Archive for the ‘Music Reviews’ Category
Concert Review: Mike Watt and The Missingmen – LA May 4, 2013
May 10th, 2013 at 1:40 pm | |
Album Review: Iggy And The Stooges ‘Ready To Die’
The Redwoods Bar and Grill in downtown Los Angeles hosted a bevy of great bands last Saturday night, capped by the magnetic, eclectic performance of the man with the van with the bass in his hand, Mike Watt, who did a set with his Missingmen, and which absolutely blew the roof off the place with its sheer and raw energy.
Downtown LA, mind you, is rather desolate, even during the peak hours of a Saturday night. Unlike New York City, which pulses to its own beat and snakelike charm 24/7, downtown Los Angeles is a still, solemn, quiet area at night, the atmosphere swirling around the eerie silence of the surrounding skyscrapers, which look dark and dormant. If you don’t have a car, and are caught walking its streets at night, there’s almost a sense of paranoia and emptiness abounding, as the more salacious nightcrawlers seem to be the denizens of the timeframes [...]
April 30th, 2013 at 12:00 pm | |
Amidst all the hype about the fact that Iggy and the Stooges have gotten together recently, pretty much as a live unit born from the death of original lead guitarist Ron Asheton, and containing the musical unearthing of guitarist James Williamson, another influential game player who helped carve certain niches in the pre and post punk sounds and circles, finally comes the album Ready to Die.
The album, whose members have a median age around 60-66, is the first with the Raw Power lineup for the most part since that jolting sonic aneurysm of a release was released 40 years ago this year. Now think about that for a second. A 40-year gap between musical sounds done by the same artists. Reunions of that type in 1973 when Raw Power first hit record bins would have been of the Glenn Miller, Cab Calloway and Sidney Bechet variety. In 1933, Frank Sinatra wasn’t even on the charts yet. The point of that is, that music of that ilk around in 1973, 40 years after their inceptions, were as antiquated as they come, as out of place as a man in a three piece suit in a steambath. That kind of music wasn’t dated, it was double, even triple dated, and mainly reserved for a small contingent of fans who grew up with those sounds who still harked for those “good ol’ days” which were in full manifest by physical flesh and blood actualities of those artists they grew up with. [...]
Black Sabbath’s ’13′: Dispatch From The Press Listening Party In Hollywood
April 12th, 2013 at 11:15 am | |
The heart of Hollywood hosted an exclusive invite-only press listening party last night for the new, highly anticipated upcoming Black Sabbath album, entitled 13. The album marks the first time in 35 years that original members Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler, and Tony Iommi have created and recorded original music on a studio release.
The definitely not black tie affair was held at the Ricardo Montalban Theater on Vine Street just off Hollywood Boulevard in the late afternoon on April 10, 2013. Limited to about only 40 journalists, yours truly was fortunate enough to be one of the members of an audience primed and ready to be in essence the first people to listen to the new album, aside from those involved in its recording (such as people like producer Rick Rubin and drummer Brad Wilk, who is playing in Sabbath in place of original Sabbath drummer Bill Ward, a move that has been rather polarizing to many die hard Sabbath fanatics). In a year marked by new musical releases by legendary rock artists like David Bowie and Iggy and The Stooges, Black Sabbath’s 13 also has created that same kind of neon electric buzz among the rock and music community [...]
The Key Of Geek: David Bowie ‘The Next Day’
March 12th, 2013 at 10:00 am | |
The Next Day
CD | MP3
Release Date: March 12, 2013
For some inexplicable reason, newly released albums by longtime beloved rock stars are judged on a harsher curve than most. Is it because many of these artists have released decades’ worth of quality work, so critics think they are due for a miss? Is it because we as a society love to watch the high and mighty fall from grace? Perhaps it is because at a certain point, we all get set in our ways. We have an artist stowed away neatly in a certain place in our lives, and that’s where they belong. Anything outside of that comfort zone is immediately regarded as dangerous and a threat to their legacy, so it is rejected outright. Especially when, in the case of David Bowie, the artist has spent a considerable amount of time away from the spotlight, why try a “comeback” now?
Well folks, the good news is this: David Bowie has long-defied convention, and he continues to buck the aforementioned trends on his new record, The Next Day. The record is high energy, hard rocking, poetic, and an exhilarating listening experience. If you were to separate it from all of the back story (as interesting as it is) and examine Bowie’s discography to this point, you would never have guessed that a decade has passed since his last foray into the music world. In fact, despite his long-term absence and the vocalization of many detractors, it is arguable that he is more relevant now than ever before [...]
Music Review: Buckcherry ‘Confessions’
February 19th, 2013 at 1:00 pm | |
Deluxe CD | CD | MP3
Released Date; February 19, 2013
Buckcherry is special for a lot of reasons, but the main reason of note is that they’re one of the very few modern bands that have really captured that great sleazy 80’s-era L.A. sound made so popular by bands like Guns n’ Roses and LA Guns. They aren’t putting on an homage to the era and style of music; they’re simply one of those bands.
The band has gone through lineup changes after breaking up completely back in 2002, but Josh Todd on vocals and the neverending riffs of Keith Nelson have kept the band on track regardless of what other changes happened internally or externally as far as what’s popular musically. The band’s first three albums, Buckcherry, Timebomb, and 15, are near hard rock classics with two cuts from 15 (“Crazy Bitch,” “Sorry”) making that album the band’s most popular to date. Their fourth album, Black Butterfly wasn’t as strong as the previous releases and it made me wonder if they had run their course musically. The most popular song on that album, titled “Too Drunk,” was actually replaced with a Deep Purple cover when the album was re-issued. Then we got All Night Long, which was a return to form as far as album oriented music from the band goes. Most of the songs on the album, not just the singles, were great just like those first two albums [...]
Music Review: Tom Waits ‘Bad As Me’
November 18th, 2012 at 1:42 pm | |
Bad As Me
Deluxe CD | CD | MP3
Release Date: November 2011
In a time of austerity and defunct pop music, Bad As Me came along and cuts through like a bread knife into stale society and bamboozles it into actual listenable audio lunacy.
Tom Waits knew about current society, too – the pre-release trailer videos hinted towards in the rusted out Volks Beetle he resides to promote what to expect and he had to trust that his musical genius was not leaked out – by presenting the vignettes of his tracks for us to enjoy beforehand, especially utilising the preemptive strike listening party…
In his twenty-odd album career, Waits is nowhere near slowing down. His contemporaries may have retired themselves to stagnant acoustics and vegas-showroom residencies, but Waits continues with his sideways view of America, new and busted, reinventing himself yet again in what could be considered another prime-time of his life album. But no, in a reversal of the Madonna reinvention, Tom Waits has traversed all eras in his career to produce this, a homage, a love letter, a modern masterpiece [...]
Music Review: ZZ Top ‘La Futura’
October 28th, 2012 at 3:00 pm | |
Music Review: Joe Bonamassa ‘Beacon Theatre: Live From New York’
CD | MP3
Release Date: September 11, 2012
ZZ Top seems to be the little band that could. Just when you think they’ve done all they are going to do musically here they come with La Futura.
They’ve been around a lot longer than many people know. It all didn’t just start in the 1980s with “Sharp Dressed Man.” The band actually formed in 1969 and toured with the likes of Jimi Hendrix. Blues heavy classics “La Grange” and “Tush” made the band stars and ’80s experiments such as the previously mentioned “Sharp Dressed Man” and “TV Dinners” helped the band find even more fans with the still bluesy but modern rock sound. So they’ve been playing music and experimenting with modern influences mixed with their blues base with varying levels of success. [...]
October 24th, 2012 at 11:01 am | |
Music Review: Kiss ‘Monster’
Beacon Theatre: Live From New York
September 25, 2011 US: CD | MP3
September 24, 2011 UK: CD | MP3
Albums with Black Country Communion, a duet with Beth Hart, a solo album, and inspired guest appearances with the likes of Lesley West and Derek Sherinian has seen majestically talented blues rock singer and guitarist Joe Bonamassa finally start to get the recognition he deserves. After over 12 years he has been slowly improving over his 14 solo albums and the last year or so has seen him in a rich vein of form.
During this time the king of modern blues rock recorded his fourth live album, Beacon Theatre: Live From New York on November 5, 2011. It’s an impressive 2-disc set with some of Bonamassa’s finest recent work including “When The Fire Hits The Sea,” “Dust Bowl,” “Blue And Evil,” and striking covers of Gary Moore’s “Midnight Blues” and Rory Gallagher’s “Cradle Rock.” [...]
October 9th, 2012 at 4:48 pm | |
Disney In Depth: Soundtrack Review: ‘Everybody Wants To Be A Cat’
Produced by Paul Stanley
October 9, 2012 (US) CD | MP3
October 8, 2012 (UK) CD | MP3
After an 11-year gap between albums last time out, KISS stomped on the heads of the naysayers and showed the world they were once again (or always were) a relevant band in rock and roll with love guns at the ready. Realizing they were on to something good, they wasted little time in releasing the appropriately titled Monster.
KISS teased us with “Hell Or Hallelujah” way before the release and it gets Monster off to a flier with its infectious guitar riff and superb Paul Stanley lead vocal. We all know the life story of Gene Simmons’ monster, but he has thankfully put it away long enough to put his mind to better use. “The Devil Is Me” and “Eat Your Heart Out” bounce along on that trademark groin-rumbling bass sound and he is up to his usual tricks on the gloriously filthy “Take Me Down Below.” [...]
September 27th, 2012 at 8:56 pm | |
More than a year ago, Walt Disney Records released a soundtrack to little fanfare within the general music community, but rightfully deserves some attention. Collect a bunch of famous Disney tunes and gather some jammin’ jazz artists. Spin the two together and your creation is an awesome assortment of standards breathing new energy. Here is my review of Disney Jazz Volume 1: Everybody Wants To Be A Cat.
1. “Ev’rybody Wants To Be A Cat” by Roy Hargrove: The Grammy-winning trumpeter lends his potent musical skills into mixing up this classic tune from The Aristocats. While the first minute or so of the five-minute cover closely resembles the jazzy piece, he then spins some impressive arrangements. I could imagine listening to this strong instrumentation in a coffeehouse or lounge. Though it steers off in a different direction for much of the entirety, Hargrove returns to the memorable theme toward the end.
2. “Chim Chim Cher-Ee” by Esperanza Spalding: The artist who prevailed over teen sensation Justin Bieber at the 2011 Grammys as the “Best New Artist” adeptly takes control over the Sherman Brothers’ legendary melody. The orchestration possesses a French flair, with some light piano and accordion in the background at different points. Spalding scats with beautiful range in this romantic version that still stirs up a chilling sensation. Guesses are that if Dick Van Dyke has heard Spalding’s take on the piece, he would be pretty proud [...]
Music Review: Stevie Ray Vaughan ‘The Real Deal Greatest Hits Volume 2′
August 31st, 2012 at 2:47 pm | |
Stevie Ray Vaughan
The Real Deal Greatest Hits Volume 2
MP3 | CD
Originally Released: March 23, 1999
Amazon MP3 is offering up some amazing $5 album deals for the month of August, so it seems like a great time to visit some classics and see how they hold up to the modern music era. That’s right, you can snag Stevie Ray Vaughan The Real Deal Greatest Hits Volume 2 for $5 in MP3 format right now.
The loss of Stevie Ray Vaughan was a tragic one. He was at the forefront of a blues rock revolution that just fell apart with his death. Others such as Kenny Wayne Sheppard followed in his footsteps, but none could come close to filling his shoes. In the 1970s, guitarists such as Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, and Jimi Hendrix were responsible for integrating the classic blues riffs of Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, and Howlin’ Wolf into pop music in innovative ways. Stevie Ray Vaughan picked up where these musicians left off both by crafting his own brand of modern blues music, but also by bringing on the pop blues music with songs like his most arguably mainstream title Crossfire [...]
Music Review: Asia ‘XXX’
August 10th, 2012 at 11:01 am | |
CD+DVD | CD | MP3
Release Date: June 29, 2012
XXX, the newest album by the progressive rock group Asia and it marks the third release since the original members reunited, and for fans of this group, who got their start 30 years ago, there will no disappointments whatsoever. Others, however, might see the musical circumstances rather differently.
Asia, which is a group made much in the mold of those other supergroups like Cream or Blind Faith, is comprised of John Wetton on bass and vocals, Geoff Downes on keyboards, Carl Palmer on drums, and the great Steve Howe on guitar. These men came from more adventurous prog rock groups such as Yes, King Crimson, and Emerson, Lake and Palmer. They shed their respective gymnastically sonically hyper-arranged skills that they ultilized during their tenures in these aforementioned bands and gave a more leaner, tighter, realized progressive pop sound in Asia, even spawning hits like “Heat of the Moment,” and “Don’t Cry,” which remain unabashed 80′s anthems. On this newest release, XXX, the band is firmly still mired in that sound, which is almost like a zeitgeist for the group, as all songs included on the album sounds like artifacts from that time, without missing a beat one iota [...]
Music Review: Slash ‘Apocalyptic Love’
July 29th, 2012 at 5:30 pm | |
Slash feat. Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators
CD | Deluxe CD | MP3 | Vinyl*
Label: Dik Hayd
Release Date: May 22, 2012
The musicians that made up one of America’s greatest rock bands of all time, Guns N’ Roses, have had problems finding their way after that band fell apart. Each of them has tried solo acts with varying degrees of success. Axl Rose, maintaining ownership of the band’s name, has even attempted a new album and tour with new musicians. The album that Rose crafted took many years to complete and it ended up being mediocre. Slash’s first attempt at creating a new band with some of his GN’R band mates was Slash’s Snakepit. The music featured Slash’s razor-sharp riffs, but it lacked the heart of GN’R at their best. Slash’s second attempt at building something with his GN’R buddies was a new band that featured Scott Weiland from Stone Temple Pilots on vocals. While the lead singer of an alternative rock band doesn’t seem to make sense fronting a classic hard rock band, it really worked for the debut album. The music was truly modernized hard rock. After that fantastic release the follow up, with a different singer, was weak [...]
Music Review: Halestorm ‘The Strange Case of…’
May 27th, 2012 at 2:00 pm | |
Music Review: Europe – ‘Bag Of Bones’
The Strange Case of…
CD | MP3
Release date: April 9, 2012
It’s not often that you get the pleasure of hearing a solid hard rock band with a female lead singer. I’m not exactly sure why that is but it just is. There are exceptions, such as old school Heart, but hard rock is traditionally dominated by male singers. One modern notable exception is the band Halestorm. Halestorm successfully blends a modern sensibility of instrumentation and production with a classic 80’s hair band sensibility and tone. This is a tough fence to sit on. Most bands that try it either sound poser or they just sound like a complete throwback to that era of music, which isn’t in and of itself a bad thing. Halestorm does this and also brings us a powerhouse female lead vocal that once you hear it, you won’t forget it.
May 3rd, 2012 at 4:00 pm | |
Bag Of Bones
Produced by Kevin Shirley
UK Release date: April 30, 2012 CD | MP3
U.S. Release date: May 8, 2012 CD (Import)
Love it or loathe it, the fact is Swedish rock band Europe will always be the band responsible for “The Final Countdown.” Twenty-six years on from making one of the most iconic rock songs of all time, new album Bag Of Bones demonstrates a significantly different band.
The current line-up of singer Joey Tempest, guitarist John Norum, bassist John Leven, drummer Ian Haugland, and keyboard player Mic Michaeli have been together since 2003 (but also played together for most of the ’80s) and have worked hard to make the transition from hard rock hair metal to a hard rock blues band. Songs like “Riches To Rags” with its superb guitar solo – a sonic sugar-rush as the tempo kicks up a level and Norum shreds – and lead single “Not Supposed To Sing The Blues” are the perfect example of Europe’s hard rock blues [...]