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Meteors (the)

in Reviews

meteors psychobilly revolutionMeteors (the) – Psychobilly Revolution

Raucous Records RAUC079 [1999]
Intro – The Crazed – Hell Ain’t Hot Enough For Me – Deep Dark Jungle – Blue Sunshine – Little Red Riding Hood – Night Of The Werewolf – Wild Thing – Chainsaw Boogie – Corpse Grinder – Maniac Rockers from Hell – These Boots Are Made For Walkin’ – Insane – Rawhide – Mutant Rock

Recorded live in the late ’90s St Petersburg’s Spartak Club, Russia, this album is very representative of the sound of the band at the time.
Too bad that the recording quality is not top-notch and that Fenech’s voice is a bit buried in the mix because the band (Shaun Berry on bass and Wolfgang Hordemann on drums) is in fine form.
The setlist presents no big surprise and mixes classics of the band (Crazed, Blue Sunshine, Mutant Rock…) with more recently released stuff at the time of the release (Hell Ain’t Hot Enough For Me…)
This live album remains good but not essential. For example, Welcome to the Wrecking Pit has more or less the same setlist but with a better sound.


meteors_internationalMeteors (the) – International Wreckers – Live 4

Sonovabitch Records ROTT 90062 [1992]
Mutant Rock – Dateless Nights – Swamp Thing – Corpse Grinder – Alligator Man – Death Dance – Wild Thing – Bertha Lou – Get off of My Cloud – Electro II – Wrecking Crew – Rhythm of the Bell – Psycho Cat – Get off of My Cloud – Vibrate – The Crazed – Mind over Matter – These Boots Are Made for Walking
Unlike the previous live recordings released officially by the band, International Wreckers doesn’t present a complete show but a collection of songs recorded in various countries (France, Germany, UK, Holland) and at various venues. It’s a good idea and the occasion to include rarer material that appear on a live album for the first time like Swamp Thing (that is made for the stage), Alligator Man, Dateless Nite, Psycho Kat, Death Dance, Electro II next to the band’s stage favourites like Mutant Rock, These Boots Are Made Walking, Wrecking Crew or Rhythm Of the Bell featured here in a wild version. An essential addition to your collection.


Meteors (the)  – The Mutant Monkey and the Surfers from Zorchmeteors - The Mutant Monkey & the Surfers from Zorch

Anagram – CDMPSYCHO12 [1988]
Swamp Thing / Electro II / The Revenge / Sidewalk Psycho / I’m Invisible Man / She’s My Baby Again / Surfin’ On The Planet Zorch / Spine Bender / Dance Crazy Baby / Rawhide / Oxygen Dog / Yellow Zone / Meet Me At The Morgue / Little Red Riding Hood
Released in 1988 and featuring new bassist Lee “Red” Brown (ex Pharaohs) and Coffin Nails drummer Toby Griffin, the Mutant Monkey is a bit disappointing. It’s not bad (I don’t believe the Meteors ever released anything bad) it just lacks of a little something that made of Don’t Touch The Bang Bang Fruit a killer release. It contains its usual dose of solid Fenech’s originals (Surfing On Planet Zorch, Spine Bender, Swamp Thing, Meet Me At The Morgue) but some songs are just good (which is for a Meteors album disappointing) and the sound is uneven compared once again to Bang Bang Fruit that hardly contained a weak number and was perfectly produced. The cd version contains one bonus song, a cover of Lil’ Red Riding Hood. Good album but not essential.


Meteors (the) – Don’t Touch the Bang Bang Fruitbang_bang_fruit

Anagram – CDMPSYCHO38 [1987]
Go Buddy Go – Midnight People – Low Livin’ Daddy – Your Worst Nightmare – Wildkat Ways / Repo Man – Don’t Touch The Bang Bang Fruit – Crack Me Up – Shakey Snakey – Psycho Kat – Let’s Go – Revenge Of El Trio Los Bastardos – Go Buddy Go (Wonkey Donkey Mix) – Don’t Touch The Bang Bang Fruit (Manky Monkey Mix) – Dateless Nights – Corpse Grinder

After the success of “Sewertime Blues” in 1986 (it reached #9 in the indie charts) Fenech came back the following year with a new line-up consisting of ex-Coffin Nails Toby Griffin on drums and Arms Malone on bass (if you look closely to the back cover of the reissue, you’ll see written in small characters “Arms Malone is Austin Stone”), and a new platter called “Don’t Touch The Bang Bang Fruit” one of their best and most diverse album to date.
It starts with a total appropriation of The Stranglers “Go Buddy Go”, takes a detour by the hillbilly inspired “low Livin’ Daddy” with harmonica and ends with the Hank Marvin meets Ennio Morricone instrumental “Revenge Of El Trio Los Bastardos”. In between, Fenech, contrary to many followers, remembered the rockabilly roots of psychobilly with a cover of Jimmy Lee Maslon’s“Wildkat Ways” already sung by Nigel Lewis in the early days of the band and the frantic boogie “You Crack Me Up” previously heard on Live 1. The production is perfect, full of good ideas to set the ambiance, slide guitar, cow bell and notice the fine use of the acoustic rhythm guitar on “Let’s go” and “Revenge…”. The listener goes from the haunting “Your Worst Nightmare” to the funny title track via the threatening “Repo Man” and the bluesy “Midnight People”.
This reissue contains the 12” mixes of “Bang Bang Fruit” and “Go Buddy Go”, which for some obscure reasons weren’t on the Anagram Single Collection, and two B-sides : a fantastic cover of “Dateless Night” and a Fenech’s own good enough to be a A-side called “Corpse Grinder”.
By 1987, despite the massive arrival of new bands, the Meteors were still the Kings of Psychobilly.


meteors_sewertimebluesMeteors (the) – Sewertime Blues

Anagram – CDMPSYCHO37 [1986]
Ain’t Taking A Chance / So Sad / Here’s Johnny / Mind Over Matter / Acid And Psyam / Sewertime Blues / Return Of The Ethel Merman / Deep Dark Jungle / Never Get Away / I Bury The Living / Vibrate / Surf City / The Edge

Sewertime Blues marks the beginning of the fruitful collaboration between the psychobilly combo and Anagram/Cherry Red. The Meteors incarnation of 1986 was newcomer Austin Stone on bass and Ian “Spider” Cubitt who previously drummed on Stampede and Monkey’s Breath.
Fenech proves once again that he has a strong vision and delivers another set of solid originals completed by well selected covers (Bob Luman’s Deep Dark Jungle, Mac Self’s Vibrate and Jan & Dean’s Surf City). It’s also another proof of Fenech’s skills on guitar. One listen to his sharp solos on So Sad and Here’s Johnny to name but two shows how he has incorporated elements of rockabilly merged with surf to create his “monster”. Equally great is the instrumental “Return Of Ethel Merman” (don’t know how they got the idea for the name). Sewertime Blues reinforced the band status as the undisputed leader of the scene and made, for good reasons, a decent stint in the indie charts.


Meteors (the) – Night Of the Werewolfmeteors-nightofthewerewolf

Raucous Records RAUCD 039 [1987]
X-Men Boogie ~ Rawhide ~ Maniac ~ Rock House ~ I’m Just a Dog ~ Stampede ~ Deep Dark Jungle ~ Hills Have Eyes ~ Kit Boy ~ Domino ~ Shout So Loud ~ Night of the Werewolf ~ Graveyard Stomp ~ These Boots Are Made for Walkin’ ~ It’s All Over Now.
Previously released on a semi-official vinyl bootleg in the 80’s, Night Of The Werewolf has been reissued officially by Raucous in 2007. Though there’s no indication of dates, place or line-up, one can affirm by looking at the track listing that it has been recorded sometime around 1985 and the sound is quite similar to Live II released at the same period. It’s heavy and compact with Fenech’s voice full of anger. They rip through the first part of the set at a pace that would make the Ramones turn red in envy. Next to the band classics you’ll find many live versions of lesser played songs of the Stampede/Monkey’s Breath albums only available here, which is a reason good enough to buy it.


Meteors (the) – John Peel Sessions (1983-1985)the-meteors-john-peel-sessions-1983-1985

Raucous Records – RAUC 044
Ain’t Gonna Bring Me Down – You Crack Me Up – Lonesome Train – Long Blond Hair – Stampede – Deep Dark Jungle – Surf City – I’m Just A Dog – Torture – Meat Is Meat – Bertha Lou – Maniac
Twelve tracks recorded during three sessions for John Peel in 1983 (tracks 1-4 with Rick Ross on bass and Matthew Fraser on drums), 1984 (tracks 5-8 still with Rick Ross on bass and Ian Cubitt on drums and Steve Andrews on backing Vocals) and 1985 (tracks 9-12 with Nev Hunt on bass and Ian Cubitt on drums). These recordings totally differ from the album versions, some are even better. Sadly the cd has been deleted from the catalog I guess but maybe you can find a second hand copy on the net.


Meteors (the) – Wreckin’ Crew meteors-wreckincrew

I.D. Records ‎– NOSE 1
Insane – I Ain’t Ready – Johnny Remember Me – I Don’t Worry About It – Axe Attack – Zombie Noise – Rattle Snakin’ Daddy -When A Stranger Calls – Phantom Of The Opera – Blue Sunshine – Wreckin’ Crew – Sick Things – Wild Thing – Get Off My Cloud – Mutant Rock – Hills Have Eyes – Fear Of The Dark – Scream Of The Mutants

When Nigel Lewis left the Meteors in 1982, one could fear that the band wouldn’t survive to the loss of one of its founder member. But Paul Fenech, still with Woodie Taylor on drums, far from being discouraged quickly recruited a new bass player, Mick White, switching from double bass to electric bass in the process and a guest singer, Russel Jones. White re-recorded the bass parts on some previously recorded songs by Lewis and they released Mutant Rock b/w Hills Have Eyes. This single and the Johnny Remember ep are included here as bonus. When the band went to the studio to record their second album, Taylor had already left to be replaced by Steve Meadham.
Without Lewis, the band sounded less garage/psychedelic and more rockin’. The developped what would become the psychobilly sound of the Meteors for the next decades and Wreckin’ Crew contains instant classics like Blue Sunshine, Wreckin’ Crew, I Ain’t Ready, I Don’t Worry About It and some still remains in the band’s setlist today . White’s contributation to the album didn’t limit to the bass duties as he penned two songs fort the album (Phantom of the Opera and Axe Attack) and two more that are included as bonus (Fear Of the Dark and Scream of the Mutants). All four of them are sung by Jones and if they don’t reach Fenech orLewis standards they remain quite enjoyable (especially Phantom of the Opera). Wreckin’ Crew also includes three covers The Troggs’ Wild Thing, a new version of Get Off My Cloud (that the band had already recorded for In Heaven) and the spooky Johnny Remember Me that even found its place in the UK pop charts.
In the end, Wreckin’ Crew proved to be as important as In Heaven for the band and the whole Psychobilly scene. And it was just the begining…


The Meteors - the Lost Album
The Meteors – the Lost Album

Meteors (the) – The Lost Album

Raucous Records – RaucCD144 [2004]
I Don’t Worry About It – Your Wildkat Ways – Maniac – You Can’t Keep A Good Man Down – Ain’t Takin’ A Chance – Psycho For Your Love – The Room – Love Me – Red Headed Woman – Long Blond Hair – Haunt You Baby Rock – Your Baby Blue Eyes – Honey Roll – Domino – Drowning All My Sorrows – Crazy Crazy Lovin’
Psychobilly fans and radioactive kids knew the existence of this recordings for years. Those were demos paid by EMI in 1980, when the young Meteors were looking for a contract, before Island got the deal. This is the original line-up (Fenech/Lewis/Robertson) halfway in their mutation from rockabilly to psychobilly. This ain’t no longer the clean sound one can hear on the “Alligator recordings” (My Baby Loves Me, Go Away, Crazy Love) but not yet the sound of “Meteor Madness” or “In Heaven”. Songs like Long Blonde Hair, Domino and Red Headed Woman are true (and wild) rockabillies while you can hear the seeds of psychobilly on Meteors’ songs like Psycho For Your Love, The Room and You Can’t Keep A Good Man Down. It’s very interesting to compare this demos with the definitive version recorded on later albums and ep’s. The drums are lighter here for example, but you know rockabilly will never be the same after that. “Your Wildkat Ways” and “Crazy Crazy Lovin’” sung by Lewis will resurface later on albums but this time sung by Fenech. This album gives you a chance to see what psychobilly is. Just compare Johnny Burnette’s “Sweet Love On my Mind” on these demos to the version the band plays on “Monkey’s Breath” to understand. A great album, indeed, you even have a blues (Honey Roll). So, as you – clever reader – have already understood, this is essential listening. More than music, history.

© Fred “Virgil” Turgis

The Meteors circa 1983 (Steve Meadham, Paul Fenech, Rick Ross)
The Meteors circa 1983 (Steve Meadham, Paul Fenech, Rick Ross)

Skitzo

in Reviews

Skizo – Skitzo Mania

skitzo

Nervous NERD 028 [1987]
Skitzo Mania – Doctor Death – Shipwreck Island – Witching Hour – Lonesome Train – Possessed – I´m Going Skitzo – Caledonia – Poltergeist – Your Cheatin´ Heart – Under Pressure – House of The Rising Sun

Sometimes trash, noisy at places, often raw and always fast. They play every song as if the devil were after them, or the nurses were chasing them to bring them back to the asylum. Skitzo counts among the bands that, in the psychobilly idiom, favor the “psycho” element over the “billy.”
That said, their brand of Psychobilly is quite effective. The guitar sound remains true to the origins of the genre, and the sparse drumkit keeps things simple. Thinking about it, and I know that the Rockabilly purists will hate me for saying so, Skitzo could be described as a modern and psychotic version of the Johnny Burnette Rock’n’Roll trio.
Most of the songs are originals, some being very good like Witching Hour or Under Pressure. They added four covers of classic Rockabilly and Honky-Tonk tunes that don’t add anything to the album, some being almost unrecognizable like Caldonia. Even worse, they weaken the final result and sound a bit amateurish.
Anyway, if you concentrate on the original material, you have a solid slice of schizoid Psychobilly.
Nervous records later released it on cd with seven additional bonus tracks.
The Radioactive Kid

Skizo

Quakes (the)

in Reviews

The Quakes – The Quakes

Nervous Records NERD037 [1988]
Pack Our Bags And Go – You’re Dead – Other Side Of The Tracks – Where Did It Go? – You Are The Scene – Psycho Attack – Show Me – Nine Lives – The Deal – Psychobilly Jekyll And Mr. Hyde – Hangman’s Noose – Satan On My Side

Despite its cover, a nod to the Stray Cats, the Quakes debut album has little, or nothing, to do with the Long Island trio.
The music they play on this album is a mix between hard-hitting Psychobilly and hardcore. The songs are powerful, the rhythms are basic, and the distorted guitar plays short and straightforward solos.
The album contains a couple of classics like Pack Our Bags and Go, Psychobilly Jekyll, You’re Dead and Where Did It Go. Certains songs also show a deliberate choice to avoid the usual Psychobilly clichés like ghouls, zombies, and cemeteries.


The Quakes – Voice of America

Nervous Records NERD058 [1990]
Puttin’ Out The Flame – One Of A Kind – Nuthin’ Goin Down – Paint It Black – U.S.A. – Chick Hunt – Stick To Your Guns – All Messed Up – Far Away – What Will They Say About Me? – Ice Cold Baby – I Gotta Go

After the release of their debut album, the Quakes were deported back to the U.S.A. due to visa problems. Paul Roman stayed in London and briefly played with Nick Peck in Paul Roman and the Prowlers. In the meantime, Dave Hoy, the band’s drummer died in an accident. Roman returned to Buffalo and, still with Peltier on bass, reformed the band with Brian Doran on drums. This new line-up recorded Voice of America for Nervous. Gone was the hardcore influenced Psychobilly of their debut album. On this one, the Quakes added a good dose of Neo-rockabilly and, like the Rockats, they also included echoes of New-wave too.
The result is a superb and absolute killer album and the perfect balance between energy and melody. It’s also very well produced and recorded (listen to the slap bass on Stick to your Gun.)
Once again, Paul Roman shows he can write lyrics that are different from the usual run of the mill Psychobilly lyrics.
It’s nearly impossible to find a weak track on this platter.


The Quakes – Live in Tokyo

Planet Records PCD009 [1992]
Lonely Boy – You’re Dead – Puttin’ Out The Flame – One Of A Kind – Paint It Black – Strike Out King – Stick To Your Guns – All Messed Up – Psycho Attack – Fishnet Stockings – Hangman’s Noose – Shook Shake – Shake Your Moneymaker

This live album was recorded on February 1992, in Tokyo, Japan (hence the title) where the Quakes, and the Psychobilly and Rockabilly genres, were hugely popular. This popularity would later see the band sign with Sony Japan and release “New Generation.”
After an enthusiastic introduction by Roy Williams of Nervous Records, ‘Live In Tokyo’ kicks off with a breathtaking rollercoaster of Psychobilly and hard-hitting neo-rockabilly. The setlist draws songs from the Quakes’ first two albums with a couple of covers added for good measure. Among those songs, you’ll find the Stray Cats’ Fishnet Stockings, Elmore James’ Shake Your Money Maker and Wigsville Spliffs’ Lonely Boy.
The sound is excellent, and the band with Chris Van Cleeve their new drummer is tight. It benefits the songs taken from their debut album that takes here a brand new dimension.

The Quakes - Planet Obscure
The Quakes – Planet Obscure

The Quakes – Planet Obscure

ORREXX – REXX005 [2012]
Dark shadows – Die too young – Promise – It’s a curse – Streets are so lonely – Don’t follow me – This night – Wildcat – You’re a joke – Anti social girl – Festa do estica e puxa – All about you

After 25 years or so of existence, The Quakes still led by the inexhaustible Paul Roman release their 7th studio album and they don’t seem to run out of inspiration. Very few bands can claim that. Roman’s song writing is still sparkling, full of creativity with a superb ability to write complex songs with strong melodies. “Planet Obscure” is in the very same vein as their previous album (the excellent Negative Charge) with some nods to earlier material. Thus “It’s A Curse” sounds a bit like an updated version of “you’re Dead”. Talking about their debut album, there’s a tribute to the band’s first drummer, Dave Hoy, tragically killed in an accident. The lyrics are well crafted too, avoiding the endless clichés of bats, zombies, graveyards and so on, a thing the Quakes never really did.
Most of all, Roman doesn’t seem to care about tags, in that he’s similar to Alan Wilson of the Sharks. Rockabilly, Psychobilly, New Wave, Hillbilly, Brazilian pop… if it’s good to his ears, he incorporates it to create that great Quakes sound that is instantly recognizable. This is all that, and more, that you’ll find on Planet Obscure.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Official page: http://www.thequakes.com/

The Quakes – Chris Van Cleve, Paul Roman and Rob Peltier

Elektraws (the)

in Reviews

Elektraws – Shock Rock

Nervous records NERCD083 [1996]

Lost In A Time Vortex – Raving Mad – Elektones – Heartless Man – Fist Fight – Mad Man – Get Tattooed – I`m Gone – Let`s Cry Out – Delirious – Hell`s Bent On Rockin’ – Gallows Birds – Thurdering Love – Shock Rock – Lost In A Time Vortex (#2)

French Psychobilly band the Elektraws first started as a Rockabilly band under the name of the Bobkatz in 1991. They recorded some demos with covers of 50’s classics like Something Else, Rockhouse, Long Blond Hair but also tunes like Gary Glitter’s Rock On which was also recorded by the Happy Drivers on War.
Around 1993/1994 they decided to change their sound and morphed into a psychobilly band called the Elektraws. From the beginning, the line-up remained steady: Nicolas Hervier on double bass and vocals, his brother François on drums and Georges Defretiere on guitar.
The Elektraws first appeared on the compilation album “Banana Juice Kongpilation.” They then sent a demo tape to Roy Williams of Nervous records and the result was not only an appearance at the Big Rumble but also a record deal with Nervous. In October 1995 they recorded their debut album “Shock Rock” with Alan Wilson (of Sharks fame) engineering and producing.
In a period (the mid-nineties) when more and more bands were adding metal elements to their psychobilly (Nekromantix, Krewmen…) the sound of the Elektraws was quite refreshing. One could hear the influence of Frenzy (both versions of Lost in a Time Vortex could easily figure on Hall of Mirrors), early Meteors, Sharks and they Ricochets (both bands cover Jimy Wages Mad Man.) On Elektones, an instrumental tune, one could also hear a bit of surf. But the most obvious influence of all, both musically and vocally, is the one of Batmobile.
Of course, the album is not flawless. The main problem being the drums that are not always in place. But it’s only on a couple of songs and the whole album remains a very enjoying experience.
In 1996 they recorded songs for a possible second album with a more agressive sound but split soon after. These recordings can be heard on “Alive” on Klub 333 label.
Nicolas went on to join the Hellbats. Sadly in 2006, he was shot in the street after a fight and died.

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

Scamps (the)

in Reviews
scamps

The Scamps – Don’t Be Worried

Studio SDH – SDH311 [1984]
Don’t Be Worried / Live Fast Die Young

Debut single by the Scamps before the morphed into a Keytones / Restless influenced band. On this single the line-up of this French band was Bruno Peisey (vocals), Joël Lagnier (guitar), Frederic Mascrier (slap bass) and Marc Kornet (drums.)
A-side starts with a slow introduction then evolved into a mean rockabilly with a touch of psychobilly number. B-side is a cover of the Blue Cats.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

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