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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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DozenQ – Deadphonecalls

This entry is part 14 of 19 in the series DozenQ 4

Max Cossu (alias Deadphonecalls) decided to start his own project a few years ago, but only released his first album Calls to the dead phone in 2014. After the two dance singles released along with Mel Project  –  Black Day (2001) and Whistle’s Song (2002), and after several years spent as a drummer, playing blues-rock-pop cover songs in various bands in Italy and Czech Republic, Max decided to devote himself entirely to the composition and the development of
his own project.

01. How did you get started in music?

I started to play and write  music ever since I was a teenager. I started to play drums at the age of 14, then, after few months of studies,
I had my first cover band!

02 .Where did your direction come from?

It’s difficult to say… For sure I hope to take the right direction in order to create great music!

03. Who were your major influences and inspirations?

I have so many and different influences  related with so many kinds of music (from rock to pop, passing through blues, dark and more…) . But Let’s say that my main background remains in the electro pop of the 80s.

04. What inspires you to make your current type of songs and sound?

Certainly, the sense of mystery and the unknown worlds.

05. What can someone who has never seen you live before expect from your shows?

I started my project as a conceptual idea and honestly, I did’t plan yet any live activity. In any case,  I have my own idea of what should be a Deadphonecalls tour that is quite different from the typical idea of what a tour should be. I’m actually working also to develop this idea!

06. How do you begin writing your songs? What types of themes and subjects do you deal with?

In this first album the main themes are death and incommunicability. But, in general, my inspiration can change in according to what I’m living in a specific moment. As I said before, I’m strongly attracted by the sense of  mystery, and it takes the first place when I have to find inspiration.

07. How has your music evolved since you first began playing?

At the beginning I was mainly focused in playing only cover songs. Then (as a composer) I’ve  started to produce Dance singles distributed by a large Italian label. And now I am focused on a creation of intimate sounds and atmospheres that match better with me and my music.

08. What has been your biggest challenge? How were you able to overcome this?

My biggest challenge has been to continue in all these years to produce music and maintain a big passion for the things I do,  for the music I create and  for the music that I like to listen,  in spite of difficult and problems. So in this case I think that I won this challenge!

09. If you could pick any song, what would you like to cover most and why?

A few days ago I covered Loverman by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds,( you can find it on my youtube channel). I love so much this song because it’s so strong and shows the dark side of man. But there are more upcoming covers such as Here comes the rain again by Eurythmics , or Love is blindnessby U2 that will be available in few days…

10. Where do you envisage being in five years time?

I hope to be in the same mood I am now, and doing exactly what I am doing now… So composing and playing music, and thinking about the next project!

11. Who would you most like to record with?

There are so many great musicians and composers, impossible to say just one name!

12. What should we be expecting from you in the near future?

In about 1 month (or maybe more) I’m planning the upcoming of my second single and my first solo album. Both (album and song) are titled
Calls to the dead phone.

Web Links:

facebook.com/deadphonecalls
twitter.com/DeadPhoneCalls
instagram.com/deadphonecalls

Link to buy the current single: deadphonecalls.com/music/

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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February 17, 2015 By : Category : DozenQ Interviews Music Tags:, , , , ,
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Ian Dury reviewed by Nick Churchill

Ian Dury

The Vinyl Collection – Edsel Records

iandury

Knock me dahn wiv a fevver…! Vose ’ard working gells an’ geezas over at Edsel ’ave only gorn an’ rahnded up Ian Dury entire back pages.

Well, almost. It’s only the albums that came out on vinyl. If I was being a clever bastard I’d say they could have gone the extra mile and included the posthumous Ten More Turnips from the Tip. But I ain’t. So I won’t. But I wish they ’ad. Oddly enough, you can get all the albums in a CD set with a bonus disc rounding up the hit singles.

Anyway, what this all adds up to is a stonewall case for Dury’s status as a true great of late 20th century English songwriting. Surrounded by a killer band in the Blockheads and their various post-1981 derivatives until the reunion for 1997’s blinding Mr Love Pants, he found the perfect foil for lyrics that would give Oscar at his best a decent run for his bread and honey. Harrow’s answer to Noel Coward could cross swords (and fists and tongues) with anyone and everyone if he had a mind to and his songs are littered with references to his own shortcomings.

That moments of self love are almost as common as those of self loathing is testament to the brutal honesty he both revelled in and recoiled from – “I’m up to the armpits in self-esteem” he crows on Delusions of Grandeur from 1980’s Laughter album. Elsewhere there’s an unsettling vulnerability – “Well thanks for looking in on me/I’m really glad you came/Cos it was good, wasn’t it?” on Really Glad You Came from 1984’s 4000 Weeks Holiday.

The hits: Rhythm Stick, What A Waste, Reasons To Be Cheerful, I Want To Be Straight, Superman’s Big Sister, how he knew more than knew his way around a pop tune, but the fella had a feeling for a groove as well, messing about with words as their own rhythm stick on the brilliant Mash It Harry from Mr Love Pants, or the deft poetic wordplay of The Bus Driver’s Prayer from 1989’s Apples.

He pays tribute to his former art school mentor Peter Blake on Peter the Painter and salutes a merry cast of Hogarthian types and tropes from Billericay Dickie, to Byline Browne, Plaistow Patricia, to Percy the Poet, another highlight of the under-rated 4000 Weeks Holiday set.

There’s plenty of anger as well, not least Spasticus Autisticus, humility (My Old Man) and downright silliness masquerading as social comment (Poo Poo in the Prawn).

The funk-jazz-soul stew gets a bit treacly after a while, but dipping in and out of this lot over a few days is an absolute joy. Whether on stage, in person or in song, Ian Dury made little effort to disguise his failings. As a man he could be a marvel or a monster. As an artist he made the records he wanted, not what he was told to – witness the bonus disc of hits, just two of which are actually on albums.

Showman, spokesman, leviathan, Ian Dury had it all going on… and much more besides. We don’t see his like very often.

Nick Churchill

Nick Churchill has written professionally for more than 25 years. Currently a busy Journalist undertaking a wealth of celebrity interviews and human interest features to writing speeches, generating web and media content and production scripts. His first book, Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth - got great reviews. He has also worked on projects for Duncan Bannatyne, Harry Hill, James Caan, Scott Mills and Peter Dickson, the voice of The X Factor. His obvious passion for words and natural genuine integrity is most refreshing.

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November 19, 2014 By : Category : Front page Music Reviews Tags:, , , ,
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