Friday, June 30, 2017

Throwback Thursday: Get Born, by Jet

In 2003 rock music was barely hanging on by a thread in the mainstream. You had bands like The White Stripes, The Black Keys, and maybe a couple of others but that was it. Enter Jet, a straight up no frills attached hard rocking garage rock band from Melbourne, Australia. When they hit the mainstream rock scene with their debut album Get Born, they shot straight up the charts with multiple hit singles and made it cool to rock again.

Get Born sounds like a raucous blend of everything we have all loved over the years about bands like AC/DC, Iggy and the Stooges, The Rolling Stones, Oasis, etc. It has that 60's garage rock vibe blended with the heavy punch of 70's hard rock and the driving raw nature of punk. Some of their best known songs came from this album, such as: Are You Gonna Be My Girl, Roll Over DJ, Cold Hard Bitch, etc. Needless to say, this album cemented Jet as a household name in the world of rock n' roll from that point forward.

Cold Hard Bitch is one of my all time favorite rock n' roll tunes. To me it kind of embodies what rock n' roll is all about in terms of its gritty in the gutter lifestyle vibe that is somehow pleasing to the ear. That driving chorus gets me singing along and punching into the air every time. Hell, I even have it as my ringtone for my exes. It's got some great crunchy riffs with only enough polish to make it sound good through a speaker. The rest is just loud, ear thrashing, fun loving rock n' roll.

I guess I can't review this particular album without mentioning Are You Gonna Be My Girl. This is the album's main single and what got the band noticed and so huge to begin with. It's been played and overplayed so many times over the years, but for good reason. The way it just builds up with one instrument after another and breaks into a rock n' roll dance party is something you don't hear a lot of any more. From there on out it just pushes the pedal to the metal and makes you want to just shout "F*** YEAH!" the whole time. It's a definite classic.

Get Born is a MUST have for rock n' rollers of any age, whether you're an older folk looking to have some faith in a newer generation of musicians or a kid looking for some great musical inspiration to help shape your tastes. It's got something for everybody who has ever been in love with the kind of raw, honest, down to the bone rock n' roll that doesn't get all high produced and pretentious. I can't recommend it enough.

Get Born, By Jet receives 4 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Last Chance
2. Are You Gonna Be My Girl
3. Rollover DJ
4. Look What You've Done
5. Get What You Need
6. Move On
7. Radio Song
8. Get Me Outta Here
9. Cold Hard Bitch
10. Come Around Again
11. Take It or Leave It
12. Lazy Gun
13. Timothy

Buy the album on Amazon:

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Gene Simmons Collabs With Ace Frehley on Frehley's Newest Album

Over the past couple of years or so former Kiss lead guitarist Ace Frehley has been getting back in touch with his former band mates. Not necessarily to get back in the band, but to at least smooth things over. Recently this has culminated in Frehley getting Kiss bassist and vocalist Gene Simmons to collaborate with him on a couple of new songs for his upcoming album.

In a recent interview with 92 KQRS Simmons spilled the beans on the collaboration between the two old friends, saying:

“Literally two days ago I was with Ace. He asked me to write for his next solo record. So I went over to his place, way out in the desert some place, and we wrote two things.”

This will be Frehley's first release of new original material since 2014's Space Invader. This is also the second collaboration Frehley has done with former band mates as last year for his covers album Origins Vol. 1 he worked with Kiss rhythm guitarist and vocalist Paul Stanley on a cover of Free's Fire and Water.

Personally I'm glad that Frehley is on good enough terms with his old band mates to at least be friends and occasionally work together again, even if it isn't under the Kiss banner. Maybe it's better that way. They still get to be friends and work together but they don't have to deal with the drama of being in a full time multi-million dollar band. Plus, Frehley's stuff sounds a lot more like Kiss than Kiss's last album did anyway.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Unreleased David Bowie and Queen Collaborations May See Light of Day

In 1981 one of the single greatest collaborations between musicians to ever come into existence occurred: Queen and David Bowie's Under Pressure. To this day it is still considered a classic and sends chills up the spines of countless listeners. However, it has recently come to light that this was not the only song that they wrote during this time and said material may now see the light of day.

In a recent interview with Mojo, May discusses the sessions and how they didn't stop with the one song, saying:

“It wasn’t easy. He described us (Queen) as all precocious boys and could be forceful. Those are the things that happen in a studio, that’s when the sparks fly and that’s why it turned out so great. “[They locked horns] in subtle ways, like who would arrive last at the studio. So it was sort of wonderful and terrible. But in my mind, I remember the wonderful now, more than the terrible. Not all of what we did in those sessions has ever come to light, so there’s a thought … ”

I for one would be absolutely ecstatic to hear more of the collaboration between Bowie and Queen. I can only imagine how passionate and creative such music must be if it's even a fraction as good as Under Pressure. What I'm wondering however is why they didn't put it all out or why they haven't done so yet considering how many times they have rereleased the entire catalog and released greatest hits album after greatest hits album. Regardless, they will definitely get my money if they put those songs out.

Monday, June 26, 2017

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #123

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. It's a Man's World, by Rival Sons

Rival Sons absolutely kill it with their version of the James Brown classic. They definitely put some more rock n' roll balls into it. If anything, I think I actually prefer this version even though I'm quite the fan of Brown. It feels like it has a lot more passion and soul in it. You can feel the angst just dripping from Jay Buchanan's vocals and the absolute power of the whole rest of the band. It takes the song and blasts it into outer space.

2. Rock the Nation, by Montrose

This tune sadly doesn't get played much if at all, which in my opinion is a shame. It's not the crowning achievement of Montrose's debut album, but despite that it is a pretty solid rock n' roller and will get you amped up for sure. You can hear just how great Ronnie Montrose's guitar work really was when he was still with us. Sammy Hagar also gives it that much more of a shine. Can't really go wrong there, can you?

3. Hypnotize, by The White Stripes

This song is the definition of hidden gem. It's only a minute and a half long, but you'll want to rock out the entire time it's going. It is pure punk rock from start to finish. It's loud, fast, and thundering. It's like even though this was around the time the band was getting big and more diverse and creative in their sound, they still didn't forget their roots as musicians. You won't hear this one getting mentioned or played a lot, but in my opinion it is still a jaw dropper and will have you hitting repeat over and over.

4. Nothing But a Good Time, by Poison

Every now and again I still need my trashy cheesy 80's hair metal fix. I loved Poison when I was in high school and I'd play this song among many other Poison classics day in and day out. It's not something I would consider a work of art, but it's fun. Nothing but a good time, you might say. In all honesty, that's all it needs to be. I can't really say I fault them for that despite the fact they were just using this kind of music to get chicks and money.

5. Ain't No Rest for the Wicked, by Cage the Elephant

Who says I don't listen to anything more recent? I dig the slide guitar in this tune for sure. Not a whole lot of bands seem to really make slide guitar rock any more. No, I'm not counting country bands because that isn't rock n' roll. Anyway, this is another one of those modern classics that you have to crank at top volume while driving down the highway. It has that solid groove to it that will just get you moving and swaying the entire time.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Foo Fighters Announce New LP: "Concrete and Gold"

It's been almost three years since Dave Grohl's passion project the Foo Fighters put out their most recent release: Sonic Highways. Now however, they are about to make a big return by putting out what they consider to be their heaviest, yet most harmonic record yet on September 15th titled: Concrete and Gold.

In a recent interview with BBC Radio 1's Annie Mac, Grohl opens up about the album in terms of what it sounds like, how he feels about it, and how there are some twists with it, saying:

“We’ve made the biggest sounding Foo Fighter record we’ve ever made. I’m not just saying that. I said to Greg, ‘I want to make a record that sounds like Motorhead doing Sgt. Pepper,’ and he was like, ‘OK.’

So we recorded an 11-song record with him and honestly, I think it’s going to take a lot of people by surprise. Every band says it’s the best record they’ve ever made, but it’s definitely the hugest thing we’ve ever done.

For six months, I’ve been trying to keep this a secret and I can’t wait for people to hear it because this is the first record I’ve ever been this proud to play for people.

We have bunch of guests we haven’t told anybody about. Some will really surprise you. There’s one who is probably the biggest pop star in the world – and I’m not kidding. They sing back up on one of the heaviest songs on the record and we’re not telling anyone who it is.”

This sounds like a rather intriguing record to say the least. While I have the bad feeling that it is probably going to sound like every other Foo Fighters record of the past decade or more, maybe I'll be pleasantly proved wrong. I really hope I am because this sounds like a pretty cool idea if it comes out the right way. As for what pop star is on the record, I'm rather curious about that as well. I honestly can't say for sure who it could be.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Throwback Thursday: Montrose, by Montrose

Ever wonder where super star rock singer Sammy Hagar got his big start? As years go by it becomes less and less common knowledge, but in 1973 Hagar was hit up by then famous guitarist Ronnie Montrose seeing if he wanted to start a band after the two of them had been introduced to one another by a mutual friend. The two seemed to hit it off and quickly came out with what many consider to be one of the best hard rock records of the early/mid-70's: Montrose.

Montrose is blues tinged hard rock through and through from the first track to the end. It really doesn't give you much time to breathe. No slow tunes/ballads or anything. Even to this day that is a fairly uncommon practice for most rock n' roll and even heavy metal bands. That said, the whole album is all killer and no filler and is meant to be played at the highest volume you can get out of your stereo. It's big, crunchy, thundering, and yet at the same time melodic. Everything a good hard rock record should be.

Bad Motor Scooter is one of the most well known songs Montrose ever put out. Even if you didn't know it was them playing it, there is a good chance you have heard it at least once if you listen to classic rock with any sort of frequency. I just love how all throughout the song Ronnie makes his guitar sounds like it's a motor scooter revving and zipping up and down the country roads while at the same time knowing where to make things stay musical. It's an upbeat, loud, and will definitely get your blood pumping.

Rock Candy is another one of the more well known tunes Montrose put out in their short run with Hagar on the mic. It has this gigantic, thunderous, room filling vibe to it. You could definitely picture it blasting out through an arena with its steady rhythm and riff and soaring gritty vocals. In some ways it's reminiscent of Led Zeppelin, but at the same time it is still doing its own thing as a song. Montrose's guitar work is top notch here. You can hear all kinds of bluesy intricacies being noodled throughout it. The solo of course is up to Montrose's high standards.

Montrose is one of those albums over the years that I have been able to listen to every single tune on it from start to finish on repeat and not get tired of despite the fact it is all hard all the time. I'm sure you'll find multiple songs on it that you will like yourself. It's a must-have for anyone who is a big fan of Sammy Hagar or even classic rock in general. If you didn't know about this band and album, you have for sure been missing out.

Montrose, by Montrose receives 5 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Rock the Nation
2. Bad Motor Scooter
3. Space Station #5
4. I Don't Want It
5. Good Rockin' Tonight
6. Rock Candy
7. One Thing on My Mind
8. Make It Last

Buy the album on Amazon:

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Dave Grohl's Daughter Makes Live Debut with Foo Fighters

One of the coolest things ever in my opinion is when a big shot rock star will bring their kid(s) on stage to jam with their world renowned band at a huge show. Good Guy Dave Grohl has done just that by bringing out his eight year old daughter Harper during a Foo Fighters show in Iceland for a performance of the Queen classic We Will Rock You (which can be viewed in the video above).

Grohl introduces his daughter to the crowd, saying:

“About two weeks ago my daughter said, ‘Dad, I want to play the drums.’ I said, ‘OK, you want me to teach you?’ She said, ‘Yes.’

“And I said, ‘Do you want to get up in front of 20,000 people in Iceland and play?’ She said, ‘Yes.’"

Personally I think that is one of the coolest things Grohl has done yet. I knew he was a good guy to begin with, but he seems to be an even better dad. Harper seems to have inherited some of his talent as well. Maybe when she gets older she will join the band full time or have a band of her own? Who knows? Regardless, it will be intriguing to see what this kid does in the future.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Fan Makes Epic Mash-Up of Iron Maiden and Michael Jackson

Metalheads and pop fans are usually sworn enemies, but every now and again fans of both genres will make them shake hands. Such a thing has happened with this unlikely, yet amazing mash-up of Michael Jackson's Beat It and Iron Maiden's The Trooper (which can be listened to in the video above).

Normally people would never associate the king of pop with one of the greatest metal bands to ever grace this plane of existence, but a YouTuber by the name of Nightmare Lyra realized that it was possible to make the two songs work together. They took the instrumental parts of The Trooper and bits and pieces of the instrumentation and the full vocal track to Beat It and mixed them into something that is a fun listen for sure.

I never would have guessed that these two songs could blend so well together, but I was pleasantly surprised. I know some people will call this blasphemy, but it's a cool experiment that yielded some fun results. I think it would have been cooler to include bits of the vocal track from The Trooper, but it still turned out well enough. It's worth listening to at least once just for kicks.

Monday, June 19, 2017

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #122

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. Baby It's You, by Haley Reinhart

I first found out about Haley Reinhart through Postmodern Jukebox, a YouTube channel that turns contemporary mainstream songs into jazz tunes. I didn't realize she did stuff on her own till today when I found out that she had a new music video of her own out. Needless to say, my jaw hit the floor. It's still a fairly jazzy tune, but it has a lot of rock n' roll vibe to it as well. I hope she manages to take off. She has one hell of a good voice.

2. Too Far Gone, by Buckingham-McVie

This is the one song on what is essentially the new Fleetwood Mac album that actually rocks. Not saying that the other songs are bad (which they aren't by any means), but this tune like ROCKS. It has a serious bluesy ballsy guitar riff from Lindsey Buckingham and it gets you PUMPED. You can tell that the rhythm section is having a ball with it and feels right at home due to the fact that it's not too different from what they did in the end days with Peter Green.

3. Dutchman, by Chuck Berry

Chuck Berry put out one hell of a swan song with his final album. It's a shame he couldn't see it be released and enjoyed by his fans all throughout the world, though. This tune in particular is one hell of a bluesy swagger and rather than sing, he speaks throughout it; telling a story set to music. I knew Chuck had his roots in the blues, but hearing this song and having it brought to the forefront like this just kind of blew me away. Maybe it will do the same for you.

4. King of a One Horse Town, by Dan Auerbach

This is one of those songs that took a bit of time to grow on me. When the album came out a couple weeks ago I'd heard this song as a single maybe once, but with repeated and closer listenings I've come to appreciate it a great deal more. The more I listened to the lyrics, the more I was able to vibe with it on a personal level. To be honest, this is one of my favorite kinds of songs for that specific reason. I like something that grows on me with further investigation.

5. Matrimonial Intentions, by Jack White

Jack White recently participated in a PBS special called The American Epic, where contemporary artists record on one of the first kinds of record making machines ever created. In order to keep with the vintage vibe, White and his band recorded an old traditional tune in a genuinely ragtime style. It works out incredibly well. You can't even tell that this was made in 2017. You could easily mistake this for something out of the early 1900's.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Album Review: "Chuck", by Chuck Berry

Chuck Berry as many of you know is one of the greatest rock n' roll legends there is. In the 1950's he was one of the pioneers of the genre. Some might even argue that he was the true king rather than Elvis Presley. That said, countless folks across the world were stoked beyond imagination when they found out Berry was releasing his first album of new material since 1979. Sadly however, Chuck was to become more of a memorial rather than the big celebration it was originally intended to be due to Berry's death at the age of 90 earlier this year.

Chuck was recorded over the course of 23 years between 1991-2014. The album wasn't announced however until 2016, well after everything was recorded and done with. It was produced by Berry himself and put out on Dualtone and Decca Records. The nice part about this album is that much of his backing band was comprised of his children as well as members of his live backing band from over the years he was still touring.

Chuck is a return to form in many ways for Berry. You can hear many of those classic 50's style guitar riffs (very similar to his iconic hit Johnny B. Goode) and then some tunes with a bit more of a Latin rhythm to them. At least two or three songs on the album go into that familiar territory, but that is perfectly fine. When you put on a Chuck Berry album you expect to hear something like that. Having such tunes makes it a more complete experience.

What was a rather pleasant surprise to me however was how many tunes weren't really straight up rock n' roll, but rather straightforward slow moving blues shuffles. You can hear a lot of Berry's early blues influences in there and it makes you hear the man for what he really was and what moved him as a musician. These are tunes I found myself getting caught up and lost in the groove of, making the short amount of time they carried on feel longer (but in a good way).

One of the things that also pleasantly surprised me about Chuck is how good Berry's vocals sounded. They were surprisingly pristine and in some moments somewhat close to how he sounded in his 50's heyday. You could hear the age in his voice a lot of the time, but it didn't sound anywhere near as rundown as you would think it would be for a man his age. I really do have to give him props for being able to keep such a good sound for so long.

Normally I don't care for sequel songs, but I particularly enjoyed the way Lady B. Goode was written and how well it tied in with the story of its predecessor. It had the same upbeat rock n' roll boogie that Johnny had, which makes sense in a motif/storytelling sense. I liked the way it weaved in and out narrative-wise and also managed to be its own thing outside. You can tell Berry put some serious thought into how the song would be written.

That said, only half the album really felt like rock n' roll. The rest was mostly blues. I don't necessarily have a problem with that, but I would be lying if I said I wasn't a little taken aback and surprised. I kind of expected to hear songs that sounded similar to the hits all the way through. Instead I got something that was quite creative and soulful. I never took Berry for the creative exploratory type, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out he was.

For a final album, this is one hell of a great way for Chuck Berry to go out. I don't know if I'd call it a masterpiece, but it has several tunes on it that are worth going back to again and again for various reasons; whether it's just to rock out, get lost in a groove, or listen to a story being told through song. You can tell Berry picked up a few new tricks as a guitarist and song writer over the decades. I was actually rather blown away. I thought it would just be the same old Chuck Berry-type tunes, but with modern production. A bit of it was that, but much of it wasn't. That said, Chuck is a must have album for sure.

"Chuck", by Chuck Berry receives 4 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Wonderful Woman
2. Big Boys
3. You Go to My Head
4. 3/4 Time (Enchiladas)
5. Darlin'
6. Lady B. Goode
7. She Still Loves You
8. Jamaica Moon
9. Dutchman
10. Eyes of a Man

Buy the album on Amazon:

Friday, June 16, 2017

Throwback Thursday: For Those About to Rock, by AC/DC

In 1981 AC/DC had just finished up the tour for its biggest commercial success, Back in Black. Only a year prior the band had been on the brink of collapse due to the death of front man Bon Scott. However, they decided to press on and hire Brian Johnson to fill the vacant slot. Not only did the band manage to survive, but they absolutely THRIVED. Now it was time to bring on a follow-up album to keep the big success train rolling and clacking at high speed down the tracks. The result: For Those About to Rock.

For Those About to Rock has pretty much the sound you would expect a Johnson lead AC/DC album to have. It's loud, pounding, riffy, shredding, screaming, and filled to the brim with sexual innuendos and references. It's nothing more and nothing less. One of the major pluses of this album is it contains the greatly heralded classic which they use to end all their concerts: the title track For Those About to Rock (We Salute You). One of the downsides however is that this is the only track from the album that is still remembered by the general public today.

Night of the Long Knives is one of my personal favorites from For Those About to Rock. While not the most memorable track, I've always loved how big and catchy the chorus is despite the fact that all it is is the band singing "Night of the long knives..." over and over again. It was one of my favorites to play along to when I was first learning drums. There is some bit of depth to the lyrics though, if you listen closely enough. However, no one really listens to an AC/DC song for that. That said, it's still big, punching, and raw like a good AC/DC song should be.

For Those About to Rock (We Salute You) is one of AC/DC's most iconic songs, and for good reason. It builds up slowly, but when it finally breaks it's like a gigantic 21 gun salute to rock n' roll through your speakers. You can just picture the band playing this in some absurd sized arena packed to the rafters throughout the tune. They give you moments to breathe here and there, but not long. They're cut short by blasts of sound that will shake you to the bone in all the most thrilling ways. By the time the song ends you are more pumped up than you could have ever possibly fathomed.

Overall, For Those About to Rock is definitely far from AC/DC's greatest album. Aside from the title track there are a few decent ones sprinkled throughout, but it definitely feels like a bit of a let-down after the tremendous balls to the wall all killer, no filler album we got from its predecessor. That said, it isn't a bad album by any stretch of the imagination. It just wouldn't be one worth remembering if it didn't have one hell of a killer title track.

For Those About to Rock, by AC/DC receives 2 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)
2. Put the Finger in You
3. Let's Get It Up
4. Inject the Venom
5. Snowballed
6. Evil Walks
7. C.O.D.
8. Breaking the Rules
9. Night of the Long Knives
10. Spellbound

Buy the album on Amazon:

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Album Review: "Buckingham-McVie", by Buckingham-McVie

Ever since long time Fleetwood Mac keyboardist Christine McVie rejoined the band back in 2014, many fans of the band have been thrilled and have been hounding on whether or not there was to be a new album. However, many hopes were dashed when vocalist Stevie Nicks said that she had no desire to do such a thing due to the fact that putting all that time, effort, money, and soul into something would be a waste considering no one would buy it. However, that was not going to stop the rest of the band from being creative. The result: a collaboration album between Christine McVie and guitarist Lindsey Buckingham titled Buckingham-McVie.

What makes Buckingham-McVie even more special is that it features Fleetwood Mac bassist John McVie and drummer Mick Fleetwood as the rhythm section. Essentially, this album was made by Fleetwood Mac sans-Nick (which in my opinion is an improvement). It was written and recorded over the past three years at Studio D at the Village Recorder, where Fleetwood Mac had written and recorded their acclaimed 1979 album Tusk in order to recapture some of the band's old musical chemistry.

Buckingham-McVie is like going into uncharted territory, but with an old friend at your side. It's still the kind of light soft pop rock you would come to expect from Fleetwood Mac, but turning a corner you didn't anticipate. You can definitely tell that they wanted to recapture some of the old Fleetwood Mac sound, but take it into some new directions in order to keep from getting stale and making the same albums over and over again as so many older artists are prone to do.

Moments where some of the older Fleetwood Mac sound shows through is in tunes like In My World, especially in the rhythm section. That McVie/Fleetwood rhythm machine is unmistakable no matter what the context. Red Sun sounds like a classic Christine McVie lead song. It is rather simplistic love-lorn pop ballad, but that's all it needs to be. For the most part it sounds like it could have easily been from their 70's/80's heyday. What really knocks it out of the part is the vocal harmonies in the chorus. They're incredibly rich and filling.

You can definitely tell this is a newer album though not just in the crisp, clear audio production, but just in some of the musical styles of the songs. Most of the album for the most part sounds fresh, although you can swear you have heard some of these songs before on your local light rock radio stations.

That is not to say that there is nothing original and new about them, but I swear I've heard countless tunes like Sleeping Around the Corner and Feel About You over the years with the kinds of basic tambourine and drum rhythm and vocal melodies and harmonies. I cut them some slack though because Fleetwood Mac invented pop rock as we know it today.

What I appreciate about Buckingham-McVie is all of its minor subtleties in terms of production. This is most certainly a headphone album because if you're listening close enough you can catch so many little details you might have easily missed otherwise. The stereo aspects of the production also make it that much richer of an experience. Lindsey Buckingham of course is one of the best producers of all time, so that definitely helped the album in this case.

Overall I wouldn't call Buckingham-McVie groundbreaking or a modern classic, but it is a very solid album. It shows that Fleetwood Mac still has a lot of chemistry and many things left to say as musicians. Nicks was definitely mistaken to pass up on this, but I think her absence made it that much stronger of an album. You can tell everyone was just trying to have fun and not trying to live up to a legacy or stroke their egos. It just goes to show you this band can still make good music without all the Rumours-era kind of drama going on. That said, you're sure to find some tunes on it that you like and find yourself singing along to often.

Buckingham-McVie, by Buckingham-McVie receives 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Sleeping Around the Corner
2. Feel About You
3. In My World
4. Red Sun
5. Love is Here to Say
6. Too Far Gone
7. Lay Down for Free
8. Game of Pretend
9. On With the Show
10. Carnival Begin

Buy the album on Amazon:

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Album Review "Waiting on a Song", by Dan Auerbach

It has been over three years since The Black Keys put out their most recent album Turn Blue. After the massive tour they did to promote it, the band decided it was time to take a break for a while. Since then guitarist and front man Dan Auerbach has been spending a lot of time in Nashville writing and recording day after day with a multitude of legendary local talent (though Dire Straits guitarist Mark Knopfler played on the single Shine on Me); the end result being his second studio album Waiting on a Song (his first solo album in eight years).

Waiting on a Song was written and recorded over several months at Easy Eye Sound in Nashville, which is the record label owned and run by The Black Keys. Auerbach and his friends wrote and recorded at least 200 songs and then picked and chose from the best of them in order to make the album. The album of course was produced by Auerbach himself, since naturally he knew what he wanted most from each song being put on the album.

I wasn't sure what to expect when I heard Auerbach was recording a solo album. I knew he had done one before a while back, but I hadn't heard anything from it. That said, it made it all the more exciting because the lack of expectations meant that whatever I did end up getting was going to be fresh and not be compared to anything else. That said, I was still a bit surprised by what Auerbach put out. Waiting on a Song definitely isn't a rock n' roll album by any stretch of the imagination, though it doesn't really fit into any category for that matter.

Honestly, it has a bit more of a country meets psychedelic meets pop meets southern rock meets so many other things vibe to it. It's just its own thing. It isn't a loud or raucous album, really. It seems more focused on melody and lyrics than anything else. Actually, it's kind of nice to see Auerbach take such a creative departure from what he usually does with The Black Keys. You can really tell he is exploring and having a great time doing it.

You would think that something that is so eclectic wouldn't really be so cohesive, but it is. Waiting on a Song has this overall presence to it that no matter what track you're on it still feels like you're right in the same yard. Everything flows from one tune to the next seamlessly no matter how different they may be. I have to give Auerbach props for that. It takes a lot of creativity and a steady hand to be able to pull something like that off.

These are such simple songs at their core, but the way all the musicians came together to put layer upon layer upon layer on them is what makes them a feast for the ears. At the same time, the big band playing all these songs doesn't get so grand that it takes away from the rawness and pure emotion driven feel of them. Auerbach and his band managed to strike a rather delicate balance, which is in my opinion something special.

The songs on Waiting on a Song feel like they have been around a lot longer than they really have, and it's not just because of the retro feel some of them have. They have this ageless and timeless quality to them that makes them feel like they have been a part of your life forever but have only just now shown up on your turntable/CD player/playlist/whatever. You feel like you're at home, just drinking a beer on your deck looking up at the stars on a warm summer night from the moment you put the record on.

If you're a fan of the loud rocking Black Keys sound, this might not be the album for you. It's not something to play if you want to shake the rafters and blow out your speakers. If you go in with no expectations though, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. I find myself playing Waiting on a Song over and over and over since it came out, finding some new detail that I didn't notice before that I can appreciate now. If nothing else though, there are at least a few catchy tracks that you'll have a hard time getting out of your head.

Waiting on a Song, by Dan Auerbach receives 4 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Waiting on a Song
2. Malibu Man
3. Livin' in Sin
4. Shine on Me
5. King of a One Horse Town
6. Never in My Wildest Dreams
7. Cherrybomb
8. Stand By My Girl
9. Undertow
10. Show Me

Buy the album on Amazon:

Monday, June 12, 2017

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #121

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. Houses of the Holy, by The Temperance Movement

This is without a doubt the best Led Zeppelin cover I've heard in a while. It's faithful to the original while still doing its own thing here and there. It definitely packs a lot more punch than the original in terms of production, so this is a tune that NEEDS to be CRANKED through your speakers at top volume no matter where you are and no matter what time of day it is. Your friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, etc. will understand. If not, you don't need that kind of negativity in your life.

2. Livin' in Sin, by Dan Auerbach

Black Keys front man Dan Auerbach a little over a week ago put out his second solo album. The singles were what drew me in, but this song definitely made me stick around through the whole album. It has sort of a early/mid-60's Beatles/Monkees kind of pop rock vibe to it. The lyrics might be a little different from what you would have heard back then, but overall it still has the same spirit to it and will get you putting it on repeat for days.

3. Smoking in the Boys Room, by Motley Crue

In my opinion, aside from Home Sweet Home this was really one of the only good and notable songs on the Crue's 1985 release Theatre of Pain. To be fair though, this was during the worst of their drug habits. Still, despite that they managed to take what was already a cool song to begin with and amp the coolness factor up times 10. It cranks and has that metal crunch, but at the same time it still has that bluesy rock n' roll atmosphere and vibe to it.

4. Shadow of Your Love, by Guns N' Roses

Sadly this song was never put on a Guns N' Roses album. It was written and recorded during the time they were working on their debut EP Live Like a $%&$ Suicide. It was left out of the final cut, unfortunately. I've always thought that it was one of the most fun and driving songs they ever came up with during their early days. It could have easily made it onto Suicide or Appetite For Destruction. Thanks to the internet though, stuff like this is spread around a lot these days and we can all listen to it anyway.

5. Satisfaction, by The Rolling Stones

This is one of the first songs any rock n' roll guitar player should ever learn to play. It's just a few chords and that fuzzy iconic guitar riff. Incidentally, that riff was played acoustically but recorded through a kind of tape recorder that made it sound all fuzzy and distorted. I always thought that that was really neat. That was in a way my introduction as a young lad to the magic of studio production and the kinds of neat tricks people use to get interesting sounds.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Alice Cooper Releases Single "Paranoiac Personality"

It's been a while since shock rock godfather Alice Cooper put out any new original music. Last time was 2011's Welcome 2 My Nightmare, a sequel to his 1975 solo debut. Now though, Cooper is giving us a taste of what his upcoming album Paranormal (due out July 28th on earMUSIC Records) with a tune called Paranoiac Personality.

It's a fairly solid track, but honestly I wouldn't really consider it anything to write home about. It feels like a lot of what you have already heard before. In fact, the opening bass line greatly resembles Ozzy Osbourne's 1981 classic Believer. That said, it's still something you can bang your head to. It has a bit of a Hendrix-y vibe to it so that paired with Cooper's singing and Twilight Zone-esque lyrics makes for an interesting time.

That said, I'm looking forward more to the rest of the album. Honestly, when it comes to Alice Cooper albums I'm usually not too big a fan of the initial single. It's the rest of the album that draws me in and sells me. Plus, since three tracks on this album have what is left of his original band from the early 70's I'm sure there will be at least one or two tunes on there that will absolutely kick ass.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Throwback Thursday: Theatre of Pain, by Motley Crue

In 1985 hair metal rockers Motley Crue released their third studio album: Theatre of Pain. Up to this point their music had been mostly straight up metal with a bit of melody for wider appeal. With this album though the band moved more into the main stream and gained the glam sound that they would become notorious for throughout the rest of the decade by making songs that would appeal to the masses as radio hits.

Theatre of Pain features two of the Crue's biggest hits: a cover of Brownsville Station's hit Smoking in the Boys Room and their own big power ballad that they closed every concert with, Home Sweet Home. This album has more of a hard rock kind of vibe than the heavy metal one they had had previously as I'd mentioned. It's a lot bluesier and in some ways kind of shows the musical roots of the band. Needless to say it was a remarkably noticeable change of pace and sound for Motley Crue.

Home Sweet Home is definitely one of the Crue's finest musical moments. It is the definition of cheesy 80's power ballad. Surprisingly it wasn't entirely written by bassist and song writer Nikki Sixx. This tune came into existence because of something that drummer Tommy Lee was tinkering away on the piano with one day while the album was being written. Sixx ended up forming a whole song around it and made it into one of the most instantly recognizable 80's metal hits we know of today.

Louder Than Hell sounds like it could have been on the band's previous album Shout at the Devil. In fact, it sounds a lot like the title track of that album. Sadly I think that is kind of what makes it fall a bit flat. It sounds like they were just trying to copy off themselves so they could maintain some amount of credibility with the fan base they had already acquired at that point. It just sounds like they were recycling their old riffs. It still rocks if you try to get that thought out of your head, but that is easier said than done.

Honestly, I think Theatre of Pain was Motley Crue's weakest album from their heyday. That is no surprise though considering that being the time period where everyone in the band's drug habits were at their absolute worst. I wouldn't say the entire album was phoned in, as their are some shining moments but this was definitely nowhere close to their previous couple of albums or even the ones that followed it. That said, it isn't a completely bad album. It still rocks, but it just leaves you wanting more.

Theatre of Pain, by Motley Crue receives 2 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. City Boy Blues
2. Smoking in the Boys Room
3. Louder Than Hell
4. Keep Your Eye on the Money
5. Home Sweet Home
6. Tonight (We Need a Lover)
7. Use It or Lose It
8. Save Our Souls
9. Raise Your Hands to Rock
10. Fight For Your Rights

Buy the album on Amazon:

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Eddie Vedder Delivers Touching Eulogy For Chris Cornell

Since the recent tragic death of grunge legend Chris Cornell on May 18th many artists across the world have paid tribute to and spoken about their feelings toward him. However, finally another grunge legend, Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder has come forward to do the same.

On June 6th Vedder at one point during a Pearl Jam concert at the Hammersmith Apollo took a moment between songs to give a heartfelt eulogy to his fallen brother. The speech has been transcribed via Stereogum and says:

"Sometimes it’s hard to concentrate these days. I was thinking about the history of this building and the Bowie history. So I started to think about that and my mind began to wander. It’s not a good…
So I haven’t really been talking about some things and I kind of… now it feels like it’s conspicuous because I lost a really close friend of mine, somebody who…

I’ll say this too, I grew up as four boys, four brothers, and I lost my brother two years ago tragically like that in an accident. After that and losing a few other people, I’m not good at it, meaning I’m not…I have not been willing to accept the reality and that’s just how I’m dealing with it.

So I want to be there for the family, be there for the community, be there for my brothers in my band, certainly the brothers in his band. But these things will take time, but my friend is going to be gone forever and I will just have to…

These things take time and I just want to send this out to everyone who was affected by it, and they all back home and here appreciate it so deeply, the support and the good thoughts of a man who was a … he wasn’t just a friend, he was someone I looked up to like my older brother.

About two days after the news, I think it was the second night, we were sleeping in this little cabin near the water, a place he would’ve loved. And all these memories started coming in about 1:30AM, like woke me up. Like big memories, memories I would think about all the time. Like the memories were big muscles.

And then I couldn’t stop the memories. And trying to sleep, it was like if the neighbors had the music playing and you couldn’t stop it. But then it was fine, because then it got into little memories. It just kept going and going and going. And I realized how lucky I was to have hours worth of…you know, if each of these memories was quick, and I had hours of them. How fortunate was I? And I didn’t want to be sad, I wanted to be grateful, not sad. I’m still thinking about those memories, and I will live with those memories in my heart and I will love him forever."

I can only imagine what kind of pain Vedder has been going through since Cornell's death. When someone is as close to you as a brother and all of a sudden they're no longer around it's a huge shock. It's as though the rug has been pulled out from under you. I think Vedder's mentioning of the memories both big and little are quite touching, especially the way he phrased it. I guess it really is the memories and being grateful for them that counts.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Guns N' Roses to Release New Album?

With Guns N' Roses being on one of their hugest tours in decades due to iconic members Slash and Duff McKagan rejoining the band many people have wondered whether or not they will at any point be recording new music. Current rhythm guitarist Richard Fortus says that it could.

In a recent interview with Stage Left podcast Fortus talks about how the band is "assembling material" that could be the first album the band has put out since 2008's Chinese Democracy. Fortus says:

“We haven’t started recording anything, when I say that, as far as in the studio doing an album. We’ve been recording a lot of stuff, just ideas, assembling ideas, but not going into a studio and actually tracking a new record.

It’s sort of too good not to happen at this point, that’s how I feel about it. This band is really a force right now, and I definitely hope that we do, and I think we’re all sort of counting on it, and we’re also planning on it.”

If GN'R does intend to do a new album, it's more than likely not going to happen any time this year due to the fact that they have recently extended their Not in This Lifetime tour through November. There is also the fact that singer and band leader Axl Rose tends to move at a ridiculously slow pace when it comes to doing much of anything. Honestly, it wouldn't surprise me if we didn't see an album till 2020 if we get one at all. However, Rose has been breaking some of his old patterns the past few years so maybe we'll be pleasantly surprised.

Monday, June 5, 2017

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #120

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. Two Fingers of Whiskey, by Elton John featuring Jack White

This is a collaboration that came out of left field, but I really dig it. It's just Elton John and Jack White tearing it up on some improvised blues with lyrics written by John's long time lyricist Bernie Taupin. You can tell that the instrumentation is done off the cuff, but the vocal harmonies are some of the tastiest sounds I've heard in some time. It would be cool if these two guys actually got together to make music more often.

2. Trouble, by Whitesnake

This is one of the first songs that original Whitesnake guitarist Bernie Marsden ever wrote with singer David Coverdale when the band got together in 1978. It's got a bit of a southern rock feel to it for something that was made entirely for Englishmen. Still, it has a lot of bluesy heart and soul to it. It's big, grand, and tells a cool rough and tumble story of a gambler who is always on the run from town to town. You don't get a whole lot of tunes like this any more.

3. Set Me Free, by Velvet Revolver

If you need something to help you kick it up a few notches, this is a good tune to go to. It has all the right build ups and pay-offs in all the right places. It's loud, pulsing, and will get your blood pumping. It's a shame that Velvet Revolver didn't last longer. Had things with Scott Weiland not gone south they probably could have had at least another couple of albums in them before they would have started to be overstaying their welcome.

4. When I'm With You, by The London Souls

I mentioned these guys a couple of weeks ago. This time I'm putting in one of their more poppy sounding tunes. It's not overly sappy and over-produced, though. There was actual talent that went into making this tune and it sounds like it could have come out of the golden age of rock. It's melodic, rhythmic, and is definitely a good one to play for your lady if you're wanting to give her all the happy feels and wanting to get somewhere with her.

5. Love in Vain, by Robert Johnson

It's been far too long since I threw some Robert Johnson in the mix. Whenever I've been feeling down about a girl this has been one of my go-to songs. That man really knew how to make music that hearts would make if it were possible to listen to them. His music might be old and grainy sounding, but it will never not be relevant. A broken heart and a weary soul is something that everyone from every generation from the dawn till dusk of time will be able to relate to.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Elton John and Jack White Record New Song "Two Fingers of Whiskey"

Of all the talented artists out there, I NEVER would have pictured Elton John and Jack White working together. They kind of seem like apples and oranges to me, but maybe that is part of what makes the track they just recorded together Two Fingers of Whiskey so special and cool.

The song (which can be listened to above) was recorded directly to vinyl as part of an upcoming film called American Epic: The Sessions. The idea is to take contemporary artists and have them record in really old school recording situations (which is right up White's and probably also John's alley).

Two Fingers of Whiskey features lyrics from John's long time collaborator Bernie Taupin with John improvising on the piano and taking lead vocals and White accompanying on guitar and backing vocals. For something done off the cuff for the most part it sounds pretty damn good. Both of them look and sound like they are having a lot of fun. I know I would be too in such a situation. It's a fun, swingy, and bluesy tune that will have you swaying and smiling for sure.

Throwback Thursday: Long Live Rock n' Roll, by Rainbow

In 1978 a short lived but amazing era of music came to an end when Rainbow put out their final studio album featuring the god of metal himself Ronnie James Dio on vocals: Long Live Rock n' Roll. In their time Rainbow had been building up higher and higher as one of the greatest hard rock/heavy metal bands in the entire world; each album better than the last. When the Dungeons and Dragons fantasy era was reaching its end, it culminated in one hell of a final album.

Long Live Rock n' Roll is arguably the birth of the power metal sub-genre as we know it. It's heavy, melodic, and is filled with fantasy themes like the Tower of Babylon, the Lady of the Lake, dethroning a king by force, and more all while staying in medieval sounding chord and song structures. It features some of classic Rainbow's best known songs such as Long Live Rock n' Roll, Gates of Babylon, Kill the King, and more.

Gates of Babylon in my opinion is one of the single best tracks on Long Live Rock n' Roll. It has this mysterious foreboding middle eastern atmosphere to it, much of which is provided by David Stone's synth playing. Ritchie Blackmore of course adds another layer on with his ripping and running guitar playing in the verses and then lightning fast but melodic soloing. However, Dio really steals the show with how much he wails on the mic and paints a word picture for you with his lyrics.

Kill the King is the song where in my opinion power metal began. It has everything: dual harmonized melodic guitar solos, a thunderous rhythm section, and a powerhouse vocalist striking fear into the heart of a doomed tyrant king. It's fast paced, loud, and at the same time still sounds like music. Rainbow used to open all their shows with this one, and for good reason. It will suck you in right from the first note and you'll be pumping your fist and throwing up horns.

It's a shame that this was the last album with Dio, but in all honesty I'm glad that the classic era of Rainbow that metal fans know and love could end on a high note. In a time of music history where most people were shaking their butts to disco, Rainbow dared to give them the finger and make passionate heavy music with substance that would stand the test of time and outshine anything in the Top 40. This was the first Rainbow album I ever bought, and it ended up being one of the best decisions I ever made. You won't regret picking it up either.

Long Live Rock n' Roll, by Rainbow receives 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Long Live Rock n' Roll
2. Lady of the Lake
3. L.A. Connection
4. Gates of Babylon
5. Kill the King
6. The Shed (Subtle)
7. Sensitive to Light
8. Rainbow Eyes

Buy the album on Amazon:

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Rainbow Releases Two New Songs for First Time in 20 Years

Last week we got the first release of new music from Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow in over 20 years. Since his retirement from rock in 1997 Blackmore has been focused on his renaissance music band Blackmore's Night with his wife Candice Night. That is definitely a long time to wait without any new rock n' roll from a guitar legend. The man in black released two tracks: Land of Hope and Glory and a rerecording of I Surrender (both can be listened to at the bottom).

Land of Hope and Glory is just an instrumental version of the classic patriotic Edward Elgar song from 1902 (it's better known as Pomp and Circumstance, which gets played at EVERY graduation EVER). Anyone who has followed Rainbow long enough is familiar with I Surrender, though this version has current Rainbow singer Ronnie Romero on the mic.

Personally I (and many other Blackmore fans) feel this is a rather lackluster return to rock n' roll for Blackmore. There definitely isn't any fire and passion in his playing in these recordings. Plus, most of us would have preferred a Ronnie James Dio era tune if he was going to redo an old song. I know he did these couple of songs just for fun, but I think we were all expecting a little more. Plus, the rhythm section and keys sound kind of like they were programmed by a computer. I realize Blackmore will never make a full return to rock, but I don't think any of us like being teased like this.

Land of Hope and Glory

I Surrender