Saturday 29 November 2008

Richey Edwards

With appropriately little fanfare, Richard James Edwards has officially been declared "presumed dead" almost 14 years since he disappeared in February 1995. Although there is still no confirmation as to whether he's alive or dead (and various possible sightings have been reported over the years) obituaries have been published regarding the guitarist and lyricist from the Manic Street Preachers, who if alive would turn 41 later this month.

A few weeks ago it was announced that the next Manic Street Preachers album, tentatively titled Journal For Plague Lovers would feature lyrics written solely by Edwards, and Nicky Wire told the NME that 'it's a follow-up to The Holy Bible in a lot of ways'.

The band have always behaved respectfully towards their missing member, in a manner reminiscent of Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett, and if the forthcoming album is anything like Floyd's Wish You Were Here then it will be well worth hearing.

See also:
Manic Street Preachers - Generation Terrorists

Friday 28 November 2008

London Metro club to shut

It's been announced that the Metro Club on Oxford Street is shutting down in January to make way for Crossrail. Some readers will remember the club when it was called Oxfords and was the venue for The Hellfire Club on a Saturday night.

Brilliantly described in Seb Hunter's Hell Bent for Leather: Confessions of a Heavy Metal Addict, The Hellfire Club was part of a Saturday night ritual that would typically take in the Intrepid Fox, the Royal George, the Hellfire, and if you still wanted more, Slimelight. More recently it was also the venue for High Voltage, in a more low-key Thursday night slot but with the addition of girls dancing in cages (one of whom we eventually realised was a former regular at the Hellfire; maybe she had never managed to leave the venue ...).

See also:
Seb Hunter - Hell Bent For Leather

Hanoi Rocks - This One's for Rock N Roll

Available for pre-order now: This One's for Rock N Roll

Press release:

Following Hanoi Rocks' recent announcement that they will break up by the end of this year, they are announcing the release of a brand new 2-CD retrospective compilation This One's for Rock N Roll on December 9th 2008.

This superb package includes 31 songs, encompassing both distinctive parts of their career, the 80's and the new millennium.

CD 1 covers the years 1980 - 1985 and the first incarnation of Hanoi Rocks, tragically cut short by drummer Razzle's death.CD 2 brings the legend up-to-date with music from the reborn band from 2001 onwards.

Track listing:

1) Lost In The City 2) Tragedy 3) 11th Street Kids 4) Oriental Beat 5) No Law Or Order 6) Motorvatin’ 7) Taxidriver 8) Cafe Avenue 9) Love’s An Injection 10)Back To Mystery City 11)Until I Get You 12)Malibu Beach 13)Up Around The Bend 14)Don’t You Ever Leave Me 15)High School 16)Boulevard Of Broken Dreams 17)Million Miles Away

1) People Like Me 2) A Day Late, A Dollar Short 3) Obscured 4) In My Darkest Moment 5) Back In Yer Face 6) Better High 7) You Make The Earth Move 8) Eternal Optimist 9) Center Of My Universe 10)Hypermobile 11)Fashion 12)This One’s For Rock’n’Roll 13)Teenage Revolution 14)Grin And Bear It

Wednesday 26 November 2008

The Four Horsemen - Nobody Said It Was Easy

Released on Def American and with Rick Rubin's backing, the Four Horsemen's Nobody Said It Was Easy was initially lumped in with the Black Crowes debut album. However what they actually managed to do was to out-do the Cult by producing one of the best AC/DC albums not to involve anyone with the surname Young.

Having recently listened to this for the first time in about 10 years I regret not including it on the old albums I still listen to thread. It's fantastic. If the Black Crowes, AC/DC or Circus of Power are your thing then it would be a welcome addition to your collection - if you can find it. Unfortunately it's another album that's never been reissued, but you can hear samples at and a DVD/live CD can be obtained via

Once again Sleazegrinder has the definitive lowdown.

See also:
Albums I still listen to 15-20 years on.

Wednesday 19 November 2008

Faster Pussycat - self-titled

At some point in the late 90s an argument developed between myself and a friend on the crucial subject of: Who was better, Faster Pussycat or LA Guns? Unable to use the Harry Hill method (I appreciate this will be lost on anyone outside the UK), we were given the opportunity to settle matters once and for all when they announced a joint tour in September 2001.

History has noted what took place that month, and Faster Pussycat actually pulled out of the tour as a result. We were amused to discover on arrival at the Camden Underworld that we were entitled to a partial refund - £2 against a £13 ticket. Personally I took this to mean even the promoters felt Pussycat were the weaker band and the argument won ...

It's not that I don't rate them -
Faster Pussycat is a fantastic record. Side one is virtually dud-free and even though standards drop on the second-half of the album it's all good rock & roll.

See also:
LA Guns - self-titled

Monday 17 November 2008

New York Dolls give Todd Rundgren another chance

I've just picked this up from Glitzinet - 35 years on the New York Dolls have brought in Todd Rundgren to produce their next album. As noted on Glitzinet, Rundgren's work on their debut album is the subject of much debate. Regardless, it's great to see that another album is in the pipeline.

See also:
The New York Dolls - One Day It Will Please Us to Remember Even This
Nina Antonia - The New York Dolls: Too Much Too Soon
Johnny Thunders - So Alone
Motorcycle Boy - Popsicle

Sloppy seconds and filthy thirds

A quick scan through the albums featured so far shows a pretty high number of debuts. In some cases these have been sole-releases. There is of course the well-known concept of second album syndrome. Bear in mind that a newly-signed band will have a well-established set of songs that will usually become their debut album, with a few b-sides thrown in for good measure. They are then sent out on tour - at the end of which the record label will demand a follow-up (unless the first album completely bombed or the band imploded). Only they haven't had time to write any new songs. There might be a few old tunes knocking around, but if they weren't used on the first album they're likely to be - at best - second-rate.

The Black Crowes were famously derisive of the Quireboys after the US rockers turned around The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion in eight days, while Spike at al spent a year on Bitter Sweet and Twisted. It must be noted however that neither album was as good as its predecessor.

But not every band has fallen after the first hurdle. Here's a wholly personal and non-exhaustive selection of superior non-debuts:

The Stooges: Fun House
Taking its title from the nickname given to their living quarters (essentially a shooting gallery), 'Loose', 'T,V. Eye' and '1970' form the backbone of an album that manages to be dirtier even than their 1969 debut.

The Only Ones: Even Serpents Shine
The debut may have had 'Another Girl, Another Planet' but its follow-up is the more consistent.

Jacobites: Robespierre's Velvet Basement
The self-titled debut is largely unlistenable. The ambitious follow-up (originally planned as a double-album but trimmed down on initial release) sees ex-Dogs D'Amour guitarist Dave Kusworth take his place as equal alongside Nikki Sudden to better effect.

Hanoi Rocks: Back to Mystery City
The debut was great, but Oriental Beat was patchy. By their third album Razzle had replaced Gyp Casino and Back to Mystery City gave them their big - and ultimately ill-feted - break.

Redd Kross: Third Eye
Previously discussed here, this was the Macdonald brothers fourth album. Although that's perhaps being a bit generous towards 1982's Born Innocent.

Rolling Stones: Exile on Main Street
Perhaps the best exception to the rule. This was their 10th album, and was the fourth in a series of excellent releases going back to Beggars Banquet.

See also:
Albums I still listen to 15/20 years on ....

Wednesday 12 November 2008

The Nymphs - self-titled

Before the world was given Courtney Love and Hole we had Inger Lorre and The Nymphs. The story of Lorre and her band is pretty screwed-up, and although loaded with many of the usual tales of excess (such as the infamous story where, after constant frustration with their label, Geffen, Lorre urinated over A&R man Tom Zutaut's desk), it has more than its fair share of personal disasters, such as the death of Lorre's boyfriend Chris Schlosshardt, bassist in the Sea Hags, her subsequent time spent in rehab and the ill-feted friendship and musical dabblings with Jeff Buckley. Even now the problems continue - Inger Lorre was planning to perform live on November 13th but that's been cancelled due to hospitalisation.

There's an excellent write-up on the Nymphs over on Sleazegrinder.

For anyone who missed them (and I feel fortunate to have caught them at the Marquee on their 1992 tour), they were for a short while one of the most talked about bands on the circuit. Their one album, The Nymphs, eventually came out after much wrangling and, most significantly, their record label taking away the producer, Mike Clink, to work on GnR's 'Use Your Illusion' albums (hence the desk incident). At times very dark, almost gothic, its mix of glam, punk and grunge makes it one of the more interesting albums of the early 90s. Samples can be heard at

Sunday 9 November 2008

Uncle Sam - Letters From London

Every Christmas in Kerrang! all the writers would be asked to supply a list of their top 20 albums of the year. Ray Zell would rarely manage more than 10, and so discerning were his tastes that you could pretty much guarantee that the 7 or 8 albums he felt worth mentioning were ones that should be in your own collection.

One band he always raved about were Uncle Sam. Led by a milkman (seriously), Uncle Sam were very much the definition of a cult band, and Letters From London is the album everyone should hear, if not own (their second of three, all out of print but they can be picked on Ebay without breaking the bank). It's odd that it's never been reissued - after all if there's enough of a market for Soho Roses and Gunfire Dance to reissue their past recordings on CD then there must be one for Uncle Sam.

Wednesday 5 November 2008

Dead Boys - Young, Loud And Snotty

For some reason track 2 on the Dead Boys' Young, Loud and Snotty has caused a lot of arguments amongst friends.

It all boils down to the opening lines in 'All This And More'. These days you can just look these things up on the interweb and bar the odd dubious versions some people submit (I've seen one website attribute 'Another Girl Another Planet' with the line 'I look cute and I don't care about it') these tend to be pretty reliable.

So if a certain Mark Carter has accessed this blog via the Swindon music forum I would like to take this opportunity to state once and for all that the line is not 'Can't understand what it's like to have sex with an idol'.

More recently though - and most bizarrely - my wife concluded that the lyrics were 'Can't understand what it's like to have sex with a maddo/(something something something) in front of baddo'.

Tuesday 4 November 2008

The New York Dolls - One Day It Will Please Us to Remember Even This

I've previously mentioned here that I encountered a great deal of reluctance from friends to acknowledge the return of The New York Dolls in 2004. As a result very few of them bothered to buy their 2005 album One Day It Will Please Us to Remember Even This. And more fool them.

When the Dolls announced they were planning a new album I thought they might plunder Red Patent Leather or at least commit their version of 'Another Piece of my Heart' to tape (as performed at the Meltdown shows), so it was a surprise when they instead issued a full album of new material.

First and foremost there is little point comparing this album to either The New York Dolls or Too Much Too Soon, and not just because of the change in personnel. After all, 30 years have passed, recording methods have improved (it's no secret that the first two albums suffered production-wise), and even David Johansen's voice - although still clearly identifiable - has developed into even more of a drawl.

Perhaps a more straight rock & roll album than its predecessors (damn, what was that I said about comparisons ...), One Day It Will Please Us to Remember Even This initially didn't grab me but once on my MP3 player that all changed and it's very rare that I skip a song when they come up on shuffle. I can easily imagine songs like 'Gotta Get Away From Tommy' and 'Runnin' Around' taking their place in a live set next to 'Personality Crisis' et al, and with various guests lining up to pay their respects (Iggy on 'Gimme Luv And Turn On The Light', Michael Stipe on 'Dancing On The Lip Of A Volcano' this is a good an album than I could have ever wished for from a reformed Dolls.

Oddly the one song that most harks back to the 70s output - 'Rainbow Store', with its similarities to the Shangri-las 'Great Big Kiss', covered by the Dolls and later by Johnny Thunders on So Alone - is arguably the album's weakest.

So if you are guilty of ignoring this album then shame on you ....

See also:
Nina Antonia - The New York Dolls: Too Much Too Soon
Johnny Thunders - So Alone
Motorcycle Boy - Popsicle