Tag: hard rock

Track By Track: Van Halen — A Different Kind of Truth

Track By Track: Van Halen — A Different Kind of Truth

Music
Because I dread the thought of writing yet another album review where I spend hundreds of words trying to frame an album in the proper context, or where I try to find yet another way to write about chord progressions, I’m just going to take it one song at a time and share my first impressions. So here we go with the long-awaited Van Halen album, A Different Kind of Truth. Let's do some level setting here before I get into this album. I have developed a belated appreciation for the Sammy Hagar era of Van Halen, but I am first and foremost a fan of the original lineup. Those first six albums are immortal. I've been a David Lee Roth fan for years, and like all of his solo albums. I make no apologies for this. I was inclined to like A Different Kind of Truth, and not assume it would
Listening booth — The Darkness, “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us”

Listening booth — The Darkness, “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us”

Listening Booth, Music
The thing about the Darkness is, it was hard to separate the sincerity of their music from the almost painfully ironic image they cultivated. Even so, Permission to Land was an excellent rock record. The follow-up LP, not so much. After that, the Darkness went dark for several years. They're back now, and their as-yet-untitled third album should drop some time this year. The first taste is "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us," a rousing, electric slab of hard rock. Justin Hawkins still has a great set of pipes, which is the key to the whole thing. But the tune itself is pretty damn catchy and fun, which is really all this band is about. Check out the video, and then download the song for free from the band's website.
Listening booth — Van Halen, “Tattoo”

Listening booth — Van Halen, “Tattoo”

Listening Booth, Music
The day is finally here kids! It's the first song from a David Lee Roth-led Van Halen since 1996, and the first single for a DLR-led VH since 1984. From A Different Kind of Truth, it's "Tattoo." First impression? Well the video is clearly an afterthought so no point dwelling on that. As for the song, it's decent but not mind-blowing. It's clear that Dave had a hand in the arrangement and writing as the verses sound like his solo stuff, particularly from the DLR Band album. The rest reminds me of Balance-era Van Halen. I hope Alex brings it a little more on the rest of the disc, as he sounds rather plodding here. And it's still weird to not hear Michael Anthony singing those background vocals, but what are you gonna do? I'm still going to buy the super duper deluxe version ...
Listening booth — Van Halen, “I’m So Glad” (Caracas, Venezuela 1/16/83)

Listening booth — Van Halen, “I’m So Glad” (Caracas, Venezuela 1/16/83)

Listening Booth, Music
Guess what? I got Van Halen fever, and the only prescription is... more Van Halen! So here's one of my favorite VH boots, from the Diver Down promotional tour (dubbed the Hide Your Sheep Tour). It's I'm So Glad, a mono soundboard show sourced from the first night of the South American leg. It was the first of three shows in Caracas, Venezuela. The sound quality isn't fantastic for a soundboard, but it's a great setlist and the band is totally raging. I'm sure that playing in South America for the first time lit a fire under their collective asses. Eddie is in peak form as you would expect, while Alex and Michael are rock-solid as usual. As for Diamond Dave? Well, Dave is Dave. You know what to expect when you go to see VH with him as frontman, so you either love it or hate it. I lov
Why The Hell Should I Like… Kiss? (The Rebuttal)

Why The Hell Should I Like… Kiss? (The Rebuttal)

Music
Why the hell should I like… ?” is an experiment of sorts between Popblerd and The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit. What we’re going to attempt to do is to pick 10 songs from our favorite artists — one for which the other has professed dislike or disinterest — and show them why they’re wrong. I'm a fairly simple man. I like unique, intricate, interesting music, sure, but I'm also a tenacious advocate of the simple, three-minute pop song, and a staunch defender of the notion that, sometimes, a fistful of chords and a catchy chorus is the stuff pop music glory is made of. With that in mind, I'm not sure why I've never found it in my heart to appreciate Kiss. It's not that I grow weary of their party-hearty, sex drugs and rock n' roll mentality: I'll defend to the death the early career
Listening booth — Kiss, “Escape From The Island”

Listening booth — Kiss, “Escape From The Island”

Listening Booth, Music
Legend has it that before the album that became Music From "The Elder" turned into Kiss's half-baked attempt to imitate Genesis, it was supposed to be a straightforward hard rock LP. But then producer Bob Ezrin (fueled by massive amounts of cocaine) and Gene Simmons (fueled by massive amounts of ego) thought that what Kiss fans really wanted was a concept album with a threadbare "plot" and lots of orchestra. Oops! We'll never know if Music From "The Elder" would have sold more in 1981 had it contained more songs like Ace Frehley's kickass instrumental blast "Escape From the Island," but it sure would've been less reviled. And fans might have gotten more than one album out of the fairly potent Simmons/Stanley/Frehley/Carr lineup. Related articles 10 things you probably didn't kn...
Album review mini-roundup: Anthrax, Ladytron, and The New Mastersounds

Album review mini-roundup: Anthrax, Ladytron, and The New Mastersounds

Music
Anthrax, Worship Music (Megaforce Records) -- No disrespect to John Bush, but Anthrax only sounds like Anthrax to me with Joey Belladonna behind the mic. Interestingly enough, his first album with Anthrax in more than 20 years is a much more modern-sounding album than I expected. While parts of Worship Music -- tracks like "Earth on Hell" -- are right out of the Persistence of Time era, others ("Fight 'Em 'Til You Can't" and "I'm Alive") sound more the like modern, radio-friendly hard rock found on more recent discs. Belladonna was in a tough spot here, as he and Scott Ian publicly admitted that Worship Music was largely complete when he was brought in. So he was basically singing over songs that were written with former singer Dan Nelson in mind. To his credit, Belladonna sounds at hom...
My favorite music: 1983

My favorite music: 1983

Music
If there's one thing the internet lacks, it's pointless music lists. So to fill that void, here's a sampling of my favorite albums from some random year. Let's say, 1983. (Spotify users, check out the accompanying playlist and subscribe!) Robert Plant, The Principle of Moments -- While I would in no way claim that Robert Plant's solo output bests Led Zeppelin's music, a lot of times I simply prefer to listen to Plant. In fact I'd say that Plant has enjoyed one of the most artistically rewarding solo careers of any artist who was part of a popular band that I can think of. The Principle of Moments is probably my favorite Plant solo effort (next to Fate of Nations) -- he sounds freed from the constraints of creating larger-than-life rock and the music just crackles with energy. "In the...