EVIL BLIZZARD have announced the release of a double live album for Record Store Day, and they’re launching it with a new video exclusively with Vive Le Rock!
‘Tell Me’ is taken from VILEVILIVE which was recorded live at the Sonic Rock Solstice Festival in Worcestershire last year. The album follows on from the last year’s release of the band’s debut album The Worst Show On Earth.
VILEVILIVE is set for release though the band’s Crackedankles label on Friday 12 April, in time for Record Store Day the following day. It will be available on white vinyl in a gatefold sleeve with a free download card, limited to 500 copies. It will also be available on CD, also limited to 500.
The band play a special headline show at Preston’s iconic Guild Hall on Staurday 13 April, with support from Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, The Membranes and Part Chimp. Tickets are available here.
THE STRAY CATS have unveiled the first single from their new album, their first in 26 years!
‘Cat Fight (Over A Dog Like Me)’ is taken from the succinctly-titled 40, celebrating the Long Island rockabillies’ 40th Anniversary. Check it out here.
The band recorded the album at Blackbird Studio, Nashville at the end of last year with producer Peter Collins. Check out this studio clip featuring band and producer talking about the album…
“You have to understand how unique The Stray Cats are,” explains Brian Setzer. “It’s me playing an old hollow body guitar, Slim Jim playing two or three drums, and Lee Rocker slapping a stand-up acoustic bass. I get to write new songs and then play them with my buddies. Somehow we created a new and exciting sound with this simple idea. And you know what? A lot of people agree!”
“This new album really feels like the first record we did, it’s really natural and comfortable,” adds Lee. “For the recording, we went live – like doing a gig, we recorded in a real, organic way. We were all in one room standing next to each other recording live, with the amps turned up to 10, it captured the undefinable things that happen when a band is great, it captured the magic that takes place and an undefined spark.”
“We’re very, very focused when we get into the studio,” continues Slim Jim. “It didn’t feel like a long time had passed since we had done this, it felt very natural and familiar. We were all in a row with everyone watching each other, so it felt like a gig in the set-up. We really embraced that a little bit for the album, it’s like an old way of making records. The modern is meeting the vintage, which has always been our inspiration.”
Featuring 12 all-new original songs, 40 is set for release on 24 May on Surfdog Records via Mascot Label Group Distribution. It will be available as a limited boxed edition CD, with two bonus tracks, a set of coasters plus postcards and stickers, as well as a limited editon siver vinyl LP. You can pre-order the album here and get ‘Cat Fight…’ as an instant free download.
As previously announced, the Cats play the following European dates…
Fri 21 June Azkena Rock Festival, Vitoria, Spain Sun 23 June 02 Academy, Birmingham Tues 25 June 02 Apollo, Manchester Wed 26 June Eventim Apollo, London Thur 27 June Eventim Apollo, London Sat 29 June Retro C Trop, Tilloloy, France Mon 1 July AFAS Live, Amsterdam, Netherlands Wed 3 July Columbiahalle, Berlin, Germany Thur 4 July Palladium, Cologne, Germany Sat 6 July American Tours Festival, Tours, France Sun 7 July Les Eurockeennes, Belfort, France Tues 9 July Killesberg, Stuttgart, Germany Thur 11 July Zenith, Munich, Germany Fri 12 July X-Tra, Zürich, Switzerland Sat 13 July Musilac Festival, Aix-Les-Bains, France Thur 18 July Pori Jazz Festival, Pori, Finland Sat 20 July Summer Jamboree, Falun, Sweden
The long-awaited debut album by LITTLE VILLAINS, the band founded by legendary MOTÖRHEAD drummer Philthy Animal Taylor, is finally to see the light of day. And the band are premiering a new video exclusively with Vive Le Rock!
Philthy formed the band with guitarist/vocalist James A Childs and bassist Owen Street in 2006, recording Philthy Lies in Palm Springs, California the following year. But, what with one thing and another, the band was never really able to take off. The death of Taylor in 2015 looked like the end of the project.
Childs and Street felt the tracks deserved to be heard, however, and signing to Heavy Psych Sounds, and now joined by drummer Chris Fielden, they’re ready to unleash Philthy Lies – and the video ‘Running Around’ – on the public, in noisy tribute to their friend and drummer.
“‘Running Around’ is the second single from the Philthy Lies album,” say the band. “Like a feel good summer hit featuring James’ vintage riffing and tales of hopeless devotion delivered with the unmistakeable classic backbeat of Philthy Animal Taylor!”
Philthy Lies will be released by Heavy Psych Sounds on 29 March. It’s available to pre-order here.
Birmingham proto-punks BLACK BOMBERS return with a stunning new video, which they’re premiering exclusively with Vive Le Rock!
‘Relentless’ is the first track to be unveiled from the power trio’s new mini-album Vol.4. The six-tracker will be released through Easy Action next month on 10” vinyl, harking back to the golden days of the mini-album in the 80s, as well as legendary 10-inchers like the COUNT BISHOPS’ Live, and of course fellow Brummies BLACK SABBATH’s classic fourth album.
“We’d had ‘Relentless’ for a while and recorded it for the debut album,” explains drummer Dave Twist. “But it didn’t feel right somehow, so we left it off. We got it right this time – cutting out anything that didn’t propel the thing forward.”
Following on from the band’s previous releases – the two 7” singles ‘Crazy’ and ‘Rush’ and their 2016 self-titled full-length, Vol.4 was recorded in the band’s lock up with engineer Simon Bishop and his Dragon Electric mobile studio. The record features five band originals, plus a scorching cover of Paisley Underground band GREEN ON RED’s classic ‘Hair Of The Dog’.
“Al and I are fans of Green on Red and thought that ‘Hair of the Dog’ would sound great with a heavier treatment,” explains bassist Darren Birch. “We imagined a cross between Crazy Horse and Blue Cheer…”
With Twist and Birch joined by guitarist/vocalist Alan Byron, Black Bombers boast an impressive CV that includes time served with the likes of original ’77 punks The Prefects, 90s sleaze-rockers Gunfire Dance, The Damned’s Brian James, Walter Lure of Heartbreakers fame, The Godfathers and seminal Birmingham garage band, TV Eye. A ferocious live act, they’ve been compared by reviewers to The Stooges, Third World War, Pink Fairies and Larry Wallis-era Motörhead
The band have a handful of shows lined up in April. Catch them live at…
4 Apr – Hare & Hounds, Birmingham (w/ The Folk Devils) 7 Apr – Westgarth Social Club, Middlesbrough (w/ Eight Rounds Rapid) 14 Apr – Hare & Hounds, Birmingham (w/ Jim Jones & The Righteous Mind) 18 Apr – Hope & Anchor, London (w/ Last Great Dreamers)
Vol.4 is released through Easy Action Records on Friday 29 March. It’s available to pre-order on iTunes and Spotify here.
Venice Beach punks LUICIDAL have a brilliant new video which they’re premiering exclusively with Vive Le Rock!
‘One Steel Soldier’ is the epic closing track from the band’s recently-released second album Born In Venice and stars guest vocalist Dale Henderson from thrashers BEOWÜLF. The video is the work of renowned artist and skater Bart Saric.
Luicidal was formed in 2012 by former SUICIDAL TENDENCIES members Louiche Mayorga and R.J. Herrera with a yen to create music “badass like the 80’s style Suicidal music.” The band released their self-titled debut in 2014. By early 2016, Herrera had left the band and the current line-up features Marty Ramirez on guitar, Mayorga on bass, Vince Sollecito on drums and Mike Avilez on vocals.
Fellow Venice band Beowülf formed in 1981, signing to Mike Muir’s Suicidal label. Releasing their first album in 1986, and sometimes described as a cross between Suicidal Tendencies and Motörhead, they’ve had numerous line-ups, Henderson being the sole original member.
Italian post-punks CUT have announced a UK tour plus a new single.
The long-serving Bologna trio will contribute one side to a split split single alongside Turin’s MOVIE STAR JUNKIES on the splendidly-named Ancona label, Bloody Sound Fucktory. Cut’s track ‘Bad Chromosome’ features special guest MINUTEMEN and fIREHOSE bassist Mike Watt, who also contributed to the band’s most recent album Second Skin, released in 2017.
The band recently released a video for the album track ‘You Killed Me First’, saying…
“This video has been assembled with footage filmed with all kinds of devices by various people who have been at our live shows throughout the years. Some were already long-time friends and collaborators of ours, while others we have met on that occasion for the first time and have stayed friends ever since. There’s some we’ve met just once and even some we’ve never been introduced to in person! Most of them just happened to be in the audience that night and managed to capture some of the action. Nevertheless, they’ve all been there with us, sharing that suspension of society’s rules and regulations which every rock and roll show should aim at generating. Thank you for contributing with your visual memories of the CUT experience! Most importantly, thank you all so very much for your support across more than two decades. See you on the road and keep on dancing to A Different Beat!”
Formed in 1996, Cut have released six albums, including 2010’s Annihilation Road, recorded and mixed in New York with Matt Verta-Ray (Madder Rose, Speedball Baby, Heavy Trash) and mastered by Voidoids guitarist Ivan Julian. Since forming they’ve toured constantly throughout the UK, Europe and the USA, sharing stages with the likes of Iggy & The Stooges, Violent Femmes, Radio Birdman, The Jim Jones Revue, Royal Trux, The Hives, Mudhoney and loads more.
Cut hit the UK in March for a series of dates kicking off at The Shacklewell Arms in London on Friday 8 March. Full dates are…
Fri 8 Mar – London – Garageland @ Shacklewell Arms (w/Lucy & The Rats) Sat 9 Mar – Bristol – Mother’s Ruin Sun 10 Mar – York – The Fulford Arms Mon 11 Mar – Dundee – Make That a Record @ Conroy’s Basement Tues 12 Mar – Glasgow – Hug & Pint Wed 13 Mar – Edinburgh – Leith Depot Thur 14 Mar – Liverpool – Free Rock and Roll @ Sound Food and Drink Fri 15 Mar – Bolton – Big Unit Sat 16 Mar – Preston – The Ferret Sun 17 Mar – Manchester – Star & Garter (w/The Varukers)
London powerpop rockers LOS PEPES have a new video to show off and they’re doing it exclusively with Vive Le Rock!
‘Positive Negative’ is the title track from the band’s fourth album, which is set for release this Spring through Wanda Records / Adrenalin Fix Music. The video was directed by Ryan Quarterman of Future Human Design Co.
“‘Positive Negative’ is the title track of our upcoming new album. Therefore as a song it represents the whole record’s concept of doing exactly what people say you shouldn’t do,” explains singer/guitarist Ben Perrier. “Wrong is normally right in our experience. To capture the energy of this unhealthy attitude of wrongdoing we made this short clip in which we fail to defuse a bomb. All set to a Beat Club TV-esqe backdrop of green screen explosions and non stop action. Enjoy it folks.”
Described as the Motörhead of powerpop, Los Pepes came together in 2013, sporting a truly international line-up, originating in the UK, Japan, Brazil and Poland. Tearing several strips off clubs, bars and festivals across the UK and Europe, they’ve shared stages with the likes of The Kids, Mudhoney, Guitar Wolf, The Detroit Cobras, The Stems, The Sonics and many many more…
Hertfordshire psychobillies THE ZIPHEADS have a brand new video, which they’re launching exclusively with Vive Le Rock!
Having taken inspiration from Mad Max in previous videos, the St Albans trio have gone back in time to the age of The Flintstones in the video for ‘Dinosaur Rock’.
“We had the idea for the video when the album Prehistoric Beat was originally released in 2013,” they say. “Our friend Tom Malins is an unbelievably talented animator so we were talking to him about this idea but at the time nobody had the money or the time to make it happen. But when Bomber Music re-released the album in July we got together and made it happen. The video is influenced by the Hannah-Barbera style cartoons of the 1960s with some Ren & Stimpy 90s influences chucked in.
Formed in 2006, The Zipheads releaed their debut album Prehistoric Beat on their own label, before signing to Bomber Music for the follow-up Z2: Rampage! in 2016. Their punk-infused rockabilly has earned them serious props on the international psychobilly scene, with the trio invited to play festivals in Spain, France, the Czech Republic, Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands and the U.S.A, sharing stages with the likes of Tiger Army, Rev Horton Heat, The Meteors, Guana Batz, Demented Are Go, King Kurt, Mad Sin and many more.
Catch the band on the following dates…
Sat 22 Dec The Horn, St Albans
Fri 11 Jan The Kings Head, Cromer
Sat 12 Jan The New Adelphi, Hull
Fri 25 Jan Hope & Anchor, Islington, London
Thu 31 Jan Fulford Arms, York
Fri 1 Feb Black Bull, Gateshead
Sun 3 Feb The Waterloo Music Bar, Blackpool
Fri 15 Feb Fish Fabrique Novelle, St. Petersburg, Russia
Sat 16 Feb Glastonberry Pub, Moscow, Russia
Fri 1 Mar Lewes Con Club, Lewes
Sun 3 Mar Bar 42, Worthing
Sat 23 Mar The Fighting Cocks, Kingston Upon Thames
Thu 28 Mar Gambrinus Music Club, Paris, France
Sat 6 Apr The Green Door Store, Brighton
Fri 19 Apr Harpenden Public Halls, Harpenden
Sun 5 May 2 Night Stand, Watford
Fri 24 May Black Heart, Camden, London
Sat 25 May Strummercamp Festival, Oldham
Fri 12 Jul Once Upon A Time in the West, Wiltshire
Sat 17 Aug Exchange, Bristol
The reissued Prehistoric Beat is out now through Bomber Music.
Swiss industrialists THE YOUNG GODS are back with their first new single in eight years.
‘Figure Sans Nom’ is taken from their forthcoming new album. The trio of Franz Treichler, Cesare Pizzi and Bernard Trontin are to play a one-off UK date at at the O2 Islington Academy on 23 March. Tickets are available here.
EVIL BLIZZARD have a brand new video, which they’re unveiling exclusively with Vive Le Rock!
Entering into the Xmas spirit, the chirpily-titled ‘Unleash The Misery’ is the third single to be drawn from the Preston band’s acclaimed album The Worst Show On Earth.
Released through Crackedankles Records, ‘Unleash The Misery’ c/w ‘Tongue Cushion’ is available on 7″ (limited to 300 copies) and download from Bandcamp.
Written and directed by Giles Bastow, the video stars Joanne Mitchell and James Foster.
Says bandmember Filthydirty: “The director Giles Bastow approached us about making a short film to accompany the single as opposed to a ‘promo video’. Giles is a total Horror movie buff but wanted to make a short film with a twist: he wanted to subvert the cliche of the ‘helpless girl who is always the first victim’ and wanted to portray the female character as the stronger victor.”
Massachusetts new wave psych band THE PREFAB MESSIAHS are back with a brand new single and video.
‘Bring On The Robots’ is the first new material from the band since the release of their acclaimed full-length album Psychsploitation Today!, released earlier this year.
Originally existing in Worcester, Massachusetts during the early 80s, recordings by the band were hard to find until California label Burger gave an official full reissue to a previously CD-R only compilation, Devolver, in 2007. This was followed in 2015 by an 8-song mini-album of new material, Keep Your Stupid Dreams Alive.
‘Bring On The Robots’ is out digitally through iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and all usual platforms.
Veteran Pacific Northwest roots rocker RICH HOPE has a new video, and he’s premiering it exclusively with Vive Le Rock!
‘Golden Clouds’ is a cover of a track by the FLAMIN’ GROOVIES from their legendary Sneakers EP. This version is taken from Rich’s new album I’m All Yours, the follow-up to 2009’s Gonna Whip It On Ya.
Born and raised in Edmonton, Canada, Rich’s first band, The Taxicrabs, were given their name by Country Dick Montana of The Beat Farmers. Relocating to Vancouver, he released his first full-length album Good To Go
in 1998, before signing on with the band John Ford for two albums.
Since forming a duo with drummer Adrian Mack, he’s been support of choice for the likes of the Black Crowes, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, The Sadies, Social Distortion and Reverend Horton Heat among others.
I’m All Your is out now and available to order through Bandcamp.
Powerpop rockers LAST GREAT DREAMERS put a seal on their most successful year yet with a series of December dates.
They follow on from the release of their acclaimed fourth album 13th Floor Renegades and steady touring which has seen them play up and down the UK, as well as their first ever shows in Norway and Spain. They’ve also begun making plans for their first ever US shows, having had their tracks rotated on legendary powerpop DJ Rodney Bingenheimer’s radio show in LA.
Following their headline shows in December, they’re back out on the road in the new year as special guests to Chicago glamsters Enuff Z’Nuff.
Catch them live at…
Fri 7th Dec BIRMINGHAM Asylum 2
8th Sat Dec GLASGOW Nice ‘n’ Sleazy
9th Sun Dec SHEFFIELD Corporation
15th Sat Dec LONDON Camden Black Heart
16th Sun Dec SOUTHAMPTON Heartbreakers
Sat 19th Jan WOLVERHAMPTON Giffard Arms (Dementia Awarefest)
Sat 26th Jan LONDON Monarch (Camden Rocks all-dayer)
Wed 13th Feb EDINBURGH Bannermans (w/Enuff Z’Nuff)
Thu 14th Feb LONDON Underworld (w/Enuff Z’Nuff)
Fri 15th Feb NUNEATON Queens Hall (w/Enuff Z’Nuff)
Sat 16th Feb BRADFORD Trash (w/Enuff Z’Nuff)
Sun 17th Feb BUCKLEY Tivoli (w/Enuff Z’Nuff)
Mon 18th Feb STOKE ON TRENT Eleven (w/Enuff Z’Nuff)
To celebrate, Vive Le Rock asked guitarist Slyder to come up with his Top 10 powerpop nuggets…
Hanoi Rocks – ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams’
The band probably responsible for Last Great Dreamers’ existence, Marc [Valentine, guitar/vocals] and I both being huge fans; nothing like them before and nothing close to them since, you can hear the likes of The Clash and Mott in there but they had a real unique sound and look. Hard to pick a favourite song, love them all but I think on the Two Steps From The Move album they really came of age, obviously on the verge of great things until tragedy struck. The production on this record, the harmonies etc, just moved up a notch. This song is a great example of that and they look so damn cool in this video too.
Redd Kross – ‘Stay Away From Downtown’
Redd Kross are one of my favourite bands. First I heard of them was Third Eye, introduced to me by Marc, and then the subsequent albums, saw them once in London on the Show World tour in the 90s and again more recently touring Researching The Blues. When I heard ‘Stay Away From Downtown’ I was instantly hooked by the riff and the chorus. I played this song to death and still do, it was instrumental in getting me back into playing again after a 10-year break. I’d just got back in touch with Marc again when this came out, it excited me and made me want to get back on stage again!
Blondie – ‘I’m Gonna Love You Too’
From Parallel Lines, hard to pick any individual track again but this is a great example of their reinvented 1950s sound in the late 70s, a bit Buddly Hollyesque. Fun and vibrant, always showcasing Clem’s brilliant drumming and Debbie is just fantastically talented and beautiful, love her scream into the rip roaring guitar solo!
Squeeze – ‘Is That Love?’
I think Squeeze are similar to The Kinks in their ‘storytelling’ style of lyric writing. This is a perfect example of the classic 2½ minute pop song. Straight into a short and sweet riff and verse 1, Glen Tilbrook’s soulful voice with a country edge, sweet harmonies and perfect little rockabilly/country guitar solo.
Silversun – ‘Golden Skin’
Came across this in the late 90s on the soundtrack to British romcom movie Shooting Fish. Great catchy opening riff that’s a theme throughout, layered vocal harmonies and simple melodic octave guitar solo, perfect pop song!
The Kinks – ‘Till The End Of The Day’
The Kinks were the ultimate storytellers, quintessentially English, trashy guitar sound & excellent harmonies. This song we earmarked to cover whilst on tour, we jammed it in a soundcheck or two but it never came to anything, maybe one day. The lyrics seemed to fit with the whole vibe of touring & the happy bubble you are in…“you and me we’re free, we do as we please. From the morning till the end of the day”.
The Ramones – ‘I Wanna Be Sedated’
Another completely unique band with so many songs, it’s so very hard to pick a favourite. Great production on this record, very tight squelchy guitars, repetitive catchy singalong lyrics, impossible not to love this, The Ramones at their best.
The Buzzcocks – ‘Ever Fallen In Love’
Fabulous pop song, simple but meaningful lyrics, great jangly guitars, perfect chorus and harmonies from a band that churned out tons of catchy, camp 3-minute pop punk classics. Saw them most recently at Exeter a few years back and never heard a guitar as loud as Steve Diggle’s. He played and performed like he’d just been given his guitar back after having had it confiscated for 10 years!
The Hives – ‘Hate To Say I Told You So’
While I was browsing through YouTube this song started playing and I’d earlier had the CD in my hands when thinking of tracks to include for this, so decided to put it in. Loads of energy, attitude & aggression, cool look and sound.
Boomtown Rats – ‘Rat Trap’
A favourite band as a kid, again very unique in their sound. Great songs, look and attitude. I do remember hearing that this song was like an homage or sequel to The Kinks’ ‘Waterloo Sunset’, not sure if there’s any truth in that though.
Melodic punks JANUS STARK are back with a new video – their first ever!
The single ‘Shuffling The Pack’ represents the Peterborough band’s first new material in 21 years!
The band were first former in 1996 by former DESTRUCTORS and ENGLISH DOGS guitarist Gizz Butt. Given a boost in profile thanks to his appearances with THE PRODIGY, the band scored a minor hit with the ‘Every Second Counts’ accompanied by the album Great Adventure Cigar. Since splitting the band in 2002, Butt has performed with Steve Ignorant on his CRASS revival gigs, as well as playing with FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM and German alternative metal band PYOGENESIS.
Speaking about ‘Shuffling The Pack, Butt explains, “It’s a tale of promises that lead to betrayal. When someone lays down the red carpet to you and promises the earth, yet before you know it, your honeymoon is over, and you’ve been shuffled to the back of the pack.
“Personally, I’ve been at the receiving end of a ‘promisor’ a number of times, fooled by the proverbial dangly carrot. A few friends of mine helped me recognise the signs. The video represents a promise that I am intended to follow. This time I suspect something, so I’m going to confront this villain. This time he’s chosen the wrong card!”
The single is the first fruit from a new album due next year.
You can catch Janus Stark live on the following dates…
Nov 24 – The Ostrich Peterborough
Jan 12 – The Monarch Camden, London
April 19-21 – Manchester Punk Festival
May 25 – Punk and Ska Festival Wales, Machlynlleth
Everybody talks about sticking it to the man, but who’s really doing it?
Fed up with local politicians taking money for doing nothing, Belfast punk Petesy Burns has teamed up with academic and author Colin Harper to deliver a stinging rebuke of Northern Ireland Assembly Members. And the song, resoundingly-titled ‘Smash The System’, is surely a rallying call in current times, as relevant almost anywhere around the world as it is in Northern Ireland.
Says Harper, who wrote the song, “The Northern Ireland Assembly collapsed in January 2017, the direct result of the Minister in charge of a botched heating scheme called RHI refusing to step aside while an enquiry took place. RHI will cost Northern Ireland taxpayers an estimated £490-500 million in wasted money.”
According to Harper, between January 2017 and October 2018, the 90 NI assembly members have received £10.25 million in salaries and an estimated £11.77 million in expenses. During that period, one assembly member has received £69,600 extra for his role as Speaker.
“He hasn’t spoken once”, says Harper. “Imagine if all of this was happening in London. It would be a national outrage.”
“I have no connection with punk whatsoever, but the medium felt right for getting the message out about this mess,” he continues. “I’d recently watched a documentary on 1970s Belfast punk legends, The Outcasts and was impressed by band member Petesy Burns’ compassionate anarchist ethos – kindness towards one’s fellow man – and by the energy of his performance. I got in touch and he was immediately on board.”
Credited to Colin Harper’s Bourgeois Fury, ‘Smash The System’ is available now from iTunes, Amazon and all usual digital platforms.
MADNESS return to their House Of Fun weekender at Minehead Butlin’s at the end of the month.
Over the weekend of 30 November-2 December, the Nutty Boys play host to a range of live acts and DJs including MUNGO JERRY, DAVID RODIGAN, CHRIS DIFFORD, HORACE ANDY, GENO WASHINGTON, ADRIAN SHERWOOD, DENNIS BOVELL, JANET KAY, HUEY MORGAN, Bez and Rowetta from HAPPY MONDAYS, EARL GATESHEAD, CHAINSKA BRASSIKA, THE ESKIES, THE SKATA TONES and more….
To celebrate, we asked the band’s longstanding bass supremo Mark ‘Bedders’ Bedford for his Top 10 ska and reggae tracks….
“It’s the worst thing in the world to ask a musician his or her favourite tracks. There are normally so many in a musician’s head. Groups and sub-groups of suitable bits of music for every occasion. But asking them to pick ten will elicit hand-wringing on a monumental scale. This list is a touch easier because the brief was to stick to ska and reggae. But I could have drawn up a list for Top Ten of All-Time records – this would have taken weeks, of course. Or a jazz list; a blues list; a punk list. So, here it is – for today – because it will probably change tomorrow or next week?”
‘Eastern Standard Time’ – Don Drummond: “This lovely, lazy and loping tune, by The Skatalites, is really part of the roots of ska. You can hear the jazz influence, which featured in a lot of early ska tunes. Jazz was what this stellar band of musicians was listening to and playing before making this record. You can also hear, unsurprisingly, the Caribbean music as well. A lot of The Skatalites, individually, went on to make important ska and reggae records.”
‘Ali Baba’ – John Holt: “John Holt’s vocal on this track is super cool. He’s singing in such an easy way. This is counterpoint to the lyrics which are fantastic, in the truest sense of the word. John lays out the lyrics in a way which says, this tune is about a heavily psychedelic dream I had but, hey, no big deal. The experts say that this tune is technically ‘Rocksteady’. It also features a really nice horn section.”
‘East of the River Nile’ – Augustus Pablo: “This instrumental has one of my favourite introductions. It could easily be the start of an old film. What follows is a lovely slow groove with minimal instrumentation – where every instrument sounds just right. Then in comes Augustus Pablo’s melodica. Great use of reverb to create atmosphere, helped by some nice dub. This came out in 1977 but could have fitted into any reggae era.”
‘Ring The Alarm’ – Tenor Saw: “Tenor Saw is regarded as one of the great dancehall-style singers. He was working in the early period where reggae was discovering digital music. He’s young and confident on this track and his vocal style and inflections are so good. A brilliant rhythm, as well. Tenor Saw died aged 21 – a massive loss.”
‘Mr Brown’ – Bob Marley & The Wailers with The Upsetters: “Produced by Lee Perry; written by The Upsetters’ Glen Adams and given to The Wailers. It’s the story about a ghost being seen around town. So we get ‘creepy’ sounds and scary vocals. We also get great harmonies from The Wailers. I always think of it as a stand-alone reggae record – there’s not much like it? Just imagine if reggae had gone totally psychedelic?”
‘Cuss Cuss’ – Lloyd Robinson : “This brilliant, driving rhythm became one of the most covered in Jamaica. The urgency matches Lloyd Robinson’s vocal: ‘Get out of my life with your fuss and fight; I don’t want it’. Then up pops an organ hook line. 2’33” of a short, sharp plea.”
‘CB 200’ – Dillinger: “Title track from Dillinger’s superb album of the same name. This brought reggae and dub to the Punks and a wider audience. An album for every collection.”
‘Tunnel One’ – Tommy McCook: “Tommy McCook was one of the founders of The Skatalites and he leads this tune with his beautiful sax playing. Not only can you hear John Coltrane in his playing but you can also hear Miles Davis in the trumpet that follows him. Built on a rock solid rhythm, it’s over too soon.”
‘Sit and Wonder’ – Prince Buster: “This track, I think, is influenced by the Nyabinghi rhythm, which comes from the chants that are used by Rastafarians? It’s certainly one I haven’t heard on many records? Prince Buster delivers a trademark vocal with nice doo-wop harmonies and a cheeky sax part.”
‘All Will Be Well In The Garden’ – Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry and Adrian Sherwood. “A great and intriguing combination. Their work together is so good and you could pick many tracks. Nice mournful horns, harmonica and a sliding double bass(?). Reggae is in a healthy state here.”
LOUISE DISTRAS has just released a video for her brand new single!
‘Street Revolution’ is the title track from a new EP set for January release. It follows on from her debut album Dreams From The Factory Floor from 2015. It paves the way for her forthcoming second full-length, recently recorded in Oakland, California with producers Steve Whale of THE BUSINESS and Ross Petersen.
Louise describes the track as “… a rallying anthem for the new underground movement of working class kids, rising together through music to fight for their future”.
“Having run away from home as a teenager, Musicians Against Homelessness is cause close to my heart,” she says. “We all walk our own warzone path which is only one step away from a situation we can’t control. Music saves lives and supporting Crisis is my way of giving something back.”
Cathc louise on the following dates…
17th Jan – Cambridge, Portland Arms
18th Jan – Nottingham, The Bodega
23rd Jan – Leeds, Key Club
24th Jan – Newcastle, Cluny 2
25th Jan – Guildford, The Boileroom
26th Jan – Norwich, Waterfront Studio
27th Jan – Portsmouth, Edge of The Wedge
29th Jan – Leicester, Firebug
31st Jan – Bishops Stortford, The Half Moon
2nd Feb – Wolverhampton, Slade Rooms