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.
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.
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.”
MEMBERS mainstay J.C. CARROLL straps on an accordion for a new album with his roots and folk band THE WISE MONKEYS.
Formed thirty-three years ago, the Monkeys also currently feature violin and didgeridoo player Elliet Mackrel, Members drummer Nick Cash and guitarist/mandolinist Steve Grocott from The Drones, and are no slouches when it comes to tangos, two-steps, waltzes, jigs and murder ballads.
Carroll is no stranger to the accordion, an instrument he first picked up in 1985. Since then he has played it with Johnny Thunders and Sinead O’Connor, and on the soundtracks to no fewer than six Julian Temple films plus Johnny Depp and Marlon Brando movies.
Set for release on 29 July, the album This Is Our Recorded is preceded by a video for the brilliantly-named autobiographical Chuck Berry-inspired Cajun romp, ‘Vive Le Rock’…
London post-punks NOTHINGHEADS unveil a new single this Friday.
‘Jukebox’ is the first track to be revealed from their forthcoming EP Digging. The track was recorded with producer Chris Smith at Press Play Studios in Bermondsey, South London and is released digitally through Holy Dotage and on cassette through Just Step Sideways.
“Jukebox is about retreating into your own ‘doom cave’, tuning out and turning it up,” announce the band.
The band will be playing live at…
5 May – Old Blue Last, London 7 May – Hanwell Hootie Festival, West London 23 Jul – Tramlines In The City, Sheffield
Cornish psych-rockers HANTERHIR have unveiled a psychedelic new video ahead of their show at Penzance’s Acorn Theatre this Saturday.
‘Don’t Go’ is the second single to be released from the Redruth band’s forthcoming album There Is No-One To Trust (Nyns Eus Denvydth Bys Trest), following on from the single ‘Honey Bees’ which came out last month.
“The video was filmed one evening in a small wood near Falmouth,” explains bassist Grant Kellow. “No-one could really see out of the eyeholes on the heads, lots of shouts of ‘Lift your left leg higher’, ‘Duck down’, and ‘Whose bright idea was this?’. But even Mike [Hewitt, sax] didn’t trip over anything in the end. Big fun making it. All filmed by the band in turn.”
“The heads took me a year over lockdown to make!” adds frontman Ben Harris. “Mike was the alien, Grant was the bear, Simon [Howard, guitar] was the devil, Jason [Brown, drums] was the hedgehog, Peasy [guitar] was the moon Lou [Macchi, violin] was the sun and I was the frog.”
Formed in 2008, Hanterhir have become one of the biggest bands in the Southwest, playing numerous festivals and sharing stages with the likes of Gang Of Four, Peter Hook & The Light and Flaming Lips. Following the success of previous album The Saving Of Cadan, they featured in a BBC documentary on the resurgence of the Cornish language, headlined London’s Kernow In The City festival and released a double-A-side single featuring covers of Sonic Youth’s ‘Schizophrenia’ and David Bowie’s ‘Dancing Out In Space’ just as Covid lockdown hit. They returned to live action with an appearance at Hawkwind’s Hawkfest last August and are currently lining up gigs and festival dates for later in the year.
Set for release on 27 May through Easy Action on vinyl and CD (with exclusive bonus track), There Is No-One To Trust is available to pre-order here.
Tickets for the Acorn Theatre show are available here.
Former INMATES man PETER GUNN is back with a new solo album.
Credited to PETER GUNN & THE NEATBLOODS, Life Savings is the debut album from the guitarist who co-founded the Islington pub rock band back in 1977, scoring international hits with ‘The Walk’ and their own interpretation of The Standells’ ‘Dirty Water’.
The album came about when Gunn was invited by DJ and producer Dr Jack Romensky to record some sessions his studio in Paris, France where The Inmates have long enjoyed superstar status. This lead to the idea of recording a solo album.
“When an opportunity presents itself and needs must, ideas for songs which may have been forming more or less unconsciously for years begin to crystallise and Hey Presto….you have songs!,” says Gunn. “I knew I wanted some rock and roll, rockabilly and blues tracks on the album but I surprised myself by branching out into pop and psychedelia and beyond. So there is quite a range of styles on the album and, you know…….as they say, variety is the spice of life.”
Gunn is joined on the album by a number of guests, including Inmates drummer Jim Russell, whose CV features a diverse array of artists from Scotty Moore to the Human League; bassist Matt Radford (Nick Lowe, Geraint Watkins, Big Joe Louis) and French chart star Jil Caplan.
Mixing and additional recording took place at Alchemy Studios, Wood Green with producer Kenny Jones (Billy Bragg, Marc Almond, Brainiac 5).
Set for release on 6 June through Riverside Records, Life Savings is trailed by the single ‘Good Intentions’…
Swedish alt-rockers OMNI OF HALOS have a new single and video which they’re premiering with Vive Le Rock!
The explosive, lurching ‘Care Free’, laden with lumbering riffs and, unusually, pedal steel melodies, is the Gothenburg band’s second single and title track of their forthcoming EP.
The band’s singer/guitarist Henrik Hjelt Röstberg – a former member of Vänersborg post-punks Division Of Laura Lee – comments, “This song came to be when I was experimenting with a new guitar tuning. It’s about a close friends that I’ve lost.”
The single was produced by another Division Of Laura Lee member, Per Stålberg in Welfare Studios, Gothenburg and mixed by John Agnello (Dinosaur JR, Sonic Youth, Red Kross), while the artwork for the single was designed by Viagra Boys’ frontman Sebastian Murphy.
‘Care Free’ is available to stream/download on all the usual platforms from Friday 22 April. The EP will follow through Lövely Records on 22 May.
US art-punks THE MUTANTS are to have their first ever archival compilation released this Summer.
Formed in 1977, the Bay Area band were staples on the San Francisco punk circuit, renowned for their infamous and theatrical live shows, releasing their debut EP on iconic SF punk label 415 Records in 1980.
“We came after Crime, the Nuns, the Avengers, and the Dils, and before the Dead Kennedys, the Sleepers, and Flipper,” says guitarist John Gullak.
Releasing their sole album Fun Terminal in 1982, they’d splintered by the mid-80s, but have regrouped periodically in various configurations for live shows ever since.
Curse Of The Easily Amused features 14 tracks, including eight songs which have never been previously released on vinyl or CD. “The Mutants discarded or forgot about a ridiculous amount of music during its first eight years,” says current Mutants bassist and project producer Peter Conheim. “Audio quality for all the tracks here is superior to anything that’s come before. No overdubs were used in preparing this release.”
Glam pop-rockers JO-JO & THE TEETH unveil their debut single and are premiering the video exclusively with Vive Le Rock!
‘Don’t Get Too Heavy’ is taken from the band’s forthcoming debut album, fittingly titled No More Good News, which was recorded, mixed and mastered by Jason Stafford, house engineer at The Albion Rooms, The Libertines HQ in Margate, Kent.
Fronted by Canadian Jo-Jo O’Donoghue, the band have been regulars at the Kashmir Cafe tent at the Isle Of Wight Festival since 2018.
They’ll be playing a special single launch event on 6 May at Camden Assembly, London with special guests Bang and Tizane – tickets
NYC rockers THE SWEET THINGS are back with a new single and video which they’re premiering exclusively with Vive Le Rock!
The sleazy country-rocking ‘Brown Leather’ is the first single and title track from the quartet’s second album which is due out in June. The video is by Video Rahim, also responsible for clips by RMBLR, Biters and many others.
The album was recorded at the legendary FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama with producer Matt Chiaravalle with finishing touches added in NYC’s Flux Studios and Mercy Sound.
Speaking of the video, founder Davie Tierney says, “[co-founder] Sam [Hariss], my girlfriend Scarlett (she plays the orange-haired skater in the video), and I were sitting around one night talking about what the video for this song should look like. ‘I’m seeing roller skates and butts,’ Scarlett said. We bullshitted the idea around for a couple hours and filled in all the blanks until the concept had materialized. The Brown Leather Roller Disco Bar in the video is basically the kind of place we would want to play or hang out at, but since it didn’t exist in the real world (that we know of), we had to create it. Hopefully nature takes its course now, and some of that life imitates art shit happens so that a place like this will open that we can actually hang out at and play.
“In our world someone saying, ‘that’s very brown leather’ is sort of similar to saying, ‘that’s not very punk rock’,” he adds. “It’s meant derisively in a way intended to criticize someone’s taste and even their cred a bit. It’s lighthearted, but also intended as a dig. The song ‘Brown Leather’ is basically us saying we don’t give a fuck what other people think, we’re just gonna do what we like and what we think is cool. The video itself is just an extension of that attitude, since we’re singing about doing what we like, we’re gonna make a video of what we’d like to see…we think other people will like it too.”
Brown Leather is set for release on 3 June through Wendigo Productions NYC and Spaghetty Town Records.
Herts hardcore mob BAD BREEDING are back with a taster for their forthcoming new album.
The throbbing ‘Human Capital’ is the first single and title track from the Stevenage quartet’s fourth album which is due out in July through One Little Independent Records.
Formed in 2013, Bad Breeding took their lead from the Golden Age of anarcho-punk and influence from the likes of Crass, Flux Of Pink Indians and Rudimentary Peni. Releasing their self-titled debut album in 2016, the band have since gone on to sign to the One Little Independent label, the perfect home for the band having originally been set up by members of Flux. The label released the band’s third album Exiled in 2019, which featured in Vive Le Rock‘s albums of the year.
‘Human Capital’ is available now on Spotify and all the usual digital platforms.
Bad Breeding play the following dates….
06 July – Liverpool – Quarry 07 July – Edinburgh – The Banshee Labyrinth 09 July – Manchester – Talleyrand 14 July – Nottingham – Chameleon 15 July – London – Moth Club 16 July – Bristol – Crofters 22 July – Hastings – The Crypt 23 July – Guildford – The Boiler Room
Legendary Greek post-punks NEXUS have returned after a 17-year hiatus with a brand new album.
Cited as Greece’s first industrial band, Nexus are the brainchild of musician, songwriter, label boss, broadcaster and filmmaker, a veteran of the country’s post-punk and Goth scenes since the early 80s.
Pougounas came to prominence as founder of Athens band FLOWERS OF ROMANCE, one of the most influential bands on the Greek underground scene, whose final album Brilliant Mistakes in 1996 was produced by Wayne Hussey. He formed Nexus in 2000, followed by NEW ZERO GOD in 2006. He currently hosts the internationally syndicated Blackout Radio Show.
For the new album Ninouki, alongside Greek musicians, Yiannis Drenoyiannis, Michalis Galeos, Louis Kontoulis and Michalis Semertzoglou, Pougounas worked with UK guitarist Mark Gemini Thwaite (The Mission, Spear Of Destiny, Peter Murphy) and renowned producer John Fryer (Nine Inch Nails, This Mortal Coil, Love And Rockets).
Perhaps best known as a member KING PRAWN, guitarist HANS DEVILLE has a new video which he’s premiering exclusively with Vive Le Rock!
A long way from the ska-punk of his other band, the Western Noir ‘Ruby Stars’ is taken his widely acclaimed album Prophecies Of The Lost, recorded with singer Andrew J Davies of the ‘dark country’ band FRANK FROM BLUE VELVET.
The video, which also features guitarist Andrew Francis, bassist Mark J Lee and former Peter & The Test Tube Babies drummer Ogs, was shot by rockabilly filmmakers Bopflix in the West Villa Bar at Hastings’ historic Crown House.
Hans and the band have announced a special ‘dark country hoedown’ at The Dublin Castle, Camden, London on Saturday 26 March – tickets
Brummie proto-punk bruisers BLACK BOMBERS are back with a brand new single and video, which they’re premiering exclusively with Vive Le Rock!
The first release by the expanded Bombers line-up featuring new guitarist Steve Crittall who joined at the start of 2020, ‘Last Bite’ is released as a limited edition 7″ through Easy Action on 1 April.
“All Fools’ Day 2022 seems the perfect time to release a track about false promises and the fantasy of returning to fading Empires,” say the band. Recorded between lockdowns during the summer of 2020, work on the track was completed in Crittall’s studio in Soho, London.
The single is backed with a cover of The Damned’s ‘You Take My Money’ from their neglected second album Music For Pleasure.
Put together by bassist Darren Birch (Gunfire Dance, Brian James Gang, Walter Lure), singer/guitarist Alan Byron and drummer Dave Twist (The Prefects, TV Eye, The Hawks), Black Bombers released their self-titled debut album in 2016, followed by the mini-album Vol. 4 in 2019.
Graphic designer MACLCOLM GARRETT come under the spotlight with a special edition of London’s Rock’n’Roll Book Club.
A student of Manchester Polytechnic’s design department, Garrett is perhaps best know for his iconic sleeves for Buzzcocks, including the classic single ‘Orgasm Addict’ single and the albums Love Bites, Another Music In A Different Kitchen and A Different Kind Of Tension, but was also involved in design work on numerous releases from Magazine, 999, The Pop Group, The Members, Richard Hell, Yachts, Duran Duran, Devo, Wayne County, The Inmates, Stray Cats, Toots & The Maytals, Simple Minds, Polecats and many more.
At the event at Camden’s Dublin Castle on Wednesday 16 March, Garrett will be interviewed by Rock’n’Roll Book Club host Alison Beale as well as taking questions from the floor.
Tickets for the event are available here. There will be reduced admission with a ‘Malcolm Garrett Art Statement’ badge from this year’s Punk Art Show which launches at the Museum Of Youth And Culture, Shaftesbury Avenue on Friday 11 March.
Punk ‘N’ Roll Rendezvous Festival The Water Rats / Electrowerkz / The Post Bar, London
For three glorious days, a congregation of punks criss-crossed both London boroughs and musical boundaries for a festival known as the Punk’n’Roll Rendezvous. The event is organized by Phil Honey-Hones and Nina Courson of the Healthy Junkies, who curated an all-rock-star line-up of bands blasting back-to-back bangers all weekend long. Friend Steve Iles also helps book many of the out of town bands.
Phil and Nina have been running Punk’n’Roll Rendezvous as a monthly night for ten years now. Previously all events were held at The Unicorn on Camden Road. But like so many other venues post-covid, this venue has not reopened. There was a mad scramble to relocate this entire festival at the last minute.
Despite a brief hiatus during lockdown, the Punk’N’Roll Rendezvous Festival returned for its fifth iteration in a blaze of glory. The atmospheric Foxpalmer kickstarted Friday night festivities at The Water Rats – her melodic musings rendered even more ethereal by the next act, The Anoraks, who took to the stage in a maelstrom of crashing crescendos and rough guitar riffs. The subsequent band, The Moody Pythons, were a weekend standout, embodying the platitude that “pros make the difficult look easy”. The sound of their song ‘Lighten Up’ washed over the crowd like a tsunami: massive and wild, while still being controlled by the mathematical precision that governs waves. A hard act to follow, but the sound of Prisoners of Mother England hit alt-rock hard. Their song ‘I Want You’ launched catchy earworm hooks into the soft tissue of my brain. I couldn’t stop humming to myself until the sonic boom of JELLLY exploded my synapses.
JELLLY has recently been reinvigorated by the addition of Vera Wild, super bassist, whose vocals had me pushed back in my chair like I was about to be launched into space. This feeling was solidified by the Slow Cooked Bears, who brought an otherworldly blend of futuristic pop and classic rock: their song ‘Space Odyssey’ could have been transmitted from another dimension. Nervous Twitch probably hails from that dimension as well; their groovy, retro vibe infuses surf-rock with synth to create a hyper-cool Jetsons fantasy.
Swamp Chicken made their London debut by closing the night, bringing us back to punk n roll reality with their song ‘Halloumi Dream’. If this is starting to feel like a lot, buckle up, because the Punk N Roll Rendezvous Festival is just getting started.
Painfully trendy venue Electrowerkz was bustling by 3pm on Saturday, when the acoustically guitared Max Chowdry opened the show; the place was bumping when Cherry & Peesh brought their punk poetry from the streets and onto the stage; and by the time ska band Suburban Toys started to tread the boards the joint was rapidly descending into madness, as evidenced by the frenzied state of the crowd – who lost their collective shit for Aubrey Eels & The Baron. It’s easy to see why the dynamic duo is a crowd favorite: their combative humour was showcased exceptionally by their songs ‘Universal Credit’ and ‘Domestic Violence’, which offered a screaming, cathartic antithesis to the political newspeak used to dance around those issues.
There’s just enough time to grab a beer – you’ve earned it, and you’re gonna need it, because the paradigm of punk as a predominantly male space is about to get tactically obliterated in real 4/4 time. Were it possible to harness the girl power produced by the following bands, nations would go to war.
All tunes, tattoos, and torn tights, Lady Rage is redefining the term ‘UK girl group’ with their furious sound. Lead singer Siren Sycho’s soul-tearing, riot-girl howling perfectly encapsulated the evils of social media in their absolute banger of a song, ‘Social Circus’. After being sprayed in the face with a Super Soaker full of ‘slut juice’, I had lost all sense of journalistic integrity.
But this was immaterial, because something wicked was coming this way: the Witch Of The East, an apt name, because the only explanation for the seamless fusion of hardcore industrial rock with transcendental sounds is some serious witchcraft. Lead singer Aeris Houlihan’s mystical stage presence would cause Stevie Nicks to eat her own heart out.
Kurt Cobain’s prophecy that “women are the only future in rock’n’roll” (an idea championed by event organizer Nina Courson) was perpetuated by PollyPikPocketz, a band guaranteed to steal your heart. The lead vocalist Myura’s ferocious voice is reinforced by raw rock’n’roll, courtesy of her talented bandmates. The mosh pit barely dissipated before it reformed for A Void, a band whose musical range is as vast and unfathomable as a black hole: their new single ‘Stepping on Snails’ spans genres and emotions – and their lead singer is a human dynamo displaying straight up talent.
Last, but certainly not least, was headliners the Healthy Junkies. Their song ‘MAYDAY’ is a furious anthem of righteous rage: drums pounding against quick jabs of the guitar, and followed up by a flurry of lyrical counterpunches straight to your cranium. This band is not to be missed – as evidenced by the fact that one of their fans suffered a machete attack to the face earlier that day, rocking up to the gig with a bandaged cheekbone and a mouth full of missing teeth – and when the lights came on and the night finished up, the crowd was ready to riot, screaming for more.
Fortunately, they didn’t have long to wait: the punks burned the midnight oil with all the pyrotechnic splendour of a fireball KISS concert. Hold on to your hangovers, because it’s time to hit Post Bar and rock out to Techno Juggernaut’s homage to Daft Punk. The grunge anthems of Girls Like Us got the crowd amped up – and when bad boy band Spider Redundant took to the stage with their incandescent rock n roll, I realized I was in a mosh pit at 6pm on a Sunday.
Don’t get too comfortable, because up next is Army of Skanks, a three-piece powerhouse, pushing the boundaries of punk with their uncontrollable riffery. Carol Lane’s impeccable control over the guitar was such that when she told me she’d suffered a wrist injury and been going through physio for months I called her a liar straight to her face. My prodigious hangover was starting to show. The surf rock sounds of the Suicide Notes washed over me, took my breath away and left me for dead; thankfully, the hard rocking Kontrol Freaks (and the energetic force of nature that is their lead singer Monty Nordgren) shocked me back to life with the high voltage of a defibrillator – assisted by the blasting beats and unique metal-pop cadences of follow-up band Flesh Tetris.
Still, I was pretty sure my soul was in limbo, because gracing my eyes and the stage was Jojo & the Teeth: vocalist Jojo O’Donoghue is a grungy goddess, and the unique alt-rock cadences of this glamorous band is my definition of heavenly. I mean, rock’n’roll was invented by a nun.
The weekend ended on a grand finale: Neon Animal is all high fashion and uncivilized behaviour. Their sound was like a kind of primitive utterance beyond speech, showcasing emotions too vast to be caught by little words. Indeed, the Punk’n’Roll Rendezvous Festival possessed qualities too rare for language to describe precisely: terms like ‘talent’ and ‘community’ are rendered paltry in comparison to the dedication these artists have to their music, and each other. In a world of all-powerful corporations, government shit shows, and social media panopticons, a music festival brought into existence out of pure love is an unreal experience, especially one that revels in the dulcet tones of rebellion.
“Live music was put on life support during the pandemic,” said Phil Honey-Jones. “That’s why this event is so important to us. It’s about keeping live music alive.”