DAVE KUSWORTH – A TOP 10

On 19 September, DAVE KUSWORTH passed away. A veteran of Midlands rock’n’roll since co-founding seminal garage-rockers TV Eye as a teenager in Birmingham in ’77, Kusworth was revered as a songwriter, and as a member of The Jacobites (with Nikki Sudden), The Rag Dolls, Dogs D’Amour, The Bounty Hunters and more, recently returning with new material in The Dave Kusworth Group. Longtime bandmate and friend Dave Twist pays tribute with his Top 10 Kusworth moments…

TV EYE – DREAMING OF YOUR CARS

“This was the Dave that I first encountered on 15 August 1977. How can I pinpoint the date? I still have the dayglo orange signwritten poster for Barbarella’s little sister club Rebecca’s ‘New Wave Monday’. They were booked in as TVI, presumably having secured their place on the bill by telephone. I was there with John Taylor to play our first ‘professional’ show as Shock Treatment. We’d totally bought into the ‘here’s one chord, here’s another… ‘ manifesto, but had taken that further and skipped the part where you actually learned the chord. Neither of us were in the role that we’d later take up – John was on a viciously high-actioned telecaster copy which he thrashed until his hand bled from the raw metal edge of the uncovered bridge. I ‘sang’… a camp approximation of something I hoped might sound a little like Howard Devoto. It didn’t. But the Prefects had been good enough to lend us their Fender combo and John just buzzed on the air it shifted around us.

“And then came TV Eye. Same age as us, 17, from a tougher part of the South side of the city and undistracted by ‘A’ levels. They had everything, breathtakingly, together. On guitar was a kid who looked like Johnny Ramone or Mick Jones when you could clock the profile. Which was hard because Dave had this thing where he’d blast away with one leg raised and he’d whirl the foot around fast in a tight kicking circle – until the momentum was almost enough to topple him. At which point he’d buck and swivel like Johnny Thunders on The Whistle Test, if they’d run the film double time like a silent comedy chase. Then he’d find a new part of the stage, and repeat the whole thing again.”

THE SUBTERRANEAN HAWKS – BIG STORE

“Not a Dave song at all, Stephen Duffy had brought this with him from his time in Duran Duran. But Dave loved this song and took it on with him again to The Jacobites, where it appears on their Robespierre’s Velvet Basement long player. I’d borrowed / stolen the parts of something approximating a kit from a discarded snare gifted by The Prefects’ drummer Paul Apperley and a 1950s relic I’d spirited out of my school’s store cupboard. So now I’m Dave’s drummer. I was so thrilled by that, and by this song, that my joy transmitted into my speeding up, very noticeably, within the opening bars of this and almost every other song. I wonder why we weren’t signed? When Simon Colley quit the band, a little after we recorded this, Dave switched to bass guitar. Like Ron Asheton, like Ronnie Wood, like Keith – Dave was a great bass guitarist too.”

NIKKI SUDDEN & DAVE KUSWORTH / JACOBITES – KINGS AND QUEENS

“The Hawks folded when Stephen and Dave both decided that they needed to do their own things, apart. I was, of course, bereft. Even while my expressive stylings were limiting our prospects to a proto-scene in between that didn’t exist yet, I’d believed in us as some new Beatle-band. We’d had two of the greatest songwriters of the era in that one place at that one time, and I knew we’d given up on the toppermost even as our rivals were cresting the summit and pitching their colours. We stayed friends, Dave and I, fooling around with a revolving door of a side project we called The Bible Belt. Nikki Sudden had Dave guesting on his second solo album for Flicknife around then, and lifted our name for his album title. Dave was a curious mix of shy and, if not self-deprecating, at least grounded. But he was also someone who’d stand his ground on what he had achieved. ‘All of the lead guitar on those records is me, you know…’.

“Then came The Jacobites, whereby Nikki and Dave made their unlikely partnership a thing – and here’s where we first heard Dave as lead vocalist, and how very affecting. What a natural he turned out to be. ‘Kings And Queens’ is the song from this era that remained in any Dave set until the end, although he was maybe a little bored with it by our last show together at Christmas 2019. On what became his last full band show, he instructed me to play it like the Iggy Pop Party also-ran ‘Pumpin’ For Jill’. And what do you know, it worked very well.”

THE JACOBITES – IT’LL ALL END UP IN TEARS

“So now I’m the sleeve designer. In the era of Prittstick, scalpel, fineliner and Tipex I’m considered something of a whizz kid. The sleeve of Robespierre’s Velvet Basement goes to the printers and comes back all wrong. Luckily the record is ace. According to legend, in some ‘five records you’re currently grooving on…’ list somewhere, Tom Waits picked this album out as a fave-rave. I’m not sure if he did or not and, outside of a press release, it doesn’t really matter anyway. Dave’s hair is bloody fantastic on the cover shot. I often wonder if that fabulous accident of a front cover didn’t fix Dave right there in 1985 for most people. Quite understandably, everyone gets giddy around Robespierre’s…, losing their bearings in that crazy lo-budget 80s reverb and never finding their way out the other side…”

THE BOUNTY HUNTERS – EVERYTHING’S FOR HER

“He got close. Signed to Creation and the zeitgeist halfway between the cheap thrill of Appetite For Destruction and the dull thud of Use Your Illusion. It seemed there might be a chance that a flying ember flung from Keith Richards’ smouldering Redlands closet would catch light again. That’s how the boys look in the hot glow of Bleddyn Butcher’s cover image anyway. Then again, Dave detested Heavy Metal so there was nothing for the Kerrang Krew here.”

DAVE KUSWORTH & THE TENDERHOOKS – DANDELION BOY

DAVE KUSWORTH & THE TENDERHOOKS – LIKE WONDERLAND AVENUE (IN A COLD CLIMATE)

“I’m making personal choices, and I’m very much aware of that. It’s unforgivable that there’s nothing here from Wives, Weddings and Roses or All The Heartbreak Stories. I’d re-enlisted early in the grim new millennium to form The Tenderhooks, and that reunion prompted the co-write ‘Dandelion Boy’. With all those autobiographical, self-mythologising Mott The Hoople songs in our heads, here we are swapping lines to come to terms with glorious failure, romanticising those blood-to-the-head teenage choices. Break ups and reunions were inevitable in Dave-world. You’d spend time there until the relentlessness of Dave being Dave, and Dave’s friends being Dave’s friends, became too much, at which point you’d have to step back and let someone else come on from the bench. ‘Wonderland Avenue…’ documents such a time, with things becoming quite dark on the edges of Moseley Village.”

THE DAVE KUSWORTH GROUP – FOR ALL THE PERFECT PEOPLE

“I wanted to choose the mid-sixties baroque of ‘Are You The Girl’ with its lovely harpsichord part, then I realise that I haven’t picked an all-out rocker… So how about ‘Someone Else’s Shoes’ or the Stooges rush of ‘Blood on The Knife’? Maybe I should choose something to represent the album he made temping with Dogs D’Amour? Dave could do a great Johnny Thunders, but we can only pick ten songs, so why pick anything that isn’t just Dave being Dave? Here’s ‘For All The Perfect People’.”

DAVE KUSWORTH & THE TENDERHOOKS – THE RIGHT TRACK

“Another lovely autobiographical song with our reliable friend, Go-Cart Mozart’s Terry Miles on Hammond. This has a shamefully low number of views on YouTube as I write, so here’s your chance to join an inexplicably exclusive club.”

“There hasn’t been an hour in the last week that my thoughts haven’t turned to Dave, and the soundtrack in my head has been this. Dave wrote this in the week after his father passed, then sang it at his funeral. He took his acoustic to the front of the chapel and sang his heart out. When it was time to record I asked that he put it to tape just like that, no clatter of drums, no added sweeteners. Playing it again now helps a little.”

Dave Kusworth products are available from Easy Action Records.

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WHAT A CARVE(L) UP!

New York bar band THE CARVELS NYC have just released their long-awaited debut album and it’s a live one!

Well, in a manner of speaking. The band had always planned to make a live album for their debut, as that’s what the band do best. Unfortunately, the scheduled recording date at NYC’s legendary Cutting Room club back in March was cancelled due to lockdown.

Fast forward to May, and the band are back at the Cutting Room, masked-up and socially distanced, but playing to an empty venue. But the band are confident that it shouldn’t deter them from delivering their usual explosive performance.

Influenced by original New York punk, 60s girl groups and Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground, the band tore through a set of originals by frontwoman Lynne Von Pang, bolstered by covers of the Ramones ‘I Wanna Be Well’ and the Velvets’ ‘Candy Says’. Live At The Cutting Room was produced by Freddie Katz and mixed and mastered by Detroit garage legend Jim Diamond.

Released through Die Laughing Records, Live At The Cutting Room is available to stream/buy here.

Check out the video for the single ‘Bitter Pill’…

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MATTY JAMES CASSIDY VIDEO PREMIERE!

Northern Irish songwriter MATTY JAMES CASSIDY has a new single out and he’s premiering the video exclusively with Vive Le Rock!

‘Old Souls’ is the title track from Cassidy’s new album which is available here.

The bleakly haunting video, by local photographer Ronan McGarde, was shot at various locations in County Fermanagh, including Cassidy’s hometown of Enniskillen and the historic Brookeborough railway station, preserved since its closure in 1942.

“Sometimes songs play out in your head like short films,” says Cassidy. “Picture the scene and imagine the world-weary characters… maybe they are the Old Souls”.

Starting out as a drummer, playing in bands across the pubs and clubs of Ireland from the age of 13, Cassidy switched to guitar to better pursue his songwriting, playing widely throughout the UK and Europe while releasing records via his own Pirate Heart label.

Speaking about the new album, he says, “While there’s country, blues, folk, punk and all sorts happening on this album, the result to me is just a straight up rock n’ roll record, something you don’t hear a lot of these days. I’m keeping it honest and song orientated, with a few twists and turns. I’m not reinventing the wheel; I’m just keeping it well oiled.”

‘Old Souls’ is available now on Spotify and all the usual digital platforms.

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BLABBERMOUTH VIDEO PREMIERE!

Fast-rising South Coast alt-rockers BLABBERMOUTH have a new single and they’re premiering it exclusively with Vive Le Rock!

‘Razor Switchblade Smile’ is the Hastings quintet’s third single and follows on from the well-recieved ‘Youthful Haze’, released back in February. The video was shot by punk filmmaker extraordinaire Mark Richards.

Say the band, “It’s loud, it has balls and most importantly it might even be the next catchiest tune you listen to… wrap your ears around this.”

Pre-save ‘Razor Switchblade Smile’ on Spotfiy.

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DOWN ON THE PHARM!

Veteran of the 80s Aussie underground wars, MICK MEDEW is back with his first solo album.

A founder member of seminal Brisbane garage band THE 31ST, the guitarist and singer racked up several indie chart hits with his band THE SCREAMING TRIBESMEN, with now classic singles like ‘Igloo’ and ‘Date With A Vampire’.

He would go on to record with Naked Lunch, Mick Medew & The Rumours and most recently, The Mesmerisers, who released their second album Open Season last year.

Psychopharmacologist features nine songs worked up over five years of solo shows in Brisbane and Mlebourne and includes an instrumental retooling of the classic ‘Igloo’.

Psychopharmacologist is out now through I-94 Bar Records and is available to buy through Bandcamp.

Check out the video for ‘When The Wood Is Brown (Full Return)’…

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YO! FRANKIE!

Hollywood rockers FRANKIE & THE STUDS are back with a brand new single and video.

The swaggering, buzzsaw-riffing, irrepressibly melodic ‘(Not Your) Victim’ is the band’s first fruit of a new deal with Australia’s Punktured Media. It was produced at Buzzbomb Studios by Paul Miner of Orange County punks Death By Stereo.

“‘(Not Your) Victim’ is a song inspired by the inherent strength women possess,” explains frontwoman Frankie Clarke. “Through the challenges of living in a patriarchal society, we can never have enough reminders of our innate superpowers as women. Women supporting women is a powerful force to be reckoned with and this song reminds us to do just that.”

‘Not Your’ Victim’ is available from Apple, Spotify and all the usual platforms.

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APEMAN SPACEMAN VIDEO PREMIERE!

London alt-rockers APEMAN SPACEMAN have a new single out and they’re premiering the video exclusively with Vive Le Rock!

Following on from last year’s ‘Civil War’ single, ‘Truth Is A Thing Of The Past’ casts an eye on the grim absurdity of the current world political climate. The self-made video, edited by Nick Mason (not the Pink Floyd one, we suspect), sees the band members as world leaders engaged in schoolboy larks as society teeters on the edge of the abyss….

Says frontman Johnny Cooke, “We are in danger of losing our democracies to international gangs of sociopathic school boys playing games with the lives of billions, and the very fabric of society is being undermined by a tidal wave of bullsh*t. We must fight for the truth.”

Formed in 2015 out of the ashes of Island Records-signed Top 40 hitmakers DOGS, Apeman Spaceman are Johnny Cooke (vocals and guitar), Rikki Mehta (guitar), Alexi Christou (bass) and Ethan Kennedy (drums).

‘Truth Is A Thing Of The Past’ is available to pre-save on Spotify.

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HOLY AND HEAVEN-SENT!

DAVID BOWIE producer and bassist Tony Visconti and Spiders From Mars drummer Woody Woodmansey’s HOLY HOLY will be back next Spring celebrating The Best Of Bowie.

Featuring guest vocalist Glenn Gregory from HEAVEN 17, the band will be performing songs from the Thin White Duke’s back catalogue from iconic hits to cult classics.

Taking in eight shows around the country throughout April, including a London date at The Barbican, Visconti, Woodmansey and Gregory will be joined by guitarists James Stevenson (Gen X, Chelsea) and Paul Cuddeford (Cockney Rebel), Tony’s daughter Jessica Lee Morgan on 12-string and sax, and Janette Mason on keyboards.

Full dates are…

8 April – Tramshed, Cardiff
9 April – Barbican, London
11 April – Waterside Theatre, Ayesbury
13 April – Forum, Bath
14 April – Town Hall, Birmingham
16 April – Barbican, York
17 April – Philharmonic, Liverpool
18 April – Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow

Tickets are on sale here.

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IGGER THAN THE REST!

The chaotic final year of IGGY & THE STOOGES is to be documented on a new box set this Autumn.

After a two-year break, Iggy’s legendary Detroit destroyers returned with new guitarist James Williamson joining alongside the returning Asheton brothers. Signing with Bowie manager Tony Defries’ MainMan stable, they released the game-changing Raw Power album before heading out on a series of dates in support of the album.

You Think You’re Bad, Man? The Road Tapes 1973-74 captures five incendiary shows from that period across 5 CDs. Kicking off with a September ’73 show at L.A.’s legendary Whisky A Go Go, the set includes shows from Detroit’s Auburn Hills Palace; the Latin Casino, Baltimore; and NYC’s Academy of Music, culminating in the iconic Metallic KO recording from Detroit in February ’74, the band’s final show for nearly thirty years.

The set is completed by a 20-page booklet with copious notes by legendary journalist and Vive Le Rock! contributor Kris Needs.

Due for release through Cherry Red on 20 November, You Think You’re Bad, Man? is available to pre-order here.

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PIZZA THE ACTION!

Desert rockers STONE DEAF have just dropped a video for their brand new single.

The bulldozing ‘Polaroid’ is taken from the Colorado band’s third album Killers, which is due out later this year on Coffin & Bolt Records through Golden Robot. It follows on from their 2015 self-titled debut and 2018’s Royal Burnout.

The band was born in a pizza shop owned by singer/guitarist/songwriter Dust Chapin in the small town of New Castle on the Colorado River. Writing and recording the band’s debut album on his own, Chapin says, “The idea was to capture the spontaneity of previous punk bands I played in only having a few hundred bucks to make a record. I’d start at 9 a.m. with nothing tracked and whatever was done by midnight was the end of that song.”

Before long, Chapin recruited pizza shop employee Cody Isaman on bass, drummer Kristofer Petross and second guitarist Scott Anderson. The result is a band sludgy like Kyuss but with the energy of Hellacopters’ action rock and a smattering of post-punk darkness.

‘Polaroid’ is available digitally here.

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SHOW NO MERCY!

Aussie rockers THE MERCY KILLS are back with a video taster for their new mini-album.

Live favourite ‘Fall’ is taken from the Melbourne quartet’s forthcoming 7-tracker X which is due out on Golden Robot Records on 2 October. It’s a remastered version of the track that previously appeared on the b-side of their New Rule EP back in 2010.

Formed in the seaside suburb of St Kilda in 2008, the band, who’ve been described as mixing Appetite for Destruction era Guns N’ Roses with Ramones-style punk began their career sharing stage with local legends like Rose Tattoo, You Am I and Tumbleweed, going on to tour with such international stars as Killing Joke, New York Dolls, Misfits and Supersuckers.

‘Fall’ is available digitally here.

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DISSIDENTS ON THE ROAD!

Fast-rising roots rockers RICHARD DAVIES & THE DISSIDENTS are back with a brand new single and video which they’re premiering exclusively with Vive Le Rock!

‘Echo Road’ is taken from the band’s debut album Human Traffic, released in June through Bucketfull Of Brains Records. It’s backed with an exclusive specially recorded version of the Lords Of The New Church classic ‘Russian Roulette’.

Led by Davies, previously guitarist with TINY MONROE, THE SNAKES and PETER PERRETT, the Dissidents are a supergroup of sorts, featuring members of MEGA CITY FOUR, LAST GREAT DREAMERS and CASE HARDIN. They’ve been described as sounding like ‘Johnny Thunders meets Tom Petty’ and received a glowing 9-out-of-10 review in Vive Le Rock from Role Models’ Rich Ragany.

“Echo Road is the first song that I wrote for the album,” explains Davies. “It’s about being unable to escape the past. I think we recorded a few versions, but this one felt like a good radio song. It’s also the first song that Neil [Scully, keyboards] played on. I wanted to write something accessible to as many people as possible. Hopefully I managed to do that!!!

“Russian Roulette has always been a fave of mine. I think it was Tim [Emery, bass]’s idea to record a version. It’s a bit of a sacred cow, but I think we managed to record a good version. Tony James wrote it and I love pretty much everything he ever did.”

The general public will get their first chance to see the band (lockdown permitting) on 26 September when they play The Abbey Arms, Abbey Wood in South London. Also on the bill are King Salami & The Cumberland Three, Oh Gunquit, Sister Suzie and more.

‘Echo Road’ and ‘Russian Roulette’ are out now on Spotify and all the usual digital platforms.

Human Traffic is out now through Proper Music.

Richard Davies & The Dissidents on Facebook

Pic by Richard Markham

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L.A. JUNK

London punks HEALTHY JUNKIES have just unveiled a video for their new single.

‘Last Day In L.A.’ is the first single to be taken from the band’s forthcoming new album Forever On The Road.

The album title reflects the band’s relentless touring and the single, naturally, harks back to a day spent in the city during the band’s 2018 US tour. The album was recorded by the band when they were forced to curtail their touring activities.

‘Last Day In L.A.’ is available now on Spotify and all the usual digital platforms.

Forever On The Road is set for release on 25 September on their own Banana Castle label.

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MOAT AHEAD!

Former ALL ABOUT EVE and THE CHURCH guitarist Marty Willson-Piper returns with a new release by one of his many current projects.

MOAT sees him teaming up with Swedish-German musician Niko Röhlcke from the band WEEPING WILLOWS.

The Scott Walker-ish ‘Gone By Noon’ is a taster for the second MOAT album Poison Stream which follows on from 2013’s eponymous debut and is due for release in early 2021 through Schoolkids Records.

 

‘Gone By Noon’ is available now from Spotify and all the usual platforms.

Read Marty’s blog every day at martywillson-piper.com.

MOAT on Facebook

Pic by Olivia Willson-Piper

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WOMB TO MANOEUVRE!

Anarcho-punk legends HAGAR THE WOMB are just one of a raft of bands added to the bill of next year’s Loud Women Fest.

Now on it’s fifth instalment, the festival was postponed this year because of Covid 19, but is set to return on 20 March 2021 at the 229 venue on Great Portland Street, where more than 20 female and female-fronted acts will be appearing across two stages.

Alongside Hagar The Womb and previously announced headliners BANG BANG ROMEO, acts so far scheduled to appear include ARXX, GENN, PINK LEMONADE, I DORIS, BREAKUP HAIRCUT, BUGEYE, HONEY JOY, JELLY CLEAVER, LILITH AI, THE EMPTY PAGE and MIRI. More to be announced…

Tickets are on sale here.

Check out the trailer…

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SPECIALS ANNOUNCE 2021 DATES!

THE SPECIALS have announced a major UK tour for next Summer.

The Coventry ska legends resumed active service in 2008 and, still featuring founder members Terry Hall, Lynval Golding and Horace Panter, released the widely acclaimed new album Encore, their first new studio album in 38 years, in 2019.

The dates, which have been lined-up for late August and September and see them visiting most parts of the UK, will culminate in two shows at London’s iconic Roundhouse venue. Full dates are…

31 August – Swindon Oasis Centre
02 September – Plymouth Pavilions
03 September – Bournemouth Windsor Hall
04 September – Brighton Centre
06 September – Glasgow Barrowland
07 September – Edinburgh Usher Hall
09 September – Manchester O2 Victoria Warehouse
10 September – Cardiff Motorpoint Arena
11 September – Coventry Ricoh Arena
13 September – Hull Bonus Arena
14 September – Blackpool Empress Ballroom
16 September – Birmingham O2 Academy
17 September – Nottingham Motorpoint Arena
18 September – Doncaster The Dome
23 September – London Roundhouse
24 September – London Roundhouse

Tickets go on sale at 10.00am on Friday 11 September.

Check Vive Le Rock‘s ticketmaster shop for tickets.

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MONSTER MOVIE!

Captain Sensible and Paul Gray’s side project THE SENSIBLE GRAY CELLS return heralding a brand new album with a single and video.

‘I Married A Monster’ is taken from Get Back Into The World, the DAMNED pair’s second album for the project since the acclaimed A Postcard From Britain in 2013.

“We love all those old Ealing comedies, Carry On films and 1950’s hammy-horror movies like The Blob and I Married A Monster From Outer Space,” explains Paul about the song. “This is our musical tongue-in-cheek spoof homage to them….after all, you never can quite be sure…can you??”

With the world locked down through Covid, and touring effectively cancelled, Sensible and Gray, finding themselves with time on their hands, convened with JOHNNY MOPED drummer Marty Love to record an album of songs exploring and demonstrating their collective affection for 60s psych-pop.

“PG and myself being garage-psych aficionados feel there should be more of this kind of music and this is our contribution to the cause,” explains the Captain. “If I said that some of these songs were ‘Damned rejects’ that shouldn’t be seen as an indication of inferior song writing, more that they’re not wearing the right shirt.

“I’ve never been a prolific writer being a lazy so and so, I think it’s best to wait for inspiration to call, which explains the seven-year gap (how many albums could the Beatles have crammed in that period!) but in the meantime Paul re-joined the Damned and we’ve gigged about a bit, which is always fun – CAN WE HAVE LIVE MUSIC BACK AGAIN PLEASE!”

Speaking about the album, the Captina continues, “It’s sad that high streets around the world have been destroyed by online shopping but nobody’s forcing people to do it – what can you do? These are very strange times we’re living though – I just count myself lucky to have been around to witness the second half of the 20th Century; a fab time for music, culture, ideas and that without even mentioning Benny Hill and On The Buses. The new album coincides with all this virus malarkey, which, unpleasant as it is, will undoubtedly be used by the powers that be to tighten the screws on us little people on behalf of their billionaire paymasters. Blah blah, etc. There’s a bit of that hidden away in the album.”

Set for release on 27 November through Damaged Goods in various formats and limited edition colour options, Get Back Into The World is available to pre-order here.

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Pic by Alison Wonderland

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SLUM DWELLERS

Rejuvenated post-punks FOLK DEVILS have unveiled another video from their new comeback EP.

‘My Slum Soul’ is taken from the Forever EP, which features the band’s first new music in more than three decades. Along with this and the brand new, previously revealed, title track, the release also features a new recording of the live favourite ‘Ink Runs Dry’.

The poignant video is the work of the band’s new singer Dave Hodgson, who joined in place of the late Ian Lowery when the band reconvened in 2016.

Forming out of the Notting Hill punk scene in 1983, Folk Devils quickly caught the attention of the inkies and John Peel, who awarded them three of his legendary sessions. They also found kindred spirits on support dates with the likes of The Fall, The Gun Club, Screaming Blue Messiahs and Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds.

Recorded at London’s iconic Konk Studios with Grammy-winning producer Rik Simpson, the Forever EP is set for release on 18 September through Optic Nerve Recordings. Available on limited edition translucent red 10″ vinyl, CD and download, it’s available to pre-order here.

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