REBELLION 2021 CANCELLED!

As reported on social media, this year’s REBELLION festival will not now be going ahead. The organisers are assuring fans, however, that the festival will be back better than ever next year. Tickets for 2020 and 2021 will be valid for that event.

This time last year the organisers of Rebellion, the world’s largest punk festival, were forced to make the heart-breaking decision to cancel the four-day event due to the global pandemic. A year on and the dedicated Rebellion team are absolutely devastated to confirm that yet again, the hugely-anticipated event, due to take place this coming August 6th – 9th with legendary artists such as Circle Jerks, Bad Religion, The Undertones, Tom Robinson and Stiff Little Fingers, at The Winter Gardens in Blackpool, is no longer able to go ahead.

Despite the intention, desire and willingness of Rebellion, the venue, the bands and the local businesses for this year to go ahead, it has become increasingly clear that due to circumstances beyond the festival’s control, it can’t. With no clear guidelines from the government in terms of insurance, guarantees, policies on re-entry, testing and potential vaccine passports, the festival simply can’t go ahead.

Rebellion has been open and transparent throughout this pandemic and were hopeful (but cautious) about this year but required a few essential things to be confirmed for the event to go head. The feeling is that music festivals are being ‘timed out’. No one is saying they CAN’T go ahead, but nothing is in place yet that means they CAN either. That is why the last few weeks have seen many independent festivals take the tough decision to cancel.

All of this, combined with the ongoing global travel restrictions means that Rebellion would not be able to put on the event that they desire, and their audience expects. The Rebellion family is global. Around a third of the people that attend are from overseas and with no touring bands (many agents and bands from overseas have pulled their European tours and rescheduled them for 2022), it would simply not be the festival that Rebellion wanted to stage.

But there is some good news. Rebellion 2021 has been moved to 2022. Both 2020 and 2021 tickets will roll over to 2022. For those of you wanting a refund, visit the website where full details are published. All day tickets will be refunded automatically.

REBELLION 2022 is 4th – 7th August. So put that in your diary! Some surprise headliners have already been confirmed, plus many reconfirmed that were due to play this year. And don’t get rid of your hotel or B&B bookings for this year just yet as there is still hope that some kind of scaled back event this year is possible. Watch this space.

Tickets for 2022 will go on sale on Monday August 9th.

The RETURN OF REBELLION 2022 is going to be massive! The exciting news is the council have agreed for the festival to have the area of the promenade right in front of Blackpool Tower (Tower Headland, on the ‘comedy carpet’). This is an amazing space for an outdoor stage. A straight walk down from the Winter Gardens. Rebellion can double the capacity with this area and have some fantastic plans to make both sites amazing.
To better times. And a colossal Rebellion 2022!

For the full statement and further details go to www.rebellionfestivals.com/news

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FIVE GO MAD IN CORNWALL

Psych-punk veterans THE BRAINIAC 5 re-emerge from lockdown with an early years compilation featuring three new tracks.

Originally formed in Cornwall in the mid-70s, the band were contemporaries of the likes of Here & Now and Inner City Unit, moving to London to join in with the New Wave and the first rumblings of the psychedelic revival alongside The Soft Boys and The Barracudas.

Splitting in 1980 just prior to the release of their debut album World Inside, the reconvened in 2012 to actively and consistently release new material.

Another Time Another Dimension features several rare studio and live recordings from their original 1976-80 configuration, alongside new and previously unreleased material from the past few years.

The album is in part a tribute the band’s longtime friend, producer and engineer, Martin Griffin, best known as a member of Hawkwind during the late 70s and early 80s, who sadly passed away at the beginning of 2020.

“Martin and I were members of free festival favourites the Half Human Band in the early ‘70s,” says singer/guitarist Charlie Taylor. “We both moved to Cornwall at around the same time: Martin set up his recording studio in the village of Roche and I joined the Brainiacs in Penzance. Martin gave the Brainiacs free studio time which facilitated the recording of the Mushy Doubt EP, the ‘Working’ 7” and the World Inside LP. He drummed with the Brainiacs when our drummer was incapacitated and mixed the sound at many of our gigs in the West Country and London. He was the fifth member of the band, supporting us every step of the way.”

Released through Reckless Records on Friday 7 May, Another Time Another Dimension is available from Reckless Records shops in London and Chicago and through Bandcamp.

The Brainiac 5 on Facebook

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SPEAK ABOUT CONSTRUCTION!

Rejuvenated Birmingham punks CULT FIGURES have just unveiled another new video.

‘Concrete And Glass’ is taken from Deritend, the band’s first album of new music on forty years and follows on from the recent single ‘Chicken Bones’.

Darlings of the same Solihull Art School scene, that also gave the world DIY punk pioneers Swell Maps, the band resurfaced in 2016 with the album The 166 Ploughs A Lonely Furrow, which featured new recordings of old material.

Now based in London, the video for ‘Concrete And Glass’ was filmed by the band’s guitarist, and award-winning filmmaker, Jon Hodgson, and features singer Gary Jones ambling through the City’s Barbican estate.

“’Concrete And Glass’ was inspired by something my wife said while we were walking around London’s Soho,” says Jones. “The gentrification… ‘all the buildings going up, and the buildings coming down, were making her frown’ … took the narrative off into a hazy Soho nostalgia trip from the halcyon days of carefree youth.”

Out now through Gare Du Nord Records, Deritend is available physically through Bandcamp and digitally here.

Cult Figures on Facebook

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GIVE IT SOME STICK WITH THE COURETTES!

Garage duo THE COURETTES are back with a brand new single and video.

Mixing Duane Eddy Twang and 60s girl-group vocals, ‘Hop The Twig’ is the Danish/Brazilian duo’s second single for Damaged Goods Records, following on from last year’s ‘Want You! Like A Cigarette’, which sold out of its initial pressing in just two weeks. ‘Hop The Twig’ is out on 7″ and download on Friday 30 April.

“We’re all feeling like we’re walking on the thin ice these days, so when I by chance found the expression ‘hop the twig’ we were amazed not only about how good it sounded, but also about its meaning,” explains guitarist and singer Flavia Couri about the song. “It is an old slang for dying, so we found it a very appropriate title for a song as too many people had ‘hopped the twig’ this last year. We’re big fans of Duane Eddy and all the early surf music, and this riff kept coming in my head, so I started to play around it on the guitar. And then it hit me: it’s Hop The Twig! Though ‘Hop The Twig’ is always hiding behind your back, and it’s a pretty dark theme, the song is more of a statement celebrating that we are still here – at least by now. So, cheers to that! And look out!!!”

Work has recently been completed on the duo’s third album Back In Mono which is set for release through Damaged Goods this Autumn.

In the meantime, the label will be reissuing their first two albums – Here Are The Courettes and We Are The Courettes – on remastered limited edition coloured vinyl and 2-on-1 CD on 16 July.

Buy ‘Hop The Twig’ on 7″ orange vinyl here.

The Courettes on Facebook

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KILLERS ON THE LOOSE!

Aussie underground legends LIPSTICK KILLERS are finally getting their first ever anthology.

Totally deserving to be mentioned in the same breath as Radio Birdman, The Saints and The Scientists et al, this Sydney quartet burned relatively briefly but oh so incandescently, remarkably only releasing one single during their 1978-81 lifespan.

But what a single! Not just an underground classic, the Deniz Tek-produced ‘Hindu Gods (Of Love)’ has gone on to become a card-carrying Aussie punk standard, right up there with ‘Burn My Eye’ and ‘Stranded’, covered by numerous bands, both domestic and international over the years.

Inspired by The Stooges and the Nuggets-era psychedelic sounds of the likes of 13th Floor Elevators and The Chocolate Watch Band, the Killers would bear a huge influence on the early 80s Aussie underground explosion and beyond.

The double-vinyl Strange Flash – Studio & Live ’78-‘81 includes both the ‘Hindu Gods…’ b/w ‘Shakedown USA’ and posthumous ‘Sockman’ b/w ‘Pensioner Pie’ singles, the posthumous LA-recorded live album Mesmerizer – mastered from the original mixing desk cassette! – plus a previously unreleased 1980 demo album produced by the legendary Lobby Loyde.

The double-CD edition adds a 1978 Adelaide live set, and also celebrates Killers precursors Psycho-Surgeons with their ’78 ‘Wild Weekend’ b/w ‘Horizontal Action’ single and early-days rehearsal recordings.

Set for release on 25 June through Grown Up Wrong Records, Strange Flash is available to pre-order from Bandcamp and Rough Trade.

Grown Up Wrong! on Facebook

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IT’S THE SID AND SCABIES SHOW!

Forty-two years after his untimely death, SID VICIOUS has a new single out, thanks to friend and Damned drummer Rat Scabies.

Having met on the London punk scene, Vicious and Scabies briefly played together after their bands first broke up, performing in the Vicious White Kids at Camden’s Electric Ballroom in August ’78.

More recently Scabies, working with recently departed Heartbreakers guitarist Walter Lure, took some vocal outtakes from Sid’s recordings of ‘My Way’ and The Monkees’ ‘(I’m Not Your) Stepping Stone’ and built new tracks around them.

Scabies also created a bran new mix of ‘My Way’ and a unique track featuring Sid’s studio chat.

Says Scabies today, “Working with Sid was always a laugh, often stimulating and sometimes illegal, so it was good to be able to work on these tracks to remind myself of his intellect and humour.”

Available through Cleopatra Records on various coloured vinyls, the singles are available on 12-inch and 7-inch.

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SUFFOLK PUNCH!

DROPKICK MURPHYS have just unveiled a video for their new single.

‘Queen Of Suffolk County’ is the latest track to be shared from their new album Turn Up That Dial, the Boston band’s tenth longplayer.

The track follows hot on the heels of their previous single ‘Middle Finger’. The video is the work of longtime band friend Mark Higgins, who was also responsible for their classic ‘I’m Shipping Up To Boston’ video.

Set for release on 30 April through their own Born & Bred label, Turn Up That Dial is available to pre-order here.

Dropkick Murphys on Facebook

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NEW VIDEO FROM MICK ROSSI!

Former SLAUGHTER & THE DOGS guitarist MICK ROSSI has released a new video from his debut solo album?

The graceful string-laden ballad ‘Midnight Dream’ is taken from All The Saints & All The Souls, and is certainly not what might be expected from a founder member of Manchester’s ‘Cranked Up Really High’ noisemakers but is perhaps more in tune with the uncertain times in which it was made.

The album was written and recorded in Los Angeles in a stripped down setting, Rossi working at Winslow Ct. Studios in Hollywood with Grammy-nominated engineer Craig Parker Adams (Dave and Phil Alvin, Flesh Eaters).

Released in October through TJM Records, profits from the first pressing of the album were donated to Manchester’s frontline NHS workers.

All The Saints & All The Souls is available to buy here.

Pic by Brian Cannon

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SHADOW BOXING!

London punks DEALING WITH DAMAGE are back with a new video and new-ish album.

The droning, irrepressible psych-punk ‘Slow Shadow’ heralds the new vinyl release of their highly-praised debut album.

Ask The Questions was released to rave reviews on CD and download at the end of 2019. The vinyl edition should by rights have followed soon after but the mammoth delays in vinyl-pressing caused by the pandemic have meant it’s only now surfacing.

To make it worth the wait it’s been bolstered by two bonus tracks – ‘Making Plans For Misery’ and ‘Lady Day’ – recorded at No Recording Studio in Rayleigh, Essex during the summer of 2019. The album title has been amended to Ask More Questions accordingly.

The band, who are made up of former members of Sink, K-Line, Done Lying Down, Jerry-Built, Stupids and The Scum Children, took advantage of the fine summer weather between lockdowns to decamp to the Surrey wilderness of their youth to shoot the video for ‘Slow Shadow’.

“Lyrically, ‘Slow Shadow’ is a meditation on the universal experience of hurtling towards death, one day at a time, whilst at the same time being damned if having a few extra years on the clock is going to dim the creative fires that burn inside us,” explains the song’s author Ed Wenn. “It’s 2 minutes and 42 seconds where the veil of self-deprecation is cast aside and DWD insist on being heard. One day they will indeed be that slow shadow, but for now at least, they’re here and they feel they have something to say and an interesting way to say it.”

Ask More Questions is out through Little Rocket Records and is available here.

Dealing With Damage on Facebook

Pic by Leanne Taylor

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RAVAGERS ON THE HIGHWAY!

Baltimore rockers RAVAGERS have unveiled a new video as a taster for their forthcoming album.

Channelling Class of ’76 pop/punk/rock street smarts, ‘Down That Road’ is taken from the album Badlands which, despite having spent the best part of a decade at the rock’n’roll coalface, is actually their debut full-length. It’s due out through Atlanta’s Spaghetty Town Records this Spring.

Fronted by guitarist/singer Alex Hagen – whom sharp-eyed readers will recognise from Vive faves, Atlanta urchins RMBLR – Ravagers dropped their debut EP Livin’ In Oblivion back in 2014, followed after months of heavy touring by 2015’s Natural Instinct EP. Along the way, they’ve plastered their old-skool hearts on their sleeves by opening for such veterans as The Damned, FEAR and The Adicts, as well as fetching up at Vegas’ annual Punk Rock Bowling.

With Covid putting paid to all touring plans, the band locked down in Atlanta with a productions team of Tuk Smith (him from Biters) and Dan Dixon to record the ten chestnuts that make up Badlands.

Ravagers on Facebook

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EVER GIBBONS!

ZZ TOP legend BILLY F GIBBONS trails his forthcoming solo album with a new video.

The desert-twangin’ ‘West Coast Junkie’ is the first track to be revealed from Hardware, the Texan guitarist’s third album, following on from 2015’s Perfectamundo and 2018’s The Big Bad Blues.

Hardware was recorded at Escape Studios in California’s high desert, near Palm Springs, by Gibbons with former Cult and Guns N’ Roses drummer Matt Sorum and bassist Mike Fiorentino, along with engineer Chad Shlosser.

All but one of the tracks on Hardware are credited to the quartet with the remaining song a cover of ‘(Hey Baby) Que Paso’, a hit for Texas Tornados, the supergroup featuring Doug Sahm, Augie Meyers, Freddie Fender and Flaco Jiminez.

“We holed up in the desert for a few weeks in the heat of the summer and that in itself was pretty intense,” says Gibbons. “To let off steam we just ‘let it rock’ and that’s what Hardware is really all about. For the most part, it’s a raging rocker but always mindful of the desert’s implicit mystery.”

Set for release on 4 June through Concord Records, Hardware is available to pre-order here.

Billy F Gibbons on Facebook

Pic by Blain Clausen

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WARISH AND DINOSAURISH!

San Diego noisemongers WARISH have unveiled another new video… featuring legendary children’s entertainer Barney the Dinosaur!

‘S.H.M. (Second Hand Misery)’ is taken from the trio’s second album Next To Pay, which is due out on 30 April through Riding Easy.

The band were formed back in 2018 by Riley Hawk – son of legendary pro skater Tony Hawk – who says “This video came to mind when I heard ‘If You’re Happy and You Know It’ by Barney playing somewhere and I was in a bad mood and was thinking ‘this song is kinda evil sounding’. Then I went home and instantly started editing the video to the track ‘S.H.M.’ because it’s the polar opposite. It fitted nicely I thought.”

Next To Pay is available to pre-order here.

Warish on Facebook

Pic by Magdalena Wosinska

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SATURDAY NIGHT WITH THE ANGELS!

THE URBAN VOODOO MACHINE’s genial frontman Paul-Ronney Angel celebrates a year of lockdown with a very special livestream show this weekend.

Since lockdown began, every Saturday night Paul-Ronney and his partner Ane Angel have been staging intimate yet uplifting performances and livestreaming them to the outside world via the Urban Voodoo Machine Facebook page.

Featuring a host of UVM classics and newly-minted and frequently topical songs, making poignant observations about the state of the world we find ourselves in, the shows have also included an array of guests (where Covid restritions allow) such as Rat Scabies, Tamirae Brown and Jim Jones, and of course various UVM colleagues.

This Saturday 20 March, the 53rd episode will mark a full year of broadcasts. Kicking off at 8pm GMT, all are invited to join the livestream here.

In related news, this coming June will see the release of Paul-Ronney’s debut solo album London Texas Lockdown, while The Urban Voodoo Machine’s long awaited new album $nake 0i£ €ngine is due in September.

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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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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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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

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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.”

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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.

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