Friday, 26 May 2017

LITTLE STEVEN - "SOULFIRE", Released 19 May 2017 via Wicked Cool Records/UMG - ALBUM REVIEW



I know Little Steven by reputation obviously but I don't know the artist per se. This is actually the first album I have listened to from him. I know, I know, shame on me and all that!!!

The least I can say is that it starts really well with Soulfire, the first title. It's a great track, horns, backing vocals, nice rhythm guitar. The song makes me think about a soft version of Joe Cocker in a more subtle and less shouty kind of way. :-)

I Am Coming Back sounds like Bruce obviously, Blues Is My Business would sit well on a Robert Cray album. Out of the 12 tracks I quite like I am Standing In A Line of Fire and the vibrant Down & Out Of New York City, a faux jazzy theme landing on more rocky chorus. A cool tune that could easily pass for a missing soundtrack from Shaft.

The rest of the album is pleasant. It sounds very E Street and the Bruce fans will probably applause with their three hands. Well produced and nicely written. You cannot help but thinking that the album is a bit stuck in a time warp.

With the calibre of Little Steven one could have expected a little bit more in terms of innovation or introspection. It seems to me that risk taking has been parked. Now this is not about saying that the legendary guitarist and actor has delivered a collection of B-Sides on his latest album because Ride the Away or I saw The Light are very solid tracks. But still you miss a certain rock'n'roll urgency.

Overall I like the album and you may too - albeit you won't be surprised, especially if you like Bruce.

Overall: Cool but predictable.
If I was To Pick 3 only: Ride the Away, Soulfire, Down & Out Of New York City
Live test: Now you are talking :-)

Reviewed by Pascal Derrien

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Michael Monroe - 'The Best'



In the leather-bound history of heartfelt rock ‘n’ roll, not only will Michael Monroe have at least one chapter all to himself, but his name will be colourfully threaded throughout, such has been his impact, his appeal and his ongoing never-surrender story; a powerful, inspirational tale told in detail on ‘The Best’ – the first official collection of his (ongoing) solo musical exploits, featuring prime tracks from 1987 right up to 2017…

“This album is a great representation of my 30-year solo career, including four songs from the Little Steven-produced ‘Demolition 23’ album, which has been unavailable for over 20 years, plus some special rarities and previously unreleased bonus tracks."

Icon, song-writer, multi-instrumentalist, media personality, flamboyant force of nature and one of rock’s most celebrated and uber-kinetic front-men, Michael has been a name and a (much-photographed) face on the scene since 1979 when he played a central role in the formation of Hanoi Rocks – legendary Finnish glam-punk heroes who came within a rolling paper’s width of taking the world by glitter-storm.

Were it not for cruel and fickle fate, Hanoi – who disbanded for the first time in 1985, then finally in 2009 – might have ended up as an arena act; but whatever obstacles were thrust in their path, they were never less than the real deal, and major names like Guns N’ Roses were ready to acknowledge their influence and their worth (G N’ R would go on to issue the European Hanoi catalogue in the US via their Uzi Suicide imprint).

Over his three-decades-plus in the spotlight, Michael has befriended and performed with a whole host of artists and acts, including Guns N’ Roses and Slash; Lemmy, Alice Cooper, Aerosmith, Little Steven, Ian Hunter, the front-man has shared stages and studios with them all, but since that first break-up of Hanoi in the mid-’80s, he’s essentially been pursuing his own path, and it’s this solo activity that forms the basis of ‘The Best’ – almost two hours’ worth of career-spanning music, re-mastered by Svante Forsback and sequenced by the great man himself.

As well as key, high-profile numbers such as ‘Dead, Jail Or Rock ‘N’ Roll’ (from second solo album, 1989’s ‘Not Fakin’ It’, the promo clip for which features an onstage cameo from Axl Rose) and ‘’78’ (from 2011’s ‘Sensory Overdrive’, voted Album Of The Year by Classic Rock magazine), this two-CD set also showcases some ‘from the vaults’ moments for collectors and completists, with bonus tracks and previously unreleased songs strategically placed to make the journey both scenic and surprising.

“There’s a couple of extra special tracks like ‘It’s A Lie’, sung as a duet with Stiv Bators (Dead Boys, Lords Of The New Church) back in 1985, and a never-before-released 2nd version of the Steppenwolf cover 'Magic Carpet Ride’ featuring Slash, left over from the ‘Coneheads’ soundtrack project that Slash did with me in 1993. And since Slash has the biggest heart of gold in Rock‘n’Roll, he was kind enough to allow me to use it on this album. God bless him!”

Two other previously unreleased songs are ‘Fist Fulla Dynamite’ and ‘Simpletown’, outakkes from the ‘Blackout Stakes’ album (2015), plus there’s the new single ‘One Foot Outta The Grave’ – an anthem of pure defiance – to bring things nicely up to date, showing Michael’s continued commitment to a genre (we’re talkin’ rock ‘n’ roll here, straight from the source!) he has both celebrated and driven forward with unbridled passion, energy and emotion, not to mention a natural front-cover flair.

So... 29 great and glorious tracks. A heady life in music. Simply, ‘The Best’.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

CAVALERA CONSPIRACY RELEASE STUDIO DIARIES FOR BRAND NEW ALBUM



The Cavalera brothers are back! Max and Iggor Cavalera, who created some of the most influential metal records in music history with SEPULTURA and inspiring the heavy and extreme music scene over decades, are currently hard at work in the studio in Phoenix, Arizona, to record the fourth album of CAVALERA CONSPIRACY!

Set to be released in the Fall of 2017 on Napalm Records, Max and Iggor have now left a message to their fans and the worldwide metal community with a first teaser and greetings from the studio. Check it out right here:


Produced by longtime friend Arthur Rizk, the recordings of CAVALERA CONSPIRACY's upcoming album will be documented by Horns Up Rocks, titled 'The Conspiracy Diaries'. These exciting studio episodes will be released over the next months and will share an in-depth view behind the scene's of CAVALERA CONSPIRACY's work in the studio.

The brothers Max and Iggor Cavalera formed the legendarily trailblazing heavy metal band SEPULTURA as teenagers together in 1984. Across six studio albums the Brazilian punishers perfected the art of darkness and extreme music with thrash classics such as Beneath the Remains, Arise and Chaos AD, while exploring the underbelly of third world political issues and broadening the genre's horizons with an exploration of indigenous culture, culminating with the landmark Roots album in 1996. A decade after Max left SEPULTURA and meanwhile released seven successfull records with SOULFLY, the two brothers got back together in 2006 to form CAVALERA CONSPIRACY: A bold testament to the talent and power these two possess together. An invigorating mixture of speed and aggression, finest thrash power and the fiercest riffage.

Get ready for one of the most heaviest and hotly anticipated metal records of 2017, as the CAVALERA CONSPIRACY will strike back this Fall!

CAVALERA CONSPIRACY are: Max Cavalera – Vocals, Guitar Iggor Cavalera – Drums, Percussion Marc Rizzo – Lead Guitar Johny Chow – Bass

ELECTRIC SIX Releases "I'll Be In Touch" (inspired by Billy Joel video)



Detroit-based dance rockers ELECTRIC SIX have made its first official music video in five years! Behold, the video for "I'll Be In Touch" off their latest release Fresh Blood For Tired Vampyres, which was released last October via Metropolis Records.

Directed by Los Angeles director Dillon Vaughn, "I'll Be In Touch" is a shot-for-shot (mostly) remake of the video for "Sometimes A Fantasy" by Billy Joel which was released in 1980. "Twenty-seven years later, the story remains the same," explains vocalist Dick Valentine. "Men are insecure, they have shitloads of problems, and even women who don't really exist have no time for their bullshit."

Known for their timeless videos for "Danger! High Voltage!" and "Gay Bar" from 2003, Electric Six has eased up the throttle on music videos in recent years...but this concept was too good to pass up.

Consistently releasing a mind-bending album every year since 2005, they’ve spiced things up with a heavier dose of atmosphere and textures on Fresh Blood For Tired Vampyres, their twelfth studio album, which All Music Guide heralds, "Electric Six can still make albums that show they have life left in them, and as someone once said, partying well is the best revenge." And party is what Electric Six does best with their raucous and often highly entertaining live shows.

The band will kick off a North American Summer tour on June 2 in Newport, KY, playing tracks from Fresh Blood for Tired Vampyres as well as their tried and true best, including "Danger! High Voltage", "Gay Bar", "Down at McDonnelzzz" among may others. Their critically acclaimed debut album FIRE peaked at #5 on the U.S. Dance chart and would later reach gold certification in the UK. Since then, the band has gone on to release twelve albums including Fresh Blood for Tired Vampyres, a live album/DVD that was funded via Kickstarter and continues to tour both nationally and globally.

Electric Six is Dick Valentine (vocals), Da Ve (guitar), Johnny Na$hinal (guitar), and Tait Nucleus? (synths).

Monday, 22 May 2017

Ian Hunter & The Rant Band announce new single ‘Ghosts’ plus June / July UK tour dates


Photo credit: Ross Halfin

Following on from last year’s fond tribute to David Bowie, ‘Dandy,’ Ian Hunter releases a second cut from his widely acclaimed new solo album, ‘Fingers Crossed.’ A vivacious stomper, recorded at HOBO Studios in New Jersey, and co-produced by Hunter and Andy York, ‘Ghosts’ was inspired by a 2014 visit to Union Avenue in Memphis where Ian and the Rant Band were invited to jam in rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Sam Phillips’ legendary Sun Studio.

“I’m like some kid in a candy store – always been a fan It’s all still here – the atmosphere – it’s where it all began”

As leader of ‘70s British rock legends Mott the Hoople and as a hugely influential solo artist, Ian Hunter is widely revered as one of rock’n’roll’s most compelling performers and one of its most articulate songwriters. As author of such immortal anthems as, “All The Way From Memphis”, “Once Bitten, Twice Shy” and “Cleveland Rocks” and the voice of such landmark albums as, “All The Young Dudes”, “Mott”, “Ian Hunter” and “You’re Never Alone With A Schizophrenic”, he remains a hero to fellow musicians and fans around the world. ‘Ghosts’ will be released on 9th June 2017 on Proper Records. Listen to 'Ghosts' here:



ON TOUR IN JUNE/JULY 2017: Tue 13 Jun 2017 – Harpenden Public Halls, Harpenden Wed 14 Jun 2017 – Old Fire Station, Carlisle Fri 16 Jun 2017 – Waterfront, Norwich Sat 17 Jun 2017 – Cheese & Grain, Frome Sun 18 Jun 2017 – Arts Centre, Bingley Tue 20 Jun 2017 – Hangar 34, Liverpool Wed 21 Jun 2017 – Stables, Milton Keynes Thu 22 Jun 2017 – Welly Club, Hull Sun 25 Jun 2017 – Town Hall, Birmingham Mon 26 Jun 2017 – Guild Hall, Preston Wed 28 Jun 2017 – Student Central (formerly ULU), London Thu 29 Jun 2017 – Plug, Sheffield Fri 30 Jun 2017 – Engine Rooms, Southampton Mon 03 Jul 2017 – Mouth of the Tyne Festival, Playhouse, Whitley Bay