Saturday, 24 December 2011

Part 3 - Rock Advent Calendar

And here's the final eight. Have a great Christmas!

Day Artist Video Download
17 Steve Lukather The Christmas Song Amazon (CD)
18 Northern Light Orchestra Away In A Manger / 
Come Let Us Adore Him
19 B. B. King Please Come Home For Christmas Amazon
20 The Ramones Merry Christmas
(I Don't Want To Fight Tonight)
21 Joe Perry Blue Christmas Amazon (CD)
22 Keith Richards Run, Run, Rudolf Amazon
23 AC/DC Mistress For Christmas Amazon (CD)
24 The Darkness Christmas Time
(Don't Let The Bells End)

Let me know what you think of the selection and feel free to offer alternatives.

You can see all of these and more on the online Rock Christmas Advent calendar.

Free Download Friday #119: Fourth Download in Advent

A bit of a bonus this week. First the one I was going to do last week and then a couple of others I've come across, including the one I was going to do this week.

Sandi Thom @ O2 ABC2 Glasgow 7th May 2010 by Vhazza
Sandi Thom @ O2 ABC2 Glasgow 7th May 2010
a photo by Vhazza on Flickr
I suppose I must have been aware of Sandi Thom because, although I couldn't hum it to save myself, I at least recognised the title of her breakthrough single: I Wish I Was a Punk Rocker (With Flowers in My Hair). It was, however, her album, Merchants And Thieves, that really caught my eye though because it features a collaboration with Joe Bonamassa.

When I heard that she was offering a free Christmas download, I was hopeful that it would be in the same Bluesy style as the track she did with Mr Bonamassa. Unfortunately, it's not,. But fortunately, it is still a good free Christmas download.

She has recorded a fairly gentle acoustic version of Merry Little Christmas which you can download when you enter an email address. (And unlike many of these offers, you don't have to wait to get an email and then follow a link back to get the download - the download button becomes active as soon as you enter your address.)

As I say, the track is fairly gentle and shows off her vocal ability. Personally, I would have liked the guitar to feature a bit more prominently in the mix but despite that reservation, I can see this track working really well as a late night listen. What do you think?

Next up is a Christmas song from Rob Halford - yes as in Judas Priest. On Halford's site you can buy a Christmas For Everyone from the site shop for the princely sum of $0.00. To me, it sounds a bit more Ramones-ish rather than Judas Priest-y but I like it. What do you think? If you like what you hear, check out his free music page where you can download a variety of non-Christmas tracks.

Finally, a couple of links that I've not had a chance to process properly so I offer them here without comment:
Hope you enjoy. And have a great Christmas and a happy New Year.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Part 2 - Rock Advent Calendar

And here's the next eight:

Day Artist Video Download
9 Manowar Silent Night YouTube
10 Joan Jett And The Blackhearts Little Drummer Boy Amazon
11 August Burns Red O Come, O Come Emmanuel Amazon
12 Seasick Steve Xmas Prison Blues Amazon
13 Radwan Hoteit (?) Happy Xmas (War Is Over) Amazon
14 The Black Crowes Back Door Santa
15 Jethro Tull Ring Out Solstice Bells Amazon
16 Alice Cooper et al Santa Claws Is Coming To Town Amazon

Let me know what you think of the selection and feel free to offer alternatives.

You can see all of these and more on the online Rock Christmas Advent calendar.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Part 1 - Rock Advent Calendar

File this one in the "It seemed like a good idea at the time..." category.

I like Rock music and I like Christmas music but Rock radio stations seem reluctant to play Christmas music... perhaps because it is generally associated with a high cheese factor. We were discussing this issue on a Rock Radio facebook page and I said that you could easily fill a couple of hours of programme with Christmas music that would appeal to Rock fans. Unfortunately, Don Macbeth called my bluff and challenged me to post a different Rock Christmas song every day in advent.

So that's what I've been doing. I only made two provisos: one, I didn't want any grumpy comments about this or that not being Rock; and two, I was going to include some Blues.

I noticed, however, that my daily posts don't seem to show up on my facebook wall, so if you don't go the the right page, you wont have noticed the songs. Therefore, I created an online music video Rock Advent Calendar and I wrote this post. This will be the first of three posts, taking me up to Christmas Eve, when I will list the last eight of the videos.

Let me know what you think of the selection and feel free to offer alternatives.

Day Artist Video Download
1 Slade Merry Xmas Everybody Amazon
2 Bruce Springsteen Santa Claus Is Coming To Town Amazon
3 The Greedies A Merry Jingle Amazon (Vinyl)
4 Twisted Sister O Come All Ye Faithfull Amazon
5 Joe Bonamassa Santa Claus Is Back In Town Try Joe's download
from last year
6 Joe Satriani Silent Night/Holy Night Jam Amazon (CD)
7 Dio, Tony Iommi et. al God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen Amazon
8 Eric Clapton Christmas Tears Amazon

Friday, 16 December 2011

Free Download Friday #118: Third Download in Advent

I had another post lined up and ready to go... then I saw this advertised on the Roadrunner Records site:

It's gone. :-(

They say it will only be there for one weekend, so go get it now!  If you haven't already downloaded it, you're too late but you can still listen to Santa Claus Is Back In Town on Soundcloud:

I've posted a link to the Joe Bonamassa version of this track before (Free Music Friday #82: Happy Christmas from Joe Bonamassa). This version is much more raw and raucous - dirty even! Excellent!

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Free Download Friday #117: Second Download in Advent

Given that I'm a teetotal Rock music fan, this is not my usual musical choice... But it's Christmas!

Under The Christmas Star from Stella Artois offers seven jazz flavoured Christmas songs. (Or possibly eight songs if you are still in the first so many hundred thousand downloads). Only restriction is you have to be over eighteen)

Check out the facebook page for more details.

As I said, not my usual taste but maybe I'm in a good mood because it's Christmas because I quite like this. And a whole album's worth of Christmas songs for free is not to be sneezed at.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Free Download Friday #116: First Download in Advent

Late again. I am therefore posting the first Friday in Advent download on the second Sunday in Advent...

First up though is a bonus. I have posted a link to this track before (see Free Download Friday #40: Final Friday in Advent) but in case you missed it, Mr Bonamassa has made Merry Christmas Baby available again. Just go to the Christmas page on his site, enter your email address and Joe's your uncle!

Now a new download from a band (duo?) I've never heard of before but I'm really impressed with what they have done with an old classic:

Baby It's Cold Outside - really simple acoustic arrangement, two voices that work well together, and a performance that isn't cheesy and doesn't have a forced coquettishness. I really like it.

Not very Rock or Blues but very Christmas. What do you think? A good start to the Advent downloads?

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Day 30 - 30 Day Movie Music Challenge

A song from an "in concert" film featuring your favourite band

No surprise here surely... except, I assume this is a DVD extra on the Time Machine 2011: Live In Cleveland DVD

I would pay good money for a CD of Rash polka style music.

And, because they are my favourite band, and it's the last day of the Challenge, here's some fan footage from the tour:

Excellent concert and one of my favourite Rush tracks. Although Geddy is clearly struggling to sing as high as he used to and drops down after the first few lines. :-) {Bonus 2112 included for free with this clip!}

And finally, just because I can - Neil Peart's drum solo from the Time Machine Tour.


Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Day 29 - 30 Day Movie Music Challenge

Music not written for a film but that fits perfectly anyway

Shoot To Thrill by AC/DC fitted the Iron Man 2 film perfectly. This video isn't from the film, but it is so awesome, I couldn't resist showing it again:

(This video has featuired here before - see Rock and Roll!)

Day 28 - 30 Day Movie Music Challenge

Music from a biopic about a musician

Walk The Line - Folsom Prison Blues. It takes a while for him to warm up... but he does a pretty good Johnny Cash impersonation:

Monday, 28 November 2011

Day 27 - 30 Day Movie Music Challenge

Music from a film that's better than the film

Spoiled for choice here... Decided to stick with superheroes and go for this:

I'm still not sure why I was so disappointed with this film. Colin Farrell as Bullseye was OK and Michael Clarke Duncan was a good choice for Kingpin... and yet...  Perhaps part of the reason is that I'm annoyed that the film makers thought it was a good idea for one of the bad guys to discover Daredevil's secret identity. What part of "secret" don't they get?

Day 26 - 30 Day Movie Music Challenge

Music from an animated film

Because the album isn't psychedelic enough...

The foothills of the headlands. Far out man!

Day 25 -30 Day Movie Music Challenge

Music from a documentary film about music

It Might Get Loud is a film I've written about before (see It Might Get Loud). This is my favourite bit:

It's just like he is the wee schoolboy, listening to it for the first time. Brilliant!

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Day 24 -30 Day Movie Music Challenge

Music from an operatic film (rock opera, operetta, whatever)

First heard this album that led to the film, on the Tommy Vance Friday Rock Show and I was completely gobsmacked! I used the same track in my response to day five of the 30 Day Song Challenge (see A song from your teens/childhood) and you can read my trip down memory lane there.

Here's a clip from the film this time:

The film isn't as good as the album... but it's still pretty stunning.

Free Download Friday #115 B: Oops! Within Temptation

Oops! My memory is clearly going. It seems I featured exactly the same Voodoo Six track for download in January 2010! (See Free Download Friday #41: Voodoo Six.)

So here's an emergency backup download from Within Temptation courtesy of Roadrunner Records: Faster.

A bit of acoustic rock to make up for yeterday's repeat.

Free Download Friday #115: Voodoo Six

I won tickets from Rock Radio Real Radio XS to see Voodoo Six in concert tonight. Unfortunately, the lead vocalist, Luke Purdie, has a a throat infection and the gig was cancelled. :-(

But every cloud has a sliver lining because it made me hunt down their website for more details... where I found they are offering a free download of Take The Blame from their latest album:

You know the drill. Give them an email address and they will give you a free download of a belter of a rock track.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Day 23 -30 Day Movie Music Challenge

Music from a film where one or more of the actors have also had musical success

I've changed this challenge from how it was originally to try and make it more open but for me, it was always going to be Spinal Tap day:

Now, where did I leave my model of Stonehenge?

Oh, and here's the secret to Spinal Tap's success.

Day 21 - 30 Day Movie Music Challenge

Music from a film where a real band plays a fictional band. 

Easy choice today - Slade In Flame.

According to Mark Kermode this film is the "Citizen Kane of rock musicals" (see the Wikipedia entry).

Friday, 25 November 2011

Day 20 - 30 Day Movie Music Challenge

Music from a concert movie of an artist you've never seen live

Probably just a bit too young but would have loved to see Led Zeppelin in their heyday. As a teenager however, I did see The Song Remains The Same in the cinema and was just gobsmacked at how good they were. Here's the trailer for the film:

I remember being particularly impressed with the multi exposure sword bit and Jimmy Page playing the guitar with a violin bow. This clip is more for the hardcore fan. The sound is a bit quiet on this clip so turn up the volume. Lots of noise and psychedelic hippie nonsense:

Own up. How many of you watched the second clip to the end?

Day 19- 30 Day Movie Music Challenge

Music reworked for a film that you like better than the original 

In retrospect, this is a bit similar to Day 7 but I'm going with it anyway. What about Roxanne from Moulin Rouge?

From Blue-eyed Reggae to gravel voiced monster of a track. (Although, I could do without Ewan McGregor joining in!)

{Sorry, well behind in posting these - too much to do and too little organisation. Will try to catch up over the next few days.}

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Day 18 - 30 Day Movie Music Challenge

Music by an artist that appears in a film as a character

I've featured this clip before (in Alex The Actor) but it seems appropriate for today's topic:

Apparetly, the film is called Suck and despite being a big Rush fan, I've never seen it... but from the look of the film's trailer, the above clip might be the best bit in it! So here's some of Alex doing what he does best:

Are rock stars universally duff actors? Can you come up with an example where musician does a good job of being someone other than himself or herself?

Friday, 18 November 2011

Day 17 - 30 Day Movie Music Challenge

Music by an artist that appears in a movie as themselves 

Does this challenge make sense? For example, I could have gone for Alice Cooper in Wayne's World, or Rush in I Love You Man - two films I have already featured here.

The one I've chosen for today is a slight cheat - Lemmy in the film Airheads. It is a slight cheat because he is credited in the titles as "Lemmy von Motörhead". However, it is close enough for this purpose and gives me the excuse to link to this track from the soundtrack:

The video quality is pretty poor but close your eyes and enjoy Lemmy doing what he does!

To be honest, I could do without the Ice-T bits... but you can't have everything.

Day 16 - 30 Day Movie Music Challenge

Favourite music from a superhero movie

I like Nickelback but I find individual tracks to be a bit hit or miss. Perhaps it's the addition of Josey Scott, but for me, this theme from Spiderman, is a hit:

Is today a bit too geeky, or does everyone have a favourite superhero movie? :-)

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Day 15 - 30 Day Movie Music Challenge

Favourite Bond theme tune

I was tempted to go for a classic oldie - Thunderball by Tom Jones partly because I think this was the first Bond I saw in the cinema. I went as a young teenager with a couple of friends to see it in a double bill with Diamonds Are For Ever. I was stunned by the scope of the films. Vast armies, secret bases in volcanoes, villainous villains and literally going from the depths of the ocean to the vastness of space. These two films are to this day my favourite Bonds.

I decided thought, that this was a movie music challenge, so went with this as my favourite theme:

I really like Chris Cornell's voice and I think the slightly vulnerable tone to his voice you can hear works really well for this film.

So, what's your favourite Bond theme? Are you old Bond, new Bond... or a closet Sheena Easton fan?

Day 14 - 30 Day Movie Music Challenge

Music from a film you went to see because of the soundtrack

I saw the trailer for Birdy and recognised at least three Peter Gabriel tracks and decided I had to see the film:

I knew nothing about the movie but I went to see it because of the soundtrack. It has been a while but, as far as I remember, there are a couple of scenes where Gabriel's music fits perfectly. Essentially the soundtrack is instrumental re-workings of existing Gabriel tracks and yet, it was like they were written for the film.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Day 13 - 30 Day Movie Music Challenge

A song from a film that is a guilty pleasure

Another film from student days (a theme seems to be developing here). I was, of course, aware of Prince in the 80's but his stuff didn't seem to be my cup of tea. It was suggested though, that I should go and see Purple Rain and that I'd be impressed with his guitar skills. So I went... and I was. (Skip to about five minutes in if you just want the guitar solo.)

A guilty pleasure since I am not otherwise hugely interested in his music... or his image. 

For another example of his guitar playing prowess, try this clip of a performance of While My Guitar Gently Weeps.

Day 12 - 30 Day Movie Music Challenge

Music you like that is in a film that you have not seen

My favourite band is Rush (no surprise there) and I know there is a film where developing an appreciation of Rush is an important plot point. The film is I Love You Man and it is billed as a "bromance". It has to be said that the label "bromance" was enough to ensure that I would not see it!

 Rush tracks feature a few times in the soundtrack and the band itself actually appear in the film:

Rush playing live are, as always, excellent, but that clip hasn't made me any more keen to see the film. In fact, I'd go as far as saying, it has positively put me off!

{Again, worried this might be too niche a category. Any one else able to identify films/music, or can anyone suggest how I could widen this category to make it more accessible?}

Friday, 11 November 2011

Day 11 - 30 Day Movie Music Challenge

Music that shares its name with a film title but does not appear in the film

This one is trickier than I originally thought. I was going to go for Iron Man by Black Sabbath because I was fairly sure it didn't feature in the 2008 Iron Man film... but according to that pesky Wikipedia, an instrumental section is used at the start of the end titles. Curses, back to the drawing board.

Second choice then is High Fidelity - the film and the Elvis Costello track:

So here's a trailer for the film (with Jack Black stealing the show):

And here's the track:

Phew! I think this may be a fairly limited set of films. Can any one find any others or am I going to have to widen this out a bit?

{Update: Just changed Day 11's of the 30 Day Movie Music Challenge to (hopefully) make it easier. It now simply reads, "Music that shares its name with a film title." }

Day 10 - 30 Day Movie Music Challenge

Theme music from your favourite film 

Favourite film is Star Wars and the theme music is awesome!

Only problem I have with the above clip is that it stops just before the ginormous spaceship comes rumbling over your head!

{I did start this very late last night... well, technically, early this morning, but better late than never?}

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Day 09 - 30 Day Movie Music Challenge

Music from a film about music that isn't a musical 

Didn't take me long to decide it was going to be something from School Of Rock. The problem was what track to choose? Decided to choose one written for the movie that they use in the competition at the end:

Just excellent. Jack Black doing what he does best (i.e. not being Gulliver) and (I believe) the children in the movie were really playing the instruments. 

Other favourite sections from the movie include the children getting CDs to listen to for homework (the drummer, of course, gets Rush - 2112 to listen to) and the rock family tree on the blackboard with Jack's cool board pointer. I like the way there are various boxes with musical genres (Punk, Heavy Metal, etc.) on the board. Beside the boxes, bands' names are written. Down near the bottom, there's one branching out of Prog with a question mark in the box and beside it is written Zappa, Can and Captain Beefheart. :-)

Day 08 - 30 Day Movie Music Challenge

Music from a musical

Struggling with this one as musicals aren't really my thing. I was however in a production of Oliver when I was still at school, so decided to go for Fagin thinking it out again.

I suppose I could have gone for something from the Blues Brothers again but didn't want to use the same film twice. Are there any other Blues or Rock based musicals that should have come to mind?

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Day 07 - 30 Day Movie Music Challenge

A cover version you heard from a film before you heard the original

 I'm almost ashamed to own up to this one... Elton John, in huge platform boots, singing pinball wizard. What's extra sad is that I didn't even know it was a cover.

And to redress the balance:

Is your choice as embarrassing?

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Day 06 - 30 Day Movie Music Challenge

Music from an artist you like but that you didn't expect to hear in a film

Your watching a kids film, Small Soldiers in this case, and it suddenly gets a bit creepy with demented mutant Barbie dolls. Then, to my surprise, Led Zeppelin kicks in! 

Fast forward to 4:23 and enjoy.

Have you ever been surprised by a piece of music in a film? For example, I would have gone for The Boys Are Back In Town - a song about drunkenness, fighting and sexism - used for Toy Story, but I think it was only used in the trailer.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Day 05 - 30 Day Movie Music Challenge

Music from a film that introduced you to an artist

I suppose this could be an artist from a soundtrack or from a band that featured in a film. For me, it's from a film of a concert: Talking Heads - Stop Making Sense.

I can't remember if my friend had seen the band live, or if he'd just seen this film, but either way, he talked me into seeing the movie. I've a vague notion that it was a late night showing at the Grosvenor Cinema in Ashton Lane but I might be haivering. I loved the way that David Byrne started off on his own, in a more or less empty stage and then the rest of the band and the stage set built up around him. 

A great concert movie and a great introduction to a band. Who did the movies introduce to you?

Oh... and why a big suit?

Free Download Friday #114: Manic Street Preachers

I'm not sure what I make of the Manic Street Preachers. It seems that I like them in small doses, in that I quite enjoy individual tracks but find a whole album's worth a bit too much.

If you like them better than I do, or if you too like them in small doses, I can highly recommend a track currently available for free download from 7 Digital. The tune on offer is an acoustic track called This Is The Day - a cover of a song from The The.

Guitar, harmonica and vocals. Sparse and stark - it seems to suit the lyrics perfectly, but perhaps that's because I'm old and cynical and don't believe it when they sing, "This is the day your life will surely change. This is the day when things fall into place."

If you want to hear the plugged in version, check out the official video:

So what do you think? I think I prefer the unplugged version.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Day 04 - 30 Day Movie Music Challenge

 Music from a film that was used to promote an artist (could be film about an artist or just a soundtrack tie in)

I suspect, as with so many things, Elvis was the first to do this, so I could have gone for any of his films... or indeed Britain's answer to Elivis - Cliff. (Honest, I did consider Summer Holiday.)

In the end though, I went for The Beatles and Help!

Loved this film the first time I saw it and, although the style has dated somewhat, the music is as strong as ever. And how can anyone criticise Ringo after seeing his performance in this clip?

So what will you go for? I dare someone to choose Head from The Monkees!

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Day 03 - 30 Day Movie Music Challenge

Music from a documentary/mockumentary.

A band I love? Has to be Rush. A documentary? Has to be Beyond the Lighted Stage :-)

I blogged about this documentary in June last year and one of the things I really liked about it was seeing the old footage of the band in their very early days. In particular, there were some snipits from a concert they played in a school hall, just after the release of their first album, while John Rutsey was still the drummer. Someone has posted a whole song's worth of this concert from the DVD extras disk, so here is more than eight minutes worth of Working Man:

Two comments. One: interesting to see that John Rutsey introduced the song. Two: what were they wearing? I mean, what is that thing Alex has round is neck? And the glittery t-shrt was surely ill advised. (Although, I must own up to wearing a glittery Blue Oyster Cult t-shirt in the late seventies!) Geddy appears to be wearing a blouse that's knotted under his moobs and those sleeves that surely contravene umpteen health and safety regulations.

Hopefully some of you at least will have a favourite bit from a music documentary.

{Update: I've altered this challenge from how it was originally posted. Hopefully, it broadens things out and will make it easier for people to join in.}

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Day 2 - 30 Day Movie Music Challenge

Day 02 - Music from a film scene that makes you happy.

Saw this movie on TV recently, so this scene came to mind immediately:

The Blues Brothers - a bit sweary and even blasphemous in places - but so many great musical moments. For example, just before this scene, the Blues Brothers are walking towards Aretha's cafe and pass John Lee Hooker, sitting in the street, playing and singing - it's almost thrown away but it's pure genius.

I love John Lee Hooker but the Think! sequence, more than any other musical number in the film, makes me happy. Aretha Franklin giving it laldy in her baffies. Outstanding!

{The audio is a bit out of sync with the video in the clip above... which is a shame. The only other clip I can find is this one, which seems to have been made by pointing a camera at the screen while watching the film on the telly. Odd, but it might actually be better quality than the one I've embedded above - and it includes the set up to the musical number too. What do you think? Which one should be embedded?}

Over to you then. Pick a scene with music that makes you happy.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Thirty Day Movie Music Challenge - Day 1

Back in April (grief, I didn't think it was that long ago) I had a go at a 30 Day Music Challenge from a facebook page. Since then, I've been inundated with requests to do something like it again. (Well, OK... two people asked me if I was going to do it again!) I didn't want to do a repeat, so I had a look to see what else was out there.

There are other music challenges but I thought there'd be too much overlap. There are film challenges which I thought would be interesting but this is a music blog.

Since I couldn't find an existing list I wanted to try, I thought I'd invent my own. So here is the first ever posting in the Thirty Day Movie Music Challenge. So without further ado, I give you:

Thirty Day Movie Music Challenge

Day 01 - Music that is integral to an iconic movie scene. 

 There were a number of possibilities I considered here. But in the end, there could be only one:

Wayne's World - Bohemian Rhapsody. Simply awesome. Is it possible to reach "that point" in Bohemian Rhapsody without headbanging? Not just an iconic moment, but one of the great opening title sequences.

I acknowledge that my thirty days might be a bit more idiosyncratic than other thirty day challenges and perhaps even a bit too tied to my own interests but I hope the categories are general enough that others feel able to join in.

What do you think? What iconic scene would you choose?

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Free Download Friday #113: Free CD!

What's going on? A Free Download Friday that's actually posted on a Friday!? And not so much a download as a down loads because, this week, it is not one or two tracks on offer but 14 tracks - an entire CD of Rock and Metal to download and enjoy.

Classic Rock SE - Slash by ferencziz
a photo by ferencziz on Flickr.
Classic Rock magazine decided to make the cover mounted CD that was available on the international edition of the magazine available for download. Even better the download is not restricted to just the UK, nor do you have to buy the magazine to get it. See the Download Classic Rock CD For Free page for a full listing and a link to the download service.

I have to admit that I did not recognise any of the artists but from the fourteen tracks on offer, you'd have to be pretty grumpy not to find at least one track you enjoy. The one that I like best (so far at least) is There’s A Hole In The Heart Of The Blues by Micki Free. But what's your favourite?

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Free Download Friday #112: Subdivisions

Now this is a bit closer to normal free download service... albeit that it's very late for a feature called "Free Download FRIDAY". (Supercheap Sunday anyone?)

PS I Love You by musicisentropy
PS I Love You, a photo by 
musicisentropy on Flickr.
I have made no secret of my love of Rush, so I was intrigued to hear of a Canadian indie band offering a free download of their cover of a Rush track. The band are called PS I Love You and the track they are covering is Subdivisions. (See the Rolling Stone site, MP3 Download: PS I Love You's Gritty Rush Cover 'Subdivisions' for details and the download link.)

PS I Love You are a duo of musicians who, like the Black Keys, are a guitar and drums only outfit, so they have a simmilar stripped down, raw style to the Black Keys. This makes the choice of Subdivisions for a cover all the more interesting. Subdivisions opens with Geddy playing the synth and is typical of that period of Rush where they were developing a slick, multi-layered approach to their music. In this cover, the synth part has been replaced by a rough and raucous guitar riff that really works (IMHO). In fact, if they had kept it as an instrumental cover, I think I would have loved it but then the vocal kick in... For me at least, Paul's vocals will take a bit of getting used to, so I only really like the track rather than an out and out love!

Now, before anyone else says it, I know that Geddy's vocal style is a stumbling block to many. His voice seems to be an acquired taste (although I never had any problem acquiring it!). I have no doubt therefore that there are people who have no problem the the PS I Love You vocals. However, I've listened to the cover version a few times now and the vocals are growing on me. I really like the feel of the track, and so have no hesitation in recommending it for download despite my reservations about the vocals. Oh, and it ends with a great bit of feedback!

What do you make of it though?

Just before I leave this band, I was amused by Paul's description of his gradual conversion to Rush in the Rolling Stone's article and Subdivision in particular with its, "epic synth intro". Subdivisions is a track I have used in the past to try and convert people to all things Rush. My recommendation is that people listen to it all the way through once, then go back and listen to it while concentrating on the bass line. Then again but concentrating on the drums. Then again, a fourth time, but trying to isolate the guitar part in their head before finally listening to it as a whole again. Each individual part is brilliant but the whole is even better. (And note, that I don't even touch on the "epic synth"!)

Finally then, a bit of the real thing. Rush have a live DVD: Rush Time Machine 2011: Live In Cleveland coming out in October and here is a trailer to whet your appetite:

Well, it's has my mouth watering!

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Free Download Friday #111: Nick Lowe

Another unusual one this week. In fact, I'm not sure what I make of it myself.

By the late seventies, I was listening more or less exclusively to Rock music. Of course I was aware of other forms of music, particularly punk, but such is the musical division in teenage tribes, I couldn't admit to liking, or even listening to other musical styles.

One of my friends though was into Nick Lowe, an artist that is difficult to pigeonhole. Wikipedia describes his style as Pub Rock and Power Pop, certainly different from the stuff I usually listened to, and yet I developed a soft spot for I Love The Sound Of Broken Glass:

Therefore, when I saw he had two tracks available for free download, to promote his new album, I thought I'd check it out.

One of the tracks is off his new album and is called House For Sale. It's a pleasant little song about lost love and the end of a relationship. (And, no, I'm not being sarcastic. Genuinely, it is a gentle, lyrical track.) It is not entirely my cup of tea but having listened to it a few times now, it's growing on me. Great lyrics... but still not sure.

The other track is an acoustic version of What's So Funny 'Bout Peace Love And Understanding? and that I do like!

So, not the usual fare but a wee blast from the past for me. Let me know what you make of it. If you like what you hear, check out his facebook page where you can listen to the whole album as an audio stream.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Free Download Friday #110: Gary Moore

It's late and I'm tired but I think this one speaks for itself. A free video of Gary playing live.

A quote from the Free Gary Moore Video page on the Eagle Rock site explains:
Enter your email... to get your free download of "Oh Wild One" from "Live at Montreux 2010".
What do you think? A bit different to link to a video on Free Download Friday. Would you like to see more video downloads? Leave a comment to let me know, or click one of the feedback check boxes below.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Free Download Friday #109: Black Country Communion Live

Another freebie from Black Country Communion (see previous posts) - this time from their forthcoming concert DVD (and album?): Live Over Europe.

To whet your appetite, here's a trailer:

According the the bumph on the pre-order page, the double DVD comes with a free download of a live track. Thankfully though, you don't have to wait for the DVD release because they are giving the track away on their website just now. Give them an email address, and they'll give you the link to download a live version of Song Of Yesterday.

And it is a belter of a track. From the opening solo by, through the outstanding solo about halfway through, to the ending that romps and then ends on a more gentle reprise, it would seem that Mr Bonamassa is on fine form and thoroughly enjoying himself.

Joe Bonamassa also takes the bulk of the vocal duties which is more than fine by me!

I can't remember why I couldn't see this band when they played Glasgow at the end of July but hearing this live track makes me absolutely determined not to miss them the next time they tour. (In fact, I've not managed to see Joe Bonamassa in concert either. Something else I really need to put right!)

So what do you think? Is Song Of Yesterday your cup of tea? And would you consider getting the DVD when it becomes available?

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Free Download Friday #108: Tom Hollister Trio

Missed last week (incompetence rather than lack of tracks) but back with a belter of a Blues track.

The Tom Hollister Trio is another band I first came a on a cover disk from Classic Rock magazine. Their website is impressive with a good selection of live video and audio files to check out, for example, here's a video from their YouTube channel taken from the Steelhouse Festival in Ebbw Vale, South Wales recorded on the 20th August 2011:

Their facebook page also has a load of good information and links. They had made an ep available for free download through facebook but unfortunately, you can no longer get it free. Have a listen to one of the tracks to see what you (and I) missed and if you like it, it only costs a pound to download the whole three track ep!

But this post isn't called "Very Cheap Download Friday". So where's the freebie? Well you can't get the Knebworth ep free any more, but you can get a free track recorded at Sonisfere in 2010 because you can download Sweet Words from their Bandcamp site. And what a track it is. If you like it, you can listen to three tracks from Sonisfere with this widget:

I make no secret of my admiration for trios. It seems to me, with only three in a band, there is no room for slackers. Everyone has to pull their weight... and with this band, it sounds like the guitarist is pulling hard enough for three people on his own. The frighteningly talented guitarist may be the first to grab the ear but the bassist/vocalist and drummer are far from shabby and they are the kind of band that rewards repeated listens.

As far as I'm concerned, with bands like this on the rise, the future of the Blues is not just safe but positively dangerous! (And that's a good thing, in case you are confused.)

So what do you think of TH3?

Monday, 5 September 2011

Freddy Mercury - Google Doodle

The Google Doodles are usually fun and interesting but every so often they out do themselves. Today's falls into the "above and beyond" category: an animated video of Queen's Don't Stop Me Now to commemorate Freddy Mercury's birthday.

I suppose it will eventual turn up in the Doodle Archive, but here's a YouTube video in case you are unlucky enough to live in America (where it will not be shown until tomorrow):

Not interactive like the Les Paul Doodle but still great fun. Thank you Google.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Free Download Friday #107: The Answer

Free Download Friday back after a long Summer break.

First off the blocks is a young Irish band called The Answer - a ridiculously young Irish band who play outstandingly good old school rock. I think I first became aware of this band when they featured on a cover CD of Classic Rock magazine and was impressed enough to track down Everyday Demons.

Here's a widget that will let you hear and download the free track they have on offer:

This is another free track that is offered in exchange for your email address.

It is a belter. Cormac has a great rock voice - somewhere between a snarl and a scream and the rest of the band drive the track along at breakneck speed. I really like this track and if you like it too, I suggest you give Everyday Demons a try.

Let me know what you think in a comment, or at the least, click one of the reaction boxes at the bottom of the post.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Free Download Friday#106: I am not a number!

After the "Not Keen" ratings last week, I thought I'd go back to more familiar, albeit somewhat quirky, territory.

As I've stated before, I like noisy guitar bands but while this band are noisy, there are no guitars to be heard... at least, none with six strings. Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling are a duo: one who sings and plays bass and one who plays drums. I find myself enjoying minimalist approaches and stripped back arrangements at the moment and you don't get much more stripped back than just bass and drums!

I promised you quirky and if a bass and drum duo and quirky enough, this pair named themselves after an episode from the cult TV series, The Prisoner and are planning to release seventeen tracks - one for each episode. You want more quirkiness? How about a video for a track that faithfully recreates the programme's opening sequence:

(If you are not familiar with The Prisoner, the band have helpfully provided a version of their video with a picture in picture of the original opening sequence.)

A couple of the tracks are available as free downloads, specifically Episode 12 - Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling and Episode 11 - It’s Your Funeral. other tracks can be accessed and purchased from the band's music page.

They remind me a bit of Miss The Occupier and I like what I've heard so far. Have a listen and tell me what you think... Or at least, click on one of the checkboxes below.

Be seeing you.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Feedback on Feedback

I get a small but relatively steady number of visitors to this blog. I always intend to do more with it: to write more, to engage more, but poor time management and general disorganisation combine and lead to the infrequent posts and quiet blog you are currently reading.

thumbs up by .nate
thumbs up, a photo by .nate on Flickr.
A wee while ago, however, I noticed that you could add a reactions widget to Blogger blogs. This meant people could respond to a post simply by clicking in a box. I liked the idea. People might not want to take the time to leave a comment but offering a Facebook-style "Like" option seemed like a good idea. I hoped it would lower the participation bar sufficiently to encourage a bit more feedback on the Feedback blog. I always meant to write about this feature, draw it to people's attention but somehow never got around to it. (See opening paragraph!)

Essentially therefore, the reactions feature has remained ignored/overlooked/unused (delete as applicable). Last week, however, there was a flurry of activity in that there were two "Not keen" checks on the I Can't Think Of Any Jokes post. Curses! I like funny songs but I guess they are not to everyone's taste. I can't promise I'll never feature a funny song again but I will wait a good while before I risk it!

In the meantime, if you want to influence what appears here, or what songs feature in Free Music Friday, get clicking those check-boxes. It only takes seconds and I will pay attention... Honest.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Free Music Friday #105: I Can't Think Of Any Jokes

Collect a punnett of terrible puns, write a catchy tune, add a chorus, and what do you get? You get this free download from Alfred Williams:

I can't think of any jokes by Blindingham

Sad nerd that I am, I had a go at transcribing the lyrics. I think I got most of it but was completely stumped by the second last joke; anyone want to offer a suggestion?

If you can't help with the missing lyric, perhaps you could suggest lyrics that could have been included but were inexplicably omitted. For example, he could have told the one about the skunk, but frankly it stinks.

{This is a partial cross-post from EdCompBlog, my education blog. If you are interested in seeing a video of this track, the Education blog is displaying it for your edification and enjoyment.}

{P.S. Thanks to the Mitch Benn Podcast for bringing this track to my attention.}

Friday, 17 June 2011

Free Music Friday #104: Ha Ha Tonka

Ha Ha Tonka feature in free music Friday again - that makes four times. (I'll need to check if that's a record.)

Ha Ha Tonka by JasonBaldwin
Ha Ha Tonka, a photo by JasonBaldwin on Flickr.
A website I've never visited before, called The Ruckus (which has a couple of taglines, one of which is the magnificent "With great moustache comes great responsibility.") gives a free download of a track called Made Example Of. It also links to a site where you can choose how much you are willing to pay (including nothing) for a six track tour sampler (more about this in a moment).

First though, Made Example Of. If you have never heard Ha Ha Tonka before, this is a good introduction. It's lively, quirky and it tells a story. The repeated refrain is:
"If you don't change where you're going,
Your gonna end up right where you're heading."
Sounds like a warning from your parents but perhaps if parents sounded like Ha Ha Tonka, more teenagers would pay attention!

If you like the sound of of Ha Ha Tonka, you will probably enjoy the six track sampler that features two of their tracks. It is billed as the Death of a Decade Tour Sampler and it has tracks from Ha Ha Tonka, Hoots And Hellmouth and The Spring Standards. It looks like these bands were on tour with the other two (mostly) supporting Ha Ha Tonka. The Sampler gives you a flavour of what they sound like together and it sounds to me like they work well - it would have been a good tour to catch.

What I think is especially interesting though is the website that is hosting the sampler. It is called Bandcamp. It is interesting because they host albums for download but rather than having a fixed price per track, they let the customer decide how much they want to pay. It looks like the artist can set a minimum price, but in the case of the Ha Ha Tonka sampler, there is no minimum, so I guess you could take it for free if you wanted.

You can also embed the tracks on your own site if you want to spread the news, like this:

It looks like an interesting business model which the site's front page is keen to show works and (they claim) works better than some other download models.

What do you think?

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Free Music Friday #103: Queensrÿche

I'd heard of the band Queensrÿrche before I heard music from the band Queensrÿrche. For reasons I cannot now explain, I thought of them as a metal band... possibly even as Hair Metal. Then I heard one of their albums and was surprised to hear a melodic and Progressive style of music. (In my defence, they do feature in Wikipedia's Heavy Metal Umlaut entry.)

Queensrÿche by SpoiltCat
Queensrÿche, a photo by SpoiltCat on Flickr.
If you want a flavour of what Queensrÿrche sound like, head for their facebook page, click the Like button on the special Dedicated To Chaos section and (in exchange for giving them access to your email address) you will be able to download Around The World.

The track is 5:12 long and starts with an orchestral style synth but before long, thumping piano chords and interesting drum rhythm kick in and give an indication of how the track will build and develop... and build it does!

I like it. I think it is interesting. What do you think?

{P.S. I know I'm late again but I'm not well. Man flu is a terrible affliction!}

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Free Music Friday #102: Bigelf, Big Track

I've already linked to Bigelf downloads a couple of times but today's link is to an 11 minutes and 21 seconds long monster of a track called Counting Sheep.

09.02.2010 bigelf by opethpainter
09.02.2010 bigelf, a photo by opethpainter on Flickr.
This is a very strange piece which at times sounds Pink Floyd-ish but mostly just sounds weird... but that's weird in a good way. It's a bit Sprog Prog and a bit Metal with some random fairground music thrown in for good measure.

What's especially nice is that there is no asking for emails or any of that nonsense, it's just, click here, download and (eventually, since it is a big track) enjoy.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Free Music Friday #101: Roadrunner Records

Roadrunner Records continue to give away some great music. This week, not just one track but ten different tracks for download.

First up, a track from Kids In Glass Houses. Go to their new website, enter a username and email and they will give you a track from their soon to be released album for free. And here's the official teaser:

And if a free track wasn't enough, they are also giving away free Downlad Fesival Sampler album featuring the nine artists from the label that are appearing at the Download Festival this year. For this one, you have to go to the Roadrunner Records facebook page and "like" them. Simples!

Is there a record company that gives away more free stuff than Roadrunner? If there is, I haven't found it. As I've said before, it is mostly down to their generosity that I have discovered many of their artists and bought their albums as a result.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Free Music Friday #100: The Union

I've featured the union before (see Free Download Friday #66: Back after a long holiday...) and every time I hear them I decide I want to hear more. The band features Luke Morley from Thunder and Pete Shoulder from Winterville and I believe they are supporting Whitesnake when they tour later this year.

They are currently offering two tracks for download on their website. The first, in exchange for your email address, gives you the chance to download their new single, which is also the title track from their forthcoming album: Siren Song. This is a belter of a track. It starts with a Blues soaked acoustic section for a verse or so before the rest of the band comes crashing in. There is real light in shade in this track with a grumbling bass line, a short but impressive guitar solo, Siren style backing vocals and a kitchen sink for good measure. (Well, I may have lied about the sink part.)

They did a live version at the Rock Radio Birthday bash. Not quite as impressive without the acoustic section at the start but still jolly good I hope you'll agree:

They are also offering an older track, Black Monday, which is more of a straightforward Blues/Rock offering.

You can almost smell the whisky from the saloon bar the track conjures up as you listen!

So what do you think? Do you want to hear more from the Union?

{P.S. The hundredth Free Music Friday download. I'm quite pleased to have kept it going this long!}

Friday, 13 May 2011

Free Music Friday #99: Black Country Communion

Black Country Communion (featuring my favourite contemporary Blues guitarist - Joe Bonamassa) have a new album that is due out soon. To get you in the mood, the are currently giving away a free download of The Outsider.

PB300032 by Joanie-21
PB300032 a photo by Joanie-21 on Flickr.
Mr Bonamassa does not disappoint with riff that hooks you in at the start and a great guitar solo that kicks in around the two minute mark. In fact, there is some nice interplay between Joe and the keyboard player, Derek Sherinian. It reminds me a bit of the duelling that used to take place between Jon Lord and Richie Blackmore in Deep Purple. It works well in this recording and I suspect they will have a lot of fun with it when playing live.

And talking of playing live, Planet Rock VIP Club has a link to a free download of two live tracks: Black Country and One Last Soul. (Two songs but packaged as a single mp3.) Those nice people at Blabbermouth alerted me to this freebie and give a good explanation of how you go about acquiring the tracks. The drumming here seems passionate and it sounds like Jason is enjoying himself.

Black Country Communion are coming to Glasgow on the 29th of July (along with the Michael Schenker Group). Very tempted to see if I can rustle up a fellow Bonamassa fan or two (or BCC fan, or MSG fan for that matter) and attend this gig.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Rush - From the first Album

Going to see Rush when they hit Glasgow on 14th May. I enjoyed finding and posting videos for the 30 Day Challenge, so I thought I'd post some Rush videos on the run up to the concert.

Here's the one that started it: an American DJ picked up on this song and started playing it. The interest this generated helped Rush secure a record deal... and the rest is history.

Great stuff! Interesting to see the original drummer and hear him introduce the song.

Saturday, 30 April 2011

Free Music Friday #98: Miss The Occupier on Soundcloud

I have posted about Miss the Occupier before giving links to a free download, some streamed music and a few videos. They were brought to my mind again the other day when my sister referred to them as part of her 30 Day Song Challenge. She said:
DAY 25 - A song from a band/artist you've just "discovered".
Thanks to David Muir (the singer's a friend of my sister-in-law), am loving this track...
She then linked to The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things which she discovered when I featured it in a Free Download post. It's nice to know wee brothers are occasionally useful!

Today's free download comes from the band's Soundcloud page where you can stream nine of their tracks and (currently at least) download one:

All Day starts brilliantly with what sounds like Magnus just hitting his guitar to produce noise and feedback and it gets even better after that! First the bass riff kicks in, then the staccato guitar, drums, and Roz's vocals before revealing the catchy chorus in a burst of music that I imagine gets a live audience bouncing along. Great stuff!

So what do you think Sister Number 1? Up there with The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things?