Saturday, January 26, 2013

Review: Dash Rip Rock, "Black Liquor"

If you grew up a fan of live music in or around Louisiana in the late 1980s or early 1990s, you knew, without a doubt, that Dash Rip Rock was going to be huge one day.

The swamp rock band’s first three albums, considered classics in my collection, were wild blends of old-fashioned high energy rock ‘n’ roll, country twang and college alternative, all delivered with a punk rock attitude. Their live shows were legendary and packed the house wherever they played. You’d be hard pressed to find one person that went to one of their shows and came away disappointed.

Despite all of that, the band’s biggest popular impact was a 1996 novelty hit, a reworking of “At the Hop” called “Let’s Go Smoke Some Pot,” a song that really didn’t do justice to what the band was all about.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Review: Newsted, "Metal"

Since leaving Metallica, Jason Newsted’s record hasn’t exactly backed up statements that he was into heavier music and how things might have changed during the dark period of Load and Re-Load if the bassist had more input.

First we had the lightweight alternative act Echobrain, which I tried to block out of my memory until a friend reminded me of it when I wrote a sneak peek on the first track from this EP a while back. Then there was Rock Star Supernova, a band that also featured Tommy Lee (Motley Crue) and Dave Navarro (Jane’s Addiction, Red Hot Chili Peppers) and was created for a reality show. Not a sterling track record for a more-metal-than-thou guy.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Review: Philip H. Anselmo/Warbeast, "War of the Gargantuas" split

Long rumored and long awaited, this split EP from Phil Anselmo’s Housecore Records gives fans the first taste of the former Pantera and current Down frontman’s upcoming solo work.

Warbeast, a Texas thrash/speed metal outfit which is out on the road with Down now, was one of the first signings to Anselmo’s label and rounds out this four-song collection with two abrasive, breakneck tracks — “Birth of a Psycho” and “IT.” Both are solid efforts, calling on the classic thrash sound of the 1980s, but bringing a modern edge to it. There’s a lot of Slayer, particularly in “IT,” but a taste of Pantera, too, along with some European influences.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Review: Adler, "Back from the Dead"

Drummer Steven Adler has built a fair bit of legend in hard rock circles, but for all the wrong reasons. Adler, you may recall, was the guy who was kicked out of Guns n’ Roses because of his drug problem. That takes some real effort.

All these years later, Adler, by all accounts, has his act cleaned up and his life back under control. He’s teamed up with three younger musicians who appear to be cut from the cloth of modern rock radio in hopes of building some legend in a different way with his new outfit Adler.

Vocalist Jack Bunton and guitarist Lonny Paul wrote most of the material for the record, which was co-produced by Adler and Dokken bassist Jeff Pilson. The combination works just as you hope it would, producing songs that could put the band on modern rock radio, but still have some ties to Adler’s glitzy 1980s hard-rock past.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Review: T&N, "Slave to the Empire"

What do you get when you mix the three original members of Dokken who were not named Don Dokken with drummer Brian Tichy and guest shots from a few of the best singers in the hard rock realm? A surprisingly solid and vibrant record.

Guitarist George Lynch and bassist/vocalist Jeff Pilson originally began writing the songs on Slave to the Empire as a new project for Lynch’s band Lynch Mob, but realized they weren’t quite right for it. They eventually recorded the seven original tracks on this record with Tichy, who was the one that suggested a reunion with Dokken drummer Mick Brown and a project in the vein of the Black Sabbath offshoot Heaven and Hell. The three former bandmates seized on the idea, calling themselves Tooth and Nail, a name that for legal reasons had to be shortened to T&N.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Best of 2012: Country and Southern rock Top 10

Editor's Note: This is the fourth in a four-part series covering my favorite releases of 2012.

This is the first time that I’ve ever enjoyed enough records from the country and Southern rock genres to put together a list. Maybe I’m getting old and turning into that country music-loving guy that my relatives always told me I would when I “grew out of all that crazy stuff and realized what good music was.” Then again, have you seen my other list?

No. 10

CHELLE ROSE – GHOST OF BROWDER HOLLER: At times mean and ugly, at others downright beautiful. At times strongly reflecting her Appalachian roots, at others blowing the speakers out like a rocker girl. Chelle Rose’s debut was easily one of the more interesting releases of the year in country music.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Best of 2012: Country and Southern rock honorable mentions

Editor's note: This is part three of a four-part series looking at some of my favorite records of 2012.

OK. The country and Southern rock list is new territory for me. We'll start with a look at some honorable mentions, disappointments and a few other things.

 Dillon Hodges: You probably haven’t heard of him yet, but you owe it to yourself to look him up. “Bullet for a Broken Heart” is easily one of the best tunes released this year, and the other songs that he has scattered around are almost as good. He mixes country influences, indie rock and an exceptionally soulful voice with some tinges of Stevie Wonder here and there. It’s good stuff. Go find it. Now.