Posts tagged Alternative
Once again I headed once again to the spiritual home of Rock, Donington Park for a stunning lineup to listen and capture some eclectic up-comers, resurgent groups, underrated rockers and true megastars taking influence from the entire spectrum of the rock/metal clenched fist.
I took some photos and watched some bands, here’s the day in brief…
Stood still for the camera, which was more to do with their advancing years. Proper classic rock still sounds good to these ears.
Highlight: Storming rendition of Doctor, Doctor
Finally the band we have been trumpeting here at DiR.net for years have made it onto the first rung of the ladder, destination rock rocket to the top. They truly ran rampant on huge stage and I loved every glorious minute of this power packed energetic set of high attitude modern rock and roll. Huge crowd and fantastic reception…the general public seem to now agree with me! Sure to rise and rise on from here.
Highlight: The band’s remarkable display of happiness,astounded that so many people actually turned up, each rewarded with a huge version of Executioners day!
Swedish sleaze glamsters clad in objectionable outfits came and conquered the utterly terrible weather which saw 2 huge downpours deposited on the crowd. Despite this their upbeat party anthems and fist pumping punk rock tunes provoked much singing in the rain and dancing in the aisles.
Highlight: ‘We Don’t Celebrate Sunday’s‘, sparking a massive sing and dance along in the middle of a torrential soaking. it was a case of “c’mon skies, is that all you got!”
Black Star Riders
Ricky Warwick and the remains of the Thin Lizzy crew were back again this year under their new moniker with a set of (oddly enought) Lizzy-esque rock tunes which could be easily be plucked straight from the 70’s legends. Throw in some greatest hits such as Jailbreak, Boys Are Back In Town, Rosalie and another rain defying epic Whisky In The Jar…their set was a absolute pleasure from the first rings of Scott Gorham’s guitar to the final note of Wawick’s Lynott lined lungs.
Highlight: Whisky In The Jar getting a field full of old drowned rats jumping around like youthful loons in bright sunlight.
With dark clouds looming and a mist like patter of rain descending over the 2nd stage, there was no better atmosphere for my next band, the black metal titans, Katatonia. Their dour gloom, huge guitars and soulful clean vocals cut a lonely figure which crashed wave after wave of sorrow into the skies. Yet somehow there is a glimmer of hope running through them which is hard to pin, melodic and beautiful, a unique set.
Highlight: The Parting’s soaring vocal section, juxtaposed against their deep earth excavating riffs.
Aussies Karnivool were here to make a statement that Progressive Rock/Metal still reigns, on a performance like this its hard to disagree. A dazzaling assortment of melodies and sounds, given punch with sparse but crushing overdriven guitars and bound together with the beautifully fragile and powerful voice of front man, (one of my favourite vocalists). His emotive and distinct vocals were just as good live as it cut like knife through the gathering booming soundscapes. A pause for thought and refelection, but unmissable nonetheless.
Highlight: Simple Boy and its xylophone melody giving way to a stonking deep 7 string bass riff machine
Being a hell of a long way back I could only pick out a few cool riffs here and there, time to exercise the zoom lens.
Alice In Chains
A faithful following swarmed around the main stage for the return of these heavy grungers. New material from their comeback albums were typified with some pretty awesome bass riffs which had the hard rock crowd salivating. Vocals from DuVall/Cantrell were as good as expected, not overplaying but leading charged singalongs on their biggest hits Rooster and Down In A Hole. Despite the lyrical subject material they sounded uplifting and this well rounded set of loud and soft moments really impressed.
This was not their finest outing, plenty of really old and obscure tracks had the faithful worshiping and the classics were all here too. Nothing out of the ordinary, but still you can’t mess with Motorhead, neither would I recommend it.
Queens Of The Stone Age
A newly re-invigorated QotSA were here today, which marked one of the best sets of the day. Equal measures of high quality, heavy desert stoner drawn from the latest album and Fuzz driven upbeat dance rock from Songs From The Deaf, they stuck to the formula which has brought them so much success. Their greatest hits were all aired and picking the more melodic and high octane tracks really pumped up the crowd. A fitting warm up for the epic headliners to come.
Highlight: Little Sister, where the guitar solo and thumping bass line collide, caused carnage.
When you can commission a flypast from a WWII Spitfire to start your set off with a bang, you are clearly in for something very special. Their ‘Maiden England’ tour was a success on its first outing, today its reprise was just as epic. Triple Guitar attack and a greatest hits set spanning their best albums this was a blast from the past which has endured its time and is clearly still as popular today. Pyrotechnics, flames, fireworks, costume changes, a 20 ft Eddie, plenty of British & war imagery was all part of the elaborate staging which was just as absorbing as the music on offer. The crowd were in full voice and knew every word coming from Bruce Dickinson’s falsettos vocal chords. A magnificent performance from a band who has been doing this size show for decades! A Superb Show!
Highlight: Fear of The Dark, with the entire crowd bellowing the opening riff a Capella.
Pulled Apart By Horses & The Computers @ Electric Ballroom
23rd Februray 2012
Mr Flowers has fallen sadly behind the times over recent months, as evidenced by his album backlog stretching back to the summer of 2011. But thankfully his desire for live bands hasn’t faltered. So as we settle doan at The Worlds End for the Camden pre-pint ritual, it’s no shock to learn Flowers has no idea who is supporting. “The Computers! Wow! I didn’t know that! that’s awesome!!“, cue reminiscence on how we sadly missed them at Camden Crawl 2011 and how he still hasn’t heard their debut LP (no surprises there then). No time to waste then as we struck out, eager not to miss out, which turned out slightly enthusiastic given the first support slot went unfilled. All of a sudden the PA system flicked, circa 1955, retro rock and roll blaring…this signaled the imminent arrival of The Computers.
Band uniform’s are an overlooked weapon in the style arsenal as coolness tends to trump novelty. The Computers, fully clad in white shirts and trousers looking a bit like fellow garage rockers The Hives, embrace it. It’s rare to witness something genuinely unique and I am stumped to think of another band who have taken vintage rock n’ roll and blues and channeled it through hardcore punk to create the “Hardcore Blues”.
Niche? yes. Good? absu-bloody-lutely! High octane throaty yelps, mixed up over clean backing vocals with riotous guitars thrashing out blues by-numbers melodies make a contagious combination. They play with force and confidence, bounding about stage barely confined by the lengths their instrument cables will take them. Lead vocalist especially has itchy feet as he played from atop of the speakers, on the barrier stage front and more impressively from 50ft back in the crowd. With the cables strung high by some thankfully tall fans acting as makeshift pylons the crowd closed a tight circle around him buzzing in the energy on display. The crowd themselves had seemingly endless energy tonight which made for a corking show. you know when a 20ft circle pit opens up for the support band, you know it’s gonna be one of those nights that you feel lucky to escaped bruising.
Their short sharp 3 minute blasts of inferno blues guitar and rootin’ tootin’ honky tonk piano punk were just stunning, their best being the thrusting “Music Is Dead” and soundtrack to a bar room brawl “Rhythm Revue“. Look out for these boys, they play hard, fast and take no prisoners…just how we like it!
After such a grand opening, it was a tough task to trump. Yet Pulled Apart By Horses went about the task, bit between snarling teeth, as they cranked up the ante one more notch. The crowd again didn’t waste any time in forming smash pits even bigger than before, causing carnage and chaos throughout the entire set. PABH’s alt-metal thunder was epic tonight; their hulking great guitar riffs and giant pounding drums were each on top form.
They plucked plenty of material from their newly release album Tough Love which despite its recent addition to their catalogue sparked furious sing-a-long and energetic reactions from where I was standing. Although it was slightly slower in tempo, their melodies were much wider in scope giving their tunes an added depth. Especially as the big wind-up release guitar rockets are still abundant, yet lie deeper into their songs. Lead single “V.E.N.O.M.” the pick of the newbie’s, unleashed frenzied vocals and an unstoppable melee of fret runs, crescendo’s and breakdowns.
Pulled Apart By Horses
Of course the first album favourites succeeded in unleashing the greatest crowd lunacy, resulting in a twisted sea of bodies enveloping over half of the venue. Set closer “High Five Swan Dive Nose Dive” started a chaotic riot, “The Crapsons” sparked grown men to sing at one another and “I Punched A Lion In The Throat” with its Zepp’ riffs and calls of “Ultimate Power” is befitting for one of the best and most powerful live bands around. Their confidence has been buoyed since the last time we witnessed them, if they have been getting this kind of reception up and down the country the it’s easy to see why.
The guys even had time to throw in a Nirvana cover at the death, “Tourettes” which suited their dirty fuzzed guitars and ear pummeling ethos. Tonight was the best show I’ve been at for quite some time. Madness reigned, but ultimately that’s what made it so addictive!
14th October 2011
We were back at one of our favourite stomping grounds tonight for a show that’s come as the result of an accelerated rise through the indie rock ranks in 2011, The Joy Formidable. They brought along a packed support line-up, the first of which we missed out on. Oddly all support bands had the same length sets. Now I’m all for equal opportunities but the hierarchy of set times is one right that needs to be built over time with rising popularity, not assigned through an arbitrary all inclusive policy.
Nevertheless despite a shortlived uprising, we were stuck with The Dig for 30 arduous minutes of heavily reverbed, surf styled, trendy indie scene dross which barely managed to keep us awake, let alone entertain us. Credit is due though to their final song which perked up a wholly dull performance from these Abercrombie NYC residents, rescuing it from the jaws of defeat just in the nick of time, a la Jack Bauer. Ready to make a bigger impact in their 30 minutes were tonight’s ‘sub-headliners’ (a moot title), And So I Watch You From Afar…
And So I Watch You From Afar
ASIWYFA are an interesting beast. An instrumental guitar band who like to blur the boundaries between rock, post-rock and prog on their album releases. Tonight regardless of genre classifications they had their serious rocking hat on a they blasted through the standout first 4 tracks of their blistering new album Gangs. The instrumental virtuosity was sublime with some of the most complicated interweaved sections played on two guitars standing on opposite ends of the stage. Standout tune 7 Billion People All Alive At Once leveraged plenty of huge rugged breakdowns beautifully complimenting their more melancholic guitar lines and soaring soundscopic effects. Playing both the beauty and the beast bears no problem for this superbly talented band. Despite being on top form tonight, they seemed to have some slight technical issues, which may or may not have been the cause of their sound being way below the 11 they’d clearly love to tune their amp dials to. An epic journey of prog infused melodic phrasing and hard hitting raw power, one nobody wanted to alight from.
Suddenly out of the cold Kentish Town night, a small Cornish seafront village has appeared on stage, complete with its own crashing waves, boat and operational 10ft lighthouse. It was set for headliners The Joy Formidable (I’ve clearly missed the whole maritime link here). First impressions were…where is the lead singer? I then proceeded to rise on tip toes and located the vertically challenged female firecracker who’s beautiful vocals mixed up stunning power and a subtle fragility. This trio certainly packed a punch with some tremendously thunderful drumming and overwhelming crashing guitars (akin to a stormy sea perhaps? I know…I’m fishing for a connection).
The Joy Formidable
Only having a single LP to your name on one hand is a good thing. Everybody knows what’s instore! The finest tunes from their debut all got a great live reception including the electro stormer A Heavy Abacus, a potently tormented I Don’t Want To See You Like This and the remarkable sound collision of Whirring.
Although on the other hand, unless the album is a 10/10 instant classic, there is a lot of filler to plug the gaps where you would normally press fast forward. Having these interspersed within the set dried their indie rock formula up prematurely, hence later songs sounded almost too similar and repetitive. A few covers would have helped proceedings flow better.
Despite this, they put on a very entertaining show with great spirit, especially frontwoman Ritzy Bryan who endlessly bounded about with a smile of enjoyment streaking across her beaming face all evening. Ones to watch, for sure…roll on album #2.
Short & sweet album reviews that never miss the point…
Bomb The Music Industry! – Vacation
What a difference an album makes. Always known for their quirks and DIY ethics, this blows all their previous records out of the water with the change of direction into a indie rock land overdriven with pop melodies and clean vocals. Taking their foot of the pedal slightly and laying back somewhat, their tunes really find their feet and lodge themselves in your head. Ability to comprehend the vocals is a big win win, and with more emphasis on melody over speed makes this an incredibly enjoyable album. They still sail way out into the eclectic ocean mixing up tempo’s, synthy breaks, jagged punk guitar led numbers (Vocal Coach), lyrically potent acoustic strummers (Can’t Complain), Noise Rock (Savers) and more BTMI! trad tunes Everybody That You Love given a loving polish and pop makeover, Never to be second guessed this is an ever twisting album of wildly varied brilliance.
Short & sweet album reviews that never miss the point…
Maybeshewill – I Was Here For A Moment, Then I Was Gone
Instrumental post-rock bands fall into one of two categories, mostly bland or rarely brilliant. Thankfully this Leeds group left me stunned with their classically backed rock power. The lack of vocals is rewarding as their violin melodies epitomise the word epic. When this is twinned with idyllic/all out assault dynamics, the storming guitars, clattering drums and sweeping keyboards make for truly stunning results. The softer butterfly flutter moments are starkly beautiful and sparse, plus they inevitably become heaving behemoths as they wind up into cataclysmic sound eruptions. An awe inspiring collection of towering feel good harmonies and superb songwriting. A triumph of post rock glory!! It’s rock Jim, but not as we know it!
30th April 2011
A thankful DiR.net team headed out from HQ without the hassle of tube engineering works halting progress. Shortly after departing, we arrived, acquired our wristbands and were already enjoying our first band. Its great when things just work isn’t it!
The schedule was typically full of prime time clashes, but the addition of The Forum (hang on isn’t that Kentish Town), had added another headliner sized venue to the already bursting seams of the Camden Crawl + Kentish Town. We studied this at length in the blazing sunshine to the backdrop of Heights on the Red Bull Bedroom Jam stage. These agro-metallers were adept in fashioning walls of chainsaw guitar buzz, which when cranked up made for some cool amped up soundscapes. The screamed vocals were below average however and failed to leave an impression.
Staying put we were ready for the dance-punk of Turbowolf! Thankfully their vocalist had improved since the last time we saw them (here), but it was still more deciphering rather than listening. His energy and enthusiasm cannot be faulted, his gypsy punk attire could. Backed with electro soaked guitar riffs with metally tendencies and spiky synths this band were on top form, kicking out huge melodies and thumping bass which had even the grandpa’s an head banging. An early contender for highlight of the Weekend for sure!
Due to P Moneys no show we were ready for Pendul…sorry, The Qemists! After nestling in near the back of the crowd, I was astounded at just how loud their engineer was pushing the sound system. Even people south of the river were wondering “what’s that racket?”. As it transpired, their huge Drum n’ Bass madness was pushed a tad too much. A huge Crack” signaled a muted 15 minutes as they blew a fuse, much to my relief. They restarted somewhat quieter and were much better. Its amazingly hard to enjoy something blowing a hole in your ear drums! Entertaining? yes, original? not quite. The guitars were understated and the bass/bass/snare drum beats wore thin all too quickly.
After a short break we returned to find the punk pop delights of Attack! Attack! rounding out the day schedule on the Red Bull Bedroom Jam stage. This was by far the most accomplished set of the day. Polished pop songs with clouting guitars and plenty of vocal hooks were worthy of a much greater crowd. Still we really enjoyed this well crafted, catchy little set from these welsh boys!
With a total of 16 venues hosting shows at 19:15, it’s beyond belief how we ended up watching such utter drivel next! The offenders were Glaswegian noise rockers Divorce. From their stage presence you felt like they were being forced to play against their will (I’ll excuse the drummer, he was quite likable, thus in the wrong band!). Their antagonistic apathy wreaked of attitude problems as they generated mere nonsensical noise from their guitars. Nothing of value came from the vocalists lips except silence! Here incessant thrashing and vocals which can only be described as squawks were utterly dreadful! They clearly thought that they were playing groundbreaking art rock….in reality, it was plain awful!
What followed at the Barfly was much brighter, if a little more agro-centric. Turbogeist‘s speed punk was really quite good! Fast and furious riffs with poppy sprinkles gave it a really edge as you could both rock out and toe tap at the same time. In amongst their set were some belting tunes, such as Alien Girl, that sparked chaos in the mosh pit. I say mosh pit, this was all out macho man pinball! It even managed to fill 90% of the venue. The remaining 10% wincing at every clout while secretly hoping the next one to fly out, does so not near me! A frenzied set which was both dangerous and fun!
Hawk Eyes (or the band formerly known as Chickenhawk), played an absolute blinder in the Underworld tonight. Aggressive alt metal was met with equally approving head banging as their hard hitting riffs and super technical fretwork took centre stage. This was not for the faint hearted as they blasted through most of their debut album including tunes such as NASA Vs ESA, Scorpieau and Son of Cern. We were even joined in the crowd by the lead singer who despite being the occasional scream merchant, has an impressive set of pipes! One to rock out to (without fear of flying bodies).
Rounding off the night we ended up in the Jazz Cafe for the return of Dananananaykroyd. With a tiny stage for their bouncy frenetic live shows it didn’t take long for the singers to leap into the crowd, instantly sending camera bulbs flashing (guilty your honour) as their antics continued. Mr. Flowers even got a high five! Without their new album being out yet, much of the show was new to us, yet the songs on offer were as cheery as ever mixed with dazzling guitar work and their trademark dueling vocals. One new single i picked out Muscle Memory was an all out pop song with a catchy melody and bags off off-kilter kookiness which makes they so great to listen to.
More than any other band I’ve seen, Dananananaykroyd really look like they are having an absolute blast all the time, cracking jokes, bearing grins as wide as the Cheshire cat and bantering with anyone who dares. Their energy is totally infectious! Even when during one song both guitars and one mic malfunctioned. To their credit, they carried on regardless and had a little chuckle about it afterwards!
Free Hug, enroute to Hi-Five Mr Flowers!
So it was with some older tunes Black Wax and Pink Sabbath did Danananananaanana… bid us farewell this evening. They rounded off what was a great day one, for a festival whose crowning glory (of a shower and a cooked breakfast) was yet to come…oh and tomorrows lineup is pretty awesome too! Stay Tuned!
Now our favourite albums of 2010 have been decided, that leaves only the small matter of the best songs. It was a tough task, but we managed to whittle down an enourmous shortlist down to the top 100 tunes as recommended by us here at DoesItRock.net. It is rather unfair to order them as they are all brilliant in their own way, hence why the debates raged long into the night. In order that we could get some sleep, we have each picked out some of our personal favourites from 2010 which kept our spirits high and ears satisfied all year long.
The entire playlist is available to listen via Spotify:
DoesItRock Tracks of 2010 Spotify Playlist
Frank Turner – I Still Believe … Superb lyrics on this rousing anthem for all those who love music, “Who’d have though, something as simple as rock and roll would save us all”, absolute genius.
Slash – Doctor Alibi – featuring Lemmy Kilmister … What A Riff! 3 Chords of loosely played, gibson driven, marshall powered, mega catchy punk rock power chords. Backed with wailing classic, flashy blues guitar solos and Lemmy’s trademark growl bringing even more rock n’roll spirit to this cracking track! Utterly Irresistable!
Pulled Apart By Horses – High Five, Swan Dive, Nose Dive … Just 4 notes of a furiously fast blues lick seems unstoppable throughout PABH’s showcase single, demonstrating their crushing riffing, semi-scream vocals and high intensity guitar workouts.
Carpark North – Just Human … I thought electro-pop had become stale over the last few years. Fear not though…this euphoric dancefloor tune has epic synths and a killer chorus.
Birds of Tokyo – Wild At Heart … Progressive rock turned pop is a joyous meld of tinkling piano keys, soaring electro and rumbling guitars. What breaks this above the pack are the superb lyrics and excellent vocals!
Cee Lo Green – F**k You … Pop classic from the soul sensation which everyone is probably sick of by now. You cannot deny its greatness. Would be higher if “Forget You” did not exist.
Foxy Shazam – Count Me Out … Glamtastic Pop from the alt-rock oddballs and their electic brand of rock madness.
Kvelertak – Blodtørst … Bursts out of its cage with a ferocius energy and blows away all that stands in the way of its heavy melodic punk madness.
The Jim Jones Revue – Elemental … From the inital bluesy riff and the roughly screamed “ELEMENTAL!!” this rolling tune just keeps on electrifying as it goes, taking towns and small children with it. A rampant rock n’ roll classic, simple in execution, perfect in execution.
Danko Jones – Full Of Regret … With a video staring Lemmy, Elijah Wood & Selma Blair this pop tune is steeped in stardom with it’s killer riff.
The Thermals – I Don’t Believe You … Yet another three chord wonder from the Thermals. Nothing fancy just pure brilliance.
Interpol – Barricade … Indie gloomsters returned in 2010 and struck gold with this uptempo fizzing tune.
Ozzy Osbourne – Let Me Hear You Scream … Ozzy’s new guitarist Gus G proves he is up to the challenge of facing his predecessors.
Meat Loaf – Love Is Not Real … Rock royalty, Vai, May and Hawkings lend a helping hand for this epic classic rock tune.
Reckless Love – Beautiful Bomb … If you loved the 80’s, Reckless Love are set on bringing it back, impossible to hate, so god damned catchy!
The Walkmen – Juveniles … Jangly indie guitars, melancholic feelings, soaked in passion and sung with true heart.
Tweak Bird – Sky Ride … Fuzzed up guitars, sweet vocals and labouring rhytmns make for stoner rock greatness
Black Mountain – Let Spirits Ride … Steeped in the 60’s classic rock era, this blasts off into retro land with no time to look back.
Sweetapple – Do You Remember … J Mascis stamps his authoritative riff all over this cathy little number!
Coheed and Cambria – Here We Are Juggernaut … Prog masters produced another stunning album, this time with a more industrial outlook.
The Black Keys – Tighten Up … The blues maestro’s are back to their souful best.
Les Savy Fav – Dirty Knails … Indie rockers found in fine riff hungry form, urgent and energetic!
The Glitterati – Fight Fight Fight … Leeds based hard rockers returned from the shadows with a cracking new album in 2010.
Bombay Bicycle Club – Ivy & Gold … Fragile acoustic track for kicking back on a sunday afternoon.
Violent Soho – Jesus Stole My Girlfriend … Grunge was back in abundance this year, this being the pick of such tunes!
Black Sunshine – Holy Gasoline … Stepping into the Southern Rock spotlight, these guys have some monster guitars and mega melodies.
Crime In Stereo – Drugwolf … BListering track full of rise and fall, dramatic guitars and heartfelt vocals.
Wolf Parade – Palm Road … Breezy indie pop is perfect for that summer road trip.
Sleigh Bells – Tell ‘Em … Mashed up mayhen with these trend setting electroclashers.
Tame Impala – Solitude Is Bliss … Sit back and drift away to the dreamy, drung induced soundscapes of fuzz from this bright aussie band.
DoesItRock Tracks of 2010 Spotify Playlist
It really doesn’t feel like a year since I started writing the Best of lists for 2009, but that time has arrived. There have been plenty of good albums but in our hearts, very few have been elevated to classic status. Instead of the usual critic’s lists who are each trying to out scene each other, I have tried to reflect the DiR.net’s team listening habits, detailing what we like to listen to, rather than what’s cool to listen to. Free from any prejudices, it is now time to run down the albums which have rocked our collective socks in 2010…let the countdown begin!
25) Airbourne – No Guts? No Glory!
AcDc were busy touring this year, so winners of Australian Hard Rock album of 2010 goes to their sound-a-like’s Airbourne for their hit packed sophomore album.
24) Voodoo Six – Fluke?
London based hard rockers live up to the expectation and deliver a fiery collection of stratospheric rock, thumping guitars and killer hooks.
23) Joe Satriani – Wormhole Wizards
The king of guitar returns with a more relaxed feel to his latest LP. It is crowded with inventive guitar brilliance with his distinctive melody first approach, and incredible emotive string bends. A high standard throughout makes this a vast improvement on his last LP.
22) Paul Gilbert – Fuzz Universe
Guitar virtuoso Paul Gilbert shows off his melodic side on his latest release which is packed with instrumental glory, super shredding and genius composition.
21) Slash – Slash
The worlds most recognised guitarist enlisted his friends and came up with a great collection of singles, but collectively the album varies to wildly to enter into our top 20.
20) Far – At Night We Live
On one hand the Deftones are breaking new ground taking alt-metal noise to massive critical acclaim, while lying low on the other is Far, a more pop-centric, accessible offering who have crafted a thumping album of big emotion and thudding alt-rock. Far’s return is triumphant and damn impressive as warped guitar effects plough a hugely melodic shaped hole into their truly huge bass licks, all backed with Jonah Matrangah‘s slickly produced vocals provide the lyrical clout. The mood is generally a dark cloud, but when the thunder strikes it’s when they are at their best. Slow building atmospheric guitars and skyward floating vocals are mixed in with more riff hungry tracks create a superbly balanced record.
19) Weezer – Hurley
This album has split the doesitrock.net crew down the middle (review), but it has still made the top albums list by the skin of its teeth. The high points on the album are undeniably catchy if somewhat idiosyncratic, but then this is what Weezer do best of late. Plenty of cracking pop tunes and songs about little or nothing, line the somewhat oddly titled Hurley. With their 2nd B-Sides collection release this year (Death To False Metal) also being a corking album, far greater than the sum of its parts, Weezer have clearly turned a corner and are running back with Linford like speed!
18) Against Me! – White Crosses
The backlash against this release was swift and rather unfair in my opinion. Sure Against Me! may have sold out to the majors and gone all pop leaving their trail of destruction sniggering at what they have become. But taken on its merits (that’s pop-rock), this is a heavyweight ready to take on all comers and most probably win! Writing anthemic rock songs more akin to Springsteen than the Dropkicks, are their staple, and they do this incredibly well. Always full of heart and sung with conviction though road worn vocal chords White Crosses is jammed with superb, quality upbeat rock and roll songs with a (somewhat diluted) punk heart.
17) Taking Dawn – Time To Burn
These Las Vegas, roadrunner backed heavy metal rockers have managed to create an 80’s influenced set of hard rock packed with immense riffs and towering melodies. Each track kick starts with a blistering guitar lick which takes hold and doesn’t let go. Vocals are stadium sized and perfectly compliment each athemic chorus. If you appreciate glammed up metal, a good guitar workout and a rock and roll swagger, Time To Burn is your answer.
16) Carpark North – Lost
Somehow this album has missed the mainstream, the radio and seemingly everyone’s attention which is absolutely criminal. Lost is a superbly crafted album which showcases what can be achieved if euro-electro pop is done properly. With driving guitars and spiralling electro beats providing the atmospheric backdrop it’s the synths hooks and warm vocals which take centre stage. Literally littered with cracking little pop tunes to rival the big guns, it’s time a little light was shone on this underappreciated band.
15) The Pineapple Thief – Someone Here Is Missing
Prog is so often seen as the joys of the middle aged man, or those with long beards who re=un the local war re-enactment society. The Pineapple Thief’s latest album is out to change this, as they seamlessly meld electro beats, cruising guitars and haunting vocals into a brilliantly flowing album. With few overindulgent guitar solo’s and extended jams, most songs are highly catchy and full of understated beauty. Variety is key here, with tracks featuring dreamy acoustics, bold electro-rock explosions, fleeting ambient melodies, melancholic vocals and noisy guitars outbursts. This is one to listen end-to-end in a world dominated by the shuffle button.
14) The Sword – Warp Riders
Hard Rock has seen a good year with plenty of great releases. The Sword sit atop of this tree proudly with Warp Riders, a sci-fi epic of stellar proportions. This album is about as riff hungry as they come with wall to wall guitars and pounding bass. The adept classic rock soloing shows outstanding ability and a raft of ingenious melodies. It sways to the borders of Prog rock but before tipping over, a thundering power chord is on hand to rescue it. A thumping collection of Hard Rock, played by southern rock’s shining light of 2010.
13) Jim Jones Revue – Burning Down Your House
Listening to Burning Down Your House, transports you back to the 50’s and the bar room blues of Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard. The Jim Jones Revue have rolled back the clocks and ignored the past 60 years of musical development, playing fully cranked, high octane, scuzzed up blues bonanza. There really isn’t that much here in terms of musicality, but when music sounds this fun it’s hard to ignore. Big bluesy shuffles and bolstered piano tinkling sung by a crazed MC is instantly alluring, addictive and rock n’ rolling!
12) Blood Command – Ghostclocks
Scandinavia’s Blood Command are a breath of fresh air. Never did we realise that we needed a female fronted frenzied alt-metal behemoth with a slice of pop sweetness…but clearly on this form, we most definitely do. Taking a a lightly watered down Blood Brothers formula and adding immensely catchy melodies in amongst their rapid-fire spiky riffing, not forgetting a side order of Norwegian dance-pop Blood Command have melded a superb sound. Flailing from all out metal guitar assaults to mid-tempo riff rock Ghostclocks is never boring and totally essential for 2010!
11) Motion City Soundtrack – My Dinosaur Life
Welcome return from the pick of the US Pop Punk bands who stand head and shoulders above their peers. My Dinosaur Life showcases once again great song writing, jubilant chorus’s and incessant melodies. This album harks back more closely to their guitar driven debut album which can only be a good thing, plus with plenty of corking singles lining the playlist, It strolled effortlessly into the end-of year list despite being released almost a year ago.
Stay tuned for the top 10 tomorrow!
Being honest, there was not a great deal to shout about in November. So I started trawling through my backlog of recommendations and came up with this fine collection of excellent tunes.
Listen now >>> DoesItRock.net – Nov 10 Mix
1) Alter Bridge – Isolation … Alter Bridge return with a corker, despite the band being their total commitment.
2) Kvelertak – Blodtørst … Fast and furious punk energy and metal riffing from this superb Norwegian discovery.
3) Voodoo Johnson – Burn … Even with lead singer departing thius month, nothing is stopping the Voodoo Johnson hard rocking gang a rollin’
4) My Chemical Romance – Vampire Money … MCR play the bar room blues?? I didn’t believe it untill I heard it either!
5) Voodoo Six – Long Way From Home … Built on the good debut to form a stonking second LP Fluke?
6) Blood Command – Art For The Sake Of Art … Norwegians channel the spirit of the Blood Brothers on this relentless track.
7) Bo Ningen – 4 Seconds To Ascension … London based Japanese noise rockers are adept at creating canyon sized waves of overdriven energy.
8) Ice, Sea, Dead People – Laser Brain … Art punks are intent on making a glorious racket.
9) Chicken Hawk – Scorpieau … Leeds Rock revolution’s latest offering, brutal and melodic, frenzied alt-metal!
10) Elliott Smith – Pictures Of Me … Fine moment from recent early days best of, from this underrated singer-songwriter
11) The Walkmen – Juveniles … Moody and purposefully sparse yet intimate indie rock is The Walkmen’s strength, shown off here in abundance.
12) Weezer – Blowin’ My Stack ... Far greater than a B-Side should ever really be, 2010 has been a good year for the Weezer boys.
13) Fu Manchu – Shift Kicker … Californian fuzzy alt-rockers are back and blowing amps away as always!
14) Karma To Burn – Forty-Two … Experimental hard rockers have instrumental greatness, gigantic riffs, bundles of melody & numbered track names!
15) Union – You Know My Name … 2 old hands in the hard rock alumni return to bring this southern influenced bluesy blast of brilliance.
16) Jayce Lewis – Icon … Dance music for the rockers to groove to.
17) Electric Six – Countdown to the Countdown … Rare shimmer of former highs on poor latest album Zodiac
18) Ray Davies – Days/This Time Tomorrow … Mumford and Sons lend a hand and put a great new spin on this classically British tune.
19) The Greenhornes – Satisfy My Mind … The other 2 from the Raconteurs had another band too, these 60’s Retro rocking Greenhorne’s
20) Good Charlotte – Let The Music Play … Pop Punk Anthem for November!
The final day was upon us all to quickly as we were late for our opening band. But luckily for us we could hear them from about a mile away so not all was lost. Finally we arrived for some good old fashioned horse riding, Orc slaying, magical, sword bearing, evil hoard battling chain mail clad Power Metal, in the guise of an Californian band called White Wizzard (what else could they be called?). This fun set was packed with stunning guitar lines and ridiculous lyrics, but hey…it didn’t fail to raise a smile!
StraightLines stood out on the lineup for being one of the only indie(ish) bands to take stage. So we checked them out and their spritely pop-punk influenced indie rock was upbeat and easy to like. No boundaries being pushed but after all that rock it was nice to listen to some possible future radio hits.
From new to old we travelled back in time to catch one of Britain’s veteran rock acts, the original New Wave of Brititsh Heavy Metal legends, Saxon. Silver haired and rickety bones didn’t stop them from playing in it’s entirety their Wheels of Steel album which was coincidental (as Download itself was) celebrating it’s 25th anniversary. To their credit, it still sounded great all these years later with tunes like the romper-stomper Motorcycle Man, classic era sounding 747 & the thunderous Stand Up & Be Counted. It just goes to prove that, long lives, Rock and Roll!
We reviewed TAB the Band‘s album Zoo Noises back in February, and fell for its Rolling stones-esque swagger and rough bluesy shufflings. Live they were equally as impressive. Strong clean vocals, dual guitar attack and melodies in abundance maintained a real foot-tapper of a performance which made you wanna dance! They may yet step out of the shadow of their father (Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry), if they maintain their energy levels and keep writing great songs!
TAB the Band
Crime In Stereo was the best of a line-up lull, We left after 2 thrashed songs without hint of the English language being sung or any inventive musicality. Heavy…Yes, Tedious…Also!
Crime In Stereo
It wasn’t until we arrived at Cinderella that we regretted leaving CiS. Cinderella epitomise why 80’s rock/metal acquired such a bad reputation. Style over substance, squeaky voiced, piano tinklers with generic power chords and floating melodic guitars were the worst we’d heard all weekend!
Thankfully keeping the classic side of 80’s rock flag waving high and proud was the most recognisable, indistinguishable and one of all times greatest guitar hero’s Slash stepped out onstage to the collective roar of the crowds appreciation. Slash was here for all out crowd pleasing this afternoon as he arrived boasting my favourite rock vocalist of today Myles Kennedy (Altar Bridge) as his bands frontman. Despite having a new solo album out he only played a handful of tracks from it, the slash trademark riffing of Ghost, huge ballads Starlight & Back From Cali, proggy By The Sword. Seeing as Motorhead were playing later it was no great surprise to see Lemmy making a guest appearance on the cracking fast paced riff rocker Dr. Alibi.
Lemmy & Slash
It was with great elation and suprise that Slash devoted half his set to covers from his former-bands output. For me this was simply extraordinary! To see Slash playing Gun n’ Roses covers, all taken from Appetite For Destruction, was an absolute dream come true and the man has not lost a thing, plus Myles also has the perfect voice to do justice to these classic tracks. They played a double whammy of Nightrain and Rocket Queen early set to really stoke up the crowd which was already extremely excited. Not much could put into words my feelings when the first bars of the classic Gn’R song were heard! I absolutely loved every second of it! There was even time to throw the Velvet Revolver song Slither, with ex-frontman Scott Wieland now back with the Stone Temple Pilots, (incidentally) playing later…I can’t help but feel its intention.
To round of a fantastic set of virtuoso guitar and just astounding classic rock,we all watched in awe as we were treated to yet another GnR classic, Paradise City. This performance was up there with the best of my life, let alone best of the festival.
We stuck around the main stage for a little longer, perching ourselves on the hill to see the some even more classic rock, but this time it was more of the pop variety. We were here for a greatest hit set from Billy Idol and that’s exactly what we got! all the hits were aired including Rebel Yell, Hot In The City, Dancing With Myself & White Wedding. The nice past blast was enough to keep the spirits high despite the rain which was now walling with great vengeance.
Suddenly moving between stages wasn’t quite as easy as the mud wallowed and flowed downhill turning the site into a bog in nearly 30 mins flat! The rain did not dampen my enjoyment of the end of Porpupine Tree’s majestically set of beautifully prog-rock, which can swing from astoundingly harmonious and blisteringly rawkus in one glorious sweep.
Sticking with the Dio stage, we were treated to a right old fashioned 80’s party in the shape of Steel Panther. Their unashamedly 80’s rock was perfect for the damp souls and brought smiles and laughs galore from their outrageous stage persona’s and rampant guitar rock! This was all out fun and they even managed to bring out Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian to play on Asian Hooker as well as debuting their new single I Want It That Way (Yes…The Backstreet Boys one…). It seems also that the side screen cameras were a temporary Motley Cru style titty-cam. Seeing as soon as it flicked to a female audience member, her shirt suddenly went over her head…odd!!
Enjoying a band in the rain and waiting for one in the rain are 2 very different things! The next 25 minutes of waiting dragged hugely, not helped by the fact that I could feel the water running down the inside my jacket and the cold weather taking hold of me! Still all was quickly forgotten as Ac/Dc’s homage paying countrymen Airbourne arrived onstage. These dude’s have always been a bit nuts, this show only re-inforced this view. They ran riot here in the rain, cracking beer cans open on their head and hitting a relentless barrage of power chords. New album material was good, played with the same manic vigour as their older material, plus they haven’t lost their catchy, fist pumping chorus writing talents.
Just to prove how crazy lead singer Joel O’Keefe really is, I point to the following evidence
Exhibit A) Yes, he has climbed up the stage, in the absolute pouring rain, without any safety equipment, then plays a guitar solo hanging by his legs only 30ft up!
That Really Is A Long Way Down
Exhibit B) Now getting up borderline suicidal, he really had the crowd scared for his welfare, but after more guitar solos from atop of the stage, technians turned his guitar transmitter off, forcing him to come down…vvveeerrrryyy carefully!!!
“It’s A Long Way To The Top…If You Want To Rock And Roll”
Everything after this point pales into insignificance at the stunt just witnessed, by these superb but insane Aussies!
As we headed for the final nights headline act we caught the end of the Stone Temple Pilots performance, needless to say Airbourne was a much better spectacle.
And so to the final band of the weekend, legends of rock Aerosmith, with their flamboyant lead singer Steve Tyler firmly back in the fold doing what he does best. For the third night in a row the headline act has been monumental, tonight was no exception. Tyler freshly re-united with the band after drugs problems was back at his best commanding a huge presence on stage. Joe Perry showed how to play the blues as he played some of the defining riffs of a generation.
Quite aptly the skies cleared and we recovered from the chill by being treated to Classic tracks like Sweet Emotion, Living On The Edge, Eat The Rich & Walk This Way which set the bar sky high. My songs of the night however were the genre spawning Rock-Ballad Dream On complete with perfect Tyler screams, set opener Love In An Elevator complete with Woo-Wooh sing-a-longs plus older gems Draw The Line and a rampaging version of Toys In The Attic which rounded out the show.
As the final amp was powered down with Tyler & Perry exchanging congratulations, we were left in the darkness of the damp field ready for the longest walk of the weekend…the one back home!