Academy, Leeds, UK30th January 2018
By AJ Phink
The Damned‘s musical journey has seen the quintet intent on moving forward, exploring sights and sounds way beyond their brash wide eyed beginnings in 1976, and now they’re back to do it all over again over forty years after they burst onto the UK punk scene, and a decade since their last album, So Who’s Paranoid? The current Evil Spirits UK tour precedes the release their new album of the same name and see’s the band armed with new material, and it also marks the welcome return of their legendary bass player Paul Gray. The playlist that precedes the start of the show tips it’s hat to tonight’s support act, Slim Jim Phantom of the recently reformed rockabilly trio The Stray Cats, and The Damned‘s roots with a mix of rock n roll, psyche and sixties garage.
Slim Jim Phantom occupies his iconic standing drumming position and tonight he is accompanied by two members borrowed from the current line up of The Pretenders, James Walbourne on guitar and Nick Wilkinson slapping the double bass, the trio hammer through a crowd pleasing set that includes Runaway Boys, The Stray Cats first single, that gets a more than welcome airing along with Rock This Town. The Stray Cats material appears alongside a well chosen set of rock ‘n roll classics that are delivered with an intensity and attitude that befits the material, and means that the Evil Spirits tour has opened with a masterclass in rock ‘n roll and rockabilly that for me is impossible to fault, and it marks a more than impressive start to tonight’s show.
Prior to The Damned‘s appearance the soundtrack moves on a decade or two and starts to include some vintage punk rock along with the 60s garage and proto punk that inevitably acts as a prelude to The Damned taking the stage. The lights eventually drop and the ominous intro music kicks in to indicate that one of punks mainstays are are ready to hit the stage. and when they do it’s straight back to 1977 with So Messed Up from their debut album, from here we’re into the opening trio from The Black Album, Wait For the Blackout, Lively Arts and Silly Kids Games, which with the return of Paul Gray, whose bass style was as much a signature of that album as anything else, sound better than ever, and with three quarters of what is arguably The Damned‘s best line up the Evil Spirits tour is already looking like something very special.
Standing On The Edge Of Tomorrow, the lead single from their forthcoming album, is delivered meaning that this is the first tour in a decade to feature new material and for me it’s all the better for it, The Black Album continues to be heavily featured with the inclusion of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde, which sends shivers down my spine due to the addition of the Paul Gray‘s Rickenbacker bass line. With the exception of a smattering of songs from the the new album The Damned veer across their first decade, whilst the emphasis is on the albums from Paul Gray’s first stint with The Damned, they also tap into their classic punk era and successful MCA years without batting an eyelid.
The new material in the shape of Devil In Disguise and the forthcoming album’s title track gives us the first glimpse of what to expect from the new full length and confirms that Evil Spirits will be as unpredictable as you’d expect from The Damned, for me the new songs sound like they nestle into the band’s back catalogue somewhere between Strawberries and Give Daddy The Knife Cindy, the album they recorded as Naz Nomad And The Nightmares in the mid eighties. The new material is well received by the crowd that is packed into the Leeds Academy, and has upped the anticipation for the new album, somewhat unexpectedly the number that sparks crowd surfing in Leeds tonight isn’t punk classics such as New Rose or Smash It Up, but their eighties hit, Eloise.
Dave Vanian continues to defy the years, as he swoops, glides and spins across the stage like a creature of the night half his age, Captain Sensible remains one of the clown princes of punk, and he’s clearly loving the decades of tender abuse he has received from The Damned faithful. Relative newcomers Pinch and Monty Oxymoron are now an established a part of The Damned, and with Paul Gray‘s return to the fold you have a line up that’s as strong as any they’ve fielded over the years. Tonight has skirted away from the greatest hits packages of recent tours, the addition of new material, the resurgence of interest due the inclusion of Neat Neat Neat in the Babydriver soundtrack and the fact that they are once more filling larger venues indicates that there’s still life in The Damned.
Evil Spirits can be pre-ordered here
Toys TantrumBad Girl Records
By AJ Phink
Mignon are set to release their third full length, Toys Tantrum, worldwide on February 9th 2018 via Bad Girl Records. The album leads the listener into a distorted and unnerving world of creepy toys, dreams and dolls, this is delivered in an explosive and unhinged package that encourages people to think for themselves and to question everything. Mignon‘s aim with Toys Tantrum is simple, they want to empower the people who feel like they don’t fit in, as they believe that the weirdos and freaks can change the world for the better, and if nothing else Toys Tantrum is an album that will improve your world.
The deceptive toy chimes that open Toys Tantrum give way to gloriously offbeat mix of indie, punk and new wave influences that blend together perfectly, the opening track, Dollhouse, is a fine start to the album that throws you curveballs with it’s idiosyncratic style and honeyed vocal delivery. The album constantly veers in style with Fiesta bringing a sleazier lounge vibe into the mix, that eases into the haunting rock ‘n roll of Play Dead. Bulldog takes you into a darker place with it’s primitive guitar riff and fast paced distorted vocal, this slips gently into the dark cabaret style of Ghost Of A Memory. The pace picks up with the bass driven Hands Of Time before the playful sixties pop of Make Believe briefly steers the album away from it’s dark path, as we approach the end we hit the slow burning Rock Bottom and Toys Tantrum ends with the fittingly unhinged finale of Joker.
With Toys Tantrum it would seem Mignon have released an album that blends everything you love about the punk, new wave, indie, rock ‘n roll and the garage worlds to create a unique hybrid of styles that for me borders on perfection. Toys Tantrum is an album I’d recommend to anyone, but especially to fans of everyone from The Hillbilly Moon Explosion through to The Dresden Dolls, Nadine Shah and early Imelda May. With Toys Tantrum I feel that Mignon have released their finest album to date, and even though we’re in the early stages of the year Toys Tantrum will undoubtedly be one of my favourite albums of 2018.
Toys Tantrum can be pre-ordered on physical formats via Bad Girl Records here and digitally via iTunes
Mignon‘s website can be found here
Henri Herbert And The Fury have announced a series of Spring UK tour dates, Henri will also be playing two solo shows including a release party for his forthcoming solo album, Boogie Woogie Piano, where he will be returning to his roots with a rocking collection of ten blues ‘n boogie piano instrumentals, all advance orders of the new album get a free extra track for immediate download. Henri Herbert And Fury‘s Live At Gypsy Hotel LP is now available on CD and vinyl, and Henri’s solo LP, Boogie Woogie Piano, is available for pre-order, both can be ordered via Henri’s online store here
Henri Herbert And The Fury‘s tour dates can be viewed below Read More…
Following on from the release of his debut album with The Fury, Live At Gypsy Hotel, Henri Herbert has announced that on April 1st he will release his new solo album, Boogie Woogie Piano. On the new album he will be returning to his roots with a rocking collection of ten blues ‘n boogie piano instrumentals, pre-orders for the new album are now available and any advance orders get a free extra track for immediate download. Henri Herbert will be celebrating the release of Boogie Woogie Piano with a solo show at The Green Note in London on April 1st.
Boogie Woogie Piano can be pre-ordered here
The Black Bullets have been described as five bastard children from hell, locked together to produce the filthiest rock ‘n’ roll to penetrate human ears. In a world consumed with glossed-up half-baked celebrities and pretenders, The Black Bullets are the real deal; they live, breathe, and consume rock ‘n’ roll. Never ones to sit on their hands, The Black Bullets are planning a European and UK touring assault for 2018, stay glued to the band’s social pages for details and their new single, Dolls, drops everywhere on 12th January.
The Black Bullets Facebook page can be found here
You can view the video for Dolls below Read More…
The Snakerattlers are a band comprising married couple Dan Oliver Gott and Naomi Gott, they are a hellbound voyage of deathpunk, rockabilly, country, and traditional greaser rock and roll. This Is Rattlerock can still be streamed and purchased, on CD and digital formats, via the Moon Skull Records Bandcamp here, and the album is also now available via streaming services.
The Punk Site review of This Is Rattlerock can be read here
Pussycat And The Dirty Johnsons eagerly-awaited third album, Ain’t No Pussy, is upon us and is now available for download and streaming, as well as on the previously released vinyl and CD formats. Ain’t No Pussy features eleven blistering brand new tracks of Pussycat And The Dirty Johnsons trademark unadulterated dirty punk ’n roll.
Pussycat And The Dirty Johnsons website can be found here
Ain’t No Pussy can now be downloaded and streamed via Bandcamp here
During this holiday season when we also celebrate the birth of the much missed Motörhead frontman Lemmy, the Motörhead team are giving away a special gift to what they believe are the greatest and most loyal fans in the world. They have released the entire set from December 23, 1996 that was recorded at the Biskuithalle in Bonn, Germany on the last night of the Overnight Sensation tour, the concert is now available for streaming, and for a limited period for free download.
The concert can be downloaded via the official Motörhead website until December 25th here
You can stream the concert in full via YouTube here
This Is RattlerockMoon Skull Records
By AJ Phink
This Is Rattlerock is the debut full length from Yorkshire duo Snakerattlers that is now available via Moon Skull Records. The Snakerattlers emerged from the ashes of The Franceens and have transformed themselves into a band that channels the primal soul of rock ‘n roll via the sinister reverb heavy chords of Link Wray, the unhinged psychobilly of The Meteors and the primitive origins of The Cramps to create something that has the essence of their influences, but crucially they manage to avoid being derivative or in any way an anachronism.
From the dark ominous opening chords of I Won’t Hold Back you know that you’re for a demonic take on rock ‘n roll that is in no way designed to save anyone’s soul, with This Is Rattlerock the Snakerattlers take every facet and mutation of rock ‘n roll and twist it into their own stripped down hybrid. At times they’re channelling the original spirit of the orginators before veering off into a demented psychobilly rampage, the result being that they have delivered a debut album that simultaneously recalls Link Wray‘s Rumble and The Cramps debut full length, Songs The Lord Taught Us, via the insanity and originality of the spirit of the best of the unhinged garage bands, both past and present.
I recently caught the Snakerattlers live, which added to my intrigue in hearing how their raw and primitive menace would transfer to the studio, it turns out that with This Is Rattlerock the Snakerattlers have managed to capture the raw essence and dark energy of their live performance, something that few bands manage when they make the transition from the stage to the studio. With This Is Rattlerock the Snakerattlers have delivered an impressive debut album that hits the spot on every single track, if the devil has the best tunes then there’s no doubt that the Snakerattlers debut full length is playing on repeat on hell’s jukebox.
This Is Rattlerock and be streamed and purchased, on CD and digital formats, via Moon Skull Records here
The Snakerattlers website can be found here
Live At Gypsy Hotel is the debut album from Henri Herbert And The Fury that is now available to purchase on CD, the album was recorded live in London earlier this year and was produced by Jim Jones, the frontman of Henri’s former band The Jim Jones Revue, and mixed by Jim Jones and Alex McGowan. Henri Herbert And The Fury have also announced that they will play the ‘Fury Xmas Party‘ at The Golden Lion in Bristol, UK on December 22nd.
Henri Herbert And The Fury‘s website can be found here
You can purchase Live At The Gypsy Hotel here
January 2018 will see the release of the two hour demented punk extravaganza, Dr Demento Covered In Punk. The album will feature an eclectic mix of artists including The Misfits, The Vandals, Osaka Popstar, Adam West, Joan Jett And The Blackhearts, William Shatner, Shonen Knife and many more, who contribute over thirty unreleased cover versions of the songs famously heard on the airwaves of the legendary Dr Demento show. The album is hosted by Dr. Demento himself and features guest ID spots and bumper segments to create an unconventional take on Dr. Demento‘s radio show.
You can stream William Shatner‘s cover version of The Cramps‘s Garbageman here
Dr. Demento Covered In Punk can be pre-ordered here
Sound Control, Manchester, UK1st October 2017
By AJ Phink
It’s almost a year to the day since All Them Witches last appeared in Manchester, since their last appearance they’ve unleashed their finest full length to date, Sleeping Through The War, and are currently touring in support of the album, and they’ve bought The Ghost Wolves along for the ride on their latest European tour. It’s always a good sign to walk into a venue to hear The Cramps being played, standing at the bar you realise they’re playing a good chunk from the Off The Bone album, this is followed by a selection of dark and twisted psyche and alternative which sets the tone nicely for tonight’s opening act. The Ghost Wolves hail from the capital of the most unhinged elements of American garage and psyche, Austin Texas, and they are a worthy successor to the illustrious list of bands from that city, one that includes The 13th Floor Elevators, Butthole Surfers and The Black Angels.
Henri Herbert And The Fury will be playing an album release show for their debut album, Live At Gypsy Hotel, on the 8th November at The Old Blue Last, London with Suzie Stapleton as support. There are only a limited number of tickets left for this show and they can be purchased here. Live At Gypsy Hotel will be available at the show on both CD and vinyl formats.
Live At Gypsy Hotel can be pre-ordered here
Henri Herbert And The Fury‘s tour dates can be viewed here
Live At Gypsy Hotel is the debut album from Henri Herbert And The Fury that was recorded live in London earlier this year. The album was produced by Jim Jones, the frontman of Henri’s former band The Jim Jones Revue, and mixed by Jim Jones and Alex McGowan. Live At Gypsy Hotel will be released on November 10th and when you pre-order the album you will immediately get a track for download. Henri Herbert And The Fury are currently on tour in the UK and Europe ahead of the album’s release, Live At Gypsy Hotel can be purchased at shows ahead of the release date. Henri Herbert And The Fury‘s tour dates can be viewed here
Live At Gypsy Hotel can be pre-ordered here
Pussycat And The Dirty Johnsons have announced that their third album, Ain’t No Pussy, is now available for pre-order on vinyl and CD, and the first 50 vinyl orders will receive a free fully signed poster. The band are also heading out on a UK tour that will coincide with the release of the CD, a digital release will follow and the vinyl will be available in December.
You can pre-order Ain’t No Pussy on CD and vinyl here
Pussycat And The Dirty Johnsons tour dates can be viewed below Read More…
The Role Models released their third album in three years in the UK last month via Glunk Records, now Dance Moves will be available in the US via Rum Bar Records. Dance Moves was originally launched via a Pledge Music campaign that hit it’s goal in less than four hours. The Role Models will on tour in the UK next month with Michael Monroe, and Dance Moves is available on CD in the UK via Glunk Records here and digitally via Bandcamp here
The Punk Site Review of Dance Moves can be read here
You can order Dance Moves in the US via Rum Bar Records here
Telethon‘s 90 minute, 30 song, 5 act concept album, The Grand Spontanean, will be released this Friday, September 29 via Halloween Records, and features guest spots by Laura Stevenson, Chris Farren and members of The Hold Steady, Less Than Jake and TV On The Radio. The Grand Spontanean is a cosmic trip of punk rock filtered through straight up rock n’ roll, power pop and every other style in which they could meld their sound into. It resulted in a true blue rock opera about a self-centred, internet addicted twenty-something realizing the world’s about to end in a storm of noise and chaos. Digital pre-orders are now available, along with a limited edition CD box set with extensive liner notes and more, you can pre-order The Grand Spontanean here
You can view a quote from guitarist Kevin Tully and Telethon‘s tour dates below Read More…
Dance MovesGlunk Records
By AJ Phink
Another year has passed and the Role Models have released their third album in three years, the album was originally launched via a Pledge Music campaign that hit it’s goal in less than four hours. Dance Moves takes you through a binge weekend with someone who has a lot to forget, or remember, the highs and lows, the exhilaration and the stinging guilt. The remembrance of loved ones past and the realization of friendships present, wanting to be lost and still yearning to be found, getting lost and being found. Dance Moves follows on from 2016’s critically acclaimed Forest Lawn album and is now available via Glunk Records.
Dance Moves is a step away from the immediate impact that the punkier Forest Lawn album had, this feels like a more mature and refined release and there’s a heavier influence from their rock ‘n roll sensibilities. Dance Moves is a perfect third instalment in a trilogy that has had the same core influences of power pop, punk and rock ‘n roll, with each album bringing one of these qualities to the fore, whether this is intended is something that only the Role Models will know for sure. Dance Moves is another solid album with no moments that have you reaching to skip over any tracks, and embedded in it’ grooves there a few stone cold classics in the shape of the album’s title track, Covered In Mistakes and Wizard Van that prove the Role Models have lost none of edge, or their tendency to pump out guitar hooks that lodge themselves firmly in your brain.
Three album’s in three years is an impressively consistent output for any band, but this is all the more impressive when you consider that the Role Models have released three album’s that each have their own character, yet maintain the Role Model‘s trademark mix of power pop, punk and rock ‘n roll. Add to this that that Dance Moves also features an impressive roster of guest appearances, including members of The Boys, The Scott Sorry Band and Robin Black And The IRS, to bolster their impressive sound, then you have a recipe for a third impressive full length in as many years, making the Role Models one of the most consistent band’s out there at the moment.
Another year has passed and the Role Models have released their third album in three years, Dance Moves was originally launched via a Pledge Music campaign that hit it’s goal in less than four hours. Dance Moves takes you through a binge weekend with someone who has a lot to forget, or remember, the highs and lows, the exhilaration and the stinging guilt. The remembrance of loved ones past and the realization of friendships present, wanting to be lost and still yearning to be found, getting lost and being found. Dance Moves follows on from 2016’s critically acclaimed Forest Lawn album and is now available via Glunk Records
Back To The BottomDead Beat Records
By AJ Phink
Californian sleaze punks JJ And The Real Jerks have followed up their debut album, Economy Class Ego Trip, and trio of killer singles with their sophomore full length, Back To The Bottom. On their latest release JJ And The Real Jerks serve up a heady dose of rock ‘n roll inspired punk rock that calls up the spirits of the New York Dolls and the Dead Boys, it’s nine pure hits of drugs, sax and rock ‘n roll that takes you back to the roots of the American punk scene, but thankfully this is no pale recreation of those bands, this is the real deal.
Out Of My Means starts the party with a blast of rock ‘n roll that’s an ode to hedonism and living in the red, the rock ‘n roll is balanced against tracks such as Downed Wires and Bottle And Can Retirement Plan that carry more a nervous punk energy, whilst Damaged Goods, Mr. Good Enough and Back In Business bring us back to the dawn of the New York punk scene. The title track carries more of hard edged garage punk feel that brings another dimension to the party, but for me the finest moments on Back To The Bottom are brought to us by the hard edged rock ‘n roll of Tuned Out and Ice Queen, both of these tracks are backed by a seriously dirty grinding guitar riffs which are delivered with a bucketful of fuck you attitude.
For fans of the aforementioned bands whose influence dominates the album, and bands such as Role Models, The Tranzmitors and Rocket From The Crypt this should be an essential purchase, it channels the original sleazy spirit of rock ‘n roll but combines it with the attitude and delivery of punk rock to create a hedonistic half hour that hits the spot nicely. Back to The Bottom is an album dedicated to living fast and not dying young because there’s far too much fun to be had, if you love the kind of hedonistic sleaze and self belief that was personified in the fledgling punk scene then you my have just found your favourite new band.
The Peer Hat, Manchester, UK29th April 2017
By AJ Phink
Get Fucked is an all day, and well into the following morning, event bought to us by Atomic Catfight and Abattoir Blues Records, a combination that promises a full day of primitive rock & roll that features nine acts from the primal swamp of the UK’s underground blues, garage and punk scenes that appropriately is taking place in the basement venue that is The Peer Hat, that is located on the edges of Manchester’s fashionable Northern Quarter. The bands appearing at the inaugural Get Fucked festival are diverse to say the least, but all with one common goal, to deliver dirty distorted rock ‘n roll that is in no way designed to save anyone’s soul.
Get Fucked has put together a line up of punked up blues, garage, psych and punk rock that is irresistible to those of us that grew up on a diet of punks adrenaline fuelled charge, the hallucinatory elements of the garage revival scene and whatever other strange creatures emerged from the underground and promised the illicit pleasures that the original hell bound spirit of rock ‘n roll offered. Tonight’s line up includes The Hipshakes, Uncle Jane, Tensheds, The 99 Degree, The Maitlands, The Jungfraus, GUTS, Death Vignettes, Hopper Propelled Electric and music provided by the esteemed Wet Dreams DJ’s.
Get Fucked has nine bands playing each getting a half hour slot, the perfect way to organise a festival with no pretensions, just nine slots of punked up garage, psyche and blues with DJ sets playing the best tunes from the last six decades of rock ‘n roll’s dark underbelly. First up are The Hipshakes and after a brief tune up they launch into their opening slot of adrenaline fuelled garage. The energy levels are already off the chart on their first number, and then stay there. They deliver raw distorted garage that is born of the MC5 and The Stooges with a raw amphetamine fused punk edge that on occasion borders on hardcore intensity, The Hipshakes show exactly how to start a festival.
After a another short DJ set from Wet Dreams, that includes the legendary purveyors of fucked up rock n roll, The Cramps, The Maitlands take to the stage, they bring a cross between raw punked up rock ‘n roll and 60s beat that is tinged with the spirit of 77. The Maitlands have brought their sparkling self penned fucked up pop songs to Get Fucked and they build on the foundations laid by The Hipshakes by maintaining the adrenaline charged rush and combining this with a distinctly Mancunian sensibility, and already at this early stage of the day I can’t help thinking that the inaugural Get Fucked Festival is shaping up to be something very special.
The intriguingly named Uncle Jane are next, and they deliver a set of fucked up rock ‘n roll than channels The Sonics, The Mummies and the bands that populated the legendary Pebbles albums. This a rawer more primitive sound than the previous bands, and they are a welcome addition to Get Fucked and capture the spirit of the evening perfectly with bass heavy set that’s laced with lysergic guitar riffs. Tensheds follow and take Get Fucked down a different path with their intense drum and keyboard combination, but despite the lack of any stringed instruments they continue to channel the spirit of Get Fucked in a manner that makes me think of the Dresden Dolls having a head on collision with Nick Cave and Tom Waits.
Next up is the bastard blues of GUTS, a band that I made a promise to that I would catch them again when I briefly saw them supporting The Bellrays last year, it might take me a while but I keep my promises. GUTS play a set that is the epitome of what Abattoir Blues Records are about, the heart and soul of blues with the attitude and spirit of punk rock, to me they sound even rawer than when I first encountered them. They cross the experimental side of Captain Beefheart with the grunt of blues, and the cocktail is completed by a punk attitude and delivery that makes their dark intense serial killer blues the perfect soundtrack to the midway point of Get Fucked.
Hopper Propelled Electric deliver a charged alt rock set that recalls Queens Of The Stone Age, in their substance fuelled prime, combined with the primal hedonistic spirit of rock ‘n roll. Their charged set brings yet another facet to tonight’s event and as with every other act tonight you can’t help but be impressed with the DIY spirit that is ever present today. Tonight has been a credit to Manchester’s alternative music scene, the bands playing Get Fucked avoid the clichéd Mancunian references and they all choose their own influences, despite all the bands playing tonight having their own sound and style there is a common unifying theme of the hedonistic qualities of rock ‘n roll.
The 99 Degree bring a set of fucked up spaghetti western influenced garage and this is the last set they’ll play before the release of their eagerly awaited Boot Hill Surf Club EP. Ominous echo heavy tones precede The 99 Degree launching a energetic set that channels the spirit of the old West combined with the reverb and echo heavy trashy garage that makes them one of Manchester’s most idiosyncratic bands. No one else does anything even remotely close to what The 99 Degree are doing, they deliver a mutant hybrid of everything that’s worth a damn in rock ‘n roll, and for me they are the closest thing you’ll get to the untamed spirit of the garage punk origins of The Cramps.
The penultimate act is Death Vignettes who have reformed for a one off performance for the inaugral Get Fucked, they channel everything that Abattoir Blues Records are about, dirty nasty punked up blues played exactly as it oughta be. Death Vignettes make as much noise as it’s possible to extract from one guitar and drums, and they produce a sound that makes other two pieces outfits, such as The White Stripes, sound like an unplugged performance. Death Vignettes come across as nothing less than the personification of the primal howl that signified the birth of rock ‘n roll.
The final act is The Jungfraus, their set is largely culled from the impressive KRAAK album that is now available as a pay what you want download. They bring a heady element to the final set of Get Fucked, they channel sixties garage, psyche, alt rock and alternative influence to create an impressive mind altering combination that makes for a fitting finale to the live acts that have graced the first Get Fucked festival. Tonight has been perfect, everything from the venue, the friendly and good natured crowd, along with every single band that played tonight and with the faultless DJ set from Wet Dreams that was the perfect accompaniment to the tonight’s nine triumphant live sets.
There is a sequel to Get Fucked planned and I can’t wait for this to happen, as tonight has been a perfect combination of the music and attitudes that informed and shaped punk rock. For me today has possessed more attitude and rebellion than the established punk festivals, it channels the roots and captures the attitude of what made us fall in love with music in the first place. If you didn’t attend this then you should make a point of being at the next Get Fucked if you can as this will probably be amongst my favourite shows of the year. We came, we saw, we got fucked, and I can’t wait for the next time
The Abattoir Blues Records website can be found here
The Atomic Catfight Facebook page is here
Tensheds website can be found here
Live photography by Michael Maffia, you can click on any of Mike’s photos to view a slide show of the images
Boot Hill Surf ClubSelf Released
By AJ Phink
Following on from last years impressive debut single, Dead Or Alive, Manchester’s The 99 Degree will unleash their first EP, Boot Hill Surf Club, tomorrow, the 12th May 2017, like their previous release their latest offering is a completely DIY affair that’s born of the original twisted spirit of the garage. The Mancunian quartet have been ploughing their own furrow in Manchester’s underground scene, and their latest release indicates that they are continuing to head off down their own dark and dusty trail.
Straight off The 99 Degree pick up where they left off, the opening track The Banshee delivers the western swagger that their debut Dead Or Alive carried, and it possesses a hypnotic primitive drum beat and some glorious heady reverb and treble laced guitar riffs, but it seems that Manchester psych outsiders are out to prove that there’s more in their arsenal. The haunting The Ballad Of Henry Newton Brown carries their spaghetti western hallmark but takes it into a darker place, if the opening track signified that was surf was up then this track indicated that there’s trouble in town. Losing My Mind is already a live favourite, and with good reason, it has a wonderful hedonistic surf riff that dominates this heavy slice of psyche and dementia, whilst the final track, The Pusher, takes things into darker and stranger territory than anything they’ve previously recorded
The 99 Degree occupy the same undefinable territory as The Cramps, but with their own identity rather than trying recreate another bands sound. The 99 Degree‘s mix of primitive rock ‘n roll, fuzzy garage, surf, dark spaghetti westerns, and whatever the hell else it is the fuels the Manchester quartet, creates a unique blend of influences that channels the essence of the strangeness and originality that is born of the garage. The 99 Degree are a truly original mutant surf band from a city that was famously quoted as having everything except a beach, I can’t wait to hear what they’re going to unleash on full length album.
The 99 Degree will be playing a launch party at The Castle Hotel in Manchester on the 12th May to celebrate the release of the EP
Boot Hill Surf Club will be available from all major digital retailers and streaming services from the 12th May
Hairy MountainAlive Naturalsound Records
By AJ Phink
Westerm Australia’s Datura4 is the brainchild of Dom Mariani, the former frontman of The Stems and DM3, and Greg Hitchcock, who was previously in You Am I and New Christs, the quartets line up is completed by drummer Warren Hall and bassist Stu Loasby. Datura4 have released their sophomore album, Hairy Mountain, it was released at the end of October via Alive Naturalsound Recordings and it follows on from their acclaimed debut album, Demon Blues.
Hairy Mountain is a mixture of some seriously laid back fuzz drenched psyche, trashy rock ‘n roll, primitive garage rock and dirty blues, this approach is exemplified by the title track but that’s not the end of the story. The album maintains it’s primitive roots throughout, but it also incorporates a sleazy rock ‘n roll charm, alongside an influence from the bourbon drenched rock ‘n roll that hails from the southern side of the United States. After nine tracks of heady substance influenced psyche the album ends with a mellower acoustic feel, Broken Path brings the album to an unexpectedly slow burning close. Hairy Mountain is ten solid tracks celebrating an unbridled joy for the kind of primitve rock ‘n’ roll that emerged from the 1960’s and 1970’s. This is an album that acknowledges the influences they’ve accumulated from their previous bands, but it’s also a move on from their former outfits.
Hairy Mountain is an album that incorporates all the suspiciously hazy elements of the bands that emerged from the garages, but it combines it with some seriously accomplished rock and this makes for a fine hybrid of styles. Australia seems to encourage bands the blend garage and psyche with other influences, like the oz outfits before them, such as The Lime Spiders, The Cosmic Psychos and The Vines, Datura4 have taken the garage formula and incorporated other styles to make a unique album of psyche influenced rock.
Hairy Mountain can be ordered on all formats, including the hand mixed starburst vinyl edition, here
Fallow Café, Manchester, UK2nd December 2016
By AJ Phink
The Fallow Café lies to the South of Manchester, nestled inconspicuously amongst terraced housing, it has a bar and restaurant downstairs, but upstairs lies an intimate venue that is the perfect setting for tonight’s triumphant headline show by The 99 Degree. In addition to the four band bill there is a DJ set by Wet Dreams, both in between bands and then on into the early hours, that captures the mood of the evening perfectly, the playlist covers everything from sixties garage pioneers such as The Sonics through alternative and indie as well as a few punk classics thrown in for good measure, marking what is easily the best DJ set I’ve encountered at a concert this year.
Due to some of the worst traffic I’ve encountered in a long time we arrive late for the show, by the time we get into the Fallow Cafe Sam Craighan is already approaching the end of his set, but the three numbers I do manage to catch hint at a melodic indie sensibility that carries the spirit of the likes of The Libertines. They alternate between keyboard and guitar led numbers, that can carry the spirit and bounce of Britpop, or convey a more melancholy tone. Despite only catching three songs of his set Sam Craighan marked a promising beginning to an evening that showcases some of finest talent that originates from the fuzzy side of this town.
After some more fine tunes from the Wet Dreams DJ La Mode take the stage, I had no previous knowledge of them and their name didn’t suggest what I could expect. They boast a striking vocalist and what appears to be a modern day Viking on bass, rounding out the line up are two more subdued, but no less talented, members that complete the quartet. What is immediately apparent is that vocalist Millie Sproston has a stunning voice that is backed up by a soundtrack that’s informed by the proto punk and rock bands of the late sixties and early seventies, but crucially with a contemporary feel that stops them from being an anachronism in any way shape or form.
I’m finding that the deeper I delve in Manchester’s underground scene the more I realise there are some incredible bands out there, and La Mode can be added to their number. They skilfully straddle the line between rock, alternative and indie, and importantly they do it in style. Their material defies categorisation, there’s even a brief ska element incorporated into the breakdown one of their numbers. My first encounter of La Mode has made a lasting impression on me, whilst they carry a heavy undercurrent of seventies rock influence it is one that is shorn of self indulgence and excess. La Mode delivered a brief hard edged melodic set that for me makes them another band to watch in 2017.
By the time Crimsons take the stage the Fallow Café is packed to capacity, the temperature is rising and it’s standing room only, and the trio that make up Crimsons bring another dimension to the impressive bill that’s on offer tonight. Crimsons play an echo drenched psyche influenced and lysergic tinged element to the proceedings. They simultaneously channel the best of the psychedelic and garage bands, but they combine this with contemporary influences, in particular elements of Manchester’s post punk era are present in the treble laced guitar style that permeates their set, and this makes for a heady combination that, like La Mode before them, is hard to resist.
The Crimsons build on the impressive opening by the first two bands, the contrast between each of the bands that has appeared tonight’s show is marked, but rather than this being jarring the differing styles compliment each other. The heady psyche the Crimsons play seems to contain a significant influence from Manchester legends The Chameleons, especially in their guitar sound, but there the comparison ends, the Crimsons have their own distinct sound that meld influences that span the last five generations. They bring a welcome slice of paisley inspired treble laced driving psyche that brings another heady element to the mix prior to tonight’s headliners, The 99 Degree, taking the stage.
During each of the three bands that played before them Joe Sartini, the vocalist of The 99 Degree, has been down the front doing his own unique shambling dance moves and yelling encouragement at the bands, it’s this kind of camaraderie amongst the bands that typifies the good natured atmosphere that has been present throughout tonight’s show, now it’s his turn to take to the stage. I’ve caught The 99 Degree twice so far this year, supporting Kid Congo And The Pink Monkeybirds and as a part of a Psychetropic showcase, but tonight they are taking the headlining spot and the support acts, the venue and the crowd have all built up the atmosphere perfectly for The 99 Degree to launch themselves towards 2017.
The 99 Degree have bought their deranged mix of rock ‘n roll and garage, that is all delivered with a spaghetti western sneer, to the Fallow Café. They open with their heavy primitive sound that immediately has the crowd moving, and you can’t help but get the feeling that tonight’s performance is what The 99 Degree have been working towards throughout 2016. Tonight they play their own deranged hallucinogenic surf rock, but despite the influences The 99 Degree are in no way buried in the past, they, along with support acts La Mode and Crimsons, are at the forefront of the latest incarnation of bands inspired by the sounds that originated in the sixties and early seventies.
Vocalist Joe Sartini announces that “the doors have been locked and the drinks have been spiked” and this is the signal for The 99 Degree to launch into a headlining set of their unique brand of garage dementia. Songs such as Losing My Mind energise the sweaty crowd that has packed out the Fallow Café, the set varies from sinister Link Wray inspired guitar lines, embodied in the track The End Of The Line, to full on garage floor shakers. The singers shambolic stage presence is in sharp contrast to the rest of the band who hammer out the kind of authentic razor sharp rock ‘n roll that is in no way designed to save your soul or be redemptive, they are the real deal.
It’s clear The 99 Degree have stepped up a gear, something they have managed to do every time I’ve seen them, which makes them a very exciting prospect for 2017, and tonight they confirmed new material was in the pipeline to follow on from their debut single, Dead Or Alive, which sounded better than ever tonight and brought a taste of the menace of the old west to South Manchester. Tonight they announced that they will be releasing an EP of new material next year and on the basis of the songs they played tonight that will populate the forthcoming The Banshee EP then it can only be a matter of time before The 99 Degree come to wider attention and spread their wings beyond the confines of their hometown.
The 99 Degree are possessed by the original untamed spirit of rock ‘ n roll that follows in the tradition of Vince Taylor, The Sonics and The Cramps, every generation has it’s own standard bearers that embody the primitive spirit of excess and hedonism, The 99 Degree haven’t so much picked up the torch, but they’ve stolen it and are using it light a suspicious smoke. The world needs bands like The 99 Degree that carry the spirit of rock ‘n roll and garage, but they also combine it with the fuck you attitude of punk rock and the meance of a Sergio Leone soundtrack to create something that is truly unique and as a result tonight’s show indicates that 2017 could well be their year.
Sam Craighan‘s Facebook presence can be found here
La Mode‘s Facebook page is here and their debut EP is available via iTunes
Crimsons Facebook page can be found here
Dead Or Alive is available via The 99 Degree‘s Bandcamp here
Photography is by Dean Unsworth, his Instagram account is located here,
You can click on any of Dean’s photos to view a slide show of the images
Scalp Or Be ScalpedWe Have Become Vikings Records
By AJ Phink
The 99 Degree have announced that their debut single, Dead Or Alive, a dark and deranged spaghetti western, preacher killing, murder ballad, is now available as a pay what you want download via their Bandcamp. The 99 Degree have been tearing up stages in the North West of the UK, now those further afield can be exposed to their unique brand of garage psychosis.
You can read The Punk Site review of The 99 Degree live at The Soup Kitchen here
You can get Dead Or Alive as a name your price download here