Alrighty rock ‘n roll addict blog readers, It’s Friday and I am launching a weekly feature (or maybe bi-weekly) where I review something rock ‘n roll related. New releases, new bands, venue reviews, or live show reviews.
This feature originates from my propensity to play music for my friends (they would say “force music upon” most likely) while I watch their faces intently to see if they “get it” the way I do. I used to do this more frequently in high school because I wanted all my friends to understand the genius of bands like Queen, Pink Floyd and Yes.
These days I tend to focus on current bands with less of a “larger-than-life” arena rock sound, but I still like to ‘force’ my musical taste on people by turning people on to bands I like.
So this week, I am going to be reviewing 5 (not necessarily new) bands you should be paying some attention to.
Cage The Elephant. I love this band from Kentucky. They just simply rock in an old school way with a new school vibe. Their music is raw and lacks polish in the best way possible. The attitude of the band is 100% rock and the lyrics and message are irreverent and personifies what rock ‘n roll should be, not the contrived “paint-inside-the-lines” formulaic shadow if itself that rock has turned into in recent years.
I’m currently addicted to this song by CTE:
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
This is an LA band (originally from San Francisco I think) who make consistently great albums. They are a trio and I once saw them live in Santa Cruz at The Catalyst. Their style ranges from punk to atmospheric to vintage rock fuzz. I am a big fan of their 2004 album “Howl” which was much more folky than anything they have released before or since. Here is a song from Howl called “Sympathetic Noose” which I particularly enjoy:
The Kinks have had a long an illustrious career yet they have never reached the heights that their British Invasion peers (The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, The Who) achieved and are regarded as the most under-rated bands of that era. The song that I am going to feature here is called “Picture Book” from their seminal album “The Village Green Preservation Society”. Green Day “borrowed” the guitar hook from this song and put it in their 2006 hit “Warning” which I will also post so that you can see the evidence of the melodic “lift”.
I talk about this band all the time, so I thought I would include them here so that you can see what I am talking about. They were the best live band I’ve ever seen. A white hot ball of light and energy on stage…and always an inspirational message in their lyrics. Acoustic guitars pushed through marshall amps. I thought they were the best band in the world and I’ll never understand why they did not become massive.
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
Let’s face it, in America, Oasis was over shortly after the glorious guitar strains of ‘Wonderwall’ faded from the airwaves in the early 90’s. The only thing we heard after that was that “the Gallagher brothers fight a lot”. We never heard that the band released one great album after another for a decade and a half. When Oasis split recently, a lot of people stateside did not even realize that Oasis were still together. The best thing to come of the split up is Noel’s solo album called “Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds”. It is a great album top to bottom. Featured here is a song called Dream on…I’m posting this selection because a friend of mine is in the audience in the music video. Be sure to check out all the other great songs in this album as well.
Okay, so there you have it. My top 5 bands you should be paying attention to if you are not already doing so. Next week I think I’ll review my favorite (or least favorite) music venues in LA. Until then, Keep the faith true believers!