Dirty Water Records

Taking Music Backwards Into Tomorrow

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Rock! Shock! Pop!: Thee Gravemen "Haunted"

Thee Gravemen are a garage rockabilly duo of two expatriate Englishmen who found themselves calling Sweden home, Sir Lee Tea handles guitar and vocal duties whilst Devilish Daz is the funky drummer. These two gentlemen have a pedigree rooted firmly in the proud British tradition of playing insanely awesome rock and roll, they got together a couple years back to play a Johnny Cash Tribute show and decided to roll with it, Anydamnway, let's get to the review!

The a-side "Haunted" opens with wind whistling and thunder rumbling in the background, then the chugging guitar and tribal drums kick in. Sir Lee Tea in all his raspy glory serenades us with a love song about being haunted by the memory of a lost love, he never specifies if the girl merely left or departed this mortal coil, which I feel adds a nice touch to the song. Listening to the way Tea phrases his vocals you can tell he has drank from the chalice of our late and lamented Lux Interior, the yelps that close out the song also bring to mind Charlie Feathers. I could easily see this song being on a rockabilly comp along with Jackie Morningstar or Ronnie Dawson, these boys know how to write a good horror rock song without coming off as camp.

The b-side is a Screaming Lord Sutch cover called "All Black And Hairy", gotta love any song that starts off with the sounds of somebody shoveling dirt! "Last night, I was digging in the cemetery when up jumped a man all black and hairy!" Was our protagonist out digging graves or robbing them? Regardless, he happens across a monster whilst in the bone orchard and starts hauling ass, the monster continues on to hell and our man is free.....or is he? At night while trying to sleep, he's always frightened that his buddy might show back up. Maybe it's just me but I've always preferred listening to covers of Screaming Lord Sutch songs as opposed to the original, I think Sutch is just a bit too tongue in cheek for my taste.

They've got this 7" and a 12" available from the always reliable Dirty Water Records. if you ain't the record buying type, the tracks are also available for download or you can buy the 12" on cd. Do yourself a favor and check this out!

PS I'm in love with the back cover art of a haunted castle with skeletons, spiders, headless men, a scantily clad lady and thee mainmen themselves

I give it a 10/10.

I-94 Bar: Hipbone Slim vs Sir Bald

Two CDs, four bands, one common denominator: Sir Bald Diddley. Or is it Hipbone Slim? There's a severe case of spilt personality going down over these 40 tracks and it's prime stuff for lovers of the garage/surf/beat/exotic rock genres. It's a feast without a McCrappy Meal in sight and there's almost too much to swallow in one sitting. Sir Bald/Hipbone has a voice once described as "Ricky Nelson gone very wrong". It's hard to top that but does "Dion on a dextroamphetamine run" go close? I think Sir Bald/Hipbone could sing the phone book backwards and still sound tolerable, but I like my vocalists with character.

It also helps to have killer players - various elements of these engine rooms have graced stages or studios with Dick Dale, the Pretty Things, Holly Golightly, Billy Childish, Link Wray and Dale Hawkins.

It's all recorded with analogue gear - at places like London's Toe Rag Studios. Some bands make too big a deal of authenticity, the problem being most of them are wankers who can't play. In Si Bald's case, analogue is how it had to be. The idea of running a song like "I Hear An Echo" through some ProTunes plug-in is like the paparazzi shopping topless photos of Prince Charles' missus, Camilla. There's just no market for things no-one needs to see, or hear.

The four faces of "Hipbone Slim vs Sir Bald" are very different with only some occasional treading on someone else's toes. The Kneetremblers are greaser R & B in the '60s sense of the term. The twang is the thang and they're equally at home in the lounge room as long as the decor is exotic. Louie and The Louies mix twangy instrumentals with harder frat rock.

The Kneejerk Reactions play like they're out to rumble with flick-knives. The Anglo-Spanish The Legs are raucous vocals over floor toms, bass throb and wild surf guitar. In other words, stuff that cannot be tamed. Word is the Spanish coves playing with Sir Bald are garage-punkers - and it shows.

I could go through and name every track (easy when you have a listing in front of you) and deliver an ill-informed treatise on what influences are at play and what the lyrics mean, but when the words go "Put a rocket up it baby/We're going to rock tonight" there isn't much point. And I mean that in the best possible way. Just get off your arse and grab it. - The Barman

Hackney Trashbar closes / new home for Dirty Water Club

Sadly the Hackney Trashbar closed on 17 September. Though it was only open for 6 months, we had some great nights there and wish to thank Frank and Carlos and their team for all their help and support. Shame they didn't the same support from the local council. The 13 October gig at the Shacklewell Arms in Dalston was a great success. We expect a full house and a great night for the visit of The Fleshtones on 8 December at the Shack, and are in the process of booking 2013 dates there too.

Dirty Water Records London