Archive for the ‘FAT ANGEL REVIEWS’ Category

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In 1964, Bob Dylan wrote many of the songs on Bringing It All Back Home in a spartan “white room” he’d been loaned above the Café Espresso in Woodstock. About 100 miles north of New York, the small country town is lodged at the foot of wooded hills, between the Catskill mountains and the Hudson river. When Dylan was writing in residence, Woodstock had long been a magnet for artists. In the early 20th century, painters came to capture its natural charms and a rural arts colony flourished, but by the time Dylan arrived the town’s woods, creeks, and shaggy skyline were less of a draw.

It was a bolthole not a beauty spot, some green calm after Manhattan. But previously the place had got under the skin of those who lingered, and the town’s mood reflected more than the sum of its arts. Mightn’t then the modern creatives come to sing of it as well?

Barney Hoskyns is not sure. He writes early on in Small Town Talk that he believes in “a psychogeography that may be little more than romanticism but that enshrines something good about the people who have lived here”. Having said that, he cannot muster much evidence of good people. And although he knows of an astonishing number of musicians, hundreds and more, who passed through Woodstock (and in some cases settled), and has put them all in a book written around the place (a town that he’s lived in himself), it remains uncertain in what way and to what degree the place has operated on its people.

The exceptions (temporary, but making up the best part of Hoskyns’s book) are Dylan and the Band. Dylan had already been tangled up in Woodstock for several years, but rock lore has it that the spirit of the place touched him most emphatically as a result of his motorbike accident there in July 1966 (Hoskyns includes a good map with all the salients clearly marked). This slowed him down creatively as well as mechanically. 

But, only weeks after he’d gone electric on stage, Dylan gave up on machine noise and turned (emotionally) towards his new young family and (musically) towards the woods around his bosky house; towards the back country, or (depending on which musical dowser you follow) towards Americana, or alt-country, or “palavers with a community of ghosts” (Greil Marcus). He didn’t sing in front of a live audience for ages and his next two albums were John Wesley Harding (1967) and Nashville Skyline (1969): both unacknowledged Woodstock albums. Between these came The Basement Tapes, the magical recordings Dylan made with the Band, mostly at Big Pink, a house (apparently rather small) on the edge of town. And it’s the Band who, more than any other artist or ensemble in Hoskyns’s book, come to epitomise the mood music of Woodstock – whose songs, Hoskyns says, were “made organically by men who’d pulled back from the insanity of fame”.

Woodstock was the place, Dylan said, where “we stop the clouds, turn time back and inside out”. But despite his happy shouting from the basement, those organ swirls and gospel hollers, this is mostly a sad book. A sad book about a place that people gravitated towards thinking that it would chase all sorts of blues away. It is sad, in part, because it is a book about (often great) music and, although it comes alive when it talks about the sound of that music (Hoskyns is harsh on Dylan, but brilliant at two-word summations of the gist of a song), mostly what sustains it is people talking about what they or others did around the music – and that is too often dreary. It is also sad because it tells things chronologically, with the second law of thermodynamics swung like a wrecking ball through the musicians of the time. By staying until the bitter end, with the lights fully up and hiding nothing, there are many bitter ends for Hoskyns to annotate. None worse than the grim story of the dissolution of the main act, the house band, who once did the best small-town talk around.

A lot of this is not Hoskyns’s fault – if you linger long enough most things die, and it is in the nature of communes and collectives and rock groups that they breed division and hate. And the truth is that Woodstock is home ground – a place that you might bring it all back home to – for hardly anyone. Dylan’s children are among the very few. 

Much of value survives in Hoskyns’s account, however. Incidental stories are legion. The roster of sometime Woodstockers is extraordinary – Hendrix, Van Morrison (terrified of meeting Dylan, but desperate to do so), Todd Rundgren, Paul Butterfield, the great English jazz bassist Dave Holland, another Englishman, Graham Parker – all have numbers in the Woodstock musical. The testimonies of the singer Maria Muldaur and the poet and former Fug, Ed Sanders, are especially good and have a truthful tang. There are also the mandatory rock niceties of catastrophic drug binges and naked girls offering blowjobs to (and under) the stars. And there’s the comedy of the Woodstock festival that, like a fata morgana, still lures the unwary into town, while the thing itself happened over the hills and 60 miles away, and simply pinched the town’s name to steal some of its draw.

But still one character poisons the well that the whole town has had some time to drink from. Hoskyns’s determination to put Albert Grossman at the centre of his story is risky. Grossman was the manager of Dylan, the Band, Janis Joplin, and many others. He also bought up swaths of the town and opened restaurants and built the Bearsville studios in Woodstock . He’s worth seeing in plain, clear light, but the sight is awful. He seems to have been vile. “Saturnine,” Hoskyns says. “You could smell him coming,” said Dylan, who split from him at great expense. The cumulonimbus they called Grossman. That is all you need to know. Unstoppable cloud. Bad weather. And you feel it more, out there, in the woods and the hills.

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Cherry Glazerr Share Video For 'Nuclear Bomb'

Cherry Glazerr have shared their new music video for ‘Nuclear Bomb’, a track from their forthcoming album Apocalipstick.

On the heels of a sold out run of shows in California, the band is days away from embarking on a huge tour a portion of the proceeds from the tour will be donated to support Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, which provides life-saving cancer screenings, birth control, prevention and treatment of STDs and sexual health education to Los Angeles County’s women, men and teens.

‘Nuclear Bomb’ follows two previously shared songs from the full-length record, ‘Nurse Ratched’ and ‘Told You I’d Be With Guys’ with the latter moving to deal with the issues of female solidarity.

Having worked with Joe Chicarrelli who is well-known for his efforts with the likes of The Strokes and The White Stripes, Cherry Glazerr have teamed up with label Secretly Canadian for the first time worked together in Hollywood’s Sunset Sound studio.

Bruce Springsteen performing at the Etihad

It’s not often I think: “Damn, I wish I’d dressed as Santa tonight.”

But last night Bruce Springsteen left 55,000 fans in the Etihad stadium thinking just that. Yes, during his sell out show in Manchester – the first UK night of The River Tour – he invited a man dressed as Father Christmas onto the stage with him, before launching into an impromptu rendition of “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”

“There are only 270 days til Christmas” laughed Bruce. “No one knew that Manchester was where Santa lives in the off season – now we know.” He added: “This is the only place that’s going to happen”

During last night’s show they played for a touch over three hours, treating fans – many of whom were seen camped outside the stadium for 48 hours before the gig – to a whopping 33-song set, with a couple of surprises thrown in. Encoring with “Shout”, a cover of The Isley Brother’s classic, got everyone dancing in their rain soaked cagoules. Because The Night, Badlands and The River were also among the highlights of the accomplished set.

“Ah rainy Manchester, we wouldn’t have you any other way,” Bruce – who hails from New Jersey – laughed through the drizzle, wearing his black shirt sleeves rolled up and paired with a printed neckerchief.

What a fantastic night in Manchester last night. From the first chords of Atlantic City , a fantastic opening track for me, rapidly followed by a hard hitting Murder Incorporated, Bruce and the band wove their magic into our hearts with every song.
Every track was a highlight, but the beginning of “Little Girl I Marry You”, “Point Blank”, and “Backstreets” and as always “The River” transfixed me. I never sing but last night I did for every song , dancing around to Shout and laughing at all Miami s facial expressions. Bruce and Steve seemed to be really enjoying themselves last night . Nils fell over a front wedge speaker and Bruce commented about him being over on his ass.

It takes a perverse sense of logic to serenade a crowd with Santa Claus Is Coming To Town in May, but Bruce Springsteen isn’t one for strict convention, seasonal or otherwise. The opening night of his UK tour saw him raise the spirits of a damp and non stop drizzly Manchester with an unexpected rendition of the Christmas novelty number, little over 15 minutes into his mammoth three-hour set.

He really needn’t have bothered. Springsteen’s ace card is his everyman appeal, a performer with a natural rapport with his audience and an undeniable knack for an air-punching chorus. It’s a feelgood quality that feels utterly free of contrivance. the live arena is where he and his band truly excel.

He didn’t need much of an excuse on this occasion, going off on a prolonged walkabout into the throng during a pumping Hungry Heart, glad-handing the punters like a returning king. “Manchester we’ve got a crush on you!” he yelled, grinning from one ear to the other as he returned to the stage.

Springsteen was here, ostensibly, to perform The River album, the sprawling 1980 opus that lit the touchpaper  that fired him from cultish songwriter to global superstar for a decade. The title track was particularly affecting. Bookended by some windblown harmonica, it swiftly became a dialogue with the crowd, Springsteen breaking from the verses to hold the mic aloft as the lyrics were sung back at him in a vast wave, a spontaneous communique between the adoring and the adored. “Point Blank” was beautiful too, a showcase for Roy Bittan to demonstrate the elegant economy of his piano lines.

Bittan has been at Bruce’s side since Born To Run, for the most part, and is emblematic of the kind of loyalty Springsteen seems to inspire. The seven-piece band, be it Nils Lofgren turning circles during a solo or fellow guitarist Steve Van Zandt barking a call and response with Springsteen at stage centre, clearly had a blast too.

There was an ecstatic “Johnny 99”, on which The Boss’s Chuck Berry riff served as an invitation for each member of the group to take a moment under the lights. The goodtime vibes reached a peak with Waiting On a Sunny Day. As the rain continued to fall, Springsteen brought a 12-year-old girl out from the crowd and embarked on a duet that drew a huge roar of appreciation. He may look like a tough in a Scorcese movie, but he invariably came across as the kind of guy you’d really like to know better.

If this show proved anything, it’s that Springsteen is a master of structure, peppering the set with anthems that prevented the more understated moments from sagging.Out On The Street” was as striking as it was concise. “Darlington County” was terrific, as was “Because The Night”, the song he wrote for Patti Smith in the late Seventies.

But the first encore took proceedings to a new level. His version of “Backstreets” was simply immense, replete with a Bruce guitar solo as impassioned as it was descriptive. And “Born To Run” remains arguably the most irresistible weapon in his arsenal. “Glory Days” was a reminder of his Eighties pomp, delivered with a conviction that, two and a half hours in, was little short of astonishing. It was for me a night of reminding me how to be truly alive. “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out” then drew the first encore towards its close. During the latter, a touching tribute to the band’s late saxophonist Clarence Clemons and keyboard player Danny Federici was projected onto the big screens behind the band.

“One more for Manchester,” Bruce said to the crowd as he came back onto the stage alone for a second encore (Because one is just not enough).

For the final song – an acoustic rendition of This Hard Land – it was just us, him and his guitar. Despite the 54,999 fans around me, I felt for a moment like I was the only one there.

Others may come and go, but Bruce will always be The Boss.
I have one gripe , and it is the same at all big gigs – why do people drink so much , which makes them tramp off on mass to the toilets and bar during every quiet song? It drives me mad. There are loads of days to drink and not so many to marvel at the mastery of Bruce Springsteen and the E St Band.
“Until the end, forever friends “

Signed Book: "Under the Big Black Sun"
£38 GBP (approx.)

Under the Big Black Sun explores the nascent Los Angeles punk rock movement and its evolution to hardcore punk as it’s never been told before. Authors John Doe and Tom DeSavia have woven together an enthralling story of the legendary west coast scene from 1977-1982 by enlisting the voices of people who were there. The book shares chapter-length tales from the authors along with personal essays from famous (and infamous) players in the scene. Additional authors include: Exene Cervenka (X), Henry Rollins (Black Flag), Mike Watt (The Minutemen), Jane Wiedlin and Charlotte Caffey (The Go-Go’s), Dave Alvin (The Blasters), Chris D. (Flesh Eaters), Jack Grisham (TSOL), Teresa Covarrubias (The Brat), Robert Lopez (The Zeros, El Vez), as well as scencesters and journalists Pleasant Gehman, Kristine McKenna, and Chris Morris. Through interstitial commentary, John Doe “narrates” this journey through the land of film noir sunshine, Hollywood back alleys, and suburban sprawl—the place where he met his artistic counterparts Exene, DJ Bonebrake, and Billy Zoom—and formed X, the band that became synonymous with, and in many ways defined, L.A. punk.

Under the Big Black Sun shares stories of friendship and love, ambition and feuds, grandiose dreams and cultural rage, all combined with the tattered, glossy sheen of pop culture weirdness that epitomized the operations of Hollywood’s underbelly. Readers will travel to the clubs that defined the scene, as well as to the street corners, empty lots, apartment complexes, and squats that served as de facto salons for the musicians, artists, and fringe players that hashed out what would become punk rock in Los Angeles.

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Excellent Coffee table sized book chronicling and brimming with unseen photographs, Paul was in a band with his two brothers THE FAST this is a period in time when everything was happening at once. The only band at the time with a record deal was the NEW YORK DOLLS. and in 1974 Patti Smith, Television, Wayne County, Suicide and Blondie.
The Ramones were at CBGB’s and KISS were playing to just five people This was a small group of bands and friend almost all of were about to become icons of pop culture.

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Paul documents the scene,spanning the years 1971-1978 punk rock was occuring in the midst of glitter rock, early photos of the FAST shows them amazingly in full glitter regalia with KISS style make up ( Paul had a Star painted over his eye ) there are a few photos of ALICE COOPER watching cartoons in his hotel room and Marc Bolan and the Stooges the book includes a forward by Debbie Harry and Chris Stein.

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I had already heard a smattering of the songs at recent live shows planned for this the second album from the wonderful talented Blue Rose Code. A Caledonian Folk Soul singer songwriter originally from Edinburgh now based in London the album is due to be released on 2nd June, I knew that “The Ballad Of Peckham Rye” was going to be a great listen With a collection of the folk genres best leading musicians adding instrumentation or backing vocals, Karine Polwart, Kathryn Williams, Aiden O’Rourke and Danny Thompson. The vocals, The emotions, The lyricism and The musicians all add to this superb collection of songs. Blue Rose Code always takes you through a journey of love, pain, laughter and forgiveness the songs will always make you feel lots of emotions when you listen to the music of Ross Wilson BLUE ROSE CODE. http://www.bluerosecode.com

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Its took me awhile to get over to the Cookie Jar, mostly because every time there has been someone I wanted to see there, I have had tickets for another band elsewhere, but what a great small venue, great friendly people,good service and well organised venue with three of the best bands you could wish for Wolf Alice, Superfood and the newish to my ears of the three Genghar this was as good as an evening gets. Genghar started the evening, I had seen them at Live at Leeds in another awesome venue the Belgrave Music Hall they played a pretty short set with great tunes especially the standout song on their soundcloud site “Fill My Gums With Blood” I really like the guys vocal its frailty adding to the distinct sound they are going to be a superb festival band and one to see during the summer. Next on were the wonderful Birmingham band Superfood I must admit to seeing them about a dozen times now, certainly one of my favourites a relaxed style with blistering guitar breaks and one of the best new drummers around, infectious songs culminating in the sing along band titled song “Superfood” cannot wait for the album release apparently not out till October.
Finally Wolf Alice who were the band to see from last year and the most blogged about, they have worked hard forming the songs,finding their sound releasing some gems as EP’s, so consistent with exceptional songs especially the forthcoming “creature Songs” the new ones, with more powerful guitar sounds and great riffs , they are so tight even with a couple of tech guitar issues they blitzed the songs added a few lines of Chris Isaaks “Wicked Game”
so get yourself along to the Cookie Jar support this wonderful venue. PS the beer comes in pint milk bottles.

Birmingham guitar band SUPERFOOD supporting Wolf Alice on a number of dates http://www.superfoodjunk.com

the Wildflowers album is to be re-issued with the deluxe treatment with an extra 10 tracks the 1994 album featured this great track .

The Needle Drops reviews are just so legendary the guy is so funny but gives great reviews

LIVE VERSIONS eight songs will be released for Record Store Day recorded in Chicago in 2013 these
tracks are
Endor Toi
Why Wont You Make Up Your Mind
Sestri Levante
Mind Mischief
Desire Be Desire Go
Half Full Glass Of wine
Be Above it
Feels like we Only Go backwards

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Catch TAME IMPALA at Rock City on the 15th July