Mike Tobyn

Mike Tobyn is a Scottish Scientist, and lapsed Pharmacist. Brought up, along with Aztec Camera and The Jesus and Mary Chain, in the New Town of East Kilbride near Glasgow he has lived and worked near Liverpool for the past 20 years. He has recently returned to writing about music when he was reminded that the follies of one’s youth need not be abandoned forever, although the golfball type IBM typewriter he used then could be.

May 232024
 
slash demi lovato

Slash’s latest album is called Orgy of the Damned. As befits an elder statesman of the field, he has been able to call in some good friends to fill out his blues and soul tinged recording. The latest single release is his version of “Papa Was A Rolling Stone,” with Demi Lovato providing vocals and added emotional heft. Continue reading »

May 172024
 
bruce springsteen rainy night

Bruce Springsteen has been vocal about his awe in the face of Shane MacGowan’s poetry and lyrics. He visited the ailing star last year, and sent a note of condolence on his passing. For his two concerts in the Republic of Ireland since that date, he performed a classic from the Poguetry in Motion EP, “A Rainy Night in Soho”—first in Kilkenny to open the set, again in Cork last night to close it. Nick Cave sang it at McGowan’s funeral and the song has become an anthem to a fallen soul. Continue reading »

May 172024
 

Talking Heads TributeThe quote attributed to Brian Eno about the Velvet Underground’s first album inspiring everyone who bought it to form a band applies differently to Talking Heads. If you were already starting your band in your parents’ garage or the art school lounge, surrounded (in either case) by the fog of weed, you would surely dream about being Talking Heads.

During a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame career, Talking Heads retained and maintained artistic integrity, but sold enough records to establish and keep themselves in the public consciousness and charts. We can all name their biggest songs. They got to work with the business’s best, including Eno and Lee “Scratch” Perry, and create critically acclaimed masterpieces. If you needed to draft in legends from Funkadelic or Nigerian music to get the sound right, you could.

It was not all work. There was the opportunity to hang out, and get high with, the coolest people in the world. Mick Jagger might have been a little too high to interact fully with, but Sid Vicious was unexpectedly sympathetic, and John Martyn was expectedly an asshole. At least you knew personally. Later on, cool young people would be desperate to hang out with you. If you are Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth you would get to do all this with your soulmate and the love of your life. (All of this is well documented in Frantz’s memoir Remain in Love. Recommended.)

The lead singer might be a little, shall we say, self-absorbed. Of course, for an average band, between a third and a fifth of you are planning to be the lead singer, so you would regard your behaviour as an acceptable price for accommodating your genius. The rest of you, as talented and driven as you are, might have to suck it up a little. Your Wikipedia entry is much shorter than that of the lead. You can contemplate the injustice of it all as you take your ocean-going yacht down to your Bahamas holiday home and studio.

You can have side projects when the band is on hiatus. This might allow you to participate in an Oscar-winning soundtrack, or produce your biggest-ever hit records. You can be sought-after producers, further increasing your time in the Caribbean and your musical legacy. And at a certain point in your career you make the greatest concert movie of all time.

Stop Making Sense, directed by Oscar-winner Jonathan Demme, was released in 1984 when the band was at its creative, harmonious best. It is a work of art on several fronts, from the curation of the music from an emerging chrysalis to barnstorming romps, to the building of the set and band. It featured the iconic and meme-worthy “big suit,” which cemented the recording and band in the public consciousness. Forty years after its release, the film company A24 has polished up Stop Making Sense for a new generation, and now they’re celebrating further with the release of a new tribute album, Everybody’s Getting Involved. The range of moods, genres and languages on the album are a real testament to the influence that Talking Heads have.
Continue reading »

May 072024
 
rachel bobbitt

Rachel Bobbitt’s excoriating examinations of pain and the human spirit, using folk and indie rock as her vehicle, have established her name. She has taken herself from Nova Scotia to Toronto to develop her craft. In addition to her material, she has brought us some notable covers, bringing her to our attention. Her latest cover take is on Arthur Russell and his “You Can Make Me Feel Bad.” Continue reading »

Apr 292024
 
heart going to california

Covering the range and power of Robert Plant’s high tenor voice is a challenge for all in Led Zeppelin tribute bands, but many of those who have successfully done so have been women. Ann and Nancy Wilson were in a Zeppelin tribute before they committed their band Heart, and have retained the songs in their repertoire since. Recently on the Howard Stern show they talked about their iconic version of “Stairway to Heaven,” performed for the surviving members of the band and other luminaries at the Kennedy Center in 2012, before moving on to their version of “Going to California.” Continue reading »