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Friday, 30 June 2017

Yorkshire Rats - Unreleased recordings and they are free

We don't hide our appreciation for Yorkshire Rats.
We bloody love them.

So it was a nice surprise to see Don message fans to say that they were putting the tracks up that were recorded many moons ago.

Instead of me waffling about them here he is talking about the material himself.

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm not one for looking backwards. But I recently came across some tracks from an album that we originally worked on over 10 years ago. Back when me and our other lead singer Sean Úlfheðinn Brewin were both around 18 years old. We were kids, we were poor, we were from broken homes and we were both fucking furious. We weren't professionals but we'd work on those songs day and night then we'd make big plans over cheap pints. As hazy as those early days are, some of my best memories of playing rock n roll are with that man.We're a different and now but I wanted to share these tracks with you all. Much love!

The songs are free to download on bandcamp, but while there it goes without saying that you should grab something else.
You will not be disappointed.

Just click here for them. Unreleased recordings

You can try before you buy there outstanding album Sea of Souls here on Spotify too.


Five for friday

Five recommendations for friday.
Yep, we are back and we have some doozys for you this week.

Check Out Ryan Hamilton and the Traitors.
You feeling this?
Yes you are. I know you are.
From here you are going to let your fingers start dancing across the keys to see what other releases are out there, where he is playing and such aren't you?
Admit it.
There's no shame in it.
You are loving this.
If you're not then do me a favour and lift your hand up and feel the side of your head.
Both sides.
Do you have ears?
If not then this is why you are not getting it.
If there are ears there then make an appointment with the doctor to have them checked as they're not working.

Here's the website for Ryan and his Traitors, and here. Have the tour dates too:

Aug 17 Bannerman's Edinburgh
Aug 18 Think Tank Newcastle
Aug 19 Brudenell Social Club Leeds
Aug 20 Sound Control Manchester
Aug 22 Hare & Hounds Birmingham
Aug 23 The Bodega Nottingham
Aug 24 Thekla Bristol
Aug 25 The Borderline London

We plan on being at Bannermans. Maybe see you at the bar. (Winky face)

And now that you have let Ryan and his mates settle in are you ready for something else?

Here's Lux Lisbon.

You're swooning. I can tell.

I first heard of Lux Lisbon off the back of their Bullingdon Club release, but more recently I was offered a ticket for a gig in Glasgow by a good friend and my enthusiasm for them jumped a gear.
Live they have the deft ability to take a performance and put it up there under the description jawdroppingly good.
Is jawdroppingly a word? It is now.
There are also one of the most fan engaged bands out there,
If you sign up to their newsletters there's always free downloads available.
And the newsletters are in actual fact letters.
They don't deal in the drab 'here's our latest gigs' news.
Thoughts, catalysts for conversations. That's their bag.
Join up and you will find yourself as part of an inclusive community of fans.

All the information is on their website.
You know what to do.

And here's something else.

There's a documentary series out there just now called Hate Thy Neighbour.
The premise as far as I can tell is to see if they can find intelligent life among groups of racists.
Spoiler alert: They don't.
It's a trip through the underbelly of extremism, or that is what most would claim, but the most horrifying aspect of it is that the racists featured are in general normal men and woman.
They are the quiet extremists that live next door.
Personally I don't understand where they are coming from.
To hate someone, anyone, without actually knowing them seems such a waste of time.

Thought provoking, and pretty much essential viewing.

Remember, ignorance is not your friend.

Music, gigs, tv shows! Where's the movies?

Okay how about Murder on the Orient Express?
Is there a point to it?
Will it be better than the Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall, Vanessa Redgrave, Ingrid Bergman, Anthony Perkins, John Gielgud, Sean Connery one from 1974?
Will Johnny Depp play a version of Capt Jack Sparrow in it?
So many questions and so few answers.
Par for the course for a murder mystery.

We will be going to see it as I am a sucker for some Agatha Christie.

and if you are looking for an action comedy then the latest from Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L Jackson The Hitman's Bodyguard looks as if it will tick the boxes.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Batman; Ashes to Ashes

Every once in a while something comes across your radar and the first question you ask yourself is 'why didn't I know anything about this?'
That's what happened with Ashes to Ashes a fan filmed Batman short.
Sin City influences are clear, but the noir angle on Batman has been long supported and with this it has finally been covered.
It's nasty too. Not for the faint of heart.
If an R rated Batman was ever to appear then hopefully the lead is taken from this.

The downside is that what we have is a short. It's in some ways an advert for the people behind it, and if it is taken as such then someone throw them some money.

We need more of the dark nasty stuff.

Going Out #8 with The Chords UK

For a provincial town Kilmarnock (Ayrshire) consistently punches above its weight when it comes to attracting bands to play.
Happy Mondays are coming, TheLibertines too, but at a grass roots level it is the Bellfield Tavern - a bar that sits outside of the town centre - that flies the flag for live entertainment.
The Rezillos, Wendy James, Space, Neville Staple, and more, have all performed under its roof to capacity crowds.
On paper the concept of an off the beaten track pub attracting artists who have graced much larger stages, and enjoyed critically acclaimed careers, doesn’t look like it would work, but in reality the bar keeps knocking it out of the park as music fans from the surrounding areas will heartily attest to.

Latest to play were mod revivalists The Chords UK, but to be fair calling them mod revivalists doesn’t really cut it as for all intents and purposes their show, which lent heavily on the material from their latest album, was a far cry from a nostalgia trip.

It’s doubtful that Chris Pope will ever sit at a bar with a pint in hand and bore anyone with tales of glory days.

When the band hit their stride they sound like the Kinks with the fire of the Clash fuelling them.
It’s an evergreen wall of sound.
Lyrically adept and passionate in their delivery the band push hard, very hard, and expect the audience to respond in kind, and they do.
Pints held aloft, clenched fists punching the air and a boisterous crowd roaring their approval is in so many ways the bands natural habitat.
Take what they do from a small venue and push it onto a larger stage and it would still have a great deal of power, but with a whites of their eyes performance it is undistilled rock and roll that evokes lightning in a bottle comparisons.

And yes, it is easy to dismiss a band that on the surface doesn’t appear to have any current currency in the modern music business world,
Too many do it, but the quality of bands such as The Chords UK can’t be measured by chart hits, or how many appearances they can secure on music channels in this fast paced world.
Or even in the venues that they play.
Their relevance exists in the moment when you are standing in a crowd and the sound they are creating washes over you.
It exists when you open up to their latest album.
It exists when that primal tug whispers to you that they are damned good.

And isn’t that what it is all about?

Just that!

Just being blown away by a band on a Friday night!

And if you agree then The Chords UK are for you.

Thanks to the Kilmarnock ScooterClub for their participation in co-promoting this show.

Take a bow. 

Friday, 23 June 2017

Five for friday

It's that time again where we look at what is going on out there and direct your attention to it.

A welcome surprise this week was the premier of a video from Lee Rocker (Stray Cats).
It has its preview over on the website of Vive Le Rock and you can get there with one click of the mouse.

It's a rather fine medley of a couple of Sun Records classics, namely 'That's Alright Mama' and  'Blue Moon' and it would be very surprising if some toes weren't tapping to this.

The latest edition of Vive Le Rock will also feature a a ten page Stray Cats article so you can add that in as a bonus recommendation if that's your sorta thang baby.

More will be mentioned about Blood Drive next week, but for now just feast your eyes on this madness.

It's grindcore par excellence.

Okay, okay, some people might not be that enamoured with the b movie excesses of Blood Drive, but it is gloriously stupid and funny, and sometimes stupid and funny hits the spot.

We are diggin' it.

Enough of this staying in nonsense though as there's a party going on this week in Glasgow and while it is on a Tuesday night it will be worth the Wednesday morning existentialist fear that will no doubt join you for breakfast.

So where is this party?

It's in King Tuts Wah Wah Hut and will be hosted by Bash & Pop.
Replacements fans will know what I am talking about here.

No stranger to the blog Bash and Pop returned this year with an excellent album 'Anything Could Happen' and by the magic of Spotify here it is here.

Tickets can be bought online from Tickets Scotland

Most will already be aware, but the mighty Cheap Trick are coming to the UK, sorry no Scottish dates, to promote their new album,

London O2 Forum Kentish Town – Tue 27th
Manchester Academy – Wed 28th
Bristol O2 Academy – Thu 29th

Unfortunately the cash isn't available for us to join them, but we are seeking solace in just how magnificent 'We're All Alright' is.
In a career spanning decades it is difficult to cast our minds back and find one solitary moment when they have disappointed.

So if you, like us, can't attend a show, you can get your ears wrapped around the album, but if you can take in a date then do it. 

And as usual the last, but also as usual by no means the least, recommendation is that you watch the movie 'Life'.

Just caught up with this as others had mentioned in passing that it was worth making the time to watch it, and yes it was, it most certainly was worth it.

As tense as the original Alien movie it tick all the sci fi horror boxes.
It will be mentioned again in next weeks staying in reviews, but for now here is the trailer.

Happy birthday Glenn Danzig

Today the lords of darkness celebrate the birthday of a titan in their midst.
Glenn Danzig is now the grand old age of threescore and two.
Over the years that he has strode this earth as a behemoth his name has struck fear into many.
Namely the parents of fourteen year old boys and girls going through a rebellious stage.
As is right and proper we here at Reservoir Droogs are honoured to participate in this auspicious occasion and bring you some, just some, of the highlights of his career.

First is the time that he went out in daylight to buy some cat litter.
A small chore to some, but for an entity that prefers the shadows, the light of the moon, and the bloodletting of virgins when the sun goes down, we have to take on board how traumatic this must have been.

Hours of preparation must have been considered.

Sun screen or sun block? If it's sun screen then what factor? What to wear to blend in with the day walkers? Will black jeans and a shirt be okay for a trip to the store or is black jogging trousers and a t-shirt better?
Is it acceptable to wear a t-shirt with your own logo on it?

So many questions and so few answers.

You can imagine him sitting stroking his familiar at midnight and mumbling dark thoughts about disabled parking and wondering what the actual fuck a traffic update is.

It is entirely possible that this dark legend suffered a very serious issue with post traumatic stress disorder after visiting the local pet store.

More well known than the cat litter trip is the one where he grabbed headlines about a pile of bricks.

This was when a neighbour had an issue about the the poor level of upkeep on Glenns property, and in particular some bricks that had been left in his yard.
Clear property kerb desirability etiquette had been willfully ignored and the neighbour just wasn't having it.

Now we ask you how are you supposed to keep up with the general repairs to a property when the norm is to get up when the sun goes down and retire before it rises?
This same neighbour who bitched about a few bricks would quite probably be the same one who wouldn't take too kindly to hammering and drilling at 3am.

You just can't win.

Options available to both parties were to seek out some mediation, find a middle ground that was acceptable to both, but that was a shipped that sailed when Glen decided just to break his routine and clean his yard up.

But only in his own style.

That style being uber macho aggression set at eleven when the dial only goes to ten.

The crowning achievement of his career is of course the incident below when he got knocked the fuck out.
Nothing else has to be added about this jewel in the crown of his long career.
You just need to watch it.

All hail Glenn Danzig the meanest cat litter buying brick throwing mofo on the block, apart that big guy with the right hook of course.

Historical footnote, and lesser known is that Glenn was also a member of the Misfits, fronted Samhain, and Danzig too.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Going out #7 with Urban Voodoo Machine, Baby Driver and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men tell No Tales

Urban Voodoo Machine - Bannermans – 18/06/17 (Edinburgh)

I could quote Gary Glitter here, but he’s dead to us rockers now.
Instead I will paraphrase the dirty pervy bastard and say that as it has been a very long time since I was at an Urban Voodoo Machine gig that it was cool to return, very cool to return, and I missed them, yeah, while I was away……doing other things.

For the uninitiated they provide the soundtrack to every story of a kid running away and joining the circus.

But not the romantic rose tinted perspective of that tale.
Rather it is the bluesy dark reality of hard times, death, romance, drink, drugs, and a plethora of debauchery.
Paul Ronney Angel is a force of nature when it comes to front-men.
A gutter impresario he evokes a timeless portrayal of gypsy swagger and wrong side of the tracks danger.
The band are the people that your parents warned you about, they are the bogeymen and woman who lurk under the bed, the monsters in the closet, and once they have seduced you with their music they will have a grip on you that will never be slackened.
They are the phantasmagorical purveyors of a rock and roll fantasy world.

How does that sound?

And given a minute or two to process it are you now kicking yourself that you weren’t there at Bannermans in Edinburgh?

You should be.
Two sets, two whole sets and no support acts, just one hundred percent undiluted Urban Voodoo Machine.

Those who were there now have had the distinct pleasure of waking up on the morning after the night before and thinking ‘hell yeah’ that was a gig and a half.
Sunday nights really shouldn’t be set aside for this sort of madness as Monday mornings can be unforgiving, but if any band is going to be worth nursing a hangover through a shift at work, or a school run, then it is the Urban Voodoo Machine.
Gumbo blues fuckers. Fill the bowl and splash some bourbon in the glass and keep it coming. 

Photographs to follow when edited.

Baby Driver

Screen unscreen from the Odeon cinema chain offers you the chance to see a movie for five pounds, but there is a catch.
You don’t know what it will be, but whatever it is will not have had its general release.
Taking this into consideration, and applying some guess work, I thought it may be Baby Driver, a movie we recommended a few weeks ago.
So with my five pounds in hand I went along and it bloody well was Baby Driver.
And it gives me great pleasure to say that it lived up to expectations.

Is it a heist movie or a musical though?
Well in so many ways it is both as the soundtrack is integral to everything that happens.
Scenes are choreographed to the music whether that is Ansel Elgort aka Baby walking down the street, or his being at the wheel during an octane burning car chase.
Even the speech of Kevin Spacey has the cadence to it of beat poetry.
There is no escaping the music and that for all intents and purposes makes it a musical sans actual performances.
And of course it is also a heist movie too.
The premise that anything has to be one thing or another is completely turned on its head, and I love that.
It harkens back to the punk no rules ethos.

There was a point while watching it that I started to consider that this was not a movie with a soundtrack attached, but a soundtrack with a movie bolted onto it, and it works.
Apparently twenty two years ago Edgar Wright was listening to the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and thought that the track Bellbottoms would make the perfect car chase song, and then here we have him in the present taking that flash of inspiration and delivering a film based on that moment.
It’s an utterly genius move in my opinion.
There is also a few points where I thought there was some tips of the hat to some eighties classics. Namely Risky Business and Ferris Buellers Day off, but it is possible that I was reading too much into it, but then again once you have watched it then you can decide for yourself if I am right or wrong.
A part of me does think that Baby Driver could end up as a cult classic rather than a big box office hit, but that’s as it may be.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

For a few minutes the opening scenes wrong footed me as I started to think this release was not as bad as others had claimed, but then Johnny Depp arrived and like a five tonne anchor attached to a rubber dingy he dragged it to the depths of the ocean where the carcasses of sharks that have been jumped rest.

He should be thoroughly ashamed of himself for taking the Disney cash and running with it.

To give it some context it is worse than Mortdecai.

If you trimmed all the fat and shit jokes from Carry on Columbus and fashioned it into a script then it would give Dead Men tell no tales a run for its money.
It’s not all Depps fault because of course it is a big production, so the director, those who edited it, and the people who ultimately said that it was done and ready to go should also be carrying a degree of shame with them too.
Unfortunately as the box office receipts pile up it is difficult to imagine anyone giving much of a toss.

As the credits rolled it was difficult not to feel sorry for some of the cast whose performances were absolutely fine.
The news that they would be appearing in such a successful franchise must have been a joyous moment for them, and now what have they got?
An albatross of a movie staining their cv, that’s what.

I suspect that what Depp received as a script was just a direction to mince stagger over there, then come back, mince stagger over here, slur a line, drink some rum, and repeat.

The only thing that is more depressing than sitting through this movie is the news that they are going to do more of them.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Scraping the barnacles off the bottom of the barrel, coming to a Cineplex soon-ish.

PS - Paul McCartney’s appearance is on the same level as his showing up on the Buddy Holly tribute album ‘Rave On’.
Pointless and embarrassing.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Staying in #5 with The Nowhere Man, Orange is the New Black and izombie.

The Nowhere Man

For those of you in the dark about who Evan Smoak aka The Nowhere Man is, he is the lead character in the Orphan X series of books by Gregg Hurwitz.

As a child he was raised and trained as a killer for a secretive black ops organization, but after becoming disillusioned with his role as killer for hire with apparently no moral compass being applied, he broke from the programme and lives a life off the grid while offering his unique and deadly skills to those in dire need.

That’s it in a nutshell.

An Equalizer character if you will, and while this premise is nothing new the success of the debut, and now The Nowhere Man has shown that no matter how formulaic a book is that if it has pace and an engaging leading character then there is always room for one more.

In most promo blurb surrounding these books it has been mentioned that it’s time for Jack Reacher to step aside as this is the new anti-hero on the block, and while that sort of hyperbolic claim appears to adorn plenty of thrillers it does rings true here.
Evan Smoak is Orphan X and he has his eye on becoming the next big deal in the world of thrillers.

On this outing it is a more claustrophobic tale that the debut with Evan being the victim of a kidnapping and having to use his wits and experience to extract himself from the situation he finds himself in before he can resolve a case of young women being sold as sex slaves.

Meanwhile as a backdrop those behind the Orphan programme are cleaning up shop and removing all their operatives from the game, permanently, and Evan is at the top of the list they are working from.

So the race is on over three plot lines, and while that may seem like a lot for the character to have on his plate the writing allows it all to flow at a fast pace without a hint of confusion being allowed to slip in.

The outcome is as formula driven as the premise of the character, but who cares when it is so well done.

In a world where we are often told that a book is hard to put down this is actually one of them.

Orange is the New Black – Season 5.

It’s been a long wait, or maybe it just felt like it.
I was late to the party with Orange and I will admit to only starting season 1 when season four had already finished.
All the seasons were then binge watched right up until the cliff hanger finale was delivered and I rabidly joined the ranks of fans who were pulling their hair out and screaming for a quick resolution.  
Thankfully from the opening episode of the new season, picking off where we left off with the riot in season 4, the show is as fresh as expected and ably delivering what we have all been waiting for.
Two episodes in and it feels like meeting an old friend and pleasantly becoming reacquainted with them.
There’s no shock change of actors playing a much loved character, no real big surprises, and do you know what?
That suits just fine.
The prison is in turmoil, the ladies have control, and there are more worms that viewers were aware of being sprung from cans than you could shake a stick at.
All is well in the world of Litchfield Prison, or as dysfunctional well as we have grown to expect.
Brilliant television, and as the contacts have been signed for another two seasons there is plenty more to look forward to.

izombie – Season 3

Hand on heart.
Initially I was of the opinion that izombie was far too lightweight, but for some reason that I can't quite get a grip on I hung on in there.
One episode slipped into another and slowly but surely it dug its blood stained fingers deeper in.
By the end of season one I was bracing myself to hear about its cancellation as I hardly know anyone who watches it, and I was getting ready to rage about how this happens to too many shows leaving an audience hanging, but then it was renewed and I breathed a sigh of relief.
By the close of the second season it had taken a huge leap forward and again due to there still being few people here in the UK mentioning it, let alone raving about it, I was back to wondering if the hammer was going to fall on it.
And then again it didn't.
It just seems to keep coming back from the dead.
(See what I did there?)
Part police procedural, part horror, part comedy, part soup opera, it is what some would call a guilty pleasure, but we don't do guilt so right now we are wallowing in this show.
So more brains please!
Liquidate them and shove them in a smoothie, fry them, grill them, serve them up with a salad, just keep them coming.

If you haven’t checked this one out then sort it out now. 

The saints are coming - Green Day update (Glasgow)

How could you make the Green Day show in Glasgow better?

It's already a wet dream line up for punks of a certain age.
Green Day and Rancid together is what some would call a match made in heaven.
The addition of SLAVES on the bill isn't something to be sniffed at either.
Of the current crop of bands who sport some punk influences they are the band that has generated the most interest and the slot on the tour is well deserved.

You can't complain about the price of a ticket either.
When value for money is considered the three band line up is already the best deal of the year.

So thinking caps on folks. How could it be better?

Maybe the addition of a band that was part of the original wave of punk would be a good move, a Buzzcocks or The Damned or............the SKIDS.

Hell yeah, the SKIDS would be a good idea.
A scottish band who are currently back and garnering rave reviews from the hit and run gigs that they have been doing.

That would be the icing on the cake wouldn't it?

WHAT! The SKIDS are playing you say. Oh my giddy aunt.

This is going to be good.


Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Alice Cooper - Paranormal

With excitement mounting surrounding the forthcoming tour from Alice Cooper, the tour that will feature original band members, it would be remiss of fans to forget that there is a new album called Paranormal on the horizon.

July 28th in the UK to be precise about it.

With fan filmed live show footage appearing online and a whole host of special guests, including the aforementioned original band members, making an appearance the album is shaping up to be something rather special.

The albums track listing has already been revealed as ;
Dead Flies
Paranoiac Personality
Fallen in Love
Dynamite Road
Private Public Breakdown
Holy Water
The Sound of A
Genuine American Girl
You And All Of Your Friends

There is also a mini album that accompanies this release which thankfully is included with the vinyl edition.

The mini album was recorded live in Columbus, Ohio on May 6th, 2016, with the current Alice Cooper band and features:
No More Mr. Nice Guy
Under My Wheels
Billion Dollar Babies
Feed My Frankenstein
Only Women Bleed
School’s Out

You can preorder the album here.

Below is the stream of the first single from it Paranoiac Personality.  

The Godfathers - A Big Bad Beautiful Noise video is revealed.

You have got to hand it to Peter Coyne of The Godfathers.
While some of his peers are desperately promoting past glories, or hanging onto a delusion of relevance in the modern world, he is still out there kicking against the pricks.
The current incarnation of The Godfathers are a muscular beast of a band and the fire of their performances live, and in the studio, are a testament to the power of undiluted rock and roll.

And now with the current video for 'A big bad beautiful noise' with us you don't have to take my word for it.

The NEW 4 track 'A Big Bad Beautiful EP' is available now on limited edition 10" Vinyl & Digital Download ONLY from here.


Monday, 19 June 2017

Monday reviews #5 Featuring Rancid, Reaction and The Sux Pastels

Rancid – Trouble Maker

That could be the one word review.
Just ‘Ooft’.
The sound of air exiting the lungs after being sucker punched in the gut.
Rancid are back and it would be hard not to notice.
Over the course of a career it can be hard to maintain a sense of urgency never mind a level of quality, but here we have a band solidly covering all the bases.
Take all of their previous releases and push them into a blender to extract the pure undiluted essence of Rancid and what would pour out would be Trouble Maker.
No matter what era of the band that you personally hold higher than another you will find this is the natural evolution from that point.
Everything that has come before has been in preparation for this moment, this release.
There’s only one problem with it though.
And that’s that they are tapping on a glass ceiling and who knows what lies beyond when they spider web cracks spread out and ultimately leave them standing  in the shards lying at their feet.
What next for Rancid?
Where do they go from here?
Fuck knows, but it’s doubtful that there isn’t a fan out there that hasn’t felt a frisson of excitement at the thought of what lies beyond Trouble Maker.
Rancid are now up there with the legends of punk, the real legends such as the The Sex Pistols and The Clash, and they aren’t finished yet.
Far from it.
Just ooft!

The Sux Pastels – Final Daze ep

As swan songs go the final release from The Sux Pastels has them going out with a bang, and it is rather telling that the promo art is of a mushroom cloud as this three track ep is a nuclear blast of melodic punk rock.
Big Red Button sounds like The Ruts birthed from the womb of CBGBs and that’s just the springboard that the band are leaping from.
Gather up all the lose strands from over thirty years of punk and weave them all together and this is the result.
No, that’s wrong. You can leave all the UK82 nonsense out of this rich tapestry as the band understand that having a political message doesn’t mean devolving everything down to grunting fuck the police twenty times over a couple of distorted chords.
Across the breadth of this EP there isn’t a point where the eye is taken off the melody.
These are sing-along anthems that could be filed away as evergreen. If they had been recorded in ’79 we would still be singing them now, and for those of you who do make the effort to pick this up in the present then you can look forward to singing along in 2047.
This release is a stunningly snapshot of the talent that exists in the Scottish punk scene.

They will be missed.

Reaction – Old School Rules EP.

In the rush to find a new flag carrier for punk there have been plenty who seem overly keen to thrust it into the hands of Reaction, and their label mates Heavy Drapes.
And while both are very capable of taking on the responsibility, and visibility, of being front runners in a scene, this urgency can at times draw focus away from their talents.

The fire of the live gigs, and the word on the street about them, draws attention, but at the expense of what everything they have is built on, and that is to put it quite simply good songs.
If you don’t have the songs then the moment in the spotlight is brief, but Reaction know this and aren’t looking to relinquish their moment by not backing up their promise with the goods.
Remove the hype and what you have is still a solid band.
On Old School Rules they jump from being trash kings to street fighting men to messing about with a dub mix that harkens back to the 12” single b-sides of old, but also manages to avoid sounding dated.
It’s less ganga haze and more eccies over Glastonbury Tor if you get my drift, and just think about that.
Here we have a street level punk band from Airdrie messing about with grand ideas of mixing Orbital with punk before jumping back into the gutter with both feet.
If the adage of breaking the rules was to be captured in a studio then it is Reaction that who are embracing that idea.  
Within a scene that can be at times rightly accused of being tired, too hung up on nostalgia, and even having lost its way, it is Reaction who are offering a guiding light out of the darkness.  

Promo video not from 'Old School Rules ep. 

Saturday, 17 June 2017

A favourite pleasure. GUN at the Barras.

Two Glasgow icons clash, and it will be glorious.

One is the iconic Glasgow rockers GUN, and the other is the iconic Glasgow venue the Barrowlands.

Or the Barras if you hold fond memories of rolling up drunk and throwing yourself about a crowd that bands and artists from all over the world often claim to be the best.

This is the sort of date that you section off in a calendar in bold red and write not to be missed across it.

Bosses and life partners who may not share the rock fans enthusiasm for this show may try and throw a spanner in the works by providing alternatives to attending.
It could be anything from a training course to putting up a shelf.
Watch out for this sort of thing starting to appear on the horizon and then nip it in the bud.
Show a zero tolerance attitude to any attempt to sabotage your ability to attend.

Reasons for not being able to attend are birth of a first born, second not so much, and death.
Anything else is not a reason, but an excuse.

So now you know.

Tickets are on general sale right now.

PS. They aren't just playing the Barras.


Friday, 16 June 2017

Company of Wolves - Play with Fire (Free download - Limited period only)

Formed in 1988 Company of Wolves lasted until 1992.
A short, but sweet, footnote in the encyclopedia of rock.

They were one of the bands that got caught up in the whole glam metal/rock and hair metal scenes of the time, but similar to Rock City Angels and Dogs D'Amour to name two, they had very little to do with the bands that they were pushed into an ill fitting box with.

Maybe a haircut and a pair of jeans, but that's as far as the similarities went. 

Instead their releases were steeped in the sound of the Rollings Stones, classic rock blues artists, and offered a modern twist to it all.

In short they were the real deal.

Members then went on to feature in, or work with, acts such as The New York Dolls, Michael Monroe band, Billy Joel, David Bowie, Jon Bon Jovi, Ian Hunter, BarleyJuice, Bryan Adams and John Waite.

A partial list of acts that most musicians would love to see featured on their CV.

Tragically drummer Frankie LaRocka is no longer with us, but the band are back.

Steve Conte, John Conte and Kyf Brewer are back in the saddle and their first studio offering is a doozy.
Tackling the Rolling Stones classic Play with Fire they go far beyond simply covering it and go nto the territory of claiming it as their own.

You don't believe me? 

Get ready to eat your words. For one week only you can grab a free download of it here.

It's eye of the hurricane stuff, tightly controlled blues with a stadium gloss to it that screams for the big stage.

Sometimes unfinished business should be left as unfinished, but sometimes the voices from the past need to be approached and embraced to ensure that they are heard in the present.

This is one of those times.  

Five for friday

With the news out that there will be a Stevie Nicks collaboration on the forthcoming Lana Del Ray album it maybe isn't surprising that your hand I will never let go has such a delicate ephemeral feel to it.
And yet for that being writ large it is still undoubtedly the sound of Stevie Nicks.
Hopefully both the collaboration, and this being an addition to The Book of Henry soundtrack, will signal a solo album from her.
The sooner the better.

And that neatly segues right into The Book of Henry itself.

The promotion trailer is enough to whet our appetite and we shall be checking it out as soon as it hits town.

Third of our five heads ups for a friday is The Nowhere Man, the second outing of the Orphan X series of books by Gregg Hurwitz.

Out now on paperback the character of Evan Smoak aka The Nowhere Man is fast coming up on the inside lane to grab the attention of fans of the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child.
If unforging action heroes are your bag and you prefer a story to crack along at mach speed p[ace then you really don't have to look any further.

Right now it's acting as a magnet for my attention.

A review on the blog will follow.

Next up is a reminder that Orange is the New Black is back.
There's no guilty pleasures here.
Get watching it.

And last, but in no way least, it is time to big up Rory McLeod 

Last weekend we were lucky enough to see him perform at the Eden festival and would like to recommend that you give him a moment of your time.

Some may remember Rory from his Cooking Vinyl days, or from when he was on the road with The Levellers, but over the last few days it has been our distinct pleasure in getting reaquainted with this very talented man.

There's no point in us directing anyone to a point in his career that you should jump in at as it is all good.

If push came to shove then it would have to be said that he has taking the art of busking to a whole new level.
His voice a guitar, harmonica, spoons, and tapping out a rhythm is the basis for his story telling styled material and from there it takes flight and goes anywhere and everywhere.

There are plenty of youtube video that can be lined up and if you are impressed then it's only one click away to get to his website here and buy some of his releases.

Strung Out Nights t-shirts are here. Support the artists.

A short run of t-shirts have been sorted out for Strung Out Nights appearance at this years Rebellion festival.
However instead of hanging onto them for that show they will also be available at gigs between now and then for the grand sum of £8.

Sizes are S/M/L/XL.

However if anyone is unable to attend shows then a message to the Strung Out Nights facebook page will get you sorted out.

A big thank you has to go out to Parallel Prints for the totally expected excellent job in supplying what is the first ever Strung Out Nights t-shirts.
And another thank you to the New Hellfire Club as a perk of being a registered act with them is a discount on orders from Parallel Prints.
Contact them both for more details.

In addition - and this applies to all artists and bands who are going down the DIY route - if you do purchase a t-shirt you are in fact investing in that artist or bands future.
It's a small point that is often glossed over, and it shouldn't be.

In this instance anything made from sales will go towards recording costs.

So with your t-shirt you are in part paying for a future release, and that support cannot be understated or underestimated.

If it wasn't for the music lovers their would be no artists.

So thank you in advance.

Together we stand etcetera.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

I will give you a billion dollars and my babies to get a bit of this nightmare.

With hearts a flutter Coop fans from all over the world could only look on in envy as original members joined him on stage in the US for one night only and ran through a mini set of classics.
Why can’t it be us we howled in anguish, but maybe Alice heard us as our wildest dreams are about to come true because it isn’t a one off because later this year when the ringmaster of shock rock come to the UK he is bringing bassist Dennis Dunaway, guitarist Michael Bruce and drummer Neal Smith with him.
With some rock magazine headlines claiming that it is an original band tour that isn’t in fact accurate.
Instead we will be getting a mini set from the band, and if it reflects what Tennessee got then that will be I’m Eighteen, Billion Dollar Babies, No More Mr. Nice Guy and Muscle of Love.
Are you salivating yet?
Does November feel too far away?
I’m salivating and my leg is bouncing rapidly as impatience settles in.
What do we want? The COOP and his original band!
When do we want them? NOW!

Alice Cooper 2017 U.K. Tour Dates
11/11 – Leeds – First Direct Arena
12/11 – Glasgow – The SSE Hydro
14/11 – Birmingham – Barclaycard Arena
15/11 – Manchester – Manchester Arena
16/11 – London – The SSE Arena, Wembley

Going out #6 with The Mummy and [SPUNGE]

The Mummy

As an aficionado of the Universal horror films of old I don’t have any qualms in saying that the first two modern day instalments didn’t impress.
They didn’t offend either, but there was admittedly little to get excited about.
It was definitely frustrating that after each outing the studio went back to the drawing board as they very obviously had little faith in their vision of the relaunch and preferred to let the box office decide on the direction they would take.
Personally I would have been happy to hang in there after The Wolfman to see how Guillermo del Toro got on with a classic take on Frankenstein, but it wasn’t to be, and then again after Dracula Untold I would have accepted the change in direction and committed myself to seeing how they moved on from that one, but again Universal were unhappy with the reception and it all started to feel like it was always going to be one step forward and two steps back for the franchise.
And now here we are with the studio hoping that the Tom Cruise led version of The Mummy will be third time a charm.
And you know what?
It is.
Or to be more precise it is in my opinion because I loved it.
From start to finish I was completely on board with it all.
In fact I loved it so much that I’m struggling to understand what the problem is that other people have with this one.
Everyone is great in it, the pace is kept up throughout, the effects are all impressive enough, and I’m not getting the comments about it being fragmented at all.
Do you ever watch a movie and think you have seen a different one from everyone else?
That’s me with The Mummy.
Okay it’s not reverential to the root material, but there’s plenty of little scenes that do cast an eye, if not a wink, back to those movies, and the glimpses of vampire skulls, what looked like a limb from the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and a mention of Gods and Monsters that I hope was a reference to the 1998 movie about James Whale, was for me a nice touch.
Those who have been less than impressed are of course entitled to voice their take on it, but each to their own.
We will have to agree to disagree about this one.
A big stumbling block right now is that in the first week of it opening it hasn’t managed to capture the attention of US audiences, and the naysayers are already out with their pitchforks and flaming torches ready to bring down the Dark Universe, but as it has done okay elsewhere with the studio recouping what was invested in it I will be crossing my fingers and hoping that the next instalment is now being green lighted because Angelina Jolie in The Bride of Frankenstein’s sounds pretty cool to me.
Hopefully people will make their own minds up about this and it doesn’t slip through the cracks as Van Helsing, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Hansel and Gretel; Witch Hunters did.
All pretty much considered cult classics now, but none of them spawned any sequels as they so richly deserved to due to their box office failings.
So I guess it is just down to saying don’t blink Universal, just don’t you blink.

Have faith and let’s see what you can do.  

[SPUNGE]. Bad Impression, Strung Out Nights. 14/06/17 - Ivory Blacks (Glasgow)

With Strung Out Nights looking to hone a set to perfection in preparation for appearing at this years Rebellion festival the opening slot for [SPUNGE] was the ideal opportunity to do exactly that.
Within the Glasgow punk scene it is becoming increasingly obvious that this is the act to watch out for as credible opening slot after opening slot opens up before him.
He is out there as a solitary figure.
One man, one guitar, giving hope in the face of concerns that the scene is stagnating and struggling to find new blood that can carry the music across to yet another generation.
Rooted in the sound of the Clash he filters his self penned material through the prism of the US punk acts from the Dead Kennedys to NOFX and it is so seamlessly done that you can't hear any sort of clunky gear changes in his delivery.
Politically astute, fearless in speaking out, and still maintaining an ability to entertain he is now at the cusp of stepping from one rung of the ladder to ascend to the next.
If you are unaware of who Strung Out Nights is and call yourself a punk then you need to ensure that you deal with that sooner rather than later.
Don't be the punk that misses the bus here.

Bad Impression who followed are racking up plenty of plus points too.
As the name would indicate they are a covers band, but in covering others they are looking to hit a spot between Tragedy; The heavy metal tribute to the Bee Gees, and Me First and the Gimme Gimmes.
And when it works it works very well, but behind the laughs, audience participation and the sharing of confectionary the set at times does stumble about a bit.
Some of the songs that they redefine are perfect in their execution, while others swoop and dive between working and not. 
Lady GaGas Pokerface is as a good an example as any.
In parts it is well thought out and draws a good reaction from the audience, but there are points when the guitars and shared vocals descend into chaos, and not the good kind.
It's not something that the band, or anyone else for that matter, should be concerned about at this point in their playing career.
Every day is a school day as they say and with each performance I fully expect that the rougher edges will be smoothed off leading to Bad Impression jumping from delivering a good night out to one that people elevate to being called an essential night out for a crowd looking for shits and giggles.

[SPUNGE] have so many years under their belts now that they can put on a sterling show on auto pilot.
It comes with being road tested to the max, but settling in on cruise control doesn't appear to be in their DNA.
Instead it's full on from start to finish and as the years do pass they are edging closer to defining what the UK's ska-pop punk sound is.
As their homegrown peers fall by the wayside they are out there at the front waving the flag and refusing to lay down and die in the face of changing trends and fashions.
Some could argue that it is foolhardy, but not me.
There's something heroic about what they are doing. The never say die attitude is laudable.
Going out there night after night to give everything you have to entertain people is something that can't be knocked.
And when considering it in the light of being entertaining then they aren't being delusional about this either because they obviously fundamentally understand that there is no point in stepping up on a stage unless you are going to send an audience home satisfied. 
The best part of it all is that they look as if they are still having fun doing it too.
Mates together having a laugh and bringing you into the circle to have a laugh with them.
You can't bottle that, there's no formula, a band has it or they don't, and [SPUNGE} have it.
Bloody well long live [SPUNGE] and all the other carriers of torches. 

GENERAL UPDATE: The forthcoming EDEN FESTIVAL review that will feature. Gogol Bordello, The Stumblers, Rory Mcleod, Mickey 9s, Jamie and Shoony, Chibmarks, Colonel Mustard and the Dijon 5 plus more will appear on the New Hellfire Club website.
Links will be provided when that goes live.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017


In Scotland when the chips are down we have a colloquial catch all word that we shout out when we need our friends and family to rally around.
The word is 'hawners'. Shortened from having to scream out 'will someone, anyone, step in here and lend a hand to help me out.
Lend a hand, lend a hawn, gie us hawners.

More often than not it was shouted out in the playground when a square go, a mano a mano fistfight, was interrupted by your opponents mate joining in with a punch or a kick to advance his own friends chances of victory.
Your shout was the signal for your own mate, or mates, to jump in and lend their hawns to the task at hand.

In later life it turns to a less violent meaning.
You open the door laden down with shopping and gulp out an exhausted 'hawners' as the signal for the kids to relieve you of the strain.

So now that you know what 'hawners is here's some people that literally do need the hawners, as many hawners make light work.

Together we can all help save the much loved London International Ska festival.
It's not difficult and doesn't even require a huge sacrifice.
A couple of quid as a donation. a little more and you get something in return to.

Let's be honest here, we live in hard times, and for many they are getting harder.
And with that being the case it is a fact that entertainment literally does offer us respite from the trials and tribulations of the daily grind.
So with that in mind offering hawners in this case is probably a bigger deal than we really consider.

So go on. Do it. It's not that hard to do, and once I get paid I'm definitely going to go for it too.

[SPUNGE] bath time.

Last time [SPUNGE} played in Glasgow it was a night of catching up with friends old and new to the backdrop of a whole lot of infectious ska punk being played.
A pint or two was consumed and the band provided an aerobic workout for some of us who really should know better.
It's doubtful that this Wednesday things will be any different.
Whether anyone wants to relive their board short past or are just looking for something to do midweek as an alternative to drowning in a deluge of soap operas then there's no doubt at all that this is the band who will deliver the goods to you. 

Support comes from the always excellent Strung Out Nights and Bad Impression.
You can click on Strung Out Nights and message for discounted tickets.

Sometimes the best nights out are those that are arranged last minute.
This will be one of those if you haven't already committed to it.

Event details

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Eden Festival. Let's be 'avin' ya!

Today the gates to Eden open.
That's the festival in Dumfries and not any biblical horticultural reference.
So midges be damned. We're having some of it.
I've been taking vitamin B supplements, started on the anti histamines, stocked up on the skin so soft that the SAS swear by as protection against the utterly contemptible little bastards, and in general every single old wives tale that claims to keep midges at bay has been read and committed to memory and I am ready for them this year.
All of this is down to the fact that they bloody love me.
As soon as I step out of a tent I am sure they fire up a flair that is the signal for them all to come running to snack on me.
I am the walking smorgasbord of tasty delights to midges. I must taste like caviar and champagne to them.
I can't exaggerate how much they are attracted to me. When all the lumps and tiny bumps appear from their sawing at my flesh* you could get a blind person to run their hands over my face and they would step back and say that it spells out TASTY in braille. My legs would be lots and lots of little tripadvisor comments.
All positive. Glowing references to how rich my blood is.
Utter utter utter bastards.

But is Eden worth all the hassle?
Well previous years it has been, and with everything from Gogol Bordello to Boney M playing it is shaping up to be another good one this time too.

So it's just some last minute packing to do, and then it is waiting on the house sitter to come along and I am heading out there to once more sacrifice myself to the midges in return for a weekend of fun.

*They don't bite or sting. They literally saw a small hole in you. Now how fuckin' fucked up is that? Utter bastards.

Going Out #5 with Wonder Woman, The Blind Shake and Rocket Reducer

Wonder Woman

Finally DC has tentatively begun moving towards adding some cohesion to the Justice League franchise with the appearance of Wonder Woman.
It's been a long time coming, and the patience of the fans has been sorely tested with first a lacklustre Man of Steel which was then followed with a disjointed Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, before they then pushed their luck to the limit with the slapdash Suicide Squad making an appearance.
For the last it could be argued that they went all out to deliver a merchandise advert masquerading as a movie and partially succeeded.
Barnum and suckers come to mind whenever Suicide Squad is mentioned.

C’mon! I can’t be the only one that wasn’t feeling these movies?

Each, individually, could be described as films which illustrate that box office receipts have little to do with quality.
Howlers one and all with barely a redeeming feature between them.
And it is to this backdrop that Wonder Woman steps forth from, and dare we say it the very poor lead up has created a situation where a fair film would be called good and a good film great.

The film is a superhuman leap forward from its predecessors; there is no argument here about that, but even with the vast improvements it still comes in as a good film rather than anything more.
Even a very good film if you want to push the point.
As romps go few will be disappointed as it ticks all the action hero boxes, and it has rightly been applauded for attempting to redress the gender balance in superhero movies.
That’s something that has been long overdue and fingers will be crossed that Wonder Woman is the catalyst for more to come.
And yet even with all the praise being heaped on this release there is a bit of a cold light of day reconsideration that whispers that the praise is being just a bit hyperbolic.

The pacing is well considered, the cast put in solid performances, and the plot is sound, but it does seem to lack that certain something that pushes a movie from being great to being that bit more than great.

As a movie that is at its heart band anti war outing it really didn’t push home the horror and futility of the mass loss of life in the fist world war.
Obviously the aim is to entertain a very wide market that includes young impressionable fans, but maybe the bloodless action could have done with something a bit more gut wrenching to sell the premise.
Who knows? It’s possible that in the morning after the night before what seemed initially very satisfying just isn’t standing up to any harder scrutiny.

Back to the positives though: With Wonder Woman DC have certainly made a come back after years of playing second fiddle to Marvel, but the fight aint over yet and the jury will still be out for Justice League.

The Blind Shake -  Rocket Reducer. Broadcast - Glasgow 02/06/17

Last minute decisions to attend gigs can provide an uncertain outcome, but catching both The Blind Shake and Rocket Reducer delivered far more than expected.
Rocket Reducer most certainly have a few John Reis releases between them and their set reflects their influences.
More Rocket from the Crypt than Drive Like Jehu, and if that wets your appetite then look no further for your kicks.
A quality set from a good band and well worth keeping an eye out for the next time they play.

Headliners The Blind Shake offer a whole different experience though.
In part they sound like the house band of a cantina in the Cursed Earth.
You could imagine Judge Dredd working his way through some rowdy mutants to lean against the mesh separating the band from the audience to say ‘Drokk it you guys can play’.
It’s difficult to know where to start when trying to describe them.
Devo meet the Velvet Underground and jam out something that sounds like The Wypers covering Sigue Sigue Sputnik.
And while that might do for me I am sure that everyone else in attendance could offer up something completely different, and that’s fine.
With the band losing a drummer on their travels it was down to then to carry on as a duo, and for me that works, but it would be unfair to say it was better as without any knowledge of them performing as a three piece I couldn’t commit to that, but I can commit to saying that there is still plenty of energy coming from them as a duo.
Far more than would probably be expected by most.
Two people shouldn’t be able to make the noise they do, but that’s a moot point as they did, and did in some style.

Yeah, as a last minute adventure looking for gig kicks this show covered it.