Album Review: The Lazys-The Lazys (2014)

There have been many great bands that came out of Australia, but to me, the best Australian bands can be summed up in one word. Raw. I like my Australian bands raw. Gritty, hard nosed blue collar music that you can bang your head to. Acca Dacca, Silverchair, Jet, The Vines, and Wolfmother. The newest band to emerge from the Australian wild is The Lazys. This album is the best of Australian raw rock and includes Canadian content in the lyrics and production ( Gus Van Go, Werner F, and GGGarth Richardson). Now let’s explore their album.

Show Me What You’re Made Of – This song begins the album with a frenetic energy. Great guitar work, fast paced playing and gritty vocals. Has kind of a Black Crowes meets Silverchair feel to it.

Shake It Like You Mean It – Cymbals and catchy guitar work begin this song. It is a toe tapper that also gets your body swaying. Even this old dude would embarrass himself on the dance floor if it came on. Such a great blend of bass, drums, guitar and vocals. It seems a little more polished than raw. Kind of like how a Brian Johnson era AC/DC song sounds compared to a Bon Scott song. It must have helped with the polishing that Ian D’Sa from Billy Talent co-wrote it.

Really Ready – Back to raw. This song has an infectious energy to it. The vocals are a half scream/half growl. The background vocals remind me of Angus and Malcolm at their best, and the instruments blend perfectly in this song.

Black Rebel – I searched high and low for this album on vinyl. I was going to see the band and wanted something to listen to before the concert. I found a music shop in Toronto that had one, but got there 5 minutes after they closed. So I bought the cd instead. I am glad I did, because this song is not on the vinyl copy (I bought one at the show). Whoever decided this was the song to leave off made a mistake. This is one the best songs on the album. Leon Harrison’s vocal sound higher pitched and have a nice contrast to some of the other songs, and the background vocals are again a nice touch.

Love Your Gun – A sort of anti-gun song. My favourite crusade songs are hard rock and heavy metal. It just doesn’t seem as preachy when you include heavy music along with protest lyrics.

All Fired Up – Sweet guitar lyrics and pounding drums begin this song. “Are you all fired up?” the band asks in the background and Leon responds “Get ready to lose yourself.” Sweet bass and drums fill the middle of this song to let us know they are not background noise. The screams and guitar wails end the song on a high note. (Note: The album version is a cleaned up version, different than the one on the video below)

Let You Know – Has a slower, bluesy Black Crowes feel to start off. Such a sweet song. I actually got chills the first time I heard it. When the tempo picks up it has kind of a Sloan flavour to it.

Howling Woman – Side 2 of the vinyl begins with a wail. Les Paul mixed with pounding drums and growling vocals. Sign me up. The song is about a woman I can only assume is a groupie named Sweet Suzie that makes Leon go weak at the knees. This song will have the same effect on you. Extra points for a sweet guitar solo in the middle of the song.

Wild Heart Races – Vocals are even more growly than before. The bass here is enticing, and the drums keep the bottom end in the forefront. “You’re wild heart races, and I wanna chase it.”

Hard Luck – “Go hard or Go Home” and “We Are Rock ‘N Roll” are the lyrics that not only define the song but the band. Co-wrote with members of  The Trews.

Punk Come N Get Me – The word punk in the title is fitting. Leon Harrison sings this song in a punk styled manner, and the faster beat of the music would be fitting on any anti-establishment album. He is antagonizing any bullies out there that he isn’t afraid of them.

Love Sick Boy – Has sort of an 80’s hairband ballad sound to it. It could have fit on some of the best Poison or Motley Crue records back in the late 80’s. Then the electric guitar and drums pick up where the acoustic left off. The blend of ballad and hard rock in the song are a nice combination.

Anxiety – The vocals here have kind of a Megadeth feel to them, only not near a nasal as Dave Mustaine. This song is just a slight notch below the rest on the album. I would have personally left this off the vinyl and included Black Rebel.

Overall, a really great record. Well worth the purchase price.

9.8/10

 

 

 

Album Review: Scott Weiland-12 Bar Blues (1998)

It is with sadness that I review this album. It has been 1 week since Scott has passed and like everything in life, we must go on. He was a great singer with demons, and now he is gone. I must move on as well and review other things. I have focused on him over the last week, but this will be it for a while. Unfortunately, he will probably fall into my posts related to the anniversary of his death. Or maybe the special anniversary of an album. I hope I do his legacy and/or memory justice.

Desperation # 5 – This has sort of a Tone Loc-Wild Thing beginning. Then the song has 2 separate sections. First a slower, almost jazzy sextion. Second a louder, electronic section that has sort of a NIN like sound to it. it is a unique, and well laid out start to the album, with a little bit of something for everyone.

Barbarella – Piano and more electronica start this song off. Then an acoustic guitar strums as Scott’s voice penetrates. It has a tiny little bit of Creep(my favourite STP song) to it, in that his vocals have kind of a haunting gloominess mixed with acoustic guitar. His voice almost seems to grab a hold of you and force you to listen. Sometimes the best vocalists can get us to pay attention even when singing softly. For me personally, Scott’s slower songs have more power than his louder songs.

About Nothing – Starts with an electronic dance beat. Has kind of a U2 flavour from POP. The late 90’s must have been the time to have kind of a dance beat on a rock song. It morphs into a rock song though and Scott’s voice is raspy and real good. It definitely is a catchy song, and bonus points for a bit of harmonica added in.

Where’s The Man – Cool guitar strumming begins this song. It sounds a bit like the guitar is in the far room. Then it moves to the fore front as Scott begins to sing. Another haunting vocal display. Has the same flavour as Creep again but no electronica here. More of a straight ahead rock song. There is some cool mixing of Scott’s vocals here. It sounds like 2 people singing, but I believe he sang both parts, and they were mixed together. Some subtle but cool electric guitar work helps this song out, and the cello at the end is a nice touch.

Divider – Has kind of a Caribbean island flavour to it. Quiet and subtle, with piano, drums and bongos. Would be a perfect mellow song to listen to while watching the waves hit the beach. The Mellotron helps the cool effect the song has.

Cool Kiss – Sounds like a dive bomber at the start of this song, then the booming bass and drums take over. Has a different style to it. Almost talking instead of singing. Another cool effect as it again feels like there are more than one vocalist. In fact it almost sounds like 3 singers, as the styles are so different.

The Date – This song is 100% Scott Weiland. He does vocals, drums, guitars, synths, percussion, bass, and piano. He does a commendable job at all of them.

Son – This song seems to foreshadow the future. It is a touching song similar to  John Lennon’s Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy) as a tribute from a father to son. However Scott’s son Noah was born in 2000. The booklet shows the song was “For Zack”. Since it was co-written by Victor Indrizzo, it may be about his son. But the lyrics seem to fit Scott to a T. “Time and time again I’m not the man.”, “I wish I had the beauty you hold inside.”, and “You make the world a better place to find.” These lines could all describe (as many have stated) that Scott was too messed up to be a good father. I don’t know if this is true. As a father, I’d like to believe he loved his kids, and would do anything for them. As for the song itself it is a really beautifully written and played love song, that I would place right up there with the Lennon song as the 2 best songs ever written about a father and son.

Jimmy Was A Stimulator – I have one word for you. Theramin. If any other electronic device is any cooler, I’d like to see it, and the expertise needed to make sounds out of this thing are astronomical. The song starts off with a Theramin sound, then some booming bass that would rattle the windows on any slammed Honda thunders and booms. As the vocals begins, the song almost has a stoner rock meets electronica vibe to it. really cool beat that gets the head nodding along.

Lady, Your Roof Brings Me Down – Accordion, violin, cello, viola, piano. Cool I say. I have family that play for a big city orchestra, so I know how hard it is to do this music, and I have an appreciation for it. It almost has a Beatles vibe to it, but Scott`s voice growls like no Beatle could ever imagine. This is a really nice song. If you can imagine a musical, a Beatles song, and an STP song thrown in a blender, then this would be it. Also there is a Crow named Sheryl.

Mockingbird Girl – More booming bass, and cool guitars start this off. Then some fast beating drum work with awesome vocals. Possibly the best guitar work here, but then some quiet, sensitive moments mixed in. It really is another great song.

Opposite Octave Reaction – The guitar and vocals have kind of a Nirvana flavour. However, this is not your average grunge song. It is unique and interesting. It is much happier and has a great beat. Mix Nirvana, SGT Pepper`s, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Lenny Kravitz up and see what happens. This song would be the end result, and it really is quite unique and cool.

Daniel Lanois had his hand in the mastering of this album, as well as performing in some of the songs, so the end result is probably better for it. Also Scott’s brother Michael plays drums on some of the songs. (The saddest part is both died in drug related deaths).

I will miss you Scott. This was a really great album to end my reviews on. If you don’t love it right away, give it another spin. I promise you, it will grow on you.

9.75/10

 

 

 

 

 

Album Review:Art of Anarchy-Art of Anarchy(2015)

I have to admit. I never heard about this band or this album when it first came out. Or If I did hear about it I didn’t pay any attention. (Unfortunately it took the tragic news we got last week to lead me to this review.) Apparently the band has been around since 2011. It is one of those supergroups. That word alone often makes me want to ignore it. Supergroups are very rarely super. They are often a bunch of dudes that get together to form a band. This has been going on since the beginning of music, but someone decided to coin the phrase, and it stuck. Take a group of famous musicians and lump them together an you have a Supergroup. So this version has Scott Weiland on vocals. Ok. I have to admit, he can be classified as super when he is on. The rest of the band slowly goes downhill from there in the super category. Jon Moyer on bass. I like his work in Disturbed and his work in Adrenaline Mob is promising, (I won`t get into Operation:Mindcrime) so his name is kind of super-light. Ron “Bumblefoot“Thal. Not a bad guitarist. I liked his work with Guns N Roses (also known as Axl Rose solo project) on Chinese Democracy, but I have not heard another note from him. I don`t own any of his solo stuff, and haven`t heard any of his songs in compilations. I would bet I`m not alone. One controversial album does not make a super guitarist. Then we have the brothers, Jon and Vince Votta. “Who?” you ask. Exactly. I`ve never heard of them. So we are to believe this is a supergroup with only one member that might be considered super. And by the way, lead/rhythm guitar work is shared by Jon Votta, and “Bumblefoot”. So put the guy with more cred that wields a double neck guitar on co-headlining duties. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense to me too. At least Bumblefoot does a lot of the solos.

The timing of this band formation and album release are sort of confusing to me. Scott Weiland and the Wildabouts released their new album on March 31 2015. This album was released on June 8, 2015. Scott Weiland distanced himself from this album. He stated he was never part of the band. The fact that he co-wrote the lyrics, sang all of the songs, was in the band videos, and the album cover shoots seem to be proof to me that he was in the band. If he was just a hired gun as he says he was, it is strange why he got so involved. Anyway, on to the review itself.

Black Rain – Sort of a mix between flamenco guitar and Black Sabbath like rain and thunderstorm. I like it, but is way too short. This seems a weird choice as the first song though. The band is trying to portray themselves as a heavy band, but this is how they start off.

Small Batch Whiskey – Has a Rob/White Zombie flavour to it. It even repeats the line 1925 yeah, similar to 1965 yeah(Thunderkiss `65). Scott`s voice is good form here, the guitar work is good, and the harmonica at the end helps out. It took a few listens to this song at increasingly higher volumes to get it. It felt too generic the first few times, but it does get better.

Time Every Time – Apparently these guys are fans of the Kiss no make up era. All I can hear when I listen to the chorus is Heavens on Fire. Decent guitar work, and Scott doing his trademark singing through a megaphone make this a decent song, if you can look past the Kiss similarities.

Get On Down – I like the mellow guitar to start this one off. The guitar solos are subdued but good. The vocals are perfect for this song.

Grand Applause – Great guitar work begins this song. Although there is a bit where the guitar notes go too far. Kind of like how the Killswitch Engage guitarist ruined the Holy Diver cover, but I digress. The guitar work overall is really good in this song. The drumming is decent, the bass is louder than some of the other songs, and Scott Weiland is Scott Weiland. The “We Want To Say” bridge was a little much for me, but overall a decent song.

Till The Dust Is Gone – Again, with the mellow guitar to start off, and it works here as well. Scott`s voice is in peak form here, and the background music is mellow enough to emphasize it. Bonus points for the acoustic guitar work , and the use of a Trans Am in the video.

Death Of It – Mellow piano and guitar start this song off. Dual vocals are a nice touch. “Bumblefoot” has co-writing credits for the first time on this song, and he must have influenced them to start slow and then go heavy. Also, the guitar solos are really good here. A really decent song.

Superstar – High pitched guitar screeching and booming bass, followed by guitar moving to the forefront mixed with pounding drums. The vocals pick up in another Rob Zombie sort of way. The drums sound better here than the previous songs, and the bass is not drown out here. Decent song.

Aqualung – I was not sure what to think when I saw this title before listening to the song. This is not a cover, but a new song. Why didn’t they just call this song Stairway to Heaven? There is no legal recourse to calling a song Aqualung, but come on. There should be some unwritten rule about song titles. If it is classic, no one else can use it. Anyway, title aside, this is a pretty good song.

Long Ago – Has kind of a Nu Metal sound to it. Korn meets Linkin Park, with better lead singer, bass and guitar work. Also, Scott gets to break out the megaphone again. Decent song.

The Drift – Awesome guitar work starts this song off, and the bass and drum work are the best on this album. Dualing vocals sound great. The song is leading in the right direction, nice and heavy. The song has a section that is too mellow to suit the song, but overall might be the best song on the album. The guitar work has some effects that really sound awesome. Good album closer. It leaves you wanting for more, but we all know that will never happen now.

I would like to say a bit about the presentation. The tri-fold cd case is beautiful. The artwork and photos are really well done, the included full lyric booklet is well laid out, and the fold up poster of the band is a nice touch. I wouldn’t say I loved this album, but it really did grow on me. On the first listen I thought it was too generic. The drumming especially was mostly generic, but overall the musicianship and vocals were really good. The lyrics went off the rails a few times, and the band sometimes sounded too much like bands of the past. It is too bad we will never get to hear this version of the band again, because it was a decent first album. If you are a fan of Scott Weiland you should buy this as it may very well be his last recorded work.

7.75/10

 

Album Review: Scott Weiland and the Roundabouts-Blaster(2015)

I hate to say this but since Scott Weiland was fired from Stone Temple Pilots last time I gave up on him. I hoped he would turn his life around, but the last memory I had before today was the awful clips of his live shows and the audio clips where he seems out of it during interviews.

I had never even thought of buying this album when it came out earlier this year. Then the awful news we got last night( I, like most people assumed it was drug related, but news has just surfaced that it was probably a heart attack). Since I have all of his STP and Velvet Revolver stuff, but none of his solo albums, or albums with the Wildabouts, I had to rectify that. I bought this album and 12 Bar Blues(review coming).

The photography on the cover and on the insert is amazing. Even more touching is the fact that all the photos were taken by Scott’s wife, Jamie Weiland(formerly Wachtel). The front cover drew me right in. I am an old school dude that loves Boom boxes, ghetto blasters, whatever you want to call them. I have 5 old ones, including the killer Kaboom. Here’s a hint to any band out there. Put a blaster on the front of your album and I will buy it. As for the insert photography, one picture really touched me. The second last picture on the insert is a close up of Scott & Jamie Weiland. They look happy. I feel for her and his kids today.

Modzilla – Cool guitar effects and buzz start this song off. Then the vocals perk up in a way we(by we I mean the huge percentage of us that only know him through STP and/or Velvet Revolver) have never heard from Scott Weiland. The guitar goes off into the upper reaches of solo territory few artists delve into. I wish I had heard more of Jeremy Brown before today.

Way She Moves – Has a tiny bit of an STP flavour, but in a more catchy, pop, bluesy kind of way. I think his Wildabouts go off to areas STP would not go. More cool guitar work from Jeremy Brown here.

Hotel Rio – Clapping and drums start this song off. Then the guitar kicks in. This guy was really, really good. Catchy lyrics, and beat get your toes tapping, and may even get you up doing your best air guitar. I am really getting into this album only 3 songs in.

Amethyst – The song starts off with 80’s style keyboards and Beatles harmonies. Then it gets a little heavier and morphs into a song all its own.

White Lightning – Heavy, droaning song. Sounds more based in sludge/stoner than anything grunge. Trippy effects added to the vocals accentuate the song. It forces you to turn it up and may even cause your head to nod in approval. Great guitar work as usual, but the drums and bass also show up for the party here.

Blue Eyes – Sorry, no Frank Sinatra. Believe it or not this is almost an 80’s, British Electronic/New Wave style song. Can you imagine STP doing New Wave? No freaking way. New Wave was not my favourite style of music, but I commend them for trying it. The guitar work(including guest appearance by James Iha) morphs this back into a rock song, but the mixing of the two styles is unique and quite refreshing.

Bleed Out – Drums and guitar start this off. Then Scott pipes up and makes you sit up and take notice. His voice is in absolute peak form here. He is in complete control of this song. I would have loved to have witnessed him record this song in person. So good.

Youth Quake – Again a British New Wave style song. I can almost hear a British accent in his voice. This type of song could have gained the band a whole new audience, and not be pigeon holed into a certain style. If only New Wave bands had decided to include a sweet guitar solo into the middle of their songs. I might have listened to more of them.

Beach Pop – Pop is right in the title. Of course this would have a pop influence. Light and airy. Almost a throwback to the 50’s, with better drumming. I could easily hear this song pop up on a 50’s diner juke box. On added nice touch is the Steven Tyler like screeching near the end of the song.

Parachute – Awesome guitar brings us back to 2015. The band may have dabbled with New wave, and 50’s styles, but this is a modern rock band. They let you know that here. The background vocals help with the effect.

20th Century Boy – A modern(sort of) cover of the T Rex song. Hard to improve on the original. Girlschool and Def Leppard both did good versions. I actually prefer this version to all of them though. It has the best guitar work of all of them, the drumming is hard and fast, the bass is booming, and Scott’s voice is in peak form. All I can suggest is turn it up real loud. GREAT cover.

Circles – Ok. So far this album has had rock, New Wave, 50’s style music, cover songs and now a sort of country/folk music song. Some guy named The Sheriff(not Faron Young) does the steel guitar here, and does a commendable job. Scott sounds awesome here. He could have easily put out a folk or country album and shoot to the top of the charts. Really, really nice song. I could pop this song on Sunday mornings and watch the sunrise. It is another refreshing change.

Since Scott was the second member of the band to pass away this year(guitarist Jeremy Brown died days before the album release), this will probably be last thing we hear from this band. Too bad. They were diverse and way better than I thought they would be.

9.75/10

Album Review: The Wild! GxDxWxB(2015)

I went to one of my local record stores a few weeks ago. I was talking music with one of the employees. He asked me if I had ever heard of The Wild! (I had not). “Dude, you have to check these guys out!!! They absolutely rock!!!” His exuberance towards the band led me to the cd section(sorry, no vinyl), where I bought the first EP released by the band, GxDxWxB (God Damn Wild Boys)

The Wild! are an appropriately named bunch of hooligans hailing from Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. They totally look and act the part of a hard partying, hard rock band. Living large, and having fun. When you open the gatefold cd case, the first words that jump out at you are “We are The Wild! & We Are Fucking Crazy.” No more needs to be said. Except to review the album

Party `til you`re dead – Starts off with cool riff then blasts into what I might describe as a late 80`s/ early 90`s romp. Kind of as if Brian Johnson called in sick and Jesse James Dupree(Jackyl) filled in.

 

Straight To Hell – Sick drum beat. Wailing vocals. Thrashing guitars. Nice background humming and vocals. Toe tapping along with the beat, then soaking in the awesome guitar solos.

Banger – Bass and cymbals start this off. Then the guitar and drums duel it out for supremacy. The twin lead vocals have a deeper growl at times that sound good, and a wail at times that rock. The background vocals in the recording almost have a live effect to them. It adds to the intensity of the song.

Deuces – I can`t quite nail down the vocals here. A bit of 80`s hair metal goodness. The middle of the song delivers a sweet harmonica solo. Nice touch.

Slow Burn – Slow guitar for a few seconds, then increases in intensity. I know that guitar sound from somewhere. See if you can pick it out in the video below (I will explain later) Booming bass. Guest vocalist Christina Vos adds a real sexy, added layer to the song with her beautiful background vocals. I don`t know much about her, but I am inclined to look further. Slow is the main lyric in this song. I suspect there is nothing slow about these guys. They are trying to bring back hard rock back into new music, and they are succeeding in my opinion. Just watch the video below to see what kind of crazy mofo`s you are dealing with.

What About You? – Slow, growly bluesy, ballsy song. It kind of reminds me of Brian Johnson doing a gritty, modern version of Ride On, except even a little ballsier, if that is even: a) a word, b)even possible.

Roadhouse – Sorry Julian. No Patrick Swayze here. Just kick ass, straight ahead rock n roll. Lyrics sound like Jesse James Dupree singing through a megaphone. I was waiting for the chain saw to fire up and The Lumberjack to kick in. Dual vocals help this song out with a complimenting and contrasting style. Kudos to the bass riffs, and the wailing guitar near the end.

This video was shot way back in 2012. Then Mike Fraser(AC/DC, Metallica, Aerosmith, The Cult, Chickenfoot, Van Halen etc.) saw it, called the bands management and said he wanted to work with the band. WOW!!!

The band had enough material for a full album, but Mike Fraser trimmed it down to 7 for this EP. The EP was being recorded in the studio at the same time and place as Rock Or Bust. Mike Fraser let the band use Angus amp, and Angus and Malcolm guitars for recording Slow Burn. DOUBLE WOW!!!

I give the band 10/10 for rocking hard in 2015.

As for the EP itself, I give it a 9.8/10. I can`t wait to see these guys live, and hope there is a full album (including vinyl and cassette) in 2016.