Chris Ball

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I’m an ageing rocker who has been going to concerts and buying records for over 30 years. I used to write for Metal Hammer, then briefly another magazine that went down to the bottom of the ocean with that fat crook Robert Maxwell.

I gave up for a while. Experimented with listening to dance music, hip hop and indie rock. It broadened my horizons and I had a lot of fun, but when I reached my late 30’s I realised I was living a kind of cultural lie. I love rock music I realised, much of it deeply unfashionable, but fuck it, I’m old enough now not to care. In the meantime I’d become a father, I now have two boys, and accumulated several more tattoos, middle-aged spread and a healthy dislike of modern pop music and the facile celebrity obsessed industry that fuels it.

So I’m an Essex geezer who’s returned to his roots in more ways than one, I live on the coast after having spent 20 years living in East London. Don’t let the tatts and West Ham shirt fool you though. I love Japanese ukiyo-e art and haiku poetry, impressionist art, the works of Alan Moore and Salman Rushdie, botany and bird watching. I still go to gigs as often as my family, liver and bank balance will allow.

My all time favourite bands and artists are Tom Waits, The National, The Drive By Truckers, The Who, Wilco, Randy Newman, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Thin Lizzy, Celtic Frost, Slipknot, Public Enemy, Warren Zevon, Queens of the Stone Age, The Handsome Family, AC/DC, Lykke Li, Laura Veirs, Monster Magnet (obvs) Black Sabbath, Black Sabbath, Black Sabbath and Black Sabbath.

Recent faves include Bo Ningen, Windhand, Witch Mountain, St Vincent, Lana Del Rey, Public Service Broadcast, Ghost Poet, Triptykon, Matthew E White and Courtney Barnett.

Tell me yours.

 

 

Articles by Chris Ball

King Buffalo – Dead Star

Quite simply, King Buffalo continue to release music that renders the majority of the psych and stoner scene irrelevant.

Lucifer – Lucifer III

So then. ‘Lucifer III’ is a bit of a mixed bag. The band are certainly willing to stretch out and explore styles outside of the classic occult rock stable and in fact when they do they often produce their best songs.

Huntsmen – Mandala of Fear

Double concept albums can often be seen as acts of hubris by bands desperate to prove how clever they are, but you get the sense from Huntsmen that this music, noisy and threatening as it is, comes from the heart and soul.

King Dude – Full Virgo Moon

Full Virgo Moon, despite its brief running time and fairly light musical style, is a tough, grim listening experience.

Black Royal – Firebride

I am here to tell you that front to back, Firebride is an absolute triumph of accessible, extreme metal.

Smoke Fairies – Darkness Brings The Wonders Home

Smoke Fairies really have brought the darkness and the wonders.

Jean-Paul Gaster of Clutch

Clutch’s drummer, genial Jean-Paul Gaster, raps about the blues, Ramblin’ Man Fair, the genius of Neil Fallon and much more besides. . .

Clutch – The Roundhouse, London

It may be the holidays  and we may have been lulled into a beery bonhomie,  but this bunch of unassuming nice guys can still pack one hell of a punch.

Ghost • All Them Witches • Tribulation – SSE Wembley Arena

I do miss the more sinister Mk1 and 2 iterations of Ghost, but they are not my band: they are the people’s band, and their number grows ever larger!

Fox Medicine – Procédures Mystiques

Considering its rather singular, not to say peculiar charms, it is an album I keep returning to – eager for it’s dirty sugar rush.

PETBRICK – I

I is a fascinating album, if at times hard work…It is never Pimms o’clock for PETBRICK.

Slade – Feel The Noize

Although the band are mainly remembered for their Super Yob style and beery, working-man anthems there is a lot more to their music in a catalogue ripe for rediscovery.

Seratones – Power

I do hope their new direction can bring them wider success as there can never be too much soul in the world and Seratones have it in excelsis.

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Infest the Rats’ Nest

Infest the Rats’ Nest is a surprise contender for metal album of the year. How did that happen? Who cares, just turn it up!

Gojira – O2 Academy, Brixton

Technical glitches aside this was a triumph for Gojira, playing a packed Academy to a rapturous reception.

Nebula – Holy Shit

The atmosphere of the album is so gleefully narcotic and villainous, it’s like a demon on your shoulder, urging you to submit, fuck the straight world, join a cult and smoke crack for Satan.

BIG | BRAVE – A Gaze Among Them

It’s taken me a long time to come to a point where I can review this album as it pushes buttons I’m not used to. A Gaze Among Them requires your full attention. It really is worthy of your time.

Desertfest London, 2019 – Friday

Chris Ball and Andy Little Zig-Zagged their way between Blackwater and spilled beer to capture their thoughts on Desertfest Friday with a Wovenhand…

Mos Generator – Night of the Lords (Review + Exclusive Premiere)

Yes, this album may be aimed at serious Mos Generator fans, but it’s worthy of its place in any rocker’s record collection.

Desertfest London, 2019 – Friday Preview

Desertfest’s first day brings a brain-frazzling, mind-melting selection box of rockers, seers, psychos and musical explorers.

Josefin Ohrn + The Liberators – Sacred Dreams

About half of this album is great, and it is the half of the album that moves away from psychedelic rock and into dancier and poppier songs. It’s time to live up to their names and liberate themselves. If they do I think a sparkling future awaits.

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