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Jeff Monk LP Reviews Dec 2017

Ruby Rose Fox: Domestic (Independent)

Most music fans would agree that sometimes you don’t find any true artistic jewels unless you spend time digging through and then past what is generally on offer from the mainstream musical mine. Take for example New England artiste Ruby Rose Fox. On her latest album, the enthralling “Domestic”, she delivers a diverse assortment of songs that effectively define a new genre. From the very first track (“Freedom Fighter”) Ms. Fox unfailingly grabs your attention. Her voice is a like a controlled lava flow of emotional highs and lows that bears practically no comparison to anything you have heard. Caught between a feral moan and orgasmic croon she owns an expansive operatic breadth. To harness this power is not what Fox does but within the context of her music instead wreaks a honeyed havoc. Her songwriting is thoughtful and her fabulous, multi-layered musical accompanists reach precipitous heights perfectly transporting her voice where it needs to be. The lush panoramic sweep of “O’Roy” reveals a tendency towards a kind of Phil Spector-ish construct, starting quietly and then gradually building energy throughout. The secluded funk of “Pain Killer” (“What if I slit my wrists and you were my last call and you found out on your Facebook wall?”) may not please your average Adele fan but delivers at least as much dark gravitas as anything being palmed off on the masses commercially. There are tidbits for the seekers here including mention of Rosemary Kennedy (“Rock Bottom”), Coco Chanel (“Dirty Dog”), and Dutch Reagan (“Ronald Reagan Killed The Radio”). There is even an abuse/revenge fantasy track (“Every Time I Tell”) that really needs to be heard by a wider audience in these times. Fox is not the kind of artist you can hear without being affected by what she does and her matchless voice and inventive songcraft make for a singularly engaging listening experience.

(14 Tracks/52 minutes)

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Jeff Monk


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)

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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.

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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.

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December 12, 2017 By : Category : Blues Eyeplugs Front page Modernist Post-punk Reviews Tags:, , , , , ,
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Scott Morgan speaks to eyeplugs’ Colin Bryce (Mohair Sweets)

Colin Bryce A.K.A Mohair Sweets recently caught up with a couple of legends for eyeplug.net…

Scott Morgan and the Sights: Rough and Ready (Rouge Records) After a lengthy – seven years in fact – wait we finally have a new Scott Morgan album! His last record was the 2010 release on Alive Records simply titled Scott Morgan. The UK based Easy Action label has done some collections of Scott’s tenure with the Hydromatics, Sonics Rendezvous Band and his solo records of the 80s and 90s but in terms of new material this is the latest.

In the years that have passed since his previous solo record, Scott has dealt with a serious health scare and a lengthy recovery period. Thankfully he is now back in playing shape and ready to take his rightful place as an elder statesman of Detroit rock & soul. With backing by the Eddie Baranek led Sights -whose own lengthy resume includes some of the finest Motor City sounds of the last couple of decades – Morgan is able to get down and get with some of the great – now almost lost – classic soul sounds.

The band’s material (co-written by Morgan and Baranek) owes much to their shared influences and with the added bonus of horns, keys and backing singers they easily chug, groove and soothe through the tunes. From salty (“Mom Scott’s Smoking”, “Somebody’s Trying to Kill Me”) to sweet (“Jamaica Vanilla”) and deep (“Soothe Her”) this is the real deal Soul. Don’t be square, get it here and get it now!
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Interview with Scott Morgan

Eyeplug: This new record was a couple years in the making wasn’t it?

Scott: About two years. I lost my voice during my downtime but we hit it off right away after that and started putting a show together. Then Eddie and I decided to write all the album together. You can find it at rougerecordco.com We’re pressing 12-inch vinyl at Third Man, Detroit, as well as digital downloads.

Eyeplug: I mentioned to Eddie that I hear more of a Stax influence in the writing. Is that a fair comparison?

Scott: We started off old-school soul, but then it just became our own originals. The live show will also include some Rationals and soul covers like Nina Simone, Staple Singers etc.

Eyeplug: Its tough times in the music industry for gigs and touring. What are you hoping will come about with this new record?

Scott: A release party is at Ants Hall in Hamtramck December 1st. The record is in pre-order now and hit the streets October 27. After that, we would like to travel as much as possible.

Eyeplug: I’m a little surprised you didn’t play any guitar on the record. When you and Eddie were writing the tunes did you work out anything on guitar or did you just leave it all to Eddie? Surely you must have chimed in here and there?

Scott: I stopped playing guitar on the Solution sessions for the most part. Now I write lyrics and Eddie handles the music with me participating in the arrangements. I did chime in here and there. The Sights were a rock combo. We added horns and singers. I grew up on Motown with an equal dose of Stax and all of Soul.

Eyeplug: I’m sure all your fans are hoping you get the show on the road beyond a few select Mid-West or NYC dates but without tour support, a larger band is bound to be a challenge. I guess the one good thing about being based in Ann Arbor/Detroit is that with only a few hours here and there you should be able to hit Chicago etc. Do you think that will be manageable? Say yes. HA!

Scott: We’ll start in Michigan and hope to travel more of the U.S.

 


Interview with Eddie Baranek

Eyeplug: So this is the second time you’ll have recorded and worked with Scott Morgan on a project. This time though you participated in the writing of the tunes. Could you tell me a bit about how it came about and how you approached the tunes?

Eddie: Yes, the first time Scott and I collaborated on a record I was brought in midway through the recording. That was fun, but I just sang a little with Scott and played some guitar. This time around Scott and I wrote all ten tunes together, face to face in a room. It began a few years ago when Scott was recuperating from a serious health scare. I asked him to sing a song onstage with my old band The Sights. It went really well, and you could hear that his voice was in there and he was back. It quickly grew into a “Hey man, why don’t we try writing some stuff?” Scott would bring a batch of lyrics over – it’d usually be a handful of different ideas. Then I’d pick one or two of them and we’d start chipping away at it. I’d have a guitar in my hand and I’d work through chord changes and when he dug one he’d tell me. Or, if I was strumming and he didn’t say anything to me then I knew we were alright, ha-ha. We’d write in batches of 2-3 songs at a time, and then we’d go in and record them. Once those tunes were recorded, we’d get together and write more. It never took us long to finish a song once we both got cooking.

Eyeplug: I hear a strong Stax influence in the tunes. Am I wrong?

Eddie: You are correct! I don’t think it was a conscious thing, like let’s aim this thing toward Memphis or Georgia. It was more organic, and that’s probably why Scott and I are working together in the first place. When I was a teenager and I first heard The Rationals I could identify with it right away. Sure, it was 1999 and 35 years after they debuted, but it was coming from the same world I was coming from. Anyway, I am not big on a two-guitar attack, and I wanted to hear Scott’s voice come through in a different way. His voice works so well on slower, moodier tunes, like a mournful ballad, so some of the tunes we wrote were in that vein. It was a lot of fun, and we brought horns and female backing vocalists in and they are all over the record.

Eyeplug: What are you hoping to do with the new record in terms of touring and stuff?

Eddie: We are gearing up for a record release party December 1st at Ant Hall in Hamtramck. After that, we shall see!!!! Maybe New York City, Chicago, anything east of the Mississippi.

Eyeplug: I’m pressuring you guys to get some dates west of the Mississippi of course but I know nowadays with a line-up of six pieces or more that will be a major challenge. Any interest in making it up to Toronto at least? I know Scott’s last trip up there with Powertrane was a bit of a hassle.

Eddie: We’d all love to be touring, I’d think. But this record was made with nine people. Toronto would be fantastic, and I don’t think unrealistic. The Sights had played Toronto a ton of times, and I know Scott has as well. I’ve heard the border has relaxed a bit for musicians. We’ll see, I know Chicago is on our “go to” list.

Eyeplug: Both you and Scott have a solid history in the Motor City area so what kind of interest are you seeing from fans regarding the new record?

Eddie: I’ll try to be humble here but I think it’s a great record, one that serves Scott’s voice well. Not only that, but I love the stories in his lyrics and he has the street cred to back it all up. When he opens his mouth and sings, it’s believable. I think authenticity goes a long way. Fans are loving the combination – The Sights were on their last leg and so we shifted gears and just started backing up Scott. The band only exists today as his backing band. I’ve built up history and cred as well, and it’s just been really fun to collaborate with someone who’s been in the business for over 50 years! Fifty years. I mean, I have 20 years under my belt, and I’ve watched the sea changes happen. This project has really injected some energy back into both of us, and to think – we almost lost Scott a few years ago. People love a comeback story, and Scott is back with a great band and some great songs.

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Colin -Mohair Sweets- Bryce

One of Canada’s late 70’s “punk” rock crowd and from 1997 to 2007 the fellow behind Mohair Sweets print and webzine. Currently passes the time by playing the odd gig or two, shaking his head, wringing his hands and pondering whether or not the tape vaults of the legendary Pirates are really exhausted.

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November 23, 2017 By : Category : Eyeplugs Front page Garage Heroes Interviews RnB Rock Soul Tags:, , , , , , , ,
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Miles Tredinnick speaks to Mohair Sweets for Eyeplug

Interview with Miles Tredinnick (aka Riff Regan) of the band ‘LONDON’.

Eyeplug: The band was many years removed from your first reunion gig so how did things feel after the first run through? Had the fellows done their homework?

Miles: Well it was Steve Voice’s idea to get the band going again. We hadn’t been in touch for 25 years when he contacted me and asked if I was up for a reunion. I was working as a comedy writer in London and he was living in Hampshire teaching guitar and doing session work. The initial idea was to reform the original band but Dave Wight the guitarist lived too far away and Jon Moss was too busy playing with Culture Club so Steve found two excellent musicians that he had heard playing in various local punk bands – guitarist Hugh O’Donnell and drummer Colin Watterston. Hugh worked (and still does) for Robert Fripp, designing his CDs and promotional material and Colin’s a printer. Both handy trades to have in the ‘London’ camp!

The first rehearsal was in a disused skittle alley next to a pub outside Andover in December 2007. Steve had a practice first with just Hugh and Colin and basically, they nailed all the old London songs from the ‘Animal Games’ LP and the ‘Summer of Love’ EP and then I joined them. It sounded good straight away and reminded me of the first rehearsal the original band had in 1976. Very tight and punchy but melodic too. There were no new songs then as Steve and I hadn’t written any. In fact, when we played our very first gig at the 12 Bar Club in Soho’s Denmark Street a few weeks later I remember saying to the audience at the start ‘Hi we’re London and the good news is NO NEW SONGS!. We knew that everyone just wanted to hear all the old faves like ‘Everyone’ís a Winner’ and ‘Friday On My Mind’ anyway so it went down well and besides how often do you go and see your favourite band and they bore you to death by playing endless new songs youíve never heard of! It was at least a year before we started playing any new material and that eventually ended up on the REBOOT album. We were amazed at the reception we got with the new band. It was just like we had never been away. Hugh and Colin fitted in really well and Steve’s bass playing was always impressive. We were lucky that we got offered some great gigs as well as a slot at the 2008 Rebellion Festival at Blackpool. London was reborn!

Eyeplug: The late great Chris Townson did the Animal Games cover. What do you remember about him and the cover design?

Miles: I never met Chris Townson personally. What happened was this: When the 12 inch ‘Summer of Love/Friday on my Mind’ EP was released the band was horrified at the artwork. We didn’t like it one bit and all trooped round to Simon Napier-Bell’s apartment in Mayfair to try and stop the record being released. Jon told him that he thought the back of the sleeve looked like a cornflakes packet! There was a huge argument, but of course, it was too late and the record was already on sale. Word of our dislike for the sleeve got back to MCA and it was more than coincidental that our next single ‘Animal Games’ came out in a plain MCA standard record sleeve (although it got picture sleeves in other countries). By this time (December 1977) the band was breaking up anyway and Jon left to join the Damned. We weren’t even sure that MCA was going to put out the ‘Animal Games’ album but they did in February 1978. Simon Napier-Bell had a sleeve designed that showed dead animals in a slaughterhouse. He was trying to do a Beatles ‘butcher’ cover type thing but the MCA bosses were appalled and told him to go away and come back with something a little less controversial.

So he got Chris Townson to design the sleeve as he knew him from when he managed ‘John’s Children’ the band that Chris was in with Marc Bolan. The front cover has this big ape smashing all the band’s equipment up (and other members of the band) and the back showed the ape signing a contract with a couple of wide boy managers. Years later Danny Morgan who was Simon Napier-Bell’s assistant and the guy who had first seen us play told me that the ape was meant to be me and the two figures signing him up were Danny and Simon! No-one really knew this at the time but the cartoons do look like Simon and Danny from that period and of course, I continued to be managed by them both after LONDON broke up so I probably did sign a new contract. If so, I think they chose the wrong member of the band. Now if they had signed up Jon Moss! Whether this cover had been originally intended for the Gorillas album you mention I do not know.

Eyeplug: I imagine that with the London Punk Singles collection out it introduced a whole new legion of fans to London and many of them wouldn’t have been around during your brief lifetime as a band. Did you notice that and were you surprised by it at all?

Miles: Yes, the CD release did introduce to a lot of new fans particularly overseas. Even after all this time, there is still a big punk movement and people still want to eat/breath/sleep it. We were surprised when Captain Oi records released the CD though as the original LONDON only ever recorded 14 songs so itís great that you can buy them all on one CD including the alternative album version of ‘Everyone’s a Winner’. So thank you, Mark Brennan, at Captain Oi!

Eyeplug: The Reboot album seems to be a natural progression from where the band left off in the late 70s. Besides the odd gig do you see the band doing a new album or playing any gigs further afield than in the UK?

Miles: Well the reaction to REBOOT took us all by surprise as generally all the reviews were pretty good and that was a new one on us! We are very proud of it but it wasnít an easy album to make. We started recording it in a small studio but the recordings got accidentally erased so we had to start all over again from scratch. We then recorded the new backing tracks on a laptop. The vocals and overdubs were added at Robert Frippís DGM studio and then finally Martin Bullimore mixed it and he did a great job. Very loud! Hugh did all the artwork and finally Dizzy Holmes released it on his punk Bin Liner label, an offshoot of his Detour Records label.

We wanted it to be as varied as possible and included a ballad STANDING ALONE on it that had trumpet from a Mellotron that Hugh spotted stuck in the corner. We later learned that it was the same Mellotron that the Beatles had used on the ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ sessions.

There are some great songs on REBOOT in my opinion. I particularly like LIKE IT NEVER HAPPENED which Steve wrote – it’s like a laundry list of things he found cool and GET OUT OF LONDON where I name-check the band. It was something Ian Hunter used to do a lot with Mott the Hoople and I always liked that as I was a big MTH fan back in the day. 77 DREAMS is another favourite as the band goes psychedelic! WHEN THE NIGHT FALLS is a good choice as the opener as its popular when we play live. Yes we want to make a new album but wheels in the LONDON camp turn very slowly (34 years between the first and second albums!) Steve and I are writing some new songs so hopefully we’ll get them out there at some stage. As far as gigs go, we’ve played some dates in Europe but weíve never played Canada, the USA or Australia. There was to be a LONDON tour of Japan a few years ago but sadly it got canceled at the last minute. We still play the occasional gig in the UK though and we’ve been invited to play the Rebellion Festival in Blackpool for the fifth time this summer. Not only is it good to perform at it’s also a chance to see some great bands on the other stages.

Eyeplug: You mention having the chance to play with a bunch of great bands at the Rebellion festivals so who in your opinion has been able to maintain their credibility and greatness and are there any current bands that interest you?

Miles: Well I particularly like the older bands, the ones from my generation. Public Image Ltd, UK Subs, 999, Chelsea, Stiff Little Fingers, Buzzcocks. One of the best shows I saw was Slaughter and the Dogs, I had never seen them before and they were amazing. The Damned are always highly entertaining of course. Also Goldblade, Bad Religion, and Ruts DC.

Eyeplug: Something that seemingly never gets talked about and that I’ve always been curious about – and I don’t know if you remember at all – is how much a typical gig might have paid back in the late 70s. Any recollections?

Miles: Now that’s an interesting question but sadly I really can’t remember. Maybe £25 for a support slot at Dingwalls? But of course, that would have been worth a lot more then than now.

Eyeplug: Could you tell me a little bit about your solo album MILESTONES and how that came about?

Miles: The MILESTONES album happened simply because I had written some songs on my own (as well as with Steve Voice and a couple of other writers), that weren’t really LONDON style songs. They were more singer/songwriter than punk but I still wanted to record them so in 2015 I got together with Steve, Colin Watterston (LONDON drummer) and Steve Pearce on keyboards. We just wanted to record the album as simply as possible so we used a small studio, Railside in Salisbury, and knocked it out in five days flat. Steve Voice produced it. It’s as different to the LONDON sound as it’s possible to get and a lot of the songs are very personal to me about trust and betrayal in relationships etc. One of the songs HARD HEARTS DON’T CRY was a new stripped-down version of a song that I originally released on Epic records as a single in the 80s. There’s another one called WHO DIDN’T WANT TO BE IN A PUNK ROCK BAND? that looks back at the 1977 scene very much tongue-in-cheek. We even covered a rare Beatles B-side I’LL GET YOU which I’d always liked. I love the sound of the album and hope others do too. It’s very minimalist and bare and that’s exactly what we were after. It’s funny that with the exception of Steve Pearce on keys, it ended up being made by all the members of LONDON (except for Hugh who was unavailable as he lived in New York). But it wouldn’t have felt right to have released it as a LONDON album so we put it out as a Riff Regan one. And of course, the name MILESTONES is a pun as my real name is Miles. We’re now thinking of doing another album as we all enjoyed working on it. It was a fast job; it was like get it made, get it out there. So in a way it had the punk ethos.

Eyeplug: Let’s get back to the current state of the punk scene, you would have been in your early 20s back in the late 70s. Do you find that the current crop of punk enthusiasts in that age bracket relate in the same way now as they did then?

Miles: Well the punk fans of today have such a huge choice, don’t they? They have all the best of oldskool punk as well as all the new stuff. I’m not as up to date as I would like to be on today’s bands but for me, the scene (especially in the UK) in 1976/7 was best. It was incredibly accessible and easy to get into. Once the punk thing got properly into gear there were gigs every night in every major town (and in central London you’d often visit three venues a night to see your favourite acts), everyone was following the same scene in the weekly music papers like the NME, Sounds and the Melody Maker. The only person playing stuff on the radio initially was John Peel but that changed as the punk bands started getting in the charts. It was exciting and it was immediate. The most surprising thing was that it didn’t last as long as everyone thought it would. Disco took over the charts and most of the punk bands that did make it worldwide were re-branded as straight rock acts – like the Police, the Pretenders, Elvis Costello, the Clash, Blondie, Boomtown Rats etc.

Eyeplug: OK I’m guessing that at this point LONDON isn’t in it for the money. Because as far as I know, the gig recession has hit the UK just as hard as everywhere else in the world. And If indeed then that is the case then what is the motivation and how would one come up with the dough to do another record?

Miles: Well pledging is one way to finance a new record and some pretty big bands have done it including: The Damned, Hugh Cornwell, and Chelsea. It is something we might do in the future but fortunately one of the advantages of the modern digital age is that recording can be done quite cheaply and of a very high quality. Lots of bands make their albums on laptops these days. But the nice thing about pledging is that your fans can have some direct input into the band and have their name in the credits etc. Be a part of the band and all that! I guess everyone carries on putting out new albums because it’s still really exciting and one of the things that got you excited about being in a band in the first place (that and playing live). It takes a bit of effort to come up with some new songs (although there’s no shortage of material in this crazy world) and get it out there but well worth it in my opinion. I love it when bands like The Pretenders, Squeeze, the Stranglers, and Elvis Costello bring out a new album but having said that LONDON are notoriously slow at releasing stuff. There was a 34 year gap between our first and second albums!! But that was because real life intervened! Everyone knows how difficult it is to make any kind of financial return with a band. You are really reliant on merchandise sales whenever you play live. And the simple fact is that there are too many bands and too few venues (in the UK anyway). And if that’s not bad enough, loads of clubs have been closing down over the last few years so it’s even more difficult to get gigs. And that’s a shame because there are lots of good bands around – old and new – and they just can’t find places to play.

Eyeplug: Been a while since we talked Miles and since then LONDON has played the Rebellion Festival in Blackpool. How did it go for you guys? Did you end up making cab fare? And any bands you got to see that impressed you?

Miles: Yes, we enjoyed playing Rebellion in Blackpool this year. It was our fifth appearance and our second in the world-famous Opera House where Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles and Bob Dylan have all trod the boards. For Steve, it was his first time playing this theatre as last year he couldn’t make it due to family problems and we had used Rick De’Ath as a stand-in on bass. It was a great show and more people seemed to be in the audience than the previous year. It was also the first time that weíve ever played on the first night of the festival but if anything it was more exciting. Didn’t catch many other acts this time as sadly we had to leave early but did see Toyah as well as the Zips (both also playing the Opera House stage). Steve and I also did an hour-long ‘London special’ interview for Danny Mac’s ‘Testifying Time Radio Show’ which was fun.

Many thanks to Miles (Riff) for taking time out to do this interview.

Please visit the band’s pages for updates, CD’s and the like.
LONDON MAIN WEB SITE

RIFF REGAN SITE

FACEBOOK PAGE

YOUTUBE

BORED TEENAGERS

 


London: Reboot (Bin Liner/Detour Records) 

Considering it was thirty-plus years since London had called it a day this release is nothing short of remarkable. Fair dues only Riff (vocals) and Steve (bass) remain from the original band, but they’ve managed to keep the feel and the sound of the late seventies line-up and recordings. Well, maybe it is a tad more ‘hi -fi’ compared to the technology of the punk era but, the bite, spite and spit (only joking) are fully intact. New boys Hugh O’Donnell (guitar, replacing Dave Wight) and Colin Watterston (drums, replacing Jon Moss) are a perfect fit. O’Donnell possesses an absolute classic ’77 era guitar tone that is equal parts Thunders/Jones with the main vein buzz-saw of countless others like Marco Pirroni, Steve Diggle et al. Most impressive. Kicking off with the Creation-esque ‘When the Night Falls’ the band then tackles – topically at least – sexuality, failed (and questionable) relations, success, failure, nostalgia and celebrity with musical smatterings of acoustic, garage/freakbeat riffage and plenty of good old three (or possibly four) chord punk. Y’know like the kind they used to make back when London first appeared on the scene. Nice. (11 tracks. 30 minutes.) BUY HERE

 


Riff Regan: Milestones (Beach Cafe Records)

This is London vocalist Riff Regan’s solo record. Riff is accompanied by the members of London (less guitarist Hugh O’Donnell) but in this instance, it is largely acoustic-based relationship rock-balladry and it sure sounds like he has had his ups and downs with the ladies. The only non-relationship cut here is ‘Who Didn’t Want to be in a Punk Rock Band?’ that is simple, nostalgic and just a little bit silly ñ in a good-natured kind of way. (12 tracks. 38 minutes.) BUY HERE

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Boo Eyeplug acts as webmaster/designer for the Eyeplug site. Not the most social of creatures and with several personality issues, and rather exotic, eccentric tastes for obscure ‘cultish’ stuff which makes his ramblings seem even more sweetly abstract and often annoying.

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September 21, 2017 By : Category : Eyeplugs Features Front page Interviews Music Punk Tags:, , ,
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The Orders – Big Foot (Single)

Something is hunting me, rushing through the dark midnight woods I am stumbling, in a dream state, nothing seems to make sense anymore. I can hear the thundering sound of a Big Foot getting closer and closer. I can now see a Shack appearing to the front of me, near the cliff edge, the dense forest is now opening up and leading me to the glowing door. The stars are zipping around passing me in dazzling bright hues. The moon glares back at me knowingly. I grab the door handle, yanking it hard, I am suddenly in. I am blinded instantly by the light and the sounds of The Orders, a fine, young band from the Isle of Wight (UK) who are surrounded by candles, oil lamps, strobes and with strange daubs of occultist scribbles and ultra-violet type paint, they are making exquisite drifting chimes provided by guitar and lead warbler Kyle Chapman, punctured with happy stabs of snotty-garage punked-up psych with rumbling bass via Isaac Snow and a thundering groovy beats from Josh Edwards bashing the skins like a monster. Their latest single with mini midnight movie is ready for your aural pleasure. It is fresh yet classic, with rings of strong indie nu-pyschedelia, it has art and mystery in all the right places. These fine young chaps recently kept great company in the shape of the mighty Monochrome Set at a recent Newport show, and BBC6 have already been drooling over this current release. Things are afoot, in fact, things are gonna be Big (Foot). We predict great monster adventures ahead. This unit can fill that huge gap in the modern music mainstream with their dreamy-pop sense. Big Foot is indeed coming and availabe now to download via the links below. So get on the ‘Big Foot Trail’ and feel free to tell your crew about The Orders

DOWNLOAD VIA ITUNES

DOWNLOAD VIA SPOTIFY

 

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Boo Eyeplug acts as webmaster/designer for the Eyeplug site. Not the most social of creatures and with several personality issues, and rather exotic, eccentric tastes for obscure ‘cultish’ stuff which makes his ramblings seem even more sweetly abstract and often annoying.

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July 13, 2017 By : Category : Dark Eyeplugs Front page Garage Modern Modernist Picks Psychedelic Tags:, ,
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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.

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July 12, 2017 By : Category : Blues Eyeplugs Front page Modernist Post-punk Reviews Tags:, , , ,
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Author – Mark Baxter

We recently caught up with the charming, Jazz loving, hard grafting man-a-bout-town, Author Mark ‘Bax’ Baxter, to talk about what it takes to become an author and his latest book project with Ian Snowball! This is what he had to say…

01. How did you get started in the world of words?

Sadly it was two sad events in my personal life, both within a few months of each other in the year 2000, that gave me the biggest kick up the arse imaginable, making me realise we aren’t on this planet for too long and that tomorrow is promised to no one. So if I was ever going do the things I always planned, like write a book, score a goal at Wembley, or get into studio 2 at Abbey Road. I had better get cracking at the age of 37 and that I did at the start of 2001. I had an idea of the clothing within the game of football. Not just what the players wore off duty, but also what the fans wore, from Mod, Skin to Casuals and then weave in the story of the brands that mattered to us all!

02. Where did you see the first piece you had written in print?

That idea above became The Fashion of Football – From Best To Beckham, published in 2004. As I said, I had the idea but absolutely no idea to get it published. As a result of some business I was involved in, I met writer Paolo Hewitt, who was someone I admire for his writing in his NME days and after some persuading, PH agreed to write the book, with me researching and providing the ideas and eventually a bit of writing.

03. Was it a struggle getting your first book published?

Not with this first one, as Paolo had an agent who did us a deal for the book and that came out on Mainstream and would go on to sell something like 3,000 copies.

04. Can you remember how you felt the first time you picked up your book fresh from the printers?

Very hard to describe. I just kept looking at it. Me, a writer of an actual book? Crazy really. But of course, I was bitten by the bug!

05. How do you deal with potential rejection from Publishers?

I had a lot of practice with that my second idea! It was called The Mumper, and it looked at the life of 7 guys in a pub in South East London. One of the sad events I mentioned above was the death of my Dad aged 65, just three months after he retired. I was very close to my Dad and spent a lot of time with him as a kid watching him sing in pubs and clubs of the local area. Going onto those trips, aged 12/13, I started to meet loads of characters, so who would have fitted in very nicely in ‘Minder’ or ‘Fools And Horses’. Funny people, who were constantly up to something, but who made me laugh my head off. Anyway, I told Paolo I was going to write a novel about them all and he agreed to have a look at the writing and advise me as I went along. And this he did. I managed to somehow get to 75, 000 words and as I was writing it, I could see it as a film. The only problem was I couldn’t get a publishing deal, and it was rejected by over 60 publishers. So, I decided to self publish in 2007 and it took all my life savings to get it into book form. Barry Pease @ Pip! Pip!, who you may know, did a marvellous job on the cover art and off we went. It sold nearly 1,000 copies before the industry caught up with the book and started to take it seriously. It later got a proper book deal with Orion, who are one of the biggest publishers in the UK and the film rights were optioned and became the 2012 film ‘Outside Bet’ starring Bob Hoskins (RIP).

06. What type of writers excite you?

At the minute, I’m well into Damon Runyon and SJ Perelman. Over the years, most of Nik Cohn’s work I have liked, as well as Frank Norman and Colin MacInnes. I grew up reading lot of the music journalists such as: Danny Baker, Paul Morley, Nick Kent and Paolo, so they would be influential at the start of it all.

07. As an author how do you feel about reviews and the Industry mechanics?

Reviews are very important, but hard to attain, unless you have a heavyweight publisher behind you and they are to get in to. My experience of the industry is that it is a little bit like a closed shop. But having said that, if you have strong enough idea and you are prepared to graft, you might get somewhere, sometimes despite people instead of them helping from the start.

08. What’s a typical working day like for you?

I’ve been writing now full time since New Years Day 2008 and currently have 12 books published in one form or the other. Sadly, making a decent living from publishing books at my level is nigh on impossible, so I also write websites, blogs, PR copy, social media text etc, every day to keep the self-employment going. A typical day starts at 6am. I write up all the latest entries for the 12 to 15 Facebook and Twitter pages I work on until 9am. Then I might work on a film script ( I have recently made a few documentaries with my film business partner Lee Cogswell) or I will head into Soho for a load of meetings, and to do a bit of networking. They tend to be long old days, but usually interesting and enjoyable

09. What would be the title of your autobiography?

‘What You?!?’ – That was said to me by a former 9-5 colleague who heard I had my first book coming out and he uttered that immortal phrase. I was really taken back that he thought that I couldn’t do it. If I ever struggle on a job and I have many times, I always think of the plum who said that, then I smile and crack on and think ‘yes, me mate…’

10. What do you do aside from writing, where do you seek inspiration yourself?

Inspiration comes from people in whatever industry it might be, who have made a success of it. Be it in film, sport, music, or normal 9-5 work . Being around those people, and I’m lucky to have worked with some very big names, you can’t help to learn from the best and I continue to do that , every single day

11. What book do you wish you had written?

I’ll give you a couple – ‘The Affectionate Punch’ By Justin de Villeneuve or ‘Absolute Beginners’ by Colin MacInnes.

12. How has the internet changed what you do?

It has helped a lot with self publishing and then selling the book too, through the social media. With all these things, it has great sides and it has its terrible sides. If you use it right, it can only help

13. Do you have any advice for wannabe authors?

I do get asked a lot about helping with books, that people have had an idea to write. I always say just start writing and don’t worry about editing as you go along. Get to the end of the story and then read it back and then edit. After the fifth draft, if you still want to write the book, you will make a great job of it. Sadly, I rarely hear of anyone finishing the book, as it is a very tough process to do it right and most seem to give up

14. What projects are you planning for the future and please plug your latest book?

Really busy at the minute as we are finishing a documentary on legendary Ivy League retailer John Simons for release on DVD in Sept/Oct and we have three other films in various stages and we’re constantly juggling from one to the other. I have just had my 12th book – ‘A Hard Days Month’ co written with Ian Snowball – published through New Haven. It is mainly set in 1964 and follows two suburban 16 year old school girls as they stalk The Beatles at gigs and public appearances around the UK in the summer the album and film ‘A Hard Days Night’ came out. They are trying to get their copies of the album signed by the fabs and along the way they discover boys, drink, drugs, family death and all the stops in between. It is the final summer of their childhood and time to grow up.

*Well done to Millwall Football Club on their recent promotion!

Feedback so far has been great and you can order the book at Waterstones, Amazon or Barnes and Noble in the States among many other places: GRAB A COPY HERE. or at WATERSTONES HERE.


A Hard Day’s Month
www.barnesandnoble.com
‘A Hard Day’s Month’ by Ian Snowball and Mark Baxter follows two surburban Beatles obsessed teenage girls, ( Sandra and Cynthia) as they go on an adventure attempting to get their copies of their A Hard Day’s Night LP’s autographed by the Fabs. As they trail the band all over the UK, they slowly leave their innocent world of Fabdom behind and begin to discover a world of boys, drink, drugs, family bereavement and the ‘normal’ life which seems mapped out for them. ‘A Hard Days Month ‘ is a funny, exciting and heartwarming story with music of The Beatles as it’s the soundtrackIt is the story of one last summer to be truly themselves, before they have to grow up and leave it all behind…

admin

Boo Eyeplug acts as webmaster/designer for the Eyeplug site. Not the most social of creatures and with several personality issues, and rather exotic, eccentric tastes for obscure ‘cultish’ stuff which makes his ramblings seem even more sweetly abstract and often annoying.

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May 25, 2017 By : Category : Culture DozenQ Eyeplugs Front page Literature Tags:, , , ,
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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)

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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.

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

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May 8, 2017 By : Category : Blues Cult Dark Eyeplugs Garage Reviews Tags:,
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Perfect Past: The Complete Doctors of Madness

This entry is part 8 of 8 in the series Cherry Red Icons

Perfect Past: The Complete Doctors of Madness (RPM 3-CD set, RPMBX534)

The long-overdue repackaging of the Doctors of Madness’ three seminal LPs arrives, and for once, the smart clamshell box and photo-packed booklet are worth the trouble.

Their formation in 1974 in a Brixton cellar seems completely appropriate, given lead guitarist and singer Richard (Kid) Strange’s predilection for drama and Burroughsian poetry possessing a strong whiff of subterranean menace. Joining him were the magnificently monikered violinist Urban Blitz, bassist Stoner and drummer Peter di Lemma, all contributing to something far greater than the sum of their talents.

Signed to the street savvy Polydor label, ‘Late Night Movies, All Night Brainstorms’ arrived in 1976, fully formed and ready to take on all comers. The opener, ‘Waiting’ hits the ground running, with all the urgency and bluster of punk. ‘Afterglow’s mournful violin, Eastern stylings and slow, reflective lyric throws the listener, expecting perhaps more of the flash and clatter of ‘Waiting’. Instead, something more akin to psychedelic rock takes over, continuing the Eastern stylings in the melancholic ‘Mitzi’s Cure’. ‘I Think we’re Alone’ lacks the lyrical majesty that the instrumentation has in spades, but it’s hard not to get caught up in its romantic mood. ‘The Noises of The Evening’s scratchy, sawing violin intro is backed up well by a spiky guitar solo, leading into an epic, shambolic, piece that is worth the price of the LP alone.

Over on side 2 of the original LP, ‘Billy Watch Out’ begins with a gentle acoustic guitar figure and edgy violin, as Richard unrolls his kitchen sink tale, ironically soaring with the violin’s sound. ‘B-Movie Bedtime’s lively, punky sound has all the speedball excitement of the era, set off by suitably aggressive lyrics. Ending with the epic 15 minute ‘Mainlines’, a heady stew of Burroughsian lyrics, hypersensitive delivery, and camply melancholic backing, it should have made their reputation, and perhaps in some parallel universe, it did.

The CD is extended to include a wild, screeching outtake, ‘Doctors of Madness’ and The Doctors’ shambolic take on ‘Ballad of a Thin Man’, a basement level punk thrash that could not have done the band’s reputation any favours. The ‘We Don’t Get Back’ demo has an interesting feel, but although lacking an engaging vocal performance, nevertheless suggests something that could be built on. The ‘B-Movie Bedtime’ demo is punkier than its final form, and may well have been left alone, rather than over-polished. ‘Out’ is the best demo here, its horror-movie siren sound and snidely delivery working well here. ‘Figments of Emancipation’, also released in 1976, opens with the melodic, slightly folksy intro of ‘Brothers’, but quickly descends into a hellish rock maelstrom, a style that continues in ‘Suicide City’s skyscraper guitars and Bowiesque sci-fi lyrics. The languorous, melancholic feel of ‘Perfect Past’ is proof that the Doctors were not all strum und drang; they had a sensitivity that could have been worth further exploration. Metaphorically flipping over to side 2, ‘Marie and Joe’ sees up back in kitchen sink drama territory, but who can complain about those rises and falls? The instant, up and at ‘em feel of ‘In Camera’ should perhaps have been the opening track, Richard’s slap-down delivery and Urban Blitz’s violin screeches shaking the listener by the neck, then soaring into a glorious, rising Olympian riff that couldn’t have been bettered by any of the rag-tag of rival bands of that mid-seventies period.

If ‘Doctors of Madness’ galloping riff doesn’t get you up, I suspect you may be clinically dead. ‘Out’ appears to have received the same injection untrammeledled excitement that the previous track’s early demo did, and represents a winning closer to an assured second LP. Extended further by ‘Frustration’s standard punk with added sheen, ‘I Make Plans’ sounds more final than the demo it is credited to be, and could easily have worked as a contrasting track on the original LP. ‘Triple Vision’s demo shows the Doctors could also be a little behind the times, and throw in a truly comical rhyme into the midst of a promising delivery.

‘Sons of Survival’ would prove to be the Doctors’ final LP, and perhaps their best, as they found themselves in an increasingly hostile musical world. ‘50’s Kids’ starts off in familiar violin-torturing style, quickly leaping into a punky riff and sneering delivery of rather forgettable lyrics. ‘Into The Strange’ has the Stooges-like slow crawl that was such a template for the punk generation, and the wailing violin once again sets off the song beautifully. Richard’s dry-throat, angry delivery is text book punk, and the song is easily the best on offer here. ‘No Limits’ plodding riff and mockney voice do the worried piece no favours. The single ‘Bulletin’ has the feel of a punk Fairport Convention piece, unlikely to appeal to the legion of spikies and snotties who were taking over the reins of rock by then. ‘Network’s phased guitar sound, crashing drums and bass and herald of doom vocals would work well today, and closes side 1 creditably.

Over on our imagined Side 2, title track, ‘Sons of Survival’ lays down a great, chopping riff enriched with strong guitars, while the sawing violin serves as a warning, as Richard spits out his tale of disappointment and distress. ‘Back from the Dead’ thunders along like crazy, shooting guitars and slicing violin challenging the listener to last the course. ‘Triple Vision’ reappears, fully infused with bile and energy, barely recognisable from its own, folky demo. ‘Kiss Goodbye Tomorrow’ returns us to the kind of romantic melancholy the Doctors obviously still thought had some mileage left in it. Our original closer, ‘Cool’ (live in the Satin Subway) is standard gob along punk, riding on a hell for leather violin screech, enriched with ‘Oi’s from the audience. Added bonuses include ‘Don’t Panic England’, recorded with short-lived member Dave Vanian, whose distinctive voice adds a little, but not enough to matter. The William Burroughs intro tape to the last Doctors of Madness gig (Camden’s Music Machine 26/10/1978) is atmospheric enough, and their version of ‘Trouble’ from this momentous occasion is an appropriately fuzzy, nasty and nothing to lose treatment that would pass muster today. ‘Making Machines’ robotic beat and wailing guitars is another highlight from this epitaph concert, the desperate vocals provided by TV Smith. Finally, ‘Who Cries For Me? a lament with a lullaby-like delivery, is a good place to leave this particular party.

The Doctors of Madness had a lot going for them; great musicianship, imaginative lyrics, grandiose backing and a striking image that set them apart from the rest of the late-period prog rockers they initially shared airspace with. What they didn’t have was luck. They were the missing strand of DNA between glam and punk, with the latter’s more mutant strain of bands quickly grabbing all the attention that should have been theirs. Too weird for the jaded musical conservatism that prog was turning into and too melodic and disciplined for the young punks who viewed everyone older than themselves with suspicion. Initially playing to their strengths and then adjusting to the prevailing mood, the Doctors of Madness imploded before they got the fair hearing they deserved. They’re back on tour this month, so you can decide for yourself.

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Scenester
8/5/17

Scenester

Scenester lives in London and Brighton, as time allows. Enjoys music, film, television, books, design and anything else which won’t leave well alone. Old enough to know better.

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May 8, 2017 By : Category : Articles Eyeplugs Music Psychedelic Reviews Tags:,
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Is Bliss speak to Eyeplug

Is Bliss comprise of Jimmy Stuart (Guitar/Voice), Dean Edwards (Bass) and Sam Speakman (Drums) and are based in Portsmouth. Gaining critical acclaim due to their original sound, 6music airplays and incendiary live performances on the increasingly growing new psychedelic gig circuit, they are a band to look out for. After successful support slots with both Mark Gardener (Ride) & Robin Guthrie (Cocteau Twins), the band soon head out to do a support slot for The Jesus And Mary Chain on their current tour. Signed to Club AC30 with an imminent new E.P. recorded, Dean had a chat with Eyeplugs Dave Taylor who wanted to find out some more.

01. How did the band originate?

We started the band out of boredom I guess. Myself and Jimmy had been rehearsing songs now and then in his bedroom and when we felt we had something cool going on we decided that it would be best to look for a drummer. Sam was an old friend of Jimmy’s who had recently moved back to Portsmouth. Jimmy suggested we ask him to drum for us and from the first time we rehearsed as a 3-piece it felt right and we knew we were on to a winner with Sam.

02. How did you decide on your name?

The name ‘Is Bliss’ was a suggestion from a friend of the band who used to jam with me and Jimmy some while back before Sam joined. It seemed fitting and we stuck with it.

03. Who influences your sound?

We have always been fascinated by in our opinion, the two best eras for guitar bands, the 60s and the 90s. Both eras influence us heavily in the way we dress, think, write, play music and live. In terms of bands that made us want to start playing then we owe that to the likes of The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Thirteenth Floor Elevators, Jefferson Airplane, Spacemen 3, The Verve, Radiohead and The Brian Jonestown Massacre etc…

04. What are you currently listening to?

Right now, we are listening to White Fence, The Smoking Trees, The Spyrals, The Lucid Dream, Tinariwen and Dead Rabbits. Really, anything psychedelic and fuzzy is what we love!

05. How has the band evolved since it’s initial concept?

I feel we have evolved in every aspect of being a band really, We’ve learnt what common ground and also what differences we have and how to use that to create something we all are happy with. This is the case in every song, we all have to be into it 100%, otherwise it doesn’t work for us. We’ve evolved as friends too and grown closer as a unit. We know each others next move in the rehearsal room as well as on stage.

06. Your last release, the Velvet Dreams E.P. was Lauren Lavern’s Record of the Day on 6 Music and the first pressing completely sold out. Surely, you must be pleased with that?

For sure we were absolutely made up when we heard both of those! To be played on 6music is something we always wanted to achieve and so when we did this on our first attempt we felt a sense of pure excitement really, and to then go on to find out the E.P. completely sold out and went into the official charts, well that’s something I think we are still getting our heads around even now. We are incredibly proud of that and couldn’t thank everybody who bought a copy enough!  

07. You’ve personally been selected by The Jesus And Mary Chain to open for them at the O2 Bournemouth on their current tour.  Are you looking forward to playing your biggest venue to date?

Yes, of course, we are absolutely buzzing to get up onto that stage and show the crowd in Bournemouth what we are about. Let’s hope we can get them warmed up enough before the sonic destruction that follows!

08. Where else can we see you play live in the near future?

We have a large selection of dates to follow this year, Festivals in the summer and of course Liverpool Psych Fest in September. Here’s how our April 2017 is looking:

01: Bournemouth – O2 Academy
07: London – Sebright Arms 
12: Brighton – Hope & Ruin
14: Paris – Espace B
16: Bristol – Crofters Rights
22: Southsea – Castle Road, Record Store Day Event

09. You promote your own Psych Fest in Portsmouth. Tell us more.

We run a night once a year called “Southsea Psych Out”. It’s just a chance for us to bring some of our favourite unsigned psych and shoegaze bands down to Pompey to tear the roof of a sweatbox of a venue. We started it last year and the night sold out which was great! We return this year in August.

10. If you were to record a cover version, what song?

I think we’ve always tried to concentrate on our own material but if the opportunity to play a cover ever did arise we always liked the idea of toying with a dance tune and making it our own. We wouldn’t want to do the obvious you know. Set ourselves a challenge with an acid house tune maybe.

11. You’ve recently been in the studio to record your next release. When can we expect to hear it and what formats will it be released on?

Yes, we’ve just finished in the studio with Patrick Collier (Vibrators, Primal Scream, New Model Army) and we have recorded a 5 track E.P that we are really pleased with. It will be released via Club AC30 in late May on 12″ coloured vinyl and digital download.

12. If people want to find out more how can they keep in touch with the band?

We have a facebook page: facebook.com/isblissband, Our label can be found: at facebook.com/clubac30 , You can also check us out on Spotify: spotify.com

Main Photo Credit: Jessica Mailey

Dave Showplug Taylor

Dave Showplug Taylor is owner of Showplug Promotions, a man who makes things happen, loves providing great affordable quality Events, Gigs, Shows, Comedy Plugs and great all around Entertainment. Works closely alongside Eyeplug Media and lives by the Sea with his Family. Loves the MC5 and Cold Beer.

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March 23, 2017 By : Category : DozenQ Eyeplugs Front page Interviews Music Psychedelic Tags:, , , , , ,
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