Stone Temple Pilots – Live 2018 – Album Review

For Record Store Day on Black Friday of 2018, I was able to pick up the new Stone Temple Pilots Live album simply called Live 2018.  I have been a fan of STP for years and was happy to hear they were getting a new singer and were going to continue despite the death of former lead singer, the great Scott Weiland.  The new singer, Jeff Gutt seemed like a good choice and their new album earlier this year wasn’t bad…wasn’t great either, but wasn’t bad (see review here).

When I heard they were doing a Live album for Record Store Day, I was excited and it was one I wanted to get to see how Jeff does live..  The track listing was only 10 songs, but they are a great 11 songs with 2 from the new album and the rest being STP classics.  The album cover was cool as it was rendered in 3-D and the album came with 3-D glassed

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And the back cover of course was in 3-D as well which is why it is a little blurry.

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Chris Cornell – Chris Cornell Box Set – Album Review

May 18th, 2017.  A sad day for music fans everywhere. Chris Cornell died and left this world, but lucky for us, he left a tremendous music legacy.  For the first time, a collection has been released that is a wonderful retrospective view of his entire career.

The 4CD set (64 Tracks) takes you on a remarkable journey through the life of Chris Cornell starting with his early days of Soundgarden from as early as 1987 through to his work with Audioslave and his solo output with one brand new track that had never previously been released.  There are also 10 unreleased live tracks with some outstanding performances from throughout his career.

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Disc One:

The first CD is basically a greatest hits collection of Soundgarden tracks with the exception of two songs from Temple of the Dog and one solo track  The collection spans the late 80’s and the 90’s.

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Needtobreathe – ‘Acoustic Live, Vol. 1’ – Album Review

There are only a few bands in your lifetime that come along and touch you in ways that nothing else can.  I have been fortunate enough to have that happen on a few occasions.  Needtobreathe is one of those bands for me.  Their music speaks to me and makes me feel things that have made them a part of my life.  I have only seen them live 3 times now and each time they get better.  I have all their studio albums on vinyl and now their 2 live albums.  The latest to the collection is the release ‘Acoustic Live, Vol. 1’.  And that is what we are going to talk about here today.

Back in 2017, Needtobreathe went on their first ever acoustic tour.  They played smaller venues and stripped it down bare to make the shows as intimate as they possibly could.  Sadly, I had to miss the show due to my work schedule and let me tell you how much that sucked.  I hate that work gets in the way of life.

Back to the album…the cover art was drawn by none other than Bo Rhinehart, lead guitarist.  He is one talented MF.  He also designed the videos shown during their most recent tour that my wife and I caught this past Summer (read about HERE).  The rest of the artwork is really strong giving the album this vintage, retro look of say the early 1900’s.  It is really cool.

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Def Leppard – ‘The Story So Far…The Best of’ – Album Review

Def Leppard decided to grace us with yet another Greatest Hits Collection right before the holidays. How nice of them!  It is exactly what I needed…uhh…yeah…NO!!  No offense Lep, I am a huge fan, but why do we need another greatest hits collection.  We have some solid ones already.

I get it.  They have been riding a pretty big wave this last year with the awesome success of their arena and stadium tour with Journey (You can read about those here for Def Leppard and here for Journey).  They have picked up some fans this past year and also they were nominated for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (FINALLY!!!).  All-in-all, a pretty big year so why not cap it off with a new greatest hits set.

Now, they released 3 different sets.  One was a single CD set, a Deluxe 2CD set and a Vinyl Set (2LPs).  So what are the differences between the sets?  I am glad you asked.  We will start with the single CD and the Vinyl Editions.  Both of these sets have 16 tracks.  Okay, the CD has 17 because it includes the new track which is a cover of Depeche Mode’s song “Personal Jesus”.  Now that I mention that, the Vinyl set has that song 2 but is on a separate 7″ Single and the B-Side is the bands new Christmas song “We All Need Christmas”…we will get to those two new songs later.

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The Struts – ‘Young & Dangerous’ – Album Review

The Struts come back with their second album, ‘Young & Dangerous’, and they are showing that rock is alive and well and can be one helluva a good time.  Their retro rock sound is both refreshing and feels entirely new.  Where Greta Van Fleet is getting picked on for sounding too much like Led Zeppelin, the Struts seem to be celebrated for sounding like bands from the past.  They sound like Queen, Aerosmith, Mott the Hoople and they crossover genres like Glam, Classic Rock and 80’s Pop and the Hair Bands.  They are the best parts all rolled up into one.

The band consists of Adam Slack on guitar, Jed Elliott on bass and Gethin Davis on drums and let me tell you they rip it up throughout this album.  Their ability to play around with genres and sounds is so convincing and outstanding.  But let’s admit it, it is lead singer Luke Spiller who truly shines with this band.  His cocky, confident and flamboyant singing and style just screams frontman.  Think Freddy Mercury and Steven Tyler and you have some idea of what I am talking about.

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From the opening track “Body Talks” and the over-the-top, glam-filled “Primadonna Like Me” and you see that they can play and that your are in for a fun-filled, rocking good time.  The energy level is up to 10 and I can imagine that their live show takes it up to 11.

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Generation X – ‘Valley of the Dolls’ – Album Review (The Billy Idol Series)

After the moderate success of their debut album, the band went in to record their sophomore album with famed musician and producer, Ian Hunter.  Yes, the Ian Hunter from Mott the Hoople.  The album would come out just a few months later in January 1979.  Before the album was released, the record company, Chrysalis, came to the band and basically told them, the album better succeed or they were to be dropped from the label…no pressure.

The album was quite different than the first album.  It had some of the punk sound from the first album, but there were elements of some glam (thanks to Ian) and even more of an American sound ala Springsteen (or at least what they felt was like Springsteen). The songs were a little more complex than the first album and the writing was more mature, but I am not sure it was good yet.

The two writing contributors were Billy Idol and Tony James so everything was based around what they wanted.  Heck, in fact when promoting the debut album, it was only Billy sent to America to promote it.  That started putting thoughts in Billy’s head about what he could do on his own. However, on this album, most of the influence on the album seem to be coming from Tony (he even picked the producer).  It was the start of things to come.

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A Star is Born – Soundtrack – Album Review

I bought this on a 2LP Deluxe Edition vinyl for my daughter the week before it was actually released.  Not sure how we were able to do that, but there it was so we bought it.  I have to say it is one sensational package as you get a lot for your money which isn’t always the case. There are 34 tracks, but only 19 actual songs (which is still a lot).  The other tracks are little snippets from the movie.  So without seeing the movie myself, I know the movie pretty well now as the soundtrack follows the storyline.

The movie stars Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga and follows the story of an aging country singer (Bradley) and he meets this young woman (Gaga) and loves her singing voice and her as it turns out.  Her star goes up while his falls and the movie tells the story of how that impacts their relationship.  I won’t spoil it for you.  The movie is also Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut.  Oh yeah, he sings and writes some of the songs too.  Impressive.

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The songs were written by both Bradley and Lady Gaga as well as contributions from many other artists include DJ White Shadow, Lukas Nelson, Mark Ronson, Jason Isbell, Diane Warren and Andrew Wyatt (Miike Snow) to just name a few.  I have to say, musically the album sounded great with some stellar session musicians taking the rein.

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Lifehouse – The Albums Ranked Worst to First

Lifehouse started in 1996 as the band Blyss.  This was while they were in high school and by 1998, the recorded a bunch of Demos.  In 2000, the band went back and re-recorded 12 of the 15 original demos and those demos became their debut album, ‘No Name Face’.  Apparently, they decided to change the band name for this release to Lifehouse because the songs were about lead singer, Jason Wade’s life and other people’s life.  The name  was believed to be a good fit to encompass all that.

The band would go on to release 7 studio albums between 2000 and 2015.  They have had their ups and downs as a band, they have had hits, been popular and not so popular and have taken the typical roller coaster of success.  I have followed the band from the debut album all the way to today and still one of my favorites even if I haven’t liked everything they have done.  But there is more that I like than I don’t like and that is what matters.

I am going to go through all 7 albums and tell you what I like and don’t like about each as well as rank them from the Worst album to their #1 album in my book.  If you are not familiar with them, I hope this will spark an interest and you will give them a try.

WORST – STANLEY CLIMBFALL (2002)

After the success of the band’s debut, their sophomore release was a rather big disappointment for me.  It wasn’t all bad as there were some great songs such as “Spin”, “Wash” and “Take Me Away”.  Heck, the album sold 2 million copies so people liked it. It was a heavier rock sound then the first album and normally that is a good thing for me.

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Aldo Nova – ‘Aldo Nova 2.0’ – Album Review

Aldo Nova is back after 21 years since his last studio album, ‘Nova’s Dream’.  And it has been way too long in my opinion.  I discovered Aldo’s music back in the very early 80’s with his song and video for “Fantasy” and I have every album he has put out (I haven’t bought this one…yet!).  When I heard he was releasing a new album I was so excited. I was thinking Steve Perry and Aldo Nova back after all this time, life is good.

Well, then I heard the album was a re-imagining of a handful of songs from his debut album, ‘Aldo Nova’, including “Fantasy”.  There was going to be one new song, but I was a little worried about the ‘re-imagining’ part.  It worked so well for Bon Jovi with that piece of shit album called ‘This Left Feels Right’.  I was not a fan of that obviously.

Aldo redoing songs from such a classic album (classic to me) was like George Lucas redoing the original Star Wars Trilogy and adding all that unwanted and unnecessary crap into it that it was so stupid. And guess what, the redoing of all these songs is just that.  He added so many electronic effects and extra guitar parts that I feel it took away from the heart of the songs.

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The Who – ‘ The Kids Are Alright’ – Album Spotlight

The Who released a Record Store Day Exclusive for the April 2018 edition of the event.  The album was ‘The Kids Are Alright’ and the release was a double LP, colored vinyl edition.  And a nice set it was.  This is an album spotlight and not a review as this is The Who and I don’t know if I can add anything new to the conversation, so I am just going to talk about this particular release and what I like and don’t like about it.

First up, what do I like about this release?

Well, there is quite a lot actually.  The sound for starters.  The quality of the sound coming out of the speakers for this album are sensational. It sounds so crisp and clear and just begs to be cranked up so loud the walls shake and with an opening song like “My Generation”, how could you not oblige.

I mentioned that it was a double LP and colored vinyl and it is just that.  I love the red & blue colors and it feels like a 3rd LP would be good with a white color to complete the Union Jack color scheme, but sadly only 2.

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The track listing is great as well.  It has the same 17 tracks as the original and they have been remastered beautifully.  What are the 17 tracks?  Easy, here are they are…

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