TOP 5 April 2018 Releases

(by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

It’s hard to believe that April is already gone and 2018 is almost cut in half! Music, alongside with nature is experiencing a spring revival and I feel like this spring we witnessed one hell of a musical awakening! Not that the first three months didn’t leave a strong impact on the scene (especially FM with their “Atomic Generation” album) but I feel like what happened this month in particular was beyond imaginable, even history-defining. Plenty of genres spawned releases worthy of admiration and earned their spot in our musical libraries.
Among the endless river of rock tornadoes hitting us this past month, the following 5 albums are the ones that stood out the most to me. As you can see there’s plenty of variety when it comes to genres, which only proves that great music can come in many forms and sub-genres of rock and metal music. Just like I always say, keep an open mind!
Needless to say, I highly recommend the following 5 albums and in case you haven’t heard them yet, now is the best time to do it!

I would love to know your TOP5 so feel free to comment below and tell me all about your picks!


5. Perfect Plan – All Rise

perfect plan all rise

A refreshing release, full of character and value. “All Rise” is Perfect Plan’s debut album and you can clearly see how much those guys put into their baby, right from the very first track. The album is what any melodic rock fan has been waiting for this month!

“In and Out of Love”


4. Stryper – God Damn Evil

stryper god damn evil

No surprises here. It was only natural for Stryper’s long-awaited comeback album to be in my top5! The guys did an amazing job and the musical and lyrical strength of this album will most probably push it to everyone’s top10 2018 albums.

“Sorry”


3. The Dead Daisies – Burn it Down

the dead dasies burn it down

When you wake up in the morning and you feel like there’s just nothing in this world, capable of energizing you or lifting your tired and exhausted spirit, remember to play this album. It’s been a while since something so fiery and full of passion has arrived at my home. The Dead Daisies are certainly going to bring that needed push in your life. The album is huge!

“Rise Up”


2. TesseracT – Sonder

tesseract sonder

TesseracT came into my life a few months ago and even though this is a genre I’m not quite familiar with and I don’t really play it on a daily basis, I feel like those guys have been with me since forever. It’s great that I became a fan right in time for their latest release, titled “Sonder”. Those grooves are illegal and if you’re in a mood for something different – to get you out of your comfort zone, this is exactly what you need!

“King”


1. Breaking Benjamin – Ember

breaking benjamin ember album cover

The absolute winner for me was Breaking Benjamin’s “Ember”. The highly-anticipated comeback of one of my all time favorite bands was exactly what I needed for. The album deserves all the appreciation, especially since it’s so rich in emotions and musicianship. Just listen to my favorite track and you will understand:

“The Dark of You”

 


References:
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

Why is B.B. King and Eric Clapton’s “Riding with the King” One of My Favorite Blues Albums?

(by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

It’s no secret that I’m just as big of a blues fan as am I a glam rock one. In fact, my journey on the rock&roll appreciation lane started with the blues, naturally, and in particular with the musical love of my life – Mr. Eric Clapton. I can easily divide my musical adventures into two parts – before and after Clapton and before Clapton there was just so little. Now is the time to thank my parents who’ve been playing his songs at home since I was a little kid and lighted that blues candle inside my heart which eventually transformed into a big wild fire! I can talk about Clapton and his blues for ages because you can’t just have it any other way with him. A career that started in the early 60s, dozens of accomplishments, awards, albums, collaborations, pop culture influences and so on. Not just that but he’s still here, making music, concerts and giving his all, despite numerous health issues he’s facing due to his age. Clapton is pure class – a dying breed of musicians who just know how to sustain their genuineness and status by backing it up with quality and constant desire to make history!

I love early Clapton and everything he did with The Yardbirds, Cream, Blind Faith, etc. but late Clapton (1980s – ) has to be my favorite time of his career. “August”, “Money and Cigarettes”, “Journeyman”, “Pilgrim”, etc. – they all fall under the “my favorite works by Mr. Slowhand category”. Today, however, I want to specifically talk about one of the most respected collaborations in the recent history of blues music – Eric Clapton and B.B. King; a friendship that resulted in one of the best modern-day blues records – “Riding with the King”; a strong musical bond that gave birth to an album, without which I cannot imagine my life. Many aspects of “Riding with the King” have turned this album into one of the Top 5 albums I always recommend to people who just want to get a taste of the blues. I will briefly mention where my adoration is coming from and will let you decide whether I’m right or wrong (even though we all know I am totally right). Let’s get on that ride now!!!

The Legends

Eric Clapton, B.B. King – do I have to say more? When your name is as heavy as the Earth itself, you don’t need justification or any other form of additional explanation to why exactly your music must be heard and appreciated. Both Clapton and B.B. King are pure synonyms of the blues and have certainly been through a lot to establish themselves as such. I don’t think you need me to tell you the environment under which artists like B.B. King had to grow up and what they had to fight and overcome to secure the future of blues music and eventually rock&roll. It’s because of the sweat and tears of those great African-American bluesmen that the world managed to experience not just musical but cultural revolution and learn how to celebrate people of every color and music of every genre, basically. “The king of Blues” is certainly known for many things, but he will always be remembered for living life on the stage. It’s that immense dedication to the public that drove him to perform till his very last breath and forever be refered to as one of the kings of the blues guitar.

Eric Clapton rose to stardom after his early days in the Yardbirds. He quickly proved that he wasn’t just your regular white English boy, trying to play the blues. He had the talent, the vision, the heart… It’s been an ongoing, never-stopping career full of ups and downs, personal struggles, self-discovery and tons of other life challenges, all of which Clapton faced with a guitar hanging on his neck. You don’t need me to tell you why he’s a legend and why he’s everyone’s favorite guitar hero. “Clapton is God” many say, and you have a 50-year-old career to investigate if you don’t agree.

Clapton met B.B. King in the late ‘60s and ever since, it’s been a dream of him to record with one of his all-time idols. It wasn’t until the late ‘90s when the two of them finally made some serious musical magic together for B.B. King’s duets album, “Deuces Wild”. After the foundations of the friendship were strengthened it was a matter of time before those two make something precious out of it. After all, you rarely have so much potential in one place.
3 years later, “Riding with the King” finally materialized and everyone was more than happy with the results. Clapton put everything into his album – from picking the song to co-producing the album, “Riding with the King” turned into a very important turning point for the career of then 55-year-old Clapton. The best thing is that he perfectly knew who’s he recording with and didn’t even for a second try to outstage him or become the center of it all. You can quickly notice that B.B. King is leading on the majority of songs as Clapton is taking the backseat. That my friend is called respect and is one of my favorite aspects of this album.

The Songs & the Sound

(Vintage meets Modern)

eric clapton bb king riding with the king album cover12 gorgeous manifestations of blues music have been put together for “Riding with the King”. Among them we can find classic B.B. King songs from the 50s and the 60s, as well as other vintage blues covers and interpretations. The title song, which easily could be referred to as the highlight of the album, is written by John Hiatt for his sixth album (1983) and surprise – it’s about the king of Rock&Roll, Elvis Presley! For BB and Clapton’s album, Hiatt had to redo the lyrics a little bit to fit the new production and style and of course – for the King of Blues. The result was phenomenal. The cover is certainly a refreshing twist on the song and definitely the better version (at least in my own humble opinion). Who says blues is boring? “Riding with the King” has to be one of the most empowering, uplifting and day-improving tunes of the genre. I can always count on this song to help me go through the day and kick me with that much needed thrill.

Another extremely refreshing moment is “Marry You”, which is not often mentioned by fans and critics when it comes to this album, yet I strongly support its relevance and immense contribution to turning this project into the perfect modern-day blues record. “Three O’Clock Blues” is one of BB’s specialties and a kind reminder of why this whole collaboration was indeed a great idea put together at a great time. Same goes for “Ten Long Years” which every self-respected blues fan gotta know. The new production and Clapton’s involvement (though supportive, rather than equal) is bringing so much color to those blues staples that at one point I just forgot those songs existed before this album. “I Wanna Be” is a splendid introduction song to a youngster, transitioning from melodic rock to the blues.

“Riding with the King” was released in 2000 and I think the time period was very crucial to the sound and thus the influence of the album. I think they couldn’t have picked a better day to make such statement. The “father/son” collaboration mixed together all the ingredients needed to please the old-school bluesmen and the newer generation of fans who at that time, given the bands which dominated the charts, probably thought they would never listen to blues music. The most attractive part of “Riding with the King” and the reason why it’s one of my favorite blues records of all time is not just the fact that it’s full of atmospheric, well-balanced compositions and not just because it’s a collaborative effort of legends like Eric Clapton and B.B. King. It’s one of my most beloved and respected works because it’s a contemporary blues record, keeping that old spirit alive and the ideal “generation-doesn’t-matter” album. I was 8 years old when the album came out and it’s been with me ever since. I’m glad I had the chance to witness its release and blossoming into what is known by fans today. Thank you B.B. King (RIP) and Clapton for keeping the blues alive.

“Riding with the King”

“Marry You”

“Three O’Clock Blues”

 


References:
Album artwork, retrieved from: https://earofnewt.com/2015/02/01/b-b-king-says-that-eric-clapton-was-like-his-girlfriend-on-riding-with-the-king/
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

15 Favorite Rock Albums that Celebrate a 30th Anniversary This Year

I get excited just by thinking of this year – the marvelous year of 1987!!! So many people on social media asked me which I think was the best year for rock music. I always say 1987 with no hesitation. Why? Check my list and you will certainly find out why!

All those outstanding releases are celebrating a 30th anniversary this year (2017) and I really wanted to list all my favorites together, in one place. Of course, I might have missed some of your favorites and yes, Appetite for Destruction is not in my top15 (surprise surprise!) but it is what it is. From Great White to Treat and Def Leppard, I honestly and straightforwardly am telling why exactly I love these albums with the idea to celebrate them and remember that it might have been 30 years since they were released, but the love and excitement over them hasn’t gone anywhere.

Don’t forget to tell me what do you think and which one is your favorite album released in 1987!?

 


Great White – Once Bitten

great white save your loveOnce you hear the mesmerizing ballad “Save Your Love” or the hard-rocking opener “All Over Now”, you will understand why Great White’s junior album deserves a place in your collection. The album came out in the hot summer of 1987 and quickly made a fuss around the band, eventually reaching a platinum status just a year after its release. The highlight and the most-instantly recognizable song from the album has to be “Rock Me” – I bet you know it. “Once Bitten” is actually my favorite Great White album and this song is a pretty solid reason behind my choice.


TNT – Tell No Tales

tnt-tell-no-tales“Everyone’s a Star”, “10 000 Lovers (In One)”, “As Far as the Eye Can See”…and on and on. TNT’s junior album is one of the best releases of 1987 and no one can take that away from it. As biased as I am (obviously), you can’t actually deny the power of vocalist Tony Harnell or the brilliance of guitar player Ronni Le Tekrø who make the perfect dream team. I got “Tell no Tales” in a record store as a “blind purchase” and this turned out to be the best decision of my life!! There are still so many people out there who haven’t discovered the greatness of this band so I urge them to do it now!


Dokken – Back for the Attack

Dokken back for the attackDokken’s fourth studio release also happens to be their best-selling album of all time and certainly one of the most interesting and captivating hard rock gems of 1987. “Prisoner”, “Night by Night” and of course the legendary “Dream Warrior” – the theme song for the horror film “A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors” are just a few of the stunning rockers on “Back for the Attack”. Some critics and fans don’t consider this album as Dokken’s finest hour but then again I never actually cared about that. The album is full of jaw-dropping rockers and it deserves its place in my list.


White Lion – Pride

white-lion-prideWhite Lion’s sophomore album is an absolute classic and a musical piece that cannot really be described with words. Though my favorite White Lion album is “Mane Attraction”, “Pride” gets the honorable second place! “Wait” and “When the Children Cry” are the hits that came out of it, though I gotta go with “Hungry” as my favorite song from the album. Mike Tramp and Vito Bratta can craft some serious magic and this is one of their strongest products, for sure.


Strangeways – Native Sons

strangeways-native-sons“Native Sons” remains one of the forgotten and highly underrated representatives of the large AOR scene of the late ‘80s, despite the admirable qualities and superb songwriting it showcases. Thankfully, there are still people like me (and you) who know that picking up an apple from the top of the basket doesn’t mean that it’s the best apple of the bunch. “Native Sons” is a melodic bliss from start to finish. “Dance with Somebody”, “Only a Fool”, “So Far Away”…go check for yourself if you have never listened to these songs. Vocalist Terry Brock is one of the strongest voices of melodic rock and this is his finest hour.


McAuleySchenker Group – Perfect Timing

msg perfect timingA predictable choice, don’t you think? I mean of course I will include the debut album of the Michael Schenker and Robin McAuley, released in the fall of 1987. This project and this album represent one of my favorite collaborations in rock music. Those two were a match made in heaven and once you play songs like “Gimme More” or my personal favorite “Follow the Night” you will get what I’m saying. “Perfect Timing” deserves all the love and attention you have and I’m not “just saying it”. 


Treat – Dreamhunter

treat-dreamhunter-1987I’ve been introducing those amazing guys to fans who have a very little idea how much more there is to the world of AOR. “Dreamhunter” is the third studio album of Swedish rockers TREAT and it’s one of those underrated gems that should’ve been way bigger. It didn’t leave a big impact on the world of music but it left a tremendous impact on me and my little rocknroll heart. “Sole Survivor”, “Take Me on Your Wings” and “You’re The One I Want” are some of the stand outs from “Dreamhunter”, all impressing with great production value and brilliant melodies.There’s absolutely no way this album can’t win over any melodic/AOR fan.


Foreigner – Inside Information

inside information foreignerSometimes when we talk about the great Foreigner, this album gets left out of the conversation and I’m not quite sure why. I mean, yes – when you have enormous era-defining albums like “4” and “Agent Provocateur”, the follow-ups might get forgotten sometimes. In fact, though, (honesty hour) the sixth studio album of Foreigner – “Inside Information” might be my favorite release by Foreigner. “Say You Will”, “Can’t Wait” and the title songs are some of their greatest works, indeed. One more thing – it’s the last album to feature the 80’s core lineup of Gramm, Jones, Wills and Elliott, making it quite relevant.


REO Speedwagon – Life as we Know It

reo life as we know itHuge REO fan right here so no surprises that their 1987 album “Life as we Know It” is in my list of favorites. The twelfth studio album of the beloved band features some outstanding music, including “That Ain’t Love”, “New Way to Love” and “In My Dreams” – all beautifully written and highly pleasing tunes, solidifying REO Speedwagon’s position as melodic rock giants. Things after this release were never quite the same in terms of commercial performance and popularity and that could be traced back to the growing tensions between the members of the band; however we do have this fine piece of music and I’m so glad it saw the light.


Helix – Wild in the Streets

helix wild in the streetsHelix might as well be my favorite Canadian band so I just had to include their highly underrated sixth studio album “Wild in the Streets”. The beginning of their career was pretty strong but by the time this album was released, the fire was already fading out. The release is filled with memorable, close-to-my-heart rockers, including “She’s too Tough”, “Never Gonna Stop the Rock” and the gorgeous cover of Nazareth’s ballad “Dream On”. Never understood why this release wasn’t that big but that never prevented me from falling in love with it. 


Pink Floyd – A Momentary Lapse of Reason

Pink Floyd - A momentary lapse of reason front“A Momentary Lapse of Reason” is often misunderstood and extremely underrated record, despite magnificent songs such as “Learning to Fly”, “Sorrow” and “On The Turning Away”. I often clash with lack of objectivity when it comes to this album but then again, everyone has their own opinion and views. For me, the magic started when David Gilmour took over and released “A Momentary Lapse of Reason” and “The Division Bell” which instantly became my favorite PF albums. I love the classics and Roger Water is indeed a genius but this album right here is the PF release I connected with on a very personal level.


Tommy Shaw – Ambition

tommy shaw ambitionI wish more people would know of this album, because Tommy Shaw truly deserves it. His third solo release, “Ambition” is like a gentle autumn leaf touching your skin. Honestly, it was this beautiful piece of music right here that fully opened my eyes to his musical abilities. Not that I wasn’t appreciating him in Styx but I was always drawn to his melodic rock releases and especially this one. “No Such Thing”, “Dangerous Game” and of course – that magical cover of Survivor’s “Ever Since the World Begin” are offering a memorable experience that can make you a fan of Tommy in an instant.


Fleetwood Mac – Tango in the Night

fleetwood macFleetwood Mac forever blurred the lines between pop and rock in the ’70s with relevant releases like “Rumors”. Their style didn’t change that much in the ’80s as well. “Tango in the Night” is probably my favorite release by the legendary band and “Big Love”, “Seven Wonders” and “Little Lies” might make you agree with me. “Tango in the Night” is their 14th studio album (wow, you read right, don’t worry) and the last studio album from the band’s most successful line-up of Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood. This release certainly is more pop than rock but …it’s the late ’80s we are talking about after all! 


Whitesnake – 1987

Whitesnake WhitesnakeDo I actually have to introduce or talk about this album? I don’t think so, but here we go…

Whitesnake’s most essential and internationally recognized record till today remains their seventh self-titled studio album. Released back in 1987, “Whitesnake” turned into a major successful hit, producing timeless rock tunes like “Is This Love”, “Looking for Love” and “Still of the Night”. What made this album such an impressive masterpiece is the unique combination of classic solid rock and melodic rhythms. This all became true due to the great songwriting collaboration between singer David Coverdale and guitarist John Sykes. Melody, energy, passion and outstanding production are just some of the characteristics of the album that contributed to its phenomenal success.


Def Leppard – Hysteria

hysteria coverI saved the best (and my all time favorite album) for last. No need for me to tell you why this album is here and what it means to me because you probably know all about it. The monstrous game-changing and history-defining record turned into one of the highlights of the era, not only because of its production values, 7 hit singles and multi-platinum status, but also because it symbolized the strength of the human spirit and how with a little bit of faith and tons and tons of hard work, you can achieve anything. “Love Bites” is certainly my favorite song from “Hysteria”, though every second of it is like a heaven on Earth.


References:
Photos, retrieved from Wikipedia and Amazon
THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

5 Rock Albums I Can’t Wait to Get My Hands on This September

I remember saying how “2017 was going to be a very weak year for rock music” but it didn’t take me that long to realize that 2017 might be an even stronger year for rock than 2016. These past months we had the chance to witness the release of some groundbreaking melodic and hard rock albums from bands like Thunder, Bonfire, Warrant, Riverdogs and others; however the year isn’t over yet and there’s plenty more to be excited about.

September is definitely a month I waited with so much anticipation and I really wanted to share why. Lynch Mob, Kee of Hearts, Steelheart, Ringo Starr and David Gilmour are going to dominate my playlists and collections this month and if it all goes the way I see it, I will give the spotlight to each one of these. Here’s a little sneak peak of the albums – I do hope you get some new ideas after checking out these songs.


Lynch Mob – The Brotherhood (08/09)

lynch mob

This is some serious stuff, right here and I have no doubt that Lynch Mob‘s “The Brotherhood” has all the chances of becoming one of the best heavy releases of the year. My socks were knocked off and I’m still picking up my jaw from the floor ever since we got this music video. George Lynch and Oni Logan crafted something valuable, just wait and see it…


Steelheart – Through Worlds of Stardust (15/09)

steelheart

Steelheart are back and I can barely hold my excitement, especially after listening to the songs that were released. Steelheart surely went a long way from their early glam rock sound in the 1990s but they still kick ass! Based on the modern, edgy-sounding songs we have so far I just know that this release will blow me away. Kudos to Mr. Everything – vocalist Miljenko Matijevic who is as brilliant as ever.


Kee of Hearts – Kee of Hearts (15/09)

kee of hearts

This album right here might actually be the highlight of my year. By now I’m sure that many of you know how much I love Fair Warning and their brilliant vocalist Tommy Heart so naturally when I heard that he will collaborate with Kee Marcello (former Europe guitarist) for a new band and an album, I was head over heels! Any melodic rock fan out there would be thrilled and certainly pleased, I just know it.


Ringo Starr – Give More Love (15/09)

ringo

I hold Ringo Starr very close to my heart because so far he is the only member of my beloved Beatles I had the chance to see.

“Give More Love” is his 19th solo album (wow!) and I just cannot way to see what the ex-Beatle cooked in his home studio in LA. The release will feature contributions from Paul McCartney (of course), Joe Walsh, Steve Lukather and others. If the rest of the songs are as positive, laid-back and easy to digest as this one, I’m sure the album will be a total success. 


David Gilmour – Live in Pompeii (29/09)

david gilmour live in pompeii

In 2016, David Gilmour went back to that historical place of Pompeii where in 1971 Pink Floyd made their famous concert movie. The stunning audio and visual experience will be available in a sweet box set that will absolutely win over any dedicated music collector out there.


References:
Album artworks, retrieved from: http://www.frontiers.it / https://www.gucca.dk/ https://platenreus.com/nieuwe-release/david-gilmour-live-at-pompeii/
THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

 

In 1989, BADLANDS Released a Perfect Blues Rock Album

I’ve talked about the year of 1989 before on My Top 15 Rock Albums, Released in 1989 and it’s time to once again travel back to that golden year of rock and examine one of the finest releases that significantly contributed to the overall image of 1989 (and to why I consider it as one of the greatest years of rock).

The band

In life when one door closes, you gotta look for another one to open and make your way out of the darkness. In the late 1980s, prominent guitarist Jake E. Lee was no longer involved with Ozzy Osbourne after a successful tour for the “Ultimate Sin” album, so he had to build a new highway on which to take off. His efforts brought him to a very talented, New York-born vocalist, named Ray Gillen who ironically had just separated from a brief tour/fiasco with Ozzy’s bandmates from Black Sabbath. Two more members were added, both also sharing a history with Black Sabbath – bass player Greg Chaisson and drummer Eric Singer.

All in all, that’s how Badlands came to existence (or at least the very short version of it). The important thing to acknowledge is that regardless of what brought them together, the four members were simply ready to open a new, more exciting page in their careers and with that debut album, they certainly did it. The promising quartet was supposed to last for a while but unfortunately due to inner conflicts, unfavourable music climate and problems with the label, only three albums came out under their name, one of which was a demo release. In 1993, vocalist Ray Gillen passed away (RIP).

The self-titled album

We are here, however, to talk about, remember and listen to their stunning debut album, which makes you ask yourself the question: “If an album is that brilliant, why the hell didn’t it leave a much bigger trace behind its back?”… Needless to say, “Badlands” is a highly underrated killer gem which is a must for any rock fan out there who appreciates and respects good rock musicianship.

The true value of the album is its original sound which can basically be described as early ‘70s Led Zeppelin, meeting ‘80s Sunset-Strip rock scene (no over-the-top craziness, though). “Badlands” is sophisticated, yet fun and highly entertaining. The ways in which those guys managed to capture that fancy blues-vibe that defined the careers of Eric Clapton, Muddy Waters, The Yardbirds, The Animals…and mix it so skilfully with refreshing, late ‘80s metal sound, is something you don’t see or hear every day. Once you play “Badlands”, you will receive a significant upgrade to your rock music sensitivity, trust me.

The vocals are breath-taking, no need to question or even talk about the powerful screams of Ray Gillen. One thing that immediately stood out to me, though, was Jake E. Lee’s impressive guitar work, making all the difference. “Badlands” is a guitar-driven album, just like any other blues album out there, but with a modern-day electric flavour, courtesy of this exact same genius I’m talking about – Mr. Lee.

A few words about the songs and I will let you listen in peace. The first two songs – “High Wire” and “Dreams in the Dark” (which by the way got the MTV approval stamp) are marvellous examples of how to show personality in your music and lead the listeners to a new world, going a step away from the polished, sparkling image and sound of the late ‘80s. (“Dreams in the Dark” has always been my favorite songs from the album). “Rumblin’ Train” and “Seasons” are some of the reasons why I consider this album one of the best blues rock albums of all time – it’s difficult to describe the magic surrounding this blues-influenced blissfulness. The stormy “Dancing on the Edge” is another track to watch out for! & it goes on and on…

Old-school minded, ‘80s hard rock bands are important and I strongly recommend Badlands if you are hungry for something distinctive, yet familiar!


“High Wire”

“Devil’s Stomp”

“Dreams in the Dark”


References:
Album cover retrieved from http://ohrenbalsam.blogspot.bg/2011/06/badlands-badlands-cd-1989.html
THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

BOSTON’s “Don’t Look Back” or How to Make a Sophomore Comeback with Style

Fans refer to many commercially successful rock bands who became widely popular in the ’70s and early ’80s as “classic rock bands”. When someone says “classic rock” (though these days the term became a little bit vague), what’s the first band that comes to your mind? To me, that band has always been Boston for certain. Not so much because it falls under the umbrella of a certain “term” or “radio format” but because Boston has the most classic, universally-beloved, timeless, evergreen sound that just doesn’t grow old.

Boston-1We all know the significance of Boston‘s 1976 self-titled debut album; I bet there’s not a single rock soul in the world who has never sang along with radio hit songs like “More Than a Feeling”. I have a whole publication about this album, which you can check here -> Why is BOSTON’s Debut Album One Of The Greatest Albums Of All Time

Boston’s smashing debut album was followed up by a long list of unexpected but widely-welcomed circumstances including becoming the second best-selling debut album of all time (first one being “Appetite for Destruction”, of course), turning into one of America’s most appreciated rock albums and establishing absolute dominance over all radio stations. Topping an era-defining album with such a strong impact is certainly an obstacle many rock bands can’t really overcome. Not Boston, though.

boston dont look back 19782 years after the release of “Boston”, the band came back with “Don’t Look Back”. As it was expected, the sophomore album didn’t really match the commercial strength of the debut one; however to many critics and fans (me included), “Don’t Look Back” still remains one of the most worthy sophomore comebacks of all time. Also, getting certified 7x Platinum is certainly something to consider.

“Don’t Look Back” wasn’t exactly released in the most pleasurable industry environment as the band or should I just say, Mr. Everything – Tom Scholz kicked off a legal battle with their record label.

Still, “Don’t Look Back” turned out to be equally impressive and received a well-deserved place among the ultimate classics of the era. One unfortunate thing about it is of course, its length. “Don’t Look Back” spreads over 8 songs only, 2 of which are under 3 minutes. That’s a little bit short for an album and turned out to be one of the reasons why Tom Scholz went on a war with the record label.

Whether it was rushed or not, the essence of the album, however, is what’s important here. I try to stay informed about the background stories and environments under which rock albums were crafted and released, but ultimately, it’s the sound, the music, the songs are all that’s left 30, 40, 50+ years later.

Three songs were released as singles – “Don’t Look Back”, “A Man I’ll Never Be” and “Feelin’ Satisfied”. Don’t think these songs need an introduction or fancy musical descriptions – they are way above that. Especially, “A Man I’ll Never Be” which has to be in my Top3 Boston songs of all time and certainly one of the most gentle and emotional rock ballads of all time.

“A Man I’ll Never Be”

“Feelin’ Satisfied”

“Don’t Look Back”

The 2-minute instrumental “The Journey” is often forgotten, despite its pivotal role in the album. To some, it may be a bit difficult to absorb but the way I see it, it’s a pretty well-placed musical piece that divides the two harder rocking songs “Don’t Look Back” and “It’s Easy”.

“The Journey”

Ultimately, Boston is…well Boston. I do like the first album a little bit more than this one,  despite critics claiming that “Don’t Look Back” was indeed a solid musical progression. I agree that Boston do sound more confident and the sophomore release does possess a more joyful vibe but I have an emotional attachment to the first one, so don’t listen to me, really.

There’s also this little part of me that cannot (or maybe doesn’t want to) divide those first two albums. I consider them just two parts of one bigger whole – maybe even as just one album. “Don’t Look Back” is like a side2 to “Boston” and I just love playing them one after the other.

Share your memories of “Don’t Look Back” below the publication or on Twitter; I would love to know what you think of this album and which is your favorite song:

 

boston dont look back 1
Me, holding a copy of “Don’t Look Back” which i bought during 2017’s “Record Store Day”

boston dont look back 2


References:
Album artwork, retrieved from https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Look-Back-Boston/dp/B00Q99V0PA
THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

Album Recommendations: TRIXTER – “Hear!” (1992)

“Damn Good”

Hooked yet? You should be. I do really hope you clicked “play” and listened to that throat-grabbing glam metal track from the early ’90s. By the end of this publication I sincerely hope that you will get off the chair, go find your CD of “Hear!” and play it for old time’s sake. Even better if this is the first time you hear about this album and the band – what a way to get to know them, really!

I will try to be brief and let the music speak.

trixter

Most fans know the New Jersey band Trixter because of that smashing debut album, featuring the fan-favorites “One in a Million”, “Line of Fire”, “Give it to me Good” and “Surrender”. The guys created quite a fuss around themselves at the end of the ’80s and finally hit the record stands with their 1990 self-titled album. It was all great – MTV, endless tours, sharing a stage with the biggest names of the industry…what a kick-off! But hey, they totally deserved it.

In 1992 (yes, that incredible year of rock music), Trixer released their sophomore album, titled “Hear!”. The album is just as good and their debut but…it was impossible for a new-coming band to survive the Seattle “wrath”, or as we know it – the grunge movement. MCA records dropped them (unbelievable…) after the release of “Hear!”. MTV stopped caring as well…and BAM – all hopes and dreams got crushed as quickly as they arrived. I hate it.

Let’s go back to the album…

Hard and heavy. Everything is a killer and there’s not even a single filler!

Personal favorites – “Power of Love” and “Damn Good”. You had the chance to listen to “Damn Good” so check out this other energizing track. I am absolutely inlove with the drums on this one. Mark “Gus” Scott is damn good!

“Power of Love”

This song right here should give you a clear idea of why this band is featured on my blog and why they are worthy of checking out. There’s just something more there, you know. The mere definition of “underrated” – Trixter and this explosive heavy metal tornado of a track – “Rockin’ House”. Don’t you even get me started on Peter Loran – what a voice of steel!

“Rockin’ House”

Some more song for you to check out:

“Road of a Thousand Dream”

“Runaway Train”

“What it Takes”

Tell me what you think and what memories you have with this album?

Or if this is the first time you are checking these songs out, what do you think? Feel like this might be just for you? Comment below and subscribe to my blog to keep great music alive!


References:

Band photo, retrieved from http://www.theglamnationnetwork.com/trixter.html

THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

[Album Review] RIVERDOGS Won My Heart with “CALIFORNIA”

Intro:

Funny how all good things in my life are somehow linked to Def Leppard; seems like discovering them back in the day was one of the best things that could’ve happened to me. Becoming a fan of Def Leppard led to many different roads. Guess how I got to know some of my favorite rock acts, like Helix, Billy Squier or Tesla? Same way I discovered and became a fan of Roadhouse, Shadow King, Last in Line and of course Riverdogs – they are all somehow related with my beloved members of Def Leppard.

riverdogs debutWhen I got to know and completely fell for Vivian Cambell’s guitar playing with Def Leppard it was only a matter of time before I traced back his career to Riverdogs and that brilliant debut album of theirs. The rest is …well history.

Ultimately, it all led to this moment right here, the moment I’ve been waiting for so long! That’s right – Riverdogs, featuring original members Rob Lamothe (vocals, guitars), Nick Brophy (bass, vocals) and Vivian Campbell (lead guitar), together with drummer Marc Danzeisen are back with a brand new album, titled “California” and I can barely hold my excitement. Many of you are quite familiar with Vivian and his work with Dio and Def Leppard but in case the other three guys are currently not on your musical radar, now is the time to dig a little deeper and add them to your book of great rock artists.

I knew that this was going to be a rock solid year for Frontiers Records but this release right here completely changed the face of the game. I had a feeling that the album will be quite good but you know what – “California” exceeded every expectation I had in terms of sound, lyrics and influence. It was only natural to dedicate a publication on the new album and share a few of my observations and the reasons why this album might as well just top my playlist for 2017 releases. Let’s dive in…

Riverdogs

RIVERDOGS

Coming from Los Angeles, Riverdogs formed back in 1989 – an interesting, quite dynamic time for rock music if you ask me. Still, the band managed to stand out with an exceptional 1990 debut album, conquering fans and critics with an original ‘70s blues rock style, entirely different from the glam metal sound and image that was popular at that time. Songs like “America”, “I Believe” and “Toy Soldier” are just a few of the reasons why their debut achieved recognition and found its place in the hearts of many fans (including mine, of course).

Unfortunately, as I already mentioned, the times were quite turbulent and in this period of transition, many bands couldn’t really secure a stable position on the music scene. Riverdogs re-assembled with new members and released two more albums in the ‘90s before they called it quits. The original line-up got back together in the early 2000s, which eventually led to a new album in 2011, titled “World Gone Mad”.

Now, six years later, “California” is a fact and honestly, nothing else really matters. Whether you are a die-hard fan and lived through those glory old days of rock or you’re just seeing the name Riverdogs for the very first time, “California” most certainly will grab your attention and bring you that much needed summer boost. Melodic rock fans, fans of quality music, fans of the old-school ways of making good music – this is the album for you!

Now, let’s talk more about the songs…

“California”

RIVERDOGS CALIFORNIA BIG

“California” is as soothing as night winds on a warm July evening. You just simply can’t get enough of this blissful feeling the album brings to you. Song after song, emotion after emotion – it’s all there. I wish I was exaggerating but I’m not; “California” is a stunning set of sing-alongs, rock anthems, bluesy soul-touching tracks, all brilliantly decorated with thoughtful lyrics and memorable melodies.

Where do I begin? I don’t know, the songs are all so good! After I played the entire album for the very first time, “The Heart is a Mindless Bird” stood out to me the most. I’m a softie and this is the perfect song for me. The lyrics, along with the deep, affecting vocals of the criminally underrated vocalist Rob Lamothe conquered me right from the start. Next one of my list is “I Don’t Know Anything” which has a similar vibe and I guess that’s the reason why those two songs are my top ones.  Rob singing “I don’t know anything…That doesn’t stop me now…”, followed by those mellow riffs is one of the best moments on “California”. The opening track, “American Dream” is your well-known pounding rocker, aimed at grabbing you by the throat from the very beginning. The breezy second track, “The Revolution Starts Tonight”, should’ve been the opener, at least in my humble opinion. We go full blues mode with the third track, “Something Inside” which brings you back to the good years of Bad Company. “You’re too Rock and Roll” is my new favorite Friday night song. It just begs you to crank it up while having a couple of beers with your favorite people.

Viv is brilliant – we don’t really have to comment on that, just listen to the entire album. To me, though, the biggest strength of the album lies within the gentle but powerful vocals of Rob Lamothe. He truly shines on this album and not only with his powerful singing but also with his songwriting skills.

It’s quite obvious that I’m a devoted fan and I might be biased but at the end of the day, this is how I feel. What I truly pray for is that other people will recognize their talent and ability to write the kind of rock music we truly need nowadays, so that Riverdogs will keep on releasing new albums in the future and make every fan, old or new, feel as proud as I do right now.


“I Don’t Know Anything”

“Welcome to the New Disaster”

“American Dream”

“Something Inside”

Riverdogs “Welcome To The New Disaster” (Live Acoustic Version)


References:

Album art retrieved from http://www.frontiers.it/album/5390
Band photo retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ZKFAm6S3Do

THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

Album Recommendations: Saints & Sinners’ Self-Titled 1992 Debut

Shake

Rip it Up

Walk that Walk

Slippin Into Darkness

Saints & Sinners

saints & sinners bandWell, here we go again with the well-known story I’ve been delivering for ages on my blog. It goes like this: There once was a very talented rock band with passion and a drive. One day the band decided to release their debut album with the hopes of hitting it big. The album was funky, exciting, riff-centered and just as pleasing as any other good rocking album out there. Unfortunately for them, the album didn’t have a big breakthrough because of a new force on the block called “grunge”. The guys couldn’t beat it and soon enough they were  over.

This is basically what happened to the short-lived band. One album released in 1992 and a disbandment in 1993. One more thing you need to know about Saints & Sinners is that they are from Canada and consisted of five members (as shown on the photo) – Rick Hughes – vocals, Stephane Dufour – guitar and background vocals, Martin Bolduc – bass and background vocals, Jeff Salem – drums, Jesse Bradman – keyboards and background vocals. I don’t know much about the other members but I’m familiar with Jesse Bradman because he worked with many people from the biz, including Night Ranger, UFO, Michael Schenker and Indigenous. Another thing that might interest you is that the vocalist Rick Hughes gained popularity in another Canadian rock band, called Sword (recommend it as well)

The Album

saints&sinners1992Already mentioned that this is the one and only album of Saints & Sinners and it was released in 1992. Anything else you need to know? Well, if you love glam metal, if you love catchy riffs and solid rocking melodies, colored by magnificent vocals, you will LOVE this album. The atmosphere is very energetic and it just makes you play it all over again once you reach the last track. Needless to say, this melodic but loud self-titled debut is highly underrated. But hey, discovering hidden gems is what I live for! In terms of songs, I would definitely point “Wheels of Fire” and “Walk the Walk” as my two favorite tracks from it. Those two songs (now when I think about, most of the album actually…) reminds me of Hardline’s “Double Eclipse” and XYZ’s self-titled album – both great and dearly beloved albums. That’s all good, though! “We Belong” is another track to check out and that’s not just me and my power ballad adoration speaking. The ending track is epic so watch out for it! “Slippin Into Darkness” wrapped up the album and ironically, wrapped up their career which slipped into darkness…

Trust me and play the entire album now:


References:
Album artwork, retrieved from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saints_%26_Sinners_(Saints_%26_Sinners_album)
Band photo, retrieved from: https://heavyharmonies.com/cgi-bin/glamcd.cgi?BandNum=409&CDName=Saints+and+Sinners
THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

 

Bringing Back the ’80s with TOTO’s Classic Seventh Album (1988)

Toto and The Seventh Album

toto seventh oneToto is a household name when it comes to classic rock music and no one can change that. The best time to play their timeless classics? Well, that would be anytime! Is there actually a person out there who has never heard of “Africa” or “Rosanna” or “Hold the Line”? I don’t think so. Late ’70s and early ’80s were unquestionably the heydays of Toto. From their smashing 1978 debut to their fourth release in 1982 which is basically synonymous with ’80s rock music, the band was just at the top of the game.

toto straight
TOTO – Straight for the Heart (Photo retrieved fromhttp://www.45cat.com/record/3807945)

I grew up with Toto IV and that album will always have a very special place in my heart. I think the majority of fans would also pick this album as their favorite and for a reason! As I was getting older and had more chances to experience and understand music and formed a solid music personality, I discovered that when it comes to Toto, their seventh studio album goes right at the top of the list of my personal favorites. I don’t think it’s a popular opinion because neither the original voices of Toto, Bobby Kimball or Steve Lukather (who I adore so much) are the ones taking the lead on this one;. When Toto were re-introduced in my life at a later point, I used to listen to “Straight for the Heart” all the time, every day! This is till today one of the most upbeat and bright songs I have ever heard of. I got the album eventually and here we are – to a point where I can, with certainty, state that this is my favorite Toto album and not only because of that one song I love so much; there are just so many things happening on it! 

 

Before we get to the seventh one, let’s go back further in time. The mid-’80s was a turbulent time for Toto. Boby was fired, his replacement Fergie Frederiksen was also dismissed from the band so as you can imagine time was ticking and the stakes were high. Show had to go on, though. In 1986, Toto released Fahrenheit – the first album with new vocalist Joseph Williams and an album I really love (surprise, surprise). “Fahrenheit” couldn’t make a splash despite all the hopes and hard work put into it.

Two years later, in 1988, The Seventh One was out and the situation was even worse. It’s funny how my favorite Toto album is the lowest-charting album of their career (not that it matters). On a positive note, the album was very well-accepted by overseas audiences, especially in Europe and Asia. My love for vocalist Joseph Williams is satisfied on two* classic albums only. Unfortunately, after The Seventh One, he was also fired because of  troubles with his (gorgeous) voice. It took the band about 4 years to re-assemble but as we all know it, the music industry was very different in the ’90s so even the great Toto couldn’t stand a chance. 

*Just FYI, Joseph Williams did come back to Toto for Toto XIV, released in 2015.


The songs

I want to say it so I’m just going to say it – this album is so much better than their fourth one (in my opinion of course). The rhythmic, groovy, dance/pop sound of the record is unbeatable!

We gotta start with “Pamela” which remained the only top40 hit from the album. I don’t understand why American audiences were so unwelcoming to this single (and the album as a whole) but Asian and European fans embraced it so warmly? For one reason or another this mysterious, brilliantly performed track didn’t get the attention it deserved and is one more reason to back up a statement I’ve been saying for years – chart positions mean nothing!

“Straight for the Heart” is a cheerful, sunny, pop/rock track, capable of conquering absolutely anyone out there! For me that song was a turning point – a new singer was added to my “favorite vocalists of all time” list and the rest is just history. There are many songs that makes you wanna smile, dance and forget about it all, but this song right here does all these things on a whole new level. I just love the melody and lyrics so much!

“Stop Loving You” is a very interesting track because it features my beloved Jon Anderson (vocalist of YES) on backing vocals. Not only that, but the entire song is such a blissful experience for my ears. I was listening to it while writing this and unconsciously I started moving! Seriously! I just love songs that provoke a physical reaction in you. So much live and character, what a tune!

The gorgeous ballad “Anna” (the other lady on the album), the dynamic “Stay Away” and the reggae-inspired ,“These Chains” are some of my other personal favorites on the album. The style, the atmosphere – this has to be Toto’s most energetic and groovy release so far. I am insanely happy that Joseph is back with them and cannot wait to see what the future holds! For now, enjoy these…

“Straight for the Heart”

“Pamela”

“Stop Loving You”

“Anna”


References:
Album artwork, retrieved from: https://www.pinterest.co.kr/pin/519251032017554090/
“Straight for the Heart” artwork, retrieved from http://www.45cat.com/record/3807945
THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.