Chris Ball


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

Windhand / Satan’s Satyrs – Split

Both bands bands do enough here to make you wish there was another side of their music to flip to, but Windhand edge it for me.

Black Moth – Anatomical Venus

Black Moth… have developed a darker, more sophisticated sound whilst retaining much of what made them interesting in the first place.

The Pearl Harts – Glitter and Spit

I suspect they have the potential to pen dozens more indie-disco floor fillers, the likes of which this debut is undoubtedly packed.

The COPS – First Offense

‘First Offense’… will carry you along on a speed rush of caveman riffs and screaming sirens.

Gold Key – Hello Phantom

Gold Key apply the rigors of hard core and rock to their songs whilst still packing in more incident, flash, daring and emotion than most bands manage in an album.

BongCauldron – Binge

‘Binge’ is just that, a dangerously enjoyable feast of metal.

Quicksand – Interiors

Quicksand deserve your attention, deserve another chance. Not out of sentimentality, loyalty, hipster revisionism or any other misguided motivation, but because they have made a really excellent new album.

Brown Acid: The Fifth Trip

A great pick n mix of groovy oddities and raging, underground lost treasures.

Goat – Fuzzed In Europe

It’s more than rock a show, cult-ish but inclusive, a celebration of otherness and the mysteries of the universe.

Kroh – Pyres

Stylish if heavily stylized, single-minded, artistic and yet surprisingly commercial Kroh have created something truly special on ‘Pyres’. This may be the start of something special.

Endless Boogie and Workin’ Man Noise Unit at 100 Club, London

Paul drawls a few lines then the crowd whoops as the band set off on another bloody massive choogle. . . Ladies are dancing, arms are waved, beers are chugged, but mostly it’s a slow, hypnotic group frug, don’t pee on my rug, dude-tastic rocking hoe down.

EMA – Exile In The Outer Ring

Exile In The Outer Ring will only enhance EMA’s reputation as a talented and fascinating artist.

With The Dead – Love From With The Dead

Fans of the band and their previous works will no doubt find something to enjoy on ‘Love From With The Dead’, but personally I would hope for more from musicians as revered as these.

Dead Heavens – Whatever Witch You Are

All in all, this is a triumph. Go ahead and enjoy that new Quicksand album, but Dead Heavens are equally worthy of your time.

John Murry – A Short History of Decay

The best tracks here are all singular in their delights and are all equally surprising in small ways.

Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires – Youth Detention (Nail My Feet Down To The Southside Of Town)

One fine rock n’ roll album – you will be pumping your limbs and hollering like the ghost of Joe Strummer

The Magpie Salute – The Magpie Salute

This album is an absolute triumph.

Future Lives – Mansions

Only a churl would criticise an album that comes with such a heartwarming tale and several of these songs will be accompanying me on my travels over the summer.

Exodus and Dust Bolt – Chinnerys, Southend-On-Sea

Exodus are still at the forefront of the genre. This isn’t a heritage act for misty-eyed old rockers, Exodus is still very much the real deal.

Harvestman – Music For Megaliths

‘Music For Megaliths’ is at times a genuinely effective and affecting piece of art, with a rare depth and sensitivity.

Desertfest London 2017 – Friday Review

As ever Desertfest was a blast, and I saw some great acts, but although it’s getting to be almost a cliche to say it now, the best thing about Desertfest is the atmosphere.

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