Tag Archives: The Kaiser Chiefs

Rocks In The Attic #596: Pantera – ‘History Of Hostility’ (2015)

RITA#596
I’ll always have a soft spot for Pantera. Not because of their awesome songs, or their incredible guitarist (the late Dimebag Darrell Abbott) or even the fact that their drummer had a swimming pool in the shape of a Jim Bean bottle.

No, I’ll always respect Pantera for having the balls to be such bad-asses when they used to be such wimps. Prior to their career as ‘90s metal gods, they were glam-metal also-rans, recording three albums in the early 1980s before joining up with vocalist Phil Anselmo and recording 1988’s Power Metal, an album still planted in the glam-metal genre but with songs which pointed to their future.

RITA#596aOf course the greatest thing about all of this is that there’s a wealth of photographic evidence. It’s hard to take somebody with piercings, tattoos and a snarl seriously if there’s a photograph of them online wearing spandex, hairspray and eyeliner.

This history of the band is swept under the carpet, understandably. Just like Alanis Morissette’s two dance-pop albums prior to Jagged Little Pill, it’s seen as something that can be forgiven as it exists prior to their major label debut (1990’s Cowboys From Hell). It makes you wonder though. How many bands have similarly shady pasts that they have locked away in a cupboard somewhere?

RITA#596bPrior to their introduction to the world on 2005’s Employment, the Kaiser Chiefs were once a band called Parva who released a since-forgotten album, 22, in 2003. A friend of the band once told me that after the release (and subsequent fizzle) of 22, they saw an image consultant who turned them into the Kaiser Chiefs (and the rest was history, etc). I don’t like hearing stories like this – it just shows how fake everything is. Ignorance, sometimes, really is bliss.

Isn’t the guitar in Cemetery Gates just fucking sick though? It definitely wasn’t a glam-metal band that recorded that!

Hit: I’m Broken

Hidden Gem: Mouth For War

RITA#596c

Rocks In The Attic #460: 10cc – ‘10cc’ (1973)

RITA#460My parents recently came over to our side of the world for Christmas, and my Dad brought with him a couple of ripe quiz questions. The first one was something along the lines of:

‘Which ‘60s group’s first three singles went to #1 in the UK?’

The answer wasn’t 10cc (they didn’t get release a single as 10cc until the early ‘70s) – it was Gerry & The Pacemakers – but his second question was just as tricky:

‘Which band’s three UK #1s were sung by different vocalists?’

This had me scratching my head for days, thinking it was going to be more of a vocal group like Sister Sledge or somebody like that, rather than a band who play instruments. Of course the correct answer was 10cc – Rubber Bullets (Lol Creme) in 1973, I’m Not In Love (Eric Stewart) in 1975, and Dreadlock Holiday (Graham Gouldman) in 1978.

This lovely reissue of 10cc’s debut from 1973 – in beautiful red vinyl – features some interesting liner notes (remember them?) by Michael Heatley. In his short biography of the band up to this point, Heatley mentions that 10cc, despite the harmonic similarities drawn between themselves and Queen, saw their output to be more in line with Steely Dan. I’ve never considered this, but they’re probably as close as you’re going to get to the UK’s answer to Walter Becker and Donald Fagen’s clever lyrics.

What isn’t in debate is the quality of 10cc’s output by their first album. No debut jitters here, they sound fully formed and their recent history as songwriters through the late ‘60s serves them well. This isn’t typical boy meets girl material; it’s storytelling with that acerbic and cynical wit typical of Becker and Fagen.

I love Rubber Bullets. Despite its camp charm, it’s got such a hook (similar in tone and subject matter to its partner in crime I Predict A Riot by the Kaiser Chiefs); but it’s by no means the only highlight of the album. Even if you take away the other singles – Donna, Johnny Don’t Do It and The Dean And I – you’re still left with a very strong set of songs; songs that other less-talented bands would probably kill for.

Hit: Rubber Bullets

Hidden Gem: Sand In My Face

Rocks In The Attic #447: The Who – ‘A Quick One’ (1966)

RITA#447I think the first song I heard off this record was Boris The Spider, selected as the b-side to a mid-‘90s re-release of My Generation – used on a TV ad for ice cream if I remember correctly. That single led me to buy a CD compilation, which was more than enough Who for me at the time.

I’ve never been into bands where the vocalist isn’t the songwriter. I’m not sure why – it just feels a little bit fake. Strangely though, I don’t really notice it for some bands. Take the Kaiser Chiefs for example. As far as I know, original drummer Nick Hodgson was the primary lyricist for the band – yet I don’t really think anything less of them.

This album has two highlights for me – the studio version of A Quick One, While He’s Away, gloriously performed on the Live At Leeds album, and the band’s stunning cover of Heat Wave. I like to think that if I was in a band in the ‘60s, I would have pushed to do a cover of Heat Wave – it’s such a great song, with an eternally cool groove.

Hit: A Quick One, While He’s Away

Hidden Gem: Heat Wave