Category Archives: Forgotten Albums

DIESEL PARK WEST – SHAKESPEARE’S ALABAMA: Forgotten Albums

The late 1980’s were a time of a stagnating music industry and the continuing mantra from some music journalists predicting the death of the “guitar” in music, and so it was against this backdrop that Diesel Park West arrived on the scene.

Shakespeare’s Alabama

Track listing

Like Princes Do
All the Myths on Sunday
Bell of Hope
Out Of Nowhere
The Walking Hour
When the Hoodoo Comes
Opportunity Crazy
Jackie’s Still Sad
Here I Stand
A House Divided

The album arrived in 1989 to much critical acclaim in the music press and managed to get some decent airplay of their single “When the Hoodoo Comes” on late night radio shows, but despite this they failed to dent the top 40 with either their singles or album.

It would be a familiar story throughout their career, the nearly men of indie/alternative/rock music.

The band came from Leicester, England, learning their trade playing live through the 1980’s and finally getting a record contract in 1988. The band consisted of John Butler )Vocals, Guitar and main songwriter; Rick Wilson Guitar; Geoff Beavan Bass; and David Smith Drums.

The most remarkable thing about this album is how it did not become a massive hit at the time.  No doubt with mainstream radio play by Radio 1 it would have been.  However, the stranglehold on the music industry at the time of this radio station meant little could enter the charts without it’s seeming approval.

The album is full of superb song writing and sound incredibly confident throughout.  The music was reminiscent of REM/Birds feel to the music yet with an individualistic sound.  The songs on this album are memorable and have extremely catchy choruses, and the vocal performance from Butler is searing and superb. This has to go down as one of the best debut albums of this genre.

There are simply too many highlights on this album – but for what it is worth must listens are When the hoodoo comes; Like Princes Do; All the Myths On Sunday; and Jackie’s Still Sad.

Some would have said it was perfect timing for an album like this in 1989, however, soon the music scene would change beyond recognition, as the Manchester and Dance scenes took off in earnest and Diesel Park West were to be left in the cold by EMI.

Nevertheless, this album is a testament to “classic” albums not necessarily being ones that sold in high volume.  A remastered version is now available including bonus tracks and is well worth a listen.

FORGOTTEN ALBUMS: The Scanners – Violence Is Golden

Track listing

  1. Joy
  2. Lowlife
  3. In My Dreams
  4. Changing Times
  5. Bombs
  6. Air 164
  7. Evil Twin
  8. Raw
  9. High Flyer
  10. Look What You Started
  11. Violence is Golden

Forgotten albums worthy of note are not just for the distant past but for the here and now as well.  So often excellent bands fall by the wayside as the music press gives a side swipe to those not trendy enough or who don’t mix in the right circles.

The Scanners, who will be touring with their new album – SUBMARINE over the next few months, have largely remained under the radar in the UK although they appear to have had more success on the other side of the pond.  It is very strange when the likes of the Joy Formidable get so much press exposure, when a band like the Scanners don’t seem to get a look in.

The Scanners are a band comprising of  Matthew Mole  (Guitar, synths, vocals) ;  Sarah Daly (Vocals, bass guitar, violin);  Amina Bates (Guitar and Keyboards);  Tom Hutt (Drums).

They started their journey as an alternative band in London in 2004, releasing their debut album in 2008 in the UK, and came with bonus material of remixes which were particularly good.

They have supported some excellent acts including -The Horrors, Devo, Mystery jets, Charlatans, Wedding Present, Electric Six and Juliette and the Licks.

Their material has a raw edge to it and Sarah Daly’s voice is sometimes compared to the likes of PJ Harvey.  At times though their raw edge gives way to a more polished sound.  The songwriting can be dark at times and uplifting at others, and the energy flows throughout the album.

This is truly a superb debut album.  The pick of the tracks on the album are Lowlife, Joy, Bombs, and Raw.  All superb.

There is everything here for the discerning indie fan.  Darkness in the lyrics, over layed guitar playing, the odd quieter moment and remixes you can dance to.

The album will also grow with you, it has a longevity which is the biggest seller for me.  This is not a record you will be bored with after a couple of weeks.

I would recommend this album, it’s too good to remain undiscovered, and if you can, catch them live in the coming months.

http://www.myspace.com/scanners

FORGOTTEN ALBUMS: Zerra 1 – Zerra 1

Zerra 1 were an early 80’s new wave band with soaring vocals and a sparse sound.  After the success of their first single “The Banner of Love” getting to       #33 on the UK indie charts, they signed to a major label, Mercury. The band consisted of 4 members, Paul Bell (vocals, keyboards), Grimmo (Guitar),  Michael Mesbur (Drums), and Adrian Wyatt (Bass).

The album when it came out in 1984 did not capture the imagination of the music press or audiences. The promise of their early indie following did not transfer to commercial success.

Their most famous track “Rescue Me” (from the 2nd album Domino Effect) was released following the release of this album and was used in an advert for Philips CD Players. This was a departure from the sparse sound of their first album and was a more mainstream stadium rock sound emulating the likes of U2 and Simple Minds.

But this album has something about it that suggests it should not be forgotten. The raw vocal and dark moody sound owes much to the moody new wave era. Definitely worth a listen  . . . . if you can get hold of a copy!