Tag Archives: new music

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!

VIC & KEPI: ‘After the Flood.’

Wow!

You know how it is: you’re on coronavirus lockdown, stuck in the house. There are no shops open, which means no record stores to hang out in. But that doesn’t really matter, ’cause you ain’t working and have no money anyway.

Bored out your box, you half heartedly surf through Bandcamp looking for something fresh. But it’s a struggle.

Then, BOOM!

I’ll admit, it was the album’s artwork that first caught my eye. Then the names … VIC RUGGIERO & KEPI GHOULIE. I know these dudes. Well, I know of them – they both already have places in my record and CD collections, courtesy of their history with The Slackers and Groovie Ghoulies respectively. This was gonna be good.

In fact, it was more than’good.’ The next thirty-five minutes or so were spent foot tapping and bouncing around my room to a good, old fashioned, stripped back rhythm & blues vibe.

My first reaction was it reminded me very much of the Rolling Stones album, ‘Stripped‘ from around 1995. I had never really noticed before, but perhaps because of the song content on this album, there is a similarity at times between Vic and Mick’s vocal intonation.

And then, just as I was reveling in this comparison, I reached track four, ‘Bright Lights.’ Of course this is a Jimmy Reed standard, but I recognised it from an ‘unofficial’ Stones album from back in the day when their staple was covering some of the big blues players from USA.

(An old performance of ‘Big Kiss,’ from 2017)

Several songs on ‘After the Flood,’ sound familiar, I have to say, though I really have no idea as to the writing credits. I do know, though, that Vic & Kepi cover the Shangri-las – twice. ‘Big Kiss,‘ at track six is a slowed down version of the Sixties hit. It works really well, though I personally prefer the album-closing version of the track, ‘Great Big Reprise,’ which is a lot more ‘perky’ in its delivery

There’s something really endearing about an acoustic and more organic interpretation of rhythm & blues. Maybe it’s because the bass lines have more room to cut through and add to the bouncy feel; maybe it’s because, as in this case, Vic & Kepi are afforded space to blend their vocals and interaction, or maybe it’s just that good music doesn’t need to be over complicated and cluttered.

Seriously, there’s not one dodgy track on this album. It just feels like the lads are playing a relaxed, fun jam and somebody left the recording switch on accidentally.

Which, actually, if you read the notes to this Bandcamp release …..

KILLER WHALE: ‘Everyone You Know Someday.’

When I was a teenager I lied about my age and got a gig supporting Frightened Rabbit (then largely unknown) in a dingy basement bar in Glasgow. Scott Hutchison’s genius that night changed my life. His music was a revelation – you can be from Glasgow and be in a band that doesn’t sound like Oasis! Unfortunately, he quipped that my own ramshackle group reminded him of High School talent shows. Inspired nevertheless, I took my free copy of their home-recorded album, ‘Sing the Greys,’ and I listened to it on repeat all night.

So says Dougie, aka KILLER WHALE, and formerly St. Cool, the masked, shamanic frontman of cult Glasgow’s mentalist, metal-funk band, The Mikey 9s.

From being inspired by a formative Frightened Rabbit to prancing around the stages of the UK gig circuit with Mickey 9s, is quite a transformation.

But as Harry Chapin sang back in ’72, ‘All my life’s a circle …’ and perhaps there is no more appropriate song to describe musical journey (God, I hate that term!) with the release of his debut album as KILLER WHALE.

The eleven tracks on ‘Everyone You Know Someday,’ are thoughtful, and introspective. As Dougie explains, they were written in the comedown of the six-month Scottish darkness that is euphemistically termed ‘winter.’ Yet, creativity often sprouts from bleakness;
” … out of the darkness, light; in the light, shadows; like the patterns on a killer whale.” 

Most of the tracks are mid-tempo, melodic and I have to say exhibit a style that I can only term as typically ‘Glasgow’ – an eclectic mix of folk and ‘indie.’ Others more familiar with this brand of music have suggested:

‘The poetry of Leonard Cohen and Neil Young mixed with the lush musicality of Wilco and Death Cab for Cutie; the sentimental melodies of The Blue Nile and Hot Chip with the experimentality of Brian Eno and The Velvet Underground; the fragile vocals of Arthur Russell and Bon Iver with the sincerity of Joni Mitchell and Frightened Rabbit.’

For me, the outstanding track is the second one in, ‘Something Like That,’ which initially evokes an image of a bleak Scottish landscape before gently bouncing along on a catchy bass line.

If any of that’s your bag, then you’ll be right into this album.


STRIZZY STRAUS: ‘Hieroglyfics.’

Strizzy Strauss reveals the second single ‘Hieroglyfics’ from his upcoming debut album
‘Trust The Process’ .

Hip Hop producer Sik Sense takes the helm on this one,
laying down a jazz tinted piano driven beat with punchy boom bap drum patterns. There’s
also a melodic quality to be heard in Strauss’s rhyme style, coupled with the slow-and-
steady boom bap beat and it’s a recipe for a hypnotic head-nod.

The track speaks on the adversities experienced growing up in a single parent home, around
neglected neighbourhoods and under constant pressure to be drawn into the mud. Having been “to hell, back and got the bucket hat”, Strauss describes the ever-present impetus to swerve the surrounding negative influences and move toward a higher calling.

From a purely personal perspective (and it is my blog, so it counts!) LOUD HORIZON has not in the past really embraced the Hip Hop / Rap scene, concentrating more on punk, rock, reggae etc.

But you like what you like – no boundaries and all that.

And I like this. A lot!

SANS: ‘Aztec Drips.’

Over the past few years SANS have emerged from Bristol’s more avant-garde scene as one of the more hard-edged yet versatile bands.

The SANS sound melds post punk, experimental noise and hardcore, incorporating a maelstrom of overdriven guitars, jazz drumming and heavy breakdowns.

Their forthcoming eponymous EP, being released via Breakfast Records on 22nd May is a reflection of this, as you can hear from the lead track, ‘Aztec Drips,’ below.