Sunday, December 29, 2019

The Red Lights Gang "Songs About Sin"

(Crazy Love Records 2019)

She Put A Spell On Me (My Baby)
Trail Of A Broken Heart
I Ain't Playing God
Sin Is My Good Brother
I Am The Rat

Brazil. Not a country that immediately springs to mind when you think of a honky-tonkin' rockabilly good time! Unless of course you happened across The Red Lights Gang playing a show in their home country. The boys have been treading the boards since 2009 and this, to the best of my knowledge, is only their second release. At least it's the second album by them to enter my bulging collection of bop-tinged beauties. If you haven't checked out their first release, 2013's 13 then do so. You're missing out. You're equally missing out if you don't snap up this 12 incher of black throbbing gristle (PC disclaimer: other colours are available). Rootsy twang sits astride some finely slapped rockabilly bass. Add to this Américo's drawling vocals and you have an outfit that mix the darker side of roots music with the knee-slapping beat of rockabilly but don't do so in a throwback way. No siree! The quintet make these classic influences sound current. Maybe it's the lyrical content, maybe it's the chord structures. Whatever it is, I like it! Crazy Love Records have gone ballistic again and released this album, as alluded to earlier, on a multitude of colours on big ol' heavy slabs of vinyl. Fans of roots music in all its guises will lap this up; but The Red Lights Gang play in such a way that those dwelling in the underworld of rockabilly, neo rockabilly and psychobilly (at least those who appreciate where the latter stems from) will also have erect nipples poking through their shirts!

Saturday, December 28, 2019

The Minestompers "Porno Mags & Body Bags"

(Crazy Love Records 2019)

Shellac Smile
Bone Breaking Beat
Vinyl Wonderland
Attack Of The Space Sluts From Planet C.U.N.T. 6
Porno Mags
Pogo The Clown
Cop Killer
Demon Up My Arse
Suburban Savages
For A Fistful Of Shlonz
One Last Record

The Minestompers. One of the very few bands in psychobilly that don't rely on a slapped upright bass to sound...psychobilly. It's actually quite refreshing to hear a bass guitar for a change. It suits their sound much better anyway. Once again, vocalist Dave is in full-on hiccup mode and how these lads are not on some kind of register for sexual deviants is beyond me. It's all fairly mid-tempo by psychobilly's standards too which also works for the band. The album basically takes up from where their first self-titled release ended. The trademark Minestompers sound is stamped all over it. I can certainly detect an Ein Bier Bitte-era Coffin Nails influence but with the vocal stylings of '83 Guana Batz only harder. And yes, that is a cover of Body Count's Cop Killer! Sometimes second albums can sound the death knell for a band as they "progress" from their initial sound. This isn't the case here. The quartet of quasi-sex offenders have quite simply continued along the same path, but having garnered more studio experience, this album sounds better than the first....which I loved.
The album has been released on a multitude of colours on vinyl and good auld CD. Now for the big pain in the arse of linking everything up for all you lazy shites so all you have to do is click and spend. The things I do for you, and I get no thanks for it. Tut.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

The Devil 'n' Us "Still Devil's Music"

(Wolverine Records 2019)

Graveyard Of My Dreams
Burning Holes
The Shovel
Shake Some Dust
Dragged Down To Hell
Get Off The Road
My Little Sister
Man In The Shadow
Sell Your Shit
Puttin' On The Ritz
This Party Sucks

 The Devil 'n' Us are very much a super-group. With members spanning Mad Sin, to Blue Rockin', straight through to Sunny Domestosz, it certainly adds up to an ensemble of the highest calibre. Since their inception in Berlin in 2012 the quartet may have been somewhat sparse in the releases department but sometimes it's quality over quantity. This release marks their third outing after their initial self-titled/self-released EP in 2012 and the 2013 follow-up album The Devil's Music also on Wolverine Records. The lads certainly like to mix things up musically. I suppose that's the way of things when you have such a diverse line up. On this album the boys can go from straight-up psychobilly to neo rockabilly right through to a big dollop of Kings Of Nuthin'-esque rockin' rhythm 'n' blues. Actually on The Shovel you'd be forgiven for thinking it was Torr Skoog and not Hellvis on vocals. But that's where the comparisons end. The Devil 'n' Us are very much their own machine and have carved out a nice little niche within the psychobilly realm with a sound that has a crossover appeal in that it gathers all the sub-genres within it and packs it all nicely into one unit. So if you're not sure what kind of musical mood you're in, listen to this album. It's sure to satiate all tastes. 

Sunday, November 24, 2019

King Moroi "Story Of Dino And Fairy/Me And My Cat"

(Self-released 2019)

Story Of Dino And Fairy
Me And My Cat

I love 7 inches. I keep one at all times in me trousers. Alas it doesn't compare to the 7 inches of black gristle I had in me hands prior to writing this. King Moroi are back with a double A-sider featuring two stylistically different ditties. First up we have the countrified rockin' psycho belter Story Of Dino And Fairy, complete with steel guitar. I love steel guitar me. Lyrically it puts a whole new spin on the tried and tested formula of the tragedies of love you'll find in just about every country song. I love this song. It's right up my street. Speaking of lyrics, there's an insert included with this release with lyrics for both songs...and all the art has once again been masterfully created by Horror Rudey. Flipping her over we have a kick in the bollocks psychobilly song featuring passages that have a cleverly constructed ascending choral cacophony. Having listened to both songs on here a few times, it really cements the fact that I'm glad to belong to this scene. Contrary to what an outsider may think, the music (and in this case, King Moroi), offers variety and my mind boggles as to how those aforementioned outsiders can be drip-fed drivel by "popular artists" with not an inkling of how to play a musical instrument between them...or write their own songs. Thank fuck I discovered psychobilly as an impressionable teen and never grew up. Anyway, it's been three years since the last King Moroi release but the boys haven't been sitting on their arses. They've been busy touring and playing festivals and writing new material for future releases. This release you can buy direct from the band. It's official release date is November 29th and there'll be a brand new video to coincide with it. In the meantime, get those letters to Santa c/o King Moroi. Seemingly he makes an exception for psychobillies who are rarely nice.

King Moroi on Facebook
King Moroi Official
King Moroi on Spotify
King Moroi on Soundcloud
King Moroi on YouTube
Hellacious Harmonies on Facebook

Sunday, October 13, 2019

The Raygun Cowboys "Bloodied But Unbroken"

(Stomp Records 2019)

Fast Machine
The Only One
Ain't Got Time
Bloodied But Unbroken - Live My Life For Rock'n'Roll
Bring It Home Tonight
Walk Of Life

The Raygun Cowboys are a band that have been around for 19 years yet their recorded output is relatively sparse. It wasn't until 2006 that the boys released their debut album Underground Boogie. Back then they had the traditional rockabilly three-piece line up but by the time the self-titled 2008 release saw the light of day the boys had beefed up their sound with the addition of a horn section. Now then, I do not like horn sections. It's nothing to do with being closed-minded. I just know what I like and don't like. It generally turns a raw rockin' sound into a more saccharin rock'n'roll one. Some exclusions are, of course, King Kurt, Ghoultown and The Highliners. Therefore, I pretty much ignored The Raygun Cowboys without actually ever listening to em. What a gobshite I was. But then in 2017 the lads included a cover of the SNFU song Painful Reminder on their The Cowboy Code album. The video showed up on social media, I clicked on it, and it became an instant all-time favourite of mine. I'm very much a vocals kinda guy. They can either make a band shite, mediocre or in a league of their own. Well when the first few lines of the song emanated from my headphones I immediately sat up and took notice. Jön Christopherson is a vocalist par excellence. Bordering on operatic, he's a big man with a big voice ranging from baritone to tenor. So on the strength of that one song I went and sourced the entire Raygun Cowboys back catalogue and bought the lot. Two years after my epiphany the boys are back with their new album Bloodied But Unbroken. No bollixing around this time. An order was placed straight away. No waiting around for Postman Pat either or release dates as being the special boy that I am, Mike from Stomp Records sent me on the files for this very review. The Raygun Cowboys are the kind of outfit that leave you thinking, well they can't surpass their last record. That's the kind of quality they exude on each release. Yet, on each release, they do just that and this one is no exception. The slap bass and drums rockabilly backbeat is souped-up with a cowpunk guitar and rock'n'roll brass section. Sitting on top of that is Jön Christopherson's vocals which are equal parts velvet and aggression. Half way through listening to this album I thought to myself "I wonder what he'd sound like on a ballad with just an acoustic guitar?"...well lo and behold for the first couple of minutes on Bring It Home Tonight that's exactly what I got. So far this album had everything. But then, the final song awaited. I absolutely can not stand Dire Straits. If they just shortened their name to Dire it would be more apt. Their quasi-rock'n'roll song Walk Of Life is tedious. So, was this last song a cover of that song? Yes. Yes it was. But fuck me the boys breathe new life into it. Maybe it's Knopfler's vocals I find tedious about this song. Christopherson's vocals are the...anti-tedious! I still won't listen to it on repeat though. Sorry lads. You can thank Mark Knopfler for that. I will listen to the other 9 on repeat though until I figure out which is the standout track. As it stands that's a tough task. The album is due for release on October 25th in a whole variety of sexy packages from the boys' bandcamp page. They have a Canadian tour from late October to December to coincide with the release. Linkorama for all the info below. 

Saturday, September 21, 2019

The Lucky Devils "News From Earth"

(Self-released 2019)

Ride For My Life
We're All Gonna Die
Zombie Kids
Cryin' In My Head
Bongos Sound
Grendizer Surf
Welcome To Hell

Celebrating their 20th anniversary, the trio of Lille Lotharios bring forth their 11-dittied disc o' delights "News From Earth". The Lucky Devils have always been that band that bridge the gap perfectly between neo rockabilly and old school psychobilly. They've also always been that band that give a two-fingered salute to your common or garden array of cover versions. Actually, when ever they release an album I always perk up with glee when I see what they've chosen to cover. More often than not they're songs I like that don't "belong" in the rockin' rule book. Fuck rule books I say. A couple of years ago they did an astounding version of Matt Bianco's More Than I Can Bear on their Under Cover And Still Alive double album. This time they've taken Boney M.'s Rasputin and turned it into a cossackabilly stomper! There are a couple of other covers here too but they're not just a cover band so enough dwelling on that side of the band. The boys know how to pen a melodic original too. Melody is something that can get left behind in psychobilly when bands try to outdo themselves in the speed department....and those awful fucking shouty sore throat vocals with no air whatsoever. Conversely, Phil Lucky can hold a vocal note and then some. Add some dangerous-sounding, twangy, reverb-drenched guitar, a bass that seems to slap off the four walls, drumming that is for the fit and not the fat and that pretty much sums up News From Earth. All wrapped up in the excellent art of David Vicente, it really is a quality package! (I have one of those, in my trousers). It's available directly from the band on both CD and vinyl.


Sunday, September 1, 2019

The Hyperjax "Bringing The Bad Back Home"

(Wolverine Records 2019)

Bringing The Bad Back Home
I Persevere
Roaming The Dead End Streets
Shadow Brawler
Chasing The Night Down (To The Screaming End)
The Blind Leading The Blind
Cannon Fodder Blues
Age Of The Addictive Personality
Wayward Son
The Crowning Of A Fool
Going Down Smilin'

The Hyperjax. They're everything I like about punk and I'm picky as fuck about punk. With that said though, they're no punk band. They're very much the anti-pigeonhole outfit. They just have the elements I like about some punk bands. Catchy melodies and intelligent lyrics dealing with social issues, and observations about our current generation and life in general. Of course they also have the rockin' ingredient of a big ol' slap bass. They are not the much maligned "punk with a slap bass" combo though. They're way beyond that and are very much their own machine. They always have been since their inception in the mid 90s. But years of honing their craft and sound must make the guy down the record shop sigh with dismay as he tries to slot their records into the genre-specific sections of his music emporium. I have a press release here which states "Like The Jam meets Stray Cats meets The Living End". The Jam comparison I can see as Sam Woods' lyrics are comparable to those of Paul Weller. The Stray Cats...not so much and they're everything The Living End are not. That's one band that started out good and became something else altogether. Conversely The Hyperjax started out good and became something great. They didn't "progress" in such a way as to completely alienate their original audience. Sam Woods really has a way with words and together with Dan Clark and Neil Holden the trio have created an album that has none of the grating annoyance of 99% of punk and none of the tired run-of-the-mill blood and gore of 99% of psychobilly. What we have here is simplistic yet cleverly created, finely executed, punk rockin' parables for the denizens of many's the underground scene.