Yes, another work week is upon us, but we might as well make the best of it with our weekly feature of rockabilly, psychobilly, or any other kind of ‘billy music we find worthy.
When I was browsing Bandcamp and came across The Doppelgangers, the name sounded familiar. Yea verily, I featured this band before although the name at that time was Dick Dynamite and The Doppelgangers. The band gives this introduction on its Bandcamp page: “The Doppelgängers (aka Dick Dynamite and the Doppelgangers), sociopathic bastards from a planet on the far side of the sun.Some say they play music, the truth is much more sinister…” I frankly don’t find that hard to believe. If you had to describe this band’s sound with just one word, you might choose “evil.” I know I probably would. But I don’t see that as a bad thing. After all, not every band wants to sing about wanting to hold some girl’s hand like The Beatles. Some bands – like this one – sing about reclaiming their soul as this band does in “Drag Me To Hell.”
So what is it that makes this psychobilly band sound evil? Well, the vocals certainly assist with that evil sound. But it’s not just the vocals. There is also some pretty evil sound in the guitar and bass. But it’s not all evil. I don’t want you to get that idea. I’ll say this much for sure: No band has ever made sociopathy sound as catchy as this band does with “Sociaopath Rock.” The drums don’t necessarily sound evil, but they do fit right in there with the other instruments and vocals. But hey, you give the album a listen and leave a comment of your own one-word description.
The first comparison that comes to mind with this band is The Meteors, and I think it’s fair to say that if you like The Meteors, you’ll enjoy The Doppelgangers.
Well, loyal reader, another Super Bowl (mercifully) is behind us and another work week (dreadfully) is upon us. OK, maybe I shouldn’t say dreadfully. On the one hand, it means five more days of mind-numbing, soul-sucking work. On the other hand, it means that ‘Billy Monday is once again upon us…and that’s always a good thing.
As often happens, I found Los Bandits (from Los Angeles) by randomly searching for psychobilly bands on Bandcamp. I was pretty well hooked on this band already. And then I heard “Pisto Song.” Holy moly! If this song doesn’t get you moving, I’m not sure any song will. This song is one part Johnny Cash, one part classic rockabilly, and one part ZZ Top (interesting combo, don’tcha think?). Oh, and did I mention this is a drinking song? Seriously, I have to say that this is an early candidate for one of my favorite songs of the year.
A good example of why this band comes up in a search for psychobilly is “Misery.” This is kind of a moody downtempo song…for the first two and a half minutes. Then it explodes into a furious psychobilly freakout that is tough to keep up with. The last minute of this song is the kind of music you want to listen to when you work out. And speaking of music for working out, “Die Tonight” is another good example. This is the kind of song that – despite its dark theme – forces you to push your workout just a little harder.
If you like rock n roll with a healthy injection of psychobilly and (to a lesser extent) rockabilly, Los Bandits is a band you should get to know. The band’s self-titled album is available in its entirety on Bandcamp.
When I visited the Bandcamp page for The Elecmatics (from Annecy, France), I saw that this is a band that advertises itself as a garage-psychobilly duo. Well, that’s pretty much all the sales pitch I need. I’m not going to sit here and pose as the world’s biggest psychobilly fan (although I do enjoy it), but if you can successfully combine psychobilly and garage, you’ve got a pretty good shot with me.
The band’s self-titled EP begins with “Going Wrong.” Right off the bat, the band grabs your attention. This song is about as subtle as a punch to the chest. The guitar rumbles at the beginning and explodes when it gets to the verse. Meanwhile, the drummer drives the song with a beat that gives you a workout just listening to it. It definitely has that dark, sleazy feel you’re used to hearing in psychobilly and the energy that you’re used to hearing from garage bands.
And if you think that song is dark, just wait until you hear “One Like Wine.” It certainly is dark, and raucous…and that’s part of what makes it such a good song.
This is a pretty good EP. It definitely does what it’s supposed to do. Namely, it piques your interest enough that you want to hear more from this band. And if the Bandcamp page is accurate, a new album from The Elecmatics is coming soon.
Welcome to another edition of ‘Billy Monday. This is our weekly celebration of rockabilly, hillbilly, and psychobilly. I do this simply because I think these genres are all pretty freakin’ good, but just don’t get enough attention.
I found Dr. Caligari on Bandcamp while browsing for psychobilly bands. I have to admit that this band caught my attention before I even heard a note of the music. How is that? Well, the cover art looks like something from one of my favorite comics: The Goon (and if you haven’t read it, you absolutely should). That album cover fits this EP perfectly considering the references to death and zombies in these three songs.
So what can you expect from this band aside from songs about death? Well, like any good psychobilly band, this one delivers fast tempos, loud guitars and a bass line that makes you wonder how the bassist does it. It’s all wrapped together with a female vocalist who sounds like she wouldn’t have any trouble dotting your eye. Another thing that sets this band apart is that it tells a good story in its songs. There is something almost literary in the stories of these songs – as if you’re hearing a spooky story set to music. But as always, don’t just take my word for it. Have a listen for yourself.
Recently, we’ve had some good luck with new followers on Twitter. It almost seems that bands are doing a little homework and following us because they have seen what we do and they fit the profile.
Knocksville is a band that certainly fits the profile of bands we like, and it only took about three seconds for me to figure it out. I went to ReverbNation, and the first song I heard from this band was “Wait and See.” This song begins with a guitar riff that would make John Lee Hooker and Billy Gibbons proud. The rhythm section provides a boogie groove that would definitely get people moving on a dance floor.
Since this is ‘Billy Monday, this obviously is not just a blues-rock band. This band some pretty serious rockabilly and psychobilly influence too. Think Reverend Horton Heat…only trashier. The rockabilly sound is especially apparent in “Work It Out” and “Baby Stop.” When you hear “Baby Stop,” it’s pretty easy to imagine a scene of guys with pompadours swing dancing with beautiful rockabetties in dresses. The psychobilly sound really comes through in “Forever Young,” a song that reminds me quite a bit of Tiger Army.
If you’re a regular reader of our ‘Billy Monday posts, Knocksville is a band you should check out. It will sound great as you drive around in your primer-gray El Camino.
And bands out, use Knocksville as an example. Follow us on Twitter (@incognitomag). We may just like your stuff as much as we like Knocksville, which means that you could be featured here sometime in the near future.
I’m not sure why so many great psychobilly bands come from the UK, but I kind of wish this is one area in which the U.S. followed in the footsteps of the English. This album begins with “Fright Night 2,” a song that begins a little slow, but then explodes into a psychobilly rumble after the first verse. This song embodies everything that is great about psychobilly: trashy and loud guitar, lyrics that lend some horror to the song, and a rhythm that is tough to keep up with.
The lead track is followed by “Going Postal.” The vocals in this song bring early punk to mind. If you like murder ballads, you’ll really like this song.
On the one hand, there is a murder ballad. On the other hand is a remake of “Teenager in Love” called “Psychobilly in Love.” Dion and The Belmonts never sounded quite like this. Speaking of never sounding quite like this band’s version of a song, The Griswalds also do a version of the theme from the “Banana Splits.” It’s unexpected, fun, and pretty different than the actual version of the song.
This album hits all the themes that you can find in a lot of psychobilly songs: drug use, zombies, crazy people. All wrapped up in trashy melodies and driving rhythms. If you want something that will get your foot stomping and your blood pumping, check out The Griswalds.
Governor Grimm and The Ghastly Ghouls: evil psychobilly from Ohio
This is yet another band I found doing a random search for psychobilly on Bandcamp. I don’t know if the name of this band would frighten people away, but I certainly hope not. (And by the way, If there is a prize for alliterative band names, I think this band has closed the competition.) Anyone who shies away from this band because of its name is really missing out. The guitarist plays like his ax is on fire and the rhythm section plays like they’re daring the guitarist to keep up.
The EP begins with ”No Escape.” This is about as catchy a song as you can find about someone “leaving a trail of bodies” in his wake after setting a town on fire. I don’t think you’d be wrong if you described the guitar sound as evil, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing.
Every song on this EP is uptempo, but I think “Raise the Dead” is most uptempo. You can work up a sweat just listening to this song.
The themes of the five songs on this EP are pretty familiar for psychobilly, but that doesn’t take anything away from the band or the songs. If you like psychobilly where the evil sounds a virtually tangible, Governor Grimm and the Ghastly Ghouls is a good band to get to know.
Tony Jones and The Cretin 3
When it comes to psychobilly bands, The Cramps might be one of the biggest influences across the board. The influence of The Cramps on Tony Jones and The Cretin 3 is immediately apparent when you listen to this band’s songs on ReverbNation.
“Midnight Mass” is a song that features some fuzzy guitar and a rumbling rhythm. The band’s sound isn’t as primitive as The Cramps, but the theme is just as trashy. In this song, the narrator meets a woman in a red dress who persuades him to make love. He comes to find out that he has in fact made love with the devil’s daughter. Sure, there are loads of songs about falling for the devil’s daughter, but that doesn’t make this song any less good.
Now, here’s the thing. Psychobilly fans might listen to this and think that it’s not true psychobilly. I guess I couldn’t really argue with that, especially after hearing the song “Bobby’s Shed.” This is a horror rock song with elements of psychedelia, particularly in the guitar solo.
So, I will give psychobilly fans the argument that this isn’t really a psychobilly band. It’s really more punk and rock and roll. Still there are enough elements of psychobilly (a song about the devil’s daughter, a song entitled “Lady Frankenstein”) that I feel like this is a good selection for ‘Billy Monday. If you like your rock and roll a little sleazy, Tony Jones and The Cretin 3 is a band you should get to know.
Attack of The Zorchmen is available now
Perhaps I should give a little disclaimer before I move on to the feature of The Zorchmen. First, you should know that if you’re going to listen to this at work, it should be on headphones. Second, you should know that if you don’t like songs about sex and drinking, then maybe this isn’t the album for you.
Now that we’ve weeded out the squares, let’s get on with this. If I had to give a broad overview of The Zorchmen, I would say that this is pretty similar to what would happen if Motorhead decided to do a psychobilly album. No, I’m not kidding. There is a similar vocal quality to Lemmy, especially in the song “No More No Less.” Yes, this is a psychobilly band, but there is a lot of straightforward rock n roll like you would hear on any Motorhead album.
Now that I’ve made the comparison to Motorhead, let me backtrack a little bit. This album sounds like what would happen if Frantic Flintstones collaborated with Motorhead. This band has a couple songs about sex (even the kind you might pay for), that, like “Necro Blues,” have the ability to make fundamentalist conservatives very uncomfortable. Not to mention a song about moonshine (a topic that is always welcome here). Another similarity to Frantic Flintstones is in “I Ain’t Right.” If you’re familiar with the Flintstones at all, you know they have a few songs with a similar theme.
Yes, The Zorchmen is a crass and crude band. But this is rock n roll, not a church picnic. Nobody says rock n roll has to be polite or non-offensive. There is nothing mellow about Attack of The Zorchmen. This band lays down an impressive tempo from the very beginning of the album and doesn’t let up for a moment in any of the 13 songs. If you like psychobilly and hard-driving rock and roll, this album belongs in your collection.
It’s Friday (and how many times have you heard that already in the office…probably with far too many exclamation points) again and you know what that means. It’s time for our newest tradition of getting you in the mood for the weekend with a drinking song. After all, you watch the clock all day wondering when you can chase away thoughts of the cubicle farm with the beverage of your choice.
Check out this and many other albums by The Matadors on Bandcamp
This week’s selection is from the kings of horrorbilly The Matadors. It is called “9 Shots of Bourbon”. Now, I am certainly not advocating that anyone do nine shots of bourbon (unless you, like the narrator, have made a deal with the devil and you have no choice), but let’s face it. Nothing says weekend mode like nine shots of anything. Of course, if you did take nine shots of bourbon to start your weekend, you probably wouldn’t remember the beginning (at least) of your weekend. As for the song itself, it is a furious six minutes of pure psychobilly energy and goodness. Just give this song a listen.
If you like this song, you are in luck. The Matadors have posted 10 different items (mostly albums) to Bandcamp this year. You’re bound to find lots of other stuff you like from this band. No matter how you make it a good one, but more than that, be safe. If you do decide to drink nine shots of bourbon, make sure you have a driver. Now everybody get your glass up and let’s have a toast to the end of another work week. Skol!