Rockabilly , Psychobilly and everything in between.

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old-school psychobilly

Psyclocks (the)

in Reviews

psyclocksPsyclocks (the) – Dont Think, Feeeel​!​!​!​!

Killjoy Records – Kill 007 [2015]
Radioactive Baby – Everybody Stomping – Zombie Walk – That’s Alright

The Psyclocks are a psychobilly trio from Japan. They released their debut album in 2011 and this fine little ep in 2015 on Killjoy records.
They can be seen as the Japanese answer to Demented are Go, their singer having the same kind of gravely voice than Sparky. Musically the band is very good with clean guitar, a powerful slap bass to the fore and tight arrangements.
Radioactive Baby is pure psychobilly. Everybody Stomping has a rockabilly vibe in it. Zombie Walk is excellent and alternates slow and fast parts with a superb and very well recorded double bass.
The cover of Mickie Most’s That’s Allright concludes the ep on high note. They keep the spirit of the song but turn it into something completely insane, sounding like Sparky backed by the Meteors.
Great stuff. If you like classic Psychobilly, you’ll love it. It’s guaranted to make you stomp all night long.

The Radioactive Kid

The Krewmen

in Reviews


The Krewmen – Ramblin’ / I’m Gonna Get It

the krewmen

Lost Moment LM024
The Krewmen were one of the best band to emerge from the british rockabilly scene of the mid-eighties along with Red Hot’n’Blue, The Riverside Trio and The Blue Rhythm Boys to name but a few. The band was formed by bassist Tony McMillan in 1982, first as a rockabilly combo. After a few changes, the Krewmen found its best line-up with : Tony McMillan on bass, Jimmy Faye on drums and a young Carl Sonny Leyland on guitar, harmonica, piano and vocals. Together they pushed the band toward a more bluesy sound. Ramblin’ is a great “delta-blues meets Chicago blues” stuff. The electricity is here but you still have a big country flavour. This tune shows what a great slide guitarist is Carl Leyland, too bad he doesn’t play it anymore. The b-side, “I’m gonna get it” is a Jazz Gillum song. Listening to this version shows that the Krewmen were more than a “cover band”. They play this song and make it their own. The song, the voice and the harp are clearly bluesy, but the way McMillan slaps his bass and the scorchy guitar look toward rockabilly. Let’s call it rockabilly blues.The band recorded an EP and this single with this line-up, both on lost moment. Then they disbanded and soon after Tony McMillan came back, this time on guitar, with a new version of the Krewmen. Carl Leyland and Judge Faye were no longer here and the sound of the day was “modern rockabilly” to soon evolve into psychobilly. Carl Leyland later moved to the USA and became the famous piano player we know and Fahy joined Get Smart . The “original” Krewmen were an amazing band and it’s really sad they didn’t last long enough to release a full length album but Lost Moment re-released this legendary recordings on a CD called “Klassic Tracks From 1985!” (LMCD054) and you can find some other Krewmen recordings on Carl Sonny Leyland’s album “I Like Boogie Woogie” (On The Hill OTHRCD 001). Look for them, they definititely worth it.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Early Krewmen with Carl Sonny Leyland
Early Krewmen with Carl Sonny Leyland
The Krewmen - Into the Tomb
The Krewmen – Into the Tomb

The Krewmen – Into the Tomb

Lost Moment Records ‎– LMLP 014 [1987]
Let Loose – Should I Stay or Go – Devil’s Daughter – Public Enemy Number One – Hava Nagila – Curse of the Pharaohs – Solid Gold Easy Action – Hostage – I’m Not Dead – Swamp Club Ball

Third and last release with the classic Psychobilly line-up of the Krewmen (Tony Mc Millan on guitar, Mark Cole on vocals, Dominic Parr on drums and Jason Thornton on double bass).
The sound hardens a bit compared to the Adventure and Sweet Dreams with a fast paced cover of the Clash’s Should I Stay or Should I Go (a song that was heavily covered by Psychobilly bands at one point). Other covers are T-Rex Solid Gold Action and a Dick Dale inspired version of the traditionnal Hava Naguila.
All in all it’s a solid album, though maybe a little less essential than the first two albums.


The Krewmen - Plague of the dead
The Krewmen – Plague of the dead

The Krewmen – Plague of the Dead

Lost Moment [1988] – Reissue Part Records – PART-CD 6114-001 [2014]
Plague of the Dead – I’m Not Your Stepping Stone – Scream of the Banshees – Jeanie Jeanie Jeanie – What’s Wrong – I Can’t Stop – Take a Little More – The Clock – Legend of the Piper – Do You Wanna Touch – Beat the Devil – My Generation

One can distinct three main periods in the history of the Krewmen. The first one was the Rockabilly-blues years that saw the release of two singles with Carl Sonny Leyland. Next they changed their style to psychobilly with Mark Cole on vocals and the recordings of three classic psychobilly albums (the Adventure of, Sweet Dreams and Into the Tomb). Cole eventually left in 1987 and Tony McMillan, then guitar player took over the vocal duties and came with a new line-up including Steve Piper on drums and a Mark Burke.
The sound changed with the line-up too, getting harder and including different elements than Psychobilly and Rockabilly like metal, punk rock, glam rock. “Plague Of The Dead” combines all those influences. The choice of the covers reveals this orientation and McMillan’s varied tastes. From Eddie Cochran’s Jeanie, Jeanie, Jeanie to Gary Glitter’s Do You Wanna Touch via The Who’s My Generation and Steppin’ Stone (Paul Revere, The Monkees but also covered by The Sex Pistols). Tony quotes classic rockers like Chuck Berry and Elvis for influence but he also adds Alice Cooper, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Jimmi Hendrix and Sex Pistols to the list.
It wasn’t easy to follow Cole and their first three albums, but McMillan succeeds to renew the band and “Plague Of The Dead” contains some very good moments like “Legend Of The Piper”, “Take A Little More” and the previously mentioned covers. It’s  also quite refreshing to see a band that doesn’t care about boundaries.
So once again it’s agood job from Part Record to reissue this album (with interesting booklet that contains press clips). Hopefully they’ll release the rest of the band’s discography in the near future. One can only regret the label didn’t include the non-album b-sides released at the same time as bonus.


The Krewmen - Power
The Krewmen – Power

The Krewmen – Power

Lost Moment LMLP 021 [1990]
Devils Lair – Miranda – Undead – The Rats – Anymore – Stone – Get Lost – 2 Souls – Knight Moves – Back To The Ball

Little by little, fans of the Krewmen saw them adding more and more hard core elements to their music and slowly drop the rockabilly idiom out of their sound. This musical position culminates with Power, which is plain hard-roce with heavy and distorted guitars, hard pounding drums with breaks, raspy voice and powerful slap bass. Some elements are even strictly heavy metal / hard rock with tatseless guitar like Knight Moves.
It’s still very well produced and play and features ecellent tunes like Back to the Ball a follow up to Swamp Club Ball from Into the Tomb, but far from the traditionnal psychobilly sound of the three albums released with Mark Cole.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Spectre

in Contemporary artists/Reviews

Spectre – Spectre

Spectre

Killjoy Records Kill O28

Out Of Time – West – I’ve Been Fine – Spectre

Spectre is a psychobilly band from Los Angeles and this is their (brilliant) debut single.

Out Of Time is a fast psychobilly number with a mean guitar riff. Andy their guitar player really knows how to craft this little riffs that enter your head then dance in and with your brain for a while. West sounds like something like the Quakes meet Torment with a western twang. Really good!

Both I’ve Been Fine and Spectre are led by a powerful slap bass and sure will delight all fans of old school psychobilly.
Their strength (or their talent call it whatever you want) is of course in the way they deliver the songs but also in their songwriting. Their songs are traditionnal (I guess that if you grew up listening to psychobilly in the 80’s you won’t be disapointed) yet original.

Good debut, now I’m waiting for the lp!

As usual with Killjoy this is a limited edition of 500: 400 copies on black vinyl, 50 on clear/black vinyl (band edition) and 50 on grey vinyl (Killjoy Records edition).

Available here

Spectre on Facebook

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Rusty Robots

in Contemporary artists/Reviews
Rusty Robots

Rusty Robots (the) – Sweethearts, Kisses, Bloody Knives

Killjoy Records KILL 029 [2018]

Sweethearts, Kisses, Bloody Knives – The Last Man On Earth – Dust to Dust

To my great shame I didn’t know the Rusty Robots until very recently. I must admit being some kind of a traditionalist. I like my vampires to look like Bela Lugosi or Christopher Lee rather than Robert Pattinson and when it comes to Psychobilly I prefer a good old fast rockabilly slap bass, spare drums, light guitar and a mean singer rather than a punk-metal band with a double bass. And the Rusty Robots sound exactly as if they came straight from the 8O’s. Had they appear on the scene 35 years earlier they would top the bill at the legendary Klub Foot .

Their latest release for Killjoy records makes no exception. First, look at that cover! Have you seen something cooler since the front cover of the Scannerz or the back of Batmobile‘s debut album? Talking about Batmobile, the title track is a superb fast psychobilly number that would make Johnny Zuidhof and the Haamers brothers red with envy. Instant classic.

On B-side you’ll find the last man on earth, another classic old school psychobilly tune with nice changes of pace. It’s followed by Dust a Dust a demo recording. The sound is raw, but far from being a problem, this stripped down sound shows the qualities of the Rusty Robots in term of musicianship and melody.

Limited to 500 copies, 450 in black and 50 in yellow, though I’m afraid that the yellow ones are already out of print.

Available at Killjoy records or Razmataz records.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

The Swamp Dogs (german psychobilly band)

in Profiles/Stories
swamp dogs

The Swamp Dogs

Member of various German rockabilly and rock’n’roll bands since 1982 as a drummer and/or singer, Roland Heinrich aka The Lone Wolf learned to play the double bass in 1984 (one time members of the Percolators and Fall Out) . He formed the Swamp Dogs the following year with Doc Preatorious on guitar and Atilla Yüncüoglu on drums.
Their first influences were the Stray Cats and the Polecats. Between 1985-88, their set included covers of Buena Sera, Black Magic Baby, Live Fast Die Young, Down the Line and Lonesome Train.
Slowly the band gained a following and a distinctive sound. Their influences evolved toward bands like the early Meteors (Nigel Lewis era), The Sharks and The Ricochets. They then opeedn for foreign bands touring Germany like the Wampas, the Long Tall Texans, the Meteors, Batmobile and the Krewmen.

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The begining of the year 1987 saw the release of their 7” on Rundell Records with two songs taken from their “played live in the studio demo”. Side one is a cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Bad Moon Rising. If good it doesn’t bring anything real new to the song, just a good sped up rockabilly version. The flip is more interesting. The self penned “Mind & Music” is good and original and though the sound is a bit “young” (it’s a demo) it shows that the band had broader influences than many of their counterparts.

Later that year, in December, the band went in the studio to record what would be their mini-lp. The idea was to release it to coincide with a tour supporting the Krewmen. But the tour was cancelled and the mini album stayed in the vaults of the label until February 1989. It marked another step in the band evolution, mixing fast rockabilly/early psychobilly (My True Story, Ardath Bay) with garage sound like their excellent cover of Ug and the Cavemen’s Be A caveman. The Sting Rays and The Escalators were at the time a major part of their influences.
As good as it is, this lp is not a true picture of what the Swamp Dogs were in 1989.

Between 1987 and 1989 the band grew dillusioned with the rockin’ scene, especially in Germany. The violence one could find in certain gigs and the fact that more and more bands hardened their sound to include Heavy Metal didn’t sastify them. As a result Doc Preatorius left the band who stopped its activities.

In 1988, the Lone Wolf met Mitch who became the new guitar player and turned him toward new sounds like Jump Blues and Swing. That’s the new direction the Swamp Dogs took in 1989. They also recorded a couple of songs under the name “Little Green Men” available on “Listen To The Apecall”. A full lp was planned for late 1989/early 1990 but never saw the light of day. They dissolved in 1990 after the release of “Jump For Joy” and Heinrich joined the Crackerjack.
He now has a succesfull solo career. Find more infos his current project here. Atilla has also played with his brother in Cruisin a neo-rockabilly German outfit.

Bad Moon Rising / Mind & Music [1987]
My True Story (6 track mini lp) – Rundell [1989]
Jump For Joy [?]
(infos about this release needed please)

Jekills (the)

in Albums/Contemporary artists/Reviews

jekills-1The Jekills

Country: Belgium
Genre: Psychobilly

Leo Alfano: vocals / guitar
Fofo Mulone: drums
Sergio Vallan: doublebass

The band got together in 1986 under the name of Riot Guns (they were a quartet at that time with Michel Varga) playing neo-rockabilly. One year later, they became a trio, changed their name to The Jekills and started to play Psychobilly.
In September 1989, they released their self titled album that contains 9 songs on their own label that quickly sold out its initial pressing of 1000 copies and was re-released by Tombstone. 
Another song (Père Noël s’est Vengé) can be found on the compilation album “Wreckin’ Around the X-Mas Tree”
Sadly the rise of the band was brutally stopped by the tragic death of their doublebass player in January 1991.


The Jekills - The Jekills
The Jekills – The Jekills

The Jekills – s/t

Tombstone [1989]
Aston – Nobody In The Street – Marilyn Monroe – Gladiators – The Girl Is Mine – You’ll Be A Priest – Psycho Beat – Dr Jekills – Ballade Du Chomeur
A short lp that is the only testament of the short career of this Belgian psychobilly band that had a bright future in front of them.
The band is clearly influenced by Batmobile both for the music and the voice but with enough personnality. The album is not flawless far from it. The sound is a bit thin at places, it’s not always in tune and there’s a couple of filler, for example “Marilyn Monroe” x-rated tribute to the famous actress (“I’d like to f*** her” doesn’t represent what I consider to be great lyrics). But at least half of the songs are very goog uptempo psychobilly numbers with good slap-bass including Nobody’s in the street, Girl is Mine and la Ballade du Chomeur that reminds of Los Carayos.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis

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