Sunday, December 31, 2017

Lara Hope And The Ark-Tones "Love You To Life"

(Crazy Love Records 2017)

Fast, Cheap, Or Well Done
Love You To Life
Callin' My Name
'Til The Well Runs Dry
I'm Yours
Dr. Bartender
This Is What I've Got
I'm The One
Working Man's Tools
Luckiest Girl In Town (The Wedding Song)
Hotel Yorba

Jaysus Lara will you cover up them legs like a good girl. You'll catch your death. A nice pair of sensible slacks is what you want in this weather. Well, well I never!
So, now that I've dished out some leg-related life lessons, it's time to talk shop. Us lads from the psychobilly brigade will be interested to note that the name "Ark-Tones" is in fact an amalgamation of the names of big slapper Matt's old psycho outfit The Arkhams and Lara's previous rockin' ensemble The Champtones. You're welcome! What? It's not like I got that nugget of information from merely reading the band bio on their website. Well, it is yes. And stop glancing at Lara's legs!! On to the music. I see on the sleeve notes that Lara won the Best Female Rockabilly Artist at the 2017 Ameripolitan Music Awards. (That nugget is also on the band bio on their website...just SHUT UP, right?). Anyway, to my ears, on this album at least, yes there are elements of rockabilly but they're no straight-up rockabilly act. They encompass a broad spectrum of styles which all come under the broader umbrella term of rock'n'roll. Fuck sake, this is going to look like all I've done is read their website! But the band is exactly what it says on the virtual tin. A fusion of all things rockin' and roots. This kind of thing plays havoc with my music database genre entries! Lara's warm yet powerful vocals suit the full sound of the band to perfection. Speaking of which, it's that full sound that leads them out of rockabilly territory and into rock'n'roll territory. The prerequisite slap bass, guitar and drums is fattened up with horn sections and some keyboards here and there. They stray into calypso-esque and country territory too. It's quite an eclectic album which is a good thing as I find rock'n'roll can get boring if it lacks variety. They've certainly packed the variety into this package. Lara Hope And The Ark-Tones are the kind of band that have that je ne se quoi which makes them appeal to aficionados of the retro world and the denizens of the modern world in equal measure. The album...on out now on Crazy Love Records.

Jayke Orvis "Bless This Mess"

(Broken Neck Records 2017)

Murder Of Crows
Bound To Ride
West Wind
Pick Up The Steam
Crooked Smile
Slow Down
Lead Me Astray
Long Way Home

Jayke's second solo album is out now on vinyl courtesy of Broken Neck Records. If you don't know by now, Broken Neck Records is a subsidiary of Crazy Love Records and has been bringing us the best in new roots and alt. country goodness for a while now.  I say new roots and alt. country. But the basic fact is that it's neither new nor alternative. It's just that the current state of the country music industry is so far removed from what it sounded like when it actually was what it claimed to be that artists like Jayke Orvis are now considered alternative! Well to my ears he plays proper Americana and roots music so I suppose he's an "alternative" to the absolute bollocks that claims to be what it's not! Anyway, since his first solo outing it would appear that our Jayke has healed that broken heart and is now bopping along in a much more upbeat and uptempo way. It immediately reminded me of UK outfit the Skiff Skats and what they called skiffabilly back in the mid 80s. But with that said, this 100% made in the USA stuff. Fiddle, banjo, mandolin, twangin' guitar, slap bass etc. and a Southern drawl coming from a mouth you'd expect to see slugging fuck knows what from a jug with XXX engraved on the ceramic. What I particularly like about Jayke's authenticity in the music he creates is that he deosn't give two fucks about Nashville. He has steeped himself in Americana in its purist form and injected some rockabilly backbeat energy into it. If you like your music comprised of instruments made of wood with f-holes carved into them with musicians who can actually play those instruments and knee-slapping stories put to verse then this is the album for you. She's out now on limited orange vinyl (99 copies) and good auld black vinyl. Links to purchase below...
The O'Prez

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Jayke Orvis "It's All Been Said"

(Broken Neck Records 2017)

A Recipe For Tea
Yankee Taste
Feelings Like This
Beatin' My Head
Empty Bottles On A Broken Shelf
Thunderbolts And Lightning
Gone Forever More
Shady Grove Gypsy Moon
Dreadful Sinner
(Untitled Bonus Track)

If you don't know who Jayke Orvis is then you're a fuckin' eejit. This is (was) his début album that first saw the light of day back in 2010 on Farmageddon. It's now out on everyone's favourite format...vinyl..on Broken Neck Records. The Jaykester will be known to fans of The Goddamn Gallows...because he's one of em! See? Now the light bulb has lit up. Anyway, his solo stuff isn't a million miles away from the Gallows stuff but at the same time it's something completely different. They're both coming from the same melting pot of influences but Orvis's solo output keeps two feet firmly in the roots-infused clay of old time country and bluegrass without straying into folk punk territory. It has a certain musical purity to it. That purity extends to the song writing too. Apart from a few bluegrass stompers, the overall feeling of the album is one of desolation. Good old fashioned heartbreak is order of the day here. Our Jayke comes across as a very forlorn character if his lyrics are anything to go by. This is the kind of thing that'll have you crying into your pint. I quite like stuff that has that effect. The man has the ability to connect with his listeners. We've all suffered from that quivering bottom lip at some stage and he brings it all flooding back! But it's not all doom and gloom as I said. There's some fine upbeat bluegrass pickin' to be heard too. Actually, the musicianship on this album is nothing short of stellar. Oh, and while I'm at it. I hate sneakily titled songs like (Untitled Bonus Track) as I have all my music in a sexy database. So if you're as OCD as me...that song is actually an excellent rendition of Faron Young's 1958 ditty Alone With You. The album is out now CD and on red (limited to 105 copies) and black vinyl from Broken Neck/Crazy Love Records.
The O'Prez

Friday, December 29, 2017

The Wreck "Sailors Grave"

(Crazy Love Records 2017)

Axe To Beat
Space Outlaw
The Nosferatu
Jungle Planet
Attack Of The Giant Bumblee
The Day The Earth Stood Still
The Curse Of Frankenstein
What Are You Doin'?
Sailors Grave

Since I last reviewed The Wreck's two-dittied-delight I have invested in some disposable underwear and sphincter-tightening tablets. I'm wearing a pair of those paper pants now and have taken 10 of the sphincter-tightening accidental shite stoppers. Thank fuck I pre-prepared. The album has exceeded my expectations and my bottom-bomb-halting muscle is indeed twitching with nervous excitement. The Wreck have gone straight into my top 5 of favourite bands. Their sound is right up my street. They bring something new to psychobilly and the songs are constructed in such a way that they are never predictable. Don't let the run-of-the-mill psychobilly song titles fool you. These songs are very different to the usual psychobilly fare. It continues along in the same vein as the teaser they released earlier in the year. Psychobilly with a twist of post punk new wave goodness. By the way, the two tracks from that teaser are included here but are completely reworked versions. That fact alone is sure to turn the teaser into a collector's item. But back to the album....the difficulty I have is finding the words to give it the praise it deserves. The production and mixing give it that old school psychobilly appeal. Clean, crunchy, slap heavy excellence minus the bullshit demonic vocals that came later. But at the same time it sounds fuck all like anything from the days of yore. The Wreck are very much their own thing. Cast your minds back to when psychobilly had oodles of originality. Frenzy, Torment, Demented Are Go, Guana Batz, Batmobile etc. all had their own sound. That was probably easier to do 30 years ago when there was nobody else to copy. Not so easy for a band nowadays though as you might think it's all been done before and influences turn into replicas. Not so with The Wreck. One of a handful of bands to emerge in recent times to stamp their originality all over the psychobilly genre both musically and visually. And with that said, this album for me is indeed album of the year!
The O'Prez

The Wreck on Facebook
Buy the CD

Moonshine Wagon "Porca Miseria"

(Broken Neck Records 2017)

Mad, Unhappy & Stupid
Porca Miseria
Running & Hiding
Everybody Lies
Eu Não Sei
I Better Live Alone
Where The Fuck Are My Friends
My Liver Is Trying To Survive

I really like this band. I like the vocals, the musicianship and the gritty honesty to their lyrics. Hailing from the Basque Country and calling themselves Hellgrass, what you get is an ultra-talented trio of pickers and slappers singing from the heart. Melodic folk-punk vocals atop a psychobilly slap bass and a combination of all your favourite acoustic instruments played with an adroitness that most of us would love to possess. It's mostly high speed stomping stuff but that fiddle playing adds a certain melancholy feeling to proceedings. I love that! I'm going to start a fan club and call it The Basque Street Boys....The Basque Street Boys! ....Anyone? Feck off then. The album is a hoedown-tastic bluegrass-with-balls banquet. The boys have obviously honed their respective skills through their incessant touring schedule. Fuck knows where they get the time to sit down and write songs of this calibre but they do. And what songs they are. Lyrically intelligent but not pretentious. They appeal to the common man. Basically, they take every day life happenings and make outstanding melodic rhymes out of them. Sounds simple enough but I'll be fucked if I could do that. The skills these three boys have are off the charts. The album is out now on limited (109 copies) red vinyl and sexy black vinyl on good auld Broken Neck Records.
The O'Prez