Monday, October 23, 2017

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #139

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. Here's to You, by The Dark Element

Anette Olzon, former vocalist of Nightwish has a new album coming out soon with her new band The Dark Element. This is one of the singles from it. While there are definitely some heavier, more modern elements to it in some ways it reminds me of early 80's/early Dio solo stuff. Some of the instrumental melody definitely has a bit of a Rainbow in the Dark kind of vibe, but without sounding like they're trying to copy the old greats.

2. Wish You Were Here, by Avenged Sevenfold

With the long slew of covers Avenged Sevenfold has been putting out lately, I'm not all that surprised that they chose to do this Pink Floyd classic. In terms of lyrical themes and overall musical vibe it's right up their alley. They stay more faithful to the original than most people might think they would, but at the same time they aren't afraid to veer off and do their own thing a little bit here and there where necessary in order to make it their own.

3. Play That Funky Music White Boy, by Wild Cherry

Despite the fact that I LOVE 70's music, not everything from that era was great. Some of it was trash. This particular tune is among the garbage. That said, it's trashy in all of the most fun, and awesome ways. It's got a sexy groove to it while at the same time throwing a sexy chorus hook at you that will make you want to sing along over and over again long past the time the last note fades from your speakers. If you want a cheap, easy good time then look no further.

4. Who's to Say, by The White Stripes

I discovered this song as a B side to the 45 of their song I Just Don't Know What to Do With Myself from their 2003 masterpiece Elephant. I'm kind of sad that this song was only a B side because of how good it is, but I get it. It's a cover of a song by Dan Miller from Blanche, a not as well known artist as Burt Bachrach who penned the A side. Regardless, it's something you can let envelope you and get lost in. It sways and flows, making you feel like your in a waltzing trance.

5. Master of Puppets (demo), by Metallica

Metallica is gearing up to do their big rerelease of their 1986 hallmark masterpiece album Master of Puppets. The album is going to include a crap ton of stuff that the fans have never heard, including alternate mixes, demos, and live recordings. This demo of the title track will be among the copious amounts of bonus material. It's definitely interesting to hear what the song sounded like at its genesis. In a way it's a blend of Kill 'em All's instrumental sound and Ride the Lightning's vocal style.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Linkin Park Streaming Chester Bennington Tribute Concert

Photo courtesy of Rolling Stone

According to Diffuser, on October 27th (next Friday) a rather big ticket event will be hitting the internet: a concert put on by Linkin Park to honor the memory of their dearly departed front man Chester Bennington who back in May took his own life.

The concert will be streaming live via the band's YouTube channel, starting at 7:45 PM PST free of any charge. It will feature guest appearances from Blink 182, Machine Gun Kelly, Kiiara, Jonathan Davis of Korn, Zedd, as well as members of Avenged Sevenfold, No Doubt, System of a Down, Yellowcard, and according to the band "many other surprises".

Money made from the show will go to the band's charity Music for Relief, though more specifically the charity's One More Light fund that was set up shortly after Bennington's death. The charity was formed in 2004 to help aid in the relief of the survivors of the Indian Ocean Tsunami. Since then they have raised $9 million to help survivors of natural disasters all over the world and have planted 1.3 million trees to offset the effects of climate change.

I think it's a beautiful thing that Linkin Park are doing. It's a great way to honor a talented man's memory and legacy. It's a lot like the gigantic Freddie Mercury tribute show that was done back in 1991 when the legendary singer passed and countless bands came to help Queen honor his memory. It's kind of like that, but for a new generation. Hopefully the charity raises a great deal of money because it seems like a good cause.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Throwback Thursday: "The White Stripes", by The White Stripes

Before they were world renowned rock stars with multiple songs in the charts, The White Stripes were just an up and coming odd, but charming rock n' roll duo from Detroit's immense and impressive underground rock scene. In 1999 they issued their mission statement unto the world in the form of a debut album simply titled The White Stripes, which had been recorded in Jack and Meg White's home on a four track reel to reel tape recorder.

The White Stripes has a pretty lo-fi feel in some respects, though not in as rough and dirty a way as anything The Black Keys did early on. This album does sound a little more refined in certain ways. That said, most of the songs are short bluesy rock n' roll tunes. You can hear the blend of blues, rock, punk, and other genres coming together to form a sound that up to that point the world had never heard the likes of before and hasn't again since. It's raw, pulsing, and in your face yet at the same time has this ghostly presence to it.

Astro is kind of an odd tune, as it doesn't have much of a structure yet at the same time it flows beautifully. It's loud, pounding, and will crush a city like Godzilla. While it is loud, the natural reverb gives it this otherworldly feel that it wouldn't have otherwise. It definitely makes the song seem like even more of a ginormous monster than it already is to begin with. It's definitely a great one to play if you need some rock n' roll that cranks.

Screwdriver in my opinion is the cream of the crop that is The White Stripes. It has this jangly, bluesy, yet loud rocking riff to it that will blow your face off. However, it knows how to use dynamics and back off in certain places. Plus, Jack's singing is rather powerful here too. Some points he gets so powerful and high that he is almost screaming which is not something you often hear him do. Meg absolutely whales on the drums too. This is definitely one of her finer moments as well.

The White Stripes is definitely a remarkable first effort by the band. It's by no means my favorite album of theirs, though. It took some time for it to really grow on me and for me to understand before it became one that stuck with me. It laid the foundation for what the band was about and has quite a few tunes that I'm sure you'll be fond of yourself. It's ranges from loud, hard, and fast, to more laid back, sedate, and emotion driven. I definitely recommend it.

The White Stripes, by The White Stripes receives 3 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Jimmy the Exploder
2. Stop Breaking Down
3. The Big Three Killed My Baby
4. Suzy Lee
5. Sugar Never Tasted So Good
6. Wasting My Time
7. Cannon
8. Astro
9. Broken Bricks
10. When I Hear My Name
11. Do
12. Screwdriver
13. One More Cup of Coffee
14. Little People
15. Slicker Drips
16. St. James Infirmary Blues
17. I Fought Piranhas

Buy the album on Amazon:

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Ozzy Osbourne Making Progress on New Album

Photo courtesy of The Sun

Ever since Black Sabbath came to an end once and for all with the finale of their The End tour in Birmingham, England front man Ozzy Osbourne has jumped right back into his solo career and kept himself rather busy. In fact, according to Osbourne he is already "about seven songs into the recording of the new album".

In a recent interview with Full Metal Jackie on KLOS-FM (via Blabbermouth) he goes into the names of a couple of the songs and the thoughts behind it all, saying:

"One's called Mr. Armageddon; one's called Crack Cocaine. I've got a bunch of songs written – but you don't sell records anymore. [It's] not cost effective to make a record. I haven't really thought about it, because I've been doing the Black Sabbath thing."

I'm glad Ozzy is doing a new album despite the fact that it is not a very cost effective venture. I know that he has been known for being the king of rock n' roll excess, but I can tell that at the end of the day he really is in it for the music. Under all that drugged up haze in his mind is someone who actually gives a crap about making good art. That said, I really hope that whatever he comes out with next is better than Scream.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Metallica Releases Unheard Demo of "Master of Puppets"

Metallica are gearing up for a big rerelease of their highly acclaimed 1986 release Master of Puppets. Many fans are pretty stoked for this and can't wait to hear what will be on it in addition to the original tracks. To give the fans a small taste of that, the band has just put out on YouTube a demo of their hallmark track Master of Puppets from late June of 1985 (which can be listened to above).

I definitely like this early version of the song. It has the guitar tone from Kill 'em All and the vocal style from Ride the Lightning. The vocal melody is definitely still developing and the guitars still sound a bit like they're still fine tuning things. It's definitely an interesting time capsule to say the least. Honestly, I like some parts of the demo better than the finished product. Listen for yourself and I'm sure you'll see what I mean.

The rerelease is due out November 10th on Metallica's self-run label Blackened Recordings. It will be a three disc set and will feature a remastered version of the finished album, rough mixes, previously unreleased demos, live tracks, and a 28 page booklet. There are also more expansive bundles up for pre-order in addition to the CD version for those who are big enough fans with enough extra cash to drop.

Monday, October 16, 2017

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #138

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. Mama Kin, by Buckcherry

While the Guns N' Roses cover is far more creative, driving, and original this cover by Buckcherry is pretty faithful to the original Aerosmith masterpiece. It's loud, bluesy, and fun. In all honesty, that's all it really needs to be considering this is bare bones, no frills attached rock n' roll. Buckcherry is perfect for covering Aerosmith and quite frankly I'm surprised I haven't heard them do it before they put out this EP/collection of singles.

2. Catcher in the Rye (Demo Version), by Guns N' Roses

Have you ever wondered what it would sound like if Guns N' Roses and Queen joined forces for a new song? Wonder no further! This demo of what would be a track from the Chinese Democracy album features guitar work from Queen guitarist Brian May, most notably on the solo. It's unfortunate that May's parts didn't make the final cut of the song because although I like Bumblefoot's playing, May's solo suited the song so much more.

3. Almost Easy, by Avenged Sevenfold

I'll admit that I'd forgotten completely about this song for a while, but when I rediscovered it, it pumped me up just as much as it had back in the day. If you're in serious need of some heavy metal that will get your blood pumping, your heart pounding, and your spirits raised then you have most certainly come to the right place on this one. They somehow manage to make this kind of metal fuse with piano flawlessly and it's perfect.

4. Live Wire, by Motley Crue

If you're looking for a more old school way to do the same thing that I mentioned in the song above, then this first single from Motley Crue's debut album ought to do the trick. It's got everything a good 80's hair metal tune needs: flash, balls, and some damn fine high ranged vocals. This song always brought me right back up whenever I needed to get lifted up as a teen/early tween. You can tell they were hungry and out to make a name for themselves with songs like this.

5. Open My Eyes (Acoustic), by Rival Sons

Rival Sons while promoting their album Great Western Valkyrie did an acoustic session at Juke Joint. They put a lot of their tunes, even some of the more loud thundering ones with serious balls to them into a stripped down state where they could shine in a different way. This version of this particular tune has just as much soul to it as the regular plugged in version that they had originally recorded for the album. It's its own thing though, which makes it even better.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Albums to Listen to in Autumn

Autumn is a pretty special time of the year. The leaves are changing colour and falling, the air is getting a little more crisp and cool, the smells of apple cider and pumpkin pie waft through the air, and that spooky celebration that is Halloween is not far away. That said, while there are tons of fun songs and albums to get you pumped during the summer there are plenty of great albums to match one of the most atmospheric seasons of them all. Today I'm going to list three of my personal favorites.

1. Black Sabbath, by Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath are arguably the kings of Halloween. Their first album Black Sabbath fills you with dark imagery of devils, wizards, forests, and more. It's the perfect thing to have playing when you're wandering through a forest in the late afternoon because it enhances the feeling and atmosphere of the experience so much. You really feel like you're walking through some of the stories being told in the songs. Plus, the later it gets the more spooky and haunting the album becomes during your walk.

2. Giant Robot, by Buckethead

Not everyone knows who this master of guitar is, but those that do know he is one of the most out there and macabre figure in all of rock and metal. His first American release Giant Robot is filled with all kinds of creepy and some times downright frightening songs that are perfect for Halloween time that will get you jolting in a matter of seconds. The album has this dark, yet intriguing presence to it that never fully leaves you even long after you've finished listening to it. Put it on and you'll see what I mean.

3. Killer, by Alice Cooper

Killer is another one of those albums that has this dark, foreboding presence to it. Even the more cheery and uptempo songs seem to have this ominous undertone to them that makes you wonder what is beneath the surface and about to scratch you. The album reaches its climax when the sounds of an angry mob take Alice to the stocks to have him executed for singing about a rather tender subject matter. When the funeral procession ends and you hear the blade drop and the loud flies buzzing about, you're left with a frightened feeling that will leave you in need of hugs and hot cocoa. Best listened to on a late fall evening by yourself.

What are some of your favorite albums to listen to in Autumn? Do you agree with my list? Are there any I missed? If so, leave them in the comments below!