Mötley Crüe was one of those bands that as a teen I listened to religiously. The grooves on my Shout At The Devil album are non-existent. I sense some eyes rolling. The chick who declared 80's Alice Cooper too cartoonish wore the grooves off a Crüe record. I've already repented for my anti-Alice sins ... or something. Anyway, I go through extended periods where I don't listen to Mötley Crüe. But, as long as Nikki Sixx's hair still stands proud in all its rock 'n' roll inky black glory, I will always eventually come back to The Crüe.
So, back in June, Mötley Crüe released Saints of Los Angeles. This is the first Crüe record with the original line-up in over a decade. To be honest, I haven't really felt good about any Crüe records since Dr. Feelgood. Sure, I've continued to buy Crüe records but I'd give them a spin and toss them on a pile of stuff in the corner with the other CD's I don't listen to. Saints of Los Angeles proved to be different. Ok, yeah, I couldn't toss it in the corner even if I wanted to because I only bought the download but that's beside the point! I have a special virtual corner for disliked downloads. But I digress.
Feeling a bit nostalgic, I sat down and gave this latest effort a proper listen. I find Saints of Los Angeles enjoyable. It's the closest to back in the day Crüe they've come since well, back in the day! Now, while I don't enjoy it as much as those long ago records I hold near and dear, it certainly gives me a fulfilling dose of Crüe. To be honest, I like it better than Theatre of Pain ... I'm still trying to find some extra love for that record. Anyway, the catchiest numbers for me are the title track, "Saints of Los Angeles," "White Trash Circus" and my favorite of the bunch, "Just Another Psycho."
It's nice to know that Messieurs Sixx, Neil, Mars & Lee can still make a gal feel like a teenager again. In those nostalgic moments, little teenaged rock chick me happily flails around the room thinking my walls look too bare without the multitude of Crüe pictures peering down at me.
I'd recommend it to fans who were on the fence about the record, some casual fans and those special people with crushes on Nikki's hair ... yeah, they exist, I'm acquainted with a few of those people! If you're a beginner, start at the beginning.
It has dawned on me, that I haven't really written much about female artists or bands featuring females. Well, being of the female variety myself, that just won't do!
Danielia Cotton: Rare Child
Back in May, I was browsing around the Internet. I tend to do this a lot in an effort to find something that catches my eyes and or ears. I happened upon a story about singer/guitarist Danielia Cotton. As part of the story they had a song being streamed from her then upcoming record Rare Child. Said record was coming out the following week. I liked the song. The following week rolled around and the record became a part of my collection.
I like this record. It stayed on repeat on my iPod for a few weeks and in heavy rotation for a good while after that. Cotton has a great voice. She has one of those voices that goes from rockin' out to soulful acoustic tinged songs flawlessly. Hers is a warm voice. A lot of times when singers start wailin' and rock shoutin', it gets painful to listen to especially when people don't know when to stop. This doesn't happen in Cotton's case. She has one of those nice blues rock shouts and she is tasteful in using it.
Lyrically, Rare Child is a personal record. This is one of those records that's best if you just sit and listen to all the way through ... you know something we used to do on a more frequent basis before iPod's, playlists and shuffle modes became the norm. The songs do however stand well on their own for those who don't listen to records as a whole. There's really no filler on this record but the highlights for me are, "Make U Move," Rare Child," "Let It Ride" and "Bound."
I think if you're a fan of warm voiced blues rock female singers you'll like Rare Child.
I became familiar with The BellRays sometime in 2007 when I was going through a female rock singer phase. Some browsing around the Internet led me to Lisa Kekaula, The BellRays' throat. A fan was born.
Earlier this year, The BellRays released Hard Sweet and Sticky. I had instantly been taken by their previous release Have A Little Faith. On first listen to Hard Sweet and Sticky, I was a little disappointed. However, after a few listens I started getting into it. Where as their previous effort was more fiery, this outing was a little more understated. Kekaula's voice was still spot on but overall I felt like it was missing some unmph.
"Psychotic Hate Man" and "Pinball City" both display The BellRays familiar punkish side. My favorite song on the album is "Foot Prints On Water" which also appears on an earlier album the band released. The other highlights, "One Big Party," "Infection" and the low key "Blue Against The Sky."
I like the record but it's not my favorite effort by The BellRays. Would I recommend it? Yes, but I would probably suggest picking up some of their earlier works first.
I decided to buy The Stoop by Little Jackie after getting the title track as a free download from some service or another. I was familiar with Little Jackie vocalist Imani Coppola's work already so it wasn't a big stretch that I might check out this release.
Normally, I'm not a fan of modern pop flavored R&B and even less of a fan of the hybrid R&B/Hip-hop genre. But, "The Stoop" caught my ear with it's laid back infectiousness. Often times, you're misled by a catchy single and the rest of the album holds nothing similar and you end up disappointed. This doesn't happen with The Stoop. The whole album is full of catchy songs. It's a fun record. It often mixes upbeat catchy music with some rather caustic lyrics. It was a perfect summertime record.
I went to see Little Jackie back in October. The songs translate well live adding to the fun sing-a-long nature of many of the songs. The highlights for me, the amusing "LOL," the upbeat fun "The Kitchen," "28 Butts" and my personal favorite, "Cryin' For The Queen."
Fans of upbeat, catchy, pop infused R&B should check The Stoop out if it's not already in your collection.
This summer turned out to be a bit of a boon for hard rock/metal fans. For our listening pleasure we got a long talked about, long awaited record from the mighty Priest. Lemmy and crew gave us their 24th album. And shock rock legend Alice Cooper weighed in with a new record of his own. Metal love all around, right?
Judas Priest: Nostradamus
I've been listening to Judas Priest for a good long while. Like with everything, I go through periods where I listen to them more than other times. This year I listened to a lot of Priest and thus found myself thinking that perhaps I should check out Nostradamus when it was released. For those that don't know, Nostradamus is a concept album. They've gone and put Nostradamus' life to song. That right there made me leery and almost prevented me from purchasing it. One, I don't like concept albums and two, I really don't give a wit about Nostradamus. But, it's Priest!
Because I like cute, I picked up the deluxe edition of this two CD opus instead of your standard jewel case edition. It's a very nice package too ... 48 page hardbound book with the lyrics. Great package. Looking at the track listing, Nostradamus looks a wee bit daunting. There are 23 tracks on this puppy! Yeah, that's a lot of Priest but, some of the tracks are more interludes than actual songs.
I really wanted to like this record. I can't honestly say it's a bad record because it's not. The music is your above average Priest fare. Singer Rob Halford can still pull off the vocal feats that Priest fans have come to know and love. My problem with the record, it's overkill. It's just too damned tedious. Nostradamus is one CD too long. There were moments while listening that I found myself looking at my music player and asking, 'how much longer is this going to go on?'
Nostradamus contains no arena rousers. What's that mean? In Quirky Chick speak, it means not once while listening to it did I say to myself "I can't wait to hear this one live!" There will be very few cliche horns in the air, screaming at the top of my lungs, giving myself a headache and or whiplash when one of these songs rolls around live. The biggest standout for me and the song most likely to make me go all cliche metal chick and whatnot is "Persecution." This one has one of those make your ears bleed guitar solos ... yeah, sweet. My second favorite track, the acoustic laced "Alone." Other standout tracks, "Prophecy," "Pestilence and Plague" and "Conquest." Title track, "Nostradamus," starts off with what sounds like Halford standing an audition for an opera before kicking into a blistering Priest romp. And this is a petty personal preference thing on my part but I don't like the word Nostradamus and frankly I find it a bit annoying hearing it blaring through songs.
I wouldn't tell a novice Priest fan to run out and buy this record. It's too overwhelming and tedious. However, I would tell an on the fence Priest fan to buy it. Perhaps this will be one of those records that down the line, I'll pull out, listen to and fall in love with. Right now however, it's the relative you're happy to see a few times a year but you start yawning and hinting how late it's getting after a while.
Motörhead is another one of those bands, like AC/DC, that you pretty much know what you're going to get when you buy one of their records. Motörizer has the band staying true to form. That's not a bad thing. The difference between Motörizer and some of their previous efforts is they sound more inspired ... more energetic. Besides, Lemmy is one of those people you can't help but like.
Lyrically, Motörhead has never been anything to write home about in my opinion. Lemmy's voice is even more graveled sounding if that's even possible! "Rock Out" and "Buried Alive" both have the what you would call the classic Motörhead sound. The music of "Back On The Chain" reminds me of "Damage Case" ... I keep expecting to hear it when I listen to this song. Other notable standouts, "When The Eagle Screams," "Time Is Right," "One Short Life," which has a blues vibe, and "(Teach You How To) Sing The Blues."
If someone were to ask me 'should I buy the newest Motörhead record?' I'd say yes. I don't think anyone who likes Motörhead, even casually, would be disappointed in this record.
Alice Cooper decided to give us a concept album too ... chronicling a serial killer. I've already mentioned I don't like conceptual projects. Add to that, I'm not really a fan of post 70's Alice. To be honest, when I was exploring music to listen to that I didn't inherit from family, I ignored Alice. Why? I felt he was a little too over the top cartoonish. I mean come on, I watched him on the Muppet Show for goodness sake! Yeah, I just admitted to watching the Muppet Show but let us not dwell on that. In hindsight, my assessment of Alice Cooper was outright hilarious considering some of the 80's hair metal I just couldn't live without back in the day.
A bit older and a bit wiser, I found myself listening to classic Alice ... you know, back when Alice Cooper was a band and not just a man called Alice. Alice Cooper the band was a damn good band. Discovering this still didn't really have me showing much love for modern day Alice. Oh sure, there were a few songs here and there that I enjoyed but those didn't compare to the older stuff. But, I decided to buy Along Came A Spider and give it a chance.
Of the three albums I've talked about this time around, I found myself liking Along Came A Spider the best. I think it's safe to say I found myself liking this effort because it sounds more like the classic Alice I've already professed to being a fan of. Dare I say I even found myself dancing around the room a bit while listening to this album. What's that? A danceable serial killer story?
I can honestly say that I didn't once feel the urge to skip a track while listening to this record. There are but a hand full of records that came out this year that have that distinction. My favorite track on the album is "Killed By Love." Other highlights, "Wake The Dead," I'm Hungry," "(In Touch With Your) Feminine Side," which has a bit of a Stones vibe to it, and "The One That Got Away."
If you like more of the classic Alice sound, then you'll probably like this record.
This past April, Def Leppard released Songs From The Sparkle Lounge, their first album of new songs since 2002's X. I'd say I grew up listening to Def Leppard but that would make me and them seem old. Yeah, okay, we are but I'd rather not think about the decade known as the 80's. The bad hair and horrible clothes that I as a teen insisted were "cool" make me shudder. Who thought spandex and big hair were a good idea? It's amazing fire marshal's allowed 80's rock bands into buildings being the walking fire hazards they were! But, I digress.
Songs From The Sparkle Lounge is the first Def Leppard record I actually kind of looked forward to buying since their monstrously huge Hysteria. I was a bit put off by "Nine Lives" featuring country superstar Tim McGraw being released as the first single. I have nothing against McGraw and to his credit and theirs, it worked without them really altering their sound to include him. Sure, it was a great marketing move having that as a lead off, but that regulated their catchiest song in years, "C'mon C'mon" to second single status. To make matters even worse, they saddled the poor song with possibly the most horrid video since the UK video of "Pour Some Sugar On Me." Of course, videos don't really mean that much these days since most of the music video stations don't actually air music videos! But, they didn't have to treat such a catchy song like a bad seed stepchild.
The standout tracks for me are, "Tomorrow," the already mentioned "C'mon C'mon" and "Hallucinate" The track "Love" has them channeling Queen. I personally prefer the deluxe edition acoustic version of the song. "Bad Actress" wins point for being a solid rocker and bonus points for the odd yet catchy lines, 'You can't sing, can't dance ... Can't fit in your pants.'
You can hear traces of all of their past efforts in this record. While some of us old folks may have sentimental attachments to the 80's era records, there's still plenty here for us to enjoy. In the end, Songs From The Sparkle Lounge is a solid outing.
In June, Man Raze released their debut CD Surreal. For those who don't know, Man Raze is Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen's other band. Joining him in this effort are Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook and former Girl cohort Simon Laffy on bass.
Surreal features Collen's gritty vocals. I like the rawness of his voice ... it's not polished or over produced. Man Raze takes us through a variety of sounds ... from the punk'ish punch the air sing-a-long "Turn It Up" to the reggae dub of "Runnin' Me Up." The standout songs for me, "Turn It up," "Skin Crawl," "Connected To You," and "Halo." Overall, this record makes you feel like you're in a small hot sweaty bar listening to them. That my friends, is a good thing!
In my last post, I mentioned Daniel Iorio's "Angels In The Snow." I said I'd buy it if it were for sale. Well, I got word from Daniel that it is indeed available here. Guess what's in my collection now? Cheers!
With Christmas being but a week away, the airwaves are filled with Christmas songs. I'm not really much of a holiday song fan. Every year we get bombarded with remakes of "classic" songs done by various artists in every genre imaginable. There are also the annoying songs like "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" which frankly, I'd be happy never to hear again. Why do people like that song?! With that being said, I thought I'd share some of the holiday themed songs that do get a spin in my music player.
Killola's "Santa, Give Us Something We Can Use" ... nice folks that Killola are, you can download it free on their MySpace page. If you're into the more traditional holiday song, you may want to skip this one. But, if you're into the shall we say, more alternative song with a sense of humor, than this one might be right up your ally.
Bob Schneider's "All I Want For Christmas Is My Methadone" ... I believe there's a version on a record he did with The Scabs and there are plenty of live versions floating around.
The BellRays' "Mary Christmas" ... from their Christmas album A BellRays Christmas. This is for those who like their holiday songs funky and rockin'.
Daniel Iorio Group's "Angels In The Snow" ... Daniel got in the holiday spirit and whipped up a great new song apparently last weekend. You can have a listen over on D.I.G.'s MySpace page or on Last.fm. It's a "demo" but I'd put this on the list of holiday songs I'd buy if it were for sale.
Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Christmas Time Again" ... the title track from their Christmas album Christmas Time Again. The Southern rockers show off a bit of soulfulness with this holiday piece.
John Lennon's "Happy Christmas (War Is Over)" ... yeah, this is about as "classic" as I get when it comes to holiday songs.
Bob Schneider: December 10 @ Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY
I went over to the Music Hall of Williamsburg to see Bob Schneider do a solo show. It's a nice venue to catch a show. It's set up very similar to the Bowery Ballroom, good sound though the stage is a little high if you're in the front row looking up and, they have a Happy Hour!
The show opened with Adam Taylor who was joined by Kate Young. They did a great set. Both are very talented and strong voiced. I'm going to have to check out his music more.
After having the audience properly warmed up and getting the stage set, Bob came out. The first thing I noticed was, he seemed a lot more relaxed and rested than he did at his show at the Bowery last month. This show we got a talkative Bob who smiled a lot. While I love Bob with a band, I love stripped down shows. This show was about as stripped down as you could get ... vocals, acoustic guitar and harmonica.
I was happy to hear "Game Plan." Some songs it doesn't matter if they're done with a band or solo but, that one, I prefer solo and acoustic. Bob's got soul and in its acoustic form "Game Plan" shows that off. There are other songs that show off his soulfulness too but I like that one. No matter how many times I hear "Fist City," it still gives me a giggle. Amie Miriello was in the house. She came out and sang on "Changing Your Mind." There were plenty of sing-a-long with Bob moments. This being the holiday season, we of course got a Christmas song. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we were treated to the classic sit around the fireplace family sing-a-long, "All I Want For Christmas Is My Methadone" ... all that was missing was the eggnog!
One of the things I love about Bob Schneider is he has these not right moments. For those who don't know what that means, I'll explain. There are points during shows where the man just goes off the deep end and you look up at the stage at him and say to yourself, while laughing, 'oh that man ain't right!' Not surprisingly, we in the audience happily dive in head first with him. Well, we got one of those not right moments at the Music Hall. It occurred during "Batman." I'll never look at rats and male body parts the same way again. Of course, the story made my subway ride home more amusing. For some reason, people tend to stare at you funny when you look at rats scurrying along the tracks and burst out laughing. Another thing I love, he inspires man love. For some reason there seemed to be more men yelling out random declarations of adoration then women.
I had a great night. The last time I said I would gladly go out in the rain and sound like an off-key frog again for Mr. Schneider. Well, it was raining again. I didn't sound like an off-key frog while singing along this time though. No, I was just off-key! Is it possible for a twenty-five song set to be too short? The answer to that question is, yes, if you're at a Bob Schneider show.
When The Sun Breaks Down The Moon
The World Exploded Into Love
Gold In The Sunset
I'm Good Now
Love Theme From Mork & Mindy
All I Want For Christmas Is My Methadone
Changing Your Mind (w/Amie Miriello)
Ready, Let's Roll
40 Dogs & Cigarettes (Romeo And Juliet)
Everything I Have Means Nothing To Me Now
? (can't read my own writing!)
Big Blue Sea
Weed Out The Weak
Come With Me Tonight
? (forgot to write it down and nobody could remember what it was later!)
I finally got around to buying Death Magnetic, the newest album from Metallica. I'm a long time Metallica fan. I heard many people hail this as the 'return of old school 'tallica.' It's been a spell since I've heard this kind of excitement for a Metallica record. After hearing so many people speak so highly of Death Magnetic, I began to get a bit excited myself.
Unlike some fans, I didn't cry foul when they released their monstrously huge Metallica (The Black album) ... people mature and grow. I was fine with Load and I was okay with Reload while others felt the mighty Metallica of old were just images on the back of milk cartons. St. Anger was the first Metallica record I couldn't hang with. I just couldn't get into it at all. While I wouldn't have called them sellouts, has beens or whatever other term that has been tossed at Metallicasince The Black album, I found myself primarily listening to the first five records.
So, with whispers of excitement still floating around in my head, I sat down to have a listen. Death Magnetic does indeed have more of an old school vibe. It's the closest to pre-Black album Metallica sound and feel wise. Looking at the titles, my first thought was, 'let's just skip "The Unforgiven III" and spare myself. I wasn't all that fond of "The Unforgiven" and I was even less fond of "The Unforgiven II" so, I was leery of a third titled such. But, that's not fair to myself or the record so I didn't skip it. Should they come out with an 'Unforgiven IV' I'm just going to be unfair and pass right over that one.
Other than my lack of fondness for all things 'Unforgiven,' I like Death Magnetic. The standout tracks, "The End Of The Line" (which musically gives me glimpses of "The Four Horsemen" and "Sad But True"), "Broken, Beat & Scarred" and my personal favorite, "My Apocalypse." The latter reminds me of a mix of "Whiplash" and "Battery" music wise. The other notable tracks, "The Day That Never Comes" and "All Nightmare Long." I think this album has something to satisfy all Metallica fans. Death Magnetic is an excellent blend of old school and radio friendly Metallica.
Sometime late last year, British indie rock trioSome Velvet Morning released their debut album Silence Will Kill You. Earlier this year, I was trolling around Amie Street as I'm prone to doing and came across this effort.
Desmond Lambert (vocals/guitar), Gavin Lambert (bass) and Rob Flanagan (drums) put together a dozen songs that rock, roll, simmer and burn. The song "Propaganda" reminds me of early U2 both musically and vocally only more pleasing. "The Madness of Crowds" for some reason, though I can't really put my finger on why exactly, reminds me of Paul McCartney with a bit of Elton John tossed in. The standout songs, "Losing My Mind," "Pretty Girl" and "Settle Down." The other standout, "Stolen Love Song" is my personal favorite. About once a month this song gets put on repeat. I'd call this song a modern day "Layla" though with less intensity.
Silence Will Kill You is a really good record. So far, I think it has slid under the radar escaping notice which is a shame. I look forward to hearing what they have in store for their next record. If it's anything like this one, I'll be in for a treat.