Sunday, 29 May 2016

Video: Golden Years

Ricky Gervais found stardom in 2001 with the hit comedy series The Office, but much of that highly successful series derived from a 20-minute comedy film Gervais made a few years earlier, where he played a 37-year-old businessman with aspirations to be a David Bowie impersonator.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Album Review: Voivod, "Angel Rat"

VOIVOD are unpredictable – an immensely strange talent who were instrumental in the development of the techno-Metal/Thrash sound. Over the years their playing has progressed and developed through five LPs tackling the ongoing saga of the 'voivod,' the mythical creature they wove their musical adventures around. The new LP Angel Rat, on MCA and their sixth, represents a complete departure from both the 'voivod' story and also their past noisy musical style.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Interview: Mark Knight, Bang Tango

Dancin’ to a Different Tune

With their first two releases, Live Injection, on the independent World of Hurt Records and Psycho CafĂ©, their label debut for MCA/ Mechanic, LA’s BANG TANGO established themselves as one of the city’s more diverse bands. Augmented by Joe Lests (vocals), Kyle Kyle (bass), Kyle Stevens (guitar), Tigg Ketler (drums), BANG TANGO’s press cites a strong European feel to their sound.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Riff Raff I

The first issue of Riff Raff hit the newstands in December 1989, with Alice Cooper on the cover.

Among the articles were Simon Robinson's live review of DOG'S D'AMOUR and the QUIREBOYS, Anna Crampton's review of MOTLEY CRUE, Mark Crampton's  review of ANDERSON BRUFORD WAKEMAN HOWE and the now Fish-less MARILLION, and Mark Liddell's review of SHY.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Interview: Debbie Harry, Blondie

Blondie says goodbye with greatest hits tour

After a career broken by a lengthy period of retirement, Blondie are finally calling it a day again, with a farewell tour that includes several dates in Japan. Originally part of the 1970s New York punk scene, the six-piece, fronted by the iconic singer Debbie Harry, became one of the bands that defined the New Wave movement of the late 70s and early 80s.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Interview: Carnival Art

Culture shock can be a funny thing. Take CARNIVAL ART, a subversive rock n' roll quartet, hailing from L.A. and according to their bassist Ed, with his regular Joe haircut, eclipsed by a baseball cap, "it's unreal being here."

So we huddled around a table in the lounge of the Columbia Hotel in Lancaster Gate, London. Singer/guitarist, Michael P. Tack, adorned with beaded necklaces, cuts a sort of bohemian maverick figure who's eager to enlighten me with the raison d'ĂȘtre of their particular carnival:

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Album Review, Rox, "Memoirs"

The year is 2009 and Amy Winehouse, after stumbling upon a winning formula of retro-cutesy blues n’ soul, sung by a London girl with a "Black" voice, is stumbling around too drunk and stoned to make the most of it.

The search is on for an act to cash in on the formula before it becomes defunct, and – phew! – they think they've found it in Rox Tataei, the 21-year-old progeny of a Jamaican mother and Iranian father.

While Amy has the "Black" vox, Rox has that too, plus a few other "Black" things, like dark skin and frizzy hair. She is pretty too, although a little big boned. Not nearly as iconic as Amy, but they feel they can work with that and help the girl find her "own" style – maybe something along the lines of a Civil Rights icon/ glamour model thing, or, if that doesn't work, a proto #BlackLivesMatter campaigner with a hipster sensibility.

Interview: Dave King, Flogging Molly

King of Flogging Molly not slowing down

When Dave King started blending the rich musical textures of traditional Irish music to the white hot energy of punk in the early 1990s, it wasn't a career move. But nonetheless, the unlikely combination gradually caught on, leading to the creation of one of the most potent live acts of recent years, Flogging Molly. The seven-piece band brings its musical maelstrom of traditional Irish instruments and searing electric guitars to Japan in April.
"When we started playing together, the excitement of it was something I'd never felt before," King explained by telephone from a doctor's office in Dublin, Ireland. "There was an energy that you knew couldn't be contained by the room we were playing in. It belonged in so many other rooms. It just felt like it needed to get out and go wild."
While many have drawn comparisons with the Pogues, the 1980s band that first mixed punk and Irish traditional music, or with 1970s precursors Horslips, there is nothing derivative about Flogging Molly. This is because the band grew out of the experience of their main man.

Monday, 7 March 2016

Album Review: Airship, "Stuck in this Ocean"

The first few seconds of the first track on this album tell you everything you need to know about this young English band and, much more importantly, their fate and the fate of the music scene in general.

Let me as precise as possible. The track – named Algebra for some reason – starts with tentative, high-pitched, and atonal vocal notes, treated with echo. After a few seconds of this avant-gardism, a burst of more conventional drums and guitar feedback arrives (in a production room package) and injects a surge of frenetic energy, after which a plodding but pleasant melody emerges as the guitars and drums are pushed up and down in the mix to maintain energy levels. This sets the template for this song and several others.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Album Review: Radiohead "Amnesiac"

Radiohead must think they signed a Faustian contract when they became corporate music fodder. Kid A, with its absence of easy-to-whistle tunes and good, old-fashioned riffery, was clear indication of this. These nice middle-class blokes from Oxford don't want stadiums of glow sticks held aloft (a la Bon Jovi's recent shows in Japan).

Live Review: River City People, The Marquee, 20th March, 1990

Here I am once more at the Marquee and I've come to see River City People mainly on the strength of a video on The Chart Show, and with a singer as attractive as this, what more incentive do I need?

The single featured on the above show is called Walking On Ice. It's an irresistible pop/rock melody with singer Siobhan Mather's soothing and seductive vocals making an instant impression.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Video: Bad News & More Bad News

This Is Spinal Tap was phenomenal because it not only captured the essence of British Heavy Metal band but also its detail. A remarkable achievement considering it was made by Americans. Bad News can be seen partly as a British answer to this, but its origins have more to do with Adrian Edmonson's interest in the metal genre. Famous for playing Vyv from The Young Ones, by 1985, he had enough pull to get his own ideas and scripts produced. This time, through Channel Four's The Comic Strip Presents . . .  The result was the first episode on this two part video, simply called Bad News.

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Interview: Fish


FISH is a 'towering personality.' This charismatic Scotsman is never short of something interesting to say. A free spirit with passionate and outspoken views. I caught up with THE BIG MAN and found him in typically ebullient form. I asked him about his successful debut solo album Vigil in a Wilderness of Mirrors.

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Album Review: Oasis, "Standing on the Shoulders of Giants"

There they are, melded together like the New York skyscrapers in the distance, the giants of Rock – Sir Paul McCartney, the Stones, Jimi Hendrix, the Doors, Led Zep, etc. – all Colossi whose massive guitar-toting forms twine together making a craggy yet not unsightly mass.

Near the top, next to the composite head of the conglomerated monster, there is a little flat zone, perhaps the plateau of a hunch. It is here, on this singular shoulder of the giants of the title of this album that Oasis stand.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Album Review: Tom Petty, "Into the Great Wide Open"

TOM PETTY has got to be one of the most resilient figures in rock n' roll, surviving such incidents as breaking his hand whilst in a fit of temper during the lengthy mixing of the Southern Accents album, through various other tragedies including an arson attack on his house. But he still keeps coming back with good records.

Into The Great Wide Open, his latest platter is no exception, although there aren't that many memorable tracks on it, the strongest ones being the opener Learning To Fly, along with Into the Great Wide Open and All Or Nothin'.