So Orange has released a new guitar amplifier, you are shocked right, an amp company releasing an amplifier! But the TremLord is something a little different for Orange. 

The centrepiece of the amplifier is an all valve Tremolo, this is Orange’s take on the 1950’s amplifiers that used this effect to such acclaim.

This made me think one; what is tremolo and where will I have heard it before.

First, what is Tremolo?

Tremolo is simply put a modulation effect, it changes the volume of your signal at certain speed and depth. This is not to be confused with vibrato, which changes the pitch of the signal.

On the TremLord you can set two different speeds of tremolo and also the depth of the modulation. This means it’s perfect for use live with a footswitch.

Uses of Tremolo in Songs

Otis Redding – “A Change is Gonna Come”

This is the song that made me explore songs using tremolo, Otis Redding’s version of “A Change is Gonna Come” is a fantastic example. After the opening horn section the unmistakable tremolo guitar chords float in, which then stay throughout the whole song.

After this I dived headlong into finding more interesting and diverse song that used this effect, trying to find examples from across the musical spectrum and also the past 60 years.

Radiohead – “Bones”

Hearing “The Bends” for the first time I remember the raking sound of the tremolo on “Bones” being one of my favourite parts. It felt like the start of the band moving their sound away from the grunge sound of the first album. I chose a live version as it shows Jonny Greenwood using the effect throughout the song. 

Rage Against the Machine – Guerilla Radio

Tom Morello is known for his unique use of effects and I think this was one of the first Rage Against the Machine songs I ever heard,  I remember struggling to understand what that sound was! Heavily leaning on his trusty boss tremolo pedal the track has become a mainstay of the bands live performances and as the live footage shows it’s no wonder why. 

Rolling Stones – “Gimme Shelter”

The lilting almost glassy sounding guitar intro to the track could be one of the most famous uses of the effect. This stone cold classic was released in 1969, sometimes I feel it gets forgotten about, as people remember “satisfactions” fuzzy tones more. But this for me is the Rolling Stones in a song and the guitar makes it.

The Smiths – “How soon is now?”

This couldn’t not be on the list, its so in your face the Tremolo effect. One of The Smiths most famous songs, this was actually originally a B-Side of the 1984 single “William, it was really nothing”. The original demo for the song was called “Swamp” which hardly surprising when you hear the song.

One thing I noticed while going through this is how many great songs that use this effect, I could have provided another 30-40 songs easily. So if you have any songs that you think I may have forgotten, please comment in the comments and I look forward to delving into even more tremolo songs!

As 2018 is coming to an end I think we’re all reflecting on the year just gone, whether it’s good or bad. For me, 2018’s been great. I’ve achieved some goals I’m super stoked about, like my first ever on camera interview with Matt Pike which went surprisingly okay despite the week prior spent sleepless knowing I’d be ON camera for once, and not just behind it. I also got to interview Glenn Hughes which was pretty unreal, having been raised on Deep Purple as a kid. I’ve also seen some incredible bands and artists I’ve been dreaming of for years, some which left me crying to the point of dehydration, although this could also have to do with the fact that it was 34 degrees outside… Without further ado, my top picks of 2018.

Motorpsycho, Roadburn Festival

When I think of my musical highlights from this year, Motorpsycho’s always the band that first pops to mind. The only band granted a full two hours at the festival, famously known for their intense psychedelic build ups that keeps building and building and never releasing, until you literally can’t take it anymore. Their performance was nothing but spectacular and mesmerising, and just a pure masterpiece of performance and perfection beginning to end. My dear fellow Norwegian vikings, even eight months down the line I’m stunned their performance.

Hawkwind, Desertfest London & Hawkwind with Arthur Brown and a Symphony orchestra, London Palladium

I never ever in a million years thought I’d get to see Hawkwind at the Roundhouse, but I did. Having spent the entire Desertfest weekend carrying around our precious Orange camera which probably could cover my rent for several months – hence guarding it with my life, I finally got to clock out and hand over the precious belongings just in time for Hawkwind’s set at the legendary Roundhouse – time to party. I’ll admit I was somewhat apprehensive seeing young guys Haz Wheaton on bass, purely because he had long hair and played a Rick, and had some similarities with a young Lemmy – did this guy get the job because of his Lemmy look? It didn’t take long before I realised how much of a dick I was for even thinking that, as Haz literally stole the show, alongside the female dancer dressed as a cat, obviously. Hawkwind did certainly take me on a journey through to different dimensions, just as I hoped they would having listened to Space Rituals religiously. I left the venue buzzing with excitement, if Hawkwind could be this rad in 2018,  I can’t even imagine seeing them in they 70s heyday, with naked Stacia on stage and everyone off their shit on acid – a feast for all senses I imagine.

Photo via Youtube

I’m pretty used to dingy basement venues and sticky floors, so when my boyfriend surprised me with front row tickets to see Hawkwind at the Palladium with a symphony orchestra and Arthur Brown on vocals, my jaw nearly dropped to the floor – they sell champagne popsicles! I’ve come a long way from lukewarm lager… Anyway, Hawkwind, round two (This time without Haz who’s ventured onto Electric Wizard) – I’m not quite sure how to describe it, as weird and cosmic as the above, but with A SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA AND ARTHUR BROWN DANCING AND GUESTING ON VOCALS! It was spectacular, unlike anything I’ve ever seen before – the orchestra adding a whole new world of layers to something that’s already so unique made this evening pretty amazing, even more so with a grateful Dave Brock telling the story about how he once as a young kid was busking outside the Palladium, and got fined for doing so – little did he know that years down the line he’d be inside playing with an orchestra.

Roger Waters, British Summertime Hyde Park

I was 13 when my dad got me Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” for Christmas with a note saying it was time I got my shit together and started listening to some proper music. Around this time, I also saw Roger Water’s “In The Flesh” DVD for the first time, and this was so different to everything I knew from before, it was music with a message, composed in such strange and spectacular ways. From that point, I started digging deeper into the Pink Floyd catalogue, and started dreaming of seeing Roger Waters play. When he was announced to play Hyde Park this summer, it didn’t take long before I got tickets and started to counting down the days, to what also happened to be one of the hottest days of summer. When Roger Waters took to the stage I was nothing but an emotional mess, with 15 years of anticipation and excitement finally getting to flourish. They opened up with “Speak to Me”, and I burst out crying, crying to the point of nearly having to hold my breath so I wouldn’t start sobbing. Following that, was “Breathe”, “One of these Days”, “Time”, “Great Gig in the Sky” and a bunch of other songs from Pink Floyd’s peak as well as Waters’s solo albums – I did not stop for a second. I cried constantly for an hour until they stopped and took a break before the second act. As it began, I was at it again. Hearing all these songs written all those years ago with such important messages relevant today was the most powerful musical experience I’ve ever had. I felt drained at the end of it, the sweet release of finally having seen one of my heroes, and overwhelmed by the feelings released while doing so.

George Clinton’s Parliament & Funkadelic, The Roundhouse

Photographer unknown – Funkadelic way back when.

The above is the most I’ve opened up emotionally in about 28 years, so let’s dive right back into this with George Clinton’s Parliament & Funkadelic, one of the craziest, most fun gigs I’ve ever been to. I’m a sucker for old Funkadelic and the Eddie Hazel and Bootsy Collins era and was quite curious to see the band without them – modern Parliament and Funkadelic with a bunch of unfamiliar faces, and ya know what? It was incredible. A mix of soul, funk and even modern heavy hip hop, it felt like going to a party at George Clinton’s house, with him being some sort of jazzy-outfit funk king thriving on his throne, making sure every single person there were dancing. But then again, if someone were to make British people get loose, who else could take such a task upon himself than mister Clinton? “Free your mind, and your ass will follow”, a wise man once said, and I’m glad to see the message gets through, even in times like these when things are falling to shits – we could all do with some more funk in our lives.

Fantastic Negrito, Dingwalls

Photographer unknown – Photo via Fantastic Negrito’s Facebook Page

Fantastic Negrito kind of seemed to appear out of nowhere, releasing the spectacular “The Last Days of Oakland” in 2017, and swiftly following up with “Please Don’t be Dead” in 2018. However, he’s got quite an interesting and inspiring background, being one of fifteen siblings with a strict Muslim father and selling drugs and carrying guns at a young age, to teaching himself how to play music after hearing that’s what Prince did. He got a record deal in the 90s, but got dropped after nearly a fatal injury that left him in a coma for nearly two weeks. Years later, shortly before he passed, Chris Cornell took him under his wing and he was back with a bang – and now to the performance. Fantastic Negrito is a storyteller like no one I have ever seen, preaching and howling while struttin’ and dancing, teaching peace and love to the grooviest funk beats –  I never saw James Brown, but from what I’ve heard I feel confident saying Fantastic Negrito could have given him a run for his money – King Charisma, to say the least.

Hey – Alex here (AR Manager). Once again Dan (Euro AR) couldn’t be bothered to edit his grammar. I took care of that but, seriously, look at the dude’s descriptions below. Is he even trying anymore? My favorite line is this one: “…they have something different about them I can’t put my finger on.” My god, the effort! The insight!

Enjoy.

The Oxford Coma

The Oxford Coma is confusing and brutal. They go hard at their live shows. You leave wondering if your brain is still screwed on properly. This progressive-psych rock band from Phoenix, Arizona recorded their last album, Everything Is Out Of Tune, with Steve Albini. It’s worth listening to anything Steve puts his hands on. – Alex

 

Vokonis

I just signed this band to an endorsement based on their latest album, The Sunken Djinn. Obviously we’re fans of stoner doom at Orange (just look at the rest of our roster), but this Swedish band had a heavy darkness to their tunes that I just can’t ignore. I really can’t find anything wrong with it. I get a Baroness meets Monolord vibe. – Alex

 

Waax – Labrador

Brisbane five piece ‘Waax’ remind me of so many great bands I love but they have something different about them I can’t put my finger on. Their new single ‘Labrador’ is a good place to start with this band if you haven’t heard them before. They are currently supporting Wolf Alice in Australia and I’m sure it won’t take long for them to be over on UK shores so I can go see them. – Dan

 

Drug Church – Strong References

This is a banger. This band just seem to be getting better and better. – Dan

 

Viagra Boys – Sports

Blah Blah Blah band I heard that is good and I thought it would be good to promote them. – Dan

Blah Blah Blah band I heard that is good and I thought it would be good to promote them. – Dan

Now that I’ve got your attention with this photo of Matt Pike, please take two minutes to find out how you can help yet another music venue from shutting down, depriving people from potentially being able to see High on Fire there late September.


Sign HERE.

It seems to be really in the wind at the moment to shut down music venues, kill culture, and deprive the future generation of a platform to both play, perform and enjoy music. Who needs music, entertainment and a sense of community when some rich stranger can, lets say, build a bunch of luxury flats or offices instead?

Shaman Elephant debut album release gig, January 2017

This time around, it’s my all time favourite bar and music venue Garage in Bergen, Norway (The land of ice and snow, and the birthplace and home of black metal, with playing a vital part of it), under risk of being shut down by  – you guessed it, some capitalistic and greedy landlord. Long story short – the venue’s been open for 28 years, providing the city with amazing music from local bands and artists, as well as touring bands from across the world. A few years back, the landlord decided to open up a hotel above the venue, and stated that the venue would have to run the hotel as part of their agreement to let. Surely running a haggard ol’ hotel is the same as running a bar…? Hm, okay then… After a while, the landlord also decided part of the deal should also be for the venue to renovate the hotel, which they again agreed to, to keep peace and for the venue to run smoothly – the building work begun. Mid renovation, the venue learns from the fire department that the premises aren’t up to fire safety regulations at all, and that the landlord’s should never have opened a hotel there in the first place. Sneaky you say, hey? The things some people do for money…

Radio Moscow, October 2017.

Learning this, the venue put their foot down and refused to be part of running the hotel, and this is where it got nasty. The landlord threatened to evict the pub, and put the premises on the market without notifying them, as well as reaching out to the venue’s business partners and sponsors telling them that the venue’s closing down shortly. And this is where we are today, it’s still unclear what will happen – while the owners of the venue are working to keep the it open and their 20 or so employees employed and afloat, the landlord is laying low with their shark like lawyers on the case. Worst case scenario, the venue can be shut down by September 1st. Now, despite being the second biggest city in Norway, Bergen ain’t big, and Garage is the only venue of it’s kind and size (with the exception of student run ‘Hulen’ which closes over Christmas and summer, peak drinking times some might say), and has become a meeting place for musicians and music lovers from all around town, whether it’s grabbing a beer after work or attending one of their weekly gigs – as well as being the perfect 300 or so capacity venue, big enough for bigger acts, small enough to still be intimate.

Triggerfinger, Garage, April 2015

I’ve seen bands such as Turbonegro, Triggerfinger and Radio Moscow there, and sadly enough, missed out on Kvelertak who played what I only imagine was two spectacular shows there earlier this year. For Bergen to lose Garage, hell, it would be devastating. I have lived London nearly seven years now, but keep an eye out for Garage gigs at a regular basis as I’d fly home in a heartbeat. I also make a point of stopping by every single time I go home, last time arriving to Hendrix in Stockholm played on a projector. The day after Lemmy died, they played Motörhead and Hawkind for nine hours – nine. We cheersed in whiskey and cried to Overkill. It was beautiful, a bunch of strangers coming together to celebrate his life and music at Garage, that sorta thing could only happen at Garage, there’s no other place like it, so please don’t take it away from us.


I’ve started a petition where you can raise your voice and stick it to the man. By signing it, you state that Garage should remain open, and keep adding cultural value to the community as it’s done for nearly three decades.

Sign the petition here.

Every month our Artist Relations managers, Alex and Dan, submit their 3 favorite artists or bands they’ve been listening to recently. These are bands that might or might not be endorsed by Orange. If they’re not endorsed, it’s probably because they play some other manufacturer’s amps. We don’t fault them for that, but we do certainly welcome them dropping us a line because obviously we love them!

Alex Auxier – Artist Relations Manager

The Features

Another one of those “how’d I miss this band and now they’re broken up” scenarios, The Features is pop-rock at its finest. If you’re a fan of Kevin Gilbert or Jason Faulkner then you’ll appreciate this band. If you’re a fan of Weezer you might appreciate this band. If you’re a fan of Dimmu Borgir then you probably won’t like this band as much.
The Features is a band that should be headlining massive festivals and getting all the Nike endorsements (or something like that). They’re one of the tightest live bands I’ve ever seen. What sucks is that I’ve only been able to watch them on YouTube.

I love the evolution of their sound too. On 2004’s Exhibit A they’re pure power pop. On 2009’s Some Kind Of Salvation they add horns, a bit of a New Orleans gritty vibe, and start crafting really quirky tunes. By 2011’s Wilderness they kind of came back to a straight rock vibe. And then fast-forward to 2016 and “Sunset Rock” sounds like the band from Revenge of the Nerds moved to LA, had a music baby with Spoon, and started experimenting with psychedelics.

End of the day, I just LOVE this freaking tune:

Big Thief

Don’t sleep on Big Thief. I’m certainly not (they just bought a bass amp from me). Big Thief is like the indie-folk-rock version of rain. And I mean literal rain. If rain was an emotion, that’s the emotion this band would invoke. Every single song they write can be interpreted as either sad or happy. It depends entirely on your mood, the time and place, and what kind of liquor you’re drinking.

I also really dig their album covers. They have a “stark reality” approach that speaks to my more candid side.

Harm’s Way

Now here’s a band I actually did just endorse. Bassist Casey Soyk will be rocking the OB1-500 moving forward. I’ve heard of Harm’s Way before but just recently started listening to them. They’re as hardcore as they come, bordering on death metal. In the last 12 years they’ve made a name for themselves with a high energy live show and albums that just keep getting better (in my opinion).


Dan Darby – Euro Artist Relations

Vein – “Virus://Vibrance”

This band was recommended to me by Steve from Every Time I Die, who have toured with these guys recently. I can’t believe I haven’t heard of these guys before! The band are from Boston and I don’t think there is a band that sound like them at the moment.

Bloody Knees – “Maybe It’s Easy”

This track from the Cambridge/London based four piece is taken from their debut EP “Maybe It’s Easy” released in October 2017. The band have had a tough start to 2018, with all their equipment being stolen from their van. Luckily, after a national gofundme campaign, they’re on their way to becoming the band to see this summer.

Lump – “Curse of the Contemporary”

Laura Marling is back with a collaboration with Mike Lindsay, member of Tunng and Throws. This collective is called Lump and is a great mixture of acoustic and atmospheric music. Their first single is called “Curse of the Contemporary” and I can’t wait for the full album which comes out in June.

Desertfest has always been a festival for all manner of reasons I have missed over the past 3 years, due to birthdays, weddings and all manner of silly things that get in the way of actually seeing shows. Which is a pretty important part of my job.

This year though, no one is stopping me from getting down to Camden to enjoy 3 days of psych, doom and stoner rock…I can’t wait. These are the bands i’m most looking forward to.

Lionize – Devonshire Arms – Friday 6.30

After seeing these guys at the Black Heart last year, I can’t wait to catch up with Nate and the guys at the Devonshire Arms on Friday. The band are back on UK shores again, one thing is certain it will be a fun show, Lionize always seem to bring the party, do not miss it!

Puppy – The Underworld – Saturday 2.25

I have seen this band so many times in the past 3 years and every time they are amazingly scuzzy and loud. Opening up the Underworld on Saturday Puppy are one of my favourite new bands, also bass player Mike has an Orange tattoo, which immediately makes him one of Orange’s favourite endorsees!

Graveyard – Koko – Friday 8.30

A couple years ago I missed the chance to see these guys play at Download Fest and have been trying to see them ever since. I can’t wait to see them at such a great venue as Koko, hopefully playing new songs from their upcoming album “Peace”.

High on Fire – The Electric Ballroom – Saturday 8.30

This is the big one, Matt Pike is coming back to Camden, to make our ears bleed!! Last time seeing Sleep playing the UK was an event, and this time will be no different. I can’t wait to get down to the Electric Ballroom to see High on Fire destroy Desertfest.

Monolord – The Roundhouse – Sunday 3.00

This will sound huge in the Roundhouse and will be the perfect way to kick the cobwebs out to prepare for the final day of the festival. Every time Monolord release a new piece of music it seems to sound bigger and better than the last one which seems impossible to me!

Elder – The Roundhouse – Sunday 4.30

This for me will be the perfect band to follow Monolord in the Roundhouse on Sunday, Elder always put on a great show and I’m sure this Desertfest will be no different!

If any of these recommendations get you excited for Desertfest and you don’t have tickets yet, then you need to sort yourself out and get down to one of the best festivals around.

http://www.desertfest.co.uk/tickets

USA

Welcome to Rockville

I’m actually driving the backline for Quicksand down to Jacksonville for this festival. That means I’m getting an artist pass. And that, my friends, means I’m just one step closer to my ultimate goal: side stage for Queens of the Stone Age. I’m also stoked for Red Fang and Clutch. And Foo Fighters, while not my cup of tea, is still one of the best live bands in the world.

By the way, the people-watching at Welcome to Rockville is unmatched. It would be really great if someone could send me the directions to the JNCO outlet store in Jacksonville that’s clearly still operational and possibly earning record profits.

Photo: http://www.jenkemmag.com

Warped Tour

I don’t feel like I personally belong at this festival anymore. I’ve sponsored it for the last decade so I go to the Atlanta date once a year (to check-in), but Warped Tour, in its final year, still doesn’t have enough throwback artists to entice me. That’s probably because the guarantees for bands on Warped are notoriously low. Naturally artists make up for it by selling incredible amounts of merch, but those low guarantees keep most of the big name artists from jumping on.

For nostalgic purposes mainly, I’ll probably have to go see Less Than Jake play Warped one last time.

Psycho Fest

Last year at Psycho Fest I got drunk by the pool with Mastodon. Then I got drunk by the bar with Sleep, Mastodon, and King Diamond. Then I got drunk at a restaurant with Mothership. All of this happened in a 5000 square foot radius. This festival rules (and has almost got their kinks worked out).
This year I’ll be broadcasting live from Psycho Fest with my good friend Rock N Roll Beer Guy. We have a lot of interviews lined up with some pretty big names. Let’s see if we can get them drunk.

Bonnaroo

This is my favorite festival to go to if I’m in the mood to be harassed by security even though I have an artist pass. Backstage at Bonnaroo is like the Indian caste system. Either you’re Bob Weir (representing the highest caste) or you’re not. If you’re not Bob Weir, then you’re untouchable and I hope you enjoy the off-site parking and carrots-only veggie tray.

On the other hand, Bonnaroo is quite possibly the most eclectic camping music festival in the USA. It’s possible to give some, or most, of the credit to Bonnaroo for starting the trend of large-format music festivals offering massively diverse line-ups.

Also, there’s way less of this dude at Bonnaroo than there is at Coachella (so that’s a bonus):


EUROPE 

Desertfest

Desertfest2018_DaysSplitPoster_Feb08f.jpg

Now in its 7th year, Desertfest just seems to get bigger and better every year. If you are looking for your fix of stoner rock, doom, psych and sludge; then look no further than the Camden based, multi venue extravaganza! This year the headliners are Monster Magnet, High on Fire and Graveyard; other notable highlights will be Puppy, Monolord and the mighty Napalm Death.

Secret Solstice 

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Why travel all the way to Iceland? Slayer and George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, that’s why! Secret Solstice has been a festival I have been trying to get to for so long, it always seems to get a really good mix of lots of different styles of music, in a great setting. This year is no different, Slayer are playing on their final shows and sets from Death from Above and Dream Wife should add to this being an amazing experience.

Outbreak Fest

2018 - 2

For 10 years Outbreak Festival has been playing host to some of the biggest and best names in Hardcore and this year is no different. Not only have they got headline sets from the mighty Code Orange and Turnstile but the support line-up of Cro-Mags, Broken Teeth, Higher Power and Angel Dust, to name a few just makes this one of the best hardcore lineups of the year.

Hellfest

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I mean look at that line up! Just look at it. Not only is the lineup one of the best but it’s usually amazing weather which never happens in the UK. The festival site is on the edge of Clisson, so you can get amazing french food when you are struggling with a hangover! Also the festival arena isn’t too big, so you have the best chance of catching your favorite bands. I seriously recommend checking this festival out!

I’ve been a bit late to the record game – pretty damn late to be honest, but there’s a reason behind it all. My dad was a massive record collector in the 70s, 80’s and early 90s, and had an impressive collection showcasing everything from Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Slade, KISS, Ramones, Uriah Heep and Aerosmith, to pretty much every other great guitar based band released during those decades. Some records he’d even get two copies off, one for listening, and one for safe keeping. He’d play them to my mum and make her guess which band it was, which has led to her having a somewhat knowledge about music, but also making statements like ‘It’s like Woodstock upstairs every time you’re back home!’ when I listen to Sex Pistols in my room, and describing Jimi Hendrix like ‘the guy with the big hair.’ Sure mum, the guy with the big, uhm, hair…

Then, the 90s happened and CDs emerged – vinyls were taking up a lot of space, and let’s be honest, made it a b*tch to move house, so my dad, as oh-so many others, gave away his record collection. Early versions and first editions of pretty much all the bands I’ve been obsessing over since forever – gone. This is obviously something that’s been on my mind for a long time, which led  to me refusing to buy records, for the sole reason that I knew it would drive me insane that pretty much every record I’d ever want from the 70s or 80s, my dad had, and gave to someone else but me. A few years back he dug out the ones that he’d managed to keep, and gave them to me – the most precious ones of them all, his entire Ramones collection, all early editions. At this point, I still didn’t have a record player so I brought them home and kept them as some sort of shrine for my dad’s youth and his musical influence on me, and a constant reminder about my childhood and growing up listening to them. Also a reminder that they could have been accompanied by about 1500 more records or so, GOD DAMN IT.

Anyway, I spent quite a while tossing and turning regarding the whole record player issue, and after acquiring a few more records here and there from friends and touring bands staying at mine, I decided it was time to bite the bullet and just god damn go get one. After doing so, I spent my first evening and pretty much all of that first night listening through the records I did have, alphabetising them repeatedly for my own satisfaction, signed up and got a Discogs account and adding a bunch to my ‘Want’ list, all while slowly coming to terms with the fact that I had 100% f*cked myself over financially and that I’d never have any money ever again, cause if there’s one thing I’ve always managed to justify spending money on it’s music and gigs, and if buying records to put in alphabetical order before listening to them ceremonially isn’t an investment in my own happiness, then I don’t know what is – the ritual of flipping the record and dropping the needle while gently caressing the sleeve…  Ah, oh my god. Is this how crack feels like? Anyway, i’m gonna stop this 700-or-so word intro and get to the point before this turn into some semi erotic article about my love for my vinyls; Since acquiring a record player five months or so ago I’ve added a fair amount of records to my ever so growing collection (with the latest one being Rainbow’s ‘Rising’ for only £3 yesterday at Reckless Records in Soho, London – how?!), and in honour or this year’s record store day, which is today, I decided pick my current, and I cant emphasise this enough, current top 10 vinyls in my collection – all in completely random order as god knows it’d kill me to have to pick a favourite. So, without further ado, my thoroughly thought through, non chronological current top 10 vinyls in my collection:

Hällas – Excerpts From a Future Past
Year: 2017
Acquired: Crypt of the Wizard

I first heard Hällas three years or so ago, but it wasn’t until last year I really gave them the time a day after randomly coming across an article about their newly released debut album ‘Excerpts From a Future Past’ – I checked out the album online, and I was sold – two seconds later I scroll through Instagram because I’m a slave to social media like most people in this sad society, and saw that heavy metal record store ‘Crypt of the Wizard’ had a few first pressings in stock – I rushed over, and managed to get my hands on a copy. This album, which I absolutely love, will take you on a cosmic journey through the middle ages, floating through time and space surrounded by Thin Lizzy guitar harmonies, Uriah Heep organ and sometimes even 80s synth. An absolute banger, and almost guaranteed that your dad will love it – mine did.

 

Motorpsycho – Behind the Sun
Year: 2014
Acquired: Amazon

Aah, sweet, sweet Motorpsycho, fellow Norwegian countrymen and connoisseurs of psychedelic jams so intense it nearly crosses the border between pain and pleasure. Despite Motorpsycho being around since before I was even born, it wasn’t until later in life I managed to wrap my head around this band, which I dare say is one of Norway’s finest exports alongside Kvelertak, Turbonegro, oil and Black Metal, and I wouldn’t have discovered them without Shaman Elephant guitarist Eirik, who couldn’t bare the thought of me living my life without the pleasure Motorpsycho provides, so thank you, Eirik. As soon as I heard this album, I knew I needed it, and I needed it straight away, so when my local record stores failed me I turned to Amazon and their next day delivery, sat camp by the door and waited impatiently. This record really sweeps you off your feet, starting out sweet before all of a sudden emerging mellowed out tunes with explosive psychedelic jams, so intense you forget to breathe – my personal favourite on the record being closing track ‘Hell, Part 7: Victim of Rock’, which is very much the latter; a song that keeps building until you can’t take it anymore, before it drops into the most beautiful and chaotic organised mess you can even think of, leaving you gasping cause you haven’t exhaled for six minutes.

 

Robin Trower – Twice Removed from Yesterday
Released: 1973
Acquired: Sister Ray Records

‘We all thought this guy would be the next big thing after Hendrix died.’ My dad told me when he first played me Robin Trower, who after the 60’s Procol Harum heydays formed a three piece and started releasing and performing music under his own name, ‘Twice Removed from Yesterday’ being the debut. After buying the album and listening through it, it didn’t take long to get the Hendrix comparison, as the similarity in their sound and way of playing is uncanny. This album starts out slow but beautiful, with three incredibly strong ballads showcasing Trower’s phenomenal guitar playing, before it kicks off and gets funky in ‘Man of the world’, later followed by the sleaziest version of ‘Rock me baby’ I have ever heard – this record is timeless. I had the pleasure and privilege of seeing Robin Trower a few months ago and it was astonishing, being able to watch one of the greatest guitarists from a time when giants walked the earth, someone along the lines of Hendrix himself, Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton.

 

GNOB – Electric Dream Demon
Year: 2018
Acquired: Gifted by the band

Since first coming across GNOB at The Bird’s Nest in South London two years ago they have swiftly risen to become one of my favourite bands in the underground music scene in London, as well as all very good friends of mine. Their eastern inspired psychedelia is a breath of fresh air on the scene, which for a long time was fronted predominately by heavier stoner bands. This album ‘Electric Dream Demon’ is their debut and an absolute gem of an album – the perfect mix of heavy and melodic, all while at the same time incredibly mellow and trippy, with beautiful, eerie and fuzzy vocals as well as a bunch of instrumental jams, which I’m a sucker for.

 

Motörhead – Overkill
Released: 1979

Acquired: Gifted

1979, Lemmy had been kicked out of Hawkwind and his trippy space days were over – he had at this point successfully formed the loudest band in the world and managed to follow up their 1977 self titled debut album with what might just be the greatest Motörhead record to be ever made; Overkill. I wish I was there in 1979 when it was released, to be able to put it on my turntable not knowing what to expect, to then be hit with the most explosive opening track in the history of time. Rock ’n’ roll had come a long way from Elvis was for sure, and there you’ve got ‘Overkill’ coming at you at 150 miles per hour, fuelled by Jack Daniels and speed. In my eyes, this album is one hit after another, showcasing the very best of Motörhead. Picking a favourite track of the album ain’t easy, but let’s face it, ‘Stay Clean’ is pretty damn sweet, not often Lemmy would solo but when he did he did it spectacularly. An incredible album from beginning to end, play it loud as hell surrounded by friends and cheers to three of the finest hell raisers and rock ’n’ rollers the world ever saw – Lemmy, Fast Eddie Clarke and Phil ‘Philty Animal’ Taylor.


Deep Purple – Machine Head
Released: 1972
Acquired: Christmas present from my dad

I’ve been a fan of Deep Purple for as long as I can remember, and I dare say the Ritchie Blackmore, Jon Lord, Ian Gillan, Ian Paice and Roger Glover era was nothing but sensational – I mean have you heard their Made in Japan album from 1972?! It’s simply astonishing, both political, funky and sleazy. They were kings of their time, there’s no doubt about it. One of my personal favourites from that lineup is 1972’s Machine Head, another album that’s just filled with one banger after another – ‘Pictures of Home’ one of my personal favourites offers all the solos your heart may desire; bass, guitar and even keys. Ah, don’t even get me started on the keys on this album, Jon Lord’s got ya covered from A-Z. The key intro to ‘Lazy’? Holy shit, epic. Thank you Jon Lord for that sweet Hammond beat.

 

Earthless – Black Heaven
Released: 2018
Acquired: Gig in Islington Assembly Hall, London

Oh Earthless, where do I begin? Despite having created a whole wave of a new generation psych bands emerging from San Diego, there really is no other bands like Earthless. Musically they’re on a different level from any band I’ve ever seen, and they cease to amaze me with everything they do, whether it’s 20 minute long instrumental psych jams, or as on ‘Black Heaven’, structured songs with incredible vocals, where none of them crosses the nine minute mark. This album, despite being very different to former Earthless releases, is still very much an Earthless album, showcasing the skills of some of the best musicians of our generation. As far as seeing Earthless live goes, these guys are probably the closes you’ll ever get to see something along the lines of The Jimi Hendrix Experience.

 

Neil Merryweaher – Space Rangers
Released: 1974
Acquired: Discogs

Canadian bassist Neil Merryweather’s been around for decades playing with artists such as Steve Miller, Rick James and Wilson Pickett, but it’s his 1974 solo album ‘Space Rangers’ that stole my heart. My first encounter with Merryweather was through other people’s songs, covering The Byrds’ 1966 single ‘Eight Miles High’, and might I add, doing so spectacularly, and Donovan’s ‘Sunshine Superman’, also originally released in 1966, where he brings the funk like few Canadians dudes have done before him. With Merryweather being a bassist by heart, there is big focus on the bass for melody and not just rhythm, almost taking the place as a second guitar branching out onto solo-like territory. ‘Space Rangers’ touches base within a few different genres, with opening track ‘Hollywood Blvd’ bordering to a pop song, before venturing onto space rock, funk and psychedelia, and it has swiftly become a favourite in my record collection ever since I got my hands on it.

 

Truth & Janey – Topeka Jam
Released: 2018, recorded 1974
Acquired: Rockadrome


This explosive three piece took their name from Jeff Beck’s ‘Truth’ album and guitarist Billy Lee Janey, and they might just be one of 70’s Iowa’s best hidden treasures. Inspired by the great blues guitarists of the 60s, they were heavy like Pentagram, had the funk of Grand Funk, and the rawness of the stooges. Topeka Jam consists of a bunch of previously unreleased songs recorded over several nights in Topeka, Kansas in 1974, and sees the band venture on into endless fuzzy harmonies and jams, with the opening track (and might I add, only track on side one) ‘Midnight Horsemen’ (originally released as a 3 minute long single in 1972) being jammed out into the abyss for a whole psyched out 22 minutes. It’s a bold choice for an opening track indeed, but sets the bar high for the rest of the record, which only gets better and better.

 

Ramones – Ramones
Released: 1976
Acquired: From my dad’s old record collection

When my dad gave away most of his record collection, he did keep a few for himself, his most precious possessions that he kept safe until passing them onto me a few years ago; His Ramones records. I grew up listening to the Ramones religiously, loving the simplicity, energy, but also vulnerability. I loved Joey the most, he was the tall space case and I liked to think I could relate to that. Ramones broke so much ground with what they did, despite how ‘simple’ it was compared to a lot of the other bands of the time – they invented punk and created the whole CBGBs scene, and toured and gigged relentlessly until the very end. Their self titled debut is a perfect example of what the Ramones were about, fast, catchy and short songs, some about what they wanna do, some about what they don’t wanna do, and some, quite a few actually, about love.

Alex Auxier – International Artist Relations Manager

Motorpsycho

I’m not going to do 3 bands this month. I only care about one band this month. That band is from Norway and they’re called Motorpyscho.

How the hell have I not heard of this band until now? They are one of the most versatile and unique bands I’ve ever listened to. Motorpsycho’s career spans more than 3 decades. They have25 albums and they are set to release another one this year. Every album they release is ahead of its time. Again, how did I not know about them?

In the early 90’s Motorpsycho’s sound was almost hardcore. Their 1993 album Demon Box could be mistaken for something released by Quicksand (the best example being the track “Nothing To Say”).

But when 1996 rolled around they released Blissard and that’s really where they take off for me. Blissard is 90’s rock at its finest. It sounds like it could have been put out by North Carolina’s esteemed Merge Records. I’ve played it at least 10 times this month alone and it has quickly skyrocketed into my Top 20 albums of all time. While I love the preceding album Timothy’s Monster – after all it does a great job of transitioning the band from hardcore into what could be considered indie rock – it isn’t as solid a work in my opinion.

Something interesting happens as Motorpsycho nears the late 90’s: they become more hard rock, psych-rock, and even metal in some cases. Then there’s Roadwork Vol 2: The MotorSource Massacre. At this point they start to get experimental, bringing in elements from jazz and world music.

But what I love about Motorpsycho the most is that they never seemed resolve to a single genre. In 2000 they released Let Them Eat Cake. After several albums that made it seem like they were going to “start getting weird,” they put out this album and just completely reset our assumptions. Let Them Eat Cake has elements of The Beatles, Beulah, early Brit rock, and about 10 other hands that won’t even come out for another decade.

From 2000s Let Them Eat Cake until 2002’s It’s A Love Cult they release 4 albums. These albums, while not entirely similar, do share a lot of the same ideas. The band almost seems grounded during this period. But all of that changes when Motorpsycho puts of The Tussler in 2003, which is a freaking 21 song country record. Also it’s freaking awesome. How the hell a rock band from Norway put out a Nashville-worthy country album is beyond my understanding, but they did it and they did it the right way.

I’ve listened to a couple albums past The Tussler and the band seems to vear back towards indie-rock for a second, and then suddenly makes a big jump into straight-up psych-rock/desert-rock. 2010’s Heavy Metal Fruit is the start of that transition. I’ll be listening to more of their stuff from the last decade in the coming weeks. All I can say is, I’m looking forward to it with extreme excitement. Motorpsycho is one of the best bands I’d never heard of until a month ago. I hope you will take the time to explore this genre-bending band that has no plans of quitting anytime soon!


Dan Darby – European Artist Relations

Superorganism – Something For Your M.I.N.D

Superorganism are an eight member indie pop band, their debut album came out last month and they can be best described as a mixture between The Flaming Lips and MGMT. “Something for your M.I.N.D.” is the band’s first single and perfectly sums up the band’s dreamy, synth pop music.

The Shacks – Follow Me

The Shacks are from New York and are signed to Big Crown Records, their debut album dropped this month and is full of dreamy, chilled out psychedelic music. “Follow Me” is the band at their best, with a wall of sound production and beautifully simplistic vocals.

Haggard Cat – Bone Shaker

Haggard Cat is the new band from Matt and Tom of HECK fame, they have returned with this ace song “Bone Shacker”. Also the video is amazing, you have to watch it, it looks like it was a lot of fun to create! Back to the music, this single has scuzzy guitars and cowbell, like what else do you need!

In a day and age where most things are becoming digitalised, it is pure joy and excitement we feel about the growing return of the vinyl after it’s downfall in the early 90s when CDs emerged. Record stores are booming, and it’s actually financially viable to open a record store, and survive! What a time to be alive, hey?

While in London recently, we met up with three quarters of last year’s Firestone Battle of the Bands winners, Welsh band Fire Fences, in Soho’s Berwick Street, where you find Reckless Records and Sister Ray records only seconds apart. Why? To find out more about their appreciation of music, and their love for vinyl. As we let the guys loose in the shops, they are overwhelmed with options.

«We don’t have places like this in Bridgend! There’s an HMV, but nothing with the amount of options like Sister Ray, or high quality second hand vinyls at bargain prices like Reckless Records!”

We ask them to roam around, and pick out a few albums that have shaped their taste in music, and maybe inspired them as musicians.

James:

Miles Davis ‘Kind of Blue’ – Released: 1959
There was no one in my family that showed me jazz which was quite nice, that I was able to venture on my own journey and explore jazz for myself without my opinions being tainted by anyone else’s. Miles Davis for me was the gateway into a whole new world of music, so unbelievably expressive, without saying any words. That for me, that someone can express themselves so well simply by just playing their instrument, that said a lot. This album, ‘Kind of Blue’ which has also got John Coltrane on it, is incredible. I can put it on anytime, sit back, relax and just enjoy it for exactly what it is.


Freewhelin’ Bob Dylan – Released: 1963
Growing up my dad would play guitar, and he’d always play music such as Stones and Dylan around the house and the one that stood out to me was this record, ‘The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan’. It’s an absolutely amazing record and totally reflective of the time when it was released. Dylan himself is just magical, I always liked him as a kid but I appreciate him a lot more now I’m older. This record also has this nostalgic feeling of growing up and my dad playing it. I think this is the record Dylan really made a mark for himself with, and made people understand what he was about. Personally, I think this is by far his best record and a good representation of the culture at the time. Take ‘Masters of War’, it’s so angry but at the same time just absolutely amazing songwriting, just another level.

Aaron:
The Strokes ‘Is This It’ – Released: 2001
The Strokes didn’t reinvent the wheel when they released this album, but they just did it really well; the album’s got incredible songs, and carries itself really well. Especially for a first album ‘Is This It’ really is quite something – all the singles on there are huge, hit after hit. Their songs are easy listening but at the same time incredibly well constructed. I just love the fact that despite not doing anything new, it was groundbreaking because they did it so well. The album could have been released yesterday and it would still have been as big as it was.

U2 ‘The Joshua Tree’ – Released: 1987
I went to see these guys last year in their hometown for their ‘Joshua Tree Tour’, and it was absolutely mental. I think this album was just ahead of its time, using guitar effects that hadn’t really been used much before. My least favourite track on here is ‘With or Without you’, which tends to often be the only song anyone knows, but then the rest of the songs on there are just amazing. Another timeless album, as these songs are all pretty relevant today.

Will:
Mac DeMarco ‘Another One’ – Released: 2015
I feel like a lot of music today is very over produced, and often a product of people wanting to get stuff out there as quick as they can without taking too much consideration into the end result. Then there’s records like this, where you can tell so much time’s gone into it, especially with the songwriting behind it, which you don’t really find that much today in newly released music. To find that sort of deep meaning in music you often have to go back all the way to the 70s. My favourite track on there is ‘Without me’, a song that just really chills you out after a long and busy day.

Black Sabbath ‘Masters of Reality’ – Released: 1971
This record seems pretty obvious, because it’s Black Sabbath. I was torn between Vol. 4 and ‘Masters of Reality’ but ended up going with ‘Masters of Reality’ due to the variation in the songs – you start out slow but heavy with Sweet Leaf, and then just a few songs later you’ve somehow got ‘Children of the Grave’ which is just mental and completely takes off. I actually ended up buying this record as well as it was lacking in my Sabbath collection; between my brother and myself we’ve got them all now except for Vol. 4, I guess that’s next on the list.

I did actually buy another record today as well, an EP from Inspiral Carpets, a band Noel Gallagher used to roadie for. Noel Gallagher and Oasis have always been a big influence for myself and my music, so it’s interesting to get some more background there and hear some of the stuff Noel Gallagher was around and listening to before his Oasis days.


“Digital music just doesn’t feel the same, or as real, as a vinyl does. There’s something about putting a record on your turntable and carefully dropping the needle and waiting for it to play, holding the artwork in your hands, and admiring all the time, work and love that’s gone into it.”
– James Lee, Fire Fences drummer