Sunday 30 September 2012

The Jetsonics - "The Chelsea Drugstore" E.P. out now!

The Jetsonics have just released their third E.P. entitled "The Chelsea Drugstore", it features four songs including the title track, "White Capri", "Debbie Harry" and a long-awaited first release of the old favourite "Murphy's Heroes". The E.P. is produced by Steve Lyon who has previously worked with artists such as The Cure, Depeche Mode, The Creatures and The Wedding Present. You can order the E.P. direct from the band's web-site or download from iTunes.

The band will pay a return visit to The Scream Lounge in Croydon on October 06th and then they will play at the Grey Horse in Kingston-Upon-Thames on October 19th, where they will joined by the fantastic Past Tense. The Jetsonics are already working on new material and here's a free download of an excellent brand new track, "Cruel Lizzie Vickers". It's a song about a rather macabre true story written especially for Paul Slade's "Murder Ballads" compilation.

Thursday 27 September 2012

Retrosonic Podcast Special Edition: Ian Person of The Soundtrack of Our Lives

I am very pleased to announce that our special guest for the latest Retrosonic Podcast is none other than The Soundtrack of Our Lives' guitarist and song-writer, Ian Person. Ian originally played alongside vocalist Ebbot Lundberg in the legendary and influential Swedish Stooges-style punk band Union Carbide Productions and later joined Ebbot in forming The Soundtrack of Our Lives. I spoke to Ian just prior to the band's last ever show at the beautiful Slussens Pensionat on Orust. In this Podcast, we concentrate on Ian's solo, movie and TV soundtrack work and his future once the band sadly call it a day at the end of this year.  The Podcast features some brand new, unreleased solo songs along with a cut from his superb "Diamonds In The Rough" album and soundtrack music from the excellent IFK Gothenburg documentary movie "Fotbollens Sista Proletärer" ("Football's Last Proletarians"). The movie was produced by Kalle Gustafsson Jerneholm, bassist in The Soundtrack of Our Lives, and it will have it's first U.K. screening at The Everyman Cinema Baker Street in London on Monday October 01st. Hopefully one of the stars of the film, ex-IFK and Liverpool defender, Glenn Hysén, will be in attendance together with the film's Director for a Q&A session at the screening. You can read more about the background to the film in our previous Retro Man Blog feature here, which includes a track-by-track Guide by Ian himself, to his music in the movie.
Ian Person - Photo by Per Kristiansson
Next up Ian Person will play a solo "unplugged" Acoustic show at Restaurant 2112, which is located at number 5 Magasinsgatan in Gothenburg on this coming Saturday, September 29th. 

Here's the link to the Podcast, I hope you enjoy it and please don't forget to keep a check on the Blog for news on Ian Person's solo album and for information on future solo live shows too.

Thanks to Paul Slattery for the Podcast cover and to Per Kristiansson for the Black & White photo.

Tuesday 25 September 2012

Retrosonic Podcast Special Edition: Power Pop with Wayne Lundqvist-Ford of Ice Cream Man Blog

Wayne from Ice Cream Man Blog - Photo by Steve Worrall
During my recent trip to Sweden I caught up with my good friend and expert on Power Pop, Wayne Lundqvist-Ford, who runs the Ice Cream Man Blog. I chatted to Wayne about his Blog and went through some of the many CD's and albums he gets sent by bands from all over the word who hope to be featured. Wayne certainly knows his stuff about the huge International underground Power Pop scene, and he picks out some of the new bands that have caught his attention in the past year. Wayne has also been a big supporter of Retro Man Blog favourites such as Stanley Road, The Past Tense and The Len Price 3 amongst others - but I was eager to find out more - and I wasn't disappointed.  Wayne chooses a prime selection from all over the Globe, and we kick things off with a great track "If You Love Her" by Californian band  Beyond Veronica. That's followed by a raw and punky "Open Book" from Milan's wonderful The Sensibles, then there's a blistering track, "White Capri", from my Retrosonic Podcast colleague Adam and his West London New Wave trio The Jetsonics, taken from their brand new E.P.  Another British band next, and it's sunny sea-side popsters Phenomenal Cat and the latest in their series of a single-per-month releases "The Volume Police". We zoom over to Madrid for  The Seasongs and a track from their "Out Of The City" album. You can probably get an idea of Budokan's influence in their band name, and the Canadian band offer up "The Queen's English", a powerful Cheap Trick style number. Holland's Marty Graveyard, the ex-Madd band-member, has a solo album out called "Summer Holiday" and here's the super-catchy "Do You Really Wanna Dance?". We stay on the beach for the beautiful shimmering harmonies of Denmark's Surf School Dropouts and their sublime "Run Away".  Lyon's Mr Day provide some "Food For Soul", all fuzzy guitars and Hammond organ. Germany's Monkeeman, are next with the mighty "I'm a Lonely Guy" taken from 2008's "Life In The Backseat", one of a trio of must-have albums from the excellent song-writer Ralf Luebke. To finish off there is a track from one of Retro Man Blog's albums of the year "Things That Shine and Glow" from the fantastic Milwaukee based band, Trolley. So, as I mentioned, it really is an International scene and I hope you enjoy the tunes. You can contact Wayne at Ice Cream Man Blog by email and also check out, listen and download the Podcast totally free of charge at our Soundcloud site here:

Retrosonic Podcast Special Edition: Power Pop with Wayne Lundqvist-Ford by Retrosonic Podcast

Wayne has also started up a new Blog, it's called Power Pop T-Shirt, and it's devoted to the "band" T-Shirt. Contributions are welcome, so drop him an email with a photo of your favourite shirt, along with a short anecdote or back story as to why the shirt is special to you.

Here's the fun promo video to Wayne and his band, Wayne James & The Harry Evlar Experience, and their great cover of Teenage Fanclub's classic Power Pop track "Sparky's Dream".

Thanks to Wayne for his time, he will also appear in a forthcoming Swedish music special episode.

Friday 21 September 2012

The Soundtrack of Our Lives - The last ever UK show, Heaven London September 13th by Francis Barry-Walsh

It’s coming up to 11 years since I acted on a friend’s recommendation and bought a copy of The Soundtrack of Our Lives "Behind The Music". The album is a spectacular re-imagining of rock music from the previous 50 years, full of great tunes, great riffs and no tortured, dark and edgy nonsense. There it could have all ended for me had it not been for going to see the band live for the first time at London's Cargo Club back in February 2002. The stage seemed barely large enough to accommodate a six piece had they been standing still, yet they threw themselves about and apart from an attempt by Mattias to boot Ebbot up the arse and Ebbot wandering into the crowd during "21st Century Rip-Off", they managed not only to stay on stage but put on a brilliant show. That time seemed like their moment to make it big, yet curiously they have never done so in England, despite a devoted following and critical acclaim.

Still that’s OK, because now on the occasion of their last U.K. show, I’m at Heaven, a small venue underneath the arches in Charing Cross and the good humoured and polite audience are there, not only because they are all fans, but also I think, to thank The Soundtrack of Our Lives for some great music, some great shows and for lifting our spirits over the years. Rather like a Premiership football ground, 10-15 mins before the scheduled start, the venue seemed empty but come the start, the place had packed out and David Quantick came on in a crumpled grey suit to deliver a witty eulogy on the band with messages of thanks from  Noel Gallagher, ‘Bono’, Mani and Tim Burgess. They are indeed a great Rock’n’Roll band as he said and over the next 2 hours, they went on to demonstrate why they are so loved.  The Soundtrack of Our Lives never make big entrances, they don’t really have to when you have Ebbot as a focal point and when the band as a collective unit have such presence. 

They started with "All for Sale" and by the time they moved onto "Believe I’ve Found", Martin was up and about, whilst Mattias and Ian were, by comparison restrained. Maybe Ian was weighed down by his luxuriant beard which, combined with his hat, put me in mind of ZZ Top. By the time they launched into "Confrontation Camp", Mattias and Ian were back on message effecting all their moves, poses and jumps, and the crowd and band were together as one. Their set was a mix of old classics ("Broken Imaginary Time", "Infra Riot", "We’ll Get By") and new ones, and not having heard them play songs from the new album, "Faster Than the Speed of Light" really stood out and it’s taken last night’s show to make me better appreciate "Throw it to the Universe", their last album. Isn’t that always the way? 

Halfway through the set, Ebbot had taken to placing the tambourine on his head and it suited him, though I kept thinking it’s Obelix up there. During all this visual mayhem, it can be easy to forget Fredrik’s brilliance on the drums keeping it all together with smiley Kalle on bass, driving the songs along. "Thrill Me" followed and it’s a great glam rock foot stomper and Ian’s chance to try to steal the stage limelight from Ebbot. This was followed by the soaring "Lost Prophets in Vain" from the "Communion" album and then really just one high after another – "Second Life Replay", "Sister Surround", "The Passover" - a beautiful song, “don’t pass it on if you know it’s wrong”.  I love this song with its elegiac mood which further proves that the band can do slow-ish & wistful as well as rock.

Naturally they had to finish with a blinding version of  "Mantra Slider" with Ebbot walking into the crowd and being crowd-surfed back. Oh, and then they came back to really finish off on a high with "Galaxy Gramophone", "Grand Canaria" and "Instant Repeater '99" and then bowed to the audience when it really should have been the other way round. They could have gone on and on, but hey ho, they probably needed a rest, a good drink and Martin probably needed to rinse out his t-shirt. 
Thanks TSOOL...

The Soundtrack of Our Lives wave goodbye to the UK...for good?
Many thanks to Francis Barry-Walsh for the review and Paul Slattery for the photographs.

All material strictly copyright of the contributors and Retro Man Blog 2012.

Thursday 20 September 2012

The Soundtrack of Our Lives - iTunes Festival at The Roundhouse with Noel Gallagher

Fredrik Sandsten & Ian Person of TSOOL
Noel Gallagher has always been extremely supportive of his favourite Swedish band over the years, right back to his days in Oasis, he would often devote valuable column space in his own and Oasis's interviews to praise the band. So, considering The Soundtrack of Our Lives will cease to be by the end of 2012, it was a nice gesture by Noel to invite the band to open for him and the High Flying Birds at their iTunes Festival show at London's Roundhouse. Noel was also to be seen watching the band from the side of the stage as they kicked off a short, eight song set to the cavernous Roundhouse. Of course, iTunes can only be applauded for putting on events like this and supporting live music. However, the problem with these corporate style shows, is that it can be difficult for die-hard fans to get tickets. And so it is tonight, as the band take the stage to be greeted by a strangely bemused, polite, yet pretty unresponsive crowd made up mainly of iTunes competition draw winners.

Mind you as always, singer Ebbot Lundberg seems to revel in the situation, he's never been one to take the easy option. He appears on stage alone with an acoustic guitar and strums away, it takes a while before I recognise the song is a cover of The Damned's twisted side-show oddity, "These Hands" from Machine Gun Etiquette. "These are the hands of a demented circus clown", sings Ebbot, "outside I'm happy but inside I'm really wearing a frown..." Is that a reference to the band splitting up? Maybe he's changed his mind, a pang of regret even? No, I don't think so. Since the band have announced the split, there seems to be a big weight lifted off their shoulders and the gigs have been some of the most joyous I have seen for many years. As guitarist Ian Person told me after their show, "now the pressure is off we can have some fun". The band then take their places on stage and proceed to give it their all, straight into the storming title track of their latest, and last album "Throw It To The Universe". Ebbot intones..."We are the ones who never die..."

Ebbot Lundberg
However, it seems they are facing a bit of an uphill struggle, not just in the face of the rather passive audience but against the acoustics too. It's a poor sound, and the more psychedelic passages seem to waft up and get lost in the huge dome of the Roundhouse. It seems this is occasionally causing timing issues, I'm not sure if it's anything to do with the fact that the shows were being recorded and filmed for a live Internet broadcast, maybe the sound mix is more geared to that? "Firmament Vacation" follows and then the excellent Ian Person song "Still Aging" from the "Behind The Music" album, a track that seems to have found it's way back into set-lists recently. The sound gradually clicks into place and the set builds nicely with the flamenco intro to new song "Where's The Rock?". Fan favourite "Confrontation Camp", a sort of Stooges style take on The Sweet's "Blockbuster", seems to perk up the audience a bit. One of the new album's highlights "Faster Than the Speed of Light" is somewhat interrupted by an extensive section of vocal gymnastics from Ebbot, and the momentum is lost a little bit.

Kalle & Ian of TSOOL
The slow build of "Second Life Replay" is a challenging choice of song to play to an audience mainly consisting of people who hadn't heard the band before. Sure, it's become a bit of a classic TSOOL song with the passing of time since the superb double album "Communion", with it's complex passages and Martin Hederos' beautiful harpsichord break, its not an immediate hit, but it's a stunningly powerful song. This is followed by probably their most well known number, the faultless "Sister Surround" and it all comes together, the familiar driving rhythm laid down by drummer Fredrik Sandsten and bassist Kalle Gustafsson Jerneholm is followed by the call and response duelling guitars of Mattias Bärjed and Ian Person and it gets heads nodding finally. One fan waves a lone Swedish flag in front of Ebbot but I'd like to think they did pull in a few more converts after all, even if it might be too late.

The visually stunning Roundhouse
All photographs Copyright Steve Worrall Retro Man Blog 2012

See more Soundtrack of Our Lives exclusive photographs of this show and more by "Liking"  the Retro Man Blog Facebook page.

Tuesday 11 September 2012

Thee Faction + Eight Rounds Rapid live at The Railway Hotel, Southend Sep 08th by Mark Lancaster

Having staged two previous Roadshows, for The Len Price 3  and TV Smith, with Retro Man Blog, the Podrophenia boys, Piley and Mondo teamed up with Reigate's own social agitators, and the country's best Socialist R'n'B band, Thee Faction for another turn at Southend's, and almost certainly Essex's finest Pub, The Railway Hotel. Having seen them a couple of times "up that London" and been blown away with their blistering power chords and Marxist rhetoric, there was no way I was going to miss this one. It was going to be an evening of tunes ranging from Glam, Northern Soul, 70's Funk, Soundtracks, obscure covers and Revolutionary R'n'B. Thee Faction are at the vanguard of agit-pop, fighting the war of position against the savage attacks of a government who are minded only to protect the rich.

Tonight they were joined by Southend's very own Eight Rounds Rapid, who also like a bit of politics with their Strats. Despite being a local band, I had never seen Eight Rounds Rapid before but had heard many good reports from both Piley and Mondo about them. What can I say? They blew me away. Billy Brentford, erstwhile lead singer of Thee Faction said that they sounded like a cross between Dr. Feelgood and The Gang of Four, and he isn't far wrong. Blistering chords, great funked-up bass-lines and powerful drums coupled with fine vocals, showed Southend what a gem we have in our town with this band. They could be huge and knock spots off of all those insipid "Indie" bands that we are force-fed at the "alternative tents" at the big corporate festivals.

Eight Rounds Rapid - Photo courtesy The DimLocator
Fronted by Billy Brentford on vocals, Nylons and Babyface on guitars, Kassandra Krossing on keyboards, Thee Citizen on bass and Dai Nasty on drums, Thee Faction hit the stage at 10:15. Unfortunately, their horn section Brass Kapital were engaged in revolutionary activity elsewhere, so we were treated to a rare appearance by the original six piece. The stage at The Railway is fairly small and doesn't afford Billy Brentford much room to partake in his almost legendary dancing, but he isn't deterred by the possibility that he might, at any moment, fall to his death from his precipitous position. He soldiers on regardless, throwing shapes, fist punching in true revolutionary style and high-fiving a very drunk man down the front who seems to want to engage Comrade Brentford in some kind of political discussion during breaks in the set. Most bands these days shuffle about morosely between songs but not Thee Faction. They take their politics very seriously and songs are introduced by both Babyface and Brentford with references to Marx, Engels and their Socialist hero, G.D.H. Cole.

Thee Faction - Photo by Robin Boot
Babyface even promotes local protest group Southend Against The Cuts and their October 06th demo, for which I would like to personally thank him. The thing I love about Thee Faction is that they know how to have fun whilst putting across a serious message. They might be socialists fighting back against injustice whilst campaigning for a better society but, boy, can they kick-ass. As they say on a song from the brilliant new album Singing Down The Government, "It's Fun To Agitate". A great set included new single "Soapbox" and the fantastic diatribe against the dreadful corporate nonsense of Mumford and Sons, "The Sausage Machine", along with "Responsible", the classic "Marx My Main Man" and my personal fave, "Union Man/Proletarian Man".

The crowd lapped it up, bouncing as high as any Railway crowd I have seen and even singing along with the songs. Revolutionary Southend, I am proud of you for that alone. And they were gone. No encores, for as they quite rightly point out, encores are bourgeois. Afterwards in the bar, both bands said how much they enjoyed it and hoped that they would have the chance to play together again. I have no doubt that Thee Faction will return to paint the town red again. Make it soon comrades. We need you.

Review by Mark "Comrade Marmiteboy" Lancaster

You can download Thee Faction's new single "Soapbox" for a limited period gratis HERE.

The new album Launch Night is at The Half Moon Putney, along with Attila The Stockbroker, on October 18th.

You can buy copies of Thee Faction's excellent new album "Singing Down The Government, or, The War of Position and How We're Winning It" at their on-line Store.

There is a great feature on the gig over at promoter Dave Collins' excellent Planet Mondo Blog. 

With many thanks to Mark Lancaster for contributing the excellent review.

Monday 10 September 2012

The Fall - Live at The Strand Stockholm, September 02nd

The last time I saw The Fall was way back in 2007 at the Islington Academy, it wasn't what I would call a particularly enjoyable night out. Firstly, it was at my least favourite venue in London, the dreadfully soul-less Islington Academy. Secondly, we had to endure some awful wind-up merchant posing as a DJ, Safi Sniper, who stretched the crowd's patience to breaking point. I had never experienced any violence or aggression at a Fall gig before, well not off the stage at least, but the air was filled with screams of abusive language and flying beer glasses. Of course, I could imagine Mark E Smith sitting backstage having a good old chuckle at this and by the time The Fall took to the stage, the audience were primed and ready for anything. I was there with a friend from Sweden who certainly added a few more slang words to his English vocabulary. So, fast forward to the present, I was over in Stockholm when the same friend suggested we go along to see The Fall, I was in two minds. I mean don't get me wrong, The Fall were amazing when they did eventually take the stage that night back in 2007, but I was not in any great rush to see them again. With some trepidation I asked my mate, "That Safi Sniper isn't supporting is he...?". Laughing, he replied, "Oh, the effing get off the stage you w*nker Safi Sniper, you mean? No, there's no support and the band are due on stage at 8:30 I think". Now, that sounded more like it, life's too short for enduring shite support bands, so I agreed.

The Strand is a great venue, there's a good atmosphere and a sizeable audience, I can pick out a lot of English voices too so things are looking promising for a great show. The band take the stage, but although the keyboard is set up there's no Elena which is a bit strange. However, they go ahead and kick off with a brand new number that has a catchy guitar riff called "Defurbished". Mark E Smith appears and looks in pretty good shape, the stabbing, stop-start guitar leaves the drums to carry things, it's an excellent song. Still no Elena though, and there's no explanation on her whereabouts at all during the course of the gig. Then it's into their cracking take on The Sonics' garage rock classic "Strychnine". This is followed by "Nate Will Not Return" and then the ominous bass line of "Chino". In fact tonight, it's the bass of Dave Spurr that is the star of the show, I haven't felt such a punch in the guts sound since experiencing Scott Firth's crushing bass at Public Image Ltd's recent gigs. Talking of bass, next it's another stunning riff, "Systematic Abuse" from the "Reformation Post TLC" album. Tonight, The Fall sound is a pretty relentless assault, there is not much room for subtlety but it is certainly hypnotic and effective.

The band were in a tight groove and things were going well, but half way through "Systematic Abuse" Smith wanders off backstage leaving the band to continue without him. They go straight into "Cowboy George" with its rolling Rawhide style drums. Smith appears on stage again and continues singing, he deliberately steps on guitarist Peter Greenaway's effects pedals and approaches his amp, turning up the levels so there's a squall of feedback. He then fiddles with the vacant keyboard and they crash into a vicious "Bury", the rockabilly riff of oldie "Container Drivers" is well received by the crowd but during "Psykick Dancehall", Smith kicks over one of drummer Keiron Melling's cymbal stands and he's off again. There's a brief flurry and battle with the curtains that wouldn't have been out of place on the Morecambe & Wise Show, and he disappears backstage. The band finish and depart to loud calls for an encore and I am sure I can hear Smith's disembodied voice through the PA say "I'm not going back out there again". He doesn't, but the band do, the three musicians re-appear and we get a red-hot run through of "Hot Cake" then into the classic "Mr. Pharmacist", all the while Smith is singing from somewhere backstage.

The band depart again, there's a bit of a wait but they come back, spurred by the persistent calls for an encore, for "Wolf Kidult Man", then my favourite Fall track "Sparta FC", which certainly misses Elena's backing vocals. I don't really know what happened to upset Smith, some people reckon it was the laid back Stockholm crowd, but to me the reaction was positive throughout, and the calls for encores went on long after the house lights went up. The fact that they came back for two encores probably lays to rest that rumour. Was it something to do with Elena? Maybe Smith hurt himself trying to get backstage? You could certainly hear him saying  "thank you from the cripple behind the stage" as  "Sparta" drew to a close. Whatever the reasons, I suppose a straight forward, incident-free Fall gig would have probably been a bit of a disappointment!  Here's a video of "Container Drivers" - All photos and video copyright Steve Worrall 2012.

Friday 7 September 2012

The Soundtrack of Our Lives - Live at Södra Teatern Stockholm, August 30th

Mattias & Ebbot - Photo by Steve Worrall
It's starting to hit home that this really is the closing chapter in The Soundtrack of Our Lives story. At the end of the year the band will finally call it a day and they will do so in some style. They have announced that they will run through each of their studio albums on consecutive nights, starting December 17th, here in Stockholm at this very theatre, the beautiful Södra Teatern. It's well worth mentioning the venue as it is stunning, situated high up on Södermalm's Mosebacke Square with breathtaking views over the City, it's Stockholm's oldest surviving theatre, dating back to 1859. It's also well known as the venue where Sparks performed for the recording of their superb "Lil' Beethoven Live in Stockholm" DVD. Tonight's gig however, is outside on the Terrassen, and it really is a beautiful setting to see a gig. Due to the proximity of local flats, houses and hotels - some lucky residents got a perfect view from their own balconies - the gig starts early, and the support act Mattias Hellberg actually plays indoors afterwards at an official aftershow. You can read about Mattias Hellberg's excellent show on the Blog here, and see a video of a brand new unreleased song, the excellent "Wait For The Morning".

Photo by Steve Worrall
Soundtrack take the stage at around 8:15pm just as the light is fading, Ebbot appears with an acoustic guitar and they open the set, somewhat surprisingly, with the slow burning "All For Sale", the last track from second album, "Extended Revelations...". In all the times I've seen the band they have rarely played any songs off this superb album, certainly not during their more regular "rock" shows anyway. I've always thought this was a big shame as the album is surely a psychedelic rock masterpiece, crammed full of fantastic songs, so it was a great to hear the opening chords of "All For Sale" ring out to start the show. Tonight Soundtrack play a pretty lean, stream-lined set, cramming in 20 songs that span their 16 year career as one of the greatest, and certainly most underrated, rock bands of...well...all time!  

Kalle - Photo by Steve Worrall
They play an eclectic pick of tracks from each of their albums, except, interestingly enough, "Origin Vol. 1", the rather patchy album that was meant to have built on the critically acclaimed, break-through "Behind The Music". We are treated to a handful of raucous oldies such as "Dow Jones Syndrome", "Confrontation Camp" and the ultimate TSOOL song, "Galaxy Gramophone". The band attack each number with a vengeance, guitarists Ian Person and Mattias Bärjed are a blur of frenzied energy. Then it's the classic "Instant Repeater '99", which could almost be Sweden's unofficial alternative National Anthem, the packed out Terrassen responds enthusiastically, singing along with every word, and the atmosphere is amazing. More early songs are played, with their very first 1996 E.P. title track "Homo Habilis Blues" and "Grand Canaria", which shows off Fredrik Sandsten's peerless drumming skills to great effect. "Behind The Music" is also well served with "Still Aging", bassist Kalle Gustafsson Jerneholm's stunning "Broken Imaginary Time" and the beautiful "Tonight", which features a solitary Ebbot singing to Martin Hederos' stunning Erik Satie influenced piano. Of course we also get the thumping "Sister Surround", probably the one track that made their name outside Sweden.

Photo by Steve Worrall
Following "Origin Vol. 1", the band had a real return to form with the release of the epic, sprawling double album called "Communion", and we get the mini-symphony of "Second Life Replay", another track that has become something of a classic amongst fans. The song was also to end up on the soundtrack of the American Television comedy/drama show, "Californication". "Just a Brother" is probably the only lull in the night's otherwise faultless set, but "The Passover" from "Communion", makes up for it, a stunningly simple but emotional and effective camp-fire singalong. From the latest, and last ever album, "Throw It To The Universe", the band play the superb Love-influenced flamenco styled "Where's The Rock?", the powerful "Faster Than The Speed of Light" and the slower paced "You Are The Beginning".

Martin - Photo by Steve Worrall
As one of the encores, the band return to the stage to rapturous applause and we get the storming title track of the new album, "Throw It To The Universe", which segues nicely into the early single, and probably the band's theme song, "Firmament Vacation". As a final encore, the ecstatic crowd are treated to that familiar Eastern influenced riff of "Mantra Slider", which slowly builds and builds until it degenerates into a crazed, Stooges style freak-out, with Ebbot leaping off the stage into the crowd. The song then mutates into the old Union Carbide Productions classic "Ring My Bell" and a fantastic gig is brought to a crashing end. What a performance, and it's just such a damn shame that there is not much time left to enjoy the spectacular live experience of The Soundtrack of Our Lives. Here are a few more photographs...

Gig Poster at Slussen
Soundtrack Soundcheck
A rare pic of all six members in one shot!
Side of the stage at the Södra Teatern Terrassen
Ebbot in the shadow of the beautiful Söder Teatern
All Photos above copyright Steve Worrall 2012. Here is a great video of a triple hit from the gig kindly contributed by bgrrrlie. You can check out bgrrrlie's excellent YouTube Channel for more videos of the show along with many others.

Wednesday 5 September 2012

Mattias Hellberg - Live Södra Teatern Stockholm, Aug 30th

Mattias Hellberg & Nikke Ström by Steve Worrall
Following The Soundtrack of Our Lives storming performance on the terrace outside the beautiful Södra Teatern, we were treated to Mattias Hellberg playing a superb set at the official after-show party. The room was absolutely packed out and it was difficult enough to breathe, let alone push my way to the front to try and take photographs. In fact earlier, the slightly over zealous security guards blocked off one handy entrance and that meant by the time I'd made it inside, I'd unfortunately missed the two opening numbers. This was disappointing as one of them was the excellent single "Oh No", taken from his latest album "High In The Lowlands", and a particular favourite of mine. Luckily, I caught "If My Heart", which was one of the new demo recordings I'd been lucky enough to hear. This really is a great song, and live it came across really well, with it's fuzzed up organ sound and stabbing rhythm, it would make a classic single. Hellberg has assembled a fantastic new line-up around him, The Fur Heads, who feature the super-cool bassist Nikke Ström from Nationalteatern. This great band play brilliantly and do complete justice to Hellberg's music, and his eclectic influences, but the main thing is they groove! Hellberg has always oozed Soul, whether it be in a stripped down acoustic style for example, with "High In The Lowlands" album, or the rawer psychedelic funk of The White Moose. 

I was not familiar with the next song, "Flying" but I certainly was with the one after, the brilliant "Final Call" from The White Moose album "Out Of The Frying Pan, Into The Woods". This album is barely off the stereo, I love it to bits. In fact I think it must rank amongst the best records released by a contemporary Swedish artist, and I was so pleased to hear him play a track from it. "Where Did You Go?" from his self-titled solo album was then followed by another wonderful new track "Wait For The Morning" which is another perfect single in-the-making. It has a beautiful laid back rhythm, with it's bongo led percussion and soulful backing vocals, and I think it is destined to be a crowd favourite for years to come. The great guitar riff to "A Sight Supreme" heralded some wild and enthusiastic applause and the song went down a storm with the audience. New number "Minor/Major Me" was a blissful soul searching delight, and "Shine On" was followed by the storming "Mermaid Stomp" from the White Moose album. The encores consisted of another White Moose number, the crazed "Good Day", "Love Is" and "Moon" from the latest record. The new album has almost been completed and Hellberg is now considering his options on how to release it. From the demos that I've heard and the way the songs came across live this is shaping up to be Mattias Hellberg's defining album and I can't wait for the finished product to be released.

All Photographs Copyright Steve Worrall 2012

Here's a video of the superb new song "Wait For The Morning"

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Stockholm Retro Part 3 - Record Stores and Music Shops

Probably my favourite record store, and also the biggest in Stockholm, is the wonderfully named Nostalgi Palatset, which is an amazing Aladdin's cave full of musical treasures. Racks and crates full of vinyl, music and movie posters, memorabilia and autographs. Not forgetting the second hand record players, toys and comic books of course. It was remarkably tidy and well organised since the last time I visited about four years ago, which in a way was a bit of a shame, as I loved the old ramshackle chaos. Anyway, It stocks thousands of records in all genres Rock, Progressive, Indie, New Wave, Soul, Jazz, Blues, Folk, Swedish 'Schlager', Eurovision, Movie Soundtracks and Exotica. It has been located at 101 St. Eriksgatan since 1997 and is open 11am-7pm on weekdays, 11am-3pm on Saturday and 12 noon to 4pm on Sundays. The closest Metro stop to the store is St. Eriksplan.

Right next door is Trash Palace which specialises in Punk Rock and Heavy Metal vinyl and rarities. It has a separate entrance oustide but the same address and opening hours as Nostalgi Palaset as you can also access it from the main store. They do not seem to have a web-site, but if you are after anything specific in those genres then drop them an email. The wooden crates full of Punk Rock 7 inch singles, weighed a ton and were crammed full of great stuff. The average price for something decent started off around the SEK 70.00 mark, which works out at around £6.50, but of course the prices can increase dramatically depending on the rarity of the record. They had a great selection of Punk and New Wave and only a lack of money, lack of storage space at home and lack of a huge suitcase, stopped me from going mental and buying up a large percentage of their stock!

Nearby, just a bit further down St. Eriksgatan at number 78, you have the excellent Atlas CD Börs, which is lined with excellent tour and gig posters. However, as the store's name suggests, this place concentrates more on CDs, but they do have a small selection of vinyl in stock too.

Record Hunter is at number 70 St. Eriksgatan and is a great old fashioned store crammed full of overflowing boxes and crates, in fact there's so much stuff that you can barely see the shop assistant behind the counter. There are two floors of the stuff too... 

Just over the road from Stockholm's mightily impressive Public Library, there is Serie & Skivhandel, which is located at 104 Sveavägen. Another great treasure trove with every inch of wall and ceiling covered with posters and memorabilia. The closest Metro to this is Rådmansgatan.

Pet Sounds is probably Stockholm's best known Record store, located in the trendy SoFo district at 53 Skånegatan in Södermalm, it's been established since 1979 and is so well known there has even been a book by Lennart Persson "Musik Non Stop" written about it. They sell mainly contemporary music with an emphasis on the alternative, they also stock music books, magazines and DVDs and there is a small selection of vinyl too. It's open 11am-6pm Mon-Fri, 11am-2pm Sat and is closed on Sundays. The closet Metro is Medborgarplatsen. There is also a Pet Sounds Bar and Restaurant at number 80 Skånegatan, where they put on a variety of club evenings and events in the cellar space with local and guest DJ's. The Bar is open from 5pm Tuesdays to Saturdays.

Also on Södermalm, at Götgatan 24, is the fantastic Hellstone Music store, selling all sorts of instruments but they also have a pretty decent vinyl selection. They also do some great T-Shirts, sometimes using familiar works of art, changed to incorporate the Hellstone logo. The walls are lined with posters and signed drum skins from a variety of local and visiting musicians and artists. In fact, in the documentary shown on Swedish TV about The Soundtrack of Our Lives orchestral shows at the nearby Rival Hotel, singer Ebbot Lundberg is filmed in Hellstone at one point. So, here's a little quiz, if you are a TSOOL fan and can tell me what instrument Ebbot bought that day, drop me a message and the first one to answer might get a little prize...!

All Photographs copyright Steve Worrall 2012