Friday 27 November 2020

Jetstream Pony "If Not Now, When?" - Ms Sheringham-Boom on Their Excellent New 7" Single on Spinout Nuggets

Jetstream Pony, a four piece from Brighton/Croydon, make a sound synonymous with my teenage years, when indie music really was indie, John Peel was god (kind of), and the NME was still worth the paper it was printed on. "If Not Now, When?" greets you with a bouncy bassline, lots of guitar-riffing, and is frustratingly short and (bitter) sweet. The opposing female vs male vocal style (think a post-punk version of Sinatra & Hazelwood) conglomerate to make this a refreshing shot of dopamine which will help to keep us afloat through the final months of 2020. From naturally induced neurotransmitters to the flipside; a cover of 20/20’s "Yellow Pills" which presents as a shambolic poppy-psyche slice of happy bunny kitty pony loveliness. Clearly, it’s not that straightforward, as the title suggests. JP’s take on this unofficial power-pop anthem (thanks Google!) is preferable to this listener’s ears than the original at least, and I’m off for a chemically induced dance around the kitchen. Whilst JP make undeniable nods to various nostalgic touchstones, their sound feels timeless. ‘Schrammelig’ as those in the know say. 

- Ms Sheringham-Boom, November 2020.

You can order the record from Spinout Nuggets or the band's own Bandcamp site here. For more information on Jetstream Pony please check out their official Facebook page here. Thank you to Ms Sheringham Boom. Please click the highlighted links for further information. Ms Sheringham-Boom is the bassist in Edinburgh's premier purveyors of Garage Rock, Thee Girl Fridays

Retrosonic Podcast Lockdown Lowdown Episode 9 with Ian Greensmith (A.K.A. Vic Templar) from The Dentists & Armitage Shanks (and much more...!)

Photo: Jokin Misterklin

For Episode 9 of our special Lockdown Lowdown series we welcome Ian Greensmith into the virtual Retrosonic Podcast studio. Ian, a.k.a. Vic Templar, Herbie Greensmith, Vic Flange or just Ian Smith is not only a man of many names he's also a man of many talents as drummer with Medway Indie legends The Dentists, Armitage Shanks, Ye Ascoyne D'Ascoynes, The Dirty Contacts, Sine Waves, Rubberman 12 and The Nuevo Ramon 5. He's also a DJ, one of the promoters of The Fratcave club night and Beatwave Weekenders, author of the hilarious semi-autobiographical "Taking Candy From a Dog", keen gardener, badger watcher and retired cricketer. So yes, you can guess that this episode is packed full of many fascinating musical memories, inspirations, tales and adventures and, of course, some bloody great music! Ian takes us on a musical journey from his very first memory of hearing Aretha Franklin in the canteen at Butlins in Bognor Regis (he was wearing a red cardigan with white piping at the time fact fans) to the first record he bought with his own pocket money, his first gig and first time behind the drumkit. We learn about the early shows with The Milkshakes and The Prisoners, discovering the MIC Club and some legendary Medway Delta names such as Billy Childish, Graham Day, Russ Wilkins, Sexton Ming and more. There's the stories behind his own bands including The Dentists, Ye Ascoyne D'Ascoynes, Armitage Shanks and Nuevo Ramon 5 along with a pick of the best of their music. Then there's a stash of great tunes from his DJ bag, the gig he would travel back in time for, his perfect LP and 45rpm single and some of his favourite bands that he has put on at his own Club nights and Weekenders. There are brushes (excuse the pun) with Buddy Rich, Mark E Smith, The Monochrome Set and Johnny Echols and the story behind his superb semi-autobiographical book "Taking Candy From A Dog". Includes music from The Dentists, Armitage Shanks, Ye Ascoyne D'Ascoynes, The Milkshakes, The Prisoners, Aretha Franklin, Elvis Costello & The Attractions, Sammy Davis Jr & Buddy Rich, The Fall, The Byrds, Love, Buzzcocks, The Kingsmen, Gary McFarland, The Monochrome Set, The Wildebeests, The Fallen Leaves, Ye Nuns, Ramon 5, Little Richard and The Allisons. So sit back, turn up the volume and enjoy!

Tracklisting (please click on highlighted links below to investigate further)

Aretha Franklin "I Say a Little Prayer"

Elvis Costello & The Attractions "(I Don't Want To Go To) Chelsea"

The Milkshakes "Shimmy Shimmy" & "After Midnight"

The Prisoners "Better In Black"

The Kingsmen "Haunted Castle" 

The Dentists "I Had An Excellent Dream" & "She Dazzled Me With Basil"

Ye Ascoyne D'Ascoynes "Favourite Stuff"

Ramon 5 "Amor Perdido"

The Fallen Leaves "Did You See Her"

Ye Nuns "Cuckoo"

The Wildebeests "Lucinda"

The Allisons "Surfer Street"

Love "The Daily Planet"

Little Richard "The Girl Can't Help It"

Gary McFarland "Fried Bananas"

Armitage Shanks "Look Out Here Comes Uncle John"

Sammy Davis Jr & Buddy Rich "Come Back To Me"

The Monochrome Set "Apocalypso"

The Fall "I'm a Mummy"

The Byrds "Eight Miles High"

Buzzcocks "Time's Up"

Louis Jordan "Bullitt"

You can buy "Taking Candy From A Dog" by Vic Templar from Blackheath Books here. Please check out the Facebook page for The Fratcave to keep updated on this and Beatwave as soon as things return to normal. Please do visit the excellent Spinout Nuggets Records for releases by Ye Ascoyne D'Ascoyne, Armitage Shanks, Treasures of Mexico and lots more Medway related bands.

Ian at The Marquee with The Dentists

You can also check out our other Medway related special Podcasts with Billy Childish, Graham Day, Allan Crockford and Wolf Howard at the Retrosonic Podcast archive here. Retrosonic Podcast is also available to subscribe for free at Spotify, iTunes, Apple Podcast & Mixcloud. With thanks to Ian.


Thursday 19 November 2020

Retrosonic Podcast Lockdown Lowdown Episode 8 with DJ Jawa Jones from Wanita Music

DJ Jawa Jones Photo by Damon Green

In Episode 8 of our special "Lockdown Lowdown" series we welcome DJ Jawa Jones from Monoloco Mixtape and Wanita into the virtual Retrosonic Podcast studio. Wanita is the Indonesian word for woman and is also the name of a night Jawa Jones founded and still runs in London. The night originally launched in Munich in early 2018 with the idea to promote women in music and offer a platform for female DJs to get more involved in the male-dominated music scene. The night was received positively in Munich and London, as it showcased female DJs playing an eclectic mix of music. Wanita focuses on offering female-fronted music from the 50's through to the 80's on vinyl, so it gives the DJs & listeners the incentive to dig & learn about female artists from different genres. 
Jawa enjoys digging in dusty old record stores searching for weird and wonderful music from across the globe, so in her Wanita Music show expect to hear a delightful mix of 60's R'n'B, Rock'n'Roll, Ye-Ye, Garage & Psych with the occasional 70's Punk all sung by fierce & sassy women. Here's the episode, packed full of DJ Jawa's eclectic choices along with her musical memories, experiences and inspirations...enjoy!

Here's the full track-listing, please click on the highlighted links below to investigate further.


Pink Floyd "Dogs of War"

Santana "Black Magic Woman"

L7 "Shitlist"

7 Year Bitch "The Scratch"

U.S.U.R.A. "Open Your Mind"

Beastie Boys "Sabotage"

Sandy Edmonds "Come See Me"

Ervinna & The Stylers "Get Ready"

The Gypsies "It's a Woman's World"

Rita Chao "Hanky Panky"

The Latins "Habibi Twist"

The Cramps "Human Fly"

Les Grys Les Grys "Gone By Dawn"

The Incredible Staggers "Go Go Gorilla"

Les Kitschenette's "Psycho!"

Amyl & The Sniffers "I'm Not a Loser"

LeGrand Mellon "Baby Please Don't Go"

Eileen "Ces Bottes Sont Faites Pour Marcher"

Girlschool "Nothing To Lose"

Recommended Links: 


Monoloco Mixtape

Soho Radio

DJ Honey

Barrelhouse Radio

DJ Jawa Jones will feature on Barrelhouse Radio please check out the Wanita Music and Monoloco Mixtape pages at the highlighted links above for information and updates on upcoming shows.

Thanks to DJ Jawa Jones and Damon Green for the Podcover photographer. Retrosonic Podcast has a valid PRS Licence. You can stream/download from our main site at Soundcloud but all episodes are now also available on Spotify, iTunes, Apple Podcasts and Mixcloud. Thanks for listening, please subscribe so you don't miss an episode!

Sunday 15 November 2020

The Boys on Safari - Feature on the new Cherry Red Records 5-disc box set from the Power Pop Punk legends

My first introduction to The Boys came via the faultless Punk & New Wave compilation album “20 of Another Kind” which I picked up at my local record store as an eager 14-year-old schoolboy mini-Punk Rocker on its release in 1979. I still have that album, it’s one of my most prized possessions even though it (rather embarrassingly) does have my name written in BIC biro on the front cover, a must if you wanted to get your records back after swaps at the school record club. It featured lots of my favourite bands of the time such as The Jam, The Stranglers, Stiff Little Fingers, Generation X and more but it also had some unfamiliar names to me such as The Jolt, 999, The Lurkers and The Boys, who’s tuneful track “First Time” really stood out. Another of my favourite albums of the time was The Jam’s “All Mod Cons” and I remembered on the back cover there was a picture of Paul Weller’s trademark Rickenbacker guitar sporting a sticker of The Boys. So, if they were good enough for Weller then surely, they were good enough for the general record buying public. After all, “First Time” was as catchy and melodic as any songs by the bands I was watching regularly on Top of The Pops such as The Skids, Buzzcocks and The Undertones. Unfortunately, I never got to see the band play as they split up around the time I was old enough and able to start venturing out to my first gigs. The Boys never seemed to achieve the fame and acclaim of many of the other bands on that compilation but over the years their reputation and influence seemed to spiral as all over the world any Power Pop, New Wave or Pop Punk band worth their salt would cite The Boys as an influence. 
The band were formed, like so many others in that initial London based Punk Rock explosion in 1976 from the now almost mythical ‘band’ the London SS, who must have boasted every aspiring Punk musician turning up for an audition. Matt Dangerfield was one such musician but he decided to form a band with Casino Steel the Norwegian keyboard player with The Hollywood Brats whose songs such as “Sick on You” and “Tumble with Me” they would take into their fledgling outfit they named The Boys. By the way, at this point I must strongly recommend Hollywood Brats vocalist Andrew Matheson’s hilarious memoir "Sick on You: The Disastrous Story of Britain's Great Lost Punk Band” a kind of “Withnail & I” meets “Spinal Tap” story of their pre-Punk Mott The Hoople meets the New York Dolls band. Casino’s art school pal Honest John Plain was later joined by bassist and singer Duncan ‘Kid’ Reid and drummer Jack Black and the classic Boys line-up was in place. The band were snapped up by NEMS Records and released two albums “The Boys” in 1977 and “Alternative Chartbusters” the following year. But despite their second and third singles “First Time” and “Brickfield Nights” now being widely accepted as classics they never hit the heights of their contemporaries or even had a big hit such as “Turning Japanese” by The Vapors or “Back of My Hand” by The Jags, similar tuneful Pop Punk contemporaries. The band then signed to Safari Records and remained with the label until their fourth and final album “Boys Only” which was released in 1980. So that brings us onto this new compilation from Cherry Red Records “The Boys on Safari”. Sitting at my computer looking at a play-list of MP3’s of the 71 songs that make up the compilation at first it feels like a slightly daunting task but thankfully when things get going it is The Boys after all, and it makes for a surprisingly consistent collection that even though missing their classic first two albums, still throws up enough gems to keep you satisfied. 
Yep, I mentioned the whopping 71 songs, for that’s what is included in the 5-disc box set that takes in all the Safari releases from 1979-1981 and more besides. The tracks have been remastered by Matt Dangerfield and he also adds liner notes to the included booklet which also looks to feature lots of band photos, press cuttings and example of memorabilia. Some of the rarities were discovered after a studio clear out and a lot of them hadn’t been heard in around 40 years. The first thing that hits me is that the sound is powerful, punchy and clear even on my laptop speakers and testament to Matt’s excellent work with the remastering. So, things start with what was the third studio album “To Hell with The Boys” which is kicked off by a vicious, raucous cover of Khachaturian’s famous ballet piece “Sabre Dance” and they transform it into a kind of James Bond on the Trans-Siberian Express Spy movie theme. This leads nicely into the excellent “Rue Morgue” with it’s duelling twin-guitars. One of the album’s great singles “Terminal Love” boasts some fine heart-tugging vocals and the other 45rpm release, “Kamikaze” has some nice stabbing brass. A swaggering “See Ya Later” is driven along by prominent keyboards and handclaps and I’m really getting into the swing of things. But its “Waiting for The Lady” that is one of my favourites with its naggingly catchy guitar riff, it’s a masterclass in Power Pop and “Bad Day” crashes in on a whopping “My Generation” sized intro. By the time they released “Boys Only” in 1981 Casino Steel had left the band, it does seem to lack his contribution somewhat and I think the album is a more polished, straight ahead Rock album. However, the opening track and single “Weekend” is an absolute classic with its Summery harmonies evoking a drive along a sunny coastal road in a convertible, top down, singing along to the melodic chorus. It’s on a par with the Barracudas “Summer Sun”, The Undertones “Here Comes the Summer” and the Ramones “Rockaway Beach” in the great Summer Pop song list. My other highlights include the New York Dolls, Johnny Thunders strut of “Wrong Arm of The Law” along with “Monotony” and “Gabrielle” which are both high-class lessons in melodic guitar Pop. The Rarities disc includes eight unreleased demos as well as B-Sides and various mixes that differ from the album versions. Usually, I find that unreleased tracks are unreleased for a very good reason – they are generally not deemed good enough at the time to make it onto official records. However, thankfully the “Rarities” here include some real gems and it’s a rare exception to my rule. Actually, it’s testament to the strength of the song-writing that a pretty damn decent official album could have been put together from this collection. For example, “Schoolgirls” is a classic, a great track that was originally written for a children’s TV show. The next two songs show an influence of American proto-Punk, there’s “Jap Junk” which is driven along by an insistent, repetitive piano riff that reminds me of the Velvet Underground’s “Waiting for The Man”. “See You Later”, a demo from 1978, seems conjures up the Stooges “No Fun”. There are a couple of decent slower paced songs, ballads I suppose, “Cry Tomorrow” with just vocals and acoustic guitar and then “Love in Pain”, which adds piano to the voice and guitar. 
Then there are different mixes of “Terminal Love” and “Kamikaze” and two tracks which evoke the Rolling Stones. “I Love Me” is a take on the Stones’ “We Love You” single and a there’s a cracking cover version of “You’d Better Move On” which has a superb Spector’s Wall of Sound feel. I also really like “Jimmy Brown” and although in the liner notes Matt Dangerfield said he never liked the lyrics, it does boast a great line that made me smile, “I wish I could play guitar like Johnny Ramone; I wouldn’t have to sit in the corner of the pub alone”. Then there are five demos from the “Boys Only” sessions including one “Little Run-around” that didn’t make it to the LP, somewhat surprisingly as I think it’s rather good. I mentioned earlier that I think you can judge a band by the strength of their rarities and unreleased tracks but I also think a good barometer is by how good their B-Sides are and “Cool” and “Lucy” included here, are damn fine examples of what B-Sides should be. “The Yobs Christmas Album” is an irreverent and humorous Punky bash through various Xmas songs, carols and originals – mostly given a foul-mouthed twist. The Yobs were actually born out of a legal dispute with NEMS Records, so rather than release the album as The Boys, they just decided to reverse the name and in doing so, perfectly captured what you can expect from the record. If you like The Macc Lads and the Sex Pistols “Friggin’ in The Rigging” then you’ll no doubt love this. The fifth and final disc features an excellent 1980 live recording from the “BBC In Concert” archives and in the introduction, the presenter informs us that the band were fresh off a successful tour supporting the Ramones. Here we do get the classics “Brickfield Nights” and “First Time” as well as a superb run through of “Living in The City” and a version of The Lurkers “New Guitar in Town”. So, all in all I reckon this compilation will be a must-have for even the most die-hard of Boys fans, you can get it from Cherry Red or from The Boys own web-site here
Original band members Casino Steel, Matt Dangerfield and Honest John Plain got back together as The Boys to release the “Punk Rock Menopause” album in 2014 and continue to this day. Duncan Reid is now a solo artist with his own band The Big Heads.

Sunday 8 November 2020

Retrosonic Podcast Lockdown Lowdown Episode 7 with Damian O'Neill

Photo by Rosa O'Neill

As we once again return to an unwelcome period of lockdown it's time to invite another very special guest into the Retrosonic Podcast 'virtual studio'. So, for Episode 7 of our Lockdown Lowdown series I am delighted to welcome Damian O'Neill, guitarist with The Undertones, That Petrol Emotion, The Everlasting Yeah and (as Damian confesses) "guitar gunslinger for hire"! I wanted to find out more information about his recent collaboration with the excellent New York based Power Pop band Baby Shakes and their brand new single "Sweet 'n' Sour", a stomping version of a track from Damian's own solo album "Refit Revise Reprise". Damian and his Undertones colleague, drummer Billy Doherty produce and play on the single which also features a cover of the Undertones "Really Really". We talk about his involvement with Dimple Discs Records, the label he runs with good friend Brian O'Neill who have released "Sweet & Sour" as a stunning 7" single on coloured vinyl. We also discuss and play a track from another excellent Dimple Discs release from Eileen Gogan & The Instructions album "Under Moving Skies" and catch up with news on Damian's latest projects including new music from 5 Billion in Diamonds. Finally, we get a long-awaited update on what's been happening with The Everlasting Yeah. You can download/listen to the episode directly from the Retrosonic Podcast Soundcloud site below or subscribe for free at Spotify, iTunes, Apple Podcasts and Mixcloud.


Retrosonic Theme by Adam Donovan

Eileen Gogan & The Instructions "Echo"

Baby Shakes "Really Really"

The Undertones "Billy's Third"

Incidental music: The Everlasting Yeah "Hoodlum Angels"

Incidental music: Damian O'Neill & The Monotones "Mundanian Dream"

5 Billion in Diamonds "Weight of The World" featuring Ebbot Lundberg

Baby Shakes "Sweet 'n' Sour"

Useful Links - (please click on the highlighted links below to investigate further)

Baby Shakes 

Dimple Discs Records

Damian O'Neill & The Monotones 

The Undertones

The Everlasting Yeah

 5 Billion in Diamonds

Eileen Gogan & The Instructions 

Retrosonic Podcast special "From The Undertones to The Monotones" (with Damian O'Neill)

(with Damian, Raymond Gorman & Ciaran McLaughlin)

Baby Shakes interview at WriteWyatt Blog

Here's the great new video of "Sweet 'n' Sour" by Baby Shakes - enjoy!