Quick plays: STEVE LOGAN, MRS FRIZZLE, DEADLOCK NCHC

MRS FRIZZLE  Queen

MRS FRIZZLE  Queen

German’s can’t do pop.  At least not convincingly.  Or if they can, I can’t think of a single one that has managed to cross over to the world market.

Mrs Frizzle are not likely to be the exception, and it’s quite remarkable that within the first few bars I’d pinned the band as German without so much as a glance at their credentials.  It’s hard to say what it is, but there’s a Teutonic rigidity that is unmistakable.

In the case of Mrs Frizzle, a female fronted 6 piece,  it’s as if the nineties and noughties never happened their sound being somewhere between Blondie and the Eurythmics with a decent measure of punk thrown into the mix.  But decent vocals courtesy of Marleen aren’t enough to mask the fact the material, as well as being somewhat dated and derivative, isn’t particularly memorable.

At best they might deliver a half decent shot at Eurovision.  **

Review by Pete Whalley

STEVE LOGAN  Deliverance

Inspired by Free, and Paul Rodgers in particular, and seasoned by London busking, Welsh singer songwriter Steve Logan looked to deliver the full band experience for the follow up to his debut acoustic set Signs And Wonders (2014)  – an album which featured no more than two guitars, a vocal and some harmonica.

Looking to achieve the balance Zeppelin found between acoustic and electric styles, he took to the studio to record Deliverance with Rhys Wilson (acoustic and electric guitars), Lee-Cave Berry (bass), Paul Richards (drums).  Logan provides vocals, acoustic and electric guitars and harmonica.

A man from the Valleys, treading in the footsteps of the greats sounds a promising prospect.  Sadly, it fails to deliver.  The material ranges in style from Wishbone Ash through to the Eagles, and from Clapton-esque acoustic balladry to Clifford T Ward singer songwriter numbers.

But the songwriting is quite derivative, and the delivery lightweight in most departments.  The playing is perfunctory at best and even the vocals aren’t that convincing.  Apparently some found the first album too raw, too shaky and too unadorned.  I’m not sure Deliverance signals progress on any of those fronts.  **

Review by Pete Whalley

Deadlock NCHC (Demo)‏

Deadlock NCHC hails from the rural county of Rutherford in NC. The band has been around for a long time now. I remember seeing them live in the late 90’s. Mostly dormant the last couple years, they have returned to the scene and are stronger than ever.

I have many fond memories of watching Deadlock play to their adoring fans. For a time they were one of the hottest bands on the North Carolina scene, playing their brand of hardcore music and cracking heads with their powerful songs.

Always a high energy band, fronted by one of the nicest guys you could ever hope to meet with one of the most aggressive stage personas I had ever seen at the time. I lost contact with them for a while, but often wondered what they were up to. Lucky for me they have recently resurfaced and come back into my life.

Only available on Reverbnation right now, they have four songs that show exactly why they were one of the best in the hardcore world – at least the hardcore world in NC.

Though the band has gone through some line-up changes since I last knew them, still leading the pack is frontman Matt Daigle. He was always one of my favorite singers back in the day, able to deliver hardcore vocals while still being able to understand what he was saying.

The first song is called “Looking Back” and begins the beautiful beatdown your earholes will proceed to take for the next 10 minutes on their Reverbnation demo. It’s very hooky hardcore, certain to get the pit moving.

Next is the Suicidal Tendencies influenced “Piece By Peace.” It’s got this great bouncing feel throughout, yet still super heavy. Following this is “Dixon” the heaviest, most aggressive track. It’s full on classic hardcore headbanging with this pent up rage vocally. Ending the demo is “Rutherford County Line” which pays homage to their stomping grounds, showing the big city hardcore guys that they can do it just as hard in the South as they can up North.

If you are a fan of hardcore music, Deadlock NCHC is a band well worth your time to check out. Hopefully this small collection will grow into something bigger, and the guys will stick around a while longer.

I wasn’t even a huge hardcore fan when I knew these guys (I liked a few bands, but wasn’t overly knowledgeable,) but they made a believer out of me. These songs are a mere taste of the awesome that is Deadlock, and to get the full package see them live. If even a tiny bit of face isn’t melted off by the time they’re done, you’re obviously doing something wrong. Go check them out. ****1/2

Review by Chris Martin

THE FILL-INs – Fifth Time’s the Charm

The Fill-In’s had one of my favorite albums last year with their debut full length album Hipster Killers. I got it a little late to review it, but it was such an amazing record I had no choice but to make it one of my Top 5 releases of 2014. When I was given the chance to preview and write about their second full length album Fifth Time’s the Charm, I was beyond ecstatic. It looks like they’re going to wind up as one of my favorites of 2015 too.

When I first popped in the album I was expecting more of the same: fast paced rocking tunes about drinking, partying, and having a good time. What I got instead was a bit of a departure for the band.

Still fast paced, but they have a harder edge this time around, and lyrically they seem to be out to prove they’re a whole lot more than a party band. The lyrics tap into more cerebral topics like the current fade of acting like you’re a victim because someone said something you disagree with on social media, the mindless pursuit of people trying to be something they aren’t, while still tossing in a song or two showing that the band aren’t all serious all the time.

Musically, the band is better than ever, showing tightness in their chemistry and stretching out their abilities more. Guitarist Mikey Black tears up a fretboard, and it shows on this album.

While able to play a blazing lead, he can also show tasteful melodic abilities too. Drummer Matt McCoy is such a powerhouse, playing with such power and authority. Bassist James “Cap” Nunn is a brilliant player as well, adding some sweet bass lines throughout. Frontman/guitarist Alex Stiff continues demonstrating that he doesn’t give a shit about stepping on people’s toes, saying exactly what is on his mind. His voice seems to have even more bite to it this time. Songs like “Spit In My Face,” “You’re the Victim,” “If You Want It To Be,” and “Too Fast To Live” were the ones I connected to instantly, but the whole album is a fantastic.

Not exactly punk, but definitely with a punk attitude, this is classic guitar driven hard rock sorely missing these days. Powerful, catchy songs delivered with reckless abandon while never straying too far from what brought them to the table, Fifth Time’s the Charm is a smart, mature release from what has quickly become one of my favorite bands.

Also have to give a shout out to Fifman Studios and producer Steve Coleman for capturing the rawness of The Fill-in’s live spirit while at the same time allowing them to step out of their zone a little bit and try a different focus. This is truly a fantastic album full of catchy yet raging songs, top notch playing, and a perfect mix of angst and joy that it gives it balance. Of course where this band truly destroys is on stage.

If they’re hitting a stage close to you go. I’ve seen them several times already and they get better and better.  *****

Review by Chris Martin


The latest Facebook Live session from Canadian singer-songwriter Josh Taerk Sunday 21 March 16:00 EST, 21:00 GMT

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David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 14 March 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at www.getreadytorock.com for that week.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 23 March 2021.


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