The Über Rock Singles Club: Blowin’ away the January Blues Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Dom Daley   
Sunday, 14 January 2018 04:40

Welcome, welcome, welcome - come on in and pull up a seat… the Singles Club is open for business in 2018 and boy have we got a bunch of bands to shake off the hangovers from 2017 and drag you kicking and screaming into the new year with some of the finest ever entries from around the globe in a stunning edition...


Rock and roll isn't dead or dying: in fact if you check these out, you'll see its alive and kicking, from as far afield as Australia, north and south America, as well as Shit Island UK.  


As long as bands keep writing and releasing great records, I'm gonna keep banging on your electronic door, introducing some of the finest tunes there is every single month - and here are a bunch of absolute bangers. Congratulations to the labels that are lucky enough to release a lot of these, and their dedication to the cause and unwavering support of rock ‘n’ roll. So, without further delay, the Single Of The Month’ is a no-brainer: 'No Time' and those loveable narcissists The Hip Priests has the nod - but Bikini Cop and Heavy Drapes would have held that honour any other month, I've no doubt about that. Enjoy - and keep sending in your records, coz I loves ‘em!


US Bombs HollywoodUS Bombs – ‘Hollywood Gong Show’ (Slope Records) 


Duane Peters is in the house and he's not only got a new single out - he's actually got two! 'Hollywood Gong Show' is exactly what you want to hear from Peters, with a couple of tracks full to the top of old school punk rock ‘n’ roll. Peters snarls his way through a melodic catchy lead track that is a solid reintroduction into the fold, as is 'Midnight Run' which, if I'm honest, is my favourite of the two on offer here. And the band sounds in fine form.


US Bombs – ‘Clash Tribute’ (Slope Records) 


Well, if US Bombs were ever going to pay tribute to a band that had influenced their sound it was only ever going to be one of two - and it looks like Strummer and co have the nod here with two superbly honoured stabs at covering Clash classics.  'Death Or Glory' is first up, and Peters pours out his heart into the next four minutes.  They don't try and do anything clever, just tip the cap and pay tribute, and they manage to nail it.  The real gem here is 'Straight To Hell', and again Peters leaves nothing to chance and pulls off the best cover of a Clash tune I think I've heard anyone record. Pick up a copy of the coloured vinyl via the bands Bandcamp page and hear it for yourself.  Welcome back Duane… we've missed you!


The Hip Priests – ‘No Time (Like Right Now)’ (Cracking Stuff Records) 


The Hip PriestsNot content with releasing some of the best 7" records consistently over the last decade, The Hip Priests are branching out.  Seven inches isn't big enough to contain this bad boy, as they go for broke with 'No Time (Like Right Now)': its majestic horn honkin' splendor is an incredible ten-minute long epic that rises up like a cobra.  Oh yeah, I did mention horns? Da Priests have thrown the kitchen sink at this one, with an impressive blast to accompany the hypnotic riff-a-rama and sing along chorus. I know I keep saying it but this really is the daddy of their collection of most excellent singles.  To call it epic would be a travesty, an injustice, a goddamn crime.  You absolutely need to hear this because it might just blow your mind.  What an absolute killer introduction to 2018.


Once you've caught your breath you can flip this one over for the other three offerings!  'I'm Too Good' is noisy and fast and, in time-honored Hip Priests tradition, kicking the listener's backside… if you forgot for a minute, this one will remind you of the band’s status amongst the rock n roll hierarchy. 'She's A Queen' is an altogether different beast: from the much more laid back tempo it features some very nice guitar work and timely piano stabs. To finish this epic 12" off we’re thrown around by the frantic 'All My Rowdy Friends Are Dead'! Amen brothers and sisters! I know it's early to be declaring the Single Of The Year poll already closed, but is anyone going to be topping this?  Can The Hip Priests possibly come up with a better single over the next 12 months? The gauntlet has been thrown down: a finer collection of songs I won't be hearing this year in the Singles Club! This can't be topped, can it? Unbelievable stuff!

Urban Voodoo Machine – ‘January Blues’ (iTunes) 


UVM JanuaryTwo tracks, one penned by Paul-Ronney Angel and one being a cover.  First up is the understated melancholic 'January Blues': with some mighty fine fiddle licks, this one builds and builds but never quite breaks out.  Nobody does this gypsy blues bop 'n' stroll like The Urban Voodoo Machine and it's always a pleasure to hear new songs always delivered to the highest standard and with lyrics that require listening to; its a most welcome new song to an already impressive catalogue of songs.


The cover is something of a tip of the hat to the sadly departed Mr. Campbell, who sadly passed last year: it’s a fantastic interpretation of 'Rhinestone Cowboy', and a song that is well and truly given the Urban Voodoo Machine treatment. As well as paying tribute to the original, it is also a song that one-time guitar player extraordinaire Nick Marsh used to play in his solo set, so a truly fitting tribute to two sadly missed musicians.  To finish off, there is an expletive-filled take on the lead track entitled 'January Blues' (No Fuckin Edit)’.  Head over to iTunes for this essential purchase.


Heavy Drapes - 'Should I Suck Or Should I Blow' (Tarbeach Records)  


Heavy DrapesWhilst the hype machine is revving its engine, Heavy Drapes are sitting in the passenger seat ready to get stuck into this business and let people know what they're all about.  With an album about to be released, a four-track EP is here to walk the walk and talk the talk. 


Without any fucking about, the lead track hits you like having an anvil dropped out of a multi-story car park and landing squarely on your bonce. With a simple guitar, bass, drums and voice set up, the band get straight down to business with a sprightly attack on your senses.  From the simple gang vocals and well-directed lyrics, they're not fuckin' about. They wear their influences on their sleeve: there is a healthy well respectful nod to Steve Jones, but 'Hanging Like A Suicide' has a great hook, the chorus is excellent and the breakdown is spot on.


'Into The Blue' sounds like the Lords Of The New Church meets Gunfire Dance, and is an absolute blinder of a song, full of snot and excitement as it blasts out of my speakers. There is some early Damned in there somewhere, as is there some of the better parts of Britpop, and to lash all these together to make such an impressive tune is a work of genius. The fourth and final offering is another belter, and if this is the shape of things to come then bring on that album, because I can tell you right here, right now, that Heavy Drapes have the chops in attitude and songwriting. This is one of the brightest new bands I've heard in a long time. Rock and Fucking Roll!! Heavy Drapes most certainly walk the walk and talk the talk - Buy It!!!


The John E Vistic Rock N Roll Soundsystem - 'King Ambulance' (AMO Records) 


Out in early February, 'King Ambulance' is a hoot! A real toe-tapper with a classic feel, its’ got a taste of The Stooges and some stomping ‘70s Glam in the vein of Bowie meets Mott about it, and is a great way to start the year. It also contains a fantastic saxophone solo that really ignites the song.  I want more if this is the shape of whats to come.


Wau Y Los AarghsWau Y Los - "El Mañanero" b/w “Maldita” (Slovenly Records)


Originally released as a farewell single, which subsequently sold out el pronto, it’s been decided that it should be reissued by Slovenly as original copies were going for crazy sums on this here internet. Wild out of control garage punk rock, from the wild riffs to the frantic drumming, this is at the top of the garage tree. 'Maldita' steals the show for me, with its manic keyboard swirls and rowdy vocals: it's a blast folks and one that should be cherished and purchased. It also comes wrapped in a rather cool sleeve - check it out.


Bikini Cops – ‘Three’ (Drunken Sailor Records) 


Bikini CopsWe all know that Australia churns out some fantastic bands right? No! What’s wrong with you people? I'll not go through the greats, like The Saints or Radio Birdman, or some of the lesser known bands that should have been big, but we'll start with the here and now and Bikini Cop, who are kicking up a shit storm all the way from Perth - and we can hear their cries all the way over here on shit island. This six – yup, six-track EP is gonna shake some of you up and no doubt pique the interest of others, because these guys can write a tune or two and knock it out with consummate ease. 


'(Not) My World' gets things off to a rather lively start and plonks their flag in the sand from the start; and the jolly Rodger happens to signify some frantic tub-thumping old school garage punk rock ‘n’ roll. It’s leather jacketed, sweat-soaked types flinging themselves around in the time-honoured name of rock ‘n’ roll. This their third (the clue was in the title) offering, and it is as wild as punk rock ‘n’ roll gets.  I love it! Can't get enough of it. 'Stupid System' is fast punchy and in your face for the next 90 seconds. 


Sure, there's nothing new happening here, but it’s all in the quality of the songs - and 'Midnight' is howling good fun. It’s exhausting stuff, such is hypertension brought on by the prolonged playing of Bikini Cop.  These boys are dancing to their own tune, and might well crash and burn or simply spontaneously combust – but, fuck me, they're gonna leave behind them a blazing trail of excellent rock 'n' roll as they smash and grab. It's not all manic, mind. 'Lost In A Dimension' is a little laid back and adult (only kidding): it might be a little restrained, but it’s another killer song.  Three EPs and currently my favourite Australian band, this really is outstanding, and if you haven't already clicked on the link then what are you waiting for - a bloody invite? Fill yer boots kids before they're all gone…


Very Mental – ‘Misconstrued’ (Drunken Sailor Records/Total Punk) 


Very MentalNow, it's no secret I love sloppy ‘77 punk a la Dead Boys and ‘80s delights like Hanoi Rocks, and everything in between… Well, this oddly named punk rock ‘n’ roller combo have released a strutting slab of punk rock that has its DNA soaked in that CBGB lower east side punk rock. or Stiv and the boys. and has the bubble gum chewing confidence of Debbie Harry. Very Mental probably don't give two fucks that I think their band name is a bit shit, because the music on this 7" most certainly isn't. 


Featuring members of Rik & The Pigs and Stiff Love, these two songs are a blast and so addictive. I guess the sleeve artwork (if you can call it that) doesn't give much away either, nor does it allude to what might lurk within. Hailing from Olympia, 'Misconstrued' is snotty and brash - and the duet is just killer, all the way to the Dolls-like chorus, which works perfectly.  A totally killer introduction to this band - and what a single to debut with. If you thought side one was a flunk, then hold onto to your belt because 'In The Morning' is ace! If you were wondering if punk rock had gone stale or safe, then you only have to grab a preview of songs like this to see it will never get boring as long as there are bands making music this good so we can only keep buying it and keeping the scene alive. Very Mental have got the chops! Fact!


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