RISING SONS!

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

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

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

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

What sort of bands were you watching growing up?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Haven’t you been out in America?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Watch the documentary Foundry Folk Songs

Sons Of Southern Ulster on Facebook

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PET NEEDS VIDEO PREMIERE!

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

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

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

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

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

Stream/download ‘Toothpaste’ here.

Pre-order Fractured Party Music here.

Pet Needs on Facebook

Pic by Jonathan Doyle

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CULT FIGURES VIDEO PREMIERE!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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HARD-ONS ON FILM!

Aussie legends HARD-ONS are to have their amazing story captured on celluloid.

Hard-Ons: The Most Australian Band Ever! is a new feature-length doc from Living Eyes Films, the makers of the award-winning Radio Birdman doc, Descent Into The Maelstrom.

Forming at high-school in the Sydney suburb of Punchbowl, the multi-racial trio emerged out of the highly fertile 80s Aussie underground scene taking their hugely-influential supercharged pop-punk around the world, sharing stages with the likes of Ramones, Nirvana, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. The band hold an Australian indie chart record with no fewer than 17 consecutive No.1s. Their most recent album, 2019’s So I Could Have Them Destroyed proves there’s no sign of them slowing down just yet, the band already preparing material for their 13th album.

“The Hard-Ons are extremely pleased to be having a documentary made about us, by professionals that know our band musically, spiritually and ideologically, very well,” says bassist Ray Ahn. “We are honoured and flattered. We look forward to the finished film in great anticipation. We want our story told.”

With the film already in production, the band and producers are currently soliciting donations to complete the project. To find out how you can contribute, go here.

 

Hard-Ons on Facebook

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THE BLIPS VIDEO PREMIERE!

Alabama pop-punkers THE BLIPS trail their forthcoming debut album with a video which they’re premiering exclusively with Vive Le Rock!

‘Throw Me Around’ is the second single to be taken from the Birmingham band’s self-titled album which is due out on 9 April through Cornelius Chapel.

“The music to ‘Throw Me Around’ was the first song the band wrote entirely together,” says the band’s Taylor Hollingsworth. “I wrote the words after coming up with the vocal melody. The song is about a relationship you have with someone who lives a fast life. It could be a friend, or a lover, but either way, it’s someone you see as more exciting than yourself. It’s someone you are intrigued by and attracted to, but when you finally join in for the ride, it’s a bit more than you bargained for. You regret letting yourself be persuaded by them, yet when it’s over, you want more.”

Emerging out of the same Alabama southern-punk scene that has produced giants like The Dexateens and Verbena, The Blips are a supergroup of sorts, their five members serving time in a variety of bands over the years including The Dexateens, Timber, Vulture Whale, Holy Youth, Bad Hops, Dead Fingers and Conor Oberst and The Mystic Valley Band.

The ten tracks that comprise their debut were laid down in February 2020, two weeks ahead of prior to lockdown at drummer Wes McDonald’s Ole’ Elegante studio with Verbena’s Les Nuby engineering. The band members were then forced to share their thoughts on the mixing and mastering process via the medium of text-messaging.

The Blips is available to pre-order here.

The Blips on Facebook

Pic by Dustin Timbrook

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KILLING TIME!

London punks TIME TO KILL have just dropped a video from their forthcoming EP.

A raging punk/metal crossover anthem, ‘Infected’ shines a spotlight on police corruption and brutality.

“‘Infected’ is a shout out to all brave people who stand up for their cause in peaceful way and face the brutality of law enforcement officers,” they say.

Fronted by Vibrators vocalist/bassist Pete Honkamäki, the Time To Kill also feature former Demented Are Go guitarist Stan Standen and drummer Ed Avian.

‘Infected’ is available to download here.

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GOOD TIMES AHEAD FOR BLACK SPIDERS!

Reignited Sheffield rockers BLACK SPIDERS have just dropped a video for their new single.

‘Good Times’ is a storming cover of the classic hit by The Easybeats, the Australian band formed by future AC/DC producers Harry Vanda and George Young (brother of Angus and Malcolm), and has been recorded by numerous bands including Shocking Blue, Quartz and The Count Bishops.

The track is the lead song from a four-track EP, Deaf Proof, which precedes the band’s forthcoming new self-titled album and includes three new songs not on the record.

“We recorded a lot of songs for our third album, there was so much material it was difficult to see which songs sounded like an album,” says singer/guitarist Ozzy Lister. “This EP is made up from songs that didn’t make it, but we felt still deserved to be heard.”

Download Deaf Proof here.

Set for release on 26 March, Black Spiders is available to pre-order here.

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EVEN MORE PRESSURE!

Coventry ska legends THE SELECTER’s classic debut album is to get a new expanded reissue.

Initially released in February 1980 , Too Much Pressure was the second long-player to emerge on the 2 Tone label, coming just four months after THE SPECIALS’ self-titled debut.

Rising to No.5 in the album charts, the album featured the Top 30 hits ‘Three Minute Hero’ and ‘Missing Words’.

As part of a 2 Tone reissues programme from the recently relaunched Chrysalis label, the album is to be re-released as a 3-CD box set, comprising the original 12-track album and stand-alone singles ‘The Selecter’ and the Top 10 ‘On My Radio’ as well as a Peel Session, live tracks, outtakes and other previously unreleased rarities. The set is completed by a booklet with sleevenotes by author Daniel Rachel.

At the same time, Chrysalis will be releasing a half-speed mastered 45rpm edition of the album on black or clear vinyl, with a bonus 7″ of ‘On My Radio’. Both versions are set for release on 23 April.

The Selecter on Facebook

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FUNK’S NOT DEAD!

A new box set anthologises that period in the immediate aftermath of punk when musicians began drawing influence from US funk.

Bands – most notably Gang Of Four and The Pop Group – began marrying often confrontational lyrics and exploratory, experimental sounds with the bass and drum rhythms of Funkadelic and the Fatback Band, and emboldened by New York’s no-wave movement brought post-punk to the dancefloor.

Compiled and with sleevenotes by noted DJ and writer Bill Brewster, the 3-disc Shake The Foundations: Militant Funk & The Post-Punk Dancefloor 1978-1984 features a raft rarely heard floorfillers from familiar bands like THE HIGSONS (pictured), A CERTAIN RATIO, SIMPLE MINDS, 23 SKIDOO and JAH WOBBLE to the less familiar – QUANDO QUANGO, PLAYGROUP, THE CHICKEN GRANNY etc…

Set for release through Cherry Red on 26 March, Shake The Foundations is available to pre-order here.

Track Listing

DISC ONE

  1. GUESS WHO? – A Certain Ratio
  2. COUP – 23 Skidoo
  3. 100 EVIL SMOKESTACKING BABY – Haircut 100
  4. THIS FEAR OF GODS – Simple Minds
  5. LOVE 30 – The Stranglers
  6. BORN EVERY MINUTE – The Passage
  7. SARAVA – Blue Rondo A La Turk
  8. SERBIAN VILLAGE – Medium Medium
  9. PUSH OUT THE BOAT – The Higsons
  10. POST WAR GLAMOUR GIRLS – John Cooper Clarke
  11. SKIN DEEP – The Passions
  12. INVADERS OF THE HEART (MIX ONE) –Jah Wobble
  13. CAN YOU MOVE – Modern Romance
  14. SLANG TEACHER – Wide Boy Awake
  15. HYPNOTISED – C Cat Trance
  16. STRETCH – Maximum Joy

DISC TWO:

  1. LIONS – Tones On Tail
  2. TRUST IS A MUST – Ian Dury
  3. WHAT DANCE IS THIS? – Perfect Zebras
  4. FAITH & HOPE & CHARITY – The Fun Boy Three
  5. DREAM GAMES – Shock
  6. RUSHA – Jesse Rae
  7. DON’T – Thomas Leer
  8. BIG MAN RESTLESS – Kissing The Pink
  9. BLUE FOR YOU – Paul Haig
  10. FREQUENCY 7 – Visage
  11. BANG EM RIGHT – Six Sed Red
  12. TINGLE – Quando Quango
  13. CCCAN’T YOU SEE – Vicious Pink
  14. MOVE ON – Fashiøn
  15. SET FIGHTER – Wide Boy Awake

DISC THREE:

  1. WHEN ARE WE? (NOW WE ARE) – Surface Mutants
  2. WHY ARE WE IN LOVE – Furniture
  3. ROB A BANK – The Pop Group
  4. GET IT RIGHT – Animal Magic
  5. BLACK LEATHER – Nightmares In Wax
  6. OBEDIENCE – Normil Hawaiians
  7. ASBESTOS LEAD ASBESTOS – The 012
  8. KEEP BEAT – Vee VV
  9. LIVING WILD – Mataya Clifford
  10. SO MANY WAYS – Electric Chairs
  11. DREAMS ARE BETTER – London Underground
  12. ARTY-FACT – Group Therapy
  13. WE ARE ALL ANIMALS – The Diagram Brothers
  14. QUIT THE BODY – The Chicken Granny
  15. BED BOUND SAGA – Machine Gunn Hogg And Co
  16. HOGGS MIGHT FLY – Playgroup
  17. SHAKE (THE FOUNDATIONS) – Glaxo Babies
  18. DISCO PURGE – Family Fodder

Pic by Steve Rapport

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MARIACHI EL MIDLANDS!

The world’s number one mariachi-sleaze band GYPSY PISTOLEROS have just unveiled the first video from their forthcoming new album.

‘Lost In A Town Called Nowhere’ is the taken from the album The Mescalito Vampires, which follows quickly on the heels of last year’s self-descriptively titled The Greatest Flamenco Glam Sleaze Band Ever!, their debut for Golden Robot Records.

Hailing from the lawless badlands of Worcestershire, the Pistoleros have been described as the ideal house band for The Titty Twister, the club in Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s classic ’96 Tex-Mex vampire flick From Dusk Till Dawn, fusing Hanoi Rocks-style glam-punk with mariachi horns and flamenco guitars.

Set for release on 26 February, ‘Lost In A Town Called Nowhere’ will be available on Riot Records on limited edition red-and-gold splatter vinyl 7″. Pre-order it from Carnival Records from 12 February.

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KEEP US ON THE RODENT!

Swedish punks ROTTEN MIND have just unveiled a new video.

The four-piece from Uppsala have been going since 2015 and are one of the four original bands associated with leading alternative rock label Lövely Records.

‘City Rats’ is the opening cut from the band’s fourth album Rat City Dog Boy, released last year.

The video, presumably depicting a typical Friday night in Uppsala, was filmed and edited by Daniel Wiberg. Rats in leather jackets: now that we can handle!

Rat City Dog Boy is available here.

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RETURN TO OZ!

One of the most important books on Australian underground rock is to be republished next month.

Stranded by Clinton Walker was first published back in 1996 and, subtitled Australian Independent Music 1976 – 1992 examines in intimate detail one of the most vibrant and fertile periods in world punk and post-punk history.

Something of a companion piece to Walker’s seminal book Inner City Sound, published in 1981, Stranded casts an eye over the first stirring of Australia’s independent scene built around such labels as Missing Link, Phantom, Au-Go-Go, Waterfront, Hot, Red Eye and Half-a-Cow and such musically and historically significant bands as THE SAINTS, RADIO BIRDMAN, BOYS NEXT DOOR/BIRTHDAY PARTY (pictured), GO-BETWEENS, X, VICTIMS, SPK, LIPSTICK KILLERS, SCIENTISTS, LAUGHING CLOWNS, SEVERED HEADS, MOODISTS, TRIFFIDS, CELIBATE RIFLES, HARD-ONS, DIED PRETTY, BEASTS OF BOURBON, NEW CHRISTS, GOD, RATCAT, SPIDERBAIT, YOU AM I, THE DIRTY 3 and many more…

One of Australia’s most important rock writers, with unequalled insider access to the scene from day one and numerous insightful, incisive books and articles to his name, Walker has substantially expanded Stranded with new foreword and afterword, extensive and revealing footnotes that “now actually tell the whole truth!”, and many new illustrations.

Stranded: Australian Independent Music 1976-1992, Revised & Expanded Edition is set to be republished by The Visible Spectrum on 26 February.

Check out the Stranded Spotify playlist…

Pic by Kevin Blyth

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FLAMING SIDEBURNS VIDEO EXCLUSIVE!

Finnish garage-rock legends THE FLAMING SIDEBURNS herald their new album with a brand new video which they’re premiering exclusively with Vive Le Rock!

‘A Song For Robert’ is taken from the album Silver Flames, the first to feature all five original members of the band in twenty years. The song itself is a tribute to Hellacopters and Thunder Express guitarist Robert Dahlqvist who sadly passed away in 2017.

Formed in Helsinki in 1995, and quickly proving themselves in the Premier League of Northern European garage-rock, the original line-up lasted until their now classic debut album Hallelujah Rock’n’Rollah in 2001, before guitarist Arimatti Jutila moved to the US, forcing the band into a prolonged game of musical chairs.

After two more albums and hundreds of shows, the band finally ground to a halt in 2016, only for the founder members to reunite two years later for reunion dates. Realising the old magic was still there, it wasn’t long before the band returned to the studio with a bunch of arse-kicking new material and longtime friend and producer Jürgen Hendlmeier in the chair.

Silver Flames is set for release through Svart Records on 23 April and is available for pre-order here.

The Flaming Sideburns on Facebook

Pic by Neil Smith

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WHAT A CARRY ON!

GRAND ROYALE have just dropped a new video as a taster for their brand new album.

The track ‘Just As Bad As You’ is the third single to be taken from the band’s forthcoming fifth album Carry On and features special guest singer Dregen of Hellacopters and Backyard Babies fame.

The Swedish action rockers are no strangers to working with members of Hellacopters having previously corralled Nicke Andersson to produce their third album Breaking News, their debut for The Sign Records.

This time around, the band have opted to produce the record themselves, with mixing by Robert Pehrsson from the band Humbucker, achieving a much rawer, back to basics sound.

”On our previous record Take It Easy we experimented a lot with different instruments and sounds to challenge ourselves,” says guitarist and singer Gustav Wremer. “To make something that, to us, is a bit unusual and that stands out from our other albums. On ’Carry On’ we’re focusing on what we’re best at – dirty garage rock n roll. We’ve basically recorded and produced the entire record ourselves. I think it ended up great. No fuzz, no muss, just rock!”

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DANDY IN CAMERA!

MARC BOLAN and T REX are celebrated in a new high quality coffee table book.

Published to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of his first ever No.1 single ‘Hot Love’, Marc brings together more than 300 rare and seldom seen photos.

Compiled by T Rex fan Carlton Sandercock, owner of UK record label Easy Action, the book has been two years in the making and spans Marc’s career from 1965 with photos from the Evening standard announcing a new pop sensation to Marc’s untimely and tragic death in 1977. The final double page spread features fan Polaroids, which would turn out to be the last photos taken of Marc, catching him in a happy and fun moment with two of his fans. “It was important that the last chapter of the book be as positive as it was possible to be under the circumstances,” says Sandercock.

Clocking in at 300 pages, this hefty hardback volume measures 14″ x 11″ and weighs in at a hefty 2.6 kilos. Published in an initial run of 500 copies, the first 100 will be hand numbered and will feature two professional prints not included in the book.

“Many of the photographers I knew from licencing photos for Easy Action projects.” says Sandercock. “It was good to talk to and meet with some of them but sadly during the process of this book, some we lost along the way -Michael Putland, Richard Fitzgerald, Terry O Neil, Keiron ‘Spud’ Murphy (who took the cover image at Trident Studios during the recording of the classic Electric Warrior album).

“One highlight was meeting Peter Sanders who was Marc’s best man and also introduced him to percussionist Mickey Finn. Peter photographed three of the first four Tyrannosaurus Rex LPs as well as the iconic first T Rex album.

“One of the key frustrations was that many many original negs have since neem lost stolen over the years. It was practice in some instances for photographers to take a load of shots and send the actual negs to pop magazines as they couldn’t afford to copy them. The magazine wouldn’t ever return them, and most would end up in the bin. Classic images that as a teenager you grew up with, lost forever!

“Many of the photographers that shot Marc went on to become big names in the fashion world or well-known famous photographers who at the time were just getting a portfolio together such as Alec Byrne, Terry O Neill, Richard Imrie (who I tracked down to an island on Hawaii), David Steen….”

The Book is split into five chapters. The 60s – 1967-1970; Tyrannosaurus Rex – 1971-1973; the classic T Rex – 1974-1976; the wilderness years – 1977; the Return of the Dandy. Intensively researched, the book includes photos from UK, France, Holland, Germany, Japan, Sweden, Denmark and the USA, with live action shots amid posed sessions and album cover outtakes. The book is embellished with quotes from Marc himself as well as his fellow artists, with an exclusive introduction by famed T Rex publicist BP Fallon along with T Rex drummer Bill Legend and Marc’s partner Gloria Jones. 

Marc is only available form the Official Marc Bolan Merch Co.

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SPIZZ CELEBRATES BOWIE!

SPIZZ ENERGI celebrate the majesty of DAVID BOWIE on their new single out today!

Rather than channelling glam Bowie, Berlin Bowie or 80s funk Bowie, they’ve chosen to revisit the later years with a cover of ‘Valentine’s Day’ from his 2013 album The Next Day.

Mixed by longtime Bowie confidante and producer Tony Visconti, the release both commemorates the Starman’s passing as well as getting in early for St Valentine’s day, less than a month away.

“I’ve reached the difficult age where family and friends find it impossible to choose a birthday present for me,” says frontman Spizz about the decision to cover the track . “Fed up with the nagging I took the initiative and bought tickets to see David Bowie’s acclaimed play Lazarus at the giant pop up theatre in Kings Cross London (on my birthday – 11 Jan). After various drop outs and declines, SpizzEnergi guitarist Luca Comencini and I saw the show and were both knocked out by ‘Valentine’s Day’ which featured prominently in the performance. We, there and then, decided to include the song in our live-set as the band were booked for the upcoming BowieCon later that year”.

‘Valentine’s Day’ is available to stream/download here.

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NOFX HIT THE LINO!

L.A. punk legends NOFX herald their forthcoming album with a new video.

New single ‘Linewleum’ celebrates one of the band’s most famous – and most covered – songs, ‘Linoleum’, taken from their classic 1994 album Punk In Drublic. The new track features a guest appearance from Huntington Beach metallers Avenged Sevenfold.

“I have no idea why ‘Linoleum’ is the NOFX song that is covered by so many bands while other NOFX songs get hardly any attention,” says bassist/singer Fat Mike. “‘Linoleum’ wasn’t a single, it had no video, it got no radio play, and most importantly, it didn’t even have a chorus!!! All popular songs have choruses! WTF! So, one night I stayed up till 4:00 am checking out all the different versions on YouTube. Watching hundreds of bands from over 28 countries (mostly Indonesia) doing ‘Linoleum’ was a humbling experience for me. So I decided to write a song that was a shout-out to all those people that learned those four chords and remembered the non-rhyming lyrics. Then I asked the biggest of all the bands (Avenged Sevenfold) to play some leads on the song. Then M Shadows suggested we do a video together. Then I figured I should put all of the bands in the video. Well, I couldn’t fit all the bands, but I picked a bunch of cool ones! A song about not playing a song that’s not a hit song with a video about other bands covering the song! This is why I love punk rock writing punk songs. Rules out the door!”

The band’s 14th album, Single Album was recorded at San Francisco’s Motor Studios with Jason Livermore and Descendents drummer Bill Stevenson producing.

Single Album is set for release on 26 February through Fat Wreck and is available to pre-order here.

‘Linewleum’ is available to stream/download here.

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