Baby Chaos “Skulls, Skulls, Skulls, Show Me The Glory”

BabyChaosSkullThis is quite an unexpected comeback! Scotland’s BABY CHAOS, one of the best UK bands of the 90s to me, along with SUEDE, The MANIC STREET PREACHERS, THERAPY?, and The WILDHEARTS; one of the rare bands that released a second album (“Love Your Self Abuse”, 1996) as good as their debut “Safe Sex, Designer Drugs & The Death of Rock’n’Roll” (1994), are back with all the original members in, and none has a beard! It almost sounds to good to be true.
Although I enjoyed DECKARD (late 90s BABY CHAOS incarnation), the name change also meant a slight change of musical direction, with songs sometimes reminding of MUSE. On this new album, “The Whispering Of Giants”, and “Blackbirds” actually sound close to DECKARD, but most songs just sound as if there never was 19 years in between this new album and “Love Your Self Abuse.” BABY CHAOS hits hard from the start with an in-your-face “You Can’t Shut Us Up”, and Chris Gordon’s production perfectly fits the band as usual. Some of these songs can definitely stand next to the band’s best earlier work, just listen to “Have Faith In Yourself”, “Poison Ivy Girls”,”Out Of The Silence”, or “A Tingling On Your Bright Skin”, a brilliant power pop song full of melancholy.
BABY CHAOS‘ fabulous pop melodies and punk energy still mix together in “P P P Peaches”, or in “We Were Youth”, and the band’s taste for experimenting with noisy pop and heavy rock can be found in “Risk and Writhing” and in “Habibi.”
“Skulls, Skulls, Skulls, Show Me The Glory” makes me realize how much I’ve missed BABY CHAOS, and by chance, it is also the cure for it./Laurent C.

Buy from Kicking Records

Deadbeat Poets “American Stroboscope”

These guys are the best new classic college-radio/power-pop/rocknroll group since vintage Dramarama, or “Unguarded Moment”-era the Church, or “Summer Teeth” era Wilco or Tom Petty’s best stuff of the past two decades. Youngstown’s Deadbeat Poets feature former members of power-pop cult-faves, Blue Ash, and the Stiv Bator “Disconnected” band, and write songs as good as the Posies or Van Dyke Parks era Beach Boys. I wish they’d tour with the reunited Redd Kross.
These guys are way more vital than most bands half their age, which is why they are attracting fans of Cheap Trick, Big Star, The Byrds and Raspberries like flies to sherbert. Smart lyrics, amazing guitar work, really fabulously recorded and arranged pop tunes of all kinds. I’m only sad R.E.M. broke up before Deadbeat Poets could open for them and tap into that huge audience they established before the evil empire killed-off MTV, and the mainstream-media ate itself, during the early 90’s “Alternative” marketing hoax. They are one of those All-Americana pop bands who have something for everybody. Your intellectual, philosophy major, drinking buddies will like the impressionistic lyrics that are as clever and poetic as old Costello or Westerberg, but those who just love a sugary pop melody, or like to rawk will find plenty to clap along to, as well. Those of you in the cheap seats, rattle your jewelry.
“Down With The Lonely Boys” is the kinda poignant tear-jerker that aged songwriters like me waste the skinniest years of our wretched lives trying to write! I keep advertising for sidemen to help me launch the next new wave, but nobody in my neighborhood remembers my kind of music, anymore. The Deadbeat Poets remember! They may be the last great American pop band before the crash, and the backlash, the riots and the round-ups that the Department Of Homeland Security is preparing for, by building all those camps, and purchasing all that ammunition. Apple was just granted a patent to disable i-Phones near political events or government buildings, they’ve already made protesting a crime punishable by 15 years in jail if they don’t like your message and you’re anywhere near anyone protected by the secret service. Other early faves from “American Stroboscope” include “Jenny Burgh Hill” and “2,000 Miles Away From You”. Also strongly recommended: The Deadbeat Poets last album, “Circus Town”. (-review by FREE)

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.

Pink Grease “Mechanical Heart”

Sheffield’s electro-glam band PINK GREASE were my favourite 2005 band (though their first album “This Is For Real” (Mute records) was actually released in 2004. The band really managed to mix the best of 80s new wave to 70s glam rock with fresh energy and style on “This Is For Real”.
This second album “Mechanical Heart” was planned for a 2006/2007 release but various record label problems made it all different and the record was sadly never officially released. Very sad indeed, especially when you get the chance to listen to killer songs like “Alien”, “Carlights”, “Right With You”, “Never Darken”, “Climax Pt. 2”, or very personal ones like the disco dark wave “Distraction” or the electro epic punk song “Ordinary Girl”.
The band also shows his more experimental side on “Solid” for instance but never gets annoying to listen to. Whether you like DEVO, BLONDIE, HANOI ROCKS or just all of them, you will find something for you in these 12 songs. These last few years, many bands tried the electro-glam thing but failed, lacking real good songs or soul and this makes the difference with PINK GREASE.
I also had the chance to get the “Fever” single on both CD (including two unreleased songs: “Shiver” and “2003” which actually is an electro remix of their song “Pink G.R.EASE”) and vinyl (with the incredible “Killer Killer” as a B-side) to complete my collection. There’s so many boring bands around, it all became too safe… The world needs more PINK GREASE!/Laurent C.

The Velvoids “Big Latex Baby Soda Muff” Single

Franckie was telling you about the Greek scene in the MIGHTY SHAKERS review, so here’s another band from Athens. The VELVOIDS have been playing for 8 years now claiming New York punk rock and early glam rock influences.
“Rosita” is a crazy garage rock’n’roll song with handclaps and sound experimenting, reminding me a bit of The PIXIES or even The WHITE STRIPES with more fun thrown into it. “Dwilegypsytelly” is a weird blues, kind of mix of TOM WAITS and The KILLS while “Sodamuck No 10” mixes garage to more psychedelic sounds.
I’m not sure if this would work that well on an album format, but these 3 demented urban songs are quite intriguing and work well in the end./Laurent C.

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.

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.