As November breathes its last, the changing weather has been a keen reminder that we’re moving from autumn into winter. Parts of Britain are being battered by strong winds; other parts are experiencing snow. Luckily, the Kent coast seems to have escaped the white stuff – for now – but it’s cold. Very cold. Outside the Music Hall in Ramsgate, it feels like the arctic, and those venturing out could feel like Captain Oates. To be fair, everyone has been – and will be – subjected to far colder, but a year’s worth of not going out much due to the global pandemic has made it seem particularly harsh. It’s worth braving the cold tonight, though, as Detroit’s Electric Six are in town as part of a last minute addition to their UK tour.
Sell Yourself Short first formed as Best Regards in 2016. Various line-up changes and one rebranding later, the New Jersey punks re-emerged bigger and better in 2020 under their new band name. Their debut EP, ‘The Lowest Standard’ features three tracks that bounce between genres but, from a musical standpoint, bring the best out of the trio at almost every turn.
It’s Black Friday and, as usual, beyond a couple of good deals in Germany, Amazon have been rather disappointing. It’s likely you’ve also scoured a couple of other places in the hope of a good bargain and come up short. Let Real Gone come to the rescue!
Beginning with their massive box set celebrating ‘Human’s Lib’ issued in November 2019, Cherry Red Records have really gone the extra mile with their Howard Jones reissues. Each release has been afforded a wealth of extras, including bonus DVDs featuring archive live footage and TV appearances where available, and the addition of demos and alternate takes accompanying the main albums has been a fan’s dream. It was especially pleasing to see some love for Howard’s 1992 release ‘In The Running’, an album which saw him transition from 80s synth pop hero to a slicker, older singer-songwriter. Although overlooked by many at the time, it now stands proudly as one of the most enduring albums in the artist’s catalogue.
Complimenting the vastly expanded studio albums, this five disc box set of live materials allows for a different kind of exploration of HoJo’s past, but in hearing performances recorded between 1983-87 it really brings home the fact that he was, arguably, the greatest synth pop performer of the era.
During the first half of their career, Corrosion of Conformity went through a lot of changes to find their sound. Their early thrash metal releases create a confident noise, but didn’t always utilise the best of COC’s combined talents. 1991’s ‘Blind’ blended thrash with a more melodic stoner feel and brought them to a wider audience due to some great reviews, but was still a hit and miss slab of metal. It wasn’t until the release of 1994’s ‘Deliverance’ that the band unleashed something genuinely classic. Part of the greatness came from a shift into even more melodic territory – the COC sound was now dominated by huge stoner vibes and a very retro groove – but just as important was guitarist Pepper Keenan’s decision to take on the lead vocalist’s role. The fourth person to step behind the COC mic, Keenan’s melodic drawl was perfect for the new sound and on tracks like ‘Clean My Wounds’, when dropping Thin Lizzy-esque riffs into a very desert rock scenario, they finally sounded natural in a way they never had before. The follow up album, 1996’s ‘Wiseblood’, gained even more commercial attention due to an appearance of James Hetfield, but 2000’s ‘America’s Volume Dealer’ absolutely knocked that out of the park performance-wise, even if sales were not quite as impressive. With the new millennium, COC finally gave into their natural instincts and became one of the greatest stoner metal bands on the face of the planet.