THEE WINDOM EARLES: Mai Tai Pink Eye.

8 10 2019

 

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If you’re looking for something extra creepy, and extra trashy- then you’ve GOT to listen to Manchester’s finest Thee Windom Earles. They are a fascinating band that make you feel like you’ve stepped into some weird Horror B-Movie. They are off the wall, in your face and just brilliant. Think along the lines of Captain Beefheart and The Cramps, then you’ll get it.

 Where do you begin with a band like this? I know nothing about them, all I know is that they are from the greatest city in the world (Manchester) and they make the kind of music that would even move us fellow introverts. They’ve got a really cool style, and this Psychobilly sound is just exceptional. You cannot help but move when you listen to them, and you cannot help but play their music super loud.

 Their debut record, Mai Tai Pink Eye came out in February this year. I know, I’m late with this one. But it’s such a great record. You don’t feel like you’re listening to a band from 2019. There is something nostalgic about this record- they’ve got every essence of The Cramps, but they don’t do it in a rip-off style at all. They take this creepy Rock ‘n’ Roll sound and make it theirs. If The Cramps came from Manchester, they’d probably sound like this. Songs like Sex Pizzeria are MADE to be played super loud and Oom Sha Cha too. Just play the whole record loud at least 5 times a day. You’ll feel better for it.

 

 

 

Mai Tai Pink Eye is not only probably the best name for a record you’ll hear this year, but it’s also got a such a tight sound. The production is flawless, and the sound is beautifully unruly. It is the best form of chaos possible- it’s basically a band making a lot of noise and having a great time doing so. I’m having a great time listening to it! It is such a thrilling record. Bands like Thee Windom Earles and Night Shades who are making their own style of Rock ‘n’ Roll right now; I’d love to see both play a show together. It would be insane. To hear a sound so refreshing on this record just makes you fall in love with music over and over again. Songs like Lunchtime Munchtime and Freight Elevator are just these incredible pieces of real Rock music. There’s the Garage Rock thrown in, there’s the effortlessly cool and weird style that lures you in. The vocals are delivered with this infectious energy that is happening throughout the whole record. I cannot praise this monster of a record enough! You cannot help but play every single song to death. It’s only 9 tracks long, but those tracks are enough to have you hooked in every single way. You’ll be having dreams about this record.

 Lick The Flipper has this awesome Surf Rock feel to it, but it also has something a little eerie/sinister about it. I just love how the band mess with your head. The only thing that’s consistent is how brilliant they are- everything else is a pleasant surprise. You just have no idea how the next song is going to hit you. I think this is the song I’m obsessed with the most (for now) it’s definitely a stand-out song on this record, but truth be told, the whole record is an underrated masterpiece. Manchester is truly home to some amazing musicians and bands- Thee Windom Earles absolutely back this notion up for sure.

 When you listen to this record you cannot help but let it take over your soul. You feel like it has corrupted you in the best way, and all good music makes you feel this way somehow. Imagine being about 14/15 years old, and finding a band like Thee Windom Earles and just letting this sound blow your mind, and you end up starting your own band? That’d be so cool. Instead, as a 32 year old, I’m just in awe of the band and I’m so glad they exist. I’m so glad I found them. Just when I think I couldn’t love this city even more, something like this happens! I think it is safe to say that Mai Tai Pink Eye is probably the year’s most underrated record. It’s got everything you could possibly want from a pure Rock ‘n’ Roll record.

 

 

 

So, there you have it- if you’re looking for something to shake them bones of yours or to just blow your mind, Thee Windom Earles are 100% the band for you. Let them take you on a weird trip- it’s on you if you come back down to earth or not.





LEATHERS: Class Action.

1 10 2019

 

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On my day off today I have done what I set out to do- sleep past noon. I got up at about half past one. A well-earned rest, and I’m still tired. It’s okay, just a few more hours to kill before bedtime is upon me. I cannot wait. Anyway, I need to listen to some music to keep me awake for a little while longer whilst I avoid doing things I should probably be doing.

Bristol is the home to some amazing bands from IDLES to Emily Breeze to Oh, The Guilt and beyond. It’s a place that is just oozing talent of all kinds. It has this solid community and it’s a place that deserves to be praised for all the music it has given us. It is a truly phenomenal place, and there is no shortage of masterpieces coming out of there.

So here we are, another excellent Bristolian band to praise- Leathers. A brilliant duo who make you feel like you are listening to a Gospel version of The Cramps. There’s a lot of soul in this band, and they have something that just makes you want to absolutely play the shit out of this record. Before you know it, you will be chanting along to all the hits such as Bad News and One Track Mind (not a Johnny Thunders cover but still awesome!)

On their new EP, Class Action the band are firmly letting us know that this is the kind of sound that NEEDS to be heard, and it needs to be heard pretty loud. Luckily no one is home and I’m playing it as loud as I want. The more I listen to it, the more I can really appreciate how great they are as musicians. They play with this unified sound that maybe sounds tighter because they are a duo. If there was more of them, it may spoil it and besides, it just reinforces my fondness of duos. Of course, the only downside is that the EP is only four songs long, but you make do, don’t you? You just hit repeat.

 

 

I love that real trashy sound they have. It’s a really raw Garage Rock sound with beautiful notes of Psychobilly. Fully aware I’ve just made the band sound like a wine, but it’s alright! Anyway, the songs are easy to get hold of and learn by heart. You can really imagine their live shows and the crowd going nuts and singing along as loud as they can.

Class Action has a strong DIY feel to it, and I love when you can hear the hard work and passion gone into a record. I love how their song No More reminds me so much of Talking Heads’ Psycho Killer; part of me was hoping for part of the lyrics to pop up. Maybe they’ll do it at a show, that’d be pretty cool right? You know the part that would work, it’s obvious! It’s probably one of my favourites off the EP right now. There’s a level of fury in this one that coms across in such an effortless manner Ed beats the shit out of the drums on this one, and Chris’ voice just keeps you locked in- you find yourself going back to this song the most.

If you’re into trashy Garage Rock, then Leathers are the band for you and Class Action is most certainly the EP for you. Play it loud, play it often!

Class Action is released via KM Records.





HAXON.

13 07 2019

 

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When I left London early last year, I know I was going to miss something in particular. I wasn’t going to miss the city at all, but I was going to miss my favourite venue ever- The Shacklewell Arms. I’ve seen some of the best gigs of my life there. I’ve seen TwoFiftyFour play to about 10 of us for an acoustic show, I’ve seen L.A Witch and Tall Juan’s first ever UK shows there. But I’ve missed out. I’ve missed out on seeing a whole bunch of bands, and I’m going to write about one of the most exciting London based bands around (aside from GHUM who are playing The Shack tonight, but I’m seeing them on Monday so it’s alright!) HAXON. Remember the name. HAXON make music to terrify you. Ready?

HAXON have members of bands I LOVE (Lovers Club and Night Shades.) If you’re looking for the coolest band around, then look no further than HAXON. They played The Shack last night, which is a venue made for bands like this. They sound like The Cramps mixed with Screaming Lord Sutch and The Birthday Party. Basically, fucking weird and absolutely off the wall in the best way imaginable. The kind of music you’d hear in a Vincent Price film. Perfect. They are a band that just need to be played really loud so you terrify your neighbours, In my apartment block, we’ve got some really annoying neighbours so for me, HAXON are the ideal band to use to drown out their noise.

 

 

If you’re looking for a band to blow you away and to leave you covered in goose bumps, and I don’t mean goose bumps just for the reason of them being brilliant. I mean for them scaring you- then you need HAXON in your life. You need to just play them, and go crazy to the songs. The songs sound like a mad-man rambling, and I love that. I love how possessed Alec’s vocals are. He’s easily one of my favourite singers of late, and with HAXON he really pushes his vocals and gives us something that is so insane and powerful. The songs will make you move in all kinds of ways. It’s just perfect.

 

Their debut EP, Haxoff, came out in May. It consists of 5 songs that will leave you salivating for more, and more. If you have seen them live, then I can only assume that it was one of the best shows you’ve ever been to. However, if anyone would like to bring them up here to Manchester- I’d really appreciate that! The EP is nothing short of stunning. It sounds like nothing else, and I truly mean that. I know I mentioned The Cramps, The Birthday Party and Screaming Lord Sutch earlier, but this EP is truly something else.  There is something about it that will freak you out, but at the same time you’ll just be beautifully overwhelmed by what you are hearing. Sometimes I’ll hear a band, and think “this is why I still write about music, this is why I love music.” For me, I can happily add Haxon to that list. With just one EP they have definitely left their mark, and I do hope that there is a lot more to come from them because 5 songs just isn’t enough.

I’m A Tree is like a drunken rambling, and I absolutely love it. I love how manic and ferocious it is. I love how it twists and turns, then slides into Lucky John which has the same tone to it. It’s just an excellent EP that will make you want to make your own noise, it’ll make you want to down a bottle of Bourbon in a saloon bar and cause a fight. It’s got this infectious rage to it, that I just cannot get enough of. It’s everything I want from music, and more. They should be hugely proud of what they have created here, because it is out of this world.

 

 

It’s a real sleazy and seductive EP that’ll make you feel a bit dirty and in the need of a shower after listening- and that’s always a great thing. Honestly, if you get the chance to see them, please go. Let the music take you over, let it freak you the hell out and let it put everything you’ve ever known to shame.

 





THE HONEY CULT.

29 11 2018

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The Honey Cult are a duo that sound like there’s about 20 of them. This huge sound is brutal, it’s fuzzy and it’s insanely loud. They come from Maryland, which is home to two bands I love- Beach House and Void. Maryland doesn’t have a set scene, and the diversity within the exceptional music that has come from there has left plenty of room for bands like The Honey Cult.

Their first release came out earlier this year, and the day after my birthday they released a few more songs. Including a brilliant cover of Do You Wanna Dance, which makes you feel as if the song is theirs. That’s the power of a great cover, but there’s something you need to know about The Honey Cult- they’re spooky as hell. Their sound is like The Mummies, The Cramps and some off the wall Garage Rock sound- which is obviously why I love them so.

They make the kind of music you want to play stupidly loud, and to then press your ears right up against the speakers. Who cares if you go a bit deaf- if this is the last band you’ll ever hear, then so be it. I love how they make you feel like you’re in a straight to video horror film. Where the fake blood is obviously ketchup, you know the film. The songs wallop you right in that mush of yours. You want every song to consume everything you are, and you want to live deep inside of these songs. There’s this alluring decadence to these songs that just completely enamour you. I can’t get enough of this band, and it’s tough to wrap my head round the fact that they are a pretty new band. They sound like they’ve been doing this for decades.

The Honey Cult make machine gun sounding songs, songs that sound like a motorbike leaving a trail of dust behind as you ride off into the sunset. That machine gun sound coming from the guitar creates these jolts that work with how you move your body to these songs. These songs are incredible. They are fast, they are off the wall and they just leave you wanting more, and crave them to be louder. I think The Honey Cult are a band that are just going to get louder each time, and I just adore that about them. They make the kind of music that would have The Cramps and Captain Beefheart losing their minds over. They have something about them that just instantly makes you want to throw your limbs about, turn the volume up to an anti-social level and just lose yourself in these songs. The songs have so much soul to them, and the creepy atmosphere that they give off is nothing short of exceptional. The only band I can think of that they come close to in the UK is Table Scraps. They’ve both got this wild energy to their songs, and this energy just makes you want to go to all of their live shows, and be free of any daily responsibilities. If you love Table Scraps, then you’ll love The Honey Cult for sure.

I love the reverb in the vocals, and how the drums and guitars speed up in certain songs (Crimson Mask is the prime example) to keep up with each other, and they then create this pace that just keeps you on edge. I love the sheer excitement that they bring, and I love how they have this ability to just make you oblivious to where you are when you listen to them. They really make you lose yourself in the music, and for me that is such a powerful thing. It’s something that doesn’t hit us all too often, but when it does- you’ve got that band for life.

If you check their Facebook page, The Honey Cult don’t even have 100 likes yet. They are still in their baby pages, but don’t let that put you off- they are absolutely one of the best bands you’ll hear. For me, they are most definitely one of the best and most exciting bands I’ve listened to this year and I can’t wait to hear a hell of a lot more from them.

Play ’em loud!





LOS CUCHILLOS.

1 09 2018

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Next up my Costa Rican musical journey are Los Cuchillos. If you ever wondered what The Cramps would sound like if they were from Costa Rica- listen to these guys.

Los Cuchillos have been going for well over a decade I think, and they still have this raw excitement to their sound. I love how their music just makes you feel good, and makes you just want to have a fun time. They have this great ability to make you feel like you could be anywhere in the world at any time with their music. They don’t sound like a typical “now” band, which is part of why I love them.

Just like The Cramps, these guys are ahead of their time. I did say they are like The Cramps, but I mean it in a gentler way sort of. There is definitely that haunting horror b-movie feel to the songs- you can sense a monster in slime about to emerge and chase you when you listen to Los Cuchillos, and it’s such a pleasure to listen to them.

Something I really do enjoy about them is their 60s Garage Rock sound. It’s a bit like The Count Five meets The Vagrants mixed with something else I can’t work out just yet, but I love it. Their song Monster Twist is probably my favourite right now. I love how the vocals are really gruff, but you don’t feel threatened at all, you just feel like you’re at some wild party where everyone is going bananas to the music. Los Cuchillos are definitely a band that you can totally let loose to and lose your mind to. I love their way of taking a style of music from decades ago and make it sound like something we’ve never ever heard before. You’ve just got to play these guys as loud as you can handle and let it go through you, and take over all of your senses.

For a band that a well into their career, they still make such exciting music and the kind of music you’d want to use as the soundtrack to your daily life. I love their record from 2014, Isla Macabro! It’s such a fantastic record and all eight songs are just so wonderfully performed and put together. You feel like you are right there with them when you listen to this record, like they are taking you by the hand or the scruff of your neck to go on this wild trip with them. I love the spookiness in this record (it came out on Halloween 4 years ago) and how it can creep you out in such a brilliant way. You’ve just got to keep on playing this one loud and let it take you out of this world. You really do. You won’t feel unsafe, but you’ll be pleasantly weirded out at times, and that’s just part of the charm of Los Cuchillos.

One song in particular I’m drawn to is Tarantino. It’s an amazing instrumental song that could have easily been used in Kill Bill vol.2 I love how their instrumental songs can really make you conjure up wild scenarios in your mind. I’ve gone back and forth with their discography, and I’ve really enjoyed hearing how their sound has evolved. I might be wrong, but I think Tony is the only original member of the band (forgive me if I’m wrong!) but don’t let that make you think that this isn’t a band without a vision. They truly do have a vision, and their music is a fascinating experience to have.

I love being able to hear how Los Cuchillos have grown with their sound, and although they’ve been going for around 13 years you just know that there is something else in them that we have not heard before. They are a band that are unafraid to really go for it and test themselves to create these Garage Rock masterpieces. Some bands you just cannot get enough of, and Los Cuchillos are 100% one of those bands.

Play loudly!





SHADY FRANCOS

26 01 2018

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It’s pretty hard to listen to anything else or care about anything other than The Fall right now. It’s been a few days, and it still hasn’t sunk in that the greatest and most unapologetically honest frontman is no longer with us. It sucks. It really, really sucks.

I needed something this morning to lift my mood up a little bit this morning. I found a band called Shady Francos. Proper Rock n Roll band that have this excellent psychobilly sound flowing through. If you dig The Cramps, you’ll probably love this band. I’m not sure what they’re up to right now, or if they’re still together, but it’s alright. There’s enough music for me to work on to write about them.

They have this effortlessly cool sound, the kind of sound you wish you could make. They’re the kind of band that if you walked past them rehearsing, it would stop you in your tracks and you’d never leave. It’s an intriguing sound that leaves you wanting more, and more. It’s a real lucid sound that you cannot shake. You can’t get enough of it. Feel free to lose your damn mind to this band. Their bio says that they are from the shady part of San Diego. They really do make you feel like you have ended up on the wrong side of town. I’ve just finished reading Digging The Vein by Tony O’Neill (if you’ve never read his work, you’re really missing out. He’s an underrated genius) and Shady Francos really do make you feel a little creeped out with their sound. They are loud, off the wall and brutal with their sound.

I love the distorted and shaky vocals. I love how you can hear this trembling in the vocals that makes you cling onto every word. I love how aggressive the drums are which go perfectly with the vocals. Everything about this band is just brilliant. They remind me a little of The Cramps and Küken. Some bands are just made to be played loud. Some bands are made to just take you some place obscure- Shady Francos do exactly that. They make you want to sit and do a load of nothing with their music blaring out.

You can imagine some kid in San Diego listening to them and just wanting to do what they do when they are older. They’re subtle heroes, and given the chance could take over the world. Things take time, so I’ll let them takeover mine. I don’t mind.

Soggy Diner Toast is so far my favourite song by them, but I’m obviously likely to change my mind as I repeatedly listen to them and find new things to love about them and more songs to claim as my favourite. If you’re looking for a band to do a whole load of nothing to, then Shady Francos are the band for you.

Play ‘em loud, piss off your neighbours and relax.

 





THE CRAMPS: Fiends Of Dope Island.

19 09 2017

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So here we are, the last record by The Cramps. In 2003, The Cramps released Fiends Of Dope Island- their eight full length record. It isn’t my favourite record, but thankfully it still has THAT sound that we all knew and love. The sound that defined them. The sound that made them so important and so influential.

I thought writing about all their records would have taken me longer than this. However, from the start I knew it was something I would have to see through. Besides, what else am I going to do with my spare time?

Fiends Of Dope Island opens with Big Black Witchcraft Rock. It’s a heavy song in comparison to what they have previously done. This record is a heavy sounding record and in some parts of the record, it doesn’t completely sound like The Cramps. I know a band shouldn’t make the same sounding record over and over. The Cramps never did that, but you always knew it was them. There is no fault at all in Ivy’s raucous guitar skills- you never could fault her or Lux at all.

There are some great songs on this record such as Dr Fucker M.D (Musical Deviant), Dopefiend Boogie and She’s Got Balls. It is still a brilliant record by them, don’t get me wrong. But I had a bit of a hard time getting into this one. I mean nothing is going to beat A Date With Elvis or Stay Sick! for me but it is still a strong record that sits nicely with their lengthy list of releases.

I love the slick sounds on Taboo, and how Chopper Franklin truly adds something special to this cover. It also shows just how fantastic Lux’s voice was. He sings slightly different on this one. It doesn’t typically sound like him, and I think that’s why this cover really stands out on this record. It is one of my favourite covers they’ve ever done also. I love Hang Up. It’s got Lux sounding quite snarly, and I really love that. I love how he could do anything with his voice. The way he’d sound like every part of him was shaking as he sung. The banshee-like wails he makes on the end of the song are just excellent. It’s one of the best moments on the record for sure. I also think Oowee Baby is one of the songs on the record that sounds typically them. It’s got a sound that reminds me a little of their earlier records.

I feel that Fiends Of Dope Island is slightly darker than their previous records. This record does feel quite heavy. I don’t know if they knew this would be the last record they were going to make or not. It’s hard to tell.  The artwork to the record is creepy. Lux has this demonic look, and it kind of gives you an impression of how they wanted this record to sound. It is dark and it is menacing. I don’t know how this record sits amongst other fans of The Cramps. I’ve played it a few times in a row now prior to writing this and it has grown on me. I really love Dr Fucker M.D- there’s something brilliantly eerie about this song. It sounds like something you would hear playing in a horror film. You can imagine Dr Fucker being this wild doctor who just causes absolute mayhem.

From listening to all of The Cramps records, it has just made me love and appreciate them even more. No other band is ever going to make something as wonderfully sleazy as I Want To Get In Your Pants or something as decadent as Kizmiaz. The Cramps were one-offs. Every single record shows that, and maybe they knew with Fiends Of Dope Island it would be their last. I think they did set out what they had and needed to do. Of course we would have taken more. I wish I was one of the lucky ones who got to see The Cramps. Any line-up, I don’t care. I’d have just loved to have seen them.

So there we have it. All eight records written about. All eight records listened to more carefully than usual, and loved more than before.

Viva The Cramps!