Heavy Ro­ta­tion

What we’ve been lis­ten­ing to this month

Classic Rock - - The Dirt -

1 We Are The Cham­pi­ons (Al­ter­na­tive Ver­sion) Queen

When mis­ap­pro­pri­ated from the foot­ball ter­races and launched into 1977’s punk-in­fused zeit­geist, We Are The Cham­pi­ons ap­peared to be an ut­terly un­re­con­structed act of re­gal hubris and chest-beat­ing pom­pos­ity. Now, it only ex­em­pli­fies all that’s bril­liant about Queen. On this longer, work-in-progress ver­sion Fred­die Mer­cury is on stun­ning form and May as­ton­ish­ing.

2 Set Me Free James War­ren

The voice of now sadly de­funct prog rock­ers Stack­ridge and pop band The Kor­gis re­turns with a pleas­ing, melo­di­ous, dis­arm­ingly jaunty ditty that once heard will take res­i­dence in­side the brain for days on end.

3 Mas­ter Of The Uni­verse Nik Turner

Re-recorded to close Turner’s Life In Space al­bum, this re­vi­talised take on the Hawk­wind clas­sic (stately sax­o­phon­ist Turner co-wrote it with Dave Brock for 1972’s In Search Of Space) re­tains its blud­geon­ing psy­che­delic sparkle while cor­us­cat­ing with freshly treated sax. Ac­cen­tu­ated with Overkill-blue­print false end­ings, it still boasts ir­re­sistible head-bang­ing ap­peal.

4 Don’t Feel Quite Right Palaye Royale

Full-throt­tle state­ment of in­tent from spiky, sparky Ve­gas-based noiseniks Palaye Royale. Don’t Feel Quite Right, con­fi­dently the­atri­cal and fash­ion-for­ward, blend­ing Iggy-es­que at­ti­tude with fuzzy, strut­ting gui­tars and peak­ing with a joy­fully catchy cho­rus, shows that they’re well worth watch­ing out for.

5 “Heroes” (Live) King Crim­son

Robert Fripp, who played the freaky gui­tar on the orig­i­nal ver­sion back in 1977, turns the wheel full cir­cle by re­vis­it­ing Bowie’s all-time great – to star­tling ef­fect – on KC’s new dou­ble con­cert al­bum Live In Chicago.

6 We Know Where You Fuck­ing Live Mar­i­lyn Man­son

Wisely ad­her­ing close to the in­stantly recog­nis­able for­mula that orig­i­nally cat­a­pulted him from sour-faced Spooky Kid to main­stream-bait­ing, stilt-walk­ing, Columbine-pil­lo­ried, Bi­ble-belt­ing, grave­yard glam-tout­ing God of Fuck, Man­son is en­joy­ing some­thing of a ca­reer renaissance. We Know lashes brood­ing elec­tro menace to ex­plo­sive metal ag­gres­sion as Man­son shouts ‘Fuck’ with rare aplomb.

7 Xanadu (Live) Jeff Lynne’s ELO

You’ll prob­a­bly be sur­prised to learn that this theme tune to the flawed film mu­si­cal, orig­i­nally co-sung with Olivia New­ton John, is Jeff Lynne’s favourite of all his songs. The sur­prise wears off pretty quickly when you re­mind your­self of its ge­nius hook and up­lift­ing ABBA-haunted cho­rus. Pure pop-rock ge­nius.

8 El­e­ments And Things Blues Pills

On stage this multi­na­tional mélenge are ir­re­sistible, as demon­strated by this track from their Lady In Gold: Live In Paris al­bum. Elin Lars­son’s vo­cals are bluesy, pas­sion­ate and earthy, while the mu­si­cal­ity is thun­der­ous but also has in­tri­cacy and del­i­cacy. The band’s stu­dio cover of this Tony Joe White song was im­pres­sive, but this ver­sion adds an­other di­men­sion.

10 Walk Away Heaven And Earth

Do you still yearn for the days when rock bands wrote songs with real hooks, that were sung by singers that could re­ally de­liver? Taken from this LA band ’s new al­bum Hard To Kill, Walk Away is a prime slab of Ham­mond or­gan-drenched Rain­bow-meets-For­eigner raunch.

9 End Of The World Flamin’ Groovies

While al­ways adept re­gur­gi­ta­tors of pri­mal rock’n’roll de­vices al­ready well-bed­ded in to the col­lec­tive con­scious­ness of their core con­stituency, the Jor­dan/Wil­son Groovies (no Roy Loney this time out, Teenage Head en­thu­si­asts) have sur­passed them­selves on the spot-the-ref­er­ence-point front with new al­bum Fan­tas­tic Plas­tic.

And here? Shake Some Ac­tion meets The Reaper, ba­si­cally.

11 Amer­i­can Girl Tom Petty And The Heart­break­ers

Few emer­gent artists were able to hold their own against 1977’s tidal wave of hastily signed punk bands, but Tom Petty And The Heart­break­ers were made of stern stuff, and with Amer­i­can Girl had a gen­uinely thrilling break­through sin­gle that war­ranted ev­ery last cen­time­tre of its pi­o­neer­ing 12-inch re­lease. Vinyl im­mor­tal­ity.

12 Queen Of Sin Dun­geon

Young Brit thrash­ers Dun­geon have no pre­tence here; Queen Of Sin is full-on, backto-the-80s speed metal, with the em­pha­sis on blaz­ing away with­out any nod to sub­tlety. And it works bril­liantly, be­cause this band are so locked into the vibe of that era and have reimag­ined the phi­los­o­phy for 2017. One of many fine bands on the re­cently re­leased Bri­tish Steel com­pi­la­tion.

13 Sound Of The Wind Psy­che­delic Witch­craft

Psy­che­delic Witch­craft are an Ital­ian band who love Black Sab­bath and Led Zep­pelin, and those in­flu­ences cer­tainly come through on Sound Of The Wind. You can also hear a nod to­wards Goblin (the hor­ror movie lot, not the Or­ange mob) and Jef­fer­son Air­plane on this track, which thrums with moody mag­nif­i­cence. The ti­tle song of their de­but al­bum, it has the af­fec­ta­tion of Air­plane’s White Rab­bit and the el­e­gance of Zep­pelin’s No Quar­ter.

14 Black Halo Buf­falo Killers

Far-out psy­che­delic Amer­i­cana from a group de­scribed by for­mer Black Crowes front­man Chris Robin­son as “one of the best fuck­ing rock‘n’roll bands in the world”. Black Halo man­ages to be both off-kil­ter (al­most jazzy in spirit) but highly melo­di­ous as well, with sweet-as-honey har­monies and lead gui­tar lines.

15 Son Of The Fa­ther Stray

Now a year past their 50th an­niver­sary, West Lon­don band Stray are the sub­ject of a new four-disc collection that homes in on their time with Transat­lantic Records. Taken from their 1971 al­bum Sui­cide, Son Of The Fa­ther shows them in their full hard-rock-meets-pro­gres­sive-meets-psych glory.

16 If I Were King (Live) Vardis

Th­ese now re­united Wake­field met­allers re­cently had their first three al­bums reis­sued, com­plete with bonus tracks. Pick of the bunch is 100 M.P.H., their de­but from 1980, which was recorded live and over­dub-free, from which If I Were King is taken. Thrash-a-boo­gie has rarely sounded more en­er­getic.

Blues Pills: thun­der­ous yet with in­tri­cacy and del­i­cacy.

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