Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Album Spotlight: The Dead Deads: For Your Obliteration...

Weaving in and out of and around and through punk, metal, pop, rock, bubblegum, grunge, Americana and all things in between, sometimes in the same song, sometimes in the same verse or chorus, The Dead Deads refuse to be pigeonholed into anything.

The Dead Deads' latest release, For Your Obliteration... is one of the most interesting albums I've heard this year.

Lead vocalist Meta Dead (Leticia Wolf) can go from a sweet bubblegum voice to heavy metal growling to punk attitude to melodic hard rock seamlessly and often. I have no doubt that she could sing in any genre she wanted.

For Your Obliteration... is bottom heavy much of the way through. This is to be attributed to the the heavy pounding of drummer Billy Dead (Angie Lese) and the bass playing of Daisy Dead (Mavis Turner). They lock in together form a formidable foundation for the soundscapes of Hella (Mandy Wolf) and Betty Dead's (Erica Sellers) keys and guitars.

Want a label? Rock. They rock, unabashedly and unashamedly. Enough words, here is some music. "Animals", which is my favorite song on the album:

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Album Spotlight: Butch Walker: Stay Gold

I was hooked when I first heard the chorus to Butch Walker's "Stay Gold":

     "You gotta stay gold, now Ponyboy"

That line comes from the book The Outsiders, later made into a movie of the same name, a book I first read while in junior high school. The first song brought out a sense of nostalgia in me that stays throughout the album Stay Gold.

Walker's last album, Afriad of Ghosts, was introspective, dark, melancholy and at times, a hard listen. Stay Gold is nostalgic, lighter while still introspective and every bit as good. Really, it's just a good rock album with some country-ish Americana leanings.

Much of Stay Gold reminds me of, though not derivative of, the music from the 80's movie Eddie and the Cruisers. It has that same kind of vibe. In fact the album really has an overall 80's music kind of vibe, you know the good stuff like Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty.

There is something for country music fans with "Descending", the duet with country singer Ashley Monroe, with the line "I just want you to worry about me, every once in a while / I just need a sign of life to get me by."

Overall, it's just a great record to put on and drive, or sit on the patio with friends and adult beverages. No skips necessary.

Here's the lyric video to the title track, check out the dude in the back with afro, ironically not dressed in gold.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Album Spotlight: Blackfoot: Southern Native

Blackfoot has a new album called Southern Native. Rickey Medlocke.

That sentence and that name probably mean nothing to 99% of Americans. Probably 99.9999% of the world.

Blackfoot was a 70's Southern Rock band, heavy on the rock. Contemporaries with Lynyrd Skynyrd, though never nearly as popular. Blackfoot co-founder Rickey Medlocke is now the touring lead guitarist for Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Medlocke put together a new Blackfoot with four new musicians. He produced the album and wrote or co-wrote much of it and played on it. But he's not a member of the band (Gene Simmons, take note).

However they got to this point, and whatever convoluted thread they hold with the original Blackfoot, Southern Native is a good album. In fact, if you grew up with 70s rock and Southern Rock, it's a great album.

I don't know if the new Blackfoot has legs going forward, but if you like Southern Rock with a harder edge, check this one out.

Album Spotlight: Monster Truck: Sittin' Heavy

Released way back in February of this year (2016), Monster Truck's latest album Sittin' Heavy is another prime example of why *rock ain't dead.

Sittin' Heavy by this Canadian quartet is heavy, with melody; rough around the edges but tight. Monster Truck combines 70's arena rock (Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple) with 90s hard rock (Soundgarden, Alice in Chains) in a way that fans of both eras would be pleased.

*There are sites dedicated to saving country music and bringing back glam. My musical tastes are too diverse to dedicate to one thing, but I will be featuring good rock music, always.

Here is "Don't Tell Me How To Live" from Sittin' Heavy:

Saturday, August 20, 2016

New Video: Beth Hart: Fire On The Floor

Don't really know much about Beth Hart other than she did some stuff with Joe Bonamassa. I stumbled across this new song of hers, "Fire On The Floor" and it's too good not to share. Bluesy, smokey, sultry, torchy and swampy.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Artist Spotlight: John Hiatt

After a recent conversation with a couple of other bloggers who also look for stuff outside of the mainstream, I took a deep dive into the music of John Hiatt. Now, I had always been a fan of Hiatt's, I just never realized how underrated his music is until now.

I was very familiar with the album Slow Turning because it has my favorite Hiatt song on it, "Paper Thin". At that time, I was not into digging for stuff like I have been the past few years, so I never really got into his entire catalog.

Little did I know that Bonnie Raitt's hit song "Thing Called Love" was a John Hiatt song. Or that his songs have been recorded by such diverse artists as Three Dog Night, Ronnie Milsap, Iggy Pop, Conway Twitty and the Neville Brothers.

What kind of music does John Hiatt make? Mostly just good music, but if you want reference, look above at who has recorded his songs. Country, Americana, blues, soul, heartland rock, roots. The thing is, Hiatt can't really be pigeonholed into one genre. That may have hurt him commercially, but we, as listeners, get a treat.

If you're reading this blog, you're going to find something in the John Hiatt catalog that you like. He's been at the game for a long time, so for a starting point, go with 1988's Slow Turning and then progress forward or backward. Or if you like what you hear, jump around and explore. You won't be disappointed.

This is the song that introduced me to John Hiatt, "Paper Thin":

And another one of my favorites, "Perfectly Good Guitar":

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Album Spotlight: Chelle Rose: Blue Ridge Blood

Here's the thing about Chelle Rose, you're either going to love her music or hate it. There's not going to be a lot of middle ground. I happen to fall into the former category.

There already have been, and will be more, aesthetically pleasing albums released this year. Rose's Blue Ridge Blood has no soaring vocals or slick production or flashes of instrumental virtuosity. What it does have is grit and groove and Appalachian swamp.

Ray Wylie Hubbard produced Rose's previous album, 2012's Ghost of Browder Holler. Even before I had that nugget of information, I would have said Chelle Rose is what Ray Wylie would sound like as a female.

Blue Ridge Blood is too real to be comfortable, too good to be ignored.

Here is a great interview with Chelle Rose over at Farce The Music.

And here is "Gypsy Rubye" from Blue Ridge Blood:

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Album Spotlight: Rob Baird: Wrong Side of the River

Memphis born and Texas seasoned, Rob Baird brings some cache to his music. His most recent album, Wrong Side of the River, was released earlier in 2016. I just found it about a month ago. I've been sitting on it ever since, not knowing exactly what to write other than "It's really good."

After giving it a fair amount of spins (everyday for the past month) I've come to the following conclusion: Wrong Side of the River is really, really good.

The album sounds familiar and comfortable while pushing boundaries and your comfort level.

There are songs on the album that will please the country purists, there are songs that will appeal to the Texas/Red Dirt crowd, there are songs imbedded in Americana, and there is swamp.

If any of the above appeals to you, Rob Baird can deliver. Enough words, here are some videos.

"Run of Good Luck"

"Wrong Side of the River"