Quick plays: DIRTBAG REPUBLIC, SNAKEWINE, TRAGIK

DIRTBAG REPUBLIC S/T www.dirtbagreoublic.bandcamp.com

Now this is my kind of album- sleazy rock n roll neatly served up in 3 minute segments. This Canadian band have a sound that blends the likes of KISS, The New York Dolls, Cheap Trick and Hanoi Rocks and having played together, on and off, for 30 years Sandy Hazard and Mick Wood have created a great debut album here- although together the 2 have already released over 17 albums together, whether it be in Pretty Boy Floyd (the Canadian one and not that of the Sunset Strip), Grandma Moses or McRakins.

Opening track “Can You Feel It” is prime punk edged sleaze, “”I Have Nothing” is KISS meets Dolls meets Cheap Trick whilst “I Don’t Believe” has a great Johnny Thunders feel to the guitars. Other highlights amongst the albums 12 tracks include “Give Me a Taste”, “No Reason For Loving You” and “Little Boys In Blue”. The album ends with the slower, piano driven “Minister & The Angel”.

“Dirtbag Republic” is a great album and reminds me, in part, of The Prophets of Addiction and I want to hear more from the band. Soon.  ****

Review by Nikk Gunns

SNAKEWINE Serpent Kings www.snakewine.de

German band Snakewine was formed in 2014 and have just released debut album “Serpent Kings”. This 8 track effort is a big, driving old school rock album that is musically reminiscent of the likes of American Dog, but with more of a late’80’s feel- there are also touches of Iron Maiden and The Cult at times, particularly the vocals when it comes to the latter.

The band comprises of bassist Sebastian Welsch, drummer Martin Buttke, guitarist Frank Vogel and vocalist Ronny Konietzko- and you could be forgiven for think that they have been playing together for longer than the last year or so. “Serpent Kings” is predictable in part, but in a good way, and the band’s tight and heavy groove carries the album nicely.

Of the album’s 8 tracks, the highlights are title track “Serpent Kings” and “The Devil You Know”, with “Breathtaker”, “Brood of Vipers”,” Double Barrelled” and “Shipwrecked” not far behind them. All in all Snakewine have produced a decent, solid debut here. ***1/2

Review by Nikk Gunns

SHAGGING PONIES The Greatest Tits

As I sit down to my emails, finding out my next album to tackle a name is sprawled across my screen. It reads “Shagging Ponies”, a name which I had to double, no triple check. Yes it was clear to me, ‘Shagging Ponies’ latest release “THE GREATEST tITS” was my next challenge.

Dutch band Shagging Ponies is a band which prides itself on it’s comedy aspect (as if that wasn’t glaringly obvious). The band exhibits moments of real musical skill at times and at others we are ‘delighted’ to the repeated line of “I wish I could fly my space rocket right into Uranus”. This band very much reminds me of Steel Panther, a more obscene Steel Panther. One thing which I have to credit to the band is that they are 100% living the old school rock’n'roll lifestyle.

This album at times left my laughing away to myself which is something it has going for it, given that it is a comedy album (I hope so anyway!) and I don’t doubt that if I was seeing this band live, albeit in some way intoxicated I would be singing at the top of my lungs; “Scream city’s gonna make you bleed, a little blow and cabfair’s all you need”. Although on any other day I’d just gallop on by. *1/2

Review by Dillon Grant

ALIEN DRIVE – Are You The Enemy?

www.alien-drive.com

Alien Drive is the brain child of German based Marco Pirolo, and having lived in the likes of Rome, Paris and Berlin, he brings to the album a truly international slant. The songs themselves are well crafted, modern rock with an electronic edge.

The vocals on “Mainstream Dolls Kill Rock n Roll” kind of remind me of My Chemical Romance but apart from that the band is not easy to pigeon hole. There are 12 tracks on offer here and of those “All These Bitter Days”, “Yellow & Red” and “When They Come” are recommended, with “Scavenge My Life” and “Velvet Bullets” being the album’s stand out tracks for me.

Alien Drive is definitely a band to keep an eye on. ***

Review by Nikk Gunns

STIFF STAFF – Mean Machine

Hammer Strike Records

If you can get past the slightly outdated band name then Stiff Staff’s debut album, “Mean Machine”, isn’t too bad. Repetitive in places and with some borrowed moments from the likes of Winger (“Stayin’ Young”) and Whitesnake (“It Ain’t Worth”), the album is actually a nicely polished effort that is both musically and vocally strong- especially when you consider that English is not the band’s first language.

The album’s opening track “On We Go” features some Darkness style guitar work and has an Electric Boys style groove to it whilst the afore mentioned “Stayin’ Young” is big ‘80’s style ballad like affair complete with the keyboards you would expect. Other highlights include “Rock This City” and “Downtown Love”.

“Mean Machine” is not a band debut album and full marks to the band for sticking to their guns influence wise. ***

Review by Nikk Gunns

TRAGIK – Come And Get It

www.philvincentbands.com

Phil Vincent is back with another release under the Tragik handle and Damien D’Ercole again helps out on guitars. There are a few guests as well including former Legion band mate Vince O’Regan.

The cover may raise a few eyebrows, and in some cases pulses, but then Scorpions and Whitesnake to name but two have used covers like this in the past. Music wise Phil Vincent again scores more hits than misses, including a twelve minute epic ‘Rescue Me – Rise To The Sun’, a real pick me up song and lyric. ‘You Are The One’ is a melodic gem, showing Phil’s softer musical side and for the heavier end of things grab a listen to ‘Can’t Slow Down’ and ‘Fallen Angel’.

Another good set of tunes and do check out his website as Phil Vincent is one of the most consistent and prolific artists in the melodic/hard rock field. ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie

LEADERS AND KINGS – S/t

Nashville’s Leaders and Kings (recently signed on at Standby Records) begin the year with a new LP. This marks the band’s first label release. The band formed in 2013 with members Casey Self, Johnny Reeves, Nick Monroe, and Weiss. They met after moving to Tennessee to pursue their own musical careers and found out they all lived relatively close by. This is how Leaders and Kings came to be, the band have since recorded and self released two albums gathering them a cult following.

Their latest album which is self titled marks their third. Does this do the band justice? Could it allow for them to further break the walls down of their cult status and thrust further into the limelight? Possibly.

The band have a typically modern rock sound also incorporating many electronic aspects much like many bands in the Rock and Core scene. Similar at times to bands like Asking Alexandria – pre Denis Stoff only less heavy. The vocals at times come off as a mix of Simon Neil (Biffy Clyro) and Axl Rose (GnR). One of the main faults in my mind for this band is a lack of bite which could be achieved with a second guitar or a little added aggression in the vocals. This much is evident on tracks such as ‘Belong’ and ‘Beautiful Pain’. It leads me to think a little more time could have been spent further solidifying the album but this could be down to pressure from the label in the bands first release with Standby Records.

However it has to be added that there are multiple songs on the album that really do shine, songs such as ‘Seven’ and ‘Grace’, both do the album a great service in selling it. ‘Seven’ in particular exhibits some really encouraging guitar work which I feel had been lacking in the same way throughout the release.

In short this album is nothing out of the ordinary for Nashville’s Leaders and Kings and I feel deserved a little more time fine tuning the sound and perfecting certain areas of the songs. Although it has it’s flaws the album on a whole listens fairly smoothly and I would recommend listening to at least once. ***1/2

Review by Dillon Grant


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Power Plays w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

BLOCK BUSTER Losing Gravity (Frontiers)
WATCH ME BREATHE Don’t Think I Haven’t Thought About It (The Label Group/INGrooves)
FIRES OF FREYA Take A Bow (indie)
BLACK STAR RIDERS Underneath The Afterglow (Nuclear Blast)
STOMPIN’ HEAT Shiny Curly Red Hair (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 THE DEFIANTS Zokusho (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 CORELEONI II (AFM Records)
14:00-16:00 TONY McLOUGHLIN True Native (Fuego)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

BAD COMPANY Company Of Strangers (1995)



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