The Mannequins

The latest release from Plastic Pop records is the debut album by The Mannequins, a record that threatens to blast into the nation's consciousness like a fired-up Rickenbacker on heat.  From the moment the power chords which introduce Shiver come through the speakers, we're treated to full on assault of rock and roll mayhem.

The vocal delivery is strong and bluesy, perhaps a little reminiscent of the great Paul Rogers from Free, especially on a tune such as Dance With Me.  There are classic, highly danceable, rock vibes throughout the the album, showcased on tunes like Remember The Time and Heart's On The March.  Head Screwed On is a slice of straight-ahead adrenalin, of which the likes of Humble Pie would have been proud.

Grain Of Sand slows things down a little with a neat acoustic introduction and poignant lyrics. Stop Signs, the wonderfully titled Can You Hear Bang Bang! and 4 Feet are all packed with strong hooks and riffs.  There is some impressive guitar on Machine, one of two live tunes that close the album.  The other, Much Ado About Nothing, is particularly catchy.

Check them out at their Reverbnation page.  Their album is available at Plastic Pop - links are at the bottom of this page.

This is the video of Head Screwed On.

Plastic Pop Records website
Plastic Pop Records Facebook page
Plastic Pop Records shop

The Moment - Goodbye Tuesday

As indicated previously, eighties mod legends The Moment are back.  We understand that they will have new music released in the Spring.

For now, Adrian Holder and co have put some tasters on the web of the sort of thing we can expect.  This is the first.  A few years back, Adrian recorded a tune entitled Goodbye Tuesday, which was included on the Biff Bang Pow compilation Shimmy.

The Moment have re-recorded the song, which will be released shortly on Heavy Soul.  This is a sample.  It's classic blue eyed soulful pop, in my view.  If you can prevent your feet from moving to this you need a medal.  Pure class.

The Ace

The Ace come with a substantial musical pedigree, having grown from various Leeds and South Yorkshire bands of the last few years, most notably "The Mighty" Uptight, Freebooting Profiteers and The Lost 45's.  The current line up boasts "Dynamite Daz Lee" Parkinson on drums, Nige "B-Side" Spencer on bass and Jonny "Magus" Wilson on guitar.  The band cite their influences as "Bubblegum R'n'B Garage Fizzing Pop from The Searchers to The Standells to The Stairs".

Their tunes certainly live up to the description.  They have an album out right now entitled "Next Time Around" which showcases their influences of classic garage, freakbeat and straight ahead pop-tinged rock and roll.  You can find out more about the album, along with their three track ep, at their blog We Dig The Ace.  Their Facebook page  gives additional information.  And you can hear a selection of their tunes at Reverbnation and Soundcloud.

The great news is that The Ace have signed to our favourite brand new record label Plastic Pop and will be releasing a new set of tunes shortly.

For now, this is one of my favourite tunes from The Ace.  It is called Go Go Girl and it rocks.

The Next Day - first impressions

The new Bowie is finding its way into my subconscious. It has been played on rotation all week, on the way to town, on the way home from town, when I wake up in the morning.   So what's the verdict?

The first indications were inspiring, of course. It hardly need to be said that Where Are We Now is sublime. It has grown since it was unveiled on that January morning into a classic that digs into the soul. Another poignant ballad is the sweeping You Feel So Lonely You Could Die. The voice and phrasing remind me of his golden period in the seventies.

There are plenty of other tunes that start running through the mind when you least expect it. The tough introduction of the title track, for example, and the sleazy feel of Dirty Boys - All The Young Dudes meets Fashion. The closing tune of the album proper, Heat, could have followed The Bewlay Brothers on Hunky Dory. Valentines Day is a catchy slice of pop that would have been at home on his early work and I love the fifties kitsch pastiche of the chorus on How Does The Grass Grow. Other highlights include Dancing In Outer Space, You Will Set The World On Fire and the anti-militarist I'd Rather Be High.

The Next Day is a confident, inspired album. And where does rank among Bowie's back catalogue? It's probably too soon to say for definite - there's a lot more listening to be done, to reveal all its treasures. But, right now, it would take a near miracle to hit the heights of Ziggy, Hunky Dory or Low.  But it's not far behind and is certainly ahead of Lodger and Let's Dance. In short, it's brilliant.

The Penny Arcade - Lesson Learned ep

Think of an English Summer that never ends. Of beat combos in Chelsea boots with groove in their souls. Of jangly guitars and wah wah pedals and feedback.  Of ice lollies and days in the park and boats on the river. Of an England that was safe and sure and confident. Where you could dream your bohemian dreams and believe. Decked out in the finest John Stephen attire, of course.

Fast forward forty years and put a cd in your stereo. It comes from a band who formed in 1982 as Solid State, back then comprising Nic Jarvis, Andy Kettle and Mark Lester.  In the intervening years, there were name changes and line up changes.  Solid State became Penny Arcade in the late eighties, with Kieron Chatten, Ian Coulson and Ian Mounteney joining Jarvis and Lester.  Then, in the early nineties came Imperial, comprising Jarvis, Chatten, Coulson and Kelly Pardoe.

They toured extensively, with the likes of Ocean Colour Scene, and picked up plaudits from indie connoisseurs such as Steve Lamacq.  They released two singles on YE GODS - Drunk On Josephine in 1995 and Pretty Head in 1996.

But so much for history.  Let’s put it like this.  In 1996, the band produced a selection of the finest English pop to grace your stereo.  There was the psychedelic vibe of Lesson Learned, the instant pop of All Around Her Head, the classic melodies of Staring At The Sun.  Then there was the perfect song structure of  Girl On A Bike, the harmonies of Summer Song and the slower, poignant finale of Cry Away.

The influences ranged from Madchester and Britpop, to Simon & Garfunkel and The Byrds, along with other, home grown icons.  It was all delivered with a Stones-like swagger and nonchalance that came through loud and very clear indeed.

It still does, in fact.  It’s strange to think that these songs were confined to the shelves for seventeen years. Then, brand new label, Plastic Pop records, appears out of nowhere.  The half forgotten lost classic from 96 is revived and issued.  You put the label’s first release in your stereo and are back in the world of wah wah and harmonies and jingle jangle mornings.  Take it in and smile and let your rock and roll dreams live.  With the Lesson Learned ep there’s no doubt that Penny Arcade are back.

Forget austerity, lets dance.

The PennyArcade Facebook page
Plastic Pop Records website
Plastic Pop Records Facebook page
Plastic Pop Records shop

Satsuma Elephants

This one looks a little bit interesting.  Satsuma Elephants are a new band comprising singer/guitarist Matt Henshaw and drummer Chris Goring.  Some may remember them from their first incarnation, Censored, who created some of the most memorable rhythm and soul tunes of the last decade.  Since then, they have pursued other musical interests, such as Henshaw's B Boy soul in collaboration with Reggimental.

Early indications are that Satsuma Elephants are pushing the boundaries in the direction at which they excelled previously.  Psychedelic blues rock is where they are going and that is very good news indeed.  If anything, Henshaw's vocals sound more soulful, his guitar playing harder and Goring's drums more rampant.  Information about their upcoming gigs will be available on their Facebook page and also their website.

Here's a taster of their new tune 707.  Look out for Satsuma Elephants - and remember where you read about them first.