On the eve of the release of their career-spanning anthology Time Lapse, Vive Le Rock talks to Alex Novak from Northampton post-punks VENUS FLY TRAP.
Can you give a brief history of Venus Fly Trap.
I had been in a band called Attrition who were based in London at the time, I had done an album and toured Holland/UK with them. Decided to move back to my native Northampton famous for Bauhaus, Alan Moore and the film Kinky Boots, hooked up with my brother John Novak (Isaws, Where’s Lisse) and Tony Booker an ex art school student, I had also studied at art school. The line-up has changed many times over the years: Andy Denton joined via a local band Crowman, initially as the drummer and ended up playing guitar and has done for many years.
Your new album Time Lapse collects tracks from three albums – Totem, Pandora’s Box and Luna Tide. What was your reasoning for a three-in-one rather than individual releases?
It was basically the time it would take to release individual albums: to promote those albums, and the costs, it just seemed to make more sense. If someone else would like to reissue everything in one go in the future then that’s fine. It gave me an opportunity to pick tracks and create an alternative album for this alternate reality.
You’ve talked about VFTs albums as existing in triptychs. How do these three albums relate to each other?
Well, two came out on Danceteria, the line-up was pretty consistent with the core members being present. I would say Luna Tide was a transition album with members who had joined at the time of Pandora’s Box being retained, so shifts in line-up rather than seismic changes. But generally it was a band line-up with the usual drums, guitar, bass and keys which kept it within certain parameters but with some experimenting in the studio.
There was quite a sonic shift from the post punk of Totem to more organic Luna Tide. Why the constant evolution?
As new members join they add their influences to the pot, also we replaced electronic drum pads with a real drummer (on Mars we had a drum machine) and sequencers with an analogue keyboard player so that will effect the feel.
Despite this they remain easily identifiable as VFT. What’s the aesthetic holding them together?
I guess one thing would be myself: I have been the only constant in all the line-ups and I want the sound to fit certain parameters. Luna Tide was at the edge of those parameters and I didn’t want to continue in that particular direction for Dark Amour but that’s another story.
Certainly not a metal album, Luna Tide nevertheless got a glowing review in the metal bible Kerrang!. What was the crossover appeal?
I think at that time the magazine was covering a lot wider musical tastes not just the traditional stuff but also grunge, alternative rock and goth so we fitted within that brief.
How did you decide what tracks to include on Time Lapse?
Tried to get tracks to fit together and get a flow going, changed the order on some of the tracks from Luna Tide as they seemed to fit together better.
Fans have a special relationship with songs. Were you worried about omitting someone’s favourite when assembling Time Lapse?
This is an alternative album for an alternate reality, those albums don’t exist in this reality, another time and another place the dice would fall differently.
Time Lapse seems a pretty apt title for these strange times.
Time has been changed: are we going forward or are we in limbo?
How will you promote the album in the midst of a pandemic?
Via the net, magazines, radio and whatever portals and wormholes are open to transmit information.
VENUS FLY TRAP Time Lapse 1989-1994 (Glass Modern)
Northampton’s Venus Fly Trap, like Killing Joke or Public Image, are a band in constant flux with their discography shapeshifting from it’s post-punk beginnings to a darkwave electronica. The aptly titled Time Lapse selects tracks from three albums which encapsulates the bands evolution.
Venus Fly Trap found great favour on the continent and French label Danceteria released Totem in 1989. Four tracks from that record open this collection beginning with ‘Out Of Your Depth’, an epic of biblical proportions. Opening like the gates of Babylon it finds vocalist Alex Novak wailing, as if the love child of Nico and Jim Morrison, over a tangle of discordant guitars and sombre electronics. There’s a definite cinematic quality to these songs, especially the darker end of celluloid and ‘Rainy Latvian Wedding’ would make the ideal soundtrack to some unsettling film noir such as The Cremator.
Two years later and Pandora’s Box spilled its delights on an unwary public. ‘Shadow Ministry’: a baby’s wail, guitar dripping icicles and glacial synths constantly repositions the listener as it swirls around the room like some unruly spirit. The truly haunting ‘Sidewinder’ is a midnight stroll through the grounds of Stephen King’s Overlook Hotel while the albums lead single ‘Achilles Heel’ skips along on waves of effervescence. Producer Pat Fish sprinkled his magic on proceedings and produced a busy yet uncluttered sound which mirrored the bands frenetic energy.
When they returned in 1994 with Luna Tide it was with a more organic effort that veered in a more rock direction. However, in whatever guise they appeared there’s a dark aesthetic present and no more so than on ‘Storm Clouds Are Gathering’. The Velvet Underground meets Suicide, it takes a sombre turn that jars with the metronomic explosion that is ‘Moscow Menagerie’. Ensuring the album ends as it began the funereal ‘Heretic’ is a dark procession that leads to a haunting conclusion.
Despite the years and genres that separates these tracks they hang together as a cohesive whole and make a deliciously dark that’s perfect for these dark times.
THE URBAN VOODOO MACHINE’s genial frontman Paul-Ronney Angel celebrates a year of lockdown with a very special livestream show this weekend.
Since lockdown began, every Saturday night Paul-Ronney and his partner Ane Angel have been staging intimate yet uplifting performances and livestreaming them to the outside world via the Urban Voodoo Machine Facebook page.
Featuring a host of UVM classics and newly-minted and frequently topical songs, making poignant observations about the state of the world we find ourselves in, the shows have also included an array of guests (where Covid restritions allow) such as Rat Scabies, Tamirae Brown and Jim Jones, and of course various UVM colleagues.
This Saturday 20 March, the 53rd episode will mark a full year of broadcasts. Kicking off at 8pm GMT, all are invited to join the livestream here.
In related news, this coming June will see the release of Paul-Ronney’s debut solo album London Texas Lockdown, while The Urban Voodoo Machine’s long awaited new album $nake 0i£ €ngine is due in September.
HAWKWIND: DAYS OF THE UNDERGROUND Joe Banks (Strange Attractor) 9/10 Emerging out of the late-60s Ladbroke Grove squat scene, Hawkwind’s story has always seemed to be one of sheer luck more than design, from being in the right place at the right time, cloistered in a space-rock cocoon of bleeps, whooshing sounds, squawking sax and garage-rock guitars while the zeitgeist – both cultural and political – spirals chaotically around them.
The band’s now fifty-year trip has been told before, through other excellent and insightful biographies, but Joe Banks has, perhaps wisely, given the enormity of the task, restricted his book to the band’s first decade – arguably Hawkwind’s Golden Age – when a bunch of freaks soared to the top of the charts, going on to take on the punks at their own game.
Daunting at first, unlike most biographies Days Of the Underground is comprised of different types of chapter – the standard chronology of events; in-depth album-by-album appraisals; searching interviews with key players; and, perhaps most importantly, essays in which Banks adroitly gets to the nub of the musical, philosophical and historical context surrounding the band, their coterie and their environment, throwing early-70s West London in particular and the post-hippie comedown in general into vivid relief. Gerry Ranson
Fresh-faced Aussie punks THE KIDS have just dropped a video for their latest single.
Not to be confused with the Belgian punk vets of ‘This Is Rock’n’Roll’ fame, these Kids are a bunch of skateboard-loving 18-year-old hardcore yobs from Sydney, who claim they’re “making music with the sole intent to piss you off”.
‘Go Back To Canberra’ is their spiky middle-fingered anti-anthem to Australia’s capital city and seat of government.
You can stream/download ‘Go Back To Canberra’ here.
London punks HEALTHY JUNKIES are back with another video which they’re premiering exclusively with Vive Le Rock!
Unable to gig for a year, the band have been writing new material and making videos “to keep us sane.”
‘Streets Of Olympia’, taken from the band’s Forever On The Road album, is inspired by their 2018 US tour, which took them to the city of Olympia in Washington State for a couple of shows.
“There was a large contingent of homeless teenagers/twenty-somethings in there,” says guitarist Phil Honey-Jones. “They lived in tents on a designated car park. They were so welcoming to us, and then moshed themselves into a wild frenzy during our show with one guy breaking a wrist and another girl dislocating her shoulder. It was a cool scene there back in 2018, it was like a modern day court of miracles. I often wonder what became of them. This song is for them.”
The video was directed and edited by Shogo Hino and filmed at Jumping Sofa Studio in London.
Currently in the process of recording tracks for their next album, Healthy Junkies are in the throes of planning UK shows for the Autumn.
Ascendant Belfast band NEW PAGANS have just unveiled a video from their forthcoming debut album.
‘Habour’ is the third single to be taken from The Seed, The Vessel, The Roots and All, following on from the recent ‘Christian Boys’ and ‘Yellow Room’, released last summer.
“The video was shot on a freak dry day, in between weeks of snow and lashing rain, at St. Cooey’s Well,” says bassist and video director Clare Miskimmin. “Lyndsey [McDougall, vocals] had been a few times and kept it in mind as a stunning and pretty sinister location. It dates back to the 7th Century and the 70s altar actually houses the foundation stones of the old monastery. That lent itself to the basic premise of summoning a world and its inhabitants beyond ours, hidden from our view. Merging two realities.
“I love how the very last line is ‘it’s just you and me’, and how Lyndsey and her summoned doppelganger are swallowed up by the altar,” Clare continues. “Stuart Sloan, our editor, and I are massive David Lynch fans and nobody does the world beyond the veil like Lynch so we just ran with that vibe. Our very own entrance to the Black Lodge in the wilds of County Down.”
With the album set for release through Big Scary Monsters on 19 March, the band have lined up a special livestream event for the same day as a lockdown launch gig. The show will take place in Derry, where they played their first ever show, at the city’s musical hub, the Nerve Centre. Free to view, the gig is a ticketed event – sign up here.
The Seed, The Vessel, The Roots and All is available to pre-order here.
Suffolk post-punk goths SENEX IV have just released their second album.
Released in partnership with Bat-Cave Productions, Gods & Taboos follows on from their acclaimed 2019 debut Dolls House.
Gods & Taboos was written and recorded between lockdowns at Crooks Hall, West Suffolk, incidentally also a location for the recording of ALIEN SEX FIEND’s recent Possessed album.
Despite the band being formed relatively recently, the band members have a long history on the Suffolk/Cambridge post-punk scene: frontman Dave Middle and guitarist Rob Shaul both served time in Haverhill punk legends 13TH CHIME, and individually spent much of the 80s with the likes of FINAL SCREAM, VANISHING POINT, THE WYNDUPS and THE ANTIX. The band’s line-up is completed by Mark Tingey and Anthony Hitchcock.
Gods & Taboos is available to buy as a download or CD here, with the vinyl edition available to pre order for May delivery.
Check out the band filmed live at Blue Shed Studio last autumn…
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’…
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.”
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!
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!”
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.