Saturday, March 4, 2017

It Came From The Bargain Basement -- The Good and the Bad

Back to my very irregular column where I bring you with me into the Ripple HQ, and you put your feet up on my desk while I work and spin from the huge stacks of unplayed vinyl that litters every square inch of my office.   This is a good and bad column, in other words, I'm spinning these, new and old, for the first time.  Some will be great, some won't be. Some will stay, some will head straight to the charity bin.  Keeper or Tosser?   We'll make that decision together.

B-Movie - Forever Running

Better than average 80's romantic synth pop.  Not as dark as New Order at their best, but more menacing than say OMD.  Good melodies throughout with good hooks.  Not quite as ear catching as Heaven 17, but certainly more interesting than Scritti Politi. Not as nuanced as Modern English and nowhere near as experimental as Caberet Voltaire.  Nowhere Girl was the big single here, but the version on the album is a bit watered down in the mix from the original single version, so it's not quite as immediate. 
Basically, bands like New Order, Depeche Mode, and Heaven 17 set the bar for this genre, and B Movie stacks up well.  Not at the top, but definitely a middle of the pack player.  I paid only 50 cents, so for that, it's worth keeping. 

Verdict:  Keeper

 Orange Sunshine - Live at Freak Valley 2013

ORANGE SUNSHINE melt the faces off the assembled masses at Freak Valley with their pained vocals, feedback bathed guitars and incendiary psych freak outs.  Catching the soul of motor blues and psychedelic garage, Orange Sunshine lay out a slab of acid-drenched fuzz rock.  Explosive at times, always intense, this is freak out rock in the vein of  hardrockin’ proto-punks of Blue Cheer, or MC5.  Their take on things is perhaps best found on the covers of I Thank You or their rave up the Stones, Gimme Shelter.  Massively distorted guitars, spitball drumming and draino vocals.  All good.

Verdict:  Keeper

Cochise - Swallow Tales

I want to like this album more than I actually do.  A nice obscurity from 1971, british rock scene. Not bluesy so much as quasi-country, like a British version of the Band or a slightly punchier Poco.  There's some nice playing and some nice slide, but overall, there's nothing too memorable about it.  I like country-tinged rock, but want it to stick in my head like bubblegum.  This one is more like 70's country-rock chinese food.  Fine while it's playing, but as soon as it's done, I'm hungry again and can't remember what it was that I just ate.  There's also a very strange schizophrenic nature to the album, with songs like Lost Hearts being much more of the sunshine, psych pop vein, very much in contradiction to the country stuff that preceded it.  They actually do better on the more straight ahead rock songs like Another Day, (some truly searing leads over a rolling boogie riff) and the final song on side 1, Why I Sing the Blues, (with a tasty, dirty blues riff and some proto-metal jamming.)  Now, normally, I'm a big fan of the obscure, bizarro albums, but I'm just not sure this one hangs together well enough for me to ever really want to reach for it and pull it down off the shelf to play again. 

Verdict: Tosser


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