Shot Balowski – S/T

As I’m sure you can tell from the dust around here, I don’t get around to writing about much anymore. Another phase of my life I suppose. What’s a fella to do? Every now and then I get a brief impetus to write something though. Today I shall grace you with the results of one of those urges.

I’ve got Shot Balowski’s self-titled debut album, out 03/29/2019, fired up on ye olde hifi and I’m rocking out to it. There’s a bit of a Ramonescore vibe as well as secondary source influence like Teenage Bottlerocket and Masked Intruder, combine that with a mix of The Pixies, an odd dash of Motorhead, add in a left-leaning bent and somewhat more raw of a sound and that’ll give you the gist.

The album provides 12 tracks of mostly up-tempo 3-piece punk rock, interlaced with the occasional folksy ballad on track six, Kitchen Sink / Girl in the Call Centre. There’s a bit of spoken word poetry as well mixed into the overall pastiche of a protest album. This isn’t to say it’s derivative in an overt way, so much as the song writing seems aware of its roots.

Overall it’s a great debut and I look forward to more from Shot Balowski in the future.

Hit the band up online to find out where to buy the new album, or catch a live show! Twitter:@shotbalowski

Cheers!

Jerry Actually

Bio:

ShoT BAlowSki is a three-piece UK rock band with a leftist attitude and punk leanings. Debbie, Simon and Tef take grit, melody and acerbic lyrics and spit them out in two minutes flat.

Their self-titled debut album is released by Abnormal Product on Friday 29 March 2019 – it will be available on CD, download and streaming. It’s high-octane, classic punk rock from the dis-United Kingdom, tackling subjects like far right populism, and corrupt media, organisations and governments, while giving props to radical heroes like Emily Wilding Davison and Muhammad Ali.

The album’s tracks include Commander in Cheat (about Trump’s sexist, racist presidency), Nissan Poppy 24/7 (about patriotism and the politicisation of remembrance), Emily Does (about militant suffragette martyr Emily Wilding Davison), In the Suicide Forest (a short tone poem about vacuous vlogger Logan Paul), and a punk rock cover of Bob Marley’s Redemption Song.

Destroy the Daily Mail features a section written and performed by Wales’ most prominent living literary figure, poet and playwright Patrick Jones (see patrick-jones.info), elder brother of Nicky Wire of the Manic Street Preachers and a frequent collaborator with the Welsh chart-topping band. Jones adds a stream-of-consciousness set of Mail-esque headlines. He agreed to the collaboration after reading the lyrics and listening to the raw track, calling the song “important and powerful”.

Tef, Debbie, and Simon of Shot Balowski


We Know John – A Shot In The Dark

I’m listening to a Pop Punk band based in the South of England called ‘We Know John‘ They’ve just completed their first album ‘A Shot in the Dark’ and it’s due for release on January 4th.

This brand sparkin’ new album serves up 11 tracks of peppy, upbeat, often horn-fueled pop punk. It reminds me of things. These things, as the often do, escape me. The one influence that keeps surfacing is, especially with the horns, Less Than Jake. There are worse things to be reminded of.

Some of the structure reminds me of an parallel universe Alkaline Trio, where everyone is a bit more happy. In an overarching sense, the band seems like a “happy” band. They would probably be cool to hang with.

The entire album isn’t up-note, however. The album takes a bit of a plunge into sadder territory as track 5, “Not OK” begins. So, um, you know, diversity! Anywho, it’s good stuff. Listen to it. Feel the joy that can only be derived from pop punk or from drugs.

Unrelated, but when I think of the band’s name, in my head, it comes out like the scene between Ed and Shaun in Shaun of the Dead, when Ed says, “I’m sorry, Shaun” … so um, “We know, John.”

Cheers!
Jerry Actually

Bio:

We Know John are a 7 piece pop punk band hailing from Southampton UK; playing powerful and energetic music that will make you want to jump and bounce along. Their guitars, bass and drums provide the driving force that will lure you in, whilst their catchy melodies and punchy horn lines get stuck in your head until you are hooked.

Formed In May 2013, We Know John have had a slow start to life. With a few local gigs and a lot of practising behind them, the band are ready kick on and make 2018 a great year to remember.

Vocals, Trombone / Sam Weller
Vocals, Trumpet / Toby Brimson
Bass / Sam Rees
Guitar, Sass / Ben Peckham
Guitar / Ben Harker
Drums / John Townend
Saxophone / Rory SomethingOrOther

The Amalgamated – Premium Quality


San Diego’s own trad-ska combo The Amalgamated are back with some Premium Quality recordings. Putting their soulful reggae ska spin on some legendary tracks. Step lively now and give it a whirl.

If you aren’t familiar with the band, here’s a bit of their bio:

The Amalgamated are a traditional ska/jazz band, influenced very much by early SKA styles, old reggae tunes, great jazz standards and soulful ballads in the vain of the late 60’s. A 10-member ensemble that includes vocals, two guitars, stand-up bass, dual saxophones, trumpets, trombone, keys and percussion.

About the album:

This is a tribute to the artists that influence and inspire the band. These crowd pleasing tunes done in the style of Traditional Ska, Rocksteady and Reggae will have you dancing all night long. Recorded in 2013 at After hours Studio Ramona, CA

The new album boasts covers as diverse as All of Me, Crazy, and Twistin’ the Night Away, all performed with The Amalgamated’s signature swagger. It’s a covers album, sure, but it’s the bands take on songs that influenced and inspire them.

Above all, it’s fun album. Get some.

Tracks:
01 – My Little Suede Shoes
02 – All of Me
03 – Crazy
04 – I Love Paris
05 – Run Down
06 – A Love I Can Feel
07 – Black Orpheus
08 – That’ll Do Nicely
09 – Cherry Pink & Apple Blossom White
10 – Twistin’ the Night Away
11 – La Cumparsita

Brendan Kelly and The Wandering Birds – Keep Walkin’ Pal

The new Brendan Kelly and The Wandering Birds album exists. It sounds like Joe Cocker and Bruce Springsteen had a baby with a Casio.

Here is a picture of the album cover.

It’s got a weird 80s Kristofferson meets Miami Vice rambling feel too it.

The album contains songs.

Here is another picture.

I think it’s a country album.

 

Here is some information:

Brendan Kelly and The Wandering Birds – 2018 Tour Dates:

10/28 – Gainesville, FL @ The Fest

12/1 – Chicago, IL @ Sleeping Village

12/6 – Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie (with Sincere Engineer)

12/7 – Somerville, MA @ ONCE (with Sincere Engineer)

12/8 – Brooklyn, NY @ Gold Sounds (with Sincere Engineer

1/11 – Milwaukee, WI @ Cactus Club (with Sincere Engineer)

1/18 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Resident

1/19 – San Diego, CA @ Tower Bar

KEEP WALKIN’ PAL track listing:

01. Keep Walkin’ Pal

02. Shitty Margarita

03. Huggz

04. The Lies

05. Black Cat Boy

06. Up In Them Guts

07. Boardin’ USA!

08. The Ballad of Buffalo Bill

09. Bottle and Tray

10. I’m The Man

Pope Paul & the Illegals – Start Gettin’ Serious

Hey y’all, want to read about some Cowpunk from SoCal? Read on.

I’m spinning “Start Gettin’ Serious”, the new album from Santa Ana eclectic combo, Pope Paul & the Illegals. The album provides 11 tracks of a variety of Americana; Country, Cow Punk, Swing Revival, Western Swing, Rockabilly, Gospel sounds, sure, why not? There’s even a bit of Hank III / Assjack sounding metal on the album.

Per the band, regarding the new release “It features a slew of excellent guest musicians, including members of Squirrel Nut Zippers (Jimbo Mathus, Hank West) and the Reverend Horton Heat (Matt Jordan).” So it’s got some pedigree straight out the gate. I’m not sure who is playing what, but the music is tight, and the guitars rip. Track seven, Demented Swing certainly has a pronounced Squirrel Nut Zippers sound.

I suspect the above gets to the gist of what the band is aiming for. What you’re looking for, I suppose though, is the answer to the question, “Is this a good album?” The answer, friends, is yes. It is a good album. I think the caveat is, as always, if you are in anyway interested in the sounds mentioned above, than you oughta give Pope Paul & the Illegals a whirl. Go to their Facebook page and listen to some tracks. Hear it with your own ears, and go out and support local music!

Personal favorite is the extremently guitar-driven, rippin’ Rockabilly end track, Rip It Off.

Cheers!
Jerry Actually

Tracks:
1. Up in the Clouds
2. Altered State
3. Let’ Ragnarok
4. Start Gettin’ Serious
5. Heartsick on the Road
6. It Wasn’t Enough
7. Demented Swing
8. Sugar Spots
9. Off My Chest
10. Santa Ana Flu
11. Rip It Off

Band Members:
Pope Paul – Guitar/Vocals
John the Bassist – Upright Bass
Fat Sal – Drums

Bio:
Pope Paul & The Illegals started up in 2014 in their hometown of Santa Ana, CA. Their style combines most elements of Americana music including rockabilly, psychobilly, punk, swing, country, honky-tonk, blues, surf rock, and rock n roll. They bring a fun, high-energy show guaranteed to get crowds dancing, drinking, and having a great time.

Touring frequently, Pope Paul & The Illegals have entertained crowds in 34 different states with a mix of their original material and classic cover tunes. They have opened up for high-profile Americana acts such as Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys, Supersuckers, Shooter Jennings, The Blasters, The Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, Slim Jim Phantom (of the Stray Cats), Hillbilly Casino, The Bellfuries, Gamblers Mark, The Delta Bombers, Deke Dickerson, and Wanda Jackson. They have performed at several festivals throughout the USA including the So-Cal Hoedown (Santa Ana, CA), the Rockabilly Extravaganza (Riverside, CA), the Nashville Boogie (Nashville, TN), the Great American Rockabilly Riot (El Paso, TX), Viva East (Boxborough, MA), and the ApalachOktoberfest (Apalachicola, FL) which they headlined.

They have released three full-length albums, “White Smoke Rises” (recorded at Orange Blossom Studios, Placentia, CA) and “Dial Back Boogie” (recorded at Dial Back Sound, Water Valley, MS). Their 3rd release, “Start Gettin’ Serious” (Dial Back Sound) is now available as a CD and can be bought from the Illegals themselves or bought/streamed online through CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Pandora, and Spotify. It features a slew of excellent guest musicians, including members of Squirrel Nut Zippers (Jimbo Mathus, Hank West) and the Reverend Horton Heat (Matt Jordan).

Pope Paul & The Illegals gig frequently and will happily play your bar, lounge, saloon, brewery, festival, private party, wedding, private jet, historical ruins, barn dance, local prison, swanky mansion, religious ceremony, satanic ritual, political event, anniversary, habadashery, seedy alley, Mexican restaurant, Waffle House and more! Just message us here on our Facebook page and we will get back to you ASAP.

Stadt Skulls – Against the Cult of the Reptile God

I’m listening to the new EP by Liverpool based “Stadt Skulls”. The band is a punk rock trio heavily in the vein of early Asian Man Records bands like Alkaline Trio, and The Lawrence Arms, along with some more aggressive bursts ala Off With Their Heads Dead To Me.

Intriguingly, perhaps, is listening to how they’ve evolved over the last couple years. They’ve moved away from more poppy takes into a darker sound. Good choice if you ask me.

I certainly don’t want to pigeonhole the band. They do have their own sound going on. Track 3, the title track, “Against the Cult of the Reptile God”, I feel, is more resplendent of this. It’s a bit more frenetic and anxious, if you will. The overall point of the comparison is that fans of the former are exceedingly likely to be fans of the latter.

The tracks are brief and have a slightly lo-fi feel to the mix. The end result is definitely very listenable. I’d suggest you check ‘em out.

Cheers!
-Jerry Actually

Track Listing:
1. Leif the Lucky
2. Nostalgia for what?
3. Against the Cult of the Reptile God
4. Ink and Spear

Noteworthy: These chaps’ noggins fit inside jack-o-lanterns!

Here’s a sample of some of the band’s material from 2016:
https://stadtskulls.bandcamp.com

Video:

Bio:

Three piece, three sibling Liverpool punks. Stadt Skulls have been making angular, noisey, power pop since 2016. Sounds like the band the 90’s forgot.

Buzzkillz – Major Fucking Complications

Brand new, out today. New EP “Major Fucking Complications” by Finland’s own Buzzkillz.

Follwing up on their debut album, Scum Of The Earth, this five track EP cranks out psychobilly/rockabilly/punk/rock and roll. Every last one of the tracks on the disc is a banger, but the titular track, featuring guest vocals from Titch (of Klingonz) is particularly fantastic.

All of the tracks actually feature Titch on vocals, so really, you’re not gonna go wrong with it. Personal favorite is track #3: That Shit’s Gonna Kill You. It’s got a really catchy vibe.

If you like psychobilly in the vein of Mad Sin, Necromantix, Batmobile, Klingonz, etc. then do yourself a solid and grab a copy of this. It’s available on 12” vinyl as well as other formats.

12″ Vinyl Record

Buzzkillz EP Major Fucking Complications

A1 Major Fucking Complications

A2 Envy, Hunger and Greed

A3 That Shit’s Gonna Kill You

B1 Lie

B2 Keep On Crawling

Here’s some videos to wet your whistle:

 

 

Official video is coming in autumn.

Cheers!

Jerry Actually

The Barstool Preachers – Grazie Governo

Currently listening to The Barstool Preachers forthcoming album, Grazie Governo. (Out Aug 24th on Pirates Press) The new album proffers 13 tracks of rather polished sounding punk-based rock and roll. I like the sound, a lot of the time, I think… Well I’m a bit on the fence honestly.

Let me try to give an example. A track will start, like track four, “Choose My Friends” and it sort of drifts in feeling a bit more like Blue October than a ska punk song. I’m sort of not feeling it, but then the chorus kicks in and I’m suddenly way into it. Most of the tracks have given me a similar feeling thus far.

Don’t get me wrong though. The material is solid. It’s well written, played, recorded etc, but there’s something hanging over it that leaves me feeling a slight bit insecure about it I suppose.

I was reading through their bio just now and I think one line in particular helped put a finer point on what I’m feeling. “The Bar Stool Preachers are a band for EVERYONE”. This is exactly what is shining through. Having a broad appeal is fine, but it can stretch too thin sometimes. Imagine a restaurant that has a sweeping wide menu covering food and drinks in a thousand directions. Sure they’ll satisfy the needs of a wide range of customers. It’s rare however that all the items are particularly amazing. I’m more the type who likes places that offers a handful of things they do exceedingly well. You go to them when you know what you want.

I had pretty high hopes for the band when I reviewed an earlier EP. I was anticipating things would take a different turn, or rather be a continuum in a determined direction. I don’t like panning something, and I hope I’m not doing so here. I really do enjoy the opener/title track and the overall gist of the sound. I enjoy the spirit of the album, and honestly from the photos they seem like a fun and happy bunch of blokes. I like most of the choruses as well. Heck, I’ll go on record and say that if this album was all chorus, I would be entirely on board.

There are some additional tracks that have a little more of what I’m looking for. Including the title track:

1. Grazie Governo
11. Since You
12. Force Fed

The bottom line is it ain’t bad, it just ain’t for me.

Cheers!
Jerry Actually
Continue reading The Barstool Preachers – Grazie Governo

The Filaments – Look To The Skies

Fuck yeah!

Here’s something I didn’t even know that I needed. “Look to the Skies”, a the brand new album from The Filaments. Punk, Oi, Ska from Essex, UK. Evidently I’ve been under a rock, as this band has been around since 2009 and here it is the first time I’m hearing them.

I’ve got the new album rolling right now and it’s entirely crushing it. You don’t start out your new album with a track titled ‘Fuck the “Alt” – Right’ without meaning absolute business.

11 tracks of badass punk rock in the vein of Rancid, Bosstones, Street Dogs, Leatherface, The Clash, and more. It’s essentially all of the sounds that I’ve opined about through the years, crammed into a singular action packed album.

I see limited point these days explaining that the band is capable of playing their instruments. It’s getting damn hard to find bands that ain’t worth their salt anymore. Suffice it to say, they do not suck.

Vocals range between Oi style gang vocals on the intro track into Dickie Barrett gravely on track five, “Living in the Crosshairs”. The music follows just as much dynamic shift. Full on ska, in-your-face punk, blistering pick-scratch guitars intros to full orchestral sounds.

This is a bully of a release. Get some!

-Jerry Actually

Tracks:
1. Fuck The “Alt”-Right 01:15
2. Look To The Skies 02:42
3. Rip-Off World 02:21
4. No Men To Parade 02:31
5. Living In The Crosshairs 03:10
6. Underdogs 03:25
7. Tread Carefully 01:57
8. Ask No Favours 04:21
9. All We’ve Ever Known 01:54
10. The Verge 02:30
11. Killing Machine 01:33