Category Archives: SONIC WAVES…Album Reviews

Occasionally I will throw down some reviews of albums that I thought were and still are cool to me…..hope you likey!

deke’s Top Reissue’s of 2021

I actually added  more vinyl reissues to my record collection then new albums put out by acts this year.

Weird, but it seems everyone is doing reissue’s so who am I to argue about that with?

No CD’s here folks…no use for em..

Let’s go…

Skid Row came out in the late 80s when it was all about CD’s. I bought all the Sebastian Bach Skid Row stuff on CD. Now in 2021 the whole shebang has been reissued on vinyl under the title “The Atlantic Years”. Better yet I will be reviewing this box set starting next month when we flip the calendar into 2022!

KISS released an 45th Anniversary of “Destroyer” and by looking at the packaging they stepped up big time. The double vinyl set I got has a slick looking gatefold, demos and booklet included. You can always buy the CD box for a lot more. I downloaded the deluxe set off of Apple to hear the live show included which is a show from ’76. I will add it sounds horrible and by that I mean the recording sounds like it was done on a tape recorder. I’ll stick with the vinyl…

“Road Apples” by The Tragically Hip gets the deluxe treatment right after I bought “Saskadelphia” on vinyl. Oh well, The Hip though have put together a stellar package including demos, booklet and the classic Roxy Show from the spring of 91 which is included. This box was a must own for me. I passed on my stand alone vinyl copy of “Saskadelphia” to TeeBone as it needed a good home.

Can “No More Tears” by Ozzy Osbourne be 30 years young? Another one of those I originally bought on CD but now that its on vinyl it sounds superior. Such a killer album as Zak Wylde lays down some serious business on tunes like “Desire”, “S.I.N”, “Mr. Tinkertrain”, “A.V.H”. Do I need to go on? One of the Ozzman’s best I say!

Another must own on vinyl is “Allied Forces” (which is 40 years young) by Triumph who also gave this record the special treatment in which Andy Curran put together this box set and boy did Andy deliver. The original album as well as a 45 RPM, booklet, poster, tour book, Rik Emmett guitar pic are included. The real selling feature though is the double live “Allied Forces” show from Cleveland. That night the rock troops were on the move!

Not an reissue but an RSD release and thats this little ass kicker EP by Robert Plant from ’90. Plant back than had a young band that had some serious chops. “Tall Cool One” zips at a great clip while “Liar’s Dance” is one of Plants solo best.  Plus when your buddy Jimmy Page shows up and you rip through a deep Zep track (Wearing And Tearing) this makes it even more special.

Ah…WHO the F&#K are you!

Grumpy Roger and Grumpier Pete put out a RSD exclusive which was “Face Dances” which is perhaps my favourite WHO album. Yeah I like it that much. This package is stellar. Coloured vinyl, booklet, outtakes and some live tracks (“The Quiet One” kicks ass live) make this one a must own.

About a year ago it was announced that Black Sabbath was releasing both “Heaven And Hell” and “Mob Rules” each on double vinyl. I was stoked as the Ronnie James Dio version of Sabbath was my entry point into them (Mob Rules back in 82) and too be totally honest with you all those two Sab albums are my favourite of the catalog. Great reissues for both.  Double Gatefolds, liner notes and a bunch of live tracks spread out over both records. A must own!

My CD copy of the “Black Album” was due for an update so a few months back I purchased this on vinyl and holy frigg does it kick ass. Bob Rock knew how to harness in the band and made em focus and these songs and sales prove it. That crack of the snare drum at the beginning of Sad But True sums up this album. Sonic Gold!

Mogg, Schenker,Way,Raymond and Parker rereleased this all time great LP known as “Strangers In The Night”. U.F.O  delivers on all accounts. Another cool reissue that has some cool liner notes on how  a couple of tracks were not even played live but only in the studio where the crowd was added. Gotta love how these bands rolled out so called live albums back in the 70s. But who cares this is one of the all time greats.

Thanks for always reading and commenting Friends.

Merry Xmas to you all and lets hope for a great 2022!

Cheers,

dEke

deKe’s Top Albums in 2021…

 

Every December I would do a “Top 10 Album” list followed by a “Top 10 Live Album” list but this year I thought I would ditch the rankings and post what I mostly listened to throughout the year that was 2021.

My only rule is that they had to be vinyl albums I got this year that were released in the last 12 months.

Maybe you will find some of these titles cool and will check em out…

Let’s do this…

Aerosmith: The Road Starts Hear: RSD only release of a bunch of early Aero tracks that have been stashed away for five decades. This is such a fantastic recording of the Toxic Twins thinking stuff out and jamming  tunes that would make up the basis of the debut that would come out two years later in ’73!

Iron Maiden: Senjutsu: Harry, Bruce and crew dial up a mega listen in “Senjutsu” which solidifies Maiden’s dominance in still releasing stellar studio albums 41 years while still running free! (see what I just did there?). Plus I’m psyched to have gotten tickets to see Maiden in Toronto on Oct. 11 2022! Frigg Yeah!

Canadian Rebel Rocker Danko Jones released an album that is titled perfectly. “Power Trio” is just that. These guys lift off on this album over the course of its 11 songs.  Danko punches gas from opening tune “I Want Out” to end of album closer “Start The Show” that features Motörhead fella Phil Campbell. “Power Trio” blasts off from the get go. Trust me folks…

Gowan has been in Styx for over 20 years now and if your looking to hear what Larry has been doing check out “Crash of the Crown” which has had many spins on deke’s turntable in 2021. The album sounds like a late 70s early 80s throwback yet with enough punch to keep it current.

WVH is a monster talent and his debut album “Mammoth” proves that. Wolf fused together all his influences and put out a real fine slab of rock. Out of all the acts on my list Wolf is the youngest meaning I look forward to hearing what else he has up his sleeve in regards to new music coming out down the road.

KISS: OFF The Soundboard: You know I have always loved a good KISS  live album and Demon Gene and Starchild decided to start a series that they are calling “OFF THE SOUNDBOARD” which I’m quite excited about. This show from Tokyo (2001) is fantastic as you hear what the crowd heard that night and better yet Ace is back and along with Eric Singer they make this a very worthwhile listen.

I’ve only been waiting since ’85 for a live Coney Hatch release and the boys finally delivered and put out a killer double live album. Just a straight ahead rock album that Coney called Live At The ElMocambo recorded at the legendary venue. These guys have never disappointed me!

and lastly..

One of Canada’s biggest band’s, The Tragically Hip released a 6 pack of tracks (5 studio and one live track) that showed how dangerous these cats were back in 1991. The Hip had no idea these recordings were still around yet they surfaced this year in a neat and tidy little EP called “Saskadelphia”!

Their ya have it folk’s. My picks for the year 2021 but thats not all. Coming up will be another best of list but it will be on the reissues I bought this year that were my favourites…

Stay Tuned and Thanks for reading.

Coming January 2022!

Here we go Folk’s.

Starting in January I will be reviewing  this massive 7 Lp Box Set that Skid Row (or the powers that be) released “The Atlantic Years (1989-1996)”.

Since these albums have been reviewed a million times over I thought I would go an opposite way and scribble down words on how the work of Skid Row affected me as hard rock fan during those years that Sebastian Bach fronted the band.

I have to thank my daughter Lauren who got me this Box Set as a Christmas Gift. She ordered it early so it would get here on time.

Thanks Laurenie!

Mudkicker Kick!

Aerosmith: The Road Starts Hear (1971)

Record Store Day came and went. I really had no interest other than this title by Aerosmith which is an album has had sitting in the vaults for 50 years.

I figured I had no chance at getting this seven song album as Tbay has one store that does RSD but they get nothing as I gave up on going to get my hopes up.

My hopes were further dashed when last Sunday I went to Discogs to see if there were any Canadian Sellers who had posted copies of  “The Road Starts Hear” for a decent price.

Umm about that for a second…

Two stores in Canada (one in Winnipeg and one in Toronto who shall remain nameless) each had copies.  The problem was one store had it for $58 Canadian and the other had it for $63 Canadian.

I put both of them in my Discogs checkout but I had a real problem pushing click to pay as the word “Gouging” came into my mind.

The Toronto store was selling it for $45 U.S without shipping. Selling it in Canada and having to pay for it in American is a fucking joke.

So I gave up and deleted both out of my Discogs checkout.

So come Monday night I went to Encore Records (based in Kitchener) as I have ordered from the owner Mark before and he’s delivered.

I have Encore book marked  on my computer as I check what they post online almost daily.

It’s about supporting local even if the shop isn’t in my town.

This past Monday I went under RSD Titles on the Encore website and there it was…

“Aerosmith The Road Starts Here” for $24 Canadian!

There is no way around shipping through Canada Post meaning you’re going to get dinged a minimum of $16.

Regardless I had to get it before it was gone and once I clicked and paid for it it came up as Sold Out.

One and done. Right place right time!

I will add that Mark for running a local record shop is awesome to deal with. Sent him a message thanking him for not running the price up and even better it took only three days to get here to Tbay.

Now as many of you know, John T. Snow is reviewing the whole Aero catalog over at his site so I know in due time he will be doing this album in a track by track break down.

Snowman is a master at that kind of thing so instead I’m just going to post a couple of thoughts…

Wherever in Boston this was recorded I can honestly say the sound is amazing. Boggles my mind that they sat on these tracks til now but boy am I glad this is out now.

It almost sounds like a party is going on at the start of the album as the band launches into “Somebody.”

These tracks have a Stones like influence about them which is not surprising but you can hear for yourselves how these guys were starting to figure out the craft at writing tunes.

“Dream On” is pretty much in its finished form but its cool to hear Tyler at the piano at the end of the song figuring out what would become “You See Me Crying” which wouldn’t come out until the “Toys In The Attic” record dropped four years later in 1975.

This is Aero Rock N Roll in its primitive state. Writing tracks that would make up the debut self titled a few years later.  A cover of “Reefer Headed Woman” would not show up on a Aero record until ’79’s “Night In The Ruts” release as by then the creative well had dried up due to the lifestyle of the band catching up to them.

The packaging is really cool as well. A total throwback vibe in not only the look but the layout as well.

Man, I need to call Joe as he left me his phone number in the pic above! Maybe he will come on “Scotch On The Rocks”.

A very cool score and I’m sure knowing how cool this is Aero will get around to releasing it digitally and on CD at some point.

“The Road Starts Hear” is a must own of any fan of Aerosmith.

Lou Gramm: Ready Or Not (1987)

 

As the 80’s rolled on, 1987 to be exact I had checked out on Foreigner after the music they had been releasing by that point sounded like radio fluff.

Lou Gramm though wanted to kick the fluff to the curb and that he did when he released his debut solo album “Ready Or Not” back in February 1987.

I didn’t bite on it right away when I read and seen the adds for Lou’s record. I was thinking 10 songs of “I Want To Know What Love” was my line of thinking. Basically a record of ballads!

I was turning 20 years young at the time so can you blame me for thinking like  that ?

MuchMusic spun Lou’s debut video “Midnight Blue” and as soon as I heard that opening riff on guitar I was drawn in and when Lou opened his mouth to sing, I was hooked.

The power of video sold me on wanting to get “Ready Or Not”  which I did and Teebone bought it as well on cassette and we cruised around like a couple of yahoo’s cranking the rock tracks on this record during those summer months of ’87.

I’m sure we weren’t the only two knuckleheads as this record climbed the Canuck Charts to #25.

Lou showed up on this debut and  I can quite honestly say that the first three tracks on here ( “Ready Or Not”, “Heartache” and “Midnight Blue”) has Lou throwing down the  gauntlet showing  his soon to be ex- Foreigner bandmate Mick Jones that he could still rock it out.

Speaking of bands, below are the cats that helped Lou record this album.

Turgon co- wrote eight of the ten tracks on here and Lofgren when he wasn’t hanging out with Springsteen plays some stellar six string  throughout this record as well.

Sure the album sounds a little over produced but that was the sound for the time.

The two songs that end each side of the record (“If I Don’t Have You” and “Lover Come Back”) are to me the closest things to the stuff that Lou had going on in his day job at the time.

That day job was Foreigner who later in 87 released “Inside Information” and for the record (no pun) I still didn’t bite!

Give Gramm full props as he released a great melodic rock album that still holds up well today.

Best $2 I have ever spent when I came across it recently sitting in the used bins.

OUR LADY PEACE: NAVEED (1994)

Our Lady Peace got a ton of video play back in 1994 when the debut Naveed hit the streets. MuchMusic loved OLP and so did the public as the this album or I guess I should say CD’s were flying out the door here in Canada.

I’ll admit I didn’t hop aboard right away. OLP sounded good but I never got around to picking up Naveed until the summer of ’95 when me and The Boss were in Toronto as we had tickets to both Van Halen shows and opening both those shows were OLP.

After witnessing OLP open for the Mighty Halen over the two nights made me seek out Naveed on my own. What hooked me that night as I watched OLP was the drums of Jeremey Taggert who was friggin young back then and could lay some serious damage to those drums. He’s that good.

Over the years though OLP kinda lost me but last summer when I was cruising Amazon I came across Naveed on vinyl for a real decent price.

It was a quick click and once I dropped the needle on the record it was such a great revisit with an old friend really. Speaking of vinyl check out the record itself.

Is that a thing of beauty or what?

The album still sounds current and still has  that real pop in the tracks as producer Arnold Lanni dialled it in perfectly.

Course you have to wrap your head around singer Raine Maida’s vocal delivery which is a totally different vibe than what any other rock singer’s were doing but he somehow makes it work.

A few radio staples at classic rock radio those being “Starseed” and “Naveed” have stood the test of time.

I will add my two cents that “Supersatallite” is one strong friggin track. Crank that sucker!

This band could play. Mike Turner is a great guitar player as he never overstays his welcome come solo time. His playing throughout the albums 12 tracks speaks volumes in that respect.

Drummer Jermey Taggert and Bassist Chris Eacrett form a very reliable rhythm section as they add some serious muscle behind the vocals and guitar.

For a debut this is a pretty strong record from start to finish.

Worth seeking out Folk’s.

STYX: CRASH OF THE CROWN (2021)

 

Styx have released what I would consider one of the best releases of ’21 in the form of “Crash of The Crown” which is the bands 17th studio album.

15 tracks clocking in at just over 43 minutes which has Styx firing on all 6 cylinders as after all there are now 6 members in the band, well 7 if you count  producer Will Evankovich who is now touring with the band as a member.

“Crash of the Crown” has that throwback ’70s vibe. The production is killer as it sounds like it was recorded in ’79 and not ’21. Thats one of the best compliments I can say about what Tommy Shaw and JY have decided to do on this record.

The performances are top notch and if you’re looking for the “Babe” version of Styx better to pull out your copy of Cornerstone for that vibe.

The chops on “COTC” are stellar as Styx can blend the use of acoustic guitars with the electrics and we must not forget the vocals and harmonies.

These guys bought the “A-Game” in this release even releasing the vinyl copy in a gatefold as well.

Even the packaging features some morse code on it to decipher the clues. At first I though this was a printing glitch of my record lol, little did I know.

“A Monster” is a stellar track and if you want to hear a sample check that track out as Sucherman’s drums along with with Gowan’s lead vocals lifts this track almost off my turntable. Must also note a real slick guitar solo as well..

Those silly Styx-ster’s fooled me when they included in there tune “Save Us From Ourselves”,  Churchills rallying cry of the “We shall go on to the end” speech you know the one Iron Maiden uses at the start of Ace’s High. For a split second I was like …whut?

The title track is an interesting one as it features all three lead singers (Gowan-Shaw-JY) each taking a verse vocally which I believe is the first in the career of Styx which is now approaching 50  years!

I know there are the original fans want Dennis DeYoung back and quite frankly that isn’t going to happen and if it does it will be totally for the cash.

I can honestly say that after reading JY’s comments in the latest issue of Rock Candy that featured a 16 page cover feature on Styx.

Gowan has elevated this band as the cat can sing and is a fantastic keyboard wizard as well.

COTC is one fine listen and if you are in the mood for a band that gives its all on a record then do yourselves a favour and check this one out.

AC/DC: POWER UP (2020)

AC/DC was a band that needed to drop an album in the shitty year known as 2020 and they delivered a real fine slab of booze bar room rock.

“Power Up”

12 songs from the boy’s that are expertly dialled in by Brendan O’Brien and Mike Fraser.

 

Lot’s of highlights on here and what could I possibly add to an AC/DC album that already has not been said?

Nothing! I will add I love how AC/DC has always managed to capture that buzz saw approach of the guitars on they’re albums.

I’m going on memory here but I read some reviews where someone said  Brian Johnsons vocals sounded buried in the mix. Gah to that as the dude is over 70 and he’s competing against Marshall Amps!

You know people would be bitchin if there was no AC/DC album yet when there is people poke at it…

I was going to review this last winter but everyone was smashing out reviews quicker than Tbone hollering “Bartender!!” in regards to this record so I deiced to take a pass,

I thought I would wait it out til now as recently when I put on “Power Up” I wanted to see if I still dug it as much as I did last November when this album dropped.

The answer to that is a resounding YES! I can also honestly say that you could lead off Side 2 as Side 1 and it would still be a strong sounding album..

Lots of great tracks to sink your teeth into here folks…

“Rejection”, “Through The Mists of Time”, “Witch’s Spell” “Demon Fire” are stellar tracks on their own and how about what I consider end of the album GEMS like “Systems Down” and “Money Shot” are so good and yet they are at the back end of the album.

See what I mean as Side 1 and Side 2 being equal as far as strong  sides of music is concerned.

Power Up this one Folk’s!