In the new edition of Vive Le Rock!, we celebrate the 40th Anniversary of THE SPECIALS’ classic single ‘Ghost Town’ with band founder Jerry Dammers. Here Vive‘s man in the 2-tone suit Guy Shankland takes us through his Top 10 Specials tracks. And once you get to the bottom, you can find out how to win some scintillating Specials vinyl…
  1. ‘Vote For Me’
    Stunning 2019 comeback single. Four-plus decades on and it seems we may still need The Specials to guide us. ‘Ghost Town’ revisited circa 2019/20.
  1. ‘The Boiler’
    Brutal and traumatising single about date rape featuring a Rhoda Dakar tour de force on lead vocals.
  1. ‘You’re Wondering Now’
    The emotive debut album closer can still bring a cannonball size lump to the throat.
  1. ‘Do The Dog’
    Who am I to say but the speedy delivery married with the fast tempo and devastating poetry made this the perfect reunion gig opener.
  1. ‘Blank Expression’
    Terry Hall’s laconic vocals fit the mood and style of the song so perfectly it’s hard to see the join. A classic.
  1. ‘Too Much Too Young’
    If school kids weren’t aware of the dangers of teenage pregnancy they were now. A Grange Hill generation got a hard-hitting rude boy meets rude girl sex education lesson.
  1. ‘Free Nelson Mandela’
    As relevant and as well known as Band-Aid. Another Jerry Dammers Specials (AKA) masterpiece.
  1. ‘Concrete Jungle’
    Chanting, violence and tribal alliances get ground into the inner city pavement. A song that’s been sung by both Radiation and Hall.
  1. ‘Gangsters’
    An entire movement gets drop-kicked into life by screeching tyres and Neville’s “Bernie Rhodes knows don’t argue!“ intro. Timeless 2-Tone.
  1. ‘Ghost Town’
    Haunting, morose and politically on point. The original Specials swan song is still possibly their greatest song and statement.

To be in with a chance of winning Specials singles on 7″ and 12″, just send an email to info@vivelerock.net with ‘Specials Competition’ in the subject and the answer to this question:

Where did the band perform for their episode of the classic TV series Rock Goes To College?

Read our exclusive ‘Ghost Town’ special in the latest edition of Vive Le Rock! available here!

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South Coast powerpoppers THE STAYAWAKES have a brand new video which they’re premiering exclusively with Vive Le Rock!

As clear a declaration of intent as any, ‘Power Pop Massacre’ is taken from the Southsea quartet’s second album Pop Dreamz, which is out now through Engineer Records.

Shot on Hayling Island beach by Ben Horlock, the video is a nod to The Beach Boys, with their candy-striped shirts and frat-house barnets, but the golden chords and fuzzy tones follow the signposts of the hairier 90s sounds of Silver Sun, The Lemonheads and Teenage Fanclub to power pop perfection.

‘Power Pop Massacre’ is available on all the usual streaming platforms from today.

Pop Dreamz is available physically from Engineer Records and Bandcamp and digitally here.

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THE INTERRUPTERS celebrate the release of their new live album with a very special live broadcast next week.

Live In Tokyo is a document of the LA ska-punks show-stealing performance at the city’s Summer Sonic Festival in 2019, while touring in support of their most recent studio album Fight The Good Fight.

Released today through Hellcat, Live In Tokyo is available here.

To celebrate the release, the band will be broadcasting the movie Live In Tokyo – This Is My Family! around the world. Shot at the Summer Sonic Festival, it includes the band’s set plus behind-the-scenes footage and exclusive interviews. Tickets are available here. Fans will have the opportunity to buy exclusive merch during the broadcast.

UK and European fans will get a chance to check out their ska-punk heroes in the flesh at the start of next years when they head over as special guests on DROPKICK MURPHYS’ Turn Up That Dial arena tour. Full dates are…

Fri 21 Jan 2022 – Mannheim, Germany – Maimarkthalle
Sat 22 Jan 2022 – Dortmund, Germany – Westfalenhalle
Sun 23 Jan 2022 – Chemnitz, Germany – Messehalle
Tue 25 Jan 2022 – Copenhagen, Denmark – Falconer Hall
Wed 26 Jan 2022 – Hamburg, Germany – Barclaycard Arena
Thu 27 Jan 2022 – Hannover, Germany – Swiss Life Hall
Fri 28 Jan 2022 – Paris, France – Le Zénith
Sat 29 Jan 2022 – Paris, France – Le Zénith
Tue 01 Feb 2022 – Brussels, Belgium – Vorst National
Thu 03 Feb 2022 – Vienna, Austria – Wiener Stadthalle
Fri 04 Feb 2022 – Jesolo, Italy – PalaInvent
Sat 05 Feb 2022 – Basel, Switzerland – St Jakobshalle
Sun 06 Feb 2022 – Munich, Germany – Zenith
Mon 07 Feb 2022 – Munich, Germany – Zenith
Wed 09 Feb 2022 – Budapest, Hungary – Budapest Sport Arena
Thu 10 Feb 2022 – Warsaw, Poland – Expo XXI
Fri 11 Feb 2022 – Berlin, Germany – Max Schmeling Halle
Sat 12 Feb 2022 – Amsterdam, Netherlands – Ziggo Dome
Sun 13 Feb 2022 – Nantes, France – Le Zenith
Tue 15 Feb 2022 – Manchester, England – O2 Victoria Warehouse
Wed 16 Feb 2022 – Newcastle Upon Tyne, England – O2 City Hall
Fri 18 Feb 2022 – Dublin, Republic of Ireland – 3Arena
Sat 19 Feb 2022 – Belfast, Northern Ireland – The Telegraph Building
Sun 20 Feb 2022 – Belfast, Northern Ireland – The Telegraph Building
Tue 22 Feb 2022 – Glasgow, Scotland – SSE Hydro
Wed 23 Feb 2022 – Cardiff, Wales – Motorpoint Arena Cardiff
Thu 24 Feb 2022 – Brighton, England – The Brighton Centre
Fri 25 Feb 2022 – Birmingham, England – O2 Academy Birmingham
Sat 26 Feb 2022 – London, England – The SSE Arena, Wembley

Tickets are available here.

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Legendary New York rocker SONNY VINCENT has unveiled a new video from his brand new album.

‘The End Of Light’ is the first track to be aired from Snake Pit Therapy, the album sharing its name with Vincent’s recent warts’n’all autobiography.

The 15-track album features various luminaries from the NYC punk and rock scene, including members of Corpse Grinders, The Leathewoods and Dawnrider, as well as sometime Stooges bassist Jimmy Recca.

Vincent came to fame through his membership of notorious NYC band Testors, who were regulars on the same CBGB’s and Max’s Kansas City scene, alongside the likes of The Cramps, Suicide, The Dead Boys and Teenage Jesus And The Jerks. He also played for several years with ex-Velvets Moe Tucker and Sterling Morrison, also working with the likes of Scott Asheton, Cheetah Chrome and The Replacements’ Bob Stinson along the way.

More recently Vincent and Recca have both appeared as members of The Limit alongside Bobby Liebling of cult rockers Pentagram on the widely praised album Caveman Logic , which Vincent produced.

‘The End Of Light’ is available now on Spotify

Set for release on 17 September through Finland’s Svart Records, Snake Pit Therapy is available to pre-order here 

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Up and coming Polish garage punks MORON’S MORONS have a new video which they’re premiering exclusively with Vive Le Rock!

The high energy and slightly deranged ‘White Brothel Creepers’ is the title track from the band’s brand new EP, out through Wanda Records. It’s the Warsaw quartet’s first release since their frantic and very well recieved debut album Looking For Danger, which came out early last year through Slovenly Records.

Describing themselves as “ugly and weird”, they claim that they’re able to “provide you with the same kind of kicks and thrills that are unleashed by both exploitation films and porno mags”. You can be the judge of that. Kleenex?

White Brothel Creepers is available here.

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Fast-rising French politico-punks NIGHTWATCHERS have a new video which they’re premiering today exclusively with Vive Le Rock!

The intriguingly-titled ‘1905 & The Muslim Exception’ is the first single to be taken from the Toulouse quartet’s forthcoming second album Common Crusades.

“The 1905 French law on the Separation of the Churches and State was passed on 9 December 1905,” explain the band. “It established state secularism in France. Secularism was right in metropolis, but was an exception in the French colonial empire where colonization and evangelization always went hand in hand. In Algeria, the French State supervised the practice of Islam and organized the Muslim cult in a logic of control and regulation.”

Common Crusades follows on thematically from the band’s 2019 debut La Paix Ou Le Sable (Peace Or Sand). While that raised awareness of state violence and subjugation in France’s overseas colonies, Common Crusades casts a spotlight on the aftermath of such conflicts.

Common Crusades is due out in the Autumn through Lövely Records.

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US New Wave artist PEARL HARBOUR is back with a new single.

‘I Wish I Were You’ is taken from the newly reissued 1995 album Here Comes Trouble.

Pearl Harbour, aka Pearl E Gates, achieved a degree of fame in the early 80s fronting San Francisco and PEARL HARBOUR & THE EXPLOSIONS, releasing an album for Warners at the start of 1980. Relocating to London, she released the album Don’t Follow Me, I’m Lost Too, produced by The Blockheads’ Mickey Gallagher and featuring an all-star band including Wilko Johnson, Topper Headon, Mick Jones, Steve New, Wilko Johnson and others. She would soon marry Simonon.

Following their divorce in 1989, she returned to San Francisco, later recording Here Comes Trouble with SF musicians including East Bay Ray from the Dead Kennedys.

Pearl says of the single, “Oh yeah she’s driving to lovers lane in her cool pink caddy and missing out on some fun while waiting on your man. Again he’s missing in action so I put on the radio, turning the dial and listen. This song makes me fuzzy all inside, I’m in control… ‘I wish I were you, so I can make love to me’.’’

Released through Die Laughing Records, ‘I Wish I Were You’ is available to stream/download here.

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Fast-rising Medway garage-punks THE SHADRACKS have just unveiled a new single and lyric video.

‘You Can’t Lose’ is taken from the trio’s long-awaited second album From Human Like Forms, which is due out on 13 August through Damaged Goods and follows on from their self-titled 2018 debut.

The new single is the first outing for new bassist Rhys Webb, formerly of THE HORRORS, who joins the band alongside singer/guitarists Huddie Shadrack (son of Billy Childish) and drummer Elisa Abednego.

“It’s about wanting something you can’t get,” explains Huddie about the choice of single. “Chasing the unobtainable and finding yourself at the mercy of your pursuits.”

The album’s release will be complimented by videos by innovative film maker and former The Jesus And Mary Chain bassist Douglas Hart.

The band play an album launch show at The Moth Club, Hackney, London on 13 August. Tickets are available here.

The Shadracks on Facebook

Pic by Danger Bill Henderson

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Scandinavian action rockers THE DRIPPERS have unveiled a new single.

The Gothenburg trio are releasing their version of ‘Hammerless Nail’ by much-loved Columbus OH band NEW BOMB TURKS. As Viktor Skatt from the band says, “a monumental band that influenced the whole High Energy Rock ‘N’ Roll movement of the 90s and is one of the reasons why we started the band in the first place.”

It’s the band’s first release since their highly praised debut album Action Rock which came out through The Sign in 2019.

The track originally surfaced on the No Heroes, No Leaders, No Artists, No Gods: A Tribute to The New Bomb Turks – also featuring THE HELLACOPTERS, HIP PRIESTS and DEAD FURIES which came out through Spaghetty Town Records earlier this year.

You can stream/download ‘Hammerless Nail’ here.

And if that’s not enough NBT action for you, a second tribute album Defiled! A Heavy Medication Tribute to New Bomb Turks, featuring the likes of SMALLTOWN TIGERS, RANDY SAVAGES and HOWLIN’ THREADS is available here.

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Hot new Essex rockers COBRA LUCHA are premiering their first video today exclusively with Vive Le Rock!

Fusing the tried and trusted influence of highly flammable Detroit street rock with traditional Essex loutishness combined with the pull of a 3-litre GXL Capri, ‘Hail Mary’ is the first taste of the band’s forthcoming 8-track album … Say No More.

Formed in 2019, the band was put together by former TELEPATHY bassist, and now frontman Teddy James Driscoll and guitarist and drummer Ollie and Stu Cooper of chart-troubling pop-punks KOOPA. The line-up is completed by guitarist Joe Pitcher and bassist Roberto AV.

‘Hail Mary’ – while in no way condoning Russian roulette! – is apparently inspired by Driscoll’s own experiences of “pubs, parties, street violence and casual hook-ups following a series of personal triumphs, tragedies and terrible hangovers”.

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To celebrate Vive Le Rock‘s Post-Punk Annual which is now back from the printers, we’ve put together a post-punk Spotify playlist featuring the likes of MAGAZINE, BASEMENT 5, CABARET VOLTAIRE, THE PSYCHEDELIC FURS and more for you to listen to while you’re reading it!
And if you haven’t already ordered a copy, you can do so here! Remember: our Post-Punk Annual is NOT available in the shops and stocks won’t hang around forever – once it’s gone, it’s gone! So order now!!

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Italian punk-blues one-woman-band ELLI DE MON heralds her new album with a video which she’s premiering exclusively with Vive Le Rock!

The brooding, slow-building ‘Blue Spirit Blues’ is her interpretation of a song by blues legend Bessie Smith and is taken from the album Countin’ The Blues.

Comprising songs from the repertoires of Smith, Ma Rainey, Memphis Minnie, Elizabeth Cotten and others, the album can be seen as a soundtrack to Elli’s book Countin’ The Blues – Indomitable Women, a celebration of the blues queens of the 20s, published last year.

Speaking about the song, Elli says, “Sometimes you forget about them. They live hidden in dark places and they move very silently. But you can feel them and you can’t escape… and they get to hurt you so deeply. The BLUE DEVILS. Well, you can recognize them and this is the first step to get free. Bessie Smith knew it and she burnt her demons out. This is her song and I tried to make it mine.”

Hailing from the historic city of Vicenza and firmly established on the European garage-blues scene, Elli has shared stages with the likes of The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Cedric Burnside and Voodoo Rhythm Records boss, The Reverend Beat-Man. Releasing albums since 2014, her last album was a split release with brilliantly-named psych-blues exponents Daily Thompson.

Recorded live at Sonika in Ferrara, the video was shot by noted filmmaker Ares Brunelli.

Set for release on 18 June through Area Pirata Records, Countin’ The Blues is available to pre-order here.

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Pic by S Carollo

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Fast-rising Cardiff rockers JAMES AND THE COLD GUN today release a brand new single.

Coming on like the bastard sons of Mudhoney and Thin Lizzy, ‘Plug Me In’, follows belligerently on from their well-received previous single ‘Long Way Home’. The single’s out through GALLOWS’ label, Venn Records.

“’Plug Me In’ is a love letter to volume, it’s for the times where you feel completely lost and rely on music to make you ‘feel something,” says guitarist James Joseph, who’s joined in the band by fellow guitarist/singer James Biss. “The past year has been difficult for us all and I think nearly everyone can relate to feelings of helplessness or feeling like ‘groundhog day’—getting into a garage and turning our amps up as loud as possible has been such a cathartic release for us.”

The single was produced by Adrian Bushby whose credits include Cheap & Nasty, The Parkinsons and, weirdly, The Spice Girls.

Stream/download ‘Plug Me In’ here.

Champing at the bit to get out on the road, the duo join SALEM, the new band featuring CREEPER frontman Will Gould on tour in October. Full dates are…

10 Oct – Milton Keynes – The Craufurd Arms
12 Oct – Cardiff Clwb – Ifor Bach (downstairs)
13 Oct – Birmingham – Asylum 2
14 Oct – Nottingham – Rescue Rooms
15 Oct – Oxford – The Bullingdon
16 Oct – Swindon – The Vic
17 Oct – Frome – Cheese and Grain
18 Oct – Bristol – Exchange
21 Oct – Leeds – The Key Club
22 Oct – Huddersfield – The Parish
24 Oct – Newcastle – Think Tank? Underground
25 Oct – Glasgow – Stereo
26 Oct – Sheffield – Sidney and Matilda
27 Oct – Manchester – The Deaf Institute
28 Oct – Guildford – Boileroom
29 Oct – Tunbridge Wells – Forum
30 Oct – London – The Dome
31 Oct – Southampton – The Joiners

Tickets are on sale here.

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Italian psych-punks CLUSTERSUN have a new video which they’re premiering exclusively with Vive Le Rock!

On ‘Barricades’ the trio mix strongly lysergic Killing Joke and Hawkwind vibes to disturbing effect.

The single is taken from the band’s third album Avalanche, which follows on from 2014’s Out Of Your Ego and 2017’s Surfacing To Breathe. The album was mixed and mastered by engineer/producer James Aparicio, famed for this work with the likes of Grinderman, Mogwai, Piatcions and Black Doldrums.

Released by Little Cloud (US) and Icy Cold (EU), Avalanche is available to order here.

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Legendary UK/New Zealand punk and rock quartet DESPERATE MEASURES are back with a brand new mini-album this Summer.

Formed in Christchurch, New Zealand in 1981, releasing one single and a live album before splitting two years later. Still fronted by founder member Eugene Butcher, the band resurfaced in London tooled up for the 21st Century and now featuring guitarist Gaff (Rich Ragany, Hollywood Brats), bassist Ricky Maguire (UK Subs, The Men They Couldn’t Hang) and ex-K-Line and Done Lying Down drummer James Sherry.

Set for release through Easy Action in August, the six-track 10″ mini-album Rinsed was written during lockdown and features five band originals plus a cover of the Dave Berry/Sex Pistols classic ‘No Lip’. The band unveiled a first taste of the release earlier in the year with a video for the track ‘The Rich-tual’…

Desperate Measures launch the album with a headline show at a special Rockaway Beach club night at London’s legendary Hope & Anchor on 30 July, with support from Knox from The Vibrators and Backstreet Abortions. Tickets here.

They then join ex-Pistol Paul Cook’s revitalised PROFESSIONALS on tour around the UK throughout October. “To go on tour with The Professionals is a dream come true!,” says Butcher. “We were totally into their album I Didn’t See It Coming back in the day. This is going to be an explosive double bill!”

Full dates are….

Wed 13 Oct – Tunbridge Wells Forum
Thur 14 Oct – Oxford o2 Academy
Fri 15 Oct – Swansea Sin City
Mon 18 Oct – Glasgow King Tuts
Tue 19 Oct – Newcastle The Cluny
Wed 20 Oct – Nottingham Bodega
Thur 21 Oct – Birmingham Castle Falcon
Fri 22 Oct – Liverpool EBGB’s
Mon 25th Oct – Bristol The Exchange
Tue 26th Oct – Leeds Brudenell Social
Wed 27th Oct – Milton Keynes Craufurd Arms
Thur 28th Oct – Chester Live Rooms

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LOUD WOMEN, the community organisation championing women in music, today release their first single.

Written by Loud Women founder Cassie Fox and Brix Smith of THE FALL and THE EXTRCATED in the wake of the shocking deaths of Blessing Olusegun and Sarah Everard, ‘Reclaim These Streets’ aims to “turn up the volume on current discussions on the issue of women’s safety. As the song says, ‘Until every woman is safe to walk on every street'”.

Described by DJ John Kennedy as a ‘feminist Band Aid’, the line-up features Siobhan Fahey of BANANARAMA and SHAKESPEARE’S SISTER, Debbie Goodge of MY BLODDY VALENTINE, Karen from HAGAR THE WOMB, Debbie Smith of CURVE, LONDON DIRTHOLE COMPANY etc, DESPERATE JOURNALIST’s Jo Bevan, Helen McCookerybook, Janey Starling from DREAM NAILS, Bec Jevons from IDESTROY, Georgie Willsher of BEVERLEY KILLS, plus members of THE PUKES, SALAD, THE TUTS, RABIES BABIES, HOT SAUCE PONY, SINK YA TEETH, PETROL GIRLS, BERRIES, THE EMPTY PAGE, HURTLING and many more…

‘Reclaim The Streets’ is available to buy here. All proceeds go to domestic violence charity Women’s Aid.

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London/Brighton glam-punks THE DeRELLAS resurface from lockdown with a new video ahead of their long-awaited new album release.

The video accompanies a new version of their single from a couple of years ago, ‘High Rise Supersize’ – “rebooted, remixed, re-energised,” as they put it.

The track is expected to feature on the band’s new album Something’s Got To Give, due out soon.

Meanwhile, the band emerge blinking into the light for a show with RAGE DC at The Acoustic Couch, Bracknell on 24 July.

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With their new album just out, DROPKICK MURPHYS have announced their biggest tour of UK and Ireland ever.

Celebrating their 25th year as a band, the Boston celtic-punks just dropped Turn Up That Dial, their 10th studio album to rave reviews.

Now they’ve stepped up a gear by announcing nine arena shows in February next year, including shows in Northern and southern Ireland and culminating in a show at London’s prestigious Wembley Arena. They’ll be joined on all dates by LA ska-punks THE INTERRUPTERS.

Full dates are…

15 Feb – Manchester O2 Victoria Warehouse
16 Feb – Newcastle O2 City Hall
18 Feb – Dublin 3Arena
19 Feb – Belfast The Telegraph Building
22 Feb – Glasgow The SSE Hydro
23 Feb – Cardiff Motorpoint Arena
24 Feb – Brighton Centre
25 Feb – Birmingham O2 Academy
26 Feb – London The SSE Wembley Arena

Tickets go on sale at 9.00 am on Friday 7 May here.

Dropkick Murphys on Facebook

Pic by Travis Shinn

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