Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Retro Album Spotlight: Badlands: Badlands

Badlands made up of former Ozzy guitarist Jake E. Lee and former Black Sabbath vocalist Ray Gillen along with bassist Greg Chaisson and current KISS drummer Eric Singer made one of the best hard rock albums ever with their 1989 self-titled debut.

Unless you already have a copy of the CD, you probably have never heard the band. Due to lawsuits and circumstances I'm not fully versed in, the album is OOP (out of print), not available on streaming services. But there is still ebay and youtube.

The record is a Zeppelin-esque, bluesy hard rock masterpiece. Ray Gillen's vocals are right up there with the great rock singers of all time. Unfortunately his passing in 1993 denied future generations of this talent. Many are familiar with Jake E. Lee's guitar prowess on Ozzy's Bark At The Moon and The Ultimate Sin albums.

If I'm still listening to it over twenty five years after it's release, then it stands the test of time.

Here is "Dreams In The Dark":

And now "Winter's Call":

And just to prove it wasn't all studio creations, here is "High Wire" live:

Monday, October 17, 2016

Does Country Music Need Saving, Does Radio Matter and The Rise of Americana

There have been a few pieces on the country music blogosphere about whether or not country music needs saving. And whether or not country radio matters. And the rise against mainstream country in the form of Americana.

I draw a huge distinction between country music and country radio. Country music is alive and well, just not on country radio. If you are reading this, you have access to the Google machine and can find all the country music you want. Just turn off your radio and do five minutes worth of digging. It's there.

Country radio is the labels playing a game of three card Monty. Find the good song among the utter and absolute garbage. Keep listening. We'll play it eventually. In the mean time, here's a steady diet of crappy EDM and puke-inducing creepy misogynistic tripe. But you'll keep listening, until you won't. And that's happening more and more.

Fred Jacobs wrote an interesting piece on the power of the passion of music. And he's 100% right. There is a morning show that I like locally. There is no passion in the music they play. In fact more than one cast member has admitted they don't really like the music the station plays. I have six presets on my radio, whenever they play music, I find another station.

Gone are the days when a DJ can make a hit out of a B-side like they did in Detroit when a DJ flipped over a KISS 45 and played "Beth". Think of the power radio had then. Now it's just background noise.

When the people playing the freaking music would rather be playing something else, what does that say? I don't understand how radio works, but that seems to be a bad model.

That being said, is it any wonder why this week Americana outsold country? And I don't even really know what Americana is. It seems to be older country artists, country artists who are not signed to major labels and older and recent singer/songwriter types. Whatever, most of it is good.

When I don't post about new music here, it's not because there is no good new music coming out, it's because nothing has really touched me. The past two weeks have had some great releases, but nothing moved me to write. That also doesn't mean I won't find something later that was released the past two weeks. I can only listen to so much.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Retro Album Spotlight: RATT: Dancin' Undercover

RATT's third full length album, Dancin' Undercover, is my favorite RATT album. Not saying it's their best or most important, just my favorite. Glam metal purists and RATT diehards, come at me.

Out of the Cellar and Invasion of Your Privacy are more iconic, but there is something about Dancin' Undercover that resonates with me. A lot of it has to do with time and place, but the music holds up.

The entire album had groove. The title was apropos. Had a lot of rockers dancing undercover. The only negative for this album is that "Way Cool Junior" was not on it.

Of course, it starts of with the song "Dance", which sets the mood for the album: it's gonna be a fun party record. RATT never went for anything heavy socially, just fun. And this record is the epitome of that. Want a fun party record? This is it. And it makes this old rocker want to move, much to my daughter's chagrin.

No social commentary, no introspection, just fun party rock.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Kevin McGuire - Country Music Fan

I get it. College Gameday has had more than a fair share of Nashville pop stars. And Kenny Chesney, while a real fan, is overdone. I'm on Kevin McGuire's side in that aspect.

But, you know, why take it there, Kevin? Unless that's what you really believe. If you, Kevin McGuire genuinely think all country music sucks, then I pity you. But, hey, in the meantime, find me some shoe gazers and emo punk and EDM artists that know anything about college football. I'd be more than happy to hear from them on Gameday.