Wax Mekanix – Album Review

Wax Mekanix – Mobocracy

Electric Talon Records (Dewar PR)

Release date: 20/11/2020

Running time: 30 mins approx

Review by: Alun Jones

9/10

“Who the fuck is Wax Mekanix?” You may well ask.  Who is this enigmatic troubadour, this mysterious master musician, who has concocted this art for us to absorb?  Well, I’m not sure I can answer those questions, but I have done some research.  A bit late, I know, as this album was first released back in November.  But hey, I can’t be cutting edge all of the time.  Sometimes a scribe such as I must admit that changes of seismic consequence occur without my usual omniscient vision.  Hard to believe, I know.

And yet here we are.  Six tracks of exploration and wonder that plough a beguiling path through musical genres, from classic hard rock to folky musings, with an added sprinkle of the unexpected and alternative.

If you want big full-on metal with groove, you’ll find it with “Blood in my eyes”.  Huge chants and choruses?  Try the gladiatorial detonation of “Victorious”, where you’ll also witness Brandon Yeagley and Chris Bishop of the very awesome Crobot playing the funky, infectious riffs that they’re famed for.

Wax himself is something of a renaissance man: writing, singing and playing on all tracks.  Possessing a voice that can change from a warm country croon to a caramel Maynard James Keenan earnestness to a classic Alice Cooper roar, Wax morphs easily from one to another.  He’s like Mike Patton with a folk fixation, but dressed even more dapper.

“Mad World” is one of my favourite tracks here, starting off with some Mexican guitars before erupting in a NWOBHM stampede that also recalls The Crue at their pop metal best.

The absolute highlight, though, is the final track “Black”.  This song is all eerie acoustic guitar and minimal percussion, with a catchy melody that creates something hypnotic and other worldly.  Despite also reminding me of Johnny Nice Painter form the Fast Show (do a Google) on the chorus, this song exudes atmosphere.

Although the album is a little short, there’s plenty to investigate.  Listeners will be rewarded with additional revelations each time they delve into it.    

When I first heard Mobocracy, I rated it as good.  After a couple of listens, I’ve upgraded it to GREAT.  A welcome amalgamation of styles and influences, as well as exemplary song writing and musicianship, don’t let the endeavours of Wax Mekanix pass you by.  Who is Wax Mekanix?  The real question should be: “What’s next?”

Speaking of wax, did I ever tell you about that time when Ozzy and me decided to do a séance with some candles he pilfered from some hippies?  That did not end well.  There’s a little B&B in Carlisle that still has scorch marks up the walls.  Tony was not impressed in the slightest.  And I still have a phobia of barbecues to this day.

You can check out Wax Mekanix on Facebook, Twitter and Bandcamp.

This review was brought to you by Platinum Al and Ever Metal.

Random Driving Playlist

And by that I mean the playlist is random, not the driving.  OK?

Driving back from the North Wales coast recently, here are the random songs that were chosen by the iPod for forty minutes of the journey.

  1. Propellerheads – “Bang On!”
  2. Ludacris feat. Shawna – “What’s Your Fantasy”
  3. Sisters of Mercy – “Torch”
  4. David Lee Roth – “Elephant Gun”
  5. Status Quo – “Gerdundula”
  6. Dolly Parton – “Jolene”
  7. Led Zeppelin – “Communication Breakdown”
  8. Public Image Ltd – “The Body”
  9. Therapy? – “Church of Noise”

Songs of the Week 17.07.2016

This weeks “louder then the rest” tunes:

  1. Fishbone – Change
  2. House of Pain – Jump Around
  3. Wolfmother – California Queen
  4. Queens of the Stone Age – The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret
  5. Dr. John – Jump Sturdy

Songs of the Week 03.07.216

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:

  1. Devo – Gut Feeling
  2. The Donnas – It’s On The Rocks
  3. The Doors – You’re Lost Little Girl
  4. Alice Cooper – Generation Landslide
  5. 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.

For now – keep rockin’.

Florence: the Jukebox

IMG_6327Forget using your super smart, internet enabled portable phone as a means of playing music.  And forget iPods, too – sadly the swines at Apple have decided to sacrifice their master product, in order to concentrate on their vile mutant phone.  My mate Greeny has a much better music playing machine than any of those.

Greeny has a jukebox.

The jukebox is named Florence.  After Florence and the Machine, as she’s a machine, obviously.  Florence stands proudly in the corner of the lounge, neither dominating the room or sitting back like a wall flower.  But Florence has presence: when the lights are on and the tunes are spinning, you will be drawn magnetically to this wondrous device.

He’s been collecting 7 inch singles since he were a lad, has Greeny.  Now Florence is a treasure trove packed full of delightful vinyl gems.  There’s a wild variety of musical genres in Florence, spanning the decades.  She’s regularly re-stocked and/or has the records switched out and replaced with others, keeping the music selection fresh and entrancing.IMG_6330

Florence holds around 84 records.  Don’t forget that there’s a song on side A and B, so that’s a generous amount of music to enjoy.

It’s a lot of fun gathering around the jukebox in Greeny’s front room, with a few beers and spinning some records.  I would love one of my own, one day – though they cost a few hundred quid, so it’s unlikely.  I’m collecting a few cool 7 inch singles just in case, though…

Here’s a list of the records that are currently stocked inside Florence.  Remember Greeny has to rotate the records, as he has far more than this!  Which songs would you choose to play?

And if you’re interested, this jukebox is a Rowe AMI RI-3.

The tracks:

  • AC/DC – a. Dirt Deeds Done Dirt Cheap/Big Balls b. The Jack
  • Billy Paul – a. Me & Mrs Jones b. Your Song
  • Blind Melon – a. No Rain b. No Bidness/I Wonder
  • Blondie – a. Rapture b. Walk Like Me
  • Blue Swede – a. Hooked On a Feeling b. Never My Love
  • Bob Dylan – a. Subterranean Homesick Blues b. She Belongs To Me
  • Bruce Springsteen – a. 57 Channels (And Nothin’ On) b. Part Man, Part Monkey
  • Catatonia – a. Road Rage b. I’m Cured
  • Chris Isaak – a. Wicked Game b. Cool Cat Walk
  • Crash Test Dummies – a. Afternoons & Coffeespoons b. In the Days of the Caveman (Live)
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival – a. Bad Moon Rising b. Lodi
  • DNA feat. Suzanne Vega – a. Tom’s Diner b. Acapella
  • Duran Duran – a. The Wild Boys b. (I’m Looking For) Cracks in the Pavement (1984)
  • Echo & The Bunnymen – a. The Killing Moon b. Do It Clean
  • Elton John – a. Tiny Dancer b. Daniel
  • Elvis Presley – a. Suspicious Minds b. You’ll Think of Me
  • Everything Everything – a. Cough Cough b. A.D.
  • Faith No More – a. I’m Easy b. Be Aggressive
  • Fleetwood Mac – a. Oh Well (Part 1) b. Oh Well (Part 2)
  • Florence & The Machine – a. Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up) b. Are You Hurting
  • Franz Ferdinand – a. Take Me Out b. Truck Stop
  • Glen Campbell – a. Wichita Lineman b. Back in the Race
  • Guns’n’Roses – a. Patience b. Rocket Queen
  • Huey Lewis & The News – a. The Power of Love b. Do You Believe in Love?
  • Ian Dury & The Blockheads – a. Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick b. There Ain’t Half Been
  • Iggy Pop – a. Lust For Life b. Home
  • Jimi Hendrix – a. Purple Haze b. Foxy Lady
  • Joan Jett – a. I Love Rock’n’Roll b. The French Song
  • Johnny Cash – a. A Boy Named Sue b. Folsom Prison Blues
  • Journey – a. Don’t Stop Believin’ b. Natural Thing
  • Julee Cruise – a. Falling b. Twin Peaks Theme
  • Kate Bush – a. Running Up That Hill b. Under The Ivy
  • Katrina & The Waves – a. Walking On Sunshine b. Going Down to Liverpool
  • Kiss – a. God Gave Rock’n’Roll To You II b. Junior’s Gone WIld
  • Led Zeppelin – a. Rock and Roll b. Four Sticks
  • Lemonheads – a. Mrs. Robinson b. Being Around
  • Lenny Kravitz – a. Always On The Run b. Instrumental
  • Live – a. I Alone b. Pain Lies On The Riverbed
  • Lou Reed – a. Walk On The Wild Side b. Perfect Day
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd – a. Freebird b. Sweet Home Alabama/Double Trouble
  • Magazine – a. Shot By Both Sides b. My Mind Ain’t So Open
  • Neil Young – a. My My, Hey Hey b. Hey Hey, My My
  • Nena – a. 99 Red Balloons b. Ich Bleib Im Bett
  • New Order – a. Blue Monday b. Beach Buggy
  • Norman Greenbaum – a. Spirit in the Sky b. Milk Cow
  • Otis Redding – a. (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay b. Respect/Mr. Pitiful
  • Paul Simon – a. You Can Call Me Al b. Gumboots
  • Powder – a. Afrodisiac b. Shave Me
  • Prince – a. When Doves Cry b. 17 Days
  • Propaganda – a. Duel b. Jewel
  • Queen – a. Don’t Stop Me Now b. In Only Seven Days
  • R.E.M. – a. Crush With Eyeliner b. Instrumental
  • Regina Spektor – a. Fidelity b. Music Box
  • Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock – a. It Takes Two b. Instrumental
  • Rolling Stones – a. Gimme Shelter b. Sympathy for the Devil
  • Roxy Music – a. Virginia Plain b. The Numberer
  • Spitting Image – a. The Chicken Song b. (I’ve Never Met) A Nice South African
  • Stealers Wheel – a. Stuck in the Middle b. Jose
  • Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel – a. Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me) b. Another Journey
  • Stevie Wonder – a. Superstition b. You’ve Got It Bad Girl
  • Stone Temple Pilots – a. Plush b. Sin
  • Super Furry Animals – a. Northern Lites b. Rabid Dog
  • Supergrass – a. Richard III b. Nothing More’s Gonna Get In My Way
  • Talk Talk – a. It’s My Life b. Does Caroline Know
  • The Babys – a. Isn’t It Time b. Give Me Your Love
  • The Beatles – a. Hey Jude b. Revolution
  • The Breeders – a. Cannonball b. Divine Hammer
  • The Buggles – a. Video Killed the Radio Star b. Kid Dynamo
  • The Doors – a. Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar) c. Take It As It Comes
  • The Housemartins – a. Happy Hour b. The Mighty Ship
  • The Kinks – a. You Really Got Me b. All Day and All of the Night
  • The Knack – a. My Sharona b. Let Me Out
  • The Mamas & The Papas – a. California Dreamin’ b. Somebody Groovy
  • The Smiths – a. How Soon is Now? b. Well I Wonder
  • The Trashmen – a. Surfin’ Bird b. Liar Liar
  • The Undertones – a. Teenage Kicks b. Emergency Cases
  • The Who – a. Who Are You b. Had Enough
  • Tori Amos – a. Cornflake Girl b. Sister Janet
  • T-Rex – a. Jeepster b. Life’s a Gas
  • U2 – a. Stay (Far Away, So Close) b. I’ve Got You Under My Skin
  • Van Halen – a. Why Can’t This Be Love b. Get Up
  • Vic Reeves & Wonderstuff – a. Dizzy b. Oh Mr. Hairdresser
  • Yeah Yeah Yeahs – a. Maps b. Countdown/Miles Away

IMG_6325

Another Random Skateboard Playlist

Repetitive, moi?

I love lists.  These random playlists serve no purpose other than to remind me of music that’s buried away in my iTunes, waiting to be rediscovered.  One song leads to another; one band creates a ripple effect leading to another needing to be heard again.

I was out on the longboard this time, on a beautiful sunny afternoon.  I didn’t have long, however, before other commitments would tear me away.  Here are a few songs chosen at random by my iPod as the skate soundtrack that day.

  1. King Crimson – “Happy With What You Have to be Happy With”
  2. Senseless Things – “Watching the Pictures Go”
  3. Neck – “The Star of the County Down”
  4. Soul Asylum – “String of Pearls”
  5. Johnny Dowd – “True Love”
  6. Sonic Youth – “Creme Brulee”
  7. Siouxsie & The Banshees – “Christine”
  8. Siouxsie & The Banshees – “Peek-a-Boo”
  9. Nuclear Assault – “Live, Suffer, Die”
  10. Rolling Stones – “19th Nervous Breakdown”
  11. Shirley Bassey – “Reach for the Stars”
  12. Jimmy Eat World – “Cautioners”

Well, two different Siouxsie and the Banshees tracks, from different albums, one after the other.  Most strange.  Great songs, though.

I remember really enjoying the Stones track; the Shirley Bassey number was a bit out of the blue.  But then, random is what this game’s all about.

Till next time, groovers!

Bring Your Own Vinyl Night #7

Bring Your Own Vinyl Night

Queen’s Head, Mold

Friday 26th February 2016

Welcome back to the Queen’s Head in Mold, North Wales!  Get yourself a pint and make yourself comfortable, ‘cos you know what time it is.  That’s right, it’s Bring Your Own Vinyl Night again!

Remember the rules: there’s a fifteen minute slot for each person; play whatever you like, so long as it’s vinyl.

Only Greeny and myself made it this time – Adam and Ben the Swede were both unavailable.  No theme for my set this time, just a few songs I really had a yearning to play…

Ennio Morricone – The Ecstasy of Gold

This song is of course from the soundtrack for the classic Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.  My version came from an album called “This is Ennio Morricone”.  You don’t need me to tell you how great that film is.  And Morricone’s soundtrack is stylish and ground breaking.  In particular, this track (which plays while Eli Wallach’s character runs frenziedly through a Civil War graveyard) is sheer class.  It builds magnificently and captivates the listener.  A bit over the top, I admit, as the first song in my set – but never let it be said that Platinum Al doesn’t do drama.

Ramones – Surfin’ Bird

If I was going to recommend a Ramones album for a novice to start their education of NYC’s finest, I’d go for “Rocket to Russia”.  I thought that this frenetic cover of the Trashmen’s surf rock gem would be a suitable place to go, after the majesty of the last track.  I love the Ramones and this song was a ton of fun to play.

Soundgarden – Fresh Tendrils

This song, from the simply fantastic “Superunknown” album, is probably my favourite Soundgarden song ever.  And I’m a bit of a Soundgarden nerd – I’ve collected tons of their stuff.  Rather than play a more obvious, well known song, I decided to go with my top tune.  “Fresh Tendrils” has an epic, classic rock sound that I love.  No idea what Chris is singing about, however.  The version I played was from the “Spoonman” 12″ single (on clear vinyl!).

Johnny Cash – Folsom Prison Blues

Originally I was going to play a Stooges song, but then I remembered that 26th February was Johnny Cash’s birthday.  So I decided to play a song by the Man in Black.  “Folsom Prison Blues” is a legendary track, one of Cash’s best.  And I’ve already stated how big a hero this guy was to me.  The album this came from – “Original Golden Hits Volume 1” – was my Gran’s.  After she passed away, it was given to me.  I’d heard a lot from bands I was into how Cash was an inspiration, so I checked the record out.  I loved it, and my Johnny Cash fandom was born.  The first Cash record I heard, but not the last!

That’s my list for the night.  There were may great songs played through out the evening, though.  Budgie!  Hawkwind!  Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy!  Anthrax!  Check the link below for the complete list.

Wax is back – get spinning those tracks!  Thanks for a great night!

I’d also like to thank my old mate Graham, who turned up with a couple of Suicidal Tendencies records for me.  You see, I’d sold these two exact albums to Graham some twenty years ago, when I was a broke student.  Although I could’ve tracked the records down on eBay, I decided to message Graham and see if he’d sell them back to me (if he still had them).  The reason being that one album, the awesome “Join the Army”, had been given to me when I was 15 by my friend Kelvin Bedford, who I used to skateboard with every day.  Sadly, Kel passed away a couple of years ago.  So it was cool to get that actual copy back in my record collection, as a nice memory.  It even had the same plastic protective sheet over the album – and the selotape strip I patched up the inner sleeve with many, many years ago!  Graham gave me both records for free – so I bought him a pint or two.  Thank you!

The Halcyon Dreams blogspot is here.

The Halcyon Dreams mixcloud page is here.

The Halcyon Dreams Facebook page is here.

Attack of Hallowe’en Horror Fest

Halloween (1978)

This film is perfect for Hallowe’en Horror Fest!  I can’t believe I’ve not reviewed it already.  Here we have the original Halloween from Director John Carpenter, and by golly it’s a beauty.

Michael Myers has been locked up in an institution since the Hallowe’en night when, as young boy, he murdered his sister.  Now Michael has escaped, and returned to his home town to wreak bloody murder on the local teens.  Dr Loomis (Donald Pleasence)  is in pursuit of the deranged killer, but will he be able to stop Myers before Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) is his next victim? Halloween_cover

I’m not really a fan of slasher films, but here we have a film that bucks the trend.  Halloween is tense as hell – Carpenter manages to startle the audience time and again.  The viewer is constantly on edge waiting for the next shock.  This film created many of the cliches we are now familiar with in the slasher genre – so it’s to the credit of the Director that the frights still work.  The leads deliver believable performances, too – making this a classic standing head and shoulders over the imitators.

Carpenter also provides the spooky soundtrack, music which can give you a chill even without the visuals!

Recommended.

10/10