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

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Jinetes Fantasmas "King Kong Stomp"

(Crazy Love Records 2017)

King Kong Stomp
Botas De Cuero Negro
 Jekyl Y Hyde
Frankenstein En Mi Casa
Botas De Cuero Negro (Rare Version)

Jinetes Fantasmas (Ghost Riders) have been treading the psychobilly boards since 2009. Hailing from Argentina (the first Argentinian psychobilly band), the quartet are musically straight-up psychobilly but with a more aggresive punk(abilly) vocal style. This album was mixed and mastered by our Doyley of Diablo Records fame. Released on Guido's Crazy Love Records (the label that has an aversion to releasing shite), it's a 7-dittied delight. Sure, I can't understand a fuckin' word they're singing but there's enough reverb-laden guitar and frenetic slap bass and drums to cancel out the language barrier. Besides, the songs are melodic as fuck too. I just wish I paid more attention in Spanish class...but then again I didn't have a Spanish class so that fucks that! This album is sure to please the mental menagerie that inhabit planet psychobilly with its wreckin'-friendly stomping beats though they do ease off the gas on the alternate version of  Botas De Cuero Negro (Black Leather Boots) which incidentally is my favourite song on the album. So stick this in your CD player, open Google Translate in your web browser then sit back and attempt to stay still. No easy task.
The O'Prez

Jinetes Fantasmas Official
Jinetes Fantasmas on Facebook
Buy the CD
Hellacious Harmonies on Facebook

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Cult Of The Psychic Fetus "Cult Of The Psychic Fetus"

(Killjoy Records 2017)

The Morgue
Night In The Life
Out From The Grave
I Live With The Dead

I don't exactly have my finger on the pulse of all things horror punk (though horror punk is only a part of what Cult Of The Psychic Fetus are). You'd probably imagine I would given its close relationship to psychobilly, So why don't I then? Simple. Slap bass. I just love that instrument. It's not the be-all and end-all in horror punk though so it's not my go-to music on a regular basis. With that said though, I do have a smattering of bands in my collection that I turn to when I get psychobilly burnout. The Spookshow, Calabrese, Blitzkid, The Rosedales...and yes, Cult Of The Psychic Fetus. When it comes to the macabre though, and making the macabre into something audible, Cult Of The Psychic Fetus are in a league of their own. Often hailed as the originators of gothabilly, they effortlessly transport the listener to the dark side of life. I'm talking 19th century Whitechapel, foggy, cold menacing surroundings, the Universal horror films of the 1930s. Lyrically they're morbidly poetic. Musically they're monstrously melodic. With undertones of a garage rockabilly beat, with surf guitar on top and an unhealthy dash of theatre bizarre. This EP has it all. Incredibly this is their first outing on vinyl in their 25 year history. 500 copies as is the norm with Killjoy. The 50 clear are sold out but there are still some of the black to be had. Links below...
The O'Prez

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Wigsville Spliffs "Born To Ride"

(Killjoy Records 2017)

Born To Ride
Eyes On My Baby

 My God have you ever seen such attractive men? Form an orderly queue ladies...for the emergency exit. Hmmm, maybe that photo was just taken at a bad angle (facing them in this case). But enough insults and on with the plaudits. I first heard the Wigsville Spliffs back in 1984 I think it was on the Lost Moment Records "Dance To It" compilation. They stood out for me back then with their infectious neo rockabilly sound. Next time I heard em was on one of the Stomping At The Klub Foot compilations and on The James Deans Of The Dole Queue compilation with their absolute gem of a song "If I Tell You I'm Lonely" and then saw em via the gift of Jettisoundz and their good auld VHS releases which captured the cream of the crop of the scene forever on celluloid. The neo rockabilly scene produced some excellent bands in the 80s...The Caravans, Fractured, Restless, Sgt. Bilko's Krazy Combo, Get Smart...and of course the Wigsville Spliffs. Like all the aforementioned bands they had a sound unique to them. The Spliffs have lost none of this uniqueness over the years and this new slab of vinyl is testament to that. They do sound more powerful though, but not in a rock sense, more in a not resting on their laurels sense. You'll see what I mean when you buy this 7" and compare the 1984 version to the 2017 version of Eyes On My Baby (a neo rockabilly classic). The title track is typical catchy-as-fuck Wigsville Spliffs. I'm glad these boys didn't just fade into obscurity and came back to the scene as they have excellent songs to unleash on us still. 2011's Fat 41 more than proved that point too. As usual with Killjoy releases, this is a strictly limited release of 500 copies. The 50 grey ones are gone already, the red (50 also) might still be available from the band but you can still pick up the black. Links below as always. Anyway, pick this up before it's gone and the boys over on Psychoholic start adding it to their wantlist over on Discogs because they missed the boat.
The O'Prez

Friday, August 18, 2017

The Brainiax "Rock'n'Roll Lobotomy"

(Self released 2017)

Cape Fear
Brainiax Boogie
The House On The Hill
The Bastard Sun
Straitjacket Stomp
Galactic Mystery
Devil Doll

Hailing from Portland, Oregon, The Brainiax are relative newcomers to the psychobilly scene. The lads have been together a year but Collin O'Brainiac tells me the lads have been acting the bollix in various bands for several years. You'd know it too. This is some quality stuff. They love the cream of the crop of musical genres which shows in their sound. Taking influences from psychobilly, punk, country and rockabilly, you just know these boys have good taste. Their début show was opening for Canadian sexpots The Gutter Demons and they've just released their first album...all by themselves I might add. It makes me so proud *sniff*. But seriously though, when a band goes down the self-release road I think they deserve as much support as they can get. They do it for the love of the music. Let's face it, there's fuck all profit in psychobilly and any money made goes straight back in to the band (well, maybe a small portion goes to the pub). Anyway, what struck me straight away about The Brainiax is that their sound is somewhat reminiscent of Hayride To Hell and to a certain degree The Hellbillys. They're very much of that tough American psychobilly ilk as opposed to the more "fun" for want of a better expression European psychobilly sound. There's a nice bit of echo chamber on the vocals which gives a sexy rockabilly twist but the music is not for rockabilly aficionados with their heads planted firmly up their arses. It's for rockabilly aficionados like me with my head planted firmly between two arse cheeks...with rockabilly tattooed on one and psychobilly on the other. It's not in-your-face psychobilly either. By psycho standards it's mid-paced. Groovy! I'll tell ya what. I fuckin' love The Brainiax me. If you like your psychobilly with a glint of a flick knife and a knuckle duster to the man-spuds this'll be right up your street. You can grab it directly from the band (and pick up some merch while you're at it...seemingly if you wear one of their shirts, sew a couple of their patches over your nipples and apply a sticker (or 10 in my case) over your shlong, it's guaranteed to result in panty evaporation). It's available now on CD and digital download...links to purchase below.
The O'Prez