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The Trillionairs


trillionairsThe Trillionairs – Haunted

Killjoy records – Kill 023 [2017]
Haunted – Alohol
The Trillionairs are a German neo-rockabilly/psychobilly quartet. After a short dialog taken from what I assume to be a old movie (though I didn’t recognize it), Haunted kicks off. Two guitars, one with a distorted sound and another with a more rockabilly sound, a powerful slap bass completed by superb drumming (the band’s secret weapon), and on top of that a fierce and aggressive voice. With a change of pace in the middle, this is first class psychobilly.
B sides takes more or less the same ingredients, including fine drums breaks too, but is slightly faster. That’s all I love and I ask from a band : tight musicianship, good songs and more than two ideas for the arrange them.
500 copies (400 black, 50 red and 50 white)

Available here.

The Retarded Rats


Retarded ratsThe Retarded Rats – I Hate Chocolate

Killjoy records – Kill 024 [2017]

The Head and the Axe – Survival

A broken record player coupled with a busy schedule delayed the review of a batch of vinyl records I received from Killjoy records, including this single from the Retarded rats. And just when I finally can review it, I hear the news that they decided to take a break . Rats !

Killjoys is known for its colored vinyl releases and cassettes. This single makes no exception to the good taste of the label. It comes in a beautiful gatefold sleeve, nicely designed and illustrated with… a flexi disc inside. Yes you read well, a flexi disc.
For releasing such beautiful objects, Flatty and Anna Killjoy deserve all our respect, admiration and support (in other words : buy the discs !) But they deserve all of that and more  for another simple and obvious reason : their music.
A side could be described as psychedelic-psychobilly, not that surprising for a song about voices in the head that lead to a hatchet in a skull.
B side is more rocking with a slight western twang. It also features pretty good lyrics too. Like everyone I like songs about vampires, ghouls and zombies but I was pleased to find more personnal and almost reflective lyrics that find a strange echo with the news of the band calling it quit.

Limited to 500 copies.

Available here and here.

The Retarded Rats - Screams from the 10th Planet
The Retarded Rats – Screams from the 10th Planet

The Retarded Rats – Screams from the 10th Planet

Killjoy Records KILL-017
The Engine Starts – No time to die – Neo-psychobilly – You Lost my brain – Headshot – Searching – Fingertip in the Sky – Inquisition – the key – Coulrophobia – Nananananananananananana – Screams fromt he 10th planet

I sometimes fear that I don’t have the legitimacy to review Psychobilly albums. After all, I stopped following the evolution of the genre since the mid 90’s, when bands began to incorporate too much elements of metal, hardcore or were just playing punk with a slap bass. But the Retarded Rats LP came as a nice surprise. I first thought that the main reason was due to the sound that brought back my teenage year. But it was much more than that. And simplier: the Retarded Rats are a pretty good band.

With the feet firmly rooted in the classic Psychobilly tradition of the mid 80’s/late 90’s, this trio (Gordon melmac on drums, Flatty Killjoy on guitar and organ and Anna Killjoy on doublebass and lead vocals) from Leipzig, Germany, takes the genre one step further without denaturing it. Without a doubt the light guitar, the slap bass (a real slap bass with warm notes and a wood sound, not that horrendous metallic clicking sound one too often hears) and even the voice of Anna, the female lead singer (I couldn’t help but think about Something Shocking or Dypsomaniaxe) belong to the what is usually described as old school psychobilly but the melodies, the songs (all originals) and the arrangements are 100% their own.
By no means are the Retarded Rats a nostalgic band playing a music of the past. They have too many good ideas for that. The sound has a lot to do with that too, it’s raw – recorded live on 8 track reel to reel – but not dirty (well, okay a bit dirty, but just what it needs, see what I mean)

In the end the best way I can find to describe this excellent combo is the title of one of the best songs of the album: neo-psychobilly.
Like Rockabilly, Psychobilly saw a lot of 80’s bands reforming in the recent years to play weekenders, that’s a good thing (who wouldn’t like to see legends?) but I firmly believe that the future of Psychobilly lays in bands like the Retarded Rats who bring new blood and ideas but remain faithful to the genre.

Order it here :

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

45 Rpm

45 rpm
45 rpm

45 rpm

[archive from 2007]
Even if you haven’t heard about 45 RPM before, the name of Thorsten (aka Schroeder) and Jurgen may be familiar to you. They both were members of the neo-rockabilly trio The Javes and had a few records out in the mid 80’s. A few years later, well decided to take over the world but this time with a more authentic sounding rockabilly (I don’t like the term but I haven’t found a better one yet), they found the secret weapon to team with in the person of Sandra : a cute little girl with a rockin’ Patsy Cline voice.
Their second album has just been released, it contains 16 tunes and 9 are written by the band.

by Fred “Virgil” Turgis

How did you meet and how did 45 rpm form?

Sandra – The beginning of 45 rpm was ca.2002/2003. After a few changes of some different bandmembers we´re playing in this constellation since July 2005.

Many american artist discovered rockabilly music with their parents or in a family context. What about you. What led you to this music.
Sandra – My Mom and Dad kept me hearing Mr. Johnny Cash since I was a little “Anything” as she was pregnant with me. As I behold the world I knew that I was looking in 6 really good rocking eyes. MY MOM; MY DAD AND MY BEAUTIFUL SISTER!!!!

Thorsten and Jurgen, you were members of The Javes back in the mid-80’s. One word about that?
Thorsten – Yes, we did! (wow, that’s what I call “one word” – Virgil)

Didn’t The Javes work with Boz Boorer? Are there any unreleased recordings from that period?
Thorsten – Wow, we did work with Boz Boorer in England indeed. But almost no one did know that. We cut 4 songs for Ray Frenshaws Northwood Records, none of it has been released so far. And one of these is a smash hit ( Soldier in the night), promised.

Before joining this guys, Sandra, have you heard about their dark past?
Sandra – Not really – smile- Did they have a dark past, wwooow…

Sandra, when did you start singing? Is this your first band?
Sandra – I enjoy singing since I was a little girl sitting on mummys lap.
In the late 90´s I start singing in my first band. That time I´d been singing in a soul band. But I left that band a few month later. Very strange band – the bassman was in a relationship with the girl on the sax. He was 47 years old and she was 17 – ooops!

Could you tell us about your influences?
Sandra – Since I listened music I was interested in “Old Style Music”.
It started with 60´s – northern-soul-, Rocksteady, Ska, you know?
Approximately 1995 I listened to my first Stray Cats, Restless, Rattlers and (oho) Nekromantix LP. (Shame on me that I´ve never heard this good rocking sound before) And now, here I am ;o)
Mr. Bass Jürgen and Trixomatic don´t say any word – they always slap, and slap, and slap…
Thorsten – I dig very early Neo-Rockabilly, Django Reinhardt, Charlie Christian, T-Bone Walker, Chico Hamilton. Songwise I go for the “pop”songs, tracks with a catchy melody!

What about your drummer? I’ve heard he joined the band in an impromptu way.
Sandra – Yes, indeed. The “old” drummer didn´t show up for a gig. So we needed to find a new drummer, quick! DJ Rollin´Danny (Trixomatic Olliver) was available at this time and we knew it from the very first gig that he fits perfectly in the band.

Schroeder, you have your own studio and have just recorded a solo album, tell us about that please.
Thorsten – Songs I recorded over the past 16 month, twiddling the knobs in my studio. Played all guitars, drums, handled the vocals and asked two friends of mine to help out with the bass playing. Jürgen did one half of the songs; It´s a mixture from swampy roots rockabilly to voodoo neorhythms to swinging rockabilly tunes. So far, I have not tried to find a label, and give some of them away for free on the homepage.

Does your nickname, Schroeder, come from the Peanuts?
Thorsten – Yes, Schroeder comes from the Peanuts: Sandra once said I would remind her of this piano player character and ever since…

Are you crazy about Beethoven like him?
Thorsten – Personally I go for J.S. Bach, absolutely brilliant. Beethoven is too heavy for me. He was deaf, anyway…

Are you full-time musicians or do you have a day jobs?
Sandra – I´m working ( rocking and rolling, too ) in a day-nursery. Everywhere I am I hear tunes in my head! No voices – TUNES!!!
Thorsten – I´m a full time student ( hehe) ( psychology and sociology), but I live on making music.

You recently backed Rayburn Anthony. It must have been a big thrill to you. Tell us about that.please
It was THE big thrill and the audience was captivate us and we could captivate, too. Is there anything better?

A last word?
Sandra – Hope, we see us and rock the house together!
Best wishes from Fortyfive rpm!!!

Barney’s Boogie Train

Barney's Boogie Train - Jukebox Attack
Barney’s Boogie Train – Jukebox Attack

Barney’s Boogie Train – Jukebox Attack

EMG 00761
Beat It – Rock’n’Roll Outlaw – In The Summertime – Sweet Home Alabama – Sweet Home Alabama – Way Down – Paint It Black – I’m On Fire – Brand New Cadillac – Nothing Else Matters – Shadow Play – Gene And Eddie – Sex & Drugs & Rock’n’Roll – I’m Running Free – Somethin’ Else
If there’d be an award for the most recreative rock’n’roll album, BBT’s latest LP would figure in good place to get it. This German trio had the idea (almost a concept) to cover songs from different horizons, especially the ones you’re not used to hear on a rock’n’roll/rockabilly album, and play it in their own “billy” sound. Except for two or three songs the result is really excellent.
Among the best you’ll find Michael Jackson’s Beat It (which reminded me an old interview with Lux Interior saying he considered Jackson as a great rockabillly vocalist), Rose Tattoo’ Rock’n’Roll Outlaw (but you can’t go wrong with Angry Anderson and his gang), Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Sweet Home Alabama that starts like a Johnny Cash tune before exploding and Paint It Black that almost manages to make you forget the Quakes version.
Other notable renditions are Bruce Springsteen I’m On Fire, turned into an upbeat country song; Metallica’s Nothing Else Matter (which is in Barney’s hands a jazzy number close to Satan Takes A Holliday) and my favorite Iron Maiden’s I’m Running Free (from their first album), which stays quite close to the original, but it would have been a mistake to change such a killer beat.
Equally good is Barney’s self penned number Way Down.
More dispensable are Mungo Jerry’s In The Summertime, but I never really liked this number. Gene & Eddie and Something Else are not among my favorites neither, maybe because they stay too close to the originals or being already rockabilly/rock’n’roll songs (and very well known ones) the surprise doesn’t work like it does with the other numbers.
Anyway these are minor reproaches and this album is very good. I hope they’ll do a volume two (and maybe they’ll include one AC/DC song).
Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Nervous Breakdown – Dirty Beats

Nervous Breakdown - Dirty Beats
Nervous Breakdown – Dirty Beats

PART CD 688.001
Nervous Breakdown Bash ~ You Bring Me Down ~ Do The Bop ~ Wild And Bad ~ Bad Side Of The Blues ~ Treat Me Like A Man ~ Dirty Beats ~ Rock ‘n’ Roll Queen ~ Baby You’re Mine ~ It’s Alright ~ Leave Me Alone ~ Bird Doggin ~ It Must Be Hell ~ Supersonica (instr.) ~ Where Have You Been?

This German quartet (guitar – double bass – drums – sax) plays modern rockabilly and rock’n’roll at a frenzied beat that sometimes borders on old school psychobilly (when the “billy” was still present). The saxophone brings a very personal touch and gives them a sound of their own, but if I had to make a comparison, I’d say they could be the little brothers of Hot Boogie Chillun. You’ll also hear some Sonics influences too.
Formed in 2005 they’ve waited 5 years to release their debut album and it shows. They are very well rehearsed and tight. You can hear that a special attention has been put into the arrangements and the sound is powerful, far from your usual “let’s release a record 2 months after we got together…” one often finds.
The other positive point is that 12 of the songs are very well crafted originals.
Nervous Breakdown take every good aspect of 80’s neo-rockabilly and take them into the 21st century for a sound that owes nothing to the past. A band to follow.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

The Foggy Mountain Rockers

The Foggy Mountain Rockers - Hang Him High
The Foggy Mountain Rockers – Hang Him High

The Foggy Mountain Rockers – Hang Him High

PART CD 627.001 [1998]
The Way Of Rock’n’Roll ~ I’m On The Run ~ Rheinland Rock’n’Roll ~ Long Blonde Hair ~ Blues Train To Hell ~ Country Roads ~ You Gonna Rock ~ Lonesome Teddyboy ~ Rock’n’Roll Will Never Die ~ Der Alptraum ~ Unchained Melody ~ Hang Him High ~ Noch’n Bier ~ Ghostriders In The Sky

Hang Him High was supposed to be the band’s first release but Pin-up, the original label, decided to cease releasing records once the recording finished. It’s only years later that Part got the rights and finally issued it, hence the subtitle “early recordings”. But “early” doesn’t mean “amateurish”. By the time of this recordings they’re already accomplished musicians (listen the guitar solos). They deliver a set of mostly original songs (including two in German) completed with four covers with the solid musical cocktail made of 2 parts teddy boy rock’n’roll, one part country and a dash of skiffle played with a no-nonsense approach. Sure it sounds a bit young compared to later albums where the band was more experienced and also benefited of a real studio and they sometimes try to catch a fish too big for them (Unchained Melody) but Hang Him High is nonetheless very pleasant. You can also hear that they worked hard on the vocal arrangements (Country Roads). Good debut.

The Foggy Mountain Rockers - Angel Heart
The Foggy Mountain Rockers – Angel Heart

The Foggy Mountain Rockers – Angel Heart

PART CD 627.009 [original release 1999 – reissue 2010]
Trouble ~ Hold Me Tight ~ All I Can Do Is Cry ~ Cats´ Rhythm ~ Teenage Paradise ~ Castin´ My Spell ~ Pioneers ~ El Diablo ~ Bopcat ~ Together Forever ~ Angel Heart ~ Dancing Shoes ~ Revenge Of The Innocent ~ Over The Rainbow ~ Wild Nights ~ Party By The Riverside ~ Drinkin´ Beer

First issued in 1999, “Angel Heart” the band’s second album appears here in a brand new mastered version and it’s a winner. This now well established German sextet plays Teddy Boy / British revival inspired rockabilly (think Shotgun, Riot Rockers, Crazy Cavan, Flying Saucers, Matchbox) with a solid dose of country music and even a bit of skiffle provided by the presence of a washboard player. Most of the songs are self penned with the accent put on the melodies. There’s also a few selected covers: Wayne Walker’s All I Can Do Is Cry, Johnny Kidd’s version of Casting My Spell, Cliff Richard’s Dancing Shoes and Gene Vincent Over The Rainbow (yes this Teddyboys have a heart beating under their leather jackets). Musically, the rhythm section is solid and provides the perfect ground for the two guitar players. Their solos are sharp and most of all originals. Those of you who are not stuck in a 50’s conception of the rockabilly thing will sure find a lot to enjoy on this great reissue.

The Foggy Mountain Rockers - Rock’n’Roll Philosophy
The Foggy Mountain Rockers – Rock’n’Roll Philosophy

The Foggy Mountain Rockers – Rock’n’Roll Philosophy


PART CD 627.008 [2011]
It`s Not Too Late To Be Wild – Pain Hurts – Be Apart – Teddy Boy Anthem – What You Waitin’ For, The Fog – Alone, Man`s Ruin – The Wanted Man In Black – Tender Days – Something Wrong With You – Teddy Boy Movement – Wanderin‘ Star – The Beat, Illuminati (instr.) – Rock’n’Roll Religion – She Brings Back The Wolf In Me – Don’t Break My Heart Again

With the exception of Crazy Cavan who is above all (and to quote the Foggy Mountain Rockers “It’s wild, it’s weird it’s crazy Cavan and he’s the pope”) the Foggy Mountain Rockers are of one today’s best Teddy Boy gang. They write solid originals played by first rate players with original ideas.
“Rock’n’Roll Philosophy” counts among their very best album. Just listen to the way the guitars interplay on “It’s Not to Late To Rock’n’Roll”, the harmonies on “Pain Hurts” or the melody of “Be Apart” (and strictly between us how many Teddy Boy group can you call “melodic”?). They alternate Rock’n’roll anthems built for the stage with mid tempos with equal pleasure. There’s also a lot of country stuff added to their music (“the Fog”), the western tinged “Illuminati” and a nicely done tribute to Johnny Cash.
Handle at your own risk, this is rock’n’roll music!

Fred “Virgil” Turgis