Friday, December 19, 2014

Grave Stompers "Black Leather Ghouls From Fiendsville"

(Crazy Love Records 2014)

Grave Stomp
Borgo Pass
Getting On
Cemetery After Sunset
Awake By The Moon
Black Leather Ghouls From Fiendsville
The Spook
Phantom Rock
Black Bat
Rockin' At The Boneyard
Wraith Undead
Nocturnal Graveyard Mysticism

I think this is the fourth album from the German psychobilly stalwarts. I have three more anyway and I'm always right. It's a mixed bag musically with some of the songs having somewhat of a Cramps vibe to them in that they're dark mid-tempo compositions but with more of an emphasis on the billy rather than the trash. With that said though, the tracks on here would have blended nicely with the stuff to be heard on the Blood On The Cats series of LPs from back in the day. Actually they would have blended better than half the shite they stuck on there that shouldn't have been on there in the first place. It's not all doom and gloom though, well it is, but with more of a slap-happy neo rockabilly slant and of course psychobilly on other tracks. The album title and song titles really sum the whole thing up. You know exactly what to expect. It would make the perfect accompanying soundtrack to a 1950s B movie horror flick. Well, one that would have been immediately banned by the censors. 

The O'Prez


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Violetz "Hate You!"

(Crazy Love Records 2014)

Cruel Psycho Girl
Hate You
Boy Like A Dead
Crumblin' Tone Boogie
Monster March
Burn Into My XXX Kill
Crazy Rat

Never judge a book by its cover...or in this case a CD. I was expecting punkabilly with the emphasis on punk with fuck all billy and a female singer that sounds like all the rest (maybe even bordering on masculine as is their wont in a genre that oozes aggression). However, it's twangy, slap bass heavy psychobilly with a big nod to (neo) rockabilly fronted by female vocalist Rena who thankfully sounds female! And she can actually sing!! Sweetly!!! She can rip it up too though. A crackin' début release from this Japanese trio. Looking further at the pictures of the band in the booklet, I was probably hasty in my initial impressions. All that leopard print and quiifs-o-perfection do indeed give you a fairly spot-on impression (did you see what I did there? Leopard print? Spot-on?) of what to expect musically. Maybe I was subconsciously swayed by the fact that most Japanese psychobilly bands are speed merchants with a harder, punkier sound. The Violetz are the exception to the rule though. 50% psycho and 50% billy. Just the way I like it. And yes that is a cover version of the Fairground Attraction ditty...and yes she does hit the high notes at the end. Happy days at chez O'Prez.

The O'Prez

The Violetz on Facebook

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Quakes "Live By The Sword"

(Orrexx Records 2014)

Silent Type
On The Rocks
Under The Radar
See You Again
Fuck You

Five new songs from the instantly identifiable pen of Paul Roman, yet manages to be an eclectic ensemble. Good things really do come in small packages. Having been a convert to the psychobilly scene since the mid 1980s I've had a few favourite bands but only The Quakes have remained a constant. They have consistently churned out great music for almost 30 years now at this stage. Do they deserve a wider audience? Yes they do. But I like the fact that this sub culture has always been somewhat esoteric. This is an unusual Quakes release in that it's the first time in as many years that it's not just Paul Roman erm...playing with himself! It has the live line up and guest musicians in the studio too. Have a gander here if you're a stickler for detail. I know I am. But anyway, the music. You've probably gathered I love The Quakes but that doesn't mean that if I think something is utter shite I won't say it. I will. This isn't. Production values are spot on. All instruments are perfectly mixed. Roman's new wave-esque pronunciation is there.  Indelible choruses abound. The Quakes make good music. It's as simple as that. As luck would have it, they're part of our scene. It'd be a jaded one without them. There's psychobilly on here, new wave, country and rockabilly. All with that Quakes spin on the aforementioned genres. Given the knight-based imagery throughout the artwork, bear with me here now...*ahem*...if psychobilly, new wave, rockabilly and country were four kingdoms in Westeros, they'd be ruled by The Quakes (but the throne in each palace would have to be big enough to seat three arses). Did you see what I did there?

The O'Prez

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Route 67 "I Kill My Love"

(Crazy Love Records 2014)

I Kill My Love
Bring The Bottle
Color Of The Blood
Mummy's Curse
Two Tickets To Hell
Just One More...
She Hates Kids, She Can't Cook
I Don't Wanna Die
Sharp Knife
Your Dog Is Crapping On My Lawn

I must admit that when I read the first few song titles I thought this, the follow up to their 2012 release "Sinful Way", was going to be some run of the mill horror psychobilly (not that Sinful Way was by any means). Reading down the track listing further I thought, hmmm maybe not. I had no real preconceived notion or indeed fears of aural pleasure being dashed prior to listening to this album. Their first album was good, don't get me wrong, I just wasn't expecting this second release to be so filled with pleasure inducing auricular trinkets . There. I've said it. It's not really psychobilly at all. It's more neo rockabilly but not of the sugar coated variety. It's borderline psychobilly I suppose in that it won't appeal to the crowd who insist on eating vintage 1956 Weetabix, but their edgier first cousins will lap it up. When I think of neo rockabilly I think of bands like The Juvies, The Cellmates, The Nitros...that kind of thing. Route 67 are in that kind of ilk. Good memorable guitar hooks and solid slap bass and drums backbeat driving the whole thing along for a real feel-good factor. They also remind me in places of the more punkabilly sound we've come to expect from The Peacocks. Fuck it, while keeping with the comparisons, some of the guitar breaks on here remind of the excellently crafted stuff Stas from The Meantraitors has treated us to. These comparisons are to give you an idea of the sound Route 67 have on this album; they're no rip-off merchants mind you. I just hear all these influences whether the boys were concious of that or not. You have to admit though, it's a sexy concoction.

The O'Prez

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Smooth And The Bully Boys "Old School Rebel"

(Smooth And The Bully Boys 2014)

Old Time Gone
Old School Rebel
Hu Hu Hu
At The Beginning
If It's You
Did You See My Cat
Devil Dices
I'll Be Rocking
This Train
Rockabilly Baby
Voodoo Kitchen

Rockabilly is a real bone of contention with me. It was my first love musically and led me on my merry way to psychobilly. I preferred psychobilly because it was wilder and had no rule book. I still love my rockabilly but a lot of it tries too hard to be "authentic". Bands strive to recreate that 50s sound which more often than not just ends up sounding like some shite demo tape with no energy. It even ends up sounding more like safe western swing than the raw wildness that was 1950s rockabilly...the original punk rock. Rockabilly in my opinion is a not a museum piece; it's a contemporary musical genre. It's the unimaginative bands that let it down with their churning out of the standard fare and lyrics that are so samey it's hard to distinguish one rockabilly song from the next. There's just fuck all variation. Jaysus you'd think after 60 years of the genre being around someone would inject some much needed adrenalin in to it. Enter our heroes: Belgium's finest Smooth And The Bully Boys. They take that vintage rule book and wipe their arses with it. They play that ballsy blend of rockabilly that slaps along with enough power and pace to appeal to both the rockabilly and psychobilly subcultures in equal measure. Unlike some of their psychobilly counterparts though, lead vox-man Michel can actually sing..and I mean sing! He has a great voice. The kind of voice I love with its whisky soaked/tobacco burnt tones. There's a lot of diversity on this album; be it slap bass heavy rockabilly, blues, straight up rock'n'roll or dark ballads, and his voice is perfectly suited to all. Purists mightn't like this album but I don't like purists so fuck em. Just when I was starting to lose faith in rockabilly, Smooth And The Bully Boys have churned out an album that has me born again!

The O'Prez

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sick Sick Sinners "Unfuckinstoppable"

(Crazy Love Records 2014)
Coffee Freak
Where Is My Baby Girl
3 Demons At My Door
Six Feet Underground
Wild Party In Hell
Same Breed
We Wanna Drink Some More
Bacon Seed
Wasted Every Day
Fuck me pink...purple if you're able, but this is a ten track blitz on the aural senses. Vlad and the lads certainly have the pedal to the floor. Actually, if psychobilly was a souped-up engine I'd imagine it'd sound like this. Slap bass fans rejoice because the sound captured here of said instrument-o-orgasms shall send pulsations of pleasure up and down your own instrument-o-orgasms. Both drums and bass are recorded at the perfect level with lashings of clarity. The guitar is crunchy and powerful...rock but not quite metal. The vocals? Well, as you know by now if you read my musings I'm not a fan of the auld horror theatrics in the vox department but that's not the case with every band. Vlad being one of the few exceptions to that rule. Actually his vocal styling add to the whole sonic aggression of the album. The boys aren't just speed merchants though. They're craftsmen. They've put together some ditties here that you just want to go back and hear again. I love the production on this album. It's pretty much perfect. Now to go get my brand new box of tissues and listen to it all over again.

The O'Prez


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Squidbillys "Scram!"

(Crazy Love Records 2014)

Born To Love One Woman
Midnight Walk
Revenge Of Lloyd Kaufman
NoName Song

Keeping on-trend with the current apparent love for that old-school psychobilly sound are Russian trio The Squidbillys. It's the classic line-up of guitar, slap bass and drums with the guitar having that surf styled reverb sound. Speaking of reverb (and treble, which I wasn't but I am now), I would have preferred a little less reverb and treble in the overall mix. That's only a minor caveat in the greater scheme of things though as I do love echo-laden vocals and rockabilly-styled hiccups in my psychobilly which the boys supply. Thanks boys. Anyway, psychobilly by its very defintion is a derivative of rockabilly which can often be forgotten as the genre progresses through the years but The Squidbillys have definite rockabilly inclinations. They play psychobilly the way it was first intended to sound; rockabilly with lunatic tendencies and no sugar coating for the masses. As debut releases go it's good but I think with a bit more fine tuning in the studio they could be great.

The O'Prez

The Goddamn Gallows "The Maker"

(Crazy Love Records 2014)

The Maker
What Was The High?
Load Yer Guns
Save Yourself
I Am Still The King
Cold And Deep
Demon In The Night
Ol' Dusty Trail
Ragtime Sinner
Copper King
Howlin' Wind
Outta The Cold
16 Monty

The Goddamn Gallows...the genre-defying quintet (even though they call themselves "gutterbilly") are back with their brand new album (released on Farmageddon Records in the US of A and on Crazy Love Records for us European connoisseurs of bad taste), and fuck me, it's a psycho-hoedown of preponderant proportions. It's like a soundtrack to every film you've seen featuring deviant hillbillies, be they inbred or not, that want to cause you some kind of ruination, be it anally or not! Now don't get me wrong, they're not singing about taking you up the arse with cheers of glee..they just sound like a right evil bunch of bastards that you wouldn't want to meet while hanging your y-fronts on the clothes line somewhere in the Appalachian mountains. If 16 Horsepower could be classed as bluegrass then these boys are 100% blackgrass. It's all upbeat good-time sounds with predominant banjo throughout with a solid slap bass and drums backbeat but the whole thing has some very dark undertones. Menacing is the word I'm looking for...and they look every bit as menacing as they sound. There's all sorts of stuff going on sonically on this album (fiddles, mandolins, accordions...) which make The Goddamn Gallows sound more like a gypsy rabble than an actual band (and I mean that in a good way). Another quality release from the ever evolving Gallows.

The O'Prez

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Mental Bait "These Killing Nights"

(Crazy Love Records 2014)

Cult Of Guns
Strange Green Light
The Land Of Nod
8-Ball Rolling
Bitch From Hell
Surfin' With Azathoth
The Land Of Nod Pt.2
Last Resort For Kaptin Chainsaw
Mad At You
Strangler Of Minsk
Svisloch Mermaids

Well then...these boys from Belarus certainly put the psycho in psychobilly and no mistake. Full of aggressive violent energy throughout, but that doesn't mean it's just a 100mph discordant racket. Au contraire! (Yeah that's right...I'm multilingual). This is melodious stuff but with a raw beat and vocal styling that make it sound tough. Speaking of vocal styling...whether I like a band or not all boils down to the vocalist. When the vocals kick in it can make or break a band. The lead vocalist with this band (Doc Orkenstein) makes the band! There. I've said it. The backing vocals on here are great as well. The combination of both lend somewhat of an anthemic feel to some of the songs. The boys are on the harder side of psychobilly. It's kind of reminiscent of the sound that evolved around the 90s from the likes of Gorilla or the Godless Wicked Creeps or indeed the sounds to be sampled on Crazy Love's "It Came From Hell" series of compilations. Standout songs for me are Strange Green Light, Bitch From Hell and The Land Of Nod Pt.2. My only minor criticism is that the booklet didn't come with lyrics included BUT you can go to the Mental Bait Bandcamp page and view them there...and download the album (if that's your thing, it's not mine; I prefer the physical thing in my hand...ooooh matron!). Anyway, this isn't music to woo your girlfriend with, it's music to pummel the shite out of someone in the wrecking pit with. This pleases me!

The O'Prez

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Dead - The Soundtrack (featuring Sparky Phillips)

(Crazy Love Records 2014)

Something a bit different this time around. Crazy Love Records have released the soundtrack to Sven Halfar's pulp flick Dead. The music on here is by Nils Kacirek And The Peng Peng Pony. It's best described as a cacophonic and surrealistic Ennio Morricone crossed with Ry Cooder sound throughout with some horns here and there giving off a bit of a Squirrel Nut Zippers kind of vibe. All instrumentals (except the ones I'm getting to in the next paragraph) and the majority of them are quite short. Well, it is a soundtrack album.

BUT...four of the ditties on here feature Demented Are Go's Mark "Sparky" Phillips on vocals. That right there is the selling point of the album for the psychobilly completest brigade. If you liked Sparky's collaboration with The Hillbilly Moon Explosion then you'll love these songs. They're very much of the same ilk but with an even darker feel and also feature some duetting with female vocals (Dorte Benzner). Some of the best material I've heard from our Sparkles to date. Demented Are Go fans should definitely add this to their collection.

The O'Prez

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Degenerated "Aargh!"

(Crazy Love Records 2014)

Revenge Of The Hypnotoad
Ship Of Fools
Run Away
Take This Trip
Swamp Thing
Zombified Society
Never Again
Vampire Girl
Rock The Bong
Stompin' Shoes
Go My Way

Psychobilly. The multifaceted bastardisation of rockabilly, punk, garage and whatever else you want to throw in to the mix for good measure. Born in the UK but nurtured and kept alive in mainland Europe with Germany being the big breasted lactating mother. So that very same German mother...or indeed Germammy has given birth to triplets in the form of Degenerated. Featuring Max, Sexy and Madman (of Psychobilly Online fame), the trio have released their début album and it's aurally and visually straight from 1984...not the book...the year...and what a fine vintage 1984 was too. I didn't like the album at all when I heard it first, second or even third time. It's like many phalluses (so I've been told) that fall under the "grower not a shower" category. Basically, if you take the four albums from Anagram's old Blood On The Cats series and stick the musical delights within those vinyl platters in to a blender then this album is the tasty result. Psychobilly has moved on and changed a lot over the years which is sometimes a good thing but more often than not the roots of the whole thing get completely lost in an overgrown punk with a double bass weed-filled garden. Degenerated are like a big bottle of weed killer.

The O'Prez

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Lunatics "Come Nude!! Bring Beer!!!

(Crazy Love Records 2014)

Come Nude!! Bring Beer!!!
Gehirn Zum Wein
Iche Habe Die Frauen
Going Down In Flames
I'll Lead You
It Isn't Right
Things Like That
Bierlokal Am Baggersee
Seven Days Of Silence
Echte Mädchen

The third album from Germany's Lunatics has a nice clean punchy psychobilly (bordering on neo rockabilly) sound. Instead of the usual horror fare they have that "feel good" thing going on with uplifting melodies that bring a smile to your face in a way that's reminiscent of the Long Tall Texans. To my ears the aforementioned Texans seem to be an influence on the band but I'm hearing traces of Lota Red and The Peacocks in the mix too. There are also some excellent vocal harmonies on here. It's not "psychobilly by numbers" so to speak. It's obvious the boys bring their separate influences in to the mix. What you get then is a variety pack of psychobilly, neo rockabilly, rock'n'roll and punk all stirred together in a cauldron using a slap bass. It's all low calorie and good for you too so don't be afraid to gorge on it!

The O'Prez 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Blackjackits "The Blackjackits

(Hippicrit Records 2014)

Don't Tell Me
Drown In My Youth
Crooked Mistake
Darling Blue
Signal Delay
Doors And Keys
Empty In Sage
True Loves Gone Away
Until Then
You Are My Weakness
Where Will I Go?

I've been keeping a close eye on this Californian trio for a long time so it's about bloody time they released this, their debut album. I get the impression from listening to this that they took their time in the studio because they wanted to create something unique. Yeah that's right...I said unique. No easy task in the formulaic world of psychobilly but by Jaysus they've succeeded. Now I've been saying "they" a lot but if truth be known this recording is all the work of front man Kenny Hill...multi instrumentalist and creative genius extraordinaire. As a live act though our Kenny is flanked by Kyle Olson on slap bass and Manny Lutz on drums. There's a definite nod to The Quakes psychobilly/new wave fusion on this album but with that said this is unlike anything I've ever heard before. Paul Roman may have been some kind of Svengali character lurking in the background of Hill's creative thought process but influences aside, as I said, this is unlike anything I've ever heard before, and I love it! It's as though The Blackjackits have created a new sub genre of psychobilly unto themselves. But it's not just psychobilly though, or a sub genre, or anything that should be labelled or pigeon holed (even though the boys themselves have coined the excellent term "American Slapwave"). Why not? It doesn't deserve to be constrained within any one genre. Not any existing one at least. The songs on here deserve to stand alone on their own merits and the listener can decide. I've made up my mind and this album is a work of art.  There's substance in abundance to Hill's lyrics and he has crafted some fine melodies throughout. It's quite simply one great song after another to the point where I was thinking to myself "well, surely he can't keep this up"...he spades! Intelligent story telling through the medium of song is what it's all about on this album with Hill obviously drawing on life experiences which draws the listener into what appears to be his own dark, cold, rainy world. This is right up my street. Production values are pristine too. Everything is mixed to perfection and adds to the whole cruel world feel of the album. Lyrically downbeat but musically uplifting. Adam and the Ants created a whole new genre in the 1980s and The Blackjackits have followed suit in the new millennium.

The O'Prez 2014

Monday, February 10, 2014

Hellstompers "Fire Walk With Me"

(Crazy Love Records 2013)

Diabolical Weapon
Crazy Train
True Rebel
Rolling Thunder
You Really Know What You Need
Black Hole
Alco Trip
Somebody Like Us
Fire Walk With Me

Let me preface this by saying that having your debut album released on Germany's Crazy Love Records is in itself an accolade as the company's name is synonymous with quality. So on to the all-important sounds within. The output from Russian bands in recent years has become tantamount to a psychobilly sound that is beating all competitors firmly across the buttocks with a pool ball in a sock. Psychobilly has remained successful in its own right now for close to 4 decades with NO input from the mass media which in my book is a positive because if those cunts got their hands on it it would turn into something akin to alcohol-free vodka and who the fuck would want that? Anyway, with success comes imitation and something successful gets imitated until it fails. Yes I'm once again speaking of the hordes of bands that refuse to sing in their natural voices and instead opt for bad Sparky impersonations. I've said it before and I'll fuckin' well say it again. I hate that. There's only one Demented Are Go and they're great. So bands DO YOUR OWN FUCKING THING...*gets a grip of emotions and....* well I can breathe a sigh of relief now because The Hellstompers do just that....their own thing! The sound is clean, it is what it says on the tin...psychobilly (leaning towards the first wave sound but not necessarily old school). I would have preferred a better bass sound but it is there to the fore nonetheless so don't let my bass sound nitpicking put you off...I just prefer a more woody sound and less boom and treble. Maybe it's my graphic equaliser settings. What sets psychobilly apart from its rockabilly cousin is that with the latter you know exactly what melodic direction a song is going to take from the opening chord or drum beat. The same I suppose can be said for some psycho songs but not so with the ditties The Hellstompers have crafted here. Yes they have an immediately recognisable psychobilly beat but there's twists and turns aplenty to keep you listening with bated ears. A fine inaugural release from a band I'll be keeping my eye on.

The O'Prez 2014

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Evil Devil "Bad Tales"

(Crazy Love Records 2013)

Property Of The Devil
Psycho Academy
The Beast Of Bodmin
Cursed By A Cornish Vicar
Casillero Del Diablo
5.9 MMS
Evil Ballad
Three Steps
In My Brain (Under My Nails)
The Walking Dead
People often comment on my musical tastes as being somewhat narrow minded. Well the people in question have obviously never heard psychobilly. It is at its essence a multifaceted genre - a genre made up of a multitude of separate genres with no rule book. Well, maybe the inclusion of a double bass is a rule but one that's not always strictly adhered to. Anyway, before I go off on another tangent, this, the latest release from Italy's Evil Devil is equal parts rockabilly twang, punk, metal and a twist of ska. It's a melting pot of varying musical influences but with psychobilly at its core. A lot of bands have obvious talent but the overall production on their studio albums can sometimes let them down. This can either be the fault of the studio guys not knowing how to bring out the sound of the slap bass or anything else for that matter or indeed the band issuing self-produced material. This is not the case here. The boys sound like a well-oiled machine. The music has the potential to appeal to a wider audience other than that of just the psychobilly underground. Luckily though the lyrics are included in the booklet or it would be anyone's guess as to what lead vox-man Angel was singing about. With that said though, his English is a lot better than my (non-existent) Italian. This album should definitely appeal to the fans of the harder side of psychobilly or anyone that likes a good aural rogering.

The O'Prez 2014

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Stressor "No More Panic"

(Crazy Love Records 2014)

Hit The Pig
No More Panic
Bye Bye, Love
200 Bones
November Song
Beautiful Bird
Woodpecker Rock
Evil Dark Road
Fool Fool Fool
Dance Like A Monkey
Earthquake Coming
I got in to psychobilly via the rockabilly route like many of the first (and perhaps second) generation psychobilly brigade did. Rockabilly had become watered down for mass consumption and there was nothing new or exciting about it. Then along comes its mental first cousin psychobilly giving the whole thing a well deserved kick in the scrotum. Now we fast forward to the present. Psychobilly is still going strong but like its Peter Perfect rockabilly cousin, a high percentage of it is just the same tired old formulaic growling with a repetitive click. Enter Stressor. Yes the classic psychobilly formula is there but it’s what they do with those ingredients that sets them apart. The vocals are not done with scare tactics, the guitar is clean, the drums punchy and the all important double bass has a woody resonance with audible notes. No mean feat considering the speed it’s being slapped at. No More Panic is the best album from Russia’s Stressor to date. The songs are well crafted and melodic. Upon hearing the song 200 Bones (and prior to reading the liner notes) I thought it was a cover of some catchy pop song that they stuck their psycho seal on but Google came back with nothing. This small fact is in itself testament to their song writing and arrangement skills. The production and mastering on the album is perfect for bringing out that “side of leg slapping” (the quiffed up version of long-haired aficionados air guitar) psychobilly beat. I absolutely love this album and it has immediately rose to the ranks of my go-to album for the aural pleasure of people wanting to know what this genre sounds like. It’s an oasis in a desert of psychobilly mediocrity.

The O’Prez 2014

Shark Bait "One More Bite...The Album They Never Made"

(Self released 2012)

Cemetery Gates
Vampire Of My Love
Shark Bait
Night Time People
The Boogie Bin
Problem Child
She's My Girl
Necrophiliac Blues
One More Bite
Dublin's Shark Bait must deserve an entry in The Guinness Book Of Records for most time between inception and releasing a debut album. I first saw Shark Bait busking on Dublin's Liffey Street in 1988. It was a different time and a different atmosphere compared to the Dublin of today and its street culture...or lack there of. I was a nubile 18 and took great pride in walking down the street with them and their little horde of psychobilly ne'er do wells as we were led by a be-quiffed Simon Farrell with his double bass over his shoulder. A Kodak moment if ever there was one. This release captures that whole era perfectly. It has a real underground vibe. The only way you can tell this wasn't recorded in the 80s is that Finnegan's voice is deeper and more gravely than it was back then. This is straight ahead proper psychobilly with no frills. Unlike the majority of today's scene bands this is pure first wave material from a time where psychobillies were ex-rockabillies looking for something wilder and more dangerous. There's loads of rockabilly in it but played maniacally with seven shades of shit being beaten out of the slap bass and drums. The lads may have all grown up and in some cases relocated from their homeland since these songs were first written but this has that Dublin psychobilly sound of a bygone era stamped all over it.

The O'Prez 2012

Mad Dog Cole "Son Of Satan"

(Crazy Love Records 2012)

The Darkness
Road To Carpathia
Son Of Satan
Better Off Dead
High Heels
Too Much
Bad Things
Did I Make You Scared?
It's My Face She Sees
Captain Black

The much anticipated sophomore album by ex-Krewmen warbler Mad Dog Cole is almost upon us. It will be out on Crazy Love Records in late October/early November of this year. A bit of a controversial release this one as our MDC seems a bit partial to a bit of controversy. So what can you expect? Well, Guido over at Crazy Love was kind enough to send me a pre-release review copy because, well, as you all know by now…I’m great. Thus, here are my first impressions of Mad Dog Cole’s Son Of Satan album.

It must be hard for lead singers to try and shake the shackles of a band that brought them to prominence and go it alone. After all, it is the voice that is synonymous with a band’s sound. With that said though, given The Krewmen’s somewhat legendary status within certain facets of the psychobilly scene I’m not sure MDC would want those shackles shaken. Whether he does or not makes no difference because this album has that Krewmen sound stamped all over it. It’s 99% up-tempo straight forward psychobilly but with enough changes in gear (and just in the nick of time in parts) to stop it getting too samey. Instrumentally it’s more like McMillan-era Krewmen but melodically and obviously vocally there’s no denying that Cole cut his teeth on the first three Krewmen albums as this sounds very similar. The big difference though between those early Krewmen albums and this, MDC’s second solo outing, is the crystal clear production. Knob-twiddler extraordinaire Alan Wilson can twiddle my knob any time. By virtue of the fact that Mr. Wilson was overseeing the production there’s also a hint of that Sharks Recreational Killer-era sound creeping in in places. There’s perhaps a twist of Nekromantix inspired guitar work on one or two songs also. Personally I prefer the mid-paced songs as they give MDC more chance to exercise his vocal range.

Some people were a bit iffy about this release and what its aural contents would include. Somewhere along the line I think an inner-fear began to grow amongst the psychobilly brigade that MDC had crossed over to the other side; the other side being Goth in this case. Perhaps this was partly due to the fact that the first draft of the artwork for this album (done by me…and much better than the art used instead of it…there! I’ve said it!) depicted MDC and his brethren in questionable attire. But fear not, there’ll be none of that Goth debauchery here. Fans of that classic Krewmen/Mad Dog Cole sound will love it.

The O’Prez 2012

The KDV Deviators "...Lost Contact!"

(Drunkabilly Records 2012)

Escape From Planet X
Rampage Rock
Deviator Zone 86
Behind The Glass
One Foot In The Grave
Screams Of The Insane
Diary Of A Dead Labrat
The Lonely One
Out Of Orbit
Gravity Override
Buried Alive
Under Attack
Psyclops Man
Soylent Green

I could sum this album up in one phrase: "An embarrassment of riches." However that idiom alone wouldn't do it justice but when you hear it you'll know what I mean. Koefte and Co. have produced something very special here. Imagine if you will that Mad Sin, Torment and Batmobile had a seedy threesome backstage at the Klub Foot in the 1980s, then the resulting spawn would be this platter. It's a big blast of A-List 80s psychobilly with 21st century production values. However, unlike a lot of albums from that classic era there is nothing mercurial about this release. Everything from the production, the song writing, the musicianship, the vocals, even the packaging make it an A-Grade release. KDV's Deviators wear their influences on their sleeves (made all the more obvious by their tribute song in memory of Simon Brand) and they've taken those influences and made an album that screams old school psychobilly while at the same time giving the purists the two-finger salute.

The O'Prez2012

Blue Rockin' "Deep From The Heart"

(Crazy Love Records 2012)

Running High
Every Hour N' Every Minute
Hate To Love You
Old Car
I'm Gonna Leave You
Killer Depression Blues
Party In The Woods
Evil Vodka Shots
Made For Rock N Roll
Deep From The Heart

Blue Rockin' are another band that slipped through my radar. Given their name I thought they were a kind of bluesy authentic rockabilly band so totally ignored them. What a musical related faux pas that was. They are not what I expected at all. This is hard hitting dark neo rockabilly (bordering on psychobilly) and is a melodic onslaught on the auditory system with extremely catchy choruses to boot. There are more than a few songs that stand out which actually make me look forward to going back and playing them again. The singer sounds like a pissed up rockabilly pirate with his throat burned out from too much rum and I mean that in a good way. Many bands excel in a live setting when it comes to pure power but can't seem to catch that elusive component when it comes to studio albums. On this, the fourth release from Blue Rockin', power is order of the day. Listening to it raised my adrenaline from the comfort of my couch...and that's no easy task. The downside to all this is that now I feel compelled to buy their other three releases. Add that up and it's money I could have spent on a low class prostitute. Thanks a lot Blue Rockin'!!

The O'Prez 2012

The Tony Montanas "Mafiabilly"

(Crazy Love Records 2012)

Six Feet Below
Dressed To Kill
Revenge Is Sweet
Phantom Voices
Brothers In Crime
Fick Dein Leben Crew
Judgement Day
Multiband Radio
Someone’s Gonna Die Tonight
Cop Killer
Sangue Chiama Sangue
No One Rides For Free
Bleed Me A Song
Brucia La Terra (unlisted bonus song)

Since their last outing on disc the Montanas have had a bit of a reshuffle. Lead vocalist and drummer Lil Big is gone and replacing him on lead vocals and drums respectively are Blue Eyes Montana (stepping up to the mic from his erstwhile guitar-playing only days…and now a multi tasker) and Tony Gazoline is in the drum seat. Tall Tony still wields his oversized violin case…and with that mafia-related anecdote out of the way and the warm feeling I have inside having updated you on the comings and goings within the band it’s on with the review!

When a band changes frontman it can be a detrimental move for all involved. Usually the vocalist gives a band’s sound that instant stamp of recognition. Without that vital component a band might as well just break up altogether and form something new from the ashes. Was it detrimental to the Tony Montanas? Not to my ears. Au contraire! It was beneficial. Musically they sound like the Montanas of old but vocally they’ve improved tenfold. Lil Big was a good singer; Blue Eyes Montana is a great singer. Though the two boys may be similar in style (no growling…just their natural singing voices…always a plus in my book), Blue Eyes definitely has the edge on his predecessor. I love this album. It’s as simple as that. It’s a pristine concoction of reverb-laden psycho-rockabilly with punk rock attitude (evident in the chanted backing vocals). If rockabilly was indeed the original punk rock, then THIS is what it should have sounded like. 
The O'Prez 2012

Sir Psyko And His Monsters "Welcome To Our Hell"

(Crazy Love Records 2012)

Welcome To Our Hell
What Have I Done?
Jimmy The Butcher
Dead Man Walking
Each Day (FTW)
Los Cuatros Condenados
Nowhere Train
Sir Psyko And His Monsters
Bad Girl
Human Hunter
The Crazies
Restless Heart
Long Way Back Home
King Of The Swamp
Till The End!
Out For Blood
On The Road
The Beast Is On The Way
Bastard Blues
 Sir Psyko And His Monsters are a band that until now I completely glossed over as I'm always trigger happy when it comes to growling vocals and I'm not a fan of live albums either. The only live stuff I've ever really liked is the Klub Foot stuff but that's more down to personal taste and the whole era they were recorded in more than anything else. So I was given this as a review copy and I'm glad I was. The atmosphere that's captured on this release is very reminiscent of those Klub Foot concerts I referred to previously. There's a lot more substance to Sir Psyko And His Monsters than just trying to sound evil. Their psychobilly sound to my ears is a 50/50 blend of rockabilly and punk. My own personal psychobilly preference is more of an 80/20 blend but again that's just me. Personal preferences aside there is no denying that the talent is dripping off these guys and it's obvious that they spend hours upon hours rehearsing and honing their music. It certainly shows in this live performance. If I was at this show would I have went to the merch stall and bought their CDs? Yes.
The O'Prez 2012

The Magnetix "With Their Amazing First Album!"

(Crazy Love Record 2011)

10 Bones Skeleton Rock
Mystery Love
Planet Zero
Lost In Your Wonderland
Creature From Outer Space
King Rat Bop
Plastic And Concrete
Gone Gone Crazy
Lover Boy
Woodpecker Rock

What we have here is thee best release to come out of the psychobilly genre since the 1980s. As a matter of fact it sounds as if it was recorded in 1986 as opposed to 2010. The way psychobilly has evolved since the 80s though I suppose this might be regarded as neo rockabilly by today's more punk infused standards. But to my ears this is what psychobilly should sound like...psychopathic rockabilly. The Magnetix offer up an album with all my favourite elements: echo chamber vocals with hiccups and instrumental break screams, loud snare bashing with a slap bass that has audible notes as opposed to just clicks...the drums and bass seem to ricochet off each other...the guitar is clean sounding and the breaks make wild songs wilder. There's a feeling of excitement about this album. You'll be hard pressed to sit still listening to it. Not since I first heard Batmobile's debut album have I gotten this enthusiastic about a band.
I guarantee that everyone with a penchant for old school psychobilly will have a new entry in their list of "all time favourite albums" after hearing this.

The O'Prez 2011


The Quakes "Planet Obscure"

(Orrexx Records 2012)

Dark Shadows
Die Too Young
It's A Curse
Streets Are So Lonely
Don't Follow Me
This Night
You're A Joke
Anti Social Girl
Festa Do Estica E Puxa
All About You
 When I first heard this album I didn't like it. This can go one of two ways. I'll either never like it, or it will grow on me and I'll love it. It was the latter. What it's not is the usual psychobilly growling and 100mph toneless clicking. But then The Quakes are not your usual psychobilly outfit. What it is is some finely crafted pop songs which makes it very evident that Paul Roman is as much inspired by 80s new wave as he is by rockabilly. It must be very disconcerting for him as a musician and artist that in all likelihood his songs will possibly never reach a wider audience than that of the incumbents of the psychobilly domain. Don't get me wrong, I'm one of those incumbents of which I speak and know good music when I hear it but there is also a certain zombie-loving ilk that won't get this at all. But he's not writing for them so fuck 'em. All the good ol' Quakes elements are still very much in evidence though...catchy guitar riffs and hooks, slap bass to the fore, Adam Ant-style drums, acerbic wit and those familiar "Hey" shout-outs. What sets Paul Roman's music apart from 99% of his adversaries is that the guy can write hit songs; songs that to my ear could have mass appeal (yet still retain that Quakes psychobilly trademark sound). Not bad for a band that when it comes to studio albums is basically a one-man show. This latest Quakes boundary-pushing aural outing belongs in any self respecting psychobilly/rockabilly fan's collection but has as much right to take pride-of-place in any mainstream music collection too (of the credible mainstream variety - not that manufactured bollocks that's crowding up the airwaves).

The O'Prez 2012

The Sharks "Infamy"

(The Western Star Recording Company 2012)

House of Wax
A Tornado Called Smith
Holloway Road
The King Of London
First Men On the Moon
Ship To Shore
Hell Riders
I Can't Believe You're Back
Breakin' Bones
Luck O' The Irish
Desert Diamond
She's Fallen In Love With The Monster-Man

I'm a man of simple tastes yet hard to please. That may sound like an oxymoron but it doesn't stop there. I have a handful of favourite bands on this scene and when they announce a new release I look forward to it like nothing else. Unfortunately I have been disappointed by these new releases in recent times. On the other hand, in-keeping with the whole self-contradictory theme, The Sharks were never one of my favourite bands. I didn't "dislike" them, I just found them ok so to speak. So when they announced a new release it was something I'd planned to pick up eventually as they weren't in that little elite handful of "favourites". Well "eventually" in this case meant a week or two after release and as sure as Jaysus they blew that elite handful out of the water. Crystal clear production, diverse and with enough twists and turns in the songs to keep your finger well and truly away from the "next" button before each track finishes. There's even a Céilíbilly tune (I've just made that term up) penned by everyone's favourite Plastic Paddy Mr. Wilson himself with one Mr. Philip 'Doyley' Doyle providing the vocals. Great craic. If this album was a book it'd be a page-turner. Each song is like a novella with a solid rockin' beat as a soundtrack. What it's not is the usual formulaic rockin' fare that you could write yourself in five minutes. What it is a pristinely packaged album with a big psycho-rockabilly beat and more besides, but for grown-ups.
The O'Prez 2012

The Parasites "Make You Sick"

(Self released 2011)

Night Of The Bloody Ape
Achy Breaky Hooker Heart
Knob Gobblin' Girl
Retard From The Black Lagoon
Tentacles Embrace
Make You Sick
Martian Death Grip
Werewolf Woman Dominatrix
Midget Porn Boogie
I Pushed My Girlfriend Down The Stairs

Members of The Photon Torpedoes, Beantown Boozehounds, and Calamity come together under the guise of The Parasites to give us eleven tracks of good wholesome family fun. It kicks off with a very Godless Wicked Creeps tinged vibe in Night Of The Bloody Ape. Good stuff. From then on in though that comparison (influence perhaps) isn't so obvious but does reappear here and there. Big twangy voodoobilly beats abound with only one track reaching the dizzy heights of 3 minutes. Short sharp aural onslaughts with sore throat vocals and reverb drenched guitar all backed up by a stomping rhythm section. Self released and self financed, the boys can be proud of this, their debut offering to the denizens of Psycho-Ville. They have a very distinctive late 1980s/early 1990s psychobilly feel to their song writing style. Although hailing from Boston it's obvious their influences lie in the European psychobilly sound as opposed to the sound emanating from their US compatriots. The album is available on the band's eBay page so pick one up before it's gone and you end up regretting you didn't put your hand in your virtual pocket.
The O'Prez 2011

Los Gatos Locos "Even Sociopaths Get The Blues"

(Zodiac Killer Records 2011)

Dog Eat Dog
Until I Gain Control
The Sociopaths Blues
Stark Raving Normal
Climbing Texas Tower
American Gods
Running Free
Cut You Into Pieces
When I Go
The much-anticipated new studio album from Seattle ne'er-do-wells Los Gatos Locos has finally seen the light of day. Encased in what can only be described as thee best album artwork ever to be seen in the psychobilly realm (because I did it) is the hate filled Even Sociopaths Gets The Blues. Charlie Splatterhead's streptococcal pharyngitis-infused vocals are charged with aggression as he seethes his way through 11 audio-nasties. These guys have always had an air of menace about them and that perception is well and truly evident here. They sound credibly evil. Not just shlockabilly evil for the sake of gaining psychobilly brownie points. There's a lot of sociopolitical commentary disguised as horror-laden slap bass-driven psychobilly here. But there's plenty of straight ahead blood and guts related canticles to keep the usual suspects happy too. Los Gatos Locos have returned with an album that is a no nonsense psychobilly pastiche of violence and indignation.

The O'Prez 2011

Spellbound "Stir It Up"

(Drunkabilly Records 2011)

Ballad Of Bobby Kane
Old School Boogie
Down With The Sun
Jeckyl And Hyde
Black 47
People Are Strange
The End

The Spells are back with their 4th studio album and this time around it's an eclectic mix of well executed gems all sexily packaged with homo-erotic cover art which also features the addition of a bonus DVD filmed at the Psychomania Rumble No.4 in Potsdam (good auld Billy Tombstone and his lens-tastic work finally gets the exposure he/it deserves). that that exceedingly long opening sentence is out of the way it's on with the review. The opening ditty Ballad Of Bobby Kane is a catchy little country-tinged jingle that rocks along nicely with some excellent pedal steel guitar (courtesy of Brian Finny). I thought it was a cover of some obscure cowboy song when I heard it first (I was too busy looking at the lads legs on the cover which took my attention away from the song writing credits). Anyway, when the bulge in my pants decreased I saw our Frankie Hayes wrote it. Ten of the songs here are Spellbound originals with the plaudits being shared between the aformentioned Frankie, Dave McDonald and Simon Farrell and what a versatile shower of scribes they are! Old School Boogie has instant classic of the psychobilly genre stamped all over it. A rockin' fast paced tune with some excellent hooks and catchy rhythm with a big shout out to the originators of the scene....Guana Batz, Frenzy, Restless, King Kurt, Demented Are Go, Mad Sin, Batmobile etc. all getting a big "Howaya" from the lads. Nightmares is a reworked version of the b-side of their debut single Last Breath which came out on the Raucous label over 20 years ago (when the lads were of course all only 7 years old). I never really liked the song back then but they've injected new life into it and was well worthy of resurrection from the Vaults-O-Spell! Black 47 is a very sombre and haunting song with the verses in spoken-word and the chorus erm....sang. It's based on a poem by Jane Francesca Wilde (Oscar Wilde's lovely mammy) which tells a very sorrowful tale of the Irish Famine. Original Spells drummer Adrian Hayes features on tin whistle duties on this track (and I've purposely avoided making some kind of tin whistle/penis/homosexual related innuendo here....well, I just couldn't think of one). The only cover here is The Doors People Are Strange. I hate The Doors and never liked that song either. However, the lads have turned it into a slap bass heavy rockabilly stomper...fair play to em.

In conclusion then...the boys have stepped it up a gear here. The writing goes way beyond the usual psychobilly fare (there's a smattering of horror which should shut the naysayers up but the content here is astutely written story telling put to verse). Frankie's voice is on top form with a power and vibrato unmatched on this scene, Dave's guitar, well, it sounds like he has 4 hands (as opposed to Simon who actually has 4 arses), speaking of our Simey he slaps away like he has Popeye's right arm. Our Brian brings the whole thing together with some beat-perfect drumming. The only pain in the arse is we'll have to wait another couple of years for the next Spellbound outing (on record I mean...not from the closet).
The O'Prez 2011