Features Rock and Roll Reads Rock History


CanyonOfDreamsI certainly tend to agree that, in the infamous words of no less an authority on all things Laurel Canyon, California as F. Zappa, most rock journalism is people who can’t write, interviewing people who can’t talk, for people who can’t read.

Which makes a book such as the one I write of today even more special, and without a single doubt worthy of your very own careful study.

True, in a market already too glutted with Fortieth Anniversary re-servicings of everything from Woodstock to the Stones’ Altamont misadventures, one would hardly be blamed in passing by yet another study of Los Angeles pop culture from its equally distant, if Golden age. Somehow though, veteran SoCal rock historian Harvey Kubernik’s bountiful new Canyon Of Dreams book is the joyous exception to the patchouli-drenched rule: It is both lush in layout and deep in detail, of not only the musicians, but the arrangers, club owners, publicists and even architecture behind an era roughly stretching from Art Laboe to Slash. Or, as the author himself tells me, “We needed a print ride from 1914 to 2009. I took the challenge.”

“I knew my highly passionate writing style and implementation of the oral history structure could really bring readers into a real/reel world from my native viewpoint.” And Kubernik’s approach, like a spin off the Strip itself, is one perfectly chaotic, wildly colorful concoction wherein Donovan rubs coffee table-sized pages with the Firesign Theatre and Eric Burdon, only to find Glen Campbell bumping lazily into Andrew Loog Oldham by way of Rick Rubin and the Mamas and Papas.



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Punk-Rockers ‘Limozine’ Compare Recording to Murder, Survive the Unbearable U.K. Smoking Ban and Get Set to Release Their Second Album; ‘Evil Love’

l_abcf247dc0e845a18ed540b163c368d0One would think that recording studios would be more likely breeding grounds for competition rather than collaboration. However, when it comes to West London’s Limozine, it all started in Coventry at the Cabin Recording Studios where Dean (Vocals) and Johnny Zero (Guitar) met through a mutual friend.

It is also not often true that drinking brings about brilliant ideas, but Limozine, once again, makes the exception. After some late night drinking Dean and Johnny  discovered their shared passion and respect for acts like The Cramps, ACDC, The Stooges and The Ramones. Using their idols for inspiration they began Limozine in the effort to bring about their own version of a punk rock album.

Writing their 11-track debut, Car Crash Casino, in 2005 and recording and mixing the album in eight days, it wasn’t until 2007 that they saw it’s official release. A year later, Johnny’s close friends, Tim (Drums) and Karl (Bass), saw Limozine live and were so gripped by the project they couldn’t help getting in on the action. And so, the two-piece doubled and today’s Limozine was born.

Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Dr Slaggleberry “The Slagg Factory” EP

dr-slaggleberry 200This is the newest release from a great London band, available from October 12th on Crash Records. It is a true ‘window shaker’, the more I play this, the more I want to play it. This release grabs you by the gizzards and sends you all over the place as its rhythms roll around diverging/merging into a bestial rocking behemoth of tantalizing sound. I would describe the sound as instrumental, experimental prog rock with some psychedelia on top.

The Slagg Factory has five tunes, starting off with ‘Feed me a Stray Cat’, it flows fluently throughout its rolls and rhythms. Truly heavy duty in every respect.

‘Thirteen Grades of Filth’ starts with a dirty guitar chord, the sound of this carries from front to back. A stormer of a tune.

Features Podcast Rock History

Rock and Roll Report Podcast #63: More Loud Rock Fun and a Tribute to Greg Shaw

PigshitOctober16This week on the Rock and Roll Report Podcast I again play music from bands that have yet to be played on the show. I don’t know why I make a big deal of this all the time as there are so many amazing bands that I should never technically repeat but let this be a lesson to you all that rock and roll is far from dead but living and breathing under your very own collective noses!

On this week’s show I also play some tracks from Bomp Records’ excellent tribute to the late great Greg Shaw CD He Put the Bomp in Bomp: Greg Shaw as I wax nostalgic a bit on the passing of the legendary founding of Mojo Navigator Rock and Roll News, Bomp! magazine, Bomp! Records and too numerous articles, liner notes and production credits to his name. Greg Shaw inspired directly or indirectly every one of us who started a fanzine or website or blog or podcast dedicated to rock and roll and it was fun playing some of these songs in tribute to the man who I consider an important influence on my rock and roll upbringing.

Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Jamie Lynn Noon “A Moment To Break

Sometimes, you may want something a little lighter on your music player of choice. When you want that type of music, there are plenty of artists out there that deserve your attention. One of the latest artists that have the sound and talent to give you a little bit of “pop” to you rock playlist is Jamie Lynn Noon.

Jamie Lynn Noon is a singer-songwriter who was introduced too much of the world when she took part in the Artists Unite: A Celebration of Life Through Music 2005 release. That release contained Noon’s song “At The End of The Day”. Jamie Lynn Noon has recently released her debut EP of A Moment To Break. The music that is contained on the CD by Noon is very reminiscent of music from Tori Amos, Chrissie Hynde, or Chantal Kreviazuk. The EP is a six-song release that is piano-driven. The songs on the release alternate between living your life and falling in love. With those types of subjects, the songs on the release are very listener friendly.


Rock and Roll Photo Essay: The Rebel Reviewer Goes Back in Time with Helix

Helix-coverTwenty-four years ago I walked into the Prince George Coliseum in Northern B.C. to take in one of the few shows being hosted in the venue that year. Prince George is a very “out of the way” city of about 77,000. Not exactly at the top of any band’s list of places to tour, we found ourselves with only a handful of Canadian acts who would venture to the deepest, darkest, coldest reaches of Canada.

In 1986, Helix was one of those bands. In support of their latest album “Long Way to Heaven”, they blew the doors off the coliseum with an explosive, high energy show fired up with another of my favourite bits of Canadiana at the time, Headpins, featuring the kick ass vocals and distinctive axemanship of none other than the late Brian “Too Loud” McLeod.

Last summer I checked out the Headpins for the first time since that 86’ show and afterwards mentioned to both original members Darby Mills and Ab Bryant, bassist, that it was the first time seeing them since that show. Now I don’t EVER expect a band who’s been around the block that long, to ever remember any single show but BOTH of them remembered the show saying the exact same words. “Man, it was COLD that night.”

Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: First In Space “Geronimo”

firstinspaceI just got hold of the new sophomore release from Ohio-based band, First In Space. There is nothing too fancy about the CD packaging and artwork…just a modest black and white photo of three normal looking guys on the front, and an understated black and white photo of their gear on the back. The music by First In Space is exactly like their presentation: no nonsense, no frills, let’s just get the job done and get it done right.

Their sophomore release, “Geronimo”, comes complete with straight-up harmony-laden guitar rock adorning storytelling lyrics. Vocal duties are divided equally between founding members Johnny Stanec and Dolus McCormick (see below), who incidentally harmonize very well and very often. Despite who is taking the lead, the vocal delivery is heartfelt and warm, and often contains some nice moments where the notes are sustained, with “It’s All Gone To Hell” being the best example.

Artists and Bands Free MP3s

The U.K.’s Sierra Alpha Opt to Rely on Hard Work and Their Niche-Free Sound for Success, Rather Than Chasing a Golden Ticket Like Their Peers

l_1be8903baf054e15a3735148d19c8436Sierra Alpha is a highly rated five-piece pop/rock outfit from Wales, U.K., that is getting well-earned praise from countless sources. Their debut EP, Superhero, was released in June of this year and was welcomed with strong regional press and radio support, and the title track was featured as the single of the day on Furthermore, World Machine, another track from the EP, has been featured on a video segment promoting Leonardo DiCaprio’s film, Body of Lies.

Sierra Alpha is comprised of Martin Goddard (Vocals, Guitar), Stuart Davies (Bass), Andrew Harries (Keyboards), Andrew Evans (Lead Guitar) and Simon Beecher (Drums). Their unique gift lies in that both their recordings and live performances are filled with a signature rocking style and catchiness that truly makes them a hit just waiting to happen.

The five track EP, with its combination of brilliant harmonic choruses, superb keyboards and Martin’s wide vocal range, leads to a collection of highly memorable, infectious songs. And, having had the chance to catch them performing live in Bath, U.K., I can also vouch for their stellar shows. On stage Sierra Alpha have a strong, tight delivery that has punch and verve. From the first song, Weekend Lover, Sierra Alpha commanded the attention of the entire venue and from that point on they faultlessly delivered the entire set, even mixing in a cover of La Roux’s Bulletproof.

Once the band got offstage I was lucky enough to catch up with Martin Goddard, who happily agreed to a chat for The Rock and Roll Report.

Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Flood Of Red – Leaving Everything Behind

flood redThere may just be a band here to take the crown from Fightstar as Emo kings.

Glasgow based Flood Of Red have just released their debut album and are taking a very D.I.Y method of promoting the music.

Offering free downloads and the chance to buy their album for one dollar is certainly a way to gain fans.

This is not to say Flood Of Red need to use gimmicks to get attention for their music.

‘Leaving Everything Behind’ is an album bursting at the seams with emotionally epic sounding songs.
‘The Harmony’ is a prime example showcasing the feel of the album, big choruses, searing guitars, and dramatic synth.