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

 

If you are a traditional psychobilly fan only, walk away and walk fast… All those that do not wear their ass as a hat and like some good, fast and hard-hitting tunes, gather around and enjoy this album from The Silverhounds!!!
Hailing from New Jersey this threesome have created an excellent mix between psychobilly, metal and punk. Sounds like a cliché you say? Well to bad for you then, this album rocks your grandmother’s girdle off. Only after the fifth song she will get a chance to put it back on, and maybe sensually strip down again to “Chained”, a murder ballad so campy (in a good way) that it would have been perfect for a murder scene in the movie Cry Baby (why is there no such scene in that movie?).

Before “Chained” the album blasts of with “Dying Breath”, which sets the tune with a pure heavy metal intro, and then evolves into a psychobilly stomper and so becomes the stepping stone for the rest of this album. The Misfits or Danzig are never far away, but you can not accuse these guys of ripping off. It’s something similar, but completely different, like the girl scouts and Al Qaeda.

Rolling into “Devil Inside” we get the full potential of this band, fast as the roadrunner, the bassdrum and doghouse provide a solid construction for Derek on guitar to go apeshit. Daniel’s vocals once again prove that he’s the perfect guy to sing these songs.

An important thing is the sound on this album. Even when the songs go into overdrive, the sound is still crystal clear. Many bands get lost in the chaos when doing these type of songs, The Silverhounds proudly hold their heads above the raging water and surf the sonic waves that they create. As an independent band without any label support I can only salute this. To wrap things up, if you like psychobilly, metal, punk or just have an open mind, check these guys out. Buy their albums, go see a show, put them on stage… Enjoy!

 

http://www.thesilverhounds.com/

Holy Crow!!!! That was the first thing that came to mind when this album started to make its rounds in my cd player. The Maker (also the name of the first song) blasts of in pure aggression after a minute or so intro that sets a creepy atmosphere that you would normally find on a death or black metal album. Mikey’s first words just add to this feeling and when Joe Perreze unleashes his demons seconds later you know you’re in for a wild and blasphemous ride…

Two songs in and you’re looking for things in your living room to destroy, people to hit in the face, smash things up and go ape shit! I’ve seldomly come across an album that triggers these emotions after just two songs… “This is the best Goddamn Gallows album ever!” was all I could think, and after Seven Devils I was really sceptic if they could top it.

With every song the band drags you further into their world of darkness and despair and it just feels like home. Some months ago Baby Genius told us he hates it when the band is called a roots band and with this album they make a statement that indeed that term is not one to use for The Goddamn Gallows. The instruments used on this album would indeed suggest you where going to listen to a “roots” album, but I don’t think that even their most loyal fans could have seen this curve ball coming. It’s not that their sound has changed that much, they just brought it unto an other level. The sonic assault that is The Maker just blasts your socks off…

After seven songs the band allows you your first moment to get your stuff back together and take a deep breath with the song Ol’ Dusty Trail but after that they drag you’re sweaty, blood drenched corpse back down for a second wild ride on this roller coaster from hell that is The Maker. With this album the guys have reached a new level of musical rulership and if there ever was a metal or punk festival that has the balls to put them on the same bill with your most brutal black metal or most radical punk band, The Goddamn Gallows would still come out victorious, if people would only have an open mind…

The album is released by Farmageddon Records and recorded and mixed by Andy Gibson who we know as the steel guitar player for Hank III. Joe Perreze is responsible for the great artwork.
Good news for our European readers, the boys will be touring Europe this year! We’ve had the privileges to see them live four times and if you’ve never seen GG Allin perform, this is the next best thing. You know what… Fuck GG, the Gallows RULE!

P.S. Thank you Wendi D Story for introducing me to the phrase “Holy Crow”.
P.P.S. Don’t let the ghost of GG Allin read this, I have way to much respect for the godfather of scumfucks, but this review needed to go out with a bang…

http://www.thegoddamngallows.com

http://www.farmageddonrecords.com/

The boys from Poland have a new album out, and the first thing that I noticed is that they are not trying to sound like an American band. They have such an original sound, the album name discribes it perfectly and not at all. What could one expect when hearing Gypsy Hobo Trash Grass for the first time?

The album is mostly banjo and guitar driven with Niko’s steady footdrumming. Matt plays a mean ass accordion and that gives the album it’s gypsy side. So where does the hobo, grass or trash come in, you ask? Well every song is a new adventure, taking you “down to hell” on the 8th track or “Marching to your grave” on the 13th. Even if they are just a two men band, the number of instruments that go in every song makes it so exciting. And yes they pull it of live! In just one song you can see Niko switch from banjo to washboard and back without losing any soul or power.

Both guys have a great voice and know when to let the other take the lead. Some of you may find it hard the first few times to listen through the accents but for me this is one thing that makes this album even better. I don’t think it would have the same impact if they would sing in perfect English. Here is where the gypsy feel comes back in.

The record has a charming live sound, and this is not an excuse for a crappy sound. You get the feeling they are playing in your livingroom or the backseat of your car when driving. I suggest you don’t play this album in your car unless you’re a skilled driver. This is a party album… Maybe not in lyrical content, but damn sure music wise…

Here at Old Style Music Nights we had the pleasure to see these guys play live so many times and feed them a good home cooked meal while they where on the road and let me tell you, apart from being great musicians they are great people. They are trying to get to the USA in 2015 and I hope they get there. Holy crow, the crowd would love it, I can see them blow the imaginary roof of a tent at Muddy Roots, they did it once in Belgium and that’s the mini version…

You can buy the album directly from the band or you can buy it online via their bandcamp page.

http://freebornbrothers.com/

http://freebornbrothers.bandcamp.com/

The cliché goes that great things come in small packages, I guess that also counts for great voices. Hot damn! I’m not a big fan of female fronted rock ‘n’ roll bands, but this band got me hooked. Where lots of other bands seem to use the frontwoman thing as a gimmick or crowd pleaser, with Lara Hope and The Ark-Tones it all feels right.
This is not your twelve in a dozen girly, girl rockabilly album. This is the real deal!

Luck Maker, the first full album by this Hudson Valley, NY band was born fully with the help of crowdfunding. It must have been a great feeling for this band that people where believing in them to create such a great album that they where all willing to chip in before hearing any of the music. And let me say, they where right to do so.

The album swings like the tits of a fat girl doing jumping jacks. I’m not saying it’s all fast forward songs, not at all, party songs, dark ballads, rhythm ‘n’ blues to hold your lover close. The songs flow out and come together as a perfect piece of roots music. Lara is backed by amazing musicians and songwriters, one of them being Matt from world known psychobilly band The Arkhams on the doghouse. Chris Heitzman on guitar and Dave Tetreault on drums make up a great band that knows how to write a song.

Highlights for me are “Whiskey Pick”, an uptempo swinger that makes you want drink, dance and maybe hit a chair over someone’s head because he gave your girl a dirty look. This song could be used in a bar fight scene for some movie, I can see it! Hey Quentin, here’s some new music for ya!
“He is not the devil” is a country’esque uptempo ballad (is there such a thing?) carried by Matt’s perfect slapping bass line about an abusive relationship that more than a few of their listeners will relate to. Hang in there girls, prince charming is out there somewhere…

I guess by now you know I like this album, and I’m sure you will too. Lara’s voice is one of the best I’ve heard for a long time in this “scene” thing and I’ve said it before, this is not girly girl music, so boys you can play this one full blast while driving with the windows down, who knows you could be that prince charming for that one girl…

That’s it, I’m out!

Photo credit: C3 Photography

While on tour in Europe, James released a “new” album. To be honest, it’s 8 tracks from the pre-release for his new album and two songs he recorded while in London, England the ninth of October. Niko and Matt from The Freeborn Brothers, with whom James is touring, made this happen. James arrived in Europe with no merch at all, so a plan was made and a cd was born. I have to give it to my Polish friends Niko and Matt, they get the job done! In Belgium we joke about Polish people being thieves, lowlifes and lazy fucks… but these two prove me wrong every time! It has nothing to do with racism, it’s just stereotypes, so please get the sand out of your vagina…If you are on tour and need cd’s, get in contact with these guys, they’ll hook you up and make it happen!!!

We all love to sing along to James’ songs, he has a way to make you smile and cry at the same time. This new release is not a sing along album, not at all. It’s heavier, more metal, like a semi-acoustic doom metal monster. In almost each song there is an electric guitar in the background building a base but not taking over. His voice and sublime guitar picking is still the main course, but it has such a different feel compared to his previous releases. “I’ll take the rain” could be a Paradise Lost song if you add drums and more guitars, but this stripped-down version does the trick. “Never Alone” is the next one, and shoot me if I’m wrong, but I’m sure that James based this song on the Cock Sparrer song he loves to play. It has the punk vibe but never gets to the sing along, soccerhooligan anthem as the song I think it is based on. But it works just as well!

The title song, Who Will Raise The Flag, is a typical James Hunnicutt song, but oh so metal, slow built up, grabbing you by the throat lyrics that you try to give a place in your life but don’t really understand, his fantastic voice kicking you down, lifting you up and then just leaves you feeling like you need to do something for someone, but you forgot who it was and this person really needs you now… It’s weird how he does it, but he always makes you think…
The two songs recorded live in London at the end of the album bring back James as most of us know him, a guitar and a voice, and will take you home after a “hard to understand” first run of this album but make sure to play it over and over again, it grows on you!

This cd is limited to 100 copies so most of you will never have the opportunity to buy it, don’t be sad, the new album will be released soon and has the same songs on it.

There is a mistake on the sleeve or/and on the cd, song number nine and ten have switched places, that’s what you get with working with them polish folks. I’m just joking, not about the mistake, it’s for real. But if you can get shit done as fast as Niko and Matt can, you can take over the world without people noticing it. I just hope these two stay on the *Team Simple side and let us do what we like, have a beer, go to shows, have fun with the people we love and be good to the folks who deserve it…

*Team Simple: people who like to party, have fun, get drunk, don’t care, don’t drink, do drugs, take care of their friends, don’t do drugs, be straight edge, hate religion, believe in god, don’t preach, eat red meat, love their rabbit, walk their dogs, holdhairbackwhilepuking, love life, don’t give up, joke on you, kick you in the nuts and hug it out…

Look out for our interview with James Hunnicutt and The Freeborn Brothers. We will be posting it soon…