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).
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.
By Tyler Hodg
Stewart Eastham’s latest effort, Dancers in the Mansion, is like a wild night in a Nashville bar: the swinging country music encourages you to hit the dance floor, while occasional somber sounds result in moments of reflection. All that’s missing is a little too much bourbon. (more…)
You know what’s easy to love? A two-person band. Do you know what band you’re about to love? Hymn for Her, a nomadic pair who make their home in a ’61 Bambi Airstream trailer (with their daughter) and make the kind of music you can crunch away the miles to.
By Tyler Hodg
Break out your hairspray, headbands, and shoulder pads: the 1980s are back thanks to Wyatt Blair. His new album, Point of No Return, is a love letter to arena-style glam rock that not only celebrates the music of the past, but also makes it cool again. Now that’s radical!