Thursday, May 31, 2012

15 Years, 15 Records: 2007 -- Down does it again

Initially, I didn’t like Down’s third record, Over the Under, as much as the first two, but it didn’t take long for me to come around.

The things that give Down so much appeal for me are there – that organic sound that blends all the various influences of their New Orleans home into an amazing stoner/doom sound.

Like all of their records, Over the Under is driven by those big, grooving guitar riffs of Pepper Keenan and Kirk Windstein, but this album is helped by some very personal lyrics from Phil Anselmo. “Mourn,” in particular, stand out. The song was written after Anselmo was barred from the funeral of “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott, and the emotion is raw and gritty.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Review: Bob Wayne, "Till the Wheels Fall Off"

There could be no better way to open Bob Wayne’s upcoming album than with the title track, “Till the Wheels Fall Off.”

If you don’t know anything about Wayne going into this song, you’ll know everything you need to know about him once it’s over. It pretty much sums up how the former guitar tech for Hank III approaches music and life.

The song starts with Wayne making loud train whistle noises. It’s a warning that the album is chugging down the rails at you like a runaway locomotive. The ride begins with this rocking, uptempo country anthem to Wayne’s love of life on the road and his dedication to keeping it going “till the wheels fall off this motherfucker.” It tells you up front what you’re getting with Till the Wheels Fall Off, and Wayne fans would expect no less.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

15 Years, 15 Records: 2006 -- Gone country

If I went back for my whole life, 2006 would probably be the only year that a country album would lead my best-of list. For 2006, though, my top two records are country.

If I had to pick the best record for the first decade of this century, it would be tough to not pick Hank III’s Straight to Hell for its impact on me, personally, and on the underground country scene in general.

While Johnny Cash’s American Recordings in 1994 was the album that reintroduced me to country music and opened me up to listening to some of the classic artists of the genre, it was Straight to Hell that led directly to my discovery of artists who are playing a more traditional form of country today.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Review: Lyriel, "Leverage"

The first impression that Lyriel’s Leverage makes on the listener is a little deceiving.

After listening to the title track, which is the first real song on the record, I thought they were a pretty good Lacuna Coil knock-off with some traditional metal leanings. Heard it before, I thought, but I’m glad I pushed forward.

With the next track, “Parting,” my meh turned into something a little more interested. It opens with a djentish guitar riff, then a violin rises up over that and gets things kicked into a rollicking folk metal tune. It pulled me deeper into the record to “Voices in My Head” and its driving main riff.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Review: Trixter, "New Audio Machine"

If there’s one thing I should have learned by now in all my years of commenting on music as an amateur and professional, it’s this: Be sure you’re right before you make a smartass comment or you may end up eating it.

Can someone pass me the salt and pepper?

When I saw a new Trixter release on my list of upcoming records, I snarked offhand at Something Else Reviews. I thought I was about as safe as I could be. Unlike a lot of bands of the era, I never liked Trixter. I heard their self-titled debut in 1990 and thought it was just another generic entry into a rapidly devolving hard rock scene. I’m pretty sure I didn’t even know they released a second album until I read the press info accompanying New Audio Machine.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Review: Tenacious D, "Rize of the Fenix"

With album art that gives new meaning to the term “cock rock,” Tenacious D rises again from the ashes. With Rize of the Fenix, they’re destined to rule the rock world like the cocks of the walk. They release their inhibitions and rock out with their … OK, enough bad jokes about the cover.

It is, however, a near-perfect summation of what the team of Jack Black and Kyle Gass are all about. Crude? Yep. Juvenile? You bet. Hilarious? Most definitely. There’s also a devious intelligence in their lampooning of the rock-star attitude as they pay homage to some of the very people that they’re poking fun at and deliver songs that worm their way into your brain — despite your best efforts to keep them out.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Review: Hank III, "Long Gone Daddy"

After years of battling with Curb Records to have his albums released, Hank III finally broke free from his contract a little over a year ago. Now, it seems Curb has no problem releasing his records.

This is the second they’ve put out since he left, following up last year’s Hillbilly Joker, a rock album they refused to release when it was recorded in 2003.

Long Gone Daddy wasn’t quite as contentious as that release. It collects some songs from III’s earliest recording sessions, along with tunes that he did for various compilations while he was at Curb. There are a few originals, a few alternate takes, a few covers of his grandfather’s songs and a few covers from other artists. All in all, it’s a collection that should please fans who have been turned off by his flirtations with rock and metal. And, if I’m being honest, even I have to admit that it’s better than some of the records he’s turned out in recent years.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Danzig streaming cover of "Devil's Angels"

Danzig is streaming a cover of "Devil's Angels," the theme song of the biker movie of the same name, at his website. The song should certainly please fans of his classic work with The Misfits. It would sound right at home on one of the band's records.