Tag Archives: rockabilly

Pour Me One More is available on Bandcamp

‘Billy Monday: Phil Hummer

Welcome to another edition of ‘Billy Monday, our weekly feature of rockabilly and psychobilly (and various other ‘billy styles) artists.

I have to say I was pretty excited to when I went on Bandcamp and found a Phil Hummer album that I’m not familiar with. My introduction to Phil Hummer came several years ago when a friend of mine passed along a CD by Phil Hummer and The Roadhouse Romeos. Since then, I’ve tried to keep up with every album he puts out. Then I found Pour Me One More, which I hadn’t heard before. Although I had heard a lot of the previously recorded versions of these songs when I started exploring Hummer’s music. Frankly, I don’t think you can go wrong with any Phil Hummer song, but one in particular that I recommend is “Wild Cherry.” This is the kind of song that should come with a warning because it could easily get lodged in your head all day. Sorry for the incomplete post at first, but I hope you enjoy Pour Me One More and I hope you find your own favorite among these songs.

Psycho rock n roll from LA

‘Billy Monday: Los Bandits

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.

the_bloodshots

‘Billy Monday: The Bloodshots

Welcome to another working week, loyal reader. Here at Incognito HQ, we kick off every week with ‘Billy Monday: a celebration of rockabilly, psychobilly, hillbilly, etc. Let’s get to it, shall we?

It didn’t take long for me to be hooked on The Bloodshots (from New York). Why? Well, I guess I’m a sucker for a rockabilly band with a female vocalist…particularly when that female vocalist can get down on the doghouse bass. The great thing about female rockabilly vocalists is that they tend to bring some toughness to the band’s sound. It’s no different with The Bloodshots. Lesley doesn’t sound like she’s concerned about things like breaking a nail. She sounds more like the kind of girl that would dot your eye and steal your bottle of whiskey. Just listen to her sing “You Can’t Break My Soul” and see if you disagree with me.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the other band members. Brian Swift plays a pretty mean guitar, and I think my favorite example of his prowess is “Nothing without You.” That being said, you can pick any song on the album and see examples of his skill with the guitar. Bobby Lee combines with Lesley to provide rhythms that will get people moving on dance floors.

Do yourself a favor. Get yourself a whiskey or beer (no other kind of alcohol will go quite as well with this), and listen to this album with the volume cranked. You might find yourself looking for a partner to dance with, and no one could blame you for that.

 

 

Delightfully trashy Meixcan rockabilly

‘Billy Monday: Los Benders

Allow me to begin by welcoming you to another working week. In the words of Elvis Costello, “I know it don’t thrill you, I hope it don’t kill you.” Just let me say, loyal reader, that we are here to make your Monday better with some good tunes. Get ready to give your ears a treat.

If you’ve read this blog even once, you know that we here at Incognito HQ are total suckers for music with a real trashy sound. For one thing, if an album has a raw, trashy sound, I know it hasn’t been overproduced. For another. I think it just makes for some fun music.

Now, I don’t have an explanation for this particular phenomenon, but quite a few bands that sing in Spanish have mastered the trashy sound we love. Enter Los Benders. It doesn’t take long to realize this band has mastered the trashy sound. You can hear it in what was once described to me as “cathouse sax” in the opening track. Saxophone in a rockabilly band? Yes, indeed. And this particular track sounds a lot like the stuff from the 50s that was punk before punk existed as a genre.

I’m not going to go over every track. After all, you can (and should) listen to the full album yourself. I will, however, discuss the second song, “Ampayita.” This sounds a lot like what would happen if the vocalist from Wau Y Los Arrrghs!!! collaborated with a rockabilly band. The guitar has that clean tone that you expect from rockabilly, while the vocals and everything else provide the trashy sound. If you like tunes that are both swingin’ and trashy, Los Benders is definitely a band you should get to know. Now crank up the volume, and let Los Benders improve your Monday dramatically.

 

knocksville

‘Billy Monday: Knocksville

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.

The Greasemarks: Gritty 50s-style rockabilly from Toronto

‘Billy Monday: The Greasemarks

The Greasemarks might be as fitting a name for a band as I’ve ever encountered. What better name for a rockabilly band – a genre known for songs about hod rods and drag racing? The tagline for this band on Twitter says, “Nasty. Authentic. 50s style rockabilly.” Not one of those claims is false. This band plays 50s-style rockabilly filtered through some gritty garage rock.

The rockabilly sound is prominent throughout the melodies (particularly the guitar and bass). These guys from Toronto play the kind of melodies that get couples swinging on the dance floor. “Plowin’” is a great example. This song sounds like it could have been recorded in the 50s. In fact, it sounds a lot like “Mystery Train.” The garage rock sound is mostly in the vocals, especially in the song “Bring Her Back (Don’t)”.

If you like the classic rockabilly sound with just a little grit added, The Greasemarks is a band you should get to know. It will sound great coming from the speakers of your hot rod, or at your local juke joint.

‘Billy Monday: Alastair Christl

Alastair Chirstl: Classic rockabilly at its finest

Alastair Chirstl: Classic rockabilly at its finest

If you haven’t noticed, we here at Incognito HQ pay attention to our readers. For instance, last week I solicited suggestions for ‘Billy Monday. Alastair Christl was one of the recommendations sent our way. Lo and behold, here he is as our featured artist.

My first impression of this rockabilly guy from Toronto was “Candy Shop.” There is no other way to describe this song than classic rockabilly. From the vocals and guitar to the pedal steel, this is rockabilly the way it used to be. At times the western swing melody reminds me of Junior Brown. And like Junior Brown, this song will get you two-stepping.

There must be something about Spanish-speaking places for rockabilly guys. (Maybe they’re beguiled by the dark eyes and hair.) Christl has a ballad called “Spanish Melody” that reminds me a lot of Chris Isaak.

When you go to Christl’s website (and you should), “Spanish Melody” is followed by “Catfight.” It would be hard to put two more disparate songs back to back. “Catfight” is a rumbling rockabilly tune. How to explain it? Well, when you go to a rockabilly show and you see that one guy out on the dance floor who’s not afraid to sort of toss his dance partner around…this is the kind of song where he gets to show off.

Alastair Christl has a voice that was made for rockabilly. It tends toward the higher registers, but that fits right in with the vintage feel of his music. Plus, he never sounds like he’s straining. He has as smooth a voice as you’ll find. If you like classic rockabilly, check this guy out. He’ll make you want to comb your pompadour up high and get on the dance floor with some cute rockabetty.

‘Billy Monday: Vince Ray and The Boneshakers

The Boneshakers: Setzer meets Frantic Flintstones

The Boneshakers: Setzer meets Frantic Flintstones

One of the terms frequently used to describe rockabilly bands is “high octane.” Well, it doesn’t take long to figure out that is a good descriptor for Vince Ray and The Boneshakers from London. The first song I heard from this band is “Snake Drive.” It’s about trucking and it has a tempo that dares you to keep up. See what I mean about high octane being a fitting term?

Someone described this band as Eddie Cochrane meets Motorhead. While that’s not a bad comparison, I’d say a better one is this sounds like what might happen if Brian Setzer played guitar for Frantic Flintstones. The Brian Setzer comparison is most apparent in “Strychnine Strut.” This is a cover of “Strychnine” by The Sonics put to a melody that reminds me of “Stray Cat Strut.” And yes, it is just as interesting as it sounds.

And if you think the tempo of that one is fast, just wait until you hear “Lady Luck.” I can only imagine that the hands of Ben the bassist are nothing but a blur when he plays this song. You can’t even play air bass as quickly as he thumps the doghouse on this song. Another thing I can say about this song (even though I haven’t seen it performed live), is that it would be a great close to a live set because it would leave the audience wanting more.

If I had to name a favorite of the band’s songs available on ReverbNation, I’d say it’s the cover of the classic “Cigarettes & Whisky (a song also covered by Black Jake and The Carnies, a band we featured in April).” Now, this is a great song simply because of the theme of a life ruined by smoking, drinking, and wild women (the ruin of many a poor boy). It’s an even better song when it features some great guitar and upright bass at a tempo that seems like it should be illegal.

If you’re a fan of rockabilly, particularly rockabilly that sounds like it’s been doused in whiskey and dragged through a gutter, you will love this band. Check out all of its tunes available on ReverbNation. Oh, and it bears mentioning that a cover of “Folsom Prison Blues” is not among those songs.

Twitter: @the_boneshakers

Facebook: vincerayandtheboneshakers

 

‘Billy Monday: Voodoo Swing

Voodoo Swing: songs about martians, trucks, and cool places for music

Voodoo Swing: songs about martians, trucks, and cool places for music

OK, so I’m a little late to the party on Voodoo Swing. But hey, better late than never, right? Anyway, I think so. Before I get to writing about the music, I have to mention that this band scores some good points with me because its previous albums were We’re Usin’ Code Names and Well, Okay Then. Why do those two album titles score points with me? Because they’re both a tip of the cap to one of my favorite movies: Raising Arizona.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that Voodoo Swing has a legitimate rockabilly sound. Not only that, but the first song listed on ReverbNation (“My Rockabilly Martian Gal“) is another example of the rockabilly fascination with space aliens. In some way, the sound of this song brings Reverend Horton Heat to mind without really sounding like The Rev. Even as I write that, I realize it doesn’t make a great deal of sense, but just listen and see what you think.

“Down at The Oak” is a song about a good place to hang out. According to the narrator, one of the things that makes it a good place to hang out is the music. (See, I’m not the only one that thinks good music – live or on the jukebox – is essential.)

Voodoo Swing pays tribute to some of the great California rockabilly and Americana bands in “West Coast Boogie.” Boogie is the right term for it…as in John Lee Hooker. This song reminds me a bit of “House Rent Boogie” sounds like what would happen if John Lee Hooker had collaborated with a rockabilly band.

If “West Coast Boogie” doesn’t get your blood pumping (I find that hard to imagine), I have to hope that “Keep on Rollin’” will. I mean, it’s a loud rockabilly song about driving a truck. What more could you possibly want?

Songs about martians and trucking, some growling guitar, and excellent rhythms (of course including a doghouse bass): this band has everything that is great about rockabilly. Even if you’re late to the party like me, this band is a must for any rockabilly fan.

‘Billy Monday: Rhythm Dragons

Pick up Rhythm Dragons albums on CD Baby

Pick up Rhythm Dragons albums on CD Baby

They say that if you do something like music or writing, you have to catch the attention of your audience immediately. Rhythm Dragons do that for sure. The first song I heard from Rhythm Dragons is “Flat Top Billy,” which begins with a deep voice shouting “Hey greaser!” The song is pretty much what you’d expect from something that begins that way. It is a swinging song that talks about a guy who looks like he’s from 1959 and his car. And it ends with “Let’s have a PBR!”

On ReverbNation, that song is followed by “I Can’t Swing or Dance.” This is a song with the classic theme of being mismatched with your girl. She likes to wine and dine, he likes drinking. She likes dancing, he doesn’t. The irony in this song is that it has a pretty swingin’ melody. Well, after all, the narrator doesn’t say he can’t play swing: merely that he can’t swing dance.

Now, one thing that makes a good band is if it can take a classic theme and make it seem fresh. In “Booze and the Hugs,” the narrator sings about a relationship that has gone south. In this case, the narrator says he’s not going to open the door for his girl who’s been coming home late from boozing. It’s pretty cool to hear a guy sing a song like this because usually the guy is the one who’s misbehavior is described.

This is pretty straightforward. If you like Reverend Horton Heat, Chances are pretty good you’ll like this band too. Even if you don’t like Reverend Horton Heat, you’ll like this band if you like songs about cars, drinkin’, and chicks that are trouble.