[6-6-6] of 2018 Part 2: Old Releases

It’s that time of year again where I spend three days going over my favorite music from the last 365 days. Just like the many music blogs I follow, you probably won’t agree with this list and also just like those sites I’m not really qualified to recommend anything to anyone … Just like last year, I’m breaking this down into three posts: 6 favorite new releases of 2018, 6 favorite NOT new releases I rocked hard in 2018 and 6 songs I killed my eardrums with — both new and old — in 2018. Because there were a few close calls, I’ve chosen to provide 6 honorable mentions as well.

All three sets are in no particular order.

This is Part 2/3

TOP 6 OLD RELEASES OF 2018

David BowieZiggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (The Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Release Date: (October 1, 1983)
My Favorite Tracks: Moonage Daydream; The Width of a Circle; Rock ‘N’ Roll Suicide

I’ve been particularly fascinated with David Bowie for the last year or two. I’ve done a few deep dives into his early discography, watched interviews, read articles, etc. One particularly interesting story I dug up was when there was an initiative to capture this, the final concert ever performed by Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars. Technical issues proved to be quite a headache during the shoot and post production had so many hold-ups it would be a full decade later before the film and accompanying soundtrack were released.

And though the Ziggy Stardust character had long-since given way to Aladdin Sane, the Thin White Duke and the Let’s Dance-era Bowie … Mr. Stardust was revived for motion picture and home audio with this release and a magical moment in music history was thus shared with the world. One can’t get the full grasp of how rocking Bowie was until you hear live recordings such as this one. Tunes like All The Young Dudes and Changes are given an energy the studio recordings just couldn’t capture. My Death is as haunting as you could ever imagine and the closer Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide is the kind of song that could go on forever and you’d never mind it. Throw in a few classic “big” hits like Ziggy Stardust, Space Oddity and Suffragette City and you have a damn-near perfect setlist from a damn-near perfect artist and his band. Extra-extra points if you add Oh! You Pretty Things, Moonage Daydream, The Width of a Circle and a cover of the Velvet Underground’s White Light / White Heat — those are all on there, too.

The MisfitsStatic Age
Release Date: (July 15, 1997 — Recorded in 1978)
My Favorite Tracks: Hybrid Moments; Bullet; She

I think I said last year that this is going to make it on the list every year. And here it is again. My favorite album by my favorite band. There’s not a run you can’t run, a weight you can’t lift or a shitty day you can’t get through when you have the likes of Last Caress, Hybrid Moments, Teenagers from Mars or Bullet in your headphones. There’s not another punk band that did it like the Misfits and there won’t ever be another one like them.

Lo-fi, dirty, fast, mean and campy, this Misfits album is everything you want in horror-punk and is a perfect 101 for anyone wanting to get into the genre. Songs like Angelfuck, Last Caress and Bullet can satisfy someone looking for exploitative shock value but then you have songs like Hollywood Babylon and Return of the Fly that are big-time dancers. Are we evil? Are we having fun? Is this okay?

Yes. Yes it is. Yes to all of it.

The Lees of MemoryThe Blinding White of Nothing at All
Release Date: (November 24, 2017)
My Favorite Tracks: It’s Too Late to Change; There is Love Everywhere; All You Really Want is Love

The only thing that really tops this album is getting to see the guys play a lot of it live in Birmingham earlier this year. 2018 has been such a turbulent year for me and while bandmates Brandon Fisher and John Davis didn’t know it, they sang about everything I was feeling. And had been feeling. And would feel:

  • Please don’t bother breaking down, it’s so overrated, all you really want is love (All You Really Want is Love)
  • Don’t mistake your dreams for the real thing; don’t waste everything for a feeling (Hypothetical Shows)
  • But you played yourself with traps that you laid yourself; you should’ve made yourself invisible (It’s Too Late to Change)
  • Pictures of ordinary dreams; not one among them is all that they seem; once in a while let them be purified; pain in my side (Pictures of Ordinary Things)
  • I’ve got something wrong with me; something’s wrong – I once felt so strong; I wanna go home but I’m not sure where it is (Rain Rain)
  • I’m going out on a limb; what else can I do? If I ain’t got you, I’ve got nothing; I’m staying out of the way; without much to say; It’s nothing I feel like discussing (There is Love Everywhere)

Thank you so much, guys. Y’all kept me alive on more than one occasion this year and I love you for it.

The StoogesRaw Power
Release Date: (February 17, 1973)
My Favorite Tracks: Search and Destroy; Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell; Shake Appeal

Earlier in the year I went on an Iggy Pop binge at my local used record shop. I picked up 1969, Raw Power and Lust for Life and listened to them all over and over and over. Hell, they’re all three still in my car just in case of emergency. There’s no better way to describe the sound on this record than the album title, itself. It’s so pure, so punk, so fucking raw. Iggy is an icon in my eyes — one of the Holy Trinity that is Iggy, David Bowie and Lou Reed — and despite his questionable actions, substance abuse, etc. is still a role model in my eyes.

Each time I put on the microphone at the gym, I channel Iggy. I mean, I keep my shirt on and nobody gets smeared with peanut butter, but that charisma and that pure energy that throws caution to the wind — THAT’S what I’m going for. If I’m having a rough day — Search and Destroy. If I’m feeling angry — Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell. If I just need a boost — Shake Appeal. I love this album so much I’m going to get Raw Power tattooed on my right wrist when the time is right. Though I must admit that I made this much-smarter decision after deciding to NOT get a tattoo of a cheetah wearing prostitute lipstick (inspired by the opening line from Search and DestroyI’m a street-walking cheetah with a heart full of napalm).

Electric WizardWizard Bloody Wizard
Release Date: (November 17, 2017)
My Favorite Tracks: See You In Hell; Necromania; Hear the Sirens Scream

I didn’t get to listen to this properly until 2018 so earlier in the year I was way excited to get to include it on my “new” list but … I was a little late to the party. I was already a fan of Electric Wizard and their brand of doom with a little drop of acid but nothing had really grabbed me the way the tracks on this album have. The strangest part of this six-track record for me is that a LOT of metal websites gave it either shitty or “par for the course” reviews. It’s easily one of my favorite records that I’ve rocked this year, though.

When album opener See You In Hell fades in, the listener is baited by a monotonous, two-note riff that would drive one to insanity if listened to long enough before the band comes in and turns the song into one of the heaviest sounds I’ve heard in a very long time. I mean — it’s HEAVY. So heavy, each time the bass rumbles across your speakers, the ground around you begins to dig itself up. Before song’s end, you’re actually in Hell and this album only continues. Is it as innovative as previous Electric Wizard releases? Maybe not, but that doesn’t change the fact that heavy album is heavy and I have a major hard-on for it.

Church of the Cosmic SkullIs Satan Real?
Release Date: (September 16, 2016)
My Favorite Tracks: Mountain Heart; Is Satan Real?; Evil in Your Eye

I accidentally found out about these guys while going down a wild-ass rabbit hole on YouTube early this year. The song I found was Evil in Your Eye — a 9-minute rocker whose intro prominently features an organ that’s just as hypnotic as it is unexpected. When the opening lyric comes in — I wanna take you … I wanna take you to the ocean — something in your soul will be overtaken. The cult-like vibe of Church of the Cosmic Skull is real and I’m following hard.

They’re not metal in the way common metal bands are, yet there are influences of doom, 70’s prog rock, arena anthems, psychedelia and choir-like backing vocals. The combination of these elements creates a truly unique listening experience. Hard-hitting and heavy highs meet droning and heartfelt lows on this record, leaving the listener engaged for the length of all seven songs. Related: There are seven members in this band. And you can hear all seven of them.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Zeal and Ardor Devil is Fine
  • Sharptooth Clever Girl
  • Church of Misery Thy Kingdom Scum
  • Mutoid Man War Moans
  • Kvelertak Kvelertak
Advertisements

[6-6-6] of 2017 Part 2: Old Releases

With a few days left in the year, I figured it was my turn to add my two cents to the “best records of the year” like so many of the blogs I follow. Where I differ from these posts, though, is that I don’t always listen to brand new music all the time and often uncover stuff that came out decades before I was even born, choosing to spend my time with it instead. Therefore, I’m breaking this post down into three parts: my 6 favorite new releases for 2017, my 6 favorite NOT new releases I jammed the most in 2017, and the 6 songs I blasted the most — both new and old — in 2017.

All three sets are in no particular order.

This is Part 2/3

— TOP 6 OLD RELEASES OF 2017 —

The MisfitsStatic Age
Release Date: (February 27, 1996 — originally recorded in 1978)
My Favorite Tracks: Hybrid Moments; Bullet; She

The Misfits are one of my favorite bands — maybe my #1 favorite band. So many great tracks across their career, and yes I’m even referring to post-Danzig era. I feel like if I were to include a “top not-new records” list every year, Static Age would be on my list every year. It’s basically a Misfits’ greatest hits record from start to finish including the super groovy Return of the Fly, the pure-evil scorcher Bullet and the macabre sing-along favorite Last Caress. If you didn’t listen to any other Misfits for the rest of your life, your days will be better just having experienced this music. I seriously listen to something from this album every. Single. Day.

David BowieDavid Bowie
Release Date: (June 1, 1967)
My Favorite Tracks: Uncle Arthur; Love You Till Tuesday; Please Mr. Gravedigger

A few months ago I went through a phase where if it wasn’t David Bowie, I didn’t want to hear it. Chances are, if you’re not a fan of Bowie or are only a casual fan, you’ve probably never heard anything from this, his self-titled and first proper release. It’s really not even the kind of Bowie I prefer — I’m more of a Hunky Dory or Rise and Fall… kind of guy. But as I revisited his discography, I found myself continually coming back to this record, fascinated by his folky singer-songwriter attempt.

Cannibal CorpseTomb of the Mutilated
Release Date: (September 22, 1992)
My Favorite Tracks: Hammer Smashed Face; I Cum Blood; Split Wide Open

Back in November when I caught Exhumed in concert, I had to admit to myself and everyone else that while I’m a fan of extreme metal in general, the Death Metal genre has never really done much for me (Exhumed changed my mind that night). With that said, extreme metalheads will probably scoff at my affection for what is likely the most cliche Death Metal selection I could’ve chosen, but this was and still is the Death Metal record I’ve gotten the most into. Sure the artwork, song titles and lyrics are horrific beyond measure, but I mean, that’s Death Metal for you. Hammer Smashed Face could easily be a Death Metal 101 lesson and for good reason. If you don’t like that track, you’re not going to like anything else.

The Velvet UndergroundThe Velvet Underground & Nico
Release Date: (March 12, 1967)
My Favorite Tracks: I’m Waiting for the Man; Femme Fatale; Sunday Morning

A couple of years ago I decided I had an enormous man crush on Lou Reed. Looking past his faults and crazy drug-laced history, there’s something about Lou that I always thought was just super cool. I only hate that I didn’t appreciate him until later in mine (and his) life. Either way, tracks from this first Velvet record stick with me, flowing in and out of my head throughout most days. In addition to the above listed tracks, Venus in Furs, Run Run Run, All Tomorrow’s Parties and I’ll Be Your Mirror haunt my existence and I’m not mad about it. Lou may not have been crazy about Nico joining the band, but she definitely brought something to this record that it would’ve been sorely missing without her or if someone else had taken her place.

Epic DitchEP
Release Date: (March 21, 2011)
My Favorite Tracks: Hope and Change; Rock ‘n’ Roll Ain’t Gonna Save You Now; I Want to Destroy

Punk fucking rock, y’all. John Davis and Nick Slack, already made famous here from yesterday’s blurb, join forces with famed producer Nick Raskulinecz to send out a scorching six tracks on this EP that comes in at around 14 minutes TRT. I found myself putting tracks from this record on several Spotify playlists in the last year from general punk playlists to collections of songs that make me want to lift heavy, fight hard or simply push through difficult bullshit in my personal life.

SuperdragHead Trip in Every Key
Release Date: (March 24, 1998)
My Favorite Tracks: Bankrupt Vibration; Annetichrist; Shuck & Jive

Much to the record label’s disappointment, Head Trip… wasn’t a commercial success like the guys’ 1996 predecessor Regretfully Yours, but the musicianship, songwriting, production quality and overall aesthetic of this record went leagues above it. If MTV wasn’t crazy about John Davis’ (yes, him again) decision to change the lyrics of Sucked Out to “Who Sucked Out the Feeling? Music Television!” the entire industry couldn’t be happy about his lyrics in Bankrupt VibrationAnd your alternative station is such a bankrupt vibration; it’s a fucking illusion of an alternative nation; modern rock is a snow job; a popularity blowjob; come on down to the big show to celebrate what you don’t know. Those lyrics were eventually changed before the track made the record, of course, but it doesn’t change the fact that John Davis and the guys were the epitome of rock and roll.


This is just me, though. Got any OLD releases you really dug this year? Tell me about them!

[photo post] Masquerade & Days of the Dead

Summer convention season is approaching its end, leaving us with nothing to look forward to until the Fanboy Expo Halloween show coming up in October. I apparently didn’t post any photos because I didn’t take very many at either show, but this year took us to Mad Monster Party in Charlotte back in March, Marble City Comic Con back in April, Fanboy Expo in Knoxville in June, and now, Days of the Dead in Louisville, KY. When it was announced this show’s guests would include Nightmare On Elm Street’s Heather Langenkamp and Amanda Wyss, there was no question as to whether or not we’d be attending this show (our first at this event) so we got tickets and a hotel room almost immediately.

But then we found out that the Thursday before the show, all the way down in Atlanta, GA, an event would be held at the Center for Puppetry Arts to celebrate the 30 year anniversary of the release of the Jim Henson classic Labyrinth, starring the great space man-turned-Goblin King, himself, David Bowie. Not just any event, however. No, this event would be a masquerade ball in tune with the famous scene from the film. I say “famous” but to be honest, I had never seen the movie until I started dating Erin. Hell, I’d never even heard of it.

If you’ve given me a 5-star face palm just now, hear me out. While I watched Sesame Street and the Muppets growing up, I wouldn’t appreciate puppetry until I was much older. And Labyrinth is mostly a musical, which was a no-go for me for a very long time. I turned my nose up at most Disney movies because they involved so much singing. When I was little, I was convinced that if a movie had singing in it, it was for sissies. All music was to be heavy metal or at least very hard rock and roll, or else it was too wimpy for my taste, and Disney movies were neither heavy nor hard.

Even though I know better now regarding both musicals and puppetry, and I know what a righteous rock star Mr. Bowie was, the fact remains that I still somehow never knew anything about this movie. And then when I was 18 I started dating a woman that proudly claimed Labyrinth as her favorite movie.

Favorite.

All I’m going to say here before I post a few photos is that we went. If you want the specifics and more photos, you can read Erin’s much more passionate review of the evening on HER blog (that’s right – she has a blog now and you’d do well to subscribe to it!). I’ll also say that even though it’s still far from my all time favorite, the evening was brilliant, beautiful, and in some respects, even magical. They really did a great job pulling together something special for the lucky few that were able to score tickets.

As usual, if you want to see all of the photos in high res + a few extra, head over to My Flickr account.

The only other thing I have for you in this post are a few snaps we took at Days of the Dead. Mostly Erin with her Scream Queens and us with the Mistress of the Dark, herself, Elvira. Days was a great show at a pretty nice venue. It seems there are lots of freaks that are bitching about something or another, but we had a great time. It was a very big show with lots of talented artists, tattoo artists, and vendors set up alongside an impressive guest list in a clean, very accommodating hotel located in a city I grow fonder of with each visit (this was our third visit to Louisville for various horror cons). I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us next year!

I have some great photos to share some time next week of a photo shoot I was fortunate enough to do for a group of lovely ladies a few weeks ago. Look for them here or follow me on Instagram.

On a final, more vain note…

me