Three years. It’s been nearly three years since the last Bring Your Own Vinyl Night at the Queen’s Head in Mold, north Wales. The pandemic put this event on hold for quite a while, but finally it was time for a triumphant return to the decks.
Let’s recap the concept: each participant gets a 15 minute slot to play whatever vinyl they like. That’s it. Very simple. And good fun. Have a few beers, chat about music, discover something new to listen to.
Here’s my ;playlist from the night:
Sweet Apple – Wish You Could Stay (A Little Longer)
I wanted to start my set up with this gorgeous, uplifting track by Sweet Apple. J Mascis (of Dinosaur Jr) is in the band, and Mark Lanegan guests on co-vocals. A sublime piece of melodic, alt rock pop. First song on their album “The Golden Age of Glitter”.
The Four Horsemen – Nobody Said It Was Easy
And then on to some early 90’s southern rock, courtesy of the Four Horsemen. This band were signed to Def American and produced by Rick Rubin. If you dig AC/DC tinged Skynyrd and ZZ Top, their wax is worth investing in. I have the album, but this was the 7 inch single version of this song.
Clutch – D.C. Sound Attack!
A stand out track from the “Earth Rocker” album by Clutch, a band I am somewhat obsessed with. I love this song, it’s energetic rock’n’roll with a funky riff – the instrumental is so good I could actually groove to it. D.C. Sound Attack!!!
Social Distortion – Dear Lover
What a band. The opening track from Social D’s “White Light White Heat White Trash” album, this is full of Mike Ness’s heartfelt angst in a pounding, mid paced punk rock’n’roller.
The Beatnix – Stairway to Heaven
The Beatnix are a Beatles cover band. Here, they’ve covered Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” in an early 60’s Beatles style. It’s actually really good and sounds authentic. I think this song raised a few eyebrows, starting off resembling an old Fab Four track but including the unmistakable lyrics. On the other side, there’s an Elvis impersonator called Neil Pepper, covering the same song – a great single, you need a copy.
I had a really enjoyable evening for Vinyl Night, in fact I’m sure everyone did! Thanks to Halcyon Dreams and VOD Music in Mold for hosting and organising everything. Hope to see you all again soon!
What could be better, I ask you: playing through a pile of classic 7 inch vinyl singles, whilst having a few alcoholic beverages, basking in the glory of music? Not much. The only catch here, is that some of these records are less “classic” than others…
Never the less, my mission to listen to my stack of unplayed vinyl singles continues regardless. A side then B side, no skipping, playing the lot – whether hard sought after treasure; charity shop find or gift.
Pour yourself a drink and join me on my latest musical odyssey…
Iggy Pop – “Real Wild Child (Wild One)” / “Little Miss Emperor”
Garbage – “Queer” / “The Very Queer Dub-Bin Version”
Garbage – “When I Grow Up” / “Can’t Seem to Make You Mine”
The Gap Band – “Oops Upside Your Head” / “The Boys Are Back in Town”
Glen Campbell – “Rhinestone Cowboy” / “Lovelight”
Kim Wilde – “The Second Time” / “Lovers on a Beach”
Kim Wilde – “Dancing in the Dark” / “Back Street Driver”
Styx – “Boat on the River” / “Come Sail Away”
The Mama’s and the Papa’s – “Monday Monday” / Got a Feelin'”
Dave Davies – “Death of a Clown” / “Love Me Till the Sun Shines”
Duane Eddy – “Rebel Rouser” / Bobby Day – “Rockin’ Robin” / Chubby Checker – “Pony Time”
Trio – Da Da Da (English Version) / Da Da Da (German Version)
Billy Fury – “Halfway to Paradise” / “Cross My Heart”
The Zombies – “She’s Not There” / “You Make Me Feel Good”
Stevie Wonder – “Yester-me, Yester-you, Yesterday” / “I’d Be a Fool Right Now”
Roy Orbison – “It’s Over” / “Indian Wedding”
Gene Vincent – “She She Little Sheila” / “Hot Dollar”
The Motors – “Forget About You” / “Picturama”
Blondie – “Island of Lost Souls” / “Dragonfly”
T-Rex – “20th Century Boy” / “Free Angel”
Another 20 awesome singles! Great stuff there from Iggy, Blondie, T-Rex, Roy Orbison – plus double Garbage and double Kim Wilde. Crossing the genres and spanning the years, it was another fine night of music.
Skateboards don’t last forever. A couple of the decks I have bought over the years I’ve bought to display, but I’m not a collector, as I’ve said before. All of the other decks that I’ve bought are to be skated.
Not that I’m against deck collecting, I just can’t afford it!
So in order to preserve my latest deck for posterity, here it is – a Death Skateboards “Script” deck in red and white. I’ll cherish the photos, ‘cos already I’ve skated it and it’s getting beat up (just as it should be). It’s 8.5″ wide and it skates great.
Yet another Death deck, and bought again from the ever reliable Native Skate Store. I also got some new 53mm Death wheels, some bearings, and Native threw in some stickers. I do love stickers.
There we have it: my current set up. And what a beauty it is.
Python Lee Jackson – “In a Broken Dream” / “Boogie Woogie Joe”
Boom! What a great collection. My favourite Who song, Thin Lizzy’s best (?), BTO and Free. That Knack song is, of course, a classic – as is the Cheap Trick track. All were from a record fair (remember those?) if I recall correctly.
That Faith No More song is their very worst, by an otherwise spectacular band. I’m no Phil Collins fan really, but that track is pretty good, admit it. Throw in Flying Lizards and The Beach Boys and you’ve got a helluva playlist. And if you don’t love “Camouflage” there must be something wrong with you.
The Chris Cornell was a Record Store Day special which I picked up from VOD records in Mold. Great shop who also organised the record fair I mentioned above. Check them out here.
Variety, as they say, is the spice of life. Which is why I like to mix my drinks. And my strippers. Why stick to just one, when you can explore everything life has to offer? This split EP offers two bands and four tracks in total, showcasing a considerable amount of musical diversity and talent.
First up is Puerto Rican band Moths, with their track “Intervention”. Beginning deceptively calm, restrained and quite beautiful, it soon builds and descends from a chunky stoner riff. And then, at pretty much the halfway mark, “Intervention” erupts into a full-on aggressive growl fest, though still portraying an adept progressive spirit.
The meandering intrigue of the opening track is followed by a less surprising cover of the Black Sabbath classic “Hand of Doom”. A great song, but I was hoping for more original material or an unusual cover. No fear though, Moths inject the Sabs tune with plenty of atmosphere, the powerhouse vocals of Damaris Rodriguez helping to make their own mark on the song. Not easy with a genuine metal standard like this, Moths have the class to pull it off.
Then it’s over to The Stone Eye, for their track “Prescence of the Mind”. These guys are from Philadelphia, PA in the USA. A little harder to pin a style on, they journey on a stoner path that adds in psychedelic detours akin to some of the best 90s alternative rock – but never abandoning a gutsy garage rock swagger.
A cover of the old trad ballad “Wayfaring Stranger” is next from The Stone Eye. Delivered in a bluesy style, it contrasts nicely with the other songs. It both delights and begs for another play.
And there you have it: four songs, different in style but each displaying a sound that seems to well define both bands. An excellent endeavour from both Moths and The Stone Eye, you’d be well rewarded in tracking this down.
And while we’re on the subject of moths: Glenn Danzig – remember him? Singer/visionary with the Misfits, Samhain, and of course, Danzig. Body builder, martial arts master and expert on the occult. Scared to death of moths, I shit you not. Always running around with his hands over his face, hiding under tables if there was one around. Eventually, I learned to calm Glenn down by telling him that moths were simply goth butterflies. Amazingly, it worked.
In February last year, I interviewed Chester based punk/grunge band Ryuko at Pentre Fest. Due to numerous unavoidable issues – not least this blasted pandemic – the piece was unfinished till recently. Not long ago, this post finally appeared on Ever Metal, and I thought I’d republish it here too. Enjoy!
“Grandpa, what’s a gig?”
“Well son, a gig was what we used to call a band playing live music, in front of an audience.”
“What, people watching musicians play their instruments? Crazy!”
“I know it seems like a strange idea to you youngsters, but it used to be a fantastic experience. Actually being able to gather with friends and strangers to enjoy hearing music. It was another world.”
That’s what the situation seems like right now: no gigs, no gatherings for entertainment – the old days sometimes feel like a lifetime ago. At least it seemed a whole different world back in February 2020, before the pandemic, when I caught up with Chester based band Ryuko at Pentre Fest.
The three piece – comprising The Bobfather (guitars/vocals), Captain Andy (bass) and MattMan (drums) were something of an anomaly at the metal-centric Pentre Fest. Not that Ryuko don’t rock out, but their brand of punky, alternative rock was a little different from the other bands on show. I found their style of honest, yet far from pretentious rock’n’roll refreshing and it added a vital tone to the proceedings.
Post gig, I caught up with the band to pose some questions and contemplate the meaning of life.
First off, the cliched yet crucial discussion on influences:
Bob: It’s weird, ‘cos we’ve got influences from all over. If you listen to one of our sets, it has stages: it starts off punky, then it goes alternative rock. Then it goes a little metal/grungy, then back to punk at the end.
Matt: Drop D then back to punk! I’m a huge fan of Motorhead and Metallica, the list goes on, so me being the drummer, I was always doing these thrash beats. To go from that to stepping into this, this was more fun to me. I really enjoy myself when I’m behind the kit with these guys.
Bob: When I write the songs, I listen to quite a broad variety of music, so I think that becomes apparent in my songs. I don’t like to write the same song twice. As far as when I started out, I would say when I was a teenager, I first started listening to Nirvana, Carter USM. I also drew influences from a lot of electro – The Prodigy and stuff like that – so sometimes I’d try and work out how to play dance songs on a guitar. And then that would give me the influence to write more interesting songs. I like to try and fuse a bunch of different genres together, make it more interesting.
Andy: I listen to a lot of Neil Young, I think he’s a very diverse artist. He’s done folk, he’s also done electric stuff.
How do you promote yourselves?
Matt: I’m more into social media than these guys are. We’re promoting ourselves on Facebook, we’re gonna make a new YouTube account. That’s kind of going up and down at the moment…
Bob: We don’t know how to work it!
Where does the name Ryuko come from?
Bob: I’m really into anime and all things Japanese, Japanese music… At the time I was watching an anime called Kill la Kill. The main character is called Ryuko Matoi and I just thought it was a really cool name. Some really fun facts: Ryuko is one of the least popular names in Japan. It basically means “rebirth”, start over. So I thought, we’re starting again, it’s a really cool name.
Andy: Well it’s not a cool name in Japan, is it?
Bob: It’s cool to me! I think it’s cool!
Andy: I do wish we’d chosen a name that’s easier to spell and pronounce.
Bob: People can never say it.
Your cover of the Madness classic “Baggy Trousers” tonight was a surprising choice, but great!
Matt: We decided to spruce that up to make it ours. The original is completely different to how I play it, I add extra little bits just to make it more funky.
Do you feel you’ve got the right band dynamic between the three of you?
Bob: We’re pretty good as we are. More people add more complications cos you’ve got to think – are they free; do they drive, are they going to be available…
Matt: I’ve got a son, he’s 9, we discuss upcoming gigs before we agree to it. If I’ve got my son and he comes along with us, if he’s allowed in the venue we play – he’s got his little ear defenders, he just sits in the corner and watches us or plays his game.
Bob: I’ve got three jobs…
Sounds like a positive environment to work in.
It’s got to be positive, if it’s not it just doesn’t work. If no-one’s happy, nothing gets done.
So, what’s next? What are your plans?
Bob: World domination! One step at a time…
Andy: We’ve been working on re-doing our EP, we’ve been recording on and off. Recording, playing as many gigs as we can.
And there you have it: an enjoyable chat with the gentlemen of Ryuko. Make sure you check them out live, as and when we can return to the experience of live music. If grungy, punky alt rock with some metallic crunch is your thing, then Ryuko will be just the antidote you need in these dreary times.
With apologies to Ryuko, who have waited months for this interview to see the light of day.
Check out Ryuko on Bandcamp and Facebook. Plus you can follow this link to listen to the interview on YouTube – yes, you can admire my fantastic interviewing skills for real!
Hey folks! How’s isolation going? These are strange times indeed. I hope all of you are safe and well.
I don’t know about you, but spinning wax is a great way to spend a long evening whilst in lockdown. As regular readers will know, I often play through my stack of recently acquired 7 inch vinyl as a way to unwind. With a few wee drinkie-poohs, of course.
What happens with Singles Night is this: I have a pile of records, all 7″ singles, that I haven’t played yet. I play them all in order, A side then B side. Then I list them here, in case anyone out there is as sad as me and thinks that lists like this are fascinating.
Here we go with the latest batch:
Jane’s Addiction – “Been Caught Stealing” / “Had a Dad (Demo)”
Boney M – “Ma Baker” / “Still I’m Sad”
Madness – “The Return of the Las Palmas 7” / “That’s the Way to do it”
Bon Jovi – “Livin’ on a Prayer” / “Wild in the Streets”
Rainbow – “Since You Been Gone” / “Bad Girl”
The Zombies – “She’s Not There” / “You Make Me Feel Good”
Ace Frehley – “New York Groove” / “Snow Blind”
Slade – “Mama Weer All Crazee Now” / “Man Who Speaks Evil”
Pink Floyd – “Another Brick in the Wall Part II” / “One of My Turns”
AC/DC – “Whole Lotta Rosie” / “Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to be”
Toyah – “Be Proud Be Loud (Be Heard)” / “Laughing with the Fools”
Thin Lizzy – “China Town (Live)” / “Got to Give it up (Live)”
The Beatles – “We Can Work it Out” / “Day Tripper”
Generation X – “Your Generation” / “Day by Day”
Ash – “Angel Interceptor” / “Eternal” / “Give Me Some Truth”
Marc Bolan & T-Rex – “Teenage Dream” / “Satisfaction Pony”
Well that was one of the best – and rockingest – Singles Nights ever. I doubt we’ll see that amount of awesome rock again in a hurry. Don’t forget, readers – I don’t choose the songs to play, it’s just whatever’s next in the pile.
Jane’s Addiction are one of my favourite bands ever. Plus there were classic tracks from Rainbow, AC/DC, Pink Floyd and Thin Lizzy. My favourite U2 song and one of my favourite Beatles songs. Some punk, some new wave, and a more recent tune from Ash.
A special mention to Slade’s “Mama Weer All Crazee Now”, which was UK Number 1 when I was born.
A great selection. I’ll see you soon for another Singles Night!
Regular readers will be aware of my love for vinyl records: beautiful, spinning discs revealing a world of aural pleasure. Most of my attention is devoted to albums, though I’ve also amassed a fair collection of 7 inch singles over time.
Back in my younger days, I would pick up singles to embellish my album collection with b-side tracks excluded from the main release. I’d also pick up some interesting, groovy records that were within my budget and offered something different to my music library.
Over the last couple of years, I originally ignored the 45 rpm singles, but gradually I’ve started picking a few up. One of the main influences for this was my friend Greeny’s jukebox, installed in his home, which I though was really cool. It inspired me to pick up a few classics, in order to compile a wider range of musical genres on 7″.
You never, know, I may just get my own jukebox one day.
And so I’ve bought singles from record fairs, charity shops and car boot sales to complete gaps in my collection. This has left me with a stack of 45s that I haven’t got round to playing yet.
So I had the idea for Singles Night: I would play the records, both sides (A then B) from the top of the pile down, oldest to newest. Regardless of genre, or what ever mood I was in. Almost like the random playlists I’ve posted here before, but analogue.
The reader will notice that there are some cheesy, if not disgusting, purchases included amongst the gems in this list. Everyone has some guilty pleasures; in the land of the 7″ single, my love of the truly awful can be fully exposed.
Here’s the list of what I played. May the gods of music forgive me…
Dave Edmunds – “Queen of Hearts” / “Creature from the Black Lagoon”
Lipps, Inc – “Funkytown” / “All Night Dancing”
Depeche Mode – “New Life” / “Shout”
Carrie – “The Birds” / “Sugar Fan (Demo Version)”
Deborah Harry – “I Want That Man” / “Bike Boy”
Lovebug Starski – “Amityville (The House on the Hill)” / “Amityville (The House on the Hill) (Dub Mix)”
Sinitta – “So Macho!” / “Cruising”
Sinitta – “GTO (Radiomix)” / “GTO (Instrumental)”
The Firm – “Star Trekkin'” / “Dub Trek”
Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass – “Mame” / “Our Day Will Come”
Dannii Minogue – “Show You the Way to Go” / “Show You the Way to Go (Dub)”
Partners in Kryme – “Turtle Power” / “Splinter’s Tale 1” + “Splinter’s Tale 2”
MC Hammer – “U Can’t Touch This (LP Version)” / “U Can’t Touch This (Instrumental)”
They’re crazy, cute, playful and lovable. They’re agile and graceful and beautiful. But most of all, they are loyal little companions who, despite their reputation, are full of affection.
To honour my furry feline friends – past, present and future – I collated another one of my themed playlists. This collection of songs all have a connection to cats in some way, and create an eclectic compilation that crosses categories.
You can compile a similar list, and I hope you and your cat enjoy!
Mongo Santamaria – “El Pussy Cat”
The Cure – “Love Cats”
Johnny Cash – “Mean Eyed Cat”
Barney Kessel – “Something for Cat”
The Presidents of the United States of America – “Kitty”
The James Taylor Quartet – “Faster Pussycat”
Stray Cats – “Stray Cat Strut”
Hanna-Barbera – “Top Cat (Main Title)”
Howlin’ Wolf – “I Ain’t Superstitious”
Tom Jones – “What’s Ne w Pussycat?”
Marty Paich – “The Cat”
My cat, Jenna
Ted Nugent – “Cat Scratch Fever”
Primus – “Tommy the Cat”
Jacknife Lee – “Here Kitty Kitty”
Rolling Stones – “Stray Cat Blues”
Pete Moore & His Orchestra – “Cat Walk”
Alice Cooper – “Gutter Cat vs. The Jets”
Beyonce – “Kitty Kat”
Hanna Barbera – “Top Cat (Underscore)”
Devo – “Pink Pussy Cat”
Danzig – “Wicked Pussycat”
Celia Vaz/Friends from Rio – “Francisco Cat”
Roni Size – “Mad Cat”
R.E.M. – “Star Me Kitten”
Bonus points if you know why the Howlin’ Wolf track is included…
Sadly, I forgot to add Nina Simone’s “Feline Good” to the list…
It’s the first Bring Your Own Vinyl Night of the year! It was great to be back in the Queen’s Head in Mold for another Vinyl Night, and nice to see all the familiar faces after the Christmas break.
Most of all, it was great to have a few pints and hear some great music, old and new.
To recap how this works (though I’m sure you know by now): everyone gets 15 minutes to play whatever music they like, so long as it’s on vinyl.
Here’s my playlist for the evening:
Professor Elemental – I’m British
For my first song of the set, I craved something a little different. So I decided on a track from Professor Elemental, a gentleman of some repute who is known to fashion extraordinary “chap hop” tunes. That is, steam punk hip-hop (sort of). I’ve seen the good Professor live a couple of times (at Sci-Fi Weekender) and was astonished at this marvellous mash-up from the get go. A few months back I tracked down some vinyl via the Prof’s Bandcamp page; lo and behold it was a sonic delight. Lively beats and unusual samples – more brass band than James Brown – meld with humorous, uniquely British rap topics to create a wonderful new hybrid. This track was the perfect primer for the uninitiated, but it’s all good. Get over to the Professor’s Bandcamp now, you won’t regret it. And catch him live if you can!
B-52s – Planet Claire
Next up in my musical feast was a fine little song from those lovable, quirky scamps the B-52s. “Planet Claire” is a perfect slice of sci-fi flavoured rock’n’roll, straight out of a B-movie and into your brain like Invasion of the Body Snatchers. I love it. This version is from the B side of the “Rock Lobster” 12″ single, which I was lucky enough to pick up at a record fair not long ago.
Thee Hypnotics – Come Down Heavy
In the late 80’s/early 90’s, just before Nirvana changed the world with “Nevermind”, I had discovered the Stooges via punk rock bands like the Damned and the Sex Pistols. At the same time, there were bands coming out of the USA – such as Mudhoney – that utilised a very Stooges-like sound: fuzzed up guitars, wah wah pedals and so on. Thee Hypnotics were a British garage band that followed a similar blueprint. Though largely forgotten about now, they’re a fantastic historical anomaly and pre-cursor to the alt rock explosion of the early 90’s. “Come Down Heavy” is from the album of the same name. It seemed very popular on the night – highly recommended.
Iggy Pop – Cold Metal
I bought the Thee Hypnotics album from a Connah’s Quay record fair around 1990. I also picked up Iggy Pop’s “Instinct” album at the same fair, as I’d heard the track “Cold Metal” on a Sounds sampler EP that a friend gave me. I love – and still love – the amazing guitar riff. I was instantly smitten; not just the riff but the incredible gritty yet finely produced guitar tone – courtesy of the one and only Steve Jones. “Instinct” is a superb album – Iggy’s explored lots of sounds, but I do like it when he rocks out unashamedly. A highlight of a varied and inspirational career.
And that was the end of the set – hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did! Looking forward to the next Bring Your Own Vinyl Night – it can never come too soon.