Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Best of 2014: Reader picks

Before I get into my personal picks for the best records of 2014, I want to give my readers the spotlight.

To tabulate this list, I looked at all the posts to this blog for the year. I tossed out all of the Saturday Shuffles which tend to get quite a bit of traffic and focused just on the reviews. These are the Top 10 most viewed articles of the year.

Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you again in 2015.

10. Metallica - "Lords of Summer." Published April 8. A new tune from Metallica that may or may not make their next record. I liked it despite its flaws.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Review: Sanctuary, "The Year the Sun Died"

If there’s a balm for fans to ease the breakup/hiatus of Nevermore, it has to be this: The first new music from Sanctuary since 1989.

Four-fifths of the original lineup returned for the band’s 2010 reunion and for The Year the Sun Died — vocalist Warrel Dane, guitarist Lenny Rutledge, bassist Jim Sheppard and drummer Dave Budbill. Only guitarist Sean Blosl passed on the reunion. He’s replaced on the album by Brad Hull, who joined the touring band in 2011, after the departure of Nevermore guitarist Jeff Loomis.

The 2014 version of Sanctuary has, perhaps, a bit of a chunkier and heavier sound, with some shades of Nevermore’s more progressive leanings coming into play at times. Dane’s vocals are the deeper warble we’ve become accustomed to with Nevermore, rather than the youthful shrieks of the late 1980s, but no less powerful.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Review: Whiskey Myers, "Early Morning Shakes"

At the end of the year, there always seem to be a handful of albums laying aorund that I really like, but haven’t reviewed for some reason. I’m not making any promises, but I’m going to try to catch up on those at the end of this year, beginning with this one.

I discovered Whiskey Myers quite by accident when I stumbled across “Ballad of a Southern Man” on YouTube one night. The song, which hit home for me, led me to pick up their 2011 album Firewater, and I loved the mix of country and fire-breathing Southern rockers the boys from Tyler, Texas, brought to the table.

Their most recent release, Early Morning Shakes arrived in February, and it delivers more of the same with, I believe, some even better Southern-fried grooves.