Rockabilly, Psychobilly and everything in between.

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old-school psychobilly

Swampy's (the)

in Reviews

Swampy’s (the) – Come Back To The Swamp

Kix4U [1989]
Pretty in Pink – Rockhouse – Home Sweet Home – Tainted Love  – Fly Story – Cinderella – Iron Man  – Come Back to the Swamp – Love Me – Bug Attack – You Drink Too Much – Tear It Up 

The Swampy’s recorded the follow-up to their debut ep in September 1988. It was first self-released by the band, then Kix4U licensed it, giving it a better distribution.
On many aspects, Come Back to the Swamp is a more accomplished effort than Psycho Swamp. It is better produced, better recorded, better played, and better sung with many outstanding originals, including one instrumental (Bug Attack.)
You have to be a very tight band to play that brand of fast Psychobilly, and the Swampy’s, at the time of these recordings, were on top of their form. The double-bass is just insane. Jo, their double-bass player/singer, also progressed in terms of singing. His voice shows more subtleties ranging from the threatening voice to a more neo-Rockabilly vocal.
The best way to hear the band’s evolution is to compare the two versions of Tainted Love. Needless to say that the second one is far better and is a highlight of the Psychobilly genre.


Swampy’s (the) – Psycho Swamp

Self-released [1988]
Domino – Psycho Swamp – Tainted Love – The Coffin Maker

Coming from Belgium, the Swampy’s, recorded Psycho Swamp their debut mini-album in 1987. It has the defaults and the qualities of the youth. Despite a powerful slap bass, the Swampy’s are not what you could describe as accomplished musicians, and some arrangements are a bit loose. On the other hand, it’s joyful, full of vitality, exuberant, wild, raw, and primitive. Everything that makes you buy a psychobilly album. Don’t you agree with me?
Two of the songs are originals. If their instrumental is average, the Coffin Maker is excellent. The other two songs are covers. The first one is a hardly recognizable version of Roy Orbison’s Domino with a total change of melody. The second one is Gloria Jones’ Tainted Love, which takes things where Dave Philips and the Hot Rod Gang left them and add a massive dose of craziness.
On a side note, if there’s an award for the ugliest Psychobilly cover, the Swampy’s would be a strong contender.

The Radioactive Kid

Psycho Tendencies

in Reviews

Psycho Tendencies – Big Foot Stomp

Get Stomped Records [2020]
Bigfoot Stomp / Friday Night / Discos are on fire / Alone in the moon

Psycho Tendencies is a Spanish Psychobilly band, named I suppose from the same name’s Raucous compilation. They previously released one studio album and one live recording on cassette. Yes, you read it well, these guys do it the old-school way. The same goes for the music you’ll find on this ep, published by the newly created Get Stomped Records from Germany (Martin Grobe from the Minestompers, see below, is behind the label) and limited to 300 copies.
Their singer sings with a hoarse voice that works perfectly well with the tight rhythm section and the clean guitar sound. Kudos to Ivan, their guitar player, who produces a monumental amount of work whether to add meat on the rhythm with intricate patterns or with his fast solos.
The A-side is a bit more Psychobilly and wild, while the B-side shows some hint of neo-Rockabilly. Both are excellent.
Had it been released in the late 80s, my Psychobilly buddies and I would have made an anthem of Friday Night!
The cover designed by King Rat is splendid.

https://psychotendencies.bandcamp.com/

The Radioactive Kid

Pharaohs (the)

in Reviews

Pharaohs (the) – Vigilante

pharaohs vigilante

Nervous Records – 12 NEP 005 [1987]
Vigilante – Cleopatra – Your On Your Own – Pharaohs To Cowboys

With Vigilante, their second release, the Pharaohs switched from double-bass to electric bass, with Lee Brown in place of Jeff Horsey. Brown later joined the Meteors to play bass on some of their very best albums.
Apart from that, nothing really changed since their debut album. Glenn Daeche is still one hell of a songwriter, providing tunes that are both melodic and rocking at the same time. Furthermore, the production and the arrangements are outstanding too. A song like Cleopatra could easily have reached an audience beyond the rocking scene. Pharaohs to Cowboys features harmony vocals and adds a touch of hillbilly to the sound of the band.
Everything here is perfect, except for the ugly cover, designed by Kevin Haynes, drummer of Torment.

The Radioactive Kid

Pharaohs (the) – Blue Egypt

pharaohs blue egypt

Nervous Records NERD020 [1986]
Crazy Love Records ‎– CLCD 6486 [2001]

Wild Thing – Tomb Of The Dead  Keep On Running  Radar Love – Wipe  Dead To The World  Theme From Cairo  Down The Line  Killed Love  Blue Egypt  Drinkin’  Never Coming Back – Smell of Cop* – Crazy and Wild* – Turkey Dance* (*CD only)

The Pharaohs were a Psychobilly band with strong rockabilly roots. After a show at the Klub Foot, Roy Williams of Nervous records proposed them a record deal, and the result was Blue Egypt. The line up on this album is Glenn Daeche (vocals, rhythm guitar), Ben Evans (lead guitar), Jeff Horsey (double bass), and Nick Becker [drums.)

Blue Egypt opens with a cover of The Troggs’ “Wild Thing.” It’s not bad, but it doesn’t bring anything new to the title, especially if you compare it to the Meteors’ version. Things get better with the second song. Written by Daeche, it’s a very original tune with changes of paces, organ, and a bizarre atmosphere. “Keep on Running” is a cowbell and drum fest and has a very pop feel.

They play Golden earing’s “Radar Love” at a frantic pace and gives it a mean approach that the original (and the Restless cover) doesn’t have. “Wipe Off” is a simple but highly effective instrumental. “Dead to the World” is a melodic Psychobilly tune that demonstrates what a great songwriter Glenn Daeche is. “Theme from Cairo,” the second instrumental of the album, brilliantly blends surf with psychobilly and a touch of spaghetti western too. It evolves into a crazy version of Orbison’s Down the Line. Another killer track by Daeche, the slap-bass propelled Killed Love, shows how blurry could the difference between neo-rockabilly and psychobilly be in the mid ’80s.

But the best is yet to come with the highly original Blue Egypt, both melodic and powerful. From the start, the Pharaohs had more ideas than the usual horror and ghouls cliches, and their songs were different than just fast-paced rockabilly tunes. Blue Egypt encompasses all that. “Drinkin’” has a laid back feel, kinda jazzy with piano and acoustic guitar. The original album ends with the rocking “Never Coming Back.”

The cd version features three bonus tracks, including Crazy and Wild a little gem, taken from Zoch Factor One and Three as well as Psycho Attack Over Europe.  

The Radioactive Kid

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

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