The Vice Rags’ 2017 EP, ‘Hope The Neighbours Are Lookin’’, was a wonderfully raucous affair. Its five songs drew from a few classic styles, taking in some full throttle garage rock (‘Shut Up & Love Me’), overdriven rock ‘n’ roll (‘Out On The Street’), and even massive love for The Replacements (‘One Heart’), each track cutting loose in a superbly trashy style. Their self-penned material showed a lot of spark, but it was a supercharged garage punk rendition of Little Richard’s ‘Lucille’ that suggested that this was a band who’d be able to go all out on their follow up release.
When French surf rockers The Wave Chargers released their first full length LP at the end of 2019, it exceeded expectations Their earlier EPs promised good things, but the self-titled disc delivered on all fronts, often sounding like one of the most authentic 60s surf tributes ever. Despite being recorded in Paris and released during the winter, the twelve tunes were a perfect homage to the genre’s legends. The guitar tones from Francis Viel and Louise Sordolliet showed so much of an empathy for the retro style that the bulk of their work could’ve easily passed for long lost Dick Dale recordings. With those high octane vibes joined by a couple of fantastic honking sax breaks, it was a record that served up a gloriously retro half hour; an LP almost to thrill lovers of The Lively Ones, and possibly even the legendary Ventures. In short, they managed to run rings around The Aqua Velvets and other US based revivalists.
In the summer of 2020, the world was in a state of flux. People who’d normally be out at the beach or taking other vacations found themselves at home due to a global pandemic calling time on big social activities. That meant gigs were genuinely off the table, and with bands unable to congregate in recording studios, even the act of making records became more difficult. During lockdown, the members of Gallows Birds found themselves on different continents, but even with songwriter Travis Woods being stuck at home in North Carolina, vocalist Richie Holes at a loose end in New York and drummer Glenn Wellman living in South Africa, the miracles of technology allowed them to join forces…and their debut album was born.
Creating a sound they’ve dubbed “Munstercore”, Dickie Devil and the Deviants create music that takes a hefty dose of rockabilly and punk, a decent amount of surf rock and just enough sass to create perfect additions to your Halloween themed playlists. Their 2020 digital release offers a couple of numbers which resurrect fond memories of the early 80s and of classic psychobilly fare, but with a dash of Necromantix toughness and some good pop culture thrown in for good measure.
Three years on from ‘Snake Oil Superscience’, Brooklyn’s Mad Doctors mean business on their second full length ‘No Waves, Just Sharks’. On this album, the band truly exploit their b-movie and pulp fiction interests, not only in the artwork, but also by enlisting various friends to drop various spoken word passages between the tracks, giving the impression they’ve mined the vaults for unknown media samples. In some ways, this is better than using actual samples, in that the clips are tailor made and – perhaps, rather more importantly in this case – it also saves the band and label time and money on clearance rights. Fans of bands within the King Pizza stable might even recognise a few of the voices as belonging to Laura Gwynn and Riley Zeisig (Sirs&Madams) and the whole of label-mates The Rizzos.