Tag Archives: Country rock

New Music Mondays: Scorpions, Bad Omens and More!

Eight more rock and metal albums graced the scene this week, from all over the world. A lot of it is from some amazing newer bands too, while a few of the older ones still holding down the fort. It’s an exciting week for new music, so let’s get right to it!

Scorpions: Rock Believer

The German hard rock/heavy metal group are the oldest band on this list by a fair stretch, and with the release of this double album it takes them up to a whopping 19. It’s long, over an hour spread across 16 tracks, but it proves the band very much still have it. The opening track, ‘Gas in the Tank’ outlines my sentiments perfectly. The album is full of highlights but standout tracks include ‘Peacemaker’, ‘Seventh Sun’ and ‘Call of the Wild’. 8/10

Bad Omens: THE DEATH OF PEACE OF MIND

Another band to hop on the capitalise the album title trend are American metalcore band Bad Omens. The bands third album, much like their previous two, is on the lighter end of the metalcore spectrum, clearly inspired by Sempiternal-era BMTH. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it does leave the album with a feel of ‘this has been done before’. Not every album needs to be ground-breaking, but I was hoping to get something a little heavier when I read ‘metalcore’. What a diverse, wide-spread sub-genre it is these days. Still, tracks like the opener and ‘Like a Villain’ are definite highlights. 6.5/10

Avril Lavigne: Love Sux

While primarily pop music, Avril‘s first album or two were definitely pop-punk, and with a promise of going back to that style with this album (alongside a fairly promising lead single), I thought it was at least worth checking out. I can confirm it is at least pop-punk. Whether it’s good or not… I’m not sure. It definitely has the same energy and feel as Let Go, but the issue I have, much like some of the other older pop-punk bands’ most recent albums is exactly that. She’s going on 40 now, and writing music like you are still 18, alongside spelling things like ‘bois’ and ‘Sux’, feels cringy. Plus, both MGK and Blackbear ruin their respective tracks. But Mark Hoppus kills it on ‘All I Wanted’, it being the best track he’s done since before Blink-182’s reunion over a decade ago. Plus, after his recent health issues, it’s really heart-warming to hear him back in music again.

However, despite all of the negativity, I cannot help but enjoy the album. Avril has definitely retained the ability to write one hell of a pop-punk chorus, and I’m going to again have3 ‘Bite Me’ stuck in my head for days now. An up and down album, but I think I can settle on a solid 7.5/10

Elles Bailey: Shining in the Half Light

Blues/NWOCR forerunner Elles Bailey released her third album on Friday, and it’s really good. It’s a Dorothy, American pop-rock sound but with enough blues and country edginess and twang to add some grit and darkness to it. Heck, opening track ‘Cheats and Liars’ perfectly encapsulates the sound, I would say, and is a damn good intro to her as an artist. Honestly though, if you are into the slower blues style, this whole album is one big highlight. It’s steady, chilled and full of great vocals and lyrics. Oh, and the guitars are enough for me to geek out over so they must be good! I would happily and highly recommend this album to anyone. Give it a list, you won’t be disappointed! 9/10

Corpsegrinder: Self-Titled

The Cannibal Corpse frontman finally released his much anticipated debut album over the weekend. To put it simply, it’s about exactly what you’d expect. I have become a rather medium fan of George Fisher due to the sheer amount of awesome guest slots he’s done on awesome tracks by other bands over the last couple of years. However, this didn’t quite measure up to ‘Take Your Pick’ or ‘Parpaing’. That’s not to say it’s bad by any stretch, though. It’s death metal through and through, and damn good death metal at that. Tracks like ‘On Wings of Carnage’ and ‘Crimson Proof’ were definite highlights for me, having me headbanging along from start to finish. And, I have to add, what an album cover! 7.5/10

Black Lakes: For All We’ve Left Behind

An awesome Welsh alt metal band, we had the pleasure of reviewing this album last week before it was released. It was good. How good? Read our review of it to find out for yourself!

Blood Incarnation: Timewave Zero

What the fuck was that? Am I being pranked here? I was expecting some death metal, not 40 minutes of ambient sounds. This is Devin Townsend’s wet dream and not my sort of thing at all. 1/10, I’m sorry.

Just a Ride: Self-Titled

Another band we reviewed ahead of time (we are on FIRE this week) is the debut from NWOCR’s newest band, Just a Ride. It’s good, and if you want to find out the score, you’ll have to check out the review for yourself here.

Another fantastic week, with the smaller bands really bring it this time round! Black Lakes and Elles Bailey in particular put out fantastic albums that are up there in the running for top of the year so far. The British music scene is really thriving right now! As always stay tuned for next week’s NMM and for the big one… Stereophonics!

Bootyard Bandits: ‘We had a dude come up and say, “this was my son’s first gig.” I said, “I promise it gets better!”’

Bootyard Bandits are a British comedy country rock band. After the release of their debut album ‘Songs for the Saddle Sore’ earlier this year the band managed to play a few shows, including Rockin’ The Bowl festival last month! We were there and managed to head along, catching them for a quick interview which you can check out below!

First of all, how was the set?

Good fun! Everyone’s a little bit tired, but we got there. Lots of happy people I though!

Crowd was really responsive. Yeah, it was great.

We played it with a different band the first year as well, and this one was way better. Just way better attended and just better, just… more!

After covid and everything, people want to come out more, people want to be at the shows.

Absolutely.

Yeah, people are saying that, like, knocking around, some people have said its their first show back after covid, and they’re just glad to get out.

Is it your first show back?

No.

Third, I think, isn’t it?

We’ve got a couple more left this year.

Are you on tour at the moment then?

No, just weekend warrior stuff. Come for one show, then go home, and then do it again the next weekend. It’s a little bit hard work, but yeah. Its good fun.

Is this the first you’ve played?

Yeah, it’s the first time as Bootyard Bandits. Yeah, we played with a different band… I can’t remember when it was now.

Everything plus two years now, isn’t it? What with the apocalypse.

So you released an album this year, is that right?

We did.

Did you record it during covid?

No, we actually recorded it over about three years ago. We were gonna release it just before the whole covid thing happened, but we thought we had better put it back. Then we though, nah we’ll do it anyway. And then we though, no, we’d better not. We did that about five times, and then we eventually just bit the bullet and just did it anyway. And to be honest, it wasn’t probably the best time actually. If we had waited about two more months, Covid would have fucked off a bit more. But, never mind, its out. Its called Songs For The Saddle Sore by the way. Buy it, it’s very good.

So, have you had a lot of good reception for it then? Is it going well?

Absolutely! Well, we sold out of them today, so that’s a good sign I think.

We didn’t actually, there was more.

Well, alright then, there we go. We just didn’t tell our merch guy. “We sold out! No, there’s loads more”.

But no, great reception so far, and some good online press. Yeah, its always well received.

A lot of people sing alone, so they know your stuff.

I was surprised. There were so many t-shirts. And cowboy hats, which we like to see.

Even though there’s other bands that wear cowboy hats here. But, I’m pretty sure they’re all for us!

Yeah, all for you.

Definitely.

They told me themselves.

Everybody came up and told you personally. I expect nothing less!

Its lovely to see kids at the front, on the railings, jumping up and down signing the words.

We had a dude come up and say ‘this was my sons first gig.’ I said “I promise it gets better!”

That’s quite cool man, I mean some little kids first gig. First memories.

Now he’s shouting abusive lyrics at the boy.

They don’t know what it means, its fine.

Good.

We’ll fuck your mum. Put him in a dress and we’ll fuck your son.

Those at the front like, Yeah!

“This is amazing! I wanna do that when I grow up dad!”

Its always the dads that come with the kids, the mums are always at home like, “why are you letting him listen to that?”

That’s a very sexist thing to say Joe.

It’s true!

Cancelled!

Do you find you get a lot of controversy around your lyrics?

No, not at all.

We’re waiting for it, I’m sure it’ll come eventually. But…

I kind of want it to be honest. Yeah, cus any publicity is good publicity isn’t it.

Well…

Obviously, well, yeah…its it, yeah it is.

Obviously, its all a big fucking joke isn’t it.

Yeah, we try and emphasize the fact that it is a joke. If you don’t get it, then..

They’re songs about boobies and drinking.

Basically, yeah.

Who doesn’t like boobs and drinking?

Losers!

Exactly, well there we go.

If you could collab with anyone, who would it be? There’s a lot of great bands on tonight, but you know, think big. Who would you want?

I’m gonna say something really obscure, but I need to think about it.

That’s deep man!

The Eagles?

But they’re all dead though ain’t they?

Can they be dead or alive?

Nah, we couldn’t collab with someone that talented. Cus it would really show us to be really fucking, outrageously untalented. We should collaborate with someone quite bad and then it would make us look good.

We need to be rather careful who we name here…

God, that’s a really hard question!

Well, you’ve set it up now, whoever we say now we’re going to intrinsically gonna be saying they’re bad!

Well, we’ll skip that bit, but the good bands you want to play with, who are they?

I think playing with Steel Panther would be good fun.

That would be a good fit that would! That would be the tour we’d pitch for if we could pitch for anything.
We went out with Alestorm and obviously that was a good fit. They’re just a big silly bunch of chaps as well!

Their fans are very open to the sort of humour too so we slot in quite well.

 So, what’s next for the band?

Well, get these festivals that we’ve got left this year done, and then… I mean we’ve already got another two albums worth of material written, ready and waiting. It just needs some tidying around the edges but we’ll go and crack on with album number two! More silly cowboy bollocks!

I have to say I love the stage getup! The clothes, the cactus, everything!

That’s the next thing I think, we’re going to do more of that. More cowboy shit.

We love the production!

Yeah, as many props as we can get.

As much rubbish off Amazon as we can buy!

It just gets to the point where you need a separate band just for stage production basically and we don’t… we’re not that cool yet.

We want pyro like Massive Wagons are gonna do!

Haven’t you gotta hire a guy if you want pyro?

No! The laws on pyro are fucking ridiculously slack.

Really? I thought they were super tight for some reason.

Who does the band draw inspiration from? Or are you fuck that, you’re yourselfs?

Well to be honest, when I put this thing together I was thinking ‘cowboy Steel Panther’, and we’ve been described as like a ‘if Steel Panther and Black Stone Cherry had an illegitimate love child, we’d be the result’, and I think that’s pretty accurate.

We’ll get in the van and listen to country albums and stuff like that won’t we?

Yeah, and then you’ll put on some hardcore or something!

Yeah, a bit of everything really.

We’ve all come from like hard rock and heavy metal bands, this is what we do, so we’re kinda influenced by the stuff we’ve done before, that’s how we know what to do.

We just crowbar some country stuff into what we know, a bit of bad jokes, violin, fiddle, whatever you want to make it sound tenuously country!

Are you all in your own separate project then?

All sorts of things, yeah!

This is the most important thing at the moment but…

Absolutely! We, me and Two Puds were in Aaron Buchancan and the Cult Classics together. As was Big Mac. That’s how we know Big Mac actually! We met Joey on an Alestorm tour because he was just along for the ride.

I’ve known the singer since we were teenagers and we went to music college together so everybody’s known and played with each other and done little bits.

A bit incestuous really isn’t it, the whole thing?

It’s very incestuous, yes.

I was in Grim Reaper with CJ and then Two Puds was in Grim Reaper as well… there’s fuckin’ loads of bands! We’ve all been around the block a bit in the olden days.

This is our last chance though! I’m giving up after this! If this goes tits up I’m off!

Straight back to a desk job!

So what’s the next gig you’ve got as Bootyard Bandits?

Southern uprising a week on Saturday. It’s in Derby!

Got no idea where it actually is but it’s somewhere around there!

it’s like a biker thing.

You don’t know, do you?

They’re definitely… it’s bikers that put it on… but I don’t know if it’s like a… we played Rock’n’Blues which is a very kinda biker thing. And it’s a bunch of the guys from there so I think it’s (whispering) one of those bike gangs! You know the sort, you know the type!

No, they’ve been great actually. We’ve sort of been adopted into their world and it’s been cool. They’ve given us shows and…

Yeah, one of our best pals was actually randomly in a biker bar in the middle of nowhere in Norway one time and he was like “They’re playing Bootyard Bandits on the jukebox! They fucking love it over here!

Play in Norway then!

Oh, it’s too cold!

We’ve played once in Norway…

No, we did Oslo, Stavanger… did we play Stavanger?

Trondheim was on it as well!

There was like four Norwegian shows, I’m sure!

It was so cold it all just sort of melded into one ginormous freezing experience.

Pretty much!

What do you like and dislike about the music industry at the moment?

How long have you got?!

I’ll tell you what I don’t like, that it ‘isn’t like it used to be back in the good old days’. back when you could just play gigs and get somewhere and now it’s all tinterweb based and social media and we’re not very good at that so…

We’re musicians, we’re not fucking social media experts here and I feel like you need to put all of those hats on now. You have to be a graphic designer and you have to be able to produce your own stuff and do all these things… before you could just go ‘Oh, I play drums innit, I’m quite good at drums so someone come and deal with this!’.

So having to do more work, I guess that is what we don’t like about it!

I think the dynamic shift between the bands and record label… strap in boys, strap in… I think that has flipped. At what point it flipped I don’t know, but I think record labels now expect you, the band, to essentially be the employee, whereas I don’t think it used to be like that. I think at some point it was the label was working for you, the band, and now it feels like the other way around. You’ve got to pander a lot to the label, you’ve got to pander to 360 deals.

Shit got deep dinnit? We’re supposed to be a comedy band!

Well, I’ve gotta keep the level up there!

I think labels trying to change your image has always been a thing, but there has been too much of a shift now where ‘the label needs this so c’mon guys we’ve gotta do it’ and it’s like, they wanted you!  

And there you have it folks! Keep track of the band via their socials linked throughout the article and I would definitely try and get down to one of their shows ASAP, they are fantastic live and great fun!

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Sons of Liberty: ‘We’re all over the place!’

The ever awesome Sons of Liberty played Rockin’ the Bowl festival the other week and safe to say, they went down a storm. We managed to have a brief chat with them afterwards about their set, their latest album an their plans for the future. Check it out down below!

How was your set? Was this your first gig back?

“It was great! Absolutely awesome. We’ve managed to do a few gigs. We’ve done a couple of warm-up slots just a couple of days prior to this so that was good but yes this is the first big gig we’ve done for a long time for a long time probably since Planet Rock Stock nearly two years ago. Rockin The Bowl is a tremendous festival, there’s been a brilliant crowd, great reaction… we loved it! What else can we say?”

Have you played here before?

“It’s been our first time. It should have been last year. We’ve been looking forward to this – this was out first big ‘that’s where we’re going to be playing in a couple of months time’ and it was on the map. We’ve really enjoyed it and it’s better than I thought it would be to be quite honest with you, it’s been great. 

“And I’ll tell you what’s nice, it’s great to see the other bands here because we’re always touring but we never get the chance to see other bands and we meet them as sort of ships in the night you know? So it was great to see them and see how they got through the times as well. It’s been good, it’s been really helpful.”

So you released an album this year. How did that go? I can imagine you went through the creative and writing process during the pandemic. How did that go?

“I think we used the time well. We probably took a lot more care over the writing and recording process. We worked with producers for the first time and that was a real experience and we took a long time over the writing the lyrics and everything. It’s been phenomenally well received so we’ve been really lucky. A couple of singles have been played on Planet Rock radio and that’s been fantastic for us. We’re very proud of it and proud of each other I think with everyone’s contribution to it. We’ll listen to it and every so often we’ll go ‘wow, that is us, isn’t it?’ No matter what age you are, when you hear yourself on the radio it’s quite a buzz. You get a buzz that you can’t explain to anyone. It’s there and it’s even better. It’s an incredible feeling. 

“It’s quite interesting actually, when we had our first single out I was actually working at a gym and they had Planet Rock on and suddenly they started playing it. I got so excited, I was running around the gym going ‘this is me!’ It takes you to another world. We sat around in the seventies listening to some great bands thinking oh God wouldn’t that be great. And when you’re here on the radio, that’s it.”

“And the company that it’s played with – some of our heroes such as Zeppelin, Purple, Skynaryd. How does that work?”

What’s next for you?

“So we wrote the last album during lockdown but we’re already starting on some ideas, working on them quietly. You’ve got to get the timing right and we’ve still got another single to come out, we’ve got a vinyl release in October so there’s still a campaign going and the Aces & Eights tour for the album. We’re all over the place.”

“Early December we’re going to France so that’s another ticked box with a European gig. And we’ve got a couple of lines in the fire for a support slot with an American band who we hope are coming over. 

“Hard Rock Hell is another. We have a lot going on so we need to sleep.”

Catch Sons Of Liberty at the main Hard Rock Hell weekend as well as the following ABC weekend, and a few more festivals scattered around the country too!

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Songs for the Saddle Sore: how well do comedy music and NWOCR blend together?

Comedy country-rock band Bootyard Bandits have been floating around the UK underground scene for a couple of years now, gaining more and more momentum seemingly with each passing month. I end up seeing them on more and more festival line-ups, which is a great thing, and initially discovered them myself after a frankly fantastic recommendation from Spotify. Because of that, I have heard of a good four or more of the songs on this album already, but I have to say I do like them and I am excited to review them properly. Join me in checking out this review, things are about to get silly!

Straight away with the opening track ‘M.I.L.F’, you can see what I mean. Bursting into a great, speedy country-rock riff, the song oozes sleaze and attitude. The feel and tempo keep up throughout the song and the lyrics immediately pull no punches. Singing about a beautiful woman in ridiculous detail who the band would essentially like to be dominated by, it sets the tone for the album and the band’s sound and style pretty perfectly. However, do not let the crudeness distract from the great instrumentation. The breakdown riff after the second chorus is great, boarding on metal with its heaviness, and the lyrics over the top add to the awesomeness. I was hoping for a guitar solo to complete the greatness of this song but it didn’t happen, we instead got another awesome chorus to close things out. A damn good opening song for what is going to be a ridiculous album, I’m sure.

Next up is one I have heard before and my personal favourite song by the band so far, ‘Country Music’. Another great opening riff leads to another surprisingly heavy guitar riff through the verses. The vocals fit perfectly between the guitar parts, and the harmonies only make it sound even better. It all builds to the gag of the song, the opening line of the song satirically splitting up the first word of the song title and honestly catching me off guard the first time I heard it, as well as leaving me in hysterics of course. The chorus as a whole isn’t nearly as catchy as the previous song, but the riffs and comedy are a little better in my opinion. We get a dropdown after the second chorus, a great, VERY metal guitar riff filling the gap between the vocals and the cymbal heavy drums as the song builds up more and more before it explodes into a huge final chorus. More silly humour that I cannot help but enjoy and backed up by awesome music, I cannot complain at all. Playlisted!

The band’s biggest song to date, ‘Hoedown Showdown’ (nope, I’m not making this up!) is up next. A slightly steadier country-rock riff opens this one up, heading into a pretty stripped-back verse with heavy blues vibes. If it wasn’t for the lyrics, I’d say it’d be the perfect radio-rock song for them. The chorus is pretty open and massive, but the spread-out lyrics ruin it for me just a little bit – it slows down the song a little too much for me. The lyrics in general are a little worse than the previous two songs too, a little more on the nose like modern-day Steel Panther instead of subtler and funnier than old-school Panther. There isn’t much to the song – just two verses, two choruses and then a quick bridge and final chorus. I get that it was supposed to be their most accessible song, but it just felt a little basic to me.

‘Let’s Rodeo’ opens into the most enjoyable part of the album from a musical standpoint with a simple, fun guitar riff, a singular, slow bass drum and some catchy vocals. The backing and harmonies behind the vocals make them sound even better and add to the impact, and honestly add to their catchiness. It builds up perfectly with a drum roll into what I assume to be the chorus guitar riff after a vocal callout of the song title. Unfortunately, there is slightly more to the second verse – being a steady chugging guitar and drumbeat. It was still good, but it didn’t sound as good as the first verse. There is even less to this song in terms of structure, there just being three verses and three choruses, but the addition of the strings for the third chorus and a short solo from them instead of the pre sound great and add more country to just about any other song I have heard written by a British artist. I’m umming and erring about whether to put this song on the playlist or not. Why don’t you go over to it and check, see which way I ended up deciding…?

Next up is another song I know already and kinda love, ‘Shirt Potatoes’. It’s another song that, despite the ridiculous, hilarious premise written around a woman’s chest, is fantastic musically. The opening riff is the perfect mixture of country and sleaze, fitting the lyrics perfectly. The open verse of mainly just drums and vocals always works well too, and the vocals are so strong and powerful that they easily carry it through. The chorus isn’t the catchiest I’ve heard but the lyrics are silly enough to make it work and make more childish people happily want to sing along to it. The heavy few seconds in the middle of the second chorus is also worth bringing up, the call and response vocals with the dropping out guitar chords sounded awesome. It’s also taken me this long to realise just how much the singer sounds like Nathan James of Inglorious, but you can definitely hear it with the high notes. I also remember now why I like this song so much – it’s finally got a guitar solo in it and it’s a damn good one, definitely worth the wait. A final chorus and outro of course take this home and this song is another highlight of the album.

The next song has me interested as it features a guest who I am a big fan of at the minute, Christopher Bowes of Alestorm. It opens on a typically good, heavy riff for the band and this album at this point, and the verse isn’t too out of the ordinary for what I’ve heard so far either. The chorus is basic again but the backing vocals drive it forwards enough to make it catchy. Christopher comes in for the second verse, his distinctive vocals lending a lot to the track, in my opinion. The two bands mesh together pretty well too, especially on such a party-centric song. Unfortunately, there isn’t much more involvement from him outside of the odd line in the final choruses that you can hear him in. It’s a shame, as Alestorm is one of the best bands in rock at the minute for doing things a little different. Another good guitar solo but outside of that and the inclusion of Christopher, this wasn’t much we haven’t heard already.

The same sort of analysis could be given for the next few songs. ‘Hobby Horse’, ‘Ladies Man’, and ‘Cowboys and Indian Takeaway’ are all fairly similar in feeling and style to the previous songs on this album. It isn’t a bad thing at all, it just means I don’t have much to talk about. There is one track that is different though, the most-likely-to-offend-someone track winner of the album, ‘Cowperson’. Clearly being inspired by Bon Jovi’s ‘Dead Or Alive’, hilarious in of itself, it’s the first ballad and change of pace we’ve had at all on the album so far, which is very welcome. It’s a damn good ballad that wouldn’t seem out of place in the 80s if it wasn’t for the crazy, gender-confused, children’s-toy-related lyrics. 

‘Vanessa’ continues the trend of sleazy-country pretty steadily, but I did want to talk about just how damn good of a chorus it had. It’s the best on the album I’d say, featuring massively catchy and fun lyrically as well as some impressive high notes being hit vocally. Outside of that, it’s pretty standard, much like the following few tracks, ‘Outlaw’, ‘Family Tree’ and ‘Doc Holiday’. There are some genuinely amazing lyrics in here, and some more good riffs and solos, but 13 songs (14 if you count the last one) of pretty similar music, tempo and style do get a little much all at once.

The final song, as the name itself explains, is a Christmas one. It’s good, even if it sounds pretty close to all their other stuff. The chorus is enjoyable but it isn’t something I’d actually listen to much around the festive season.

Overall: This was a damn enjoyable album. It was pretty bloated; I think 15 songs was a little much and it could have been cut down to 11 pretty easily and therefore stand a little stronger, but every song was at least fun. I cannot wait to finally catch them live at some point soon and I think they have a bright future ahead of them.

Score: 7/10

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