Thursday, 19 July 2018

Jetstream Pony "Self Destruct Reality" EP launch at The Finsbury Friday 13th July by David Leach

Jetstream Pony "Self Destruct Reality" EP
Drama from the very start. I exit Manor House tube station and am greeted by a thunderstorm - the first rain in the city for weeks. I make a dash for it to The Finsbury pub where tonight’s gig is taking place, but am soon to discover that this is not the only electrically-charged moment of the evening as its pointed out that, during the sound check, the band had been experiencing a little more electricity through their microphones than they were comfortable with. The problems appeared to have been resolved before show time and, thankfully, a ‘self-destruct reality’ is averted! Jetstream Pony are the first band on tonight in what is a four act line up, I am guessing they are a late addition to the bill as having heard their music they strike me as a band who could  probably anticipate being higher up the pecking order .They appear to be on a bit of a roll at the moment as they have been played on BBC radio twice this week, and have gained a few admiring comments in the music media (plus an endorsement from a leading light in the world of indie music) and it is apparent as they take the stage there are a fair few more people than you would normally anticipate being at a show for the first band.

Jetstream Pony Photo by David Leach
The set opens with ‘Not The One’, a track from their new five song EP. Their sound is powerful, immediate and direct. It has something of a commercial, outward looking indie aspect, with not a shamble or a shoe-gaze in sight. I wouldn’t go quite as far as describing it as ‘Power Pop’ as such as, lyrically, there appear to be deeper, and sometimes darker, undercurrents that you wouldn’t associate with that genre. There is, however, certainly a punk bite in the thick bass lines and searing guitar and the tunes are without doubt proper melodic earworms. As the set progresses, they play another track from new EP called ‘Out Of Reach’. Kerry Boettcher’s elongated, jagged bass line intro launches the song; it’s met with Sara Boyle’s metronomic powerful drum beat, Shaun Charman’s chiming guitar joins in echoing the bass line, while Beth Arzy’s cool tuneful vocal gives the sound brightness. This song gets a real groove going and I feel that it’s at this point that the set really starts to take shape and, more importantly, the ‘first band on’ sound issues have dissipated. 

Jetstream Pony Photo by David Leach
‘Zipwire’ is another from the EP; it is the fastest in their set and one can imagine how the track got its title as it’s a pure ‘adrenaline rush’ song. Singer Beth said that the lyrics at the end of the song were influenced by some lyrics by The Dentists although she is reticent to say which one! As a fellow fan of the same band, I would suggest that if you peer behind the door where they keep their universe you will find the answer there. For me the highlight of the set is the lead track on the new EP, ‘Self-Destruct Reality’ - a classic, bitter sweet pop song with a dark side to the lyrics which suggest the public face hides inner feelings of a lack of control. This is wrapped up in a fabulous repeating-patterned guitar melody –which could just be the aural equivalent of the artwork on the band’s single - that weaves through the song, breaking into waves of riffs while the band power on around it. It sounds great on record but, live, it really sounds quite anthemic! Sadly, I have to leave The Finsbury at the end of the Jetstream Pony set and haven’t caught the other artists on the “Get into Her Ears” bill. I have been to The Finsbury before and note that it does have a particular focus on promoting female artists as my last visit was also for an all- girl ‘folk-inspired’ line up. Around that time, I remember seeing a picture of an imagined female-dominated festival bill that was created in response to overwhelmingly male festival line ups. Summing up tonight’s performance, it occurs to me that Jetstream Pony would be a fine band to add to this imaginary bill.

Jetstream Pony Photo by David Leach
You can order the "Self Destruct Reality" EP from the Jetstream Pony Bandcamp site here or check out more information on forthcoming gigs and news at the band's Facebook page here. With many thanks to David for the review and photos.

Jetstream Pony Photo by Alia Halstead, design by Kenji

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Fur Dixon & WTFukushima! The Moth Club July 12th 2018

Fur Dixon & WTFukushima! at The Moth Club - Photo Copyright Retro Man Blog
I first became aware of Fur Dixon back in 1986 during The Cramps “A Date With Elvis” tour along with their now legendary appearance on The Tube TV Show where she impressed a lot of us Cramps fans with her Bunny tail hot pants, fur-lined bra and gum chewing rock’n’roll attitude. It looked like The Cramps had found a really strong line-up again; she seemed the perfect fit, a striking visual character to match the super-flamboyant Lux, the stunning Poison Ivy and the impeccably cool Nick Knox. Fur was the first bass player to perform live with the band but unfortunately, this promising line-up was short-lived and it was a real shame when she left the band shortly after the tour. “A Date With Elvis” was for me one of the best periods of The Cramps and personally, I have always found the LP one of their strongest and most consistent post-Bryan Gregory releases. Although Fur never actually played bass on the record itself - she only contributed backing vocals - she will always be associated with the album and that era. 

Fur Dixon & Dave Provost of WTFukushima! at The Moth Club - Photo Copyright Retro Man Blog
So, 30 odd years later and suddenly out of the blue, thanks to Brighton based promoters Stay Sick, Fur is back in the U.K. touring with a new band called WTFukushima! to promote their brand new album “Return 2 Sender”. It was unexpected news so I was on the case straight away to secure tickets to her London show at The Moth Club in Hackney. However, before I get ahead of myself, let’s take a quick look at Fur’s story so far…Originally from New York; Fur’s first musical experiences came from singing with her mother’s Church choir where she excelled, winning regional youth competitions. She then moved to California in the early 80’s, said good bye to religion and found Punk Rock via local DJ Rodney Bingenheimer and gigs by acts such as The Plasmatics and Ramones. Fur soon got into Rockabilly and Country music and joined bands The Whirlybirds and The Hollywood Hillbillys before The Cramps came calling. After leaving The Cramps, she returned to her love of Country and Folk releasing albums with Steve Werner before forming WTFukushima! in 2016. Fur has certainly assembled an impressive line-up that announces this as more of a band than a solo project and the main players from the album join her tonight. First of all, there’s the amiable Bernard Yin who joined up with the band after touring Europe with Garage Soul outfit The BellRays and he has switched from bass to lead guitar for WTF! He's a really impressive guitarist too.

Bernard Yin of WTFukushima! at The Moth Club - Photo Copyright Retro Man Blog
Dave Provost from The Dream Syndicate is on bass and Dusty Watson from the current line-up of The Sonics is on drums. That is some pedigree and they certainly didn’t disappoint. The three of them kick off with a Surf instrumental before Fur takes the stage and they crank up and into the next song. She looks great with a shock of blue/purple/mauve hair and still retains that charismatic Rock ‘n’ Roll look and attitude. If you come away from a gig and there is not one single song or melody stuck in your head then there is something wrong with that band. Thankfully, there’s no such problem with WTF! and despite the fact that I hadn’t heard the new LP before the show, it’s Fur’s own songs that provide the highlights of the night for me. The quality of the song-writing is apparent on stand-out tracks such as "Out of Darkness Slowly" and the Glam strut of "Sugar Sweet". 

Dusty Watson of WTFukushima! at The Moth Club - Photo Copyright Retro Man Blog
Fur Dixon of WTFukushima! at The Moth Club - Photo Copyright Retro Man Blog
The superb "Get That Saddle Off My Back" is preceded by a bit of a rant about the end of her time in The Cramps and I'm sure there will be more tales to follow in her forthcoming book. The band certainly draw on many and varied aspects of American music and there is a Bluesy swagger running through the core of their music. However, despite all this talk of Americana, Fur is not afraid to go off at an unexpected tangent; this is particularly evident with one of the two cover versions that feature on the album. “Baby’s On Fire” a collaboration by those most British of Artists, Brian Eno and Robert Fripp from Eno’s “Here Comes The Warm Jets” is a surprise and tonight live, it’s a raucous squealing wall of feedback from Bernard and driven along by Dusty’s immense tribal drumbeat. The other cover, also played tonight, is a slow burning and brooding take on Buffy Sainte Marie’s “Cod’ine” which really highlights Fur’s exceptional voice and you can see that all that practicing with the church choir has certainly paid dividends. 

WTFukushima! at The Moth Club - Photo Copyright Retro Man Blog
Fur acknowledges my 13th Floor Elevators T-Shirt and then launches into a super-charged version of “You’re Gonna Miss Me” and standing at the front a few feet in front of Dusty’s drums is an experience, he is a real powerhouse, that’s for sure. Despite their different musical backgrounds, there’s a real chemistry between the band members and they seem to be having as much fun as we are. There’s a lot of smiling going on – both on the stage and off it. They end a perfectly constructed set with “New Kind of Kick” then and encore with a nice and sleazy “Can Your Pussy Do The Dog?” and "Love Me" which all go down a storm with a thoroughly satisfied crowd. 

Fur Dixon of WTFukushima! at The Moth Club - Photo Copyright Retro Man Blog
The album "Return 2 Sender" is out now and available from the WTFukushima! Bandcamp site here. As mentioned in the feature, Fur is also working on a book so we will bring you more news on the title and release date as soon as we have it. For more photos from the show at The Moth Club please check out the Retro Man Blog Facebook page here. Some original videos from the gig can be found at our YouTube channel here. For more info on Stay Sick promotions check out their web-site here. An excellent interview with Fur by Neil from the Ginger Quiff Blog appears at the Louder Than War web-site here. For all Fur Dixon and WTFukushima! related news and information please check out the official web-site here.

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Fur Dixon: The Cramps "A Date With Elvis" era Bassist's UK Tour with New Band WTFukushima & New LP Out Now!

My first introduction to Fur Dixon came from The Cramps '86 Tour promoting their superb "A Date With Elvis" LP (one of my favourites) where she joined the band as their first live bassist. Of course there was also the memorable appearance on The Tube with Fur's gum chewing sneer and fluffy bunny tail proving a huge hit with us Cramps fans. However, Fur's stay in the band ended along with the tour and she then went onto to get involved in the Americana and Folk scene. But now she is back with a new band WTFukushima which features a damn cool line-up including Dusty Watson of The Sonics, Dave Provost of The Dream Syndicate, Bernard Yin from The Fuzztones and Bellrays and Paul Roessler of The Screamers. They have a new album "Return 2 Sender" out now, which you can order from here, and this is preceded by a single, a cover of Buffy Sainte Marie's "Cod'ine".

Our friends at the Brighton based Stay Sick are arranging the U.K. Tour for WTFukushima and more details can be found at the Stay Sick site here. Tickets for the London show at The Moth Club on July 12th can be ordered via the We Got Tickets here. Finally, for more info on Fur Dixon and WTFukushima please check out her official web-site here.

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Of Arrowe Hill "Domestic Espionage” New Album Launch Gig at Oxymoron Lambeth 1st June 2018 - Review by David Leach

of Arrowe Hill held their new album launch at the Oxymoron Pub in Lambeth. This pub is the antithesis of the characterless chain pubs and the achingly cool minimalist bars that are taking over London. Although situated on Lambeth Walk (Oi!), even the local pearly kings and queens would have to put their shades on to avoid being dazzled by the random riot of colour that greets you when entering. A conspiracy of clocks in what appears to be Salvador Dali’s fireplace seems like a good place to start this review. 

Tonight consists of two sets; a solo half hour acoustic set with a short break, followed by an extended set from the band. First up, the band’s front man and songwriter Adam Easterbrook pulls up a chair in front of a sizeable audience of friends, fans, and pub locals and, without amplification, runs through a set of songs from the past and present of his considerable back catalogue. The melancholic wonder of "Whatever that Means" is starker and darker than its more luxurious recorded version and the lyrics; 'when wonderland is in full retreat...keep it together, whatever that means' gain extra resonance when performed with just voice and acoustic (and in such an Alice in Wonderland setting). This set also features stripped down renditions of new album tracks, including its opener "You’ve Changed" that, on first listen, deals with the paranoia induced reflections on a sudden rise in personal status and "This Girl", which gets a laugh when Adam dedicates it to Theresa May. The idea of playing an acoustic set without amplification really worked, unwittingly forcing the captivated audience to strain a little to listen to the lyrics, greatly enhancing the informal ‘campfire' atmosphere of the set. 

Of Arrowe Hill - photo by David Leach
After a short break, the three-piece line up appear. The band have set up at the rear of the pub and, despite relatively spartan amplification arrangements, provide the audience with a full-blooded rendition of eight songs from the album released this very day and, as I discover later, some tracks from the next album that is already a work in progress. Particular highlights are the melodic "You Wish (It Was This Easy)", a bruised love song suggesting that, despite all life’s challenges, the couple in question can put the world to rights over a bottle of wine (hence the somewhat sardonic song title). "Oh! Serendipity" appears already to be an audience favourite; it’s nagging, catchy melody recalls the golden era of the Beatles and the Kinks but, also very much rooted in ‘the now’ with its narrator wistfully reflecting on winning the lottery; and on what he would do with the winnings (and what he would say to his boss) while reflecting on societies obsession with ‘being someone’. Last year’s single "Keep on Sweet Talking" is a claustrophobic, tense affair that touches on seduction and insomnia, and the encore "She’s Gone off the Rails" a swirling, powerful ‘The Who’ like account of a life in descent and turmoil. 

Of Arrowe Hill - photo by David Leach
On tonight’s evidence, "Domestic Espionage" is a more expansive, hard hitting collection of full-bodied songs than its fine predecessor, "A Conspiracy of Clocks". It’s easy to go overboard about the profound and poetic joys of Adam Easterbrook’s lyrics, but these songs are able to shine in an even brighter light due to the contributions of bass player Jason Hobart, and drummer Ian O’Sullivan, who provide the musical punctuation to Adam's flowing prose. This rhythm section have played together for many years in their previous band The Aardvarks and, as a unit, they appear to naturally 'sing from the same song book'. Their contributions help keep the mood of the songs upbeat with a somewhat psychedelic pop edge. They also provide a great foil for lyrics that mine the darker aspects of life whilst searching for the shards of light that make it all worthwhile! A final word of thanks should go to the Oxymoron proprietors, Bill and Lisa whose rather fine and quirky pub provided the perfect setting for tonight’s proceedings. - David Leach June 2018

Of Arrowe Hill - photo by David Leach
You can order "Domestic Espionage" on 180mg vinyl or the digital version via the Of Arrowe Hill Bandcamp site here. It's also available from Rough Trade or Sister Ray Record stores. For more information on the band, including news and upcoming gigs, please check out their Facebook page here. With thanks to David for the excellent review.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Retrosonic Podcast Episode 31: Rumble In The Jungle-A-Go-Go - Hipsville and New Music Special

Photo courtesy of ZigPix
Retrosonic Podcast Episode 31 is out and available for your listening pleasure now. This episode is a decidedly 'non-retro' affair as we'll feature only new and recent music from the best international contemporary Punk, Psych, Mod, Beat, Soul and Garage Rock acts and we even have a couple of unreleased songs too. There's a report on the fantastic Hipsville Jungle-A-Go-Go weekender and we pick some of the musical highlights over the three days including songs from The Parkinsons, The Oddballs, The Schizophonics, Les Lullies, Black Mambas and The No-Things. There's songs from new albums by artists such as Autoramas and The Most and the new single from Magnus Carlson & Fay Hallam with a report on their recent show at The 100 Club. There's also news on our next Retro Man Blog Night with ex-Soundtrack of Our Lives and Union Carbide Productions frontman Ebbot Lundberg and his new band The Indigo Children at The Half Moon Putney on October 13th. Here's the complete track-list to this episode, please click on the highlighted band name to check their web-sites and how to order copies of the featured records.

The Past Tense "The Supergrass" taken from their new LP "7A"

Professional Againsters "Long Live Rock 'n' Roll" from the Swedish band's LP "Everybody Hates The Professional Againsters". The band are part of Hans Selander's Record Union A&R roster so if your band needs help on getting your music onto digital platforms then contact Hans here

The Most "Girl Sees Daylight" another great Swedish band with a track from their new vinyl album "Beat Beat Boom!"

Autoramas "Stressed Out" from Brazil's Space Age Garage Rockers new LP "Libido". For full feature on the album including track-by-track guide, please check the Blog feature here

Autoramas "Libido" cover art by Julian Weber
The Oddballs "We Are The Oddballs" taken from their album of the same name

Les Lullies "Don Craine" from their "Don't Look Twice" E.P.

Black Mambas "Baby, I'll Give It To You" from The Witmer Sessions

The Schizophonics "Streets of Heaven & Hell" from their new LP "Land of The Living"

The Schizophonics at Hipsville - photo by Retro Man Blog
The Parkinsons "Numb" from the album "The Shape of Nothing To Come"

The No-Things "Miracle Man" unreleased song from Edinburgh based band's forthcoming single

For full feature on the Hipsville Jungle-A-Go-Go weekend including photos and links to videos, please check the Blog feature here

Thee Girl Fridays "Too Much of a Good Thing" from their new digital E.P.

The Past Tense "The Other Side" from their new LP "7A"

OHMS "6-8-1-6-79 (For A City Boy)" from their new LP "Melodies of Our Lives". For a review of the album please check the Blog feature here

The Moot "Backs Me Down" from their new mini-album "Tomorrow's Calling"

Magnus Carlson with Fay Hallam "Now That It's Over" new single from the Swedish Soul singer's forthcoming album "A Nordic Soul" out soon on Cosmos Music

Fay Hallam & Magnus Carlson at The 100 Club - photo by Retro Man Blog
French Boutik "Loin de Moi" a brand new track to promote an Indiegogo fundraising campaign for the band's forthcoming album. For more information on how to pledge, please check here

For review of the Fay Hallam, Magnus Carlson & French Boutik gig at the 100 Club including photos and links to videos, please check out the Blog feature here

The Nettelles "We Are..." new Russ Wilkins produced limited edition 7" vinyl single on DJ Lee Grimshaw's Spinout Nuggets label

Dirt Royal "Glory Days" one side of the Brighton based band's new single

Ye Nuns "Don't Worry" new limited edition single from State Records featuring unreleased songs written by The Monks' original bassist Eddie Shaw.

Andre M "Kenzy's Dream" new 7" vinyl single released on Crocodile Records

You can listen/download directly from our Soundcloud page below or subscribe for free at iTunes or stream at our Mixcloud page. Lots of our original videos from the Hipsville Weekend and of most of the bands featured in this episode can be found over at our Retro Man Blog YouTube Channel here and there are lots of photos at our Facebook page here. Check out Gwen Ever's "A Low Life In High Heels" radio show on Mixcloud here for some reports from the Hipsville front-lines. Thanks to ZigPix for this Episode's cover photo. Please click on the highlighted links above for more information on the bands and how you can order the featured LP's or singles. I hope you enjoy listening!

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Autoramas: "Libido" Brand New LP from Brazil's Hi-Octane Spage Age Garage Rockers Out Now!

Autoramas "Libido" cover art by Julian Weber
Autoramas, Brazil’s high octane Retro-futuristic Garage Rockers, are back with a brand new album entitled “Libido” and once again, they deliver on their promise to make ‘Rock Music To Dance To’ in their own inimitable style. From the shuddering opening guitar riff let loose from Gabriel Thomaz’s instantly recognisable Vibratorama effects pedal, this LP bursts forth from the speakers with a fizzing barely controlled energy. Now, I thought it might be difficult to top 2016’s excellent release “O Futuro Dos Autoramas” but top it they most certainly have. In fact, “Libido” is boldly staking a claim to be, not only the best Autoramas album to date, but also a benchmark by which all other albums released this year should be judged. They are still one of the best live acts I have ever seen, courtesy of the always mind-blowing Hipsville Weekender, and thankfully they have managed to capture that manic energy from their live performance in the album's sound perfectly.

Autoramas photographed by Paulo Aguiar
The Sound
So, let’s hop aboard the Autoramas time travelling space ship and join Gabriel, fellow vocalist and guitarist Érika Martins, bassist Jairo Fajer and drummer Fábio Lima on their quest as they zoom through various musical eras and genres, swooping down at various intervals to plunder all the best bits of Rock music’s rich heritage. They cherry pick from 1950’s Rock’n’Roll, 60’s Surf and Garage Rock, 70’s Punk Rock, 80’s New Wave and 90’s Grunge and Indie before returning to their underground laboratory in São Paulo to create a bubbling simmering concoction crammed full of only the choicest ingredients. Devo, Link Wray, The B-52’s, The Rezillos, Pixies and the Sci-Fi theme tunes of Barry Gray such as Fireball XL5 and Stingray. With Gabriel at the production controls and mixing duties handled by Jim Diamond, Bernardo Pacheco and Luis Tissot and with the help of Zique - who has added Brian Eno style electronic beeps, buzzes and special effects - “Libido” is a magic potion brimming with chemical and psychotic reactions. There’s distortion, sinewy riffs, pounding drums, fuzzed up bass, vibrato guitars and bags of energy. This time round there is a 50/50 split in songs sung in English and Portuguese so it may well be the album to break the band through to a much wider International audience but, whatever the language, the album is full of instantly memorable songs packed with catchy choruses (didn’t they write a song about that once…) and wonderful backing vocal harmonies. Yes, I love Autoramas for many things but I’m especially impressed with their perfect sense of dynamics. You can feel that time and care has been taken with the track listing to ensure that “Libido” flows like a classic album should.

Autoramas photographed at Hipsville by Paul Slattery
The Subject
From the moment you gaze at the excellent cover artwork by the Berlin based artist Julian Weber to the closing chords of the very last song, “Libido” takes you on a cinematic journey that is packed full of vivid imagery. Along the way, each song ignites sparks in your mind, causing your imagination to run riot. I’m already envisaging a spin-off to a Sci-Fi movie such as “1984” or “Total Recall” where our heroes, Autoramas, star as a gang of Day-Glo clad renegades trying to inject Neon bright positivity into the daily grind of a grey corporate obsessed world populated by faceless stressed out men. They take aim at hypocritical politicians who award themselves and each other with medals and trophies without actually doing anything to deserve such accolades. People in this world are only concerned with the here and now. Eyes down. Work Hard. Question Nothing. Autoramas however preach a somewhat chilled out Super Zen philosophy and they “don’t drive the same cars, wear the same clothes or speak the same words” as the sheep-like crowds who surround them. However, sinister forces spy on our intrepid heroes and shadow their every move like a ‘creepy echo’. The paranoia sets in and even the furniture becomes suspiciously scary. Are the sofas really taking on a life of their own? Are the chairs really going to trap them like “Tetsuo the Iron Man” and inflict some serious damage? However, Autoramas are plotting their escape – looking to the sky, to the stars and beyond, even into the future. Expanding into new worlds where they can meet again and realise their dreams. So, there you go, there’s the synopsis for the “Libido” screenplay and now we’ll just wait for Hollywood to call! Of course, Autoramas will be providing the soundtrack.

Autoramas "Libido" cover art by Julian Weber
The Track-by-Track Guide
Opening track “Sofas, Armchairs & Chairs” kicks off with a stinging vibrato guitar riff courtesy of Gabriel’s very own trademarked Vibratorama effects pedal. It is driven along by some wicked Fuzz bass and powerful drumming. On the surface, it might seem like a mundane subject to write about but this edgy song with its jerky rhythms sheds a different light on the matter. Are those chairs out to get you? In fact, I feel a little bit unsafe sitting here listening to this, it feels as though I am going to be sucked into my chair! “Creepy Echo” is another sinister song that could be about CCTV surveillance or the theft of personal data. On the other hand it could be about a stalker or an obsessive fan or just about an intense sado-masochistic relationship. It is based around a sinewy riff with lyrics such as “I wanna lick your soul, you're trapped in my peephole. I wanna be your constrictive knots, I wanna call the shots, I wanna swallow you whole, you're always on patrol after me”. With “Stressed Out” they look on in thinly veiled disgust at the corporate world and its “stressed out short tempered men”. JJ Burnel from The Stranglers would be proud of the great bass fuzzing away beneath and the song ends with an excellent organ riff and a catchy “super Zen” mantra. “Homem Cliché” rides in on a wicked Surf guitar riff, tipping its hat to “Rock Lobster" by the B-52's. It takes a dig at macho posturing and capitalism “Look, here comes Cliché Man, Everyone likes him, not you. I do not wear those clothes, I do not speak those words, and I do not drive that car”. Next up, “Ding Dong” is a super-fast raucous punk song that sounds like it has been concocted by a mad scientist. It is fizzing and bubbling with electronic special effects and barely controlled feedback and is punctuated by feral screams. With the lyrics stripped down to the bare bones Ramones style, it is definitely the easiest to sing along to. Believe me you will be walking around for days after you hear this, happily singing “Ding Dong Ding Ding Dong” aloud. Just be prepared for some funny looks from passers-by. “Non-Practitioner” is an immense song that will surely go down as an Autoramas classic with its superb Kim Deal style backing vocals and thunderous riff. It’s a scathing attack on hypocrisy, fake news and publicity hungry politicians or celebrities all “fighting for the headlines”. It pours vitriol on the institutionalized backslapping of a “deep thinking elite” who “have all the badges but none of the deeds, got all the trophies but none of the feats”. 

Autoramas photographed by Paulo Aguiar
I think that “No Futuro” is one of my personal highlights of the album as a great Garage Rock riff powers it along and it features what could well be the best vocal performance by Erika to date. This song shows that Autoramas dream of escape, maybe even seeking out new worlds and civilisations and deep down they harbour a rather romantic vision. “I missed you when we had a tomorrow, one day we'll meet in the future”. Now, “Eu Sei Mas Eu Não Sei (I Know But I Don't Know)” might be familiar to fans of Blondie as Autoramas twist and turn this classic from “Parallel Lines” into much more than just another cover version. With Boy-Girl joint vocals in Portuguese, it licks its lascivious lips over lyrics such as “I'm your dog, but not your pet, can I be your toy?” Following this is “Coisa pra Caramba pra Fazer” which has Gabriel and Erika once again trading lead vocals and it buzzes around with a pent up energy that perfectly complements this barbed attack on a selfish executive trapped in a dog-eat-dog world. The main target of their vitriol has so many “projects and problems to solve” that they “don’t even have time to get sick” and they trample over everyone to climb that corporate ladder. “Get out of my way if you’ve got nothing important to say” this arrogant suit smugly announces as the guitars circle around like dive-bombers ready to inflict some well-deserved retribution. The album closes with “Para o Alto e Avante” which is a lovely classic pop song. But after all, Autoramas are not ashamed to tug at your heartstrings as the Pixies once did with “Here Comes Your Man”. This is an unabashed and uncynical ballad sung beautifully by Erika in Portuguese. In the lyrics, they “celebrate the miracle of aviation” and with some vivid imagery “open their wings over Brazil to occupy the blue sky”. A fitting way to end a remarkable album.

The band are releasing "Sofas, Armchairs & Chairs" as the first single from the album so please check out the Autoramas official web-site here or their Facebook page here for news and information and details on how to purchase the single and the "Libido" album. You can find out more about the excellent artwork of Julian Weber at his Facebook page here.

Monday, 28 May 2018

The Fay Hallam Band at The 100 Club with Special Guests Magnus Carlson, French Boutik & DJ David Edwards

Fay Hallam and bassist Andy Lewis at the 100 Club - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
What a great feelgood Friday night down at the legendary 100 Club with a superb line-up...The Fay Hallam Band featuring a very special guest appearance from Swedish Soul star and frontman of Weeping Willows, Magnus Carlson along with support from our good friends French Boutik and then there was DJ Dave Edwards from the Sidewinder club night too. French Boutik played a superb set, bravely introducing a few brand new numbers which went down really well. After all the band have a knack of writing instantly memorable and catchy songs, so even though they might start out as unfamiliar, by the last chord the melodies are already stuck in your head for good.

French Boutik at the 100 Club - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
French Boutik at the 100 Club - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
Tonight we were treated to the full line-up of the band with vocalist Gabriela, guitarist Serge, drummer Zelda and bassist Jean-Marc augmented by Olivier Popincourt on keyboards and Graham Lentz on percussion and acoustic guitar. They started off with their recently recorded version of The Jam's "The Place I Love" as a happy 60th birthday tribute to Paul Weller and ended up with a well deserved encore and a Punky run through of a cover of "Beta Gamma" by Henri Salvador. Highlights for me included a storming "Je Regarde Les Tigres" and "Mieux Comme Ca" with Serge on lead vocals and new song "Loin de Moi" which sounded like it could become a future crowd favourite. The band are on fire at the moment and I'd recommend catching them play live whenever you get the chance.

French Boutik at the 100 Club - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
Fay Hallam and her excellent seven piece band kicked off their set with a great version of the "Dave Allen at Large" theme tune which had many of us old nostalgics looking round for a cigarette and glass of whisky and checking that they still had their fingers intact! We were then treated to an uplifting and uptempo set that touched on most aspects of her career stretching right back to a couple of Makin' Time numbers including the classic "Feels Like It's Love". We were brought right up to date with some really promising new tracks "Magic Potion" and "Lie Detector" which featured Fay's son Josh taking on lead vocals and he did a great job, such a talented family!

Fay Hallam Band at the 100 Club - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
Fay Hallam & Magnus Carlson - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
I particularly enjoyed "Do You Know How To Love Me?" taken from the latest album "House of Now" which was produced by Andy Lewis who I'm pleased to see is adding his considerable bass playing talents to the line-up tonight. Two tracks from the excellent "Lost In Sound" album with The Bongolian, "Dancing" and a fantastic "Freefall" in particular highlight how good a drummer Kieran McAleer is and they get a warm reaction from the appreciative crowd. There's a couple of cover versions included, a faithful run through of The Flirtations classic "Nothing But a Heartache" and a perfect take on Dusty Springfield's version of "Spooky". Magnus Carlson is invited on stage to join the band for a great run through of Nolan Porter's "If I Could Only Be Sure" on which the excellent guitarist Jim Bishop tackles that great melancholy riff perfectly.

Fay Hallam Band at the 100 Club - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
Fay Hallam & Magnus Carlson - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
There is a sparkling chemistry between Magnus and Fay, they look like they are having as much fun as we are and their voices work perfectly together. I understand that Fay will join the line-up of his band on an upcoming tour of Sweden to promote his new LP "A Nordic Soul" on Cosmos Music. In fact the main reason that Magnus is here tonight is because he just released a stunning new single "Now That It's Over" featuring Fay on vocals and organ. It's a stomping slice of classic Soul and it was definitely one of the highlights of the night, almost lifting the roof off of the 100 Club. Magnus says his goodbyes and the band are called back for an encore and end with a great version of "Greenhouse" from The Prime Movers early 90's album "Earth Church" which was a nice surprise. Great night out, great music and great people - you just can't beat it.

Magnus Carlson at the 100 Club - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
Fay Hallam Band at the 100 Club - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
French Boutik are currently finishing off work on a new LP so please check out their Facebook page here for more details. You can pledge your support at their IndieGoGo campaign here. For more news and information on The Fay Hallam Band please check out their web-site here. Information on Magnus Carlson and his upcoming album "A Nordic Soul" along with his collaboration with Fay can be found at his web-site here or over at the Cosmos Music site here. There are more photos from the night at our Retro Man Facebook page here and videos of both bands over at our YouTube channel here. Here's a sample of what you will find...