Reviews (albums, concerts)

Other music, TV, films and general interest
Buckeye Randy
Posts: 305
Joined: Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:09 am

Re: Reviews (albums, concerts)

Post by Buckeye Randy »

Mona Lisa wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 12:24 pm I'd like to know, on all these reviews, what are the ones you'd recommend most, as a fan of Queen, Hunter and 10cc for example, but not so much into hardrock or alternative?
I already heard most from Mick Ronson... it's ok but not too much my cup of tea...
I would recommend listening on spotify! One of my favorite releases this year was by Sparks but I hate how nearly half the tracks were released early. That made the overall release much less exciting and I didn't play it to death like I usually do with Sparks. However...there about four tracks that rank pretty high in the Sparks catalog which spans 50 years. Are you familiar with them? They've had about five major changes in genre during their career but the latest is as good as anyplace to start.

Lots of great individual songs this year. People that say there is no good music coming out are just lazy.
Mona Lisa wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 12:24 pmThere was a new EP by Alice Cooper earlier this year , it's called Breadcrumbs, I think.
It is excellent !! It rocks and blues like hell, if I might say!!
Usually I'm not totally convinced by Alice Cooper recent releases, but that one was really fun.
I think it was more a collaboration with other musicians.
I really like the Coop. He had some good releases 15 years ago...Dirty Diamonds and Eyes Of Alice Cooper. I have not heard the EP you mentioned.
Mona Lisa wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 12:24 pm What did you think of the new Stray Cats album, last year?
I thought it was ok, but as I already heard most or Brian Setzer's albums* , same for Stray Cats.... well it sounds a bit recycled. Still enjoyable on a first listen. But you've already "heard it somewhere".
*recommended! Check the album ""13""-
Always listenable but never essential.
Mona Lisa wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 12:24 pm And one of my favourite recent releases was Paul Mccartney Egypt Station.
I don't like the track Fuh You. But it's a great album!!
His best in many years, I thought.

And another Beatles connection....
Ringo Starr, his last album from last year was really fun as well.
Also, same, his best in years!!
I'm a fan of The Beatles and own some solo work but nothing recent.
Mona Lisa wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 12:24 pm The last album of Leonard Cohen.........
I don't connect!

Buckeye Randy
Posts: 305
Joined: Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:09 am

Re: Reviews (albums, concerts)

Post by Buckeye Randy »

Artist: Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard
Title: The Non-Stop EP
Released: July 10, 2020

What’s the best part of marriage? Don’t answer! I’ll tell you just so you don’t get embarrassed by giving the wrong answer. The best part is when your partner says, “check this out”. I realize that could be a bad thing if it is some sort of skin rash but it’s the best when it is a new glam band releasing their first album. Thanks!

I’ve only done enough research to know that this is a band from Cardiff and allot of people seem to like them. I realize that’s a bit weak from the research department but these are trying times in which we live! I did find an interesting quote when the band was asked about influences, “There’s of course all the big hitters, T. Rex, John Lennon etc. Though it was Norman Greenbaum and Todd Rundgren who tipped me over the edge, especially Rundgren’s glam sensibilities, plus his recordings, Todd is God”!!

OK, anybody that lists Todd Rundgren as an influence gets my attention and I haven’t heard anybody say “Todd is God” since the ‘70’s. This should also be a ‘heads up’ for anybody not familiar with Todd’s releases in the ‘70’s with or without his band Utopia. Todd absolutely blurred the lines of power pop, glam and prog with releases focusing on any and all at different times. The poster child for eclectic.

The album kicks off in T-Rex fashion with a chunky riff and handclaps. “Double Denim Hop” is a noisy chug-a-long rocker that dares one not to dance. There is also a hint of some things to come because the arrangement is creative and the musicianship sensible. So many bands are out of touch with their own music and don’t play to the song, not the case here.

“Late Night City” follows a different trail by going down the power pop path paved by Big Star and Badfinger. “Stockholm City Rock” starts out rocking allot harder than the first two but following a frantic guitar solo the song shifts into a swaying stadium like tempo. The unconventional approach is sooo Todd.

The 5th track is a 48 second interlude (Theme From Early Morning City) that slows everything way down and acts as a divider between sides if we were talking vinyl. Again, interesting.

“Long Day/Free Day” reminds me of T-Rex’s “Spaceball Richochet” but3/4ths of the way through what appears to be a quiet song it goes into a soundscape of winds and swirling guitars. This leads right into a medium paced snap your fingers and clap your hands glam rocker, “What Is Hate”? Infectious and the standard arrangement almost takes you by surprise.

The cherry of the album is, “John Lennon Is My Jesus Christ”. It’s silly and spunky and name checks John Lennon, Marc Bolan and David Bowie. The writing here actually reminds me of Harry Nilsson who had a wicked sense of humor and was also a good friend of John Lennon.

A second musical interlude seems a little much but these guys get a free pass at this point. The album closer is the longest track on the album, “Sugarloaf Mountain Crucify Me”. First, what a kick ass name for a song. The first half is a nice slow dump of emotion and then builds into an anthem like guitar solo.

I am so tired of old people (my age!) claiming that there isn't any good music coming out. This stuff is very good and doesn't require much effort to enjoy, just hit play. I only have so many thumbs but this is a two thumbs up. Well done!


Video of Double Denim Hop

Buckeye Randy
Posts: 305
Joined: Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:09 am

Re: Reviews (albums, concerts)

Post by Buckeye Randy »

Artist: Ace Frehley
Title: Origins Vol.2
Released: September 18. 2020

There have been approximately a blue billion albums featuring cover songs released in my lifetime. Most fall into the novelty category and a few are actually pretty good. Even the ones that have a novelty feel can offer some disposable fun for several listens due to familiarity. Every music fan has a different definition of what makes a good cover version and I enjoy when people debate the merits of being true to an original or making it your own interpretation. Both camps can make good points.

Today we have Ace Frehley of KISS fame releasing his 5th solo album since 2009 and 9th overall. I remember his first solo album in ‘78 as a member of KISS and the song that received airplay was a cover of “New York Groove” by Hello. The thing is, no teenager in America knew this was a cover because UK glam singles did not crack the US for the most part. Anyways, my only point is that Ace knows a good song when he hears it and has no problem taking a shot at rocking one out.

The album besides featuring covers of the biggest and most bad ass bands from the late ‘60’s and early ‘70’s also features some nice guests. Lita Ford (Runaways), Robin Zander (Cheap Trick) and Bruce Kulick (KISS for 12 years and Grand Funk Railroad the last 20 years).

This album can serve as a fun reminder to old timers how great the ‘classic’ era of rock really was. It can serve to introduce great songs and bands to younger fans and it can be a 'heads up' to everybody that Ace Frehley knows how to rock. Man, he knows how to rock!

Honestly, I’ve let this play through several times and it is sooo listenable. Ace has taken great songs by great bands and given them stomping beats and in your face guitar work. The only downside is there are a couple times this bar band on steroids approach doesn’t fit the song being covered. Some songs fall into the historically important box rather than the kick ass rock song box. I’m mainly talking about “Lola”, and “We Gotta Get Out Of This Place”. The new versions rock allot more than the originals but it doesn’t really fit the spirit of the rest of the album which features hard rocking songs. That really isn’t much of a complaint and is just more of an observation.

I’m 99% sure I will not be touting this release for ‘album of the year’ but this is an A1 soundtrack for a rocking party and I’m pretty sure that defines a good album. Well Done!

1. “Good Times, Bad Times” (Originally by Led Zeppelin)
2. “Never in My Life” (Originally by Mountain)
3. “Space Truckin’” (Originally by Deep Purple)
4. “I’m Down” (feat. John 5) (Originally by the Beatles)
5. “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” (feat. Lita Ford) (Originally by the Rolling Stones)
6. “Politician” (feat. John 5) (Originally by Cream)
7. “Lola” (Originally by the Kinks)
8. “30 Days in the Hole” (feat. Robin Zander) (Originally by Humble Pie)
9. “Manic Depression” (feat. Bruce Kulick) (Originally by the Jimi Hendrix Experience)
10. “Kicks” (Originally by Paul Revere and the Raiders)
11. “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” (Originally by the Animals)
12. “She” (Bonus track) (Originally by Kiss)

Buckeye Randy
Posts: 305
Joined: Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:09 am

Re: Reviews (albums, concerts)

Post by Buckeye Randy »

Artist: Various Artists
Title: Angelheaded Hipster: The Songs of Marc Bolan & T. Rex
Released: September 4, 2020

It’s fascinating how a different artist can mean different things to different people. Marc Bolan is one that registers very differently depending on your age and what side of the pond you are on.

Speaking as a person whose musical DNA was formed in the mid ‘70’s and living within earshot of the rock n roll capital of the world (Yes, Cleveland). Marc Bolan and T Rex were north of being a novelty and south of mainstream. “Get It On” was a hit single for fans of top 40 radio and the song received play on cool rock stations for most of the decade. Marc Bolan was barely mentioned in the rock mags and his death in ’77 was not mainstream news.

Now I was fortunate enough to have a friend that simply loved T Rex and even the early folk of Tyrannosaurus Rex. Any ride in his car included listening to T Rex at distorted volume. The albums “Electric Warrior” and “The Slider” are etched in my brain and I’ll still give them a listen a couple times a year. Growing older, I regarded T Rex as a cool band from the shadows whose mere mention would make me smile, “There’s somebody who knows music”. I thought it was extremely cool and deserving that T Rex was voted into the Rock n Roll Hall Of Fame in 2020. I like that the RnR HOF is inclusive of artists that weren’t chart busters in the U.S..

I totally realize that people growing up in the UK at the same time (or a few years earlier) had a totally different experience when it comes to Marc Bolan and T Rex. Bolan was a rock star supreme and the poster child for glam rock. He dominated the music charts and mags, he was pulsating with enough sensual energy to make a parent want to lock their kids away. Yeah, just a little different than what I grew up with in the heartland.

I think the major difference has to do with how different reinterpretations of glam rock were fired back and forth across the big pond. That’s a discussion for another day, today we are looking at a release celebrating Marc Bolan/T Rex.

First, what an odd mix of star power and unknowns with most landing somewhere in between. However, I’m always excited when I see some of my favorites like Todd Rundgren, David Johansen plus Joan Jett (23 concerts between those three artists) and I’m curious to hear tracks by Perry Farrell and King Khan. Honestly, I was fairly amazed to see King Kahn on here…he’s the definition of an odd cult artist.

My second thought, 26 tracks? That seems a bit much to me and is probably due to this project being a labor of love by producer and coordinator Hal Willner. It needs to be noted that Hal died from Covid 19 last spring.

Third…uh, I think this might only be for hardcore fans of T Rex or fans of the artist performing the individual tracks. This is definitely a novelty type release in my opinion. The styles of music are as wide as a barn door and can be an uneven listen when taken in as a complete album. ‘Uneven’ is being kind, a better description might be ‘jarring’!

Here are some thoughts on some the tracks.

The album kicks off in excellent fashion with Keesha delivering a rockin’ version of “Children Of The Revoloution”. It captures the energy and sex appeal plus it just flat out rocks. Joan Jett gives us a very good interpretation of “Jeepster”, it is actually a fairly accurate ode to the original. I’m not a dance guy (that’s an understatement) but I like “Solid Gold, Easy Action” by Peaches. Not something I’ll listen to much in the future but there is a familiarity factor and I like it today.

The biggest star power is Bono and Sir Elton performing “Bang A Gong (Get It On)”. I’m left a little empty because it doesn’t distinguish itself from all the other cover versions I’ve heard before.

For those that don’t know King Khan, “I Love To Boogie” is an excellent introduction as he displays his kinetic energy. Perry Farrell doing “Rock On” is OK but it actually seems a little pedestrian. Does bringing out an ‘80’s star to perform a song have a novelty feel? I think Nena doing “Metal Guru” is exactly that.

Speaking of novelty, two of my favorites register in this category. Todd Rundgren doing his velvet lounge version of “Planet Queen” is horrible. Todd has been doing this lounge gimmick off and on for 20 years now and this seems pretty forced. David Johansen doing his version of “Bang A Gong” has a cartoon feel as he fronts a swing style R&B outfit but amazingly David Jo pulls this off and it qualifies as one of the better moments on this release.

I occasionally stumble across other reviews when looking up information on a release. Well, it appears that most reviewers think this is an excellent release. However, I wouldn't recommend it to anybody who wants more than simply saying, "That's sort of interesting".

1. Children Of The Revolution – Kesha
2. Cosmic Dancer – Nick Cave
3. Jeepster – Joan Jett
4. Scenescof – Devendra Banhart
5. Life’s A Gas – Lucinda Williams
6. Solid Gold, Easy Action – Peaches
7. Dawn Storm – BØRNS
8. Hippy Gumbo – Beth Orton
9. I Love To Boogie – King Khan
10. Beltane Walk – Gaby Moreno
11. Bang A Gong (Get It On) – U2 feat. Elton John
12. Diamond Meadows – John Cameron Mitchell
13. Ballrooms Of Mars – Emily Haines
14. Main Man – Father John Misty
15. Rock On – Perry Farrell
16. The Street and Babe Shadow – Elysian Fields
17. The Leopards – Gavin Friday
18. Metal Guru – Nena
19. Teenage Dream – Marc Almond
20. Organ Blues – Helga Davis
21. Planet Queen – Todd Rundgren
22. Great Horse – Jessie Harris
23. Mambo Sun – Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl
24. Pilgrim’s Tale – Victoria Williams with Julian Lennon
25. Bang A Gong (Get It On) Reprise – David Johansen
26. She Was Born To Be My Unicorn / Ride A White Swan – Maria McKee

Buckeye Randy
Posts: 305
Joined: Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:09 am

Re: Reviews (albums, concerts)

Post by Buckeye Randy »

Artist: The Nude Party
Title: Midnight Manor
Released: Roctober 2, 2020

I missed the 2018 debut by The Nude Party. It is times like this I question my group of friends because not one person said, “Hey, check out this band called The Nude Party”. No worries, I found them on my own. Better late than never and I’ll be nice enough to tell you, “Hey, check out this band The Nude Party”!

A quick bio on my new favorite bestest band: The Nude Party are a six piece band from Boone County, North Carolina. They formed while attending Appalachian State University and started playing house parties. It wasn’t long after they relocated to New York and the rest, as they say, is history. An EP and an album with tours that included stops at Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo plus opening for Jack White and The Arctic Monkeys. That catches you up to 2020 and the release of their second full length album, ‘Midnight Manor’.

I don’t want to sound overly enthusiastic but after one listen, I was hooked. I was adding songs to my different files on Spotify. ‘Glam’, ‘Power Pop’, ‘Redneck Rock’, ‘Favorites’…I was dropping their songs anywhere I could. How many really good songs does it take to make a great record? Look at it another way, it only takes a couple songs to drag a release down and those automatic skipper tracks are just not here.

The album kicks off in high gear with “Lonely Heather”. A frantic track on the verge of veering out of control but somehow the guys keep it between the lines. It’s sorta like Jerry Lee Lewis fronting a punk band..sorta.

Best track is probably the melodic and haunting, “Easier Said Than Done”. A mish mash of styles that comes out sounding like it could have been on John Cale’s, “Paris 1918”. “What’s The Deal” is cut from similar cloth but more dramatic. I mean that as a compliment!

“Cities” is more of a messy rocker that might remind you of The Stones from the late ‘60’s. “Thirsty Drinking Blues” is a bop along with bar room piano and fat horns, nice formula. “Judith” follows the same path and has a real garage charm.

“Cure Is You” is the stand out of the slower tracks with a swaying melody. Fun to imagine hearing this in a beer soaked room. I love when it’s easy to imagine an album in a live setting.

I think this album is a real gem, highly recommended. I can’t wait to see these guys on tour.

Well done!

Buckeye Randy
Posts: 305
Joined: Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:09 am

Re: Reviews (albums, concerts)

Post by Buckeye Randy »

Artist: Blue Oyster Cult
Title: The Symbol Remains
Released: Roctober 8th, 2020

Do you have an opinion about Blue Oyster Cult? They were already around when I first started listening to album rock. I remember sitting around in study halls and reading articles from Cleveland's Scene Magazine before I ever actually heard the band. It's amazing how reading about bands can make them seem bigger than life and mere words can conjure up images of mythological proportions without ever hearing one note. It's similar to when a teenager reads about sex without any firsthand knowledge. Also similar is the crash to reality once you find out that your mind got a little carried away with expectations. Let me be perfectly clear, sex is much better than Blue Oyster Cult but both are similar in falling short of my teenage expectations. One is about expectations of myself and the other about expectations for a band.

Anyways, I remember reading about their live album that came out in 1975, "On Your Feet Or On Your Knees". I really didn't understand the title but that made it seem all the more cool. If I could go back in time and give myself some friendly advice it would be this, "If you don't understand it then it probably isn't cool". I would have also told myself to go and look at how stupid their song titles are on the first three studio albums. "I'm on the Lamb but I Ain't No Sheep", "Before the Kiss, a Redcap", "She's as Beautiful as a Foot", "Mistress of the Salmon Salt (Quicklime Girl)", "7 Screaming Diz-Busters", "ME 262" and "Harvester of Eyes". What the f*ck is a harvester of eyes?

From the song, "Harvester Of Eyes"
I'm the eye man of TV
With my ocular TB
I need all the peepers I can find
Inside the barn where you find the hay
Well just last week I took a ride
So high on eyes, I almost lost my way
I'm the harvester of eyes


Ooooh Kaaaay. I never went back in time and gave myself any advice and my musical introduction to BOC was a song that was played semi regular on the radio back then, "Cities On Flame With Rock n Roll". Honestly, that's a heavy, kick ass song that checks all the boxes for me. So, I now know (then knew) one good song and have read articles that have set unreasonable expectations.

I was at a point financially back then where I needed to save lunch money all week to buy an album on Friday. Since I was obsessed with completing catalogs of a select few bands, I couldn’t pick up releases based on reviews or knowing one song from the radio.

Next album for BOC was "Agents Of Fortune" with the overplayed song, "Don't Fear The Reaper". You're going to laugh at me when I tell you this. The first thousand times I heard this song I didn't make the connection that the "Reaper" was in fact the 'grim reaper'. I thought the "Reaper" was...a piece of farm equipment.

Here is the definition of a reaper as I knew it in 1976.
A reaper is a farm implement that reaps crops at harvest when they are ripe. Usually the crop involved is a cereal grass.

Honest mistake growing up in the heartland, I saw more farm equipment than evil demons collecting souls.

Yeah, imagine me walking around humming a song that I think is about some guy telling a girl not to be scared by a piece of farm equipment. "Come on baby, don't fear the reaper". Yep, I was an idiot and I probably shamed myself into not buying the album.

The first and only album I ever bought by BOC was the follow-up in 1977, "Spectres". The main reason I bought it was because Ian Hunter wrote the song, "Going Through The Motions". I listened to this album a bunch of times and even though the radio was playing several of the songs...I realized that BOC probably wasn't for me.

Over the next several years BOC released albums that received some airplay but nothing to make me reconsider fandom. I actually liked the song "Burnin' For You" but any redemption was thwarted by the lyrics of, "Joan Crawford".

Catholic schoolgirls have thrown away their mascara
They chain themselves to the axles of big Mack trucks
The sky is filled with hurt and shivering angels
The fat lady lives! Children, start your trucks
No, no no no, no no no no no no no no
Joan Crawford has risen from the grave


Yessiree, gotta love that. When you put those lyrics along with "Harvester Of Eyes" it actually makes my initial interpretation of "Don't Fear The Reaper" seem plausible. "Baby take my hand, don't fear the reaper". More cowbell, indeed.

Where does this take us? It is 2020 and Blue Oyster Cult have a new album. This is BOC’s 15th studio album and first since 2001. They also have 8 live albums with three of those being released this year. That makes four BOC albums out in 2020. When I’m listening to a new release I usually surf the web reading up on a band. I was really surprised to find that BOC never had an album hit above 29 on the US Billboard Album Chart. Actually…it made perfect sense to me and my mind wandered….

What’s in a band name? Well, I think the name of a band can dictate allot. There have been some good bands that have had dreadful names and I think their status over the years has been hurt by the name. The first band that comes to mind is Be Bop Deluxe, really good band and a really bad name. On the other side of that coin are bands with cool names that lead the imagination to run wild. Again, what exactly is a Blue Oyster Cult? It really sounded cool when I was 14.

Sorry, my mind wandered. Let’s get back to the new release, “The Symbol Remains”. The band's current lineup features founding members Eric Bloom (vocals and keyboards) and Buck Dharma (guitar) alongside Richie Castellano (keyboards and guitar), Jules Radino (drums) and Danny Miranda (bass). It’s pretty cool to see Danny Miranda here. He was with the band for a while before and also did a stint with Queen + Paul Rogers.

One of the first things I notice is the length, 14 songs coming in at over an hour. I suppose it is to be expected, they have had 19 years to work on this. However, I generally think a release is too long once it gets north of 40 minutes, this is way north. Maybe that’s more a testament of my short attention span but that’s been my experience.

The album kicks off in fine fashion with “That Was Me”. This is the sort of riff monster that was on their early releases. “Stand and Fight” is another heavy track that sounds pretty menacing. “Train True” though not as heavy is pretty catchy and it should be on anybody’s playlist dedicated to trains. Those three stood out after a couple listens.

Honestly, if you liked BOC before then you might like this..not sure.

Enjoy!

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FunnyHowLoveIs
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Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2020 7:02 pm
Location: Cape Cod, MA. USA
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Re: Reviews (albums, concerts)

Post by FunnyHowLoveIs »

Bruce Springsteen "Letter To You"
Release date: October 23, 2020
Leaked earlier today: hint "Ahoy Matey"

Image

As for a Springsteen album goes, this one is flat out boring start to finish.
Some songs remind me of the intro to his classic from 1974, "Incident On 57th Street"
All solos have no signfigance, that is unless you want to hear stereotypical strutting from Jake Clemons on Sax and Steve Van Zandt on lead along with Bruce himself.
Patti Scalfia is non-existant but in the mix somewhere. By now, a duet on a studio album should've could've happened but it hasn't then on any studio album and not here,
unfortunately.
The best track isn't new, in fact it was written before the E Street Band existed circa 1973 and is entitled "If I Was The Priest" re-recorded 2020 with E Street and literally saves this plodding, fat, slick boring release that is better off as a whole on his in the works Tracks 2.
The title track "Letter To You" is more like a b-side, album filler and the one song that has any real emotion is the album opener, an acoustic piece that could easily be out of Johnny Cash's collection, or a Chris Isaak single, "One Minute Your Here", probably the only emotional song here out of the 12 tracks. Bruce's voice sounds as if he is much older, every bit of his 70+ years

"House Of A Thousand Guitars" is probably the worst track he's come up with since "My Lover Man", the new song, should be a rocker, whatever the tempo but is mostly filled with piano and organ, almost forgetting guitars, only a bass, rhythm and lead here and there should be 1000 but not here. To make it worse, Bruce constantly repeats the song title over and over again as if it's supposed to inform and get me going. The only thing it got me doing is not pay attention.

FWIW, his 2019 release "Western Stars" is unoriginal too. How could a multi-millionaire sing about hitchhiking? He does in the opener "Hitchhikin'", a blatant rip off of a starving artist in 2016 out of Cape Cod, HINT.

Bruce's best days are far behind him, his best effort to date ended in 2007 with "Magic" and 2008's "Working On A Dream" rode the coattails of Barack Obama's campaign and election win.


On the flip side, his https://live.brucespringsteen.net store is filled with pro produced full length shows from 1975 to 2018 and I've got over six of them in a week, all great too, spending on average, $10-USD for a full length MP3 show.

Funny

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FunnyHowLoveIs
Posts: 276
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2020 7:02 pm
Location: Cape Cod, MA. USA
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Re: Reviews (albums, concerts)

Post by FunnyHowLoveIs »

Artist: Ace Frehley
Title: Origins Vol.2
Released: September 18. 2020

Image

There have been approximately a blue billion albums featuring cover songs released in my lifetime. Most fall into the novelty category and a few are actually pretty good. Even the ones that have a novelty feel can offer some disposable fun for several listens due to familiarity. Every music fan has a different definition of what makes a good cover version and I enjoy when people debate the merits of being true to an original or making it your own interpretation. Both camps can make good points.

Today we have Ace Frehley of KISS fame releasing his 5th solo album since 2009 and 9th overall. I remember his first solo album in ‘78 as a member of KISS and the song that received airplay was a cover of “New York Groove” by Hello. The thing is, no teenager in America knew this was a cover because UK glam singles did not crack the US for the most part. Anyways, my only point is that Ace knows a good song when he hears it and has no problem taking a shot at rocking one out.

The album besides featuring covers of the biggest and most bad ass bands from the late ‘60’s and early ‘70’s also features some nice guests. Lita Ford (Runaways), Robin Zander (Cheap Trick) and Bruce Kulick (KISS for 12 years and Grand Funk Railroad the last 20 years).

This album can serve as a fun reminder to old timers how great the ‘classic’ era of rock really was. It can serve to introduce great songs and bands to younger fans and it can be a 'heads up' to everybody that Ace Frehley knows how to rock. Man, he knows how to rock!

Honestly, I’ve let this play through several times and it is sooo listenable. Ace has taken great songs by great bands and given them stomping beats and in your face guitar work. The only downside is there are a couple times this bar band on steroids approach doesn’t fit the song being covered. Some songs fall into the historically important box rather than the kick ass rock song box. I’m mainly talking about “Lola”, and “We Gotta Get Out Of This Place”. The new versions rock allot more than the originals but it doesn’t really fit the spirit of the rest of the album which features hard rocking songs. That really isn’t much of a complaint and is just more of an observation.

I’m 99% sure I will not be touting this release for ‘album of the year’ but this is an A1 soundtrack for a rocking party and I’m pretty sure that defines a good album. Well Done!

1. “Good Times, Bad Times” (Originally by Led Zeppelin) 2. “Never in My Life” (Originally by Mountain) 3. “Space Truckin’” (Originally by Deep Purple) 4. “I’m Down” (feat. John 5) (Originally by the Beatles) 5. “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” (feat. Lita Ford) (Originally by the Rolling Stones) 6. “Politician” (feat. John 5) (Originally by Cream) 7. “Lola” (Originally by the Kinks) 8. “30 Days in the Hole” (feat. Robin Zander) (Originally by Humble Pie) 9. “Manic Depression” (feat. Bruce Kulick) (Originally by the Jimi Hendrix Experience) 10. “Kicks” (Originally by Paul Revere and the Raiders) 11. “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” (Originally by the Animals) 12. “She” (Bonus track) (Originally by Kiss)

Buckeye Randy
Posts: 305
Joined: Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:09 am

Re: Reviews (albums, concerts)

Post by Buckeye Randy »

Artist: The Struts
Title: Strange Days
Release: Roctober 16, 2020

There have been several bands that have come out who have been compared with Queen. The first two that come to my mind are The Darkness and Foxy Shazam. Another more recent band to add to that list are The Struts.

Have you heard them before? I ‘liked’ but didn’t ’love’ their first two albums, “Everybody Wants” and “Young & Dangerous”. I find it very interesting that Queen are a tenfold more popular in the UK than the US but the first two albums by The Struts charted better in the US than in their homeland. Regardless, both albums had some great moments but for whatever the reason, neither really stood the test of time for me. BTW, if you’ve never seen their videos you should check them out, the band presents a good visual.

I find it a little unfortunate that I’ve missed these guys live. The live footage I’ve seen looks good and they have some pretty high profile supporters. Dave Grohl claims that The Struts are the best opener the Foo Fighters ever had. That’s a nice supporter to have in your corner!

So, The Struts are releasing their third album “Strange Days” and the first thing I notice is some star power guest performers. I like added star power on an album, it can create some fun moments. However…sometimes I think having a guest appearance (or multiple guests) is motivated by creating a higher profile and an increase in sales. I’m not going to examine this very closely but I think having Robbie Williams, Albert Hammond Jr., Tom Morello plus Joe Elliott and Phil Collen from Def Lep insures some higher profile and increased sales.

OK, part of being from the US means I have practically no knowledge of Robbie Williams. The album kicks off with the title track “Strange Days” featuring a Robbie Williams and it is totally uninspiring for me. It lacks energy and is nearly 5 minutes long, a disappointing start as far as I’m concerned.

“All Dressed Up” should have been the album opener. It’s a fun listen, it rocks and it dances on the edge of glam with colorful lyrics. Up next is a cover of a KISS song from the Destroyer album, “Do You Love Me”. I have no problem with bands doing a cover and I actually prefer when it is a lesser known song like this. At best, this track was the 5th best known song from the Destroyer album back in ‘76. The Struts turn a rather pedestrian song by KISS into a footstompin’ anthem built for the big stage or a sweaty club. Well done!

The album loses no momentum with “I Hate How Much I Love You” featuring Joe Elliott and Phil Collin. I even like the corny phone conversation at the beginning between Joe and Luke Spiller. The song is probably just what you think it should be with the Def Lep influence. No complaints from me.

Tom Morello is up next on “Wild Child”. This is the most heavy song and in a serious way with a killer riff, a real steamroller. We are five songs into this album and we have had three tracks with guests and an obscure cover. I think the best song so far is the one with no help.

“Cool” is a longer track with some built in space for the solos to roam in a live setting. It seems a little forced in the studio but will be fun live. A total surprise is “Burn It Down” which sounds like a not so distant cousin to any ballad by The Black Crowes and I mean that in a good way.

“Can’t Sleep” is as close to a formula song as it gets on this album. Big chorus and rompy verses with some slick guitar work that sounds like Nuno impersonating Brian May. The whole thing actually reminds me of Extreme which I suppose is a good way to sound if you want to sound a little like Queen. The album closes with “Am I Talking To The Champagne” which is a departure in sound from the rest of the album. This goes into R&B territory with bluesy guitar and a sax solo capturing a mood. Most the songs on this album take place on a big stage or a seedy rock n roll dive, this track is in swanky nightclub with candle lit tables. This is actually one of the more impressive songs on the album from a songwriting and performance standpoint. It reminds me a bit of City Boy which is a band I haven’t thought of in a while.

OK, the album has star power appeal, a cool cover song and moments that remind me of Extreme, Black Crowes and City Boy not to mention Queen. Allot of ingredients went into this kettle of music and I think it came out fine which isn’t always the case with so many moving parts. Without a doubt their most complete album to date. Well Done!

Buckeye Randy
Posts: 305
Joined: Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:09 am

Re: Reviews (albums, concerts)

Post by Buckeye Randy »

The Struts marketing machine was in full force on Monday evening just a few short days after the release of their new album.

The song "Wild Child" featuring Tom Morello received some airplay last night during the Monday Night Football match-up between the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs. There was also a graphic letting viewers know the song was by The Struts with Tom Morello. For me, that was a nice bonus to an otherwise rather ordinary game and it also makes me wonder how much money changes hands for that sort of publicity.

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