Albums of the Year 2014

Posted in AOR, Classic albums, Classic rock, ELO, Folk, Folk rock, Get Ready To Rock!, Melodic rock, Modern rock, Music for 2014, News, Pop rock, Power metal, Power pop, Prog metal, Progressive rock, Queen, Singer songwriter with tags , , , , , , , , on November 7, 2014 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Thought I would get in early and whittled the albums down from a shortlist of 24 to fifteen!

Neonfly – Strangers In Paradise (Inner Wound Recordings) The band’s second album has been worth the wait as they have produced a monster! Big sound, big production and big songs, the best melodic metal album released this year.

The Tea Party – The Ocean At The End (Inside Out) It’s been ten years since their last studio outing but it has been worth the wait. Epic soundscapes, hints of the Doors and Led Zeppelin, glorious stuff.

The Dowling Poole – Bleak Strategies (Indie) Willie Dowling and Jon Poole combine talents for one of the best pop rock albums you’ll hear this, or indeed any, year.

Night Ranger – High Road (Frontiers) Since they returned Night Ranger keep on producing good quality music and one of the few big 80’s melodic rock bands who actually produce new music on a regular basis.

Bellowhead – (Island) The band’s first for their new label and although not as instant, it is a ‘grower’ and the better for it. They set such high standards you do wonder how they keep bettering themselves but they do.

The Radio Sun – Wrong Things Right (Melodic Rock Records) Formed from the ashes of Aussie modern pop rockers Supersonic, I defy anyone not to sing-a-long to the immense choruses contained on this album.

H.E.A.T. – Tearing Down The Walls (earMusic) H.E.A.T. really are on the up and deservedly so. This is their best album to date, not one filler. A ‘must have’ for any lover of hard rock/melodic rock.

Flying Colors – Second Nature (Mascot) Second album from the prog rock supergroup sees them going a little more prog on this album, although they still pen damn fine short songs that appeal to those with more pop/alt rock tastes.

Evergrey – (AFM Records) The band nearly called it a day and thank goodness they didn’t. Quite possibly their best album to date.

The Trews – S/t (Indie) Surely this band deserve a break outside of their native Canada? They produce consistently high standards of alt/modern rock with songs made for constant playing and airplay.

Patsy Matheson – Domino Girls (Proper Records) One of the best female singer/songwriters out there and her most varied album to date.

Nightingale – Retribution (Inside Out) New band to me, although this is their seventh album. Dan Sawnko and his cohorts have produced an album with AOR/melodic rock leanings backed by prog metal riffing.

Brother Firetribe – S/t (Spinefarm Records) Good to have them back! OTT 80’s melodic rock/AOR as only they can do and more hooks than a fishing tackle shop!

Audrey Horne – Pure Heavy (Napalm Records) This time they really tap into their love of 80’s hard rock with plenty of wild guitar solos and big choruses.

Smash Fashion (Indie) From pop rock to glam rock stomp, this band’s debut is highly impressive and recommended listening.

Re-issues:

Queen – Live at the Rainbow ’74 (Universal) Essential for any Queen fan, simple as that.

Gigs:

Jeff Lynne’s ELO Hyde Park Only waited 28 years to see ELO live, okay it was just Jeff Lynne but he is ELO and long-time ELO band member Richard Tandy was playing to. The gig of the year by a country mile and Jeff Lynne and co. far exceeded my high expectations, made even more special as my son joined me and loved every minute to.

Kansas – Shepherd’s Bush Empire A sad, but fond farewell to vocalist Steve Walsh and lets’ hope the band are back sooner rather than later.

Public Service Broadcasting – Guilfest A new discovery to me and they put on a memorable show, both musically and visually.

Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer – Guilfest In an ideal world Mr B and his brand of chap hop would be on the music GCSE syllabus. Jolly good show for (nearly) all ages.

Foreigner acoustic – Shepherd’s Bush Empire Even in acoustic mode Foreigner are one of the best live rock bands around today.

Bellowhead – Royal Albert Hall Celebrating their 10th anniversary in style with a set list that covered all their output. A phenomenal live act and one well worth seeing regardless of you musical preferences.

Ones to watch… so many good, new bands appearing and long may this continue. Three to watch are Neonfly, surely destined to move up the popularity levels based on their latest album and regular touring; Smash Fashion highly impressed by their debut and UK dates next spring; MT (Many Things) insanely catchy quirky pop rock and their relentless live shows should see success come their way.

Southampton 1-0 Stoke City

Posted in Football, Stoke City, Stoke City FC, The Premiership with tags , , on October 26, 2014 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Not a great display from us in the first half, although we made a better showing in the second half. Although we lost Southampton are a very decent side, currently second in the league and we didn’t get tonked like Sunderland did the previous weekend. We play them next at home in the Capitol One Cup!

We need to start scoring more, taking those chances and it looks like a hard season ahead, especially as we keep losing key players to injury. The League Cup should see Bojan and Steve Sidwell get a run out.

Butland and Wilko off on loan

Posted in Football, football transfers, News, Stoke City, Stoke City FC, The Premiership with tags , , , , , on October 20, 2014 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Goalkeeper Jack Butland has joined Championship club Derby County on loan and defender Andy Wilkinson has joined Millwall on loan. Both are ninety day loans with a recall option in the first month. Good kuck to both and maybe Wilko will join Millwall permanently in January if his loan spell goes well? I am pretty certain his robust syle of play will endear him to the Millwall fans. This mean Sorenson will be in goal for the Capital One Cup game against Southampton at home next week.

Stoke City 2-1 Swansea City

Posted in Football, Stoke City, Stoke City FC, The Premiership with tags , , , , on October 19, 2014 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Begovic; Bardsley, Shawcross, Wilson, Pieters; Nzonzi, Adam, Diouf, Ireland, Moses; Crouch

Subs: Sorensen, Muniesa, Walters, Cameron, Sidwell, Assaidi, Bojan

A good win for us after a fairly lethargic first half performance which saw Shawcross give away a penalty for shirt tugging. To be fair he has been heading for a booking all season for this! Mind you other players in other teams do this week in, week out too. Charlie Adam got the equaliser from the penalty spot after Victor Moses was fouled in the box (Swansea manager Gary Monk accused Moses of diving after the match). Super Jon Walters bagged the winner and a deserved three points for us. Good to see Geoff Cameron in midfield in the second half and he had a great game.

Few injury concerns ahead of next week’s game away at Southampton including Moses, Arnie and Bardsley – hopefully Whelan will be back.

Republic of Ireland 7-0 Gibraltar

Posted in Football, Gibraltar with tags , , , on October 14, 2014 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Oh dear, Gibraltar have yet to get off the score sheet in their debut European Championship qualifying campaign. Ireland were rampant with Robbie Keane bagging a hat trick. Next up Georgia, possibly a chance to score?

Elsewhere Iceland beat the Netherlands 2-0 to remain top of their group. Wales beat Cyprus 2-1 and Scotland beat Georgia 1-0, yeah!

Sunderland 3-1 Stoke City

Posted in Football, Stoke City, Stoke City FC, The Premiership with tags , , , , , , on October 6, 2014 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Poor defensively again and Charlie Adam got our goal which did even the game out for awhile at 1-1. Really need to get back to a Pulis like defence and stop these lapses of concentration which cost us there and at QPR away. Could see Huth back in place of Wilson if Huth is fit enough.

Worrying the amount of injuries we pick up under Mark Hughes though with Victor Moses off injured and really hope he is back, along with Diouf before our next game. Also in the physio room currently are Geoff Cameron and a long term injury to Peter Odemwingie.

Swansea next at home after the international break and that is a fixture we must get at the very least a draw from.

Stoke City 1-0 Newcastle

Posted in Football, Stoke City, Stoke City FC, The Premiership with tags , , , , , , , on September 30, 2014 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Begovic; Bardsley, Shawcross, Wilson, Muniesa; Whelan, N’Zonzi, Diouf (Arnautovic), Adam (Ireland), Moses (Assaidi); Crouch

Subs: Pieters, Huth, Bojan Krkic, Sørensen

Good to get our first home win and points of the season as Crouch headed home thanks to a Moses cross fifteen minutes into the first half. The pace of Moses, Diouf (who went off injured early on) and Arnautovic caused Newcastle lots of problems, plus they linked up well with Crouch, something he praised in his post-match interview. Muniesa was impressive again at left back and Moses has proved to be a real asset so far this season.

Not so great for Alan Pardew who was barracked by the away supporters, some of whom held up Sackpardew.com posters, a sign of the modern age using the internet to get rid of your manager!

Next up Sunderland away which will be a harder game than the recent Capitol One Cup win up there last week. Diouf has been called into the Senegal squad for this game in mid-October against Tunisia. Hopefully his injury won’t see him out of action for too long.

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