With their third album, Public Service Broadcasting (PSB) remind us that concept albums do not need to be about Topographic Oceans or operas about pubescent mods coming of age. This album looks at the social impact of the fall and rise of an industry on the local community.
PSB’s modus operandi is to create funky instrumental music with occasional rocky outcrops, then layer over the top vocal samples. In the past that has included public information films (hence the band name), audio from NASA and specifically recorded interviews.
For Every Valley the focus is very much the south wales mining communities, how the coal industry provided hope, dreams of a job for life, and provided the glue that held a whole community together. It also document’s the decline and the death of the industry – and how the sole of the community also goes into decline when the main source of employment is ripped out of it. Continue reading PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTING: Every Valley (PIAS Recordings 2017)→
Can’t wait for the festival season to start? Fear not, this fifteen track sampler from the Surplus Crew will help blow those winter blues away.
Given that most of the best bands on the underground festival circuit have played at Surplus, an album put together by the crew would inevitably be worth a listen. “Of course it will be good”, we thought to ourselves. But then – “Hold on – who are this lot?” Yes, fair play to the Surplus Crew, they have managed to dig out some bands we had not come across before – and boy is this album a belter. Continue reading VARIOUS ARTISTS: Surplus Fest Sampler Volume 1 (Surplus 2017)→
There are only a handful of towns and cities in the world, whose name is so intrinsically linked with an event so tragic that it is invoked every time the place is mentioned. Sadly, there is one a few miles from where I live. Aberfan.
Fifty years ago this week (21st October 1966) ‘coal tip number seven’ slipped and engulfed the school at its foot. In doing so it took the lives of 144 people, 116 of them children. The story of this event is one of personal tragedy and outrage at the attitude of the government and the coal board.
In one morning the anonymous welsh village suddenly became known over the entire world.
I was only four years of age at the time but it is ingrained in my memory. As it probably is in anyone who was around at the time.
Much has been written of this event, and continues to be written. There is little meaningful or constructive I can add. But I post this to bring to your attention a single that has been released with the aim of raising funds for the Aberfan Memorial fund.
Amy Goddard is a folk singer who grew up in the Merthyr Valley and went to school in the neighbouring village to Aberfan.
This four track EP is the missing link between the UK festival scene and the New York CBGBs scene of the early 1970s.
High energy grungy punk with chunky rhythms and guitar solos long enough to keep us closet rockers happy, but short enough to keep the three chord punk purists happy. Al Damidge’s vocals strut across the EP with a nonchalant swagger and if a voice could wear clothes, his would wear leather trousers and carry a flick knife. Continue reading DAMIDGE: Limitation→
The collected works of Karl Marx, trade union solidarity, protest marches – these don’t exactly sound like good subject material for particularly funky music. But hey – go figure!
Thee Faction have worked out how to write songs with names like GDH Cole dropped in casually, and still be eminently danceable. Not since the Redskins in the 1980s has unashamedly socialist music been so damn cool.
Ginger Baker is often cited as the best rock drummer in history. This a description that sends Mr Baker into fits of rage; he considers rock legends like John Bonnham and Keith Moon with contempt – not fit to lace his shoes – because he is not a rock drummer, he is a jazz drummer.
This is the true story of two Scottish rappers, Silibil ‘n’ Brains, tired of the music industry not taking them seriously, who move to London, put on fake American accent, pretend to be from California and dupe the entire music industry into taking them on. On the face of it an amusing, if not entirely original story. But it soon develops into something very deep and thought provoking.
We start with the boys gigging around their home town of Dundee and trying to get signed. No label was interested. Then, for a laugh, they made some phone calls with an American accent and told people they were from California. Quicker than you can say “apple pie” they are signed to Sony records, playing gigs at Brixton Academy and blowing the massive advance they had been given on booze and women. Continue reading THE GREAT HIP HOP HOAX→
OTWAY THE MOVIE: ROCK AND ROLL’S GREATEST FAILURE (2013)
Those not familiar with John Otway – which let’s face it, is most of the population – could be forgiven for thinking this is a spoof documentary in the vein of Spinal Tap. Such is the nature of the crazy, wacky, bonkers, over the top, rock and roll extravagance that bounces around inside the head of one of rock’s greatest treasures.
But it is not a spoof, this is the story of a uniquely British eccentric rock and roll legend that has spent the last forty years reaching for the stars, not being put off by what anyone else thinks and, most importantly, not being put off by failure. Continue reading OTWAY: THE MOVIE→
When the going gets tough, the tough get rockin’. In response to the refugee crisis that is being played out daily on our TV screens and in the media, this thirty track download only compilation has been put together to raise money for Refugee Action.
Compiled in just seven days, by music journalist David Owens, this mixes the cream of the current crop of Wales’ mainstream rock bands, some of the best of the upcoming bands and a sprinkling of previously unreleased and live tracks that have not seen the light of day until now. Continue reading REACH OUT: WELSH ROCK FOR REFUGEES→
SICK LIVERS: Mid Liver Crisis (Glunk Records + Baldy Longhair Records 2015)
Ever since Chuck Berry first picked up his guitar the term rock ‘n roll has been evolving. It is now used to describe anything from a Motorhead gig, through the act of throwing a TV out of the window to cookery. The Sick Livers, however, are as close as you will get in the 21st Century to the true meaning of rock ‘n roll without donning beetle crushers and a drape jacket.
They kick off with a song about fashion – and giving a nod to the film Full Metal Jacket (This is my Denim), then rattle through songs about girls (You Make Me Wet), songs about drinking (One Man Stag Do) and sometimes about girls and drinking (I Wanna be a Jager Girl). Continue reading THE SICK LIVERS: MID LIVER CRISIS→