Saturday, 14 April 2012

Taurus Trakker

Taurus Trakker 

Carl Stanley is back to Casual Musings to run the rule over a West London duo with Clash connections....

Meet west London punk-blues duo Taurus Trakker. Their recently released album 'Building Ten' is raw, honest and adhering absolutely to the ‘write what you know’ principle as well as having the West London skyline looming over it and its roots literally buried beneath the Westway; because front-man Martin Muscatt is Mick Jones's cousin but rather than just the family connection Martin couldn't help but soak up and take on some of that same glory The Clash had about their music as he grew up closely with the band and their music. 

The energy, realness and the ability to play head-on / exciting rock'n'roll comes from straight from the heart. Both Martin (vocals, guitars) and Allison Phillips (drums) stride that line between classic late 70's London and some thing that's totally their own, something fresh.

“A most impressive album indeed” - Rich Deakin, Vive le Rock

“a masterful example of swamp-tinged classic rock” - David Ellis, Tour Times 

With songs like ‘West London Rock‘n’Roll’ you can hear their celebration in both a personal history and the broader Portobello tradition which remains something of a hidden gem in London’s ‘music capital’, ' 21miles To A Water Pump' is another highlight, its almost jazzy fused intro settling into a mix of blues/punk topped off with a fantastic rhythm and chunky riffs makes it one of those songs you instantly take to.

'21miles to a water pump'

But the track 'Building Ten' itself is definitely a stand out on the album, its the sound of that generation from the capital that made rock'n'roll important again so not surprising to discover Mick Jones playing with Martin on this one, its total suss and no messing foot-to-the floor drive makes it probably the albums best tune.

'Building Ten'

In fact Mick's known to make last minute appearances with Taurus Trakker on stage when he can make it as well as contributing in the studio and in the words of the man him self  "Martin is all about some thing and that's what I feel what's really important these days, I love the band".

April/May dates to be announced

Mick Jones & Taurus Trakker, Train in Vain

Carl Stanley - April 2012 

Friday, 13 April 2012



I like Ricky Gervais. I loved The Office and Extras. I think An Idiot Abroad is a work of art, although that is mainly down to Karl Pilkington. I even think he hits the spot now and again with his stand up comedy.

In thirty five confusing, pea brained, mealy mouthed, poorly thought out minutes last night he undid all that good work with his latest offereing 'Derek'. Thirty five minutes of confusing, poorly acted nonsense that was billed as a 'comedy / drama'. Unfortunately this mean spirited and unlikeable piece of television offered neither. As far as i could make out it was Gervais in a comedy cardigan, with a comedy comb-over, jutting his chin out and shuffling around the place. The problem with that is Gervais is just not a good enough actor to pull it off. Dustin Hoffman as Rainman? Yes. Ricky Gervais as Derek? No. It says something about your limited ability when you're acted off the screen by Karl Pilkington in a wig.

As far as I'm concerned if you're going to portray an eccentric and obviously mentally disabled middle aged man and try and play it for laughs you at least have to try and appeal to the viewers sense of pathos. Gervais was as far away from hitting the spot than a Fernando Torres potshot at goal. Therefore i sat there perplexed as to exactly what he was trying to say. Were we meant to laugh at Derek? Were we meant to laugh with him? Were we not meant to laugh at all and realise halfway through that the joke was on us for finding any of it amusing? If anyone can offer an answer to these questions I'd be intrigued to hear it because i still can't fathom it out. Perhaps Gervais should have treated himself to a DVD copy of 'That Peter Kay Thing'. The Episode 'Leonard' where Kay plays an old eccentric man and Britain's oldest paperboy was dripping in pathos. He knew where to play it for laughs and where to stop it in it's tracks and tug at the heartstrings. Gervais decided that doing a comedy fall into a garden pond was the level he wanted to pitch Derek at. The only time he came within a mile of showing a delicate touch was when he arrived back at the old peoples home with his lottery tickets only to be informed that his old lady friend had died. For a brief moment we saw what might have been before he reverted to hamming up the comedy walk and jutting his comedy chin out even further.

The signs were there with 'Lifes Too Short' which i managed to persevere with for one episode. Not because i found it particularly offensive but because it was achingly shit and unfunny. At the moment watching Gervais trying to be edgy and difficult is like watching your favourite band put out a double album of freeform jazz and white noise. He appears to have no-one around him to say 'Ricky, that is absolute bollocks and if you commit it to film you're going to undo ten years of undeniable brilliance'. 

Gervais has said in the past ‘just because someone is offended it doesn’t mean they’re right’ and he's absolutely correct. Although if you're going to try and offend people at least do it with a sense of style and panache and at the very least be funny.

Rob H - 2012

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Rusholme Rock

The Stone Roses are back.......and so is Aziz Ibrahim with a new solo album. Carl Stanley runs the rule over his new offering.

Rusholme Rock

April sees Aziz Ibrahim return with his new solo album Rusholme Rock, described by the man himself as kind of 'Asian Blues', this blessed and extremely talented guitarist has both re-visited past material and created new songs for this his second solo release.
With only Aziz and Tabla master Dalbir Singh Rattan playing on the album they create a big sound for two guys, these two very accomplished players come up with a host of beautifully layered sounds and traditional re-workings on some of the guitarists most renowned work, the classic Ian Brown tune 'My Star' re-christened here as 'My Sitar', Aziz's acoustic version brings out his and the songs roots which is just as hypnotic as the original.

Rusholme Rock's enlightening opener 'Xen and Now' is a traditional Pakistani sounding piece made almost cinematic with amazing guitar work but the albums interest point could well be the return to songs like My Star, Kills Me and Middle Road which go closer to the guitarist's own interpretation and how he probably heard these songs the first time round, like the track that has had much bearing and influence on his own musical journey, 'Morassi', a song first released on a Melody Maker compilation many years ago it turned into a personal favourite and has been re-worked into one of the albums highlights, an uplifting beautiful feel of time and space and as you'd expect his playing is awesome, and though some of it might sound electric don't be fooled as everything on here is played on acoustic guitar.
Again songs like 'Kills Me' have appeared before but its the chemistry between these two players that takes them somewhere else, his ability to showcase his own style over his Pakistani traditional background and rock'n'roll chops is felt no more than on 'Middle Road', heard before on a earlier release he offers up probably his best version to date, sounding like a rock tune but played in his eastern style with some great lyrics its just a fantastic cross over and example of what he does so well.

Aziz Ibrahim's overall influences and love for all music comes through in the albums closer 'Heavens Rain', that of something very oriental and bluesy at the same time, which is quite an achievement in its self but also something very delicate and probably offers the best window to the mans appetite and understanding and playing of a whole range of genres, sounds and traditions of music.
Rusholme Rock also includes a fantastic and outrageous version of Sonny Curtis's 'I Fought The Law' which plays as the perfect centre piece providing the albums middle ground, we all know it but it comes at you from a totally different place, its clever, fun and sounds great, and its one The Clash would of tipped their hats to no doubt.
So if Lahore to Longsight was Aziz going back in time and tracking the roots of his families journey in music then Rusholme Rock is showcasing his own unique journey in sound, style and influences and bringing them together, a truly beautiful album.

Playing Friday the 4th of May at Monto Water Rats Aziz launches 'Rusholme Rock' performing several tracks from the album