Monday 29 February 2016

The Charity Case "How To Fall" - Another Great "Long-Lost" Album To Be Released on Trash Wax Records

Following our recent feature on The Shockwaves album which was hidden in the vaults for almost thirty years until it was rescued and released by the excellent Trash Wax Records - the label is at it again with another top notch re-issue. Again they have plundered the 1980's underground Garage Rock scene to bring us "How To Fall" by The Charity Case a band formed from the ashes of the heavily-quiffed Klub Foot regulars The Sting-Rays with the addition of the alluring vocalist She Rocola who, according to the Melody Maker in 1988, was the "heart wrenching combination of a singer that sounds like Deborah Harry while looking like Juliette Greco". This collection of long-lost tracks is a real treasure trove of delights that might at first be a surprise to those who were used to The Sting-Rays ultra frenetic mix of Psychobilly and Garage Rock mayhem. On some tracks such as "Victory Gin" there is a slightly off-kilter and occasionally unsettling battle going on between the shards of angular guitar riffing and some quite remarkable drumming that teeters on the edge of control. She's voice can be at once all glacial and Nico-like on "Thank God You're Gone" but then completely thaw out on the warm and soulful "Goodbye To All That", one of the album's highlights for me. A jangling, almost Paisley Underground guitar drives both "Don't Worry" and the superb "How To Fall" along at a fair speed and both are reminiscent of the tuneful and criminally underrated Medway band The Dentists. "Positively Negative" is a great timeless Garage Rocker that sounds as fresh today as it must have done when it was first recorded. I think the joyfully upbeat and catchy "Only Lovers Alive" features She's best vocal performance on the album, she really seems to let loose on this and it would have made a classic 7" single release that's for sure.

You can get more information and order the album from Trash Wax Records on-line store here. We'll certainly be keeping an eye on what other interesting rarities the label is considering next!

She Rocola went on to form Minxus, The Tropics Duo and She Rocola Six, whose album "Six Of The Best" is available to buy at their official Bandcamp site here. Thanks to She and Trash Wax.

Sunday 28 February 2016

The Shockwaves "No Way In No Way Out" Album Released on Trash Wax Records Almost 30 Years After Recording!

The Shockwaves "No Way In No Way Out" album has certainly taken some time to finally see the light of day, almost thirty years in fact! After coming to the attention of The Cannibals' Mike Spenser following gigs at his Garage Rock club nights at the much missed Hammersmith Clarendon back in the mid-80's, he invited the band to record an album for his fledgling label Hit Records. Mike booked Cherry Studios and roped in his friend Dave Goodman as producer. Although Goodman might be better known as the engineer who recorded the Sex Pistols early "Never Mind The Bollocks" sessions, apparently The Shockwaves were more impressed by the fact that he had worked with The Sid Presley Experience! Influenced by The Vibes and The Purple Things, The Shockwaves played at venues such as the Clarendon and the Sir George Robey supporting bands like The Guana Batz. Unfortunately, Hit Records folded before Mike could release the album and the band split up amicably soon after. So it seemed that was very much the last we would hear of The Shockwaves, although various band members would go on to be involved with Orbital, Alabama 3, The Shamen and The Dustaphonics amongst others. However, fast forward some thirty years and 80's Garage Trash scene specialists Trash Wax Records contacted the band with an offer to finally release the long-lost album and have put it out as a very limited 250 copies pressing. You can order "No Way In No Way Out" here and check out the comprehensive Shockwaves story at the excellent "Trash, Garage, Garbage & Other Delights" web-site here. "No Way In No Way Out" is a collection of eight manic, wired classic 80's Trash Rock tracks that still sound fresh and exciting today. The songs have more in common with the discordant tones of bands such as Bone Orchard, Gallon Drunk and The Membranes rather than the Punked-up Rock 'n' Roll of the Psychobilly scene or the more traditional 60's Nuggets influenced R'n'B of many of their contemporaries and it's well worth getting hold of.

Mike Spenser is currently hosting Trash Can Radio and you can read tales of The Shockwaves bassist Dan Whaley's interesting and amusing adventures in Rock 'n' Roll at his own Blog here

Monday 15 February 2016

The Everlasting Yeah at The Lexington London February 6th

The Everlasting Yeah photographed by Paul Slattery
Back in 1985 nothing was really grabbing me musically except maybe the Paisley Underground scene and the Garage Rock and Psych revival of bands such as The Prisoners, Hoodoo Gurus, Fuzztones and Playn Jayn etc. There was the “Positive Punk” (oh go on then...Gothic) sounds of The Sisters of Mercy, Flesh For Lulu and Red Lorry Yellow and then a few hard to categorise bands such as Big Audio Dynamite, The Three Johns and Fatima Mansions. So when I heard that the O’Neill brothers, from one of my all time favourite bands The Undertones, were back with a brand new band called That Petrol Emotion I was really excited. I remember getting the single “Keen” with its rather bleak black and grey cover featuring Edvard Munch’s painting “The Scream” on the front. I put it on the record player and placed the needle down gently on the revolving black vinyl. I might well have performed an impromptu impersonation of Munch’s famous distorted face, hands quickly covering my ears as the raw crackling production spat that intense wired riff out of the speakers. The song was out of kilter with the times, bursting with a barely controlled vitriol and it blew me away, I was totally hooked. The Undertones connection was quickly booted into touch – there was no comparison to the over-produced and somewhat disappointing swansong “The Sin of Pride” of a few years earlier. “Keen” was a statement of intent. This is a new band. The past is irrelevant. Then came another blistering single "V2" and the first album "Manic Pop Thrill", which must go down as one of the best debuts of all time and also the most aptly titled!
Damian O'Neill photographed by Paul Slattery
Despite four more superb albums and almost cracking the top 40 in 1987 with "Big Decision" and writing countless other classics such as "Swamp", "Hey Venus", "Creeping To The Cross" and "Sensitize" sadly That Petrol Emotion split up in 1994 without really fulfilling their obvious potential. It was a huge blow, after all their last ever studio album "Fireproof" was, in my mind at least, the best thing they had released since "Manic Pop Thrill". It was packed with some of the most stunning songs the band had ever written, I mean just looking at the track listing now there's "Big Human Thing", "Last Of The True Believers", "Infinite Thrill", "Speed Of Light" and the single "Detonate My Dreams" which all showed a band on top form. However, they called it a day and joined my growing list of criminally underrated and unappreciated bands that I always seem to fall in love with. I could rant on about the sordid injustice of the music business and the stifling of originality and individualism but sod it, I despair sometimes. The real kick in the teeth though was despite all that, That Petrol Emotion just wrote perfect Pop music, why weren't they huge...!? Do people have cloth ears…!? So, in the end I was left to mourn another band. But then fast forward to 2008 and there was a glimmer of hope when the band did get back together for a promising and well received reunion. But this proved ultimately short-lived as Seattle based singer Steve Mack couldn't commit long-term due to family and logistical reasons rather than anything musical from what I can gather. 

Raymond Gorman photographed by Paul Slattery
But then last year out of the blue, just as that debut single "Keen" ripped it all up for me some thirty years earlier, so did my first listen to "Anima Rising" a new album by a band called The Everlasting Yeah who I found out were basically That Petrol Emotion just not quite as I knew them. Other than Steve Mack, who was not involved, here was the line-up from the "Fireproof" album and the reunion shows, Damian O’Neill and Raymond Gorman on guitars, Ciaran McLaughlin on drums and Brendan Kelly on the bass. So, how do you replace Steve Mack’s distinctive vocals and hugely infectious, charismatic energy? Well the answer is you don’t. In a refreshing move The Everlasting Yeah didn’t go out and search for a Steve Mack-alike and decided to carry on as a four piece with Raymond taking on most of the lead vocal duties. The powerful and unfussy production on "Anima Rising", with its timeless sound of crunching guitars, growling bass and brilliantly captured drums, force each individual band member's undoubted talents into the spotlight. Raymond clearly relishes the task of taking on the bulk of the singing but The Everlasting Yeah present a united front and it works perfectly well. Ciaran sings lead vocals on the gorgeous “Everything’s Beautiful” and Damian and Brendan provide sterling backing vocals throughout. It’s these vocal harmonies that elevate the songs to another level and even after first listen they get lodged in your head, quickly becoming as familiar as the hits and classics from the impressive back catalogue of their previous bands.

Ciaran McLaughlin photographed by Paul Slattery
I hadn’t looked forward to a gig so much for ages, I was intrigued to see how the band would work on stage and how they would compile a set out of a debut album that after all only consisted of seven songs. First of all it was encouraging to see The Lexington was packed out and positively bristling with anticipation as the band took the stage and kicked off with a new song “Myself When I Am Real” that surfs in on a riff that’s not too dissimilar to the next number the album opener "A Little Bit of Uh-Huh & A Whole Lotta Oh Yeah". It’s this track that could well become the band’s signature tune, a relentlessly upbeat singalong that distills the essence of all that glorious melodic guitar Pop that both That Petrol Emotion and The Undertones specialised in. Standing right at the front of the stage the first thing that hits me is Ciaran’s quite stunning drumming, which is a sight and sound to behold. With his call-centre head mic allowing him to divide his time equally between some impressive vocals and hitting the skins, he is not content to take a back seat. "Hoodlum Angels" is a slow groove riding along on a funky rhythm guitar riff topped off with some marvellous falsetto backing vocals. The band are locked in tight despite not having played a gig in quite some time and just like the album tonight’s sound at The Lexington is spot on, allowing each band member to be heard loud and clear. Another great new song "Whatever You Do Say Nothing" is well received, in fact all the new songs played tonight, the other two being "Dylan 65" and "Hurricane Nation", promise that the follow up to "Anima Rising" is going to be even better and at no point does the audience's attention wander. Thinking about it, all of The Everlasting Yeah's songs are quite cinematic, they are well plotted with interesting diversions and little red herrings thrown in along the way that merge back together with a satisfying pay off. The songs are allowed to breathe with the band allowing things to drop out and slam back in again. On the album there are tracks that stretch over eight, even twelve minutes in length, but don’t worry this is not Prog Rock meandering, far from it, the songs are taut, bristling with inventive guitar passages that develop naturally. 

The Everlasting Yeah photographed by Paul Slattery
Raymond and Damian complement each other perfectly, trading guitar riffs like Television's Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd at their duelling best. Brendan's bass is prominent and impressive and both him and Ciaran power away with an almost Krautrock Motorik groove. They all look startlingly young and cool too, there must surely be some sort of Dorian Gray portrait hanging backstage! There's a definite chemistry between all four band members which is nice to see, they look like they are having a lot of fun and this increases as their confidence grows throughout the evening. "All Around The World" is probably the most immediate song on the album and tonight it's one of my highlights of the set, a classic melodic Garage Rocker which you can hear in Episode 20 of Retrosonic Podcast. The Undertones of course were not afraid to write emotional and heartfelt songs such as "Wednesday Week" and just as The Velvet Underground tempered their noise with tracks such as "Sunday Morning" and "I’ll Be Your Mirror" so That Petrol Emotion released some truly beautiful pieces such as "A Million Miles Away" and "Heartbeat Mosaic" for example. The Everlasting Yeah continue this tradition with “Everything’s Beautiful” sung by Ciaran and it comes over really well live. "New Beat On Shakin' Street" is yet another cracker of a song with it's hook "First is life, second is truth, third is love and fourth is a peaceful heart" that will stick in your head for days to follow. Maybe my only slight gripe of the evening was that I think they should have stuck with ending the set with "Taking That Damn Train Again" as it built to a quite superb crescendo and it would have been a perfect way to end on such a high. But of course the crowd were left baying for more and the band duly obliged by following that with an encore of "The Grind", the album's twelve minute-plus closing track. On record it is a great ending but live I wasn't so sure about it however, what should I have expected, them to come on and do a medley of “Teenage Kicks” and “Big Decision”? No, I don’t really think so! There's no pandering to nostalgia tonight.

Brendan Kelly photographed by Paul Slattery
The Everlasting Yeah have an identity of their own, they have distilled all of their influences into a concise and individual sound which is maybe something that That Petrol Emotion struggled to do on occasions. They avoid genres and categories which who knows, may well again hinder them as it did with That Petrol Emotion. However, if there was a genre entitled "Intelligent Positive Guitar Pop with Uplifting and Life Affirming Tunes" then Everlasting Yeah would be leading the movement!

Damian O'Neill photographed by Paul Slattery
You can hear "All Around The World" by The Everlasting Yeah in Episode 20 of Retrosonic Podcast and one of our favourite tracks from That Petrol Emotion in Episode 21. There are more photos of the gig over at the Retro Man Blog Facebook page here, just hit "Like", if you are not already following, to access the photo album. Some of Paul Slattery's photographs of The Undertones from back in 1978 can be seen in our feature on the "Good Vibrations" movie in the Blog archive here.

For more info on the band please check out their official The Everlasting Yeah web-site.

Saturday 13 February 2016

The Galileo 7, The Past Tense, Eight Rounds Rapid & The Superminx '70 at The Fighting Cocks Kingston February 19th

Next Friday, February 19th sees a great line-up of class acts taking the stage at The Fighting Cocks, 56 Old London Road, Kingston-upon-Thames KT2 6QA. All four bands have featured at various Retro Man Blog Gigs and in various episodes of Retrosonic Podcasts over the years, and the good thing is this time round it's not one of our promotions so we can go along, relax and enjoy the show without the stress! So there's The Superminx 70, Eight Rounds Rapid, The Past Tense and The Galileo 7 - all great bands in their own right but to have them all together on the one night is a real treat! For more information please check out the Facebook Event page here. Advance tickets are only £7.00 and can be ordered via the Music Glue link here or on the door for £8.00.

The Galileo 7 photographed by Paul Slattery
Headline act The Galileo 7 will release their new single "Cruel Bird" b/w "Nowhere People" on State Records on March 28th. It will be out on limited edition purple 7" vinyl so make sure you get your advance orders in with State Records! We'll be hoping to line up an exclusive play in our next episode of Retrosonic Podcast so keep tuned in to make sure you don't miss out on that!

The Past Tense photographed by Paul Slattery
This gig has been organised by The Past Tense and hopefully they can get more gigs of this calibre sorted in the future, so please come along and support live music, it's going to be a great night!

Thursday 11 February 2016

Heatwave Magazine Issue 2 Launch Party at The Moth Club February 20th with The Anomalys, Human Race & Fuzzy Vox

Heatwave Magazine are organizing a Launch Party at The Moth Club, Valette Street, Hackney, London E9 6NU London on February 20th to coincide with the release of Issue 2. Tickets are £6.00 in advance from this link or £8.00 on the door and you will also get a free copy of the magazine. Apart from the three bands, Heatwave DJ's will be playing a mix of Punk, 60's Soul, Post-Punk and Garage Rock until 1am. So, let's have a look at the three bands on the bill.

THE ANOMALYS (Netherlands)
"Acclaimed as "national heritage" by critics-turned-fans, The Anomalys are truly The Dutch Kings of Rock'n'roll or Slop'n'Drool, as the tequila flows during their devastating live set that must be seen to be fully understood." (Zuma Bookings)

The Anomalys Photographed at Hipsville 2015 by Paul Slattery
"Two guitars and a drum kit is all that this band needed to create one of the most interesting, unflinching rock n’ roll records in a long time. Only bad thing about this record is that it’s only nine tracks long, forcing me to listen to those nine tracks over and over again, and it’s just not enough, I want more." (

"Wild, primal, and mere millimeters from becoming completely unhinged, which is exactly how rock’n’roll should be." (


"Having an opportunity to check out Human Race’s release, these guys have 1977 written all over them with hints of Adolescents and Descendents thrown in for good measure. The tracks are explosive and to the point; however, it’s highly addictive. Human Race offers a style of rock ‘n’ roll with which I identify – an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality. Kudos to these dudes for bringing something to the table that’s not trying to reinvent the wheel, so to speak, but is just good rock ‘n’ roll. More of this approach, please." - Justin Crumpton (Heatwave Magazine/Nightmare Boyzz)

French Garage/Rock band from Paris. They release their new album "No Landing Plan" recorded and mixed in Los Angeles by Andy Brohard & Ryan Castle.

"No Landing Plan" ought to have a disclaimer that warns listeners of the involuntary volatile spasms that follow from listening to the infectious nature of this upbeat poppy garage rock ‘n’ roll. Fuzzy Vox manages to capture a sound that reflects something that borders on rock ‘n’ roll music that is not overplayed. Rather, this group has a garage feeling that is fresh and easily infectious". - Nick Kuzmack (Heatwave Magazine)

Keep a check on the Heatwave Magazine web-site for news on future issues and events.

Tuesday 9 February 2016

Retrosonic Podcast Episode 21 "Can't Help Thinking About Me"

Lemmy, Copenhagen 1987 photographed by Paul Slattery
In Episode 21 of Retrosonic Podcast, Steve & Adam are joined by Rock Photographer Paul Slattery to spin and chat about a mix of oldies, new releases and exclusive tracks. Paul explains how Lemmy influenced his choice of career in music photography and he picks his favourite Motörhead track. One of Paul's photos graces the cover of the brand new single from Billy Childish & CTMF so we give that a play and talk about Paul's work with Billy over the years. Staying in the Medway there's the debut single from Graham Day's new outfit The Senior Service and we're still recovering from our sold-out launch party with the band at the Half Moon Putney. Of course we can't avoid the untimely death of David Bowie and we pick a Mod classic from his time with The Lower Third. Along the way we chat about some upcoming gigs by some influential and legendary British R'n'B bands The Pretty Things and The Downliners Sect plus there's the long-awaited return of The Long Ryders. There's a cracking new track from The Rezillos and a classic from That Petrol Emotion. We go all International with The Stompin' Riff Raffs and The Mayflowers from Japan, there's some raw R'n'B from the Loire Valley and Sharpers and an exclusive unreleased track from Brazil's brilliant Autoramas! Oh, and there's a brand new slice of Psycho Rock 'n' Roll from Dick Venom & The Terrortones! Here's the play-list, if you liked the music we played we'd really be pleased if you could take the time to click on the highlighted links to check out more information on the featured bands.

The Senior Service "Depth Charge"

The Senior Service photographed by Paul Slattery
The Downliners Sect "Glendora" 

David Bowie & The Lower Third "Can't Help Thinking About Me"

The Pretty Things "Don't Bring Me Down"

Dick Venom & The Terrortones "Gun of A Tongue"

Billy Childish & CTMF "A Glimpse of Another Time"

Cover Photo of Thee Headcoats by Paul Slattery

The Mayflowers "Good Times Bad Times"

The Long Ryders "10-5-60"

The Rezillos "Animal"

The Rezillos photographed by Paul Slattery
Autoramas "Quando A Polícia Chegar" 

Sharpers "Hurt By Love"

Motörhead "Leaving Here"

You can now download and/or listen to the episode free of charge from our Retrosonic Podcast Soundcloud site here, subscribe at iTunes or stream at Mixcloud. Otherwise just check this out...

All Photographs Copyright Paul Slattery.

Saturday 6 February 2016

The Senior Service "Depth Charge" Launch Party with French Boutik and Of Arrowe Hill at The Half Moon January 30th - Paul Slattery Photos

The Senior Service photographed by Paul Slattery
Well, I'd just like to start off by saying a huge thank you to the fantastic crowd that turned up on Saturday to witness the first ever live performance of The Senior Service, the gig completely sold out over a week in advance so I, and of course all three bands, really appreciate your superb support. The evening started off with a short sharp set from Of Arrowe Hill whose spiky melodic tunes really went down well. Of Arrowe Hill are a difficult band to categorize but with those insistent melodies, dry Scouse humour and his ever-present Ringo Starr hat, it's not hard to see where singer songwriter (and Rickenbacker guitarist) Adam Easterbrook draws a lot of his influences from. In fact "She Said She Said" from "Revolver" springs to mind as their songs have dreamy harmonies floating over spindly razor sharp guitar riffs. The rhythm section comprises ex-Aardvarks drummer Ian O'Sullivan and bassist Jason Hobart, who both quietly and unobtrusively go about their business, with simple but mightily effective arrangements that allow the songs to shine.

Of Arrowe Hill photographed by Paul Slattery
Easterbrook has quite a bit in common with fellow Liverpudlians The Coral and Michael Head from Shack as it is all about the tunes even though they are sometimes half-cloaked in mystery and off-set against some jarring guitar work or the odd Psychedelic passage. Having said that, on "She's Leaving? (No, She's Gone)" it's all thrown into one glorious headlong rush of a Pop song that Chris Difford & Glenn Tilbrook would be proud to call their own. I must confess that I sometimes get a bit frustrated though, as rather like Robert Pollard from Guided By Voices, Adam's songs can sometimes appear to be more like an Artist's preliminary sketch rather than the finished masterpiece that they promise to be. You see, there are very few Of Arrowe Hill songs that even reach the three minute mark. Just when you get a hold of that catchy riff or ear-worm melody the song can sometimes end abrubtly and you just want to hear more of it or see how it will develop. It's not necessarily a bad thing though and I guess that's part of Of Arrowe Hill's quirky but undoubted charm, they cram more into those short precious minutes than most bands manage in an entire career!

French Boutik by Paul Slattery
When I was thinking about suitable support acts to complement The Senior Service everything drew me towards French Boutik. The only stumbling block was that the band are based in Paris but I took a chance and offered them the slot knowing that they did play in the UK quite regularly and hoping it might coincide with something else over here. Unfortunately at first the date didn't fit but the band made a quick decision to just go for it anyway and I got my wish! The band are currently working on their debut album following a fine run of excellent vinyl E.P.s and are trying to raise funds for the release via a crowd-funding campaign here. I'd urge you to get involved as, judging by the selection of new tracks they played tonight, the album is going to be something special.

French Boutik photographed by Paul Slattery
I think the new tracks like "Le Mac", "Je Louche" and "Le Casse" fitted in seamlessly alongside their more familiar favourites such as "Les Chats De Gouttiere" and "Ici Paris". The usual band line-up of Gabriela on vocals, Serge on guitar, Zelda on drums and Jean-Marc on bass was tonight augmented by Olivier (Popincourt) on the Hammond organ and surprise guest Graham Lentz on bongos and huge smile! Their Pop Moderniste sound was soulful and rich with Serge's superb Rickenbacker guitar work adding a welcome edge to proceedings. Gabriela is an engaging vocalist and backed up by the impressive harmonies of drummer Zelda the songs really took on a life of their own over the Half Moon's excellent sound-system. A sparkling version of "Tiptoes" by Madness was a highlight and the band seemed to be enjoying themselves as much as we were. French Boutik went down a storm with the crowd and I was really pleased for them, they also charmed everyone they met with their easy going nature and I really would like to thank them again for coming over.

Graham Day of The Senior Service photographed by Paul Slattery
So after the great warm up provided by both support acts, the sense of anticipation for The Senior Service was building and I must admit there was a bit of trepidation too. How would an all-instrumental band go down live? Would the crowd be open minded and go with it or would they start shouting out for "Melanie" after ten minutes! Thankfully it all went rather well indeed - songs from the forthcoming debut album "The Girl In The Glass Case" were all short and punchy and had enough variety and groove to keep the audience extremely satisfied throughout. Of course all of the band's instrumental influences were touched on - whether it was John Barry's Bond themes such as their cover of "On Her Majesty's 'Senior' Service" or the Spaghetti Western Ennio Morricone twang of "Caballo Sin Nombre" with the addition of a trumpet player adding that authentic Tex-Mex feel.

Wolf of The Senior Service (and Sophia...) photographed by Paul Slattery
The Booker T & The MG's groove of opening number "Abandoned" got everyone's toes tapping before the crunching single "Depth Charge" blew our minds with it's scorching guitar riff. Along the way we are treated to a dazzling backdrop of movie projections taking in classic TV shows, Psychedelic movie interludes and even a stripping Sophia Loren, during which the band can't help sneaking furtive looks back towards the screen! Tonight Gerry Anderson, Captain Scarlet, Lalo Schifrin, Bullit and Barry Gray are the order of the day, replacing the more familiar Rock 'n' Roll references. There was so much crammed into the perfectly crafted tunes all driven along by Wolf's pin-point drumming and Darryl's inventive bass lines, all underpinning some great guitar work from Graham and of course topped off by Jon Barker's surging Hammond organ runs.

Jon Barker of The Senior Service photographed by Paul Slattery
Each Graham Day line-up has always included a few excellent instrumentals in their repertoire and tonight we get "Come To The Mushroom" and "Explosion on Uranus" from The Prisoners and my personal favourite "South Avenue" by The Gaolers, which was an absolute cracker. The set comes to a close with The Prisoners classic "Find & Seek", Graham knows what we are thinking and approaches the microphone "I'm not bloody singing it! You'll have to sing it yourselves!" And we do!

Darryl Hartley of The Senior Service photographed by Paul Slattery
I'd like to thank the following people for their much appreciated help: Carrie and Staff at The Half Moon, Ian at Damaged Goods Records, Debbie at Muso's Guide, Mark Raison at Monkey Picks Blog, Alan Powell at Down In The Basement Radio Show, Ged Babey and John Robb of Louder Than War, Wayne Lundqvist-Ford at The Ice Cream Man Show on Radio Andra, Alan May at The Glory Boy Radio Show, PJ & Paul at Dirty Water Records and their excellent Gig listings, Artrocker Podcast, Gideon Coe and Mark Radcliffe at BBC Radio 6 Music. Please do take the time to check out the highlighted links if you can, these people deserve your support too, after all they obviously have great taste in music! There's already a great (and impartial...) review by Debbie at the Muso's Guide web-site which you can check out at this link here, she says it much better than I can!

Graham Day of The Senior Service photographed by Paul Slattery
I'd also like to say how much I appreciate the support of the Retro Man Blog regulars and subscribers, especially those that travelled to attend the show...and a very special mention to the Breakfast Club! Of course thanks to my Retro Man Blog & Retrosonic Podcast colleagues Adam and Paul Slattery, especially to Paul for contributing the superb photos, here are some more...

French Boutik
French Boutik
French Boutik
The Senior Service
For more photos of The Senior Service Launch Party please head on over to the Retro Man Blog Facebook page and if you are not already following, hit "Like" for access to the Photo Album. There are videos from the show at the Retro Man Blog YouTube channel at this link here.

Wednesday 3 February 2016

The Vanjas at Sticky Fingers Gothenburg , Sweden January 30th by Wayne Lundqvist-Ford

The Vanjas by Wayne Lundqvist-Ford
Mention Sweden to anyone these days and the first thing they think of is Ikea, well here is another package from Sweden, but this time there are no screws missing! The Vanjas hail from Stockholm on the east coast of Sweden and consist of singer Vanja Lo, Bass payer Bon Ton, Guitarist Mr Magnatone and drummer Swingin' Zack. They serve up a good, honest dish of Rock 'N' Roll in the form of RnB, not that faux style of RnB that you see a generic version of each Saturday night on TV "talent" shows, this is Maximum RnB! The three guys in the band take the stage sporting matching red suits, Chelsea boots, white shirts and black ties, looking sharp, smart and as if they mean business, which they clearly do. They fire up with an instrumental before being joined on stage by singer Vanja Lo, Vanja is also looking very sharp in a late 50's early 60's style cut dress, she later tells me that she "struggles to look sharp," pointing to a ladder in her tights which had probably occurred when climbing over the stage barriers to dance with a young man whilst singing the band's new single "No Tomorrow Boy." However, her neat styled hair, again in a 50's/60s style, along with her dress, would suggest otherwise, she is positively stylish and sharp. On stage the band put on a show, a real show, not just an audible experience but a fantastic visual experience too. Mr Magnatone and Bon Ton are all over the stage, pointing their guitars at the sky and towards the audience in a well co-ordinated, synchronised unison, using as much of the stage as they can, which on the small stage at Sticky Fingers is no mean feat. In fact, Mr Magnatone also leaves the stage and plays guitar in amongst the audience who are all wearing broad smiles on their faces, one guy looks across at me and nods and smiles in acknowledgement that we are both witnessing something special. 

The Vanjas by Wayne Lundqvist-Ford
Throughout all of this at the back of the stage Swingin' Zack is providing a tight beat, pounding the skins. Vanja is of course keeping command over the audience with an attitude and style that is not frequently seen, when she tells the audience to listen, they listen! The band play most of the songs from their album "The Vanjas Sings and Plays Rock 'N' Roll" with songs like "Friday Twist" making even the reserved crowd at the back of the venue start shuffling around, they are also smiling like Cheshire cats and edging more into the crowd with each song, this band could win over even the toughest of audiences and get them moving, why would you not want to join this party? Talking to the band after the show, I asked about musical influences and there is no surprise when the Blues, Rock 'N' Roll, Soul and Punk are mentioned, The Vanjas encapsulate all of those styles and fire them at you at a million miles per hour. When I ask about their style, and they are as I said, very stylish, they tell me how they were chatting in the car on the 5 hour drive from Stockholm to Gothenburg and they had agreed that with the outfits and the stage names they were like a cartoon, which immediately made me think of the Ramones, a band whose name came up in later conversation. 

The Vanjas by Wayne Lundqvist-Ford
It is fair to say that the qualities between the two bands are very similar, whilst the visual styling of the bands are different, the result is the same, fucking amazing! I bid my farewells to the band who are still bright eyed and looking sharp, with the exception of the ladder in Vanja's tights, which isn't really bothering her. I exit the venue into the rainy night/morning, sheltering my newly acquired slice of of vinyl inside my jacket, my beaming grin still firmly fixed in place on my face and head home safe the knowledge that everything I could have wanted from seeing a band live had been checked off and also exceeded. In short, go and see this band, book this band, this isn't the next new thing, this is good old fashioned Rock 'N' Roll, an institution of what is great about music and we should embrace it because The Vanjas aren't going to let us forget it and amen to that.

With many thanks to Wayne Lundqvist-Ford for the review and photos. Wayne also does the excellent Ice Cream Man Radio Show on Radio Andra and you can check out the archive of past episodes at his Podomatic web-site here. You can check out our Retrosonic Podcast Episode from a couple of years ago when I spoke to Wayne in Sweden and we played his pick of some of the best International Power Pop bands that had been submitted to his Ice Cream Man Radio Show.