Nita Strauss – ‘Controlled Chaos’ (2018) – Album Review

I am a little behind on reviews, so excuse the lateness of this one.  I almost passed it over due to the lateness, but I felt this one needed to be done.  Nita Strauss’ ‘Controlled Chaos’ is nothing short of spectacular so I had to talk about it.

Instrumental albums are hard for me to write-up as I am not a guitarist (although learning) or a musician.  I mean how many times and how many ways can I say the guitar work is sensational.  Well, I will say it at least a few times.  Nita’s guitar work is sensational…she is a beast…she is one of the most exciting guitarists out there today.  Plus, you know she is one of the best if Alice Cooper has her in his band.  I saw them tour last year and she was quite phenomenal!

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And another way I can tell you it is great is the fact I actually bought a physical CD.  I normally stream new music and buy used vinyl and special edition box sets.  New releases only get bought, if they are beyond exceptional and well, this is just that.  So, I showed my support by actually spending my hard in dollars on her album.  People should do way more of that.

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My Sunday Song – “Naked City” by Kiss

For My Sunday Song #134, I am going to discuss “Naked City” off the underrated 1980 album ‘Unmasked’ by Kiss.  I say underrated now because I have grown to like this album now.  I didn’t appreciate it back in the day, but there were some great songs on this album, including this one.

First, the song was written by Gene Simmons, Vini Poncia, Bob Kulick and Pepe Castro.  The bass on the song is Gene and the rhythm guitar is Paul,  but that is it…no Ace & no Peter.  Drums are handled by Anton Fig and actually he did all the drums on the album even though Peter is credited.  Lead guitar on the song is former Kiss bandmate Bruce Kulick’s brother, Bob Kulick.  Bob actually auditioned for the lead guitar role back in the day, but Ace came in a beat him out…I guess the band never lost his number.

The song is more of a pop/rock song and doesn’t have the full edge of the classic Kiss tunes, but it is smoking when it comes to overall tone, groove and Gene’s vocals.  Even without all original members, it is still Kiss and it is still fantastic.  The song is about New York City (which a lot of their songs are about).  The song talks about the fact there are so many people in the city, so many lonely and lost people.  It is actually quite a sad, insightful and observant viewpoint of the city.

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Friday New Releases – March 8th

Finally!!  A fantastic week of releases.  There have  been some okay weeks, but this one has the most so far that I am interested in this year.  So, I am not going to ramble on and on…my choices are highlighted in Blue.  Let me know what you are interested in hearing or anything I might have missed.  Happy Friday!!

  • 61oj5jpg5pl._sx522_  Whitesnake – Slide It In (35th Anniversary Ultimate Special Edition) – (Rhino Records):  Whitesnake has a knack for delivering fantastic box sets, if you don’t believe me just check out the Unzipped and ’87 Box Sets I have reviewed.  This one seems even better.  6 Cds including the US & UK releases remastered, live shows and demos/remixes and whatever else they throw in.  Oh, and you get a DVD full of videos and interviews…No Brainer!! Ordered and will be at the house when I arrive home from work

  • 91kmjiflhzl._ac_sx200_sy200_  Tesla – Shock – (Universal Music):  Tesla has been going strong since the 80’s and this one brings us a little twist.  Producing the album is none other than Phil Collen from Def Leppard.  Teslas has opened for Lep many, many times and a bond has been formed.  Can’t wait to hear what Phil pulled out of the guys…I am sure it will be fantastic.

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Jon Fratelli – ‘Bright Night Flowers’ – Album Review

The voice of The Fratellis is back with his second solo album, ‘Bright Night Flowers’. If you are looking for that Fratellis fun, upbeat sound, that is not here.  What you get is the unique Jon Fratelli sound with a slowed down tempo and a hauntingly beautiful album.

For those melancholy evenings, this is the perfect album.  You get 9 songs played in a way that if the lights are down low and you are alone, it is the companion you were looking for.  It will take you, wraps its arms around you and wallow in your sadness…in a good way.

Filled with songs themed around love and heartbreak, this album is actually a breath of fresh air in Jon’s songwriting and such a wonderful change of pace from The Fratellis.  When a lead singer steps away from his band, this is how it is done.

Magical songs such as “Serenade in Vain”, the piano led “After a While” and the slightly country-tinged “Evangeline”, take you on a musical journey that you never want to leave.  I would score the album a 4.0 out of 5.0 Stars.  The album is endearing and is easily an early favorite in my Top Albums of 2019.

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Def Leppard – The Albums Ranked Worst to First

If you read my site, you know Def Leppard is one of my all-time favorite bands, if not the #1 band on my list.  And for that, this list was extremely hard for me to do, yet easy as well.  I will already go ahead and say it, there is not a horrible album in this bunch only some I like more than others and yet a few that are absolute no-brainers as the top choices.  And yes, I am biased.

Speaking of top choices, my Top 5 is my Top 5 because each album is completely different.  The band completely changed up the sound and style on each of these albums and when the band does that, for me they hit it out of the park.

From the very beginning in 1980 with their debut and all the way up to today, the band has been mainstay in my musical journey.  In 2019, they will be inducted in to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and all I can say is it is about damn time!!!  They received the highest public vote so I am not the only one that things these guys from England are pretty darn great.

So, let’s get to it.  Here is my favorite Def Leppard albums from the worst one to the very best.  I hope you enjoy it.

WORST – SONGS FROM THE SPARKLE LOUNGE (2008)

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Tuesday’s Memes – Limp Bizkit

I must be running out of ideas if I am doing a collection of Limp Bizkit memes!  What the heck, I might as well as there are plenty to choose from.  Love them or hate them or love to hate them, whatever it is, I hope you get a kick out of the memes.  They made it so easy to hate them so let’s celebrate that fact…enjoy!

Let’s do a political one to start…

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The songs…

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American Authors – ‘Seasons’ – Album Review

American Authors is one of those bands I had heard about due to their hit “Best Day of My Life” from 2013, but I had never wanted to take a deeper dive.  It is not because they weren’t any good band, it is just not my type of music.  It is too pop and generic and nothing really interested me.  Well, with the release of their third album, ‘Seasons’, that has now changed.

The reason for that change is simple, they have two songs on the album by a couple of my favorite singers right now, Billy Raffoul and Bear Rinehart (Needtobreathe).  You see, those two put out a song…I will listen and American Authors only reap the benefits…or do they…we will have to see.

I don’t know much about the band, so I will get straight into the music.  American Authors are really good at writing, happy type, uplifting songs and the opening track, “Stay Around”, is just that.  It is an uptempo and fun song that sounds exactly like an Imagine Dragon song with that drum beat and the lyrical phrasing.  Good song, but come on if you are going to copy any one why the hell would you copy Imagine Dragons?

The next song is one of the best on the album called “Say Amen”.  It features new singer Billy Raffoul and is probably why I am biased about loving this song.  It is a darker song for American Authors and I like this darker edge to the band.  Bill’s Jeff Buckley style vocals work well with singer Zac Barnett who I think changes his vocals to be a little more in Billy’s style which is great because Billy’s vocals have a lot of texture and character.

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My Sunday Song – “Shock Me” by Kiss

For My Sunday Song #133, we are tackling one of my favorite Ace songs from Kiss called “Shock Me”.  It was off the 1977 album, ‘Love Gun’ and it was actually the first song Ace had the lead vocals on.  He had written other songs, but never sang.  Ace intended for Gene to sing, but Gene pushed it back and encouraged Ace to sing this one.  And thankfully that happened as it was a showcase for Ace during their live shows.

On December 12, 1976, Kiss was in concert in Lakeland, Florida when Ace touched a railing that had not been properly grounded and let’s say he got the shock of his life.  That incident was the inspiration for the song even though that is not what the song is about.  The song is about one of Kiss’ favorite subjects.  Nope, not rock & roll, but sex.  That is right, sex.  I know!!  You are surprised and you can’t believe it, but it is the truth.

Now Ace doesn’t have the best voice, but he has a great rock voice.  It is a little gritty and dirty and it is rough just like rock should be.  If you want a pretty voice, go listen to pop music.  I believe I read that Ace recorded this by lying down on the ground.  I don’t know if that is true, but that does sound like something he would do.

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Friday New Releases – March 1st

Happy Friday and welcome to another Friday of New Releases.  If you like hard rock and heavy metal, might be a good week for you…otherwise, not much else.  For me, it is slim pickings this week with only 2 I am mildly interested and a decent Tom Petty greatest hits collection.  Outside of that, nothing else for me. My choices are in Blue.  Let me know if there is something you like or anything I missed.  Thanks and have a great weekend.

  • 51tEDu1QeKL._SS500  Queensryche – The Verdict – (Century Media Group) – Ever since Geoff Tate left, I haven’t given them much of a fair shake, but that will change with this album.  I am going to give it a spin and see wha the buzz is about.  Todd La Torre definitely has the chops as the lead singer so he deserves a chance.  I will let you know what I think.

  • 81r6evhbjnl._ss500_  In Flames – I, The Mask – (Eleven Seven Music):  This band has been around since 1994 and yet I didn’t discover them until their last album ‘Battles’ in 2016.  I will check this out and maybe start exploring their back catalog of about 11-12 albums.  They are a Swedish metal band if you were interested, pretty heavy stuff.

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Bear’s Favorite Songs

My dog, Bear, lays next to me every time I sit down to write posts for the site.  He is my faithful companion and it would feel weird writing anything if he wasn’t there.  Well, the other day Bear told me he wanted to contribute to the site.  At least that is what I thought he said because some times he stutters when he barks and I get things messed up.

Bears has compiled a list of his favorite songs.  I hope you enjoy them.

  • “Hair of the Dog” by Nazareth (1975): My mom was a bitch!!

  • “Black Dog” by Led Zeppelin (1971):  Okay, I am brown dog (red merle actually), but still a bad ass song.

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  • “Diamond Dogs” by David Bowie (1974): Diamonds are a dog’s best friend too, especially around the collar.

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