Posts

Showing posts from May, 2018

Dizzy Reed - Rock N' Roll Ain't Easy

Image
8.5 Out of 10 I had no idea what to expect from the solo record by Guns N' Roses keyboardist Dizzy Reed , but the punch in the face of "This Don't Look Like Vegas" answers the question pretty quickly.  Expect loud, dirty guitars, Stones-like piano and surprisingly good vocals.  This is a collection of 13 really strong rock n' roll tracks which, after listening, is exactly what you want in a solo record from a Gunner. Dizzy is joined by a veteran band that includes Guns band mate Richard Fortus on guitar. Fortus may be the secret weapon of this record as his guitar brings each song together. Reed has a clear, booming voice that at times brings to mind Davy Vain, Sebastian Bach and even a little of Axl Rose's phrasing throughout. While the rockers like "This Don't Look Like Vegas" and "Mother Theresa" set the stage, it's the tempo changes of "Fragile Water" and  "Rock N' Roll Ain't Easy" that brin

Spiderbites - When the Lights Go Down

Image
8 out of 10 I took a chance on this record because the band sounded interesting, very glad I did! Spiderbites are made up of  Joe Holweger on bass and vocals, Andy Woodwardon drums and the late Tom Edwards on guitar.  These three made up the later day version of Adam's Ants during his world tour for Kings of the Wild Frontier .  In January of this year, Tom Edwards died unexpectedly forcing Ant to postpone a number of East Coast shows.  The Spiderbites record was nearly completed at the time of Edwards' death and recently released. Musically, it is straight up 80's glam with a twist of Spinal Tap in the lyrics.  If your expecting Adam Ant-like new wave, this isn't it.  It's a fun, guitar driven record with tongue-in-cheek lyrics.  This is a band that doesn't take itself too serious and the record benefits from it. Mid record there is a quick foray into the obligatory 80's acoustic balled with "Sunny Side Up", a great song that brings to min

Sons of Apollo - 5/18/18 PlayStation Theater NYC

Image
On Friday, May 18, the Sons of Apollo made their NYC debut at the PlayStation Theater in Times Square. If you're not familiar with the Sons, they are a true supergroup of prog and hard rock made up of  keyboardist Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater, Alice Cooper, Black Country Communion), drummer Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater, Winery Dogs, Adrenaline Mob), guitarist Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal (Guns N' Roses, Art of Anarchy), bassist Billy Sheehan (Talas, David Lee Roth, Mr. Big) and vocalist Jeff Scott Soto (Yngwie Malmsteen, Talisman, Trans Siberian Orchestra). Their debut record, Psychotic Symphony , was released last October and heavily represented throughout the night. Every track from the stellar release was played live Friday night.  As there are only 9 tracks on the record, the set was rounded out with a few choice covers ("Just Let Me Breath" and "Lines in the Sand" from Dream Theater's Falling Into Infinity , the only full len

W.E.T. - Earthrage

Image
 10 out of 10 Has anyone ever been on the roll Jeff Scott Soto is currently riding?  In October he released  Psychotic Symphony ,  the amazing debut record from prog supergroup Sons of Apollo, a month later he followed that up with the fantastic solo record  Retribution , and now he's back with probably the best release of the three, W.E.T.'s  Earthrage .  The core of W.E.T. is keyboardist Robert Sall (of the band  W ork of Art), guitarist, bassist and vocalist Erik Martensson (of  E clipse) and, of course, vocalist Jeff Scott Soto (of  T alisman).  Three modern legends in the field of melodic rock that is currently dominated by Swedish bands and the Frontiers label. Frontiers has a habit of combining talents to form interesting projects (Allen/Lande, Revolution Saints, etc.) and that is how this band originally came together.  However, with studio album #3 they have really evolved into a band rather than individual pieces.  The sound is rounded out by guitarist/produc

Myles Kennedy - Year of the Tiger

Image
7 out of 10 I wanted to love this record. To my ears, Myles Kennedy is one of the best, most versatile singers in rock.  I've always thought of him as someone that needs the right partner to meet his songwriting potential.  To that end, I prefer his work with Slash  to Alter Bridge simply because the songs were better, Bent to Fly is an absolute classic.   I think  Year of the Tiger  proves that Myles needs a foil to write that perfect song. This is a deeply personal record, the year referred to in the title is 1974, the year his father passed away.  The lyrics deal with themes such as loss and redemption, reconciliation and religion. As always, Myles' lyrics are brilliant and thought provoking. The music is a swampy, acoustic feel that allows him to stay in a lower register as opposed to the all out rock voice used with Slash and somewhat with Alter Bridge.  The production by long time Myles Kennedy producer Michael "Elvis" Baskette (all of the Alter Bridge

30th Anniversary of Operation: Mindcrime

Image
30 years…I was 15 years old, a few months away from turning 16, finishing up my sophomore year of high school, exactly where my own daughter is now.   I was familiar with Queensryche from their first two records (and e.p.), particularly 1986’s Rage for Order .   Queensryche was always a bit unique, not a hair metal band like most at the time. They had a style that mixed hard rock with a new form of guitar-centered prog, leading a genre that would include bands like Savatage, Fates Warning and Dream Theater.   Word began to spread in the rock press that the next Queensryche record would be a concept record, a story combining world politics, drugs, religion, sex and murder.   As a kid that was just beginning to discover the mystery of the concept album, I was all in before ever hearing a note. I remember now …walking in the music store at the mall for the sole purpose of buying Operation: Mindcrime on May 3, 1988.   There was a display of the week’s new releases in the back