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:

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Aerosmith Guitarist Joe Perry Announces New Solo Album

Photo courtesy of

It's been five years since Aerosmith put out any new music and about eight since lead guitarist Joe Perry did solo for a non-holiday release. Kind of a long time to wait for new music from any of the Bad Boys from Boston. However, that is about to change as Perry is about to put out a brand new solo album according to a report from Ultimate Classic Rock.

The album, titled Sweetzerland Manifesto has no release date yet, but it features a great deal of rock n' roll royalty on it such as David Johansen (singer for the New York Dolls), Zak Starkey (Ringo Starr's son) on drums, Johnny Depp, Perry's sons Tony and Roman, Robin Zander (singer for Cheap Trick), as well as Terry Reid.

In a recent statement regarding the album, Perry said:

"It's going to be interesting to see what songs people gravitate to because there's such a wide variety of tunes."

I'm intrigued by the fact that there are two instrumental tracks on the album (the full track listing is below). Then again, Perry is a guitar player and as a guitar player myself I know we kind of tend to like to have our moment in the sun that isn't just 16 bars 3/4 of the way through a song. I like a lot of the people he has playing on his record, so I'll definitely be looking forward to the album's release.

Joe Perry, 'Sweetzerland Manifesto' Track Listing:

Rumble in the Jungle (instrumental)
I'll Do Happiness (featuring Terry Reid)
Aye, Aye, Aye (featuring Robin Zander)
I Wanna Roll (featuring David Johansen)
Sick & Tired (featuring Reid)
Haberdasher Blues (featuring Johansen)
Spanish Sushi (instrumental)
Eve of Destruction (featuring Perry)
I'm Going Crazy (featuring Johansen)
Won't Let Me Go (featuring Terry Reid)

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

ELO Announce US Tour

Photo courtesy of efestivals.

Next year after 37 years since Electric Light Orchestra's last extensive tour across the Atlantic, Jeff Lynne is planning on bringing his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted band to the United States for a 10 date tour.

On the subject of the tour, the band released a statement saying:

“On the heels of a once-in-a-lifetime Wembley Stadium show and a European tour in 2017, Jeff Lynne’s ELO announces its first North American tour in 30 plus years produced by Live Nation.

Jeff Lynne’s last extensive US tour with ELO was in 1981. Known as one of the most iconic forces in music history, Jeff Lynne’s ELO has spent the last two years with a critically acclaimed and chart-topping album, a sold out run of UK and European shows, as well as an induction into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame.”

The tickets will go on sale at 10 AM local time on November 17th at Ticketmaster. Needless to say, I know I'm pretty stoked and am going to be trying to get hold of a ticket to what will probably be my one and only chance to see such an iconic and extraordinary band. It's not every day that ELO is right in your backyard performing (metaphorically speaking).

Jeff Lynne’s ELO 2018 North American Tour Dates:

Aug 02: Oakland Oracle Arena, CA
Aug 04: Los Angeles The Forum, CA
Aug 08: Denver Pepsi Center, CO
Aug 10: Houston Toyota Center, TX
Aug 13: Dallas American Airlines Center, TX
Aug 15: Rosemont Allstate Arena, IL
Aug 16: Detroit Little Caesars Arena, MI
Aug18: Toronto Air Canada Centre, ON
Aug 21: New York Madison Square Garden, NY
Aug 24: Philadelphia Wells Fargo Center, PA

Monday, November 13, 2017

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #142

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. Long Wavy Black Hair, by Led Zeppelin

In 1969 Led Zeppelin went on the radio to do a performance session at the BBC. Included in the set were a number of their own songs as well as renditions of classic blues tunes. This is one of the blues songs that is actually a blend primarily of a Sleepy John Estes tune by the name of The Girl I Love, She Got Long Curley Hair and a number of other blues songs. I'm not sure what you would call this, but it's still some fine, raw, rocking music from one of the best bands to ever exist early in their career.

2. Save Me, by Rival Sons

I've seen Rival Sons live four times and they have never once played this tune, which is sad because it is really driving and uptempo. It would REALLY get the crowd going. I'm surprised that it wasn't made a single from the album. It definitely has all of the elements a good rock single needs: crunchy guitars, a fast rhythm, a charismatic vocal melody, and memorable lyrics. Maybe it will be one of those songs that they retroactively promote at their shows some day?

3. Straight for the Heart, by Whitesnake

This is another one of those songs where I wonder why it has never gotten more attention. It has never been played live by the band, though singer and band leader David Coverdale regrets that. It's another driving and uptempo song in a fairly similar vein to a previous release of theirs, Guilty of Love. This song however has crunchier riffs and more flamboyant melodies. This could have easily been a high selling single in the charts back in 1987.

4. Blue Blood Blues, by The Dead Weather

This was the song that got me hooked on The Dead Weather right from the get-go. The way that opening riff just pounds through your speakers just shakes you in a way that not many songs can. It's powerful. It's deep. Then there is the dual vocals between Allison Mosshart and Jack White, which when harmonized sound like something out of the netherworld. It's dark. It's scary. It's oh so intriguing and tempting you to dive down the rabbit hole that is The Dead Weather.

5. Gold on the Ceiling, by The Black Keys

This is one of the first songs I ever remember hearing by The Black Keys a few years back. This is when the band had REALLY hit the big time with their 2012 release El Camino. The way it blends modern electric keyboard with soulful hard hitting 70's blues rock is impeccable. It's definitely a catchy song and rightfully earned its place among the top ranking songs in the rock and mainstream charts at the time.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Alice Cooper Gives Tribute to Former Drummer Whitey Glan

Photo Courtesy of Alice Cooper

Many artists who have reached the stratosphere in terms of career would never have been able to do so without the right help, especially in music. Alice Cooper is certainly no exception to this, but he acknowledged it recently when making a statement paying tribute to his former drummer Whitey Glan who just passed away.

Glan was Cooper's drummer for Welcome to My Nightmare back in 1975 and would stay in his live band throughout the rest of the 70's. He recently passed away of lung cancer. Cooper made a statement on his Facebook page paying tribute to his fallen comrade, saying:

"Rest in Peace, Whitey! I picked Whitey Glan as the drummer for my Welcome to My Nightmare Tour because he was simply the best drummer around, not knowing he could drink me under a table. He was just a great guy, everybody who’s worked with him considered him one of their best friends. He was one of rock's premier drummers, but in my opinion he was very under rated and under publicized -- he was certainly a drummer's drummer! Canada is less one world class musician."

Sadly I myself was unaware of Glan, but from what I've heard of his work with Alice Cooper he was nothing to scoff at. It's a shame when such talented musicians go unknown and under appreciated. Often times they are more talented than the people they are supporting. Hopefully people in light of this will look back through Glan's catalog and learn to recognize and appreciate him more.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Throwback Thursday: "Lightning to the Nations", by Diamond Head

In 1980 there was a huge renaissance happening in the world of heavy metal. With the rising of the punk movement in the mid-late 70's metal had taken a massive downturn. However, it wasn't long before heavy metal struck back in an energetic, dark, and powerful way in the form of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (or NWOBHM for short). Many great new bands came out of this movement, including one that has heavily influenced a great many famous bands by the name of Diamond Head. In 1980 they independently recorded and released their debut album Lightning to the Nations in order to keep up with other bands from the movement that were already making it big. The album blasted them into the stratosphere.

Like many NWOBHM albums of the time period, Lightning to the Nations is balls to the wall heavy metal. It has everything you want: crunchy riffs, lightning quick guitar solos, wailing vocals, and a rhythm section that will blow the siding off your house. Metal heads will more than likely recognize tunes like Am I Evil?, It's Electric, The Prince, and more due to them having been covered by Metallica at different points in time. Without Diamond Head, bands like Metallica and Megadeth wouldn't exist.

It's Electric is one of the most fun tracks on the record. It's got an uptempo feel and gives you that pedal to the metal feeling. It is definitely a great track to represent what Diamond Head is about, although admittedly it does have the most generic lyrics of all the songs on the album even for the time. It doesn't really matter though considering Brian Tatler's guitar work, the sound of Sean Harris's singing, and the pounding rhythms are more than enough to distract you. It's not meant to be taken too seriously and if you keep that in mind, you'll enjoy it.

Am I Evil? in my opinion is the crown jewel of Lightning to the Nations. It features so many change-ups in rhythm, tempo, melody, etc. It also has the absolute best guitar work on the album. That solo at the beginning will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and you'll shiver in pure delight. The bulk of the song is pretty balls to the wall. The riffs feel like they will demolish your house and the lyrics are just splendidly dark. They too sound a bit generic, but considering the time at which this was written and the legacy they left behind I excuse it.

I don't know if I would consider Lightning  to the Nations an album that would appeal to the mainstream, but if one is looking to delve deeper into the world of heavy metal after having only heard a few of the iconic bands on the radio then this isn't too bad of a place to start. It takes what rock and metal did in the early 70's and speeds it up, makes it darker, and gives it a fresh coat of paint. Listen to Kill 'em All, by Metallica after listening to this. You'll see exactly where their early influence came from.

Lightning to the Nations, by Diamond Head receives 3.2 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Lightning to the Nations
2. The Prince
3. Sucking My Love
4. Am I Evil?
5. Sweet and Innocent
6. It's Electric
7. Helpless

Buy the album on Amazon:

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Op-Ed Piece: Phones at Concerts

I saw an article today while perusing social media about how A Perfect Circle had ejected 60 people from a concert because they got caught using their phones after a "no phones allowed" rule had already been widely and publicly announced at the venue. Apparently this sent many people online into a rage. Personally, I think the band was right to do what they did.

Aside from the fact that there needing to be consequences when you break the rules, I agree with the rule to begin with. Phones have been ruining concert going experiences for a long time now for a multitude of reasons.

Reason 1:

How completely stupid and lame is it to just stand there the entire time just watching the show through a phone/camera screen? I mean, you paid a lot of money for your ticket to see a band live in person with your own eyes and ears. If you want to watch a video of the band performing, just look it up on YouTube or get the tour DVD. You're literally depriving yourself of what you shelled out an obscene amount of money to go see.

Reason 2:

Your pictures and videos are going to be absolute crap. I understand you want to remember that night for years to come, but maybe there are better ways to do that than just standing there with your phone the whole time? If you really want to watch the show again on your own time why not just wait for the tour DVD to come out? It will look and sound a LOT better than anything you will record.

Reason 3:

Performers feed off of audience energy. There is a special connection that forms between musicians and audience. The excitement of the crowd gets the band going, which in turn gives the audience an even better experience, which then further feeds the band. The cycle keeps going on and on and upping the intensity until the concert finale. When the audience is just standing there dead to the world just pointing a phone camera at the performers and not showing any excitement at all it absolutely kills things for the band. When the band gets no energy from the crowd, they can't give much if anything back. They can put on the best show they can anyway, but it won't be anywhere near as good as it could have been had you put your phone away and just enjoyed the show.

Reason 4:

By having your phone out and up in the air you are ruining the experience for other concert goers who are actually trying to enjoy themselves and get what they paid for. They will have a hard time seeing over or around you. You just standing there like a statue makes it even more difficult because then they can't get around you and the other zombie idiots doing the same thing.

I've heard of other performers banning phones at concerts too. Jack White has been doing this at his shows for some time now. Over time though I hope it becomes more and more of a common thing at concerts because we need to be less glued to our technology and more present in the moment. Not everything needs to be on the internet or on our phones. We need to enjoy life and the good things it has to offer, like concerts. Concerts should become the spiritual experiences containing energy with unstoppable momentum. The more performers keep putting into place rules like this, the more there is a fighting chance of this happening.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Ozzy Osbourne Announces Final Tour

Photo courtesy of Time Magazine

With Black Sabbath's final tour having ended back in February, less than a year later front man Ozzy Osbourne has already announced that he is planning to make his next solo tour (dates can be viewed below) his last one as well; meaning he will be retiring from the road altogether.

In a recent statement Osbourne made this past Saturday after his Ozzfest performance he issued, he addresses the subject, saying:

"People keep asking me when I’m retiring. This will be my final world tour, but I can’t say I won’t do some shows here and there."

The band for this tour will be comprised of long time guitarist Zakk WyldeRob "Blasko" Nicholson on the bass, Tommy Clufetos on the skins, and Adam Wakeman at the keys. This will definitely be a solid line-up for Osbourne to go out on a high note with.

I am honestly not surprised that Osbourne wants to retire from the road. The man is close to 70 now and that kind of life is hell even for a man 1/3 his age. I don't blame him in the slightest. I'm glad he will still be doing shows here and there if he feels like, though. The fact that he is working on new studio material is exciting as well. He doesn't know if he'll release it as an album or as singles from the sessions, but I personally think it will be an album. Osbourne is old school and albums are typically the way the older guys (and myself) do it.

Ozzy Osbourne Final Tour Dates:

5/5, Mexico — TBA
5/8, Santiago, Chile —TBA
5/11, Buenos Aires, Argentina — TBA
5/13, São Paulo, Brazil— TBA
5/16, Curitiba, Brazil — TBA
5/18, Belo Horizonte, Brazil — TBA
5/20, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil — TBA
6/1, Moscow, Russia — Olympiisky
6/3, St. Petersburg, Russia — Ice Palace (Ledovi Dvorets)
6/6, Finland — TBA
6/8, Solvesborg, Sweden — Sweden Rock Festival
6/10, Donington, UK — Download Festival
6/13, Prague, Czech Republic — Airport Letnany
6/15, Paris, France — Download Festival
6/17, Italy — TBA
6/20, Halden, Norway — Tons of Rock Festival
6/22, Copenhagen, Denmark — Copenhell Festival
6/24, Dessel, Belgium —Graspop Metal Meeting
6/26, Krakow, Poland — Impact Festival
6/28, Oberhausen, Germany — König-Pilsnet Arena
6/30, Madrid, Spain — Download Festival

7/2, Lisbon, Portugal — Meo Arena

Sunday, November 5, 2017

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #141

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. Happy Ever After (Zero Hour), by The Foo Fighters

This has to be one of my absolute favorite tracks from the new Foo Fighters record. You can tell Dave Grohl was vibing some Blackbird pretty hard when he wrote this, but at the same time it still manages to be its own thing. It's kind of a nice contrast to the rest of the record which is mostly plugged in loud balls to the wall rock n' roll. It brings balance to the album in a way that doesn't make it sound really wussy and weak.

2. Black Dog, by Led Zeppelin

When people hear the name Led Zeppelin, this is one of the first tunes that comes into their heads. Everything about it represents what the band was about. The way it begins with that iconic sung intro to the way the signature riff beats your balls against the wall while the wild thundering rhythm section splits your skull open lets you know that this is a group of real musicians making real music; the best music. You don't hear a whole lot of raw rock n' roll ruckus like this any more.

3. Your Touch, by The Black Keys

This is one of the few old school Black Keys tunes that the band will still pull out live every once in a while whenever they feel like actually acknowledging stuff they made before Brothers. It's definitely a good one. It's a nice balance of their raw, straight-up DIY basement blues rock style with the more compact and crisp modern rock they would become known for a few years later. I've even included it on a YouTube mixtape that I've made for my girlfriend, so that should tell you how good it is.

4. Thunder High on the Mountain, by Joe Satriani

The stuff I've heard from Satch's upcoming record so far definitely has me excited and this second single from it is no exception. In this song Joe manages to do all of his wild technical stuff while still somehow fitting within the groove that Glenn Hughes (bassist/vocalist for Deep Purple) and Chad Smith (drummer for Red Hot Chili Peppers and Chickenfoot) are laying down. Then again, Joe Satriani has been the master of the impossible when it comes to music since the mid-80's so I really shouldn't be surprised.

5. Accidents Can Happen (Heroin Diaries 10th Anniversary Version), by Sixx: AM

Wow. It's hard to believe that this year The Heroin Diaries turns 10 years old. I remember when the book and its soundtrack first came out in 2007. It was all the rage with my fellow rock n' rollers and myself. The band is now putting out a 10th anniversary edition of the book and album with new versions of the songs that are rather cool reinterpretations. This definitely has a different vibe than the original, but the message still remains the same.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Robert Plant Feels Early Led Zeppelin Vocals Were 'Horrific'

Photo courtesy of Ticket Crusader

Some times when a musician or artist of any kind has a rather extensive career spanning multiple decades they can often notice the rather drastic evolution of their work. Such is the case for Led Zeppelin vocalist Robert Plant who has recently voiced that he feels his early Led Zeppelin vocals were "horrific".

Plant made this self-criticism known during a recent interview with The Guardian. He felt that he was trying to be too manly in his vocal style and it affected his performances in a negative way. Plant says:

"[I] realized that tough, manly approach to singing I’d begun on [the 1966 track with the band Listen] 'You Better Run' wasn’t really what it was all about at all. Songs like [Zeppelin's] 'Babe I’m Going to Leave You' ... I find my vocals on there horrific now. I really should have shut the f--- up!”

I like many other of Plant's fans think he is absolutely insane on this subject. Those first Led Zeppelin albums were their best in part because of Plant's manly rafter shaking vocal style. Without it they wouldn't have taken off and become rock n' roll icons that they have. I guess I can understand that since Plant has aged and evolved his style over the years that it's only natural that he feels what he did at the start is awful. I know I cringe whenever I listen to my earliest recordings. Regardless, Plant is still way off base.

Throwback Thursday: "Ride the Lightning", by Metallica

By 1984 thrash metal band Metallica had burst onto the bigger scene with their now classic debut album Kill 'em All. However, they were not cemented as the Big 4 royalty that they are now. What helped further them toward that though was their sophomore effort Ride the Lightning, which many consider to be a far superior album to its predecessor, though to be fair that is a very subjective thing to say. Regardless of opinion though, it got Metallica a lot further along in their journey.

Ride the Lightning has a lot better studio production to it than Kill 'em All did. Where the first album sounded raw, unpolished, and a lot like the NWOBHM bands that they were heavily influenced by at the time, this one made them sound a lot beefier, a lot more crisp, and overall much darker. Everything was more defined, but not in a way that made it sound like overproduced commercial garbage. It definitely helped because many of the songs on it are considered to be classics.

Fade to Black is one of the few early Metallica songs that features acoustic guitar, played by rhythm guitarist and singer James Hetfield with some brilliant melodic soloing from Kirk Hammett. It is the closest thing to a ballad you will ever hear out of Metallica from the era where they were actually a reputable band. It's a pretty depressing song, but it's about how the band once had all of their gear stolen. As a musician I can sympathize because if I had all of my gear stolen I would be pretty depressed too.

For Whom the Bell Tolls is one of the best things Metallica ever wrote, in my opinion. The church bell at the beginning gives off an eerie, unnerving vibe. When the guitar riffs come crashing in it feels like your balls are being blown off. You feel like you're right in the middle of the war zone described in the lyrics. Musically I love the way the song is constructed and executed. It has a cohesive structure, but they don't make it overly repetitive. My personal favorite part of the song is that crawling riff a little after the beginning where both guitars are layered upon one another to create a thicker, crunchier sound.

Ride the Lightning is without a doubt some of Metallica's best work. If I were to introduce someone to Metallica, this is the album I would start with because it is the perfect balance of condensed traditional song structures and lengths and the more exploratory progressive stuff they have done. It also has the best overall sound of all of their albums. This is a must have album for Metallica fans and metalheads alike. It's a classic in every sense of the word and not a single bad word can possibly be said about it.

Ride the Lightning, by Metallica receives 5 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Fight Fire With Fire
2. Ride the Lightning
3. For Whom the Bell Tolls
4. Fade to Black
5. Trapped Under Ice
6. Escape
7. Creeping Death
8. The Call of Ktulu

Buy the album on Amazon:

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Joe Satriani Premieres Another New song: "Thunder High on the Mountain"

The god emperor of the electric guitar, Joe Satriani has just bestowed the fabulous gift of another single from his up and coming album What Comes Next (which is set to come out January 12th of next year) upon us, titled Thunder High on the Mountain (which can be listened to in the video above).

Thunder High on the Mountain is definitely a solid track. What amazes me about it is that Satch manages to pull of his wicked lightning quick licks while the rhythm section consisting of Deep Purple bassist Glenn Hughes and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith manages to hold everything down in a steady groove.

Thunder High on the Mountain comes second to the track Energy in the chronology of singles that have so far been released from What Comes Next. So far Satch definitely has my attention with this album. From what we have heard it sounds like a blend of his classic trademark progressive solo style mixed in with some of the kind of straightforward rock he did in Chickenfoot. It's a cool fusion and I can't wait to hear where it goes.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Album Review: "Concrete and Gold", by The Foo Fighters

If there is one thing The Foo Fighters have been known for over the past couple of decades, it's being rather consistent in their timely release of quality material. This go round with their latest release Concrete and Gold is no exception. In fact, I would even venture to say that it is a bit above and beyond some of what they have put out recently.

Released September 15th on RCA Records, Concrete and Gold was recorded from December of last year till earlier this year in May over at EastWest Studios in Hollywood, CA. It was produced by Greg Kurstin, who has worked with the likes of Adele, Beck, The Bird and the Bee, Dido, Kelly Clarkson, Pink, Sia, as well as Tegan and Sara. Normally I wouldn't trust someone who produces primarily pop artists to do a hard rock album, but I was pleasantly surprised with his work here.

Concrete and Gold is as described by the band to be "where hard rock extremes meet pop sensibilities". To give a more clear picture to those who have not yet listened, band front man Dave Grohl described the album being "Sergent Pepper if made by Motorhead". I can definitely hear the Beatles influence right from the get-go, but it also doesn't take long for the heavier punk and metal side of the band to take over. It's a fascinating interplay of styles that weaves the songs together in such an intriguing way. At one moment you have sweet, melodic pop sounds flowing through your speakers comforting you, but then at a snap you're being thrashed around by harsh vocals backed by instrumentation with a serious punch to it.

The lyrics all have one unifying motif that binds the entire album together, which is concern for the future of the United States given the current political climate. Grohl says that when it all ties together the main theme is "hope and desperation". Everything takes place from his point of view of Grohl "politically, personally, as a father, an American, and a musician". That said, though there are some serious political tones to the songs, the lyrics themselves are not overly political. It's more like they allude to what's going on without actually saying it. Grohl definitely knew when to strike with a hot iron and when to pull back.

One of the things that makes Concrete and Gold so special is that there were a number of famous guest performers lending their talents, including: Sir Paul McCartney, Justin Timberlake, Shawn Stockman, Inara George, Allison Mosshart, Dave Koz, Taylor Greenwood, Greg Sierpowski, Kinga Bacik, Thomas Lea, Ginny Luke, Jessy Greene, and Greg Kurstin. Quite a mouthful, huh? Grohl definitely has no shortage of friends in high places. Personally I'm surprised he didn't get John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page, or Brian May in on it considering the long list he had already.

Honestly, I don't have much in the way of any gripes with Concrete and Gold. Those who don't like music with any political themes or are fans of our country's all wise and knowing God Emperor will probably not care for it, but most anyone else will find something on the album they like. The only minor nitpicks I might personally make are the heavier parts of the album do sound a bit derivative of what The Foo Fighters have done before and some parts are just a bit too overproduced. That said, those are still minor nitpicks. The album is still REALLY good.

What I enjoy about Concrete and Gold is that you can tell the band really wanted to do something different. Every song is different from the last and it keeps you on your toes. It's exciting. You never know what is going to happen next. Personally those kinds of albums are the ones I like best. I like being thrilled and left anticipating from track to track. I also like that not every song sounds like generic radio friendly rock. I guess what I'm trying to say is Concrete and Gold will most certainly take you on an adventure. It's worth your time and money.

Concrete and Gold, by The Foo Fighters receives 3.8 stars.

Track List:

1. T-Shirt
2. Run
3. Make It Right
4. The Sky is a Neighborhood
5. La Dee Da
6. Dirty Water
7. Arrows
8. Happy Ever After (Zero Hour)
9. Sunday Rain
10. The Line
11. Concrete and Gold

Buy the album on Amazon:

Sunday, October 29, 2017

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #140

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. The Prince, by Diamond Head

If you want to know where bands like Metallica and Megadeth got their early inspiration from, look no further than Diamond Head. A lot of techniques, riff and solo styles, lyrical themes, etc. are lifted pretty much almost entirely from this band. They were part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (or NWOBHM) movement that spanned the late 70's into the early 80's. Without them, we wouldn't have TONS of the metal bands we know and love today.

2. Saurusarmeija, by Hevisaurus

Finland has a heavy metal band for kids. They dress up in dinosaur costumes when they perform too. Ridiculous? Yes. Awesome, though? You bet your sweet ass. Even though the lyrics are all in Finnish and made for kids these tunes are still just as heavy, rocking, and awesome as anything made for adults. It's too silly, radical, and out there for it to not be. Quite frankly I wish we had something like that here in the States.

3. The Last Song of My Resting Place, by Black Country Communion

Super group Black Country Communion recently put out their first album in five years after a temporary split up. They're back with a vengeance with all of the strong heavy rock song writing you would expect from the combined forces of Glenn Hughes, Joe Bonamassa, Jason Bonham, and Derek Sherinian. This particular song has Joe on lead vocals. It's an emotional fictitious retelling of the story of the violinist on the Titanic who kept playing in order to keep everyone calm while the ship was going down, sacrificing his own life to do so.

4. In My Darkest Hour, by Megadeth

This tune is the gem of Megadeth's third album So Far, So Good... So What!. The lyrics and music were inspired by two separate things. The music was inspired by the death of front man Dave Mustaine's ex Metallica band mate bassist Cliff Burton. The lyrics are more about loneliness and isolation. It's been played at every Megadeth show for nearly 30 years now and Mustaine always dedicates it to the memory of Burton.

5. Disturbing the Priest, by Black Sabbath

This in my opinion is Black Sabbath's most under rated album of all time. Deep Purple vocalist Ian Gillan did a phenomenal job as front man for this record and this song in particular is where he shines the brightest. This has the darkest tone of any Black Sabbath song out there. Gillan goes from hauntingly soft to frighteningly high and loud, giving off some of the most terrifying screams. What makes this song even more amazing to me is the parts where screams actually harmonize. It hits me just the right way.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Motley Crue Bassist Nikki Sixx on Drugs and Creativity

Photo courtesy of Blabbermouth

It is a common notion in the world of music (primarily rock and metal) that drugs make you more creative. Artists like The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix definitely helped cement that in the minds of the common folk. Former Motley Crue bassist and primary song writer Nikki Sixx has recently opened up and shared his thoughts on the subject.

Sixx is of course notorious for having been a heavy drug addict during Motley Crue's 80's heyday. The name Motley Crue was pretty much synonymous with sex, drugs, and rock n' roll and nobody partied harder than they did. This of course affected their work and also caused Sixx to overdose twice and die briefly the second time.

Years later Sixx would recount that time of his life with is book The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rockstar (which is now celebrating its 10th anniversary). In a recent interview with MSNBC Sixx goes into his feelings on the drug epidemic in America, but more interestingly his feelings on how drugs affect creativity, saying:

“I was thinking about 1987 and how I was barely able to get an album done and a tour. And, actually, the tour was canceled, the last part of the tour. And in 2017, I'm able to do a radio show, write books, do photography, be a better husband, a father, and be part of these conversations that are happening. So I really think that sobriety gives you more energy and more creativity.”

Sixx is sadly one of the few lucky ones who was able to get away from such a lifestyle and live many more happy and healthy years. I wholeheartedly agree with his statement on creativity. It just takes away your energy and your focus. All you become focused on is getting your next fix just to be ok. Even if you're just doing something like pot it still takes away from your creativity because what comes from you isn't really you. It's just whatever your drug addled brain made you spew out at that moment. I personally have come up with all of my best material when I'm not under the influence of any mind altering substances (that weren't prescribed to me and taken at the instructed dosage). If you're really a creative person, you can do it without any substances.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Throwback Thursday: "So Far, So Good... So What!", by Megadeth

By 1988 American thrash metal band Megadeth had been working their way up through the underground scene with their first couple of albums. The arrival of their third release So Far, So Good... So What!would usher in multiple changes that included: the arrival (and firing of after the tour) of guitarist Jeff Young and drummer Chuck Behler, more mainstream attention (despite no commercial radio airplay), and more technical song writing.

So Far, So Good... So What! primarily features faster more technical songs with themes that range from nuclear holocaust to censorship to loneliness and beyond. Like much of Megadeth's pre-existing material at the time the album is fast, heavy, aggressive, and is definitely a no holds barred presentation of rhythm guitarist/vocalist Dave Mustaine's true feelings on things. It features the band's concert staple and dedication to the memory of Mustaine's former Metallica band mate bassist Cliff Burton titled In My Darkest Hour.

Anarchy in the UK is quite obviously a Sex Pistols cover, but is played a lot faster and a great deal more aggressively. Mustaine originally wanted to put Problems on as the Sex Pistols cover, but the label made him use Anarchy in the UK instead because it was a more widely known song. That said, Mustaine gives it his all and has every bit as much attitude, anger with the establishment, and sincerity in his performance as Johnny Rotten did in the original. Incidentally, the second guitar solo in this cover is played by Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones who manages to keep up with the band quite well.

In My Darkest Hour is one of Megadeth's most emotionally powerful songs. The lyrics are about isolation and loneliness, but Mustaine himself has stated multiple times over the years that when he wrote the musical parts he was thinking about Cliff Burton, who had died in a freak bus accident not long before the recording of the record. It's a mid-tempo song, but it is every bit as heavy and poignant as any of the more balls to the wall material. It's incredibly rhythmic and in some ways primal, which definitely speaks to the raw emotional end of the song that much more.

So Far, So Good... So What! is a mixed bag because it does contain some of Megadeth's stronger material, but most of the album is rather forgettable. In a way I'm glad that the next album Rust in Peace ushered in the iconic line-up of Megadeth that would last into the early 2000's. That said, it's still a good album and is worth multiple listens. It has its shining moments and those moments make it worth the money spent to get it.

So Far, So Good... So What!, by Megadeth receives 2.5 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Into the Lungs of Hell
2. Set the World Afire
3. Anarchy in the UK
4. Mary Jane
5. 502
6. In My Darkest Hour
7. Liar
8. Hook in Mouth

Buy the album on Amazon:

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Black Country Communion Premiere New Video for "The Last Song of My Resting Place"

Black Country Communion put out their first album in five years this past September, titled BCCIV. With the band's strong comeback after their break-up naturally they are going to want to lure fans and potential fans alike in with some of the album's strongest material. Recently they have done so by premiering a new video for the song The Last Song of My Resting Place (which can be viewed above).

The song features guitarist Joe Bonamassa on lead vocals, which doesn't happen too often considering usually it's bassist Glenn Hughes taking the mic. That said, his voice suits the song perfectly as it is a blend of hard rock and folk. It is an emotionally intense song for sure, and it only builds the 8 minutes it goes on for.

The video alters between studio footage of the band performing the song and fictitious footage of the RMS Titanic and its band leader and violinist Wallace Hartley who kept playing everyone off the ship, even at the cost of his own life by going down with the ship into the black, icy cold Atlantic ocean that fateful night in 1912. It's a song that celebrates the bravery he showed and how such selfless heroism isn't seen all that much any more.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Judas Priest's New Album Name and Tour Dates Revealed

Photo courtesy of Discogs

Leather clad British heavy metal legends Judas Priest have some quite a bit in the pipe ready for us soon. They are going to be following up their big 2014 album Redeemer of Souls with a brand new album which has just been given a name. In addition to that, they have also let loose their upcoming tour dates for next year.

According to Ultimate Classic Rock the new album (which will be their 18th studio release) will be titled Firepower and it will be released some time early next year (2018). It was co-produced by Tom Allom, who not only engineered Black Sabbath's first three albums but has a long history with Judas Priest as well that spans way back to the 70's including albums such as Screaming for Vengeance, Defenders of Faith, and British Steel. Allom's most recent effort with the band was a live concert recording from 2009 titled A Touch of Evil.

The title of the album sounds VERY classic Judas Priest. I could easily see it on the shelf with the other albums from their heyday with a title like that. However, you can't judge a book by its cover. Whether or not Firepower actually stands tall with the rest of the band's catalog remains to be heard, as we do not have even the first single from it yet. Personally I'd love to hear something that has a real classic late 70's Judas Priest vibe, but maybe with a bit more modern production. However, I also would hate for it to sound like they're trying to replicate what they've done in the past, like what Sabbath did on 13. I guess it's a fine line to tread, but I'm sure whatever they put out will be great.

Judas Priest Firepower 2018 Tour Dates

3/13 - Wilkes Barre, PA, Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza
3/15 - Youngstown, OH, Covelli Centre
3/17 - Uniondale, NY, Nassau Coliseum
3/18 - Washington, DC, The Anthem
3/20 - Newark, NJ, Prudential Center
3/22 - Uncasville, CT, Mohegan Sun Arena
3/25 - Ottawa, ON, The Arena at TD Place
3/27 - London, ON, Budweiser Gardens
3/28 - Oshawa, ON, Tribute Communities Centre
3/30 - Orillia, ON, Casino Rama
3/31 - Detroit, MI, Detroit Masonic Temple
4/3 - Milwaukee, WI, Riverside Theater
4/5 - Green Bay, WI, Resch Center
4/8 - Bloomington, IL, Grossinger Motors Arena
4/10 - Casper, WY, Casper Events Center
4/11 - Loveland, CO, Budweiser Events Center
4/15 - Kent, WA, ShoWare Center
4/17 - Portland, OR, Veterans Memorial Coliseum
4/19 - San Francisco, CA, The Warfield
4/22 - Los Angeles, CA, Microsoft Theater
4/24 - Phoenix, AZ, Comerica Theatre
4/26 - Tulsa, OK, BOK Center
4/28 - Dallas, TX, The Bomb Factory
4/29 - Sugarland, TX, Smart Financial Centre
5/1 - San Antonio, TX, Freeman Coliseum

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!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Throwback Thursday: "Taken By Force", by The Scorpions

In 1979 German metal band The Scorpions ended quite the era with one final non-pop/glam metal album, titled Taken By Force. Throughout the 70's The Scorpions had put out a whole slew of great heavy metal albums that sadly no one but hard core fans seem to know about these days. Before they put out their big 80's radio hits, they were even more of a musical force to be reckoned with. Incidentally, this was also their final album with guitar god Uli Jon Roth as the lead axe man so that probably explains a lot of the subsequent change in sound.

Taken By Force is a blend of straight up heavy metal, ballads, and oddly enough funk. The latter bit of course is thanks to Roth's playing style. Somehow though he managed to make funky Hendrix-like playing sound perfectly metal. Some of the best tracks on this album are ones where Roth's funk style of playing takes the foreground. You can still hear some of the kinds of styles that the band would expand upon and become famous for later on, but it's still done in such a way where it isn't overly commercial and glossy.

Steamrock Fever is one hell of a way to open an album. It sounds a lot like their 80's stuff in some ways, but it's just so loud, pounding, and fun. Honestly I don't know why this song isn't more famous. It's got a jackhammer keeping rhythm in addition to drums and has a big, thundering, melodic chorus to boot. Sadly there is no guitar solo, but you'll be having so much fun singing along to the song that you won't even notice.

The Sails of Charon in my opinion is the absolute best thing The Scorpions ever did, hands down. Nothing else comes remotely close. It starts off with Roth absolutely tearing it the eff up with some melodic, gypsy-like shredding and leads into a the first verse which whisks you away on a mystical adventure. My jaw dropped the first time I ever heard this song. There is definitely a reason that Uli Jon Roth is regarded as one of the greatest guitar players in the world even today.

Taken By Force is definitely the definition of a hidden gem. If you're a fan of The Scorpions or heavy metal in general then you owe it to yourself to go and find this album in whatever format suits you. It is entertaining and thrilling from start to finish. I guarantee there will be at least a few tracks on there that you keep in your rotation. I'm sure you'll agree with me that it's a criminally under rated album and that there are multiple tunes on it that deserve a lot more radio air play than they are getting these days.

Taken By Force, by The Scorpions receives 3.8 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Steamrock Fever
2. We'll Burn the Sky
3. I've Got to Be Free
4. The Riot of Your Time
5. The Sails of Charon
6. Your Light
7. He's a Woman - She's a Man
8. Born to Touch Your Feelings

Buy the album on Amazon: