Monday 28 October 2013

Sheila Rock PUNK+ Photo Exhibition at Galerie 206, Berlin until January 18th 2014

Following the success of her exhibition at Agnes B. in London and the PUNK+ book launch at Rough Trade East, Sheila Rock has an exhibition of her photographs from the book at Galerie 206 at the Quartier 206 Department Store on Friedrichstrasse in Berlin running until January 18th 2014. Sheila tells me there are also plans for Agnes B to take the exhibition to Tokyo sometime in 2014, so we will keep you informed as soon as the dates are announced. 

You can read our previous Blog report on the PUNK+ launch party at Rough Trade East here and check more details on the book, including some of Sheila's superb photos of Siouxsie, Subway Sect, The Jam and The Damned here. PUNK+ is published by the excellent First Third Books who have also released deluxe photo books on Genesis P-Orridge and Felt.

With thanks to Sheila for the photos. All photos copyright Sheila Rock.

Saturday 19 October 2013

The Len Price 3 at The Half Moon Putney October 25th - "Nobody Knows" New Album Showcase

Not long to go now until our next Retro Man Blog night at The Half Moon Putney - Friday October 25th and it's the enticing prospect of The Len Price 3 and the official showcase for their forthcoming new album "Nobody Knows". We are also very pleased to announce that "Nobody Knows" will be on sale at the gig exclusively prior to it's official 2014 release on CD or glorious Deluxe Vinyl edition. The Len Price 3 will be joined by very special guests The Fallen Leaves and The Past Tense and we are pleased to announce that opening up the show at 8pm will be The Travellers, the St. Malo based band, with a short acoustic showcase of their own, to promote their brand new single "Stay".

Hang around after the show as The Len Price 3 will be presenting a P.A. play-back of "Nobody Knows" and there will be a chance to buy copies of the album, along with merchandise from the other bands too. All this is available for the bargain price of £7 in advance from The Half Moon or £9 on the door. Please check out the Event Page at The Half Moon web-site here for more info and tickets. The Half Moon, 93 Lower Richmond Road, Putney, London SW15 1EU Closest Tube: Putney Bridge (District Line Wimbledon Branch), Main Line Rail: Putney (Direct London Waterloo, Richmond, Twickenham, Windsor etc.) and lots of buses!

* a signed "Nobody Knows" CD*
We are also running a little competition on the night, the first 30 people through the venue doors before 8pm will get the chance to have a rummage in our Len Price 3 button badge bag. All 30 will get to keep their "Nobody Knows" badge exclusive to the launch party, and then one person who pulls out the special "lucky badge" will win a copy of the CD signed by the band and maybe some other  goodies too...So please make sure you get there early! Doors open from 7:30-7:45pm and the competition ends promptly at 8pm when the wonderful Travellers will take the stage.

I'd like to thank the great, and much appreciated, support for the gig from the following Radio shows and Podcasts. I'm a big fan of all of these shows so it is really nice to get a mention! Please do check them out, click the links, follow, subscribe and listen in...

Andy Morten and Jon Mills at Shindig! Magazine - Broadcast #2

Wayne Lundqvist-Ford at Radio Andra - The Ice Cream Man Power Pop Show #3

Alan May at 6Towns Radio - Glory Boy Radio Show

Warren Peace at We Are The Mods - Episode #30

...and you can hear a brand new Len Price 3 track in our very own Retrosonic Podcast too.

Friday 18 October 2013

The Monochrome Set: New Album "Super Plastic City" & U.K Tour...

Photo by Steve Brummell
Here's a quiz for you: What do all British indie bands – ancient (The Smiths) and modern (Arctic Monkeys) - have in common?

1. Funny haircuts
2. An interesting wardrobe
3. The Monochrome Set

If 3 is your answer you win today's STAR PRIZE – a copy of 'Super Plastic City', The Monochrome Set's eleventh, and latest, long-playing record. Well you don't really, but you can buy it!

They say that history is written by the victors, in which case The Monochrome's thrilling and vertiginous past should add up to an open top ticker-tape parade through the boulevards of rock 'n roll, because they've just produced their finest album, and you, dear listener are going to enjoy an ear-expanding tour of "How It Should Be". Written on the back of party leader Bid's recovery from a life-threatening brain aneurysm ('What's this/Is it a bird or a plane/What's this/No, it's a rewiring brain',) "Super Plastic City" mines a deep vein of influences to produce a unique ore in which melancholy, wit and wordplay dance together on a floor made of solid tongue and groove – and there are more hooks here than in a bait and tackle shop. 

Photo by Dor
It was The Kinks who first took that unique quality of Englishness – a mixture of the miserable and the optimistic - and gave it a voice, and there are echoes of those pioneers in some of these songs ("The Time I've Spent Doing Nothing"), just as the ghost of The Lords of Lounge - Bacharach and David - haunts the sinuous grooves of "If I Could be Woebegone". But references to the past give only a few clues to the treasure hunt that is "Super Plastic City". "I Dream of Spring", an account of awakening from – perhaps – a near-death experience, set to a waltz-like cadence and dressed in shimmering West Coast style guitar glissandos, is one of the most moving songs you'll ever hear, whilst the stomping "Handed-Down Memory" wistfully examines the sum of all our pasts and parts and what they sometimes reduce to. These are just a few of the iced gems to be found here – there are 11 in all, each one attesting to The Monochrome Set's shrugged individuality and dedication to eclecticism. If "Super Plastic City" were the product of a bunch of twenty-somethings it would be hailed as The Second Coming, nominated for prizes galore and be heard pumping out of radios and ear goggles, and rightly so. For the record, then, the band's ages vary from 18 to 23, they come from Venus, this is really their debut album, and you'll know it to be the best album of 2013 once you've heard it. Now that IS the truth. - Hab Hankin 

You can buy the album from The Monochrome Set & Scarlett's Well official store here. The band will head out on a nationwide tour, starting off in Edinburgh tomorrow October 19th, taking in Stockton 20th, Glasgow 21st, Preston 22nd, Liverpool 23rd, Birmingham 24th, Oxford 25th and Bristol on the 26th - please check out the Tour Dates section for for details on tickets and venues. The band will then play at 229 The Venue in London on November 23rd. Please check out our review and photos of The Monochrome Set gig back in April at London's Bush Hall on the Blog here. For a full set of photos of the gig head on over to the Retro Man Blog Facebook page and hit "Like".  With thanks to Bid. Photos courtesy of The Monochrome Set.

Ex-Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV's Genesis Breyer P-Orridge gets the Deluxe Photobook treatment from the excellent First Third Books.

This September, FIRST THIRD BOOKS will release an ambitious new project on the life of Genesis Breyer P-Orridge - music pioneer, artist and body evolutionist. Independently produced in limited numbers, this is a superb quality book devoted to the controversial life and work of one of the most extraordinary artists of modern time. Born Neil Megson, reborn as artist Genesis P-Orridge, reborn once again as a gender-erasing pandrogyne - Genesis Breyer P-Orridge has never let art, life or evolution stand in the way of imagination. As a Fluxus and Dada-inspired performance artist with COUM Transmissions, the post-hippie Breyer P-Orridge determined to revolutionise everyday life. By the late ’70s, Breyer P-Orridge was fronting Throbbing Gristle, a defiantly anti-rock experiment so successful that it launched the entirely new genre of Industrial Music. TG also pioneered a self-determining model for independent music- making that still flourishes today. 
Breyer P-Orridge’s next project, the music and arts collective Psychic TV, explored a deep interest in fetishism, magick and ritual, with an emphasis on body art. A prime mover in the 80’s Modern Primitives subculture, from which the latter-day mass trend for tattooing and piercing emerged, Breyer P-Orridge has since taken body politics several stages further with pandrogeny, a ‘third gender’ project launched in the late 90’s with wife and life-partner Lady Jaye. This, book is a testament to a life spent exploring the outer limits of creative expression - often landing the artist in deep controversy. Working with artist Leigha Mason, Genesis has mined h/er personal archives for many of the 350+ photographs included, and has added insightful personal commentary throughout. A detailed forward in the form of a Q&A with rock journalist Mark Paytress explores the cultural importance of the work of this self-styled ‘cultural engineer’. 

The deluxe edition, housed in a special PTV-inspired box, includes a poster of “intimate” Gen and Jaye Polaroids, a 96-page art catalogue and 3 original 7” singles specially recorded by Genesis and friends for this project. Limited to 1323 numbered books, including 333 deluxe versions only available through the First Third Books website. Pre-orders for the deluxe edition are being accepted now and a preview of the deluxe package is available at

First Third Books is an independent publishing company specialising in high quality music photobooks. GENESIS BREYER P-ORRIDGE is the 3rd in a series of limited edition titles, and you can check out our previous Blog features on their excellent FELT and Sheila Rock's PUNK+ books.

Thanks to Ritchie Franklin. Photo copyright Laure Leber 2013.

Tuesday 15 October 2013

Retrosonic Podcast Episode 10: "Put Your Love In a Bag and Swing It Round Your Head..."

Episode 10 of Retrosonic Podcast is out and available for free download from our Soundcloud site. In this Episode, Steve from Retro Man Blog, rock photographer Paul Slattery and Adam from The Jetsonics play their usual mix of Garage Rock, Punk, Psych, New Wave, Power Pop and Soul - old and new, from the classic to the downright obscure...For the second episode running we blast off with some fabulous stomping Rock & Roll from The WitchDoktors, Dave Berry gives us some lip and there is a brand new and unreleased track from the forthcoming album "Nobody Knows" from The Len Price 3. There's manic French Punk from Les Thugs, a blistering Power Pop attack on suburban London from Pin Point and Northern German Soul from The Frank Popp Ensemble. Then, our pick of the brand new releases is a rather sleazy bit of grungey Psychobilly from Dick Venom & The Terrortones, some late Sixties New Mexican Psych from The Chob and a classic slice of British Freakbeat from Wimple Winch. We also play our favourite Garage Rock revivalists Lyres, the groundbreaking Australian band Radio Birdman and a raw Rockabilly beauty from Billy Lee Riley. Finally, there's a tribute to Philip Chevron by Paul, who photographed both The Radiators From Space and The Pogues throughout his career as one of the U.K.'s leading music photographers. There's also the usual news, waffle and reports, including The WitchDoktors at The Barfly, The Fallen Leaves at The White Trash in Berlin, a trip to the Ramones Museum and the opening night party of The Clash Black Market Pop-Up Store. Find out more details about our very special Showcase Party at the Half Moon Putney on Friday October 25th for The Len Price 3's new album "Nobody Knows" along with The Fallen Leaves, The Past Tense and The Travellers.

This episode is brought to you courtesy of our favourite covers band The Transients...! Please kindly click the highlighted links above to check out more info on the bands we have featured. To download the Episode for free please check out our Retrosonic Soundcloud page.

For features and exclusive Paul Slattery photographs on The Fallen Leaves in Berlin please click here and for the Ramones Museum please click here. More photographs can be found over at the Retro Man Blog Facebook page so head on over and click "Like" for access to all the Blog's photo albums. For more info and to purchase advance tickets to our special new album showcase gig for The Len Price 3 on October 25th, please visit the Half Moon ticket link here.

Thursday 10 October 2013

The Ramones Museum Berlin

Ramones Musuem founder Flo Hayler - Photo by Paul Slattery
I finally got round to visiting the Ramones Museum in Berlin and I was blown away by the impressive labour of love that the museum founder and "Curator" Flo Hayler and the team have created. First opened in 2005, the Museum expanded and moved to it's current location in 2008 and there are over 500 items of rare Ramones memorabilia on display - from early tour posters, rare photos and a signed bass drum skin - to more personal items such as Marky's sneakers and even Joey's jeans! Then we have other items such as handwritten song lyrics, drum sticks and super-size prints from Roberta Bayley, the photographer responsible for the iconic cover of the Ramones debut album. Hanging from the ceiling are many rare and obscure T-shirts and there's even the geek mask worn by a roadie who would take the stage brandishing the "Gabba Gabba Hey!" sign. There's also a screening room to watch all those great Ramones videos and live shows and movies such as "Rock 'n' Roll High School".

Ramones promoter Gary Topp, Flo and photographer Paul Slattery
There are photos by Ramones Manager Danny Fields, taken on the band's early trips to London, including the legendary Roundhouse and Rainbow shows that were to inspire a generation of British Punk bands. There's a nice cafe and bar and a cool shop where you can stock up on a great selection of Ramones and original Museum branded merchandise. Every now and then the Museum is transformed into a venue for intimate acoustic performances from bands such as The Boys, The Subways and even Ramones bassist CJ Ramone. I was with my Retro Man Blog colleague the photographer, Paul Slattery, who presented Flo with a poster of his "Vive Le Rock" magazine cover shot of Johnny Ramone which will hopefully be soon on display. You can hear Paul talking about his experiences with the Ramones in our special Retrosonic Podcast episode, including being on the side of the stage at the legendary New Years Eve Rainbow show recorded for the "It's Alive" album. 

Ramones Museum Cafe and Bar - Photo by Steve Worrall
While we were there, early Ramones promoter Gary Topp visited the Museum to present Flo with some memorabilia to add to the ever expanding collection. So why Berlin? Well why's after all a city steeped in Rock 'n' Roll, Punk and all kinds of decadent and underground music. The Ramones certainly had a thing about Berlin, I always remember that line "...from old Hanoi to East Berlin..." from "Commando", which featured on the band's second album "Leave Home", and the very last song on the band's very last studio album "Adios Amigos" was entitled "Born To Die In Berlin". So I guess it does make sense that the world's only Ramones Museum is not actually located on the Bowery in downtown New York but in Mitte, the heart of the old East Berlin.

Paul Slattery presents his Ramones Vive Le Rock cover
Photo by Steve Worrall
Flo and Paul Slattery in front of a small selection of the Museum's memorabilia
The Ramones Museum is located at 23 Krausnickstrasse, Mitte, Berlin. The closest S-Bahn station is Oranienburger Strasse. With thanks to Flo for his generosity. All photos copyright as noted. For more photos of the Ramones Museum showing a selection of the memorabilia on display, then please head on over to the Retro Man Blog Facebook page and hit "Like" for access to the exclusive photo album.

Wednesday 9 October 2013

The Movements "Like Elephants 1" New Album Released on Crusher Records October 25th

One of the Blog's favourite bands, the excellent Gothenburg based The Movements, will be releasing their brand new album "Like Elephants 1" on October 25th on Crusher Records, home to the equally excellent Gothenburg band Spiders. The band are moving away from their rawer sound and have opened the gates to the expansive world of Psychedelic Rock. "Like Elephants 1" is a very exciting project because, as the title suggests, it is only the first disc of two and it's follow-up "Like Elephants 2" is scheduled for release in early 2014. Working out two albums into a unique whole has been innovative, challenging and inspiring for The Movements. What is special about these two albums is that they not only stand strong individually but also create a whole, a kind of continuity, together. The Movements distance themselves from today’s fast-food consumption of songs pulled out of their context and instead dare to demand a greater commitment by the listener who, in return, gets to experience a collection of songs in their intended sequence.

"Like Elephants 1" offers swirling psychedelia in "Great Deceiver", catchy rock riffs with "All The Lost", choral psychedelia through "Like Elephants 1" and folk-rock in "It Takes A Spark". The album consists of ten well-worked songs of high quality and has for the most part been recorded at Music-A-Matic in Gothenburg and was produced by The Movements and Michael Nilsson. Here's a taster from the new album, the video to the new single "The Death of John Hall D.Y."...

The Movements possess great stage and songwriting skills and have over the years toured most European countries. The Movements’ upcoming album, "Like Elephants 1", is being released on October 25th on Crusher Records and will be followed by gigs around Sweden and Europe. Please check out their official web-site for further news on venues and tour dates.

The Movements - Photo by Anders Bergstedt
You can listen to our Retrosonic Podcast special episode with The Movements here - Steve from Retro Man Blog talks to Thomas and David from one of Sweden's best psychedelic-garage-space-rock bands. Thomas and David take us on a trip through the band's story which includes chapters as diverse as writing a theme song for a German football team, to being the first band that legendary Union Carbide and Soundtrack of Our Lives guitarist Björn Olsson produced. From rehearsing songs in a hospital ward while singer David recovered from cancer they ended up being the first band to have their very own Space Rock album taken to Outer Space by Swedish astronaut Christer Fuglesang! Generously sound-tracked by loads of great Movements songs, you can find out more in this fascinating special edition podcast!

With thanks to Thomas and Peter from Crusher Records. Podcast cover photo by Josefine Larsson.

Monday 7 October 2013

The Fallen Leaves in Berlin

The Fallen Leaves in Berlin - Photo by Paul Slattery
A trip to Berlin to see The Fallen Leaves seemed like a mighty fine idea, I'd never been to the city before and something about the thought of the band and Berlin just seemed to click. So, I joined a healthy contingent of "away fans", including Rock Photographer Paul Slattery and The Transients and Onlookers bassist Mark Leech, and after a thoroughly enjoyable couple of hours at the stunning Ramones Museum, we met up with various band friends and family at the excellent White Trash Bar and Restaurant. The White Trash is located on Schönhauser Allee in the Mitte district, the heart of the old East Berlin. The place itself is a slightly strange but atmospheric blend of Chinese restaurant, and Rock 'n' Roll Tiki Hut, complete with large tropical fish tanks and skeletons and T-Shirts dangling from the ceiling. The venue promises a free tattoo to anyone daring to have their skin etched with a design incorporating the restaurant logo, however despite polishing off a fair number of delicious Berliner Pilsners, I didn't go in for their generous offer.

The Fallen Leaves at White Trash - Photo by Paul Slattery
The band played two sets and so had the opportunity to dust down some old numbers that they don't usually play live such as "All That You Choose" and they also treated us to three new numbers - the excellent "Prodigal Son" and "All That Glitters" which fit seamlessly into the running order. They also play another new one "I'm A Man", which is probably the weaker of the three, although drummer William Lewington does put in a mighty fine stint to keep it from going off the rails. Cheered on, somewhat rowdily by their travelling support and picking up more enthusiastic locals along the way, the band put in a great performance with Rob Symmon's guitar bashing on "Shining" causing a spontaneous outbreak of air guitar posing amongst the crowd.

Bass, Matthew Karas - Photo by Paul Slattery
Drums, William Lewington - Photo by Paul Slattery
I really believe that Rob Symmons must be one of the most underrated guitarists to have emerged from the early British Punk scene, he was after all there at the very beginning with Vic Godard & Subway Sect, who were true originals. Now, the way he contorts and bashes his guitar around is one of the greatest sights and sounds in contemporary Rock 'n' Roll. You can see people in the crowd who are seeing the band for the first time, standing there with mouths agape at what they are witnessing. Keith Levene, Wilko Johnson, Mick Green - all naturally talented maverick guitar players and Rob Symmons should be up there amongst their esteemed company too.

Guitar, Rob Symmons - Photo by Paul Slattery
Vocals, Rob Green - Photo by Paul Slattery
Charismatic front-man Rob Green pulls up a chair to deliver a song in true Cabaret style as a tribute to Berlin and then delights the locals by having a very English tea-break in the middle of "Shining", it is pure cabaret in itself. Whether it's blowing smoke circles from his e-cigarette, or checking the pocket watch hanging from his checked Tweed jacket, his idiosyncratic performance is a masterclass in how to entertain and enthral an audience. The band are that perfect blend of individual characters that together have a real chemistry - the superb rhythm section of rough diamond drummer William Lewington and the suave, enigmatic bassist Matthew Karas are the solid foundation for the two Robs to do their thing. They make a glorious Garage Rock racket on classics such as "Trouble" and "Revenge" but also understand the importance of dynamics, especially on the slower bass driven tracks "I Made a Mistake" and "Seven Years". We also get treated to "Charity Girl", "My Phantoms", "Sylvie Says", "Is She Somewhere?", "Passing By" and "Against The Grain" along with two performances of "Happy Times" from their debut album "It's Too Late Now". So, all in all a great Leaves show and there were lots of happy smiling faces in the White Trash.

The Fallen Leaves - Photo by Paul Slattery
Here's a video of "Shining" from the White Trash gig, for more videos of this show and many more Fallen Leaves gigs then please check out the Retro Man Blog YouTube channel. You can also subscribe to the channel to keep up to date as we are adding new original videos all the time.

Don't forget our two very special episodes of Retrosonic Podcast, The Fallen Leaves Story Part 1: "Punk Rock For Gentlemen" and Part 2: "Simple Songs For Complex People", these can be downloaded for free from our Retrosonic Soundcloud site. They are packed full of music from The Fallen Leaves and their influences, and feature fascinating tales from Rob Symmon's time with Subway Sect to meeting up with Rob Green and right up to the present day.

The Fallen Leaves will be appearing as very special guests at The Len Price 3's new album launch party at The Half Moon Putney on October 25th. This promises to be a great night as we also have The Past Tense and an acoustic guest spot from The Travellers. Tickets are only £7 in advance from The Half Moon and can be purchased here.

The Fallen Leaves - Photo by Paul Slattery
Rob Green - Photo by Steve Worrall
With thanks to Paul Slattery. All photos copyright 2013 as credited. For more photos of The Fallen Leaves in Berlin, please head over to the Retro Man Blog Facebook page and hit "Like" for access to the exclusive photo album.