Album Review : Monster Truck- True Rockers (2018 Dine Alone Records exclusive splatter vinyl)

Monster Truck are back with a follow up to the amazing album Sittin’ Heavy (which I gave a 10/10). True Rockers is the name of the album and it suits the band perfectly. They are wonderfully representing the city of Hamilton, and all of Canada as the true rockers in 2018. I had high hopes for this album, and I sent out an email blast to some fellow rockers. I got an instant response that one fan may hold off on this album because he did not like the new single. I had not heard the single yet and wanted to hold off any judgement until I heard the entire album. Thankfully I did is all I can say. Now on to the review.

True Rocker (ft. Dee Snider) – I’m not sure if this is the first time Dee Snider has guested on a Canadian band’s album, but hopefully his inclusion alone will help sell records. The song starts off in sort of a fun-loving, goofy Sammy/Cabo sort of a vein but then morphs right into a hard rocker. A true rocker as it were. The guitar work is unlike any other Monster Truck song, then none other than Dee Snider sounds like the best rock n roll preacher to ever live. Great song to start this one off.

Thundertruck – Wonderful keys, guitars and drumming. This is a wonderful chant that may get as much stadium play as Thunderstruck. “All we want is a real metal ripper. All we want is to thrash our faces off like 1985.”

Evolution – This is the single that another rocker did not like. I get it. It has a Nickelback feel to it. Plus the song starts off with what sounds like electronic drums. Then there are the Adam Levine-like oooo’s. So basically this is a Maroon 5 meets Nickelback song that is trying to become the next crossover into the pop charts. Well maybe…and maybe not. This is the first song (of 3) that uses the production of Gavin Brown with the mixing from Eric Ratz. I respect these guys a ton,  and I will say I was still tapping along to this one. It’s not my favourite song by these lads, but it’s not like some of the filler songs on their earliest stuff either.

Devil Don’t Care – Back to the Monster Truck basics. In fact, this may be even going further back. It almost a mid 70’s Southern Rock feel to it. Mix in some sweet harp playing with some wicked guitar licks and this one smokes.

Being Cool Is Over – A fast, repetitive rocker that has a line that made me do one of those LOL things the hip kids are talking about. “I can’t change, you change, I like who I am. I must have missed the indie rock entrance exam.”

Young City Hearts – Funny enough, this song may actually be Monster Truck’s indie rock entrance exam. It has a bunch of elements of indie rock, plus a few the mid 80’s new wave. This is the 2nd song from Gavin Brown/Eric Ratz. It has elements of Arkells which make sense with Ratz’ involvement. Not that that’s a bad thing. I love Arkells. It just may take long time Monster Truck fans a few listens to adjust.

Undone – This song has a bit of Skynyrd in it. Some Whitesnake too. If David Coverdale was taken over by the spirit of Ronnie Van Zant in 1988, this song would have been the result. It has all of the elements of a slow burning rocker that the bands mentioned put out in their respective heydays.

In My Own World – The guitar work and chants have a bit of an Alice In Chains style. Although the keyboard work makes this one unique.

Denim Danger – I can see the Hamilton sports teams cranking this one out to fire the crowd up. “Whoa this is our town! In this place we wear the crowns! Whoa this is our town! It’s up to us to burn it down!” With that last line it should be popular in Montreal and Vancouver as well. Wait. What? “The corner is where we dive. Beers only run you five. Everyone knows we’re a tribe. Ready to feel alive. Everybody is here tonight. Dressed in clothes that fit real tight. If anyone tries to start a fight. Their future won’t be very bright.” Nope, definitely Hamilton.

Hurricane – The last of 3 songs with Brown/Ratz on board. This one has more of that old rockin’ Monster truck vibe. The drums sound a little Lars Ulriched for my liking, but the song is a good rocker. Now don’t be sad, ’cause one outta three ain’t bad (it kind of is).

The Howlin’ – Wow. This is a wicked song. It has Coverdale elements, sweet harp playing, wicked guitar playing, soft and tender moments and vocal wails. It is one of the best songs this band has ever released, and that says a lot. Wow.

Real hard for a band to follow up a 10/10 album with another perfect score. This one has some more experimentation. I think they followed the direction of the producer/mixer on the 3 tracks noted above, but those guys have a solid rep, so why not. The other 8 tracks were all produced by Dan Weller and mixed by Mike Fraser. They followed the if it ain’t broke, don’t try and fix it model and it seems to have worked. Perhaps if the band had done all 11 songs in the same style, some people would have criticized them for doing the same old thing. Who knows?

Not perfect, but really good

8.25/10

 

 

Advertisements

Burt Reynolds (R.I.P) Top 5

5 – Tonight Show – He was usually funny on the show but the most memorable may have been this clip.

4 The Cannonball Run

3 The Longest Yard

2 Deliverance

1 Smokey And The Bandit

R.I.P. Burt. Thanks for helping us car nuts fall in love with the Trans Am.

Ed King (R.I.P.) Top 5

His name may not ring a bell, but he was a great guitarist/bassist that most famously played in Lynyrd Skynyrd.

5 Lynyrd Skynryd – The Needle And The Spoon

4 Hunger – Mind Machine

3 Lynyrd Skynyrd – The Ballad Of Curtis Loew

2 Strawberry Alarm Clock – Incense & Peppermints

1 Lynyrd Skynyrd – Tuesday’s Gone

R.I.P Randy Rampage Top 5

I just heard Randy Rampage has passed away. He was a revered Canadian musician in both the early punk scene and the thrash metal scene. He was a founding member of D.O.A., the early lead singer of Annihilator and a member of several other bands. The Canadian metal and punk genres owe this man a lot for his early influences.

5 Annihilator : Human Insecticide. – The album that influenced Megadeth features this thrash feat of greatness.

4 D.O.A. : World War 3 – Randy could really blaze on the bass at lightning fast speeds.

3 Annihilator : Alison Hell – Changing up from a punk bassist to a thrash metal vocalist may have never been done before or since.

2 D.O.A. : Disco Sucks – Yes it does Randy. Yes it does.

1 D.O.A. : The Prisoner – I am a prisoner of that awesome bass sound

 

Aretha Franklin (R.I.P.) Top 11

I heard the sad news that Aretha Franklin died today at the age of 76. She won 18 Grammy awards, is in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, is on Rolling Stones list of Greatest Artists Of All Time plus their list of Greatest Singers Of All Time, and earned the title Queen Of Soul.

11 A Different World TV Theme – I had no idea this was Aretha, but I used to watch this show a lot back in the day and this theme song brings back those younger days.

10  Freeway Of Love -Another song that threw me back to younger days near the start of MTV/Much Music. It was kind of a secret pleasure back then, and shows it`s age today, but her talent shines through.

9 Baby, I Love You – This one almost has a country meets soul feel to it. Her voice is put at the forefront right where it belongs.

8 The House That Jack Built – The sax and the background singers are amazing here, and Aretha is Aretha.

7 I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You) – A slow sultry beat and some sky high vocals set this one apart

6 Spanish Harlem – Aretha along with some funky guitar and some chunky bass. Enough said.

5 A Natural Woman (You Make Me Feel Like) – Carole King co-writing and Aretha singing had to be good.

4 Bridge Over Troubled Waters – The organ work, the backgound singers, and Aretha make this one of the best cover songs ever.

3 Chain Of Fools – Any fools that think this song is not awesome need to be chained up.

2 Think – I think I will listen to some more Aretha

1 Respect- R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Aretha take care, TCB.

 

 

15 Years Ago Today

On August 14, 2003 millions of people in North America lost electrical power. Many U.S. States and almost all of Ontario lost power. Some for many hours, some for many days. I personally remember being on my back deck, listening to my local radio station (107.5 Dave FM) with a battery powered radio. They had just gone on the air July 21 2003, and they were doing test signals. They played unique versions of songs I had never heard before. I was still able to BBQ and the fridge and freezer kept the food cold as long as they were not left open too long. I went into work as usual the next day and the power was not on yet. They were telling us if the power did not go on shortly, that we could go home. Unfortunately it did go on at work. However many parts of the province still had no power. There were only a few customers so I was allowed to leave early. We left for Long Point to visit my sister-in-law and her family. They had no idea the power outage was this huge. One good thing about a vacation is you get to shut off the outside world and just have fun. We proceeded to light a campfire and the stars were awesome due to the lack of light pollution.

Those are some of my memories. Feel free to share yours with the class.

Goodbye Old Friend

I usually do not get all teary eyed over the loss of an inanimate object but this post is not about just any old thing, this was the loss of an old friend. I sold my 1977 Camaro today and I truly am Sad AF. We had 10 years together, however I have known that car since I was 16 years old. My buddy* in high school got it as his first car, and I told him I wanted it if he ever decided to sell. 10 years ago I got my wish. My family and I went to cruise nights, hit the beach, went to drive in movies, attended the Woodward Dream Cruise and had tons of fun. It was not a grocery getter. This was a muscle car. It had a good old American V8, dual exhaust and 4 barrel carb. It was sweet and I miss it already. It was time to pass it on to someone else, but there will always be a place in my heart for that car. Here is a little post about cars/Camaros. I hope you enjoy.

“..drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry..” This song mentions Chevy’s and is about Buddy Holly. Good enough for me.

Every time I would turn the key, that Lil’ Camaro would go.

It wasn’t yellow..

..or red..

..but occasionally the full moon would shine off of the hood.

This Chevrolet was the Top…

..I would choose my Chevrolet over any Rolls..

..it was one of the 7 wonders of the world.

Goodbye old friend. You will be missed.

*My buddy’s dad built the engine/transmission etc. for this car and he died this past week, so it was a sign that it was time to sell the car. I had been thinking of selling it for the last few years, but perhaps I held onto it in honour of him. Here’s to you Dave. Thanks for the great work.