Archive for the Pop rock Category

Some Fantastic Place by Chris Difford

Posted in Authors, Books, Classic albums, Netgalley, pop, Pop rock with tags , , , , , , , , on September 14, 2017 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

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W&N [Publication date 31.08.17]

Chris Difford is the lyricist to Glen Tilbrook’s music and arranging in Squeeze, a band who have split up twice and now since reforming again in 2007 seem to be enjoying a purple patch both in terms of touring and making new music.

Chris’s memoir is very much written from the heart as he describes his struggle with alcohol and bouts of depression, and the effect this had on his personal life. However, he comes across as a positive soul and one that is grateful for what he has. There are of course plenty of tales of Squeeze and how they rose to fame in the late 70’s and early 80’s with a string of hit singles.

His musical life outside of Squeeze is given insight including his time as helping coral the lyrics for Bryan Ferry. He also felt like Bryan Ferry’s chauffer at the time! He also worked on lyrics with Elton John and became good friends with him, which helped a band Chris was mentoring the Strypes, who signed to Elton’s Rocket Music Management in their early days. His solo career is covered, although not as extensively as Squeeze.

You do get a little insight into the relationship between him and Glen Tilbrook, something that has remained constant throughout the years since when they first met back in 1973.

Reading about Squeeze it is pretty amazing they are still going, as at one time in the 90’s they seemingly had a revolving door on drummers and keyboard players. Luckily for music fans the Difford and Tilbrook axis on which Squeeze turns remained and the Squeeze story continues as they have a new album ‘The Knowledge’ out in October.

Chris Difford has penned an honest account of his life in and out of Squeeze, where he is very honest about his past mistakes and his struggles with depression and drinking. Highly recommended for both fans of the band and anyone wanting to see how the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle isn’t all glitz and glamour.

Review by Jason Ritchie

 

Smashing it Up: A Decade of Chaos with the Damned by Kieron Tyler

Posted in Books, Pop rock, rock n roll with tags , , , on September 1, 2017 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

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Omnibus Press [Publication date 12.06.17]

The book focuses on their formation and subsequent first decade, where along with the Clash and the Sex Pistols, were one of the first punk bands. The influence of the band stretches far and wide, be it them taking on support bands who later broke big themselves like Black Flag or having their classic song ‘New Rose’ being covered by Guns ‘N’ Roses. The classic line-up of Dave Vanian (the only ever present throughout the band’s many line-up changes), Captain Sensible, Rat Scabies and Brian James are all interviewed by the author and often tell a varying version of key events ion the band’s history as you’d expect. They have had a fair few musicians through their ranks including Algy Ward (who went on to form Tank), Paul Gray (later seen in UFO), Jon Moss (Culture Club) and Lemmy often appeared on stage with them.

You find out lots of facts including Captain’s love of cricket (his solo career and hit ‘Happy Talk’ are also covered in depth) and interesting insights to the various offshoots including the Phantom Chords and Naz Nomad and the Nightmares. Plus of course the band were very rock ‘n’ roll with Captain often finishing gigs in the nude, and along with Rat Scabies causing mayhem and damage in recording studios and venues. There are plenty of these tales in the book.

The band suffered from a series of label issues and changing management, yet despite setbacks still managed to record some classic songs and Kieron Tyler is a fan, which helps when he assess the songs and impacts of the albums throughout those first ten years. He is honest in his assessment and makes you want to listen to the songs again

Although the book is looking mainly at the band’s first ten years, Tyler goes onto cover the more recent history of the band although not in as much detail. Good news for Damned fans is a new album is due possibly by the end of year and they show no signs of stopping yet.

Well researched and for once a band biography that includes author interviews with the various current and past members, rather than relying solely on archive interviews. Great read for fans of the band and music in general.

Fifty Gigs In A Day

Posted in Fundraising, gigs, indie, Melodic rock, metal, Modern rock, pop, Pop rock, rock n roll with tags , , , , on June 16, 2017 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

I am doing a different idea for my fiftieth birthday next year, combining my loves of music, books & fundraising. You can find out more here

If you only by a few albums this month…

Posted in Albums of the Year, AOR, Blues rock, hard rock, Music for 2016, pop, Pop rock, Power pop with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 28, 2016 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Hard to pick one single ‘must have’ album from the April releases as there are a lot…

Tax The Heat released their debut on Nuclear Blast and it is chock full of catchy blues/hard rocking tunes with a modern edge.

The Dowling Poole return with their second album ‘One Hyde Park’, a delight from start to finish. If you like quirky pop with a message – think XTC, Squeeze, the instant appeal of ELO songs – this is for you.

Left With Pictures new album ‘Afterlife’ took me by surprise, with its sparse, yet melodic arrangements and haunting vocals. Not for everyone but if like me you love  music regardless of its ‘genre’, have a listen.

And finally the new Cheap Trick ‘Bang, Zoom, Crazy…Hello’…the band have continued their fine run of form since 1997’s self-titled album (I still can’t get into their 1992 release ‘Woke Up With A Monster’), with their first new album since 2009. It really does hark back at times to their classic 70’s/early 80’s sound. If you are a fan doubtless you will already have this, if not try this album and then work your way back through their fine back catalogue.

Recent CD bargains…

Posted in Classic albums, Classic rock, Get Ready To Rock!, hard rock, Melodic rock, Modern rock, Pop rock, Power pop with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 27, 2016 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Some recent charity shop finds including last year’s album ‘Brain Waves’ from Eureka Machines. Great album full of catchy pop rock/punk tunes and features Chris Catalyst (Ginger/Sisters Of Mercy etc). Only a pound and a signed copy as well! Also for a pound was the two CD version of Silver Ginger 5’s ‘Black Leather Mojo’. I love this album and one of the first I downloaded on iTunes. It features Ginger of the Wildhearts, plus various Wildhearts in the band and Conny Bloom of the Electric Boys. Not one filler, all are glorious slabs of glam infused pop rock. Darn shame they never made another album.

Whilst up in Stoke recently and browsing in the rather good record store Music Mania, I picked up Dogs Die In Hot Cars ‘Please Describe Yourself’ album – perhaps best known for their hit ‘Godhopping’. Bizarrely the band hail from my dad’s birthplace, St. Andrews and most of the band went to the same college as him, Madras College. Album full of quirky pop, recalling bands like Talking Heads, Arcade Fire and XTC. At the same time picked up the best of Hootie & the Blowfish. One of those bands I can cover with a just a best of by in my collection. Vocalist Darius Rucker has recently embarked on a more country/Americana path in his music.

Five bands I would love to see reform…

Posted in AOR, hard rock, Melodic rock, Modern rock, pop, Pop rock, Power pop with tags , , , , , , , on April 23, 2016 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

I was thinking with all these recent big name musicians passing away it must make sense for some of these bands to make-up and do at least one more show.

Top of that list for me has to be Journey reuniting with Steve Perry. Perry has changed his stance to ‘never say never’ and Carlos Santana could prove a unlikely catalyst to this happening.

Slade, one of the few 70’s rock bands with all the original members still with us. Not likely I know and we do have Dave Hill and Don Powell touring as Slade II, but wouldn’t Noddy Holder and Jim Lea fancy just one more gig maybe? I doubt it sadly.

XTC were down just to Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding by the time they called it a day. A falling out between the two seemingly put paid to any more XTC, however with Steven Wilson adding his sonic magic to the XTC back catalogue could the two make-up?

Semisonic – great band on album and live. Made a brief splash in the late 90’s/early 00’s then stopped. Dan Wilson does his solo thing, maybe time for a new Semisonic album/tour? Please 🙂

Skagarack, okay not top of may people’s lists being a relative obscure Danish melodic rock band. But given the interest in 80’s rock and recent reunions the time is right! Frontiers Records make it so 😉

Virgin Radio is back on air

Posted in Classic albums, hard rock, indie, News, Pop rock, Power pop with tags , , , on April 5, 2016 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

I was a regular listener to Virgin Radio when it first launched back in 1993 as it played a wider range of music and a lot of indie rock. Back then the choice of radio stations was still very limited, not like the overwhelming choice of digital and online radio stations we have now.

It was taken over by new owners and re-branded as Absolute Radio. Since then I have not been a big fan of that station, you can set your watch on the time of day a song would be played each day.

So I was surprised to see Virgin Radio back and part of the revamped group of radio stations owned by the Wireless Group (Talk Sport/Talk Radio). The demographic they are aiming for is 25-44 year olds and it has already been dubbed Radio 1 1/2 as it aims to sit between Radio 1 and Radio 2’s audience. It is online and digital only, no MW or FM presence this time around.

You can see the playlist below, a mix of indie and mainstream rock, plus some more dance/beat orientated tunes. The Stereophonics still make the playlist – a staple of the original Virgin Radio:

http://virginradio.co.uk/highlights/playing-now-check-out-virgin-radio-playlist-1603251950

I will give it a listen and be nice to alternate between this and online rock radio stations for a bit of musical variety.