Monday, 22 July 2013

Baby Scream Interview 2013

One of the most successful and talented bands hailing from Argentina (with songs in English) must surely be Baby Scream, the Powerpop / Rock project lead by lead vocalist / guitarist and songwriter, Juan Pablo Mazzola, and also a band with one of the richest histories of releases, travels, tours and collaborations, specially in overseas territories. Baby Scream first came to my attention a few years ago when I was given the opportunity to review their Up and Downers album, I was intrigued, then along came their self titled album and I was hooked for life!

I was recently given the chance to have a little chat with main man Juan Pablo Mazzola, what follows is the resultant interview.

Juan Pablo Mazzola (lead vocals / Guitar)

(SA). This year saw the re release of your self titled album Baby Scream. Could you tell us how this came about?

Juan - Well, the label felt like re releasing it.
I always thought that living outside the U.K. was a a stick in the wheel for me you know…
I mean, promoting your music without being there is almost impossible, so I thought that re releasing the thing was not a bad idea because I was living in Germany at the moment.
When I moved there I thought that I was going to be able to go to the U.K. and promote this thing.
Sadly after 6 months I decided to leave Berlin for good, as it was a complete waste of time.

(SA). Last year saw the release of Lost Balloons, a delightful collection of previously unreleased songs, demos and outtakes. Could you tell us a little more about this album

Juan - I loved that, I'm always recording songs, tons of them.
So the label in Argentina wanted to release something and this made me think that some of the unreleased tracks were actually not that bad, so instead of recording new songs, we used some old tracks from the past.
I love that thing, and you can download it for fee from here :

(SA). Your last release of all new studio material was 2011's Secret Place album. What have you been up to in the meantime?

Juan - Recording like a maniac, I just finished 22 new songs and I am going to start 30 more pretty soon….
I will release 2 singles in December, a Xmas song and the "Haters Will Hate" single.

(SA). Didn't the bands rhythm section relocate to Berlin in order to set up a recording studio? How does that effect that status of the band?

Juan - Pppppffff, long story man.
Basically the bass player moved there and we remained in contact for a year, also another drummer dude was there, we were all friends and so we thought it was a good idea to get together and play some songs in Berlin.
Huge mistake mistake
I moved to Berlin and shit, but after 3 months they found a better gig.
I ended up trying to establish myself there, which was utterly impossible. because I didn't want to play the streets on my own, I wanted the fucking band, which was the reason why I moved to the former Soviet Union in the first place.

(SA). I have already had the privilege of hearing 20 new songs that you have been working on, My favourites being Flirting With Disaster, This Fucked Up World, My Very Last Mistake, Beers And Public Buildings and Unicorns!) and you say that you are working on even more. Are you planning a double album or multiple releases?

Juan - Yeah! My plan is to finish some 50 / 55 songs and release them as a triple thing in 2014 or 2015.

(SA). I found the lyrics to many of the new songs to be very heartfelt and personal. What do you find inspiring you the most nowadays?

Juan - I think it is always the same thing, personal shit, existence, the big WTF….
I'm one of those touchy pricks and I just can't stop, sometimes inspiration comes from the urge of being inspired, like a spiral or something if you know wadda mean…

(SA). Will the new songs be released under the Baby Scream logo or as a solo project?

Juan - I don't know, I am thinking about killing the Baby Scream thing….so there is a strong possibility of releasing them under another name.

(SA). When writing new songs what comes first, the music or the lyrics?

Juan - It depends, it used to be the music for me….but with these new songs, I am adding music to some poems I wrote.
Maybe that is the reason why the lyrics are so messed up.

(SA). I seem to remember you having an issue with a record label a short whole ago. Can you shed any light on that issue. Has it been settled now?

Juan - Fucking assholes, basically they sent a contract for 2 albums
We signed it, then after the second album they vanished from the face of the earth, but they left the albums on fucking iTunes, Amazon, etc…
So when I contacted them to say, hey dafuq, they never replied…
In the end I got in contact with their distributor and he cancelled the distribution deal, yet, Amazon is still selling some physical copies…
The name of the label was Recorded Recordings Records and they were from Indiana in the U.S.
They also owned Devil's Ruin Records….and the guy behind all of that was Joshua Warfel

(SA). You recently talked about setting up your own label, hows that coming along?

Juan - Yep, I'm actually thinking about re releasing all of my lps, eps and singles on my own, or at least with the same label…
You see, the problem here is that I got signed to 4 different labels in 7 years, this is just wrong, I would love to see all of my recordings together for fucks sake!
Available from the same page or something.

(SA). Have you considered using the Pledge music platform to release you music in future. It seems to have worked well for the likes of Ginger Wildheart, Jackdaw4, Eureka Machines, Falling Red, Black Spiders and now even Slash.

Juan - I should try that, thing is Ginger's fan base is huge, lol…but maybe, this could be a great idea.

(SA). Finally. If you could have written any song, what would it have been

Juan - Mmmmmm, let me think.
Something like "Trouble" by Cat Stevens……

So there we have it, Juan is hoping to set up his own label and release a triple album of 50 plus songs in 2014 / 2015, I personally can't wait! If you haven't heard them before then shame on you, but you should try checking out their self titled album, Baby Scream (re released this year via OK Records), Lost Balloons and Secret Place!

Baby Scream - Flirting With Disaster -

Monday, 1 July 2013

Kerry Ellis & Brian May - Acoustic By Candlelight (2013)

Genre - Live / Acoustic / Rock / Show
Label -

Track listing -

01 – Born Free
02 – I Loved A Butterfly (Somethings That Glitter?)
03 – I Who Have Nothing
04 – Dust In The Wind
05 – The Kissing Me Song
06 – Nothing Really Has Changed
07 – Life Is Real
08 – The Way We Were
09 – Something
10 – Love Of My Life
11 – I’m Not That Girl
12 – I Can’t Be Your Friend
13 – In The Bleak Midwinter
14 – Crazy Little Thing Called Love
15 – No One But You (Only The Good Die Young)

Recorded live in the Uk on part of the Born Free tour, Acoustic By Candlelight is a live acoustic album featuring various acoustic renditions of Queen classics, Kerry Ellis solo and show tunes.
As a live representation of the shows, it showcases the relaxed nature of such live acoustic affairs.
Opening with the beautiful Born Free,  a wonderful song that suites Kerry Ellis' voice perfectly. Brian May manages to sound warm and tender on the acoustic guitar, something thats great to hear as he is generally better known for his huge multi layered guitar sounds from his Red Special.
After brief introductions they move into I Loved A Butterfly, which was originally released on the Queen plus Paul Rogers album The Cosmos Rocks under the title of Some Things That Glitter, I'm not sure why its been given a different title hear. Its a beautiful and faithful rendition, that once again suites Kerry's voice beautifully. The album continues in the same vein, with Miss Ellis providing emotive and powerful vocals backed by Dr May's warm tender guitar instrumentation. the only time that this doesn't seem to work is on the Queen classic, Crazy Little Thing Called Love. Here Kerry's vocals seem strained and forced for some reason.
This is a wonderful little album, which fans of both Brian May and more importantly Kerry Ellis will enjoy.

If you are looking for a chilled out live acoustic album, then look no further!


Rating - 9/10

Megadeth - Super Collider (2013)

Genre - Heavy Metal / Hard Rock / Thrash Label - Tradecraft Imprint

Track listing,

01 - Kingmaker
02 - Super Collider
03 - Burn!
04 - Built For War
05 - Off The Edge
06 - Dance In The Rain
07 - Beginning Of Sorrow
08 - The Blackest Crow
09 - Forget To Remember
10 - Don't Turn Your Back...
11 - Cold Sweat (Thin Lizzy cover)

12 - All I Want (Deluxe Edition Bonus Track)
13 - A House Divided (Deluxe Edition Bonus Track)

Megadeth return with their latest offering in the form of Super Collider, the follow up to 2009's Endgame and 2011's Th1rt3en., but something has changed.
Dave Mustaine seems to have abandoned the high speed complexity of these two previous albums and opted to issue a more melodic, dare I say commercial sounding album. Its not the first time he has walked this path, but how does Super Collider fair?

The album opens with Kingmaker, a fast tempo-ed track that wouldn't be out of place on any of the bands previous albums. Next up is the title track, Super Collider, a mid paced straightforward rocker. Burn! continues in a similar vein, yes it picks up the pace a little and Mustaine snarls out the lyrics but that's about it.
Built For War drips with attitude, a great song, should be fun live.
Off The Edge is next, another mid tempo-ed rocker, there is nothing wrong with it, it just seems to lack something for me, despite its great guitar harmonies this is one I'll probably be skipping alot.
Dance In The Rain slows the pace down even further. This track is a corker, it has a feel that would fit comfortably on either Count Down To Extinction, Youthanasia or Risk!. As I said its a great song.
Beginning Of Sorrow is slow moody burner of a track, whilst The Blackest Crow brings a little southern flavour into the mix.
Forget To remember follows and has a real radio friendly vibe to it. Not a bad song, with some great lyrics refering to alzheimers.
Next up is Don't Turn Your Back... begins with some great bluesy guitar work outs before bursting into a great up tempo rocker, love this one.
Closing out the standard edition of the album is a great reworking of the Thin Lizzy track, Cold Sweat. Its also worth noting that this is the first time Since Peace Sells... that a cover song has featured on the main albums track listing.

The deluxe edition comes with two additional bonus tracks, All I Want and A House Divided. First up is All I Want, a great little fun uptempo rocker.
A House Divided is a track with a more familar Megadeth vibe to it. A good song that should have made the album proper in my opinion.

On a whole Super Collider is a great melodic album which will find more favour with fans of Megadeth's previous more melodic albums such as Countdown To Extinction, Youthanasia, Risk, Cryptic Writings etc, but as long as fans keep an open mind there is plenty here to enjoy!

Worth checking out

Rating - 9/10

Tracii Guns' League Of Gentlemen - The First Record (2013)

Genre - Hard Rock / Classic Rock
Label - Shrapnel Records

Track listing,

01 - Everything, Everything
02 - The Witch
03 - Sugar Mama
04 - The Sound
05 - Jealous of the Rain
06 - Painted Lady
07 - Taste Your Fear
08 - Feathers In a Hurricane
09 - Long Way To Heaven
10 - One
11 - Saginaw Blues
12 - Backside of the Moon
13 - Without You
14 - Space and Time Collide

Tracii Gunns is a rock & roll survivor, its as simple as that. He's toured the world and left his signature with Guns & Roses and LA Guns, Killing Machine and Brides Of Destruction, and to be fair, when push came to shove, he manned up, wished them well and never looked back. Last year there were two versions of LA Guns were touring at the same time. In the end, Tracii did what he needed to do, he walked away from the fray and fashioned a new vehicle for his creative juices to flow.
The League Of Gentlemen was born, and their debut CD "The First Record" is among us, a new venture for Tracii Guns' astonishing eclecticism.
Well, the man has produced a more than interesting recording which it isn't so retro after all. This is Classic Rock with some blues and psychedelic-flavored hard clearly inspired in the seventies, but it sounds quite organic and updated in terms of sound.
Tracii's guitar tends to drive the proceedings, yet not in flashy way. Sure, there's a lot of six-string work to be found, including some cool solos, but I wouldn't call it a guitar-oriented album. Instead, the focus is on the songs, and to be honest, the songs are pretty darn good.
The Gentlemen are all competent musicians, such as drummer Doni Gray (ex-Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds) and rather than try to recruit the next Vince Neil, Tracii has enlisted a ravishing vocalist in Scott Foster Harris, who not only sounds really great, he also writes good damn lyrics and music too.

"The First Record" travels many of the paths tread by some of the rock legends of the last 40 years in music.
It manages to combine elements of Yardbirds, Zeppelin, The Who, The Doors, Floyd, Cream, and of course, the Gentlemen's own style. There's even some '80s moments in the midtempo first single "The Sound".
The album kicks off with a very Doorsy/Creamy "Everything, Everything", a good opening with a nice groove. The album continues in such a vein, whilst showing more eery and trippy portions during "The Witch" and the slow "Feathers In a Hurricane" (solid solo here). "Painted Lady" with its old fashioned organ and piano parts, would not be out of place on FM radio's heavy rotation forty years ago.
A great standout track is "Jealous Of The Rain", the only song penned solely by Scott Foster Harris. His voice sounds phenomenally strong and passionate throughout. The album continues through with variation, as on the slightly proggy "One", the Hammond infused "Backside of the Moon", and the masterfully written "Saginsaw Blues" where all members find room to jam, especially Tracii, showcasing his tasteful playing and the fact he isn't just another '80s guitar hero.
Tracii Guns has definitively left behind L.A. Guns, and his new expressive vehicle is called The League Of Gentlemen.
"The First Record" is a classic rock affair with many, many influences, but truly personal and with its own identity.
Kudos to Mr. Guns for this brave move, as this new project opens new doors for his recognized fine tuned craft and let us know (and enjoy) another of his multiple facets.
The man this time has picked up an ol' good Telecaster instead of a tremolo-mounted modern guitar, and he does good.

Highly Recommended.

Rating - 10/10

Tracii Gins' League Of Gentlemen are:
Tracii Guns - Guitars, Backing Vocals
Scott Foster Harris - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
John Bird - Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Craig McCloskey - Bass, Backing Vocals
Doni Gray - Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals

The Quireboys - Beautiful Curse (2013)

Genre - Classic Rock / Hard Rock / Rock 'n' Roll
Label -

Track listing -

01 - Too Much of a Good Thing
02 - Chain Smokin'
03 - Talk of the Town
04 - Mother Mary
05 - King of Fools
06 - Homewreckers and Heartbreakers
07 - Diamonds and Dirty Stones
08 - Beautiful Curse
09 - Don't Fight It
10 - For Crying Out Loud
11 - Twenty Seven Years
12 - I Died Laughing

The Quireboys return with new management, a new album (their 7th!), a major tour coming up and a brand new spin on things in general, Is all set to rocket sky-high for Spike & Co. (Paul Guerin, Guy Griffin, Keith Weir)?

Fans get a few surprises with the new album, but the biggest is perhaps the stunning artwork, something you'd not immediately associate with these much loved gypsy rock 'n' rollers. Themed around the Hispanic celebration 'Dia De Los Muertos' (Festival Of The Dead), the front sleeve, while it might looks a bit tad macabre, it makes perfect sense once you listen to some of the tracks.

It seemingly functions as a metaphor to connect with lost lovers, lost soul mates, and probably lamenting some lost years too, but although The Quireboys have taken five years to release new material, they sound better than ever.

Opener "Too Much Of A Good Thing" with its choppy intro and Spike's 'alright, c'mon on now' growl, straight away steers towards well-known Quireboys' territory - a bit of woo-hoo-hoo in the chorus, clean hooks and guitar solos, and an altogether rollicking vibe prove that one can never have enough of a good thing.
"Chain Smokin´" is bursting with full-on swagger and attitude sounding as if it was composed during a ride in the fast lane, then again, I can't imagine the band taking a different route anyway. Cool keyboards, cool riffs, and a revving classic Quireboys style.
The brittle charm and well-crafted tune of "Talk Of The Town" is polished with rough 'round the edges, while the swooning "Mother Mary" although not exactly a sonic step forward as far as rock ballads go, is beautifully delivered. Spike uses his cheese-grater voice to maximum effect here, and the all-hold-hands-and-sing-together feel make this number another winner.
We're transported to The Quireboys' irresistible trademark bar room sound on "King Of Fools", though the jauntiness of it all belies Spike's confession that he sees himself as the anti-hero of the title.
"Homewreckers and Heartbreakers" is bluesy and intense, with Hammond all over, raspy (even more) vocals and a solid chorus, and then we get a rough-cut diamond indeed with "Diamonds And Dirty Stones", stirring deep in classic roots but adding layers of hard rock driven guitar solos.
Every title track worth its salt should have an instantly memorable chorus and melody, and that's precisely what we find in "Beautiful Curse"; 'I've been blessed, I've been cursed, it's you that I love first / For better or for worse, I've been blessed with this beautiful curse / For rich or for poor, for less or for more, it's you that I adore'. Bless! Real catchy tune, and both frontman and fellow band members play out a musical romance of their own. A tune deserving plenty of airplay for sure.
We get another fine Quireboys-trademark ballad with "Don't Fight It", with Spike dreamily crooning away while the more quietly tinged instrumentation sits neat and tight.
"For Crying Out Loud" explodes with a honky-tonk infused struttitude, and you want to believe that all the dead come back to live, if only to shake and rattle along to this number before their bones give up again.
Upon first listening "Twenty Seven Years" surprises by taking a slight detour from your typical Quireboys sound. And I like the surprise; the track bounces back to finest American classic rock, bearing slight Tom Petty/Stevie Nicks influences, before some spine-tingling wah-wah keyboards temporarily take over. Inspired is what you call it, and one of my favorites of the CD.
Closing number "I Died Laughing" rolls along nice and smooth like matured whisky, but the rather abrupt finish leaves the listeners calling for more.

The Quireboys are back in full form with a quality disc, on par with the best they've released in their entire career (read debut A Bit Of What You Fancy).
"Beautiful Curse" captures all the Quireboys charm via the band's classic songwriting, whiskey-soaked vocals and melodic riffs... in short, their trademark Gypsy Styled Rock. The band have taken all their old school Rock 'n Roll values and evolved it into a more mature approach, helped by the pristine production by Chris Tsangarides (Thin Lizzy, Gary Moore,) and with the legendary Simon Hanson (Squeeze) being added to the rhythm section.
To put it upfront, the sheer energy of (London) THE QUIREBOYS much anticipated 7th studio recording "Beautiful Curse" simply nails you to the wall. You won't remain nailed for long though, as the band's instantly recognisable fare begs you to cut footloose.

In fact, in many ways, "Beautiful Curse" takes the listener back to the glorious days of the band's beginnings, and believe me when I say some songs here easily sit alongside the classic debut, if indeed it doesn't surpass it.

This album has been a ,ong time comming and is well worth the wait!

Very Highly reconmended!
Rating 10/10

The Quireboys are -
Spike - Vocals
Guy Griffin - Guitar, Backing Vocals
Keith Weir - Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Paul Guerin - Guitar
Simon Hanson - Drums

Black Star Riders - All Hell Breaks Loose (2013)

Genre - Hard Rock / Classic Rock
Label - Nuclear Blast

Track listing,

01 - All Hell Breaks Loose
02 - Bound For Glory
03 - Kingdom Of The Lost
04 - Bloodshot
05 - Kisin' The Ground
06 - Hey Judas
07 - Hoodoo Voodoo
08 - Valley Of The Stones
09 - Someday Salvation
10 - Before The War
11 - Blues Ain't So Bad
12 - Right To Be Wrong (deluxe bonus track)

All Hell Breaks Loose is the debut album from the re branded Thin Lizzy. The band featuring original Lizzy member Scott Gorham, former Almighty vocalist, Ricky Warwick, together with Damon Johnson, Marco Mendoza and Jimmy DeGrasso have produced an album that is probably the closest thing to a modern day Thin Lizzy album that is achievable without the deceased Phil Lynott. he Thin Lizzy vibe runs throughout this album, with Warwick providing at times some Lynott esque local lines that are a little un-nerving.
This album is full of highlights especially, Bound For Glory, with its twin Guitar attack, Kingdom Of The Lost, with its Celtic vibe, Kissin' The Ground, with its progressive riffs and percussive vocals. Theres also Hoodoo Voodoo and Before the war which are reminiscent of Warwick's former band, The Almighty and Blues Ain't So Bad which sees Gorham really let loose. Another track of note is the bonus track, Right To Be Wrong, which is far from a throw away, its a solid mid tempo rocker that's worth checking out.

A good solid debut from seasoned veterans.

Rating - 9/10

Black Sabbath - 13 (2013)

Genre - Heavy Metal / Hard Rock
Label - Vertigo / Universal

Track listing -

01 - End Of The Beginning
02 - God Is Dead?
03 - Loner
04 - Zeitgeist
05 - Age Of Reason
06 - Live Forever
07 - Damaged Soul
08 - Dear Father

09 - Methademic (Deluxe Version Bonus Track)
10 - Peace Of Mind (Deluxe Version Bonus Track)
11 - Pariah (Deluxe Version Bonus Track)

12 - Naivete In Black (Best Buy Deluxe Version Exclusive Bonus Track)

Black Sabbath return with (almost) their original line up and the first full studio album to feature Ozzy Osbourne on lead vocals in 35 years. (The last being 1978's Never Say Die.) In the absence of original drummer Bill Ward we see Rage Against The Machine drummer, Brad Wilk, joining the legends Tony Iommi (Guitars), Geezer Butler (Bass), and Ozzy Osbourne (Vocals).Production duties are handled by one Rick Rubin, a masterly producer whom has had a rather hit and miss track record as of late, but its good to say that he managed to pull off a great job here, capturing the original Sabbath sound rather well.
       On a side note, before I begin the review proper is warming to note that 13 has given Black Sabbath their first UK No1 album in 43 years (Paranoid being the last!) and their first ever No1 album on the US Bill board top 200!
        Now for the review!
The album opens with End of the Beginning. A brave choice for an album opener clocking in at a little over eight minute long, but it works well setting the tone for what is too follow! The song has a very understated epic feel it. Heavy in place with Ozzy providing a great melodic and slightly unsettling lead vocal whilst Iommi provides some great riffs throughout! A great opening song!
Next up we have the albums lead single, God Is Dead?. This song is a killer, and I can totally see why it was chosen as the albums lead single. Heavy, with lots of twists and turns with the closing sections bringing classics like Hole In The Sky to mind. A great song!
Loner follows, changing the pace and feel a little. The song comes across as a sort of mixture of Johnny Blade and N.I.B. A great song .
Next up we have the albums first gem and future classic, Zeitgeist. A mellow track that is very reminiscent of Planet Caravan. I love the atmosphere that this song creates with its simple and restrained structure! Love Iommis guitar work throughout and especially the solo. this song shows that Black Sabbath have lost non of their 70's magic.
Age Of Follows, changing the tempo a little. A heavy track that's guaranteed to get the crowd fired up in a live environment, with some great riffs.
Next up we have Live Forever. This songs sees Iommi and co pick up the pace. A great song in the veins of Children Of The Grave, Back Street Kids, and Hole In The Sky.
Following Live Forever we have the awesome Damaged Soul, a very heavy blues work out, and a guaranteed future classic. this track can holds its own along side ANY track from the bands legendary first six albums. The atmosphere, the riffs, Ozzy's harmonica, everything just slots perfectly into place with this one. A great song
Closing out the album proper we have Dear Father. A great song that deals with a rather dark subject matter lyrically. Another future classic! Plenty of tempo changes to drive the song along. It even ends with the thunderstorm and rain together with church bells reminiscent of the the debut albums title track Black Sabbath.

Next we have the three bonus tracks that come with the deluxe edition.
First up is Methademic. The song begins with a gentle acoustic opening section before exploding into an uptempo melodic rocker, that to me has a similar feel (musically) to I Witness. I have a feeling that Geezer was heavily involved in the writing of this one as certain sections remind me of his solo bands (GZR) Mysterons from the album Black Science. Guaranteed to become a live favourite!
Peace Of Mind follows, the shortest song of 13's entire tracklist, and despite a promising opening with some great lyrics, the song quickly becomes rather forgetable, almost Sabbath by numbers.
Pariah follows, another gem in my opinion. A melodic track that just works.

Finally we have the Best Buy Deluxe editon exclusive track, Naivety In Black. A fast tempo-ed track, with some autobiographical lyrics and some great driving riffs! Another gem worth tracking down!

So there we have it, Black Sabbath return with an album that has been along time in the making, bearing in mind that they originally reunited back in 1995, and ended up scrapping album plans to disband agin and continue with various other projects.
the band can rest assured that in 13 they have created an album that they can be proud of, an album that can stand shoulder to shoulder with any album from their illustrious back catalogue, now I for one am just hoping that this isn't their final album! With 13 they have proven that they have plenty of gas left in the tank! Sure I would have loved Bill Ward to have been a part of this, and if there is a follow up album I hope he can reconcile his differences with the rest of the guys.

Now in my dream world we have have a follow up album from Black Sabbath, and new solo albums from Iommi, Geezer, Ozzy (?) and Bill Ward!

A great album, well worth the wait!

Rating - 10/10