Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

On the twelfth day of Christmas

January 6, 2011

Wow, was it really March the last time I put anything on here……

As it is officially the last day of Christmas what better time to post my prized collection of Pearl Jam Christmas Singles which I’ve been collecting ever since I posted a $10 note off to the address in the back of the then newly released Vitalogy to somewhere in Seattle in order to sign up with the Vitalogy Health Club back in 1994.

Sometime in early 1996 a double 7″ dropped through the letterbox, double to make up for the lack of a previous year’s single, it was the first single I owned that had the larger hole and I didn’t realise you had to use the adapter to play so used to spend ages aligning it perfectly on the centre of my Dads record player, not sure when the penny finally dropped.

Fortunately with the advent of the internet, membership renewal became much easier and rather than having to find someone who’d been to the US to beg for their change to send off it was just a case of entering your details online. Each year a new single would arrive,  rarely at Christmas though which in my opinion adds to the fun as you never quite know when it’s coming. As well as the surprise a lot of thought seems to have gone into the design and packaging, each one is unique and not tied to any recent album release which makes them all feel individual and they look great.

The songs are covers, live tracks, outakes, demos, collaborations, sometimes Christmas themed other times not. It’s always fun to dig them out each year and have a listen which has now formed part of my festive routine. Unfortuately I’m missing the first two from 1991 and 1992 which I will track down, they are obtainable but at a price, I was missing 1993 but thanks the the fan club’s mystery vinyl lottery at the end of last year I managed to get a copy for just $10. Also just to confuse matters 2003’s single was a 10″ which I always forget about since it’s stored separately from the others.

Due to the way the fan club works I seem to have quite a low membership number which means I need to go to see them live in the US one day since it’s all seated and fan club tickets are sold based on seniority which apparently would get me pretty decent seats up front. The chances of that happening anytime soon though are quite slim and I’ve been fortunate enough to see them quite a few times over the last few years as they’ve re-found their love of Europe although since these are always general admission standing my number means nothing so I need to travel to make it count.

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Chemlad used to be my favorite band

March 13, 2010

This week I was greeted with the unexpected arrival of Pelican’s latest album which I thought had been delayed until May after having it’s March release delayed but the lovely people at Southern had obviously got them in stock and sent out ASAP. I was also happy to find it was on double red vinyl as well seeing as I was under the impression it would be black for anyone who wasn’t buying it through Southern Lord’s vinyl subscription, not quite as snazzy as the splatter but still pleasing on the eye.

I first heard of Pelican back in 2005, I was due to spend four nights in Glasgow watching Biffy Clyro run through their then three albums followed by a fourth night of the in progress one at King Tutt’s. My sister’s boyfriend had come down to Bristol in order for us to fly up together and suggested we go to the Thekla to see Pelican the night before we left as he wasn’t able to catch them in Leeds, I had no idea who they were at the time other than they were instrumental and I imagined a room full of men stroking their beards. What I saw and heard really amazed me, it was the first time I’d seen a fully instrumental band live who managed to captivate me and hold my attention, the time just flew by. The material they played was drawn from the just released at the time Fire In Our Throats Will Beckon The Thaw, Australasia and their untitled EP and I realised I was going to have to order their back catalogue.

The reason for getting getting everything on vinyl came from finding about the split they’d done with Mono which at the time had a track unavailable on CD although it was later released on the Invaders compilation which is an acoustic version of Red Ran Amber. I’d love to see them do an acoustic only gig thinking about, maybe supporting themselves as they usually have a track or two per album which is acoustic that don’t get played live. Of course my problem is that once I have one release on a certain format I have the completion-ist urge to then buy everything else and so began my quest although I made the conscious decision to not getting bogged down into getting every colour for every pressing as it would probably bankrupt me and drive me insane trying to find everything.

Fortunately I was on the ball for the March Into The Sea EP vinyl press which I first managed to find a copy on a beautiful white and purple splatter and then a few weeks later obtained a black copy of the velum version which looks stunning in the flesh and is probably one of my favourite release especially with the Aaron Horkey logo which you don’t get on the regular version.

From there is was quite easy to get a copy of the untitled EP which I think I have a second pressing of, the colour of the lettering varies dependent on the version I think, Australasia was made easier by a repress from Interloper records which I get a tasty green and purple version of, a random check of Hydra Head’s online store one night led me to a single copy of the original pressing on black which I snapped up, more recently an awesome screen printed version was released so I had to have that, meaning three copies of it. What the hell though it has my favourite song by them on it, Drought, that’s got to count for a lot surely?

I won’t ramble on about how I managed to get the rest but I’ve realised after digging everything out today how much I have, the only thing I’m still after is the Champions of Sound 2003 release which I’ve never seen on sale anywhere, one day maybe. Anyway here’s the rest….

Playing Enemy Split 7″

The Fire In Our Throats Will Beckon The Thaw

City Of Echoes

Pink Mammoth 10″

These Arms Are Snakes Split 10″

Ephemeral

Champions Of Sound 2008

Young Widows Split Series – I couldn’t handle just having the single split with Pelican, they make a face….

And to finish off a close up of that lovely logo from March Into The Sea

Baroness Prints

January 29, 2010

OK, so I know this is supposed to be about vinyl but the pair of prints just arrived from Burlesque of North America and I couldn’t be happier. I camped out on the computer to ensure I got these and had to restrain myself from getting them in green when I saw them at sale at Baroness’ gig last week with the knowledge they were in the post. Now to organise framing….

In the dead of night hear my angel call

January 28, 2010

Prompted by a shameful lack of updates yet again and Evan who seems to have done more in week than I have since I started I decided to pull out something I’ve not really given much time and then got sidetracked into slipping on one of my highlights from last year.

Darkness Comes Alive is an incredibly immediate album but unlike most that you think are brilliant on first listen and then over time come to realise they aren’t that hot this one lasts the course.

I pretty much knew nothing about this band at all until I was sent the album a few months ago, it’s unpretentious, balls to the wall rock and you get the impression that they are superb live. The vinyl version I ended up with was a very nice black and grey splatter which compliments the the sleeve and cover very nicely.

What I was originally going to put on was my Doomriders Vs Boris split LP that I realised I had once I got into this album and have never really listened to, this one consists of two clear red LPs with Doomriders playing a gig in the back of a pizza shop which must be mostly material from the first album as I don’t recognise any of it and Boris doing quite a lot of Pink era material with Ibitsu thrown in for good measure. I picked this one up during an intense phase of having to buy anything with Boris written on it and the fact it has some amazing artwork. Like quite a lot of artwork by Boris the cover is a parody of another famous album, in the case Judas Priest’s Screaming for Vengence, but incorporating the cover of the first Doomriders album with Boris being represented by the frog.

Musically I can’t really remember how good this is but don’t rememebr being blown away by the Boris live stuff which I think is better represented on their Live at Wolf Creek album or Live in Prague bootleg. I have no recall about the Doomriders’ stuff on here and at the moment I’m enjoying Darkness Comes Alive too much to put it on, maybe later.

Shut your doors their storm is coming

January 7, 2010

After dismissing Converge for many years 2009 was the year I actually spent some time listening to them and to my surprise ended up thinking they were pretty damn good. It’s always good to prove yourself wrong once in a while especially when a band has an extensive discography that you can spend your time working your way back through.

Currently it’s all about Axe To Fall for me, an album that caused my wife to declare not sure if serious which is always a good sign since it means she’s noticed I’m listening to something different to normal but that it’s relegated to headphones only when she’s around. The main thing currently pulling me back to this album over and over is the sheer variety on it,  fast songs, slow songs, anger, introspection, acoustic touches, varied vocalists and musicians. A sure sign of a confident band is one that’s not afraid to let their guests take the reins rather than hide them in the background in case they outshine the talent and it works extremely well here.

For me this album is a complete package with the music complemented by superb artwork which I recently missed out on buying a rather nice print of although my ever increasing pile of unframed posters means this is probably a good thing. Fancy vinyl colouring too, I ended up with a beer with blue white and yellow splatter which looks gorgeous. The CD copy just doesn’t do it justice.

Now to patiently wait for that Jane Doe reissue…….

Frames!

December 23, 2009

Not vinyl and after an initial flurry of activity I’ve settled into my lazy self and not posted for an age, hopefully I can get back on track over the holidays. For now, here are some screen prints I’ve finally got around to getting properly framed, the Melvins poster from the Scala in 2006 is what really got me in to buying these and as a result every time I see them I have to get that night’s. Here’s the first four I chose to get done and I’m very impressed with the result, photography is terrible due to flashes and lights but you get the idea. I’m particularly happy with the Baroness print which never seems to look as good in a photo as it does in person, the frame was custom dyed to match the predominant green and looks wonderful.

Should we shave the queen?

October 5, 2009

It’s very rare that a band I’ve never heard of or listened to before impresses me live these days, it’s even rarer for a band to have me dancing like an idiot charging around with their instruments and holding the singer aloft on a drum.  So it was a real surprise to me to have that experience and about an hour later rank it as probably the best live experience I’ve ever had.

It’s been ten months since what has gone down in my memory as the finest ATP Gubbinsfestival I have ever attended. So good was ATP’s Nightmare Before Christmas that I still get a warm glow thinking about it now, three days in Butlins with a line-up chosen by the Melvins and Mike Patton. Not only did we get a selection of bands we loved, band we’d never heard of but discovered and now adore but you can add swimming, water slides, mini golf and as many chilli cheese bites as you can manage to the list of amazing things you could do there.

It’s now become painfully apparent since my return however how badly nearly every other festival does things and as such makes me look at the rest in a very snobby light. I’m not sure I’ll ever get to see so many great performances again, I won’t go through a list now but you can see what you missed here.

Standing around by the second stage on Sunday evening I was wondering where the hell the band were, according to the programme they were called Monotonix and hailed from Tel Aviv,  when  suddenly I caught a glimpse of a very hairy man in orange hotpants crowd surfing, grabbing people’s drinks from their hands, taking gulps and launching the rest over everyone. Having established they were on the floor in the middle of the crowd I decided I needed to get a piece of the action so slowly made my way closer and closer. By the time I was in I was being handed a drum and following a procession of people outside of the venue whilst banging merrily away. My new hairy hero was now insisting me and a group of other ‘audience’ members hold the drum above our heads with him on top whilst he stood on it and sang what I can only assume was some sort of Israeli folk song. Unfortunately by this time security had got far too nervous and stopped people processing out of the venue, locking them inside and shut the whole thing down.

Fast forward eight months and along with Evan and Dani we were upstairs at the Garage experiencing them again. You have not experienced live music until you’ve seen this band, it’s not just the music though, it’s the experience, I’ve never seen a band get the whole audience involved like they do and you’re a fool if you miss them.

So, can their recorded output live up to their live show? Having picked up their latest album, Where Were You When It Happened?, at the Garage show I would say that I can’t separate the two, it’s just not possible to listen to this and not be reminded of just how incredible they are live. There’s nothing surprising on the record, eight tracks coming in at just over half and hour and a good representation of the musical side of what you’ll hear if you see them. The artwork on the LP is great with band bursting out of the flies of a pair of jeans with a delightful arse crack on the reverse.

Monotonix AMonotonix B

So thank you ATP, thank you Monotonix, just goes to show that after twelve years of going to gigs you can still be blown away by a random band live when you least exepct it.