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Future Pilots - "Demo ep" (self released) 4/5

This is the debut ep from Bristol based alternative rockers Future Pilots, an outfit whose personnel are drawn partly from the English West Country and party from the Czech Republic.

Now I'll admit I've a high bench mark when it comes to alt and indie rock, I've heard so much bland and generic stuff in the genre that an act has to be something a bit special for me to take notice. Thankfully, Future Pilots are anything but bland and generic.

There are five songs on offer here, and whilst they do fit neatly into the whole alternative/indie pigeon holes, there are enough good ideas and interesting experimentation going on here to lift the band well above the same old same old bucket.

Opening cut Money Can't Buy Protection has lots of nice jangly indie guitars but the whole thing bops along with a post punk attitude and some wonderfully dirt riffs under pinning the neo-brit-pop sensibilities. Next up is Size 5 Blues a sweet almost laid back cut that for some reason reminds me of 70's folk rockers Hudson Ford with its soft shoe shuffle rhythm and tongue in cheek lyrics.

As this demo goes on it just gets better. Assange, a song about the wiki-leaks guy is a bit of a rocker with some almost metal power chordage counterpointing some catchy clean and jangly bits and a main riff that tips a hat towards the likes of The Dirty Youth or The Skuzzies - oh yeah mustn't forget some tasteful lead work as well.

Take It All sounds a bit like The Who jamming with the Arctic Monkeys, and the final track Comfort is a bass lead gem with an almost Half Man Half Biscuit feel worked into the normal indie rockisms.

Add in the fact that singer Honza Syrovatka has a charming and engaging voice and delivery; and the rest of the band are all fine fine musicians and you have something here that hints of great things to come.

This lot a definitely a band to watch out for.

Well worth a look

for fans of... XTC, Vivian, Having Thin Moonshine, The Mudheads...

Zeroking - 'Kings of Self Destruction' (self released) 4.5/5

I've been keeping a close eye on West Virginia hard rockers Zeroking for sometime now, ever since they hit us with their debut single Stone Cold Bitch a year or so back. Since then we've had a couple more equally impressive single releases and a sneak preview promo ep, all of which has left me really looking forward to the album release. And now at long last we have King Of Self Destruction.

And having lived with this one for a week or two now I can gladly say the wait was well worth it. Zeroking are a balls out hard rocking four piece consisting of Andy Haught on vocals, Chris Webb whacking the pig skins, Shane Day on guitar and  Paul First driving it home on the bass. They play good old fashioned hard edged rock and metal in style of Skid Row, Ratt, Motley Crue and Pretty Boy Floyd, and they do it in fine style.

There are thirteen class cuts on offer here (plus a trio of bonus tracks), and from the opening Dead Rock Star to the closer Leaving Los Angeles, every one is a a gem of a little self contained tale of feel good rock and roll debauchery, sleazy sexuality and good time party flashbacks. We get the classic in the making Girls Of California with its epic acapella opening line "You know your bound for stardom when the girls of California wanna fuck you..."; the sleazy party anthem (and my fave cut on offer) of Southern Lady, Ex-Godiva, the barnstorming Showtime Revolution and the riff driven floor filler of The Party's Over. But to be honest there's not a weak link on the entire record. Even the unavoidable ballad Valentine is a sweet little track with some tasteful cello work to lift it above the ordinary.

As for the band, Mr Haught's vocals are distinctive, powerful and engaging - managing to sound something like Sebastian Bach and Blackie Lawless. The rhythm section as tight as tailor made fetish gear and the guitar work of Shane Day is most enjoyable both for his grinding riffage and his intelligent lead work. (special praise to him for the solo on Black Friday).

Over all this is a damn fine debut from a band who deserve to be better know, and is well worth anyones time checking out.

Highly Recommended

For fans of... Motley Crue, Trucker Diablo, Crash Street Kids, Ratt, Skid Row.....