Brigitte Handley “After Dark” 7″ (Picture Disc)

BRIGITTE HANDLEY (The DARK SHADOWS) is releasing her new single in those weird quarantine/lockdown times. Two songs on a beautiful colourful 7″ vinyl picture dic. “After Dark” is a catchy pop song with a dark twist in which you’ll hear early British punk/rock’n’roll influences such as The CLASH in the guitars/bass and 80s goth rock touches. This song would have been perfect as the soundtrack of some cool 80s post modern vampire movie. B-side offers us a remix of “Lament Of A Lost Soul” by MATAHARI RANCH. Dark electronic, melodic vocals and distorted surf rock guitars are mixing together in order to give the song a new interesting aesthetic compared to the dark folk influenced version you can hear on “The Edge Of Silence.” Ordering records may take a little more time these days, but this one is definitely worth it! /Laurent C.

Order “After Dark”

http://www.brigittehandley.com
Facebook page

 

Suzie Stapleton new single/video and September shows

Brighton-based artist Suzie Stapleton has announced the release of new single “Blood On The Windscreen”.

‘Blood On The Windscreen’ is the second single from the acclaimed songwriter and guitarist’s highly anticipated debut album ‘We Are The Plague’ which is slated for release in June via Cargo Records.

“I had a meeting with a photographer in early January to discuss the artwork for We Are The Plague. I joked, ‘I hope a pandemic doesn’t sweep across the world before the album release’. About a week later, coronavirus starting hitting the headlines… and here we are.

“When I wrote the title I was thinking not only of plague as in the disease, but of plague in the proportional sense. We are prone to knee-jerk reactions when another species appears to threaten us in some way, yet it’s our own actions that pose the biggest threat to our survival.

“Why have we reacted so swiftly to coronavirus worldwide, yet we drag our feet to combat climate change which could bring down not only us but our entire global ecosystem?”

‘Blood On The Windscreen’ was produced by Stapleton and mixed by award-winning engineer Dan Cox (Thurston Moore/Laura Marling). The track simmers with raw energy, harnessing the power of the 3-piece, Stapleton’s distorted guitar and gritty vocal are punctuated by the heavy-hitting of drummer Jim Macaulay (The Stranglers), and the driving bass force of Gavin Jay (Jim Jones & The Righteous Mind).

Stapleton was set to play a run of UK shows in March supporting Humanist – producer/guitarist Rob Marshall’s intriguing new project featuring vocals from Mark Lanegan, Dave Gahan, Mark Gardener and more – these dates have now been postponed until September due to the coronavirus outbreak. Further dates with Jim Jones-fronted powerhouse Thee Hypnotics are cancelled.

“These are strange times… Of course we were really looking forward to all of these shows, but it’s OK, it’s for the greater good. I’m going to make the most of self-isolation and use the time to be creative. I guess we wait and see what the summer brings. As long as there is WIFI in quarantine, I’ll get the album out there.”

SUZIE STAPLETON UK SEPTEMBER TOUR
Supporting HUMANIST 
Thursday 24th Soup Kitchen, MANCHESTER
Tuesday 29th The Prince Albert, BRIGHTON
Wednesday 30th The Lexington, LONDON 

Suzie Stapleton releases new single/video “Thylacine”

Acclaimed chronicler of the shadows Suzie Stapleton has announced the release of her new single, ‘Thylacine’, and a run of UK dates. Both herald the release of highly anticipated debut album, ‘We Are The Plague’, which is due in the spring.

Released independently on 29 November via AWAL as a digital-only release, ‘Thylacine’ finds the Brighton-based artist in compelling form. Drawing its title from an extinct Australian mammal, and tying in with the apocalyptic themes that inform ‘We Are The Plague’, the new single is suffused with a sense of drama and an ethereal intensity that marks her down as a very special talent. This is music that seduces, compels and haunts.

“When I started writing for this album, I felt compelled to address what was going on in the world. We’re bombarded constantly by horrific news, stuck on a broken systemic hamster wheel. I felt stupid writing about my insignificant woes whilst the world burned around me.” explains Stapleton.

Joining Suzie Stapleton’s live band are bassist Gavin Jay from Jim Jones & The Righteous Mind and former Yann Tiersen drummer Dave Collingwood. The Stranglers’ drummer Jim Macaulay brings his talents to the studio.

“I approach the art of recording differently to performing songs live,” continues Stapleton. “There’s an energy during live performances that can turn songs into a different beast. I expect that these new songs will evolve and begin to draw their own breath during this tour.”

Produced by Suzie Stapleton, ‘Thylacine’ and ‘We Are The Plague’ were recorded between OX4 Sound in Oxfordshire and Stapleton’s home studio, and were mixed by award-winning engineer Dan Cox, whose previous credits include Thurston Moore’s ‘The Best Day’.

SUZIE STAPLETON TOUR DATES
January 4 The Carlisle, HASTINGS w/ Dastardly Dudes // Free Entry
January 24 The Brunswick Hove (Cellar Bar), BRIGHTON w/ Rex Speedway & The Denim Avengers + The Damn Shebang // Free Entry
January 25 Rough Trade BRISTOL w/ Emily Breeze (headlining) + National Treasure

www.suziestapleton.com

The Brothers Steve – Megaliftic Pop!

3 members of TSAR have formed The BROTHERS STEVE, a glammy powerpop band with strong 60s influences and great vocal harmonies. They tell us about the band, the recording of the album, their favourite records and much more !

How did you get the idea of starting The BROTHERS STEVE?

Jeff Whalen:  We all knew each other from our schoolboy days at UC Santa Barbara, home of the Avo Taco, which was this amazing taco at this place called Freebird’s.  Somebody told me that they don’t make it anymore.

Os Tyler: Yeah, I actually went to Freebird’s a little while back and ordered an Avo Taco and the guy behind the counter’s eyes lit up like a fond distant memory was washing over him and he said, “Wow, it’s like you just came in from outer space.”

JW:  I miss the Avo Taco.  Anyway, but yeah, last summer some friends were throwing a party and they needed a band, so we said let’s do it!  The Brothers Steve!

OT: Yeah, it was that or hire a choir of rubber chickens.

Did you get to find the good line-up easily?

JW:  Sure!  It was automatic.  I love these guys.  And playing with them is a major gas.  It’s just super-gassy.  I mean, we’ve been super-good friends since college—Jeff and Coulter and I are in Tsar, Dylan is like my bro life-partner, and Os is my favorite guy to write songs with, out of anybody on the planet.

OT: Ah, man, that’s too kind. Truth is I probably never would have written song one if it wasn’t for Jeff. I was walking past a window one day and this guy says, “Hey Os, you wanna hear the song we just wrote and recorded?” Turns out it was Jeff Whalen and Jeff Solomon, recording right out of their living room. It was an epiphany moment for me. It was honestly the first time that I realized that people write songs. They don’t magically materialize, people write them. And, well, I’m a people, so why not give it a try.

JW:  My grandma had a dog who thought he was a people.

How did you write the songs? Did you have them before the band got together?

JW:  When Os and I write together, mostly I come up with a chord progression and then Os starts riffing on some words and then we bang around some chorus ideas and then maybe get some lunch.  Os and I have pretty much been writing together this whole time.  We’ve always wanted to put out the songs on some kind of album-type band-situation-type thing, but we’ve been unable to, for whatever reason.  Mostly I think because, left to our own devices, we just keep recording and re-recording and thinking about it and talking about it and never finishing anything.  We have a buncha-buncha songs, so this is cool to be in the Brothers Steve and be able to play and sing them in a thing where we have to finish it or people will get mad at us.

Can you tell us about the recording of the album?

JW:  We tried to record it really fast—like three or four days—mostly to keep Os and me from recording more and more vocals and dragging the process on, potentially for years.  So we finished tracking, and what we had was cool, for sure.  But it wasn’t done-done—the band had a couple pick-up things we needed to do to finish up, maybe another day or two, max.  So, secretly, Os and I took the sessions to his house and recorded more and more vocals without telling anyone.  I remember feeling kind of anxious about it, like everybody’s gonna be pissed that we got all overdubby on it.  But we did our level best to do it with … you know, alacrity.  We got Dylan in on it, to sing more, too, which was great, because I love how we sound, the three of us together.  In the end, I’d say we only dragged the process on an extra month or two.


There’s a lot of vocal harmonies on the album. Is this something you miss in modern music?

JW:  I think I do, now that you mention it.  I’ve been listening to a lot of sunshine pop these days, from the late 60’s/early 70’s, and it’s clear that big harmonies and lots of singing was so important to those guys.

OT: I generally love music of all types but I feel like any song can be enhanced and uplifted by adding human vocal harmonies. There’s no way to replicate an individual human voice, and mixing two or three of them together in harmony gives you this compounded unique-tacity that’s megaliftic.

JW:  Well said.  This is why it takes us years to finish a demo.

What is « Beat Generation Poet Turned Assassin » about?

OT: “Beat Generation Poet” is a biographical sketch of a young man named Bociferous Dillard. Dillard was a little younger than Burroughs and a little older than Ginsberg. He was a cutting edge poet, early to the beat generation scene, and initial assessments suggested he would embody a cultural milestone, and that his poetry would be remembered for eternity.

However, as the now-known voices of establishment Beat Gen society redefined and pushed the movement in the direction that it ultimately embraced, the early critical acclaim of Dillard’s groundbreaking stylistic finesse degenerated to critical disparagement, leading Dillard to utter disillusion and despair.

In his mid-twenties, Dillard began hiring himself out as a contracted killer. Known to have assassinated at least seven men, he would never write another word until his death at age 27. He died beside his last victim, banking mogul Victor Lanchot. Bociferous Dillard’s dying words, scrawled in blue ink on a two-dollar bill: “Your words, not mine.”

JW:  I didn’t know any of that.

The 60s and indie influences are obvious, but since you also play in TSAR, we can hear a few similarities in the glammier songs like « We Got The Hits », « Carolanne » or even « She » do you think some of these songs could have been released by TSAR?

JW:  “We Got the Hits” could be Tsar-ified for sure.  “Carolanne” could probably be on a later Tsar album?  Like one in an alternate timeline, maybe?  An alternate timeline in which the four members simultaneously released solo records, a la KISS?  And the posters all fit together?  And there was only like three or four good songs on all the albums put together?

Have The BROTHERS STEVE played a lot of shows so far?

JW:  No!  We played that party and then we played our album release party for International Pop Overthrow a couple months ago, and then a show last night in Burbank.

OT: We are excited to play more as the anticipation takes us!

Is there any new L.A. Bands you feel close to musicwise?

JW:  We’re friends with Punch Punch Kick—they played the International Pop Overthrow show with us—and they’re amazing.  Super hooky.

OT: I personally love United Ghosts. There are no pure parallel lines between us, but I just dig their thing. They just had a sweet summertime European tour. They’re worth checking out!

5 of your favourite albums and a few words about them.

JW:  Right now I’m listening to Begin by the Millennium at least once or twice a day.  People told me it was supposed to be so good, but the first few times I listened to it, I wasn’t all that knocked out.  I had the CD in my stereo for a while and I’d let it play kind of randomly while not really paying attention and then all of a sudden one day it kicked in.  Now I think it’s brilliant!  Kind of like the Association meets Nilsson meets Paul Williams or something.  Kind of like if Olivia Tremor Control was a polished sunshine pop band.  Or like an easy-listening MGMT.  Lots of vocal harmonies on that one.

OT: It’s a smooth sailing groove.

JW:  Also, check out the New Directions album by Gary Lewis and the Playboys.  You can kind of guarantee that any album called New Directions is going to be terrible, but it’s actually great.  It came out after all his hits, but I’d argue it’s his best album.  That is, if I could ever find anybody who wanted to argue “best Gary Lewis albums” with me.  I’m sure they’re out there.  The record’s full of these weirdly manipulative songs about a lonely guy trying to get girls to pay attention to him.  Solid record.  Gary Lewis is super underrated, I think.  And there’s something about his singing style—if you can call it that—that makes me feel 90’s-y.  Does anyone out there know what I’m talking about?  That kind of, I-know-I-can’t-really-sing-but-really-the-jokes-on-you-because-I’m-not-really-trying-although-I-really-am type of singing from the 90’s?

OT: I do!

JW:  I’ve also been jamming Too Fast For Love by Motley Crue.  Shout at the Devil‘s got some great songs on it, but Too Fast For Love is their masterpiece.  But how must it feel to be in this huge, internationally famous band that’s been around for decades and know that the best thing you ever did, by far, was essentially your demo tape?  Must make you feel like S.E. Hinton or something, writing The Outsiders when she was in high school.  If you hit your peak right out of the box—or before you’re even out of the box—what do you do the rest of your life?  Just Harper-Lee that shit?  Who knows?  Great album, though.  And check this out!  I never noticed—ever!—that the album cover photo is a blowup of Vince Neil’s crotch from the full length picture of him on the back cover.  Does everybody know that except me?  Have I just been walking around, talking to people, living my life and I’m the only one who didn’t know that?  I had always assumed it was a planned crotch shot, an intentional takeoff on Sticky Fingers, right?  I just noticed this like two weeks ago.

OK, that’s three.  Uh, four, let’s say the Xanadu soundtrack.  I’ve always been an ELO-side guy, but lately I’ve been more into the Olivia Newton-John side.  Her voice in that period has a kind of fragile clarity I’m digging.  The song “Dancin’”—the duet with the guy from the Tubes—is so ridiculous.  It’s almost like an experiment in ridiculousness.  Her innocence and his over-the-top, fake-confident lasciviousness, with the 40’s-music-meets-fake-hard-rock medley.  So charming, despite its obvious effort to be charming.

Os, you got a fifth?

OT:  Well yeah, here’s a top 5 album: OutKast’s Speakerboxxx/The Love Below.  Funky, groovy, funny, groomy.  Such great stuff.

JW:  Totally.  Os, have you ever considered “Hey Ya!” as a glam song?

OT:  Not really.  And another fun weird one while I’m thinking on it, The Flaming Lips’s Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots.  Feel good, swim and sway, fully instrumented tunes with plenty of echo-y, glorious harmony vocals.

What’s coming next for The BROTHERS STEVE and TSAR

JW:  The Brothers Steve have a Christmas single coming out on Big Stir records in November, which I’m mega-double jazzed about since I love Christmas music.  Christmas music is the Beatles of music, if you know what I mean.

OT:  Sure!

JW:  And then another full-length record, I’d say.  Right?

OT: If the planets align, I would love that!
JW:  As for Tsar … I dunno!  We talk about it, dream about it.  Just waiting for the right moment, you know, globally or whatever.

Facebook page

ACTORS – They Will Come To You!

We thought it would be interesting to send a few questions to Canadian 80s post-punk/dark rock influenced band ACTORS after seeing them at Berlin’s Lido. Bass player Jahmeel Russell tells us more…

How was your European summer tour?

It’s been fantastic. As of this writing we have three more shows to go in Spain before we finish. This tour’s been six weeks all together so we’ve had the chance to play more cities and country’s than the first time we came over.

When I saw you in Berlin, you said that it was your first time there. How many times have you toured in Europe before?

This is ACTORS second time over here. I’ve been over here previously with some other bands.

There was an encore on that night and you weren’t expected it, so you had to play songs that you have already played in the set. Did this happen anywhere else on this tour?

Berlin was the only city we played a song again in for an encore and that’s because we were physically forced back on stage by members of the crowd (Ha Ha). We’ve had encores at pretty much every show on this tour, we just haven’t played them because we play all of our songs in the set. The audiences excitement and energy at all the shows has been killer.

80s influences can be heard in your music, I’m thinking of KILLING JOKE , The CULT, The MISSION, The SISTERS OF MERCY, among others. Some would call it goth rock or dark rock. While dark genres are still quite popular nowadays, full drum/bass/guitar bands are getting rare. Did you have the idea of a dark rock band from the start?

Jason started this by himself but I don’t think there was ever a moment where he thought about doing it live without a band. For me there’s a certain power in live drums and bass that cannot be matched.

Considering the name of the band and the number of videos you have on YouTube, is cinema somthing you’re particularly interested in?

Yes. Cinema’s really important. It’s a source of inspiration and creativity.

Jahmeel, you often wear metal/black metal shirts on stage. For some reason it made me think about when bands I liked as a teenager were wearing band shirts that were different from their own music. For instance, I remember I got into SKINNY PUPPY because Slash was wearing their shirts. Do you get a lot of metal people at ACTORS shows, or people who come to you and talk about it?

We actually do. Speaking from my own experience with music growing up I was always drawn to dark music. I could jump between a Darkthrone and Depeche Mode record quite easily. The genre of music I listen to the most is black metal and I’ve found at most shows I meet fans of the band who are into what we do but are also into black/death metal. I love to talk about this music so it’s always a pleasure to meet fans who are into it.

Did you see Lords of Chaos? What did you think about it?

I did. It was ok but just entertainment, nothing more. For anyone really interested in what happened back then this is not the place to look.

5 of your favourite albums and a few words about them:

GODFLESH – Streetcleaner. 

I got this on tape in the early 90’s. At that point I had heard a lot of the other Earache bands from that time, most of which I am still a fan of but this record really spoke to me the most. That bass tone and Justin Broadrick’s guitar playing were very influential to me. Still one of the heaviest albums ever. 

Depeche Mode – Songs of Faith and Devotion. 

While I would probably say Violator is my favourite album this is the one I find myself listening to the most these days. Condemnation has got to be one of the most beautiful songs ever and my favourite vocal performance from Dave Gahan. 

Bathory – Under the Sign of the Black Mark

This was the first Bathory album I heard when I was a kid and it has stuck with me ever since. The main riff in Call From the Grave still gives me chills. It’s hard to pick just one as the first four albums are all mandatory.

Katharsis -VVorldVVithoutEnd

One of my favourite black metal bands for me this is their peak. I remember buying this CD without hearing a note just because it was on the NOEVDIA label. I was not disappointed. It’s like Under a Funeral Moon x 1000. An utterly chaotic masterpiece. 

Black Cilice – Banished From Time 

Probably my current favourite black metal band. I enjoy all of their releases. The first time I heard them it had the same impact as when I first heard Xasthur in the mid-2000’s. Very raw and produced in such a way that makes it very unique. It’s haunting, aggressive, yet I also find myself falling into a trance listening to it. I have the new album “Transfixion of Spirits” on CD and LP waiting for me when I get home from this tour and I can’t wait to dive in. My most anticipated album of the year along with the new Teitanblood.

You’re a hard working band, so I guess you already have a lot of things planned after the European tour?

We have 10 days off after this tour then we head down to the USA for another run of dates that will take us to the end of October. In November we have two more shows in Vancouver and Seattle respectively and at that point we will have done about 150 dates in support of this record. More tour dates and a new album are already in the works for 2020. 

https://www.actorstheband.com
Facebook page

 

 

PinkLips “Pink Is The New F*#k You!”

(-review by Moses Midnight)

What a lovely surprise! I didn’t even know that anybody made bands this cool, anymore! It’s just really, really good, and pretty, and heartfelt, honest songs about frustration, desire and wanting, the conscience at war with the big programming, lust in the dust, innocence and experience, when one’s heart keeps calling, that involuntary, helpless, human cry for love. I dig it, deeply. Some of you know I’m an 80’s kid and I make no apologies for that-everything the sports mook, video game, unboxing products on youtube, I-Phone mainstream always mocks and skewers for being too earnest, or sincere, or corny and retro, I still cling to all that stuff quite shamelessly, so when I finally get some extremely rare, alone-time to listen to music, it was a bit of a struggle to play something modern and new, rather than the double cd greatest hits of an artist who soundtracked my youth that I stumbled over at the Goodwill a few days ago, for one dollar. Upon first listen to PinkLips, I am instantly captured by the gypsyish violins and snarly female vocal. You know that band, Nouvelle Vague-how gorgeous and seductive their music always is? Yes! I immediately like the PinkLips. “Gutter Starz” is reminding me of the Nymphs, the Pretenders, Patti Smith, the Divinyls, and Lydia Lunch. This is super cool, very fresh and even energetic sounding, extremely listenable, mesmerizing music. “Polly Vinyl” is another supremely satisfying smash hit. Remember that Alphabet City band from the early 90’s-Piss Factory, starring Lizzy Avondet? It kinda has that same intensity and edgy angst. The music is just flat-out exquisite-it sounds so big and full, almost like a major label band, like say, Kaiser Chiefs or the Pogues. “Now I Wanna Be Ur Dog” is just soundtrack perfect, gripping.
Breathtakingly cool-exactly like what you always wanted but never fully got from Royal Trux. Takes me back to dangerous mid-eighties after hours bars, when regular, everyday poor people were still allowed to stroll around loose and free in that city, just like….citizens! I love the vocalist-she is the weary and jaded voice of distrust and suspicion that’s still willing to risk all for a glimpse of something soulful or sincere, I am a bit like that myself, sometimes. Think: Niagara from Destroy all Monsters and Dark Carnival meets Inger Lorre from the Nymphs. She is a real cool tomato-bratty, smart, fully alive and vital, wide awake, with an amphetamine urgency and awareness, the driving, sensual sounds on this shiny disc are dark and sexy, like the Lords Of The New Church or Patti Smith Group. The presence of divinity. Kissed by the flames. Ridiculously and unexpectedly soothing and stirring. They even delve into haunting night time terrain, visiting the dusky blue sonic geography of Mazzy Star, Lana Del Ray and Chris Isaak, making hazy stabs at pained yearning and starlight signaling and spaghetti western spookiness. They know what they are doing. You can see the little hotels on the side of the road, the cactus, the old, faded landmarks blurring by them. PinkLips are terribly beautiful. “You Not Me” is a bit like Sonic Youth or Hole minus all the mainstream ambitions and relentless posturing and careerist baggage that always turned me off and left me feeling cold. It’s all about hot emotion, fast driving, the desert highway, and big skies above. This is a perfect band, really, and I generally hate everybody ,nowadays. All the contemporary groups just mostly remind me of loathsome johns at the strip club throwing dollar bills in the air. PinkLips are warm and soulful, brainy and authentic-a merciful, much needed, well deserved antidote to all that detestable, fake pushbutton bullshit product-art. “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” is cool. It gives me a glimmer of hope that someone out there in the current climate is still even hip(!!!) to these old ideas. “Why” sounds like some hotwired indie, as if PinkLips are jumpstarting all your favorite old junk store treasures and forgotten aspirations, with a rusty screwdriver. It is very good stuff. Almost like a meaner, updated Nymphs. “I’m Not there” is gorgeous, golden, unusually soulful. Full of brave feeling. I love it! Special thanks to the dear friend who rightly sensed I’d appreciate the PinkLips. He was right.

Facebook page

Gary Sunshine “Beer, Picks & Old Records”

(-record review by General Labor)

“It’s when the woman of my dreams…oh my god, that’s the woman on the floor…” (-Jim Carroll)

I’m a diehard CIRCUS OF POWER super-fan. When Show-biz Al put his brown leather strides from the Motor video up for auction, I was asking myself if we really needed a car. They made anthemic classic rock for the sleazepunk generation. Their first record was perfect, in my book. Song for song, it was better than The Cult‘s “Electric”, Zodiac Mindwarp‘s “Tattooed Beat Messiah”, or Warrior Soul‘s first album. I loved every song, they inspired my smalltown friends and I to put together our first slapdash band of low budgeted, theatrical shock-rock, pancake makeup and black lacey glam, and cemetery loitering guttersnipes. We had a very short run as the flyover state people’s favorite makeup and leather wearing ghoulish garbagemen, but were banned from the bars for refusing to play Bon Jovi covers, so we busied ourselves throwing extravagant house parties and gigging at redneck hog roasts for overwhelmingly Republican bikers who never knew what to think about us, because while three of us could maybe even pass for bikers themselves all garbed as they were in the Mindwarp leather, and all our bodyguard roadies were very menacing and potentially dangerous motorcyclists; two of us were Nik Fiend and Lux Interior impersonator death rock drag queen, gawky androgynes that the Midwestern wrestling teams and preppies and dumbfuck rednecks all wanted to kill. We took many stabs at covering Circus Of Power tunes that always went over way better with the rowdy farm boys and aging VIet Nam vets that made up our core audience, than the Gun Club and Cramps tunes we also raved through, our originals were pretty dodgy back then. I mainly wrote many protest-songs primarily about how we should all have the right to wear blue lipstick and Aqua-Net in uptight church towns. No one outside of Lower Manhattan had ever heard of Rupaul back then, and the rural community suburbanites were furious over Annie Lennox and Dee Snider and Boy George. Circus Of Power were one of the only groups who ever made us mohawked gothniks, AC/DC hicks, and ridiculously safety pinned and fish-netted glam brats always pile into our desperately unreliable vehicles, paid for with Little Ceasar‘s pizza delivery tips and record store quarters to travel cross-country to see them, whenever they were in striking distance. We’d drive 12-15 hours on a school night! When Circus Of Power opened for the Ramones, we had to leave before the Ramones, to speed-demon our way back to Ohio to be at work in the morning, to pay rent on our tiny shoebox apartment, where we drank heavily, listened to records, wooed heavily hairsprayed women who liked The Cure, and dreamed of someday opening at the Lismar Lounge for our supreme metal gurus, Circus Of Power! They were all great guys, who wrote these beautiful and extraordinary, timeless songs about little witches and white trash queens, that connected with us, in a deeply personal way. Their All-American brand of greasy muscle car rocknroll was always equal parts Lower Eastside sleazepunk, heavy for your head ferociousness and Bowery hardcore matinee guts, but with a totally F.M. friendly, traditional pop songcraft sensibility, like Chuck Berry, Hank Williams Senior, and Creedence Clearwater Revival. When some fans put together a tribute cd to them some years ago, my hoodlum-thundering main henchman and I were crestfallen that our drummer was in the hoozgow, prohibiting us from contributing a track. No one thought to do the song we had picked-out, and hell, we ain’t dead quite yet, so I guess there’s even some faint hope that we might still record our version as a loving tribute to our Circus Of Power idols in the future. If we live long enough.

Former CIRCUS OF POWER guitarist, GARY SUNSHINE is a talented, thoughtful, observant storyteller with a very lovable and self-deprecating, bruised romantic, curmudgeonly personality. I can always relate to his hardluck stories and wry humor, we kind of have a similar worldview as weary, tired old fathers, who suck at lawn work. If you are a hardcore, signed on for life rocknroller-someone who’s been in bands, worked for years in dead-end record stores, had their heart broken by the business part of rocknrolll, or watched in horror these past thirty years as the billionaires bought up all the media to bamboozle us into okey-dokeying a police state and endless war, that constantly, abusively, bombards us with no-heart, push-button, advertisement-pop, and mindless consumerist lifestyle programming, his very humane and soulful songs will be of particular interest to you. He’s very eclectic and original, sixties soul, the blues, eighties college rock, heartland Americana, Wilco meets Tom Waits. A sensitive, smartass Dylan for aging gutterpunks. Bukowski as a pop star. He has so much genuine article heart, and an effortless ability to lyrically show you these sonic vignettes that are like little indie-films, the kind that don’t get made too often, anymore. He’s kinda like a novelist who plays really badass guitar. The modern lineup of Circus Of Power continues to churn out tremendously powerful, high-quality, socially conscious rocknroll motherfuckery, but there was something undeniably magical about that initial Alex, Gary, Ricky, Ryan, and Zowie lineup. Crooner Alex Mitchell‘s outstanding writing prowess, humor, charisma, nerve, and remarkable stage presence allows him to attract some of the best players in the rocknroll underground-people like cosmic space wizard, Billy Tsounis, but Gary Sunshine has surprised everyone with his own unique and distinctive solo songwriting, that has a really endearingly charming and down to Earth quality about it, much like Guy Clarke or John Prine, he has chosen the path of humility rather than the path of glory, and the fans have been clamoring for a new CD, so he has generously obliged us. Not everybody who watched Headbanger’s Ball or hungout at the Cat Club or Cathouse will probably like the worndown and torndown, astute voice of experience, it’s the lament of the everyday people, the working class nobodies-all us coffeehouse and truck stop loitering, haunted souls. A true confessions collection of wistful, heartfelt tunes about hangups and hangovers, endless and unstoppable grief, disappointment and regrets, lingering remnants and sad reminders of long gone dreams come true and the inevitably accompanying crash, out of proportion expectations, middle-aged uncertainty, screwtop convenience store wino poems, and a jumbled up clusterfuck, broken hearted, mental jigsaw puzzle of good times gone, scratched out year book pictures, souvenirs, half torn out stacks of stinky old rock magazines, empty cans, coffee cups, front porch rocking chairs, broken lawn mowers, and lost loves walking out the door, but I sure do. This disc is jammed with thoughtful prose and vivid emotions, sweetness and coolness and autumn time lamentations. I can strongly identify with Mister Sunshine-neither one of us are really the same skull ringed, all night rocker, highway storming, hedonistic hell raisers we once were, but people got used to that one dimensional cartoon idea they had of us from thirty years ago, so they seldom imagine the actual reality of either one of us wearing our kid’s construction paper and aluminum foil pirate hats while we vacuum the living room and do more laundry-the early wakeup calls and medications, feeding the cats and making more coffee, packing school lunches and muttering obscenities to ourselves while we step barefooted on little dinosaurs and Legos every morning. He always makes me feel better about my own confused and somewhat still pained and tortured awkward attempts at something like managing all these very demanding and stressful, taxing obligations and adult-hood responsibilities. I’m not very good at any of it. I got arthritis, bad eyesight, bad knees, and a mountain of persistently nagging memories and unresolved desires and torment and abandonment issues, while Gary always manages to find the comic divinity in all that stuff . The title track, “BEER, PICKS, AND OLD RECORDS” reminds me of America’s Greatest Unknown Songwriter: PAUL K. & THE PRAYERS, and if you know me at all, you know, how that is basically, my highest praise. “I should have gone to college, made something of myself…”, sings the guy who toured with Black Sabbath, starred for years on Headbanger’s Ball, played on Guns N Roses “Chinese Democracy” and taught Axl Rose how to play guitar. This is heart wrenching, feelings-charged stuff of intimate pain and pathos, that me and all my mortality-confronting, fifty-something, dishwasher amigos have all come to know too well. “Banging On My Head” talks about the accrued weight of one’s history, hijacked aspirations, unexpected forks in the road, when all your most cherished and beloved dreams are all casually shattered on the kitchen floor, betrayal, let-downs, failures, anxieties, coulda-beens, fuckups, and sadness. “But I Got My Feelings Hurt” is very sweet and countryish, Bob Stinson or Spencer P. Jones style, basement blues-imagine ole Izzy Stradlin jammin’ with Paul Westerberg and Dave Minehan on Mojo Nixon‘s Pabst patio. “Love Turns” is really deep and lovely, like all the best stuff by vintage Replacements. You can feel the acute agony and aching sincerity on this one, if you heard it drunk, it’d probably make you cry. “We Had Gold” is the kind of Tom Petty, Expensive Winos, Juju Hounds or early Soul Asylum type of rocker that all you leather jacket dudes from the heartland, showed up at the VFW Hall, hoping to hear. He’s so good, this one showcases his Stonesy, Georgia Sattelite style guitar heroics, it is both Cheap N Nasty. “Hell” is pained divorcee tears and longing, tenderness, debris, and helpless fixations, beautiful lyrics, beautiful music, he drinks a great big whiskey to us, anyways. “Some Days I Wanna Be Jimmy Page” is the Replacements for convalescent, elderly goths and fops and depressed old gutter dwellers and Motorcycle Boy fans, like cool you and me . “Your Beautiful Life” is a lot like the 500 songs I obsessively wrote when my ex wife ditched for a guy who wears khaki shorts, and my last of the last, lost-cause garage band broke up, again. It has a very down-home, Bob Seger, fireworks, donut shop, and bowling alley relatability to it. “She Hates The Blues”: I remember giving an unbelievably gorgeous woman a Sam Cooke record for Valentine’s Day, way back in my thirties, and her not being into it, at all. At all. Red flag! “All Hearts Break”…if you love PAUL K. & THE WEATHERMEN, even half as much as I do, Gary Sunshine writes songs in that same brittle, broken hearted, humble, ain’t got it all figured out yet, painfully honest, and sometimes irritable state of unrest and yearning and dawn’s early light introspection and hopeless melancholy, he has that very same kindred, tarnished, sad clown, survivor spirit. I’ll be playing this song many more times. I can feel it. “Three Good Tires” …Semi-reformed ex metal-heads, dropouts, castoffs, lost souls, over caffeinated, duty-bound ghosts procrastinating, and wrestling with neurotic outsider worry and dreading the two sink fulls of dirty dishes, afraid the school might call about Junior’s grades again, thinking about The Jesus & Mary Chain, struggling to get through another day. Beautiful losers, capitalist women who turned off all their feelings, smudged up sunglasses while driving at night with pilled-out companions, Leonard Cohen, Towns Van Zandt, Beat Angels, and the Gin Blossoms. He’s sort of like John Cougar with brains. “Young (Ain’t You A Rock & Roller)”. You know the vibe…more hangovers, hurts, Hollywood promises and blue valentines, empty cartons of Carling’s Black Label, ashtray butts, broken guitar strings, unopened stacks of bills, falling in love with the waitress again, all the girls who disappeared, all the innocent years of lighthearted debauchery and carefree tomfoolery and fun in the sun that ain’t never, never coming back, when every little bit hurts. Me, too, brother-me, too. Thanks for making this album.

http://garysunshinemusic.com/index.html

Facebook page