SISTER MORPHINE had a first life from 1989 to 1991 in South Wales. They even got a deal with South Bank Studio who released the MANIC STREET PREACHERS‘ “Suicide Alley” 7″. After those pandemic times, the members of the band decided it was the right time to give life to some of their long lost songs and they even gave birth to four new songs including high energy opener “Holy City Zoo” and the power pop hit “8 Tracks and Zodiacs”. Sometimes band reunions are a bit scary after a long time but SISTER MORPHINE haven’t lost their rock’n’roll edge since songs like “Do You Wanna Get Wasted?”, “Nothing Dirty In The Truth” or “Ghosts Of Heartbreak City” sound like some good late 80s/early 90s sleazy rock’n’roll. Names like QUIREBOYS (especially on “Get Back Home”) or GUNFIRE DANCE come to mind and songs like “Cry The Rain” or “Days Of Wine & Roses” could have been mix tape favourites in rock’n’roll high-school. The ROLLING STONES influence is obvious in songs like “Waiting On Salvation” or in “Living With Snakes” and you’ll even get a glam punk fix with “Red Eye Juice.” Sometimes the band even takes you deep into the glorious 70s with the catchy “Sea Of Love” and even though the music is pure rock’n’roll, the vocals sometimes remind me of WEDNESDAY 13 (“Black Hearts & Bruised Egos”.) 15 songs usually sound like too much for me but when the last song (“Seven Long Years”) stops, I tend to get back to it for a couple more. High quality rock’n’roll ! /Laurent C.
Tag: glam rock’n’roll
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.
Steve Vincent “Poison Heart” EP
The idea of recording a few cover songs appeared when Steve was recording for his album “Recovered From My Past” and jamming on The STONES “Dead Flowers.” Mattias Johannsen from TRENCH DOGS joined in and they gave a new birth to this all time rock’n’roll classic. “Poison Heart” (Dee Dee Ramone) is a great choice for a cover song and here it sounds closer to Stiv Bators version than the RAMONES one. Steve has always wanted to do his own version of the BAY CITY ROLLERS‘ “Saturday Night” so this EP was the perfect occasion for it. You’ll also find two acoustic versions of somgs that are on Steve’s album : “Yesterday’s Man” and “Life Ain’t No Bed Of Roses.” Check it out! /Laurent C.
Kevin K “Cadallac Man”
KEVIN K is back with a double album (number 33!) that he describes as his own “Exile On Main Street”. “Cadallac Man” was written during the Covid lockdown while Kevin was grieving the loss of his beloved father (a World War 2 veteran.) The world has gone mad and the opening song “Dum Days” tells us about it rocking to a guitar riff sounding somewhere between early KISS and The STONES before offering us a chorus full of melody. Kevin has always been great at writing simple powerpop songs about girls and this album is no exception, just listen to “Girl Of My Dreams”, “Village Girl” or “High Over You”. “No Respect” is a typical KEVIN K song but this time with a serious topic since it is about the restrictions during the pandemic while “Every Night I’m Dreaming” sounds a bit like a mix of HANOÏ ROCKS and KISS “Unmasked” era. 1989 was a great year and Kevin celebrates it with a song offering us one of the catchiest choruses on the album and the song “Angelyne” was actually written in 1989 with Kevin’s Brother Alan while they were both playing in ROAD VULTURES. The acoustic THUNDERS/STONES influence can be heard on “I Miss You” and you’ll also find some glam rock boogie beats on “Pendleton”. While Kevin definitely knows how to write feel-good songs, he also knows how to bring melancholy in songs like “Tear Drops Don’t Stop”, “Start Me Down” or “Let Me Down” and you’ll be surprised by the JOHN LENNON influenced “Forgotten Boy”. Of course you’ll also hear traces of IGGY POP in “All Strung Out”, “Ride On”, “Zombie Heat” or in “Wrong Feels Right” and a tribute to the RAMONES (“No Ramones”) that Kevin used to play as a slow song. “A New Life” ends this new album mixing positivity with a need for a new start with melancholy. I can’t say that I’m a big fan of long albums but “Cadallac Man” is now in my exception list. Good job, Mr. K! /Laurent C.
The Golden Rat “We Got A Right”
You’re probably familiar with Mr. Ratboy if you’re a regular here and especially if you enjoy General Labor’s rock’n’roll columns. Names like SOUR JAZZ, MOTORCYCLE BOY or PILL BOX must ring a bell too if you like your rock’n’roll dirty and glammy! Now based in Japan, Mr. Ratboy has joined forces with Hiroshi The Golden Arm, the “Japanese Johnny Thunders” and here they are showing us their impeccable taste through 15 covers reflecting their late 70s/early 80s teenage influences.
Brian James‘ “Ain’t That A Shame” is given a wonderful Johnny Thunders treatment just before a jewel version of “It’s No Enough” (The HEARTBREAKERS.) “Russian Roulette” (The LORDS OF THE NEW CHURCH) has been covered again and again but this stripped down version is one of the best I’ve heard. You’ll also hear good versions of Lou Reed‘s “Rock’n’Roll Heart”, Patti Smith‘s “Dancing Barefoot” or The STRANGLERS‘ “No More Heroes.” The choice in covers sometimes get more adventurous and still interesting with The LITTLE ROOSTERS‘ “Ain’t Proud” or Mitch Ryder‘s “Ain’t Nobody White.” The ROLLING STONES‘ “Some Girls” definitely has its place here as well as The RAMONES “Don’t Come Close” and cult bands like MAGAZINE and The MODERN LOVERS are here too with fabulous versions of “Shot By Both Sides” and “She Cracked.” Australia is also represented with “a Minor Aversion” (The SAINTS) and a fantastic version of “Love Kills” (RADIO BIRDMAN.) The record closes quietly with The ONLY ONES ‘”The Whole Of The Law.” If you must listen to only one cover album this year, then get this one! /Laurent C.
Buy from Vicious Kitten Records
Gunfire Dance “Witness To The Crime”
Unfortunately, I only first heard about GUNFIRE DANCE in the 00s when my friend Franckie sent me a few songs of their demos and then later reviewed their collection CD “Archway Of Thorns” (2007.) GUNFIRE DANCE are one of these 80s bands who didn’t end up signing a record deal despite their great songs and wonderful image. These decadent dandies from Birmingham recorded with Brian James (The DAMNED, The LORDS OF THE NEW CHURCH) and shared stages with the best bands in that genre at the time (The DOGS D’AMOUR, The THROBS, D GENERATION, Thee HYPNOTICS…) but it seems like it wasn’t even enough to make it so they kinda became one of the best kept glam rock’n’roll secrets…
Easy Action Records had the good idea to finally release these songs on vinyl, one more reason to enjoy the dirty rock’n’roll of “Blue” and “Pretty As Sin”, the JOHNNY THUNDERS influenced “Bliss Street” and “Burnin’ Ambition”. You’ll also hear a bit of STOOGES in “Bird Doggin'” as well as in “Break It Up” and some chaotic HANOÏ ROCKS in the fabulous “Suit And Tie” and in the powerpop tainted “Gimme Back My Heart”. The band even had his CLASH moments with “Make You Cry” but their real force was to mix all of these influences in style in order to create their own identity. Our friend J.D Monroe was the best person to write the sleevenote of “Witness To The Crime” and he says “They had a seductive mystique about them, a proud, almost regal sense of noble tradition and rocknroll coolness matched by few others” and JEFF DAHL once said “Gunfire Dance were everything righteous, sexy and dangerous that rock’n’roll was all about!!! God bless Ant” and I couldn’t agree more with these quotes. Well, t’s never too late, so this is the right time to get your hands on this record! /Laurent C.
Steve Vincent “Recovered From My Past”
This is the debut solo album of PARADISE ALLEY‘s frontman Steve Vincent. Steve is also the host of Steve Vincent’s Mystery City, a great radio show with lots of glam punk and sleaze rock. This album was recorded the DIY way from demos that could have been used for PARADISE ALLEY with the help of a few musician friends from around the world (Steve Conte, Ben Marsden, Andy Christie, Matthias Joannsen, Rhoades D’Ablo, Alex Holmes, Danny McCormack, Miqu December and Matt “JD” Connor”) “Yesterday’s Man” opens the album in a STIV BATORS way before “All I Wanna Do” delivers straight rock’n’roll with a cool catchy chorus. It sounds a bit like a heavier version of The QUIREBOYS. “Last Train To Babylon” is about Steve’s experiences in New York while touring in the US and it has a bit of a THROBS flavour and “Can’t Bring Me Down” is a dark rock’n’roll song about psychological and physical abuse. “Falling” reminds me of late 80s/early 90s British glam bands while “Life Ain’t No Bed Of Roses” brings HANOÏ ROCKS to mind. Miqu (PLASTIC TEARS) shares vocals on “Fortune Wheel”, one of the catchiest songs on the album and “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart (Again)” is not a power ballad despite its title but a heartbroken heavy rock’n’roll song. The STIV BATORS influence is also obvious in “Sleepwalking” and the record ends with a beautiful heartfelt tribute to PARADISE ALLEY‘s first drummer Richie Hale who passed away in 2012. Sometimes solo albums are just ego trips but “Recovered From My Past” is the kind of solo album in which you’ll find lyrics and music from the heart, a real rock’n’roll therapy! /Laurent C.
ELECTRIC ANGELS FOREVER!!! (-frantic, heartfelt call to emergency aid by General Labor)
If you’re like me, you probably loved power-pop angels, CANDY, way back in the early Rick Springfield part of the 80’s and always carried a special place in your heart for that band, so when they reformed as Electric Angels in the metal years, you were undoubtedly delighted their songwriting had just gotten better and better. They were way, way better than all those Headbanger’s Ball assembly line corporate-metal blouse bands. “TRUE LOVE & FAIRY TALES” really was like the swan song for my breakup with a hot blonde bombshell Skid Row chick circa 87 or 88, she was a Midwestern preacher’s daughter, basically, so her very uptight and conservative and deeply superstitious, evangelical family thought me and this other chick I dated were scary, black clad, witchy goths, so they actually stirred up alot of needlessly nutty, church-lady, witch-hunt hysteria and slanderous gossip and gave us a lot of non stop hassles and smalltown grief. Meanwhile, the blonde chick moved on to some famous heavy metal dudes, before disappearing into Mexico years later. I had a blast with that chick riding around in her car listening to Peter Murphy and Bang Tango and Cinderella cassettes, spending all our money on Cold Duck champagne and rooms at the Diehlman’s Motel and Davis Plaza Motor Lodge! She was like a centerfold come true, we had a chemistry, I really liked her. I got her into Electric Angels and London Quireboys, and a lot of other stuff, forbidden by her P.M.R.C. parents. She mostly loved Skid Row and the Throbs. Even after she ditched me for a more famous guy, like they all do when you are a white trash nobody, trailer park Ramone in your late teens, I listened to that Electric Angels cassette like ten zillion more times back in my late adolescence, and it doubtlessly impacted my own songwriting.
God Bless The Electric Angels! Thank You! Good Night & Good Luck!