Trial By Fire: Live In Leningrad – Yngwie Malmsteen

I bought this album on music cassette form in Saffron Walden in the run up to some Christmas sometime. I knew of Yngwie Malmsteen as he was kind of infamous in my sixth form. A number of people had seen him in concert and so I got this. I think he was the first super-speedy, how does he do that, kind of guitarists I had heard about. There are plenty more but there’s a certain melody to his playing. I have and continue to listen to this album regularly.

Now, here’s the thing. When I played this album a while ago I was trying to come up with ways to describe the differences in the songs. You, know , to be able to do a track listing and description of each. Now, the rub is, they all sound quite similar. Same pace, beat, style. I don’t mean to diminish how good this album is because I really do enjoy it. I like every song. If I had to choose a favourite then I would go for “Heaven Tonight”, it’s a lovely romantic song.

All I can say is that Yngwie can play very well. I enjoy this stuff. He was pretty good when I saw him in Shepherds Bush however many years ago.

Comms#1963 so here are some things that happened that year as curated by me:

  • George Wallace becomes Alabama Governor, what a cunt.
  • Valentina Tereshkova is first woman in space.
  • Kenya gains independence from the UK.
  • Sam Cooke and his band are arrested after trying to register at a “whites only” motel in Louisiana.

Tres Hombres – ZZ Top

I have played this album precisely three times in its entity. I was given this by Shredder as a recommended thing to listen to. He was not wrong. I have played this album when I drove some pupils to Canterbury for a school visit – you want something you think most people will appreciate when driving others around. I have so much obnoxious music that it’s hard sometimes to find something suitable. I played this album over my Sonos system when building a climbing frame for the kids and then finally I played it the other day in preparation for this communication.

This is a brilliant album full of dirty, gritty, blues inspired songs that all sound great. It has a real down low feel to it whilst not being obnoxious. I do like it. I think it’s an album I will go for more often when I need something decent in the background.

This album is not anything like you would expect if all you know about ZZ Top is their songs from the eighties. It’s actually way better and I even like their rock stuff.

This is communication number 1957 so here are some things that happened then in the year of our lord:

  • The first frisbee
  • A hydrogen bomb accidentally falls from a bomber near Albuquerque.
  • A hurricane killed 400 people in Louisiana.
  • The Wolfenden Report was published in the UK recommending the legalisation of gay sex between consenting adults.
  • Gordon Gould invents the LASER.

Trebuchet – George Hrab

I like this album. I don’t really like the production of the album and I know that’s a personal thing and Hrab is the person who is in charge of the whole thing. George Hrab has a podcast, or used to, called Geologic which I have spent some time listening to. He’s a science communicator and skeptic along with being a talented musician and song writer.

All the songs on this album are extremely well written. They cover lots of ideas from the skeptical community and make me smile whenever I listen to this album. Some ideas of the titles on this record:

  • God Is Not Great
  • Everything Alive Will Die Someday
  • When I Was Your Age
  • Death From The Skies – highly recommended
  • Small Comfort

This album has a lovely style and a great message to push to the listeners. I enjoy it. It’s not metal and that’s fine.

This is communication number 1954 and so here are some things that happened that year:

  • Eisenhower warns against his country’s intervention in Vietnam.
  • The first subway line in Toronto.
  • The Boeing 707 is released.
  • Food rationing ends in the UK.
  • Lord Of The Flies is published by a writer who worked previously as a teacher at MGS.

Trainspotting – Various Artists

There must be something about movie soundtracks when they are done well because I have a few. I’ve even got the Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs soundtracks somewhere but I’m not sure they are on my Sonos system, I’ll have to look into that. The slightly bigger issue is that my PC does not have an optical drive. I’d have to break out my laptop from 2008 to rip the files onto the system, that’s easy enough even though I’ll have to chuck some coal in the fire.

This album is a great collection of songs used in the film Trainspotting. I think I would say they are all rather middle of the road, gentle paced songs. I don’t think there’s a bad song on there.

I do have some words to say about Born Slippy. This isn’t really anything about the song but more an anecdote about terrible behaviour by me. I was at a wedding reception/evening do, you know, the kind of thing where you aren’t good enough to be at the ceremony but you are allowed the food. I think it was at the Weald Of Kent golf club building thing. It was somewhere there, I don’t entirely remember for alcohol reasons. I might have had some drink because it’s a wedding. The DJ person put Born Slippy on and I danced a stupid dance but they cut the song halfway through before all the drumming bits. I recall having a bit of a go and made them play the whole song. I think it was just me on the dance floor but when the music moves you . . . .

This is communication number 1952 and so here are some things that happened that year of the common era:

  • Rioters target British and upper-class Egyptian businesses, it’s almost as if the class struggle and recognition for fair wages and rights has been eternal.
  • The B-52 flies for the first time.
  • The Roman Catholic church bans the books of Andre Gide.
  • The Great Smog of London.

Top Gun [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] – Various Artists

I genuinely am unsure where to start with this one. I first saw Top Gun in Eastbourne [I think] on a cadet camp in 1986. We were meant to be going rock climbing and abseiling but the weather was poor so we went to the cinema instead. We were based at Crowborough training camp for this camp. We were a good bunch of cadets and for me there are a few things that are foremost when I try to remember the camp. I remember seeing Top Gun. I remember watching Alien in the girls’ block, it was the only place with a TV, and then after the film I shit bricks running down to where we were billeted because I was scared and it was foggy. We played this album over and over in our billet along with the Status Quo song “You’re In The Army Now”, oh and The Final Countdown, which I was convinced was part of this album for a long time. On a navigation exercise our little troop was going through quite tough gorse stuff and Chaz Randall tried running. I think he made it a few steps and then just crashed into the ground, it was hilarious. Our troop or flight was Nick, Lisa, Charles, Gummy and me. There’s a photograph somewhere, I might try and find it.

So, this isn’t about the film, which [upon adult reflection] is a heap of shit apart from the first 4’06”. This communication should be about the music and so here we go:

  • Danger Zone – a brilliant song made even better with all the references in Archer.
  • Mighty Wings – cuts after the snaps of the snare!!!

Now here’s a problem. I was going to write these reviews of the songs as they played on my system but Sonos has just informed me that the files are corrupted and can’t be played. So, I just checked my phone. Same thing there. Fuck! It could be that only some songs from this album are corrupted and I reckon I could fix them easy enough. But, how do you check all six thousand or so songs on the NAS Drive just in case you want to listen to that particular song? Double Fuck. This has probably opened a can of worms and hours at the computer as I try to check all the music I have. I’m not even sure I have a CD of this, so maybe I bought it from iTunes? If that’s the case it’s easy. If not then the quickest and simplest thing to do is to download the songs from iTunes. I’ll be back shortly.

Haha, shortly! I had though I’d be able to find where I’d purchased this in iTunes and just press the download button. You would think that is how this works, but oh no. It turns out that in the past I’ve “hidden” the downloads for this album and so I had to go through menu options that aren’t obvious to then show which ARTISTS I had hidden before. Now, as you are aware this is a compilation album and so I had to download the songs one-by-one under the headings of the artist. There wasn’t a compilation album download option. Jesus H, this is a pain. How very frustrating almost everything iTunes is. Well, the album is sorted and on the NAS drive so it’s playing right now.

  • Mighty Wings – It’s a great 80s tune, a mixture of pop and a hint of rock there. It’s great.
  • Playing With The Boys – As long as we recognise the masses of macho-homo-erotica included in the film and when this song is playing – so this is a pretty good song for singing along with. Wholly 80s. Much like the entire album.
  • Lead Me On – Gosh, is there a bad song on this album?? This is fantastic 80s pop stuff. Maybe the entire album should represent the 80s at a Decade Of Music competition.
  • Take My Breath Away – The worst song on the album?? Smushy trash, but the hopes and dreams of so many teenage boys during the 80s.
  • Hot Summer Nights – a solid 80s track. Rolls along a little more than the others, a slightly more level headed verse with a great chorus. Oh, and guitars!
  • Heaven In Your Eyes – This beats Take My Breath Away in poorness. I’m just not a ballad fan. Still, it’s a good song to belt out now and then.
  • Through The Fire – A menacing start leading to a mostly normal rock verse and then . . . . a chorus with 80s themes that will take you back to the disaster years [Piper Alpha, Chernobyl and Herald Of Free Enterprise].
  • Destination Unknown – Look I don’t know how the song selectors did it but this album is full of cracking songs to sing along with. This song falls a little flat for me but it’s part of this album and so has a place in my heart.
  • Top Gun Anthem – I dare you to try and play this song and NOT get goosebumps [no pun intended]. The opening of the film [remember the first 4’06” has this song ticking along in the background and it’s fucking great. However, if you fancy getting too much riffage then the main theme of this song can get to you when they perform the key change.

This album is a must for everyone who remembers the 80s. Don’t be giving me that shit about not remembering the 80s because you were out of it on drugs. We all love this album.

This is communication number 1947 and so here are some things that happened in that year of the common era:

  • -67C is recorded in Snag, Yukon.
  • A large loss of civilian lives in Taiwan as there is civil disorder.
  • The Texas City Disaster kills at least 581.
  • The Doomsday Clock is introduced.
  • A bug was found in the Harvard Mark II, a literal moth and the first computer bug.

Tooth And Nail – Dokken

My relationship with Dokken has mostly been down to an album I bought when I was about seventeen, it’s called Beast From The East. I also had the album Back For The Attack in my collection for ages. This particular album is a much later addition to the collection and bought because I really liked the dynamic shift from the live album to the studio version when I got Back For The Attack. I am not sure I’ve played this one in its entirety. It’s on now and the opening song is a short sketch to get us to the title song. After that it’s a mixture of songs that appear on the live album and songs that don’t. It’s classic cock-rock. I do like it. I don’t think there are any particular surprises here, you know, songs that make you go WTF? It’s a solid album.

This is communication 1946 and I’m hoping I might be able to find more “interesting” stuff in the Wikipedia entries than just death and destruction. Mind you, I get to chose what I write within and I think I’ve been focussing on human rights and natural disasters!

  • Project Diana is successful.
  • The republicans filibuster a bill for equal rights for workers.
  • Women vote for the first time in Japan and Italy.
  • The Philippines is granted independence from the USA.
  • A fire at a hotel in Atlanta kills 199.

To The Capsules – Senser

I like all music by Senser but most of it just happens to play in a shuffle when driving. The first album by them Stacked Up is very hard to beat and because I’ve listened to that one for around thirty years the newer stuff just gets lost in brain-fog. That’s not to say it’s not worth listening to, I think I’m just saying that I’m an old dog and most new music is like new tricks [are?].

This is communication number 1945, here are some things that happened that year:

  • The US executes a US soldier for desertion.
  • Hildesheim is pretty much destroyed in an air raid.
  • Arthur C Clarke puts forward idea of geosynchronous satellite orbits.

Reading through the Wikipedia pages over the last few communications has been pretty fucking depressing. I know I’ve been trying to put things in these lists that are a little different. I don’t want to focus on the things that people probably know, I want to put things that you might read and go “huh?”. I’d like to think that the years following 1945 will be less depressing but I suspect that I’ll still be reading about plenty of murder and killing of people by governments around the world. Jesus, humans are fucking terrible and horrible most of the time.

Too Fast For Love – Mötley Crüe

This album is pure cock-rock and I love it. It’s got a very raw early 80s metal sound and isn’t too polished like their later albums. Way back when, there was a controversy about Nikki Sixx appearing in Kerrang! magazine where they thought they had proof that he had been replaced by someone else. I think what makes this album good is that it was self-recorded.

  • Live Wire – great opening fast song.
  • Come On And Dance – the opening riff is heavy as fuck. I love it. The cow bell makes me laugh every time.
  • Public Enemy #1 – has some great heavy riffs but overall is a good rock song. Excellent for singing along.
  • Merry-Go-Round – every Crue album has one shit song, almost by definition. This is the one for this album.
  • Take Me To The Top – a good jogging song. Decent plonky bass and excellent sliding harmonics work from Mick Mars. Good chugging guitars too.
  • Piece of Your Action – Slower paced but not terrible. I do have a thing for lead guitars and just bass with no rhythm guitars added. Speeds up halfway through, goes mental.
  • Starry Eyes – A good start but then goes all soppy and I’m not sure I like it!
  • Too Fast For Love – quality song. Excellent riffage and good start-stop stuff. A classic of its time.
  • On With The Show – A good sing along as well. You can imagine this going down well live. Doesn’t quite hit the spot for me but I can see how it is a good song.

This is communication number 1943 so here are some things that happened that year, avoiding all the obvious shit:

  • Shoe rationing goes into effect in the USA.
  • The Paricutin volcano starts to appear in a field in Mexico.
  • A race riot in Detroit kills 34.
  • 2-3 million die in the Bengal Famine.

This Is What We Are – Fuckshovel

I bought this album because Smith and I were due to see this band at some festival somewhere at some time. I haven’t seen this band. I seem to remember the album being OK. Nothing special but also not terrible.

This is communication number 1938, here are some things that happened in that year:

  • Oil is discovered in Saudi Arabia.
  • The Yellow River flood kills at least 400,000.
  • “I have in my hand a piece of paper”.
  • LSD is first synthesised.
  • Nuclear fission of uranium discovered.

Third Stage – Boston

I had a Boston phase and their first album still strikes me as utter genius. I’m not saying this one isn’t brilliant I’m just saying that I couldn’t tell you whether this album is good or not. I don’t think I’ve listened to it all the way through and all Boston listens are effectively part of a shuffle. It’s not something I deliberately choose to listen to.

Communication number 1936, here’s some shit that happened in that year:

  • Italy gains victory in Ethiopia.
  • Alan Turing introduces the Turing Machine concept.
  • Stress as a biological condition is first recognised.
  • The Tasmanian Tiger becomes extinct.
  • A levee burst in Japan causes 375 deaths.