Love it or hate it, Record Store Day has become an important fixture on the music-related calendar. From humble beginnings with a few bits and bobs to entice people into independent record shops, it’s now become a huge business tool, giving major labels an excuse to reissue all kinds of stuff. While it now seems more about a money making venture than to highlight small business, there’s still some cool stuff to be found. Never more so than for the 2020 event, where there are a truckload of artificially created rarities that look like lovely items for the keener fan.
Covers albums can be a lazy stop gap, a contractual obligation filler or – worst of all – a pointless exercise in rehashing tunes with no imagination. When done well, they can be fantastic and make you hear things in a way you never imagined. In the hands of Los Angeles noise rock/shoegaze band Medicine – famous to UK audiences for their contribution to the soundtrack for ‘The Crow’ – 2019’s ‘Scarred For Life’ provides an opportunity to dive into the past and re-imagine various cult tracks, bringing a few of their choices to a whole new audience. Although you might expect a band like Medicine to take the easier route and fuzz up a few old gothic favourites, on this eleven track release, they give their fans lots of surprises. Taking various songs from the 60s and 70s (in addition to a couple of other detours) this is a record that, in their own words, “relieves the glory of the K-Tel architechts”. That doesn’t mean the band are about to cover the likes of ‘Yellow River’, ‘Jeans On’ and a well known Suzi Quatro hit, though. This is Medicine, after all…and their voyage through decades past often favours deeper cuts.
There’s some very special news for Frank Zappa fans. The Zappa family will release ‘The Hot Rats Sessions’ on December 20th.
The lavish 6CD set is said to contain every note recorded during the sessions of the classic 1969 LP and will contain an abundance of rare material.
A firm favourite with most Zappa fans, 1978’s double live LP ‘Zappa In New York’ will be released as a lavish and hugely expanded 5CD set for its 40th anniversary in March 2019.
Frank Zappa once supposedly claimed that writing about music was “like dancing about architecture”. For many, though, writing about music has become an important part of pop culture. From the listening notes on the backs of old jazz albums from the 1950s and the great Rolling Stone essays during rock’s 70s boom, to the punk fanzines and the many essays filling the twenty-first century’s super deluxe box sets, writing about music has taken many forms, which sometimes can enrich a listening experience. A good music review can inspire a new purchase or even make a listener seek out forgotten treasures. Maybe Frank didn’t understand. Maybe Frank didn’t want to understand (and depending on whom you believe, he borrowed the phrase from any one of about five people, including actor Martin Mull). Whatever, the importance of music scribes hasn’t escaped music fan Fraser Marshall.
In an age where we now have access to more music than ever and the rise of the internet has meant there are now more budding scribes out there, Fraser hit upon a plan… A plan not only to highlight some of the best independent music websites, but to also sit down with prolific reviewers and find out what makes them tick.
Not all good ideas come to full fruition, as Fraser explains below. For the first time, you can now read the full interview Lee Realgone gave Fraser back in June ’16. Our many thanks to Fraser for not only being interested in what we had to say, but also for allowing us to publish the interview at Real Gone.
Maybe one day Reviewing the Reviewer will become a reality but, in the meantime, it’s over to Fraser…