In 2016, Scandinavian garage rockers Nightmen dropped one of the greatest musical surprises of the year. Exploring various elements of garage rock and proto-punk, ‘Fifteen Minutes of Pain‘ delivered a short and sharp aural assault of a record that was not only loving of the past, but also keen to bring such sounds kicking and screaming into the present. It was also the kind of debut that sounded like the work of a band who might burn themselves out too quickly. For this second release, the band could’ve decided to churn out more of the same and that would’ve been great, but being smart cookies, they’ve avoided that inevitable burnout and adapted their previous sounds to allow for growth. Amongst various garage rock and proto-punk staples, this time around, they also show more of a talent for classic power pop.
Somewhere near the end of 2015, Tom Baker (of Boston band Dirty Truckers) rallied round the troops and formed a side project, Tom Baker and The Snakes. A filthy and sloppy three guitar assault, The Snakes featured another face from the Truckers and the guitarist from Watts (albeit switching to drums!), alongside members of Gymnasium and Family Township. The resultant ‘4 Stars‘ EP flaunted a love of the Stones and The Replacments throughout and band’s shamelessly gritty sound represented the musical equivalent of diesel and dirt.
Sex should never be an issue when it comes to musical abilities. As Vixen’s Share Pedersen once put it many years ago: “[being a good musician] has nothing to do with whether you have a dick – that’s not what you play your instrument with!”, but even so, from The Runaways in the 70s, Girlschool, Femme Fatale and Vixen in the 80s, not to mention countless others throughout the 90s and beyond, the all-female band seems to have (over)excited many a rock fan – and not necessarily for the right reasons.
Since their formation in 2010, Thundermother – five denim clad Swedes armed with ample amplification and an obsession with AC/DC – showed themselves to be truly committed to their chosen style. They quickly attracted a cult audience across Europe and in the lead up to their third full length LP ‘Road Fever’ worked really hard to expand their audiences on the live circuit, a place where their old style rock is (understandably) at its best.
Blending classic hard rock with a little 70s trashiness, The Bad Flowers come across as black-hearted retro souls on their self-released debut EP. From the dirt in their boots to the electricity pulsing through their veins, the amped up trio pull influence from classic hard rock of the past, creating a sound that’s tailor made for the classic rock fan. The first fruits of their studio work are loud and brash without being unnecessarily confrontational; the song writing tried and tested, but – thankfully – rarely slips into wanton cliché.
If you imagine the sounds of proto-punk from 1975 transferred via Sweden, you’ll know almost instinctively how this release from Nightmen sounds. This Scandinavian quartet dish up some really honest and authentic music on this audio love letter to the days of New York Dolls and the Ramones’ debut; the twelve tracks crammed into under half an hour showcases the sounds of leather and sweat, with a little camp trash thrown in for good measure. In short, ‘Fifteen Minutes of Pain’ might be heavy on the recycling, but the energy combined with a knack for hooks and riffs makes it an essential listen.