This Is The Sound: Cellar Darling

Rating: 95%

cellar.jpgAfter leaving Eluveitie, vocalist Anna Murphy, guitarist/bassist Ivo Henzi, and drummer Merlin Sutter formed Cellar Darling in 2016. Shortly after the formation of their new band, “This Is The Sound” was released. This album is a perfect blend of Rock, Metal, and European Folk. So, if you’re into Folk Metal with strong female vocals, then this may be something you’ll want to check out.

The band itself is very tight. After all, they played with each other for ten years in Eluveitie. The vocals are outstanding. The music has lot’s of guitar riffs. There’s lot’s of great drummer. The hurdy-gurdy is a great touch to the overall sound of the music.   

This trio of musicians had something to prove and they did. The result is a solid debut album. Musically, this is a step down from full fledged Heavy Metal, and more along the lines of modern Hard Rock. It’s very tasteful, creative, original and well balanced. The album has some heavy melodies. It has a along with a great overall sound.

Track list:

Black Moon
Six Days
The Hermit
Fire, Wind & Earth
Under The Oak Tree…
…High Above These Crowns


Countach (For Giorgio): Shooter Jennings

Rating: 90%

R-8178705-1458149484-7459.jpeg.jpgIn 2016, Shooter Jennings released what I think was a great experimental album. It takes the 1980’s New Wave, Pop, Synth, Country, and Alternative music and throws it together. It also features a few guests including Marilyn Manson.

The music is somewhat complex sounding, but it isn’t. I picked up guitar and found myself playing right along with the music. It has a lot of great melodies and electric beats to the tune of Country music. Only Shooter could pull this off.

The music itself is very tight, rich, distinctive, and creative. You can tell this was a well thought out album. I will be honest, it can be a bit overwhelming. If you’re into Country, but not Alternative music then walk away. As for me, this album is killer.

Track listing:

From Here To Eternity
I’m Left You’re Right She’s Gone
Born To Die
Love Kills
The Neverending Story
Cat People

Those 1980’s Songs You Wanted To Hate and Hated To Love Vol. 1

So…the 1980’s was a very interesting time to grow up in. Punk and Heavy Metal were gaining ground in popularity. Depending on the genre, some ruled the airwaves. Of course, MTV was actually a station that played music videos.  However, Hard Rock and Country were going through many changes. You saw much Pop influences in the music overall sound and style. Some of these bands did a good job at adopting the new Pop style and others fell flat.

Then you had Alternative music or New Wave which heavily used synth. This genre of music really grew fast to popularity. It wasn’t Punk nor was it Pop, but whatever it was, it influenced a whole generation, musically to fashion styles.

I wasn’t a fan of the New Wave Alternative music. But, looking back some 30 to almost 40 years later, it makes me wonder how these songs are still being played to this day. Some of these songs were so far out there in left field or just plain weird. Nonetheless, over 30 years later, we’re still listening or at least talking about these goofy, cheesy, and down right dumb songs. Some of which, I admit, are fun to listen to and as they make me laugh.

This my top list of those songs I hated to love, but loved to hate:

14. “Super Freak” – Rick James: Released in 1981 has a very funky rhythm and beat. It also has a weird vibe to it with the synth and keyboards. I had to relive this beat to “You Can’t Touch This” by MC Hammer in 1990.

13. “Funkytown” – Lipp’s Inc: This song was released in 1979, but became popular in 1980. It has a weird main disco synth riff that is a bit overwhelming. The electric drums,  string orchestra, and the jazzy saxophone is all cramped together. A lot of stuff going on here.

12. “Turning Japanese” – The Vapors: This song has a pretty good grove. It’s right along the lines of Punk, New Wave, and Pop that was released in the year 1980. But, the train rolls of the of the tracks the minute I hear the thick English accent vocals. The lyrics are cheesy as hell. So, if I look at pictures, that’ll really make me turn Japanese?

11. “Whip It” – Devo: Ok, so this group went all synth. And for what reason in 1980? To write a song that conquers and has one whip their problems away. Not to mention that this song actually made no sense to me at all. I guess, on a positive note, when problems arise, all you need to do is just “Whip It!”

10. “Relax” – Frankie Goes to Hollywood: This 1983/1884 song was a smash hit in the UK. Due to it’s sexual nature and themes, the song would eventually be banned from the UK airwaves. That ban just fueled sales. The song even made it into pop culture with t-shirts that said “Relax.”

9. “I Ran (So Far Away)” – A Flock of Seagulls: This gem was released in 1982. A side from weird hairdo of the lead singer, it wasn’t as bad as the other songs released in the 1980’s. In fact it was tolerable to listen to, but it still rode the tide of the New Wave, drench in synth as the rest of these songs on this list.

8. “Mickey” – Toni Basil: So, I take it that this song from 1981 wasn’t about Micky Mouse? In fact, I really didn’t the meaning of it at all, especially when “please, don’t leave me in a jam, Mickey.” Now, I will admit, it’s a very catchy song and it’ll have you clapping. Just ask Wayne in Wayne’s World.

7. “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)” – Dead Or Alive: This song was released in 1985 and way out there in weirdo land. It’s heavily drench in synth and electric drum beats. It makes me dizzy just thinking how someone could spin round and round like a record and not fall down. It’s a pretty cheesy song with very cheesy lyrics.

6. “Down Under” – Men At Work: The story of this 1981 song is that is tells the tale of a guy traveling the world. He meets people and gets them interested in his country of Australia. The song itself, musically is Reggae mixed with synth.

5. “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” – Wham!: This bad boy was released in 1984. This song is more along the lines of Pop, but big chorus lines and finger snapping  made it another one of those goofy 1980’s song.

4. “Safety Dance” – Men Without Hats: Released in 1980 was a protest song about bouncers at the night clubs during the death of Disco and the emergence of New Wave. not only is this again full of synth, it is tolerable to listen to. Just another example of a one hit wonder that you have love to hate and hate to love.

3. She Blinded Me With Science” – Thomas Dolby: This song was just plain out there. Science? Really! Science may be cool today with Bill, but back then, it wasn’t very exciting. Even this song does not make me interested in the subject nor does make me get pumped for. Nonetheless, it was one of those weird songs that became very popular in 1982. Very creative song, I’ll give the artist that.

2. Cars” – Gary Numan: Released in 1979, and became very popular in 1980, this song was all synth. It also has to be one of the most cheesiest songs out there musically and lyrically. Even the video was horrible. When I hear this song, I find myself banging my head against the wall. I hope that never have to hear this while I am sitting in my car.

1. “Take On Me” – A-Ha: OK, how in the hell did Morten Harket get his vocals to that high pitch in 1985? How? This song even though was a one hit wonder, deserves to get made fun of as it provides tons of fun to hear.

…and now, I am going to go and crank up some good old school Thrash/Death Metal.

The House of Blue Light: Deep Purple

Rating: 60%

220px-DeepPurpleTheHouseIn 1987, Deep Purple was back at it again. Well…I guess they were. I purchased this album here and once I put it on my record player, I was disappointed. One minute, I was thinking that I was listening to Deep Purple and the next it was like I was listening to Genesis.

Musically, it’s hard to describe. It’s Hard Rock, mixed with 1980’s Pop. It’s pretty bland in some spots. This album lacks that power and energy that Deep Purple usually has. The mixing just doesn’t seem to be all that good. This is nothing more than 1980’s music that has swallowed up a great Heavy Metal band. It happened to a lot of bands during the 1980’s. They just lost the heaviness and edge.

The musicianship also seems to be suffering. For one, Ian Gillan’s vocals are horrible. Ritchie Blackmore shows that he can still throw out some decent guitar riffs and leads, but there’s nothing really impressive or explosive. The rhythm section of keyboardist Jon Lord, bassist Roger Glover, and drummer Ian Paice just doesn’t have any backbone or might. This is not one of my favorite Deep Purple albums. 

Track listing:

1. “Bad Attitude” 4:32
2. “The Unwritten Law” 4:34
3. “Call of the Wild” 4:48
4. “Mad Dog” 4:29
5. “Black & White” 3:39
6. “Hard Lovin’ Woman” 3:25
7. “The Spanish Archer” 4:56
8. “Strangeways” 5:56
9. “Mitzi Dupree” 5:05
10. “Dead or Alive” 4:42

The Hangmen Self Titled

Rating: 85%

R-2803784-1301765346.jpeg.jpgIn 1989, The Hangmen released their first record. I was already into this band when I heard their contribution to the Scream LP which was an underground music club in Los Angeles. The song “Rotten Sunday” was pretty cool. I was very pleased to discover these guys, as this type of music wasn’t being played on airwaves. The band was made up of guitarist Billy Catterson, vocalist and guitarist Bryan Small, drummer Lenny Montoya, and bassist Johnny D. Holliday. 

Musically, this album has lots of Blues influence with some Country as well as a small dash of Punk. So, don’t let that cover photo fool you. This is the farthest thing from Glam Metal that was hitting the LA scene. It’s very raw and power driver. The entire album has some very tuneful and interesting melodies. The vocals are very distinctive. The instrumentation is well balanced, rhythmic, and smooth. It’s a shame that this band didn’t get more National attention, than what it did. But with Grunge getting ready to take over the airwaves, the Hangmen would more or less get pushed to the wayside. If you’re into the smaller club scene music, I would recommend you trying the Hangmen out.

Track listing:

Desperation Town 3:05
Coal Mine 2:00
Walking In The Woods 3:35
Tell Me What You Want 2:51
It’s Over For You 3:32
Last Drive 2:51
My Way 2:47
Rotten Sunday 3:44
Kiss From You 3:29
Cry Cry Cry 2:31
Slow Death 3:38
Lonely 2:55

Maquee: Smile

Rating: 85%

Maquee.pngIn 1995, I heard the song “Staring at the Sun” by Smile on the radio. It was refreshing. It wasn’t exactly Grunge, but it was exactly Heavy Metal either. So, I went to the mall and picked up this album. Smile was one of those bands that most people never heard of. It consisted of drummer Scott Reeder , vocalist & guitarist Mike Rosas, and bassist Aaron Sonnennberg.

Musically, this album has a lot to offer from influences of Punk, Grunge, and Noise Rock. It’s got some fuzzy distorted riffs and a few leads, some of which are very sloppy. The vocals are a bit raspy. The bass is simple, loud, and distorted while the drums are a bit complex with a good mixture of tempos.

Sad to say, Smile never really caught on by the popular mainstream music. It’s worth a listen to. There are many highlights to this album from “Staring at the Sun” to “She.” So if you’re into those bands that aren’t really remembered today, then this is one to search and find.

Track listing:

1. “Rock Anthem for the Retarded Teenage Hipster Population” 3:16
2. “Staring at the Sun…” 3:42
3. “Spud Gun” 2:30
4. “Picture Made Past” 4:54
5. “Lemonade” 3:16
6. “Moosh” 2:42
7. “Jack Shrimp” 2:26
8. “Papaya Clearance Sale” 3:05
9. “She” 5:19
10. “Wallflower” 2:41
11. “Until(?)” 5:52

Daydream Nation: Sonic Youth

Rating: 90%

SonicYouthDaydreamNationalbumcover.jpgI remember when I first heard this album upon it’s release in 1988. When I first heard this, I was like what the hell is this? After listening to it again, I heard very complex song structures that were hard to duplicate on guitar. It’s not wonder why?

Both Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo were great musicians and great guitar players who knew how to make noise into music. Neil Young is another guitarist that has this trait. Listen to his album called “Arc” which Neil Young consulted Thurston Moore about the idea. Then, I heard Kim’s bass lines and I was totally blown away. She is one of the most influential female bassists. Her bass and guitar style is very unique. Her vocals are the same way. Steve Shelly’s drums lines are just as complex as the band. He has some very weird tempos, of beats and rolls.


Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore. Getty Images

Musically, there are some great melodies here. They flow from song to song as if you were in a daydream. The music is smooth, not aggressive, but relaxing. At the same time, there is a certain jam style in between verses that is weird, but at the same time it was written to be atmospheric. There is a great deal of improvisations. The harmony of the music itself it wonderful.

The music also features a good combination of female and male lead vocals. Each member of the band contributes equally. The musicianship is very tight. It’s no wonder why Sonic Youth is such a major influence to Indie Rock, Alternative Rock, and Punk.

Track listing:

Teen Age Riot 6:56
Silver Rocket 3:46
The Sprawl 7:39
‘Cross The Breeze 7:00
Eric’s Trip 3:46
Total Trash 7:30
Hey Joni 4:17
Providence 2:39
Candle 4:57
Rain King 4:38
Kissability 3:06
Trilogy: a) The Wonder 4:27
Trilogy: b) Hyperstation 7:04
Trilogy: z) Eliminator Jr. 2:37