Mike Barnes

Mike Barnes  |  Feb 02, 2024  |  0 comments
Take the inventive, 'un-linear' musical approach of charismatic frontman Don Van Vliet, add the guitar skills of a youthful Ry Cooder, and you get this groundbreaking 1967 debut album that throws blues, rock, soul, doo-wop and more into the melting pot

Few groups have a history as complex and convoluted as that of Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band, not least because of the tendency of vocalist Don Van Vliet, aka Captain Beefheart, to imaginatively embellish aspects of the story. In that respect we can start right back at the group's name.

Mike Barnes  |  Jan 29, 2024  |  0 comments
This month we review: Gong, Beirut, Flamingods and Teen Jesus And The Jean Teasers.
Mike Barnes  |  Dec 28, 2023  |  0 comments
This month we review: Lol Tolhurst X Budgie X Jacknife Lee, Emma Anderson, Animal Collective and Catatonic Suns.
Mike Barnes  |  Dec 15, 2023  |  0 comments
Not content with being part of the 'rock 'n' roll revival' of the early 1970s, this Canvey Island-based band took inspiration from Detroit's MC5 and the Delta Blues to develop a unique sound that would be captured in all its glory on their 1974 debut album

Dr. Feelgood grew out of a 1960s teenage skiffle band who played in Canvey Island, Essex, at the edge of the Thames estuary. The members included John 'Sparko' Sparkes on guitar, while Lee Collinson – who later became Lee Brilleaux – was originally on banjo but became the band's vocalist by default. The reason? He was the only member who could remember the words to the songs.

Mike Barnes  |  Nov 29, 2023  |  0 comments
This month we review: Unthank : Osees, Deeper, Explosions In The Sky and Hiss Golden Messenger.
Mike Barnes  |  Oct 30, 2023  |  0 comments
This month we review: Big Big Train, Soft Machine, Fassine and Rain Parade.
Mike Barnes  |  Oct 03, 2023  |  0 comments
Led by singer-songwriter Mike Scott, The Waterboys honed their 'big music' sound on this 1985 album where rock guitars were joined by saxophone, piano and celeste to create an expansive work that was epic yet spiritual, and at times even political...

On the song 'The Big Music', from The Waterboys 1984 album A Pagan Place, Mike Scott sang 'I have heard the big music/And I'll never be the same' – and he wasn't kidding. Nowadays, the 1980s might be more readily associated with glossy, primary coloured pop but it also opened the doors to something quite different – an earnest, yearning, expansive rock music drawn with broad brush strokes, but with enough space for some fine detail. The Waterboys exemplified the desire to make this 'big music', as did contemporaries such as Echo & The Bunnymen, U2, Big Country and Simple Minds.

Mike Barnes  |  Sep 29, 2023  |  0 comments
This month we review: Do Nothing, The Church, Rival Sons and Dexys.
Mike Barnes  |  Aug 31, 2023  |  0 comments
This month we review: The National, Yes, Baxter Dury and They Watch Us From The Moon.
Mike Barnes  |  Aug 09, 2023  |  0 comments
Powered by twin guitars, pop-style melodies, hyperactive drumming and unusual song structures, this debut album from the youthful Manchester punks – now signed to a major record label – showed they were a force to be reckoned with...

When punk broke in the UK in 1976, much was made in the media of the confrontational 'us and them' relationship between this New Wave and the old wave of progressive rock and big stadium acts. But more importantly, it prompted the rapid growth of independent record labels, with some groups even financing and making their own records. And with the establishment of a closer relationship between bands and their audience, local scenes began to blossom, with the spotlight turning away from London. Manchester band Buzzcocks played an important role in both respects.