Not the Releases of the Year 2016

  ‘Album of the year’ lists are fine for representing a specific time period in music, and interesting because of how personal and subjective they are  – an element which becomes eroded by time, as is easily seen from the consensus found in the majority of ‘great albums…

Weekly Update: Halloween Horror – Outsider Music & Venusian Death Cell

It’s Halloween next week; and what better time to write a few words about the parallel universe of outsider music? ‘Outsider music’ is one of those nebulous but still quite useful terms that litter the language of music. Like “singer-songwriter”, it doesn’t really denote a…

Weekly Wafflings

  For a variety of reasons, it’s been far longer than intended since I last posted anything here. So this is now the first of my weekly updates, which will mostly, I hope, be posted every Friday. It’s been a funny summer; a house move,…

Ride On A Golden Wave: Uriah Heep’s …Very ‘Eavy …Very ‘Umble

Very ‘Eavy …Very ‘Umble (Vertigo/Mercury, 1970; Bronze shortly thereafter) This year (2016), BMG begins an extensive reissue campaign of releases by one of the original Spinal Tap-influencing ‘rock dinosaur’ bands, the mighty Uriah Heep. Along with an anthology, the first of these releases is, logically…

Difficult, But Fascinating: The Gail Carriger interview

Preamble to the Preamble… Following the success of steampunk icon Gail Carriger’s recent novella, Poison or Protect the new novel in her Custard Protocol series, Imprudence is out now and Gail was kind enough to answer some questions for me. If you are already a fan,…

Tea-table Books 1: Dust & Grooves by Eilon Paz

  Tea-table* books is an occasional series devoted to the best books for casually enjoying while relaxing with a hot beverage. Usually large format and illustrated (yes, just like ‘coffee table books’), the best tea-table books are of course just as good when read from cover-to-cover, but…

The Third Monthly Report: March 2016

By this point, 2016 has started to develop its true character, mainly based on famous people dying and political and religious extremism: halcyon days! Ah well, never mind, I’ve listened to, looked at and read lots of things which passed the time pleasantly and helped…

All the stuff and more; why bands should split up and never, ever reform

  Firstly, let’s acknowledge that there are a few reasons that bands who have long since split up should reform, but they are mostly reasons relevant to the band itself and not their fans; unfinished business (various kinds) reaping the rewards (personal, financial) that they didn’t get…

The Second Monthly Report: February 2016

  A short month, but full of things, not least my own birthday! So plenty of stuff to discuss… Unfortunately, David Bowie is still dead and in fact has been more productive than ever as a commercial entity, as music, magazines, TV shows, pop stars…

The First Monthly Report: January 2016

  Along with some tragic deaths, abysmal weather and so forth, 2016 began with lots of good stuff, some of it inevitably acquired at christmas, like for instance… FREZNO by Tony Stamolis (Process Books, 2008) Frezno is great partly because photographer Tony Stamolis’ hometown Fresno is, or appears…