Album Review: Ghost – Meliora (2015 LP)

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No matter how this album sounds, it is a visual feast for the eyes. The album cover artwork and especially the included booklet are a real joy to stare at as the music cascades over you.

Spirit – Pounding drums, soaring vocals, wonderful guitar, otherworldly keys and quotes from Edgar Allan Poe. All you can ask for in a song.

From The Pinnacle To The Pit – Booming deep down bass start this off. Then the wailing guitar takes over, and an almost Mike Patton like vocal range drives this song.

Cirice – This song reminds me of a Sabbath song in the way that it starts out soft and slow, and you just know it`s going to kick your ass at any given moment. Ouch. There it is.

He Is – “We are standing here by the Abyss.” (All I can think of is Officer Jim Lahey-RIP and the Shit Abyss)

Mummy Dust – A frenetic, almost Metallica-like beat begins this one off. The vocals have an almost Faith No More quality. Not a bad pair of bands to sound like. The trippy keys and haunting backgrounds add a real cool effect as well.

Majesty – Cool guitar riffage begin this one off. One might think it was going off in a bluesy, southern rock direction. The band hauls it back into their own unique direction though. The soaring vocals, the guitar and the keys are the stars here.

Absolution – A church organ and choir chants begin this song off. Then the dark side emerges with dirty metallic riffs. An almost Marilyn Manson meets Megadeth song. Again not a bad pair of bands to sound like.

Deus In Absentia – Imagine if Ghost and a church choir went back in time to early 1973 and were able to record a non-album track with Pink Floyd on The Dark Side Of The Moon.

9.8/10

 

 

 

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Album Review: Orange Goblin – Frequencies From Planet Ten (1997, 2012 repress on translucent green vinyl)

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Their only album as a 6 piece band. It was the only album with Duncan Gibbs, and I personally enjoy the uniqueness his keys add to the songs.

The Astral Project – What you might get if Kyuss was transported back to a festival in 1973 that featured both early arena rock bands and psychedelic holdovers. Then they all decided to blast off a drug riddled jam.

Magic Carpet – A little bit of Sabbathy awesomeness never hurt anybody.

Saruman’s Wish – More Sabbathy goodness. The guitar work reminds me a lot of Brownout. (I did a review of their album here)

Song of The Purple Mushroom Fish – By the title, I can only assume acid was involved. Instrumental and mellow. I love the wah pedal sound, so I love this by default.

Aquatic Fanatic – The pace jumps up about 68 notches on this one. It’s almost as if they were inspired by Faith No More on this track. Frenetic drumming and fast paced wah pedal soaked guitar. A real cool song.

Time to flip over the green slab of goodness.

Lothlorian – A peaceful acoustic number. The keys of the aforementioned Duncan Gibbs set this apart.

Land Of Secret Dreams – Not grunge. Not really thrash, but not really stoner doom either. It has a bit of Alice In Chains meets Metallica feel to it, with just a bit of Dimebag riffage thrown in. The creepy kid vocals added in suit today just fine.

Orange Goblin – Anytime a band names a song after themselves it always seems to be awesome. The lyrics are about trippy space travel and fantasy. Close your eyes and let the sound waves take you away.

Star Shaped Cloud – The down low bass and the screechy guitar contrast each other nicely. The keys sound cool. This almost sounds like a Jaco Pastorius/Stevie Wonder collaboration. Funky and chunky. A minute or so in the guitar and vocal tones lead this off in a metallic direction. Then it changes back to the funk fest. The back and forth make this a really cool and unique song.

This album, maybe more so than any other in the Orange Goblin catalogue, show their ability to play many styles. Some may say they were unfocused. I say they gave us many awesome things to choose from. I strongly recommend you buy this album and crank it up.

9.95/10

Album Review: Hollywood Vampires (Double LP – 2015)

For a more comprehensive review of this album, I suggest to go and read Mike Ladano’s post. His post is in depth, and extensive.

Since today is Halloween, I wanted to try and squeeze in a few themes. The last one was Gremlins, this one Vampires. Maybe Ghosts, Goblins and others later.

Sir Christopher Lee gives us some spoken word in The Last Vampire.

Raise The Dead – A decent song. I really like the drums, Alice’s vocals are good, and the guitar note is cool.

My Generation – Awesome bass here by Bruce Witkin and good drums by Ringo’s son Zak Starkey, although he’s no Keith Moon (who ever was?). I enjoyed this song.

Whole Lotta Love – If you think they were going to cover a Led Zep song with an actor playing guitar, you are dead wrong. Smart to bring Joe Walsh and a few others to balance the scales. They needed 5 guitarists to do a decent rendition of Jimmy Page, but that’s to be expected. Alice’s voice does not suit this song, so they brought in none other than Brian (freaking) Johnson. This may very well be the last album that Brian Johnson sings on, and for that I am really sad, but he really sounds awesome here. I love this song.

I Got a Line On You – A really good version. The 1988 Alice Cooper version had more guitar screeching and better drums. I like this version. I prefer the background vocals better here, and the guitar, different, but just as good. so maybe a bit of a wash. Although, the drumming on the new one weakens it in my opinion.

Five To One/Break On Through (To The Other Side) – A decent medley. I always found The Doors to be so dominated by Manzarek’s over-the-top keys, so without them this is a refreshing version. The vocals lack the sexual mystique that was Jim Morrison, but a decent effort. Of note Robby Krieger plays on this version.

One/Jump Into The Fire – Sorry Metallica fans. Not a cover of that One (although that would be cool). The drumming, guitar, and bass are all awesome, and the creepy vocals are great. A really good medley.

Come And Get It – Paul McCartney wrote this song for Badfinger, and he is here to sing this one. I love the guitar (Joe Perry) and drum work (Glen Sobel), but not much else. Paul’s voice in 2017 just didn’t do it for me. It seems they had fun in the studio. Unfortunately way more than I did listening.

Jeepster – Gladly we get to listen to more Joe Perry goodness on this one, and better vocal work to set it off. Mike says to skip this one, but I might suggest to skip the last one instead.

Cold Turkey – More Joe Perry awesomeness. As Mike suggested, it would have been nice to have Sir Paul play bass on this one, however, Bruce Witkin does a damn fine job. Joe’s guitar solo is really good, but was so short I wanted more.

Manic Depression – Back to the other Joe (Walsh), and Ringo’s lad Zak. Alice sings this one in a deeper pitch. I actually like it better than Mike. I would not skip this one, but I would never skip a Joe Walsh song myself. Zak does a pretty decent job as well on the skins here.

Itchypoo Park – I love the lead and background vocals on this one. The 60’s era psychedelic sounds mixed with modern rock sounds make this one of the best songs on the album.

School’s Out/Another Brick In The Wall Part 2 – Alice Cooper, Brian Johnson, Slash, Joe Perry, Kip Winger, Neal Smith, Dennis Dunaway (and more). Honestly, I would have listened to these awesome musicians do a group bowel movement, let alone an amazing mashup. Another amazing song that should not be missed. It may be the last song Brian Johnson ever sings on.   😦

My Dead Drunk Friends – A tribute by Alice to his former Hollywood Vampire drinking buddies. A slow, sultry tune that has kind of gloomy theme, but seems to work. Not a bad song, but is one of the weaker ones here.

8.5/10

 

Album Review: B.A. Johnston Presents Gremlins III (2017)

The past summer I saw B.A. Johnston live. He was the first opener, and unlike any other first opening band I have ever seen, I had a huge ear to ear grin on my face the entire set. The dude is like a combination Chris Farley and Jack Black rolled up into one. He doesn’t look to be in good shape, but he runs and jumps and rolls around on the floor and makes everyone smile. Honestly, no one there was not smiling. I was also not alone in having some gut busting laughter. He is awesome live. See him if you can.

As for this album, there are 20 songs. They are short, fun ditties. Mostly about eating, drinking, partying, getting high and swearing. If you don’t like those things, look elsewhere. I do like most of those things, but for my review I will point out my favourite songs since there are so many of them.

I Need Donair Sauce – A song about loving donair sauce so much he will “Brave drunk bros at 3am” and “damn I need that meat sweat feeling.”

Alley Beers – I usually hate 80’s keyboard sounds. But when B.A. does it, he seems to make it cool. The song about not being to afford $6 beers and drinking the beers he left in the alley, with lyrics like “your backpack in the shrubs, one way ticket to chug, chug, chug.

Ikea I Used To Be A Man – A song about being a sober man until trying to assemble something from Ikea. “needed a bed, ended up with alcoholism instead.”

Dayoff Is a Dayoff – Every person who works in retail should hear this song. “I don’t care if Bill has called in sick, and the Christmas In July sale is a bitch….’cause a Dayoff Is A Dayoff Motherf*cker.”

Orangeville – A song about going to Orangeville to meet a girl that was “doing rails in the girls bathroom” and a guy that says to B.A. “You’re not from around here” (how can you tell? B.A. asks) “cause you drink f*g beer”

Cheap Suds – A song about drinking low priced beer, and sort of making fun of pretentious beer drinkers. “I bet it tastes like hops”

Drivethru Beef – More 80’s keys that still sound cool. Has a sort of Knight Rider theme song beat. (You know you like it).  The song is about having a “beef” at the drive thru when his order gets messed up.

I will Make Lasagna for You – A song about making comfort food for your loved one when they have a bad day. “We can have garlic bread literally up the wazoo. I will make lasagna for you.”

Asshole Or Truck – “What came first, the asshole or the pickup truck?”

Saskatchewan – This song has a Sugar Mountain like sound and some cool Canadiana references. Of special note for fellow blogger Aaron is the line “At the Winnie The Pooh Statue in White River, take the bottle out, and start to give ‘er.”

So High In Foodland – A song about working in a grocery store and getting high on the nitrous oxide in the whipped cream spray cans.

9.8/10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Album Review: Stone Temple Pilots with Chester Bennington(R.I.P) – High Rise (2013-10″ EP)

Last night Linkin Park honoured their fallen bandmate Chester Bennington.

Also, just before his death, Linkin Park was featured in the popular Carpool Karaoke.

These events got me thinking about how I had never done a tribute to Chester when he died. It happened so close to the death of Chris Cornell, that I was completely in shock.

Out Of Time – First Off, no one can replace Scott Weiland. Chester is not trying to be a clone here. He’s his own singer, and right out of the gate he does the STP boys proud. His pipes are in peak form, and with this amazing backing band, he can really shine.

(The video below is a live version, not on this album)

Black Heart – This is an amazing STP song. The nice thing is Linkin Park fans can climb onboard as well.

Same On The Inside – This sounds more like a Linkin Park song to me. The subtle guitar and ever present bass sound really good on this one.

Flip over the 10 inches of black vinyl. (I love the uniqueness of 10″ slabs. I want more in my collection)

Cry Cry – The guitar work on this one is so simple but so 70’s at the same time. A minute or so in Chester’s pipes give off a bit of a wail. It has such a cool grove it kind of reminds me of Lenny Kravitz. The bass and drums are great, and did I mention the guitar is cool.

Tomorrow – A slower song, which, believe it or not sounds like a mashup of a STP and Linkin Park. The guitar solo is pretty cool in this one, and the percussion in the background may be new for an STP song.

R.I.P Chester. Hopefully you can meet up with Chris.

9.5/10

 

Top 10 George Young(R.I.P.) Moments

10 Easybeats – Sorry. George was one of the first Australian musicians to counter the music of the British Revolution. His guitar work would influence brothers Angus and especially Malcolm in later years.

9 Flash And The Pan – Hey St. Peter. This early New Wave band started when punk rock had a grasp on the music scene. The spoken word and instrumental work that George uses made this a hit song.

8 Stevie Wright – Evie Parts I-III. George Young on bass, Malcolm Young on guitar, and George’s former Easybeats bandmates Harry Vanda and Stevie Wright. How could these songs not be awesome.

7 John Paul Young – Yesterday’s Hero. In this song George writes about fleeting stardom. He used his own experience in Easybeats as a lesson in this song written for John Paul Young (no relation).

6 Marcus Hook Roll Band – Natural Man. Harry Vanda, George Young, Alex Young, Angus Young and Malcolm Young. Sounds like an awesome line up to me.

5 Rose Tattoo – Rock N Roll Outlaw. George produced this bands first album by using some of the tricks he had learned.

4 The Angels – Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again. George had a hand in the forming of this band by producing their first record. During the late 70’s, AC/DC, Rose Tattoo and The Angels were among the biggest bands in Australia. The song is also famous for the live version and the f bombs the audience hurls back at the band.

3 Stop-Start riffs. This stop then start guitar style was originated by George and later became a trademark of Malcolm Young and the AC/DC style.

2 Smoking guitar amps. During the recording for Whole Lotta Rosie, Angus’ amp began to smoke. George told him to keep playing and was quoted as saying “There was no way we were going to stop a shit-hot performance for a technical reason like amps blowing up.”

1 Bon Scott. George was the person responsible for telling the AC/DC boys to hire Bon Scott as their lead after firing Dave Evans, and the rest is history.

Thank you George Young for all you did for music.

 

TV Review : Gord Downie’s Secret Path In Concert – CBC 2017

On Friday night the CTV network aired the Long Time Running documentary I just wrote about. After the movie ended, the network aired 22 minutes including clips of old interviews and other footage of The Tragically Hip and Gord Downie. (I was very shocked during the CTV broadcast when they mentioned the Secret Path would be aired on Sunday night on CBC. Usually rival networks will not mention programs other channels.)

On Saturday night, Hockey Night In Canada started with old clips, Hip music, and Ron Maclean speaking about Gord Downie. Later in the program during Coaches Corner Don Cherry spoke about how much Gord Downie meant to him, and about the time he was featured in the music video The Darkest One.

On Sunday night the Secret Path concert was aired. The show begins with footage showing Gord travelling by bus along northern Canadian highways, then Gord being greeted by members of the Wenjack family. The concert backing band, who are all friends of Gord, and are a who’s who of the Toronto music scene, is introduced: Kevin Drew (Broken Social Scene, KC Accidental), Dave Hamelin (The Stills, Eight And A Half), Kevin Hearn (Look People, Corky and the Juice Pigs, The Cousins, Lou Reed, Barenaked Ladies, Thin Buckle, Rheostatics), Charles Spearin (Broken Social Scene, Do May Say Think, KC Accidental, Valley Of The Giants), Josh Finlayson (Skydiggers).

I was happy to see the joy that is exuded by Gord Downie before the show. He happily smiles for photos with fans, many of whom are survivors of residential schools, and jokes and acts goofy. Much of the footage I saw of this time showed Gord as a frail victim of his disease, but he was in good shape this evening.

Last year I wrote posts about both the Secret Path album, and the CBC airing of the Secret Path video clips/discussion. I enjoyed the music on vinyl as well as on the program. The theme of the album is of a young, indigenous boy (Chanie Wenjack) that runs away from a residential school and dies alone in the wilderness trying to get back to the father he was taken away from. Before the concert begins, a blanket that belongs to Chanie is laid over a chair in the front row. The recent performance shown on Sunday was very special. The 3 concerts were the last things Gord Downie ever performed in. The darker theme really hits home while the camera pans out over crying audience members. Many may not have known Chanie Wenjack personally, but can relate to others that were taken, mistreated and died over the years. The track Here, Here and Here was a real highlight of the evening capped off by Gord’s voice breaking down from raw emotion, Kevin Drew looking up to the heavens and the video screen showing a picture of Chanie Wenjack, and the words `For Chanie 19/01/54-22/10/66.` How fitting that the airing of this show was on the 51st anniversary of his death. This song is capped off by a standing ovation, and Gord saying “Sorry family, but this will get things going.”

After the performance Pearl and the Wenjack family join Gord and band on stage to offer a few words. Chanie’s 18 year old great niece gives thanks to the Downie family for bringing her family together. Pearl sings a healing Cree song for everyone, then breaks down in tears, and receives a consoling kiss from Gord Downie.

I had remembered one review of this show when it occurred last year. It did not put the evening in a good light. I was leery before I watched this show. I didn`t want the last thing Gord did to not be great. However, I thought the footage shown was amazing. Gord`s voice was great. He was in wonderful spirits, and the backing band was amazing.

Gord was quoted as saying “If this is the last thing I do, I’m very happy. This is what I want to do.” and “Let’s not celebrate the last 150 years. Let’s just start celebrating the next 150 years.” I won’t be able to celebrate Gord for 150 years, but I will celebrate him and his music for the rest of my life.

10/10