Sunday, September 16, 2018

Monday, September 03, 2018

Thursday, August 23, 2018

WHERE IT ALL BEGAN IN... LAST TRAIN!



You better LISTEN NOW! 

The world you thought you knew getting you down? There’s nothing like stellar pop music to galvanise the soul and a collaboration between two of the greatest forces for rock n’ roll good on this sorry orb is surely a reason to bring cheer for at least the 16 minute duration of the event. 

The Nomads and The Dahlmanns? Together?? Used to be that would be referred to as a supergroup. There’s a flavour of the loud folk direction that they were taking on “The Last Time” and comprising six songs, “American Heartbeat” (not a Survivor cover) is a wee bit of a departure from the sound you might be used to hearing from a Dahlmanns record but it’s still distinctly them. 

Line’s vocal will always take care of that and she just gets better and better. If you reckon you’ve heard anything better than “I Know You Want Me Back” in recent living memory then I need to hear it. Like a high end Roxette hit, this one deserves to be all over everywhere that quality tunes can be heard.



Where it all began in... Oslo
“Tomorrow Came Today” resonates like it might have followed one of those Brickfield nights and well, if you ever wondered what Tony James might have sounded like if he’s started off in Mud instead of Gen X then you need to be getting a load of “Get It Right”.

This mini album runs at 45rpm so it’s going to be loud and it’ll be out on August 31st, a co-release between the Ghost Highway and Beluga imprints. The first 100 on white vinyl with silver and black patch combo are reportedly all gone. You can get your mitts on the trad black version (and let’s face it – that’s the only colour a record needs to be - in my opinion) though but you’d be wise to score a safety copy because I don’t reckon this will stay in print for too long once the word is out. All over town and further afield. 

This practice will also help to offset the dreaded postage sting.

The content will be available digitally too if you only do the ‘device’ thing. The only way it’ll be available on cassette for now is if you put the gear on one of those things yourself. However this might get to the ears, my hope is that this one will infiltrate outside of the power pop stockade and put them Dahlmann kids on the radar of a broader church that could really do with having something to believe in. Like the lady says on the title song “you better listen now”.

A CD version will be available from Pop Detective in the US, mid-September.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Thursday, August 09, 2018

BETTER CALL SOLBAKKEN!



The Solbakken Fuzzfestival is a bi-yearly event that takes place out on the South East coast of Norway. Set in an enclave of Arendal called Moltemyr, it’s a garden party set in a very well-appointed garden between two houses. An invite to this was an offer that I was not about to refuse and getting to that part of the world isn’t exactly a cakewalk but like the song conveys, have love, will travel. 

It took a smidge over 12 hours door to door. Exactly a week ago from right about now I took a bus ride through picture postcard beautiful vistas that look like a cross between 'wir ain' highlands and the Pacific Northwest. The shimmer of the sun on the lakes as it went down just added to the twilight zone-ness. All you really need to know is that it is spectacular.


The crowd gather...
Having dropped by Risør a couple of years ago, Arendal further reminded me of the similarity between that region and the East Neuk of Fife. They don’t have a chip shop like they do in Anstruther but maybe I could go out there and open one?

Within a half hour of being there I was out on the town with Fuzzmistress Hilde. After some Indian food we hit up the hostelry she works in called Barrique. A very nice old wood varnished bar with at least one member of staff that will point blank refuse to serve you a mojito. I never take for granted the opportunity to take such jaunts and this was the only evening it would be possible to make that particular scene. And for Hilde to take time out of her busy schedule like this was above and beyond because she is the epicentre. 


Revesound revving up
As straight talking a wee bisom that ever walked, this one can get stuff done. All the others that are involved with this are equally driven, It’s an abject case for labours of love always trouncing something that is entered for gain. Their gain was to see everyone have a great time as a result of their selfless planning. Getting a wee preview of the site the day before was a trip and just hanging out sampling Magne’s epic brews and the Solbakken hospitality really hit the spot. 

The freak weather has been causing ructions out there too and there’s a BBQ ban in Norway right now. That wasn’t to deter them though and a number of broilers were installed to take up the slack. These folks had thought of everything and maybe even a little more.


Snok - Forward into 1971! 
Saturday rolled around quick and it was time for the garden party. As the revellers arrived it was clear that a great community not just from the immediate locale had grown around the event. With a family element that never reduced it to the level of the fete. I met and talked to a ton of people that I wish I could remember their names. It's an age thing that's getting worse by the day.

It all kicked off with a kind of folky review by Revesound. I’d just watched A Mighty Wind a few days beforehand and the similarity wasn’t lost on me. It became apparent even then that the space had become a natural amphitheatre and in the main, the sound was excellent for an outdoor concert experience. At some points during the evening, a mighty wind would indeed attempt to blow the cover off the stage on several occasions. It was expertly tethered though.

A period of broiling and hanging out followed that before the remainder of the music was rolled out. Snok set a pretty high bar for a bunch of actual real life teenagers. Led by Hilde’s son Lars they managed to conjure up shades of Sabbath in 1971 when even their parents weren’t around. Decidedly not-lumpy doom rock, they just made their first recordings that I’m very much looking forward to hearing. Their set was all the more amazing because they had to get a substitute drummer that knew the ropes at stupidly short notice. That guy did good.


Gimme an H, Gimme a C, Gimme a G,
Gimme an L, Gimme an I!

What's that spell? REINE LAKEN!
As I mentioned in Vulcher zine lately, little in my existence gives me greater pleasure than watching and being around Reine Laken. This time out they’d enlisted a new member and it was Camilla’s public debut. It went great and by the time they got to their version of Bikini Kill’s "Rebel Girl", the gathering went under the thunder. "Blitzkrieg Bop" into "Dancing With Joey Ramone" was a very nice touch. All the anxiety that goes into these performances is very much appreciated by their fans. I was thinking about how all the Madrid folks would have loved this.


Wirkola workin' it!

Wirkola Hellraisers are a solid combo that underlines the hard rock seam that ran through the day’s line up. I'm really digging the fact that Nazareth were (are?) so big out there and the ‘raisers deliver a tasty “Kentucky Fried Blues”. I think that Dan McCafferty would approve. At the other end of the spectrum, their take on the Sweet ignites around a three guitar attack, one of whom is Erland Ottem who was in Clawfinger. Their "Ballad of The Lower East Side" wasn’t slouching none either.


DeMidlertidige 
DeMidlertidige (sp?) played at the grungier end of the spectrum and during their set I was blethering. Someone told me that they were playing an Alice In Chains song at one point and I have to say that they rendered it listenable. Something I can’t say has ever happened with that actual band. This Stina girl can sing. I even heard a little Nico in there and of course Grace Slick on a faithful run through "White Rabbit".

Rangers raised the stakes for Dunfermline’s finest by including "Close Enough for Rock’n’Roll" and they also fired out trusty takes on "Cold Gin", "Godzilla" and "The American Ruse" during their set indicating a certain level of taste for those of us that recognise the fine line that runs through the vein of heavier music.


Camilla and Ingri rippin it up to the strains of Rangers!

The band's were all done and dusted by curfew time but the party went on a good deal longer. heading back there in the daytime, the festival elves had been out and cleaned up. It was all looking as though almost nothing had happened. Service above and beyond self all the way.

Anyhoo... Solbakken FuzzFestival is something the world could do with a little more of right about now. The best small but perfectly formed festival action I’ve had since the legendary House of Rock that went down in Moss in that fateful June of 2011. People talk about game changers but that was a life changer.


My sincere thanks to all those folks that made this happen and for them having me there. There might not have been any morild this time but there was some magic here and there so that’ll suffice for now but I’ll need another RL fix before too long so I hope they have something in the works.


The adventure came to a close with a few hours in Moss Rock City and pretty much before I knew it, I was back on the bus heading for where it seemed like I had just started out. To add to that injury, I tried to use some currency at the duty free shop that had expired. I’m not sure why the Scandinavians change their notes so often but it’s a pain in the arse. Just as well that everything I had left wasn’t hooky and the liquorice score could be made.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

BEN VAUGHN IS BACK!



Available now via Amazon UK / Amazon USA 
and CD Baby and other such outlets.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Saturday, July 07, 2018

HEID FUGUE - I JUST REALISED THAT I HADN"T POSTED THIS!



The blog is 15 on Monday but I’m gonna be out of town visiting one of my homes away from home. My thanks to Jeroen Vedder for setting me down this road that’s allowed this thing to continue to exist albeit in a disembodied state.

I guess this link will take you back to those baby steps. It hasn’t really evolved much but continues to be a place holder. According to the stats, we’ve had more that 1,300,000 views since then. I’m sceptical about the numbers but those kind of details are unimportant. I appreciate the visits and responses. The regular posts ebb and flow but you most likely already have information up the wazoo. So, when you do check in and there hasn’t been something new for a few days then bear with it. There’s maybe a good reason or perhaps not.

You know how teenagers can be.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Sunday, June 24, 2018

SCOTTISH POP - THE MUSEUM PIECE



The Rip It Up exhibit in Edinburgh is getting big licks and it’s worth taking a wander in there. The fact that it exists at all is worthy of supporting such a venture. Had such a thing been tackled in Glasgow, it would have been a different beastie methinks.

If you’re going there between now and November, I’d suggest going on a Saturday and factoring in the Music Walking Tour. That way you get discounted tickets and also some exercise.

Friday, June 15, 2018

RIP - Nicholas George Stephanoff (Nick Knox)


Sorry to hear about the untimely demise of the king of the biggest beat. My memory of Nick is of a quiet fellow that went about his business. Once he trusted you, he was more forthcoming and I was honoured as all get out when he loaned me a mix tape to copy that had the Tuesday Weld song, “Are You The Boy” on it. That was the night we went back to Miles Copeland’s house where the band was staying. Right after Kid Congo's first show at The Lyceum in London. What was that? December 1980? The 15th.
Nick was an ardent pop fan and I recall sending a couple of Lio records as a thank you when I returned the tape. Then the LOTC got dumped and we lost touch but it was heartening to know that he’d re-emerged in recent times to be involved with young Clevelanders, Archie and the Bunkers Norton Records connection. I held some vague hope that he’d make it to Europe with them at some point but sadly that won’t be happening. We’ll toast his memory at FUNTASTIC though. That’s for damn sure.
My condolences to his family and friends.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

SAFETY PIN - PUNK ROCK ANCIENT and MODERN!




One of the reasons with persevering to get a 40th Anniversary NBT out  was the fact that it could be printed by Martin Lacey that used to do it at Juma. And that self same person has reactivated his old punkzine, Safety Pin with the first issue available now and a desire to set up an ongoing publishing schedule.

That’s right. It’s a print only deal. You have to turn the pages, none of that swiping required. 44 pages, A4 format with a 7” EP of archive cuts by Sheffield combo Stunt Kites who I believe are still active today?

It’s a fiver + whatever the postage is to wherever you are. Click the link back there to see what that entails.


Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Saturday, April 07, 2018

WHAT'S THE FREQUENCY ERIC?


The line in "Gateway To Europe" about a bridge being built to where no-one wants to go really chimes with me and these times. Then there’s the futility of almost everything but let’s not get into that now. The way people listen to things these days have stymied ‘the album’ as a concept. Especially those like this that has been sequenced to be experienced in a particular order. Like a good film or book that you won’t want to avert your attention from.

The mood that Construction Time and Demolition strikes isn’t always as bleak as it might seem though. As uncompromising as Suicide, there’s a cautious optimism coursing through the frequencies that somehow offers a respite that so many records simply don’t any more. I read about things and wonder ‘is this it?’ when I hear them. Not so with this. There’s an extensive tour coming up where the album content will likely be interpreted differently every night. It’s not going to be lurking somewhere out of view on a laptop to augment the performance nor vice versa. What you’ll see and hear in real time will add an extra dimension to the recorded version. That will also be the case if you hear the documented version prior to seeing the show.

You’ll likely hear some old stuff but it’s all about forging forward. Like your Neil Young and your Rab Zimmerman, this fella has absolutely nothing to prove. He’s presenting you with yet another set of songs that will allow you to catch up with that fact. You might be able to plot where he’s come from but you sure as shit won’t have any inkling as to where he’s going. Other than leading a bunch of us over that ‘bridge’ to whatever is in store. Hopefully a place where there is no such thing as a franchise in any shape or form. The majesty of the sound that is captured here is really quite astounding. That's saying something when considered against Eric's body of work.

Get physical copies of the album from the man himself during his extensive, upcoming tour dates in the US and the UK. If you don't find yourself anywhere near then hit up your local shop or wherever you buy your “gear” these days. If you want to get it digitally, please do so directly at Eric’s bandcamp page.

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Sunday, April 01, 2018

IT'S OUR BIRTHDAY (PRINT EDITION)



All low key on this 41st NBT anniversary but I did recently happen upon this. Pretty funny. The comments suggest that this portal might have something to do with the ex-Sounds scribe Sandy Robertson but I might be wrong. It wouldn’t be the tenth time. I imagine that my ‘beef ‘with Sniffin Glue at the time was that I didn’t chime with their worldview and maybe thought I should have a go at the zine lark myself. Mark turned out to be a stand up guy. As did Tony D(rayton) and some other folks I might have had a pop at. The folly of (relative) youth.

Talking out of my arse is an activity that I reserve the right to practice to this very day. I did and said, often in print, some incredibly stupid things based on the flimsiest even non-existent premise. I don’t believe the claim that The Dictators were (and are) better than The Pistols to be one of those however and I stand by that original statement.

For better or for worse and irrespective of what any bugger thinks.

And congratulations to Sir Andy Shernoff for having our namesake appear in the Season 3 premiere of the TV show, Billions. I never watched it but those music placement folks on that show obviously know a contender when they hear one.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Friday, March 16, 2018

Friday, March 02, 2018

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

THE DYNAMITE JUST KEEPS ON COMING!



The Courettes are back with another dozen of those tunes that will hit you upside of your head. “We Are The Courettes” is maybe another cheeky wee nod in the direction of their spiritual Tacoma forefathers. It continues to outline just how much better these kids are than the slew of two person crews that are out there. Many of those are good for maybe one 45 but there’s an extra oomph to this combo. I don’t really want to try and quantify what it is, just so long as it just keeps on coming. The pop crunch of “All About You” is like supercharged Lulu. There are also ballads. That’s right. No, I hear you say? Oh yes and they really pace the sequencing beautifully.

I’ve no idea if Flavia knows who The Geator is and I’m hoping she doesn’t because “Strawberry Boy” is pure Jerry Blavat. And when all is said and done, there are few full on screams that compare with that of Ms Couri. Combine that with the fuzz and clatter and you’ll be grinning all over your fizzog.

The sonic boom that they’ve come to customise is intact but they’re growing into a multi-faceted rockin’ machine. I look forward to hear how the slower songs might be applied to the live set but the way “Fool Fool Fool” closes the album just makes me want to take the ride all over again.

They are The Courettes!

Saturday, February 17, 2018

SPARE A THOUGHT FOR THE GAL THAT LABOURS ON THE PAGE...



Starting off with “From philip roth@gmail to rzimmerman @ aol.com” it’s evident that these past years playing with Eric has arrived at a sound that really captures the edge that this girl has over the competition. The majesty of the jangle around the bass propulsion is verging on anthemic. Not that she doesn’t have a brace of anthems in the catalogue that trounces most everything but this album has an atmosphere all of its own. It has a Tom Petty-type undertow too and as a  statement of intent, it kicks things off at a damn high bar.

The place of Amy Rigby in the firmament of music is another example of something that people who have no idea of its existence could really do with hearing. If you’ve ever read her blog then you’ll know what this lassie can do with words. Before I even heard “Are We Still There Yet?”, it was one of the best song titles I’ve ever come across and to my mind there's just one person who could come up with it.

Her world-weariness is at once cinematic and also deeply personal. “The Old Guys” really hangs together as a piece where recent albums were perhaps collections of songs recorded where and when she could get it together.

So I could waffle on but I want you to hear how damn great this is for yourself. My favourite on the album is “Bob”. It’s like if maybe Joe Meek had produced Linda Thompson. The brass is spine-tingling and if anything it’s the biggest departure here as she relates the story of her old friend. The closer “One-Off” could be applied to several individuals I know but in terms of characters and entertainers, this Amy is in a class of her own. She may set her sights near the middle or somewhere below but what she comes up with is, to my mind, absolutely revelatory. Still the best. Still the champ.

Check out the tour dates here and if she isn’t coming round your way anytime soon then just order a physical copy hereIf it’s a download you need, enquire at her website or wherever such doohickeys are sold.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Monday, January 22, 2018

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

RIP - EVA GARCIA BENITO (SOUL BLONDE)



LOLA ARMY - Designed by Eva. 

There’s too much of the type of news you hope will never come. That which you desperately want to be fake or just plain untrue. Or even just plain mistaken. Today was another of those, when someone who is really just a kid departs in an altogether untimely fashion. Eva was something else, a gentle soul with a huge artistic, creative heart who apart from all that was just a wee gem that radiated. 
She and her life partner Murky blazed a trail across the Spanish Underground. Perhaps the best known of these projects is LCDD, who played all across the planet. Even in Glasgow.


Lisa Fancher, Eva, Old bloke
outside LA ALEGRIA in Madrid

November 2016

Photo by MURKY
During a fairly protracted period of illness, her creative edge never slipped and she was the mastermind behind LOLA. A wee Spanish wummin that can be found in regalo emporiums all across Spain. Eva presented me with one during Sesentafest and it was quite the honour to receive such a cool gift by the designer herself. Most importantly, it was she and Murky that masterminded our adventures in the real Madrid that really made me fall in love with the city.

Sitting in their tiny apartment listening to hopelessly obscure shellac is an experience fully scorched into my skull. It was especially crammed the night after The Dahlmanns made their Wurlitzer debut. So I’ll miss her physical presence the next time I’m in town but she’ll never stop being a fixture in our hearts and minds.  To Murky, we their friends will attempt to help with the huge hole this loss will bring him. We can’t begin to fill it but I hope he knows that we’re all around for him.

I thank both of them for those times of Alegria that hanging out with this cool couple brought to this old daftie.

Here’s her theme song...