DUNCAN REID AND THE BIG HEADS VIDEO EXCLUSIVE!

DUNCAN REID & THE BIG HEADS are back with a brand new album and video which they’re premiering exclusively with Vive Le Rock!

Tastefully edited for daytime TV consumption, ‘Mother******’ is taken from Don’t Blame Yourself, the ex-Boys bass-player’s band’s fourth album, which follows on from 2017’s critically acclaimed Bombs Away.

Writing about the song in the album’s sleeve-notes, Reid says, “Provoked by a tweet from a young man in Essex, his photo showing full on tattoos, bald head and beer belly, who referred to our most aristocratic Member of Parliament affectionately and with complete approval as ‘the Mogster’. It begged the question: how does someone, who would consider that young man to be an appalling, badly spoken, ignorant oik, evoke such admiration from the object of his disdain? All references to that politician are entirely accidental, of course.”

Don’t Blame Yourself is out now through Cherry Red.

Duncan Reid & The Big Heads on Facebook

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SONGS FOR THE DEAD!

Norwegian death punk Hank Von Hell was the frontman of Turbonegro until 2010. He’d been performing since 1989 and eventually the rock and roll lifestyle wore thin and left him needing a break. After getting sober, he got stuck into new creative vents that a life on the road had never allowed. Hank became a presenter at local radio station Moskenesradioen, had a joint #1 hit alongside Maria Solheim in the Norwegian Singles Chart with ‘Rom For Alle’ and in 2011 he was a judge in Norwegian Idol. 2018 saw him return to form with debut solo record Egomania and in 2020, Hank Von Hell is back with second album Dead. He told Vive Le Rock! how he’d fought his record label to keep the title Dead.

What motivated the new record?
I told the label I wanted to make a darker album. Egomania was a resurrection party. After you’ve been fighting monsters and demons for a thousand years you need a party, a lager and a sandwich. As a solo artist I knew I’d have to give some explanation for my weird choices both during my time in Turbo and my exit. It’s a story motivated by darkness, tragedy, anger and sorrow and how to deal with it. It’s like mindfulness but I’ve discovered a new technique called Mind-fucked-ness.

How did you come to the title Dead?
I wanted something death related and we talked through some bad ideas like Death From Above. It just sounded like a Motorhead album even Lemmy wouldn’t make. I decided that if we’re going to do this album and deal with the phenomenon of not living, we’re gunna call it Dead. The label were so freaked out and said it was the worst idea ever. Eventually I told them I’m not changing it. Its where we’re all going and it’s a homage to people’s health. Death’s what happens if you don’t get help with addiction.

The second track is also called ‘Dead’. Are the lyrics ‘You’re already dead’ about people living their lives on autopilot?
Well it’s about mass apathy. It’s a wake-up call, a paradox. People who are living robotically, dumbed down by superficial illusions of life are actually desperately trying to avoid the devastating inevitable truth. It’s also a homage to David Bowie’s ‘My Death’.

You’re a very visual person which makes you a good storyteller. You said before that your song ‘Blood’ is a stadium anthem with the power to make a five-year-old face his bullies. Do you imagine specific fans when writing your songs?
Yes, the writing process is technical and I define the listener and identify their state of mind. I provide a soundscape and lyrical narrative that gives that person an opportunity of relief.

What is your fascination with death?
I had a dramatic overdose in the ‘90s and my heart stopped beating so I experienced death. Since then I’ve had a totally different outlook on being dead. I’ve been walking around with one foot in the grave since that encounter. I’ve had a taste and I have something to say about it. We are all going to the same place but it’s not so bad.

You’ve been open and honest about the impact of drugs on your life and mentioned how paying for drugs fuels crime and terror in places like Mexico. You had an epiphany about your personal accountability and got sober.
It’s a dance with the devil in the pale moonlight. Of course I don’t judge, I’m not God. I’ve met so many people with addiction or mental health issues which leads to drug use and that doesn’t make you a bad person. Usually I’ve done worse! I have not put myself on a moral pedestal. My method is that addiction sucks individually so you have to empathise. If I can help you with my story that’s good. I’d say that if you’re an addict, be aware of it and know it’s not a victimless crime. But is it a crime? I don’t agree with the laws criminalising drug addicts. It creates worse problems. If someone’s hopelessly addicted, try to help them so they can live a life of quality.

Where do you think rock’n’roll stands in 2020?
Rock’n’roll is not dead. It’s the only thing that can save us. A lot of the younger generation are going back and discovering rock and rejecting new music. I think they appreciate physical music and know what they are fans of. Music is a diary to my fans and it’s important these people are still here and still demanding more rock’n’roll.

Hank Von Hell performed a livestream concert from the empty Ullevi Stadum in Sweden on 15 June which you can watch at hankvonhell.com. Dead is out now and he will be rescheduling tour dates for 2021.

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SMELLS LIKE QUARANTINE SPIRIT!

Can’t say it hasn’t been a trial all this self-isolation and social distancing. Vive Le Rock! photographer Tina Korhonen took her camera round to London to check up on some of our punk and rock community to see how they’re coping….

“During the lockdown I wanted to photograph some musicians and performers on their doorsteps, windows and gardens, mainly for my own sanity,” she says. “All images were taken while practising social distancing, and apart from one shoot in North London, all photos were taken during May and early June.”

Knox, main singer and songwriter for The Vibrators, although no longer touring with them. Please check out his music charity shop Rock ‘N’ Roll Rescue in Camden Town, now open again.

The Smeg, lead singer of King Kurt and Swannee Lucifera Vranckx, creative photographer, model and performer.

Ben Ward, singer of heavy metal band Orange Goblin and Sandie Soriano Ward / Sandistik, jeweller and model.

Jen Brown aka Jenny Drag, singer and songwriter of The Priscillas. If you haven’t yet, please check them out.

The Rock and Roll barber Mr Ducktail has been unwillingly stuck getting into gardening at his new home, and can’t wait to get back to work next week. For the wildest cuts in town, book here.

Napalm Beth and  Djamel Abina from The Blue Carpet Band on their hideaway rooftop of their flat on Holloway Road. 

Chrys Columbine, burlesque star, pianist and martial artist, training in her back garden. She is the only burlesque performer who combines classical piano with the art of striptease.

Glen Matlock and Earl Slick were quarantining together in London, until recently when Earl went back to NYC. Their live sets from the lockdown are still here.

All photos by Tina Korhonen, 2020. All rights reserved.

www.tina-k.com / https://www.instagram.com/tinak_photography/

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ALEX NOVAK: UNTRAPPED!

Like Public Image Ltd and Killing Joke, Alex Novak is an artist in constant flux and metamorphosis. To commemorate four decades of musical exploration Glass Modern release Mercurial 1978-2018, a career-spanning retrospective that encompasses his early forays into music with Northampton ‘77 punks, the Isaws, to his most recent release with darkwave duo The Venus Fly Trap.

In between those two bands came the post-punk of Religious Overdose, the sci-fi leanings of The Tempest, a stint with Attrition and some dark, dystopian electronica in the shape of Spore and Nova State Conspiracy.

Alex Novak spoke to Peter Dennis to give us an overview of a kaleidoscopic career that’s taken on many different guises. Here Alex untangles the web and shines a light on the individual tracks.

As a genre, punk was an important incubator for you. How did it influence you?

At the time the distance between audience and bands was quite great, not physically but psychologically, and I think punk broke that barrier down. I was at the right place at the right time, I was at art school and punk happened while I was there and being involved with creativity it sparked something. At the time, my fellow students were getting into bands: Kevin Haskins and Danny Ash and David J, who after being in various student bands ended up being in Bauhaus. Finding people who were into the same thing as well: my brother [John Novak] and the other members of the Isaws were still at school so… we were quite young. We didn’t actually release any records at the time but we released two cassettes (which were later compiled on CD as ‘Burnt Offering’) the earliest track I picked for the upcoming CD is ‘Standens’ which is a place where we used to rehearse in the eastern district of Northampton, it was a youth centre, it wasn’t too far from where we lived, and the song is a tribute to that place. They allowed bands and other activities to happen: it’s quite hard to find somewhere to rehearse, I think there were a lot less rehearsal studios so you had to make do with pub back rooms and youth centres, if they’d let you in.

It seems that in writing about your locality, in true punk style, ‘Standens’ was the complete antithesis of prog rock. At your tender ages how aware were you of punks ‘rules’?

I think early on we were capable of writing about other things because I think initially you draw on your experiences, but I think the DIY ethic was very important, that you did things and sorted things yourself and you also wrote about things that you knew as opposed to things you didn’t.

Then you moved onto your next band Religious Overdose. The first track from them is ‘Control Addicts’. It followed ‘Standens’ by a year but the difference in music and lyrics seems like a quantum leap.

The whole idea of punk was it opened the door to do what you wanted to do, there wasn’t a strict idea of what you should be like, although I did think punk became something of a uniform than idea. So a lot of people who were in punk bands quickly outgrew that and went off in loads of different directs so I ended up in Religious Overdose which was more like The Fall and Cabaret Voltaire and Joy Division so we were heading more into post-punk, that’s quite a wide term but it developed out of punk.

And it seems that post-punk was far more true to the revolutionary spirit of punk than punk was itself.

Yes, you could do anything, there was no boundaries. There was electronic bands, bands who were more avant-garde, it all fitted in that genre. I met the members of Religious Overdose via art school. Richard Formby was studying art so I knew him from there. He was originally from Leeds where a lot of interesting bands were coming from.

Also around that time you made another important connection. This CD is going to be released via Glass Records and you originally met the owner Dave Henderson.

Yes, with ‘Control Addicts’ we got involved in the burgeoning tape scene and Dave Henderson wrote a column for the NME about the DIY tape scene, so I happened to see Glass Records mentioned, I sent our tape to Dave Henderson, and we ended up releasing our debut single on Glass Records.

And you played with some amazing bands like The Fall…

We organised a gig in Northampton with The Fall and we did a lot of gigs with bands in a similar genre: English Subtitles and people like that, and we performed with Attrition in their earlier days as well.

Around the time of Religious Overdose was a period when you could use your art school education. The singles came in very striking sleeves which subverted religious imagery. I wonder can you expand on what aesthetics you drew upon?

Both Richard and I came from a graphics background so the visual aspect is quite important. The name itself talks about how there’s too much religion, how it’s being shoved down people’s throats. So we used religious imagery on the sleeves and gig posters.

And you also used images of old cabaret stars…

Yes, that was used on the second single ‘I Said Go’, I like the very early days of black and white film which suited the subject matter.

Why did Religious Overdose come to an end?

We did two singles after ‘Control Addicts’: ‘I Said Go’ and ‘In This Century’. Basically Richard had done his time at art school so he decided to go back to Leeds. He went on to be involved with Jazz Butcher and also The Telescopes and Sonic Boom. His main interest was setting up a recording studio in Leeds so that made it a lot more difficult for Religious Overdose to function so we went our separate ways. We did compile all the material for a compilation CD called ‘Glass Hymns’ that came out a couple of years ago so all that material has been compiled.

After Religious Overdoes came The Tempest which was another seismic shift in terms of music, lyrics and imagery.

I hooked up with people in other bands who wanted to do stuff. It seemed in those days people always seemed to be in more than one band: they all had about three bands on the go depending on what was happening. So I hooked up with Mark Refoy (who ended up in Spaceman 3 and Spiritualized and more recently live with the Pet Shop Boys) and we ended up doing a band called The Tempest, so obviously we got in touch with Dave Henderson again and he released the first single ‘Lady Left This’ which seemed to get attention straight away. We got a lot of airplay on Radio 1 with John Peel and ‘Kid’ Jensen which brought us to the attention of Anagram Records (which was part of Cherry Red) and they put out the second single ‘Montezuma’ and the album ‘5 Against The House’, which was reissued a few years ago by Optic Nerve. We also did a lot of gigs with people like the Alien Sex Fiend all around the country. We got a lot of attention but it fizzled out very quickly because people were involved in other bands and attention was being drawn in other directions. So that didn’t last very long either but that seems a kind of formula for that period we were constantly changing and moving on and ideas were being formed very quickly.

The Tempest had a very unique sound. What musical influences did you draw on?

Joy Division and The Cure and some more obscure bands, touching into gothic as well, just before goth was starting. In fact we did support Bauhaus at the Hammersmith Palais. If you can imagine there’s five people in a band and they all bring their own influences. Definitely. For The Tempest I drew upon sci-fi, which is a big thing as we go along, a lot of sci-fi from the 50’s and 60’s, a lot of pulp books and comics, things like that.

After The Tempest you took another turn and hooked up with Martin Bowes from Attrition…

Yes, I knew Martin from Attrition and also he was involved in a Coventry fanzine called ‘Alternative Sounds’ so I’d been in contact sending stuff over the years. I joined Attrition which had been active for a while. I was in the band for a couple of years and I ended being on the ‘Smiling, at the Hypogonder Club’ LP and doing a tour of Holland with them. That was my first tour abroad so that opened my eyes to the possibility of getting out of the UK as well. It was a backing track, three vocalists and keyboards because it was entirely electronic so it was opening my eyes to a completely different area again. Attrition at that time probably wasn’t as dark as it is now but the ‘Smiling, at the Hypogonder Club’ is more like bands such as Propaganda. It was dark but it still had a pop edge.

Why did you leave Attrition?

When you join someone else’s project, it’s their band, it’s their baby so I had my own ideas about what I wanted to do, so I decided to form Venus Fly Trap. In that period I was living in London when I was in Attrition so that was a great experience, meeting people and getting around the place but I think sometimes that’s a distraction to getting things done so I went back to Northampton and hooked up with my brother John, who was in the Isaws, and Tony Booker, whom I knew from art school, so that was the original line up of Venus Fly Trap, we recorded the original version of ‘Morphine’. Later, when John left, we rerecorded ‘Morphine’ and the one thing with Venus Fly Trap is keeping track of all the members. The line up changed very quickly, John was out of the band after nine months so on the first single there was myself, Tony Booker moved to guitar and we got Chris Evans on bass so the first single was even different from the demo. ‘Morphine’ ended up on Tuesday Records then the Danceteria label but the guy who ran Tuesday, I was in contact with because of Attrition. They did the first two singles, ‘Morphine’ and ‘Desolation Railway’, and after that we ended up on Danceteria, both labels based in France. We were taken over to France pretty quickly, we were playing French tours in the late 80s and early 90s.

Venus Fly Trap’s debut ‘Mars’ rode high in the French national charts.

Yeah, it got into the French top 40. All the singles did pretty well; ‘Rocket USA’, the Suicide track, did well, it was totally reworked, you probably wouldn’t recognise it. We did a few full albums with Danceteria, ‘Totem’ and ‘Pandora’s Box’ and the single ‘Europa’.

Venus Fly Trap were very successful on the continent. Did it annoy you that Europeans got your sound straight away yet you were largely ignored in the UK?

That’s quite strange but sometimes you have to go where the interest is and that’s what we did, we just followed the interest. We did a lot of dates in France and Belgium and then Germany. You could play the UK any weekend you like but it’s nice to go somewhere different. When we headed into the early 90s, once ‘Achilles Heel’ had come out we ended up going to France, Belgium, Holland, Germany then Czechoslovakia for the first time in 91 and that really opened your eyes because when we first went there it was like being in the 1970s: the roads and what was in the shops and the fact that you couldn’t take money out of the country. You had to spend the money before you left the country because it had no value but it was a great experience.

Venus Fly Trap has featured a long list of characters. Each album has its unique sound. Do you attribute this to the constantly rotating line up?

Obviously everyone who’s involved brings in their own influences and ‘Mars’ I’d say is a collection as opposed to being a full album. The period I’d say that was consistent was between ‘Totem’ and ‘Pandora’s Box’. Most of the personnel was the same during that period, although it did flux.

‘Moscow Menagerie’ followed from the ‘Luna Tide’ album, a record which saw you returning to your rock roots.

With ‘Pandora’s Box’ that line up imploded so it had to be rebuilt. I’d certainly say that ‘Luna Tide’ was a transitory album. So there’s a transition between that and the next stage which the next single ‘Pulp Sister’ represents.

‘Pulp Sister’ was very cinematic and I’d say that’s a common theme that unites much of your work.

Yes, I’m certainly a big fan of film and especially sci-fi but ‘Pulp Sister’ is a very tongue-in-cheek homage to Tarantino, but underlying all that there’s a shift in line up as the sound goes more electronic. Less live drummer and more and more electronics and that’s the beginning of another period.

There was a seven year gap between Venus Fly Trap albums and you had these more electronic projects including Nova State Conspiracy.

That would certainly fit in with that transition from ‘Luna Tide’ to ‘Dark Amour’. Filling in that period and moving it into a more electronic direction. Nova State Conspiracy was with a friend who was a comic book illustrator, Simon Colby, who had a big interest in electronic bands so we decided to do a project together, completely studio based and that ended up on a German record label. We only did one EP and that was it.

Also around this time you were involved in other electronic projects: The Den and Spore. They’re three projects, that although different, seem united like a triptych. What was your reasoning for changing the name?

It was different people. The Den was myself and Tim Perkins who worked with Alan Moore and people like that and that gave it a different edge. Again we just released tracks on compilations, that didn’t develop because Tim moved away from Northampton. Spore was another ‘try out’ project.

Also during the Venus Fly Trap hiatus you went to Coventry University to study photography.

Yes, which again provided me with plenty of material to use in future albums. After ‘Dark Amour’ there was a break then we kind of re-jigged it with Andy Denton moving from drums to guitar and that kind of starts another period with guitars and electronics being the main thing. And those albums ‘Zenith’, ‘Nemesis’ and more recently ‘Icon’ I think all fit together because they featured the same line up.

Then after the hiatus your next single was ‘Metropolis’ which also has that sci-fi/cinematic/dystopian feel.

Obviously influenced by the film. All of those three albums had a strong sci-fi and film basis. Some obvious and some less so.

And then you covered The Cramps’ ‘Human Fly’…

We formerly covered Suicide who are not the most known band in the world. With The Cramps’ ‘Human Fly’ we thought we could do something with it. The original is more sparse rockabilly song but we made our version a full track. I think it works on that basis. We don’t do lots of covers but when we do we try to put our own stamp on them.

And that brings us up to the most recent single ‘Vitesse’ from the ‘Icon’ album.

With ‘Vitesse’ we’re continuing into a more electro direction. A modern darkwave that’s heavy on the electronics and that’s where we are at the moment.

We’ve talked about your musical past where do you think it will move in the future?

I don’t think they’ll be any more Venus Fly Trap albums. It’s a lot of work and it takes a long time. I think it will be single tracks. I’d like to go back and remix some tracks. There’s quite a lot of stuff to be reissued first so I’m in the process of trying to reissue the Venus Fly Trap albums and then the other projects so it’s out there and available.

And how would you like history to remember your work and for it to be evaluated?

That’s a difficult question because that’s really out of your hands. Hopefully I’ll be alive when people appreciate it. There’s so many bands and musicians who are appreciated after they’re gone. That’s too late and those people need to be appreciated while they’re here. These things need to be acknowledged at the time, there’s so many bands and artists who’re not appreciated when they’re around and when they’re gone… people suddenly realised what they’ve lost.

Mercurial 1978 – 2018 is available here. Read a review in the latest edition of Vive Le Rock!

The Venus Fly Trap on Facebook

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ELEMENTAL AS ANYTHING!

PENETRATION and INVISIBLE GIRLS frontwoman Pauline Murray heralds a new solo album with a new single and video.

‘Secrets’ is the first track to be unveiled from what will be Murray’s third solo album Elemental.

The single was originally recorded back in the ’80s, only surviving on a single cassette tape. “It was mixed to a cassette and left in a box for years,” explains Pauline. “When we were recording the new album, we remembered this track, found the cassette but couldn’t find the original master tape. All the parts were there, and it sounded really good, but the recording was unusable. We decided to re-record it and tried to replicate the original arrangements, keyboard parts and sounds whilst maintaining the original atmosphere. It’s amazing that something hidden away for so long can assert itself fully into the here and now. Like a secret being revealed.

“Lyrically, it’s about the pressure to conform to social perceptions and expectations,” she continues. “Having to rely on body language and energy exchange to see what’s really going on.”

Elemental was initially recorded in France during 2016 and completed at their own Polestar Studios in Newcastle in 2019. Produced by Penetration bassist and co-founder Robert Blamire, it also features current band-members Paul Harvey, Steve Wallace and Ken Goodinson plus the Invisible Girls’ Steve Hopkins and former Roxy Music and current Lindisfarne drummer Paul Thompson.

“As a 15-year-old, I was a big Roxy Music fan,” enthuses Pauline. “I would never have thought that their drummer Paul Thompson who played on all those fantastic records would be playing on my album all those years later. As a 15-year-old fan, I wouldn’t even have envisaged making music myself! Paul came into our studios with Lindisfarne and we plucked up the courage to ask him to play on some of the tracks. It was really exciting when he agreed and an absolute buzz to hear him playing on the songs.”

“The idea for the video ties in with my four paintings featured on the album sleeve,” she continues. “It reflects the lyrics – I’m putting on a face to hide. A single camera was set up in a dark room lit only with a make-up mirror. I mixed the paints beforehand and did the face painting in a single take. The Volvo footage was shot around the same time that the song was written. We only found it recently whilst digitising some old VHS tapes. The performance video was shot earlier this year at Polestar Studios. Rob edited it all together.”

Elemental is set for release on 25 September on Polestar Records. It’s available to pre-order here.

Pauline Murray on Facebook

Pic by Kit Haigh

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WRONG LIFE VIDEO PREMIERE!

THE MURDERBURGERS’ mainman Fraser has a new project and he’s premiering their new video with Vive Le Rock! Careful though, it’s not for the fainthearted.

The song ‘New Sun’ is the title track from the new EP by WRONG LIFE, which is due out through HFL Records via Bandcamp, Spotify and all the usual platforms.

“If anyone needs any tips on how to get the smell of several cups of tea out of an already slightly smelly carpet then hit me up,” he says. “Took me about a week to finish the job after that shit but I got there in the end.”

Wrong Life on Facebook

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JAMES OLIVER VIDEO PREMIERE!

Fast-rising pub rockers THE JAMES OLIVER BAND have a brand new video which they’re premiering exclusively with Vive Le Rock!

‘Stay Outta Trouble’ is taken from their debut album TWANG!, which was produced by Paul Riley of Nick Lowe, Chilli Willi and Balham Alligators fame.

Hailing from Blackwood, South Wales – famously also the hometown of the Manic Street Preachers – Oliver has played alongside such guitar greats as Albert Lee and Bill Kirchen, racking up something like 2,000 gigs in the past decade, while TWANG! bears the unmistakable influence of such other Telecaster masters as Danny Gatton and Mick Green of The Pirates.

The James Oliver Band on Facebook

Pic by Mick Schofield

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MAID OF ACE VIDEO EXCLUSIVE!

For part two of this week’s MAID OF ACE special here’s what you’ve all been waiting for, the exclusive premiere of the band’s brand new video!

‘Repent’ is taken from the girls’ forthcoming new album which will be with us in August. The video is the work of punk filmmaker Mark Richards.

“This one’s for all the cross-shovers who judge us by the way we look, the type of music we listen to or who we’re in a relationship with…,” they tell us. “‘MY LOVE IS GOOD AND I WILL NEVER CHANGE!’ Happy Pride month everyone!”

Check out Maid Of Ace’s Lucky 13!

Maid Of Ace on Facebook!

Pic by Mark Richards

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MAID OF ACE’S LUCKY 13!

South Coast punk sisters MAID OF ACE are back with a brand new video this Friday, which they premiering exclusively with Vive Le Rock!

To whet your appetite, we asked them to come up with 10 of their favourite tracks. Unlucky for some but lucky for us, they came up with 13! We asked them about the songs, but women of few words, they’re letting the music do the talking….

1. AMYL & THE SNIFFERS – ‘SOME MUTTS (CAN’T BE MUZZLED)’

2. BOB VYLAN – ‘WE LIVE HERE’

3. NOVA TWINS – ‘VORTEX’

4. GG ALLIN – ‘BITE IT YOU SCUM’

5. THE AVENGERS – ‘OPEN YOUR EYES’

6. THE PRODIGY – ‘FIRE STARTER’

7. THE PLASMATICS – ‘A PIG IS A PIG’

8. PUBLIC ENEMY – ‘HARDER THAN YOU THINK’

9. GIRLSCHOOL – ‘RACE WITH THE DEVIL’

9. CHRON GEN – ‘BIRDS DON’T SING’

11. THE SELECTER – ‘MISSING WORDS’

12. BETTY BLOWTORCH – ‘I’M UGLY AND I DON’T KNOWN WHY’

13. NINA HAGEN – ‘SMACK JACK’

Maid of Ace on Facebook

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GENERATION XMAS!

A landmark gig in international hardcore will be heard by a whole new generation of fans thanks to a new reissue of a seminal live album.

On 4 December 1983 eleven of Italy’s top hardcore bands – BRONTOSAURI, JUGGERNAUT (pictured), STATO DI POLIZIA, PUTRID FEVER, DEMENTS, USELESS BOYS, WARD DOGS, A’UFSCHLAG, CHEETAH CHROME MOTHERFUCKERS, I REFUSE IT! and TRAUMATIC – assembled at the deconsecrated church of San Zeno in Pisa, Tuscany for The Last White Christmas, organised by GDHC (Gran Ducato Hard Core), that has since gone down in the annals of HC history.

The gig was recorded via a cassette deck wired directly to the mixing desk by sound engineer Alessandro Sportelli, and issued the following year on two cassettes – one C90, one C60 – by San Diego label Bad Compilation Tapes. Copies of both tapes now change hands for absurd money.

The recordings, completely remastered by Sportelli, are now being made available once again as a brain-frying 71-track double CD Last White X-Mas through top Italian punk label Area Pirata.

“I’ve been goin’ to gigs since 1970 and there is none other like this,” says Bad Compilation Tapes founder Chris BCT. “IT WAS THE GREATEST RECORDED PUNK ROCK GIG OF ALL TIME! (Not that it’s a contest). HC blew up from about 1980 thru about 1986. It’s still around but the world blast happened then. These are some of the great Italian punk bands of the mid 80s. This gig is a historical document. It’s high art for future generations. This gig has no bands that suck. And probably all making great music. Some of the best bands I’ve ever heard. To let this gig slip into forgottenness would be an artistic crime cuz there was never anything like it during the heyday of HC from around 1980 through 1986 that I know of. It’s not a perfect recording. I think it’s as close to our punk equivalent of Woodstock as I’ve ever run across…”

Released on 1 June, Last White X-Mas is available on CD from the Area Pirata website and digitally via Bandcamp.

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PRIMATE EMERGENCY!

Geordie pop-punks MONKEY MIND are back with a lockdown video for new single ‘Get Rid Ov Him’.

Formed in Newcastle in 2018, this supergroup of sorts comprises singer and guitarist Lee Wright from Crashed Out, bassist Michael Olga from The Toy Dolls and drummer Michael Paynton from The Panic Report. They’re currently in the process of recording their debut album.

The band’s third single, ‘Get Rid Ov Him’ is available now from Bandcamp and all the usual digital platforms.

Monkey Mind on Facebook

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ILLUMINATION FOR THE NATION!

Undeterred by lockdown, Scottish garage punks REACTION have used the time productively by making a video for lead track from their forthcoming EP.

‘Illuminate’ is taken from The La Chunky Sessions, recorded at Glasgow’s famed La Chunky studios with THRUM guitarist Johnny Smillie in the producer’s chair.

The EP represents the first set of songs to feature trumpet player and co-vocalist Jen Hart who has been with the band since last year. The video was produced by Deano McInnes and the band recorded their parts in seclusion on camera phones.

Having set out to record a third album to build on the critical acclaim of 2017’s debut Accelerator and last year’s sparkling follow-up Keep It Weird, Keep It Wired, the current Covid-19 situation left the band unable to record any further songs so the band chose to issue the existing tracks as an EP.

The La Chunky Sessions is available for pre-order now from NYC’s Tarbeach Records.

Reaction on Facebook

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DROPKICK MURPHYS ANNOUNCE LOCKDOWN GIG!

Not to be beaten by lockdown measures, DROPKICK MURPHYS have announced a major live hometown performance at Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox baseball team.

The band will be performing to an empty venue, but the gig will be streamed live via the band’s Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Twitch pages on Friday 29 May at 6pm Boston time / 11pm UK time.

Dropkick Murphys will play a full show, and will be joined remotely by BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN for a special ‘double play’ featuring one of their song and one of his.

During the live stream, a text-to-donate campaign will support three non-profits: Boston Resiliency Fund, Feeding America®, and Habitat for Humanity, Greater Boston.

The band previously played a live-streamed show on St Patrick’s Day, which reached more than 13 million people and raised more than $60,000 for the Boston Resiliency Fund, a charity providing essential services to Boston residents—including first responders and critical care providers­­—whose health and well-being are most immediately impacted by COVID-19.

Dropkick Murphys recently played a sold-out headline show at London’s Alexandra Palace with special guests Cock Sparrer. Their latest single ‘Mick Jones Nicked My Pudding’ was released in April.

Dropkick Murphys on Facebook

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NICK MARSH’S FINAL ALBUM UNVEILED…

Former FLESH FOR LULU frontman Nick Marsh is to have a posthumous album released next month, and a new video has just been unveiled.

Nick would find international success with Flesh For Lulu, and later as the guitarist with THE URBAN VOODOO MACHINE, before sadly passing away with cancer in 2015. Paul-Ronney Angel takes up the story…

On a rainy night just before the recent lockdown, friends and family of Nick got together at Nambucca Bar in north London, one of his favourite haunts. By the time the night was over they’d filmed this eye-popping, playful video for the track ‘Crazy Eyes’, taken from his forthcoming posthumous album ‘Waltzing Bones’.

A skeleton stands in for Nick in the video, playing his trademark 1962 Fender Jazzmaster, rocking onstage and backed by a colourful array of performers.

Among them are his ten year old daughter Rosa Marsh and Rosa’s mother Katharine Blake (Mediaeval Baebes, Miranda Sex Garden), who produced and finished the album for him last year.

The video also features Paul-Ronney Angel (The Urban Voodoo Machine), Nick Reynolds (son of the great train robber Bruce Reynolds and harmonica player of Alabama 3), Ray Hanson and Jim Jones (Thee Hypnotics), David Ryder Prangley (Rachel Stamp), Tomi Rae Brown (James Brown’s widow – the last book Nick was reading was a James Brown biography), David Arnoff (legendary rock photographer), Suri Sumatra (renowned burlesque performer), along with a cast of many other shady and talented characters of the London nightlife scene – all dear friends of Nick.

The video was as fun to make as it is to watch, and the evening turned out to be a fine little celebration of the life of an extraordinarily talented musician and much loved and missed man. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Set for release on 21 June, Waltzing Bones is available to pre-order here.

Nick Marsh on Facebook

Pic by David Arnoff

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AERIAL SALAD GET STRESSED!

Fast-rising Manc punks AERIAL SALAD are back with yet another new video, which they’re premiering exclusively with Vive Le Rock!

‘Stressed’ is the third single to be lifted from the trio’s acclaimed album Dirt Mall, released on their own Roach Industries imprint in conjunction with Alex Wonk’s Plasterer Records. The video is once again the work of noted punk movie director Mark Richards.

“I would walk past the location we filmed ‘Stressed’ every day for two years on my way to work,” says singer/guitarist Jamie Munro. “I always knew I wanted to film the ‘Stressed’ video there because it’s an old office block. ‘Stressed’ is a song about my descent into madness while working in an office for a blue chip company; the song’s not a glorification of weed, more just me pointing out how sad it is that that’s the only respite that can be conjured for a lot of people in their early 20s working shit jobs just to pay rent. Shout out to Tommy from Bruise Control, Lauren from LAD$ Zine (go check that out) and Keiron from Don Blake for their extra work and Mark Richards for filming.”

Dirt Mall is available here now.

Aerial Salad on Facebook

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ON AND ON AND ON AGAIN!

Garage-rockin’ Aussie powerpop trio THE ON AND ONS are back with a brand new mini-album.

Menacing Smile is the latest salvo from the Sydney-siders, following on from their two full-lengths It’s The On And Ons Calling (2015) and Welcome Aboard (2017).

Brothers Glenn (guitar/vocals) and Brian Morris (drums) had toured Australia and the US with the Paul Collins Beat before the pair hatched a plan for a new band, recruiting former Hoodoo Gurus bassist Clyde Bramley, guitarist Jon Roberts and ex-Stems keyboardist Richard Lane.

Now reduced to a trio of Morris, Morris and Bramley, the band sound fully reinvigorated on this small, yet perfectly formed, 6-track package of direct Aussie powerpop action.

Out on 17 May through the legendary Citadel label, Menacing Smile is available to pre-order here.

The On And Ons on Facebook

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GO FOR THE JUGGLER!

Pioneers of gypsy-pop-punk, ONE THE JUGGLER are back with their first new single in 35 years!

The South-East London band were tipped for major success during the early 80s with an album and several chart-grazing singles for RCA’s Regard imprint and tour supports with the likes of Big Country and Elvis Costello.

Originally featuring former Eddie & The Hot Rods drummer Steve Nicol, the band would recruit no less than Mick Ronson as guitarist and producer for their second album Some Strange Fashion, before disappearing.

Founder members Rokko, Lushi and Lin recently reconvened to record the new digital single ‘Clockwork Kitty’, a dynamic Clockwork Orange-inspired rocker that shows they’ve lost none or their edge.

‘Clockwork Kitty’ is one of two new tracks added to the reissued 2007 album Destination Planet Blue, a remastered collection of demos and unreleased tracks.

Released through Real Vision Records, Destination Planet Blue and ‘Clockwork Kitty’ are available now through Spotify and all the usual platforms.

One The Juggler on Facebook

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X (STILL) MARKS THE SPOT!

L.A. punk legends X are back with their original line-up and a brand new album.

Alphabetland marks forty years since the band’s classic Los Angeles album and thirty-five since the line-up of Exene Cervenka, John Doe, Billy Zoom, and DJ Bonebrake last made an album.

The project’s been brewing since late 2018, when the original foursome convened to work on five songs with producer Rob Schnapf, their first recordings since 1985’s Ain’t Love Grand. The five if them then returned to the studio at the start of this year to lay down a further seven songs completing the tracklisting for Alphabetland.

“When your heart is broken you think every song is about that. These songs were written in the last 18 months and it blows my mind how timely they are,” explains John Doe. “We all want our family, friends and fans to hear our records as soon as it’s finished. This time we could do that. Thanks to Fat Possum and our audience.”

The albums’ been released by Fat Possum via Bandcamp, although the band are looking to release it via alternative avenues as soon as possible.

X on Facebook

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