Reviews Archives

Phantom of the Black Hills’ ENEMY! Gets 9 Star Review in Ox Magazine (Germany)

Finally, a band from that stands out from the musical pabulum: PHANTOM OF THE BLACK HILLS are in a separate category that really speaks for them. There are some musicians that go in a similar direction (Hellbilly or Doom Country) such as Hank III and ASSJACK, Hipbone Slim or in the broadest sense Bob Wayne. The CRAMPS have already proved in the Seventies what depth this kind of sound can have. You can hear the CRAMPS in the PHANTOM OF THE BLACK HILLS, which is probably because the album was produced by their ex-bassist Chopper Franklin and mixed by punk legend Geza X (DEAD KENNEDYS, BLACK FLAG etc.). The special feature is the Phantom’s especially brutal use of fiddle and banjo, which is reinforced by striking guitar riffs and very critical lyrics. Overall, the result is a brutal, varied album, suitable for both line dancing as well as the Pogo. (9 stars) Igor Eberhard, Ox-Fanzine, Germany

Berlin Brats “Believe it or Rot: 1973 – 1976” Reviewed

An older but still great review of the only full length release by Hollywood’s Berlin Brats has been brought to our attention, read it here:

EXHUMED: Berlin Brats Believe It or Rot 1973-76 LP

Finally, Hollywood’s first and foremost New York Dolls worshipping glam scum (and best band to appear in a Cheech and Chong movie), The Berlin Brats, have been given their just dessert with the release of Believe It Or Rot: 1973-1976. Eleven tracks of great, glammy, rock n’ roll recorded in what sounds like a fallout shelter. The obligatory inclusion of the “(I’m) Psychotic” 7” is found here on the A-side as well three other studio cuts, apparently discovered on a “lost” tape that one can assume had been left next to a boiler for the last three decades.

The second side of the LP features six live tracks, with slight repetition setting in during the reappearance of “(I’m) Psychotic” and “Vinyl.” A good cover of the Stones’ “Surprise, Surprise” and Mr. Berry’s “Bye Bye Johnny” mix in with a smattering of originals last heard when Iggy was a platinum blonde – all adequate documents of the moister side of rock n’ roll, circa the mid-1970’s.


Berlin Brats
Berlin Brats

Across the board, the sound is tinny and thin but the punch is as raw and vicious as ever, so if the Berlin Brats come off as a poor man’s Dolls, then that’s because they were more desperate and hungry than their East Coast inspiration. What the BB’s lacked in skill and originality they more than made up for in their attack (in an almost identical manner to the UK’s Hollywood Brats – I’m beginning to see a theme here…). This is the shit, fuckers.


Berlin Brats
Berlin Brats in 1976
 

Read the review on the Victim of Time site by clicking HERE

 

The Mau Maus’ “Scorched Earth Policies” Reviewed on Rock Over America

Scorched Earth Policies: Then & NowArtist: The Mau Maus
Album: Scorched Earth Policies: Then & Now
Label: Rachet Blade Records
Reviewer: Cassandra Young
Date: Oct 21, 2012
Established in 1977, resulting from the breakup of their former band the Berlin Brats, the Mau Maus have a notorious reputation as trouble makers. With the release of their first legitimate recorded album ‘Scorched Earth Policies: Then and Now’, the band has given their fans something tangible, as they have been craving for almost forty years.

With the legendary Rick Wilder filling the position of front man; Robbie Krieger, Michael Livingston, and Greg Salva on guitar; Scott “Chopper” Franklin on bass; and Paul “Black” Mars on drums, the band has become an icon in the Punk scene. Though Wilder is the only original member still standing, all have a chemistry that is undeniably powerful. Their drive and ability to create a lasting sound has made them a permanent staple in the music industry.

With a history like The Mau Maus, there is no escaping their reputation. Band members changing like the days of the week, cops appearing at their doorstep about five times a night, and starting uncountable riots, the band hasn’t just made their mark on music, they’ve made it on society. Incorporating both songs from their past as well as recently written and recorded songs from today, they have pieced together a compelling album that will be played for many decades to come.

Kicking of their album with “(I’m) Psychotic”, they already paint a picture of just who they really are. The dominant bass line, sweet guitar solos, extremely fun chorus, and just about as much china as you can handle introduces The Mau Maus in the best way possible. “Warbaby” is the perfect song for one who’s looking for the angst expected from angry rockers. With impressive guitar riffs and a single amazing guitar solo the song has become a fan favorite. “Joyride (to the End of the World)”, written by Wilder, is one of the slower (however, not slow at all), and more powerful songs. “Doomsdaze”, one of the most enjoyable songs on the album, opens with the group yelling, “Yeah, yeah, yeah” which continues throughout the song, giving off the loud, rambunctious vibe loved by all Punk listeners.

Though they’re what would be considered veterans of the scene, The Mau Maus plan on releasing another album in the future. With talent like theirs, there is no reason not to. The Mau Maus have been an influential band throughout the entire Punk industry since 1977 and are continuing to influence bands in today’s music scene.

Phantom of the Black Hills “ENEMY!” Reviewed in New Edition

Phantom Of The Black Hills – ENEMY!
Ratchet Blade Records

     Wow. After 2 great albums that sound like nothing I’ve heard before (doom country), along comes the third album that sounds a little different because the country influences has moved forward some in the overall sound. The big difference is that banjo, mandolin and fiddle take more space and I really like that. The mean sounding guitar and the hard driving bass are still there and they make this bands still sound like one of a kind.
   All that along with lyrics that could have been written by an angry Hank Williams if he still was alive today, and with vocals that for some reason  reminds me of Hasil Adkins, they have an unbeatable mixture. With this they have a formula that no other band has come close to finding. If this album gets some wide circulation my guess is that there will be other bands trying this formula.
    It´s an album that is hard, brutal and beautiful at the same time, a rock´n´roll answer for the Sam Peckinpah movie The Wild Bunch. Buy buy buy.

Jan Falk
New Edition (Sweden)

Razorcake Review of the Mau Maus’ Scorched Earth Policies

THE MAU MAUS

Scorched Earth Policies: Then & Now

Scorched Earth Policies: Then & NowFormed from the ashes of legendary Los Angeles glam rock band Berlin Brats, the Mau Maus have proven to be one of punk rock’s more tenacious groups, with lineups having existed in five different decades now—and yet despite forming in 1977—prior to this CD, the only legitimate recordings one could find were two tracks featured on the second Hell Comes to Your House compilation. In an effort to both clear the vaults and make up for lost time, this features six tracks recorded in 1983 and produced by Doors guitarist Robbie Krieger (who also lays down a barnburner solo on one track), plus eight tracks of more recent vintage that meld fairly seamlessly with the earlier tunes, making this the definitive showcase for this band’s take on punk rock: one part Dolls, one part Stones, mix in a whole lotta attitude ‘n’ hostility and set the whole fuckin’ thing ablaze. An all-around swell collection complete with extensive liner notes, pics, and some of the finest punk rockin’ you’re likely ever gonna come across.

Jimmy Alvarado
Razorcake Magazine

Mau Maus In-Store Review

The Mau-Maus
Permanent Records, Eagle Rock, CA
by Michael Essington

A couple of years back I wrote a review for a show I went to at the Redwood in Los Angeles. The show was Mau-Maus, Billy Bones and Symbol Six. Fun show, but I wasn’t overly enthused with the Mau-Maus performance. Now I didn’t fully slag them off, but I could have been a little nicer in my review.

Anyway, a year and a half, or so, later Mr. Rick Wilder shoots me an email saying that I was probably 99% accurate in my review. This surprised the shit out of me. Usually when a review doesn’t go a band’s way I get cursed at and told I know nothing about music. Not in this case. Mr. Wilder was a true gentleman and has become a bit of a friend. So, I told him to be fair, I’d come and check them out again next time they play.

On June 3, 2012, Permanent Records in Eagle Rock, CA created an event page on Facebook for an in-store show with the Mau-Maus promoting their new album, SCORCHED EARTH POLICIES: then and now.

Two or three weeks back I went to lunch with master photographer Edward Colver, and after lunch we stopped into Permanent Records. So, I knew exactly where it was. Great streamlined shop. Unlike most used records shops it’s not over-run with clutter.

Show is scheduled for 6:00, and I tried to take a shortcut which made me about twenty minutes late. I hate being late. Ran into the shop at about 6:25, 6:27. The shop was pretty empty. I figured Mau-Maus went on at 6:00, blew through their set and I missed the whole fucking thing. I went up to the counter, and asked the lady sitting there if “I missed the set?” She said, “No,” they were waiting for the opening band to set up. Whew.

I stood around and waited, no opening band. I bumped into a couple of friends who I saw the Mau-Maus with two years ago, Mary and Frank. Then a friend of my late uncle Rick’s comes up and introduces himself, Danny from Warning Label Records out of Boston. Small frickin’ world.

As I’m talking to Danny I hear the crowd start to buzz, “He’s here, he’s here.” The party has started. Rick Wilder, Michael Livingston, Scott Franklin and Paul Black did a few final tune-ups and they launched into a kick-ass set. My main complaint last time I saw them was I couldn’t hear Mr. Wilder’s vocals, not the case this time. The mike was held close to the grill throughout his performance.

Only problems they had was the mikes cut out once, then, I think, the amps cut for a minute. Both resolved quickly and then back to a powerful set.

Rick Wilder is a cool front man, people are drawn to him. You want to see what he’s going to do. And I have to mention Michael Livingston, he is such a great guitarist that it’s almost unbelievable.

Afterwards, Rick gave me a copy of their new album to review, and I hung out with him for a bit. The album review will be here soon, buy a copy. All in all, a great show.

Promo Video for Phantom of the Black Hills’ “Enemy”

A new short promo video for the Summer 2012 Ratchet Blade Records release of  “Enemy” is up, the record is currently being mixed by producer extraordinaire Geza X  (Black Flag, Dead Kennedys, Mau Maus).

Mau Maus In-Store Saturday June 30th

Doghouse Lords Free Download

Get a free download of the unreleased Doghouse Lords song “Don’t Drive Me Away” and hear the new rockin blues of Javier “Jake” Matos (Blue Shadows), Chopper Franklin (Mau Maus, Nick Curran & the Lowlifes), John Bazz (Blasters) and Bill “Buster” Bateman (Blasters, Red Devils). Also included in the free download is “Voodoo Lucy” from their debut cd “Diggin’ at the Doghouse” on Ratchet Blade Records (RBR 711). Get the download HERE, and you can check out “Diggin’ at the Doghouse” HERE.

Charley Horse Professional Sinners Black Cover Released

Ratchet Blade Records has just released the NEW Limited Edition Charley Horse pressing of “Professional Sinners”! These Limited Edition Vinyl LPs are Screen Printed and Hand-Numbered copies of just 200 and are on a BLACK cover! You can listen to large sized chunks of this great record featuring Sean Wheeler (Throw Rag, Sean & Zander), Chopper Franklin (Mau Maus, Nick Curran & the Lowlifes) and Corey Parks (Nashville Pussy, Die Hunns) HERE.

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