Scene and Heard – CCCLXXX :  Parasitical Identity –  Love Ghost (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

24312935_1571653106260434_5019385542277334242_nLove Ghost have always been good at raising concerns from the younger perspective without sounding like whining teenagers. After years of pre-pubescent pop-punkers moaning because they had to tidy their room and the chart filled with generation X-box artists making musical mountains out of the molehills of their everyday lives, from getting dumped to the hardships of loosing your phone, at least bands like Love Ghost actually have something to say. Here they present a scenario that discusses the issue of bullying and perception, of acceptance and understanding rather than judging people on first impressions.

As videos go it is compelling and strange, coming off almost like the sort of thing Peter Gabriel was toying with in the early days of music video but taking an altogether darker tack. It takes you a few runs through to truly get the plot line but like most art the fun is in the journey to understanding it rather than just having all of the answers presented to you on a plate. Musically it is the band doing what they do so well, blending swathes of cavernous guitars with space and atmosphere, switching between intricacy and power, using delicate riffs to hold back tense and terse sonic tsunamis before unleashing them to maximum effect. 

Here’s something for you to ponder. Imagine if Mudhoney had paid their dues in the industrial wastelands of Birmingham, England in the late sixties. Or conversely Black Sabbath had invented grunge whilst touring around the American North-West. You can’t imagine either of those scenarios? Well, take a listen to Parasitical Identity and you get a sonic glimpse of what either of those alternative scenarios might have resulted in. It’s a song that blends the slow, doom laden riffs of the originators of heavy metal with the uncompromising, raw edged onslaught that those stalwarts of grunge were known for. 

And because of these conflicting and disparate sounds that seem to entwine at the heart of their music they are a difficult band to place both in time and also geographically speaking. The best you can say is that they probably exist somewhere in the western world sometime from the seventies onwards. That’s actually a great quality to have. Why would you want to be identifiable as this genre or that style when you can be a mercurial, hard-hitting and highly unique blend of references?

And at the risk of making Mya Greene the centre of attention againafter taking about her sonic contribution so much last time I wrote about the band…why no viola?

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So Happy Birthday…Ronnie James Dio

A-312415-1297611337.jpegToday would have been the 75th birthday of the man christened Ronald James Padavona, famous for fronting Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Dio and Heaven and Hell and, if legend is to be believed,  populariser of the devil horns sign and the man best associated with Dungeons and Dragons style hard rock. Don’t get me wrong Rainbow’s Rising and Sabbath’s Heaven and Hell are sublime albums but he also was prone to a few cliche moments too.

But let us not forget that before all of that he was in a rather good country blues band called Elf who had a string of cool albums and who would probably have done a lot more had one Ritchie Blackmore not enticed them into being his backing band to make the first Rainbow album, a process that broke the band. Anyway, here’s Elf being cool, funky and surprisingly free of swords, dragons and rainbows.

Scene and Heard – CCXCII :  Spanish Orange – RGF (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

RGF coverjpeg_phixrImagine if Mudhoney had paid their dues in the industrial wastelands of Birmingham, England in the late sixties. Or conversely Black Sabbath had invented grunge whilst touring around the American North-West. You can’t imagine either of those scenarios? Well, take a listen to Spanish Orange by RGF and you get a sonic glimpse of what either of those alternative scenarios might have resulted in. It’s a song that blends the slow, doom laden riffs of the originators of heavy metal with the uncompromising, raw edged onslaught that those stalwarts of grunge were known for.

And because of these conflicting and disparate sounds that seem to entwine at the heart of their music they are a difficult band to place both in time and also geographically speaking. The best you can say is that they probably exist somewhere in the western world sometime from the seventies onwards. That’s actually a great quality to have. Why would you want to be identifiable as this genre or that style when you can be a mercurial, hard-hitting and highly unique blend of references?

Nostalgia Trip – I : Reading Festival ’83

reading-83-advert 2I guess that you always have a special place for the first bands that you discover, usually the ones that help form your musical opinions and soundtrack your formative years. Even though I have continued to listen to new music through out my life both as a hobby and as an income, it is with fond memories that I remember those first steps out into the musical world at large. So much has changed in the way that we access music and the way we make music, the way it is reported and possibly even the value of music on peoples lives, but at the heart of everything, for me at least,  is a love of the music itself, a bunch of musicians on a stage using music to connect with the audience, say something, make you think, or at least make you feel.

For someone who has always viewed the live performance as the distilled, pure heart of what music is ultimately about, I remember those first gigs I went to, voyages of discovery through hallowed grounds such as The Marquee and The Town and Country Club and a string of less hallowed ones in universities, pubs and toilet venues up and down the country. I also recall the first festival I went to, fresh out of college and ready to take on the world, well at least the bits that looked like they weren’t going to fight back. Reading ’83. What a line up, people of a certain age, my sort of age, argue that there have been few rock line ups to match it, even if Black Sabbath had Gillan fronting them and I got to see Thin Lizzy with the main man steering the ship. Not a bad place to start my musical education and change out of sixteen quid!

(Dave Franklin)

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