Single of the Week: Wolfsbane – Ezy (12″ Single)

I’m delving into the world of the single! I’ll buy a 7”, 12” or CD single every week and post my findings here. Who knows what musical discoveries will be made?

Ezy - Front Cover with Sticker. Black.
Ezy – Front Cover with Sticker. Black.

Last week’s purchase of the David Coverdale single was a roaring success. I’ve listened to that one many times over and have grown uncommonly attached to it. With my intention being to reduce my spending, it seems like I’m onto a winner with this single-buying lark. Let’s see if it keeps up.

This week’s hunting ground was the old-school Record Fayre in Glasgow. I saw lots here to tempt me. I couldn’t see any CD singles though and asked if they had any. “There wasn’t any interest in them so they got binned.” Aarghh. If only I’d thought of doing this sooner. Who knows what goodies have ended up as landfill…

Luckily there was plenty of vinyl so I eventually headed home with the 12” single of Wolfsbane’s Ezy for £2.50. My most expensive Single-of-the-Week purchase yet but hardly breaking the bank. A couple of things about this caught my eye. The one sticker on the plain black cover read “Limited Edition”. Always a good thing! The other statement on the sticker read “The Blackest Format in Rock History” and this made me chuckle a lot. We know Spinal Tap beat them to the punch with the all-black cover but Metallica also brought out their “Black” album in 1991, the same year this single was released! Although I can’t find an accurate release date for Ezy, I wonder if Wolfsbane were poking a bit of fun in Metallica’s direction with this release? The scamps.

Ezy - Back Cover. Black.
Ezy – Back Cover. Black.

So, as you can see from the detailed photographs, this is black. Black. Apart from the cover sticker (which implores me to remove it upon purchase. Luckily the previous owner kept it on or I wouldn’t have spotted it!) there are no liner notes here. Unless they are in black. There is no information on the centre stickers of the vinyl either. This really is blacker than a very black thing. Helpfully, a large portion of the A-Side is engraved with the song titles and has engraved signatures of the band members too. These are black.

Well, we’ve established that this is a fun item and that it made me chuckle. But is it any good? I confess to having overlooked Wolfsbane. I liked what I heard of them back in the late 80s/early 90s and I thought they were a charismatic bunch. Any band that calls their fans the “Howling Mad Shitheads” can’t be all bad, right? But, as you will all know, they didn’t exactly set the world alight (can’t hold that against them) and their lead singer Blaze Bayley defected from the band to replace the irreplaceable Bruce Dickinson in Iron Maiden (I’m definitely going to hold that against someone until I get that time and money back) so I guess I just wrote them off too easily.

Ezy - Close-up detail of engraved signatures. Black.
Ezy – Close-up detail of engraved signatures. Black.

I’m delighted to report that this is rip-roaring fun. They come across like a British Van Halen. Less flashy but with the same kinetic energy and similar riffing style. Blaze sounds much more comfortable and charismatic singing in this environment. Vocally, would have made a more successful replacement for Dave Lee Roth than Dickinson. His delivery is the stand-out feature of Ezy and the excellent B-Sides (previously unreleased tracks Load Me Down and the country-on-speed Dead at Last).

I’ve enjoyed this single tremendously and I’m really excited about delving further into this band’s back-catalogue. Hmm, maybe this Single-of-the-Week project could break the bank after all.

Amount spent on purchases: £3 (I’m just going to round up the 50p.)

Amount spent in total so far: £434

Advertisements

Noise-some Notes – A Week in Listening 19th Nov 2012

Another delve into my weekly earload…

Black Sabbath – Headless Cross I finally bagged a gorgeous vinyl copy of this superb album. Coming to a Buying Round-Up near you! Oh, I’m not meant to be buying things. Whoops.

Saint Vitus – Born Too Late and Thirsty and Miserable EP Earlier in 2012 I bought both these LPs at a shop called Distortion Records in Amsterdam. With a name like that I was disappointed to discover that the shop predominantly stocked Clubbing/DJing music and the like but I was impressed when the man behind the counter asked if I was looking for Metal. I was and he went to the stockroom to grab me some Saint Vitus. I was mystified at his powers of Metalhead detection until EVAOverload helpfully pointed out that I was wearing my Venom T-Shirt. Ah.

Blue Murder – Nothin’ But Trouble LeBrain’s excellent list of overlooked 90s albums inspired me to dig out this excellent album from John Sykes’ band. More mixed than their classic debut but there are many songs on here that I just adore. And Sykes’ playing is peerless.

David Lee Roth – Skyscraper Sometimes you are confronted with something so unique and so amazing that you can help but be momentarily appalled. That happened when I first clapped my eyes on Dave Lee Roth’s Just Like Paradise video. “Who’s that clown?… he’s awesome!” He also gets extra cool points for climbing the massive cliff face on the album cover. Even thinking about that makes me want to vomit all down myself.

Blackfoot – Dry County (7” Single) A former Single of the Week star. “The sign says liquor in the front, baby. And poker in the rear”. Blackfoot were cunning linguists.

Voivod – War and Pain Before going off into the outer limits of Prog-Metal, Voivod thrashed like maniacs. This album isn’t mentioned much in Thrash conversations but it should be because it can tear faces off. The guitar tone on this is absolute savagery.

Immortal – Sons of Northern Darkness The fact that Immortal have internet meme status to rival Glenn Danzig makes it easy to overlook how talented they are. This album is sheer class. Ride the Riff over the grim permafrost!

Jeff Beck Group – Truth and Beck-Ola I listened to these in preparation for reading Rod Stewart’s autobiography (which I’m enjoying very much so far). These are essential albums for anyone interested in Rod, Led Zep, Proto-Metal and The Who. Keith Moon hurtling into Beck’s Bolero is a thing of wonder.

The Rolling Stones – Let It Bleed I’m not a huge Stones fan but when I’m the mood they go down really well. Stuck this on after watching the Crossfire Hurricane documentary on the telly. And if I had to do that “The Stones vs. The Beatles” thing where you can only pick one then there’s no competition. It’s The Stones.

SONG OF THE WEEK Immortal’s Tyrants. Supreme riffology from Blashyrkh’s finest.

[Immortal – Tyrants]

Single of the Week: David Coverdale – The Last Note of Freedom (7″ Single)

I’m delving into the world of the single! I’ll buy a 7”, 12” or CD single every week and post my findings here. Who knows what musical discoveries will be made?

Another week in my hunt for singles took me to the ever-reliable Missing Records in Glasgow. There was plenty to choose from but nothing that was particularly grabbing me. Until I had flicked through the whole of the “Hard Rock/Metal” section and turned up this one. The Last Note of Freedom by David Coverdale from the Days of Thunder soundtrack.

Cov the Guv is definitely a “HMO Hall of Fame” sort of guy so, although I’m no completist, I was surprised to find that he’d released a solo single that I knew nothing about. My lack of interest in soundtracks and Tom Cruise movies probably didn’t help, admittedly. Compared to the previous two purchases this was relatively expensive at a whole £2 but for an unknown track by an A-List Rock Legend that seemed a pretty good price.

A quick Google for info reveals little. I still don’t know who plays guitar on it and if I believed Wikipedia I’d think David Coverdale co-wrote it. He didn’t; it was written by composer Hans Zimmer and none other than Billy Idol! So if you ever find yourself playing “Six Degrees of Cov the Guv” and Billy Idol’s name comes up… you’re onto a winner. You can thank me later.

The song is an 80s sounding, montage-friendly ballad. Lots of keyboards and some token heavy guitar in the middle section. Coverdale uses his lower, husky range to great effect and sounds on great form. The quality of his voice brings to mind the album he would record later with Jimmy Page. After the driving middle section, Cov starts doing his Tarzan bit. I’ve enjoyed this so much it’s already been played four times this week. If I’d heard this in 1990 I would have been right into it. It’s a welcome addition to my David Coverdale collection.

One note of warning! I listened to this before a game of Badminton with EvaOverload thinking it would give me the necessary Rocky-style motivation for excellence. In an “eat thunder and crap lightning” sort of way. Unfortunately, I listened to it WHILE SHE WAS IN THE ROOM so, in her own words, she “took succour” from it and later handed out a merciless drubbing.

Amount spent on purchases: £2

Amount spent in total so far: £431

Noise-some Notes – A Week in Listening 12th November 2012

Cheap Trick – Busted and Lap of Luxury Many 70s bands brought in outside writers to boost their commercial fortunes in the 80s and Cheap Trick were no exception. These two albums haven’t aged well but there are still tracks like Never Had a Lot to Lose, Don’t Be Cruel and Ghost Town that make these worth having for CT fans. And speaking of CT fans…

Ginger Wildheart – 555% (Discs 1 and 2) I can’t put an album in my end of year list if I’ve only listened to two-thirds of it can I? I’m all about the thirty-five to forty minute running length so three CDs is a bit of an imposition. In other news: the excellent opening track Forget About It is currently the most played song on my iPod.

Paradise Lost – Draconian Times (Legacy Edition) One of the essential HMO albums. I like it so much I can’t even really think of much to say about it. Eh… how about Nick Holmes reminds me of Paul Calf so every time I see his face I think “You’ve got shit on your shoes”? It’s tough being me.

Fish – Vigil in a Wilderness of Mirrors Fish’s debut solo album. It’s less convincing in the rockier moments than when it turns sultry and soppy. Good to hear Janick Gers’s playing on here, but it’s long-time Fish sideman Frank Usher that walks away with the guitar honours for his gorgeous playing on Cliché.

Ian Hunter – Welcome to the Club Euphoric live album from Hunter and Mick Ronson. I listened to this coming back on the train to Glasgow from Ayr at the weekend. Coincidentally, my first Ian Hunter experience was a gig he put on in Ayr. Very small-time gig for such a Rock Legend but it turns out he grew up in Hamilton near Glasgow and his family used to go to Ayr for their holidays. He had a day off so he pencilled in a seaside gig for old time’s sake! I wasn’t familiar with him at the time but I made a point of going to see him because it wasn’t every day a Rock Legend came to Ayr and I thought I should encourage that sort of behaviour. I’m glad I did because it was a phenomenal show and I’ve been hooked ever since.

Saint Vitus – Lillie: F-65 Excellent 2012 comeback album that finds the Doom legends reunited with their iconic frontman “Wino”. Now, before I knew about the band I assumed he was called Wino because he was… well… an alky. Well it turns out his surname is Weinrich which became Wino. Kind of like when my name, HMOverlord, gets shortened to HMO.

Reverend Bizarre – In the Rectory of the Bizarre Reverend My Saint Vitus experience was so enjoyable it put me on a Doom kick. So, what better to listen to next than an album from Reverend Bizzare, who bizarrely went to number one in the Finnish charts with the excellently titled Teutonic Witch. This is Sabbathy Metal taken to its logical extreme. Don’t like a chord? Then wait around, there’ll be another one along in three minutes.

SONG OF THE WEEK: I wanted to pick something a bit heavier but I can’t escape the fact that my favourite song this week was Angeline from Ian Hunter’s Welcome to the Club. This was a Mott the Hoople song called Sweet Angeline. I don’t know why she isn’t sweet any more but this is my favourite version of the song at any rate. I almost embarrassed myself on the train I enjoyed this so much.

[Ian Hunter – Angeline(Live)]

Single of the Week: Blackfoot – Dry County (7″ Single)

 

I’m delving into the world of the single! I’ll buy a 7”, 12” or CD single every week and post my findings here. Who knows what musical discoveries will be made?

The second-ever Single Of The Week is a much more successful purchase than last week’s (which was a bit of a shiter).

Earlier in 2012, I blogged my ‘Top 10 albums that got me through the 1990s’. One of those was Zakk Wylde’s Pride & Glory. It wasn’t just a great album; it introduced me to the joys of Southern Rock.

When I mentioned my burgeoning interest in this genre to a friend, he briefly loaned me a compilation tape of a band called Blackfoot. I was floored by their mix of Southern Rock and Metal but this was pre-internet and there were no song titles or information on the tape at all. Eventually I found most of the songs from the tape on Blackfoot’s three classic studio albums Strikes, Tomcattin’ and Marauder. One song was missing. The tape had a stunning live recording of Train Train which I could not pin down. I had expected to find it on the band’s classic live album Highway Song – Live but the version on there was different. I now consider Highway Song – Live to be a classic but at the time all I could think about was Train Train.

But the HMOverlord never forgets and, some 18 years later, I’m delighted to announce my Single of the Week is Blackfoot’s Dry County (b/w Too Hard to Handle). Both these songs are excellent and hail from the classic Marauder album but the real treat here is the bonus 7” which not only has THAT version of Train Train (from the 1981 Monsters of Rock festival at Donington) but also On the Run from the same show. It’s an awesome blast of Blackfoot at their fearsome best and it feels great to finally have it again. My collection was never going to be complete without this incredible single. Not bad for £1!

Buying Round-Up – 21st November 2012

Haven’t done one of these bad-boys for a while! And I’ve got quite a backlog of purchases so there will be more where this came from…

Because you can never have too many Iron Maiden albums. Unless one of them is Virtual XI.

Iron Maiden – Rock in Rio and Flight 666 OST (£14 Fopp Glasgow)

I’ve been meaning to get Rock in Rio for a while. I never liked the DVD much but I’d been hearing good things about the album. Fopp got a bunch of Maiden albums in for just £7 each so I finally bought it and picked up the Flight 666 soundtrack CD while I was at it. Both are excellent but the Rio discs are a genuine surprise. I don’t know how the people filming the show managed to suck the life out of what was such an obviously excellent performance. But they did!

I’m always a sucker for a bonus DVD… and big wooden cow things.

Mastodon – The Hunter(CD/DVD) and Live at the Aragon(CD/DVD) (£10 Amazon Marketplace)

I seem to have gone a wee bit cold on Mastodon lately but I was enjoying Leviathan a while back and decided to finally catch up on their more recent releases. Not bad prices for the CD/DVD editions but I’m still not quite in the mood for these. Their time will come I’m sure.

Not even in 3D or nuffin’

KISS – Monster (LP) (£14 HMV Glasgow)

The masters of merchandise could’ve put a bit more effort into this vinyl edition. Not including an inner sleeve with credits, photos or lyrics seems a bit lazy. Great album… I wish I’d just plumped for the CD though.

Must be one of those “Incredible Journey” things.

Blackfoot – Strikes, Tomcattin’ and Marauder (£10 Record Fayre Glasgow)

I’ve had these albums for ages on CD but the LPs have always been on my hit-list. Managed to get them all in a one-stop shop at Record Fayre and the nice chap gave me the three for a round tenner. Yee haw!

Bit perplexed by the unusual Isa cover… think it might be a Russian edition. Anyone?

Enslaved – Isa and Ruun (£14 Amazon Marketplace)

I’ve been on a real Black Metal kick lately. Must be the wintery prospect of the encroaching grim permafrost. It’s not the normal cover for Isa but I quite like it! Black

The English countryside. Remarkably free of grim permafrost.

Winterfylleth – The Threnody of Triumph (£9 HMV Glasgow)

This excellent album is one of the surprises of 2012 and also the first album I bought as a result of a review in the excellent new UK magazine Iron Fist! Iron Fist is well worth picking up if you’re into the more extreme end of Metal, it’s really in-depth and has a great old-school fanzine feel to it.

Triple gatefold Prog odyssey!

Yes – Yessongs (£8 Discogs)

Breathtaking live album and what a lovely object! Missing the booklet but it’s in good shape, didn’t break the bank and the vinyl is clean. It sounds amazing and I’m totally delighted with it. YES!

 

Amount spent on purchases: £79

Amount spent in total so far: £427

Yessongs. Cosmic.

 

Noise-some Notes – A Week in Listening 5th November 2012

Enslaved – Isa Enslaved’s albums always seem a bit impenetrable but every now and then they throw you a catchy bone like the insistent and classy Return to Yggdrasill. Immortal main man Abbath (master of the entertaining and useless instructional guitar video) also turns up to add his excellent croak to the opening track.

Judas Priest – Angel of Retribution I had an unexpected notion to listen to this and half-suspected I’d change my mind a few songs in. How wrong I was! This is a great album and brings together a lot of styles from throughout their career. The most pleasant surprise was how much I enjoyed Loch Ness. I’m not quite sure what a skirl is though… oh wait, apparently it’s the noise bagpipes make. Does Nessie play bagpipes?!

Winterfylleth – The Threnody of Triumph Probably the last new music I’ll buy now until 2013 (having written off Aerosmith’s latest) and a great album to end the year with. British Black Metal with a great pastoral folky feel running through it.

Metallica – Unnamed Feeling (EP) A bumper selection of live tracks circa St. Anger. Some great selections like Hit the Lights and Motorbreath and it’s enjoyable without being totally convincing.

Paradise Lost – Tragic Idol I’m still underwhelmed with this follow up to Faith Divides Us, Death Unites Us but this is growing on me with every listen. I think it might be time for a rethink in the PL camp though. Time for a bit of reinvention.

Van Halen – A Different Kind of Truth Brilliant comeback album from VH and Dave Lee Roth. A rare example of a modern Rock album not having the life produced out of it. A Different Kind of Truth crackles like it’s hot off the press, sounding like they just cranked it out and let it be. Comeback of the year.

David Lee Roth – The Best Enjoyed VH so much I fancied a bit of Roth solo. This compilation is a great place to start if you’re unfamiliar with Dave’s solo stuff. I listen to this when I’m on the move and have most of his albums on vinyl for when I’m at home. I especially rate Big Trouble. It’s one of the most remarkable songs I’ve ever heard and ‘“tonight we’re Rocketeers” said Mouse’!

Fleetwood Mac – Blues Collection Great collection of live Mac. Taken from the Boston recordings that keep surfacing in different releases. This version has my favourite selection and running order. Priest’s take on Mac’s Green Manalishi (with the Two-Pronged Crown) is great but doesn’t summon up even a fraction of the dread that their version does.

V/A – Metal for Muthas Legendary NWOBHM compilation featuring very early Iron Maiden recordings. There are a few other notable bands on here too, namely Angel Witch, Praying Mantis and Samson. It’s clear that Iron Maiden were a cut above the rest from an early stage even if their business acumen wasn’t as well developed. It’s hard to imagine the band, later in their career,  agreeing to appear on an album alongside Ethel the Frog and Toad the Wet Sprocket.

SONG OF THE WEEK I can’t describe a song as being “one of the most remarkable I’ve ever heard” and not make that Song of the Week so here is David Lee Roth’s Big Trouble from the excellent compilation The Best and also his classic debut solo record Eat ‘Em and Smile. It’s totally magical and I never get tired of hearing it.

[Dave Lee Roth – Big Trouble]

 

… and classic rock too!