Filthy Lucre, Silent Duck and Rat Ta’Mango

Live at Jive, Adelaide SA, Saturday 30th January 2016

The doors opened on Saturday evening at Jive to a hoard of hard rock fans eager to celebrate the release of Filthy Lucre’s debut full-length album Mara. As the venue started to fill, the first tasty band prepared to warm up the crowd for what was to come…

Getting things moving was local Adelaide psych-rock band Rat Ta’Mango. Having seen this band name previously around town, I was intrigued to hear them live and to put a sound to that peculiar name. I was impressed and satisfied by the bluesy tones that echoed throughout Jive and got the early birds moving on the dance floor.

Smack bang in the middle of the night was a quirky, quacky 6-peice band called Silent Duck. Full of unique humor, funky riffs and brassy horns, Silent Duck impressed throughout their forty-minute set. The crowd banter and vocal performance provided by ‘Sexman’ was on fire. I instantly noticed Frank Zappa type influences; the mix of horn section and rock ‘n’ roll music, with spoken vocals splashed here and there was aesthetically pleasing and quite progressive in many respects.

Silent Duck 30-1-2016Silent Duck  showcased their brassy funk-rock tunes.

To round off the night satisfying everyone’s burning desire to hear the tastiest, most blistering and intense riffs of all time, Filthy Lucre took to the stage. Vowing to play every song off the new album, I knew we were in for a treat.

Filthy Lucre is made up of Luke Marsh on guitars, cigars and vocals and Ed Noble on drums and percussion. This band only has two members but manages to create a huge sound; I am surprised and impressed every time, especially when I hear the cigar-box guitar put into action. It is full and in your face, making you stand up and move to the music.

From beginning to end Filthy Lucre brought the big guns, fat, chunky riffs were flying all around Jive. The energy was high on stage and off stage, with many fans in the crowd moshing and jumping around to the music hitting our ears. I’m pretty sure that drummer Ed Noble, was standing up for most of the gig!

All I could think of at the end of the night was how fortunate I am to have experienced such a powerful and memorable performance from Filthy Lucre. I had never seen such excitement and vigor in the local scene, the crowd was giving back the intense energy that they were receiving from the performers. It was a positive night full of sleazy, dirty rock music and Filthy Lucre were the stars.

As the night came to a close, I felt excited because I couldn’t wait to hear Mara, the album I was holding in my hands. I hoped that the sheer, exhilarating live performance of Filthy Lucre would be translated onto the studio record and the thick, fat tones would be captured for all to hear. I guess I will have to listen and find out… for the love of music.

Filthy Lucre 30-1-20156A solid riff-rock performance by Filthy Lucre made Jive go crazy.


Ollie English – ‘Cabin Thoughts’

Released 9th December 2015

The first time I heard Ollie English I was mesmerized by his smooth voice and substantial blues influence. I finally got to experience his live show with a full band and pick up a copy of his new EP, Cabin Thoughts. After seeing Ollie perform and listening to the EP a few times, I can safely say the future of blues is in good hands…

The EP starts quietly with acoustic guitar and a beautiful falsetto vocal performance on ‘I Know You’re Gonna Leave’. This track shows how Ollie English has taken traditional blues influences and mixed them seamlessly with modern alt-pop aspects. Before long the drums and bass enter providing the first of many solid grooves that feature throughout Cabin Thoughts. When ‘I Know You’re Gonna Leave’ builds to a head, power and pain are felt simultaneously within the vocals as a scream from Ollie bellows and effortlessly compliments the dynamical characteristics of the tune.

Cabin Thoughts continues to be dynamical and emotive with nothing but acoustic guitar and vocal in ‘Winter Sun’. Ollie easily goes between raspy, gritty vocals and clean, expressive falsetto with musical stops placed strategically during the song adding significance to the solemn lyrical themes and vocal theatrics. The acoustic riff is memorable and guaranteed to get stuck in your head for the rest of the day (and that’s definitely not a bad thing).

Ollie English continues to impress with ‘Let Her Run’ and ‘Doldrums’ providing full band arrangements with some funky grooves and tasty guitar dabbles. I feel myself moving to the rhythms gracing my ears, thinking this is truly great music to listen to anytime, at a party or on a lazy Sunday afternoon, perfect for any occasion!

Ollie English proves that blues music is still alive and kicking. There is still much ground to be explored that has been formerly paved out by historic and famous blues musicians; English is elegantly continuing this exploration. It is refreshing to hear exquisite homegrown blues talent coming up right here in Adelaide, and Ollie is set to make a name for himself in Australia and, eventually, around the world. Get your hands on Cabin Thoughts for a modern blues experience and for the love of music!

Wasted Wanderers, Max Savage and the False Idols and Conchillia

Live at Jive, Adelaide SA, Friday 18th December 2015

On a stinking hot Friday night in Adelaide, many made their way down to Jive for a night of performances by local music royalty. I got to Jive nice and early to catch the full evening of tunes, knowing all too well that it was going to be an evening not to be missed.

The crowd was warmed up by unique alt-world-pop act Conchillia in traditional Conchillia fashion. Having just unveiled their new single, ‘Hunter or a Gatherer’, a couple of weeks earlier, they were at the top of their game ready to gather up the audience and hunt out their ears with their tight, worldly grooves. A jam on ‘Follow The Sun’ reminded me yet again of the high quality musical ability of each member of Conchillia.

Conchillia 18-12-2015Conchillia impressed with horn arrangements and fat grooves.

Bursting onto the stage just after 10 o’clock was Max Savage and the False Idols. The set progressed with power and commanded authority. Loud and in-your-face country rock was on the menu and was delivered hot and tasty with tunes like ‘Undertaker’ standing out in the set. I have been singing the songs in my head ever since and look forward to seeing Max Savage rock out again soon!

Max Savage and the False Idols 18-12-2015Max Savage and the False Idols serenaded with country influences.

To end the evening Wasted Wanderers put on a tremendous show full of intricate harmonies, refined vocal performances and bluesy guitar runs that would make any music goer weak at the knees. With memorable tunes like ‘Goddamn Anything’ and rocking jams like ‘Uncomfortable Shoes’, the Wanderers put on a show to remember.

A stand out for the evening was a rendition of ‘Keep It To Yourself’. This catchy, poppy tune always has the audience singing and clapping along. It’s songs like this that demonstrate how engaging and vibrant the stage presence of the Wasted Wanderers are. The whole band was on fire throughout the entire set, getting people moving and loving the music hitting their ears!

To finish off the evening a couple of encore tunes from the Wasted Wanderers were on the table since the crowd loved the music so goddamn much! It was a remarkable ending to a night of sheer excitement and notable performances from each band. Conchillia impressed with world influences, Max Savage and the False Idols brought country with a twist and Wasted Wanderers delivered some rockin’ blues forming a complete night of music at Jive. Get out there and see what world-class bands are on offer in little old Adelaide for the love of music and you may discover your new favorite band.

Wasted Wanderers 18-12-2015Everyone was dancing and singing along with Wasted Wanderers.

Cherry Grind – ‘A Room With A View’

Released 18th November 2015

With great pleasure I get to experience the long awaited debut album, A Room With A View, from Adelaide rockers Cherry Grind. Possibly one of the most anticipated album releases of 2015, a year that has been full of new music and fresh tunes, it shows that rock ‘n’ roll is not dead. The tasty jams will convince you.

A Room With A View is a classic rock influenced album, with various modern twists, full of catchy hooks, powerful vocal performances and bluesy guitar solos. The album opens with ‘No One Home’ that proves you’re in for a ride as Cherry Grind takes you back in time. Before you know it, ‘Dusty Road’, the first single from the album, blasts onto the scene with fat riffs and groovy madness.

Cherry Grind’s rawness and live appeal has been captured on A Room With A View. The listener only needs to crank the volume and close their eyes to experience the power of Cherry Grind. The album was produced by Bob Daisley, previously of Rainbow, Black Sabbath and Uriah Heep fame (just to name a few), and recorded by Mick Wordley and the band themselves. All parties have done a solid job in achieving the characteristically raw sound and encapsulating the stage presence of the band on the record.

In contrast to the live nature of the album, ‘Sunlight’ stands out as showing a different side to the hard rock band. Keyboard features prominently provided by Sam Patsouris along with intricate harmonies from Patsouris and bassist Peter Cerlienco. Furthermore, Jack Stevenson provides emotionally driven guitar parts. Stevenson’s guitar finesse is on fire throughout the entire album and is definitely worth hearing.

A few classic Cherry Grind numbers that fans have come to know and love are featured on the album like ‘The Gap’ and ‘A Minor Problem’, along with new grooves like ‘The Fool’ and ‘See You Again’. Even from the first listen, I was jumping around to the world-class rock ‘n’ roll, with the scrumptious riffs and beguiling melodies sticking in my head.

Cherry Grind has crafted a killer rock album that will make your feet stamp, hands clap and lips slap, or something like that. They combine all the nostalgic influences of what makes rock music brilliant and popular. Have a listen to A Room With A View for the love of music and you won’t regret it.

Camel – ‘I Can See Your House From Here’

Released 29th October 1979

Last week I hastily snatched up a couple of Camel records. Not often do these come up, in Australia especially. One of the albums was Camel’s 1979 release I Can See Your House From Here; this was the band’s seventh studio album and one that presented a new lineup. Occasionally underrated and overlooked, Camel is an important band in the progressive rock movement of the 1970s and a personal favorite of mine.

I did not know what to expect when I dropped the needle onto side one, I have listened to a few Camel albums before and they are always full of surprises. The opening track ‘Wait’ blasted into the room with explosive force. Upbeat, proggy and catchy, Camel has it together from the outset. A seamless transition into ‘Your Love is Stranger Than Mine’ demonstrates Camel’s album crafting skills. Mel Collins played the outro saxophone solo on this number; it was a nice touch and was easy on the ears.

Camel does not hold back when it comes to interesting instrumentation. ‘Eye of the Storm’ features fretless bass played by Colin Bass and “Massed Marching Military Snares” provided by Andy Ward, creating dreamy vibes and lush textures. Andrew Latimer plays flute and Autoharp on ‘Who We Are’, the closing track of side one that demonstrates intense rhythms and a very hooky chorus with rapid hi-hat flourishes.

Electric guitar played by Andrew Latimer features prominently throughout the album, providing memorable melodies and harmonies together with keyboard-type instruments, particularly in songs ‘Hymn to Her’ and ‘Neon Magic’. The electric guitar throughout I Can See Your House From Here is utilised as an emotional and expressive tool. All emotions come to head in the closing track ‘Ice’, a ten-minute instrumental epic. The piece starts slow and beautiful then builds to an intense, unforgettable climax that will reach out and touch the musical soul of any listener. Reading about the album, it has been stated that Latimer recorded the main guitar solo in a single, improvised take; this may explain why it flows and fits so perfectly, it speaks to you like a motivational speech, urging you to go above and beyond. ‘Ice’ is a dynamic, uplifting and dramatic end to a classic Camel record.

I Can See Your House From Here is an album worth hearing.  Camel are pioneers of the progressive rock genre; their instrumental and compositional ability is second to none, emotional, epic and enthusiastic. Each album I have heard from the self-titled Camel to this seventh studio album has blown my mind. With such depth, variation and manifestation, it is recommended that this work-of-art be immersed in for the love of music.

Camel - I Can See Your House From Here cover Camel - I Can See Your House From Here record

The Sword – ‘High Country’

Released 21st August 2015

I recently picked up the fifth studio album, High Country, from Texan rockers The Sword. Right from the first track I knew I was in for a ride as The Sword took me down a fresh, laid-back path less travelled on by this previously heavier metal band. Having said that, there are still epic riffs and fat jams as expected to appease any Sword fan!

The album kicks off with a short introductory piece in the form of ‘Unicorn Farm’. I was immediately intrigued and greeted with a big synthesized sound and a comfortable groove, preparing me for what was to come. ‘Unicorn Farm’ seamlessly transitions into ‘Empty Temples’ where classic Sword vibes are felt by all, there is riffage, John D. Cronise’s characteristic vocal tone and full humbucker guitar heaven brought to you by Kyle Shutt. Before you know it you’re banging your head along to the rocking jams that are gracing the speakers.

High Country continues with many highlights with songs ‘High Country’, ‘Tears Like Diamonds’ and the instrumental ‘Suffer No Fools’. Then we come to ‘Early Snow’, which stood out as showcasing The Sword’s new artistic direction. Ending with melodies complimentary of a horn section, and incorporating signature guitar harmonies throughout, I was dancing around to the sophisticated and punchy horn lines. The funky rock drums provided by Santiago “Jimmy” Vela III filled out the song and created memorable music.

The second half of High Country progresses with fresh tunes such as ‘Silver Petals’. This particular piece of music demonstrates another side to The Sword, emotional, deep and reflective. The use of acoustic guitar, provided by bassist Bryan Richie, is an effective textural touch that effortlessly compliments the overall arrangement.

Before too long the rock ‘n’ roll album that is High Country comes to an end with a catchy, killer number called ‘The Bees of Spring’. Just when you thought The Sword couldn’t serve up anymore big, fat riffs, they hit you with the knockout. With strong southern-rock influences, it is a powerful, commanding end to a lovable album.

Right from that moment, I get up to put the needle back to the start of the first disc, longing to hear more of those classic Sword riffs that fans have come to love. What is beautiful about High Country is that The Sword have shown a softer side to their music, this album is more rock than metal, and it sounds amazing. They have not compromised and are still the same hard rockin’ band they have always been. I recommend having a listen for the love of music and discovering the progressing, matured sound of a mind-blowing band.

The Sword - High Country cover 8-10-2015 The Sword - High Country record 8-10-2015

Slow Season – ‘Mountains’

Released 11th November 2014

Right from the first chord of Mountains I was hooked and eager to hear more of what Slow Season had to serve up on this magical journey back in time. With tight, funky grooves that will make anyone want to get up and dance, it is a modern classic rock album that everyone can enjoy.

Mountains starts strong with the track ‘Sixty-Eight’, the first chord catches your ear and makes you zealous to listen on. Before too long the guitar riff builds and the drums thump you right in the chest. The full band enters with some fuzzy bass tones and sublime drum grooves. What catches my attention initially is just how vintage and authentic the drums sound. With a slight touch of reverb and distinct tuning, it seems that drummer Cody Tarbell channels his inner John Bonham. And how beautiful it is!

As the album progresses the listener is taken on an adventure back in time, with highlights from the sixties, seventies and even now. Yet another strong groove is featured in ‘Shake’, a laid back, bluesy slide-sounding guitar riff provided by guitarist David Kent, along with grungy bass from Hayden Doyel, pleasantly accompanies the drums. Vocalist Daniel Rice then begins with some classic vocal tones, perfectly in keeping with the vintage theme. This is a highlight of the album; the vocal performance displays such depth and timeless characteristics throughout Mountains.

What I love about Mountains is the live sound and the warm, organic feel of the album. Having a read of Slow Season’s biography, I learnt that the entire album was recorded analogue. In a digital world, where analogue is not utilized often enough, it is a breath of fresh-air to know that a band is being true to their influences and producing an album correctly in keeping with their vintage musical interests. Having produced Mountains this way, it gave the album a retro vibe that effortlessly comes across, particularly when listened to on vinyl. If you close your eyes, you can picture the band jamming together, just like Led Zeppelin did back in the late sixties.

Mountains is a treat for the ears and the soul. For anyone who likes and appreciates good old-fashioned rock, look no further; this is the album for you. With track after track of tasty grooves, impressive vocals and classic guitar riffage, Slow Season have produced an album that has depth and character like no other. Have a listen and discover a warm, analogue creation for the love of music.

Slow Season - Mountains cover 3-9-2015 Slow Season - Mountains record 3-9-2015