Thursday, August 11, 2011

Grifter Rolls Out The Grooves With Their New Self Titled Album

Before I get into this review here, I just want to say I'm not one of those guys who just writes about bands or albums that I like. Call me a douche or whatever, but I'll even write about stuff I don't like or that just appalls me musically.

That's what a "reviewer" does. A reviewer isn't some kiss ass, suck-up. He's suppose to give an honest review. Maybe I'm just use to all the art critiques, where others give you constructive criticism of your shit. I think that should apply with music as well, and if musicians can't handle it then stay in your garage.

So what do I think of Grifter's new self-titled debut album released by Ripple Music? To tell you the truth, Pope had been hyping Grifter to me for quite some time, so I had high expectations of them. When I first got the copy of the album, I didn't even listen to it all the way through the first time to be honest.

Maybe, during the first listen I just wasn't in the right mood. All I know is that I didn't give it my full attention the first go around, which means I didn't really give it a chance. I don't even know why I put it in to give it a second listen, but I'm glad I did.

Grifter overflows with mad grooves on the guitar that are frothy. Yes, I just used the word frothy, like that froth you get when you pour a beer into a mug completely wrong. Except I mean this in a good way. Just imagine if members of the classic rock bands Black Sabbath and Led Zepplin had formed a band. What you'd get is Grifter.

Zepplin's bluesy rock with Sabbath's heavy, dark sound mixed with drums that tend to swing like The Stray Cats on certain songs and you get one hell of a rock groove that Grifter delivers almost non-stop. The music most definitely has a punchy, unique, classic rock sound. The strange thing is that the band Grifter isn't a classic rock act.

Kicking off this album is the killer intro riff to Good Day For Bad News which lays down a thick, ear-grabbing groove. The chorus has a good hook, easy to catch on. Next is the strange and raunchy Alabama Hotpocket, which teeters on the borders between cheesy and cool. I can see why some would like the song or why some would completely disregard it.

Asshole Parade stomps the yard like a crazed bull trying to stomp on a rodeo clown's head. The drums on Asshole lays down a primal groove and take the spotlight during the verses while the guitars keep it  amazingly simple and hang back until the chorus. The song is simply refreshing to hear. I don't know about you, but I like it when guitars aren't overplayed with a bunch of wanking sounds that only clutter a song.

The album then moves right a long to the track Strip Club in which you can't help but bob your head up and down to that quarter note rock/swing drum beat. There is this boogie woogie, almost Rockabilly vibe that Grifter seems to capture on some songs

Bucktooth Woman is one that has this Rockabilly feel to it, but Piss and Gas is the stand out track on this album for me. It has this frantic, high energy sound in the beginning. It reminds me of when I'm going out of my mind for a cigarette, and then it just dips into this slow, rolling heavy groove like when I get that first drag of nicotine running through my veins. Pure heaven, I must say, and the tune just rinses, washes and repeats with this tempo effect.

The music is top-notch on Grifter's album and it's hard not to air-guitar along to it. The lyrical scheme and execution is very rooted in hard rock from the late 60s/early 70s, and some of it on some songs really isn't my taste.

However, most songs have massive, great lyrical hooks and choruses that aren't hard to find or sing a long too. What I like especially about this album, however, is the rawness of it and the straight, in-your-face rock the album delivers.

All in all, if you like monstrous rock n' roll, blues grooves (and I mean monstrous, for this album is basically caked with them), Grifter's album is a solid and raw rock album worth checking out. It's one of those albums that you find something new and cool about with each listen.

You can find their album on cd or digital download at the Ripple Music store or find out more about Grifter by clicking the link.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Guns N Roses - Appetite For Destruction! Tribute To A Legendary Album

1987 was a freakin' good year for Rock 'N Roll and Metal, at least in my opinion. It was a time I remember vividly, a time where music was being explored and new styles of Rock and Metal were coming out of the woodwork. Yes, it was a great time in my life, indeed. Why do I say this? Because it was the year that Motley Crue's Girls Girls Girls album came out, but that year also brought an album from a then unknown group of five misfit outlaws who would turn the Rock 'N Roll and Hard Rock world on its head.

There's no doubt and nobody can deny that when Appetite for Destruction by Guns 'N Roses came out, this album turned the world on its ass so much that critics were already predicting that GNR were set out to be the next Rolling Stones or Led Zepplin. Rolling Stone Magazine even placed Appetite for Destruction as the 20th greatest album of the 80s. It even made 61 of the 500 Greatest Albums of all Time.
While during the era at the time was mostly permeated with L.A. Glam Rock bands and music, Gun's 'N Roses took Hard Rock back to the gritty streets where it was spawned and captured a raunchy, dirty sound that collided Blues-based Rock, Metal, and Punk. What ignited from that formula was a raw and aggressive album like no other.

Steven Adler's loose drum playing gave the songs on Appetite that signature groove and swing that GNR seemed to have lost after Adler was kicked out and later replaced by Matt Sorum. I could hear the difference between Appetite and the Use Your Illusion albums. I think most people can and would agree with me on that. If what Axl Rose admits is true about some of the songs from the Use Your Illusion albums were originally considered to be on Appetite for Destruction, I'm sure glad those songs didn't make the cut on Appetite.

Izzy Stradlin's sloppy guitar playing mixed with Slash's unique guitar style gave the guitars a highly gritty and raw sound that matched Addler's drum playing. The cohesiveness of the songs came from the tightness of Slash's guitar, Duff McKagan's bass, and Axl Rose's vocal delivery.

Lyrics to songs like Paradise City, Welcome to the Jungle, Mr. Brownstone, and my personal favorite – Out Ta Get Me - were as dangerous sounding as the music, but yet both the music and lyrical formatting had sing-a-long hooks without sacrificing their heavy, aggressive sound that was, indeed, dangerous and uncompromising.

Like I mentioned in my previous post about the Riot Brides, it's not easy to combine melody but yet still retain a heavy and dangerous sound. It's actually easier to just play heavy music with little to no melody. Guns seemed to combine both of those elements effortlessly. The band members were a match made in heaven, or hell, depending on who's opinion your getting. However, there is no doubt that each individual within the band and their own unique wreckless abandon definitely was translated into the music.

I can't remember the first song I heard off of Appetite for Destruction. Perhaps, it was Welcome to the Jungle, considering it was the first single off the album and I remember the video quite vividly. Who doesn't? The imagery of that video was just as raw and intense as the song.

I remember getting the cassette tape (yeah I just dated myself) and looking at the cover, that iconic cover with the cross and skulls to represent each member of the band. I thought it was rad and couldn't wait to open the sucker. The 80s brought that kind of tattoo art as viable artwork for album covers. I remember trying to draw it, but even though I was smitten by the cover, it was the insert artwork that made me go bonkers.

 The inside artwork, based off of Robert Williams painting, fittingly also titled, "Appetite for Destruction," was suppose to be the original album cover to Appetite. Of course, retailers were shocked and refused to stock the album because of the controversial cover, and the artwork was shocking. I remember when first seeing it I thought this was either the coolest or sickest artwork I'd ever seen in my entire life.
The cover was replaced with the iconic cross and skulls artwork by Billy White Jr, which was originally intended to just be a tattoo design. Once the final cover was set, Rock ‘N Roll history was made, and was never to be the same.

I took that cassette, slapped it into my tape deck, or ghetto blaster as we use to call it, and pressed play. What came out blew me away. I was just mesmerized and in awe. I played that album over and over until my ghetto blaster ate the tape. Then I would buy the album again and play it over and over until that tape met the same fate as the first one I bought.

I remember trying to sing like Axl, trying to get that raspy, high whine, and then that deep voice that he has on It’s So Easy. I remember air drumming to Steven Adler and air guitaring to Slash. I remember my brother cranking that album in his car as we cruised around with nothing better to do.

Controversial, dangerous, and hungry was the attitude that Guns ‘N Roses translated into their first album Appetite for Destruction, conveying that rawness that Guns N' Roses didn't seem to capture on their later albums. In which Axl stated that he didn’t want to capture on GNR’s future albums and wanted to move on from Appetite.

If you ask me, creating a masterpiece on your first go-around like Appetite is a sure sign that everything from that album on is downward road. How do you top an album like Appetite? Even Axl has told this to the media a hundred times over. However, what if they had tried? Would they have written an album that would top it? We’ll never know, won’t we?

Unlike the Illusion albums, Appetite drips with a street sleaze that was scrapped up like poop from the real, gritty, and debaucherous street life of Los Angeles. The songs meant business, and the topics of drugs, women, and the harshness of a gritty reality that many didn't see or even know about blasted from your speakers and in your face without regret or apology.

What's up with the bands of today? Where are the bands like GNR? It's like the bands today are boring, and new moms listen to the new rock bands playing on the radio. There's no way in hell my parents would've listened to any of the music I listened to while growing up.

Now, Rock 'N Roll is way too safe. It’s unbelievably boring with most of the new bands out there. I don't see too many dangerous new bands out there, bands that are raw, uncompromising, controversial, primal and dripping with intensity like GNR and the bands I grew up on. Bands with a wreckless abandon that you can hear in the music and know it isn’t prefabricated or artificial. It’s how the band is and how the individual members of that band were.

I suppose my still-stuck-in-the-eighties ass will still be waiting. I suppose the rock world will still be waiting. Some say that was then and this now, and thank God then is over, but I disagree. I wholeheartedly disagree.

Anything is better than the stale music of today, and there's no doubt that this generation needs an album like Appetite for Destruction, an album that's perfectly crafted, a masterpiece that’s genuine and intense. An album that sparks controversy and stands the test of time and is still amazing no matter what year or what generation listens to it.

A great album is an album that can stack up against any great album from any era and not be out of place. It doesn’t just hold its own. It stands out like a beckon, a model, an inspiration and example for those who come after to follow. That’s why Guns ‘N Roses’ Appetite for Destruction will always be an ultimate classic album, because it does just exactly that.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Here Come The Riot Brides! Rock's New Band To Watch Out For!

There was the Runaways who went toe-toe with the male dominated rock scene of the time, and now there's the Riot Brides. Yes, this four piece band all are chicks, but don't let that fool you. They are definitely the Runaways on steroids with their brand of L.A. sleeze rock that can make any guy band look like a bunch of new wave sissies.

Heavy and dripping with attitude, their sonic sound has that 80s crunch and these Rock N' Roll babes don't play around one bit, bringing back a dirty, raunchy yet sexy sound that has been lost in Rock N' Roll since grunge took the reigns and drove rock music into the abyss it's currently in now.

Gabriella Demarco definitely has that snarl in her voice not many vocalists, male or female, can achieve. Her voice is remarkably...ballsy! She sings with more balls than some male rock singers out there past or present. Whenever, I hear her voice, I swear I fall in love.

Abby Gennet has chops on that guitar. Like I said, her crunchy guitar captures that sleeze rock sound I grew up listening to. She doesn't flood a song with a bunch of wanking guitar solos like most guitarists from the 80s did, and I respect that. Straight-forward and effective.

Then there's that tight, in-the-pocket, bass playing that Erin Soriano delivers with a massive, heavy thumping groove that fits tight right a long with Tuesdai Murgia drums. I'm a drum player so I know crap drummers from ones that can really actually play, and she can beat those skins with the best of them.

Riot Brides are unbelievably tight, and I'm glad that there's a band, a new band, that still has the love for the Rock sound that I grew up listening too. I'll be honest here. I never suspected it would be a band of hot chicks to do this, but, hey, if it rocks it fricken rocks.

You should check out the Riot Brides Myspace page where they have the tracks Bring You Down, Break Another Bottle, and Lost uploaded on their player. Give em a listen. You wont be sorry if you like this type of Hard Rock. All the songs on their player list just freakin' rocks. I love the riffs for both Bring You Down and Lost, those riffs that just groove yet punch you in teeth at the same time. Wait, I think that may be Tuesdai's drums at work there.

More than that, the songs have a definite hook. They know how to craft a song, a catchy song that can use melody but still retain that heaviness that Rock 'N Roll needs. It's not an easy task to balance those two. Much less to throw in a sneering attitude and danger to make a wonderful tasting concoction that should be bottled up and sold by the gallon worldwide.

Not too many bands can pull that off, and I've been looking for bands with that element of danger about them. I'm NOT that easily impressed when it comes to the Rock 'N Roll I grew up on. For a newer generation band to even attempt that is crazy to me. Who today can do it better than the sleeze rock acts like early Motley Crue, early L.A. Guns, and early Guns 'N Roses?

I think the Riot Brides have captured that magic in a bottle so many bands would kill for. Do they stack up? I think they sure have the potential too. I'm a definite fan, and I do not say that about too many new bands out there today.

Am I fricken in love? You betcha! I love any band that's dangerous, and I think the Brides have what it takes to create a lot of Rock 'N Roll mayhem that a lot of the newer bands are too chicken shit to do. Oh wait, I've got another question: If they're all brides then who are the grooms? Damn lucky bastards.