I'm back. Apologies in advance!
Addiction is a difficult thing. Drugs, drink, reality TV, KFC...they all contain some kind of chemical that makes you crave them fortnightly or even more often. My addictions are different in that from the outside anyway they seem healthy. Guitars, music and bikes; what could possibly go wrong?
A while ago now I stopped my weekly blog. 400 episodes was enough. The pressure I felt to have something to say and tunes to share meant that it was no longer fun. In the last few days I've got the itch to write again. Maybe it's the fact that there are so many new pieces of music that I'm enjoying? Maybe it's that I'm enthused by having a new shiny piece of technology to type on rather than the steam powered devices I've been curating for a while now? Then there's always the chance that I just have a big mouth and instead of posting random things on Facebook and Twitter I can get them down in a more detailed manner here. The reality is that it's a mix of all of these reasons and more.
Let's start where it all began for a lot of people and that's with The Beatles. Their only official live album "The Beatles at The Hollywood Bowl" was released in 1977 from concert recordings made in '65 and '66. This album has been remixed, remastered, repackaged and probably other things beginning with 're' as well. It sounds amazing and comes at the same time as the Ron Howard film about the band's touring years. It was only released a few days ago so I've only listened using Spotify but it's a lot of fun. Beatles fans should lap it up as the clarity is so much better than the '77 version and there are extra tracks as well. I'm not a hardcore Beatles nut but it's hard to fault this offering. Here's some footage released as a promo...
The Beatles - Boys (live) - https://youtu.be/h2t9DIh4kMA
Concert ticket prices continue to climb here. I was excited at the thought of seeing almost all of the classic Guns 'n' Roses lineup in concert in Sydney next year. $173 for quite average seats turned me right off the idea though. I'm sure they'll be good but for that money I just can't justify it. Let's just hope they don't keep punters waiting for hours and hours before they hit the stage.
Just as I was feeling a bit low about the Gunners ticket prices along came a band that I like a lot more with an unexpected tour and a price that is just manageable. The Cult. Woo hoo! Their '86 album, "Electric", is one of my all time favourites and so, in November I'll be heading to see them with a couple of former bandmates who are probably even bigger fans of the band than me! The Cult have a new album, "Hidden City" for me to listen to as well. I bought this next track when I was 16 on a 45 single on the strength of the cover art and was an instant convert.
The Cult - Love Removal Machine - https://youtu.be/k6PgftKbQnQ
Amanda Shires is an American musician and singer. I was introduced to her music as she is married to Jason Isbell and plays and sings with him. Amanda also has a succesful solo career and a new album, "My Piece of Land". I imagine that if you like artists such as Emmylou Harris that this might be for you but it's much more and it's all Amanda's. The cover photo is superb as well; a simple, almost candid, portrait sans makeup.
Amanda Shires - Slippin' - https://youtu.be/N-7yPdt04io
Sabaton are from Sweden and are one of the best power-metal bands around. From the footage I've viewed they really know how to put on a live show. Musically it's heavy but not growl and detune rather a melodic and energetic version of heavy rock. DJ McG showed me the way to Sabaton a few years ago and I've gone on to purchase quite a few of their albums. If you like fist pumping metal then this is for you. Their new album is called, "The Last Stand".
Sabaton - Sparta - https://youtu.be/p1SlBlB5pzU
The Ruts (or Ruts DC) have been around since 1977 playing their own style of punk rock. They have an obvious reggae influence which is often present in punk but The Ruts always had a swing and swagger that set them apart in my opinion. Well, they're back with a new album, "Music Must Destroy", and a couple of singles one of which features Henry Rollins. Here's one of their old songs and one of the new ones as well. Definitely an album I plan to purchase.
The Ruts - Something That I Said - https://youtu.be/8CHhI80Abvw
Ruts DC - Psychic Attack - https://youtu.be/RQ7N4qFbL9g
Last night I played a gig with the band that signals the end of an era. We billed the gig as, "Last Chance for Oils" as it was to be our last show doing the Midnight Oil tribute. New songs were added to the setlist and the pressure to get them right was on! Indeed Tim and I spent Friday night in my garage sorting out last minute bits and pieces for a number of tunes. After years of working to get it right I think that I can stop looking for guitar pedals. The combination of the old Marshall Guv'nor pedal and an even older Ibanez Chorus was, and will remain the mainstay of my sound along with the trusty Strat. The rest is window dressing. Anyway, the gig was fantastic, the crowd as they say "went off" and we were left completely worn out in the best possible way. It's been a fun ride playing such great music for a few years and even though we've played other stuff along the way the Oils music has been a defining part of us for quite a while. Who knows what's coming next?
Midnight Oil - Truganini - https://youtu.be/2m3oYeVYdvg
That's probably enough for this instalment. I've got more to say but I'll leave something fermenting in the tank for next time. I haven't told you about Zoe and I returning to Vanuatu, new employment in my family, I haven't said anything vaguely political and there's a heap more including other music that I'm enjoying. I'm not promising a weekly missive but I have a feeling that I'm back.
Let me know if you want off the train and I'll quietly remove you from the mailing list.
Should we still have a final track? Why not. Here it is.