Monday, 25 April 2016

The Cavemen (NZ)

Review for Heatwave Magazine
Label: Dirty Water Records - Release: 25 April 2016

Bloody hell, these Auckland kids come with a bang! Listening to their debut self-titled album is like being in my own pit, surrounded by savage ghosts from former gigs. I can almost smell the sex, drugs and rock n roll infused sweat and the rotten beer on the floor.

The Cavemen couldn’t have chosen a better name. Paul Caveman with his deranged vocals, Jack Caveman with a possessed guitar, with bassist Nick Caveman and drummer Jake Caveman maniacally setting the beat. The Cavemen are so bestial and ferocious. Their fresh meat pulsates through every vein and gashes lively blood through every pore of straight trash lo-fi garage punk. They don’t give a damn! They pick up their instruments and just rage away.

While their sound has many great influences – the Gun Club, the Sonics, the Cramps, the Stooges, the Gories, Flat Duo Jets, and even Dead Moon, it is their own sound. Their sound is brought mainly through their raving attitude. They describe their sound as being “pure, wild rock n roll. It’s for the lonesome, the outcast, the degenerates of society. It’s Elvis being played by drunks and cretins. It’s four guys who know four chords, busting out face melting tunes.” And who am I to disagree?

The Cavemen’s wailing and shouting a few weeks back at the Unicorn in Camden, reminded me of those dark lit-den gigs from my teen years – same riffs, same drums, same hardcore rage. Perfect to let our frustrations out there in the pogo rumble, throw away any possible inhibitions that none of us had anyway, and freely lose it.

Along with the rest of the audience, I was completely blown away with their 101-wicked-madness performance. Not a goddamn care in this rancid world! They’re wild rabid animals, they are caveman-mad!

The Cavemen are definitely a live band, so make sure you see them next time they’re around. That doesn’t mean, however, you should disregard their debut album. Quite the contrary. For whenever you need to vent out you’ll be running to your shelves to pick it up and let it blast whatever mundane stupidification that is troubling you at that moment out of your system. We all need more of these feral albums in our shelves and ourselves. Desperately, actually. After all, we all descend from cavemen.

Cheers, me hearties, and don’t forget to hug the music.
Penelope York

The Cavemen

Heatwave Magazine

Monday, 18 April 2016

Hipbone Slim & the Kneetremblers – 'Ugly Mobile'

Review for Heatwave Magazine
Label: Dirty Water Records - Release: 22 April 2016

Hipbone Slim & the Kneetremblers are probably the best at paying homage to the great pioneers of rock n roll that I have heard lately. Sir Bald Diddley, aka ‘Hipbone Slim,’ aka ‘the Bald Bomber’, leads the band. He is a magician when it comes to strings and a wild devil on stage. At his side are Bruce ‘Bash’ Brand, a legendary rock n roll drummer with decades of amazing work up his sleeves, and the grand Gastus Receedus on the bass and harmonica. I dare you to check out the backgrounds of each one of these true masters, but be sure you’ll have yourself a good week or two, for these three have been everywhere and done it all. No wonder you can’t find a single fault in this album, for the members of Hipbone Slim & the Kneetremblers have been playing in more combos and records than I have eaten tacos. And I love tacos.

These Brits are truly, madly and passionately everywhere when it comes to rock n roll! The new album, Ugly Mobile, is like an encyclopaedia of rock n roll. There is a little bit for everybody – old-school rock ‘n rollers, surfers, rockabillies, greasers, cowboys, hillbillies, swamp voodoo priests, bluesy garage rockers, you name it! And it’s all packed in a crazy-frenzied, yet very mature punk attitude.

Pure rock n roll and 60s surf rock welcomes you right from the first riff of the first song, ‘Bald Head, Hairy Guitar.’ I’m a sucker for good surf sound, so they got me hooked straight away. They keep going at a steady perfect pace. ‘Ugly Mobile,’ ‘Orangutan,’ ‘Number One Son,’ ‘There’s only one Louie,’ all roll smoothly from blues, to rockabilly to garage through the wonders of surf, illustrating the true history of rock n roll from its early days.

When ‘One Armed Bandit’ comes, I envision myself as a lone cowboy, no, not a cowgirl, on a horse, heading west, following the sunset and my own thoughts. ‘Don’t know where to start’ follows that same galloping tempo that brings us thirsty for the front of a dusty saloon in some no-name town in a western movie.

In ‘Sally Mae’ we’re confronted with a huskier, angrier voice and a raspier garage sound, something we can also hear in ‘There’s only one Louie.’ With the next song ‘Voodoo Love,’ we’re back to a more open and light rockabilly voice, with the guitar riffs bringing us the smell of brilliantine and leather bomber jackets.

‘Hieroglyph’ and ‘Meanwhile Back in the Jungle’ are surf master pieces. I can just let my body linger in between, all warm and fuzzy. ‘Ramona,’ on the other hand, is just fun! It’s that needed fun that so many uptight people need nowadays. I imagine us all clapping our hands, stomping our feet with big grins in our faces. They say Brits don’t know how to let their hair down, but I say bull!

The wonderfully mellow intro of ‘Why Can’t I find (What I’m looking for)’ uses a pretty well-known approach of early rock n roll. It’s easy to give your full attention to the lyrics, which are a true reproduction of the angst shown in the lyrics of the kids back in the 50s. Well, last century, new millennium… Is it really a reproduction? We kind of never left that boat, now did we?

If you want a crash course in rock n roll, look no further. Ugly Mobile could be sent out to space, along with the pioneers of the genre that are up there already, to show aliens how serious we still are about the excitement and freedom that only rock n roll can provide us. Hipbone Slim & the Kneetremblers are intensely trained professional rockers. If you want to try this at home, please do and never give up.

Cheers, me hearties, and don’t forget to hug the music.
Penelope York

Friday, 1 April 2016

The Dirty Coal Train - 'Super Scum'

Review for Heatwave Magazine
Label: Groovie Records - Released: March 2016

The Dirty Coal Train is brilliant and the new freakishly superb Super Scum is a goddamn fine exemplar of their fire.

The Dirty Coal Train is a Portuguese garage punk band, however, to simply call it that doesn’t feel quite right. They help us by defining their sound as raw lo-fi, or more specifically, “raw garage sounds from the underworld.” While the self-defined depiction helps, it doesn’t quite capture the sound. There is loads of blues, surf, 60’s garage, 70’s psych, post punk and a lot of passion and dedication coming out of the underworld’s garage. Indeed, the Dirty Coal Train is in a constant creative quest for new musical worlds. It is this relentless eagerness to explore further down the rabbit hole that ultimately makes great rock n rollers.

The heart of this band beats in two bodies at the same time with Ricardo Ramos, aka Reverend Jesse Coltrane, and his flame Beatriz Rodrigues, aka Conchita de Áragon Coltrane. Together, they are the brave conductors and their train crew has had some of the finest musicians around. This new album is no exception. Carlos Mendes, Pedro Calhau, Ana Banana Coltrane and Eduardo Vinhas aid the fresh new Super Scum.

The Dirty Coal Train formed just five years ago and already has an impressive and extensive discography. Its playground has been in Europe and South America so far, but other flights are waiting, no doubt. Both Rev Jesse and Conchita de Áragon are like tropical storms, their hot blood burning up, not in moves but in their captivating poise and impressive vocals. We can’t be but in awe of their riveting delivery and their stage presence lingers long after they’ve left the stage.

Super Scum – one single album, an immensity of feelings and sensations. Seriously, there’s so much in here I don’t even know where to start. To write a dissertation on every single song would be insane.

The Dirty Coal Train are explorers, all-around gypsies, mad scientists, alchemists. They dissect each and every inspiring universe until they create this mighty panoply of immersive psych-storytelling sound. These universes are filled with B-movies, UFOs and all kinds of monsters and creatures, which are no more than wonderfully well-built platforms for their masterly insightful concepts. The band sculpts their lyrics through well-thought human truths, strategically allusive to the crookedness of the world in which we live. The powerful vocals that are equally shared between Rev Jesse and Conchita de Áragon bring it all to a perfect rock n roll cosmos.

The A-side is feral throughout. We can feel rage, disdain and mockery all in a bowl of straight up clever irony. The rhythm is exhilarating. The ups and downs enhance our senses beautifully. It’s sexy, it’s brute and it’s always alluring.

The B-side is more playful with all its introductory references. In some songs the rhythm slows down a tiny bit, swirling ever so slightly with the drums delightfully sharp and the voices almost laidback. Almost… their raw power, however, is always there – strong, defiant and, at all times, resolute.

Super Scum is an exciting album, a most noble representation of these daredevils, musical risk-takers, conquerors of the old and the new, and explorers of the unknown. The Dirty Coal Train is a fearless band to follow as closely as we can, while it keeps on crisscrossing all possible borders of rock n roll in sheer madness.

Cheers, me hearties, and don’t forget to hug the music.
Penelope York

The Dirty Coal Train