Category Archives: USA

empiires

Empiires are a four-piece hard rock band, playing out of Dallas, Texas. Like many bands, they put their enforced pandemic lockdown time to good use and, unable to play live, they focused on releasing a couple of new tracks.

The latest is ‘Stronger‘ which pretty much typifies their style – big, chunky, crunching guitar riffs, strong, bold lead vocals with growled backing and loud, melodic, catchy choruses. Factor in short, snappy, searing guitar solos and a pounding rhythm section and ….. well, what’s not to like?

I know it’s been difficult for all bands these past eighteen months, but I do feel that now is the time for Empiires to match their music with their presence. I can find very little info about them out in the ether, and with a few well produced ‘singles’ behind them now, I’d like to see them doing a little more shouting about it! Why keep your light under a bushel?

As you’ll see, each of the song videos available are of the ‘lyric’ nature. Tied in with my point above, I’d love to see the band feature more in them. In fact, if I’m totally honest, especially with reference to the new song ‘Stronger‘ I think the song sounds ‘stronger’ when listened to without the video as it is.

This is not a criticism, just an observation. The band have the perfect image of a hard rocking band – why not let it help them grow their music?

Just sayin’.

Anyway – back to the music. They guys kick serious ass, so hopefully their enforced additional rehearsal / recording time will pay them due dividend in the months to come now that are back out on the road.

(From April 2021)
(First single, December 2020)

girls in the garage #1

In the early to mid-Sixties, as Rock’n’Roll gripped the western world, it wasn’t just the boys who were kicking up a wild noise in the schools and clubs of their neighbourhood. The ‘Girls’ were at it too!

All female vocal harmony groups had of course been integral parts of the scene for a while, but all female garage bands? Girls with guitars? Drums?

You bet!

While it’s now widely known that record producers on both sides of the Atlantic would frequently employ the services of session musicians for the recordings, leaving the girls to present the ‘image,’ there were some bands that refused to comply.

The excellent ‘Girls in the Garage’ series of compilations highlights many of these groups, giving them, somewhat belatedly, a wider audience appreciation.

This first post celebrating ‘girls with guitars’ showcases a couple of my personal favourites.

THE CONTINENTAL CO-ETS

(The Continental Co-ets.)

Formed in 1963 in Fulda, Minnesota, The Continental Co-ets helped pave the way for many female bands in their city to follow. All teenagers at the time, they were headed by Carolyn Behr on guitar, together with Nancy Hoffman (bass) Carol Goins (guitar) and Vicki Steinman (drums.) Nancy’s sister Mary Jo would later join on keyboards.

Their ‘big break’ came when in 1964, they were challenged by local counterparts, The Vultures, to a ‘battle of the sexes.’ The girls won out and gained invaluable exposure. More importantly, they won financial backing from David Edwards, whose investment paid off when tours around the mid-West and Canada secured them a record deal with the IGL (Iowa Great Lakes ) label.

They managed to release just the one 7″ single, ‘I Don’t Love You No More’ / ‘Medley of Junk’ with a run of 1,000 copies being released. Two subsequent recordings ‘Let’s Live For The Present‘ and ‘Ebb Tide‘ were not backed by their label and in 1967 the band decided to call it a day.

THE GLASS OPENING

The Glass Opening were another female band coming out of Minneapolis. I don’t actually have much information on them, other than they released two singles in 1969.

Their debut, ‘All Those Lies‘ was on the Dondee label, a split 7″ with the band Major Six, which didn’t sell well at all. The follow-up though, this time on the Neworld label, ‘I’m On Your Prey‘ was miles better!

However, it too failed to sell and the band split.

I have to say, I feel this one deserved so much more. It even has a contemporary feel some fifty plus years later.

THE INTERPRETERS

Again, there’s not by way of background information to this band, but I love this single they recorded for the Gemini label in 1965. Band members Sylvia and Beate were originally from Frankfurt in Germany and had a couple of U.S. labels fighting over their signature. Gemini won, obviously, and scored a minor hit with this, the other side being ‘Stop That Man,’ an equally catchy little tune!





memory of a melody

I remember writing about San Antonio, TX band, Memory of a Melody in an earlier incarnation of Loud Horizon. I was pretty glowing in my review of their release at that time, and I’m not going to be any different this time around.

I have a feeling that the new single ‘Rise Up,’ may come from the same three song ‘Burn Alive‘ EP as did the excellent ‘Mary Go Round,‘ which is posted at the end of this piece.

‘Rise Up,’ is a fast and furious anthemic song of positivity. It’s the type of song that’s sure to get things kicking off big time down in the mosh pit!

Once again, we’re presented with melodic metal of the highest order. Gruff, abrasive vocals are surrounded by boisterous gang harmonies, pounding drums and screaming guitar. Not all ‘metal’ songs could be termed ‘melodic,’ but I guess this is in part at least, where the band’s name derives. ‘Rise Up,‘ is actually catchy as hell!

I like also the nod to punk / Oi! music with the ‘Hey! Hey!’ chants that intersperse the verses.

Yeah – my mosh pit days may be well behind me now, but if MoaM ever head over to Glasgow, you’ll definitely find me tapping my feet at the side of the stage!

Love it.

**********

(Just in time for Halloween, here’s a sinister sounding song to set you on edge…. earlier single release, ‘Mary Go Round.’)

bliss

Bliss was born from the ashes of U.S. garage band, The Sect, who were formed in 1966 in Mesa, Arizona by high school students, Brad Reed, Rusty Martin, Corky Aldred, Tom Smith and J.R. Lara.

Initially, the band were very much influenced by the sound of the British Invasion bands and were soon taken under the wing of radio DJ and producer, Hadley Murrell who introduced them to the recording process in his studio.

Two years down the line, all five members had graduated from school and decided to call a halt to the band. However, a short while later, Martin, Reed and Aldred got the bug once more, decided to reform as a power trio, and rechristened themselves, Bliss.

Still with producer Murrell guiding them, they recorded one album with the Los Angeles based Canyon Records in 1969. This does seem a strange choice of label to align with as they were more focused and famed for producing R&B, soul and funk artists, rather than psych and heavy rock.

Inevitably, through lack of promotion and given such low priority by Canyon Records, the album simply fell through the cracks. (So, it would seem, did much in the way of information about the band.Photographs too.)

The album resurfaced over twenty years later, when collectors of psych records picked up on the heavy, bluesy sound and original copies began to change hands for increasingly high sums of money, in some cases over four hundred pounds.

Of course, when this happens, albums are given a new lease of life via reissues, which allow the likes of you and I to add them to our collections.

‘Bliss‘ the album is nowadays considered a cult psych classic, and some tracks do certainly have that feel to them. Of the nine tracks, six are originals ‘ Ride The Ship of Fools, features hard, fuzz-wah guitar, driving bass and pounding drums. ‘ ‘Cry For Love‘ has a feel of The Zombies‘Time of the Season’ and ‘Visions‘ echoes Cream.

There are a couple of weaker tracks, it has to be said. ‘Make My Old Soul New’ in particular. But there are also three pretty solid covers: ‘Gangster of Love‘ I recognised from Johnny Winters‘ version of this Johnny Watson song; ‘I Want to be Free,’ a Joe Tex original and a good interpretation of B.B. King’s ‘Rock Me Baby.’

Overall, this is a decent, solid, heavy rock album, I think boosted some years ago by attaining ‘cult’ status.

Originals worth £400+? I’m not sure. Certainly on rarity and ‘collectible’ tag, then probably. But if like me you buy records for listening to, then I think the regular album price of £20 – £25 is more in line with the content.

BLISS
Brad Reed – Guitar / Vocals
Rusty Martin – Bass
Buford ‘Corky’ Riley Aldred – Drums

TITLEFORMATYEARLABELNOTES
Ride The Ship Of Fools / Gangster Of Love 7″ single1969Canyon Records
BlissLP1969Canyon Records



joanne shaw taylor

(Photo: Christie Goodwin)
(Track # 8 from the new ‘The Blues Album.’)

Joanne Shaw Taylor has come a long way since being ‘discovered’ by Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart – and not just geographically, relocating from her home in the Black Country, England, to Detroit, USA.

Now widely regarded as the UK’s premier blues rock guitarist, she is set to release album number eight on September 24th. ‘The Blues Album’ was recorded at Ocean Way Studios in Nashville by blues legends Joe Bonamassa and Josh Smith, both of who guest on the eleven track album of blues covers.

Joanne and Joe had been friends for many years, initially meeting when Joanne opened a show for a young Joe Bonamassa some while back. Since then they have kicked ideas about and learned from each other.

So when the pandemic struck and normal life was no more, Joanne, like the rest of the world, finally found herself with some time on her hands.

“I’d known from the beginning of my recording career that one day I wanted to record an album of blues covers, I just wasn’t sure when the right time to do that would be,” says Joanne. “I’ve always found it far easier to write my own material than come up with creative ways to make other artists’ material my own.

That time was now!

(Photo by Christie Goodwin)

I mentioned my new project idea to Joe Bonamassa,” recalls Joanne. “He asked me for my song choices. Immediately he began sending me notes and was texting me song suggestions.

He was already acting as a mentor as well as an unofficial producer on The Blues Album, so I asked him if he’d fancy the job, officially,” says Joanne. “Thankfully, he accepted. The Blues Album has been everything I hoped it would be. It’s been a labour of love, overseen by an artist, producer, and friend who I trust beyond measure.

The covers on ‘The Blues Album,‘ are not your regular fair. Joe, having seen Joanne perform so many time previous, made it clear from the outset that he wanted her to push her voice. He felt, not unnaturally, that her virtuoso guitar playing overshadowed her voice, and there was more to give, vocally.

The songs the pair settled upon, I think offer that opportunity. They may not be the obvious blues standards, but there are some by likes of Albert King, Fleetwood Mac’s Peter Green and Magic Sam. Others that Joanne pays tribute to include Little Village, Little Milton, The Fabulous Thunderbirds and James Ray.

Some of the tracks were initially B-sides of singles, and so with Joanne’s personal and unique interpretation, the whole album sounds so fresh and new.

Album opener ‘Stop Messin’ Around,’was written by Peter Green of Fleetwood Mac and released in 1968, This version has a more ’rounded’ feel to it I think. The guitar doesn’t sound quite so harsh, the jazzy, boogie piano break from Reece Wynans adds a real party feel, while Joanne’s voice has a wee added snarl to it.

‘If That Ain’t A Reason,’ has Joanne sounding pretty sassy in a more full sounding and slightly more uptempo version of the Little Milton number, the horns and guitar melding into a loud and punchy number.

‘Keep On Lovin’ Me’ is the Blues mixed with a bit swing. A bouncy bassline drives this along, with powerful vocals and guitar solos from Joanne, who feel she has managed to encapsulate the feel of booth the Magic Sam and The Paladins‘ versions.

‘If You Gotta Make A Fool Of Somebody’ was originally recorded by James Ray in 1961, though Joanne says she was more familiar (as was I) with the Aretha Franklin version. I can also hear a little bit of Bonnie Raitt in the vocals here,

The next track is on the album courtesy of a suggestion by co-producer Josh Smith. It’s Little Village‘s ‘Don’t Go Away Mad.’ and features Joe Bonamassa guesting on guitar and vocals, It”s certainly different to the other tracks on the album, and actually reminds me very much of Van Morrison’sBright Side of the Road.

I have no idea about the following short instrumental, ‘Scraps Vignette.’ Neither, it appears, does Joanne:
“We were working on another cover, and when we got to the studio, it just wasn’t working. We ended up having the band change the vibe completely. When I returned home to Detroit, I got in Rustbelt Studios with Al Sutton to put down the vocal, but it still wasn’t working. I believe Josh kept the take without the vocal and edited what we have now which is “Scraps”.

‘Can’t You See What You’re Doing To Me,’ was originally a Stax release from Albert King. This is a tremendous cover – full sounding and brooding, it’s one to listen to. I mean really listen – there’s so much loaded into this one track between the horns, prominent bass, Joanne’s searing guitar work …. I hear something different every time I play this.

‘Let Me Down Easy‘can be heard at the top of this post. Another Little Milton song, Joanne’s voice take on a more gritty, slightly rasping tone … like a pared back Janis Joplin even.

The Fabulous Thunderbirds song, ‘Two Time My Loving‘ was suggested by producers Joe and Josh and is a real toe-tapper. I think it’s one of those songs you don’t realise you know until you actually hear it!

‘I Don’t Know What You’ve Got,‘ is a real smoky blues number, with such a soulful Hammond organ, and warm sounding horn section the underpinning features, with Joanne’s guitar moodily working over the top. Says Joanne:
“I’m a huge Little Richard fan this has long been one of my favourite songs. In fact, this was the first song I selected to put on this album. Little Richard didn’t perform or record too many ballads, so I think it’s a particularly stand-out track for him in my eyes. Having Reese Wynans playing keys on it was brilliant, given that Reese had worked with Little Richard.”

The album closes with a more upbeat number, again chosen by Joe and Josh – ‘Three Time Loser.’ I can’t say exactly why, but for some reason this track reminds me of one of my favourite artists, Frankie Miller. I’ve checked, and it’s not n any of his albums as far as I know …. but anyhow, that’s a pretty big compliment, right there!

Here’s a wee taste of what to expect on this album:

MUSICIANS INVOLVED WITH THE RECORDING.
Joanne Shaw Taylor – Guitar / Vocals
Josh Smith – Guitar
Reece Wynans – Keyboards
Greg Morrow – Drums
Steve MacKey – Bass
Steve Patrick – Trumpet
Mark Douthit – Saxophone
Barry Green – Trombone
+
Joe Bonamassa – Guitar / Vocals on ‘Don’t Go Away Mad’
+
Mike Farris – special guest on ‘I Don’t Know What You’ve Got.’

(Photo by Christie Goodwin)

Joanne Shaw Taylor’s “The Blues Album” is released by KTBA Records on September 24th via www.ktbarecords.com



tonstartssbandht

(Photo: Andy White)
‘What Has Happened,’ the lead single from the forthcoming album, ‘Petunia.’ The video for this was shot around the parks of the lads’ home city, Orlando, Florida.)

Formed in Orlando Florida back in 2008, brothers Andy and Edwin White, as Tonstartssdandht are set to release their eighteenth (!) album, ‘Petunia,’ on October 22nd 2021.

From Wikipedia:
Commenting on their prolific output, they have said, “Even a shitty recording can possibly be salvaged or used in a different way, but we generally just record record record. Just hit that button and don’t worry about it. Do it or never do it.” Andy has a long term interest in archiving and documenting the band’s live shows, which he began recorded with a 4-track. Recently he has been recording most of their tours, including dates across Europe, Russia, South East Asia, and Australia. When recording “studio” albums, they aim for a warm, room sound, using the close mic technique, and usually recording in their own apartments, with ambient sounds (including microwaves being turned on) apparent in instances

Renowned for playing shows in which their psych infused set goes a little ‘off piste’ and the songs become longer, languid jams, they view the album as the bare bones of future live sets.

Where most Tonstartssbandht albums come together slowly over years, recorded on the fly whenever the Whites have a few spare moments on the road, ‘Petunia’ was largely written and recorded in their home city of Orlando in 2020.

Many of the tracks had been played live, but in extremely rough form, and hadn’t yet developed into any kind of mature stage. With plenty of time on their hands thanks to the lockdown, and no shows to play, Andy and Edwin decided to pack some flesh onto those skeletons and bring them to life on their own.

Petunia’ is the first Tonstartssbandht album to be created in a sustained manner and in a consistent environment, written and recorded in a single place over a focused period of time. 

It was recorded at the brothers’ home studio in Orlando between April and August of 2020, but was mixed by Joseph Santarpia and Roberto Pagano at The Idiot Room in San Francisco. This was the first time in eighteen albums that ‘outsiders’ have been brought in at the mixing stage, the result this time being that ‘Petunia‘ is brighter, punchier, and more direct than its predecessor.

If the single, and indeed the following video from five years ago, is anything to go by, then we’re in for a treat.

(Songs on this video are taken from the ‘Christchurch’ album of 2016 and illustrate the band’s propensity to veer off into psychedelic style jams.)

TONSTARTSSBANDHT

Edwin White – Drums / Vocals
Andy White – Guitar / Vocals

***** Tonstartssbandht‘s discography is ‘complicated’ by different formats of some recordings being released by different labels.

***** Rather than produce a table here, perhaps it would be be simpler to check out the band’s releases here on Discogs.


sacripolitical

(Sacripolitical 1983 – Mark, Matt, John & Sam)

Sacripolitical were, and now are now once again, a hardcore punk band from Marin County, California. Formed in 1982, around their time of leaving High School in San Rafael. The band, whose name reflects the members’ irreverent attitude towards politics, played shows around the state right through the decade.

They first took to the stage at the Sleeping Lady Cafe in Fairfax in late 1983, as a three-piece. No amp; upturned plastic pickle barrels substituting for drums, and improvised,, shouted vocals – the stunned audience of hippies and punks didn’t quite know what to make of the young upstarts!

Vocalist, both then and now, John Marmysz, takes up the story:

Back then, there was a very small, but very enthusiastic punk scene here in Marin County, California that has been sorely under-documented and over-shadowed by the San Francisco and East Bay scenes. There was a lot of raw creativity and rebellion, a good deal of trouble, lots of fun, and some sad tragedies.

“We played shows throughout the 1980’s on the bill with bands like Frightwig, Fang, Camper Van Beethoven, and The Pukes. We were interviewed on the Maximum Rock N Roll radio program, and in 1993 we recorded an EP titled ‘Peace: Under Our Supervision’ that was released on cassette.”

During the mid-1980’s, Sacripolitcal became a fixture at Marin County punk shows, frequently playing at the Sleeping Lady Cafe, various underground warehouse shows, and at the Flashback Cafe in Mill Valley, where the founder of “Cutting Edge Productions,” Mike Kavanaugh, dubbed them the house band.

Performances at the Flashback Cafe were frequent and rowdy. It was there that Sacripolitical appeared with bands such as Tales of Terror, Special Forces, Victim’s Family, Defend the Keg, Diet Tribe, The Pukes, and many, many others.

Often, Sacripolitical would hand out special “prizes” and “treats,” sometimes consisting of band pins and stickers, sometimes consisting of spent rifle and pistol casings. The shows went late into the evenings and were regularly interrupted by the police, who sought to silence what must have appeared to them like a riot waiting to happen.

(Live at Flashback Cafe. Mill Valley 1984)
(Live at the Cabbage Patch, San Rafael, 1983)

John continues:
Sacripolitical broke up in 1993 and everyone went their different ways, but by 2019 some of us – now old guys! – resettled in and around Marin and decided to start playing shows again. This, as it turns out, was bad timing as the pandemic hit in 2020 and live music venues went into hibernation.

“The pandemic killed a lot of bands, but we assembled some recording equipment, learned how to use it, and started writing new songs.

“In 2021 we recorded a 4-song, DIY EP and pressed a 7” 45 rpm vinyl record. The EP is titled ‘Pandemic Sessions, ‘ commemorating the conditions under which it was made. We’ve also been contributing songs to a number of punk charity compilations put out by 8 Up Records.”

You can hear, and indeed buy, the result of these sessions , here on Bandcamp. I particularly enjoyed ‘Gogol’s Nose,’ with the discordant saxophone giving a bit of an old school, No Wave kind of feel.

Hopefully, over the coming months, we can all get on top of the pandemic, and gigs will once again become more commonplace. Neighbourhoods need a vibrant local music scene, and while they may now be about thirty years older, I bet Sacripolitical can still do ‘vibrant’ with the best of them!

(Live, January 2020 – pre-pandemic.)

SACRIPOLITICAL
John Marmysz – Vocals
Matt Schmidt – Guitar
Mark Wallace/Mike Hansen – Bass
Gary Benson – Drums
Charles Greer – Saxophone
Juneko Robinson/Sian Killingsworth – Backing Vocals

TITLEFORMATYEARLABELNOTES
Peace: Under Our SupervisionCassette / Single sided EP1993N/A
Shove It Up Your Ass B/W Gogol’s Nose ‎7″ single2021N/A
Pandemic SessionsDigital album2021N/A – via Bandcamp

robert jon & the wreck

(Photo: John Hampton)
(Header photo: Brian Greenberg)

Back in the mid-Seventies, I was all over Southern Rock; Lynyrd Skynyrd (obviously!); The Outlaws; Marshall Tucker Band; Grinderswitch, and others all found a place in my record collection.

Then, along came Punk.

I always was a fickle kid, and though my love of these bands did not exactly fade, their albums would make much less frequent visits to the turntable.

In recent years though, having been forced by my wife to endure hour upon hour of American Idol, my interest in country based sounds has been reignited. And when I listen to likes of Robert Jon & The Wreck, I realise now what I’ve been missing.

‘Shine A Light On Me Brother, (released on 3rd September 2021) is the result of enforced ‘downtime’ during the Covid pandemic, and will be the band’s sixth studio album. With a couple of EPs / CD Live recordings thrown in since their inception ten years ago in Orange County, California, then by today’s standards, I guess they’d fall into the prolific bracket.

Their hard-working ethics have seen them tour coast to coast in their homeland, as well as travelling the world and playing before huge sell-out crowds when supporting likes of Joe Bonamassa, Buddy Guy, Living Colour, Walter Trout, Black Stone Cherry and the Chris Robinson Band.

It’s funny that last name came up. Bands, I’m sure, must hate it when folks like me draw similarities between them and other artists. It’s not ‘lazy journalism,’ it’s simply observation in trying to give the reader an inkling of what to expect from an artist / recording. So yeah, overall, though there are variations throughout, I can hear a bit of semblance to the Black Crows at points along the album’s ten track duration.

(New album, front cover.)

The opening, title and lead single, ‘Shine A Light On Me Brother’ can be heard at the beginning of this post. I love the incorporation of a horns section with this southern rock belter. Their blend with the guitar solo and racing piano give the song a feel of, dare I say it, The Allman Brothers mashing it up with The Blues Brothers band. (Oh, if only that were possible!)

Here’s track number two, ‘Everyday,‘ for you decide upon. A real toe-tapper with a shuffling beat, neat, zippy, guitar work and an overall. gospel feel.

‘Ain’t No Young Love Song’ opens with a stomping beat that’s maintained throughout. The piano is swapped for the hammond organ which is given some prominence and there’s the prerequisite guitar solo of course. The chorus has a real big hook and I think you’d file this one under ‘anthemic.’

The pace slows for ‘Chicago,’ which takes a more soulful turn, with the horns giving a bit of a Stax sound. The vocals are BIG, but beautifully controlled and mellow. The sax solo leads into what I think should be a few bars of hand clapping … I was off and running only to feel rather sheepish a moment or two later. (I bet when played ‘live’ the crowds will all do the raised hand-claps as the sax solo ends. You mark my words. )

‘Hurricane,‘ slows the tempo right own. I don’t normally go for slower, acoustic based songs, but I found myself totally immersed in this one. It would be quite easy to drift off (in a complimentary way) to this as the song gently rises and falls like waves on an idyllic beach. My one observation, as if it counts, coming from someone who can’t play a note on anything, is that perhaps instead of the short guitar burst, use of a pedal steel guitar could have been made? Just sayin’ … like, what do I know?

‘Desert Sun’ is another that will have the listener singing along. Medium paced, with a buzz-like guitar and piano prominent throughout, it just has a sort of lazy, warm, sultry feel to it – perhaps influenced by the title, of course.

‘Movin’ ‘ opens with a bit of a dark and threatening rumble of a riff. It’s lifted with the vocals and piano. The bass line and riff remind me of Bryan Ferry‘s version of ‘The Price of Love‘ and I kept wanting to sing the chorus to Tina Turner‘s version of ‘Proud Mary’ come the chorus – but hey! That’s no bad thing, is it?

Anna Maria‘ is a grower. Almost five minutes in length, I wondered where it was going for the first minute and a half, but it builds into a resounding and swirling track with a pretty cool break-down around midpoint that lasts a minute or so before rising to the final crescendo.

The penultimate track ‘Brother,’ sounds so sad, but absolutely captivating. It sounds like it was truly sung from the heart.

And so to the final track, ‘Radio.‘ In a complete contrast to the mood of the previous song, this one bounces through its three minute duration. It’s a really ‘busy’ track with so much going on. Each time I listen I hear something I missed the previous time. If this doesn’t have you dancing your socks off, then you must have flippers for feet.

Yeah – this is some album. Good, strong songs and musicianship throughout, it’s predominately upbeat and / or anthemic. It has a warm, Californian desert feel to it, and one I’d sure like to see performed live.

I must say, I had never heard of this Robert Jon & The Wreck before this landed on my desk. I have to say, I’ll definitely be checking out their back catalogue, now.

***(Robert Jon & The Wreck will be touring UK in late September, 2021. Dates and ticket links can be found on the NEWS PAGE.)***

(From, ‘Last Light on the Highway’ album, released in 2020. This single had an unprecedented 12-week run of radio play on Planet Rock Radio in the UK.) 
(Photo: John Hampton.)

ROBERT JON & THE WRECK

Robert Jon Burrison – Lead Vocals / Guitar
Andrew Espantman – Drums / Vocals
Steve Maggiora – Keyboards / Vocals
Harry James – Lead Guitar / Vocals
Warren Murrel – Bass / Vocals

TITLEFORMATYEARLABEL NOTES
 Fire Started CD Album2011N/AListing only albums – singles and EPs can be found here on Discogs.

Glory Bound
LP2015Spitfire Music L.A
Good Life PieLP2016Spitfire Music L.A
Robert Jon & The WreckLP2017The Music Box Los Angeles
Wreckage Vol.1 ‎CD Album2017The Music Box Los AngelesWreckage Vol. 1 is a re-packaging of two of Robert Jon & The Wreck older EP’s, “Rhythm Of The Road EP” and “The RedBull Sessions

Live From Hawaii 
CD Album2018Hampton Productions
Take Me HigherCD Album2019N/A
Last Light On The HighwayLP2020N/A
Shine A Light On Me BrotherLP2021N/A

bad mary

Bad Mary are a four piece punk outfit, playing out of Long Island, New York. They have been together eleven years, recording since 2013, and have gigged at some of the city’s most iconic venues, The Knitting Factory and The Bowery Electric among them. They have also played on the bill at The Warped Tour, and completed a very successful mini-tour of Japan.

Their music is generally fast and bouncy, danceable punk; music to get everyone moving in those intimate, sweaty venues. They sure bring a fun vibe to their music – which for me, is just what music in general is all about.

They have released three EPs and two albums, the latest of which, ‘The Return of Space Girl,‘ debuted in 2019. It’s a punk-rock space-opera about a robot from space who has a few things she needs to teach the world. Yeah. It really is!

The album is a real belter, musically. Thirteen furiously pounding but melodic songs in thirty-three minutes – true old school punk style. Check out ‘I, Robot,’ is my recommendation.

They declare themselves as a punk band, inspired by Seventies punk luminaries such as The Ramones and Blondie, but blending their sound and fun attitude with that of second wave punk bands such as Green Day and Paramore. ( I can actually hear a similarity in Amanda’s vocal delivery to Hayley’s.)

However, I see and hear much more than that.

Bad Mary are prolific in posting videos and from what I’ve seen, they could equally head off down a more gothic route (White Rabbit – which I’m unable to post here) or even artrock avenue, (Theme From Daria.)

(I love this video / track.)

As with bands the world over, these past eighteen months have been a bit of a nightmare with no live shows, but in addition to adding to their You Tube channel, Bad Mary have been streaming short live gigs on a weekly basis during the pandemic.

I’d suggest tuning in and checking them out.

BAD MARY

Amanda Mac – Lead Vocals
David Henderson – Guitar
Mike Staub – Bass / Vocals
Bill Mac – Drums

TITLEFORMATYEARLABELNOTES
Better DaysAlbum2013Unknown
Killing Dinosaurs EP2015Unknown
We Could Have Saved The WorldEP2016Unknown
Glitter BombEP2017Unknown
The Return of Space GirlAlbum2019Unknown




leslie’s motel

It truly amazes me how bands like Leslie’s Motel were / are completely overlooked by record companies.

This was a band that played up and down America’s East Coast, and west to St Louis; a band that opened for likes of Rory Gallagher; Ted Nugent; Charlie Daniels ,Freddie King, Mitch Ryder and MC5 Even John Lee Hooker asked vocalist Bill Tullis to stand in on harp (harmonica) one evening when the band were the main support.

So, no mugs then.

Yet this is what happened to Leslie’s Motel in 1972. During the year following their inception, the band walked into King Studio in Louisville, and cut the nine tracks that would become their debut album, ‘Dirty Sheets,’

Influenced by seeing The Allman Joys play some time earlier, Bill Tullis ultimately surrounded himself with five experienced musicians keen to adopt the Sound of the South popularized by the band who would soon become The Allman Brothers.

‘Dirty Sheets‘ is indeed from that mould, being very ‘heavy blues’ laden, though I’d say it has more of a hard, driving rock edge to it. There are prolonged instrumental stretches, with some tremendous, searing guitar wig-outs, underpinned by flaring Hammond organ … and of course there are drum solos that were almost obligatory in the Seventies.

(This track has just about EVERYTHING you’d expect from a Seventies rock instrumental!)

The album was hawked out to some local labels, including Capricorn (home to The Allman Brothers, and Marshall Tucker Band amongst others) but each one declined to take up on it.

(Talk about ‘mugs?‘)

And so it was, the album, and the dream, just more or less died

Following their disappointing rejection Leslie’s Motel soldiered on gigging up and down the east coast until they eventually called it quits in 1976.

Fast forward thirty-three years from the band’s demise. Again, details are sketchy to say the least, but completely out of the blue, band founder Bill Tullis was contacted by Roger Maglio. Roger is the owner of Gear Fab Records and expressed an interest in releasing the virtually forgotten LP.

I can’t imagine the band, having waited such a length of time, would have been too hard to deal with, and in 2009, ‘Dirty Sheets’ finally hit the shops. (There have been a couple subsequent reissues, the latest being in 2020.)

The album was very well received and racked up good sales worldwide together with some very positive reviews in the music press. The band reformed and began gigging again, one of which was recorded for a CD and DVD release in 2010.

Sadly, I can’t find any information on the state of play with the band in 2021. Perhaps they’ve all checked out by now – it’s all abit of a mystery.

Maybe though, that’s just the way it should be for a band that has flown under the radar all this time.

LESLIE’S MOTEL
Bill Tullis – Lead Vocals / Rhythm Guitar / Tambourine
Mike Seibold – Lead Guitar / Vocals
Richard Bush – Hammond B3 Organ / Fender Rhodes Piano
Ray Barrickman – Bass / Vocals
Paul Hoemi – Drums
Roy Blumenfeld – Drums / Congas

TITLE FORMATYEARLABELNOTES
Dirty SheetsLP2009)Gear Fab