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