Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Spellbound "New Blood"

(Self-released 2017)

Say It Isn't So
Take The Money (And Run)
Smash It Up
Write My Name On The Wall
Burning Out
Legend Of The Past
I Seen The Face Of Elvis

Psychobilly. It can either be just that or an umbrella term for all sorts of rockin' goodness. The latter is more than apt when it comes to this, the 5th studio album by the Irish* quartet of wizard's sleeve merchants Spellbound  (*now with 25% British beef). The title "New Blood" alludes to the new members in the ensemble: Glen Carrigg on drums (a stalwart of many combos) and Gaz Marson of Surf Rats fame. The bauld Gaz has added his penmanship to a good few of the delectable ditties on here and flexes his vocal chords on 'Sometimes' and 'I Seen The Face Of Elvis'...I wish that song was longer! Spells slapper Simon takes over lead vocal duties on Celine and for all the rest, our very own Frankie gives his usual full-on powerful vocal performance. This man must be taking steroids for his throat. I've said it before and I'll say it again; he is thee best singer on the psychobilly (etc.) scene. Back to the title though for a second. Before Simon sexted me with the blurb pertaining this release, I was of the impression that the title "New Blood" was referring to the fact that Frankie's young lad Taylor was featured on the front cover...thus new blood as in new, younger, fresher blood being injected into the scene. Anyway, enough shite talk, onto the music. 11 songs, all originals, with each member of the band on quill duties. And what an eclectic bunch of quills they possess. There's everything going on here from Teddy Boy Rock'n'Roll, to rockin' country straight through to, as you'd expect, psychobilly delivered with a swift punch to the tympanic membranes. The album is almost like a record label compilation album...only it's the same band throughout! For me, the standout tracks are those penned by Gaz Marson. So with that in mind, between the musicianship of the boys, the vocals of Frankie and now the added bonus of Gaz's song writing, this is the dawning of a new era for Spellbound. I loved em before but now I want to enter into a civil partnership with em. Bollocks I want to marry them. That's legal here now you know! (Well, maybe the polygamy bit isn't but a boy can dream). Spells connoisseurs will notice some of the tracks have been previously available on a couple of limited edition 7 inches. So if you missed out on those, here they are in all their glory on a whopper of a 12 incher!  Which reminds me, this is a vinyl-only release which will be sure to please the audiophiles and those of us that like to hold something substantial in our hands (I do most nights). It's virtually impossible to pigeon-hole this release into any specific category as it has influences akimbo. God help the poor fucker down the record shop trying to slot this into the correct section.
The boys have a couple of release night coming up in Ireland in December: Friday 15th in the Harbour Bar in Bray (with Belfast psychobilly outfit Madhouse) and Saturday 16th in The Taproom in Dublin (with Dublin rockabillies The Slick Hicks). You can pick up the album on the night from either of these shows or of course you can buy it directly from the band. I'll whack in a direct link to their email below.
The O'Prez

Monday, October 30, 2017

The Retarded Rats "I Hate Chocolate"

(Killjoy Records 2017)

The Head And The Axe

The never-predictable Killjoy Records have unleashed on us some brand new *deep inhale* oldschoolpsychogaragesurfpunkabilly from The Retarded Rats. This time coming out on sexy flexi-disc no less! Jaysus I haven't seen one of those since getting one free on the front of some paranormal magazine years ago purporting to feature "voices of the dead". So, both band and record label breaking from the more traditional formats but with that said, download codes are included for all you psychobillies from the future. Before I crack on and talk about the music though, the packaging needs a special mention as it's excellent and very cleverly constructed. But you'll just have to buy it to see for yourself. It comes in a gatefold sleeve with lyrics included. I love it when that happens. Once again it's strictly limited to 500 so grab one now before they appear on Discogs for extortionate money. Oh, and F.-J from the Beam Orchestra is on drumming duties here as opposed to our Kris The Kid.  So, onto the music. Side A sounds like a sci-fi asylumesque mash-up. If you read that in a review pertaining to any other genre you'd probably give it a miss immediately and go back to watching The X Factor or some similar shite. But this is our genre and all the offshoots that go along with it so that description is appealing!....and apt. Flipping her over you get more of that evil sounding lunatic fringe fare that has become synonymous with The Retarded Rats. They definitely are unique. They seem to be able to blend genres yet retain a psychobilly core but still have so much more going on. If these are the sounds emanating through their respective heads whilst putting pen to paper or finger to fret board, then those heads much surely be deranged. God I love deranged heads. This is the kind of record that reverberates in your skull even after you've finished listening. Add to that some atypical psychobilly lyrics and you just know you're on to a winner. 
The O'Prez

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Trillionairs "Haunted"

(Killjoy Records 2017)


The Ruhr-based quartet The Trillionairs initially came to my attention last year with the release of their first long player "10.16". They struck me as different even before I put needle to platter owing to the minimalistic sleeve design. I like a band that doesn't follow trends...be it musically or indeed artistically. If you haven't got that album you're missing out. The boys straddle the line between classic psychobilly and neo rockabilly perfectly. They're dishing up more of the same here, albeit a Weight Watchers portion of 2 songs. The title song has a ricochet rhythm throughout with some cleverly constructed drumming. When we speak of psychobilly, more often than not we get overly excited about the slap bass. Well I'm giving the drummer kudos here for a change. That's not to say the rest of the lads aren't doing their bit...they most certainly are. It's just the drums are supplying more than a backbeat, they really add to the craftsmanship of the song. Flipping her over we have more catchy goodness with a guitar sound that gets stuck in my head, a bit like Batmobile's Transsylvanian Express did or Frenzy's Hall Of Mirrors...or in more recent times The Spastiks' infectious Wolfman Crawl. The Trillionairs are a band that just seemed to pop up out of nowhere but what an impression they've made! I can't recommend these boys highly enough. If you like your psychobilly with a fraughty top of neo rockabilly then snap this up. Watch out for these lads.
The 45 is out now on Killjoy and as is the norm for the label it's a limited edition of 500...400 black, 50 red (only available from the band) and 50 white directly from Killjoy.
The O'Prez