I finally caught up with at least some of the pile of Rockabilly/Psychobilly CDs people have been good enough to send me. It is difficult to get the self-released items into magazines but feel free to link this anywhere you like.
The Valley Of…’
Running the gamut of rocking styles, in style.
The Arkhams are not easy to pigeon-hole and probably wouldn’t thank you for doing so, except the all-encompassing generalisation that they are rocking. They highjack pretty much every style that falls under that banner, throttle it to within an inch of death then breathe new life into its shuddering carcass. 13 tracks, 11 originals and 2 excellent covers range from Psychobilly to easy on the ear Neo-Rockabilly span this album all mashed together splendidly. Melodic, stomping, catchy as hell, it’s all here, bass solos, rockin’ guitar, infectious tunes and a smile-inducing sense of humour, hey presto an excellent record album that you really want to be getting hold of, Yeah Terry!
Excellent solid and rocking.
The Bodybags are an excellent band and tick all the boxes as far as their Psychobilly based genre goes. Solid slapping bass, rockabilly guitar all over the place and self-penned songs by talented musicians all who have their skills down to a fine art. The problem with reviewing bands playing this style of music, now 30 years old, is that the quality is consistently high so it is hard to split them. Now as back in the day there has to be something that makes them stand out from the crowd, had this been recorded back in 1983 it would have done so for sure purely on musicianship but these days the bar has been raised and we are spoilt for choice, while it is a great album their ‘King Rat’ isn’t here, yet.
Rasping, bluesy rocking goodness.
There are only 7 tracks but don’t let that put you off getting hold of this. This is hard as nails meat and two veg bluesy Rockabilly of the like should be played in roadhouses everywhere. The prominent double bass and harmonica where utilised keep things as atmospheric as you like while the guitar jangles all over the place. The songs are choice too, great stories about everyday life, well everyday if you are lucky and have a (wicked) sense of humour and are into the good things that Rock N Roll has to offer. This has a Pub Rock feel to it and that term is used in the most complimentary way possible.
‘Look Like Hell’
Multi-faceted musicians of the highest order dish it up.
I loved reviewing this because you never know what’s coming next. This mob can take virtually any of the styles that are loosely enveloped in the Rock N Roll genre and excel in playing it. You have the lot here, Rockabilly, Surf, 60’s Instrumental, Psychobilly, Hillbilly and a mixture of most of it slammed into the blender. There is always a danger that you can stretch yourself too far and be a jack of all trades and a master of none but this band are an exception to that rule for sure. Great stuff.
THE EPILEPTIC HILLBILLYS
‘Tales From The Underworld’
Psychobilly back to basics and don’t it sound good.
This is the best Psycho-Rockabilly album I have heard in ages, The Epileptic Hillbillys have emerged from Alan Wilson’s Western Star studio with an album that takes the Psychobilly right back to its roots and it’s so refreshing. Lovely slapped bass, twangy guitars, mainly self-penned with a smattering of excellently chosen covers to be sacrilegious with and do justice to in equal measure. There is just the right mixture or tongue in cheek serious, fun, slightly offensive and b-movie horror all wrapped up with top-class musicianship. It all kicks along with a sparse no thrills out and out rocking vibe that needs no gimmicks because given the ingredients already mentioned, what more do you need?
Promising debut from metalesque Psychobilly combo
The band started in 2010 for, by their own admission ‘Shits n giggles’. This is their first offering on CD and an excellent offering it is too. Their slant on the Psychobilly theme is to lean to the metal side. Having said that the traditional powerhouse of slap bass and drum is kept well to the fore with the guitars giving the metal chug without the sound getting too bogged down by it, quite similar to early Fireballs in places. All but two of the 13 tracks are self-penned with themes in keeping with their Psychobilly roots. The album is mainly mid-paced and graced with deadpan vocals that suit the subject matter perfectly. This is an excellent debut a little rough at the edges but well worth tracking down.
‘Whatever Happened To Rock N Roll??’
The Rock just got rockier.
What happened to Rock N Roll indeed? Well it never went anywhere in particular is just wandered off in numerous directions with anyone that had their own designs on it being the promiscuous slut that it is. The offspring of RnR’s various couplings are forever returning to the fold and continuing with the traditional interfucking. The Mojo Kings are a prime example of that musical orgy, 60’s Trash, Psychobilly, Punk and Rock all added their jism to the band’s genre gene pool. The emphasis and foundation is the pretty much omnipresent double bass with the aforementioned all toughened up by 2011 and riding shotgun. So in answer to the initial question it never left the party.
THE MONSTER KLUB
‘House Of Miracles’
The best offering yet from the Blood Room?
The Monster Klub lurk on the extremities as far as Psychobilly goes, a hardcore sound for a hardcore following. Singer/Guitarist Paskal has a distinctive style that really does lend itself to the music he comes up with. His rasping vocal delivery and nerve-jangling guitar riffs give the songs, already full on and in your face, that extra edge. Everything races along at a break-neck speed as tales of blood, gore, swamps and ghosts hurtle by with all 15 rattling around in your head long after the CD’s stopped spinning. Having said all that, this is totally tongue in cheek and excellent fun proper stomping Psychobilly as it should be contained in a package that ads a touch of class (and thankfully lyrics) to an already superb album.
‘Make You Sick’
Smutty Psychobilly shenanigans.
If you have a mind like mine you wouldn’t be able to resist buying this just to find out what songs like ‘Knob Gobblin Girl’ ‘Midget Porn Boogie’ and the like actually sound like. I have done that in the past and found out that the titles were the best thing about them. Luckily this is not the case but you do have to listen really hard to decipher what the lyrics actually are, not that not being able to understand lyrics ever stopped bands like Demented Are Go of course. Whilst not quite up to the standards set by the aforementioned this is a decent album of songs that hit the spot musically but I foresee better things ahead.
THE SEWER RATS
(Mad Drunken Monkey)
Powerhouse Punkabilly say no more but we could have done with some.
The Sewer Rats are the almost perfect mix of 2011 Punk and Rockabilly, the latter coming mainly from the superb double bass playing. The Punk influences, from the Clash inspired sleeve (who nicked their original from Elvis Presley so fair full circle swap) to the singalong choruses and chanted vocals shine through and blend seamlessly with the roots influences. The only disappointing aspect of this album is that isn’t really, more of an EP, unless the band are splitting up it may have been better to get some more songs of a similar quality in the can and release a full-length album, this seems a little half-arsed only having 6 tracks.
‘Welcome To The Church Of Sin’
A drunken barroom purchase I didn’t regret.
A self-released album bought from the band in a bar that I’m glad I parted with cash for. It is a decent find, melodic and twangsome Rock N Roll which oozes charm through its (all but one) self-penned songs. Most of the themes are erring on the darkside with a bit of voodoo magic thrown in as you’d imagine. Some of the tunes are a bit of a pastiche but that’s what Rock N Roll was in the first place so no points deducted for that. Should you find this don’t be put off by the slightly understated sleeve, it’s all good on the silver bit.