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Nekromantix (the)

Nekromantix (the) – Curse Of The Coffin

Nervous Records – NERCD 063 [1991]
Devil Smile – Curse Of The Coffin – S/M – Motorpsycho – Alice In Psycholand – Way Down To Hell – Howlin At The Moon – New Born Son Of Satan – Save My Grave – Survive Or Die – Part2 – Drugshock – Rockin’Reptile – Mama Don’t Allow

Nekromantix curse of the coffin

The Nekromantix formed in the late eighties. They quickly gained a considerable reputation with their psychobilly-meets metal with a touch of Goth. This reputation reached another level with the release of their debut album on Tombstone Records. The next step was signing with Roy Williams and Nervous Records. The result was one of those albums that changed the face of Psychobilly. Superbly produced by Micky Mutant, aka Pete Gage (who worked with the Meteors, Demented Are Go and Restless), Curse of the Coffin redefined the word Psychobilly (for better and for worse) at the dawn of the nineties.
With Kim Nekroman(real name Kim Gaarde) at the helm, slapping his coffin bass at a supersonic pace, Peter Sandorff playing a mean guitar that owed more to speed-metal shredders than Cliff Gallup or Paul Burlison, and Peek giving the beat, the Nekromantix unleashed a wild beast upon the Psychobilly world.Albeit fast, even ultra-fast, their brand of Psychobilly always remained tuneful and melodic. That aspect resides in the special treatment given to the vocals, with interactions in the form of questions and answers between Kim Nekroman and the band, the latter being an essential part of the singing. The songs are very well-written and don’t seem to have been heard trillions of times.
After the pioneers (Meteors, Ricochets, Sharks…) and the second wave of Psychobilly that still had its two feet firmly anchored in the Rockabilly idiom, the Nekromantix personified the new wave of bands that included more and more metal elements with only the slap bass to echo their Rockabilly roots.

Nekromantix

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 – Stuff

NV ReCords – NVEP05 [1995]
Thing In The Cellar – Stuff / Flashy Car (and a Diamond Ring) – Streetwise

Finding information about this ep concerning the line-up and its recording date is challenging. One can assume that the line-up is Pip on vocals, Stuart on guitar, Johnny Bowler (Get-Smart, Frantic Flintstones, Caravans) on double bass and John Buck (Deltas, Polecats) on drums. It was released in 1995, and Boz Boorer engineered and produced it. He also wrote two songs (Thing In The Cellar and Stuff), the other two being from the pen of Stuart Osbourne.
The sound is uncluttered, almost roots and reminds me of the band’s debut album.
The EP kicks off with Thing In the Cellar, a mean Rockabilly track finding the band (that guitar!) and Pip in fine form. It’s simple, yet evident, one of the band’s best tunes. Next is “Stuff”. It has a reggae vibe and sounds a bit like a Clash tune. 
Flashy Car and A Diamond Ring is a slow, mellow tune with a country-blues flair. Once again, Pip’s hoarse voice brings a touch of sadness to the song. Before you start complaining about the lack of Psychobilly, their new version of Streetwise sends a shot of adrenalin straight to your veins and closes this four-track 1O” in beauty.


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

The Surfin’ Wombatz

The Surfin’ Wombatz – Lager Loutz

Nervous Records – NERD 045 [1989]
Take the Money and Run – Bad Company Blues – Down the Line – Manhunt – The Sound – I Hear the Pounding of My Heart – Dick Turpin – Welcome to the Nightmare – Trapped in My Bottle of Beer – Norman – Moving Down the Street – No More – Wild Man – Make Your Name Count

the Surfin' Wombatz

The Surfin Wombatz were formed around 1987. In 1988, they appeared on the Zorch Factor 3 compilation with the excellent I Hear The Pounding Of My Heart. They can also be heard on the compilation I Ain’t Lonely No More (Fury Records) with Wild Man, another good track.
In February 1989, the group recorded their first album for Nervous Records titled ”Lager Loutz”. The band’s name and the album’s title say it all: the Surfin’ Wombatz are a pleasant group, here for having some fun and probably the beer.
They play a traditional Psychobilly, that is to say, with a light guitar (even a little under-mixed at times) and a very present rhythm section. They clearly don’t have the ambition to revolutionize the genre, and their Psychobilly, tinged with skiffle at times thanks to the presence of a washboard, is rather enjoyable… up to a certain point. Over the length of the album (fourteen tracks!), the group shows its limits. The singer’s voice using always the same mannerisms ends up getting boring, and the compositions lack originality, and all sound a bit similar. The presence of Trapped In My Bottle Of Beer, sung by the guitarist, offers a welcome variation in an album that is a bit monotonous over the long haul. In the end, the Surfin’ Wombatz are more of a compilation group, or perhaps they should have, like many bands of this era, released a mini-album more focused on their qualities.

The Radioactive Kid

Termites (the)

The Termites – Raucous 4 Track E.P.

Raucous Records RAUC008
Every Time– Rockin’ All Night / Home Sweet Home–Long Time Now

The Termites

The Termites were a Psychobilly band from Scotland. They formed in the second half of the eighties. In 1987, they appeared on the compilation album Gypsy Girl with the excellent Devil Call. The following year, they released their first EP on Raucous Records. The band was then Ewin Murray on drums, Scott “Bally” Ballantine on guitar, Kenny Mitchell on vocals and Gerry Doyle on electric bass. The Psychobilly they play is very aggressive and fast, with distorted guitar in the wake of the early Coffin Nails, the Krewmen and sometimes Mitchell’s voice sounds a bit like a wild and demented version of Pip (Guana Batz). The whole thing is rather pleasant and well done, albeit not very original.It could be a tad repetitive on a long-play, but the EP format suits them well.

The Radioactive Kid

Scamps (the)

scamps

Scamps (the) – Shake Your Hips

Nervous Records NEP 006 [1991]
Shake Your Hips (live) / Afore Ye Go – Keep On Going Straight

Scamps

The Scamps first recorded Shake Your Hips on their debut mini-album in 1986 in their “Restless meets the Keytones” style. This Iive version recorded in 1991 is way more heavier with a steady and menacing beat. There’s a very great solo by Joël Lagnier on guitar and the band knows how to interact with the audience.
The two tracks on side B comes from the album Mayday and both are self-penned. Afore Ye Go is a superb modern Rockabilly, led by Joël’s slide guitar and a solid double-bass. Keep On Going Straight is a fast tune on a boogie-rock beat (think Sure Like The Look In Your Eyes). Both songs are close to what Restless recorded with Steve Whitehouse on Movin’ On.


Scamps (the) – Play Man

Note Records – SCAMPS 1 [1989]
Play Man – Hayride to Hell / Shake Your Hips – Sh-Boom

Scamps - Play Man

The Scamps (Bruno Peisey: vocals, Frédéric Mascrier: double bass, Joël Lagnier: guitar and Alain Fatras: drums) released this maxi single in 1989 on Note Records, a German label. The A-side consists of two new recordings. The title track is a superb Neo-Rockabilly that equals anything recorded by Restless on Beat My Drum. The western-tinged Hayride to Hell is a cover of Hoodoo Gurus. The song shows that the band draws inspiration from a wide range of styles.
On side B are two songs from the band’s debut mini-LP that have become stage favourites over the years: the Keytones-sounding Sh-Boom and their excellent rendition of Slim Harpo’s Shake Your Hips.


Scamps (the) – Don’t Be Worried

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

scamps

Debut single by the Scamps before they 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. B-side is a cover of the Blue Cats.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

The Magnetics

The Magnetics – The Magnetics

Self-released [1989]
Lost A Lot Of Love – Prisoner – Love Position Number 9 – Hard Boys Life – Long Blond Hair -Neglected Woman -Now It Is The Time – Go – Never Seen…

the Magnetics

In December 1989, the Magnetics, now a trio (Frank Isfort on drums, Acki Sölter on guitar and Claudius Wolke on double bass and vocals), returned to the studio and recorded this excellent nine-song album.
On long distance, the combo has more room to express their talent and originality.
There’s plenty of first-rate Neo-rockabilly, like Prisoner, that plays in the same league as Restless (one will note the excellent vocals arrangement), but also a fine ballad, with saxophone (Neglected Woman) in the same style as the Speedos. The album benefits from a superb production, with a huge double bass sound. All three musicians are excellent, but Acki’s guitar really makes the difference. He plays clean and fast and sometimes brings a touch of Jazz for a result akin to the Nitros (Lost A Lot Of Love) or the Ringlets Trio (Hard Boys Life).Even the multi-covered Long Blonde Hair sounds original when the Magnetics play it!
Claudius later formed the Red Velvet trio and the Tin Cans.


The Magnetics – Police On My Back

Self-released [1988]
Police on My Back – Fear of a Girl – Everybody – Milk & Alcohol

Magnetics
The Magnetics – Police On My Back

The debut EP of the Magnetics, a German combo, can be placed somewhere between fast neo-rockabilly and psychobilly, close to the “Fight Back” era of the Blue Cats. The songs are terrific (Milk and Alcohol let some new wave influences slip into the mix), and they benefit from a perfect production with a huge double bass sound.