Browsing Tag the Franklys

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

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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/

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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 Reviews – April 2015

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Record Reviews 2

The Loons

‘Inside Out Your Mind’ – Album

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If there is one psych/garage album you have to buy this year, this has to be it. It really is going to take some beating. The Loons are based on the West Coast of America and are the brain-child of Mike Stax, probably best known as the man behind the magnificent ‘Ugly Things’ magazine which is published twice per year. Featuring Mike’s wife Anja, Chris Marsteller, Marc Schroeder and Mike Kamoo, this 11 track celebration of aforementioned genres is just sublime. Every reference point you could wish for is included. Hints of The Byrds, MC5, 13th Floor Elevators etc. It’s all here. From the opener ‘Siren City’ through the title track ‘Inside Out Your Mind’ via the folksy-ballad ‘Silence’ and the hard rocking ‘My Desolation’, to the dreamier ‘Transparent Eyes’ and finally the homage to The Beatles creative noodling of the Sgt Pepper era; ‘As The Raven Flies’, there is not a flaw to be found at all. The Loons certainly made a big impression with their debut appearance at Le Beat Bespoke 10 where much of this album was showcased. Mike Stax’s slightly raspy vocals are a perfect match for The Loons style and the rest of the band acquit themselves admirably. The last time a psych/garage outfit impressed me this much was the incredible Hypnotic Eye. Now The Loons have matched that feat, and to impress a reviewer who is not predisposed to psych and garage, that is no mean feat at all.

facebook.com/TheLoons.SD

 

The Franklys

‘Bad News’ b/w ‘What You Said’ and ‘Puppet’ – EP

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I once introduced The Franklys as the hardest rocking all-girl band in the world and two songs into their set they blew up a guitar amp! Nutsmag Reviews have championed this band from day one and now finally, the rock media are picking up on them. The Franklys are an edgy, sometimes dark melting pot of hard rock, punk and power pop. It makes for interesting listening and head-nodding. These three tracks are prime examples. The new song; ‘Bad News’ is a thumping grungy-guitar led rocker with Jennifer Ahlkvist giving her now-customary bitter delivery. Bearing in mind she writes the lyrics for the band, when Jen sings “I broke your heart, cut your stomach apart” on ‘What You Said’, you can’t help but think she might just do it too! I am joking of course. Fanny Broburg continues to find the perfect guitar hook to give The Franklys sound distinction. Zoe Biggs holds it all together on bass and Nicole Pinto must surely be rising fast in the drummers rankings. ‘Puppet’ is definitely at the power pop end of the Franklys repertoire, but it is a corker. This is another band rumoured to be in the process of unleashing a debut LP later this year or early 2016.

thefranklys.com

 

Black Noire

‘Tales Of The Unaffected’ – EP

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I have followed Darron Connett’s career with interest over the years. From the band Connett and tracks like ‘Running Miles’, to The Last Of The Troubadors which were a very under-rated band in my humble opinion. In this latest incarnation for Mr Connett, the pre-publicity warned to ‘expect the unexpected’ and that was no empty promise. Black Noire sees Emily Jackson and Daniel Smith join Darron and on this evidence, they are well suited. This debut six track ep is without doubt a departure from anything Darron has done before. It is big, bold, creative and multi-layered. It seems obvious that Jackson and Smith are well qualified as musicians to match Mr Connett’s aspirations and vision for this band. The production is sumptuous with a deferential nod to instruments synonymous with the great arrangements of the Sixties. Think film scores or the big production numbers from Scott Walker, Richard Harris or Jimmy Webb and you’ll be on the right track. ‘Make Mine A Double’ gets the show underway with a catchy melody and chorus, but it also highlights one of Darron Connett’s great strengths; his lyric writing. “My honesty and loyalty are sending me to Coventry, where I’ll stay.” Maybe it’s just me, but I love songs that paint pictures. ‘Hand To Hold’ shuffles along with another delightful melody. ‘The Deadly Silence’ is an unashamed ‘Bond’ theme that doesn’t even attempt to disguise itself. ‘Give My Regards’ continues on that theme, while being distinctly different from its predecessor. ‘Catch Me When I Fall’ is a fine mid-paced love song full of swirling piano, but my favourite is ‘Jezebel’. This is quite simply a masterpiece of lyrics, melody, production and delivery. If a song touches your very soul, then it has to be a thing of beauty. ‘Jezebel’ did just that to me. I hope you agree.

twitter.com/blacknoiremusic

 

Gentlemen’s Agreement

‘Understanding’ – Album

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There are so many healthy scenes and bands around at the moment, it is hard to recall when it was quite this good. Certainly, (although not exclusively), France seems to have one of the most vibrant and here we have another example as to why that is. Gentlemen’s Agreement is the result of members from different bands joining together as a side project which has become something more meaningful, although they still remain within their own combos. Drawn from the likes of Tower Brown, Peneolpe and Hawaii Men, these musicians have collaborated on a fine example of Freakbeat at its best. With a smattering of covers, ‘One Fine Day’, Buzz Saw’ and ‘Sock It To Me’ to original numbers like ‘I Wanna Know’, ‘Eden Rose’ and ‘Lucky Star’, this is loaded with all the Hammond organ and fuzz guitar you could wish for on a Freakbeat album. For something that was supposed to be a side project, it’s pretty damn good.

facebook.com/Gentlemens-Agreements

 

Thee Jezebels

‘Black Book’ b/w ‘Cried Over You’ – Single

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Comprised of Laura Anderson, Letty Gallagher and Lois Tozer, Thee Jezebels (not it is not a type ‘O’, that is how it’s spelt.) offer up two tracks of R&B infused garage/punk, if that is not a contradiction in terms? Essentially, it’s a combination of The Who, The Stranglers, Dr Feelgood and early Joan Jett all mixed in the same pot. Both sides have a slightly low-down and dirty quality while delivering a punch. It should come as no surprise that this single is out on State Records, who seem to be making a habit of putting out some really top-draw releases. I have a strange feeling Thee Jezebels may just be another one to watch out for. This is really great stuff.

facebook.com/theejezebels

 

Little Clara & Les Chacals

‘Un Pas Apres L’Autre’ – Album

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France really is going through a ‘purple patch’ with quality bands producing quality music and here is yet another fine example coming out on the Q-Sounds label. This is 60s influenced soul, French-style. Too often, I have seen reviewers simply assign the “YeYe” tag to anything coming from across the English Channel because it is an easy label to pin. This is a misconception and the French scene deserves a little more respect than that. This is a really nice album loaded with brass, organ and soul beats a-plenty. Little Clara has an ability to dig deeper and really put some guts into her performance when needed, but always seems to be mindful that soul needs sensitive handling as well. There is nothing ‘samey’ about the tracks on offer here. They all offer something different, from the delightful cover of Fontella Bass, titled here as ‘De Ma Vie’, to the rhythmic chugging along of ‘Pas De Playboy Pour Moi’. ‘Rentree Dans Les Rangs’ introduces a hint of Latin to the proceedings, while the closest we get to the stereotypical ‘Ye Ye’ sound is on ‘Tu Ne Peux Pas T’empecher De Rire’. All in all, this is a great little album and Little Clara has all the potential to do very well in the future. Let’s really, really hope so!

facebook.com/LittleClara

 

Rhythm Shakers

‘Voodoo’ – Album

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There is a very good reason why The Rhythm Shakers were invited back to Le Beat bespoke 10 this year. They are the best rock and roll band around right now and this album proves my case. What I find so appealing is that together with Wild Records, The Rhythm Shakers generate such an authentic sound to match their music. It is exactly how it should sound; a little raw and edgy, but with well-balanced production values. This is as much a continuation from their debut ‘Flipsville’ as it is a raising of the bar. Marlena Perez not only sings lead vocals, but writes most of the material here. Her vocal delivery is what really makes the songs stand out. She has this knack of making you believe she means every last word of her lyrics. ‘To Another Man’, ‘Lose My Mind’ and ‘Broke His Heart’ are prime examples. Coupled with some irresistible guitar hooks and rhythms that have your toes tapping at the very least, this is an album which showcases this style of music at its best. They say it is good to save the best until last and the final two tracks are certainly that. ‘I’m Satisfied’ is a splendid cover of an Otis Rush song and ‘Leaving Me’ is a delightful change of pace and a scaled back acoustic-led number. It is probably about as close as we are likely to get to a ballad from The Rhythm Shakers, but it is very, very good.

therhythmshakers.com

 

The Sha La La’s

‘Your Blind Soul’ – EP

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Following on from their 2013 debut LP ‘Feelin’ Real’ and last year’s single, ‘Soul Of A Nation’, this EP shows the Sha La La’s impressing once again that they are among the front-runners of the bands influenced by Northern Soul, Motown, and Stax/Atlantic. Some might label it ‘blue-eyed soul’, but undoubtedly, this is as much influenced by the Small Faces as it is by black soul artists. Darron Robinson delivers the vocals with both feeling and passion, while Mick Brown’s guitar work gives the tracks the required vibrancy and force without overpowering the songs. Coupled with John Piccirillo’s ‘big’ drum sound and John Lee’s keyboards, the four of them blend really well. The lead track, ‘Your Blind Soul’ is a rock solid dancer with a nice glockenspiel touch. ‘Do What You Wanna Do’ fairly rattles along with both guitar and organ attacking the senses all at the same time. ‘Always Be There’ sees a slight reduction in pace as Robinson delivers a heart-felt lyric with a deftness of touch not heard in previous work. However, for me, ‘Bring It Down On You’ is the one that really jumps out (and that is no mean feat among this clutch of potential modern classics). With the sterling wah-wah pedal work of Brown and Robinson again delivering vocals with real purpose, I can see this being a huge favourite in their live shows. Word from the band is, a new album is in the planning stages. If this is the standard they’ve set themselves, then it will be one to watch out for.

detour-records.co.uk/sha_la_la’s

 

Supertonic Sound Club

‘Cracked Up Over You’ b/w ‘Love Is A Four Letter Word’ – Single

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Supertonic Sound Club are a Dublin-based outfit who have given a make-over to these two covers. ‘Cracked Up Over You’ is a Northern classic sung by both Danny White and Lee Rogers respectively, but on this version, Sharon Gitau takes lead vocals. Regular readers might recall the last time we heard about Sharon, it was as guest vocalist for soul/funk exponents SoulNaturals and she does another fine job here. ‘Love Is A Four Letter Word’ is the Roy Budd-penned tune from the soundtrack of cult classic ‘Get Carter’. Vocals are supplied by Nikki Kavanagh this time, and she also does a fine job. It will be interesting to see if Supertonic Sound Club has some original material in their locker next time. They certainly have all the elements to make it happen.

facebook.com/supertonicsoundclub

 

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Trambeat

‘Tales From The Comprehensives’ – Album

It has been a good long while since Trambeat released their popular double ‘A’ side ‘Too Good For You’ b/w ‘Walk In My Shoes’. Both songs had Northern Soul influences while maintaining a contemporary feel. Happily, both songs are included on this collection of solid soul/pop tracks. The vocal duties are split between Lucy Aston, Cassandra Bossman, Kimberleigh Kirby, Percita James and Lisa Potter (the voice of our Nutscast adverts). Her hubby, Graham Potter shares the song writing credits with drummer Jammy James and they certainly have the knack to coming up with catchy numbers. Indeed, the opening track ‘Almost You’ has a fairly laid-back groove, but gets the album off to a good start. ‘The Photograph Of You’, ‘No Tomorrow’ and ‘Breaking The Rules’ could all be potential singles in their own right. I’m sure some might baulk at the inclusion of the dub reggae closing track ‘City On Fire’ with MC Chima taking the lead, but I think you might be missing the point of the track. This is a song inspired by the riots that enveloped parts of London and elsewhere a couple of years ago and it creates the right atmosphere in the same way The Special’s ‘Ghost Town’ did all those years ago. Although it has been a long time in the making, I think Trambeat have made it worth the wait with this LP.

trambeat.co.uk

 

 


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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

April 29, 2015 By : Category : Bands Front Page Music Reviews Scene Tags:, , , , , , , , , ,
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Record Reviews – Nov 2014 (Part 2)

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Graham Day and The Forefathers

‘Good Things’ – Album

So, here’s the basic idea. A grossly under-rated and overlooked songwriter decides to get a couple of his long-time mates and former band members to join him for a reworking of some of his work spanning over 30 years. They strip it back to basics. Guitar, bass and drums and let rip.

The result is, you end up with six Solarflares tracks, three from The Prisoners, two from The Gaolers and one from Prime Movers. All of them brilliant in their own right, but taken to a new ‘Medway garage’ high on this album.

Graham Day and The Forefathers (they being Allan Crockford and Wolf Howard) have reminded anyone who didn’t know, (or just plain forgot) what incredible musicians they are and what a fine songwriter Graham Day is.

Exuding the principle of ‘don’t think about it, just get it done’, from the off, with ‘The Good Things’, ‘Mary’ and ‘Can’t Get You Out of My Mind’, Graham, Allan and Wolf just tear it up.

All through this 12 track collection, you constantly find yourself marvelling at the power of the trio and at the same time, humming along to a catchy chorus or hook that is the foundation of all great songs.

It is a very neat trick to be able to play with such force and such skill so as not to lose the finer qualities of a tune. That takes experience, of which Graham, Allan and Wolf have bucket loads.

When I said at the start that this was a ‘basic idea’, it has turned into a brilliant idea and a great album.

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The Franklys

What You Said – Single

Those of you who have been listening to the Nutscast Sessions will know this band were the first to appear live in our studio. Those who may have turned their noses up because the Franklys are a rock band are missing the point.

The point is, myself via my reviews and the New Untouchables have backed this band for best part of two years because we recognised the genuine potential in their debut EP. We saw the same potential in The Strypes when no one would give them a second look.

So here we are, two years on and guess what? The mainstream is all over The Franklys. NME, XFM, Absolute Radio and many others have only now twigged what we knew all along. The Franklys are a band destined to hit big very soon. This sudden wave of interest is due to ‘What You Said’, the new single available on digital download.

Following on from the brilliant ‘Puppet’ earlier in the year, this new track sees the girls developing a recognised ‘sound’.

Zoe Biggs’s haunting heavy bass lines, Nicole Pinto doing what good drummers do; make their instrument so much more than a time-keeper. The pocket-sized bundle of dynamite that is Fanny Broburg letting rip with searing lead guitar work and Jen Ahlkvist continues with her bitter-sweet and ever-so-edgy vocals.

Yes, The Franklys are closer to the Foo Fighters than The Jam, but so what? There is always room for a great rock band and more so for a great all-female rock band. Mark my words, 2015 will be a big year for The Franklys.

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The Wicked Whispers

Maps Of The Mystic – Album

For those of you who did not make it to Crossfire back in October, you really missed a great show. The Wicked Whispers played a fair chunk of this, their debut album at the official London launch.

Nutsmag Reviews has highlighted this band once before. It was last year with the release of their marvellous single ‘Voodoo Moon’ b/w ‘Nightbird’.

I’m so delighted to say, the promise shown on that single has materialised onto this album.

2014 has been a vintage year for new music in my humble opinion, and for Wicked Whispers to produce ‘Maps Of The Mystic’ as we head toward the tail end of the year, just highlights what outstanding quality has come from all quarters and most of it ignored by the mainstream. (No surprise there!)

While the band comprises of Mike Murphy, Toby Virgo, Steven Penn, Andrew Smith and Nathan Sayer, it is Murphy who is clearly the driving force. He wrote all the songs and produced the album, which is no mean feat considering the complexity of some of the arrangements.

It says much about the abilities of Virgo, Penn, Smith and Sayer that they can match Murphy’s vision and ambitions musically.

The recent single ‘Chronological Astronaut’ leads the way, and a fine upbeat track it is too. Equally upbeat and just as good are the songs ‘You Wouldn’t Believe’ and ‘Odyssey Mile’.

It’s when the band show their softer side that Michael Murphy’s song writing really comes to the fore. The title track ‘Maps Of The Mystic’, ‘Flying ‘Round In Circles’ and ‘Amanda Lavender’ beautifully display Murphy’s ability to find a melody and work with words. If his aim is to paint musical and lyrical pictures, I have to say he has achieved it with ease.

In a year of brilliant albums, this one has to be right up there with the best.

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New Street Adventure

No Hard Feelings – Album

It seems barely believable that three years have passed since the first time I saw New Street Adventure at The Barfly, Camden. After the show that night lead singer Nick Corbin gave me a copy of a cd the band had just released. It was called ‘Just The Kind Of People’, a four track EP. It was brilliant and sat very well alongside other contemporary bands with a soulful flavour.

It did seem that New Street Adventure (NSA) was set to conquer all in their path. What happened? Who knows? In the blink of an eye, one of the most talked-about bands almost disappeared.

They did, however, sign to Acid Jazz Records which is fortunate because at least they were with a label populated by people who still regard music as an art form. (Not something you could accuse major labels of.)

So after a lot of hard work and a few line up changes, NSA are finally back with their debut album.

Let me say from the outset; this was well worth the wait. All the potential that I and all the other NSA fans saw three or four years ago is all wrapped up in this sumptuous collection of soul flavours.

Nick Corbin has lost none of his acidic anger and whit with his lyrical content and those he aims at are hit fore-square.

Of course the most recent single, ‘On Our Frontdoorstep’ leads the way, and that mixture of Northern Soul-inspired rhythms and hard-edged social commentary is a feature of this album.

But while ‘Be Somebody’ and ‘She’s An Attraction’ could get you dancing, the softer side of NSA is no more evident than in my favourite track right now. ‘Say You’re Lonely’ is one of the finest ballads I’ve heard all year. It draws you in and gives you goose bumps by the end of the song. (Well, it did to me.)

‘No Hard Feelings’ has been a long time in the making, but it been worth the wait. Now they are back on track, let’s hope NSA build on the success of this LP.

I do have one minor point to make though, I still prefer the 2011 version of ‘The Big AC’.


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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

November 16, 2014 By : Category : Bands Front Page Music Reviews Tags:, , , , ,
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NUTsCast – Sessions – part 1

This entry is part 6 of 11 in the series NUTsCast - Podcast

Welcome to The Nutscast Sessions, the newly revamped podcast from the New Untouchables.

Each month we will bring you a band ‘in session’ recorded especially for Nutscast. In addition, your host Graham Lentz will play a mixture of the best new music, club classics and few surprises.

This month, The Franklys are in session with three tracks. They are playing Blues Kitchen on Thursday 14 August for the Nutsmag Review Night. They are a great rocking all-girl band, well worth seeing and it’s free entry.

We have some incredible bands lined up to play sessions, so be sure to join us.


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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

August 8, 2014 By : Category : DJs Europe Front Page Music News Podcasts Scene Tags:, , ,
1 Comments

Record Reviews – June 2014 (Part 2)

This entry is part 17 of 18 in the series Record Reviews

Studio 68

Portobellohello – LP

This is a very interesting release on the Paisley Archive imprint via Detour Records. Here’s the background; in 1992, Studio 68 recorded this LP during a two week period in August of that year. For some reason, the tapes were lost until Detour Records uncovered them recently, and it’s a good job they did find them.

For a band that were very busy on the scene in the early 90s, it would have been a shame to have lost this LP forever and Studio 68 were Paul Moody’s first band to boot. It is of it’s time and yet still sounds contemporary. Take a track like ‘Afternoon Sun’ for example. It could have been written and performed by Dodgy. It’s a great tune though, and had it been released at the time, it could and should have been among the Britpop elite.

There are a wide range of influences here, from the Small Faces to The Prisoners. Swirling Hammond laced with freakbeat grooves and garage rock. One of my favourites is an instrumental cover of Python Lee Jackson’s ‘In A Broken Dream’.

Other highlights include the Northern influenced ‘Get Out of My Hair’ and the psych rocker ‘Lighthouse’. This is a really good album, but it also leaves you wondering what might have been had this LP been released at the time it was recorded? Now there’s a thought!

The Electric Stars

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Belfast Boy – Single 

The main aim of this single was to try to make number one in the charts during the week when George Best would have turned 70. It did chart at a very respectable number 15 which is a great achievement in itself. ‘Belfast Boy’ is a cover of a song recorded in 1970 by Don Fardon when Best was setting new standards in his sport and as a sports personality.

For a time during the early seventies, George Best was everywhere. His own football coaching show on TV, clothing range, aftershave, cars, alcohol, books, magazines, collectable cards. He really was the original sports marketing dream long before David Beckham was even a twinkle in his dad’s eye.

If someone had asked me to pick a band to cover this song though, Electric Stars would have been one of the top contenders. Lead singer Jason Edge has all the right qualities to bring life back to this song and the Electric Stars have done a great job revitalising and bringing it up-to-date.

The Franklys

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Puppet b/w Imaginarium  –  Single 

Just about a year or so ago, I reviewed the debut EP from this four-piece all-girl band and I loved it. Punky garage with attitude. Memories of The Slits, early Blondie (when they were really quite good) that sort of thing.

And now the long awaited follow up single, and the girls have delivered an absolute belter. Lead singer, Jen Ahlkvist has the knack of getting the impassioned lyrics across with real force. When she sings “You never wanted me, smashed me in the face and left me there to die” the balance of venom and pain is palpable.

‘Puppets’ just rocks out and it makes you want to jump around the room doing some kind of crazy B52’s cod-sixties dance with arms flailing. (Not a pretty sight in my case).

The B side is ‘Imaginarium’ which was originally on the aforementioned EP and it too is a quality track. If I had a record label, I’d sign these girls up quick.

The New Mastersounds

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Therapy – LP

If you are a soul, funk and jazz fan, you will love this; the ninth studio album from the amazing New Mastersounds. What we have is an English band recording in Denver, Colarado and being released on a German record label – Legere. It is the same label that put out the incredible Pepper Pots LP recently.

This is a brilliant mixture of funky Hammond grooves such as ‘Monday Metres’ and soulful dancers like ‘I Want You To Stay’ featuring Kim Dawson on vocal duty. Kim also gives her best interpretation of Lyn Collins on the funky groover ‘Soul Sista’. New Mastersounds are comprised of Eddie Roberts, Simon Allen, Joe Tatton and Pete Shand. What they present here is quite simply the best album of its type so far this year and I doubt if it will be equalled.

It reminds me of the truly great jazz-funk LPs and singles of yesteryear. George Benson’s ‘In Flight’, Brand New Heavies self titled debut, Ramsey Lewis’s ‘Spring High’ or The Innversions “Mr Mack’ for example.

But, as usual, I have saved the best ‘till last. I have had the last track on this LP on repeat for weeks. As Eddie Roberts has admitted, this is the band giving a ‘George Benson’ twist to a contemporary pop song. That song is ‘Treasure’ by someone called Bruno Mars? I have no idea what the original sounds like as I do not frequent the ‘muggle’ pop world, but this cover by New Mastersounds is just brilliant. It hits the nail squarely on the head. It does sound like George Benson in instrumental mode (and that is no mean feat in itself !) It has a jazz-funk groove that rattles along at an infectious pace and it is just sublime.

The purists among you may reel in horror at this progressive modernist singing the praises of a jazz funk band, but I make no apology. My job is to review material that is sent to us and it is at times like this, when something very different comes our way, that my job becomes an even more glorious pleasure.

Nick Waterhouse

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Holly – LP

One of the first reviews I ever wrote for Nutsmag was about an EP by Los Angels based Nick Waterhouse. The EP was brilliant and the track ‘Is That Clear’ is still one of my favourites. So it was with great eagerness, I listened to Nick’s debut LP and what a piece of work this is!

Ten tracks of sublime quality, treading that delicate path between Rhythm and Blues and Rock and Roll. Mr Waterhouse has a voice of silky smooth tones that, at times on tracks like ‘Let It Come Down’ or ‘Hands on The Clock’ is reminiscent of melted chocolate. Think Mel Torme or Dean Martin with a slight edge to them, you’re kind of getting the idea. Dare I say, seductive?

The quicker numbers like the title track ‘Holly’ or ‘Ain’t There Something That Money Can’t Buy’ are top drawer R&B dancers. Each track has something that sticks in the mind; a guitar hook, a chorus, a mid-eight. After two listens, I was humming away to the entire LP.

I have to mention the production and mastering quality. I don’t have the info to hand, but whoever did the job on this LP, they sure as hell produced the goods. It’s absolutely crystal clear. Put your headphones on and you could be forgiven for thinking Nick and the band were in your lounge.

I know Nick was in London for a whistle-stop launch of this LP a few weeks ago, but I’m really hoping he comes back very soon. There is a lot more to come from this young man. Watch this space.


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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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July 8, 2014 By : Category : Front Page Music Reviews Tags:, , , , , ,
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Record Reviews – Apr 2013

This entry is part 5 of 18 in the series Record Reviews

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The Franklys EP

As you may have gathered, I’m a mod from the 1979 generation, and as such,
I have a love of all types of music within the mod spectrum and some outside of it. For this reason, I was really taken with this splendid EP from four-piece all-girl combo the Franklys. As reference points, they resurrect the spirit of Siouxsie Sioux, Slits, Au Pairs, the late Polly Styrene and even the pre-Everything But The Girl Tracey Thorn with her band Marine Girls. What about Debbie Harry and Blondie? No I don’t think so. The Franklys are too hard core for a Blondie comparison. The band comprise of Jennifer Ahlkvist on guitar and vocals, Fanny Broberg on guitar, Zoe Biggs on bass and Nicole Pinto on drums and what a great sound they make. Lead track ‘Weasel’ is a belter and rightly deserves it’s place at the top of the track listing. ‘Imaginarium’ gives a nod to early Joy Division with a delightfully haunting quality. ‘My Love’ takes the pace off, but picks up the un-nerving, unsettling mood. ‘Roadtrip Reality’ rocks. I can’t say anymore about it. It really rocks! And to complete the five track outing, ‘Some People Leave’ gives the Franklys the opportunity to show their potential with a song that shifts in pace, rhythm and complexity that the girls handle comfortably. This is a band I shall make a point of seeing live in the very near future because if their gigs are as full of energy and excitement as this EP, they will be well worth the admission price. Best of all, they are talented bunch of young ladies with their own sense of style (and I suspect) they have a habit of giving a two-fingered salute to anyone who gives them flak. You go girls! (as the saying goes).

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Hypnotic Eye – Readin’ Your Will b/w Satisfaction

Hypnotic Eye are a six-piece psych outfit from south-west London who seem to be causing a stir on the gig circuit. They’ve been referred to as looking like they’ve just ‘stepped straight out of 1968’. I must admit, they do have a great look and the focus is very much on lead singer Grace Lightman. Her voice may be a touch ‘squeeky’ for some, but her vocal style definitely suits Hypnotic Eye’s music. ‘Readin’ Your Will’ either by design or not, takes the riff from the Monkee’s ‘(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone’ and remodels it into a tasty slice of authentic up-tempo psych with Miss Lightman and (I’m guessing) Lindsay Murray sharing the vocal duties. ‘Satisfaction’ sees Grace taking us through a scratchy-guitar fuelled psych dancer with her pleas to ‘satisfy me’ with plenty of ‘yeah, yeah, yeahs’ to back her up. This is a ‘must’ for any psych fan. They do have a great look.

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Button Up – Inhaler Single

Let’s get the basics out of the way first. Button Up are a terrific band based in Coatbridge near Glasgow and yes, this is a cover of the Miles Kane track from November 2010 which was re-released in July 2011. Inevitably, if you are going to do a cover, you leave yourself open to comparison with the original version. So, if you’re going to do it, do it well. Fortunately, Button Up have done just that. They have done it well, with swirling Hammond organ runs, stabbing brass section parts and with the urgent pace that the song demands. Vocally, Sara Kerr does a splendid job and over all, Button Up have turned this into the kind of rip roaring dancer that it always had the potential to be. But don’t get me wrong, I love Miles Kane’s original. I always believed ‘Inhaler’ would eventually be regarded as a ‘modern’ classic among the new generation of mods who are setting their own standards and interpreting mod for themselves….much like my generation did in the 1979 period. I would imagine this is a very popular part of Button Up’s live set, and rightly so. Great song, great version. There will be more Button Up reviews in the next NUTsMag due out in May 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.

More Posts - Website - Twitter - Facebook

April 16, 2013 By : Category : Bands Front Page Music Reviews Tags:, ,
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