Category Archives: GlamRock

Smith Westerns ‎- All Die Young (2011)

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Good morning folks. I hope you had a good weekend. A forerunner to Whitney, Smith Westerns were an indie rock band from Chicago. In 2011, they released their second full-length outing Dye It Blonde. At its centre is the song ‘All Die Young’. Despite the unhappy title, the track is a clear celebration of a Ziggy Stardust/Marc Bolan-indebted glam sound. Have a great week.

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T. Rex ‎- The Slider (1972)

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Four years after Deep Purple’s ‘Hush’, UK rock had morphed into glam via psychedelia. T.Rex was at the height of its powers when Marc Bolan and crew unleashed The Slider upon the masses. As a follow up to their classic Electric Warrior, the album allegedly sold 100,000 copies in four days. Once again, the band was able to muster much anthem; think Metal Guru and Telegram Sam. But for me, it’s the glam rock groove of the title track that gets the gold star.

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Roxy Music ‎- 2HB (1972)

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After trying to understand the connection between the sound and soft-lead pencils, I was informed that ‘2HB’ is short for “To Humphrey Bogart”. Suddenly it made sense… Brian Ferry singing “Here’s looking at you, kid”. But it didn’t matter, it was all about Paul Thompson’s isolated drumming. The track featured on their classic self-titled debut album. Have a great week.

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Ian Dury & The Blockheads – What A Waste (1978)

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A year after Iggy was striking out again, another remarkable performer was also playing his own tune. “I could be the driver an articulated lorry/I could be a poet I wouldn’t need to worry/I could be a teacher in a classroom full of scholars/I could be the sergeant in a squadron full of wallahs.” ‘What a Waste’ was originally released on Stiff Records as a single. Essentially a song about being in a job that makes you happy; for Ian Dury and his Blockheads, this included mixing Two-tone with glam and jazz funk.

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Ty Segall – My Lady’s on Fire (2017)

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Good morning. Ty Segall released the single ‘My Lady’s on Fire’ last year in advance of 2018’s ‘Freedom’s Goblin’. The song bears more than a trace of Marc Bolan, and more specifically, his early work with Tyrannosaurs Rex. This should be no surprise for fans of Segall, who has previously recorded a series of Bolan tributes titled Ty Rex. Have a great week.

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Cage The Elephant ‎- Telescope (2013)

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In 2013, Cage The Elephant found glam in their rock for their album Melophobia. “In a far and distant galaxy/Inside my telescope I see/A pair of eyes peer back at me/He walks and talks and looks like me.” Lord Bowie could not have put it better.

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BNQT ‎- Restart (2017)

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Formed by Midlake’s Eric Pulido, BNQT (Banquet) is a supergroup comprising Band of Horses’ Ben Bridwell, Franz Ferdinand’s Alex Kapranos, Fran Healy of Travis, and Grandaddy’s Jason Lytle. Songwriting duties were split between the five singers for their upcoming album, Volume 1, while the remaining members of Midlake provide the backing band. The whole is groovier and heavier than the sum of its parts. Like Tame Impala flirting with Bolan-esque glam.

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Kasabian ‎- You’re In Love With a Psycho (2017)

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It’s Kasabian’s new track. The self-proclaimed saviours of guitar music, continue to try to redeem their instrument of choice by channelling the glam rock of Bolan. Less bombastic riffs; more rolling hooks. I think I can almost hear hand-clapping back-beat, which thankfully makes up for the trite chorus. The song is the first single taken from their new album For Crying Out Loud.

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9 of the best – sounds of 2002

Before we get to the nitty gritty of choosing some favourite sounds of the year, a quick canter back to 2002, with songs in no particular order:

The Knife – Heartbeats

The Flaming Lips – Do You Realize?

Supergrass – Prophet 15

Layo & Bushwacka – Lovestory

Sigur Rós – Vaka (Untitled)

The Notwist – One With The Freaks

Boards Of Canada – Alpha And Omega

Interpol – Obstacle 1

Wilco – Ashes of American Flags

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Honourable mentions also go to: John Murphy for ‘In The House, In A Heartbeat‘; Múm for ‘Green Grass Of Tunnel‘; The Promise Ring for ‘Become One Anything One Time‘; People Under The Stairs for ‘Acid Raindrops‘; The White Stripes for ‘Fell In Love With A Girl‘; The Libertines for ‘Up The Bracket‘;and Red Hot Chili Peppers for ‘Universally Speaking‘.

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Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel – Make Me Smile (1975)

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Steve Harley

Well, our government has collapsed, the markets are in turmoil and last night we were treated to the most abject performance I’ve seen from an England football team. Time for some humorous and bitter relief to help heal the wounds. Steve Harley had been through a fractious break-up with the original line up of the Cockney Rebel. His resentment made a great sound. ‘Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)’ was released as the lead single from the band’s 1975 album The Best Years of Our Lives.

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9 of the best – Bowie sounds

This last week’s been Bowie vigil. I bring it to close by listing a few of my favourite sounds in chronological order…

David Bowie – Life On Mars?

David Bowie – Five Years

David Bowie – Soul Love

David Bowie – Drive-In Saturday

David Bowie – Right

David Bowie – A New Career In A New Town

David Bowie – Modern Love

David Bowie – The Wedding

David Bowie – Where Are We Now?

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The most honourable of mentions also go to: ‘All The Young Dudes’, ‘Ashes To Ashes’, ‘Changes’, ‘China Girl’, ‘Diamond Dogs’, ‘Heroes’, Lady Stardust’, ‘Let’s Dance’, ‘Moonage Daydream’, ‘Oh! You Pretty Things’, ‘Quicksand’, ‘Rebel Rebel’, ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Suicide, ‘Sound And Vision’, ‘Starman’, ‘The Bewlay Brothers’, ‘The Man Who Sold The World’, ‘Time’, ‘Word On A Wing’, ‘Young Americans’… among others.

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David Bowie – Soul Love (1972)

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Ziggy Stardust

I carry on into the weekend to hear the real deal. ‘The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars’ is one of those rare albums that doesn’t really have a weak moment. ‘Five Years’ is the perfect opener; and then this happens: “Stone love – she kneels before the grave/A brave son”. ‘Soul Love’ enthrals – the handclaps, Bowie’s rhythmic vocals, the sax and Mick Ronson’s singing guitar.

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David Bowie ‎- Life On Mars? (1971)

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David Jones

R.I.P. You will be greatly missed.

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Supergrass – Prophet 15 (2002)

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Supergrass 2002

Supergrass were undoubtedly one of the best bands of the 1990s and they signed off the decade with the swagger of their self-titled third album. However, it didn’t have the craft of their brilliant sophomore album In It for the Money, whose songs have already featured on this blog. In 2002, their fourth LP Life on Other Planets was an absolute creative return. Through most of the album, Gaz Coombes takes pleasure in channeling Marc Bolan. But then, the penultimate track ‘Prophet 15’ arrives as the otherworldly soundtrack suggested in the album title. “I’m lost in a cloud and I can’t get out/There’s no other way, don’t try…” Ziggy Stardust could not have put it better. Have a great week.

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T.Rex – Baby Strange (1972)

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T.Rex

Another B-side from 1972, ‘Baby Strange’ had to play second fiddle to ‘Telegram Sam’, the first of two number one (UK) releases from T. Rex’s The Slider. I have tagged B-sides in this blog, as I revel at how one man’s trash could have been another’s treasure. When an artist is on fire, they may have no b-game to offer on a flip side. Marc Bolan would brag about his ability to write hits on his way to the studio; and there’s no complexity in this song’s two-chord riff. However, it’s the clever chorus that serves to remind us that Bolan would find it hard for evermore to reach his creative heights of 1972.

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