Thursday, 16 April 2015

The Loons, Kaleidoscope & The Misunderstood at Le Beat Bespoké Weekender Friday April 03rd

The Loons - Photo by Retro Man Blog
I’ve been a big fan of The Loons ever since their debut album "Love’s Dead Leaves", and not just because it was produced by Ebbot Lundberg of The Soundtrack of Our Lives. Frontman Mike Stax is also responsible for the superb "Ugly Things" magazine which once boasted an immense feature on Soundtrack’s previous incarnation, Union Carbide Productions and included a copy of TSOOL’s debut E.P. for subscribers. So, I was thrilled to finally get to see the Californian-based band play live. Actually, the Friday night of the New Untouchables Le Beat Bespoké Weekender was the place to be for Loons fans, as not only did the band open proceedings as “themselves” but they also headlined as the backing band for Glenn Ross Campbell’s The Misunderstood. But back to the beginning of the evening and The Loons took the stage and treated us to a perfectly paced set of their concise and tuneful Garage Rock nuggets that despite the early start, warmed up the growing crowd nicely.

The Loons, Mike Stax & Anja - Photo by Retro Man Blog
Unfortunately, there are no songs from their debut album in tonight's set, so I don't get to hear "Not The Same Girl" or "Insecurity Smasher", which was a bit of a shame for me, as they've been long time favourites. However, with the majority of the set filled with songs from their excellent album "Inside Out Your Mind" I can’t really complain too much! The slightly melancholic strains of “Moon and Tide” were a particular favourite as was the frantic “Picture Book” Kinks riffing of "Siren City". The band played both sides of their brand new Dirty Water Records single “Miss Clara” and “Alexander” which were really well received and “Diamonds, Garbage and Gold”, the only track from “Red Dissolving Rays of Light”. Mike is an all-action front-man, a blur of energy with his “Acid Blues” scrawled tambourine. Next to him is Anja on the Rickenbacker bass, a study of cool in her blue mini-dress drawing admiring comments from guys and girls around me in the crowd. They play two cover versions, a rousing and raucous run through of the Sons of Adam’s “Saturday’s Son” which is really excellent as is their set closer, the somewhat more familiar “You’re Gonna Miss Me” by the 13th Floor Elevators. The band leave the stage to a great round of applause, unfortunately there’s no encore but luckily it won’t be the last we will see of The Loons tonight.

Peter Daltrey of Kaleidoscope - Photo by Retro Man Blog
Next up were Kaleidoscope, and like The Misunderstood they took the stage represented by just the one original band member, in this case vocalist Peter Daltrey, who announced “don’t worry, we’ll play all your favourites”. He has assembled a great young band around him that include members of The Trembling Bells and a superb sitar player, Graham Gordon, who all do considerable justice to the old Kaleidoscope material, beefing up the songs and adding a bit of power to proceedings. The set is packed full of melodic songs such as "In The Room of Percussion", "Faintly Blowing" and "Snapdragon" with choruses that stick in the head and prove perfect for the crowd to sing along to, which many did with great enthusiasm. Peter’s voice was on top form and he was a charming and engaging front-man and when he introduced original drummer Danny Bridgland on the bongos, there was a surge of warm applause. Actually Danny and Peter go back even further than Kaleidoscope, right back to their days in The Sidekicks, who once supported The Who in the early 60’s.

Kaleidoscope - Photo by Retro Man Blog
There are three excitable ladies in front of me waving at Danny and cheering loudly every time he is in the spotlight. The youngest one of the three has tears in her eyes and another turns to me as though to apologize for their behaviour. I notice the look of pride and affection in her face as she gestures towards Danny and tells me, "That’s my Dad…!" It was a nice moment. Peter mentions that "Bordeaux Rosé" has been snapped up for a long term French wine advertising campaign, it’s one of a few Fairfield Parlour songs that are played throughout the set, but to be honest I am not so familiar with them. It’s really the Kaleidoscope songs that make more of an impact on me and “Dive Into Yesterday” and “Flight From Ashiya” are both really special. After a superb version of “A Dream of Julie” Peter says "I wish you'd all been around at the time, you might have bought the record and made it a hit!" Peter Daltrey is also busy with various solo projects, artwork and books which you can check out at the comprehensive Chelsea Records site here. I just hope he’s not too busy to prevent us from seeing more of Kaleidoscope in the near future.

The Misunderstood (The Loons & Glenn Ross Campbell) - Photo by Retro Man Blog
Next up, The Loons reappeared as The Misunderstood with the band’s original pedal steel guitarist Glenn Ross Campbell. You could sense that Mike was as thrilled to be on stage as we were to be witnessing it. After all, in 2004 he released a compilation of previously unreleased Misunderstood tracks called "Lost Acetates 1965-1966" on his Ugly Things record label and has written exhaustively on the band’s history over various issues of Ugly Things magazine. Campbell’s unique pedal steel guitar swooped and screamed like a Stuka dive bomber, a full-on Blitzkrieg of mind (and ear) bending sounds, particularly on the classic “Children of The Sun” which was quite phenomenal. “I Can Take You To The Sun” was another highlight as was a storming version of "My Mind".

The Misunderstood - Photo by Retro Man Blog
The band’s legacy and influence has certainly outstripped their somewhat meagre recorded output, so the set was unfortunately quite short, but the intensity of the performance more than made up for the brevity. They play a Loons track “Red Dissolving Ray of Light” from the album of the same name on which Campbell played his pedal steel, and I’m guessing that’s where the idea of a further collaboration was formulated. For the well-deserved encore the band are then joined on stage by another original Misunderstood member, guitarist Tony Hill and also Ray Own, Glenn Ross Campbell’s band-mate from Juicy Lucy who he formed on leaving The Misunderstood, and they treat us to another blistering take of their version of "Who Do You Love?" It was a triumph and the crowd lapped it up, so it seemed did Mike Stax, beaming brightly with the look of a true music fan living out the dream of sharing a stage with their musical heroes.   

The Misunderstood - Photo by Retro Man Blog
The night was far from over and the action moved to the smaller adjacent venue for some more drinking and dancing to some excellent Psych and Soul sounds from the guest DJs and the Le Beat Bespoké organizer Rob Bailey. Two of The Meyer Dancers took the stage for a couple of eye-catching Go-Go routines and then it was back to the dancing…and the drinking…!

The Meyer Dancers - Photo by Retro Man Blog
I’d really recommend you joining the New Untouchables network, you can sign up to their mailing list here for news on their many and varied gigs, club nights and happenings. For more photos of the afternoon at Le Beat Bespoke please visit the Retro Man Blog Facebook page and if you are not already following hit “Like” and “Get Notifications” for access to the exclusive Photo Album.

Beat Bespoké Organizer Rob Bailey thanks the crowd - Photo by Retro Man Blog
More videos can be found at the Retro Man Blog YouTube channel. With thanks to Rob Bailey. All photos and videos copyright Retro Man Blog 2015. Part 2 of the feature will follow soon...

Monday, 13 April 2015

Retrosonic Podcast with The Soundtrack of Our Lives ex-band mates Ian Person & Fredrik Sandsten on their new projects

In this special edition Retrosonic Podcast, Steve from Retro Man Blog talks to ex-Soundtrack of Our Lives band-mates Ian Person and Fredrik Sandsten about their forthcoming collaboration with Jerry Williams. The album “Ghost Rider” sees the 72 year old Swedish Rock and Roll legend, backed by a band including Ian, Fredrik and Kalle Gustafsson Jerneholm, covering songs by acts such as Suicide, The Stooges and Danzig. The Podcast also coincides with the start of a Pledge Music campaign to launch Ian’s debut solo album and he explains the details behind this and the various options on offer. With Fredrik now working as a cultural ambassador for Gothenburg, we discuss the city’s undoubted influence on their lives and music. Along the way we cover such topics as the importance of Svenska Grammofon Studion, the documentary about the IFK Göteborg football team “Fotbollens Sista Proletärer” and the recent music-related TV drama “Viva Hate”, all based in the city. 

Fredrik, Kalle & Ian photographed by Paul Slattery
As well as discovering the concept behind the new Jerry Williams album, we chat about some other collaborations such as working with the Scandinavian super-star Håkan Hellström and Nina Persson from The Cardigans. Fredrik and Ian also talk frankly about the reasons behind The Soundtrack of Our Lives split and the effect it had on both of them. Generously sound-tracked by a selection of great music, including some exclusive tasters from “Ghost Rider”, the Podcast is now available to listen to and download from our Retrosonic Soundcloud site or via iTunes.   

Soundtrack of Our Lives fans might also enjoy these four special edition Retrosonic Podcasts with Ian Person, Mattias Bärjed, Mattias Hellberg and the “Fotbollens Sista Proletärer” special, where we interview the movie’s director and writer and ex-IFK and Liverpool FC legend Glenn Hysén. All are available to download for free in our Soundcloud archive or at the iTunes store.

Fredrik Sandsten photographed at Slussens Pensionat by Paul Slattery
With many thanks to Ian and Fredrik. Colour photos copyright Paul Slattery.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

The Wicked Whispers to play The Old Blue Last, London on Thursday April 16th

The hotly tipped Liverpool based Psychedelic outfit The Wicked Whispers will be playing at The Old Blue Last in London's Shoreditch on Thursday April 16th to promote their latest single "Maps of The Mystic". The single is out on Electone Records and is the title track of their debut album which was produced by the band's singer/songwriter Mike Murphy and engineered by Steve Powell at Liverpool's Tracks Studio. Steve has previously worked with The Stairs and with the Liverpool legend Michael Head on his post-Shack projects, The Strands and Red Elastic Band.

Here's the video to the excellent new single "Maps of The Mystic", we'll definitely be featuring more tracks from the band in future episodes of Retrosonic Podcast. So keep an eye out for more news.

You can order the single and album directly from Electone Records here and keep up to date with band news, tour dates and future releases at their official web-site here. The Old Blue Last is at 38 Great Eastern Street, Shoreditch, London EC2A 3ES, tickets can be pre-ordered from See Tickets.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

The Urges "Passing Us By/Corners of Her Mind" - New Record Store Day Limited Edition 7" Single

Dublin based outfit The Urges return after what seems like a very long hibernation with a brand new single "Passing Us By"/"Corners Of Her Mind". The limited edition 7" vinyl single will be released by Mersol Music on Saturday April 18th to coincide with Record Store Day and it signals a new direction for the band. These tracks are a taster from their forthcoming album "Time Will Tell" and as they say in their press release, "The Urges have moved out of the garage...!" Fans of their raucous debut album "Psych Ward" which was released on Wicked Cool Records by Little Steven back in 2008, might be a bit surprised to hear that the band have indeed progressed from their raw Psych roots. They have adopted a far more gentle, almost pastoral style of Psychedelia, incorporating soulful brass and string arrangements. "Passing Us By" is reminiscent not just of the classic sun-kissed Californian Sixties sounds of The Doors and Love, but also of more recent acts such as The Coral and Shack. There's a nice cinematic feel to the track and yes it's certainly different to the last time I saw the band. That would have been around the time of the release of their debut album, it was in New York, supporting The Soundtrack of Our Lives and they impressed me a great deal as they slammed out an energetic set of high-tempo tracks such as "Jenny Jenny". It's true, The Urges might have mellowed a bit but don't worry, "Corners Of Her Mind" proves they still have a bit of bite about them. This is a great track with chiming guitar and stabbing organ battling with Teardrop Explodes style brass. It's an uplifting and melodic little masterpiece that should satisfy old fans as much as it will be sure to impress newcomers. Can't wait for the next album!

Here's the video to one of the tracks from the new single, this is "Passing Us By"...enjoy!

The band host a release party at the Grand Social in Dublin on Friday April 17th and then play Mr. Bradley's in Cork on the 18th and Belfast Menagerie on the 25th. For more details on upcoming shows and of course information on the new single and forthcoming album "Time Will Tell", please check out the band's Facebook page. We'll be playing "Corners of Her Mind" in the next episode of Retrosonic Podcast so keep an eye on the Blog for that. With thanks to Luke.

Monday, 6 April 2015

David Worth's Punk Rock Cartoons L.A. Exhibition and The International Swingers Punk Super-Group

International Swingers & Artist David Worth - Photo copyright Dawn Laureen
David Worth, the artist responsible for the excellent Punk Rock Cartoons filed this report on the opening of his exhibition in Los Angeles. "I first went to Los Angeles in January 2012 to exhibit my cartoons. The show was organised by Tequila Mockingbird, who is well-known on the LA scene and has been involved in putting events on for many years. I have kept in touch with her over the years and she has had my cartoons on display in Los Angeles consistently in various locations since my first visit. They were on permanent display at The Cat and Fiddle pub on Sunset Boulevard until its closure in December 2014. There is a photo posted by Russell Brand of himself, Noel Gallagher and Morrissey sat in the pub with my Lemmy cartoon on the chimney breast behind them. As you walked into the pub there was a cartoon of Morrissey. I don't know what he would have made of it.

The International Swingers - Cartoon copyright David Worth
I was due to be in LA to display my artwork on 15th January 2015 and just after Christmas it was looking uncertain where the location for the exhibition would be. Tequila had mentioned this to Gary Twinn (He was a member of the Australian group, Supernaut in the 1970s , then in Twenty Flight Rockers in the 80s, and now a member of The International Swingers) and he suggested having them on display at E.B's Beer and Wine Bar at The Farmers Market. With only a few weeks notice the show was put together and Gary said he would put a punk rock karaoke on the night of my show and the following night get The International to play as part of event. The band is a Punk super-group featuring Clem Burke of Blondie, Glen Matlock of the Sex Pistols, James Stevenson of Chelsea, Gen X, Gene Loves Jezebel, The Alarm, The Cult, etc and Gary Twinn.

The International Swingers - Photo copyright David Worth
I arrived in LA on the Thursday 15th January in the afternoon. After checking into my hotel and unpacking I then met up with Tequila and Debbie, who was driving us around and we went to the legendary Rainbow Bar and Grill for a few drinks, then next door to see Headcat, the band featuring Lemmy, Slim Jim Phantom and Danny Harvey. I was a bit spaced out as I had been awake since 2.30am the previous day, along with an hour taxi ride to Manchester Airport, a three hour check-in, a shuttle flight to London, an 10 and a half hour flight and an eight hour time difference and no sleep in between. The following day we went to the Farmer's Market and met up with Gary at E.B's Beer and Wine Bar. The area the pictures would be hung was next to the bar in a very prominent position. The afternoon was spent sorting out which pictures to hang and Gary hammering the nails in the wall and hanging them. The event was very well publicised by Gary and he had large vinyl posters on stands all over the vast Farmer's Market and also had postcards printed up. There was also a feature in the Beverley Gazette, a free paper that was distributed in the area. The event kicked off with karaoke which had quite a few punk songs thrown in for good measure. There was a constant stream of people wanting to get up and sing. This was very well attended. It was a fantastic night and I met some really great people.

Some of David's Punk Rock Cartoons on display - Photo copyright David Worth
The following night it was back to the E.B's Bar. When we arrived the stage was set up ready for the band to play. Gary, Clem Burke and James Stevenson were there already. Glen Matlock wasn't there and bass playing  was down to Steve Fishman. The band played a set of some of their original songs, plus some by Blondie, Sex Pistols, Eddie Cochrane and The Monkees. The place was packed and it was a great atmosphere. At the show I also met Mick Rossi of Slaughter and the Dogs, Ian McCallum of Stiff Little Fingers and Dennis Morris, the photographer who took iconic photographs of Bob Marley. He also photographed the Sex Pistols and early PiL, including the first album cover and designed Metal Box. He had had an exhibition of Sex Pistols photographs on display in LA  a few weeks before. Whilst in LA I also met Rodney Bingenheimer, the legendary DJ. The cartoons are still on display at E.B's Beer and Wine Bar, West Patio, The Farmer's Market, 3rd & Fairfax, Los Angeles. If you are in the area, nip in and buy a pint from the friendly bar staff, have a look at the cartoons, which are also on sale and buy yourself some food from the many food outlets there. The International Swingers have just achieved 100% of their Pledge Music campaign to release their debut album. Details can be found at this link. There is also an animated video I did for one of their songs, F.B.I." - David Worth

David would like to thank Gary Twinn and Tequila Mockingbird for putting the whole thing together. James Stevenson, Clem Burke and Steve Fishman for playing and Dawn Laureen for the photograph. I'd like to say thanks to David for submitting the feature and would recommend checking out his Punk Rock Toons web-site to see his excellent artwork. David's drew his first ever caricature back in April 2010, it was of Public Image Limited and was actually published on both the official John Lydon and PiL web-sites. Things got even better when one of his cartoons was published as a full page picture in John Lydon's "Mr. Rotten's Scrapbook".  Since then David has drawn various bands and people from the world of Punk Rock and other genres such as The Clash, The Damned, Ramones, Garbage, Morrissey, Kate Bush, Iron Maiden and Motorhead amongst many others. He has also branched out in Movie and TV characters.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

The Len Price 3 and Pubmonkey Movie Screening at The Railway Southend-on-Sea February 27th

The Len Price 3 at The Railway - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
This was a great double bill at one of our favourite venues, The Railway Hotel in Southend-on-Sea. First of all we had the screening of the excellent British indie film "Pubmonkey" followed by a live set by The Len Price 3, who wrote the movie's score. Lead actor Phil Deguara and the movie's writer Jamie O'Hara, who also plays the psychotic debt-collector Bingo, were in attendance to introduce the screening and chat to people throughout the evening. If you are not familiar with the movie you can check out the in-depth interview in our Retrosonic Podcast Pubmonkey special with Jamie and The Len Price 3's Glenn Page talking about the making of the film and how the band got involved with writing the music. It also features some exclusive music from the film's score and of course a selection of other Len Price 3 tracks that pop up during the movie. You can listen to and download the Podcast free of charge from our Soundcloud site or subscribe for free at the iTunes store.

Phil (left) and Jamie introduce Pubmonkey - Photo Retro Man Blog
Pubmonkey is the story of how a drunken shoe salesman's life gets turned upside down. Eddie is the Pubmonkey, an amateur philosopher, chronic loser and Sinatra fan whose only discernible talent is entertaining lowlifes for free drinks. His life has taken a downward turn, stuck in a dead end job in a shoe shop, one morning he receives a phone call from an irate addict known as Loony Noonie. He accuses Eddie of stealing a shipment of cocaine and gives him till 8pm that evening to return it or he’ll kill his girlfriend. Eddie knows nothing about the cocaine or why his girlfriend has been taken. He decides to rally a bunch of people from his colourful past in a bizarre rescue attempt. These include an aging gang of builders collectively referred to as The Berts and an unhinged debt-collector known as Bingo. Will Eddie be able to get this disparate group together in time? Will Loony Noonie’s sanity hold out? But, most importantly, will Eddie be able to keep himself sober enough to make it through the day and save his girlfriend?

Photos above copyright Retro Man Blog
The Len Price 3 followed the movie with a storming set of their razor sharp vignettes on modern life, bursting with so much energy that the Railway's P.A. system was almost on the brink of collapse! Tonight's set was one of the tightest and loudest I have seen from the band and it included a choice selection of tracks from throughout their career. So, we are treated to a rare outing of the excellent "Dorolia", the B-side of their first single right through to an as yet unreleased new song "Nothing I Want", which will feature on their forthcoming record store day single. The Len Price 3 will be appearing at our next Retro Man Blog Night at the Half Moon Putney on May 08th, together with Graham Day & The Forefathers and The Galileo 7, you can buy tickets in advance from here.

The Len Price 3 - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
A right pair of Pubmonkeys - Phil and Jamie at The Railway
For more photos of the evening please head on over to the Retro Man Blog Facebook page and hit "Like" (if you are not already following or subscribing) to access the exclusive photo album. For news on future screenings and gigs please check out the Pubmonkey official Facebook page.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Retrosonic Podcast Hipsville Weekender Special Edition

In the build-up to this year's Hipsville Weekender, we are pleased to announce this very special Retrosonic Podcast where Steve from Retro Man Blog talks to Mr A, one of the event's main organizers, and the man behind the "You Got Good Taste" Podcast and "Weirdsville" club nights. Generously sound-tracked by many of the bands that will be playing over the weekend such as The Jackets, Giuda, Les Gry-Grys, Oh! Gunquit, Thee Jezebels, The Autoramas and many more, Mr A not only explains about his various ventures but also gives us a fascinating insight into the world of the festival and gig promoter. Taking his inspiration from The Cramps and the early 80's Garage Rock and Psych scene, based around venues such as The Hammersmith Clarendon and Clapham's 101 Club, Mr A tells us about his influences, the current bands that inspire him to put on shows and the other people behind the scenes who help make it all a reality. Never taking the easy option, Mr A offers a stage for many international acts from far and wide such as Brazil's Autoramas and Japan's Kinoco Hotel, who will make their first ever U.K. appearance at this year's Hipsville. We also find out the elusive and mysterious band that is number 1 on his Hipsville wish-list!

This special edition Retrosonic Podcast is available to listen to or download for free below from our Soundcloud site or you can subscribe for free at the iTunes store if you prefer.

Hipsville will be held at Bisley Pavillion in Surrey on May 15th, 16th and 17th and features 14 live acts, international DJ's, Go-Go Dancers, vintage market stalls, record stalls, an auto show and much more. For more information on all the bands and activities please check out their excellent and comprehensive web-site. Here's a great video with a taster of last year's Hipsville fun and games.

You can check out our Retro Man Blog archive for a feature on previous Hipsville's here, and our report on Oh! Gunquit and Les BOF! at Weirdsville here. With thanks to Mr A. Here's the Play-list.

The Cramps "You Got Good Taste
The Cramps "Queen of Pain"
Pussycat & The Dirty Johnsons "Trouble With The Devil"
Becky Lee & Drunk Foot "Lies"
The Felines "Daddy Walk"
The Jackets "Freak Out"
Sick Hyenas "Surf 'n' Blood"
Thee Jezebels "Cried Over You"
Les Grys-Grys "Hot Gully Wind"
Naz Nomad & The Nightmares "I Had Too Much To Dream Tonight"
The Cramps "Under The Wires"
Oh!Gunquit "Cindy's Got a Tiger"
Giuda "Number 10"
King Salami & The Cumberland 3 "Marabunta"
Autoramas "Lugar Errado"
Les Kitschenette's "Eh, Jolie!"
Kinoco Hotel "Peacock Baby"
Speedball Jnr "Beat Girl"