Friday, 25 May 2018

Michael's Mini Post #2

It's time for my 2nd mini post. I've been told to include a little more about me. So I'm Michael, just turned 30. I started this blog last year as a way to document some of the cool bands I was seeing. One as a way to remind myself but also to share with other people.

So a few weeks ago I turned 30 was lucky enough to have myself a decent party where 2 bands, Columbia & Weekend Debt, played. Making turning 30 a little less depressing.

Since then I've been focusing on work and not as much on the blog. So this week I jumped onto some of the recommendations and submissions we've been getting:

Recommendation from a friend is Manchester band  The Breaks. This distortion loving Indie band released a their 2nd EP in March - Trap Door. If Slipknot's were in charge of soundcheck at a James gig, this is what James would sound like. It works in most pieces, although at times its a little hard to hear the lyrics. Worth checking then out, plus they remind me a little of Sea Girls in their lyrics.

Notable songs:  Smoke and Lasers & Call Out My Name, also Misery off their first EP

Another band I've been listening to is a submission through the website Norphlet, American Electro Alt due from Texas and California, released their 1st EP self titled Norphlet earlier this month. They have a similar sound to Band of Horses - it's pretty cool. Check them out.

What else has been on the playlist?

Florence & The Machine new single Hunger, released 3 weeks ago. It's really good and grabs at the emotions. Gets you thinking about what you really want and desire.
Florence lead back round to listening to Banks & Steelz - Anything But Words, which Florence appeared on in track 'Wild Season'. That got a lot of play this week.

How about checking out these acoustic Daft Punk mega mix?



Which lead me to Daft Punk - One More Time and the entire Discovery album!

Finishing the week over at Dot-To-Dot Festival Manchester. Where were watching Pale Waves, Fizzy Blood and Slydigs. Wanted to watch Horrors but they clashed and 2 for 1 with Fizzy & Slydigs

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Foxon's Thoughts #2 - CDs are better than Spotify

Good day, Rockers, and indeed Rollers. I'm a little late with my weekly ramble, which doesn't say much for my punctuality, it’s only my second one.
The reason I'm late, is because I was busy putting together my interview and love letter to Bad Dream Fancy Dress this weekend.
I shouldn't need to go on about them again, i think we covered all grounds in that big long post, with a load of wacky pictures, and an interesting and heartfelt interview with frontvixen, Cat Rees.

Tough luck, I'm going to go on about them again!
Jeff, the guitarist of the band, and who Cat informs me has more than one knob that he likes to play with, was kind enough to send me a CD of their insane new record, Space Goddess. Now, you'd think that a music blogger would be able to listen to a CD, but the stereo in my car is broke, and all I have in the house is a record player and Bluetooth speakers. I'm either a hipster or broke. Make up your own mind. Ironically, Hipsters are rich kids pretending to be broke.

I listened to the CD on my Xbox. The Xbox One X confirms that i am, in fact, a hipster! I sat there in the morning on my day off work, and just listened to it. It was a lot to take in. It was a crazy ride to about 50 different planets in the form of 10 retro inspired jaunty stories.
It made me think 2 things. First, how cool are CDs? Now that we have Spotify and Apple music and stuff, how often do we really just sit there and listen to music, holding the case and taking it all in?
The second thing I thought was, how the hell am I going to write about this CD. I know I am a magician with the English language, but even modest little me can't put this into words.

So, I reached out to Cat herself, thinking, if I was lucky she would send me a link to their site and give me a few quotes to use. Nope! Cat spent the week chatting to me, telling me all about herself and what she's up to, and then took some time to do a great interview with me, and we even got an exclusive photo shoot in her sunny garden. She put her body on the line, trying to climb into a child's toy Audi. We can only imagine what the doctors and nurses would have thought, seeing her, in her shiny silver catsuit with a car firmly wedged in her bottom.
Thank you, guys, for keeping me entertained all week, and giving so much to this blog. We are truly grateful.

What else have I been up to?
In my last post, I mentioned I was going to see Foreigner. I did that, they were brilliant!
We saw them in the Manchester Apollo, the whole venue was seated. I confess, I was getting a bit bored as the support acts were playing. Not because of the music, but because we were all sat down, it drained the atmosphere.
As soon as Foreigner hit the stage though, the whole venue stood up, and the seats did little to get in the way of everybody's dancing and singing along.

So, a fun week for me. Even though I was working 6 days, I managed to cram in lots of music and enjoyment.
I'll hopefully be able to catch a bit of the Dot to Dot festival this Friday in Manchester, I really want to see Pale Waves!
Then Saturday is the Champions league final. Fingers crossed I only bite my fingernails and not my actual fingers, so my blog can be on time next week. Come on Liverpool!

Until next week. Be good.

Selfie Of The Week
Song Of The Week

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Love Manchester

Standing with Manchester Today & Always

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Bad Dream Fancy Dress, their story in their words

Before I start to tell you the many reasons you should become obsessed with Bad Dream Fancy Dress, I want to say a massive thank you to Cat and Jeff from the band. It's been such a pleasure chatting to them all week, we have shared many laughs, and I feel I have had an exclusive look into what makes them tick. I have fallen a little bit in love with Cat, my wife wants to dress up as her for halloween. This article was such a pleasure to put together. They have reminded me why I joined this blog, and why I do what I do. Thank you.

Ok, enough about me.


Bad Dream Fancy Dress was the crazy creation of 2 party animals, Cally and Katz back in the 80s. They achieved fame with their explosive first album Choir Boys Gas, and the single Curry Crazy, available on Spotify for all you young’uns to go check out.

Now, 30 something years later, Cat Rees has decided to join forces with her partner, Jeff, and mate, Joe, and do it all again. We will find out why from the lady herself in our snazzy little interview.


What we have is the 10 track album, Space Goddess, a riot of genres all mixed together. Catchy pop along side infectious punk rock. Cute vocals sung with a stern Welsh middle finger. More sexual innuendo than a carry-on film, with a whole heap of female empowerment. All wrapped inside what could be the soundtrack for a 60s interstellar B-Movie that you want to watch over and over again. It's sexy, it's unapologetic, its political at times, but most of all it's so much fucking fun.

It carries on from where the band left off 3 decades ago. I urge you to go listen to it, it will improve your mood and make you wanna dance. It appeals to fans of Lady Gaga just as much as fans of The Misfits. The only people this won't appeal to is people who take themselves a little too seriously. Emo kids, stay away. Everyone else, strap in!

Let's hear it from the mouthpiece of the band though. Cat was kind enough to take the time for an exclusive interview. If you want to find out about her alien friends and what happened to her tickets to the Royal Wedding, keep reading.

...

ALOMR - First of all, welcome back. Many of our readers weren't even born when you started this insane creation. What made you think “Yes, the time for a new Bad Dream Fancy Dress record is now”?

Cat - To some extent it decided itself to re-birth through a bizarre set of events:

While I was making the first Album ‘Choir Boys Gas’ I had a part-time bar job at the Grand Hotel in Leigh-on-sea, where all the local musicians hung out (Dr. Feelgood, Eddie and the Hot Rods, Ian Dury) and I met a guitar player, organizing an anti-poll tax festival in Basildon, who wanted me to play live. Instead we ended up recording a single on an old eight track called ‘Moaning Mini’ which we sent to John Peel.

To cut a long story short he phoned us back and said he was NOT going to play it, as it wasn’t ‘ready’ material, but he liked us and asked us to send him the next recordings and he would play them. He kept true to his word playing Bad Dream Fancy Dress and Jeff’s band, Foreheads in a Fishtank. But Jeff and I split and never recorded any tracks together again until the Space Goddess Album.

We met up by chance twenty-two years later while I was being strangled, stabbed and disemboweled for a Channel 5 Jack the Ripper documentary and I told Jeff about the Bad Dream Fancy Dress facebook group which I’d recently joined and he agreed to film the Lemon Tart Video.

We then recorded a series of covers for the fans, Last Christmas, Happy Mondays ‘Step on You’ and 'The Party from El'. Then, Christmas day 2013 the River Medway decided to change course in the middle of the night passing through our front room and leaving us both destitute. In that darkest hour, a strange man knocked at our door offering us a shower and some strange Jewish, Italian, Irish stew he’d made, and following copious amounts of alcohol, we were invited to jam in his recording studio, and the first song BREATHE was started (first to start last to finish).

Then my inner ‘Diva within’ journey began. The Space Goddess song, was followed by Film Noir and The Longing. Some songs were planned; Tokyo Toy was written deliberately to create Bubble Gum Punk, in the vain of the original Bad Dream Fancy Dress single ‘Curry Crazy’ which had done well in Japan.

Now for the boring bit, my health deteriorated. My feet were rebuilt, I had a spine fusion operation that left me in a wheelchair, and lots of drugs to curb the pain. The recording process for the album slowed for a while, when, again by chance, Christmas 2016 a doctor in Cardiff sent me to have my hips x-rayed. They had completely disintegrated and they wanted to operate straight away, so a decision was made to finish the vocals on the ten most completed songs. Andromeda (Fifth Element extravaganza), Typing Pool of Love (Retro Fun), Samhain (Something Darker), Route 69 (Suzi Quatro road trip) and Morpheus, which captured my sporadic presence on planet earth at that time.



ALOMR - If I had to describe your music to an alien, and I suspect you have run into a couple of them, I'd say your music is bubblegum pop with plenty of sex wrapped up in a punk rock catsuit. How would you describe your sound, and what inspires you, musically?

Cat - Well I love your description. Especially the Punk Rock Cat suit!

We tell stories. We love exciting visuals, old films and retro images. Counter moods the juxtaposition of rhythms with light and dark pattern. We enjoy satire, pain, joy, innuendo, and layers on many levels of sound. We don't just do a single genre. The songs have to have something to say, an energy. It’s about empowerment, regardless of sex, gender, appearance or age. Music should talk to everyone, self-expression, self exploration and always entertaining, there’s nothing worse than being dull.

ALOMR - That's exactly what this blog is all about. Why we started this.

Cat - We don't like the current homogenized X factor warbling, musical happy meals, where most of the contestants end up in rehab singing someone else’s words to someone else’s tune. We want passion! It’s about bands trying to be different not all the same. A band should seek its own unique voice. There are no personalities in the industry anymore. At least back in the nineties we had the likes of Jarvis Cocker. We might not like Liam Gallagher, who is increasingly becoming a parody of himself, but at least he hasn't sold his soul, at least he’s still vaguely interesting. What ever happened to Music scene Manchester back in the 90’s needs to be re-discovered, X factor was a crime against humanity. Simon Cowell should be sent to the Hague.

ALOMR - Can’t argue with that!
There was a massive, like proper massive 25+ year gap between the last album and Space Goddess. How easy was it to pick up where you left off? How did you manage to keep the distinctive sound of the band after such a long time away?

Cat - I’m the only original band member. But we tried to capture the original energy, lots of loose takes and spontaneity, especially on the vocal. Followed by the hard work, I lay the keyboards and virtual instruments and Jeff and Joe did the guitars. I choose a more grown up direction, no good denying twenty-five years of life. We were ‘labeled’ as school girls on Choir Boys Gas. I’ll label myself this time, this little girl has grown up to be a ‘space bag’.

ALOMR - Space Bag? Love it. It seems you speak fluent innuendo, do you also speak any alien languages?

Cat - Oh you are awful.. how very dare you! But yes I do have a close friend who is a Klingon who insisted on translating the lyrics. He’s also teaching me Klingon sign language, which apparently you can get arrested for on most galactic planets if used in Public.

English is actually my second language, I know some people consider Welsh an alien language but I only use my native tongue a little on Samhain. We like to explore languages we also love nonsense rhythm Roald Dahl-isms, if we can't figure out the words we just make the words up, it's all about context and having fun with language.

ALOMR - Space Goddess is a tailor made soundtrack to the best sci-fi b-movie of all time. It's full of whirrs and beeps, sultry vocals and a ton of sexual innuendo. Can you give us a little insight into the creation of the album?

Cat - We sort of answered that earlier and all the songs are so different. But Space Goddess was inspired by the ‘Barbarella’ opening title sequence. It's a housewife breaking free from the domestic chains in her head. Breaking free from conformity, negative relationships. Re-discovering sexual freedom and breaking the transgender chains. Holding her vibrator high and proud instead of hiding it away in the closet. It's a ‘yes you can’ song, we can all break free, to infinity and beyond!

I’m not sure what you mean by ‘Creation’, but we have a spare room which we call the Fishtank Studio it has Pro Tools. It’s full of instruments, Keyboards and guitars and it has a toilet tent as an improvised vocal booth, but it seems to work. I write Keyboards and melodies, occasionally synth bass. Jeff plays guitar, samples drums and twiddles his knobs (Oh yer) and Joe occasionally turns up from Ireland and adds some musical genius to the plot. Lyrics are written on scraps of paper all over the house and random Jams are recorded on the phone. But we always see the songs and have ideas for songs first, recording tracks happens down the process.



ALOMR - My favourite track on the album is Route 69. What's yours?

Cat - It's difficult you don't have favourite children and it always depends what mood I’m in. By and large my favourite song is the one I’m currently working on, so at present it's a song called ‘OMG We Thought We Were So Retro’ which gives a nod and wink to Prefab Sprout. The idea for a song is the most important bit.

ALOMR - What's your favourite dinosaur?

Cat - A Orgasmasaur or Uranusrexsus

ALOMR - Are you the hero or the villain?

Cat - Neither, I’m a witch. However about eight years ago I did play a villain in a Welsh soap opera called Pobol Y Cwm. I’m the welsh equivalent of Phil Mitchel, but in leopard skin outfits, called Judith, a very naughty drug dealer and gangster. So young children used to flee from me in terror when I was seen on the streets of Cardiff. My character finally got sent to prison in a big Crown Court trial and as far as I’m aware I’m still in prison now.

ALOMR - Did you ever find your plasma gun from behind the sofa?

Cat - Yes, along with the bloody amazon Stick! A time travel belt, a big red button (Bigger than Trumps!) and my invite to the Royal wedding, which I promptly stuck back behind the sofa.

ALOMR - What's next for you and the boys?

Cat - First some videos. We like filming videos. The next Album was started when I finished ‘Space Goddess’ there was incomplete material and some new songs being penned. It’s called ‘Bionic’ for obvious reasons, as I’m now more metal plate than human.  But there’s still lots of work to do to get that out next year. We have also been asked to do some live dates, so we are thinking about that possibility depending on my recovery. We would love to play LA and Japan.

ALOMR - Come to Manchester, too.
Lastly, what is your Good Dream Fancy Dress costume?

Cat - Last night's bedtime outfit was a wetsuit but that was rather Bad Dream. Possibly a onesie with a boned corset and fluffy slippers…One should always look one's best in the boudoir.


See? So much fun. A great story!
I honestly would never have guessed that Prefab Sprout would ever be mentioned in this blog.



Please go give Cat plenty of love on Twitter, the band have Facebook and a really fun website www.baddreamfancydress.com where the lyrics to the songs on ‘Space Goddess’ are translated to Klingon.
Still not sold? Go check out the album on Spotify.

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Michael's Mini Post #1

F**k the system?
This weekend was about watching one thing.. yea you guessed it. No it wasn't another distraction perfectly timed to announce a Lord peerage or one of them Sporting events. It was Netflix 13ReasonsWhy S2.
Now this isn't a TV blog this is music, but 13Reasons contained a lot of the music I was already playing this week... Punk! 

It started with a little Sex Pistols "Anarchy in The UK"... you know, just for kicks. Although I feel this song is a little meaningless since old Johnny Rotten couldn't be any less punk nowadays.

Back to 13Reasons, filled with teen Punk rebellion. Admittedly it the storyline could have been more hard-hitting in line with today's society. I enjoyed just Punking out a little on my relax weekend, ahead of next weekends festival doubles - Dot-To-Dot Manchester then AllPointsEast London.

So how about a little Ska Punk / Indie / Garage from YUNGBLUD

What else? False heads touring, and it seems to be getting bigger each time I see the poster. If you're in any of these cities you need to check these guys out, they are truly a regeneration of punk in 2018





Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Gentle Giant Music Festival - Forth, Scotland.

Regular readers will know in February we headed up to Lanark, Scotland to see Weekend Debt. When we got there everyone from the Porter, the Taxi Driver to the Door Staff recommended Gentle Giant Music Festival in Forth in May. Well with that many recommendations there was no question, new music & local talent across 4 locations, for free.




The artists ranged from a 12 year old lad called Connor right through to Punk of the ages band The Jellies. The music was rock, indie, pop, you name it.

We established our base at the Legion, where everytime I bought a drink I felt like a theif. Less than £2 for a JD and Coke... What?! How do they make money. Lovely staff there, and as usual Scottish locals were all a friendly bunch.

Choosing the Legion, rather than one of the other 4 locations, purposely to catch local Indie band Weekend Debt opening the stage at 3pm. Which if you don't realise by now are top hitters for our Ones to Watch. 
They performed well, unfortunately being first on meant a small crowd, but for me I enjoyed listening to the lads live whilst I was sober. 




I'm not going to go too much into Weekend Debt, they are a MUST to follow check out the playlist below, and if you want to know more then click the labels to the left and read our other posts about them - very talented and top lads.




We also spent most the time at the Legion as I wanted to check out an unusual and very amazing duo. When you think rock, punk, indie I expect a trio or quartet plus. Not 2 lads one on guitar and one drums. Let alone the fact that lead singer is the drummer!!
Now you might think at this point I've lost it, how? I don't know how they do it, but do it they do, and very well.
So who are they? Pyro! Check them out in my playlist at the bottom, I'm already in touch with their manager as I'm interested in their story so me fellas over here at A Life Of Music Rocks we are going to try and get some time to find out more about them and relay it to you.




In between these two were a band called The Jellies, I struggled to find much on them beforehand (admittedly I was on Spotify rather than YouTube). But they are Punk rockers dream. I wasn't sure what to expect but all of a sudden I'd chucked my jacket somewhere and I was front centre of stage and they were knocking out Stiff Little Fingers, Pistols you name it. There was about 4 SLF tracks and I was in my elements. I love SLF and The Jellies did them justice like no other.





Shortly after this my pictures become blurred and my sobriety becomes limited.
The Gentle Giant Music Festival is one to get to, its worth heading over to Forth if for the day or staying in a local B&B. There is so much opportunity to see great talented people and they are a friendly bunch. We headed to the Mason and Inns to have a quick listen to some others musicians but swiftly headed back to the busy Legion to catch All the Franklins for a little psycedelic Indie.

The best thing about these smaller events are the opportunities to meet and chat with the artists.

Next week we head over to Dot-To-Dot Festival another slightly larger event, based in dozens of venues across Manchester (also Bristol & Nottingham the next days). 2 years ago we stood next to Dougie from Temper Trap and had a cig, mingled with The Hunna and watched Dua Lipa in front of 60people. 

Now Temper Trap have been big a long time, but check The Hunna and Dua Lipa have gone from 50 people in a room, to Billions of views and sell out world tours!


So take the opportunity to go to small localised events, meet and show your gratitude in person to the musicians & organisors working hard to make it, some do, some don't. Travel local, travel far, enjoy music with fellow music lovers... And more, show it, share it, love it. I know we will.

See you in Dot-To-Dot Manchester, then All Points East in London in 2 weeks.

See you next year Gentle Giants!

-Michael


Pyro Spotify 

Mdfk

So apparently Pinky and Perky have decided that we should each do a weekly blog on stuff were listening to and maybe give an insight into what make us each tick.

The legendary Mr Foxon went first and did a great job...cheers jackass. Now it's my turn...
A little about me, I have a daughter who is my princess, I love music (gets you through anythng life throws at you), I hate part time politicians and white dudes with dreadlocks (they both know). 

This week I have been hammering the soundtrack from the blues brothers, there is nothing better than a little Gimme Some Loving when your blasting along on your way to work to get you chair dancing. Ok so the people around me may not appreciate it blaring away but am sure they raise a smile when they see a short, fat, white dude with a receding hairline bouncing around the front seat of his car to music that was released well before he was. The entire soundtrack is hit after hit, just thinking about it now is making me look forward to my morning drive. 
If you have no idea what am going on about by the way go and watch a film called the blues brothers, it's old so am sure you will find it on a LEGAL streaming application, you can thank me later when your driving along listening to she caught the Katy.

I was meant to listen to Arctic Monkeys new album and give some feedback on that but I haven't so I won't, judging by what others have said am not missing out on much...
Rock on Dudes! Riche x

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Foxon's Thoughts #1 - F**king With The Boss

In a week where Childish Gambino has destroyed the internet, and Arctic Monkeys released the most polarizing record of their career so far, us here at ALOMR have decided that now is a great time for us to put up weekly columns where we can natter away like grannys on cocaine.

This is mine. I'm Chris, I like my metal loud, I like my punk rock fast, I like hoppy beer and nice smells. I'm a white guy with dreadlocks who hates white guys with dreadlocks. You can call me Foxon, or C-Fox, or ginger twat, or Thunderflame, or Chris.

Let's start where I need to start. Childish Gambino. Fucking hell! Is it already the most watched video on YouTube? It should be. If you are an alien whose only link to Earth is this blog; first of all, congratulations, this blog is the best thing on earth. Secondly, Childish Gambino is the alter ego of Earth’s best actor, Donald Glover, who is in a Star Wars film, with loads of you aliens, and he is also gonna be the voice of Simba in a live action remake of Earth’s best film, The Lion King. He is a big deal, and this week he made a music video about gun crime in America, and it's insane! It totally caught me off guard, and i must have watched it 30 times already. It’s so powerful in its symbolism. Or perhaps it isn't symbolism, perhaps it's blatant, what you see is what you get. Either way, it's shocking, it's relevant, it's a goddamn work of art and it's brilliant.

I guess I should talk about the new Arctic Monkeys album too. I haven't heard it yet, so I won't.

So, what have I been listening to? Remember Space? My wife had never heard ‘The Ballad Of Tom Jones’ when it came on in the car on our bank holiday trip to Blackpool. I think she enjoyed it, I'm not sure, but I did, so I've been listening to their second album, Tin Planet. I don't think i gave it enough attention back in ‘98. I always preferred their first album, Spiders, but after this week, I feel teenage me may have been wrong. Cracking album, so much fun! Avenging Angels is a banger of a tune!!


Elsewhere this week, blog favourites Yonaka finally released Fucking With The Boss. I'd heard it for the first time when they supported Andrew W.K. a few weeks ago, and I loved it. I was extremely excited for the studio version, so I could have a proper listen. It came out yesterday, it's so sick. Go listen to it now. Yonaka are going to take the world by storm, and this is another massive step in the right direction. Their best work to date. Its my song of the week. Song of the week is totally a thing I'm doing. I just decided that.

Bastille did a new song too, it's called ‘Quarter Past Midnight’. First new music from the alt-pop heavyweights for a couple of years. It pretty much reads like a paint-by-numbers Bastille song. Its catchy, it's fun, it sounds like summer in the 80s and it's going to make us all fall in love with Dan Smith's voice again. It's tailor made for this lovely weather we are having.

So, that's it from me. I hope you enjoyed your little glimpse into my brain. Remember Foreigner? The 80’s power ballad band who did all those cheesy songs your mum likes? I'm off to see them tonight. Should be fun. But, it means I'm going to miss the Eurovision song contest. I've heard most of the songs though, it's gonna be good fun, I'll hopefully avoid spoilers and watch it tomorrow.
I'm pretty certain Israel will win! See ya next week.

Selfie of the week:
Song of the week:

Friday, 11 May 2018

Arctic Monkeys - Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino

Here at A Life of Music Rocks we pride ourselves on positivity and posting what we like what we love, and just leave out what we dislike.

Which puts me at a quandary with Arctics latest, er, Masterpiece. I love the Arctics.. who doesn't. This album follows its name, Tranquility, and that's about all you get. It's a nice chilled and Alex Turner tuned down album, good in its own right, but against hype and previous Albums this is the one that got away.

5 year wait...to me I feel the Arctic Monkeys have done to their number 6, what Interpol did to their number 4. 

I hope the next one will follow Interpol's footsteps and step back up to their original sounds that everyone knows and loves.

It's on a playlist... It isn't one I'm skipping to and repeating. The young blood is coming through, and with the likes of Weekend Debt, Yonaka, False Heads, Sea Girls the market of the Modern rock era is beeming with amazing bouncy repeatable tracks.

Maybe it's a grower after the expectations have died down and reality set in.