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Friday, December 6, 2019

MORE KICKS debut album released on WANDA Records


As soon as I heard MORE KICKS debut full length, recently released by WANDA Records, I was totally sold. This album is a blast! 12 perfectly crafted slices of amazing Powerpop with a touch of Punk thrown in for good measure! Big guitars and hooky melodies are going to please your ears for days. This is a real rock'n'roll masterpiece displaying one catchy tune after another and it'll keep you humming the songs for hours in a row. 

MORE KICKS, baby! 

So it was time for your truly to have an interesting chat with James SULLIVAN, mastermind behind MORE KICKS.

1) For the viewers of this blog who would not know you, What would you tell about you and your musical background to introduce yourself? Can you also introduce the other members of More Kicks who participated in the recordings? 

My name is James Sullivan but most people call me Sulli. My parents call me James so if you want to use that then it's fine by me. I'm the singer and guitar player in More Kicks. I also play in a band called Suspect Parts where I share singing and guitar duties with a beautiful American man called Justin. My first gigs were when I was 14/15 with a band called Ripchord where I played guitar and sang harmonies. Ripchord did some fun things in quite a mainstream, major label world. When that band imploded I was about 21 and I jumped into the world of DIY (although I hate that term) bands, tours and recording. Driving yourselves around Europe playing weird vegan venues and sleeping on promoters' floors. Somehow I am still doing that, but this time I demand at least a sofa.

More Kicks has been a band for about two years, formed when Kris Hood (drums) wrote to me out of the blue to say we should play songs together. He was one of the two people in London who cared about Suspect Parts so he thought it would be a good fit. He was right. I love him deeply and he is the perfect drummer – excitable, slightly eccentric (e.g. baths and decaf coffee) and a total powerhouse on drums.

On the album Marco Busato is on bass. He was our bass player for approximately 18 months and it was a privilege to play with him – fantastic musician, great company. He left the band shortly after recording because I kept asking him to grow his moustache back. So now we are joined by north London guru, Paolo Mantovani. He has the voice of an angel, the devil's left hand and is a calming presence on both me and Kris. Most importantly, he's adopted some of our tour rituals like a true pro – honey, gin and tonic, hypochondria.


2) About the self titled debut full length album, what can you tell about the recording process? Was this a "live" in the studio recording or a track by track recording with lots of overdubs?

We recorded live on to 2" tape in a studio in East London in February. Then it was mixed down on to 1/4" tape and mastered by our friend Daniel. We didn't see a computer the entire time. We recorded everything in two days and then mixed it in 1.5 days. We actually got a refund of 0.5 days because we'd paid for four days.

We did it on tape because it sounds better, we're good enough to make it work, it's more fun, and all our favourite records were done on tape. There's no question in my mind it makes for a better record and a better recording experience.

There is one guitar overdub on some of the songs, maybe a tambourine, an acoustic guitar on a couple. I did some monkey-playing-piano keyboards on a few songs. Then I did one or two takes of the vocals. I prefer doing the vocals in one take all the way through, so you don't have the chance to overthink things. You get a natural performance and you move on. I think I overdubbed a 'WOOO!' at one point.

But otherwise it was a live recording – three people in a small room. There are a few moments on the album where I actually feel anxious that the train is coming off the rails. The speed of recording was partly through necessity – we didn't have money to spend weeks in a studio. But also because it's a debut album – it's supposed to be live, unfiltered, raw, bursting with energy. Then we can get fat, drunk and coked up for the second record. It's a tale as old as time, people.


3) Do you use the nowadays digital recording technology or do you only work with analog machines in analog studios? 

Oh I think I answered this already!

4) How would you describe the music you are playing? If I were to call it powerpop, would you agree with this label? Are you proud of it or do you consider there is way more than that? 

It's so boring when bands complain about the names of genres because it's totally a fair question. But honestly I don't know what the hell to say. If you think it sounds powerpop then that's cool for me! I think maybe I get sensitive about the word because it is EASY to make crappy powerpop. It can be a very lazy genre – too clean, too wet, too weak, too fake. Bad powerpop is worse than the shittiest X Factor pop group because it's more fraudulent. But then I fucking love The Plimsouls, Cheap Trick, Gentleman Jesse, Big Star and people call those bands powerpop, right? I think in the end, my instincts are pop, Kris' instincts are powerpop, and Paolo's are punk. Too much of any of those three elements would be tedious.

5) What is your favorite topic/topic that comes easily when you write a new song?

For me, the lyrics usually come last. So by that point I'm excited about the cool little melody that I created and desperate to start making a little demo. Which means I write lyrics very quickly. It's the classic "I'll think of something proper later and just sing this for the moment" – and then never change them. I usually write backwards too – write the chorus first and then lead up to it with the verse.

I would say that my favourite More Kicks songs lyrically are the ones that work as a little narrative that shifts slightly throughout the song. 'Ain't That Just the Way' is maybe my favourite. 'Blame It On the Satellite' too. There is usually a hint of something broken in there. You can't trust the narrator of More Kicks songs – and that narrator is not necessarily me. There's frustration, romance, arrogance, ego, bitterness. Writing quickly enables a stream of consciousness so you don't get stuck with over-thought or insincere sentiment. There is absolutely nothing insincere or dishonest about these songs. I fucking mean every word, even the ones that don't mean anything.

6) Do you have a new video on youtube featuring a track from the newly released LP?? 

Yes we do! I find making videos to be one of the more painful elements of being in a band (along with general admin and carrying things) but we made a cool video for our song Blame It On The Satellite. Our friend Rizzo filmed us in north London, including at Rockaway Studios where we practice. The idea was that unreliable narrator thing – what you believe is real, what you choose to blame on an invisible force instead of taking responsibility on your own shoulders. The video cost about £20 because we went out for Turkish food afterwards and paid for Rizzo's meal and beer. It was quite literally the least we could do.




7) What can concert goers expect at a More Kicks gig? Are you playin' any famous cover songs during the concert? 

When we're on tour we try to play a song from the country we're in – it's a cynical marketing technique to try and win favour from the audience. We did a Jacques Dutronc song in France, for example. Oh actually on our Spanish tour in November 2018 we were playing Moscas y Arañas by Los Negativos every night and LOVING IT. Then we played in Barcelona and two guys were kindly buying one of our records after the gig. They asked us to sign it and said 'Oh by the way, we are in Los Negativos'! I couldn't speak for a couple of minutes. We had no idea! They were there?! Bizarre and so cool.  Honestly, the gigs are great. I was going to try and make a joke about what our gigs are like, but actually we're a really good live band, haha. We all play pretty well and we can sing – but the good news is we're more than capable of fucking things up too. So you get the best of both worlds.

8) To what kind of music did you listen to as a teenager? What were your favorite bands as a teenager? Name 3 bands that you consider still have an influence on your own work today in MORE KICKS.

As a teenager I was pretty much an indie kid. Supergrass, the Smiths, Jeff Buckley, Elliott Smith, Beatles, Kinks.  I probably became more raw and messy the older I got.

So in terms of bands that influenced More Kicks – and these would be completely different answers if you spoke to Kris or Paolo, of course. But I think the key is pop melodies where there's something corrupting it from the inside. That could be a weirdly discordant guitar, or a strangely cynical lyric. Velvet Underground were the kings of that. Graham Coxon from Blur is fantastic at deliberately sabotaging pop songs too and I will love him forever for that. He was the first guitar player I liked as a kid and is still a reference point for me for what to do when there's only one guitar in the band. So let's say Blur and piss off Kris and Paolo, haha.

I'm deeply obsessed with the Star Spangles too. A song like I Don't Wanna Be Crazy Anymore from the first album Bazooka is an incredibly simple thing – there's almost nothing happening. But the amount of heart and regret in that song and those performances makes me want to punch the air and scream. In terms of heart, they are the band I aspire to.

People mention Buzzcocks quite a lot when they talk about More Kicks. That is a huge compliment as far as I'm concerned. Lyrically, Pete Shelley was on a different planet. Totally fearless. Not afraid to change his mind during a song, to doubt himself, to intellectualise, to be stupid. I'm completely in awe of him.

9) What are the plans for the rest of 2019 and for 2020 as far as More Kicks are concerned?

Well the album is now out so we're planning stuff in early 2020 to support it. We'll be touring in Europe in February, then again in April. Plus we have a launch party in February in London (we're announcing that soon). We want to play to as many people as possible. If you want to book us for your town then email us! We're very polite on email! morekicksmorekicks@gmail.com.

We have some other touring plans that are at a much earlier stage of organizing too. But apart from gigs, we'll start to think about when to record album #2 soon. We have some new songs that sound fantastic and are taking us in an interesting direction.

10) Anything you wanna add? 

Nope, I wrote too much already probably. I'm going to go and have some soup. Thanks for fighting the good fight!

Purchase it without any delay!

PURCHASE A DIGITAL COPY HERE: https://morekicks.bandcamp.com/album/more-kicks-debut-album

PURCHASE A PHYSICAL COPY HERE: https://mailorder.wandarecords.de/

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Roger C. Reale & Rue Morgue - The Collection


Rave On Records from New London, Connecticut recently released the aptly titled "The Collection" featuring Roger C. Reale & Rue Morgue’s discography, with all 24 remastered tracks making their digital debut. Tracks 1-12 comprise the band’s 1978 debut album Radioactive. The band lineup features Reale (lead vocals, bass), G.E Smith (guitar), Hilly Michaels (drums, vocals), and Jimmy McAllister (guitar, track 10).

Tracks 13-24 comprise the previously unreleased Reptiles In Motion album. Recorded in 1979, Reptiles In Motion was meant to be Roger C. Reale & Rue Morgue’s second album. The band includes Roger C. Reale (lead vocals, bass), guitar legend Mick Ronson (guitar), Jimmy McAllister (guitar, vocals), and Hilly Michaels (drums, vocals).

So it was high time for this blog to have a conversation with the man himself. Here it goes.

1. For the viewers of this blog who would not know you, what would you tell about Roger C. Reale and Rue Morgue to introduce yourself? How long were you together as a band? Who was playing what instrument in the band? 

 I signed to newly formed Big Sound Records, Wallingford, CT., in 1977. I already had a notebook of songs that would eventually become my first album, Radioactive, and had started some of the songs which would appear on my second album, Reptiles in Motion.

Big Sound was an American label, which sort of patterned itself after Stiff Records in the UK. That is, they deliberately went out and signed bands/musicians who were a bit under the radar. I was about as far under the radar as you could get!  I didn't even have a band at the time of signing.

Rue Morgue MK 1: GE Smith, guitar; Hilly Michaels, drums.  Hilly was coming off a tour with Sparks and I knew GE from The Scratch Band, another Big Sound signing.

Rue Morgue MK 2:  Jimmy McAllister, Mick Ronson, guitars; Hilly, drums.  Jimmy I met through Hilly; he also was on the Sparks tour.  Hilly brought in Ronson, after Mick had heard Radioactive, and asked if he could come down from his then home, in upstate NY, to play on the next one, which would be Reptiles.

2. About the recently reissued CD "The Collection", what can you tell about the recording process? Was this a "live" in the studio recording or a track by track recording with lots of overdubs? 

The Collection actually consists of two LPs: Radioactive, which was issued on vinyl only in 1978; and Reptiles in Motion, recorded in 1979, and never issued until now on Rave On Records. 

The approach to Radioactive was to record live in the studio with very little overdubs. We recorded all the backing tracks, with live vocals, in one session, pretty much like on the job. Later, GE added a few guitar bits, and I added backing vocals, but what you hear is essentially a live band.  We just went for it.

With Reptiles, I wanted to progress with the same feel, but spend more time on each track, treating each song as its own entity rather than the complete adrenaline rush of Radioactive. However, I was very keen on retaining some sort of identity for Rue Morgue, as far as the energy and the feel of the songs. I wanted the second LP to be seen as a logical progression to the first. The key, for me, was that the rhythm section remained intact, with me and Hilly, so the identity was there; you could essentially put anything on top and it would remain Rue Morgue.

Obviously, having Mick in on the sessions was an amazing encounter and opportunity; we bonded immediately, and he and Jimmy worked out their parts. 

Again, the basic tracks were recorded, but this time, we agreed to return to finish anything left undone. Everyone went their separate ways, and I returned, from time to time, to work on vocals, and assorted overdubs. Finishing Reptiles would never happen, as Big Sound folded for a variety of reasons, and Reptiles remained on the shelf until now.

3. If you had to record new songs today would you use the nowadays recording technology or do you only work with analog machines in analog studios?

I've recorded four CD's with my band The Manchurians and two solo CD's. I'll work in any studio, or use any method that helps me get my sound across. I have no real preference. For me, it's all about the feel. I never go into the studio without knowing what I want, and I work very quickly. Of course, I'm always open to advice, suggestions, but I'm always prepared.

Photos by Robert K. Derosa
4. To what kind of music did you listen to as a teenager? What were your favorite bands as a teenager? Name 3 bands that you consider still have an influence on your own work today. 

I listened to everything on the radio, but particularly Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Bo Diddley. Then all the British Invasion bands:  Stones, Beatles, Pretty Things, Yardbirds, Who, Small Faces, and all the stuff that you had to hunt down because it wasn't being played on the radio, like Jimmy Reed, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, and John Lee Hooker.

Three bands that still have a major influence on my work today:  Pretty Things, Stones, Yardbirds, and WHO...that's four!

5. What was your favorite topic/topic that came easily when you wrote a song?

I don't write songs on topics; I pursue whatever melody, riff, phrase comes into my head...sometimes it comes every day... sometimes you go weeks with no messages. People politics; situations; observations. No particular point of view.

6. How would you describe the music you were playing back then? Was it powerpop? Do you agree with this label? Are you proud of it or do you consider there is way more than that? 

Back then, and now - Radioactive and Reptiles, I consider rock n' roll. I'd be very happy with that. 

7.  Do you have a video on youtube featuring a track from The Collection?

“She’s Older Now” video tells the RCR&RM story while the track plays from the LP.



8. Way back in the day, what could concert goers expect at a Roger C. Reale and Rue Morgue gig? Were you playing any famous cover songs during the gig? 

Rue Morgue (with Hilly and Jimmy) actually only played one showcase gig in New York City at a club called Hurrah.  We played songs from both LPs, and we were well received.  I can't recall playing any cover material at that gig, although we recorded a few on Radioactive. There are no covers on Reptiles, although that band (Jimmy, Mick, Hilly) recorded a version of The Jook's Aggravation Place, which remains in the vaults.

9.  Were there any bands in the USA back then you consider yourself close to musically speaking? 

I tended to identify more with what was happening in the UK at the time:  The Jam, The Clash, Elvis Costello, Rockpile particularly, although, early Cheap Trick and The Raspberries certainly figured as well. Vocally, I didn't really sound like anybody else, so I wasn't concerned.


10. Is there any chance for new recordings seeing the daylight one day soon?

I've never stopped recording. I currently play and record with The Manchurians, and I've recorded two solo CD's. Right now, they're available on Bandcamp. As for a Rue Morgue reunion?  Unfortunately, Mick and Jimmy have passed. Hilly and GE are still here, so I'd never say "never"!

11. Anything you wanna add?

  Thanks Eric; I am humbled that you are interested, and happy to oblige!

PURCHASE IT HEREhttps://rcrrm.bandcamp.com/

Sunday, September 22, 2019

The Abyssmals - "Gospels, Hymns and Other Trash!"


Rescued from a cult and saved by love and rock'n'roll. Read all about it here!

1) For the viewers of this blog who would not know you, What would you tell about you and your musical background to introduce yourself? Can you also introduce the other members of The Abyssmals who participated in the recordings? 

JARPON: The Abyssmals are a five-piece garage psych band from the Schenectady, NY formed in October 2016. The band consists of Bob Forget on guitar/vocals, Boris Cahrenger On bass/vocals, Nick Nigro on drums, Muffy Reyes on keys/percussion/vocals, and me (Jarpon Reyes) on guitar/lead vocals. The group initially formed around a collection of demos (The Abyssmals S/T) I started recording in Spring of 2016 and released that September.  Up until that point everyone was in separate bands that were in the process of ending so it took a bit to get together. Once everyone was assembled, the songs began to take on a new life with everybody bringing their own personality and musicality to them. While there’s definitely a cross section of psych music for us, everyone integrated their own distinct musical sensibilities, styles, and sounds. Personally, the Velvet Underground are my faves, but the stuff that most informs my writing for The Abyssmals is mixture of early Mod/British Invasion, 50’s rock, 60’s surf rock, Nuggets-era psych, 70’s punk, and a little 80’s post-punk.  The Animals, The Monks, Los Saicos, The Stooges and ? and The Mysterians were big vibe inspiration behind the whole idea when I started writing. More modern psych and garage bands like BJM, Black Angels, Black Lips I also love and can be traced in our songs. Also artists like Elvis, Roy Orbison and more currently, Angel Olsen. My dad was a big karaoke guy and I grew up on American oldies radio so I’ve got a major soft spot for dramatic crooning and melodic, vintage pop.

BOB: I grew up listening to a lot of British Rock, started with The Beatles, The Who and The Stones.
I eventually shifted into Brit Pop, Shoegaze, Psychedelic, New Wave stuff like Oasis, Blur, Ride, My Bloody Valentine, Happy Mondays and The Stone Roses. I also enjoy several American artists, The Velvet Underground, The Black Angels and Brian Jonestown Massacre.

BORIS: Hello, I’m Boris and I play bass. My own personal music background goes way back to high school, where I played euphonium for 4 years or so. After that, I went into a pawn shop and purchased a Squier p-bass without even playing it beforehand and never looked back. I’m a huge fan of Motown and Stax artists, and also passionate over rock and roll.

MUFFY: I'm pretty much a tempestuous fan of music so it depends on my mood what I'm really digging. The most impactful artists for me musically though are Blondie and The B-52's. For performance style and aesthetics, the B-52’s still reign on high with that, but I also really love 60's flight attendant outfits, Cher in her Bob Mackie days and any and all drag queens.

2) About your debut full length album "Gospels, Hymns and Other Trash!",  what can you tell about the recording process? Was this a "live" in the studio recording or a track by track recording with lots of overdubs?

JARPON: We recorded in the basement of our friend, Shane Williams’ house.  He was essentially the engineer and I mixed it. Our friend, Troy Pohl mastered it. Side note: Our song, ‘Mansion of Happenings’ is actually about Shane’s house.  When Muffy and I moved to New York in 2016, the first show I went to I ran into Bob and Shane and also met Boris. I’d known Bob and Shane because my old band in Boston, Peachpit, played some weekend tours with Bob and Shane’s old band, Linear North, back in 2014.  That night Shane invited me over to jam with them all at his house the next morning. I hadn’t played with people in months since my old band broke up so jamming with them was great and inspiring. I immediately went home and wrote ‘Death Row Messiah’ and ‘Mansion of Happenings’ the next day and kind of sparked the idea of a band. As for the recording process, we did the majority of the instrumentation live. Bob did a few guitar overdubs. All the vocals were recorded separately at me and Muffy’s house as was most of the organ, percussion, synth and random bells and whistles. I cut together all the weird audio samples. The first bit at the beginning of the record is a mix of a John Lennon clip and Rod Steiger’s Twilight Zone intro monologue.  The sax before ‘For All of Time’ is a recording of our friends’ son mimicking Ornette Coleman.  Other than that, most of what is heard happened in one room together over the course of 2 or 3 days. I’d never mixed a bulk of work like this before so it definitely was a massive undertaking for me and also a huge learning experience.  I probably went through 6 mixes for each song.  I love recording and mixing just as much as performing, but I think for the next record I just want to watch and learn while someone else takes the wheel.

NICK: Recording live takes at Shane's house was a blast and I think the live feeling definitely came
out in the final product. It was an awesome experience to watch the mixes evolve over time.

3) Do you use the nowadays digital recording technology or do you only work with analog machines in analog studios? 

JARPON: Yeah, we used all the newfangled digital stuff. It’s what was available, haha. I also feel like as long as you have a sense of vision about what you want, you’ll get there somehow. I do know we’d love to do some analog recording though. Hint, hint if anyone is reading this wants to record us.

4) How would you describe the music you're playing? 

JARPON: I used to use the label, “Butt Psych” for kicks before, but most folks stick us with “Garage Psych” or some variation of that. We’ve gotten a pretty good mix of bands people have compared us to or hear in our songs. The Cramps, Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Velvet Underground, Beatles, Stones, Black Angels, The Pretty Things, The B-52’s, The Warlocks, The Allah-Lah’s, Dick Dale and even Tommy James and the Shondells have all been mentioned. Our sound gets likened to Quentin Tarantino soundtracks with some frequency as well. I’m ok with it. All of that’s in there and more, I think. Muffy was quoted in another interview as characterizing us as an “inter-dimensional trash prom”. I like that one.

MUFFY: It's true! I feel like we're the cool band that a school got to play at their prom back in the 50's -- but in an another post apocalyptic dimension where the world had ended but yet we as humans are still here.

NICK: It's definitely a mix of what everyone is bringing to the table. At it's core, it nods to vintage rock and roll with some twists and turns thrown in the mix.

BORIS: I tend to keep it simple and tell people we’re 60’s style psych/garage rock with energy, attitude, and style.

BOB: A lot of people throw us in the Psychedelic Garage category but we all bring our musical backgrounds to the table and it just ends up being The Abyssmals!

5) What is your favorite topic/topic that comes easily when you write a new song?

JARPON: There are definitely some themes I end up swimming with a lot. Those would be belief/disillusionment, obsession/addiction and escapism. That may sound kind of grim or heavy, but I like to present them in a tongue-in-cheek way.  I very rarely begin writing a song with a topic in mind though. Usually it begins with some chords, then a melody, then I pull words out of the melody.  The topic of the song will springboard off the first line I come up with so I put a lot of emphasis on having a solid first lyric. Overall though, I try not to think too hard about it. I don’t write very personally or confessional with Abyssmals songs really. It makes it a little more fun that way.

BOB: I normally don't write any lyrics, but when I do it's usually about escaping, struggles in life, space and water. Other times when i'm working on a song I try to create a mood with different guitar lines and effects. Then there's the acoustic guitar approach where I'll be strumming away on something and then i'll just record a quick demo and build off of that.

6) Do you have a new video on youtube  featuring a track from the new LP?? 


JARPON: No new video yet. That’s something we’ll be working on.  I made a video for the ‘Death Row Messiah’ demo I did, but we’ve got some ideas for stuff off of G.H.A.O.T. I guess it’s technically past due for our “promotional” time, but we’re mostly concerned with just making something fun and cool, timelines be damned.

7) What can concert goers expect at a The Abyssmals gig? Are you playin' any famous cover songs during the gig? 

JARPON: Concert goers can expect to escape the realm of earthly burdens and fall head on into the abyss. No taxes, no mortgage, no debt to pay. Just straight freedom of freakishness. They can expect to be entertained. As for covers, we’ve done a few.  ‘Hold Tight’ by Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich, which is a good, classic Nuggets tune. We also did ‘Reverberation’ by 13th Floor Elevators at our album release show, which was shortly before Roky Erickson passed. Probably the most famous one we’ve done is ‘Helter Skelter’. That’s always a bash.

8) Are there any bands in The USA today you consider yourself close to musically speaking?

JARPON: Actually, when I first heard the band, The Nude Party, I immediately felt like we had some kindred sonic sensibilities. I absolutely love that band too.

MUFFY: When I listen to Black Lips, I definitely think we can play a bill with them, they have that stanky southern rock while we have a cheerfully despondent, post-industrial America sound.

BORIS: It’s hard for me to say who we are close to, but we have been told that we sound like The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Black Angels, which is cool to hear people say, as they are definitely big influences.

NICK: As far as more other well known bands go, Thee Oh Sees and Ty Segall match the heavier side of our sound. We also had the good fortune to play with the bands New Aura (Boston, MA), and Psychotic Reaction (Norman, OK) who have a similar feel.

9) To what kind of music did you listen to as teenagers? What were your favorite bands as a teenager? Name 3 bands that you consider still have an influence on your own work today.

JARPON: As a teenager I started off mostly listening to 90’s alt-rock bands that would have been on MTV’s 120 minutes (even though that was off the air by the time I started high school).  It really wasn’t until my late-teens/early 20’s that I started finding my own tastes.  I started getting heavily into The Beatles’ full discography around 16 or 17 and obviously that was huge.  But also right around then I started listening to Elliott Smith and that deeply affected me. It was the first time I’d heard an artist and felt like their music was speaking directly to me. His music made me fully realize I wanted to write songs above anything else. And not necessarily songs that sounded like Elliott Smith but just good songs in general, regardless of genre or style. But as far as bands from my past years of musical discovery that currently influence the Abyssmals’ songs - I’d say the the Velvets, The Beatles, and a dead tie between The Stooges and The Buzzcocks .

BOB: The Beatles, Oasis and The Who were my favorites as a teenager but then I started pushing towards the psychedelic, shoegaze stuff later on. I always loved the songwriting of Lennon/McCartney and Noel Gallagher but I found my strengths were in the lead guitar/guitarist role. Nick McCabe from the Verve was always a huge inspiration for me when it came to the guitar same with Kevin Shields from My Bloody Valentine, they both had a big impact on me when it came to finding new sounds.

BORIS: For me, the first band that I really got exposed to and loved as a teenager was Tool. I was blown away by the rhythm of their songs and the riffs. I also loved Rage Against The Machine, Chili Peppers and in my late teens I got really into The Beatles. Three bands/artists that still have an influence on me today (off the top of my head) are Stevie Wonder, David Bowie and Television. I can go on and on with artists though!

NICK: I grew up with a lot of 60’s rock, folk, and Motown in my house. As I got older I found my
way into punk rock, grunge, hip-hop and indie/alternative rock. If I were to pick 3 bands from early on I'd say David Bowie, John Lennon/Plastic Ono band and Velvet Underground have had a lasting impact on me.

MUFFY: I was in a cult as a youth so I was not allowed to listen to any music outside of American top 40 radio.  It was only until I was rescued about the age of 25 that I was able to diversify my tastes.

10) What are the plans for the rest of 2019 as far as The Abyssmals are concerned?

JARPON: The rest of 2019 we’ll be playing as many awesome shows as possible, working on new material, and ideally getting ‘Gospels, Hymns and Other Trash!’ on vinyl and available to our ravenous fan base for the holidays.

11) Anything you wanna add?

JARPON: Firstly, on behalf of all of us, thank you so much for your listening, interest, and time Eric!  Secondly, I thank anyone who takes the time to read this and listen to our songs. Lastly, to any bands, labels, bookers out in EU who may read this or listen to us: we want to play with you, we want to play for you, we want to release with you!!! Hit us up at godblesstheabyssmals@gmail.com

PURCHASE IT HERE:




Thursday, September 19, 2019

Reese McHenry - "No Dados"


Hailing from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Reese McHenry is a singer, songwriter and guitar player. Her sophomore album "NO DADOS" was released some months ago on Suah Sounds. On this latest album she is backed by a badass rock'n'roll band that delivers some really powerful music. But what sets Reese McHenry apart is not only her brilliant songwriting but also her forceful voice that somehow will remind you of Janis Joplin. 

Purchase this record, it's absolutely brilliant from start to finish.

1) For the viewers of this blog who would not know you, What would you tell about you and your musical background to introduce yourself? Can you also introduce the other guys who participated in the recordings? Are they part of your "live" backing band now?

My name is Reese McHenry. I’m a female singer, songwriter and guitar player. I taught myself how to play guitar in my early 20's to write songs. Songwriting isn’t something I do as much as something I am. The record No Dados was recorded in August 2018 in 6 days at Fidelitorium in Kernersville, NC by producer/engineer Missy Thangs.

The people who played on the recording are Mike Wallace, Guitar. Thomas McNeely, bass. Chip Steiner, drums. Trevor Reece, guitar.

Mike and Thomas are still in the band with me, now with Thomas playing drums. We have Mark Connor playing bass and sometimes he plays guitar and we have bassist Kaitlin Grady with us. When we play as a 5 piece I don’t normally play guitar.

2) About your sophomore full length album "No Dados",  what can you tell about the recording process? Was this a "live" in the studio recording or a track by track recording with lots of overdubs?

I like everything to be live, in the same room, looking at each other. I’d love to do the vocals live but it’s not worked in the past. We have vocal overdubs and some guitar overdubs, but not much.

3) Do you use the nowadays digital recording technology or do you only work with analog machines in analog studios?

We use digital. It doesn’t always sound as good but it much easier and less expensive.

4) How would you describe the music you're playing? Do you call it "Garage rock" or do you consider there is much more to it?

I would call it garage rock-ish with a powerful, pointed singer.

5) What is your favorite topic/topic that comes easily when you write a new song?

I really like the idea of working out the difficulties and beauty of human relationships. I struggle to maintain healthy relationships and I am forever assessing and processing. Songwriting is perfect for that.

6)  Do you have a new video on youtube  featuring a track from the new LP?? 

Yes. It’s called Bye Bye Baby.



7) What can concert goers expect at a Reese McHenry gig? Are you playin' any famous cover songs during the gig? 

We have been doing “if it makes you happy” by Sheryl Crow lately. At our show, one can expect a rock and roll show with great energy and camaraderie on stage.

8) Are there any bands in The USA today you consider yourself close to musically speaking?

I think we share space with heavier 60s influenced  rock bands, like Shannon and The Clams, thee Coat Hangers, The Advertisers, Brenda, Dim Delights and The Muckers,

9) To what kind of music did you listen to as a teenager? What were your favorite bands as a teenager? Name 3 bands that you consider still have an influence on your own work today.

I loved 60s “girl group” doo wop, a Lesley Gore, The Shirelles, The Ronettes, Rosie and the Originals. Any Garage Rock from that era. I also loved Led Zeppelin, Motley Crue, Ratt and Black Sabbath as a teen. I think the 60s bands still have a huge hand in my songwriting.
3 band that have an influence today would be: The Ronettes, Nirvana and The Oblivians

10) What are the plans for the rest of 2019 as far as you're concerned?

We’re doing a tour to NYC and back in October, I’m going out to California solo on November. Our goal is to work on the new songs I’ve written to start recording in February. I want to tour internationally more than anything.

11) Anything you wanna add?

I am happy and terribly thankful to be able to play in this band and we will continue to record and tour until we all get tired of it. So, forever, probably.

PURCHASE IT HEREhttps://reesemchenry.bandcamp.com/releases

Friday, September 13, 2019

Gyasi - Androgyne


In the woods of West Virginia, in an isolated hollow, a young boy thought he was a peacock. When he realized, much to his dismay, that he was not a peacock, he picked up a guitar. "Androgyne" is the debut full length of Gyasi (pronounced "Jossy"), the new face of Glam Rock. And it's brilliant.

1) For the viewers of this blog who would not know you, What would you tell about you and your musical background to introduce yourself? Can you also introduce the other guys who participated in the recordings? Are they part of your "live" backing band?

Well, I’ve been playing music since I was 4. I grew up on a farm in a hollow in the mountains of rural West Virginia, an only child, with 265 acres of woodland with chickens, horses, pet peacocks and a whole world of imaginary characters I would create in my head. My parents taught me to live very close to the land, and also introduced me to the great world of music that came out of the 60's and 70's as well as the folk and blues music that sparked it. The family next door were immigrants from Russia, intellectuals who fled the suffocating Soviet existence and brought with them an incredible record collection and a wealth of knowledge and philosophy that shaped me in many ways as I grew up. There is a bit of a revolving cast of musicians with the group. None of the players on this record are actually part of my current touring band. Ammed Solomon and Gaelen Mitchell played most of the drums, and Dylan Whitlow played bass on one tune. Otherwise it’s mostly me on all the instruments.

2) About your debut full length album "Androgyne",  what can you tell about the recording process? Was this a "live" in the studio recording or a track by track recording with lots of overdubs? 

The bulk of the songs were recorded with just me and a drummer, either Ammed Solomon or Gaelen Mitchell, done very live, sometimes improvised for the base tracks. Then I would build parts on top of that initial guitar/drums foundation. On Bring Your Love I played all the instruments including the drums. Dylan Whitlow, an incredible musician in the band Blackfoot Gypsies, played bass on Young Love. That one is almost entirely live. The more live the better for me. As long as there is a strong performance captured initially, it’s easy to build on. With this record there was never very many overdubs. I think Wilde Childe has the most. The more you can hear the musicians interacting the better.

3) Do you use the nowadays digital recording technology or do you only work with analog machines in analog studios?

This record I did at my home studio on an 8 track tape machine. Most songs were initially recorded on tape and then finished in Logic on the computer. 8 tracks was usually not quite enough for me to finish out a song, but I would basically treat the computer like a tape machine without much editing or manipulation.

4) How would you describe the music you're playing? Do you call it "glam" or do you consider there is much more to it?

I suppose both. The presentation is certainly glam and the essence is glam, but there is definitely much more to it. My favorite glam artists (David Bowie, Marc Bolan, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop) all had a whole world within their music that went well beyond any simple classification. I suppose if there’s any term that fits all of it, it’s rock n roll. I am very influenced by so many kinds of music, but it sort of gets filtered through a glam rock presentation but there is much more there, and there will certainly be evolution to come as well with the next music I’m writing.

5) What is your favorite topic/topic that comes easily when you write a new song?

Hmm, I don’t know. It’s different every day. All depends on the mystery of the moment I suppose. All the subconscious things that I pick up on tend to come out in songs, and it can be hard to predict what it will be. I suppose in looking at my songs I tend to write about certain types of characters, often characters seeking enlightenment through self destruction or rebellion, but it varies a lot.

6)  Do you have a new video on youtube  featuring a track from the new LP?? 

Yes. Tongue Tied, Nightcrawl, and Blackstrap all have videos on youtube.




7) What can concert goers expect at a Gyasi gig? Are you playin' any famous cover songs during the gig? 

My goal for the live show is spontaneity. We almost never play the same set and the songs always change night to night. It’s high energy rock n roll that’s designed for the escape in to the present. I think that’s what audiences are hungry for, and it’s what I’m hungry for. To share the moment together with the audience. We rarely do covers. Sometimes we’ll do Waiting for the Man by Lou Reed. We’ve done some old blues tunes and Moonage Daydream. When we play longer sets sometimes they’ll come out but in general we’ve been focusing on the original material.

8) Are there any bands in The USA today you consider yourself close to musically speaking?

Mmm in the US, not a whole lot. There are certainly elements that we have in common with other bands, but as a whole thing there aren’t many that come to mind. I mean, I love Starcrawler, and I suppose we are similar to them in some ways but at the same time quite different. Also the Lemon Twigs are awesome. I like how much they are always changing their sound and presentation.

9) To what kind of music did you listen to as teenagers? What were your favorite bands as a teenager? Name 3 bands that you consider still have an influence on your own work today.

As a teenager, I was totally obsessed with every nuance of Led Zeppelin. I spent years learning every thing I could of their music. Also The White Stripes. The Rolling Stones were also huge for me at that time. At the same time, though, I was hugely into a lot of old blues music like Robert Johnson and Big Bill Broonzy, and also Django Reinhardt was someone I studied extensively. Hard to narrow it to 3.

I would say all those I mentioned still influence me but I would definitely add Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, and David Bowie to the list. My songwriting and lyrical influence came in my late teens and early 20's when I really got into those three artists.


10) What are the plans for the rest of 2019 as far as you're concerned?

Well I’m finishing the next record now, and we have some dates coming up in the next few months. Some small touring and some cool local shows. Most of our booking and plans are going toward the spring though, as December and January are very slow for the music business.

11) Anything you wanna add?

I believe that covered it. Thanks! Cheers,



PURCHASE A PHYSICAL COPY HEREhttps://gyasimusic.com/store

Monday, August 12, 2019

HORROR SECTION


As soon as I heard HORROR SECTION's debut full length, released at the very end of last year by Eccentric Pop, I was totally sold. All their songs are inspired by 80’s horror movies and the quartet delivers what sounds like the perfect punk rock soundtrack to a drive-in slasher flick but all done with ultra catchy tunes. If -like me you- dig Teenage bottlerocket, The Lillingtons or  Dan Vapid and the Cheats, this record is really gonna be right up your alley.

So it was time for your truly to have an interesting chat with TEFLON DAVE, mastermind behind HORROR SECTION.

1) For the viewers of this blog who would not know you, What would you tell about HORROR SECTION to introduce yourselves? How long are you guys together as a band?  Who is playing what instrument in the band nowadays? 

Hi there! Horror Section is a 4 piece from St. Louis, Missouri that plays Ramones style pop punk all about horror movies. We’ve been together about 6 years. The band is Gabe on drums and backing vocals, Tommy on lead guitar, Nick on bass, and Teflon Dave (me) on vocals and rhythm guitar.

2) About the latest record "Horror Section" released on Eccentric Pop,  what can you tell about the recording process? Was this a "live" in the studio recording or a track by track recording with lots of overdubs? 

Our recording process is a little different from most bands. We don’t live super close to each other so we send files as much as possible. Gabe Usery is not only our drummer but records and mixes all of our material. We definitely use the tools at our disposal to make a quality record. While recording ‘live’ is cool, we don’t have the time or schedule for that.

3) Do you use the nowadays digital recording technology or do you guys only work with analog machines in analog studios?

It’s all digital.

4) Is there a main composer in the band or is everybody involved in one way or another?

The song writing process for most of the material goes like this: I will come up with the main song and melody as well as the lyrics and send to Tommy to refine it. He’ll switch up some components and add a lead or solo and then send over to Gabe. Once we have the pieces of guitar and bass Gabe helps with final touches and backing vocal ideas. It’s really a good relationship / process.

Over the last year or so Tommy has been writing more music and I’ll adds on vocals which is great as it adds more of his perspective to the song writing process.

5) What is your favorite topic/topic that comes easily when you write a new song?

80’s horror movies of course! I like to take a movie plot though and write a song from a unique point of view or about a certain character in the film. I like challenging myself to writing something more subtle vs. a straightforward approach. My favorite example is the song ‘Survive’ which is about the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

6) To what kind of music did you listen to as teenagers and does it still influence your today work? What were your favorite bands as a teenager? Name 3 bands that you consider still have a influence on your own work today.

The same bands that influenced me then still do today so that’s easy. Ramones, Misfits, The Mr. T Experience, and the Lillingtons. 

7) Do you have a new video on youtube featuring a track from the LP? 

We have several videos on YouTube! Some tracks from the new LP are on there but we don’t have an ‘official’ video for any of the songs. We do have some made for other songs though and a few live performances if you look us up!



8) What can concert goers expect at a gig of HORROR SECTION? Are you playing any famous cover songs? 

We play a straight forward set. No costumes or theatrics, no stage banner, as few breaks as possible. We try and let the music do the talking. As for covers, we haven’t incorporated any into our set but we did do a short Mr. T Experience cover set once.

9) Are there any bands in the USA today you consider yourself close to, musically speaking?

I’d say the closest is the Lillingtons. We’re nowhere as good but if you like Death By Television or The Backchannel Broadcast I’d say there’s a fair chance you’ll be into us.

10) What are the plans for the rest of 2019 as far as HORROR SECTION is concerned?

Halloween is just around the corner! We’re working on a fun surprise for the season as well as combining our out of print titles for another project. 2019 ended up being a bit slow for shows and releases but we hope to be back in full force in 2020!

11) Anything you wanna add?

Thanks for interviewing us and also for reading this far! I’m stoked people across the world enjoy our music. This started as a one off 7” EP project and here we are years later still putting out records and playing really fun shows. I hope to keep putting out music and putting our spin on horror pop punk!

Check us out on bandcamp, Spotify, Apple music, etc.! Our online store is https://horrorsection.limitedrun.com if you want to check out vinyl, CDs, shirts, and much more. I suggest you put on an 80’s slasher film, put on our latest LP, and have yourself a beer. Thanks and cheers!







Thursday, July 25, 2019

The Jackets - "Queen Of The Pill"


Voodoo Rhythm Records recently released "Queen Of The Pill", the fourth full length album by Swiss trio The Jackets. For this new album The Jackets benefit from Jim Diamond (White Stripes, The Dirtbombs, The Vice Barons, ...) magic touch as far as the mixing and mastering is concerned and believe it, this album is a blast! 10 raw slices of amazing Full-Fuzz-Power-Punk-Beat with a touch of Psychedelia! The Jackets like you've never heard them before!

Don't miss the video here under that proves if proof was needed that this band has a lot of humor and a cool sense of fun. 

So it was time for this blog to have a enlightening conversation with drummer and founding member Chris Rosales

1) For the viewers of this blog who would not know you, What would you tell about The The Jackets to introduce yourselves? How long are you guys together as a band?  Who is playing what instrument? 

My name is Chris Rosales. I am the drummer and founding member of The Jackets based in Bern, Switzerland. Our lead singer/guitar player and founding member is called, Jackie and our bass player is Sam. We started playing out in 2008 and have played all over Europe and recently in the USA and Canada.

2) About the recently released full length record "Queen Of The Pill",  what can you tell about the recording process? Was this a "live" in the studio recording or a track by track recording with lots of overdubs? What can you tell about the choice of the title? 

All the basic tracking were played live and then of course the lead and backing vocals, percussion and solo and filling guitar parts, etc. were done afterwards. I can’t imagine doing it any other way since it is important to capture the bands live character and enthusiasm. The title of the LP comes from one of the tracks. It just sounded right and that song was one of the first we wrote and highlights the slightly new sound and song writing direction we were moving towards.

3) Do you use the nowadays digital recording technology or do you guys only work with analog machines in analog studios?

We like both. We usually track to tape and then mix digital. Our LP "Shadows Of Sound" was done all analog and that was cool but the mixing process was a bit of a nightmare because we were changing our mind a lot. We like the flexibility of mixing digitally.

4) Is there a main composer in the band or is everybody involved in one way or another?

Everybody writes songs and composes but Jackie has written the most.

5) What is your favorite topic/topic that comes easily when you write a new song?

We write a lot about breaking out of situations, being stuck in situations, being vulnerable, being
invincible, being bored. It has been said we have a lot of “anthem” type songs like Keep Yourself Alive, Wasting My Time, Freak Out, etc. We write a bit about relationships that are not exclusively romantic and we even delve into topics like suicide, depression and addiction. We don’t have a favorite topic. It doesn’t work that way. We write about what is happening around us or with us at a given moment.

6) If I were to label The Jackets a "60's psych/garage" band, would you agree with this description? Would you be proud of it or do you consider there is way more than that? 

We are not a 60’s revival band. Of course we love 60’s Garage music and it is obvious in our music but we like to think we have something to say about today. We are a forward thinking group of people even though we love the (punk) music of the 1960’s and 1970’s we don’t want to be trapped in that bubble. We are a Rock and Roll band. We are a Punk band. We are a Garage band, but to put a year in front of those labels puts us in a “box” and that is not how we want to be.

7) Do you have a new video on youtube featuring a track from the new LP?? 

Yes. We have a new video out on YouTube for Losers Lullaby which is a track on our new LP.



8) What can concert goers expect at a The Jackets gig? Are you playing any famous cover songs during the concert? 

Concert goers can expect high energy from the first second to the last song. We are a live band and love playing and giving everything on stage. We really are not a cover band. We played a few covers when we first started (live and on our first records) but we have our own songs and our own voice. But – we do cover “Hang Up” by The Wailers sometimes during our live shows.

9) Are there any bands in Switzerland today you consider yourself close to, musically speaking?

There are quite a few cool bands from Switzerland that we like but I am not sure there is a band quite like The Jackets in terms of a female lead singer and guitar player. In terms of intensity, the band that comes to mind would be Reverend Beat-Man’s band, The Monsters.

10) To what kind of music did you listen to as teenagers? What were your favorite bands as a teenager? Name 3 bands that you consider still have an influence on your own work today.

I was heavily into 60’s Garage as a teenager and involved in the Garage Revival Scene in Los Angeles in the 1980’s. I lived and worked with Garage Revival Legends The Miracle Workers before I moved to Europe in the early 1990’s. I loved bands like The Cramps (I was also in a band with Candy Del Mar), The Gun Club and X (Los Angeles). Jackie first got into hard rock bands like AC/DC as a young teenager and then was introduced to Psychobilly and Garage in the 1990’s. Sam was fascinated by Jimi Hendrix and Acid Rock from the late 60’s and 70’s when he was younger and then got into “Alternative” music and then Punk and Garage music in the 1990’s. I don’t know if other bands today have an influence on The Jackets songs or work right now. We have our influences from the past but try to make our own way into the future.

11) What are the plans for 2019 as far as The Jackets are concerned?

We are currently touring everywhere to promote our new record which was released in June. We have tons of concerts coming up in September-October-November (Netherlands, France, Germany, Italy, etc.) so check out dates on our website for more info. We are also planning our third USA tour for Spring of 2020 and maybe Mexico and New Zealand/Australia some time next year as well. So stay tuned!

12) Anything you wanna add?

No, that’s about it!

PURCHASE IT HEREhttps://the-jackets.bandcamp.com/