I was listening to BBC Hereford and Worcester’s Friday Session Introducing with added interest since I am investigating moving back to that area in the next few months. The programme has been extended to three hours on a Friday night, a just reward for such an excellent and entertaining take on the local music scene. The extra hour is being devoted to established bands with links to the area so those of you who don’t understand my relentless obsession with new music can listen to something more familiar such as a Dodgy session and talking about U2 at Kidderminster Town Hall back in 1980 (I saw them twice that year in Coventry, the first time in a half-full back room of The General Wolfe pub).
Obviously my main focus was on the two hours of Introducing. The track that really caught my attention was Century Smile by a band called Derailed. What surprised me was that they are a straight Blues band. Hardly a new concept, and not something I would go out of my way to hear. What attracted me to Derailed was that they sound like their starting point is Crawling King Snake by The Doors (although the “Huuh” at the beginning of the track reminds me of Stooges Fun House period). The vocalist Kirk Hammond has a low, growly voice that is perfect for this type of music. Blues is not a musical style that is going to lead to fame and fortune but Derailed sound like they will be really good live and the lucky people around Hereford should be able to have a good night when Derailed play.
All of this new found enthusiasm for electric Blues led me back in time to reacquaint myself with Johnny Winter, the Texan Bluesman who began in the late Sixties. I first heard him when I was about 12 years old (I think it was my cousin Keith who played him to me). My trip down Nostalgia Lane has rewarded me with some of the best Blues Rock ever played. I’ve spent this week listening to the early albums and in particular to the amazing “Progressive Blues Experiment”. I just can’t get enough of that guitar playing. Here is a little sample to whet your appetite:
I thought I’d post my mobile phone ringtone because the bastard contraption rarely plays it (defaulting to the Nokia craptone). It gives me a chance to hear it and anyone who reads this blog is welcome to guess what it is
I remember chuckling at Mike Flowers’ cheesy-Pop cover of Venus In Furs – as much at the idea as the execution. That was a comedy moment, but what should I make of Paul Anka’s Swing version of Smells Like Teen Spirit? This is the man who wrote the words for My Way and I see no evidence that he has a particularly well-developed sense of humour or the absurd. He takes a song full of loathing and delivers it with a suntan and a cheesy grin. ‘Hello, hello, hello, how low” indeed.
It was only last year that I finally disposed of my 1970’s ARP Odessy monophonic synthesiser. Not that I had played it for years. But I have fond memories of improvising on a Sunday morning back in the 80s and making strange noises for hours and hours. As part of my recent purchase of some recording equipment I have begun to investigate software to help me record music. I now have a few free programs that make synthesiser noises even though I will be concentrating on guitars. One of these bits of software is rather wonderful at generating noises. So here is the result of 10 minutes of play as I wave goodbye to Rock and Roll and enter the Ambient Zone. Can you spot the fact that I am answering the phone for at least two minutes during this performance?
I don’t like everything I get sent but I tend to just review the CDs I like. It seems unfair to give a band a bad review when they are unsigned or on a small Indie label – but different if its Colplay. So should I publish reviews like the ones below?
It’s a great cover to the CD but there’s something about this album that just doesn’t work for me. The vocals are very 80’s but it’s more than that. Despite all the inventiveness and cleverness, the basic sound just gets up my nose. I suspect this could have been a reasonably good Psychedelic record but the mix is all wrong – way too up-front. It just sounds unpleasant most of the time.
(album) is an attempt at quirky Indie Pop. That is a hard target to hit and (band) haven’t pulled it off in my opinion. Sometimes the melodies are only just beyond the playground and the juvenile sounding vocals on a track like (track) have little charm. There are hints of good things but once I was reminded of David Essex (a reference the band won’t understand) all was lost.
I was listening to last Friday’s Friday Session and heard a band from Hereford doing a version of Joy Division’s New Dawn Fades. My bassist tells me that we used to do a better version of that song but it wasn’t the pretty good Ian Curtis impression I was interested in – it was the mixing in of another song. In the chorus the female singer mixes in “You abandoned me, love don’t live here anymore”. That was a hit for Rose Royce in 1978 so it is synchronous with New Dawn Fades and I think it fits in really well musically. At the very least it has shock value for someone like me who would assert that until now there was no point in listening to anyone’s version of this song other than the original.
New Dawn (clip) by Line Runners
For the next few days you will be able to hear The Line Runners from Hereford playing New Dawn on the BBC radio player. Click the link and the track is 26 minutes in (hit the jump 15 mins button and then the jump 5 minutes twice) .
My Cogwheel Dogs interest is turning to love and admiration. I have found that if you play the songs off the latest Cress EP at very loud volume in the car then the vibrations feel wonderful. The song Anti-Coagulant is just glorious when the windows begin to shake. Every band and scrape of the Cello drives itself into your body and the vocals are rich and varied taking the cue to leave any obvious pop mediocrity. And you can download the EP for free by going to www.cogwheeldogs.com and entering your email address. You get a link to download on entering your email address (and can unsubscribe immediately if you are shy).
After declaring The Resonance Association’s Failure OF The Grand Design as the best album of last year I am happy to point out that there is a free download of an EP of re-worked tracks from the album on Burning Shed. The rascals include a track that isn’t even on the album Montag Morgen and found myself bathing in every note of the feedback guitar. Any sane person’s reaction to this world should be wrapping their arms around themselves and rhythmically rocking in a chair – this is a soundtrack to it, but don’t tell your Psychiatrist.
I’m probably very late but I have spotted that at some time in the last year The Studiofix did upload a free EP How I Spent My Summer Vacation. It’s totally different from the debut album where they belted out a Rock/Soul/Indie classic – but it has a very special charm to make your toes turn up in their socks. You can also learn what a “cockblock” is. Download from here