Archive for the ‘Marianne Faithfull’ Category


Drummer has a funny story about joining My Little Funhouse.  It’s especially funny given how young he was and how raunchy the band seems.

This album feels like a hair metal band whose second guitarist had just heard of grunge.  Lead singer Alan Lawlor sounds bratty and sleazy like an L.A. hair metal stud.

There’s some ripping guitar solos (“Destiny”) and big soaring ballads (“Wishing Well”) and there’s a dumb straight up rocker (“L.S.D.”).  There’s even the quiet intro (lighters up in the air) “sensitive” song (“breaks my heart/tears me apart”), “Anonymous.”

The one musical surprise is the summer guitar intro of “Been too Long” which sounds like it belongs to another song all together.  Although the bass/drum clap along is pretty apt.  “raintown” is another song that is a little unusual here–it feels like a B-side.  Lawlor’s vocals are toned way down and the production is much softer.

Perhaps the one thing that sets them apart from the West Coast metal is the song “Catholic Boy.”  Yup, it’s just as sexual/ist as a typical metal band, but the specificity of being Catholic seems very Irish to me.

My Little Funhouse opened for Guns N’ Roses when they toured Ireland.  And that makes perfect sense.  This album is completely of its time (or maybe a year too late).  With the right exposure, they would have been huge.  But this is the only thing they released before they broke up.

[READ: December 30, 2020] Irish Drummers Volume 1

I received this book at work and thought it would be interesting to look though.  I flipped through the names in the contents and was pretty sure I hadn’t heard of any of these drummers.  But it turns out I knew a lot of the bands they played in, just not their names.

Gilligan says that he created the website Irish Drummers several years ago.  It was an opportunity for him to interview Irish drummers and celebrate them.  Gilligan himself is a drummer but never really played with any bands.  Probably the most famous Irish drummer, U2’s Larry Mullen, Jr is not in this book, but he is on the website.

Gilligan thought it would be very cool to publish a book and here it is. The interviews are truncated for the book, you’ll get a lot more online.

Each interview has a picture (or two) and three to seven questions.

I have made some notes of interest from the drummers who had something unique to say. (more…)

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 SOUNDTRACK: COLD SPECKS-Live at Massey Hall (May 23, 2014).

After enjoying the Rheostatics Live at Massey Hall video, I thought it would be interesting to check out some of the other artists in the series.

The very first artist to play was Cold Specks.  I had never heard of Cold Specks and I was blown away by their set.

So who is Cold Specks:

Cold Specks is the stage name of Canadian singer-songwriter Ladan Hussein, who was previously known as Al Spx. Her music has been described as doom-soul. The name Cold Specks is taken from a line in James Joyce’s Ulysses (“Born all in the dark wormy earth, cold specks of fire, evil, lights shining in the darkness.”).

As the set opens, Al Spx (for that is what she was known as at the time) speaks about Massey Hall, learning about it from Charles Mingus and Neil Young albums.

And then the band comes out and they play “A Broken Promise.”  There’s such a great moodiness to the melody and the sound of the guitar (and bass pedals).  There’s interesting keyboard effects throughout as well as a spare but powerful unconventional drum rhythm.  And then there’s her voice powerful and a little menacing–arresting and gripping.  There’s a Nick Cave vibe to what she does, but with a very different texture because of her voice.

“Bodies at Bay” is a bit more uptempo and rocking with a wonderfully dramatic slow down for the powerful chorus.  I hear a bit of Marianne Faithfull and some of the more out there vocals of Tina Turner in her voice.  But the contrast between her voice and the music is very engaging.  “Living Signs” is a bit more spare–really focusing on her voice.

She describes “Hector” as “an old one” (which means it came from her other album).  Al Spx plays guitar and I love the way her guitar adds a new layer of music.  The melody in the bridge/chorus is fantastic.

“Let Loose the Dogs” starts a capella.  She sings it off mic (I wonder who could hear her) and then the band comes in with a quieter synth sound.  It’s a much less dynamic song, but a nice mellow moment.

She explains that she doesn’t play Toronto very much and yet this is her fourth time at Massey Hall. “I’ve informed my booking agent that shows in Toronto will be strictly limited to Massey Hall.

“Old Knives” is slow and moody but builds really nicely–a great song overall.  The big, crashing middle section is intense.  As the song ends, they let the music ring out as the guys leave.  As they are walking off, she says, “they fucked off before I could introduce them.”  So they are: drums: Loel Cambpell; guitar: Tim D’eon; the magic corner over here, including Marxophone: Jim Anderson.

While they are gone she says she’ll play “a song or two on my own here.”  She plays guitar and sings “Blank Maps.”  It has the same moodiness just unplugged–the guitar melody is simple, but very cool.  I’m glad I watched this, it has made me a fan.

You can watch the footage here.

[READ: March 19, 2018] To Kick a Corpse

At the end of the previous book, the Qwikpick Adventure Society was in trouble.  Lyle (whose parents work at the Qwikpick and the kid who has access to all of the Qwikpick goodies) was seen as bad influence on the other two.  His best friend Dave had been grounded, but that has finally been lifted.  But Marilla, the girl on whom Lyle is massively crushing (and the funnest girl ever), has been banned from ever seeing him (or the Qwikpick) again.  It was so bad that her parents even told the school principal that she was not to be seen talking to or eating lunch with Lyle (somehow Dave was not deemed so guilty).

It’s a pretty sucky couple of months.

One day the local historical group came by with fliers looking to Save Greenhill Plantation, a local farmhouse that belongs to Colonel Shergood.  Dave and Lyle were joking about the terrible speech when they were tapped on the shoulder and given in-school suspension.

But then Marilla, who is a rule follower to the letter and never wants to upset her parents, broke the rules and shouted “Good” when she heard the plantation was being turned into a Kmart. This guaranteed her an in-school suspension as well.  When they asked her why she would do that, she explained that she hates Colonel Shergood and she wants to “go kick his dead *&%!”

Marilla has never said a bad word in her life, and the boys are shocked.

Why is Marilla so upset? (more…)

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Like the Dubliners, The Chieftains are a bunch of old men who play traditional Irish music.  Unlike the Dubliners, they have gained a fan base beyond the trad scene.  This album in particular features a great deal of crossover material.

Guest singers include: Sting (singing in Irish!), The Rolling Stones, Sinéad O’ Connor, Marianne Faithfull,Van Morrison and Tom Jones (!)

The Sinéad tracks are really great, as she uses her voice wonderfully on the spare musical tracks. “The Foggy Dew” is particularly powerful, and “He Moved Through the Fair” isn’t too shabby either).

Sting’s track is very Sting (with trad accompaniment); Mick Jagger sings the title track, but it doesn’t do a lot for me.  Van Morrison is Van Morrison, regardless of who he’s playing with.  And Tom Jones is so over the top on “Tennessee Waltz” that it’s hard not to laugh with him.

The song with no guests, “Changing Your Demeanor” is a cute Oirishy song with deedly-ee-ayes.

It’s the final song, “The Rocky Road to Dublin” (which I’ve already said is a favorite by other artists) that fares the worst here.  About midway through the song, The Stones seem to burst in (think Run DMC & Aerosmith but a lot older) and play a really sloppy version of “Satisfaction” while The Chieftains are playing their trad song.  Nobody fares well in this version and it’s a shame to have included it on an otherwise good disc.

This is not really a good place to hear the Chieftains as a trad outfit.  It’s certainly more of a showcase album.  But it might work as a crossover introduction to some of these songs.  And yes, the album is very adult contemporary…there’s not a lot of rocking going on here.

[READ: Week of August 16, 2010] Ulysses: Episode 15 [Circe]

This is the Episode I remember most from my previous reads.  I didn’t remember the details, mind you, just the absolute insanity of it.  This is also the place where you can look if you’ve ever wondered why this book was brought up on obscenity charges.  Those first few chapters, with the outhouse and the impure thoughts are mild; even Bloom’s masturbation, while controversial doesn’t hold a candle to all of the insanity that is contained within this Episode.

It was also the only week where we read just one Episode.  And that’s because it is loooooong.  True, it is written in play form (ie, lots of white space), but it is still about 4 times longer than any other Episode.  And man is it a doozy.

I’ve already read that Daryl was just going to write WTF about this Episode.  Of course, that’s sort of what I felt about the previous one, so I guess it’s no surprise that I did enjoy the nonsense of this one.  I’ve always had a great appreciation for the absurd, so this is right up my alley.  This is not in any way to suggest that I understood it, even a little.  But there were parts that I laughed at and parts that I smiled at and parts that I practically blushed at.  Good fun!

Of course, the big question in this chapter is (aside from what the hell is going on and why is it so long) what’s real and what’s Bloom’s fever dream.  This is preceded by the big question of why Bloom is having these fever dreams (or whatever they are).  I’ve been under the impression that he is drunk (but my tenuous following of the previous chapter makes me a little unsure just how drunk he was or if he drank at all.)

In a nutshell what happens is that Stephen (and Lynch) go to the red light district.  Bloom follows behind.  Bloom had a massive memory flashback/acid trip/freak out, and then he “rescues” Stephen (and his money) from the brothel.  He can’t save Stephen from getting punched in the face by a soldier, but he is able to keep him from getting arrested (with Corny Kelleher’s invaluable help).  Bloom, despite his inaction, then offers to take Stephen home.   (more…)

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harpersdecSOUNDTRACKROLLING STONES-Rock and Roll Circus [DVD] (1968).

stonesProbably the most interesting thing about this DVD was seeing Tony Iommi, future guitarist for Black Sabbath playing guitar for Jethro Tull!  Let me repeat: the guy who played “Iron Man” was playing on a song with a flute solo!

Okay, with that out of the way, I’ll talk about the DVD.

The idea behind this event was to promote music in a new way, and the idea of a circus makes sense, so why not.  Wikipedia gives a pretty lengthy explanation of the whole thing, so I won’t bother with all of the details.

Anyhow, I had heard about this DVD in context of The Who.  I had read that The Who totally blew away the Stones at this event (apparently Mick Jagger agreed, which is why this was not available until 1996). Much of the Who’s performance is available in The Kids Are Alright movie.

But now with this DVD available, we get to see all of the acts in the circus:

Jethro Tull-“Song for Jeffrey.” Evidently they mimed their performance, but it’s still Tony Iommi.

The Who-“A Quick One While He’s Away.” Just amazing.  Fantastic rollicking, amazing.  It’s a crazy song, and it’s so full of energy.  Yes, they blow everyone else off the stage.

Taj Mahal, a band I’m not familiar with, plays “Ain’t That a Lot of Love.”

Marianne Faithfull sings a surprisingly quiet rendition of “Something Better.”  Her trademark voice hasn’t quite developed yet.

The Dirty Mac, who are John Lennon (vocals & rhythm guitar), Keith Richards (bass),  Eric Clapton (lead guitar) & Mitch Mitchell (drums).  They perform the Beatles song “Yer Blues” and then a jam called “Whole Lotta Yoko” which features Yoko Ono doing what she does best…caterwauling for what seems like much longer than 4 and a half minutes).

Then the Rolling Stones come out.  The story is that they had been up playing for hours, and their set was finally recorded at 5AM.  Whether or not that’s true, the set is really lackluster.  I’m not a huge Stones fan, but I do love many of their songs.  In fact, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” and “Sympathy for the Devil” are two of my all time favorite songs.  Sadly, the versions on this DVD are totally substandard, especially compared to the originals.  Even “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” a song that I don’t particularly love but which has a great opening riff sounds tired.  I don’t know if it’s the amps, the sound board, or if they’re just really tired, but the set just doesn’t have it.

So, yeah, there’s not much to see with this disc.  You do get Brian Jones jamming with the Stones.  And of course, “A Quick One” is great.  It’s also cool to see Tony Iommi, but since he’s not actually playing, it’s not that exciting.  And, in fairness, Mick Jagger is a very good host, and he keeps his spirits and excitement level up pretty high throughout the show, especially when goofing around with John Lennon and the fans.

As a curiosity, this DVD was okay…I actually enjoyed the talking bits in between songs rather than the songs themselves.

[READ: March 25, 2009] “White-Bread Jesus”

It has taken me a very long time to read this story.  I had been putting it off because it was kind of long.  Then I started it and put it aside, and then finally I read most of it but didn’t have a chance to finish it.  I found it again today under a pile of magazines and decided it was time to finish it up.  None of that reflects on the story, though, honestly.

I was very intrigued by the story right from the get-go.  In it, a preacher (Reverend Wesley Edwards) who is losing his faith, and really his mind, has something of a breakdown in church.  He begins a dialogue with Jesus in which Jesus admits that the Bible is nonsense, and that he, Wesley, is really a prophet. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: HRSTA-Ghosts Will Come Down and Kiss Our Eyes [CST048] (2007).

Hrtsa has another record out from Constellation.  This band is the brainchild of Michael Moya.  Moya writes some really fantastic melodies with interesting and unusual instrumentation.  The first song contains a pump organ, I believe (the liner notes don’t go into any detail).  And throughout the album, whether the songs are long or short, either the guitar lines are great or the different instruments creates atmospheric swells that are really something.

My only problem with this record is the singing. There is occasional singing.  On my first listen, I thought the voice was a woman with a deep husky voice like Carla Bozulich or Marianne Faithfull.  On the second listen I realized the voice is probably that of Moya, making it a reedy tenor voice.  At times he sounds a bit like Gordan Gano from the Violent Femmes.  The problem is that his voice doesn’t really have the power to pull of the songs.  The voice often gets lost in the mix or just distracts from the instruments.  This disparity is heightened even more because there are a number of fantastic instrumentals on the disc.

I certainly enjoyed the disc, I just would have preferred no words or a more interesting singer.

[READ: October 2, 2008] “Mimsy Were the Borogoves”

Sarah and I watched The Last Mimzy a few weeks ago.  I didn’t know it was based on a short story.  I also had never heard of the author.  Well, it turns out that the author is a pseudonym of Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore, two other authors I also hadn’t heard of.  This edition of the story comes in a book attributed to Henry Kuttner (originally published as The Best of Henry Kuttner, but released now as The Last Mimzy). Phew.

So, where was I?

Well, if I didn’t know that the story was the basis for the movie, I never would have guessed.  The only thing relating to the story is that two kids find a box full of inexplicable toys which behave in a manner that is unlike anything on earth. (more…)

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