ANGELIC UPSTARTS: The Albums 1983-91

After having pretty good success on their early releases, the band started to lose some traction and after the failure of the Still From The Heart album, EMI said bye-bye and they were back to the indie scene. This was a great wake up for them since Reason Why? was a terrific album that brought them back to the punk rock glory that people loved them for. “Geordies Wife” and “Dollars And Pounds” are both politically charged poetry that adds something interesting to the album. The cool part is that you get ten bonus tracks added to the original album. CD2 which again comes with ten bonus tracks, mainly rare studio demos that show the bands raw edge. Along with politically charged punk rock, you get a cool cover of Martha Reeve & the Vandellas’ “Nowhere To Run.” Next up is Live In Yugoslavia, which is basically a greatest hits collection of the band’s songs and played with vim and vigor. Disc 4 is 1985’s Power Of The Press album which now comes with the bonus single “Brighton Bomb.” The album is a little more into the new wave sound of the time but still is a great listen. Next up is the even more new wave sounding Blood On The Terraces album with an included extra seven bonus tracks. The band still has some punk, but there is a lot of sound of the times going on and some controversial titles like “Heroin is Good For You,” and a cover of Kenny Rogers and The First Edition’s “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town.” Ending with Bombed Out which saw original guitarist Mond reunited with vocalist Mensi for the first time in nearly a decade. This seemed to invigorate the band and they came back to the punk rock sound again, and the box set ends on a high note.

Although not as mandatory as the first box set, this is still a great collection of songs that sound better on this release than on the originals and will bring back memories to us old guys. The booklet features pictures of all relevant sleeves, liner notes, news clippings, and many previously unpublished photos.

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999: The Albums 1987-2007

 

Jumping from the previous box set that covered 1977-1980, this one skips a few albums and goes right to their most up-to-date album currently. Maybe there will be another collection of the missing albums…we’ll see.

With just four albums over a twenty-year span, the band slowed their releases down a whole lot, but what we have is a great collection all the same. Starting off with the band’s first official full-length live album Lust Power And Money, recorded at the legendary Klub Foot in London, it has a track listing that reads like a Greatest Hits Live with classics such as “Emergency,” and “Homicide” played with energy and power. Disc 2 contains 1993’s You Us It!, their first studio album in eight years which saw the addition of new member Arturo Bassick, formerly of The Lurkers. The band got right back to the harder-edged sound of their younger days and it was a great return to form. Disc 3 is the Takeover album which was originally released in 1997 and is even better than their last album. A classic from start to finish with tracks that stand up to their older gems. The final disc is 2007’s Death In Soho, which keeps up the high standard of punk rock with catchy choruses and great playing that bands more than half their age would be and should be jealous of. This is a great ending to the box set but makes you yearn for more from them.

The 20-page booklet contains in-depth liner notes, pictures of all relevant sleeves plus memorabilia and clippings from the era. The sound is so good and improves on the original releases by a long shot. Although the classic period was in the previous box set, this is still a terrific collection to get and will definitely be something that you will come back to, time and time again.

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THE FLESH EATERS: Continental Club Austin, TX 2/22/19

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So, the Flesh Eaters got the classic lineup back together and out on tour they went, so I obviously had to go see them. There were two other bands playing that night, Sean Wheeler and the Reluctant Messengers, and Churchwood, but I really was there for just one band…the Flesh Eaters! I was looking forward to this show since I heard they were coming to my very extended area, but some mishaps were presented to me that night.

 

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I live around an hour away from Austin, so I had to fight the traffic to get there, as expected it was crappy, but I made it to Austin. Of course, the next obstacle was to find the venue which I had never been to before. I got to the venue, saw that the parking was this ridiculous “back into the spot while blocking traffic style,” which no one would let me do, and I nearly got hit by a car trying to do it. Luckily, there was a side street close to the club and after parking on the street there, I was off to the show. Walking in, I showed my identification and the email pass that I had and of course, I was not on the list…sigh. After a bit of back and forth, I was inside! The show was on! The band blazed through old songs with the energy of guys a third of their present age, reminding me of the old days back in the 80s, which is what the club was like. They played their two new songs, “Black Temptation” and “Ghost Cave Lament” with emotion and the crowd accepted them as if they had always been part of the set. While playing on the cramped stage, the band gave a performance that was smoldering, energetic, and full of raw emotion. Playing some covers as well, especially the fantastic take on Fleetwood Mac’s “The Green Manalishi.” That song was a definite highlight. With banter from lead singer Chris Desjardins, the songs got some explanation and some fun stories about the past. According to the club’s website, they were to only play for around 45 minutes, but they played longer than that and I was in heaven. The sound was a bit off, with a lot of high-end making it a bit hard on the ears at times, but the band’s performance more than made up for that. The saxophone and marimba really gave the band such depth and added a lot to the sound. I really have to give it to Dave Alvin whose guitar playing was tremendous, with such flair and technique, drummer Bill Bateman pounding away in the back and the thick and fluid bass work by John Doe. These guys have proven through the years just how good they are at playing in their own bands and really shined in this setting.

This was a great night, despite some not so fun things that happened, but the good thing is that the band took the negatives and turned my face into a great big smile, and a memory that I will cherish. Thanks for the great night guys, and many more for the future.thumbnail (5)

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BOBBIE MORRONE : Lonely St.

Bobbie Morrone launched his music career in approximately 2007. Since then, he has recruited two other musicians; Isaac Vining (drums/percussion), and Adam Skinner (bass guitar), who create a mix of blues, soul and pop music.

Coming on like James Taylor at times, Morrone has a cool, and casual 70s vibe going on throughout this album. Every song feels like something that could be a single, some faster, some slower like the amazing “Holding On,” but they are all terrific. “Holding On” really has powerful emotion and could bring a tear to dead man’s eye, just a beautiful slow song that is a stand out to me. The playing is just exemplary on this album, you can hear and feel the rawness of the emotions and love for this music in every note. Morrone’s vocals are sweet and tender, filled with heartache and the band really gives off the 70s vibe with a great turn on “I Can’t Fall That Far (Intro)” and the vocal song following.

This was a complete surprise to me, not having heard of him before, but now he has a new fan in me and if you take a listen, hopefully in you as well. A collection of amazing songs to bring a tear of sadness and joy to your heart.

Also posted: http://ripplemusic.blogspot.com/2019/01/bobbie-morrone-lonely-st.html

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THE FLESH EATERS: I Used to Be Pretty

 

The Flesh Eaters, LA’s unconventional “supergroup”, reunites classic 1981 lineup of founding vocalist and songwriter Chris Desjardins — better known as Chris D, Dave Alvin (guitar) and Bill Bateman (drums) of the Blasters; John Doe (bass) and D.J. Bonebrake (marimba and percussion) of X; and Steve Berlin (saxophones) of the Plugz (and later the Blasters and Los Lobos) for I Used to Be Pretty.  On five of the album’s 11 tracks, Julie Christensen, Desjardins’ vocal partner in The Flesh Eaters’ successor band Divine Horsemen, latter-day editions of the original group, and in married life joins in. The Flesh Eaters were among the groundbreaking bands that emerged from the original Hollywood punk club the Masque in 1977, and after using different musicians on early recordings, this is the lineup that holds the most love from fans.

“Black Temptation” is one of two new tracks on here and starts things off with a slow burn that builds to a crescendo and the band is totally on point with a great rocking track to start things off. The other new song is the last one, “Ghost Cave Lament” and what a doozy it is coming in at over 13 minutes long. The track is just amazing with the sax, marimba and the tortured vocals making this a modern-day version of the Doors “The End.” The two new songs show that these guys are every bit as talented as they were on their older album and gives hope for more in the future. Six tracks on I Used to Be Pretty offer forceful reinterpretations of previously released Flesh Eaters songs. “Pony Dress” from the compilation Tooth and Nail (1979), “My Life to Live” and “The Wedding Dice” appeared on Forever Came Today (1982); “Youngest Profession” on Dragstrip Riot (1991); “House Amid the Thickets” on Ashes of Time (1999); and “Miss Muerte” was the title track of the most recent Flesh Eaters album. All of these songs have been updated, but not drastically changed, just given a new sheen from these great musicians, kind of fine-tuning them if you will. They also have three covers on this album; Fleetwood Mac’s “The Green Manalishi,” The Sonics “Cinderella” and The Gun Club’s “She’s Like Heroin To Me.” The covers have the power and guts that this album has given us in spades. The band sounds as though they had never stopped playing together all these years and the dual vocals added so much to the songs.

Tough playing, vocals that are gruff when needed, and having saxophone on an album again just, made me so happy and filled my ears with joy. For a band that hasn’t been on the public’s radar for a long time, I hope that this album changes that. This is a mandatory release for those who want some old/new, punky/swampy music that will get into your soul and lift you up and put a smile on your face.

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WEATHER McNABB: Cubicle Zombie

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Weather was born in Minneapolis but has spent most of her adult life north of Boston. She has been working on her music since 2012 and has finally been able to get her debut album out.

Having been a cubicle zombie myself at a few jobs that I have had in the past, I can appreciate the sentiment behind this album. The vocals and the sound of “Good Morning” reminded me of Lily Allen a bit, but in a good way. It had that same kind of poppy, peppy sound, but with lyrics that made you know that this person is more aware than the average person. The biting lyrics are a definite plus on this all too short album. You can tell that a lot of thought was put into everything on this album, from the lyrics, the music to the great production. It also reminded me a bit of Carole Pope from Canada’s Rough Trade in the expressiveness of the vocals. The whole album is just a great listen and every track is a definite keeper, the quality behind this release is amazing.

For a first album, this is just incredible with how well everything is presented. Most female vocalists are too wispy and boring, this has power and emotion to it, something rare these days and for one, I’m so glad that I got the chance to hear this…now you need to get this for yourself…go ahead, it’s worth it.

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CRUSHWATER: The Cactus Storm EP

This band from Port Angeles, Washington was formed in 2016 when singer/violinist Chandra Johnson joined forces with frontman/guitarist Scott Sullivan and drummer Casey Northern. The three members began melding their various styles together leading up to the release of their debut EP, The Cactus Storm.

Playing a nice mix of country/folk/rock, this three-piece really gets things going on the first real track after the intro. “Fly Fly Fly” has a nice little groove going on and the mix of the male and female vocals really give the song a good contrast since they complement each other so well. The violin just makes this song a real treat since it gives it a terrific sound. “Blue Moon” is another great track with the instruments interweaving so beautifully that the song gave me goosebumps. The way that it gets more rocking really was a nice surprise and I really can’t get enough of this song. “Starry Skies” was a surprise since I was not expecting a Spanish song, but they managed to pull it off well. They mix the English and Spanish lyrics with ease and the music was upbeat and fun. “California” is a great slower track that was melancholy and really had a lot of feeling and emotion in it.

The EP has great playing, amazing vocals and so much real emotion going for it that I fell in love with this band. If this is the first thing they have put out, I’m looking so forward to what the next release will be like.

Also posted: http://ripplemusic.blogspot.com/2018/10/crushwater-cactus-storm-ep.html

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