Monday, 26 August 2019

The Guitar That Dripped Blood

Artist: Brian James

Album: The Guitar That Dripped Blood

Label: Easy Action Records


'The Guitar That Dripped Blood' is the 2015 solo album from legendary guitarist Brian James of  'The Damned'
The tone of the album is set right away by a brilliant album cover that depicts a horror cartoon Brian James which has been cleverly drawn by designer Graham Humphries. As this is an album from the genius who penned such Damned classics as 'Neat Neat Neat' and the first punk single in the UK 'New Rose' I am already sold.  The album also features guest appearances from ex-Dead Boy Cheetah Chrome and Lustkillers vocalist Adam Becvare.

Brian James likes to play live loud and I mean LOUD At a recent show rehearsal I was nearly blasted out of the room. This is because Brian is all about rock and roll and the guitar style is unmistakably classic Brian James and you can hear the raw energy that pulsates through this album and vibrates pure rock and roll. Mr James always gives 100% gritty energy in everything he does and this album is no exception.

The album kicks off with a raw rock track 'Becoming a Nuisance' is track all about ageing and the meaningless things that the older generation do to pass the time. This track has gorgeous heavy overlap guitar breaks. This was originally a 'Lords of The New Church track. The track 'Regulator' has a timeless rocking vocal.

'When The Rains Come' is a stand out track and has straight-up 'Rolling Stones' attitude.

Will it please Damned fans? yes, there is much to grab on to here and there are signature guitar riffs that will please Damned fans, but there is also a new twist here as Mr James takes centre stage.

This is honest classy rock and roll that shines through with natural talent.

Chateau Brian Grand Cru

Artist: Brian James
Album: Grand Cru - Chateau Brian 

Label: Easy Action Records:    


This whole album is far more front porch bluesy than I predicted, and there is a nice immediate intimate feel to this album. There is the languid sexy track 'Moan Moan Moan' which switches to a Bob Dylan vibe for  'Such a lot of Stars' The stand out track for me on this album is Teasin' me Baby' a harmonica driven track with charming natural quality. This music is perfect for the summer heatwave and I now feel spiritually transported to New Orleans, it is interesting to experience a totally different side of Brian James music. 'Grand Cru - Chateau Brian' emerged from songs that didn't fit into the rock and roll genre and this album is a showcase for Brian James original background of Blues music which is the music he grew up listening to. Here he is paired with talented keyboardist Mark Taylor (Lords of The New Church) This album reveals a whole different side to Brian and there is a heavy influence from Nashville and New Orleans. This album was inspired by the 'Delta Blues Movement and you can hear the influence of Hank Williams, Elvis and Eddie Cochran. 

This is a heady slice of Blues from the Godfather of punk. 

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

The Filthy Spectacula

Artist:  The Filthy Spectacula

Album: The Howl of the Underclasses        

Release date: July 2019


What's in a name? Well in the instance there is plenty in a name. Before I even listened to 

'The Filthy Spectacula The Howl of the Underclasses ' I had a strong feeling I was going to have fun. What a great and arresting title for both band and album.

The Filthy Spectacula are a  London based gypsy pirate punk band and have performed alongside the likes of The Dreadnoughts, Mathilde's Scoundrels, Voltaire and their music mixes punk, ska, goth pirate shanties cabaret and steampunk. You get the idea it's like 'Captain Jack Sparrow only with a little more drunkenness and insanity, and there is a distinct feeling of 'Oliver Twist' and Sweeny Todd about this album. Poverty turned into poetry. 

This album is almost like listening to a theatrical play. In a moment the music transports you to filthy Victorian taverns with dark conspiratorial corners sticky floors, and ill-gotten gains. Stand out tracks are:  'Oh Cynthia' a melodious twisted love song and 'One Step Closer' an ode to claustrophobic paranoia. 

'Did you ever get the feeling someone could be watching you?'

This is an album that could easily be turned into a musical as the character of the music jumps out at you and creates a series of visual stories in your mind. 

I like the style and concept of this band, as the mix together all kinds of genres from the world of performance, twisting it into their own creation. 

This is an interesting and original album. 

Thank you The Filthy Specacula. Its been a filthy pleasure. 

Black Income

Artist: Black Income Album: unSound  Label: Tube IT Records.
Release date: August 23rd


It’s been 3 years since Danish alternative rockers Black Income released their debut album ‘Noise Pollution’ and this is their follow up album 'unSound' This is an album strictly for lovers of a heavy 'mosh pit' The inspiration for the music is the unsafe and unsure structure of the world today and the music reflects this idea both in its hard rock sound and in its feeling of bleakness in some of the tracks. 'Every day feels like a storm' is a track that lends itself to the darker more sombre side of life and this album is one for lovers of realism. Black Income reflect the current fan base in Scandinavia right now for a heavy and hard rock sound and the band: Henrik Thrane - Vocals/Guitar Michael Gersdorff and Lars Olrik have more than a nod to Kurt Cobain style vocals and a thrash metal sound. The stand out track on this album is 'The Sun' which has a haunting Gothic into to this track metamorphosis into hard rock. If you love hard rock you will love 'Black Income'

The Brothers Steve


Artist: The Brothers Steve 

Album: Tsar

Release date: July 27th 2019 

Independent artist


The Brothers Steve have channelled the spirits of 'The Banana Splits' and 'The Monkees' for this airy fun slice of California pie album. Their biography comes complete with some awesome cartoons of the band, and indeed there is a fun cartoon feel to this album. The track 'Angeline' kicks us off with sexy surf music complete with gorgeous drum rolls. 'We got the hits' is a joyous cosmic ride into nowhere, while 'She' is a love song as light and fluffy as a lemon soufflé.

There is a citrus fresh feel to this album but it also draws on the carefree memories of childhood 'Wacky Races' cartoons and Saturday morning fun. There is a definite feel of 1970's nostalgia in here. This creates an automatically nice feeling, as I love music that takes me back to my carefree childhood. 

There is no heavy intellectual message in this album. The music is there purely to entertain, and that is no bad thing. The Brothers Steve are saying to the listener:
'Hey, come on a ride with us! Jump in the water is warm and lovely!' 

This feels good because I know that I am just going to have a good time. 

This album release follows up  a two-song digital single was released through Big Stir Records  'Angeline and Carolanne'

The stand out track for me here is the final track 'Sunlight' a sweet acoustic track to mellow you out after a long day in the Californian sun. 

So take a trip with 'The Brothers Steve' and 'Tsar' you will be glad you did. 

Monday, 5 August 2019

Nick Woodgate 'The Music'

Album: The Music

Artist: Nick Woodgate                                    

Release Date: 9th August 2019

Independent Release

Nick Woodgate is an artist well known for penning Madness tunes most notably on the album 'Oui Oui Si Si Ja Ja Da Da' the songs 'Leon' and 'Kitchen Floor' and for his collaboration with his brother Woody Woodgate on 'The Magic Brothers.' 

This solo album is a follow up to his solo debut last year 'With a Word' There is a haunting feeling to much of this album and Nick's voice has an electronic feel that vibrates throughout all of the songs. This is an emotional album but it's also an album that is full of positive energy and love. 

'Echoes' is the only song that really addresses mental health as the song is about the voices in the mind.

There is also almost a Merseybeat feel to these songs. I am reminded of 'The Hollies' In the tone of the music. There are also plenty of love songs on this album: 'We Are Lovers', 'Open Up and Let Me in' and 'Sleep my Baby.' The song 'Now You Know Everything' is an upbeat and loving track that sings of happy self acceptance and cherry blossoms. The stand out track on this album is the optimistic and breezy 'Long Time Coming.' It's lovely to hear the positive energy in this song.

The track 'Jo Jo Man' is unfathomable and even Nick doesn't know what it's about. For me it conjures up images of irrational fears in the middle of the night. 'Oh My Lord' has a George Harrison feel as an Indian influence is apparent on this track. 'Open Up and Let Me In' is a collaboration with Michael J McEvoy and on 'Long Time Coming' he collaborates with Lee Brownson.

Nick Woodgate is a unique artist as he is so honest about his mental health (He has schizophrenia) and he has done a great deal of work as an ambassador for 'The Rethink Mental Illness' Charity. The song '10 Rillington Place' is about Nick's experience watching the making of the film of the same name.

This very personal  and mellow album is available on Apple Music, Spotify, Soundcloud iTunes and Amazon Music. There is also a possible release on CD planned for September.

You can find out more about Nick and his music on his website here.

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