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Twenty Flight Rock (Single)

The TR5's

OWN LABEL

Arriving in the post and complete with a handwritten letter was the TR5’s two-track CD. Rather than this being an official independent release, it would appear The TR5’s is dipping their toes in the water to gauge reactions to their efforts. With the giveaway clue printed boldly on the artwork to what sort of music was behind this CD, there is a charming old-school feel surrounding the entire package, despite no clues to the actual tracks recorded. However, if it is further investigation The TR5’s requires, then they certainly gained the attention of this music paper. What transpires are two cover songs, and brave choices given the artists covered: namely Eddie Cochran’s ‘Twenty Flight Rock’ and Carl Perkin’s ‘Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby’. With such impeccable taste, The TR5’s also matches with aptitude when covering these two classics. First up is ‘Twenty Flight Rock’ and it is as bright and lively as the original, with the vocals of Rusty impressing throughout and the supporting instruments keeping apace and skipping between the definitions associated with this release of skiffle and early rock ‘n’ roll. If there must be a winner however, then ‘Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby’ just about edges into first place given the added attitude heard in both guitar and vocals, which is always a bonus when it comes to rock and roll. As first impressions go, it looks like a second date is on the cards with The TR5’s given the quality of these two cover songs.


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Strangers/Lovers: Side B

DAGNY

Little Daggers Records

After releasing phase one of her debut album ‘Strangers/Lovers: Side A’ last summer, DAGNY issues phase two of said album. With ‘Side B’ submitted a few months later during the same year, FLW arrived a tad late to the second half of this full-length LP. However, any decision to submit feedback of DAGNY’s debut offering was always on the cards due to being mightily impressed with ‘Side A’. With a colossal number of tracks considered before entering the recording studio in Oslo, a final figure of twelve tracks was decided upon to make the final grade. Focusing on ‘Side B’ of ‘Strangers/Lovers’, singer-songwriter DAGNY (full name Dagny Norvoll Sandvik), the immediate connection with these tracks is the subtler tone of the music on offer. Heartbreak is central to the narratives of these final songs, where much reflection is given via the emotionally raw ‘Bad At Love’ with its pared-back arrangement of vocals and barely audible piano adding to the overall mood. There’s toned-down pop such as the memory-driven ‘Moment’, which continues in similar fashion during ‘It’s Only A Heartbreak’ and stirring finale ‘Coast To Coast’. It has taken some time to arrive, but the wait has been worthwhile as DAGNY has written and recorded a debut album to be proud of, and one that will stand the test of time.


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Digging In The Dirt (Single)

Janita

ECR Music Group

Following on the heels of previous single, and aptly titled for the current times we are all experiencing, ‘Not What You’re Used To’, singer-songwriter Janita issues a cover of Peter Gabriel’s ‘Digging In The Dirt’. The chosen track is also reflective of the times as Janita explains in her own words, “This song hit me like a ton of bricks when Peter Gabriel first came out with it, but never has the message of the song been more timely than it is right now. To make sense of the world, you have to first make sense of yourself. And in this time of division, to deeply understand what you stand for—and what you can’t tolerate—is everything”. Getting to the root(s) of the present-day pandemic has been, and remains, a challenge. Thankfully, ‘Digging In The Dirt’ provides no such barriers when it comes to listening, which is due to the chameleon-esque inventiveness of both the song’s originator, Peter Gabriel, and current creator, Janita. By choosing to pick up the baton to deliver a cover, Janita remains faithful to its original creation, only there is an added crispness (especially in the guitars) to the song’s overall sound. Helping to deliver such a healthy rendition of ‘Digging In The Dirt’ is fellow singer-songwriter and New York resident Blake Morgan on production duties, to a song examining (personal) mental health and wellbeing issues and one delivered effectively by the sting contained in its verses and then softened by tender, sweeter choruses. With news of a promotional video still in production and to support the single release of ‘Digging In The Dirt’, the jury waits in anticipation for Janita’s interpretation considering the surreal visuals of the original. A timely reminder of a compelling song and one that deserves to be heard, especially in these difficult times, ‘Digging In The Dirt’ remains a classic.


Released 19 March

 

Emerge

Everture

Inverse Records

What started with a couple of single releases back in 2019, eventually gave way to a bigger perspective of full album. From preproduction to actual album completion, much consideration has been given to the overall contents of the debut album from Everture. It is not difficult to comprehend when first albums often create lasting impressions and therefore perfection is often sought-after at every available junction. With ten tracks being the perfect ten for Everture when it comes to their first full-length album ‘Emerge’, first impressions are immediate given the frantic rhythms of opening tracks ‘In Between’ and ‘For Tomorrow’. In addition to the muscular fury however, Everture thread plenty of melodic passages throughout their music where the previously mentioned ‘For Tomorrow’ is one such example where vocals flit between singing and throaty yelling, and guitars dictate in similar style and accompanied by accelerated drum patterns. Attention to detail is a definite requirement when applying all the components to ‘Emerge’ where emotions are projected in great ranging storms of sound one instance, and then giving way to much lighter shades and thus suggesting some form of optimism such as the track ‘Undersky’. But this is the strength and qualities of Everture because the band inject much variation into their predominantly metal sound by coming up with songs with a social conscience (‘Ivory Tower’), thoughtful ballads as ‘Promises’ with plenty of musical crossover appeal, to caustic and reflective belter ‘White Lies, Black Skies’, before delving even deeper via quite stunning, ’My 52 Shades’. As debut albums go, Everture has applied all their knowhow into ‘Emerge’ and come out with an album rich in detail and much variation where metal, pop, and rock music merge to create a very modern metal album that will require repeat visits before becoming fully accustomed with its contents. In other words, a perfect start for Everture.


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Vexilla (Single)

Aryokal

Bandcamp

An electronic sound with a dark, atmospheric touch can be heard via latest single ‘Vexilla’ from independent outfit Aryokal. The new track features a hands-on approach from duo Antti Ruokola and Pekka Loponen, with Antti Ruokola responsible for the band’s compositions, programming, and production duties, and Pekka Loponen handling the vocals. What the listener can expect is a lengthy brooding track where minimalist, electronic pulses keep momentum in the background and allowing for an almost free-flowing piano to roam and taking its inspiration from jazz music. There is, however, an interesting turn in the single ‘Vexilla’, punctuated by a halfway point where the previously spoken word feel of the vocals breaks out into a more full-bodied voice, and with the electronic sounds becoming far more prominent. Hopefully, Aryokal is in the planning stages for a full album given the intriguing qualities of current release ‘Vexilla’.


Released Out now

 

Knippe EP

lld

Screaming Skull Records

Pausing for a moment from regular duties with post-punk merchants This Sect, bass player, and now vocalist, Ösztek issues forth a brand-new project under the guise known as lld. First release for this solo outing is the EP ‘Knippe’, which is made up of four tracks of “atmospheric black metal from the Oslo forest”. Whilst we are inclined   to agree with such a definition when it comes to ‘Knippe’, there are a few more additional influences which also apply to this EP. Such ideas formulate once opening salvo ‘Hjemkomst’ gets underway and giving the impression of felling trees as it goes due to its razor-sharp, buzzsaw guitars reminiscent of the Jesus & Mary Chain’s debut ‘Psychocandy’. The incessant noise continues in similar compelling fashion during the mournful ‘Jeg Senker Mine Små I Jorden’ where guitars sound on a perpetual loop of white noise, and vocals sounding distant as they do close mainly because of its affiliations with some of the pioneers of goth music. Breaking through the dense layers of noise and edging in front for standout track is ‘I Natten, Under Stjernene’. Reasons for the tipoff is mainly down to its post-punk intro of guitars that bleeds into dark shoegaze only to fall back once more and then continue. In other words, it is an impressive seven+ minutes that needs to be heard. All the potential is there for lld to develop into more than a simple side project, if such intentions existed from the beginning, because with added variation, then there is no reason why a full album should not be a consideration given this VERY impressive start of black metallic gothic shoegaze from a secluded corner of the Oslo forest.


Released Out now

 

Cliffie Stone – The Legendary Capitol Records Double Bassist And More!

Various Artists

Atomicat

With two previous titles bestowed to the greatness of Grady Martin and more recently Billy Strange, third album in this current series focuses on the work of Cliffie Stone. An absolute mountain of a man in more ways than one, the musical qualities of Cliffie Stone were not simply confined to his instrument of choice, the double bass, no, because in fact Stone was involved in five bands, performed vocals on many occasions, and managed to get the best out of his fellow musicians in the recording studio because of his creative skills, and for being a likeable figure due to his outgoing personality. Working wonders in the recording studio certainly paid off, and detailed here during the first eight tracks, with Stone leading the charge via different line-ups whether His Hepcats, His Orchestra or His Hometown Jamboree Gang. With Country and Western being the musical path trodden by Cliffie Stone for many of the songs, there are noticeable inclusions of big band influences to ‘Sugar Rock ‘n’ Roll’ for example. The inclusion of Bill Monroe classic ‘Blue Moon Of Kentucky’ will gain the attention of those with a keen ear considering a certain “King” who made a rather fine cover of this very same song. From there, expect instrumentals as ‘The Last Round – Up’, and songs with humour as the recently restored life of a bachelor ‘Dirty Dishes’, to nonstop food consumption of country ditty ‘Roly Poly’. With this album being an album of two halves, Stone’s involvement is that of several different guises where additional country musicians made their mark from Merle Travis to Hank Thompson, Skeets McDonald, and the uniquely named Shug Fisher to provide only a small handful of those Stone worked with and inspired. With so much music to his name, ‘Cliffie Stone – The Legendary Capitol Records Double Bassist And More!’ is only the tip of a large body of work, but one that offers a glimpse of an exceptionally large talent.


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Racketeer’s Wildest Wingding!

Various Artists

Atomicat

For anyone looking for that perfect fix of rockin’ sounds, then there is no finer place to find such a home as Atomicat’s latest album series ‘Wildest Wingding!’. Adding ‘Racketeer’s…’ to its latest title, the listener will get a taste of familiar and less familiar names presenting themselves during the twenty-seven long track list. Getting off to a good start is always the right idea as The Raiders most certainly do with a solid slice of rock ‘n’ roll. One feature that is noticeable from this series of albums so far is the attention given to songs that provide something a little different when it comes to rockabilly and rock ‘n’ roll as the deep, and certainly different, vocals aired during rather excellent ‘Cherokee Dance’ by Bob Landers with Willie Joe And His Unitar. Moving on, the inclusion of artists with familiarity, but essential if you want to draw in the pundits are Clyde Stacy with ‘Hoy Hoy’, Johnny Powers With Stan Getz And Tom Cats and track ‘Long Blond Hair’, Lew Williams ‘Cat Talk’, and always essential for our money Sonny Burgess and not so obvious song choice, ‘Ain’t Got A Thing’. From such examples, the selection of artists and songs is like a fine box of chocolates with something that should appeal to those who yearn for nothing but rockabilly and rock ‘n’ roll in their record collections, but more notably for this compilation being an Elvis/Johnny/Eddie free zone, despite all their greatness, but a breath of fresh air for entering a different route and including instead John Worthan (‘The Cats Were Jumpin’), Rocket Morgan (‘Tag Along’) and Ray Melton and super tough song ‘Boppin’ Guitar’. Quite simply, ‘Racketeer’s Wildest Wingding!’ is packed with cool guitars and strong attitudes and quality tunes. More of the same please Atomicat!

 

 

 

 


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Rocker’s Wildest Wingding!

Various Artists

Atomicat

Nothing more pleasing than when it comes to album compilations that are filled with sure-fire winners such as Atomicat’s latest project ‘Wildest Wingding’. Second in the series is given the moniker ‘Rocker’s Wildest Wingding!’ and it’s packed with such artists from the worlds of rockabilly and rock ‘n’ roll as Dale Hawkins, Peanuts Wilson, Jackie Gotroe, Benny Ingram, and Corky Jones. However, following the norm of such album releases on the Atomicat imprint you will discover names that do not immediately spring to mind when compiling such collections as Bob And The Rockabillies, “Uncle” Buck Lite With The Rhythm Rockers, The Surf Riders, and for the moment, The Dazzlers. Such examples really put daylight between these compilation albums and other albums of similar themes because it is those fewer familiar inclusions that attract one’s attention immediately. For those eager to pursue such examples, then the rockin’ beat with plenty of piano action of The Catalinas’ ‘Speechless’ will leave you feeling speechless such is its brilliance, then not too far in the distance solid rocker featuring dominant guitar work and side order of saxophone that is ‘Somebody’s Been Rocking My Boat’ from Norman Witcher. Speaking of guitar, Gene La Marr’s ‘That Crazy Little House On The Hill’ possesses a razor-sharp edge of said instrument that cuts right through the contents of this song and really grabs the headlines, before being nudged out of the way by quintessential rockabilly of ‘Riverside Jump’ supplied by Jack Cochran. With the inclusion of oddball presentation from Sidney Jo Lewis and song ‘Boppin’ To Grandfather’s Clock’, there is clearly something for all those in love with rockabilly and rock ‘n’ roll. Nothing but another 10/10 scorecard for Atomicat Records.

 

 


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Hillbilly And Rustic Rockabilly Bop Volume 5: Wild Man Rock

Various Artists

Atomicat

Time to get the hanky out and dry away the tears as ‘Hillbilly And Rustic Rockabilly Bop Volume 5: Wild Man Rock’ ends what has been a quite scintillating series. Covering the wilder edges of traditional country music when the early stages of rockabilly was beginning make itself known in the rhythms coming from the hills, Volume Five ends on a significant high by turning up the heat somewhat as far as those rockin’ rhythms go and artists featured. Early signs of such a description can be heard by Slim Rhodes double quick tempo of vocals and rhythm that fuels the addictive ‘Gonna Romp And Stomp’. Gene O’Quin, and track ‘Come Around To Me’, performs a similar feat, only the tempo is a tad slower yet nonetheless engaging due to providing an irresistible foot-tapping beat, and topped by incredible vocals. Other familiar names pop up such as Don Gibson (‘Ah-Ha’), Lefty Frizzell (‘If You’ve Got The Money, I’ve Got The Time’), Bob Gallion (‘I Want Her Blues’) and Johnny Cash with ‘Transfusion Blues’, the listener gets to experience the ‘Wild Man Rock’ of the album’s title. The bonus here, as with previous titles of this excellent series, is the inclusion of more obscure artists as the unusual name Endom Spires and primitive slice of rockabilly, written by Johnny Bond, ‘I Wonder Where You Are Tonight’. Similarly, names as Jack Morris and His Night Owls with a more fully rounded sound that is ‘White Line’, and then Hunter Watts and His Southern Pals’ wonderfully raw title track, are songs that will lead to further investigation. Crammed full of many rustic rockabilly delights as the masterclass in song presentation given by Ray Campi and ‘Dual Wheels No Brakes’, in addition to formerly mentioned Johnny Cash and dark tale of ‘Transfusion Blues’, then ‘Wild Man Rock’, the album, is a fitting end to a truly memorable series.


Released Out now

 

Southern Bred: Texas R&B Rockers Vol.12

Various Artists

Koko Mojo

The quality continues via ‘Southern Bred: Texas R&B Rockers Vol.12’ where there appears no end to the list of artists making the grade for the “Texas” side of this genuinely great album series. Presenting their musical wares for Volume Twelve are several Texas rhythm and blues musicians who will be familiar, and not so familiar, depending on the listener’s record collection. One factor that is certain is that this latest compilation begins in a lively manner via The Downbeats’ ‘Come On Over Baby’, which lives up to the “Rockers” part of the title of this series without any doubt. Moving on from this energetic start you will experience considerable variety where The Meadow Larks reduce the tempo during ‘Real Pretty Mama’ yet make up for this with harmonised vocals and busy saxophone that makes its presence felt. Chuck Higgins peps up the volume with song ‘Broke’ and featuring Daddy Cleanhead (Answers on a postcard regarding that surname please). From there, Chavez And Chaney produce a hot sound that is more akin to rock ‘n’ roll with ‘Piccadilly Rose’, before Paul Monday restores order with a rhythm and blues number with shades of big band, not forgetting a vocal that soars above all these instruments on occasions, during the appropriately titled for the times we are living in, ‘Tired Of This Life I’m Living’. Other superb vocals can be heard during female/male pairing of The Romancers (‘House Cat’), and similarly Little Esther And Mel with ‘Ring-A-Ding Doo’. Once more with the Southern Bred series, there is much to consume with its usual twenty-eight tracks and sheer quality of its music that delivers on every single note as far as Volume Twelve goes.


Released Out now

 

Europe’s Rocking

Various Artists

Rhythm Bomb

Moving on from earlier release ‘Farewell Britain: A Rockin’ Farewell To Britain’, the fresh year brings in a fresh outlook from Rhythm Bomb Records with latest compilation ‘Europe’s Rocking’. Setting its sights on the present and serving as a link to the future as the artists featured in this compilation should warrant further investigation, the track list features numerous bands from the current scene. Leading the way is The Hoodoo Tones and their track ‘Who Thinks About Me’, which happens to be just one of many highlights from their excellent ‘Still On The Run’ long player. There’s plenty of raw and rockin’ sounds to be heard via the likes of Twisted Rod (‘I’m Gone’), Ray Black & The Flying Carpets (‘Better Way To Move’) and always reliable Vince & The Sun Bopper and selected song ‘Mama Little Chicky’. In addition to the rockabilly tracks, there are tracks to be heard with a combined blues influence from the likes of The Kokomo Kings (‘Fooled By The City Lights’), which is worthy of its inclusion for its meaningful song title alone, to other examples featuring the excellent Cat Lee King & His Cocks (‘You’re The Greatest’), The Jelly Roll Men taking one back in time via their ‘Come Back Home To Me’, and gorgeous vocals of Bonita, featuring the highly experienced The Blues Shacks, during ‘Hottest Wing In Town’. Adding to such experience is the lo-fi and raw edge of ‘So Blue’ by Little Victor, not to mention reintroduction of Fireball Steven and his ‘Thunder And Lightning’ for bringing back the rockabilly sound, ‘Europe’s Rocking’ is a prime example of everything good that is happening in today’s rockin’ scene.



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