HOT PRESS ALBUM REVIEW: CHERYL ‘ONLY HUMAN’

28 02 2015

Here’s a reprint of my verdict on the new Cheryl Tweedy album that ran in Hot Press a few issues ago.Guess who’s still disappointed in her solo stuff?

CHERYL

Only Human (Polydor)

Key Track: ‘Goodbye Means Hello’

5/10

POP PRINCESS’ CROWN CONTINUES TO SLIP.

cheryl-cole-twitter

Only Human is something of a make or break album for “Cheryl.” Her first record since the split of Girls Aloud and her second since dumping any kind of surname, the former reality TV contestant and current talent show judge really needed to step up her game with her fourth solo outing. Unfortunately, her latest effort only sees her stumble and in some cases, spectacularly so.

Part of the problem is that her solo career has failed to yield a truly stellar hit, one which would do for her what ‘Crazy in Love’ did for Beyonce post Destiny’s Child. Whereas Girls Aloud unleashed some of the most exciting and inventive pop songs of their generation (thanks in part to production team Xenomania), Cheryl has struggled to release anything even remotely original and Only Human carries on that trend. Throwaway, club-tinged plastic pop songs like ‘I Don’t Care’ and ‘It’s About Time’ are as dull as big band night on The X Factor while elsewhere her ballads (such as the title track) are mawkish and mediocre. The songs that are co-written by ex-Girls Aloud member Nicola Roberts are worth your attention though (see a trend here?) and ‘Goodbye Means Hello’ in particular has a fiendish hook, but ultimately there’s nothing to rival the likes of former G.A. hits ‘The Promise’ or ‘The Show.’

OUT NOW

EDWIN McFEE





Beach Slang

31 01 2015

2015-01-29 18.03.13





Bye Bye 2014

31 12 2014

2014 was an incredibly happy, healthy and hugely productive year for me. Now normally when it comes to Dec 31 posts on Dead Horse, I usually stick up a bunch of photos which have summed up the past 12 months, but this time,I’m only going for one as it’s a photo that I’ll always remember until the day I kick the bucket.

photo 2

“Childhood Dream Achievement unlocked” as “the kids” say these days.

To put it all into context, in 1987 Daddy Christmas brought me Iron Maiden’s ‘Live After Death’ on double cassette, which I played the absolute shit out of.In fact, here it is here.Fun fact-for years I thought Bruce Dickinson’s iconic “Scream for me Long Beach” line was actually “SCREAM FOR ME LONG BITCH.” What a Long Bitch is, I did not know of course.

BshW22mIAAAQVMP

It started a lifelong love affair with all things Maiden.They were like a favourite band, football team and super-heroes all rolled into one big galloping bass/dueling guitar-laden bundle. I really can’t count the amount of amazing times I’ve had that have featured Maiden in some way. There have been tons. They’ve never let me down. They’ve always been inspiring and frankly if the likes of ‘Aces High’ doesn’t make you hold your air guitar aloft and shoot invisible crowd members just like Steve Harris, then frankly you’re a lost cause.

My first ever tape I bought for myself was ‘Killers,’ my first CD I purchases was the live version of ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name,’ my first  “proper” gig was Maiden https://edwinmcfee.wordpress.com/?s=my+first+gig You get the drift…

For decades, I figured the closest I’d get to Steve Harris (AKA Maiden’s head honcho and one of the most creative, driven and inspiring people, well, ever, really) was when he “shot” me a couple of times with his bass at Brixton Academy during the Irons’ Clive-Aid gigs.Little did I know then of course…

5793_10151794433553761_642139575_n

2002 was also the year I started my music journalism career and through sheer bloody-minded-ness and being a stubborn bastard, I eventually interviewed Maiden singers past and present-Paul Di’Anno, Blaze Bayley and Bruce Dickinson. The latter happened when I was 25 (at my brother’s house) and afterwards, while getting well and truly shit-faced to celebrate achieving a/the career goal, I contemplated packing it all in and getting a proper job.

However, despite initially being a little bereft due to ticking off all my entries of my career bucket list in three years (that’s my second bucket reference so far.I fucking love buckets, me!), I stuck at it, came up with some new goals, ticked them off and everything was dandy.

The-Dandy_2311946b

Steve was still at the back of my head though and on July 5, 2014, something I’ve literally dreamed about since I was 8 became a reality and our paths crossed while I was frantically trying to find the press office at Sonisphere (hence why my face is redder than Babe the Pig’s arse after a night round Dita Von Tease’s gaff. Coz, y’know,she’s proper into spanking and stuff *shrugs*). He was cooler than Pingu in a freezer too,

That moment has literally made all the cancelled interviews, delayed payments, unavoidable dalliances with melters who steal credit and contacts and “that fucking Chris Rea” interview all worth it.Every single horrible minute of it all.

So yep, here’s to 2014.An unforgettable year for me.What happens next, I really don’t know but I’m looking forward to finding out.Maybe I’ll have a pint with Eddie?

941809_10151946550833761_1096278256_n

So without further ado, thanks to all the editors, promoters and bands I’ve worked with this year (yes, even those of you who destroy my happiness by bugging me constantly on Facebook via private message).

Here are my end of year lists which I sent off to the mags I write for. Happy New Year folks. Up the Irons.

Albums of 2014

The Murder City Devils ‘The White Ghost Has Blood On Its Hands Again’

The Dwarves ‘Invented Rock & Roll’

Beach Slang ‘Cheap Thrills On Dead End Streets/Who Would Ever Want Anything So Broken’

Gaslight Anthem ‘Get Hurt’

Blood Or Whiskey ‘Tell The Truth And Shame The Devil’

Rancid ‘…Honour Is All We Know’

Raglans ‘Raglans’

Chuck Ragan ‘Til Midnight’

Dan Sartain ‘Dudesblood’

Windings/Land Lovers ‘Windings/Land Lovers’

Brody Dalle ‘Diploid Love’

Death From Above 1979 ‘Physical World’

Abebisi Shank ‘This Is The Third Album By A Band Called Adebisi Shank’

September Girls ‘Cursing The Sea’

Skull Fist ‘Chasing The Dream’

Groom ‘Bread And Jam’

The Riptide Movement ‘Getting Through’

Ben Glover ‘Atlantic’

Metronomy ‘Love Letters’

Kerbdog ‘Congregation’

 

Metal Hammer albums of 2014

The Murder City Devils ‘The White Ghost Has Blood On Its Hands Again’

The Dwarves ‘The Dwarves Invented Rock ‘N’ Roll’

Rancid ‘…Honour Is All We Know’

Skull Fist ‘Chasing The Dream’

Darkest Era ‘Severance’

HARK ‘Crystalline’

Mastodon ‘Once More Round The Sun’

Primordial ‘Where Greater Men Have Fallen’

John Garcia ‘John Garcia’

Cerebral Ballzy ‘Jaded & Faded’

Skindred ‘Kill The Power’

SSS ‘Limp.Gasp.Collapse’

Black Label ‘Society Catacombs Of The Black Vatican’

Demonic Resurrection ‘The Demon King’

Down ‘IV Part II’

Portrait ‘Crossroads’

Grand Magus ‘Triumph And Power’

Trash Talk ‘No Peace’

Orange Goblin ‘Back From The Abyss’

Brant Bjork ‘Black Power Flower’

 

Songs Of 2014

Beach Slang ‘Dirty Cigarettes’

Beach Slang ‘American Girls And French Kisses’

Chuck Ragan ‘Non Typical’

Kasabian ‘Eez-Eh’

Taylor Swift ‘Shake It Off’

Charli XCX ‘Boom Clap’

Bully ‘Milkman’

Lorde ‘Tennis Court’

The Minutes ‘Cherry Bomb’

Iggy Azalea ‘Fancy’





Happy Crimbo

23 12 2014

As some may know, every two weeks in Hot Press I write a spread called the Tracks Of The Fortnight (which, I’m hoping, should be pretty self explanatory).

For our Christmas issue I decided to put together a mini festive playlist for those who are fucked off with hearing the likes of Shaky etc, so I thought I post it up here too.

Happy Christmas peoples!

The fortnight’s best digital downloads, podcasts and live sessions

THE MURDER CITY DEVILS

364 Days (CHRISTMAS SONG)

Contrary to what some mainstream media outlets would have you believe, there’s much more to Christmas music than ‘The Fairytale Of New York.’ With that in mind-here’s an alternative selection of tunes to listen to while you give your chestnuts a proper roasting. First up, here’s seminal punk rock ‘n’ roll band the Murder City Devils with a fiddle-led whiskey-soaked waltz about all the best things about Crimbo-ie booze, prezzies and Santa.

DROPKICK MURPHYS

The Season’s Upon Us (CHRISTMAS SONG)

If the schmaltzy likes of Chris Rea’s ‘Driving Home For Christmas’ isn’t your cup of eggnog, then check out this little ditty from the Dropkick Murphys. Telling the tale of a Scrooge-like man who meets up with his dysfunctional family every Yule, it’s a funny, oddly sweet song with a cool video featuring Irish dancers, daft dogs and cute kids.

BEST COAST & WAVVES

Something For You (CHRISTMAS SONG)

Featuring two of modern garage pop’s biggest acts, ‘Something For You’ is a beautiful duet that could melt the heart of the coldest curmudgeon. Boasting a plethora of bells (including both “sleigh” and “church”), some grungy guitars, slushy lyrics and harmonies which are as warm and fuzzy as Fozzy Bear in a fleecy Christmas jumper, fans of Phil Spector and Weezer will love this.

WILL FERRELL & JOHN C. REILLY

Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy (CHRISTMAS SONG)

Current kings of comedy Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly decide to play things straight (for the most part) in their re-enactment of David Bowie and Bing Crosby’s legendary performance of ‘Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy.’ Frankly, if this cracker doesn’t jingle your bell, then expect a visit from the Ghost of Christmas Past over the next few days….





R.I.P. Dimebag

8 12 2014

Ten years gone. Spending tonight listening to some Pantera.

 





#WWEBELFAST, NOV 7

13 11 2014

Last Friday we hit the Odyssey Arena for #WWEBelfast. The very, very generous folk at Aiken Promotions gave us our best ever seats, so here’s a few photos from the night, plus details of WWE’s next Irish visit.

2014-11-07 19.03.34

2014-11-07 19.20.39

2014-11-07 21.25.17

2014-11-07 21.45.37

2014-11-07 19.13.11

2014-11-07 22.07.59 (1)

WWE Live

Friday, 10 April, 2015at 7:30pm

Live from Odyssey Arena, Belfast.

WWE live is a unique blend of sport and entertainment, combining in-ring match action with dramatic entertainment. Bursting with all the drama and energy of a rock concert, in a fun, lively and exciting environment, WWE live events are the ultimate in family entertainment!

Don’t miss this chance to see your favourite WWE Superstars and Divas Live in action. 

Line up subject to change

Ticket Prices: £60, £50, £35, £25, £18

Family Ticket:  £132 (4 tickets with maximum 2 adults – Limited Availability)

Tickets available from Odyssey Arena Box Office and all Ticketmaster outlets Nationwide

Book online at www.ticketmaster.ie

Charge By Phone: Ireland: 0818 719 300 / UK: 0844 277 4455

(Telephone & Internet Bookings subject to service charge)





HOT PRESS ALBUM REVIEW: SLASH

11 11 2014

*REPRINT*REPRINT*REPRINT*

SLASH FEATURING MYLES KENNEDY AND THE CONSPIRATORS

World On Fire (Warner Bros)

6/10

Key Track: ‘Automatic Overdrive’

MORE FRET-BOTHERING ANTICS FROM TOP HAT CLAD TUNESMITH.

It’s just over 20 years since perennially top hatted guitarist Slash bowed out from the ongoing soap opera that is/was Guns ‘N’ Roses. However, despite the decades that have passed (and subsequent metric ton of moaning from his former cohort Axl Rose), in a weird way it’s like he never left. For millions of people, he will always be “Yer man from Guns ‘N’ Roses” and judging by the material on his latest solo record, Slash seems just fine with that as World On Fire doesn’t stray too far from the sound that made him a household name.

His third “official” solo record (90s project Slash’s Snakepit was a different beast entirely) Myles Kennedy once again features on vocals and it’s packed with plenty of sleazy riffs to appease the faithful. World On Fire is far from a classic though, as it suffers from way too many songs. At 17 tracks and a running time of a whopping 77minutes, the record tests the patience more often than not and the likes of run of the mill hard rock romps such as ‘Wicked Stone’ and ‘Dirty Girl’ blend into one. ‘Automatic Overdrive’ is a stand-out though, thanks to Slash changing things up with a distinctly NWOBHM-like riff and the title track is an incendiary offering, but overall the record is as bloated as Slash’s ex band-mate.

OUT NOW

EDWIN MCFEE








Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.