Sunday, April 30, 2017

Brook Blanche "Brook Blanche"

(Broken Neck Records 2017)

Fools On The Barstools
Your Side
Empty Promises
Two Wrongs
Sink & Burn
Head Of The Table
Prettiest Girl
With Me

There's a lot of dross to be heard in modern cuntry music. The honesty is gone out of it. The simplicity. Conversely there are still artists like Brook Blanche who haven't jumped on the train-o-shite to Shittington and play a mournful, honest and simple version of all things Americana just like it was meant to be played. This is stripped down stuff. It's as if him and his mates have all turned up in your sitting room to serenade you with tales of heartbreak in all its guises. Warning: If you are going through some form of heartbreak this will have you reaching for the kleenex and, if you're a girl...add a big tub of ice cream to the tissue quota....and an understanding female (or gay) friend for comforting purposes. Brook Blanche really knows how to compose a song that tugs on the heartstrings. This is in no small part due to that aforementioned honesty. We've all been there. That feeling of loss and regret. He just has an impeccable talent for articulating those feelings and putting them to song. It's a universal thing and Blanche poetically puts into words what most of us haven't the ability to but wish we had. A modern-day troubadour for the heartbroken.
The O'Prez

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Long Tall Texans "Headless"

(The Western Star Recording Company 2017)

Countdown To A Breakdown
In My Dreams
Who Told You
Even The Cops Cried (The Day Elvis Died)

Nothing screams Long Tall Texans more than the art of Geo Parkin. He's been synonymous with the Texans imagery for years. My nipples screamed with glee when I saw he did the art for their sexy new 10 inches of blue pleasure. Was this a sign that the music would be every bit as good as the art? To be honest, I've missed Mark Denman's penmanship since his departure. He's written some of the band's best material. But fuck me, that Garry Castleman knows exactly how to pen a whole host of new Texans classics. His song writing style fits the band's sound to a tee. He was the one-time guitarist with the Texans but thankfully still writes for the band. Of course I've missed Denman's guitar style too but 'Brother' Matt Windler...well, sorry Mr. Denman, he's picked (no pun intended) up where you left off and now he has that trademark Texans sound. Fuck me I'm fickle. Now then, in keeping with the informative shenanigans before I press on and talk about the actual music, four of the ditties on here are penned by the aforementioned Mr. Castleman and there are two covers but they both have direct links to our Texans. Countdown To A Breakdown is a cover of a Viki Vortex and the Cumshots song for whom Theo plays the drums, and In My Dreams is a song from the 1996 Home album by The Hotknives of which Mark Carew has been a long-time member. 
Now then, great songs can all go to shit with piss poor production. Enter one Mr. Alan Wilson. This just keeps getting better and better doesn't it? The three Texans (via Brighton) as a unit, Parkin's art, Wilson twiddling his multiple knobs. This is Long Tall Texans gold. All the ingredients are there. There were one or two speed bumps along the road of 2017 releases that I was really looking forward to but this is not one of them. The boys have always had a distinctive sound and Headless has it in spades. Instantly recognisable as The Long Tall Texans but at the same time sounding as fresh and original as they did when they first saw the light of the day on turntables back in the 1980s. A standout release from a standout band with a clean punchy production from Alan Wilson. Countless bands have come and gone since the Texans first release and thirty odd years later they're still putting a lot of their cohorts to shame. The 10 incher is out now on Mr. Wilson's Western Star label but is sold out on his webstore. It's limited to 500 copies but there are still some knocking about from the usual outlets so get it while the going is good. 
In the meantime, I've ordered a rubber stamp from eBay and am whacking this on the cover upon its arrival...
The O'Prez

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Klax "Last Zyborg"

(Crazy Love Records 2017)

The 4 Tribes
Zyborg Coming
Rock Salt
Queen's Control
Broken Mirror
Last Zyborg
Silent Bell

I'm kicking off this review with a blurb from the band themselves....and then I shall wax lyrical about what I think. So, from Klax: "This is a very powerful and aggressive release. The album also tells a back story set in a polluted and corrupt future for human kind. There are 3 tribes who vote globally and one Human Admiral (Kernt) who enforces all law. The tribes consist of lazy but intelligent humans, Androids who are used for basic chores of slave labor and Cyborgs who are also slave laborers but for more difficult jobs. The Androids have free will and are always upset with their rates and working conditions. They have been rebelling for decades and are led by a Gynoid Queen. Admiral Kernt and Dr. Zyaut have designed an artificial organism fused with it's robotic shell. This new design should be absent of free will and free thought. It will merely be a mindless slave. Although, it will still consist of much attention to detail and can work for a 100 years without rest or maintenance. The Admiral has rallies and promotions that are needed for support and votes to pass approval of all 3 tribes. He has Dr. Zyaut awaken their 1st prototype "Zyborg". As soon as he awakes, he destroys everything in sight and shows plenty of free thought and free will..."
Now that the copying and pasting duties have been taken care of, what we have here is a rare breed indeed...a psychobilly concept album! Artistically, the cover art strikes me as a kind of Krewmen/Klingonz mashup.  Musically, this mashup continues. This is a harder, more threatening sounding Klax to the sounds to be heard on their 2012 album Recycle-Billy. Psychobilly slap bass and drums laden with cyber punk guitar and vocals. It's like a soundtrack to every post apocalyptic film you've ever seen.  But it doesn't go so far into cyber punk waters that the psychobilly gets lost in the mix. Klax have found the perfect blend between the two. All instruments are perfectly balanced too in a way that all are played in audible conjunction with one and other. They've really caught that menacing sound in keeping with the subject matter throughout. The all-important lyrics are included in the booklet too so you could say it's also the first psychobilly audio book with each song being a chapter. Anyway, to sum up, what Klax have released here is a pounding, slap bass driven psychobilly/cyber punk stomper minus those bullshit horror/theatrical vocals that are all too common and fucking boring. See that psychobilly bands? Take a leaf out of Klax's can still sound dangerous and sing in your "actual" voice. The album is out now on all platforms but fuck streaming...go and buy a physical copy from everyone's favourite German sexpot Guido Neumann. 
The O'Prez

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Gamblers Mark "Dirty Needles"

(Gamblers Mark 2017)

13th Hour (Intro)
Dirty Needles
Long Summer
I'll Never Know
Temporary Defeat
Madame Ching
Black Stilettos
Safety Word
We're Desperate (Featuring Jackie Mendez)
Looking In Your Window (Featuring The Flashbax)

A while back Gamblers Mark posted a taster of what was to come on their then forthcoming album Dirty Needles. The song in question was Long Summer. It was a live-in-the-studio rendition of the song on the Loaded Bomb YouTube channel as part of their "Live at D.O'B. SOUND" series of videos. Now, I look forward to a lot of new releases, and 2017 is quite the year for new releases. But I was more than looking forward to this release. I was excited about it. This one song went straight into my ranks of all-time favourites. It also begged the question though, could the boys have more songs up their sleeves on this album that gave me such an immediate "fucking hell!" moment? Or, would the rest pale in comparison?! Well....there are "fucking hell!" moments in abundance on this album. I'm not going to single out songs and talk about them as I find that makes for boring reading. Besides, some songs have been creeping up on me and overtaking the others that gave me that initial ear-pleasure. The lads have written and produced an album that the makers of Red Bull would be proud of. It's blazing maniacal stuff but played with a skill and dexterity that brings me back to that "fucking hell!" moment every time I listen. But the lads throw in a few curve balls here and there with a couple of ska and new wave songs. I like ska and new wave. These lads can do no wrong on this album. All self-penned except for a cover of X's "We're Desperate" and what always impresses me is when a band can combine lyrics that actually have some substance to them with music that's powered by a 16 horsepower slap bass and drums backbeat and still be thought-provoking. There are a couple of songs on here that are high speed but still maintain an air of melancholia. I love melancholia me! I love this album!! If you've read the track listing above (and if you haven't then you're a half-arsed reader) you'll notice some guests in the song titles. The guests in question are The Flashbax and Jackie Mendez...The Flashbax are an offshoot of Gamblers Mark and a melting pot of different musical stylings and Jackie Mendez is on vocals in the aforementioned Flashbax. See? Not only are my they're educational as well. Now then, as I alluded to earlier, 2017 is quite the year for new releases, I've been looking forward to a lot of em. One or two were utter disappointments so won't be gracing these pages, but this one, this one is head and shoulders above a lot of the stuff released so far this year and has surpassed stuff I've had in my ledger-o-favourites for the past 30 years. 
The O'Prez