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

Reb Fountain – IRIS

Fountain’s music is lush, unknowable, subtle and finely crafted, but it’s also danceable, inviting, catchy and commercial

GNOD – La Mort Du Sens

Born of frustration and misanthropy with the intent to provoke live communion, viciously uncompromising whilst strangely addictive, La Mort Du Sens is typical GNOD music, whilst not sounding quite like anything else they’ve ever done.

Jesse Malin – Sad and Beautiful World

Jesse is always looking to the bright side, to the future, to ‘Greener Pastures’ as he does on this record. There are absolutely no duff songs here at all.

Slade – Slayed?

Reissued on vinyl, a chance to hear one of the UK’s greatest rock ‘n’ roll outfits at the top of their game. . .

The Cush – Riders In The Stardust Gold

I initially had this album down as a headphones-on-and-eyes-shut, blissed out type of slow burner, but then I played it loud on a proper stereo and it sounded huge! It is huge.

John Murry – The Stars Are God’s Bullet Holes

In what is becoming a signature move, Murry’s songs swing, rock and bop, whilst the lyrics remain extremely violent, hyper literate, full of wide ranging references and name drops.

Deathchant – Waste

Deathchant are certainly onto something, but at this point it seems too mercurial for them to take a firm hold off, constantly slipping through their oily mitts.

Rose City Band – Earth Trip

Seems like the more stressful times get the more music Ripley Johnson supplies to counteract them.

Vokonis – Odyssey

You wouldn’t be reading this if you weren’t a rock connoisseur, so I urge you to go check out what is definitely Vokonis’ best album to date.

Sky Valley Mistress – Acoustic Sessions

A classier and more mature release than you would expect from only a band’s second release…and it still rocks. Of course it does, it’s on New Heavy Sounds!

a stick and a stone – Versatile

Don’t expect it to sit cosily next to your Candlemass records. This music is strange, sometimes difficult. It’s thrills are small, the songs are little secrets, slowly revealed.

Kiwi Jr. – Cooler Returns

this album as it is chock full of mood lifting melodies, swinging harmonies and assured, classic “jangle pop” playing…a very cool return.

Ruff Majik – The Devil’s Cattle

With The Devils’s Cattle Ruff Majick have made a great couple of albums. You may consider yourself lucky that it’s buy one get one free.

Black Stone Cherry – The Human Condition

Some fans may miss the gospel and good times of the bands more Southern rock stylings and the ultra-polished production won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but those issues shouldn’t stop hard rockers of any persuasion appreciating a very fine classic rock album.

Drive-By Truckers – The New OK

The New OK, is not neat and tidy, or definitive or entirely in its right mind – it’s a product of its times, but as such is just what we need. This band speaks for decent, downtrodden people everywhere and has a heart the size of Alabama.

Mr Bison – Seaward

Mr Bison…follow their own path with sincerity and passion.

Larkin Poe – Self Made Man

I guarantee that if you hear one of the singles on the radio it will lift your spirits for four sweet minutes.

King Witch – Body of Light

Body of Light is a proper, high quality heavy metal album the likes of which we’re told they don’t make any more.

Liar, Flower – Geiger Counter

I cannot imagine why anyone wouldn’t want to experience this album. It speaks to us in a secret language we all somehow understand.

Hanni El Khatib – Flight

You may be expecting a dozen rambunctious electro-punk bangers, but Flight is dominated by a melancholic, wistful air, coloured by jazzy flute and piano breaks

Desert Storm – Omens

Omens is Desert Storm’s most consistently impressive album to date and cements their position as one of British metal’s unsung heroes.

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