Tag Archives: Album Reviews

Top 5 Album Releases Of 2020

2020 has been quite the odd year. During a normal time, I’d usually be doing more write ups, but this year has been a bit turbulent. There’s been an Earth stopping pandemic, protests, elections and more. The result of all of this has had a considerable effect on musicians, DJ’s, creatives and artists across the world. Not to mention the clubs and venues in which they performed in.

Indeed, there is no certainty for when life will return to a sense of pre-pandemic normalcy. Hopefully, the favorite haunts of memorable concerts will still be around, and there will be dance halls for those fond of the twist and pogo to congregate at again. Only time will tell.

However, despite these wild and unpredictable events, the music manages to live on. This year still saw releases by many notable artists. Almost too many to count. For 2020, I have chosen the records by Faz Waltz, Bad Nerves, The Speedways, Jacob T Skeen and Worst Horse as my top 5 releases for this year. Enjoy!

Faz WaltzRebel Kicks

Since 2007, Faz Waltz have been releasing hit maker records meant for another era. Each one of their new albums are tighter than the last. However, their 7th album Rebel Kicks is the Crème de la crème. Released on a pandemic ridden world this is music that uplifts and provides a much needed relief. Within this records grooves fans will hear the familiar influences of T-Rex  and David Bowie glam twisting the night away with late Beatles inspired rock n’ roll. Rebel Kick’s superbly demonstrates Faz Waltz’s maturing style and masterful pop-sensible hooks that makes their unique take on a 1970’s inspired rock n’ roll sound.

For the full review, click here!

Bad NervesSelf-Titled

Admittedly, I did not provide a write up for the Bad Nerves record. No doubt about it though, something about this record stuck like glue. Upon hearing the tracks on this release there is no shame by suggesting that it blew apart my rock n’ roll world.  These cats do what The Briefs did, but faster and with an impressively infectious intensity that few can dare match. This is the kind of music that jumping about like an idiot mixed up on a cocktail of formal one fuel is made for. If you like it was razer sharp riffs, high voltage vocals and of course electro-centric punk infused power pop, Bad Nerves are essential for you. Top tracks for consideration are “Baby Drummer,” “Can’t Be Mine,” and “Dreaming Boy.”

The Speedways Radio Sounds



NixBeat: What was the process like writing and recording Radio Sounds? How was it different than the work you did with Just Another Regular Summer?

Matthew: A fair few of the songs on Radio Sounds I’d already written around the time of Just Another Regular Summer. I also dug into my song book for older tunes like “This Aint A Radio Sound” and “Good Girls Don’t Break Hearts” ..then there were new songs that I wrote as a response to the first album – “In A World Without Love It’s Hard To Stay Young..,” “Daydreaming,” “Brown Eyes Look So Blue..,” “This Is About Girl Who Loves The Sun” etc.. So the writing process was more varied than the first record. Obviously with it being a full band this time there was a collaborative effort in terms of arrangement and individual parts which definitely gave the songs more of a band vibe than before. It’s much more satisfying as a song writer to hear other musicians play and interpret your stuff than to do everything yourself. It makes such a difference. Everyone contributed brilliantly in the studio too (including Jez who produced the album). I enjoyed making it & working with everyone. It turned out really well. A step up in quality for sure.

Jacob T Skeen Death, Thou Shalt Die

Listeners of this record ought to be warned that it is not uncommon to feel a staggering malevolence, as though the cold hand of death has drifted over your heart and into your soul.  The first track, “Elizabeth Felt Payne” captures this essence by luring the unwary listening into the depths of the demented. It’s defined by the wailing razor sharp riffs and Skeen’s booming vocals. This is distorted doom blues at its finest.

Read the full article here!

Worst HorseSelf-Titled

The album as a whole is a trip. It’s got the psychedelic notions that with under the right conditions will evoke a out of mind experience. Songs like “Let The Pain In” carry on the introspective nature that defines this work. It’s mellow, but subtly provoking. This is the same with the track “House of Bees.” Though in contrast, this song has more of the dissociated feel that is also found in Worst Horse.

For the full article click here!

Top 5 Albums of 2019

Every year I publish a list of my favorite albums that have been released that year. This list isn’t meant as a competition, rather it’s a celebration of work from very talented artists. All articles were published exclusively here at nixbeat.com or at Heatwave Magazine. I hope you enjoy and Happy New Year!

  1. The Jackets – Queen Of The Pill
The Jackets
Queen Of The Pill
Voodoo Rhythm Records

Queen of the Pill boasts the raw snarl of the fuzzed out garage-punk found in Way Out and combines it with Shadow of Sound’s refined freakbeat influenced garage-psych style. However, what sets Queen of the Pill apart from the previous records is The Stooges-esque proto-punk attitude twisting with elements of King Khan & The BBQ Show’s style, which should come as no surprise since King Khan was involved in this record’s production.”

Top Track: “Queen Of The Pill”

2. Jordan Jones – Self-Titled

Jordan Jones
Self-Titled
Spaghetty Town Records

“Jordan Jone’s debut release is a power pop masterpiece.  Within this records grooves are sounds begging, if not demanding to be heard. It’s the kind of music that flawlessly delivers a certain calm and charming sound sound that blends a kind of nostalgic sense for early 2000’s style of power pop rock n’ roll. This is due to Jones’ unique style that invokes The Booze twisting with the power pop delivery of the Biters, but channeling the romanticism of The Speedways.”

Top Track: “Wrote You A Song For Me”

The Woolly Bushmen – In Shambles

The Wooly Bushmen
In Shambles
Pig Baby Records

“Those who dug their first record will find familiarity with this album. In Shambles has a ballads, fuzz garage and of course rock n’ roll.  In Shambles also shows of the emotive range of Herschfeld, which combined with the tightness of the band, hits close to perfection.  This is a record for lovers of  infectious vintage sounds and for those looking for something delightfully new. The Woolly Bushmen knock it out of the park again. Congrats lads. Now go buy this record.”

Top Track: “Let It Be Known”

Los Pepes – Positive Negative

Los Pepes
Positive Negative
Spaghetty Town Records

“Not acquiring this album would not only be a mistake, but a betrayal of crucial judgment.  This record ought to be put on your turntable and blasted from start to finish with the help of some liquid courage inducing vibrancy.  If not for you, then do it for the neighbor’s sake.  To do anything less may deprive those in close proximity of a vital headache, or inspiration. After all, we need something wild and electric like Los Pepes “Positive Negative” for our bleeding ears and soul.”

Top Track: “We Need It”

5. Daddy Longlegs – Lowdown Ways

Daddy Longlegs
Lowdown Ways
Yep Roc Records

“Overall this record demonstrates certain level of wild brilliance and charm.  Daddy Long Legs boasts powerful pub rock n’ roll by invoking nods to the greats like Eddy and The Hot Rods, but really channel the living spirit of Dr. Feelgood during the Wilko Johnson years. This is evident by vocalist Brian Hurd’s rough, whiskey soaked voice and mannerisms that bring forth a fondness for the late rock n’ roll gentleman Lee Brillaux.”

Top Track: “Pink Lemonade”

Fashionism – Smash Singles LP

Fashionism
Smash Singles LP
Sorry State Records
Released: April 20, 2018

Fashionisms Smash Singles LP is an essential collection of recordings for the lovers of not only power pop, but also clever and intelligent lyricism. This record boasts material from the first four Fashionism singles, which are now hard to come by, with the addition of a couple previously unreleased tracks. Fans of Fashionism will find this record treads mostly familiar territory. For first timers, the Smash Singles LP is a good way to be introduced to one of the more interesting bands of the last decade.

The songs found within the grooves of the Smash Singles LP celebrate the clever nature could have been heard by The Boys or even by the sharp wit of The Adverts. This is largely thanks to vocalist Jeffery McCloy masterful weaving of punchy lyrics that tell a story with a sound that combines the infectious nature of Bay City Rollers like glam rock meeting the sensibilities of The Purple Hearts.

This hybrid style effortlessly combines the intense energy of punk with intelligent social criticism largely lost by the chorus of grunts and growls of the spikey studded cast. While their songs are very socially aware, Fashionism do not deliver their messages as a blow to the head. Rather, they do so via bubblegum styled tunes to bounce about with and be subtly influenced by.

Many of Fashionism’s songs defiantly beg for the nostalgia of times long past. Songs like “Subculture Suicide” lament the painful and frustrating demise of traditional subcultural identity. While others like the new track “Weekend” remains steadfast in the Fashionism tradition of being unapologetically socially critical of shameless social media inspired vanity.

Others hits on this record include my personal favorite “Where Have All The Rock n’ Roll Girls Gone.” This one pays homage to New Town  Animals hit “Rock N Roll Scene.” Another is “Stop, Drop, Rock n’ Roll.” It’s a song that demands dance while McCoy rapidly name drops pop culture references from the McCoys “Hang on Sloopy” to ? and The Mysterians “96 Tears.” Fashionism also have a silly side with tracks like “One Shot.” It’s a song about being delightfully addicted to coffee. This one is fast and melodically furious– not to mention catchy as hell.

This record is well worth getting, particularly, if the Fashionism singles have eluded your capture. This super-group is made of members of The Tranzmitors, The Jolt, The Orange Kyte and New Town Animals. Their sound is deviously infectious and upbeat. It’s good for those familiar and for newcomers alike. Above all, it’s a gem, so go get it.

For More Fashionism, check out their Bandcamp!

Os Noctàmbulos-Stranger

Os Noctambulos
Stranger
Stolen Body Records
Street: July 15, 2016

If anything about the appeal for the transcendent yet infectious sounds of surf-ridden psychedelia inspired you to check out Os Noctàmbulos , then you’re right where you are supposed to be. So, by all means take this second to plug in and flip the volume nob to it’s properly adjusted, borderline deafening level. Done right, this listen will invoke the joys of total and overwhelming sonic damnation. As you  reach this plain of tranquility the experience will yield the desperation of Stranger’s eerie invocations of garage laden psych rock n’ roll. After a few spins, it should be clear that there is a certain comfortableness that comes from Os Noctàmbulos. It’s kind of familiar, like that of contemporaries Allah-Las. Both groups have a style that borders on the warmness of 1960’s psychedelic nostalgia, but with much needed refreshing feel. By this, I mean as one listens to Stranger, one could let the mind wander to tracks like “Not Everyone” or “Control” and still manage to dance as if under some sort of spell. Mind you, if  you find your companions are not in same state of mind as yourself, make sure that the punch is spiked with something good. After this, dive back in to Stranger digest the more upbeat and subtly provoking numbers like the organ heavy “Jordi Taught Me,” the rocking and rolling “Handcuffs” and the wildly defiant “Medication.” Once immersed, you’ll find Os Noctàmbulos’ Stranger will have you willfully surrendering mind, body and soul to move and groove. —Nick Kuzmack

For more from Os Noctàmbulos check out their Bandcamp and Facebook Page.

TOP 5 SOCK HOP N’ ROLL ALBUMS

Your hair’s lookin’ slick, your boots are greased and you’re ready to crash the 1955 Vince Lombardi High Senior Prom. These sock hop n’ roll albums of 2015 will have your teenage kicks all night long.

Dig Nick Kuzmack’s —aka Nix Beat— TOP 5 albums of 2015. Featuring: Miscaculations A View For Glass Eyes , The Jackets Shadows Of Sound, Radioactivity Silent Kill, La Luz Weirdo Shrine and Baby Shakes Starry Eyes published @ SLUG Magazine!!

ROYAL HEADACHE – HIGH

ROYAL HEADACHE
HIGH
What’s Your Rupture
Street: 08.21
Royal Headache = Noddy Holder + EZTV

High builds on the foundations of the “upbeat” and “infectiously catchy,” building off solid hits “My Own Fantasy” and “Need You,” and then, much like a roller coaster, drops off an edge with the track “High”—the latter having less than inspiring lyrics while trying to maintain the punchiness of the former two tracks.

Dig the full album review published @ SLUG Magazine!!

VARIOUS ARTISTS – ORK RECORDS: NEW YORK, NEW YORK

VARIOUS ARTISTS
ORK RECORDS: NEW YORK, NEW YORK
Numero Group
Street: 10.30
Ork Records: New York, New York = Richard Hell and the Voidoids + Television + The Idols


Numero Group’s release of the Ork Records collection celebrates a unique time in music through a compilation that features obscure recordings from New York’s first DIY punk record label. Ork Records was started in 1975 by Television’s manager, Terry Ork, and Charles Ball (who later formed No Wave label Lust/Unlust Records) around the recording of Television’s “Little Johnny Jewel.”

Dig the full album review published @ SLUG Magazine!!

THE JACKETS – SHADOW OF SOUND

THE JACKETS
SHADOW OF SOUND
Voodo Rhythm Records
Street: 09.11
The Jackets = Shadows of Knight + The Satelliters + The Renegades

The Jackets are the result of mod revival mixed with freakbeat notions that brilliantly come through with a haunting sound only fit for the darkest corner of the garage. In other words, Shadow of a Sound is infectiously good and must be played over your speakers with the volume turned all the way up.

Dig the full album review published @ SLUG Magazine!!

Review: Rich Girlz – He’s A Lover


Rich Girlz
He’s A Lover
Self-Released
Street: 06.26
Rich Girlz = Thee Oh Sees + The Parrots + Weezer

Here are Rich Girlz, Salt Lake’s distorted, cheesy wrappings of a Burger Records–styled rock n’ roll sound. They’ve got the snotty angst, feelings of societal misunderstanding and the provoking attitude that represents the next generation of garage bands looking for a cool place to have a whiskey-Coke and fries.

Dig the full album review @ SLUG Magazine!!

REVIEW: THE 24TH STREET WAILERS – WHERE EVIL GROWS


The 24th Street Wailers
Where Evil Grows
LMB Records
Street: 03.05
The 24th Street Wailers = Wanda Jackson + Little Richard + Little Willie John + Lavern Baker


Not every band can perfectly capture the nostalgia for swinging 1950s rock n’ roll and then proceed to wreck your speakers due to the necessity of a dangerously high volume level. Where Evil Grows is an altogether up-tempo, gritty rockabilly album defined by the brilliant blend of harsh yet soulful vocals courtesy of the drummer/vocalist Lindsay Beaver and prominent sax that makes this record an exception to an exhausted genre.

Check out the full review @ SLUG Mag!!