We've listed albums in order of star rating. Best first.
DIRT Sonic Boom
Swiss band Silver Dirt
have already toured their homeland with the likes of Gilby Clarke, Brides of
Destruction, Deep Purple and Iron Maiden.
opening chords of the “Go! She Said” new album “Sonic Boom” mixes the rawness of
The Stooges with the swagger of countless Scandinavian bands of the last 10
years, The Backyard Babies in particular.
numerous highlights on this 13 track CD including title track “Sonic Boom”,
“City Prowler”, a raucous version of The Stones’ “The Last Time” “Wasted Dream”
and The Ramones like “Room 666”.
With the band geared up to impress the rest of Europe in 2009 they have also
made available the DVD “Sonic Live 2006”. Recorded on the “Sonic Live” tour,
which accompanied the release of the album, we get a live set inter-cut with
backstage footage. Bonus features include even more behind the scenes footage
and the video for “Go! She Said”.
Apparently Silver Dirt will be releasing a new album this year, however, this is
a good introduction for starters. ****
Review by Nikk Gunns
RETTIG White Album
Strange one this, not in
the music, but the way it's packaged. The CD has no label, and the only musician
credited is pianist/vocalist Pat Rettig and harmony vocalist Brianna Rettig. It
was completed over a 12 year period by LA based musicians, sometimes never
meeting each other, and who they were I guess we'll never know. Shame, as the
guitar bass and drums make up a decent sound.
The music is Southern Rock
of the most gentle kind; with only one foot in the classic rock pool, the other
foot plays firmly with AOR and rock/pop. The opening track does have its
moments, some strong if light Southern moments. "Cruisin'" opens with a very 80s
piano before building into a very commercial FM oriented boogie.
strength is in the piano, vocals and storytelling. The weakness is the
commercial nature. If Skynyrd or Hatchet were an authentic Madras, this is your
microwaveable TV dinner version, with a little Korma thrown in. ***
Review by Joe Geesin
ERIC BELL Live Tonite...Plus!
Former Them and Thin Lizzy guitarist is a top notch blues guitarist but not one
who is often talked about in conversations about great blues players. Many also
know him as the co-writer of Thin Lizzy classics 'Whiskey In The Jar' and 'The
'Live Tonite…Plus!' was
recorded in 1996 in Sweden and it's an entertaining live album. Since the early
eighties he has fronted his own band dubbed the Eric Bell Band and what this
collection does show is that not only is he still a great guitar virtuoso but a
pretty decent singer too.
There are good versions of
the aforementioned tracks as well as the classic blues song 'Baby Please Don't
Go.' This album also includes three bonus tracks ('Gloria' being one of them)
and the usual Angel Air delicacy with sleeves notes, photos, etc. It's not an
outstanding release but blues fans will find some solace in it. ***
Review by Neil Daniels
STIFF LITTLE FINGERS
Guitar & Drum (Deluxe Edition)
This punk / rock / pop band formed in the late 70s and split in the mid 80s,
before reforming in 1987. After a myriad of personnel passed through the ranks,
this album was originally released in 2003. It is reissued here with five bonus
live tracks, recorded in Glasgow in 2006.
Sole survivor and vocalist Jake Burns is joined here by Ian MacCallam, Steve
Grantley and Jam bassist Bruce Foxton. The original album is typical jangly punk
rock with melody, rock'n'roll, chants and more.
is all more mainstream now, but it will have fans remembering their youth
fondly. The album itself is full of decent tunes; the band can certainly still
knock out a decent and thoroughly enjoyable track or two.
The live tracks show
tightness, heaviness and a sense of humour.
Well worth a listen.
Review by Joe Geesin
LIZHARD Lizhard (Perris Records)
A very retro classic rock style here, think late 80s / early 90s. The press
release cites the likes of Bon Jovi, Mr Big and Firehouse, which is a fairly apt
description. Only with more balls than Bon Jovi (not hard).
Lead singer Luke Marsilio plays harmonica / acoustic guitar under the electric
The opening track 'Rock'n'Roll Is Back' has a funk rock feel, and 'I Cry For
You' is right up Skid Row territory. There's a neat cover of 'Life In The Fast
Lane', and 'Let's Party' has a boogie feel and a neat guitar solo too.
Some good hard rock here, some nice touches, very enjoyable to listen to within
its remit, but not a great deal new. Fun, though. ***½
Review by Joe Geesin
SACRED MOTHER TONGUE
The Ruin Of Man (Transcend Records)
Debut album from this young band who are already the darlings of Metal Hammer.
Musically you can see why, yet in avoiding one common annoyance in young extreme
metal bands (taking an indie or grunge direction) they've gone for another
slightly less annoying trait in alternating/mixing clean vocals with
Several songs could easily come from the late 80s big 4 or 5 thrash giants.
There is some great intricate fast and furious guitar work, soaring choruses,
there is much that most other young metal bands could learn from this lot.
When the vocals remain clean, there's the Megadeth element; the shots nod at
Kreator, the screams at Testament. The mix, however, is the main downfall.
Review by Joe Geesin
RICK SPRINGFIELD The Early Sound City Sessions (SPME CD102)
Something of a curious re-issues ‘The Early Sound City Sessions' by Rick
Springfield was recorded but not released back in 1977/78. Best described as a
jaunty pop rock crossover ‘The Early Sound City Sessions' finds a number of
influences at play, as teen star turned actor Rick Springfield makes a decent
attempt at finding his own style. He certainly has the vocal range to make the
most of some variable material but overall it's the lack of killer songs that
hampers the project as a whole.
As it is,
there's a mix of the humorous as on ‘Bruce' (he gets mistaken in flagranti for
Springsteen) and ‘Cold Feet' (a potential infidelity is scuppered by nerves),
while he makes a decent stab at a pop rock crossover with echoes of Billy Joel
on ‘The Solitary One' and the radio friendly ‘Spanish Eyes'. The latter
incidentally is missing from the track listings.
There's even shades of the very 1978 Hall & Oates complete with salient bv's and
a cool string arrangement on the well worked 'Looking For The One' and an
original version of a disguised waltz ‘Beautiful Feelings'. This song was
destined to become the title track of the album when it finally saw the light of
day in 1984.
often the lyrics are too trite, and stylistically Rick veers too close to a
poppy feel that ultimately slips into a disposable funky dance groove on the
forgettable bonus track ‘Still Got The Magic'. Of course Rick went on to some
considerable chart success and TV fame in both of his chosen professions, but
being as this release covers the previously unreleased origins of his success,
it will only be of interest to die-hard fans. ***
Review by Pete Feenstra
LES EMERON The Sound
City Sessions (SPMECD108)
Best known for his work
with Five Man Electrical Band, the Californian based Canadian singer song writer
Les Emerson stepped out on his own with this 1977 album. And his trademark MOR
and Soft Rock focus with smooth harmonies is well represented by the opening
brace of songs. Both ‘I Can Still Hear The Music' and the aptly titled ‘Summer
Souvenirs' are firmly routed in the Beach Boys territory with some glistening
harmonies and stylish production.
Ordinary' he combines west coast influenced soft rock with soaring harmonies,
but its strictly on the poppy side of the Buckingham/Nix era early Fleetwood Mac
It's hard to imagine quite where all this mellow material and frankly old
fashioned arrangements could find a home back in '77 or indeed 32 years on.
although well constructed and performed sound like a pleasant anachronism,
offering fleeting glimpses of times past. ‘And I Laughed' for example, rocks
along nicely but is anchored to an overbearing hor n arrangement that is as
bombastic as it is out of place. Perhaps Les had been listening to Wizzard at
the time, or as a number of piano led pieces suggests perhaps Supertramp and
But it is
precisely the musical context of the time by which this album will be judged and
in truth much of the material here is well presented rather than inspirational.
Overall, this album sounds like a producer going into the studio with a few
ideas in progress but without any real sense of direction other than the use of
a few gentle harmonies and the occasional lush production.
‘Hung Up' for example, is
a sharply arranged number with what sounds like synth-guitar and harpsichords,
but falls just short of fulfilling its commercial potential. In fact it's a good
poppy song but not quite as good as similar efforts of the time.
throws in a coupe of Country tinged outings such as ‘Borderline' (a ballad) and
‘One Way Ticket' (a country rocker) both which are engaging enough but hardly
the stuff with which to make your name. In fact it is with barely any sense of
irony that the latter song delivers the lyrics; "Just another guitar picker who
is trying not to be, just another one way ticket on the train to obscurity",
which just about sums up the album. ***
Review by Pete Feenstra
FITZSIMON & BROGAN
Songs Of Love And Revenge
Once upon a time there was a band called Pretty Blue Gun who were signed to
a big bad record label... . Actually, I'm making it up, but isn't that the point
of fairy stories? But the fact is you know you're up against it when you find
that even the interweb seems devoid of information about a band.
What we can glean is that the Pretty Blue Gun - a Hertfordshire based band with
main protagonists guitarist / songwriter Neil Fitzsimon and vocalist Trudie
Brogan - put out a couple of albums in the early nineties - Big Blue World and
The Girl Who Shouted Love At The Heart Of The World. Copies of the Big Blue
World - produced by Pat Collier (Walking On Sunshine - Katrina And The Waves)
can still be found on the likes of ebay and there's a couple of sites where
downloads are available.
But certainly as far as the album Big Blue World is concerned only a few
thousand copies were ever produced, by all accounts studio over run time
contributing to their label's untimely demise.
The masters having reverted to Neil Fitzsimon, Songs Of Love And Revenge is a
compilation culled from those 2 Pretty Blue Gun albums. What can I tell you?
Well, it's typical period pop/bubblegum/rock, in many, many ways a Brit version
of Roxette but without the killer commercial finish.
an unpleasant collection - the songs are good and Trudie's vocals light and
evocative - but it didn't create any ripples in the pond first time round -
albeit perhaps due to the record company collapse, but nervertheless it remains
somewhat timebound and I suspect it will slip silently below the surface once
by Pete Whalley
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