Rockabilly , Psychobilly and everything in between.

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psychobilly

Midniters (the)

in Albums/Contemporary artists/MN/Reviews

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

The Trillionairs

in Contemporary artists/Reviews/Singles/T

trillionairsThe Trillionairs – Haunted

Killjoy records – Kill 023 [2017]
Haunted – Alohol
The Trillionairs are a German neo-rockabilly/psychobilly quartet. After a short dialog taken from what I assume to be a old movie (though I didn’t recognize it), Haunted kicks off. Two guitars, one with a distorted sound and another with a more rockabilly sound, a powerful slap bass completed by superb drumming (the band’s secret weapon), and on top of that a fierce and aggressive voice. With a change of pace in the middle, this is first class psychobilly.
B sides takes more or less the same ingredients, including fine drums breaks too, but is slightly faster. That’s all I love and I ask from a band : tight musicianship, good songs and more than two ideas for the arrange them.
500 copies (400 black, 50 red and 50 white)

Available here.

Scum Rats

in Albums/Contemporary artists/Reviews/S
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

Honey Hush

in Albums/Contemporary artists/GH/Reviews

honey hushHoney Hush – Rockhouse mini lp Collection

Rockhouse Records – MLP 8418
Nowhere Train – Rock-Itis – Getaway Girl – You’re the One that Done It – She’s so Fine – Pink and Black

Honey Hush came from the Netherland and formed in the early 80’s. After one single included here they released this mini lp.
This is neo-rockabilly at its best.
The singer is excellent, the band is very good (powerful slap bass and light guitar that takes you straight into the 80’s) and they have solid originals (as well as too perfectly choosen covers – Thomas Wayne’s You’re The One That Done It and a live version of Sonny Fisher’s Pink and Black-thrown in for good measure.)
Furthermore, if the tone is mostly neo-rockabilly oriented, they’re not afraid to bring a bit of psychobilly with Nowhere Train or play strictly rockabilly on She’s so Fine. They even add a bit of jazz (with brushed snare) on Rock-Itis. As a result it gives a very varied mini album.
Moreover the six-song format let no place for average tunes.
After these recordings, Honey Hush changed its name and became Archie.

Honey Hush
Honey Hush

The Retarded Rats

in Albums/Contemporary artists/R/Reviews

Retarded ratsThe Retarded Rats – I Hate Chocolate

Killjoy records – Kill 024 [2017]

The Head and the Axe – Survival

A broken record player coupled with a busy schedule delayed the review of a batch of vinyl records I received from Killjoy records, including this single from the Retarded rats. And just when I finally can review it, I hear the news that they decided to take a break . Rats !

Killjoys is known for its colored vinyl releases and cassettes. This single makes no exception to the good taste of the label. It comes in a beautiful gatefold sleeve, nicely designed and illustrated with… a flexi disc inside. Yes you read well, a flexi disc.
For releasing such beautiful objects, Flatty and Anna Killjoy deserve all our respect, admiration and support (in other words : buy the discs !) But they deserve all of that and more  for another simple and obvious reason : their music.
A side could be described as psychedelic-psychobilly, not that surprising for a song about voices in the head that lead to a hatchet in a skull.
B side is more rocking with a slight western twang. It also features pretty good lyrics too. Like everyone I like songs about vampires, ghouls and zombies but I was pleased to find more personnal and almost reflective lyrics that find a strange echo with the news of the band calling it quit.

Limited to 500 copies.

Available here and here.


The Retarded Rats - Screams from the 10th Planet
The Retarded Rats – Screams from the 10th Planet

The Retarded Rats – Screams from the 10th Planet

Killjoy Records KILL-017
The Engine Starts – No time to die – Neo-psychobilly – You Lost my brain – Headshot – Searching – Fingertip in the Sky – Inquisition – the key – Coulrophobia – Nananananananananananana – Screams fromt he 10th planet

I sometimes fear that I don’t have the legitimacy to review Psychobilly albums. After all, I stopped following the evolution of the genre since the mid 90’s, when bands began to incorporate too much elements of metal, hardcore or were just playing punk with a slap bass. But the Retarded Rats LP came as a nice surprise. I first thought that the main reason was due to the sound that brought back my teenage year. But it was much more than that. And simplier: the Retarded Rats are a pretty good band.

With the feet firmly rooted in the classic Psychobilly tradition of the mid 80’s/late 90’s, this trio (Gordon melmac on drums, Flatty Killjoy on guitar and organ and Anna Killjoy on doublebass and lead vocals) from Leipzig, Germany, takes the genre one step further without denaturing it. Without a doubt the light guitar, the slap bass (a real slap bass with warm notes and a wood sound, not that horrendous metallic clicking sound one too often hears) and even the voice of Anna, the female lead singer (I couldn’t help but think about Something Shocking or Dypsomaniaxe) belong to the what is usually described as old school psychobilly but the melodies, the songs (all originals) and the arrangements are 100% their own.
By no means are the Retarded Rats a nostalgic band playing a music of the past. They have too many good ideas for that. The sound has a lot to do with that too, it’s raw – recorded live on 8 track reel to reel – but not dirty (well, okay a bit dirty, but just what it needs, see what I mean)

In the end the best way I can find to describe this excellent combo is the title of one of the best songs of the album: neo-psychobilly.
Like Rockabilly, Psychobilly saw a lot of 80’s bands reforming in the recent years to play weekenders, that’s a good thing (who wouldn’t like to see legends?) but I firmly believe that the future of Psychobilly lays in bands like the Retarded Rats who bring new blood and ideas but remain faithful to the genre.

Order it here : http://www.killjoy-records.de/en/home/136-the-retarded-rats-screams-from-the-10th-planet.html

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

The Quakes

in Albums/Contemporary artists/OPQ/Reviews
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

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