Saturday, December 22, 2012

Favoreeeeet Musics of Twenty-Twelve.

Wellllllll, as has been my tradition since I was but a wee musical tot, here is my list of the albums that moved me the most in the past calendar year.  It is, I notice, not as musically diverse as some years, what with most of the soundtrack being provided by Guys with Amped Guitars, but I guess it was from the overwhelming Pre-Apocalyptic Angst.  Anyway, these are in loose order, with the only definite being that Rush is by far my favorite album of the year.

Rush - Clockwork Angels:  It shouldn't be right for a rock band of this vintage to make one of its absolute best albums this far into its career, but here's Exhibit A. 

The Darkness - Hot Cakes:  Rock n' roll should always be this fun. 

Foxy Shazam - Church of Rock n' Roll:  Rock n' roll should always be this fun

Dead Man's Tale - Missgeburt:  Lovely, lovely album.  Proof that hard work and perseverance can make great art, even if you are making the painful transition from noisy punkiness to something different.  Either way, were I king, these guys would be the House Band at my castle.

The Cult - Choice of Weapon:  see "Rush";   here's Exhibit B

Valentine Wolfe - Musick Most Dark:  the title says it all, and the album is brilliant.

Kamelot - Silverthorn:  Usually new singers create "Sammy/Dave"-type division in the fan ranks, but Kamelot's transition after Roy Khan left the band is pretty darn seamless:  Tommy Karevik sounds so close to Khan that if you weren't paying attention...

Soundgarden - King Animal:  I always respected Soundgarden for quitting while they were ahead, so to speak, and not flogging the proverbial dead horse.  Needless to say, I was wary of The Big Reunion, but KA proves it was a worthy musical step.  These guys are meant to be in This Band.

Danko Jones - Rock 'n Roll is Black and Blue:   Not my favorite Danko album, but still Danko.

69 Eyes - X:  Outta left field, this album that I debated even buying became a favorite.  69 Eyes aren't the most creative band in the world (witness the title of the song "I Know What You Did Last Summer"), but they pulled together a collection of memorable, catchy songs that I found myself singing along to many times (in my best goth rock voice, natch).

Van Halen - Different Kind of Truth:   I had very low expectations for this album, and it burned early for me, then faded a bit.  Still, it's Van Halen as they (Almost) Should Be, and enough of this sounded like The Old Days to make it the best album since Fair Warning, in my opinion.  Even "Tattoo" grew on me over time.  Favorite song is "You and Your Blues".

LA Guns - Hollywood Forever:  LA Guns will ever be my favorite Hollyrock band, as long as it's the version with Philip Lewis singing.  Classic era sounding stuff from a classic band.

Lindi Ortega - Cigarettes and Truckstops:  We saw Lindi with Social Distortion a bit ago, and we were totally taken with her performance and that VOICE!!  This is the kinda country I like.

Soul Asylum - Delayed Reaction:  The best SA album since Grave Dancers Union.

Turbonegro - Sexual Harassment:   Turbo also went through the dreaded "vocalist change" (this one has likely produced the "Sammy/Dave" effect).  The only band that could write a song called "Shake Your Shit Machine" and have you sing along.

Testament - Dark Roots of the Earth:  I hadn't even heard any of this album when I bought it, but I'd been listening to Testament since...'87? I took a chance.  They too, have produced one of their best albums way past their "sell-by date".

There were many more good albums I came across this year.  Some probably should have made this list, but I've prattled on enough for this post.  I hope that I never lost my passion for new music, and that as I and the bands I love age, there is still new music for me to be passionate about.  The good stuff is out there, but sometimes it takes a bit of effort and "six degrees of..." to find it.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


(beginning of a story that currently has no middle or end...)

She was sure the bag had moved.

She turned left without signaling at the second stoplight, then left again.

Two more left turns and she was back where she had come from.  Ahead, on the left, she saw the nine bags of refuse.  At this distance, they looked like globs of tar tossed into a rough pyramid.  She slowed a bit as they resolved into mere garbage bags.

She was sure the bag -- the left one on the second tier down -- had moved...

...but as she drove by, nothing. 

Wind, surely.  Or the swirl of air from a passing car.  Perhaps the trash shifting inside.


Left, left, left, left.


Saturday, April 7, 2012

What Love Is...

Sooooo, last eve I was reading the scant liner notes in a few CDs, and had an idea that I'm going to attempt to make flesh.  Because I need to write stuff, but I still haven't had that "great American novel" idea.

Anyway, my idea is to choose various CDs/albums/whatever, and try to record memories or moments that I associate with them.  So here goes......

I used to revel in trips to used record/CD stores.  Every trip had that "christmas morning" potential where the very next CD in the rack may -- just MAY -- be that obscurity that I had been fiendin' for.

Although, more likely, it was another copy of "Blind Melon".

It was generally a fruitless exercise to go to a used store with a specific disc in mind, unless you were looking for a copy of something that had been very widely consumed, then shat out by the masses that realized it only tasted good for a few seconds. (Ahem, like "Blind Melon".)  I could probably count on one hand the times when I went to a store with specific purpose to buy a certain disc used -- without knowing it was there beforehand or being told by someone it was there -- and actually found it.

In fact, I could count it on one finger.

In this album's case, it would be, appropriately, the middle finger...

...because the ONLY time this EVER happened to me was in the early ... Naughties?  Aughties? ... anyway, some time around Y2K.

And the disc was this one....

(Middle finger included both for counting purposes and proper attitude. Eight dollar price tag still intact.)



And Snotty.

My introduction to the Dead Boys was through Pearl Jam ("Sonic Reducer" was on one of the early fan club 45s) and Guns n' Roses (on that pasta album).  They were "before my time" in musical terms, and I never was exposed to them in the interim.  It wasn't until I was playing musical Indiana Jones that I decided that perhaps I needed this album.  So, on a trip to Manifest in Charlotte, I got it in my head that I was going to look for this nugget of raucous.

And lo n' the "New Arrivals" section (probably sandwiched between "Blind Melon" and the "Bodyguard" soundtrack)...thar she blows!!

Now I'm not gonna review this album, that's not what this post is about.  It doesn't have any deep, emotional meaning for me beyond being some tasty punk rock.  

Rather, it takes me back to a time when being a music obsessive was different...when you couldn't just click a button and download practically any obscurity in a scant few seconds...when, to paraphrase a Motorhead song, the chase was often better than the catch.  

Geez, I'm turning into a relic of a bygone era.  I hope -- HOPE -- that there are still young (loud and snotty) music obsessives still coming of age and trying to track down their favorites, rather than just taking what is handed to them.  

(Here's my favorite song from this album (which I actually heard Black Joe Lewis play live a few weeks back)