Today has been One of Those Days. The lead up to Christmas in television land is always fairly awful, filled with deadlines and system breakages. There are a few things that can help me get through this without going nuts. My wife. My hobbies. Friends and family. But rock and/or roll music is possibly what helps the most. Those who know me should be well aware of my obsession with Iron Maiden, the Ramones and Radio Birdman, so I’m going to talk about some of the slightly more obscure bands on my playlist at the moment.
Easy description: The MC5 fronted by Tina Turner.
Take a garage rock band, put a top of the line soul singer on vocals and you get the Bellrays. Capable of stunning beauty and ferocious rage, they play a mix of rock and soul like few other bands I’ve heard. Look, just watch this and try to tell me I’m wrong:
Maximum rock and soul!
Easy description: Early 80’s D&D games set to music.
A side project from the singer of Scottish pirate metallers Alestorm, they’re both amazing and silly in equal measure. The band’s first album, ‘Tales from the Kingdom of Fife’ is based around an alternate history of Scotland, where the evil wizard Zargothrax invades the city of Dundee with an army of undead unicorns under his control. If that sentence doesn’t make you either A: pick up a set of dice or B: want to air guitar, then this band may not be for you.
Any band that wears armour on stage, they have my attention.
Easy description: A guitar solo looking for a song
Started by former Entombed drummer Nicke Andersson (Who shifted to guitars and lead vocals), they evolved from a scrappy bunch of maniacs (Debut album Supershitty to the Max! was recorded and mixed in 26 hours) to classic rockers in the MC5/Sonics Rendezvous Band tradition (Andersson started a soul project with Rendevous Band singer Scott Morgan called The Solution, whose albums are worth hunting down) Never ones to let good sense get in the way of a guitar solo, they split amicably in 2008 – a promised live album from the final tour still hasn’t materialised.
Or as I call it, my teenage years
Other bands I could talk about include the Powder Monkeys (An Australian Motorhead), the Dictators (Whose debut Go Girl Crazy! predates the Ramones), the Lime Spiders (Whose classic song Slave Girl was on the playlist at my wedding, but owing the incompetent DJ’s didn’t play) or the Celtic folk/punk rock of Flogging Molly and the Dropkick Murphys. But that is another story…