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.
Here we go with the first Singles Night of 2021! The Virtual Hot Tub is ecstatic with anticipation for the return of these playlists.
What’s it all about? Well, I’m glad you asked. The singles in question are 45rpm vinyl singles, which I have accumulated over time from various sources. The plan: listen to the records, side A then side B, one after the other without skipping any in the pile. Whilst drinking booze.
Let’s see how I got on this time…
The Temptations – “Psychedelic Shack” / “That’s the Way Love Is”
Queen – “Killer Queen” / “Flick of the Wrist”
Buzzcocks – “I Don’t Mind” / “Autonomy”
The Clash – “Bankrobber” / “Rockers Galore… UK Tour”
The Clash – “Complete Control” / “City of the Dead”
The Damned – “History of the World Part 1” / “I Believe the Impossible” / “Sugar & Spite”
Skids – “Sweet Suburbia” / “Open Sound”
The Beach Boys – “Mona” / “Rock and Roll Music” / “Sail on Sailor” / “Marcella”
ABBA – “Head Over Heels” / “The Visitors”
Bananarama – “Cheers Then” / “Girl About Town”
The Belle Stars – “Sign of the Times” / “Madness”
Chicory Tip – “Son of My Father” / “Pride Comes Before a Fall”
John Farnham – “You’re the Voice” / “Going, Going, Gone”
Stevie Wonder – “My Cherie Amour” / “Don’t Know Why I Love You”
Bardo – “One Step Further” / “Lady of the Night”
The Motors – “Love and Loneliness” / “Time for Make-Up”
Hot Chocolate – “So You Win Again” / “A Part of Being with You”
Elton John – “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” / “Screw You”
Blondie – “The Tide is High” / “Susie and Jeffrey”
Slade – “We’ll Bring the House Down” / “Hold on to Your Hats”
Twenty – count ’em – twenty great tracks. Well, mostly. A solid offering from the world of punk rock in that collection, with the Buzzcocks, Clash, Damned and Skids singles all being salvaged from a local charity shop. Lucky day.
I had a great night spinning these discs, there are some really awesome records to add to the collection there. Time for more soon. Stay tuned!
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!
Who remembers that old TV programme, The Fall Guy? You know, the one where the Six Million Dollar Man becomes a stuntman/bounty hunter, getting into all kinds of daredevil scrapes whilst pursuing the bad guys? At the end of every episode, old Lee Majors (for it was he) would be seen chilling in his backyard hot tub, mulling over events whilst drinking a cold beer and smoking a big, fat cigar.
Well let it be known that I, too, like to relax in the tub with a beer after a long, hard day of whatever-the-fuck-it-is-I-do. None of your business, really. Just take it from me, I need to unwind in a mass of bubble bath, with candles and refreshment. And of course, some music, just to add to the ambience.
This might not sound very metal to you, but let me tell ya: this new album from doom metal originator Scott “Wino” Weinrich would make ideal tunes for chilling in the tub. Or pondering lost loves and fortunes in a dusty bar. Or sound tracking a lonely drive across the desert, escaping an inevitable encounter. But to be honest, I like the bathtub metaphor best, ‘cos I’ve not used it before.
“Forever Gone” is stripped down and intimate; the title song itself is just Wino the man, plus acoustic guitar. Beautifully melancholic, the listener can really get lost in this. “Taken” also ploughs a lonesome path, with Wino’s voice revealing a soulfulness that I’d never appreciated before.
For any fans of The Obsessed or Saint Vitus who were hoping for something louder and more aggressive, there’s not too much of a leap from familiar ground really. Other than the sonics, the emotions of loss and despair are what unifies Wino’s other output to this endeavour. “Dark Ravine” brings a more Americana style to the proceedings, but it’s all still intense as hell, whether the guitars are turned right up or not.
It’s not all gloom, though: “You’re So Fine” introduces a laid back, country blues number that sounds almost boogie-ish. Throw in a great cover of Joy Division’s “Isolation” and this is an album that’s certainly full of surprises.
Great music can create images in your head for your own movie; “Forever Gone” is one of those. Melodic yet mournful, intense and introspective, there are dozens of stories to be told within the grooves of this record.
Hit singles! All time classic songs! Novelty throw-away rubbish! From the cool to the crap, it’s all to be found at Platinum Al’s Virtual Hot Tub on a Singles Night.
You see, what I do is, listen to a pile of old 7 inch singles that have been languishing in my “not played yet” pile. They could have come from anywhere: genuine gems that I’ve tracked down; record fair lucky finds; or – more likely – junk I find in charity shops.
Pour yourself a drink and check this list out. Do you own any of these on vinyl? What are your favourites? What should be consigned to a fiery pit and melted down?
Kim Wilde – “You Came” / “Stone”
Louis Armstrong – “All the Time in the World” / “Pretty Little MIssy”
The Hollies – “The Air That I Breathe” / “No More Riders”
Duran Duran – “The Wild Boys” / “(I’m Looking for) Cracks in the Pavement (1984)”
Bananarama – “Robert De Niro’s Waiting” / “Push!”
The Beach Boys – “Good Vibrations” / “Heroes and Villains”
Justin Hayward – “Forever Autumn” / “The Fighting Machine”
The Buggles – “Video Killed the Radio Star” / “Kid Dynamo”
ABBA – “Angeleyes” / “Voulez-Vous”
The Creatures – “Miss the Girl” / “Hot Springs in the Snow”
Blondie – “Rapture” / “Walk Like Me”
Bobby Patrick Band – “Dallas Theme” / “The Waltons Theme”
The Beatles – “The Ballad of John and Yoko” / “Old Brown Shoe”
Goombay Dance Band – “Seven Tears” / “Mama Coco”
Lionel Richie – “All Night Long (All Night)” / “Wandering Stranger”
Donna Summer – “Dim All the Lights” / “There Will Always Be a You”
Jermaine Stewart – “We Don’t Have to…” / “Brilliance”
Allan Sherman – “Mexican Hat Dance” / “Won’t You Come Home Disraeli?”
Earth, Wind and Fire – “Let’s Groove” / “Let’s Groove (Instrumental)”
Pointer Sisters – “I’m so Excited” / “What a Surprise”
Some classics indeed. Another great night of a couple of small drinkies and spinning wax: I recommend it to anyone.
First of all, an important note for all readers: Randy Holden is NOT the name of a winning hand in strip poker. I used the phrase at a recent gathering at my Rock’n’Roll Naturist Society club, and nearly got a bunch of fives from Ozzy as a thank you. Tommy Lee was up for it though, as you can probably imagine.
Anyway, Randy Holden is actually a guitar pioneer who served some time with proto-metal giants Blue Cheer, before splitting to take the helm of his own project. Population II was the result – a far ahead of it’s time Big Bang of doom and sludge metal.
Originally receiving a limited release in 1969, this album has earned cult status with afficionados of early heavy rock. And it’s no surprise why; “Population II” is a huge sounding, riff driven behemoth that sounds like it simply can’t have been created in that time period.
But it was. The era that popular culture tells us was the age of peace and love also birthed this unholy slab of heavy noise. Randy Holden, like his previous bandmates in Blue Cheer, was happily stomping all over flower power.
Of course, “Population II” is totally over the top. “Guitar Song” is the first track, featuring the somewhat unimaginative opening line “I love the sound of a guitar playing” – so no marks for lyrical finesse. If you’re after poetry, this probably ain’t for you. Instead it’s six minutes of slow, heavy driving riff-based rock that sets the tone for the album.
“Fruit Icebergs” is an outstanding name for any song; in fact, I might steal it for a band name. Slow like cooling lava, with a doom-laden melancholic sound – It’s dark in a Sabbath way. Whereas the shorter “Between Time” picks up the pace a little and borrows a chorus from “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”.
“Blue My Mind” is less gloomy, but certainly taps into the blues with a hint of Hendrix. The final song, “Keeper of my Flame” is over 10 minutes of pulsating, repetitive riff wrestling that doesn’t out stay it’s welcome. Ol’ Randy stretches for the epic here and pretty much nails it, strangling that guitar and taking the listener on a heroic journey.
Yet another history lesson for which we can thank the scholars at Riding Easy Records, Randy Holden’s “Population II” is back in circulation and worth taking time to investigate. You’ll wonder how this was lost for so long.
Time to relax and enjoy more of the joys of vinyl! Yes, it’s another Singles Night at the Virtual Hot Tub, where I spend an evening playing through my stack of 7 inch records. No skipping, no choosing anything out of order – just A then B side and make the most of it.
With the aid of some alcoholic beverages, of course!
In this edition, there’s another eclectic mix of songs from artists of various genres – including some absolute bangers. Let’s go!
Madness – “One Step Beyond” / “Mistakes”
Bad Company – “Rock’n’Roll Fantasy” / ” Crazy Circles”
Rick James – “Dance Wit Me (Part 1)” / “Dance Wit Me (Part 2)”
INXS – “Taste It” / “Light the Planet”
ZZ Top – “Legs” / “Bad Girl”
Landscape – “Einstein A Go-Go” / “New Religion”
Billy Idol – “Mony Mony” / “Shakin’ All Over (Live)”
Fine Young Cannibals – “Johnny Come Home” / “Good Times and Bad”
James Brown – “Living in America” / Vince DiCola – “Farewell”
The Sweet – “Teenage Rampage” / “Own Up, Take a Look at Yourself”
Sham 69 – “Hersham Boys” / “I Don’t Wanna” / “Tell us the Truth”
Judas Priest – “Take On the World” / “Starbreaker”
Madam X – “High in High School” / “Metal in my Veins”
Wings – “Live and Let Die” / “I Lie Around”
The Beach Boys – “Do It Again” / “Wake the World”
The Joan Collins Fan Club – “Leader of the Pack” / “Jacques”
Elton John – “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” / “Jack Rabbit” / “Whenever You’re Ready (We’ll Go Steady Again”
Lee Marvin – “Wand’rin’ Star” / Clint Eastwood – “I Talk to the Trees”
Suzi Quatro – “Can the Can” / “Ain’t You Somethin’ Honey”
Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin – “Je T’Aime… Moi Non Plus” / “Jane B.”
Bee Gees – “Tragedy” / “Until”
And there you have it! A great collection of tunes and a fun night. My favourite Bond theme, plus a load of class artists including The Beach Boys, Elton John, Billy Idol, Bad Company, Madness, James Brown and more.
No idea who Madam X are, that was a 20p find and I bought it on the strength of the cover. Turned out to be dodgy 80s metal, unsurprisingly. It was quite good.
Bonus points to any reader who can tell me: who was the Joan Collins Fan Club?
Stay tuned for more Singles Nights soon – I’ve still got a heck of a lot of vinyl to play through…
NB: The Fine Young Cannibals track was inside an Alarm sleeve. I thought I’d picked up “Spirit of ’76” for 20p in a charity shop, but no such luck: it was FYC instead. Such are the perils I encounter. On a happy note though, the FYC tune was a belter.
Archaeologists of rock from Riding Easy Records have once again delved into the depths of the forgotten to present this, the ninth instalment of their “Brown Acid” series. They have unearthed yet more obscure gems from the past, in order to entertain and enlighten those obsessives who love to investigate the DNA of rock.
Call it heavy rock, proto metal, garage rock – whatever, these Brown Acid compilations offer a wealth of hard to find material.
The songs may be long lost relics, but they sure ain’t amateur. In fact, it’s surprising how well they’ve cleaned up – and how well produced some of them were in the first place. Take the first track, White Lightning’s “Prelude to Opus IV”, which is surprisingly grand and opulent.
I won’t play favourites, but Peacepipe’s “The Sun Won’t Shine Forever” has an almost Stooges like sound, filtered through Californian psychedelia. Magi’s “Win or Lose” sounds like Grand Funk playing an MC5 song, while Stonewall’s “Outer Spaced” holds the most outrageous riff of the set, with perhaps a touch of Hendrix.
Elsewhere, the fantastically named Fibreglass Vegetables offer up a more laid back, groovy but still heavy song with “Pain”. “Rebel Woman” by Erik (a simpler name, but that’s cool) is another superb rocker that demonstrates some real song writing and arranging talent.
Not as bluesy as Zeppelin or as heavy as Sabbath, the songs on offer are a fine example of rock’n’roll of the time. It doesn’t take much to imagine the guys from Fu Manchu listening to these pre-stoner rock goodies, sat in their van waiting for the cry of “surf’s up”.
This 9th edition of the Brown Acid compilation offers retro quality, never kitsch or silly, with tons of infectious music. It’s easy to wonder why some of these bands never became more famous. At least Riding Easy have done the hard work for us, dusting off the artefacts and preserving them for all to enjoy.
White Lightning – “Prelude to Opus IV”
Peacepipe – “The Sun Won’t Shine Forever”
Magi – “Win or Lose”
Fibreglass Vegetables – “Pain”
Erik – “Rebel Woman”
Stonewall – “Outer Spaced”
Ice – “Running High”
Spacerock – “Going Down the Road”
Buckshot – “Barstar”
9 – “Paradiddle Blues”
Visit Riding Easy records on the interweb here, they also have a Bandcamp page.
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!
Here’s another review I wrote for Ever Metal, which I can share with you now. This album was also one of my Top 10 of 2019…
Speedealer – Blue Days Black Nights
Rise Up and Fall Records
Release date: ?
Running time: 30 mins
Review by: Alun Jones
Curse you, Speedealer! I had pretty much decided on my Top 10 albums for 2019, and then these guys turn up with this rocket fuelled bruiser of a record. The year had started off slowly, to be honest – but great new music has been arriving at a rapid pace recently. And just when I was about to bed down for a long winter nap, Speedealer turned everything up to 11 and ruined my plans.
The album is called “Blue Days, Black Nights”. It’s fast, crazy, adrenaline pumped rock’n’roll and it never stops pounding home the righteous sounds till it’s brief-but-beautiful 30 minute lifespan is over. At which point, I tend to just start again from the beginning.
The first song is called “Never New” and it smashes in, steals your whiskey and is gone in under a minute and a half. That’s reckless by anyone’s standards.
It ain’t all super-fast punk’n’roll though, there’s many a change of pace to be heard. “Rheumatism” and “War Nicht Genug” both feature riffs that are heavy and brutal. Elsewhere, in “Sold Out”, the band unleash a tortured performance of a song that would be a blues rocker, but is far too dense and violent for that phrase to fit snugly.
Never mess with Texas, goes the old saying. And these Texan boys do not fanny about AT ALL on this fine collection of tunes. Instead, “Blue Days Black Nights” will drag you along like an out of control stag party: full of booze-filled fun, ridiculous antics and dangerous detours. I’m deducting half a point for the terrible cover art, otherwise this one’s a killer.
FUN FACT: Speedealer used to be called REO Speedealer – which let’s face it, is a much better name – until REO Speedwagon got wind of it and issued a cease and desist. Anyone with a sense of humour would surely take that name as an homage, right? You’d think the miserable old bastards would’ve enjoyed being put back on the map.
What’s that? Ever Metal’s lawyers are on the phone? Court order from who? Oops…