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.
“Another Vinyl Night, Daddy?” my six year old daughter asked. Yes, sweetie, another! After a bit of a quiet stretch, there seems to have been a little more vinyl action recently. Well I ain’t complaining!
Back to the Queen’s Head in Mold for another Bring Your Own Vinyl Night, arranged/organised by Halcyon Dreams and VOD music. You know the routine by now: play a 15 minute set of whatever tunes you like, vinyl only.
I travelled up with my good pal Brother Adam. We got to the pub nice and early and had some food before the music started. Happy to report that the food was very good indeed – I ordered BBQ pulled pork tacos, and they were mighty fine!
Next up, it was my turn on the decks. This time I played the following:
Revolting Cocks – Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?
I was in the mood for slaying with some off the wall crazy tunes. Revolting Cocks (or RevCo, if you’re in polite company) are an offshoot of Industrial giants Ministry, so this take on the old Rod Stewart cheese fest was sure gonna rock the house. Imagine the seventies original put in a blender with sleazy guitars and a big, head throbbing beat and you’re most of the way there. Ideal for any strip club. This song can be found on the “Linger Ficken’ Good” album, though my version was from a clear vinyl 12″ that came in a liquid filled plastic sleeve. The liquid looks very dodgy.
Vince Taylor – Brand New Cadillac
Absolute classic old school rockabilly mayhem from Vince Taylor, this version is from a recent acquisition called “Rockabilly’s Gravest Hits”. That record is well worth the money. I originally heard The Clash’s cover version on their “London Calling” album; years later I wound up jamming this song in a band practice. It’s highly addictive, full throttle rock and roll and I love it.
Dread Zeppelin – Heartbreaker (At the End of Lonely Street)
For anyone not in the know, Dread Zeppelin specialise in reggae styled covers of Led Zeppelin songs. With an Elvis impersonator on vocals. This song, from a 12″ single, is a mash-up of Zep’s “Heartbreaker”, with “Heartbreak Hotel” thrown in for good measure. Great fun and surprisingly good – the novelty factor works well on this number.
So there you have it – another great Bring Your Own Vinyl Night. As it was the Christmas special, there was a buffet to enjoy as well as the great music. Thanks to everyone, it was a great night. Looking forward to more in 2017!
In the past I’ve posted playlists for St. David’s Day (obviously, home nation and that) and St. Patrick’s Day. About time I posted something for my Celtic brothers up north.
The following list is not meant to be exhaustive, rather it showcases a number of bands/musicians who hail from Scotland. In some cases, there’s just one band member who fits the bill – for example, Garbage (supervixen vocalist Shirley Manson being Scottish). But there’s some connection to Scotland that means the artist is on the playlist.
Nazareth – “Hair of the Dog”
The Sensational Alex Harvey Band – “Faith Healer”
The Average White Band – “Pick Up The Pieces”
The Skids – “Into The Valley”
The Jesus and Mary Chain – “April Skies”
Primal Scream – “Jailbird”
Alestorm – “Flower of Scotland”
The Exploited – “Attack”
The Proclaimers – “Born Innocent”
Big Country – “In a Big Country”
The Vaselines – “Molly’s Lips”
Garbage – “Only Happy When it Rains”
Eurythmics – “Here Comes The Rain Again”
Mogwai – “San Pedro”
The Rezillos – “Somebody’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight”
Simple Minds – “Promised You a Miracle”
Lulu – “The Man with the Golden Gun”
Stiltskin – “Inside”
Stealers Wheel – “Stuck in the Middle with You”
Ultravox – “Vienna”
Sean Connery – “in My Life”
There are a few other bands in my collection that probably could have made the list, like The Sweet for example (singer Brian Connolly was born in Glasgow). But you won’t find any Wet Wet Wet, Travis or Texas anywhere near my record collection.
And lo, for the second Vinyl Night in Chester, a name was bestowed upon the event: Vinylicious.
The Lock Keeper pub graciously invited the gang back for a second round of Bring Your Own Vinyl Night, held again in their upstairs function room. The concept remained unchanged: bring along some records; play a 15 minute set; have a few drinkies. As always, it was VINYL ONLY.
This time my set ran like this:
Dead Kennedys – Holiday in Cambodia
Just like last time, I messed up my first song. I’d intended to play “California Uber Alles”, but neglected to check the running order on the sleeve. Preferring to go from memory, I cued up “Holiday in Cambodia” by mistake. As previous, this was no major catastrophe – both songs are brilliant (I just felt my original choice fitted better with my loose theme). This fantastic piece of US punk can be found on the essential “Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables” album, and if you don’t own it – you should.
Rage Against the Machine – Know Your Enemy
It wasn’t easy to pick just one song from the classic first RATM album. I chose “Know Your Enemy” as it both fit the theme and rocks like a bastard. I love all of the Rage Against the Machine albums, but the first one is legendary. This song has a full fat riff; pounding rhythm; and aggressive lyrics. Perfect. Some mad guitar effects from Tom Morello too.
Public Enemy – Prophets of Rage
A nice link from RATM to PE: Prophets of Rage is the name of the new group featuring members of both (along with B-Real from Cypress Hill). Plus this track, taken from the total master piece that is “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back”, is a total monster. Chuck D rhymes with cool style over a hard beat, creating a song that is infectious and immediate. Indispensable hip hop.
Corrosion of Conformity – Shallow Ground/Vote with a Bullet
Yes, I was a bit cheeky and played two songs! I figured, what the hell. Both tracks are from the fantastic “Blind” album, that announced the steady rise of COC to the top of the 90’s metal scene. “Shallow Ground” is a really nice mellow number, quite uncharacteristic and providing contrast to the other album tracks. It lulls the listener into a false sense of security… The next track, “Vote with a Bullet”, is one of the greatest heavy riffs of all time. It’s incessant and pounding, sounding like Thor’s hammer smashing a mountain to pieces. Absolutely love it!
Did you guess the “loose” theme? Well, with the shock result of the US presidential election, I couldn’t resist some aggressive politically driven tunes. Nothing direct, but still to the point.
How did the night go? Well there were plenty of punters who turned up to spin their records, about the same as last time. However overall numbers were down, a huge disappointment considering the extensive promotion that was utilised.
The guys will regroup in the New Year and look at how to build this event bigger and better. Vinylicious was still a great night though, some classic tunes were played. Till next time, vinyl lovers!
The Chester Vinyl Night has a Facebook page, click here.
You can also find The Lock Keeper on Facebook here.
Presenting a new feature at the Virtual Hot Tub, my Songs of the Week. Each week, I will pick five songs that I’ve enjoyed listening to over the last seven days, and share them here for your enjoyment.
Now I listen to probably hundreds of songs in any one week, so choosing just five won’t be easy. Each track will have stood out for some reason or other – perhaps it was poignant, perhaps relating to something going on in my life. Most likely it will just be a proper banging tune that I’ve loved.
This is intended to be a regular weekly feature, but we’ll see how that goes. It’s not easy running this Virtual Hot Tub, you know.
Here’s the five for week ending 03/07/2016:
Devo – Gut Feeling
The Donnas – It’s On The Rocks
The Doors – You’re Lost Little Girl
Alice Cooper – Generation Landslide
Cypress Hill – Can’t Get the Best of Me
There you go – five killer tracks. No explanations necessary. Unless the multitudes of readers want to know why songs are chosen, then I’ll reconsider.