Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Saturday, October 06, 2018


Madrid is under construction. Traffic calming and all kinds of other shenanigans are making it murder for local businesses. Like everywhere else, great places are disappearing for one reason and another. I’m all for clean air but some grime is required too. And I’m not talking about the latest strain of urban music.

It was great to be reacquainted with Barbara from Get Hip through the ‘small world’ universe that seems to connect a bunch of us. El Pez Gordo was the scene before scooting up to WEIRDO! with Maitane. 

I was convinced that I’d miss The Dustaphonics but they were only a couple of songs into their set when I arrived at Wurli. The Cramps have a lot to answer for and it’s wild how mainstream this type of thing is right around now. Not sales wise – but just in terms of seepage into the general culture and I understand why people like them.

This time I didn’t hit town running. It was a more measured affair only really hampered by thinking that my favourite pizza joint had gone out of business.

On Friday, I took the train to visit Sara, Ramon and Duero out in Alpedetre. Once I got a beat on the map for the station it was plain sailing and I have to say that the double decker choo choo was muy clean and comfortable. I’m told they’re not always reliable but this one was right on time both ways. It’s nice and quiet out there but very close to town with a lovely old station. We had Sara’s mom’s meatball recipe and ate so much that we all felt like taking a wee siesta. It's a very sedate part of the world so close to MadToon.

Last night at La Alegria
A WEIRDO!/WURLI double header followed and this time I missed the bands but managed to see Inigo Munster. This was good because subsequent attempts to meet up just didn’t come together at all. I was gifted the album by Tipex from Valencia and would like to see how this dense stoner drone from the corner of Kyuss and Crazy Horse (Krazy Huss?) type sludge was live. And lo, Pizza tres cruces was open. The proprietor seemed perplexed as I told him that I thought it was closed. He probably didn’t understand my gibbering tinged with relief as I waited patiently on my slice. You can never go back to Papizza after this stuff.  After putting the world to right with Jorge I ambled back around the building site type landscape to my digs.

Met up with Ulla and Lagarto at lunchtime on Saturday where we took in a great new regular happening at Madklyn. Grand to hang with them and to see many familiar faces. It seemed like I wouldn’t see Marcela who recently left El Sol but she was right there. It was like having Templo Del Gato open during the day and hearing the music that you would have heard there during the wee hours. I hadn’t been in Madklyn since the close of Sesentafest last November 5th. A little later I had a couple of canas with Jorge from Munster and then it was nearly time for what - for me - was the big event in addition to seeing a whole raft of friends.

LUCY and the RATS 
It was a bit of a downer to find out that The Plastic Hammers weren’t playing but it was good to see Hormiga and to meet Tony. I hope to make it Oviedo one of these days during a proper Spanish tour. A quick nip into Ovni with Diego turned into old home week ahead of seeing Lucy and the Rats who were nothing short of magnificent. Everyone there reckon so too and I urge you to get the record and to see them wherever and whenever you can.

There was one problem that loomed over the night. This being that I had to leave town at 07.30. It meant that I followed the Jorge system of hydration over the course and doing so lessened the chance of having a sorry heid. The only real worry was resisting the temptation to grab a few zzzzz’s.

Duncan Reid and the Big Heads
Duncan Reid and the Big Heads are an entertaining combo also and in terms of their show, it’s a winner that they don’t snuggle into any of the wobbly nostalgia that so many variations on an old act might. This is a high energy pop affair that does deliver a few of those old Boys ‘hits’ but not in a backdated sense. I’m going to try and catch them in Edinburgh on November 17th just to make sure it wasn’t just a fluke. I’m sure it wasn’t.

Next September (2019), Wurlitzer will become a teenager. Long may this delinquent hostelry reign and if I'm spared then I'll be there.

Construction and Demolition
time on San Jeronimo 
From the outset, I kind of buggered up my travel to mean that it was a tight call in relation to what I wanted to do. I always run out of time but this time there were other logistics that I never quite grasped until it was too late.

In closing. I had to leave the party but I didn’t fall asleep and got to the airport in good time. Only to find out that the flight was delayed. It could have been way worse though and that manifested itself with my first experience of the new Border Control area at Edinburgh Airport, a necessary evil perhaps but plumbing new depths in inefficiency. 

I've had no response to my feedback on the subject.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Monday, September 03, 2018

Thursday, August 23, 2018


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


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 (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


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

Monday, July 30, 2018