What does a man, with an enormous legacy in a multi-million band, do when he is inspired to record another album? Well, if that man is Ace Frehley (Kiss), the answer is: simply do what you do best and that is to record a CD of rocking songs, play the guitar, and not worry to much…
That´s how simple life sometimes is dear people. In between my busy activities lately (after all I am, amongst other things, a recording musician myself), I have been listening to this album. I bought it because of the things I read about it and must say, I quite like listening to it. Some might think it is a bit patchy, and Ace is first a guitar slinger and second a singer, but overall it is very enjoyable. Consisting of 11 originals and 1 cover (Fox On The Run), I feel this is rooted in seventies rock. So it goes a little beyond your standard 3 chord song and of course that is a good thing. Moods vary from flower power-ish on a track like Change The World, to rocking like in Space Bear or Foxy & Free. Lyrics give a nice insight in the man´s thinking, and the honesty is touching.
Another nice touch is Ace thanking his former mates for putting up with his insanity. Despite taking 20 years to record another release, I think Ace should not worry about what his critics say. If he is able to write more albums in this vein, I am sure he will please a lot of people.
What better way to continue in this holiday season, as with another one of those tasty Bigelf releases? Bigelf you ask? Well pardon me, but if you have never heard of them, and are into old fashioned heavy rock mixed with more progressive overtones, are fond of Mellotron and Hammond and consider yourself a fan of bands like Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and or more progressive bands like early King Crimson and Pink Floyd, then this is a band you have to check out!
Seriously, don´t let the name or the mix of styles put you off. I have been following these guys ever since they started releasing albums (this is their fourth since starting with Closer To Doom in 1998) and think of them as a vibrant exponent of retro heavy (progressive) rock. Sure, I have read criticism about their supposed lack of originality but that has never stopped me from liking their output. In fact I would go as far as to suggest they are so good at their game, they are serious competitors to the names mentioned before. Who cares if song X sounds a bit like band Y, etc. ? For me it is about writing a good song, and that is a terrain they are very comfortable with.
So another winner from the band and I recommend them to anybody who can listen with an open mind!
Foxy Shazam are an unknown force to me, despite this being their third album (I believe). And if this is anything to go by, I will need to find the others as well. And soon too! Finally a contender for the vacant throne of Queen (the band)!
Why the Queen reference: mainly because of the high pitched harmony vocals (little doubt Justin Hawkins (The Darkness) producing has something to do with that). But also because of the obvious swagger of the band. They just pour energy and write short songs that are catchy as hell. And in a style that is reminiscent to The Darkness and Queen. The use of horns and some quirky mood changes show they are not afraid to experiment either.
So never sounding like a rip off, but just full of exciting ideas that deserve a big crowd. I find it impossible to resist songs like Welcome To The Church Of Rock and Roll, I Like It or Holy Touch. Hell, I could write down all eleven titles here… My only problem with this CD is that it is way too short. Yet with 36 minutes of pure rock bliss with a lot of pop sensibilities, one is sure to risk a replay addiction. What a discovery, what a band, what an album.
Essential if you want to avoid ignoring the next big thing…
Bad Reputation, the label that sent me the Eldorado album, also was so kind as to surprise me with a couple of other releases. The first being American Dog, with their 2012 release Poison Smile. Labelled as Heavy Rock ‘ n Roll, which is actually a very fitting tag. If you have a hard time connecting with that style, think of it as Elvis, Bill Haley and The Ramones, coupled with the attitude of Lemmy and The Clash. Or Rock and Roll on steroids if you will. So it is loud, it is mean and filled with sex and humour.
The song titles alone: Just Like Charlie Sheen, Old Dog New Tricks, Lust And Greed, Bathroom Romance, etc. So fun intended and ready to spice up every party on the block. And with already more than 5 albums under the belt, an experienced outfit, even if I had never heard of them before. And with the extended guitar solo that is 2012 AD, they also show musicianship. (Don´t worry, they play well on the other tracks as well)
Bottom line: the ideal soundtrack for an alcohol infused Saturday night in any downtown area. Party On!
Quite sure many of you are familiar with sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson and their success vehicle that is Heart. A career of nearly 40 years, over 35 million records sold, nominees for the Rock ´n Roll Hall of Fame, numerous hits and as a logical result, besides 13 albums, several greatest hits albums.
Well this box set is way beyond that. With a lavish booklet, 3 CD´s and a DVD, 21 previously unreleased versions with some unreleased songs as well, all fans are in for a real treat here. Many well known songs are presented here in an early demo form. Just so we can figure out how they have changed. I just started listening to CD one, and already I am amazed. Even in bare form with vocal and acoustic guitar, Heart impress. And the live tracks prove they are real, something I already knew from before (from DVD, alas I never experienced them live).
The DVD is a 10 song live representation of the band in 1976, so quite the time warp.
So if you, like me, are quite fond of Heart, totally dig the amazing vocal capabilities, the rocking tunes, the Led Zeppelin vibes of The Lovemongers (another reincarnation of the sisters), want to hear how songs develop into hits, or are just plain curious, this is going to prove great value for money. Pick it up!
Oh before I forget, new album Fanatic is released as well…
There is no way in the world I can keep up with the release schedule of Joe Bonamassa. So I am still behind listening. But really I don´t care much about that as I still find every album to be worthwhile. Don´t know how they do it, but the creative juices keep flowing. And of course Joe has a keen ear for covering the right tracks…
As we are accustomed to, Black Rock ranges from more rock infused tracks, to typical blues workouts. So you could say that he resembles Rory Gallagher in that aspect. Opening with the driving Steal Your Heart Away, which has not only a great haunting chorus (probably due to the high pitched vocal harmony) but also a damn fine beat. But there also some other styles here. Athens To Athens has an acoustic feel to it, probably with a dobro or something like that. The same applies to Baby You Gotta Change Your Mind, although that has a totally different feel, more jazzy.
And it is with regret that I say the only track I don´t feel comfortable with is Night Life. Despite BB King guesting and Joe raving about his hero, to me it adds little to earlier versions. That is not saying that it sucks, mind you.
If you have never checked him out, why don´t you? If you liked him before, this will not disappoint.
Richard Page, best known from his work with 80´s band Mr. Mister, has released another solo album. Or more accurate, a collection of songs mostly written for other artists, which for some reason never were recorded by the intended artist. The cool thing is he explains extensively how this all came about. Like he also discusses the circumstances under which these versions were recorded, with whom and when.
And if you know Page writes songs for quite a diverse bunch or artists, it will come as no surprise the material on here is diverse as well. Yet, as all is sung by him, it still sounds coherent. His voice still shines, but then, I have always loved his singing. The first track Falling Into Place is a Mr. Mister leftover and is one of the most rocking tracks. From then one it is more of that balanced smooth stuff his solo work is known for. And I think these are beautiful tunes and can understand why he got lost as to why they were never chosen.
Hesitant as he may be about releasing these demo’s, there is absolutely no quality issue here. And even with just an acoustic guitar and that voice, I am captured in the moment. So if you want to check what he has been up to, if you love his voice, or maybe only because you are curious, definitely a CD to add to your collection.
It´s actually quite baffling, a site dedicated to melodic rock (very unfashionable) that exists 15 years in 2012. But somehow owner Andrew McNeice has pulled it off. Always looking into new ways to persevere and keep the site (and the family) alive, Andrew has since started a label and started releasing albums. Several of those have been featured here.
The compilation albums mainly serve as money generators, though I am afraid you should not take that all too literally. But as many artists are eager to lend a hand as the site is THE vehicle to reach the rock audience, in the end I hope this makes sense financially. So for the moment it is actually very simple: anyone into the scene and or the music, should support it by buying this double disc. And as a bonus, you get (often unique) songs from the likes of Joe Lynn Turner, Sammy Hagar, Beggars & Thieves, Mecca, Brett Walker, Kelly Keagy, Auras, Mike Tramp, Eden´s Curse, Bonrud, Danny Danzi, Ten, Vega and many many more (all in all 37 songs). Some tracks are even composed for the occasion. Talking about loving the cause! And with names like that, you are sure in for a melodic rock delight!
So head on over to melodicrock.com and spend your hard earned cash on this. The site needs you! Oh, and while you are there, better order the upcoming Volume 10 as well. You know you want to…
Okay, let´s be honest. Not all the so called super groups, past or present, have proven to be exciting or even operating on a remotely creative peak. So when news got around that Glenn Hughes (vocals, bass), Joe Bonamassa (guitar and vocals), Derek Sherinian (keyboards) and Jason Bonham (drums) had come together, it is always unsure what will be delivered to the hungry masses. Because, on paper, this sounds like a very interesting combination of young, and ehrr, less young talent. And since starting in 2010, they also are about to release a third album… and that besides Joe B churning out his annual albums anyway. How do they do that?
Being the usual late me, I picked up their first one a while back and started listening. And I must say, what I was hearing quite tinkled my musical muscles. Rooted in seventies music, with powerful riffs, Hammond, and that driving beat the Bonham family is famous for, I found myself to be heavily amused by this collection of songs. And songs they are. This isn´t even remotely a cash in on some famous names put together by a production team. This is real music, by real people.
You want proof? Would that type of album feature several tracks clocking in at around 7-8 minutes, or even a 11 minute epic? With extended soloing?
So there you have it, bringing us the more rockier side of Bonamassa, coupled with the rock grooves and vocals of Hughes and backed by the entertaining Sherinian and powerhouse Bonham, this cries out for more!