Friday, December 22, 2017

Top 10 Albums of 2017 Part 5 (Final Part)

Happy holidays/Merry Christmas/Happy Chaunukah/Happy Yule/Happy Kwanzaa/Happy New Year/etc.! By now I imagine you guys know the drill with this. I'm taking the last week that I will be posting this year to list what I feel were the 10 best albums to come out this year. 2017 had some pretty good stuff released, so I'm looking forward to posting two of them a day till the end of the week after which I will be taking the rest of the year off to enjoy the holidays. These albums will not be listed in any particular order because as I've said in the past, it's a pain trying to place all of them. All that aside, let's wrap this up!

9. Carry Fire, by Robert Plant

Although people for years have been begging for a full on Led Zeppelin reunion, singer Robert Plant has just given them the finger and kept on doing his own thing by once again putting out another solo album, titled Carry Fire. While this in some ways is disappointing, I respect him for having the artistic integrity to keep pushing forward and growing as an artist even in old age instead of just being a jukebox singing his old songs that he doesn't connect to any more.

Carry Fire has a lot of that peculiar experimental world music sound as the main premise of the album's overall theme, but there are moments where a bit of old style rock n' roll is brought back into the mix in some small subtle ways. I guess even though he has grown past his old way of doing things he will abandon rock n' roll altogether. It's definitely worth listening to at least once.

10. We're All Alright!, by Cheap Trick

I LOVE that Cheap Trick after so long is still at it and making rock n' roll with as much drive, energy, and fun as they did back in their 70's heyday. This year they put out a new album titled We're All Alright!, named after the outro lyric to their hit Surrender. Kind of a nice way to give a nod to where they've been while still keeping on moving forward.

We're All Alright! doesn't tread into any new musical territory, but honestly that's not necessarily the kind of thing we look for from Cheap Trick. I put them on when I want to let my problems go and have a speaker pounding good time for a little while. If you're a fan of their classic material, then this is definitely the album for you. You won't be disappointed in the slightest.

Writer's Moment:

Hard to believe yet another year has come and gone, right? It's been a lot of fun, though. A lot of stuff happened this year in the world of rock n' roll and it's been my honor and privilege to report it to you all. At this point I'm not entirely certain what the future of Young Ears, Fresh Perspective holds. I have no plans to end it any time in the foreseeable future, but things very well could change at a moment's notice. However, I assure you that if anything is going to change I will give you as much notice as possible.

That said, I want to thank each and every last one of you who have been keeping up with this blog over the years as well as the newer readers. I never thought that I'd still be doing it by this point in time. It means a lot to me that as many of you as there are keep coming back daily to read what I have to say. I appreciate it more than any of you will ever begin to be able to fathom.

For now though, I am going to be taking the rest of the year off to enjoy the holidays with all of my loved ones. Business as usual will resume on January 3rd, 2018. From there I'll be hitting the ground running and giving you the best articles possible. I look forward to finding out what the new year will hold for rock n' roll. Until then though, merry Christmas, happy Chanukah, Happy Kwanzaa, blessed Yule, happy new year, and whatever else any of you might celebrate! Enjoy this magical season with those you hold most dear and crank some high voltage rock n' roll while you do it!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Top 10 Albums of 2017 Part 4

Happy holidays/Merry Christmas/Happy Chaunukah/Happy Yule/Happy Kwanzaa/Happy New Year/etc.! By now I imagine you guys know the drill with this. I'm taking the last week that I will be posting this year to list what I feel were the 10 best albums to come out this year. 2017 had some pretty good stuff released, so I'm looking forward to posting two of them a day till the end of the week after which I will be taking the rest of the year off to enjoy the holidays. These albums will not be listed in any particular order because as I've said in the past, it's a pain trying to place all of them. All that aside, let's continue!

7. Buckingham-McVie, by Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie

When keyboardist/singer Christine McVie came back into the fold of Fleetwood Mac a few years back it was a warmly welcomed return from not just the fans, but from the band itself. Over time McVie and guitarist/singer Lindsey Buckingham realized that they still have an incredible amount of musical chemistry with one another and decided to do a record together, which they simply titled Buckingham-McVie.

They got Fleetwood Mac bassist John McVie and drummer Mick Fleetwood to be their rhythm section on this record, essentially turning it into a Fleetwood Mac sans Stevie Nicks album. Quite frankly, I think that was an improvement. There are some familiar Fleetwood Mac musical nuances in some of the songs, but for the most part it's a whole different beast. It's got a lot of fun, catchy pop rock songs that fit in plenty well with what gets released today but in a much better way.

8. Paranormal, by Alice Cooper

The founder and king of shock rock put out his 27th studio album, Paranormal this year. Cooper collaborated not only with his long time producer and friend Bob Ezrin on this album, but with his original band on two of the tracks on it as well as two more that are bonus tracks on the deluxe edition of the album. It's always nice when the Coops brings back his old band into the fold because it's like they never stopped playing together.

Most of the album is Cooper's more recent heavy metal oriented sound that he has focused on since the mid-late 80's, but when the original band is playing you feel like it's 1972 all over again. It has that same energy, rush, and groove. Personally I was hoping for a full album of material with the old band, but this is still cool.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Top 10 Albums of 2017 Part 3

Happy holidays/Merry Christmas/Happy Chaunukah/Happy Yule/Happy Kwanzaa/Happy New Year/etc.! By now I imagine you guys know the drill with this. I'm taking the last week that I will be posting this year to list what I feel were the 10 best albums to come out this year. 2017 had some pretty good stuff released, so I'm looking forward to posting two of them a day till the end of the week after which I will be taking the rest of the year off to enjoy the holidays. These albums will not be listed in any particular order because as I've said in the past, it's a pain trying to place all of them. All that aside, let's continue!

5. BCCIV, by Black Country Communion

In September Black Country Communion released their first album in five years. The band had broken up back in late 2012 due to problems singer/bassist Glenn Hughes and guitarist/singer Joe Bonamassa were having with one another personally. However, last year they were able to kiss and make up and then get the band back together. The band rose from the ashes like the phoenix on the cover and released the album BCCIV.

BCCIV shows that not only is Black Country Communion back, but they're back with a vengeance. This release sounds a lot more harmonious and cohesive because instead of each of the members writing songs on their own, they did it all together. You can tell that there is all kinds of fire being stoked and that they really wanted to make the best music possible after being apart for so long. It's wonderful when friendships can be repaired to such a degree.

6. inFinite, by Deep Purple

This year Deep Purple released its 20th studio album, inFinite. Kind of amazing to see that after nearly five decades they are still at it when so many other bands from their generation (if they are still around in any form) are just touring and making money off their old albums. I respect the kind of artistic integrity they have managed to maintain after all these years.

Like every other album they have done before, they wanted to do something different from the previous albums they have done in order to keep moving forward. While their are still many familiar themes and elements that are signature to Deep Purple in the songs they are used in such a way where they are there to breed a sense of familiarity and providing a comforting hand to hold while treading into unfamiliar territory. If you're a fan you most likely won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Top 10 Albums of 2017 Part 2

Happy holidays/Merry Christmas/Happy Chaunukah/Happy Yule/Happy Kwanzaa/Happy New Year/etc.! By now I imagine you guys know the drill with this. I'm taking the last week that I will be posting this year to list what I feel were the 10 best albums to come out this year. 2017 had some pretty good stuff released, so I'm looking forward to posting two of them a day till the end of the week after which I will be taking the rest of the year off to enjoy the holidays. These albums will not be listed in any particular order because as I've said in the past, it's a pain trying to place all of them. All that aside, let's continue!

3. Chuck, by Chuck Berry 

The legendary rock n' roll pioneer Chuck Berry sadly passed away back in March. He was on the precipice of releasing his first new album in several decades. Fortunately the album which was titled Chuck was finished before Berry's death. Whether or not he was able to hear the finished product before his passing is uncertain to me, but personally I really hope he did.

Chuck was recorded over the period of two and a half decades, so it wasn't entirely brand new stuff. That said, none of it was anything we had ever heard up to this point. While I wouldn't call it a groundbreaking album by any stretch of the imagination it is everything you want in a Chuck Berry record and actually a little more. There were moments where it got really bluesy and jammy. Heck, he even uses one of the songs to talk and tell a story. It's pretty cool and worth checking out.

4. Concrete & Gold, by The Foo Fighters

Back in September The Foo Fighters put out yet another album, but this time they did things a little differently. Instead of just recording and doing everything else in front man Dave Grohl's garage studio they went to an actual studio and worked with a producer. The result was Concrete & Gold, one of the most unique, cool, and I'd even venture to say best albums they have done in a long time.

Concrete & Gold is as Grohl said in an interview: an album that is what it would sound like if someone like Motorhead recorded The Beatles' Sergeant Pepper album. It's got the heavy, loud, in your face punk rock stuff but it also features more laid back and melodic stuff as well. There is quite the balance and somehow it all manages to flow seamlessly. This is an album I would definitely refer to as an experience.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Top 10 Albums of 2017 Part 1

Happy holidays/Merry Christmas/Happy Chaunukah/Happy Yule/Happy Kwanzaa/Happy New Year/etc.! By now I imagine you guys know the drill with this. I'm taking the last week that I will be posting this year to list what I feel were the 10 best albums to come out this year. 2017 had some pretty good stuff released, so I'm looking forward to posting two of them a day till the end of the week after which I will be taking the rest of the year off to enjoy the holidays. These albums will not be listed in any particular order because as I've said in the past, it's a pain trying to place all of them. All that aside, let's get started!

1. Wembley or Bust, by ELO

On June 24th, 2017 ELO showed just how age hasn't slowed them down and how amazing they still are after multiple decades by doing a tremendous performance at Wembley Stadium in England. In order to commemorate this grand show they recorded everything and released it all on a double album as well as a video home release titled Wembley or Bust back in November.

Wembley or Bust features a slew of the band's most beloved songs from the past 40+ years. You wouldn't think that Jeff Lynne and Richard Tandy would still be able to play and sing the way they did back in their heyday any more, but amazingly enough they can. They sound just as fantastic as ever and they are backed by a bunch of talented musicians who are able to bring all of the songs to life the way they're meant to be.

2. Waiting on a Song, by Dan Auerbach

The Black Keys have been on a break for quite a while now, but that hasn't stopped front man Dan Auerbach from working on new songs. Back in June he decided to release his second studio solo album titled Waiting on a Song. The album features his songs with him backed by a bunch of local Nashville talent that are legends in the area. This album is the best material of about 200 songs that they wrote and recorded together over a period of several months.

Waiting on a Song sounds virtually nothing like The Black Keys, though it does retain some of the familiar key elements of Auerbach's style. Honestly, I think that's a great thing. There is no point in doing a solo album if it's just going to sound like your band's material. The sound ranges from 60's pop rock to country to funk to so many odd combinations of things in between. It is definitely a unique treat to the ears.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

5 More Essential Guitar Albums

A while back I did a post on what I felt were five essential guitar oriented albums. I listed some great and important ones, but I think it's time I went back and talked about a few more. There are so many great ones out there that it would be a crime not to give them their proper moment in the spotlight that they so clearly deserve. That said, here are 5 more essential guitar albums.

The Blizzard of Ozz, by Ozzy Osbourne

When Ozzy got kicked out of Black Sabbath, his life was in shambles. He had nothing really going for him and had all kinds of drug and alcohol problems to boot. When his manager and now wife Sharon Osbourne gave him a foot up the ass to get his own band going, he found a young guitarist by the name of Randy Rhoads. Rhoads was unlike anything anyone had ever heard before. The man could do neo-classical riffing and shredding like nobody's business in a way that still very much fit in with heavy metal but at the same time took things to new heights. Their first album together The Blizzard of Ozz showed the world just what you could do on an electric guitar if you stepped outside of the pentatonic box.

Appetite for Destruction, by Guns N' Roses

This album is a MUST for any guitarist looking to play hard rock with blues focus. I know for me this is the album that made me realize that rock n' roll was what I wanted to do with my life. Izzy Stradlin and Slash were the ultimate guitar duo in their day. With Izzy's iconic riffs and Slash's finger blistering yet melodic solos it was almost impossible for their debut album Appetite for Destruction to not be a smash hit.They took what was great about classic rock, blues, and punk and turned it into something, sleazy, yet grand.

Passion and Warfare, by Steve Vai

In the last essential guitar albums post I made I talked about Joe Satriani, who just so happened to be Steve Vai's guitar teacher. Vai took his knowledge of the axe and went into different territory. His big breakthrough solo album Passion and Warfare showed that you could have all the flash of 80's shred while at the same time doing something technically proficient and challenging with it. It is layers upon layers of fascinating guitar work that in a way takes you on a journey.

Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, by Rainbow

Ritchie Blackmore is pretty much the original when it comes to mixing elements of classical, medieval folk, blues, and rock n' roll together. It has so many tasty medieval riffs and solos that were like songs in themselves. This was another album that in the mid-70's showed that more could be done with rock n' roll than just playing the blues at a faster tempo and heavier sound. It ranges from hard stomping rockers to sweet, melodic ballads. There is a lot to learn from here.

Back in Black, by AC/DC

This is another important album to have if you're looking to play hard rock with a blues bent. There are so many big iconic riffs that any beginning guitarist should learn in order to either jam just for fun or to play in their first band. Plus, the solos are a great thing to learn as well because they take a lot of the bare basics of rock soloing and just put them in a bit of a flashier light. They aren't that difficult when you get down to it. That said, despite the simplicity Back in Black became a hell of a lot more than the sum of its parts.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Throwback Thursday: "The Razor's Edge", by AC/DC

In the early 80's AC/DC enjoyed an explosion of popularity when they brought in singer Brian Johnson to replace the late Bon Scott. The first two albums they did with Johnson, Back in Black and For Those About to Rock were tremendous hits and to this day are still considered classics. After those two albums however the majority of the 80's were kind of a dry spell for the band. Their popularity waned and not many people cared for the music they were putting out. By the end of the decade AC/DC knew they had to do something before they faded away altogether. They answered the call with their 1990 hit release The Razor's Edge.

The Razor's Edge is sort of a return to form of sorts because the production on it is a LOT more crisp, defined, and filled with the right kind of punch in the way that albums like Back in Black and For Those About to Rock were. It's that big, ballsy AC/DC sound that everyone knows and loves. The record features hits like Thunderstruck and Moneytalks, both of which have been kept in AC/DC's live repertoire and are still considered essential material all these years later.

The idea of AC/DC doing a Christmas song always seemed kind of ridiculous to me because I never associated the warm, wholesome, fuzzy feeling of the holidays with the big, sleazy, rocking nature of their music. However, with Mistress for Christmas they managed to not only pull it off, but pull it off well. With the right set of lyrics and some sleigh bells in the background they made a song that in my opinion no Christmas season is complete without.

What can I say that hasn't already been said about Thunderstruck? This is one of AC/DC's most iconic songs of all time. It's an essential part of any live set of theirs and has often been used in sports arenas for games of all kinds all over the world. That quick lick lead guitar with the roaring fist pumping backing chorus of "THUN-DER!" is enough to get any crowd excited and on their feet. With this song AC/DC essentially invented the concept of the arena rocker.

The Razor's Edge as a whole still isn't AC/DC's best album by any stretch of the imagination, but I can appreciate what it did for the band. With a few great songs it managed to bring the band back from the brink of being forgotten and catapulted them back into the mainstream spotlight. I can't say that I'm a big fan of much of what they did up until 2008's Black Ice, but at least now they were solidified enough as one of the big main rock acts to keep them around for years to come because of The Razor's Edge.

The Razor's Edge, by AC/DC receives 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Thunderstruck
2. Fire Your Guns
3. Moneytalks
4. The Razor's Edge
5. Mistress for Christmas
6. Rock Your Heart Out
7. Are You Ready
8. Got You By the Balls
9. Shot of Love
10. Let's Make It
11. Goodbye & Good Riddance to Bad Luck
12. If You Dare

Buy the album on Amazon:

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Star Wars Characters Sing Hanson's "MMMBop"

Normally I don't care for including the likes of a cheesy pop group on this blog, but this video was so ridiculous and funny that I couldn't not share it with you all. The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon somehow managed to splice together a cleverly arranged video of characters from Star Wars singing along to the chorus of Hanson's MMMBop (which can be seen in the video above).

Quite frankly I find it to be extraordinary and hilarious that someone took the time to go through all seven of the main Star Wars films in order to find the right sounds to make this video happen. I guess even old school media is finally starting to get on board with the kinds of things that most people seem to like these days.

I'm hoping more ridiculous stuff like this starts getting aired on TV. It might start encouraging me to pick up the remote and watch a bit more often instead of just going to YouTube for my silly videos. That said, this definitely has me even more stoked to go see Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi when it comes out this weekend.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Muse to Release More Singles Before Another Album


t's been over two years since Muse's last release Drones, which of course would give people the fairly logical notion that the band will in the near future be putting out new material. Well, yes and no. There is no album coming just yet, but they will be recording and releasing a few singles until then.

In a recent interview with KROQ at the Almost Acoustic Christmas show (which can be viewed in the video above), front man Matt Bellamy says:

“We’re mixing a new track right now. It’s called Thought Contagion and it’s gonna come out in the new year. We’re going to give it to you like in January or something, or February. It’s a great track – rocking, heavy.”

When asked about plans for a future album, Bellamy says:

 “I think next year we’ll do like two or three more songs like this, and then the album might be like later next year or early ’19, something like that."

Honestly, I kind of understand why Muse might be dragging their feet with a new album right now. They might not have enough quality material to go in and do a full length album. It could also be the fact that singles are more profitable because not many people want to buy full length albums any more if they buy them at all. Just putting one song out at a time is a good way to get attention. Regardless, hopefully what we will be given to tide us over will rock and the album whenever it does come will be well worth the wait.

Monday, December 11, 2017

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #146

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. Carol of the Bells, by Steve Lukather featuring Steve Vai

I think this was a pretty cool collaboration between two phenomenal guitarists. I know the Trans-Siberian Orchestra version is the more famous one, but I think this one is still DEFINITELY worth your time and attention. With these two guys playing on the same track, it's got to be pretty good wouldn't you think? Anyway, give it at least one play when you have a moment. It's a neat take on a classic carol.

2. Heavy Metal Christmas, by Joe Satriani

Satch did something pretty cool with Silent Night. He starts off with main melody of the song in his signature style, but then he goes off into a prog rock odyssey with it and closing with the melody once more. You might not think it would be that interesting, but it actually is. It kept my attention the entire time because I wasn't expecting it to go the way it did and I was wondering just what was going to happen next.

3. Oh Come All Ye Faithful, by Twisted Sister

I have LOVED this version of the song since I first heard it. Twisted Sister brought its classic 80's rock n' roll rebel look and attitude to this song and made it epic. I didn't think you could do such a thing with a Christmas carol (especially a religious one) and turn it into something so loud, pounding, and rocking. It just goes to show you that just because you believe in and worship Jesus it doesn't mean you have to be wimpy and lame about it.

4. Rain Drops on Christmas, by Buckethead

This is a whole album (though a short one) rather than just a song, but I felt the whole thing was worth posting because all of the songs work and flow together so well. You wouldn't think that Buckethead being the creepy Halloween centric guy he is would be able to pull off something with such a rich, genuine, magical Christmas vibe but in this work of art he manages to do just that. For those of you who might be apprehensive about giving him a try, this might not be a bad way to get a first look.

5. Mistress for Christmas, by AC/DC

This has always been one of my absolute favorite Christmas songs of all time. I never would have expected AC/DC to do a Christmas song because it just isn't their style. However, this tune shows that not only could they do one but they could do it well. It's cranked to 11, speaker busting, and sleazy as all hell; so pretty much everything you would expect from AC/DC. They manage to do all that AND keep it festive. Not an easy thing to accomplish.

Writer's Moment:

This will be the final week of posting for this year.After this coming Friday I will be done for 2017. I will be taking the rest of the year off to spend time relaxing and enjoying the holidays with my friends and family. I will be returning on January 3rd to get back to business as usual. In the mean time though, I will be posting every day now through Friday with my annual Top 10 Albums of 20XX posts to let you know what I thought the best releases of 2017 were!

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #145

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. Psycho Killer, by The Talking Heads

This has always been one of my favorite songs by The Talking Heads. The subject matter is rather gruesome and frightful, but at the same time I can't help but get into the groove of it and like it anyway. Personally I think that is the mark of a true artist. When you can take such a horrific subject matter and get people cheerfully moving, grooving, and singing along to a song about it then you truly have a respectable level of talent.

2. Creep, by Radiohead

I've posted the Postmodern Jukebox version of this tune before, but I feel it's time to give the original its due credit. It is a truly remarkable song that I think many of us (myself DEFINITELY included) can relate to to some degree or another. The way it goes from soft to harsh and then back again is lovely. It gets the emotions it means to portray across flawlessly. I know I still shed a tear or two when I listen to this in the right mood.

3. Black Hole Sun, by Soundgarden

Losing Chris Cornell this year was definitely a heavy loss for not just alternative rock, but music in general. The man had an incredible level of talent and soul. This might be one of his most overplayed songs, but it has earned the right to be. Even if we have all heard it a million times, it still has the same profound impact with each listen. On a side note, I remember the first time I saw the video. I was legitimately freaking out thinking I was tripping balls even though I was completely sober.

4. (Don't Fear) The Reaper, by Blue Oyster Cult

MORE COWBELL! This is the song that made the cowbell the well recognized and beloved instrument in modern pop culture that it is. Personally though I've always loved it more for the dark atmospheric vocals and lyrics. When I was a kid I would always feel completely drawn in and enveloped when the song would come on the radio. The whole rest of the world would fade away and I would just be focused on analyzing the lyrics and finding my own meanings in them.

5. The Boll Weevil, by Leadbelly

Leadbelly is one of those blues men from the delta blues movement that sadly seems to have been forgotten by a lot of people these days. The song he is playing here is an old folk song that has taken many forms since its inception in the 1800's, but his arrangement of it is the one that many other artists who have covered it over the years have referred to when performing it - myself included. It's surprisingly good for getting the audience energized when played right.

Writer's Moment:

This is going to be my last week of regular posts for 2017. Next week there will be another 5 Songs post, but then all of that week there will be a post every day until Friday highlighting what I feel are the 10 best albums of this year. After that I will be taking Saturday, December 23rd until Wednesday, January 3rd off in order to spend time with my friends and family during the holidays. Enjoy the last week of regular posting of 2017!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Aerosmith's Joe Perry Premieres New Solo Song With Cheap Trick's Robin Zander

Photo courtesy of Rolling Stone

Aerosmith lead guitarist Joe Perry is in the midst of putting out a brand new solo album - his first that isn't a holiday album in eight years. The album is titled Sweetzerland Manifesto and is due out January 19th. To give the fans a taste of what is coming, Perry has released a track named Aye, Aye, Aye - a track he collaborated on with Cheap Trick vocalist Robin Zander (which can be listened to here).

To me Aye, Aye, Aye doesn't sound like anything particularly ear grabbing, but it still sounds a lot more like the kind of rough n' tumble Aerosmith kind of rock n' roll we know and love than the band's last album Music From Another Dimension did. That said, it's a very energy filled performance. There is a lot of passion flowing and I will give Perry and Zander credit for that. I just wish that there would have been one of Perry's signature style riffs placed in there to give it more of a hook.

I am still very much interested in hearing what the full album will be like. Perry lined up a lot of great talent for it from what I've heard. Whether or not it all comes together in a way where it is the next great rock n' roll record however is yet to be seen. I will do my best to not expect too much from it, but it's difficult to not get a bit excited over it. We'll see how it turns out.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Throwback Thursday: "Stormbringer", by Deep Purple

In 1974 Deep Purple were in the midst of a renaissance. A couple of years prior their iconic Mark II line-up was no more when singer Ian Gillan quit the band and bassist Roger Glover was subsequently fired. Bringing in then unknown singer David Coverdale and up and coming bassist and vocalist Glenn Hughes helped blast them back into the stratosphere with their 1974 album Burn. This new happy family situation didn't last particularly long though, because within a year a storm was on the horizon with guitarist Ritchie Blackmore not liking the direction the band was going and thus wanting to quit. All of this and more can be heard in Mark III's 1974 final album Stormbringer.

Where Burn featured only occasional elements of funk and soul, Stormbringer brought them to the forefront as the main musical focus. Where Deep Purple had once been mainly focused on hard neo-classical meets blues rock, now they sounded like a Motown band out of Detroit for most of the album. In all fairness though, the heavy rock n' roll sound wasn't entirely gone as it is very much still present in songs like Stormbringer, Lady Double Dealer, The Gypsy, etc. The most well known song from this album however is an acoustic ballad by the name of Soldier of Fortune.

Love Don't Mean a Thing is the most funky, soulful, Motown-esque song on the entire album. It has that clavinet and bass driven groove that many of us who know 70's dance music are very much familiar with. The vocal falsettos get incredibly high and the harmonies absolutely tasty. I wouldn't by any means consider this a Deep Purple song, but I would be lying if I said I didn't absolutely love the way this song grooves.

Stormbringer is one of the only songs aside from Soldier of Fortune that Blackmore brought to the table for the writing of the album. It is a driving, powerful hard rock tune that I would even say is borderline heavy metal. The riff sounds like a very proto-metal kind of idea. The lyrics are very fantasy themed, but that is no surprise considering that is the kind of thing Blackmore is into. The musical themes of the solo would later go on to be used in Blackmore's new band Rainbow's masterpiece Stargazer. They are very gypsy scale oriented and bring a certain level of mystique to both songs.

This is not Deep Purple's greatest album by any means, nor is it even Mark III's best album. That said, it isn't a bad record at all. It's still REALLY good despite the tension that was going on and how phoned in Blackmore was being at the time. These are some good funky jams mixed up with some classic Deep Purple hard rock themes. They blend together in such a way where it isn't too jarring to go from one track to the next. This is definitely still worth checking out.

Stormbringer, by Deep Purple receives 3.8 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Stormbringer
2. Love Don't Mean a Thing
3. Holy Man
4. Hold On
5. Lady Double Dealer
6. You Can't Do It Right (With the One You Love)
7. High Ball Shooter
8. The Gypsy
9. Soldier of Fortune

Buy the album on Amazon:

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Op-Ed Piece: No Good New Music Any More?

I've been wanting to cover this topic for a while, but I just haven't gotten around to it. Now seems as good of a time as any. Something I hear ALL the time from people from all walks of life is that there is no good music being made any more. All of the good artists are now a thing of the past and there is no one to step up to the plate to carry on the torch. Everything sucks and nothing makes sense any more. The future of music is doomed.

This is something I most frequently hear from fans of classic rock and metal, but not exclusively. Many people my own age who are into pop, rap, or whatever else feel that there has been nothing good since the 90's or early 2000's. This has brought up some points in my mind that I would like to go over.

Before I go on, I'd like to pose the following question:

Is there really no good new music any more or do you just not like anything that came out after you graduated high school because what is in the mainstream now isn't being marketed toward you any more?

Let's face it. The youth are the most loyal, avid, and profitable consumers of new media, be it music, film, TV, video games, the internet, or anything else. Why would the big fat cat record labels focus their time, effort, and money on an older demographic when the teens and people in their early 20's are the more profitable one? The whole point of the music industry is to make money. What demographic brings in the most cash? The younger folks.

What also helps the record labels is that young people will also do a lot of the advertising of an artist for free. They will plaster the music, imagery, websites, social media, etc. of an artist all over their own social media accounts. They will talk about them online, spread the word, and create further awareness of the brand. That is something not a whole lot of people in older demographics do.

It kind of sucks when you get to a point in your life when you realize you're not the target audience for the popular new stuff any more. That said, if you're one of the people feeling there is no good music any more you're not the first generation to feel like this. The generation before felt the same way about the music you liked as a kid and currently like. It made no sense to them and they felt that there wasn't any good new music any more. They felt like the world of music was going to Hell in a hand basket and that their generation of music was the last of the good stuff. They too went through the same thing where they stopped being the demographic being marketed to.

However, just because you are no longer part of the key demographic any more that doesn't mean your musical journey has to come to an end. Although what constitutes as good music is entirely subjective, if you don't like what is being pushed by the mainstream media there are other options for you. We live in an age where we have access to countless hours of music of all kinds with just the click of a mouse or more commonly these days the tap of a phone screen. If you're willing to dive down the rabbit hole and explore, you might just find something you absolutely love and never would have known about before had you not taken the journey.

There are SO many artists that don't get attention from the mainstream media that are still making rock n' roll, metal, other pre-existing genres, or even doing things that are entirely new and experimental. Just because you don't see them at first on the surface, it doesn't mean they aren't there.

In order to find them, you have a myriad options. You could go on Pandora where right away you can have a FREE online radio station catered to your tastes. You can put in a genre or artist you like and within 10 or 20 minutes there is a good chance you will have heard something amazing by someone you had never heard of before.

What I used to do as a teenager to find new music (and still some times do to this day) is deep dive through YouTube. I would look up a song by an artist I like. Then maybe I would see a link to another video with that band collaborating with another artist. I would then look into the collaborating artist and see what they have and then go from there. There are all kinds of ways I to go about this, but this method brought my attention to so many of the bands I know and love to today.

Spotify is also a good way to discover new stuff as well. This is also free unless you decide to go premium. You can put on some of their pre-made playlists for different genres and a song will come up by an artist you haven't heard yet. I can guarantee there will be songs you haven't heard before and that you might just find a new artist to look into.

These are just some of the ways in which you can discover music that is being made in this modern era right now. It's ok to have specific tastes in music. You are entitled to like what you like. However, don't be so quick to say that there is no good music being made any more when you haven't really taken the time to go out and look for it. Don't be the type of person who stops listening to anything new once they get out of high school. There are so many up and coming artists who are BEGGING for you to check them out and give them a chance. By doing so you might just find something that will change your life for the better.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Stone Temple Pilots to Tour in 2018 With New Singer

Photo courtesy of Michelle Shiers

Stone Temple Pilots have been pretty quiet for a while, as they have been without a singer for some time now and their original singer Scott Weiland passed back in 2015. Now however, it seems they are gearing up to make a big comeback by going on tour next year with a brand new singer.

The singer is Jeff Gutt, who has been the front man for Dry Cell and also appeared on two seasons of the American reality TV series The X Factor as a contestant. The band so far has planned to appear at the annual Rock on the Range festival this May in Columbus, OH and have also just announced the first dates of a US tour that they will be embarking on early next year. Dates can be found below.

I decided to do some digging around on YouTube for any videos of Gutt. I found one of him playing the STP classic Plush unplugged (which I will link below). He DEFINITELY has the right voice to do these old songs. The problem I have though is that his voice is TOO right for those songs. What I mean is that he sounds pretty close to if not almost exactly like his predecessor. He still has qualities to his voice that are still his own, but the similarities are haunting.

Stone Temple Pilots 2018 U.S. Tour Dates:

March 2 – Santa Clarita, CA @ The Canyon
March 4 – San Diego, CA @ Observatory
March 8 – Pasadena, CA @ The Rose
March 9 – Las Vegas, NV @ House of Blues
March 10 – Phoenix, AZ @ Marquee
March 12 – San Francisco, CA @ Fillmore
March 13 – Sacramento, CA @ Ace of Spades
March 15 – Portland, OR @ Roseland
March 16 – Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory
March 17 – Billings, MT @ Pub Station Ballroom
April 28 – Jacksonville, FL @ Welcome to Rockville
April 29 – Fort Lauderdale, FL @ Fort Rock Festival
May 20 – Columbus, OH @ Rock on the Range

Sunday, December 3, 2017

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #144

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. I'll See the Light Tonight, by Yngwie Malmsteen

This is one of the very few Yngwie Malmsteen songs that I actually like. This is back when he could play not as sloppily and his ego hadn't yet inflated to the point that it's at today (though it was well on its way). Regardless, Yngwie's neo-classical playing combined with Jeff Scott Soto's insanely high and semi-operatic voice makes for a rising force to be reckoned with. Has a bit of a We Rock vibe to it, but I don't mind that so much.

2. Knights of Cydonia, by Muse

I always found the video for this song to be rather odd, but the song is pretty damn epic. It feels like it's futuristic spaghetti western combined with prog rock. The bridge is honestly my favorite part, the way it gets soft and just builds up in such a way that makes the hairs on your neck just stand rigidly at attention. The synth and guitar blend together into a cocktail that is just ever so delicious and quite frankly I can't believe a man can sing that high and not hurt himself.

3. Keelhauled, by Alestorm

If nautical nonsense be something ye wish, then you have come to the right place. Alestorm are one if not the absolute best pirate metal bands around. If you didn't know already these guys take both old pirate songs and turn them into some brutally heavy metal songs as well as writing plenty of their own songs. This one is one of my person favorite original songs of theirs. You can't help but sing along to the chorus, which in turn is kind of sad because it's a pretty cruel one.

4. Flick of the Switch, by AC/DC

In my opinion this is one of AC/DC's most under rated songs of all time. It doesn't have the polish and shine of albums like Back in Black or For Those About to Rock, but at heart it's the down and dirty, nitty-gritty rock n' roll that we know and love AC/DC for. The chorus is big, the riffs are monstrous, and everything is in your face. This really should have been considered an AC/DC classic, but I guess it got lost among the waves.

5. Whitesnake, by David Coverdale

Before the band Whitesnake existed, singer David Coverdale had a post-Deep Purple solo career going in the mid/late 70's. His first album and its title track were the name of what would become his musical baby. This tune in particular has a nice rocking groove to it. It swings and sways while very much being a loud and proud rock n' roll ruckus. Lots of good vocal harmonies are going on in this tune, but considering the amount of studio musicians Coverdale had at the time that's no surprise.

Writer's Moment:

As you very well know we are now in the month of December and the holidays are fast approaching. That said, as has been the case in years passed I will be taking the holidays off to enjoy time with my friends and family. The last post will be on December 22nd. The week leading up to that will as usual be my Top 10 Albums of 20XX posts. Once I make the final post I will be gone until January 3rd. That said, enjoy the holidays and the last of this year's posts!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Metallica's "No Life Til Leather" Demo Release Cancelled Due to Track Credit Problems

Before Metallica broke out with their big 1983 debut album Kill 'em All they had previously done a bunch of demo recordings of songs compiled on a demo released called No Life Til Leather that would end up on future albums. Many of these were written or at least co-written by then lead guitarist and now Megadeth front man Dave Mustaine. The band until recently had plans to re-release all of these songs until problems with track credits arose.

According to Mustaine, drummer Lars Ulrich wanted writing credits for songs that he had no part in writing and that Mustaine had wrote entirely himself. Mustaine explains this in a tweet, saying:

"James contacted me 2 years ago. We were going to officially release the No Life Till Leather demo as a record, w/27 tracks, pics, the whole enchilada, and the talks broke down because Lars wanted credit on two songs I wrote every note and word to. I have the texts. I passed."

Quite frankly I can't say I blame Mustaine for this. Metallica have been profiting off of his writing for decades without Mustaine even being in the band since just before the first album. Plus, Lars is known for being a rather greedy S.O.B. and it doesn't surprise me that he would want to snake his way in to take credit where he hadn't earned it. Say what you will about Mustaine, but if he wrote the entirety of the songs then he should be the only one to get credit for them.

I just think that it's a shame that now we won't be getting what would have been a pretty special release. Honestly, this would be the best Metallica release in a VERY long time. I've heard quite a few of the tracks via bootleg and they're really something else. Mustaine's playing on them is phenomenal and the band was on fire at that time. They were hungry and it showed. This re-release would have given us a window into that special time, but unfortunately Lars had to be his greedy self and ruin it for us.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Throwback Thursday: "Marching Out", by Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force

In 1985 the world had already gotten a decent taste of a young hotshot neo-classical guitarist from Sweden by the name of Yngwie Malmsteen through his work with Alcatrazz and as a solo artist having released his own solo album. To carry on the momentum he had going, Malmsteen went back into the studio with his band to write and record what is arguably one of his most popular albums to date: Marching Out.

Marching Out is pretty much everything you would expect from an Yngwie Malmsteen album. It's loud, heavy, and full of tons of neo-classical melodic shredding. The lyrics are pretty fantasy themed, but that is no surprise considering Malmsteen's obsession with being like Ritchie Blackmore. What really makes this album as good as it is though is vocalist Jeff Scott Soto. The man's vocals could get ridiculously high while still staying in his range and sounding melodic. This was his second album with Malmsteen and you can tell that the two of them by this point were really in sync with one another.

I'll See the Light Tonight is the track that drew me in to Marching Out. Overall it reminds me a bit of We Rock, by Dio, but it's still very much its own thing. I love its fast intensity while at certain moments it will have a lightning fast set of melodic notes thrown in. This is definitely Malmsteen staying in his wheelhouse, but this was at the time when said wheelhouse was freshly built and not an overused cliche. I can definitely appreciate this song for what it is.

For a track that is much more its own thing, check out Soldier Without Faith. It starts off with a tension building synth intro which leads into an aggressive guitar riff with some fretwork fireworks following shortly after. What makes the song do it for me though is that verse riff and Soto's vocals. It's absolutely intense and will make your jaw hit the floor if you have never heard anything like it before. It's a longer song, but that's ok. Nothing wrong with some extended soloing here and there.

I'll be honest with you. I'm not Yngwie Malmsteen's biggest fan. Quite frankly I think he is smug, over rated, arrogant, and full of himself. He also isn't as great of a player as he thinks he is considering he never leaves the E flat Phrygian scale and plays fairly sloppily. That aside, there was a point in time where his playing was actually a little bit dazzling and pleasing to the ear. I feel Marching Out is one of the best things to come out of that period even if it too was somewhat repetitive. It has its moments and will have you coming back to at least maybe two or three of its songs. The whole album is worth checking out at least once, though.

Marching Out, by Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force receives 2.7 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Prelude
2. I'll See the Light Tonight
3. Don't Let it End
4. Disciples of Hell
5. I am a Viking
6. Overture 1383
7. Anguish and Fear
8. On the Run Again
9. Soldier Without Faith
10. Caught in the Middle
11. Marching Out

Buy the album on Amazon:

Unheard Link Wray Song "Son of Rumble" Finally Sees Light of Day

Link Wray is definitely one of the mostly unsung pioneers of rock n' roll. In 1958 he put out a hit instrumental song titled Rumble. It was a special song because during this time distortion was not a thing yet, but Wray using clever methods such as stabbing his amplifier with pencils managed to acquire a rather unique overdriven quality to his sound. Wray came up with all kinds of psychedelic effects long before the existence of pedals as well. His contributions have been noted because Wray is now up for induction into the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame. In order to boost awareness of the nomination, Black Keys guitarist and vocalist Dan Auerbach has released an unheard song of Wray's by the name of Son of Rumble (which can be heard above) on his personal record label Easy Eye Sound.

Easy Eye Sound intends to release the song as a 7 inch single on April 13th for Record Store Day, but in the mean time they have released the song on YouTube and even created an animated video to go along with it.

The video has a great deal of late 50's visuals to treat the eye all in black and white. From pin-up girls to motorcycles to guitars to playing cards to other trippy visuals and photos of Wray there is definitely a lot to take in. However, it seems to add to the experience because it matches the psychedelic overtone of the song perfectly and makes you feel like you're being drawn into another dimension created in another time.

The song itself contains many similar themes to the original Rumble, but it is very much its own thing. For one thing, the song is a lot more upbeat and electric guitar focused than the original and also features a great deal more in the way of reverb and tremolo. Definitely innovative for the time period. It goes back and forth between chords and single string picking rather seamlessly. This is acid trip music before there was even such a thing.

Son of Rumble definitely could have been a hit to some degree or another back when it was originally recorded. It's a shame that Wray never released it in his lifetime. Fortunately we have people like Dan Auerbach who know and appreciate people like Link Wray and can bring us old music that we may never have heard or known of otherwise.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Judas Priest Release Audio Sample and Cover Art for New Album

Judas Priest have been working away at making a brand new studio album. You know, for a band that said a while back that they were retiring they sure do seem to keep busy. Anyway, they just put out an audio sample (which can be heard in the video above) and the cover art (which can be viewed below) for their upcoming record Fire Power.

The cover art doesn't seem to be anything special or out of the ordinary for Judas Priest, but that's ok. You can't judge a book by its cover. What is important is the music. That said, the clip that they released....WOW. These guys have been at it for well over 40 years and they are still just as thrilling, heavy, driven, creative, etc. as they were when they were making albums like Hellbent for Leather or Painkiller.

Fire Power is set to hit the shelves March of next year. Judas Priest has yet to give an exact date, though. I don't know about you, but if the whole album is anything like what we heard in that 15 second clip then I'm pretty excited and feel it will be a pretty great record. Rob Halford can still scream like a banshee and guitarist Richie Faulkner has really come up in his balls as a player and writer for Judas Priest. Hopefully they release a full single soon.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

AC/DC Vocalist Brian Johnson Opens Up About Fallen Band Mate Malcolm Young

Photo courtesy of NME.

Rhythm guitarist and founding AC/DC member Malcolm Young sadly passed away from Dementia, lung cancer, a heart condition, etc. this past weekend. It was a very somber occasion indeed. Among all of the heartfelt statements given about the rock n' roll pioneer, his former band mate vocalist Brian Johnson has just now given a statement on his feelings toward him.

In his first interview with Rolling Stone in two years, he among other things said about Malcolm:

"Malcolm never missed a trick. He paid attention to everything. Onstage he was always watching, taking in things and making sure it wouldn't happen again if he didn't like the look of some lights or something. ... Malcolm gave rock 'n' roll a fist. He'd give it a kick in the ass."

It's definitely a touching thing to see Johnson say so many kind things about his former band mate. They really seemed to develop a real familial bond over the years that even the two of them no longer being in AC/DC together could break. I kind of understand that myself because I've experienced some similar stuff. Some times a relationship will transcend working together in a band to something greater.

Writer's Moment:

Just so you're not wondering why I dropped off the face of the planet, I am going to be taking the whole Thanksgiving weekend off to relax and spend time with my loved ones. Business as usual will resume on Monday. I hope those of you also celebrating have an excellent time doing the same and remember all of the good things you have in life even among the storms of crap that hit you in the face every day.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Black Sabbath Drummer Bill Ward Cancels Solo Tour Due to Health Issues

Photo courtesy of Loudwire

Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward has kept himself busy over the past few years despite the fact that he did not partake in the Black Sabbath reunion. One of the ways he has done so is with his own solo band Day of Errors. Day of Errors had a tour coming up, but the dates for next month have been cancelled due to unspecified heart problems.

Ward made a statement on his personal Facebook page making the sad announcement and only covers enough to give fans the basic gist of what is going on, saying:

"Bill Ward/Day Of Errors Tour Dates Canceled
Hi Everyone,
It’s with great, great sadness that I must tell you I have to cancel the Day Of Errors tour dates scheduled in December. I wound up in hospital this past weekend with heart problems. I am OK and in good recovery at this time. However, I’ve never experienced this particular type of heart problem before, and due to its nature, I had to make the decision to cancel the dates. I want to send my sincere apologies to everyone who was planning to come out to the shows. I’m so sorry we won’t be making it – I was looking forward to seeing you all and sharing this music with you. I’ll be in touch soon.
All my love,
All Bill Ward/Day of Errors tour dates have been canceled and will not be rescheduled. Tickets will be refunded at point of purchase. Tickets purchased through an online ticketing agency will be automatically refunded. Please allow 7-10 days for refunds to appear.
Thursday, December 7 – Eugene, OR – WOW Hall
Friday, December 8 – Seattle, WA – High Dive
Saturday, December 9 – Portland, OR – Dante’s
Tuesday, December 12 – San Francisco, CA – Great American Music Hall
Wednesday, December 13 – Santa Cruz, CA – The Catalyst
Thursday, December 14 – Ventura, CA – The Garage
Friday, December 15 – San Diego, CA – The Casbah"

Sadly this is not the first time Ward has had issues with his heart. He had a mild heart attack that caused him to have to sit out a tour that Black Sabbath was doing in Europe. This and multiple other health complications have hindered him a great deal in recent years. I just hope for his sake that Ward can get as well as he can and really get his act together so that we don't lose yet another remarkable musical talent.

Monday, November 20, 2017

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #143

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. Is This Love, by Whitesnake

Who hasn't heard this classic? It's like the king of cheesy 80's power ballads. I'll tell you who, though. My girlfriend. When I put it on in the truck for her I figured she'd know it and we'd have a singalong. Instead she had no idea what was going on and referred to it as "weird 80's porn music". I couldn't help but laugh and be dumbstruck. I mean, she isn't entirely wrong but I was surprised that she of all people had never heard this before.

2. Without You, by Motley Crue

Funny story about this song. Most people think it's just another cheesy 80's hair metal love ballad, but in reality bassist and primary Motley Crue song writer Nikki Sixx actually wrote it during the worst part of his heroin addiction about drugs. If you REALLY listen to it and know the context of the song's genesis then it makes a whole lot more sense and you feel more sad for him than anything else. I know I'll never be able to hear this song as a sweet ballad for the ladies ever again.

3. Every Rose Has Its Thorn, by Poison

This is definitely 80's power ballad trash at its finest. Poison never really was about making real honest music to begin with, but this kind of solidifies the fact that they're all about the glitz and glamour over everything else. Gotta have a soft, laid back song for the ladies, right? That said, even though I'm ragging on them that doesn't change the fact that this song does in fact have some aurally pleasing elements to it. It didn't land itself a place as an 80's staple for no reason.

4. Angel, by Aerosmith

Once Aerosmith came back with the Permanent Vacation album in 1987, they essentially became just another pop rock band pushing out song after song for the sake of having hits and gaining commercial success to keep the train a-rollin' despite the fact that they were no longer spring chickens when compared to the more modern and hip acts at the time. This song is a major reflection of that point in time. I will give credit where it's due, though. Those vocal harmonies are without a doubt one of the most dynamite things I've ever heard in all my life.

5. You Don't Know What You Got (Till It's Gone), by Cinderella

Just for good measure, we're throwing a piano driven power ballad into the mix. The lyrics aren't exactly the best written, but I guess when you're that good looking, have that nice of a voice, and are setting everything to soft instruments then it doesn't really matter. I do like the vocal melodies and harmonies in this one. The piano riffing is also pretty nice as well. You can definitely tell that they are more meant for doing string snapping, rip-roaring rock n' roll though.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Special Report: AC/DC Co-Founder and Rhythm Guitarist Malcolm Young Dead

Photo courtesy of

Normally I don't post on Saturdays, but today I'm making a special exception and for good reason. AC/DC co-founder and rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young has sadly passed away at the age of 64 from Dementia.

As Young was aging it was getting more and more difficult for him to remember how to play the songs and to stay mentally present. He had been suffering from Dementia for a long while by this point, which was also the cause of him being forced to retire from the band a few years back.

AC/DC put out a statement on their official website, saying:

"It is with deepest sorrow that we inform you of the death of Malcolm Young, beloved husband, father, grandfather and brother. Malcolm had been suffering from Dementia for several years and passed away peacefully with his family by his bedside.

Renowned for his musical prowess Malcolm was a songwriter, guitarist, performer, producer and visionary who inspired many. From the outset, he knew what he wanted to achieve and, along with his younger brother, took to the world stage giving their all at every show. Nothing less would do for their fans.

Malcolm is survived by his loving wife O'Linda, children Cara and Ross, son-in-law Josh, three grandchildren, sister and brother.

While thanking all for their overwhelming support and heartfelt condolences, the family ask that you respect their privacy during this time of heartbreak and grief.

For those wishing to send messages to the family please visit the Sydney Morning Herald Malcolm Young Memorial website which will be available next week.

The family have asked instead of flowers to send donations to The Salvation Army."

Lead guitarist Angus Young made his own separate statement on his older brother's passing, saying:

"Malcolm, along with Angus, was the founder and creator of AC/DC.

With enormous dedication and commitment he was the driving force behind the band.

As a guitarist, songwriter and visionary he was a perfectionist and a unique man.

He always stuck to his guns and did and said exactly what he wanted.

He took great pride in all that he endeavored.

His loyalty to the fans was unsurpassed.

As his brother it is hard to express in words what he has meant to me during my life, the bond we had was unique and very special.

He leaves behind an enormous legacy that will live on forever.

Malcolm, job well done."

Malcolm Young and Angus Young started AC/DC together in 1973 in Sydney, Australia. Malcolm co-wrote most if not all of AC/DC's material. Most if not all of the big riffs in all of those hits and other great songs were his doing. He was a big part of what made the AC/DC engine turn. Without him there would be no Back in Black. There would be no Dirty Deeds. There would be no For Those About to Rock. There would be no Highway to Hell. You get the idea, I'm sure.

I find myself at a loss a bit because Malcolm Young was a HUGE inspiration to me (as well as countless other people) as a musician, especially when I first picked up the guitar. His monstrous rough riffs and excellent song writing in tandem with Angus's guitar solos made me want to play rock n' roll too. When I was a teenager I used to listen to every AC/DC record all the way through on repeat every day. The high voltage rock n' roll I was listening to charged me with a spark of life that I had never experienced before and have never experienced anywhere else in life. Without him the course of my life would have been entirely different.

Before I knew about AC/DC I didn't know that rock n' roll or even music in general could have such balls, energy, and thrill to it. When I was a kid and first experiencing this music though, you can bet that I was blown away beyond all the far reaches of the imagination. Up to that point all I had ever really heard was 50's and 60's light rock and pop. Stuff that was rated G, you know? It was good enough at the time, but it didn't do much besides entertain me a little for a few minutes at a time. When I heard AC/DC though, that was when I understood just how awesome music could be and it made me want to play too. In a sense, Malcolm Young was responsible for this grand fantastic change in my life.

My thoughts, prayers, and condolences go out to the Young family in their time of great sorrow and strife. I can't begin to imagine how difficult this is for them. If any of them by any slim chance happen to read this blog, I want them to know that Malcolm meant a great deal to me too. He and his music changed my life in so many ways for the better and I will never be able to thank him enough for it.

David Coverdale Boasts "Seriously Whitesnake" Upcoming Album

Photo courtesy of

There seems to be no stopping the Whitesnake machine lately. Not only has singer and band leader David Coverdale called off retirement due to feeling rejuvenated by the Purple Album tour, but he has recently released a big box set rerelease of the 1987 album and has a brand new album on the way that he boasts is a "seriously Whitesnake" album.

In a recent video Whitesnake put out on their YouTube channel, Coverdale discusses the song Don't Turn Away from the 1987 album to promote the rerelease of the record, but he also goes into the topic of the upcoming album, saying:

“Now I’m involved significantly more with social media, and fans of Whitesnake can directly communicate and ask me questions – it’s a fascinating scenario. There are songs I’ve never played live, people’s absolute favorites, and Don’t Turn Away is one of them. Problem is, we’ve got a kick-ass new album for next year, and it’s got some seriously Whitesnake live in-your-face stuff.”

There has been no mention of when we will get the new Whitesnake record, though Coverdale says he is still writing new songs all the time and that they will be going in next year to record more of it. I know I'm definitely excited, since they haven't put out any new original material in over six years. I'm curious to hear what the new stuff will sound like, especially with Coverdale feeling revitalized and them having swapped out guitarist Doug Aldrich with Joel Hoekstra, have Tommy Aldridge back on the drum kit, and newcomer Michele Luppi on the keys. As for the 1987 stuff, I think they should just split the set up between celebrating that album as well as promoting the new one. I think it would balance out nicely.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Throwback Thursday: Get Your Wings, by Aerosmith

In 1974 Aerosmith was nowhere near the rock n' roll household name they are today. They only had one record out and had only just started to tread their way down the path. When they put out their second album Get Your Wings however, they definitely got more of a leg up because this is when they really started developing their signature sound and putting out hits that people would remember forever. They still had a long way to go after this, but they definitely got a lot further than they already were even if none of the songs made the pop charts at the time.

Get Your Wings is where Aerosmith started exploring a bit more musically and developing a sound that was uniquely theirs. Where their debut album Aerosmith was basically just blues on steroids, Get Your Wings got a bit heavier and delved into more creative song structure and writing though the blues influence was very much still present in much of the music. It featured memorable songs like Same Old Song and Dance, Pandora's Box, Train Kept A-Rollin', etc.

Pandora's Box has always been one of my favorite songs from this album even if no one else seems to talk about it. It has this bluesy signature riff that is so catchy and gets ingrained in your head. It picks up and grooves pretty well. It's filled with all kinds of innuendos and rock n' roll badassery. It also features some loud and proud horn playing to back it up as well, making it almost feel like it's a Las Vegas show girl song. Incidentally, drummer Joey Kramer wrote the riff to the song when he found a guitar in a dumpster one day and started playing it.

Same Old Song and Dance is probably the best remembered song from this record. I can't say I blame anyone because this has a lot of that flare that only Aerosmith can conjure up. It's got everything a good Aerosmith song needs: a steady groove from Joey Kramer and Tom Hamilton, some snarling bluesy guitar licks and riffs from Joe Perry and Brad Whitford, powerful gritty vocals from Steven Tyler, and lyrics that while down and dirty tell a story that you can follow. I find it pretty awesome that despite the lack of a real chorus aside from a short refrain people still find it so memorable.

Get Your Wings while definitely not Aerosmith's best album is a great way to hear for yourself the progression of the band's sound from a ragtag rough n' tumble blues band from Boston to the stadium filling rock n' roll icons that we know them to be today. They definitely sound a lot more like themselves on this record and you can tell that they were hungry and wanting to push for the best record they could make. It's a solid time capsule of a special time in Aerosmith's growth.

Get Your Wings, by Aerosmith receives 3.75 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Same Old Song and Dance
2. Lord of the Thighs
3. Spaced
4. Woman of the World
5. S.O.S. (Too Bad)
6. Train Kept A-Rollin'
7. Seasons of Wither
8. Pandora's Box

Buy the album on Amazon: