Faz Waltz “Back On Mondo”

FazWaltz2013Starting with a STOOGES kind of beat, this new album from Italian band FAZ WALTZ takes them to new musical territories that bring garage rock (“Little Home”) and bands like The HIVES (“Fingers In My Brain”, “Baby Left Me”), or JET (“Get The Poison”) to mind.
The band also still have one foot in 70s glam rock (T.Rex especially) as “Looking For a Ghost” and “Leave Her Alone” display, and you’ll even get a bit of modern blues (“Cannonball Blues”.)
The production is really good, the melodies are great, the vocals and playing are solid, there’s energy and hooks, and when you think about it, there’s still an unoccupied space on a larger scale when it comes to this genre in music nowadays. So, after listening to “Back On Mondo”, there’s just one question that comes to mind: How come this band isn’t big yet?/Laurent C.


Jonny Cola & The A-Grades “Straight To Video/Marlborough Road” (Promo DVD)


This is a promo DVD for the double A-side “Straight To Video/Marlborough Road” vinyl that will be released on April 3rd via Scratchy Records (the songs will also be available in digital format.) Singer Jonny is back in shape after a kidney transplant, and that’s a good thing to see as JONNY COLA & The A-GRADES is one of the most interesting bands in England nowadays!
The glam pop quintet offers us two videos, one for each song. No big surprise if I tell you that the video starts with some tea, right? “Straight To Video” displays the SUEDE/PULP influences of JONNY COLA & The A-GRADES in the best ways possible: glamourous vocals, poppy choruses and intense guitar melodies. The band is evolving in their own universe here as the video moves from a theatrical burlesque bar atmosphere to glitzy stage rock’n’roll action that looks like it was directly taken from Velvet Goldmine!
“Marlborough Road”, a more punky song gets us to the rainy London streets at night through a cab ride before the band ends up in a small underground club, playing in front of a glammed-up audience. The video will be released on YouTube on March 20th, so keep it in mind and be patient!/Laurent C.

The band will also play live on March 22nd at Some Weird Sin club night @ London Buffalo Bar with Fallen Leaves & DJ Heidi Heelz


Starbolt 9 “Human Strings & Mechanical Things”

The most British sounding band from New York is back with a brand new album (we reviewed their debut “The Rebirth” even before it was officially released and were quite impressed!) Opening song “Thunder Love” sounds a bit like a punker SUEDE (still a big influence on this album) but we get surprised as soon as the second one, “Bottomless” starts, its melancholic tone reminding more of MORRISSEY(“Icarus” also sounds very MORRISSEY.)
While STARBOLT 9 sometimes get close to bands like ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN (“Rattles”, “Apocalypse”…), they also display a few 70s rock influences in their sound (“Phoenix Rise”, “I’m With The Painted People”), and they still manage to mix glam rock to 80s new wave very well (“Say Yes”, “The Curse.”)
This second album confirms that STARBOLT 9 is a name that should appear higher on the international pop/melodic rock bill! Let’s just hope that their music doesn’t lean too much in the U2 direction in the future as the border can sometimes be thin./Laurent C.

Supergroupies “La Musique Pornographique” demo CD (2004)

We’ve heard about many good punk’n’roll/glam punk bands from Sweden lately. Even though The GROUPIES are not that far from this genre, they definitely have their own identity which is more influenced by early (70s) glam rock. There are four amazing glitter pop songs on this demo CD that you will really enjoy if you’re into  sweet sexy glamourous pop rock. Damn! listen to “You Will Do” and you’ll think that these guys are the new T-REX!! That’s just awesome! The band has a thing for the French language (the title of this CD, the French part in ‘Scream Shout Adore’ -no doubt that French girls will love that accent!- and the title ‘Hot In Paris’.) I was waiting for a band like that and as a consequence I can’t wait to hear more from SG!!
/Laurent C.

TSAR “The Drugboy tapes”

Point in fact, Tsar was the best band to come out of Los Angeles in the 2000’s! They are one of the greatest power pop bands to come from the Los Angeles area, ever!!! Period!
They usually put out an album every five years, their debut in 2000 and Band-Girls-Money in 2005 and now this release, The Drugboy Tapes. This release is a compilation of pre-debut demos of 6 songs off the debut record (Afradio, The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die, Ordinary Gurl, Kelly Fong Is The Bomb, I Don’t Want To Break Up, and Silver Shifter) plus a unheard gem and a retitled song and two live cuts.

I always assumed that the songs and production on their debut masterpiece album were a product of the “big” producer and “big” expensive recording studio. The debut record had lush production, killer hook after hook, in the form of cool little guitar riffs and vocal melodies, inventive vocal delays, and memorable chorus after chorus!!! I was dead wrong, these demos (90% of the debut record) show that the singer and guitar player had the songs all ready to go, so it makes sense that they got a record deal and put it to wax, as is!!!! They used drum machines, cheap keyboards, digital delays, and acoustic guitars on rented and returned home recording gear to get their dream rolling, and the song structures are intact, and in some cases more interesting. The amazing thing about these demos is that the riffs and little hooks and sweeteners were already in place, showing just how genius singer/guitar player Jeff Whalen and guitar player Daniel Kern truly are.

The one demo song that did not make the debut, “Son of Light” sounds like it fits in nicely with the rest of the power pop hits on the debut record and the two live songs on the Drugboy Tapes, are taken from the first ever live performance of the classic debut line up, from a live show on KXLU radio station (A local Los Angeles taste maker indie radio station). Only 3 songs from the debut are not represented by this demo release, “Disappear“, “Mono Stereo” and “Teen Wizards” and “The Glower” was renamed “Calling All Destroyers” from the debut record. This release is highly recommended, as well as their Debut record and Band-Girls-Money, and if you are ever in the Los Angeles area, check http://www.tsar.net for current gigs. In the 2000’s they toured with the likes of Duran Duran and Towers of London and they recreate their catalog of songs live and are very high energy must see live act! Get this release from CD Baby or Itunes./Teddy Heavens

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Teddy Heavens
27750 Firebrand Dr.
Castaic, Ca. 91384

Faz Waltz “Life On The Moon”

FAZ WALTZ is the living proof that Italy is not only the promised land for the 80s glam metal revival. Opening with “Love Limousine”, a song that reminds me of Swedish blonde glam pop kings SUPERGROUPIES (RIP), FAZ WALTZ show their strong love for everything 70s glam/glitter rock in these 12 songs.
Here, the spirit of Marc Bolan and T.REX flows around (“What is The Word”, “Lucky Man”, “Get On Down”…) with style and magic. This influence might be too visible for some, but FAZ WALTZ is far from being a tribute band, they can write good songs and also get their tips and (cheap) tricks from The BEATLES (“Mr. Sorrow”, “Never Let You Go”) and David Bowie (“Life On The Moon.”) Anyway, I doubt that songs like “Nice Bomb”, “I Long For You Love” and its “Children Of The Revolution” kind of rhythm, or “Teenage Monkey” will leave you cold if you like good old glam rock’n’roll.
“Life On The Moon” is the second album of the band, but also is a great introduction to their music if you’ve never heard about them before./Laurent C.http://www.fazwaltz.com

Jonny Cola & The A-Grades “Halo” EP

Finally some good music coming from the UK! It’s been long!… And it’s been long since I got to hear a band with this London glam pop feeling I love so much, bringing to mind images of early SUEDE and Velvet Goldmine! JONNY COLA & The A-GRADES already released an EP (“Postcode Wars) and an album (“In Debt”) but I only get to hear about them now with this new 4 song EP. Better late than never.
“Halo” is the song I’ve been waiting for from a British band, think of Bowie and PULP with amazing Bernard Butler influenced guitars, groovy sexy dandy pop at its best!
“Rain Stopped Play” gets more in the MANICS/early PLACEBO territory, a punk rock song with an indie pop feel while “Ripples” displays the softer pop side of the band, as if MORRISSEY and JOBRIATH wrote a song together.
New Romantics haven’t been forgotten on this EP since the last song on this EP is a brilliant cover of ERASURE’s “Ship Of Fools” that fits very well with the three other songs.
Imagine if Brit-Pop never turned into something dull and boring, then JONNY COLA & The A-GRADES would be selling millions of albums now./Laurent C.http://www.jonnycolaandtheagrades.net/

Candy “Whatever Happened To Fun”

Full disclosure up front, this review is going to be a full on arse kissing! I was overjoyed to hear that this pop rock classic was going to be released on CD properly by Rock Candy Records, in it’s full bubblegum glory. For the record, Kyle Vincent is my favorite singer of all time, besides Jet, the singer in my band, and every one of the songs on this record is classic and should be listened to in it’s entirety on a weekly basis, if you want to put a smile on your face. This is the record that I would listen to wondering how cool Los Angeles and Hollywood was going to be when I finally graduated from college, while living in Albuquerque New Mexico, and could take the plunge into rock and roll full time! It was even more of a thrill to have bass player Jonathan Daniel invite us to come to Hollywood and record with him as a producer for our Sigue Sigue Sputnik/Motley Crue influenced band. I used Gilby’s Les Pauls with the stenciled Candy logo on the back to record “You Turn Me On Like A Radio”, and we got bitten by fleas sleeping on the floor of a friend’s apartment in Hollywood, but it sealed our fate of having to come out west to live the dream!Now to the record, starting with “American Kix” and it’s tale of not fitting in and doing all the wrong things as a youth, brillant lyrics “I know that paradise is far away and I’m stranded in L.A.” You can hear the worry in Kyle’s voice wondering what’s gonna become of the future for the youth. “Turn It Up Loud” tells of the dreams of a young rock and roller that the band was living at the time, with the cool repeating guitar riff, classic stuff. “Whatever Happened To Fun” was the video for this record back in the day, and it deals with the dark reality that as we get older, the kicks of the past just don’t do it for us anymore, featuring cool counter harmony background vocals and a simple but catchy solo from Gilby or Wally Bryson (guitar player from the Raspberries who helped arrange the music and added “sweeteners” to the songs). Jonathan Daniel’s lyrics are the best, his play on words and describing teenage angst in dark terms really kicked me in the ass when I was a kid, and they are displayed all throughout this record (as in the Electric Angeles and the Loveless releases) and Kyle Vincent’s vocals are spot on if your into pop stuff, as I am big time. I see Kyle play whenever he is in Los Angeles, and it is still my highlight of the year for any live show, as the man has the great undiscovered pop voice of all time!“Last Radio Show” is a classic homage to the 70’s radio show that helped shaped all of us 70’s babies on classic pop and rock music, and how fitting for us in 2012, with the no DJ format at most terrestrial radio stations. “Kids in The City”, “It’s a long way from the junkyard to the Sunset” lyrics sum it up and this track could have been featured in a movie like “Valley Girl”, as a matter of fact the lyrics in this song are so witty they could be the catchphrases of a teenage Hollywood movie. “Weekend Boy” opens with a cool take on the “Lion Sleeps Tonight” song of the seventies and a little guitar two note sound effect that Jonathan used on one of our songs when we recorded with him. Has the classic lyric “trying to find love in a party world”, which if you live in Hollywood, is sooo real. Great playing and singing on this song as well as on “The First Time”, a tale of the first time love sucker punches you in the gonads, and a good example of why they needed Jimmy Ienner (producer of the Raspberries) to capture that mixture of pop, hard rock, sweet vocals, little catchy guitar parts, cool sounding bass parts and unique drum parts and off beats. When Kyle goes high with the vocals at the end of “First Time”, you know this is a work of art in the music field. “Electric Nights“, has the cool catchy lyrics, which you can hear and understand precisely, which is the trait of a good hit pop song, as well as a cool bass line in the breakdown. Lastly, closing track “Lonely Hearts” caps this classic record off with a punch and the Candy trademark solemn story of being lost in Hollywood with nothing but your wits to guide you. This record was the soundtrack to a time in my life when rock and roll meant the most to me. I had my favorites: Sigue Sigue Sputnik, KISS, Hanoi Rocks, The New York Dolls, etc, but Candy offered a new look at what Hollywood had to offer in the 1980’s, and I wanted a piece of it badly!

This release also comes with a 16 page booklet with killer pictures and stories from the early days and don’t forget to support Kyle Vincent at www.kylevincent.com who tours all over the world. Already my top release of the year!!!

Teddy Heavens