Having time on your hands is an interesting feeling. I've done pretty well filling my week off with cycling, guitar practice, music, study and reading. The other good thing was that I got out on my motorbike in the sunshine.
The new Iron Maiden album was released overnight and I'm listening to it now. Thanks to H for presenting me with a copy of Metal Hammer magazine dedicated to the LP. It's a long time since I read that publication and other than the fact that too many bands obviously spend more on their eyeliner than their production it's a good read. In my opinion, Iron Maiden haven't had a long player since 1988's "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son" that stood up as a complete package. That isn't to say that the albums since then are bad, there just always seemed to be a few tracks that were, well, quite average. Even though I'm a huge Maiden fan I think that this is something that's been an issue for a lot of their releases. Their first two albums are brilliant but from then on they always manage to have a couple of songs that leave you wondering what were they thinking. Cough, cough, "Quest for Fire"! You may disagree...and that's fine.
So how does "The Book of Souls" stack up? Well it's their first studio double album and at just over 90 minutes long there's plenty to listen to. Three tracks exceed 10 minutes and there's an 18 minute epic. After the first three tracks I thought that they'd lost their muse completely. Not bad songs but nothing special and it sounded like they were trying too hard. Even the first single wasn't that memorable (the video clip is rather splendid though). Track 4, "The Red and The Black", however, is a return to classic and inspired Iron Maiden. The riffs, the time changes, the galloping bass and a band playing with heart; it's just great. From here on in the album just gets better and better. Maybe I need to go back to the first three tracks again, we'll see. Up the Irons! You can listen to the whole album free and legal on Spotify of course (I am). Here's the clip I mentioned earlier. If you grew up playing Donkey Kong you'll like it.
Iron Maiden - Speed of Light - https://youtu.be/-F7A24f6gNc
I spent a fair bit of time this week getting my guitar parts ready for the three shows we have coming up. It's fun to have the house to yourself, drag all the gear in and play at a decent volume. Electric guitars sound different when you turn them up and it's good to be able to do so to tweak the sound. I also had Rusty from Vance Guitars give my Stratocaster some loving. It's now in perfect condition and sounding even better. Come along on Sunday and you'll hear it. If you're going to sing along to this one (please do) you only really need to remember two words...."heeeeyyyyy baby"! See you at Two Before Ten in Aranda from about midday until about 2pm. It's free. We'll pass the hat around to support schools in Vanuatu and a dollar or two would be great but if you just come to listen and enjoy the tunes that's fine as well.
Tom Petty - I Won't Back Down - https://youtu.be/JMzW42zZVN0
A couple of weeks ago DJ SlimHenry organised a copy of "Bitter Dream", the new album from Brisbane's Thirteen Seventy. A while back I reviewed their previous album which I really liked. They are a hard band to pigeon hole and that isn't a bad thing. Atmospheric noisy rock? I dunno, that's too simplistic and not a wide enough description. "Bitter Dreams" is an album that I really liked for the first couple of listens, despaired at for the next few, and is now growing on me. If you want instant gratification then it's probably not your thing. But if you're prepared to spend some time then I think it's a good investment. I will do a track by track review, as I did for the last one, but first I really need the whole album to sink in properly. I think that if you like Nirvana, Alice In Chains, Pink Floyd, Radio Birdman or Jane's Addiction then there is a lot of mileage in this release for you. For guitar heads, you won't be disappointed - there are plenty of varied and tasty sounds here.
Thirteen Seventy - Hermits - https://youtu.be/ikAehN9c42s
DJ Z-Boots is in Amsterdam now. Her brother keeps asking if she's "cooked" yet! From what we understand she's trying not to be a tourist by wearing clogs and riding a bicycle. Sounds like a good plan to me. She and her friend are lucky enough to have the loan of an apartment there from a family friend. What's not to like?
Custard - The Apartment Song - https://youtu.be/MPD6_lrgHWg
If you're in a rock band then The Apartment Song is one for you to play. Tons of fun and the quirky timing in the middle will keep you on your toes.
I didn't get to see Live Evil do their Dio tribute show last night. I like rock music but going along by myself isn't that much fun. These guys are great musicians and have a lot of fun! Anyway, here's the man himself in full flight. The best voice in metal...ever.
Dio - Heaven and Hell (live 2005) - https://youtu.be/_G6NtIVZhRE
It hasn't been all heavy rock at HQ Woozle this week.This song popped up when I was shuffling on Spotify and it led me to more by the same artist. I'd forgotten how good he is.
Neil Diamond - Cracklin' Rosie - https://youtu.be/Qip0xbjr0aA
I went to see The Man from U.N.C.L.E. at the movies this week. If you like cheesy and fun spy movies then you should go too. It's well made and worth the price of admission. I've never seen the original TV series so I can't comment on how faithful it is I'm afraid. If you liked Bond movies before they lost that quirky edge then you'll like this despite what some of the reviews say.
The Superjesus - Secret Agent Man - https://youtu.be/mjrKjogMXvo
That's it folks. I've got cycling to be getting on with and Angus' football final to get to later on. And I've still got three days of holidays to go!
Rock on and Happy Birthday to my (little) Brother!
"We stood outside, the World was laughing...", The Day The Earth Caught Fire, City Boy, 1979.