Sunday 31 March 2013

Monkeeman "Pressure" - New E.P. Out Now! & E.P. Launch Gig in Belfast Apri 01st

Monkeeman, the melodic guitar band fronted by German Singer/Songwriter Ralf Luebke,  have just released their brand new five song E.P. entitled "Pressure" which features great cover artwork by Maggie Mattioni from Mod designers Peggy Jane. The band have released three albums to date, all to critical acclaim in the German press. The first single “Universe” became a massive radio hit on German Radio. Ralf Luebke, the brainchild behind the band, felt it was time to get Monkeeman back on track and so after a three year hiatus he set about the process of recruiting a new line up for the band. In a very audacious move, Ralf decided that he wanted to branch out into the UK & Ireland. By June 2012 he had found the new line-up in Belfast in the form of Marty Connolly (former Rainbow Corner on Bass); Marty Kerr (former Back Issues Guitarist) and Marty Malone (former drummer with psychedelic outfit The Vals). The guys finally hooked up on August 7th 2012 in Belfast City Centre (hometown of the 3 Marty’s) for a solid two week rehearsal schedule. During this period, the band gelled very well indeed, playing some of the bands old tunes but also working on new songs for the "Pressure" E.P. In October/November 2012 the Belfast boys travelled to Germany to record the new E.P. in Berlin with Patrik Majer, one of Germany’s top producers. The major accomplishment from this recording session in Freudenhaus studio was that all of the 5 tracks recorded were “live” takes, capturing the retro sound of the band and proving what an excellent live act the band truly is. The band also played an electrifying sell-out gig in Wilhelmshaven’s Kling Klang venue.

The E.P.'s five tracks are a masterclass in hook laden guitar pop, full of catchy riffs and melodies. It starts off with a slight change in direction for the band, as the title track "Pressure" bursts out of the speakers with an angular Gang of Four style guitar motif, it drops out to a brief dub bass line before a thudding disco beat heralds the song's great chorus. It must rank up there with the best of Monkeeman's impressive back catalogue. "Pretty Fool" flows nicely and again uses a twisted guitar riff and powerful drumming - a kind of companion piece to "Pressure". "If The Music Was Over" slows the pace with it's moving plea of a chorus, it's a beautiful track. Although Monkeeman have in the past been labelled as a "Mod" band, I've always found their music to have more in common with the classic Power Pop bands such as Big Star and The Posies, with their chiming chords and timeless melodies. However, the band move easily between genres, for example "The Great Escape" crashes along at pace, reminiscent of The Replacements or The Long Ryders in their prime and I think Teenage Fanclub would have been proud to have penned the E.P.'s last track "Alright For Now". So it's a thoroughly satisfying record, the five tracks are bursting with great quality song-writing and the live feel of the recording gives it a raw and energetic sound that is totally infectious.

The "Pressure" E.P. will be available on general release from March 29th on iTunes, Amazon and all good online stores.

Monkeeman will play a gig to mark the launch of the "Pressure" E.P. tomorrow April 01st at Auntie Annie's in Belfast, so if you're in the area then be sure to check them out. The band Monkeeman have also confirmed two gigs at the International Pop Overthrow Festival in Liverpool at the Cavern Club at the 18th and 19th of May. Check the band's Monkeeman official web-site for all the details.

With Thanks to Ralf Luebke.

Friday 29 March 2013

Vic Godard & Subway Sect "Caught in Midstream/You Bring Out The Demon In Me" - New 7” Produced by Edwyn Collins

"Caught in Midstream/You Bring Out The Demon In Me" is the new 7” From Vic Godard & Subway Sect. Produced by Edwyn Collins and released on Record Store Day - 20th April 2013 by Aed Records.
This particular saga begins way back in the mists of time, it’s 1979 and Vic is between groups and is asked by Bernie Rhodes to write some songs for a Harlesden soul group called the Black Arabs who were supporting Dexys on their "Intense Emotions Revue" tour in 1980, but didn’t have a set. The songs were given another outing at the Music Machine in March 1980 with a one off line up – Vic, Bob Ward, Paul Myers, Rob Green (now singing in the excellent Fallen Leaves with ex-Subway Sect guitarist Rob Symmons) on backing vocals and tambourine and The Great Unknown on keyboards (the story according to Vic - Bernard told him he was at a Turkish wedding and TGU was part of the band and asked him to play accordion on ‘Stop That Girl and then asked him to do the Music Machine gig but he had to get a hair cut first). The only two songs that have been recorded and regularly performed since then are ‘Holiday Hymn’ and ‘Devil’s In League With You’, with jazz versions of both on ‘In Trouble Again’ and regular outings for both in the live set over the years. After releasing "1978 Now", a re-recording of Subway Sect’s ‘lost’ album, it seemed natural to follow this (at some point) with "1979 Now" and finally record Vic’s Northern Soul numbers. 

Vic Godard & Subway Sect, December 2012 - Photo by Steve Worrall
Fast Forward to 2010 when Vic first moots the idea to Paul Myers, fast forward again to the beginning of 2011 when Myers agrees to come on board (likes to chew things over for a while before committing). By October 2011 Myers had also joined the live line up together with fellow Chelsea fan Paul Cook for an unspecified number of gigs and they made their live debut with Sect Stalwarts Kevin Younger and Mark Braby on the 28th October 2011, bringing the Northern Soul vibe to the Sect. Thanks to Edwyn and Grace Collins, recording tentatively began at West Heath Studios at the beginning of 2012 and continued throughout 2012 as and when possible. Towards the end of the year there were 4 completed tracks: "Holiday Hymn", "Devil’s in League", "Caught in Midstream" and "You Bring Out the Demon In Me". Aed Records suggested a single so had to decide which two songs to pick, after much deliberation "CIM" & "YBOTDIM" won the votes. Vic will be celebrating the release on Record Store Day at Mono Glasgow on 20th April and The Sect will be promoting the single with a series of dates: TONIGHT, 29th March @The Water Rats London, 5th April @The Green Door Store Brighton, 17th May @New Continental Preston and 1st June @The Brudenell Social Club Leeds.

Cover by Andrew Paul Shaw featuring photograph by Phil Dillon. Produced by Edwyn Collins, Recorded & Engineered by Seb Lewsley at West Heath Studios North West London.

Vic Godard - Vocals, Mark Braby - Guitar/Backing Vocals, Kevin Younger - Keyboards, Paul Cook - Drums, Paul Myers - Bass, Simon Rivers - Backing Vocals, David ‘Flash’ Wright - Saxophone

For more information check out the excellent official site Vic Godard & Subway Sect.

Wednesday 27 March 2013

Marc Riley BBC Radio 6 Music with The Fallen Leaves, Paul Slattery & Retro Man Blog!

Photographer Paul Slattery joined The Fallen Leaves on their trip up to Manchester for their Marc Riley Session on BBC Radio 6 Music on Monday. He has kindly filed a report from the front-line at "Media City" with some great photos, which I am very pleased to share on the Blog. The band slammed through three songs, red hot and raw versions of "Against The Grain", "Passing By" and "Trouble" - that according to Marc had Paul Slattery throwing a few shapes and playing air guitar around the studio. "Maybe The Fallen Leaves have found their own 'Bez'" he said. Luckily it was broadcast on the radio...There was a short interview and the band threw in a few of their catch-phrases and expanded on their theory that "a good idea played badly is better than a bad idea played well". Paul then explained that he had been transfixed by seeing Rob Symmons play guitar for the first time at last December's Retro Man Blog Night at the Half Moon. He then went on to very generously lavish praise on the Blog and Marc commented that he had "been on the Blog, and it's great!". I'm blushing as I write ha ha...! Who says you can't get advertising on the BBC...? Anyway, I am extremely grateful.

Marc Riley with The Fall in 1979...Photo by Paul Slattery
Marc Riley joined The Fall in 1978, going from fan to roadie to band-member, and it was around this time that he first met Paul Slattery, who photographed the band extensively during this period. You can see some of Paul's great shots in Mick Middles' Omnibus Press biography "The Fall". When he left the band, Marc went on to form Marc Riley & The Creepers, who I once saw at the Hammersmith Clarendon back in 1985 when they supported The Three Johns. In the many examples of acrimonious departures from The Fall, Marc Riley's must rank right up there with the best of them as insults were traded back-and-forth via songs such as The Fall's "The Man Who's Head Expanded" and "C.R.E.E.P." and then back again with The Creepers' brilliantly titled, "Jumper Clown". When the Creepers finished, he formed The Lost Soul Crusaders and went on to run In-Tape records and work as a Plugger for bands such as Pixies. Marc also contributed to the controversial "Oink!", probably the only kid's comic to end up on the top shelf in newsagents alongside other more "adult" material. However, it's probably as a Radio DJ that Marc is now much more widely known and his "Mark & Lard" DJ double-act with Mark Radcliffe raised his profile even higher. Moving across various channels since joining the BBC, he now has a superb show on BBC 6 Music going out at 7-9pm every Monday to Thursday. Of course he not only has the good taste to play The Fallen Leaves and indeed get them in for a session, but Monday's show also boasted Buzzcocks, Kid Congo, T-Rex, Jesus & Mary Chain, PJ Harvey and The Cramps - great stuff indeed...! Here are some of Paul Slattery's photos of The Fallen Leaves in session...

Rob Symmons
Matthew Karas
Rob Symmons and Rob Green
William Lewington
Marc Riley with The Fallen Leaves
Listen to the whole of Monday's excellent Episode here or just The Fallen Leaves session, the interview plus the chat with Paul Slattery (and Retro Man Blog mention...) can be listened to here.

Don't forget our Retrosonic Podcast two-episode special featuring The Fallen Leaves story, "A-Side: Punk Rock for Gentlemen" and "B-Side: Simple Songs for Complex People" both of which can be downloaded for free from our Soundcloud site and are well worth a listen.

Although Paul Slattery hasn't yet published a book solely on The Fall, you can see his photographs of the band in various biographies and magazine features. He does however, have two books available on those other Manchester giants, The Smiths "The Early Years" and Oasis "A Year on The Road" published by Omnibus Press. Both books are crammed full of iconic photographs with notes and anecdotes, and are available from all good bookshops and Amazon

The Fallen Leaves next live show is their regular "Minimum R'n'B" Club night at the excellent 12 Bar Club in London's Denmark Street on Wednesday April 03rd.

Tuesday 26 March 2013

Introducing: The Flight Reaction

We'd like to welcome Stockholm based band The Flight Reaction to the Blog and highly recommend you checking them out if you like your Psychedelia multi-layered and melodic. I saw the band when they played at the after-show party for one of The Soundtrack of Our Lives last gigs at Stockholm's Södra Teatern back in December and was mightily impressed. The Flight Reaction were formed from the ashes of The Giljoteens, The Maggots and Les Artyfacts, who all quit playing around the same time. Mats, Sebastian, Måns and Aron decided it was time to put together a new band and The Flight Reaction was exactly the band they had all wanted for some time. 

They describe their sound as "Pure 60's Garage-Beat with flashes of Punkadelic Psych". The first three 45's are now out on CopaseDisques and 13 O'Clock Records and are all well worth getting hold of. The band have a depth to their music, there's just so much packed into their songs, so much going on. There are echoes of The Hollies, 13th Floor Elevators, early Pink Floyd and "Their Satanic Majesties Request" era Stones, in fact they even do a great cover of "Citadel" on the B-Side of the "Mourning Light" single. I love the "Flying Colours" single title track which is a thumping good tune with swooping spaced-out Sci-Fi organ blips puncturing proceedings every now and then.

The B-Side "A Broken Heart" has a superb guitar and organ break that reminds me of The Stranglers take on "Walk on By". The single "Won't Give In" is a mighty fine track with a stand-out catchy chorus. But I think my favourite Flight Reaction song has to be its' flip-side, "I Lost You", with it's fabulous Mexican style guitar riff that conjures up The Stairs or The Coral's slightly skewed take on 60's Merseybeat, it's a sure fire classic. I am really looking forward to the band's debut album and of course will bring you any news as and when it happens.
The Flight Reaction are: Måns P Månsson - Guitar & Vocals, Sebastian Braun - Guitar & Vocals, Mats Bigrell - Drums and Aron Erstorp - Bass & Vocals.

You can order their singles at the CopaseDisques web-site and check out news on the band at The Flight Reaction Facebook page. Here's the great "Flying Colours".

With thanks to Måns and Alex from CopaseDisques.

Monday 25 March 2013

Retrosonic Podcast Presents: "Simple Songs for Complex People" The Fallen Leaves Story in Two Parts

Retrosonic Podcast are proud to present The Fallen Leaves story. On the A-Side "Punk Rock for Gentlemen", Steve from Retro Man Blog and Rock Photographer Paul Slattery chat to Rob Symmons and Rob Green from the band about their music and history. This episode is not only crammed full of superb Fallen Leaves songs from all of their releases, but we also discuss and play some of the band's favourite tracks and influences from the Ramones, Trini Lopez, Buff Medways and Dr. Feelgood. Along the way we will meet some of the characters the band have rubbed shoulders with over the years including Vic Godard, Billy Childish, Bernie Rhodes, Joe Strummer, Malcolm McLaren, Paul Cook and more...So slip on your smoking jacket, pour yourself a cup of tea, get yourself comfortable on your chaise longue and prepare for some fine "Punk Rock for Gentlemen!"

Here's the B-Side to The Fallen Leaves story: From their first gig at the home of London football to the Parliament Club featuring a guest appearance by a short Rolling Stone. From secretly using their 5 hours rehearsal time in Pete Townshend's Eel Pie Island to record the whole of their first E.P. to being lauded as "Style Icons" by Johnny Marr - this episode is generously soundtracked by loads of great Fallen Leaves songs and some more of their influences and favourite tunes...The Who, T-Rex, Prince Buster, Roxy Music, John's Children...and Rolf Harris...! Expect some rather splendid "Simple Songs for Complex People!".
The Fallen Leaves are playing a session on BBC 6 music tonight, Monday March 25th at 7pm on the Marc Riley Show, live in the studio as you hear it, plus interview. It will be available on BBC I-Player too. Photographer Paul Slattery will be joining the band on their trip so hopefully, BBC permitting, we will be able to bring you some photos of the proceedings as soon as possible.

Rob Green - Photo by Caz Hellbent
The Fallen Leaves played the proverbial blinder at last Friday's excellent "Some Weird Sin" Club night at the Buffalo Bar in Islington. Although I've been to the Buffalo Bar before, it was the first time at one of the Some Weird Sin events and I can thoroughly recommend it. Great value too, you got The Fallen Leaves and the energetic Glam-Punk of Jonny Cola & The A-Grades, who were so lively that they made me feel a bit old and in need of a sit down. DJ Heidi Heelz played a cracking selection of old-school Glam and Punk Rock, that perfectly complemented the live bands, I look forward to going along again in the future...they do great flyers too. The Fallen Leaves were on top form and Rob kindly mentioned Retro Man Blog, which was a pleasant surprise. The enthusiastic calls for an encore were acknowleded by the DJ, and the band returned to treat us to the superb "Sylvie Says". It was a great show, full of their trademark theatrics, humour and some of the best Garage Rock songs you'll ever hear. One happy member of the audience turned to me after their set and said that The Fallen Leaves were "London's best kept secret"...well let's hope tonight's BBC Radio session goes someway to addressing that. 

Thanks to Caz Hellbent for the great photo of Rob Green. Caz is not only "Some Weird Sin's" resident photographer, but she is also in two different bands - singing and playing guitar with "Yeah And She Has Red Lips Too"  and also drumming for "Desperate Journalist". Please check out her bands and the "Some Weird Sin" Facebook page to see more of her excellent Fallen Leaves photos and more...

Don't forget to check out the Retrosonic Podcast Soundcloud page for more Special Editions, including TV Smith from The Adverts, JC Carroll from The Members, The Soundtrack of Our Lives, Swedish singer-songwriter Mattias Hellberg and much more. There are also the regular episodes where Steve, Paul and Adam play an eclectic selection of Punk, Garage Rock, Psych, Mod and Soul nuggets and generally get drunk and waffle on a bit...

The Fallen Leaves will play their regular "Minimum R 'n' B" Club night at Denmark Street's 12 Bar Club on Wednesday April 03rd. Thanks to Paul Slattery for the Fallen Leaves Podcast covers.

Thursday 21 March 2013

The Stranglers - Live at Guildford G-Live March 12th

The Stranglers - Photo by Steve Worrall
"No really...I'm not joking...The Stranglers really are well worth checking out again.", "Nah, that last singer they had...didn't like him at all, never the same since Hugh left...", "Face it, they were pretty awful in the few years leading up to Hugh's departure too, poor albums, JJ's bass hidden in the background, blimey he was even playing one of those awful basses, you know, the little body and no headstock thing - a Steinberger, that was sacrilege!", "Dave's keyboards were just typical synth stuff in the end, none of those amazing runs and none of the weirdness", "When they got in that brass section, that was time for me to kick them into touch." They are just some of the comments I seem to recall popping up in conversations about The Stranglers recently...I probably said some of them myself.

Dave Greenfield and Baz Warne - Photo by Steve Worrall
Although The Stranglers were one of the most important and much-loved bands of my "youth", and JJ even inspired me to pick up the bass, I'd love to say I was loyal and stuck with the band after Hugh's departure. I mean I didn't stop supporting my team when they sold my favourite striker - but the fact is I'd kind of started losing interest even before Hugh left. I wasn't a huge fan of "Dreamtime" and "10" was even worse, despite a couple of decent tracks I felt that it was ruined by a poor production, and the fact that their biggest hit off the album was a rather pedestrian run through of "96 Tears", probably summed it up. So I can't just blame Paul Roberts, like a lot of the "Team-Hugh" fans, I had already given up a bit. I was there at Hugh's last show at the Alexandra Palace (coincidentally tonight's support band The Godfathers were also on the bill), but it was a tired, lethargic show, evidence of which is pretty conclusive on the live video of the gig. It definitely felt like it was the right time for the band to call it a day (or night...).

The Stranglers - Photo by Steve Worrall
I was interested to note that JJ, Dave and Jet got a new line-up together with the singer Paul Roberts and guitarist John Ellis, and I did check out a couple of their new songs, but I didn't like Roberts' voice and just felt that the quality of their songwriting was lacking something. It took the release of "Norfolk Coast" in 2004 to pique my interest again, the reviews were good and other Stranglers-fan friends were making positive noises. I got the album and was impressed - John Ellis had been replaced by Baz Warne on guitars, who also contributed some songs, Roberts' singing seemed much better, but most importantly - the crunching bass riff on the albums' opening title track was immense...this was more like it! Dave Greenfield's trademark organ was back too and it was a really fresh and invigorating return to form. Things really took a massive upturn for the band with the release of the superb "Suite XVI" album, Roberts had left and the band reverted to their traditional four piece line-up with JJ and Baz Warne sharing lead vocal duties. Baz was a revelation, not only on the album but live too, and the gigs were fantastic. Most importantly, the new songs finally stood up to the best of their impressive back catalogue, "Unbroken", "Spectre of Love", and "Barbara" in particular were, to me at least, to be ranked amongst all their classics.

JJ Burnel by Steve Worrall
So, onto the gig and tonight I almost feel vindicated, I feel like maybe I'm not the only one who has had this journey with The Stranglers, not the only one to see the light since the "Suite XVI" album, after many years in a Stranglers-less wilderness. Maybe even the band themselves can understand, after all it's almost like they had allowed me to write my dream set-list. "Norfolk Coast" is the only track to be played from the Roberts'-era and, although the band run through at least one song from every other album, they miss out "10" completely. So, here we are in a packed out G-Live, in the county town of suburban Surrey, the place that first spawned "The Guildford Stranglers", a place full of Stranglers folklore - Jet's Jackpot off-licence and ice cream van and The Chokers from the leafy village of Chiddingfold.

The anticipation mounts as the familiar strains of "Waltz In Black" burst from the speakers and the band take the stage. Well, the band minus Jet, as there is a stand-in drummer who's name I don't catch - there are two drum kits set up and word has spread from previous gig reports that due to health reasons, and I guess the fact that he is after all 74 years old now, Jet will only appear for the second half of the set. They kick off spectacularly with "Toiler On The Sea" - I'm at the front, right in the firing line of JJ's amplifier and the force of his bass is like a punch in the guts and it feels great! "Goodbye Toulouse" is up next, a nice surprise choice from their 1977 debut album "Rattus Norvegicus", which was a shocking omission from the recently published NME magazine "50 Albums That Built Punk". Mind you, the fact that they featured Blink 182 and The Strokes just goes to show that whoever compiled the list knows absolutely nothing. But then again The Stranglers have nearly always been ignored by trend-makers and Punk revisionists, air-brushed out of most retrospectives, but they thrive on it. They were always far more menacing and genuinely unpredictable than the majority of so-called Punk Rock bands, and were certainly never willing to play the mutual back-slapping games of the media circus.

Dave & Baz - Photo by Steve Worrall
Next up is "(Get A) Grip (On Yourself)", one of my favourite singles, and then that crunching bass intro to "Norfolk Coast" which sounds great tonight. The catchy "Time Was Once On My Side" from latest album "Giants" leads into the underrated "Thrown Away", which at the time seemed a rather lightweight "throwaway" number, if you pardon the awful pun, but I always had a soft spot for it. I was pleasantly surprised they played it, and tonight it turns into a powerfully menacing little pop song, with it's danceable drumming inspiring JJ to throw some Saturday Night Fever shapes. Two more tracks from "Giants" follow - "Freedom Is Insane" and the quirky "Mercury Rising" - before the leery classic "Peaches" ignites the crowd and things warm up considerably. Baz Warne is so good that you do forget about Hugh Cornwell, there's no point trying to compare the two - he takes the role perfectly - the old songs are handled in a respectful manner but he injects his own, quite considerable, personality and style into proceedings. He's a great singer and guitarist and there is an undoubted chemistry and bond between him, the audience and his band-mates.

JJ Burnel - Photo by Steve Worrall
JJ has hardly changed at all - except for a slight greying of the hair, he looks almost identical to the karate kicking, stage stalking bass icon of 30 years ago. Dave Greenfield, grinning from behind his keyboards, treats us to a masterclass in those trademark Hammond organ style runs and yet knows how to tone it down, evident on the atmospheric "Always The Sun" which is up next. "Relentless" is the only track from "Suite XVI" to make the set, which is a bit disappointing, as I was hoping for more but I suppose that with such a huge back catalogue, somethings gotta give. I feel sorry for the girl behind me who screams out "please...Strange Little Girl...please!" in the break after every song. Her pleas go unanswered, but when you get the lecherous "Bring On The Nubiles" and sublime "Duchess" you really can't complain. Baz straps on an acoustic guitar and there is a brief respite as they play the beautiful duo of singles from "Feline" - "Midnight Summer Dream" and "European Female".

Jet Black, JJ Burnel, Dave Greenfield & Baz Warne - Photo by Steve Worrall
There's a flurry of activity and a figure appears behind the second drum-kit, it's Jet Black, a warm roar of approval goes round the venue and there are terrace style chants of "Jet Black, Jet Black". But there's no easing into proceedings as Jet enters to one of the band's most complex and challenging numbers in "Genetix" from "The Raven". It's almost like a free-form jazz number which shows off each band member's skill, not only with Jet's drumming but it's the chance for Dave to take over lead vocals and JJ's song-length bass solo is astounding. Again, I am blown away by the next unexpected choice, "English Towns" from "No More Heroes" with it's immense hook of a chorus. A familiar harpsichord sound heralds "Golden Brown" and the whole crowd sing along enthusiastically, it's a great moment in the set. "Skin Deep" is followed by "Nice 'n' Sleazy" and again it's the bass that gets you, that unbeatable opening riff set against the slashing reggae style chords and drumming, it has to be held up as a perfect example of a classic timeless single. "Who Wants The World" is another great choice, again like "Thrown Away" it's probably unlikely to make most fans Top 10 Stranglers tracks, but tonight it sounds fresh and powerful.

Jean-Jacques Travolta - Photo by Steve Worrall
They end on a wired "Straighten Out" which almost blows the roof off the G-Live and the crowd go crazy as it reaches its climax. Enthusiastic calls for an encore are rewarded with the classics "Something Better Change" and of course, "No More Heroes" but it's not over, as the band are called back yet again. This time we get treated to my all time favourite Stranglers track (I know, I know...just how many favourites do I have...?!), the blistering "Tank". Never has a song so aptly matched it's title as it positively explodes with energy and pent up anger. It is the perfect end to one of the best Stranglers gigs I've been lucky enough to see, and yes, that includes those with Hugh. So, no more pining for the old days - if you haven't yet been converted please do give the band a try, you will not be disappointed.

For up-to-date news, tour dates and information, please check out The Stranglers official web-site.

All Photos Copyright Steve Worrall Retro Man Blog 2013.

Friday 15 March 2013

Mattias Hellberg - New Single "Coffee & Croissant" out now!

The new single from Mattias Hellberg, "Coffee & Croissant" is a catchy Rock 'n' Roll celebration of love, lust & hope in it's purest form. An irresistible piece of high energy joy that will put a smile on your face and a wiggle in your knees. It's out now on Mattias Hellberg's very own Moozy Music label, and can be ordered via iTunes. "Coffee & Croissant" is the first single to be taken from the up-coming album "Gurimolla!", due to be released later this year, and features his great and groovy new band The Fur Heads. Here is the excellent new video to get you in the mood...

Karlstad's multi-talented Mattias Hellberg burst onto the Swedish music scene as the frontman for The Nymphet Noodlers, a high-energy rock outfit that featured future Soundtrack of Our Lives members Mattias Bärjed and Martin Hederos and Free Fall bassist Jan Martens. After their break-up in 1996 Hellberg did stints as a live member and recording musician for Swedish garage rock champions the Hellacopters, and eventually began working with a plethora of other acts such as TSOOL, The Solution and Thunder Express, either as a part-time member or session musician.

Mattias Hellberg, Gothenburg 2012 - Photo Steve Worrall
He also made plenty of time for the softer side of his muse, working on folk and decidedly non-garage projects such as the dub-informed Kanzeon and Hederos & Hellberg. This long running and critically acclaimed duo, with Martin Hederos from The Soundtrack of Our Lives, so impressed Ryan Adams that he asked them along as support act for a 2001 European tour. When Swedish Prog Rock stalwarts Nationalteatern reunited in 2005, Hellberg was asked to join them as the singer for a summer tour, and he stayed on as a permanent member. The band's legendary bassist, Nikke Ström, has now joined him in The Fur Heads. Hellberg continued to follow his folkier side with Mattias Hellberg & the White Moose, a psychedelic folk outfit who released their rough-hewn "Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Woods" album in 2008 and toured extensively in 2009. 2012's solo album "High in the Lowlands" was a collection of Neil Young-flavored backwoods indie-folk. This Summer he will also tour as guitarist in Håkan Hellström's band.

Here's a video of "Wait For The Morning" one of the excellent new songs that will appear on the new album, filmed at the Sodra Teatern in Stockholm in August 2012.

The Retrosonic Podcast special with Mattias Hellberg is available to listen to or download for free at the Soundcloud site. Steve from Retro Man Blog talks to the Swedish singer-songwriter about his eclectic, genre-defying career as he finishes off the recording for his new solo album. It's a varied and exciting journey - from his early days in Karlstad putting on gigs in the college canteen for bands such as Union Carbide Productions to forming his own bands including the influential Nymphet Noodlers. Along the way we discover admirers like Wayne Kramer from the MC5, Van Morrison, Ryan Adams and Iggy Pop and his numerous collaborations and side projects. These include The Solution with Scott Morgan from Sonic's Rendezvous Band, Kanzeon, The White Moose, Jaqee, Nationalteaterns RockOrkester, The Hellacopters, The Soundtrack of Our Lives and of course Hederos & Hellberg. If that wasn't enough there are also his two excellent solo albums...The Episode is generously soundtracked with lots of great music from a selection of his many phases. We're also honoured to have some superb exclusive and unreleased songs from his forthcoming album, including a rough mix of new single "Coffee & Croissant".

With many thanks to Mattias Hellberg.

Monday 11 March 2013

Vampire Junkies Featuring Texas Terri - New E.P. Out Now

Vampire Junkies featuring Texas Terri are a London based Punk Rock & Roll band. The line-up consists of Texas Terri Laird (Texas Terri Bomb!, Scabies/James) on vocals, Kevin de Groot on guitars, Stephen Reddihough on bass and drummer Steve Pegrum from  The Machines. The band have quite a history of past associations and wanted to put together a new outfit that exemplified the best elements of the artists they loved, such as Iggy Pop, Stiv Bators, New York Dolls, The Ramones, Social Distortion, all combined with their own sound and style to play new, fresh and pure blitzkrieg Rock 'n' Roll.

Steve Pegrum approached Texas Terri at a Walter Lure (Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers) gig in London with the intention of joining forces, and the band set about recording the songs contained on their debut release. Texas Terri hails from Austin, Texas and has often been compared to the female Iggy Pop, Lux Interior, as well as Wendy O'Williams, Joan Jett and has Rock 'n' Roll running through her veins. She's worked with a variety of artists, and her 2004 Texas Terri Bomb album "Your Lips", was produced by Jack Douglas (Aerosmith, John Lennon, Patti Smith etc.) and featured guests such as Wayne Kramer (MC5), Cherie Currie (The Runaways) and Ryan Roxie (Alice Cooper). Most recently she played several shows in the UK and Europe with Rat Scabies and Brian James of The Damned. You can check out our Retro Man Blog report, including exclusive Paul Slattery photos, of a blistering show she performed with Scabies/James at Westbourne Park's Retro Bar here. Texas Terri has also appeared in several films including "Prey For Rock 'n' Roll" starring Gina Gershon and Drea de Matteo. 

Texas Terri by Giacomino Parkinson
The brand new self-titled E.P. is a snarling blast of down and dirty, street tough Rock & Roll. It features five storming original compositions with song titles including "With My Machines", "Mainline", "Rocket Red", "Denmark Street" and "Tokyo Rubber". The E.P. is released on Steve Pegrum's own Angels In Exile Records and can be ordered from there or the band's official web-site. It features an excellent booklet designed by Sophie Lo, who has previously designed some superb posters for our Retro Man gigs and for The Len Price 3 too. Of course we thoroughly recommend Sophie Lo's amazing Rock 'n' Roll designs - her posters, postcards, album cover and booklet artwork are well worth checking out. In fact, you can start off your Sophie Lo collection by getting hold of a copy of the latest issue of Vive Le Rock magazine as it comes with two free Sophie Lo posters of Adam Ant and Johnny Thunders.

Steve Pegrum is not only the boss of Angels In Exile Records, but he is also the drummer in The Machines, one of Southend's earliest Punk Rock groups, who played at the Roxy and Vortex. You can read more about The Machines history in our previous Retro Man feature here. Steve also runs the excellent web-site archive Southend Punk, as well as helping as a joint promoter for our Retro Man Blog/ Podrophenia/ Southend Punk special gigs for TV Smith at The Railway Hotel in Southend.

Here's a great Paul Slattery shot of Texas Terri at the Retro Bar with Scabies/James:

Texas Terri performing "Damned, Damned, Damned" with Scabies/James - Photo Paul Slattery
Retro Man Blog Photographer Paul Slattery with Texas Terri - Photo by M.
Here's the video to one of the tracks on the E.P. entitled, "Denmark Street".

At the moment there doesn't seem to be any live dates in the pipeline, but I certainly hope they can get some shows sorted out soon, as I am sure they would be an amazing live band.

With many thanks to Steve Pegrum and Paul Slattery.

Saturday 9 March 2013

The Jetsonics - Thrills, Spills & Power Pop! New Live Dates

The Jetsonics have a few more live dates lined up following their successful show at Ealing's Brentham Club last month. The New Wave Power Pop three-piece will play The Half Moon, Putney on March 16th, Scream Lounge in Croydon on April 19th and then a return to their regular haunt, The Grey Horse in Kingston on May 10th. Expect some new numbers, re-worked classics and the usual Thrills, Spills and Power Pop! For further details on the venues and up-to-date news, please visit the band's official web-site.

The Jetsonics' bassist Adam Donovan can be heard co-hosting the regular Episodes of Retrosonic Podcast, with myself and rock photographer Paul Slattery. Adam often gives us the low-down on the trials and tribulations of being in a band today, plus we play a Jetsonics track or two of course, so check the Soundcloud site for a listen.

Here's the latest Jetsonics video to "New Romance", Adam didn't even have to leave the pub for the filming...

Friday 8 March 2013

The Fallen Leaves - March and April live dates...

The Fallen Leaves at the 12 Bar Club portrait by Paul Slattery
The Fallen Leaves, London's finest purveyors of "Punk Rock for Gentlemen", played another great set at their monthly "Minimum R&B" Club night at Denmark Street's 12 Bar Club on Wednesday, where they debuted a new song "I'm A Man". The band formed by original Subway Sect guitarist Rob Symmons and tweed wearin' tea-sippin' vocalist Rob Green, have some more live dates lined up, you can catch them at The Pelton Arms in Greenwich on March 09th, The Slaughtered Lamb, Clerkenwell on Saturday March 16th with The Transients and at The Buffalo Bar Islington on March 22nd. The next "Minimum R&B" Club night at the 12 Bar Club will be on April 03rd. Check out the band's web-site for details on the venues, up-to-date news and for info on how to purchase their fantastic new album "If Only We'd Known" which is out now on Parliament Records.

We are hoping to interview the band for a special edition Retrosonic Podcast soon, so please keep an eye on the Blog for news...In the meantime here's some more photos of the band from the 12 Bar last Wednesday...

The Fallen Leaves by Steve Worrall
The Fallen Leaves by Steve Worrall
With thanks to Paul Slattery for the portrait photograph (copyright Paul Slattery 2013).

Monday 4 March 2013

The Godfathers - New Album "Jukebox Fury" Out Now! Catch the Band on Tour with The Stranglers

Retro Man Blog favourites, The Godfathers, finally release their long-awaited new album "Jukebox Fury" today, March 04th, on their own Godfathers Recordings label via Cargo Records.  "Jukebox Fury" has already been favourably reviewed in Q, Vive Le Rock and Classic Rock magazines, and features twelve tracks including the two storming singles "Back Into The Future" and "The Outsider". The album is available for sale from Cargo Records, iTunes and all the usual retailers. The band are currently out on tour as support to The Stranglers on their "Feel It Live Tour", in what promises to be one of the best double-bills for many a year, so check the poster below for dates near you. Retro Man Blog will be going along to at least one of the dates and we'll be sure to bring you a review of the procedings!

You can read a report on last year's blistering "Valentine's Day Massacre" gig including some excellent, and exclusive, Paul Slattery Photos on the Blog here.

The Godfathers - Photo by Paul Slattery
The Godfathers were a unanimous choice for our very first "Pilot Episode" of the Retrosonic Podcast, check out which song we chose at the Soundcloud site. Although, be warned this is the Pilot/Test Episode and not quite as "polished" and "professional" (ahem...) as the more recent shows...!

Retrosonic Podcast Episode 1: The Pilot Episode by Retrosonic Podcast

Sunday 3 March 2013

Retrosonic Podcast Episode 6: "When The World Stops Turning..."

Episode 6 of Retrosonic Podcast is out and available to listen to, or download for free, at the Soundcloud  site now. Featuring Steve from Retro Man Blog, Adam from The Jetsonics and rock photographer Paul Slattery with the usual eclectic mix of tunes and chat. In this Episode we raise a glass to Wilko Johnson and pick a classic number from Dr. Feelgood, the first band that Paul ever photographed, back on the 1975 Naughty Rhythms Tour. We try to banish the cold and grey with the sunny sounds of Ansell Collins and blast each others' ears with some Sixties Psychedelia from the Texan band Homer and then some thoroughly British freak-beat courtesy of The Eyes. There's Vic Godard with his tribute to an American Punk legend and an instrumental Surf classic from Link Wray. In between there's the brand new single from The Travellers, some hotly tipped Retro Rock from Spiders, noisy guitar stuff from The Parents and some slinky Swedish Psych Pop from Caviare Days. If that's not enough we play a brace of Medway Delta Garage Rock tracks from Galileo 7 and Graham Day & The Gaolers and then to top it all off, there's an 80's Indie masterpiece from Felt.

Don't forget all previous Episodes are still available and as well as the regular shows there are various Special Editions featuring interviews with a wide range of personalities. TV Smith from The Adverts treats us to an exclusive live acoustic session, Mattias Bärjed takes us on a journey from the Nymphet Noodlers to The Soundtrack of Our Lives, his successful movie and TV soundtrack work to his brand new band Free Fall. We have some demo versions and unreleased tracks from Mattias Hellberg's forthcoming album, JC Carroll from The Members takes us on a little Punk Rock trip and there are exclusive unreleased solo songs from Ian Person from The Soundtrack of Our Lives. There are also special reports on various music related topics such as the Swedish music scene  which includes interviews with Ann-Sofie from Spiders, Bruce from MUG Music store and Wayne Lundqvist-Ford from the Gothenburg based Ice Cream Man Blog. There are looks into the contemporary Mod scene scene, Paul Slattery's adventures in Rock and Roll Photography and much more...