Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Random Listening 2.0

A few of the people I follow on WordPress had their 2017 lists up and it got me interested to check out the music which made their lists.

So these random listens are from the WordPress site ….THUNDER BAY.

Greta Van Fleet – From The Fires

For the last four months, people have been telling me to check this band out. And when I did, I thought it was Wolfmother, an Aussie band who had a similar 70’s classic rock/metal feel to their music. All I know of them is that they are young. That’s all. How different to before, when we read the interviews in the magazines, saw the advertisements and basically knew how the album was made before we even purchased it or listened to it or dubbed it from a mate.

“Edge Of Darkness” is the song that hooked me. It’s feel and groove, which is a cross between Southern Rock and Led Zep’s style of rock is infectious. “A Change Is Gonna Come” is heavy in Led Zep influences vocally, but musically, I am not sure if people have heard the song “Jealousy” by Frankie Miller. Well it sounds like that crossed with a little bit of Bob Seger.

“Highway Tune” is another one of those songs that sounds familiar, but it’s done in such a way, it sounds unique. “Talk On The Street” could have appeared on a Blue Oyster Cult album. “Black Smoke Rising” is a more dirtier and up-tempo “Dyermaker” from Led Zep.

Anyway, even though the album was released in 2017, the songs above have been added to my 2018 playlist. Let’s see which ones remain until the end of the year.

Headstones – Little Army

The lyrics. Wow. Check out some beauties.

  • “We’ll I’m a red meat eater, liar and cheater”… from “Devils On Fire”.

Take that all you politically correct wannabes.

  • “We’re fundamentally broken, we no longer question ourselves and nobody noticed the quiet is a call for help”… from “Broken”.

Truth in these words, but we deny it, posting the happiest pics onto our social media account, so everyone can see how great our life looks.

  • “You won’t lift your finger to get your s!!t out of this” … from “Little Army”.

Blaming others when something goes wrong and doing nothing to fix the problem.

  • “Driving now with no headlights until the sunlight kills the stars” …. “Sunlight Kills The Stars”.

Sometimes in life you just don’t want to be seen or noticed.

  • “It’s so hard to find the positive again and again, it’s so hard to really listen to your friends when your mind just spins”… from “For Your Consideration”.

Picking yourself up from a hole you are in.

  • “You’re singing the same old song, it’s called “sucking the life outta me”… from “Dead To Me”.

You gotta love relationships.

Cheap Trick – We’re All Alright

“Brand New Name On An Old Tattoo” is an excellent song title and the song is pretty cool as well. “Floating Down” rocks hard for a mid-tempo song, and the vocal line is infectious and “If You Still Want My Love” is a bonus track on the deluxe version that probably no one would hear.

I was never a Cheap Trick fan.

Bands I liked always mentioned them as influences, but when you have limited funds to purchase music, I usually avoided Cheap Trick until the 90’s and I picked up their LP’s up to “Lap Of Luxury” for $2 each.

And youngsters won’t care about this album and the millions who purchased “Lap Of Luxury” because of “The Flame” won’t care either. But there are people who will care!

Europe – Walk The Earth and The Final Countdown 30th Anniversary live

I really enjoyed “The Final Countdown” 30th Anniversary show. Europe nailed it. They started off with the whole “War Of Kings” album and then played the while “The Final Countdown” album. When Joey Tempest screams, “Are you ready London?” the answer is a unanimous cheer.

And for “Walk The Earth”, my thoughts on the album are already on this blog. Europe’s creativity is at an all-time high and I’m loving it.

Stephen Pearcy – Smash

Does anyone care if Stephen Pearcy is running solo, the same way Vince Neil is running solo? Okay bad comparison, because Vince is just playing Motley songs live, while Pearcy is still being creative.

The “Unchained” sounding “Ten Miles Wide” is cool while “Rain” is interesting musically and it has some decent lyrics. “Want Too Much” works but the piece d’resistance is “Passion Infinity”. Everything just fits and works brilliantly together. Finally “Summers End” is another song that surprised me with its epic “Kashmir” feel. Not bad from the Rattster.

Collective Soul – Live

It took me a while to get into this band. It was actually a guitar transcription in Guitar World or Guitar School magazine for the song “Disciplined Breakdown” that got me interested.

After playing it through without hearing it, I enjoyed it so much, I went through a few earlier editions of the mag and found another transcription for the song ”Precious Declaration”.

So I sat down and started playing the riff the way it was transcribed and I’m thinking, man, this sounds like “Walk This Way”. Anyway, the song moves into different sections for the pre chorus and chorus and I was like blown away at the groove. So I went out and purchased. Afterwards, I was hooked.

Moving forward, I sort of forget about the band after “Dosage” was released in 1999. And I never thought of them as a live band however the Thunder Bay blog had the live album in a 2017 list, so I was interested to hear it.

They don’t disappoint and they have the catalogue of songs to keep the live show ticking over. I also dig the change to have “Shine” starting off with the piano and how they jam it out “Lynyrd Skynyrd” style at the end, turning one of their biggest songs into a 7 minute jam epic is worth the price of admission alone.

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Music

In This Moment and Atlantic

“In This Moment” will regret signing with Atlantic Records. Atlantic Records under the reign of the departed Ahmet Ertegun were well known for not paying their artists. Throughout the Eighties, Atlantic capitalised big time on the success of the metal and rock bands, and once those bands dad a drop in sales, Atlantic started dropping the bands left, right and centre and moved on to the next thing that could make them money.

Let’s look at some of the bands that Atlantic have signed;

The story of the band “Bush” is very similar to “In This Moment”. After three successful releases on a smaller label, “Bush” signed with Atlantic for their fourth release and in return they had their least successful album. So with no mainstream success and a lack of label support, “Bush” called it quits. Which is a shame as the band was coming of three great albums.

“Winger” was signed by Atlantic and they had success with Atlantic Records, there is no doubt about that. However, Atlantic signed a band that had musicians already developed and experienced. There was no artist and development costs associated with “Winger”. With that experience Atlantic reaped in millions from the first two “Winger” albums. After “Winger” delivered their best album “Down Icognito”, “Beavis and Butthead” also happened, and after hanging a Winger loving family in one of their episodes, Atlantic Records suddenly developed amnesia and claimed that they had never heard of “Winger”.

“Collective Soul” already had a demo version of their massive hit “Shine” doing the rounds on radio for about six months before Atlantic picked them up and re-released the same demo album under the Atlantic brand. What an artist and development program at Atlantic. While the band kept selling, Atlantic loved them. Then when the sales started to decline (although still great numbers compared to other bands), the label started to lose interest and after 7 years of making Atlantic wealthy, once their contract ended, it wasn’t renewed.

“White Lion” also experienced a similar fate to “Winger”. When the band was signed, they already had seven years under their belts, plus an independent release. What an artist and development program at Atlantic. So when “Pride” broke out, Atlantic pushed them to write more hit singles. This added pressure to create “hit songs” caused a conflicted Vito Bratta even more conflict and when the record label advice failed to provide an increase in sales for “Big Game”, the label just stopped caring. As a last resort, they gave them a lot of money for the “Mane Attraction” album and while “White Lion” was out of the music scene recording that album, their label had already moved on. So it was no surprise when the album was released with no marketing budget and within 5 months of the album being released the band was over. No one from the label called them and it just ended.

“Twisted Sister” had a huge local following, however US labels just kept on rejecting them. Eventually, they went looking for a deal in Europe and after a false start with Secret Records, they ended up getting signed to Atlantic Europe. Then they started to get traction in the US with “You Cant Stop Rock N Roll”. As an import album, it was selling like hot cakes in the US. So of course, Atlantic US came knocking, signed them (even though they ignored and rejected them for ten years prior to that), made a huge amount of money of the “Stay Hungry” album and then dropped them three years later. Again, what an artist and development program at Atlantic.

“Zebra” had a huge local following before they got signed with Atlantic Records. Then the “Zebra” debut album became one of the fastest selling releases on the Atlantic roster. Again, what an artist and development program at Atlantic. Not one of the bands that I have mentioned above got signed and developed. They where all developed. Three years later, Atlantic dropped the band, however they kept an option open on Randy Jackson. Randy Jackson finished the “China Rain” record in 1990 and Atlantic Records decided not to release it. Sound familiar. Gatekeepers controlling the fate of musicians. Dee Snider suffered the same fate with his “Desperado” project after experiencing the same shafting when he was in “Twisted Sister”.

“Badlands” was signed by Atlantic. The self-titled debut came out and it achieved cult like status among the jaded metal community. “Voodoo Highway” came next however Atlantic was not impressed with what “Badlands” delivered. It was during the making of “Voodoo Highway” that Lee and Gillen started to disagree over the direction the band was taking. The label wanted hit songs. The label wanted songs written to a strict radio formula. Ray Gillen apparently had songs that suited what the label was looking for. Those frustrations came to a head when Jake E. Lee accused Ray Gillen of going behind his back to the record company in a revealing Kerrang interview. In the end, Atlantic broke the band up and then dropped them when they went chasing the grunge dollars.

Atlantic has a history of extorting hard rock and metal bands. Testament, Skid Row, P.O.D, Mr Big, Taproot, Savatage, The Cult, Kix, Kings X and Queensryche are other bands that come to mind.

“In This Moment” will be next. Their music is a niche style and that style has a niche audience. For them to cross over, they really need to diverge from their style. Their most recent album “Blood” has moved over 250,000 units. For a metal band, that is a great result. For Century Media that is a great result. For Atlantic, that is not a great result, especially when you are on a label that has Bruno Mars, who has sold over 58 million singles. Especially when you are on a label that has Shinedown who are a multi-platinum selling band.

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