Monday, June 25, 2018

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #171

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week is a feature I run on Young Ears, Fresh Perspective on Sundays/early hours of Monday morning where I pick out 5 tunes that I think are notable and tell you a bit about them. The point is to give you some rocking music to help you deal with your weekday blues. You can either listen to one each day, listen to them all at once, or any other combination that you feel. As long as you can get through the week without the man getting you down, that's all I care about. Without further ado, here are the 5 tracks I've picked out for this week:

1. Radioactive, by Gene Simmons

When people talk about the solo albums each of the members of Kiss did in 1978 as a way to try to keep the band together a little longer, most people think of Ace Frehley's record. To be fair, while it is the best one of the four the others had some great stuff on them too. Gene's actually had some catchy pop rock tunes like this one. It's upbeat, cheery, and has some of the best backing vocals I have heard since Van Halen. The intro is a bit weird and out of place, though.



2. On and On and On, by Jack White

This is one of those songs that for a while was just one of those tracks where if I was playing the whole record through I would enjoy it well enough, but would never go out of my way to listen to it. Over time though, it has grown on me to the point where the bass and vocal melodies get stuck in my head on a near daily basis. They subtly hook themselves into the deepest recesses of your brain until you have the track on repeat for the fifth time.



3. Nine in the Afternoon, by Panic! at the Disco

So this is the kind of stuff that was big with all the emo/alternative kids when I was in high school. It was never really my shindig, but my friends all loved it so I often had to listen too. The band's singer Brenon Urie is actually to this day still a major teen heart throb for many girls. That said, this song in particular I liked though because it has this cheery, old school Electric Light Orchestra/Beatles kind of vibe to it. Some of you older folks might actually enjoy it too.



4. Come on to Me, by Paul McCartney

If that is enough newer stuff for you, then let's dive right back into some old school artists. Sir Paul is about ready to serve up his first new full length album in five years this coming September. Last week he put out the two debut singles from it, including this song here. I like this one better because it has that cheerful rock meets old school pop that The Beatles did oh so well back in their heyday. It will definitely have you clapping along.



5. No One Like You, by The Scorpions

Ok, ok. Old songs from old artists. This one is a Scorpions classic for sure. I heard a clip of the demo of this song on the radio of all places years back, and I actually liked it far better. However, I have dug around the internet for YEARS to try to find it again but to no avail. It is my dying wish to some day hear that demo in its entirety. Regardless, the finished studio version is still a great tune to crank up and rock out to.


Friday, June 22, 2018

Throwback Thursday: Saints of Los Angeles, by Motley Crue



Ok, so honestly it's hard to believe that this album, Motley Crue's Saints of Los Angeles is already about a decade old. I'm not even THAT old and I still remember when it first hit the shelves. It didn't stay on the shelves for long, I'll tell you that much. This was Motley Crue's grand return to the public limelight and a return to form in terms of musical style. Sadly it was also the last full length record they did before finally calling it quits for good a couple years ago.

As I said, Saints of Los Angeles was a return to classic 80's form for the Crue. Over the years (through the 90's and whatnot) the band had taken a more alternative direction that had kind of alienated their core fan base. However, when this album came out it brought everyone back in droves. It had the crunch, the sleaze, and the melody that classic Crue had, but with more modern production to give that extra bit of punch and clarity.

The title track "Saints of Los Angeles" drove 80's metal fans wild. That foreboding opening bass line with some other audio bits thrown in create this amazing build-up and tension that makes things that much more explosive and eargasmic when the band kicks in. It drives, has some serious balls, and honestly feels like it could have come out in 1989 on the band's iconic hit album Dr. Feelgood. It has pretty much all of the signature characteristics of a Motley Crue single.

"Chicks = Trouble" was always one of my personal favorites back in the day. In retrospect I can see it being sexist in some ways but I choose to look at it more as a song that talks about specific kinds of people in general that just cause problems in your life especially since it was written about the kinds of women that used to give Nikki Sixx trouble during the worst parts of his heroin addiction. Regardless, it's got some good riffing, melody, and charisma to it.

Honestly, I can't say there are much in the way of any bad tracks from Saints of Los Angeles. Maybe that's just me looking at it from rose coloured nostalgia goggles, but the fact that it became as popular as it did at the time I don't think I'm too far off the mark. Maybe not a perfect album, but still a damn good one. I would definitely recommend it as a crucial album to have in any collection of Motely Crue or 80's metal albums in general.

Saints of Los Angeles, by Motley Crue receives 4 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. L.A.M.F.
2. Face Down in the Dirt
3. What's It Gonna Take
4. Down at the Whiskey
5. Saints of Los Angeles
6. Mutherfucker of the Year
7. The Animal in Me
8. Welcome to the Machine
9. Just Another Psycho
10. Chicks = Trouble
11. This Ain't a Love Song
12. White Trash Circus
13. Goin' Out Swingin'

Buy the album on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Saints-Los-Angeles-Motley-Crue/dp/B0018AK9QQ/ref=sr_1_1_atc_badge_A2N1U4I2KOS032_twi_aud_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1529650415&sr=8-1&keywords=saints+of+los+angeles

Monday, June 18, 2018

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #170

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week is a feature I run on Young Ears, Fresh Perspective on Sundays/early hours of Monday morning where I pick out 5 tunes that I think are notable and tell you a bit about them. The point is to give you some rocking music to help you deal with your weekday blues. You can either listen to one each day, listen to them all at once, or any other combination that you feel. As long as you can get through the week without the man getting you down, that's all I care about. Without further ado, here are the 5 tracks I've picked out for this week:

1. Rats, by Ghost

Recently I have heard Ghost referred to as a metal band for people who don't like metal. I guess I can sort of understand what they mean by that, but at the same time I have to say as a partial metalhead myself that they are still pretty cool. I applaud them for doing something that is different from what everyone else is doing. They are breaking away from and rebelling from the form. Honestly, isn't that the whole point of heavy metal in the first place?



2. The Difference Between Us, by The Dead Weather

This is one of those songs that I consider to be a dark pop rock song. If you have a listen you will see what I mean. It has some catchy melodies and hooks, but it maintains this dark, haunting atmosphere the whole way through unlike many bright, upbeat, happy pop songs. It is a song that will sink its claws into you and manage to hang on and stay with you long after the final note fades from your speakers.



3. I Think I Like It, by The London Souls

If you are digging the whole modern blues rock thing that you are hearing out of bands like Rival Sons and Greta Van Fleet then I think you are going to dig the sounds of New York City band The London Souls. This tune has a real loud, booming, yet soulful groove to it. In some ways there is kind of a Lenny Kravitz sort of quality to the vocals as well. It is certainly an interesting and fun blend of sounds to say the least.



4. Blues Hand Me Down, by Vintage Trouble

If you like that fast grooving bluesy shuffle of popular tunes from the 50's and 60's but also like that flashy hard rocking edge that you often got out of 70's rock then this is most certainly the song for you. Vintage Trouble is another retro act, but they do so in such a way that makes it still unique and original. There is clearly love and passion put into this music with absolutely no intention of being just a straight ripoff of the old greats.



5. Tales of Brave Ulysses, by Cream

For those older folks out there though who are not that musically adventurous and want to listen to something that they are probably more familiar with, then I will leave you for the week with this Cream classic. It is definitely one of their best tracks for sure. This is psychedelic bluesy hippie hard rock at its absolute finest. You have Eric Clapton tearing it up on the guitar, Jack Bruce laying down a groove on his bass and producing some fine velvety vocals, and Ginger Baker going ham on the drums. All good stuff.


Thursday, June 14, 2018

Throwback Thursday: Get Behind Me, Satan, by The White Stripes



In 2005 The White Stripes had made themselves quite the figurehead in the world of modern rock. With the immense commercial hit Elephant just a couple years behind and the world now in love with them, it was time to get working on a follow-up to this blockbuster record. The result was Get Behind Me, Satan, which made quite a few people scratch their heads at first but soon enough found themselves loving it.

Get Behind Me, Satan is primarily unplugged. Most of the songs are piano driven, but there are some with stringed instruments as well. The only plugged in electrifying rock n' roll tune was the main single, "Blue Orchid". More than likely that was put on there to keep fans who had come in during the previous record. Regardless, Jack White did not want to make the same record all over again and in essence made the anti-Elephant.

"Blue Orchid" is considered by many to be a White Stripes classic and staple. It has this thick, gritty, polyharmonized guitar riff that punches just as hard as Meg White's steady thumping on the bass drum. Jack sings with a rather high falsetto throughout the majority of the tune, which is a bit unusual even for him. That said, it adds a bit of a ghostly presence to the song but not so much that the focus is not on the loud good times rock n' roll ruckus going on.

"The Denial Twist" is one of my other personal favorites from Get Behind Me, Satan. It is primarily piano and drum driven, though there is a bridge part with some distorted bass in it as well. It definitely has a dancing kind of vibe to it, though I'm not sure that I would consider it any kind of twist that I am familiar with. The drum beat backing that piano riff though is what really does it for me. Gives it this groove that brings it to a whole other level.

Get Behind Me, Satan is definitely a departure from anything the White Stripes had done up to that point (and afterward), but in all honesty I don't see that as a bad thing at all. Some times when you're a musician or an artist of any kind you need to take a random left turn from time to time to keep from becoming predictable, bored, and boring. This album managed to do just that for the band and produced quite a few classics.

Get Behind Me, Satan, by The White Stripes receives 3.75/5 stars.

Track List:

1. Blue Orchid
2. The Nurse
3. My Doorbell
4. Forever For Her (is Over For Me)
5. Little Ghost
6. The Denial Twist
7. White Moon
8. Instinct Blues
9. Passive Manipulation
10. Take, Take, Take
11. As Ugly as I Seem
12. Red Rain
13. I'm Lonely (But I Ain't That Lonely Yet)

Buy the album on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Get-Behind-Satan-White-Stripes/dp/B001B87CJ2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1529014130&sr=8-1&keywords=Get+Behind+Me%2C+Satan

Monday, June 11, 2018

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #169

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week is a feature I run on Young Ears, Fresh Perspective on Sundays/early hours of Monday morning where I pick out 5 tunes that I think are notable and tell you a bit about them. The point is to give you some rocking music to help you deal with your weekday blues. You can either listen to one each day, listen to them all at once, or any other combination that you feel. As long as you can get through the week without the man getting you down, that's all I care about. Without further ado, here are the 5 tracks I've picked out for this week:

1. Strutter, by Kiss

It is definitely no easy task for me to ever pick a single favorite Kiss song, but if ever for whatever reason I was forced into such a situation then this song would be one of the top contenders. It has everything I like in a Kiss song: big flashy riffs, Paul Stanley singing his ass off, Ace Frehley giving it his all on the fret board, a sweet groove, and an overall fun vibe. This was definitely the right track to put as the opener on their debut record.



2. The Trooper, by Iron Maiden

This is some of Iron Maiden's finest dual harmonized guitar playing. Plus, it has that driving galloping rhythm that Iron Maiden have always been known for. This really is the band at their prime back in the early 80's when the best of the bands from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal were taking the scene by storm and becoming superstars and legends that still influence young metal heads all over the world even to this day.



3. Gates of Babylon, by Rainbow

This is such an under rated song from an under rated band. For the last several years every time I have put it on I have gotten chills. Even now when the wind and mysterious yet foreboding synth melody starts playing the hairs on my neck and arms stand up. It transitions into a song that makes me feel like I'm moving fast across an ancient desert in the middle of the night. Ronnie James Dio's singing is haunting and Ritchie Blackmore's guitar playing is absolutely top notch.



4. Death Letter Blues, by Son House

And now for something completely different. Son House really is one of the all time delta blues greats, but sadly never seems to get the credit he deserves. He was the one who taught legendary blues man Robert Johnson how to play the guitar back before he wrote and recorded the songs that are all considered blues standards to this very day. This tune in particular showcases Son House's mournful yet soulful voice, passionate guitar chops, and overall powerful presence.



5. Mechanix, by Megadeth

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming. For those of you who are unaware of the history behind the feud between Metallica and Megadeth, Megadeth front man Dave Mustaine used to play lead guitar in Metallica but was fired due to drinking/drug problems. He wrote many of the song's on Metallica's first two albums. However, one of the songs Metallica slowed down, changed the lyrics, made other minor changes, and renamed it "The Four Horsemen". Mustaine decided to keep the song as it was and recorded it for Megadeth's debut album.


Thursday, June 7, 2018

Throwback Thursday: Creatures of the Night, by Kiss



By 1982, Kiss was starting to get in a bit of trouble. Concert tickets were not selling very well and their album sales had plummeted due to the band venturing into pop and then prog-rock. By this point original drummer Peter Criss was out and replaced by the late Eric Carr. Lead guitarist Ace Frehley was technically still a member of the band, but was disillusioned with everything and also had a drinking and medication problem. Kiss's solution? Bring in some fresh blood and make the hardest rocking album possible. The result: Creatures of the Night.

Creatures of the Night is where former lead guitarist Vinnie Vincent silently made his debut in Kiss (though his predecessor's face is still on the cover of the record despite having not played a single note on it). He is credited for co-writing six of its nine tracks. Also contributing to the writing process was Adam Mitchell, Bryan Adams, Jim Vallance, and Mikel Japp. This is certainly a return to form for Kiss, though the drum sound booms and pounds a lot more and the soloing is a lot more melodic and fast due to the change in musicianship.

"I Still Love You" is actually one of my favorite songs on the album despite it being a ballad of sorts. Putting Paul Stanley's cheesy lyrics aside, it actually has a bit of a Bridge of Sighs era Robin Trower vibe to it in terms of its overall musical sound. It's laid back in some regards, yet at the same time in pounds in some serious emotion. Vincent does some of his best soloing on the entire record here. It is melodic and incredibly full of professional technique.

The title track "Creatures of the Night" definitely sounds pretty reflective of the era in which it was created. Very early 80's metal. Vinnie Vincent smokes his predecessor with his flashy yet technically proficient playing. It honestly has a bit of a "Over the Mountain", by Ozzy Osbourne kind of atmosphere to it. It has a pretty driving, intense, yet melodic presence and is more than enough to get one's head banging and air guitar being shredded.

You can really tell that Kiss was trying hard to make a serious comeback with Creatures of the Night, yet they still fell rather short. As good as the music is, it just doesn't have that fun charisma the classic albums like Destroyer, Love Gun, or Kiss had. Probably because only half the original band was still there. That said, I still feel this album is probably what saved Kiss's career because it started them back in a more commercially viable direction.

Creatures of the Night, by Kiss receives 3 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Creatures of the Night
2. Saint and Sinner
3. Keep Me Comin'
4. Rock and Roll Hell
5. Danger
6. I Love It Loud
7. I Still Love You
8. Killer
9. War Machine

Buy the album on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Creatures-Night-Remastered-Version-Kiss/dp/B000VZJMAI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1528432000&sr=8-1&keywords=Creatures+of+the+Night

Monday, June 4, 2018

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #168



5 Songs to Get You Through the Week is a feature I run on Young Ears, Fresh Perspective on Sundays/early hours of Monday morning where I pick out 5 tunes that I think are notable and tell you a bit about them. The point is to give you some rocking music to help you deal with your weekday blues. You can either listen to one each day, listen to them all at once, or any other combination that you feel. As long as you can get through the week without the man getting you down, that's all I care about. Without further ado, here are the 5 tracks I've picked out for this week:

1. Dance Macabre, by Ghost

Mystery metal band Ghost put out a new album last Friday and it is pretty darn snazzy. I'm not really into a whole lot of Satanic stuff myself, but not everything they do is that kind of thing. This song in particular was one of my favorites from the new record. It has sort of a disco meets metal flavour, but not in a way where it seems overly cheesy or forced. Like, they actually managed to take metal and put it to a well composed disco beat and it stays stuck in your head.



2. The Crunge, by Led Zeppelin

I have to feel bad for Robert Plant here. He spends so long just trying to find that confounded bridge and nobody seems to be able to help him do so. For the course of the entire song this is where he is trying to get to and there does not seem to be a clear path toward it. It's one of those songs where because the bridge cannot be found it just goes and goes on and on until at one point out of nowhere it just sort of comes to a stop.



3. Lick It Up, by Kiss

After their 70's heyday Kiss definitely for a while struggled to remain relevant. The 80's in my opinion were NOT a good time for them, especially once they took the make-up off. However, there are a handful of tunes they did during this period that I find myself particularly fond of. This innuendo laden track happens to be one of them. I find the melodies and harmonies in the vocals to be rather pleasing.



4. Torture, by Rival Sons

This song is one of the big highlights of EVERY Rival Sons concert. It has this gigantic grooving nature to it. It's a loud pounding rock n' roll tune, yet it knows where to back off a bit so that when the full band does come roaring back in it has that much bigger of an impact. In my opinion, this is where Rival Sons truly became the band that I know and love today. It's definitely where they found their sound as a group.



5. Mr. Crowley, by Ozzy Osbourne

I could go into detail describing this song, but why? You've heard it. I've heard it. We all have at least once at some time or another in our lives. They play it on the radio at least 20 times a day on all of the classic rock stations. It's an Ozzy classic. It's definitely one of the best songs of his solo career. Of course my favorite parts about it aren't anything to do with Ozzy so much as his guitar player Randy Rhoads. That guy really did know how to make classical style music rock on the guitar.