All posts by deKE

Never Gonna Stop The Rock

R.E.M: Monster( Deluxe Edition)- 2019

Monster the stellar album from R.E.M gets the respect it deserves 25 years later(yikes where does the time go?) in this massive 64 song set which clocks in at 4 hours 30 minutes!

Disc: 1 (CD) Monster remastered
1. What’s The Frequency, Kenneth?
2. Crush With Eyeliner
3. King Of Comedy
4. I Don’t Sleep, I Dream
5. Star 69
6. Strange Currencies
7. Tongue
8. Bang And Blame
9. I Took Your Name
10. Let Me In
11. Circus Envy
12. You

Disc: 2 (CD) Unreleased Demos
1. Pete’s Hit
2. Uptempo Mo Distortion
3. Uptempo Ricky
4. Harlan County with Whistling
5. Lost Song
6. AM Boo
7. Mike’s Gtr
8. Sputnik 1 Remix
9. Black Sky 4-14
10. Revolution 4-21
11. Rocker with vocal
12. Time Is On Mike’s Side
13. 1Experiment 4-28 no vocal
14. Highland Fling 4-29
15. Cranky 4-29

Disc: 3 (CD) Monster Scott Litt 2019 remix
1. What’s The Frequency, Kenneth? (2019 Remix)
2. Crush With Eyeliner (2019 Remix)
3. King Of Comedy (2019 Remix)
4. I Don’t Sleep, I Dream (2019 Remix)
5. Star 69 (2019 Remix)
6. Strange Currencies (2019 Remix)
7. Tongue (2019 Remix)
8. Bang And Blame (2019 Remix)
9. I Took Your Name (2019 Remix)
10. Let Me In (2019 Remix)
11. Circus Envy (2019 Remix)
12. You (2019 Remix)

Disc: 4 (CD) Live in Chicago 6/3/95 – Monster 1995 Tour (Part One)
1. What’s The Frequency, Kenneth?
2. Circus Envy
3. Crush With Eyeliner
4. Near Wild Heaven
5. Welcome To The Occupation
6. Undertow
7. I Took Your Name
8. Strange Currencies
9. Me In Honey
10. Revolution
11. Tongue
12. Man On The Moon
13. Country Feedback
14. Monty Got A Raw Deal

Disc: 5 (CD) Live in Chicago 6/3/95 – Monster 1995 Tour (Part Two)
1. Losing My Religion
2. You
3. Departure
4. Orange Crush
5. Get Up
6. Star 69
7. Let Me In
8. Everybody Hurts
9. So. Central Rain (I’m Sorry)
10. Pop Song 89
11. Its The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

Now, that’s getting your money’s worth of what I would consider R.E.M’s best album (my opinion) that has the Guitar of Peter Buck cranked up which back in 1994 a lot of acts had to do as Kurt and his Tattered Cardigan had changed the sonic soundscape of music.

Kudos to Micheal Stipe/Mike Mills/Bill Berry and Buck for putting out this full retro lool of a classic album or what I would consider classic.

I’m not the only that thinks that as Monster at the time of its release debuted at Number 1 in Canada and went 6 times Platinum!

R.E.M adapted to this change and put out a rocking album which I reviewed as a Birthday Gift from my sister (Kristin) back in 1994!

25 years later it’s time for the upgrade which comes with a bunch of demos (15 songs) all with different working titles(lot’s of musical only tunes no vocals) and compared to the final product of what you hear with Monster the guitars are clean sounding. Interesting as there is one song that is country-infused rock with whistling instead of singing.

R.E.M fuses Glam Rock and Grunge and viola a classic is released 

Course the original 12 song release is remastered and leads off the box set but what is a really interesting move is that R.E.M producer Scott Litt remixed the whole Monster again so there is a second version of Monster album and it sounds totally different than the original sonically speaking. Gone are the echoey guitar blasts during What’s the Frequency Kenneth. It’s an interesting listen and neat to hear.

The 25 song live set from Chicago(1995) is a wicked show and features a bunch of tracks of course from Monster as well as the hits from years past up till that point. The show itself sounds like its direct from the soundboard which is how it should be. Peter Bucks guitar has a dirty tone to it which is fantastic as well it’s great to heat Mike Mills driving some of those tunes on his Bass like Crush With Eyeliner. Stipe’s vocals I can tell you are live as this show( his voice is going hoarse towards the end) has not been tweaked and that’s how it should be! I love Orange Crush with those lyrics…

(Follow me, don’t follow me)
I’ve got my spine, I’ve got my orange crush
(Collar me, don’t collar me)
I’ve got my spine, I’ve got my orange crush
(We are agents of the free)
I’ve had my fun and now it’s time
To serve your conscience overseas (over me, not over me)
Coming in fast, over me

1994-1996 must have been a weird time in the history of R.E.M as they were plagued with health issues(Hernia with Stipe and a brain aneurysm suffered by Berry) yet they soldiered on with what I would consider there best album.

Even though Monster sold like gangbusters at first I noticed that once second-hand CD shops opened here in Thunder Bay copies of Monster would be sitting in the used bins!

That confused me at first as I thought are people deaf in hearing some great based driven guitar rock? I quickly realized that perhaps some people were spooked that there was no Shiny Happy People like R.E.M tunes on Monster.

I asked my pal Mikey Ladano as he used to work at a Record Shop at this time in Kitchener and confirmed that people would bring Monster in to sell. Mikey said he kept the orange cases as the original cover artwork and CD cases were orange. Blue is being used for the reissue!

This is a deluxe edition you should own. I like the fact that with all these recent reissues bands are putting out actual live shows from that era that they are releasing these deluxe editions. Monster is pricey on Amazon pushing close to a 100 (Peter) bucks so it was way out of my league so I took the cheaper alternative route which is iTunes.

You have to hand it to R.E.M as it’s been 8 years since they broke up and yet they remain friendly towards each other (Stipe and Mills have been plugging this reissue together) as well as they own all there Masters so this album is coming straight from them. The only other band who walked away with class was RUSH.

‘Life is strange, yeah (Life is strange)
What can I make myself be? (Fake her)’

 

 

Sunday Bonus Round: Live Live Live The Summer of 93!

 

A week or so ago the one and only Mikey Ladano posted about all the Live Albums that came out in the Summer of 93 which was a fantastic read!

Click below to read the Gospel according to Mikey!

#792: The Summer of ’93 – Live Album Explosion

So I commented on Mikey’s post and well here’s what I said…

deKE

Excellent post-Mikey!
Being that I was already working fulltime in 93 I scored all of these as they came out. By that, I mean KISS/MAIDEN/OZZY/VH/JOVI.

I got hosed on the VH not only the CD but I bought the crappy live video as well so they duped me out of a ton of cash. That album was a letdown man. Sterile sounding.

Maiden what can you say run the well dry with the soon to be x singer at the time(Air Raid Siren ) I bought em all I like the tracklisting on A Real Dead One. People griped about the sound on them but man it’s live and dry. I was ok with it.

Alive 3 I bought when it came out right away than a month or so later me and Tbone were in Winnipeg(to see McCartney) and at one of the record shops in the mall they had a deal if you bought Alive 3 you would get a poster of the cover.
I made Tbone buy it so I could get the poster haha.

Ozzy was a tough slug through. I was really looking forward to Live and loud as this was the tour I caught live in 92. It’s muddy sounding and I get tired off Ozzy going on and on about getting fucking crazy. Cool to hear it live in person but tiring after repeatedly on my CD player.

Jovi I bought just the studio portion. I recalled seeing the live disc as well but it was more pricey.

I basically purchased all of these twice as my brother was 10 years younger than me(Todd was 14 in 1993) so I would send him( since I was working) to the record store after he got out of school and get me the CD’s and I would pay for him to have the cassette version as that’s what he was into.
Todd was my mule hahaha. It would be great to get home after work and there was a new release waiting for me!

Man, this was a post in itself…haha

How’s that for an answer??

Better yet here’s some banter between Mikey and me in regards to the live albums specifically Van Halen!

Jeez, Deke you SHOULD post that. Why not?

Shit if you don’t, I should! LOL!

That Van Halen video…sucked. It just sucked. It was badly edited, Sammy wearing one shirt in one shot, and another shirt in the very same shot. I hated it and I do not own it.

A Real Dead One still doesn’t really turn me on much, but also thanks to later live albums like Rock In Rio.

Cheers Deke, you should make this a post.

deKE

Ha thanks, man. That live umm ok kinda live video sucked ass as I felt gypped after I purchased it and watched it once….
Tbone go duped too as he bought it so I felt better haha

 

 

Rush: Counterparts(1993)

I sure do love this album and when speaking of albums flying under the radar, Counterparts from Rush is one of those releases.

Counterparts came out in October of 1993 right in the height of Grunger Mania with tattered cardigans and a wall of sound emerging from Seattle.

Geddy Lee/Neil Peart and Alex Lifeson went heavy on the sound(production courtesy of Peter Collins) of this album and what a brilliant move it was. Rush ramped up the sound to make it…..

Meaty Beaty Big and Bassy!

You can hear Neil count his drums in on opener Animate and what an opener. The song drives forward with Neil pushing the tempo while Geddy’s Bass is cranked. Lifeson as well is cranked as the whole band is firing on all Prog Cylinders at this point. Great song.

Stick It Out is the song from this album that is easily in my Top 10 of Fav RUSH songs! Here the boys go into Grunger like Mode and show the young guns how it’s done. Stick It Out is a gnarly RUSH song. How about Alex’s guitar on this track. Doing all those cool tricks of the trades during the solo including being a professional on the wang bar and not getting all goofy with it. Geddy’s bassing on this tune especially during the chorus is off the hook.

Don’t swallow the poison
SPIT IT OUT
Don’t swallow your pride
STICK IT OUT
Don’t swallow your anger
SPIT IT OUT
Don’t swallow the lies

What an ass-kicker of a track!

1993 and RUSH isn’t fooling around. This being there 15th release they keep the talent bar very high and if Tbone and his Bros were around they would have drunk the bar dry, Just Saying!

Seriously though Peart as he always does writes some personal dark lyrics throughout( Nobody’s Hero and Everyday Glory) while Geddy has the task at delivering those words to us as a listener to make sure we understand what is going on in the mind of the Professor!

Nobody’s Hero is a great track. Peart lyrically tackled some topics which would not come as a shock to anyone in the year 2019. The chorus is fantastic and shows that Rush at time can dial back the crazy prog-rock and just relax with a little more of chill vibe.

‘I knew he was different, in his sexuality
I went to his parties, as a straight minority
It never seemed a threat to my masculinity
He only introduced me to a wider reality

As the years went by, we drifted apart
When I heard that he was gone
I felt a shadow cross my heart
But he’s nobody’s —’

Nothing new in that regard (making a bit of a left-hand turn )as Rush also composed the brilliant Losing It from 82’s Signals release.

Between Sun & Moon is built around the riff rock of Lifeson’s guitar which is so heavy sounding throughout this record and how about that cool tempo change in the chorus. Actually, let’s call this tune a GEM for that matter! Peart had a hand in the lyrics with this song from Pye Dubois who you all recall from being the lyricist for Max Webster in the ’70s and of course, helped Neil with Tom Sawyer!

Leave That Thing Alone is Rush blazing a musical only number which was the lead into Neils drum solo on this tour.

Can’t emphasize how good Counterparts sounds on vinyl!  I must add that Kevin Shirley who engineered Counterparts did a brilliant job on bringing Alex’s guitar back to the forefront. RUSH back in 93 with Grunge going on around everywhere just kept doing what they do best and that’s putting out quality written/performed/recorded studio works not bowing down to any musical genre ever!

Gotta Respect Em For That!

 

Concert Review: Sloan Finds a Following in Portland — Drew’s Reviews

HEY FOLK’S!

Check out my pal Andrew who hails from Portland Oregon who went and saw Sloan last night! Here are his words and while you’re at it click ‘follow’ on his site as he’s a fantastic writer who catches a ton of shows when they roll through Portland!

Click the link below…

Photos and personal accounts from others give those of us who missed the early years of rock our only taste of experiencing the 70s music scene inside small, smoke filled clubs when the eventual greats were just getting started. But if you long to experience that bit of history and think your time has passed […]

via Concert Review: Sloan Finds a Following in Portland — Drew’s Reviews

Book Review: RUSH- Wandering The Face of the Earth(2019)

 

Ok, there are books and then there are BOOKS!

RUSH- Wandering The Face of the Earth chronicles every single show that RUSH has ever played even going as far back as 1968!

500 pages stuffed with all kinds of RUSH info! Every single setlist. Concert ticket prices for each show, attendance, concert grosses as well plus quotes from opening acts once Rush became headliners on there own.  (Melvins/Saxon/Mr Big/Vinnie Moore/Primus/Andy Curran all comment)

Authorized by RUSH themselves who hired a team of diehard Rush fanatics who put this book together from the start of Rush’s career (late 60’s) to RUSH’s final show in Los Angeles (2015).

Skip Daly and Eric Hansen are the two fellows who put this massive book together and they deserve a round of applause for the fine job that they did!

Great to see through all the years of how RUSH went from playing high schools across Ontario to headlining arenas throughout the world!

Tons of pics of  Geddy Lee/Neil Peart and Alex Lifeson. What else is cool is that the band does not ignore the John Rutsey(RIP) years as well.

Everything is in this book along with a pretty cool forward written by Les Claypool(Primus). Long-time Rush employee Howard Ungerleider writes the introduction as well as an afterword written by Stewart Copeland(The Police)

Long-time Rush album cover designer and artist Hugh Syme did the honors as well on the cover of the book!

This book is big and heavy and better yet the cost was $50 Canadian via Amazon.ca! ( I preordered this book as a birthday gift from my Parents)

Check out below this cool handwritten note from tourmates KISS back in 1975 from the Demon Gene Simmons. Love how he refers to Alex as the ‘Bag’. Alex used to show up to aftershow parties after KISS headlined wearing a paper bag over his head and would do a whole comedic routine that had everyone in stitches!

A must-own for any fan of RUSH! One of the very best put together books chronicling a band’s live career!

This sucker weighs at least 10 pounds!

Enough Babble check out these pics of the times RUSH has played Thunder Bay over the years. They never came back after 1978 and no wonder why when they only pulled in 1600 people that year! This town sucks man! LOL

 

 

Vinyl Rewrite: Helix-Long Way To Heaven(1985)

Helix is a great band to write about Folks. They have endured many ups and downs in there 40 plus years of existence which is impressive, to say the least as well as losing a valuable member of the group (Paul Hackman) in an accident back in 1992.

Yet Brian Vollmer/Daryl Gray and Fritz soldier on today which you have to give them total respect for as they still take their craft seriously.

Back in 1985 a lot of us Canucks eagerly awaited what Vollmer and company had cooked up there sleeve in regards to the brilliant 1984 release Walkin The Razors Edge which of course featured the biggie hit Rock You.

Helix was serious news in 1984-86 as they hit the ground running and hopping on tours with Quiet Riot/Whitesnake/Accept and others in the United States but in Canada they were boosted up to headliner status by the Razor Edges success so when Long Way To Heaven dropped into record stores shortly after in the summer of 85 Helix even brought there arena rock show to Thunder Bay which of course we all went to and it was pretty packed(3-4000) would be my guess. Long Way To Heaven went to Number 1 in Sweden!

So yeah Helix was big news…

So it was a no brainer purchase when I was vinyl hunting a few weeks back and scored Long Way To Heaven on record for a very decent price!

To be honest I have not heard this album in years but some of these tracks are like ear candy and they have stuck in my head for decades! (Keep Reading).

  1. The Kids Are All Shakin’ (Paul Hackman / Brian Vollmer) – 3:48
  2. Deep Cuts the Knife (Paul Hackman / Bob Halligan, Jr.) – 4:01
  3. Ride the Rocket (Halligan / Brian Vollmer) – 3:24
  4. Long Way to Heaven (Daryl Gray / Paul Hackman / Brian Vollmer) – 3:34
  5. House On Fire (Paul Hackman / Brian Vollmer) – 4:15
  6. Christine (Brent Doerner / Paul Hackman / Brian Vollmer) – 3:34
  7. Without You (Jasmine’s Song) (Brent Doerner / Paul Hackman / Brian Vollmer) – 3:40
  8. School of Hard Knocks (Brent Doerner / Daryl Gray / Paul Hackman / Brian Vollmer) – 4:06
  9. Don’t Touch the Merchandise (Brent Doerner / Brian Vollmer) – 2:47
  10. Bangin’ Off-A-The Bricks (Brent Doerner / Brian Vollmer) – 3:15

I will add that when I dropped the needle on SIde A, I was pleasantly surprised how good of a song Kids Are All Shakin was and still is. That song oozes fun simple yet effective coolness.  The thing is Helix had the talent and good tunes.  Good lead and backing vocals a good rhythm section and two lead guitarists (Brent Doerner and Hackman) who were never given the due they got.

Still.

Deep Cuts The Knife was the biggie single from this album and its a great song that should have pushed this album over the top as it came out in a time when other bands were doing the ‘Cheese Thing'(not naming names).

Ride The Rocket! The title says it all! Ok so Helix dipped into the Cheese on this one lyrically big time and it’s corny as the chorus is once you have heard it won’t leave your brain. In my case, it never left and is still etched in the upper regions of my noggin. Laugh all you want but my pals Tbone and his two brothers(Darr and Rugg) would agree with me!

‘Hey whaddya say, Let’s Ride The Rocket
Climb aboard with me, it’s in the pocket
Hey, let’s play, let’s Ride The Rocket
Say it’s ok, reach in the pocket’

You’re Welcome!

Side 1 ends with the title track and an ass-kicker in This House Is On Fire which has Helix firing on all 4 cylinders.

Side 2 begins with Christine which is a mid-tempo rocker after which  Without You is another one of those ballad like tunes along the lines of Deep Cuts The Knife which doesn’t tread too lightly on sap. A pretty decent tune about Vollmer’s daughter I believe.

School of Hard Knocks has a cool catchy chorus as Doerner plays some cool leads. Nothing fancy just getting down to business!

Don’t Touch The Merchandise is Helix meeting Van Halen. The big opening guitar riff that goes into Fritz doing that double bass drum thing.

Album closer Bangin Off-A-The Bricks is another Helix romper of a track bunch of guitar action between  Brent and Paul. No fooling around here folks. Nothing to fancy here. Straight ahead no-nonsense rock. I have to ask who the hell came up with the title of this song?

VINYL REWRITE VERDICT:

Long Way To Heaven has aged pretty decently. The production is a little thin when I hear it now but back in 1985 that was the deal. Side 1 of Long Way has stronger material. I think by tracklisting if you would have traded spots with  Ride The Rocket by moving that to Side 2 and moving Without You to Side 1 it would be a very solid listen of the first 5 tracks!

Side 2 lags a little behind Side 1 but overall Helix had to do what they had to do back then.

I will add I always loved this cover. Nice use of color schemes and that’s a great pic of Helix. I wish they would have included some liner notes lyrics etc but you can’t always get what you want.

 

 

Impact Albums: The Tragically Hip: Day For Night(1994)

Living in Canada back in 1994 one of the biggest releases came in September of that year.

The Tragically Hip were putting out the fourth studio release and the ‘HYPE’ was huge! So much so that our local record stores(remember them?) were going to open at Midnight the day of release.

This was the second time in Thunder Bay that the record shops did this as they did the midnight opening in late 92 when The Hip released Fully Completely and we all headed to the record store at midnight on the dot!

Both times the store I was at was packed as people were not only grabbing Hip stuff but other CDs as well!

Tbone and I were there right at midnight as I didn’t want to lose out and not get a Hip disc as they could possibly sell out. As soon as we set foot in the door it was to the New Release Rack to grab our copies of Day For Night and then we could browse for other bands etc.

Being it was midnight, how the hell do you go home and go to bed?

Umm, you don’t!

No need for sleep at this point as we wanted to hear what The Hip had been up to!

Having said that they cooked up a real different batch of rock which was a brilliant move as by this point no two Hip records sounded the same. They changed up the style/songs on this album and it only takes about 10 seconds of opening track Grace Too for you to realize this song and perhaps the rest of the album is going to bring a whole different vibe to you the listener!

This being the fourth long-player in the Hip catalog shows the band not slowing down in regards to there creative juices.

The late Great Gord Downie is up to his usual mixed bag of lyrics (which make you think and take notice) and his vocals where he can soar at times singing or almost a holler like vibe but keeps it in check.

I dig Gord Sinclairs Bass playing as he drives some of these tunes like Grace Too and how about his Bassing on one of my favs of the Hips batch of songs anywhere in the form of ‘Invevialbity of Death.’

Actually, the whole band stepped up on this album. The guitar work of Bobby Baker and Paul Langlois is superb. There almost a Canadian version of Keef N Woody from the Stones. Johnny Fay as well keeps the album moving forward from behind his drum kit not letting slack off.

Some excellent weaving with the guitars throughout this album in general. I like the dry like production as well on Day For Night after the crisp rock sound of Fully Completely(1992). The Hip changed it up on this record and it shows in spades. Even the production sonically gives off a whole different vibe.

Living in Canada pretty much everyone has a fav Hip album. I always flip between 1991’s ‘Road Apples’ and The Hips 1989 Major Label release ‘Up To Here’.

But a few years back I did a Top 20 all-time fav studio records lists and asked some pals to contribute. Tbone’s brother Darr did participate and sitting in his all-time Top 20 was Day For Night. I thought it was a brilliant pick. ( I went with Road Apples on my list)

Day For Night is kinda that Hip album that sometimes flies under the radar as they have so many albums out. But all things considered, it shouldn’t. I still hear on out local crap radio at times about 5 tracks that are still played on the airwaves from this record.

Great to hear this and now own it on vinyl.

So maybe it’s not under the radar as much as I think it is!

In my case, this album could easily be my favorite  Hip record at this moment.

Yeah, it’s that crazy good!