Category Archives: BLOG

THE BEST BAD INFLUENCE: ‘Rock -It!’

Get ready to HOWL!

In such uncertain times, I’m sure we could all do with some up-tempo, fun music for bopping around to in our locked-down living rooms. And these three lads from North Ayrshire are gonna bring it ya!

Having spent the best part of the last two years serving their ‘apprenticeship,’ busking the streets of Glasgow and surrounding area, THE BEST BAD INFLUENCE have today released their debut album.

In true rockabilly tradition, their album extends to twelve songs with an average length of less than three minutes. All but one, are full on, high energy rock-a-boogie, so maybe it’s a shrewd move to position ‘Dream Girl,‘at track seven. Even fit young hep cats need a wee smoochy, restful wander around the dance floor before the crazy rhythms take over again.

The album opens with the original, stompin’ ‘Big Al’s All Night Diner,‘ the title alone transporting the listener to an era of quiffs, burgers and milkshakes. Happy days.

Filmed February 2020

‘Isa Blue,’ has the twang and bounce of early Stray Cats, while ‘What D’ya Mean?‘ rolls along to a rumbling bass line, with a great riff. I can hear a little bit of good ol’ fashioned Glam rock stomp thrown in here too. Any one else hear a touch of Slade influence? It works perfectly!

Simply from the titles, ‘Voodoo Women’ and penultimate track, ‘Wolfman’ instantly have me thinking of The Cramps, even before a note is played. And not to disappoint, both songs do convey that kind of goth / horror pop feel.

Miss. Shaker” is an old crowd favourite when the lads play live, an is followed by ‘Feet Rock,’ which does, I have to say reflect a more frantic ‘Rock This Town,’ in the beat and harmonies. But hey – that’s fine with me. You can’t keep a good rockin’ rollin’ tune down.

The chant laden ‘Rat Rod Mama,’ builds up a head of steam again as the album heads towards its conclusion after the relative tranquility of ‘Dream Girl.’ If you’re feet ain’t tapping and your head’s not nodding to this, you just ain’t got no soul.

‘Interstellar Boogie‘ increases the heat even more, with a fevered Hank C Burnette style riff, while ‘Trying Hard,‘ can’t avoid Eddie Cochran comparisons at various points.

The album races close with a personal favourite of mine, ‘Polka Dot Cadillac’ – a true rockabilly gem that would have found its place at the top of the game, back in the day.

All in all, this is a tremendous debut album. It will definitely go down well within rockabilly / traditional rock ‘n’ roll circles, but also, I think, with anyone just wanting to listen to some good time, feel good music.

AAAAAA-WWWOOOO!

(‘Rock -It!’ is available now via, Apple Music’ iTunes; Spotify; Google Play and others.)

Psychiceyeclix & Caecus Animi: ‘Instrument Sleeve #1’

I love it when some weird, inventive sounds and concepts float my way.

It’s been a while since I’ve heard anything from the marvelous Doubledgescissor label, so this instantly caught my attention.

London based experimental video/sound artist, Psychiceyeclix and
Caecus Animi, also working out of London as a live artist and music producer (who also runs Fish Tank Studio & Wicked Dubplates in Hackney)have collaborated extensively on a project to release a very limited series run of thirty-six unique LPs.

Each double sided album will come with different tracks, reflecting their respective musical backgrounds in Instrustrial, Noise, Techno, Glitch, Experimental & Ethereal sounds.

More though, each sleeve will be individually designed and produced, with unique artwork, PLUS come with an attached noise box.

The videos below illustrate samples of both the noise box and the tracks to be found on this, ‘Instrument Sleeve #1’ Other than the sheer exclusivity, the somewhat abrasive sounds capable of being produced from the ‘sleeve’ may not be everyone’s cup of tea, or within their budget.

And so, the music will also be made available in ‘regular’ 12″ vinyl format as well as simple download. The five tracks on this initial release encompass many styles, ranging from industrial and experimental to some funky hip hop beats and nu jazz sounds, resulting in almost twenty-nine minutes of interesting flows and melodies that seem to alter with each listen.

The two videos I mentioned follow, but I’d strongly recommend checking out the other tracks here. And buying!

INTRODUCING: DARREN DPAUL WISE.

DARREN DPAUL WISE is an American guitarist perhaps best known in his own country for his work as music director of the Drew Pearson Live television show. (This is an entertainment / sports programme that airs on ABC, ahead of all Dallas Cowboys’ NFL football games.

Originally from Louisiana, Darrren moved to the Dallas area in the nineties where he played in several local bands. As he began to garner a reputation as a mean guitarist, general networking within the local music industry opened up various new avenues for him to further his career.

When, in 2013, the band he was playing with was asked to come up with theme music for a TV pilot show (that subsequently bombed) it was suggested he create music for the hit Texas show, ‘Gas Monkey Garage.’

And so, well – you what they say about success leading to success.

Since then, he’s been involved in composition and production of various commercials and worked on incidental music for Major League Baseball, NASCAR and the NBA.

And now …. he’s only just gone and landed himself an ‘artist arrangement’ with Gibson Guitars!

Who needs big hair, make up, spandex trousers and set their guitar on fire to make a name for themselves in music, these days?

Talent will always come through.

MEMORY OF A MELODY: ‘Mary Go Round.’

Wow!
It’s been a while since I listened to a ‘metal’ track that grabbed me as instantly as this new release from MEMORY OF A MELODY.

After a six year hiatus, the San Antonio five-piece, returned in March of this year with a three track EP, ‘Burn Alive,’ from which this chilling, nursery rhyme inspired single is lifted.

Mary Go Round,’ is a tale of betrayal … and revenge. The anger in Mario Galdos’s voice is palpable as he spits out the immensely threatening lyrics.

(November 2019)

My personal roots in punk, hardcore and metal are, I suppose, of an ‘old school’ nature and perhaps that’s why I instantly took to this song / band. At various points through its four an a half minute duration, I can hear possible influences from System of a Down and Slipknot poking through. It has everything: pounding and rolling drums; growled vocals; heavy, heavy riffs and of course the almost obligatory searing guitar solo.

Memory of a Melody describe themselves as playing ‘Metal with mass appeal.’

I think they’re right. Absolutely love it!

THE MEMORIES: ‘Pickles & PiES.’

THE MEMORIES formed in the Belmont/Hawthorne district of Southeast Portland, Oregon in the Summer of 2010 by White Fang bandmates and childhood friends Rikky Gage and Kyle Handley. They recorded their first album in one of the upstairs bedrooms at what was called the 40th house, a big three story home on a busy street that was a hangout for local stoners and artists. Their self-titled debut was released on their own Gnar Tapes label as a cassette. Two hundred were ‘pressed,’ and from such humble beginnings etc, etc….

Almost ten years on, and re-located to Los Angeles, The Memories are set to release what I think will be their ninth album (though it could be argued that some of their EP recordings could additionally fall into the ‘LP’ category. Their output has been pretty prolific over the years – check this little lot out – and so I’m surprised to find myself scurrying around the internet to find out more about the band.

Being my first time listening to the band, I’d describe them as a kind of lo-fi, summery, jangly pop type of unit. For instance, I wouldn’t have been too surprised had someone played me ‘Second Try‘ from this new album and told me it was Teenage Fanclub (with a very brief Puddle of Mudd styled intro .) It’s certainly in that groove.

‘In My Heart I Am Sailing,’ has a weird kind of pacing issue at the outset – I don’t know the technical term for this, but it sure grabbed my attention enough to write about it! When it comes in, the main vocal seems to hold a couple of beats longer than the backing harmonies do, so initially, they appear ever so slightly out of kilter. Clever!
The backing vocals wash over, in and out, of the listener like a gentle tide, and there is a very strong Sixties California feel to this song.

THE MEMORIES (May 2017)

It took me a minute or so, but, ‘The Sign‘ is an excellent down-tempo, lovers rock / reggae version of the Ace of Base song from back in the day. I believe the vocals are sung by Colleen Green and they are spot on – a little bit more ‘hushed’ than Jenny of Ace of Base, and I’d say a little more dulcet and playful.

The final final of the four tracks made available on Bandcamp prior to release, is ‘Purple.‘ This seems a little different to the other tracks I’v e heard in that it’s much more soulful, with vocals provided by PYNKIE. I have no idea, but when the chorus comes in and the production becomes that bit more dramatic, then drops down to the finish, I’m put in mind of Prince. But maybe that’s just a word association thing triggered by the word ‘Purple.‘ I don’t know. Whatever – this track’s a grower. (Just listened on repeat four times. It is.)

Yeah – so there it is. To my shame, I hadn’t listened to The Memories before. But right now, I’m off to work my way through their other twenty-seven releases as featured on Bandcamp.

See you the other side of summer.

LAUREN NAPIER & VIC RUGGIERO: ‘Duets Vol. 1’

The sign of a good cover is when you’re able to sing along, confident in the lyrics …. but just not quite able to place the song title or original artist.

That’s exactly the case with this new release from Lauren Napier (multi talented vocalist / writer / model – aka Punk Rock Doll) and Slackers front man, Vic Ruggiero.

This five-track EP features covers of two established and popular songs – one a country classic, the other a Rolling Stones favourite. An added bonus are King Tony’s two fantastic dub interpretations of Lauren and Vic’s interpretations, if you see what I mean!

The Patsy Cline song, ‘Walkin’ After Midnight‘ is the one that threw me. The words were familiar, but the presentation was completely alien to me. Country done Reggae works marvelously well here. Lauren’s vocals are given a bit delay / echo and her haunting, dulcet pitch perfectly blends with Vic’s warm tones.

‘Dead Flowers,’ is one of those Stones‘ songs that every fan knows, but maybe is lesser known to the casual listener. I guess the original also has a bit of a Country feel to it, and again, it’s given a real infectuous and jaunty reggae backbeat.

Lauren and Vic work so well together. They play off each other so well on this and the videos I’ve seen. And as with everything I’ve heard Vic do, he sounds so relaxed in his delivery, almost casual-like, and yet there is a playfulness, a smile, behind the vocals that draws the listener in.

Yeah – another excellent one to go check out / buy!

A ‘straight’ version of ‘Walkin’ After Midnight.’ (Not the one on the EP)

LAMMPING: ‘Heartland Rock.’

Toronto psych rock band LAMMPING are due to release their debut album ‘Bad Boys of Comedy’ towards the end of July – but more of that a little closer to the time.

In the meantime, though, the excellent DIY Turkish label Kafadan Kontak have just released a two track ‘single’ – two tracks that are not featured on the forthcoming album.

Featuring in demand drummer, Jay Anderson (see earlier mention of Stonegrass) and multi-instrumentalist Mikhai Galkin, the duo have come up with a couple real slow-burning psych tracks that remind me a little of Psychic Ills – that sort of vibe.

If these two tracks didn’t quite make the album, then we can expect great things from ‘Bad Boys of Comedy‘ when it appears on 21st July.

As a taster for the album itself, here’s the lead single, ‘Forest for the Trees’ – which may be more Black Angels than Psychic Ills. (I know, it’s really annoying making feeble and totally subjective comparisons … but it’s what I do.)