Songwriter Mark Vennis trails his new album with a video which he’s premiering exclusively with Vive Le Rock!
‘Fighting On All Fronts’ is the first single and title track of the album, which follows on from Mark’s previous albums with his band Different Place, Uncharted Water and A Beautiful Lie Or The Ugly Truth.
A film producer by day – he produced the acclaimed Slits documentary Here To Be Heard and the Don Letts film Rebel Dread, as well as Maxine Peake’s BIFA nominated Funny Cow – Vennis’ songs shine a spotlight on the downtrodden and the dispossessed.
“We are just trying to make sense of it all the only way we know how – through our songs,” he says.
Fighting On All Fronts is out on Friday 27 November through Cadiz Music.
Space-rock legends HAWKWIND are to release a new live album next week.
Celebrating the iconic sonic space cadets’ 50th anniversary, 50 Live was recorded on tour last November.
The release is the latest in a long line of classic live albums including the universe-straddling Space Ritual, Live ’79, The 1999 Party and Live Chronicles.
Available on double-CD and triple-vinyl, the 17-track album features several classics from the band’s illustrious career, including ‘Hurry On Sundown’ from their 1970 debut album, ‘Assault & Battery’ and ‘The Golden Void’ from 1975’s Warrior On The Edge Of Time and ‘Spirit Of The Age’ for their 1977 masterpiece Quark, Strangeness & Charm.
The band, featuring founder Dave Brock plus Tim Blake, Richard Chadwick, Niall Hone and Magnus Martin are also joined by Motorhead’s Phil Campbell for the band’s sole hit single ‘Silver Machine’ and ‘The Watcher’, written by Lemmy and first featured on the band’s classic ’72 album Doremi Fasol Latido and later on Motorhead’s self-titled debut in ’77.
Set for release on Friday 4 December, 50 Live is available to pre-order here.
London rockers THE HEAT INC. are back with a new video.
The cacophonous, brooding ‘Your After Love Song’ follows on from their debut single ‘Raptors’, whose video was premiered by Vive Le Rock! back in the summer.
Released through Melted Dino Records, the band describe the track as “a love song, like a lot of songs but it’s sort of unparalleled in the way it pairs that high gloss, rock ’n’ roll production with that level of volume. Somehow, it maintains a supra-melodic nature while turning it all the way up past twelve.”
The track is available through Bandcamp, Spotify and all the usual platforms.
As London’s nearest seaside town, Southend-on-Sea on the north bank of the Thames Estuary, was perfectly positioned for the onslaught of rock’n’roll and youth culture throughout the 50s and 60s, with its abundance of pubs, clubs and other venues. The arrival of punk in the late 70s was just as impactful, allowing bands to develop their own identity and following in splendid isolation while still allowing easy access to the thriving London scene just 30 miles down the A13.
Southend Punk Volume One brings together 14 bands from the town and its environs, including THE MACHINES, THE STEVE HOOKER BAND, THE KRONSTADT UPRISING, THE VICARS (featuring Alison Moyet, pictured), THE DECIBALLS, THE PSYCHOPATHS, THE SYNYX, THE BURNING IDOLS and THE BULLIES featuring future Cure member Perry Bamonte.
Set for release on 4 December through Angels In Exile Records, Southend Punk Volume One is available to pre-order here.
Canadian rockers SAM COFFEY & THE IRON LUNGS are back with a new single and album.
The muscular glam-stomping powerpop of ‘Back With The Gang’ catches the band in full-on Cheap Trick mode, the perfect opener for Real One, the band’s second album for Dine Alone Records.
Over the past decade the band have evolved out of the Toronto garage scene across three full-length albums and a slew of download and cassette releases. Along the way they’ve shared stages with acts as diverse as Flamin’ Groovies, Frank Tuner, The Black Lips and FIDLAR.
Real One – the name implying they’ve finally decided to take this gig seriously – finds them stretching out musically and thematically at the hands of noted producer Kevin Ratterman (White Reaper, My Morning Jacket, Strands of Oak).
Set for release on 19 February, Real One is available to pre-order here.
RICH RAGANY has just released a charity single and he’s sharing the video with Vive Le Rock!
All proceeds from the DIGRESSIONS and ROLE MODELS frontman’s ‘From Nowhere To You’ will go to The Brain Tumour Foundation Of Canada in honour of his recently departed brother George Ragany.
“George always seemed to know how, and taught me how, to try and get the best out of dark and sad times… so this is my attempt…” says Rich. “It was written in isolation after flying from the UK to Canada and getting the news he passed while I was in the air… didn’t make it to be by his side… and that is a heartbreaking fact… but hope this is a fitting tribute to his spirit and memory…. a song about love and trying to reach out against odds. I hope you can take it for yourself.”
It was recorded with the help of Rich’s old friend Reed Shimozawa, formerly of Canadian rockers ZUCKERBABY, who played on and produced the single.
‘From Nowhere To You’ is available now through Bandcamp. If you buy it on Friday 6 November, Bandcamp will waive their cut with all the money going to the charity.
American roots-punk songwriter AUSTIN LUCAS is back with a new album, released tomorrow, but he’s chosen to stream it exclusively with Vive Le Rock! today.
A troubadour in the truest sense, Lucas has spent much of the past two decades in Europe and the past few months have found the Indiana-born songwriter and activist locked down in Mainz, Germany. From this Euro vantage point he’s had the time an inclination to cast an eye on the disturbing tinderbox situation in his homeland during this most apocalyptic of years, from Black Lives Matter and the agitation of the far-right to the global shadow of Covid. The result is the ten songs on Alive, In the Hot Zone, arguably his most unrestrained and political statement yet.
“I’ve never had an album come about so fluidly, accidentally and seemingly against all odds,” he explains. “From the fact that everything about the world we’re currently living in found me sleepless, agitated and propelled me to wake up at all hours and write like a madman. To the chance meeting with Oli Rüger, who I immediately recognized for his exceptional skill set as a producer and guitar player.
“This album exists because those of us involved, took a series of obstacles and nightmare scenarios and managed to turn them into an opportunity. Thus realizing a shared creative dream, in the midst of a pandemic and political uprising.”
A veteran of US rust-belt metal and hardcore scene around the turn of the century, Lucas relocated to the Czech Republic and began releasing Americana-influenced solo albums in 2006. A highly prolific artist, his records have emerged through such labels as Hometown Caravan, Last Chance and New West, while he ‘s shared stages along the way with the likes of Willie Nelson, Ray Price, Lucero and Frank Turner.
Lucas’ second album for Cornelius Chapel, Alive, In The Hot Zone is available to order here.
Aussie rockers MR TEENAGE have just dropped a brand new EP.
The Automatic Love EP marries yob vocals, neanderthal drums and a phenomenal buzzsaw guitar sound with powerpop chops across four wholesome pub-punk burners.
The Melbourne band have only been around about a year, but with the help of their superb stand alone Bandcamp track ‘Neighbourhood’ have been turning a few heads.
The quartet – who line up as brothers Nic and Joe Imfeld on vocals/bass and lead guitar, Carey Paterson also on guitar and Nadine Muller on drums – had a raft of shows booked for 2020, including dates with Cosmic Psychos and Amyl & The Sniffers, but they’ve all gone down the dumper, so you’ll have to make do with this here EP.
BABY SHAKES have collaborated with THE UNDERTONES on a brand new single.
The glam-stomping ‘Sweet’n’Sour (Part 2)’ is the NYC girls’ take on a track from Undertones guitarist Damian O’Neill’s 2018 solo album Refit, Revise, Reprise, while the B-side ‘Really Really’, a song by drummer Billy Doherty previously to be found on the flipside of the ‘Tones ’79 hit ‘Get Over You’.
The tracks were laid down at Small Town America Studio in Derry by Billy Damian and Stephen Mailey, while the Shakes’ Mary, Judy and Claudia flew in to add their vocals.
“We have been fans of the Baby Shakes ever since they supported us at Southpaw in Brooklyn N.Y back in ‘05,” explains Damian. “I’d like to think that ‘Sweet’n’Sour’ and ‘Really Really’ neatly merge Derry poptones with New York sassy attitude. There’s an infectious new freshness and enthusiasm oozing from the grooves. The entire recording process was a total delight and that’s obvious when you put the needle on the record for the first time.”
“I really, really love the new Baby Shakes version of ‘Really Really’, adds Billy. “Working with them, Damian and my nephew Stephen Mailey was such a tonic. It was so wonderful, enjoyable and refreshing to be intoxicated with everyone’s enthusiasm. Yes, for me it was truly magical and I can’t wait to do it again.”
Set for release on 30 October through Dimple Discs, the single is available to pre-order on download and limited edition 7″ here.
KILLING JOKE frontman Jaz Coleman has expanded his artistic repertoire with a new range of foods!
The maestro has teamed up with South Coast pie company Piecaramba! to introduce two new pies to the world.
The Joker jerk chicken pie – rich with jerk seasoning, spices, and Caribbean flavours wrapped in a gluten free pastry – is a revamp of the pie Coleman launched in New Zealand in July.
The Joker is now joined by The Harlequin vegetarian pie.
“Look here, the pie is the greatest comfort food ever created and has deep meaning at this time!,” says Coleman. “Thanks to Piecaramba we have taken the humble pie to another level. With the finest ingredients and a perfected recipe we have created a masterpiece. Paired with my special reserve hot sauce and mashed potato with grated cheddar cheese, butter, milk, english mustard and black pepper – it’s no wonder why you are all salivating right now! Ha! Ha! Ha!”
And with the help of Bright Hot Sauce Company, he’s created ‘The Joker’ Honour The Fire Hot Sauce, including pomegranate, red habaneros, ghost peppers, fennel and more.
“Hot chilli sauce – now who the fuck would dare to challenge me on a hot sauce?,” he asks. “Who has had the audacity to try and flog an inferior American brand on the market at the same time as mine and… we are doing concerts together next year! Ha ha!”
The Joker Jerk Chicken pie and The Harlequin Vegetable pies will be available from the Winchester and Southampton Piecaramba restaurants, as well as the Fiddler’s Elbow Irish Pub in Brighton. From mid November they’ll also be available to order online for delivery (UK and seasonal only).
The Honour The Fire Hot Sauce will be available from Jaz’s website from 30 October.
Rock’n’roll revivalists FUMBLE have their complete recordings compiled on a new box set.
Formed in Weston-super-Mare in 1967, the band were regulars on the pub and college circuit in the early 70s, releasing a pair of major label albums – Fumble and Poetry In Lotion – with memorable Hipgnosis sleeves (the latter photographed by Throbbing Gristle’s Peter ‘Sleazey’ Christopherson).
The band were recruited by David Bowie as support on two separate tours, inculding the US Ziggy Stardust jaunt, and keyboard-player Sean Mayes was later co-opted by Bowie for the 1978 Isolar II tour, documented on Stage, and also for the ’79 album Lodger.
The band also featured alongside Shakin’ Stevens in the West End production of Elvis! The Musical and the remake of the 50s TV show Oh Boy!
Over four CDs, Not Fade Away: The Complete Recordings 1964 – 1982 features both Fumble’s original albums plus the ’79 ‘official bootleg’ live album Rumble With Fumble and their final release, the Germany-only It’s Only A Rock’n’Roll Game from ’82. The set is rounded out with tracks from Elvis! and Oh Boy!, stand alone singles, album outtakes, a BBC session and tracks by mid-60s Fumble precursor, The Iveys.
Set for release by Cherry Red on 27 November, Not Fade Away is available to pre-order here.
THE SINCLAIRS are back with a brand new video, which they’re premiering exclusively with Vive Le Rock!
Hot on the heels of their spectacular debut album Sparkle, the duo featuring Rat Scabies and Billy Shinbone from Somerset band FLIPRON and Neville Staple’s band have teamed up with our old friend Paul-Ronney Angel from THE URBAN VOODOO MACHINE for the timely single ‘Halloween Wings’.
‘Halloween Wings’ is out now through Spotify and all digital platforms via Cleopatra Records. The duo is planning to tour after the world gets back to normal.
Cult Scottish post-punks THE PRATS have a new compilation album out next month, and they’re trailing it with a video which they’re premiering exclusively with Vive Le Rock!
Aged just 12-14 when they formed, the Edinburgh quartet earned a strong local following, making their vinyl debut on the Fast Product compilation Earcom 1 in 1979. This led to their debut single ‘Die Todten Reyten Schnell’ for Da Da Records and the 1990’s Pop E.P. – featuring the track ‘Disco Pope’, a US college radio favourite – and ‘General Davis’ single for Rough Trade.
The band received a belated profile boost in 2004 when ‘General Davis’ was used in the Hollywood remake of The Manchurian Candidate, starring Denzel Washington and Meryl Streep. Their career is now the subject of a documentary Poxy Pop Groups – The Story of The Prats by independent filmmaker Angus McPake, due out later this year.
The album Prats Way Up High features the band’s three 7-inches plus demos and a previously unreleased John Peel session from ’79, regarded by the maestro as one of his favourites.
The release is dedicated to the band’s bassist Jeff Maguire who passed away in July of this year. The band say, “Jeff was always involved in the band – we used words like roadie and manager initially to describe his role although the reality is that we had very little idea what either of those meant! Jeff was great at engaging with people – a talent he displayed throughout his life and he had no problem collaring the great and the good of the local music scene, getting us gigs, support slots, interviews in fanzines etc. He eventually joined the band on bass and played on all three singles.
“After the Prats, Jeff played in local bands, went to university, studied and taught languages, here and in Spain and then worked as a civil servant for the Scottish Government where he was a highly regarded colleague, known for his ability to relate to and get on with pretty much everyone. He had a wide range of passions including punk, post-punk and classical music; football (he was an avid Hibernian fan); cycling, wine and lots more. He was also a husband and a father, married to Celine and the proud dad of Serena.
“Somebody came up with a title for a short piece which Jeff did on his experience in the band for a tape magazine in 1980. It was simply ‘The Joy of Being Jeff’. The expression was used several times at his funeral to sum up a life which was lived well and to the full but which ended way too early.”
Prats Way Up High is set for release on 13 November through One Little Independent Records. It’s available to pre-order here.
SPIZZENERGI have announced a very special Christmas single.
‘Christmas In Denmark Street’ is a lament to London’s ‘Tin Pan Alley’, home to legendary hangout The 12 Bar Club, and a protest at the devastation of Soho at the hands of soulless developers and grasping landlords.
“The chorus for ‘Christmas In Denmark Street’ came to me on a cycle home on the 10th January 2015, explains Spizz. This was the final week of The 12 Bar Club’s existence in Denmark Street – closing down to make way for the controversial Crossrail project – and coincided with my birthday week. The atmosphere in the club was fantastic and I went every night. The 12 BAR was like a musicians social club with bands dropping in after playing at other venues in the area. We were told the club would be preserved as the Crossrail transformation started to bite.
“Following my creative cycle home that night, I met up with SPIZZENERGI guitarist Luca Comencini to develop the song and it was first performed in public when Luca and I were offered an acoustic slot performing as SPIZZOLOGY supporting James Stevenson’s All Stars Band for his LP launch at The Water Rats, 17 December 2015.”
The single was mixed by legendary producer Tony Visconti, who says, “I liked the song a lot when I first heard it. As I have lived in London for 22 years, the sentiments of the song, and hope that the street could be saved, struck a chord in my heart. Spizz is a great performer and his vocals made it very appealing to me. I’m so happy with the way it turned out. It’s commercial enough to be played on the BBC and I hope it gets lots of signatures on a petition to save the street for all our efforts.”
Led by veteran campaigner Spizz, the band have gone through various line-ups and names since the 70s, including Athletico Spizz 80, Spizzoil and The Spizzles. They caught the nation’s attention in 1980 with the Indie Chart-topper and punk disco staple ‘Where’s Captain Kirk?’. Alongside Spizz and Luca, the band currently features guitarist Phil Ross and bassist Ben Lawson.
Check out a video teaser for ‘Christmas In Denmark Street’. The full video will be premiered exclusively with Vive Le Rock! next month…
Set for release on 18 December, you can pre-save ‘Christmas In Denmark Street’ here.
Folk-ska-punks THE PENNY BLACK REMEDY have the first of a pair of new compilations out this week.
With the Coronavirus lockdown effectively curtailing the band’s touring and recording plans for 2020, the band’s nucleus of Keith M Thomson and Marijana Hajdarhodžić have taken the opportunity to assemble the anthologies of previously unreleased recordings.
“Keith writes a lot of material in between albums,” explains Hajdarhodžić. “So after three studio releases (and a fourth in the pipeline), we thought it would be a good time to collate some of our favourite songs from these ‘stray recordings’ and release them over two compilation albums.”
Released digitally, Owing To Certain Complications… Vol. 1 features a selection of acoustic recordings amassed over the past seven years since the release of the band’s second album Inhale…Exhale, OK, Now You Can Panic! and subsequent to their most recent full-length Maintaining Dignity In Awkward Situations, released in 2017.
“These songs weren’t originally intended to be released together,” adds Thomson. “But we’re delighted with how cohesive (and lyrically, how oddly prescient) the album has turned out to be.”
The pair recently shot a typically good-natured new video for the track ‘Before I Go’ in rehearsal in Dubrovnik with local musicians Antonije Doranja, Ivo Kukuljica Kucac and Igor Surjan.
The second anthology – “a significantly less acoustic affair” – will follow in 2021.
Due for release on 16 October on the band’s mono del mundo label via Cadiz, Owing To Certain Complications… Vol. 1 is available to pre-order here.
Legendary music journalist and author Kris Needs has seen it all. From rock ‘n’ roll tours with the likes of The Clash, Blondie and Motorhead, to doing the last ever interview with Bob Marley, there’s no point in music history from the past 50 years that Kris hasn’t witnessed front and centre. As an editor or writer for a slew of magazines Kris has secured his legacy.
But nothing prepared him for what would happen when his beloved dog Jack came along.
From the age of five, I’d always been a rabbit person; keeping, unwittingly breeding and drawing them on Christmas and birthday cards for family and friends.
There’d been three family dogs who I loved but my mum mainly doted on because I was always running off to gigs, before moving out when I was 21.
Rock the Casbah
By that time, I’d become involved with running David Bowie’s fan club, which led to running one for Mott The Hoople for a couple of years – my entry into the music business and world of rock ‘n’ roll! After starting my working life on the local Bucks Advertiser, a major turning point came with taking over as editor of Zigzag magazine in 1977.
For the next five years, I was in the front-line of punk, interviewing, touring and hanging out with bands including The Clash, Blondie, Motorhead, Ramones, Sex Pistols, PiL, Siouxsie & The Banshees, Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers, Killing Joke and many more.
It was incredible fun going on tour with, in particular, The Clash, Blondie and Motorhead – mania every night while they became close friends. I also developed a healthy relationship with Keith Richards that could see an afternoon interview go on for two days! I also did the last interview with Bob Marley before he passed away.
After that, I worked for various publications, including editing a teenie mag called Flexipop!, spent five years chaotic years in the danger zones of New York City, then came back to the UK and got involved with The Orb, Andrew Weatherall and the acid house movement that had erupted while I’d been away.
This led to making records with my American girlfriend Wonder, an incredible singer who saved my life in so many ways. We had a project called Secret Knowledge that released singles like ‘Sugar Daddy’ on Andrew and Nina Walsh’s Sabres Of Paradise label. At the same time, I knocked out hundreds of remixes and recommenced the DJing I’d starting doing in the 70s, playing clubs around the world and touring with Primal Scream and Prodigy.
Life started quietening down in the 2000s when I began writing for music mags including MOJO, Record Collector, Shindig, Classic Rock, etc, and putting these experiences into books, including my autobiography then biographies of Keith Richards, The Clash, Primal Scream, Blondie and the New York Dolls. But I was still a staunch rabbit devotee – even in 2012 I had about ten!
Then I met Helen, who was doing press for my Blondie book and asked if I’d do some interviews to promote it. Initially, we developed an online penpal-type relationship. I talked about my rabbits and Helen told me about her dog Jack, who she’d been given in 2004 by a lovely lady from Milan called Cecilia when she was living on Ibiza. Jack’s mum Lily was a Papillon and his dad a Schnauzer and all sorts.
For many years, one of my specialities had been painting rabbits for friends, but when Helen sent me photos of Jack I instantly fell in love and offered to do his portrait. I could see he was a total character, with deeply magnetic eyes and a beautiful smile. By now, I was living in deepest Cornwall and Helen had moved to the picturesque village of Thaxted in Essex
When I’d done the painting of Jack – as a space dog because I was then writing a book about Funkadelic – we arranged to meet in Hampstead in September 2013 on one of my trips back into civilisation so I could give it to her in person. It was love at first sight and she loved the painting.
Our first proper date was a Mott the Hoople reunion show in November. It was somehow great that the band who’d played such a part in my teenage years catalysed the start of my relationship with Helen. After I missed the last train back to my mum’s house in Aylesbury, she suggested I stay at her cottage. That’s when I met Jack for the first time.
The first thing I noticed was the smile. It lit up his face and the room. He soon emerged as a real character who wondered what this strange new bloke was doing in his cottage. Helen told me how he’d been a handful as a puppy, wearing a lit-up collar so she could spot him roaming in the hills above the Ibiza beaches and the only dog ever to get thrown out of training classes on the island.
Now he was known as “The happiest dog in Thaxted”, loving his Friday pigs ear ritual and walking by the nearby windmill.
I fell for Jack at the same time as Helen, soon drawing him on cards and trying to paint him for Helen. I’d never met a dog like this before; such a little character with his own routines and relentlessly hilarious antics. Soon a bond was forming.
When Helen started falling ill around 2016, it increasingly fell on me to take Jack for his walks and feed him, etc. He became more of my constant companion, lying asleep next to me while I was writing and doing something that made me smile every day while I nursed his mummy.
Helen told me before she passed away in Jun 2018 that she’d deliberately eased off from fussing over Jack so me and him could develop a bond (although I’d still catch them having what she called a “love-in” cuddle if I’d gone out of the room, a tradition I’ve upheld). During that very difficult time, I would take Jack for two or three hour walks around the Essex countryside; where we’d gone with his mummy and beyond. He was my lifeline and, as ever, demonstrated such intuition and ability to lift the spirits.
Where Are We Now?
Nearly two years ago now, Jack and I came to live with my mum in the house in Aylesbury where I’d grown up. Now 93, my mum needs me now and I’m happy to be looking after her after all she’s done for me (probably not the easiest task in the past!).
Although she’d met him before, she fell in love with Jack instantly, and the feeling’s mutual as he spends a lot of the time lying next to her chair.
The rest of the time, Jack’s with me the whole time, his walks a daily highlight. He’s also made firm friends with Loftus, my last remaining rabbit; always going out to kiss him on the nose good morning and good night.
He’s a remarkable dog who undoubtedly got me through the darkest days after Helen was taken away and now makes life under lockdown bearable as I protect my mum. Words can’t express how I feel about Jack but a day goes by when he doesn’t send some feeling of joy soaring through my heart (I’ve never encountered this before with a pet or even a human, except Helen).
Although he’s now 16, Jack still boasts an incredible spirit (his mum Lilly was still bouncing around at 18). His recent haircut worked wonders and, despite a touch of arthritis, is prompting puppy-like behaviour.
Jack’s quite fussy with his food so I spend a lot of time (and money!) trying to find something he likes. We’re looking forward to trying out Bone Idol!
Kris’ latest books Just a Shot Away: 1969 Revisited, parts one and two are out now.
TV SMITH returns with a new album, dates and video which he’s launching today.
The former ADVERTS frontman recorded the aptly titled album Lockdown Holiday when COVID-19 forced the cancellation of his shows for 2020, including support tours with Stiff Little Fingers and Die Toten Hosen.
“I never intended to make this record,” says Smith. “But lockdown came, all my gigs were cancelled and I suddenly found myself with a lot of time on my hands and a lot to write about. The ideas started flowing and before I knew it I had eleven brand new songs. Not only that but in one way or another they all commented on the situation of a country suffering under a pandemic. I realised that I had on my hands that most un-punk of things – a concept album.”
With Rebellion sadly also having been cancelled, Smith returns to Blackpool on 6th and 7th November for a pair of socially distanced gigs at The Almost Acoustic Club at Gillow’s Bar in the Winter Gardens. Go here for full details and tickets.
Smith launches a first video from the album today. One ‘side’ of a double-A-side video single, ‘Send In The Clown’ will be followed by the second video next week.
Set for release on 27th November through Easy Action Records, Lockdown Holiday is available to pre-order here.