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!
Psychobilly: Batmobile and everybody else
Here at Incognito HQ, we listen to our loyal readers. Recently, I asked if anyone had any recommendations for ‘Billy Monday and @Kreepy_Krawler gave the tremendous suggestion of putting the spotlight on Batmobile. Yes, loyal reader, I too wondered why I hadn’t done it previously. After all, when it comes to psychobilly, there’s Batmobile and there’s everybody else. Perhaps it hadn’t occurred to me to feature this legendary Dutch band because after 30 years, the band doesn’t really need any introduction from me or anyone else. That’s right. This band has been together for 30 years and when you listen to its tunes, you’d have a hard time coming across one that you’d want to skip.
Check out this video from earlier this year and tell me if you think the band has lost anything after three decades of playing.
Another thing I’ll say is that when you listen to this band, you’ll see just how much influence it has had on the entire psychobilly genre. Thirty years and a broad influence on an entire genre. Like I said earlier, this band doesn’t need any introduction from me or anyone else. Wherever you are on this ‘Billy Monday, make it better with Batmobile.
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.
The Monster Within (digital) will be available on 16 April.
The upcoming album The Monster Within (Sailor’s Grave Records, 2013) from The Brains that made its way into my inbox and piqued my interest. How could I refuse, loyal reader, when the band is described to me this way:
a three-piece horror punk/psychobilly punk band from Canada who fuse elements of rockabilly and punk rock with outlandish style and fast-paced rhythm. If you’re looking for something completely different than the norm, check these guys out.
I probably don’t have to catalog what caught my attention, but I will: outlandish style, fast-paced rhythm, and different from the norm. Those are all qualities that are almost certain to draw me in. I will say this: the bit about the fast-paced rhythms is not hyperbole. Pick any song at random from this band and just try to keep up with the rhythm section. If you want a specific example, check out the song “Cucaracha in Leather.” This song sounds like the guys had a cab waiting when they were recording this one in the studio. That seems to be the approach the band took to the entire album, considering the longest song (“Lies”) is 2:55.
If you’re looking for the rockabilly elements mentioned in the promo materials, check out “Misery.” I won’t say the guitar takes a backseat in any of the songs, but it certainly comes to the forefront in this song with a sound that may be a little too fuzzy to be considered classic rockabilly, but to quote Kinky Friedman, “It’s close enough for country dancin’.”
This is great psychobilly stuff. Granted, there are some dark themes, but these 14 songs are incredibly well done. If you like the doghouse bass at all, you’ll want to add this album to your collection because Colin the Dead is a wizard. The digital version of The Monster Within will be available on 16 April.
Loud rock and roll with a kick
When you visit the Rumblejetts Twitter page, you see the band described as “loud rock and roll music with a kick.” I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it’s like some bands were made for Incognito. It didn’t take long to realize that the band isn’t lying in its tagline.
The first song I heard from this band is “Truckstop Waitress.” This song proves that some bands just know how to write a love song. This Kansas City rockabilly band not only knows how to get listeners swinging to its rockabilly sound, but just dig these lyrics. “I love a truckstop waitress whose daddy owns a liquor store.” Really, do you need a better example of how great a love song this is? Oh, and the truckstop waitress in question is a redhead (surprise, surprise).
If you want a real good example of the kick in this band’s music, just listen to “Trucker Krank.” Now, this isn’t the first time anyone has written a song about a trucker who needs help staying awake on those long hauls, but it’s a pretty good one. The tempo of this song definitely gives the sense of a trucker sweating and gripping the wheel with his hammer down to the floor. I’d say this one leans more toward psychobilly than rockabilly, but no matter how you label it, this song will get some part of you moving.
Speaking of moving, if you’re looking for a tune you can swing dance to, check out “Juke Joint.” I think this song would fill the dance floor any time it’s played. Whether you’re a fan of rockabilly, psychobilly, or just good old-fashioned rock n roll, check out Rumblejetts.