Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Album Review: Our Native Daughters - Songs of Our Native Daughters

This project brings together Rhiannon Giddens and Leyla McCalla from Carolina Chocolate Drops, Birds of Chicago’s Allison Russell and Tennessee folk singer Amythyst Kiah. Like the Chieftains’ San Patricio, this record is an archeological search of one of the hidden roots of American tradition, and it’s the children of Slavery who are doing the excavation.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Album Review: Rival Sons - Feral Roots

Rival Sons have been the touted as the next best thing in Rock and Roll for almost a decade, and while their albums and concerts have been consistently good they haven’t yet exploded commercially as they were promised to. It now seems like the mantle of up and coming saviours of old school rock has been passed on to Greta Van Fleet, which is good news: Rival Sons no longer need to prove anything.

Album Review: Walter Trout - Survivor Blues

Survivor Blues, Walter Trout’s follow-up to 2015’s equally aptly titled Battle Scars, is comprised exclusively of covers. The previous record served as an exorcism of sorts, a way for the guitarist from New Jersey to dispel the negative energy produced by the maladies that almost brought him down for good. Quite literally, living to tell the tale.

Album Review: Candlemass - The Door To Doom

This is Swedish doom metallers Candlemass’ first album since 2012 and the first one with original singer Johan Längqvist since 1986, so the release was awaited with some trepidation by fans of retro occult metal.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Album Review: John Mayall - Nobody Told Me

John Mayall's talents as a musicologist have always eclipsed his talents as an actual musician. As a singer, guitarist, keyboard player and songwriter he might not be in the same league as the artists whose song he has covered or the musicians whose talents he has harvested, but as a talent scout he’s unrivalled: the musicians that have passed in his ranks speak for themselves. He also knows a good song when he hears one, and on this set he’s chosen seven good blues numbers and written three that amount to ten tracks of a very good, well-produced record that sounds fantastic and warm, with inspired performances from his usual backing band (including new axe-woman Carolyn Wonderland) and five ace guest guitarists lending a hand.

We Will Mock You - Thoughts on Queen's Performance at the Academy Awards

A band that calls itself Queen + Adam Lambert opened up the Academy Awards ceremony last night playing truncated versions of their anthems We Will Rock You and We Are the Champions. If you’ve been in a coma for the past year, the reason they were booked on the first host-less Oscar night since 1989 is because a movie entitled Bohemian Rhapsody, which tells the story of Freddie Mercury and Queen’s rise to success, has been nominated for several Oscars, and ended up winning one for best actor for Rami Malek in the role of Freddie.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Friday, February 22, 2019

Slash Feat. Myles Kennedy & the Conspirators @ Zénith, Paris - February 22nd, 2019

The evening had started off badly when the goons from security confiscated my little point and shoot camera, so excuse the quality of the pictures but they were taken with my phone…

Altitudes and Attitude @ le Zénith, Paris - February 22nd, 2019

Altitudes and Attitude is a metal supergroup of sorts: its creative forces are Dave Ellefson and Frank Bello, bassists of thrash giants Megadeth and Anthrax respectively.

Album Review: O.R.K. - Ramagehead

O.R.K.’s new album Ramagehead is at the image of its album cover: pretty, intriguing, complex and somewhat abstract. It's progressive rock (for lack of a better word, or for lack of an actually good word) but there are no sterile displays of virtuosity. This isn’t Dream Theater. It’s about colours, textures, moods and ambiance. And mostly, it rocks hard, like a collection of Soundgarden songs played by Tool. In fact the Soundgarden comparison is apt is more ways than one: Lorenzos Esposito Farnasari’s voice sounds a lot like Chris Cornell’s.

Album Review: Gary Clark, Jr. - This Land

Ever since signing to a major label, the Texan guitarist has dropped the blues guitar gunslinger outfit and taken on the mantle of a socially conscious modern soul storyteller in the vein of Fantastic Negrito.

Friday's Playlist: Power Pop

Are you in the mood for some alluring hooks over muscular arrangements? Do you like your music strong and sweet? Can you only swallow punk rock if it's been watered down with  bubblegum? Are you looking for a playlist that can reconcile your appreciation for The Beatles and your love of loud drums and distorted guitars? Look no more: we'll hook you up.

Check out our previous Friday's Playlists HERE

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Andy Cairns from Therapy? checks in

Therapy? just finished the Mainland European leg of their tour in support of Cleave, their brilliant new record and we caught them in Paris where they played a blistering show and completely annihilated La Maroquinerie, the sweaty venue where they were booked.

We hit up singer/guitarist/songwriter Andy Cairns and he was kind enough to send us his thoughts on the band's seminal record Troublegum turning 25. We very much appreciate him taking the time out of a hectic schedule to check in.

Album Review: The Tedeschi Trucks Band - Signs

The Tedeschi/Trucks Band’s extended family has been hit hard recently and keyboard player’s Kofi Burbridge’s death last week, on the day of the release of this record, is another brutal if not unexpected blow to one of the best American bands working today.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Primal Stream: Thoughts On The Dirt Trailer

The Dirt is one of the best rock bios out there. Not because Mötley Crüe has made amazing music, not even because of its sensationalisation of sex and drugs but because of the honest exposé of the band’s dysfunctions and its members' deeply flawed personalities. 

First Three Songs, No Flash

I started this blog a few years ago essentially so I could get accredited to concerts. And it worked! I've been lucky enough to get credentials for great gigs I would've paid for anyway. Anything from small indie bands to the Rolling Stones. Unfortunately, I still have to pay for most of the concerts I attend. And I can only take my little point and shoot. I'm not complaining, mind you.


I remember distinctly how I got into music. Rock and Roll, to be exact. It’s nothing unique, in fact a lot of people I’ve talked to have had similar experiences. Maybe you did too.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Gary Clark, Jr. on SNL

Sorry Kanye, Paul Simon, Greta Van Fleet... Gary Clark, Jr. is the first great musical guest of this season of SNL and his performance last Saturday will hopefully bring him the widespread recognition he deserves.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

5 questions with Bubba Hodges from The Residents The Cryptic Corporation

Members of the Residents wish to remain anonymous, not to preserve any mystery but to make sure the trappings of fame and celebrity do not interfere with their work. Which is why the people from The Cryptic Corporation, the company that handles their business, have been appointed as their spokespeople. So today we talk to Bubba Hodges from the Cryptic Corporation who is definitely not a member of the Residents, honest!

Rock Fandom and the Ten-Year Theory

I know what it’s like to be a fan. Not just an enthusiast, not just an appreciator but a proper fanatic. To be obsessed with a band or piece of music. It used to happen to me all the time. It happens less and less as I get older but every once in a while  something will trigger a new phase, awaken an old one. Like the first time I saw Sparks in concert five years ago. I’ve always liked them but after that brilliant gig I listened to them exclusively and obsessively for weeks. Or when the Beatles released their remasters about ten years ago, I fell into a Fab Four rabbit hole for what seems like the hundredth time.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Steel Panther @ Bataclan Paris - February 15th, 2019

Once again I’m late to the party. I’ve been meaning to check out those guys ever since they turned their week-end side-gig as L.A.’s best metal cover band into a bona fide international touring act with original material and sol-out shows the world over.

Gus G @ Bataclan, Paris - February 15th, 2019

Gus G is a Greek guitarist and as you can tell from his look he doesn’t play Sirtaki. His main gig is the Power-Metal band Firewind but he is perhaps best know for replacing Zakk Wylde in Ozzy’s band about ten years ago.

Size matters

I came of age musically right as the CD began taking off. My first records were on vinyl and cassette but early on I was given my first CD (Queen’s News of the World) right as the format was taking over everything. Ry Cooder had released one of the first albums recorded entirely on digital. Dire Straits was hawking Phillips Compact Discs. The first wave of transfer of classic albums to this new format was underway, with the disastrous sonic consequences we all know (I still have some Beatles and Miles Davis AAD CDs from that period and they are unlistenable, even by today’s mp3’s standards).

Friday's Playlist: 60's & 70's B-List

Today we celebrate the runner-ups, the second division. Led Zeppelin, The Stones, The Who... they were the juggernauts. They reaped the fruits of their (and others...) hard work. 

The artists on the playlist, not so much. Some did manage to carve out a nice niche for themselves,. Some even found success in other bands. But others found themselves slumming it in bowling alleys before throwing in the towel. And it's a shame, because some of those second or third-tier bands were real trailblazers. But how do you compete against Deep Purple or The Eagles? 

Hard Rock, Pop Rock, Prog Rock, Psych Rock, Kraut Rock, Funk Rock... This playlist is very long and sings the praises of unheralded, underrated or forgotten heroes of rock music's greatest era. Enjoy and share!

Click HERE for previous Fridays' playlists.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Happy Birthday Black Sabbath

Forty nine years ago yesterday, the founding statement of Heavy Metal was released to the unsuspecting masses, just like witches at black masses. Wrong album, I know. It would be easy nowadays to overlook the importance of Black Sabbath, the first record by Black Sabbath. After all, metal is everywhere these days: your average pre-fab pop star wears Iron Maiden t-shirts, Motörhead's Ace of Spades is used in commercials, Alice Cooper shows up in every TV show and you're probably reading this on your phone while sitting on a KISS-branded toilet.

Monday, February 11, 2019

6 Questions with Boris Pelekh of Gogol Bordello and Hey Guy

Boris Pelekh is a Russian guitarist who is perhaps more famous for taking part in the insanity that is Gogol Bordello, one of the wildest live acts you are likely to see. Since joining the Gypsy Punk outfit in 2015 he has also been busy fronting his own rock quartet Hey Guy, a party punk n'roll band that is currently touring Europe, so catch them if they come near you. You will never be able to get their song In Your Head... out of your head.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Therapy? @ La Maroquinerie, Paris - February 10th, 2019

Therapy? is not only touring behind a great, heavy scorcher of a new album, it is also celebrating twenty-five years of Troublegum so the audience that has packed itself into that great little venue knows they are in for a great setlist. The trio from Northern Ireland walked onstage to the tune of Metallica's "For Whom The Bell Tolls" and that right there is an indication of how rabid, frantic and just plain fucking heavy the set was going to be.

Hey Guy @ La Maroquinerie, Paris - February 10th, 2019

I don't envy any artist that has to open for a band that's thirty years into their career.

6 Questions with Mark Fain

Mark Fain is a journeyman bass player who is probably most famous for his association with Ricky Skaggs but has done sessions or tours for everyone in country music, from Loretta Lynn to Dolly Parton, John Fogerty, Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Bruce Hornsby, Ry Cooder, the Dixie Chicks, Chris Hillman... Is that enough credentials for you? We hit him up with a few questions and he was kind enough to give it a lot of thought and impart some of his wisdom upon us. Thanks Mark!

Friday, February 8, 2019

Friday's Playlist: Acid Casualties of the 60's

It's a short playlist this week, under 30 minutes. More than half of the people in this playlist are now dead but they were gone long before they passed... Peter Green, Roky Erickson and Brian Wilson have miraculously managed not only to stay alive but also to sustain (or return to) a pretty respectable music career.

Remember, kids: just say no. Unless it turns you into Marianne Faithfull, in which case just say more.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

5 Questions with Autry Fulbright II of ... And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead

For our second interview we are delighted to welcome Autry Fulbright II, who has been playing bass in Trail of Dead since 2010 as well as singing for the lesser known but just as cool Midnight Masses. We appreciate the time and effort that he put into the replies, and the fact that he sent them back within the hour!

Monday, February 4, 2019

5 Questions with Ken Stringfellow of The Posies

Today we introduce a new feature on the blog: INTERVIEWS! And for our first interview we are pretty stoked to have Ken Stringfellow (he's the one with the cool hair), an indie rock hero who has forged quite a career for himself by being half of pop/rock legends The Posies and having a great solo career as well as playing with R.E.M. and being part of the Big Star reunion concerts up until Alex Chilton's death in 2010. A great musician and all-around good dude whose answers to our questions are like his music: intelligent and cool.

If you ignore Maroon 5, they will go away.

Atlanta 2005 - This is the only relevant picture that I took that I could find.

You're crazy if you think I'm going to be watching Maroon 5 play the Super Bowl half-time show. First of all, I live in Paris. I'm not staying up until five in the morning to watch that shit. I hate football, and I hate Maroon 5. There is literally nothing for me there.

However I am not going to get all up in arms about how lame it is. Of course it's lame. It's supposed to be lame. It's plainly written on the label. It's a safe, dumbed down, pandering pageant. It has to be. If you want danger, intellectual and emotional stimulation and real performances then turn off your television.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

The Residents @ La Gaité Lyrique, Paris - February 2nd, 2019

The Residents might be the most famous band of anonymous musicians in the world: most people with a passing interest in pop music know their ubiquitous eyeball mascot in a top hat, yet their identities have remained one of the best kept secret in rock for nearly fifty years.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Friday's Playlist: Songs of Bile and Acrimony

The title says it all, really. There are love songs, there are protest songs, there are silly songs. And then there are songs born out of contempt, spite and resentment. Here are a few of them.