I’m not very suprised to see Wattie (singer in French punk rock band DEAD END) releasing a post-punk album since the guy has always been a huge CURE fan and you can hear this from the start with the piano and synth driven opening song “Dark Indside.” Although the vocals on “No Signal” also sound CURE influenced, the song itself sounds closer to modern post-punk that bands like FRUSTRATION play so well. The punk side of Wattie shows more in “She Loathes Me Now”, more WARSAW than JOY DIVISION ! “Syd Ogy” puts an end to this EP with style and pure darkwave fashion mixing 80s analog synth to Robert Smith guitars. Short and very sweet, this EP is quite addictive and will make you want to listen to more. /Laurent C.
Nancy Boys “Live At The Basement” EP
Things have been very quiet in France when it comes to rock’n’roll these last couple of years. NANCY BOYS introduce themselves as the offspring of The FRENCHIES so they have knocked at the right door. These cats started playing together in late 2019 but only introduce themselves now with four songs recorded live. “Nancies Are Comin’ To Town” is a ROSIE cover and the first thing that comes to mind is that it fits them like a satin glove. “Swap Club Stud” offers us some cool 70s influenced cowbell rock’n’roll that makes you think that they might be right when they mention The FRENCHIES. “Gimme Love” has a bit of an early AC/DC meets BAD LOSERS vibe and “Bondage Love” brings us back to this moment in rock history when there was a fine line between hard rock and punk rock. Call it glam rock’n’roll, hard rock’n’roll or punk rock’n’roll, it’s only rock’n’roll and we like it ! /Laurent C.
Vanilla Blue “Sweetheart”
This is the second album from this 90s influenced indie rock band from Saint-Etienne, France. While the album starts on a melancholic note reminding of the French 90s pop punk scene with “Albuzy Wings”, it gets much more exciting with the second song “Pagan Crap” that delivers some cool tight glammy rock’n’roll full of energy. These guys are into SENSELESS THINGS and MC4, it is quite obvious when hearing the guitar melodies and vocal harmonies in songs like “My Precious Friends” (you’ll hear some great Jerry Lee piano in this one) or “Eternal Sunset”. Sometimes early PLACEBO is not that far (“Out Of Time”) but the band also gets into more adventurous Britpop territories in “The Gift”, “You Got To Live” or “Half of Us” and its MANICS vibe. On the other hand, VANILLA BLUE also offers us some sunny pop punk in “Again and Again” and “In an Empty Seat.” The good surprise is the psych-punk tune “Panic” featuring POISON IDEA‘s Jerry A. “Sweetheart” is one of the catchiest songs on here and “Darker Than Blue” leaves us with a post-punk note. Definitely worth checking out! /Laurent C.
“Nuits Blanches” V/A
Lollipop Records have been running their label and record shop for long now in sunny Marseille, France. This new compilation was originally an idea from T.Boy (LULLIES) so it’s not surprising to hear Les LULLIES opening the record with “Dernier Soir” a catchy powerpop rock’n’roll song in French. Then you’ll hear the very good “Electric Fear” by PARADE who are more influenced by British indie rock and post-punk followed by SCANERS and their ’77 punk rock/new wave on speed from outer space influenced by The BRIEFS. ALVIDA offers us some fun candy powerpop with a French yéyé touch on “Moustique” while FOOD FIGHT seem to be more influenced by The CLASH in their song “Permanent Departure Master.” On the dirty garage side, you’ll find HOLESHOTS, POGY ET LES KEFARS from Marseille and LA FLINGUE (with some ex-HATEPINKS members) with a brilliant poetic song title “A genoux dans la pisse.” Side B starts with a good dose of punk rock : “Red Signal” by BOSS mixes 70s British punk with early 80s American new wave and BART AND THE BRATS brings the original DEAD KENNEDYS spirit back to life. Then, a bit of French powerpop with “Epluchure” by ASPHALT and some American influenced powerpop meets TEENAGE FANCLUB in a very catchy “Find Out (feat. Pogy)” by ALMOST LOVERS. 60s garage, powerpop and LOU REED mix quite well in “This Love In Me” by PLEASURES and The SUTTLES offer us a pretty good bubblegum song with “Lucy.” Marseille brings us more powerpop with FLATHEAD and “Sunset Girl” before TEENAGE HEARTS put an end to this album with their bootboy glam bovver rock song “Simple Needs.” They say this album should become a cult record in 15 years and maybe it will but the great thing about it is that you’ll hear a lot of new French bands and none of them suck!/Laurent C.
Go Public! “Between Nowhere And Goodbye”
GO PUBLIC! Was formed by four punk rock musicians from Lyon, France who played in bands such as SIXPACK, CONDENSE, PARKINSON SQUARE or NOT SCIENTISTS. Here they deliver 12 songs with various punk influences: “2 Old To Die” reminds me a bit of SCOTT “DELUXE” DRAKE solo stuff while “All Faith Is Lost” or “Snowball” clearly lean towards 90s emo punk. These guys are no beginners and know what they’re talking about, you’ll find traces of bands like DESCENDENTS, HÜSKER DÜ or JAWBREAKER in these songs. You’ll also hear a bit of up-tempo punk rock’n’roll in “Getting Late” or in “A Rose In Her Hair” and even a touch of FUGAZI in “fm 1” or in “634269”. The vocals remind me a bit of Australian punk rock’n’roller SIMON CHAINSAW at times (“Sheishimheisher) and the band gets more surprising when slowing down the tempo and getting more poppy in “In A Park”. If you like your punk rock tight with a dash of melancholy and lots of guitar melodies then look no further! /Laurent C.
Slaughter and the Dogs “Il Tradimento Silenzioso”
Manchester’s legendary SLAUGHTER AND THE DOGS is actually now based in Lyon, France. Original singer Wayne Barrett surrounded himself with with four French punk rockers including Thib (NOT SCIENTISTS) and Simon (CLAIMED CHOICE.) Opening with the anthemic street punk “Manchester Boys” and its hooligan backing vocals, things quickly calm down with “Silent Cities” bringing some urban punk desperation and melancholy through a catchy mid-tempo song. You’ll hear a pop touch in “Good Times Are Coming Here Today” and “Ultimatum” is the kind of songs designed to make you sing at their show. The melodic side of the band can especially be heard in “The OK Man” and its acoustic guitar while their rock’n’roll roots come out in “Five Star British Hotel” and their angry punk side in the pychotic up tempo song “Cocaine Smile.” You’ll even get a bit of boogie in “Hooligan Blues” just before “She’s So Far From Home”, one of the catchiest songs on the album. “You Make Me Feel Brand New” brings a sweet pop touch while “Maybe If We Followed The Devil” puts an end to this album with a cinematic atmosphere. Good songs, great vocals and tight musicianship, well you should definitely check “il tradimento silenzioso” out. The album is out on Spaghetty Town Records (US) and Contra Records (Europe.) /Laurent C.
Nasty S and The Ghost Chasers “Waiting For The Last Gap Of My Generation”
Musician (SECOND RATE, HAWAII SAMURAI, BLACK ZOMBIE PROCESSION, DEMON VENDETTA, DUMBELL, SIMON CHAINSAW and many more!) and writer (Tons of fanzines and megazines (!) New Noise magazine, a book about French 80s thrash metal and one about French punk rock legendary band BURNING HEADS, etc.), Nasty Samy has been very busy these last 25 years and although he started thinking about recording a solo album years ago, the last two years weren’t really the best ones to release an album… Here it is now! This album is actually a cover album featuring a few friends and people Sam met on the road. The CD comes out with a great looking 48 page black and white booklet in which Sam tells us about each song and the reasons why he chose them among others. Nostalgia is central here but it never gets pathetic. After an intro sample of “Le Feu Follet” (Louis Malle) on a music compsed by long time friend Sylvain Bombled (SECOND RATE, MAYERLING…) you get to hear a power rock version of GUN CLUB‘s classic “Sex Beat” with Paul Smith (DUMBELL) on vocals just before “Creepy Kackalope Eye” (SUPERSUCKERS) with Patrice Fillol (NEDGEVA) on vocals. If anybody has told me about a cover album by Nasty Samy, I would have bet on a DRAMARAMA song. He chose “Work For Food” with pop punk vocals by Forest Pooky, and of course I would also have bet on MORRISSEY too since Sam is actually responsible for making me like the Moz. The chosen one here is “The Last Of The Famous International Playboys” with Francis Altrach (NOTHING MORE) doing a very good job singing it. The LEMONHEADS‘ “Rudderless” featuring Mike Begnis (SHOOT THE SINGERS) will take you straight back to the 90s and The HARD-ONS “I do, I do, I do” is one of my favourite tunes on here. Singer Wattie Delai (DEAD END) is perfect on this one. My other favourite on here is definitely SAMHAIN‘s “To Walk The Night” on which Erin Sims’ voice almost sounds like SIOUXSIE‘s. Then you get back to power rock with “The Last Goodbye” (AGENT ORANGE) featuring Simon Chainsaw on vocals and grungy powerpop with TUMBLEWEED‘s “Hang Around” with Anne Durand on vocal duties. You’ll also get some American indie punk moments with “You Fight Like A Little Girl” (PEGBOY – Paul Smith on vocals again) and “Oyster” (JAWBREAKER) with Rom Tom Cat on vocals. One of the most surprising choices on this album has to be “Shine On”, the HOUSE OF LOVE mega hit here sung with style by Ravi (BURNING HEADS.) Although Sam is a true metalhead at heart, he didn’t include any metal songs and decided to give a rock/powerpop colour to this album. On the other hand, he’s paying tribute to skate/pop punk with a DAG NASTY cover (“S.F.S”)! The record ends with a bang with an excellent THERAPY? Cover (“Nausea”) with great powerful vocals by Sylvain Bombled and a surf rock rendition of JOY DIVISION‘s classic “Transmission”. Whether you like these covers or not, you can only admit that this is a very good paylist and “a postcard sent from the past with a few comforting words written on the back…”. /Laurent C.
Buy From Nineteen Something Records
Bad Losers – Paris Dolls!
France has never been the best place for glam rock’n’roll but there were a few jewel bands in the past. Some of you might think of The FRENCHIES in the 70s or bands like TEARS and TEASIN’ BABES in the early 90s but the best French glam band in the mid-80s was undoubtedly BAD LOSERS. Twisted Soul Records has just reissued the band’s album enriched with some great bonus material and a 4 song vinyl EP for Record Store Day on June 12th. Guitarist Mister T.Jones answered our questions…
Can you tell us a bit about the history of BAD LOSERS?
As far as I’m concerned, the story started in 1983 when I joined the band in Paris. BAD LOSERS was originally a garage rock punk band from Toulon (Var) that had explored most of their local scene.
Did you have a precise idea of how you wanted to sound and look from the start ?
It was clear to me as a guitar player that I wanted to play in the spirit of the bands that had influenced me such as The ROLLING STONES , T.REX,the NEW YORK DOLLS and all the band we used to listen to like The GUN CLUB or The ONLY ONES. Since BAD LOSERS wanted to head in that direction, we quickly got along well. The way we looked developped as years went by just like our haircuts! (Laughs)
You recorded the album in London in 1985. How did that happen? How were the recording sessions ? Any anecdotes ?
We recorded the LP in August 1985, we had just signed a record deal with Parisian record label GMG. We wanted to record it with Peter Perett (The ONLY ONES) who had worked with bands we used to like such as WASTED YOUTH (with some future members of FLESH FOR LULU) but the record label decided to send us to Dave Goodman who was the live sound engineer of The SEX PISTOLS and who recorded their songs before “Nevermind The Bollocks”.
Dave was great to us as a producer, always listening to what we had to say, from our arrangement ideas to the production ones. We wanted to have female backing vocals and sitar on one of the songs (“Evil Sacrifices”) and he played it himself. He even went and record traffic jams on Oxford Street (that can be heard as the intro of “On Main Street“.) We recorded 8 songs in 5 days (mix included.) The mastering was made at world famous Abbey Road Studios.
There was The DOGS D’AMOUR and HANOÏ ROCKS among others at that time in London. Did you ever think of relocating there just like HANOÏ did?
We met The DOGS D’AMOUR in Paris before the became a well-known band, we felt really close to the way they played rock’n’roll live as well as the way they looked, the glam image we also had here in France. We wanted to move to London but a few things hold us back in France. On the other hand we really thought of being the French glam band in London.
In late 1986 they sent us Ian Grant who played with GUNSLINGERS. We were HANOÏ ROCKS fans because they were one of the rare European bands playing so tight and so loud at that time, their Marquee show is just timelessly killer!
Were you feeling close to any other French bands?
We were friends with WILD CHILD and a few other bands we happened to play with like The JET BOYS but honestly we were the only band with such a glam image playing NEW YORK DOLLS kind of rock’n’roll in those days. Most French bands at that time were part of the “alternative punk” scene/movement.
Johnny Thunders and Stiv Bators were also in Paris in those days. We can hear Stiv sing “Honky Tonk Women” with you on the CD. Did you happen to share a stage more than once?
Unfortunately not! It was the only good occasion to share a stage together. I think I saw Johnny Thunders at least 10 times when he was in Paris whether it was for solo gigs or with Henri Paul Cosa Nostra or The HEARTBREAKERS. As far as Stiv is concerned, it was a great surprise to play with him! We were invited to play as Johnny Thunders’ backing band at the New Moon in Paris and once we got in, the promoter told us that Stiv Bators would also be there!
During the first part of the night Johnny was playing with only BAD LOSERS’ rhythm section and his friend Henri Paul Tortosa while I had prepared cover song list that we used with Stiv for the second part of the night.
It was memorable and so unique to hear Stiv sing a ROLLING STONES song and even a HEARTBREAKERS song we knew by heart. You can listen to the “Honky Tonk Women” cover with Stiv on vocals on the “Southern Style” CD.
There was several line-up changes in the band. Wasn’t it too difficult to find people who could fit considering your style?
It was indeed very difficult to find a guitar player who could match with our tastes and needs.
I found Jean-Paul (N’Diago Pop) who played on the album and who was a 60s/70s ROLLING STONES fan just like me and a really good guitar player when it comes to play Chuck Berry/famous bluesmen kind of guitar chords.
There were various reasons for these line-up changes and usually personal ones. Jean-Paul went and toured in England, Ian who then played with us had the right image for us and so did Phil. The other ones were either shooting stars in BAD LOSERS or just out of control! (Laughs)
A band like HANOÏ ROCKS kinda suffered from being caught in between several music styles, “too glam for punks”, “too punk for hard rockers”, etc. Did you feel the same thing with BAD LOSERS?
Totally! We were a rock’n’roll band before all and in the middle of the 80s, it was all about the “alternative punk scene singing in French (for most of them)” in France.
BAD LOSERS had several sides, a punk rock side but also a lot of 70s influences. Alike the NEW YORK DOLLS or HANOÏ ROCKS, I don’t think we can use the word “hard rock” to describe us even though we could think about it nowadays mainly because of the way we looked.
“Southern Style” will be out on June 12h. This EP was also recorded in London. How come it wasn’t released back in the day?
These 4 original songs were supposed to be included on a second album that was never released.
We shopped for record labels to get a better the deal so that the band could get bigger. Major labels were asking us to sing in French and we refused because our music style was purely Anglo-saxon. Then we had some line-up changes and desires for a different music for some of us. We got tired of it and the band broke up in 1988.
Both CD and vinyl EP are released by Twisted Soul Records. How did that happen?
We’ve had this project for a long time. We had to wait until the birth of the record label and their start as a professional company. We also had to dig for files like this 1985 “Waiting For The Man” (VELVET UNDERGROUND) cover which was a demo with Richard, a great guitarist from Toulon who unfortunately couldn’t stay in the band. Same thing with our MOTT THE HOOPLE cover “One Of The Boys” recorded live at the Gibus Club when we opened for The CHERRY BOMBZ (Nasty Suicide introduced the band onstage with us before we started playing) or the song with Stiv Bators.
How did the band break up? Was it a brutal stop or was it more a long-run thing?
It was more a long-run thing for several various reasons and a desire to do other things. Also because it was a bit hard to see our future as BAD LOSERS at the end of the 80s in France.
Do you think the band would have explored other music territories if you didn’t split? On the EP we can feel a will to try new things and sounds, a bit like The LORDS OF THE NEW CHURCH or when The DAMNED released “Phantasmagoria”…
The style of these four unreleased songs is a bit different especially in their arrangements. We wanted to have a brass section and a boogie piano for the pure rock’n’roll “Southern Style”, but also some orchestral arrangements for the ballad “Girl In Uniform.” There’s also “Century Jane”, a 70s rock song and another song that can bring The LORDS OF THE NEW CHURCH or The DAMNED (when they experimented with darker influences) to mind indeed.
After the band’s split you went and explored new musical horizons. Can you tell us about it?
At the end of BAD LOSERS I bought a Home Studio which was a very new thing in those days. Bass, drums, everything was in! (Laughs), then I wrote music for advertisements/commercials before forming an electronic music duo that allowed me to travel and play in many different countries. The band (MOOG SPECTRAL) still exists to this day. In the 00s, I got back to my guitar and started a band called The JONES. We played as a backing band for Chris Wilson (FLAMIN’ GROOVIES) or Willie “Loco” Alexander.
I’m also part of an electro-rock project with Holeg Spies, we have some releases out on a British record label and a song remixed by Youth (bassplayer in KILLING JOKE.) I also work on songs at home. They’ll be released this year…
Did you ever think about a BAD LOSERS live reunion?
Honestly it’s almost impossible to get the band back as it used to be in those days full of music, fun and rock’n’roll!!! But this Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/BadLosers) as well as the quality of this reissue with 4 unreleased songs, live material, a demo, a poster and beautiful words from Patrick Eudeline almost make me want to play some good old BAD LOSERS rock’n’roll riffs.