Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Review: Slash, "World on Fire"

Slash’s 2012 record Apocalyptic Love blindsided me. I went in for a half-hearted listen, and it turned out to be one of my favorite records of the year. Of course, that means the expectations for the follow-up were much higher.

World on Fire races out of the gate with the same vibe and energy that Apocalyptic Love brought, but it doesn’t sustain that drive and fizzles a bit toward the end.

I appreciate Slash wanting to give fans more bang for the buck with 17 tracks on the album, but maybe it should have been pared down a little as many of the tracks that come late on the record kind of blend into each other.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Saturday Shuffle: DLR, Dio, Living Colour, Metallica, Soundgarden

A nice variety of hard rockers from classics to new stuff, from glam to grunge ...

David Lee Roth, “Tobacco Road.” From the album Eat ‘Em and Smile (1986). I always forget how much I love this cover until I hear it again. Steve Vai’s screaming guitar licks are perfect, and the bombastic, showtune tone of the song is right down Diamond Dave’s alley. It could very well be my favorite track from my favorite DLR solo album.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Review: Dead Earth Politics, "The Queen of Steel"

They had me at “Redneck Dragonslayer.”

If you know anything about me at all, then you know the title of the lead track on this three-song EP from Austin-based metal band Dead Earth Politics is going to immediately get my attention.

The three tunes here, though, do more than pique my interest. They hold it from start to finish and leave me wishing for more.

There’s an interesting blend of metal sounds in these songs, and that starts with that opening tune. The first riff that guitarist Tim Driscoll throws at us on “Redneck Dragonslayer” is rooted deeply in New Wave of British Heavy Metal. It reminds me, perhaps, of something from the Paul Dianno era of Iron Maiden. Then vocalist Ven Scott starts to roar, and it takes a turn.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Saturday Shuffle: Hank Jr., Sturgill Simpson, Dash, Lillian, Ratt

We start this week's installment with a little redneck noise, take a trip through Louisiana, and end up in L.A. ...

Hank Jr., “Attitude Adjustment.” From the album Major Moves (1984). There was always this mix of hell-raising country rebel and goofy fun in Hank Jr.’s older work. This tune, about a guy who can’t learn his lesson, definitely fell in the latter category. It’s silly, but much more likeable than some of the humor songs that came later.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Review: "Nashville Outlaws: A Tribute to Motley Crue"

I remember the early days of the tribute album. One of the first, and one that helped launch the format, was 1994’s Kiss, My Ass. (Yes, I know the original title didn’t have a comma in it, but I fixed it for them.)

Among other “gems,” it included a Garth Brooks cover of “Hard Luck Woman” (surprisingly one of the better tunes there) and a sleepy (yes, sleepy) cover of “Rock and Roll All Nite” by Toad the Wet Sprocket. For many years, that album stood, in my mind, as the worst example of a tribute album, and I thought it would always hold the crown.

How could I have known, 20 years later, that Nashville Outlaws: A Tribute to Motley Crue would be unleashed on an unsuspecting world?

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Saturday Shuffle: Testament, Crue, Danzig, Pantera, Anthrax

This week's shuffle is a pretty hard-hitting lineup ...

Testament, “Electric Crown.” From the album The Ritual (1992). Testament never got the press of the Big Four of thrash, but they can stand with the best of them. This album was a bit of a shock at the time with a couple of ballads and, at times, a more accessible direction. Over time, I’ve come to have a greater appreciation for it. This is just a great heavy metal tune, not as thrashing as perhaps what we expected from them, but with a great hook.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Saturday Shuffle: Aerosmith, Infectious Grooves, Slayer, Van Hagar, Dee Snider

A couple of overlooked gems, a song that shouldn't be in my shuffle and Dee Snider on Broadway ...

Aerosmith, “Hangman Jury.” From the album Permanent Vacation (1987). Permanent Vacation was really the record that started Aerosmith down the sordid pop rock path that led, ultimately, to atrocities like “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.” That said, the album had its moments, and this is certainly one of them. It’s one of the few songs on the record where you really hear the blues rock influence. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Something Borrowed: "Tobacco Road," David Lee Roth/The Nashville Teens/John D. Loudermilk

Every now and then my shuffle hits a song from David Lee Roth’s Eat ’Em and Smile album, and I remember how much I loved that record.

Sure, it’s silly, corny and completely over the top, but that’s precisely what I want from Diamond Dave. That flamboyant, and at times, yes, goofy personality is part and parcel of why I’ve always loved him and why, in my mind, Sammy Hagar was never a replacement for him despite really being the better singer. 

Roth also has a knack for surrounding himself with great musicians, and that was especially true of this record, which featured the likes of Steve Vai on guitar, Billy Sheehan on bass and Gregg Bissonette on drums.

At a time when Van Halen with Hagar was moving toward a more pop-oriented sound, Eat ’Em and Smile was a loud blast of wild-eyed rock ‘n’ roll that was essentially a middle finger to what Roth’s former band was doing. At least that’s how I saw it.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Saturday Shuffle: Soilwork, Tesla, Anthrax, Scatterbrain, Alestorm

Pretty heavy lineup this week -- some new stuff, some old stuff and ending with some fun ...

Soilwork, “Memories Confined.” From the album The Living Infinite (2013). One of the tracks from the mellower, more melodic side of last year’s Soilwork double album. It’s not really one of the more memorable, but it’s not bad, either.