old-school psychobilly - Page 2

Rusty Robots

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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)

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swamp dogs

The Swamp Dogs

Member of various German rockabilly and rock’n’roll bands since 1982 as a drummer and 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 opened for foreign bands touring Germany like the Wampas, the Long Tall Texans, the Meteors, Batmobile, and the Krewmen.

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The beginning 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 really new to the song; just a good sped up rockabilly version. The flip is more interesting. The self-penned “Mind & Music” is excellent 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 into 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 it was canceled, 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 sounds like their excellent cover of Ug and the Cavemen’s Be A caveman. The Sting Rays and The Escalators were, at the time, a significant part of their influences.
As good as it is, this lp is not an accurate picture of what the Swamp Dogs were in 1989.
Between 1987 and 1989, the band grew disillusioned 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 satisfy them. As a result, Doc Preatorius left the group 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 about 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)

swamp dogs

swamp dogs

swamp dogs swamp dogs swamp dogs swamp dogs swamp dogs swamp dogs swamp dogs

Jekills (the)

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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

Es-Feiv

Es-Feiv was a Dutch neo-rockabilly/psychobilly trio. They started as a punk band in 1980 with Patrick van Reijn and three friends (Paul – bass, Dirk – vocals and Henk – drums). In 1982 Henk left, Paul switched to drums and Jeroen Kruiswijk came in to play bass, but two years later the band split. They reunited in 1986 to do a Ramones-tribute tour, but in 1987 Paul left and once again the band split. Es Feiv came back in 1988 with Patrick (guitar), Jeroen (this time on double bass) and newcommer Dennis on drums with this time neo-rockabilly and psychobilly in mind. One month later they recorded the now sought after (only 500 copies were made) “Nous Nous Ok” ep (Play Loud! – TBS 4505). Denis, busy with other bands, left and was replaced by Arjan, Jeroen’s younger brother. Numerous gigs led to a contract with Rockhouse/KIX4U and 1989 saw the release of “Cows In Motion” (KIX 4 U Records – KIX 3347). Then, Patrick who couldn’t combine his job with the band stopped playing and Tom Van Houten replaced him on guitar. The new trio wrote and rehearsed new material, played it on stage, but the band broke up before the new album (planned to be called “Johnny’s Neighbourhood”) saw the light of day.

Es Feiv - Cows in Motion
Es Feiv – Cows in Motion

Es-Feiv – Cows in Motion

Kix 4U {1989}
The Prisoner – No Comin’ Back – Brand New Cadillac – Heart Breakin’ Days – She Turns Me On – Ain’t Takin’ No Train – Everything She Says -Move Your Buds – Be My Baby Tonight – Vendetta – Real Good Time – Cretin Hop – Gimme Your Love – Cows In Motion

I recently rediscovered this album (originally released in 1989) and though it’s not entirely good, it contains enough excellent moment to interest any Psychobilly maniac especially those who are into what is now called “old-school Psychobilly” (I don’t like the term but I believe that everyone understand what it means). So what about Es-Feiv? It’s a mix of good ol’ psychobilly, neo rockabilly and more average material. They sound like many bands of that era (light guitar, upright bass to the fore and simple but effective drums). Among the best tune you’ll find “Heartbreakin’ Days” (with a sax), “Brand New Cadillac” (inspired by the ricochets version), “Real Good Time” (an excellent neo-rockabilly tune with a little “rock this Town” feel in it), “Cows In Motion” (an psychobilly version of an Ennio Morricone tune) and a couple of others (No Comin’ Back). On the other side their cover of The Ramones’ Cretin Hop (a reminiscence of their Punk days?) is poor, but it’s hard to compete with the original, and some other songs are just fillers, and though the light production works on the good stuff, it reveals the flaws of the less successful material. A mini lp with 8 songs would have been more efficient.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis


Es-Feiv ‎– Nous Nous O.K. ...
Es-Feiv ‎– Nous Nous O.K. …

Es-Feiv ‎– Nous Nous O.K. …

Play Loud! ‎– TBS 4505 {1988}`
She’s Allright – Cynthia – Real Good Time – She Turns Me On – No Protection

Limited ep (500 copies). It features ealier versions of Real Good Time and She Turns me On.

Es Feiv
Es-Feiv

Midniters (the)

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Midniters - Easy MoneyThe Midniters – Easy Money

 

Razor [1988] – Planet X [2018]
Easy Money – Little Devil – Dead Man`s Curve – Sin City – Better Of You – When The Walls Come Tumbling Down – Another Nail In My Heart – Swords Of A Thousand Men
Easy Money (Demo) – Nightshift (Demo) – Walls Come Tumbling Down (Demo) – Gun Law (Demo) – Dead Man’s Curve (Live) – Little Devil (Live) – Walls Come Tumbling Down (Live) – Swords of 1000 Men (Live) – Easy Money (Live)

The Midniters formed in the mid 80’s. After appearing on Fury’s compilation album they released their debut album in 1988 for Razor with Steve Jeffery on vocals and guitar, Nick Wade on drums and Mark Beard on double bass. This album is now reissued on cd with extra bonus tracks.
Being friends and labelmates with the Long Tall Texans, it would be all too easy to compare both bands. And though they sure share some similiraties in term of sound, the Midniters have enough personnality in their songwriting or vocally speaking to avoid this comparison.
With only 8 songs, Easy Money (the original album) is a relatively short affair which is always a good thing for a debut album. Not only you won’t find any filler but it allowed the band to spend more time on each song. And with the help of producer Roger Tebutt (Long Tall Texans, Happy Drivers, but he also worked with the Meteors on Sewertime Blues) they tried different things in term of sound and texture and used the studio as a creative tool. This is not your usual “Live-in-the-studio-with-a-pack-of-beer”
As I said the songwriting is pretty solid, oscillating between neo-Rockabilly and Psychobilly. Fans of heavy double-bass will also appreciate this album too and since it’s been remixed I believe it helps too (since I only owned the original on cassette I can’t remember if that fat bass sound was already in the original mix.)
Six of the songs are originals and the covers are Jan and Dean’s Dead Man Curve and Tenpole Tudor’s swords of 1000 Men.
Tracks 9 to 12 are demos including two songs that didn’t make it to the album but they possibly are from another era of the band since a sax can be heard on Nightshift.
Five excellent live tracks rounds up the package.
All in all a very good and well deserved reissue.


Midniters Terror IncognitoThe Midniters – Terror Incognito

Planet X [2017]
Got Too Hurry – Personal Jesus – Dead Man’s Hand – Pistolero – In the Shadows – Motorbike Mike – House of Stone – Terror Incognito – Drive By – Face in the Dark – All Out Attack – Butchers Basement

Here’s a new Midniters album, nearly 30 years after Easy Money. But if you expect a trip down memory ane, let me tell you you’re plain wrong. ”Terror Incognito” is here to tell you that we’re in 2018, not 1988 !
The Neo-rockabilly bordering to Psychobilly of their first effort evolved into a modern form of Rockabilly with a harder and a fuller sound. In the same time they added elements of New-wave. This mix of influences, some songs could be defined as Adam Ant meets the Stray Cats makes them sound at place like the recent Quakes album. Some songs are much harder and more psychobilly that are not that far from the early Nekromantix.
All songs but two are originals written by Steve Jeffery, the cover being Depeche Mode’s Personnal Jesus in a very personnal rendition and a Spaghetti western influenced instrumental composed by Steve Stevens (guitar player for Billy Idol.)
It’s good to see a band that dosn’t try to run after its youth and return to create and propose something new.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Wigsville Spliffs

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Wigsville SpliffsWigsville Spliffs
Born To Ride

Killjoy records – Kill 022
Born to ride – Eyes on my baby

Wigsville Spliffs formed in the early 80’s with Ian Aitken on vocals and guitar, Mike Lister on double bass and Danny Mowl on drums. They split in 1987. During that time they appeared on numerous compilation albums but never had a single or an album of their own. Years later, in 1996, Raucous records released a cd gathering old songs.
Finally the band reformed in 2008 and their first proper album saw the light of day in 2011. Shortly after that Aiten left the band.
One could feel the worst with the loss of such a pivotal member. Instead the band kept on going and now have Spike Arrow who played with Frenzy and the Rapids on guitar on vocals. With Paul Richardson on drums, the trio recorded this killer single for Killjoy records.

Side one is penned by Arrow and has a strong psychobilly edge, powerful yet rocking and melodic. The flip is more familiar. Eyes on my baby, written by Aitken appeared on the band’s first demo in 1982 and on Dance to it in 1984 (or so). This is a brand new version. They kept the neo-rockabilly vibe but added a good dose of energy. Both are very good.
Hopefully we’ll get more releases and a full lp from this line up soon.
500 copies (400 black, 50 red and 50 grey)
Available here and here
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