Genre-defying San Francisco punks CULTURE ABUSE attempt to make up for their enforced lockdown lay-off with a new digital-only compilation album.
Spanning the band’s seven-year career, the 29-track Good Shit, Bad Shit, Who Gives a Shit?! compiles demos, alternate versions, fan tapes, live recordings – including excerpts from their now legendary show at Hackney’s Moth Club last year – and fun covers from the likes of the Sex Pistols, Buzzcocks and The Clash.
“With the state of the live music industry in limbo, we thought now is a better time than any to open ourselves up and give the listener a different take on some of our past work,” they declare. “We take the groovy mid-tempo songs off Bay Dream (2018) and give you our aggressive live set atmosphere. We re-imagined the faster, more upbeat songs from Peach (2016) and slowed them down into an acoustic, stripped-down set. Cover songs from iconic bands like the Sex Pistols, the Buzzcocks and the Equals, we tear ‘em up and piece ‘em back together the way we do when we sit down together and make ‘zines, tour posters and show flyers. Some of our original songs are covered by our close friends within this collection. We’re presenting this release through digital outlets so the songs are at their most accessible. So whatever’s happening in your life, here are some songs to help you take it all on: the good shit and the bad shit.”
Can’t say it hasn’t been a trial all this self-isolation and social distancing. Vive Le Rock! photographer Tina Korhonen took her camera round to London to check up on some of our punk and rock community to see how they’re coping….
“During the lockdown I wanted to photograph some musicians and performers on their doorsteps, windows and gardens, mainly for my own sanity,” she says. “All images were taken while practising social distancing, and apart from one shoot in North London, all photos were taken during May and early June.”
Knox, main singer and songwriter for The Vibrators, although no longer touring with them. Please check out his music charity shop Rock ‘N’ Roll Rescue in Camden Town, now open again.
Multi-national garage rockers are back with a new lockdown video which they’re premiering exclusively with Vive Le Rock!
We premiered their first video ‘Sa-Ni-Ti-Zin” back in April, just as lockdown had begun. Now ‘Sneeze In Your Sleeve’ offers more sage advice as we prepare for the pubs to open…
Say the band, “Lockdown is easing, and THE SANITIZERS are back to talk to you about sneezing – in your sleeve! That’s right ladies and gentlemen, your favourite quarantine super-group featuring members of King Salami & The Cumberland 3, MFC Chicken, The Fuzillis, Los Torontos, Barrence Whitfield & The Savages, The Thanes, The Sensation Seekers and Lyres are back with another rock & roll pandemic public service announcement: don’t be a fool, you know it’s cool to Sneeze In Your Sleeve…blow you nose in your clothes, daddy-o!”
KILLING JOKE’s Jaz Coleman has announced a brand new project BLACK & RED, a collaboration with Czech musician Ondrej Smeykal, and they’re launching the video for their first single exclusively with Vive Le Rock!
“The Black and Red project was born in Australia in 2010 when I set out to find the greatest virtuoso of the didgeridoo only to find the maestro of the instrument resided in Prague where I lived,” explains Jaz. “Upon my return to Czech Rep, I was introduced to Ondrej Smeykal. We ended up not just developing an ancient instrument * but recording the Black and Red project (adding only Indian Harmonium) and an explosive duo was formed which could recreate the recording live perfectly. The funny thing is Black and Red only made sense after lockdown.”
The pulsing, apocalyptic near 8-minute ‘On The Day The Earth Went Mad’ is out today digitally here and at all the usual suspects as well as on a numbered limited edition red vinyl 10-inch through Cadiz Music available from jazcoleman.com
Fusing glam, space-rock, dub and a groovy psych organ, unstoppable Essex pop maverick ED SYKES is back with a brand new video.
The single ‘I’m Forever Losing You’ is a taster for Sky Seed, Sykes’ debut album with his new band THE SONIC OSCILLATORS and follows on from 2018’s glam anthem ‘Whiplashed’.
Produced by Oscillators guitarist Nathan Wacey, the song was recorded at Rebellion Studios, Marks Tey on a 1968 3M tape machine previously used by The Beatles at Abbey Road, through a former BBC mixing desk once used by the great John Peel.
As well as completing Sky Seed, Sykes has recently collaborated with Future Sound Of London / Amorphous Androgynous mastermind Gaz Cobain as well as producing sessions for The Pretty Things’ keyboardist John Povey’s debut solo album.
Released through CO6 Records, the single’s available here.
Read our 16-page 50 Years Of Glam spectacular in the new edition of Vive Le Rock! out now!
Like Public Image Ltd and Killing Joke, Alex Novak is an artist in constant flux and metamorphosis. To commemorate four decades of musical exploration Glass Modern release Mercurial 1978-2018, a career-spanning retrospective that encompasses his early forays into music with Northampton ‘77 punks, the Isaws, to his most recent release with darkwave duo The Venus Fly Trap.
In between those two bands came the post-punk of Religious Overdose, the sci-fi leanings of The Tempest, a stint with Attrition and some dark, dystopian electronica in the shape of Spore and Nova State Conspiracy.
Alex Novak spoke to Peter Dennis to give us an overview of a kaleidoscopic career that’s taken on many different guises. Here Alex untangles the web and shines a light on the individual tracks.
As a genre, punk was an important incubator for you. How did it influence you?
At the time the distance between audience and bands was quite great, not physically but psychologically, and I think punk broke that barrier down. I was at the right place at the right time, I was at art school and punk happened while I was there and being involved with creativity it sparked something. At the time, my fellow students were getting into bands: Kevin Haskins and Danny Ash and David J, who after being in various student bands ended up being in Bauhaus. Finding people who were into the same thing as well: my brother [John Novak] and the other members of the Isaws were still at school so… we were quite young. We didn’t actually release any records at the time but we released two cassettes (which were later compiled on CD as ‘Burnt Offering’) the earliest track I picked for the upcoming CD is ‘Standens’ which is a place where we used to rehearse in the eastern district of Northampton, it was a youth centre, it wasn’t too far from where we lived, and the song is a tribute to that place. They allowed bands and other activities to happen: it’s quite hard to find somewhere to rehearse, I think there were a lot less rehearsal studios so you had to make do with pub back rooms and youth centres, if they’d let you in.
It seems that in writing about your locality, in true punk style, ‘Standens’ was the complete antithesis of prog rock. At your tender ages how aware were you of punks ‘rules’?
I think early on we were capable of writing about other things because I think initially you draw on your experiences, but I think the DIY ethic was very important, that you did things and sorted things yourself and you also wrote about things that you knew as opposed to things you didn’t.
Then you moved onto your next band Religious Overdose. The first track from them is ‘Control Addicts’. It followed ‘Standens’ by a year but the difference in music and lyrics seems like a quantum leap.
The whole idea of punk was it opened the door to do what you wanted to do, there wasn’t a strict idea of what you should be like, although I did think punk became something of a uniform than idea. So a lot of people who were in punk bands quickly outgrew that and went off in loads of different directs so I ended up in Religious Overdose which was more like The Fall and Cabaret Voltaire and Joy Division so we were heading more into post-punk, that’s quite a wide term but it developed out of punk.
And it seems that post-punk was far more true to the revolutionary spirit of punk than punk was itself.
Yes, you could do anything, there was no boundaries. There was electronic bands, bands who were more avant-garde, it all fitted in that genre. I met the members of Religious Overdose via art school. Richard Formby was studying art so I knew him from there. He was originally from Leeds where a lot of interesting bands were coming from.
Also around that time you made another important connection. This CD is going to be released via Glass Records and you originally met the owner Dave Henderson.
Yes, with ‘Control Addicts’ we got involved in the burgeoning tape scene and Dave Henderson wrote a column for the NME about the DIY tape scene, so I happened to see Glass Records mentioned, I sent our tape to Dave Henderson, and we ended up releasing our debut single on Glass Records.
And you played with some amazing bands like The Fall…
We organised a gig in Northampton with The Fall and we did a lot of gigs with bands in a similar genre: English Subtitles and people like that, and we performed with Attrition in their earlier days as well.
Around the time of Religious Overdose was a period when you could use your art school education. The singles came in very striking sleeves which subverted religious imagery. I wonder can you expand on what aesthetics you drew upon?
Both Richard and I came from a graphics background so the visual aspect is quite important. The name itself talks about how there’s too much religion, how it’s being shoved down people’s throats. So we used religious imagery on the sleeves and gig posters.
And you also used images of old cabaret stars…
Yes, that was used on the second single ‘I Said Go’, I like the very early days of black and white film which suited the subject matter.
Why did Religious Overdose come to an end?
We did two singles after ‘Control Addicts’: ‘I Said Go’ and ‘In This Century’. Basically Richard had done his time at art school so he decided to go back to Leeds. He went on to be involved with Jazz Butcher and also The Telescopes and Sonic Boom. His main interest was setting up a recording studio in Leeds so that made it a lot more difficult for Religious Overdose to function so we went our separate ways. We did compile all the material for a compilation CD called ‘Glass Hymns’ that came out a couple of years ago so all that material has been compiled.
After Religious Overdoes came The Tempest which was another seismic shift in terms of music, lyrics and imagery.
I hooked up with people in other bands who wanted to do stuff. It seemed in those days people always seemed to be in more than one band: they all had about three bands on the go depending on what was happening. So I hooked up with Mark Refoy (who ended up in Spaceman 3 and Spiritualized and more recently live with the Pet Shop Boys) and we ended up doing a band called The Tempest, so obviously we got in touch with Dave Henderson again and he released the first single ‘Lady Left This’ which seemed to get attention straight away. We got a lot of airplay on Radio 1 with John Peel and ‘Kid’ Jensen which brought us to the attention of Anagram Records (which was part of Cherry Red) and they put out the second single ‘Montezuma’ and the album ‘5 Against The House’, which was reissued a few years ago by Optic Nerve. We also did a lot of gigs withpeople like the Alien Sex Fiend all around the country. We got a lot of attention but it fizzled out very quickly because people were involved in other bands and attention was being drawn in other directions. So that didn’t last very long either but that seems a kind of formula for that period we were constantly changing and moving on and ideas were being formed very quickly.
The Tempest had a very unique sound. What musical influences did you draw on?
Joy Division and The Cure and some more obscure bands, touching into gothic as well, just before goth was starting. In fact we did support Bauhaus at the Hammersmith Palais. If you can imagine there’s five people in a band and they all bring their own influences. Definitely. For The Tempest I drew upon sci-fi, which is a big thing as we go along, a lot of sci-fi from the 50’s and 60’s, a lot of pulp books and comics, things like that.
After The Tempest you took another turn and hooked up with Martin Bowes from Attrition…
Yes, I knew Martin from Attrition and also he was involved in a Coventry fanzine called ‘Alternative Sounds’ so I’d been in contact sending stuff over the years. I joined Attrition which had been active for a while. I was in the band for a couple of years and I ended being on the ‘Smiling, at the Hypogonder Club’ LP and doing a tour of Holland with them. That was my first tour abroad so that opened my eyes to the possibility of getting out of the UK as well. It was a backing track, three vocalists and keyboards because it was entirely electronic so it was opening my eyes to a completely different area again. Attrition at that time probably wasn’t as dark as it is now but the ‘Smiling, at the Hypogonder Club’ is more like bands such as Propaganda. It was dark but it still had a pop edge.
Why did you leave Attrition?
When you join someone else’s project, it’s their band, it’s their baby so I had my own ideas about what I wanted to do, so I decided to form Venus Fly Trap. In that period I was living in London when I was in Attrition so that was a great experience, meeting people and getting around the place but I think sometimes that’s a distraction to getting things done so I went back to Northampton and hooked up with my brother John, who was in the Isaws, and Tony Booker, whom I knew from art school, so that was the original line up of Venus Fly Trap, we recorded the original version of ‘Morphine’. Later, when John left, we rerecorded ‘Morphine’ and the one thing with Venus Fly Trap is keeping track of all the members. The line up changed very quickly, John was out of the band after nine months so on the first single there was myself, Tony Booker moved to guitar and we got Chris Evans on bass so the first single was even different from the demo. ‘Morphine’ ended up on Tuesday Records then the Danceteria label but the guy who ran Tuesday, I was in contact with because of Attrition. They did the first two singles, ‘Morphine’ and ‘Desolation Railway’, and after that we ended up on Danceteria, both labels based in France. We were taken over to France pretty quickly, we were playing French tours in the late 80s and early 90s.
Venus Fly Trap’s debut ‘Mars’ rode high in the French national charts.
Yeah, it got into the French top 40. All the singles did pretty well; ‘Rocket USA’, the Suicide track, did well, it was totally reworked, you probably wouldn’t recognise it. We did a few full albums with Danceteria, ‘Totem’ and ‘Pandora’s Box’ and the single ‘Europa’.
Venus Fly Trap were very successful on the continent. Did it annoy you that Europeans got your sound straight away yet you were largely ignored in the UK?
That’s quite strange but sometimes you have to go where the interest is and that’s what we did, we just followed the interest. We did a lot of dates in France and Belgium and then Germany. You could play the UK any weekend you like but it’s nice to go somewhere different. When we headed into the early 90s, once ‘Achilles Heel’ had come out we ended up going to France, Belgium, Holland, Germany then Czechoslovakia for the first time in 91 and that really opened your eyes because when we first went there it was like being in the 1970s: the roads and what was in the shops and the fact that you couldn’t take money out of the country. You had to spend the money before you left the country because it had no value but it was a great experience.
Venus Fly Trap has featured a long list of characters. Each album has its unique sound. Do you attribute this to the constantly rotating line up?
Obviously everyone who’s involved brings in their own influences and ‘Mars’ I’d say is a collection as opposed to being a full album. The period I’d say that was consistent was between ‘Totem’ and ‘Pandora’s Box’. Most of the personnel was the same during that period, although it did flux.
‘Moscow Menagerie’ followed from the ‘Luna Tide’ album, a record which saw you returning to your rock roots.
With ‘Pandora’s Box’ that line up imploded so it had to be rebuilt. I’d certainly say that ‘Luna Tide’ was a transitory album. So there’s a transition between that and the next stage which the next single ‘Pulp Sister’ represents.
‘Pulp Sister’ was very cinematic and I’d say that’s a common theme that unites much of your work.
Yes, I’m certainly a big fan of film and especially sci-fi but ‘Pulp Sister’ is a very tongue-in-cheek homage to Tarantino, but underlying all that there’s a shift in line up as the sound goes more electronic. Less live drummer and more and more electronics and that’s the beginning of another period.
There was a seven year gap between Venus Fly Trap albums and you had these more electronic projects including Nova State Conspiracy.
That would certainly fit in with that transition from ‘Luna Tide’ to ‘Dark Amour’. Filling in that period and moving it into a more electronic direction. Nova State Conspiracy was with a friend who was a comic book illustrator, Simon Colby, who had a big interest in electronic bands so we decided to do a project together, completely studio based and that ended up on a German record label. We only did one EP and that was it.
Also around this time you were involved in other electronic projects: The Den and Spore. They’re three projects, that although different, seem united like a triptych. What was your reasoning for changing the name?
It was different people. The Den was myself and Tim Perkins who worked with Alan Moore and people like that and that gave it a different edge. Again we just released tracks on compilations, that didn’t develop because Tim moved away from Northampton. Spore was another ‘try out’ project.
Also during the Venus Fly Trap hiatus you went to Coventry University to study photography.
Yes, which again provided me with plenty of material to use in future albums. After ‘Dark Amour’ there was a break then we kind of re-jigged it with Andy Denton moving from drums to guitar and that kind of starts another period with guitars and electronics being the main thing. And those albums ‘Zenith’, ‘Nemesis’ and more recently ‘Icon’ I think all fit together because they featured the same line up.
Then after the hiatus your next single was ‘Metropolis’ which also has that sci-fi/cinematic/dystopian feel.
Obviously influenced by the film. All of those three albums had a strong sci-fi and film basis. Some obvious and some less so.
And then you covered The Cramps’ ‘Human Fly’…
We formerly covered Suicide who are not the most known band in the world. With The Cramps’ ‘Human Fly’ we thought we could do something with it. The original is more sparse rockabilly song but we made our version a full track. I think it works on that basis. We don’t do lots of covers but when we do we try to put our own stamp on them.
And that brings us up to the most recent single ‘Vitesse’ from the ‘Icon’ album.
With ‘Vitesse’ we’re continuing into a more electro direction. A modern darkwave that’s heavy on the electronics and that’s where we are at the moment.
We’ve talked about your musical past where do you think it will move in the future?
I don’t think they’ll be any more Venus Fly Trap albums. It’s a lot of work and it takes a long time. I think it will be single tracks. I’d like to go back and remix some tracks. There’s quite a lot of stuff to be reissued first so I’m in the process of trying to reissue the Venus Fly Trap albums and then the other projects so it’s out there and available.
And how would you like history to remember your work and for it to be evaluated?
That’s a difficult question because that’s really out of your hands. Hopefully I’ll be alive when people appreciate it. There’s so many bands and musicians who are appreciated after they’re gone. That’s too late and those people need to be appreciated while they’re here. These things need to be acknowledged at the time, there’s so many bands and artists who’re not appreciated when they’re around and when they’re gone… people suddenly realised what they’ve lost.
Mercurial 1978 – 2018 is available here. Read a review in the latest edition of Vive Le Rock!
Everyone’s favourite glam-punks THE DeRELLAS are back with a brand new single and video.
The urgent, street-fightin’ ‘Inner City Rock’n’Roll’ was put together by the pre-lockdown at South London’s Perry Vale with ex-Vibrator Pat Collier manning the desk and, we’re sure you’ll agree, it does exactly what it says on the tin.
A taster for their forthcoming new album Something’s Got To Give which is due at the end of the year, ‘Inner City Rock’n’Roll’ is available now from Bandcamp, Spotify and all the usual suspects…
London punks HEALTHY JUNKIES have just released a new video for the track ‘Some Kind Of Girl’ from their latest album Delirious Dream.
The band shot the video with director John Clay back in January before the world was turned upside down. John recently checked up on them to find out how they’re keeping mind, body and soul together during these testing times….
How are you passing the time in lockdown?
To start with, being locked down was a bit of a relief as we had been on the road constantly for 10 years, like being on a rollercoaster practically all the time. Even when we came home from a tour or series of gigs we would have to plan for the one which would soon follow. A life of excess takes its toll and after all we are meant to be ‘Healthy’ Junkies. So as a result of not gigging we were able to focus on finishing the recording of our next album which is funnily enough entitled Forever On The Road. It started off as the soundtrack to our USA tour diary but as time went on Nina added more and more vocals, Nina and Phil wrote loads of new lyrics, Dave added more basslines and Phil re-wrote and remixed much of what we had used for the soundtrack to the aforementioned tour diary. This in itself has taken a huge amount of time but it has definitely been worth it. We also have been able to edit the video footage for our new video ‘Some kind of girl’ which was shot back in January with you. Having edited the video and agreed on a final cut we have been full-on with promoting it in accordance with your PR masterplan. And you are certainly no slacker John! Other than that, Nina managed to win an ongoing battle with her neighbours who had decided at the beginning of lockdown to put up a huge fence partitioning off a large part of the shared garden at the back of her flat. I mean, who does that? The temptation was just to rip it down but instead we went through the due process with patience and persistence. It took 6 weeks but in the end the neighbours were forced to remove the fence themselves in accordance with the terms of their contract and the law. A small but necessary victory.
The discrimination spoken about in your new song is details not being believed. Why do victims still face such prejudice?
The office environment is still predominately a patriarchal environment. Abuse of power is still going on and many people still fear for their jobs if they do not comply with what is suggested of them. Particularly young women who are trying to make a good impression at work, fit in as much as possible, not wanting to lose their job for financial reasons. They are vulnerable to such behaviour and it is 2020!! Many people exploit naivety and it has been like that for so long now that it still somehow seems to acceptable to that do it. Things are starting to change now due partly to the ME TOO movement. People are speaking up and aggressors are being called out. Nina – ‘When I arrived in London there was not this kind of support available, things were very different 15 years ago.’
What do you make of Trump’s rolling back on Trans rights?
Well this is pretty much what we would expect from Donald Trump. He’s taking away rights from the transgender community, they will no longer have equal rights for healthcare! And during a pandemic! He is clearly targeting a minority group and I suspect he’s doing this to secure votes from his huge middle American contingent. This will supposedly save the USA money too which plays right into the mindset of the many. He so often claims that Obama did nothing in his term and yet here he is rolling back on an Obama instated policy for his own agenda. And for maximum impact he announced this on the same day as the Florida gay club Pride massacre. The mind boggles frankly.
How do you feel about Rowling’s remarks in her defence of statements labelled transphobic?
J K Rowling dropped a clanger on twitter and the response was predictably massive. To then respond with what I believe was a huge essay about the abuse she suffered in her first marriage seemed like a bit of a distraction tactic. While not wishing in any way to underplay what was no doubt a horrible experience for her, it does not seem to really address her previous controversial comment. Maybe will choose her words a little more carefully in future. Still love her books of course…. Social media is a great tool when used well but can also be misleading, toxic and have catastrophic consequences if the words we choose are not accurate or sensitive.
Given the recent protests in London, how do you feel about the media’s handling of the BLM protests as opposed to the ‘counter-protestors’?
The media on the whole only seems interested in sensationalising for a more popular or notorious story. This has always been the case but nowadays with all the online news bulletins, fake news etc it is much worse. The press pick and choose what they think will sell more papers / get more views or whatever other agenda they have in mind. So you really have to cross check information. They seem to thrive on violence and unrest, it’s like they think throwing gasoline onto a fire will help!! As far as I know the proposed BLM march in London on Saturday was called off due to the potential clashes with counter-protesters. Yet we read about coverage of fights breaking out between BLM protesters and counter-protesters. So to answer your question, the media coverage is all too often biased.
Will there be any commentary on current events on your double album?
The new double album began as a soundtrack to our USA tour diary (available on DVD on our website) in autumn 2018 and was a musical description of that journey and all that came with it. There are 33 tunes in all, some are just over a minute long and the styles range from horror film soundtrack to trash grunge to piano and cello duets to psychedelic mayhem etc etc. While putting it together we used songs in a few cases (5) that were written before the tour simply because we thought they fitted. One of them was inspired by the mass exodus of people in the Africas and Middle East taking their perilous journey in search of a new life, it relates to a particular story that marked us about a boy called David who was one of the ‘Lost boys of Sudan’ (there were about 20,000 such kids). He fled his war-tornvillage in Sudan at the age of about 5 years old, separated from his mother, to Ethiopia where he spent many years in a refugee camp, then civil war forced him to Kenya, until he managed with UN help to make his way to the USA, get a university degree and start that sought-after new life. Despite the story being from the past, the displacement of people due to war or extreme poverty is still very much happening. The song is called ‘Underground City’. Another song written at around the same is about equality and it basically states that whoever we are, whatever we’ve done or not done we all up in paradise in the end. The French word for heaven is paradise, paradise sounded better! Some might use the term 6 feet under! It documents the life of a struggling person who battles for rights and seeks change. It is called ‘Stairs Of Life’. Sometimes it feels like you’re basically pissing in the wind, trying to do anything of worth or make a difference in such a huge monstrosity of a world that we now live in, but we are not quitters so we carry on striving.
What was it like working with Aaron from A Void during the video shoot?
Aaron, the super talented bass player and debonair of the rage machine that is the band A Void, was an absolute pleasure to work with and have on the set. He played a character that was so opposite to his own. A sinister-looking office predator. The required facial expressions and creepy mannerisms for the shots he was in have been nailed to a tee. He has a crazy energy about him that is infectious and we would not be surprised at all to see him in more roles as an actor in the future. We must also mention that the other 3 actors – Isabella Barter (who appeared in an episode of Black Mirror), Vicki Totten (from the band Dirty Ol’ Crow) and the one and only Stevie Bray also all gave stunning performances.
This is your third time being filmed by myself. Feel free to share any anecdotes from the past, near past and the latest shoot.
Every video we have done with you has been quite different. One of them was a live recording/video. But on all 3 shoots you have inspired us to give that little bit extra, put us in such a mind that we are able to free ourselves of anything outside of our performance. Your directing is planned out and executed with precision. Even when it isn’t planned it appears that it was. One of your tricks that stood out was the repositioning of each member of the band by, say, 10 feet each time (it was a very large room) for each shot. Difficult to explain but it certainly played tricks with the eye in the final cut. I (Phil) particularly appreciated you helping me up 3 flights of stairs with a heavy office desk (a prop) at 1.30 AM at the end of the shoot when pretty much everyone else was on the verge of passing out in a state of well-earned inebriation. We also remember filming the ‘I Can’t Stand Anyone’ video in an alleyway in Borough which was the location of a terrorist attack that happened a matter of days after. That gave an added lilt of sinister to the video.
When can we hope to see you live again and will there be more single/video releases from the album?
As it stands we do not know for sure when we will be allowed to play again. There are of course so many mixed messages from scientists and politicians about what the plan is and what we should and should not do. Our annual Punk and Roll Rendezvous festival at The Unicorn on 4-6 September will go ahead we hope. But nothing is certain. Second wave of the pandemic is predicted by most people so that would no doubt delay things. We are also due to go on another Lips Can Kill tour with our friends Tokyo Taboo, Yur Mum and Pollypickpocketz. That is scheduled for late October into November so we cross our fingers and toes and hope that we can get back out playing before all the remaining venues go bust due to inactivity. The venues are under threat, it is worrying. However, I must mention a couple of acoustic live streams that we are very excited to be playing: the Rebellion Festival on 5-8 August and also SORM (School Of Rock and Media) festival on 28 June.
As for new videos we will start putting another one together this week for a song called Last day in L.A. Dave is planning on filming himself in a skate park doing various stunts. Maybe we should get him a stunt double! Any offers? It will be the first single from the new album. We are very excited about getting this song out, it reminds us of the good times we’ve had on the road and about the many excellent folks we have met along the way. It’s a sunny song. We also filmed a video for the song ‘These Boots Are Made For Walking’ while we were in Hollywood. It needs a little more editing then it will be ready to go ! Plenty to get on with…
PENETRATION and INVISIBLE GIRLS frontwoman Pauline Murray heralds a new solo album with a new single and video.
‘Secrets’ is the first track to be unveiled from what will be Murray’s third solo album Elemental.
The single was originally recorded back in the ’80s, only surviving on a single cassette tape. “It was mixed to a cassette and left in a box for years,” explains Pauline. “When we were recording the new album, we remembered this track, found the cassette but couldn’t find the original master tape. All the parts were there, and it sounded really good, but the recording was unusable. We decided to re-record it and tried to replicate the original arrangements, keyboard parts and sounds whilst maintaining the original atmosphere. It’s amazing that something hidden away for so long can assert itself fully into the here and now. Like a secret being revealed.
“Lyrically, it’s about the pressure to conform to social perceptions and expectations,” she continues. “Having to rely on body language and energy exchange to see what’s really going on.”
Elemental was initially recorded in France during 2016 and completed at their own Polestar Studios in Newcastle in 2019. Produced by Penetration bassist and co-founder Robert Blamire, it also features current band-members Paul Harvey, Steve Wallace and Ken Goodinson plus the Invisible Girls’ Steve Hopkins and former Roxy Music and current Lindisfarne drummer Paul Thompson.
“As a 15-year-old, I was a big Roxy Music fan,” enthuses Pauline. “I would never have thought that their drummer Paul Thompson who played on all those fantastic records would be playing on my album all those years later. As a 15-year-old fan, I wouldn’t even have envisaged making music myself! Paul came into our studios with Lindisfarne and we plucked up the courage to ask him to play on some of the tracks. It was really exciting when he agreed and an absolute buzz to hear him playing on the songs.”
“The idea for the video ties in with my four paintings featured on the album sleeve,” she continues. “It reflects the lyrics – I’m putting on a face to hide. A single camera was set up in a dark room lit only with a make-up mirror. I mixed the paints beforehand and did the face painting in a single take. The Volvo footage was shot around the same time that the song was written. We only found it recently whilst digitising some old VHS tapes. The performance video was shot earlier this year at Polestar Studios. Rob edited it all together.”
Elemental is set for release on 25 September on Polestar Records. It’s available to pre-order here.
Freshly-minted US punks UXB are ready to unveil the first fruit of their labours and are premiering a track exclusively with Vive Le Rock!
The incendiary ‘Westworld Crisis’ is the first – and title – track to be taken from the band’s debut album, which sets its sites on the world’s current climate and technology’s influence.
Newly signed to Demons Run Amok, UXB is the new project put together by former members of Orange County punks U.S. BOMBS – founder member Kerry Martinez (guitar), Wade Walston (bass) and Chip Hanna (drums) – who quit the band back in 2015. They’re joined by frontman Jesse Wagner of reggae-punks THE AGGROLITES.
With European dates tentatively pencilled in for the Autumn, Westworld Crisis is out though Demons Run Amok on 14 August.
FROM THE SPECIALS – THE NEVILLE STAPLE BAND featuring the legendary Coventry toaster and his wife Sugary Staple, are unveiling a brand new video exclusively with Vive Le Rock!
Many artists have been forced to make videos under lockdown, but ‘Lockdown’ the song was actually specifically written about experience itself, concerning COVID 19 and isolation from one’s friends and loved ones.
“Sugary came up with the idea to write a song about the lockdown, which, at first, was a very fast-stomping ska track,” explains Neville. “We then realised that it was too fun and happy a tune for the theme. Most of us have been quite down about the whole virus thing, so we decided to take it on a more sweet but moody 2Tone reggae route, in a similar vein to ‘Ghost Town’, with some music we had worked on previously with Sledge (Steve Armstrong).”
The track was recorded by sharing files among the various band members in their own homes, while the video was shot under similar conditions.
“It wasn’t easy,” says Sugary. “I had to collate a whole bunch of recorded snippets from the band, mostly done via phones and tablets. But as a part-time actress and filmmaker, I really do enjoy editing and producing videos and this one was great fun.”
While the band have been forced off the road, the pair have been involved in more charity work than usual, recording DJ sets for those in hospital or self-isolation. In keeping with this, they’ve decided that the single will be used to highlight the work of Zoe’s Place, a charity run for terminally ill babies and toddlers.
“Charities like these really do suffer at a time like this, as the focus is on other things.” says Sugary. “But the work they do at Zoe’s Place is like one of a kind and so very special. They step in when families really do need the support, providing 24-hour high quality, one-to-one palliative, respite and end-of-life care for children aged 0-5 years. A heart-breaking time for anyone involved. We must not lose a charity like this – it is too important and so we will be supporting this, along with other charities we are patrons or ambassadors to, with this single. We also dedicate this song to all those who have been affected by COVID 19.”
The ‘Lockdown’ track is available on 7″ vinyl EP in a strictly limited edition of 250 as part of a special gift set with a CD of rare tracks, fridge-magnet, keyring and protective face-mask. It’s available to order here.
THE GODFATHERS have just unveiled a brand new video.
Nicely coinciding with the band’s 35th Anniversary, the direct statement of intent ‘Wild And Free’ is one half of a storming double-A-side single with ‘I’m Not Your Slave’ on the other. We reckon it’s classic Godfathers…
Says frontman and founding Godfather Peter Coyne, “This promo video was completed under lockdown using film of the group performing on the legendary Rockpalast TV show we’d recorded in Germany in March and sprinkled with quotes from John Carpenter’s cult classic They Live…”
Available on 7″ vinyl and CD, you can buy the single, and a rather swish array of Godfathers merch, here.
THE MURDERBURGERS’ mainman Fraser has a new project and he’s premiering their new video with Vive Le Rock! Careful though, it’s not for the fainthearted.
The song ‘New Sun’ is the title track from the new EP by WRONG LIFE, which is due out through HFL Records via Bandcamp, Spotify and all the usual platforms.
“If anyone needs any tips on how to get the smell of several cups of tea out of an already slightly smelly carpet then hit me up,” he says. “Took me about a week to finish the job after that shit but I got there in the end.”
ROLE MODELS guitarist Nick Hughes is back with a new project, a new single and a new video which he’s premiering exclusively with Vive Le Rock!
‘B.A. Baby’ is the first single by the newly minted THE MIDDLENIGHT MEN and is taken from the forthcoming album ISSUE 1. The project was put together by Hughes along with longtime friend and STATUS QUO drummer Leon Cave and producer Andy Brook (Wonk Unit, Lucifer Star Machine), plus various friends and acquaintances, including Tom Spencer (Yo-Yo’s, The Professionals), Rich Ragany (Role Models) and many more…
A man with CV that includes stints with THE YO-YO’S, TERRORVISION and LOVE ZOMBIES, Hughes hatched the concept for the single while playing dates in Buenos Aires with DUNCAN REID & THE BIG HEADS.
‘B.A. Baby’ is out on Friday 19 June and is available to pre-order here.
North-East punks LOADED 44 have a new video which they’re premiering exclusively with Vive Le Rock!
‘Love To Hate’ is taken from the Line Him Up EP released last year.
“We are releasing this new video during lockdown just to make sure we have not wasted our time,” say the band. “We have another studio video to record and release for ‘Line Him Up’ as soon as the lockdown rules are relaxed a bit. We have had gigs in Germany cancelled due to this nightmare but once this is over we want to get back out there as much as possible now we have our lineup back to full strength with Steve back on bass. However, we do have the fantastic Tony Taylor from First Wave/Hi Fi Spitfires as a stand in, when Steve is away with The U.K. Subs. Hoping to see everyone soon.”
Long-serving Southern punks THE DEXATEENS, unphased by Covid lockdown, are issuing a new download-only live album next month.
Live From Athens, GA – Heathens Homecoming 2020 was recorded, as the name implies, at the annual Heathens Homecoming show hosted by the DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS at the 40 Watt Club in Athens, Georgia on 13 February. The gig saw founding singer/guitarist Elliott McPherson and bassist (and also current Truckers member) Matt Patton joined by original guitarist/singer John Smith, who left the band in 2010. The line-up was completed by drummer Brian Gosdin.
Formed in 1998 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, The Dextateens are little short of a Southern institution, maintaining a fluctuating line-up around McPherson and Patton with occasional breaks. Veering between full-on garage-punk plangent Americana and queasy whiskey-swillin’ Southern Rock, they’ve made six full-lengths for labels such as Estrus, Skybucket and Cornelius Chapel, who release the band’s most recent studio album Teenage Hallelujah in 2016.
Live From Athens, GA is set for release on 3 July through Cornelius Chapel and is available to pre-order exclusively through Bandcamp.
Fast-rising pub rockers THE JAMES OLIVER BAND have a brand new video which they’re premiering exclusively with Vive Le Rock!
‘Stay Outta Trouble’ is taken from their debut album TWANG!, which was produced by Paul Riley of Nick Lowe, Chilli Willi and Balham Alligators fame.
Hailing from Blackwood, South Wales – famously also the hometown of the Manic Street Preachers – Oliver has played alongside such guitar greats as Albert Lee and Bill Kirchen, racking up something like 2,000 gigs in the past decade, while TWANG! bears the unmistakable influence of such other Telecaster masters as Danny Gatton and Mick Green of The Pirates.