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Showing posts from September, 2019

Wilco - at the Barrowlands, Glasgow: Live Review

I approached this gig as an opportunity to answer a question. "Was the rock and roll band I'd first heard on "Being There" still hidden under the art rock layers and sometime blandness of more recent years?" The story of their transition from aspiring Americana torchbearers to alternative darlings has been told many times elsewhere. Whilst I wouldn't put "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" and "A Ghost Is Born" in my top three Wilco albums, ("Being There", "Summerteeth" and "Sky Blue Sky" are all better, if admittedly not as important), it has been a while since they've made what I consider to be an essential album. 

Also being the first time seeing them, and being aware of Jeff Tweedy's sometimes prickly reputation, I was very much in a "show me" state of mind, only enhanced by the the support band who I found to be extremely disappointing.

I was not an especially auspicious start and for the first four …

Power by Seratones- Album Review

Taking in a broad swathe of influences that include classic soul, Motown, pop, garage rock and funk the second album from Louisiana natives Seratones arrives packing a fearsome punch. 
From the opening fat bass line and Spector-esque drum pattern of "Fear" it is clear we are in retro territory, although the themes and sonic embellishments are entirely modern. The band consistently play hard with great tunes and solid performance. The not so secret weapon of this band is vocalist AJ Haynes. Much like "Lux Prima" from Karen O, (and Dangermouse), earlier this year, she has all the power but also the ability to pull it right back in. She doesn't over sing, but totally owns the songs. Impressive stuff, even if the album as a whole doesn't consistently reach the heights of "Lux Prima".
Other than "Heart Attack", which leaves me a little cold with the sing-song Japanese style melody and the overly processed vocal on "Sad Boi" the rest o…

0151 by The Night Cafe - Album Review

The debut album from Liverpudlian indie rockers, The Night Cafe, is named for the area dialling code for their home city, and is either the perfect soundtrack to a very late night or a lazy sunny summer afternoon. The lush production, pastoral chords, heavily chorused and delayed guitars build a retro soundscape that is then leavened with a number of hard rocking tunes. The drumming in particular deserves praise throughout for the energy and sense of movement that is conveyed. 

Fans of Echo & The Bunnymen, The Cure and The Killers will find much to enjoy here even if at eighteen tracks it is too long, despite a few of those eighteen being sub two minutes. With a little judicious editing it would be improved further, but the potential is clearly there. For example,  "Calling Your Name (Again)" is inessential and "I Know (I'm Sure) just drifts along, (for seven minutes!), without the direction much of the rest of the album displays
The highlights are many and includ…

Return Of The Grievous Angel: A Tribute To Gram Parsons - Album Review

A gift from my friend Terry Smith, I had never heard this 1999 tribute album to the great Gram Parsons despite having pretty much everything that has been released on which he is featured. As this a tribute album with many different contributing artists, rather than a cohesive artistic statement, I will treat each track individually instead of as a whole. With that said here goes:

"She" - The Pretenders & Emmylou Harris
This is okay, but it is too vanilla. Chrissie Hynde is a great rock vocalist, and has produced much great music but her voice doesn't work for me here. Things improve when Emmylou comes in, but what song isn't improved by Emmylou Harris singing on it? 

"Ooh Las Vegas" - Cowboy Junkies 
A stunning, and barely recognisable as the original, take on this track. It sounds beamed in from outer space and is an early standout. Hearing this makes me want to see what the Sisters of Mercy would do with this track.

"Sin City" - Beck & Emmyl…

New Music - August

It is new music report time again. Be sure to listen to episode 684 of Rockin' The Suburbs, (either here or via your usual provider) to hear me talk about the following songs and why I like them.
"Call Me When It All Goes Wrong" by The Rails
"Future Love" by Ride "The Ongoing Speculation Into The Death Of Rock & Roll" by The Glorious Sons "Milky Way" by Neil Young & Crazy Horse "Power" by Seratones "Shatter The Sky" by The Vapour Trails

Rewind, Replay, Rebound by Volbeat - Album Review

The one word I would use to describe this album is schizophrenic. For most of the first half it alternates between superbly enjoyable, if not especially original melodic hard rock, and at times risible parody. 
Starting on a high with the Stones/INXS/Killers mash up of "Last Day Under The Sun", (which was one of my picks of the best music released in June as an advance single), before flipping into "Pelvis On Fire" that, along with a title that even Justin Hawkins of The Darkness might baulk at, also has Elvis impersonating "Uh-uhs". Talk about about sublime to ridiculous!
Back to the sublime, (if still confusing stylistically), again with the next track, "Rewind The Exit". Starting off with a great 1980's style metal riff before becoming a Coldplay style indie rock anthem. It the reverts to the metal riffing again after the bridge before the solo, back to the indie rock before riffing out to the finish. Hope you're all keeping up, and thi…

Music Talks Podcast

I was fortunate enough to appear on the podcast of my friend Terry Smith who has come up with an excellent format for a music discussion. The premise is simple: choose one song from each of the decades that you have been alive and then discuss them. 
Terry and I did just that and you can hear the results via your usual podcast provider, just search for "Music Talks Terry Smith" or via the podcast website, here.
Terry has also created a Spotify playlist featuring all but one of my choices, (listen to find out why), along with related music which is discussed.
I also need to call myself out for making a mistake when reaching back into the memory banks regarding the Shadows-aping early work of Neil Young. Clearly the band was not "The Sultans" but The Squires and the track I was referring to was "The Sultan". Minus nerd points for me!