Monday, December 31, 2012

Album Review: "Celebration Day" by Led Zeppelin

Do you remember when you first started owning music? I do. In the span of four days I got my first two records. The first was "Live Evil" by Dio fronted Black Sabbath, but the second was "Led Zeppelin III." I wore that cassette out. That began my fandom of the greatest band in the history of the world, Led Zeppelin, not that Black Sabbath was shabby!

I've always had a spot for 70's classic rock really. I could talk about that for the next ten years, but that's not what today is about.

Today is about Led Zeppelin and I just finished watching the blu-ray of "Celebration Day." Page and the boys took a page from the Doors and didn't include what should have been the title track on the release, but I'm not going to judge.

I can remember 2007. Out of nowhere, it was announced that Led Zeppelin, with Jason Bonham on drums, would be reuniting for one night only. Over 20 million people put in for a lottery to get tickets to the show. I always said that I'd give up a kidney to see them play and this is coming from a person who saw Page and Plant and that was awesome, but sadly it was one of the many near Led Zeppelin moments. I remember watching the internets for weeks in the hopes of a tour that never came. Being in St. Louis, I didn't get to see or hear anything. I do realize now that I could've just popped onto YouTube and probably seen bits.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Album Review "Welcome To The Breakdown" by I Fight Dragons

Welcome To The Breakdown
I Fight Dragons came on my radar when they came to town on tour with MC Lars. Yes I know this is the third CD I'm reviewing from that show. Yes I know this another EP, but I bought four that night! All of them were only five bucks.

How could I not walk out with something by all of the acts?

This group is interesting. This is the first Chip Rock I've ever heard, but for categorizing purposes, I'm just going to call them modern rock. A large part of their sound comes from the use of sound chips from Nintendo and Super Nintendo cartridges. What makes that even more fun is that they don't sample them with just a touch of a button, but they use controllers from both systems, including the powerpad and a guitar hero guitar controller while on stage to click the samples.

What they end up with is a poppy, nerdy, and fun type of music that I really enjoyed.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Album Review: "Heartwork" by Carcass

It's about to get brutal up in here. Carcass are, well were, some pretty heavy boys. I had this album back when it was fairly new in the 90's and like many others, it slipped away from me. Even though I'm in my thirties now, I still like to blast some metal. A big part of that is because I love guitar. Many of the best guitarists play metal, so that's where I go to find it. Though I have to say that long gone are the days of my being in a mosh pit, stage diving, having long hair and piercings, etc. Sad isn't it? An aging metal guy.

Carcass has long since broken up and I have to say that this is pretty much a shame. Although this album is prototypical death metal, or grindcore, or whatever, it's more than just something like Cannibal Corpse and those kinds of guys. The first death band I got into was Morbid Angel. There's a group of guys that fall into every trap imaginable when it comes to death metal....

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Album Review: "Twilight EP" by Skyfox

It seems like I'm doing a lot of reviews of EPs doesn't it? Well, normally I'm not really a purchaser of EPs, but I just seem to have found a few in my possession lately...and there will be at least one more EP reviewed in the near future....

Here's a band that under normal circumstances would have stayed far outside of my radar. I discovered Skyfox because of MC Lars who was coming to St. Louis on tour with I Fight Dragons. Upon learning of the line up of bands, I did some checking. Between my friends and I that were going, none of us had ever heard of Skyfox. So, I checked them out on Youtube and honestly, I wasn't overly excited.

Upon arriving at the venue, I went over to the merch tables, manned by the artists themselves, and picked up three EPs, but not Skyfox's. We then listened to the opening band and had a beer or two, but as soon as Skyfox kicked into their first song, and the singer was swinging a sweet Gibson Les Paul Supreme, I just got it and I went and picked up this CD.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Album Review: "Friends" by mc chris

One of the things I've been trying to do over the past few years was expand not just the size, but the scope of my music library. For a long time, I really didn't have much rap to speak of, save the Beastie Boys, and I still don't have a lot.

I'd have to say when I look at my music library by genre on my PC that it's third to last in front of Country (all Johnny Cash) and my newly added Blues category, but as long as mc chris and a host of other nerd rappers keep coming out of the woodwork, it'll keep growing.

What we have here is the latest release by mc chris. This is a four song EP, that was released on Black Friday 2012, which is all about Batman's friends. Normally, the content of mc's songs really speaks to me because I'm into those things, but I have to be honest here, I've not been a fan of comic books since I was little.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Classic Album Review: "Electric Ladyland" by Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix.

The godfather of it all. Call this a slight tribute to the man who changed everything, and who's got a new record coming out next year, his third posthumous release under the Experience Hendrix label.

I love Jimi Hendrix, but I never had much in the way of his studio albums. I mean, who doesn't have "Are You Experienced?," but I never had this one or "Axis: Bold As Love." This is something that I'm working on fixing as we speak. I've had several live albums, some greatest hits collections, but there's something special about hearing the music as the artist intended on the original albums and Jimi was definitely an artist. He was a true genius and a true believer in what he sang about. This album was the last of the Experience, and the last studio release of Hendrix's life. It was, in more ways than one, the beginning of the end and a perfect swansong.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Album Review: "The Edgar Allan Poe EP" by MC Lars

This one is another late arrival to the party I suppose. This disc has been out for months and months, but I just got it. I originally came across MC Lars when he was on the bill for the first mc chris show I attended. I ended up buying his latest album after that, and then became a fan. I was trolling his website awhile back and came across this EP, but forgot to buy it.


A while back MC Lars tweeted me that he'd be here with I Fight Dragons at the Firebird. Well, as I hadn't had the chance to see a nerd rapper in St. Louis yet, I made sure to get down there with a couple friends of mine. Quick note before we stampede off here, I had the chance to meet with MC Lars at the merch table and during the headliners and I have never met a musician so gracious, so humble, and so willing to give his time to those who want it.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Album Review: "Living Like a Runaway" by Lita Ford

I read about this album in the where are they  now column of Guitar World. I confess that I was rather interested in this although I cannot honestly say why. I never really much enjoyed Lita Ford aside from the two really big tunes she had. I suppose the story of her husband turning her sons against her intrigued me.

Well, I didn't buy the album because of that article, but flash forward a few months and I was staring at Lita Ford and her band in the Chaiffetz Arena and they were just killing it, aside from the drums being too high up in the mix. The wife and I walked to the merch table right after her set was up and bought her CD. Now that I've gotten older and shirts more expensive, that's the kind of thing I want to take home with me. The album. So I did just that. I thought she had earned it.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Classic Album Review: "Real Illusions: Reflections"

Back to Steve Vai. I made mention in my previous post that I didn't have enough of his albums, well here is my latest purchase. Mr. Vai continues to amaze me on all of his records.

Whereas the previous post was about his current album, this is about its predecessor, and the first chapter (or third) of his rock fable that's told out of order, or maybe in order. He's not quite clear on that one.

Like the other album, it's a mixture between an instrumental record and vocal songs. I think over time Steve has learned to be satisfied with what his voice is and is now comfortable singing on a couple songs each album. It certainly does break up the monotony of the awesome guitar solos. I suppose this album tells the story of Captain Mason Drake as well, but like with what I learned from it's successor, I chose to simply ignore all of those details and just focus on the music.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Album Review "Blak and Blu" by Gary Clark Jr.

A couple weeks ago I'm driving home and my wife texts me. At an appropriate time I check my phone and it says "google gary clark jr album black and blue." I had no idea what she was talking about. The next day, I did just that and found a trailer for the album Blak and Blu by the man himself. As was pointed out, there was no way she could have known that the spelling was off as she heard about this on NPR...yes. Another NPR recommended album. We're really cool.

Please note: become a member of your local NPR station!

Let's get this train back on the rails here. I watched a trailer for the album and I saw a passionate young man playing several different semi-hollow guitars with P-90 pickups and I was floored by what I heard. His growling guitar, his powerful vocals, seeing him make the President dance, and his Hendrix inspired riffage. Yeah, I'll admit it, my wife hit the nail on the head with this one.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Album Review: "Driving Towards The Daylight" by Joe Bonamassa

Here's a guy I'd never heard of until I started playing guitar again. There are artists that only other guitarists know and love and once I started darkening the doorway of Guitar Center again...I'd heard of Joe Bonamassa.

I suppose I'm getting closer to being able to say that I enjoy the blues. With John Lee Hooker and many "punk" blues artists in my library these days, I'm really beginning to understand and appreciate the genre. In the past, I can only say that I've been a fan of blues based rock like Led Zeppelin and all of their children. I, personally, would put Joe Bonamassa in a spot between Hooker'n'Heat (electric blues) and Led Zeppelin (blues based rock). This album is neither one nor the other, but it definitely was enough to draw me in. After I'd read that Brad Whitford and son were among the featured sidemen for this album, I was in. It didn't hurt that I'd read all about guitar players gushing about Joe on the internet I suppose. I'm always looking for an artist that makes me want to get better, and Joe fits that bill.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Album Review: "The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind" by Ben Folds Five

Heading over to my in-laws' house, we heard on NPR about Ben Folds Five putting out a new album. My wife was thrilled. She loves the Ben Folds Fellow. Last year, we attended his concert at Powell Symphony Hall with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. Though I couldn't count myself among his fans, and he didn't play "The Luckiest" (our wedding song), I really enjoyed the show. Both he and the orchestra turned in spectacular performances. Later that year I  purchased her his three disc retrospective. Now the band is back together with an album of new material and since my wife is a fan and I knew I'd be buying this album too.

Quick thought: If NPR tells you about a good chunk of your music, does that make you a nerd? Moving on. Since the symphonic concert, which was one of the best shows I've seen in some time, I started moving towards Ben Folds fanhood. I can definitely appreciate his quirky and intelligent lyrics, his writing songs on stage, and then recording them, but I'm not a  good Ben Folds fan. I had no idea on the retrospective that it was full of Ben Folds Five and Ben Folds solo tunes. Honestly, I cannot tell the different between the two.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Classic Album Review: "Buckethead Land 2" by Buckethead

Let's take another trip in the way back machine. This year, aside from just tracking down new bands and new music, I've also been delving into the past to fill in some holes in my library, or in Buckethead and Steve Vai's cases, right terrible wrongs by adding them in.

I can remember first hearing of Buckethead back in 1998. I was at my friend Trey's house as we were trying to get a band off the ground. (NOTE: We didn't.) At that time in my life, I wasn't really a fan of instrumental guitar to speak of. I had gone through a short phase a few years before, and then I kind of got out of it. Now that I'm older, I'm back into it and really exploring the different guys doing it. That's why I picked up Buckheadland 2.

When I popped it into the CD player, I was expecting some disappointment as I was told that this album wasn't one of Buckethead's better releases. I didn't swear at the stereo like when I listed to John 5 for the first time. But there was definitely a very real response.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Album Review: "Yellow & Green" by Baroness

Double album!

The double album might just be the greatest thing in the whole world. Even better than this. Let me know if that's too vague OK?

Baroness came to me in an email I received talking about their latest album. Like their first two it was named after colors, but unlike the first two it was a double record. When trying to decide which of their albums to get, I saw that the double album was the same price as the two singles, so that's what I picked up.

I didn't really know a whole lot about these guys when I placed the order for Yellow & Green, but reading about how they recorded it really interested me. When the guitars were recorded, the amplifiers, in some cases, were not in the same room as the player. On top of that, the acoustic plucking of the electric guitars was also recorded on the track. This was one of the coolest things I have heard about in a long time. This method of recording the guitars made for a wonderfully creepy and esoteric vibe that permeated the whole album.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Classic Album Review: "Hotter Than Hell" by Kiss

As a younger man, I purchased and sold CDs like nobody's business. Every 6 to 8 months, I'd prune out albums and keep my collection in the neighborhood of 250. Several of the Kiss studio albums were among those pruned.

Now that I've switched to computer storage of the music instead of a 400 disc CD changer, I'm adding some of them back. The first one I put back was 1974's "Hotter Than Hell." This album is now 38 years old.

This record, like the first few by Kiss, was written and recorded in literally just days, but it doesn't feel like it. That is kind of an amazing feat considering that Gene Simmons even went into the well to pull out a Wicked Lester song.

This album was, in my opinion, a harbinger of what was to come from Kiss. Though their debut record is better, this album is more complete in my opinion. At least better in terms of classic songs.Whereas the eponymous was a rock tour de force from track one to track ten, Hotter Than Hell takes several twists and turns, and unlike it's predecessor, offers up some sadly forgotten deep cuts.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Album Review: "Spell Eater" by Huntress

Do you know whom I love?

Iron Maiden and King Diamond.

For awhile, I thought that King Diamond was Iron Maiden every time I heard them because of the way the King and Bruce both sing. Huge and rangy. Couple that with twin guitars of death and throw in some scary, metal imagery and you're already 65% of the way to an awesome metal record.

Well, now let me get to the point of the matter. When is the last time you heard a metal band like that? For me, it was in 2008 when King Diamond released "Give Me Your Soul Please" and in 2010 when Iron Maiden released "The Final Frontier," but obviously neither of these two bands are new. Fast forward to to 2012 and a new band has arrived to pick up the mantle of whatever the hell kind of metal this is....Huntress.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Album Review: "The Afterman: Ascension" by Coheed and Cambria

Have you ever heard of an album and then really hoped you would be able to enjoy the music it contained within? This is what happened to me when I heard about "The Afterman: Ascension."

I had never heard of Coheed and Cambria and honestly if I had, I may have very well dismissed them on their name alone, but I read the article I received in my email about their new concept record: "The Afterman."

As someone who grew up wearing out Pink Floyd "The Wall," I was interested in the double album that was forthcoming from the band.

I even watched the trailer, though it didn't really contain any music to speak of. This may also be the first trailer I've ever watched for an album. Upon reading the article, I was disappointed to learn that the double album was a series of two single albums, but my interest was still piqued.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Classic Album Review: "A Momentary Lapse of Reason" by Pink Floyd

Momentary Lapse of Reason
We are now at the 25th year of this album's existence. I first received it as a Christmas gift in the early 90's or late 80's. I do not recall for sure. Then, like now, I was trying to expand my musical collection and this was one of the albums I was given. I had no idea at the time of the three phases of Pink Floyd. I only knew that my cousin loved Pink Floyd, my step-dad loved Pink Floyd, they used funny sounds on their albums, and that Pink Floyd The Wall was a creepy movie that moved me, but I didn't know how.

I originally had this album on cassette and I don't remember what happened to that cassette, but I did listen to that tape about a million times over and over. I recently purchased this album on CD finally. This time, I know that the career of Pink Floyd has spanned three major phases and that a lot of people do not particularly enjoy this album, but there is something about it that made me want to own it again, so I bought it.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Album Review: "Monster" by Kiss

Who's your favorite band? Be honest. Mine is Kiss.

I have been listening to this band since I was about 7 years old. So, it's hard for me to look at this album objectively, but this is my subjective opinion on everything anyway right?

I do love all eras of the band at least to a point, but not to the point that they can do no wrong and everything they do is awesome.

I need to make a couple other quick points. Ace Frehley is my favorite guitar player and I have a real hard time seeing Tommy Thayer dressed up as Ace Frehley. It's not right. Now that I have those two things on the table, I can begin in earnest.

Monster is the second album by the world's highest paid Kiss Tribute band, Kiss. When I first heard Sonic Boom, I was unimpressed, but as time wore on, I grew to enjoy the album more and more and I accepted the fact that even with their new lineup, Paul could still write some good tunes. The Gene tracks on that album were just terrible and Tommy's song was about lightning and Eric's song was ok, even if the lyrics didn't make a whole lot sense.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Album Review: "The Whippoorwill" by Blackberry Smoke

My wife and I were driving, and she told me about some southern rock band she'd heard about on NPR's "All Songs Considered" and that our daughter was rocking along like it was the be all end all of music. So, as I'm trying to make her a music aficianado, I bought her this CD, but I've kept it in my car for the most part.

The band refers to themselves as an apolitical southern rock band, but I don't really recall much politics out of Lynyrd Skynyrd. I know they worked for George McGovern's 1972 campaign and they made reference to the Watergate Scandal, but that's about all I can recall. As for the modern Skynyrd, well, honestly I don't pay that much attention to them, so they could be saying all sorts of things.

Well, on to Blackberry Smoke's record. This album opens up with a lively rocker called "Six Ways Till Sunday," and it doesn't take much imagination to guess what he's talking about, even before hearing the song.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Concert Review: Marilyn Manson Verizon Wireless Ampitheater 10/05/12

I have been a fan of Marilyn Manson for a very long time. I saw, then, them at Mississippi Nights on the Smells Like Children Tour in 1995, at least I think it was 1995. Well, in the seventeen long years since that show, the them has morphed into a him. At that point, there were two replacement members in the band already, Twiggy Ramirez and Ginger Fish.

Now there are no original members in the band, and only Marilyn and Twiggy have the band's iconic Serial Killer and Sex Symbol names, but Mr. Manson is still making music, and apparently still touring. As I had the opportunity to see his show at the Verizon Wireless Ampitheater, I definitely made sure I was there.

Now, let me say, this was a Twins of Evil Tour date with Rob Zombie, but I did not stay for the Zombie set. This was the only time I have ever been cold in St. Louis's premier outdoor concert venue. About a year before this show, I saw mc chris in Columbia, MO and it was a hundred degrees that day. This year, it was about 38 and hailing. While we were finishing our very healthy meal before heading into the show, pea sized chunks of hail started pelting my windshield in the middle of a frigid torrential downpour.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Classic Album Review: "Hooker'n'Heat" by John Lee Hooker and Canned Heat

It was recommended to me that I purchase this album. I send a youtube link from James Leg and I was told that I needed to purchase this record. So I did.

This double album is the combined efforts of John Lee Hooker and Canned Heat. Based on the laid back timbre of the songs and talking between tracks. I'd wager this was recorded over the course of a weekend with basically no rehearsal. John makes mention of how no matter what he does, he can't lose that guy.

I'm not really much of a fan of the blues, but that's changing. What I do find myself enjoying these days though are collaboration albums. Painkillers by James Leg and Left Lane Cruiser, Lulu by Metallica and Lou Reed, etc. I also really enjoy double albums. I think that if a band has the material, they should put it all out. On this record, they surely did. I would wager that they just all got into the studio and sat down in the big room and just waited for the red light to come on.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Album Review: "The Strange Case Of..." by Halestorm

The Strange Case Of...
Do you remember records? What about tapes? If there was ever a case for an album to be released on either of those formats it's this one, but I'll get to that in a little bit. I don't want to get ahead of myself too much.

This is the sophomore effort by Halestorm. This band piqued my interest because there is a female in the band, Lzzy Hale. I hope there will come a point where this no longer piques my interest, but until such point, homogeneity is the enemy of all art forms. Unlike a few other female metal vocalists, Lzzy does more than just scream. She is also credited with guitars and keyboard on this album.

This is another of my many recommendations by As many know, that is where I purchase the vast majority of my music. I checked out a couple previews of this album and and on the wishlist it went.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Album Review: "Greetings From Welp City" by the Hooten Hallers

Welcome to Welp City. You may remember my concert review of the Hooten Hallers show. That was the second time I had seen them live and the show was just phenomenal. When I saw them the first time at El Lenador, I was floored and I really wanted to pick up their CD, but sadly, I only had so much money and I purchased "Painkillers" that night instead.

The next day I began seeking out information if I could acquire their physical CD, but alas the only want to get it was at their shows. There are several ways you can purchase the entire album on MP3 though, but that's just not my scene. I need to have a physical CD. Part of that is being old fashioned, part of that is I can't really hook up an MP3 player in my car, and part of it is wanting a physical backup to all of my music. When they were in town last, it was a release party of their 7" vinyl, of which I'm also not a fan, but I was holding out hopes that I would be able to snag one of their discs. I was able to snag what was apparently the only CD they had brought with them. In fact it still has the LAST ONE written on masking tape on the front of it.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Album Review "Omertà" by Adrenaline Mob

I find myself getting back into heavy metal. I had long sworn off the genre because to many bands were coming out like Korn and Meshuggah. I just really can't find myself enjoying the djent metal bands. On this blog I'm not going to separate the metal subgenres too much because I find that to be exhausting. Yes there are different kinds of metal and yes there will always be a new corner of the metal world, but I'm just don't have the time to pigeonhole things that extensively.

This brings me to the full length debut release by Adrenaline Mob. For some reason I had it in my head that this was their third album, but I was wrong. Upon listening to this album a few times, I am glad to find out that this was their debut release. I'm not going to say this is a flat out bad record, but this group shows its shortcomings a little more clearly than I would like over the course of the nearly fifty minutes of Omertà.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Album Review: "Blunderbuss" by Jack White

From time to time I am surprised by what I end up purchasing. "Blunderbuss" would definitely fall into that category. With the death of commercial radio, or would it be un-death as the continue to play the same things over and over and refusing to let them die, I am not exposed to new music anymore.

Because of this, I had never really heard anything by the White Stripes. I knew the song "Seven Nation Army," but that was about it.

I did kind of dig that song though. My big issue is that during my time of hating all things new, I had judged the White Stripes without ever having heard them.

Even now, I still haven't heard anything else by them, but I have redeemed myself somewhat by purchasing Jack White's new solo record, at least I feel that I have. Because of a complete lack of familiarity with the White Stripes and Jack White, I really had no idea what to expect when I put this album into the CD player.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Concert Weekend 9/14 & 9/17 Hooten Hallers and Butterfly Boucher

This will be a slightly strange post, but  here we are. Over this past weekend, I saw both the Hooten Hallers of Columbia, MO and Butterfly Boucher of Nashville by way of Australia. I'm aware this is a bit of a strange mash up, but here are. There were many other bands between these two bills, but I'm only going to talk about the bands we were there to see.

On Friday night, I was a the Off Broadway club with some friends to take in another show by the soon to be legendary Hooten Hallers from the middle of my home state. I had heard of this group in early 2012, but for some reason, I did not really check very deeply into them. I suppose it could be their name. I suppose that even though intellectually I know that the vast majority of great band names are taken, sometimes I'm still a bit put off by what a group, or in this case a duo, chooses to call themselves. I saw them for the first time at El Lenador when they took an open spot on a bill opening up for Left Lane Cruiser and I was floored. I was very excited to see them again and headlining this go around.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Review: "The Story of Light" by Steve Vai

The Story of Light
I love Steve Vai. My affection for him and his playing is not represented in my album collection as well as it should be, but I'm working on rectifying that. Mr. Vai and I go back a long ways. I still remember seeing him for the first time in the David Lee Roth videos. (This is the second recent album review of a former DLR guitar player. There most be something about Diamond Dave wanting to work with the best.) Do you remember that triple necked ambidextrous heart guitar?

In this day and age, Steve Vai is an elder statesman of instrumental guitar. In my playlists, Mr. Vai's music goes into to spots: metal and instrumental. Neither one of those categories accurately reflects what Steve Vai is. He is a stunning artist on the guitar. When I listen to his music, I simply get lost inside what he has created. In my mind's eye I see complex textures and landscapes when he is playing a melody line. Though he's often simply called a shredder, he's far more than that. Leonardo da Vinci was simply called a painter, but that was only one aspect of what he did as well. I could wax poetic about what Mr. Vai is and isn't for about three thousand words, so I suppose I should move on with this narrative and get to the CD.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Review: "De Vermis Mysteriis" by High On Fire

This is my first foray into what is called Stoner Thrash. I can remember when I was a little kid listening to what we termed heavy metal because that's what Steppenwolf called it, but now there are so many designations of what metal is and part of it is where it's from, but this really has nothing to do with this album, and I'm rambling about this, so I'll move on.

High On Fire is a power trio from Oakland. "De Vermis Mysteriis" is the sixth release by the trio and it's supposedly a high minded concept album about a very strange story.

 The story line revolves around a character who's the twin brother of Jesus Christ who has to give his life force to the incubating messiah so that Jesus may live and redeem the world as foretold, but then after giving his life force to his in utero brother, he becomes a time traveler on the order of Sam Beckett from Quantum Leap. Confused yet? So was I, but I became very intrigued and I bought the CD.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Review: "God Told Me To" by John 5

God Told Me To
Once I started playing guitar again, I rediscovered my love of a few things: death metal, instrumental guitar, and Guitar World. This John 5 album really touches on all of those things.

He plays bone crunching metal, all of his solo records are instrumental, and I read about this album in Guitar World.

John 5 is more than just a virtuoso guitar player. He is one of the most important players of our time, but almost no one has heard of him. His two most prominent gigs are as a sideman for Rob Zombie (current) and Marilyn Manson (past).

He has also recorded two albums with David Lee Roth under his given name John Lowery. He's recorded an album with Rob Halford and more. I know this makes him sound like he's a metal guitarist and nothing more, but he's also recorded for KD Lang, and many others. As a young player, his goal was to be a session player California. Well he's achieved that and more.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Album Review: "All That I Was" by Tremonti

I'm still trying to figure out why I have purchased this album, let alone listened to it. Let me get some things off of my chest before I get to Mark Tremonti's latest project, "All I Was."

I hate Creed and I think Alter Bridge is very average, but that's really a big step in the right direction in my mind. Now, let's go back about twelve years...

In 2000, VH1 released their Creed episode of the wildly popular show, Behind the Music. I watched every episode of the show, so I did see the Creed episode. There were two things about it that really got on my nerves. The first being that VH1 treated the band Creed as thought it was Scott Stapp's solo project instead of a band. Mark Tremonti was the Ray Manzerek to Stapp's Jim Morrison, in that he wrote the vast majority of the music, and Stapp wrote the lyrics and in the Behind the Music, Tremonti had about 45 seconds of face time. The second being that Stapp's parents had more face time than the rest of the band combined. Ok, let's flash back forward to 2012.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Review: Painkillers by Left Lane Cruiser and James Leg

I have been a fan of both James Leg aka John Wesley Myers of the Black Diamond Heavies (except on their second album where he is credited as James Leg, I am just as confused as you.) and Left Lane Cruiser for little while now.

I discovered James aka John..etc at the Schlafly Tap Room when they were opening up for Excene Cervanka and the Original Sinners. Even though they were a fairly heavy band without a guitar player, I ignored that slight against nature and bought their album.

Left Lane Cruiser I discovered via Amazon's recommendations. When I saw that James had guested on a significant portion of their latest album, I was sure that I needed to purchase it. I was correct! Those tracks gave me an inkling of what could be.

Left Lane Cruiser, like the Black Diamond Heavies, is a duo, but instead of a piano and drums, they're a guitarist and drummer. Those three tunes though, they were magical to me. They were big and full and full of mojo. I thought that if James would quit the 'Heavies and join Left Lane Cruiser full time, I'd be happy...

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Review: "Born Villain" by Marilyn Manson

Marilyn Manson is back this year with "Born Villain." I don't know why precisely, but I bought it. I'm not the biggest fan of his (formerly theirs) anymore. Before this album, I only had "Portrait of an American Family" and "Lest We Forget." I hadn't listened to an entire studio album since the debut record.

Aside from Mr. Manson, the entire band was different on the current release than that one. Twiggy Ramirez, who was a member of the band when "Portrait of an American Family" was released, but not when it was recorded is playing guitar on this album, apart from that, he had also spent time away from the band. On a side note, I always think back to Metallica's "Some Kind of Monster" documentary when we was auditioning for the spot that Jason Newsted had recently abdicated and I really liked the way he sounded playing "For Whom the Bell Tolls," but I digress. It is rather strange seeing that the majority of the line up on this album doesn't have the sex symbol/serial killer stage name. I suppose now, what was once a band, is truly a solo singer and his back up band...

Monday, August 27, 2012

Poison and Def Leppard: Rock of Ages 2012

On Saturday August 25th, three hair rock bands from the 1980's arrived at the Chaifetz Arena on the Saint Louis University Campus for an evening of nostalgia. Def Leppard, Poison, and Lita Ford all graced the stage and played the songs we all remember from the free wheeling 80's.

Lita Ford opened up the show with a short six song set with her new band. I was never much of a Lita Ford fan. Of course I knew her big songs, "Kiss Me Deadly" and "Close My Eyes Forever." I knew she had been talking about touring again for at least the last ten years. I had long since given up on her making good on the threats which made me very happy that she decided to get back on the road supporting her first album in forever, "Living Like A Runaway." She opened with "The Bitch Is Back," how apropos, no? What really struck me were the new songs she played. My companion and I were really blown away at the musicianship, the lyrics, and the emotion that went into these songs. I immediately went and purchased the CD at the merch table. Lita then ripped into the aforementioned big hits. She played a short and sweet set. Her new guitarist handling most of the leads even though Lita was always quite adept at handling those herself. When her new guy let loose on a the new songs, I saw why she let him take over. The dude just smokes. I haven't listened to the CD yet, but her performance was good enough to convince me to lay down fifteen bucks for it.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Review: "Weightless" by Animals As Leaders

"Weightless" was released on November 8, 2011. This is the sophomore effort by the solo project of Tosin Abasi. Though hardly a solo project. Animals As Leaders consists of three members: Drummer, Naven Koperweis (now replaced), Tosin Abasi, and Javier Reyes who both play 8 string guitars. Both Tosin and Javier play solos and rhythms, so it's not like most instrumental guitar acts where one player is the focal point of every song.

In "Weightless" each of the twelve tracks weaves in and out of riffs and solos, both on the guitars and the drums. In that regard, it is similar to most guitars of this genre, but that is about where the similarity ends. There are no acoustic guitars or bass guitars, but what I found to be the most interesting is that there are very little in terms of guitar effects on this record. Aside from a little distortion and a touch of chorus, these guitars are played cleanly.It was a very refreshing change of pace. I wasn't distracted by the guitar tone and could focus on the guitar playing, which was phenomenal.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Welcome To My Glacier

Good afternoon.

Thank you for stopping by today. This is my introduction to what I am doing with this bit of the web. I am going to begin by explaining who I am and what I do.

My name is Nik and I'm also the author of the 13 Blog. There I review, beers, slingers, fish frys, and other slightly strange food stuffs. Though I am a big sports fan, beer snob, father, and a thousand other things, my first love has always been music. An old friend of mine has always like to throw a quote of mine back into my face in a fairly sarcastic tone..."I was a music buff when I was eight." I suppose music buff was a pretty poor choice of words, but it is an accurate statement. At that very early age, I can remember Kiss taking the make up off and the premiere of the "Lick It Up" video on Friday Night Videos. Iron Maiden, Quiet Riot, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Run DMC, the Fat Boys, Black Sabbath, The Beastie Boys and so on and so forth. Over time, my tastes grew and I now appreciate a bit wider variety of music than I did when i was little, but I still love all of those old bands as well.