Saturday, August 6, 2016

Rockanites - Great Shakes - #197

Rockanites - Great Shakes

The last I knew about Tuomas' whereabouts was my review in post #193 (Jolly Roger). He has found a new stomping ground with the Rockanites. This is a brandnew combo and, of course, hails from Finland. World capital country of Rock'n'Roll and Rock-a-Billy. No, make this a large slice of the music scene in general. The important part!

Let me think, I might have to rewrite this again. Where's Noise, Improvisation, Industrial and the like from Finland? I believe, there might be a hole somewhere. But it's Rock'n'Roll/Rock-a-Billy we're concerned with here. The band is made up of three individuals:

Tuomas - Vocals and Guitars
Janne - Drums
Sami - Bull Fiddle Bass (hey guys, you just lost me there, I will have to look this up)

What you get here is an offer of nine songs, clocking in at just under the half hour mark. And, once again, I'm very much impressed by a band from Finland, not a single cover version here. Not that this is a bad thing in itself, but lots of Neo Rock'n'Roll/Rock-a-Billy bands play it safe and release albums without a single original idea. Not these guys. Tuomas must have worked some overtime, as eight of the nine tracks are his, with Janne (I assume it's Janne) being listed for one song.

My brain is running in circles, I have half an idea whose parents "My Grain-O-Salt Baby" are. This is just one of these thoughts that you can't pinpoint and it drives you nuts. An excellent piece with a nice retro feeling from a bygone era. It's really old-fashioned, I can't help it. Excellent track, no doubt about it. "Mopin' 'bout Your Man" echoes a certain song as well, but I assume this owes more to the style than an actual blueprint. What I want to say is, you're feeling instantly at home with all of those nine selections.

Now that I have listened to the CD for about the 30th/40th time (I kid you not!), some words about Tuomas' singing. Somehow, I think he hits the nail right on the head. His voice is very much suited to the tracks (and not just because he wrote most of them). His voice is such, that you can sit through repeat listens without getting tired. Do I hear some Mick Green influences on guitar? Yes, I do. "Feelin' Horny Tonite" is such a case. Learned from the best, did you?

Janne seems to be a rock solid drummer, but his playing is always in the service of the songs. Not a show-off like so many, just bolting the band to the floor and giving directions. You can actually hear how the band is being ... it's like a railroad train huffing and puffing and Sami, the man on the bass, is oiling the wheels and shifting coal on the steep ascent. Those three guys are really clicking.

The CD was recorded in April 2016 in Helsinki. I'm not sure you can buy this album in any shop outside of Finland, but you can contact the band on their Facebook website, I'm sure you can work something out, so you're soon the proud owner of "Great Shakes".

Uh, and don't forget the Pin-up Girl on the cover and at the back of the booklet. Just sayin'



Red Elvises - Grooving To The Moscow Beat - #196

Red Elvises - Grooving To The Moscow Beat

I found this CD only today in one of my local record shops and I'm asking myself, where have I been all those years? Never heard of the Red Elvises despite the fact that this release dates from 1996 and they seem to have released quite a number of albums. Looks like I'm the only one who was not aware of this band.

Strange little CD this is. You get everything from Rock-a-Billy to Tango and Country (and a lot in between). There's a bit of Russian influence present, or should I say, probably fake Russian influence? It's a bit tongue-in-cheek but not overtly so. Although you might be tempted to compare them to the Leningrad Cowboys, albeit on a small scale, you're entirely off track. There are a few guests on this release, so that gives the whole listening experience a full bodied sound. And by the time you've made it to the last song, "Romantic Junk", you're hooked.

There's even a website at



Sunday, March 13, 2016

Riyoko Takagi - The Debut! - #195

Riyoko Takagi - The Debut!

Don't ask me! No idea how I came across Riyoko Takagi and her debut album "The Debut!". All I can say, once I checked out videos on the internet, I knew that I was dabbling in a "musical" genre, that's not really mine. Forgettable and mediocre music, somewhere between cheap Dance stuff, that you actually believed was stone dead since at least 1996 and Easy Listening, Japanese style.

Not knowing what to say about this "music", I better talk about her videos. Except, there's not much to say either. Ms Takagi seems to perform almost everytime showing her two sales points (covered by a bra) to the public. O.K., she's definitely good looking, but she (probably) overdid it on surgery. Less is sometimes more, actually.

The video is kind of funny though. There's almost nothing else for the camera to show but her breasts. Nowadays the "sex sells" videos seem to be the fashion of the day, but this here is ... well, I've seen a few Japanese music videos that exploit the female gender in a way you wouldn't see in a video around here, not that I can come up with any.

The CD comes with a DVD as well, so, it's your choice. Just don't expect any revelations regarding music. You've been warned. I like the package!



Steve Hooker - Duende Blues - #194

Steve Hooker - Duende Blues

Frankly, I'm done with reviews (mostly), as you can see from the frequency this blog is being updated. I'd rather enjoy LPs and CDs on my own (and going to gigs), than let the world know what I think about something. Not that the world cares, btw. However, every now and then music lands on my tt/in my player that's worthwhile losing a few words about. Not that it sinks like a stone in deep water. Steve Hooker's new one is a record that deserves such a push.

I admit, I'm a Steve Hooker fan since way back when. Actually must have been before I saw him live at the Sommercasino in Basel in the year of our Lord 19andsomething. His latest release is a seven song offer (I believe the two remixed songs have been issued earlier - I'm just too lazy to search for the MCD). What you get here is Steve Hooker at full throttle. Quite the way you associate the music with the man. Always on Rockabilly's edge.

... you still with me?

The only downside is the short playing time of this CD. At just over 25 minutes not really a full evening's worth of entertainment, unless you count repeat playings as a way of extending the enjoyment (and believe, you will). Steve Hooker came up with a couple of excellent songs, not a dud in there. As a matter of fact, the album had me caught right from the start. I believe, it took me all of three seconds to get into the groove.

As long as Steve Hooker and others release new music, all is not lost. So, it's even more important that you keep artists like him afloat. Buy this CD (PIMPHOUSE CD2) and if you can make it, go to see the man in person at one of his gigs. I've just been playing this now for the fourth time in the last two hours. Yes, that's how good this one is.