Various Reviews.


JIM JEFFRIES

‘Coming To Get You’

(I Sold My Soul)

Atmospheric, dark n rockin’ debut solo.

8/10

Fed up with being a sideman, albeit a bloody good one with some great outfits, Jim Jeffries has launched into his solo album with some enthusiasm. He has definitely enjoying starting out with a blank musical canvas unencumbered by preconceptions of what he ‘is’ musically. The running gear is without a doubt rockabilly with some excellent double bass and drum rhythms solid throughout. Most of the fourteen songs are self-penned or collaborations ranging from slightly folksy blues thru tex-mex to out and out rockin’ filled out with everything from Spanish guitar to mandolin and harp. Jim’s vocals have mellowed slightly from previous recordings and are in keeping with the restrained sometimes desperate utterly rockin’ nature of the album which is an impressive debut.

Simon Nott.

GRAVEYARD JOHNNYS

‘Songs From Better Days’

(Wolverine)

4/5

Poon chasing Welsh punkers storm it

The Graveyard Johnnys’ debut long-player has been eagerly anticipated since their debut EP was picked up by Mike Davies and tours with the likes of Mad Sin. The wait was well worth it as they smash into tales of rough chicks, boozing and thumbing it to the man, with searing guitar and big choruses. The anger and humour are harmonised and pulverised into slabs of punk that contain a surprise in every bite. Joe Grogan’s double bass is wielded not as some sort of theatrical nod to all things ‘abilly but as an offensive weapon ready to clobber anyone with a quiff wanting to hijack them or their music. This is riotous and roll baby!

Simon Nott

LOADED 44

‘Wasted On You’

(STP)

3/5

Rampant,Raucous Punk Rock N Roll

Formed in 1996 Loaded 44 played their first gig with the UK Subs and have been sticking it to us ever since with largely self-penned material. Singer Beki’s voice belts out songs of broken hearts and tragedy not as tales of woe but with defiance and a big stiff middle finger. This is big sounding punk rock performed with controlled anger, rock n roll guitar and twangy bass-lines almost veering into glam in places. Toy Dolls fans will be chuffed to note Olga guests on guitar to add gloss to an excellent album.

Simon Nott

REBEL CITY RADIO

‘Hello Hypocrite – Hypocrite Hello’

(Killer Shark)

4/5

Impressive well-produced aural kick in the chops.

Rebel City Radio haven’t been around for long but have been making their mark and gaining praise from friends in high places. This is an impressive album that sounds as if it could have been recorded with no expense spared for a major label and surely displays the ambition the band have. There are some huge tracks on here that will surely go a large way to catapulting them into the spotlight. There are definite nods to their influences here but they are well enough merged into their own ideas for it to work in a positive way, a punk band to look out for.

Simon Nott

BEAT DEVILS

‘Another Dream’

(Crazy Love)

As infectious and catchy as man flu in a wrecking pit

8/10

Russian combo the Beat Devils have unleashed an album that really should have some sort of antidote released with it, it is that infectious. I warn you that there is a good chance you will have the opening track alone whirling around your head for a long time long after you have ripped the plug from the wall, then the second will start, so it goes on. The slap bass is crisp and clear doing exactly what it should, driving everything along in locomotive fashion with flourishes in answer to the rimshot rattles. They punctuate the gravitational hooks dragging you into the songs melodic to the extreme and enhanced rather than plagued by the odd backing vocal. There are 11 killer tracks, all sung in English, I’m off to find a vaccine, after I have listened just once more.

Simon Nott

BONSAI KITTEN

‘Done With Hell’

(Wolverine)

Kitten my arse, this girl is tough.

7/10

If picking up a CD with a band name that includes the word kitten, don’t judge it by its cover, there is nothing soft and fluffy about this. The album is ballsy as hell and full of venom, it all kicks off with a nice rocking instrumental that lures you into a false sense of security with some sultry ‘ahhhs’. Then you get the idea, the rhythm section is pure metronymic percussion and the vocals female and feisty. Songs of revenge and warnings not to mess bounce along over the humping rockabilly bass and guitar that ranges from buzzsaw to twang make good bedfellows with some low down and dirty more blues themed tunes as well as a duet with Koefte DeVille, (he was probably scared not to!) make for a cracking album.

Simon Nott

NICK 13

‘Nick 13’

(Sugar Hill)

Tiger Army’s frontman’s country fling.

7/10

This is one of those albums that splits opinion, if it were not Nick 13 of US psychobilly luminaries Tiger Army it probably wouldn’t even get a review here but of course psychobilly is only the wicked nephew of country so no massive shift. Nick’s solo album is modern country music, the fact it has taken him the best part of two years to put down these ten tracks tells its own story, top notch production, exceptionally well done but lacking the heart and feeling that oozes from the best of genre. Not to say that there is no passion in the lyrics, fans of Nick’s song-writing will probably love it (although he has reworked some well-loved TA classics here so has hardly been working overtime with his pen) as will people who dig clean-cut country because that is what this is, conformist musically with no rough edges but if the idea was to break into the that lucrative sphere and make some real dollar he could well do it with this.

Simon Nott

SQUAREHEAD

‘Yeah Nothing’

(Richter Collective)

The Beach Boys meet Punk on sunny summer’s day.

8/10

Just the like the harmonious origins of the Beach Boys who are so obviously an influence on Irish trio Squarehead there is plenty of rock n roll in the mix here. Alongside the unashamedly poppy feel that just radiates sunshine there is plenty of surf guitar and bopalong rhythms of the 1950s in evidence, but the sound is no retrospective born too late pointless party. OK it may have been before being filtered down through the musical decades from that late 50s early 60s ambience incorporating elements of garage and punk before lolling out to us as a near perfect slab of catchy pop. Good time music that’s so feel good it could be marketed as aural Prozac, the only come-down being when track 12 ends, hit repeat.

Simon Nott

VARIOUS ARTISTS

‘Sun Records – Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On!’

(Metro-Select)

Sun Records warts and all.

6/10

The title suggests that this 60-track double CD compilation is one that focuses on the great rockabilly and rock n roll that the label that launched the likes of Elvis, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash to name just four had to offer. What we have instead is one that casts its net wide from the very earliest blues to a track that to my ears wasn’t even a contemporary Sun recording. Some of the classics are here, the packaging is top notch with informative sleeve notes. Sadly there is no rhyme nor reason to the track-listing which is neither in any sort or chronological, genre or evolutionary order which considering the mine of musical gold that could have been tapped has its fair share of bland amongst the bling.

Simon Nott

VARIOUS ARTISTS

‘Rebel Rock – The Essential Rockabilly Album’

(Metro-Select)

An excellent introduction to 1950’s Rockabilly.

9/10

Maybe the ‘essential’ rockabilly album is an impossible claim but this one comes very close. It has to be assumed that it has been released with people who are new to the genre in mind because any collector will have pretty much all of the 50 tracks. However, full marks to the complier because they have hit a great mix of quality that include some cracking early career rockabilly by the likes of Buddy Holly, Bill Haley, Roy Orbison and Charlie Rich that would have come as surprises to their fans back in the day. Those gems are alongside tracks that despite their obscure origins have long since been quite rightly hailed as retrospective classics of the genre. The whole package is excellent but a slight gripe that the sleeve notes sloppy in places so best let the music do the talking.

Simon Nott

DELANEY DAVIDSON

‘Bad Luck Man’

(Voodoo Rhythm)

Atmospheric country blues.

7/10

Award nominated New Zealander Delaney Davidson is a global legend and has toured it as a one man band for which is he renowned. This album was recorded all over the world too and in doing so has recruited some excellent musicians along the way to populate his usually solitary studio offerings. The one time drummer for The Dead Brothers has kept that combo’s element of the morose within a lot of this tracks which are funeral paced and gloom-ridden in places then bust into joyful (at least in the context of this album) banjo-picking abandon in others. As you would expect from Voodoo Rhythm there is a certain experimental element meandering around in the hinterland of this  which adds volume to the atmosphere.

Simon Nott

VARIOUS ARTISTS

‘Leather Soul (Where The Bop Meets The Buzz) Vol 1’

(Soul)

Rocked Up 60s

8/10

You could be forgiven for thinking that this compilation was a collection of 1960s oddities that had been unearthed under piles of mouldy long-forgotten singles that couldn’t be categorised. At least I hope you can because when I stuck this on that’s what I thought was when I heard rocked thus up, soul, blues and even funk that more that dip into rocknroll. Having collected and listened to as much rockabilly and its myriad of bastardisations over the years I was a little perturbed that not one of the tracks were familiar to me, songs yes but tracks no. Well that’s because the album is a compilation of contemporary rockin’ luminaries mixing it all together and coming up with material that is ultimately utterly authentic while so fresh it takes your breath away.

Simon Nott

JOHNNY WINTER

‘Roots’

(Megaforce)

Grammy winning legend has fun with the classics

7/10

Johnny Winter is a Grammy winning, Woodstock original, blues legend who pretty much played with everyone who is anyone since the 1960s. There is no disputing that when it comes to playing blues guitar is not only one of the best practitioners still performing today but an innovator and originator of the style who has been a massive influence on decades of musicians. So when he decides to record an album of blues roots classics you know what you are going to get a master-class in his art and that is what you get here. 10 of the 11 tracks also feature guest whose names will have aficionados in raptures. OK you may think that you don’t really need another album of blues standards, but do you have one that has been done better?

Simon Nott

RESTLESS

‘Live At The Klub Foot’

THE TALL BOYS

‘Live At The Klub Foot’

(Trophy)

So live you can almost taste the cider, whizz and blood.

The first two albums on the Trophy label created to release the wealth of material that is being painstakingly restored and digitally re-mastered from largely unreleased tapes recorded live at The Klub Foot in the mid-1980s. The sound is top quality aiming to give the listener the most authentic experience possible, tracks that were previously released have had added crowd noise and musical overdubs removed so you get the performances warts and all. Restless were one of thee main draws at the legendary Hammersmith venue and you can hear why here as they pummel through a 13 track set like a freight train. The Tall Boys were born from the ashes of the early Meteors and just oozed great songs, 11 of them here. The appetite is whetted for what is to follow.

Simon Nott

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