old-school psychobilly - Page 3

Scum Rats

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Scum Rats
Scum Rats – ep

Scum Rats
S/t

Rumble records – Gang 003 [1990]
I See Your Face – Too Much Pain – Blood In Your Face

Led by Charlie Fallensteller’s fast slap bass and vocals, this quator from Germany delivered a powerful three tracks ep of self-penned tunes on the extreme side of the Psychobilly genre with hard core influences. If you prefer they were closer to band like Demented Are Go or the Krewmen (when led by Tony McMillan) than the Long Tall Texans.
In addition to the supersonic bass, the ingredients are Fallensteller’s rasping voice, hard hitting and thud drums (with barely no cymbals) and fine arrangements that rely on the different sounds and textures of the two guitars. All in all an excellent ep.


Scum Rats - Go Out Into a Scum Dream
Scum Rats – Go Out Into a Scum Dream

Scum Rats
Go Out Into a Scum Dream

Rumble records – RUMBLE001 [1990]
Scum Rats – Go Out – Scum Of The Night – I Love Rock & Roll – Money – Runaway – Die To Be Free – My Baby Is Alone – Come On Little Sister – Scum Love – Cryin To Be Satisfied

The Scum Rats debut album doesn’t differ much from the ep in term of sounds (and show no sign of amelioration in term of cover design either).
The same ingredients can be found to serve solid and powerful originals and two covers (Joan Jett’s I Love Rock’n’roll also released on single and Del Shannon’s Runaway sung by the guitar player, probably not the band’s best moment).
Once again the way the two guitars interact is worth noticing, one with a distorded sound and the other with a clean sound. All of this makes of Go Out… one of the best Psychobilly album of the the early 90’s.If my memory serves me right the first pressing was on green vinyl.
It was later reissued on cd with their second mini album.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

The Jekills

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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. They started in the mid 80’s under the name of Riot Guns and evolved into The Jekills. They never ceased to progress until the death of Sergio their bass player that marked the end of the band. Released in the late 1989, this self titled album quickly sold out its initial pressing of 1000 copies and was re-released by Tombstone. 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

Guana Batz

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Guana Batz - Held Down... At Last!
Guana Batz – Held Down… At Last!

Guana Batz – Held Down… At Last!

CDMPSYCHO64
Down The Line / Got No Money / Can’t Take The Pressure / Nightwatch / Lady Bacon / King Rat / You’re My Baby / Nightmare Fantasy / Please Give Me Something / Bust Out / See Through / Batman (Live) / B-Side Blues
Truly a classic and without a doubt one of the ten “must have” psychobilly records. After two singles that made quite a stir on the relatively new psychobilly scene and a decent life in the indie charts, Pip and the boys toured heavily, switched to double bass by recruiting Sam Sardi of the Ricochets and took their time to write a solid debut album.
Expectations were high, but the debut long player (10 songs for 25 minutes) largely fulfiled them (and even more). Not only the Batz were talented, but they came with a different sound, both classic and innovative.
The A-side delivers a solid set of five originals, mostly acoustic with slap bass and rhythm guitar to the fore, light drums and electric lead guitar. It stays close to 50’s rockabilly, but more frantic (Can’t Take The Pressure, Got No Money) and weird (Nightwatch, Lady Bacon).
B-side is slightly different. It opens with the manic pace of King Rat, followed by the wild cover of Johnny Cash’s You’re My Baby. Nightmare Fantasy, written by Sam Sardi, is no less frantic and shows the influence of the Ricochets. Please Gimme Something is the slower song of the side but is very torrid. The original album closes with an instrumental from the Busters’ catalog.
This reissue features three bonus songs that come from a 10″ issued around the same time. Seethrough is as good as any of the songs included on Held Down, B-Side Blues feels more like a studio jam and their cover of Batman is fun though not essential.


Guana Batz - Loan Sharks
Guana Batz – Loan Sharks

Guana Batz – Loan Sharks

CDMPSYCHO69
Pile Driver Boogie / My Way / Slippin In / Tiny Minds / Radio Sweetheart / Life’s A Beach / Loan Shark / I’mWeird / Hippy Hippy Shake / Live For The Day / No Particular Place To Go / I’m On Fire / Your Baby Blue Eyes
Anagram/Cherry Red reissues Guana Batz’s second record. Originally released one year after their successfully debut album, “Loan Sharks” marks a big move into the sound of the band and delivers their most radio friendly album (and it did a decent stint into the independent UK charts). Though they’re still firmly anchored in Psychobilly with heavy slappin numbers like Pile Driver Boogie, the spooky “I’m Weird” or their instant classic “Loan Sharks”, they don’t hesitate to explore new territories like the self-penned “Tiny Mind”, a jazzy number with piano (a psychobilly version of this songs is available on the b-side of the single version of I’m On Fire). Under the guidance of their producer Danny Dawson, the band has added a couple of instruments to expand the sound of the band like saxophone, harmonica, piano and…  synthesiser (hey ! this album has been recorded in 1986). They also escape the rock’n’roll clichés by covering unusual songs for a psychobilly band (but what is a psychobilly band?) like Bruce Springsteen’s I’m On Fire and Elvis Costello’s Radio Sweetheart. Though different you can compare their direction with the one taken by Frenzy around the same period. Of course one can argue that half of the album is made of covers, but you can’t deny that Pip and the boys had totally made them their own (with maybe the exception of “Baby Blue Eyes” included here as a bonus track – it was formerly a single b-side – which doesn’t bring anything new to this great song). It’s probably not the Guana Batz album I’d recommend to someone who wants to discover the band, nonetheless it’s a good record.


Guana Batz - Rough Edges
Guana Batz – Rough Edges

Guana Batz – Rough Edges

Streetwise / Open Your Mouth / One Night / Good News / Rockin On Creek Road / Fight Back / Spy Catcher / Love Generator / Bring My Cadillac Back / Rock Around With Ollie Vee / Two Shadows / You Can Run
After the more pop oriented “Loan Sharks”, the Guana Batz returned to the classical sound of their first album. The band threw away saxes and the keyboards and the covers came from the catalogs of Buddy Holly, Elvis and Baker Knight & The Knightmares. In term of cohesion, recording and songwriting, Rough Edges (which is by no means “rough”) is their absolute best album showing an accomplished band at the peak of its creativity that benifits of a clean (but NOT slick) production. The band offers a solid mix of psychobilly (Streetwise, Fight Back), wild neo-rockabilly (Love Generator, Open Your Mouth), instrumental (Spy Catcher) and even an excellent jazzy number (Two Shadows). You won’t find any filler here and even the construction of the album is perfect. If “Held Down…”, was the revelation of a great band to a wide audience and “Loan Sharks” showed a band avid to explore new territories, “Rough Edges” was simply the album of a band in full mastery of his art.


Guana Batz - Electra Glide In Blue
Guana Batz – Electra Glide In Blue

Guana Batz – Electra Glide In Blue

CDMPSYCHO71
Electraglide In Blue / Green Eyes / Texas Eyes / No Matter How / Wondrous Place / Katherine / Stylin / Spector Love / Self Made Prison / Who Needs It / Lover Man / Take A Rocket / Lights Out
With their fourth album, the Guana Batz surprised their fans with a heavy sounding and powerful lp that goes further the “psychobilly” label. The sound is compact and for some of the tracks the word “Glamabilly” seems appropriate. Though it works rather well on most of the A side from the roaring Electra Glide In Blue to the melodic Texas Eyes, Billy Fury’s Wondrous Place and Katherine on which Stuart takes the lead vocals, on the full length it sounds repetitive. The fact that all the good songs are on the first half doesn’t help either. Had this album been reduced to seven or eight songs it would have been excellent.


Guana Batz - Burning Up
Guana Batz – Burning Up

Guana Batz – Burning Up

Tombstone Records – Tomb-45 122 [2017]
Burning Up – Faded Memory – Girl on a Motorbike- Martian Princess

After a recording silence of more than 20 years, the Psychobilly legends from Feltham return with an impressive brand new ep.
The least we can say is that time didn’t lessen their energy. With Jonny Bowler on drums, Paul “Choppy” Lambourne on bass and of course Stuart and Pip at the helm they’re more powerful than ever.
As usual withthe Batz the arrangement are pretty good with a special care given to the recording, the production and the different mood and texture of each of the songs.
Guana Batz fans will jump on it, new fans will discover a new bands and everybody will eagerly wait for a full album.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

 

Cyclone

cyclonethefirstofthecyclonemancdCyclone – the First of the Cyclone Men

Klang Records KLG004 [1989 – reissue 2007]
The Devil Is Knocking On My Coffin – Psyclone Shock – Bates Motel – Doctor Cyclone – Jungle Cat – Telegram Sam – Lonely Zombie – Funny Toy – Freddy Is Back

Cyclone (Andrea Camerini: lead vocal, Andrea Pesaturo: guitar, Paolo Camerini: double bass, Roberto Berini:drums, Massimo Diotallevi:alto sax) was one of the first, if not the first, psychobilly band in Italy. Their brand of psychobilly is typical of the late 80’s with influences from Mad Sin, Demented Are Go, early Coffin Nails, Batfinks etc. with distorted guitars, fast slap bass and rasping vocals. It’s very well played and better recorded than many albums from the same era. And even if it’s not always very original (you find the usual zombie, Freddy Krueger, Norman Bates lyrics and the melodies are a bit repetitive), they had the good idea to keep it short (9 songs), so in the end this album works fairly well.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

cyclone cyclonecyclone

Scam

scam-promo1Scam

Country: Holland – Genre: Psychobilly / Neo-rockabilly

Marcel van den Berg: vocals,guitar
Arie Versteeg: double bass
Raymond Fitsch: drums

 

Scam, formed around 1986. They recorded their first demo in the winter of that same year which caught the attention of Eddie and Johnny of Count Orlock. In October 1988, they recorded « Gamblin’ Fever » their debut album which is very representative of the sound of the day: light drums, slap bass and a clean electric guitar, influenced by Restless and fellow Dutchmen Batmobile. The sound is good though a bit thin at places. They have solid original (Hangover, Captain Caveman, Ready Willing & Able) but the long distance (12 songs) tends to disadvantage the band and the album sounds a bit repetitive, they could have reduced it to eight solid songs.
The album was well received and Scam supported big acts and played bigger gigs and festivals (the Rockhouse Psychobilly meeting, Night of the longknives) and doing national radio performances. They soon received demand for a second album. Not having enough material for a new album they decided to re record old songs from the first demo together with some covers.The mini album called “Infant Years”was released on Tombstone Records in 1990. Despite an ugly cover, this mini lp shows an improvement. There’s not a big departure in term of sound but the band is tighter and the songs less repetitive.

Their last album (to date) came in 1991. Released on Rockhouse, A Million Dollar Scam marks a new step for the band. They add a good dose of rockin’ blues with harp, saxophone and slide guitar to their usual brand of light psychobilly/neo-rockabilly,. The set is varied and the song inspired. A guest singer is present on a couple of tracks. A very good album that shows the evolution and the maturity of the band. The cd version contains four bonus tracks.

They kept on playing but disbanded around 1993. Marcel remained active on the music scene. playing with the Penguin (Batmobile’s bassplayer side project) and can now be found in 69Beavershot, Triple Dynamite and Dee Ann & The Nightcaptains.
In 2005 they did a one of reunion show in original line up. A new album was announced but nothing materialized untill now.

  • Discography
    Gamblin’ Fever – Count Orlock – ROCK V (1988)
    Infant Years – Tombstone – Tomb-disc 679 (1990)
    A Million Dollar Scam – Rockhouse – lp9114 (1991)

The Pussykillers

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Pussykillers - David Vincent les a vu
Pussykillers – David Vincent les a vu

David Vincent les a vu /Zombie Rockers
KRUEL K 8803 [1989]

The Pussykillers were a French Psychobilly band from Poitiers and consisted of Bill (vocals), Kub (doublebass / b-vox), Erick (guitar / b-vox) and V(drums / b-vox). They played  a brand of heavy psychobilly influenced by the Meteors and the early Coffin Nails. Actually, their singer shouted more than he sang. They also played some gigs with Thierry Petel (Happy Drivers) on drums but they split in the early 90’s. It seems that their guitar player later comitted suicide.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis