Friday, June 23, 2017

FDF Volume 4 Issue 370 - The Icicle Works


Album – Icicle Works
Artist – Icicle Works
Key Players – Ian McNabb -lead vocals, guitar and keyboards.  Chris Layhe – bass and backing vocals
Chris Sharrock – drums.
Produced By – Hugh Jones


Release Date – March 23, 1984

Overview – This was the debut record from Icicle Works.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) – The 10 track 42 minute album had various versions.  Even the cover between the US and UK was different.  Reviewed here is the US version.  "Chop the Tree” opens up the album and you have those electronic drum rolls before the bass and guitar join.  McNabb is in fine voice and doubles the harmonies on the chorus. "Love Is a Wonderful Colour" and "Reaping the Rich Harvest" continue the album.  There is bits of the “same” but by the same token each track so far feels fresh.  There is a heavy emphasis on the bass and drum and there are no “guitar solos”.  I struggled to hear much in the mix for backing vocal support, but the tracks have a good pop feel to them.”Reaping” has a bit more of the bass as the focal point, and with some heavy chorus effect on the bass line, it really rings. "As the Dragonfly Flies" has a more keyboard than previous tracks and it also hums along as the quickest track to this point.  The chorus has some nice layers vocally and the frantic drum tempo really is showcased. "Lovers' Day" starts with a flute of some sort and slow progression in to the track.  McNabb sings much of the first verse with just a few guitar strums and keyboard fills it swells but simmers back to the melloncholly intro. "In the Cauldron of Love" finds McNabb shredding his vocals on the chorus with a darker track that seems to rumble forth like a freight train. "Out of Season" uses some looped keyboards before a shimmery guitar plays and McNabb is a little more laid back, but still of full voice.  From laid back to frantic we then get "A Factory in the Desert".  The tempo is up, the guitar ring out, the drums hit a real hidden gem on the record.  We then reach the track 99% of people would know as being Icicle Works and that is “Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream)”.  This is the song that got me to buy the record.  Gone from this version is the female spoken section over the start (which seems to crop up on radio) but the song just stands alone, it really is a terrific track.  Need a refresher?  The Video!  The record ends with the longest track “Nirvana” which is just over 5 minutes long.  The trio has done a lot to make a lot of great noise.  The record has something for everyone, especially at the time not sure why they didn’t take off more in the US.  The rumbling bass and drums and frantic guitar strums suck you in and shake you for the duration.  A solid album closer.

Where are they Now? The band was active from 1980-1991 and according to Wikipedia have been active again since 2006.  In reading the bands Wikipedia page they seemed busy until 2011, but little has been posted since.  Chris Sharrock played with bands from The La’s to Robbie Williams and was last involved with “Beady Eye” which was a Liam Gallagher project.  Layhe has a quiet Wiki page with information only as late as 2009 that he was back playing bass in a project called “Shadow History”.

FDF Overall Take/Was it worth Dusting off? – I will be the first to admit I knew nothing outside of “Whisper to a Scream” even back when this band was making new records.  For a long time this record was pretty hard to find even, and during my heavily “alternative music days” (which still exist) this was cd that eluded me.  Even with some good shops in my area I could only ever find “the best of..” and some crazy “import” price.  Overall the record is a fun stroll down memory lane.  Largely because the “sound” of the record.  Nothing fancy, just some great catchy well crafted songs.

Links, find out more, follow em and buy
Icicle Works on Wiki

Disclaimer – I am just a music fan. Feel free to comment about something that may be written incorrectly about the band/members etc. I strive to have a fun and enjoyable site. This site used to post mp3s but ran in to many issues. The audio clips provided are usually from YouTube. No copy write infringement is intended. Please alert me if something should be pulled. Finally, support the artist featured, or your favorite artist by purchasing their music, seeing their shows if possible and saying hi. They need your support.

Friday, June 16, 2017

FDF Volume 4 Issue 369 - Elvis Costello - Live at the el Mocambo


Album – Live at the El Mocambo
Artist – Elvis Costello and the Attractions
Key Players –Elvis Costello – guitar, vocals.  Steve Nieve – keyboards.  Bruce Thomas – bass.   Pete Thomas – drums.
Produced By – ?


Release Date – October 1993 (Recorded in March of 1978)

Overview – This is an early live album from Elvis Costello and the Attractions.  It was a live Radio Broadcast from CHUM-FM and the Canadian division of CBS Records released it as a promotional item.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) –  The tone is set quick for this rowdy set as “Mystery Dance” gets the whole place rocking.  The track has a 12 bar blues feel and Nieve is up front in the mix on this as well as “Waiting for the End of the World” all the while both of the Thomas’ keep things rock steady. “Welcome to the Working Week” is another ultra quick burst (all 1:19 of it) with frantic audience “woos” inserted in the middle.  The band slows it down, well so it seems on “Less than Zero”.  Nieve continues to really be the focus on the tracks as the band drops back and he runs through a quick organ solo before the builds back up.  Pete Thomas really shows his chops on the drums working it all with precision and ferocity.   “The Beat and “Lip Service” are rowdy and spirited tracks.  Bruce Thomas gets to show off on “(I Don’t Want To Go To) Chelsea”.  The bass line is tight and the band all seems to latch on to the groove laid out.  Pete Thomas gets to rumble the kit as the band has an epic conclusion.  “Little Triggers” mellows it down some before we take off with one of the bands more popular songs “Radio Radio”.  You can FEEL the room explode as Nieve unleashes the keyboard intro.  It stands alone, it’s a terrific live version.  Pete Thomas again rumbles across the kit on “Lipstick Vogue” as Nieve holds this lengthy note and Bruce comes along.  Elvis sings at a rapid fire pace and the band seems up for the challenge.  The longest track of the evening came with “Watching the Detectives” and it has a little more noisy/rushed intro than the track falls in to.  This is one of the bands trademark tunes and it doesn’t really break the mold from the studio version. “Miracle Man” has Costello in a crunchy guitar mood and the band plays right along. Costello takes some time to introduce the band and after is introduced they do a short “solo” but its more a call out that they are there.  “You Belong to Me” feeds of the frenzy that then leads in to the closer “Pump it Up” which just has the fans going wild.  The album fades and you are left to wonder if there was an encore, but by the same token you can feel the heat of the room from that night, so it was a good thing!

Where are they now? – Elvis Costello continues to write and play live.  The members of the Attraction disbanded in 1986 (but reformed from 94-96).  Nieve continues to write and perform as well.  He, along with the band were inducted in to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003.  Bruce Thomas continued to work after disbanding w/the Attractions, but by many reports his relationship with Costello is forever tainted.  Pete Thomas also keeps busy with many studio guest appearances.

FDF Overall Take/Was it worth Dusting off? –  This is a pretty hard record to track down and I find Costello to be night and day live, this one he is REALLY on though.  I can see why it was heavily bootlegged at the time and now can be snatched by fans easier.

Links, find out more, follow em and buy

Disclaimer – I am just a music fan. Feel free to comment about something that may be written incorrectly about the band/members etc. I strive to have a fun and enjoyable site. This site used to post mp3s but ran in to many issues. The audio clips provided are usually from YouTube. No copy write infringement is intended. Please alert me if something should be pulled. Finally, support the artist featured, or your favorite artist by purchasing their music, seeing their shows if possible and saying hi. They need your support.

Friday, June 09, 2017

FDF Volume 4 Issue 368 - Iron Butterfly - Inna Gadda Da Vita


Album – In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
Artist – Iron Butterfly
Key Players – Doug Ingle – keyboards, lead vocals.  Lee Dorman – bass and backing vocals.  Erik Brann – guitar.  Ron Bushy  - drums
Produced By – Jim Hilton


Release Date – June 14, 1968

Overview – This was the second album released by San Diego band Iron Butterfly.  It would peak at #4 on the US charts and has sold over 30 Million copies worldwide.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) –  This is a short album, well when you count tracks with just 6.  The album opens with “Most Anything you Want”.  Dorman has a solid bass line as Ingle gives the heavy downbeat on the organ.  The guitar is awash over the top but the vocals are that sort of fun 60’s Summer of Love feel.  Realize that makes total sense based off when it was released, but one doesn’t quickly think of Iron Butterfly and “pop”.  The mix is clean and you can really hear each player.  “Flowers and Beads” is just 3:05 long and feels a little like a Doors outcast but with a splash of the Monkees. “My Mirage” would be right in place on the soundtrack to any film around the time.  The chopping guitar, swinging bass line and soaring vocals.  The band is pretty laid back on the track and they allow the music to take the listener on a ride.  “Termination” is just exactly 3 minutes long and the band shows it can write a catchy, almost “pop” song.  Sure the guitars are fuzzed out and the bass thumps more than a “pop” song but this track has a particular feel to it.  “Are you Happy”  has a rumbling drum line and the psychedelia seems to be most dominant here.  It is easy to hear where Deep Purple got some influence from.  Ingle has a strong voice and the band is really very tight.  The album concludes with the title track.  In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida when originally released was the full side B of the record.  The track runs a legendary 17:05, about 2 minutes shorter than the full running time of the prior five tracks!  Easily the bands most well know track there are solos after solos.  The first is a guitar solo early on that is well complimented with a terrific walking bass line under it.  That fades of course to the stand alone drum solo that is heavy on the tom toms.  That changes course and it’s the organ solo that takes off.  It’s a slow build on the organ solo with more long chords than fast runs.  The isolated solos end around the 12:30 mark and the band comes back in and hangs on the groove for a bit before the drum solo takes off again and everyone gets short bursts to show off.  The band does some additional runs playing off one another which leads to one final crescendo of organ and then we end.

Where are they Now? There has been a lot of incarnations of this band.  The band still does preform.  They have not released new material.  Brann passed away in 2003.   Lee Dorman passed away on December of 2012.  Bushy is the only member that appeared on all 6 of the bands studio records.

FDF Overall Take/Was it worth Dusting off? – I will fully disclose that I bought the record for the title track.  For whatever reason I had always felt this band was a joke.  I don’t mean that like they couldn’t play but you know..what band releases a track that is 15+ minutes long and is not pretentious etc.  The backstory on the band is fascinating as well, adding to the lore.  It took me a long time to get back to those first 5 tracks, but I am glad I did.  You should check them out too.

Links, find out more, follow em and buy
Doug Ingle official page
Iron Butterfly on Wiki


Disclaimer – I am just a music fan. Feel free to comment about something that may be written incorrectly about the band/members etc. I strive to have a fun and enjoyable site. This site used to post mp3s but ran in to many issues. The audio clips provided are usually from YouTube. No copy write infringement is intended. Please alert me if something should be pulled. Finally, support the artist featured, or your favorite artist by purchasing their music, seeing their shows if possible and saying hi. They need your support.