Sunday, August 28, 2016

Pearl Jam's Ten plus 15 years adds perspective

It's hard to believe that it has been 25 years since Pearl Jam released their Juggernaut of a first release that was named 10.  I have to start this post off by saying I was never a huge fan.  I  went with my college girlfriend (who reads these posts so please forgive me) to see Pearl Jam in concert when they visited Louisville but still didn't fully buy in.

I think my problem with fully jumping on the band wagon was two fold.  Firs, at the time of the release Grnge was sooo in, that it was just in your face all of the time.  I guess too much hype in the media for me. The other reason is Eddie Vedder.  Eddie Vedder has a very unique vocal sound, of which I don't care for.

With my confession being said, I haven't listened to the album 10 in probably a decade or more and wanted to refresh myself on the sound.  With my first listen I kind of have the same reaction I had 25 years and was not overly impressed,. Then once I got past Eddie Vedder there is some good Hard Rock here. The guitar playing and the musical sound is terrific Rock,  Mike McCredy and Stone Gossard as the dual guitarist in the band are spot on and deliver timeless Hard Rock guitar riffs.  To my surprise on my 2nd listening I was really getting into the sound.

I still don't buy into the hype about the band, and Eddie Vedder's delivery still leaves me flat.  Is Ten good Hard Rock? Musically sure, is it worth the worship and the idea that they changed Rock and Roll, I leave those ideas to others.  10 is a fun trip down memory lane. I will leave it at that.

Til next time,  listen to the best;  your ears deserve it.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

BabyMetal Globalized Hard Rock and Metal

So I was was playing Song Pop 2 on my I Pa, a new app version of Name That Tune.. It is a fun game if you like music and competition.   The game puts up the titles or artist of the song clips and you see if you can guess correctly the quickest.   I was competing in the Metal category and I missed on the band called BabyMetal.  That name caught my attention and I was off to the handy I Tunes.  Sure enough, there is a band called BabyMetal and I have to admit I love their sound.

Before I get too far into the review, most people will not like this group.  You must first enjoy Hard Rock and Metal, next you need to like or at least appreciate Anime.  If you do not meet either of these categories this band Is Not For You.

The band describes themselves as Kawii Metal, i.e. Cute Metal.  I can see that as a far description. The thing I first noticed is that the band behind the singers is solid Metal.  The double bass drum play and guitars bring the sound.  Then the singers come in.  This is where if you don't appreciate Japanese influence it will throw you.  I do, so I find it very cool that they blend a good Metal sound with Japanese Idol singing.

Now this band isn't just a cute novelty act, they have been on stage with the Metal god Rob Halford. The have played Wembley Arena and the Tokyo Dome. Metal Hammer readers in July voted their debut album as the best album of the 21st Century.

So the globalization of music is working in Hard Rock and Metal.  Time to embrace the new sounds and look forward to what is next.

Til next time, listen to the best - your ears deserve it.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Smooth Sounds for Summer Yacht Rock

I'm going a little different on this post. Recently a smooth sound has come back into vogue, The smooth sounds of Yacht Rock. What's Yacht Rock you ask?  It is the mellow classics from the late 70's and early 80's. It's also the sounds of my childhood and early teens, also known as Soft Rock, Blue Eye Soul, and Smooth Jazz.

For the summer, Sirius/XM (Channel 18) has been  devoted to the sounds of Yacht Rock. If you get a chance also check out the live comedy of Yacht Rock on You Tube.

What I like most about the sounds coming out of the channel is that they are a perfect sound track for summer.Yacht Rock also features some of my favorite artists, Steeley Dan, Michael McDonald, Boz Scaggs.  Is it corporate, well (not over) produced, and slick? Yes, yes it is, but on a warm summer evening drinking a mixed beverage and having Ambrosia playing in the background is a great thing.

Truly my love for the style of music comes from my youth and that some of the bands are really great.  When this music was popular, it was what the hip young adults listened to and I wanted to be cool like them.  So affection for the smooth sounds has hung on through the years.

So before the summer comes to an end,get a mixed drink and tune in your music to the smooth sounds of Yacht Rock. Then enjoy the night.

Til next time listen, to the best -  your ears deserve it.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Skillet sizzles the hard rock and christian music scene

I have heard the band Skillet for the past few years.  I have enjoyed listening to them on the modern hard rock channels.  What stood out is that the DJs said they were a Christian Rock band.  I listened to their songs and didn't hear anything overtly Christian.  At most I heard maybe a positive message in some solid Hard Rock anthems.

So after a few years I decided to dig a little deeper on Skillet, cause I still didn't hear the Christian in their hard rock.  It turns out unless you buy the albums or listen to the Christian Rock stations you won't hear the obvious Christian message in Skillet's music.

Amy Grant is a Christian Artist from the 80's and 90's who started the trend of having secular tracks released but having Christian tracks on her albums. Skillet and many other Christian Rock bands are using the same formula.  It seems to work and draw in fans.

What I like about Skillet is that their releases for the mainstream are great hard rock anthems.  If you need a sound track to work out t,o bring up Awake and Alive, Feel Invincible or Hero.  Jen Cooper is a good drummer and I love her vocals with the lead singer John Cooper.

So, are they a Christian Rock band or Hard Rock mainstream? Yes they are.  I have to give the band, respect they are bridging the two worlds very well.

Til next time, listen to the best - your ears deserve it.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Emarosa Kentucky's Alternative to Country Music

Listening to Octane on Sirius/XM a few months ago and my ears perked up at where this band started. Right in my current town Lexington KY.  I have to admit I am not in the local music scene at all.  I just don't stay out to 2 AM to listen to the bands at the local clubs and I don't care for music festivals; festival seating is annoying to me.  So my first listen of a local band made good is on National radio.

Emarosa started in 2006 and have had several albums before they came on my radar.  The band has also very much changed music styles as the albums progressed.  They started Post Punk/Hardcore with sounds of Alternative Rock and now sound mainly Alternative Rock.

If I had to describe their new release's sound it would be a rougher edge to Fall Out Boy.  The new release is called 131.  After several hearings of the album it is very listenable.  I enjoy their sound and the tracks they have released Cloud 9 and Helpless are solid.  Do I think this is music that will change the face of Rock, no.  Do I know this is a great listen that 5 years from now you can put on and still enjoy yes.  I think what critics focus in on is off point.  That being said some times bands put out music that they know people will enjoy and it means something to the band.  This is the kind of music that becomes the soundtrack to our lives.  The songs that are on in the background when our moments happen that can take us back to those moments when we hear the songs again.

Its great to hear that a local band is making moves on the music scene especially in the Rock area that Kentucky has not been known for.

Til next time listen to the best your ears deserve it.