First things first… This album was send to me for review before it was released. Around the beginning of April I think. So my apologies to the band for this late review. Pirate Farm Fest and my day-time job took away all my free time. After Pirate Farm Fest I didn’t stop working on other people’s projects until my body pulled the brake. I’m at home with a minor heart condition now so I have time to start writing again…

Seeing The Hooten Hallers for the first time sure is one hell of an experience. If you don’t know them and see them setting up you have no idea what to expect… “Are these guys a two men punk band, do they play blues, whoa shit… what’s that girl doing there with that big ass sax”? All this and more… If you do know what to expect, you know you are in for a party!

The new self-entitled album, was released on April 21nd, on “Big Muddy Records“. And before I start talking about the songs I’ll tell you this: It rocks, it swings, it’s a rhythm’n’blues’punkrocking’drenched-in-soul-freak out!!!

The Hooten Hallers bring something to the roots scene I’ve missed for a long time… A dirty take on swing and R&B but with a punk twist. The Kings of Nuthin’ come to mind from time to time and that is a huge compliment!

The album opens with “Charla”, an easy going tune gently pushed by Kellie’s sax that may put you on the wrong foot for the rest of the album, but a great song nonetheless. “Dig” is next, and now we know where this album will take us. The gritty vocals, the dark undertone… What a song! And that dark undertone is present in most of the songs, not always in the lyrics, it’s the use of instruments, notes that are been played, the atmosphere, the vocal use… Just listen to “Rhythm&Blues”…

It’s not all dark and gritty folks, don’t worry, check out the video below for “Further from Shore”, and the songs “Stay away from Joe” and “Garlic Dream”. Not my favorite songs, but hey… Taste is a… fuck it, you know what I’m talking about. That video on the other hand is funny as hell and I love a band that can make fun of themselves.

I can’t wait to see them on stage again and dance my ass off. I hope you can all join me once.

Buy the album below:
https://www.thehootenhallers.com/shop

Looking for some up-tempo/depressing/putting-a-smile-on-your-face/sing-a-long country trash? “Nope, me neither!” But you may want to check out the new Call Me Bronco album…

It will be released on Rusty Knuckles Records at august 25th and if that says anything about how good this album is… Well it does, it is that good! It’s a fucking awesome Country Trash/sing-a-long/putting-a-smile-on-your-face/depressing/up-tempo record that I’m sure you will love!
If like me, you have seen the band live on stage before you will already know a bunch of these songs, some of which appeared on their previous demo, but that doesn’t take anything away from the album. The recording is rough, but in a good way, no over-produced bullshit, you can hear every note played without losing any emotion or heart.

Let’s talk about some of these songs…
We’ll start with 4AM, the opening song that comes with a hilarious video that you can check on youtube and below. It’s a flawless punk song if you ask me. It has all it needs and nothing more: intro, mid-tempo part, sing-a-long, fast part, slow sad part, fast part, outro… Don’t take this so serious dear reader…
On to the next one and it happens to be the second song on the album. The Butcher of Charleston. For some strange reason this reminds me of an Irish punk song in the style of Dropkick but without the Irish influence. It will make sense when you listen to the song I promise.
Burn The witch.. Start that circle pit please ladies and gentlemen, make sure you all run in the same direction, you don’t want to cause any chaos… How I love this song, how I hate circle pits… Trash metal country was that a thing? It is now, with this song!
There are a bunch of songs on this record about drinking and heartache, but my favorite is Four Shots. There have been times in my life that I was drinking to forget and I can relate to this song, and to top it off.. It’s a kick-ass song… Fast tempo, clever lyrics and a great sing-a-long part. What is not to love?

If you are a country fan stay far away from this album. If you are a music-lover with a taste for country and adventure you’ll love this record.

Pre-order below:
Call Me Bronco – Beating A Dead Bronco – CD

And now for something completely different…

Yes, I know this website is mainly about “roots” music, but it still is MY website, so I can write about whatever the fuck I want. Deal with it! I’m going to be writing about pop music, yes, you’ve read that correctly, POP music… But not the kind of pop music you’ll hear on the radio or see in the charts. This is Satanic Pop Music! I can see you scratching your head, it was a new term for me also when I first heard it. And then again, this album has nothing to do with popular music… It’s a thing on it’s own…

About two years ago Nathan Gray, former singer for BoySetsFire, released his first self entitled ep, containing an eclectic mix of songs going from the dark electro powerhouse “Wolves” to “Corson – An Ode to Vital Existence”, the emotional up-call for taking your life by it’s core and making it yours! Now there is “Untill The Darkness Takes Us”, an epic journey into the past and present life of Nathan Gray.

Together with this album Nathan also released a book with the same title, I suggest you buy both to fully understand this album and feel its power. The record opens with “Heathen Blood” and as with “Wolves” from the first ep, this song grabs you by the balls and doesn’t let go until you get the message. A venomous testament against organized religion and oppression by those institutions. A very powerful opener and a tone-setter for the rest of the ride.

As there are 13 songs on this album and I know some of you still have shit to do, I’m not going to go in detail on all of them (they are worth it). I’m going to bundle some and elaborate on others. One of the songs I will elaborate on is “Skin”, I hated the song the first time I heard it, it was the only one on the album I did not like, but the more I listen to it, the more I appreciate it. At first it has this very euro-pop vibe, think Covenant and Apoptygma Bezerk, bands I used to love dancing on but got so sick off hearing. For some strange reason this song gets in your brain and it stays there, it’s catchy as fuck! “Desire” is another song that has this euro-pop/dark wave influence with it’s uptempo dance beats and sing-a-long mid-sections.

Let’s continue… The piano songs, as I like to call them… “Damascus” and “Anthemic Hearts”. Two beautiful songs drivin by, you guessed it… Piano… Sigh… Do I need to explain everything? C’mon guys, get with the program… Serious now, both these songs deal with the same theme, and if you read the book you will truly understand them and appreciate them even more. Empowering…

Let’s descend into darkness… Follow me please, don’t touch the walls…  “At War”, Nathan unleashes his demons and takes no prisoners. We can hear a glimpse of his hardcore past, but mostly we hear an industrial battle anthem, and fuck yeah, I’m standing erect, ready to kill! FORWARD!!!

Now RISE up, feel the New Dawn, taste the fruits of your struggle and live your life freely! “Remains” and “Memento Mori”, both testimonies of how a person can take his own life back and start living again, one more electronic then the other… “Remains” could be a piano song, but because of the chorus, which is pure punk-rock in nature,  I did not include it.

“Until The Darkness Takes Us”… A slow moving song, a homecoming,  powerful lyrics… Again, read the book and you will understand… “Jettison” is a full on modern pop-rock song, a perfect combination of guitar and electronics. But so much more honest and fierce then the crap you hear on the radio.

“Lusus Naturae”, the second song on the album. I know it’s a little weird to talk about the second song at the end of the review, but this song holds special meaning to me. It’s one of the most “rocking” songs on the album and absolutely essential on this album, and if you want to know that special meaning…  Come see me…

This still is a site about roots music, but I hope you guys are openminded and will give this album a listen. Nathan will be on tour in Europe, starting early april. Check the tour dates on his website and go see him. Read the book and enjoy the record!

https://www.nathangraycollective.com/

Every person I know has that one band that they really like, that one band that they are convinced of that can never write a bad song or play a crappy show, for some of my friends that’s Metallica… Boy, where they wrong… For me, one of those bands is Everymen, from Lake Worth, Florida.

I still remember hearing them for the first time at Muddy Roots some years ago, I was deep in a conversation about nothing with some friends, thinking how I should go see them, but we just kept yepping on, and when I finally got on my feet the show was over. Stupid, stupid, stupid!!!! But I caught up, oh how I caught up… When they came to Europe I tried to catch as many shows I could and hosted them at our annual benefit show for ex-lab dogs. What a great show that was. So now there is the new album with the very inspiring tittle “May your ashes have stories to tell”.

On this new album the guys hold on to their own brand of catchy as hell “folk punk”, I know some people like to make fun of the “term” but I have no idea how to describe it otherwise. But they made sure to throw in some curve-balls here and there and add some extra instruments in the studio, like that trumpet in the opening song “Shake Your Bones”. Starting out with a mariachi like guitar part and by adding the trumpets it really sounds like some kind of Mexican upbeat protest song (sung in English) or something like that… It’s hard to come up with new words guys… Deal with it… It’s a compelling song, that’s for sure!

If you have been following the band and it’s members on-line (facebook), you know they had to deal with some losses over the past years and even more recent. The second song “Dead Friends” is a stunning tribute to the ones we lost and cared about deeply. I’m sure many of you will find comfort and understanding in this song. And “Dead Friends” is not the only tribute on this record. Last year friend of the band and singer for Mischief Brew, Erik Petersen took his own life, a sad day in music history if you ask me (what an great band that was), and with the song bearing the same name as the band Erik was in, Everymen have created a beautiful hymn for their friend. A short and fast, almost Street Punk like sing-a-long for their fallen comrade. Nothing but respect for this one!

“Don’t Rain On My Parade”, the longest song on the record is a typical Everymen song, starting out slow and transforming into “an ideal for pushing your friends around on the dance-floor song” with room for each member of the band to show his musical skills and then towards the end that polka-like rhythm… Perfect… Just perfect!
I don’t know why they re-recorded “Waking up Hurts”, but I’m not sad about it. It still is a great song. (guys if you are reading this, let me know)

If you like your punk more then your folk, you will love these two song: “Annihilation” and “Time”. In my head I can hear them being played by a full on drunk crappy punk band and even then they don’t loose any power. Absolute flawless songs. Start dancing now!
With “Don’t Stay” the band goes in full gypsy-mode. The fiddle, the rhythm, the female vocals, they all contribute to a certain feeling, an east-European post-romantic feel that all together make it into a marvelous song.

I’m sure you figured out I like this new record… And I know you will like it.
The release is planned for april 22nd on http://www.say-10.com so you know what to do…

Knuckles is a Psychobilly/Punk band from Finland, I had never heard of these guys, but I was contacted by one of their members to inform about Pirate Farm Fest. We started talking and one thing let to another… So now there is this review for their first album “First Fury”.

So… First things first… Knuckles sounds like any other psychobilly/punk band in the world but better… The genre has it’s limits and that’s what you’re stuck with, a little more punk here, a country lick there, some OI and a rockabilly baseline to keep it smooth and greasy when needed. You all know what it sounds like… But for some reason this album speaks to me. These guys had fun writing and recording these songs and that shows in the end result.

The album is released by Crazy Love Records out of Germany and that should tell you a little something about the quality of this album. It would be a waste of mine and your time to go over all the songs, one by one, because they are all good and entertaining. I’ll tell you this, not a single one of them is over 4 minutes, they all are catchy as fuck and a bunch of them have great sing-a-long parts… This is the perfect dance, drink, wreck and party album if you like this kind of music. No, this is not old school psychobilly and I know that in the scene that’s a standard for some to still sound like that one eighties band… Get over it folks, it’s 2017! This album is a fantastic twist on a genre that needed a kick in the keister for years…

ENJOY!!!

Get a copy of the album:
http://www.crazyloverecords.de/search?sSearch=knuckles

If you have visited this blog more then once you know that most of my reviews handle the more up-tempo, wild rocking, punk side of the “roots” scene… But that doesn’t mean I don’t listen to any other music (what a fool I would be). I enjoy a wide variety of musical genres and sometimes you’re in need for this one album by which you and your girl just sit on the couch with a glass of wine, cuddle up and let it all sink in and listen to the stories. This is one of those albums… If you don’t have that special one by your side, take your dog or cat, if you don’t like wine, take a bucket of ice-cream…

We ran into Jason in Jersey City while visiting Darren Deicide and his girl Ethel, they put on the HOKUM! nights and my travel companion Jumpin’ Jim was also playing. In the little back-room of a bar in Jersey, Jason opened up to us and goddammit did he touch our souls. Just him, his guitar and THAT voice!!! You know how back in the days the troubadour went from town to town to tell stories? Jason is a modern day troubadour and you should hear his stories, because that’s what he is… A storyteller…

For this album, he gathered  a band around him and recorded a beautiful piece of “americana”. As you could have guessed from the introduction, this is not a happy album (the best stories are the sad ones), but Jason makes sure that from time to time he will put a smile on your face, just listen to “Entertain Us”. It may be a complaint about our society, but it does the trick.

Let’s talk about some of my favorites on this one…
The opening track “Two Souls”… This could be the best love song that has ever being written, it is pure and uncut beauty! Forget all those cheesy opening-dance songs you hear at every wedding, if you truly love your partner, this is the one you should dance to. I kid you not!!!
Every good record need a murder-ballad! And this record has one, and it shoots a chill down my spine every-time I listen to it. “Mary Anne”, two brothers and a whore, what could go wrong…

With the current changes in politics in America this song is as important as hops in beer. “Juan and Hector” tells the tragic story of two brothers looking for a better life. I’m a sucker for sad songs, and this is one of them. Listen to the story folks, it’s just a song, I know, but it’s life for so many people…
On a lighter note, as mentioned above, we have “Entertain Us”. But in fact this is a troubled song about the “not caring anymore because we’re all fed up” kind of living in the world. Let the media tell us what to think (siht drocer si taerg yub ti).

The album ends with “Belief” and however I don’t agree with Jason’s point of view in this song, it is a great song. So… This is an album that I’m sure you will enjoy in the right setting. “Two Souls” and “Mary Anne” are going to be making the rounds a lot here at HQ.
Jason, I hope to run into you again some day and I hope it will be in my part of the woods.

You can all listen to this album and buy it at:
https://jasonmoore.bandcamp.com/

 

Wicklow Atwater is an American band hailing from Southern California. They grew up in Atwater Village and stayed there. All childhood friends, they started playing together and still are. When listening to their music it’s clear for all to hear what these guys want to do and that is have fun and write some damn good songs. They sure as hell have succeeded this goal. 17 songs and not a dull moment, I tip my hat to that!

At first the music sounds far from original, but then again, what did you expect from yet another String Band with a punk ethos you ask? Well… These guys are not your random train-hopping kids with a banjo. These guys can play and know how to write a song! And the more you listen to this album the more all the different layers come to the surface. The vocal harmonies are excellent, every instrument lays perfect in the mix, this whole album just sounds goood!!! One of the things I like most when listening to this record is all the different genres combined into one solid sounding album. From straight-on bluegrass to gypsy folk and the jazzy “I wanna be your man”. Sometimes all in one song.

I could go over all these 17 songs but I’m not gonna do that. It’s up to you guys to find your favorite, let me tell you it’s not going to be an easy job.

Little side-note: That fiddle you hear, yep that’s Liz Sloan from the Urban Pioneers!

Clint Westwood is back with a new album named “Cult Country” and I think the name fits the album just perfect. When you just do a quick listen like most folks listen to music these days it’s nothing more then an other “alt-country” album with a twist here and there. But to the real listener, the music nerd, the folks that still buy music because they want music in their life it is so much more. I could be way of here, but one band comes to mind every-time I listen to this album and that’s WEEN. And this is a huge compliment! I’m not the biggest WEEN fan, but I do think they are musical geniuses.  Remember listening to WEEN for the first time? I know you where thinking, “do I like this, do I really like this…”And that’s the exact feeling you get when listening to this album. It’s weird, catchy, fucking awesome , in-your-face-honest, funny and so campy from time to time. And this cocktail makes one great record!

Lets talk about some of these songs. “High Horse” is the first song on the album, kicking of as a high-tempo country swinger with one of the best twists in the last verse I’ve ever heard in a song. If you get your hands on the album and don’t know what I’m talking about, you’re an idiot and should watch MTV for the rest of your nothing-worth life!

Hey stoners, here’s your new anthem for the next few months!!! “On the Ponderosa” is a nice little banjo tune that I know you’ll all sing-a-long with while blazing up (do kids still say that?). You spend a lot of time on the road in a car? Well then… Here’s your new favorite song. “Carmageddon”, a love and hate song about driving and cars.

If you know Clint you know that he’s been on the road with Ando Ehlers, this next song “Not the Ones” sounds like the love-child that came from this perverted relationship between accordion and guitar. I would adopt it, if only it was house-broken…  “Borracho       Enamorado”… That WEEN feeling is back 100% and I love it, that’s all I have to say about this song.

You know how many rock- or psychobilly bands have their own little Halloween anthem? This next one “Demon Night” may not be a Halloween song, but with the season upon us, it’s the perfect soundtrack! Dark, creepy and fun!!! Sing-a-long if you know it, and you’ll know it soon enough…
Hey Old Style Pirate Farm Crew… Here’s one for us, or maybe just for me? I don’t know, I don’t care… but “Go Home You’re Drunk” is one fun song, that I will sing to myself this weekend. Let’s skip to the day after, “Hangovers and Heartache” sounds like an old crooner but I don’t think Sinatra would have dared to bring this one live on stage, he should have, it’s one hell of a song!

Picture this: Tim Burton makes a new movie, a western, the main character is the punk on the horse from the Muddy Roots posters, you know who I’m talking about? He leads an uprising against the 1% that takes all and keeps the “people” down in the dirt. “Must be the Money”,  THIS IS THE SONG THAT GOES WITH THAT ONE SCENE WHERE EVERYONE GOES “NO MORE, TAKE IT BACK, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!” And then the bad guys win…

So… This is not an album to put on while having friends over for dinner, but it sure is one you need to listen to so you can take it all in, think about it, enjoy it and once you have done that go to his show while he’s in Europe and dance your ass off!!!

You can listen for free and buy the album online, just follow the link. It’s a perfect gift from Clint to you all, just before his European tour starts early november, so make sure you can sing-a-long with him and his band!
https://clintwestwood.bandcamp.com/album/cult-country

With his new record Darren Deicide proves that the blues sure aren’t dead. This charismatic juke joint hip cat from Jersey City provides us with a fine piece of wax that doesn’t only sounds great, but also comes in a stunning full-colour sleeve with a big-ass eight pages booklet. The release is limited to 250 copies, vinyl only, so be fast to get your greasy paws on this slap of dark infernal blues music!
darrencover

After a short spoken-word intro the first song is “Killing the Dead”, a six minute dark sounding slide guitar song driven by heavy footstomping. With this opener, from the first minute on Darren shows you what he’s all about. This is not an easy-listening, happy joy joy kinda album. It’s grim, angry and hard to put your finger on. But that makes the trip so much more interesting.
“Static” is next, and in comparison to Killing the Dead, Darren slows all the way down. His almost howling, complaining way of singing here gives the song a little extra, I don’t know what… And when the deep dark voice of Edgefield C. Johnson comes in… Just perfect…
“Devil Woman Blues” a song based on “Devil Got my Woman”by Skip James was released earlier as part of “The Harsimus Sessions” recorded live in The Harsimus Cemetery in Jersey City. Now re-recorded for the album, this acoustic serenade sounds so primitive almost ancient, but at the same time it’s a perfect sing-a-long for the dark-at-heart folks among us. When I hear this song I can’t help but wonder what a doom or sludge band would do with it, you’ll understand when you hear it for the first time.
My favorite song on this album must be “My Star Spangled Banner”. A mid-tempo eerie sounding, but fierce “anthem”. A special thank you goes out in the liner-notes to Nathan Gray from Boy Sets Fire and The Nathan Gray Collective for this song and I can only imagine why… Can you?

Over to side B.
Another re-recording from The Harsimus Sessions (which where only released as video’s) is “Dance of the Demon Rag”. A short original instrumental with a little tango feel to it, a dark tango that is…
If “My Star Spangled Banner” sounded eerie, “Throwing it all away” sounds like pure depression. But Holy Crow, does it sound GOOD!!! There are so many little details in this song, like the humming along-side the slide-guitar or the desperation in his voice when he screams “nobody cares!”. Remember that doom band thing I wrote about earlier? It’s back…
But it’s not all doom and gloom,  with “Boom Power Boogie” Darren serves us a scarce up-tempo song on this record and it does the trick perfectly even more so when the Hammond organ kicks in!
The last song on the record is a Mercyful Fate cover, yes a Mercyful Fate cover… “At The Sound Of The Demon Bell” If you want to know how it sounds or why it’s on this record I guess you just have to buy it.

Now you have read about it, now you need to get it!
Head over to http://darrendeicide.com/ to order your copy, or drop us a line at oldstylemusicnights@gmail.com if you live in Europe. We have 20 copies laying around at HQ.

Who doesn’t know The Monsters? This legendary outfit from Swiss has being making friends and enemies all over the planet since their start in 1986! This is not a new album (that’s in the making) but a re-release of the now hard to find – or way to expensive -10 inch released in 1995 on Jungle Noise Records from Germany. The tracklist is made up from the 10 inch and a bunch of 7 inch releases on other labels.

These recordings where the first without a stand-up bass and also the sound switched from  more psychobilly sounding to trashy garage punk. The song “It’s Not My Way” was even refused for a Swiss anti-war record because it was too trashy! Yep, it’s THE MONSTERS!

If you’re not a big fan of The Monsters, but you like ’em from time to time… Stay far away from this album, it’s rough, harsh and merciless! If you are a big fan of The Monsters or you just like dirty garage trash and never got your hands on the 10 inch, BUY IT NOW!!!

get it here:
http://voodoorhythm.myshopify.com/

 

If you are into garage-punk or just like dirty rock’n’roll, the Come N’ Go shouldn’t be a new band to you. If they are… You’re in for a treat. This is their fourth album on Voodoo Rhythm Records and they made it a psychedelic hardcore punk masterpiece! Hardcore punk, you ask? Well I never heard a garage band do a Bad Brains cover before… Did you?

The Swiss band didn’t hold back on the fuzz, acid and space vibes with this album and that makes it a really diverse listening experience. Opening the album with 3 fast paced headkickers, one of which is “Attitude” they slow it down with “Yona’s Blues” and keep the tempo low for the next four songs but by adding a lot of experimental, spaced-out sounds and riffs they maintain the listeners attention.

Once we get to “Lemmy” the tempo picks back up and the band goes in a feedback overdrive by the end of the song, but not before presenting what to me was the highlight of the album. Damn, what a great song!

Order your copy via Voodoo Rhythm Records:
http://www.voodoorhythm.com/

Many months ago our good friend Busa from The Pirate Farm Radio handed me some cd’s to review. They all ended up in between a bunch of other cd’s and I never got around to check them out. Until this week. And I have to say I’m an idiot for not listening to them before.

The albums all have one thing in common. They where all released by Germany’s Off Label Records. And looking through their back catalogue, they have released some damn good music going from The Dinosaur Truckers, DM Bob, Reverse Cowgirls to The Blues against Youth, Philip Bradatsch and The Dad Horse Experience.

The first album I put on was by Brazilian artist O Lendario Chucrobillyman. “The Chicken Album” is a short but frantic blues-punk ride through the Brazilian country side. Playing the viola guitar, drums and some garbage together with his raw voice sure make for a damn cool album that every low-fi dirty blues enthusiast will enjoy.

Next up was Mojo Juju & The Snake Oil Merchants from Australia. Again a band that didn’t ring a bell, so google was my best friend. Sadly this band doesn’t exists anymore. So why write about it, you ask? Because this is a real good record! The album called “Anthology” is a compilation from songs used in the German movie “Beste Freunde”and the “Selling You Salvation” album. Mojo and her Merchants take you back in history to the early 1930’s, but none of these stories are in your high school history books! Dark cabaret, swing jazz, soul… Words or genres that come to mind, but this is so much more. Mojo’s voice is one in a million with a real nostalgic feel to it and the Merchants are master and commander of their instruments. I would have loved to see this band on a stage somewhere, but i guess that’s never going to happen as Mojo Juju is now a successful solo artist. I wish her all the best and thank her for the great music!

Steve Train and his Bad Habits… Nope… Never heard of… To bad! This band from Germany plays some excellent rockabilly, rock n roll without the “I’m to cool for you, have you seen my new vintage shoes, attitude”. Their is something in their sound that really speaks to me, this dark, dangerous undertone, a thing I miss in most modern rockabilly bands. They all sound so slick and polished, not these guys. The organ that pops up from time to time sounds so fucking cool and gives the songs that extra little kick.

And while we’re at it… Our buddy Tim Herrebrugh aka Dead Cat Stimpy released his new album on Off Label Records as well! Dead Cat Stimpy is a one man band from Holland and as most of his fellow one man bands in Europe he sounds raw as fuck. Mixing garage, rock’n’roll and punk into a chaotic mess of awesomeness! The ghost of the old Beat-man is there for sure, but it’s not a rip-off. I’m sure that with this new album, called “Uneasy Grounds”, Tim will be frequent guest at wild rocking parties all over Europe!

So folk… You know now what to do… Follow the link and get yourself some new music!
http://www.offlabelrecords.de/

 

East Cameron Folkcore out of Austin, Texas left me speechless after their performance at this years Muddy Roots Festival just a couple of weeks ago. In a euphoric haze I picked up what I thought was their new album, it was not… it was their 2013 release called “For Sale”. An amazing album as well, but I don’t see the point in reviewing an older album when the band just released, what I can call, one of the best albums of 2015. So I turned to spotify to do this review, but that ended abruptly when after two songs Justin Bieber started talking to me about his new album… A lesser evil was the answer, iTunes. You can buy the cd or double LP via the links below. My order is in!

This was by far the hardest review to date. This album is so complex and versatile, it’s not just the songwriting, the lyrics or the blend of genres… This album takes you on an emotional ride with a message that is very universal. It is true that our world is changing and not for the better, they may sing about America or their own city, but on this day that the Belgian government decided that equality is no longer a right for everyone I feel their anger, fear and disgust. We are mere puppets that can be pushed around or at least that is what they want us to think, untill we can take no more, and when that day comes… WE DO FUCKING NOTHING!

I still have no idea what to call the style of music these guys play, they blend indie-folk(?) with hardcore like out-bursts, layered with strings and vocal harmonies. Now what makes this album so intense? All songs flow into each other in such a brilliant way like you’re listening to a story or watching a movie and what ever happens, you want to know what’s coming up next, it grabs you by the neck and seldom loses it’s grip.

The album is made up in four parts, Canto I: The grand illusion, Canto II: Through the Looking Glass, Canto III: The People Speak and Canto IV: Ship of Fools.

Canto I opens with “What the Thunder Said”, a spoken word piece with underlaying “ambient” sounds, strings and horns, telling us what our world today is all about. It’s not pretty, but damn… If you think about the words, they are all painfully true… The tittle track “Kingdom of Fear” follows and with this first real song the band shows you what great songs writers they are and also present you the level on which the lyrics have been written. If by now it wasn’t clear, this is not you average drinking, loving, losing and fighting album. This is a statement, a protest, maybe even a stand against todays world.

The more you listen to the album, and you have to really listen, the more you get pulled in and discover new sounds, new layers and new (hidden) messages. The footsteps at the beginning of “The Greater Fool” being one of these little things. The vocal harmonies on this song are of such a high standard and the layers just keep unfolding untill the end. This is a song of great beauty!
“Fracking Boomtown” is one of the songs that doesn’t asks it’s listener to think about it, it clear and simple. Fracking sucks! It hurts people and should not be legal! Period!

“When we get Home” with it’s almost classical like orchestration gives us the story of a soldier dreaming of coming home, and in this time of age we all know someone who was in a war that didn’t make sense, and maybe this song will help us understand their fear and uncertain thoughts on what to expect when the day comes…
I know a bunch of punk bands that wish they would have written “Protest Hero”. This song gave me goosebumps in the beginning and I had my fist up in the air at the end. It took me straight back to 1999 when we where on the street fighting police and nazi scum, raising our voice against racism and intolerance. It also remembered me of the feeling I got afterwards… “What was the fucking point? What did we gain with this, are we making a difference, are we not the same?”

Coming home to the city you grew up in or lived your whole life, seeing it all changed can be hard, and you wonder, “why?, is this what it became?” I think that when we grow older we think back and remember a false past, but that doesn’t make it less hard. “Our City” is a song that feeds this feeling, and this feeling of injustice only gets bigger when we realise we had a hand in it ourself. Absolutely one of the best songs on the album!
The more I listen to the record, the more I realise we lost our innocence a long time ago. The phrase in “Newspeak”, “Back when Orwell was sci-fi” makes it all so real…
“Into Hells Sea” picks up where “Newspeak” ended with the words “I hope you can swim” and takes us to our almost final ride filled with despair, lost love, fear and regrets… No this is not a happy record…

East Cameron Folkcore is one of those bands that deserves to be huge, but maybe never will. It will not be their fault, in a day of age where everything is cut into small pieces and fed to the masses without a critical thought needed, I hope they will never give up. There are people out there that need this music, this message to hold on, to feed and grow stronger and then rise up and say, “FUCK NO! NO MORE!” I hope this day comes soon…

https://eastcameronfolkcore.bandcamp.com/album/kingdom-of-fear
http://eastcameronfolkcore.com/folkstore.html
http://www.ghvc-shop.de/detail/east-cameron-folkcore-kingdom-of-fear

After releasing the split-album with Belgium’s Black Cat Bone Squad earlier this year the boys from Milwaukee are back with a new full album. And what an album it is… This must be their best release up to this date, opening with the haunting “Sharpen up the meat cleaver”. This slow-moving song with the chilling sharpening sound in the back sets the sound for the rest of the album. It’s going to be a dark and unsettling journey through a land of misery, filled with thugs, bad woman and alcohol…

In “One last gasp” Henry has met his match and goes all the way to the bitter end. Love can be a bitch, ey matey… What really struck me while listening to this album is how perfect the mix of the instruments is. With lots of albums the washboard is somewhere in the back or way up front, but on this one it’s just in there. Lacking a drummer and relying on just Cris as the rhythm section it still sounds fantastic. Here’s to you Brother! CHEERS!!!

With “If we ever wake” and “Smoke in the eye” it becomes crystal clear that this album is not about having a good time and drinking with your buddies. You can feel the despise for certain people, not only for who they are but for their actions. But then again it never goes to tacky name calling, it’s cryptic and I guess I love how Henry plays with words.

With “2 devils” the guys wrote another great sing-a-long (as they have done in the past) that will be a hit at future live shows. It’s catchy as hell! If you are ever in need for words to break up a relationship, listen to “A thousand ways”. If after that you still don’t know how to break the news, you’re an idiot! For the first 30 seconds of this song, going by the tittle, you would think it’s going to be a ballad or corny love song, boy was I wrong… Haha, I’m pretty sure it was their intention. Thanks for the chuckling boys…

There’s one more thing I really like about S.S. WEB’s way of writing songs. While the music is up-tempo or there is a bunch of snare picking going on, Henry’s singing is at a whole different pace and this brings a sort of calm over the songs.

While the album goes on we come to another highlight in the form of “Bring me home”. A desperate call for the end that could bring doubt to the happiest person on this planet. I guess I’ll take another feel-good pill now, thanks again guys… Sigh…

We come to a close with two extremely dark sounding and slow songs, and I love them both. “Do they” seems to be a complaint against the hypocrisy of religion (I could be wrong). While “You can’t run forever” is a straight forward murder song. It takes balls to end your album with these two, because they leave the listener in a bit of a haze and pressing the repeat button to feel more depressed it not something most people would do. (I did…)

You can buy the record at live shows and it will be for sale online soon I was told. The i-tunes date is not set yet. But make sure you get your hands on this. It’s so damn good!

Last week we got an email in our inbox from a very lovely lady named Kate, praising what we do with the website and the Beagle Sessions. Along with the praises there was a press release about a band that I never heard of. She asked me to read it and listen to the tunes if I had the time. At that moment it hit me, “oh fuck, this girl is being so nice to us, what if this band sucks? I don’t want to be the one to tell her, ah fuck me!!!!” But don’t be fooled, Kate was not just looking for a cheap way to give some crappy band some media attention. She knew what she was doing, she knew the band was good, real good, and I knew it after just one song. Thank you Kate!

The album opens with the 1930’s jazz song “I lost my gal from Memphis”. The song was originally composed by Peter De Rose, with lyrics by Charlie Tobias. Rollie and his boys give the song a small make-over with tremendous respect to the original wich ends up in a fun swinger. It puts a smile on your face and makes you want to dance with a pretty lady.

For the next song Rollie and his band slow it way down with the Charlie Patton classic “Elder Green Blues”. Where in the Patton version you hear a violin, I’m damn sure these guys used an accordion and it sounds just perfect. It adds to the sadness of the song. After the instrumental “Michigan Stomp” (an original I think) we head over to the traditional “Satan your kingdom must come down”, this song is best known in the Robert Plant version but I have to say I like this one better. It’s darker, more intense, you can feel something lurking in the dark and those minimal jazzy drum strokes combined with the controlled feedback make it one hell of a song!

We pick up the pace again with another original called “Speakeasy Rag”, it’s again an instrumental song in wich the bands shows how good they actually can play and control their instruments. Check out this video and judge for yourself. I was impressed.

After a little intermesso on organ we come to  another 1930’s popular swinger named “It ain’t right”, first recorded by Stuff Smith. Again the violin is missing like in the first recording, but what the boys do with the song makes up that feeling in a heartbeat. There’s something in Rollie’s singing style, he swallows the last letters of most words he sings, this would be something that would bother me with every other singer, but it works for him. Is it just the way he talks? I don’t know, but it sounds just right and makes this song even better. I included the video for this song at the end of the review, check it out!

“KC Moan” by the Memphis Jug Band is up next. By now I was wondering… “These guys play all covers, well most of the songs… I don’t like cover bands, I hate cover bands… Why am I doing a review for a fucking cover band?” You know why? Because they play them so good and with so much respect it doesn’t feel like it’s a cover. And they don’t play covers if you think about it, they play a song recorded before by an other artist in a time long gone. They are passing these songs on to the next generation, they are paying an homage to these old blues and jazz legends and I respect them for doing so.

The next homage is “James Alley Blues”, recorded by Richard ‘Rabbit’ Brown in New Orleans on march 11th in 1927. It was a sad song back then, it still is now. While Mister Brown’s version is very slow, Rollie and his boys go for a more up tempo version, but it doesn’t take the “sad” out and that’s how it is to be.

The last song on the record is “Done Got Old” by David “Junior” Kimbrough. It’s the youngest song on the album apart from the originals and again the band nails it. Dirty, fast blues with a country feel this time and with awesome hand-claps in the background and amazing picking by Rollie.

I would call this album a history lesson that every person who likes blues, Jazz, roots or whatever “rock” music should listen to. I got to know so many great and long forgotten songs and artists while listening to these tunes. Is it original? No! Is it good? Hell yeah! Am I going to look different now upon cover bands? NO! Fuck them! Unless they do it like this, pay homage and don’t take the easy way out.

Picture by Peter Smith


		
	
	

Some time ago I bumped into Darren Deicide while surfing the web. He instantly grabbed my attention with his music and, while looking further into him, also as a person. “This guy, now that’s something we don’t see everyday in this “roots” scene”, was what I was thinking. I got in contact with him and from one thing came the other…

Some weeks later I got his EP “Bomb This Joint” in my mailbox. This little slap of vinyl has been doing rounds on my turntable for a while now, and it gets better every time I play it. The title track is a wild footstomping piece of rhythm and blues punk that will make you wanna dance like you’re possessed by the devil himself. It sounds simple and repetitive at first, but it’s so effective. And when those hand claps come in… they just hit the spot! On the B-side we find “Hudson River Hangover” A slow-moving song with a deep impact. Darren only plays the most essential strings on this and it gives the song a dark and minimal feel. It has a certain threat coming towards you, a feeling something bad is going to happen soon… This ep, as all other ep’s, is way too short and leaves you hungry for more. So I suggest you all go to Darren’s website and order his music. You can also find him on Spotify, but please buy directly from him, we all know why…

Now enjoy the interview.
1. First things first, please tell our readers who you are, where you’re from, what you do in daily life…
I’m Darren Deicide. I reside in Jersey City, New Jersey though I’m originally from Chicago. I guess you could say that I’m a devotee of a certain thread of music tradition, that which comes from the tradition of diabolical Americana. Its influence has spanned decades and been in a constant state of evolution, and it has been great to be a part of it in any way, whether it’s playing my music, archiving music from the past, getting people to swing, or anything in-between.

2. Darren you play as a solo artist now, did you play in other bands before? Who was it, what did you play? Or have you always been a lone wolf?
I actually grew up playing piano, though I never did any public performances beyond recitals. I then picked up guitar. Like any good rebellious teen, I’ve played guitar in a slew of mediocre punk bands that mostly aren’t worth mentioning. I’ve also dabbled with other musicians, but musicians are a notoriously flakey group of people. It’s very rare when one finds a deeply creative individual who isn’t a mental basketcase, or conversely a competent, sane person who isn’t completely conventional in their approach to music. For whatever reason, the parts of a human brain where organization and expression are strongest don’t seem to wire together often. I may not be an exception to that either. So, yes, I’ve been mostly a lone wolf, however I’m starting to work more with other musicians. For example, I recently wrote a song with Nathan Gray, the lead singer of Boysetsfire, called “My Star-Spangled Banner” and I think it’s great. My crystal ball tells me that more of these types of collaborations are in the future.

3. While your 2006 album “Temptation and the Taboo, part 1” had a more “atmospheric” sound you now play a more lo-fi, primitive form of, let’s call it, “blues”. Why is this? Did you want a more head-on, confrontational sound? More like your live shows, raw and in your face?
I actually did a demo before “Temptation and the Taboo, Part 1” that was probably the most raw thing I’ve ever done, and it was pretty under-developed in retrospect. But those are the breaks when you’re exploring a musical voice. “Temptation and the Taboo, Part 1” was an early experiment in conceptualism, but I never thought it was particularly far off from my live sound. It has been a guiding ethos of mine to keep my music rather organic. Part of me, indeed, wants to replicate what I do live. There’s nothing more annoying than seeing an artist live, wanting to take their music home, and then finding out the recording is a fictionalization of what they do. It can make you feel like you bought a goose egg, and I consider it a type of false advertising. But it’s also what people who understand my music want. I hear it a lot. People come up to me and say, “Make sure you keep that rawness that you have. That’s what I like about what you’re doing. It’s real.” And while “real”, in most contexts, doesn’t mean anything, I know what they’re getting at. Double-tracked, auto-tuned vocals with ridiculously reverbed snare drum and synthetic violins seems to be the order of the day, and a lot of people are sick of the overproduction and lack of subtlety. Some people are really yearning for the physical again. They want to reacquaint themselves with fleshly experiences and their primal selves, so a lot of them are looking for more ways to unplug from this hyper-connected world. A lot of psychologists and sociologists are just starting to measure the evidence about what this constant exposure to connectivity does to our brains. Many people can’t focus or be present, they feel atomized and isolated, and then they wonder why they feel so miserable. It has been quite stark to witness, especially with younger people who come to my shows. Many have no idea what it’s like to grow up without an instant connection to the social hivemind or what it’s like to be totally immersed in the present environment of a music aesthetic without the option of outside distractions. Some are simply addicted to their phones and have no social skills. I think something about roots music is a breath of fresh air to many, and the rawness is just reflective of that.

4. If it were up to you, whom of todays artists, would you like to record a song/album with?
There is so much bubbling right now that I’m constantly surprised by something I’ve never heard before. I’m not going to presumptuously assume I’d creatively mesh with anybody. One of my favorite artists is Edgefield C. Johnston over in St. Louis. He’s an amazing poet and truly one-of-a-kind. I re-wrote an old demo song I’ve been holding on to named “Static”, and he does this great segue during it. It’ll be on the future album.

5. Is there a new full album on its way? And if so, what can we expect? Just you, or are you going to work with other people?
Yes, there is! I don’t want to burst too many bubbles yet, but let’s just say that I’ve been doing a lot of behind-the-scenes work to lay the foundation for it, including talking to record labels, producers, and lots of people in-between. I think every artist thinks their most recent work is their best, just because they’re more currently attached to it, but I have to say, I really think this is my best music yet. I’ve been playing a lot of these songs live, some for over a year now, but I just haven’t put them to a recording. There have been a lot of setbacks between “The Jersey Devil is Here” and today, including a serious injury I had to deal with. But I’ll be in the studio and I’ll have more news by the end of the summer.

5. Is it fair to call you a “nerd” on American music? Not being disrespectful, but you really love the history of American music don’t you?
It isn’t exactly unfair. It is true that there is nothing that moves me more than Americana. America is an inspiration. Sure, it has issues. Human beings are nasty creatures, so their foibles will always taint any society. But in some respect, a culture is a reflection of a society’s ideals, and the American revolution established many incredibly admirable ideals. Well, its culture has reflected that promise, along with the honesty and joy that is so unique to American sensibilities, whether it’s in the indulgent horn section of a swing band, the surreal landscape of the blues guitar, or the bleak tragedies of country romanticism. And the list goes on. Americana is so influential that we see other countries taking those traditions and tossing them back at us in new variations. I welcome the ante up!

6. Can I label you as a neo-traditionalist? I’m not talking about “rockabilly guys that wish they where teenagers or in their early 20’s in the 50’s, but can’t live without their Iphone”. I get the feeling you are person that takes pride in being a gentleman, somebody that takes pride in who they are, where they come from and what they are doing. Somebody that loves doing things hands on, not wait around and hopes things will “work out”… A person that takes on life as it comes and makes the best, without crying about the things that could have been.
I’ll let others be the judge of that. I’m not one to easily slap labels on myself.

7. As the host for Agent Provocateur, your online radio show, you take on everything that’s going wrong in this world. you don’t take a political stand, but you give your opinion. You say what you think and what you want. How big is the shit storm that hits you when you take on these items?
It really depends on the issue. Take for instance my analysis of Zionism. By far, out of any subject I tackled, that produced the most feedback, for and against. But the people who disagreed came out like roaches and boy, were they persistent. I titled that episode “Zionism’s Free Pass Gets Revoked”. It pointed out what a fundamentalist movement Zionism actually is and pointed out how, like any fundamentalist movement, once it gains state power, it sprouts into a totalitarian, criminal political power. That’s nothing particularly controversial. The UN and most people outside of the American-centric worldview wouldn’t be shocked. But I was bombarded with e-mails from people, and, surprise, surprise, many had personal ties with Israeli special interest. Now, take a look at the episode archive and you’ll see that some episodes later I did another entitled “Saudi Arabia’s Free Pass Gets Revoked”. Again, what I said wasn’t particularly controversial to anyone who has been paying at least a moderate amount of attention to the world beyond their navel. The structure of the analysis was essentially the same as the episode on Zionism, but instead I dissected Wahhabism, Saudi Arabia, and America’s close relationship to it. The difference in response was dramatic. I heard nothing, not a peep. Seriously, I didn’t even receive a single email or comment. Americans have deeply internalized double-standards that most aren’t questioning, with favoritism towards Zionism being an obvious one.

All moral systems are derived from political power. In that sense, might makes right. A major point of “Agent Provocateur”, besides indulging in my humorous side, is to question the legitimacy of some of those systems. This is a Satanist here, someone who has entirely rejected the notion of divine authority, the presumably greatest authority of all. Bowing to irrational pities or just accepting the face value of common narratives is not something I do easily, especially when it’s a matter of unquestioned and overly simplistic views on the world. Stupidity and hypocrisy works well for others, especially religionists and their allies, but I’ll pass.

8. You are a member, Warlock and spokesman for the Church of Satan, if so, how does this reflect on your music?
And how does this affect your personal life?
My music is a reflection of my thoughts and emotions which come from my experiences. My experiences are dictated by my life choices, and my life choices come from my approach to the world. My approach to the world comes from my ethos, which can best be described as Satanic. I assume it would work that way for any Satanist who creates art.

9. Does the fact that you are open about your affiliation with the CoS hold back your musical career in any way? And what are your feelings about this matter?
If my affiliation is something that would steer some away from my music, then Satanism is doing exactly what I want it to do, and that just tickles my underbelly. Scholarship suggests that a lot of the blues pioneers were accused of being in league with the devil during the nascent days of the blues. Most took the approach of being defensive, insisting that they were God-fearing people. A smaller minority, like Robert Johnson or Tommy Johnson, took the opposite approach and associated themselves and their art more deeply with diabolism. Count me amongst the latter.

10. Do you consider music, and more important, your music, to be a “magical” thing? (lesser or greater)
Absolutely. Just come to my show, and we’ll see if my spells have any effect on you.

11. You make your own beer I have learned, tell us more about this. Remember, we are from Belgium and have a great beer history, we are very proud of this, but I have to say, while traveling the USA the last 3 years, I did get to drink some great American micro-brewery beers. So shoot!
First, let me say that I am a huge fan of Belgium’s beer culture, and though I have never been to Belgium, I have a life-goal to eventually play there, preferably surrounded by a crew of naughty, beer-drinking Belgians. I cannot disagree with you, Belgium. Your beer is absolutely fantastic.

I’ve been brewing beer for years, long before it recently became respectable in America. It’s a passion of mine, and I’ve entered home brews in international competitions, with really great scores. It’s gotten to the point where I just brew all my beer and rarely buy beer from a store. I make exactly what I like, often with harvested ingredients from my own garden. Why settle for anything less than what you want?

A lot of art forms have overlapping aesthetic judgments. Whether it’s music informing dance, dance informing fashion, or fashion informing sound, it all cross-pollinates to create total environments. Well, I’ve always found Americana interesting in that I feel that booze and Americana have had a unique relationship. I honestly think that some songs sound like or compliment a particular libation. It’s not something that gets talked about a lot, so this theory might sound strange. I’ll give you an example. I bet any fan of Americana can tell me what the sound of moonshine is. They probably wouldn’t jump to say the Chick Webb Orchestra. That’s more of a dry martini kind of band. Even a smooth blues man like Josh White sounds a bit more like a very nicely aged bourbon. But an Appalachian bluegrass artist? Pass the jar and light the fire pit! I like to explore that overlap when I make beer or write music.

12. Can we get an exclusive? Or just some last words…
Sure. Give into temptation. It’s only your freedom.

Photo credit will be added when we get it from Darren.

http://www.darrendeicide.com

I’m sure most of our readers do not know who Philip Bradatsch is, but when I drop the name “The Dinosaur Truckers” I know heads will turn and people go… “what about them, that band is awesome!!! Are they playing near by?” Philip is the tall, skinny blond guy with the hat, playing banjo and singing most of their songs. Now you know who I’m talking about? Yeah, THAT GUY!

Philip made a solo album, and it really is a solo album. He played every instrument, wrote all the songs, did what he wanted to do and made it perfect! If, after reading this review you don’t want to buy this album, I have no idea what you’re doing here. This is not “The Dinosaur Truckers Light”, this is Philip’s album, these are his songs and his feelings.

One name came to mind when first listening to this album, Townes Van Zandt. And to be honest, it keeps coming back every time I listen to it. I’ve been playing Townes’ songs for the last week along with Philip’s to see if I’m wrong, but I’m not. He didn’t make an easy ripoff, let that be clear. It feels like Philip used an old Ouija board, summoned the ghost of Townes and asked him to write an album together. It’s this good!

By now you should know this is not a party record, far from it… These songs are to be listened to all alone, accompanied with a glass of good red wine or whisky. Alone with your thoughts, reminiscing the events that took place in your life. When I was listening to the title song “When I’m Cruel” I felt like this song was written for me personally. I can be an asshole to the one that stands closest to me and sadly she has to take the shitstorm most of the time when I feel bad. This song is like an apology to that one person I love with all my heart. I am sorry…

For the love of (whatever), please do not label this album as a singer/songwriter album, because it’s so much more than that. Just listen to a song like “Down By The Gallows”, this could be a “traditional” passed along generations on, and yet it isn’t. I do hope that musicians to come will play this song and tell stories about how they first heard this and now pay tribute to it.

Two songs after the aforementioned “When I’m Cruel” the album almost comes to an end, but not before Philip drops another emotional bomb in the form of “Mudhole”. The song tells the story of a man on the edge, ready to end his life, he doesn’t seem to have anyone else to blame but himself. The sad picking of the strings in the beginning of the song sets the mood and you feel a darkness coming. The little hope you have for the man is soon washed away and by the end you feel lost and in despair. Yes folks, songs like this are still being made and Mister Bradatsch is a craftsman.

Philip will be on tour with James Hunnicutt in Europe in June and July, make sure to go see them and buy this album. Also check out “The Dinosaur Truckers”.

https://www.reverbnation.com/philipbradatsch

Doing a review for an album that your friends recorded is always hard. You want it to be good, so you don’t need to be an asshole and look for words or phrases to describe it, so it doesn’t come out that bad… In this case that was not the deal.

If you’re reading this blog you should have heard the names Liz Sloan and Jared McGovern more than once and you should have seen them on stage with one or another band in the past. And you should be aware of the musical quality these two wonderful folks have to offer.

Before I really start this review I want to take a trip down memory lane…

For those that have seen Liz when she was playing with Bob Wayne, would you have thought that she would ever sing a note? Or even more recent, her first European tour with the Broken Band… If not for her fiddle, she looked so shy, the microphone was her biggest enemy… A year later she comes back with that same band and “hey, that girl can sing” was what we where all thinking. Even if she was still in the background, her voice had this special place in the sound of the Broken Band and I knew some day it would be her time to shine, apart from her fiddle playing.

Then we have Jared, the wild man, slapping’ his bass like a maniac and screaming where screams were needed… A bass player, doing what he was supposed to do, providing a beat in a drummer-less band… Oh c’mon this guy can’t write a song or sing a tune, he’s wild, he’s a bass player, after the show you put him in his cage and feed him a banana… (this is not my opinion, this is just me writing, don’t get upset… it’s meant to be funny…)

Last year they proved us all wrong, Liz and Jared being in a relationship, provided us with an excellent debut album on which they showed the world they could stand on their own feet. And for an album that was born out of not touring, boredom and Jared learing a new instrument, it sure made an impact.

“Addicted to the Road” was a good debut record and if you have even half of a musical ear, you knew that these two had more to offer. With “Vehicle in Transit” they took that step forward. It’s a pretty traditional album, no punk, no screaming, no big anti this or that lyrics. Just pure songs, recorded with friends about life and what makes us tick.

The record opens with “75 Southbound Blues” and with just this one song they show you what the album is all about. Sing-a-long lyrics, uptempo tunes and great musicianship. Old time music played from the heart with a modern sound.

After “Something That’s Never Been Done” we get “Chocolate Easter Bunny” and it’s a damn funny song originally by Phil Hummer, about how we buy, use and throw away stuff in our modern nowadays society.

“Tennessee Moon” with Mister James Hunnicutt on backing vocals sounds like it comes straight out of them good ol’days, when country music was country music (I have no idea what I’m talking about…, it’s just a great song).

In “Walk This Earth” we get a whole lot of Liz’s beautiful voice, I’m not sure what, but there is something about her way of singing. It sounds old, not old like an elderly woman, but old in soul. It’s a love song and a damn good one. Is it cheesy? Not really, it’s lovey dovey, but c’mon, from time to time even the most hardcore badass needs a little loving and that’s just what this song provides.

When listening to this album you start to think if it’s autobiographical, “Found out about You” is one of those songs that may trigger that feeling. One can only imagine how it is to be on the road with the one you love and have little to no privacy, every step you take, every drink you drink, folks see you and talk about it… It’s a real honky-tonk song and that electric guitar takes it to a higher level.

“What Takes a Woman” throws me back a couple of years and to every day I spend with my wife… The Broken Band came over for dinner at our place and just after, Liz disappeared into our bathroom, an hour and a half later… No Liz… “C’mon girl, we need to be going, got a show to play”! Minutes later she walked into the livingroom looking all purdy and sweet. Yeah boys, that’s what they do it for. For us to shut the hell up and be like… “damn, I love that girl…” That’s what Liz does, that’s what my wife does, that’s what they all do, and we as dumb caveman love them and forgive them instantly! Oh and it’s also a good song about the difference between the sexes. I forget sometimes this is a review…

Up next we get a great swing song by the name “Ballad of Charlotte and Charlie” on wich Liz and Jared get the help from Keith Roberts from Call me Bronco. If you have been on the road as long as these two have, you make good friends and you know what’s even better than good friends? Good friends that can play great music! It’s the darkest song on the album about a man loving his wife so much that he is prepared to die for her. Fellows, if you feel like this about your girl, she’s a keeper or just a heartbreaking bitch, that’s up to y’all to figure out.

Further down the road we come to “Praying for Rain”, another country diddle that moves by slowly like an almost dried up creek, could be the one that’s mentioned in the song. The atmosphere created by the music perfectly fits the lyrical theme and you almost feel sad for the protagonist.

There’s two traditionals on the record, the first one is “Big Spike Hammer”, but it’s on “Kitchen Girl/June Apple” that our fierce pioneers go all out. Stretching it to a six-minute plus epic piece of music. Starting the song and keeping it close to how most of us know it, but when notes go by, the tempo goes up and it turns into something we would expect from The Broken Band. These are two separate songs blended into one perfect gift to the audience. A party song pur sang!

“Just Over The Horizon” brings us to the end of the album, and if the phrase, going out with a bang, ever had a meaning, it’s this song! I’m damn sure this song came into existence when they where touring with The Freeborn Brothers from Poland. The Eastern European/gypsy vibe can not be denied. And for me this was the highlight of the album, but that can be because I’m European and somewhere, deep inside, there must be some gypsy…

Some additional info: The album was recorded at Electric Eye in Pittsburgh and comes with amazing cover art by Christoph Heuer, who you should know from the Muddy Roots posters and the video he did for The Tillers. It will be released on Roots Union Records in a few weeks.

 

http://urbanpioneersmusic.com

 

In 2011 psychobilly/rootsrockers Black Cat Bone Squad from Belgium released a split album with Crispy Jones from Germany. The album was limited to only a 100 copies for each band and BCBS sold them all real fast. I had the original album but lost it somewhere down the road. Last week BCBS decided to re-release the songs they did for the split on a ep. It’s a burned copy on a cd that looks like a record, stuck in a self-folded paper sleeve, nothing fancy… When you order it, ask Sweetboy, the bassplayer, to draw something on the sleeve for you, I know he loves doing this… I’m glad they re-released it, for a couple of reasons: the songs on this ep are so damn good, it doesn’t have the Crispy Jones songs, it’s not limited and it’s cheap as fuck!

“Crack in the Mud” is the first song and if you like to shake your ass, this song is right up your alley. A short mid-tempo roots rocker that’s driven by the rhythm section while Jumpin’ Jim lays down some sweet licks on his Gretch. Before you know it the song is over and you’re looking for the repeat button. Next up we have “Johnny Ska”. No, this is not a ska song, it’s kind of a ska song, but not a ska song, it’s a ska tribute, it’s a rootsy ska song, it’s a… Ah fuck it, it’s a SKA SONG! And then again it’s not… If it’s one thing, it’s a good song…

If you have seen our first Beagle Session you have heard the next song on this ep. “Truck Driver” was first released on the debut album, but Jo (Jumpin’ Jim) also plays this song as a solo act. In this version we get a laid-back, bluesy version of what was a straightforward rock’n’roll song. I like this one over the orignal. It’s darker, more intense, the sound of the bass in the background gives it a creepy feeling, like there is something lurking in the dark…
Next up we have “Legendary Shakin’ of the Shack” and if you know anything about roots music it shouldn’t take you more than 2 seconds to figure out what this song is all about. Yes indeed, Th’ Legendary Shack Shackers! Is it a ripoff? No! It’s the perfect tribute!
The title song, “Monsters R Go” is a great straight-up psychobilly song with one of the funniest phrases I’ve ever heard in psycho, “Your daddy is a zombie, and your mother doesn’t know”. If these guys would get some more recognition this song would be a great sing-along at live shows.

You can order the ep at their facebook page or buy it at one of their shows.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Black-Cat-Bone-Squad

Hailing from Asheville, North Carolina, Skunk Ruckus is a band that according to their webpage blends elements of old time music with punk, as so many other bands claim to do these days. I don’t care if there’s a million of these bands out there, as long as they are all as good as these guys. The punk influence is minimal, but nicely done. Even the typical old time music is minimal, well yeah, they use a washboard and banjo, but it doesn’t sound like they are trying to be this 1930’s band gone punk… Where most bands stay far away from electric guitar and bass, Skunk Ruckus embraces them to give their sound that extra kick.

An important aspect of this band and therefore this album is Mr. Jim Daddy’s vocals. Nick Cave comes to mind more then once when I hear him sing, and that’s a huge compliment.

“Billy Mac” kicks the album in first gear and takes you on a wild ride with a homicidal maniac and sets the tone for the rest of the album. Dark storytelling, creepy vibes and great musicianship. Next up is “Pretty Little Things” and here’s that Nick Cave vibe for the first time. Girls hold your men tight, dance with him and when you look into his eyes… You know you’re fucked… He’s a killer…

“The Devil Must Be Beating His Wife” is a great uptempo song that will get every crowd rocking like fools. In Belgium we say “it’s carnaval in Hell” when the sun is shining and the rain is coming down at the same time, but I like this phrase way more.

Rolling into “Darling Corey” Skunk Ruckus upholds the tempo and delivers a great version of this traditional song about love, loss and moonshine. Before you know it there’s a “Mosquito” buzzing around your head and as the real little bloodsucker this song is irritating, but that scratch after the bite can be so rewarding, doesn’t make sense, I know, just listen…

As the album moves on with “Hello” we come to “You let me Stay”, a balladesque song that once again proves that for every stupid drunk there is a girl dumb enough to take him in. Thank you girls, we try, we realy do… “Tear It Down” is also a traditional, but wrapped in a punk/rockabilly blanket with a great kazoo part that will put a huge smile on your face.

I think that “Little Margaret” can best be discribed as a gothic country song, it’s eerie, dark, building up, waiting to explode, waiting, waiting… If they could get Lonesome Wyatt to record this song with them, this would be an instant classic. Don’t get me wrong, the song is fantastic, but listening to it, I could just hear Jim and Wyatt sing this together. “Zombie Love Song” sounds like an old psychobilly song on your recordplayer at the wrong tempo. And even then it sounds cool…

By now you should have figured out that I realy like this album and I’m sure most of our readers will too. I hope they get the opportunity to show all of you what they are about and make you dance, drink and party like crazy.

Check out the album here:

http://skunkruckus.bandcamp.com

Order the album here:

https://www.facebook.com/SkunkRuckus