Friday, November 28, 2014

Revolution Saints - Melodic Power Trio Supreme


Supergroup power trios are becoming increasingly common, and to my ears these combinations are making some of the best records I'm hearing - now we have Jack Blades of Night Ranger, Doug Aldrich (ex-Whitesnake), and Journey's Deen Castronova on drums and fabulous lead vocals gathering under the aegis of Frontiers Records as the Revolution Saints. They've made a great record, but in order to take it beyond sales that will occur between now and Christmas they will have to take it to the streets.

Revolution Saints attack with extreme ferocity, I'll give them that. To a degree, this is Deen Castronova's record - mind you Aldrich, and Blades are right there with him, but after singing a few songs on Neal Schon's So U album earlier this year, he's stepped up to take on a full album as not just a great drummer, but also as an equally adept vocalist. He's good enough to sing for any melodic rock band on the planet, and here he's going for the throat.

If you dig melodic hard rock bands in the vein of Journey, and Night Ranger, but you wish they'd turn the rock up just a bit, this will be just the band and the record for you. Everyone has brought their 'A' game, the instrumentation hits as hard as the vocals, and at the end of the day we have a surefire winner.

Revolution Saints - OK, you've made a great record, now go out and play it.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Cracker - Berkeley to Bakersfield - Where Gold Can Still Be Found


Cracker has never sounded better, cooler, more vital - or more important. In a time in which many acts weigh the option of recording new material at all, Cracker releases a double album featuring two sides of the band that stands proudly next to anything in their catalog. Disc one presents the band's rock roots, disc two is a Cracker twist on country music, but it's all just Cracker soul.

Cracker soul - I caught a case way back in '92. It came when I saw that Jim Keltner had played on a few tracks on a band's first album, so I figured that if one of the world's great drummers saw fit, it was probably something I should check out. Sure enough, it was a sublime stew of rock, roots, country, and yes, their own inimitable Cracker soul. This double disc package is chock full of it. Get some.

Monday, November 24, 2014

AC/DC: Rock Or Bust Streaming Now On iTunes - And It Sounds Damned Good


AC/DC may be going through it, but it sounds like it's all worth the wait. Rock Or Bust is streaming now for free on iTunes (http://www.acdc.com/us/news/stream-rock-or-bust).

"With their high voltage guitar power and rowdy, hard partying anthems, AC/DC has carved out a legacy as one of the most ferocious bands in rock history. The group's 15th studio album, Rock Or Bust, roars to life with the forceful title track before blasting through a set that includes the scorching single, 'Play Ball.' The album also marks the debut of rhythm guitarist Stevie Young - the nephew of founding members Malcolm and Angus Young." - iTunes

This thing sounds great - Angus is on fire, Brian Johnson is full of anthems, the drums sound like a healthy Phil Rudd, and new boy Stevie is perfect, not like a clone of Malcolm, but just different enough to be a damned good replacement. The band has been through travails after travail on the lead up to roll out, but it sounds unstoppable to my ears - the best studio work from this bunch since too, too long. This could have followed up any of their eighties classics, and been a winner.

Expected release date is December 2, 2014, but of course, you can pre-order at iTunes now. Listen for free - buy to support the future of rock 'n' roll.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Glyn Johns: Sound Man - Sonic Sound Bites That Make You Want More


Glyn Johns: Sound Man is the autobiography of famed record producer/engineer Glyn Johns, and it's a must read for anyone who loves classic rock 'n' roll. Johns' resumé includes the biggest acts in rock history - The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, The Who, The Class, Led Zeppelin, Eagles, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, and a legion of others, and he spreads them all out across the whole of this well written book.

You can tell by the way that Johns has laid out his history that he's no stranger to putting together lengthy, complex projects, and as I said, this is an absolute must read, but I do wish that he had hired as demanding an editor as he is known for being as a record maker. While there's hardly a dull moment, and what's there is concise, accurate, and well written, the only problem I have with the book is what it leaves out in its all too brief 286 pages.

Judas Priest - Still Heavy Metal's Best Show - San Jose, California November 16th, 2014


Judas Priest are currently on fire. Just a few years ago, they were said to be on their last legs, but then they went and hired guitarist Richie Faulkner to replace the departed K.K. Downing, and their Epitaph tour turned for an initial eight shows into 119, a brilliant new album (Redeemer Of Souls), and what appears to be becoming another huge tour. Never count out Judas Priest - they are still delivering the goods in a most satisfactory fashion.

Rob Halford has been fronting Judas Priest for a great many decades - how Halford goes, so goes the Priest, and he's in great shape these days. Sprinkling new cuts from the new album throughout the set, he delivers them with much aplomb, and they fit perfectly alongside the classics in the band's set list. Halford is one of those guys who has chosen to take care of his instrument - he might not hit every high note that he could once claim as his own, but he knows exactly what he can hit, and he knows well what notes to sing in their stead. He's as masterful a frontman as has ever trod the stage, and he may just be the greatest lead singer in the history of heavy metal.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Lynch Mob - Burning Sky Makes The Case


I had a few great conversations earlier this year with singer Oni Logan about the direction of his career. We discussed collaborations with guitarists, possible band lineups, this, that, and the other, and I think that the real fruit of these discussions can now be heard with the announcement that Oni and longtime collaborator George Lynch are again seeing eye to eye, and that Lynch Mob is riding once again.

It turns out that Logan already had a very ideal band situation with Lynch Mob, and of all the possibilities, this reformation made the most sense. Lynch has been on fire creatively for some time, but for all the brilliant side projects he's scored with over the last year, his own Lynch Mob franchise was going sideways with constant lineup changes and instability. Logan has been working regularly with the Dio Disciples, but his talents lend themselves to much more than a tribute band (even though the Disciples do a fantastic job as a tribute band). His voice is actually getting better and he's phrasing better than ever - this is a guy whose best work is yet to come.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Foreigner: The Best Of 4 & More - Delivering The Goods


A few months back I had written about how I thought that the current iteration of Foreigner, in spite of retaining only one original member (songwriter/guitarist Mick Jones), ranked as the finest lineup to ever sail under that name. Now there is convenient evidence that can be found to support my supposition with in the soon to be released 'Foreigner: The Best Of 4 & More', a live album recorded just last month in Atlantic City that includes the majority of the band's biggest ever album, 4 which contained more hits than misses, and some of the band's biggest hits.

If you never liked Foreigner this isn't going to change anything. If you already love the band, you don't need convincing, but if you're like me, and you thought the band never lived up to the promise of their hits as a live band, and you need some convincing, this is all the proof you need. If you liked Foreigner's hits, this might be the best record they've ever made. These songs have never sounded better in a live setting.