Noise-some Notes – A Week in Listening 8th October 2012

What has the HMOverlord been listening to this week?

Robert Calvert – Captain Lockheed and the Starfighters Brilliant concept album from Hawkwind vocalist/lyricist Robert Calvert. The story centres on the Luftwaffe’s purchase of dodgy Lockheed Starfighters from the US. These were subsequently nicknamed “Widowmakers” due to their poor safety record. It’s an odd topic for a Rock album… Python-esque sketches and zee crazy German accents mingle with powerful, spacey Rock featuring Lemmy, Dave Brock, Brian Eno and Arthur Brown and more!

KISS – Monster I didn’t find Sonic Boom very enduring so I’d been trying not to get my hopes up for this. I’m happy to report that this is a vast improvement. Looking back to their formative years and influences (Zep, The Who, Slade, Hendrix etc…) has helped KISS come up with a very fresh and forward-looking album. The Thayer/Singer line-up finally has a sound it can call its own.

Genesis – The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway and Nursery Cryme Lamb is my favourite Genesis album and one that keeps on giving. It’s much tighter and more economical than the previous Gabriel-era albums. There is a moment in Fly on the Windshield that is not just one of the most thrilling moments in the history of music but also in the history of… humans.

Nursery Cryme is an earlier album of theirs that I enjoy but only The Musical Box, Return of the Giant Hogweed and The Fountain of Salmacis stick out for me. The rest always seems to go in one ear and out the other. Those three tracks are more than sufficient to invite further listens though.

Manowar – Hell on Wheels Enjoyable but frustrating live debut from the Metal Kings. Wimps and posers, leave the blog!

Kansas – Kansas The band’s debut is not as good as later albums like Leftoverture or Point of Know Return but this is good stuff anyway. Proof that the US could do Prog too! With Fiddles! Gaun’ yersel.

Celtic Frost – Monotheist The Frosties comeback album is a staggering achievement. An absolute black pit of a record that you just sink into until the gorgeous orchestral finale puts the lights back on and you emerge, blinking and in disbelief. Love it.

Mastodon – Leviathan and The Hunter Still a lot of Moby-Dick chat going on at HMO Mission Control lately so what better reason to stick on Mastodon’s modern Metal classic? And while I was at it I gave their last album The Hunter a spin too. I’m still feeling that one out but I’ve enjoyed it so far… doesn’t seem as good or as bad as people are making it out to be. But it’s early days and Mastodon albums always take a few listens.

Gerry Rafferty – City to City A bit of a mellow one for a Saturday night. I bought this for Baker Street but every time I put this on I like another track from it. Eventually I’ll like the whole album! Gerry is a major figure in Scottish music and there was a cool BBC documentary on him a while back, Right Down the Line, that is well worth a watch.

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22 thoughts on “Noise-some Notes – A Week in Listening 8th October 2012”

  1. That Calvert sounds insane. What I’ve heard of Monster was great – very big, bold and rawking. I just watched Mike play air guitar to one (something about freaks) at Bloor and Bathurst in Toronto. More Genesis! Nice. More Manowar! Hooray! Celtic Frost, I only heard a couple of tracks, I think, on sampler CDs. But “an absolute black pit of a record” makes me want to hear it immediately. MASTODON! Leviathan is the only one I do not (yet) own – I will! And The Hunter is different, for sure. It was my introduction to them. Actually, seeing them perform those songs live was my intro. I heard the album after. I love Mastodon. The Rafferty is is also a cool inclusion. GREAT week!

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    1. Thanks! Glad you’ve been digging the KISS stuff and I hope you filmed Mike’s performance for his video blog!?

      Actually, it was seeing The Hunter on the Thumb that put me in mind to pick it up. I got the live one too but I’ve not had much chance to watch/listen to it yet.

      You should definitely check out the Celtic Frost album. Its immense.

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      1. I did not get a chance to film Mike’s impromptu Air Guitar Nation tryout, but he seemed to already know the song note for note, which bodes well.

        I liked the Hunter. Some people think it’s too mainstream. That’s their opinion. I thought the songs absolutely KILLED live. If you’re interested (and haven’t already read it), I blathered about it here: http://keepsmealive.wordpress.com/2011/11/27/2011-11-25-mastodon/

        Is the CF stuff on the youtubes? Any tracks to recommend?

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      2. There’s plenty of CF on the youtubes. The main “single” (haha) and promo video:

        all the tracks on the album are incredible but this is especially good too:

        But I’m sure you can find all the tracks on there and there’s plenty of live stuff, the whole set from Wacken:

        from the resulting tour

        As far as The Hunter… some people have a weird sense of what constitutes mainstream! It’s the old thing isn’t it… a band gets a bit of success and a certain portion of their fan base drifts away.

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  2. Me doing air-guitar is a dime-a-dozen thing. Just buy me a drink and put on a decent tune. Aaron didn’t have to buy me the drink!

    Incidentally we were in this Sonic Boom store and they were playing a lot of really non-commercial music. Then suddenly “Freak” came on and I went nuts. I should have filmed myself. Nuts!

    Anyways, Aaron bought me some Mastodon — Crack the Skye.

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    1. Crack The Skye’s a cool album, hope you like it! The first track is incredible. Can’t believe you didn’t film your crazy axe-hero antics! It’s not even on the cutting room floor for a future “director’s cut”?

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  3. I only have 5 of the albums listed here, but it sounds like another fun & interesting week of listening for you. I’m a huge fan of Genesis (all eras), but “Lamb” is not my favorite Gabriel-era album, although I understand why it’s so well-loved and it seems like people who don’t love their earlier stuff still love “Lamb.” I will say, though, that the surround sound mix of the album gave me a new appreciation for it, and that’s after playing the album at least 20 times over the years.

    I have 3-4 Gerry Rafferty LPs and they’re all solid. I don’t play them often, but when I do I really enjoy them. I need to get more Mastodon in my collection, as I only have the last two. Also plan on checking out the new Kiss. I wasn’t sure about it, but your positive comments have me thinking I need to hear it.

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    1. I would like to get more Gerry Rafferty and try some Stealers Wheel too. If you like the two newer Mastodon then you should definitely check out “Leviathan” and “Blood Mountain”. Both are excellent. The KISS record is well worth hearing, you can play “spot the influence” but it all sounds fresh and enthusiastic.

      “Lamb” wasn’t my favourite for a long time. I was more a “Selling England” guy until the last couple of years when it seems to have clicked! It’s got the best of both worlds in a way between the Gabriel and the poppier years. I wonder how well it was received on its release as they seemed to backtrack slightly to a more traditional sound on “Trick”? But, like yourself, I love Genesis of all eras so picking a favourite is a challenge!

      Thanks for stopping by again. I enjoy hearing your take on my selections!

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      1. Stealer’s Wheel is one of those bands that’s still lacking in my collection. I will remedy that one day. Thanks for those Mastodon recommendations. They’ve been added to the never-ending list of albums to hear.

        “Selling England” and “Foxtrot” are probably my two favorite Gabriel-era albums, but “A Trick Of The Tail” is definitely my overall favorite Genesis album. My issue with “Lamb” is that it was mostly a Gabriel album (especially lyrically), so it didn’t have the diversity of their previous releases. There’s really one mood throughout the album, so I have to be in the right mood to enjoy it…whereas that’s not the case with their earlier albums. Still, it’s not like I hate it. I think it’s a great album…just doesn’t move me like some others.

        Hope you’re enjoying whatever you’re listening to today.

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      2. “Lamb” is definitely an odd-one-out of the catalogue. Your description is totally valid. It’s quite a claustrophobic album… difficult to love but worth the effort! Can’t argue with “Trick” at all. Great record. I have to say, I’m very fond of the S/T from 1983.
        Today’s listening has been a ropey Iron Maiden album, funnily enough! Hope you’re enjoying your listening too.

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      3. “Claustrophobic” is a perfect word to describe “Lamb.” I agree that it’s worth the effort, and I’ll always enjoy hearing it, but I don’t see it ever becoming my favorite Gabriel-era album. All I need to do is hear “Firth Of Fifth” and “Selling England…” will always get the nod. There are very few better guitar solos.

        Strange listening day for me, but very enjoyable. Wall Of Voodoo, Paul Weller, Alanis Morissette, Tin Spirits, Nik Kershaw and now I’m listening to a couple of prog-rock compilations that were included with Classic Rock Presents Prog magazines. I have some Maiden on my MP3 player, so they’ll be getting a spin in the next couple of days (in keeping with the name of your blog).

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      4. I love “Firth of Fifth”. That and “Dancing with the Moonlit Knight” are a great way to start an album. I especially love the live versions on the Archive Box. It was those two version that got me into the band.

        Good listening there! I like a lot of Paul’s music and I’ve been meaning to get some Nik Kershaw! Where do I start?

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      5. Pretty much every version of “Firth Of Fifth” I’ve ever heard has blown me away. Hackett is known to prog fans as a great guitar player, but I think he gets forgotten in the history of Genesis by many fans.

        I only knew a few Nik Kershaw songs in the ’80s, as he wasn’t that big here in the U.S., but I loved “Wide Boy” from the first time I heard it. I would recommend a good compilation of his ’80s material, and then any of the albums he’s released since re-emerging in 1999. “15 Minutes,” his first “comeback” record, was the one that made me realize what a serious talent he is.

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      1. Great reviews, Rich. You should check them out. The only song on Monster I can’t quite get into is Back to the Stone Age. I like it for the most part but the chorus just doesn’t do it for me. But, you never know, it might be my favourite in a couple of months!

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