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Polyester Zeal

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Red Sun Rising – Polyester Zeal 1_yellow_star1_yellow_star1_yellow_star1_yellow_star

Having never heard Red Sun Rising, I read a little bit about this Akron, Ohio band before I listened to their soon-to-be-released album, Polyester Zeal.  Words like “passionate, energetic, and aggressive” kept popping up and so my attention was immediately grabbed. 

The first song, “Push” does not disappoint. It’s exactly the type of song that should kick off a hard rock album. It’s passionate, energetic, and aggressive and sets the stage for what’s to come.

Red Sun Rising’s talent shines bright as quickly as the second song, “Amnesia,” highlighted by lead singer, Mike Protich’s, powerful and effortless voice that is tailor made for all styles of rock. I couldn’t pinpoint it exactly but he reminds me of the best voices from the 80’s and 90’s classic rockers. Songs like “My Muse” and “Blister” capture his range and versatility quite well. He is also an exceptional lyricist. 

What I really like about Red Sun Rising is that they are a straight-forward, no frills hard rock band. Songs like “Awake” and “Bliss” and “The Otherside” show how well they work together to produce passionate, energetic, and aggressive music without all of the over-production that has become mainstream these days. Fittingly ironic, they really cut loose on the final song, “Imitation” featuring a good, old-fashioned guitar solo that brought me back to the glory days of the 1980’s. 

The future is bright for Red Sun Rising. Check out Polyester Zeal when it drops on 8/7/2015!

 

JPL

Fire Music

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Danko Jones – Fire Music 1_yellow_star1_yellow_star1_yellow_star1_yellow_star

 

 

Is Danko Jones a dude or is Danko Jones a band? Maybe they’re a dude’s band or a band of dudes but whatever the case, he (Danko Jones) and they (Danko Jones) have been creating hard rock from north of the border since 1996. Fire Music is the band’s seventh studio album. 

Fire Music, the band’s seventh studio album, is a potpourri of rock songs that vary in style and hold true to no one particular plan of attack. It’s chaotic. And that’s good.  There’s plenty of hard rock songs on Fire Music but they are refreshingly stripped down and straight forward. The less production the better, I always say. Just give me some heavy guitar, head thumping bass and singer who is not too full of himself and you’ve got the essential ingredients for a successful album. Songs like the opening “Wild Woman” and “The Twisting Knife” are just that – hard rock songs that do exactly what hard rocks songs are supposed to do…rock.  

But just when I’m feeling all hard rock and roll, Danko threw me into a punkish frenzy. “Body Bags” might be the best song on the album and will give you the kind of headache you’ll relish the next day. And then suddenly there’s “Getting into Drugs.” It stopped me in my tracks. It’s cool, it’s creative, it’s fun, hip, hard rock, and clearly demonstrates just how talented Danko Jones is.  

Fire Music is the kind of album that not only gets better with each song but gets better with each listen. It’s like the band’s confidence grows every 2.5 to 3 minutes. Listen to “Watch You Slide” a bunch of times and tell me the guitar riffs don’t get better each time. “She Ain’t Coming Home” is hard rock at its finest and puts an exclamation point on a great album. Check it out. You won’t be disappointed. 

 

JPL 

Right To Rise

 

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Wilson – Right to Rise 1_yellow_star1_yellow_star1_yellow_star

 

 

Not to be confused with the Beach Boys or any offspring of the Beach Boys or even a little leather ball played on the beach, Wilson is a hard-working band straight out of Detroit with a new album entitled Right to Rise.  

 

There is no over-produced, computer generated fuzz on this album. It’s a refreshingly simple and straight-forward collection of 12 hard rock songs fronted by lead singer Chad Nicefield and his powerful but not over-powering screams and moans and screaming moans. The rest of the band work well with each other to create songs that will get your head banging hard enough that your brain might actually hurt…but not too much. Put aside all of your presumptions about Detroit and listen as “Windows Down” pays tribute to Wilson’s home town in a way that could make you pack your bags and plug in the coordinates for the rock city. Detroit or bust! 

 

The two best songs on Right to Rise are “The Flood” and “I Am the Fly.” The second is the most polished of the two and will reassure you that Nicefield has a really, well, nice voice. “The Flood” is a straight-up rock and roll song with a Def Leppard feel to it and a southern Detroit twang that Kid Rock has made famous. It’s the one you’ll scream the loudest for when you no doubt see them live sometime very soon.  

 

Give these hard-working Detroit hard-rockers a listen and make sure not to let them slip away else you might find yourself screaming, “Wilsooooooon” as they disappear into the horizon.  

 

JPL

Drones

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MUSE – “DRONES”  1_yellow_star1_yellow_star1_yellow_star1_yellow_star1_yellow_star

So I had a hard time with this review of Muse’s 7th studio album, Drones, which is usually the case when I really like an album but I can’t wrap my head around why. Drones is kind of a concept album revolving around the art of war. Concept albums can be risky if not done well. Drones is done so well that, except for the Pink Floyd-esque character introductions including “(Drill Sergeant)” and “(JFK)”, it’s hard to tell it is a concept album. If you listen to the lyrics of every song it gets a little deeper but that might just give you a headache. Instead, just sit back, relax and listen to a really cool album.

The first song on Drones is called “Dead Inside.” It’s funky and cool and a bit out of a place considering the rest of the album. Probably has something to do with the concept but hard rock fans should smile through it and look forward to “Psycho” when the album really kicks into gear. Just the intro to “Psycho” will raise the hair on your neck and reassure you that this is going to be a good ride. Throw in some well-placed curse words and you really can’t go wrong!

“Mercy,” the 4th song on Drones is my favorite Muse song of all time. It’s mature, creative and lead singer, Matthew Bellamy, never sounded better. Other highlights on this album include “Reapers” and “Defector.” Both songs have great guitar solos that play perfectly to Bellamy’s voice. Then there is the 10-minute long “The Globalist” which serves as the climax for Drones. It’s both calm and chaotic, sweet and sour and, well, just plain cool. The first four and a half minutes remind me of an intro to an old Clint Eastwood western with our man sitting quietly on his horse pondering the next few minutes when he annihilates every bad guy in sight before, sadly, taking one for the team. Drones ends with “Drones” – an angelic church choir-type song that laments the hero of the album. Considering the concept, it’s a fitting way to end the album but, ironically, it might leave some fans feeling a little sad.  Listen and you’ll understand.

No matter how you feel after listening to this album (hopefully many, many times like I did), you should feel confident that you’ve heard Muse’s masterpiece to date. They took a risk and it paid off. Should make for an awesome live experience, too.

 

JPL

At Your Service

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Sammy Hagar & The Circle  – Live At Your Service 1_yellow_star1_yellow_star1_yellow_star1_yellow_star

Is it me or is Sammy Hagar on a mission to one-up Dave and the boys every chance he can? I mean, is it a coincidence that Sammy & the Circle release the live At Your Service album less than 2 months after his previous employers released their new live album? I think not…and I love it.

Sammy & The Circle is comprised of two former disgruntled Van Halen employees (Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony) as well as Jason Bonham on drums and Vic Johnson on guitar. That’s a pretty good lineup so I was very hopeful that the tracks – ranging from Sammy’s solo stuff to Hagar-era Van Halen and Led Zeppelin classics – would be great and I was not disappointed.

 
What I especially appreciated on this 2 CD Set of 19 live songs was the variety. The Red Rocker and his new circle of trust don’t do anything spectacular with his solo hits including “I Can’t Drive 55” and “There’s Only One Way to Rock” other than rock them out like they deserved to be rocked out.  Minus the flash, Sammy is a showman in his own right and his energy leaps off the album and will make you wish you were at that show right here, right now.

  
As you might expect, the Van Halen songs on At Your Service are from the Van Hagar era and include “When It’s Love,” “Poundcake,” “Why Can’t This Be Love,” and “Right Now.” I have to be honest, when listening to these songs all I could think of was Van who? I’m not saying Vic Johnson is as good as Eddie Van Halen but he did a worthy job. And, yes, I would put Jason Bonham up against Alex Van Halen any day and feel good about it. The only thing missing (says the sap in me) was “Love Walks In” which happens to be one of my favorite post (or is it pre…or post-pre or whatever) David Lee Roth / Van Halen tunes.

And for good measure Sammy & the Circle toss in some really good Led Zeppelin covers like “Good Time Bad Times,” “Whole Lotta Love,” and my favorite, “When the Levee Breaks.” Are they the greatest versions I’ve ever heard? Nope. But they are refreshing and a whole lotta fun to hear.  As for the debate about who is/was the best Van Halen front man ever (Sammy) I’ll just say (Sammy) that it’s a matter of personal preference (Sammy). One is an aging showman who lost his moves, his hair, and his voice and the other still understands that there’s only one way to rock and, with a little help from some friends, doesn’t disappoint on At Your Service. 

JPL