Thursday, October 31, 2013

Forgotten Classics Of The 90s-Handsome

The 1990s had their share of great albums that nobody heard.  One of the great mysteries of this is the failure of Handsome's  first and only album to generate any airplay or sales while crap nu metal bands like Limp Bizkit and Korn topped the charts.

On paper this album should have been a seller. Peter Mengede was part of the classic Helmet lineup, Tom Capone played in Quicksand and Pete Hines played in Cro Mags. Boasting a loud production from Terry Date (Soundgarden), Handsome runs through 12 loud songs that recall Helmet.  In fact this album was better than the After Taste that Helmet did put out.  Needles did get some minor airplay but sadly the rest didn't.

With the album failing to do much, the band broke up. However, there's still enough love of the band that the folks at ShopRadioCast is reissuing the album in vinyl next month with a bonus 7 inch single of two unreleased tracks.  Basically it's easy to say that Handsome didn't extort none of the dubious crap features of a Limp Bizkit or a Mudvayne, they rocked a bit harder without the rap overtones or screamo of Korn, or the cheese factor of Fred Durst.  In fact Durst would kill for a hook like Left Of Heaven or Going To Panic.  Fans of Helmet would enjoy this album.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Lou Reed Memorial

Like it or not, Lou Reed followed his own path and made albums that were difficult and hard to get into or get.  But in his 40 years as a solo artists it has been one great ride.  Not everything worked mind you but regardless, it was unique.  He let the music do the talking more or less.

Albums: (incomplete)

Lou Reed  (RCA-1972) B+
Transformer (RCA 1973) B-
Rock And Roll Animal (RCA 1973) A-
Berlin (RCA 1973) B+
Lou Reed Live (RCA 1974) B
Sally Can't Dance (RCA 1974) B+
Metal Machine Music (RCA 1975) C
Coney Island Baby (RCA 1976) B+
Rock And Roll Heart (Arista 1977) C+
Walk On The Wild Side-Best Of Lou Reed (RCA 1977) B+
Street Hassle (Arista 1978) B+
Take No Prisoners (Arista 1978) C+
The Bells (Arista 1979) C+
Growing Up In Public (Arista 1980) B+
The Blue Mask (RCA 1982) A-
Legendary Hearts (RCA 1983) B+
New Sensations (RCA 1984) A
Mistrial (RCA 1986) B
New York (Sire 1989) A-
Songs For Drella (Sire 1990) A-
Magic And Loss (Sire 1992) B-
Set The Twilight Reeling (Warner Bros 1996) A-
Perfect Day (Reprise 1998) B+
Ecstasy (Reprise 2000) B+
The Raven (Sire/Warner Bros 2002) B
Animal Serenade (Sire 2004) B
Metal Machine Music Live At Berlin  (Avant Garde 2007) C
Hudson River Wind Meditations (2007) B
Berlin Live At St Ann's Warehouse (Matador 2008) B
Lulu (Vertigo/Warner Brothers 2011) B-


Monday, October 21, 2013

Eddie And The Hot Rods

I got to know this band from Teenage Depression, the song off the Ramones Rock And Roll High School soundtrack and next to Rockpile, my favorite band of the 70s nobody knows about.  Not a punk band, they had more roots in Pub Rock but they played ultra fast versions of Get Out Of Denver, The Kids Are Alright and Gloria.   Chris Blackwell signed them up to his Island Records label but the UK and US version of Teenage Depression are two different albums, the UK has a so so cover of Show Me and Shake, that showed more of their R&B than punk.  The US album has their live Live At The Marqee  EP and a different song list but leaves off Show Me and Shake.  For the most Vic Maile records them in the raw, similar in tone to Dr Feelgood.  When it came to pub rock Vic Maile was the best producer.  Leading off with the three chords and the truth Get Across To You,  Teenage Depression is classic pub or bar rock.  Kids may not know the big deal but you had to be there to see them live and it has been known that Eddie And The Hot Rods could blow away Feelgood or Ducks Deluxe and give The Pirates a good run for their money as well.

Life On The Line has Graeme Douglas on lead guitar and has a more punk rock sound to it thanks be to Steve Lillywhite helping out and they had their best known single Do Anything You Wanna Do but in my case the title track, Quit This Town, the fast paced Ignore Them (Still Life) and the 8 minute epic Beginning Of The End.  Teenage Depression while great, I played Life On The Line a bit more.  I found the album as a cut out (I'm thinking I got it at Big Apple Records in the Town And Country Shopping Center in town) and I think I drove a high school date out of the house by playing Beginning Of The End, since she was a disco fan.  Didn't make a good impression I gather.   I still don't consider The Hot Rods punk at all.  They simply rocked too hard on their 2nd album.

Thriller, (not the Michael Jackson album) only was available as a import and I was overjoyed to see Record Realm had it and I had to have it.  But sad to say this is where they were losing their creative edge.  Some of it was still fun but most of it was a bitter rant and rave, Does It With Mirrors is famous for the continual groove at the end of the record but that and Echoes was blah.  Power And The Glory and Take It Or Leave it (featuring Linda McCartney on backing vocals, sure sounds like the late Lady Mac).  But it was out of style and Warner Brothers, which at the time was distributing Island Records passed on its release.

A major overhaul of the band was coming up for the next album, Tony Craney replaced Paul Gray on bass, Douglas left the band and they were on the ill fated EMI America for the lackluster Fish And Chips, produced by Al Kooper.  The title track may be the worst thing they ever recorded, the cover versions of You Better Run and Time Won't Let Me was phoned in and although I command them for a cover of Crack The Sky's We Want Mine, it was a ill suited fit for Eddie And The Hot Rods.  Al Kooper produced and added some keyboards and effects but outside of Wide Eyed Kids, Fish And Chips is a strikeout.

With that Eddie And The Hot Rods faded into the sunset but some outtakes which came before Fish And Chips and still featured G. Douglas and P Gray, The Curse Of The Hot Rods is a better record than both Thriller and Fish And Chips although they are demos. Graeme Douglas provides comic relief as he describes the songs.  Douglas also shares his thoughts on the Island best of End Of The Beginning, which pretty much cherry picks the best of the Island albums, and leaves Fish And Chips in the dust.

In the 1990s,  Windsong issued BBC Radio One Live In Concert which captures two 1977, 1978 shows. Worth a listen if you can find it.  Dojo in the same year put out Ties That Bind, a oddball collection of six tracks from Curse Of The Hot Rods, three songs from a 1985 lineup of Berrie Masters, Steve Nicol plus Warren Kennedy on guitar but is better known for five demos featuring long departed Lew Lewis on harmonica (yep he was the weakest link) and includes a raw version of Get Across To You as well as Gloria and Wooly Bully and Get Out Of Denver but it's for audiophiles who want everything only.   Captain Oi! reissued the Island albums and loaded the CDs with plenty of bonus tracks.  You can still live without Thriller but Teenage Depression and Life On The Line should be in your collection. 

Barrie Masters continues the Hot Rods and they continue to play in and around England.


Teenage Depression (Island 1977) B+
Life On The Line (Island 1978) A-
Thriller (Island 1979) B
Fish And Chips (EMI 1980) C
Curse Of The Hot Rods (Link 1985) B
End Of The Beginning (Island 1993) A-
BBC Radio One Live (Windsong 1994) B+
Ties That Bind (Dojo 1995) C+