Sunday, November 19, 2017

Engel (Rammstein) (LP 166)

Rammstein Live Aus Berlin (CD - Universal, 1999) **** (***** for the DVD version)

Genre:  German pop/rock

Places I remember: The Warehouse (Cambridge)

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles: Engel (sadly, the Berlin version not available)

Gear costume:  Du Hast, Asche zu Asche, Rammstein

Active compensatory factors: Brutal. But not humourless. There is no better place to start if you have never experienced the joy of listening to Rammstein.

Utterly captivating - the DVD of this concert trumps the CD/Record. The malevolent robot cartoon concept is breathtaking in its execution. It's impossible to turn away for even a second.

Go view it now and turn your hifi stereo support system up to 11!!    

Where do they all belong? Next up - the boys head back to the studio with Mutter

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Got my mojo working (Muddy Waters) (LP 165)

Rory Gallagher BBC Sessions (CD - Capo, 1999) ***

Genre:  Irish pop/ rock

Places I remember: HMV Stratford Mall, London  

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles: I take What I want

Gear costume: Country Mile, Race The Breeze 

Active compensatory factors: Rory played everywhere, and he always played for fun. If ever a guy had a guitar shaped heart, it was Rory Gallagher. If ever I guy had his mojo working on a consistent basis, it was Rory.

Here we find Rory on the wireless, both in the concert and studio mode over two CDs.

He lets rip! As he always did! 

Faithful allies Gerry McAvoy, Lou Martin and Rod deAth are present and correct - laying down the bedrock for Rory to do his expansive best upon.

Where do they all belong? More to come in the firey/bluesy guitar stylings of Rory Gallagher.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Wonderland (Big Country) (LP 163 - 164)

Big Country Live in New York City 1986 (CD - Immortal, 2012) ***
Big Country Without The Aid Of A Safety Net (Live) (CD -EMI, 1994) *****

Genre:  Scottish pop/rock

Places I remember:  The Warehouse (Hastings); Music store in the Onehunga Mall back in 1994.

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles/ Gear costume: Just A Shadow (Live in NYC); Everything on Without...Net

The whole concert is magical but if you want a brief sample - try Thirteen Valleys at 9.40 mark.

Active compensatory factors: I quite liked Big Country when, in 1994, I came across Without...a Net in a remainder store in the Onehunga Mall (best $5 I've ever spent).  

From that point on, I LOVED Big Country.

Without...a Net is a nigh on perfect live album: bags of atmosphere at the Barrowlands in Glasgow; Stuart Adamson's warm vocals and welcome; the way it begins with a number of acoustic versions and builds and builds; the crowd singalongs and chiming in at appropriate times; the electric intensity at the end of the concert!

It is magic and I could listen to it every day without ever getting weary of it. 

The other live album in this post has some great moments but the audio quality and atmosphere is not a patch on Without...a Net.

Where do they all belong? A fitting tribute to Adamson's genius. More BC to come.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

So maybe tomorrow I'll find my way home (Stereophonics) (LP 159 - 162)

Stereophonics Word Gets Around (CD - V2, 1997) ***
Stereophonics Performance and Cocktails (CD - V2, 1999) **
Stereophonics Just Enough Education To Perform (CD - V2, 2001) ***
Stereophonics You Gotta Go There To Come Back (CD - V2, 2003) ***

Genre: Welsh pop/rock 

Places I remember: Record shop Central World Plaza in Bangkok, Fives (Leigh-on-sea) and HMV (Edinburgh and Oxford Street)

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles: Maybe Tomorrow

Gear costume: Traffic (Word Gets Around); Local Boy In The Photograph (WGA);

Active compensatory factors: We were living in Essex in 2004 and I had back catalogued from 2003's You Gotta Go There To Come Back, which I'd bought in Bangkok on the way to my first ever visit to the UK the year before. Which is why I've lumped the first four Stereophonics albums together. Keeping up in the back?

At the time (2003), the title struck me as being particularly prescient, and I'd heard Local Boy In A Photograph on a compilation, and liked it a lot. So I took a punt. 
The song Maybe Tomorrow is responsible. I listened to YGGTTCB a lot on the plane ride from Bangkok to London to help quell my nerves.

It had the right kind of melancholy longing and haunted wistfulness that matched my mood. In the end I was going home (to Rochdale) but that was fleeting and, as it turned out, unsustainable.

Although it's not brilliant, when I got sorted in Leigh-on-sea I dug around and picked up the back catalogue. None are classics but there are enough individual brilliant songs scattered among each one to make me keep coming back for more.

While Word Gets Around is a really good debut, Performance and Cocktails, for me, suffers from classic second album syndrome (most of the time, Kelly Jones tries too hard).

Third album Just Enough Education To Perform hits the mark with some classic pop and a more varied approach - Mr Writer and especially Have A Nice Day distinguish themselves.

Which brings us back to where I started with Maybe Tomorrow.

Where do they all belong? A swag of post YGGTTCB albums to come. 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Fire and the thud (Arctic Monkeys) (LP 157 - 158)

Arctic Monkeys Favourite Worst Nightmare (CD - Domino, 2007) ***
Arctic Monkeys Humbug (CD - Domino, 2009) **

Genre:  English pop/rock

Places I remember:  The Warehouse (New Plymouth)

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles: This House is a Circus (FWN)

Gear costume Fluorescent Adolescent/ Old Yellow Bricks (FWN), Fire and the Thud (Humbug)

Active compensatory factors:  For me second album, Favourite Worst Nightmare, is the band's high water mark, the fire.

I like the guitar attack, the loudness which differentiated it from the debut, the melodic hooks, and the distinctiveness of the arrangements throughout the whole album. It's a winner all the way!

Third album, Humbug, in comparison, was more about bass/drums thud, albeit with some interesting textures overlayed, and I stopped keeping up with the band from that point onwards. 

Where do they all belong? Even though Humbug changed the AM sound quite a bit, for me, the AM problem is how do they develop around those distinctive AM ticks (the Alex Turner vocals are so AM).

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Rocker (AC/DC) (LP 156)

AC/DC If You Want Blood You Got It (CD - Atlantic 1978) *****

Genre: Australian pop/rock  

Places I remember: Fives (Leigh-on-sea) 

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles: The 7.35 minutes of Bad Boy Boogie are tough to beat.

Gear costume: Riff Raff and Whole Lotta Rosie are larger than life! 

Active compensatory factors: A case can be made that Bon Scott is AC/DC. He's certainly my favourite AC/DC vocalist and this, my goo goo friends, is his finest hour. Live and strutting his stuff. Living it. Breathing it!

But that would also be doing Angus Young a disservice. Along with Bon, Angus is the star attraction live. It's very hard to keep your eyes off him as he becomes Mr Perpetual Motion. His guitaring is feral wild and pure excitement.

But that would also ignore the songs. On this set all the catchy riffs and vocals exist because the songs are great.

Bottom line: my favourite AC/DC album. Full stop.  

Where do they all belong? Almost at the end of AC/DC mark 1 but fear not. There is more Bon Scott to come.  

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Koncert Fur Piano (LP 155)

Mozart - Beethoven Piano Concertos #12 and 4 (CD - Point Classics, 1994) ***

Genre: Classical

Places I remember: The Warehouse (Cambridge)

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles/Gear costume: Of the two I prefer the Mozart concerto, #12.

Active compensatory factors: Although I'm a complete philistine with classical music, I know what I like and I do prefer piano concertos to symphonies. 

I find them less bombastic, with less peaks and valleys and more pastorally prog rockish, I guess. Having said that, I do find the elaborate piano flourishes a little tough to take at times.

Where do they all belong? In the small classical section. Next and last (I told you it was small) is some (tell) Tchaikovsky (the news).