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My Obsession – Anita Pallenberg

Queens, New York, June 13th, 2017, 3:30pm After experiencing not a single day of hot weather topping 80 degrees in two years, I couldn’t believe that it was heading for 98 to 100 degrees the day I was going to shoot my new music video, on the hot Brooklyn corner of McDonald Avenue and Avenue N. But I was smiling, as I usually do, at the absurdity of my dishevelled plans. I was wearing one of my cracked brown Italian leather/black velvet, skin-tight tops (yes, designed and made by me, Roxanne Fontana). No bra is allowed, or possible, being held tight in that leather. It was a special moment for me when I finally got to clip in my big, newly-acquired sterling hoop earrings, with traditional rams at the bottoms. I acquired these on ebay, from an Italian man living in Toronto. The seller was gracious enough to be bothered with my inquiries and told me the Italian town in which he purchased them, in the late 1960s. I instantly loved these earrings when I saw them on the internet. They were soooo Aries Anita Pallenberg. Martian energy. I put them in excitedly and ran to another mirror to see them. With my long hair and New York vibe, and with Anita in my mind, my immediate impression of myself was, “Oh my God, I look like Patti Paladin.” This made me chuckle instantaneously because Patti is one of Anita’s best friends. My mind moves like mercury, with much energy. I’ve been admired for it and criticized for it. Hence thoughts and ideas brewed in quick flashes: Perhaps I can show this video I am making to Patti, who would show it to Anita, because Anita would like this song. Anita would like this song, I knew: My magical Down Syndrome daughter, who is an amazing musician at 14 years old, informed me of this. Practicing her piano around my house in England, she had played my song, ‘He Does the Look’, and segued into ‘Beast of Burden’. This was a real aha moment for me, which I was not pleased with! But back to the present lightning mind! I remember that Anita loved ‘Beast of Burden’. I then put on my bracelet from Italy, that is charmed with sterling rose-gold and yellow-gold little Italian horns, another totem of mine, to her.

New York City, Winter, 1979, Hurrah “Beast of Burr-den!” she drawled to the stage. This was Anita Pallenberg. She was heckling her friend Richard Lloyd. I watched from a distance of about 10 people, trying to avoid her. Earlier that evening, across the vast dancefloor, I spotted her. She was beaming and smiling at me, so I waved to her. She did not wave back. It was ridiculous: She wore a pink sweater, blue jeans, and gold shoes. I wore a pink velvet tunic with a boat neck and a drawstring at the low waist. I remember this top of mine so clearly because it was my favourite top, which ended up getting stolen out of someone’s car down the block from Max’s Kansas City. However, this night I wore it proudly with my blue jeans and gold boots. Twins – Anita Pallenberg, and me, the teenage head of the Brian Jones Fan Club. Magic. After Anita didn’t wave back at me, she slammed into me on the dancefloor, really hard. It shook me to the core, and I am in my blood more Italian than she is (100%). Being a true New Yorker, I didn’t say anything. I gave her an unenamored look that was a toned-down expression of what I felt inside, which was, “Whoa, motherfucker.”

What a reversal situation compared to the first time I met her, just a few weeks before, also at Hurrahs. On that night, I had recognized her, standing close by. I struggled to contain my excitement as the 19 year-old president of the Brian Jones Memorial Fan Club. My fan club was run out of Long Island, recognized by the Stones office and record company. On that first occasion, as soon as she went to go to the bathroom, I had no shyness about me and blatantly followed her in. Or shall I say more like chased her in! She turned around slowly and surely to greet me/confront me, who ran after her. I said to her, “What is your name?” She said, “What is your name?” I said, “Roseann,” and she put her hand on my chest above my breast and said, “Ah, Roxanne.” I was wearing my tight super-cool black T-shirt of the first Police album. Our conversation consisted of me speaking to her through the bathroom door. I sat comfortably on the sink, as she would. She was in the booth with her friend, doing drugs of course. It was a funny conversation, because I was gushing, and she kept telling me to stop, because I was going to make her cry. This went on for a little while before she told me she would make a movie with me someday, as I said goodbye to her through the crack in the bathroom stall.

But this night, on this second chance meeting, at the Richard Lloyd concert, the band came on, after the body-slam attack, and Anita yelled things at Richard. I was planning a getaway, because I knew something was up. As soon as the band ended, Anita and her folks made a beeline – towards me. Quite a change from our first meeting. I couldn’t escape. I was caught up with in the doorway. I was wearing my Brian Jones button, which I still own. It’s a lacquered photograph from 1965, which is about 3 x 3 inches. I’d been wearing it for years! So Anita’s friend said to me that Anita wanted my button, and that she’d pay me anything I want for it. After being body-slammed by her, there was no way she was going to get my fucking badge. I said, “No, it’s not for sale.” I then explained to him that I ran a fan club for Brian. He delivered this news to the smiling Anita at the bar, and after our conversation, in which he procured my phone number, he asked me again about getting the button. The next morning when I woke up, at my parents’ house, where I lived, I noticed a one-inch crack, a crackle in the lacquer of my Brian button. I was really furious with this. I felt like she did it, and that I’d never let her know that she did it, because I wouldn’t sell it to her. This reaction of mine, of course, was all based on the mythology of Anita Pallenberg, this powerful European model in charge of the Rolling Stones. Maybe it was Brian who cracked it. Maybe it was God, or some supernatural force that cracked it. But I just assumed it was her. My mother was aghast that I had spoken of having run-ins with this woman in the papers, involved with murder and the Rolling Stones. My mother was horrified because I had a collage of this woman.

When Anita’s entourage actually did telephone my house in the weeks that followed, I was amused that my father was so angry when he told me. I thought, “Oh, they’ll never call here again after getting him on the phone.” They never did. I was fine with that. A further run-in, when I was hanging out at CBGB, was equally disturbing. I was wearing my Brian oil-painting denim jacket and an antique velvet hat with a feather that hung off of it. Anita’s friend approached me in a nearly-empty CBGBs, at the bar. He asked me if I knew the number to Max’s. Of course, I did. Didn’t everybody? That was my attitude towards him as I relayed their phone number, which was just seven sevens. As I told him the number, I looked beyond him at Anita, who was staring at me in my antique velvet hat, looking terrified out of her mind as if she’d just seen a ghost.

I didn’t see Anita again in over 25 years. It just didn’t happen. I was a student of the occult, a Thelemite, for 11 of those years. These are the ones dedicated to the study of the writings of Aleister Crowley, the doomed English writer who died in the late forties. This isn’t so unusual, to be a music person who is a follower of this religion, as it were. But the difference with me was that I didn’t discover it from Led Zeppelin. I discovered it reading fanciful biographic depictions of this woman, Anita Pallenberg. I can probably be sure that Anita, of the Paraphernalia Generation, was probably nowhere near as dedicated and serious about this stuff as I had been. When I first encountered her back then at Hurrahs, five years after my teenage obsession with her, I had just been given my first Tarot deck, the Book of Thoth and I wore a long gray coat made of goat. I guess she recognized all of these things.

Many years later, having embraced magick, and then scorned and abandoned it, I saw Anita again. But during all of these years, I was under her mythical spell. And others claim to be. Most usually in a sense to do only with something seemingly superficial: visual style, fashion. But it is important, what we look like every day, isn’t it? A few months ago I purchased, for over £200, one of the cashmere sweaters designed by Bella Freud, which feature Anita’s image on the entire front. It was available in white, gray or pale pink. Of course, I had to choose the pink, considering our ‘pink top’ history from Hurrahs, and I just knew it would be Anita’s choice. I’ve always craved her large amethyst ring that she wore for over a decade. In this past year, I learned from a book that it actually belonged to Tara Browne, best friend of Brian Jones, and I found myself a ring, that looks similar, an old ring, from the 1960s.

A literal long-lost cousin, employed by the Rolling Stones circus, allowed me a family visit backstage at a London Stones concert. I arrived and sat at a table with my cousin’s girlfriend, catching up. In a flash, Anita appeared before me, reached down and swept something violently off the table in front of me, with fire in her eyes towards me. My relative looked slightly taken aback. I mocked exaggeration, insult, and recoil. What a dance! I saw her as her former self with that mood, not this very old woman, looking years beyond her age standing before me. But I knew exactly why she did this to me. The communication was clear, “What do you think you are, looking like that, with my hair, talking to her?” As soon as my husband appeared, decades younger than myself, and with his 28-inch waist, Anita changed, and was sweet to me. She realized I was not likely after Keith. She was concerned about my daughter’s hearing during the concert. I chatted to her friend who I’d met, (still part of the circus), ages ago, at Hurrahs. He didn’t remember me, he said he didn’t remember what he had for breakfast.

It has been written that Anita never designed any clothing despite getting a degree at St Martin’s in London for fashion. This is not true. Under the brief fashion house of Zoltar the Magnificent, she did some t-shirts (of Brian Jones’ grave), and a dress, which came in a few colors. She gave one of these to my cousin’s girl, who gave it to me. I cherish it, I wear it, it is the sexiest thing ever, in Pistachio green. I understand it comes in red, and I’ve been on the hunt for it.

At another post-2005 encounter, I chatted to Anita’s friend Patti Paladin about New York stuff. Patti demeaningly grills me in the way that makes me feel as if I’m 17, which is fine with me. As I answered her, Anita was smiling and beaming at me. I used to see Patti join Johnny Thunders onstage at Max’s in the mid- to late seventies. I was underage and completely charged by these moments, which usually started at 1am while my parents slept on Long Island thinking I was sleeping at a nearby friend’s house.

The next encounter with my mysterious obsession is my favourite. It is cosmically deliberate. On this final occasion, backstage, sitting in Keith Richards’ room, two feet away from him on the sofa, when she came in. He loved her so much. He got up and sing-songed her name, as she strolled towards him, and they embraced. “A-ni-TA”. They sat together chatting, and when I looked over at them, they were both smiling at me, pointedly. Me, with my Anita haircut, raunchily duplicated, because you can’t do Anita’s hair without anti-salon raunch, darling. In 1988, New York’s Downtown Magazine placed me on their cover, declaring me “The Hippest Lady in New York.” But this moment backstage at the Rolling Stones concert, with Keith and Anita admiring me, I got my halo of cool.

The End Into the hot, sweltering traffic I embarked, in what turned out to be a trip lasting more than an hour within Brooklyn. I was going to shoot ‘He Does the Look’ right on the corner where I bought all of my singles in the late sixties. A wonderful neighbourhood, a neighbourhood where in fact Patti Palladin is from. As soon as I arrived on the set, as I was checking my Facebook messages to find out where the hell everybody was, I was getting a communication from Rolling Stones world. I was an hour and a half late for my own video shoot for ‘He Does the Look’. I feared everyone came and went. There was an overheated energy in the air, obviously literally, but in some other way. I learned no one came and went. No one was coming. They were all stuck in some weird funk, confused, in the dysfunctional morass of the transport system of the New York area. It was a hot and comatose vortex. I’ve been feeling pretty easygoing lately, so between the hot weather and the traffic, I was still feeling everything would work out fine. I can get way too high-strung, and in danger of making myself ill. Thus after much self-brainwashing, which has taken the past few years to master, I refuse to get freaked out. As I sat there, basically rolling with it, and happy that the filmmaker showed up, ex-Rolling Stones guitarist Mick Taylor’s girlfriend was asking me if it was true, if I knew that Anita died. I was just rejecting this possibility. I couldn’t believe that I was just thinking of her with these frigging earrings, and now to hear this news, trying to get this video shoot happening properly. By the next day, however, sadness reigned in my heart.

I flew back to my home in England, and couldn’t shake it. I climbed my stairs to my bedroom, and glanced at the fanciful designed large gift box on my floor. My ridiculously expensive cashmere Anita sweater, which I haven’t worn yet, resides in this box, delivered wrapped in tissue and on a tissued pillow. My heart sank. I’ll never see her again, or talk to her, or even have the chance to have another odd scene again! I decided to buy a big plant of purple flowers. I thought I’d put it in my silver pot, for her, and the Moon. The idea of Keith Richards’ love song to her, ‘You Got the Silver’ must have been subconscious, or too obvious to matter, but how perfect. I pushed the dirt and root hard and down into the large silver ceramic. My front garden is vast and lush. I live on a big country property. As I stood up from planting the plant, I experienced a fast, sharp pain in the liver, and then all this white fluff appeared in the air. It was truly crazy. I understand Anita had liver complications to her death. I thought this stuff in the air was sheep fluff, because that’s what it looked like. There was tons of it, out of nowhere. Or maybe it was dandelion. I have lots of dandelion in the front of the house, because I eat it straight from the ground, for my liver. A close friend of mine told me this experience was Anita identifying herself, to acknowledge my attention to her, to her spirit and existence.

I can’t wait to see the footage to ‘He Does the Look,’ done on that Tuesday, 13 June. I sort of have high hopes for it, in that, as promised in our very first meeting, I was going to “make a movie” with A-NI-ta.

Roxanne Fontana

Roxanne Fontana is a singer, songwriter, recording artist, fashion designer and author of the memoir American Girl. As an indie artist, she has released several CDs and download singles. She has worked with Dino Danelli, Gordon Raphael and Jack Douglas as producers. Her antique beaded necklaces have been sold in Los Angeles, and her clothing designs have been sold in England.

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August 22, 2017 By : Category : Articles Cult Features Front page Heroes Icons Music Picks Style Tags:, ,
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American Girl by Roxanne Fontana

Image: Left: Joanne Triolo, Right: Roxanne Fontana

Excerpt from Chapter 4
 

“Ain’t this baby great, and ain’t that guy beautiful?”
 – Iggy Pop

It would be years before I’d be keen into astrology and all other sorts of divination, but nevertheless, there was something very fateful about that day in early July of 1976 when Josephine and I set out for New York City from Elmont.

I thought our mutual buzz was more about ‘going to the city’ than to see this seemingly strange woman named Patti Smith, perform. We both had no idea what to expect musically didn’t even talk about it. All we knew was what we had learned from Rock Scene magazine, that she was some sort of queen of a ‘scene’ that we never heard or read about anywhere except in that solitary publication. It almost seemed as if it was fictitious, this scene reported on with much excitement. The only reference points ever given to anything in the ‘real world’ was the occasional mention of the Stones, so of course, that was enough to get me and Jo interested, and it was enough for me to keep track of things. Plus, Rock Scene magazine was nice enough to pay attention to little me in Elmont by advertising my Brian Jones fan club. The first sign for me of this scene starting to take shape was when I saw a small mention in the daily newspaper about Central Park concerts and therein listed was the ‘Patti Smith’ show, so off we went.

It was to be the last ‘date’ in our friendship, which I hadn’t anticipated at the time; but I guess she did. She wore that open-mouthed Gemini smile I’ve learned a lot about since then ― which, although sincere, was completely detached. I don’t know whether or not Josephine really knew what she was doing, but basically, she was dropping me off and giving me away to this scene ― and a new life ― now have fun.

It was a beautiful day, and as we filed into Central Park we were excited to see that there were so many people to see Patti Smith. We wondered who they all were and if they’d seen her before; in short, how much did they know about this scene? We were pretty far back in the audience, and then the show began. It sounded like nothing I had ever heard before. It was rock ‘n’ roll alright; but not exactly like the Stones; not like the 60s or 50s, and thank the good Lord, nothing at all like the day’s current sounds. Besides rocking, it was also highly emotional ― almost ‘sick’; you know, ‘mental case’ – like. I would learn in the coming months that it was ‘art’ (or art/rat).

From the moment the band got on the stage though, I was very much fixated on the guitarist on the left side. The energy I was feeling from him was unbelievable. I couldn’t see his face and had no idea what his name was. All I knew was that he had skinny legs and a big red Stones tongue on the back of his white and green windbreaker. His hair was fair and he played the hell out of that Gibson guitar. His energy seemed as sunny as the day; nothing dark about it, In fact, it was a perfect juxtaposition to Patti and her more sullen energy, voice, and lyrics, as well as to the guitarist on the right and the keyboardist―all of whom projected a distinctly moody tone.

One had the feeling though that the majority of the musical talent as well as the ‘fuck’ energy causing everybody in the place to rock ― including the band ― was all coming from this sunny guy with the dirty blond hair. I discovered this observation was truly correct as I later learned he was the Venus ruled one (Taurus) and the others, Saturn (Capricorn). Josephine and I didn’t confer that much at all; we were under the spell of the performance ― standing the entire show with the whole audience and dancing in our spots. We’d never heard a single song before except “Land of a Thousand Dances,” which Patti broke into during one of the original numbers.

It was such a cool moment for us; we couldn’t even say or scream it ― we just were part of it. Josephine, though, was really excited about the few things I did say to her like, “Who is that guy?!?!?!? Who is he?!?!?!?!” She was laughing away and then leaned back and asked some guy to borrow his binoculars. She looked through them and said, “He’s cute ― look.” I took them from her and that was it. The music blasted around us and I could hear her laughing as I was falling in love through the binoculars. His jaw and high cheekbones were his prominent feature, and he was as pretty as a prince from another age, adorned with modern rock dress and a guitar. All I knew was that I had to meet him.

Toward the end of the concert, another guitar player named Tom Verlaine was introduced on the stage. The whole audience seemed to know who he was and gave him a big hand. His name was familiar to me from Rock Scene magazine; that make believe the world was all of a sudden becoming real for me. The band did a wildly emotional song, “Break It Up,” and even though it was the first time I had ever heard it, I felt as though something was happening to me inside my heart and making me want to cry ― even though I was as happy as a lark.
Core premonition.

Our ride home was pretty quiet. In fact, it took blocks for us to even say, “That was great, wasn’t it?” My mind was spinning around with plans about locating their album and finding out everything I could about that guitar player. But I wouldn’t have Jo to share all this with, because even though she had a great time, she apparently thought it was time to break away from our friendship and try something new―discover life on her own―with neither regrets nor our once-a-year get-togethers. Our friendship was just over―Gemini-style.

Had I not had a new obsession, this probably would have really hurt me deeply. After all, my father had constantly said ― and still, does ― that Josephine “ruined me.” Whatever that means. He was referring to our mutual and intense Rolling Stones obsession, of course.

I soon bought the Patti Smith Horses album and loved every minute of it. I got ‘possessed’ by all the spirits therein, found out that the gorgeous guy’s name was Ivan Kral and thought that I wanted to dress like Patti on the cover of the album―at least as far as my senior year back-to-school wardrobe was concerned. I didn’t think it would be too hard to pull together.

I found out in the latest Rock Scene magazine that CBGB had their own recording label, and an album out as well. I thought that it would be wonderful if I were to go there late one Saturday afternoon, buy the club’s album and check out the place when it would be empty. And I knew just who my accomplice would be.

The thing I liked about Margaret’s friend Joanne, who lived across the circle from her, was that she was quiet but upbeat and liked to laugh. And even though she wasn’t much of a conversationalist, she was lively and seemed like she was into doing new things, like going into the city ― the Village ― Avec moi, Roseann Fontana! I nervously called CBGB one day at about 4 p.m. and asked them if I could come by on Saturday around that time to buy the album, and they said “Sure!”

Joanne had learned all about my magical experience at Central Park, and she was a great audience for me. She was going to be a very good friend, I thought. Lisa Uterano was really my best friend by that time; but her dad, Mr. Record Company Big Shot, had obviously seen too much rock ‘n’ roll nightlife ― 70s style ― to let Lisa explore it; especially at fifteen years old! Lisa wasn’t as rebellious in her fashion as I was ― unfortunately for her! But I didn’t have to worry about Joanne disapproving of me, or not thinking I was cool; everything I did was A-OK with Joanne. In fact, she actually somewhat idolized me.

She was beautiful ― a beautiful Italian girl with very black straight hair parted down the middle. She looked half goth, and half hippie really, and she was into all of that. She had pretty eyes and white, white porcelain skin ― very odd for an Italian, I thought. I guessed she might be of Northern Italian descent. She was only 5 feet tall and had a decent figure, but you never were allowed to notice it. She seemed to be a bit hung up about her body and her sexuality, and so she draped herself in baggy clothes of beautiful fabrics. All of her life-force was seemingly concentrated on her face. She was a fantastic listener and would let me talk and talk and talk. She didn’t ever want to contribute much it seemed, and that was fine with me. In this sense, there were times during our friendship when I felt like a bit of a vampire ― that I was draining her completely and leaving her for dead.

She was Aquarius as Lisa was; but Lisa had an incredible personality, even though she also had that Aquarian trait of not letting on too much about themselves. Curiously, Joanne and Lisa didn’t like each other at all, even though they really didn’t know each other. I thought it was an instinctive thing. Or, maybe they were just fighting over my attentions, which was probably the case. Despite all of Lisa’s affected, regretful declinations to my city invitations, she insisted on knowing every last detail of every adventure I went on… She would beam at me ― all wide-eyed ― while smoothing down her short blonde curls.
Yet for all her feminine looks, she was oddly masculine; chain-smoking as her beloved Leon Russell records blasted from her bedroom in her family’s upscale home.

Joanne and I entered the sweet-looking record shop Bleecker Bob’s on MacDougal Street. Behind the counter stood Bob, who I noticed had home-made magazines hanging behind him on a wall. I immediately introduced myself as the President of the Brian Jones Memorial Fan Club and asked him if he’d sell my fanzines. He didn’t hesitate to say yes and got into a conversation with me about Brian. He told me that at the Monterey Pop Festival, Brian and Jimi Hendrix ingested the DMT drug by putting it under their eyelids. This revelation freaked me out a little.

I then noticed hanging behind Bob a large-size newspaper called New York Rocker, with that Blondie girl on the cover. Next to her body were the words Ivan Kral. I cut Bob’s ramblings short and asked to immediately have the newspaper. I bought it and as we walked out in the direction of CBGB, we had the paper open, looking at the pictures and skimming the article. “I knew he couldn’t be an American!” I exclaimed, as I read he was from Czechoslovakia. I didn’t even know where the fuck Czechoslovakia was. I also learned from the article that it was a communist country. All this was absolute food for my romantic head. A communist! Is that why he’s beautiful? Is that what communists look like? When Joanne and I got to CBGB, we were both nervous.

When we entered, we found it looked even more dank and dingy than in the black and white pictures in the magazine. It was, for God’s sake, just a bar of an odd shape. In the middle of the place, sitting on a bench was Hilly, the owner and a girl with an acoustic guitar. He was teaching her how to play “Your Cheatin’ Heart.” I was touched by this and tried not to interrupt. My mother had gotten me a cheap acoustic guitar when I was twelve and I even took a few lessons myself. I was a dabbler and found it enjoyable; I had even written a song.

When Hilly stopped and looked up, I stepped forward and announced that I was there to buy the album―trying to sound as cool as possible. He got up with a stretch and walked slowly back to the front with a wave of his arm. In those days he was so very nice and open; he was almost too nice to be ‘cool’, but I would eventually learn that most of the CBGB scene was like that ― very nice people and very similar to the Max’s Kansas City scene; well, almost.

“Do the groups Television and Patti Smith really hang out here besides just playing?” I asked, taking advantage of his kindness.
“Oh yeah!”
“Does Ivan Kral hang out here?”
“Yeah, they all hang out here!”
“I would love to come here but I just turned seventeen; I have to wait.”
“Oh no, we’ll let you in. Don’t worry, come on down, just don’t drink.”

In those days you could do that sort of thing. I guess. I mean, it was still illegal of course; but such policies got very strict in the post-punk era when there was a lot of rowdiness with the hard-core post-punk scene and CBGB had to start staging matinees to keep everyone happy. When we walked out of there, with me holding my CBGB album containing music of more bands that I’d never heard of at all, Joanne and I were over the moon. Life was getting good, I thought.

GRAB YOUR COPY HERE

Roxanne Fontana

Roxanne Fontana is a singer, songwriter, recording artist, fashion designer and author of the memoir American Girl. As an indie artist, she has released several CDs and download singles. She has worked with Dino Danelli, Gordon Raphael and Jack Douglas as producers. Her antique beaded necklaces have been sold in Los Angeles, and her clothing designs have been sold in England.

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August 22, 2017 By : Category : Culture Features Front page Literature Music Picks 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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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.

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March 9, 2016 By : Category : Folk Front page Music Reviews Tags:, , ,
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Procol Harum – Scenester LP Review

Procol_Harum

Procol Harum

A Salty Dog (Esoteric Recordings ECLEC2504)

Esoteric Recordings are busily re-releasing some very fine material in CD form, and one its latest and best is Procol Harum’s 1969 best-selling LP, ‘A Salty Dog’. Long available in various editions, this one is a 24 bit digital remaster, and also has a sister release, with much extra material. It is the LP plus one extra I review for you here.

By the time of ‘A Salty Dog’s release, Procol Harum were established as one of the UK’s top cross-genre bands, with an international hit under their purple suede belt from their classic ‘Whiter Shade of Pale’. The eponymous title track of this CD is a departure their slice of baroque pop, however; the lush orchestration with its troughs and peaks sounding like the perilous sea voyage the song witnesses. The title track was also to have a life outside the confines of the original LP, in being memorably covered by Marc Almond in 1986 for his ‘A Woman’s Story’ 12’’ single.

‘The Milk of Human Kindness’ jaunty organ, soulful vocal and muted guitar provides a release from the title track’s turgid delivery, soon settling into chirpy backing, in contrast with this tale of an emotionally draining relationship’s end.

‘Too Much Between Us’ calm, assured guitar and voice opening leads into a sensitive analysis of the emotional distance between lovers and friends alike.
The attention-grabbing drum opening to ‘The Devil Came From Kansas’ shakes us from our torpor, its slow, heavy saturnine rhythm entirely apt for a song that may be about loss of direction in life, or the temptations that present themselves to the successful rock star.

‘Boredom’s gentle string strum, dancing marimba and winding recorder chirp gives a much needed lift, cloaking its song of frustrated expectations, whether from love, or life, or both.

The aggressive blues of ‘Juicy John Pink’ is worthy of any of their more purist contemporaries, the vocal raw and throaty, the guitar strangled to within an inch of its life, the lyric a familiar tale of your own mortality’s certainness, and your possible fearful destiny in the world beyond.
Back with tales of the sea, ‘Wreck of the Hesperus’ enlivening piano opening and cannon-shot drum beats perfectly set the scene for this song of dashed hopes and dangerous times on the mighty ocean.

‘All this and more’ leads us into a glorious, rising, ‘Homburg’ style melody, and a song of the renewing power of love over all trauma.
‘Crucifiction Lane’s Biblical references fit well with this slow, soulful blues, the elegantly turning guitar riff reflecting the moribund lyrics. Whether it’s about the saviour, or perhaps a more earthly character, I’ll leave up to you to decide.

‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ organ and voice double act evoke the band’s aforementioned world famous hit, a reflective tale of the playing out of decisions, dashed hopes and unintended consequences with more highly evocative references to the sea.

Bonus B-Side track ‘Long Gone Geek’ hits us with a steady rollin’ blues rock riff in a jokey Wild West tale of an absurd jail break, and what it’s doing on this otherwise worldly and uplifting LP is anyone’s guess. BUY HERE!

ProcolHariumHome

Procol Harum

Home (Esoteric Recordings ECLEC2506)

Another worthy re-release by Estoreric Recordings, is Procol Harum’s fourth album. Still riding high on the success of their international 1967 hit ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’, Procol Harum released their ‘Home’ LP in 1970. With its pop art cover, somewhere between a game board and a Peter Blake style collage, with the band running around  as cartoon characters, this jokey cover disguised the largely pitch-dark material within.

‘Whisky Train’s taut, energetic lead guitar riff, cow bells and a strong vocal shuttle along like the steam train used as a metaphor for the hazardous journey of alcoholism. A song full of hopeful intent, it’s a great way start to the LP.

The Hieronymous Bosch-like atmosphere pf ‘The Dead Man’s Dream’ opens with slow piano, a little nod to ‘Homburg’ in the music, with a brooding organ backing that builds up, the lyrics becoming ever more macabre as the song rumbles on.

‘Still There’ll Be More’s threat of painful revenge careers about like a speeding lorry, the music a little jauntier than the jet-black lyrics would suit.

‘Nothing That I Didn’t Know’s music comes as a relief, its gentle acoustic guitar opener, punctuated by dramatic drumbeats, building nicely, again at odds with the sad tale of a girl’s fatal suffering.

‘About To Die’s gospel feel, with organ exclamations and lyrical allusions to Christ work well, in this song of religious self-certainty.

‘Barnyard Story’s slow, solemn piano and glorious swell are more like the Procol Harum of just a few years before, but hidden in a mysterious tale of the closeness of the barnyard to the boneyard.

‘Piggy Pig Pig’ continues this country-based theme, the heavy, heavy piano and drums, lots of echo and more mysterious, dirt, disease-ridden lyrics make for a strong track, the lead guitar work kicking in powerfully and ending in farmyard noises that sound more unnerving than comical.

‘Whaling Stories’ title, suggestive of another ‘A Salty Dog’ is soon complicated by jazzy tinkling of the ivories, (think about it) and sad, bluesy guitar licks. Anvil taps in the back ground, loud, exclamatory vocal performance and good, exciting riffs all work well, in this expansive high adventure story.

‘Your Own Choice’s  jaunty, whimsical tale of life and love and drinking, and the hazards associated with them  is a relief from the LP’s generally morbid tone.

Our bonus track has the US single radio edit of ‘Whisky Train’, in the then-fashionable, good, hard boogie, and all the better for it. BUY HERE!

 

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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August 29, 2015 By : Category : Eyeplugs Features Front page Music Reviews Tags:, , , ,
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Cherry Red LP Reviews by Colin Bryce

Dustonthe Nettles

Dust on the Nettles

A Journey through the British underground folk scene 1967-1972
(Grapefruit/Cherry Red -3 CD Set)

Y’know, I like me a bit of folk. I’m a Canadian who grew up living without cable TV in the 60’s and 70’s. If any of you out there have any real clue as to what that was like on a Saturday night out here in the middle of the country then please send in your cards and letters c/o Eyeplug. Tommy Hunter (with many folk guests), Irish Rovers TV show, Don Messer and etc. And not forgetting the truly dreadful “Pig and Whistle” show with the excruciating “Pig and Whistle Dancers.”
Please kill me.

Our “Irish” folk groups hit the charts. Country and western flavoured folk classics from charming couples in sateen were commonplace. Folk singers were tripping over themselves for freedom to make it big and experiment with their “sound” maaan. And, and that is no small AND by them way, we had indigenous roots music that stimulated, galvanized and revolutionized the world. So yeah I like me a bit of folk but just watch where the wobbly quavers go.

This new set from Grapefruit/Cherry Red of the exploding and expanding UK folk and folk-rock scene circa ’67-’72 is about pushing the musical boundaries of traditional forms and sometimes embracing the envelope of drug influenced vision quests. Fair enough I suppose. All manner of unorthodox behaviours were upon us. Religions, drugs, political boundaries trounced. Wild, strange and tense times they were. If you were a kid back then you will know that very well indeed.

There is a lot of material here. This is a triple disc labour of love with sixty-three tracks, beautifully packaged and including a 35-page booklet detailing the artists and recordings, as expertly selected by David Wells. And I mean detailing. You’ll need your specs for sure but it is so much more than you would hope for. David (Wells) manages to get the story told in the briefest amount of characters. Amazing actually and I’m not just being smart. It is very difficult to do and yet he manages to squeeze and deliver the very true essence in every short bio. Thank you David. (Special mention to Andy Morton of Pepperbox for the package design and layout.)

The heavies, or at least some of the most well known (in folk/rock circles etc) include the Pentangle, Joan Armatrading, Steeleye Span, Fairport Convention and Dando Shaft. We also get Bolan and Steve Took as the acoustic duo Tyrannosaurus Rex back in ’67. The academically trained are here too. Duncan Browne’s Immediate label era “Gabilan” is not very much a roaring guitar piece but a whole lot more “damsels and ladies” if you catch my drift.

Please pardon my ignorance of the most obscure and incredible included amongst the recordings compiled here but that is why good people at labels like Grapefruit/Cherry Red do collections like this; so that those poor mis- or un-informed record buyers such as I can learn a thing or two. I am now far more learned and enlightened for having spent time with this wee thing of beauty. Thank you good record label folks. (3 CD Box. 63 tracks and booklet.) BUY HERE!

Friends_Friend

 

Audience

Audience

Audience & Friend’s, Friend’s, Friend
(Esoteric Recordings/Cherry Red)

These are the single disc first and second album reissues with bonus tracks. Esoteric’s Mark Powell has done a great job sorting out these recordings and Sid Smith’s liner notes tie it together nicely.

These albums are true gems. Their unique blend of Howard Werth’s nylon string guitar and the woodwind and sax accompaniment complement each other previously unimagined. I came to Audience late and while House on the Hill was massive on radio and in collections in my part of the world they somehow passed me by. So it goes. But I am firmly in the camp now and must admit my savage 60s rock’n’roll tastes lay just ever so slightly more with Audience s/t than Friend’s.

Thematically the band’s work visits elements of spirituality, mysticism, traditional folk tales (robbery, murder, enslavement) and styles – is in jazz – and, surprisingly enough the odd good ol’ western (Ireland?) hoedown.

Again, admittedly I am late. My measly “nice one!” review is hardly gonna tie in to the band’s legendary status that has preceded my recent discovery by decades.

But I still gotta say it, nice one! Buy ‘em both. BUY HERE! & BUY HERE!

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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August 29, 2015 By : Category : Features Front page Music Reviews Tags:, , , , , ,
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Easy Action LP Reviews by Colin Bryce

thunderscold

Johnny Thunders

In Cold Blood (Easy Action – 2 Disc Set)

I miss Johnny Thunders. I would have loved to have seen him beat it all. I think we all would have liked to have seen that. I imagine those moments when he – and the Heartbreakers, and the Dolls – were at the top of their game. Those gigs when he felt good, was confident and was interacting in positive ways with band mates, family and friends. We know there were times like those. But when it wasn’t like that it was, by all accounts, a challenge to be in the orbit of Mr. Thunders. Things go haywire. Things break for a seemingly endless variety of reasons. Directions change. Necessities change. Addresses change, but eventually something happens. Nothing short of miraculous I suppose.

Easy Action’s new Johnny Thunders double-disc release In Cold Blood is a collection of varying quality sessions with noted producer Jimmy Miller and other regular JT cohorts, with the second disc a live gig at London’s Marquee Club recorded in June 1982.

The Jimmy Miller session’s material is both acoustic and electric work. The acoustic bits sometimes float and seem unfinished or forced. The electric work while always loud also varies from inspired to, uh, not so much. Fair dues, he was seldom in “great” shape at this point in time.

On disc two we find Mr. Thunders in league with arguably the greatest drummer ever to wear Cuban heels, the late Jerry Nolan. London scenesters and otherwise notable and downright groovy rock’n’roll cool cats (the late, much lauded guitarist) Steve New, and bassist Tony James who fill in and do duty live at this Marquee Club date in June 1982. Little or no rehearsal for the new guys as usual. They needn’t have worried though coz it’s basically the soundman who ruins this gig. I’m guessing some communication issues between Mr. T and the sound person. I’m guessing of course, but when John asks for more echo I think he really meant reverb (which is something an old school guy would more than likely want on his vocal) as opposed to the delay type effect known as echo. It ends up sounding like the Heartbreakers being dubbed by Lee Perry.

Surely to god someone was half ways sober and could have toned it down at least. No rock’n’roll guy ever wanted that kinda “reverb” even if actually got reverb. Whaddya gonna do? You’re gonna listen to it anyway. Warts and all. It is a bit messy of course. I had a challenge the first few attempts to make it through this disc I will admit. It felt like a long night for the crowd. Available time was part of the problem coz you really wanna kind of immerse yourself with Mr. Thunders on recordings like this. It ain’t casual. Claimed or otherwise. Eventually I made it through. Sadly not everybody did. BUY HERE!

hydromaticspower

The Hydromatics

Powerglide High Octane (Easy Action – Double CD)

The Hydromatics were easily one of the best hard rocking, high-energy bands of the last 30 years.

Fronted by Ann Arbor, Michigan’s finest upstanding rock and roll catalyst, songwriter and vocalist, Scott Morgan, the Hydromatics tone and attitude is pure sonic literature. Scott Morgan wrote the book on this stuff over his multi-decade career of trying to make the rent and do a record. The fact’s are here. Even by the time he was making these recordings and he was in his early 50s, he was still kicking ass and takin’ names.

The original edition of the mighty s/t Powerglide was out for but a brief while. If you blinked? Oh yeah, gone buddy. Thankfully this reissue includes the album, five bonus tracks and a second CD of rehearsals with the band rehearsing and sounding fantastic and ready to ball. These recordings are what had been crowned “The Perry Como” tape. You see the session was the night of his passing. Scott mentions it here on the recording.

The actual Powerglide album has a bit more time for groove than the previous release Parts Unknown. But it has also has some of the same seriously hard time rock and roll numbers and includes a couple of largely under-exposed Sonics Rendezvous Band classics re-told. The hard hitting drums of newcomer and fellow Michigander Andy Frost with Theo Brouwer on bass and Tony Slug on both lead and rhythm guitars make the noise alongside Scott’s own ripping guitar and vocals to do the songs proud.

Big, bold, righteous, and rigorous. Or if need be, smooth, rumbling and soulful. Get your grease on HERE!

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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August 29, 2015 By : Category : Features Front page Music Reviews Tags:, , , ,
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The Primitives – Scenester LP Review

The Primitives

Everything’s Shining Bright The Lazy Recordings 1985-1987
(Cherry Red CDBRED 560)

A fitting, comprehensive double CD companion to ‘Lovely’, Cherry Red’s re-release of the Coventry band’s ‘hit’ material, ‘Everything’s Shining Bright’ has The Primitives how many prefer them, however; at their fuzzy, distorted best.
As the blonde band most likely, and fronted by Tracie Cattell (think; a young June Whitfield on sugar mice) with her sweet voice winding languorously around the shambolic, pedal-to-the-metal guitars and tidy, collected drums, it’s easy to hear what grabbed the attention of the mighty RCA records.
‘Thru The Flowers’ is a distorted delight, with a beautiful guitar interlude in the middle. ‘Across My Shoulder’ marks an early appearance of the whining feedback and grinding guitars that featured on so many records of the period, although rarely in a pure pop context like this one.
‘She Don’t Need You’ is another that hits the ground running, with a deft winding vocal and a jarring dead halt. I always cared for the tin-can echo of ‘Really Stupid’ a classic, mocking thrash of a song that made even indie fans want to shake a shoe to it. A bit.
‘We Found A Way To The Sun’s lively, romantic opening chords and syrupy lyrics are an obvious tribute to the New York band everyone referenced in those far off days. The welcome use of Eastern rhythms informs ‘Where The Wind Blows’, a jangly number with a characteristic vocal from Tracie.A personal favourite, the country-tinged ‘Stop Killing Me’ is a high spot, closely followed by the psychobilly workout, ‘Buzz Buzz Buzz’.
The slow, relaxed guitar arpeggio of ‘Laughing Up My Sleeve’ and ‘Ocean Blue’s pleasing impact percussion recalls the New York band once more, this time in romantic mood. The slightly faster treatment of the guitar-heavy ‘Shadow’ does the song many favours, and the echoey voice and winding, magical beat has a suggestion of danger to it.
A new(er) version of ‘Thru The Flowers’ graces this CD; a sweeter, countrified voice and twangy guitars blended with some pizzicato strings works well, without over-egging the pudding. ‘Everything’s Shining Bright’ peps up the shaking rockabilly beat and romantic vocal, to good effect.
The inclusion of some demo material reveals their rawness; ‘Nothing Left’, with the vocal rarely getting to the sweet spot, and lacking punch; ‘Really Stupid’ is gloriously fuzzy, and even though the vocal has the same weakness, there’s a hint of quality in it. Live demos follow but add little to the story, and our first CD ends with a soft, warm vocal and the lively twang of another version of ‘Nothing Left’.
The second CD is a mixed bag of unreleased sessions and a live set at the ICA, both from 1987, which show what can happen when a band aim to be shambolic. Aside from an affecting ‘Nothing Left’ , a lively ‘Out Of Reach’ and the slow, well executed ‘Don’t Want Anything To Change’ , the latter of which hints at a possible future direction that never happened, the extras here add little to the story of one of the 80’s finest pop bands. The band’s trademark fuzzy sound and Tracie’s sweet voice are a little lost bouncing around the ICA’s hard white walls. Most songs sound rushed, as if the place was about to be closed down by the authorities, which I suppose was a possibility, given some of the artwork which graced its walls at the time. Turn up the volume, bass and treble fully and enjoy. BUY HERE!

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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August 16, 2015 By : Category : Features Front page Indie Music Reviews Tags:, , ,
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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.

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July 26, 2015 By : Category : Front page Music Reviews Tags:, , ,
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Jeff Monk LP Reviews June 2015 (Part 2)

Biscuit

biscuit

20 Years: A Million Beers & A Lotta Nerve (Off The Hip)

Picture this reviewer unwrapping a new disc by a band with the tasty moniker “Biscuit” not fully realizing that a band with such a, let’s just say it, lackluster name could pack as much of a physical wallop as a full bakery of tasty treats. The Barcelona-based band has cobbled together singles tracks from as far back as 2003 and the lord loves them for it. Opening with the jet-fuelled “The Sound” the band stakes a claim for a psychedelic (aka 60s’ built) punky attitude sized punch reminiscent of early Hellacopters mixed with a spicy rave up-infused din that will make fans of this kind of wild-yet-controlled rock and roll stand up and take notice. “The Man U Want” follows and it’s the guitar-organ-drums fury that seems to drive singer Xavi to complete abandon and a hacking cough. “Dance & Sing” is a hook-filled nugget that sounds like a drunken Tom Petty jamming with The Flamin’ Groovies. “R’n’r Exile” has the kind of amphetamine horn-driven charm that fans of early Graham Parker & The Rumour pulling out what is left of their hair listening to. The CD plays at 480 rpm. It sounds like it. Buy this. (16 tracks.)
MORE INFO

The Stoneage Hearts

stoneagehearts

Hung Up (On You) (Off The Hip)

Time, they say, changes everything. Melbourne’s Stoneage Hearts haven’t been exactly prolific and unlike many bands that offer this kind of knocked out, loaded brand of Dad rock they also know no bounds when changing members. When the only connecting thread in a group is the drummer – in this case the incomparable Mick Baty – you know there will be format changes. The quartet now boasts two guitarists and while they still have plenty of feeling, the age of stone has been replaced with the age of pebbles. The pop sensibility here is palpable. “I Thought That Time”, replete with earnest yearn for a lost love, typifies a sound that jangles and burns more like an ‘80s retro-wave band than the kick arse ‘Hearts burn circa 2004s’ “Guilty As Sin”. There is a lot of noise here, but nothing that really does any aural damage or sounds as risky as the band once did. And while that dynamic thud of yore is missed there’s no doubt this version of the band can win, er, hearts wherever they draw breath. (11 tracks.)
MORE INFO

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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June 29, 2015 By : Category : Features Music Reviews Tags:, , , , , ,
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