THE DUALERS

Que sera sera, whatever will be will be we; we’ve headlined Wembley.

Independent Reggae Ska masters The Dualers are gearing up for a massive 2022/3. They have a brand new album coming out in August and are embarking on a full band and stripped back tour, which comes off the back of a huge headline show at London’s Wembley Arena. Tyber Cranstoun and his brother Si originally started the band back in 1999-ish. The pair were well known for their busking exploits on the streets of Croydon, Romford, Bexley and Maidstone. Their following grew, and a band was organically formed. A couple of decades later The Dualers are now performing in the type of Arenas usually reserved for bands like Madness, The Offspring or even Rod Stewart. Simple, yes? Er, not quite. Guy Shankland caught up with lead singer and Dualers founder Tyber to chat on pavement performances, new material and the seemingly unstoppable rise of London’s finest Ska/Reggae band, ladies and gentlemen we give you, The Dualers.

Vive Le Rock. Hi Tyber, where are you?

Tyber Cranstoun. “On the way to Birmingham for a couple of gigs, not sure where we are right now. I’ve always got my head down doing bits and pieces. I look up, and it’s like, where are we? We’re playing a couple of smaller gigs as a duo. Which is more of just a PA set-up, the band ones are move involved, and you have to be on the ball.”

VLR. So we’ve got to start with The Dualers headline show at Wembley Arena.

TC. “Absolutely, a great place to start!”

VLR. Thoughts?

TC. “I’m one of these people that’s always got something going on, so I don’t stress myself out with one big thing that’s happening. I’ve just finished an album, which is the biggest thing I’ve done in my life and then in a couple of months we’re playing Wembley. Now the recording side of the album is completed, it’s time to focus on Wembley. I’ve been saying it for ages, but when you’re doing a new album, and you want to make it the biggest and the best one you’ve ever done, you put all your eggs in that basket. So in truth, I haven’t had time to stress or panic about it yet, but don’t worry, it’s coming. I’ll be bald or grey by the time we get to Wembley!”

VLR. Is this a solo or a Dualers album?

TC. “Oh, a Dualers album. We’ve kind of worked out the best formula, and the last one, Palm Trees And 80 Degrees, got to number eleven on the charts. I’m always doing everything I can to make sure we build, so every album or gig has got to be better than the last one. It’s a lot of pressure to put on yourself, but I like to keep myself and everyone else on their toes. You don’t want to put a ceiling on yourself in a creative world; you just want to see how far you can go. It’s taken about three years to write, but we’re delighted with it. We recorded the songs a few weeks ago, and this is the longest I’ve been away from them (the songs); it’s like missing your children! You’ve sent them off for the mix, and you don’t know what they’re going to come back as (laughing)!”

VLR. Is it all originals, or are there some covers in there?

TC. “All originals. I mean, we obviously started off playing the Ska, Blue Beat, Reggae and Rocksteady; you couldn’t beat the best. You don’t become a great Rocksteady or Reggae writer overnight, even though I grew up with it. To get myself noticed and recognised in all departments, I basically did loads of covers initially. I then realised that I didn’t want to be a tribute band. I love this music so much that I’ve started writing in the last ten years. It’s like going to the gym, it gets easier and easier, and you start to notice a difference. It’s been a long time coming, but all the songs on the album are originals.”

VLR. Do you have a title yet?

TC. “Yes, it’s called Voices From The Sun. Hopefully, it’ll be out in August. It’s amazing how far in advance you have to record the stuff. People ask if it’s done and can they hear it, and it’s no; there’s a process we’re not just banging out some little album. August feels like a lifetime away at the moment.”

VLR. Is it being released on a label?

TC. “It’s being released on Sunbeam Records, which is our own label. I read somewhere some said, ‘Oh, they’re one of those bands who try to do it all themselves…’ Social media is full of Chinese whispers and people who think they know stuff, who know nothing. I would have loved to have had some help along the way, but it wasn’t there, so instead of crying about it, I got on and did it. We do literally everything ourselves. We’ve got our sound guy, lighting guy, a whole crew of people, tech, etc. We are pretty much completely independent. The great thing is we’ve all become really close friends, I mean there are a few people that don’t see eye to eye but that happens in all workspaces. We’ve all got one common goal and we love the music and we love the band and the life that goes with it. This is going to sound really cliched, but it is like one big family, happy most of the time.”

VLR. The flipside is that you retain all the rights to your music and control over it.

TC. “Yes. I mean, it’s a challenging thing to do on your own because there’s a lot resting on your shoulders. Along the way, though, there are some pretty mega bonuses. We can do what we want, and there’s no-one telling us anything else.”

VLR. Let’s talk busking because there’s some great footage of you (and your brother Si) busking in shopping centres and high streets. I mean, that’s grassroots advertising, going out and saying this is us.

TC. “I made the most out of it. I made every small opportunity a big opportunity and grabbed it with both hands. Yeah, the busking thing, I was on the high street, I wasn’t begging or anything like that, but I didn’t have loads of money, and the coins in the bucket paid my rent and stuff. It became a way of life, and we got a lot of people turning up to watch us. I suddenly thought, could I turn this into a gig? I’ll book somewhere, I’ll get some flyers done. It all started from there, and it just got bigger and bigger. Suddenly it was local bars, wine to then getting a band together and playing the Fairfield Hall in Croydon and established venues. Wembley is another extension of that. It sounds ridiculous, but we play on average to fifteen hundred to two thousand capacity venues and we played Ireland at the weekend in the Academy in Dublin and Belfast. We walked in, and they are eight hundred capacity; it felt so small. A couple of years ago, I would have been, Oh my God, an eight hundred capacity venue! This is amazing; it made me stop and realise, bloody hell, things are moving fast. I was on the high streets for ten years of my life, and that will always be a part of me, but the stepping stones venue-wise that we’re achieving. Sometimes I just want to stop and have a look round and go, wow!

VLR. Last question on busking I promise, but did you used to advertise on social media?

TC. “(cutting in) It got to that stage. We’d be in Croydon one week and then the next week people would go back there. We’d turn a week later, and people would like, where were you last week? Err, we were in Bexley Heath. Buskers tend to hit the same spot every week. There was a crowd, and we got to know people. It made us feel quite special because we’re playing on the high street, it’s freezing cold and they’re freezing cold with us. We just decided to see what would happen if we put it on social media, and yeah, it was… We would turn up at half nine in the morning and there would be fifty or sixty people waiting for us and it was like, what is going on? I thought, Is this it, is this what I’m going to be, the guy who sings on high streets? But with a little bit of luck and divine intervention. The name started getting out on various social media platforms and we became the most famous non-famous band in the country, probably. Know we do gigs in Newcastle, and people come up to me and say, we saw you busking in Bexley Heath, and it’s like, oh my God…! People travel to gigs, and after Covid, although there’s a little bit of apprehension, people need live music back in their lives. The compliments are really nice, and they helped my confidence and made my head swell (laughing). If you busk for any amount of time you become a busker and these we’re playing now I approach like a busker. If I had my way there’d be a bucket at every single gig! I’m still in a little bit of shock with what’s going on. I’ve got a thirteen-year-old daughter so she keeps me busy and my feet on the ground.”

VLR. You have an evident deep love and understanding of Jamaican Bluebeat, Ska, Reggae and Rocksteady, so which artist first made you fall in love with the genres?

TC. “Well, my Dad had a sound system in the sixties and seventies, which is where he met my Mum. The moment my umbilical cord was cut, I heard it. The one artist who jumps out is Alton Ellis, who’s my family’s favourite. There wasn’t really one Ska (pausing); if you bought a Ska album, it wouldn’t be one artist; it would be a mixture of artists. When it went to Rocksteady, then you had artists releasing their own records: Ken Boothe, Alton Ellis and the like. They became singers in the fact you could understand what they were saying, whereas Ska music back then was a little bit twee lyrically. My Mum and Dad would go, ‘Oh, this is a lovely song, why don’t you cover this one?’ And it’s like, ‘Dad do you know what he’s singing about?’ (laughing) We used to cover a song called ‘Don’t Stay Out Late’ which has the lyric “little girl you’ve got me in a rage” but it sounds a little bit paedo, you know. So Jimmy Cliff, Alton, Bob Andy and, of course, Bob Marley. What I love about the genres is there’s not just one artist; there are just songs. So if you ask me who my favourite artist is, it’s Bob Marley because he’s just such a legend. There’s Bob Marley and about ten people at number two!”

VLR. What did you and I’m interested in what your Dad thought of the 2-Tone movement?

TC. “He’s not a fan because my Dad came from an era of courting women, deep singing and the love of the rock’n’roll that came from that sound. The thing with 2-Tone is it brought in a bit of punk and a political stance. The one thing my Dad wasn’t overly keen on with Bob Marley is that he took a political stance, which is what he needed to do; it was part of his religion. For my Dad, music was something to be played beautifully, get you high, get you emotional but not to starting fights and standing up. The 2-Tone thing for him was a little bit on the harsh side. For me, I mean, how can you not like it. I know most of the guys, and I’ve worked with a couple of the Madness guys and Terry Hall, so how can you not like it? I’ve heard newer 2-Tone bands that I don’t like, same with a couple of Reggae bands. If I hear a bad 2-Tone band, I have to walk out; it’s got to be played right. People think it’s an easy sound; mmm, it’s not that simple. Music is music to me as long as it’s got a good melody and played well.”

The Dualers new album Voices From The Sun will be released on 12 August via Sunbeam Records.

For a full list of tour dates, album pre-order details and merchandise head over to thedualers.com

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CRAMPS TRIBUTE RETURN

Following on from last year’s successful debut tour, US Cramps tribute band, TEENAGE WEREWOLVES are heading back for dates next month.

Catch them at…

9 June – 100 Club, London (w/Pussycat & The Dirty Johnsons)
10 June – The Cluny, Newcastle
11 June – Warehouse, Leeds
12 June – Hairy Dog, Derby (w/Pussycat & The Dirty Johnsons, The Shakin’ Nightmares)

Tickets on sale here.

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ENTOMBED RETURNS

ENTOMBED FESTIVAL is returning to Hastings next year, following the success of this year’s event.

The festival is due to take place on Friday 3rd and Saturday 4th March 2023 and will again take place at The Crypt, Hastings. The even is curated by local Hastings promotors Toxic Wotsit, Infected Umbrella and Fat Wizard Promotions and focuses on all things heavy.

Heading up the line up are PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS (pictured), who were set to play the 2022 event but had to pull out – but happily they are able to return in 2023. Joining them will be TUSKAR, INHUMAN NATURE, TRIPPY WICKED, HELPLESS, BEIGE and KULK, with many more bands to be announced.

Along with stellar bands, there will be after parties and themed cocktails with many more details to come. To keep up to date with all announcements, you can follow the festival pages on Instagram and Facebook, or sign up to Toxic Wotsit’s mailing list at www.toxicwotsit.co.uk.

Tickets are on sale now and are available here.

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KEEP US ON THE RODENT

New Jersey punk supergroup BEACH RATS have unveiled another new track.

‘Heavy Conversation’ is the second track to be revealed from the band’s debut album Rat Beat, out in July.

Coming together in the seaside town of Asbury Park, Beach Rats comprise vocalist Ari Katz (Lifetime), guitarists Pete Steinkopf (Bouncing Souls) and Brian Baker (Bad Religion, Minor Threat), bassist Bryan Kienlen (Bouncing Souls,) and drummer Danny Windas.

“It’s loose, it’s imperfect, don’t overthink it,” reasons Baker. “It’s the experience of doing it. The time travel, that’s what it’s about.”

Out on 29 July through Epitaph, you can pre-order Rat Beat here.

Beach Rats on Facebook

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PERSPIRATION FOR THE NATION!

Nauseatingly named UK via Sweden synth-punks THE MEAT SWEATERS have unveiled a first video from their debut EP.

The deeply Devo-influenced ‘I Got The Shakes’ is taken from the four-track Paranoid And Sweaty EP which is due out on 22 July though Hype Music, an imprint of Extreme Music.

“You know you’re making a bad decision by yourself, but do you continue even if you know you’re making the wrong decision at the time?” says the band’s Wahoo Samuels. “Everyone feels sick.”

Paranoid And Sweaty is available to stream/download here.

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GHOST TO COAST

Whitby’s Vive Le Rock-sponsored Tomorrow’s Ghosts festival have announced the first acts for their Spring Gathering event next year.

Partnering with the Sophie Lancaster Foundation, the event will take place at Whitby Pavilion over Friday 29 and Saturday 30 April 2023.

Heading up the Friday night are darkwave visionaries COLD CAVE, with NEW MODEL ARMY topping the bill on the Satruday. Also appearing throughout the weekend are THE ROSE OF AVALANCHE, SIBERIA, LEBANON HANOVER, IST IST and THE NOSFERATU, with another special guest expected to be added in the coming weeks.

After the live entertainment’s finished, merriment – or gloom, depending on how you look at it – will carry on into the early hours with clubs Carpe Noctum and Planet X.

Pre-sale tickets are available now with general sale starting this Friday 27 May here.

Final tickets are also available for Tomorrow’s Ghosts’ Hallowe’en edition this October, featuring FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM, THE LOVELESS, GHOST DANCE, INTO A CIRCLE, BALAAM AND THE ANGEL and more…

Pic Tina Korhonen

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RICH JONES – EXTRA!

We spoke to RICH JONES for the latest edition of Vive Le Rock! As a special bonus for his fans, we’re giving you this extra-special online-only content….

Guitarist, songwriter and graphic designer Rich Jones has been responsible for some of the grittiest punk/glam rock to emerge over the past couple of decades. He’s also played alongside some of the icons of the genre such as Michael Monroe, Casey Chaos, Ginger Wildheart, and Paul Cook. This year sees the release of new albums by Michael Monroe and The Black Halos, two projects Rich has been heavily involved in. Phil Singleton spoke to one of rock ‘n’ roll’s unsung heroes.
Having lived in Vancouver, LA, London and Berlin, Rich has settled in Toronto, the city of his youth. His maverick geographical journey began at an early age. “I was born in Coventry and we moved out here when I was about eight years old, just outside Toronto,” recalls Rich. “So it was easy to move back here.”

Who were your early musical influences? “There was always a lot of music going on in our house, which was great,” says Rich. “When we first moved to Canada, my parents took me to my first concert, which was Queen. It was one of those things when you’re a kid, your head explodes. I still remember it really well, it was like ‘that’s what I want to do’. Brian May playing the Bohemian Rhapsody guitar solo, that’s a job for somebody! The radio was always on, and you know what it’s like when you’re young, you just want to check out everything. The first record I ever bought was ‘Kings of the Wild Frontier’ by Adam and the Ants. My house was Queen, Supertramp, The Beatles, Elton John, everything. I got Never Mind the Bollocks when I was about 14 and I thought ‘my god!’ You just start digging. For me a lot of it was about the New York punk scene.”

Was information easy to come by pre-internet? “There was this great set of CDs that came out in the early 90s called DIY, Rhino put them out,” Rich remembers enthusiastically. “There was one on the English Scene, one on the New York scene, and they had these amazing liner notes that told you everything about the bands. That started me down that path. Over the years I felt that has always been the base, but you have to listen to more stuff and you have to find other bands. I’ve always tried to remember how exciting it was when I was younger to discover a new band or a new sound. I still want that thrill, and I still look, and I still get it.”

Your life as a musician appears to have taken off when you left Toronto. “In the early 90s I moved to Vancouver and I started The Black Halos out there.”

The 1999 self-titled debut and 2001 follow-up, ‘The Violent Years’, are fabulous down and dirty,hard rocking, glam punk albums. This was followed by a long hiatus with a new album ‘How the Darkness Doubled’ due this year. After we made our second record 20 years ago, I had already decided the third record was going to be called this. Then we broke up, so now we’re back together that’s got to be the album title! It’s a spiritual follow up.”

You were in Amen for three years from 2001, I suspect it could get pretty wild? “I lived in LA for a few years and that was also completely not for me!” grins Rich in agreement. “Amen all blew up in dramatic fashion in London when we released an album and did an in-store appearance at the Virgin Megastore in Oxford Street and it turned into a fist fight with the band during our signing session! [‘Death Before Musick’ LP]. So I ended up leaving the band during that tour, and just stayed in England, ‘I guess I live here now!’”

London would see Rich form bonds that remain strong to this day. “I lived there for the next 10 or 11 years and played with a load of people during that time,” says Rich. “I played with Tyla from The Dogs D’Amour, I was in The Yo-Yo’s, I played with Alec Empire from Atari Teenage Riot. Then I joined Ginger Wildheart’s band for a few years.”

What about the Bassknives? “That came about because The Yo-Yo’s did a UK tour with 3 Colours Red,” remembers Rich. “Pete Vuckovic and I really hit it off talking about Killing Joke records. When 3 Colours Red ended and The Yo-Yo’s were gone, Pete started Bassknives with Paul Grant from 3 Colours Red. He realised when they were going to play live they needed another guitar player, so he called me up. They did the first EP [‘Come on You Motherfuckers’] without me, then we started working on stuff and made a record that never came out. It was a weird time because the stuff was great. Pete was a really talented singer songwriter but he had some kind of mental block about finishing this record. The mix was never right, he was at home trying to do it himself. He spent years mixing the record so it just fizzled out eventually. It’s a shame, whatever Pete’s reasons were, it was his baby and so if it wasn’t right for him, it wasn’t going to get done unfortunately. I thought it was really good, it had a lot of potential.”

Rich and Scott Sorry got together for a relatively short lived venture, Sorry and the Sinatras. “Scott Sorry and me are still great friends to this day, he’s one of my favourite people in the world. It’s worth saying that if we kept up with Sorry and the Sinatras we probably both would’ve died.”

In the meantime he relocated once more. “At that point I was still living in London, but it was so expensive to live there and everything was getting shut down, like the 12 Bar. I worked in a studio right behind the 12 Bar. The Astoria got knocked down, one thing after another, it was like dominoes falling. I was paying all this money to live in the city yet everything I loved was disappearing. I had a friend in Berlin and he said ‘hey do you want to rent my flat, it’s 300 euros a month’. I said I’ll be there in two weeks! I just loaded all my shit into a van and went to Berlin. My wife did her master’s degree in Berlin and she had to find work and she didn’t speak German so we ended up back in Canada. I’m glad we made the move, it feels great to be here. I don’t plan on going anywhere else for a while now!”

He also joined Ginger Wildheart’s band. Ginger recommended Rich to Michael Monroe, and he’s been a permanent fixture in Michael’s band since 2013. Rich’s major project currently is the forthcoming record he’s been making with Michael. When I say making, I mean, writing, producing, designing, as well as playing guitar. This sounds far removed from The Black Halos. “It’s nice to be in something like The Black Halos compared to when I’m making a record with Michael, when there’s a lot of pressure, the record has to be good, we have to make sure the record company picks up the option.”

You are the main songwriter for all the bands you’ve been involved in, including Michael’s. I take it you enjoy that level of responsibility?. “I don’t think I enjoy the responsibility, but I like the process,” Rich clarifies thoughtfully. “For instance, when the pandemic started we were in the middle of a tour with Michael, which we cut short. I was going to be home for a while and thought I would make the most of this time and originally decided to write a song every day for a month, which I did. How many of those were good, I don’t know! It kind of got me going and as the pandemic went on I thought I should use this time to be creative, not just sit around watching movies and getting fat. By the time we were ready to do things, I had 30 songs for the Michael Monroe record and I had 20 for The Black Halos record. So I was like ‘let’s go, we’ve got all this stuff to work from’. The responsibility is the part I hate about it, it puts the pressure of success on your shoulders. Let’s say I write 10 of the 12 songs on the Michael Monroe record, and it bombs, then it’s my fault. That’s the part I have a hard time with. I had a bit of a meltdown before the last Michael Monroe record came out [‘One Man Gang’], because I’d written the vast majority of the stuff for the first time. What if it’s not good enough? What if people hate it? And I kind of lost it for a little bit.”

Needless to say, the album got rave reviews. “The record came out and it was well received, fortunately,” says Rich with a sigh of relief. “But then the whole thing fell apart with the pandemic. The pandemic changed my attitude about certain things. I’ve always been the guy that said let’s go on tour, let’s get in the van. Normally I’m away all summer, now having all this time on my own with my wife and family, I’m trying to prioritise and find a better balance.”

Is being in Michael’s band one of the ultimate achievements to-date for you as a musician? “I guess, I don’t tend to look at things like that. Obviously I feel real happy to do it, and feel fortunate to be in that position to play with those guys. Those guys are all a much higher calibre of musician than I am but I fit in well, I kind of fulfil a role in the band that works. The first time I got in a room with those guys in a rehearsal space in Helsinki, it was mind blowing. But then after a while those guys became my friends and band mates and now they’re just guys that I sit around with, get drunk on the bus with and tell jokes, talk shit. I just think there’s something really special, that combination of those guys in the band, we can give any band a run for their money live. That’s a great feeling for sure. That’s the goal, to be in that kind of band where you feel super confident about everyone and everything. I love all those dudes like brothers, like some of my best friends in the world. That’s pretty rare in a band, there’s usually one guy, the fart in an elevator guy, who comes on the bus and you think ‘oh god, here he is!’”

I challenge Rich’s belief that he’s not of the same calibre as the others, after all he wrote almost all of the new album. “That’s what I mean, in a sense I kind of fit in, in my own way,” says a modest Rich. “I’m a solid self-taught guy who can hold his own. They can play anything. It definitely gave me a kick in the ass to get better as a musician.”

Where do you get all these lyrics from, what inspires them? You’re very prolific. “It’s life experience,” says Rich. “Especially when you’re touring and travelling as much as I am. I get a lot of stories. I always keep a notepad on my phone, I just write down ideas and I have a huge list.”

Rich will never tell you this, but he’s one of rock’s nice guys, humble and unpretentious. He’s also the real deal, a dyed in the wool multi-faceted rock ‘n’ roll trouper, a grafter, the likes of whom underpin the rock ‘n’ roll we adore. Lend your ears to The Black Halos compilation ‘F.F.T.S.’ and Michael Monroe’s ‘I Live Too Fast To Die Young’. Authentic rock at its finest.

Phil Singleton

Read a full feature with Rich Jones in the new edition of Vive Le Rock!

Pic by Bobby Nieminen

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DOWN ON THE STREET

BOOZE & GLORY have a brand new EP out today and they’re sharing a video of one of the tracks.

‘The Streets I Call My Own’ is the final track on the four-song Raising The Roof 12″. Say the band, “The track is a sentimental journey to the places we were born and raised, the streets we all know well – or we used to know, because they don’t look the same anymore. The video has been filmed in Sosnowiec, Poland.”

Released in a choice of colours – oxblood and mustard yellow – in a gatefold sleeve, the EP is available now from Pirates Press.

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MULE VARIATIONS

London blues strategists MIRACULOUS MULE are back with a new single and video and news of a new album.

‘O Death’ is a traditional song made famous by bluegrass pioneer Ralph Stanley. Lead vocals are handled by returning singer Alex Louise Petty who featured in the band’s original line-up. The track is backed on the double-A-side single by another traditional song ‘John The Revelator’.

Both tracks feature on the band’s new album Old Bones, New Fire, which is out on 12 August through Lightning Archive. It’s the long-awaited follow-up to 2017’s acclaimed Two Tonne Testimony.

“We had a vague plan to put on some kind of special hometown show to mark the 10th anniversary of our first gig back in 2010 but the pandemic had other ideas,” explains founding guitarist and co-vocalist Michael J Sheehy. “While going through an old hard drive trying to clear space to record new music, I found some monitor mixes of a live session we recorded during sessions for what would become our first album Deep Fried and these performances kind of blew me away. I shared them with the band and we decided to record some more material in a similar vein to create an album. As soon as restrictions lifted, we got together in a room and something magical happened.”

Speaking of ‘O Death’, Petty adds, “Michael played me Vera Hall’s version of the song back at the beginning of the band, and while we can’t improve upon these old recordings, we can find our own way into the songs. Like many a great folk song, ‘O Death’ will always find its place in any era.”

The video is the work of Swiss artist Stéphanie Cousins.

Old Bones, New Fire is available to pre-order here.

The band have just announced a very special launch gig for the album on Sunday 14 August at the ornate Fitzrovia Chapel in London’s West End. Tickets are on sale here.

Miraculous Mule on Facebook

Pic by Marc Blackie

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THAT HELSINKI-ING FEELING!

Fast rising Finnish rockers ROKETS have released their first single for new label The Sign.

A punky smooch of high energy action rock, ‘Cherry Kiss’ is the first track to be revealed from the Helsinki band’s forthcoming second album Break Free which follows on from debut full-length Fast Times, released in 2020.

“After the recording of our debut album Fast Times, our bass player, second guitarist and drummer have changed,” say the band. “Nevertheless, you will still absolutely hear that signature sound of ours with an addition of razor sharp dynamics in the groove. All glory to the lovely people of The Sign Records for taking us under their sonic wings and presenting this single to the masses. The song tells a story of an irresistible seductress that will be the end of you. She’ll lure you in, take you down and make you wish you would’ve made that U-turn when you still had the chance. There’s no escaping this femme fatale!”

‘Cherry Kiss’ is available to stream/download here.

Rokets on Facebook

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DESPERATION ACROSS THE NATION!

Rejuvenated rockers DESPERATE MEASURES are back with a brand new single and video.

‘Thinking Of England’ is the band’s first new material since the release of their widely acclaimed mini-album Rinsed, released last year through Easy Action.

Once again, the track was recorded with producer Andy Brook (Status Quo, Wonk Unit, Ginger Wildheart) at his Brook Studios in Wallington, Surrey.

According to guitarist Michael Gaffney, ‘Thinking Of England’ is “about leaving a bad situation, whether it be physically or mentally, trying to find light at the end of the tunnel and staying hopeful, realising that you might be fucked now, but it’s not always going to be that way.”

The band have a full summer of shows ahead of them, kicking off with a single launch show this Friday 20 May at The Water Rats, London with support from The Duel and Seven Days And Doesn’t Die. Tickets are on sale here.

Full dates are…

May 20 – London, Water Rats
June 3 – Strummercamp Fest, Oldham
July 1 – 229 Club, London (w/UltraBomb)
July 8 – Bedford Esquires ( w/The Rose Of Avalanche)
July 9 – Manchester, Night People (w/The Rose Of Avalanche)
July 22 – Hope & Anchor, London (w/Sick On The Bus)
August 4 – Blackpool, Rebellion Festival
August 20 – Unity Festival, Corby
September 3 – Banfest Festival, Banstead

Desperate Measures on Facebook

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IT’S IN THE TREES!

Enigmatic post-punks ABRASIVE TREES have unveiled a video for a track from their new double-A-side single.

‘Moulding Heaven With Earth’ is coupled on the single with ‘Kali Sends Sunflowers’ and is out now through the SHAPTA Releases label.

Founded by guitarist/vocalist Matthew Rochford, the single is the first to feature the full band line-up of Ben Roberts (cello and bass), Jay Newton (guitars) and Jerome Hitchens (drums). The video is the work of fifth member Jess Wooller. The single was produced by Lucy Board and Matthew Board of Devon band Pale Blue Eyes.

Says Rochford, “‘Moulding Heaven With Earth’ is, in part, about how we try to line everything up perfectly in our lives – and how this never quite works. But it’s also about some deeper truths about our potential as human beings.”

The single is available to buy physically from Bandcamp and digitally here.

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SINK OR SWIM

THE PENNY BLACK REMEDY frontman and songwriter KEITH M THOMSON has unveiled the first fruit from his forthcoming third solo album.

‘Sinkhole’ diverges from TPBR’s signature folk-punk sound into a more gothic, electro-industrial territory. Backed with ‘Verena In The Mornings’, also taken from the forthcoming album, the single is available as a limited edition 7″ from Super8Singles Club.

The single is also available digitally from Spotify, iTunes, Deezer and all the usual streaming platforms.

The video for ‘Sinkhole’ was shot in Dubrovnik, Croatia is the work of Thomson’s longtime TPBR partner Marijana Hajdarhodzic – who also provides backing-vocals on the single – with editing by Gavin Carroll in London.

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SPRINGTIME IN CAMDEN!

Powerpop rocker MARC VALENTINE teams up with a Class of ’77 punk legend to pay homage to Camden Town on his new single as he launches the video exclusively with Vive Le Rock!

‘Mornington Avenue’ finds the LAST GREAT DREAMERS frontman hooking up with Matt Dangerfield, founder of THE BOYS and onetime member of seminal punk precursors THE LONDON SS alongside Mick Jones, Brian James and others.

The single is the second track to be unveiled from Valentine’s debut solo album Future Obscure, which was recorded with Professionals and Wildhearts producer Dave Draper and is set for release on 8 July through Arcane Wires.

The video, by filmmaker Darren Stockford, finds Valentine and Dangerfield revisiting Camden scenes from their past, along with band members Steve Fielding, Denley Slade and Richard Davies (of Richard Davies & The Dissidents).

“There was a certain bittersweet thrill making this video,” sighs Valentine. “Visiting old haunts in Camden and sitting outside my old flat where my band started way back in 1989. It was also also a real honour having Matt appear in the video and having the permission to use some vintage footage of The Boys. I think the video captures the sentiment of the song perfectly, thanks to the editing skills and artistic eye of the terrific auteur Darren Stockford.”

‘Mornington Avenue’ is available to stream/download here.

Future Obscure is available to pre-order here.

As previously announced, Valentine and band head out on tour in July. Full dates are…

Fri 8 July – Nag’s Head, Macclesfield (launch party)*
Fri 15 July – Tap’n’Tumbler, Nottingham*
Sat 16 July – Voodoo Daddy’s, Norwich*
Sun 17 July – Dublin Castle, London*
Tues 19 July – Trillians, Newcastle
Wed 20 July – Bannerman’s, Edinburgh^
Thur 21 July – Fulford Arms, York^
Fri 22 July – Asylum 2, Birmingham^
Sat 23 July – Star’n’Garter, Manchester^

*with Carol Hodge ^with Continental Lovers

Tickets

The Boys themselves have three UK dates lined up for next month at…

Thurs 2 June – Prince Albert, Brighton tickets
Fri 3 June – New Cross Inn, London tickets
Sat 4 June – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds tickets

Last but not least, Richard Davies and The Dissidents play a London headline show at The Hare & Hounds, Leyton on Saturday 11 June – tickets

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WASTED YOUTH PLAY CAMDEN!

Revived post-punk cult legends WASTED YOUTH play a very special headline show in London this week.

The East London band, who generated a huge following during their original brief late-70s/early-80 career, reconvened unexpectedly earlier this year, still featuring singer Ken Scott and guitarist Rocco Barker, to play a one-off date at London’s Lexington, which sold out in three hours. This was followed by another sold-out show at the same venue.

The band then joined The Psychedelic Furs on their UK dates, reprising their support role on the latter’s infamous 1981 Talk Talk Talk tour.

This Saturday 14 May, the band play The PowerHaus (formerly Dingwalls) in Camden, where they’ll be performing two sets – their classic debut album Wild And Wandering in its entirety, followed by singles and live favourites. With no further dates currently booked, the band have suggested this could be their last ever show.

“We’ve not accepted any future bookings and have actually turned some down,” say the band. “We have no future rehearsals arranged or tricks up our sleeve. We are going to review, assess and evaluate the past four months and announce our decision before July is upon us. What a trip it’s been, what a blast of a trip! Happy music for happy people indeed.”

Remaining tickets available here.

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BAD EGGS!

Enigmatic London punk-blues trio BAD FRACTALS have a new video which they’re premiering exclusively with Vive Le Rock!

‘FreeRange’ was co-produced by Killing Joke’s Youth and the video was directed by acclaimed animator Monsta.

According to the band, “The video is a hilarious trip through the horrors of factory farming to the origins of the universe itself. It also acts as much needed trauma work, stemming from [singer] Bang Crosby’s childhood phobia of hard-boiled eggs! Originally conceived as a single image of copulating chickens, it rapidly evolved into a parody of the human race itself and its desperate desire to consume life, and everything in it. However, concealed in the video is an even bigger question: is our universe a mass-produced hologram itself?”

‘FreeRange’ is available to stream/download here.

Their other releases are available on Bandcamp.

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COME IN NUMBER 23!

Confusingly-named post-punks 23 AND BEYOND THE INFINITE have announced the release of a new album.

The band’s fourth longplayer, Lumen Del Mundo follows on from Elevation To The Misery, released in 2020.

Formed in 2012 in Benevento, southern Italy, the band have built up an impressive live reputation, playing more than 300 shows across Europe’s clubs and festivals.

The album was recorded as live with producer Raffaello Pisacreta at Mood Records studio in Atripalda, before being mixed and mastered by James Aparicio (Grinderman, Mogwai, Depeche Mode), and combines post-punk grooves, surf guitars and garage-rock energy.

Set for release on 23 May through Dirty Beach and Stand Alone Complex, the album is trailed by a video for the track ‘Horsedance’…

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MIND YOUR MANORS

LA pop-punks JOYCE MANOR have unveiled a single from their forthcoming new album.

The irresistibly summery ‘Don’t Try’ is second single to be taken from 40 oz To Fresno, following on from the recently revealed Gotta Let It Go.

Formed in Torrance Ca in 2008, Joyce Manor have delivered five albums so far and last year reissued a remastered version of their eponymous debut album through Asian Man. Originally planning to take a break from music, frontman Barry Johnson felt the need to keep writing during lockdown, the result surfacing on 40 oz To Fresno. The album was produced by Rob Schnapf, who they worked with on fourth album Cody, and mixed by Tony Hoffer (Beck, Supergrass, Idlewild).

Set for release on 10 June through Epitaph, 40 oz To Fresno is available to pre-order here.

The band will be touring Europe and the UK with Pennsylvania’s Menzingers in the Autumn. Full dates are…

3-10-2022 – Dublin / Opium Rooms (IE)
4-10-2022 – Dublin / Opium Rooms (IE)
6-10-2022 – Glasgow / Barrowland Ballroom (UK)
7-10-2022 – Manchester / Manchester Academy (UK)
8-10-2022 – London – The Roundhouse (UK)
10-10-2022 – Antwerp / Kavka Zappa (BE)
11-10-2022 – Amsterdam / Melkweg (NL)
12-10-2022 – Münster / Sputnikhalle (DE)
13-10-2022 – Hamburg / Markthalle (DE)
14-10-2022 – Berlin / So36 (DE)
15-10-2022 – Linz / SBAM Fest (DE)
17-10-2022 – Solothurn / Kulturfabrik Kofmehl (CH)
19-10-2022 – Cologne / Gloria Theatre (DE)
20-10-202 – Cologne / Gloria Theatre (DE)
21-10-2022 – Wiesbaden / Schlachthof (DE)
22-10-2022 – Stuttgart / Im Wizemann (DE)
23-10-2022 – Munich / Backstage Werk (DE)

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Pic by Dan Monick

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