A Rush of Blood to the Head by Coldplay
I never did the Coldplay thing. To me they were too mainstream, boring, bland, over exposed and overused. Listening to this album again did nothing to change that opinion.
While listening I kept expecting the soothing tones of Kirsty Wark or Prof Brian COCKs to pipe in over the top and tell me about the illusionary one armed orphan made of atoms that was in need of some respite or donations so they could buy a camel to dig a waterhole in their flooded landscape with their one eyed baby. Or someone like Lenny Henry to start telling me about Samanfa from Barnes who has over come her addiction to jam and has returned to the area where her abuse of jam started only to be reunited with Kelly her old friend who has now lost a leg. Or something.
If you’ve watched any documentaries or charity programmes since this album was released, there is no doubt you have already heard this album. I don’t know why. Perhaps it just brings to mind unbearable mental images of depression, deprivation and false hope.
Anyway, for you guys, I listened to the whole album. I didn’t want to. I wanted to gloss over it but I am loyal to you and so I tortured myself by listening to it. Please don’t make me do it again…..I can’t. I’ve recycle binned it…
A Noise Severe by The Gathering
I first came across The Gathering ages ago, specifically their album Mandylion. I was immediately transfixed. It was at this time that I started to realise how controlled the British music press and culture is. I did research and found very little in the way of acknowledgement in the UK that this bunch of Dutch rockers actually existed. Why? They had been going for a while, the lead singer was a hot chick called Anneke, and their music was enjoyable, diverse and melodic. So why? Why did they not have as much recognition in the UK than they had on the continent. After all, it wasn’t as if they were singing in Dutch or Norse or some weird Scandinavian dialect. They were singing in English.
And bloody good too.
A quick look at their tour history had them touring most of Europe. Big city gigs in the likes of Berlin, Amsterdam, Prague, Liepzig. Festivals all over the place (including Wave Gothik Treffen). But it seemed like they only played the UK a few times, and even then, far off obscure parts (London mostly). Why? The same issue with Ayreon, Sieben and many other artists. Absolutely massively popular in Europe and other parts of the world but in the UK…nothing. Or very little.
Anyway, this album is a live set featuring the lovely Anneke Van Giersbergen who belts out a proper pot pourri of The Gathering’s greatest hits. If you’re keen to try new “metal”ish rock and you’re looking for something different, coherrent and comfortable, I suggest you whet your appetite with this album. Favourites Probably Built in the Fifities and Strange Machines feature as do several tracks from the Mandylion and Home albums but yeah, I think it’s a good starting place if you’re unfamiliar.
So in what is becoming tradition, here is a little video of my favourite song from the album:
A Little Different by Barry Louis Polisar
During the dawn of the Internet, before Black September, there existed a website called Peoplesound. Peoplesound empowered unsigned musicians to produce an album and sell it through the site. So of course, it was inevitable that other unsigned artists would be keen to promote their wares through the platform.
As a fan of the underdog, I have always been keen to hear artists “raw” and unoverproduced so you will see lots of bands from Peoplesound in the process of this project. One such artist was Barry Louis Polisar. Polisar had already made a name for himself on Sesame Street writing songs for children and had chucked out a fair few albums to a small audience. One of which was this. Of course, when the film Juno came out with a Polisar tune in the soundtrack, people started saying to me “Hey have you heard this guy he’s so cool” and I was like “Yeah, I heard of him years ago. I’m so cool” and they were like “No. We’re cool because we heard of him after you heard of him so we are cooler because you’re not really cool you’re more lukewarm”
Anyway, as my ownership of this album since 2000 holds testament, I am far ahead of all the Coolkids and hipsters, musical taste-wise. Regardless.
So. Polisar is a bit like an American Rolf Harris/Jay Foreman hybrid. Here is a sample:
A Hillbilly Tribute to AC/DC by Hayseed Dixie
You’ll probably now see a lot of albums that start “A Tribute” or similar. On the back of the artist of the previously reviewed album, Beatallica, I was introduced, through a conversation, to Hayseed Dixie.
Hayseed, as discussed earlier, were one of the many “tribute scene” bands that “fused” styles with artists in the last decade. I’m still waiting for a Folk version of Rammstein or a Tweecore tribute to something like Fields of the Nephilim. I guess I’ll have to wait.
I went to see Hayseed when they toured the UK. They played, and played, and played. The Student Union staff at Liverpool turned on the lights. They continued to play. The security unplugged their equipment. They continued to play. We left. They continued to play.
One trick pony.
I’m not a fan of AC/DC. I am aware of their works. But I am not a fan. I guess a lot of this is wasted on me.
A French Kiss in the Chaos by Reverend and the Makers
I met Jon McClure some years ago, just as his Makers were starting out in the big wide world of showbiz. His then girlfriend Laura Manuel (One of the Makers) was working with Mrs-soon-to-be-ex-Gnomepants and Gnomepants Manor would often receive demo cds of the Reverend’s new work.
Personally I thought he was a wanker.
The Mrs liked him though and went skinny dipping somewhere wild with the whole band.
Laura was ok though.
Jon was a wanker.
Anyway, historically, I liked their first album. This is their “difficult” second album. It’s shit. Don’t bother.
So following the untimely passing of one of my fellow students, I have been digging around my old archive to see what stuff I have from the time.
One of my favourite all time things was when I directed and produced a “Live” broadcast as part of my Media Production Degree. The first we heard of it was when our lecturer, Alf, told us the previous day we were to be filming and mixing a “Live” performance of the Music students. I had always wanted to produce a music video and my this was my chance. However, before you judge, there are some things you should know:-
- The whole thing was unprepared.
- The musicians had never performed with each other as a group before.
- The musicians had only 3 days or so to practice.
- The sound mixing came from the Sound Technology students who also didn’t appear to be prepared (as you will hear from the video)
- I started to get into the swing of it by the third set.
Anyway, as you will see, there are some talented people out there. I just wish I knew who they all were! If you know, feel free to post a link to the video on your Facebook.
Bands from stegzy gnomepants on Vimeo.