Noise-some Notes – A Week in Listening 30th July 2012

In addition to the live album “research” I’ve been doing, here’s what’s been assaulting my ears lately.

UFO – No Place to Run Not one of their best but a grower and a refreshing listen when you’ve worn out the classics.

The Stranglers – La Folie Can’t think of much to say about this other than I enjoyed it! A set of tight, angular pop songs with an ongoing lyrical theme of love. Taking in nuns, the Mafia and heroin.

Toto – The Essential (Disc 1) Not usually a big fan of compilation albums but this is a fantastic set of essential Toto. I was enjoying this immensely until my girlfriend announced that she thought I was trying to seduce her back to the 1980s! Maybe I was… she’d love it there.

Paul Stanley – Live To Win KISS man-crush Paul Stanley entered dangerous X-Factor-friendly territory with his long awaited second solo album. Generally, as on Wake Up Screaming, Bulletproof and the title track, there is enough of the great man’s bombastic heroism to make this enjoyable but there are a few too many sub-Forever ballads on this. I like hearing him apply his talents outside of the heavier rock sphere though so this is a bit of a guilty treat. Hilariously, a run of UK magazine adverts stated that the album featured the track Bulletpoof. True story.

Queen – Jazz and The Game I think Jazz is a hugely underrated effort from Queen. The general wisdom is that their Heavy Rock credentials ended at their previous album News of the World but Jazz is full of mighty riffing and Fat Bottomed Girls is a euphoric pub-rock classic. Brian May has a guitar tone to die for on this. I’m less fond of The Game but really got into it this time. It was all I could do to not dance around my flat like a twat when this was on. As Alan Partridge would say… Classic Queen!

Testament – The Formation of Damnation Aha, some actual Heavy Metal to end off an admittedly rather odd week of listening. I always want to like Testament more than I actually do. As they have a new record out I thought I’d give their previous effort another spin. This has been raved about since its release but it never really did the job for me. It went down well this week though and seemed to catch me in a receptive mood. Good melding of old and new styles here and Chuck Billy’s voice is always a joy!


24 thoughts on “Noise-some Notes – A Week in Listening 30th July 2012”

      1. Wow what an interesting answer. One thing for sure: Gene has an opinion on EVERYTHING! I never heard “Formation”…the last Testament I purchased was their greatest hits back in the 90’s so this is my first album by the “reunited” Testament, and well overdue. I used to like them a lot in the 90’s.


    1. I know. I’ve got 4 Testament CDs that I’ve not listened to properly and I’m thinking about buying another! What for?!

      I sometimes miss the days when I could only afford one album once in a blue moon but I’d know it inside and out!! If i’m being honest I can’t say that about enough of the music I own now. There aren’t enough hours in the day! And albums are too long now too! Bring back the 35min running time! 🙂


      1. You said it HMO! I might have got a tape once every 2 weeks back then. I’d play the whole thing all the way through three times before I even filed it away in my tape boxes. Then I would throw it into “rotation” for a few months. Now, well, I have a Zappa Plays Zappa CD that I bought months ago that I still haven’t listened to! Same with the Rush Sector 2 box set. Got that for my birthday a month ago, still only played one disc!


      2. Mike said it: cassettes. This is the reason. We listened to the whole album because it was a pain in the ass to rewind and fast-forward. And we ended up hearing more music, and liking more songs, and understanding the albums as a whole, as a constructed concept, moreso than the kids today get with their instant skip, ‘net-addled brains and gnat-like attention spans. Even with CDs, a lot of the appreciation of an album got lost in the ease of dismissal and searching. Lefsetz always goes on about how albums are dead, that it’s the single that is the strength for a mobile, fast-moving generation. Well, maybe so. They can have it (and they can stick their Skrillex or whatever the hell he calls himself, quickly and deeply). I still prefer to hear the whole album. And it’s not because I am sentimental. It’s because I know an album takes A LOT of work (I was in a band that made one – trust me, you never heard of us), and I want to hear the final product.

        Also, I agree with his point about only buying music every so often. Whenever the allowance would allow (the point of your blog, HMO)! So when you did buy something, it was with deliberation, and you listened to every bloody track because who would buy a tape for only one song? This was an investment! All this instant downloading and 24-7 availability ruined that too.

        Man, I sound like a crotchety old geezer. Think I’ll pull my pants up around my armpits and complain about the government full-time.


      3. Totally nailed! I’m happy to be a crotchety old geezer. I’d also add that 35 minutes of flawless music is better than 35mins of flawless mixed in with 35mins of filler. Just because a CD can run 70mins doesn’t mean you need to use it all… wish more bands would realise that.


      4. Just glad to be of service in my ranting, gentlemen. 😉

        And hey, HMO, if you want 35 minutes of awesome and no filler, I can introduce you to some wonderful and amazing punk bands! Oh ho ho I do love me some punk music.


  1. Yes, true true. Not everybody can make a 70 minute masterpiece once let alone every time. Iron Maiden is one band that certainly takes advantage of a longer running time though. Remember when Maiden albums used to only have 8 songs?


    1. It’s weird. Some bands, you’re totally ready for them to shut up after 40 minutes (I give a 5-minute benefit of the doubt, here). But other albums, man, you just want them to go on and on and on… and when they stop you totally just re-start it. I know you know records like these. And some records – I’m thinking of Extreme’s III Sides To Every Story here (a totally underrated album), they NEEDED the full disc to create that masterpiece. So I guess it’s win some, lose some.

      I often think Metallica could cut the bloat and tighten things up quite a bit. Speaking of, I read that they’ve started the new record, due for release early 2014. See what I mean? With those musicians, they should have three records done in that time. So. Are you reading this, Lars? LET’S GO, ALREADY!


      1. Yes absolutely, there are definitely good long albums out there! My silly bad habit is always starting albums from the first track so there are loads of albums, even ones I enjoy, where I’m less than familiar with the closing tracks. Death Magnetic being one of them! The advantage of cassettes again… having to listen to side B so you could get back to side A again.

        I don’t honestly know what takes Metallica so long… The Garage Days EP is still one of the best sounding things they ever did so what are they doing for 2 years in the studio? Get back to the garage guys!


  2. I don’t understand any band that takes that long in the studio. One of my favourites of all time, Robert Pollard, will have released 5 (FIVE) full-length records this year. And that pace has been consistent for two decades, pretty much. Wait until the Thumb gets into what I have of his stuff. It’ll seem endless – and it’s ALL awesome!


  3. Maiden all have families and stuff now, they tend to take extended breaks for that reason. They’re usually a few years between albums now — but they make every one worth while!

    And this year Steve Harris is releasing his first solo album, I imagine that will be a nice way to satisfy my craving for Maiden,


    1. I’m pretty keen to see what he comes out with… It’ll be interesting to hear what he wants to get out of his system that he can’t get out in Maiden.

      Did you hear Adrian Smith’s last album? I think it was called Primal Rock Rebellion. Not heard it but thought you might have!


      1. I haven’t! I did have a chance to hear his Psycho Motel albums in the 90’s. But not his new stuff. Steve’s album intrigues me, I never thought he’d need to do a solo album, he writes so much in Maiden!


    1. Is that the 2 CD ones? I got the 1st through to The Game and I picked up Kind of Magic too cause I’ve got a soft spot for that one. Would probably buy The Works one too if the price was right.

      They’re not the best reissues I’ve ever seen. They do sound good but I have the Japanese editions and they are really cool!

      The booklets aren’t much different from the old editions and I think they were probably a bit stingy with the bonus tracks although there is some good stuff. I got the first couple cheap and have picked them up any time I see them 2nd hand or on sale.


      1. What are the Japanese ones like? I have 3 of the new 2CD ones. But I am peaved that some of the bonus tracks such as remixes from the 1991 Hollywood reissues are not present,


      2. There’s just so much stuff that could have went on these I don’t know what they were thinking with the bonus discs! It’s pretty frustrating.

        The Japanese ones are vinyl replicas. They look and sound great, no bonus tracks though. Couldn’t hear much difference between the new remasters and them.


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