Current Album Reviews
Our take on some of the latest material from a variety of artists.
Twisted Sister – Live at the Marquee Club (Rhino Handmade) CD review
Before they became enemies of Tipper Gore, a young band kickin’ some ass
Video has a way of ruining rock n’ roll. You can’t think of Twisted Sister without memories of the golden mane and war paint makeup of singer Dee Snider, and those goofy videos featuring actor Mark Metcalf from Animal House. It’s a shame, really, because before they were darlings of MTV, this quintet from Long Island was one hell of a hard rockin’ band. Rhino Handmade has just unearthed Live at the Marquee Club, culled from back to back nights at the legendary London venue in March of 1983.
Elvis Presley – Young Man With the Big Beat – The Complete ’56 Elvis Presley Masters (RCA / Legacy) CD review
5-CD box chronicles in detail how Elvis became the "king of rock n' roll"
There have been numerous box sets and collections that have compiled the music of Elvis Presley over the years. Yet, Young Man With the Big Beat may prove to be the most important one ever released. Nowadays, we take for granted that Presley is the “king of rock n’ roll,” who helped pioneer a new form of popular music. But, how exactly did it happen? What was it like for the young singer from Tupelo, Mississippi to be thrust into the spotlight? What was the public reaction to this new form of music? Over the course of five CDs, this new collection helps answer those questions and puts things into perspective.
Dave Alvin – Eleven Eleven (Yep Rock Records) CD review Dave Alvin has made a career out of delving into the roots of American music. Yet, out of all his releases, his brand new album, Eleven Eleven, ranks as one of his finest to date. For one, this marks the first time since 2004’s Ashgrove that the former member of the Blasters has written an entire record’s worth of tunes (two were co-written). Secondly, it’s been awhile since he’s released a straight-ahead rock album like this (his last release was the acoustic Dave Alvin and the Guilty Women). But, most importantly, the sound is pure classic American rock n’ roll; the kind that was tested in dive bars along Route 66.
Patti Smith – Outside Society (Arista / Columbia / Legacy) CD review Patti Smith's impact on music is undeniable. Just about every female rocker – from Chrissie Hynde to Courtney Love, has borrowed something from her. And, her tough persona and emotional poetry put her in a class by herself. But, because her music is largely ignored by radio, she ends up being someone you read about bur rarely actually hear. This can make it difficult to figure out where to begin to explore her music. Enter Outside Society – the first-ever single disc retrospective - spanning her entire career.
Paul McCartney – McCartney II (Archive Collection) (Hear Music) CD review Ten years later, Paul McCartney found himself in a similar situation – without a band. During a break in touring with Wings, he retreated to his farm in Scotland to do some recording in 1979. He then hit the road with the band for an ill-fated trip to Japan, where he was once again busted for pot, jailed and deported. After returning home, he decided to dissolve Wings and issue these home tapes. Just like the first McCartney LP, Paul plays all the instruments. But, this time around, he found himself experimenting with the synthesizer technology of the day.
Patrolled By Radar – Be Happy (Knitting Factory) CD review – Imagine the tour buses for Merle Haggard and the Replacements crashing into a drive-in showing of “The Good, Bad & the Ugly” and you kinda get an idea of what this band is all about – twang-infused roots rock, with a hint of western weirdness thrown in for good measure. The band has been around for awhile under the name 50 Cent Haircut, but got tired of being confused with the rapper sharing the first two words of their name.
Night Ranger - Somewhere in California (Frontiers) CD review by Justine Bevan Night Ranger may be known as an 80’s band but they can still rock it out here in the present! With now 22 releases under their belts, Somewhere In California, proves itself to be both current, yet reminiscent of years past. No, there isn’t a “Sister Christian” on California, but this is fine; it’s okay, really. You should be okay with this too. This is quite the skill set to have today when all of those bands from years past are swimming to the surface once again with their own releases, re-releases, special editions and things of the like. So how will Night Ranger fit into all of the fanfare: brilliantly!
Paul McCartney – McCartney (Hear Music) CD review - After the breakup of the Beatles, each member chose a very different path for their first solo album: George, who was only allowed one song per record while in the band, had tons of great tracks saved up for All Things Must Pass, while Ringo got all nostalgic for pre-rock n’ roll on Sentimental Journey, and John chose to exercise his childhood demons with the cathartic Plastic Ono Band. Paul’s debut, McCartney, is just as raw, but in a completely different way
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