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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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Jerry Lee Lewis: The Absolutely Essential Collection

Jerry Lee Lewis

Big 3

There is no introduction required when it comes to the wild and wonderful talent that is Jerry Lee Lewis. Spread out over three CDs, and including fifty-seven tracks in total, is a variety of Jerry Lee Lewis’ hit singles from ‘High School Confidential’ to ‘Whole Lotta Shakin’Goin On’ and ‘Great Balls of Fire’. With a lot of the SUN Records era covered and therefore space for including the excellent and more bluesy feel of ‘Hello, Hello Baby’ and ‘The Ballad of Billy Joe’ showing the influences running through this man’s piano fingers, the Big 3 record label offers value for money and quality with this release. The only downside to this compilation album, and the entire series, is the lack of any information regarding the artist or tracks included, which is a shame considering the rest of the quality on offer here. However, for an introduction to the musical abilities of Jerry Lee Lewis, especially in that prime SUN Records era, then ‘Jerry Lee Lewis: The Absolutely Essential Collection’ is a fine introduction that should open the doorway to further investigation of this mercurial and wonderful talent.


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Nightbound

KROBAK

Bandcamp

Daylight is just breaking once Ukrainian quartet, KROBAK, get underway with their latest long player ‘Nightbound’. At least that’s the idea given by opening track ‘Stringer Bell’ with its steady progression of shimmering guitars and subtle hints of violins that provides a visual impression of sunlight gradually finding its way through the cracks and crevices of a desolate location somewhere in the wilderness. After such an impressive introduction, the rest of ‘Nightbound’ follows in similar fashion as KROBAK draw on their experience and create a richer post-rock sound than what has gone before, by way of a few new and additional influences such as Swans, King Crimson and The Mars Volta as well as picking up on previous references Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Mono and Yndi Halda. No matter the reference points as KROBAK serve up a truly engaging sonic adventure via a total of four tracks that grow from minimal sounding structures to fully fledged workouts such as ‘No Pressure, Choice Is Yours’ and ‘Marching For The Freedom We Have Lost’. KROBAK’s new offering ‘Nightbound’ is an album that you should get to know on a very intimate level as you will be duly rewarded for your time.


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Better Days

Missiles of October

POGO Records

Second album for Missiles of October, who continue with their combined sounds of punk, sludge and stoner rock to serve up a real noise fest with ten new songs making up to one whole titled ‘Better Days’. With the band comprising of members Bob Seytor, Lionel Beyet and Mathias Salas, this trio creates a mighty racket which first track, ‘State of Crisis’, immediately suggests with its pummeling sound of guitars and drums and rasping vocal. Following on, ‘No Brain No Headache’ is dense in sound to begin with, before kicking out, all limbs flailing, during its chorus (of sorts). However, where this song differs is in the vocals, giving the impression of wanting the song’s message to be heard due to far more clarity than what Missiles of October has perhaps dared to give before. The disillusionment with life continues during ‘Satisfaction In Nothing’ that once more contains more clarity in the vocal department, and not without a whiff of Fugazi about it as well. There’s no doubt that many truths regarding everyday mundanity is being communicated here, with song titles providing their own clues (‘Looser Man’, ‘Two Feet In Sludge’, ‘Better Days’, etc.), in addition to the battered and bruised rawness of the music as evidenced by tracks ‘Everyday’ and ‘Problems’. With a limited run of ‘Better Days’ to be issued early next year on yellow vinyl, Missiles of October’s second album can be purchased on all digital formats right now.


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Acoustic

Simple Minds

Caroline International

A surprising addition to the Simple Minds catalogue considering their early electronic roots have been making waves during the past few years, but acoustic it is with pared back versions of a number of their hit records as well as a couple of lesser known songs. With lead singer Jim Kerr declaring that “…we wanted to create a Simple Minds party album, not a traditional, introspective acoustic album – more something that people will play during goods times,” such a description rings true when hearing the still uplifting ‘Alive and Kicking’ that retains its sparkle via fresh sounding instrumentation and joint vocals from Sara Brown. With earlier material such as the excellent reworking of ‘The American’ and softer version of ‘Glittering Prize’ really impressing, there are one or two songs that fall short here; most notably ‘Promised You A Miracle’ even with the talented KT Tunstall joining ranks, this particular rendition sounds jumbled in its execution despite its brave attempts to make this version sound like a completely new song. There’s a darker shade to ‘See The Lights’ with Charlie Burchill’s guitar adding subtle touches throughout and really improving on the original. By finishing with a cover of Richard Hawley’s ‘Long Black Train’, Simple Minds continue their recent tradition of adding new touches to other musician’s songs, but also reveal an impeccable taste when it comes to their own record collections. Not to be viewed as a replacement for older versions of their hit songs, ‘Acoustic’ is, for the majority of its contents, a pleasing ride that will appeal to older fans as well as opening the door to new followers.


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Not Knowing (Single)

Matchstick Men

Holier Than Thou Records

Gearing up for a brand new album release is Merseyside quartet Matchstickmen. With new single ‘Not Knowing’ being the first introduction to the forthcoming album release, it’s certainly a strong indication of the quality that fans of the band can expect at some point next year. Beginning with lead vocalist Lewis Wright’s crooning vocal and the acoustic strum of Iain Forsyth’s guitar, ‘Not Knowing’ builds slowly before the rest of the band, consisting of Peter Donnelly (guitar) and Dave Hornby (drums), wade in and really add muscle to the personal tale that is steadily unfurling. While “It’s better not knowing” may suit some when a relationship begins to turn sour, the same cannot be said of Matchstickmen’s latest effort as it is a song that is worth getting to know on a very close level.


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Beefhart High School Dropout

the Harvey Steel show

Safe & Sound Recordings

Transmitting their creative thoughts from the distant heights of Jupiter, the Harvey Steel show continue doing what they do best, and that’s following their own musical journey judging by the contents of latest EP ‘Beefheart High School Dropout’. Long may this continue because the fluidity of the creative processes of the Harvey Steel show continues to weave and work its magic, only this time around the band sound more a resident of planet Earth than the aforementioned distant neighbour. It’s the opening track that gives way to such a feeling with a surprising introduction via an instrumental that sounds as if it’s coming from a lonely bedsit while it works out its destination via Thomas Bergsten’s solitary guitar, and before the rest of the band decide to join in and add their input. Track two, ‘Hunting Shadows’, sees a gradual increase in temperature and sound where guitars, organ, drums and vocals fade in and out as well as crossing paths across a scorched earth, before building to an immense crescendo that is equally The Doors as it is Captain Beefheart. It’s a song that will go down as one of the band’s highlights, not to mention in a live setting, when the history books are written. Ending on another highpoint is ‘Running From The Law’, which is a thing of genuine beauty considering its association with the subject of murder, where instruments sound delicate and fragile and create genuine awe in the manner that Explosions In the Sky has made their own. No guns, No hatred, No war, only love for the Harvey Steel show. RESPECT!


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Supersonic Gal

Maryann & the Tri-Tones

Rhythm Bomb

There’s a storming racket blaring out of the capital of Estonia and goes by the name of Maryann & the Tri-Tones. With this album being a re-release of her debut album that apparently was restricted to a limited run, Maryann & the Tri-Tones are given a second bite of the cherry with their ‘Supersonic Gal’. Without a moment’s hesitation this second chance is seized upon via a succession of wild and rockin’ tracks that showcases a powerful set of vocal chords – having been known to draw comparisons with Janis Martin – and rockabilly soundtrack that is equally forceful. Breaking its way through from the off is the bitter parting shot of ‘Honey Baby’ with Maryann really impressing as she sheds this particular set of baggage. Impressing elsewhere is the clever manner in which some of the songs are knitted together and therefore provide a rolling commentary of the relationship(s) at hand here, where ‘I’m Moving Up’ appropriately follows the aforementioned ‘Honey Baby’ by reaffirming its independence and then seemingly mocking in superb style by incorporating a bit of Joe Bennett and Jimmy Denton’s ‘Black Slacks’. Classy, clever and cool Maryann & the Tri-Tones ‘Supersonic Gal’ is definitely an album worth owning.


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Get Up and Dance!

Various Artists

Rhythm Bomb

Compiled over five CDs is the latest collection of tracks taken from the stable at Rhythm Bomb Records. Arranged into categories consisting of Perfect for Parties; Boppers; Strollers; Jivers and Slow Down there’s definitely something here to suit fans of the genres of rockabilly and rhythm and blues. With this set following on from previous box set ‘We Got Rhythm’, there’s an incredible 125 tracks to consume and too much for one sitting! Representing more up-to-date releases with artists ranging from Aussies Hank’s Jalopy Demons (‘Damn Their Hides’); AJ & the Rockin’ Trio (‘She Do The Bop’); Twisted Rod (‘Booze Bop’) and The Starjays (‘Who Do You Love The Most’) to name but a select few, it’s pleasing to see bands and hear tracks chosen from the vaults at Rhythm Bomb with Gone Hepsville, Pete Hutton & the Beyonders, Chris Almoada, The Backseat Boogie, Mississippi Queen and Pep Torres. Limited to only 300 copies, and with far too much detail to reveal all here, ‘Get Up and Dance!’ is an essential purchase and another introduction to the array of bands releasing the goods at Rhythm Bomb. Now get going!


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Move Around (Single)

The Rockin' Combs

Enviken

Released as a 7″ vinyl and on all digital platforms, The Rockin’ Combs make their entrance with an opening bow of a cover of Groovey Joe Poovey’s ‘Move Around’ and a flipside containing a track written by Marcel Riesco from fellow rockers Truly Lover Trio by the name of ‘Pretending’. This is raw and primitive rockabilly straight from the 50s, well, 2016 actually, and that’s how authentic The Rockin’ Combs has made it sound! With this four-piece combo in the process of recording more songs for a long player, The Rockin’ Combs has started their career in fine style with this double slice of wild and authentic rockabilly.


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False Flag (Single)

Terrible Love

Big Scary Monsters

After releasing their debut EP ‘Change Nothing’ back in January this year, Terrible Love has been hard at it drumming up a new record that was added as part of a recent tour with fellow contemporaries The Fall of Troy and Tiny Moving Parts. The track itself falls under the name ‘False Flag’ and was recorded at The Ranch with Lewis Johns during the summer. With lyrics pertaining to the recent EU referendum and overall disillusionment with the final result , ‘False Flag’ is a fully charged assault of guitars that are equally raw as they are melodic and accompanied by gutsy vocals that came together during writing sessions for the follow-up to ‘Change Nothing’. With the single being issued as a limited edition flexi disc, time is of the essence if you want to follow a good cause and get your hands on this ‘False Flag’.



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