Search This Blog

Sunday 30 January 2011

Born Running

Glen Matlock & The Philistines – Born Running

Unfortunately Glen Matlock is never going to be able to slip out from under the shadow of The Sex Pistols.
I wouldn't know if he considers his past as a millstone around his neck or a nice earner, but post Pistols he has proved that he is no one trick pony. That the success of his latter material hasn't emulated that of his first foray into writing and playing is something that mystifies me.
Each project he has worked on has borne real dividends for the listener and with “Born Running” - his fourth release with “The Philistines” - he continues to maintain the high quality that we would expect.
Within its grooves what we get is twelve lessons, or even master classes, in how to play what some would call timeless rock music. Real blue collar stuff with its heart on its sleeve.
Anyone looking for snotty nosed punk rock is digging under the wrong stone here. Anyone wanting to hop aboard for a nostalgia trip should look elsewhere for their kicks as they aint getting them here.
This is a mature artist making mature music for mature listeners, but don't make the mistake of thinking that mature means boring or even past it as that would be a big mistake.
The fire in the belly is here for all to hear and the whole band have the expertise to capture that lighting and bottle it for us.
This is an album that Glen Matlock should be rightly proud of and I doubt anyone lending an ear to see what he is up to now would be disappointed.

Dancing Backward in High Heels

Initially when I heard that the New York Dolls had reformed I was in a quandary.
One of my all time favourite bands were back, but could they handle their legendary status. Would they soar, or would they implode in the public eye? Or worse. Would they just be a pale shadow of their former selves?
I wanted them to succeed. I wanted the wider world to wake up and realize how magnificently trashy they were. I wanted the second bite at the apple to catapult them from being underground legends to overground rock gods with the wider public realizing just how pivotally important they were to rock and roll.
I needn't have worried.
While they may not have went to number one with a bullet worldwide, they did receive critical acclaim for their studio albums and live.......well live there's no one quite like them.
I've seen them multiple times now and they have provided me with the best of times.
They never disappoint, and the five members clicked together like lost jigsaw pieces. They just made sense together.
Then I heard some whispers that the new album wasn't going to feature Steve Conte or Sami Yaffa.
It was a bit of a worry, but the band had lived up to expectations before and I told myself I should have a bit of faith.
Word came through the grapevine of who might be playing guitar, who might be guesting, who might be playing bass and that a drummer was being looked for in the UK for recording and playing some dates in Newcastle.
Regardless of how accurate the information was it all seemed even more shambolic than usual.
The first thing that sprung to mind for me was that if Steve and Sami weren't on board, and Sylvain was working with Cheetah Chrome on The Batusis, then who was involved in the song writing process?
The second was that without it being a group effort then how could they carry on the sound that they had created from reforming?
My fears were compounded when snippets of each song were released as a taster for the album.
I listened to the snatches again and again and I feared the worst.
Now here we are and I've been listening to the full album and to my ears it's a great David Johansen release, but I just don't get the Dolls vibe from it.
There's some lovely nods to the sixties girl bands, and an exploration into other sounds that he has touched on in the past on his own releases, but it doesn't sound like a New York Dolls album. It may hint at it, but it aint quite there.
Truth be told this album isn't too shabby at all though. In fact I like it, but it's just that I have that nagging little voice saying....but it aint the Dolls.
“I'm so fabulous” is the closest the album comes to capturing something of what I was looking for, but then it sort of slips out of reach when the saxophone is layered over it.
It all just seems less focussed over all than I would have expected, and I miss Steve and Sami's involvement.
I'll hazard a guess and say that some power plays have been going on behind the scenes and with two fifths of the band ousted it has left us with something that is a New York Dolls album in name only.
Some will say that with David and Sylvain on board it doesn't matter who else is backing them up, but this release doesn't lend any credence to that opinion.
I've got to say that I feel disloyal in not raving about this album, but you really have to call it as you see it.
If this was a David Johansen release I would be proclaiming it to be one of his best, but as it's going out under the name of the New York Dolls then it has to be viewed as such.

Joseph Dean Osgood, Bedouin Soundclash, The Red Eyes, The Spitfires, Lord Rochester, Rocket City Riot, The Bresslaws.

Joseph Dean Osgood – Rock N Roll Man
I don't think that it is possible to put your finger on the exact point when the quintessential sounds of English styled rock and blues staggered off of the worlds stage.
It was never a case of it being in one day and out the next. More so the big hitters simply slipped off one by one into the elephants graveyard of the eighties.
Some would release albums that tried desperately to remain hip, but more often than not managed to achieve nothing more than provide us with the aural equivalent of the drunk uncle at the wedding who is vainly attempting to cling to past glories.
A sad state of affairs if there ever was one.
There has however been the odd attempt to breath some life into the sounds of the past throughout the last few decades.
Paul Weller made a successful career out of it, while the Verve managed an authentic warm embrace, but it's all been a bit hit and miss really.
That is until now, and that's because Joseph Dean Osgood who, with his mini d├ębut, has taken the legacy of everyone from the Faces to Mott The Hoople and managed to kick start its atrophied heart.
Don't be mistaken in thinking that this is simply a homage to the past or even an attempt at some retro nostalgia, but instead consider it as the sound of someone who appreciates that you have to know where you came from to know where you are going.
It's a melding of the legendary song writing talents of Ray Davies and the music of the Faces looked at from the cracked perspective of 2010.
The five original tracks on display are so good that they do little more than beg the question why there is the addition of the Python Lee Jackson track “In a Broken Dream”. While it fits in with the over all tone of the album, it's a superfluous inclusion and I can only hazard a guess that it was included to provide a musical signpost for those who may skip by Joseph Dean Osgood without it.
If that is the case then I can live with it.
If not then more Joseph Dean Osgood would have been preferred.

Bedouin Soundclash – Light the horizon.
Light the Horizon is never overpowering in its intent, but instead chooses to balance on the periphery and intrude politely into the air that surrounds you. It's quite simply an oasis of calm in a turbulent world.
The aural equivalent of kicking back with some friends after a long hard day and relaxing into a sunset with a drink in your hand.
The ambiance envelopes you, transporting the listener to a better place and time that could be in your past or just waiting to ease into the reality of the future.
I don't think I have ever heard white boy reggae being played so well.
The one step removal from the roots of the music allows this to slip effortlessly into the mainstream without having sold its soul to do so.
It's caught me unaware in the most pleasurable way possible.
A lovely release that deserves to be lauded across the board.

The Red Eyes - From the outside in (Falling Down Records)
The Red Eyes are a prime example of everything that is wrong with the music business.
They have supported every single punk rock star of yesteryear, laid claim to stages the length and breadth of the country and cemented their fantastic live reputation with a fist full of classic studio albums.
It's an inarguable fact that they tick every single box that a punk rock loving music fan could think off, and yet the door to a wider audience has remained firmly shut to them regardless of how hard they kicked at it.
It makes no sense at all.
If there were any justice in this world then their albums would reside lovingly between classic SLF and Clash releases in your record collection. The quality is up there with the big guys and I don't really have to push this point as their latest album provides all the evidence that anyone would need to support the claim.
“From the outside in” is a virtually the perfect blend of UK punk rock influences. Not one flavour overpowers the melting pot of tracks on offer. It's the soundtrack to the last thirty tears squeezed onto a little shiny disc.
You could sit for hours picking all your favourite tracks from multiple bands for a road trip and get to a few hundred and then think “fuck it, I'll just play the Red Eyes all the way there and back” and there wouldn't be a minute of the journey that you would regret the decision.
Our win and the music businesses loss then.

The Spitfires - Aim Low (Twenty Stone Blatt Records)
“Aim Low” is the dogs bollocks. Its debauched whiskey sodden bar room brawling who the fuck are you looking at punk rock and roll at its very best. You want blood? You got it and they're spitting it all over the stage.
Yeah that's a cliche ridden opening statement, but regardless of the eyebrow raising it may draw its still true.
Honestly. I shit you not. Cross my heart and hope to die, stick a finger in my eye “The Spitfires” have got that swagger that gets your blood pumping in abundance.
They have that attitude. That fierce self belief that refuses to bend to fashion trends or gimmickry. The outlaw stance of “take us as we are or fuck off” that all the best, and most exciting, bands seem to have a plentiful supply of.
The Dead Boys had it, Rocket from the Crypt had it and nestling in between these bands “The Spitfires” have it to.
So if taking a walk on the wild side - even if it's from the comfort of your armchair - is your thing then you really need to familiarize yourself with this band. It's guaranteed that you will love them.
Unfortunately there is a downside, and that's that this may well be their last album.
It would seem that the current state of play is being described as “it's complicated” and with no live dates or studio time in the offing it looks like this album could be the Spitfires swansong.
Fingers crossed that its not, but if it is then at the very least they can hold their heads high and without a shadow of doubt tell people that they went out on a high.

Lord Rochester - Hey! (Twenty Stone Blatt Records)
Bo Diddley did it better. What more can be said?
Okay. You want more?
Right here's the skinny. When push comes to shove it's obvious that they are good at what they do. It's just that if I want to listen to this style of music then I'm going to stretch over a big pile of copies of Hey! just to reach that one copy of Bo Diddley is a gunslinger.
In fact if I was in a warehouse of ten thousand CDs and nine thousand nine hundred and ninety nine of them were copies of Hey! I would probably still spend a silly amount of time looking for the one Bo Diddley album hidden amongst them all.

Rocket City Riot - Pop Killer (Twenty Stone Blatt Records)
Blah, blah, blah. Heard it all before. Throw in a Dead Boys and a Ramones cover, as they have, and I would normally be salivating like one of Pavlov's dogs as I'm conditioned to just dig that sort of stuff, but while all the pieces are in place here the whole things isn't working for some reason.
Familiarity seems to be definitely breeding a degree of contempt. It's not that I'm familiar with “Rocket City Riot”, but I don't need to be. They're one of a million bands who have been doing this for the last twenty odd years. Like I said. I've heard it all before.
A Song like “Do you want me” would be a great single and it even hints at the band being one who could float to the top of their niche genre, but then when you consider it alongside the other fifteen tracks it just slips under the radar.
I could damn this with faint praise, but the truth is that it's highly doubtful that it will ever see the inside of my stereo again. Not bad, just blah.

The Bresslaws – Find my way home (Twenty Stone Blatt Records)
Here we go. Here we go. Here we go. Mod psych doing the Medway twist and it's a glorious noise. The sound of the sixties is stamped all the way through it, but don't expect a throwback to past UK glories as this has all the bite that you would expect from guys who have lived through the punk years and then plundered a sound from further back.
A magnificent melting pot of influences held together with a swirling retro Hammond sound is how the mainstream press would probably describe it. I'll just say it's ace.
I can see myself playing this a lot. In fact it's just finished and I'm going to play it again. How good is that?

Monday 17 January 2011


Volume one of a series described as a lucky bag of rock and roll delights. I'd call it slightly bi-polar.
New tracks nestle next to old tracks and very little information is provided as to who is doing what and that's the lucky bag angle.
Personally I enjoyed it all and found at least one surprise on it.
Maybe you will to.
Once it was finished I put it straight back on again and I suppose that says quite a bit about it's appeal. All my buttons were firmly pressed.
After a second listen I even ordered a couple of albums to fill gaps in my collection based on what I had just heard.
Well worth lending an ear to.

Saturday 15 January 2011

Alarm Collection for sale.

So who has the cash for this?
Contact Graeme Aitken for details.!/profile.php?id=100000878134301

7” Singles


Don’t Let Go/Bank Holiday Weekend -VD001B
Don’t Let Go/Bank Holiday Weekend- PAD 78 –Re-issue


Unsafe Building/Up For Murder-white cross-UK
Unsafe Building/Up For Murder- alarm 2- UK
Unsafe Building/Up For Murder alarmc2 –UK (includes poster/cards)
Unsafe Building-IRS 7 PRO 67042 – USA promo- split single with The Water Walk
Unsafe Building/Up For Murder-marching on music-yellow bar room cover
Unsafe Building/Up For Murder-wildcat records-RED VINYL- DJ Sampler copy

Marching On –ILS 0032-UK

The Stand-PFP 1014-UK
The Stand-PFP 1024-UK –PROMO
The Stand- IR 9922 –USA –PROMO. (The Stand on both sides)
The Stand –IR9922-USA –(Different picture cover)
The Stand-ILSA 3697-Holland

Sixty Eight Guns-PFP1023-UK
Sixty Eight Guns- PFP1023 ADJ. (A-side is in Mono, B-Side is in Stereo)
Sixty Eight Guns- PFP1023-UK –PROMO
Sixty Eight Guns- CBS prosi 22 –GERMANY (Blitzinformation single, split with Stevie Ray Vaughan)
Sixty Eight Guns-PFP1023-UK (includes sticker and free cassette)
Sixty Eight Guns –ILSA 3881- ITALY
Sixty Eight Guns-IR 9924 CANADA
Sixty Eight Guns –IR 9924 USA
Sixty eight Guns –07sp811-JAPAN

Where Were You Hiding-IRS 101-UK
Where Were You Hiding-IR 9929 –USA –PROMO
Where Were You Hiding-IRS 101-UK-PROMO
Where Were You Hiding-ES943-CBS-AUSTRALIA-PROMO
Where Were You Hiding-ILSA 4114-HOLLAND

The Deceiver-IRS 103 –UK
The Deceiver –IRS 103 –UK –CLEAR VINYL
The Deceiver –IRS 103-UK -PROMO
The Deceiver-IRS 103A-UK –(4 track double pack)
The Deceiver- IRS 103A-UK-PROMO (4 track double pack)
The Deceiver- CBS-ILSA 4295 –GERMANY(Blitzinformation single with tour dates)
The Deceiver-ILSA 4295-HOLLAND
The Deceiver –ES 966 AUSTRALIA-PROMO

The Chant Has Just Begun- IRS 114-UK
The Chant Has Just Begun- IRS 114 –UK-PROMO
The Chant Has Just Begun- ILSA -ITALY
The Chant Has Just Begun- ILSA 4776 -HOLLAND
The Chant Has Just Begun- ILSA 4776 –SPAIN

Absolute Reality-Alarm 1-UK
Absolute Reality-Alarm D1-UK-(double pack, Gatefold Sleeve)
Absolute Reality-ILSA 6084-HOLLAND
Absolute Reality-ES 1046-AUSTRALIA (WHITE LABEL)
Absolute Reality-IRS 52828-USA (Grey cover)
Absolute Reality-IRS 52828 –USA-PROMO
Absolute Reality-The Absolute Flexi (Clear vinyl)

Strength-IRM 104-UK
Strength-07SP933- JAPAN(Japanese and English lyrics)
Strength-IRM 104-UK-MCA Label
Strength-IRMB104 – UK (poster pack)
Strength-IRS52736 – USA -PROMO
Strength-IRS-52736-CANADA(slightly greener cover than USA release)
Strength-ILSA 6550-HOLLAND

Spirit Of ’76 – 07SP946-JAPAN
Spirit Of ’76 –IRM 109-UK
Spirit Of ’76-IRS52792-USA
Spirit Of ’76-IRS52792-USA-PROMO (spirit of 76 on both sides)
Spirit Of ’76-IRS 52792-CANADA
Spirit Of ’76-A6818-GERMANY (Includes sticker with German tour dates)
Spirit Of ’76-ILSA 6818 -HOLLAND
Spirit Of ’76-ES1127-AUSTRALIA –PROMO(Epic label cover)

Knife Edge-IRM 112-UK (Gatefold sleeve)
Knife Edge-ILSA 6991 –HOLLAND

Rain In The Summertime –-IRS 53219-CANADA-PROMO ( IRS cover)
Rain In The Summertime –IRS 53219-USA-PROMO(Rain on both sides, IRS cover)
Rain In The Summertime –ILSA 651207-7-HOLLAND
Rain In The Summertime –651207-7-AUSTRALIA
Rain In The Summertime –IRS 53219-USA
Rain In The Summertime –IRM144-UK
Rain In The Summertime –IRM 144-UK-(COLLECTORS PACK)
Rain In The Summertime –07SP1068-JAPAN

Rescue Me-IRM 150-UK (includes poster)
Rescue Me-IRM BV 150 –UK (blue vinyl)
Rescue Me-ILS6513557-HOLLAND
Rescue Me-6513557-AUSTRALIA-PROMO (promo stamp , different cover)
Rescue Me –6513557-AUSTRALIA

Presence Of Love –IRM 155 - UK
Presence Of Love – IRMP 155-UK (picture disc)
Presence Of Love – ILSA 6513527-HOLLAND
Presence Of Love – IRM 155 –UK -PROMO
Presence Of Love – IRS 53259 -USA
Presence Of Love - IRS 53259 –USA-PROMO ( same song on both sides)

Sold Me Down The River – EIRS 123-UK
Sold Me Down The River –EIRS 123 –UK (gatefold sleeve)

Change –EIRSF 128-UK

A New South Wales –EIRS 129-UK (gatefold sleeve)
A New South Wales –EIRS 129-UK
A New South Wales –EIRS 129-UK –(jukebox copy)
Hwylio Dros Y Mor –EIRSW 129 –UK (Welsh language version)

Love Don’t Come Easy- EIRS 134 –UK (die cut sleeve)
Love Don’t Come Easy –060 24 1047-6-GERMANY
Love Don’t Come Easy –1021157 –AUSTRALIA-PROMO ( different picture sleeve)
Love Don’t Come Easy –EMI 2036 277 ITALY( split single with Johnny Clegg and Suvuka)

Raw – Alarm cv3 –UK (red vinyl)
Raw – Alarm 3

What Kind Of Hell/Marching On/Lie Of The Land-white label-no markings-picture cover BOOTLEG SINGLE
Live In A London-WWYHWTSB/3rd Light-AL00111-BOOTLEG SINGLE
Bank Holiday Weekend/Don’t Let go/Marching On/Howling Wind-white label, picture cover-RED VINYL-BOOTLEG SINGLE

Live in World EMI AHP1-Charity single
Picture disc of “Marching On” Poppy. –Amnesty International release. (VERY STRANGE RECORD!)

The Poppyfields-SMAS 7056-UK
New Home, New Life –SMAS 7063-UK
Superchannel-white vinyl


Knife Edge-IRSMP 112 –UK- (poppy shaped picture disc)
Sold Me Down The River –EIRS1023-UK
A New South Wales-EIRSTEN 129-UK (white vinyl)
Love Don’t Come Easy –EIRS PD 134 –UK (picture Disc)


The Stand-PFSX 1024 –UK
The Stand-IRS 25573-HOLLAND (Illegal label on disc)
The Stand-IRS 25573-HOLLAND (IRS label on disc)

Sixty Eight Guns –PFSX1023-UK
Sixty Eight Guns –A12.3881-HOLLAND
Sixty Eight Guns –SP70971-USA –PROMO

Where Were You Hiding-IRSX1011-UK

The Deceiver –IRSX103 –UK
The Deceiver –SP70979-USA PROMO (white cover with big orange sticker on cover)

The Chant Has Just Begun- IRSY 114-UK
The Chant Has Just Begun –20 A0 2957/IR-JAPAN (includes lyrics on Japanese)
The Chant Has Just Begun –A12.4776-HOLLAND (4 track e.p)

Absolute Reality –ALARM12-UK
Absolute Reality- A12.6984-HOLLAND

Strength –IRT 104-UK
Strength- IRS 5468 –USA –PROMO (stunning black and white cover)
Strength-IRS4928-USA PROMO (2 versions of song, plain IRS cover)
Strength –IRS 4986- USA- PROMO ( edited version and extended version, grey and white cover with logo)

Spirit Of 76 –IRMT 109-UK
Spirit Of 76-IRM 109-UK (Flexi single in Envelope with wraparound poster)
Spirit Of 76-20 AP 3190-JAPAN (includes lyrics and inner sleeve)
Spirit Of 76-IRMTD109 –UK-(5 track e.p)
Spirit Of 76 –ILP 26845-HOLLAND
Spirit Of 76-IRS 5061-USA PROMO(single edit and A.O.R edit, stunning black and white cover)

Knife Edge- IRMT 112-UK

Rain in the Summertime –IRMT 148-UK
Rain in the Summertime – WIRMT 144 B DC –UK- (advance DJ promo copy)
Rain in the Summertime – IRS 7357 –USA –PROMO (thunder mix/lightning mix/instrumental. Promo stamp on cover)
Rain in the Summertime – IRS7281 – USA –PROMO (Rain on both sides)
Rain In The Summertime –IRM X-UK-(through the haze mix)

Rescue Me-IRMT 150-UK

Presence Of Love- -IRMT 155 -UK
Presence Of Love—WIRMT 155A –UK-PROMO(Advance DJ copy , white label, black cover)
Presence Of Love- IRMX 155- UK-(collectors limited edition pack)
Presence Of Love- IRS 7491 USA-PROMO( P.O.L on both sides)

Sold Me Down The River –EIRST 123 - UK
Sold Me Down The River –IRS 74002A –USA-PROMO (song on both sides, plain black cover with big Sticker)

A New South Wales – EIRST 129 –UK
Love Don’t Come Easy – EIRSTPB 134 –UK –(poster pack edition)
Unsafe Building 1990 –ALARM T2 –UK



Back Into The System –CRAI 40T UK
No Better Than This –CRAI 41T-UK
Shine on –MPO-UK( Plain black cover, white label promo, vocals and instrumental mix)



A flashing Blur Of Stripped Down Excitement –ASK LP 135 –UK


DECLARATION –IRSA 7044 –UK (Different label, re-issue?)
DECLARATION-IRS 255887-HOLLAND (This record has Greek sticker on front and Greek writing on label)
DECLARATION-ELPS 4430 –AUSTRALIA (Sticker on front cover)
DECLARATION-28 AP 2845 –JAPAN (Japanese lyrics +IRS artists fact sheet)

STRENGTH –MIRF P 1004 –UK (Picture Disc)
STRENGTH –28 AP 3114 –JAPAN (Japanese lyrics etc)
STRENGTH –ILP 26673 –HOLLAND (Sticker on front cover +IRS info sheet)
STRENGTH – IRS 5666 –USA PROMO (promo stamp on cover)

EYE OF THE HURRICANE –460131 1 –AUSTRALIA –PROMO (promo stamp on cover)
EYE OF THE HURRICANE –ILP 460131 1 –HOLLAND (sticker on front of cover +lyrics+ IRS fact sheet)
EYE OF THE HURRICANE –MIRG 1023 –UK- PROMO )promo stamp on cover)

ELECTRIC FOLKLORE – IRS 39108 –USA (sticker on front)

CHANGE – EIRSAX 1020 –UK (Die cut sleeve)
CHANGE – EIRSAX 1020 –UK (Die cut sleeve +FREE SINGLE)
NEWID –EIRSAW1020 –UK- (Welsh language version of Change)




BREATHE –CRAI 47LP –UK (Double album)


THE FUTURE OF ROCK ‘N’ ROLL –PROMO : Live in CHICAGO 1988. Black label, Pink cover
THE TRADE MARK OF QUALITY: Yellow cover with pig on front! 1986 Radio broadcast . Fact sheet included.
MARCHING LIVE- Red vinyl. White label
FIRST REBEL CARRAIGE –AL0222 –FRANCE –Indian on cover. Released by same label as “Live in London” 7” bootleg single
LORELEI live-GERMANY –Live concert from 25/08/84


LIVE FOR LIFE –MIRF 1013 UK – featuring The Alarm( howling wind). Also features Squeeze, Sting, The Bangles
JAMMING- AN NEW OPTIMISM –SITU 11 –featuring The Alarm (lie of the land) also features REM, ZERRA 1, Billy Bragg



DECLARATION – IRSC 7044 -UK (clear cassette)
CHANGE – EIRSAC 1020 –UK- (black cassette)
CHANGE – EIRSAC 1020- UK- (clear cassette)
RAW – Chrome 1 –promo –UK




LOVE DON’T COME EASY –IRSC 73057 –USA (different cover-superb!)








Monday 10 January 2011

The Devil makes work for idle hands

(Or what I do when masturbation loses its appeal)
Well not really as masturbation never loses its appeal.
This is more like just something I did to stop my brain hurtling towards atrophy.
I haven't a clue how to use the movie making bit on my pc, but this is what I came up with after a day. I don't mean it took me a day. I mean that I had a look at the program in the morning and then did this as a sort of trial run at getting to grips with it

Hollywood Groupies – Punched by Millions, Hit by none

There's a lot of balls on display here considering that two of the members are women.
You can construe that as a sexist comment if you want, but if their male counterparts in the glam rock scene aren't up to the task of getting down and dirty and delivering on the promise of some high octane, sleaze heavy, rock and roll then they better step aside, as the ladies of Hollywood Groupies don't sound like they are going to be taking any prisoners.
Comparisons with Motley Crue's “Too Fast For Love” will no doubt be aired due to singer “Foxy Deville's” vocals being very reminiscent of Vince Neil's of the time, but it's not something that I feel hinders the band, and the truth is that the guitar playing by “Kelly McKoy” is actually superior to what Mick Mars was doing way back then.
So I guess what we have here is an album that delivers all the promise of the Crue's debut, and more. Not a bad state of affairs really.
If this was the strip in the 80's I'm sure a major label would be sniffing about them, and it's no reflection on their talents that they are currently out of time and place with what they do. So fingers crossed that this style comes back into fashion and Hollywood Groupies manage to pick up the kudos they so richly deserve.
Meanwhile if you want a quick fix of powerful and passionate glam rock then this is it.

Saturday 8 January 2011

Been a while since I ranted.

Public transport is going to be the death of me.
I mean that quite literally.
One day I am going to step on a bus and somewhere in my brain a small voice will say “this is fuckin pointless” and turn the lights off forever by triggering a stress induced aneurysm.
I have no doubt that the driver will look at my prone body and snort in disgust before shouting aggressively at the next person in line that he doesn't have all day.
My gravestone will simply and eloquently say “it happened on the bus” and no one will question the specifics surrounding my demise.
At the most it may elicit a comment about how it is surprising that it doesn't happen more often.
Well the people who have experienced travelling by public bus will maybe say that.
Others, like drivers, may wonder what the score is as they have no appreciation of just how bad travelling on public transport is.
The truth is that they are best not knowing. Why subject yourself to it if you don't have to.
Travelling on public transport is genuinely a living nightmare.
You're at the mercy of every mad, bad and dangerous nutter known to mankind, every bible thumping freak who feels the need to spread the word of the lord, all the elderly incontinent cat ladies who reside in a twenty mile radius, and I suspect a good chunk of the people who find themselves on sex registers.
They are all regulars on every single route, and every single one of them wants to strike up a conversation with you.
Car drivers are probably under the misapprehension that we all live in a rather civilized society, but they're just shielded, and therefore ignorant, of those who splash about in the shallow end of the gene pool.
Often enough the antisocial aspects of travelling in this way can be amusing in hindsight, but it's rarely that funny when you are having to lift your feet to avoid the rivulets of pish that are slowly edging their way forward from the prone, barely conscious, drunk who seems to be practising lines from a play about a bigoted tourettes sufferer from his seat at the back of the bus.
Even when you don't have to quietly try and ignore that sort of thing it's still the worst possible way that you can get from A to B.
This morning was nearly the day that I gave up the will to live.
First I checked the times of the bus through the internet, but it doesn't correspond with the time on the printed timetable.
So I left a bit early and froze my bollocks off wading through the snow to the station, which is surprising because although I'm not that tall the snow wasn't that deep.
Must have been the sub zero temperatures I suppose.
When I arrived I found that the timetable at the terminus provided me with a third departure time to consider.
None of information on display matters though, because when the bus did arrive it seemed to have managed to have avoided every single time stated on any of the timetables available.
I think that in the morning the drivers all line up in their canteen and take a number from a hat and that's their bus route for the day.
Then they're given a couple of darts and the first number they hit on the board is the hour the leave, and the second the minute.
That might sound a bit mental, but hang about the Kilmarnock bus station for a few days and I'm sure that most people would start to come around to thinking that just about anything is possible.
It's the number four that I normally get, but this morning it was the treble four.
There's not a double four. Don't ask me why.
Maybe the double four on the dart board is like a bonus and if a driver hits that then they get the day off and they don't want to confuse the issue by introducing a double four (Forty four to most people) into the hat.
The plus side to getting the random treble four is that it gets me to my work a bit quicker than the number four.
It's not that I'm keen to get there, but anything that cuts down the amount of time that I'm held hostage by Stagecoach isn't something I'm going to complain about.
I could however complain about the amount of times that a bus has driven past me at the end of a long shift, or how one of the bus drivers once challenged me to a fight after mistakenly thinking I had verbally abused him.
I could also complain about the cost of the journey to work, but as they have a monopoly going on there's not much point.
In general I suppose I could have a bit of a moan about the bus drivers that Stagecoach employ.
The advert for the position must say “Hate the public and can barely conceal your loathing for them? If so we have the job for you. Apply within. Absolute cunts welcome. In fact we love employing cunts.”
Occasionally you will get a cheery and pleasant driver, but similar to how in the seventies there would be a token black face in every sitcom to avoid allegations of racism. Stagecoach employ token nice guys to body swerve allegations of favouring employing cunts and no one else.
I've mentioned this to friends and they have said in the drivers defence that it must be a difficult job dealing with all the arseholes day in and day out.
A fair comment, but when I'm first in the line for the first bus in the morning and I have the exact change is there any need to look at me, and speak to me, in a manner that would indicate that they consider me to be worthy of the disdain usual reserved for the kiddy fiddlers held in B wing.
I could understand it if they were at the end of a long and difficult shift, but first thing in the morning? C'mon.
The thing that few people will tell you is that if there is an alternative option to travelling on public transport you should jump at it.
Ignore the governments claims that it's environmentally friendly, because if you did decide to ride on the bus, then saving the planet would no longer feel like a priority.
If this is the best we can do then we are all going to hell anyway and the quicker we get there the better. Only don't get the bus as the detour to purgatory adds another 10 years to the journey.

Tuesday 4 January 2011

Something different

Thinking of going to this PinUp Nights event.
Sounds like it could be a different sort of evenings entertainment, and with some DJ sets, live bands and silliness it could be right up my street.
Get a bit of slap on and drown myself in rum cocktails. Maybe even get Kel to dress up as a buxom wench and plunder her chest.

Eddy and the T-Bolts - Kilmarnock - 3/1/11

When is a showcase gig not a showcase gig?
When it's located in my home town seems to be the answer.
There are three bands playing and I haven't a clue who they are supposed to be showcasing their talents to.
This is a pub gig with delusions of grandeur.
No more and no less.
We have head cases, staircases and court cases here, but to claim that we have ever had a showcase - or are ever likely to - is a reality that only exists in someone's fevered imagination.
The first band to take to the stage...ooops.
I mean the first band to take to the sticky carpet between the entrance to the bar and the ladies was supposed to be Eddy and the T-Bolts, but the running order seems to be a fluid concept and instead we got “Long Way Home”.
They played indie styled rock music competently, but suffered from pub sound syndrome.
Nothing really soared like it should have and the pub environment doesn't do them any favours.
It wasn't the fault of the sound guy as he is working with what he had at hand.
It's just that what he had at hand isn't much and the venue itself is never going to lend itself to sonic excellence.
Fortunately for the band about half the people in attendance were there to see them, and regardless of the sound quality they clapped and barked like sea lions at the close of every song.
It's the usual suspects of family, friends and girlfriends though.
So its hard to gauge a crowd reaction to a band when most of the people there have a connection.
I could say that they went down a storm, but I suppose that was always going to be on the cards.
Anyway unsurprisingly most of them left as soon as Long Way Home did leaving the venue creeping ever closer to it being bands playing to the cliched a one man and his dog scenario.
Due to the change in the running order Eddy and the T-Bolts had been waiting for more that five hours to do their thing by this stage of the night.
They'd been told to be there for five pm.
When they arrived a bit earlier than that they were told that the gig wasn't until later, and the sound guy wasn't due for another couple of hours yet.
I would hazard a guess that this must have been torturous experience.
If you went to a travel agents and were offered a week in a circle of Dantes Hell, a less than pleasant short break in the Twilight Zone, or five hours in a Kilmarnock pub you could pick the latter to save some cash as it's sort of like the first two rolled into one.
As usual they pull out the stops when they do get to play and rattle their way through a set of melodic fun filled punk tunes with aplomb.
The best part for me was the look on the face of a woman standing at the bar with her back to the band.
There was a hint of bewilderment there, but in the main to just looked as if someone had taken a shit in her mouth.
If I was in the band I would have taken that as a compliment.
She was never going to buy a CD anyway as she probably hasn't upgraded from the wax cylinder she has that plays duelling banjos.
Reaction wise it was a bit of a disaster for the band, but personally I think that they suffered from a “your not from round these here parts boy” attitude that I'm ashamed to say it pretty prevalent in my home town.
I hope that the next time they play that they are better received as they are far more deserving of a positive reaction than any of the other bands on show.
The next band were called Cajun and did covers. They did them very well, but that takes me right back to my first point. When have you ever heard of a covers band playing a showcase show?

Monday 3 January 2011

2010 Gig list

2/1/10 - Tragic City Thieves/Dave Hughes & The Renegade Folk Punk Band (Glasgow)
5/2/10 - The Members/DepartmentS/Eddie Tudor Pole (London)
27/2/10 - 30 Seconds to Mars/Street Drum Corp/Lost Alone (Glasgow)
6/3/10 - Tragic City Thieves/3x? (Glasgow)
10/3/10 - Jana Peri/Frances and her Trampoline/TheMorra/1x? (Glasgow)
17/3/10 - Stiff Little Fingers/Combat Rock (Glasgow)
24/3/10 - The Courteeners/Goldhawks (Glasgow)
30/3/10 - Tragic City Thieves/Chris Daly (Glasgow)
2/4/10 - The Twilight Sad/Unwinding Hours/Take a worm for a walk week (Glasgow)
6/4/10 - Sorry & the Sinatras/Fake Exterior/The Murderburgers (Glasgow)
17/4/10 - The Jim Jones Revue/Tragic City Thieves (Glasgow)
2/5/10 - Iggy & the Stooges/Suicide (London)
11/5/10 - New to Q Tour - Detroit Social Club/Tiffany Page/Goldhawks (Glasgow)
15/5/10 - Tragic City Thieves/The Strike Nineteens/The Stagger Rats (Glasgow)
22/5/10 - Darth Elvis/Tragic City Thieves/The Brothel Corpse Trio (Aberdeen)
25/5/10 - The Dirt/Aint No Woman Gonna Make A George Jones Outta Me/Tragic O'Hara/Bad Bad Men (Glasgow)
28/5/10 - The Damned/Edward Tudor-Pole/Texas Terri (Glasgow)
29/5/10 Tragic OHara (Kilmarnock)
5/6/10 - Tragic City Thieves/Filthy Little Secrets x 2 (Glasgow)
12/6/10 - Wheatus/MC Frontalot (Glasgow)
19/6/10 - Hyperjax/Eddy and the T-Bolts/Roscoe Vacant
23/6/10 - Ocean Colour Scene/Tragic O'Hara/The Secret x 1 (Kilmarnock)
26/6/10 - Chris Helme/Tragic OHara/ The Secret (Kilmarnock)
01/7/10 - Tragic City Thieves/Jackie Onassis/The Jackhammers (Glasgow)
12/7/10 - Legendary Shack Shakers/Dave Arcari/Casino City (Glasgow)
19/7/10 Spear of Destiny/The Red Eyes/The Rudiments (Glasgow)
23-24/7/10 - Wickerman Festival
26/7/10 - PIL (Glasgow)
31/7/10 - In Demand (Glasgow)
6/8/10 - The Bucky Rage/Filthy Little Secret/The Decoys (Glasgow)
7/8/10 - Louise McVey & Cracks in the Concrete/Honey/Betatone Distractions/Tragic City Thieves (Glasgow)
10/8/10 - The Dwarves/Dangerfields/Murderburgers/The Jackammers (Glasgow)
21/8/10 - Midway Still/The Day I Snapped/Shatterhand (Glasgow)
24/8/10 - The Eels (Glasgow)
25/8/10 - Bad Religion (Glasgow)
3/9/10 - Filthy Little Secret (Glasgow)
3/9/10 - The Dirt/The Cinnamon Girls/Sleepy Eye Jackson
12/9/10 - Mad Sin/Gin Goblins/The Jackhammers (Glasgow)
28/9/10 - Grinderman (Glasgow)
13/10/10 - Good Knives/Tragic City Thieves (Glasgow)
15/10/10 - Stiff Little Fingers (Kilmarnock)
21/10/10 - Mike Peters/Tragic O'Hara/Roscoe Vacant/Colin Hunter (Kilmarnock)
27/10/10 - Bedouin Soundclash/The Skints/The Ordinary Allstars (Glasgow)
29/10/10 - Tragic City Thieves/Bloodlust/Bareback Obama (Glasgow)
07/11/10 - Cheap Trick (Glasgow)
07/11/10 - Foxy Shazam (Glasgow)
09/11/10 - Motorhead/Mike Monroe Band/Skew Siskin (Glasgow)
20/11/10 - The Plimptons/The kazoo funk orchestra/The Murderburgers/The Parrafins (Glasgow)
25/11/10 - The Dead Class/ Tragic City Thieves/Billy Liar/Roscoe Vacant (Glasgow)
27/11/10 - Spear of Destiny (Glasgow)
04/12/10 - Paul Weller/The Rifles (Glasgow)
13/12/10 - Steve Conte and the Crazy Truth/The Melodramas/Tragic City Thieves/Eddy and the T-Bolts (Glasgow)
17/12/10 - Ramonas/The Theory/Port Cullas (Glasgow)
20/12/10 - Ginger & Friends (Wildhearts)/Baby Chaos (Glasgow)
31/12/10 - Big Country/The Law (Glasgow)

54 gigs and 1 festival.

The Law/Kings of Nuthin/The Plimptons

Playing catch up here with a few of the CDs, new and old, that I hadn't managed to get around to reviewing. So in no particular order here we go.

Kings of Nuthin – Old Habits Die Hard (CD)

Evolution is a funny old thing. That relentless move forward to maintain relevance to your environment.
You can see it happening in music. If a band doesn't move forward and explore new sounds then they are as dead as the dinosaur.
All those stars of yesteryear stuck in the tar pits of where are they now.
Victims of not being able to keep relevant to the record buying public.
The exceptions are the bands who are the equivalent of the shark. They needn't continue adapting to a changing world as they're already at the top of the evolutionary tree.
They've found a style that sounded fresh yesterday, still sounds fresh today, and will undoubtedly manage to kick you in the balls on first listen decades down the line.
The Kings of Nuthin are one of those bands.
They sound like every drunken bar room brawl that has ever kicked off from here to eternity.
Wherever people will drink, carouse and party then these guys will be the soundtrack to those times.
This is actually how rhythm and blues should be played.
In fact fuck that. This is how music should be played. With passion, attitude and a sense of wild abandon.
There is a vibrancy to what they do. Something that sounds alive. It feels like hot blood thumping from your heart to the brain.
For all I know they sit for hours at a time crafting an exact sound, going over it again and again until like Brian Wilson they descend into lunacy to achieve what they perceive as perfection, but if so then you can't tell as the impression given is that they simply slipped their coats off, rolled up their sleeves, loosened their ties and cranked it out.
If you can't hear just how alive this album is then someone may as well slip a tag on your toe and slide you back into the freezer as you are beyond salvation.
(People like you records)

The Plimptons – 00s Nostalgia with The Plimptons (CD)

You described The Plimptons as the square peg that you try to force into the round hole?
I did.
Are they a punk band?
Well yes and no.
Do they play ska tinged pop punk?
They have been known to, but they're not a ska tinged pop punk band.
What sort of crowd do they attract? Is it indie kids, punks, wee guys in anoraks? Maybe the demographic could hint to what sort of band they are. So what's the crowd like?
Drunken. Usually drunken, very, very, drunken.......and loud.
I heard a song once called “Lonely Old Man” that sounded like young guys doing a stars in your eyes impression of the Pogues. Was that The Plimptons?
Okay. Now I'm confused.
I think that's the idea.
Are they any good though?
Yes. They are very good. In fact and you should buy the CD.
(16 Ohm Studio)

The Law – A measure of wealth (CD)

When I listen to this I can hear the bands record collection being played. Their influences are more so tattooed on their foreheads for all to see and hear rather than worn on their sleeves.
Nine times out of ten that's a complete turn off, but The Law buck the trend and transcend being simple plagiarists by unashamedly wallowing in the music they collectively love.
It's all there. Bass lines from The Who, a song that sounds like The Libertines, another one that could have come from an Embrace album. A bit of Oasis and a sprinkle of the Seahorses plus more, more and even more. Oh, and there's the Jam.
It's mod flavoured brit pop for the modern age, and I say that without a hint of sarcasm.
The reason that it works is because the band have an ear for a song and everything that is plundered from the past and remoulded for the present is of the highest quality.
It would be churlish to highlight the references to their influences as a negative point when I'm sitting hear grooving to the album.
Let's call it a keeper.
(Local Boy Records)

Sunday 2 January 2011

Big Country - Glasgow ABC - 31/12/10

The road to Glasgow isn't a long one, but it can seem so.
I can't recall the last time we set off and had a smooth uninterrupted journey.
Road works and tailbacks seem to be the norm and more often than not we can find ourselves reaching a point where everything just grinds to a snails pace.
Usually it's just as the glittering lights of the big city are within our grasp.
As we slow down and join the end of the line of pollution spewing tin cans that imprison increasingly irate drivers Glasgow likes to sit there, all ablaze with it's myriad lights illuminating the skyline, and tease us.
Promising a night of glitter and glamour........but not just yet.
So it was a pleasant surprise to find ourselves hurtling through the night with pretty much a clear road ahead of us.
Our happiness at our good fortune was rather short lived though when we realized that the lack of traffic was due to a man attempting to leap from a bridge and take his own life.
We must have been one of the last few cars to have managed to miss the road blocks.
We passed directly under the bridge and witnessed the one single solitary policeman standing close to where he was perched, and presumably doing his utmost to to assure the guy that while 2010 might have offered little, that in the morning it's 2011, a new day, a new year, and with that a future that is unwritten.
It was a bit disconcerting as he could have quite easily decided to jump right at that precise moment.
I sincerely hope that he was talked down. I'd like to think he was.
Surely such a public display is more a cry for help than a real attempt to end it all?
Morbidly it has a strange symmetry to tonight though, as Kel and myself are heading to Glasgow to see Big Country play.
A band who have reformed, with Mike Peters at the helm, to play a limited amount of dates that are designed to to pay homage and celebrate the work of Stuart Adamson, their front man who sadly succeeded in taking his own life.
It's as if we are witnessing a reminder of how fragile and fleeting life is playing out all around us.
This realization can be only approached in two ways. One is to wallow in the the past and cement yourself in dreams of what life could have been, or instead grab life by the lapels, pull it to you, and dance around the room gripping it in a warm embrace.
For me I will hopefully always see the worth in the second option.
Onwards to the show though.
“The Law” are the band who have secured the opening slot for the night and for a change the promoters seem to have hit on a band worthy of taking the stage prior to the headliner.
There a retro swagger to them. The guitarist looks like a young fresh faced Keith Richards while the bassist is all Tommy era Daltry, with The Who comparisons going further as he plays some thundering bass lines that Entwhistle would have been proud of.
Vocally it's a bit of a mixed bag that swerves from touching on Kaiser Chiefs/Libertines territory at its lowest ebb to more impressively rebooting a sixties mod sound that edges into the lysergenic period of experimentation.
So laddish and cerebral in equal measure I suppose. Lets call it the new wave of the new wave of the new wave of mod and lets see if that catches on.
They are a cocktail of the sound of Liverpool in the sixties, Manchester in the nineties and present day Dundee.
Pretty potent stuff.
In fact I was enamoured enough to go and buy their debut album and DVD enhanced single from the merch stand. So make of that what you will.
Few people are however there for a fix of The Law.
It's Big Country that's the draw for the evening and the swelling crowd are simply killing time until their heroes appear and it is to a thunderous reception when they do take to the stage.
It strikes me that Mike Peters looks like a rabbit in the headlights.
I'm used to seeing the supremely confident frontman leading the Alarm, playing solo, or fronting Dead Men Walking.
It's obvious that nerves are at play and the realization of just how big the boots are he has stepped into is still something he is having to come to grips with.
It's not that he falls short in talent or charisma to carry it off, but more so that he is aware that the crowd have to be receptive to what the band and he are trying to do.
It's a tall order as after all this is a sort of homecoming show and Hogmanay, Glasgow and Big Country were made for each other.
It would be a daunting task for anyone. The pressure to deliver must be immense.
The uncertainty snaps at the heels of 1000 Stars, but begins to abate during Harvest Home and is vanquished during Driving to Damascus. Three songs in and a comfort zone is found.
The new found confidence is no doubt rooted in the reaction of the crowd.
Any minor mistakes or slight stumbles are going to be unconditionally forgiven.
Big Country and Mike Peters needn't have worried at all about what sort of reception they would get. People are there to see them play the songs they love and to an individual know that the memory of Stuart is not being sullied.
For many this is as good as it gets.
The Teacher rushes past in a blur and the floor is bouncing as the crowd jump in unison and punch their hands in the air.
The brakes are off now and Bruce and his son Jamie are sweating buckets giving it their all. Tony is pogoing on the spot and deftly plucking at his bass while Mark plays like a machine.
Mike Peters is in the eye of the hurricane.
A couple of songs later and with a run of Inwards, East of Eden and Steeltown it is apparent that the songs could lift the roof off.
It's also very obvious that nothing could derail this party.
Wonderland and Fields of Fire fly past in a blur and with a final push the band exit the stage leaving everyone breathless, stunned and praying that an encore is on the cards.
It is, and the atmosphere is electric as Lost Patrol and Chance are played, but that's not enough.
With the crowd baying for more they return yet again and finish the night with Restless Natives and the song everyone had been waiting for “In a Big Country.”
It's the icing on the cake for everyone there.
A resounding end to a memorable night. A night that will not be easily forgotten by anyone who attended.
For myself, gig wise it is the perfect show to finish the year on. The last few weeks have thrown up some perfect nights out musically and this managed easily to continue that trend.
That's 2010 over. 2011, bring it on.