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!
Hello there, reader! Welcome to my Virtual Hot tub. Grab a drink and chill out in the warm, comforting water – it’s time to play some more 7 inch vinyl records!
That’s right folks, I’m spinning more records and having a little drinkie. First off the top of the pile, A side then B side, working my way through the vinyl I’ve not played yet. No picking and choosing, just playing whatever’s next.
Here’s the latest batch:
Madness – “Michael Caine” / “If You Think There’s Something”
Elton John – “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” / “Screw You”
Peter Howell & The BBC Radiophonic Workshop – “Doctor Who” / “The Astronauts”
Madonna – “Into the Groove” / “Shoo-Bee-Doo”
Faces – “Pool Hall Richard” / “I Wish It Would Rain”
The Boomtown Rats – “I Don’t Like Mondays” / “It’s All the Rage”
Los Lobos – “La Bamba” / “Charlena”
Elton John – “Song for Guy” / “Lovesick”
Cozy Powell – “Dance with the Devil” / “And Then There Was Skin”
C+C Music Factory (ft. Freedom Williams – “Things That Make You Go Hmmm… (7” Remix) / “Things That Make You Go Hmmm… (LP Version)”
Divinyls – “I Touch Myself” / “Follow Through”
Marillion – “Kayleigh” / “Lady Nina”
Glen Campbell & Rita Coolidge – “Somethin’ ‘Bout You Baby I Like” / “Late Night Confession”
The Fun Boy Three with Bananarama – “T’Ain’t What You Do (It’s the Way That You Do It)” / “The Funarama Theme”
Diana Ross – “Why Do Fools Fall in Love” / “Think I’m in Love”
Duran Duran – “Union of the Snake” / “Secret Oktober”
Kate Robbins – “More Than in Love” / “Now”
Jan Hammer – “Crockett’s Theme” / “Miami Vice: New York Theme”
Status Quo – “Caroline” / “Joanne”
Yes, that Glen Campbell/Rita Coolidge IS the same as the Quo classic! Quite a few fun tunes in that session, including one of my favourite Madness songs ever, double for Elton, and a great Miami Vice theme.
Not one, but three album reviews for you this week: Re-released by Heavy Psych Sounds, these three albums from Dozer are back and bouncing. Here’s my review, as it originally appeared on Ever Metal and now here for your perusal:
Dozer – In the Tail of a Comet/Madre de Dios/Call it Conspiracy
Heavy Psych Sounds
Release date: 13/03/2020, 20/03/2020
Running time: 38 mins, 40 mins, 56 mins
Review by: Alun Jones
8.5/10, 9/10, 9.5/10
Don’t you just love it when you find a new band to obsess about? Music so awesome, so perfect that it just lights up your life. Well, Dozer have filled that gap in my existence recently – I can’t believe how I endured without them before. Though these three albums are all reissues from the early part of the 21st century, so fuck knows what I’ve been up to for the last 20 years. Seriously, what was I doing back then that meant I missed out on this?
Hailing from the wonderful land of Sweden, a place which must have some kind of genetic master code for musical excellence, Dozer are a mighty stoner rock collective delivering heavy, intense and groove laden tunes. I don’t know how or why the Swedes are so good at this – is it the long, dark winter isolation? The never-ending day light in summer? Agnetha Falkstog’s tight pants? There’s something magical happening there, that’s for sure.
Italian label Heavy Psych Sounds have done the world a remarkable, philanthropic favour by re-issuing these three albums by the band. And, praise Tony Iommi, on beautiful, sexy vinyl too. This really is a wondrous, benevolent gift to bestow upon us.
So, what does the music sound like, you ask (at least you do if, like me, you were clueless enough to be unaware of Dozer previously)? First album “In the Tail of a Comet” (8.5/10) erupts into beautiful, head nodding, rolling riffs from the off. Layers of fuzzy, psychedelic invention and heavy rhythms usher us into their world. A particular highlight is the finale, “High Roller”, where although the band take their foot off the gas a little, they create a trippy, vast soundscape to get lost in.
Nay-sayers may choose to point out Dozer’s obvious similarity to Kyuss; hell, even singer Fredrik Nordin sounds like a carbon copy John Garcia. With their second album, “Madre de Dios” (9/10), that influence becomes less pronounced as their own creativity develops. This second album seems more brutal, more aggressive. It doesn’t take long, however, to reveal more textures and experiments with the formula – see “Earth Yeti”. Album number 2 is a faster, heavier, punkier version of Dozer – yet still expanding on the desert rock template.
By the time we get to the final album of this reissued trio – the immense “Call It Conspiracy” (9.5/10) – Dozer have developed their own sound and personality yet further. The Kyuss/FU Manchu influence is still there, but Dozer have grown into something of their own. This album is the heaviest, most “metal” work – but still creative as it stretches those stoner boundaries into new, warped shapes. Whether it’s full throttle rock’n’roll with lead track “The Hills Have Eyes” or groove laden head-nodder “Man Made Mountain”, there’s much to explore here.
Gushing praise, indeed: but if you, dear reader, are a fan of the crushing riffs, unrestrained groove and sonic washes of stoner/desert rock – these Dozer albums are highly recommended. Tune in, turn on and explore these revived classics now.
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.
Best years of my life? 15/16 years old, skateboarding all day and hanging around with my friends. It was the late 1980s, and the days of the 180 Boneless, No Comply and learning to Ollie. Back when kickflips were the raddest trick in the car park – except we called them “Ollie kickflips” back then.
This was also the time when I started to really veer off the obvious track as far as music was concerned. Skate videos and Thrasher magazine began to open up a whole new world of music. Sometimes these bands would enter the mainstream a couple of years later; sometimes they never did.
I remember hearing a great song on a Vision video. I had no idea what the song was called, but worked out from the credits that it was most likely performed by the Descendents. I recorded the song onto cassette off the TV as there was no other way to hear it. A few months later, on a skate buying trip to Manchester, I stumbled across a record shop that stocked a few records by the band. I had to buy one: taking a gamble on “All” as it featured a song called “Coolidge”, which fitted the lyrics of the track I loved. I was so stoked when I got home, played the vinyl and heard the song I was hoping for! Great album, all in all.
This practice of researching and hunting became a big feature of my relationship with music ever since.
Skating all day, then listening to music in the evening was a big part of my teenage years. This playlist is designed to reflect those days: music I enjoyed back then and became the soundtrack to that time.
Some songs featured in skate videos (McRad, Odd Man Out). Some were checked out after I saw them advertised or reviewed in Thrasher (The Cult, Misfits). Others were just part of the current soundscape, and are forever linked with those halcyon days.
Here’s the playlist I made, split into a two CD format:
McRad – “Weakness”
Odd Man Out – “Four Thirty One”
Descendents – “Coolidge”
Sex Pistols – “Holidays in the Sun”
Devo – “That’s Good”
Black Sabbath – “Paranoid”
Motorhead – “Killed by Death”
Faith No More – “We Care a Lot”
Misfits – “Astro Zombies”
Hard-Ons – “Don’t Wanna See You Cry”
The Stupids – “Skid Row”
Beastie Boys – “She’s On It”
Circle Jerks – “Wild in the Streets”
Spermbirds – “Something to Prove”
Dead Kennedys – “California Uber Alles”
Suicidal Tendencies – “Possessed to Skate”
Generation X – “One Hundred Punks”
The Cult – “Wildflower”
The Damned – “Love Song”
Red Hot Chili Peppers – “Higher Ground”
Fishbone – “Freddie’s Dead”
Iggy Pop – “Cold Metal”
GBH – “Too Much”
Mudhoney – “Sweet Young Thing Ain’t Sweet No More”
Ramones – “I Just Wanna Have Something To Do”
The Stranglers – “Peaches”
Bad Brains – “Soul Craft”
Gang Green – “Church of Fun”
Metallica – “The Thing That Should Not Be”
Jimi Hendrix Experience – “Purple Haze”
Rolling Stones – “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
Jesus Jones – “Never Enough”
The Skids – “Into the Valley”
Fugazi – “Blueprint”
Some of the above tracks I owned on vinyl or cassette back in the day; some I found in later years. There are still plenty of other bands from skate videos that I either still haven’t tracked down, or as I didn’t own them at the time I’ve omitted for now.
Instead, this is a basic playlist to represent my late 80s skateboarding days, boiled down to the bare essentials. I hope you enjoy and these bring back some memories.
And this sin’t an exhaustive list: how Anthrax and Run DMC didn’t get included is baffling. Maybe I can expand with some more for a Part 2…
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…
And lo, it was time for another Singles Night at Platinum Al’s Virtual Hot Tub. Join me yet again, as I play through my stack of freshly acquired 7″ vinyl singles – A side then B side – on a musical odyssey that will thrill and amaze.
You may want a few drinks as well.
Here’s the playlist this time:
Elvis Presley – “Love Me Tender” / “Anyway You Want Me (That’s How I Will Be)”
Small Faces – “Lazy Sunday” / “Rollin’ Over”
Boney M – “Painter Man” / “He Was a Steppenwolf”
Beastie Boys – “She’s On It” / “Slow and Low”
Zodiac Mindwarp & The Love Reaction – “Backseat Education” / “Whore of Babylon”
Madness – “Baggy Trousers” / “The Business”
The Osmonds – “Crazy Horses” / “That’s My Girl”
Ian Dury & The Blockheads – “Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick” / “There Ain’t Half Been Some Clever Bastards”
The Jam – “When You’re Young” / “Smithers-Jones”
Kim Carnes – “Bette Davis Eyes” / “Miss You Tonite”
Toyah – “Brave New World” / “Warrior Rock”
The Who – “You Better You Bet” / “The Quiet One”
Suzi Quatro – “The Wild One” / “Shake My Sugar”
Madness – “Night Boat to Cairo” / “Deceives the Eye” / “The Young and the Old” / “Don’t Quote Me On That”
Bon Jovi – “You Give Love a Bad Name” / “Let It Rock”
Freddie Mercury – “Love Kills” / Giorgio Moroder – “Rotwang’s Party (Robot Dance)”
Siouxsie & The Banshees – “Dear Prudence” / “Tattoo”
The Kinks – “Good Day” / “Too Hot”
Bob Marley & The Wailers – “No Woman, No Cry” / “Kinky Reggae”
Dexy’s Midnight Runners – “Geno” / “Breakin’ Down the Walls of Heartache”
Toy Dolls – “Nellie the Elephant” / “Fisticuffs in Frederick Street”
Rainbow – “All Night Long” / “Weiss Heim”
The Motors – “Forget About You” / “Picturama”
Angelic Upstarts – “Never ‘Ad Nothin'” / “Nowhere Left to Hide”
Wow. That was a spectacular evening’s music. Just look at the quality tunes in that list! I think the Zodiac Mindwarp track was my favourite, but there are loads of legendary artists and great songs there.
Don’t laugh at the Osmonds track – that song is amazing. I’m more embarrassed about the Bon Jovi number – but what the hell, it was fun.
And Nellie the Elephant by Toy Dolls was just superb – took me right back to my childhood, the day after hearing that song on Top of the Pops. A school playground classic, along with “Baggy Trousers”.
All of the records are in a random order, so there’s no guessing what might appear next in the queue. But that turned out to be one of the best nights of music listening in a long while, with a wide variety of genres represented.