Twin Guns “Imaginary World”

New York City’s best dark garage band TWIN GUNS are back with a fourth album. They still use a lot of reverb and still mix pych and surf rock influences to 60s and 70s rock’n’roll. Opening song “Imaginary World” puts you straight into this film noir atmoshere they like so much, while “100 Teenage Years” has a Western movie/Ennio Morricone feel to it. The band’s darker side shows in “Cannibal Soul”, with its repetitive beat and haunted vocals, as well as in the gloomy bluesy “House On The Hill.”
You’ll also hear some STOOGES influences in “The Dark is Rising” or in “Blueberry Sugar”, and songs like “A Portrait in Black” or “Sad Sunday” bring the Californian 60s to mind. The CRAMPS‘ spirit also wander all around these songs, especially in “Sociopath”, while “The Endless Dream” reminds me of bands like BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB or The BLACK ANGELS. You’ll find 3 bonus tracks on the CD version, “My Baby”, a wild rock’n’roll song à la WAYNE COUNTY AND THE ELECTRIC CHAIRS, “Sick Theater’ (a song with a horrorish merry-go-round atmosphere) and “Late Night” (a dark psych track.)
I still wonder why TWIN GUNS aren’t bigger yet, and you’ll probably think the same after listening to “Imaginary World.” /Laurent C.

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The Sweet Things “Slather/Dustianne” 7″

New York City’s best new rock’n’roll band is back with two songs on a 7″ record released by Spaghetty Town Records. The great black and white photo on the cover brings the NEW YORK DOLLS to mind, but The SWEET THINGS actually dig their influences from even deeper, and from the best of The ROLLING STONES. “Slather” has a bit of QUIREBOYS in it, it leaves the same impression as when the formerly known QUEERBOYS released “A Bit Of What You Fancy”!
B-side is actually as good, if not even better as A-side, and you’ll be sure to have “Dustianne” stuck in your head after playing it just once. The vocals have this great nonchalant JOHNNY THUNDERS/IZZY STRADLIN thing, and on this song you’ll also get some great female vocals by Liza Colby, bringing even more soul to the band.
If you miss The THROBS, then you also need to get this 7″ for Christmas, or to celebrate Keith Richards’ birthday! /Laurent C.

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Kevin K “and The CBGB Years”

The CBGB was KEVIN K‘s own rock’n’roll highschool, a classroom in which students would carefully study the RAMONES, the DEAD BOYS and the NEW YORK DOLLS. This is an 18 song live retrospective CD of Kevin (and his brother Alan) K’s years in New York City’s rock’n’roll temple, from 1984 to 1997. It starts with NEW TOYS and their catchy new wave, then you can hear 7 LONE COWBOYS songs recorded in 1985, including beautifully chaotic covers of RICHARD HELL & THE VOIDODS (“Love Comes In Spurts”) and ALICE COOPER (“Raped and Freezin”‘.) Honestly, I’ve always wondered why LONE COWBOYS didn’t make it in those days… While their music was the logical road to take after NEW TOYS, they had this dark and urban feel that people refer to as post-punk nowadays, making them the right band at the right moment. Well, you’d think so… Maybe England and France would have welcomed them better in those days? The same way they did with The LORDS OF THE NEW CHURCH for instance, who knows?…
You’ll also find 3 ROAD VULTURES songs on this CD (recorded in 1993), and 4 KEVIN K BAND songs recorded in 1997. It’s interesting to hear Kevin’s musical evolution through these 18 songs, from American new wave to JOHNNY THUNDERS inspired rock’n’roll. It all seems natural and logical after you’ve listened to this live album.
Besides the document value of this record, it’s good to hear real live recordings, you can almost feel the beer, the smoke and the pee Kevin talks about in the introductoiry text. /Laurent C.

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Midnight Crisis “Heart Beatings”

Drummer Marty E. (The DIRTY PEARLS) turns into a frontman in this NYC based band. Opener “Take Control” has a cool vibe (although I was afraid it would start with a U2 cover after listening to the drum intro!), somewhere in between early GUNS N’ ROSES, BANG TANGO and The CULT. You sometimes get to think about The THROBS (“Midnight Somewhere”, “Sister Vicodin”) and their sleazy street rock’n’roll, or about ZODIAC MINDWARP (“Kiss My Apocalipps”) and their decadent choruses when listening to this 8 song album. The band’s darker side shows in “Make It Alright”, or in the 80s influenced “Bloodbath Wine”, two songs flirting with goth’n’roll and the spirit of The LORDS OF THE NEW CHURCH.
“Heart Beatings” proves that NYC hard rock’n’roll is still alive, even if it’s been hiding in the dark lately… /Laurent C.
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Born Loose “Torn Up Heart” 7″

One of the rawest bands around is back with two new songs on a nice looking piece of orange vinyl (although there’s three different versions available) and a cool old-school collage cover by Rock Rodine. If you’re not familiar with BORN LOOSE, maybe you remember singer Larry May’s former band CANDY SNATCHERS. Larry still has this cool Jello Biafra kind of thing in his voice, and the band’s music is still loud and pissed off. “Torn Up Heart” sounds like an epileptic version of The STOOGES, and “Game Over” will bring early NY punk images to your mind.
Of course, this is fast, aggressive and sleazy, but what else can you expect from BORN LOOSE?
This vinyl only 7″ (no download or streaming) is a collaboration between Hound Gawd! Records, Reptilian Records, and Robellion Music, the band’s own label, so be quick! /Laurent C.

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The Sweet Things – Dirty New York Groove

The SWEET THINGS have just released a fantastic 7” on Spaghetty Town Records. If you miss hearing songs in the vein of IZZY STRADLIN, old STONES, or JOHNNY THUNDERS, then this is the right band for you!

Your biography said the band got formed after some drinks, and no one could really remember meeting up, can you tell us more about this rock’n’roll fairy tale?

Lorne: I sure can. Here is my perspective of the story. I knew Dave from his band The Sharp Lads, my old band The Dead Tricks played shows with that band. I instantly felt a connection with him, Dave has a light around him that makes you want to be friends with him. We began to share albums and music that we loved but our bands didn’t play stuff like Izzy Stradlin songs, Little Steven solo albums, etc. Dave turned me on to some great stuff. When I first met Sam, I found him annoying and smelly, haha. But he’s a hard guy not to like, just an old soul charmer with a big heart. I could instantly tell he had great taste, and he is a badass bassist and songwriter. I met Darren when I got hired to play as a sideman guitarist. His drumming inspired me so much—he played what I wanted to hear with a deep street-level groove. We also bonded as friends, and I instantly felt like I knew him a lifetime.

The story goes that after The Dead Tricks, I was really depressed and I just felt like my time playing music was maybe over. I’ll never forget my daughter being over at my apartment, and getting a bunch of messages from random musicians wanting to play with me. It felt like some sort of sign. Dave and I had talked about jamming. My daughter who was like 6 then, also encouraged me to get back out there. Soon it struck me, Dave, Sam, and Darren would be a dream band. That first official rehearsal was incredible. These guys are such talents and rock n’ roll flows so naturally from them, and they’re very gifted with drinking.

Darren: Lorne called me up and asked if I would be down for a low-key jam with Dave, who I had just met the week before at a party for Lorne. Supposedly it was no songs and no pressure. Then we started playing and in the first 10 seconds I was like, oh fuck, this is my dream band. Just a perfect fit in every way. It clicked really hard.

What happened to The DEAD TRICKS?

Lorne: That’s a really special band to me, and it means a lot when people ask about it or express their fondness for it. I think the short answer is we imploded. No one is to blame; it’s just really hard to be in a band. The story has a happy ending as we’re friendly and everyone is doing music. Our drummer Steve Dios is like a brother to me, and he’s in the incredible band Wyldlife, bassist and singer Manya and James had a post-punk band called Future Dark, and I’m still here doing the same shit I’ve always done.

Your first 7″ is out on Spaghetty Town Records. Can you tell us about it? When did you record these two songs, and how did you get in touch with Spaghetty Town Records?

Lorne: On that first rehearsal Dave came in with “Love To Leave” despite me saying let’s go in with nothing and see what we write. I’m so glad he defied me, haha. That song is fantastic, Dave is a motherfucker of a songwriter. He also wrote the B-side “Cocaine Asslicker Blues,” which I also adore. We literally did our first recording a few weeks after getting together. It was such a blast to go in there loose and inspired and just play without too much overthinking. This version of “Love To Leave” on the single is newer version with piano and the great singer Liza Colby from our sister band The Liza Colby Sound. The songs were tracked in different sessions.

As far as Spaghetty Town, we were looking for a home for these recordings and the guys suggested that label. I didn’t know Teddy, the founder, but the other guys did. We all felt an instant connection and it’s been great working with him. We will release another single with him this fall.

Darren: We recorded both songs at our friend Pete’s studio and everything you hear was pretty much the first or second take. If the vibe is there we just grab it and try not to choke it to death.

You have the best list of influences on your Facebook page, unfortunately, not many bands play this kind of rock’n’roll nowadays. I can think of DR. BOOGIE and a couple others, but that’s quite rare to find such bands in 2017. Any other bands in that style around New York?

Lorne: Thank you for saying that. There are some great bands in New York that have a dirty rock n’ roll sound like Ten Ton Mojo, The Liza Colby Sound, The Nuclears, The Threads, New York Junk, Steve Conte, The Gotham Rockets, The Love Pirates, The Hip Pipps, The Black Cats, The Savage Hearts, Midnight Crisis, Crazy Rob Carlyle and The Compulsions, and PSSR. I hope I didn’t’ forget anyone.

Some would call your music “vintage”, and you like your artwork/visual stuff to have an old-school edge to it. Are you bored with the modern world?

Lorne: For me, what you see and hear are part of the cultural signposts that shaped me–I’m sort of a relic, haha. It’s what I feel in my heart and not a stance against the modern world nor is it a vintage pose. I always get bummed when people yearn for the old days or piss on everything that is happening now.

Darren:. I don’t think there’s a concerted effort to present ourselves in any particular way, it’s just a natural reflection of how we feel and who we are.

Have you been touring a lot in the US? Favourite cities to play?

Lorne: Yes, we have been touring. We did a 10-date run in May, and we are doing another similar tour in October. I really enjoyed playing in Los Angeles as I was born outside of there and it meant a lot to have a homecoming kind of gig. We played New London, Connecticut a few months ago and that was great. And, of course, it’s always a treat to play NYC. It’s been my home for 20 years and I still love it.

Favourite ROLLING STONES record?

Lorne: Goat’s Head Soup

Darren: Goat’s Head Soup (I cheated and copied Lorne’s answer, sorry Lorne!)

Favourite DOGS D’ AMOUR record?

Lorne: In The Dynamite Jet Saloon

Favourite JOHNNY THUNDERS era?

Lorne: So Alone

Darren: LAMF

Your thoughts on Guns N’ Roses without Izzy Stadlin and Steven Adler?

Lorne: I’m so happy that band is playing again in classic kind of way, and I think they sound great. All those guys are such soulful virtuosic musicians and they meld together great as a unit.

Darren: Approximately five bazillion people saw them live since they started playing again and everyone had a fucking great time. That’s hard to argue with. You can always watch the video from The Ritz if you want.

Last rock’n’roll book you’ve enjoyed?

Lorne: I don’t know how rock n’ roll this is but Patti Smith’s Avenue M has really moved me.

Can we expect an album soon?

Lorne: Well, you can expect a single in the fall. I would love for us to do an album, we have the songs for it, but I think it’s just like singles-oriented world right now and that’s, in all honesty, the most affordable route.

Any plan to come to Europe?

Lorne: We have talked about it, but nothing concrete. I want to take this moment to thank you for being so supportive of The Sweet Things and my previous bands. It means a lot to me and I’m grateful.
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Cyclope Espion “Friday Night Epitath”

CYCLOPE ESPION is the project of Thomaxe, you might have read some of his articles/columns in various ‘zines, including ours, or if you’re lucky enough to live in New York City, then you might have seen him play in a rock’n’roll club with his bands, or jamming with local rock’n’rollers. Thomaxe was a French teacher in NYC, but since all things have an end, he’s now back in France.
CYCLOPE ESPION is mostly about his life, and the years he has spent in New York, it is a DIY effort that consists of Thomaxe and producer Nate Kohrs.
Expecting some RAMONES influenced songs would be too easy, CYCLOPE ESPION is a personal project based on experience, life and feelings, so you’ll find many different sounds and colours on this album. “Faux Départ” is a French pop song full of melancholy while “Friday Night Epitath” and “Wishful Thinking” are sad ballads in which vocals sometimes have a bit of JEFFREY LEE PIERCE in them, and although it might not sound like him, NIKKI SUDDEN came to my mind while listening to these songs. Vocals also remind me of French band GUTTERCATS at times, especially in songs like “Snapdragon”and “D.B. Cooper.” Listening to “Mad Love & The Self”, “Indélébile and “Satellite” instantly make you think that this album is a very personal one in which feelings mix with stories in the most sincere way.
“Friday Night Epitath” might not be the easiest album to get into you’ll ever find, but there’s definitely beauty into it. /Laurent C.

Born Loose “Death From Above” 10″

NYC’s wildest rock’n’roll machine BORN LOOSE are back with 5 new songs on a 10″ vinyl record. Opener “Death From Above” confirms that these guys still like it fast, raw and dirty. “Payback” is full of rage, screams and crazy Chuck Berry solos, and “Reverse Cowgirl” is a punk’n’roll bomb reminding me of early TURBONEGRO. B side starts with sleazy gutter punk “Run, Run, Runt, Run’, just before the apocalyptic “Out In The Streets”, the bastard child of The STOOGES and JESUS LIZARD! BORN LOOSE are out to seek and destroy, watch out!
The album artwork by Mort Todd (Cracked Magazine) should be another good reason for you to get this record!/Laurent C.

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