Top Rock Albums of 2020

2020 was probably the strangest year yet.  With the Covid virus running rampant, many new releases were either postponed until late in the year or we never saw the release at all.  There were a flurry of albums at the beginning of the year, then basically nothing for a few months until we got to the Fall and now there are too many to get through.  But there were some great releases and I am sure I missed a number of great albums and if you look around the web, there will be tons of Top Album lists you can get a pretty good idea of what you should check out in case you missed any of these.

This list will be my favorite “Rock” albums of the year.  All other types of music will be for another post tomorrow.  I am going to leave this one to my favorite genre.  It is a broad genre, but these are the albums that I consider to be ROCK!!

Also note, these are MY FAVORITES!!  These are not the most popular or trendy albums.  You won’t find the cool trendy bands, because they are usually here today gone tomorrow.  These are the albums that I connected with during the year and I kept coming back to again and again.  And without further adieu, here are the Top Rock Albums of 2020:

#10 – Storm Force – Age of Fear:

81HSuWcovgL._SY355_ Thanks to some fellow bloggers in the name of LeBrain and SuperDekes, I was introduced to this Canadian band that unapologetically brought us a classic 80’s rock album full of songs that rocked you out and songs that were actually relevant to the events going on in the world which is amazing considering this song came out prior to the Covid shutdowns.  I believe these guys can see the future and with music like this, I can see their future being very bright.  You need to hear the songs “Breathe”, “Because of You” and “Dirty Vegas because once you do, you will be caught in the Storm!!

Continue reading “Top Rock Albums of 2020”

‘Memoir of a Roadie’ – by Joel Miller – Book Review

I get a lot of emails every day asking me to review this person or interview that person, but honestly, I don’t have time to explore the new artists or their music. I can’t keep up with the albums I want to review as it is so to add anything new ones in to the mix is impossible. And let’s be totally honest, most of the stuff I get is so bad, it is nauseating. Then one day I got a request to review a book. That hasn’t happened very often. I actually took the time to read the email and I loved the concept. It is a true story about life on the road and touring with bands. The book was called…this will take awhile…’Memoir of a Roadie: Axl said I mad a great cup of tea…Scott Weiland liked The Carpenters…& Ozzy likes Rosé’ and it was written by Joel Miller. I am going to just call it ‘Memoir of a Roadie’.

Joel Miller’s book covers the time in his life when he was a roadie.  It was only a few short years, back around the early 2000’s, but Joel experienced so much.  You get a realistic view of what goes on in the life of a roadie.  Joel toured with bands like Stone Temple Pilots, Guns ‘N Roses, Poison and The Cranberries and each tour gives us some funny moments, some insane moments and some very sad moments.  The book covers his hard, but fun life on the road in his early 20’s as well as the hardships of his life with not being on the road and the dysfunctions of his family.

Do you get stories about sex, drugs and rock & roll…Duh!!  But it is the storytelling of those events that makes this book a fun, fast-paced read.  Fast-paced because you don’t want to put it down.  The chapters are numerous, but short which helps keep a well paced book interesting and page-turning.  You’ll get to hear a lot about his jobs with telemarketing, working on movie sets and doing whatever he could to make ends meet.  And there is a portion of the book that deals with his tough relationship with his dad who was a Jaguar mechanic and who was sort of friends with Jay Leno.  Heck, Joel even got to go over to Jay’s and see that car collection.  When Joel’s dad was nearly dying, he had Jay call his dad and we get another funny moment in the book.  Jay seems like a really nice guy. Continue reading “‘Memoir of a Roadie’ – by Joel Miller – Book Review”

Turntables & Vinyl #24 – Interactive Album Covers

It is Thanksgiving 2020 and dang what a crazy year it has been. One thing I have found to give me peace and help deal with stress during this Covid impacted world is my vinyl collection. I am of course thankful for my health and my family as that is a given, but since this is a music site, I need to tie in music somehow, I am also thankful for my vinyl collection. It brings me great joy. To be able to pull out an album and play it and it might help my mood brings me great satisfaction. There are so many things I love about it.

One of the things I love about vinyl is that occasionally you find an album cover that is interactive in some way. Something about the picture can be manipulated, changed or just turned to a different angle for a dramatically different picture. This makes for the most fun and enjoyable album experience. For this version of Turntables & Vinyl, we are going to explore those I have in my collection and maybe one I want to get in the future. I will break it out in to different categories. And let’s get right in to the first category…

Perspective

Some album covers have a cover that changes the look of the cover strictly from the perspective of how you are looking at it. A changing perspective is actually a good thing to have in life as well. We change our perspective on the world depending on how we look at it. Why not take that ability and turn it in to an album cover. A couple I have in my collection do just that.

Def Leppard – ‘Retro Active’: This album cover looks different depending on the position you hold it. Up close, it is a beautifully lady sitting in front of a mirror doing make-up. From far away it is a Skull. See what I mean below…Look at the picture closely on your screen and see the girl, pull the screen away from you (or sit further back) and you will see the skull.

Continue reading “Turntables & Vinyl #24 – Interactive Album Covers”

BREAKING NEWS: Stone Temple Pilots – Gutt Out, Weiland Back In

In a surprise announcement, Stone Temple Pilots lead singer Jeff Gutt quits the band and they replaced him with the late Scott Weiland.  You heard that right.  Scott Weiland is back in the band.  Well, sort of.

The DeLeo brothers stated…”It was actually Gutt’s idea.  Jeff couldn’t take the pressure anymore of living in Weiland’s shadows.  As he quit, he screamed at us..”why don’t you just dig Scott up and let him be your lead singer again.  That’s what your asshole fan’s want anyway”.  So, we did!!”

Late one night, they went out to Weiland’s grave and dug up his bag of bones…

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And for some reason, they stole the headstone too.

Gravediggers-in-Hungary-compete-in-first-national-grave-digging-contest Continue reading “BREAKING NEWS: Stone Temple Pilots – Gutt Out, Weiland Back In”

February 2020 Purchases – Vinyl & CDs

Two months in to the year and already some great purchases.  If you are new to the site, this is my monthly wrap-up of my vinyl and CD purchases since not everything I buy makes it on to the site.  Some of it does or already has or will in the future, but whose to say how long that will be.  So, I thought why not share the love of music and let you see what I have been adding to the collection.

The first set of purchases started with a run of vinyl diving when my daughter wanted to go out and pick up a certain album.  We hit two stores…Repo Records and Lunchbox, both in Charlotte, NC.  First stop was Repo Records and my daughter didn’t find anything she wanted, but I found one.  It is the 1980 debut album of Canadian rock star Bryan Adams. Honestly, I have never seen this one and for $5 bucks, why not add to it my ever growing Adams collection. I have at least 6 or 7 of his so this fits in nicely.

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Then we are off to Lunchbox and my daughter found the album she wanted which was Lorde’s album “Pure Heroine” which is actually a really good album.  And don’t worry, I found a couple as well.  I love the UK band The Alarm.  I have about 4 or 5 in the collection and now I have one more.  It is Electric Folklore Live from 1988 that I was missing.

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And then one more to add to the ever growing Aerosmith collection. I finally found ‘Permanent Vacation’ at what I thought was a good price of $10. I’ll take it.

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And then a week later, my wife and I had an afternoon to ourselves and we spent it going to 2nd & Charles as my wife wanted to look at some books and they have a great selection of new and a ton of used books. They also have a vinyl and CD section as well. They have bootlegs on vinyl which is cool and I might have to go back and get some.  I didn’t buy any vinyl, but picked up some cheap CDs which I always like.  First up was a from a band called Audiovent.  Their only album ‘Dirty Sexy Knights in Paris’ came out in 2002 and I had it at one time on CD and loved it, so I re-bought it.

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And since I have been on a Robbie Williams kick lately, I decided I needed all his albums. I didn’t get all, but I picked up 3.  I grabbed ‘The Ego Has Landed’ and ‘Intensive Care’ both studio albums and then a really cool Live album called “Live Summer 2003” recorded at Knebworth.

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I also picked up the new album from Stone Temple Pilots called ‘Perdida’ and I already have shown you that when I did a review.  It wasn’t pleasant.  But I bought it mostly due to my brother-in-law being the engineer and mixer on the album.  Go Check out the Review.

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If that wasn’t enough, when my kids and I were out to dinner on Saturday, February 15th, we were driving by Noble Records and I had to stop in.  As usual, I found a few more things.  First up is another Stone Temple Pilots album. This one is Shangri-La Dee Da and since I am buying albums that their uncle worked on, this falls in that category as he was working with Brendan O’Brien back then and he was the engineer on this album.

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And then there were two 80’s albums I didn’t have.  First one was Dokken’s “Under Lock And Key”…

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and the next one was one of the covers I am after for Stryper’s “To Hell With the Devil”…now I need to find the alternate more controversial cover…

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And that is all.  Well, there was one more, but it didn’t arrive in time for this month’s post so it will kick off next months.  Here is everything in one bundle and yes, I have a problem…

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See you next month…

Stone Temple Pilots – ‘Perdida’ – Album Review

Stone Temple Pilots release their first album of the new decade which is their eighth album overall and second with new lead singer Jeff Gutt.  ‘Perdida’ is quite a departure for the band as the album is an all acoustic affair of 10 new songs.  This is either a bold step in a new direction or a complete and utter misstep in a stellar career.

When I heard several months back that this was all acoustic, I had my reservations.  I was curious as to the reason why with only one album under their belts with Jeff Gutt as the singer would they change course so dramatically.  I still don’t know why, but it is an interesting choice.

The album title “Perdida” struck me as odd until I found out what it meant.  The word is Spanish and means “lost’.  Take that word with the image of the cover, which I find to be spectacular, and everything starts to fall in to place.  Is the band lost in who they are as group or our they spiritually lost.  Is the album them trying to find their way or is it a statement that they have no idea what to do anymore and it is a cry for help?  So many questions.

IMG_1799 Continue reading “Stone Temple Pilots – ‘Perdida’ – Album Review”

Friday New Releases – February 7th, 2020

Welcome to the first Friday of February and the new releases we will see today.  There are a bunch this week.  If you like rock, pop, metal, country, latin, alternative or all of the above, there is probably something for you.  I have three I am interested in hearing and I will highlight those in blue like normal.  Let me know what interests you and what I missed including on the list so everyone knows.  Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful musical weekend!!

  • 81VOT4DngZL._SX522_  Stone Temple Pilots – Perdida – (Play Pen Music / Rhino):  STP is back with Jeff Gutt on vocals for his second album.  This one is quite a departure from their normal fare as it is an all acoustic album of new music.  Pretty bold move with still a new singer.  My brother-in-law worked on this album with the band so of course it is on my list and has been pre-ordered on vinyl to arrive today when I get home from work.  Looking forward to explore this one.

  • 71kL7NiqA-L._SX522_  Richard Marx – Limitless – (BMG):  I will admit it…I love Richard Marx…no not the physical, deep emotional love for a person, but love of his music.  What can I say, I am a sap for a good love song or hell, a good song period.  Richard has a great way of doing both of those and at the same time.  Thankfully the 80’s mullet is gone and he has changed with the times.

Continue reading “Friday New Releases – February 7th, 2020”

Tuesday’s Memes – Stone Temple Pilots

I was checking the site and I don’t think I have done an STP meme collection even though some of these look familiar.  If I have, I apologize as I don’t even have it written in my catalog of all the posts I have done.  But they seem so familiar.  Anyway, here is a set of memes from around the net that celebrate the band that is Stone Temple Pilots.  I hope you enjoy.

The Band Name…

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Continue reading “Tuesday’s Memes – Stone Temple Pilots”

October Purchases – Vinyl & CDs

I realized I have been making a lot of purchases and yet not everything makes its way on to the site.  I figured I would do a wrap up each month of all my purchasing I have made even if they made it on the site during the month or even might make it on to the site down the road.

And this month started out with a bang!  A brand new record store opened up in Charlotte, NC called Noble Records.  They opened on October 5th which was a Saturday and because of that I got their bright and early.  Not grand opening 10am early, but I got there before 11am.  I had to take my daughter to her tutoring class at 10 and family comes first…then vinyl…sorry then God, then vinyl!!  Okay, maybe more order is skewed, but you get it.

I found two album I have been wanting and I had to grab them as I don’t seem them that often and one was a first pressing (not the RAGE album).

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Rage Against the Machine ‘Renegades’ and The Allman Brothers Band at Fillmore East (1st pressing pink label)

I then found two more albums one I for some reason didn’t have in my collection as it is one of the most popular albums of the 70’s and the other is a 12″ Single from Stryper just in time for Christmas.

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Meat Loaf ‘Bat of out Hell’ and Styper’s single “Reason for the Season”

Continue reading “October Purchases – Vinyl & CDs”

Stone Temple Pilots – ‘Purple” (25th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition) – Album Review

I didn’t jump on board with the first album although it started me leaning in their direction.  It was ‘Purple’ that was “My First Time” experience with Stone Temple Pilots.  When I heard the song “Vasoline”, I was hooked and there was no looking back.  The late, great Scott Weiland was one of the greatest frontmen in Rock and the swagger and charisma he brought to the stage is unmatched by most singers.

The band might have been considered, Grunge, but to me it was more like the rock & roll I grew up loving.  Yes, they had the Grunge elements, but the way these guys played just screamed Rock and that is probably why I connected with them more than the others.  The band consisted of the following members:

  • Scott Weiland – lead vocals
  • Dean DeLeo – guitar
  • Robert DeLeo – bass, backing vocals
  • Eric Kretz – drums

The partnership between the band was simple.  The DeLeo brothers wrote the music and Scott wrote the lyrics.  Musically, the music was heads & shoulders above anything else out there.  Lyrically, the songs were some of the most bizarre yet most fascinating from any bands around this time.  The combination of the two was pure magic.

The original album came out on June 7, 1994,  The 25th Anniversary Edition came out last Friday, October 18th.  Funny enough, it is the exact day that two years earlier I posted my review of the 25th Anniversary Edition of their debut album ‘Core’. Go check out that review when you are done.

What do you get with this Super Deluxe Edition.  It is similar to the ‘Core’ release, but honestly, not quite as much extra to offer.  You get a lot, but the Core set was 4 CDs, Vinyl and a DVD along with a booklet and lithograph.  For ‘Purple’, you get the following:

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You still get a lot.  But before we get to the music, let’s talk a little about the album.  The album itself debuted at #1 thanks to the build up from their first album ‘Core’.  It remained #1 for six weeks and went on to sell over 6 million copies.  The band had become a force to be reckoned with.  The album’s producer was the great Brendan O’Brien who was the driving force for a lot of albums in the 90’s.

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The artwork is quite strange and consists of a very Chinese theme which I am not sure what that has to do with anything in this album.  The cover is a child riding what is called a Qilin which is a mythological creature that is thought to be a good omen of some kind.  Accompanying the child are several fairies.  The album title, ‘Purple’, is depicted by the Chinese characters for the word.  The cover for this set is like a hardback book and is fantastic.  It is embossed which makes it so shiny and pretty.  The back cover is the same as the original with the cake and words saying 12 Gracious Melodies.

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The cover is a gatefold with a picture of the band on one side and the CD’s on the other.  The band picture is actually a record sleeve and holds the LP and the booklet.

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Okay, time for the music.

CD One & Vinyl:

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The first CD and the LP are both the same.  They are the original album remastered in 2019 to bring you a crisp and clear sound that sounds even better than back in the day.  I am not going to go song by song because I have done that already a few years back and you can read that hear at “My First Time” with STP’s ‘Purple’.  If some of what I say above looks familiar when you read it, I borrowed a little from that post.  Why re-create the wheel.

The CD and album both still include the hidden track “My Second Album”.  It is quite funny to listen to and did bring a smile to my face.  The song is done in the manner of a lounge song and is performed by Richard Peterson.  It definitely is a corny little song.

CD Two (Early Versions, Demos & Acoustic):

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The 2nd CD is full of 12 tracks, 11 of which have never been issued before.  The one track that was issued prior is “Dancing Days” which is a Led Zeppelin cover from a tribute album for the band.  I have to admit the collection is a little disappointing as there isn’t as much meat as there was on ‘Core’.  Aside from “Dancing Days”, the only cool addition is the demo of the song “She Knows Me Too Well” which is a Beach Boys cover.  The other nice to have songs are the acoustic recordings from the KROG Acoustic Christmas show in 1994.  You get a wonderful Christmas song called “Christmastime is Here”.

CD Three (Live at New Haven Veterans Memorial Coliseum, New Haven, CT, August 23, 1994):

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The biggest treat on the release is the live show from 1994.  It is 17 solid tracks 10 of which from the new album.  The recording sounds stunning.  Musically, the band is on point and sounds tight.  I especially love the guitar sound as Dean is freaking killing it.  Scott’s vocals are a little rough at times, but really that is what makes this recording special.  He sounds untouched.

A couple cool covers are in the set.  The first is “Gypsy Davy” by Scott’s Dad’s favorite artist, Woody Guthrie.  The second is from one of Scott’s idols, David Bowie.  He covers “Andy Warhol” and makes it his own, special song.  And of course, who doesn’t love hearing the songs from the first album.  Such songs as “Crackerman”, “Creep”, “Plush”, “Dead & Bloated” and ending it all with “Sex Type Thing”.

Do you want to see all the tracks?  Ok, then zoom in on this cardboard insert that was actually on the back of the set until I ripped off the plastic wrap.

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And there you have it.  It isn’t as great as the 25th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition of ‘Core’ as I think they didn’t have as much to offer.  Not enough cool unreleased tracks, but the live show is the real gem here.  That will get a ton of listen along with the original album.  Don’t get wrong, this is worth having and any fan who loves this album needs this set.  Sell the old copy you have and put the money towards this and then add a ton of other money as it ain’t cheap. I am listening to the vinyl now and as it the album is ending, I am now at the end of the post.  Perfect timing.  Thanks for stopping by!!