Menu

Browsing Posts of Author

Jeff Monk LP Reviews July 2017

The Inmates: The Albums 1979-1982 (Captain Oi!/Cherry Red Records)

During a recording career that is spanned in this 3CD box (1979-1982) U.K. quintet The Inmates managed to enjoy the succulent taste of chart success for a short but sweet moment. The band didn’t actually boast a unique sound for the time yet they successfully carved out a special place in the hearts of many post pub-rock music fans on both sides of the Atlantic. Considering the overt Dr. Feelgood/Rockpile vibe going on with this band they still had a lot going for them and that is what should get your money flowing in the direction of this set as soon as possible.

The box contains the first three albums in reproduction album jackets along with a 20-page booklet. Both “First Offence” and “Shot In The Dark” were commercially available at the time of their release but third album “Heatwave In Alaska” was only released in France due to a record company change at the time. As CDs the trio have only ever been available in Japan so to have them all together in one neat unit is a boon to fans, myself included. Each disc has bonus material.

“First Offence” contains their only (U.S.) hit single in the cover of The Standell’s 1966 garage rock stormer “Dirty Water”. The album was produced by the legendary Vic Maile (Motorhead, The Pirates, Dr. Feelgood, The Who) and there is no doubt that he felt the band under his guidance could become the new, younger Dr. Feelgood sans the personality and songwriting challenges that band presented. With guitarist/songwriter Peter “Gunn” Staines heavy on the pen “Mr. Unreliable” is a real standout here as it reaches back just enough to sound like old school garage rock yet has enough modern attitude to get high marks. The overt slow blues of “If Time Could Turn Backwards” finds the band in a distinctive mode yet one in which they sound completely comfortable and right. The album also features The Rumour horn section on a few tracks including the Feelgoods’ homage “Love Got Me”.

“Shot In The Dark” (1980) continues the themes of balancing Staines originals with fittingly cool cover songs. Obviously “Talk Talk” (origin. 1966 The Music Machine) was geared to replicate the success of the previous album hit “Dirty Water”. While the song is wonderfully done here it couldn’t duplicate the path cleared by the previous work and when the band was touring behind the album in the U.S. the murder of John Lennon found “SITD” pulled from playlists due to its unintentionally insensitive title. With their momentum stalled The Inmates returned to the U.K. to find that their label Radar Records had been folded into the monolithic WEA brand. There are a lot of great songs on this album including this writer’s personal favorites “Tell Me What’s Wrong”, “Why When Love Is Gone” and the memorably charming “Crime Don’t Pay”.

1982’s “Heatwave In Alaska” was only released in France likely due to the aforementioned label change leaving the band absorbed into a sea of talent that kept them at a tier below new label mates and heavy-hitters Rockpile, Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe. It’s a solid album nevertheless. The songwriting expanded to include drummer Jim Russell (“Three Little Sisters”) and bass man Ben Donnelly for the album opener “She’s Gone Rockin’”. Gunn/Staines again offers the albums’ best tracks: “Broken Hearted” a soul blues blend that singer Bill Hurley nails perfectly and the similar tough/tender “Unhappy Boy”. There are signs of the band extending their reach just a little here and new producer Stuart Colman (Shakin’ Stevens, Jeff Beck) did a good job attempting to modernize The Inmates.

In the end, as always, it comes down to being in the right place at the right time and The Inmates, sadly, missed those occasions by a hair’s breadth. For fans this box is a pleasant reminder of what could have been and a testament to the solid songwriting and sound of this band.

(Disc 1 – First Offence: 44 minutes/15 tracks, Disc Two – Shot In The Dark: 50 minutes/17 tracks, Disc Three – Heatwave In Alaska: 44 minutes/14 tracks)

GRAB A COPY HERE

Jeff Monk


V/A: Night Comes Down – 60s British Mod, R&B, Freakbeat & Swinging London Nuggets (Cherry Red Recordings/RPM)

This expansive three CD collectors’ set aims to connect the dots between artists that may already be in your collection and the bands that they may have been members in the so-called “time before”. With pop music becoming hugely popular during the 1960s’ there were enormous quantities of young (and older) people working hard trying to get their songs recorded, pinning hope against hope that they could perhaps become stars in their own right. For a lot of the bands on this compilation the gold ring of wider success would be forever beyond their grasp yet when you cherry pick the best songs, as the seemingly untiring and wise John Reed has done on “NCD”, it feels as though the times were perhaps just a little unfair. The box set is so utterly extensive and wonderful that it’s rather difficult to drill any deeper than Reed and crew have done. The liner notes are detailed and include dates, places, times and players practically perfectly. Some of the names contained herein will be recognizable to even the most casual fans: Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated, The Moody Blues, Chad & Jeremy, The Deviants, Spencer Davis Group, Twiggy(!) and The Crazy World of Arthur Brown all made some waves beyond the U.K. scene. On balance though “NCD” digs deep into the vaults of long forgotten independent labels like Ember and President Records while the greats and near-greats like Decca, Track, Polydor, Parlophone and Columbia are here in full force as well.

While it is difficult to pick favorites when faced with a set that contains 87 tracks repeated listenings would have you loving some of these songs instantly while others will move quickly into the grower category. Obviously, those songs that feature players that moved on to bigger and better opportunities after these releases get the highest relevance rating for deep collectors. Look for names like future-state Deep Purple dude Ritchie Blackmore (Heinz and The Wild Boys), Motorhead man Lemmy Kilmister (The Rocking Vicars), early Manfred Mann-er Mike D’Abo (A Band Of Angels), Yes guitar god Steve Howe (The In Crowd) and Mott The Hoople and Bad Co. axeman Mick Ralphs (Doc Thomas Group). Having said that anyone that has any more than a cursory interest in collecting obscure freakbeat, R’n’B and instrumental music will be happy to find the specific nuggets they need here to further their awareness and perhaps even springboard off into more exclusive vistas of musical discovery. You too could become the next collector of rare The Gnomes of Zurich, Oliver Bone, Rusty Harness, The Brothers Grimm or The Clockwork Oranges singles and elpees!

(CD One: 30 tracks – 79 minutes, CD Two: 30 tracks – 79 minutes, CD Three: 27 tracks – 79 minutes).

Each CD comes in full colour cardboard sleeve with track listings plus 36 page full colour booklet featuring detailed notes on each track.

BUY A COPY HERE

Jeff Monk

Jeff Monk

Long serving music writer and hermit from the frozen center of Canada JM spends his days creating a pleasant environment for world class ballet dancers while a looping soundtrack of loud rock and roll music boils continuously in his head. This is something that can't be fixed. At your service. Now buy him a cigar and exit.

More Posts - Website

July 12, 2017 By : Category : Blues Eyeplugs Front page Modernist Post-punk Reviews Tags:, , , ,
0 Comment

Jeff Monk Reviews – May 2017


Patto: Roll ‘em Smoke ‘em Put Another Line Out (Esoteric Recordings)

For their 1972 third album progressive rockers Patto pulled out all the so-called stops to try and get heard beyond their base, which in all honesty was thin on the ground. “Roll ‘em…” is a problematic album to say the least and a set that may not necessarily pull you onto the Patto bandwagon immediately. The album opens with a patently weird intro that tries very hard to be Zappa-esque but really only makes you wonder why they bothered when the song that follows is the splendid “Flat Footed Woman”. Here the band revels in their distinct sound pitched somewhere between Little Feat, The Band and early Elton John and his band. Of course vocalist Mike Patto and guitarist Ollie Halsall were always the centres of the action in this quartet with equal measure given to the raging, roll-filled kit work of drummer John Halsey. “Singing The Blues On Reds” is an ode of sorts to soul/funksters like James Brown with full debt paid to a stretched tight beat and interesting rhythm breaks showing Patto’s dynamic musical range perfectly. “Mummy” is an exasperating bit of spoken word nonsense that, if the band had any kind of direction back in the day, would have been left off the album completely. “Loud Green Song” stands as the best track here and if the band had leaned more in this almost punk rock/Social Deviants like direction one wonders how events may have turned out for them. On balance Patto on “Roll ‘Em…” is a talented band at lost tether as to a direction as they can’t settle on whether they are more about looning, lyrics or licks and in the end, this nullifies the record’s impact as a whole. Includes three 1973 vintage Peel Session bonus tracks not on the original album with 16-page full colour liner booklet.

BUY A COPY HERE


Patto: Monkey’s Bum (Esoteric Recordings)

While Patto’s direly titled 1973 album “Monkey’s Bum” was never officially released at the time it perhaps should have been. The awkward humour of the band has been dialed back here and what remains is an excellent set of tracks that deliver Mike Patto’s voice in a tonal range that he sounds comfortable in. The songs are less complicated and actually provide an improved sense of the bands’ strengths and don’t lose impact due to overly complicated musical arrangements. Opener “My Days Are Numbered” is a jazzy driver that leads into the solid trio of Randy Newman’s “Last Night I Had A Dream”, the radio-ready “Sugar Cube 1967” and the energetic “I Need You”. “Good Friend”, with its Elton John-like atmosphere is another track that would have suited radio well at the time and the Halsall penned and sung “Sausages” is further proof that this guy could have been at least a firm pub rock contender if the era had only been a little different for him. Three sonically dismal live 1973 Peel Session bonus tracks round out this hidden gem of an album. It made perfect sense that Patto broke up at the time of “Monkey’s…” non-release. Each of these sets shows a diverse crew ready and able to succeed yet without a method to distil what they did best into a tangible vision on vinyl.

(Roll ‘Em…:11 tracks – 60 minutes, Monkey’s Bum: 13 tracks, 52 minutes. Both remastered and expanded)

BUY A COPY HERE


Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow: Stranger In Us All – Expanded Edition (Cherry Red Recordings/HNE Recordings)

For this particular 1995 slice of the enormously convoluted Rainbow pie leader, Ritchie Blackmore again formed a new band and singer around himself to see what would come of it. Indeed “Stranger…” is pretty solid album when you actually disentangle it from the times that it was created and take a discerning look at its’ remaining pluses and minuses as a melodic, hard rock set. The band (Paul Morris/keyboards, Greg Smith/bass, John O’Reilly/drums and over-emotive singer Doogie White along with Blackmore squeeze Candice Night on BVs) are to be commended for working hard on these tracks and although for the entire album it does sound like the old Man In Black – U.K. Version is rather phoning in his contributions a great deal does work. Opening track “Wolf To The Moon” features plenty of fiery licks and a few informal whammy bar dive bombs by Blackmore while White sets the tone as Ronnie James Dio Mk. IV. With so-called “grunge” music floating everyone’s commercial musical boats as it were at this time there is a sense that “Cold Hearted Woman”, the Zeppelin-esque “Hunting Humans (Insatiable)” and the opening of the Kashmir-like “Ariel” could have been contenders for radio play if the band had not been under Blackmore’s complete and some would say worn-out musical vision. “Too Late For Tears” sounds like any fluffy American metal from the mid-nineties but as a polar opposite “Black Masquerade” has all the pure Rainbow elements fans would expect. Replete with economical keyboard strings effects and Blackmore’s gothic solo at the outro adding gravitas to this burner this track should be a stand-out for fans. Electric Light Orchestra and The Yardbirds recorded versions of Grieg’s “Hall Of The Mountain King” and “Still I’m Sad” better respectively but since Blackmore was inches away from going full Renaissance Fayre with his music (see: Blackmore’s Night) these songs foreshadow what was to come. The three bonus tracks are rarities for and include an originally Japan only take of “Emotional Crime”. Nicely packaged with interesting liner notes including a personal account essay by Doogie White.

(13 tracks CD – 66 minutes)

BUY A COPY HERE


 

Jeff Monk

Long serving music writer and hermit from the frozen center of Canada JM spends his days creating a pleasant environment for world class ballet dancers while a looping soundtrack of loud rock and roll music boils continuously in his head. This is something that can't be fixed. At your service. Now buy him a cigar and exit.

More Posts - Website

May 22, 2017 By : Category : Eyeplugs Music Reviews Rock Tags:, , , ,
0 Comment

Low Cut Connie: Dirty Pictures (Part 1)

Low Cut Connie: Dirty Pictures (Part 1) (Contender Records)

Philadelphia quintet Low Cut Connie is pretty much the brainchild of singer/songwriter/piano pounder Adam Weiner and if its’ latest album is any indication of their future musical trajectory then this is a band to watch. “DPP1” is bursting with irreverent rock‘n’roll and cannily introspective tunes that most bands just can’t seem to wrap themselves around effectively for a full album anymore. Opening track “Revolution Rock‘n’Roll” sets the scene with flair using Weiner’s languid boogie-woogie piano figure and solid vocals as an underlay for a story of night club rebellion where he chides “Come on children rip it up, let the jerk offs clean it up, touch my body touch my soul, revolution rock and roll”. When these guys are firing on all cylinders they sound like a less drunken Replacements if led by Jerry Lee Lewis in his prime. Covering Prince’s “Controversy” is one thing but they get even funkier on the buzzing soul/rock of “Love Life” and the tough “Death and Destruction”. Weiner speaks to his romantic inadequacies and admits them in “Angela” where he proclaims “You’re just to hot to date me… you should move to L.A…. you should be with a gorgeous guy, I know I’m a real far cry”.

As the album progresses it reveals deeper layers of this bands’ ability to sound like they only want to party yet are keen to deliver another side to the bar tab. “Montreal” is a lovely and heart warming story of the gentle passing of social diseases amongst friends while the sweet “Forever” and album closer “What Size Shoe” are romantic enablers that will bring a tear to even the hardest, beer addled heart. While ostensibly sounding like they don’t want to prove anything-here Low Cut Connie actually do. Their talent lies is being able to raise the roof while giving you songs that actually grab your attention for more than the length of their running time. That in itself is a colossal achievement. Bring on Part 2!

(10 tracks – 33 minutes)

Jeff Monk
-30-

BUY YOUR COPY HERE!

Jeff Monk

Long serving music writer and hermit from the frozen center of Canada JM spends his days creating a pleasant environment for world class ballet dancers while a looping soundtrack of loud rock and roll music boils continuously in his head. This is something that can't be fixed. At your service. Now buy him a cigar and exit.

More Posts - Website

May 8, 2017 By : Category : Blues Cult Dark Eyeplugs Garage Reviews Tags:,
0 Comment

Jeff Monk LP Reviews March 2017

The Move

Magnetic Waves of Sound: The Best Of (Esoteric/Cherry Red Recordings)

This lavish new set documents Birmingham’s favourite freakbeat quintet The Move in a way that previous compilations have only hinted at. This CD/DVD set includes an informative 20-page booklet with a complete history of the band including photos, a double-sided poster that features examples of period adverts, more rare photos and clippings as well as a DVD offering excellent German and U.K. television program performances from the time.

Originally formed as a quasi-super group as a result of members leaving other bands to form a new unit as The Move they went on to build upon their manifold talents and deliver some credible chart action, in the U.K. at least. The original group consisted of singer/multi-instrumentalist/songwriter Roy Wood, drummer Bev Bevan, vocalist Carl Wayne, and utility players Ace Kefford (bass) and Trevor Burton (guitar/bass) and later, as members left for various reasons, included Rick Price and future Electric Light Orchestra main man Jeff Lynne. The earliest tracks here (1966-1968) arguably represent the band at their very best.

The songs are delightfully delivered creations that include top-level vocal harmonies (all members sang), energetic instrumentation and arrangements and the kind of colorfulness that speaks to the somewhat off-center creative genius of Roy Wood. Indeed “Kilroy Was Here”, “Fire Brigade”, “Night Of Fear”, “Flowers In The Rain”, “Blackberry Way”, “(Here We Go Round) The Lemon Tree” and “I Can Hear The Grass Grow” rank as some of the best psychedelic, Beatles-informed pop music ever created anywhere. Of course the band had to change their sound to try and match the times and their rather stolid and uneven attempts at period heaviness only proved they were perhaps trying a bit too hard. Nonetheless, as an introduction to this band, the set works brilliantly and is a definite must for neophytes and a worthy addition to any longer serving fans’ collection. The waves of sound created by the Move were truly magnetic.
BUY HERE!

(21 tracks CD/21 tracks DVD-Region Free)

Mark “Porkchop” Holder

Let It Slide (Alive Naturalsound Records)

When it comes to fleshy rock and roll nicknames it doesn’t get much fatter than “Porkchop”. Mark Holder (to his mum) is a veteran singer/guitarist-songwriter that has sprung from the brawling punk blues mud of Tennessee’s excellent Black Diamond Heavies and his first solo album rates as a grimy and exciting contender next to former band mate James Leg’s highly rated 2016 release “Blood On The Keys”. Holder is the kind of player that careens around the edges of his busted blues sound to the point of distinction. His quavering electric slide guitar work and forceful acoustic blues reverence both hit the proverbial mark and while there are sonic familiarities to past masters he plays outside of mere imitation. “Disappearing” riffs on a “Gimme Shelter” like arrangement while his version on murder-blues classic “Stagger Lee” runs out like a Led Zeppelin 3 outtake. “38” is a classic warning song and between having a 38 year old woman outside the bar in his car and his own 38 problems it’s a wonder that Holder survives at all. “Stranger” offers a country twang that would suit Johnny Cash’s ghost and album closer “Baby Please Don’t Go” burns rubber even further. This kind of fiery swamp boogie is a perfect tonic for whatever ails you right now. Worth a listen, with gravy on top. BUY HERE!

(9 tracks)

Jeff Monk

Long serving music writer and hermit from the frozen center of Canada JM spends his days creating a pleasant environment for world class ballet dancers while a looping soundtrack of loud rock and roll music boils continuously in his head. This is something that can't be fixed. At your service. Now buy him a cigar and exit.

More Posts - Website

March 16, 2017 By : Category : Front page Music Tags:, , , , ,
0 Comment

Jeff Monk LP Reviews October 2016

Elvis Presley

Way Down In The Jungle Room (RCA/Legacy)

This two disc compilation is comprised of a mix of tracks – original album versions and outtakes-culled from The King Of Rock’n’Roll’s 1976 outing “From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee” and the studio side of the final album recorded while he was alive, 1977’s “Moody Blue”. The obvious question fans will have is “Do I need to buy this?” and from this critics’ perspective the answer would be definitely be positive, with some warnings attached. These songs were recorded at the Memphis lair known as “Graceland” where The King was holing up on such a regular basis during these years (he died in 1977) that he thought it wise to bring the late night shenanigans, rampant prescription drug use and obsequious hangers’ on under one comfortable roof in his actual home.

The main floor den was labeled “The Jungle Room” due to its awkward use of faux fur cushions and rugs, period-cool wood paneling and endangered animal knick-knacks littering the room. The band at this time was basically The Kings’ stage band and included capable players like Ronnie Tutt, James Burton, Jerry Scheff, Tony Brown, David Briggs, Chip Young and John Wilkinson. Presley was, at this stage of his career, using his big tenor and warbled vibrato to utmost effect. This was his comfort zone and the songs he chose to sing were the kind of numbers that benefitted from this brand of heroic delivery. Tracks like “He’ll Have To Go”, “Hurt” and “She Thinks I Still Care” will have you reaching for that special moments Bic lighter to raise high and wave toward the disc player. Eventually the bold crescendo of these songs grows tiring, and it seems like Presley is a bit too comfortable in this exaggerated wheelhouse. Tracks like the disco-challenged “Moody Blue”, the country soul gem “Way Down” and the smooth “Solitaire” reconciles the vibe in a way that made Presley and his band unique.

The outtakes disc offers different versions of the songs on the first disc with scattered inclusions of Elvis’ TCB crew overheard off microphone laughing at their leaders’ inane jokes and weird commentaries about shooting both dogs and telephones that ruin recording takes.

The 24 page booklet puts some historical context into the mix and details session dates, songwriters and track participants well enough to add some meat to the bone as it were. Shortly after these recordings Presley’s health took it’s final nosedive and he fell from the throne to the floor. Too bad, as the best tracks here reveal an artist that had some kind of grasp of what he could sing well and not be completely embarrassed by the results.

(16 tracks CD1/17 tracks CD2)

Jeff Monk

Long serving music writer and hermit from the frozen center of Canada JM spends his days creating a pleasant environment for world class ballet dancers while a looping soundtrack of loud rock and roll music boils continuously in his head. This is something that can't be fixed. At your service. Now buy him a cigar and exit.

More Posts - Website

October 20, 2016 By : Category : Cult Front page Heroes Music Reviews Tags:, ,
0 Comment

ASSS Series (Vol 2) – Jeff Monk Reviews

20 Years: Astonishing Sound Show Stories Volume 2

(Dig The Fuzz Records)

Let’s do the big reveal right at the top. Boutique groove makers Dig The Fuzz Records have done themselves proud with their second instalment of their ASSS series, and you should get online pronto and get yourself a copy or download. It would be nice to have enough space here to detail the minutiae of each song and band here, but since we are limited we will pick some of the higher highs contained on this superb 26 tracks CD (30 tracks in the digital download). From the post-punk, psychedelic mood-pop side comes Nottingham’s The Six Ten with thee swaying “The Night” while U.K. mates The Barons Boys mythologize the Syd Barrett sound wonderfully on their cool “Beautiful Day”. Toss in the nocturnal, buzzing tones of Green Fuzz’s “I’m Not Here On My Own” and you are set for a trip outside reality if you wish. We can’t forget the influence of Salford lad Mark E. Smith on top examples Clambake (“Eye Ball Song”) and the brilliant Deano’s Hose (“Fat White Belly”). A kind of F-sharp punk rock vibe threads into fine tracks by Fight Fuck or Dance’s screamadelic “Pakistan” and bluesier grinders Clambake and “Fuck My Luck”. Jangle pop (Bad Buildings “1 to 12”), chick-a-billy (Kathy Freeman’s superb “Let’s Rock Tonight”) and soundtrack-y essences (“Mo Tucker” by Dukebox Accelerator) and surf (The Terrorsaurs “Avalanche”)… it’s all here. Popping his Canadian guitar neck and ruddy vocals over the digital ocean expanse comes Winnipeg’s own Colin Bryce as Mohair Sweets and the rocker “The Green Light” which is in all honesty unlike anything else you have on this extensive sampler. In limited edition of course and track-for-track this set will lead you down new sonic paths that should keep even the hungriest searcher happy for months. Nice one! (26 tracks CD/30 on download)

BUY HERE!

Jeff Monk

Long serving music writer and hermit from the frozen center of Canada JM spends his days creating a pleasant environment for world class ballet dancers while a looping soundtrack of loud rock and roll music boils continuously in his head. This is something that can't be fixed. At your service. Now buy him a cigar and exit.

More Posts - Website

July 26, 2016 By : Category : Front page Music Reviews Tags:, ,
0 Comment

Jeff Monk LP Reviews March 2016

Roo Panes

roo_panes

Paperweights (CRC Records)

With his sophomore album, the wonderful “Paperweights”, Dorset born Andrew Panes proves himself and his work worthy of notice and places him firmly in the “One To Watch” category. While the “classical folk” category typically gets the short shrift with connoisseurs, that could be down to the overarching diary entry style most artists deliver. Panes may not be the happiest bloke on the pebbles, yet he communicates his longing with the kind of powerful imagery that speaks volumes. The elegiac “Water Over Fire” threatens to evaporate into thin air, only a distant, tinkling piano figure providing a tiny beacon in the mix. The psychedelic sway of “Summer Thunder” with its muted trumpet and diaphanous curtain of sound is mesmerizing. Panes’ voice is a honeyed treat, rising at just the right times into a subtle falsetto to distil the mood perfectly. There is a quietness here that doesn’t drag you into some kind of miasmatic undertow; more considered that than the banalities of some of his peers. Every intricate note bears fruit and with “Paperweights” the 27-year-old Roo Panes should be considered top of his class. (CD: 10 tracks, plus hidden live track) BUY HERE!

Jeff Monk

Long serving music writer and hermit from the frozen center of Canada JM spends his days creating a pleasant environment for world class ballet dancers while a looping soundtrack of loud rock and roll music boils continuously in his head. This is something that can't be fixed. At your service. Now buy him a cigar and exit.

More Posts - Website

March 9, 2016 By : Category : Folk Front page Music Reviews Tags:, , ,
0 Comment

Jeff Monk LP Reviews December 2015

Floating Points

fp_elaenia

Elaenia (Luaka Bop)

Manchester lad Sam Shepherd, with this marvelous set of compositions, has created an almost unclassifiable new sound in modern music. Exaggeration aside, “Elaenia” with its impressive sonic palette and mood intensifying flights, is the kind of music that tickles synapse and hip alike. Shepherd uses mostly vintage synthesizers like the Buchia series, Oberheim and ARP Odyssey, but before you can say “hipster on a tear” the music has infected you. Opening track “Nespole” sets the mood and releasing other distractions from your environment and by focusing on its entry-level heartbeat it will transport you quickly into Shepherd’s dominion. Comparisons to Brian Eno’s early forays into ambient music structures may be partly accurate but as you enter the ten-plus minute realm of “Silhouettes (I, II & III)” you begin to get additional jazz inflections introduced. Additional players (violins, viola, bass, drums and indistinct voices) effervesce up under just enough to nudge the momentum sideways. The freedom and joyfulness the players exhibit is tangible yet doesn’t resort to any kind of cliché. The elegiac title track is a flawless wonderment while “Argente” is closer to classic electronic music than anything else here. Undoubtedly “Elaenia” will winnow its way to Top Ten lists this year and for those that need a subtly mesmerizing aside to their hectic daily grind this is the rest stop of choice. (7 tracks) BUY HERE!

The Lords Of The New Church

Lordslos

Los Diablos (Easy Action)

This rather hefty collection (CD+DVD) brings to life the glam-punkers The Lords of The New Church in all their feather-haired, pseudo-dark glory ranting and roiling to a rapt audience of Spaniards circa 1983/84 for the short-lived alternative culture television programme La Edad De Oro. The colorful liner notes and booklet explain the connection this band made with Spanish audiences in general and their performances on the CD here, while sonically flat and only a short step up from standard bootleg quality, deliver a convincing argument for their popularity at the time. The LOTNC were always a betwixt/between operation. Too glamorous in their back-combed hair and man make-up for the punks that followed them from their Dead Boys (Stiv Bators)/Damned (Brian James)/Dave Tregunna (Sham 69) roots and too raw and punky for the upscale moving, Glam-rock contingent. The band was just slightly ahead of their time. The DVD captures them in full riot in July 1983 and January 1984. The camera angles are less distracting than was the norm and linger on fret boards and faces long enough at a stretch to make you feel like you are at least close to the action. Brian James in particular stands out here as a man possessed, moving from chords to quick solos without batting a black eyelash. Bators, as was his style, never stops crawling, bouncing, jumping or mewling for effect. As an historical document this is a necessary complement to any fan but if you haven’t slipped into the Lords Of The New Church dungeon this is the perfect skeleton key to entry. (CD: 11 tracks, DVD (region free): 23 tracks) BUY HERE!

 

Jeff Monk

Long serving music writer and hermit from the frozen center of Canada JM spends his days creating a pleasant environment for world class ballet dancers while a looping soundtrack of loud rock and roll music boils continuously in his head. This is something that can't be fixed. At your service. Now buy him a cigar and exit.

More Posts - Website

December 11, 2015 By : Category : Front page Music Reviews Tags:, , , ,
0 Comment

Jeff Monk LP Reviews October 2015

Colin Blunstone

colin_blunstone

Planes & I Never Even Thought

Two Classic Albums on One CD (Cherry Red)

The good thing about these kind of late-in-the-game, double-on-one sets is that they provide an excellent way to link various periods of a particular artists’ career in one easy listen, and in the case of current Zombies vocalist Colin Blunstone’s two late-seventies efforts “easy listening” is the functioning term. On the plus side there is Blunstone’s velvety tone. Few were blessed with such an exquisite set of pipes and on these songs that is what you need to pay attention to. As far as the music goes both albums sound exactly as they should considering when they were recorded. “Planes” was recorded for Elton John’s Rocket Records and anyone with ears can hear the similarity to John’s radio-friendly, mid-Atlantic pop tones from the era. “Ain’t It Funny” for example could almost be considered a Reg Dwight tribute track while “Good Guys Don’t Always Win” delivers a spot on Leon Russell-esque vibe. To put a finer point on things a couple of tracks were co-written with Blunstone by Barry Manilow compatriot Richard Kerr. We’re sure you get the picture. Other songwriters here include John/Taupin, Neil Sedaka and even a couple of Beach Boys. It may take you back. It may not be in a good way depending on your taste. “Never Even Thought” from ’78 ups the MOR ante using Steely Dan producer Bill Schnee to slick things up further and it is to Blunstone’s credit that he sings these utterly risk-free tracks with his usual gold-plated style. A must for Colin completists. (21 tracks) BUY HERE!

The Runaways

runaways

Japanese Singles Collection (Cherry Red)

Think what you may about the shock versus camp value of a 1970s’-vintage, all female rock band managed by a character like the darkly charismatic Kim Fowley, the basic truth is that The Runaways rocked. This concise and colorful single disc set delivers exactly the best of the best of The Runaways brand of deliciously dangerous hard rock songs from across their short career. The set couldn’t open with anything but their most recognizable “hit”, the boisterous “Cherry Bomb”. After that it’s a mixed bag of sleazy, beholden-to-no-one guitar rock that practically put paid to gender inequality in the music business back in the day. The ear worm qualities of tracks like “Queens of Noise”, “Blackmail” and “School Days” in undeniable and as the band progressed and became the sole dominion of guitarist/songwriter Joan Jett it becomes obvious that her solo career was practically guaranteed success based on her increasing ability to riff and roar with style. Lyrics to all the songs are included so one can practice their karaoke skills and beat the competition as you scream the opening note to “Blackmail” next Saturday night. (14 tracks) BUY HERE!

Jeff Monk

Long serving music writer and hermit from the frozen center of Canada JM spends his days creating a pleasant environment for world class ballet dancers while a looping soundtrack of loud rock and roll music boils continuously in his head. This is something that can't be fixed. At your service. Now buy him a cigar and exit.

More Posts - Website

November 5, 2015 By : Category : Features Front page Music Reviews Tags:, , ,
0 Comment

Jeff Monk LP Reviews July 2015

Stiv Bator

Do You Believe in Magyck? (Easy Action)

This two-disc live/studio set completes the career arc of one Steven John Bator (1949-1990). Collect-o-philes may have some version of the eight tracks offered on the studio set, but by combining that music with a wildly entertaining Limelight, New York City set from 1988 “DYBIM” puts paid to any other versions extant. There is no doubt had Bator lived he would have been involved in some kind of regressive Lords of the New Dead Boys Church reformation so it’s best we use this set as the premier lasting memory of the rail-thin, bad boy singer. The studio set busts out of any preconceived notion that Bator was a one-trick glam-punker. With some quite excellent white-hot rock action guitar riffage courtesy of Kris Dollimore (The Godfathers) and Neal Whitmore (Montecristos, Sigue Sigue Sputnick, Adam Ant, Marc Almond) this May 1990 set is a mover from front to back. Bator, in his usual fashion, can’t help but bring the vocal drama to the one moodier track (“Don’t Go Away”) he’s on full throttle sky-high yelp when it counts. The live set, features a completely different band and knocks around some well-chosen covers (“Have Love, Will Travel”, “It’s Cold Outside”) mixed in with a careerist overview that was likely Bator’s only cash cow at the time. The audience sounds miniscule but the music production on both discs is pretty much faultless considering this music was fated for some sonic graveyard. For fans, a must buy. BUY HERE!

(Disc One: 8 tracks Disc Two: 13 tracks)

Jeff Monk

Long serving music writer and hermit from the frozen center of Canada JM spends his days creating a pleasant environment for world class ballet dancers while a looping soundtrack of loud rock and roll music boils continuously in his head. This is something that can't be fixed. At your service. Now buy him a cigar and exit.

More Posts - Website

July 26, 2015 By : Category : Front page Music Reviews Tags:, , ,
0 Comment