Joe Brown, bass player of the Gatefolds, is a founding member of the Loosehandlebars karass & our original guest selector. This is the sixth time Joe has thrown his cat into the ring (?) & he has never steered us wrong. In 2017 I received great hospitality as a guest of the Brown family. It’s a house that buzzes with good humour & as all sound systems have the Bass turned up to 11, shakes with the fine, fine music.
This time last year too much time was spent listening to the music of those who had left us. For me 2017 sounds like a fresh new year with many contenders for a “best of” list. Before I get to my chosen 3 I must check for great albums by King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard (all 4 or 5) of them, Sleaford Mods, Moon Duo (2 more), Derry’s own Invaderband and a great and uplifting double act that is Kurt Vile and Courtney Barnett.
This year it’s been a quieter house as our 3 sons have gone off to see the world. The noisier bands have filled some of the silence & replaced some of the energy. The buzzsaw punk of Los Angeles based Flatworms absolutely fits the bill. The trio have top ranking credentials having played with enough bands to fill the bill at the September Liverpool Psych Fest. “Motorbike” (click above), from their debut album is as short & sharp as something from the late 1970’s while the feedback drenched closing track “Red Hot Sand” is a most agreeable racket, Turn up your headphones for this one, your ears are meant to be ringing after listening to Flatworms.
Back on the proper side of the Atlantic it’s another loud bunch that have caught my ears. Idles are from Bristol & their LP “Brutalism” opens with the instantly arresting “Heel” & the declaration “No Surrender”, a phrase hollered by many an imbecile in this part of the world. Idles have their tongue in their cheeks & rammed down your throat at the same time. Post-Brexit Britain, the celebration of puritanism & philistinism, the effect of austerity in the inner cities, are no laughing matter & these jokers are direct, serious & angry. I’ve seen Punk purists knock Idles as “mock rock” but I’m not buying that. It’s affirming to hear the Spirit of 77 applied in such a modern, effective way. “The best way to scare a Tory is to read & get rich”…Well Done !
Finally a band I have loved for a long time, who have musically morphed on occasions but only when necessary and each manoeuvre has been masterful. Queens of the Stone Age have been in everyone’s sin bin after the deplorable onstage antics of front man Josh Homme (for which he has deeply apologised and I’ll leave that for now). “Villains” is the first LP for 4 years, it’s a diverse collection spread over 3 sides of a double album, yes they included some ornate artwork on the fourth just to show off. Produced by Mark Ronson the riffs & Homme’s searing vocal range are familiar. The menacing swagger of the Queens is spritzed with, dare I say it, a little glitz & glam. Certainly the feelgood hit of the Summer.
This Xmas Joe’s original band, Bam Bam & the Calling, are coming together for the first time in 2 years as part of a 1980’s reunion gig in Derry. I would love to be there but…it’s Xmas. If you are in the area of the Nerve Centre on the 27th of December you will be in for a treat & will hear just why the group deserve their legendary status in the city.