More guitar-based belters from the series formerly known as New Kidz On The Rock. With Alex Lahey, Marsicans, Sheer Mag, black midi, Sports Team, Mattiel, Cherry Glazerr and friends! Brand new six strings and ready to riff? Go!
Don’t you just love it when artists put the sax back into rock? Nope, that’s not a typo. We mean sax as in The Saxophone. Not that we don’t believe the crop of new guitar-led pop/rock/indie/punk can be sexy. Rock, at one stage, was built on sex. And riffs. And drugs. Just to be clear, we condone the former, and strongly denounce the latter. Even if it is rock ‘n’ roll. Okay now that’s out of the way, moving swiftly on! (Incidentally, if vice is your thing, there is an awful lot of smoking that goes on in this playlist as well, just saying).
We do indeed mean the sax. On Vol. 2 of Riff Raff (the playlist previously named New Kidz On The Rock) our then cover star Sam Fender got the ball rolling, his blistering single Hypersonic Missiles laced with some very Clarence Clemens style sax blasts. He does the same trick on The Borders, his latest single. And again on our featured track here - the rather excellent You’re Not The Only One.
Well, he might be starting something. Listen in, and similar happenings can be found on occasions throughout Vol. 3, blasting off with our cover star and lead artist this time around, Melbourne’s Alex Lahey. There’s an element of bravery in reverting to a blurring sax, especially when one could, presumably, let rip a guitar solo - guitars being more on hand in rock bands generally. It’s not the obvious move, but when it works, it really works. It says ‘to hell with this, we are having such a blast with this belter of a song, we are just gonna throw in the sax because we can and blow (so to speak) the consequences’. There’s nothing more carefree. Very fitting with the sentiment of our lead track by Alex - Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself - a great theme as we enter ‘Q4’ which for some people (Scandinavians, for example) is a somewhat gloomy prospect.
We’ve gone with that feel throughout the opening half of Vol. 3. A fuck-it-we-are-going-to-have-a-good-time-even-if-you-try-to-stop-us’ sort of vibe, with all the touches that only a proper rock tune can bring - a swagger if you will.
Hence a driving riff to power off yet another banger of a tune from indie kids Marsicans (best band from Leeds since Alt-J, discuss?). Hence, the Lizzy-esque twin guitar fills on Sheer Mag’s Unfound Manifest. Hence the synth-blast opening bars on VIALETTERS Genera. Hence the incendiary power chord bounce of Basement’s Be Here Now. Amazing to think that these first four gems blast us between Melbourne, Leeds, Pennsylvania, Hull (once again) and bloody Ipswich.
Safe to say, you can let your hair down with this one. The summer is closing out (well in our corner of the Western hemisphere anyway) and, as the serious part of the year looms large, it’s worth remembering that life can still rock. And so can you.
Why the name change to Riff Raff? we hear you ask. Well, for one thing, ‘New Kidz’, while it gave a pretty good indication of the music thereby presented, it also made a casual and somewhat superfluous reference to a defunct manufactured pop band from the 80s-90s era who had very little to do with guitars. We don’t know why and it doesn’t matter any more does it? What’s a name change between friends? Riff Raff seems to do more justice to what goes on here - young bands mixing up guitar genres in all manner of ways, without a care for labels other than ‘a good tune’. So, whether you wanna rock your way out of the summer, pick up the guitar and play along, or hit the gym with a refreshing alternative to the usual fitness-fodder, Riff Raff is the playlist for you.
Alex Lahey’s The Best Of Luck Club is out on streaming services and bandcamp (but the limited edition white vinyl is sold our brrrr!).
If you’ve been on the moon for your hols or too busy reading about Britain’s Brexit mess, you might have missed the fact that Sam Fender’s much anticipated, long-awaited debut L.P. Hypersonic Missiles is released today! Does it rock? Yes, it does actually. Well done fella.