30 December 2015

Lemmy. RIP

If you're going to be a fucking rock star, go be one.

Lemmy might have been fed broken bottles and rusty blades as a child washed down with sulphuric acid and salt water - and that'd be how he got to have the most distinctive vocal growl in rock & roll. Motorhead were, well, Motorhead. A 40 year career dedicated to the art of their craft with no hidden agenda or technological trickery, no cop-out change of direction or carefully edited output...and don't ever look for complexities - there were none of those either. With Motorhead you always got the feeling that you WERE actually getting what you assumed you were....and that's because you always were. With the greatest of respect they were a reliable constant.

Lemmy's death is an end that will always feel too soon, Too soon for goodbyes. Too soon for understanding. Too soon to ever prepare for. It's exactly how he'd have wanted it.

Rest In Peace You Legend x

22 December 2015

Album Review: Beans On Toast.

Beans On Toast
'Rolling Up The Hill'
(Xtra Mile Recordings)

The philosophies of an introspective binge thinker

Essex born singer/songwriter Beans On Toast (real name Jay McAllister) began his career playing acoustic nights as part of the London folk scene in 2005 and, following a Glastonbury slot in 2007, has gone on to build a huge underground following in the UK. His straightforward social commentary with equal measures of jocular wordplay, self deprecation, genuine cynicism and wide-eyed storytelling may seem endearingly impolitic...but it's not....it's cultural anthropology. Though not quite the pissed off outsider he does have opinions and is opinionated enough to express them. Beyond any accurate definition..he's a hip-hop pub rock/social philosophy folk punk/ acoustic indie hippy rant poet.

 New album Rolling Up The Hill is his seventh and, in keeping with his own quirky tradition, released it on Dec 1st, his birthday, as he has done every year since debut album Standing On A Chair in 2009. Recorded in Kansas and produced by husband/wife country duo Truckstop Honeymoon who introduce their own distinct brand of sound with the inclusion of a double bass, mandolin and banjo alongside Beans' usual  acoustic infrastructure.

 It brings a subtle Americana bluesy tinge to the songs, especially so on catchy opener The Mudhills Crew a breezy harmonica driven accolade to nostalgia with fond recollection (Teenage kicks and teenage dreams/ We were the best of friends/And tonight I've been thinking about them) while the cleverly crafted poke at capitalism on Robin Hood Costume is a class conscious political protest rap strung across a simple repetitive beat.

His adoration for girlfriend Lizzie B creates uncomplicated boy/girl love songs like I'm Home When You Hold Me...tender with honesty and beautifully innocent (I know you love the ocean baby/ I know you love the sea/ Well you know that I love you/ And I know that you love me) It's unsophisticated schoolyard chalk heart poetics...and isn't that as it should be...Why should we ever complicate what love makes simple? It's the song of the year for me! 

God Is A Cartoonist is a vitriolic swipe at the instigating iconoclastic concepts of religion, conjouring from him  his most acidic backbiting volley yet (Every christian, every muslim and every atheist/ Has a god giving right to take the piss/Hallellujah god is good, god is great/God is a terrorist/ while  recent jaunts across the USA are chronicled in the foot-tapping travelogue of lead single The Great American Novel, a fond name-check through popular American culture with infectious storytelling enthusiasm in a charming framework of subtle bluegrass music 

His songs are a fascinating sojourn through jigsawed pieces of modern culture without wandering too far from the realities of modernity, The witty, observational lyricisms are intoxicating..and there is no evocative metaphors or idiotic unthinkable visions of a better world. This is an album of profound sincerity, genuine reflection and astonishing, spot on, social essaying with heart on sleeve integrity.

Written by: Alan Baillie
Published at BBC Music

21 December 2015

EP Review: Billy Liar

Racing through nine songs with the spirited intensity that defines him...this voracious cultural expressionist from within a turbulence of monologues...the skewed artiness of his freewheeling folk punk and true, rough-edged DIY. At times he is, for sure, the charged up narrator of his own frustrations snatching up personal wreckage from the alleyways of emotional squalor in a bombardment of impulsive eulogies. But he is as tender as he is proactive, a deep seated idealist, philosophically subjective enough to not always be ploughing at us with rebellious objection.

Opening song Some Nights is a whirling, hair-trigger of frenzied guitar that clocks in at just under two minutes long....followed by recent EP track Change his glorious homage to contempt through frustration (Is that too much to ask?/ Probably!) he sneers with a backbiting, vitriolic dismissal. The quick/slow/stop/start of Who I've Become nurtures poetic reflection underneath the blustering,hard faced exterior its delivery encourages it to adopt. Lyrically he flits between the wry and the clever, his storytelling narratives creating from the space between thought and expression.

His derisive, post-relationship break up summary The Coast Is Clear rattles with a contentious indifference (I will see you again/ And we'll pretend to be friends) its barely veiled subtleties dashed with realistic cynicism. Further songs include All I've Got, Is It Me?. Noose and a nod to the brilliant Withered Hand with a cover of No Cigarettes. 

Recorded one night in April at Edinburgh's Banshee Labyrinth...songs of urban adolescence and prevalent adulthood from the iconic roaming troubadour in the prolific style and resplendent sharpness of instinctive creativity.


7 December 2015

Transition Champ!

Taken from the forthcoming Wendy James album The Price Of The Ticket. It's all in the terminus of the expressiveness and the psychology of the mood. See dogmatic revisionism and resplendent sharpness collide in kaleidoscopic lyrical juxtaposition....That's what I'd say if I were to adopt the manner of a pretentious cunt! But I'm not and I'm not. I haven't heard the entirety of her new album yet,..but I bet it is all the things I just said... with a charming intellectual conceit for a bonus!

Adele's new album sold almost 4 million copies in its first week!

"Hello..It's me"

"Fuck off, Adele!"

Scott Weiland RIP

Former Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver frontman Scott Weiland died in his sleep on Thursday night while on tour with his current band The Wildabouts. He was 48. The singer was found dead on his tour bus around 9pm, just before he was due on stage at the Medina Entertainment Center with his band.. At the time of writing the cause of death remains unknown though some sources have reported he suffered a "possible cardiac arrest". His death has been confirmed by his wife of just two years, the photographer Jamie Weiland in a brief telephone conversation with a reporter from The Los Angeles Times.

Scott Weiland was best known for his time with grunge band Stone Temple Pilots who rose to fame at the start of the 1990's...their debut album Core has gone eight-times platinum and its follow up Purple achieved platinum status six times. In 2002 he teamed up with former Guns N Roses guitarist Slash to form Velvet Revolver. Their debut album Contraband hit the Number 1 spot on the Billboard 200. He left the band in 2008 to rejoin Stone Temple Pilots but in 2013 the band announced on their website that he'd been fired.

Scott had a long history of substance abuse and struggled with his addictions for many years. In 1995 he was arrested for possessing crack cocaine and, in his 2011 memoirs revealed he also used heroin. He led a troubled life and had many difficulties. His creative spark and unique style shone from him brighter than the sun ever could. Life may have denied him the inner peace he so needed but in death may it find him and keep him safe. RIP.x