Tag Archive: rock music

  • Great British Band: Cream

    Cream, Sunshine of Your Love

    Cream were a supergroup made up of Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker. The modern day equivalent would be if, say, two members of Girls Aloud joined The Saturdays – that’s right, this was astonishing stuff. Above is their best song. And below is the superior cover by Spanky Wilson.

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  • Interestment’s Top Four: Disturbing album covers

    Some really creepy ones didn’t make it…

    millie-jackson

    It never fails to add an extra coil to the spring in our step whenever we hear from a member of the growing Interestment family. Today excellent contributor Debs – a lady with an eye for the absurd – turned her telescope made from a rolled up magazine onto album covers, particularly frightening ones. She had this to say…

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    Intently flicking through racks of 12 inches in some grubby second-hand shop with only a gaggle of trainspotters for company – it’s nothing if not meditational. Until, that is, some artist attempting to shift more units via shock-tactic publicity scares the living daylights out of you by placing a grotesquely disturbing image (which, in some Eastern European cases, can simply be their face) on the cover of their latest EP. Who hasn’t had their browsing zen interrupted by the glimpse of something uncalled for and horrifying? The following pop groups should be ashamed…

    1. Aphex Twin, Richard D. James

    aphex-twin

    It’s a tough call when it comes to choosing which of the Cornish, bank vault-dweller’s covers is the most mind-bendingly odd. But this demonic self portrait is the winner – narrowly pipping the Aphex Kids on the Come To Daddy EP cover to the horror post.

    2. King Crimson, In the Court of King Crimson

    king-crimson

    This trippy drawing of a screaming maniac has been known to make actual grown up men ask timidly about the whereabouts of their mummy, before erupting in hysterical tears.

    3. Led Zeppelin, Houses of the Holy

    led-zep

    Small naked children, dragging themselves out of holes in the earth, crawling slavishly towards some (undoubtably) twisted and dark power that is emitting light from behind a hill. Shitting heck.

    4. Black Flag, Family Man

    black-flag

    The comic-style simplicity of the Raymond Pettibon drawing makes it all the more appalling. The teddy. The child with the eye-injury. Mum’s leg. And the date? The day after Kennedy’s assassination. It’s everything that’s wrong in the world. Well, America anyway.

  • Album covers analysed: Arctic Monkeys, Whatever People Say I am (etc)…

    Hey there, Smokey Joe!

    arctic-monkeys

    For those who weren’t aware, the Arctic Monkeys are four young gentlemen who were playing ping-pong at youth club one minute, then singing accoustic renditions of their biggest hits to Alexa Chung – who is far too thin, by the way – the next. In many ways, they’re the new Beatles. Although not, unfotunately, when it comes to album covers. Even at their earliest, The Beatles were prone to producing decent record sleeves – both Please Please Me, and With The Beatles made for iconic band images. Yet, this is just some stubbly bloke smoking a cig. Essentially, a teenager’s depiction of what being cool is like. “It’s, like, smoking, you know, with a bit of a beard.” No. No, that’s not cool unfortunately, Arctic Monkeys. It’s just what smokers with almost-beards do. They smoke. With their almost-beards. Nothing visually iconic about this fantastic debut. The opening single was a belter though. Here’s a nice reminder…

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  • Happy Birthday Hugh Hefner, here’s Eric Clapton!

    Eric Clapton Shreds

    Well, Hugh Hefner turns 83 today, and no one could ever accuse him of not having a type. The Hef has bedded scores of women in those years, absolutely all of them identical, with freshly shampooed hair, oily legs, and groin tattoos. It’s just the way he likes them. Today, he’s probably got two or three lined up. Even so, we thought we should get him a present, so we headed to a nearby wasteland, pointed guns at one another, and argued loudly about what to get him until the sun came up. It boiled down to a toss up between an actual rabbit for the mansion, or a brilliantly overdubbed clip of Eric Clapton playing the guitar. In the end we got him both. Happy Sexy Birthday Hef!

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  • Great British Bands: T.Rex

    T.Rex, London Boys

    These glammers were excellent, fronted by the tragic Marc Bolan – him with his frizzy hair, and thing for dressing up all funny. A great band, above is their best song in our opinion. It’s an ode to being in a flamboyant street gang.

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  • Album covers analysed: Television, Marquee Moon

    Lock up your daughters!

    television

    Nothing quite illustrates the gaping gulf between US punks and UK punks like the cover of Marquee Moon. While bands like the Sex Pistols and The Clash looked like gangs of vicious street maniacs armed with guitars, bike lock necklaces, and phlegm, Television resembled PHD students politely queueing to get into a science lecture. Their clothes weren’t torn and hacked, rather they looked like Christmas presents bought by a kindly aunt, and their haircuts were standard regulation – apart from Kevin Keegan at the back, that is. The bloody hippy. As a statement of intent, the album cover told us to get ready for some pretty intense Pythagorean theorem, and yet it masks one of the greatest punk records ever made. This one often tops the most pretentious bong smoking music lists, and is a favourite with exactly the kind of bearded women who claim to adore punk rock music. Here’s the main song…

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  • Interestment’s Top Four: Epic Song Intros

    The introduction is always important…

    handshake

    It’s never anything short of a total joy to hear from one of the Interestment family, and today fantastic writer and observer of humans, Debs, has turned her golden magnifying glass onto excellent pop songs. Her quest – to see which ones grab us by the ears the quickest. She had this to say…

    An intro is not to be underrated. After all, how would we ever get to the middle bit or the end without it? They inspire us to hurry drunkenly to the dance floor, buy certain brands of mobile phone, watch gritty BBC dramas and scrabble excitedly for the pen during particular pub quiz rounds. And there are some intros so good that arguably they don’t need the rest if the song. Here are the classics that shoot their bolt in those first, epic opening bars…

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    1. Dexy’s Midnight Runners, Geno

    Only the utterly deaf could cease to be roused by the triumphant trumpets calling us to ‘pogo’ maniacally… the downside being that you get all wound up and excited, then have to resort to an aggressive chicken dance when it slows down. Great stuff though.

    2. The Who, Baba O’Reily

    Crazy-fingered-organ-slapping opening foray that makes you want to stand up and punch the air – even if you are sitting at home quietly watching CSI New York with Mum.

    3.  Led Zeppelin, Immigrant Song

    Is it just us or does this inspire everyone within earshot to want to dress as a Viking, jump on horseback and go out looking for sheep/women to kill?

    4. House of Pain, Jump Around

    Possibly the joker in this hand of classics but undeniably the most provocative four first notes in pop rap-dom. Even before the squealing brass drags us from the bar we’re turning our caps backwards and throwing gang-signs like billy-oh.

  • Great British Band: Babe Ruth

    Babe Ruth, The Mexican

    A rock band from Hertfordshire who were more popular in America than England, their greatness comes down to one track from 1974, The Mexican. A tremendous rock song, a favourite of Kool DJ Herc in the early days of hip hop, it straddles genres. Hence, brilliant.

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  • Album covers analysed: The Doors, Morrison Hotel

    Not taken with a digital camera…

    the-doors

    To the untrained eye, this photograph from 1970 is absolutely rubbish. And sadly, it’s even worse through a trained eye. But with good reason. Much in the same way that anyone who spots their surname on a shop sign will go berserk and excitedly take an awful picture of it to show their mates, Jim Morrison did exactly that, but decided that the photograph was so good that it should go on the sleeve, and become the name of, his band’s fifth album. Unfortunately, the meanies who ran the actual Morrison Hotel in Los Angeles didn’t want The Doors using flashy cameras in their lobby, so told the hippies that there was no way in hellfire that they could shoot the cover there, so the band did what any group of 12-year-olds would do – they legged it in, sat in the window while their buddy with trembling hands hurriedly clicked away. The hotel itself was closed in 2007, while Jim Morrison only lasted until 1971.

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    Here’s a cut from the album…

  • Great British Band: The Coral

    The Coral, Dreaming of You

    Of course, Merseyside has a great tradition in churning out fantastic pop groups, and this is one of the best since The Beatles. Above is their most catchy tune so far. Fabulous.

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  • Album covers analysed: The Stone Roses, The Stone Roses

    Great British band’s ode to France…

    stone-roses

    The best thing about bands and pop groups in the 1980s was that loads of them might have looked glitzy and glam, but they were spawned of a deeply thoughtful political ideology. Wham, for example, were rampant Stalinists. Culture Club were Thatcher’s favourite transvestite cod reggae band. And Bananarama were total lefties. Not to mention these guys, The Stone Roses. Painted by some as the kind of tough Manchester street kids it was best to avoid, their 1989 album was oozing with strange artistic and political influences – the cover was the lead guitarist’s homage to both the popular squiggly line artist Jackson Pollock, and French riots from the 1960s. Hence the tricolor creeping in from the left. Plus, for those baffled by the lemons, seemingly flung willy nilly into view, they are rumoured to be the perfect antidote to tear gas. The same tear gas used on those angry French hippies on that fateful day in May 1968. A deep, political – almost confusing – piece. Fantastic record.

    Here they are singing some if it…

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  • Happy Birthday Jon Bon Jovi, here’s the alphabet

    Patti LaBelle, Sesame Street

    Look at Jon Bon Jovi. Damn it, the man has everything – a brilliant soft rock voice, feathery hair that drives women wild, and sculpted nooks and crannies in his home where he can stash bed partners. What on earth could he want for? We argued like maniacs for an entire weekend, one half of the think tank furiously demanding that we should send him a great big sherry trifle, while the others argued the case of an alphabet lesson from Patti LaBelle. In the end, we put our swords down and decided to give him both. Happy Birthday Bon Joves!

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  • Great British Bands: Humble Pie

    Humble Pie, Black Coffee

    Steve Marriott is one of only a handful of rock and pop stars to feature in two excellent bands – others include Mick Jones (The Clash, Big Audio Dynamite), Vince Clarke (Depeche Mode, Yazoo), Ronnie Wood (Faces, The Rolling Stones) and Paul Weller (The Jam, The Style Council). Steve’s first was, of course, Small Faces, then he pulled together these guys. They were terrific too.

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  • Great British Bands: The Jesus and Mary Chain

    The Jesus and Mary Chain, Just Like Honey & Inside Me

    Don’t be fooled by the strange hissing and noise coming from these guys, that weird sound distortion was completely deliberate. They were, it seems, artistes. They were also excellent. This clip comes with an introduction from the original Peaches Geldof – Paula Yates.

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  • Great British Bands: Generation X

    Generation X, Your Generation

    Presumably performing a punk rock response to The Who, this is Billy Idol’s first band. It was brilliant, even though one of the members – Tony James – went on to form the futuristic atrocity Sigue Sigue Sputnik, who were decidedly less good, and wore fishnet stockings on their faces.

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  • Album covers analysed: Oasis, Standing on the Shoulder of Giants

    Band mistakes itself for God

    oasis

    It’s no secret that a bit of success and celebrity can send a man bonkers. Will Smith appears to think of himself as Jesus, as does Tom Cruise, and for a short window in the late 90s and early 2000s, the bozos that made up Oasis were equally convinced of their own divinity. As album covers go, this one pretty much told the whole story. Their fourth, and probably most pompous, offering, it featured a Noel’s-eye-view looking over New York’s iconic cityscape, as if they were indeed kings of the world. The previous three records had found them, in order: sprawling in a luxury lounge (Definitely Maybe), strutting confidentally down a Soho street (… Morning Glory), and rockstar posturing outside a stately home (Be Here Now). One fears that had this album not brought them tumbling from the shoulders of giants, the next one would have featured them actually having dinner at God’s house.

    Hear a cut from the album after the jump…

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  • Album covers analysed: Thin Lizzy, Fighting

    Kids, this is what tough guys used to look like

    thin-lizzy

    Style and violence have always endured a strained relationship. While one demands a degree of preservation, the other insists on destroying things. Which is why it always seems so strange that Mods would spend ungodly sums on slick designer clobber, only to get wasted on blues and have a scrap. The same goes for Teddy Boys, Casuals, and most modern day football fans. Above is a record from the mid-1970s, where the fashionable young gentlemen who made up the Irish rock band Thin Lizzy show off their finest fighting outfits, whilst positioning themselves lividly in amongst the decaying brickwork and destroyed buildings, so synonymous with the time. Once a terrifying album cover. Now, just marginally scarier than The Corrs.

    Enjoy an old Thin Lizzy song after the jump…

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  • Interestment’s Top Four: Drummers that sing

    Sorry Collins, no room at the inn

    collins1

    It’s difficult to pinpoint the coolest area of a band. Is it around the frontman/woman? Or is it at the back with the mentalist thrashing around on the drums? One thing is for sure, wherever Phil Collins lays his hat, it isn’t there. And, Ringo couldn’t plump Lennon, Harrison, nor McCartney for cool points either. Some people, however, have managed to occupy the front of stage, and the back of house, and have sparkled in both areas. Here is a rundown of our favourite drummers-slash-singers…

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    1 Chaka Khan

    chaka

    We all knew that Chaka Khan was a whole hunk of woman, with a voice so sharp and funky that it could cut through concrete, but who knew she could play the drums excellently as well? The perfect wife.

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  • Great British Bands: Motorhead

    Motorhead, The Ace of Spades

    Lemmy, what a guy! He really knows how to make strange facial growths seem almost handsome. Here he is taking to a bizarrely-angled microphone at a rock concert. Absolutely brilliant.

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  • Album covers analysed: Blur, Parklife

    Oi oi, it’s some cockneys!

    blur

    Stop an American and force him/her to describe a Londoner – seriously, the results are amazing. They might tell you about a guy called Dick Van Dyke, or insist that everyone wears bowler hats and honks “afternoon” to one another in the street. It’s not their fault, that’s just what George W Bush told them. In the same way that Blair told all of us that Americans wear mirrored shades. They don’t. Now, phase 2 of this exercise is to ask a mob of students at Goldsmiths’ College – they will be wearing military jackets and baseball boots, by the way – to show you pictures of what it really means to be from London. They’ll immediately produce a portfolio of abstract drawings of pie and mash shops, cubist paintings of people in sheepskin jackets getting up to all sorts of mischief, and probably a photograph of a dog track. Much like the one used by the  ex-Goldsmiths’ College attendees in Blur on their album, Parklife. A great record.

    Enjoy a cockney knees up after the jump…

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  • Happy Birthday Alice Cooper, here’s William Shatner!

    William Shatner, Rocket Man

    What can Alice Cooper possibly want for? He’s got it all – snakes, lizards, eye liner. Hence, we argued long into the night, toe to toe down an icy side alley, about what he should be given for his 61st birthday. It boiled down to a toss up between a Playstation 2 or by far the greatest performance William Shatner has ever mustered. And he has mustered a few. In the end, we got him both. Happy Birthday Alice! School’s out for EVER, presumably.

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  • Great British Bands: The Kinks

    The Kinks, Lola

    As already mentioned, it’s Dave Davies’ birthday today, making it high time we payed tribute to The Kinks. They were magnificent. Above is their famous ode to trannies.

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  • Happy Birthday Dave Davies, here’s a lazy Beatles performance!

    The Beatles, I Feel Fine

    What can you get the man who started up The Kinks for his 62nd birthday? He’s already got everything – kudos, respect, balanced chakras, a Ready Brek glow. We argued long into the night, on a bench in the snow – careful not to sleep in case the icy hand of death snaffled us as we snoozed. It boiled down to a toss up between an ironic t-shirt with one of the Mr. Men on it, or an interesting video clip of his old chart enemies, The Beatles, being particularly complacent during a performance. In the end we got him both. Happy Birthday Mr Bump!

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  • Album covers analysed: The Rolling Stones, Their Satanic Majesties Request

    Hey man, it’s some people pretending to be hippies

    rolling-stones

    Nothing sticks in the craw more than missing out on a cool party. You might have been sick in bed, or perhaps you just weren’t invited. Still, don’t mope around whining, get on with your life, soldier. Let it go. And do not, under any circumstances, attempt to recreate the amazing party, because it definitely won’t be the same, and you’ll invariably end up looking like a plonker. Take the Summer of Love in 1967, for example. The Beatles were there from the start with their hairy sideboards and little spectacles, brandishing Sergeant Pepper. Hendrix, The Who, Janis Joplin, and Jefferson Airplane all gave a kick-ass show at the legendary Monterey Pop Festival. And The Rolling Stones pretty much missed the lot. Sensing that they might have just failed to catch a very important flowery train, they hurriedly threw together this album, just in time for December 1967 – the winter of the Summer of Love, if you like. Awash with songs about crazy futuristic people, rainbows, and citadels, the cover shows the five band members dressed up like technicolor druids in a magical land – their way of saying “sorry we’re late world, we’ve been tripping on mushies… being as we’re far out and everything!” Unfortunately, as a statement of hippydom, it’s up there with putting on a bowler hat and telling the world you’re a cowboy. Unconvincing.

    Enjoy one of the cuts from the record after the jump…

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