GRANDE ROSES: Built On Schemes: CD

Grande Roses - Built on schemes cover art

This band from Sweden lists themselves as “rock” in style and yes, it is rock, but it also has a nice touch of alternative, but not the crappy stuff on the radio, more lick the stuff that was on the radio back in the late ’80s and early ’90s. The kind of music that covered rock, new wave, and a new twist on rock just like The Levellers, Sisters Of Mercy, and even way back to Joy Division.

The styles of this album are mixed together to complement one another and give the band a style all of their own. From the first note of the opening track “The Knife Digs Deeper” to the finale of “Spread the Ashes,” you get hit with powerful songs and energetic playing. With post punk rhythms, and soaring chorus’, it feels as though every track is an anthem, or should become one. “No Future” has a nice Iggy Pop vocal touch and punk rock feel to it, plus great background vocals to be one of the highlights of this album. I was just amazed at how this album has a timeless sound to it, it could have come out in the ’80s when post punk was huge, it could have come out when the goth powerhouse bands in the late ’80s, early ’90s were pumping out classics, and it sounds fresh today. The band shows just how skilled they are on track after track, giving their all in every note, and the vocals are so emotive and powerful that the album sends shivers down my spine.

I was more than shocked to hear an album that blows away the competition…what competition, these guys stand on their own. If this is only their second album, I can’t wait to see where they go and grow from here.

RANSOM PRICE: My Kidnap Money: CD

Ransom Price, hails from the Philadelphia suburbs of southern New Jersey, was founded in December 2012 by Mike Ransom, formerly a member of 90s punk band Point Blank, and by former Endless Sacrifice drummer Chris Mazure. Ransom Price plays catchy and melodic punk rock that is guaranteed to stick with you long after the first time you hear it.

Well I grabbed this CD and took a look at the cover and got scared, it looks like a touchy-feelie band playing emo/acoustic crap, that is until you notice the bloodstains on the shirt…hmmmmmm. So I threw it on and was surprised by the melodic punk that has a nice hint of pop to it, but not that crappy pop punk that is everywhere now. These guys play punk the way it was back in the ’90s with just enough sweetness, but not enough to put you into a diabetic coma. The songs are played tightly, with clear, crisp production, giving the songs a nice punch to them. The vocals are not too snotty, but they have a bit of an edge to them which adds to the overall feel of the songs, the band is on point, with the occasional gang vocal, chugging guitar playing with the riffs being spare, but well done, strong bass playing and driving drumming. The songs are so melodic and catchy that it’s hard to pick favorites, but a few that stood out, at least on this play, are “Radar Contact Lost,” “Fire Escape,” “Another Day,” and “Drink.”

This shows that punk played with melody and some pop can work when done well, thank you for getting it right…hallelujah! An album that will sound great blasting from the windows of your house or car when the weather co-operates.

EPIDEMICS: Self-titled: CD

Epidemics - s/t cover art

Swedish quartet EPIDEMICS have been around since 2007, with a debut album that came out in 2008, that was followed by an EP and a single. On their second album, the band consists of Richard (guitar), Emma (vocals), Emil (bass), and Erik (drums).

This album is chock full of punk rock goodness, as well as a ton of hooks to sweeten the deal even more.The vocals from Emma are fantastic, they have a touch of her accent mixed into the power that she carries into the songs. Her vocals go from sweet to bitter so fast and with zero effort, but they fit so perfect. The band plays tight and with energy on this album giving the songs a nice hard edge mixed in with more melodic moments. I love “I Don’t Get It” with its hint of Blondie sound. The hooks on this song should be a huge hit, but radio sucks and sadly it would never happen…that’s why you have to go out and get this, to make it a hit for yourself. You can hear the odd touch of Blondie and other touches of new wave mixed in and it totally works and sounds fresh. If this was released back in 1980, it would fit in perfectly and would be considered a classic, but it was released in 2013 and it still be considered a classic…this is the exact stuff that I play all of the time and love. You get song after song of hook laden punk that is suited for playing non stop.

This is the album to get and totally support this band, whether by merchandise or seeing live. This is one of the best punk albums that is so melodic and not shitty pop punk, but has enough pop sensibility to grab the listener and turn you into a fan.


Released cover art

This band is from Montreal, Quebec, and plays melodic death metal. Sadly they have broken up, but they have left this debut album for us to enjoy.

The album is full of heavy double bass drumming, thick bass, speedy riffing and guttural vocals. With the album opening and closing with static noise, the songs go very well together like a complete and whole thought. The album has song after song that just grabs you and holds you down, forcing you to pay attention. The instrumental song “3 KM Left” is an instrumental and has such delicate and beautiful piano in it, plus it does have a heavy part that makes you remember where you are and what you are listening to, a metal band that has definite skill at adding texture and depth to their sound. “Le Naufragé” is the last song and has French lyrics makes for a nice heavy ending to this album.

PETER PAN SPEEDROCK: Buckle Up And Shove It!: CD

Buckle Up And Shove It (SDR 015) cover art

Peter Pan Speedrock is a Dutch band from Eindhoven. They were founded in 1997 by guitarist Peter van Elderen, drummer Bart Nederhand and bass player Bob Muileboom. Later on, Muileboom was replaced by Bart Geevers,who would become a permanent member.

The band gives us a nice mix of Motorhead in overall heaviness along with the vocals, The Damned (they cover New Rose), and bands like Speedealer, and Nashville Pussy. This is definitely an album that dares you to ignore it…you just can’t since they hit you in the nuts repeatedly on every track. There are no tracks for me to recommend…the whole thing is one blazing inferno that must be experienced. The playing is tight, and the gruff vocals really give the album a dirty feel that suits it perfectly. It hasn’t been over produced, but it’s just done enough to give it clarity, but keeps it gritty sounding.

This is just a terrific album that really begs you to crank it up and piss off your neighbors with it. Grab a copy and have your ears thank you for taking care of them.


Two Bad Dudes (SDR 014) cover art

This duo from Seattle, WA plays a mix of stoner rock, metal, and blues. Playing almost non-stop since they got together in 2007, these guys are tight and thrilling to listen to.

With the guitar playing on the album nice and fuzzy, the songs are full of a bluesy sound that is full of emotion. Guitarist/vocalist Christopher Rutledge has a very smooth voice, which gives the songs a nice sound that keeps things from getting to weighed down in heaviness. William Fee does an amazing job on drums, especially on “Black Magic I,” his drum solo is fantastic. While listening to this album, I was thinking of how much this has the feel of an album from the late ’60s or early ’70s with the textures that they pull out of their instruments. As I got further into the album, I was astounded just how much the album kept on growing on me and becoming more addictive. I couldn’t pick just one or two stand out songs on here, that’s because the whole album stands out from the crap out there and is head and shoulder over the limp rock force-fed to people on the radio.

Grab a copy of this today before you look ridiculous in front of your cool friends who already bought this. This is an album that shows how raw emotion and pure guts can make something that makes the hair on your arms stand up.

OI! AIN’T DEAD: Various: CD

This album is a four-way split record with four Bands from four different countries: The Old Firm Casuals (USA), Razorblade (NL), The Corps (AUS) and Booze & Glory (UK). The CD comes with a twenty page booklet including pictures, lyrics and info

First up are The Old Firm Casuals who are widely known for their frontman being Lars Frederiksen from RANCID. “You Better Start Runnin,” is a great rocking song full of aggression, great bass lines and it is very easy to sing along to with strong vocals. “I Remain” has the bass player singing it and his voice adds a nice dark element to the track. “Love Street Kid” is a great sing-a-long anthem that is a real stand out. Next up is Razorblade with three songs. “Fighting The System” is a fantastic song that is both powerful and thrilling to hear. “Demolition Man” is about Alistair Overeem the heavy weight fighter in the MMA. “Back Once More” has that great Razorblade heaviness to it and is a great last track. The Corps bring four rock ‘n’ roll fueled streetrock tracks to this record. “Know The Code,” and “Making Enemies” are amazing tracks that give us their trademark sound, thick Rose Tattoo mixed with classic Oi! Both “Talk Is Over” and “Making Enemies” are tight tracks as well. Booze and Glory finish the CD off with four songs. Bouncy bass lines, heavy drumming, classic guitar sound and a great singer make these songs a treat to hear. “Friends,” England Will Never Change,” “Working Hard, Dressing Smart,” and “It Was Our World” are all classic ’80s sounding Oi! songs that are just amazing.

This is what compilations are supposed to be, a way to hear different bands and to hear good songs, this is exactly that. This compilation really is a treat and definitely is one to turn up and play loud.

ROMAN HOLLIDAY: Cookin’ On The Roof: CD

Roman Holliday is a British band that started in 1980, whose style of music was a mixture of swing and pop. They are best known in the UK for their hit single “Don’t Try To Stop It”, which reached number 14 in the UK Singles Chart in the summer of 1983, a follow-up, “Motormania,” peaked at number 40, and in the United States, the group achieved exposure through MTV, which aired their “Stand By” video. The single went to number one on the Canadian Adult Contemporary chart in November 1983.

This is the first time that Cookin’ On The Roof has been on CD in the UK (it was only previously issued in Japan). It’s remastered from the original tapes with six bonus tracks. Original members of ROMAN HOLLIDAY are helping out with this long-overdue reissue, contributing rare photos and pictures for the booklet as well as being involved with the sleeve-notes.

Highlighted by the warm voice of charismatic lead singer Steve Lambert, the group created a killer debut, fueled by the singles “Don’t Try To Stop It,” “Motormania,” and “Stand By.” Don’t think that these are the only good tracks on the album, the rest of the disc is remarkably consistent, including the ballad “Serious Situation” and the delightful “Midnight Bus.” This stuff predated the swing revival by years, but is more energetic and original than almost anything to come out of that scene. The good part is that you can hear that even though this was the ’80s, the time of contrived and put together bands, these guys had heart and soul, plus a true love for what they were doing. The album sounds great with the new remastered sound and includes a ton of bonus tracks such as; “Don’t Try To Stop It (Acapella),” “Round And Round,” “Motor Mania (Acapella),” “Beat My Time,” “Don’t Try To Stop It (Extended Club Mix),” and “Motor Mania (Extended Club Mix).

TOUCHSTONE: Oceans Of Time: CD

Touchstone are a rock band from Hertfordshire, England. The original band was formed by keyboardist Rob Cottingham and guitarist Adam Hodgson in 2003. Other band members include bassist Paul ‘Moo’ Moorghen, singer Kim Seviour and drummer Henry Rogers.

Opener “Flux” is a stomping rocker with a lovely reflective break in the middle, and fantastic riffs throughout. “Contact” has great bass playing and searing guitar playing throughout with soaring vocals. “Fragments” mixes eastern mysticism with heavy riffs and great lyrics. “Shadow’s End” has kick-drums and snarling guitars over frantic pulsing electronics, and add Kim’s sweet and melodic chorus over icy-cool synths and you have a winning combination. “Through The Night” is an energetic rocker that’s a quick blast of energy that sounds great. “Tabula Rasa” has a strong melody with a catchy chorus, dreamy chiming guitars, subtle backing harmonies, quick tempo changes and a soaring guitar solo in the middle of the song. After an ambient intro, the title track, at almost ten minutes long, has a grandness to it with flowing transitions between acoustic and electric spots with extended instrumental passages make it a perfect album closer.

Oceans of Time is the album that will deservedly expose Touchstone to a larger audience. This was a nice surprise and well worth checking out for those who like lots of melody & crunch in their progressive rock.


For this record, Pop collaborated with Ivan Kral, who is best known as the guitar and bass player for Patti Smith in the 1970s. When Arista heard the album, they brought in former Monkees producer Tommy Boyce to remix “Bang Bang”. According to Iggy Pop’s autobiography I Need More, he wrote “Bang Bang” because Arista Records wanted a single and he promised them a commercial album. Party was released in June 1981 and it peaked at number 166 in the Billboard Top 200. “Bang Bang” was released as a single the same month, charting at number 35 on the Billboard Club Play Singles Chart.

The album starts off with a delightful and fun track called “Pleasure” that showed that Iggy still had some of the old darkness in him. “Rock And Roll Party” is an upbeat track that leads into the oddly named, but good track “Eggs On Plate.” “Happy Man” is a great track and is one of my favorites on the album along with the following track, “Bang Bang,” which was later covered by David Bowie on this 1987 album Never Let Me Down. There is also o pair of cover, “Sea of Love” and “Time Won’t Let Me,” which are good, but not essential. The band plays well and you can hear that they are giving their all to this album. With the great packaging and the remastered sound, it’s great to get another chance to reassess this album and realize that it’s nowhere near the mess that people said it was back when it was first released.

Maybe not a classic, but still an album to add to your collection and enjoy when the mood hits you to hear something a bit different from Iggy.