Suspects are Thomas Prescott and James (Jaff) May. They come from Southend, and are a part of the ever-growing, pulsating Cool Thing Records that could very well be at the centre of the universe.
Their debut single, Innocense, sees the the two-piece arrive on the garage punk rock ‘n’ roll platform with a bang!
Innocense is an epic slice of back-to-basics, gritty, driving post-grunge garage punk rock. Pounding drums, heavy big muff-drive fuzz guitars and an abrasive yet controlled, aggressive vocal delivery. All of which fixates the listener like a rabbit to headlights or Elvis to prescription drugs. From the off, Innocence explodes into action. 0-50 faster than Valentino Rossi. Ending way too soon, it leaves an empty burning hum and a spellbinding charm, before I select repeat, again and again.
Innocense perfectly depicts a sound that cuts like a switchblade through the endless pile of shallow, empty candy-sweet, non-confrontational drivel that envelopes the sleepy, zombie-like state we find ourselves in. Suspects are here to wake us up from our slumber and to shout from the roof tops FUCK POLITICS – LET’S DANCE!
Pump up the volume and jump aboard the Suspects train departing from Southend-on-Sea, as it steams head on to Garage Punkville! This train is bound for freedom with its first class passengers Jack White, Black Sabbath, Queens Of The Stone Age and Black Flag.
In the late 1970s while working at the Chatham Dockyard, Billy Childish dreamed of a way out by forming a band and writing songs for a living. Like many wannabe teenagers, the name of the band was important and came before any rehearsals or songs were committed to paper. Soon after, ‘Wild’ Billy Childish, as he became known, formed a post-punk band called The Pop Rivets before gaining cult status with the psych-garage band, Thee Milkshakes.
Over 150 album releases later and Billy Childish has returned to reclaim the name he first imagined, The Chatham Forts (or CTMF). So back to the future, Wild Billy Childish & CTMF recently released SQ 1 on Damaged Goods records.
SQ 1, or Square 1, is the name given in explanation to the music originally created by a band that, for all intense and purpose is an end in itself, rather than seen as a stepping stone. In the title track, Billy explains they have no intention to move forward , changing the sound to something more developed or progressive; and in doing so don’t face the familiar problem of attempting to recreate the energy and enthusiasm of a debut album.
Twelve tracks start off with the brilliant ‘A Song For Kylie Minogue’ recounting Billy’s brushes with the pop and rock celebrities including when Kylie Minogue called him to ask permission to use one of his poems in a song; and another when after meeting with Beck, was asked to call him on a personal number. When Billy called someone answered abruptly ‘how did you get this number?’ Billy recounted this story to me some years ago, and suggested it was one of the many reasons why he wasn’t interested in contacting other artists or ‘playing the game’.
CTMF is another primitive sounding rock n roll song with biographical notes including an answer to a dumb question “the reason we didn’t sound like The Smiths is because we wanted to sound like this!” Billy sings of how punk sold out and was full of bullshit; and the disappointment of so-called difficult second albums, such as ‘Give ’em Enough Rope’ by The Clash. Which brings us back to groups that lose their way when all initial excitement and power of their music gets watered down or lost through the concept of progression or over-production.
Anyone already aware of Billy Childish and his prolific output will be immediately familiar with the rudimentary rock ‘n roll sound, lo-fi garage production and uncomplicated purity of CTMF and the ideals of ‘square 1’; and this album could be seen as a manifesto of punk rock defiance, a celebration of musical, independence or simply a true document home-made rock and roll delivered as art, not commerce.
CTMF is promoted as a three-piece group. But like all of his 150+ albums, this is first and foremost a Billy Childish album. Billy plays guitar and sings with Wolf Howard on drums and wife Julie Hamper on bass guitar, backing vocals and lead vocal on songs like ‘Turn and Run’, ‘When I think About You’ and ‘It’s Over (Again). The album also includes the limited edition 7″ single ‘A Glimpse Of Another Time’ also released on Damaged Goods earlier this year.
The final track on the wonderful CTMF SQ 1 album is ‘Cadillac’. A charming rock ‘n’ roll song that is sure to put a smile on your face that bops along to the ubiquitous tune of ‘Bo Diddley’. Great!
The record industry is big business. It is therefore all the more refreshing to see an original artist stick to his principles, never sell-out and always be looking for artistic control of fame and fortune. Over the past 30 years and 150+ albums Billy Childish has achieved this. But unlike Radiohead, U2 and The Rolling Stones, he has never signed on the dotted line for a major record label.
The new album from Wild Billy Childish & CTMF is scheduled for release on 20th May, and is released on Damaged Goods Records by way of CD or the choice of 3 different colours of green vinyl – light green, mid-green, and dark green.
‘the reason we didn’t sound like the Smiths is because we wanted to sound like this’
No less than 40 years ago, Billy Childish, then a 16 year old working in Chatham dockyard, imagined a group called ‘the Chatham Forts’, and so started a journey through punk rock from 1977 to now.
‘people think they know me, but they don’t know me’
No one, including Billy Childish himself appear to know exactly how many albums he has released. But the release of Wild Billy Childish & CTMF’s SQ 1 brings it to around 150th, or thereabouts.
SQ 1 could be seen as a manifesto of punk rock defiance, a celebration of musical independence or simply a true document homemade rock and roll delivered as art, not commerce.
The lead single to be taken from the forthcoming album is ‘Kylie‘.
‘Here’s a story ’bout Kylie Minogue. She’s only tiny, so I’ve been told. She rang me up she said can I use your poetry, I said help y’self girl, it’s all for free.’
Mourning Birds are back with their brand new riff-chugging heavy angst-throbbing garage punk rock ‘n’ roll single, ‘Leave Me Alone.’
Mourning Birds continue to fly high above the rest, somewhere between The Ramones and Dr Feelgood, and always with a full tank of petrol. ‘Leave Me Alone‘is 100% sweaty garage rock ‘n’ roll. LOVE IT!
The video was directed and designed by the up and coming Stephen James of ‘2Steaks Production’ and the high standards represent the progress of a band on the rise.
The band aim is to get across the energy that is put into the live show and with this audibly achieved by Rhys Downing in-between engineering Mark Ronson/Bruno Mars smash hit ‘Uptown Funk’ the achievement to match this success with such raw energetic imagery cannot be understated.
One day all rock ‘n’ roll will have this much energy… again!
The next big step in the Mourning Birds journey has finally arrived in truly glittering form. Through the brand new heights of last year’s Camden Crawl and The Great Escape Festival whilst riding off the back of BBC Introducing Single of the week recognition, BBC Radio 1 , BBC 6 Music, Amazing Radio and NME coverage the band wrote and recorded their debut album which was then released via the notoriously reputable P-Vine records in Japan. The album will be available in the UK soon… I hope!
Mourning Birds will be playing in London @ The Black Heart, Camden on Thursday 5th March via Club Fandango (In association with Music Week).
After their brilliant debut release ‘Oh Yeh!‘ Mourning Birds spent the rest of the summer locked away in Foel Studio in Wales recording their debut album. The album has since been released via P-Vine Records in Japan.
To mark the next chapter in the band’s short but exciting story so far, the garage rock three-piece have released a free download. Exile is a quintessential Mourning Birds track. This is another exciting high energy slice of garage punk rock & roll!
From supporting Slaves at their home coming show to Camden Crawl, from the pages of NME magazine to the ears of BBC Radio 1 listeners up and down the country, Mourning Birds don’t do things by halves and have excited and infuriated in great measures. 2015 is already geared up to an exciting start with the three-piece equipped with a debut album ready to be unleashed on a public fast catching on to a garage rock n roll revival, it starts with Exile.