Review: It's no secret to anyone who has done their homework on US alternative rock of the early 90s, and specifically East Coast alternative rock, that Galaxie 500 should have been much bigger. Nevertheless, they remain one of the most under-appreciated and overlooked bands of their era, a bolt of beautiful but raucous indie guitar stuff that only lasted four short years, and three albums, but really was something special.
This reissue of their live album, a recording of the final show of their last European tour, certainly reflects this point. Seeming to call on influences from relatively disparate sub-genres of the day - the end of post punk, bloody-nosed rock and, in many ways, something along the lines of what was happening thousands of miles away in Manchester at the time, it's a soaring stunner that has as much stadium drive (the epic 'Fourth of July') as it does woozy and weird experimentation ('Spook').
Review: In many ways it's just another tribute album, albeit one that managed to rope in a particularly epic list of players from across the 1990s heavy metal, doom, and hard rock scenes. Seen in another light, though, Black Nativity is a bit of a history lesson, showing the significance, influence and long-standing impact of metal pioneers Black Sabbath.
Their work is so revered that here we've got the likes of Biohazard, Sepultura, and White Zombie sidling up next to more chartable names like Ugly Kid Joe and Faith No More. Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson also makes an appearance, as does Ozzy Osbourne, the most legendary member of Sabbath. In the end though, it all really proves the power of the original material and the band led by all time riff master, Tony Iommi - the longest and only continuous serving member of the outfit across five straight decades. RIP.
Review: If Rumours, the eleventh studio album by British-American legends Fleetwood Mac, is heralded among the greatest records of the 1970s, or indeed the 20th Century, then any attempt to rethink its contents needs to be good. Luckily, we're talking about arguably the most accomplished shape-shifters music has ever seen, starting life as a U.K. blues duo and morphing - at times a little jarringly - through various lineups and eventually into hugely influential and commercially successful American pop-rock act.
Suffice to say the troupe manage to pull some excellent alternative versions out of the bag here, then. Granted, they might struggle to stick like the originals of 'Gold Dust Woman' or 'The Chain', but that's an unfair comparison. Those tracks have long-since cemented a place in pop culture. The variations here are quality through and through in their own right, though, which is nothing short of a triumph when you're dealing with untouchable material.
Review: By now most people know the story behind Rumours - one of the most decadent records ever made. It's not just the tales of cocaine-fuelled studio sessions and internal band strife that give this album edge, though. Lyrically the environment had a huge impact, relationship breakdowns and fuel for squabbles are common themes, but the sound itself is undeniably sharp and polished - like the glint of a knife as the light hits its blade or, perhaps more appropriately, a mirror.
Regardless of the background turbulence, this is quite simply one of the finest moments in pop and soft rock. 10million copies were sold within one month, and tracks like 'Go Your Own Way', 'The Chain' and 'Gold Dust Woman' became legendary genre classics. Most importantly, though, they still sound good today, reflecting the glory and talent that was the Mac in their finest hour.
Review: Definitely one for the heads, The Ramones record It's Alive is probably one of the best live albums ever released in the history of releasing live albums. A veritable AC/DC at Donnington (for the third time), only for punk rather than stadium heavy metal. Or at least that's our not-so humble opinion.
It's Alive was a sprawling, mind-bendingly expansive chapter in the iconic New York band's history, spanning no less than 28 tracks and two discs, although its genius is in the live emphasis. Songs like 'California Sun', 'Commando', and 'I Wanna Be Well' take on new, feverish urgency and rebellious swagger. Captured at a show in London on New Year's Eve in 1977, this new release is the counterpoint. As recorded at Victoria Hall, Stoke-On-Trent on 29th December 1977, It's Alive II is yet another time capsule showing off the raw energy and talent of this rightly revered outfit in their prime.