domenica 24 ottobre 2010

The mile of miracles

The original Harem Scarem slowly emerged from Melbourne's mid-80's indie scene, but, it could be argued, were closer in sound to classic Australian blues-rock from a decade before (Dingoes, Coloured Balls, Chain, Rose Tattoo etc.). Their sound was infused with a heady mix of punk spirit and Stax soul that also made them contemporaries of the likes of The Gun Club and the better known Beasts Of Bourbon. Harem Scarem first appeared on the Melbourne Psychobilly compilation “Asleep at the Wheel”. They soon developed (via the “Dogman” EP and some key line-up changes) into a powerhouse live act, where Christopher Marshall's extraordinary, passionate vocals combined with Charlie Marshall's stonesy guitar. The band were renowned for their dynamic blend of punk, blues and soul and ignited many a local stage in the 1980s. With a loyal following and upward trajectory of critical and popular acclaim they disbanded way too soon in 1987 when the brothers finally stop fighting one against the other. The Melbourne scene of the 80s embraced a wide range of music, but it was rare for a band to actually create their own genre with the panache that Harem Scarem did. Their first album, Pilgrim’s Progress, was originally released in 1986, and is a steaming chunk of urban blues from the Yarra delta. A little too hard blues for me but it surely kicks down the barroom door from the outset, with ‘Last Stand Man’, a bragging boast and challenge to any woman within earshot, followed by ‘Miracle Mile’, a great song, which makes it clear drinks are on the house. Then Harem Scarem pushed theirselves a little too hard, the fragile equilibrium of the brothers gave way, and they finally took our separate paths. But it was not the end, not for me... anyway, Chris the guitarist returned to academia while Charlie kept the name of Harem Scarem and went on to make one more album under that title. And so they reinvented themselves and came out their masterpiece called "Lo & Behold", strongly influenced by the Replacements and the american paisley underground groups. This is Lo & Behold, a strong lean rock album, full of great songs devoted to the americana style and to the the Aussie eighties sound, a bit remind me of Died Pretty and a bit also the boss Bruce, what a mixture!

lunedì 18 ottobre 2010

'Till the last bullet!

It was the 26th of may, in the year 1986... i was there at The Big Club in Turin waiting to see the first italian appearance of the Reid Brothers, aka The Jesus & Marychain, the last british "ready to use" phenomenon in pop music. What a night it was, with tons of dark & goth people with their Robert Smith's t shirts, heavy rimmel & black nails. But me and my friends were not ready for what happened next when suddenly came the ghost of the greatest band on earth, The Clash and gave a fist straight in our white mascara faces! The Gang came on stage that night supporting J&MC and it was incredible, an italian band that sounded exactly like our punk maestros. The band played with a lot of power and anger setting the audience on fire. What a an impact they had on the crowd with their rockabilly haircuts and red bandannas. Based on the excitement of the crowd and the group’s intensity, the Gang did not come across as a mere opening act, they were pure r'n'roll! They came from Marche, one of our reddest land and they know how to fight for their rights and for their music, no matter if someone came before them . They were amazing in their songs and in their Clashist poses and I could'nt believe that they were even better that their original inspiration. Early punk-era cuts like “Night in jails” and obvious concert closer “I Fought the Law” were been honed by the band, with an original garage-born buzz replaced by the wallop of a confident, practiced band. Never seen anything like this in Italy... so they were not just simple clones, time will prove that they could play as an international great band... soon they will leave those White Riot style just to meet an artistic evolution similar to the Strummer-Jones band, close to the real rock and roll and reggae and soul spirit of Sandinista. Then came a collaboration with Billy "MyGod" Bragg and the caribbean reggae echoes, then came the folk ballads and their masterpiece "Le radici e le ali", equally distant from their uk models as from the italian traditional "cantautori style". But I wanna come back to that night at the Big Club just because that was the moment we all understood what really matters in music, the roots and the spirit of 76, not the passing fashions . An attitude or a way of life, not a style. Once again my friends, Libre El Salvador, Libre El Salvador!!!

martedì 12 ottobre 2010

The child's players

Modern Eon were from Liverpool in the North West of England. They were a part of the "New Liverpool Scene" that sprang up in 1979-1980 around 'Eric's Club'. Their music defies the routine by occasionally adding odd analog electronics and saxophone. The vocals are bathed in reverb and delivered with smooth eloquence, barely intelligible.Definite influences from Joy Division and Echo & the Bunnymen can be heard. Their music is moody, melodic and always leaves a certain mysterious impression. At times a harshness bursts through. "I see our songs as simple reflections, there's no answers there! I'm not pretending I have any answers. I don't think I'm any different from other people, so I make these observations, they might be able to relate to them in the same way. I think it must be said, some of them are doomy though! I just have to write the way the mood takes me and inevitably I sometimes fell down." -said once Alix, their leader/singer/composer…Their records buzzes, hums, and pulsates its way into the listener's dream world - creating a mystical place in your subconscious…Each song is an act of love which climaxes and envelopes itself in the oblivion of ecstasy. -- Record Mirror 1981

lunedì 4 ottobre 2010

Sorry for the delay - The new italian wave scene!

The end of cold wars
25 years late, not so much after all "... but at last, a new phenomenon. For three years now, Italian club nights like London Loves in Milan and Rome's Fish n Chips have been bringing the post-punk and industrial sounds of London's East End to Italian audiences, playing the same records and bringing the same bands - Hatcham Social, Neils Children, Ipso Facto, Electricity In Our Homes, These New Puritans - to Italian fans, and gathering the country's like-minded youth under the banner of the alternative. Now the reaction is imminent: a new wave of Italian groups is trying its luck in London, returning to its musical roots in a foreign city, with its own singular sound. As with the London groups, musical styles and fashions vary wildly. European Coldwave is a frequent reference: Soviet Soviet( and General Decay( both employ the leaping basslines and chiming guitars of groups like Siglo XX and Asylum Party, but also take chilly atmospheric notes from their European predecessors' original influences (mostly Joy Division). Too Young To Love( are cryptic and symbolic, a smoke-wreathed enigma of a band: a unique blend of unsettling percussive rhythms and hazy melody draped in austere Grauzone-style synthesizers; they are to release their debut EP on Trouble Records (home to An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump) later in the year.Death in Plains ( is a one-man electronic project, brilliantly warping childlike synthpop melodies with distorted industrial percussion and already attracting attention from London's DiscError Recordings and photographer Dean Chalkley. MeanwhileDance for Burgess ( push their pop-inflected blend of Josef K and The Cure towards psychedelia - they've recorded with KASMs' Rory Attwell, and played with The Horrors and S.C.U.M at last year's Isle of Wight Festival..." And what about hte fabtastic Newclear Waves, hailing from Rome, exploring droned out electro pop territories, with less technology and more heart than many predecessors... they certainly remaind me of synth maestros like Kraftwerk, Robert Rental or even Cabaret Voltaire but they sound authentically new (& old) at the same time, dark & beautiful, even dreamy. They really have great cold & minimal tracks with their KR55 drums, a pretty tune & a distant mechanical voice... minimal wave from at its best. Let me spend the last words for my favourite band, Ancien Regime, half Duran Duran & half OMitD, "...a new wave band from Rome, Italy, formed in 2006, as a project conceived by Valerio Bulla (vocals and bass) and Gino Maglio (drums). In 2007 Angelo Stoikidis (guitar) joined the band and helped the project in approaching its real identity. To get the ultimate shape of sound, in 2008 Domenico Migliaccio (drums), drummer of well known roman bands like Bedtime for Charlie and Sadside Project, took the place of Gino Maglio, who, from then on, would handle the synth. The band’s sound incorporates influences from ’80s dark wave music and modern indie-alternative rock..." i believe the future belong to them but how can I be sure and "...the only question is this: will their homeland will embrace them as vigorously as the starved alternative London scene is currently doing? Is Italy itself ready for the new wave, or will it make an impact only where the ground has already been broken by its British predecessors?..."
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