Saturday, October 22, 2016

Rubber Chukks "Queen Of Hell"

(Crazy Love Records 2016)

The Blow
Candy Girl
Hold Me
Queen Of Hell
Carry On
Fat Brat
Rebel Riding
All What I Want
Sandra Lee 

The Rubber Chukks eh? What does that name remind me of? Oh yeah....I once had a girlfriend, well, I say was actually a rubber woman that I called Chuckles because she made me smile. However, it was a short lived romance, as one night after a steamy session of rubber romps there was an unfortunate incident involving a post-polymer-penetration cigarette which left my Chuckles feeling deflated so she left me. Well, I say she left me....she flew all around the room making somewhat of a flatulent sound before eventually finding her way out through the bedroom window never to be seen again.

 *ahem* Soooooo anyway, Hamburg's Rubber Chukks have just released their second album. I loved the first one so how does this one stack up? Well, the first one was neo rockabilly with some roots influences here and there. This one is neo rockabilly with the rock part of rockabilly accentuated with lots of roots influences. It's power rockabilly à la Francine to certain degree but a lot more rootsy. There's even a reworking of Sandra Lee from the first album which is done in a melancholic style complete with mournful violin and no percussion. It's my favourite track on the new album as it happens and is testament to the eclectic content on offer and really acts as a show-piece for Tom's excellent vocal dexterity. The album kicks off with a couple of neo rockabilly numbers and then the gears get cranked up and that power kicks in. It's like a more rockin' Multi Climex/Flesh Roxon in parts. You know the sort of thing....excellent vocals and choruses that get stuck in your head. The rootsy twang isn't
so much Blasters but a more deranged Johnny Cougar. The boys are like a melting pot of various influences but have managed to blend them all together to make one harmonious killer of a second album. 

The O'Prez

Sunday, October 9, 2016

The Zipheads "Z2: Rampage!"

(Bomber Music 2016)

No 2 Ways About It
Last Man On Earth
Ill Repute
Welcome To The Real World
After All
Only Yourself To Blame
Pet Hate
Patron Saint
Revenge II
Orca To Majorca
Get Ready

'Twas back in 2011 when I first came across the St. Albans trio The Zipheads. Between 2011 and 2012 they released a few digital only (I think) teasers of what they were all about. Coming with the classic psychobilly constituents of slap bass, drums and guitar but with a unique image, I liked em immediately. They released their début album "Prehistoric Beat" in 2013 and 2015 saw the release of their "Just Don't Seem To Care" 7" on The Western Star Recording Company label. So now in 2016 the lads are about to release their sophomore album in November. It'll be available on 180 gram magenta vinyl and CD digipak. My good mate Simon Nott sent me an advance copy for review purposes. So, psychobilly constituents aside, this is no psychobilly album. But it's not the much maligned "punk with a slap bass" either. It's too clever and well constructed to be that. What it is is melodic punk rock with equal parts punk and rock with a power rockabilly backdrop.
Cast your minds back to when The Living End hadn't strayed from their rockin' roots. It's kinda like that. It reminds me in parts of Saturnalia-era Long Tall Texans too. I don't want to call their music punkabilly as it doesn't do it justice. It's too broad ranging to be any one thing. It's rock'n'roll with a fanny-load of influences. It's all in there. I mean good rock'n'roll. Not what the media call rock'n'roll. Rockabilly, punk, new wave, rock, little bits of ska and swing here and there. You know, good fucking rock'n'roll. Add to the music some intelligent lyrical content and you can't go wrong. Don't expect to like it straight away though. I didn't. I actually love when that happens as I know I won't get sick of it all within 5 minutes of hearing it and put it back on the shelf-o-shite for evermore. As a lifelong psychobilly aficionado, I really appreciate bands like The Zipheads who slot in to our scene and keep the whole thing fresh and original. This album is both of those things. I'll update this with links to purchase the album when it becomes available on November 11th. In the meantime though, check out The Zipheads Facebook Page, bookmark their Bandcamp page and bookmark the Bomber Music page while you're at it! 

The O'Prez

Monday, September 12, 2016

Hanzo "Hanzo"

(Self-released 2016)

Loose Lips
Doll Face
Sweet Tooth

I recently received a message from Eddie Burnham, bassist extraordinaire with Warwickshire outfit Hanzo. The boys call themselves a rock'n'roll band influenced by rockabilly, psychobilly and surf. That self description is fairly apt. Anyway, their self released/self titled album was sent and the headphones were put on. A sextet of professionally produced rock'n'roll refrains emanated from the aforementioned sonority accessories. Straight off the bat this is rock'n'roll à la a less garage/more polished sounding Cramps, Bikini Red era Screaming Blue Messiahs or to a certain degree The Irving Klaws. The surf influence is very audible as is the garage and there is a twist of rockabilly. I'm straining to hear any psychobilly though unless the psychobilly they alluded to in their list of influences is that of its very early incarnation (pre-Meteors) when garage rock'n'roll bands were right on the border of garage punk and rockabilly. If so, then yes...I shall strain no more. With all that said
though, the boys aren't ones to be pigeon holed by any one specific genre. This is more than palpable when listening to this album. Songs can go from having a tom tom heavy rockabilly beat with surf twang and then spiral in to a more straight up rock jam session. Lyrically, the songs have sweet fuck all to do with any of those influences mentioned earlier and this is what gives the band their own identity. Dare I say the lyrical content is more intelligent than the usual fare associated with the influences in question? Quiffed-up purists may gasp in dismay at the lack of a slap bass on these recordings...especially by a band claiming such influences, but as I said, the lads refuse to be lumped in in any one particular genre. The rule book is well and truly used as emergency toilet paper in this instance. If you're in the mood for something different then I highly recommend you give Hanzo a listen and leave your closed minded hat on the hook by the door. The album is available to download via the band's bandcamp page and physical CDs are available at shows and direct from the band. Links to buy below...

The O'Prez

Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Goddamn Gallows "Ghost Of Th' Rails"

(Crazy Love Records 2016)

Smoke Satan
Ghost Of Th' Rails
Pass The Bottle
City Of Hell-A
Underneath The Stars
Smoke Stacks
Big Man
Planet Of The Apes
Ticket To Bleed
Yet another European reissue of an earlier Goddamn Gallows platter. This time 2009's Ghost Of Th' Rails. This time around any traces of psychobilly have all but gone. There are still some traces of rockabilly but the punk rock black grass sound is very much to the fore. It's a harder, more violent sounding Gallows than their previous output. Carnivalesque in parts and still retaining their trademark distinctive style. The guitar sound has that metal gain sound to it and that screamcore is once again in the fray. The boys put a lot of work in to these songs as is evident by the unpredictability of the direction each song goes in. They're not just three chord run of the mill shite. It's obvious that a lot of construction and technique went in to the crafting of these songs. Fans of the first album (when they were called The Gallows) will find this album to be quite a departure from that. But fans of the band who have metamorphosed along with the band throughout their sonic journey will lap this up! The album is available on black vinyl, limited edition yellow vinyl and CD for your delectation. Links to buy below...

The O'Prez

The Goddamn Gallows "Gutterbillyblues"

 (Crazy Love Records 2016)

A Sinner's Song
Everybody Dies
Save Us
Gutterbilly Blues
Wherever I Go
I Got A Woman
Born 2 Lie
Face The Day
Saint O' Killers
Don't Feed Me
Another reissue of an old Goddamn Gallows favourite sees Crazy Love present their 2007 album Gutterbillyblues for the European market. It's a rootsy psychobilly blend crossing in to punk territory in places...or gutterbilly as the album title states. There is some fine story telling going on here through the medium of song and what's more you can download the lyrics from the band's website here. One thing I find grating is the odd bit of screamcore that pops up here and there. But what do I know? I just like what I like and don't like what I don't. God knows I don't want to get on the wrong side of these guys. Fuckin' heads on 'em. Seriously though, The Goddamn Gallows do what they do and they do it well. In amongst the dementia of the stomping music there is an air of melancholia set to a backdrop of pessimistic and dark lyrical content. It's the perfect soundtrack for tormented souls. The album is available on black vinyl, limited edition red vinyl and CD. Links below.

The O'Prez

Saturday, September 10, 2016

The Ditchrunners "Rips Aus Dem Graben"

(Broken Records 2016)

Ditch Stomp
Cannibal Ballad
4 Wheel Drive
Ghost Train
710 vs 420
Whiskey Smoke
Truck Driving Wildman
Musky Jacks
Yankee Yell
Street Ratt
Mongers Song
White Horse

I'd not heard of The Ditchrunners before this sexy little digipak alighted on my plush red carpet during the week. The title suggested it was a German band as did the record label...Broken Neck, a subsidiary of Crazy Love. Alas, I couldn't have got the whole shebang more arseways. Turns out The Ditchrunners are in fact from the US of A, Wisconsin to be precise....Stevens Point to be preciserer!! It also turns out the band have been around for a few years and this particular album since 2013...but this version has more ditties o' delight and that version was called Rips From The Ditch...which is the English translation! They're a four-piece outfit that describe their sound as "Honky Tonkin' Gypsy Gutter Grass" and have a list of contributing members so long that it wouldn't fit on a roll of wallpaper. Anyway, having had no preconceived notions before slipping this in to the CD player, I was immediately kicked in the man-purse by the opening instrumental. A rousing piece of rustic stomp. But, all too often, great players are let down by shite vocalists. Buckshot Bredlau is NO shite vocalist. He's a fucking EXCELLENT vocalist. Gravelly and baritone. I was always drawn to bands who had a more ballsy approach to American roots music. The Skiff Skats in the 80s, The Tokyo Skunx in the 90s. Bands like Custom Made Scare in the Noughties. Bands like the Urban Pioneers now. Then I hear these guys (and girl) and fuck me I love em. Yankee Yell was making me skull vibrate for fuck sake! If you made a list of every form of American roots music ever and swapped out those original watered down (by the powers that be) artists and gave that list to a pack of deranged musicians with a penchant for the maniacal then this would be the resultant album.

The O'Prez

The Gallows "Life Of Sin"

(Crazy Love Records 2016)

The Gallows
Last Night
Cold Dark Night
Life Of Sin
Screamin' Heart
Torture Chamber
House Of The Dead
Underground Destiny
Wreck Of Ol' 97
You're Gonna Get It
Never Be The Same
Originally released in 2005 and 11 years later seeing the light of day again on Crazy Love Records is the now Goddamn Gallows first long player when they were simply known as The Gallows...and had just three members and a more raucous psychobilly sound before they mutated in to their gutterbilly guise of today...and I win the prize for longest opening sentence ever! So in hindsight, this is a stripped back psychobilly version of The Goddamn Gallows but there are hints of the direction the band would take in later years. For the most part though it's very much in-your-face psychobilly of the American variety. US psycho outfits generally seem to veer more towards a rootsy tinged with punk take on psychobilly as opposed to their European cousins. This is very much the case on this album. The album has a "live in the studio" sound to it. It's full of punk attitude with the bollocks of a psychobilly beat. It's a rare beast of an album. You think you know what you're getting but then the boys throw you a curve ball and you're gone in to a different genre altogether. There's a lot going on here, especially when you take in to account it's only three guys! You could say it's the perfect introduction to the genre-bending band they were to become. The album is available on both vinyl and CD....links to buy below.

The O'Prez