If you want an album that marries pop sensible melodies with some Britpop (I’m well aware they’re Australian) with a twist think Pulp with their Lou Reid angle and some dark topics there is a warmth yet isolated feel to the record it’s like classic Babybird married to some post-punk alternative leanings like Echo and the Bunnymen. Probably a love of Bowies’ darker albums and a pop collection consisting of bands like the Byrds and Teardrop Explodes and Icicle Works. I love ‘Asteroids’ its jangly guitar and sweeping vocals it’s a real throwback to the mid-80s alternative scene where there was darkness amidst all the lovely melodies and nice chord changes. Its a theme I’m taken back to time and again throughout the record it’s like RVG have visited the history of dark pop and inhaled it all to create their own thing.
The single ‘I Used To Love You’ is straight forward look back at love that just went, gone cold and final. There is something that draws you in and whether it be the melody or the arrangments in their uncluttered recording its an easy listen – uncomplicated but enjoyable as you look into the soul of a writer bearing theirs and enjoying what you hear.
None of the songs outstay their welcome and then you arrive at the final destination ‘Photograph’ in all its seven-plus minutes of sparse guitar and voice with the late addition of some floor toms and cymbals before finally opening out towards the end.
A really nice sounding record with some really good songs from a band who have a firm grip on what they do and do it so well. I really enjoyed playing that and all the memories it evoked of times long gone. I love some nostalgia and when it’s done so well its a bonus.
Author: Dom Daley
GET YOURS BY UMLÄUTING YOUR NAME Here
No, you haven’t died and gone straight to hell (not yet anyway) just when you thought you couldn’t picture anything more bizarre yup it’s Rick ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ sporting his own personalized Motorhead named t-shirt.
To kick off the year in which Motörhead’s seminal ‘Ace Of Spades’ album turns forty, the EVERY PLAYLIST LOUDER THAN EVERYONE ELSE site was launched in January. This interactive website enables fans to curate their own, personalized Spotify playlist of ear drum perforating Motörsongs and pitch them against their fellow Motörbangers.
Fans can compete on the global decibel leaderboard and win virtual badges, awarded for their song choices. This opportunity for fans to compile their favourite playlists of bastard rock’n’roll has attracted friends and fans alike with Biff from SAXON, Ice T and BODY COUNT, Cronos from VENOM, Ace from SKUNK ANANSIE and Harley Flanagan from CRO-MAGS, plus KVELERTAK and SEPULTURA, who’ve all compiled their very own speaker smashing Motörplaylists.
Standing faithfully alongside the Motörmusic has been the war-pig (or Snaggletooth as it is also known), the snarling, roaring hybrid embodiment of Motörhead that speaks to millions. Appearing everywhere globally for decades – from album covers to t-shirts to skin- in a variety of guises, the war-pig is more than just a logo. Accompanied by the unique, gothic inspired typeface of the inimitable Motörhead logo, complete with its umlauted Ö, it has become unique and timeless – the ultimate anti-everything -establishment symbol – while bonding a worldwide tribe committed to the Motörhead lifestyle.
And now, like pop superstar Rick Astley and Motörhead guitarist Phil Campbell, you’re able to generate your own personalised Motörhead artwork with UMLÄUT YOUR NAME. This unique name generator allows you to have your monicker emblazoned around the legendary Motörhead war-pig, which you can share and save, OR have it printed on a limited edition T-shirt. With three designs running over a limited period, there’s never been a better time to pledge your allegiance as a Motörfan and state your fealty to the worldwide lifestyle.
UMLÄUT YOUR NAME – Here
SINGLE: ‘SHANE’ OUT NOW
PRODUCED BY LUCINDA WILLIAMS & TOM OVERBY
THE FINE ART OF SELF DISTANCING
SATURDAY’S 9PM UK TIME Here
TOUR DATES SUPPORTING BRIAN FALLON RESCHEDULED
JANUARY- FEBRUARY 2021
Jesse wrote ‘Shane’ after celebrating his hero Shane MaGowan’s 60th birthday at the Dublin National Concert Hall (alongside Ireland’s president Michael D. Higgins, Bono, Nick Cave, Sinead O’Connor…). “I thanked him for everything; the songs, the stories, the inspiration. I told him that he better not to go anywhere, that we still need him.”
‘Shane’ is taken off the album ‘Sunset Kids’– which marks Malin’s first new LP since 2015’s OUTSIDERS – further includes the remarkable Malin/Williams duet, “Dead On,” along with guest appearances from Joseph Arthur on three tracks and newly arranged versions of songs from his classic 2010 LP with the St. Marks Social, LOVE IT TO LIFE. Additional highlights include “Strangers and Thieves” cowritten by and featuring vocals from Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong.
The album was produced by GRAMMY® Award-winner Lucinda Williams and engineered by the late David Bianco (Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, AC/DC) and Geoff Sanoff (Little Steven and The Disciples of Soul, Fountains of Wayne)
In the recent climate of the coronavirus pandemic, Jesse has decided to do a Saturday Livestream series called The Fine Art of Self Distancing where he will be playing songs, telling stories and doing bits and motivational backflips.
“It’s free, but with an option for donations that will help band, the road crew and I get through this crazy
time of tour cancellations and postponements. Look at what the Italians are doing. Sing from your window, your fire escape, your balcony, or your roof. Even from afar, the power of love is stronger than you think. Use this time to reflect on what really matters most. A slower tempo can help you feel the real deal inside. Be brave, open, and stay smart. Keep a positive mental attitude and we will back together before you know it.
The tour dates with Jesse supporting The Gaslight Anthem’s frontman Brian Fallon have now been rescheduled for
29 Jan Manchester, 02 Academy
30 Jan Birmingham , 02 Institute
31 Jan Glasgow SWG3
1 Feb Leeds 02 Academy
3 Feb Bristol 02 Academy
5 Feb Nottingham Rock City
6 Feb London Shepard Bush Empire
7 Feb Norwich Waterfront
Released via BMG with full support and collaboration of Wendy Dio and Niji Entertainment Group Inc. the ‘The Studio Album Collection 1996 -2004’ presents expanded editions of Dio’s ‘Angry Machines’ (1996), ‘Magica’ (2000), ‘Killing The Dragon’ (2002), and ‘Master Of The Moon’ (2004) with each album remastered (by Wyn Davis) and presented in 2CD deluxe versions showcased in mediabook packaging and containing loads of rare and unleased bonus material.
For the Dio fan who prefers their music on old school vinyl each title also comes pressed on 180gram black vinyl with just the original track listing (so none of the bonus tracks I’m about to go into) but for collectors the first run does also include LP-sized lenticular album art prints. Plus, as a special bonus, the ‘Magica’ double LP also contains a bonus 7” single featuring the track ‘Electra’, the only known completed track from the planned ‘Magica 2’ album.
So, lets take a trip back to 1996 and a time when metal was all about downtuning and being nu and Ronnie James Dio was looking to follow up his much maligned (well by much of the music press anyway) ‘Strange Highways’ album with his seventh studio album ‘Angry Machines’ the first (and only album) to feature Tracy G on guitar alongside drummer Vinny Appice, bassist Jeff Pilson and long-time keyboard player Scott Warren. This is a record that almost a quarter of a century on that (the up-tempo ‘Don’t Tell The Kids’ aside) pretty much sounds like a doom-laden template for what Dio would go on to do when reuniting with his old Sabbath bandmates Iommi, Butler and Appice just under a decade later under the Heaven & Hell banner, albeit the tunes are still tinged with some influences from the by then fast fading grunge movement (I mean ‘Black’ could very easily be an Alice In Chains track).
With an additional twelve track bonus live CD recorded in 1997 on the Angry Machines tour, it’s interesting to see that only two tracks from the studio album make the set list (the broody ‘Hunter Of The Heart’ and the punchy ‘Double Monday’) the other ten songs captured relying very much on the rich Dio back catalogue and of course its always great to hear the likes of ‘Heaven & Hell’ and ‘Holy Diver’ played with RJD’s heart very much on his trademark cheesecloth shirt sleeve, making this perhaps the hidden gem within these reissues.
Moving into the new century and 2000’s ‘Magica’ and this was the first in what was originally intended to be a trio of concept albums (telling the tale of a fantasy netherworld called Blessing which is invaded by dark forces that vapourise people into pure, evil energy) and sees the return of bassist Jimmy Bain and guitarist Craig Goldy to the Dio band alongside ex AC/DC drummer Simon Wright taking up his position behind the kit. This is an album very much viewed as a return to form by many long term Dio fans and I can imagine why they would be excited by the likes of ‘Fever Dreams’ and ‘Turn To Stone’, for me however listening to these songs in 2020 they really do lack that extra spark that burned so brightly on those early classic Dio albums. It’s good stuff, it’s just not that remarkable. Something that is sadly also reinforced by the second CD which contains an eight song live selection from the ‘Magica’ album recorded during 2001 and here they sound like a band simply going through the motions, not unlike Judas Priest did on the ‘Nostradamus’ tour a few years later. The aforementioned additional studio track ‘Electra’ and an eighteen minute spoken word ‘Magica Story’ finish off this expanded version of ‘Magica’, and as I said previously whilst many rave about this record its one I won’t be rushing back to any time soon.
Much more what I would call a proper return to form is 2002’s ‘Killing The Dragon’, an album that sees Doug Aldrich picking up the guitar duties from Goldy and joining the remaining ‘Magica’ line up members and in the process seemingly making the band sound enthused and youthful once more. The opening one-two of ‘Killing The Dragon’ and ‘Along Comes A Spider’ are thunderous slabs of dungeons and dragons metal that have a bluesy undercurrent thanks to Aldrich’s playing. Of the four albums I’m reviewing here, this is easily my favourite simply because the band sound like they are enjoying themselves playing rock ‘n’ roll once again, which is kind of ironic really as the track going by that title on ‘Killing The Dragon’ is perhaps the most un-rock ‘n’ roll you’ll ever hear.
The second CD adds a six track live set recorded during the 2002/3 on the Killing The Dragon tour which is well worth delving into just for the exhilarating four to the floor rendition of ‘I Speed At Night’.
For Dio’s final studio album ‘Master Of The Moon’ released in 2004 we see the return of bassist Jeff Pilson and guitarist Craig Goldy and thankfully a continuation of the more upbeat straight ahead brand of songwriting the band had adopted for its predecessor. Opener ‘One More For The Road’ sounds oddly prophetic given the personal circumstances the singer would face in the years to come whilst the likes of ‘Shiver’ and the majestic ‘The Eyes’ proved that the Dio brand of metal still had a bunch of cool new musical ideas to offer the world. Which is something they took out on the road during 2004/5 and is captured here via a four song live set on the additional CD which also boasts the previously Japanese only bonus studio track ‘Prisoner Of Paradise’.
If the whispers within metal circles are to be believed then this is just the beginning of a more extensive Dio reissue campaign that BMG and Niji Entertainment Group Inc. have in store for us, and of course I’m sure just like me you’ll be looking forward to seeing those early classics in expanded form sometime soon, for now though these four albums are well worth investigating for a multitude of different reasons, not least the small fact that some of them you may not have heard for some time or if you’re a younger headbanger this might be the closest you’ll ever get to experiencing the legend that was Ronnie James Dio live.
Author: Johnny Hayward
We live in strange times, and strange times call for creative solutions. Everybody has been affected but the coronavirus in one way or another, and for us musicians, it has meant an end to touring and all the financial and promotional complications that come with it. For fans, it has meant an end to memorable nights out with our favourite music. All is not lost, however, as we luckily (depending on your perspective) also live in the time of the internet, meaning musicians have sought to fill the gap by playing live shows across social media platforms. It works better for some than others, and while not replacing the dynamism of a live show, it at least offers us something to enjoy while we rot away at home, trying not to kill each other.
Buffalo Tom’s Bill Janovitz is certainly someone who makes good use of this style of delivery, and I am thoroughly enjoying the second week of Happy Hour with Bill. Using the opportunity to replace one of his cancelled live shows with these intimate performances, he is also donating much of the proceeds to help pay the wages of those working in independent music in his area, and to other worthwhile causes. Certainly a nice touch. Bill Janovitz is a natural entertainer, and it’s almost as enjoyable to watch him mix cocktails as it is to watch him play the songs. But of course, it’s the music that makes all this sitting at home among the crisis feel not quite so bad. Whether it’s the beautiful Overtime and All Be Gone (from the most recent album Quiet and Peace), the superb but rarely heard Bottom of the Rain (Three Easy Pieces), or a rousing version of Your Stripes (from Sleepy Eyed), acoustic songs on a live stream from his house is a warmth we could all do with these days.
This is the second week of the Happy Hour, following on from the success of the previous week. The two hour set tonight is full of gems voted for by fans through an online poll, such as Taillights Fade and Larry. His family jumping in to join in for a chorus of Tangerine the previous week and then again for another rendition of it here were highlights, as was him being joined by his daughter for covers of New Order’s Leave Me Alone, Simon and Garfunkel’s Only Living Boy in New York (also on Quiet and Peace), and the Everly Brothers Let it be Me. Moments like this at least offer us something we would never have got otherwise. Every cloud… These live streams we can all tune into will perhaps never replace what we love so much about live music, but they are a small, welcome Porchlight in the dark. And while times are hard for musicians as their careers temporarily stall, supporting them is something we should all be doing now if we’re able, whether they are in a position to donate earnings or whether they are merely trying to keep themselves afloat.
At the end of tonight’s show, Bill announced that he would probably be doing another one this Saturday. I certainly hope so – at least it makes a Saturday evening somehow feel like it really is a Saturday evening.
Find it on the Buffalo Tom Facebook page: Here
Author: Craggy Collyde
It was in 2006 that Detroit punks The Suicide Machines called it a day after 15 years and six albums. The break didn’t last too long because in 2009, the four-piece reconvened to play the occasional show and embarked on some even less frequent touring. There was no sign of new material on the horizon that is until now.
‘Revolution Spring’, their seventh album, and the first new material since 2005’s ‘War Profiteering Is Killing Us All’, was released March 27th.
What you get for your buck is plenty of bang with some Dropkick Murphy style lead vocals driving the rousing songs. The band sound energised from the break. you get the full force on opener ‘Bully In Blue’ but there’s plenty of skank on ‘Awkward Always’
There are sixteen songs on offer here and the band say they had thirty written so it’s not like they were short of inspiration. They continue to dish up sharp sounds with an excellent production that shines on songs like ‘Babylon Of Ours’.
The songs deal with real issues to the band and whilst they’re at it they also have a far wider appeal. Police brutality, American Imperialism and class war are all covered so not such a superficial record. they don’t hold back with opinions either ‘Flint Hostage Crisis’ being a good case in point. Some heavy topics covered as well like attempted suicide but I have to say that the overriding feeling I get from listening to the record is how up and positive it sounds and out of bad situations comes a positivity. ‘Trapped In A Bomb’ has a rollicking bass line rumbling away urging this song forward. Punk rock isn’t just for the kids and the older wiser guys can give the young pups a run for their money and this is proof. A very American feel to the record when they cut loose like on ‘Detroit Is The New Miami’ they really hit their stride mixing some hardcore with their skank and not sounding out of place.
Old and new fans alike will find Revolution Spring an energetic anthemic, hardcore, ska-punk roots mixing pot and it’s good to have the band back making music that sounds fresh and vibrant and there’s a lot of music to get through here.
Get it Here
Author: Dom Daley
Billie Joe is set to release a cover song every week until normality resumes, week two and he’s gone big with the Johnny Thunders classic ‘You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory’