Botox Rats - Modern Caesars LP (Meaty Beaty)Who are these guys? Coming out of the gate like a spunky stallion, this UK outfit deliver great trashy fun. The vocalist sneers like the bastard child of Johnny Rotten and Ten Pole Tudor while the guitars are catchy as hell bringing to mind the Dolls and the Pistols (naturally).
The songs are instantly hummable with lots of hooks, efficient lead guitar, tambourines, piano and hand claps. The lyrics, dealing with the decadent side of life, are the only weak link to this otherwise great record. The subject matter does not offend but seems run of the mill and gets a little tedious at times. Still, the natural swagger and infectious vibe easily outweigh this minor complaint.
This is the best glam punk release in recent memory and is recommended for your next reckless weekend drinking party. We hope to hear more from these lads soon. (RA)
Flamin Groovies - Flamingo LP (Norton/Sony)
The Groovies are a band whose recorded output should be put into historical context to be fully understood. The year was 1970 and this San Francisco band was definitely going against the grain in the city of brotherly love. Having been dropped by their previous label Epic due to their debut album Supersnazz selling poorly, these boys remained steadfast and true to their convictions and delivered another album of pure unfiltered rock and roll inspired by 1950's originators as well as the British beat groups of the sixties. This idealism did not exactly lead the way to the pop charts nor did it endear them to the majority of the youth who were tasting various mutations of the rock and roll genre. Their energetic stripped down performances did however garner them a devoted cult following that they still enjoy to this day. From start to finish, this record is an anomaly in comparison to the output of their contemporaries like Led Zeppelin, Grand Funk, Deep Purple and fellow SF denizens the Grateful Dead. The closest thing that comes to mind is Back In The USA (1970) by the MC5, the second album by Detroit's proto-punks who also reveled in the glory of original American rock and roll music. Highlights on Flamingo are many but let's look at a few of my faves. The superb Headin For The Texas Border sung by guitarist Tim Lynch is a boss garage punk workout clocking in at just over 5 minutes. Their version of Little Richard's Keep A Knockin features a guitar break so good that it hurts. Second Cousin easily measures up to the Stones circa 1964 when they were still obsessed with Chuck Berry and the bluesy Jailbait also brings to mind Messrs. Jagger and Richards in all their unrefined glory. The fine folks at Norton have been working hard for years trying to reissue this on vinyl and what a job they have done. The sound is great and it looks superb with the original gatefold package. Don't hesitate. Buy it now if you don't already own it.
Wolfbrigade - Comalive LP (Deranged)
It's great to see that this band is active again after a brief hiatus. For those unfamiliar, Wolfbrigade (formerly Wolfpack) are a current day Swedish hardcore powerhouse. Drawing influence from Discharge, Motorhead, 80's Swedish hardcore and death metal, this group is more than competent on a musical level and deliver quite a punch. Lyrical content on this latest studio effort, is decidedly dark and mostly personal in nature, but not always obvious and is open to interpretation. The performance here is stellar as always and production is top notch. The most noticeable difference here is that the lead guitar has taken a more melodic approach and sometimes ventures into a more conventional rock/metal territory. This, however, does not lessen the intensity or vitality of the tracks and merely serves to embellish in a different manner. While I cannot say that this is my favourite Wolfbrigade release, it is nevertheless a welcome addition to the collection and will no doubt get repeated plays on the turntable. (RA)