Reviews roundup – The Last Ditches vs. The Rolling Stones vs. JP Glovasa vs. Maarja Nuut vs. Zaedyus

81f26qybxgl-_sl1500_THE LAST DITCHES
Spilt Milk
Hyperspace Records

Old rockers never die.  Well, they do, but when they’re not busy dying, they regroup with fellow travellers, and they keep on rocking.  Which is why you will find former Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers guitarist Walter Lure and ex Rainbow / Blue Oyster Cult drummer Bobby Rondinelli have linked up with fellow veterans Randy Pratt and Binky Philips to create The Last Ditches.

It’s actually the brainchild of Mr Pratt, who is also a member of The Lizards and the reborn Cactus, and as you would expect from their backgrounds, it’s a mash up of seventies New Wave and classic rock, with some funky licks just for fun.  The music is all new, bar a Johnny Thunders cover, mainly from the pens of Philips and Lure, and it will certainly appeal to fans of the late seventies New York punk scene.

The vocals may be a tad challenging for people who crave a melodic croon, but that aside, songs like “That’s What We Do”, “Itchin’ for a Fight”, and “Throw The Dog A Bone” will keep many an old NY New Waver very happy indeed.

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715mu7jr6ll-_sl1200_THE ROLLING STONES
Totally Stripped
Eagle Rock

From one bunch of old codgers to the grandaddys of old codgers.  Yes, the Rolling Stones are still on the go, and they’re even threatening us with a new album this year.  A blues set featuring originals as well as songs by Little Walter and Howlin’ Wolf.  But to keep appetites whetted, they’ve dug out the ‘Stripped’ release from 1995 and given it a good rejigging.

The newly re-dubbed ‘Totally Stripped’ sees their documentary / acoustic release getting more than pepped up, as their is a raft of new (old) material for them to sink their false teeth into.  In fact, if you buy the deluxe version you’ll get all three live shows that were recorded for the album, from the spring of 1995 in Amsterdam at The Paradiso, Paris’ L’Olympia and London’s Brixton Academy.

The new version of the documentary also includes previously unseen footage, so people who bought ‘Stripped’ the first time won’t feel let down.  It’s out in an abundance of versions, so you’ll want to check closely to make sure you’re getting exactly what you want, as there are (deep breath) a standard documentary-only edition and deluxe formats in DVD or SD Blu-ray, DVD+CD or DVD+LP, single CD / 2LPs and deluxe edition.

For me, the DVD+CD works best, so you can wrap your headphones round the likes of “Dead Flowers”, “Faraway Eyes” and “Midnight Rambler”.  There have been a lot of Stones reissues of late, but this is probably the best.

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61n94pvjd1l-_ss280JP GLOVASA
Taking The First Step
Hit 66 Records

Off to the mythical continent of Australasia to find out what John Paul “JP” Glovasa is up to on his solo debut album.

He’s been a jobbing musician for years, having played in everything from progressive hard rock and thrash metal, through to jazz, gospel and J-pop, and all points inbetween.  He’s been gigging since he left school, recorded a few albums, and even appeared at Download when he was lead guitarist in the thrash metal act 4arm.

He was lead guitarist with them, but when in Vitruvian Man, a psychedelic prog rock band, he was playing both bass and keyboards, and has now brought his multi-instrumental chops to a solo album of guitar instrumentals.  And as you would expect from his varied background, it’s not a shred fest as most of things are.  No, he brings his whole palate to an enjoyable fusion of sounds, on tunes like “As the Wanderer Follows the Light”, “Lonesome Moonlight” and “Battle in the Clouds”.

To be fair, most of the music is rooted in the prog traditions, and it’s prog fans who will take most from this, but anyone who likes to investigate solo guitar, will find a lot to enjoy here.

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81eyb-3k2ol-_sl1200_MAARJA NUUT
Une Meeles
independent

Off to the frozen land of Estonia now, a country on the same latitude as me, so I certainly understand the chill that permeates this record from fiddler and vocalist Maarja Nuut.

Apparently, it’s a retelling of the folk music traditions of pre-war Estonia, through the medium of violin, vocals and electronic doo-dahs.  It’s all a bit arty-farty, but there is something quite compelling about the music.

That’s despite a lot of atonal noises coming through the headphones, and frequent diversions into what passes for modern classical music.  That is to say, it has not tune.  But when the music manages to maintain a toehold in melody, it’s really rather good.  That would be ‘Hobusemäng’ and ‘Kellatoas’, in particular.  The vocals are quite intriguing, as they, more than they music’ have a chilly quality which is quite off putting at times.

At the very least, she’s trying to something different with her fiddle. Worth exploring.

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61z9i658o9l-_ss280ZAEDYUS
Patagonia
independent

Anyone fancy some Argentinean progressive folk metal?  Of course you do.  And here comes Ale Brukman with his Zaedyus project to keep you going.

Turns out this all started back in 2005 when Mr Brukman started putting together the songs for this release.  He tried getting a band together, but that fell apart, so he ended up recording the material himself, along with some guest musicians and vocalist Agustin Konsol.  Then he tried putting a band together again for some live shows to promote the album in 2011, but it all fell apart again.

Fast forward a few years, and he finally got a band going to promote his ‘Santos Vega’ release, and with some live shows and fan interest, he decided to remaster and reissue this release.  And it’s very enjoyable.  It operates in a world between power and prog metal, with a few classical flourishes thrown in, so it’s very genre oriented.  There are some excellent tunes with ‘Over The Cliff’ the standout tune for me.

It’s been a battle for him to get here, but Mr Brukman deserves some kudos for getting his music out there.

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