Saturday, October 22, 2016

Saturday Night Special: Raphael Saadiq, "Angel"

So this installment represents two firsts for this blog – an R&B song, and apparently, a fictional song.

Of course, the song is not entirely fictional, at least a part of it exists. But after hearing it on the “Luke Cage” premiere on Netflix, I went out in search of it, only to discover that it doesn’t exist. It’s apparently something that Saadiq recorded for his cameo on the show. It’s not even on the soundtrack for the series, a fact lamented by several commenters on the videos that I found.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Sunday Sabbath: "Planet Caravan," from Paranoid (1970)

If ever there’s been a soundtrack for the acid trip, it’s probably the third song from Paranoid – “Planet Caravan.” When Pantera covered it for their Far Beyond Driven album, they took that feel even further, creating a trippy animated video that suited the song well. As much as I liked Dimebag’s performance on that version, though, the original still rules.

Though we’d heard psychedelic sounds on the band’s first album, “Planet Caravan” was the first hint of it that we heard on Paranoid, but it’s a full dose.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Something Borrowed: "The Hunt," Sepultura/New Model Army

It's been a while since I’ve done one of these, but I hit this song in my shuffle today and had to crank it up.

I’ll admit when Sepultura’s Chaos A.D. came out in 1993, I wasn’t very familiar with punk band New Model Army and didn’t know at first that this was a cover. But I loved it from the first play of the record.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Metal Meltdowns: Judas Priest, "Turbo"

To hear many fans talk about Judas Priest’s 1986 album Turbo, you’d think it was practically a disco record. Truth be told, though, it’s not quite that bad. There’s not much here that couldn’t be fixed by replacing the synthesizers with a heavier guitar.

Sure, there’s a sound shift here toward the glam rock that was gaining popularity at the time, and it’s certainly Priest’s most commercial album. But there are also some good tunes on it.

Taking it from the top, “Turbo Lover” remains one of my favorite Priest tunes. Despite the more commercial bent, it’s a great, driving hard rocker with a huge hook. Any time it comes on, I’ll be cranking up the volume knob, and I’m suspicious of any hard rock fan who doesn’t.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Sunday Sabbath: "Paranoid," from Paranoid (1970)

As is often the case, it was one of Black Sabbath’s shortest and simplest songs that gave them their biggest hit.

“Paranoid” reached the Top 10 in the UK charts, the only Sabbath song to do so, and according to Bill Ward, it was a tune knocked out in less than half an hour to fill the album. Despite its last-minute nature, the song got traction on the charts, and before the record was released, the name of the album had been changed from War Pigs to Paranoid.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Sunday Sabbath: "War Pigs," from Paranoid (1970)

So now we’ve reached what is probably Sabbath’s most popular album, though in my opinion, not their best. That one’s coming a little later in the program. But Paranoid does contain more than its share of the band’s iconic songs – the title track, “Iron Man,” “Hand of Doom,” “Electric Funeral,” “Fairies Wear Boots,” and of course, album opener “War Pigs.”

Originally titled “Walpurgis” by writer Geezer Butler, that name was nixed by the record company as being too satanic for the time, resulting in the change to “War Pigs.” It’s a song that announces fairly quickly that Paranoid is going to perhaps be a little more aggressive than its predecessor.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Review: Anthrax live at Riverside Warehouse (Shreveport, La., Sept. 23, 2016)

It was my first trip to the Riverside Warehouse in Shreveport, and I was a little surprised by the venue. I was thinking warehouse – a big open space. Instead, it’s a cozy, but cool little spot, with a bar out front and the performance area in the back, an open floor and a balcony above, with good views of the stage from just about wherever you’re at.

It was also my first time to see Anthrax as a headliner and the only time I’ve seen them since the late 1980s, when I caught them opening for Ozzy Osbourne. (I was supposed to see them once during the John Bush years, but they dropped off the bill at the last minute.) I was looking forward to hearing some old favorites and plenty of stuff off their latest, For All Kings, my current favorite album of the year.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sunday Sabbath: "Warning," from Black Sabbath (1970)

And we close our journey through Sabbath’s debut album out with the second cover, “Warning,” originally performed by the Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation.

Given what I’ve said about Sabbath’s rhythm section through the previous pieces in this series, “Warning” provides them with a great opportunity. The absolute coolest thing about the original version of this song is how the bass and drums lock together in a rumble of thunder. Bill Ward and Geezer Butler follow through on that, but there’s a little more inflection on what they do that makes it sound kind of, for lack of a better word, “bendy.”

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Saturday Night Special: King's X, "Goldilox"

King’s X’s debut record, Out of the Silent Planet, stands as easily the band’s most straightforward rock record. Though there were hints at the progressive powerhouse they’d become, the songs here have more in common with other hard rock bands of the time.

At the time I got the record (which was my second King’s X record after the follow-up Gretchen Goes to Nebraska), I was vehemently opposed to ballads. So “Goldilox” didn’t really register for me. I was much more likely to be rocking to “King,” “Shot of Love” or one of the other higher-energy tunes.