Tag Archives: Power Pop

Listening in with Protex’s Aidan Murtagh

Protex were among the first wave of punk bands to emerge in Belfast, Ireland. After witnessing The Clash perform they formed in 1978 and signed on with Terri Hooley’s legendary Good Vibrations label. They were among fellow punk acts like Rudi, The Outcasts and The Undertones. Protex played rock n’ roll tunes to a unique punk infused power pop style. Their songs were upbeat, catchy and celebrated a desire of normalcy for chasing youthful ideals of hopeless romanticism. For bands like Protex, punk music helped inform their world view and inspired a sense of community. This music was an important contrast against the backdrop of the Troubles plaguing Northern Ireland. It was a way out and a tool to cope with the political and civil turmoil of the time.

During their tenure with Good Vibrations, Protex put out the “Don’t Ring Me Up” three track 45— which was later rereleased by Rough Trade in 1978. In 1979, Protex signed on with Polydor and found a new home in London, England. Being in London, they focused primarily on touring, making music and releasing a further three singles. Despite this Protex split up in 1981 before they could release a full length record. Luckily, in 2010 Sing Sing records found and released the previously unreleased Strange Obsessions recordings. Thanks to a revived interest, original members Aidan Murtagh and David McMaster reformed Protex with the addition of new members Gordie Walker, John Rossi , and later Norman Boyd.

With Protex reformed, they began touring and recording. Although McMaster tenure with the renewed band was short lived, Protex continued on. They saw the release of Tightrope on Bachelor Records in 2017. Since then, Protex have remained on the move. They have played the Pump It Up Power Pop Weekender (2019 and 2021). In 2022 Protex released Wicked Ways, also on Bachelor Records. For fans old and new alike the new records sound akin to Protex’s previous material. They are steeped in power pop hooks with a distinct punk influenced method. This is particularly with the track Tightrope’s “Tightrope” and Wicked Ways‘ “It’s A Lie.”

In early February Protex did a brief tour in Germany with Slander Tongue. Protex were about to tour the States from March 10th through the 17th. Unfortunately, this jaunt across the States was canceled due to visa delays on March 1st. I caught up with Murtagh to chat about their new album Wicked Ways, growing up listening to Slade, and the 1970’s punk movement in Belfast…..

NixBeat: Protex just completed a string of dates in Berlin, Dresden and Hamburg. There you played with Slander Tongue. How was it to back playing in Germany?

Murtagh: It was amazing to finally get back and play . What was great about it was that some of the shows were sold out so it was reassuring to find people still wanted to hear us . It was our fourth time playing Berlin , third time Hamburg , and first time Dresden. Slander Tongue were so good to us , a great band and nice guys.

NixBeat:  After seeing The Clash perform, Protex emerged as among the first wave of punk bands from Belfast in the late 1970s. What was it about that Clash concert inspired you to form Protex?

Murtagh: It was so long ago now! I suppose they were the first punk band to play Belfast during the troubles there, they were exciting, energetic. Their music was new and refreshing. After the show we spent a long time talking with them. Strummer was very encouraging with regarding to bands starting out. Good times. They lit the spark for us to form a punk band.

NixBeat: In an interview with Fear and Loathing Fanzine published in 2017, you mentioned being energized through listening to glam rock like Slade and pub rock groups such as Dr. Feelgood. Can you expand on how this music influenced your launch playing music and subsequently getting into punk?

Murtagh: I grew up listening to Slade and was a member of their fan club. I also listened to Bowie , T Rex and Lou Reed — but Slade were very much rock n’ roll and had such great melodies. Dr Feelgood were one of the first bands I saw live. They were a breath of fresh air at a time when music was getting a little stale. They were back to basics and moved on stage. In many ways they paved the way for punk music. Great attitude.

NixBeat: In an interview with hopecollectiveireland.com published on 10/19/2017 you mentioned when you initially moved to London in 1979 there was a difference between feeling like a music business atmosphere versus being in movement. Can you elaborate how you experienced punk as a movement in Belfast in the late 1970’s and do you see punk as one now?

Murtagh: I still believe that in those early years in Belfast the punk movement was different than other UK cities, mostly due to the troubles. It meant more —as well as rebelling against everything normal teenagers do—we were rebelling against what was happening in Belfast at that time , and against the those who tried to control everything. Also, punk was not necessarily about the fashion side of things. I think those years influenced many of my thoughts and outlook of the world which I still have today. It’s an attitude thing I suppose.

When we moved to London we had a record contract with a major label and we became more involved as part of the music business. In late 1979 punk in London was not very strong and music was changing with the likes of ska and rockabilly. We didn’t come across many punks.

NixBeat: On August 24, 2022 released Wicked Ways on Bachelor Records. Having listened to it a number of times it feels like a logical extension of Protex’s previous material. What was the process like in writing and recording “Wicked Ways.”

Murtagh: It was a very similar process to the Tightrope LP. Once I was happy with the songs I bought them to the band to rehearse. Then into the studio to record. This time we had the pandemic in the middle of it which delayed everything so it wasn’t as instantaneous as the previous album.

NixBeat: One of my favorite tracks on Wicked Ways is “It’s A Lie.” What’s the inspiration behind this track?

Murtagh: Really it’s a small comment about our local political people and paramilitaries rousing up with false promises to get votes and power and seldom delivering. We have a lot of career politicians here.

NixBeat: On Wicked Ways you added a rerecorded version of “All I Want To Do Is Rock And Roll.” This feels quite the relevant song about wanting to have fun after more than two years Pandemic related stress. What prompted including “All I Want To Do Is Rock And Roll” in Wicked Ways?

Murtagh: Well, I always liked the song but felt the original version went on a bit. So the song was cut down and re arranged and this is the result. I liked the guitar song we got on it. Yeah, it kinda can now be a statement about coming out of the lockdown scenario.

NixBeat: How does your approach to recording Wicked Ways differ from your previous record Tight Rope?

Murtagh: The process was more or less the same as I’ve mentioned in Q4.

NixBeat: The title track of Tightrope seems provides political commentary on the government of Northern Ireland. What are you drawing from for “Tightrope?”

Murtagh: The song was written at a time after the “Peace” broke out here. We then had a power sharing government with all political parties. However, there was always underlying tension. They argued too much, and really on the streets it felt like trouble could flare up very quickly at any time and we could potentially slip back into what went before. The local government (Stormont)’ I felt was walking on a “Tightrope” (a very simple comment). Since I wrote the song the local government has stopped —they fell of the rope! It’s a mess. They all need to jump on the rope again and get back to work. It’s disgusting that they are getting paid for not working.

NixBeat: I have to say one of my favorite tracks is “A Place In Your Heart.” The opening lyrics “Is it a crime to need someone for longer than just one night” is just brilliant. After years of searching I was lucky to find a copy of that single in a record shop in Camden Town. This was just after seeing and DJing for Protex, Biznaga and Randy Savages at the Heatwave Magazine release party on November 18th 2017. What inspired the writing behind “A Place In Your Heart?”

Murtagh: The song was written by former member David McMaster about his girlfriend at the time.

NixBeat: Having played the Pump It Up Power Pop Weekender in 2018 and 2021. What has your experience been like playing alongside newer bands like The Speedways, Baby Shakes and Los Pepes?

Murtagh: It’s always a joy to play with them. They have become friends and we have total respect for them.

NixBeat: What does the future hold for Protex?

Murtagh: We will continue to play in European countries, in August we return to the Rebellion Punk festival. We also are trying to make a second USA visit later in the year if our visa let us. There’s also some new songs to record.

For more about Protex visit them at their Website, Facebook, Bandcamp and check out their tour dates below.

Natalie Sweet & Brad Marino — Second Time/Over My Head

Natalie Sweet & Brad Marino

 Second Time/Over My Head

Reta Records

Street: 08/26/2022

Natalie Sweet and Brad Marino are two of today’s power pop A-listers. Sweet previously fronted The Shanghais and Control Freaks. While Marino founded and fronted The Connection, and has material out with Rydells and Tommy and The Rockets. Not to mention they both have extensive solo projects that ought to be  heard. The Second Time/ Over My Head 7” is a treat as it is a east coast-to- west coast collaboration. Together they have produced a high energy infectious rock n’ roll.  Despite only being two tracks, it’s the kind of punk meeting pop that hooks on and doesn’t let go.

Both tracks share a kind of duet approach. However, “Second Time” prominently boasts Sweets singing. Lyrically, it’s a song laments the trappings of falling in love again with the same person. In true form, “Second Time” celebrates the nature of of punk blending with power pop. Think of this track as a melding of the Ramones speed meeting the Buzzcocks harmonies .  It’s fast and easy to sing along with. Be sure to turn it up.

“Over My Head” is sung from the perspectives of both Sweet and Marino. This track tells the tale of the slippery slope from a casual relationship transitioning with a partner wanting something more. Between the two of them it’s a fun back and forth. From Marino’s point of view, he sings about his anxiety as things get more serious than intended with the partner to be. In contrast, Sweet character seeks something more and is out to get it.

Overall “Over My Head” is a charming listen. This is the track cementing this duos ability to produce a tune together that is tight and catchy. Listening to this one would almost wonder if they have collaborated before.

The Second Time/Over My Head 7” is a record that draws on both Sweets and Marino’s talents for fast paced lovers lost rock n’ roll with solid hooks. Furthermore, this also demonstrates their seemingly natural ability to work together.  Like their other material this 7” packs a punky power pop punch. Although short and sweet, this is record is addicting to hear. So, drop the needle on this single and dig it.

For more, check out Reta Records Bandcamp!

Forever The Talk of The Town with The Speedways

The Speedway at Medley MAlmo 2022


Over the last two years The Speedways have continued to blaze a trail of power pop excellence.  On June 29, 2020 The Speedways shined a light through the darkness of the Covid 19 Pandemic by releasing Radio Sounds. Musically, Radio Sounds expanded upon The Speedways captivating pop sensibilities, catchy melodies and longing love songs. This is brilliantly done by reviving an attitude found in late 1970’s rock n’ roll but with a spirit of ’79 punk infused power pop sound. It’s the kind of music meant for the romanticism of youthful idealism and nostalgic yearnings.

Furthermore, while the previous album Just Another Regular Summer was the sole manifestation of Matt Julian, Radio Sounds introduced more collaborative approach from all the members of the band. Continuing on this note in 2021, The Speedways released of Borrowed and Blue. This 10” record celebrated their take on songs like Abba’s “SOS,” and the very sentimental Hanoi Rock’s “11th Street Kids.”

Continuing to show their versatility The Speedways hit the remainder of the year running. This was perfectly shown on September 25, 2021. The Speedways found themselves thrust into headlining Some Weird Sin’s Pump It Up Power Pop Weekender. This was unexpected, but ended up being a welcome performance. The Speedways took to the stage with a powerful energy that was in turn well received by their audience.

2022 has further seen The Speedways reach new heights. They recorded a new record Talk Of The Town and single “Shoulda Known”/”A Drop In The Ocean”that is due later this year.  The Speedways toured both Sweden and Spain in May 2022. This was followed by a quick jaunt over to Germany in June 2022. All of this is setting he stage for a much anticipated return to Some Weird Sins  Pump It Pump  Power Pop Weekender on July 2, 2022.

It’s clear The Speedways have remained ever vigilant.  To learn more about their developments during the last couple of years, I caught up with Adrian Alfonso, Mauro Venegas and Matt Julian. We chatted about their appreciation for Hanoi Rocks, touring Sweden fort the first time, Ronnie Specter, their new album Talk Of The Town and more…..

NixBeat: Last we spoke The Speedways had been in hibernation due to the Covid 19 Pandemic. However, in 2021 with the availability of vaccines and end to lockdowns, The Speedways were able to start performing again. How does it feel to be able to play gigs again?

Adrian Alfonso: Pretty great, we’re not alone in feeling like there’s a lot of time to make up for. Especially with our new songs it’s been great to play them live, though we didn’t really get much of a chance to play stuff off Radio Sounds. There’s a little anxiety as I know it can be overwhelming for people going to gigs with just the sheer volume of things happening. So far all the gigs we’ve played have been great and have had really good turnouts. I feel very grateful that people are supporting us.

Mauro Venegas: feels amazing!! Especially going abroad again, and especially playing the new material live.

NixBeat: In 2021 The Speedways released the Borrowed & Blue 10” via Snap Records. On this record you include of a cover of Hanoi Rock’s “11th Street Kids.” You also did a music video for it that was posted to youtube on May 12. 2021. What prompted you to cover this track?

Adrian Alfonso: They’re a band that at least Mauro, Matt and myself have all bonded over. I always felt like they were a band that often get dismissed for their image. When I first met Mauro a decade ago and saw him holding one of their records, I excitedly ran over and started chatting with him about them. I remember a couple years after that I was an extra in a video shoot for Mauro’s band at the time Jonny Cola and the A-Grades and was telling Mauro how I’d just started learning guitar and was finding it pretty tricky, then he spotted my Hanoi Rocks tattoo then started playing the intro to “11th Street Kids” to be a show off… They’re often a band we’ll play in the van when we’re on tour and I think it was after a gig in Spain, we were in the hotel without guitars and drunkenly suggested we covered “Until I get you.” We had a bit of a sing-song and figured nothing would come of that. But the pandemic happened and we couldn’t really get together. So, the covers EP came up and I think Mauro mentioned doing either one of those songs ,and I think we all agreed that “11th Street Kids” would be better for us as it’s a little more upbeat.

Mauro Venegas: Probably been covered by one of my bandmates, but Hanoi are a band that Matt and I (and Adrian and I) bonded over when we first got to know each other — only those who are really “in the know” appreciate them for what they were and know how significant they were. They don’t get the proper dues they deserve! So yeah, this was one we used to mess about with in hotel rooms on tour (we considered covering “Until I Get You” as well, but realised this would probably fit us better). I know he didn’t grow up with ’em like the rest of us did, so I was really chuffed when Kris was on board with the idea!

Matt Julian: As the guys say, we have a mutual love of Hanoi. “11th Street Kids” felt like the right choice. It’s got a punk rock nostalgia that resonates within us all!

NixBeat: Because it’s one of my favorites, and you did it so well, what prompted you to cover Abba’s “SOS?”

Adrian Alfonso: We like the song.

Matt Julian: I love how brooding and unsettling the verse is ,and how the chorus just explodes. I don’t remember what prompted it, but it had been a consideration for a little while. We all love ABBA. It was a popular choice.

NixBeat: Nambucca has recently closed it’s doors on May 14th 2022. As The Speedways have played this legendary club numerous times, how has it’s closure affected you and the music community in London?

Adrian Alfonso: It’s very sad news, it was always a great venue to play, and there are so few venues left in London already. In particular, Nambucca had a sense of home for us as it’s on Holloway Road which has always had a lot of significance for the band.

Mauro Venegas: Maybe affected me most actually, as I ran so many nights there for several years. Some of the best ‘Some Weird Sins’ were there. It had a great vibe and wasn’t like any of the other similar sized venues on the circuit. Things got a bit more out of control there at times! It’ll be sadly missed.

Matt Julian: I’ve met some of my best friends there so I’ll always remember it for that (among other things). We did our first headline gig there in 2018. It’s a shame to see it go. Holloway Road looms large in the Speedways legend. Eerily so.

NixBeat: On September 25, 2021 The Speedways played Some Weird Sin’s “Pump It Up Power Pop Weekender” at the Lexington in London, England. What was it like to perform for Pump It Up again?

Adrian Alfonso: We feel a bit like the house band at this point. The band was only ever supposed to play one gig at the first ever weekender in 2018. So it’s also felt a bit like our home. The atmosphere all weekend was great. There were some bands that unfortunately had to cancel due to the situation with Covid. Every band that did manage to come along were really excited to play ,and the crowds were great. We ended up headlining the Saturday, that had us all a bit nervous, but it was probably the best gig we’d ever played at that point, and it was fantastic that it was in our home city.

Mauro Venegas: Personally speaking, that was one of the (if not the) best Speedways show ever. It was very intense and it all poured out of us on the night. All the uncertainty and emotion that we’d been through over that summer (and probably over the whole lockdown period before that), and having such a hugely enthusiastic crowd response gave us a huge boost. Of course, we weren’t meant to headline at all, but ended up doing so, and it worked out pretty well for us atmosphere-wise!

Matt Julian: Yeah, we accidentally headlined the Saturday night due to a cancellation, so that was a bit stressful in the sense we hadn’t prepared a set list long enough to headline! But, we were all on our A-game that night and nailed the unrehearsed encores. Like Mauro says, there was something quite emotional about the weekend as a whole, but it turned out to be one of our best ever shows. One of those special ones where the audience and band are enjoying it as much as each other.

NixBeat: On November 10th 2021 it was announced on The Speedways Facebook page that you all would be up and running again in 2022. Was there some doubt about The Speedways continuing on as a group?

Matt Julian: For a time there was yeah. I had a setback and needed to hide away for a while. It was nothing to do with the Speedways, it was my own personal thing you know? Even at the level we play it can be tough to find the courage to get on stage or be creative if you’re doubting your value as a person. I know that sounds very deep haha, but we all have to deal with things in our own way at times. People say I take things to heart too much. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to write a song as pretty as “Empty Pages”— so I guess it’s swings and roundabouts. I’m glad I take things to heart. The band were really supportive and gave me the space to pull myself together (well, as pulled together as I ever get anyway). They were absolutely great. I listened to a lot of Lana Del Rey and took up smoking.

NixBeat: Matthew, I know The Ronnettes and Ronnie Spector are big influences for you. When Ronnie Spector passed away on January 12, 2022 you eulogized her via a Facebook post. Can you expand on how Ronnie Spector has influenced you and your music?

Matt Julian: I’ve just always loved her voice and the Phil Spector sound since I first heard “Be My Baby” She joins up the dots in my record collection. The first Speedways record in particular is hugely influenced by the romance of Ronnie Spector. “One Kiss Can Lead To Another” is built around the “Be My Baby” bass line and “Reunion In The Rain” was very much an attempt at a Ronettes style song. She’s now sadly missed like so many others.

NixBeat: So far 2022 has been busy for The Speedways. You all toured Sweden and Spain in May 2022. This was a first time playing in Sweden. What was your reception in Sweden like?

Adrian Alfonso: It’s always daunting to play somewhere new, but the people in Sweden were very welcoming and enthusiastic.

Matt Julian: It was really good. The hospitality and welcome we received in Malmo was amazing. We got to play a couple of cool shows and also check in with Trevor who runs Beluga Records—plus a little trip to the ABBA museum on a boat from Stockholm harbour. It’s a very beautiful place. Would love to go back.

NixBeat: How was it returning to play in Spain and what were some of the highlights?

Adrian Alfonso: Spain feels like our second home in many ways, so it felt like an overdue homecoming, though I wish it could have been a bit longer. The highlight for me is the people, they’re always really enthusiastic and really love power pop music and we always end up making new friends each time we go there.

Mauro Venegas: Playing the new stuff! Haha!

Matt Julian: Spain has always been very supportive of the Speedways. My usual highlights are the amount of people at the gigs who know the words, the variety of brilliant music we play in the Speedwaysmobile and eating pan con tomate for breakfast every morning with Kris. We’ll be back again in the autumn to play the Flamin’Go Beach Festival!

NixBeat: The Speedways are due to release a new album Talk Of The Town in November 2022. What can readers expect from your new album?

Adrian Alfonso: There’s a lot of familiar ground as we worked with Jez Leather again as he co-produced the album with us, but this time we went to Perry Vale Studios run by Pat Collier and had the luxury of playing together live. We all really had to push ourselves and really stepped up our playing. There’s more members of the band writing now. I’ve got a song on this one, and it’s the first time I’ve buckled down and written a full song by myself. I admittedly would often rely on whatever band I’m in to help beef up my ideas or get the singer to write the lyrics, so this is definitely a step up for me personally.

Mauro Venegas: Ooh yes! This album has some new twists and turns thrown in. There’s more variety, the performances are better and we’ve not been scared to draw from a much wider pool of influences. It’s harder, it’s poppier, it’s more soulful, it’s more adventurous, it’s the strongest one to date ,and I’m massively proud of it!

Matt Julian: It’s fun for all the family! We’ve collectively contributed songs, as well as arranging stuff more as a band. Mauro sings a couple of tunes this time as well. I was really struggling to write songs during the last two years so I mixed things up a bit and wrote a few songs on the keyboard or around drum machine beats. They didn’t all make the cut, but at least it meant I was writing again. We could have made a straight out “pop” record, and of course there are some power pop bangers on Talk Of The Town, but it was nice to try new things and show off on the guitar a bit. I’m really pleased with my vocals on this album too. Just for the record, I had a dream that the next Speedways album would be called Talk Of The Town. I made a note of it and around a year later I wrote the title song. It has nothing to do with the Pretenders and it has nothing to do with “oh we’re so great, we’re the talk of the town” It’s about paranoia and humiliation.

NixBeat: After getting a little preview from your new single “Shoulda Known”/”A Drop In The Ocean” to be released via Snap Records in September 2022. What are you drawing from for your new track “A Drop In The Ocean?”

Adrian Alfonso: It’s another ballad, and probably the best example of all three of our voices on record to date.

Matt Julian: Yep, another ballad! I originally wrote it in 2019. It’s quite an old one, but I knew it had potential. It’s the kind of thing we do really well and other bands don’t do at all. I’m drawing from all the same places and faces.

NixBeat: The A-side the new single is “Shoulda’ Known.” It seems to be a track about the follies of falling in love again and again. What inspired this song?

Mauro Venegas: I can’t speak for the lyrical side (though I gave Matt the title/chorus as a starting point). This was the first real co-write we’ve done in fact, where I had the music and he came up with lyrics for it, it was great working that way, hopefully we’ll do more of it next time, after all he’s a waaaay better lyricist than I am, haha!

Matt Julian: It was our first actual co-write. Mauro had a great riff and chorus, then I threw in the lyrics and vocal melody on the verse. I had a scrap of paper where I’d written “good things don’t come to those who wait, impatient hearts won’t hesitate to break in two tonight.” That was all I had, but I started singing it over Mauros riff and it fit really nice once I’d fleshed it out a bit. It’s inspired by The Speedways ..It’s a “love gone wrong” song. It’s our bread and butter!

NixBeat:The Speedways are due to perform Pump It UP Power Pop Weekender on July 2nd 2022. The Line up includes The Baby Shakes, The Yum Yums and more! What can readers expect from The Speedways at this festival?

 Adrian Alfonso: It will be a step up from our set at 2021’s weekender, we’re hoping to bring the same energy, but with a load of new songs to play for everyone.

Mauro Venegas: We’re on form right now. Watch out!!

Matt Julian: We’ve only played one UK show this year so hopefully people will come out and see us. Really looking forward to catching up with Baby Shakes again. We’ll aim to steal the show and win over as many new fans as we can.

NixBeat: Are there any plans for a Speedways U.S Tour?

Matt Julian: There are no plans, but it remains a goal for the band. If we get concrete offers and a realistic (geographically) run of shows then absolutely we’d love to! We sell plenty of records to America and have friends over there, so that’s a good place to start. ‘Speedways – Talk Of The USA Tour 2023’ does have a certain ring to it.

NixBeat: What does the future hold for The Speedways?

Adrian Alfonso: Hopefully a lot more touring, and maybe more new music too..

Mauro Venegas: The new record’s on another level to the previous ones. I’m excited to see what people make of it!

Matt Julian: A new album, a single or two, a new video at some point, new t-shirts, Japanese tour, a Jägermeister sponsorship deal. Lot’s of good stuff.

For more about The Speedways, check out their Bandcamp and Facebook!!

Chatting with Bad Sex About More Than The Same Old Song And Dance

Jerry Fowler, Charles Olsen Quinn Walls, and Nick Kruse,

Bad Sex are Portland, Oregon’s answer to power pop. They are Quinn Walls, Nick Kruse, Jerry Fowler and Charles Olsen. Since forming in 2016, Bad Sex have relentlessly jumped to the occasion to make music. They have shared the stage with numerous acts including Giuda, The Dickies, The Queers and Koffin Cats. Their tight catchy melodies nod toward the high energy of 1970s punk rock with the swagger of glam derived rock n’ roll. It’s is a style reminiscent of Johnny Thunders and The Heartbreakers, Protex, or The Beat, all the while twisting to the contemporary flair found in The Exploding Hearts.

Most the world shut down in 2020. However, Bad Sex wasted little time by continuing to write and rehearse. They even made a music video for the track “Miranda.” This hard work paid off with the release of the Miranda/Devil Doll 7” on July 2, 2021. Bad Sex also performed the RKR MTN Rendezvous. This was an all dayer concert that was in conjunction with the RKR MTN Ripper Festival, in Denver, Colorado.

2022 appears to a promising year for Bad Sex. In March, they did a brief west coast tour which included Salt Lake City, Utah on March 13. After the tour, Bad Sex landed in the studio to record an EP set to release later in 2022. In July they will open for TSOL on July 28, and in September embark on 20-day tour, including playing the RKR MTN Ripper Festival. Finally in November, they will open for The Dead Boys, The Briefs and Suzi Moon.  

On the way to Denver for RKR MTN Ripper Festival, Bad Sex will grace Salt Lake City at The International on September 7th. Salt Lake City locals Shecock and The Pseudos are set to open.  To learn I caught up with Bad Sex and they were kind enough to fill me in on their plans for the remainder of 2022.

Quinn Walls and Jerry Fowler

NixBeat: Bad Sex formed in 2016. What prompted you to form Bad Sex?

Walls: Everyone I knew was in a band, I wanted to start one too.

Kruse: My band had a space and I figured I could figure out how to play drums so my best friend could be in a band.

Olsen: I saw them play with my band at a house show and thought the songs were good, and if all my friends were in a band, I want in.

Fowler: Quinn and Nick had a new band going, and needed a bassist. So, I learned how to play bass.

NixBeat: Described as a raunchy power pop and degenerate party punk, what influences do draw from for Bad Sex’s sound?

Walls: well that’s an older description, I’d say we’re much more 70’s power pop & rock ‘n’ roll nowadays. Or influences range greatly from person to person. I draw influence from The Exploding Hearts, Rubinoos, Elvis Costello, and The Ramones mostly.

Kruse: I love Ramones, Cheap Trick, The Who (especially the 60’s stuff). My favorite drummers are Tommy Ramone, Marky Ramone, Ritchie Ramone, and Elvis Ramone.

Fowler: I grew up listening to a lot of Alkaline Trio and Rancid. Like mall-punk type stuff. I honestly learned about power-pop upon joining Bad Sex. Dan Andriano from Alkaline is definitely my main influence as far a bass playing goes.

Olsen: Blink-182 is probably my favorite band ever ,along with AC/DC and KISS. The first album I ever bought was Ever Passing Moment by MxPx, and I still listen to that record today.

NixBeat: In January 2019, Bad Sex flew out to Atlanta, Georgia to record your debut album Waste Of Time with Joe Queer and Tuk Smith. What was that process like?

Bad Sex: The first big show we played was with The Dickies and The Queers. After the show, Joe Queer pulled us aside and asked if we wanted to come to Atlanta and record with him at Scabby Road Studio. Quinn had mentioned liking the band Biters, so Joe asked if we wanted Tuk Smith to come into the studio. Tuk had brought along producer Dan Dixon, who helped write harmonies and sing on the ‘Waste of Time’ record.

NixBeat: On September 17th and 18th 2019, Bad Sex opened for Giuda along with The Sadists (in PDX) and with Die Nasty (in Seattle).  What was it like to open for Giuda during their North West portion of their tour?

Bad Sex: In two words: Absolutely thrilling. They are so nice, so talented and really fun. We hit it off, talked gear, talked music and played pinball.

Quinn Walls and Charles Olsen

NixBeat: On February 28, 2020 Bad Sex opened for The Hollywood Stars alongside The Crazy Squeeze and Nico Bones, with DJ Power Pop Jeff. How did you get involved with this show and what was it like to open for The Hollywood Stars?

Bad Sex: Our friend Nico Bones hit us up out of the blue, and we jumped at the opportunity. We’re more of a west coast band, than a Portland band, so we went for it. Then a month later everything shut down.

NixBeat: In March of 2020, Bad Sex (along with numerous groups around the world) were affected by onset of the Coronavirus. This included gig postponed and job loss. How did you get through the Pandemic?

Bad Sex: We wrote, recorded and made a video. A venue in town, The Goodfoot, let us rehearse in their basement. We kept meeting up several times a week and just didn’t stop.

NixBeat: On July 2, 2021 Bad Sex released the Miranda/Devil Doll 7” visa Crash Assailant Records. What were you drawing from for the track “Miranda?”

Olsen: “Miranda” is all about my first love. we were together for three years and broke up right around the time Bad Sex was taking things more seriously. I’m a big fan of Pete Shelley and love how a lot of his songs were autobiographical. Needless to say, I was pretty hurt at the time. “Miranda” was really the first time I was able to put my feelings into words ,and was in a band that played music that made sense to how I felt at that time.

NixBeat: What inspired the track “Devil Doll?”

Walls: “Devil Doll” was written at the end of a relationship, reflecting on how different feelings are at the beginning and end of relationships. Inspired mostly by The Nerves and Paul Collins Beat.

NixBeat: On September 10th, 2021 Bad Sex played the RKR MTN Rendezvous— which is apart of the RKR MTN Ripper Festival, in Denver, Colorado. How did you get involved with this festival and what was it like to perform again after the Covid hiatus?

Walls: I had talked to Micah from Fast Eddy about us wanting to play that fest and he put us on the bill right away.

Fowler: It was nice to be back playing music, especially in a new city with some of our favorite bands. The whole fest was just what we all needed after a year of fuckin’ nothing.

NixBeat:  In March 2022, Bad Sex embarked on a tour that started off in Salt Lake City, Utah. There you played at Quarters DLC with Slick Velveteens with DJ Retrograde and I behind the decks. What was it like for you to play Salt Lake City?

Walls: SLC was so much more beautiful than I had imagined and the venue was so fun, reminded me of when I worked at an arcade.

Olsen: I had a blast. Jerry, Nick and I’s old band GUN used to come to SLC all the time, and play Beehive Social and Dis House. Shout out to Sam and Conrad. Getting to go to Raunch was also super cool and selling some singles there was a dream come true.

NixBeat: This tour also saw Bad Sex support Koffin Kats during several dates in Washington and Oregon. This isn’t the first time Bad Sex has played with Koffin Kats. However, what was it like to pay with them during this tour?

Fowler: It was a goddamn blast. They’re incredible musicians and just all-around nice guys.

Olsen: I feel like we’re cut from the same cloth. Getting to tour with a band like Koffin Kats ,who have done it for so long, taught us so much; I really can’t say enough nice things about those guys. You can expect to see us together more in the future.

NixBeat: During the weekend of September 9th through 11th, Bad Sex will be playing the RKR MTN RIPPER III festival in Denver, Colorado. Other acts include RMBLR, Ravagers, Fast Eddy and more.  How did you get involved with this festival and what can readers expect from your performance?

Walls: When we played last year, Micah saw us and immediately wanted us to play the main stage the next year.

Fowler: you can expect a lot of new stuff. We’ve been utilizing our down time with really honing our craft and expanding our horizons.

NixBeat: On the way to Denver Bad Sex will be playing the International Bar in Salt Lake City on September 7th. This time with Shecock and The Pseudos opening. What can Salt Lake City look forward from Bad Sex gracing this city again?

Bad Sex: A damn good time with us, The Pseudos and Shecock.

NixBeat: What does the future hold for Bad Sex?

Olsen: New songs, new merch and more shows. July 28th we’re playing in Portland with T.S.O.L. and playing a couple shows with Dead Boys and The Briefs shortly after that.

Walls: We’ve got a 20-day tour in September that will be announced shortly and there’s another tour in January hitting parts of the country we haven’t played yet. We’ve got lots of stuff on the horizon. It’s hard to keep up!

Fowler: We just finished up the studio. We recorded an EP, and another song for a comp. Both should be out before the end of the year.

For more about Bad Sex check out their Facebook and Bandcamp!

Brad Marino — Looking For Trouble

Brad Marino

Looking For Trouble


Spaghetty Town Records

Brad Marino certainly has a lot of swagger. Previously known for his work with The 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.  

For more from Brad Marino check out his Bandcamp!

Bambies — Summer Soon


Summer Soon


Spaghetty Town Records

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.

For more about Bambies visit their Bandcamp!

Duncan Reid and The Big Heads — Don’t Blame Yourself

Duncan Reid and The Big Heads

Don’t Blame Yourself

LBH Records

Street: 05/15/2020

There’s something impressively enamoring about Duncan Reid and The Big Heads. They boast a definitive, yet familiar vein. Their new record Don’t Blame Yourself blends power pop with punk sensibilities by twisting it into a definitive pub rock sound. That being said, this isn’t adolescent rock n’ roll. It’s music that is well refined and remains consistently engaging throughout.  Fans of Reid’s previous ventures will find a home with this record. Especially if they like The Boys or even  Eddie and The Hot Rods.

When picking this album up, it’s important to approach it with an open mind. It’s not suffering from the plague of mediocrity. Duncan Reid And The Big Heads are not just another Ramones-influenced rock group. They have years of experience that explore a remarkable depth of style.

The theme of Don’t Blame Yourself seems to be one of coming into a sense of maturity if not a sense of impending mortality. This is demonstrated by many of this records tracks emphasizing a certain reflection toward life lived and lost. Some tracks like “Oh What A Lovely Day” celebrate power pop melody’s coupled with calming, yet ruminative lyrical properties.  Other songs like this are “Came The Day,” and “Dave.”

Many of their tracks have an upbeat  nature to them and are arguably infectious to the ears. This is mostly true with tracks like “Your Future Ex Wife,” “To Live Or Live Not” and of course the ever so charmingly titled “Motherfucker.”

Singing along to this record isn’t required, but it’ll be hard not to do after some pint-sized liquid courage. This is particularly true with “Motherfucker” and “To Live Or Live Not.” The former has the fun and catchy chorus derived from the title of the track. Besides, who doesn’t want to sing “motherfucker” at the top of their lungs?

The latter, “To Live Or Live Not” is a track starts out strong and grips you. This is arguably thanks to Reid’s catchy word smithing ,and the tracks prominent chugging riffs.   Not to mention it’s power pop driven with certain harmonies that stick with you like glue. It’s only three minutes long, but the smoothness of it’s delivery makes “To Live Or Live Not” feel short and sweet.

The title song “Don’t Blame Yourself” is easily my favorite track on this record. It’s a true and blue punk rock n’ roll tune.  This is thanks to the bluesy rock driven riffs that give “Don’t Blame Yourself” a definitive edge.  It’s very reminiscent of something TV Smith later work encompasses. Another track like this is “Little Miss Understood.”

In Don’t Blame Yourself, listeners will find a range to work with. One moment it’s a tune to groove to, the other a song that invokes strong memories and emotions. This release seems oddly appropriate for this year. This is because 2020 is a year representing a challenge and shock to the normalcies of day-to-day life.

While surely recorded pre-covid 19, Don’t Blame Yourself is almost perfect for the slowness of today’s reality. After all, an album exploring a mid-life crisis is apt for anyone coping with the turbulence of 2020. Nevertheless, be sure to check out Don’t Blame Yourself.  It’s good and ought to be listened to.

For more about Duncan Reid and The Big Heads, check out their website!

The Speedways: Radio Sounds For Better Days

The Speedways: Mauro, Kris, Matthew, and Adrian

Since 2018, The Speedways have serenaded rock n’ rollers blinded by the lure of hopeless romanticism. These anthems of youthful heartache are inspired by Matthew Julian’s experience with a “beautiful girl.” Subsequently, this music is brought to life by with the infectious nature of a late 1970’s punk sound twisting into the warm embrace of the forever longing and an ever personal power pop style. This masterful composition approach falls directly in line with groups like Protex, The Nerves, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers and even The Ronettes.

The Speedways were originally envisioned as a one off solo project. Their first record Just Another Regular Summer was written and recorded by Matthew Julian, with the help of Dec Burns. The definitive power pop sounds that came from Just Another Regular Summer (released May 27, 2018) quickly gained notoriety. Matt was soon asked by Mauro Venegas to perform for his Some Weird Sin’s special event Power Pop Weekender in 2018.

To make the performance a reality, Mauro, Adrian Savio and Kris Hood joined the band. Over the last couple years The Speedways have performed countless gigs, toured and recorded new material. They have released three singles and the highly anticipated follow up to Just Another Regular Summer, Radio Sounds, on June 29, 2020.

While Radio Sounds was well received critically, The Speedways were unfortunately unable to celebrate the release because of the Coronavirus Pandemic. Despite the setback, The Speedways remain vigilant and have enjoyed popular attention to their records.

On October 17, 2020, The Speedways made a special appearance for Some Weird Sin’s 8th Anniversary Party at Paper Dress Vintage. However, after a lockdown order was put in place, that performance may be their last for 2020. To find more about how The Speedways are doing, I chatted with them about releasing a record during the Coronavirus Pandemic, the evolution from Just Another Regular Summer into Radio Sounds, playing their possible last performance of 2020 and more.

NixBeat: The Speedways were originally envisioned as a one off solo project. In the bands bio on Facebook The Speedways sound is suggested to be a more personal take on Power Pop, blending elements of Tom Petty, Phil Spector and The Exploding Hearts. What inspired you to write, record and release Just Another Regular Summer?

Matthew: The entire Just Another Regular Summer album (and most of Radio Sounds) was inspired by a beautiful girl. If you take someone on a date to Joe Meeks flat it’s gonna end up in a song (even if “they wouldn’t let us go inside”) But then I got a bit carried away and wrote enough songs about her to make an album (well, two albums). My mate has a little home studio in Nottingham and I recorded it there with him. There were no plans to release it but after I put it on bandcamp I had a few labels contact me. The Diana Dors LP artwork (by my mate Josh) was the icing on the cake. I really love the album.

NixBeat: I understand that the Speedways first concert was to perform at the London club night Some Weird Sin. After accepting Some Weird Sin cofounder Mauro Venegas (The Godfathers, Johnny Cola and The A Grades, Miscalculations) along with Adrian Alfonso (Dead Meat) and Kris Hood (More Kicks, Los Pepes) joined the band. What has it been like to collaborate with this all star cast?

Matthew: It’s been brilliant. I think we’re really well suited and compliment one another in a way that a band should. Of course everyone can play but there’s also a great attitude towards it. We’re all on the same page with the music and presentation which is important. As Mauro once said, the line-up kinda picked itself really, the obvious choices all came onboard. We’ve done a lot in the relatively short time we’ve been going. I reckon we’re a great little band. And yep, the very first gig was for the ‘Some Weird Sin – Power Pop Weekender 2018’ .. off the back of  one and a half rehearsals.

NixBeat: Matt, in an interview with Veglam.com published on July 7th 2020 you mentioned that years ago you frequently visited Some Weird Sin. While attending you had “found your people” after hearing groups like Protex, Hanoi Rocks and The Ronettes. Would you expand on why Some Weird Sin had that impact on you?

Matthew: Five years or so back I was feeling pretty stale and fed up so I began hopping on a train down to London on a regular basis. I’m a record collector and ended up making a few pals who worked in the record shops in Camden. I knew a bit about the scene and had seen the Ten O Sevens a couple of times but I didn’t really know anyone. Anyway, I ended up at Some Weird Sin one night and I met Mauro and Simon who I got on really well with. They were DJ’ing great tunes and the live bands were cool so I went again the following month, and then again the next etc.. Everyone seemed really sound and would get you a beer in. Some of the first people I got to know were Kris, Liam and Bobby from the band Scraps. Liam was at a Shannon & The Clams show in Hackney and he asked me “when are you next in town?” and I said, I’m gonna go to the Crazy Squeeze gig in Camden and he was like “mate, I’m putting that gig on. I’ll list you” ..and that ended up being the first time I met Adrian. The seeds of a power pop fairytale had been well and truly sown.

NixBeat: The Speedways have performed with many notable acts, such as The Briefs, Protex, Baby Shakes and Nikki Corvette. What has been your favorite band to play with and why?

Adrian: I’d personally say Baby Shakes as they’ve been there since day one and it’s always a party with them.

Mauro: Let’s not forget Giuda!  Hard to pick from any of the ones you’ve mentioned though, as they’ve all become lasting friendships, which is fantastic.

Matthew: It was nice to play with them all! Baby Shakes have been mates since they first visited the UK and we just hit it off. They’re a great band and great pals. Protex are a big influence on everyone who plays this style of music, I listened to them a lot when I made the first album so it was so cool when Aiden contacted me to say how much he loved it. The Briefs are one of the best live bands around for sure, Pascal booked our first mini tour of Germany and has been extremely supportive of our music. Nikki is a legend and it was a thrill to play guitar for her. I like to think the Speedways are now her fulltime UK Corvettes! She was great. on top of that, Tommy & The Commies were a personal fave and we’ve opened for The Zeros too who were ace.

NixBeat:  What are some of your favourite London bands to play with?

Matthew: I’d have to say The Kinks.

Mauro: Haha that one’s even harder!  I guess we’ve played with Lucy & the Rats a couple of times and they’re cool.

NixBeat: My favourite track off Just Another Regular Summer is “Reunion In The Rain” What influenced you to write this song?

Matthew: It’s my favourite too. It’s about hoping the day comes that you get to see her again in real life  instead of just in your dreams. It rains during the reunion, because it would wouldn’t it? ..but who’d care? It’s influenced by longing. Musically it’s a kinda Ronettes meets Ramones thing. I can hear Ronnie singing it. I’d love her to sing it.

NixBeat: On July 12, 2019 The Speedways released the “Seen Better Days” single through Snap!! Records. The b-side was “They Don’t Knoworiginally done by Kirsty MacColl in 1979 via Stiff Records. What’s the story behind choosing this song for the b-side of that single?

Matthew: Mauro suggested it. We only had one album out at the time & we needed a cover for the live set to flesh things out a bit. We’d done “Back Of my Hand” by The Jags a couple of times and even though we did it really well it felt a bit obvious. “They Don’t Know” is a great choice because it’s a song we all love and it kinda fits with what we are as a band, but it’s also a little unexpected too. It ended up on the b-side because we needed one, and because we do a decent version. The plan was to do a video for the A and B side of the single, but Kris broke his wrist so we were unable to record the video for “Seen Better Days” ..hence why there’s a video for the B side and not the A side!

Mauro: I just thought it would suit us and be interesting to have it sung from a male perspective, as it’s a traditionally “female” song.  I like how live it comes out a bit more Replacements-y.

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.

NixBeat: Radio Sounds was released in June 2020 in the midst of the Covid 19 Pandemic. How has Radio Sounds been received? 

Matthew: It’s been received really well, but of course it’s been tough. Like all bands at our level you have your online sales and your gig sales, but there have been no gig sales this year for obvious reasons. I’d say we’ve definitely gone up a level in terms of interest in the band though. Our biggest market in physical record sales has been America again, which is a killer for the buyer because postage costs are insanity, but it’s so great to have fans over there. We’ve done good business in Spain, Scandinavia, UK, Japan and Australia too. People seem to really like it. The pandemic has delayed a few overseas orders of course, so there has been the odd refund and late arrival, but overall it’s gone pretty smooth considering. We’ve had a lot of radio, blog and magazine support which we appreciate so much. It really does help get the word out, especially during this time.

NixBeat: What were you drawing from whilst writing “Kisses Are History?” Tell me about the song.

Matthew: I wrote an early version of it for Just Another Regular Summer ..I had the phrase “once you were a mystery but now your kisses are history” – but the verse lyrics were a bit too self pitying and I couldn’t get beyond that. I wanted it to build gradually to a crescendo like “Running Scared” by Roy Orbison, which I absolutely love (I might steal that technique in the future tbh). Also, I already had a song with the word kiss in the title (“One Kiss Can Lead To Another”) so I shelved it. A few years later when I was writing for Radio Sounds I thought I’d give it another go, so I made it a bit more self confident this time around – “I should have been the one.” I also added some bitterness at the end of the chorus – “if all this was meant to be then so much for love.” It ended up being the first single from the album. Mauro wrote a beautiful guitar solo for it. Never give up on songs that aren’t working out!

NixBeat: What’s the story behind the track “In A World Without Love It’s Hard To Stay Young”?

Matthew: It’s partly fictional and partly real. The main ‘story’ in the song is wondering if the interesting new person you’ve met could be “something” but then you see her on the 29 bus with her significant other. It’s disappointing but it doesn’t really matter because you’re still in love with the girl in silver shoes in any case. “In a world without love it’s hard to stay young” means it’s hard to have the optimism and positivity of youth if you don’t have love and companionship. It was the last song I wrote for the album and it took ages to finish. The original chorus was really wordy “I fell in love with a girl that I used to know, I was Johnny Ramone and she was Brigitte Bardot, then they all lined up to steal her heart away, a kiss off the back of a few stolen words is a drop in the ocean for bees & for birds, now maybe the bad times will do me some good but in a world without love it’s hard to stay young” I changed it to “I fell in love with a girl wearing silver shoes” repeat x3! Much more impact and less corny! I find lyrics really tough but I’m better at self editing than I used to be. I really like this song. It’s great to play live and it’s the perfect album closer.

NixBeat: The Covid 19 Pandemic has seen much of the music world stop in it’s tracks. With bands halting tours and performances, and even many venues closing their doors, how has life been during this for The Speedways?

Mauro: I reckon we’ve taken the bull by the horns in some ways – we’ve kept busy in as much as we’ve been physically able to (even harder with Matt living in a different town to the rest of us), but we’ve been productive lately, shooting videos, recording sessions and even playing live, of course.

Matthew: Yeah, it’s tough in the sense I live up in the Midlands and the rest of the lads are down in London, but we’ve done as much as we possibly can under the circumstances. We went over five months without seeing each other or doing anything, but in August we had a rehearsal, then in September we filmed a couple of videos and recorded a live set for radio, in October we played a show and in November we’ve got a day booked in the studio.. so that’s a decent run. It’s been a fucking rotten year for everyone though of course.

NixBeat: During the Covid 19 Pandemic Bandcamp has had an all sales go directly to artists on the first Friday of the month. What do you think of Bandcamp’s event and has it benefited sales of Speedways records and merchandise?

Matthew: We’ve done ok from it. A few people have been kind enough to order stuff on those particular Fridays. We still need to get some more merchandise done actually. There isn’t any Radio Sounds stuff because obviously we haven’t been able to tour or anything.

NixBeat: On October 17th 2020 The Speedways performed their first show since the onset of Covid 19 in March 2020. The show was to celebrate Some Weird Sin’s 8th birthday party at Paper Dress Vintage. The show emphasized certain restrictions like social distancing and being seated. What was performing this show like in the era of Covid 19?

Mauro: It was GREAT to play live again!  I think we’d all really missed that buzz. We only managed to get together to rehearse once, but it seems like we all know the songs still, so that’s something!  I found I got used to the audience being seated pretty quick, to be honest they were still more lively than some of the London crowds we’d played to before all this anyway, haha!

Adrian: It was a bit stressful given the recent lockdown coming into place, but playing was fun. It was nerve racking to see the seats but once the stage lights go on and the drunk audience start hollering it’s pretty familiar.

Matthew: I really enjoyed it. I mean, obviously the restrictions and limitations were frustrating but after a few beers it didn’t really matter! It was cool to play with the guys again and great to see friends who we hadn’t seen since at least March ffs! We played “Empty Pages” for the first time live which was something I’d been looking forward to. I liked playing two sets in one night actually. Very old school!

NixBeat: What does the future hold for The Speedways?

Matthew: What does the future hold for anyone right now? It’s a tough one to answer. We plan to put one last single out from the Radio Sounds LP pretty soon. Long term of course it’s difficult to say, I mean in theory we’d wanna tour and gig as much as possible, but we’ll have to wait & see. I’ve struggled to write during Covid. Rather than being inspired by the dead time I’ve been stifled and disillusioned by it. My songs are about feelings and personal experiences. Those things have been in short supply during 2020. I probably shouldn’t end on a negative! ..so with my glass half full I’ll say 2021 will be our year and we’ll be able to get back to doing what we love.

For more about The Speedways check them out on Facebook or Bandcamp!

Jordan Jones – “Self-Titled”

Jordan Jones


Spaghetty Town Records

Released 08/02/2019

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

This invocation of power pop is clearly demonstrated in the opening track “Wrote You A Song For Me.” It’s a harmonious track that blends notions of hopeless romantic notions of youthful yearnings. It’s the tune that perfectly welcomes in the the records listener and keep them hooked.

Digging deeper into this record Jones reveals music that meant to tug at one’s heart strings.  This is the case with tracks like “My Somebody,” or the mellow “How to Be” and “Be My Baby.” These are familiar themes that largely characterize this album. That being said, Jones’ isn’t redundant in his delivery, and manages to leave a sound that lingers on.

My personal favorite track is “Rumours Girls.” It’s a tune that starts out with a punch and doesn’t quite get bogged down about being a hopeless romantic. Instead it takes a shot at rock ‘ n roll scenesters  emphasis on blind nostalgic romanticism for the culture of the 1970’s. This is pointed out when Jones sings about the folly of needing to look a certain way to fit in.

While the song   pokes at the material imagery, there is some betraying a sense of self-deprecation when Jones sings of his own appreciation for the retro style. Overall, it shows Jone’s ability to move beyond the trappings of romantic power pop with the touchings of social awareness.

This all being said, Jordan Jones is record is certainly near the top of the list of vital contemporary artists to be heard.  For me this record blends the subdued groovyness that gives power pop it’s rock n’ roll zesty flavor. It is a sounds boasting brilliance with a composition meant to be nothing less that welcoming to the ears.  

Furthermore, It would be amiss not to suggest that Jones debut album is among those who help inspire a much needed revival for power pop for this day and age. Other contemporaries in that realm are Fashionism’sSmash Singles LP” and The Speedways “Another Regular Summer.” To be sure though, Jordan Jones has something more attune to 70’s power pop rock n’ roll than it’s angsty punker sounding cousins.

That doesn’t mean it’s any less worth hearing, though. So, be sure to go out to your local record shop and pick this up. Jordan Jones is a diamond in the rough and truly deserves to be heard.

The Speedways – Just Another Regular Summer

The Speedways
Just Another Regular Summer
Gods Candy Records
Released: 05.27.2018

The Speedways’ Just Another Regular Summer provides the new essential anthems for teenage inspired kicks and heartaches. Easily taking nods from a nostalgic 77-ear of punky-power pop sound, The Speedways capture the styles that made The Boys or The Outcasts definitive. It’s a record that boasts dreamy power pop brilliance for the modern age. This is an album that professes sounds that are unique and excellent. To say anything less would be blasphemy.

This album was composed by Mathew Julian with the addition of Dec Burns on the drums. Just Another Regular Summer captures the nostalgic essence of Joey Ramone’s longing vocals by twisting it with an attitude worthy of the Exploding Hearts and infusing it with the hopeless romantic nature of Protex and the Speedies. The tracks on Just Another Regular Summer are performed with a kind of painful restraint but maintains a cool and passionate feeling. This is especially evident with the track “Reunion In The Rain.”

This is the perfect music to inspire feelings of being soaked in heartbreak, while forever being possessed by the powerful spell that first begged one to fall in love. Each track on this album is golden and there is no filler. However, my favorite songs are “Seen Better Days” and “One Kiss Can Lead To Another.” “Seen Better Days” is a groovy jangly pop tune with an infectious chorus. “One Kiss Can Lead To Another” is the song for lovers and is sung from the perspective of one shyly longing for romance.

If I had to nominate an album that was meant to be heard this summer, then it is most certainly Just Another Regular Summer. Through masterful lyricism and composition, Julian shows excellence in creating melodies that inspire the vivid imagery serenading the complexity of love that is lost. Rumor has it this is a one album wonder. If it is, lovers of power pop will be hard pressed to find tunes like these ever again. Don’t miss out on this gem and grab a copy of Just Another Regular Summer where ever it may be available. This is the diamond in the rough and it pleads to be heard.

For more of The Speedways, visit their Bandcamp!