoiled Doomworks, resembling his Doom Age ancesters of yesterday. His royal crown and throne sits semi-crooked with all the toil and Doom-Folklore and records untold, yet no significant signs of deterioration in his musical talent show any signs of erosion have according to my own carbondated forensics.  As for all who have tresspass on Doom's royal lawns without warrant, Salem blasts everyone's life and forehead a new direction, as Joe Hasselvander admits enough faults and failures, as much as, he can spot any failing faultlines. If you havent bought this album, yet, theres enough time to change your mind, and turn back the 'Hand of Doom' and count on the song, Coming Of The King once and for all to take back the Holy Lands, or at least set it to 'pause' to prevent its happening. As for The Ninth Hour released on Black Widow and Bloodrock Records, and topping all astrological Doom charts to date or record, we can also count on it topping all space, length, time, and capacity measurements along with the Black Hole's inevitable, electromagnetic vortex pull of gravity.



Until!

 

 

 

 

 

The Smut Of Strutter

 

 



 

 

 

Advanced Demonology Podcast episode 6!

This month on the Advanced Demonology Podcast: Maximum Fruit Jams!

Just in time for your springtime bacchanals, Ken/Sleazegrinder and Swilson offer up a four-hour cornucopia of fruit-themed/related tunes, hand-plucked at their ripest to keep your Okkult Rock weekend blow-out raging all night long! It's our juiciest episode yet!

Listen/download HERE! 


And please remember to keep fruit evil! 

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Monsters - Pop Up Yours
Voodoo Rhythm

VR's director of diabolicalism Beat-Man's very own band vomit V2's copiously over any traces of vanity project. Celebrating a quarter of a century of 'Chainsaw Massacre Garage Punk' they pretty much draw, then doodle all over, the blueprint for the label's roster from the asylum of the ludicrously off-kilter. Rudimentary one-riff fuckstorms may appear basic, but these boys know what they're doing rearing these psychotic creations, there's a craft behind the face-shafting front, the way they ebb n' drift then get dragged back to the ditch to splutter from the gutter. They mostly stampede over The Sonics collapsing teeth, kick The Cramps into The Kinks' kidneys (oh yeah, they missed the time-travel bit out of their bio), lysergially linking the Legendary Stardust Cowboy to Lemmy, Ramones-ically rattling the red-o-meter into an intergalactic garage galaxy governed with Guitar Wolf n' generally rendering your every cringeing cell to slivers of jelly. You can wonder why to the lords of goo goo muck such rumblings from the supposedly temperate Swiss fields get ignored - if that - and the Jim Jones Revue get lauded like they're one of a kind but fuck philosophy, get fucked by this, get 'em to your hometown (take note, self-ed) as most of all it's pretty damn fun, which seems fair game, no?
Stu Gibson

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Roy & The Devil's Motorcycle - Tell It To The People
Voodoo Rhythm

And so we turn, or twist, or downsright slide and swivel spinsomely, to the Roy riders' new album. Not the skronk-strewn melee of that debut (below) but hell, that was 15 searing years ago, so it's no displeasure either that it's a touch calmer if not more considered, but still defiantly touched and not constrained or sedate. Alongside further embellishing their tradition of taking choice covers to uncharted heights (see the filthily shimmering 'Johnny B.Goode' on BECAUSE OF WOMEN') with Furry Lewis's 'casey jones' there's also the catastrophic proof - if it were ever needed - that they're no simplistic Spacemen 3 apists with a sixteenth of weed but no skins, a runaway reverb account and barely a vintage tremelo pedal between 'em (though they seem to share a similar stylistic knack for knitwear judging by the cover of this & Spacemen classic 'THE PERFECT PRESCRIPTION' - incidental twat-ed). Sure, the Spacemen's pulsating drones and driving surges are an intrinsic element of their mesh of noise and enchantment but more than the homage to 'Suicide' of 'i'm allright' is the anguished soundscraping cover of 'will the circle be unbroken' which transcends itself way higher than the Spacemen's version, and possibly many others too, wading deep into purgatory's dark waters Elsewhere, like 'cristina', they can still summon many erstwhile spirits from the gentle, laconical tidal lapping of early JJ Cale to the manic possession of Jeffrey Lee Pierce and voyage around shifting stratospheres but retain in reserve a knack of the unexpected gear-shift to propel us along into shamanic-mantra realm with them.
Stu Gibson
Die Zorros - Future
Voodoo Rhythm

Well, what more can you say, 'cept that the latest release from voodoo's rhythmical lunatic asylum finds Die Zorros sandblasting a monstrously trash-matic mish-mash of kitschy B-Movie organ-grinds pebbledashed with surfy guitars in wide-open wondrous perma wipe-out mode, creating a sort of malfuntioning Kraftwerk elevator music of the kind some future physicist may find careering round Cindy Wilson's head, should she leave that cosmic delight to science. I aren't usually one for plundering the cheat-sheets but the band's own description of Farfisa Organ Fiasko kinda consummately rams the nail right through the collective heads of several shopping arcade's full of customers (a song titled 'Meek The Joe' is rather apt too). Wonder what they give by way of change? Or a receipt. Anyway, wander in, leave your senses (no doubt forever) outside the door and give them over to splendidly zonked covers of 'Black Sabbath', a bad-trip so-good-you'll-be-consuming-Roky Erickson / Julian Cope-quantities- and-needing-more account of 'Paint It Black' and a pointedly short snapshot of 'Nights In White Satin' nestling scumfortably amongst their own bonkers broadcasts from the surf stroll vs garagey-stomp of 'The Shark' and 'Good Bye Baby' to the very much all at, or all over, the sea, jazz of 'Streets Of Baltimore' (definitely NOT the country song it shares a title with - the japers, eh!), then settle back for a comically queasy nightcap/mare to the strains of 'Sailing'. Yes...that one. Maybe not catering for all occasions but certainly cocktail lounge bar music for quack-heads. All seating arrangements unsuitably supplied.
Stu Gibson
Roy & The Devil's Motorcycle - Forgotten Million Sellers
Voodoo Rhythm

Well, if anything was ever gonna get me to commence battle in the decrepit-computer desert and start scrawling again then it was only really ever gonna be the backlog building up from this label, eh? And what better way to trigger things than this reissue of not just the Swiss psych-stewards long-unavailable first full-lenghter, but the labels too - coupled with the delightful boast that it makes 'Jon Spencer sound like Joni Mitchell'. All too tantalising. As us cynical scribblers know all too well, such things are usually ridiculous slurry largely revealing such statements to be the musical equivalent of a particularly un-inventive mollusc.
So, yarse, I'm quite fucking ecstatic to announce it does indeed make the somewhat at times over-rated Blues Explosion sound like a band simpering beneath slaps from irate fish-wives. Open this unassuming garden gate and you're immediately (kind courtesy of one of the best racket screeches of an 'Intro' ever) sucked into a vortex of skewed country-blues (starting their trend of taking old chestnuts on a ride round the Roy's own asteroid belt with 'Train I Ride') casually chucking cows'n'trees every which way into the caterwaul and merry cataclysms they conjure then dismiss to their destruction chambers - shruggingly redefining the meaning of gonzoid - interspersing the rippling drones and rickety reels with snatches of samples, spoken word, erm, insights, screams n' hollers, feedback and chord squalls like earthquakes resembling snippets of Red Crayola's FreeFormFreakouts, all the while hammering it ragged into the red so far your eyes almost leave your head to see what the hell's happening to your ears. A stunning madcap melange that'll make meringue out of your mincemeat.
Stu Gibson

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Bible of the Devil
"For the Love of Thugs and Fools"
Cruz Del Sur

Bible of the Devil are the real deal. They talk it. They walk it.
Not only is Chicago's most metal institution flying the flag of New Wave of British Heavy Metal meets Thin Lizzy rock 'n' roll, but they're doing it in America by way of Italy's Cruz Del Sur imprint. The midwest region of the United States isn't exactly known for its plethora of support towards more recent hard rock and heavy metal bands which makes Bible of the Devil's tenacity and unwavering approach all the more admirable.
In their highly anticipated follow-up to 2008's "Freedom Metal," which saw the group strip down its sound and style for a more raw and personal approach, that sentiment is taken a step further with "For the Love of Thugs and Fools."
While the band could sometimes get lost in far-flung concepts on past efforts, "Fools" is as personal a record as they've ever done.
It's got all the stamps you'd expect — twin guitars, "British Steel" pounding, Lizzy/Iron Maiden vocal/guitar/bass breaks — but is also far more widely accessible without sacrificing any of the bombastic metal assault that garnered Bible of the Devil attention in the first place.
It's less filler, more rock, more to the point.
It starts with the moody and building "Sexual Overture" ala Turbonegro before launching into the scorned onslaught of "While You Were Away."
"Out For Blood" rocks with Trouble-esque and Motorhead speed, while "The Parcher" and "Anytime" rank as some of the best material Bible of the Devil has ever done — the former a soaring anthemic rocker, the latter as close to a radio song you'll ever get from the group and coming off so Phil Lynott it seeps into The Hold Steady territory.
The whole thing has harmony, has hooks, and a shit-ton of fist-pumping passion.
Bible of the Devil may not completely be reinventing the wheel, but they sure as shit will run you over with it. — 8/10, B.J. Lisko

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Taurus Trakker
‘Building Ten’


With a sound that is bluesy, rootsy, lowdown and simultaneously uplifting, ‘Building Ten’ sees Taurus Trakker in good form with a collection of songs that celebrate the simple things in life. The first three tracks set the scene for an album which manages to offer a varied yet cohesive sound, sometimes even within one song:  Opener ‘Lucky’ begins not unlike the sort of thing you’d find on a solo album by Tyla from the Dogs D’Amour, then changes direction with some Peter Green style guitar licks, before a breakdown reminiscent of ‘Green Manalishi’.  What we have here are ten tracks of stripped-down blues rock with some punky London accent lead vocals, augmented in places by saxophone and soulful backing vocals.   As you’d hope, there’s some raunchy slide guitar dealt out on a few of the songs, and unlike many contemporary blues acts, Taurus Trakker manage to avoid ever sounding overly generic.  Punk fans might be interested to note that vocalist/guitarist Martin Muscatt is a cousin of The Clash’s Mick Jones, who makes a guest appearance on the title track.  Meanwhile, drummer Alison Phillips has previously served time in Alternative TV, UT, and the Raincoats.  Overall, a fine modern blues album that celebrates the old and offers something new.

Review by Alex Eruptor

Bonus Content: Q&A with Martin Muscatt, guitar and lead vocals

1)    The history of the band is pretty much rooted in punk and alternative music, what inspired you to get so bluesy with Taurus Trakker?

Martin: Allison and I share a deep love of the blues. She learned drums playing along to blues tracks.  John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf, Furry Lewis, Bo Diddley- those musicians are the truth. All the music we dig comes from the blues- even punk rock in its pure form.

2)    Taurus Trakker sounds like a good ‘live’ band.  Where have you played/toured so far, and what have been the most memorable shows and why??
Mostly London, a few provincial gigs, and a short tour in New York. Most memorable was playing at Mick Jones' residency The Carbon Casino in Ladbroke Grove- that’s where we first really connected with an audience that got into what we do.  Also, Brooklyn was a good vibe- we met some great people at the gigs there.

3)    Word association..... give your thoughts on the following bands/artists in one sentence or less:
·         Peter Green Finely tuned genius with a golden touch.
·         RL Burnside The deep Yin/Yang of blues, updating the form while keeping the tradition.
·         Mississipi Fred McDowell Human rhythm machine with a slide.
·         Dr Feelgood A lesson in how to attack a telecaster and make people jump about.
·         The Bermondsey Joyriders That's a cool name.

4)    Many people know the word ‘Taurus’ as a sign in the Zodiac.  Rate the following astrologically inspired songs on a scale of 1 (awful) – 10 (awesome):
·         Motorhead ‘Capricorn’ (7)
·         Deep Purple ‘Maybe I’m a Leo’ (5)
·         Fifth Dimension ‘Age of Aquarius’ (3)
·         The Velvet Underground ‘Venus in Furs’ (9)
·         Rainbow ‘Star Gazer’ (1)
·         Iron Maiden ‘Moonchild’ (1)
·         Zodiac Mindwarp & The Love Reaction ‘Planet Girl’ (5)

5)    You meet the devil at the crossroads and he challenges you to a guitar dual. Which song from your latest album do you play in order to kick his arse all the way back to the bowels of hell?
Bag For Life


6)    What’s next and where can people find you online?
Whats next is more recording, which we have started- its all sounding good so far, more gigs to come... you can find us at http://www.taurustrakker.co.uk
Photo: www.nikkiq.com / www.unit2london.co.uk
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