Monday, September 26, 2016

World Wide Woozle #402

I'm still here. Turn this up.

Soundgarden - Been Away Too Long -

Billy Bragg has a new album called "Shine A Light". The songs are those of the American railroad. A couple of listens in and I'm thinking it's a bit sedate but it may yet grow on me. The concept is good and the songs well chosen so maybe it just needs a little time. They couldn't top this effort though....

Emmylou Harris - Hobo's Lullaby -

Hellsingland Underground are a Swedish rock band I know absolutely nothing about other than I heard one song and had to hear more. If you like The Black Crowes, Little Feat or Lynyrd Skynyrd then this is worth a listen. Great guitars. What IS going on in Sweden??

Hellsingland Underground - As Dreams Go By -

Unlike the UK we'll stay in Europe for a few minutes longer. In Denmark to be precise where we find a rather fine band by the name of Volbeat. Their music mixes up classic rock, metal, rockabilly and probably some Elvis as well. From what I've read it seems that their music has become slightly more commercial as they've developed. I'm jumping in with the latest album and therefore no emotional baggage related to their previous releases. I like it because the singer can really sing, the beat is good and the guitars are crunchier than a Granola suite. From an album with the great title "Seal the deal and let's boogie"...

Volbeat - The Bliss -

Why not pause here for a quick trip back to Sweden and one of the greatest cover versions I've ever heard. Here's Ghost (or Ghost BC depending on where you live) from their brand new EP, "Popestar" with a spooky version of a Eurythmics classic. This was released just over a week ago and is simply brilliant. Someone who knows how music actually works will be able to explain how they've used minor keys and what I imagine are flatted 5ths to make this sound evil and spooky. I've probably got that wrong but I heard Kerry King from Slayer talking about it once.

Ghost BC - Missionary Man -

Last week we had The Beatles. This week it's Elvis. I've been listening to the recently released CD set, "Way Down In The Jungle Room". This is two CDs worth of material recorded by The King at his home. There are a range of outtakes, demos and fully fledged tracks and it's quite diverse. I noticed today in the record shop that the Elvis Presley estate has been busy with legacy releases. More for me to check out. Long live The King!

Elvis Presley - Way Down (take 2) -

I saw Iggy Pop's latest album, "Post Pop Depression" selling for only $10 today in the store. In my opinion this is a really strong album and the band he has behind him is basically Queens of The Stone Age. I guess they were either overstocked or the rest of the music buying public doesn't agree with me. I now realise that I didn't go back and pick it up after I was finished looking for other stuff (that I couldn't find). I really need a better record store. The independent one I usually frequent has stopped answering emails so I can't be bothered with them if they are lazy. I can get my fix via eBay and Spotify but flicking through racks of CDs and records is a lot of fun.

Roxette are a great band. I've seen them live and it remains one of the best shows I've ever been too. Per Gessle has a million classic guitars and he can play them to boot. One of his signature sounds involves a shimmering, slightly overdriven guitar and that's one of the reasons I love my tremolo pedal. Here's an alternate version of a song that should've got a lot more radio play.

Roxette - Cinnamon Street -

Lastly this week, something that shocked me. It's rare that I hear an album for the first time and find myself completely blown away. I can list the records that have had that effect on me on just one hand. If you're interested then here they are linked to a track from each one:

The album that seriously turned my head this week is the 1988 self-titled debut release from Danzig. Singer (and songwriter) Glenn Danzig was in the horror punk band The Misfits. Although they are well regarded and an important group in the story of music in general, they never really caught my ear. As a result I suppose I let Danzig (the band) just go through to the goalkeeper without so much as a second thought. Even when Metallica covered a few Misfits tunes quite well I still wasn't interested. Last week the great musical oracle called Spotify that keeps insisting that I should listen to Phil Collins (not happening) popped Danzig up on the "Discovery" playlist. Not even realising what was playing I found my toes tapping and my head nodding. To be quite honest, I thought I was listening to an outtake from The Cult's "Electric" album. When I found out that the track was from Danzig I cued up the entire set and the rest is history. It's no coincidence that "Danzig" the album is produced by Rick Rubin. So is "Electric" and the Johnny Cash LP referenced above. This one has the dry AC/DC guitar/drum sound which, when coupled with Glenn Danzig's vocal delivery style (Morrison meets Presley meets Astbury) and a rhythm section that understands the middle ground between Sabbath and bluesy swagger rock, is simply a rock and roll treat.

Danzig - Twist of Cain -

How's that for a week of music? Thanks for the few 'welcome back' notes that were sent through; I really do appreciate them. Tune in next time for more ramblings and hopefully a tune that'll make you sit up and take notice.


I like songs about real life. Like this.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

World Wide Woozle episode #401 (Return of the Woozle)

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) - 

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 - 

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' - 

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 -

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 -

Ruts DC - Psychic Attack - 

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 - 

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.