Rolling Hard Rock 2008 Thread

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I had From Rats to Riches, Rat City in Blue, Tasty and a live album, so I must have liked them once much more than I do now.

Tasty is the only one I kept.

It was probably their best seller but if a Good Rats record ever went over 70,000 in sales it would have been a miracle. They make fun of their reps as good musicians on the title cut of Tasty. At least that's what I thought they were doing. "Fred Upstairs and Ginger Snappers" I recall only for its allusion to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The chorus of "300 Boys" ("I slept with 300 boys!") -- that's it keep it simple, then ensure no one will play the song by dint of subject matter -- made it their catchiest song and the one I instantly remember. And "Fireball Express" was the second best.

Lot of jokes, many not really that funny. In the context of '75 or so, it didn't work unless you were in a bar and drunk and then you wouldn't have heard them unless you were on Long Island and the band was in front of you. So they backed it up by being very musicianly and having a shit hot guitarist which never really counted for much in the mid-to-late 70's unless you were in Van Halen. If it were 2008 and they were rebooted as a young band with stocking caps instead of Fidel Castro looks, maybe you could trick Pitchfork fans into liking Good Rats for their gift of irony. Probably not, though, the musicianship and ability to sing, even with the unusual voice of Peppi Marchello, would get in the way a bit.

Extra points for idiosyncracy and making a career of it despite apathy.

I think Tasty came out around the same time as The Skyhooks US premier, which I also played a lot ca. '75. Skyhooks were Oz's first "big" hard rock band and in the US were promptly taken for fags, so you know how well they went over. In terms of style, both bands had a similar witty but a bit too intelligent way with hard rock. At least in Australia, the Skyhooks made reasonable coin on record sales. Doubt if the Good Rats ever made any, existing mainly on their regional live draw.

Gorge, Sunday, 21 September 2008 21:52 (twelve years ago) link

Not sure what their day jobs were

If they had day jobs, they probably worked in music stores. There was a time when you could play original music regionally in bars and make a living at it. (Some people probably still can, too.) The Good Rats fell into that category. And it's probably why they wound up with some major label representation. Someone figured if they could sell on Long Island, maybe they could sell in the heartland. Since, relatively speaking, Good Rats records probably cost almost nothing to produce, a label wouldn't have been that cross with them or the A&R man even if the records were underperformers.

Gorge, Sunday, 21 September 2008 22:01 (twelve years ago) link

three weeks pass...

Curiously, from the Ramones bin in Amoeba, a Teenage Head "best of" remade with Marky Ramone on drums and Danny Rey producing.

Rampaging wall of guitar guitar and shakin' beat punk rock of crushingly heavy rock 'n' roll feel. Very catchy -- all the tunes were originally -- and easy as a repeat listen.

If you ever had and liked the first Teenage Head album, this is a must have. The middle-aged guys chew the carpet nails; singer Frankie Venom now looks more like a really crabby older man than a fan of the New York Dolls and it suits him and this record, which would break a beer bottle over your head for no reason at all if it were a person.

Also in, reissues of Geordie's catalog. Brian Johnson's old band from Newcastle, fashioned purposely as a poor man's Slade. Which they're pretty good at on Hope You Like It which features all the charting UK singles of the band from '73. After which, it was all downhill sales wise, although they'd stick around for two more albums, the second of which, Don't Be Fooled by the Name, I've yet to get around to.

"Hope You Like It" is definitely worthwhile, having a variety of tuneful stomps and Johnson's obvious belting voice. Contains novelty tune, "Geordie Lost His Liggie," which allegedly always brought the house down. Virtually incomprehensible sing-a-long jib traditional about losing a marble -- the "liggie" -- down "the netty" -- or toilet -- and bashing the latter apart with a plunger trying to find it, only it wasn't in the netty, anyway.

Gorge, Tuesday, 14 October 2008 00:19 (twelve years ago) link

That Teenage Head w/Marky Ramone album is outstanding. Some tracks top the originals. Easily one of the year's bigger surprises for me.

A. Begrand, Tuesday, 14 October 2008 01:36 (twelve years ago) link

I saw they reissued the debut in 2006 and something called Head Disorder. Was unfamiliar with the latter. Tempted to get the remaster of the debut, though. Attic seems not to have served them particularly well.

Gorge, Tuesday, 14 October 2008 23:21 (twelve years ago) link

Frankie Venom, frontman for Teenage Head, has died before his time at 51. Teenage Head's debut album was an unheralded piece of greatness at the intersection of punk rock and raw rock 'n' roll in 1979. Mostly ignored by critics and poorly served by its Canadian label, Attic, which cowered after the band was banned due to a riot at Toronto's Ontario Place in 1980, Teenage Head was never quite able to attain the momentum and publicity afforded much lesser acts. "Let's Shake" and "Somethin' on My Mind," from the band's second album, Frantic City were said to have charted in Canada.

Frustrated with the slog, Venom left Teenage Head in 1985.

In 2003, Venom returned to record a "best of" the band's catalog with Marky Ramone on drums, released as Teenage Head with Marky Ramone this year. Although not reviewed widely, it was acknowledged as one of the band's best efforts.

Gorge, Thursday, 16 October 2008 06:06 (twelve years ago) link

new Ross The Boss album, anyone? It looks expensive in the US, I have no idea whether this guy has done anything good in a long, long time, so I haven't heard it. I love pretty much everything he did up through the 80's (even the Manowar stuff), though, and I'd be willing to track it down if one of you said it was great.

ChuckStewart(no relation) (BigLurks), Friday, 17 October 2008 20:40 (twelve years ago) link

Listening to the new (International) Noise Conspiracy right now. It's actually pretty damn good. Less Sweden rock than their last one, more psychedelic and jammy.

An American Werewolf in London Calling (J3ff T.), Friday, 17 October 2008 20:54 (twelve years ago) link

digging the latest stuff from small stone that i've gotten in the mail. new ones by roadsaw and ironweed. or is it roadweed and ironsaw? or sawweed and roadiron? in any case, they rock nicely. roadsaw, from boston, have apparently been around forever, but this is the first i've heard. i have heard their side project antler though.

BOTH ALBUMS RECORDED IN BEAUTIFUL ALLSTON MASSACHUSETTS!

you know the drill though. big riffs, mayhem, wine, whiskey, women, etc.

scott seward, Friday, 17 October 2008 21:00 (twelve years ago) link

I picked up that Roadsaw CD in the dollar bin. Haven't listened yet, though.

An American Werewolf in London Calling (J3ff T.), Friday, 17 October 2008 21:05 (twelve years ago) link

wait, roadweed or ironsaw?

a lot of the small stone stuff i end up playing really loud two or three times and then i forget about them. but the ironweed song playing right now sounds great! very heavy and rocking.

scott seward, Friday, 17 October 2008 21:08 (twelve years ago) link

Roadsaw. The title "See You in Hell!" caught my attention, and then when I saw what label it was on I was sold.

An American Werewolf in London Calling (J3ff T.), Friday, 17 October 2008 21:11 (twelve years ago) link

Lemon, a whimsically named reissue subsidiary of Cherry Red, is putting out the back end of Pat Travers' Eighties catalog. It's the end of his road with Polydor and encompasses Radio Active, Black Pearl and Hot Shot.

Radio Active came off the success of Crash and Burn which spawned the Travers tune most immediately remember, "Snortin' Whiskey."

While Crash and Burn was successful, it apparently wasn't quite so enough for Tommy Aldridge. He went off to join Ozzy. Second guitarist Pat Thrall quit to do his own thing and flopped.

Travers replaced Aldridge with one of Lita Ford's early drummers, Sandy Gennaro. Radio Active flopped, as did the rest of these, but not for much, if any, dip in what old fans had grown to like. Black Pearl took a turn for AOR pomp and added a synth player. It broadened Travers' tone somewhat. Of all Travers' records, it's simultaneously very musicianly, tuneful and the most smooth-listening in his major label catalog. Polydor had wanted to dispense with him but Travers' lawyers compelled them to honor the fine print in his contract. And that forced them to issue Black Pearl. The label declined to promote it.

Hot Shot takes his sound back to stadium rock. Of the three, it features the hardest sound and attack, often crossing into commercial mid-Eighties heavy metal.

My preference is in the order of release, Radio Active being the best. However, all three are solid.

Liner notes in the reissues along with paste-ups from the Brit music press, notably Kerrang which uncharacteristically threw him a couple bones for these. In the Radio Active notes, Travers recalls the Brit press treated him like a stodgy idiot during the first part of his career, which coincided with the rise of punk rock. (Paradoxically, his first drummer in the UK was Topper Headon.)

Gorge, Monday, 20 October 2008 20:55 (twelve years ago) link

Hitmen retrospective from 2007, in Australia, finally arrived here. Two discs, one a reissue of their debut album and various singles. The second, single from before release of first album and various live dates.

Band was a follow-on to Radio Birdman. Helmed by Birdmen Chris Masuak and Warwick Gilbert, fronted by Johnny Kannis, who comes off as Oz's Dick Manitoba with a voice.

Living Eyes by Birdman came out around the same time but that band was ending while this was getting started. There is some overlap in sound. I come down on the side of the Hitmen bringing a heavier sound but sometimes it sure sounds like the Birdmen with someone else at vocals.

Did two great covers know one knew popularly: Rock 'n' Roll Soldiers from New Order. Not the famous NO, but Ron Asheton's post-Stooges band with Dave Gilbert of the Rockets on vocals. And one of "Solid as a Rock" by Shakin' Street.

The best part of the package is the live material. It smokes. It covers a couple tunes by BOC, notably a great version of "Cities On Flame with Rock 'n' Roll." When they're not sounding like BOC, they combine a lot of Detroit garage influences, plus some Dictators. "King of the Surf" -- a cover, is their bit to imitate something from Go Girl Crazy.

Juan de la Cruz Band -- Himig Natin. What's that mean? From 1972, this is a Philippine release, although most of it is in English, I presume because there appears to be an American -- who furnishes lyrics and singing and drumming -- in the band. It's '72 and Cactus was floating their boat, I bet, because a lot of it sounds like 'em only slower. No one named Juan de la Cruz in this band.

"Mammasyal sa Pilipinas" is a direct rip of the Jeff Beck group's cover of "I Ain't Superstitious."

"I Wanna Say Yeah" is the 'Merican singing about gettin' drunk, yeah -- yeah -- yeah -- outtasite, baby, fine chickee fahn.

Right '72 dolt's, if which I was one, thud rock. I'm betting the band was popular with American servicemen out to get drunk in bars around Subic Bay.

Gorge, Sunday, 2 November 2008 23:42 (twelve years ago) link

Some Wal-Mart purchaser needful of liquidity brought a copy of AC/DC's Black Ice to Penny Lane on Colorado, so I snatched it. No Wal-Mart's within thirty-forty miles of Pas.

Anyway, it's real OK by me. Brent Musberger pitched a segment of "Rock 'n' Roll Train" video during the Tech/Oklahoma State game, so someone's applying some promo arm-twisting. And they know their audience. Extra points for moving close to a million (or now maybe over) physical units fairly quick, puncturing myths on the primacy of modernity.

This one's way catchier than House of Jazz. And it shakes better, too.

The Train single, "Money Made," "Wheels" "Big Jack" and "Rocking All The Way" are all good. "Money Made" is the pre-lim favorite. It has the most arresting rhythm and gang shout. Since it's fifty-five minutes, you can cut out ten and it would shape up as a vinyl format AC/DC record without too much filler. In any case, it goes by a lot faster than the last one.
You can remember the tunes. The only one I could remember from the last a week after I bought it was the title cut.

No one beats Malcolm's rhythm chops and Angus has played the same fills for the last forty years but they're the best fills in the world, so why change?

Shows diff between AC/DC and bands that mine AC/DC, like Airbourne. For this one, the Youngs wrote some songs as opposed to just riffs. Louder than hell R&B.

Gorge, Thursday, 13 November 2008 00:29 (twelve years ago) link

Unsurprisingly, election day wasn't what Ted Nugent had hoped for.

Gorge, Tuesday, 18 November 2008 18:50 (twelve years ago) link

Thoughts on Chinese Democracy and ZZ Top

Gorge, Monday, 24 November 2008 04:17 (twelve years ago) link

I like both records. But it's well established that I have bad taste.

unperson, Monday, 24 November 2008 04:29 (twelve years ago) link

Interesting post, Gorge, but I thought Bobby Knight came up with that quote at the top about sportswriters. I may be wrong.

Bill Magill, Monday, 24 November 2008 14:54 (twelve years ago) link

The problem with the guitar solos is that, while the five replacement guitarists may (arguably) be technically better than Slash, they aren't emotionally better.

From Russia with Loveless (J3ff T.), Monday, 24 November 2008 21:29 (twelve years ago) link

Just got a terrific batch of stuff from the German hard psych rock label World In Sound, apparently now based at least part-time in NYC. A lot of their releases are by South American bands, and the best one in today's pile is Cosmos Kaos Destruccion (I bet you can do the translation without my help) by La Ira de Dios (the Wrath of God). They're a super-heavy psych-punk-hard rock trio in the vein of High Rise or Mainliner with a better mix (everything's not deliberately in the red) and some elements of early peak period Hawkwind as well. Really good, blaring stuff. "Por favor, dame velocidad" (please gimme speed) he howls, and I totally believe him. Recommended.

unperson, Tuesday, 25 November 2008 20:33 (twelve years ago) link

A rolling hard rock gathers no Moss

ɔɐuɐɯlV uɯnʇnV (Autumn Almanac), Sunday, 30 November 2008 00:27 (twelve years ago) link

not even sterling?

Pfunkboy Formerly Known As... (Herman G. Neuname), Sunday, 30 November 2008 00:29 (twelve years ago) link

is this about those dancing days?

I know, right?, Sunday, 30 November 2008 00:30 (twelve years ago) link

I totally disagree with most of this, but it actually makes me curious about the bands here that I've never heard of:

http://pub37.bravenet.com/forum/3172289350/show/929916

Classic Rock magazine best albums of 2008

50. The Black Keys - Attack & Release
49. Todd Rundgren - Arena
48. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - "Dig Lazarus, Dig!!"
47. Thunder - Bang!
46. Tesla - Forever More
45. Viking Skull - Doom, Gloom, Heartache & Whiskey
44. The Jim Jones Revue - s/t
43. Girlschool - Legacy
42. Stonerider - Three Legs Of Trouble
41. Black Tide - Light From Above
40. Diagonal - s/t
39. Dirty Penny - Take It Sleezy
38. Glenn Hughes - First Underground Nuclear Kitchen
37. Bob Dylan - Tell Tale Signs
36. Graveyard - s/t
35. Lethargy - Purification
34. Testament - The Formation Of Damnation
33. Blood Ceremony - s/t
32. The Mars Volta - The Bedlam In Goliath
31. The Hold Steady - Stay Positive
30. Kings Of Leon - 0nly By The Night
29. Rose Kemp - Unholy Majesty
28. The Clash - Live At Shea Stadium
27. Joe Bonamassa - Live From Nowhere In Particular
26. Endeverafter - Kiss Or Kill
25. Uriah Heep - Wake The Sleeper
24. Rose Hill Drive - Moon Is The New Earth
23. Drive-By Truckers - Brighter Than Creation's Dark
22. Queen & Paul Rogers - The Cosmos Rocks
21. Thin Lizzy - UK Tour 1975
20. Judas Priest - Nostradamus
19. Marillion - Happiness Is The Road
18. Pride Tiger - The Lucky Ones
17. Alice Cooper - Along Came A Spider
16. Motorhead - Motorizer
15. Black Crowes - Warpaint
14. Stone Gods - Silver Spoons & Broken Bones
13. The Gaslight Anthem - The '59 Sound
12. The Raconteurs - Consolers Of The Lonely
11. Opeth - Watershed
10. Motley Crue - Saints Of Los Angeles
9. Journey - Revelation
8. Big Linda - I Loved You
7. Whitesnake - Good To Be Bad
6. Def Leppard - Songs From The Sparkle Lounge
5. Airbourne - Runnin' Wild
4. Black Stone Cherry - Folklore & Superstition
3. Guns N' Roses - Chinese Democracy
2. Metallica - Death Magnetic
1. AC/DC - Black Ice

xhuxk, Tuesday, 9 December 2008 23:12 (twelve years ago) link

That Black Stone Cherry album is dreadful. And to think they had so much promise...but no, they're well on their way to being Nickelbackified.

A. Begrand, Tuesday, 9 December 2008 23:15 (twelve years ago) link

The first track is pretty good, but other than that, those are my thoughts exactly.

Gorgoroth? I hardly knew her! (J3ff T.), Tuesday, 9 December 2008 23:21 (twelve years ago) link

I actually way preferred this year's Nickelback album myself. (And I never heard much promise in Black Stone Cherry to begin with.)

So who are: Big Linda, Pride Tiger, Rose Hill Drive, Rose Kemp, and Dirty Penny?

Not sure I've ever heard Thunder, either, though I've definitely heard *of* them before.

Had no idea Uriah Heep put out an album this year, either.

Unjustifiably missing on that list: Rose Tattoo, Rick Springfield, Helix, Night Ranger, Ted Nugent's live album.

xhuxk, Tuesday, 9 December 2008 23:24 (twelve years ago) link

I have a self-titled Thunder album from 1980 that Wounded Bird reissued, I remember correctly they play mildly interesting roadhouse rock. Had no idea they were still together/reunited.

Gorgoroth? I hardly knew her! (J3ff T.), Tuesday, 9 December 2008 23:27 (twelve years ago) link

That was weird spacing... also, it should be IF I remember correctly. I mean, I could probably throw the CD on, but I'm lazy.

Gorgoroth? I hardly knew her! (J3ff T.), Tuesday, 9 December 2008 23:28 (twelve years ago) link

That must be a different Thunder, these guys are ex Terraplane who were around in the late 80s. God why do I remember this stuff?

Matt #2, Tuesday, 9 December 2008 23:33 (twelve years ago) link

Alice Cooper - Along Came A Spider

I completely missed this, is it worthwhile in any way whatsoever?

Matt #2, Tuesday, 9 December 2008 23:35 (twelve years ago) link

I couldn't even make it through the thing. (And I'd actually liked 2005's Dirty Diamonds OK. Think we talked about this somewhere upthread, actually.)

xhuxk, Tuesday, 9 December 2008 23:41 (twelve years ago) link

The Thunder I know had a US debut -- were more well known in Britain as regular openers for the mighty Quo, I think -- at the end of the Eighties/early Nineties. Made some noise due to a single and video for "Dirty Love" -- which is a funny, amusing and very catchy song. The video had the drummer, a short bald guy in a ballerina's outfit and dirty sneakers. I recall it being on MTV a lot. The rest of the album was only fair by comparison. Second album and they were about through here although they had more in the UK.

I've a best of collection. It's OK, was very cheap used and contains "Dirty Love" which is the entire reason for owning or investigation. Most of what they did was standard hair metal, boogie and ballads.

Gave 'em a review in the newspaper which essentially said you'll probably hate most of the album but damned if the single won't keep you coming back to it.

Gorge, Tuesday, 9 December 2008 23:50 (twelve years ago) link

Helix had a new album? I'm amazed I didn't know that. Good, I take it?

A. Begrand, Wednesday, 10 December 2008 01:03 (twelve years ago) link

Yep. Wrote about it here:

http://blog.rhapsody.com/2008/05/hair-metal-pion.html

I think George wrote about it on his blog earlier than me, too.

And Thanksgiving weekend in Michigan (true story), I convinced my younger sister to go out to her garage and find her legendary cassette copy of Walking The Razor's Edge and donate it to my collection. She said she'd bought it for the "great ballad", which must have been a hit in Detroit, or at least Windsor, at the time. She also got excited when she saw an old Giuffria cassette (self-titled) of hers out there. (She'd bought that for a ballad at the time, too.) The two boxes of cassettes in the house were pretty much all John Cougar and Bryan Adams ones (hers, like I say in that Helix review) and Pat Benatar ones (her husband's), except for the Firm and a couple other things.

xhuxk, Wednesday, 10 December 2008 01:15 (twelve years ago) link

George beat me to the Helix album by four months:

http://www.dickdestiny.com/blog/2008/02/sludge-in-70s-recent-cost-effectives-us.html

xhuxk, Wednesday, 10 December 2008 01:17 (twelve years ago) link

Haha, yeah, Helix's ballad (cover of "Make Me Do Anything You Want") was quite the crossover hit in Canada.

I should track that new album down, good to see it was well-received. They were just in my city playing some tiny dive, flogging a Christmas album or something, and I sort of wanted to go, but didn't. I saw them a couple of times in the mid-80s when they were selling out 3000 seat theatres in Canada.

Bleh, I remember Giuffria..."Call to the Heart", that was the big song of theirs.

A. Begrand, Wednesday, 10 December 2008 01:49 (twelve years ago) link

Demonstration of the Korg Pandora by me. Basically, much of the technology is devoted to putting a classic rock band in a box the size of a cigarette pack.

Gorge, Saturday, 13 December 2008 03:10 (twelve years ago) link


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