Matty James “The Road To No Town”

Rock’n’Roll troubadour MATTY JAMES is back with 10 new songs in his travel bag. Following his 2014 debut “Last One To Die”, the young Northern Irish songwriter gets more on the country-folk/ballad side with this new album. Matty has been touring a lot in the UK and Europe, and you can feel it in these songs filled with dark bar and red wine night atmospheres.The Irish influence gets stronger on this new record, but you sometimes also get close to Western music on “Oh My Darlin’ or “Win Or Lose” (Pat McManus (MAMA’S BOYS) plays fiddle and lead guitar on this one.) You’ll also get a bit of New Orleans blues on “Money & The Devil.”
One of the strongest songs on here is “Heavy Heart”, sad but positive at the same time, and you’ll still get a bit of STONES ballad influence in “Hold On”, and some SOCIAL DISTORTION in “Dissatisfied.”
MATTY JAMES also plays bass in the TYLA J. PALLAS band, which shouldn’t surprise you much! The Road To No Town might lead you to unexpected territories!/Laurent C.


Nikki Sudden “Truth Doesn’t Matter”

This is being marketed as the last Nikki Sudden disc, but I highly doubt it’s the Last Of The Last. The homemade sound is pretty great-he was pullin’ from all eras-eighties new wave, sixties girl groups, and of course, his beloved seventies glam rock. I’m only three songs in, and already moved to pick up pen to spread the good word on Brother Nikki’s swan song cd. This album rocks like a Spencer P. Jones, or Ian Hunter album. I always preferred his sidekick, Dave Kusworth’s bratty battle cry, and the alley cat harmonies of the Jacobites, and Bounty Hunters, to many of Sudden’s solo outings. He’d really started concentrating alot more on his lyrics in recent years, which really enriched his writing on these latter-day albums. Much of his early work suffered a bit from lazy, throwaway Hallmark declarations of love-like he was yellin’ for Rapunzel to let down her golden hair. You can tell he’d been listening to more Dylan, than Thunders, as he aged. I know he’d nearly completed an epic book on the Rolling Stones entitled, “Bring Back Ian McLagen” before he died, and I hope his estate finds a way to still hustle it into print.
There’s plenty of good music here, that’ll appeal to the core Nikki Sudden fanbase of old Faces/Mott fans, but some of it reminds me of other artists as well-“Hunky Dory”-era Bowie, Stephen Merritt from Magnetic Fields, and Steven “Tin Tin” Duffy-the original Duran Duran singer, who worked with Kusworth back in the old days. There’s a big hole where Nikki Sudden’s supposed to be, that ain’t likely to get filled—esp. not by any of the screaming dude-metal jock-kids with the dyed hair on the corporate labels. If you’re a fan of TYLA and have yet to be properly introduced to Mister Sudden, or if yer an old fan, debating if you should shell out your girlfriend’s hard-earned money on the new Snatches Of Pink, Chamber Strings, Dave Kusworth & The Tenderhooks, or for still another LP’s worth of Nikki Sudden’s Stonesy, soulful, self-mythologizing trash-folk, get this immediately. Who else but Nikki rhymes “manuscripts” with “fish ‘n’ chips”?? It’s a far-worthier investment than the new Ronnie Wood autobiography, and sincerely, the best over-all album I’ve heard since the NY DOLLS comeback album. If you can imagine Soho Roses, or Hollywood Brats, covering a vintage Rod Stewart song with a quality lyric, yer at the right hootenanny. Olde Saint Nick used to sign all his letters to me, “Stay Bruised”, and I’d always think, “No Worries, Man!” We miss you, Nikki! God Bless the Prince Of Rags!

(-Dicky Bottomfeeder and the Forty Thieves)

Brian McCarty “Lover Forget Me Not”

At heart, Mister Entertainment, Brian McCarty, is Show-People. An icon of the underground punk, and trashy-glam scene, the former Trash Brat is equally adept at writing tear-in-your-beer, old time country. This record spills over with weary nods to “real folks” storytellers like, Seger, Kristofferson, Prine, and Willie Nelson. Other tunes are shot-through with vivid bursts of that all-too-familiar Motown Soul. Various musical bits hearken back to Stax/Volt, soul-man horns, moonshine porchswings, seventies bubble gum, Archie Bell & The Drells, Elvis funk, Vegas kitsch, Gram Parsons-style torch songs, and maybe even a few scattered glints of…EMO! Brian O’Blivion’s got decades of up-close and personal, field-study under his Evil Kenievil belt-buckle, observing the dangers of dwelling too-long on the edge of the spot-light. “Neon Mirage” is a heart-felt offering about the friendship-eroding effects of glory-whoring, and ruthless, lifestyle-chasing, in this oppurtunistic age, when no one has the guts to stand up for anything beyond the immediate gratifications of doing Coke In The Girl’s Room, and having their picture taken. It’s a wonderful, and maybe even, important song, that’s a little reminiscent of the Rolling Stone’s “Fool To Cry”.
“Outrunning The Ghosts” is a minor, lyrical-masterpiece, about the weight of our memories, and the accompanying decay of our youthful idealism, that invariably accelerates the aging-process. It’s about how easy it is to get sucked-in by all the pretty lights and hollow promises of these hypno-screens, that have long replaced the family hearth, in today’s modern “Go Corporate Or Go Home”-crazed culture. He doesn’t think it’s a good idea to lose touch with what we really value-real music, real relationships, real emotions, real experiences, LOVE and real friends, all for the sake of remaining numb and uninvolved, and perhaps, occasionally, receiving some typically ambitious, self-promotional spam from a random Suicide Girl, on-line.
Brian’s a deep cat, I keep tellin’ people. He’s the sorta fella who’s as comfortable hangin’ out around the campfire with Tom Waits, or David Lee Roth, and he’s probably brought his own stack of Don Ho records to the party, so be forewarned. There’s likely an accordion, or mandolin in his suitcase, somewheres. He’s like a less-conservative Wayne Newton, backed-up, variously, by Johnny Thunders, or the Jordanaires. A serious song-writer first, but also, a song and dance man. All tap-shoes with spats, and a dusty pork-pie hat. O’Blivion’s a throwback to the original Not-Ready-For-Prime-Time-Players, Dean Martin, Liberace, or someone who sold your Gram that big, clunky, 50’s vacuum-cleaner, that still works.
This document would be worth seeking-out, if only for the above-mentioned songs, and the charming, “She’s Playing For Keeps, I’m Playing For Tips”, about the challenges of balancing a life on the road, with a wife and kid.
BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE! Politico-bluegrass, stripped-down at the kitchen table, low-fi blues, compassion for the troops, personality-to-burn, clever rhymes, and a genuinely likable, comedic persona that deserves a variety show of his own, on a cutting-edge cable channel—you could easily see this cat helping to revive “Saturday Night Live”, especially by showcasing his catchy and thought-provoking songs like, “Pharisee”.
A TRASH BRAT for grown-ups, and even summa the rest of us grown-up-wrongs, Brian McCarty is a thoughtful social commentator, and all-around-entertainer. This latest solo l.p. ain’t for everybody, just for people who like to be entertained: “leisure-oriented jeans-wearers of all ages”. (-Courtney Hate)

Michael Rank and Stag “Kin”

It was perhaps wise to finaly retire the old Snatches Of Pink moniker, because so many unfortunates could never get past the porn ententre, and legions missed out on one of glam rock’s most brilliant pirate troubadours. Michael Rank’s an expensive wino from the ragged school.
His vocals remind one of Jacob Dylan from the Wallflowers. His guitarplaying is in league with Timo Kaltio and Dave Kusworth and Andy McCoy, and his songwriting reminds one of the Waterboys, Paul K. & The Weathermen, the Bounty Hunters, the Jacobites, and Rolling Stones. “On The Bleed” is the missing song that probably belonged on Mick Jagger’s otherwise exquisite solo lp, “Wandering Spirit”, instead of that dreadful duet he did with corporate hack, showbiz brat, Lenny Kravitz. Michael Rank’s always been the real deal. Loud, raw, heart on his sleeve, highly literate lyrics. Ever since he formed Snatches Of Pink way back in the eighties, he’s had the good fortune and good taste to always surround himself with talented musicians, which can be an art unto itself.
Remember when Rod Stewart wrote all those fabulously poignant love songs thirty five years ago? Michael writes in that bruised old vein, but with way more intimate heart and soul, than your usual lot of tiresome Diamond Dogs, or London Quireboys-at least since “Singin’ With The Alleycats” or “My Sweet Mary Ann”.
Michael Rank is a rather pained and weary, exceptionally gifted, poet badass, musically in league with the Blessings, Chamber Strings, Dogtown Balladeers, or Izzy Stradlin’s best stuff. One wishes Tyla and Paul Westerberg were still this good. “KIN” boasts song after brilliant song with a throwback Dylan ’65 feel, with it’s snotty, melodic emoting, and dark ruminations on the death of love, anguished soul-baring, and embittered, sometimes caustic and accusatory redressing of grievances of the heart.
This might make some wish those rumors about Mick Taylor rejoining the Stones were true. If you like stuff like “Sway”, “Lovin’ Cup”, and “Moonlight Mile”, you’ll love Michael Rank and the Stag. This is certainly how it’s fucking done. I was just complaining about not being able to relate to any of the contemporary, formulaic, baby Ramones bands with the emo haircuts and rich parents.This is the best music I’ve heard in years, aside from Leonard Cohen. Soul music for the damned. I URGE you to get this CD.
(-review by Anguish Young)

Federico Bruno “A Gentleman Loser”

First solo album for Italian acoustic songwriter/rock’n’roller Federico Bruno. The ghosts of Nikki Sudden, Johnny Thunders and the shadow of Tyla are wandering all around this album: Heartbreak songs and Stones guitars, wine and cigarette vocals… It’s all on here. When you think about it, there’s not that many people left doing this kind of music nowadays, so it’s always a good surprise to find some, and even a better one when it sounds that good!: Just listen to songs like “I Fought The Devil (But He Won)”, “Scars On My Heart” or “Broken Glass.”
While tunes like “Gentleman Loser”, “Ain’t It Right” or “Dancing In The Rain” clearly bend on the DOGS D’AMOUR side, “Burning Star” or “Troubles” remind me more of Freddy Lynxx in a not so obvious way though.
“A Gentleman Loser” is probably not the album you should play first at your next house party, but this is definitely the next one you should listen to./Laurent C.