Have Mercy!

Posted in Music Review, New Release, News, Rock with tags , , , , , , , on February 10, 2013 by Rex Bussey

Unless you’re re-inventing the wheel or trying to painstakingly recreate Turner’s Modern Rome using nothing but a handful of burnt matchsticks and a gorillas skull, you need to stop whatever it is you’re doing, right now, and listen to this.

Released just one month ago by Machine Gun Funk, a new(ish) act that hail from the exotic shores of far-off Manchester, this rather fantastic little blues number is pretty much guaranteed to become regular listening.

Like the very best blues songs, it’s all rasping depth and glorious resonance. It’s gorgeous, sultry, and easy on the ears. But it’s got an edge as well. Listening to it is like running your tongue along a switch-blade  or dousing your face in kerosene after a particularly rabid night out on the town; it might feel good, but it bites.  Flip to 1:26 and listen as breathy, heart-warming rhythms coalesce  into a singular, brain melting pulse of raw style. Better yet, drop in at 2:31 and listen to the pulsing drive of the bass pound your eardrums into submission.

The best bit? The drums. It is so very rare to hear them given the space they deserve, to hear them echoing about beneath the rhythmic snarl of the bass like some primal, interstellar heartbeat. Here, they shine.

Don’t just take my word for it though, give it a listen here. Remember to stay tuned for more Machine Gun Funk releases as well; there looks to be plenty more brilliant blues rock to come.

Doubleback – An Under-Appreciated Classic

Posted in Music, Rock, Video, ZZ Top with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 14, 2013 by Rex Bussey

Every so often I stumble across this little gem while messing about on Youtube, and every time I’m surprised by the strangely dissented hook that leads into the chorus. That little guitar lick is a thing of beauty as well.

Maybe They Shouldn’t…

Posted in Bon Jovi, Music, Music Review, News, Review, Rock with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 11, 2013 by Rex Bussey

Let’s face it, Bon Jovi haven’t written an interesting song since their painfully handsome front man lopped off his golden locks and took a one way trip on the train to tuna-town. I like a ballad just as much as the next red-blooded man, but I draw the line at having soppy fourth grade love poetry drizzled down my ear canal by a banal Sensodine sales rep, and that’s why I absolutely will not be buying, borrowing, downloading, pirating, stealing or even eavesdropping on the  Jersey four-piece’s latest audio-abortion.

Because We Can has even more issues than its glib and rather feeble title might suggest. Apparently whoever produced it forgot that guitars existed, and you can barely swing a cat without accidently slamming the innocuous feline into a horrible cliché of one sort or another (oh wait…) There’s only so many times you can tell your audience that love will move a mountain, or play the same progression of jangly, Indy-rock chords before you find that the auditorium has emptied and the manor house has been repossessed.

There are only so many times you can regurgitate the same dog-eared sentiments and obnoxiously quaint storylines before you find that the world has tired of your half-hearted balladeering and moved on to bigger and less repetitive things. Obviously nobody took the time to tell Jon that though.

Once again he’s churned out a trite little three minute fable about a hideously average working class couple who triumph against adversity by remaining faithful, promising not to let each other down and being more mundane, stereotypical and obnoxiously uninteresting than a bag of wet rice.

Sentiment is laid on with a trowel. The whole debacle is about as subtle as a gentle fisting from larry the 300lb Silverback.

It’s not the lack of narrative focus that really upsets me though, or the horribly pop-rock guitar tone. I could even forgive the airy, meat-free chorus. The thing that really makes my gut churn?

No proper riff.

Not one.

Richie Sambuca used to be a great guitarist. The insidious, snaking guitar that underpins Keep the Faith sprung from his fingertips. It was him that furnished us with the raw, punchy guitar magic that makes Bad Medicine. Recently, however, he’s been relegated to the naughty corner so Jon’s ego can come play sell-out arena tour #356. He’s a backing guitarist now, content to noodle along in the background and play the occasional solo and that? That is a shame.

Don’t just take my word for it though, give it a listen here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0Z3nh-ah_k)

Whatever Happened to the Thin White Duke?

Posted in David Bowie, Music, Music Review, News, Pop, Review, Rock with tags , , , , , , , on January 10, 2013 by Rex Bussey

Bowie broke nearly ten years of radio silence when he released his new hit single Where Are We Now two days ago. The track rocketed straight to number one here in the UK, and news of the spaceman’s return rippled out across the cosmos, or the blogosphere at least. People are hailing his new track as a ‘brilliant’ return to form and an ‘outstanding’ effort. Does it deserve the hype? No, not at all. Here’s why

When Bowie clawed his way into the public eye in the early 70’s it was the novelty, the strange, alien vitality of his music that made it so appealing.

He was a writer of unwatched quality, but also an excellent innovator, and a keen pioneer. Five Years broke new ground, Aladdin Sane was a smorgasbord of complicated and wholly original textures, heroes was novelty personified. Bowie’s latest offering, however, is practically just a rehash of his 1976 cover Wild Is the Wind. Everything, from the gentle movement of the brass, the strange, lilting rhythm  the gradual, almost imperceptible lifts, all belong to his earlier, and much better work. In fact the only thing that really sets this new track apart is that it lacks the lyrical power, or the intensity of Bowie’s earlier slow songs. It’s more detached  more hollow than even the most solemn of Bowie’s synth pop dirges.

I can’t help but feel a little disappointed that, after a ten year hiatus, the ‘chameleon of rock’ has proffered up stale fare rather than a sumptuous banquet of vibrant new music. While Where Are We Now is certainly immediately recognizable, while it still evokes that same, dizzying sense of nostalgia, it’s more a product of the Bowie we know, than the one we love.

Steven Tyler & Joe Perry on the Jonathan Ross Show

Posted in Aerosmith, Rock, Uncategorized, Video with tags , , , , , on October 23, 2012 by Rex Bussey

An awkward and uncomfortable encounter with two of the worlds most audacious rock stars.

Open Season…

Posted in City Of Lights, Music, Music Review, News, Review, Rock with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2012 by Rex Bussey

Times change, and recently a lot of rock focused news outlets have been focusing on the negative, on the recent retirement of Foo Fighters, Motley Crue’s announcement that they are set to close shop in the near future, and Steven Tyler’s unpleasant dig at Paul Stanley of Kiss. But it’s not all doom and gloom.

There are up and coming bands that promise to replace the masters of old. Hardcore Superstar, the indomitable Reckless love, Foxy Shazzam, and, closer to home, City of Lights.

COL, as they are affectionately known, are a Leeds based band that play surprisingly meaty melody driven pop Rock. It isn’t, technically, hard rock, but it’s still worth a mention. Since they started touring the UK earlier this year, they have been going from strength to strength. They have sold out shows in Leeds and Manchester, they’ve played encore after encore, their album sales have spiked through the roof. Why? Their musics good, that’s why. Maybe they aren’t Aerosmith, or the Rolling Stones. Maybe they don’t swagger quite as hard as Axl Rose or pout as convincingly as Gary Cherone, but they do produce catchy tunes, and they will make you smile. Take their new CD, Seasons change (available here:http://www.facebook.com/cityoflightsmusic) and give it a listen. Energetic, bouncy, light hearted fun. You might not find yourself subconsciously banging your head in a helpless parody of the hapless Ozzy Osbourne, but you will enjoy it. Their gigs are the same, fun fuelled, full of vigour, and thoroughly enjoyable.

And I guess that’s the point really;  seasons do change, but just because we’re watching old growth die back, doesn’t mean that there isn’t new talent rising up to fill the gaps. There is always hope, always something to believe in.

On Spiders, Hairspray, and Old Men That Sing About Sex

Posted in Motley Crue, Music, Music Review, Review, Rock with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 15, 2012 by Rex Bussey

Spiders are simple creatures bound by simple laws. When you cut the leg off a spider, the leg dies, but the nerves inside do not. Long after death the leg twitches madly, spasaming across the floor, writhing in a mad dance, a hopeless parody of life. Motley Crue were once the spider; brooding, ominous, genre defying. once upon a time they scuttled back and forth, playing hair metal, hard rock, even a little pop. They were never afraid to innovate and they influenced more bands than I could possibly count. Once, Motley Crue were a force to be reckoned with.

The Crue are not, however, whisky or cheese. They have not matured well.

Their  newest song is, I think, testament to that.  It’s called Sex, and it’s disappointing to say the least.

It’s a 3 minute slice of mediocre hard rock. It’s not original, particularly striking, or incredibly relevant. It’s marred by Tommy Lee’s overenthusiastic drumming, it suffers from an over-abundance of backing vocals and a rather flaccid chorus. Vince’s vocal performance is noteworthy; he sounds better than ever before, and Mick Mars hasn’t lost his touch. The riffs are still catchy, the structure’s acceptable, but it isn’t special, and it won’t wow you. It feels underwhelming.

After 30+ years of writing, recording and producing music, you’d expect the Crue to be on top of their game, to still be brooding, ominous and innovative, to produce something noteworthy, something powerful. Unfortunately Motley Crue seem hell bent on becoming a parody of themselves. They write and produce music that sounds identical to the mush they spewed out pre Baker. They have become the spiders leg; writhing about on the floor, twitching, a reflexive self parody, still desperately clinging to youth and vitality, still screaming about sex despite their flabby jowls and wrinkled faces.

Don’t just take my word for it though. Listen to it here, form your own opinion, tell me what you think.

 

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