New work from Italian power trio Faz Waltz always is good news. On last year’s On The Ball LP, songwriter Faz La Rocca (vocals, guitar, piano) and his pals Diego Angelini (bass) and Marco Galimberti (drums) changed direction to good old rock ‘n’ roll, now they push the accelerator even further. Rave A-Comin’, the A-side of their new 45, is a raucous floorfiller with a piano shooting great balls of fire, flipside Jackal Hop is a delicious sax-driven rhythm & blues stomper, in both cases with those characteristic gravelly vocals in the leading role. Sing along: “Everybody’s having fun, dance, dance!”
Rave A-Comin’ b/w Jackal Hop, produced by Brown Barcella & Faz La Rocca, is out now digitally and on 7″ vinyl (self-released).
For blues fans who regularly scroll through our blog, Zeno Jones probably is a household name by now. We wrote about his band Cold Beverage and his solo EP Stonewater Music , and he shared his inspirations in our Gimme 5! feature. His new full-length album Disillusion Blues is also worth checking out – its cover suggests a score of five out of six stars, no reason to dispute that. We get twelve original garage blues rock songs (largely fresh work, with the exception of Upton Blues and Cold Beverage Blues, in an earlier version also on the 2021 self-titled debut LP), songs that are raw and primitive, heavy and straightforward, honest and authentic. Even more than before, the Louisville, Kentucky-based musician proves himself as both an amazing guitarist and a gifted singer, performing as a one-man band that has found the perfect balance between his tough vocals, a mean guitar, an old suitcase drum and a rusty tambourine. Pretty intense and impressive, again.
Disillusion Blues is out now digitally (self-released).
About ten years ago, The Wanton Bishops made a very convincing debut with their Sleep With The Lights On LP, twelve tracks of irresistibly groovy blues rock laced with Middle Eastern influences. The genius behind the band, Beirut native Nader Mansour, then traveled through America’s deep south for a while, to experience the roots of Mississippi blues. That led to a freshly inspired musical vision and the long-awaited sophomore full-length album Under The Sun, both an exploration of identity and a love letter to his hometown. In the ten new songs here, the Delta swamps have made way for the Lebanese mountains, with a sound that is more eclectic and more electronic (and to be honest: less easy to grasp, which is not a bad thing). Nader explains: “It’s Lebanese rock, a new genre, a blueprint for future music. It’s not fusion, it’s confusion, it’s not world music, it’s rock music from the world, for the world.” Heavy, danceable, colorful and special at the same time. Ten years later, The Wanton Bishops manage to surprise and impress again.
Under The Sun, produced by Jules Apollinaire, is out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP via gnu roam / Bucks Music Group. Featuring Nader Mansour (vocals, keyboards, synths), Jules Apollinaire (guitar, bass, keyboards) and Rene Van Diessen (drums).
Although I prefer rumbling guitars, I have a soft spot for turntablism. The Belgian/American band Red Red unites these two loves in an amazing way on the eight potent songs of their full-length debut album The Alabama Kid. Skilled musicians Tom Beardslee (vocals, guitars, lap steel, dhantal), Steve Ceulemans (guitars, banjo, backing vocals), Chris Forget (bass) and Pieter Vandergooten (drums, percussion) lay a solid foundation of blues rock, to which DJ Courtasock aka Xavier Scheffers (turntables, samples) adds layers of sampled sounds and scratches. The combination of virtuoso guitar playing, powerful vocals and nimble soundscapes make this tribute to American boxer Clarence Olin “Alabama Kid” Reeves truly unique.
The Alabama Kid, recorded & mixed by Joes Brands, is out now streaming and on vinyl LP through Naked, a Donor Productions label.
LP number 4 from Swampmeat Family Band bears the evocative title Polish Your Old Halo, borrowed from the lyrics of country legend Jerry Jeff Walker’s 1975 single Jaded Lover. No cover of that song here, but one that is much more remarkable: we hear The Chemical Brothers’ Setting Sun(with lyrics and vocals by Noel Gallagher) in an almost unrecognizable version (without the beats and the Oasis singer). The five-piece from Birmingham (UK) has a knack for choosing and performing covers (a highlight of their previous album Muck was their take on The Velvet Underground’s Foggy Notion), but their original songs, centered around themes of resilience, are just as captivating. The skilled band members play bluesy roots rock with a 70s feel, and with every new record they sound tighter and more polished, without losing appealing ideas, authenticity and energy. The standout tracks below are the best proof of this.
Polish Your Old Halo, produced by Mark Gittins, is out now digitally and on vinyl LP through PNKSLM Recordings.
“Despite relentless death threats and moralising, our allegiance to Satan and the golden oldies remains unwavering. God Is Dead is our most blasphemous, horny and painstakingly period-correct work to date. Saturated with the blood of babies and forged in the ashes of burning churches, we spared no one in the making of this album. See you in Hell!” Well, that sure is one way to introduce your new record, Alexandra and Zachary James, aka the duo that makes up Twin Temple. On their second LP God Is Dead, Twin Temple sound like a throwback act build on Phil Spector’s Wall Of Sound, but also ’50s and ’60s rock’n’roll. If you love that sound, you will go crazy for Twin Temple. There is one caveat though, as hinted upon in the quote above: you must not mind occult references and explicit lyrics.
Elevate your next gathering with friends by putting on God Is Dead and introducing them to the captivating world of Twin Temple. Prepare for their curiosity to soar as they draw comparisons to the likes of Shannon And The Clams, Amy Winehouse, and Phil Spector. Brace yourself for the inevitable barrage of questions: “Did she really sing Be A Slut?” and “Are they really singing Let’s have a Satanic orgy?” Spoiler alert, the answer to both of these question is yes!
The Jameses describe their sound as Satanic Doo-Wop, and it sounds fine with me. God Is Dead is out now at Pentagrammaton Records.
Gothic blues/folk/jazz collective The Dead Brothers from Switzerland have provided us with strange but spot-on releases for over 20 years, but now they have been overtaken by their own theme. Death is Forever will be their last LP, one with an even darker edge than usual. Frontman Alain Croubalian (1964-2021) passed away shortly after the recording of these twelve new tracks, which he created in close collaboration with his poet partner Marc Littler. The extraordinary, eclectic combination of vintage instruments, styles and rhythms inimitably create a theatrical atmosphere that is as imaginative as it is mystical and fascinating. In addition to the originals, there are covers of Blaze Foley’s I Wrote A Book and Domenico Modugno’s Amara Terra. The album closes with traditional gospel song Wayfaring Stranger, the last the Dead Brothers ever recorded. Their music will live on.
Death is Forever, produced by Resli Burri, is out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP through Voodoo Rhythm Records. Featuring Alain Croubalian (lead vocals, guitar, piano, banjo), Resli Burri (positiv organ, grand piano, banjo, singing saw, harmonium, big drum, vocals), Tobi Zwyer (tuba, accordion, vocals), Stephen Thomas (guitar, vocals), Andrea Kirchhofer (violin, vocals), Matthias Lincke (violin, mandolin, vocals), Leon Schätti (helicon, pocket trumpet, vocals), Jane Mumford (drums, percussion, vocals) and Simon Burger (Wurlitzer). Cover drawing by Jean Luc Navette.
There are more artists who bear the name Jim Jones, but since I saw British garage rock outfit The Jim Jones Revue live about 15 years ago, there’s only one that counts for me. Great news that this band finally gets a worthy successor: here are the Jim Jones All Stars, featuring singer/guitarist Jim Jones, bassist Gavin Jay and keyboardist Elliot Mortimer (from The Jim Jones Revue), drummer Chris Ellul (The Heavy), guitarist Carlton Mounsher (The Swamps), and a full horn section consisting of Stuart Dace, Tom Hodges and Chuchi Malapersona. Their debut album Ain’t No Peril, recorded in Memphis, is versatile and vibrant, raw and raucous, groovy and greasy, cool and characterful, dirty and dangerous, exciting and epic. At first listen it’s reminiscent of The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, but they take the musical madness even further, transcending labels such as rock ‘n’ roll or rhythm ‘n’ blues by mixing garage punk blues with influences as diverse as funk, jazz, country and gospel. The 12 songs here, including 3 instrumentals, sound as inspired and urgent as can be. Breathtaking.
Ain’t No Peril, produced by John Getze, is out now digitally, on CD and blood red vinyl LP through Ako-Lite Records. Cover art by Paul Pope.
Domenico Petrosino aka Dome La Muerte has been active in the Italian rock scene for over 40 years. After a career with various bands, he released his first solo effort Poems For Renegades in 2011, from which the band Dome La Muerte E.X.P. emerged, who now follow up 2017’s debut Lazy Sunny Day with sophomore LP El Santo. It’s a concept album with a social and political background. Dome La Muerte (electric and acoustic guitar, percussion, harp), Luca Valdambrini (organ, synth, acoustic guitar, backing vocals), Alessandro Quaglierini (bass) and Emiliano Giuliani (drums) take us on a Spaghetti Western trip inspired by Ennio Morricone. There are fifteen short songs, all dedicated to revolutionary characters fighting against injustice and the establishment. They may be instrumentals, but you have to imagine that each tune tells a story of redemption and courage full of poets, actors, activists, native Americans and rebels – all ‘saints’ in their own way. The vocal bonus track When The Night Is Over at the end, featuring Massimiliano Larocca, Hugo Race, Nicola Baronti and Matteo Sodini, understandably is a crowd favorite.
El Santo is out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP through Go Down Records.
Forty years after their self-titled debut album and five years after their previous one, American rock & soul collective Barrence Whitfield And The Savages return with a new LP titled Glory, recorded last May in Valencia (Spain) to round off a long European tour. To be honest, I didn’t know they had been around for so long (I’ve been on board since 2013’s amazing Dig Thy Savage Soul), and their sound is so energetic and passionate that you wouldn’t assume so. “I’m Young”, the charismatic frontman sings defiantly in one of the standout tracks, and that’s how it feels. In the other eleven tunes, the mix of rhythm & blues, garage punk and pub rock is just as exciting, with the growling vocalist and veteran musicians creating a steamy party vibe – the greater the madness, the greater the fun.
Glory, produced by Mike Mariconda, is out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP through Folc Records. Featuring original line-up core members Barrence Whitfield, Peter Greenberg and Phil Lenker, along with Andy Jody, Tom Quartulli and Spencer Evoy.