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Trixieland (the musical)

Trixie Marmalade

MarsMelons

There is a personal message at the heart of this album via its creator and (mad) musical wizard Thomas Bergsten (aka Mr Harvey Steel or otherwise known as Gunerius Quack) that is told through the eyes of Trixie Marmalade. The plight in question focuses on the transformation of humanity into one big loveable hug because at present there is far too much focus on the individual self that can lead to bad habits such as temptation, selfishness and hatred. In order to get there, Trixie Marmalade, whose identity is a tad sketchy – definitely female; quite possibly green with bulbous eyes yet for this trip to Earth the unfortunate truth is that Trixie found herself stuck inside a cardboard figure! Therefore, with help required, Gunerius Quack comes to the rescue in order to transmit Trixie’s message so that humankind can begin to love itself again rather than spread further hatred as experienced from the parallel universe from where Trixie came. Phew! With that aside the music being peddled from this long player is far from easy listening, with a large spread of influences being applied over a canvass containing elements of ambient, jazz, psychedelia, blues for example, and with the narrative communicated in a mechanistic styling that is part Stephen Hawking and part Radiohead ‘OK Computer’ with Captain Beefheart and Tom Waits for company. The rest really is up to the listener in terms of what to make of ‘Trixieland (the musical)’ because it is a highly inventive body of work that weighs heavily on surrealism as well as reality (see above). There is one thing for certain, however, and that is the equal measure of confusion, delight and irritation ‘Trixieland (the musical)’ will create where creative peaks such as the quasi-hillbilly pickin’ ‘His Name Is Hatred’ are greeted by more difficult companions (‘Hello I Love You’). Whoever said art should be an easy ride?


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Once I Was A Lion (Single)

Mad Machines

Bandcamp

Falling between pop and a bluesy rock rather than the “Disco and punk” label applied to the latest addition from the Mad Machines stable, ‘Once I Was A Lion’ is an accomplished single with a creative set of lyrics oddly inspired by Disney’s The Lion King and dreamt up by vocalist and guitarist Jordan Lassalle. The aforementioned pop and blues rock influences running through ‘Once I Was A Lion’ are certainly Rolling Stones inspired, especially the harmonised backing vocals that breeze along rather nicely. A fun loving single most definitely, and one that suggests Mad Machines should be shadowed closely regarding their next creative endeavour because ‘Once I Was A Lion’ is a clever and catchy reintroduction from this five-piece band from Toronto Ontario, Canada.


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Bonehead

Rückwater

Secret Entertainment

Rückwater make a return with latest EP ‘Bonehead’. With the band offering a predominantly raw and uncompromising stoner rock sound, coupled with occasional smoother passages that highlight the depth at the heart of this three-piece unit, Rückwater give a thorough account of themselves over the duration of six wild and wonderful tracks. From the distorted few bars of country tinged guitar that opens out into a full-blown affair of stoner rock supported by strong vocals, ‘Once More With Feeling’ is the perfect track to air the grievances felt by Rückwater. From there it’s a melange of garage, punk rock and metal via the frantic twitching of ‘No Gain’, before flipping its mood to the drifting tone and rather excellent ‘Labyrinth’. The universal theme found during ‘Super Frustration’ lives up to its title by offering a short and dramatic kick to the ribs by way of a full throttled assault of drums and guitars. The title track almost follows a similar pattern to ‘Super Frustration’ only the sound is more expansive where freedom is given to the guitars and the vocals more clarity. Rückwater display their experimentation further during final track ‘Flame Doesn’t Cast A Shadow’ that fluctuates between stoner rock and shoegaze and shows them as a band to be truly reckoned with. It’s a full star rating for Rückwater and their latest EP ‘Bonehead’ as the genre of stoner rock doesn’t come more recommended than this.

 


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Introduction

Gentle Savage

Concorde Music Company

Hailing from Finland, Gentle Savage kick-start their career with the official release of the appropriately titled, ‘Introduction’ EP. Fresh off the block, Gentle Savage offer a combined output of blues and rock that belies their years together considering the professionalism of their current recorded works. Beginning with the catchy blues-rock of ‘Bring Back Rock ‘n’ Roll’ that is watertight in its execution, and then followed by the altogether different ‘Far Side’ that represents a darker side to the band’s repertoire, which can be heard in the detached vocals and epic guitar solo that suggests the band has more than a few ideas in their creative tank. Ending with the classic-rock feel and very memorable ‘Hey Hey Hey Hey’, Gentle Savage’s ‘Introduction’ is a solid and considered affair that bodes well for future releases


Released 17 February

 

Shipwrecked / Lovers Du

The Tigerlilies

Working Brilliantly

Hot on the heels of Famous Last Words’ (FLW) interview with The Tigerlilies nearing the conclusion of 2016, the four-piece band from Cincinnati, USA, make a swift return in 2017 with a brand new 7″ single by the name of ‘Shipwrecked / Lovers Du’. Despite borrowing a few manoeuvres from the likes of The Buzzcocks, Cheap Trick and The Ramones, The Tigerlilies more than etch their own impression of a post-punk sound via this latest single. Evidence of this can be gleaned from lead track ‘Shipwrecked’ that rolls out a rockin’, thunderous beat mingling post-punk with pop and stomping blasts of glam rock that works stupendously sandwiched all together. The flipside, ‘Lovers Du’, more than matches it’s A-side with its battered edges (musically as well as emotionally) and nervy yet catchy rhythm that infiltrates one’s senses at some considerable knots. Swinging between emotional tensions and riding the waves on a raucous and seriously glorious racket, The Tigerlilies have just got their New Year off to an absolute perfect start. Welcome back guys!


Released 3 February

 

Paranoid (Single)

Cal

Waterfall / BMG

A new project under the guise of Cal for Norwegian singer-songwriter Frida Amundsen who adopts a strong pop stance for current single ‘Paranoid’. With this latest release having been co-written with music maestro Eddy Atlantis in London, Amundsen (aka Cal) views this experience as a chance to show her established following that there is another side to her music and personality. As mentioned, the change in direction is one that adopts more of a commercial pop focus rather than relying on Amundsen’s acoustic background, but don’t let that dissuade you as this is pop music written with intelligence as it reveals the complexities that some relationships can suffer, with Cal giving a convincing performance as the victim at the centre of the ‘paranoia’ in focus. A solid start with this first single for Cal via ‘Paranoid’ that paves the way for a soon-to-be released EP, which should provide even greater evidence of the creative vision for this latest project from Frida Amundsen.


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Other Side of Town (Single)

Gorilla Cult

Untitled

Every now and again an artist sends word to Famous Last Words (FLW) of their latest creative endeavour which, more times than not, often results in a positive experience than a negative one. With not too much information to go on, this time out it’s the turn of, and in their words, “experimental indie band” Gorilla Cult and their current single ‘Other Side of Town’. By relaying what sounds like various debaucheries occurring on the other side of town and where life certainly becomes blurred in terms of what is defined as reality, Gorilla Cult weave a rhythm that is jittery and melodic and punctuated with electronics that are one moment distorted and the next shimmering brightly. Apparently there is more to come in 2017 from this relatively unknown indie band with ‘Other Side of Town’ being the first component of a suggested greater project to come. Watch this space.


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Doomsday EP

Reptilians From Andromeda

Prof Sny Records

A timely release for Istanbul’s Reptilians From Andromeda (RFA) considering the current turn of events in the political spheres of the US and UK, not to mention pretty much everywhere else in the world. The ‘Doomsday’ in question, packaged as track one of four from RFA’s latest EP, is more concerned with informing anyone willing to pay attention that all is not as it may seem, and that maybe you really shouldn’t believe the rhetoric televised almost on a daily basis at present. Such persuasion swings in favour of this garage-punk band from Istanbul as lead vocalist Aybike Çelik Özbey repeatedly cries, “Don’t believe the doomsday” to a fuzzy looped rhythm where the bass is raw and heavy and guitars glide effortlessly. If all this sounds a bit like A Place To Bury Strangers, for example, and nothing wrong with that of course, then following track, ‘Love Bait’, loses any such comparisons with a more straight garage rock and grunge feel that retains a very grubby appearance and all the more charming for doing so. With the EP being issued as a 7″ vinyl via Prof Sny Records, all recording and mixing duties were handled by the Reptilians themselves, only for Fran Ashcroft, formerly of power pop punk band The Monos! to apply mastering at Happy Beat studios (UK). Based on the evidence presented here, there is every reason to believe that RFA will be making further inroads to a wider audience soon, because ‘Doomsday’ EP never remains stagnant in terms of its approach and ideas, therefore giving the impression that there’s greater things to come from this quartet. In the meantime, RFA is definitely pushing all the right buttons as this is an engaging and fascinating ride that is worthy of your attention.


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The Inception EP

Oddhums

Inverse Records

Stemming from the city of Jaén in Spain where no doubt the climate is far warmer and the general mood of a more upbeat disposition, the newly formed trio Oddhums is certainly at odds (no pun intended) with the location from which they originate. By coming together only last year, Oddhums and their four-track EP ‘The Inception’ diverts immediately from anything that could be suggested as welcoming with their sound entrenched in a shifting combination of stoner-rock, sludge, post-rock, grunge and elements of ambient music. With the EP being recorded and mastered by Kike Gutiérrez at Black Bunker Records Studios, and artwork by Procesonegro Art Studios, Oddhums open their account in an atmospheric haze of guitars that erupts abruptly where sludge and stoner-rock collide and stretch their sounds to incorporate flashes of shoegaze during the opening track ‘Dimgaze’. From there the atmosphere of this EP becomes somewhat claustrophobic during ‘Big Brave’ where vocals are coming from the depths only to be lifted somewhat in clarity with the far more robust ‘Wounds’. Oddhums provide a compelling interpretation of paranoia as ‘Under Siege’ closes ‘The Inception’ EP in magnificent fashion and sets out this three-piece band as one to watch in 2017.


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Eilean: [45]

Various Artists

Eilean Records

Offering its by now familiar array of artists collected from around the globe with each and every artist applying their interpretation of, as well as capturing the sounds that can be heard in the smaller details of everyday living, Eilean Records presents its latest compilation, ‘Eilean: [45]’. Limited to 150 copies and housed in a metal box complete with ruby red woodcut design, the packaging alone is enough to tempt any prospective buyer. The inner contents, however, certainly perform their duties by offering some new and exclusive pieces of sounds and featuring sixteen tracks with, it should be noted in order to pay proper respect here, all of the following artists: Autistici, Chris Dooks, Daniel K. Böhm, Darren McClure, E & I, Florian Von Ameln, Jason van Wyk, Moss Covered Technology, Offthesky, øjeRum, Omrr, Phi Bui, Porya Hatami, Saenïnvey, Speck, Sustainer, Uwe Zahn and Wil Bolton. For closer inspection though, the crystal-clear sounds of øjeRum’s ‘Needle-Shaped’; the fascinating insight of the journey unfolding during Daniel K. Böhm’s ‘All Over Gently’; the ethereal sounds of ‘Solitude By Vision’ performed by Offthesky, to capturing sounds of nature via ‘New Encounters’ by the equally engaging namesake Florian Von Ameln are good enough starting points and a glimpse of the various canvasses of sounds on offer via ‘Eilean: [45]’ to capture the imagination of any listener.

 

 


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Eddie Cochran: The Absolutely Essential Collection

Eddie Cochran

Big 3

The collection of CDs made available via the Big 3 label is definitely one of the better compilations for those less initiated in the work of rockabilly and rock ‘n’ roll legend Eddie Cochran. In fact, to receive a more thorough overview of Cochran’s music, then you’re looking at a mortgaged-sized box set. However, if it’s value for money you’re after, and one that possesses quality of sound, then you’ve definitely arrived at the right place as ‘Eddie Cochran: The Absolutely Essential Collection’ offers a solid  overview of his career with well-known hits such as ‘Summertime Blues’, ‘Twenty Flight Rock’, ‘C’Mon Everybody’ and ‘Three Steps To Heaven’ to name but a small handful. Where this compilation excels is for its inclusion of the unrelated duo of Eddie and Hank Cochran via a selection of The Cochran Brothers songs such as ‘Guilty Conscience’ and ‘Fool’s Paradise’. Unfortunately there’s no ‘Jelly Bean’ included here, which is one of Eddie Cochran’s best numbers as well as no liner notes to consult with, but that is mere nick picking considering the aforementioned price tag and high number of songs included. ‘Eddie Cochran: The Absolutely Essential Collection’ is a worthy addition for anyone’s record collection.


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Buddy Holly: The Absolutely Essential Collection

Buddy Holly

Big 3

Life doesn’t get much better than this! Having landed on the FLW doormat this morning this essential, yes ESSENTIAL collection of Buddy Holly songs with the Crickets of course not only offers superb value for money for any prospective record buyers, but more importantly for covering a broad range of material. Sure, all of the usual suspects are here such as ‘Peggy Sue’, ‘Raining In My Heart’, ‘Maybe Baby’ and ‘Heartbeat’, but this three CD set is to be highly applauded for not only its inclusion of Buddy Holly’s rockabilly and rockin’ numbers with namely ‘Rock Around With Ollie Vee’, ‘Midnight Shift’, ‘Ting-A-Ling’, ‘Don’t Come Back Knockin’ and a wonderfully raw version of ‘Ready Teddy’, but also less obvious inclusions such as ‘Moondreams’, ‘That Makes It Tough’ and ‘Learning The Game’. If only this artist was still alive and well today, then who knows what genius he would have conjured up next because there is plenty of evidence during this compilation to suggest that Buddy Holly would have continued producing great miracles.



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