Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Spectre "Spectre"

(Killjoy Records 2018)

Out Of Time
I've Been Fine

Hailing from East LA this is the début release from Spectre. What grabbed me by the scrote immediately was that bass. Guitar is to metal as slap bass is to psychobilly. And on this record that slap bass sound has been expertly mixed and mastered by Steven Venegas. It ricochets all over every song and you can hear those notes! This is something that more often than not gets lost in the mix. All you'll hear is a series of clicks but not so here. That Weight Watchers dodging big bulbous violin takes centre stage. The guitar has undertones of Latin American styling  in conjunction with a nice clean old school rockin' sound. Vocally, Andres has somewhat of an unusual style. It's like a hybrid of singing and talking. Stalking! Yes. That's it. Initially there were 50 transparent black ones available from the band but I don't know if they're still available and 50 grey ones available from Killjoy (still available I think) and the rest in good auld black. Click the links below to find out more about the boys and of course add this crackin' release to your bulging collection.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The Rusty Robots "Sweethearts, Kisses, Bloody Knives"

(Killjoy Records 2018)

Sweethearts, Kisses, Bloody Knives
The Last Man On Earth
Dust To Dust (Demo)

My jockstrap split at the seams when Anna from Killjoy Records sent me a package which contained the latest 7 inch from everyone's favourite no bullshit old school psychobilly trio The Rusty Robots. Kicking things off is a cute child's voice with an equally cute German accent saying "Rusty Robots" before the cuteness abruptly ends and the slaptastic rhythms kick in. There are 3 songs of infectious psychobilly to be had here and each one is a keeper...even the demo...which does NOT sound like a demo. The guitar has a nice blend of reverb, twang and heel damping. Coupled with a nice rich snare drum and echo-laden tom toms and finely slapped bass, it is what it is...the epitome of psychobilly. Melodically the boys are on point with each song title aptly named for the sounds to follow. The Last Man On Earth is case in point. The musical structure oozes 1960s sci-fi. The three-song-slab-of sexiness has a lyrically morbid range of subject matter juxtaposed by music that you can't sit still to. I always wanted to use "juxtaposed" in a review. Life goals complete. 

Saturday, October 13, 2018

The Cursed Bastards "Dead Head"

(Crazy Love Records 2018)

Psycho Train
Dead Head
Misery & Bliss
Demons Scream Tonight
Tequila Mockingbird
Me Not The Human
Six Doors
In Her Eyes
A Perfect Night To Die

 These Californians first came to my attention back in 2015 with their 'A Perfect Night To Die' EP. If you missed out on that release, then not to worry, it's included here for your delectation. The lads are no Johnny-Come-Latelys having cut their teeth in The Cigaratz, Stop Breathing and the Deadbeat Sinners. So this is their début album and it comes on CD and vinyl, the latter of course will please all the snobs like Dave Acuna over on Psychoholic. The boys have a solid psychobilly back beat with melodies that are more akin to punk. Not screamcore shite though. The catchy variety with substance. Add to that some raucous backing vocals and harmonies and you have The Cursed Bastards. Usually I'd whack in a few comparisons to other bands to explain meself better but not this time. The Cursed Bastards are very much their own machine. This is the kind of album that takes a few listens before you make your mind up. It took me a few listens anyway. It kinda creeps up on you. When you get past the initial power and aggression of the music you discover there's some fine virtuosity involved and you'll find yourself singing along (or in some cases shouting along) with the choruses. As I finish this review and remove me headphones the songs are still reverberating through me skull. 
The O'Prez

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Pope Paul & The Illegals "Start Gettin' Serious"

(Dial Back Sound 2018)

Up In The Clouds
Altered State
Let's Ragnarok
Start Gettin' Serious
Heartsick On The Road
It Wasn't Enough
Demented Swing
Sugar Spots
Off My Chest
Santa Ana Flu
Rip It Off

The prep-work that went into this review has been above and beyond the call of duty. Apart from adding photos and text and took me 15 minutes to get the shrink wrap off the CDs. So who are these lads then? If you look beneath the surface of the household names within the psycho/rockin'/roots scenes there are bands aplenty to be discovered. Santa Ana's Pope Paul & The Illegals are one such combo. The trio formed in 2014 and this is their third album and the follow up to 2017's The Dial Back Boogie. That album was a rompin' stompin' honky tonkin' rockabilly rouser. It also had hints of what was to come on Start Gettin' Serious in that in places it was hard to pigeon hole the sounds into any particular genre. This is what the boys' new album is all about. You just don't know what you're going to get. It's a sonic box of chocolates for which you've lost the inlay card that tells you what's what. One minute you're chowing down on country, the next sleazy rock'n'roll, then garage-esque psychobilly straight through to high octane rockabilly. The confusing shower of bastards! The thing is though, it works! People not in-the-know often ask me how can I only listen to one type of music. I don't. Rockabilly and psychobilly may be the basis but then they have an extended family of all manner of inbred mutants to keep everything fresh. So, I actually have eclectic tastes....rooted in primal rock'n'roll. And that sums up exactly what's to be heard on Start Gettin' Serious. Now as if the pain in the arse of that shrink wrap wasn't enough, I now have to go add a load of links at the end of this so you can get your hands on some Pope Paul & The Illegals swag. You can buy the CD version directly from the band on Facebook or stream/download from the links below. They really are a shower of bastards, not just confusing ones.
The O'Prez

...bloody hell, just Google "Pope Paul & The Illegals Start Gettin' Serious"..FINE...I'll do it for you:
Pope Paul & The Illegals Start Gettin' Serious

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Gutter Demons "No God, No Ghost, No Saints"

(Stomp Records 2018)

Cold Call
Devil's Hand
Damage Case
Bad Blood
Hell For Leather

Merciful hour has it really been three years since Unfinished Business? Well it has. GET OVER IT! Ahem, anyway, the trio of Montreal aural-molesters are back with their fifth album. It'll be released on November 2nd but I fall under the "really great guy" category in their pamphlet of "Fuckin' Hell We Love These Guys" so I have it now. I really am great! Now then, I've given this album a few listens and whereas the classic psycho instrumentation is there, to my ears, this is a more rock'n'roll Gutter Demons compared to their previous output. Proper underground ant-airwaves rock'n'roll. It's too testosterone-fuelled for the airwaves. Your average DJ wouldn't know what to do with the hairy-bollocked blasters on this album. However, I've always loved the boys ability to pull off a dark ballad too and the track 'Faith' is another Gutter Demons slam dunk that'll have the ladies' flaps giving them a round of applause. Other than that relaxation break though, this album really is an onslaught on the senses. It's the kind of thing that should be playing in the background during a dive bar brawl. It's boiling over with hard man attitude and swagger.
The O'Prez

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Beat Devils "Dig My Beat"

(JetNoise Records 2018)

Dig My Beat
Andy The Frog
Dynamite Eyes
Baby's Got Me Wrong
Murder Of The Snowman
Bad Boy
Just A Little More Fun
Headless Horseman (The Polecats Tribute)
I Don't Care If You Care About Me
My Gal (The Ratmen Tribute)
Lonely Boy (Wigsville Spliffs Tribute)
Night Falls Down
Dancing On My Bones

The Beat Devils are a class act. There's no two ways about it. They're the kind of band that never disappoint with their releases and this is no exception. The boys play that perfect blend of neo rockabilly and psychobilly that I instantly love! Good songs can be let down by shit production when it comes to anything with "billy" on the end of it. Especially the slap bass sound. The bass sounds excellent here and drives each song in a way that makes it impossible not to slap your leg in time and have a big satiated grin on your gob. The guitar is clean, reverby in all the right places and played faultlessly. The drums are blended into the mix to perfection adding to the infectious beat. The vocals are reminiscent of The Stringbeans (especially in the pronunciation department). It's blatantly obvious that the boys are steeped with influences from the neo/psycho outfits that came out of Europe in the mid-80s but instead of trying to recreate that sound, they take the essence of it and add their own energy and take it off in a direction that's both refreshing and contemporary. There are three neo covers on here which really prove the point I made about those influences. Absolutely excellent versions of songs by the Polecats, Ratmen and Wigsville Spliffs. The boys have written some instant classics on here but they haven't rested on their laurels and just flung in a few note-for-note covers to fill out the album. They've put (Tribute) beside the song titles because they've reworked those songs and made em so Beat Devils-esque that if you didn't already know the songs you'd think that they penned them. They work seamlessly with the Beat Devils originals. I could wax lyrical about this album for another three paragraphs such is my enthusiasm for what the band have produced here but I think you get the gist of it. Plainly put, "Dig My Beat"? Too fuckin' right I do!
The O'Prez

The album is available to pre-order now on both vinyl and CD and a whole gamut of different packages/colours are available. It's available on all the streaming/download sites too for all you futuristic/impatient/lazy bastards. You can check out the Beat Devils Facebook page for links but I might add some here because I'm nice that way. 

Buy the vinyl, CD, vinyl and all sorts of Beat Devils goodness in various colours!
Dig My Beat on Google Play
Dig My Beat on Deezer
Dig My Beat on Spotify
Dig My Beat on iTunes
Hellacious Harmonies on Facebook

Sunday, April 15, 2018

The Goddamn Gallows "The Trial"

(Crazy Love Records 2018)

Blackened Soul
It's Gonna Be OK (No It's Not)
When No One's Around
The Trial
City Of Fools
Dreadful Sinner
Down With The Ship

The ever-prolific Goddamn Gallows are back with another album of genre-mixing mayhem. The hobocore quintet seamlessly blend all manner of musical influences whilst maintaining their dark carnival bluegrass essence. Tempo-wise it's a more sombre affair when compared to the more ballistic beats I generally associate with the Gallows. They say you can't judge a book by its cover but you can certainly judge this album by its cover. It sums up the sounds within perfectly. The boys have crafted 10 songs that are dark, menacing and just plain evil sounding. Not death metal evil. Backwoods rustic evil! I have it on good authority though from a Rhode Island friend of mine that the lads are actually nice as pie off stage. Well their on-stage doppelgängers are the anti-pie! The Goddamn Gallows prove once again with the release of The Trial that if you want to hear real American roots music, delivered with underpant-soiling menace, then steer clear of The Grand Ole Opry and get your arse down to one of their shows. They're on tour now!
The O'Prez