Tag Archives: Quireboys

New Album! Joe Elliott’s Down ‘n’ Outz

Joe Elliott is a Mott The Hoople fan. A big fan.

Goes without saying, I guess, since the Def Leppard frontman has worn that on his sleeve his whole career. It’s refreshing to see a rocker who has attained the level of global success that he has still be a rock fan at heart. Elliott grew up loving Mott The Hoople and still does.

Elliott has often put his money where his mouth (and heart) is with his support of Ian Hunter and Mott; he was a driving force in organizing the memorial tribute for Mick Ronson and has always touted the music of his favorite band in interviews. So when Mott The Hoople reunited to make their historic stand at the Hammersmith they called Joe in for support, and he assembled a group of like-minded Mott devotees to perform some songs off the family tree that Mott fans probably never thought they’d get to hear from a stage ever again. The success of that gig led to what I can happily say is one of 2010’s best surprises.

I’ve never been a huge Def Leppard fan but have enjoyed some of their work; the overproduction by Mutt Lange usually tempered any enthusiasm I had for the songs themselves. That’s probably why I enjoyed their covers album Yeah! more than their own material; even though that was a bit bombastic I was halfway there before cracking the shrink-wrap because I was already into the songs. On My Regeneration, it’s inverted; I was familiar with the players but not all the tunes, as I never paid much attention to Widowmaker and British Lions after Mott imploded.

I think the wisest move here was using members of The Quireboys in the backing band, and I hope this project brings much attention to them as well. As a lifelong Faces fan, discovering the Quireboys back in the 90s was a godsend (they were The London Quireboys then), since they wallowed in the same loose menagerie of blues, glam and rock that makes my hair stand on end. If there are torch-bearers for the post-Faces era, surely The Quireboys and The Diamond Dogs are at the front of the pack.

So with Paul Guerin, Guy Griffin, Keith Weir, Ronnie Garrity and Phil Martin in tow, Joe lit into a litany of post-Mott cuts, some of which (“Who Do You Love”, “By Tonight”) might be better than the originals. His voice sounds spectacular, but it’s Weir’s tinkling piano and Griffin’s guitar tone that might share MVP honors here as the predominantly hard-rocking album reinvents these twelve tracks with pristine clarity and crisp power:

GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY
STORM
OVERNIGHT ANGELS
CAREER (NO SUCH THING AS ROCK ‘N’ ROLL)
ENGLAND ROCKS
SHOUTING AND POINTING
BY TONIGHT
APOLOGIES
WHO DO YOU LOVE
ONE MORE CHANCE TO RUN
3000 MILES FROM HERE
GOOD TIMES

A ten track version of this album was included with a recent issue of Classic Rock Magazine, but if you missed it, My Regeneration is available on CD with twelve MTH family cuts (plus a thirteenth track, a puzzling oddity from Elliott and producer Ronan McHugh). And yes, it’s subtitled “Volume 1”!

Listen to clips here.

In  the liner notes, Elliott says “we did this for all the right reasons; for the love of the music and to celebrate the fact that from the ashes of the then defunct MTH came some amazing music, much of it criminally ignored for far too long…” I know that it’s intrigued me enough that I’m going to pull out my post-Hunter Mott records and find out what I missed with Widowmaker and British Lions. I’ve already got Ian’s career locked and loaded.

I want to have a pint of beer with Joe Elliott – and I’m buying!

2 Comments

Filed under Music, Reviews

Under The Radar: Sulo / Diamond Dogs

Diamond dogs

Up The Rock

Prescription readers know that I am a huge Faces fan, and I rue the day that the team of Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood went their separate ways. Although each has stayed at the forefront of the music scene, I’m hard pressed to find work by either man that can stand alongside the output from their partnership. When The Faces went away, they left a hole in my rock’n’roll heart.

Many bands like the Quireboys and early Black Crowes did their best to fill the void, but each had their own path to pursue. But ten years ago, I accidentally stumbled across the Diamond Dogs, a killer rock band from Sweden, and that’s been the closest I’ve seen anyone come to capturing the music and the spirit of my barroom boys. Of course albums were hard to come by – even some I was able to grab have gone out of print – but thankfully some of the material is out there for grabs.

Here’s a review of That’s The Juice I’m On from 2003, back in their Feedback Boogie label days:

Diamond Dogs juice

The Faces will never reunite – hell, the box set has been dragging its ass for four years plus – but if you still miss the rhythm and booze swagger of Rod and Ronnie I have the band for you. Sweden, of all places, has spent the last few years exporting great bands that land here well under the radar. Diamond Dogs is the cream of the crop, slipping into the shoes of the masters and continuing to champion soulful, energetic, pint-in-the-air rock and roll.

Juice is the sixth, seventh or eight album depending whom you ask, and figuring out whether the current band has five, seven or nine members is also an exercise in futility. But just listen as “Passing Through My Heart” perfectly blends the best parts of “You Wear It Well” and “Ooh La La”. Smile when “Throw It All Away” and “Get The Monkey Off” make you run to the shelf to grab A Nod Is As Good As A Wink To A Blind Horse.

Chris Robinson gave it a good shot with the Black Crowes, but this is the real deal, from Sulo’s whiskey voice down to Henrik Widen’s fat organ and rollicking piano homage to the great Ian McLagan. Juice is a collection of alternate versions and unreleased tracks from the past couple of years but stands up as an album, even featuring the requisite killer cover song (a smoldering version of “Pills”) the band is noted for. If you hear one record by the Dogs you’ll want them all, so you might as well start here.

They’ve made more great records since then, and while some of the musicians continued to perform with their other bands (Hellacopters, Dogs D’Amour, etc.) lead singer Sulo cut two excellent solo albums. Reminiscent of the glory days when Rod and The Faces each made a record a year, but without the drama or imbalance. Last year the Diamond Dogs played some tour dates with Jason and the Scorchers, Dan Baird and The Quireboys and released yet another album, and supposedly there’s a live one in the pipeline. 

And Sulo has been a busy guy as well. Besides the Diamond Dogs, the Bitter Twins and other one-off projects, he’s released two more albums! I’m in the process of getting copies and will have links to full reviews soon, but in the meantime, check out the links below and enjoy some of the best music not being played on the radio in America.

Sulo’s Hear Me Out on Amazon.

Sulo’s collaboration with Ernst Brunner.

Diamond Dogs on Smilodon Records

Diamond Dogs on MySpace

Sulo on MySpace

Bitter Twins on MySpace.

3 Comments

Filed under Features and Interviews, Music

Under The Radar: Teenage Frames

Rock out Knockout

Rock out Knockout

I first discovered this Chicago band during a late night trolling session on CDBaby (a highly recommended exercise to discover many bands flying under everybody’s radar). I was intrigued by the name-dropping of the Dolls, Stones and Stooges, and plunked my money down. Well, the comparisons were accurate – More Songs, Less Music was reminiscent of  Cheap Trick and Mott The Hoople strained through a  Ramones filter (albeit with traces of Beach Boys and bubblegum glam). Twelve years later, I’m still playing their discs.

Now listed on MySpace as being from Hollywood, a December 2008 post teased a new recording in progress. But their last blog entry says “permanent vacation”, which wither means (1) they want you to know they’re not coming back to Chicago, (2) they really like that Aerosmith album, or (3) they’re toast.

The Teenage Frames have released six CDs to date. Give them a try – most of their releases are EPs you can pick up for five bucks! Unlike so many bands who think they have to fill out every nanosecond of the CD with sound, these guys know enough to get it, hit hard and get out. Here’s a review of 1% Faster, their second release, that will give you a good snapshot of their sound.

If you like the Stooges and the New York Dolls as much as I do, then you’re going to have a big smile on your face when you hear these guys. Now don’t get me wrong – glass won’t shatter and I don’t see a high heel shoe anywhere – but vocalist Frankie Delmane was spawned from the same muck. And hell, with song titles like “Drug Power,” “Teenage Letdown” and “Back To The Motor City,” what do you expect? The Teenage Frames kick ass, pal! “I’m Going Home” has more swagger than Jagger, and if that ain’t Keef ripping those rhythm chords it’s Dan Baird fronting the Quireboys.

When they slow it down, it’s Johnny Thunders sipping margaritas (“Living It Up”), but when it cranks I hear echoes of The Ramones (“I Want To Go Out Tonight”), The Boys (“Just Can’t Seem To Take It”), The Black Crowes and The Sex Pistols. Once in a while, Delmane’s rasp slides off the chart, but so what? With three seventies-named cats like Eric Vegas (who co- writes everything with Delmane), Jim Holiday and Ted (Don’t Call Me Johnny) Cougar as the power trio, I don’t care. The last record is called 1% Faster. I think they underestimate themselves.

Teenage Frames website

Teenage Frames CDs on CDBaby

TF live, too wild for The Jenny Jones Show
teenage frames

1 Comment

Filed under Features and Interviews, Music

2008 Countdown: 6, 5, 4

The countdown of the Best Albums of 2008 continues…more of the top ten!

 

6. The Quireboys:  Homewreckers and Heartbreakers

Thankfully someone is waving The Faces flag and keeping the spirit alive, because God knows Rod Stewart isn’t going to do it. Spike and Guy Griffin have developed a strong songwriting partnership that evokes comparisons to Stewart/Wood; two men who think with one mind, play to each other’s strengths and create something as a unit superior to what they do on their own. The confidence they have developed over the past few years is manifested in a wider bandwidth of material than the sleaze/blues/rock formula that earner The (London) Quireboys their initial fame. That said, they can still bring it. “I Love This Dirty Town” is a gutbucket, fist-pumping rocker, and “Josephine” sounds like “Borstal Boys” after a syringe of Red Bull was jacked into its veins. “Louder”, as you’d anticipate from the title, is no slouch either.

But in “Mona Lisa Smiled”, the Quireboys have absolutely hit the bulls-eye, a mid-tempo classic that recalls the warmth and soul of the early Rod Stewart albums. Spike’s reading is pitch-perfect, and (as with “One For The Road” as well), the background of fiddles and keys bouncing off Griffin’s acoustic and Paul Guerin’s tasty slide is pure magic. Coupled with Spike’s raspy road tales, these more restrained efforts are a worthy descendant of the classic Pugh/Quittenton/Wood sound; studio sharp yet front porch casual. Kudos to Nick Mailing’s engineering and co-production (with Griffin), which allows equal attention to the band’s finesse as well as their power. “Late Night Saturday Call” is an introspective folksy blues, while the subtle shuffle “Take A Look At Yourself” should be in Van Morrison’s setlist at the very next opportunity.

But as much as I’m spotlighting the more mature Quireboys (did I actually use those two words in the same sentence?) they are still a kick-ass rock band; they’ve just gotten better and more versatile without giving an inch. I always hoped they were capable of raising the bar, but I wasn’t sure they were. With this, their finest effort, all my doubts are laid to rest.

 

5. Foxboro Hot Tubs:  Stop, Drop and Roll

Leave it to Billie Joe Armstrong to teach everyone else how to put aside the posturing and just make a fun rock’n’roll record. By now everyone knows that behind the faux album art and name, it’s just Green Day having a blast bashing out stripped down garage rock and pop rock. It’s as if they pilfered my box of 60s singles, then reanimated and reinvented new songs from the DNA. And any of these tracks, made with the same effervescent spirit as their forefathers, could be sandwiched alongside those Seeds and Raiders and Monkees singles without missing a beat. Drummer Tre Cool must have loved this project, as his closet Keith Moon side surfaces often, especially “27th Avenue Shuffle” (nicking The Who’s “Legal Matter”) and the title track. “Mother Mary” actually charted before people caught on, and why not? It’s “Lust For Life” filtered through “Don’t Get Me Wrong” (complete with James Honeyman-Scott guitar solo) sung by a sweeter sounding Morrissey. Sure, no chance of liking that, right?

Have fun playing “spot-the-influence” as you go careening through a dozen great singles. “Red Tide” is a Kinks song with Davy Jones on vocals; “She’s A Saint” sounds like the Sex Pistols’ take on “Summertime Blues”, but then adds handclaps and choruses of “ooohs” to morph into a classic powerpop track. “Alligator” owes its debt to “You Really Got Me” and fans of the The Yardbirds will do a double-take at “Dark Side Of The Night”. I can’t believe anyone put this record down as if Green Day was making some massive career mistake after American Idiot. To borrow the question from powerpop cult heroes Candy, “Whatever Happened To Fun”?

 

4. The Whigs:  Mission Control

This is the sound of a band finding its identity and going for broke, all the time knowing that there are no guarantees anyone will ever witness the trip. Not many albums start out with the urgency of “Like A Vibration”, a snarling, charging call-to-arms that sounds like equal parts Who and Replacements. Singer and guitarist Parker Gispert’s versatile voice is matched only by the wide variety of songs on the band’s sophomore album, and Tim Deaux’s very fluid bass lines make this trio sound a lot bigger than they really are. But with all due respect to them, it’s Julian Dorio who is the secret weapon on Mission Control. He plays drums like he has eight limbs and kicks even the moderate tempos in the ass.

“I Never Want To Go Home” echoes Snow Patrol at their peak, but “Sleep Sunshine” could be Radiohead with Frank Black at the controls, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who thought of The Police when hearing “Production City”. Sure, their Athens roots will bleed through on occasion – “Hot Bed” is a dB’s/REM cross-fade and “Already Young” would fit on Monster (and probably be the best song on that record). But I’m willing to absorb that caveat when every song has a great melody or hook, sometimes both, and the textures are so varied and hypnotic that my attention never wavers. Maybe Rolling Stone got one right when they picked them as the best (then) unsigned band in America. If The Whigs can pull off the mania of “Need You Need You” and the hypnotic pulse of the title track live on stage, I’m there…especially to watch that guy behind the drum kit.

Tomorrow, the countdown of the Best Albums of 2008 continues…just three left to go!

1 Comment

Filed under Features and Interviews, Music, Reviews