In this issue of G&G: Backyard Babies; Romeo's Dead; Paradise Alley; Vampire Love Dolls; Young & Fabulous; John Tonic; Killer Kowalskis; Johnny Crash & Star Star

Backyard Babies        "Total 13"

Backyard Babies second full-length CD is pedal-to-the-metal mangle, hold on tight or you'll fall off! Same line-up but a slightly different look, more glitter-punk this time around which suits the sound of "Total 13" perfect. These Nassjö natives are breaking some major territory with this release. Guitarist Dregen is the posterboy of rock in Sweden and suddenly glam/punk is about as cool as it can get. Isn't it funny how the more thing's change the more they stay the same? These tendencies are long awaited among true fans of the aforementioned genres.

I've followed the band from their first demos through the excellence of "Diesel & Power" and their last e.p."Knockouts", their development from a seventies influenced glamband towards more punk has been very pleasant. Backyard Babies are the real thing, you can feel the vibe, these babies are natural. The Sleeve and the layout of "Total 13" are an out-of-the-ordinary visual experience. Totally mind blowing! It looks expensive but well spent, with the right push from the record company Backyard Babies could be the leading band of the forthcoming glitter/punk revival.

"Made me a Madman" is the opener most bands would kill for, it'll  blow your speakers. "U.F.O. Romeo", "Get Dead", "Let's go to Hell" follow the same path, Social Distortion gone glitter. The first single "Look at you" is the albums catchiest moment, not since the Wildhearts prime has any band accomplished to combine sing-along melody with such energy, in an effective way. "Subculture Hero" reminds me a bit of D.A.D. while the moody "8-balled" leans more towards Dogs D'amour.

If "Diesel and Power" was a proper dinnerparty of Ramones, Iggy Pop and Dogs D'amour, "Total 13" is a couple of hours later when some of Ramones friends have gatecrashed the party and turned it into a ballroom blitz. This release is much more punk than the previous which I personally think is a step downhill but I won't sue for a divorce, I'll stick around as long as these babies shot with this caliber. Great band, great songs and great attitude, buy now or forever hold your piece!


ROMEO'S DEAD "A Beautiful mess"  4 track demo

Don't we all love surprises? That's the thing about Christmas gifts, you don't know for certain what's inside. You can feel, shake, listen and imagine but you never know until you open it. Then you probably react with enthusiasm, apathy or disappointment, depending on the substance. I thought I had a grip on the wonderful world of glam then this glittergroup from San Francisco jumps right into my hand from nowhere, grab my heart and don't let go until four songs later. I can't help but rewind the tape and do the trip all over again.

Romeo's Dead are the best thing from San Francisco since the mighty Vain. A combination of 70-glitterrock, punk and pop. Could it be better? Yes, it can but this tape is very promising. "Starlit" is a glitterhit of the nineties, tasty as bubblegum and just as sticky. Try to forget this memorable refrain, you'll lose! "2000 Dolls" is similar but Zane Smith deliver the vocals with a little more sleaze on this song.

"I Wanna Be Your Slave" is the heaviest and also the weakest song on the tape, a filler to these ears. The verse is pretty ok but the refrain hasn't that much glitter power. Closer "Stricken with You" is much better and a potential classic among glamfans. I love backing vocals and rarely has someone used it as good as Romeo's Dead does on this particular song. Great!

These four glampunks has made a very good tape and if this is the direction they're going in, I'll follow just one step behind. Don't let this one pass you by! Read an article in previous Glam & Glitzine.

 

Paradise Alley      "Heartbreakers & Homewreckers"

Paradise Alley holds the glamflag of UK high. This is their second release, following their "Psychotic Playground". After some line-changes they're back with more ammo than ever in their guns. This is 80's glam with lots of "oohhhhh's" and "Na na na's", like a hybrid of Poison and Quireboys. If you miss those days you'd better take a walk down Paradise Alley because it's just as good a trip as memory lane.

Opener "Little Suzy" is a true glamhit, very commercial and good. "Cryin'" is more Quireboys with it's harmonica and bluesy rhythms. It's good to hear that some still knows the old trick. "Tell me Why", "Mystery Girl" and "Walk it" is more sleazy hardrock. I've actually got a little fed up at this time of the record, three similar songs in a row, but the heartbreaking ballad "No time to cry" gives the listener time to breath before it rocks hard again!

"Same old, same old" is glam the way we know it before it went underground, very few bands are still playing this type of thing. Therefore Paradise Alley certainly has a spot to fill, the 80's are coming back and the fans are waiting and starving! By the time of "Don't say nothing" (track 8) I'm convinced, "Heartbreakers and Homewreckers" is a very good album, one of the best  from the U.K in almost a decade (of course some have slipped my mind). Go grab it!

 

Vampire Love Dolls      6 track CD

This NY foursome grabbed my attention some years ago with their unresistable gothic glampunk, then came the dusk, they disappeared in the night... Now they're back in the light of the moon, these vampires have quite a bite. It's not glampunk anymore but more industry and there are still gothic parts. Names such as Sisters of Mercy, Ministry and Marylyn Manson come to my mind. The image is still great, vampires in latex. Really tasteful, makes you want to take a bite outta this!

"Spinning" is probably as close to a hit as Vampire Love Dolls ever get, quite catchy but still original and therefore maybe to hard to swallow for the masses but I'm sure that they're not aiming in that direction anyway. "Acetone" is a grinding piece of gothic industry metal while "Angel Lust Extacy" is almost funky at times. This isn't really my bag but I can't help diggin' it a lot. Vampire Love Dolls are not for everyone (who is?) but those who like it moody and metallic should contact them.

 

Young & Fabulous!  "I Get more Pussy than Frank Sinatra"

Finally I've got Young & Fabulous! new hitsingle, "I get more pussy than Frank Sinatra", in my hands. Totally tongue in cheek, the way Young & Fabulous! usually deliver their goods. The release has been postponed due to legal trouble, The Fabulous weren't allowed to use a picture of Frankieboy on the disc. The final layout is a killer though.

"I get more pussy than Frank Sinatra" takes on where "The greatest album in the history of music" left off. Glamrock with chanting backvocals and plenty of hitpotential but what really sets Y&F apart from the pack is their sense of humour. Nowadays when The Zeros seem the have taken a permanent vacation, Y&F stand out as the funniest band around where every bandmember has an own character. Just read the sleeve on their debutalbum and you'll find out what I mean.

The New single is a really good song which might earn these Young ones some major money. If you're into some serious stuff, Young & Fabulous aren't for you but if you like to laugh loud to some great glam, you'd better check this band out.


John Tonic      3 Track demo

John Tonic, the perfect refreshment and the path to salvation for people born in bars and married with Mary, the bloody one that is. This German sleaze/trash rock foursome started out in 1996 and this is the first songs I've heard of them. It's very bluesy and it's very Dogs D'amour. Seldom has a band captured the frustration and disillusion of people who drinks their dreams down the drain, as good as John Tonic does.

This 3 track demo is full of trashy bluesy sleazerock, similar to the Dogs, Rolling Stones and Hanoi Rocks. John Tonic has an identity which many of todays band doesn't. They do their thing very well but must improve some parts to fill an album, it's quite a step but I have no doubts that they are able to do it. Alex (vocals & guitar) told me that John Tonic has got plenty of new songs and are looking forward to record a CD. I can't wait!

 

Killer Kowalskis       "First Date" single

As the release of The Kowaliskis debut full-length CD is approaching it seems appropriate to review their debut vinyl single "First Date". This was before the incidents that caused the namechange to The Kowalskis. Fronted by female bubblepunk Kitty Kowalski, the bands also contains Paul Richards (guitar), Greg Farah (drums) and Jack Steeples (bass). The Kowalskis is bubblegumpunk set to blow the speakers in every American suburb.

A-side "First Date" is so catchy that even your dad might like it, which is quite hard to accomplish but the Kowalskis succeed to combine pop with punk. I can't help but wonder if there is a more dynamic marriage than that between the beauty and the beast, pop and punk. I love it!

B-side is "Goodbye Daddy" is a similar gem, I guess The Runaways comparisons are unavoidable.

This is an impressive first release and my expectations on their CD (reviewed in next issue) are high. Available on Blackout! records.

 

Johnny Crash       "Neighborhood Threat"

I believe it was around Christmas 1990 that I first heard Johnny Crash. Back then MTV actually played good music (yes, it's true!) and it was there I first met these LA sleazerockers. It was love at first sight. "Neighborhood Threat" is classy sleaze, coming across like a poppier Ac-Dc. Snarling vocalist Vicki James was formerly with Tokyo Blade but this is the relase where he really shines.

First song "Hey Kid" is excellent sleazepop, this should've been a hit! "No Bones about it", "Axe to the wax" and my favorite " All the way in", are all nice pieces of sleaze which will make old Bon Scott smile in his grave.

"Thrill of the kill" is more bluesy and a lot slower, necessary to get a a chance to breath. "Crack of Dawn" is another b song in the vein of Cinderella. The rest of the album is not as good, "Freedom Road"reminds me of early Whitesnake and "Halfway to Heaven" could be ZZ top if they were raised in LA.


Like all the great glam/sleaze bands in the late eighties/early nineties Johnny Crash suffered from a change in the musical climate. This was their one and only chance to stardom, they world didn't let them take it. Too bad.

 

Star Star    "The Love Drag Years"

In the year of 1992, glam was almost unconscious, down for the count but certainly not knocked out, lying like the sleeping beauty on a bed of roses. In the middle of this hibernation four NYC glitterpunks release one of the best albums of all-time. Unexpected but more welcome than a postcard on Valentine's day.

Known as Jetplane Jane but changed their name to this release, a well-known band among underground glamfans as their debut "GoGo Girls in love" had caused some stir. These drugstore cowboys surely knew how to bring every glampunk to their knees. Johnnie Holiday has got the sweetest voice I've ever heard, I mean it! His vocals personifies glam in all it's aspects.

"Fly Boy" is the opener and it took me by suprise, I didn't expect Star Star to be this good! "Science Fiction Boy" was the single and what a hit it is. The "Yeah's" never sound as good as on these song, back vocals at it finest. The titletrack is glampunk all the way while "Cowboys in space" has got some marvelous countryinfluences.

"Baby Should've known" punks it up, perfect for party you aren't hosting. "Groovy Guru Gangster Girl" is the finest moment, one of the best songs on the planet. Words are needless. "Diggy Dragster" is was previously on "GoGo Girls in love" but this version is even better.

Star Star should've been... stars. "The Love Drag Years" was a paradise island in the polluted oceans of grunge and alternative. Just Wish upon a star and all your dreams will come true. I'll relocate to Kid city right away.