Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - "Hypnotic Eye"



Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - Hypnotic Eye
2014, Warner Bros.

1. American Dream Plan B
2. Fault Lines
3. Red River
4. Full Grown Boy
5. All You Can Carry
6. Power Drunk
7. Forgotten Man
8. Sins of My Youth
9. U Get Me High
10. Burnt Out Town
11. Shadow People

I wasn't quite as impressed with the one Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers album I have (as opposed to just Tom Petty himself) and at first I thought the same was going to be true with Hypnotic Eye. My first listen was kind of... underwhelming. However, it soon grew on me and I really enjoy it. It's not anything ground-breaking that's for sure, but I think that's part of its charm. Tom Petty is always reliable. I don't think he's capable of doing anything "bad" per se. That's what this album is - simple, unpretentious rock n' roll. It tastes great and goes down smooth.

Useless Fact: I don't really have any obscure Tom Petty trivia, unfortunately. I think he's a White personality-type... if you're familiar with the Hartman color code of personality.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Blood Stain Child - "Epsilon"



Blood Stain Child - Epsilon
2011, Coroner

1. Sirius VI
2. Forever Free
3. Stargazer
4. S.O.P.H.I.A.
5. Unlimited Alchemist
6. Electricity
7. Eternal
8. Moon Light Wave
9. Dedicated to Violator
10. Merry-Go-Round
11. La+
12. Sai-Ka-No
Bonus Track
13. Royal Sky

So yeah... that is some swell cover art isn't it? Good grief. I don't know who the artist is but this is amazing. Definitely among my favorite pieces in the vault. The music rocks too. It's "Japanese trance metal" - at least I think that's the official designation. Basically it's a combination of electronic dance music and metal not unlike Amaranthe. While Amaranthe is more on the pop/commercial spectrum, Blood Stain Child is more on the metal side. There's also a lot more growling. Probably won't surprise anyone to say that I really enjoy this style of music, and this band in particular. I think I could do with a little less emo/hardcore growls and more singing here though. For example, "Stargazer" has nary a growl and is one of my favorite songs.

Useless Fact: I think this band started out as more death metal in style.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Jacob's Trouble - "Jacob's Trouble"



Jacob's Trouble - Jacob's Trouble
1993, Frontline

1. Wild, Wild Ride
2. Lovehouse
3. Desiree
4. This Moment
5. It's a Boy's, Boy's, Boy's, Boy's World
6. Best Part of Me
7. Time Bomb
8. Better Part of Me
9. Tears of an Angel
10. Lovin' Kindness
11. Way of the Cross

Back in the day I had a friend in my youth group who loved this band. Of course, she was a big fan of the Monkees as well. Jacob's Trouble's first few albums were kind of Monkee-esque (or so I hear) and that's probably why she was so rabid for them. I was never a huge fan and I'm not sure what possessed me to buy this self-titled album other than I was at Kingdom Bound and had money burning a hole in my pocket. This album actually represents a shift in their sound to more of a modern (at the time) alternative rock sound. I'd say it's not unlike Uthanda's first album. Despite never being a huge fan I really dug this album at the time and, being inspired to buy it by the band's appearance on Frontline Rewind, really dig it now. I don't think I'll every explore the band's back catalog but I do love this one.

Useless Fact: When I opened up my CD I found that there was still a little Compassion International ad flyer stuck in there. That was the big thing then - to sponsor a need child through them. My mom did it... sponsored one kid for years and years until she grew up and didn't need it anymore. That's how cool my mom is. Anyway, a lot of Christian artists got involved - in the advertising anyway. I remember ads featuring Phil Keaggy and Cindy Morgan to name a couple.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Knott, Michael - "Strip Cycle"



Knott, Michael - Strip Cycle
1996, Tooth & Nail

1. Sugar Mama
2. Tattoo
3. Rockstars on H
4. Transistor Sister
5. Light My Fuse
6. Burnin' On Fire
7. Bad Check
8. Milk & Peas
9. Supergirl
10. Everything
11. Am I Winnin' Somthing?
12. Too Long
13. Denial

Okay, so I guess I am a Mike Knott person after all because I seem to like the stuff I find. Strip Cycle is no different. It's an all acoustic rock album with catchy tunes and the poignant lyrics Knott is known for. Much cello is present as well, which is never bad. I can't believe this actually came out on Tooth & Nail. Were they like... sick or something? I mean, Mike Knott is an established artist with a history and everything. A bit different from the dorky kids and their punk and hardcore that pretty much made up the T&N line up back in the day (Starflyer 59 notwithstanding).

Useless Fact: I don't know if the "H" in "Rockstars on H" is censored on purpose or what. Probably, knowing how weird we Christians can be about nonsense like that. It stands for "heroine" by the way. I believe the song also appeared on an Aunt Bettys album.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Wiley, Tess - "Little Secrets"



Wiley, Tess - Little Secrets
2012, Rolpolrecords

1. Little Secrets
2. It Rained
3. Tornados
4. Hestia
5. Sticks and Stones
6. My Heart
7. Rescue Me
8. How Much I Love You
9. Sad Clown
10. Good What We've Got
11. Light Of My Life

I had a huge crush on Tess Wiley back in the day. I had fantasies that Sixpence would play at Kingdom Bound and I'd meet her there and we'd hit it off. Well... they did play at Kingdom Bound but by that time Tess had left to form her own band, Phantasmic. I had an old CD called Fluffy vs. Phantasmic. I really enjoyed the Phantasmic tracks. Hated the Fluffy ones, though. That was when they were in their "endless feedback noise" phase. Anyway, fast-forward fifteen or so years and I randomly searched for Tess one day to find out what she was up to. Turns out she's making awesome pop music. Little Secrets is a stellar pop record. It's mostly acoustic with some upbeat tracks tailor-made for the radio (like the title track or "Tornados"). There's also some more introspective and moody tracks like "It Rained." The lyrics are honest, heartfelt, and genuine and make me feel ALL THE FEELS. Especially when she sings about her kids ("How Much I Love You"). It's also little touches like the lyrics to "Hestia" where Tess confesses that sometimes she'd just rather watch television than write songs. It really sucks that I will not hear any of these songs on the radio. There is no justice, I tell ya!

Useless Fact: As far as I know Tess now lives in Germany with her husband and two children.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

New Vlog: September Pickups and Reissue Discussion

Hey! I've got a new video up on You Tube. In this episode I talk about September's acquisitions and talk a little bit about reissues and what I like to see in them.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Cooper, Alice - "Raise Your Fist and Yell"



Cooper, Alice - Raise Your Fist and Yell
1987, MCA

1. Freedom
2. Lock Me Up
3. Give the Radio Back
4. Step On You
5. Not That Kind of Love
6. Prince of Darkness
7. Time to Kill
8. Chop, Chop, Chop
9. Gail
10. Roses On White Lace

Remember way, way back in my review of Firehouse's debut album where I talked about how they were an example of everything that was good about Eighties hard rock? Well, here's another good example. The Coop continued the direction he'd begun in Constrictor with Raise Your Fist and Yell. It's textbook Eighties hard rock... in a good way. The riffs are fast and furious. The songs are to the point and catchy. I'm kind of surprised by how heavy this is. I mean, it's not Brutal Planet heavy, but it's pretty heavy considering the time. You know from the opening notes of "Freedom" that the Coop has arrived and he's taking no prisoners! The mood is appropriately dark as well. I would say it's essential listening for Halloween. Or possibly before or after a horror movie marathon. Now I never heard this album when it originally came out but listening to it totally activates my Eighties nostalgia chip. Especially the during the heyday of slasher movies and what not. Hey, remember when they used to market stuff from Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street to kids? Remember how, for the most part, parents were okay with it? It was just part of popular culture back then and I don't think people were so worried about how it would effect children. Weird. Anyway, this is definitely one of the best Cooper platters I've listened to.

Useless Fact: I think "Freedom" was the hit off this album.