Your occasional source for heavy metal, progressive rock and hard rock coverage. Whenever I feel like it.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

More Holiday Thoughts

Great song by Jethro Tull: "Ring Out, Solstice Bells".

Now is the solstice of the year,
winter is the glad song that you hear.
Seven maids move in seven time.
Have the lads up ready in a line.

Ring out these bells.
Ring out, ring solstice bells.
Ring solstice bells.

Join together beneath the mistletoe.
by the holy oak whereon it grows.
Seven druids dance in seven time.
Sing the song the bells call, loudly chiming.

Ring out these bells.
Ring out, ring solstice bells.
Ring solstice bells.

Praise be to the distant sister sun,
joyful as the silver planets run.
Seven maids move in seven time.
Sing the song the bells call, loudly chiming.
Ring out those bells.
Ring out, ring solstice bells.
Ring solstice bells.
Ring on, ring out.
Ring on, ring out.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Holiday Thoughts

I'm not some kind of heavy Christian or anything. I'm raised Catholic. I don't go to any church. And without getting too theological about it I believe there's some kind of higher power. And no, I don't mean Neil Peart.

Anyway. Here's some lyrics, and some Savatage. You may know them--they're currently calling themselves the "Trans-Siberian Orchestra."

Hit it, boys.

"I am the way
I am the light
I am the dark inside the night
I hear your hopes
I feel your dreams
And in the dark
I hear your screams Don't turn away
Just take my hand
And when you make your final stand
I'll be right there
I'll never leave
And all I ask of you is

Merry Christmas, everybody.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cage Match

Drummer Jeffrey Nordin and his "death metal" interpretation of John Cage's classic minimalist work 4'33". Nice Dream Theater t-shirt, dude.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Because sometimes we need a little Holiday cheer.

Twisted Sister's truly epic take on "O Come All Ye Faithful"

Just the thing to brighten the spirits in this holiday sort-of-in-between period between Hanukkah and Christmas.

Happy...Life Day?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Mmm....Scrambled Eggs

Footage of Paul McCartney on Jimmy Fallon, singing (some) of the original version of his biggest song, "Yesterday." Take it away, Macca!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

It's A Slayer Type of Festivus

Some dude shot video of his house, adorned with Christmas lights, synched to Slayer's epic "Raining Blood."

Happy Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Chanukkah, a little early.

Rock On!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Mastering Your Reality With the Masters of Reality

"Come on children, gather round, I'll tell you the story of Old John Brown."
Chris Goss

Just pulled up some nice YouTube footage (filmed "somewhere in California") of the Masters of Reality, performing their classic 'John Brown' with Ginger Baker on drums.

For those of you who know this thoroughly wonderful, completely occasional psychedelic act, then you know that the MoR featured Ginger Baker for just one year (1992-'93) when they recorded the album Sunrise on the Sufferbus. The album came out on Chrysalis, but was met with indifference from MTV, who didn't want to put the band (two bald guys and an old drummer) on the tube.

 Too bad really, because this band was one of the greatest things out in that strange time when hair metal gave way to grunge, and their record sounded like a lost album by Cream.

Singer.guitarist Chris Goss has released a few more albums under the Masters Of Reality moniker, including last year's excellent double set Pine/Cross Dover, but the band is essentially an occasional  project. His real work is in producing.

Based in Palm Desert, California, Goss is regarded as the godfather of "desert rock" (a.k.a. "stoner rock") and produced music by Kyuss and their successors, the Queens of the Stone Age. QOTSA singer Josh Homme played on the Masters' obscure albums Deep in the Hole and Give Us Barrabas.

Checking out the band's official site reveals that the Masters are currently on a U.S. tour to support Pine/Cross Dover. They're playing a series of shows on the West Coast. Hopefully, they can be persuaded to come East. If that happens, I'll be the first in line for tickets.

In any case, "John Brown" appears in its original form on their first, self-titled record which came out in 1997 when the band was still based in upstate New York. This first record (now available only as an import) had some guy named Vinnie Ludovico manning the sticks. Regardless of who's playing drums, the first two Masters records are stone classics, or classics to get stoned to. You decide.

Here's the footage.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Neil Peart and Los 33

Neil and Wheels.

Neil Peart's latest installment of News, Weather and Sports tells the tale of his South American adventures. The Rush drummer, who travels between shows by motorcycle, has asked readers of his blog to make a donation to the Red Cross in Chile, who helped the plight of "Los 33", the Chilean miners who were trapped underneath the Atacama Desert.

It's a hell of a blog post, and well worth the price of admission to read about Neil's adventures riding from Brazil, to Argentina, to Chile. So if you're a Rush fan, or if you just like good travel writing, we suggest you check it out.

Rush are expected to go back into the studio early next year to finish work on their next opus, Clockwork Angels. You can download the first single, "Caravan" at

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Like We Really Needed Another Reason to Love Queensrÿche

Geoff Tate and the boys offer up their version of Bobby "Boris" Pickett's "Monster Mash", just in time for Valentine's...I mean Halloween.

The Seattle band is finishing up their Queensrÿche Cabaret tour and will roll out with a Hits tour next season. On November 9th, the band will release a 20th anniversary Deluxe Edition of their classic album Empire. The 1990 release, which features "Silent Lucidty" and "Jet City Woman" is one of the band's finest efforts.

Basically, this is a re-issue of the 2003 remaster of the album, with the b-sides "Scarborough Fair," "Last Time in Paris" and "Dirty Lil Secret." But the real bonus is the second disc, a live recording from the band's 1990 "Building Empires" tour, recorded in London.

Here's the track list:

Walk in the Shadows
Best I Can
The Thin Line
Jet City Woman
Roads to Madness
Silent Lucidity
Hand on Heart
Take Hold of the Flame

In addition to having a rare live recording of Empire track "Hand on Heart", this was recorded before "Silent Lucidity" became the biggest hit of their career and as a result, got bumped to the encore position.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Lemmy Entertain You

I don't know about you, but I miss Joe Petagno.
The band that once said: 'If we moved in next door to you, your lawn would die' is back!

Motörhead have announced that their new platter, The World Is Yours will be released on December 13. The title is taken from an old Pan Am Airlines slogan, but don't tell Lemmy that I know that.

The British power trio are proud to announce that The World is Yours is their first release on their newly formed Motörhead Records. The band is planning to tour in 2011 to support the new record.

Here's a track list. All the song titles sound like they should be on Motörhead albums. Rumors of a hidden bonus track, 'Fluffy Bunny Massacre Blues' start here.

01. Born To Lose
02. I Know How To Die
03. Get Back In Line
04. Devils In My Head
05. Rock 'N' Roll Music
06. Waiting For The Snake
07. Brotherhood Of Man
08. Outlaw
09. I Know What You Need
10. Bye Bye Bitch Bye Bye

This is the band's twentieth studio album, a follow-up to the 2008 release Motörizer.

And they said it wouldn't last.

In related news, this month marks the limited release of Lemmy: The Movie, a documentary about the band's famous mustachioed bass-banging frontman. The documentary is by the team of Wes Orshoski and Greg Olliver. No lawns or garden products died in the making of this film. At least none that we know of.

Note: I linked to Ace of Spades for three reasons:

  1. Amazon doesn't have the new Mötorhead album in their system yet. 
  2. It's probably going to be better than The World is Yours.
  3. It's awesome. It's friggin' ACE OF SPADESOK. That's two reasons.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Drummer Wanted for NY-Based Prog Band

"Stumpy" Pepys
Dream Theater singer James LaBrie has announced that the metal band is currently auditioning drummers, and that they've narrowed the search down to seven sticksmen. Here's the Hair Whip list of possible candidates to take over the two stools behind Mike Portnoy's ginormous triple-wide kit.

Great look. Great drummer. Died in a 'bizarre gardening accident." Here, playing "Gimme Some Money."

Dale Doback
Currently finishing his third annual apperance at the Catalina Wine Mixer, Dale is good at accompanying operatic vocals in Prestige Worldwide. This makes him an ideal fit for Dream Theater. And he can do backup vocals too!

Chuck, the Octopus Drummer
Has the dexterity and the required limbs to play Portnoy's megakit. He's not selfish--he'll work for shellfish.

"Tick-Tock" Simpson
Up-and-coming young hopeful from the Springfield juzz community.
And he's played with (and against) the White Stripes.

R. U. Drum-booey
Currently touring South America with some Canadian prog band. Should be available after the tour.

This Anonymous Dude
Like Mike Portnoy, he's really good at throwing sticks. Catching them might be a problem.

And our strongest candidate:

If Portnoy could split time between Avenged Sevenfold and Dream Theater, this powerful percussionist could divide his time between DT and the Electric Mayhem. And he can sing backup growl vocals on "This Dying Soul."

Now if we could just get Floyd to take over for John Myung....

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Cause for Headbangin'

"So how's it going, Grimey?"
Metallica have a new live E.P. coming out.

Called 'Live at Grimey's', the record preserves a fan club gig in the basement of Grimey's, a record store in Nashville, TN.

Here's the track list, according to Classic Rock Magazine:

1. No Remorse
2. Fuel
3. Harvester of Sorrow
4. Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
5. For Whom The Bell Tolls
6. Master Of Puppets
7. Sad But True
8. Motorbreath
9. Seek And Destroy

Yes, Virginia, it's almost all old stuff! And it comes out
on November 26.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Cause For Happy

The Soundtrack of Our Lives: Up yours, Dick Clark.

New music from one of my favorite bands, Sweden's mighty sextet The Soundtrack Of Our Lives.

They're kind of a cult band, whose meteoric rise in this country was blocked by a lawsuit by disc jockey/vampire mummy Dick Clark, who apparently copyrighted the phrase "The Soundtrack of Our Lives" in order to sell greasy burgers in his American Bandstand restaurants. Anyway, they rock, and they're a great live band too!

Here's the new song, "Karmageddon" from the band's upcoming Golden Greats Vol. 1..

Apparently this is a new greatest hits disc (a real one) being issued to celebrate the band's 15th anniversary. It drops in Europe on Nov. 24 so it will probably come out here in the States next spring.

Anyway, here it is:

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Young Person's Guide to Porcupine Tree

So my friend tells me that he wants to get into Porcupine Tree. The question is: where to start?

Porcupine Tree: Gavin Harrison, Steven Wilson, Colin Edwin, Richard Barbieri
This band has a huge catalogue: ten-plus studio albums, EPs, limited singles and a couple of great live albums. Almost everything has been reissued and is back in print. It's interesting to trace Tree's growth: from psychedelic project to hard-rocking concept album band--and at the center of it all, the peculiar genius that is Steven Wilson.

Here's a by-the-numbers guide to growing your very own Porcupine Tree catalogue. (And yes, I know Blender magazine used to do articles like this but they folded, so there.)

Essential Listening
In Absentia: The album that started to break the band in the United States. Gavin Harrison adds a much needed percussive kick.

Deadwing: The first of a trio of concept albums, this is the soundtrack for a film that has not been made yet.

Stupid Dream: A watershed. Steven Wilson learns how to write psychedelic pop songs with thick, grabby hooks.

The Incident: The band's current effort, another ambitious concept based on the news and how people react to news stories when they are at the center of them. Limited edition comes with a second disc with five more excellent songs.

Interesting Listening
Lightbulb Sun: The bridge album between Stupid Dream and In Absentia, this is the band about to take the plunge into heavy rock.

Fear of a Blank Planet: Practically metal, this is a concept about how media overkill and heavy medication combine to burn out the next generation.

The Sky Moves Sideways: Third album: the budding Tree explore Floydian landscapes on this, SW's first collaboration with Richard Barbieri.

On the Sunday of Life: Features "Radioactive Toy." Compiled from the cassette EPs where this band started, in SW's bedroom.

For the Fans
Up the Downstair: Their second official album received a face-lift when it was re-recorded by the current lineup.

Signify: The first album by the "band" Porcupine Tree. (Technically, it's their fourth). Good songs and hints of the future here.

Nil Recurring: An EP of extra songs from the Blank Planet sessions. Features collaborations with Robert Fripp.

Voyage 34--The Complete Trip: Four takes on an acid trip gone very, very wrong. A psychedelic, electronic version of Rashomon.

Where it all began: the Tarquin's Seaweed Farm tape.
For the Completist: The Outtakes
Metanoia: Ambient outtakes from Signify. Good music to relax to.

Recordings: Outtakes from Stupid Dream and Lightbulb Sun. Features the classic "Buying New Soul" and the full (15 minute version of "Even Less.")

Staircase Infinities: Remixes and extras from Up the Downstair.

Yellow Hedgerow Dreamscape: Good luck finding a copy. These are the leftover tracks from On the Sunday of Life.

Rush: Out in the Cold in Cleveland (again.)

Geddy Lee gives the Secret Sign of the Ancient Mystic Society of No Homers.
Geddy, Alex and Neil have been snubbed again by the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame. The Cleveland, OH based shrine will instead consider quality rock acts like Neil Diamond, Donna Summer, and the J. Geils Band.

Oh, and Bon Jovi.

With those criteria in mind, we hereby present our list of

Ten Awards That Rush Will Win Before Being Inducted Into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

1) Oscars, for Best Documentary for Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage and for Alex as Best Supporting Actress for his role in Suck.

2) The Secret Order of the Mystic Moose of the Northern Lights (like the Order of Canada they won in 1993, but much more secret.)

3) A Gold Medal at the 2012 London Olympics for Improvised Percussion after Neil plays a 12-minute solo using the surface of the Millennium Dome as a giant timpani.

4) Geddy Lee's silhouette projected on the moon by NASA. Not really an award. Originally, NASA had planned to carve the 2112 "star man" into the moon using an orbital death ray but Roger Waters threatened to sue the agency.

5) Membership in the Ancient Fraternal Order of No Homers (formerly the Stonecutters.) Even more secret than the Secret Order of the Mystic Moose of the Northern Lights, y'know.

6) Playgirl Man of the Year for Alex. (awarded under the name "Big Al Dexter.")

7) An award from the Canine Services Division for Civic Service, for their work in mapping out the fire hydrants in the Borough of Shmeng.

8) A Grammy (awarded in 2012 for their instrumental "Are You Still Playing With That Thing? (Part VII, 'Gangster of Boats' Trilogy) narrowly beating out Jethro Tull for Best R & B Recording.

9) Nobel Prize for Physics (for discovering the black hole of Cygnus X-1).

10) Intergalactic Solar Federation Peace Prize (awarded in 2112).

Monday, September 27, 2010

Quote of the Day

"I love working with the undead, as long as the catering is adequate."
--Beefcake the Mighty (the bass player from GWAR.)

GWAR's new opus, Bloody Pit of Horror, drops on Nov. 9.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Concert Review: Porcupine Tree at Radio City Music Hall

Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree makes a point.
Porcupine Tree's first-ever appearance at Radio City Music Hall was a banner show for the British progressive rock band. The five-piece emphasized their deep catalogue and the psychedelic workouts that made their initial reputation in the 1990s. 

This was not your average set list.

They didn't play "Trains."

The show started with an opening act called…Porcupine Tree. The five members of the band sat downstage and played an entertaining five-song acoustic set with Steven Wilson on acoustic, Gavin Harrison using brushes and Colin Edwin looking overjoyed to be playing upright bass. Starting with the gorgeous, under-played "Stranger by the Minute," Steven Wilson opened deep cuts like "Burning Sky" and "Pure Narcotic" before concluding with an unexpected, stripped-down "Futile," a B-side from Deadwing that is normally played a skull-splitting volume.

Steven Wilson spoke the the audience occasionally, mentioning that there was really "no plan" for the evening's setlist at this historic venue. The show consisted of deep cuts and rare versions (including the full, 15-minute "Even Less") along with old songs like "The Sky Moves Sideways" and "Tinto Brass."

Second guitarist John Wesley left the stage occasionally, letting the band play in its original four-piece configuration. (Wes returned for the newer numbers that require a second guitar part and backing vocals.) The band also sampled gorgeous, softer material, including a version of "Lazarus" that had the voices of Radio City lifted in song.

The second set was more traditional, with newer material from concept albums Fear of a Blank Planet and The Incident. Drummer Gavin Harrison powered thunderous versions of "The Blind House", "Drawing the Line" as Lasse Hoile's videos jittered and twitched behind the band. "Anesthetize" was a climax of the show, complete with a video montage of media overkill, staring children, swirling pills and an electrical barrage that would make Nikola Tesla envious. The three-hour set concluded with "one last song" (as Wilson put it) "but a really fucking long one": "Arriving Somewhere But Not Here."

Here's a nice performance of 'Trains.'

Saturday, September 11, 2010

And now...Gary Coleman!

The Cole himself, making a surprise guest appearance in the video for Raging Slab's "Anywhere But Here." This song is on the New York Southern rock band's underrated (and marvelously titled) masterpiece: Dynamite Monster Boogie Concert. 

D.M.B.C. was their fourth record, a double album that hankered back to the good old days of Molly Hatchett and Lynrd Skynrd before the plane crash. Led by guitarist Greg Strzempka and his wife, slide guitarist Elyse Steinman, the Slab had two strong albums. But the rise of grunge and distribution issues with their record label consigned them to the scrap heap of great but unknown bands. Their last record, titled Pronounced: Eat Shit came out in 2002.

Best Band Name In the World?

So according to our comrades over at MetalSucks (I like their site but don't know the guys personally, some dude is selling the Best Band Name in the World" on EBay.
Random H.R. Giger art, apropos of nothing.

Now, the Bay has seen some wacky shit over its existence: auctioned human kidneys, watches shaped like fish, and even some old smoking pipes and comic books. But nothing could match this for sheer materialistic depravity, not to mention lack of creative genius.

Hey. Come to think of it them's some good band names:
The Auctioned Hüman Kidneys
The Fish Watches
Old Smöking Pipes And Comic Books
Materyalystic Depravity (mathcore band)
The Lack
Creative Genius.

Hmm maybe I need to make some EBay listings....or if you're starting a band, feel free to take one of the names above and thank me in your liner notes.

A'course, you could just go here. It gave me some neat ideas for "E L P."

  • Empty Lifter Property
  • Exuberant Lifter Phenomenon
  • Eligible Loco Puberty
  • Elk Lover Paranoia
  • Escape Lithium Pawn
  • Enthroned Lapse Pinch
  • Even Loan Pole
  • Evolution Lapse Principle
  • Entangled Latitude Pearl
  • Elation Liberation Puzzle

Ten Songs for Sept. 11

I woke up this morning on the ninth anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks, with a list of songs in my head.

Last year, I posted the songs that I listened to on that terrible morning.

This year, a list of songs that have helped me process what happened. Some of these are topic specific. Some help with depression and PTSD. I hope they help you if you lost someone, or if you just have trouble dealing with today. That's what music is for, right?

1) Metallica: The Day That Never Comes
Not so much the song as the video, which depicts a "traffic stop" in wartime Iraq.

2) King's X: Black Flag
Tremendously effective for depression. Thank you, Ty Tabor.

3) Porcupine Tree: Lazarus
Aching, beautiful, and from the band's superb Deadwing.

4) Bruce Springsteen: The Rising
Springsteen's 2002 album is about 9/11 from different aspects and viewpoints. Highly recommended.

5) Dream Theater: The Spirit Carries On
"Sacrificed Sons" from Octavarium deals directly with the tragedy. But this song is more uplifting and healing.

6) Rush: Peaceable Kingdom
Neil Peart uses tarot imagery to explore his thoughts on the attacks. From Vapor Trails.

7) Iron Maiden: The Longest Day
Nominally about World War II but it also asked questions about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

8) Marillion: This is the 21st Century.
This song came out six months before 9/11.

9) U2: "Beautiful Day."
The leadoff track from All That You Can't Leave Behind helped this writer heal after 9/11.

10) Green Day: Wake Me Up When September Ends
From American Idiot. Need we say more?