JOAN OSBORNE – Trouble And Strife

For almost everyone, Joan Osborne will be best remembered for her mid nineties hit ‘One of Us’, but her long career has thrown up so many other gems along the way. Even that mega-hit’s parent album, 1995’s ‘Relish’ featured far superior tracks: with ‘Spider Web’, she introduced the world to her sassy blend of blues and soul via an insatiable groove and sultry vocal and her cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘Man In The Long Black Coat’, slowed down to a spooky crawl, ran rings around Zimmerman’s rather jerky original recording. Across several other far more neglected albums, Joan’s vocal talents continued to shine. ‘Dead Roses’, a particular highlight from her 2006 release ‘Pretty Little Stranger’, suggested she could rival Bonnie Raitt in the bluesy stakes; various cuts from 2012’s ‘Bring It On Home’ demonstrated her husky take on various R&B standards to great effect and 2017’s ‘Songs of Bob Dylan’ had plenty to offer anyone with a keen interest in different takes on a familiar back-catalogue. Wherever you choose to dip into Joan’s work, there’s something to enjoy…and always a nagging feeling that she should have been bigger. Perhaps her over reliance on other people’s material has hindered her being a star on a global scale, but there’s no questioning her vocal talent. However, none of her previous highlights are a match for her 2020 release ‘Trouble and Strife’.

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GET THE FUCK OUTTA DODGE – We Make The Future Here EP

Sheffield duo Get The Fuck Outta Dodge are one of the best two piece garage punk outfits ever. Their fuzz heavy debut LP ‘Climbin’ Higher Than King Kong’ valued heavy fuzz over almost everything and by combining intensive riffs with a dual vocal attack, their barrage of crashy noises and shouting made an instant impression. It wasn’t especially original, but between some massively sweary hooks and lo-fi sounds it managed to be the best hardcore influenced noise since Mongol Horde unleashed their debut LP in 2014.

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ANGELIC DESOLATION – Quorum Of Unspeakable Curses EP

By fusing a truckload of old-school death metal riffs, a pinch of black metal vocal and the relentlessness of grindcore, US extreme metallers Angelic Desolation create a sound they’ve dubbed “American Razorgrind”.  Their third release, the catchily titled ‘Quorum of Unspeakable Curses’ delivers three more relentless slabs of riffery, coupled with the kind of vocal that could clear a room of any listeners not so keen on demonic growls. It doesn’t do much that genre fans won’t have heard before, but between some amazing technical abilities and a lot of force, Angelic Desolation still have plenty to offer the world of extreme metal.

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MARILLION – Live @ Roskilde Festival 1983

For many years, Marillion fans had to make do with the ‘Recital of The Script’ and ‘Grendel/Web’ VHS tapes for their fix of early Marillion live footage.  Thanks to the internet, further footage promoting ‘Script For A Jester’s Tear’ later surfaced, including a brief clip from The Marquee, but this footage from the Danish Roskilde Festival might just be the most exciting yet.

It captures Camel drummer Andy Ward’s brief time occupying the drum stool, making this a vital historical document.  Ward automatically gives the performance(s) a little more energy than Mick Pointer was able (though still not quite enough if Steve Rothery’s expressions are anything to go by on occasion), but anything lacking musically is more than made up for by a ridiculously boisterous audience being tackled by Fish in a fearless mood.

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KEVIN ROWLAND – My Beauty

Picture the scene: the twentieth century is in its death throes. Britpop is over. Most of the Seattle bands have stopped being headline news. Nu-metal is a thing. Eminem has proven that Beastie Boys don’t have the monopoly on saleable white rap. The Red Hot Chili Peppers have parted company with Dave Navarro, welcomed back John Frusciante and begun a slow journey into mediocrity. For the first time in a few years, the musical landscape doesn’t seem to have a dominant force.

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