In July 2017, Los Angeles retro rock duo KOLARS visited Ramsgate Music Hall for the second time. Expected to be a good night, the sweaty and intimate atmosphere resulted in a night that the audience would never forget. The night was made even better by the presence of Smoke Season in support.
Although Smoke Season don’t have much in common with KOLARS, their brand of electronic pop proved particularly enthralling. Backed with the kind of sophisticated pop made by Alice & The Glass Lake with flourishes of electronica and dream pop, Gabby Bianco showed real star quality and – much like the KOLARS set, it was hard to imagine such a performance translating quite as well in a bigger venue.
In January 2018, it was announced that Led Zeppelin’s posthumous live release ‘How The West Was Won’ was to be given a reissue to coincide with the band’s 50th anniversary. Recorded at two US shows in 1972 and then spliced together to give the feeling of experiencing a complete show, it has rarely been cited as a fan favourite. Nevertheless, that’s not stopped it being re-issued on CD and also given a blu-ray and (prohibitively expensive) vinyl release for the first time.
Irish sludge metal merchants Zhora have recently posted a live video from this year’s Bloodstock Festival, which you can watch in full below. In the words of vocalist Colin Bolger, “Turmoil does exactly what it says on the tin. It takes you and your precious feelings and drags them through the mud and blood until you can’t take no more.”
From the beginning of his career in the late 70s through to his peak in popularity at the turn of the 90s, Chris Rea was a very prolific artist. In a thirteen year stretch, he released eleven albums. In the twenty first century, the very idea that a band or artist could average almost one album per year for so long is almost an alien concept.
Given Chris’s popularity – especially in Germany – it’s strange how these albums have been overlooked with regards to expanded reissue. However, each one – barring 1978’s ‘Whatever Happened To Benny Santini?’, which spent years in an out of print limbo – is still only available in the same CD pressing made in the late 80s.
The Britpop years between 1993-97 brought wave after wave of great music. From the well documented – Oasis, Blur, Suede and Pulp – to those lesser talked about years later – Gene, Marion, Menswear – each act brought their own slant to classic retro styles, often centering around guitar driven pop-rock.
Among the big players were Sleeper. Sleeper were special. With a musical grounding that mixed the pop hooks of Blondie and the proto punk-pop of The Undertones with lyrical narratives that were often interesting, their first two albums (‘Smart’, 1995 and ‘The It Girl’, 1996) have really stood the test of time.