New York rock’n’roll band The SWEET THINGS are getting back to the roots of rock’n’roll with this new album recorded at Fame Recording studios (ARETHA FRANKLIN , OTIS REDDING, WILSON PICKETT…) Opening song “Brown Leather” sounds as ROLLING STONES as you would have expected from its title. Then, It’s a bit surprising to hear “Ya Know I Don’t Mind” in second position since it’s a slow country blues song but next song “Ride It Home” offers us some good ol’ QUIREBOYS energy. The country influence is quite strong on songs like “Keep On Movin” or “Familiar Faces” but songs like “Cold Feet” or “Mentholated Blues” remind me more of the spirit of early BLACK CROWES. “It Hurts Me Too” and “Ride The River” will take you to the roots of Mississippi blues and you’ll also get an IZZY STRADLIN vibe while listening to “Problematic Life.” This album is a cure for anyone sick of modern auto-tuned music! /Laurent C.
Atlanta rock’n’roller Rod Hamdallah is offering us two brand new blues/soul rock’n’roll songs on vinyl and digital released by Hound Gawd! Records. “Crawling Back” has a sweet late 60s/70s rock taste, it’s short, quite catchy with a cool guitar melody following Rod’s voice. B-side song “Mali Jam” is more influenced by West African music, Touareg and desert blues from the Sahara. No vocals, only repetitive African beats and bluesy rockin’ guitars that almost create a psychedelic trance. Whether Rod Hamdallah explores classic rock or his African influences, he still does it with a garage rock touch that makes his style quite unique. /Laurent C.
(-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.
This debut EP was first released in 2014 as a self-produced CD and Hound Gawd! Records have decided to give it a second life on 10″ vinyl. ROD HAMDALLAH is from Atlanta, GA so it’s no surprise to hear some soul and blues in his garage rock’n’roll. While “Think About It” opens on a quite punk rock note, “Carry You Home” (featuring Colonel J.D. Wilkes of The LEGENDARY SHACK SHAKERS) is filled with interesting soul and rockabilly touches and in case you need to find a song to play after The WHITE STRIPES during a DJ set, then “I Don’t Mind” will be a great choice. Side B offers us “Heatbeat”, a quiet bluesy song with a voodoo/gypsy feel, and “Take Me Back”, a bluesy rock’n’roll song with a powerful guitar-driven chorus.
Whether you like traditional garage or modern rock’n’roll, you’ll find something for your tastes in this EP. ROD HAMDALLAH seems to be touring a lot, and will be back to Europe soon, so keep an eye on him… /Laurent C.
This 6 song vinyl is an interesting mix of no wave and blues, minimalism and soul. It was recorded live using a 50s RCA microphone, so it feels just like the duo is playing in the same room with a vintage drum machine and reverb. The ghosts of SUICIDE and The GUN CLUB wander in “Broken Bones Blues” or “Barrellhouse Queen”, but this doesn’t mean that J.D. HANGOVER belongs to the past. Names like BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB or The KILLS also come to mind while listening to this record. Slide guitars, dirty distortion, harmonica and piano arrangements all mix in a dark cavernous atmosphere that brings night visions of the old NYC to mind. J.D. HANGOVER has opened for various bands such as BOSS HOG, PIL or ALEJANDRO ESCOVEDO, so you should be able to catch them live sooner or later.
The album is out on Hound Gawd! Records. /Laurent C.
Former LAZY COWGIRLS front man PAT TODD is one of German record label Hound Gawd! Records’ favourite artists since it’s already the 4th release you can find on this fine rock’n’roll label. This double LP is a reissue of the PAT TODD & THE RANKOUTSIDERS debut album “The Outskirts Of Your Heart” (for the first time on vinyl.)
Songs on the first LP of “The Outskirts Of Your Heart” are pure rock’n’roll full of CHUCK BERRY/JOHNNY THUNDERS guitars, and songs like “No Place Like Home” or “All Night Rain/Restless Times” could have been on the first BLACK CROWES album. You’ll also find some tasty punk rock (“Just Another Stupid Guy”, “November 11th”,”Is My Last Chance Gone”, “Bad Memories, Poison & Regret”, “Why Don’t You Marry Me”…), and The ROLLING STONES influence can especially be heard in slower songs like “Your Heart, Your Soul & Your Ass”, or “Where Is She Now.”
The second LP concentrates more on PAT‘s acoustic rock/country roots with songs like “Thought I Saw My Future In A Little Gray Dress”, “Kendall County Blues”, “Give Me Back My Heart”, or the beautiful “It Was A Stupid Dream Anyway.” The shadow of KEITH RICHARDS and friends also wanders around here (“One Long Breakdown”, “I Wonder Why”, or “Go On – It Don’t Mean Nothin’ Anymore”), and a lot of these songs could be the perfect sountrack for a drive in the South of the US.
Listening to these two records make you think that PAT TODD‘s influence on a band like The SUPERSUCKERS has been more then obvious. Check it out by yourself! /Laurent C.
“ATLANTIS CASTLE MAGIC…” (-Calling Ray Sonic Hanson & The Sonic Whores Of Babylon, On A Public Saxophone….Up Early Listening To “Sonic Outlaws Empire Of Dirt, Glitter, & Perforated Electric Souls” By Ray Sonic Hanson & The Sonic Whores Of Babylon…. All Too Caffeinated Review by Anguish Young)
Hello Hooray, my darlings, I was just thinking to myself how the world is full of aging guitar heroes, and we thank all those who served honorably, in the real rocknroll Guitar Army for their service, in the war against the jive. Ask not what rocknroll can do for you, ask what you can do for rocknroll. Then, there are profoundly inspired artists who are the unheralded tastemakers and style-blazers and double secret figureheads of entire musical movements who determinedly continue to generate volumes of genius sounds, with or without, the permission of the Man, or the rightful appreciation of his ignorant hordes of brainwashed, spectacle worshipping warbots. Even if they ain’t got the proper credit in the controlled media, or big houses and guitar shaped swimming pools full of cocaine, to show for their epic ouvre.
Ray “Sonic” Hanson is revered by many as the principle action shaker behind the most powerful and revolutionary nineties rock band, Thee Hypnotics. After that remarkable band of heroic personalities set fire to a million clubs and theatres in their cross country American firestorm that culminated in some serious near death injuries, car crashes, guitar smashes, hotel room thrashes, booby flashes, suavely cut dashes, and widespread devoted acclaim among the real underground-music connoisseurs, the moody and mystical and mercurial and mysterious maestro, Brother Ray Hanson stepped away from the limelight and retreated back to The Lab where he spent the ensuing years composing thousands of songs in the noble tradition of all the greats from every era and musical genre, unbought and unbossed, and conspicuously unaffected by corny modern music fads. You can hear how the dude has not invested much time into absorbing any American Lifestyle Programming unreality tv shows, or following the headlines about rappers and rich kids in Spin Magazine‘s corporate junk TMZ faux celebrity, idle heiress, sic pack abs, diet pilled, pseudo culture. The whole artificially sweetened radio garbage and halftime hoes-down aesthetic is absent from his troves and troves of savage and subtle sounds.
Ever since White Stripes supposedly made “Garage” safe for jock douchebags and secretaries in the double 00’s, all the showbiz nephew festival brats have gotten tattooed and bought that Nuggets compilation box set on retro CD, but they all still sound like Green Day to me. Ray Hanson is a product of a night time, after hours, adult world, pre-Woodstock 99, he does not care about boy bands or lip synchers. His stuff runs the gamut-from dusty Cuban gun smoke blues ala Ry Cooder to Jimmy Page satanic majesty dragon taming and Billy Duffy death rock space surfing to Brother Morphine midnight mumblings in a messed up shack with no electricity. Parliament Funkadelic and the Yardbirds, “Funhouse”, and “So Alone”. His cover of “Where D’Ya Sleep Last Night”, the Leadbelly tune made famous by his buddy Kurt, sounds nothing like Cobain‘s version at all, he’s got Syd Barrett phoning-in harmonicas from the other side, it’s bent and brittle like early morning stonedout Keef, but abruptly pipes up with the jolting moodwings of jug-drunk Lightnin’ in a jealous rage, or a muttering John Lee yellin’ at his dog, in a spiteful mood. It’s feckin’ cool like shootin’ pool with Bo Diddley. He always does the unexpected. His cover of the Animals “Please Don’t Let me Be Misunderstood” sounds like it was recorded 3000 leagues underwater and sung with some desperate sense of vulnerability and sincerity to his gentle friends, the mermaids and the seahorses. “We Can Make It There (Better)” starts off with an archaic drum machine like some early Sisters Of Mercy, but acoustic guitars bang right in with a flowery summer of love, sixties baroque pop feel and a bubblegum friendly Marc Bolan vocal, summery breeze, keepin’ those lovin’ vibrations happenin’ with her, it has an early Floyd/Donovan/John’s Children feel. Very nice. Demonstrates how if the mood struck him, this dude can effortlessly churn out whimsical pop treats as sweet at the La’s, or Love & Rockets, or Oasis. I seem to remember it was an improbably hip record-store chick with larger than life Steve Stevens hair who first introduced me to the early Thee Hypnotics catalog, but another friend, from Switzerland, an early musical mentor of mine back when I still caterwauled for more than a few crash and burn, sucky glam bands, he always used to show me pictures of Thee Hypnotics and hold them up as a shining example of understated cool. He was always wanting me to get a detective haircut and a seersucker suit and drop the clown glam, but I was still excessively abusing the pink makeup and polka dots, Aqua Net and Crayola colored leathers and too many concho straps on top of my bangles and other concho straps. Of Course, he was right. I still like “Too Fast For Love”, though. Hoo ha. So, I’m makin’ my morning coffee and got the brokedown computer playing some random Ray Hanson stray tracks and I figure one thing that separates him by a million miles from the suckshit mediocrities who followed, in his shadows, huffin’ his smoke, is part inspiration and perspiration like he’ll tell ya, and of course talent and soul, but Brother Ray’s roots go back to time immemorial, WAY back, you know you hear kids today actually call Stone Temple Pilots and Soundgarden “Old School” nowadays, and of course, that always kinda makes me shudder…
I always feel like I’m still a kid myself, until I talk to one…yes, Virginia, you can trace the roots of righteous rocknroll way, way, way back baby, even past the Beastie Boys, farther back than fucking Beck. So RARE to hear any music now without that abrasive Kid Rock mark it, Ad Rock’s ubiquitous stinky stain territorial pissings. Personally, I never want to hear songs that make me think of white boys in tube socks, or frat houses, or gym memberships, but that’s just me, I’m old fashioned, take me back to the way back home.
Sonic Ray Hanson‘s blue based fractured soul and hallucinogenic rocknroll’s all sturdy oak, that was planted one hundred years ago as a delicate seedling in the Mississippi mud somewhere, probably by a sunburnt, heavy drinkin’ sharecropper who was thinking about the Bible and havin’ a bad day…you can’t hear Sonic Ray Hanson‘s songs without seeing rusty tractors in your head, or beautiful women in shimmery dresses with too much lipstick, or the crazy eyes of legitimately hell hounded old men, or fifties pop art signage on the frontwindows of Chuck Berry‘s Daddy’s St. Louis barber shop. “Babylonian Sonic Supreme” is what the mop topped head shakers and hot roddin’ rawk punks love to hear from Sonic Ray’s Hypnotic Whores Of Babylon-filthy riffage, deep grooves, and white hot leads, well that’s part of it. You can rummage through his otherworldly radio playlist online, if your speakers work properly, you can play tunes from his “Fire & Brimstone Sessions” while you do your morning chores for a sonic uplift, or enjoy it responsibly with the finest delicacy of your preference. “I Threw It All Away” into “Brotherhood, Prophets”, Disciples, & Warlords Of Resistance” is a lovely intro ditty that segues into another pulsing, spirit piercing, reckless drive through the bad part of town with the type of nasty riffage that is especially sure to please fans of say, Throbbing Purple, or Pillbox NYC. “Motorhorse Interstellar Plutoniac” is the kinda Blue Cheer mind melting I always wanted from Creem‘s Eric Clapton, but never totally received in a satisfactory way, ya know wot I mean? “Faster Than A Homesick Angel” is some real beautiful, Tom Waits meets “Exile on Main Street” heartsick testimony that is pretty much exactly everything you ever wanted to hear if you appreciate the kinda music I do. It’s just crazy soulful. Gospel punk. Stirring. Leaves you wanting a whole album’s worth. My favorite flavor, winesoaked blues. “Teenage Refugee” is a trashy riff that would be most other band’s best song, but for Sonic Ray, it’s just another silver blade in his boot he can whip out at will. “It’s Alright, It’s Alright” is all feeling, like something improvised by my sadly deceased, train riding, bar fighting, street musician friend from New Orleans. “Could You Ever Fall So Low” reaffirms how startling it is that the five big evil corporations who rule the planet allowed a talent this profound to go unmonetized. There is a real purity in all of Brother Ray’s spirit quests and psychedelic sojourns that you don’t hear in modern music anymore ’cause the gatekeeping guardians of the empire of illusions don’t want no universal truth seeping into the sleepy masses in their burger gobbling, football watching, Honky Death Spell, and arousing them from their consumerist life wasting. I told Ray one time that I really respect that he leads by example, while lots of folks find a soapbox and pontificate all day long, the good Pastor Ray just fucking dropped out of the rat race entirely to devote himself one hundred percent to introspection, soul searching, and creating magic, doing the work. He’s got a museum’s worth of anarchic rocknroll beauty and splendor to feats your bloodshot hearts on. “Righteous Sonic Guitar Army” is a taster, a tease, a trailer for a future all out album assault. I like how Ray ain’t worried about repeating old formats, or rehashing old formulas, he is an authentic artist who is always able to adjust and improvise to entertain the audience in front of him, so leaking so much thrillingly versatile music online, gives a new generation with a different way of listening to music, and a different attention span, access to appreciating his gut wrenching soulfulness and relentless innovations. “Gods Speed Demon Seed (Reap What U Sow)” is like some long lost, menacing artifact from the Rolling Stones golden hued Mick Taylor era- a fragile piece of tender beauty like “Sway” or “Moonlight Mile”. “Surely She’s Able” is a drifter’s lament, ya know it’s hard to keep a girl waitin’ on that front porch and lightin’ a candle in the window when you spend all your decades in dive bars with the kickers and the cowboy angels. “I’m On Your Trail” is as mean as a goddamn rattlesnake, lettin’ all the moneygrubbers, fakes, phonies, frauds, and copycats know he knows, ya know? Ray never made it Bon Jovi famous, he never made Nirvana money, but his old band made it big enough that lots of nothing to say imitators and plagiarists all wanna steal piece of his thing. Anybody paying attention might recognize the widespread “appropriation of another author’s language, thoughts or expressions”, and the shameless “representation of them as one’s own original work” that’s become so common in the internet age, but the glorious part about being a real dude, is you don’t have to sweat the chumps and shysters slavishly stealing your style or sound for long, ’cause you just keep moving along, making new stuff, and the people who count already recognize him anyway, Ray’s got the bottomless well. If you make careful study of anybody who creates at Ray’s level, you’ll see they wear their influences on their sleeve, but change it up, and shake it upside down, and add their own tears and stardust to it, and dance around it and throw some feathers in the air, and invoke their own unique invocations, and purge their childhood traumas, and vent the angst of their romantic dramas, say something new with it, or why bother? Lazy posers make bad art and waste the people’s time because we can just skip their middleman hackery and go back to the always more potent source. Ray goes back to the source every time he puts pen to paper or picks up his guitar, or gets on one of his best wah pedals to make the electric one alive, he’s intimating his own truth. Somebody should put his sounds back on vinyl and disc and eight track and cassette and film and coffee table art book and collector box-sets and pinball machines and collectible action figures. He is the One with the real guts and grace and courage and danger you’ve been lookin’ for. Check him out.
A new and possibly last (as the title suggests…) album from these fine French GENTLEWOMEN who previously released two EPs and one album (“Death of The Tree”.) The band has decided to put the acoustic/folk influences a bit aside to try and experiment with new things on “The Last For” musically as much as when it comes to the record production (Lucas Trouble) itself, and the result is quite interesting…
Opening with a LORDS OF THE NEW CHURCH kind of intro (“She”) and a Lou Reed on speed meets a punk gospel choir (“The Preacher”), just followed by the catchy “I Try”, you can tell that WAYWARD GENTLEWOMEN have now gained enough experience to materialize their ideas and wildest fantasies into music. Late 60s melodies collide with 90s noisy guitar distortion and flirt with garage fuzz (“Kings”) or country punk (“Night Fears”.) Most of these songs would actually work really well as a movie soundtrack, whether they are sad ballads (“Stupid Idea”) or cryptic wave-ish rock’n’roll tracks (“Don’t Bug Me”.) You can also find a bit of the amazing French band les DOGS in this album, especially in the moving “So Lonely”.
Experimenting with new styles lead the band to write songs that can sound a bit surprising at first, like “I Was Alone” and its 80s hip-hop touch, “Jungle” and its wild animal backing vocals or the shoegazing “Laughing”, but in the end these songs bring more variety to the album.
This might be one of the last chances for you to check WAYWARD GENTLEWOMEN out, so don’t miss it…/Laurent C.