Saturday, 18 February 2012

Now I

Welcome to the LAST EVER blog for Owen in Rock


I'll tell you shouting Jeremy - because in the next show (Sixties II) I will resume my talking and there will be NO NEED for this essentially superfluous tie-in blog.


Now could you please leave Jeremy you're horrifying the cats.

Witchcraft are one hell of a band. Also, they're fucking Swedish. They are so vintage that they make my face hurt. The album cover here is obviously what I butchered for the show there, and it itself is a modifcation of Aubrey Beardsley's pen-and-ink drawing of Merlin in a lateVictorian version of  the Death of King Arthur. So there. No help from Wikipedia.
Chrome Hoof are my favourite band. I fucking love them. Vapourise is a song from 2010's Crush Depth - a kick arse doom-electro-funk-psychedelic-space-rock record of sublime odditude. I recommend you investigate them. Also Ford Prefect joins them at the end (from the early noughties re-invention of Hitchhiker's that I also recommend).
Anthrax here, "remastering" some of their old songs through the medium of smearing John Bush on them. Sod John Bush. Can't beat early Anthrax though, no matter who's bellowing it - and it sounds nicely current at the very least. And this has a better cover than Fistful of Metal (which Panic was originally on) by about ten miles. I mean look at it.
Seriously what the fuck is that about? The physics are ridiculous let alone the fact that the hand is tiny. Is that a child's hand? Why is a child punching out through the back of that guy's head?! The voice you hear between this and the next song is Mrs Gunderson. Obviously.
Interglacial Spell is by Amplifier - a sorting of plodding neo-prog band from t'Manchester. I saw them recently in Sheffield and they had this octopus thing on a tie. I wanted to buy it. I didn't. Maybe I'll always regret it - but that's something for FutureOwen to deal with. You can listen to the entire of last years The Octopus album on BandCamp - for FREE. IF YOU FEEL THE NEED.
You Already Know were a Scottish sort of ... instrumental (?math) rock band. I think they've folded now but last year's Petrol Money is a bloomin' lovely record. Full of great (?math) tunes - that you can attach any name to. Math you could call it. Sludge probably not. It's a bit of a game. Gludder is my favourite genre.
This is a live version of World Wide Suicide from Pearl Jam's sprawling "Live at the Gorge" live album - which is seven discs long and VERY MUCH WORTH IT (don't listen to me I'm massively biased). This track is from... the sixth disc. July 23rd 2006 it was, a hot and sticky night in the Gorge Amphitheatre by all accounts and one where much Pearl Jam was played. The song is, of course, from 2006's "Pearl Jam" album.
These Bees I Breed (Know What I Need) is a neat little ditty from a duo known elusively as Dan Shandy and The Shambling Dandies - they were big in 2010 for about a day I think but since then I don't know what's happened to either of them. Although the guitarist Ron Lamp highly recommends Gilmore Trail
I don't actually know who Mitch Laddie is, I'll be honest. I guess he's one of those new blues guitarist. One of those types - he showed up on one of those Classic Rock cover CDs that have loads of new blues guitarists on them. That are all not Joe Bonamassa. He's got a very youthful voice though and This Time Around has got a nice restrained swing behind it. Could be good. Also - look out for a wee bit of Vic Reeves at the end. I put that in. Wow.
Joe Satriani is the big boots of instrumental mainstream rock records. All of his are bloody good - also he's got a head like a plucked falcon.
This is The Atomic Bitchwax with Cloning Chamber from their second record. It's heavy-as-hell stoner 'n' roll and I'm addicted to it. Also worth tracking down is their live "Boxriff" compilation which is like this only superfuckinglive.
Dozer are underrated as hell - another Swedish heavyband that I've got all the time in the world for. This track which I DELIGHTFULLY misspelled but am unwilling to correct is called Octanoid and it's from 2001's "Madre de Dios" - if you like it I politely request that you go and hoover a lot of it up because it's magic.
The Hidden Hand were a sort of... conspiracy-stoner band formed by the legendary Scott "Wino" Weinrich who makes literally every other musician in the universe seem lazy. Apart from Devin Townshend.
Most songs are about conspiracies and whatnot but it's all a lark. This is from 2005's "Divine Propaganda"
Now - I'm fairly indifferent to The Black Keys whose take on Blues Rock doesn't really sound any different to any other band that have ever called themselves Blues Rock. Apart from the fact that they're massive with the AWFULLY TRENDY. Dan Auerbach however, recorded a fucking spectacular solo album in 2009 full of atmospheric mournful tunes that kicks the living arse. This is the prettiest of them but the album is actually quite raw. Neat.
Finally - it wouldn't be a now show without ...uh, Bruce Dickinson. Seriously though, love the man and his solo stuff is excellent. Tyranny of Souls came out in 2005 and this is a track from it. Although, of course that's a Hans Memling painting on the cover. It's a demon. It's what Hans Memling thought demons looked like. The nutter.

That's it - !

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Nineties I

WELL I NEVER - who knew that the nineties could fit into one show...and avoid all the groundbreaking things being done by shoegazers, trip hoppers, indie poppers and art rockers? Instead I focus on the heavy dogs, the lardy canines wot dominated the lank-haired greasy eared headphones of those in shirts and jeans.

Magic Roundabout by Acid Reign. Off of "The Worst Of" which this show's cover is STOLEN from. Except instead of Les, the bald mute assistant of Vic Reeves' Big Night Out fame, it's me. I have no fear of chives, I have no love of spirit levels. All I feel is a trepidation that I'll potentially go bald. Acid Reign were prime "silly thrashers" from t'North. It's a barren land and needs all the silliness it can get.
Megadeth, on the other hand, are not that silly. Well actually yes they are. This song isn't too silly though - the title track from 1992's Countdown to Extinction. Here they are ECONOMICALLY ANXIOUS thrashers. Admire the melodies and carefully dissect the Mustaine drawl to access the meat within.
Stevie Salas is a funk guitarist - who as a young man toured with the Parliament Funkadelic P-Funk roadshow - on this here record, he and a bunch of mates recorded covers and basically had a lark. It's good fun - and here Zakk Wylde plays the solo and VINCE RUBY sings - it's a Rick Derringer song. WHO'S VINCE RUBY you ask? I don't fucking know.
and then Arcturus appeared and ruined the party by freaking out. This seminal Norwegian bunch of AVANT GARDENERS tramped about Europe in the dark nineties days and bugged people. Garm sang, Hellhammer drummed, and I was at school. Knowing little about it. It's an incestuous thing, Norwegian metal, and you'll find a veritable who's who of them swanning about the Arcturus family tree. Stepping on apples.
What happened to Anthrax in the nineties I hear you ask with barely any interest - well they got less silly and hired John Bush. That was it.
Groove metal.

What's that?

I don't know. It's what they call Pantera.


Not sure. Sounds good though.

Does it?

To me it does.

Why do you like it?

It's heavy.

Fair enough.
Animal by Pearl Jam - from that TRICKY second album - a short sharp blast of grungy fury that I'm rather fond of. It's basically Eddar Veddo (actual name, look it up) ranting about record company bosses. Or something. He liked to rant that boy. Now he likes to surf, which I understand is much harder to do and therefore more rewarding.
Ah... stoner. My favourite of all nineties musical movements - the heavy riffage, the grooves, the obligatory use of the word "stoner". By all accounts Orange Goblin are more drinkers than tokers - by god I love them hairy bastards. Also - possibly the best album title in recorded history.
What is this?! The Zakk Wylde show? No, no that would be awful. Pride & Glory are a sort of countrified metally type project by the bikery bloke - it's all good solid fun and great to play the popular drinking game "SPOT THE OVERUSE OF PINCH HARMONICS" ahh yea mamma lawd
Morphine. A sort of strange laid-back "low rock" trio from Massachusetts formed by the now-dead amazingly-named Mark Sandman whose sonorous tones and two-string slide bass playing make Morphine ALRIGHT WITH ME.
Talking of "low rock" no other early band from the early nineties make such a fucking horrendously muddy racket than White Zombie - culty as the day is long. Interesting fact: The album appeared in it's entirety on the soundtrack to "Way of the Warrior" an ultra violent beat-em-up on the rarely-seen 3DO console.
I mean... WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT?! Why has it got a bright orange revolver?!
Lord of Putrefaction were Jus Oborn's first band (that's RIGHT Electric Wizard's Jus Oborn)ad it's foul funeral doom of the grimmest order. It was recorded in '91 for a split EP with Mortal Remains - who as far as I can tell never did anything ever again. None of them. They just dug holes and climbed in them and stayed there. The compilation record Pre Electric Wizard also contains two other pre-Electric Wizard bands "Eternal" and "They Grief Eternal" and is ordered backwards so it gets harder to listen to the further it goes on. Which is, you know, basically what the entire genre is about. Doom, it's a beautiful game. for ANTI DOOM. The Black Crowes - a sort-of nineties revival blues band who produced feather-shakin' tamborine-tappin' retro rock for people who were FAR TOO TRENDY to like The Allman Brothers Band. That's alright with me though, lawdy mamma. After all, is this not a BOB MARLEY song?! Oh my my.
Look at that pretentious sod. It's Steve Vai - guitar botherer and producer of DISTINCTLY nineties sounds. If I had to define the early nineties gloss - that sort of eighties hangover with more fringes - I'd go here. Neat little tune is this.

THAT'S IT - THIS WAS THE NINETIES. Next week, we'll be dipping our face IN THE NOW


Thursday, 26 January 2012

Eighties I

This be what you seek, it's only sodding eighties week...

Megadeth with Mary Jane - also the basis of the show's cover this week. I do like a bit of Megadeth and *ahem* unfortunately at the age of twentyfour I still haven't found it in me to prefer Metallica. Or even think about Metallica. No offence to Metallica - not that I'm sure they mind. I love MegaDave and his crew - and their gonzo vaguely politicized early period is music to my ears. Crunchy music.
I've always maintained that Aerosmith, no matter what period they're in are at least forty percent better than you think they are. A fine boogie band if ever there was one - and here in 1989 they were still surfing on their resurgence in popularity - My Girl is a fine little song and simple as a ball.
Diamond Head are one of the most vibrant bands of the early eighties - and sod it but their story of self destruction is almost addictively horrible. Cork your head around Streets of Gold a B-side from a 1980 single - reissued on various copies of their debut album. Which itself is TIGHT. LIKE A PARTICULARLY TIGHT PAIR OF SHOES. If it enraptures you I recommend you listen further in.
Beyond the Doors of the Dark is a sonorous little ditty from Savatage's 1987 album "Hall of the Mountain King". A heavy metal record so gorgeously unaware that it's got THAT as an album cover. Good god they could play though - and the older they got the better it was. I love this record - I used to wear a backpatch of the album cover that always had the chavs at college talking. I'm sure it was all good. A vibrant  and extraordinary band.
The meatiest head in rock - seminal bar blues king George Thorogood and his Delaware Destroyers ruled the sweaty beer-soaked holes of the eighties with their irresistible Bo Diddley beat and sinisterly snake-skinned suits. This is from the mid-eighties and it's a trifle more witty than you'd think. That's right, a trifle is a unit of measurement now.
It gets no more metal than Judas Priest. It literally ACTUALLY can't get more metal. Top scientists the world over have been trying to make things MORE metal but it physically can't be done. With Rapid Fire off of 1980's "British Steel" the Priest were ... well, they were simply forging the furnace for the final grand slam weren't they? The voice at the beginning was, indeed, Arthur Dent from the Hitchhiker's Secondary Phase (also 1980). In many ways also metal.
Fight Sequence is, naturally, a Hawkwind song. From "Live Chronicles" a mid-eighties... well, Live Chronicle of their tour for "The Chronicle of the Black Sword", a particularly Moorcockian voyage through atmospherics and hysterics. Well worth hearing I do love Hawkwind - even out of the seventies it's all good. Also - that clip at beginning - is clearly from Monty Python's Meaning of Life. interesting record from the 72nd year of John Lee Hooker's considerably excellent existence. Rockin' Chair is from 1989's The Healer which featured such ... relevant artists as Bonnie Raitt, Carlos Santana and Los Lobos - also the aforementioned Thorogood. This one though, is all Hooker's own and it's extraordinarily atmospheric. Do loves me some Hooker. Shouldn't have said that.
Who's up for some eighties Black Sabbath?!

No one? Really?! It's actually not as terrible as you think. Tony Martin is on vocals and... well the eighties is certainly there. As well as riff titan Tony Iommi and some session players. It's Sabbathness is debatable but good lord it's got some good riffage buried in there. It's like wading through a confusing eighties sea (see extended metaphor on Mixcloud description).
Classic "athletic rock" trio Raven kick the living shit out of most sappy turgid bands from the early Nwobhm era simply by being louder, faster and overall more ridiculous. I challenge anyone to wail as convincingly as John Gallagher. Are they the best band from Newcastle? Probably.
I don't know what to say apart from that I FUCKING LOVE RUSH. Don't ask me why. ACTUALLY DO. Ask "Why do you like this pompous Canadian trio? Why do you enjoy their self-involved atmospheric instrumental rambles? Why do you adore the astronomically high-pitched-yet-eloquent vocals?" Why do you ask rhetorical questions? I wear this album cover as hoodie for the same reason crusaders wore a cross. I'M OUT TO CONVERT YOU.
Finally we're out with Albert Collins - an ICE-cold bluesman who was as sharp on the guitar as... well, ice is generally. Hence why he was known as "Iceman" hence why this album is called "Frozen Alive" hence why this song is called Cold Cuts. It's that simple.

See you in the nineties - !

O x

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Seventies I

Oh blimey - the seventies - ! Definetly wasn't present for that one... at least I don't think I was. I seem to own so much of it sonically. Perhaps even a solid decade of music, even - although most of that is probably just Yes.

This first song is clearly The Stealer by Free. This is taken from their 1970 Isle of Wight show - which has had many releases over the years - but the one I own was released in 2006. It's cover is also the basis for the show's one. Next week's is even weirder but you'll have to wait for that. Free were a very young band when they started (Andy Fraser on bass was sixteen) and quite quite basic really. I maintain that they are quite overlooked (with the exception of that one song) and their self-titled album "Free" is one the most beautiful blues rock records released in the sixties. I recommend you investigate further!

Followed by Cat Food by King Crimson. This is from 1970's "In the Wake of Poseidon" which a lot of people put down as a base copy of "In the Court of the Crimson King" but there's arguably a lot more depth here than in their not-inconsiderably-ridiculous debut. King Crimson are head-and-shoulders above a lot of their prog contemporaries for one very clear reason: They progressed. Every album of theirs tells a different story - and every year found them in a different mood. I wish they'd resurface. I fucking love the Fripp.
After a little John Cleese outrage from Monty Python Live at Drury Lane (1974) we've got CLASSIC psychedelic soul from The Tempations. Irritatingly as I'm a bit of an album monster the only version of Plastic Man I've got is on the 2003 compilation "Psychedelic Soul" - but it's originally from "Masterpiece" which is from 1973. A year of unparalleled recordings. I've always got time for soul and funk - and the Temptations of this period straddle it (LITERALLY LOOK AT THAT COVER) beautifully.

 This is Hand of Doom by Black Sabbath. I've always thought the drum track in this song was incredible, along with most of the stuff that he comes out with on the first few Sabbath albums (which are all equally breathtaking). It's all good basically, you literally can't take a step wrong in this era - also, the strange pink creature on the cover is supposed to be a War Pig. Go figure.
 Anyone's Daughter is from Deep Purple's 1971 album "Fireball" and is an interesting sonic departure from them - the album in question sits between two classics "In Rock" and "Machine Head". It gets cold there, in that valley between two enormous albums. People don't look down that valley often. There's The Mule there. I don't think this metaphor can go on long - save to say it wouldn't much of a seventies show without those hairy hard rock titans - !
Next up is Freddie King's Big Legged Woman a wonderfully lilting and classically mysognistic bit of bluesery that is fairly typical of Mr King's 70s output. It's fast, it's funky and it's bloody good. There are many Kings in the world of the blues, and Freddie certainly had the most funk. Also - apparently he had a bloody great gun in his dressing room that he would brandish menacingly at anyone entering.
The extraordinarily-named Prince Kajuku is from UFO's second album from '71. They didn't hit their stride until they found the slick fingers of Michael Schenker but here, quite hilariously, they were trying their hand at "space" rock. Hence the hilariously direct subtitle on the album here - which is actually entitled "Flying". Despite it's pretensions (there is a twenty-six minute song which culminates in a backwards-reading of Gunga Din) it's actually quite a good record. But me, I'm a sucker for ONE HOUR SPACE ROCK. Now I'm going for EIGHT MINUTE SANDWICH.

This goes quite suddenly into Sister Mary by the eternally underrated Stray. One of a few BILLION early seventies hard rock bands who never went anywhere but had some very good albums. Like Free, they were quite young on starting - this is their second from 1971 and is chock full of bloody good tracks. I think I found them via Iron Maiden who covered one of their songs on a B-side a long long time agoooo....
Then it came to pass that Robin Trower showed up. This particular rendition of the well-travelled blues standard Further on Up the Road was performed by the gurning Trowerman on the King Biscuit Flower Hour in 1977 - the chap is just... phenomenal. I love him entirely and saw him in Sheffield once in the past. The distant past.
A bit of non-standard Lynyrd Skynyrd balladry here from their 1973 debut album "Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd" - like Free it's good to investigate the bands behind the endless greatest hits albums and *spits* Kid Rock rip-offs. Despite this and free bird, Pronounced has some very kicking tunes on it. And blimey if it ain't as darn tootin' Southern as I am. But in the US. They don't like their cider as much as us Somersetians though, that's for gosh sure yar danketty
Bit of an odd transition - and it won't get less odd. Straight on to Joy Division's She's Lost Control from the second side of 1979's "Unknown Pleasures". It's dark and angular at the end of the seventies and Joy Division with their repetitive rhythms and tragic shadows summarize it wonderfully. A new addition to my ears this, and a little out-of-step with everything else but hopefully like Mingus last week it'll prick your mind up and displace you.
And without much warning there was suddenly Rush. This is from the last disc of 1997's "Different Stages" which comes from a Hammersmith Apollo show from '78 - the song is A Farewell to Kings from the album of the same name and it's a rollicking rendition. Like Deep Purple you can't have a seventies show without them, or an eighties show, a nineties show, a current show or a show about music or life or ANYTHING. I FUCKING LOVE RUSH SHUT UP.
There's something quite addictive about this song. The Pretty Things have some mighty catchy songs - here they are riding a bit of 1974 glam rock tidal wave (or torpedo) and sound closer to Mott the Hoople or one of those lads than in their majestic psychedelic 60s heyday (S.F. Sorrow is one of the greatest concept records of all time) - they handle the change (or torpedo) well though and it's a transition (or torpedo) that pays off (or .... torpedos off? Is torpedo a verb? IF IT ISN'T IT SHOULD BE)

See you in the eighties and thank you so much for listening :D

O x