Sunday, 25 January 2015

Le Beat Bespoké 10 "A Decade of Delights" Easter Weekender Thu 2nd/Fri 3rd/Sat 4th/Sun 5th April 2015


Le Beat Bespoké the annual indoor festival promoted by newuntouchables.com returns over the Easter weekend at 229 The Venue, Great Portland Street in London. New Untouchables run regular club nights and gigs throughout the year spotlighting 21st Century Modernist & Sixties inspired underground music culture. They are also responsible for releasing a series of excellent and much sought after Compilation LPs with selections from DJ Dr Robert, picked from the dance "floorshakers" of various NUTs events that compliment this wonderful, inclusive happening.


Some bands that have appeared at previous Le Beat Bespoké events over the years include: STAX feat Steve Cropper, Duck Dunn and Eddie Floyd, The Sonics first ever show outside the USA, Arthur Lee & Love, The Undertones, The Strypes, Billy Childish, Eli Paperboy Reed, The Horrors, King Khan & The Shrines, Buzzcocks, Pretty Things, Arthur Brown, Jim Jones Revue, James Hunter, The Remains, The Fuzztones, The Flirtations, The Poets, The Sorrows and Chocolate Watchband to name just a few. However, the live music is only part of what makes Le Beat Bespoké such a wild and unique event. For your dancing delight there will be a dynamic DJ line-up from all across Europe armed with explosive sounds that are sure to melt your heart and mind. Have a good look around the Le Beat Bespoké website at the program which features band news, music, videos and photos, DJ playlists, event podcast, market and record fair information plus travel and accommodation tips.


The weekend gets underway with the superb Wolf People headlining Thursday night with songs from their three highly rated albums. For those who are not familiar with the band, if you like the bluesy psychedelic sounds of Cream, early Jethro Tull and Traffic then you will love Wolf People. The second day of Le Beat Bespoke 10 is billed as an "8 hour Technicolor Dream" which features a triple bill with Glenn Campbell’s Misunderstood, Peter Daltrey's Kaleidoscope and The Loons. Expect to hear all your favourite Misunderstood tracks performed live for the first time since 1967. After a fantastic performance in Islington eighteen months ago you can see Kaleidoscope on the 229 stage again so expect yet another magical performance. The Loons played at the very first Le Beat back in 2005 and will play songs from all three of their brilliant albums including the must-have "Love's Dead Leaves" which was produced by none other than Ebbot Lundberg of The Soundtrack of Our Lives. Evoking the wildest trips of the ’66 Sunset Strip, The Loons, from San Diego, California, have been playing their smart, inventive brand of psychotic beat music for almost twenty years. Lead singer Mike Stax also runs the legendary Ugly Things Magazine, Anja Stax plays bass, Marc Schroeder and Chris Marsteller are the guitarists, and Mike Kamoo is their drummer and producer. Shindig Magazine described them as “a perfect pairing of Love-influenced garage-psych and British underground in the mould of the Pretty Things, played with preternatural style and ability,” and The Sunday Experience raves that The Loons “pack in more soul savvy psych blues in three and a half minutes than most bands do in a lifetime.” The Loons’ fourth album, "Inside Out Your Mind" will be released by Bomp Records in early 2015. After the live show finishes at 11pm the freakout continues until 4am with DJ Dr Robert and special guests. If that wasn’t enough there will be two more rooms of partying including an authentic R&B room featuring guest club night the POW WOW.


With lots of new interest in 2015, Saturday afternoon will be a 14+ show so the new breed can dip their toes in. NUTsMAG will host the afternoon session which features two brands new bands, firstly Fogbound from Spain, who you can hear in Episode 13 of Retrosonic Podcast, and then The Magnetic Mind plus DJ’s. The Le Beat Bespoke Market and Record Fair is where you can spend or earn some serious cash with dealers and customers from all over the World. The evening's live music comes from Wild Records, one of the coolest record labels in the world today who have even had a film made about them called "Los Wild Ones". The "Wild Records Revue" features two of the label's finest artists flying in for your dancing and listening pleasure, Gizzelle and the Rhythm Shakers.  After the live show finishes at 11pm the fun continues until 6am with three rooms of partying. In the main room Cosmic Keith & guests will keep things rockin’, while the beat basement features Dr Robert & guests spinning sounds from the underground and guest club night RNB123.


The grand finale is London’s favourite club night the ‘Crossfire Allnighter’ which has three rooms of musical magic and a live performance from one of the young rising stars on the European scene today Les Grys-Grys. If you like your mid Sixties Pretty Things, Downliners Sect or the Dutch Outsiders you are gonna love these five wild young guys from Montpellier. They shook the Blues Kitchen and the Volks in Brighton last summer to their foundations; this is not for the faint hearted. Their youth (average 22) also belies their abilities, both as musicians and as exponents of a form that many have attempted, but few mastered. These guys know their music history inside out, and their incendiary live show is something to behold! They have released one sold out 45 on State Records so far with much more to come. The first two dates in the UK at the Brighton weekender and Zoo Zoo in August 2014 were a huge success, don’t miss an opportunity to capture this fearsome fivesome live before they go massive. In the main room Ady Croasdell & guests spin Northern Soul oldies in the true all-nighter tradition while Dr Robert & guests spin sounds from the underground in the beat basement after Les Grys-Grys and guest club night Mousetrap.


Please keep a check on the Le Beat Bespoké web-site for regular updates and news on what will be going on over the weekend. Hopefully we'll be able to get along to at least one or two of the days and will be sure to report back on what promises to be an excellent weekend of high quality entertainment. Please check out this video to give you an idea on what to expect...




Friday, 16 January 2015

Retrosonic Podcast Episode 17: "The 12 Bar Blues"


Steve from Retro Man Blog and Rock Photographer Paul Slattery present a bumper episode packed full of our pick of the best in classic and contemporary Garage Rock, Psych, Punk, Mod, Power Pop, Soul and more! From classics, overlooked oldies and hidden gems to brand new releases, exclusives and unsigned acts. In Episode 17: "The 12 Bar Blues" we have an exclusive unreleased new track from The Fallen Leaves and new releases from The Medway's legendary Garage Rock icons Billy Childish & CTMF and Graham Day & The Forefathers. New Punk sounds from Buzzcocks, The Pukes and a live classic from The Outcasts. If you like your Mod and Psych then you will love The Most, Speakeasy and The Mynd Set. Some French Pop from Serge Gainsbourg & Brigitte Bardot and some modern day Yé-yé from Les Kitschenette's. There's the new single from of Arrowe Hill, some stompin' Soul from Willie Kendrick and Dana Gillespie and 60's nuggets from The Vagrants and The Hardtimes. If that's not enough there's Sunset Drive and The Sound and a tribute to Ian McLagan with a truly classic Small Faces number. Plus the usual waffle, rambling, news and reviews including a special piece on the sad demise of The 12 Bar Club and the scandalous re-development of Denmark Street. The episode is now available to download for free from the Retrosonic Soundcloud site or you can now subscribe for free at the iTunes Store. Please click the highlighted band names in the track-listing below to take you to each featured band's web-site or Facebook page to check out more info and news on upcoming gigs and releases. Enjoy!

Sunset Drive "She Don't Need Anybody"

Billy Childish & CTMF "Zero Emission"

The Sound "Heartland"

The Most "Really Good"

The Outcasts "Magnum Force"

The Outcasts - Photo by Paul Slattery
Buzzcocks "The Way"

Serge Gainsbourg & Brigitte Bardot "Bonnie & Clyde"

Les Kitschenette's "L'ascenseur"

The Hardtimes "They Said No"

Dana Gillespie "You Just Gotta Know My Mind"

The Fallen Leaves "Motorcycle Girl"

The Fallen Leaves - Photo by Paul Slattery
The Mynd Set "The Miracle Maker"

Of Arrowe Hill "And That's What Really Happened Blues"

Willie Kendrick "Change Your Ways"

The pUKES "12XU"

The pUKES - Photo by Paul Slattery
Speakeasy "Before The Night"

Graham Day & The Forefathers "The Good Things"

The Vagrants " I Can't Make a Friend"

Small Faces "Tin Soldier"



Thursday, 15 January 2015

The Membranes at the 12 Bar Club with Exclusive Paul Slattery Photographs

The Membranes at The 12 Bar - Photo copyright Paul Slattery
The Membranes, Faerground Accidents & The November Five at the 12 Bar Club, Denmark Street, Saturday 20th December 2014 - Review by Sonic Yoof with photos by Paul Slattery.

So, a second visit in two days to the condemned 12 Bar Club, the legendary venue that has fallen victim to  the Crossrail project and associated works that threaten to tear out the heart of Tin Pan Alley and all the history that goes with it. Last night saw a sold out crowd with the first of these two nights and a bill of Sarah Pink, Anabollic Steroids, Eastfields, TV Smith with Leigh Heggerty and a late set by Viva Las Vegas, it was an excellent night.

The Membranes at The 12 Bar - Photo copyright Paul Slattery
Tonight sees John Robb's Membranes as headliners with support from Faerground Accidents and the November Five. The Faerground Accidents from Sheffield are rather brilliant and very influenced by the city's own Pulp in places and also some resemblance to Suede in parts. With a pumping organ/keyboard sound and Singer Bomar Faery wearing a nice line in Laura Ashley and lipstick a la Robert Smith, it was a really great set and a band I will definitely be  seeing  again live.
 
The Membranes at The 12 Bar - Photo copyright Paul Slattery
The November Five were next and played some awe inspiring Detroit sounding Rock and Roll. Both sides of the latest vinyl single were played, "Closure" and "Flame", and the last track "Breathe" was superb. All in all, a very entertaining band.

The Membranes at The 12 Bar - Photo copyright Paul Slattery
John Robb's Membranes then took to the stage to a packed house. The first song was the newish single "The Universe Explodes" which set the scene for a brilliant set. Grown men in Stovepipe hats moshed on the packed dancefloor as Robb and co unleashed a set of Beafheartian like songs, so very different to John's other band Goldblade, who played the night before. It was an intense performance that takes in the almighty "Spike Milligan's Tape Recorder" and an atonal "Myths and Legends" sending the crowd wild. The Membranes don’t play very often but when they do it is always a memorable occasion, catch them while you can.

Barnet Mark outside the 12 Bar Club - Photo copyright Paul Slattery
Many thanks to Sonic Yoof for the review and to Paul Slattery for the photos.

As well as fronting The Membranes and Goldblade, John Robb also runs the excellent (and essential) music web-site Louder Than War. He has also written one of the definitive books on the Punk movement, entitled "Punk Rock : An Oral History", which is a must for every music fan's collection.

The 12 Bar will re-open soon at a new location - Phibbers at 203 Holloway Road, London N7 8DL. Please keep an eye on the 12 Bar web-site or Facebook page for news on the official opening.


Tuesday, 13 January 2015

The Galileo 7, The Past Tense & The Mynd Set at The Fiddler's Elbow January 09th

The Galileo 7 - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
This was what I call a real Retro Man Blog line-up, three great bands who have all featured on the Blog and Retrosonic Podcast recently and, even better still it wasn't one of our promotions so I could relax and enjoy it! Kicking off the proceedings were The Mynd Set from Stevenage who I'd recently seen at the 12 Bar Club supporting The Fallen Leaves. The band feature Parsley on the Hammond organ and of course his ex-Solarflares colleague Allan Crockford was to appear later on with his own band The Galileo 7 and this prompted a brief daydream where the Solarflares get back together and play at one of my Half Moon shows...ah well, you never know, stranger things have happened!

The Mynd Set - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
The Mynd Set start off with the rousing "Come and Play With Me" the opening track of their debut album "Dreams, Schemes and Laser Beams" and play a great set crammed full of their soulful Freakbeat. They are different from a lot of their contemporaries in the Mod, Garage, Psych genre in that they seem to take more of their influences from bands like Traffic, Cream and Les Fleur de Lys and in Leon Hewitt, with his paisley Fender, they have a bit of an old-school guitar hero. Leon spins out some great riffs and solos and packs a powerful punch too, especially on "Tick Tock" which you can see at the Retro Man Blog YouTube channel here. Lead vocalist Glyn also handles bass and he and drummer Chris lay down a real groove that allows Leon time and space, not only to riff all over, but also add whistles, harmonica and maracas too. The sound at the Fiddler's Elbow is good tonight so you can hear the great Hammond runs from Parsley clearly and he also takes over the lead vocals on the excellent "Our Time" from their "Mynd Set E.P." For me the set's highlight was a storming run through of "Miracle Maker" which we played in Episode 17 of Retrosonic Podcast and which has to be one of my favourite tracks from last year. When I first heard "Maharishi" with it's swirling Arabic intro leading into some crunching chords I was reminded of the The Soundtrack of Our Lives epic "Mantra Slider". After their set I asked about this and indeed Leon admitted to being a big fan of the Swedish Psychedelic Rockers, my admiration for the Mynd Set was cranked up a few more notches! 

Allan Crockford of The Galileo 7 - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
Allan Crockford of The Galileo 7 is another Soundtrack of Our Lives fan but then again he can already do no wrong with me. As a key member of The Prisoners and The Solarflares, and of course now with Graham Day & The Forefathers, Allan has had a hand in some of my favourite records of all time and now with Galileo 7's "False Memory Lane", I can add that to the list too. Stepping into the limelight as main singer-songwriter and guitarist must have been pretty daunting when you have worked alongside someone such as Graham Day for so long, but with "False Memory Lane" Allan has built on all the good bits of the previous two G7 albums and packaged them up into a near perfect Psych-Pop classic. There's an undoubtedly English sensibility about Galileo 7, from Syd Barrett and the Beatles "Revolver", "The Who Sell Out" to Blur's "Modern Life Is Rubbish" and I keep getting drawn back to Julian Cope's first two solo albums "World Shut Your Mouth" and "Fried".

Mole (drums), Viv (keyboards) & Paul (bass) - Photo Copyright Retro Man Blog
The band have had a change of line-up since I last saw them, drummer Russ is on tour with Secret Affair so Mole has switched to drums and Paul Moss has joined on bass. This change seems to have boosted the band's confidence and the on-stage energy was certainly infectious. Mole is a live-wire behind the drums, all Keith Moon rolls and fills and Paul jumps around all over the place, adding some melodic backing vocals into the mix too. Viv mostly plays her keyboards one handed, bashing away on a tambourine with the other hand. She sings the lead vocals on the glorious headlong rush of "Don't Know What I'm Waiting For", which is an unashamed Power Pop song in the vein of The Primitives. The band are already hard at work on new material and we get treated to both sides of the new single which will be out on Mole's very own State Records, and in "One Lie at a Time" they seem to have really captured the essence of the current line-up's energy perfectly.

Mole of The Galileo 7 (and State Records boss!) - Copyright Retro Man Blog
Allan wonders out loud if there will be a conflict of interests what with Mole being in the band and their label boss too! Tonight's set comprises a good cross section of tracks from all three Galileo 7 albums with older favourites such as "Anne Hedonia" from "Staring at The Sound" and the excellent "Orangery Lane" from "Are We Having Fun Yet?" rubbing shoulders with new material and a cover of The Who's "Tattoo" with Viv taking over lead vocals. My highlights of their show were probably the stand-alone single "Modern Love Affair" with it's fuzzed up guitar which comes over really well and "My Cover Is Blown" from the latest album, which starts off with a slow meandering keyboard riff before bursting into a catchy chorus that will stick in your head for days after.

The Past Tense - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
So it's Retro Man Blog's good friends The Past Tense up next and it's a shame that they don't go on until late as a lot of people had to leave to get their last trains. Unfortunately, they missed an excellent set from the band, who also had a change of line-up last year. At first I was a bit worried when it was announced that they were adding a second guitarist, I'm often wary of bands messing with a good formula as sometimes the chemistry can be lost. However, when the band played at our Retro Man Blog night back in October last year, I was blown away with the new sound. Similar to the Galileo 7, the change in line-up for both bands seems to have lifted the energy and confidence no end. In the past I've been a bit harsh on The Past Tense, it's just that on a couple of times I'd seen the band they seemed almost apologetic for getting on stage. While their self-effacing humour is of course refreshing, sometimes I wanted to see the band really smash it, to come out all all guns blazing, to make no apologies and just accept that they are damn great at what they do.

The Past Tense - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
However, nowadays they have no such problems and tonight was without doubt the best I have seen the band play, they were really tight and powerful and the songs really shone through. The good thing is that new guitarist Buzz doesn't overdo things, the balance is just right, there are some nice little touches, a bit of slide guitar here, some nice new riffs and controlled feedback added to those familiar classics but mainly he seems to have given lead vocalist and guitarist Andy, a real boost in confidence. It's been long acknowledged that The Past Tense have one of the best rhythm sections in all the current Garage Rock Mod scene, and bassist Ken and drummer Warren certainly excel tonight. The band play a good selection of new material and I was annoyed as I was messing around with my camera and couldn't record their opening number "Visions of Another World" as it was a real cracker and I can't wait to hear it again.

The Past Tense - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
The good news is that the band are currently in the studio recording tracks for their new album, and if they can capture their live sound in the studio, something they seem to have had trouble with in the past, I am sure it will be a excellent record. Their danceable little nuggets of songs are a good mix of their various influences from 60's Garage Rock, to Soul, classic Punk Rock, New Wave and Mod Revival. Some new titles include "Just Keep Believing", "No Apologies" and "Heads Held High" and they are so good it makes up for the disappointment of having to miss out on some old favourites due to the time restraints. The last song "Throwing It All Away" is another new number and it was a great way to close the set and promises that this year will be good for The Past Tense.

The Mynd Set - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
The Mynd Set - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
The Galileo 7 - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
The Galileo 7 - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
The Past Tense - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
For more photos of all three bands please head on over to the Retro Man Blog Facebook page and if you are not already following, click "Like" for access to the exclusive photo album. You can see some videos of the gig at the Retro Man Blog YouTube channel. Don't forget you can hear a Galileo 7 track in our special Graham Day & The Day Forefathers edition Retrosonic Podcast where Graham, Allan and Wolf look back on some of their various line-ups over the years, download free here.



Thursday, 8 January 2015

The Fallen Leaves & Mandeville - The Last Minimum R'n'B Night at The 12 Bar Denmark Street

Barnet Mark outside The 12 Bar Club - Photo copyright Paul Slattery
Well, sadly that was the last of The Fallen Leaves Minimum R'n'B nights at the 12 Bar Club in Denmark Street and it was a rather emotional night it must be said. I have not seen the place so rammed before, testament to great work that Mark and the staff put in and to the affection that so many people have towards the 12 Bar. In fact the crowd struggled to get inside the tiny venue for a last taste of that legendary atmosphere and to see The Fallen Leaves final show in their spiritual home. There is some good news though, the 12 Bar will be continuing, Mark has now found a new venue in North London, it is Phibbers, 203 Holloway Road, London N7 8DL. Things look to be moving on quite quickly so keep an eye out on the club's web-site or Facebook page for exactly when they will be up and running and booking gigs. It's still unsure what will happen with The Fallen Leaves Minimum R'n'B nights, whether they will move to the new 12 Bar or try and find a new more centrally located venue, of course we will keep you up to date as soon as we have some news.

The Fallen Leaves at The 12 Bar Club - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
The Fallen Leaves at The 12 Bar Club - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
The Fallen Leaves put in another great performance and even treated us to brand new song called "Good Man", which was an excellent catchy little number with some really memorable harmonies. The new songs the band have started to introduce into the set over the last few gigs such as "Motorcycle Girl", "Prodigal Son", "Lavender Girl" are all promising much for their next album, and I really hope this will see the light of day sometime this year. The rest of the set was crammed full of a selection of their crowd favourites such as "Passing By", "Shining" and "Trouble" and the singalong "Happy Days" from their debut album which made a rare appearance and tested drummer Bill's skills to the maximum. I just hope that the band can sort out a new venue very soon, especially as they do such a great job in helping other bands and giving them a chance to play.

Mandeville at The 12 Bar - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
Mandeville at The 12 Bar - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
One of those other bands well worth a mention was the support act Mandeville. They have been on the Blog's radar for a while but I'd never got round to seeing them play until last night and they were excellent. I don't really know much about them except they are based in Chelmsford in Essex and seem quite young, yes I know, a bit of a novelty for the Blog! First of all there's Jack who looks a bit like Steven Malkmus from Pavement crossed with Anton from Brian Jonestown Massacre, in fact there's a bit of a BJM vibe to the band overall. Anyway, Jack plays guitar and shares lead vocals with bassist Max who throws his bass around, at one point scraping it down the mic stand to good effect. Then there is guitarist Matt and drummer Caroline, who is really excellent, I like drummers who put everything into their performance and really feel the music rather than just bashing away at the kit. Matt and Jack trade some great riffs and there is a powerful punch to their sound which goes down well with the crowd. On occasion Mandeville do veer a bit close to The White Stripes but when they have songs as good as "Supreme" and "High Roller" in their set, this is no big deal at this stage in their career. Anyway, great band and I will certainly try and get to see them play again soon.

The 12 Bar Club - Photo copyright Retro Man
Mandeville at The 12 Bar - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
The Fallen Leaves at The 12 Bar Club - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
Click here for the Mandeville Facebook page, here for The Fallen Leaves and here for The 12 Bar.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

The Fallen Leaves, The Mynd Set & The Beatpack at The 12 Bar Club - Exclusive Paul Slattery Photographs

The Fallen Leaves outside The 12 Bar Club - Photo copyright Paul Slattery
Tomorrow, January 07th, will sadly see the end of my regular visits to the 12 Bar Club, a place I have grown to love dearly over the past few years. I have seen so many great bands and made some great friends there too but due to the scandalous redevelopment of Denmark Street, the owners have to leave the premises by mid-January. This means that tomorrow will be the end of The Fallen Leaves' legendary Minimum R'n'B Club nights at the current location. It's such a shame, especially as December's show was one of the best ever with The Fallen Leaves supported by The Mynd Set and The Beatpack, all three bands were great and the place was packed out. As a little tribute to the 12 Bar we have an exclusive unreleased new song "Motorcycle Girl" from The Fallen Leaves in Episode 17 of Retrosonic Podcast, which also features a track from The Mynd Set's debut album. We previously featured The Beatpack in Episode 16 which is still available to download for free at the iTunes store or at our Soundcloud page. Anyway, here are some exclusive Paul Slattery photos of the show...Thanks to Barnet Mark and the staff at the 12 Bar and good luck with the new premises and also lets hope The Fallen Leaves can sort out a venue for their excellent Club nights. The band have put on these regular nights, offering support slots to a variety of great groups, and often there are four bands for only £6.00, or £5.00 for a flyer. It is really sad to think that another venue will be no more and a chance for bands to play live will be soon gone, so please come along to the 12 Bar in Denmark Street tomorrow and send The Leaves off in the style that they deserve.

The Fallen Leaves at The 12 Bar Club - Photo copyright Paul Slattery

The Fallen Leaves at The 12 Bar Club - Photo copyright Paul Slattery
The Fallen Leaves at The 12 Bar Club - Photo copyright Paul Slattery
The Mynd Set at The 12 Bar Club - Photo copyright Paul Slattery
The Mynd Set at The 12 Bar Club - Photo copyright Paul Slattery
The Beatpack at The 12 Bar Club - Photo copyright Paul Slattery
The Beatpack at The 12 Bar Club - Photo copyright Paul Slattery
You can listen and download Retrosonic Podcast Episode 17 "The 12 Bar Blues" for free below:




Thursday, 1 January 2015

Retro Man Blog's Pick of 2014 - The Year's Best Albums, Gigs & Singles/E.P.s

2014 was another great year for gigs and new releases, and whilst we didn't quite top our average of one gig per week as we did in 2013, there were still loads of excellent live acts out there to get excited about. So, here's what floated our boat this past year. If you'd like to investigate further, please click on the highlighted link to take you to each band's web-site or to the relevant Retro Man Blog feature, review and photographs. Happy New Year and thanks for your support!

BEST ALBUMS OF 2014


01. THE LEN PRICE 3 - “Nobody Knows”
A little bit sneaky as we actually put on the exclusive album launch gig and already named it album of 2013 although it wasn't actually officially released until February of 2014. However, it's so good that it deserves top spot again and although The Galileo 7's "False Memory Lane" pushed it all the way, nothing this year could quite come close to beating "Nobody Knows". The album showed The Len Price 3 developing their already considerable songwriting skills, breaking out of their Garage Rock roots without losing their trademark aggression. "Nobody Knows" is a set of perfectly constructed, timeless songs which culminates in the band's undoubted masterpiece "The London Institute" which promises much for the future of the Medway based trio.

The Len Price 3 - Photo by Paul Slattery
02. GALILEO 7 - “False Memory Lane”
Allan Crockford is a busy man, at various points in time he has been a trusty sidekick and member of some superb bands such as The Prisoners, The Prime Movers, Graham Day & The Forefathers, James Taylor Quartet, The Solarflares, Phaze and The Stabilisers amongst others. With The Galileo 7 he stepped into the limelight as the main songwriter, lead vocalist and guitarist and on this, the band's third album, he has produced a quite superb collection of top quality Psych Pop songs that are crammed full of scorching guitar riffs, catchy keyboard lines and melodic vocal harmonies. Think the Beatles, Syd Barrett, Julian Cope and The Left Banke and you might get the idea.

03. GRAHAM DAY & THE FOREFATHERS - “Good Things”
A refreshingly different take on a covers album as Graham Day has decided to cover his own songs! But this is not a collection of acoustic, orchestral or radically different versions of old classics, far from it, these are supercharged live-in-the-studio assaults on his back catalogue. Pretty much reforming The Solarflares to assist, Graham, Allan Crockford and Wolf Howard positively attack a choice set of songs from The Prisoners, The Solarflares, The Gaolers and The Prime Movers. Bursting with energy and vitality, the originals take a hell of a powerful beating! Oh, great cover photography by my Retro Man Blog colleague Paul Slattery too...!

04. BILLY CHILDISH & CTMF - “Acorn Man”
A resurgent Medway scene sees a clean Kentish sweep of the top four albums completed by a brand new release by Billy Childish under the guise of Wild Billy Childish & CTMF. Harking back to the more accessible sound of The Musicians of The British Empire, "Acorn Man" is full of that trademark guitar and has Nurse Julie taking on more of the lead vocal duties and backing vocal harmonies. For me this is definitely one of his best albums and he sure has a lot to choose from!

05. EBBOT LUNDBERG - “Be Careful What You Wish For!”
Low-key limited edition release of demos by The Soundtrack of Our Lives ex-front man Ebbot Lundberg that would go on to form the basis of his superb "Homo Futurus" E.P with The Indigo Children. This release went some way to filling that huge TSOOL shaped hole in my life, it's great to have the big Swede back on this form.

06. THE FLESHTONES - “Wheel Of Talent”
America's hardest working band have still got it and are sounding as fresh and vital as they did when they first formed nearly 40 years ago. The only thing to beat the energy in this record is the energy that they still have when they play live! In "Remember The Ramones" and "What You're Talking About" they have produced songs that can match anything in their impressive back catalogue.

07. VIC GODARD & SUBWAY SECT - “1979 Now!”
Northern Soul meets angular Post-Punk in this upbeat collection of short sharp dance songs. If you're good at multi-tasking and can sing along and dance at the same time then this album is for you.

08. EIGHT ROUNDS RAPID - “Loss Leader”
"Loss Leader" is the superb debut album of totally original and idiosyncratic music from the enigmatic Southend-on-Sea based four-piece. David Alexander's quick-fire half spoken vocals spit out some quite brilliantly observed lyrics and the band, featuring Wilko Johnson's son Simon on guitar, kick up a blistering racket behind him.

09. BUZZCOCKS - “The Way”
The Buzzcocks have been steadily releasing really strong albums since they reformed with 1993's superb "Trade Test Transmissions" and "The Way" certainly keeps the impressive track record going. Packed full of trademark Buzzcocks songs with Pete Shelley's melodic lovelorn songs battling with Steve Diggle's more traditional Mod influenced numbers.

10. OF ARROWE HILL - “A Conspiracy of Clocks"
Although this was only released a few weeks ago, this album still crashes into the Top 10 as it is so refreshingly different and the vinyl is beautifully packaged. Some songs are presented as mere sketches with the studio chat left in and it's that spontaneous feel that reminds me of Robert Pollard and Guided By Voices. Other times Of Arrowe Hill are pure English pastoral pop like XTC or Michael Head's album as The Strands. Whatever they are, these are nothing short of literary, intelligent little gems of songs crammed full of many melodic twists and turns.

11. THE DUSTAPHONICS - “Big Smoke London Town”
A huge joyful celebration of an eclectic mix of 1950s Rock 'n' Roll, Garage Rock, Soul, Blues and instrumental Surf music. The swinging rhythm section and Yvan Serrano-Fontova’s equally rhythmic scratchy Lo-Fi guitar lay down a hip-shaking groove that allows the stunning Hayley Red’s soulful vocals to shine throughout the album. 

12. WILKO JOHNSON & ROGER DALTREY - “Going Back Home”
Similar to the Graham Day & The Forefathers album, this is another legend looking back on his career and reviving some old classics. Wilko Johnson has finally found a vocalist in The Who's Roger Daltrey that can equal Lee Brilleaux's raw R'n'B growl. A stunning success made when Wilko wasn't even sure if he would live to see the album released. His subsequent against-the-odds recovery from cancer was definitely one of the most moving and inspiring stories of 2014.

13. VIV ALBERTINE - “Vermillion Border”
Excellent solo album from the former Slits guitarist that is both challenging and rewarding and features a cast of famous names including Mick Jones, Dylan Howe from The Blockheads and a different bassist on every track from Norman Watt-Roy and Jack Bruce to Tina Weymouth and Dennis Bovell. A perfect soundtrack to her recent searingly honest autobiography.

14. TV SMITH - “I Delete”
The legendary voice of The Adverts follows up the brilliant album "Coming Into Land" with another collection of his beautifully observed tales of modern life. A truly inspirational songwriter, this time TV has chosen to move away from the acoustic based sound of his live shows to release a shiny, polished and upbeat album that doesn't detract from the message within the songs. 

15. MUCK & THE MIRES - “Dial "M" For Muck”
Despite the name putting me off for some time I couldn't ignore the rave reviews this band were getting and this Dirty Water Records release certainly showed me what I've been missing. Power Pop sensibilities and good time Rock & Roll that evokes The Fleshtones and The Woggles at their best.

16. NINA PERSSON - “Animal Heart”
Nina's vocals just keep on getting stronger and stronger and this album of perfectly crafted pop songs highlights this in the best way possible. "Food For The Beast" and "Animal Heart" are what pop music should be all about.

17. THE TEAMSTERS - “The Teamsters”
Some great songwriting lifts this album head and shoulders above most of the samey Garage Rock music that gets sent into the Retro Man Blog. Thee Milkshakes, early Kinks and Hamburg-era Beatles are channelled into some excellent crunching pop songs such as "I'll Take What I Want" and "I Would Cry". Definitely a band to watch out for in 2015.

18. THE pUKES - “Too Drunk To Pluck”
Although it's impossible to capture on record the sheer exuberance of seeing a 20-piece Ukulele orchestra performing covers of Punk Rock classics, this debut album comes close. With some originals nestling between tracks by Ramones, Cock Sparrer, Wire and The Dead Kennedys, The pUKES prove they are far from a one-joke act.

19. THE YOUTH - “Nothing But The Youth”
Like The Teamsters, this Danish outfit are working in a quite traditional genre but have the songs to make them stand out amongst a sea of forgettable Garage Rock bands and this impressive debut promises much more great music to come.

20. STUPIDITY - “Fore!”
Raw and Rockin' R'n'B from the Stockholm based four-piece, they are pals of The Fleshtones and it shows as some of their boundless energy has certainly rubbed off on the songs on "Fore!" The double hit of "King Midas" and "On Fire" has to be one of the best opening salvos of many an album.

BEST GIGS OF 2014


01. GRAHAM DAY & THE FOREFATHERS + THE LEN PRICE 3 + GALILEO 7 - Half Moon Putney June 06th. For review and photos please click here.

Graham Day & The Forefathers - Photo by Paul Slattery
02. THE FLESHTONES + THE WITCHDOKTORS - Camden Underworld June 03rd. For review and photos please click here.

03. THE LEN PRICE 3 + LES KITSCHENETTE'S + THE PAST TENSE - Half Moon Putney September 26th. For review and photos please click here.

04. KING SALAMI & THE CUMBERLAND 3 + LES KITSCHENETTE'S + REVOX - Weirdsville September 27th.

05. THE MONOCHROME SET + THE FALLEN LEAVES - Half Moon Putney May 24th. For review and photos please click here.

06. THE DAMNED + RUTS DC + TV SMITH - The Forum April 24th. For review and photos please click here.

07. GRAHAM DAY & THE FOREFATHERS - The 100 Club February 08th. For review and photos please click here.

08. LES BOF + OH!GUNQUIT - Weirdsville October 25th. For review and photos please click here.

09. THE FALLEN LEAVES+ THE MYND SET + THE BEATPACK - The 12 Bar December 03rd

10. SPIDERS - Borderline May 06th. For review and photos please click here.

BEST E.P./MINI-ALBUM/7" VINYL OF 2014


01. EBBOT LUNDBERG & THE INDIGO CHILDREN - “The Homo Futurus E.P.”

Ebbot Lundberg at Heaven, London, September 2012 - Photo by Paul Slattery
02. LES KITSCHENETTE'S - “2e Etage: Lingerie Pour Hommes E.P.”

03. MICHAEL HEAD & THE RED ELASTIC BAND - “Artorius Revisited”

04. GRAHAM DAY & THE FOREFATHERS - “Love Me Lies”

05. BILLY CHILDISH & CTMF - “Punk Rock Enough For Me”

06. OH!GUNQUIT - “She Wolf At Work" 7" Single

07. FRENCH BOUTIK - “Mieux Comme Ca E.P.”

08. GROOVY UNCLE & SUZI CHUNK - “Barefoot In The Car Park”

09. THE MYND SET - “The Mynd Set E.P.”

10. THE PAST TENSE/THE LOOP - “Split 7” Vinyl E.P.

For a reminder of our pick of 2013 please check out the Blog Archive feature here.

Thanks to all the bands who played at our Retro Man Blog gigs in 2014 - and of course all those of you who have come along to the gigs, helped and supported us throughout the year. Retro Man Blog and Retrosonic Podcast are both non-profit making D.I.Y. ventures set-up purely to promote great underground music so your continued support is very much appreciated.