Wednesday, 8 June 2016


If the glorious sound of amped up, dirty and distorted Punk Rock Blues straight outta the Garage is your thing then there are a couple of new releases on Alive Natural Sound Records (the original home of the Black Keys) that you really should check out. From the dark swamps of……err…Lurgan, Northern Ireland comes a barnstorming record from The Bonnevilles which is the missing link between Mississippi bluesman R.L. Burnside and the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion plus an album of hard blues, blue eyed soul, heavy rock, and feedback from King Mud, birthed from an epic studio session with Van Campbell (drums and vocals) from the Black Diamond Heavies and Left Lane Cruiser’s guitarist/singer Freddy J IV………..both records guaranteed to blow your face out.

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With two studio albums already under their belt The Bonnevilles are well on the way to becoming one of Europe's top Alternative Blues acts, sharing the stage with acts such as Left Lane Cruiser, James Leg, Johnny Walker and Guadalupe Plata along with appearances at The Deep Blues Fest in Clarkesdale Mississippi and its counterpart in Germany. A stripped down Garage Punk/Blues duo of Andrew McGibbon Jr (guitar, vocals and some other shit) and Chris McMullan (drums), The Bonnevilles ferocious take of contemporary Blues Rock has been described as "deep dark punk and stylish hard roots music with good pop-sense and without a whiff of retro poly stink”………….this is “not the same old Blues crap” (© Fat Possum Records) but a snarling fuzzed out fusion of traditional blues heavyweights Howlin’ Wolf, Robert Johnson, Chess Records etc. and the Punk Rock attitude of modern Alt Blues Rock bands such as the Jim Jones Review, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and, way before they hit commercial pay dirt, The Black Keys with crunching riffs and soaring bottleneck playing combined with thunderous heavy rock drums.

Anyone looking for musical innovation on The Bonnevilles third long player will be sorely disappointed, but if visceral Punk Blues thrills are what you are after….. then you have come to the right place.  Arrow Pierce My Heart opens with a blues lament, ‘No Law in Lurgan’, which is a mess of distorted, overdriven guitar and powerful unfussy drumming which sets the tone for the rest of the record………………….’My Dark Heart’, ‘The Electric Company’, ‘I Dreamt of the Dead’, ‘Learning to Cope’ and CD bonus track ‘Who Do I Have to Kill to Get Out of Here?’ are all infused with a primitive Garage Rock energy that elevates the tracks above yer standard, plodding 12 bar blues as they bristle with urgency and excitement. However there is more to The Bonnevilles than full on million mph, high octaine rockin’ blooze……until you check the sleeve notes and find out that ‘Eggs and Bread’ is an original composition, you would be convinced that it was a reworking of a traditional folk tune. The album’s title track is a sandblasted, slow burning, atmospheric Psych tinged Desert Blues which really could be stretched way past its 3 minute running time and still be totally absorbing. Arrow Pierce My Heart is a record that deserves exposure beyond the boundaries of the modern Blues Rock scene as the bands approach to a genre that can be very conservative is incredibly refreshing and forward thinking. It would be fair to say that the Bonnevilles new album is a triumph……..on the basis of this record, it confirms that they are one of the best of the new Punk Blues bands emerging in the post White Stripes era.

Arrow Pierce My Heart is out now on vinyl, CD and digital download and is available from the BOMP webstore, your clued up local record emporium and many of the usual outlets…………..vinyl version available in either in classic,stylish black or limited edition gold splatter vinyl.

Image 1Also out on Alive Natural Sound Records is the Victory Motel Sessions from King Mud…..another band that think bass players are surplus to requirements. A Stoner/Blues Rock “super group” of sorts featuring guitarist Freddy J IV from Left Lane Cruiser and Van Campbell the drummer for Black Diamond Heavies (with contributions from Radio Moscow guitarist Parker Griggs), King Mud holed up in LA in the spring of 2015 for a marathon recording session which birthed a fantastic album of heavy Blues Rock that sounds as though it was born deep in the Mississippi Delta. With producer Arthur Alexander (ex NYC Power Poppers, Sorrows) on board, King Mud mix up late 60s/early 70s Blues Rock vibes with more modern electrifying Punk influenced hard Blues and apart from a few additional flourishes of instrumentation the sheer noise and sheets of feedback and distortion from a drum kit and one guitar is astounding.

Kicking off with the Canned Heat boogie of ‘Rat Time’, King Mud make it absolutely clear what they are about…………………like The Bonnevilles, they are not going to win any innovation awards but their infectious heavy blues is going to get feet moving (and no doubt some outbreaks of furry freak idiot dancing). There are nods towards Led Zep style post Psychedelic Stoner/Blues Rock with tracks like ‘Suzy’s Cookies’ and ‘Smoked All My Bud’, which are as good as anything Jimmy Page ever stole, which is mixed together with the more “classic sounding” groove of Delta Blues and with added Hammond, mouth harp and bass guitar on tracks such as ‘Arthurs Hooked’ give the LP an authentic feel described as “The blues meets Johnny Satan in a motel and they duke it out. Victory Motel Sessions is that soundtrack.” ‘War Dancers’ is a great example of how King Mud have brought the Blues into the now…….riff heavy and with brutal drumming, it’s the sound of Motorhead’s apocryphal meeting with the Devil at the crossroads where the M1 meets the M25……..the road to hell. The Victory Motel Sessions also has a couple fantastic cover versions etched into the wax………………………….taking Dr Feelgood’s classic tune ‘Keep It Out Of Sight’ from the Thames Estuary and relocating it back to its spiritual home, the Mississippi Delta, King Mud take Canvey Island’s celebrated R&B band back to the source, supercharging Wilko Johnson’s tune and tuning it a amped up, fuzzed out, rocking Blues monster. There is also a really cool cover of the Garage Rock classic ‘I Can Only Give You Anything’ (previously recorded by Them, Little Boy Blues, The MC5 and The Troggs amongst others) played as heavy Blues tune with scorching guitar from Parker Griggs. Victory Motel Sessions is a terrific Blues Rock that fans of “Classic Rock” from early 70s will love; it’s the Blues with all the traditions of that fine genre but with a ferocious hard rock spine running through ten fantastic tracks. If you dig the bands these musicians come from you will probably love this record!

Victory Motel Sessions is out now and available in various formats (including multi-format bundles) from the BOMP webstore.…………..the vinyl version available in either in classic, stylish black vinyl or limited edition gray and black splatter starburst or hot pink marbled  vinyl. CD and digital download also available from the usual outlets.

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