Wednesday, 22 April 2015

The Granite Shore - Once More From The Top

Gentle elegiac paean to a golden rock 'n' roll youth. The Granite Shore's debut LP breathes life back into the concept album.

Nothing quite heightens the poignancy of ageing as experiencing it as a member of a touring rock band. As fashions change and audiences move on for newer sounds, it's as if time's ravages are sharpened. A steep learning curve that shows how life can sometimes move on too quickly, leaving you longing for a recent past that seems like a long-lost golden age. Nowhere is this more the case than for those bands that only fleetingly taste a small amount of mid-level success.

These are the themes explored on Once More From The Top, the debut long player from The Granite Shore. Neatly divided into two halves with self-explanatory titles – In Public, and Behind The Scenes. Musically it's a gentle and understated affair, all slow tempos and muted brass, which along with vocalist/writer Nick Halliwell's closely miked, soft-sung vocals, enhance the album's sense of wistful longing.

The trials, tribulations, hard work and small victories of giving your all to make it in the music world make for good subject matter given Halliwell's literary bent and knack for capturing mood and spirit. Tales of music-biz rip-offs, band members' alcohol intake, and “one-night-stands across East Anglia” somehow sum up the limited, nuanced experiences of everyband.

Once More From The Top shares much with Ian Hunter's Diary Of A Rock And Roll Star, in that things that appear glamorous to the casual observer quite often aren't. Funny and sad in equal measures, its elegiac longing is tempered by wry, dry humour and priceless nail-on-the-head lyrics. The supposedly fictional experiences Halliwell sings of hint at the early '70s, a time when there really was money to be made in the music scene, when there was a thriving circuit of venues with supportive audiences. Over the album's course they also lament their slow decline. It will resonate with anyone who's experienced this either as a musician or a music fan. Enthusiasts of the concept album will also be glad to know that such a thing still exists.

Due for release in May on CD & LP. There are also plans for an accompanying book version.

Click here for more on The Granite Shore.
Click here for The Granite Shore on Facebook.
Click here for the Occultation Records website.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Harpoon Forever - The American Flag EP

Four song EP of skewed indie rock, FFO Pavement, Silver Jews! Available on vinyl from Sweaters And Pearls Records.

Any piece of 7” vinyl that contains an insert with quotes about freedom from Susan Sontag and Alan Watts already has something going for it, that's before you even place the needle to the groove. Intrigued? You should be.

Harpoon Forever hail from Rutherford, New Jersey and were formed in 2010 by the band's mainstay Alex Goldstein. Together they make lo-fi guitar music that contains echoes of '90s alt-rock yet is imbued with a freshness and enthusiasm that makes them sound utterly contemporary.

The four songs that make up the EP are all anti-fashion, anti-trends and all the better for it. Guitars are played with purpose and spirited abandon, and compliment the intelligent lyrics and from-the-heart vocals. Built around a defiant DIY ethic, this is guitar music that will appeal to anyone who likes their indie-rock slightly left of field.

Think Pavement, think Silvers Jews, even Phantom Buffalo. It's proof that modern guitar music hasn't been completely packaged up and commodified. The sound of a young band searching for an alternative America. Let's hope it's out there. Look out for the band's shows in and around New Jersey and NYC.

Limited to 300 copies on black vinyl. (First 50 copies come with chipboard matchbook style screened sleeves, with alternate artwork by Travis Kostell.)

A full length LP A Prince For All Seasons is available now via download or stream with a vinyl release planned for later in the year.

Click here for more on Harpoon Forever.
Click here for the Sweaters And Pearls Records website.

Games For May – An afternoon & evening of music at The Half Moon, Putney, Sunday 24th May

Bank holiday Sunday! Five live bands, a free five-track 7” single + goodie bag! Be there or wish you were! 

As if releasing consistently high standard vinyl releases wasn't enough, Fruits De Mer Records have teamed up with similarly reputable label, Mega Dodo, to curate an afternoon and evening of music at Putney's Half Moon venue. This takes place on Sunday 24th of May. For those who don't like going out on a school night, fear not, it's a Bank Holiday the following day! The advance ticket price of £15 gets you a five band billing along with a whole bunch of freebies including -

* the Games For May 7", with tracks by all five bands - exclusive to the gig
* an exclusive CD featuring a previously-unreleased album by PIPE (the predecessors of The Past Tense)
* Cary Grace's 'Where You Go' CD album
* a compilation CD from Headspin Records
* a compilation CD from Mega Dodo
* a compilation from Stylus Records
* a compilation CD from DJ Marrs Bonfire
* a CD by ZX+
* a CD by The Portraits
* a CD by the Blue Giant Zeta Puppies
- that's a 7" EP + NINE CDs!
* an A3 gig poster
* an 'artifact' featuring Todd Dillingham
* a sticker from Claudio Cataldi
* and a very silly game from Fruits de Mer & Mega Dodo

The fun starts at 4pm and goes on till closing time. Along with the live bands there'll be rare vinyl DJ sets from Marrs Bonfire and Cranium Pie's Julian Smith. The event is almost certain to sell out so don't hang about buying your tickets. The five acts playing live (and who feature on the free 7” single) are - 

Tir na nOg 
Legdendary psych-folk duo formed by Leo O'Kelly and Sonny Cordell in 1970. They'll also be launching The Dark Dance, their first studio album in 40 years at the gig - and there'll be an exclusive 50-run individually lathe-cut 7" available for £10 a time to the first 50 people to buy the album.

Favourites here at Harmonic Distortion are Bristol's quirk-prog supremists. Read our review of their Where Business Meets Fashion album here. 

The Past Tense 
Three-piece band from Worcester Park/Kingston. Their sound is a fusion of mod, '60s beat, garage, psych and punk. Their track “Vision (from Another World” was recorded especially for the event's free 7”.

Crystal Jacqueline and The Honey Pot 
Crystal Jacqueline will be familiar to Fruits De Mer aficionados. A founding member of the Honey Pot she'll also be launching latest album Rainflower (Mega Dodo Records) at this gig. We've heard it and it's pretty special, review coming soon! 

Mark and The Clouds 
London based band that evolved from Instant Flight. Purveyors of '60s tinged power pop though their offering on the 7” has a more folky vibe, all 12-string acoustic and harmonies. Entitled “Any Part Of Town” it's only available on the free 7”.

Click here to purchase tickets online. 
Click here for the Fruits De Mer Records website. 
Click here for the Mega Dodo website.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Cranium Pie - Mechanisms Part Two

Majestic prog-opus ahoy!Funnily enough it's a follow up to Mechanisms Part One! Who woulda thought?!

Fans of Fruits De Mer Records will no doubt already be familiar with Cranium Pie, the band having contributed tracks to various FDM cover version compilations over the years. Here though we get to hear what the band are really about. Mechanisms Part Two is oddly enough the follow up to Mechanisms Part One, their 2012 album about a battle between civilizations of robots and crayfish. I don't know what the local council are putting in the water in Wiltshire but it may be stronger than fluoride! Either that or we're in the company of a very adventurously creative group of people.

Mechanisms Part One went on to be Classic Rock's “bonkers prog album of the year 2012”, so Part Two has something of a reputation to live up to. Over the four sides of vinyl the band are free to stretch out into the furthest reaches of sonic exploration. With heavy Hammond organ, free-jazz-rock drumming and Brian Blessed-esque vocal passages this is music that calls to mind the giants of early '70s progressive rock – Soft Machine, Zappa and Aphrodite's Child may all be influences, but there are also some other more unlikely musical nods in the album's grooves with some surprisingly funky psychedelia.

It seems there may be just as many Funkadelic, Parliament and Prince records in their collections as there are records by The Nice and Caravan. Side One sees the band co-opt the bass line from Isaac Hayes' Ike's Rap II, with Side Three beginning with wacka-wacka guitar chops straight of his Shaft album. Elsewhere there's music borne out of of intuitive collective jamming. So while it's without question another “bonkers prog album” it's also a surprisingly soulful and funky one.

Like many FDM releases, the vinyl version is sure to sell out quickly so if you've missed out bug them for a re-press of make do with a digital copy. Be warned though – it may fry your brain like no other record this year, albeit in a good way.

Limited to 700 copies on colour vinyl double LP with gatefold sleeve.
On Fruits De Mer Records' Regal Crabomophone imprint.

Click here for Cranium Pie's website.
Click here for Cranium Pie on Facebook.
Click here for Cranium Pie on Twitter.
Click here for more on Fruits De Mer Records.

Black Rainbows - Hawkdope

Italian fuzz-rock trio cement their reputation as one of the genre's prime movers. A feast of killer heavy rock with a side dish of mystical musings.

Eighteen months on from the band's Holy Moon mini-LP, Black Rainbows are back! Hawkdope may have less stylistic diversions than their previous outing but it does everything you'd want and expect. A glance at the song titles gives you some idea of what this album contains. With titles such as Killer Killer Fuzz, The Prophet and The Cosmic Picker, you're in for a 45 minute feast of killer heavy rock with a side dish of mystical musings.

On album opener The Prophet they sing of “prophesies being released” over Sabbath-esque riffs, setting the course for the rest of the album. Wolf Eyes kicks off with an amphetime-boosted Tamla drumbeat. Incidentally, what is it with heavy rock bands and their fascination with wolves?!? There's Wolfmother, Wolf People, Wolfsbane. Zep's Robert Plant even supports the football team!

We can forgive a fixation with Canis Lupus when the resulting music hits the spot though. Heavy rock bands of the early '70s are a touchstone, though fans of later grunge and alt-rock will find much to like too. I imagine the live Black Rainbows experience is even more rewarding. The band have an extensive tour booked throughout Spring and Summer including some UK dates in June. (See the flyer below for more info.)

The sole acoustic offering, Waiting For The Sun provides a short, soft break from the biker-friendly rock, but it's heaviness that the band does best. Much like one of their song titles requests - “Hypnotize My Soul With Rock 'N' Roll”. They certainly do that, and then some. A band at the top of their game.

Black Rainbows are -

Gabriele Fiori
Dario Iocca
Alberto Croce

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Moth Effect - Crocodilians

'90s electronica meets indie jazz guitar, together they watch a perfect sunset. Electronic head music for the wee small hours.

Moth Effect is the recording alias of one man from Sussex That man's real name is Andy Le Gresley. Crocodilians is his first full length release, and is now available on vinyl thanks to the good ears at Sunstone Records. An intriguing wordless affair, it's electronica characterised by drones, repetition, and gradual mutation over gentle mid-tempo beats.

This is psychedelic music that doesn't require a bowl-haircut or a paisley shirt. It's music that takes elements from Kraftwerk, Hawkwind, Durutti Column, Sabres Of Paradise along with countless others, and weaves these disparate threads and strands into a unique tapestry. One that's at times beguiling, yet always interesting and worthy of attention. And one whose rewards grow with each listen.

There's a distinctly European feel, almost Balearic. Beatific too. To call it mood music would be a diservice though it does have a similar effect as watching a a good sunrise or sunset. Not so much comedown music, as happy-where-I-am music. With bass guitar motifs to the fore, guitars and art-rock keyboards are given free reign, avoiding blues scales and cliches, yet searching for sonic invention. This meeting of '90s electronica and exploratory indie-jazz guitar is surprisingly fruitful.

Humour plays a part too. Fingerbobs may reference the early '70s kids TV programme but unlike the folksy, homespun music of that show it takes it's cues from the kosmiche musik that made its mark during that era. Throughout the album you're reminded of “music for schools and colleges” - a soundtrack familiar to '80s schoolchildren everywhere. In this sense Crocodilians has similarities with Lemon Jelly's Lost Horizons album, though it's far less twee and jokey.

The overall feel of Crocodilians is hypnotic, refreshing and curiously optimistic, at odds with current tastes and fashions but all the better for it. It's quite unlike anything else around at the moment. Close your eyes, turn off and float downstream. Or failing that simply head towards the light.

Click here for Moth Effect on Twitter.
Click here for the Sunstone Records website.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

The Sunchymes' debut album available for free download!

In a week when we've sadly lost Michael Brown of The Left Banke, it's of some comfort to know that his legacy will live on through the countless musicians he influenced. One of the better bands that understood his genius are Northampton's baroque-popsters The Sunchymes. The band's music is an effortless mix of '60s west cost sunshine pop, English psych, with gentle baroque touches and sumptuous vocal harmonies.

The band have recently made their 2009 debut album Shifting Sands available for free download via their Bandcamp page. Fans of The Beach Boys, psych-era Beatles, Jellyfish and indeed The Left Banke are well advised to check it out, along with the follow up album, 2012's Let Your Free Flag Fly. Enjoy!

Click here for The Sunchymes website.
Click here for The Sunchymes on Bandcamp.
Click here for The Sunchymes on Twitter.
Click here for The Sunchymes on Facebook.

Thee Jezebels - Black Book / Cried Over You (Ltd. 7")

Pub rock ain't noise pollution! Debut 7” of gritty R&B from Hastings girl band!

Fans of Dr. Feelgood take note! The latest exponents of gritty 3-chord R&B are an all girl 3-piece from Hastings. Thee Jezebels are the latest band to benefit from the taste making ears of State Records with the release of their debut 7”. A-side Black Book takes the template laid down by the Feelgoods, adds some Suzi Quattro-esque vocals, and send out a warning to shameless philanderers everywhere.

The B-side Cried Over You is an equally blistering romp about post-relationship bafflement. Short, sharp and to the point, it's one and a half minutes long, says what it needs to say and moves on. Grab the single while it's hot, limited to 500 copies, the first 250 come with a hand-numbered postcard. If you dig what you hear get along to one of the band's upcoming gigs, details on the flyer below.

Thee Jezebels are -

Laura Anderson – Guitar, Vocals
Letty Gallagher – Bass
Lois Tozer - Drums

Click here for Thee Jezebels on Facebook.
Click here for the State Records website.

The Galileo 7 – One Lie At A Time / The God Of Gaps (Ltd 7”)

Crockford & co follow up their recent False Memory Lane LP with 2 brand new Brit-psych stormers on traditional 7” vinyl!

Who would have thought that 2015 would be such a great time for vinyl record buyers? Despite the major labels getting their claws into Record Store Day, there's a multitude of grass roots labels releasing records that people actually want to own and play, as opposed to squirrelling them away or whacking on Ebay while still in their shrinkwrap.

Music lovers of all genres are pretty well served in today's genre-fractured climate, none more so than fans of '60s influenced guitar bands. Thanks to the good folks at State Records there's a new double A-sided 7” from The Galileo 7. Following on from last year's False Memory Lane album, the two brand new tracks showcase the band's knack for uptempo, melodic mod-rock. Hooky guitar lines bolstered by superb organ playing, all topped off by equally inventive vocal melodies and harmonies.

It's easy to see why Allan Crockford's previous band The Prisoners were such an influence on The Charlatans and The Stone Roses. Fans of those bands frustrated at the lack of new material should do themselves a favour and get behind a band that actually release records. This one is in ultra-punchy mono, limited to 500 copies, the first 250 of which come with a bonus 3-track CD.

Click here for The Galileo 7 website.
Click here for The Galileo 7 on Facebook.
Click here for The Galileo 7 on Twitter.
Click here for the State Records website.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Jacco Gardner announces new single & album!

Psych's leading light returns with a new single "Find Yourself". A full album, Hypnophobia, will follow in May.

The Dutch maestro's eagerly anticipated follow up to Cabinet Of Curiosities is set to be one of  2015's top albums. Fans of late '60s psychedelia as well as the post-Temples new breed of neo-psych lovers will have this top of their wants list.

Check out the single via the Soundcloud widget below and click over the jump for full details of forthcoming long player Hypnophobia, due for release on May 4th on Full Time Hobby.

Click over the jump for the full press release.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Talbot Adams - Green Girl b/w I Love You So (Ltd Edition 7")

Echoes of The Beach Boys, Phil Spector, The Jesus And Mary Chain on the third solo single from Mississippi based singer-songwriter.

The sixth single from Market Square Records is something of a departure from the dissatisfaction-laden garage rock and anti-authoritarian punk released so far. Indeed it could even be said that the overriding emotion and sentiment of this latest 7” is one of happiness and contentment. While a frost covers the ground as I write this, a distinctly summery vibe runs through the grooves, perhaps due to the warm Mississippi climate experienced by the artist, one Mr. Talbot Adams.

A member of several garage rock band, Adams has produced a record in praise of summer crushes, one that's laid-back and minimalist. Guided by simple melodies over a repeated I/IV chord progression, the A-side Green Girl is full of haze and shimmer, and echoes the work of The Beach Boys, Phil Spector, The Jesus And Mary Chain, '60s girl groups, and '80s dream-pop. It's complimented nicely by B-side I Love You So, which has a similar summery feel topped off with sha-la-la-las for backing vocals. A fine release and new stylistic direction for the blossoming label.

Limited edition (300) black vinyl 7” in picture sleeve.

Click here for more on Market Square Records.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Killer Boogie - Detroit

Put your hands up for Detroit! Italian fuzz-rockers tribute to Rock City.

Detroit has long been recognized as the spiritual home for all things gritty, dirty and deranged in rock 'n' roll. Ever since The Stooges and MC5 burst on the the global scene after formulating their sounds in the Motor City there's been a steady stream of bands in their wake carrying on that legacy. From Alice Cooper to The Gories, Suzi Quattro to The White Stripes, they've all shared a love for stripped-to-the-bone hard rock delivered with humour and intelligence. Ditto Killer Boogie, whose blues-rock roots are souped up like a custom muscle car.

Killer Boogie don't hail from Detroit but they would make good adopted sons. Instead they hail from Rome, a city more renowned for its Colosseum and Sistene Chapel than it is for hard riffing rock music. The three-piece band are something of a supergroup, featuring Gabriele Fiori on guitars and vocals (Black Rainbows), Luigi Costanzo on drums (The Wisdoom), and Matteo Marini on bass (though Eduardo Mancini played bass on these studio recordings.)

This cross fertilization of bands from the Heavy Psych Sounds roster results in an album that fits perfectly with the label's ethos and aesthetic. HPS is already a label with a strongly defined identity, one that this record reinforces via its proto-grunge and metal. Detroit may be a record of very fixed genre but that's most certainly the point. After all, you don't go to a pizzeria and ask for sushi! So expect some hard rock with a distinctly early '70s hue.

Much like the almost fabled city of the album's title, the record's spirit is one of rebellion, fused with a separateness from the wider musical world. Economically Detroit has been on the decline since its car producing heyday, a city that's both proud and haunted by its golden era. Similarly rock music's purple patch is commonly thought to be the early '70s, so it's in some way fitting that Killer Boogie echo those classic sounds.

That era saw the beginning of rock's love affair with guitar pedals, when pushing the limits of volume, speed and virtuosity was at the forefront of most denim clad musician's minds. Detroit shares all those fascinations and then some. Busy guitar solos and fuzzed-up riffs abound. It says much about the state of contemporary music when such sonic time travel can reward more than today's state of the art releases.

No wonder then that each new generation eventually discovers the music made by Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy et al. Thank goodness there's a new breed of contemporary bands making music that carries a similarly heavy punch. Hats off to Killer Boogie and Heavy Psych Sounds for flying the flag for all things heavy!

Click here for more on Killer Boogie.
Click here for Heavy Psych Sounds.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

The Bloodhounds - Let Loose! (OUT NOW!)

One for the greasers! Skiffle, beat, dirty rock 'n' roll, & hubcap blues feature on the debut LP by LA's Bloodhounds.

An groovy album that may came out towards the end of last year was Let Loose by LA's rock 'n' skifflers The Bloodhounds. With a nose for stripped-back bluesy rock 'n' roll, honed while busking on the sidewalks of downtown LA, the band have been helped in the studio by producer Arthur Alexander (The Poppees, Sorrows). The resulting album captures that street energy and adds some extra sonic punch.

Anyone lucky enough to have witnessed their impromptu busking gigs must surely have had a real treat. You can imagine this band whipping up a storm, on one hand they're a high octane jug band, on the other a punked up blues 'n' beat outfit. The music is a stripped-back, energetic romp, fuelled by spirit and enthusiasm more than technical ability, and all the better for that.

As well as the classic two guitars, bass and drums set up, The Bloodhounds make the most of cheap instruments and household objects. Washboards, banjos and kazoos sit happily in the mix. With a sound roooted in '60s rhythm and blues there's also a hint of punk. The overall effect is akin to Joey Ramone fronting The Pretty Things.

The Wolf pays homage to bluesman Howlin' Wolf, with guitar parts based around Hubert Sumlin's Spoonful guitar lick. Elsewhere there's echoes of Star Club era Beatles, Lonnie Donegan, early Stones and the afore-mentioned Pretty Things.

The band are something of an anomaly in today's pro-tools era, and go against the grain of modern polished pop, but those of us in search of the true spirit of rock 'n' roll will dig it!

The Bloodhounds are -

Aaron “Little Rock” Piedraita – rhythm guitar/vocals
Johnny Santana – bass/banjo/harp/vocals
Branden Santos – lead guitar/harp/vocals
Mark Schafler – drums/washboard/percussion/harp/kazoo/vocals

Click here for more on The Bloodhounds.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Various - Postcards From The Deep (Flexi-Disc Box Set)

10 flexi-discs, 10 postcards, a poster and a CD, all housed in a clambox! 700 copies worldwide.

Fruits De Mer Records raise the bar once again. Following on from their box set of 7” singles, the ever eclectic and vinyl-friendly label have gone one step further in their desire to release music in a lavishly produced physical form. Their latest collection is a set of 10 flexi-discs, complete with postcards, a poster and a CD, all beautifully housed in a clambox.

Flexi-discs are evocative objects for those of us old enough to remember them as album tasters, music magazine freebies and fanclub-only specials. With new ones almost as rare as the proverbial rocking horse excrement, it's a pleasing and brave step for a label to put together a collection of the things. Equally impressive is tracking down a record plant that can manufacture them!

While flexi-discs will have serious audioheads and hi-fi enthusiasts hiding behind their 180g vinyl, the rest of us will be weighing them down with two-pence pieces, spinning them and enjoying the sounds. And good fun it is too. Playing these artefacts is in itself an act of time-travel, even more so when one considers the agreeably retro nature of the music.

To keep the hi-fi buffs happy a bonus CD is included that contains different versions of the flexi tracks. The music is as varied as you'd expect from FDM, and is an all covers affair showcasing the label's stylistic breadth, and ranges from surf, psych, progressive garage, and krautrock. With one foot in the past, each band manages to add some twist or spin to make you admire their take on the track as well as making you want to check out the original version.

My favourite of the 10 tracks is The Thanes' take on The Pretty Things' LSD, a track that will be familiar to many. Less familiar though no less enjoyable is Soul Fiction, a track released on South African Brigadiers label in 1968 by The Hippies, and one which borrows heavily from Soul Finger by The Bar-Kays. It's ably covered here by The Past Tense. Check out the video below to hear it on flexi-disc.

The question is if Fruits De Mer further investigate the alleyway of long lost formats, what will they have planned for 2015? Tape reels? 8-track cartridge? The smart money may just be on wax cylinders!

  1. The Luck Of Eden Hall – Psychotic Reaction (Count Five)
  2. The Loons – Celestial Empire (Dragonfly)
  3. The Crawlin' Hex – I'm a Living Sickness (Calico Wall)
  4. The Thanes – LSD (The Pretty Things)
  5. The Blue Giant Zeta Puppies – Time Machine (Satori)
  6. The Past Tense – Soul fiction (The Hippies)
  7. Schizo Fun Addict – Take A Heart (The Sorrows)
  8. Crystal Jacqueline – You Just Gotta Know My Mind (Dana Gillespie/Donovan)
  9. Astralasia – Brainticket (Brainticket)
  10. Icarus Peel – The Avengers Theme (Laurie Johnson)

Limited to 700 copies.
Click here for more on Fruits De Mer Records.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Sonny Vincent & Spite - Spiteful

Class of '77 get together for some transatlantic punk-noir. Strap yourself in for the ride!

This latest outing for the New York punk veteran is a punk fan's wet dream, a fantasy collaboration that features backing and input from not only Rat Scabies of The Damned and Glen Matlock of The Sex Pistols, but also saxophone courtesy of Steve Mackay, sax player on The Stooges Fun House, and latter day touring member of said same band. That's mongrel pedigree for you right there! And one that bites!

For those unfamiliar with Sonny Vincent, he's a mix of sleazy seen-it-all private detective, punk romantic, and perhaps the true heir to Lou Reed as rock 'n' roll believer and champion of New York's artistic underbelly.

As leader of Testors, Sonny was a burning light of the NY punk movement, ripping it up at CBGBs back in the day. His spirit and soul remained undimmed to this day as this album more than demonstrates. Such is his standing in punk circles he was able to draft in the talents of Scabies, Matlock and Mackay.

It's a dream team band, one that effortlessly conjures up he speed and bite of London '77 punk and allies it with a New York art-punk lyrics. On top of that the saxophone lends the record a noir Romanticism. All cigarette smoke, dark alleys and burst water pipes. It's punk rock with a free-jazz squall.

Written and recorded quickly, Spiteful has a spirit and swagger that marks it out as one of the year's most surprising releases. Urgent and searching, frantic and wild, scuzzy and hungry, and definitely truer to the spirit of punk than the heritage circuit bands that make up the billing of today's punk festivals.

Though it's at odds with the music of the headphones-on, heads-down generation, this is fired up by a love of early rock 'n' roll and an outsider anti-hero stance. And is all the better for it. As such it could teach the young pups of today a thing or two.

Click here for more on the making of Spiteful.
Click here for more on Sonny Vincent.
Click here for Still Unbeatable Records.