Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Rolling Stones- Light The Fuse review

The Rolling Stones
Light The Fuse (Live 2005)
Rating: ****


With the Rolling Stones preparing for their upcoming shows at the end of the year, Google Play has released the next entry in the Stones Bootleg Series with a fifth album. This one, Light The Fuse, was recorded on August 10, 2005 in Toronto, Canada at the Phoenix Concert Theatre. It was the first show of their tour in promotion for their new album A Bigger Bang. The venue, just from pictures of the show, is pretty small compared to the stadiums the Stones get to play. 

The band runs through a 71 minute set with 14 songs. You get the live favorites such as "Brown Sugar", "Jumpin Jack Flash" and "Tumblin' Dice" and some songs from A Bigger Bang (just weeks before it was released). The performances of the new songs are pretty good, the strongest of them being "Rough Justice". The band dig up deep cuts such as "Live With Me" and songs like "She's So Cold" which hadn't been played in years by that point in time. Things get pretty funky when the band takes on Bob Marley's "Get Up Stand Up" and Otis Redding's "Mr. Pitiful". 

Of the five albums released, I think Light The Fuse is at the bottom (which used to be occupied by Tokyo Dome). This isn't bad at all. I think all of the albums in the Stones Bootleg Series are awesome.  Light The Fuse is simply a great addition to the series. Once again, Google Play is selling the album for $4.99.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Thin Lizzy decide not to release new album under the Lizzy name

A statement has been posted on the site for the reunited Thin Lizzy band concerning two things: touring and the new album. While the tour will wrap up towards the end of the year, Thin Lizzy have decided that the new studio album they've been working on this year will not be released under the Thin Lizzy name.

"Out of respect to Phil Lynott and the legacy he created, we have decided that we should not release a new album under the Thin Lizzy name" guitarist Scott Gorham said in the statement posted yesterday. Gorham went on to say that it was a difficult decision to make as they had put a lot of work into revamping Thin Lizzy. Gorham also says that he thinks Lynott would be proud of the new material and that the new music should be released sometime next year.

Guitarist/singer Ricky Warwick says that the end of this tour doesn't mean the end of the reunited Thin Lizzy, as they might play "odd shows" in 2013.

I think the guys have made  the right decision. When I heard they were recording a new album, I wasn't too happy about it as this version of Thin Lizzy is supposed to be a tribute band to the Thin Lizzy of the past fronted by the late great Phil Lynott. I'm actually surprised they are not going to release it as a Thin Lizzy album but it's a very wise choice. As for the reunited Thin Lizzy, I think they should still continue to perform. I saw them a year ago and they were great. They really do love the music and you can tell it when you see them.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Kiss- Monster album review

 KISS - Monster
Kiss
Monster
Rating: ****

For almost four decades, Kiss have been touring and making music. Their new album, Monster, is their 20th studio album and their first album since 2009’s Sonic Boom. In recent years, critics and even fans have criticized for the band choosing to continue instead of calling it a day. Some are not comfortable with the fact that the new members are wearing the make-up of previous members. Nevertheless, Monster is a great album from Kiss. While Sonic Boom was an attempt at capturing the band’s sound from the 1970’s, Monster can be seen as Kiss taking on the music world in the 21st century.

            Kiss formed around 1973 by bassist/singer Gene Simmons and guitarist/singer Paul Stanley. Along with guitarist Ace Frehley and drummer Peter Criss, Kiss were one of the most successful rock bands of the 1970’s. In their forty year career, the band has been through several line-up changes, with Simmons and Stanley being the two sole original members. There was even a part of their career from 1983 till 1996 when the band decided to take off their iconic make-up. Kiss currently consists of Simmons (the Demon), Stanley (the Starchild), guitarist Tommy Thayer (since 2002, replacing Frehley and wearing the Spaceman make-up), and drummer Eric Singer (1992-1996, 2000-2002, 2004-present replacing Criss and wearing the Catman make-up).

            Monster opens with the strong rocker “Hell or Hallelujah”, which is the lead single for the album. The song has “Detroit Rock City”-like lyrics and great guitar work from Thayer. Stanley’s voice sounds pretty good and that’s saying a lot considering his voice has been shot for the last few years (Stanley had vocal surgery about a year ago so it seems to have helped). This is followed by the stomping beats of “Wall of Sound”, which is the first song sung by Simmons on the album. The song is okay as the lyrics tend to fall on the weak lyrics. Luckily, the same can’t be said for Stanley’s “Freak”. The song is a brilliantly written anthem of sorts. “And I love the clothes I wear/Let them laugh ‘cause I don’t care” sings Stanley. “It’s my cross I’m proud to bear/I’m a freak”. “Back to the Stone Age” might have a corny title but the music sounds like something the MC5 could churn out back in the day.  

Thayer and Singer also get to sing on the album. Thayer’s “Outta This World” is probably my least favorite song off the album while Singer’s “All For the Love of Rock N Roll” is slightly better. Other highlights off the album include Simmon’s hard-hitting “The Devil is Me” and “Long Way Down” which might be my favorite song off the album. It’s a Zeppelin-sounding rocker with chugging guitars and great drumming from Singer.

Monster is just simply a great album from Kiss. They did really work hard on this album. Kiss fans will definitely want to check this out (if they haven’t already) but I think people who are fans of the material Kiss came out with in the 1970’s might actually like this album. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

John Cale- Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood review

 John Cale - Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood
John Cale
Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood
Rating: ****

Seven years after the release of his last album, John Cale has released his fifteenth studio album. For over four decades, Cale has been famous for being one of the founding members of legendary rock band the Velvet Underground and for his own solo material. In his long musical career, Cale isn’t afraid to try one genre at least once. With that being said, Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood is a very good album. While it might not be a classic, it certainly is an impressive piece of work from the 70-year-old Cale.

            As mentioned before, Cale will try any genre at least once. This album sees Cale experimenting with electronic music. While that may sound like a turn off for most people, Cale makes it work. “I Wanna Talk 2 You” is the album’s first song and it’s great to hear Cale’s voice after all these years. Cale collaborates with Danger Mouse on the first track, which is pretty interesting. Hearing all the electronic sounds might be strange first but in the end, “I Wanna Talk 2 You” is a great track. “Scotland Yard” is a great sounding track. The song takes advantage of the electronic sounds used on this album. Cale’s voice on this track, although a bit aged, sounds like it did on his earlier albums. “Face to the Sky” might be my personal favorite song off the album. It’s interesting to hear Cale use Autotune (if not, then some other kind of sound effect makes his voice sound robotic) on one of his own tracks. The music itself makes the track even more brilliant and quiet catchy as well.  “December Rains”, at first, sounds like a weak track but the lyrics are actually quite clever. “With Google getting on your nerves/And politics left and right” sings Cale “Kiss your private life goodbye/Lights out say goodnight.” Cale also declares on this track “I’m trying to keep the noise down”. Sure you are, John. The second half of the album fall at little bit on the weak side but it’s pretty good. “Mothra” sounds like a song that could have been on Slow Dazzle, minus all the synthesizers and noises. “Living With You” is a song that’s begging to be played on the radio with its melodic feel.

            Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood is a very good album from John Cale. I’m pretty impressed that Cale can still make great music at 70 years old. If you are new a stranger to Cale’s solo career, don’t start here. I recommend you get Paris 1919, Fear, Slow Dazzle, and Helen of Troy first (the latter three can be purchased together on the two-disc set The Island Years). As for other Cale fans, you shouldn’t be disappointed.     

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2013 nominees


            It took a while for the Hall to announce the nominees for next year but here they are: 15 artists have been nominated. Five of them will be inducted in a ceremony that will take place in April of next year. For the first time ever, the Hall is letting the public have their say in who they want in. The Hall will then take the top five on December 5 in the fans’ ballot and take it into consideration with the big heads. I must say this year’s list of nominees: pretty good. Like I do as usual, I will split the fifteen artists into separate categories.

Get them in!: My ballot

Deep Purple- The British hard rock legends have finally been nominated. Formed in 1968, Deep Purple are considered one of the pioneering acts in the genre of heavy metal. The band hit their peak in the early 1970’s with albums such as Deep Purple In Rock, Fireball, and Machine Head. The latter featured the hit single, “Smoke on the Water”. Deep Purple were also one of those bands that went through several line-up changes. Of the line-ups, the best of them was Mark II: singer Ian Gillian, guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, bassist Roger Glover, drummer Ian Paice, and keyboardist Jon Lord. The band split in 1976, but reunited in 1984. Since then, the band is still going on strong. As to which members the Hall will choose to induct, I think they’ll induct just the Mark II line-up. Sadly, a full-blown reunion is not possible since Lord passed earlier this year from cancer. The question is if Blackmore (who doesn’t perform rock music anymore) will be willing to join Gillian, Glover, and Paice for a one-off performance. We’ll have to wait and see.

Rush- I’m pleasantly surprised that the Hall has finally nominated the Canadian prog-rock trio. Formed in 1968, Rush have been together for a long time. While never a huge mainstream chart-topping act, Rush have managed to build a very loyal fan base as well as a cult following. The band have released 19 albums (their most recent being Clockwork Angels from this year). Albums such as 2112 and Moving Pictures are considered classics. Another thing to note is that since their second album in 1974 Fly By Night, the line-up in the band hasn’t changed. Rush consist of guitarist Alex Lifeson, bassist/singer Geddy Lee, and drummer Neil Peart. If inducted, it’ll obviously be those three getting in. The band also had bassist Jeff Jones (he was a member for a week, according to sources) and drummer John Rutsey (R.I.P.), who played on the band’s debut album.

Joan Jett and the Black Hearts- The Hall doesn’t have enough female artists in there. Joan Jett deserves to be in. After the split of the Runaways, Jett quickly got a new band together and found her own success as a solo artist. I still think the Runaways should be inducted first but if they can’t get in, Joan should.

Heart- Fronted by sisters Nancy and Ann Wilson, Heart found success in the mid-1970’s as one of the most successful rock groups of that time. The band made a comeback in the mid to late 1980’s with songs such as “Alone” and “Never”. They are still going today and deserve a place in the Hall.

Paul Butterfield Blues Band- I know very little about the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. I know that they were extremely influential and that they were one of the first rock acts on Elektra Records. Just for seniority alone, they should be in.


Okay

Procol Harum- I’m surprised that the Hall decided to pick not one but TWO progressive rock acts. In all honesty, I’m not too familiar with Procol Harum’s work but they should’ve been in a long time ago.

Kraftwerk- The experimental kautrock band has finally received a nod from the Hall. Much like Procol Harum, I know very little but I wouldn’t mind seeing them get in.

Randy Newman- I’m surprised Randy Newman isn’t in yet. He’s a great songwriter. The guy has been teased about the sound of his voice but the guy is a pro.

If you must…
Donna Summer- It’s pretty much official: Donna is getting in this year. With all of her previous nominations and her death earlier this year, she’ll get in without any trouble. Still, I’m not too crazy about her music. In my previous times evaluating the Hall’s nods, I didn’t want Donna Summer in there. I don’t consider her as rock music. Still I’m going to admit it now (and I’m not just saying this just because she died): I’ve always liked “She Works Hard For the Money”. I remember at the time of her death Slash said he liked some of her music even though he doesn’t like disco. I’ll be very surprised if she doesn’t get in.

Owl convention (Who?)

Albert King, Chic, The Marvelettes, The Meters- Listen: I’ve heard of these people before and I don’t really have a problem with R&B acts getting in the Hall. Still, I feel like the Hall goes a bit gaga over the R&B acts. I mean, I think they’re at the bottom of the barrel here. The Hall should focus more on the ROCK acts that aren’t in.

PISS OFF!

Public Enemy and NWA- You all know my feeling on rap music: I hate it. Don’t preach to me about genre politics and say “Oh, well rap is rock music because of this and that”. PU-LEASE! I know what I said about R&B and whatnot. I know that Grandmaster Flash, Run DMC, and the Beastie Boys are in already but I don’t want any more rap or hip hop in the Hall. It annoys the hell out of me. Please stop.