Browsing Tag French Boutik

NUTsCast – Sessions – part 13 (episode 22)

NUTsCast October 2016
In this episode of the Nutscast Sessions, The Baron looks ahead to the mighty Crossfire Allnighter with tracks by the bands representing the Heavy Soul Records showcase, selections by our guest DJs and new songs by French Boutik, Missing Souls and The Embrooks. Also listen out for a one-off special ‘The Baron’s Belters’. Three tracks from his lordship’s personal collection.


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Graham Lentz

AKA ‘The Baron’ - Like many of his generation, The Jam started Graham's love affair with all things mod back in 1977. He is the author of 'The Influential Factor - A History Of Mod' which was originally published in 2002. An extract from the book was re-printed in Paolo Hewitt's 'The Sharper Word - revised edition' in 2011. Being a self-confessed 'broad-church' mod, Graham's interests range from Modern Jazz to today's up-coming new bands and everything in between. Although he has a passion for mod history, he also has a passion for the new. Whether it's music, clubs, media of every kind, clothing, scooters or art and photography, Graham supports, promotes and encourages as much as he can, because that's how we keep going. 'Give it a chance' is his motto. If it's not for you, that's cool, at least you tried it.

More Posts - Website - Twitter - Facebook

October 11, 2016 By : Category : Bands Front Page Music Podcasts Reviews Tags:, , , , , , ,
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Record Reviews October 2016 – Part 1

The Alloy Six

Ross Ellis 12" 3mm 11073

‘Turn Out The Lights’ – LP

This is an impressive debut outing for Sweden’s newest psych/garage band, Alloy Six. In truth, the band emerged from the pieces of Stockholm based The Moving Sounds and The Fortune Tellers in 2013, so it has taken a while to get this first album together, but it has been well worth the wait. With twelve cuts of jangling and fuzzy guitars, swirling organ and solid vocal harmonies, I can see this being pretty popular among the Mousetrap Psych crowd. ‘You And I’, ‘Lights Out’ and ‘Each Night’ give you a good idea where Alloy Six are coming from musically. It’s all very tight, well-produced and has those quirky melodies that you often find in this genre. It’s available from Copase Disques who are putting together a decent catalogue of releases by some of Europe’s best. This album sits very comfortably among them.

facebook.com/thealloysix
bandpage.com/TheAlloySix

Chris Pope & The Chords UK

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‘Take On Life’ – LP

For all those die-hard Chords fans and lovers of the ’79 revival period, let’s get one thing straight. The original line up will never get back together for a whole host of reasons. End of. There has been much debate about the rights and wrongs of Chris Pope continuing The Chords name. It’s a pointless exercise. The Chords (be they the original line up or the current one) deserve their place in British music history and if the current line up gains new fans with this album which in turn will guide them to the back catalogue, then the band and its members past and present will be remembered and appreciated for what they have achieved. It’s the difference between being just a ‘tribute’ band or being relevant to your fan base and beyond. It worked for Secret Affair a few years ago and with ‘Take On Life’, I see no reason why it should not work for Chris Pope and The Chords UK. Some of these songs are revived demos that never saw release way-back-when. To be honest, you would be hard pushed to tell which were which as Mr Pope has proved he still has an ‘angry man’ in there somewhere. His observations on society, like ‘Burning All Around’ or ‘Heart Of The Matter’ are as sharp today as they have ever been. ‘A Life Less Ordinary’ is a splendid tale of a modern-day Bonnie & Clyde, while ‘Dreams Of Yesterday’ finds him in reflective mood. It helps that Mic Stoner on bass, Kenny Cooper on Drums and Sandy Michie on guitar do a great job and they are joined by Mick Talbot on keyboards as a guest on the album. ‘Take On Life’ is full of that aggressive energy that typifies Chris Pope’s song writing and he and The Chords UK deliver.

www.popemusic.co.uk
facebook.com/TheChordsUK

The Embrooks

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‘Nightmare’ b/w ‘Helen’ – Single

The Embrooks are one of those bands fondly remembered by those on the scene back in the mid-nineties when the trio was formed by bassist/vocalist Mole (ex-Mystreated/Stewed), guitarist/vocalist Alessandro Cozzi Lepri (ex-Head & The Hares), and drummer Lois Tozer who is currently with Thee Jezebels. Their output was pretty damn good and they were firm favourites on the live circuit. Eventually, life took the three in different directions and the band disappeared for a while, but they are back with this corking single and they’ve not lost any of the mod/freakbeat vitality they were known for. Full-on thrashing drums, driving bass lines and fuzz guitar a-plenty makes both sides sound authentically ’66 or ’67. Only the band know if there is more to come, but on this evidence, let’s hope so!

facebook.com/theembrooks

The Fast Camels

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‘Tales Of The Expected’ – LP

It’s great to see The Fast Camels back with their third album following on from their highly successful debut in 2007 ‘The Magic Optician’ followed some years later by the excellent ‘Deadrooms & Butterfly Dreams’. Hailing from Glasgow, Fast Camels comprise of original members: Drew Sturgeon (Vocals and Guitar), Mark O’Connor (Vocals and Guitar) and Stephan Mors (Drums). They were joined by Allan McGarry (Vocals and Keyboards) and Neil Menzies (Bass). ‘Tales Of The Expected’ is sure to be a hit with those of a psych/garage tendency. It has the feel of a concept album, but it is a collection of ten new songs about a disparate and desperate group of individuals. Be they ‘Madame Matron’, ‘Dead Celebs’ or ‘Chicken Bo’ they are all acutely observed portrayals of ‘ordinary people’ who all have an un-nerving, dark quality about them. Co-produced by the band and Paul Gallagher, it’s fair to say the Fast Camels are back with a bang.

www.thefastcamels.com
facebook.com/thefastcamels

French Boutik

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‘Front Pop’ – LP

If you want to sound ultra-cool and sound like you’re a ‘finger-on-the-pulse’ type on the scene, French Boutik are one of a handful of bands to mention among your peers. Three critically acclaimed and successful EPs, regular contributors to ‘Specialized’ and ‘March Of The Mods’ fundraisers for Teenage Cancer Trust and a growing UK fan base attending their now customary three-date mini tours, this really is one of THE bands of the moment and on October 22, they release their debut LP on Copase Disques.

I’ll admit I am and have been a huge fan and make no apology for praising this album. It typifies their sound, their unique style and highlights exactly why they are so popular. One of the best facets of French Boutik is that they do not fit into a predetermined category. They don’t sound like a ‘mod’ band (whatever that is supposed to be?!) In fact they don’t ‘sound’ like anyone except French Boutik and that can only be a good thing. ‘Front Pop’ features the digital single ‘Le Mac’ and ‘Hitch A Ride’ which were part of the crowdfunding campaign for this album and have been reviewed here before, so I will concentrate on the other tracks.

There is the sophistication of ‘Costard Italien’, the superb cover of Francois Hardy’s ‘Je Ne Suis La Pour Personne’, the rip-roaring ‘Regard Les Tigres’ and the delightful ‘Impitoyable’. The vocals are shared between Gabriela Giacoman and Serge Hoffman with drummer Zelda Aquil providing her usual high standard of backing. Indeed, Giacoman and Aquil are becoming much-sought-after session vocalists with other bands, such is the perfection of their harmonies. Hoffman’s guitar work and Aquil’s drumming are all underpinned by Jean-Marc Johannes’
perfect baselines.

There is nothing predictable about this album, except its ability to surprise. It’s not often I say this about any album, but there is not a duff or throw-away track anywhere. ‘The Rent’, ‘La Chemise’, ‘Le Casse’, ‘Je Louche’, all of them instantly becoming ‘ear-worms’. There have been some great releases this year and a few still to come, but ‘Front Pop’ by French Boutik will take some beating for album of the year in my book.


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Graham Lentz

AKA ‘The Baron’ - Like many of his generation, The Jam started Graham's love affair with all things mod back in 1977. He is the author of 'The Influential Factor - A History Of Mod' which was originally published in 2002. An extract from the book was re-printed in Paolo Hewitt's 'The Sharper Word - revised edition' in 2011. Being a self-confessed 'broad-church' mod, Graham's interests range from Modern Jazz to today's up-coming new bands and everything in between. Although he has a passion for mod history, he also has a passion for the new. Whether it's music, clubs, media of every kind, clothing, scooters or art and photography, Graham supports, promotes and encourages as much as he can, because that's how we keep going. 'Give it a chance' is his motto. If it's not for you, that's cool, at least you tried it.

More Posts - Website - Twitter - Facebook

September 27, 2016 By : Category : Bands Front Page Music Reviews Tags:, , , , , ,
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Record Reviews April 2016 – Part 3

 

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Generation Mod Compilation 

The Well Suspect label release their second album on 6 May featuring tracks from current mod-influenced bands, some of whom have been championed in previous Nutsmag Reviews. As a snapshot of what is happening now, this is a pretty good compilation covering all the bases. From the soul and northern soul inspired Samuel S Parkes, Men Of The North Country and New Street Adventure, to the young turks like Dogtooth, Private Jones and the psychy garage of Dave’s Doors Of Perception, this is one of the better collections around at the moment. Private Jones’s ‘Tamla’ treatment of The Jam’s ‘I Got By In Time’ is a real joy along with more familiar tracks like ‘Mieux Comme Ca’ by French Boutik, The Get Go’s bluesy take on ‘Nutbush City Limits’ and The Moons’ ‘Everyday Heroes’. If nothing else, ‘Generation Mod’ highlights the diversity of mod/60s inspired music in 2016. Fair to say the future looks bright.

www.wellsuspect.com

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French Boutik – Essential Album

Unless you have lived in a cave for the last three years, or you have stayed off social media and the mod scene, you must be at least aware of Paris-based modernistias, French Boutik. They have played our Nutsmag Nights at Blues Kitchen a couple of times and are often here in the UK playing gigs, such is their popularity. They have just completed their debut album of original material which is due for release later this year, but as a taster, Detour Records have complied all of French Boutiks output thus far on this absolute ‘must’ for Boutik fans and newcomers alike. Comprising of all the tracks from their three EPs, plus a couple of charity singles, this 15 track compilation really is the ‘essential’ collection. With ‘modern classics’ like ‘Pousse Au Crime’, ‘Les Chats De Gouttiere’ and ‘Mieux Comme Ca’, it is easy to see why the Boutiks have such a devoted following in the UK. Throw in major favourites at their live shows, like ‘Facile’ and ‘End Of The Line’ and you have a worthy addition to any collection of current mod scene favourites. If you are curious to find out what all the fuss is about, this is definitely the album for you.

twitter.com/frenchboutik
www.facebook.com/frenchboutik
soundcloud.com/french-boutik

rsz_nm_april_2016_franklys

 

The Franklys – Comedown b/w Long Way

Nutsmag Reviews have been massive supporters of this band from day one. Yes, they are a no-nonsense rock band, but they kick ass and this new single is no exception. Since signing up to a management deal late last year, the Franklys have been touring a lot across the UK and Europe and they have finished their debut album which will be out later this year. All of which bodes well and the work they have put in so far is paying dividends. If this single is a preview of what is to come, then I’m willing to bet the album will hit big. The Rock-orientated radio stations should be all over this like a rash. There is a vacuum in the rock world right now and by rights the Franklys should fill it. ‘Comedown’ is familiar territory and solidifies the Franklys ‘sound’. It’s loud, catchy and bursting with energy. ‘Long Way’ is a slower, more controlled outing. It’s really well-produced and this exemplifies why I believe the Franklys have ‘come-of-age’. It’s superb. Hopefully, by the time the album is released, I will have either grown my hair… or bought a big wig… it looks far more impressive than a bald head nodding up and down!

www.thefranklys.com
twitter.com/TheFranklysUK
www.facebook.com/thefranklys/

rsz_nm_april_2016_extended_plays

 

Extended Plays – Twilight b/w Amazing Scenery

Formed in 2011, the Extended Plays have been building quite nicely on the mod/psych scene in their native Spain, culminating last year with an appearance at Euro YeYe. This single typifies the band’s sound. ‘Twilight’ is full of swirling Hammond, fuzzy guitar and dreamy vocals while ‘Amazing Scenery’ is a more uptempo and danceable (for you Beat Basement fans). While their recorded work has not been prolific by any definition, let’s hope this is the start of more to come. There is definitely much untapped potential in this band, based on the evidence of this promising single.

theextendedplays.bandcamp.com
www.facebook.com/The-Extended-Plays
soundcloud.com/thejohncolbysect/sets/


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Graham Lentz

AKA ‘The Baron’ - Like many of his generation, The Jam started Graham's love affair with all things mod back in 1977. He is the author of 'The Influential Factor - A History Of Mod' which was originally published in 2002. An extract from the book was re-printed in Paolo Hewitt's 'The Sharper Word - revised edition' in 2011. Being a self-confessed 'broad-church' mod, Graham's interests range from Modern Jazz to today's up-coming new bands and everything in between. Although he has a passion for mod history, he also has a passion for the new. Whether it's music, clubs, media of every kind, clothing, scooters or art and photography, Graham supports, promotes and encourages as much as he can, because that's how we keep going. 'Give it a chance' is his motto. If it's not for you, that's cool, at least you tried it.

More Posts - Website - Twitter - Facebook

May 4, 2016 By : Category : Bands Front Page Music Reviews Tags:, , , , ,
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Record & Book Reviews – Jan 2016 (Part 1)

The Electric Stars

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The Only Lover Left Alive b/w Loaded With Regrets – Single

It has been a while since the Electric Stars last outing in 2015, when they ‘scored’ with their version of Don Arden’s ‘Belfast Boy’. They are one of those bands that impressed greatly with their debut album ‘Sonic Candy Soul’ from a couple of years back and I’m told a new album is in the pipeline for 2016.

But until then, this new single out on Detour Records shows that while they may not have been prolific with releases, the song writing and standards set by ‘Sonic Candy Soul’ have not dipped at all.

The ‘A’ side, ‘The Only Lover Left Alive’ is another example of the Electric Stars throwing all of their influences into the pot and producing a cracking, catchy tune full of reference points that highlight those influences.

Jason Edge is in fine voice as always and the production is full-on with punchy guitar licks and a tasty slice of mysticism thrown in for good measure.

In total contrast, the ‘B’ side, ‘Loaded With Regrets’ is a love song of refined quality. I confess, I really didn’t think the Electric Stars could match ‘Isolation’ from the aforementioned album, but happily they have with this song. It is well-crafted, beautifully delivered and proves again that the Electric Stars are back on top form. I’ve a feeling the album may be a real corker on this evidence.

www.theelectricstars.com

www.twitter.com/theelectricstar

www.facebook.com/pages/the-electric-stars

shop.detourrecords.co.uk

The Family Silver

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Electric Blend – LP

Take three of the finest musicians of their generation, put them together to make an album and what you get is a collection of songs that are pure class.

The three musicians in question are Matt Deighton (Mother Earth, Paul Weller Band and a greatly under-rated singer-songwriter), Steve White (Style Council, Paul Weller Band and drummer par excellence) and Damon Minchella (Ocean Colour Scene and arguably the best bass player from the Britpop era.)

You might pre-suppose this could be a bit of a nostalgia trip for those longing for the days of Britpop, but you would be wrong. If anything, it says much about the state of the music business that these three experienced and talented men chose the route of ‘pledge-funding’ and sponsorship to get this album recorded.

The real shame is that this project and the songs contained within it are likely to be deprived of airplay, when it should be held up as an example to
aspiring musicians.

The quality of both songs and production is up there with the best of them (as you would expect). Matt Deighton sounds as good today as he ever did with his distinctive voice and one that defines an era just as much as a Gallagher, Albarn, Cocker or Burgess.

I haven’t picked out any songs for special mention because they are all as good as each other, but if I have to pick one as an example, check out ‘Peace & Love (Don’t It Feel Good)’.

I would like to think Family Silver will not be a one-album project and there will be more to come from these three gentlemen because one is never enough.

www.thefamilysilver.co.uk

www.facebook.com/TheFamilySilverOfficial

twitter.com/thefamilysilver

French Boutik

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Le Mac c/w Hitch A Ride – digital download

With three well-received and relatively successful EPs to their name, our Parisian amis are now embarking on their debut album by way of crowdfunding.

Part of the enticement is the chance to purchase these two new songs on digital download from the funding site.

‘Le Mac’ – an acerbic tirade against an unpopular French politician, is a continuation of the ‘Boutik’ sound. Serge Hoffman’s guitar work driving the tune along at a fair pace, with drummer, Zelda and bassist Jean-Marc doing what all good rhythm sections do, keep it all locked in nice and tight, while vocalist Gabriella delivers in her customary style of verve and barely controlled annoyance at the subject matter.

‘Hitch A Ride’ is a more sedate affair and a pleasant experiment from the band who have opted for some subtle percussion and a flute in the production. This time the lyrics are in English and as it is a ‘quirky’ love song, it has a really attractive melody that suits.

These two songs are a must for Boutik fans and the proceeds go into the
album ‘pot’.

www.indiegogo.com/projects/sponsor-french-boutik-s

www.facebook.com/frenchboutik

https://twitter.com/frenchboutik

My Kind Of Sound

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The Secret History Of Chicago – Music Book

By Plastic Crimewave aka Steve Krakow

When it comes to a city with a monumental musical culture and history, Chicago is up there with the best of them. What many of you may not be aware of, is there happens to be a bi-weekly publication called the Chicago Reader and since 2005 Steve Krakow has had an illustrated column in ‘The Reader’ called ‘The Secret History Of Chicago Music’

This book complies a decade worth of said column which is presented in a ‘cartoon’ style and there are over 200 entries.

It really is a fascinating read. The entries are in alphabetical order, but the diverse backgrounds and stories of the musicians, bands and singers are told in such an unpretentious manner, it makes it all the more enjoyable to flick through.

There are some names that will be very familiar to us; LaVern Baker, The Five Stairsteps, Phil Upchurch or Terry Callier, but others have such intriguing names, you feel obliged to find out more. And although the text may seem sparse at first glance, they are real gems of information that has been well-researched.

I mean, if you see a band named Thunderpussy, you have to find out more, right?
How about bands with names like Bitch or Fingletoad Strange & Siho or Leonard ‘Baby Doo’ Caston? For a book in the ‘who’s who’ genre, this is by far the most original of its type. The illustrations are really great too.

‘My Kind Of Sound’ is available now from the usual High Street and
Online retailers.

www.curbsidesplendor.com


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Graham Lentz

AKA ‘The Baron’ - Like many of his generation, The Jam started Graham's love affair with all things mod back in 1977. He is the author of 'The Influential Factor - A History Of Mod' which was originally published in 2002. An extract from the book was re-printed in Paolo Hewitt's 'The Sharper Word - revised edition' in 2011. Being a self-confessed 'broad-church' mod, Graham's interests range from Modern Jazz to today's up-coming new bands and everything in between. Although he has a passion for mod history, he also has a passion for the new. Whether it's music, clubs, media of every kind, clothing, scooters or art and photography, Graham supports, promotes and encourages as much as he can, because that's how we keep going. 'Give it a chance' is his motto. If it's not for you, that's cool, at least you tried it.

More Posts - Website - Twitter - Facebook

March 2, 2016 By : Category : Bands Front Page Music Reviews Tags:, , , , , , , ,
0 Comment

French Boutik (Newbreed)

This entry is part 17 of 22 in the series Newbreed4

Band Members:

Serge: Guitar and vocals
Gabriela: Lead vocals
Zelda: Drums and vocals
Jean-Marc: Bass

Discography:

2012 – Les Chats de Gouttère EP
2013 – Ici Paris Double 45 
2014 – Mieux comme ça double 45

01. How long have you been active for and how did you get together?

Serge and Zelda met at a soul night he was DJing in 2010 and started songwriting together. I (singer Gabriela) started with the group in 2011 and Jean-Marc joined us just this past year in 2014. We’re all more or less active in the mod/ skinhead scenes here in Paris so met at various shows and DJ nights.

02. What influences do the band members have in common?

We all love classic pop, rnb, soul, jazz, rocksteady, Britpop and powerpop, but then as our members are so varied it goes all over the place!

However, we’ve been listening to more and more new powerpop recently, due to sharing the stage with lots of great bands like Paul Collins and The Riots, and are really trying to create a brand new sound vs being retro.

03. Are there any other bands you’d recommend from your area? Why?

Yes, also from Paris is a great latin boogaloo band called Paz Antiguana and a new garage/pop group called Jon & The Vons. Also there are lots of great bands in France right now, it’s really exciting: Les Grys-Grys, Gemma & The Travelers, The Gentlemen’s Agreements, Tower Brown, Les Kitschenettes. The sounds are all different and they tend to be a bit more “retro” than us but they are all good. More rock oriented but also excellent from Paris are Les Soucoupes Violentes, and our friend Popincourt will be releasing an album soon, Zelda and I guested on backing vocals so have heard a bit and it’s great so far.

On the less underground side, also in France there is a really good group called Archimede. Kind of Britpop in spirit but in French.

04. What’s the 60’s/underground scene like where you’re from?

Small but dedicated: Friends have soul DJ nights – Paris Magic City is always fantastic and worth a trip over, there is Bam Bam 007 for regular reggae nights, and bars like Le Tiki Lounge and the Pigalle Country Club are small but have good DJs regularly. Les Minets were putting on absolutely incredible allnighters for a while there, hopefully again soon. 

However as the mod scene is so small here live gigs tend to be focused on garage and soul as those can get a more general “60s or soul dance party” audience.

05. How would you describe the style you play?

Pop Moderniste. For us it’s a short way of summarizing: Pop, French and Mod but Modern! We tend to be pretty varied in different songs: some more lighter and jazzy, some psych, some straightforward powerpop, some a bit garage… We get bored easily and don’t like to repeat ourselves.

06. What are your live shows like?

I would say they are surprising to people who expect us to be aloof and posing: we play a lot with powerpop bands and also mostly to non-French speaking audiences who may not know us (as the scene here is so small most of our shows are international – mostly in the UK but we have played in Spain, Ireland, the US, Germany, Canada, Russia, Denmark, Sweden and Italy), so as our songs can be a bit complex on the records we try to do a more powerful and straightforward show where we really connect with the audience even if they cannot understand the lyrics.

07. What are your main influences in music? Who do/would you play covers by? And who do you despise?

Honestly it’s really hard to say as we really are trying to create something new. I can say just what we listen to – besides classic soul, rnb, soul, 60s pop etc for French sounds we all dig Jacques Dutronc, Henri Salvador, Nino Ferrer and Bertrand Burgalat but are pretty varied within the group. Serge is a huge Kinks, Jam and XTC fan, while Zelda is extremely varied with Oi, soul and Britpop, among my favorites are The Zombies, The Everly Brothers & Herbie Goins, and Jean-Marc loves the Beatles and The Most. We also like Blondie, The Damned, The Clash and other punk and new wave bands.

We do adaptations of Madness and The Clash for the Specialized compilations benefiting the Teenage Cancer trust but while we tried to remain true to the spirit of the originals the arrangement is quite different and also they both have new French lyrics. We also do In The Meantime pretty faithful to the Georgie Fame version, but in French of course!

Hmm for despising it is harder: I guess really anything that is manufactured top 40 pop or mainstream rock radio.

08. What are your main influences outside of music?

Serge is a graphic designer so really nice images are important to us and we are all clothes horses which makes band photos easy (apart from never matching)! And a few of us are politically active and we spend a lot of time debating politics which is reflected in the lyrics of our songs. Zelda being a language teacher, Jean-Marc a journalist and my father having been a poet and author also probably all contributes to making lyrics very important to us.

09. Who writes your songs and what subjects do you deal with?

Serge composes almost all of the music, while we split lyrics duties. Zelda has written all of the English language songs (but she also writes in French), Serge some, myself (Gabriela) some, and it is great when all 3 of us can collaborate. And we are really happy as Jean Marc has just written his first text (about the useless journalists that you can’t escape here) so we won’t be short of ideas from now on!

Our subjects tend to be either funny or serious observations and critiques of society, we only have one love song, and most of them are in French as that’s the language that we speak to each other in.

10. What’s your favorite song in your repertoire currently? What’s your favourite song by another artist?

I think for ours I’ll have to go with Le Mac, about a detestable French politician, coming out very soon. But for other artists so hard to choose, maybe Billy Bragg’s Greetings to the New Brunette? Or Waterfall by Jimmy Cliff always makes me happy.

11. How would you describe the current underground scene?  Do you participate?

It seems that the mod scene is coming out with lots of interesting new sounds internationally which is really exciting, for a long time bands were stuck in retro or copycat mode and now are mixing things up a lot. There are cool bands not just in the UK but in Sweden, Russia, Brazil, Argentina and all over the place. We are trying our best to keep up with them all!

12. What has been the biggest challenge to date?

I’d have to say the lack of places to play in France, a problem common to all of the groups here, which means that we go abroad to play most of the time and we love to play live so we end up arranging lots of trips. Of course that is absolutely wonderful for us, we love to travel and meet people and it is so cool to see the enthusiasm in the UK and other places where normally foreign language groups don’t do so well. But it presents financial challenges, we need to cover the cost of travel each time and also get time off work.

13. How often do you Rehearse? Play Live? Record? Anything interesting coming up?

We rehearse at least once per week and sometimes twice, and play live as often as we can, that usually means one big weekend abroad with 2-4 shows per month.

We record about once a year, and hopefully will release our first album in 2016! We love 45s but everyone has been asking for an album, it’s a bit tough for financing but we hope to be able to crowdfund as we did our last record. We have tons of new songs, 3 already recorded, 4 in almost final shape and a few others in the pipeline and they are all over the place as far as subject matter and style.

14. What do you think of the music coverage in the media?

It sucks, outside of small sites and fanzines, always the same groups and especially in France it seems very controlled by the music industry, people are afraid to like anything different.

15. Do you rate any current mainstream or underground bands?

All of the French bands we mention above, and for international mod scene bands our favorites are The Riots, The Most, The Shalalas and The Sound of Pop Art. And we recently picked up the new album by Paul Collins and it was just as good as his older classics with The Nerves and The Beat, definitely go to see him if you get the chance. In the UK recently, we also got to play with The Boss who were fantastic, and we will soon again play with Trambeat which is always a treat.

16. Who/Where would you most like to record with and why?

We love where we currently record whenever we have the chance, Yeah!Yeah!Yeah! Studios in Hamburg, they have a perfect combination of old and new for recording and mixing. Dennis Rux is the engineer there and he seems to perfectly understand what we are trying to do, does not over-engineer out “flaws” and has great suggestions for little touches that really make the song. If we were to change, we would go with Gavin Linch and Graham Lentz at Rocket Studios in Croydon, they just mixed a demo for us that we are really happy with, also a natural sound but with finesse.

17. What should we expect from you in the future?  What are your plans and ambitions? What interesting gig dates have you got coming up?

As mentioned before, hopefully our first album next year, followed by more records that we are proud of, other than that and playing lot of fun gigs with cool bands that’s pretty much all of our ambition.

We have a rare gig in Paris this Friday with our friends The Most from Sweden which will be a nice boost during a rather sad time here. And for 2016, we’re really excited to play with Graham Day’s new band The Senior Service in Putney in January, and after that back for March of the Mods Reading with Geno Washington, Trambeat and the ShaLaLas and 2 dates with SlimShack from Brighton over the weekend, and then MOTM Margate for our first show there which should be really fun. And seems back in the UK in June too now!

(By the way, thank you New Untouchables, we played our first UK show ever for your night in Camden and as you can see now the UK is where we play the most)

And, if we can swing it, we’d love to get to Latin America next year. We are not really sure why but if you look at the countries of the fans of our group there are lots in Argentina and Mexico, they are right after France, the UK, Spain and Ireland. We got to go to Montreal in August for the Modtreal weekender and the US before that but it takes a lot of planning and is very expensive so we’ll see!

Web Links:

Main Site: www.facebook.com/frenchboutik
Videos: www.youtube.com/user/gabs150/videos
Social Networks: www.facebook.com/frenchboutiks 
Soundcloud: www.soundcloud.com/french-boutik

To buy our current releases:

To buy Mieux Comme Ca: www.copasetic.de/french-boutik-mieux-comme-ca
To buy previous vinyl: Sold at CopaseDisques, search: www.amazon.co.uk for French Boutik

Updated Releases and Tour Dates: www.facebook.com/frenchboutik/events


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drrobert

I run The New Untouchables organization and events like the Brighton Mod Weekender, Le Beat Bespoké Festival (and compilation series of the same name) and I co-organize Euro Ye Ye with the Trouble & Tea crew. I have run many clubs over the last 20 years in London, where I live and current nights include Timebox, Zoo Zoo, Crossfire, 100 Club and Mousetrap allnighter which has just celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2011. I have been lucky to DJ all over the globe including Japan, Canada, USA and Europe and met some great people on my journey. I run RnB Records to offset my vinyl addiction: newuntouchables.com/rnbrecords for rare vintage vinyl.

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December 1, 2015 By : Category : Bands Europe Front Page Interviews Music Scene Tags:, , ,
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NUTsCast – Sessions – part 9 (episode 18)

NUTsCast Dec 2015

Here it is folks, the latest edition of The Nutscast Sessions where The Baron looks back over 2015 with exclusive live tracks from Le Beat Bespoke 10, Blues Kitchen and studio sessions. Also, we have brand new songs by Mocking Birds, French Boutik and a festive treat from The Dualers. It’s the perfect prelude for the Nutty New Years Eve Party, so join The Baron for the last Nutscast Sessions of 2015.


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Graham Lentz

AKA ‘The Baron’ - Like many of his generation, The Jam started Graham's love affair with all things mod back in 1977. He is the author of 'The Influential Factor - A History Of Mod' which was originally published in 2002. An extract from the book was re-printed in Paolo Hewitt's 'The Sharper Word - revised edition' in 2011. Being a self-confessed 'broad-church' mod, Graham's interests range from Modern Jazz to today's up-coming new bands and everything in between. Although he has a passion for mod history, he also has a passion for the new. Whether it's music, clubs, media of every kind, clothing, scooters or art and photography, Graham supports, promotes and encourages as much as he can, because that's how we keep going. 'Give it a chance' is his motto. If it's not for you, that's cool, at least you tried it.

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December 16, 2015 By : Category : Bands Front Page Music Podcasts Reviews Tags:, , , , , , ,
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Record Reviews – Feb 2015 (Part 1)

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The Action

In My Lonely Room – EP

What more can be said about The Action? A band of such high standing in mod circles, as to be regarded as equal to The Who, Small Faces or The Kinks.
A band who, like The Beatles, were rejected by Dick Rowe at Decca Records, then subsequently were signed by Parlophone and produced by George Martin (who some would argue, put all his creative genius into the Fab Four and may not have given The Action the attention they deserved.)
This fantastic EP may be the last of the ‘undiscovered’ recordings from The Action. Four sides cut for Decca with a view to being signed.
The recordings have come from test pressings made during 1964-65 and have been re-mastered to the best quality possible.
With the exception of the last track, ‘Fine Looking Girl’, which is accepted as being a basic demo from an acetate that had not been well-looked after, the other three tracks are a wonderful addition to the catalogue.
‘In My Lonely Room’ is a deliciously raw version compared to the polished offering that became the B-side to ‘Land Of 1,000 Dances’.
Their take on The Impressions ‘You’ll Want Me Back’ is a delight from start to finish. Tight harmonies and Reggie King giving his all is a prime example of why The Action was so revered among their peers.
Their version of ‘Why You Wanna Make Me Blue’ highlights exactly why Steve Marriott rated The Action so highly. Their ability to capture that ‘something’ about the Tamla sound was a knack the Small Faces always felt they never quite achieved themselves.
So we have Peter Reynolds to thank for restoring and re-mastering. Nigel Lees for making this disc a reality and Andrew Few for granting access to the source material. A job well-done and a happy bunch of Action fans who will not be disappointed with the results.

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March Of The Mods

‘Causing A Scene’ – Various Artists Double – CD

‘Tis the season when March Of The Mods (MOTM) in aid Of Teenage Cancer Trust (TCT) begin their third year of fundraising activities for the charity.

Part of that campaign includes this new cd compilation featuring tracks from many artists who have or will be taking part this year.

Staunch perennial supporters like The Universal, Sha La Las, Heavy Mod, The Theme, Button Up and Past Tense are all represented here.

2015 debutants include The Inciters, Len Price 3, Heavyball and Mayfield. There is even a smattering of classics from the likes of Geno Washington, The Eyes and Steve Marriott.

If, like me, you have an open mind about mod culture, there is much to enjoy in this collection. The Supernovas’ track ‘City Of Smoke’, Samuel S. Parkes’ ‘The Runner’ and Sixty Eight’s ‘She’s A Witch’ were just three of my favs from bands I was unfamiliar with. (Which is no mean feat I can tell you!)

I have to say, March Of The Mods have done exceptionally well putting this together and getting bands like From The Jam, Pepper Pots,The Riots and all the others to donate the tracks for free allowing all proceeds to go to Teenage Cancer Trust.

Last year MOTM presented a cheque for one hundred thousand pounds to TCT. This compilation should get 2015’s campaign off to a flyer and we wish them all the best.

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Emma Donovan and The Putbacks

Dawn – LP

When this cd landed at the Nutsmag office, the first thing I noticed was it is on the wonderful Australian label Hope Street.

I must confess, upon first listening, I wondered why an Australian record label was releasing a London-based artist! This is the kind of soul I associate with the London scene that first came to prominence in the early 90s with labels like Acid Jazz, Talkin’ Loud and acts such as Carlene Anderson, Brand New Heavies, Incognito and the like.

I had not been aware of Emma Donovan until now. A lady from the Aborginal community, she has a voice of such depth and rich soulful tones, it is very hard to resist.

It has only been in recent times Emma has joined forces with Melbourne-based soul outfit, The Putbacks. It’s a match made in heaven.

This album and Emma Donovan’s delivery just oozes into your soul. It’s like being wrapped in a warm, fur-lined blanket in front of an open fire.

The title track ‘Dawn’ has hints of Anita Baker in her heyday, while ‘My Goodness’ is a sultry, silky rhythm that simply says ‘class’.

‘Keep Me In Your Reach’ is as close as you get to a mid-paced dancer, laced with Hammond organ and a guitar sound reminiscent of Steve Cropper.

Changing down the gears to a slow ballad, ‘Come Back To Me’ is just beautiful.

The gauntlet has been thrown down early in 2015. Any soul band out there will have to come with something truly exceptional to top this quite superb album.

Let’s hope Emma Donovan can reach the shores of the UK. I think she will take the soul world by storm.

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BJ’s New Breed

‘Baby’s Gone For Good’ b/w ‘One Man Woman’ – Single

‘I’m Sorry’ b/w ‘The Harder They Come’ – Single

You may or may not be familiar with the bands The Jaybirds and The Attention, but they were two of Vienna’s finest exponents of psych infused garage.

When you amalgamate members from both bands, you get BJ’s New Breed and four tracks across two 7” singles that do not disappoint.

Loaded with strident chords, catchy rhythms, Vox Continental organ and janggly guitar, it’s hard to pick one out of the four because they are all top draw.

Simply put, if you like psych and garage, you’ll love these tunes.

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Eleanor Rigby

Best of Vol 1 – CD

Mod culture is not known for mysteries or strange stories, but one of the few, if not the only one, is that of Eleanor Rigby.

She arrived on the mod scene with her debut single ‘I Want To Sleep With You’ in 1985 and continued to release singles and her only album ‘Censorship’ in 1987.

It is claimed that she had some influence on the emerging Britpop bands like Garbage, St Etienne and Blur. She certainly seemed to find favour across Europe and she did have a core of UK fans.

The mystery about Eleanor, is that she disappeared, not just from the mod and music scene, but literally disappeared completely around 1988-89.

No one has seen or heard from her since.

This 12 track offering comprised of her singles comes courtesy of Future Legend Records. She had her detractors and took a lot of criticism from certain circles in the late Eighties, but this cd serves to remind us, she did have ability to back up her attractive, Sixties/mod-inspired image.

The aforementioned debut and the follow-up, ‘Take Another Shot Of My Heart’ are catchy songs and ‘of their time’.

For my money, her quality and untapped potential is better evidenced by her covers of ‘You Only Live Twice’ and ‘Up The Junction’

For those of you who may remember Eleanor Rigby in the Eighties, maybe now is a good time to re-evaluate her career? It’s just a shame she is not available for comment.

 nm_jan_2015_french_boutik

French Boutik

Mieux Comme Ca – EP

This one arrived about a week after the last issue of Nutsmag, so it is a tad late, but well worth reviewing.

This is the third EP from the Gallic mod-popsters and each one gets better. They have a style and sound of their own which is always a good thing to have in your locker and the lead track exemplifies this claim.

An uptempo beat track with lead vocals by Serge Hoffman, complimented by Gabriella Giacoman and Zelda Aquil, ‘Mieux Comme Ca’ fairly rattles along.

‘End Of The Line’ however, sees the ‘Boutiks change down the gears with a lyrical, psychy flavour that again, highlights one of their strengths; their ability to come up with good songs that don’t sound the same. You know it’s them, but it’s not like anything you’ve heard before.

‘La Vie En Couleurs’ sees Gabriela take over the lead with a really catchy mod-pop tune that could only come from our neighbours across the English Channel. It’s that “Je ne se quoi pas” that sounds utterly French.

Having been invited to play the Specialized Weekend in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust last year, French Boutik have included their version of the Madness tune ‘Tiptoes’ on this EP and a fine job they have done too.

I can tell you I’ve heard some new material that French Boutik are working on for their next release and that will be one to watch out for. I know they are here for a couple of dates in March and I’ve also heard a whisper they will be back in the UK in July. They are well worth seeing.


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Graham Lentz

AKA ‘The Baron’ - Like many of his generation, The Jam started Graham's love affair with all things mod back in 1977. He is the author of 'The Influential Factor - A History Of Mod' which was originally published in 2002. An extract from the book was re-printed in Paolo Hewitt's 'The Sharper Word - revised edition' in 2011. Being a self-confessed 'broad-church' mod, Graham's interests range from Modern Jazz to today's up-coming new bands and everything in between. Although he has a passion for mod history, he also has a passion for the new. Whether it's music, clubs, media of every kind, clothing, scooters or art and photography, Graham supports, promotes and encourages as much as he can, because that's how we keep going. 'Give it a chance' is his motto. If it's not for you, that's cool, at least you tried it.

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February 16, 2015 By : Category : Bands Front Page Music Reviews Tags:, , , , , , ,
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NUTsCast – NUTsMag: Newbreed Live Music

Newuntouchables.com ‘head honcho’ Dr. Robert and NUTsMag Review’s Editor Graham Lentz together select some of 2013’s best tracks from our Newbreed Bands. Well worth a listen! To listen to the Podcast, click the play button in the left hand corner of the Podcast Player above! Et Voila!

Music Running Order For NUTsCast

01. Last Of The Troubadors –  Never Forgive You
02. Gizzelle – I’m A Good Woman
03. Jacco Gardner – Puppets Dangling
04. Soul Naturals – If It’s War
05. French Boutik – Ici Paris
06. King Zoot  – Flying
07. DC Fontana – Devil Angel
08. The Sha La La’s – Twenty Five
09. The Faith Keepers  – You Got It
10. The Riots  – Hate To See You Go
11. Button Up  – Someday
12. Electric Stars  – Isolation
13. Alpha 9  – El Morroco
14. Stone Foundation  – Warning Signs
15. The Universal  – This Is A War CD


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Graham Lentz

AKA ‘The Baron’ - Like many of his generation, The Jam started Graham's love affair with all things mod back in 1977. He is the author of 'The Influential Factor - A History Of Mod' which was originally published in 2002. An extract from the book was re-printed in Paolo Hewitt's 'The Sharper Word - revised edition' in 2011. Being a self-confessed 'broad-church' mod, Graham's interests range from Modern Jazz to today's up-coming new bands and everything in between. Although he has a passion for mod history, he also has a passion for the new. Whether it's music, clubs, media of every kind, clothing, scooters or art and photography, Graham supports, promotes and encourages as much as he can, because that's how we keep going. 'Give it a chance' is his motto. If it's not for you, that's cool, at least you tried it.

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November 18, 2013 By : Category : Bands Front Page Music Picks Podcasts Tags:, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Record Reviews – Sep 2013 (Part 2)

This entry is part 9 of 18 in the series Record Reviews

French Boutik

nm_august_2013_french_boutik

French Boutik – Ici Paris EP

Regular readers of the reviews section here at NUTSMAG will know we are big fans of French Boutik and championed their last EP ‘Les Chats de Gouttière’ which was one of the best releases of 2012 and now the franco-american combo have done it again with ‘Ici Paris’. Four tracks on a double 7” vinyl format and download sees our favourite Parisian modernistas continuing where they left off with their wonderful blend of anglo/french mod pop which really is a tonic in theses days of sterile, processed nonsense that dominates the mainstream music business. This is fresh, exciting, uplifting and fun. The influences are too numerous to mention, but it is not difficult to spot them. The title track ‘Ici Paris’ is a delightfully mellow and soul-infused tune telling the tale of the perils of private rented accommodation in the city. ‘Facile’ is an organ-led ‘ye ye’ styled dancer protesting the state of corporate greed. ‘Pousse Au Crime’ has a slightly darker, sinister feel to it, recounting the sarcastic thoughts of an aging dandy bemoaning the bad taste surrounding him. (Heck, they could have been writing about me !) Finally ‘Kinki Allumette’ is a quirky joyous tune that can only come from French origins. I can’t think of any other nation that can produce this kind of musical fun. While Serge takes the English vocals for this track, Gabriella has the duties for the others and what a fine job she does too. I am so looking forward to seeing them when they play a few selected dates during September to promote this EP. See them if you can, you will not regret it.

King Zoot

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King Zoot – Staring At The Sky EP

King Zoot may be a new name to many of you unless you happen to pop into the Fiddler’s Elbow in Camden from time to time, then you may have seen this Surrey-based outfit in action. They have been together a couple of years and were formerly known as ‘Jump The Gun’. Under that moniker, they made some good records, but with a new name and this new ep, they have definitely progressed. Regular readers will know that I am one for examining influences and King Zoot definitely come with a Brit Pop flavour. Opening track ‘Flying’ has touches of Oasis about it. There’s a certain anthemic quality about it and it’s very enjoyable. ‘Seventeen Again’ is a foot-tapping mid-pacer. The kind of thing you might expect from Dodgy perhaps. What I like about it, and this goes for all four tracks on the ep, the lyrics have been well thought out. ‘Better Days’ picks up the pace a bit. It reminds of ‘Happy Hour’ by the Housemartins. It has that feel to it and again the lyrics really hit home as it tells the story of someone hoping for a change from their life of poverty and surroundings. Finally ‘Waiting For Yesterday’ has a Richard Ashcroft flavour to it. It’s another wonderful example of just how far King Zoot has come in such a short space of time. Do keep a look out for this band if you have a liking for Brit Pop mod. I think you may be pleasantly surprised. They’re pretty good live too.

Irma Thomas

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Irma Thomas – In Between Tears LP

It has been said that Jerry Williams Jr (aka Swamp Dogg) could get the very best out of any female vocalist he produced. Quite why that is so may remain a mystery forever, but on this evidence, it’s easy to see why such a claim is made. Most of you will know something of Irma Thomas’s career or at least you will know the name. She is another in a long line of artists who really should have had greater chart success and recognition. This LP is a reissue on Alive Naturalsound Records and was originally released in 1973. ‘In Between Tears’ is not what you might expect, given the original year. This is a slice of classic ‘Southern Soul’. There’s no sign of early disco or deep funk as was the case back then on many an album by a black performer. This is Irma Thomas doing what she always did best, giving it everything on every song. The title track itself is worth the price, but the goods just keep coming on this disc. It helps that the songs are perfect for a stellar interpreter of love, anguish, trouble and strife as Ms Thomas clearly is. For example, ‘She’ll Never Be Your Wife’ or ‘What’s So Wrong With You Loving Me’ are stand out tracks, but the most extraordinary vocal performance comes toward the end of a medley entitled ‘Wish Someone Would Care’. I can’t find the words to explain the emotion and vocal technique of Irma Thomas, but it is quite astounding and you can tell that she was ‘in the zone’ for this one. So if you like your soul Southern fried, this is a good place to start.

Young Sinclairs

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Young Sinclairs – Engineer Man b/w Problems

Hailing from Roanoke, Virginia USA, Young Sinclairs emerged from the Magic Twig Community, an aggregation of like-minded musicians working in their area who operate their own recording studio, The Mystic Fortress, where members of Young Sinclairs have produced and engineered all their own recordings. The group began working together in 2005; Sam Lunsford sings lead and writes the majority of their material, accompanied by multi-instrumentalists Daniel Cundiff, Sean Michael Poff, John Thompson, and Jonathan Woods. This is the fourth single of the band’s career and what a great single it is. Young Sinclairs wear their influence on their sleeve. It has all the hallmarks of Byrds, Who and Beach Boys rolled into a very neat and tidy package. Both tracks are precision vocals, steady beat, intricate musicianship and perfect for psych lovers everywhere. I like both tracks immensely, but of the two, I’d have to go for ‘Problems’ as my fav. It has slightly more of a British influence about it. I could hear the La’s in there as well as the more mellow side of The Who. That’s not to say ‘Engineer Man’ is not a good song. It most certainly is, and I highly recommend it.

The Universal

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The Universal – The Outsiders LP

For anyone who hasn’t come across this four-piece from Liverpool, The Universal has been generating quite a following on the mod / scootering circuits in recent years. Led by Terry Shaughnessy on guitar and lead vocals, the line up comprises of Piet Koehorst, Dave Ormsby and Gary Chambers. ‘The Outsiders’ is their latest LP and it’s not hard to see where the inspiration for it came from. This is quite possibly the best LP Paul Weller never made. The 11 tracks are teeming with mod rock reference points. Social commentary, catchy guitar riffs, driving beats. It’s a wonderfully constructed, well written, superbly produced slice of the best of British indie. I can see less generous critics gnashing their teeth and dismissing this as a ‘Weller’ rip off, but that would be lazy, unfair and wide of the mark. Mr Shaughnessy does have a vocal style that fluctuates between Weller and Damon Albarn. The tunes are pure Brit Pop classics in the making. First up is ‘If You Want It’. An uplifting call to anyone who needs some motivation to make a change in their life. ‘Choke’ takes us to the Blur-influenced side of The Universal. It has a great melody and a chorus that demands a singalong. I can see this being very popular in a live setting. ‘Let it Reign’ slows the pace down, but still packs a punch. When a song starts with the line “It’s better than a kick in the balls” you have to sit up and listen. ‘The Worshippers’ takes a thinly disguised swipe at those who govern the UK and those who support them. ‘Is This England’ is a rail against the mediocrity and banality of the mainstream and the people who sheepishly follow the crowd. So, by now you’re getting the idea of the concept of this LP. It’s not for the faint hearted when it comes to lyrics. ‘Every Man For Himself’, ‘Hanging In Space’, ‘Superman’ and ‘Don’t Be Fooled’ continue the theme and each one is an absolute gem.

The penultimate track is by far my favourite. It is homage to The Jam. The reference points throughout are blatantly obvious to an old Jam fan such as myself. If you know your Jam catalogue inside out (as I like to think I do) you can break it down. The basis of the song is pure ‘Set The House Ablaze’, the guitar riff is a not-quite ‘Eton Rifles’, and the big finish gives us a nod to ‘This Is The Modern World’ and the typically Jam-esque echoed vocal with a nice drop of feedback. In my opinion, its sheer brilliance and the type of song that will see The Universal stride off a stage with a crowd going crazy for more. The title track of the LP is last up and it’s a slow, but razor-sharp dig at the political establishment and a defiant message of intent. As I said at the top of this review, if Paul Weller had come up with this LP, he would be looking at a Number 1 in the LP charts and clutching a handful of awards by the end of it. For what it’s worth, this LP is a huge contender for NUTSMAG LP of 2013.


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Graham Lentz

AKA ‘The Baron’ - Like many of his generation, The Jam started Graham's love affair with all things mod back in 1977. He is the author of 'The Influential Factor - A History Of Mod' which was originally published in 2002. An extract from the book was re-printed in Paolo Hewitt's 'The Sharper Word - revised edition' in 2011. Being a self-confessed 'broad-church' mod, Graham's interests range from Modern Jazz to today's up-coming new bands and everything in between. Although he has a passion for mod history, he also has a passion for the new. Whether it's music, clubs, media of every kind, clothing, scooters or art and photography, Graham supports, promotes and encourages as much as he can, because that's how we keep going. 'Give it a chance' is his motto. If it's not for you, that's cool, at least you tried it.

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September 20, 2013 By : Category : Bands Front Page Music Reviews Tags:, , , , ,
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Record Reviews – Nov 2012

This entry is part 1 of 18 in the series Record Reviews

40 Motown Floorshakers CD

One of the few saving graces for the major labels is exploiting their back catalogue because they sure as hell don’t invest and make money from new artists. And you would think the Motown vaults are virtually exhausted by now. So many compilations have hit the shops and online retailers in the past 20 years, it’s a wonder that there’s any new, undiscovered material left. So here we have a compilation of Motown stock. What makes this so different from any of the others? Well, it helps that a genuine, knowledgeable enthusiast in the shape of Jo Wallace put this collection together, and a fine job she has done. There are some obvious choices like ‘Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart’ or ‘Nothing’s Too Good For My Baby’, but really they are few and far between. There are some absolute corkers here, not least of which are, Mavin and Tammi’s ‘That’s How It Is’, Odyssey with the un-Motown-like ‘Battened Ships’ and Jr. Walker’s ‘Tune Up’. 40 Northern Soul Classics? I’d say so!

 

French Boutik – Les Chats De Gouttiere EP

When you think of French music, and specifically French mod music, Jacques Dutronc is the first name to spring to mind. In more general terms, Piaf, Hardy, Greco, Gainsbourg, and Distel will be familiar to Sixties pop enthusiasts. So with that heritage, French Boutik unleash this four-track EP that acknowledges the past without being overly pastiche. It is all original material and it is very good. The French do have a unique musical style. There are songs that you know could only have come from France and so it is with this disc. ‘La Vedette’ is a slice of dreamy beat with male lead vocals, while ‘Le Clope’ hands over to the ladies and sees a faster pace with a hint of Bardot-esque charm about it. ‘Les Chats De Gouttiere’ is the type of quality beat that Blondie would have covered in their hey-day. ‘New Bossa’ is the only song in English and swings along nicely as a change of pace to the other tracks. This EP is a refreshing blast from across the English Channel. They also look cool. If you caught them on their recent visit to London, you’ll know what a good band they are.

For more info:
facebook.com/frenchboutik
myspace.com/frenchboutik
frenchboutik@gmail.com
also available from I-tunes

 

July – Temporal Anomoly CD

Psych is a genre that has just passed me by. It’s just not my bag. However, being a professional, I’ve done the research. I do know that July recorded their one and only LP in 1968 which has become a sought-after psych classic and they released two singles: ‘My Clown’ b/w ‘Dandelion Seeds’ on Major Minor and ‘Hello, Who’s There?’ with ‘The Way’ on Ariola I have listened to tracks from the 1968 period and I can see the attraction for psych fans. With context firmly in place, Temporal Anomaly is no reflection on the 1968 self-titled album. To my untrained ear (in all things psych) this sounds like a rock album. I can’t say if there’s anything that would appeal to psych fans because it would be unfair to make comparisons with July’s output of 44 years ago. To me it’s more Mike Oldfield than 13th Floor Elevators or Strawberry Alarm Clock. That said, the opening track ‘I Like It’ along with ‘Dreams’ and ‘All The Hours’ were high points. It may not be to my taste, but these guys have done something creative, I salute them. There will be people out there who are better qualified to judge than I.

For more info email: july@neddysongs.com and at www.neddysongs.com

 

Nolan Porter with Stone Foundation – Live at 100 Club CD

If you haven’t heard of Stone Foundation yet, believe me you soon will have. This seven-piece outfit from the Midlands are steeped in soul and are even better than Dexy’s… for my money. They impressed so much last year they supported The Specials on their UK tour. Joining them on stage for this official bootleg is Northern Soul legend Nolan Porter and the set understandably includes a handful of Nolan’s best known work. ‘Fe-Fi-Fo-Fum’, ‘Keep On Keepin’ On’, and ‘If I Could Only Be Sure’ will be more than familiar to Northern fans and they stand the test of time given the Stone Foundation treatment. Stone Foundation are no slouches themselves with ‘To Find the Spirit’ and the utterly infectious ‘Tracing Paper’. Throw in a couple of rip-roaring covers of Darrell Bank’s ‘Somebody Somewhere’ and Brenton Wood’s ‘Gimme Little Sign’ and it’s clear to see why the audience were making so much noise. I hear a new studio LP is in the making by Stone Foundation and that should be hitting the streets in the coming months.

www.stonefoundation.co.uk, on facebook and I-tunes where you will also find their back catalogue including the last studio LP Three Shades Of…

 

Phoenix City All-Stars – Two Tone Gone Ska CD

This is one of those “does exactly what it says on the tin” LPs. Seven of the eight tracks are familiar Two-Tone label monsters given the slightly more laid-back feel of ska. ‘One Step Beyond’ and ‘Stereotype’ get things underway and are a taste of things to come. Throughout, it’s clear that the Allstars are quality musicians giving each song it’s due respect. However, the whole set really comes to the fore with the inclusion of vocals from reggae legend Dave Barker (he of Dave and Ansell Collins fame). My personal fav is their version of ‘I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down’. Barker is in fine form and clearly enjoying every moment.

 

Sidewalk Society – Venus, Saturn And The Crescent Moon CD

So, who are Sidewalk Society? Hailing from Long Beech, California, they are a three piece whose influences range from the Kinks, Small Faces and the Move to T Rex. By far their greatest inspiration is The Who’s ‘Sell Out’. Comprising Dan Lawrence on guitar and vocals, Jerry Buszek on drums and Dan West on bass and vocals, by all accounts they have been keeping very busy gigging regularly up and down the interstate highway between San Francisco and LA. This LP is their second and what an interesting work it is. Having listed some of their influences, it is easy to identify them throughout this album, but Sidewalk Society uses those influences very well. It is very well put together and well produced. I did have a couple of questions for the band, but, at time of writing, I have not heard back. The main question was if this was a concept album? It certainly has the feel of one. Made up of 12 tracks, with an interlude and chorale finale, this is definitely a two-parter. Side one (or tracks one to six on the CD) are of a distinctly sixties flavour. The use of orchestration and choice of instruments helps to enhance the feel of that decade. Over on side two (tracks eight to 13) the mood shifts into the seventies where the Bolan influence manifests itself on the title track. Occasionally I found myself thinking Dave Grohl had crept into the consciousness, but that’s not a bad thing. This is a contemporary album by a band using their influences to create new material. The fact that I have listened to this more than once because I liked it says a lot. If this is the standard of mod/power pop stateside, then it’s pretty high and in very good shape. www.sidewalksocietymusic.com


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Graham Lentz

AKA ‘The Baron’ - Like many of his generation, The Jam started Graham's love affair with all things mod back in 1977. He is the author of 'The Influential Factor - A History Of Mod' which was originally published in 2002. An extract from the book was re-printed in Paolo Hewitt's 'The Sharper Word - revised edition' in 2011. Being a self-confessed 'broad-church' mod, Graham's interests range from Modern Jazz to today's up-coming new bands and everything in between. Although he has a passion for mod history, he also has a passion for the new. Whether it's music, clubs, media of every kind, clothing, scooters or art and photography, Graham supports, promotes and encourages as much as he can, because that's how we keep going. 'Give it a chance' is his motto. If it's not for you, that's cool, at least you tried it.

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November 15, 2012 By : Category : Bands Front Page Music Reviews Tags:, , , , , , ,
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