Dave's Diary
This journal of the comings'n'goings and musings'n'enthusings of Dave Ling will be updated daily
(except after nights of excess)

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Thursday 31st August
A finished copy of Iron Maiden's 'A Matter Of Life And Death' dropped through the letterbox a day or two ago, and it's as good - probably even better - than I recall from the playback down in Reading back in June. Bruce Dickinson has surpassed his own impeccable standards as a vocalist, and the arrangements of the songs are awe-inspiring. The album hasn't left my stereo since it got here... no, I tell a lie, I've also been blasting 'The Essential Judas Priest' (a killer two-CD anthology of just about all their best songs) from time to time. We might've seen the last of this year's blink-and-you-missed-it summer, but life really doesn't seem too shabby at all.
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Wednesday 30th August
After the awful passing of Jesse Pintado and that ghostly reminder of Paul Samson's legacy, how theraputic it was to head into town for yesterday's interview with one of my all-time favourite bands - the mighty It Bites. I met up for an hour or two with keyboard player/guitarist John Beck and newcomer - to IB, at least - John Mitchell, in a central London boozer. A member of Arena and the prog 'supergroup' Kino, guitarist/vocalist Mitchell has been on the scene for ages, and as a long-time devotee of the group from Cumbria his enthusiasm for the task of succeeding Francis Dunnery couldn't have been more apparent. Of course, to many Dunnery was It Bites and vice versa. Along with original bassist Bob Dalton and drummer Dick Nolan, the two Johns are fully aware that they have a difficult task on their hands in turning this perception around. With a UK tour lined up for the autumn and the recording of a new album underway, Mitchell has promised to email me one of their new tracks in the next few days. I've got my fingers firmly crossed like everyone else.
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Tuesday 29th August
I'm gutted to learn of Jesse Pintado's death in a Dutch hospital this past weekend. Pintado was a guitarist with the one and only Napalm Death, before returning to his reunited previous band Terrorizer in '04. I've spent quite a bit of time with the Napalm chaps down the years - vocalist Barney Greenway is a godfather to my boys Eddie and Arnie - and my dealings with this gentle giant of a man were always positive and pleasurable. Indeed, he once insisted on quite literally giving me the shirt off his back (a long-sleeved, green Sepultura garment, still soaked in sweat from a gig) when I expressed admiration for it. On another occasion we sat up into the early hours of the morning on the band's tour bus returning from gigs in Paris and Belgium, boozing and philosophising like idiots after the rest of the band and crew had turned in. A musical pioneer and darned nice fella into the bargain, Jesse Pintado will be much missed.
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Sunday 27th August
Excuse me if I get a little teary-eyed here. I've just played 'P.S...', a posthumous album from my good friend Paul Samson, of Samson, Paul Samson's Empire and Metallic Blue fame. It's not the first time I heard its 11 songs; he proudly previewed rough mixes of them when I visisted him in Norwich during the last weeks of his life, in the summer of 2002. The story behind the album is fascinating. Paul bequeathed the unfinished recordings to producer John McCoy in his will, knowing that the former Gillan bassist would do a good job of sprucing them up and finding a way to release them.
It took a little time, but McCoy has finally ticked off both boxes. Nicky Moore does a sterling vocal job on songs like 'Brand New Day', 'Mean Woman' and the album's slowburning swansong 'Shooting For The Moon'; it's terrific to hear him teaming up with Samson again for what would be the last time. The pair fell out following the demise of Samson (the band), and had only just repaired their friendship when the full effect of Paul's sickness from cancer started to become apparent. In an interview for his new group From Behind, Nicky recently told me: "Paul and I fell out for many years when Samson split up - we were all a lot younger then. But we made up and I was gutted when Paul died. It was a year before I could even discuss it."
'P.S...' will re-open old wounds for all those who knew Paul Samson - sometimes a prickly and sarcastic man, but a great musician with a heart of gold and a fabulous sense of humour. Regardless, it's a welcome addition to his catalogue.
After the departure of Samson's Bruce Bruce (later Dickinson), Paul never had much time for Iron Maiden manager Rod Smallwood. So if he was logged on celestially somewhere yesterday he'll have split his sides laughing at a rumour that appeared in yesterday's Times Online. Let me stress that this is only at the speculation stage, but if wagging tongues can be believed then Maiden are allegedly considering uprooting themselves from Smallwood's Sanctuary Artist Management empire to sign instead with Andy Taylor, Sanctuary's acrimoniously ousted co-founder and former chief executive. Rod discovered the band in a London pub 27 years ago and nurtured them every step of the way since, so the very suggestion of a parting of the ways is incredible. Then again, incredible things happen on a daily basis in the music business.
Frustratingly, Palace drew their home game with Burnley, twice coming from behind to rescue a point but offering yet another woeful first half performance. The Eagles could and should have nicked it in the final frantic 15 mins. As the vistors' manager Steve Cotterill rightly remarked afterwards, the match was a great advertisement for the the Fizzy Pop League. Yet it also exposed weaknesses (above all some pace in the defence, a passing midfielder and someone with an eye for the goal) in Palace's squad that need plugging by the transfer window's close.
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Saturday 26th August
It's a Bank Holiday weekend here in England, though I won't have too much leisure time apart from heading off to Selhurst again in a few hours for Palace's game against Burnley. After a couple of annoying defeats (admittedly, one was in the meaningless League Cup) Taylor's Red & Blue Army need to get back into a winning streak, and fast.
A soundclip of UFO's new album, 'The Monkey Puzzle', has been posted at their website and is well worth checking out. The full album is out on September 25 in Europe. Meanwhile, I've been busy working my way through some finished copies of the Warrior Soul re-issues, kindly sent to me by Gerry Kelly of Escapi Music. Those records were far ahead of their time, and I'll definitely be checking out former WS frontman Kory Clarke's latest though terribly named band Dirty Rig when they visit Britain next month.
Oh yeah, some new Ask Daves and a few more Classic Quotes are now up. Thanks to those that submitted questions, and keep 'em comin'!

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Friday 25th August
Just got off the phone with Kip Winger - a pleasure as usual. We were talking about the band's reunion album, 'IV', and their one and only UK date of 2006 at the Firefest on October 28. I know that some people find Kip a little conceited, but I've never seen him that way. Quite the opposite, in fact. After the interview was over we chatted for a bit about the state of the scene and which music we were diggin'. The good news is that if people appreciate 'IV' then Winger might be back for good, or at least for an extended burst. That pleases me immensely.
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Wednesday 23rd August
Last night I took my eldest son Eddie to Selhurst for Palace's Carling Cup game against my good friend Dave Reynolds' beloved Notts Country. Mr Reynolds had warned me in advance that if Peter Taylor fielded a half-assed team we could end up being giant-killed, and so it proved. Despite taking the lead Palace succumbed to a goal in each half from the League Two team. The Eagles had very little cutting edge all game and I wouldn't dream of denying the plucky visitors their five minutes of glory. Playing as toothlessly again on Saturday against Burnley is simply not an option.
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Monday 21st August
In a fantastic interview with Swedish magazine Close Up, Bruce Dickinson has been speaking frankly about Iron Maiden's appearance at last year's Ozzfest, the tour's "corporate" nature and, of course, it's ill-fated conclusion in California. Asked whether the band had expected the spoiler tactics they received from Sharon Osbourne and cronies, Bruce replied: "No, they were extraordinary, weren't they? Childish and uncalled for, and quite dangerous, really, when you consider there could've been a riot. She is obviously completely mad!"
Responding to a question about the merits of reality TV, Bruce stated: "What we do is we are a heavy metal band and what we care about is our fans. That's it. So our strength comes from that simplicity. What do I care if I never appear on reality TV? 'Fucking great, thank you! Can I have it in writing?' But in her world, that's really important. In her world, it's really important what you look like. In her world, facelifts are really important. In my world, I don't give a fuck. I get old and I get wrinkly. Who gives a shit?" Yay, Bruce!
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Tuesday 22nd August
Still writing my story on Man, which given their somewhat convoluted history is proving to be a pretty time-consuming task. According to ex-guitarist Deke Leonard it was once calculated that they'd made 17 albums, had just as many line-ups, played 7,601 gigs, travelled 1,200,000 miles, signed 121,000 autographs, blown 161 amplifiers, burnt out 121 road managers, slept with 4,163 women, smoked 16,000 packets of Rizlas, crossed 330 borders in and out of 17 countries, staying in 6,424 hotels - only being thrown out of 32 of those. Oh yeah, they also spent over £200 on clothes. Strangely, it omits to mention how many sheep they've exchanged bodily fluids with. Just reached an embarrassing part in the interview tape. I suggested to bassist Martin Ace that someone should attempt to condense all of this down into one of those nice Pete Frame-style Family Trees. "One's already been done," replied Martin patiently. "Oh, yeah? Who was mad enough to take on a job like that?" I enquired. "Pete Frame."
I'll get me coat.
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Monday 21st August
What unbelievable and unprecedented scenes occurred at the Oval yesterday. Taking a break from writing a story on those fascinating Welsh rockers Man, I stared at the telly with increasing disbelief as the Pakistan cricket team declined to come back onto the pitch after the tea break, having been accused by the umpires of ball tampering. Quite rightly, Daryll Hair and Billy Doctrove reached the conclusion that Pakistan had forfeited the Fourth Test, only for Inzamam ul-Haq to lead his team back out after all. Then it was the umprires' turn to dig in their heels. Pandemonium and confusion reigned, among the 22,000 fans in the ground and the Sky Sports commentary box. It probably says plenty that more than 14 hours later, although the last day's play has been officially called off and the result handed to England, we still await a definitive statement from the game's national governing body, the ICC.
Here's some interesting music news. At the Soapbox section of Brian May's excellent website, I was surprised to learn of the former Queen guitarist's tentative plans to record with Roger Taylor and Paul Rodgers. The trio head into a studio at a mystery location in October, presumably after Rodgers completes his UK tour. May writes: "We turn our heads towards studio interaction which, just possibly, will bring us all to a new place. We will take it gently at first, the priority being to feel good, and put ourselves in the mood to create." What a mouth-watering prospect.
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Sunday 20th August
Ain't it nice when you know you've made a right decision? A group of fellow Palace-obsessed mates drove up to yesterday's game with Birmingham. Accompanying them would almost certainly have meant missing the start of Celtic Frost's gig at the Mean Fiddler. So wisely, considering that Satan Bruce's team stung us with an inury time winner, I decided instead to witness the Swiss avant-garde metal band promoting 'Monotheist', their first album in 13 years. Good call!
Verdicts on the show were pretty varied. I enjoyed it but spoke to several people who snuck out early, complaining that the band lacked personality. I understand completely. Mainman Tom Gabriel Fischer often left the song introductions to bassist Martin Eric Ain, whose microphone sounded like it was switched off. But the music... ah, now that was mostly pretty special.
Beginning with 'Procreation (Of the Wicked)', the band played most of their classic songs, including 'Dethroned Emperor', 'The Usurper', 'Necromantical Screams', 'Dawn Of Megiddo', 'Mesmerized', 'Sorrows Of The Moon', 'Visions Of Mortality', 'Into The Crypts Of Rays', 'Inner Sanctum' and 'Circle Of The Tyrants'. Without a set-list I'm uncertain of which ones they did from 'Monotheist', but 'Ain Elohim' was in there and a preposterously heavy and ponderous 'Synagoga Satanae' brought the all-too-short 85 minute show to an end.
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Saturday 19th August
Just returned from another raid on Beanos Records' closing down sale - nine vinyl gems for obscenely low fiscal renumeration. Picked up one of the last remaining Moody Blues records I didn't have, a fabulous Outlaws compilation (you can't beat a song as shit-kickingly good as 'Green Grass And High Tides'), a couple of vintage Boz Scaggs platters, an album by Thin Lizzy/Bolan/Bowie producer Tony Visconti, an intriguing-looking jazz-rock project featuring Stanley 'We're not worthy' Clarke and George Duke and some obscure melodic rock just because the covers looked good.
What else has been on the Ling Towers death deck? Well, Winger's 'IV' is an album you have to grow into, and I'm slowly getting there. Trivium have smoothed out those growled vocals a little and perhaps made their sound a smidgin more radio-friendly, but 'The Crusade' (released on October 9) is an album that will make them bigger than ever. I've also been enjoying Dream Theater's excellent, orchestrally embellished 20th anniversary concert DVD, 'Score'.
Oh yeah... in honour of Heavy Pettin' guitarist Punky Mendoza having signed the guestbook and saying how much he's enjoying the site, I've posted a rather silly pic of us together back in the day. No tongues were used, honest.

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Thursday 17th August
Well, I was disappointed that Asia had finished yesterday's rehearsal by the time I arrived at the studio. But the band all looked and sounded genuinely enthused to be back together after so many years - even the two members who I suspected might've been along for the ride. Bassist/vocalist John Wetton revealed that the first time they'd played together again Asia had sounded like "a pub band", but after two weeks of nailing things things were sounding back at the top of their game. Scarily, Carl Palmer didn't look a day older, either. He must've signed some sort of pact with the devil to stay looking as young as he does. All were extremely proud and supportive of Wetton, who seems to have exorcised his well-publicised demons. I can't wait for December's British dates and am hopeful that the story, for which I've also spoken to ousted bassist/vocalist John Payne, will make interesting reading.
Arrived back in Catford for the England-Greece friendly just as England started banging in the goals. It finished 4-0, which was very pleasing. In typical CPFC style, however, it was a game of two halves. The team performed well during the opening 45 minutes, but the Greeks recovered after the break and were unlucky not to have reduced the deficit. A good beginning to the McLaren era, all the same. Sven who?!
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Wednesday 16th August
Well, those nice American Dog boys got home safely to Ohio after the 'No Sleep Til The Loaded Dog' tour swansong, the journey back via the security-conscious airport being "20 hours of madness", according to Mr Hannon. Here's a nice dressing room pic he sent from the Croydon show.
I'm more than a little excited just now, as this afternoon I'll be heading to a location somewhere in England to see the original Asia line-up - John Wetton, Steve Howe, Geoffrey Downes and Carl Palmer - in rehearsal for their upcoming US and British dates. Although I've attended many concerts by the John Payne-fronted band, like many of their existing fans I was too young to have seen the original grouping before it broke up. More news tomorrow.
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Tuesday 15th August
Oh, postie... thanks a lot, mate. I'm all trembly for having received a promo of Winger's brand newie, 'IV' (released October 20), but after many years of putting up with scuffled vinyl am now also the proud owner of Stray's best three albums - 'Suicide' (1971), 'Saturday Morning Pictures' (1972) and 'Mudanzas' (1973) - on CD for the first time, complete with bonus tracks. I haven't been so happy since Millwall last lost 5-1 to Chesterfield (hang on a minute - wasn't that last weekend?).
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Monday 14th September
Well, Palace bounced straight back to the top to the Championship again after yesterday's hard-fought home victory over Leeds. United played much of the game with ten men after Geoff Horsfield saw red for senselessly elbowing former Fulham team-mate Mark Hudson in the face. The Eagles had to wait intil the 90th minute to break down the massed away rearguard, and when Clinton Morrison managed the feat the stadium erupted in a cauldron of emotion. Speaking of which, manager Peter Taylor is quoted in today's Sun newspaper as saying: "I wanted [goalscorer Morrison] to kiss me, but he bottled it. I don't ask all my players to kiss me - just Clinton because I fancy him." Well, to be fair Taylor was once boss of those Godawful nancy boys Br***ton, but let's draw a line under any of that shirt-lifting shenanigans at Selhurst in future please.
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Sunday 13th September
Just got in from another American Dog show - this one even better than yesterday's. The band are known for enjoying for a wee drinkie or 28, so ending their debut British tour in a pub called the Loaded Dog was asking for trouble. What made it worse was that they hit the stage at midnight. Because my friend Harj and I arrived at the venue in Leytonstone at around eight, there was little to do but sup for four straight hours... on an empty stomach.
Killing time, we sat around telling a few good ol' rock 'n' roll stories - one of guitarist/vocalist Michael Hannon's funniest involved his previous group Dangerous Toys exacting their revenge on a club that'd stiffed 'em for a gig fee by dumping 50 gallons of urine at its front door - and of course swigging for our respective nations. This is a band that puts the word 'hospital' into 'hospitality'.
Fans had travelled from Belgium, France and Scotland for the show, webmistress Batttttty making the trip from Derby to ensure that nobody dared to leave the building without having bought a t-shirt. With future single 'Sometimes You Eat The Pussy, Sometimes The Pussy Eats You' once again the highlight, plus covers of Ted Nugent's 'Wang Dang Sweet Poontang', 'Black Night' by Deep Purple and Motörhead's 'Bomber' augmenting the Ohio trio's own repertoire, those 90-odd minutes were very well spent indeed. Come back soon, guys.
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Saturday 12th September
Uggghhhh... feelingly ever so slightly frail. Mrs L and I went to the Cartoon in Croydon to check out a headline gig by American Dog last night. Alas, the attendance wasn't great but the band still gave it their all. So much so that I felt compelled to buy a round of Jack 'n' cokes and place them on the stage. It's not something I could afford to do for the massed ranks of Electric Light Orchestra or Osibisa, but as the three-piece were slogging their guts out for precious little reward, an ice-cold snifter was the least they deserved. Such kind fellas, the Dawg let us help them finish off their rider once the show was done, though we declined an offer to go back to their hotel and assist in the demolition of several litres of Scrumpy Jack cider.
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Thursday 10th August
Woken by the clock radio with the astonishing news that Scotland Yard's anti-terror squad has swooped on several houses in London and the midlands to foil a plot to "commit mass murder on an unimaginable scale" by blowing up several America-bound passenger jets. The world is becoming a sadder place by the day. I've also got a stinking hangover following last night's visit to the Crobar. Not only was it Metal Hammer editor Jamie Hibbard's birthday but myself, Messrs Dome and Ewing and various other gang members had a brief editorial meeting to discuss the contents of our fanzine, Cro-Mag. Spurred on by numerous cold beverages, some quality ideas were thrown around the tube - and under it.
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Wednesday 9th August
Excuse me while I enjoy this for a moment - Crystal Palace are top of the league! Just like Saturday's game against Ipswich, we were pretty appalling during the first 45 minutes of last night's match against Southend Utd, but turned things around in style after the break. Peter Taylor's new-look team are beginning to gel.
My late summer reverie is also due to the receipt of several stonking new albums - the return of former City Boy/Streets guitarist Mike Slamer and his band Slamer (co-starring Terry Brock of Strangeways on vocals) on 'Nowhere Land', 'Bezerk 2.0' by the mighty Tigertailz and perhaps best of 'em all, Gov't Mule's newie, 'High And Mighty'. A promo of Juicy Lucy's rather fine forthcoming CD, 'Do That And You'll Lose It', has also been on heavy rotation. Must make a point to check those fellows out on October's UK tour.
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Sunday 6th August
Yesterday's 2-1 victory at Ipswich notched three valuable points for Palace. We were appalling during the first half, but Peter Taylor's decision to bring on Freedman for a woefully ineffective Morrison changed the game. Well done to the Eagles faithful, who roared on the players until the final whistle. "We're not a promotion team yet," sums up Taylor - quite rightly on this spirited but flawed evidence. "We've got a good team and a good squad, but need to improve it."
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Saturday 5th August
Huuuurrraaaahhhh! Football's back! I'm off to see Palace's opening Fizzy Pop League fixture in Ipswich in a few hours and can barely contain my excitement. Regardless of how the previous term ended, that first day of the season feeling - going to the game in shorts 'n' shirtsleeves, full of cider 'n' boundless optimism - is always something to savour. We've a good record at Portman Road in recent years, and there's a great 'away' pub right outside the gates. Whatever happens I'll be hoarse and hungover tomorrow.
Wish I'd been at Wacken Open Air this year. Just saw some reports of the Scorpions' show there on Thursday night, at which they were joined onstage by by former members Uli Jon Roth, Michael Schenker and Herman Rarebell. The set-list featured an incredible 26 songs from all stages of their career. Grrrrrrr. Just hope someone filmed it for DVD or something.
Here's some sad news. Arthur Lee, frontman of the hugely influential 60s West Coast psychedelic band Love, has died of Leukaemia at the age of 61. Too young to have known much about 'em in their prime, I discovered Love when UFO covered 'Alone Again Or' on 'Lights Out', though artists as diverse as Alice Cooper, Robert Plant, The Damned, Ramones, Lenny Kravitz and, err... Sarah Brightman have since paid lip service to the group's catalogue. Saw Lee onstage just once, at London's Forum in March 2004, and only bought the seminal 'Forever Changes' album a few years back. I guess that makes me a Johnny-Come-Lately, but I join all those who mourn his loss.
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Thursday 3rd August
Okay, okay... my throwaway comment about Vixen not even having penned their best song (see July 29) was a cheap shot. Last night's headline set at the Underworld left me far more impressed than expected. Only Jan Kuehnemund remains from the original line-up, but the guitarist's enthusiasm for the show was refreshing to behold and songs like 'Love Made Me', 'How Much Love', 'I Want You To Rock Me', 'Love Is A Killer', 'Cryin'' and 'Edge Of A Broken Heart' are just too good to be allowed to fade away - no matter who collects the songwriting royalties. Couldn't work out why the so-so 'Streets In Paradise' (from 1990's 'Rev It Up') got the nod over the same album's 'Not A Minute Too Soon', but at least the material from the new 'Live & Learn' album sounded pretty good. In fact, not even singer Jenna Sanz-Agero's passing facial resemblance to Leanne Battersby from Corrie could put me off!
House Of Lords... or rather James Christian and hired hands... had already warmed up a maybe two-thirds full crowd. The band's last co-founder, Christian still has a fabulous voice, but HOL have always been a keyboard-based act and without ex-Angel icon Gregg Guiffria or indeed an ivory tinkler of any sort (though samples were being not so discreetly used), James and company had a mountain to climb. It helped, of course, that new album 'World Upside Down' is leagues ahead of 2004's dismal reunion turkey 'The Power And The Myth' (a fact easily confirmed by 'Rock Bottom', 'All The Way To Heaven', 'These Are The Times' and 'I Am Free'). But the quartet's hour was mostly stacked with oldies; 'Sahara' and 'Can't Find My Way Home' from the second album, and 'Talkin' 'Bout Love' representing the third. Naturally, the immortal 1988 self-titled debut was most widely plundered, including 'Love Don't Lie', 'Edge Of Your Life', 'I Wanna Be Loved', 'Slip Of The Tongue' and 'Pleasure Palace' - the latter appropriate given that the mighty Eagles will be kicking Ipswich's arse this weekend. Overall? Could've been a whole lot worse. I just missed Gregg and the other guys.
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Wednesday 2nd August
Last night I braved a steamy 100 Club to investigate a band I've fallen in love with. London-based Captain's debut album 'This Is Hazeville' is released through EMI in 10 days' time, their latest (aptly titled) single 'Glorious' poised to slam into the Top 30. The album was produced by none other than Trevor Horn of Buggles/Yes/Frankie Goes To Hollywood fame and sounds like Jellyfish meeting It Bites with echoes of Prefab Sprout, Radiohead and the Beautiful South along the way. Chatted with them before the show and disovered that whilst they refute most of those alleged influences, the whole group are fans of Steely Dan - which makes complete sense! Comprising most of the album and some B-sides, ending with a swoonsome 'Glorious', the show was short but very sweet indeed. Although the outcome's already fairly cut 'n' dried, I predict big things.
A quick word about two interesting one-track promo CDs. Lifted from Atlanta band Mastodon's 'Blood Mountain' album (due mid-September), the song 'Capillarain Crest' is a monstrously heavy widdle-fest that'd make even Yngwie Malmsteen weak at the knees. No wonder Rock Sound wrote "Goodbye Metallica, hello Mastodon" with regard to 'Leviathan', their last album.
Expect equally satisfying things of Audioslave's third platter, 'Revelation', which lands on September 4. Guitarist Tom Morello describes the record as "Led Zeppelin meets Earth Wind And Fire", and 'Original Fire' is a hard-driving motherfunker that suggests his claim's not so outrageous.