Tuesday 28 April 2015

The Most & French Boutik at March of The Mods + "Causing A Scene" Compilation in Aid of Teenage Cancer Trust

The Most at March of The Mods - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
I caught French Boutik and The Most at the Fiddlers Elbow in Camden at one of the many March of The Mods live events that were arranged by Kate Ross-Kellam and her team of like-minded volunteers and organizers all across the country. Over the month of March they put on an astounding 37 events in various cities around the U.K. featuring 171 bands and 156 DJs, and then with the additional contributions from sponsors they hope to have raised over £100,000 in total for the Teenage Cancer Trust. Today's gig was compered by DJ Graham Lentz and he introduced Paris-based French Boutik who I had also seen the night before at Albert Cummings' Putney Club. Albert kindly helped the band out after their planned show in Birmingham was cancelled at the last minute and offered them a replacement gig. It was a really nice gesture that was really appreciated by those of us lucky enough to get the chance to see the band twice over the same weekend!

French Boutik - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
French Boutik were on top form despite being without their regular organ player, so vocalist Gabriela filled in the gaps on a borrowed keyboard. However, it didn't detract from a great performance and set full of the band's soulful French-Beat nuggets. Promoting an excellent new E.P. "Mieux Comme Ca", they now have a set that is packed full of tracks that could all be singles in their own right. The new E.P.'s title track, with guitarist Serge taking on most of the lead vocals, is an absolute classic and it stretches the band's sound to another dimension. The uptempo "Facile" from the "Ici Paris" E.P. really gets the crowd moving, as does their cover of the Madness track "Tiptoes".

French Boutik - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
The band's rhythm section of Jean-Marc on bass and Zelda on drums, who also adds some excellent vocal harmonies, really allow the groove to flow, allowing Serge and Gabriela to add their magic into the mix. It was an excellent show and the band got a great reception, and if you missed out then they will be back in the UK for a gig at The Blue Beat Room in Brentwood on July 11th. Now please go out and get their new E.P. you really won't be disappointed!

The Most - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
I finally get to see The Most, despite liking the band for some time now, I'd never managed to catch one of their gigs. The band are from Umeå in Northern Sweden and the current line-up features Frans Perris on lead vocals and guitar, Magnus Kollberg on guitar and vocals, Mats Westin on drums and Martin Claesson on bass. They have also worked with Andy Bell from Ride and Oasis and ex-International Noise Conspiracy bassist Inge Johansson. Kicking off with the excellent "The Action" with its powerful, slashing guitar rhythm, The Most don't let up for a minute, they really are a great live band. Some of my personal highlights included "She's Nuts", a kind of Power Pop update on Chris Montez's "Let's Dance", the chiming guitars of "Bad Girl" and the Bo Diddley styled shuffle of "Sometime". But my favourite of the night was "Really Good" with it's strong Who influence as heard in Retrosonic Podcast Episode 17. The Most have the catchy punch of Power Pop and the raw R'n'B of Hamburg-era Beatles and their songs are stuffed full of harmonies and melodic guitar riffing. In fact they are just a great Rock 'n' Roll band, full stop. They end a storming and well received show with "I Don't Want It" and "I'm Not Your Man, two raucous slices of good time R'n'B.

The Most - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
March of The Mods have also released "Causing A Scene" an excellent 2 CD compilation that includes a great cross section of contemporary Mod related bands, many of which appeared at one of the MOTM gigs. Some of the bands that have appeared on Retro Man Blog and at our gigs and Retrosonic Podcast also feature - so we have The Len Price 3 and "Girl Who Became a Machine", The Past Tense with a raw version of their Ska'd up "Nervous" with the added bonus of a horn section, there's the terrace chorus stomp of The SuperMinx '70 and the Psych of The Mynd Set and The Kite Collectors. The compilation highlights the diversity in the scene from the straight ahead Mod revival, Jam influenced sounds of The Riot which are as much 70's New Wave, to the Soul of Button Up.

Then there's the Elvis Costello styled vocals and Dexy's horns of the Stone Foundation, which is one of my favourite tracks and the cool Jazzy instrumental swing of Berry Tweed & The Chasers. There are a few more established names - a Steve Marriott track, one from The Eyes and the legendary master of good time R'n'B, Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band. Some more tracks that caught my ear included the Beatles harmonies of The Anydays "Tambourine" and then The Pepper Pots come in on a Shaft guitar riff and offer up a bit of classic thumping Motown style Soul. Mr Bridger smash in on a bass riff and show that the original Mod scene also incorporated the raw garage rock of early Kinks and The Who. Paradise's "Humans and Stars" features a nice vintage organ and fuzzed up Nuggets sound that really hits the spot and is a definite highlight. Heavyball bring a bit of Ska to the party with a vocalist that sounds a bit similar to Georgie Fame. You can order the download of "Causing A Scene" from the MOTM store here. For more information on next year's March of The Mods and their admirable work for Teenage Cancer Trust and how to get involved please check out the official web-site here.

The Most - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
For more photos of the gig please head on over to the Retro Man Blog Facebook page and hit "Like" if you are not already following, for access to the exclusive photo album. You can also see videos of each band from the gig at the Retro Man Blog YouTube Channel here.

Sunday 26 April 2015

The Others: Veterans of the 1960's Richmond & Eel Pie Island R'n'B Scene at Sunbury-on-Thames

The Others photographed by Paul Slattery
The Others are veterans of the early British 1960’s R’n’B boom that sprung up in the lush suburban greenery of the affluent Thames Valley area to the South West of London. Based around many now legendary venues and club nights such as the Crawdaddy in Richmond, The Ealing Jazz Club, Eel Pie Island Hotel in Twickenham and the Ricky Tick in Windsor, the scene became a fertile breeding ground of talent, spawning many bands such as The Artwoods, The Birds, The Yardbirds and The Downliners Sect. These bands were influenced by their contemporaries such as the Rolling Stones and The Pretty Things along with more established acts such as Long John Baldry, Cyril Davies, and Alexis Korner who introduced the British youth to the original Chicago Blues sounds of artists such as Bo Diddley, Howlin’ Wolf, Jimmy Reed, Buddy Guy and Muddy Waters. 

The Others, Paul and Rob photographed by Paul Slattery
The Others were formed while they were still pupils at Hampton School which also included founder members of The Yardbirds and, a few years their junior, Paul Slattery, the legendary Rock Photographer (and my Retro Man Blog colleague…!). Paul kindly wrote a few words about his memories of the time and you can check them out at the end of the feature. The first line-up consisted of Paul Stewart on lead vocals, Rob Tolchard on rhythm guitar, Ian McLintock on bass, John Standley on lead guitar and Nigel Baldwin on drums. John and Nigel left before the release of their debut single “Oh Yeah” and were replaced by Pete Hammerton and Geoff Coxon. Another Hampton School student, Brian May was so influenced by Pete Hammerton’s guitar playing that he too started a band called Smile before going on to form Queen with Freddie Mercury. 

The Others, Pete Hammerton photographed by Paul Slattery
Fontana Records released “Oh Yeah” in 1964 and recently the influential California based musician and journalist Mike Stax declared in his excellent “Ugly Things” magazine that it was “one of the best records to have come out of the early British R’n’B scene”. It certainly made waves across the Atlantic, with Garage Punk legends The Shadows of Knight having a minor hit in the States with their own version of the single. However, The Others failed to capitalize on the promise of this debut release as they split soon after the single’s release. So, despite their impeccable credentials their short-lived career meant that they were quickly overshadowed by many of their contemporaries. In 2012 Paul, Pete, Rob and Geoff decided to re-form The Others but unfortunately it would be without the original bassist Ian McLintock who had sadly passed away. Rob moved from rhythm guitar to bass and they started to write new material as well as mixing in plenty of those classic Blues songs that had originally inspired them. They have recently released a live in the studio CD entitled “Gold” to celebrate 50 years of The Others but have announced that they will finally call it a day with a gig at the Crawdaddy Club in Richmond later this year. So, it’s quite appropriate that I see the band in Sunbury-on-Thames, right in the heart of that legendary R’n’B Scene, just steps away from the river. 

The Others, Rob Tolchard photographed by Paul Slattery
Before tonight’s gig Rob explained to me that they were just happy to be playing music again with no pressure. He insisted that they didn’t want to be thought of as purely a revival act and that they liked to inject some energy into their performances and make sure the songs sounded fresh and contemporary. He wasn’t wrong, as despite Paul’s banter about the advancing years of both band and audience alike, The Others played with an energy that would put most bands half their age to shame. Paul has an impressively raw and authentic Blues voice that sometimes veers into classic Soul and on some occasions even Gospel territory. He’s a great front-man, tall and charismatic with a nice line in self-deprecating chat between songs. Unfortunately he forgot to bring his harmonica. Paul Slattery saw him play harp when he joined Robert Hokum’s Great West Groove on stage in Brentford recently and he was mightily impressed so I was really looking forward to hearing him play. Let’s hope he doesn’t forget the harmonica next time we see them! 

The Others, Geoff Coxon photographed by Paul Slattery
Although, Rob plays bass with a nice laid back but funky style, he really immerses himself in the music, dancing about the stage, swaying along with the rhythm and taking lead vocals on his excellent self-penned number “Can’t Get You Outta My System”. Drummer Geoff holds it all together nicely in an understated and effective way. Pete Hammerton, with his dangling ear-ring, drain-pipe jeans and silk scarf, looks every inch the classic guitar hero. His superb guitar playing is something to behold, mostly playing without a plectrum, it’s difficult to take your eyes off his deft fret-work. Pete and Paul take the stage at the start of their second set armed with acoustic guitars and play an impressive flamenco number that proves the band are definitely far more than just an R’n’B tribute act. My personal highlights were versions of Al Green’s “Take Me To The River” which I got to love after seeing the Talking Heads play it in their “Stop Making Sense” movie and Allen Toussaint’s “Fortune Teller”. I first heard this via the blistering version on The Who’s “Live at Leeds” album and the excellent Freakbeat take on the song by the under-rated Tony Jackson Group. It was a great evening’s entertainment, so enjoyable in fact that I can only feel a bit disappointed that they will be calling it a day. However, it is fitting that their very last show will be at the new home of the legendary Crawdaddy Club in Richmond on Friday August 21st so keep an eye on their web-site for more news and try and catch them while you can. Now, over to Paul...

The Others photographed by Paul Slattery
"I was 14 in October 1964 when The Others released "Oh Yeah", their only recording on Fontana records. What made the record special for me was that the band were still students at Hampton Grammar School, the very school I was attending and for many of us the new sounds of Rock and Roll were having a huge effect on us. For the first time kids wanted to be different from their parents, they wanted to think differently, dress differently and grow their hair long, causing a massive social change. Many of our parents were horrified and the constant battles I and many other boys had with out parents and our teachers about our hair length and choice of music still remains with me. We knew who The Others were at school although we were far too young and insignificant to talk to them - we just admired them and wanted OUR hair that long too. They were three or four years older than us, the same age as Brian May, who also went to Hampton, and they were all following in the footsteps of Jim McCarty and Paul Samwell-Smith who had started The Yardbirds in the summer of ’63. We all went out and bought a copy of the record and played it to death, but I never managed to see The Others play live. In fact I had to wait over fifty years to see them play the gig at Sunbury Cricket Club last week,  and I was not disappointed as the gig was a scorcher. These guys all in their late sixties ooze rock and roll and show that half a century after they got together they can still rock with the best of them.

The Others photographed by Paul Slattery
The Others will be continuing to gig this year and will be playing at the Eel Pie Club this Thursday 30th April. Check out their website for future gigs.  Their CD "Gold" is a real classic chock full of  R'n'B gems and  you can read a fantastic interview with The Others about life in a schoolboy rock band and the burgeoning Richmond music scene of the Crawdaddy Club and Eel Pie Island, in an article in "Ugly Things" which you can download from The Others website here."

Photo by Paul Slattery
With thanks to Paul for the words and photographs. All photos copyright Paul Slattery 2015.

Tuesday 21 April 2015

Fogbound & The Magnetic Mind at the New Untouchables Le Beat Bespoké Weekender Saturday April 04th

The Magnetic Mind - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog 2015
Saturday afternoon at Le Beat Bespoké Weekender started off somewhat more sedately than the Friday with a vintage clothes and record market in one of the smaller rooms at the 299. I came across a stall by the always excellent Soundflat Records and bumped into Laurence from The Sonic Jewels and his girlfriend who were manning a retro clothing stall. I bought a neat paisley scarf and got a copy of the Jewels’ excellent new E.P. “By The Light of Woland’s Candle” included, which was a very welcome bargain! Then the entertainment continued with DJ Graham Lentz playing a great selection of tracks including Retro Man Blog favourites The Solarflares and The Travellers, amongst many others. The Magnetic Mind took the stage to ease the cobwebs and hangovers away with a blissful set of melodic pastoral Psychedelia that went down very well with the attentive crowd.

The Magnetic Mind - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog 2015
The Magnetic Mind - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog 2015
Based around the harmonizing vocals of the alluring Ellie Foden and bassist Paul Milne and topped off by some superb Vox Jaguar organ work by Sarah Lou, the band provided a perfect pick-me-up for those that might have been flagging after a very late night. Although with the vocal melodies they do evoke comparisons with the Mamas & The Papas, that’s not to say The Magnetic Mind will only appeal to laid-back hippies. There was a nice edge to their sound with more than a hint of Shocking Blue and they could also turn up the fuzz with a couple of tracks veering into 13th Floor Elevators territory. The songs that really stood out for me were “When The Morning Comes” and “Stay Away From The Door”. The Magnetic Mind will be releasing their debut album "The Magnetic Mind...Is Thinking About It" soon and judging by the set they played this afternoon, that’s going to be something well worth getting hold of. I was really impressed and picked up both of their 7” vinyl singles and will be sure to play a track or two by the band in the next Retrosonic Podcast.

Fabio & Borja of Fogbound - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog 2015
Next up were Spanish band Fogbound, I’d already played a track in Episode 13 of Retrosonic Podcast previously but this was the first time I’d seen them live. From hearing the debut single I had kind of imagined them to be more of a "shoe-gazing" proposition as both tracks "Come and Play" and "Whispering Corridors" were quite ethereal with falsetto vocals that washed over you. However, on stage Fogbound confounded my expectations, they rocked out quite spectacularly and ended up with squalls of feedback and front-man Fabio playing guitar behind his head and then balancing it on his shoulders. Their powerful Drummer Pablo was excellent, a bearded John Belushi look-alike who pounded his kit so hard they had to get some extra weights to stop the kit moving forwards.

Fogbound (L/R) Fernando, Fabio, Pablo & Borja - Photo Retro Man Blog
Pablo also broke a drumstick and half of it flew towards me narrowly missing my fragile head. I hope I never have to write a bad review of the band! Keyboard player Fernando was also all action, half hidden under a large Afro he played the organ as though he was a lead guitarist, leaping about and bashing the keyboard to great effect. Borja did not play the traditional role of the quiet bassist in the background, both he and Lead vocalist and guitarist Fabio threw shapes and immersed themselves in the music and it was good to see a nice chemistry and confidence coursing through the band. Fabio was great, with a mop of hair and decked out in orange trousers and frilled purple shirt he was a blur of colourful energy throughout and a proved to be a quite excellent guitarist too.

Fogbound - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog 2015
There’s a nice Eastern influence on their overall sound and this is particularly apparent on the new single "Purple Wax" and even in their choice of cover, a brilliant version of The Attack’s “Strange House”. In a dynamic and exhilarating hour-long set the band veer from the soulful organ driven sound of “Castles In A Sandbox” that is part Small faces and part The Prisoners, to tuneful Psych Pop such as the rather excellent “Maybe No”. Although Fogbound are of course influenced heavily by the past, rather like The Soundtrack of Our Lives or The Charlatans, they twist their reference points into something undoubtedly fresh and contemporary sounding. All of this, allied with the impressive quality of the band's song-writing, could see Fogbound pick up a sizeable following.

Fogbound - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog 2015
So overall I was really impressed with Le Beat Bespoke, it was extremely well organized by Rob Bailey and his New Untouchables team, and despite having reservations about the venue following my run in with the security there at last year's Graham Day gig, I must admit it worked really well for such an event. It was just a shame we could not be there for all three days, but hope to rectify that next year. So, I’d really recommend you joining the New Untouchables network, you can sign up to their mailing list here for news on their many and varied gigs, club nights and happenings.

Fogbound - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog 2015
For more photos of Le Beat Bespoké please visit the Retro Man Blog Facebook page and if you are not already following, hit “Like” and “Get Notifications” for access to the exclusive Photo Album.

Borja of Fogbound - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog 2015
Fogbound - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog 2015
Videos of both bands filmed at Le Beat Bespoké can be found at the Retro Man Blog YouTube channel. With thanks to Rob Bailey. All photos and videos copyright Retro Man Blog 2015.

Thursday 16 April 2015

The Loons, Kaleidoscope & The Misunderstood at Le Beat Bespoké Weekender Friday April 03rd

The Loons - Photo by Retro Man Blog
I’ve been a big fan of The Loons ever since their debut album "Love’s Dead Leaves", and not just because it was produced by Ebbot Lundberg of The Soundtrack of Our Lives. Frontman Mike Stax is also responsible for the superb "Ugly Things" magazine which once boasted an immense feature on Soundtrack’s previous incarnation, Union Carbide Productions and included a copy of TSOOL’s debut E.P. for subscribers. So, I was thrilled to finally get to see the Californian-based band play live. Actually, the Friday night of the New Untouchables Le Beat Bespoké Weekender was the place to be for Loons fans, as not only did the band open proceedings as “themselves” but they also headlined as the backing band for Glenn Ross Campbell’s The Misunderstood. But back to the beginning of the evening and The Loons took the stage and treated us to a perfectly paced set of their concise and tuneful Garage Rock nuggets that despite the early start, warmed up the growing crowd nicely.

The Loons, Mike Stax & Anja - Photo by Retro Man Blog
Unfortunately, there are no songs from their debut album in tonight's set, so I don't get to hear "Not The Same Girl" or "Insecurity Smasher", which was a bit of a shame for me, as they've been long time favourites. However, with the majority of the set filled with songs from their excellent album "Inside Out Your Mind" I can’t really complain too much! The slightly melancholic strains of “Moon and Tide” were a particular favourite as was the frantic “Picture Book” Kinks riffing of "Siren City". The band played both sides of their brand new Dirty Water Records single “Miss Clara” and “Alexander” which were really well received and “Diamonds, Garbage and Gold”, the only track from “Red Dissolving Rays of Light”. Mike is an all-action front-man, a blur of energy with his “Acid Blues” scrawled tambourine. Next to him is Anja on the Rickenbacker bass, a study of cool in her blue mini-dress drawing admiring comments from guys and girls around me in the crowd. They play two cover versions, a rousing and raucous run through of the Sons of Adam’s “Saturday’s Son” which is really excellent as is their set closer, the somewhat more familiar “You’re Gonna Miss Me” by the 13th Floor Elevators. The band leave the stage to a great round of applause, unfortunately there’s no encore but luckily it won’t be the last we will see of The Loons tonight.

Peter Daltrey of Kaleidoscope - Photo by Retro Man Blog
Next up were Kaleidoscope, and like The Misunderstood they took the stage represented by just the one original band member, in this case vocalist Peter Daltrey, who announced “don’t worry, we’ll play all your favourites”. He has assembled a great young band around him that include members of The Trembling Bells and a superb sitar player, Graham Gordon, who all do considerable justice to the old Kaleidoscope material, beefing up the songs and adding a bit of power to proceedings. The set is packed full of melodic songs such as "In The Room of Percussion", "Faintly Blowing" and "Snapdragon" with choruses that stick in the head and prove perfect for the crowd to sing along to, which many did with great enthusiasm. Peter’s voice was on top form and he was a charming and engaging front-man and when he introduced original drummer Danny Bridgland on the bongos, there was a surge of warm applause. Actually Danny and Peter go back even further than Kaleidoscope, right back to their days in The Sidekicks, who once supported The Who in the early 60’s.

Kaleidoscope - Photo by Retro Man Blog
There are three excitable ladies in front of me waving at Danny and cheering loudly every time he is in the spotlight. The youngest one of the three has tears in her eyes and another turns to me as though to apologize for their behaviour. I notice the look of pride and affection in her face as she gestures towards Danny and tells me, "That’s my Dad…!" It was a nice moment. Peter mentions that "Bordeaux Rosé" has been snapped up for a long term French wine advertising campaign, it’s one of a few Fairfield Parlour songs that are played throughout the set, but to be honest I am not so familiar with them. It’s really the Kaleidoscope songs that make more of an impact on me and “Dive Into Yesterday” and “Flight From Ashiya” are both really special. After a superb version of “A Dream of Julie” Peter says "I wish you'd all been around at the time, you might have bought the record and made it a hit!" Peter Daltrey is also busy with various solo projects, artwork and books which you can check out at the comprehensive Chelsea Records site here. I just hope he’s not too busy to prevent us from seeing more of Kaleidoscope in the near future.

The Misunderstood (The Loons & Glenn Ross Campbell) - Photo by Retro Man Blog
Next up, The Loons reappeared as The Misunderstood with the band’s original pedal steel guitarist Glenn Ross Campbell. You could sense that Mike was as thrilled to be on stage as we were to be witnessing it. After all, in 2004 he released a compilation of previously unreleased Misunderstood tracks called "Lost Acetates 1965-1966" on his Ugly Things record label and has written exhaustively on the band’s history over various issues of Ugly Things magazine. Campbell’s unique pedal steel guitar swooped and screamed like a Stuka dive bomber, a full-on Blitzkrieg of mind (and ear) bending sounds, particularly on the classic “Children of The Sun” which was quite phenomenal. “I Can Take You To The Sun” was another highlight as was a storming version of "My Mind".

The Misunderstood - Photo by Retro Man Blog
The band’s legacy and influence has certainly outstripped their somewhat meagre recorded output, so the set was unfortunately quite short, but the intensity of the performance more than made up for the brevity. They play a Loons track “Red Dissolving Ray of Light” from the album of the same name on which Campbell played his pedal steel, and I’m guessing that’s where the idea of a further collaboration was formulated. For the well-deserved encore the band are then joined on stage by another original Misunderstood member, guitarist Tony Hill and also Ray Own, Glenn Ross Campbell’s band-mate from Juicy Lucy who he formed on leaving The Misunderstood, and they treat us to another blistering take of their version of "Who Do You Love?" It was a triumph and the crowd lapped it up, so it seemed did Mike Stax, beaming brightly with the look of a true music fan living out the dream of sharing a stage with their musical heroes.   

The Misunderstood - Photo by Retro Man Blog
The night was far from over and the action moved to the smaller adjacent venue for some more drinking and dancing to some excellent Psych and Soul sounds from the guest DJs and the Le Beat Bespoké organizer Rob Bailey. Two of The Meyer Dancers took the stage for a couple of eye-catching Go-Go routines and then it was back to the dancing…and the drinking…!

The Meyer Dancers - Photo by Retro Man Blog
I’d really recommend you joining the New Untouchables network, you can sign up to their mailing list here for news on their many and varied gigs, club nights and happenings. For more photos of the afternoon at Le Beat Bespoke please visit the Retro Man Blog Facebook page and if you are not already following hit “Like” and “Get Notifications” for access to the exclusive Photo Album.

Beat Bespoké Organizer Rob Bailey thanks the crowd - Photo by Retro Man Blog
More videos can be found at the Retro Man Blog YouTube channel. With thanks to Rob Bailey. All photos and videos copyright Retro Man Blog 2015. Part 2 of the feature will follow soon...

Monday 13 April 2015

Retrosonic Podcast with The Soundtrack of Our Lives ex-band mates Ian Person & Fredrik Sandsten on their new projects

In this special edition Retrosonic Podcast, Steve from Retro Man Blog talks to ex-Soundtrack of Our Lives band-mates Ian Person and Fredrik Sandsten about their forthcoming collaboration with Jerry Williams. The album “Ghost Rider” sees the 72 year old Swedish Rock and Roll legend, backed by a band including Ian, Fredrik and Kalle Gustafsson Jerneholm, covering songs by acts such as Suicide, The Stooges and Danzig. The Podcast also coincides with the start of a Pledge Music campaign to launch Ian’s debut solo album and he explains the details behind this and the various options on offer. With Fredrik now working as a cultural ambassador for Gothenburg, we discuss the city’s undoubted influence on their lives and music. Along the way we cover such topics as the importance of Svenska Grammofon Studion, the documentary about the IFK Göteborg football team “Fotbollens Sista Proletärer” and the recent music-related TV drama “Viva Hate”, all based in the city. 

Fredrik, Kalle & Ian photographed by Paul Slattery
As well as discovering the concept behind the new Jerry Williams album, we chat about some other collaborations such as working with the Scandinavian super-star Håkan Hellström and Nina Persson from The Cardigans. Fredrik and Ian also talk frankly about the reasons behind The Soundtrack of Our Lives split and the effect it had on both of them. Generously sound-tracked by a selection of great music, including some exclusive tasters from “Ghost Rider”, the Podcast is now available to listen to and download from our Retrosonic Soundcloud site or via iTunes.   

Soundtrack of Our Lives fans might also enjoy these four special edition Retrosonic Podcasts with Ian Person, Mattias Bärjed, Mattias Hellberg and the “Fotbollens Sista Proletärer” special, where we interview the movie’s director and writer and ex-IFK and Liverpool FC legend Glenn Hysén. All are available to download for free in our Soundcloud archive or at the iTunes store.

Fredrik Sandsten photographed at Slussens Pensionat by Paul Slattery
With many thanks to Ian and Fredrik. Colour photos copyright Paul Slattery.

Sunday 12 April 2015

The Wicked Whispers to play The Old Blue Last, London on Thursday April 16th

The hotly tipped Liverpool based Psychedelic outfit The Wicked Whispers will be playing at The Old Blue Last in London's Shoreditch on Thursday April 16th to promote their latest single "Maps of The Mystic". The single is out on Electone Records and is the title track of their debut album which was produced by the band's singer/songwriter Mike Murphy and engineered by Steve Powell at Liverpool's Tracks Studio. Steve has previously worked with The Stairs and with the Liverpool legend Michael Head on his post-Shack projects, The Strands and Red Elastic Band.

Here's the video to the excellent new single "Maps of The Mystic", we'll definitely be featuring more tracks from the band in future episodes of Retrosonic Podcast. So keep an eye out for more news.

You can order the single and album directly from Electone Records here and keep up to date with band news, tour dates and future releases at their official web-site here. The Old Blue Last is at 38 Great Eastern Street, Shoreditch, London EC2A 3ES, tickets can be pre-ordered from See Tickets.

Thursday 9 April 2015

The Urges "Passing Us By/Corners of Her Mind" - New Record Store Day Limited Edition 7" Single

Dublin based outfit The Urges return after what seems like a very long hibernation with a brand new single "Passing Us By"/"Corners Of Her Mind". The limited edition 7" vinyl single will be released by Mersol Music on Saturday April 18th to coincide with Record Store Day and it signals a new direction for the band. These tracks are a taster from their forthcoming album "Time Will Tell" and as they say in their press release, "The Urges have moved out of the garage...!" Fans of their raucous debut album "Psych Ward" which was released on Wicked Cool Records by Little Steven back in 2008, might be a bit surprised to hear that the band have indeed progressed from their raw Psych roots. They have adopted a far more gentle, almost pastoral style of Psychedelia, incorporating soulful brass and string arrangements. "Passing Us By" is reminiscent not just of the classic sun-kissed Californian Sixties sounds of The Doors and Love, but also of more recent acts such as The Coral and Shack. There's a nice cinematic feel to the track and yes it's certainly different to the last time I saw the band. That would have been around the time of the release of their debut album, it was in New York, supporting The Soundtrack of Our Lives and they impressed me a great deal as they slammed out an energetic set of high-tempo tracks such as "Jenny Jenny". It's true, The Urges might have mellowed a bit but don't worry, "Corners Of Her Mind" proves they still have a bit of bite about them. This is a great track with chiming guitar and stabbing organ battling with Teardrop Explodes style brass. It's an uplifting and melodic little masterpiece that should satisfy old fans as much as it will be sure to impress newcomers. Can't wait for the next album!

Here's the video to one of the tracks from the new single, this is "Passing Us By"...enjoy!

The band host a release party at the Grand Social in Dublin on Friday April 17th and then play Mr. Bradley's in Cork on the 18th and Belfast Menagerie on the 25th. For more details on upcoming shows and of course information on the new single and forthcoming album "Time Will Tell", please check out the band's Facebook page. We'll be playing "Corners of Her Mind" in the next episode of Retrosonic Podcast so keep an eye on the Blog for that. With thanks to Luke.

Monday 6 April 2015

David Worth's Punk Rock Cartoons L.A. Exhibition and The International Swingers Punk Super-Group

International Swingers & Artist David Worth - Photo copyright Dawn Laureen
David Worth, the artist responsible for the excellent Punk Rock Cartoons filed this report on the opening of his exhibition in Los Angeles. "I first went to Los Angeles in January 2012 to exhibit my cartoons. The show was organised by Tequila Mockingbird, who is well-known on the LA scene and has been involved in putting events on for many years. I have kept in touch with her over the years and she has had my cartoons on display in Los Angeles consistently in various locations since my first visit. They were on permanent display at The Cat and Fiddle pub on Sunset Boulevard until its closure in December 2014. There is a photo posted by Russell Brand of himself, Noel Gallagher and Morrissey sat in the pub with my Lemmy cartoon on the chimney breast behind them. As you walked into the pub there was a cartoon of Morrissey. I don't know what he would have made of it.

The International Swingers - Cartoon copyright David Worth
I was due to be in LA to display my artwork on 15th January 2015 and just after Christmas it was looking uncertain where the location for the exhibition would be. Tequila had mentioned this to Gary Twinn (He was a member of the Australian group, Supernaut in the 1970s , then in Twenty Flight Rockers in the 80s, and now a member of The International Swingers) and he suggested having them on display at E.B's Beer and Wine Bar at The Farmers Market. With only a few weeks notice the show was put together and Gary said he would put a punk rock karaoke on the night of my show and the following night get The International to play as part of event. The band is a Punk super-group featuring Clem Burke of Blondie, Glen Matlock of the Sex Pistols, James Stevenson of Chelsea, Gen X, Gene Loves Jezebel, The Alarm, The Cult, etc and Gary Twinn.

The International Swingers - Photo copyright David Worth
I arrived in LA on the Thursday 15th January in the afternoon. After checking into my hotel and unpacking I then met up with Tequila and Debbie, who was driving us around and we went to the legendary Rainbow Bar and Grill for a few drinks, then next door to see Headcat, the band featuring Lemmy, Slim Jim Phantom and Danny Harvey. I was a bit spaced out as I had been awake since 2.30am the previous day, along with an hour taxi ride to Manchester Airport, a three hour check-in, a shuttle flight to London, an 10 and a half hour flight and an eight hour time difference and no sleep in between. The following day we went to the Farmer's Market and met up with Gary at E.B's Beer and Wine Bar. The area the pictures would be hung was next to the bar in a very prominent position. The afternoon was spent sorting out which pictures to hang and Gary hammering the nails in the wall and hanging them. The event was very well publicised by Gary and he had large vinyl posters on stands all over the vast Farmer's Market and also had postcards printed up. There was also a feature in the Beverley Gazette, a free paper that was distributed in the area. The event kicked off with karaoke which had quite a few punk songs thrown in for good measure. There was a constant stream of people wanting to get up and sing. This was very well attended. It was a fantastic night and I met some really great people.

Some of David's Punk Rock Cartoons on display - Photo copyright David Worth
The following night it was back to the E.B's Bar. When we arrived the stage was set up ready for the band to play. Gary, Clem Burke and James Stevenson were there already. Glen Matlock wasn't there and bass playing  was down to Steve Fishman. The band played a set of some of their original songs, plus some by Blondie, Sex Pistols, Eddie Cochrane and The Monkees. The place was packed and it was a great atmosphere. At the show I also met Mick Rossi of Slaughter and the Dogs, Ian McCallum of Stiff Little Fingers and Dennis Morris, the photographer who took iconic photographs of Bob Marley. He also photographed the Sex Pistols and early PiL, including the first album cover and designed Metal Box. He had had an exhibition of Sex Pistols photographs on display in LA  a few weeks before. Whilst in LA I also met Rodney Bingenheimer, the legendary DJ. The cartoons are still on display at E.B's Beer and Wine Bar, West Patio, The Farmer's Market, 3rd & Fairfax, Los Angeles. If you are in the area, nip in and buy a pint from the friendly bar staff, have a look at the cartoons, which are also on sale and buy yourself some food from the many food outlets there. The International Swingers have just achieved 100% of their Pledge Music campaign to release their debut album. Details can be found at this link. There is also an animated video I did for one of their songs, F.B.I." - David Worth

David would like to thank Gary Twinn and Tequila Mockingbird for putting the whole thing together. James Stevenson, Clem Burke and Steve Fishman for playing and Dawn Laureen for the photograph. I'd like to say thanks to David for submitting the feature and would recommend checking out his Punk Rock Toons web-site to see his excellent artwork. David's drew his first ever caricature back in April 2010, it was of Public Image Limited and was actually published on both the official John Lydon and PiL web-sites. Things got even better when one of his cartoons was published as a full page picture in John Lydon's "Mr. Rotten's Scrapbook".  Since then David has drawn various bands and people from the world of Punk Rock and other genres such as The Clash, The Damned, Ramones, Garbage, Morrissey, Kate Bush, Iron Maiden and Motorhead amongst many others. He has also branched out in Movie and TV characters.