rock and roll

Album Review: Joan Jett and the Blackhearts - "Unvarnished"

Joan Jett may well be one of the most important women in the history of rock and roll. While this may romanticize the details, her breaking out after the dissipation of the Runaways to produce the Germs album and start the Blackhearts, experiencing commercial success on her own terms, makes her the Lucille Ball of punk rock and rock in general. Along the way, Jett proved that it was possible to have sex appeal while not being a teased, airbrushed and angel-voiced blonde, and also possible to have male fans who respected her musical ability.

Album Review: Monster Truck - "Furiosity"

Life experience, viewed through a sort of existentialist paradigm, is an extremely persistent animal. There are certain lessons that life seems bound and determined to teach us, no matter how many times we attempt to ignore the moral. Foremost among those teachings and concurrently the one that is seemingly reinforced most often in our lives is “don’t judge a book by its cover.” It’s a little shameful to admit, but I’ve spent thirty years on this earth and occasionally still have slips in my understanding of this basic tenet.

Concert Review - Volbeat, Danko Jones

The word is out. Volbeat is far from a secret. Those not familiar with the Danish rock and metal powerhouse are officially behind in the count now. Playing the Best Buy Theater in the burning neon heart of Times Square, Volbeat had sold out the show weeks in advance. I had it on pretty damn good authority that industry people, journalists and an audience from all over Europe were flying into New York City to witness this show.

Album Review: Clutch - "Earth Rocker"

For at least the last six or eight years, no band makes me more nervous than Clutch. Ever since the release of “Robot Hive: Exodus,” the band has left my fanhood on uncertain footing, slowly but surely making adjustments to their sound. As critical praise came easily to “From Beale Street to Oblivion,” many who thirsted for the “Pure Rock Fury” era felt left in the lurch. What were we to make of this new Clutch, with the mellower, more calculated sound? The crowds at the live shows began to shift demographic, skewing in new directions.

Album Review: Mothership - "Mothership"

Just read the press release for Mothership and you’ll learn there’s a lot to like about this band. (And for clarity’s sake, let’s get one thing out of the way; this band has nothing to do with George Clinton.) There are the stock-in-trade quotes about what the band is and what they want to be. There are all the conformist comparisons to who the band sounds like and allusions to who inspires their composition.

Concert Review: Graveyard

What kind of a show was Graveyard? Allow me to set the scene. After driving two hours to Boston, my wife and I were greeted by temperatures hovering right around the zero mark, with a persistent wind that just wouldn’t let up. We were in the middle of the most rugged cold snap the Northeast had witnessed in at least two years, and the car whined much of the way about having to perform under duress. Simply walking to and from dinner was a chore, and we knew immediately that windburn had damaged the unprotected portions of our faces.

Concert Review - The Reverend Horton Heat

If you’ve never been to a show at Bridge Street Live in central Connecticut, you’re missing out. The place is essentially a massive ballroom with a corner stage, plenty of table seating, suitably dim lighting and perfect acoustics. The ambiance of the building is set wonderfully in a retro rock and roll motif; art deco and clean design lines run tastefully rampant through the corridors and over toward the bar. It was exactly the kind of place that The Reverend Horton Heat would be expected to play.

Album Review: Motörhead - "The World is Ours, Vol. 2"

If you are a heavy metal fan, Motörhead’s live show is one of those pinnacle “must-haves.” While Lemmy and his cohorts continue to insist that they are nothing more than a rock and roll band, seeing Motörhead live is watching a living oral history of the genesis of heavy metal.

Album Review: Vulture Kult - "Don't Let Rock n' Roll Ruin Your Life"

Okay, here’s a brief, inside look at the life of a music reviewer (dare I call myself a music journalist?) You get inundated with music. Positively deluged. So much so that you realize early on you won’t be able to get to it all, even if you have a staff of twenty writers. So, one of the skills you need to develop early on is the ability to discern what projects are worth the time you’re going to spend on them.

Album Review: Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell - "Don't Hear It...Fear It!"

Throughout human history, whenever a cultural force rises to prominence, there is inevitably a counter-movement that rises to meet it. The Roman Empire had the numerous Gothic tribes, Persia was met by the Mongols, the British Empire squared off with various revolutionaries over the centuries, and the New England Patriots are seemingly opposed (and thankfully stymied,) by the New York Giants. Such is the irresistible yin and yang of the universe, the powerful but delicate balancing act of nature.

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