Showing posts from July, 2011

Amy Winehouse R.I.P.

Regardless of your music preferences, it would be remiss of any music blogger to let Amy's death pass without comment. Probably the best female singer/songwriter for a generation will be much missed. You would have to have cloth ears not to appreciate her bluesy soulful and distinctive voice. As is often the case with real talent from the heart it seems her muse was driven by personal tragedy.

She'll be sharing lead vocals with Jim Morrison & Janis Joplin now, and may she rest in peace.

Grinderman - Grinderman 2

Born standing up and talkin' back, daddy was a green-eyed mountain jack, and in 2007 he was the absent father at the birth of the primordial hairy beast that is Grinderman, a Bad Seeds with even more attitude and even less manners.

Songs about longing, songs about lust, songs about evil, songs about rape, songs about envy, they're all here, slavered over by bottom of the pond slime filled swamp blues nasty psychedelic guitar abuse from Warren Ellis and Nick Cave, who both stomp all over this mutha, and Kitchenette, a lewd tale of envy and lust, has probably the best piece of Nick Cave prose since Grinderman's debut album's No Pussy Blues...

"What's this husband of yours ever given to you
Oprah Winfrey on a plasma screen
And a brood of jug-eared buck-toothed imbeciles
The ugliest fuckin' kids I've ever seen"

Can't imagine Coldplay coming up with that can you!? And, Palaces Of Montezuma is actually an almost nice song...well it seems like it …

French TV - I Forgive You All My Unhappiness/Live at ProgDay 2009

"There is a grim dimension, beyond that which is known to most men. It is a dimension as small as dust and as timeless as a sequined bell-bottom. It is the middle ground between artifice and talent, between Doctor Who and Tolkien. I'm Mac Beaulieu, and you've just entered the Progrock Zone"

So declaims the mission statement on this, the reissued tenth French TV offering, originally issued last year, now coming at you with a tasty bonus disc recorded live at ProgDay 2009, and who am I to argue with such a concise nailed on statement of fact?!

Inhabiting a strange dimension somewhere between Zappa at his jazziest and on the outskirts of Canterbury while flirting with RIO and possibly mental trauma, the band have been going since 1983(!), and push out some fine complex ensemble playing. Quirkiness permeates their music, as you can guess from the track titles, along with Hawking-defying impossible time signatures and strange musical scales that make one's feet subcon…

Nordagust - In The Mist Of Morning

Nordic folk music meets dark atmospheric symphonic prog on this the first official album from Norway's Nordagust ("Spirit of the North Wind"), released last year. Dominated by swathes of mellotron and liquid guitar, sonically placed in the environs of Scandinavian prog of the best kind, in places an early Genesis influence is in there somewhere, particularly in the guitar sound, but pastoral this is not. Some may find it bombastic, but maybe that is the point. If Mike Scott's Waterboys had been Norwegian they may well have sounded something like this, for there is a similar epic feel to Nordagust's songs, they both dwell in a pagan place.

Introductions over, come on a journey into the dark woods of the vast hinterland of Norway, venturing through strange eerie lands and visiting the dark corners of the soul. There is a myth being created here and this album will transport you to a place that is compelling and scary at the same time. This is not background music.

An Interview with Amplifier

Following my Amplifier reviews, I am privileged to be joined by bassist Neil Mahony and occasionally by guitarist and vocalist Sel Balamir for this chat.

Roger Thanks for giving us your time to this e-natter. First up, can I just say what a great gig the band played at XOYO in London last month. You all looked like you enjoyed yourselves, I know we did. It was great to see Bruce and the others from Pineapple Thief taking in the last part of your set stood next to us in the audience. How was the after gig party?!

Neil Hi Roger, cheers for that! Yeah we had a great time. On the way home after a tour you can’t beat a couple of nice homecoming gigs! We had had 3 weeks of partying before that show so we just took it nice and easy in London. Manchester was another story though....

Roger How did the band meet and how long ago? Have any of you been in bands before Amplifier?

Neil The guys had been in Manchester at college and I was working in a music store around the corner so they were regulars…

Toys In The Attic

In the world of pop and rock music it is probably safe to use the cliche that there is nothing new under the sun, everything has been done. Even in the mad world of RIO although there are bands who make some extremely interesting noises, they all wear their Faust/Magma/Henry Cow or whatever influences on their sleeves. Norwegian band Wobbler with their new album Rites At Dawn get round this irksome problem by throwing in the towel completely to create a parallel universe Yes album that could easily have been recorded between Fragile and Close To The Edge.

Reviewed with an admirable objective panache I rarely have the patience for by the much followed Raffaella Berry the album is a labour of love and also a slavish copy of the sound Yes created in the early seventies, right down to the self imposed restrictions of using ancient analogue equipment. The band make no qualms about their aims on their Myspace page, stating "a burning desire to create or perhaps recreate some of the mus…