The Senior Service kicked off 2018 with a tantalizing twang, with their single ‘Slingshot’ released on the Damaged Goods label. Swiftly followed up by their equally delicious and intoxicating Hammond driven second long player King Cobra in the spring. I’ve come to expect nothing less than the best from Messrs. Day, Barker, Hartley and Howard. Indeed, the same can be said of another Barker/Hartley/Howard combo, add singer Chris Hearsey, and you get Sergeants Mess. They released their much overdue 2013 track ‘Couldn't I Be Yours’ back in February on Spinout DJ Lee Grimshaw’s brand new label, Spinout Nuggets. A solid debut release for an exciting new venture!
Spring was quite an exciting time gig-wise, mainly in the shape of the much anticipated Beat Bespoke Weekend headliners The Mummies. They’d split up not long after I first became a fan, in the early/mid ‘90s. So this was my first time seeing them play live. The gig was nothing short of amazing, and everything I had expected it to be – fuzzy, frantic, and filthy in your face garage punk. The only downside was the horrendously long queue at the venue due to the incredibly slow security checks (i.e. two door staff checking in 800 odd people) thus missing the support act, The Baron Four. Personally I’m not a fan of bigger events such as this, as (for me) it takes away from the whole experience of seeing a band, however, in this instance it was fun fun fun, with a fab after party, and definitely one of my favourite gigs this year.
April saw Aire Valley’s topper most masked & caped instrumental combo - The Razerbills, release their much anticipated La Tombe EP on Squirrel Records – they advise us to ‘listen in complete darkness whilst wearing your Razerbill mask’ which comes as an option with the disc. If you haven’t already got a copy, then you’d better be pretty quick (and that’s a matter of fact) as there are only a few remaining. They also played a twistin’ twang-tacular set at The Shipley Shakedown (Shipley Social Club, venue of the year!); and at The Bottom Rung’s Halloween Spooktacular. Such an inspiring band – I cannot help but adore them. Horror themed band Ms. Boom? Yes please!
Edinburgh based garage miscreants The Nettelles released their stinging debut single ‘I’m Over You’ on Spinout Nuggets in May, and subsequently headlined at the Girls Rock School Edinburgh showcase, giving a performance with extra bite.
Medway’s beat and garage goddess Ludella Black also released her blistering 3rd LP in May Till You Lie In Your Grave on Damaged Goods and I was sad to have missed her show at Weirdsville in July.
On to festivals. Although I didn’t make it overseas this year, I attended my very first Hipsville in Margate, The Franklin Fest in Edinburgh, Beatwave in Hastings and even made a half hour visit to the Worthing Surf Festival! So many fantastic bands – highlights were The Beatpack and Les Bof at the Franklin, The Mirage Men, Neuvo Ramon 5, The VooDooms and The Overboards at Beatwave and the lovely Lily Zeller with Chrome Reverse at Hipsville.
It would be impossible to sum up my 2018 without mentioning The VooDooms. They’ve pretty much doom-inated social media this year, and have played all over the UK. You can read my review of their debut LP Destination Doomsville on Trashwax here, it pretty much says it all. Horror themed band? Yes please! Looking forward to more Va-Va-Doom-ing in 2019!
Another band there has been much of a buzz about the fuzz this year (and rightly so) are San Diego’s ‘60s- crazy punkers The Night Times. Their Debut single ‘I Don’t Mind’ on Outro Records, sold out faster than a toupee in a hurricane. Luckily, I managed to acquire one from ever reliable State Records. Can’t wait to see them play next year.
Later this year I was thrilled to see Les Envahissuers play at The Bottom Rung club in Edinburgh with Les Bof! It was quite a mesmerising performance. Again, plenty of fun, fuzz and frolics ‘My Gorilla’ has been an ear worm ever since, and Nataly De Lovely certainly lived up to her name (I don’t mind admitting that I have a bit of a girl-crush!). All that, and the new singer/guitarist had to be found at the last minute, but you would never have known. Go see them live if you ever get the chance, and buy their album Garage Monkeys on Soundflat Records.
A band to definitely watch out for next year are Spanish Duo Los Retumbes. You can read all about this perfect pairing here. They’ve just secured a support slot with garage rock legends The Morlocks and will be playing in Newcastle and Edinburgh respectively in early March. Their debut single is out now on Family Spree Recordings.
The Sensation Seekers first LP Jerk Beat was propelled onto the unsuspected masses in November on the Back To Beat label of Norway – describing themselves as instrumentalists (which I can confirm is true) ‘it’s what you’d get if you stuck a Hammond, harp and guitar in the Hadron Collider and fired them full pelt at each other’ (thanks Mr. Ellis for the quote) – it’s a far our Hammond hootenanny for the heppest of cats.
Other stand-out gigs this year were the legendary 5678s in Glasgow, the scary (but in a good way) Rev Beatman & Sister Nicole Izobel Garcia in Edinburgh, The Courettes & Oh! Gunquit at Weirdsville and The Galileo 7 blowing the roof off at The Fratcave in Hastings – Holy tintinnabulation! Last but my no means least, the aforementioned and Graham Day And The Gaolers at the Damaged Goods 30th Anniversary celebrations at The Lexington. Check out the Retro Man Blog for the low down on that night. The year nicely bookended by Mr. Day et al – who’d of thought it? What a great way to end 2018.
What will 2019 bring? For me – listening to more records, more gigs, putting on my own gigs, more festivals (overseas this time yay!) – Possibly a release by a certain girl band I know AND if it’s anything like 2018, I think I may need to re-mortgage my wee bachelorette pad!