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Archive for the ‘Bad Company’ Category

[ATTENDED: August 9, 2014] Dead Daisies

daisiesTwo years ago, I went to see Kiss in Scranton.  I had seen them a few times by then, and since Paul’s voice sounded pretty bad, I didn’t think I’d go again.  But I love hanging out with my friend Matt and don’t get to see him enough, so when he invited me up for this year’s extravaganza, I decided what the hell.  And it turned out to be a very good show indeed.

The first opening act was a band called Dead Daisies.  Last time, they had an opening act that I didn’t investigate at all.  But this year, I had my phone out and figured that Dead Daisies was a local Scranton band, and I’d see if I could find anything about them.

Well, it turns out that Dead Daisies is from Australia and that the lead singer, Jon Stevens, was the guy who sang for INXS after Michael Hutchence killed himself (but before they did the reality show to find a new singer).  I never heard INXS in that version, but the way he was singing for this band, I can’t even begin to imagine him as a good fit.  Because he has a big old powerful voice and sings in a very un-Hutchence way.

When they first came out I was kind of unimpressed.  The first song sounded a ton like AC/DC.  And the second song sounded like Bad Company.  As it turns out the band is a kind of retro rock band, with connections to Guns N Roses (guitarist Richard Fortus has played with GnR and Dizzy Reed plays keyboards for GnR).  And it turns out that Slash co-wrote their song “Lock ‘n’ Load.”  The other guys in the band are Marco Mendoza on bass (he’s played with Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake and many others) and David Lowy on guitar.  (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: KATHLEEN EDWARDS-Voyageur (2012).

This is Kathleen Edwards’ latest album.  And every time I listen to it, it gets better.  Her songwriting has reached amazing heights.  The lyrics are wonderful and the melodies are just outstanding.  “Empty Threat” (“I’m moving to America…it’s an empty threat), opens the disc with a bouncy acoustic guitar and, eventually, a full band.  The lyrics for “Chameleon/Comedian” are wonderful: the juxtaposition between these two ideas is just amazing—each verse gets more complex.  I would quote them, but the whole song is great.  And, amazingly, the “I don’t need a punchline” is easy to sing along to as well.  “Soft Place to Land” is a nice ballad—a full band that never gets overwhelmed by any of the instruments—the violin adds a nice texture as do the military drums mid way through.  “Change the Sheets” is one of my favorite songs of the year.  It starts out slow, with simple guitars and more great lyrics.  As it builds (of course it builds) it grows into an amazing bridge/chorus that just dares you not to tap your feet.

“House Full of Empty Rooms” is like a minor palate cleanser before “Mint.”  “Mint” opens like a classic 70s rock song (Bad Company or Tom Petty), but she brings in her unique voice and phrasings and changes the song into something very different.  But again, that chorus–how can you not sing along to the catchy/voice-breaking chorus after the minor key verses?  The tension builds wonderfully.  “Sidecars” is a fun poppy track (“You and I will be sidecars, we chase down the hard stuff”).

“Pink Champagne” is a five-minute piano ballad.  It’s more akin to her earlier more country songs.  It’s a wee bit long but never overstays itself.  It’s followed by “Going to Hell,” which features some great screaming guitars in the midst of more delicate singing.  “For the Record” closes the album with a seven minute slow burner.  It begins quietly, and builds and builds–never the ecstatic heights–but with a chorus that is as catchy as it is mournful.

I have this CD in my car and every time it comes up, i just can’t stop listening.

[READ: June 18,2012] I Dream of Zenia with the Bright Red Teeth

I received this limited (autographed!) chapbook from The Walrus when I re-subscribed recently.  That’s pretty cool.  It has been sitting around because I thought it was a much longer piece.  When I received the latest issue of The Walrus, and saw that the same story was in there, well, I realized that this was just a short story and could be polished off pretty quickly.  The issue of The Walrus also told me that this story is a kind of follow-up to The Robber Bride.

I have never read The Robber Bride (I like Atwood quite a lot and yet have never read her most iconic books!).  So I would never have known that this was a sequel (of sorts).  As I said, I don’t know The Robber Bride, (and hope to read it maybe this year).  I don’t know exactly how it ties to the novel (the first line of the Wikipedia entry tells me that the three main characters are the same), and given the tone of the story, I assume it is simply catching up on them some twenty-five years later.

In this story, Claris, Tony and Roz (who are all women, I didn’t realize that right away) are going for their weekly walk in the woods together (because it’s good for you and Roz hopes to increase their cellular autophagic rates).  Tony and Roz bought (from a shelter) a dog for Claris called Ouida.  Ouida is a wild terrier mix (who hops on Roz’s orange coat and leaves footprints).

It quickly becomes apparent that Claris is something of a hippy—organic, vegetarian, communing with spirits and whatnot.  Claris just had a dream about Zenia.  Zenia (who I assume is in The Robber Bride, because why wouldn’t she be), was a woman from their past.  She stole a man from each one of them—with varying outcomes in each woman’s case.  Zenia died about twenty years ago but she has come back, Claris believes, to tell her about Billy. (more…)

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black-holeSOUNDTRACK: BLACK MOUNTAIN–In the Future (2008).

black-mountainAn ironically titled disc, surely.  Black Mountain is a Vancouver-based band that specializes in 70’s era psychedelia with a heavy dose of Black Sabbath.  Yet, like Dungen or other bands that tread this “revivalist” style, they don’t mimic the sound..they definitely sound contemporary, but the vibes of the 70s are constant.

Black Mountain features two singers: Stephen McBean and Amanda Webber.  Webber’s voice in particular harkens back to an amalgamation of Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane, Nancy Wilson and the collective voice of Fleetwood Mac. McBean sounds like several singers of the era too.

“Stormy High” opens the album with the best Black Sabbath riff that Sabbath never wrote.  It sounds like something straight out of Sabotage.  “Angels” slows things down into a kind of Bad Company vibe, complete with trippy 70s keyboards in the middle of the song.  “Wucan” sounds more contemporary (the vocals in particular remind me of something, but I can’t place it) and “Stay Free” is a nice acoustic ballad.  “Queens Will Play” gives Webber the spotlight and the song in particular sounds like a wonderfully creepy take on Fleetwood Mac.

Although some of the songs are longish (6-8 minute), most of them are fairly brief.  Except, of course, for the 16 minute “Bright Lights”.  I think it’s fair to say that 8 minutes could be cut off of this song and it would still be great.  The middle riff-tastic part is really fantastic, but the opening and the noodley keyboard solo could easily be lopped off.

The disc also came with a bonus disc of 3 songs.  Each one adds to the mythos of this fascinating band.  I’m curious about their debut release as well.

[READ: November 8, 2008] Black Hole

My friend Andrew loaned me this book.  I had recently read an interview with Charles Burns in The Believer (and more abou that in a moment), which excerpted this book.  It looked really good, but then I promptly forgot about it.  And Andrew filled in the gap for me.

Charles Burns’ work appears in astonishingly diverse places.  I know him mostly because he is the cover heavy-metalartist for The Believer, (his interview in that magazine is pretty great) and his been since its inception. But I also know him from the early 80s when he was an artist with Heavy Metal magazine–when I did a search for this magazine, this was one of the results, and I distinctly remember it being in my magazine collection (gosh, some 25 years ago?). (more…)

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