Les Johnny’s / King Automatic - Split-10"

9 songs
17:04 minutes
***** ***
Hound Dog

Les Johnny’s Bandpage

King Automatic Bandpage

After releasing a split-10” by Mr Gerrymanders and The Drapes in 2005 and another one by Crooner Alley and Zéro Degré the following year, French label Hound Dog Records, located close to the city of Metz, is back in late 2007 with another inception, introducing this time Les Johnny’s and King Automatic.

Side A features six tracks from Les Johnny’s, a garage trash three-piece from Metz which clearly inspired by greasy outlaw music from the Sixties. Borrowing the energy of punk rock, there are never longer than two minutes, and by adding a good dose of humour, they circumvent the danger of adopting a macho attitude. The first four tracks are basically your typical punkabilly fare, but the following Le Bruit Défendu features guest vocalist MeliMol, apparently the only woman on this planet who ever dared to record a song with Les Johnny’s, and believe it or not, she managed to tame them on this really cute ballad. It feels like a spiteful counterpoint that they have to end their eight minutes of music with the six second short Kebab.

King Automatic, a one man band from NCY (Nancy) and not NYC, only offers half as many songs, but his total running time is even one minute longer. His approach is also very garagy, but less punk. Playing guitar, organ and real drums (probably always sampled at the beginning of the song when played live), he ends up with a true band sound, which is something rather amazing, considering the circumstances. Especially the opener London NCY 54 (department number of Meurthe-et-Moselle, something I see in the hundreds every morning I drive to work) and the Buddy Holly cover version Not Fade Away convince with a charm that reminds of a more civilized but just as dirty Bob Log III.

Last time, I criticised the label for not adding a CD-R with the songs, so this time they remedied the situation, so that you can also listen to this archaic piece of garage rock in your car stereo, for instance. Like always, this is again a very worthwhile release, and the gorgeous cartoon artwork, depicting a rock’n’roll scene in a typically Lorraine setting, even adds value to this once again astonishing look at regional bands.

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