2019 was a big year for UK blues rock band Big River. After a few years of tireless gigging, they’d started to make higher profile appearances. Perhaps more importantly, they finally released their debut album ‘Redemption’, a long time in the planning. We last spoke to founding guitarist Damo Fawsett four years ago, so he was keen to come back to Real Gone and fill us in on the band’s activities. This time, we got the full picture as we also got to spend time with Ant Wellman (bass), Adam Bartholomew (vocals) and Joe Martin (drums). Obviously, they’re all thrilled to bits with the response the album has gained…
When the Led Zeppelin anthology was released in 2004, fans were given lots of reasons to get excited. Not only was the black and white footage from Denmark ’69 available for the first time, but the double disc set also included a full set from London that same year, alongside highlights of Knebworth 1979 (full show here) and Earls Court 1975. As has been discussed many times, fans would like to see the latter pair of shows released uncut…but it’s never going to happen.
In terms of pop, 1982 was a strong year: Madness took a further step towards songwriting sophistication with their album ‘The Rise & Fall’, Prince made a huge breakthrough with his ‘1999’ double platter of much filthiness and Phil Collins showed us that the previous year’s ‘Face Value’ wasn’t just a one-off solo success when his “tricky second album” spawned a #1 hit single and a few of his best solo tunes.
From an historical perspective, Judie Tzuke’s ‘Road Noise: The Official Bootleg’ is an interesting proposition. At the time of its original release in 1982, the double live album format had been dominated by rock bands – it was rare that a contemporary pop artist or singer songwriter would bother with such a release. Also, its extended format had almost become yesterdays news. In a musical landscape populated by synth pop bands and the birth of the New Romantics, the 7” single had once again become king, much as it had been in the early to mid sixties. The decision for Tzuke to release a double platter of live material in the Autumn of ’82 certainly went against the grain.
With five tracks of riff-heavy and fairly trashy hard rock, The Hÿss sound particularly assured on their 2020 release ‘Extraterrestrial’. Although claiming stoner rock roots, this recording shows off much less of the genre’s typically fuzzy sound, preferring instead to latch onto several crushing, concrete infused riffs. Any stoner intents are more likely to come from the disc’s lyrical content; one that drops the listener straight into a self-made world of spaceships, alien creatures and disco monsters. Although not necessarily coming from the same musical roots, in terms of concept, this is an EP that would make the Misfits and The Groovie Ghoulies proud.