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Bob Wayne

Bob Wayne

Bad Hombre

People Like You Records
By

Rating: 3.5/5

 
 

 

 

Alright, let’s talk about Bob Wayne.  For those unfamiliar, he’s a one of a kind hillbilly country act that revels in his outsider status.  Wayne’s the type of guy that would hunt a possum with a shotgun and choke down every last ounce of lead.  His appeal lies with his brash punk attitude and undeniably off-tune, lively humour.  Everything’s fair game to Wayne and nothing’s sacred.  Drawing upon inspiration lifted from his own checkered past, to tall tales of car chases and border hopping run-ins with the law, Wayne offers an escape from the everyday, and a window into backwoods hillbilly living.

Wayne’s latest full length, Bad Hombre, picks up where Back To The Camper left off.  Opener “Hell Yeah” sets off in an off-key hootenanny, complete with fun loving fiddle work, bursts of banjo, and a trotting, thumping bass grove.  The mid-tempo tune humorously characterizes the regular fallout incurred by Wayne for his various overindulgences.  The track largely characterizes Wayne’s ongoing approach to country songwriting, which actually stands in stark contrast to the frequent use of pedal steel that tends to run through Bad Hombre.  Quite a number of tracks gravitate towards a mellow, washed sunset country vibe.  “Mr. Bandana” and “Still Truckin” in particular lay a relaxed foundation, the former featuring a familiar male-female duet style that fits the rebel-in-a-relationship tale of outlaw affection, and the latter capturing Wayne’s 18 wheeler lone wolf persona.  “Hangin’s Tree” in particular takes advantage of the subdued tempo to explore the mythos of a particular tree serving as the a final destination for noose-bound sinners.

Generally, the more specific and detail oriented Wayne makes his tales, the more engaging and memorable they land.  For instance, “Devil’s Backbone” gives a harsh sense of backwoods desperation incurred by a down-and-out desert community with vivid imagery of “broken fans” and “selling knick knacks for a dollar.”  Likewise, “Working Class Musician” offers a strong sense of Wayne’s personal drive to wake up each morning, fully acknowledging the financial limits of his career options, but reinforcing the conviction of his resolve.  That being said, on the whole Bad Hombre’s lyrical content seems less specific and more thematically influenced than in past outings.  As such, weaker tracks, like “Take Back The USA” and “Fairground In The Sky,” simply pack less of a punch.

All in all, Bob Wayne’s latest full length stacks up well against past efforts.  Bad Hombre doesn’t necessarily bring anything new to the table, but like the sturdy rumble of an eighteen wheeler hauling load upon load, night after night, there’s a certain comfort in such unwavering reliability.  Wayne’s country loving’ humour remains the star of the show, and in that regard, there’s still plenty of fuel left in Bob Wayne’s tank.

Bob Wayne – Still Truckin

Bob WayneCountry-punk Bob Wayne has release details for his next album.  The disc will be titled Bad Hombre and is set to drop this May 5, 2017 via People Like You Records.   

Wayne’s previous full length, Back To The Camper, was released in 2014.

Listen to the new song, “Strill Truckin,” below.

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Bob Wayne Announces New Full Length

Bob WayneCountry-punk Bob Wayne has announced details for his next album.  The disc will be titled Bad Hombre and is set to drop this May via People Like You Records.   

Wayne’s previous full length, Back To The Camper, was released in 2014.

Sam Alone

Sam Alone & The Grave Diggers

Tougher Than Leather

People Like You Records
By

Rating: 4.5/5

 
 

 

 

It’s no secret that Get Hurt polarized fans of The Gaslight Anthem, and that such mixed reviews subsequently lead to some sort of identity crisis that more than likely fueled their current hiatus.  Some fans might even feel cheated that they never had a true final dose of the now classic Springsteen-inspired sound that put The Gaslight Anthem on the map.  If you fall in with that crowd, perhaps you’re holding out for Brian Fallon’s solo work or side projects to fill the void.  Based on the output from The Black Crowes and Molly And The Zombies, you might be waiting for a while.

But there is another way, and believe it or not, it doesn’t have any relation to Fallon or any of his monikers.  In fact, you’ll have to leave the continent for this fix and head across the Atlantic to… Portugal?  That’s right, the search for a new Gaslight Anthem album is over and it was made by none other than Quarteira’s Sam Alone & The Gravediggers.  Now, there have been plenty of Gaslight Anthem wannabes in the past (AM Taxi and Jesse Malin & the St. Marks Social come to mind), but they tend to land in the realm of imitation over content creation.  That’s where Sam Alone & The Grave Diggers differ.  Rather than writing music that sounds like The 59 Sound, Sam Alone & The Grave Diggers write what could very well branded as the best record and musical progression from Gaslight Anthem since that seminal hallmark first hit.  

Sam Alone & The Grave Diggers’ sophomore full length, Tougher Than Leather, stands tall as the follow-up to The Gaslight Anthem’s Handwritten that fans had been hoping for.  Right from the opening moments, “Believers & Renegades” hits the nail squarely on the head.  Bells chime lucidly as lead vocalist Sam Alone’s classic, Springsteen-esque personae emerges from an amalgamation of guitar and handclaps.  Sincere and genuine immediately come to mind as synonyms for Alone’s vocal talents – chills resonating down your spine not unlike the first time you heard Fallon’s unmistakable howl.  “Brothers and sisters, lovers and believers, dreamers and renegades, those are my heroes,” identifies Alone at the onset, rallying listeners around working class values before charging headlong into a chorus that trumpets individuality and freedom.  “Don’t you ever mistake our silence for ignorance, you can choose our song, but you can’t force us to dance,” erupts Alone into a beautifully woven chorus of melody and purpose.  

Tougher Than Leather features song after song of the type of authenticity that only a marriage of passion and experience could birth.  Under a base of classic-rock leaning guitar, songs like “Gardens Of Death,” Shadow Of The Hero,” and “Shine” incite choruses of sing-along, woah-oah type anthems sure to incite listeners belting out along passionately to the fist pumping, defiant stand in the line, “souls like ours are meant to shine.”  Sam Alone & The Grave Diggers depict a desperate world in which self-determination rests solely on the shoulders of the individual.  In the aptly titled “God’s Not Around,” Alone highlights the reality of an absent father, accusing God of indifference in the choral loop, “‘cause God doesn’t care,” rather than challenging His existence like others.  The theme transfers well into the anti-war sentiment of “Coffins and Dog Tags.”  Embedded with emotive piano keys, songs like “Gifted” and “Another Mile” draw upon the nostalgic, situational storytelling draw typical of Brian Fallon’s multitude of work.  And let’s not forget the title track, a wholly unique offering serving as an undeniable highlight, bathing handclaps in an essence that brilliantly rides on the shoulders of Billy Bragg’s folky aura.

Sam Alone & the Grave Diggers deserve every word of glowing praise they’ll receive for Tougher Than Leather.  Hands down, the Portugal powerhouse has written one of the best Gaslight Anthem albums around, capturing the rock n’ roll essence of The Boss with an authentic and genuine attitude.  Don’t let their geographic location fool you, these boys are the real deal.

Sam Alone & The Gravediggers – Tougher Than Leather

Sam AloneSam Alone & The Gravediggers has announced plans for their next album.  The album will be titled Tougher Than Leather and will be released on March 18, 2016 by People Like You Records.

A music video for the title track can be found below.

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Bob Wayne

Bob Wayne

Hits The Hits

People Like You Records
By

Rating: 3.5/5

 
 

 

 

Self proclaimed outlaw carnie Bob Wayne is about as far from the mainstream as you can get.  His dustbowl honky tonk persona comes full of tall tales and rustling twangers that make him truly one of a kind.  Combined with an off kilter sense of humour, you’re never quite sure what type of wrench ol’ Wayne is going to throw in the machine next.  And this time, he’s really tossed in the least likely of additives.  Against all logic, Bob Wayne is taking aim at pop-culture with Hits The Hits, a full cover album of some this generation’s most iconic radio singles.

While the premise will surely conjure a snicker, Wayne mostly finds success in channelling these recognizable rhythms through his country filter for a selection of tunes that are both familiar and surprisingly original.  In some cases, the songs feel so radically altered in pace and tempo that it’s like stepping back in time hearing them for the first time, but in some sort of redneck dominated alternate reality.  Generally, the more “far out” the cover, the more Wayne makes it his own.  

So while the album is full of plenty of classic rock hits like “Rock And Roll” (Led Zeplin), “Sweet Child O’ Mine” (Guns N’ Roses) and “Crazy Train” (Ozzy Osbourne), it’s the oh so out of place moments like Adele’s “Skyfall” that most hit the mark. The song really kicks a little swagger in its step and turns what was once Adele’s vocal masterpiece into an energizing boot stomping romper.  The guitars just scream rustic country showpiece as Wayne’s version of the song takes on a lively guitar thumping life of its own.  Others like Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” trot along at their own pace and scaled back tempo in a way that places emphasis on different lyrics than in the original.  Certain words that once took the backseat now stand in the spotlight, revealing insights into songs that you may have already felt that you knew.  The slower tempo in particular brings into focus songs like Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive,” The Offspring’s “The Kids Aren’t Alright” and The Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy For The Devil.”

When it comes to the healthy dose of classic rock peppering the playlist, Wayne makes some interesting instrumental decisions that pay off.  “Sweet Child Of Mine” in particular replaces the guitar intro with fiddle work that instantly transforms it into a country song.  His laid back, colloquial vocal delivery almost has a conversational quality that capitalizes on the surprisingly emotional content that otherwise gets eclipsed by Axl Rose’s larger than life guitar theatrics.  Generally, the more risks Wayne takes, the more engaging the result (a lack thereof is what makes “Rock And Roll” the lesser of Hits The Hits’ classic rock trio).

Cover albums are always a bit of a gamble (who really wants to hear another version of Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass”), but with the right amount of humour and country flavour, Bob Wayne makes Hits The Hits a success.  Even with some songs hitting the mark slightly more than others, Wayne has amassed an unlikely playlist with each song bound by his unmistakable brand of outlaw flare.  A fun addition to Wayne’s growing body of work that with the potential to double as a decent starting place for newcomers.

The Bones Announce New Full Length, Euro Shows

The BonesSwedish punk n’roll band The Bones have announced that their new full length, Flash The Leather is due for release on September 11th via People Like You Records. The record is the band’s sixth full length, and first new material since 2012’s Monkeys With Guns.

The band will be hitting the road in Europe around the LP’s release, check out the full list of dates below.

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Video: Pipes & Pints – Warpath 82

Pipes & PintsPrague celtic-punk outfit Pipes & Pints has premiered a new music video.  The video features the song “Warpath 82” from their latest full length, Lost And Found, released back in 2012 via People Like You Records.

Watch the video and check out upcoming tour dates below.

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Bob Wayne - Back To The Campe

Bob Wayne

Back To The Camper

People Like You Records
By

Rating: 4.5/5

 
 

 

 

Three albums after signing with People Like You Records, southern country punk Bob Wayne continues to make waves with his rambunctious, hell-raising brand of honky tonk tunes. Outlaw Carnie served as the ultimate introduction to Bob’s early work, follow-up Till The Wheels Fall Off served up a second course of hillbilly road kill, familiar tire tracks and all.  While shy of a sophomore label slump, the album didn’t aspire further than the status quo, leading to the question of whether Wayne had hit a creative ceiling.  Well, as confirmed in the release of Bob’s newest release, Back To The Camper, the answer is a big hell no!

This time around Bob not only hits the road in grand fashion with his signature tall tales and rambler’s lifestyle, but he also shows significant growth as a songwriter beyond his typecast form.  Tracks like “Sam Tucker” embody exactly what you signed up for, but those like “20 Miles To Juarez” will have fans looking at Wayne in a new light.  “Sam Tucker” embodies the speed, wit and punked-up twang that Wayne is known for.  The story of searching for the fabled lost stash of an obsessive gold miner that “turned mud into gold” leads listeners down Alabama backwoods and creeks with many a plot twist and plenty of colourful language and laughs to boot.  Sure to become a Bob Wayne classic, fans will have this lively song on repeat for months to come.

But without succumbing to journalistic cliché and claiming that Bob has “matured,” “20 Miles To Jaurez” features a marked ambition and refined conveyance that Wayne hasn’t fully been explored until this point.  Played at a more traditional tempo, Wayne’s band trots along with a combination of steady percussion and remarkably artistic fiddling.  Unlike “Sam Tucker’s” haste there is no sense of urgency, allowing listeners to take in every word of this roughneck tale of star crossed, on the run lovers.  Sharing the mic with a talented female vocalist, the two masterfully trade verses and lines as they share the honors of weaving the story of their by-chance encounter and bonding over a car chase and shootout as they fled to Mexico to escape separate crimes.  The song serves as a powerful emotional statement and a rare treat for Wayne’s fans.  “The River” immediately builds on this wholehearted direction, sneaking in a truly beautiful song about nothing more than the river’s peaceful flow from the mountain to the ocean.  For a guy that’s built his career on shock value and humour, the track marks a formidable risk, but his personification of the river and its many twists and bends is so well written it’s sure to capture the heart and imagination of even the rowdiest roadie.

The rest of the album slides back and forth somewhere between “20 Miles” and “Sam Tucker.”  Tracks like “Dope Train’s” cautionary tale of sweltering eternal damnation (featuring vocals by Red Simpson) and “Evangeline’s” haunting narrative of betrayal and “cursed love” float on in soft and hazy.  Generally these songs flesh out and expand upon the brooding, upright bass-thumping tempo initially explored an album ago in occasional tracks like “Hunger In My Soul.”  Where Bob may have rushed into a gunfight with guns blazing a couple years ago, songs like “Showdown” steady their aim and hit a bull’s-eye.  Wayne even explores elements of jazzy piano solos, taking a deep breath and working suspense into each shootout.

For a guy that once wrote a song entitled “Love Songs Suck,” Back To The Camper is full of surprises and marks Bob Wayne’s most significant career growth.  Rest assured there’s a little something here for everyone.  Fans looking for a taste of a finger flipping lawless Wayne should find comfort in “Sam Tucker,” “Hillbilly Heaven,” “ACAB” and “I Just Got Out,” while those looking for Bob’s next step will find plenty to contemplate in just about everything in between.  With Back To The Camper, Wayne has stepped out of his own typecast shadow and proven than he is far more than just a rebel with a dirty mouth.

Tours: Bob Wayne (UK)

Bob WayneCountry-punk Bob Wayne has announced that he will be heading on tour for a short stint in May.  The western roughneck will be supporting his upcoming full length, Back To The Camper, due out April 21, 2014 via People Like You Records.

Full dates are available below.

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Video: The Brains – ‘Misery’

The BrainsCanadian psychobilly favourites The Brains have premiered a new video for Misery, a track taken from their 2013 record The Monster Within. The album, the bands fourth, dropped back in April 2013 via Stomp Records (Canada), Sailors Grave Records (US) and People Like You Records (Europe) and the video features the band at its energetic best, playing live in their hometown of Montreal. Fans in Finland can experience this first hand as the band are currently on tour there with local horrorpunks Flex Roxon. 

Full tour dates and the video for Misery can be found below:

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Video: Bloodlights – Roll With Me

Hot on the heels of the release of  new album Stand or Die (People Like You Records), Oslo’s Bloodlights have premiered the video for the song”Roll With Me”

Watch the video here courtesy Classic Rock Magazine.

The Peacocks - Don't Ask

The Peacocks

Don't Ask

People Like You Records
By

Rating: 4/5

 
 

 

 

Swiss rockabilly-influenced punk rockers The Peacocks have been rocking the European upright-bass scene for over twenty years now and serves as a perfect example of how divisive geography can be.  Despite my lifelong love of ‘billy’ related genres I’ve never been presented with the opportunity to become acquainted with the Winterthur trio.  For whatever reason, my first exposure comes with their seventh full length, Don’t Ask.  The label’s current media publicists actually recommended that I check these guys out above a slew of better-known offerings sharing the same release window, and thanks to his not so gentle nudge, I’m now a believer.

As most of you are likely already aware, The Peacocks play a rough, melodic brand of punk rock rooted heavily in vintage rock n’ roll rhythms.  Lead vocalist Hasu Langhart commands a rusty set of pipes, each word weathered from a lifetime of late night boozing, fitting the part like a long list of likened acts (ie…).  Opener “Need A Break” matches Langhart’s presence with an overview of distorted guitars, stylish 50’s inspired guitar garnishes, and a smooth, near-do-wop chorus of vocal supports (whoahs, echoes, and everything else that solid punk rock has come to know).  Rough without sounding amateurish, and benefiting from the wisdom of age, it’s immediately clear just how well established The Peacocks have become over their lengthy career.

A plethora of minor tweaks make Don’t Ask authentic from start to finish, most tracks teeming with distinct personality.  “Don’t Pretend To Care When You Don’t Care” finds both tunefulness with a touch of country twang, “Re-Hash Boogie” pulls listeners onto a dance floor from decades past (think Stray Cats), while “The Girl’s In Trouble And The Boy’s In Panic” swing open with a robotic chant you’d expect to hear on Green Day’s quirky electronic side project The Network.  Throw all this uniqueness alongside a group that knows how to employ an upright bass without milking its novelty, and you’ve got one sure to please dose of punk rock.

Don’t Ask exemplifies why The Peacocks have been going strong for over two decades.  A combination of tuneful rock n’ roll and undeniably infectious rhythms mean Don’t Ask contains nary a misstep, and many a reason to keep The Peacocks spinning.  If punkabilly is your thing, then you’re probably already listening; if not then it’s about time to give The Peacocks your ear and change that regrettable faux pas.

Video: Bloodlights – Arms Around It

Hot on the heels of the release of  new album Stand or Die, Oslo’s Bloodlights have premiered the video for lead single Arms around it on the People like you records which can be viewed below. 

The video features the full gambit of rock ‘n roll cliches; live rehearsal space(?) footage, dancing girls, rockstar posing and a copious amount of smoke effects. That said, the song itself is a stormer and at the end of the day, that’s all that really matters right?

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Bloodlights Release ‘Stand or Die’

PLYRNorway’s Bloodlights have just released their new album Stand or Die via People like you records. Captain Poon (ex Gluecifier) and the boys will be touring in support with dates in Germany, Austria and Hungary already announced. (hopefully more to come). With no official US release,  North American fans will need to make do with the import version for the time being.

European tour dates can be found below.

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The Brains Full Album Stream

The BrainsMontreal psychobilly act The Brains has launched a full album stream of their sixth studio album.  The album is titled The Monster Within and dropped yesterday April 16, 2013 via Stomp Records / Sailor’s Grave Records in North America and People Like You Records in Europe.  Listen to the disc here.

The album follows 2011’s Drunk Not Dead.

The Grit - Straight Out The Alley

The Grit

Straight Out The Alley

People Like You Records
By

Rating: 4/5

 
 

 

 

Newcastle’s The Grit have been defying easy classification since their formation back in 2002. Their formula consists of one part psychobilly, another part punk, and a little dose of lively ska. With each subsequent release the band has tended to rearrange their influences and tweak their emphases. Their self titled debut focused on their punk personae, their 2007 followup demonstrated their love for psychobilly, and now their latest release, 2009’s Straight Out The Alley, seems to thrive off their ska side, and even draw upon a few new influences. They’ve even added an additional member to their lineup for the occasion.

Right from the first track I knew I was in store for something a little different. The track opens with the sounds of a violent gang shooting, then launches right into some sort of dancehall swing instrumental led by a crisp guiding brass section. The odd opening braces the listener for anything, but also has a curious amount of replay value. The following track, “Let Me Take You For A Ride,” is a speedy melodic punk tune with a thick guiding double bass and sweeping backing “woahs.” The song has a squeaky clean feel, with Big Lou’s vocals feeling uncharacteristically reminiscent of Australia’s psychobilly-gone-alternative supergroup, The Living End. But that’s about as commercial as the album gets. What follows sounds raw and outrageous.

Songs like “This World” and “Lunatics” have a distinct Oi/street punk feel, while others like “Cast Ya Mind Back” channel a celtic country sound. Aside from appropriate tempo changes, when The Gritexplore new territory they employ a vast array of instruments. They achieve their celtic country vibe by featuring appearances by acoustic guitars, accordions, and even a short lived mandolin solo. This combination succeeds because the band prevents these flourishes from overpowering their foundation. Psychobilly, punk, and ska remain at the heart of each song. In fact, as if to remind listeners of their roots, the album features some real back-to-the-basics songs. For example, “Victim Lives Another Day” and “Long Time Dead” strip The Grit down to their basic psychobilly elements, and “Tell Me Lies” elevates ska well into the foreground.

Lyrically, the band coats songs about street class life with a subtle sense of humour. The band often connects a nostalgic past to the present. For example, “Cast Ya Mind Back” challenges the listener, who is obviously listening to the song from the comfort of modern luxury, to imagine a time defined by assembly lines, seafarers, and manual labour. Tracks like “Lunatics” mock pretentious university graduates, and others like “You Ought To Know” poke fun at junkies who insist their habit will have a “last time.” The Grit‘s subtle sense of humour makes Straight Out The Alley an overall fun listen.

I found Straight Out The Alley a pleasant surprise. When I was first introduced to the band through 2007’s Shall We Dine, I felt that they had a tight but slightly tiresome sound – maybe even a little middle of the road. Consequently, I wasn’t expecting more than a harmless listen from Straight Out The Alley. But now, a combination of new influences, instruments, and the addition of a forth band member, have putThe Grit on my radar, and Straight Out The Alley in high rotation.

Bob Wayne - Till The Wheels Fall Off

Bob Wayne

Till The Wheels Fall Off

People Like You Records
By

Rating: 3.5/5

 
 

 

 

When we last saw rough n’ tough hillbilly Bob Wayne he had just released his label debut Outlaw Carnie.  There were badass country tunes, declarations of road life, and even tales of supernatural, celebrity ghosts.  Damn was it was awesome.  Barely a year has passed since my introduction, but the prolific Mr. Wayne has wasted no time, returning with his six-string for a new chapter in the appropriately titled lifestyle commentary, Till The Wheels Fall Off.

Right from the title track and album opener, the album picks up where Outlaw Carnie left off, with Wayne reprising his role as a nomadic road scholar.  In fact, the song holds many parallels with its Outlaw Carnie counterpart, ushering in Wayne and his crew with the top down, engine revved, and a big FU to those who may find offense.  Wayne maintains a certain autobiographical delivery, particularly in tracks like “All My Friends.”  But while Wayne previously denounced his habitual narcotic “acquaintances,” here he reminisces about the resulting ecstasy with a cameo from fellow outlaw Hank Williams III, toying with the idea of relapse, or as he puts it, reliving the “good ole days.”

Actually, Wayne dedicates a sizeable portion of the album (six or seven) to touting his don’t-give-a-damn outlaw persona.  Tracks like “Fuck The Law” and “Devil’s Son” serve as declarations of his own hell bent intensions.

And here in lays the album’s only significant flaw: repetition.  While I love Wayne’s attitude and disregard for the status quo, he’s most on his game when looking outward rather than in.  Outlaw Carnie did such a solid job of introducing the Bob Wayne mystique that the most blunt tracks feel like overkill.  Thankfully a few songs, particularly the self-eulogy “Spread My Ashes On The Highway,” find a well-humoured middle ground, but as I’ve always said, Wayne is at his best when spouting off curious observations or weaving tall tales with a stone faced sincerity.  Standouts “Wives Of Three” and “Lyza” exemplify Wayne’s quick wit.  The former takes a tongue-in-cheek twist on today’s radio heartthrobs (think Blake Shelton) with Wayne posing as a polygamist reading an open letter for his mother to love all his wives.  The latter solidifies Wayne as a master storyteller as he spins the edge-of-your-seat tale of a daring heroine’s struggle on the road.  With plenty of atmospheric crescendos and a catchy rhythm, these tracks typify Wayne at his peak.

Till The Wheels Fall Off does a sufficient job of furthering the Bob Wayne lore, but doesn’t ‘wow’ me in the way that Outlaw Carnie did when it blasted onto the scene last year.  Wayne remains a master of channeling his wiry country sense into trail burning country tunes, but is slightly less impactful.  It’s also worth noting that Till The Wheels draws on much more twang than with previous releases, and definitely plays more to the country crowd.  That beings said, it’s the same old Wayne you’ve come to know and love, and his obnoxious attitude shines through on all levels.  So when the dust settles you know this is a ride you’ll want to be sitting shotgun for.

Blitzkid - Apparitional

Blitzkid

Apparitional

People Like You Records
By

Rating: 4/5

 
 

 

 

If memory serves correct, Blitzkid was the first band to win me over to punk’s undead cousin, the horror genre.  As someone who once spent weekend evenings watching whatever cheesy 80’s horror films the local sifi channel was playing (check out Brainscan), I completely fell for the trio’s 2006 croon-heavy masterpiece, Five Cellars Below.  In essence Bliktzkid taught me that with the right balance of humour and tongue-in-cheek gore, it’s easy to listen to the soundtrack to that Friday night basement b-side movie marathon any night of the week.

I listened to Five Cellars Below regularly for over a year, or at least until another horror fixation filled the void – and then I waited.  And waited. And waited.  Whenever I checked in, the Blitzkid website was either under construction or the band was re-recording their back catalogue (which might have been exciting had I not already exhausted their original three albums).  It actually took five years of vague promises and seemingly random updates for the band to get their act together, but finally the band crawled from what could have become their final resting place, in the span of a couple months announcing and unleashing their fifth studio album upon an unsuspecting world.

Apparitional features the band’s newest lineup, and succeeds on the strength of reconciling old and new.  Down to a single founding member (guitarist/vocalist TB Monstrosity parted ways amicably in early 2011), Argyle Ghoulsby, carries the album along with drummer Ricko and newcomer Nathan Bane.  Ghoulsby has always been the true voice of Blitzkid – a “clean” singer with a “tender” voice in the vein of Danzig era Misfits – so while the loss isn’t terribly transformative, the trio seems to have made a conscious effort counterbalance Ghoulsby with elements reminiscent of TB’s rawness.  For the most part the strategy works.

I’ve always loved beautifully horrific tracks like Five Cellars Bellow’s “Mary And The Storm” that play entirely from soft atmospheric cues, but an entire album as such and their core fan base might lose interest.  Consequently, the group reintroduces much of the grit from their Let Flowers Die and Trace Of A Stranger days in the form of steady tempos and grittier production.  As someone who lived for the slick presentation of Five Cellars Bellow, I can safely say the change is for the best.

At its core, Apparitional is chalk full of woah heavy harmonies and rich layered sound.  Album opener “Head Over Hills” might unravel with the distant cries of “thunder struck me” and end with seizure inducing bursts of power drumming, but Ghoulsby’s careful dark croon resonates into every musical crevice like moonlight floods every haunting inch of a forest floor.  The beat moves quick, but the harmonies stick tight – Bad Religion being a good, albeit thematically inappropriate, reference point.  Here Blitzkid distances themselves from the likes of Nim Vind (although a few tracks like “Mr. Sardonicus” take a slight doo wop drive-in feel) and sides more with little known horror act The Rosedales.  Other standouts include “Cedar Bluff,” “The Perfect Sleep,” and the sound effect heavy “Bat Whispers.”

But they’re also not frightened to venture from their comfort zone.  The best example being “Casque Of Amontillado,” which includes a curious rock ‘n roll and saxophone pairing (think Kings Of Nuthin’) placed thirteen tracks in that eliminates any sense of exhaustion that might be expected of a fifteen song outing.

Another continued strength is expanding their horror themes beyond face value.  “The Awakening” revolves around the power of individualism with lines like “you cannot be tamed by conventional ways,” referring to an “awakening” self-consciousness.  Likewise, “Wretched” harks on being “forgotten, left for dead” to the pleasure of another – an obvious parallel for emotional trauma.  Even the morgue romance “Jane Doe #9” has its roots in ideas of classic admiration from afar – a romance that could have been but will never advance beyond a thought.

I’ll admit, when track sixteen played its course, I couldn’t help but miss the hauntingly delicate frame of the aforementioned “Mary And The Storm.”  But before I had time to properly mourn the loss of a guilty pleasure, the soft strokes of piano keys floated in like a clouding mist through a damp cemetery.  Blitzkid closes the disc by returning to “Head Over Hills” in the form of a piano laced hidden track.  It was exactly the pick-me-up I needed to conclude the outing on a high note.

As someone who has been waiting for Apparitional since first being introduced to Blitzkid, I can safely say that the band delivers exactly what I was looking for: good clean horror punk with plenty of personality.  It’s true, the band plays it safe and sticks to their strengths, but at the same time Blitzkid has never truly had a defining work, so Apparitional is long overdue and welcomed without question.  But as with any solid work it also hints at future growth, which is tough to come by in a genre so riddled with clichés.

Pipes And Pints Announce New Album

Prague celtic-punk outfit Pipes & Pints has announced that they will be releasing a brand new full length.  The album will be entitled Lost And Found, due out November 5, 2012 via People Like You Records.

The band’s new music video for the song “Never Let You Down” can be viewed below.

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Video: The Meteors – Strange Times Are Coming

Long running psychobilly frontrunners The Meteors have debuted a brand new music video.  The video features the song “Strange Times Are Coming” from their new album, Doing The Lord’s Work, set for a Fall release via People Like You Records.

Check out the full video below.

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Video: Mad Sin – 25 Years Still Mad Trailer

European psychobilly act Mad Sin has released a trailer for their upcoming live album, 25 Years – Still Mad.  The album features a diverse set list spanning their lengthy career and is due out October 25, 2012 via People Like You Records.

Watch the full trailer below.

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The Bones Post Teaser For New Album

Swedish punkers The Bones have released a teaser video of their song “One Louder.”  The track will be a part of the band’s upcoming album, Monkeys With Guns, due out June 18, 2012 via People Like You Records.

Give the sample a listen below.

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Bob Wayne – Lost Vegas

Outlaw Bob Wayne has released a new single from his upcoming fifth studio album.  The track is titled “Lost Vegas” and will appear on the album Till The Wheels Fall Off, which is due out May 22 via People Like You Records / Century Media.

The single can be sampled here.

Flatfoot 56 Detail Next Full Length

Flatfoot 56Celtic punk act Flatfoot 56 has released details for their next full length.  The album will be titled Toil, and is currently set for a July 24, 2012 release via Paper + Plastick Records (US), Stomp Records (Canada), and People Like You Records (Europe).  The album will serve as their four full length and follow up to 2010’s Black Thorn.  Johnny Rioux of the Street Dogs in served as producer.  Frontman Tobin Bawinkel comments:

“[Johnny] knows how to challenge us and push us to the next level, which is what any band hopes for… We still love whipping the crowd into a frenzy and making everybody dance… but we wrote some tunes that people can relate to, and that they can sing along to.”

Album art and track listing can be found below.

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Bob Wayne Details New Album

Outlaw Bob Wayne has dropped the details for his fifth studio album.  The album will be titled Till The Wheels Fall Off,and is due out May 22 via People Like You Records / Century Media.   Andy Gibson of Hank III is set to reprise his role as producer,  having previously sat in the chair on his previous album, Outlaw Carnies that was released last year.  

Wayne performed two brand new songs recently which can be viewed below.

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Blitzkid Asks Fans To Make Music Video

Horror punk group Blitzkid is asking fans to create the official video for their song “The Bat Whisperers.”  The song comes from their recent People Like You Records debut, Apparitional.  The band will be taking submissions for the contest, and awarding the winner with a girl card from Iron Fist Clothing and an autographed Blitzkid prize pack. 

Contest details including a download of the song can be found here.

Tours: Blitzkid (East Coast)

West Virginia horror punks Blitzkid have announced an East Coast headlining tour.  The tour will kick off and run through November.  The horror punkers continue supporting their latest album, Apparitional, released earlier this year on People Like you Records.

Tour listings can be found below.

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Krum Bums Streaming New Full Length

Mohawk sporting punk act Krum Bums is streaming their freshly released full length over on AOL’s full listening party.  The album is titled Cut The Noose, and was released today, August 23, 2011 via People Like You Records.  The thirteen track disc was produced by Jason Buntz (Iron Age, Lower Class Brats).

Give the full album a spin here.

Krum Bums – Injection

Mohawk sporting punk act Krum Bums is streaming a brand new song over on Revolvermag.com.  The track is titled “Injection” and is set to appear on the group’s upcoming release, Cut The Noose, due out August 23, 2011 via People Like You Records.  The thirteen track disc was produced by Jason Buntz (Iron Age, Lower Class Brats).  Band member Dave Tejas explains the song’s content:

“This song means many things to different people. For me, at a time in my life, this was about addictions and solutions… figuring out a way to get what you want, but also realizing you can never have it.”

Give the track a first listen here.

 

Tours: Krum Bums / Toxic Holocaust

Punk act Krum Bums has announced a that they will be touring across North American tour in support of their upcoming album, Cut The Noose. The tour will see the band sharing the stage with Toxic Holocaust starting in July and ripping it up through September.  Frontman Dave Tejas expressed his excitement for the tour:

“Our tour with Toxic Holocaust is something to be feared!  Krum Bums and Toxic Holocaust, friends for years, have now combined forces to piss off this conservative world!  Who gives a fuck?  We don’t.  We look forward to our cross-over with punk and metal with Toxic Holocaust. No one stands a chance.  This is our life and we will destroy yours.”  

The band is releasing Cut The Noose on August 23, 2011 via People Like You Records.  The thirteen track disc was produced by Jason Buntz (Iron Age, Lower Class Brats).