The Mezcaltones Second –  The Mezcaltones (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

0794bb43dd45ceaa75a18e0a603d3ea1f0b30ae9_phixrAnyone who opens their album with a Spaghetti Western theme medley is not only laying out a pretty clear statement of intent (if the band name and album cover hadn’t already done that) but is playing right into my musical comfort zone. From there they proceed to punk up Tex-Mex, give country music a rock and roll kick up the butt, mix garage rock with cowboy cool and take blues on a sultry ride south of the border accompanied by the good, the bad and the seriously groovy.

Rather than find new places for country music to explore, The Mezcaltones instead reunite it with old musical friends, wander back through roots routes mixing and matching the sounds of the south and beyond. The resonant riffs of songs like Short Change Hero seem to blend our Hollywood views of the old west with 50’s rock and roll, Howlin’ at the Moon plays with big blues-rock dynamics and I Know My Rider is pure southern alt-rock.

It’s a great, escapist, white knuckle ride, a sound track to a vision of America which never existed. But like a wise man once said, when the legend becomes fact, print the legend…and then write it an amazing sound track!


Surfing Times – Los Plantronics (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

1017521_810177245732875_1356638567085264715_nSome music is difficult to write about, with everyone jumping on the same bandwagons or trying to re-invent genres that should best remain forgotten, I often find myself presented with the same wall to wall beige, style over substance conformity from bands who have spent more time getting the right tattoos and choreographing stage moves than they have exploring the possibilities that music has to offer. Los Plantronics however buck this trend, providing so many ways into their music that it is difficult to know where to start. A surf related concept album? Vikings invade Mexico? A Norwegian wilderness studio revelling in a Mariachi groove and wild 50’s rock ‘n’roll? A band who wrote an album based on the artwork? Where to begin?

Back-stories aside, this is an album summed up best by one quote as the soundtrack to a “psychedelic exploitation surf movie set in Mexico” where the history of Tex-Mex border rock ‘n’ roll is reimagined and warped through an acid haze and delivered with a raw edged punk sneer. On paper it seems the most unlikely result given the above factors, but despite, or possibly because of those hurdles, Los Plantronics have come up with a fantastic retrospective re-working and one of the most unique album you will have heard in years.

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