Saturday, October 13, 2018

The Cursed Bastards "Dead Head"

(Crazy Love Records 2018)

Psycho Train
Dead Head
Misery & Bliss
Demons Scream Tonight
Tequila Mockingbird
Me Not The Human
Six Doors
In Her Eyes
A Perfect Night To Die

 These Californians first came to my attention back in 2015 with their 'A Perfect Night To Die' EP. If you missed out on that release, then not to worry, it's included here for your delectation. The lads are no Johnny-Come-Latelys having cut their teeth in The Cigaratz, Stop Breathing and the Deadbeat Sinners. So this is their début album and it comes on CD and vinyl, the latter of course will please all the snobs like Dave Acuna over on Psychoholic. The boys have a solid psychobilly back beat with melodies that are more akin to punk. Not screamcore shite though. The catchy variety with substance. Add to that some raucous backing vocals and harmonies and you have The Cursed Bastards. Usually I'd whack in a few comparisons to other bands to explain meself better but not this time. The Cursed Bastards are very much their own machine. This is the kind of album that takes a few listens before you make your mind up. It took me a few listens anyway. It kinda creeps up on you. When you get past the initial power and aggression of the music you discover there's some fine virtuosity involved and you'll find yourself singing along (or in some cases shouting along) with the choruses. As I finish this review and remove me headphones the songs are still reverberating through me skull. 
The O'Prez

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Pope Paul & The Illegals "Start Gettin' Serious"

(Dial Back Sound 2018)

Up In The Clouds
Altered State
Let's Ragnarok
Start Gettin' Serious
Heartsick On The Road
It Wasn't Enough
Demented Swing
Sugar Spots
Off My Chest
Santa Ana Flu
Rip It Off

The prep-work that went into this review has been above and beyond the call of duty. Apart from adding photos and text and took me 15 minutes to get the shrink wrap off the CDs. So who are these lads then? If you look beneath the surface of the household names within the psycho/rockin'/roots scenes there are bands aplenty to be discovered. Santa Ana's Pope Paul & The Illegals are one such combo. The trio formed in 2014 and this is their third album and the follow up to 2017's The Dial Back Boogie. That album was a rompin' stompin' honky tonkin' rockabilly rouser. It also had hints of what was to come on Start Gettin' Serious in that in places it was hard to pigeon hole the sounds into any particular genre. This is what the boys' new album is all about. You just don't know what you're going to get. It's a sonic box of chocolates for which you've lost the inlay card that tells you what's what. One minute you're chowing down on country, the next sleazy rock'n'roll, then garage-esque psychobilly straight through to high octane rockabilly. The confusing shower of bastards! The thing is though, it works! People not in-the-know often ask me how can I only listen to one type of music. I don't. Rockabilly and psychobilly may be the basis but then they have an extended family of all manner of inbred mutants to keep everything fresh. So, I actually have eclectic tastes....rooted in primal rock'n'roll. And that sums up exactly what's to be heard on Start Gettin' Serious. Now as if the pain in the arse of that shrink wrap wasn't enough, I now have to go add a load of links at the end of this so you can get your hands on some Pope Paul & The Illegals swag. You can buy the CD version directly from the band on Facebook or stream/download from the links below. They really are a shower of bastards, not just confusing ones.
The O'Prez

...bloody hell, just Google "Pope Paul & The Illegals Start Gettin' Serious"..FINE...I'll do it for you:
Pope Paul & The Illegals Start Gettin' Serious

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Gutter Demons "No God, No Ghost, No Saints"

(Stomp Records 2018)

Cold Call
Devil's Hand
Damage Case
Bad Blood
Hell For Leather

Merciful hour has it really been three years since Unfinished Business? Well it has. GET OVER IT! Ahem, anyway, the trio of Montreal aural-molesters are back with their fifth album. It'll be released on November 2nd but I fall under the "really great guy" category in their pamphlet of "Fuckin' Hell We Love These Guys" so I have it now. I really am great! Now then, I've given this album a few listens and whereas the classic psycho instrumentation is there, to my ears, this is a more rock'n'roll Gutter Demons compared to their previous output. Proper underground ant-airwaves rock'n'roll. It's too testosterone-fuelled for the airwaves. Your average DJ wouldn't know what to do with the hairy-bollocked blasters on this album. However, I've always loved the boys ability to pull off a dark ballad too and the track 'Faith' is another Gutter Demons slam dunk that'll have the ladies' flaps giving them a round of applause. Other than that relaxation break though, this album really is an onslaught on the senses. It's the kind of thing that should be playing in the background during a dive bar brawl. It's boiling over with hard man attitude and swagger.
The O'Prez

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Beat Devils "Dig My Beat"

(JetNoise Records 2018)

Dig My Beat
Andy The Frog
Dynamite Eyes
Baby's Got Me Wrong
Murder Of The Snowman
Bad Boy
Just A Little More Fun
Headless Horseman (The Polecats Tribute)
I Don't Care If You Care About Me
My Gal (The Ratmen Tribute)
Lonely Boy (Wigsville Spliffs Tribute)
Night Falls Down
Dancing On My Bones

The Beat Devils are a class act. There's no two ways about it. They're the kind of band that never disappoint with their releases and this is no exception. The boys play that perfect blend of neo rockabilly and psychobilly that I instantly love! Good songs can be let down by shit production when it comes to anything with "billy" on the end of it. Especially the slap bass sound. The bass sounds excellent here and drives each song in a way that makes it impossible not to slap your leg in time and have a big satiated grin on your gob. The guitar is clean, reverby in all the right places and played faultlessly. The drums are blended into the mix to perfection adding to the infectious beat. The vocals are reminiscent of The Stringbeans (especially in the pronunciation department). It's blatantly obvious that the boys are steeped with influences from the neo/psycho outfits that came out of Europe in the mid-80s but instead of trying to recreate that sound, they take the essence of it and add their own energy and take it off in a direction that's both refreshing and contemporary. There are three neo covers on here which really prove the point I made about those influences. Absolutely excellent versions of songs by the Polecats, Ratmen and Wigsville Spliffs. The boys have written some instant classics on here but they haven't rested on their laurels and just flung in a few note-for-note covers to fill out the album. They've put (Tribute) beside the song titles because they've reworked those songs and made em so Beat Devils-esque that if you didn't already know the songs you'd think that they penned them. They work seamlessly with the Beat Devils originals. I could wax lyrical about this album for another three paragraphs such is my enthusiasm for what the band have produced here but I think you get the gist of it. Plainly put, "Dig My Beat"? Too fuckin' right I do!
The O'Prez

The album is available to pre-order now on both vinyl and CD and a whole gamut of different packages/colours are available. It's available on all the streaming/download sites too for all you futuristic/impatient/lazy bastards. You can check out the Beat Devils Facebook page for links but I might add some here because I'm nice that way. 

Buy the vinyl, CD, vinyl and all sorts of Beat Devils goodness in various colours!
Dig My Beat on Google Play
Dig My Beat on Deezer
Dig My Beat on Spotify
Dig My Beat on iTunes
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Sunday, April 15, 2018

The Goddamn Gallows "The Trial"

(Crazy Love Records 2018)

Blackened Soul
It's Gonna Be OK (No It's Not)
When No One's Around
The Trial
City Of Fools
Dreadful Sinner
Down With The Ship

The ever-prolific Goddamn Gallows are back with another album of genre-mixing mayhem. The hobocore quintet seamlessly blend all manner of musical influences whilst maintaining their dark carnival bluegrass essence. Tempo-wise it's a more sombre affair when compared to the more ballistic beats I generally associate with the Gallows. They say you can't judge a book by its cover but you can certainly judge this album by its cover. It sums up the sounds within perfectly. The boys have crafted 10 songs that are dark, menacing and just plain evil sounding. Not death metal evil. Backwoods rustic evil! I have it on good authority though from a Rhode Island friend of mine that the lads are actually nice as pie off stage. Well their on-stage doppelgängers are the anti-pie! The Goddamn Gallows prove once again with the release of The Trial that if you want to hear real American roots music, delivered with underpant-soiling menace, then steer clear of The Grand Ole Opry and get your arse down to one of their shows. They're on tour now!
The O'Prez

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Toxenes "Hot Rod"

(Killjoy Records 2017)

Hot Rod
Green Room
Alley Cats

I was in Minneapolis a (good) few years ago. The Toxenes were probably running around in their nappies causing all sorts of mayhem down the crèche back then. But fast forward a (good) few years and the trio of Twin Cities temptresses are unleashing their blend of garage punk with a big whack of toughness and a side order of seduction. This is the follow-up 45 to their début album which came out on cassette a while ago on Killjoy. I don't have a tape deck but I do have a sexy turntable so this is my first introduction to the band. Snarling guitars, tight bass lines and crunching drums abound. Add to this concoction vocals that exude attitude and throat-slitting sexiness and you just know these girls are the rock'n'roll real deal. Three self-penned ditties and a cover of The Pandoras' (I Want My) Caveman. As usual for Killjoy Records, it's limited to 500 pieces (400 black vinyl, 50 purple...only available from the band, and 50 turquoise only available from Killjoy). The song Alley Cats is also the title song of a short film by Nyala Sarita which you can find out more about here and here! The Toxenes are the perfect musical choice given the premise for this film and the tracks on this EP are testament to that fact. Our very own mini-girl gang. Pleasing on the ear and eye but not so much on the jaw if you so much as look at em crooked.
The O'Prez

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Henry And The Bleeder "Looking Backwards"

(The Western Star Recording Company 2018)

'87 Bound
I Gotta Rock On (For You)
Day Trippin'
Too Many Heartaches
Vicious Circle
This Town
No Regrets
Weed Farmer
Letter To Moseley
Gypsy King
Man With The World At His Feet

I liked Henry And The Bleeders since the first time I saw their video for Hillbilly In A Psycho Band. It was those shouty hiccuping vocals that reeled me in. I pre-ordered this the minute I became aware of its imminent release. On this album the lads are veering off in all sorts of directions whilst still retaining that Bleeders raw energy. Don't worry though, the directions they take are not to the land of shite. Let's face it, the music we like has all sorts of influences but influences that stem from good music! And that' what you get here! Good music! I could throw a load of genres into the ring when attempting to explain the sounds betwixt the silver optical data delights on this album but I'll just create a new one, no I won't. It's impossible to pigeon-hole em. The boxofchocolatesabilly (oh wait, I just did) quartet, really do have something for everyone with even a modicum of taste and prove to be a gorge-fest for those that like it all. If you liked the variety of the Klub Foot line ups from way back when but want a current band with that youthful vigour and in-your-face attitude then snap this one up. 
The O'Prez

Haystacks Calhoon "Good, Good Night Out"

(Self released 2018)

Good Good Night Out
Good To Be Home
Glow In The Dark
Another Minute With You

Who? Eh? Well that's what I said (in my mind, because I have no real friends to talk aloud to) when vox-man and slap bassist of Haystacks Calhoon (Who? Eh?) sent me the link to his new outfit. Psychobilly types will know our Eddie from his previous combo The Hoodoo Voodoo Dolls. Well his new ensemble have just released a 6-track mini album and it's available from their bandcamp page in digital download and sexy CD format. Anyway, so what do Haystacks Calhoon sound like? Well, they call themselves Swampabilly but I'll elaborate on that. They're melodious as fuck and their songs are cleverly constructed social commentaries on every day life with a twist of dark humour. Musically it's rootsy rockabilly and it's lyrically and vocally stylistically reminiscent of the excellent Terry And Gerry. And..I don't think I've ever typed so many words one after the other ending in "ally". Haystacks Calhoon are the kind of band that make me immediately sit up and take notice. Let's face it, we all love things ending in "billy" but a lot of it is samey and uninspired so when a band like this comes along it's always a welcome breath of fresh air. A rare breed of band that stamp their own identity on our chosen sub culture. 
The O'Prez

Saturday, January 20, 2018

The Psychward Breakouts "The Psychward Breakouts"

(Crazy Love Records 2018)

Johnny Bastard
Pretty Girl

Sweden has always been a bit of a hotbed for talent when it comes to psycho and neo outfits. The latest shower of ne'er-do-wells to join the Nordic notebook of infamy are The Psychward Breakouts. These boys play psychobilly with an evil, take-no-prisoners kind of style. They've listed their influences as Demented Are Go, Klingonz and Banane Metalik. Well, they certainly do sound like a perfect blend of all three. This mini-album is a sonic onslaught to the senses. They sound like you wish most horror films would look. Frightening. In a good way. They do manage to mix things up a bit though. In amongst the psychobilly mayhem, they stick in a macabre love song with a certain 50's B-movie pastiche. There's also the slightest bit of ska on Dead. For the most part though, what you're getting here is stuff that'll make for a sweaty, bloody, testosterone-filled wrecking pit. Production values are on the money and suit the songs perfectly. I'm big on aesthetics too and these boys look every bit as fucked as the lyrics they spew. If you like your psychobilly with a big dollop of gore and with the emphasis on the psycho as opposed to the billy then The Psychward Breakouts should slot nicely into your CD rack of repulsion.
The O'Prez

Rockabilly Mafia "Signature In Blood"

(Crazy Love Records 2017)

Unchain The Force
Torsby Rock'n'Roll
On The Run
Schwarze Rose
Walk, Don't Talk
Nicht Für Mich
Bass, Gitarre Und Trommel
Rockabilly Beat
Bop Alter Mann
Signature In Blood

It's been two years since the last Rockabilly Mafia album. Jaysus it feels more like two months. You know that music has taken over your life when you start putting time scales on things in conjunction with when such and such an album was released. Anyway, the trio are back with another knee-slapping tour de force of neo rockabilly refinement and Teddy Boy-esque tunesmithing excellence. Rockabilly Mafia have always had a very simplistic approach to music. Their recipe is fairly elementary. Take a set of drums, a guitar, a slap bass and write infectious rockabilly rhythms. But this concoction takes skill to pull off right. The songs on here don't sound like a million other rockabilly songs. At the risk of sounding like Louis Walsh...they make rockabilly their own! The only downside to Rockabilly Mafia albums (for non-German speakers) is that it's usually a 50/50 mix of German/English language songs so half the time I don't know what the fuck they're singing about. But with that said, that infectious Rockabilly Mafia beat coupled with those ear-pleasing guitar hooks make me not particularly care what they're singing about anyway. But with THAT said...I always enjoy the wit and grass roots approach they take with their English language tracks. This is the 16th album from the lads, all self-penned songs (including an excellent reworking of On The Run) and all in keeping with the standard you've come to expect from Rockabilly Mafia. Coming in sexy digipak packaging with a twenty page booklet including lyrics and all manner of insights. These boys are thee most melodious outfit on Planet Rockabilly. The perfect fusion of neo rockabilly and Teddy Boy stomp.
The O'Prez

Saturday, January 13, 2018

The Nevrotix "Alive"

(Crazy Love Records 2018)

No Name
Werewolf Stomp
The Hatching
Fire Train
Nervous Beat
Voodoo Island
Butcher Boy
Different Lives
The Plague

There's a certain nod artistically (not musically..well maybe a bit) to The Krewmen on this album. The tray insert especially. It features little mini posters as it were for each song as if they were individual short stories. Well they are. And finely executed too. There's also a nod to not only the 80s psychobilly sound but 80s horror films/creature features too. Two things I love. The trio of nubile sexpots are once again blurring the lines between psychobilly and neo rockabilly with the stomping beat of psycho and the twang of neo. Also two things I love. On this, their second album, they continue to carve out their own distinctive sound. As follow-up albums go, this is the perfect successor. They've kept the rockin' beat of the first and ramped it up to make it an even wilder affair. The Nevrotix are an excellent band. It's as simple as that. Sometimes when a band release the follow-up to a début I was quite taken with I can quite easily lose interest as their quest for "progression" just alienates their initial listeners. Well these three boys know how to be progressive and still satiate these picky-as-fuck ears. 
The O'Prez

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Saint Dom And The Sinful "Holywell Dene"

(Self-released 2017)

Get Up And Get Out
Motorbike Rider
Mr Saint
Ghost Town
Holywell Dene
Cause I Do
Cat Feet
Jenny Won't Play No More
Phantom Lady
One Foot In The Grave

For a few years now there has been a video by an ensemble called Sinful which was recorded for UK TV back in 1983 on a programme called The Works which has garnered much interest from the psycho/neo community. It regularly pops up on social media and there was always a certain mystery surrounding the band. Interest was also piqued owing to the fact that Simon Badminton who later went on to form Spook And The Ghouls was the slap bassist. In 2012 an album of demo material appeared on the band's Reverbnation page which only added to the burgeoning interest surrounding the band. I loved those demo recordings, and then, out of the blue a few months ago I see a post by a guy called Peter Turner on one of the Facebook psycho/neo group pages advertising the release of an album by Saint Dom And The Sinful. The penny didn't drop for a few minutes until I had a listen to the samples he posted. I immediately wrote to Peter who as it transpires is now the slap bassist for known as Saint Dom And The Sinful and we had a chat back and forth. He then put me in contact with Saint Dom himself, Dominic Malia, frontman and lyricist extraordinaire, the CD was purchased (though the cheap bastard even charged me the 25p for the envelope), the wait for the postman began, and then it dropped on my plush red carpet. The self-released gem, much to my surprise, is no hastily put together package as is the way sometimes with self-released stuff. This thing comes with a 16 page booklet and the paper is so thick that it barely fits in the jewel case. Now I heard the samples of course as I mentioned before, but I also had that 2012 demo and loved the raw energy of it. Sometimes when songs are taken into a studio and mixed/engineered properly all that magic can be lost. That raw energy can become flat and banal. From the opening few chords on this album I knew this was not going to be the case. Thank fuck! It becomes even more evident when Dom's vocals kick in that this is neo rockabilly with power. This man has some pipes. All the songs from the aforementioned demos are here, there are 12 songs in total, all self-penned and not one of them is shite! This a most unusual occurrence. I rarely, if ever, like every song on an album. This release is in a league of its own when it comes to quality song writing. Dom's singing also keeps my finger away from clicking next on my player. He has an infectious voice! Add to that the acoustic resonance of the slap bass and the crunch of the snare, the clean, sometimes heal-palmed guitar and it's a recipe for neo rockabilly purity. I'm glad someone gave Dom that well-deserved kick up the arse to get a band together and finally get these songs properly released for the baying audience he probably didn't even know he had. You can buy the CD directly from the band from their Facebook page and it's on all the major digital download/streaming sites.
The O'Prez

Monday, January 1, 2018

The Rhythm Reactorz "Feel The Fallout Of The...Rhythm Reactorz"

(Crazy Love Records 2017)

Run Away
Lost Time
Chloe Cries
Broken Hearted Dreamers
Never Will Forget
Chalk Line Blues

When I think of neo rockabilly my mind immediately zones in on the UK and Europe. But The Rhythm Reactorz from Los Angeles have their own version of neo rockabilly. It's a more smooth or maybe eloquent version of the raucous neo sounds we get over this side of the pond. Smooth and eloquent pretty much sum up the sounds emanating from my headphones when listening to The Rhythm Reactorz. While there is a pounding double bass and drums back beat, the guitar and vocals give The Rhythm Reactorz a kind of plush velvet sound. There's a kind of dark romantic vibe going on in the melodies and guitar playing. I fucking love it! There's no bullshit about bopping or cadillacs to be heard here. Lyrically it's mainly comprised of songs about love and women. But there's no clichéd rhyming schemes or words you can fill in before they're even sang. This is some excellently crafted stuff, both lyrically and musically. There's a certain melancholia to Tony Pelayo's vocals that adds a sincerity to the songs. Don't get me wrong though, there's not a slow song on the entire album. It's all slap-tastic neo rockabilly. It's the rhythms and vocals sitting on top of the beat that sets them apart from their less-than-original counterparts. It's rockabilly with substance. Who would have thought there was such a thing?
The O'Prez

The Rhythm Reactorz on Facebook
Buy the LP
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