THE ZIPPERS Angel Air [Release date 09.03.18]

Back in the late 80′s it seemed the major record companies signed up any band with long hair and guitars, only for them to record an album and then never get it released. The Zippers were one such band signed to MCA (or as Kerrang! famously called them in a review Musicians Cemetery of America), led by vocalist/guitarist Terry Callahan. They had Freddie Salem of the Outlaws produce the album (he also played slide guitar on the album) adding a bit of a ‘name’ to the band’s CV.

It is an interesting mix of songs from the hard rockers like ‘Top Shelf’ and ‘Rock Now’, that have a whiff of the Georgia Satellites about them, coupled with the Byrds/Tom Petty like harmonies on ‘Like The Rain’ and ‘Shock Wave’.

The Zippers never got a proper chance for their music to be heard first time around and now thanks to Angel Air that can be rectified. An enjoyable hard rock album that is much better than some of the bands that did have their albums released back in 1990. ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie

MATTHEW FISHER Matthew Fisher/Strange Days Angel Air
[Release date 09.02.18]

Matthew Fisher was a member of Procul Harum in their early years and played THAT organ intro to ‘A Whiter Shade Of Pale’. These two solo albums get the Angel Air re-issue treatment having originally been released to little fanfare back in 1980 and 1981.

The self-titled album is an entertaining piece of 70′s flavoured soft rock – plenty of Supertramp in the sound mainly down to Matthew Fisher’s keys and each sing has a big production feel about it. An impressive list of musicians helped out on the album including Dave Mattacks (Fairport Convention/XTC), Mo Foster, Tim Renwick and John Verity. Highlights include ‘Can’t You Feel My Love’ and the pop refrains of ‘Only A Game’.

‘Strange Days’ has a more New Wave/electro pop sound, with fewer guest musicians and gone are the lush musical backings of the previous album. Not so many highlights on this album, although the up-tempo ‘Living In A Dream’ with added sax you could imagine gracing the radio back in the day.

One for collector’s of Procul Harum and their related bands/musicians, otherwise unlikely to get the pulses racing for those not already aware of these two albums. ***

Review by Jason Ritchie


CHRISTINA MARTIN Impossible To Hold Come Undone Music
[Release date 23.03.18]

‘Impossible To Hold’ is Christina Martin’s sixth album and her last album, 2016′s ‘It’ll be Alright’ won her awards in her native Canada.

The album is beguiling mix of country/Americana with the odd heavy pop moment like ‘Deep Dark Red’, where the listener is lulled in by a quiet start before Christina ups her vocals and the guitars chime in.

At the other end of the scale is ‘Winter’, where Christina’s haunting vocal takes centre stage over gentle keys, a mellow guitar solo and rhythmic beat. Her musical influences shine through on the excellent ‘Lungs Are Burning’, a song that wouldn’t look out of place on a Tom Petty or Stevie Nicks album.

Christina Martin nails it perfectly to allow Americana to mix naturally with a pop/rock sound. ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie

DARLING WEST While I Was Asleep Jansen Records [Release date 16.02.18]

Darling West have been streamed over 3 million times on Spotify and have picked up glowing reviews for their previous two albums. Darling West hail from Norway and consist of husband and wife Tor Egil Kreken (vocals, banjo) and Mari Sandvaer Kreken (vocals, mandolin, acoustic guitar, harmonica, dulcimer) along with Kjetil Steensnaes (vocals, guitar).

Imagine Fleetwood Mac doing country and you have a pretty good idea of the musical path Darling West tread. ‘Loneliness’ sounds uncannily like Fleetwood Mac in their prime, whilst Mari’s soothing vocals float above the dobro and guitar on ‘Always Around’. The title track has a quicker tempo with Thomas Gallathin’s drums and percussive beat driving things along nicely. Another key musical influence aside from the obvious country one, is the band’s love of harmony vocals and arrangements that recall the Laurel Canyon artists of the 70′s.

Wonderfully crystal clear sound allows the listener to delve into the music. Darling West are country with a distinct ear for a pop melody and they are sure to make their name better known on the back of this album. ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie

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Power Plays w/c 8 August 2022 (Mon-Fri)
BORN LOST Take Time (Mouthpiece) (Revolver Records)
JAIME KYLE Driving With The Brakes On (Conquest Music)
SCARLET DORN Born To Suffer (SPV Recordings)
HOLDING ABSENCE Coffin (Sharptone Records)
TYRANNOSAURUS NEBULOUS Get Some (Echoed Past Records)
KROOKED TONGUE When The Beaches Bleed (indie)
SKYPILOT Knifed On The Beach (The Distortion Project)

Featured Albums w/c 8 August (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 LESSMAN VOSS Rock Is Our Religion (Atomic Fire Records)
12:00-13:00 H.E.A.T. Force Majeure (earMUSIC)
14:00-16:00 THE SLAMBOVIAN CIRCUS OF DREAMS A Very Unusual Head (indie)

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