hellacopters - The I-94 Bar
For me, the best band to come out of the so-called garage revival of the late ‘90s and early ‘00s was New Zealand’s The Datsuns. Mainly because while they had a garage sound, they actually managed to be their own thing and not sound like some lame retro rip-off band.
While it’s been a long time coming, their latest release “Eye to Eye” is the band’s first record since 2016 and finds them in full flight. It’s also possibly their best release yet. Frontman and guitarist RUDOLF "DOLF" de BORST spoke to MATT RYAN about all things Datsuns, as well as his membewrship of Nicke Andersson's bands the Hellacopters and Imperial State Electric.
You took notice of Scandi Rock in the ‘90s or you stayed blissfully living under a rock listening to The Smashing Pumpkins. Grunge had dissipated and the corporates were looking for a new genre to plunder. No matter what you call it, high-energy rock is hard to kill. It’s only a matter of how fast it’s played and how many chords it hangs off.
The package for Hell Nation Army says “kick ass punk and roll” and does not lie. They play high-energy rock from Berlin in the vein of Gluecifier, Heliacopters and Turbonegro. In other words, Scandi Rock that’s been landlocked.
The podcasts are coming thick and fast now. Episode 32 of Drunk and Disorderly is live, with music from Donald Trump, The Damned, Flamin ‘ Groovies, Sator, The Hellacopters, The Godfathers, The Volcanics, Dion Lunadon, James McCann and The New Vindictives, Leadfinger, P76, X, The Hip Priests and The Dream Syndicate.
They might not be Japan’s most prolific rock and roll band but The Deadvikings’ two full-length albums each pack a considerable punch. This one dates from early in their 11-year history and delivers their Hellacopters style jams in spade-loads.
The Deadvikings toured last year’s “Libertatia” in Australia - well, in Sydney - and they're back in 2018, confusingly pushing their first CD from 10 years ago. Ours is not to reason why...
"Electric Demon" has some wayward moments (the ragged "The Ripper" and the low-key opening title track, which sounds underdone) but for the most part, it's surging high-energy rock songs. They're clearly in the thrall of the 'Copters and their Scandi Rock contemporaries, but this is hardly a bad thing when done right.
Parallel universes of like-minded underground music scenes exist all around the globe but Poland has to be one of the lesser-known outposts. Poison Heart from Warsaw just appeared on my radar and they might be candidates to pop up on yours.
The Scandi Rock wave of the ‘90s gave high-energy rock and roll a much-needed injection of spirit just as the rippling after-shocks of grunge were making everything bland and homogenised. Poison Heart soaked it all up and “Heart of Black City” makes obvious nods to the Hellacopters and Gluecefier.
Is that a Warsaw Turbojugend logo on your CD slick or are you just happy to see me?
Here's huge news for fans of Sonic's Rendezvous Band. The first re-issues from The Hydromatics’ back catalogue on UK label Easy Action are ready for pre-order.
The Hydromatics were a ‘90s trans-Atlantic supergroup of sorts, fronted by Scott Morgan (Sonic's Rendezvous Band, The Rationals) and reprising material by Sonic’s Rendezvous Band, as well as fresh originals. Their original line-up included Nicke Royale of Sweden’s Helllacopters and Dutchman Tony Slug (The Nitwitz) and they toured Europe extensively.
This is a band that had power to burn that shone a fresh light on Sonic's Rendezvous Band by doing justice in the studio to material that we'd only heard on dodgy bootlegs.
‘The Hydromatics” is a re-mastered CD version of the group's debut record, “Parts Unknown”, with a stack of live tracks.
“Dangerous” is a LP (with free CD) of studio versions of Sonic’s Rendezvous Band classics like Asteroid B612, Electrophonic Tonic and City Slang. The 10-track LP is supplemented by “Do It Again”, “Mystically Yours” and “Power and The Glory” on the bonus CD. Get them here.
Like the financial affairs of a retired politician, it’s amazing what you find in rock and roll if you dig deep enough. Japan’s The Deadvikings are a prime example.
These Far Eastern brothers-by-another-mother of the Hellacopters have been going for 10 years and have numerous releases behind them. They’ve done a split single with UK reprobates The Sick Livers and The Hip Priests (but don’t judge them by the company they keep.)
They’ve toured Europe and China. They’re hitting Australia in November, with their Sydney mates Bunt.
The idea took root a year ago. Ardo from Estonian band Dead Furies had an idea to compile a tribute album for New Bomb Turks, perhaps his favourite band and oen of the stars of the US 1990s punk rock scene. He hit up some up and coming rock bands, and some mainstays, to see if they would be interested.
The response was overwhelmingly positive.
The tracks started coming in from the likes of the Hellacoptersand DEMONS from Sweden,the UK’s Hip Priestsand the Killer Hearts(USA). In the end he got 14 different incredible artists from Europe and North America.
Newish label on the block ,Dragstrip Riot Records have collaborated with seasoned labels Ghost Highway Recordings from Spain and Spaghetty Town Records from US to bring you “No Heroes No Leaders No Artists No Gods”. Every label released a different limited coloured vinyl and also the regular black version.
It's strictly vinyl only and the label names above link to websites.
- Professional Againsters “Bolan’s Crash” (Sweden)
- Deadheads “Quarter To Four” (Sweden)
- “DEMONS” “Pretty Lightening” (Sweden)
- The Boatsmen “Wine and Depression” (Sweden)
- Acid’s Trip “Snap Decision” (Sweden)
- The Chuck Norris Experiment “End Of The Great Credibility Race” (Sweden)
- The Hip Priests “Jukebox Lean” (England)
- Dead Furies “Your Beaten Heart” (Estonia)
- Scumbag Millionaire “Tryin' To Get By” (Sweden)
- The Drippers “Hammerless Nail” (Sweden)
- Jonesy “Jeers Of A Clown” (Canada)
- Killer Hearts “Spanish Fly By Night” (United States)
- Randy Savages “We Give A Rat's Ass” (England)
- The Hellacopters “Veronica Lake” (Sweden)
Imperial State Electric being the current band (or more like a collective with rotating membership) for Helicopters main-man Nicke Andersson. That alone should tell you what to expect.
Imperial State Electric had passed me by before this but if the single is anything to go by, the sound and spirit of the ‘Copters is alive and kicking.
This single is the same song done twice ("City Slang" style) and it comes from the 2013 album, “Reptile Brain Music”. Neither side lets anyone down: It’s bristling with guitar riff Rock Action and an uncompromising drive in the bottom end. One of the people responsible for all that engine room power, Bassist Dolf de Borst (The Datsuns), does the honours on vocal. The flip is a dirtier version of the song with Nicke behind the microphone.
This is a second pressing which tells ironed-on Helicopters fans (and even casual ones like me) that it’s not too late to make sure they don’t miss out.
Bootleg Booze Records on the Web
The Crusaders : The Kids Are All Wrong(Documentary)
Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliche (Documentary) screened on NITV
Devolution: A Devo Theory (Documentary) screened on ABC TV