It’s been a good year for Oliver Reed fans. Though the actor passed away in 1999, there have been several recent reissues of his work on Blu-Ray. First, there was Ken Russell’s The Great Composers box set from the BFI, which includes the rarely-seen but significant Reed performance in The Debussy Film. Then there was Hired To Kill, which Arrow Video reissued on May 17. And then, there’s Venom, reissued May 31 from Blue Underground.
I should make it clear that those last two movies are not exactly examples of Oliver Reed at his finest.
Cherry Red Records has done it again. This time, their triumph comes in the form of Close to the Noise Floor, a four-disc set which gives music junkies a taste of the “quiet electronic revolution that took place across the UK in the late 1970s and early 1980s.” The contents are staggeringly impressive and endlessly fascinating, with each disc flawlessly sequenced and boasting its own unique essence.
Though largely without commercial success at the time, Silverhead were influential by metal and hair metal, besides also being a well-loved glam rock band. Singer Michael Des Barres is a cult figure in music and acting, having combined a fairly successful career in both, and Nigel Harrison of Blondie also started his career in Silverhead.
This series of releases by Cherry Red includes the entire Silverhead discography: the two released albums, Silverhead and 16 and Savaged, some single mixes, live tracks, and B-sides. The series is rounded out by a live album, Live at the Rainbow, London 1973.
By Tyler Hodg
Cass McCombs is the type of songwriter that most of his peers probably wished they were; his latest work, Mangy Love, is a dulcet-toned, yet impactful album worthy of envy. The California musician is able to accomplish the near-impossible feat of composing tracks that are smooth, subdued, and buoyant at the same time. The line between compelling and uninspired is often thin and full of soft jams, but McCombs makes the distance seem like an eternity—and he’s undoubtedly on the more entertaining side.
By Brian Baker
Don’t let Clara Venice’s saccharin appearance fool you. The cover of her Electric Dream EP features her in multi-colored, pig-tailed hair, licking a lollipop. However, her synth-infused pop is by no means child’s play.
It’s time to give the Turtles another listen. And, lucky for you, their long out of print albums are being rereleased in a handy six CD box set, The Complete Original Albums Collection. If you’re not feeling that completist, a double CD set, All The Singles just might do the trick (what it did for me was make me want to get the six CD set, thankyouverymuch).
By Tim Murr
The premise is simple and we’ve seen it before, most notably in the film The Dirty Dozen: take a handful of bad guys, throw them together for a suicide mission, and voila, instant action film. In the case of Suicide Squad, the mission is to get inside Midway City and extract an important someone who is trapped downtown during some kind of terror attack. Of course, the threat is much larger and weirder than anyone would admit to, so this loose cadre of crazy criminals has to learn to be team players on the fly in order to complete the mission… and if they don’t, well, the man in charge, Rick Flagg will just blow their heads off with the push of a button.
The Ryley Walker that brought to mind frolicking in sun-dappled fields on his last album, Primrose Green, has vacated those fields. His latest, Golden Sings That Have Been Sung, moves past his love to 1960s and ’70s British folkies (though the occasional field is still dappled in sun) and embraces a more “whole band” approach, throwing in unexpected instrumentation and taking his experimental playing even further. His unbelievable finger-picking is still there, but it’s come with friends this time.
The Hollywood Brats are really an anomaly; difficult to place and more difficult to analyze the longer you listen to them. While they don’t quite have the almost intellectual artifice of the New York Dolls and Heavy Metal Kids, they do share the same deep sense of bad taste and irony. The defining characteristics of their music are a tendency to shock and a rather cutting irony, combined with a deliberately simplistic style of music which can be seen as a precursor of punk. For a short space of time they were shouting obscenities into the void of American glam rock, before disbanding in 1974. But right now, they’re having a moment of revival after singer Andrew Matheson’s book came out last year out and he’s been playing again, so it’s a good time to have another look at their actual output.