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

Batmobile "Wow!!"

(Doublelegs Records 2011)

Shoot Shoot
Midnight Maniac
Mad At You

For once Good Friday actually is a Good Friday!! Hammer's hard 7" was pushed through my slit this morning which made me scream with glee. "Mmmmm what a lovely package" I ejaculated*.

This limited edition slab (500 numbered copies) from everyone's favourite Rock Around The Clog exponents Batmobile features an acoustic quadruplet of songs. Three of these are reworkings of previous Batmobile ditties and the fourth hidden bonus track is a fannytastic 46 second version of Dave Philips' "Wow!".Colbert Hamilton aficionados will know this track too. So, what does the whole thing sound like? Well, have you ever found yourself down in the beer garden of your local pub on a Summer's evening and a raucous and most enjoyable impromptu jam session starts which lifts the spirits and makes you want to go on an all day bender? That's what this sounds like. The lads seemed to have great craic in the studio recording this. A sense of fun resonates through the whole thing. Between Hammer's lead vocals and the backing vocals it appears a right good auld knees up was had by all. According to the micro-interview with Hammer on the handsandarms website a new Batmobile album is in the pipeline. I hope it captures the same spontaneity and ahem...gaiety of this offering.

*ejaculated - the usage of the verb here was to "call out, yell " as opposed to "eject semen "...or was it the other way around?! I can't see the keyboard what with Hammer tea-bagging me at the moment.
The O'Prez 2011

The Brains "Hell N' Back"

(Stumble Records 2007)

Hell N' Back
Scream For Me
More Brains
She My Devil
Six Feet
No More
Zombie Walk
Zombie Riot
 Canada eh? Home to the greatest psychobilly bands of the new Millennium? The Gutter Demons live there. The Creepshow do too! The Matadors? Yes, they also inhabit that sexiest of do Montreal's finest purveyors of all things so good yet so wrong...The Brains! So, Canada, home to the greatest psychobilly bands of the new Millennium? YES! Or OUI if you will (just to keep our bilingual Canadian chums happy).

The Brains are back with their second album featuring 12 new songs of which absolutely none are "fillers". You know, "yeah that song is alright, hmmmm, don't like that one...", you inevitably hit the skip button on your CD player, go back to the 2 or 3 songs you liked later! Well not so with this album. I put it on, the first song is great..the second is great, the third....great! I'm thinking to myself "surely they can't maintain this standard throughout!??". THEY DO! Excellent vocals sit astride some of the catchiest melodies and choruses you're ever likely to hear! Given the subject matter of the songs here...or at least the might think it's all death and demonic growling and standard psychobilly fare! WRONG! It's an uplifting affair! Maybe it's the harmonies? René's heartfelt vocal stylings? Perhaps it's quite simply that the band as a unit are fantastic at what they do. There's no point in going in to comparisons to elaborate on what The Brains sound like as they have a style unique on to themselves. From psychobilly to echo drenched rockabilly the boys are at the top of their league and The Brains don't rehash the aforementioned closely related musical genres with the same old predictable approach. This is different! This is talent at its finest and it shines through on EVERY song.

If you missed out on The Brains first album, then not to worry. It's included here in its entirety as bonus tracks as is a scorcher of a live track. As you may have guessed by now I'm quite taken with this release and I am NOT easily impressed. There are a handful of bands that get the O'Prez Official Seal Of Approval (and you all know what impeccable taste I have) and The Brains have just got a nice hot waxy stamp on each of their Quebecan arses!
The O'Prez 2007

The Tabaltix "Sex, Pugs and Rock'n'Roll"

(Crazy Love Records 2007)

Sex, Pugs And Rock'n'Roll
Hot To The Touch
For Me
Dead Man Walking
Jerkin' Back And 4th
Rob The Bank
Let's Dance
Back In Time
Jungle Fever
So Long Baby
No Time To Dance
Tabaltix Rock'n'Roll
 Remember when psychobilly was about fun and not about gore and metal guitars? The Tabaltix obviously do. You could place any one of these tracks on Kix 4 U's 1985 compilation Psycho Attack Over Europe and you wouldn't think they were recorded in 2007 OR that the band were Statesiders. Yes, that's right..The Tabaltix are one of thee best bands to come out of the UK/European mid 80s psychobilly boom...only it's not the mid 80s and they're from the other side of the Atlantic. You get the picture right? Old farts...erm...I mean...scholars of the old school classic psychobilly sound...REJOICE! I dare you to denounce this release.

The instrumentation, the production, the lyrics...everything about this album oozes 80s psychobilly sex do those lovely lipstick kisses from the 3 Tabaltik sexpots in the booklet! Basically what the Tabaltix have done here is take the cream of the crop of the first wave of psychobilly exponents and blended em all up to give us a nutritious well balanced kick up our respective arses and reminded us of what psychobilly used to sound like and with this release does once more. HOORAH! I give it 4 toothy smiles!
The O'Prez 2007

The Alley Dukes "...Go Back To College!"

(Flying Saucer Records 2007)

Well, if they really went back to college then it wasn't to study for greater academic prowess! Judging by the photos in the rest of the CD booklet it was to observe lesbian shenanigans, topless debauchery and the fine art of spanking school girls arses! So, with that said I suppose I needn't review the music at all as you'll all want to rush out and buy it just for the erm, artistic direction of the graphics!

Opening proceedings, Mr. Danny Duke declares "If this ain't rockabilly you can suck my balls". Chillax Danny, I've listened to your fine album and it IS rockabilly so there'll be no need for any testicular styled threats! The music The Alley Dukes play is indeed 100% rockabilly but without the usual rockabilly references to "rockin', boppin' and cruisin'". Instead we're treated to non stop pervabilly lyrics...the subject matter of which is typically what an entire conversation would consist of on a drunken lads night out when we're not pretending to be all sensitive when some lovely ladies may be in earshot. Song title of the year goes to this classic: (I Broke Your Hymen) You Broke My Heart. You get the picture now right? So, add to the belly laugh song lyrics some fine up-tempo well constructed slap bass sing-along rockabilly and you have in a nutshell what The Alley Dukes have created on this album....and all their previous output for that matter!

If, like me, you love rockabilly but sometimes find the lyrical content to be somewhat clichéd then The Alley Dukes should appeal to you. Have a lads night in, crack open a few cans and put this album in your CD gets even funnier when your pissed and you can all sing along! Just make sure all the females are gone out to bingo or whatever it is they do.
The O'Prez 2007

The Phantom Drifters "Sea Of Stones"

(Self released 2006/2012)

"Gothabilly" is a term that has been used to pigeonhole bands who write songs in a style too dark to be classed "rockabilly". 99% of the time these bands are neither "gothic" nor "rockabilly" but are just given this moniker by music journalists who know next to nothing about either style. I'm using the term here because I DO know what I'm talking about and The Phantom Drifters, well, their songs are just too dark to be rockabilly!

Chris Neapolitan, frontman/guitarist/lyricist par excellence of the now unfortunately defunct Phantom Drifters sent me the unmastered CD of their never to be released full length album. It's a great pity it will never be unleashed upon the general public as it's an absolute gem. However, Mr. Neapolitan is now concentrating on a solo career and seeing as he is responsible for the musical and lyrical dark brilliance of the Phantom Drifters output perhaps he may re-record the songs on this album and release them under his own name. We can but ask him nicely! Or just flat out insist. What Neapolitan has done on the Phantom Drifters album is take the basic elements of the slap bass/Gretsch drenched rockabilly rhythm and instead of singing about the usual yawn inducing rockabilly fare (cars, hair, bopping..zzzzzzzzz) he sings of the darker side of life and heartbreak with lyrics which tell a real story and are delivered with passion, power and sincerity instead of the usual "gimmicks" associated with most rockabilly. Musically the rhythm section makes the listener want to dance but the guitar has that dark "gothabilly" twang and when this is infused with Neapolitan's heart wrenching vocal style and creative lyrical capabilties it also makes the listener want to "listen". His song writing and vocal delivery isn't just something pleasing to the auricular senses but also gets your imagination working with the imagery he conjures up. To elaborate, his songs are brooding tales and his music..the perfect rockabilly-noire
The O'Prez 2007

Spellbound "Eleven Deadly Sins"

(Self released 2007)

Don't Believe In Love
Just In Time
Blood On Your Hands
Fools' Gold
Toccata In Dm
She's So Modern
Skater Girl
Psycho Nite (2007)
You Scare The Shit Out Of Me
 Frankie Hayes is a sonic powerhouse! People often complain that studio albums lack the energy of a booze fuelled live performance.But this, the latest shiny beermat from Irish psychobilly stalwarts Spellbound will leave such critics eating their words...and washing them down with a nice creamy pint of Guinness. The sounds emanating from this album are to put it mildly..."exciting". The boys have honed their respective talents to a fine art. It's a perfect showcase of their song writing and musical adroitness. Guitarist Dave shows he too can flex those vocal chords on Fool's Gold and goes "Bach" to his roots (geddit?) on Toccata In Dm which I think pays homage to the skills of Toy Dolls frontman Olga more so than to poor auld Johann. The only other cover on here is The Boomtown Rats' "She's So Modern" which was always a song I liked but given the Spellbound treatment I now LOVE it (even if Frankie pronounces it "modren"...isn't that right Uncle Meat?).

Dave has penned most of the songs here, with Frankie taking out his pencil for the excellent opening track "Don't Believe In Love" and the re-working of the 1989 classic Psycho Nite! Even award winning bassist Simon shows us he's not just a poseur in a hat with the extremely catchy and melodic closing ditty "You Scare The Shit Out Of Me".

I don't recommend you buy this album; I INSIST! Eleven Deadly Sins is atypical of the current batch of albums doing the rounds in that it neither fits in the niches of old school or modern...sorry...modren psychobilly but perfectly bridges the gap between both. Jaysus it makes me proud to be Irish!! 
The O'Prez 2007

Seannie Foy "Further Down That Rocky Road"

(Foot Tapping Records 2006)

Red Hot Rockin' Blues
All The Time
Big River
20th Century Boy
Boppin' Bonnie
Maybe Baby
My Brand Of Blues
Bird Doggin'
One Hand Loose
I Got A Woman
Goodbye Goodbye 

Seannie Foy! Ultra talented and ultra elusive too. Google searches come back with very little info on the man and I've only met him once during my multiple excursions to rockin' shows in Dublin. In the early to mid 1980s he was the charismatic and exceedingly suave front-man of Ireland's pioneering rockabilly outfit Those Handsome Devils. The Devils received much critical acclaim at the time with sold out shows, TV appearances, full page spreads in national newspapers and their debut single Hep Bop/Boy Meets Girl became single of the week on the nation's biggest pop and rock radio station. Then Those Handsome Devils seemed to disappear almost overnight. Their musical output is very rare and much sought after but Foy himself continued to work in various musical mediums and his heart stayed true to his rockabilly roots as can be witnessed on this his debut solo album.

Further Down That Rocky Road sees Seanie Foy paying tribute to the artists that have influenced him through the years and he pays homage to these greats in his own inimitable style. Why this man is not internationally revered by the rockin' scene is a travesty. I suppose it's that elusiveness I mentioned earlier; just a select few know about him. Maybe that's more of a geographical factor than anything else. But I think all that is going to change and deservedly so. Backed up here by Darrel Higham on slap bass and Les Curtis on drums, this rhythm section is set alight by the extraordinary guitar talents of Foy and his vocals have that gravely Cochran appeal to them but with a richer deeper tone and unique vibrato. The music is for the most part straight up wild rockabilly but there's little inroads into blues and garage here and there as well. The production is pristinely clear and powerful whilst still maintaining a vintage vibe to it. The songs, although covers, are all given Foy's distinctive style. For example, the cover of Buddy Holly's Maybe Baby sounds NOTHING like the original and is an aural delight.

There will be another Seannie Foy album coming out soon featuring all self penned material but in the meantime, if you don't know his music or have given up on trying to find the all too rare Those Handsome Devils gems then you should get your hands on this and discover one of the true, thus far, unsung musical greats these shores have ever had to offer.

The O'Prez (2007)