THE TWELVE-LEGGED GROVE MACHINE!

HAWKWIND: DAYS OF THE UNDERGROUND
Joe Banks
(Strange Attractor)
9/10

Emerging out of the late-60s Ladbroke Grove squat scene, Hawkwind’s story has always seemed to be one of sheer luck more than design, from being in the right place at the right time, cloistered in a space-rock cocoon of bleeps, whooshing sounds, squawking sax and garage-rock guitars while the zeitgeist – both cultural and political – spirals chaotically around them.

The band’s now fifty-year trip has been told before, through other excellent and insightful biographies, but Joe Banks has, perhaps wisely, given the enormity of the task, restricted his book to the band’s first decade – arguably Hawkwind’s Golden Age – when a bunch of freaks soared to the top of the charts, going on to take on the punks at their own game.

Daunting at first, unlike most biographies Days Of the Underground is comprised of different types of chapter – the standard chronology of events; in-depth album-by-album appraisals; searching interviews with key players; and, perhaps most importantly, essays in which Banks adroitly gets to the nub of the musical, philosophical and historical context surrounding the band, their coterie and their environment, throwing early-70s West London in particular and the post-hippie comedown in general into vivid relief.
Gerry Ranson

Days Of The Underground is available here.

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MAXI KUEPPER!

Former SAINTS guitarist ED KUEPPER has no fewer than three new retrospective releases due this Spring.

The albums span three key career stepping-stones: his immediate post-Saints band THE LAUGHING CLOWNS; his 80s/90s solo years and much more recently, THE AINTS!

Kicking off with the timeless ‘Also Sprach The King Of Euro-disco’, Singles ’86 – ’96 compiles twenty singles from the artists extraordinarily prolific, and internationally successful, solo career. Available on a double-album in red, yellow, green and black vinyl, the release will also be available as a double-CD, the second disc featuring assorted B-sides, EP tracks and fan favourites.

Golden Days: When Giants Walked The Earth is a ten-song entry-level anthology of The Laughing Clowns, covering the band’s lifespan of ’79 to ’84 and including such classics as ‘Eternally Yours’, ‘Holy Joe’ and ‘Mr Uddich Smuddich Goes to Town’. It will be available on clear vinyl.

In 2018, Kuepper put together The Aints!, featuring Sunnyboys’ Peter Oxley, Celibate Rifles’ Paul Larsen Loughead and jazz musicians Alister Spence and Eamon Dilworth to record songs he’d written during the 70s, presenting them as the widely acclaimed album The Church of Simultaneous Existence. Live At Marrickville Bowlo finds the band performing the tracks live in Sydney on 27 April 2018, two days before they entered the studio to record the album. The 12-track LP will be available on clear vinyl.

All three albums will be available here and from stores from 28 May.

Ed Kuepper on Facebook

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PLAGUE UK VIDEO PREMIERE!

South London punks PLAGUE UK have a new video which they’re premiering exclusively with Vive Le Rock!

The band were formed by guitarist/vocalist Marc Jefferies of original ’76 punks (and John Peel favourites) The Plague, who played the legendary Roxy numerous times back in the day.

A band with an impressive London punk pedigree, Plague UK find Jefferies joined by ex-Armitage Shanks singer/guitarist Simon Godfrey, drummer Lee Morrell (Chelsea, Lucifer Star Machine) and bassist Martin Taylor.

Brimming with classic New Wave tunefulness, backed by a Class of ’77 punk punch, ‘See It Now’ is an anthem to the solitary suburban living and sense of lockdown isolation that many of us will be all too familiar with, ‘See It Now’ is taken from the band’s new album Nothing For Nothing.

Released through Chrome Model Records, Nothing For Nothing is available from the band’s website and the Plastic Head store in the UK and Sound Pollution in Europe.

Plague UK on Facebook

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DOIN’ IT FOR THE KIDS!

Fresh-faced Aussie punks THE KIDS have just dropped a video for their latest single.

Not to be confused with the Belgian punk vets of ‘This Is Rock’n’Roll’ fame, these Kids are a bunch of skateboard-loving 18-year-old hardcore yobs from Sydney, who claim they’re “making music with the sole intent to piss you off”.

‘Go Back To Canberra’ is their spiky middle-fingered anti-anthem to Australia’s capital city and seat of government.

You can stream/download ‘Go Back To Canberra’ here.

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HEALTHY JUNKIES VIDEO EXCLUSIVE!

London punks HEALTHY JUNKIES are back with another video which they’re premiering exclusively with Vive Le Rock!

Unable to gig for a year, the band have been writing new material and making videos “to keep us sane.”

‘Streets Of Olympia’, taken from the band’s Forever On The Road album, is inspired by their 2018 US tour, which took them to the city of Olympia in Washington State for a couple of shows.

“There was a large contingent of homeless teenagers/twenty-somethings in there,” says guitarist Phil Honey-Jones. “They lived in tents on a designated car park. They were so welcoming to us, and then moshed themselves into a wild frenzy during our show with one guy breaking a wrist and another girl dislocating her shoulder. It was a cool scene there back in 2018, it was like a modern day court of miracles. I often wonder what became of them. This song is for them.”

The video was directed and edited by Shogo Hino and filmed at Jumping Sofa Studio in London.

Currently in the process of recording tracks for their next album, Healthy Junkies are in the throes of planning UK shows for the Autumn.

Forever On The Road is available here.

Healthy Junkies on Facebook

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A PAGAN PLACE

Ascendant Belfast band NEW PAGANS have just unveiled a video from their forthcoming debut album.

‘Habour’ is the third single to be taken from The Seed, The Vessel, The Roots and All, following on from the recent ‘Christian Boys’ and ‘Yellow Room’, released last summer.

“The video was shot on a freak dry day, in between weeks of snow and lashing rain, at St. Cooey’s Well,” says bassist and video director Clare Miskimmin. “Lyndsey [McDougall, vocals] had been a few times and kept it in mind as a stunning and pretty sinister location. It dates back to the 7th Century and the 70s altar actually houses the foundation stones of the old monastery. That lent itself to the basic premise of summoning a world and its inhabitants beyond ours, hidden from our view. Merging two realities.

“I love how the very last line is ‘it’s just you and me’, and how Lyndsey and her summoned doppelganger are swallowed up by the altar,” Clare continues. “Stuart Sloan, our editor, and I are massive David Lynch fans and nobody does the world beyond the veil like Lynch so we just ran with that vibe. Our very own entrance to the Black Lodge in the wilds of County Down.”

With the album set for release through Big Scary Monsters on 19 March, the band have lined up a special livestream event for the same day as a lockdown launch gig. The show will take place in Derry, where they played their first ever show, at the city’s musical hub, the Nerve Centre. Free to view, the gig is a ticketed event – sign up here.

The Seed, The Vessel, The Roots and All is available to pre-order here.

New Pagans on Facebook

Pic by Aaron Cunningham

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SENEX APPEAL!

Suffolk post-punk goths SENEX IV have just released their second album.

Released in partnership with Bat-Cave Productions, Gods & Taboos follows on from their acclaimed 2019 debut Dolls House.

Gods & Taboos was written and recorded between lockdowns at Crooks Hall, West Suffolk, incidentally also a location for the recording of ALIEN SEX FIEND’s recent Possessed album.

Despite the band being formed relatively recently, the band members have a long history on the Suffolk/Cambridge post-punk scene: frontman Dave Middle and guitarist Rob Shaul both served time in Haverhill punk legends 13TH CHIME, and individually spent much of the 80s with the likes of FINAL SCREAM, VANISHING POINT, THE WYNDUPS and THE ANTIX. The band’s line-up is completed by Mark Tingey and Anthony Hitchcock.

Gods & Taboos is available to buy as a download or CD here, with the vinyl edition available to pre order for May delivery.

Check out the band filmed live at Blue Shed Studio last autumn…

Senex IV on Facebook

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ED SYKES VIDEO PREMIERE!

Rising star in the psych-rock firmament ED SYKES and his band THE SONIC OSCILLATORS blast back with a new video which they’re premiering today exclusively with Vive Le Rock!

The fantastically trippy ‘My Little Black Cloud’ is the band’s second taster for their debut album Sky Seed, following on from last summer’s ‘I’m Forever Losing You’.

Likened to “a big dramatic painting like Rembrandt’s Belshazzar’s Feast with all its drama and darkness”, the track was recorded on a vintage 3M tape machine at Rebellion Studios in Marks Tey, Essex and produced by the band’s guitarist Nathan Wacey.

The suitably lysergic video starring Gemma Bailey was directed by Sykes himself.

‘My Little Black Cloud’ will be available to stream/download everywhere from 12 March through Co6 Records.

Ed Sykes on Facebook

Pic by Maryann Morris

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SHOW ME THE DOE!

IRIS DOE, a new project from Jeffrey Cain of alt-rockers THE CHURCH, have just issued their debut single.

Cain has been a touring member of the Aussie hitmakers for a number of years, contributing guitar, bass and keyboards, but was promoted to full-time status when band founder reconfigured the line-up following the departure of Peter Koppes in 2019.

Beginning work on a new Church album in Australia at the start of 2020, Cain returned to the States for the duration of the pandemic, where he began working with ex-Jane’s Addiction bassist Eric Avery, keyboardist Jebin Bruni (PiL) and drummer Leslie Van Trease.

A full album is in the works but the first fruit of the sessions is the single ‘The Times’, a slice of darkly elegant pop walking a velvet tightrope between neo-goth and modern psych. The b-side is a version of much-loved Oregon psych punks Dead Moon’s ‘A Miss Of You’, recorded on the night in 2017 that the band’s guitarist/vocalist Fred Cole passed away.

“Dead Moon’s music changed me from the very first listen,” says Cain. “I was caught completely off-guard by Fred’s death and I really just wanted to be alone and sing his songs that night. I had my guitar, a slide and an ebow in the room and that dictated the song’s simplicity. Out of respect for Dead Moon and the band’s devout fans, I didn’t want to release it without the approval of his wife and bandmate, Toody. I was shocked when I received an email from her saying how much she loved hearing Fred’s words again. She thought the song was beautiful and I had her complete blessing.”

 

‘The Times’ is available to stream/download here.

Iris Doe on Facebook

Pic by Maxine Thompson

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BOSSTONES BOUNCE BACK!

THE MIGHTY MIGHTY BOSSTONES have announced the release of a new album for the Spring.

The Boston ska-punk behemoth’s eleventh studio album, When God Was Great follows on from 2018’s While We’re At It and marks their debut for Hellcat Records. Produced by longtime producer Ted Hutt and Rancid frontman Tim Armstrong, the 15 tracks on the album reflect on the peculiar times the band, and the world in general, have found themselves in.

“We were lightly writing songs before the insanity without any sort of timeline in mind,” explains frontman Dicky Barrett. “All of a sudden, the world changed and benchmark events in a very long career that we were looking forward to, such as playing with the Madness at the Greek Theatre, were taken away from us. With all of this time on our hands, we started writing at a quickened pace and we were really inspired. As grim as everything around us was in the outside world, this was the most fun we ever had making a record.”

The band are trailing the album release with the song ‘I Don’t Believe In Anything’…

When God Was Great is set for release on 7 May. It’s available to pre-order here.

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones on Facebook

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VISION THING!

NYC post-punk experimentalists LIVE SKULL have just dropped a video from their latest album.

‘In A Perfect World’ is taken from the album Dangerous Visions, which was released in December through Bronson Recordings.

Says guitarist/singer Mark C, who made the video, “I shot the opening footage on lower Broadway in Manhattan, where I live and remained during lockdown. The occasion was several nights of vibrant Black Lives Matter demonstrations, which were marred by hooded counter demonstrators who smashed storefront windows and committed other acts of vandalism. The twin pandemics, the spread of Covid 19 and the growing empowerment of violent far right groups, provided the backdrop for our writing ‘In A Perfect World’. The siren at the start of the song was recorded from my fire escape. Reflecting the isolation experienced under lockdown, the video is limited to the four band members and their partners. As a contrast to the heaviness of the times, we opted for some simple role playing, while poking fun at themes of identity, fear, and our own mortality; and noting that our time spent alone/together has altered us in ways we might not be aware of.”

Contemporaries of the likes of Swans and Sonic Youth, Live Skull formed in Manhattan in the early 80s out of the tail-end of the No Wave scene. The band released four albums for the Homestead and What Goes On labels before splitting in 1990. Mark C and drummer Richard Hutchins returned in 2016 and with new members Kent Heine (bass) and Dave Hollinghurst (guitar) released the acclaimed Saturday Night Massacre for Bronson in 2019.

Dangerous Visions comprises as side of recent recordings joined by four previously unreleased tracks from a 1989 Peel Session. It’s available to buy here.

Live Skull on Facebook

Pic by Michael Jung

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RISING SONS!

Vive Le Rock! have been fans of SONS OF SOUTHERN ULSTER for a while now, their latest album Sinners & Lost Souls making our Albums of the Year. We caught up with the boys from County Cavan to get the lowdown…

So the Sons of Southern Ulster have been around for a while. How did you all get together?

Justin: We spent our formative years in the same small town in Cavan. At that time, Cavan would have been a bit of a backwater and while it is part of the province that is Ulster – it was on the southern side of the border – hence the name. At the time it didn’t seem like there was much to do but in retrospect there was loads of mischief to be made. As kids we’d roam around the town until all hours, smoking cigarettes and sneaking in pints at some of the less salubrious establishments. There were 32 pubs in a town of 2,000 people so there was a lot of competition. Seeing a gang of fifteen year olds knocking back pints at the counter was not unusual in a few of them. Remember this was at the height of what was referred to as the troubles and we watched with a certain detachment what was going on up the road. All a bit surreal in retrospect. As David says, it was the music that got us together. Before that we’d have been somewhat indifferent towards each other but a shared love of the Jam changed all that. I remember sitting on a wall outside the Northern Bank with a cassette radio one day playing the Gift (maybe it was Sound Affects) – when David walked by. I think he was put out because I had the album first. We sort of compared notes, as teenage boys do. That would’ve been the start of it.

David: Like many bands we found each other through music, in our case a shared interest in punk music and the inevitable desire that follows to do it yourself. Given that we grew up in rural Ulster it was a real challenge to access alternative music so you really had to lean on mates to find stuff. Don’t forget that albums were a substantial investment back then, so you had to pass them around a lot more! It’s funny how band mates have a special status in your life, there’s a bond that endures, playing live is like going into battle together while the dedication it takes to create decent music requires huge affinity.

What sort of bands were you watching growing up?

David: Predictably we were immersed with all the punk and post punk stuff but in Ireland we also had our own bands like Horslips, Mamas Boys and the Blades who had legendary status here but not so well known in England. Obviously the Rats, Undertones and SLF were really important as they demonstrated how the punk thing could be converted to an Irish setting. Derry, Belfast and Dublin were a million miles from Malcolm McLaren’s sex shop in London but the attitude was the same. Later, bands like Paranoid Visions and Nun Attax kept the punk thing going and then the Virgin Prunes really kicked alternative music in Ireland on to another plane of artistic mayhem.

Justin: Living in a small town in the middle of nowhere meant that “cool” bands playing locally was never an option. Mostly showbands would play in local hotels and occasionally Horslips. Anyone who grew up in rural Ireland back then would have a deep seated love for Horslips because they played in parish halls all over the country. We wrote a song about a Horslips gig in the Farmers Hall in Virginia years later. A big fight ensued and it was obvious Horslips were used to that bullshit. There was a melee on the dancefloor and they just kept on playing. As it got close to the stage they weren’t afraid of throwing in a boot or a fist. We lapped it up. We’d watch Top Of The Pops and buy all the music magazines so here we were in our little town as self-appointed experts on everyone: Adam and the Ants, the Exploited, Dumpy’s Rusty Nuts!! We’d never hear half the records but we’d be well versed on the reviews in NME and opinionated as if we’d heard every note.

There was a big scene in Northern Ireland then with the Outcasts and Rudi. They always seemed more sophisticated because they’d have “youth” programs on Ulster Television. I think the Moondogs even had their own show!! We’d hear Dublin bands on the Dave Fanning radio show like the Blades and the fucking best of all – the Virgin Prunes.

I remember seeing the Undertones on the Old Grey Whistle Test. The docs and the snorkel jacket, and the half-mast trousers. That was my wake up moment – my electric circus

The whole Irish Punk scene has had a lot of attention in recent years. How has the music scene survived? Has it been difficult?

David: It’s a great time for music in Ireland right now with the emergence of real alternative-post-punk ‘scene’. I guess that somewhere along the way people started using real instruments plugged in and turned up proper loud! It’s been flattering how the Irish media have suggested that our debut (Foundry Folk Songs) in 2016 was the start of that post-punk revival but I think there’s been a growing discontent for some time that has pushed music towards having a more abrasive feel with more biting lyrics – a welcome remedy to kids prattling on about (often inauthentic) feelings, usually about themselves! It’s absolutely brilliant that you can now turn on mainstream radio at night and hear decent bands that have something to say. It’s no coincidence that many of the main DJs are heroes of the original punk era – the likes of Mickey Bradley and Paul McLoone from the Undertones have brilliant nightime shows to casually wander into and hear great new music. That platform is crucial to the new scene.

Justin: I left Ireland 30 years ago so in many ways the Irish music scene is as relevant to me as Boston, or New York. I don’t consider myself a musician. I write words. Like many emigrants I have a love hate relationship with Ireland and I realize that my lyrics probably do not speak to the Ireland of today. There seems to be a snobbish view of music, or pop, that dictates that everything is throwaway and bubble gum. I would not subscribe to that notion. When punk first happened there was a sense that it was another fad that would be over in a year or two. Forty years later there is a realization that the Sex Pistols and the Clash and the likes were true artists. No less so than Seamus Heaney or James Joyce. There seems to be a few bands that realize that what we are doing has a value beyond what is in vogue. This shit is important.

You do everything under your own steam and have a real original sound. What’s the secret?

Justin: There comes a point in life when you no longer give a shit about what others might think and I think we hit that point when we decided to record the first album. The Sons are not about converting people into fans. If people like what we do that’s great but were not looking to “make it”. We’re in our fifties – we’ve got a clatter of kids, mortgages, all that shit. Maybe, this is about making a small statement before we die. Maybe, its about producing something of worth – and with meaning. My kids hear us on the radio and they couldn’t give a flying fuck. “Oh yeah Dad – Coool” and they leave the room halfway through. I love that (sort of). I hope someday they listen and think dad wasn’t a total arsehole. He had something to say. Maybe be inspired to tell their story.

That people like what we do is brilliant. It’s like a gift. WE did get a shit review recently – and you realize you’re not always so zen. For a few hours you’re like fuck fuck fuck but you have to deal with the fact some people don’t get it. Remind yourself the world is full of arseholes – and move on (haha)

David: One thing about the Sons is that we make no effort to follow fashion – we know what we like and how to play that. We’ve been lucky with Daragh Dukes (producer) in that he lets us keep the finished product pretty raw even if it’s a bit harsh for more sensitive ears. For us it’s all about the overall package. It’s been great to find an audience who really get what we are doing – Its funny how modern music had become so processed and sanitised that going raw in 2020 seems original! That said, having ‘Yodapunk’ Mr Kelly out front on vox helps to give us an extra edge and at the end of the day you can’t beat good lyrics!

Haven’t you been out in America?

David: We are over and back – the two albums have been recorded in Boston and Ireland. Justin has been out there for decades – i guess that’s how he has such a clear recall for the world we grew up in. Paddy (bass) is out in Australia, while Noel is on the other side of Ireland to me so we could hardly be a more inconvenient ensemble! Funny enough, that makes for very focused time together- the Sons don’t bother with intra band politics cos we just don’t have the time! For gigs COVID has wrecked our short term plans for a tour to release ‘Sinners and Lost Souls’ but in truth we usually play only half a dozen times a year and tend to go for boutique venues that allow us to muck around with the show with lots of storytelling and the like. I have never understood why a band would go to all the trouble of creating a collection of songs and then not speak to the audience between songs – it’s really not cool and actually kinda rude and elitist. No such problem with the Sons as it’s hard to keep Mr Kelly quiet once he gets off on a story. I think bands underestimate the need to have different phases to a gig in order to keep a crowds attention, even for bands that i love i sometimes find myself drifting off a bit after 20 minutes!

Justin: While I’ve lived in Boston for almost 30 years, the Sons is very much a project that speaks to Ireland and dinosaurs like me. Ireland has changed a lot since I left and in most ways for the best. That said, I see a cohort that writes off the history, and recent history, very quickly. It needs to be documented. Someone needs to speak to the powers that be that contributed to the Ireland that exists today. America is so vast. It can be a bit overwhelming to get in contact with people who may be of a similar mind. I’d love to get the likes of Henry Rollins to take a listen but where do you even start.

The album has had universal praise including some comparisons to Fontaines DC. But you were there first right? ha ha!

David: The album is certainly not easy listening – we wanted to make a historical document that will hopefully endure, but time will decide that. It’s been great to see that with all the stuff about ‘Sinners’ that our first album is being discovered by so many new fans. We are a pretty ramshackle outfit and don’t bother with management, so getting it out there is a challenge – it has been great that so many folk have been excited by the album so i guess the secret is to get it to more ears! We are happy to be patient about that as the finest wine etc…

The Fontaines are a real phenomenon and are getting the type of attention usually reserved for pop groups, but i think that they have nailed down their alternative credentials with their second album which is brave and complicated. Yes, we were ‘there’ first but the Sons are very different in lyrical content and have a much more old school punk sound. For me, the best punk music has a sense of humour – although Sinners covers a lot of dark themes – alienation, oppression, depression, alcoholism and death – there is a recurring sense of mischief in the narratives that keeps you on board (a bit like life i guess sometimes instinct alone means we stumble on in the face of overwhelming adversity). Poetry and naughty guitars, you just can’t beat that combo!

Justin: As I assume the Fontaines are in their early twenties and we are heading towards OAP status, I’m secretly loving the fact that some reviewers have painted us as some sort of spiritual godfathers. That said, I’m sure they are horrified and disgusted to be associated with such a bunch of uncool gobshites. I saw a facebook post recently where some guy was explaining what the Sons were like to a workmate. He said , and I quote – “well, they’re kinda like Fontaines, if Fontaines had been on a 24 hour bender and told you they had shagged your sister” – not sure I’d have the stamina for the 24 hour bender or the sister but would love this on my gravestone.

People like to compare everyone to something else. This album its Fontaines – last album was Whipping Boy and A House. If you are going to be compared to other Irish bands I’ll take that.

What’s next and when will we see SOSU live???

David: We are already fiddling about with ideas for our next album – i don’t think there’s much point in trying to repeat Sinners and Lost Souls so you can expect something quite different. The lyrical voice aged between ‘Foundry Folk Songs’ and ‘Sinners and Lost Souls’ and i think the voice for our next album will be still further down the journey of life….or maybe we’ll have a midlife crisis and sing about sports cars, dangerous women, waking up after 24 hour benders…that sort of thing! More seriously, now that Sinners is on vinyl we will be doing the same for Foundry Folk Songs and have an EP done with Pete Briquette of remixed version of tracks from Sinners and Lost Souls that is being pressed as we speak. Pete is originally from the same area in Southern Ulster as us so it’s a perfect collaboration. I think we can really indulge our weird side for the third album which is making for great fun in the composition process. One golden rule in the Sons is that if something is not fun or interesting then we don’t do it – life really is too short and at our stage our tolerance for fake stuff is very low!

Check out Sons Of Southern Ulster’s latest video ‘For The Birds’…

Watch the documentary Foundry Folk Songs

Sons Of Southern Ulster on Facebook

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PET NEEDS VIDEO PREMIERE!

Fast-rising Colchester punks PET NEEDS are set to release their debut album next week and they’re trailing it with a new video which they’re premiering exclusively with Vive Le Rock!

Ever since Boudicca sacked the ancient capital in AD60, Colchester people have earned a reputation for sticking it to the man, from the Peasants’ Revolt right up the Miners’ Strike and the Poll Tax riots. The town has also seriously punched above its weight band-wise with the likes of Modern English, Living In Texas, Big Bird and the immortal Bum Gravy all making their mark.

Xtra Mile signings Pet Needs are carrying on that grand tradition with a string of dynamic performances with bands such as Buzzcocks, PiL and The Undertones and a head-turning spot at Camden Rocks flagging them up as ones to watch.

Described by frontman Johnny Marriott as “the ultimate Fractured Party song”, new single ‘Toothpaste’, is the second track to be lifted from their forthcoming debut Fractured Party Music, following on from last month’s ‘Tracy Emin’s Bed’, and observes how mundane, everyday objects can unlock deepseated memories.

The song, says Marriott, “was penned on the M1 on the way home from visiting my mum in Derby. She has bought exactly the same toothpaste for years and every time I use it, standing in the bathroom next to my childhood bedroom, it throws me right back to being an anxious little lad trying to make sense of things, haha.”

Stream/download ‘Toothpaste’ here.

Pre-order Fractured Party Music here.

Pet Needs on Facebook

Pic by Jonathan Doyle

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BACKWORDS INTO THE FUTURE!

Kent punks RISKEE & THE RIDICULE are back with a brand new single and video.

Signing to Bomber Music, the band exploded onto the scene in 2019 with their gamechanging album Body Bag Your Scene. Incendiary performances at Rebellion and Boomtown festivals underlined their forward position, but then Covid came along and up-ended what should arguably have been their breakthrough year.

Fortunately, the band cut a handful of new tracks just prior to lockdown and now one of them, ‘Backwords 2’ – which follows on from ‘Backwords’ on their 2017 album Blame Culture – sees the light of day.

“‘Backwords 2’ is a song about the influence of the media on the general public, how they can be so easily swayed by spun truths and false words,” explains front man Scott Picking. “The close-minded approach to the world we live in has to be torn up. It’s less like a sequel to ‘Backwords’ and more like a progression. We’re a different band who have got better at what we do, this felt like a way to showcase that with different dynamics and new wordplay. Right now, it’s a frustrating and limiting time to be in a band: travel restrictions from the mess that is Brexit still loom, too many venues are suffering or closing down, and we miss playing live. ‘Backwords 2’ put those feelings into a direct song.”

‘Backwords 2’ is available to stream/download here.

Riskee & The Ridicule on Facebook

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THE LAUNCHERS LAUNCH NEW VIDEO!

West London ska band THE LAUNCHERS return with a new video which they’re premiering exclusively with Vive Le Rock!

Mixed by legendary producer Dave Bascombe (Depeche Mode, Manic Street Preachers), and fuelled by a mutual appreciation of ska, Trojan and Blue Beat, ‘Rainbow Children’ is set for release on 23 March, a year to the day since the first lockdown.

Say the band, “‘Rainbow Children’ presents a hopeful message of love and light in these challenging times, it must be love… A message to those struggling to take joy and hope from restriction.”

The Launchers on Facebook

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CULT FIGURES VIDEO PREMIERE!

Rejuvenated Birmingham post-punks CULT FIGURES trail the release of their new album with a new video which they’re premiering exclusively with Vive Le Rock!

‘Chicken Bones’ is the opening track from Deritend, the band’s first album of new material in 40 years. Taking its curious name from the historic industrial district just southeast of Birmingham city centre, it follows on from 2018’s The 166 Ploughs A Lonely Furrow, which featured new recordings of material written during their original late 70s existence.

Cult Figures emerged from the same fertile Birmingham punk scene that spawned The Nightingales, Spizzenergi and Swell Maps, who would become the band’s mentors, going so far as to appear on their now highly collectable 1979 debut single ‘Zip Nolan’. Sharing stages with the likes of The Fall, Felt, GBH – and at one time supported by a fledgling A Flock Of Seagulls – the band split in 1980, only to reform in 2016.

Made under lockdown, the video for ‘Chicken Bones’ was directed by the Figures’ very own twice BAFTA winning guitarist Jon Hodgson; combining grainy monochrome footage of singer Gary Jones, striding purposely through the streets of East London, with a grisly montage of Jones’s own photographs captured on the streets of Shoreditch, Soho and Tottenham Court Road.

“The lurid imagery documents the human remains and detritus of a drug and alcohol fuelled nightlife,” says Jones. “The chicken bones and ketchup splats; the dropped fries and tough guys; the pigeon feasters and the drink can beasters. Echoing the words of the song, the debris captured on camera chronicles the story of the streets that ‘look different, but… all still smell the same’.”

Set for release on 26 March through Gare Du Nord Records, Deritend is available to pre-order on CD and heavyweight vinyl here and digitally here.

Read an interview with Cult Figures in the new edition of Vive Le Rock!

Cult Figures on Facebook

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FLOGGING MOLLY ANNOUNCE PADDY’S NIGHT LIVE STREAM!

Celtic punks FLOGGING MOLLY have announced a special livestreamed gig for St Patrick’s Day.

Obviously, thanks to Covid lockdown, the band are unable to celebrate in the usual way but this year, with help from Bushmills Irish Whiskey, they’ll be streaming the event live from Whelan’s pub in Dublin on 17 March. Amazingly, this is the band’s first St Patrick’s day show on Irish soil.

Kicking off at 7pm GMT, tickets for the event are available in various bundles here. A portion of the money raised will go to the Sweet Relief Crew Fund, benefitting road crew out of work thanks to lockdown.

Formed by ex-Fastway vocalist Dave King, the band started out as house band at Molly Malone’s Irish pub in LA, going on to dominate the Celtic punk scene with more than two decades of relentless touring. The band has recently begun work on their seventh album, the follow up to 2017’s Life Is Good.

Watch a trailer….

Flogging Molly on Facebook

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MIDDLENIGHT MEN SEEK HELP!

Having just released their long-awaited debut album, THE MIDDLENIGHT MEN today unveil a video for their latest single.

‘We All Need Help Before Tomorrow’ is taken from Issue 1, which was released last week.

“It’s about being on tour with all the parties you could wish for, but describes the deeper side of those fleeting relationships that happen on the road as a sensitive single musician,” says mainman Nick Hughes. “It explores the thought that tours can be a lonely place where you crave connections and every time you meet someone and have your 24 hours romance, it always follows a daily breakup. That being said, The Middlenight Men are never ones to take themselves too seriously. Our shows and our music is all about escapism from the daily troubles people may be having. We’re here to spread joy, simple. Sure, we may touch on sensitive topics at times but this band is about laughs, stupidity, over the top ideas and caring for one another. Oh. And tequila!”

Buy Issue 1 here.

The Middlenight Men on Facebook

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