When it comes to Trapper Schoepp, it’s hard to know where to start. Is it the fact that “Siren Songs” was recorded at Johnny Cash’s cabin? Is it that he is the youngest person to get a co-write with Bob Dylan? Is it that a couple of the songs on here have Sarah Peasall from “O Brother Where Art Thou’s” soundtrack on? Or the wonderful array of brilliant session musicians?

How about none of that and the fact that “Siren Songs” is wonderful.

The pulsing energy of “The Cliffs Of Dover” which features a harmonica solo that would make   Springsteen himself blush, the blues infused “Devil’s Kettle”, the more expansive stuff like “Secrets Of The Breeze” (and well might Schoepp cite Paul Brady as an influence, because this is a Transatlantic Sessions tune in waiting) or the gentle Cat Stephens like “The Fool” its all here and its all done with a class that you cannot ignore.

At his heart, he is quite simply a brilliant folk singer, and “Anna Lee” is one man and his guitar for the ages, and the tinkling pianos of “In Returning” are just perfect.

“Siren Songs” has all of that magic from Hendersonville at its heart, but its no mere copy. It’s a fabulous record which takes the great tradition and does something of its own.

Rating 9/10


Bored in lockdown and inspired by the death of Eddie Van Halen to make a straight ahead rock n roll record, Trading Aces is what Frank Meyer of Streetwalkin’ Cheetah’s and Dennis Post of Warrior Soul, did for fun.

“Rock N Roll Homicide” ends with “In A Simple Rhyme”, the Van Halen cover that started it off, but along the way its more Cathouse in LA than anything else. There’s some marvellously dumb and filthy sleaze here. “Destination Insane” is what Faster Pussycat did when they couldn’t find your number on any bathroom walls, “Ain’t It A Bitch” is as 80s as anything on the Tuff record. Happy to do pop too, on “Beautiful Sunday” (Chip Z’nuff is going to steal it, I promise you) just as much as they are punky snarl on work like “Hey Geraldine, You Can’t Stop Me Now” (whoever she is, she’s fighting a losing battle), this is a record that those of us who grew up with the hard rock of the 1980s are never going to be able to resist.

Every cliché in the book, but who cares? Lets all party like it’s 1986.

Rating 8.5/10  

ARIELLE – 73 (2023)

Discovered by Nuno Bettencourt and handpicked by Brian May for a role in “We Will Rock You”, Arielle has always been destined for stardom. In truth, everything you need to know about her is encapsulated in the title track.

Expertly played – but that’s a given – the chorus reckons she’ll “take you back to 73” – but the second verse reasons that we are “California dreamin’ of the Memphis blues” and those two worlds collide beautifully on this. “Goes Without Saying” does blue collar Americana, but there’s a collection of superb soul-filled ballads here too. “The Way You Look At Me” is all dreamy Fleetwood Mac-isms as the music floats in a warm summer breeze, and her funky playing on the brilliant instrumental “Kalypso” is a highlight.

There is much to get excited about in this collection, not least the last one. “Wherever We Go From Here” is a nod to her musical theatre background, as if ever there was a tune that was made to be a big showstopper, then its this one.

There is a suspicion, too, that however good this album is, then Arielle’s true home is on the road. It’ll be interesting to see how these come alive on stage.

Rating 8/10  


When they first emerged in the mid-90s, Dozer could justifiably lay claim to being the torchbearers for the Kyuss dry as dust sound. On their first album There’s something reassuring about the way they rip through the opener “Mutation/Transformation”. In contrast to the title of the record, instead there’s something of – to borrow a line from The Wildhearts – “now you’re back, its like you never really went away” here. After 45 minutes of that opener, there’s a groove that all beardy, chin stroking blokes will love.

But as ever with the band, there’s something else too. Something just a little out of this world, as it were. It’s in the swirl of “Ex-Human, Now Beast” and its in every pore.

Fredrik Nordin finds an impressive falsetto on “Dust For Blood” and if “Andromeda” slows things down a little, then its only so it can crush just a little more. Elsewhere “No Quarter Expected, No Quarter Given” rather neatly sums them up, and the epic last song “Missing 13” is more prog, blissed out dreaminess, the type of thing you might imagine to be from guitarist Tommi Holappa’s other band, Greenleaf.

15 years is a long time, but it’s just wonderful to have them back.

Rating 8/10


The one time frontman of Gloryhammer, Angus McSix has battled his way out of hell with his mighty sword (Sixcalibur) and he’s resuming hostilities with ghouls and goblins.

If that sounds ludicrous then that’s because it is. “Angus McSix And The Sword Of Power” is utterly ridiculous. But that’s the point.

“Master Of The Universe” has a knowing nod to the past. “Glory left my hammer, but now I wield my sword” he sings. And its so incredibly OTT you’ll love it or hate it.

Quite frankly any album with a song called “Laser-Shooting Dinosaur” (which sounds like its being played in some euro disco club, by the way) has no interest in serious reviews, any more than one that borrow the intro for “Thunderstruck” and calls itself “Starlord Of The Sixtus Stellar System” does either.

With band members that include Rhapsody Of Fire and Frozen Crown amongst their previous work, then there’s little doubt that McSix means business. And if there’s a thought about just how far they can carry on this joke, then we’ve been asking that about Gloryhammer for years. Like the last song says (and it could comfortably get a Eurovision nomination), “Just A Fool Wil Play Tricks On Angus McSix”.

Rating 8/10


Between 1983-87, Richie Ramone was the drummer in the Ramones (and it can’t just be me that thought they really were brothers when i was growing up, can it?). Amongst the songs he wrote for the band was “Somebody Put Something In My Drink”. His solo work has always been good too, and this is no exception. The title track is sort of Backyard Babies punk n roll and even if as Ramone says, the “DNA” of the Ramones is in this, then “When The Night” and the glam rock infused “Old Ways” update it and give it a modern twist.

Richie is these days Involved in films too, there’s a cinematic scope about “Cry Little Sister” – much darker than the rest  – while the short and sharp “Suffocate” is ready for the moshpit.

Perhaps the best is “Master Plan” which is perfectly formed lip curl and sneer, and even when it does its more throwaway stuff like “Who Stole My Wig” (give it him back, for goodness sake) then “Live To Tell” is not without its dumb charms.

Rating 7/10

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