blue cheer

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Black Sabbath, Paranoid (1970)

Black Sabbath, Paranoid (1970)

There has always been an enjoyable if largely pointless debate about just who invented heavy metal: with Link Wray with The Rumble in ’58 or the Beatles with Helter Skelter a decade later? Blue Cheer for their classic album Vincebus Eruptum of ‘68? Led Zeppelin or Deep Purple? The answer is obvious, it really doesn’t...

Blue Cheer: Vincebus Eruptum (1968)

Blue Cheer: Vincebus Eruptum (1968)

For many decades I kept a clipping about Blue Cheer and this particular album inside the record cover, and of course when I went to look for it recently it was gone. But the gist of it was this: Blue Cheer were the loudest band in the whole history of ever, according to the writer, and when they recorded this monster in a North Hollywood...

LOVE IS THE SONG WE SING; SAN FRANCISCO NUGGETS 1965-1970 (Rhino): Flowers and freak outs

LOVE IS THE SONG WE SING; SAN FRANCISCO NUGGETS 1965-1970 (Rhino): Flowers and freak outs

Any box set or collection which tries to mop up an era, genre or decade is probably doomed to failure, not from lack of genuine effort but because some artists (the big ones) don't want to be included. So you can get a multiple disc, very inclusive set of the Eighties for example and it doesn't have anything by Madonna, Prince, Springsteen and...

Brian Jonestown Massacre: Who Killed Sgt Pepper? (Southbound)

Brian Jonestown Massacre: Who Killed Sgt Pepper? (Southbound)

This one-time San Francisco outfit which is most often considered a train-wreck of styles helmed by a career-destroying personality (Anton Newcombe) here weighs in with a pretty terrific crash of trash rock'n'roll, grunge-psychedelics, borrowings from world music beats and much more. In fact, given their musically wayward history (indie-pop...

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club: Beat the Devil's Tatoo (Abstract Dragon)

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club: Beat the Devil's Tatoo (Abstract Dragon)

When I saw the BRMC in their early days at the Troubadour in LA I came away convinced they were, if not the future of rock'n'roll, then they would have at least a lot of interesting noises to make until the future arrived. They roared and rocked, swapped instruments, played psychedelicised rock'n'roll with references to a few other marginal...

Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders: Red Light Fever (Sony)

Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders: Red Light Fever (Sony)

Here's my thinking: in his dreams Taylor Hawkins of the Foo Fighters is playing with the perfect band; it is Cheap Trick playing Queen songs . . . and the stadium is rocking. Especially when they throw in some glam-rock by Sweet. I like what he said about the making of this, his second solo outing away from the Foo Fighters: "About...

Queens of the Stone Age: Rated R, Deluxe Edition (Universal)

Queens of the Stone Age: Rated R, Deluxe Edition (Universal)

This, the second album by QOTSA and their first on a major label, was their breakthrough exactly a deacde ago and had critics digging in their superlatives bag. Oddly enough though, it wasn't because it was ground-breaking and innovative but rather it was (mostly) simply no nonsense, no flaffing about hard rock which was grounded in the...

MEAT PUPPETS INTERVIEWED (1989): Disney avant-metal rock

MEAT PUPPETS INTERVIEWED (1989): Disney avant-metal rock

It's an old truism and therefore probably quite false, but it goes like this; ask musicians their influences and you can pick their sound. It certainly doesn't hold up when you speak to Curt Kirkwood of the Meat Puppets from Arizona. After he’s ticked off The Beatles, Joe Walsh, Yes (!), and Black Sabbath, he then confuses...

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion: Orange + Experimental Remixes (Shout Factory/Southbound)

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion: Orange + Experimental Remixes (Shout Factory/Southbound)

The JSB Explosion's early catalogue has undergone the remastering/expansion process but here's the essential starting point on any investigation: Orange from '94 was their career highpoint, an album which dragged their alt.rock/Elvis-on-speed, rock'n'roll blues into mainstream attention for its concise, harmonica-wheezing, Cramps-like energy and...

Janis Joplin: Trouble in Mind (1965)

Janis Joplin: Trouble in Mind (1965)

The great Janis Joplin has been dead for over four decades now but it would be fair to observe that no woman in rock has ever approached her deep understanding of the blues and earthy, powerful delivery . . . let alone her self-destructive approach to life. Yet she has been largely forgotten and, as this essay notes, no one seems in any mind...

THE BARGAIN BUY: Led Zeppelin: Mothership (Atlantic)

THE BARGAIN BUY: Led Zeppelin: Mothership (Atlantic)

When this double disc of Led Zeppelin arrived in '07 there were the inevitable arguments from fans about what had been unfairly excluded . . . and certainly their Anglofolk inclinations and some of their essential blues (notably Gallows Pole) might have been there. But . . . This was always going to err toward the band's classic rock...

Wooden Shjips: West (Fuse)

Wooden Shjips: West (Fuse)

Wooden Shjips (sic) out of San Francisco once again serve up their particular brand of astral plane psychedelic drone-rock which sounds filtered through steel wool. Their appealing tripped-out grunge sits somewhere along the faultline of their city's Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane and a full volume, garageband metal overhaul of...

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