Monday, 6 November 2017

OOLLUU live @ Bar Open 4th Nov 2017

I’ve seen many a live show since my last live review many moons ago and while there have been some great shows none have inspired me to put pen to paper (metaphorically speaking) so I can tell the everyone willing to listen about what I witnessed.
There were 4 acts in total on the bill this night but I was there to see one & one only and that was OOLLUU. I had seen these guys once before opening for another great act Glasfrosch and was thoroughly impressed but that was a mighty long tome ago. Were they really as good as I remember…? Would they live up to my expectations…? Well to say that my memory served me correct and that they lived up to my expectations would be an understatement. They were ginormagantuanly, fantasmagorically amaze balls!
OOLLUU play a style of music that I really don’t know how to describe. It’s electronic, but it’s heavy. It’s rock music, but there’s no guitar. It’s intense, but it’s poppy and danceable. There’s many contradictory elements in their music and things that probably shouldn’t fit together that somehow seem to blend wonderfully well and create a soundscape that will leave you on a euphoric high once it’s over.
Playing to a crowd of roughly 50 people on a “stage” that barely fit the band on it the performance these guys put on was a thing to behold. Stage right was Bassist Davarj who in his mind I’m sure was playing to a sold out crowd at Wembley Stadium or Madison Square Garden. Stage left you have Ehsan on Synths (“fluent in 3 languages… Linux, IOS and Windows”) who while is somewhat restricted in movement was no less a giving it his all. The interaction between these 2 “frontmen” of the band was fantastic and a joy to watch. The smiles on their faces as they were playing evidence of just how much they were enjoying themselves. Lastly, hidden from view slightly was Drummer Ben Crook who was driving the band like his life depended on it.
Sure there were a couple of little mistakes, but the crowd most certainly didn’t mind (or probably even notice) and I’m sure these guys gained a few more fans on the night. 

There were 2 more bands on after OOLLUU and while I’m sure they put on admirable performances I didn’t stick around.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Album Review: Banda Magda - Tigre

Banda Magda are a band whose sound is very hard to pigeonhole. The band is made up of musicians from the world over and their music ranges from sounding a little bit Jazz, a little bit Psych, a little bit Chanson Pop, a little bit Latin and many other things besides. However, perhaps the best word to describe their music is simply this: Brilliant!
They have just released their 3rd album called Tigre which has been 3 years in the making, which is an eclectic release full of worldly sounds and rhythms which is pure ear candy and an absolute delight to listen to.
The lyrics are mostly in French & Greek (none are in English but don’t let that deter you) the songs are catchy, the orchestration throughout the album is sublime and the production is fantastic also. At times the sound is like something from a 60’s romance movie soundtrack, while at other times you'll want to get up and dance to the Tango & Bossa-Nova rhythms while the final song on the album Diamandi (meaning Diamond in Greek) even has a slight Massive Attack type of feel to it. This band seems to be going from strength to strength with each release. If you want to hear something slightly different to what you hear on mainstream radio and perhaps challenge your ears somewhat, then this album comes highly recommended. Without a doubt one of the best releases of 2017 so far.

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Single Review: Altin Gün - Goca Dünya/Kırşehir'in Gülleri

Oh hells yes, these 2 songs are the definition of psychedelic pop bliss!
Sung in Turkish I couldn’t tell you what the lyrics are saying but it really doesn’t matter.
The A Side of this Single Goca Dünya starts off with a very Pink Floyd sounding bassline before bringing in the sounds of shakers shortly after. The staccato guitar riff with the drums (and added handclaps) kick in next and we’re off on one hell of a rollicking ride.
This is a song designed to get you out of your seat and dancing and it achieves it’s intended outcome perfectly. This is the 1st single by this band hailing from Amsterdam, Netherlands and if this is any indication of what the output from this band is going to be like in future you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be amongst the 1st people to be reaching for my wallet.
The B-Side to this tune is the equally brilliant Kırşehir'in Gülleri which has kicks things off with a great saz riff before pausing to allow for some dreamy psych vocal riffage. The song the snakes it’s way slowly back into the main surf psych saz riff again and so it goes for the rest of the song. While some of these sounds may be somewhat new or unfamiliar to some people these 2 songs are far from a difficult listen, quite the opposite in fact this is easily accessible ear candy for anybody who willing to listen.
The 500 Vinyl copies which were available on have already sold out and these guys seem to be getting some well deserved attention on Amsterdam radio. Now if only I could find a reasonable priced copy of the 7 inch vinyl single!

Bandcamp link avaiable here

Big thanks to fellow PBS-ian Heather for introducing me to them via her (somewhat regular) show The Psych Ward and expect to hear another fellow PBS-ian Adriana either play it on her show or when she is DJ-ing around town in the not too distant future

Monday, 5 June 2017

Album Review: El Colosso - Pathways

I’ve re-connected with the Heavy Rock scene in recent times after being absent for a little bit and am loving what I’m hearing. The latest band to catch my attention are El Colosso. Having caught them playing around Melbourne town a few times recently I was eager to get my hands on a copy of the bands debut full length release Pathways and they have not disappointed. The riffs are heavy with crunchy distortion, the guitar solos are jaw droppingly flashy while still keeping to the adage of “The Song Is King” and the Bass is front and centre in the mix and once again as heavy as fuck. As soon as you press the play button on your CD player or drop the needle on your Vinyl copy you will be blown across the room and through the wall behind you.
While each and every song on this album is killer, at times I think some of the lighter songs on the album such as Pathways and King Ink don’t quite fit in with the rest of the tunes. The songs most certainly don’t suck, in fact if you heard them come on the radio they would most certainly make your ears stand to attention, but the flow of the album perhaps would have been better served by keeping the balls to the wall sound throughout.
The highlights of this release I would most definitely have to say is the relentless pace of the song Leatherhead and the nearly 10 minute epic closer Moving Mountains with it’s slow groove, added Hammond organ and the brilliant dual lead guitar work of Benny James and guest Dave Ferguson of Fuck the Fitzroy Doom Scene.
This album has all the ingredients you can expect from the Stoner Rock genre and while most of the influences the band lists I am not familiar with, I suspect that they listened to the album Carnival Of Souls by Kiss at least a couple of times during the recording of this album. While Pathways doesn't necessarily contain any surprises that’s not to say that this is a bad thing. This band has delivered an awesome heavy rock album of a caliber many others could only hope to achieve. Don’t miss seeing them play live and while you're in the process of grabbing a copy of their album grab yourself a copy of the Cannonball EP also.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Album Review: Samantha Fish - Chills and Fever

Ruf records are one of my favourite labels at the moment releasing quality blues of all flavours from soulful blues to blues rock to acoustic blues and are one of the champions of women in the blues.
Samantha Fish is one of the many female blues artists that got her break on Ruf and she has just released her 5th Album on the label which sees her breaking from her well established Blues Rock sound. This album has one foot firmly planted in the 60’s Soul/Motown era while the other is at different times planted in Rock, Garage and Country. Chills and Fever sees the addition of a horn section and the usual blistering Guitar work which Samantha is usually known for is replaced by playing of a much more subdued nature which is more suited to the Soul sounds being delivered on this album. The sound channels the retro/modern feel previously championed by the likes of Duffy, Amy Winehouse and to a lesser extent Vintage Trouble and while it can be a fine balancing act trying to tap into the retro feel without sounding kitsch Samantha Fish most definitely manages to pull it off in fine style. The lyrical content of the 14 songs over 54 minutes doesn't stray from the well worn path of relationships which can be wear slightly thin over this length but despite this minor bump in the road start to finish this album is simply a delight to listen to.
And while some small amount of people may initially scratch their heads at this new direction it is unlikely Samantha will be losing any fans and if anything will see her gaining more than a few new ones.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Album Review: My Dynamite - Otherside

Australia’s very own version The Black Crowes are back and they mean business. With 9 tracks of country blues rock Otherside is an album that has been in the pipeline for a while now and boy oh boy am I glad it has finally been released. If you own any album by The Black Crowes then this album has to be added to your collection.
My Dynamite wear their Black Crowes influences clearly on their sleeves for all to see and make to apologies about it. While it may be easy to dismiss this band as simply being clones, I dare anyone to put this album on and not sing along to the infectious choruses of songs like the lead single Witch Hat, State We’re In etc. Even though the Black Crowes influences are clearly there for all to see, this is an album that will also sit comfortably next to releases by The Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd and their ilk. If you already own music by the aforementioned bands then grab yourself a copy of this album and if you don’t and don’t intend on adding anything by these bands to your collection in the foreseeable future then quite obviously this album is not for you.
My Dynamite have found their winning formula and are sticking to it. You will find all the usual ingredients that a band playing this style of music throws into the mix. Slide Guitar, Lap Steel, Harmonica, warbling Organ lines filling in the gaps in the background and Gospel style backing Vocals provided by the awesomely talented Eliza and Talei Worgramm (check out the Wolfgram Sisters Album you won’t regret it!). 
Otherside is 45 minutes of pure unadulterated safe southern blues rock bliss that colours well within the lines and there nothing wrong with that. My Dynamite know their audience and deliver for them exactly what they want to hear. Now if only mainstream radio would pick up on this album and start playing it you’d no doubt see this band scoring opening slots for stadium acts and headlining much bigger shows on their own.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Thorbjorn Risager & The Black Tornado - Change My Game

Giggidy! It's HERE! To say I have been anticipating this release with baited breath would be a major understatement and it is everything I hoped it would be.
Picking up where they left off with their previous studio release Too Many Roads Thorbjorn Risager & The Black Tornado is a band that only recently has been getting the worldwide attention they deserve for the music they have been playing for the last 10+ years throughout stages in Europe. With a sound that is equal parts Blues, Soul & New Orleans Jazz what is there not to love? Hailing from Denmark it's a wonder how this band has gone unnoticed outside of Europe for so long given the quality of their releases.
Given that this band are known for their high energy driving blues sound it's interesting that the opening track "I Used To Love You" of the newly released Change My Game album is a ballad. A great brooding song with low key trumpets, keys and a muted guitar riff that will have you swaying to it's rhythm it still feels somewhat out of place as an opening track.
Track 2 "Dreamland" is where things kick into high gear with the signature Black Tornado sound. While Thorbjorn and co. are mostly sticking to their well known winning formula there are still some other influences/sounds creeping in on this album. The title track "Change My Game" has definite funk elements coming through on it with the use of Wah laden guitar and an almost 70's disco sounding Drum beat and keyboard sound, while "Hard Time" has a distinct Country twang to its chorus.
"Hold My Lover" is almost like Deep Purple with horns while songs like "Train" "Hollar N Moan" and the closer "City Of Love" stick to the more straightforward driving blues sound that we have come to know and love from this band.
Overall Thorbjorn Risager & The Black Tornado have delivered an outstanding release that lives up to the high standard this band has become known for and which will most definitely leave you wanting more. This is an album that will surely be on heavy rotation for the next couple of months at least and while we are only one month into the year I don't think it's a stretch to say that this release is going to be one of the highlights of 2017.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Top 5 new discoveries of 2016

I listed my top 10 new releases of 2016 but of course there was older releases which I only discovered in 2016 which made me sit up and take notice or non full length album releases which made me do the same. Here's some of them:

Thorbjorn Risager & The Black Tornado - Too Many Roads

Another brilliant release from Ruf Records this label can do no wrong in my eyes (or should that be ears?) Horns, Hammond, Blues shuffles and gravelly lead vocals with with Soul style backing vocals. Bring on the 20th of Jan & the release of the new Album 

Legs Electric - Maximum Rock N Roll

This band rocks! that's all that need be said get their EP & play it loud. Full review here

I walked into the Spotted Mallard to catch a T Rex tribute show thinking to myself "this should be cool". While there were a small handful of T Rex tunes played by the band on stage the majority of the tunes were originals. After the band had finished up I practically ran up to the stage at the end of the set to buy the bands album. These were the guys. Blown away I was!

I was aware of these guys already but had never sat down to listen to what they had released until earlier this year. With Ella Thompson on Vocals and Graeme Pogson of The Bamboos on Drums, Programming etc their sound hearkens back to the synthpop acts that were all over the radio in the 80's. These guys are just brilliant, I know finally know what everyone else was raving on about. Now I just have to get my hands on a copy of their full length release Touch.

Longtime organiser of the Cotton Club blues nights at the Spotted Mallard I had seen him play there previously and thought he was great I was reminded again of this when I caught him playing for the last Cotton Club session of 2016 and had to buy his albums.
This one in particular recorded with Chris Wilson live on the Queenscliff Blues Train is especially brilliant 

Monday, 26 December 2016

Top 10 Full length releases of 2016

It's that time again where we look back on the year that was and try to sift through the countless releases to try work out what we enjoyed most. This year was a little more difficult than others seeing as they were countless good releases which I enjoyed but I wanted to find the stuff that more than just good but a classic that will live up to repeated listening and at the end of next year I will still be listening to. So here it is the top 10 full length releases as chosen by one half of the Connections team:
Joe Bonamassa - Blues of Desperation
 Joe Bonamassa - Blues of Desperation

It’s Joe Bonamassa doing what he does best. One of the many keepers of the flame of so called modern blues he keeps championing the genre pushing boundaries and paying tribute to the masters and does it all effortlessly

Leonard Cohen - You Want It Darker
 Leonard Cohen - You Want It Darker

He gifted us with one last album just weeks before his death. Admittedly I have never been his biggest fan but this album is flawless from start to finish.

Kylie Auldist - Family Tree
  Kylie Auldist - Family Tree

Everyone’s favourite funk/soul songstress goes 80’s pop on this release. What’s there not to like about this…? released just as This Girl (which is actually a Cooking on 3 Burners tune, let’s not forget that) was becoming a mega hit the timing could not have been more perfect

Justine Yap Band - Let Love

Soulful blues from local Melbourne band this album is an absolute pleasure to listen to and has been getting regular spins ever since I got my hands on it.

Matty T Wall - Blues Skies

While many of todays blues artists leanings are much more towards the the rock side of the blues, Matty’s are slightly more geared towards the funkier side of the blues. A very strong debut release which has been getting noticed the world overfor good reason

Dr Albert Flipout's one CAN band -
Don't you call my name

My favourite one man band does it again. Look past the initial novelty factor and you will quickly realise that this is a great songwriter who knows his craft & can write some serious choons 
Full review here

A funky soul release that sounds like it could have been released n the STAX label sometime in the mid 60’s. The Italy based Record Kicks label continue to release fantastic records that will fill the floor with people doing their best Northern Soul dance moves

Oz Noy - Who Gives A Funk

Collaborations abound on this release by Oz Noy who’s guitar virtuosity is up there with the best of them but he still knows the golden rule of “The Song Is King” Oz is a jack of all genres & a master of all of them. The title of this release says it all

Child - Blueside

Psych blues rockers Child pick up where they left off with their debut release & it’s everything you could expect it to be. If they continue releasing music of this calibre it won’t be long before they start getting noticed in a big way outside the land of OZ

Back In Blue - A Blues Tribute to AC/DC

A who's who of somewhat lesser know Australian artists (i.e. you won't find them being played on mainstream radio or on Sunday morning music TV programs) come together to pay tribute to perhaps the best known & best selling Australian album & all for a good cause.

Full review here

Well that's my list as it stands today, ask me tomorrow and it may be completely different. There's more than a few "honorable mentions" I could list but that may be a list for another time. 

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Album Review: Albert Flipout's One Can Band - Don't You Call My Name

Albert Flipout's One Can Band -
Don't You Call My Name
Albert Flipout’s One CAN band (aka Mickey Pantelous) has just released a new album and it is everything we have come to expect from an Albert Flipout release. Don’t You Call My Name is album 3 released under the Albert Flipout moniker and is perhaps the most accessible of all Albert Flipout releases to date with catchy melodies which at times hide some slightly darker lyrical content.
A one man blues band of the highest order these songs have an infectious groove that you just can’t help but want to get up and dance to. Don’t You Call My Name is an album intended to both make you think about the state of the world we are living in while at the same time give you a pick me up if you are feeling down. Mickey has managed to find a sound uniquely his own with a distinct country blues twang, with added harmonica and kazoo, which will have you thinking "this kinda reminds me of…” before you realise that there’s no one else going around that quite has the same sound.
Kicking off proceedings with a song that proclaims “See me hanging from the ceiling, Take my body down” which perhaps references the suicides caused by the ongoing financial crisis in Europe, the lyrical content runs the gamut of topics from falling in love with a prostitute, to failed relationships and many other topics besides. Despite the varied subject matter Mickey has still managed to put together perhaps his most cohesive album.
Independently released you can hear why Mickey has been invited to play festivals throughout Europe and even in America (even though this one didn’t quite work out in the end). An artist that should be getting much more attention than what he is, if you like your blues with a healthy dose of country and a dash of cabaret this is an album that is worthy of your attention and which you will almost certainly have on repeat for long after it’s initial release.
Look out for the Vinyl release in the coming months