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Shake That Thing

Kieron McDonald

Rhythm Bomb

Fourth solo album for Australian Kieron McDonald who normally can be found fronting the Flatfoot Shakers. Latest album ‘Shake That Thing’ is pretty much business as usual with Kieron recreating a genuine rockabilly sound with leading contenders for such a description via the snappy twang of opening song ‘Rockabilly High’; the lonesome ‘The Knock On My Door’ which is instantly kicked into touch by the positive upturn in fortunes of ‘Goodbye Lonesome’, before pleading once more for ‘A Little Love’ in his life backed by a rockin’ rhythm. Such knowhow when creating a long player full of original material is largely down to Kieron McDonald’s longstanding when it comes to the rockin’ scene, only this time there is additional support and creative input from fellow Aussies Hank’s Jalopy Demons and Ezra Lee. It would appear that the additional input of these musicians has added to the slightly darker edges and wilder elements that have a habit of appearing at various stages (‘The Devil’s Eyes’, ‘I’m The King of The Road’ and ‘Why’) not to mention the piano trickery of Ezra Lee capturing an old-timey feel during the excellent ‘She Means Nothing To Me’. With such good company in the rear, Kieron McDonald doesn’t forget to shine as this is after all his stage and where you can hear his influence all over the reflective ‘She Thinks of You’ and relentless beat of ‘Go Go Girl’ for example. A full pot of original material and one that requires your undivided attention because ‘Shake That Thing’ is just that record to keep the rockabilly flame truly burning.


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Gone For Lovin

Vince & the Sun Boppers

Rhythm Bomb

Highly experienced in their line of work, Vince & the Sun Boppers issue a twelve-track album full of original material. Borrowing a couple of players from Dale Rocka and the Volcanoes and The Ballroom Kings, this is not entirely a newly assembled line-up as there have been previous releases elsewhere. The album itself has been described as capturing the sound and spirit of 1950s Sun Studio when music really was king. Fast forward to the present however, and such an assertion is justified when hearing the authentic rockabilly of ‘Gone For Lovin’ captured by producers Axel and Ike. Whether it’s the charming stroll of ‘Lone No More’ or the alluring draw of ‘Devil Eyes’ Vince & the Sun Boppers is a band comfortable and most certainly confident in their abilities as this music is quality assured. For those seeking their rockabilly with a bit more urgency, then ‘Gone For Lovin’ knows how to rock with the best of them as does ‘Dance With Sally’ which possesses a gritty edge throughout. The 50s originals can never be surpassed, and that is certainly not the intention of ‘Gone For Lovin’. However, Vince & the Sun Boppers do a fine job of recapturing that ‘special’ sound and energy with a series of tracks from a time now sadly consigned to the history books.


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Space Invaders

The Kings of Outer Space

Greystone Records

Having avoided the prospect of a truly gruesome demise via the walking dead in the heart of the West Country (see accompanying video to earlier single ‘Zombie Walk’), The Kings of Outer Space made their escape in order to add the finishing touches to their third long player. While it may seem business as usual considering the title of the band’s new album ‘Space Invaders’ – the obsession with UFOs and space travel continues  – this is a fresh start of sorts for The Kings of Outer Space as the band hail a new line-up, with frontman Giggsy being the sole survivor, as well as switching to a new home with Greystone Records. Despite the changes, The Kings of Outer Space remain difficult to pin down in terms of their overall sound, which is always a positive due to embracing elements from a variety of genres – predominately rockabilly and psychobilly yet with strong ties to post punk and to a certain degree mid-80s indie obscurities. It makes for a flavoursome musical fest without ever sounding muddled, but where latest album ‘Space Invaders’ differs from their previous albums is that you can hear a considerable amount of space between the ideas in the songs where ideas sound less hurried and the songs benefit due to being given more time to breathe. Despite these noticeable differences the band retain their identity as there is no seismic shift in style(s) as ‘Space Invaders’ still sounds like a Kings of Outer Space album with rockabilly running ragged through ‘Cosmic Boy’, to the almost western film score parking up during ‘Remainder Men’ that lingers long in the memory afterwards with lines such as, “When the sun goes down for the very last time, You’ll never see me again”. Bookending the other side of this is the garage rock of ‘Lucky escape’ that reveals an upturn in fortunes for the character at the centre of this song. It’s not all positive, however, as the title track attempts a similar sounding feat but, in the process, sounds tepid in comparison and tired as far as the fresh ideas go. Thankfully ‘Crocodiles’ snaps its heels and wakes up the creative department once more by way of the ska-driven beat and creative use of the title serving as a metaphor for the bitter side of life. ‘Ciao!’ reverts to film score territory once more only this time involving a duet with Giggsy and Lula D, and it’s a song that never pulls any punches when pointing the finger of blame for this particular relationship demise. Despite various similarities in sound, The Kings of Outer Space has delivered quite possibly their strongest musical statement yet, which benefits due to less haste but also by incorporating new ideas where the lyrics in particular take five minutes to live with humanity rather than partying with little green men from dusk till dawn. ‘Space Invaders’ could just be the ticket to launch a whole new series of missions for The Kings of Outer Space where non-intergalactic travel is just as essential as the missions to outer space.


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Blues Kitchen

Scott Taylor

Fetal Records

Sometimes during an album’s running order, there is a song that often stands head and shoulders above the rest. When it comes to Scott Taylor’s new album ‘Blues Kitchen’ such a song can be heard with ‘Tennessee’. A subjective opinion of course, but this reflective, slow burner of a song finds Taylor in wistful mode, vocal positioned right at the front as he tries to find his way back home and accompanied by a laidback rhythm. Stirring stuff and the great introduction to the world of the ‘Blues Kitchen’ which, outside of this particular track, has a habit of revealing new details that seemingly escaped one’s attention during its first few outings. Part of this is down to the album providing a real sense of warming up before hitting full stride with a succession of songs that speak of truths concerning relationships and the heartaches they can bring, but also great satisfaction as well. With Taylor himself describing this collection of songs as “unfiltered and strait [sic] from the gut” such a description is apt when hearing the tracks ‘Fussin and Cussin’ that is an irritable and prickly number greatly highlighted by Taylor’s vocal and the Blues Kitchen Cooks’ rhythm section of Tony Fazio (guitars), Charlie Sayles (harmonica) and Greg Phillips (drums). Following on, ‘Sweet Daddy Brown’ peps up the mood with a seemingly sweet rhythm, yet the narrative concerning its central character manages to hold an air of mystery right to its conclusion and makes for great listening . The blues continue apace with the compelling and down on its luck ‘Bad Company’ that reveals a few golden lines where “Even the door won’t open up for me because I’m bad company”, and wry humour of “Even the dog don’t come to me, He says I’m bad company” suggesting life’s fortunes really couldn’t sink any lower, with the grinding, moody tempo doing its best to add to the misery being expressed. The temperature soars during ‘Alabama Babe’ spiked with harmonica and guided by acoustic guitar and a vocal that sounds as if it’s slowly being compressed in an already tight space. Scott Taylor’s ‘Blues Kitchen’ is a personal album that never overcooks itself when it comes to expressing its emotions, due to the understated presentation of its entire contents which makes for compelling listening.


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123456 EP

The Tigerlilies

Working Brilliantly

With artwork more suited to London’s Tate Modern gallery than a post-punk album, the music served up by longstanding four-piece The Tigerlilies has found a welcome home here at Famous Last Words. By piecing together a six-track EP, the decision to trim the edges and rein in the record’s playing time was a wise choice by The Tigerlilies as the condensed playlist creates a more immediate impact, therefore leaving the songs to reside fresh in the memory bank. Such song writing is largely down to the band’s knack of creating a post-punk sound that is full of melody but one that has coarse edges that suggests a definite linkage to 90s-era grunge, which has not gone unnoticed from other musicians ranging from Violent Femmes, Joan Jett, Paul Weller, Guided By Voices and Superchunk. Opener ‘Easy As It Seems’ has a sense of familiarity about it with an 80′s post-punk sound giving the impression that one has visited this place before (A positive chaps!) despite being The Tigerlilies own composition. The song itself races along on a tight rhythm with vocalist Pat Hennessy stripping his emotions bare and it’s a fine start. Links to the past continue with the mellow sounding tribute to David Bowie entitled ‘Bowie’, and then followed by ‘Green Eyes’ that has a touch of Blondie considering its edgy and melodic rhythm. ‘Darlin’ opens with a honey-dripping guitar line and tender vocal that radiates warmth in the direction of its nearest and dearest. It’s a love song, pure and simple, and it works wonders. There is nothing to fear here, least of all the No. 7, as The Tigerlilies ’123456′ requires a fast reeling action to bring it into your life and as close to your heart as humanly possible because you will not be disappointed.

Get Up And Dance!

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Get Up And Dance!

Lil ' Mo and the Dynaflos

Rhythm Bomb

Feeling a need to ease the blues in your life? Then follow the simple instructions from doo-wop outfit Lil’ Mo and the Dynaflos and their latest album ‘Get Up And Dance!’ and you’ll soon feel rejuvenated. The energy emanating from this six-piece band is contagious and will have your limbs shaking from the off via the album’s title track, that speeds along at some pace and finds lead singer Lil’ Mo in determined mood to get the audience up off of their feet. The persuasive power of the music continues to weave its magic and really given some clout with the bullish ‘Hands Off’ and passionate ‘Spellbound’ where the emotions are close to frothing over judging by the reactions of Lil’ Mo and his supporting vocalists. With the album ‘Get Up And Dance!’ having been set up and recorded at Wally Hersoms’ studio in Pasadena, such a decision no doubt helped shape and fuel the creativity of the original compositions on offer, not to mention the selected cover versions because there is no real let up in the overall energy expressed during this album where the vocals can direct the songs emotions and just as equally the instrumentation of say ‘Shut That Door’, ‘Bop Shake Boogie’ or ‘Have Love Will Travel’. Resistance is futile, so ‘Get Up And Dance!’

Lamp Light The Fire

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Lamp Light The Fire: A Compilation of Quiet(ER) Songs

Various Artists

Engineer Records

A must-have compilation of carefully selected ‘quiet(ER)’ songs from the roster at Engineer Records. With a track list of eighteen songs, there is much for any listener to take in, which is not difficult when you have the likes of Chuck Ragan, Mikee J Reds, The Satellite Year and The Lion and the Wolf coming up with alternative versions of previously issued songs. Such sterling efforts can be identified via Elemae’s ‘Slow’, through to Mikee J Reds almost chipper melody trying its hardest to part the storm clouds considering the frankness of the lyrics “I don’t want to hear your voice anymore”. If such close confessionary tales happens to be your ticket in order to deal with life’s disappointments, then Ryan Mills melodic and robust ‘Asleep Forever’ could just be the ticket, or failing that the fragile rhythm of ‘AWOL’ by Her Only Presence. Having tried on several occasions to avoid using the term ‘emo’ due to the various comical elements such a label conjures up, for those in the know when it comes to such emotional matters, then this collection of songs of a more acoustic nature makes for essential listening because there is a rich seam of talent from start to finish when it comes to ‘Lamp Light The Fire’.

Ol' Drakes Travelin' Medcine Show

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Ol’ Drake’s Travelin’ Medicine Show

the Harvey Steel show

Safe & Sound Recordings

If you tried squeezing any more musical references into the Harvey Steel show’s latest album, then the ship sent from Jupiter to Earth would’ve crashed and burned once entering the latter planet’s ether due to the sheer weight of the intergalactic space vessel transporting these Norwegian cosmic cats. As it stands, ship’s captain, Thomas Bergsten, proves a steady sort as he, along with his five fellow band members, expertly guides this magical musical vessel through bouts of turbulence and unpredictability that can be described as Captain Beefhart and Frank Zappa-esque, but altogether quite simply the Harvey Steel show. With a swift “Hello” and equally swift “Goodbye” to Ol’ red horns down under via former single ‘Shaky Hand Modifier’ with its short, sharp bursts of indie jazz blues, the band’s sound is definitely reined in tighter throughout the majority of this latest excursion. That’s not to say that the Harvey Steel show ease up on the creative pedal, far from it, it’s more that this six piece know when to shut up shop rather than letting the psychedelia take too much of a (pleasurable) hold. From the opening ‘Michael Hare’s Psychedelic Rabbit’ that scrapes samples of the inner workings of Donny Darko’s mind and projects these thoughts to all those present at a half-empty airport terminal where the standing conveyor belt has no ending, to the part smoky jazz and psychedelic folk of ‘Acid Trip To Spain’ with its eccentricities and sad ending, the band’s penchant for fusing various other art forms with music continues its exploration. Such ideas clash often where darkened corners reveal themselves via the jazz blues-rock ‘Mr Mystery’, but then throw up pretty patterns via ‘Reality Is Ideal’, which is probably the closest example you’ll ever hear of the Harvey Steel show going straight. By the way, it works tremendously! With the old-timey offering served up by the album’s title track, the Harvey Steel show has surpassed their debut album by some considerable distance, due to pulling tight on those creative reins and therefore delivering a more cohesive album yet somehow never losing that magical spark and creative edge that sets out this band as really rather special. It’s time to sample the wonders of ‘Ol’ Drake’s Travelin’ Medicine Show’!

White Desert Blues

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White Desert Blues

The Northern Lies

Lunheim Grammofon

Two years have elapsed since The Northern Lies critically acclaimed debut album ‘Midnight Medicine’ was released. During their absence, the band has evolved into a five piece which, along with original members Henry Johnsen and Håvard Stangnes, now consists of Ida Karoline Nordgård (bass/vocals), Erik Nilsson (keys) and Mikael Pedersen (drums/vocals). With the revised line-up in place, The Northern Lies set the task of writing and recording that ‘difficult’ second album. What transpires since that two-year layoff is ‘White Desert Blues’, which reveals a succession of songs that delve even deeper than its predecessor in an attempt to get to the bottom of the sadness that is causing so many restless nights. With various trials and tribulations providing the fuel for the lyrics, it is the natural elements and scenic landscapes of rugged mountainous ranges of the northern hemisphere, Tromsø (Norway) to be exact, combined with The Northern Lies authentic Americana sound that adds to expressions of loneliness and isolation felt during ‘White Desert Blues’. Evidence of such emotions and cold-isolated conditions can be ascertained from the album’s title track that is nostalgic just as it is confused and lost, which also stumbles accordingly in to the following ‘Wrong Turn’. If the sounds of Neil Young and Crazy Horse greatly appeal, and a vocal that is close to Townes Van Zandt on occasions (‘Too Damn Quiet’), then you have come to the right place as far as The Northern Lies is concerned. Just remember, however, where this band resides because it is a sound that they do well and will leave you yearning for more once the likes of ‘Love’s Lonely Rover’ and ‘Cold-Hearted Town’ touch your heart. It looks like Americana has firmly planted its roots in a far corner north of Norway where the ‘White Desert Blues’ exist and can be heard via The Northern Lies.

Boozin' & Boppin'

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Boozin’ & Boppin

Twisted Rod

Rhythm Bomb

Returning with a second album is Prague rockabilly trio Twisted Rod. The sophomore album goes by the name ‘Boozin’ & Boppin’, and is the follow up to the rather successful ‘Bring It On Home!’ that brought much attention for the band with appearances at some of the best-known festivals and weekenders all over Europe. With an increased level of confidence, Twisted Rod continue their formula for wild and raw rockabilly with ‘Boozin’ & Boppin’ (Well, if it ain’t broke…), but there is a sense of even greater confidence here as songs fly out of the traps at pace, and with great expertise, via such examples as ‘Come On’ and ‘Rock & Roll Guitar’, as well as providing variety in their overall sound with the blues influenced ‘Why Did You Leave Me’ and lighter rhythm of ‘Ol’ Barn Stomp’. It is the intelligent manner in which Twisted Rod tackle their rockabilly by resisting the temptation to plunge for the obvious sound (i.e. ‘Thunder and Lightning’ is not as raucous as one might expect), in addition to remaining humble enough to heed some advice because ‘Baby Me And You Are Through’ could so easily be Marc & the Wild Ones. It’s like they’ve never been a way as ‘Boozin’ & Boppin’ retains much from their previous long player, but with a few added extras that definitely takes Twisted Rod to the next level.

Dylan Mondegreen

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Every Little Step

Dylan Mondegreen


The name Dylan Mondegreen will be familiar to those who remember his album ‘While I Walk You Home’ (2007) that was full of melodic soulful pop, and brought comparisons with Josh Rouse and Prefab Sprout. In 2016, Dylan Mondegreen is ready with a brand new album by the name of ‘Every Little Step’. This latest creative excursion is Mondegreen’s fourth long player, and marks a change in tactics when it came to recording as he decided to record the album in a short timeframe with as little help from any studio technology. The end result was ten songs recorded live at Rune Berg’s studio outside of Oslo with additional accompaniment via Olaf Olsen (drums), Bjørn Holm (bass) and further contributions via Maria Due and Geir Sundstøl. By adopting a more simplistic approach to the recording methods of ‘Every Little Step’, Mondegreen has described it as his “punk album”. The change in working methods also sees the inclusion of two songs performed in his local dialect as a means to answer any curiosities Mondegreen was feeling at the time with ‘Mens I Føl De Hæm’ and ‘Slepp Taket’. With the rest of the album being open to a wider audience, Mondegreen sets out his personal insights to a largely indie pop acoustic beat that reflects coming-of-age tales (‘For The Innocent And Young’) and the precarious nature of life as a musician and attempting to survive the music industry (‘Nothing Lasts Forever’). It remains, however, the breezy acoustic simplicity of the song ‘Every Little Step’ that has hints of Roddy Frame in terms of its delivery, and touches a nerve with its honest lyrics that stands out above the crowd here. The decision to create a “punk album” was a wise one by Dylan Mondegreen because, despite offering a personal insight of his own world, the themes brought to light will resonate with many, and likely see this album being played in years to come.

Poor Man's Dollars

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Poor Man’s Dollars (Single)

Rich Evans & The Second Edition


Far from this being a new experience for London-based singer-songwriter Rich Evans considering that he’s a veteran of the genres encompassing Americana, blues and folk, in addition to holding an impressive CV when it comes to performing live having undergone extensive tours in America and Europe and released albums for US record labels in Nashville. The latest venture for Rich Evans is the single ‘Poor Man’s Dollars’, which is part of the upcoming full album release this year ‘Left of Laurel Canyon’. The single finds a dual vocal performance that is beautiful in its execution as it quietly laments over the poverty-stricken state outlined in the central narrative, and given further weight by the stripped back feel of the country instrumentation. A strong start for Rich Evans before the main event as ‘Poor Man’s Dollars’ is an intelligent piece of song writing that deserves your upmost attention.

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