“Love I Can B W You”/ My Mother Plays Rock N’ Roll” 7”
The Beatersband hail from Italy. They are Donatlla Guida ( lead vocals/guitar), Leonardo Serrini (bass) and Enrico Vanni (Drums). Since their formation in September 2018, they have been on a mission to celebrate the vocal music of ’50 and ’60s rock n’ roll music. To do this the seek to modernize it, while retaining it’s classic soulful essence. The result is their signature approach of infusing their songs with the infectious and sentimental sounds of punk infused rock n’ roll. With the release of their latest 7”, it is evident that they manage to do this quite well.
Musically, the Beatersband play with a style that nods toward groups like The Russians and Pale Lips. It is an approach that can be particularly heard in “Love I Can B W You.” This track blends punk sensibilities by adding rock n’ roll with a definitive power pop flair. The magic is with Guida’s vocals. In this song they emerge as a soulful power house from behind the wall of sound instrumentals.
“My Mother Plays Rock N’ Roll” is a slightly mellower and nostalgic tune. The theme covers remembering times growing up listening to the vocalist’s mother playing the likes of Elvis Presley, Mick Jagger or The Ronnetes. Overall, it’s a fun listen that grows on your with a gradual charm. Like the A-side of this 7″, it’s Guida’s soulful range that stands out and defines this track. “My Mother Plays Rock N’ Roll”is fun and simple, but short and sweet. It edges nearer toward a groove that captures a more ’60s girls in the garage angle, but with an indie twist.
In terms of modernization of vintage rock n’ roll styles, The Beatersband can play covers like “Hang On Sloopy” and absolutely show off some retro glamour. That said, it’s with their original material that allows The Beatersband to shine on their own. Musically they blend rock n’ roll with power pop sensibilities that produce a distinct soulful flavor. After releasing this 7″, The Beatersband certainly proved have the ability to play tight, energetic tunes. I’m looking forward to what comes next. Now, go give this ditty a spin.
Brad Marino certainly has a lot of swagger. Previously known for his work withThe Connection, Marino’s solo material stands on it’s own. It’s perfectly displayed in his latest LP Looking For Trouble. This record was released by Spaghetty Town Records. Not surprising then that it’s an LP that shows off Marino’s affinity to blend the power pop style of The Nerves with an infusion of Rolling Stones-esque rock n’ roll. Looking For Trouble is the kind of listen that grows on you after each spin. It has it’s gems and they ought to be heard.
Looking For Trouble starts out with “ Even The Score.” A kind of feel good, southern rock n’ roll meets power pop tune. Think of The Booze twisting with Jordan Jones. It’s am approach that sets the musical tone for this record. Following in this line, albeit a bit faster, is “Taillights Fade” and title track “Looking For Trouble.”
For me, the track that comes across as remarkably clever is “Local Show.” If anyone has ever tried to woo their friends in vain to support their performances, this is your new anthem. It’s a catchy tune that takes on a music scenes ever so relevant self-deprecating view of the hurdle’s groups try to make it on their local circuit. May it be folks wanting guest list status or discounted merch, it’s absurdity is mentioned in “Local Show.”
Another stand out track is “Tripwire.” This song breaks out as rock n’ roll tune that could be found in a spaghetti western. Cool and calm, this track superbly demonstrating Marino’s diversified musical talent.
On the B-side of Looking For Trouble is “False Alarm.” This track sounds like it could have come out of Paul Collins’ book of tricks. This theme is true for the rest of this records b-side. It’s particularly evident with like tracks like “Take Your Time” and “Fell In Love Again.” Both of which perfectly capture the power of Marino’s pop driven harmonies.
“What Do You Know” stands out as a more pop driven punk number. This track is decidedly upbeat and easy to sing along to. In addition, this songs sound has a kind of a Beat-like flair. If this one doesn’t inspire some pogoing, then rinse and repeat by playing it again until you start to feel some life again.
Overall Looking For Trouble is a fun listen. The prevailing theme for this LP is it’s infectious charm. Marino knocks it out of the park with a distinct style punk rock n’ roll infused power pop. Top tracks for immediate consideration are “Local Show,” “Tripwire” and “What Do You Know.” For a good time check this one out. This is a record meant to be played. So, drop the needle on Looking For Trouble and boost your receiver.
Blasting out of the chaos of the covid-ridden world are unlikely saviors The Monsters. Recorded in two weeks during the mind-numbing lull of the pandemic world, they have wrought into the world their new album You’re Class, I’m trash. This is a record that doesn’t disappoint. Impressively, the lyrics making up Your Class, I’m Trash only contains 120 words. Making the lyrical volume short, sweet but devastatingly precise. Not surprisingly then that Your Class, I’m Trash still lives up to the raw and savage sounds that only The Monsters can deliver.
Your Class, I’m Trash stays true to their style of teenage-primitive rock n’ roll chainsaw massacre garage trash. Within it’s simplicity is head bashing excellence. Think along the lines of the Germs meeting the Circle Jerks but with an overly garage punk feel. This is evident it tracks like “Gimme Germs” or “Get Drunk On You.” Both tracks ought to inspire one to throw themselves into a tantrum of destructive fury.
Other tracks like “Blasphemy” and “Stranger To Me” give way to The Monsters obvious rockabilly from hell leanings. Fast and wild, these tunes will get the blood pumping even the most decayed of postmortem veins. This is rock n’ roll and it surely meant for the dementedly damned.
The crème de la crème in You’re Class, I’m Trash is in “Dead (Mortem Batkovic).” This song—originally “Dead”— was rewritten by the Swiss composer Mario Batkovic. The original version of “Dead” falls in line with The Monsters garage punk. In contrast, the rewritten version is it hauntingly beautiful. By capturing Beat-Man’s feral vocals with and horror operatic-like instrumentals, “Dead (Mortem Batovic) strikes an overwhelming sound meant to ravage tortured the covid-lockdowned soul.
Another favorite is “Devil Baby.” Sitting at 4:29, this is the longest track on this record. Following along the theme of apocalyptic heaviness, this song delivers an awesome spectacle of fuzz-laden distortion. It’s drawn out wall of sound doom pounding punk ought to swamp any unwary mind. Be sure to play this one loud.
Not surprisingly, The Monsters deliver the goods with You’re Class, I’m Trash. It’s a stunning mix of crass, trash induced garage punk with untamed hardcore noise meant for a rock n’ roll massacre. Since this was recorded during the lock downs the Covid 19 Pandemic, this album bares a certain brilliant creative nature that emerged from the disaster that was 2020. It’s loud, raw and a totally world-ending mind shattering listen. So, drop the needle and enjoy.
For more about The Monsters check out their Bandcamp!
Every year, I publish a list of my favorite albums that I have written about or enjoyed. This list isn’t meant as a competition, rather it’s a celebration of work from very talented artists. 2021 was a special time. It saw the release of many great albums and singles. The year brought excitement of the possibility of life returning to a sense of normalcy. Which, for me, was refreshing after the turbulent and Pandemic-ridden year of 2020. Unfortunately, that was not quite the case. Toward the end of 2021 it was becoming to clear of the challenges continuing to face us.
Luckily, navigating 2021 found myself in the midst of great music. Groups like RMBLR,Bambies, The Sex Organs,The Sellwoods and of course La Femme released top notch albums. Since being introduced to them, they have been a constant companion on my turntable and DJ sets — for the willing and unsuspecting listeners alike. Below are my selections that stood out for 2021. All articles were published exclusively here at nixbeat.com, with one honorary mention.
RMBLR – MF/EP from (Spaghetty Town Records)
Excerpt: “RMBLR’s new record is one of the most anticipated releases for 2021. For good reason too. Within it’s grooves contains the savage speed of punk with the depravity of trash derived glam rock n’ roll. It boasts a style nodding toward Dead Boys by playing on a familiar sonic devastation coupled with an equally snotty attitude. This concoction delivers the much need adrenaline shot to the pandemic overdosed heart. Which, is not surprising for a band made up with members from The Heart Attacks and Biters.”
Excerpt: “Bambies have released their new record Summer Soon. This album plays at the blistering speed of 45rpm. Featuring 12 solid tracks, this is a record that demands to be played loud. Which is perfect for this no holds bar punk rock n’ roll band. This group is a based in Montreal, Canada and are made up of tri-national (Canada, France and Costa Rica) degenerate rebels-without a cause. If you are fan of The Briefs, The Spits or Les Lullies, then Summer Soon will be up your alley.”
The Sex Organs – I Hate Underpants 7” (Orgastic Records)
Excerpt: “Hurtling back toward the planet Earth are fuzzy primitive garage duo The Sex Organs. The third rock from the sun hasn’t been the same since they released their phenomenally outrageous LP Intergalactic Sex Tourists through Voodoo Rhythm Records in 2017. It was a record that shook the fabric of decent society to it’s core. Unfortunately, over the last fours years, the Earth has seemed to lull into an era of un-sexiness. This is largely thanks to a pandemic that has wrought devastation to it’s four corners. Thankfully, The Sex Organs are back with their new 7” via their own label Orgtastic Records ,and they are here to stimulate the desperate lives of a post-covid world.”
The Sellwoods – Demented Planet EP (Chaputa Records)
Excerpt: “Since 2012 The Sellwoods have hoisted the black Cuban-heeled flag of garage rock revival. Based in Portland, Oregon, this group pounds 1960’s garage punk by blending it with hot rod, sizzled out fuzz driven rock n’ roll. Fans of The Fuzztones, The Gruesomes or The Cynics with find the Demented Planet EP well among like-minds. It’s not a surprise then that The Sellwoods have found a home with Chaputa Records. Like previous releases, this EP comes via this label which is renowned for garage punk catalogue. So, readers beware. this EP’s lives up to it’s deranged potential. It’s not be handled lightly.”
This one is an honorable mention. While not an album I reviewed here on NixBeat.com, it was a release that left a profound impact. La Femme have long been a favorite group that continues to release solid album after album. Their latest Paradigmes perfectly captures a masterpiece mixing sounds of new wave, garage rock with synth driven psychedelia. Listening to this is unlike any other trip and inspires an experience akin to the swirling illusions an out of this world sci fi film noir. Top tracks that are “Paradigme,” “Cool Colorado,” “Nouvelle Orléans” and “Disconnexion.” Play these loud for any discotheque.
Bambies have released their new record Summer Soon. This album plays at the blistering speed of 45rpm. Featuring 12 solid tracks, this is a record that demands to be played loud. Which is perfect for this no holds bar punk rock n’ roll band. This group is a based in Montreal, Canada and are made up of tri-national (Canada, France and Costa Rica) degenerate rebels-without a cause. If you are fan of The Briefs, The Spits or Les Lullies, then Summer Soon will be up your alley.
The first track “Dirty Taint” is a rowdy sonic blast of power pop infused punk at it’s finest. It brilliantly sets the tone for this album. Think of the Nervous Eaters playing with their definitive rock n’ roll swagger but at the break-neck speed of the Ramones. Next up title track “Summer Soon” follows suite in a similar vein. It is a perfect blend of snotty defiance and catchy sing along fun.
For me the magic on Summer Soon is with ” Echo.” This song is infectious and wild. Much like “Dirty Taint” it carries a Ramones-like quality to it, but with snot filled quality worthy of The Spits. “Echo” the kind of tune meant to bounce around like a speed-freaked idiot. So don’t mess around when playing this one, make sure to boost the receiver. You might make friends with your neighbors or roommates—or not. That’s the risk of playing volatile power pop infused with mutinous punk for the masses. Some get it, some don’t.
The B-side of this record also boasts it’s fair share of gems. Tracks like “Teen Engine” help root Summer Soon’s angsty punk theme. “Teen Engine” has plenty of infectious energy that is easy to get behind. Listening to this should inspire one to fly off the walls as if on a high voltage wire.
Other tracks like “Human Sake” and “RnR With You” capture Bambies superb ability to mix the angst of 70’s punk with garage rock rooted power pop. “Human Sake” is fun and rambunctious. It’s the kind of tune to bash about to. Listen for pure undulated fun. On the other hand, “RNR With You” lives up to it’s name. This track is fast and throws all caution to the wind. Like other track’s it’s got a signature power pop element that is infectious to the ears.
Overall, Summer Soon is an album worth dropping the needle on. Based off sound on this record alone catching Bambies live would be an unforgettable experience. This trio demonstrate an excellence in blending fast paced punk with power pop.
If you the reader needed an album to kick them into an overdriven frenzy, then Summer Soon is for you. So, be sure to pick this up. The result of playing this should be pogoing about like an absolute madman. Anything less will require adjusting to volume to the appropriate levels flashing lights of translucent red. Now dig this.
Jacob T. Skeen is Salt Lake City’s wild one-man band extraordinaire. Skeen has opened for numerous acts, enjoyed residences at several Salt Lake establishments and played at Craft Lake City and the Utah Arts Festival. Although his roots are blues-based, he plays with styles twisting rockabilly and garage punk sensibilities by expanding their boundaries into the realms of the unknown. This is superbly displayed through his shock and awe performances blending heavy and strikingly apocalyptically haunting sounds. It’s as if though being subject of a sermon that shakes the foundation of rock n’ roll.
Skeen’s interest in music started in Junior High School. He found himself drawn to heavy metal music, skate boarding, and by extension skate boarding music videos. It was during this immersion that he discovered Black Sabbath’s catalogue and explored their jazz and blues influences. Skeen sought out more artists and would visit his local library. There he would listen to albums by artists like John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters.
After graduating High School, Skeen followed his religious upbringing by serving a Mormon Mission in South Africa. Every day, he devoted his energy to reading the bible and all the standard material from the Church of Latter Day Saints. He also began to gain a perspective about the wider world. “When I told them I was from Salt Lake city, they never even heard of it.” Skeen says, “There’s a lot clashing between different cultures. It’s hard to gain that perspective if you don’t interact with other cultures.” He observed differences, but also how Hip Hop music from the United States influenced the music culture of South Africa.
When he returned to the States, Skeen was eager start performing. He eventually found himself playing for a Gospel Church based in Ogden, which served an African American congregation. Skeen would also show up at bars and play blues standards for patrons. After a while that proved very limiting. He says, “Today’s culture of the blues I hate. It’s turned into old guys having jam sessions. Everyone wants to play like Stevie Ray Vaughn.”
Not to be deterred, Skeen sought to carve his own path by writing music based on his own experiences. “I’ve been to the surrounding states around Utah and then Africa. I always felt like a liar trying to play traditional blues lyrics.” He says, “I grew up in Salt Lake City. I don’t know what that’s about. I was playing blues I didn’t feel comfortable singing it. It’s not my background. It’s not where I come from.”
While Skeen draws influence from the blues and the vibrant nature of gospel music, he devotes his practice toward finding a harmony between his Christian lifestyle and belief. “The types of music I’m playing, it’s loud and its weird.” He says, “I have to be creative in coming up my own thing to do. I am heavily influenced by early African American gospel music. It’s huge. That music is loud, its wild and it was rock n’ roll and was blues before those things came out.”
Having a religious background emboldened Skeen’s song writing. “I love learning that stuff. It gives more meaning to me.” Skeen says, “That’s where I get my ideas from. Reading and studying religious texts. That stuff influences me.” Skeen’s uses of religious imagery, like stars or pentagrams, could easily be mistaken for reference of the occult. However, if one really pays attention to Skeen’s work, they will find a clever appreciation for religious symbolism, and in his own way keeping it alive.
After putting together his one-man band ensemble, Skeen sought an audience. In 2017, Blood Shot Bill was due to play the Garage on Beck and Piper Down Pub. Wanting to be involved, Skeen at first tried in vain to get onto the bill. His luck changed when he got Brad Wheeler’s attention. From there he was introduced to Shane Keil and added to the lineup. “I experienced all the coolest bands in one night.” Skeen says, ”I didn’t know this kind of scene existed in Utah. People writing rock n’ roll music and doing new things.”
From there Skeen hit the ground running and looked to get on as many like-minded shows as possible. Admittingly reaching out for gigs is brutally time consuming. it did pay off for him though. He opened for Bob Log III, Oliva Jean. Freight Train Rabbit Killer, Ghalia Vault ,and Reverend Dead Eye. In April of 2018, Skeen– along with Los YaYaz– performed forReverend Beat-Man and Nicole Isobel Garcia. “I was even nervous playing that show. Reverend Beat-Man is pretty anti-religious.” Skeen says, “I like the music. It’s fantastic. The show was fantastic. The subject matter I kind of hold back on it. It’s pretty worrisome. “
Despite the concern for Beat-Man’s subject matter, Skeen got on rather well with him. Beat-Man helped Skeen in with this gear. He even remarked that Skeen and Los Yayaz were the best opening acts that had so far on the tour, and in turn gave Skeen a Voodoo Rhythm Records business card.
By 2020, Skeen had several tours under his belt, a full length album on the way and a gig with the Invasione Monobanda festival lined up in Italy. The album, calledDeath, Thou Shalt Diewas self-released on April 6, 2020. To celebrate, Skeen planned to have a massive party upon his return to Salt Lake City from Invasione Monobanda. Unfortunately, the world halted and life as previously known changed dramatically by the Corona Virus Pandemic.
As live shows were canceled —including Invasione Monobanda—Skeen tried to make the most of it by live streaming performances and collaborating with other artists. “I did a live stream album release because I wasn’t able to do an album release show when the album came out.” Skeen says “Everyone was doing the live stream thing. Which is a tricky world too. I hated a lot of that stuff. Mainly just point an iPhone at yourself and play a show, which is boring.”
Luckily Death, Thou Shalt Die was well received by fans and gained attention via online platforms. He says, “I had 500 copies of the record pressed. Half of them are gone.” 50 records made it to Italy and had already been distributed. Which is great, since overseas shipping costs expensive. Most of the subsequent records were put together with Skeen’s DIY mailers and shipped through the post. This was largely thanks to taking advantage of Bandcamp’s fee waving of all sales during the first Friday of each month.
Locally, Skeen waited before trying to distribute Death, Thou Shalt Die to record shops. “I waited a long time on the record stores.” He says. “It just been this last week that I went to all the local record shops and got the record in there.” Unfortunately, some shops like Raunch Records were not interested in Skeen’s album. Skeen feels that this is because he may not be as familiar to Raunch’s clientele as compared to other shops in the Salt Lake Valley.
Those who have listened to Skeen’s record, know it boasts a raw and doom harkening sounds. The artwork can throw off the casual observer, since it looks like a terrible Christian record one could find at a thrift shop. The style of Skeen’s record was carefully put together to reflect old Mormon culture.
Skeen also felt judged based on appearance. Usually clean cut, Skeen dresses somewhat conservatively, as though just leaving church. Death, Thou Shalt Die cover art displays Skeen praying in a full suit and includes various religious affiliated symbolism found around Salt Lake City. Skeen observes that religious iconography is largely absent from modern places of worship. He says, “I’m kind of taking it, because they’re not using it.”
Keeping to form, Skeen even included a hymn sheet that looks like Mormon religious texts. If one reads closely, they’ll find Skeen’s lyrics derive from passages and verses found in religious texts. Skeen says, “I think it’s funny. Like I said, I kind of enjoyed it in way. You know Raunch, especially the Heavy Metal Shop, the stuff they have on the walls– anything goes. The fact I’m making them nervous makes me laugh.”
The mastering for the record also included a touch of Latter Day Saint to it. It was done by an engineer from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s broadcast studio. “He mastered my record for me. Which is amazing. I thought was hilarious and very fitting.” Skeen says, “I literally brought my cassette recorder that I had mixed down on. He ran it through all of the church’s equipment that they do a lot of their stuff on.” Although, not revealing the studio engineers name, Skeen was sure to credit him for his help.
Apart from record sales, Skeen found some time to perform during the height of the pandemic. “I was pretty fortunate there was a lot of stuff going on still. “He says, ““I worried about the audience more than anything.” Skeen managed to play some bars, and a few of the Sartain and Saunders sponsored bike cruises. He even found time to collaborate with Corey Cresswell (International Society of Rock n’ Roll) and Mariano Wilson (Los YaYaz) on a band called The Escalante’s. This venture proved to be short lived. Only lasting for a few shows, the experience reinforced Skeen’s preference to do it alone. He says, “We were like a real band, get together write a bunch of songs, record it and then break up.”
At the moment Skeen has not been actively searching for shows. Skeen has been taking time to reflect on his craft. Skeen says, “I feel like I’m in a transition right now.” This means being open to different methods of making music. For example, Skeen has been moving away from strictly recording analog by utilizing digital production. Experimenting with digital recording gave Skeen music new life. Results of this labor can can be heard with Skeen’s latest recording for the upcoming SLUG Magazine’sDeath By Salt compilation. He says, “It’s very different from anything I’ve ever done.” This new recording is largely influenced by his frustrations and will feature electronic drums, yelling and fuzz guitar.
With a year to think things over, Skeen has decided that he wants something more than just regular bar shows. “It’s not worth it anymore.” Skeen says, “I don’t enjoy it. I don’t enjoy playing to rooms where people don’t care and aren’t listening to music.” That doesn’t mean he hasn’t performed. Gigs at venues such as Aces High Saloon have afforded Skeen the ability to to ramp up his performance style, much to the excitement of his audience. He says, “I think people are hungry for that.”
Since 2012 The Sellwoods have hoisted the black Cuban-heeled flag of garage rock revival. Based in Portland, Oregon, this group pounds 1960’s garage punk by blending it with hot rod, sizzled out fuzz driven rock n’ roll. Fans of The Fuzztones, The Gruesomes or The Cynics with find the Demented Planet EP well among like-minds. It’s not a surprise then that The Sellwoods have found a home with Chaputa Records. Like previous releases, this EP comes via this label which is renowned for garage punk catalogue. So, readers beware. this EP’s lives up to it’s deranged potential. It’s not be handled lightly.
While only four tracks, the Demented Planet EP boasts a furry of rabid, primitive punches. This is evident with tracks “Volcano Girl” and “Down In The Alley.” “Volcano Girl” has a kind of vacant, snotty vocal presence behind a prominent organ heavy presence. The latter is thanks to the guest contribution of The Reverberations own Dave Berkham. In contrast, “Down In The Alley” vaunts a wild sound that grabs a hold of it’s listener with the drop of the first note. It’s a kind of thriller tune that is sung from the perspective of a creeper-like figure waiting for a kill.
“Goldstar 500” follows up with some raucous hot rod garage. It’s simple and straight to the point. The title track “Demented Planet” celebrates The Sellwoods ability to knock out the savage beat. It’s haunted caveman nature begs a nod toward fellow rockers Screaming Lord Sutch or The Graveyard Five. For this reason, this track is perhaps the most exciting track on the EP and ought to be played uninhibited by the constraints of volume control.
The Sellwoods do not disappoint. I’ve enjoyed their material ever since catching them opening for The Jackets in February 2020. It would be amiss not to pay The Sellwoods their dues. Their composition is tight and fun. Furthermore, these rock n’ rollers know how to strip down that rock n’ roll down to the bare essentials and then turn around to seamlessly bash it into one’s skull. The Demented Planet EP is meant for lovers of the primordial noise of garage punk. So, get this record and give it a well deserved spin.
RMBLR’s new record is one of the most anticipated releases for 2021. For good reason too. Within it’s grooves contains the savage speed of punk with the depravity of trash derived glam rock n’ roll. It boasts a style nodding toward Dead Boys by playing on a familiar sonic devastation coupled with an equally snotty attitude. This concoction delivers the much need adrenaline shot to the pandemic overdosed heart. Which, is not surprising for a band made up with members from The Heart Attacks and Biters.
The first track on the MF/EP is “Machine Gun” and it is brutal in it’s excellence. Fast and heavy, it’s a song that leaves nothing but total devastation in it’s wake. It’s s got simple, yet catchy lyrics. However, what really exemplifies this tracks primordial nature is it’s Johnny Thunders-like riffs and Chase TailsStiv Bators-esque snarling vocals.
Perhaps my favorite track on this is “Hurricane Kiss.” This track immediately grasps hold of the unwary listener with razor wire riffs and a stomping beat. For me it demonstrates RMBLR’s signature take on barbaric rock n’ roll. It’s a superb assault on the senses. “Hurricane Kiss” should be played with impunity.
“Main Muscle” is a catchy song about the tenderness of one’s heart. This track is a mix between fast spitfire punk and the warmth of power pop. Without fail, this is the one track that will inspire a drunken sing along. Play this one for the feels.
The b-side celebrates the tracks “Tal’m Bout,” “Move Over” and “Get Ghost.” “Tal’ M Bout” infuses Atlanta’s punk rock n’’ roll with the Thunders-like glam style. Think of a mix between Streak and the New York Dolls. “Move Over” carries on similarly, but with a harmonious sound reminiscent of Biters meets The Black Lips kind of garage. “Get Ghost” concludes the album by bringing back the raw and raucous punk rock.
RMBLR are set to perform in Denver for RKR MTM RIPPER on the weekend on September 10th. This band lives up to the hype. They are a vital shock to the system that shouts out music ought to alive and well again. Fans of untamed, degenerate punk and rock n’ roll will easily find this record up their alley. This is not a release to dilly dally over. It should be picked up before it becomes scarce. The only other option to acquiring this release is to put one’s head through a window and bite bricks until they explode.
Hurtling back toward the planet Earth are fuzzy primitive garage duo The Sex Organs. The third rock from the sun hasn’t been the same since they released their phenomenally outrageous LP Intergalactic Sex Tourists through Voodoo Rhythm Records in 2017. It was a record that shook the fabric of decent society to it’s core. Unfortunately, over the last fours years, the Earth has seemed to lull into an era of un-sexiness. This is largely thanks to a pandemic that has wrought devastation to it’s four corners. Thankfully, The Sex Organs are back with their new 7” via their own label Orgtastic Records ,and they are here to stimulate the desperate lives of a post-covid world.
The A-side of this single does just that. This track is called “I Hate Underpants.” It’s a simple, fast and in your face. Possibly unabashed raw garage punk at it’s finest. This tune laments everything wrong with underpants. Whether it be because they never fit or even when these undergarments crawl up your ass. Clearly The Sex Organs hate them, and you the reader should too.
The B-side of this record is “Where’s My Dildo.” This song boasts the definitive reverberating vocals of thanks to miss Vagenta Dentata (Jackie Torea). Plus, it also invokes a nod to a Bo Diddly tune— who is aptly referenced in this song —thanks to the rhythm and bluesy riffs. “Where’s My Dildo” has a catchy chorus to sing along to. So reader, beware, soon you will have a song to help you find your lost your dildo — whether you have one, or not.
Fans of The Jackets or The Anomalys will find the Sex Organs next in line on their playlist. This particular record blends the simplicity of hardcore punk sensibilities with the sensationalized rhythm of primordial garage rock n’ roll. This is music not to be played at the highest volume level possible. For within these grooves are enlightened sexcitment message of the intergalactic Sex Organs ,and it’s not to be ignored. So drop the needle on this wax, and succumb to the urges to to get down, get dirty, hate your underwear and find your dido. Now pick it up.
Adam J Smith is the man of many talents. He is a celebrated musician, DJ, writer, promoter and now label owner. Smith currently plays bass for the reformed Newtown Neurotics and with the Motorheads of power pop Los Pepes. For almost two decades, up until its closure, he promoted concerts at the legendary venue The Square in Harlow Essex. As a DJ, he has worked with artists like Steve Diggle (The Buzzcocks) and The Rifles. He is also the diabolical mastermind behind the music site, Black Wax and hosts Lets Go! on Totally Wired Radio. Not only that, he launched the record label Black Wax Noise Division by releasing Chinese Junks Permanent Reduction EP in February 2021.
Originally, Black Wax started out as a regular way to share music. Since October 2020. it has been instrumental in promoting Let’s Go! and Black Wax Noise Division. Unlike other radio programs, Let’s Go! isn’t weighed down by nostalgia. Rather, it’s a show pursuing a modernist perspective by playing selections from contemporary artists continuing the evolution of punk, power pop, glam and garage rock. Although, one can certainly hear the occasional exception. Among the modern artists Smith has boasted in his repertoire, but not limited to, are Duncan Reid and The Big Heads, The Len Price 3, BBQT, Faz Watlz, Dead Meat and Muck And The Mires.
With a definitive buzz around Black Noise Division and Let’s Go!, the sky seems the limit for Smith. To learn more, I caught up with him over a digital pint. We chatted about promoting at The Square, playing with the Newtown Neurotics and Los Pepes, DJing, and what’s coming next with Let’s Go! and Black Wax Noise Division!
NixBeat: In March 2017, Black Wax started as a weekly radio broadcast and now exists as a 30-episode podcast. On the show you played rock n’ roll, glam punk and garage. What prompted you to start the show and why did it conclude?
Smith: Initially it was something to keep me busy after my music venue closed. I wanted an outlet for sharing music but didn’t want to rush straight into booking gigs at other venues. I’d always been interested in radio and the opportunity came up to get involved with a local community internet radio station. But, within a couple of months I had already introduced live music into the show and we did some great radio broadcasts with a small live audience with performances from Murray Torkildsen, Attila The Stockbroker, Paul Collins, Henri Herbert & The Fury, The Teamsters and Brandy Row. Unfortunately the station, and venue it was running from, closed altogether.
NixBeat: From 2001 until it’s closure in 2017, you were a concert promoter at The Square in Harlow, Essex. How did you get involved with The Square?
Smith: I did a 2 week work placement through school when I was 15 which turned into nearly 2 decades. I got involved in volunteering, my first job was handing out flyers at the end of the night. When the final punter had left the building I was given a free pass for the next gig. I would go along to the next gig and as soon as the band finished rush down to the door and start handing out flyers – and repeat. I was introduced to promoting by Des Wiltshire, Shane Hanmore and Martin Norris. They were very influential and encouraging and let me help them book bands and promote gigs. By the time I was 18 I was working shifts behind the bar, DJ in between bands and booking full bills of my own.
NixBeat: What are some of your favorite acts you’ve put on at The Square?
Smith: There are lots because there are different reasons. Musically some of my favourite bands to have booked and watched there are Swingin’ Utters, The Damned, Buzzcocks, Dogs, The Aggrolites, The Ordinary Boys, The Datsuns. There have been some bands who although musically aren’t something I’d normally listen to are great to work with so I have to mention Wheatus and DragonForce as some of the bands I enjoyed working with most. A special mention to The Jim Jones Revue. As far as I’m aware the only band who played as a ‘new’ band who have only every played to a sold-out crowd (3 times). Obviously, some of the bigger bands we had would sell out, and we had some local bands that would work their way up to sold out gigs, but The Jim Jones Revue played within their first couples of years and never played to an empty room there.
NixBeat: Since 2007 you’ve been playing with The Newtown Neurotics as their touring bassist. How did you get involved with them?
Smith: I met Steve [Drewett] whilst I was working at The Square and also in the local Virgin Megastore. I booked a Newtown Neurotics gig, ordered myself the CDs and became a fan. A mate and I used to do an acoustic covers duo and play “Living With Unemployment.” When The Square’s management at the time (local authority) were prohibiting the sale of alcohol Steve was booked to play a solo set on the bill of the last night with booze. Ever the opportunist, I offered mine and Dave’s services to back him on bass and drums respectively, so at the end of his set we got up and ran through a couple of songs with him. The next thing I know we’re rehearsing up a full set as we’ve got a slot on the Empress Ballroom stage at the next Rebellion festival.
NixBeat: You also play with the “Motorhead of Power Pop” Los Pepes. What prompted you to get involved with Los Pepes?
Smith: Los Pepes were the tour support on the final Jim Jones Revue show that I booked. I loved them as soon as a I heard the tracks on the promo CD I was sent. We became mates straight away and my mate Shaun ended up playing drums for them when their original drummer left. The bass player, Seisuke, lives in Japan, so when he returned home Shaun suggested me for the job. It’s a really good set up for me because Seisuke is still the band’s bass player. He writes and records with them, and will come over usually once a year to tour the latest release. And then when he’s back home I pick up the gigs and have done the odd recording and music video with them. It’s more of an international organization than your typical band set up. There’s no stopping it.
NixBeat: To celebrate Harlow’s musical history and community, Black Wax is involved with a project launching campaigns to preserve its history for its future. The first being a series of T-Shirts promoting Harlow’s rich musical past. What prompted you to get involved and how do you think preserving Harlow’s music history improves it’s future?
Smith: I’m a geek when it comes to stuff like that. I have a poster that my dad took off the wall when he saw Slade play the local college in 1972. Hawkwind (with Lemmy on bass), Dr Feelgood and The Pogues have played gigs on a bandstand we have in our town park, The Boomtown Rats and The Pretenders played the Odeon cinema in town, and everyone over a certain age will tell you they saw David Bowie at the Playhouse Theatre or Pink Floyd at the Birdcage.
More recently The Square hosted the likes of Del Amitri, Carter (USM), Blur (then known as Seymour), Supergrass, Coldplay, Biffy Clyro and George Ezra.
Even if it’s not music I listen to I think it’s important to acknowledge those bands coming to play in our town. The T-Shirt project is just a way to remind people of what used to happen and hopefully inspire people do more in the future. I’ve made some with gig posters and old record shop bag designs on them so far. I’m not short of material for them so hope to make more design available soon.
NixBeat: As a DJ, you’ve spun for numerous gigs, including The Rifles “No Love Lost 10th Anniversary Show at The Electric Ballroom in Camden and for Steve Diggle’s (Buzzcocks) album launch at the 100 Club in 2011. How did you get involved in these gigs?
Smith: Mostly by putting my hand up and saying ‘I’ll do that.’ My pal Greg was running the Electric Ballroom at the time and as soon as I spotted the gigs going in I dropped him a line. Another friend, Justin, was managing Steve Diggle’s solo stuff so asked me if I fancied playing at it. I’ve done further sets at both venues which is good, someone must have liked it! I’m often looking out for opportunities to get involved and play music to people.
NixBeat: What has been your favorite DJ performance to date?
Smith: An unusual one, this has to be a pub garden party I did in summer 2019, the last summer we were allowed out properly! A friend of mine had just taken over the kitchen there and was running a BBQ, and the pub were launching an outside bar. By no means the biggest audience I’ve played to, but the space was packed, the sun was shining and I played a loads of old r&b, soul, garage rock, 60s pop. Everyone had a great time and I really enjoyed playing that kind of stuff, am patiently waiting for when we can do it again.
NixBeat: You’ve got a collection of records that spans from genres like soul, garage rock, punk, glam and more. What are you looking for in a record when you add it to your set?
Smith: More recently when I buy singles it’s usually with a DJ set in mind. I wouldn’t say I’ve got a particularly large collection of any set genre, but I have a decent amount across different styles. I buy certain music depending on my mood, and usually an upcoming booking will see an increase in purchases. I’ve always got a list in my head of ‘missing essentials’ but I like to find them in shops instead of taking the easy way out and buying online – the pandemic has changed that habit a bit though.
Album wise though, I like to keep on top of new releases of bands I like whilst filling the gaps in old bands back catalogues.
NixBeat: During the early month of the Corona Virus Pandemic, you recorded several episodes of “Black Wax — Social Distancing.” During these sets you’d play choice cuts from your record box. Examples of tracks used included “Reptile Brain” by Imperial State Electric and “Interplanetary Craft” by Giuda. What kind of reception did you get from these broadcasts and did creating these mixes help alleviate stresses of the pandemic?
Smith: I got caught up in the live streaming hype early on in our lockdown over here, partly fueled by both mine and my sons birthdays being in the first week of lockdown (I was sent home from work to be locked down on my birthday). So I set up my decks and looked into the best way to get online and play records. The initial reaction was great, and I teamed up with a band called The Bonnevilles one night where I did a virtual DJ set ahead of their singer doing a live streamed solo performance – we shared each other’s streams amongst our friends and fans. Facebook wasn’t kind to live stream DJs but I managed to salvage the audio and they now sit as a few podcasts.
To be honest, the novelty wore off quite quickly for me and by the 3rd or 4th month in I wasn’t interested in doing much more – I do listen to others who do so though, and one of my faves is the weekly Chills & Fever show. They moved over to Mixcloud and will soon be coming up for a whole year of weekly live streams.
NixBeat: In October 2021, you launched Let’s Go! with Totally Wired Radio. This broadcast is a collaboration with Acid Jazz Records and Fred Perry Subculture. During each broadcast you focus on releases in contemporary garage rock, punk, glam and power pop within the last couple decades. Groups featured include Chinese Junk, The Exploding Hearts, BBQT, Faz Waltz and The Len Price 3. How did you get involved with creating this show and why do you focus on modern music?
SmithEddie Piller, the founder of Acid Jazz Records, lives just up the road from me. During one of the lifts of lockdown I was chatting to him in the pub and said if a slot was available, I’d love to do a show, especially without any gig bookings to focus on. He put me straight in touch with the station manager and she scheduled me into their Saturday programming which they were soon to be relaunching.
I see the show as an extension of my gig booking in that, whilst it’s easy to put on the likes of The Damned or The Buzzcocks and sell out the show, the real triumph is booking new bands and introducing them to a new audience, and the audience taking to them. I’ve done this a few times at a local pub, and had great responses for the likes of Thee Dagger Debs and Tommy & The Commies. So, I decided with the radio show that nostalgia would only get a look in if the band were doing something that made it current or relevant.
No-one needs me to play The Sex Pistols for them.
NixBeat: During each broadcast you read excerpts from reviews from several music journalist sources, including some from Nixbeat.com. What kind of criteria do you have for new material being submitted for Let’s Go!?
Smith: Anyone can submit something, am happy for anyone to get in touch, but I advise listening to a couple of shows first to see what we’re working with so as to not be offended if I don’t feel it fits. I like to hear from music journalists who concentrate on the kind of music I play, mainly because I like to hear the music myself. So, I made contact with a few people whose websites and magazines I look at anyhow – the show is definitely not all about me, I just have access to a great platform to share music I like and I enjoy getting recommendations from people I trust.
NixBeat: Where do you want to see Let’s Go! from here?
Smith: The first couple of shows featured interviews (Duncan Reid, Muck & The Mires) and I’d like to start scheduling more of those but to be honest I’m actually finding it a bit difficult talking to people because it currently all comes back to the pandemic. When things are lifted and we’ve got more tours and releases to talk about then I’ll get on it. I’ve been asked to compile a CD for the Jukebox at The Pipeline (the best rock and roll bar) in Brighton, which got me thinking that a Let’s Go! compilation or series might be a good thing. I don’t think anyone needs to see me on Let’s Go! TV any time soon – we look at screens too much anyhow.
NixBeat: In November 2020, Black Wax also launched its own record label. Your first release has been the Chinese Junk “Permanent Reduction EP,” which features members of The Griswalds, The Ulcers and The Unreleasables. What inspired you to start a label and what has the reception been like for your first release?
Smith: I’ve always wanted to do it, and it’s one of the positives that has come out of the pandemic. I think if we’d been through 2020 as normal, I’d have been too busy with gigs to look at this properly. As soon as I heard the Chinese Junk tracks, I knew I wanted to do something with them. I’d been speaking to a few bands and they were just ready to go first. The responses has been great – I’d no idea what to expect really, and no idea of how many we’ll sell. With a non-existent marketing budget we’ve done enough pre-orders for me to think it’s all worth it. Just patiently awaiting them to arrive any day now so I can start sending them out!
NixBeat: With so much going on, what does the future hold for Black Wax?
Smith: Gigs – I hope! That’s my main passion. I want to get back in the pubs and clubs putting bands on, and playing myself, but I’m not going to rush into it. I’ve no patience now for postponing/cancelling events so I’m going to wait til nearer summer to see what’s going to be possible towards the end of the year. The second release is lined up for the label and should be announced very soon. I’d love to be able to do a Black Wax records showcase gig with the bands I’m putting out.