Monday, 31 March 2008

Tickley Feather

Annie Sachs, from Philadelphia goes under the moniker of Tickley Feather. She creates a lo-fi mash up of twisted nursery rhymes set to a D.I.Y indie beat. I keep thinking of Strawberry Switchblade crossed with Kate Bush as sung by the spooky dead girl from the 'Don't Look Now' film. She's signed to 'Paw Tracks' (Animal Collective) and her debut album is out on April 28th 2008 in the UK and April 29 in the U.S.A. The vinyl version of the album is released on 'Badmaster Records' on April 2nd 2008. You should smile and squirm with with delight as her digits play those Boa Selecta tunes!

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band

Mike, is this you on the cover? ;-)

They knew how to grow their hair back in the Seventies didn't they! Here's Bob in his full blow dried glory back in 1978, knocking out 'Hollywood Nights' which has been hard wired into my brain from way back despite me having never having checked out the rest of ole Bob's back catalogue before. To be honest, 'Stranger In Town' is a fairly standard slab of L.A raaawk, that could have come out of an F.M car radio on the freeway at any point in that decade, but I have a soft spot for this no nonsense genre: it's an intoxicating mixture of guitars, girls in bikinis, open topped cars, pool parties in the Hollywood hills and out of control coke habits. So it got me thinking about whisking up the perfect soundtrack for such a scenario. To qualify, the contributing artists have to be predominantly based/big in America and been recorded in the 1970's to qualify. So hair we go..

  1. Eagles - Take It Easy from Eagles (1971)

  2. The Doobie Brothers - Long Train Runnin' from The Captain and Me (1973)

  3. Steely Dan - Reelin' In The Years from Can't Buy a Thrill (1972)

  4. Steppenwolf - The Pusher from Steppenwolf Live (1970) (1968 really I know :-))

  5. Heart - Dreamboat Annie from Dreamboat Annie (1976)

  6. Foreigner - Feels Like The First Time from Foreigner (1977)

  7. Golden Earring - Radar Love from Moontan (1973)

  8. Aerosmith - Sweet Emotion from Toys in the Attic (1975)

  9. Van Halen - Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love from Van Halen (1978)

  10. Grand Funk Railroad - Pass It On from Good Singin', Good Playin' (1976)

  11. Lynyrd Skynyrd - Tuesday's Gone from Pronounced... (1973)

  12. Fleetwood Mac - Rhiannon from Fleetwood Mac (1975)

  13. Linda Ronstadt - Desperado from Don't Cry Now (1973)

  14. Alice Cooper - No More Mister Nice Guy from Billion Dollar Babies (1973)

  15. Free - Be My Friend from Highway (1970)

  16. Little Feat - Willin' from Sailin' Shoes (1972)

  17. Big Star - Thirteen from #1 Record (1972)
  18. Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris - Love Hurts from Grevious Angel (1974)
  19. Gene Clark - Some Misunderstanding from No Other (1974)
  20. Bob Seger - Hollywood Nights from Stranger In Town (1978)

Friday, 14 March 2008

Hotpants Romance

When it comes of girls with attitude, who pick up some guitars and give it some, this can often lead to a heady mixture of beautiful cacophony and vital energy. There has been many illustrious examples of this from the rock of Joan Jett and the Blackhearts through the punk pop perfection of X-Ray Spex via the 'riot grrl' Babes In Toyland up to the woefully underrated cartoon pop Shampoo and Helen Love. The latest sisters to sizzle with their sneering songs of super tunes are the terrific Manchester trio Hotpants Romance, who are making a joyful racket with their debut album 'It's A Heatwave'. Now, I realise that I'm not the target market and that I might be giving the impression of a seedy uncle, but it's not my fault that, even though the rest of my body is creaking, the ears are in a state of arrested development and survive on a diet of sound stroppiness. The influence of The Ramones is clearly evident and most of the songs clock in at under two minutes, which is always a good sign. The vocals are brattish, the riffs are infectious and the drumming is insistent. Give'em an ASBO?, no siree!, give'em a record contract and a slot on Joolz Holland.. I'd like to see him try and 'boogie woogie' along to this!

Friday, 7 March 2008

Gary Gygax and Magnum

E Gary Gygax, the creator of the Dungeons and Dragons role playing game, passed away last week. He was responsible for the fantasy role playing game that fuelled the imagination of a million gamers who were stereotypically slightly nerdy teenage boys including..err.. ahem.. Scratchy himself.

The man who made phrases like 'I'm gaining plenty of experience points here in my bedroom pouring over maps of imaginary citadels!' and 'Where have the polyhedral dice gone? Oh mighty Dungeon Master' common place in Eighties teen speak, deserves a musical tribute. I have summoned all my strength, dexterity, constitution, intelligence, wisdom and charisma in order rescue these appropriate record covers from the depths of Scratchy's catacombs, losing a few hit points along the way, I can tell you.

D&D always reminds me of that mighty melodic Brummie band, Magnum with their catchy pomp rock and hobgoblin slaying guitar solos. They employed the services of top fantasy artist Rodney Matthews to paint the covers to their classic albums 'Chase The Dragon' 'The Eleventh Hour' and their finest (sacred) hour 'On A Storytellers Night'. His artwork captured the essence of the swords and sorcery themes with aplomb, designing magical covers for a magic band. Magnum are still going and are touring Britain and Europe in May 2008. They are sure to put on a cracker of a show but perhaps I'm being a sentimental old fool as they were one of the first live gigs I ever saw as a young, callow, wide eyed and impressionable Scratchiyouth. So dust down your old denim jacket, sew those Iron Maiden patches back on and get yourself down the front of the mosh pit.
He gamed! he sword! he conquered!

Honourable mention must go to Hawkwind's 'Chronicle of The Black Sword' as a close runner up the theme tune to this tribute.

Second runner up position goes to Helloween's 'Keeper Of The Seven Keys'

Monday, 3 March 2008


Now call me me a sucker for eye catching album covers but when I first caught sight of the eight naked silver painted ladies lined up in formation in front of a pyramid, something told me I had to get this. A bonus was the second album nestling behind it as well 'Ain't No Backin' Up Now' from these funk, psych, jazz, fusion pioneers of seventies rock. Isis were fronted by Carol MacDonald R.I.P, previously the guitarist in Goldie & the Gingerbreads (the first all female band to hit the U.K charts apparently) whose raspy Joplinesque vocals pack a real punch. This all female outfit musically throw everything but the kitchen sink into their first album, so much so that it's ambition can't be contained within the limitations of one album/nine songs. This means that some parts come across as unfocused, however there are some real foot tapping freak outs and catchy choruses, listen to Rubber Boy on side one of the first album for example, which drive the soul of the music to great heights and make this a Scratchy cult classic.
In my research I have read that one of the silver-painted girls dug the look so much, she kept it on, until she got sick from it the next day.. I hope that's true and it reminds me of the James Bond title credits in Goldfinger, for bonus points. I got to hand it to her that's suffering for your image!