Reviews and press
Here are some nice things that people have said about Johnny Kowalski and the Sexy Weirdos
“…upon listening, it appears The Libertines got pissed up and stuck in Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes……..Something Wonderful sums up the show, a circus atmosphere with more brass than you can shake a tuba at………The song only has about ten words, three of which are audible, and y’know what? Who cares? It’s a riot.
………Time has been taken to carry through the image to the artwork and styling of the group….the songwriting cascades from madness to the melancholic, with Kowalski’s distinctive gargle muzzled as an accomplished storyteller. ”
Tom Pell, february 2013 issue of Brumnotes
“A name like Johnny Kowalski and the Sexy Weirdos is bound to make hipsters sit up and take notice. They’ve done just that, with the Weirdos making a reputation for themselves across Europe as a rocking live act. And now they’ve unleashed their first album, Victory for the Monsters, recorded in a disused Worcestershire factory for an industry that might not be ready for their distinctive otherness.
The Sexy Weirdos make their stylistic intentions known on the album opener, “Something Wonderful,” which defines their gleefully atypical aesthetic and blazing mix of folk and gypsy. Notes on their site suggest comparisons to The Pogues, Gogol Bordello and The Specials, and while I get the influences, the Weirdos feel like a throwback to a much earlier time. In fact, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve put Hans Zimmer’sSherlock Holmes soundtrack on were it not for the lyrics. This is traditional music bolstered by thoroughly modern wails of ennui. Really, there is no better tag for their music than “carnival punk.”
This is a great album that never feels like a first effort, covering a vast array of topics with some flair. I particularly love track two, “Night Before,” a fitting song about alcohol consumption and (presumably) chronic hangovers. We can all sympathise there. The chorus is memorable, and after a few listens you’ll be singing along, preferably with a stiff drink in your hand (as you’d expect, this one is a belter in a packed pub gig).
“Park Lane Strut” is even better, kicking off with a fantastic drum-roll and the band revelling in the lyric-less four-minute instrumental. This really is the perfect showcase for the Sexy Weirdos’ style; the brass section and guitar work meld to create a soundtrack for slackers everywhere. “Morning After” changes the tone yet again with a reggae-esque backing and some fine crooning from Mr. Kowalski. It is very much a companion to “Night Before,” and you get the impression the Weirdos are partial to an intoxicant or two.
“Scriptwriter’s Song” is a sublime extension of Victory‘s aims so far, feeling like a real medley of conflicting styles that come together beautifully. There’s some very melancholic undertones that score the record as a whole, with moments that are achingly sad complimented by overwrought joy. Victory for the Monsters is somewhat schizophrenic in terms of mood but effectively so. There is an attempt to make something meaningful here.
Other highlights include the self-explanatory “Going Out My Mind,” an anthem for anyone who feels socially out-of-place. And finally, the band pay back their debt to traditional music with “Codisl” and “Buba Maru,” which are performed with gusto. The drunken shouting on “Codisl” in particular makes it a staple for live shows, and truly gets under your skin the more you listen to it. It could also be my favourite track on the platter thanks to the wonderful speed-ramping at the end, reminding you that punk was very much an influence here.
Victory for the Monsters is one hell of an assured debut. There’s no one else currently making music quite like them, and for sheer creativity alone you should give their sexy weirdness a shot.
Oh, and that cover artwork is fantastic.”
“Very enjoyable, both live and on cd”
Nik Turner, Hawkwind and Inner city Unit
“ONE of the city’s most brilliantly name bands are busily putting the finishing touches to their debut album.
Johnny Kowalski and the Sexy Weirdos have been working away in their own Carnival Punk Studios on their upcoming long-player, Victory for the Monsters, which is due to drop in the autumn.
Since forming in 2010 they have been compared to an eclectic list of bands from the Pogues to Gogol Bordello and Ian Dury and the Blockheads to the Specials, but the group prefer to colourfully describe their sound as body-snatching carnival punk.”
“There really was only one local band we wanted to build
the bill around and that band is Johnny Kowalski and the
Sexy Weirdos. After seeing them for the first time in Rise
Records almost a year ago, even an almighty hangover,
several hairs of the dog and a distrust of anything vaguely
‘folky’ could not dampen the infectious vibe that these
At the centre of it all is Kowalski. Sideburned, guitar
slung and with microphone at hand, he’s quirky,
understated and charismatic – think Tom Waits crossed
with the Great Gonzo himself, Hunter S Thompson….Where such great musicians lead, audiences (I mean big ones) are sure to follow”
Glazz Glazzard, Slap Mag August 2012
“An infectious excitement and a great deal of anticipation perspires from the glands of an already sweaty audience as the fans’ rambunctious behaviour demonstrates the more than willing attitude to indulge in Friday night revelry. They cheer heartily and rejoice as Mr Kowalski takes the stage accompanied by his band of Sexy Weirdos. The audience is promptly bombarded with lively Balkan rhythms, expressive Yiddish melodies and Johnny’s loud, punk-like DIY vocals. Their use of extraordinary eastern klezmer music coupled with the unpretentiousness and fun loving attitude of ska alongside the inherent blaring dynamic of punk means The Sexy Weirdos are an explosive and bizarre concoction that fuels and inspires pure lunacy. They playfully own the stage with their contagious energy to which every band member contributes. As the trombone slide is extended into the manic faces of the front row of the audience, the happy footed fiddler dances and performs among the crowd. Feet start to skank and pints are hastily drunk, an the event is transformed into a gypsy carnival of fun and merry-making. “I AM RIGHTEOUS!” blurts mutton-chopped Johnny in a vocal to and fro with the audience and his jolly band mates. “I AM RIGHTEOUS!” they reply convincingly with eagerness and volume. These frequently par-ticipatory moments conjoin the band’s ener-gy and the audience’s and, when combined with high tempos and accented rhythms, they demostrate that this musi causes the need to jump up and down or sway arm in arm with your drunken brethren. After a vigorous 11-song set the band face the audience, join arms and start singing an ever so familiar melody led by the golden tuba held high. The tempo increases and eyes widen as the audience realise that the encore is the Tetris theme tune. And as the Russian knee bending ensues, the band animate themselves one last time, for these festivities must come to an end, at least until Johnny Kowalski and his sexy weirdo circus come to town again.”
Written by Guy Hirst for Brum Notes, July 2012
“The night was headlined by the fantastic Jonny and the Sexy Weirdos, which undoubtedly they are. The band is a must-see, with an eclectic amalgamation of guitar, trumpet, trombone, fiddle and drums. The gypsy punk vibe brought everyone to the dance floor, with creative and tuneful collaborations to dance to. There was no shame, everyone rolled up their sleeves and, beginning slowly, broke out into full-on group dancing and even moshing throughout the night. The dancing went on for well over an hour with the band striving on and the euphoric audience shouting for more.”
“We were in a pub called The Pig and Drum in Worcester (early June2011)15 blokes from Wythenshawe Manchester, what we were looking for was beer beer and more beer.
We were getting ready to go to continue our search of fine ales when this band came on.When they started they immediatley had us in their grip, they came on with so much gusto that within 30 seconds we knew we were going nowhere, we stayed all night.
Big thanks and Hats off to J K and the sexy weirdos, Great night,, Great Band.”
MrTank74T, comments from the Klezmer Prayer video, youtube