Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Long Tall Texans "Headless"

(The Western Star Recording Company 2017)

Headless
Countdown To A Breakdown
In My Dreams
Who Told You
Ladyboy
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
Arise
Mentor
Contact
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 book...you 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)
Hellride
Dirty Needles
Long Summer
I'll Never Know
Temporary Defeat
Batcave
Madame Ching
Black Stilettos
Safety Word
We're Desperate (Featuring Jackie Mendez)
Looking In Your Window (Featuring The Flashbax)
Orale

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 reviews....reviews....but 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


Sunday, March 19, 2017

Them Old Crap "Galeria Fantasma"

(Broken Neck Records 2017)

Breath Your Life
Shiver
Someone
Crucified By Love
Constant Sorrow
By My Side
Whisper Help
Rituals
Make Up
Anajs
Lean On Me
Cauldron
Guerreiros Do Submundo
Barutcha Kreputcha

I like a bit of Bluegrass me...or in this case...Undergrass. At least that's what Brazilian trio Them Old Crap call themselves on their Facebook page! And fuck me, but it suits em. The lads have taken Bluegrass in a whole new, somewhat darker direction. This album hits the spot in a lot of different ways. The artwork really suit the sounds emanating from me sexy Sennheisers. Tis a 16 page booklet with all the lyrical delights within and features some fine photography. The musicianship coming from the hands and hearts of these three boys is off the fucking chart! (There's a host of guest musicians on here too which just makes the talent to be admired more abundant). It veers into gypsy territory every now and again and to my ears at least, maybe even into indie/rock territory. I think the latter may be due to the vocal stylings of frontman Eduardo Ribeiro. Well whatever the sounds are I love em. There's an honesty to the lyrics that's so often lost in music. I mean, in a world where lyrical content consists of "ooooh baby etc.", it makes a welcome change to sit back and listen to actual stories being told through the medium of song. Heartfelt, down-to-earth lyrics that'll have you singing along one minute and sitting back and listening intently the next. Now I know it's only March but this is one of thee best albums I've heard this year. See? I'm not all about psychobilly and pretending the side of my leg is a slap bass...though I did slap the side of my leg-bass a lot whilst listening to this. Them Old Crap are anything but crap. They're the.....anti-crap! 
The O'Prez


Sunday, March 12, 2017

Pitmen "Back To The Pit"

(Crazy Love Records 2016)

Always On The Run
Grab Life By The Balls
You Are Not My Friend
Fifteen Dead
Zombie Rumble
Please Don't Call Me Baby
Hot Rod Hotel
Roadkill
You're The Reason Mommy Drinks
The Lonesome Boatman
Schnitzel Mit Kartoffelsalat
The House Of The Rising Sun
Baltimore Fire
One More Day

Jaysus Almighty it's been 16 years since the last Pitmen album. But judging by the heads on em they must have been downing gallons of youth syrup. The main reason the Pitmen stand out for me is they have a touch of Irish Folk to their sound. Indeed on their two previous albums there have been some finely executed cover versions of Irish Folk ditties...and this new album features a stomping rendition of Finbar Furey's The Lonesome Boatman. Front-man Christian had an Irish Folk outfit called Airím with Susanne Böhler and the eponymous 1999 album takes pride of place in my CD collection. So the new album...what's the craic with that I hear you cry? Well, Christian certainly knows how to pen an excellent song. He's written the bulk of the songs on here with Holger flexing his quill and his missus Carrie Donovan coming in on biro duties too. Now, before I go on, I want to bring up one negative. The booklet. It's just a single double-sided insert. I always like a proper booklet including lyrics. Especially for bands where English isn't their first language. But in this case it's pure aesthetics as the vocals are clear and the lyrics are perfectly annunciated. I think this is in no small part due to Christian's love of Irish music. He sings with an Irish accent for fuck sake the big German fecker. But anyway, in amongst the classic psychobilly fare, you'll also hear banjo and fiddle to give things a nice céilíbilly twist. The Pitmen have always been a melting pot of influences and this has never been as more evident as it is on this release. It has all the music I love all blended together in that Pitmen-esque style. Equal parts psychobilly, folk from both sides of the Atlantic, hard-as-fuck neo rockabilly and Celtabilly (I made that last genre up). The production and mixing is immaculate as is the instrumentation. Throw Christian's vocals on top of that and well, this album just shines. For a genre that's been around now for the bones of 40 years with 100s of sound-a-like bands, it's always refreshing to hear new output from a band like the Pitmen who are instantly recognisable owing in no small part to the fact that they don't sound like anyone else. They brought something new to the table back in 1998 and this album carries on that fine tradition.
The O'Prez


Sunday, March 5, 2017

The Phantom Cowboys "Dead Men's Clothes"

(Diogenes Records 2016)

The Hermit
Dead Men's Clothes
Rosemarie
Ghostwalk

Back in 1998 (before the internet made everything so accessible) I took a punt on the album Down And Out At The Club Cruella based on the suave image of the band on the front cover (which made them stand out from their cohorts), the album title and the song titles. You couldn't "try before you buy" back then. The whole package smacked of all things dark and voodoobilly. The sounds lived up to the expectations. I've been revisiting that album while I awaited the arrival of the new EP. Voodoo Bunnies is still one of my favourite songs of all time. The only thing missing from this song is a video laden with the aforementioned Voodoo Bunnies (which in turn would put to the test if Juan Sheet is a legend or a liar). So, on to the return of The Phantom Cowboys. Did they pick up where the excellent album left off? Yes! Yes they did!! Their distinctive sound is still 100% intact. Gothic-tinged neo rockabilly with a sophistication that matches their attire. If The Phantom Cowboys went under your radar first time around then don't make that mistake again. As clichéd as it sounds, this really does deserve to be in every self respecting (insert first word)billy collection. Dark, clever, melodious and urbane as fuck. The Phantom Cowboys are everything Dave Vanian's Phantom Chords wished they could have been.
The EP is available on CD and 7" vinyl and while you're at it add the début album to your basket too. Links to all things Phantom Cowboys below...
The O'Prez



Sunday, February 19, 2017

Bad Luck Gamblers "Casino Maldito"

(Hot Jail Records 2016)

Casino Maldito
Like A Bat
8%
Terror Train
Rusty T-Bucket
Thylanicus Attack
Somebody Stole My Pet Possum
Drinking With The Devil
Shoulder Mount
No Chips No Chicks

The prize for longest time between albums must surely go to Brazil's Bad Luck Gamblers. Their first album "Don't Bet On Us" was released back in 2007 for Jaysus sake. Now that they've finally got off their arses and went back in to the studio, was it worth the wait? Too fuckin' right it was. The first album was a rough diamond...this is a finely polished one. There's no letup at all with the tempo of this thing. It's all speed limit breaking stuff. Maniacal is the word I'm looking for. I can here a twist of that Reverend Horton Heat guitar sound mixed in with some South American overtones. The trio of musicians extraordinaire have unleashed an album with 10 ditties of musical dexterity that feature some nice touches in the studio which make the listener sit up and take notice. The chord progressions give the songs the gold medal winning honours of being excellently executed psycho-rockabilly with an air of malevolence. The Bad Luck Gamblers make me proud to be part of a scene where real talent is order of the day, unlike the auto-tuned, rehashed, unoriginal over-produced bollocks that clogs up the airwaves to placate the millions of mass media brainwashed sheep that think Little Mix are a "band".

The O'Prez