Black Bombers are a Rock ‘n’ Roll band from Birmingham, England that feature Alan Byron (guitar and vocals), Darren Birch (bass guitar), and Dave Twist (drums). Darren Birch is a former member of Gunfire Dance is also a member of The Heartbreakers, Walter Lure’s touring band, and also gigs and records with The Godfathers, Dave Twist is a former member of seminal punk/post-punk band The Prefects and also recorded several albums and toured with The Tenderhooks, and Alan and Darren also play in Birmingham’s long-established, George Romero/Ennio Morricone influenced, Horse Feathers.

“Day After Day” kicks things off with a nice thick sound courtesy of the bouncing bass, the vocals are gruff and impassioned and the guitar is ripping…great start to this EP. “Relentless” is just that, a non-stop attack on your senses that amps up the punk rock and really stands out as a top-notch track. “Animals ‘n’ Cages” makes the punk rock pump up even more and those crazed vocals are terrific. “Gnarly” is an instrumental that holds your ears captive with the raw energy it has. “Sometimes” is another punkish tune with some garage thrown in and sounds like it’s going to fall apart at any time, but stays together in its glorious mess. “Hair Of The Dog” is a cover of Green On Red and it’s another home run. Crunchy, tough-sounding and just as insane as you would hope from them…fantastic.

An EP that goes beyond what I was hoping for and makes for an old-school punk collection that you fans of the 78-77 stuff will love. I was just wondering where the bands were that play this kind of music and here it was all along.

BLACK BOMBERS: Self-titled

This Birmingham, UK band has put out their debut album with nine tracks and two bonus songs on the CD of original 7″ single versions of “Crazy,” and “That Kind.” The band consists of Alan Byron (Guitar / Vocals), Darren Birch (Bass Guitar), and Dave Twist (Drums).

Starting off with an instrumental that turns into first song “That Kind,” the band lets you know that they are here to rock and rock they do! The spectre of the Stooges hangs over the band, but it doesn’t stop them from still being their own band. They take that sound and make it even more chaotic and ramshackle and it sounds amazing. The songs are gritty, catchy and to point. They hit hard, fast and get your ass shaking, exactly what rock music should do. The sound is thick, a bit muddy and dirty, but if it was scrubbed clean, this would be crappy corporate rock, not heartfelt and nowhere nearly as exciting as it is on here. “Nameless” sounds like the band is coming apart at the seams, but damn……..does it ever sound sweet.

This ain’t no pretty album, no sir, it’s filthy and grubby, angry and has issues, but you need to get this and crank it up. This is the sound of a band doing everything they can to stick together on the songs, everyone trying to destroy their instruments and I’m glad that punk rock gave bands like this a chance to tear into my ears.

BRIAN JAMES: The Guitar That Dripped Blood

British punk royalty Brian James delivers his third solo rock album. The album includes guests such as ex DEAD BOYS Cheetah Chrome, and THE LUSTKILLERS Adam Becvare joining the party, with a sleeve painted by top horror film designer Graham Humphries.

Well, this is a complete blast of old school punk rock fury from one of the originators of the school of 1976. The songs are gritty, tight and full of energy that makes you think that this is someone young and angry, but he’s older and still pissed off…thankfully. The album has a touch of horror punk, but with a cover painted by Graham Humphries, and James coming from THE DAMNED, go figure that horror would be a part of this collection of thrilling songs. There is also a touch of the Dead boys on here, even though Cheetah Chrome only plays on one track, the terrific “Becoming A Nuisance.” The album is just one vitriol filled blast of energy after another. Song after song is just as well written and performed as the one before it and there is no “just a few” good songs, the whole thing is full of good songs that force you to turn the stereo up and play it again and again. James’ voice has a nice hard edge to it and on the slower “Til The Rains Come,” he has a lot of emotion and a mellow timber that fits the song perfectly.

This is the kind of album that should be all over the radio and one the charts, but too many cloth eared twats prevent that from happening. Go out and grab yourself a copy and make yourself and your friends happy that this is out there, and make sure this kind of music gets heard by people.


After being around for ten years, label Easy Action puts out a sampler that encompasses their label and how eccentric, eclectic and wonderful it can be. They have a lot of buried treasures from bands that you know, but they also keep their ears out for newer bands to promote as well.

With a great mix of the old and the new there are so many tracks to tempt and new bands that you can become fans of as well. You get an amazing alternative mix of
“I Got A Right” by Iggy & The Stooges that just kicks ass to start off the collection, you go into heavy tunes from Amebix, Moriaty, The Red Cords, The Hydromatics, and so many more. The cool part of this is the unexpected things they give you like “A Quick Thing” by Rowland S Howard & Nikki Sudden, Lost Dawn with their 60s sounding “The Fall,” the blues of “Mamma You Got A Daughter” from John Lee Hooker, the fun new wave of The B-52s’ “Lava,” the folk king Bob Dylan with “Baby Please Don’t Go,” and an early shot from the Alice Cooper Group’s “Nobody Likes Me.” This really shows off the label and the amazing and varied bands available.

There will be something on here that you love, some you like and some that you won’t, but it will give you a real idea of the amazing music out there that you have been missing from some new bands, and the great stuff you’ve never heard from your favorites. I love these kinds of things, an inexpensive taste that I love and it keeps me hungry for more.

THE SKUZZIES: Self-titled: CD

THE SKUZZIES are mates with Pete Doherty from THE LIBERTINES / BABYSHAMBLES and have him featured on the last track “On The Corner”. They play a mix of garage punk and punk circa ’76 – ’77 and put a lot of energy into their songs.

The band really has a definite love for their music and puts a lot of feeling and power into this album. The album has the sound of Britain all over it, from the accents, the lyrics and the influences that are mixed into this delicious melange. A hint of THE CLASH, MC5, and THE KINKS creep into the songs here and there, but all the while they keep the reins pulled tight to keeping their own identity. The album features hooks and big, catchy choruses, manic playing and snotty vocals mixed with slightly aggressive vocals to great effect. The songs that stood out were “Hungry As A Hound”, “More Than This”, “Dissatisfied”, “Shotgun Romance”, “Rich Girls” and “On The Corner”.

A great album filled with songs that will get you rocking as well as singing along with and will get stuck in your head. Nice job with the slightly sloppy playing, it really made it sound like you are in the studio with the band, not sterile and cold sounding at all, but full of life.

TEASING LULU: Black Summer: CD

Debut album from Brighton, UK band that would fit in with ELASTICA in their punk rock influenced sound. Contains three catchy as all get out singles, “The Ex-Factor”, “Waste Of Time” and “Cat & Mouse” all produced by the STRANGLERS JJ Burnel.

They come tearing out of the gate with “The Ex-Factor” and start things off with energy and an explosion of exuberance. This continues into the next few songs “Waste Of Time”, and “I’m So Bored”. “Lady Luck” is a bit slower, but has great playing and will get you moving, then it’s right back to the jumping “D.I.H.” and “Loser” with its screams and great bitter lyrics. “Black Summer” is a lovely acoustic song that lets the vocals shine and the band shows that charging at you at 100 miles an hour is not all that they are capable of doing. “Cat & Mouse” starts with some thick bass, great throaty vocals and a fantastic punky and poppy groove. “You Ain’t My Baby” is another standout track that keeps you rocking out.

This is one hell of a tight and well produced album with sharp edges that are smoothed out a bit with the incredible vocals. It has grooves and melody to spare and is an album that deserves to be in your music collection and played for all of your friends.

HEAVEN 17: At The Scala: CD / DVD

HEAVEN 17 is three guys (Ian Craig Marsh, Martyn Ware, Glenn Gregory) who were pioneers in the whole Sheffield electronic music movement of the late 1970s, two of which (Marsh and Ware) were founding members of THE HUMAN LEAGUE and left before their big single “Don’t You Want Me”. Heaven 17 went on to their own success and hit singles as well as production and playing on other’s albums.

This concert from November 29, 2005 has them playing their classic songs as well as some from the new, (at the time) album Before After and it keeps the sound of the band intact and updates things enough to sound fresh, but not cheesy. “Are You Ready?”, “I’m Gonna Make You Fall In Love With Me”, “What Would It Take”, “Hands Up To Heaven”, “Into The Blue”, and “The Way It Is” are all from the Before After album and “Do I Believe” is from Bigger Than America. The other songs “Geisha Boys and Temple Girls”, “Come Live with Me”, “(We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang”, “Crushed by the Wheels of Industry”, “Let Me Go!”, “Penthouse and Pavement”, and “Temptation” all come from their earlier and classic albums. You also get a treat of “Being Boiled” from when they were part of THE HUMAN LEAGUE. The new songs are done really well and fit in with the sound of the classic songs, but I do wish a few more classics would have been played and a few less new ones, but they were hawking their new album at the time. The classic songs sound great and it was a treat to hear them live, but the real exciting thing was hearing “Being Boiled”, one of my favorite songs, and done so well. Billie Godfrey does a spectacular job on “Temptation” making the song stand out with her incredible vocals.

The DVD is filmed beautifully, sharp, clear and intimate with the band looking like they are having the time of their life in front of the appreciative crowd. Extras include a pair of interview segments entitled At The Gig (09m:18s) and At The Studio (08m:53s). The first catches the band after the performance, with Glenn Gregory nearly hoarse, and gets their feedback on how the concert went. The second segment has Gregory and Martyn Ware discussing Heaven 17’s history in Ware’s studio, and includes some discussion about the early days of THE HUMAN LEAGUE.

A great CD / DVD combination of a band that put out a lot of great songs, but didn’t tour much. With a great performance and inspired performances of them, this is a great item. I will be playing this a lot and it was great to bring back memories of such fantastic songs from my youth.


Some of the seminal punk anthems of 1976 including the U.K.’s first ever punk single “New Rose” redone by the man who wrote them with today’s sound and a ton of energy. It may be a short album, but the enthusiasm and love that James gives to these songs really makes for a great listening experience.Starting with the majestic “New Rose” introduced by Gaye Advert, we get the ball rolling on a great re-interpretation of songs that are classics. “New Rose” is played with the venom and energy that will get you smiling right off the bat. “Born To Kill” adds some piano to great effect, “You Take My Money” has exemplary guitar playing and power, “Feel The Pain” has some interesting accordion playing with James just letting everything get a little loose on this track, and “Sick Of Being Sick” takes the song and amps up the ferocity and makes this a blistering track. The band and James really take control of these songs and infuse them with a modern punch that really adds to the songs and unlike others who have tried this in the past, it doesn’t take away from the great heritage of the originals. “Alone” keeps the intensity going on this album, while “I Fall”, “Fan Club” and “Neat Neat Neat” are one hot trio that will leave you speechless.

Most people will wonder, “Why bother to pick this up when I can get the originals?” The answer is because this is a great album that has the writer of some of the greatest punk songs having fun and it comes out loud and clear on these recordings. Don’t compare, just enjoy the music and turn it up loud.

IGGY POP: California Hitch-Hike: CD

With THE STOOGES, Iggy Pop helped create punk rock  and after being ignored by most music fans before punk, by 1979 he was getting recognized for all the great music he was a part of and had a band that included punk veterans Brian James from THE DAMNED, Glen Matlock from THE SEX PISTOLS, and Ivan Kral from THE PATTI SMITH GROUP, along with Klaus Kruger from the definitely un-punk TANGERINE DREAM. This is compiled from two of the four dates performed at the Old Waldorf in San Francisco and has a completely unheard track, “Hitchhiking in California”.

These sixteen tracks came at a time where punk and new wave were getting recognized by both the public and the media around the world and Iggy was getting ready to release what he was hoping to be the album that would put him over the top, the relatively bland Soldier album and went out on the road to try out the songs on the unreleased album. The songs from that album actually have meat on them on this live recording, “Take Care Of Me”, “Dog Food”, “Play It Safe”, and “Knocking ‘Em Down (In The City)” all have the energy and enthusiasm that was missing on the studio versions. The now classic songs like “TV Eye” , “Real Cool Time”, “I Wanna Be Your Dog”, “No Fun”, and “China Girl” are amazing and full of the piss and vinegar that you would expect from this band. The unheard track “Hitchhiking in California” is an interesting spoken word track with synthesizers and the band sounding like they are doing an improvisational background. Add on a pretty good version of THE KINKS “You Really Got Me” to the mix and you’ve got a live album that actually makes the other live releases sound lousy in comparison.

This also comes in an elongated slipcase, has a postcard of Iggy and his band, a booklet with sleeve notes, an interview with Brian James, and many colour and black and white shots from the shows. From the quality of the package to the great job on the sound, this is a release that you need to pick up and hear what Iggy was trying to get across to the public, but never got it right until a little later in his career on records.