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Gunfire 76 – Casualties & Tragedies

Gunfire 76 – Casualties & Tragedies (2009, Wednesday 13, LLC)

1. “Let’s Kill The Hero” … 2:51
2. “Casualties And Tragedies” … 3:31
3. “Nothing’s All I Need” … 3:18
4. “Los Angel-Less” … 4:26
5. “Rocket To Nowhere” … 3:55
6. “Something For The Suffering” … 4:24
7. “One More Reason To Hate You” … 3:52
8. “Tell You Like It Is” … 3:40
9. “What Did You Expect” … 3:47
10. “Back To The Gutter” … 3:35
11. “Get Me Through The Night”  … 5:16

Band:
Wednesday 13 – Lead Vocals, Guitar
Roman Surman – Guitar
Jamie Hoover – Bass, Percussion, Backing Vocals
Jason West – Drums

Additional Musicians:
Ziad – Saxophone (“Back To The Gutter”)

Producer: Wednesday 13

I recently came across Gunfire 76 because they were one of Amazon.com’s recommendations while I was viewing another artist’s album page. I’ve started to discover many cool bands based on their recommends! The band is one of a seemingly endless number of side projects for Wednesday 13 (what’s his main project?). I never got into Murderdolls so I wasn’t sure if this was gonna be something for me. I click on the samples, thought they were pretty cool and ordered myself a copy.

On their MySpace page, Gunfire 76 cites New York Dolls, KISS, Deadboys and The Stooges as what they sound like and all of that is true and can be said for most projects Wednesday 13 is involved with but there’s a twist this time. Instead of the trashy horror punk Wednesday usually plays this album is glam rock meets classic rock meets punk rock. Lyrically, the album is a lot different too and while some song lyrics feature some of the signature angst from Mr. 13, there’s no B-grade horror movie lyrics to be found.

The whole album is just so catchy. Listen to “Los Angel-Less”, “Something For The Suffering”, “One More Reason To Hate You”, “Back To The Gutter” (love the saxophone!) and “Get Me Through The Night” and try to get those songs out of your head. A song like “Get Me Through The Night” comes off like a great lost ’70s glam rock classic, I can hear Starz or Angel playing something like this or even Alice Cooper while “Tell You Like It Is” gives me a KISS vibe circa Rock and Roll Over.

Wednesday 13 fans probably are already aware of this album but even if you’re not a fan of his usual stuff, anyone who like ’70s rock, glam and punk will really enjoy this one. Looking back, it’s easily one of the best albums of 2009. Nothing but fun from top to bottom… Too bad I didn’t listen to it until 2011!

Highlights: “Let’s Kill The Hero”, “Los Angel-less”, “Something For The Suffering”, “One More Reason To Hate You”, “Tell You Like It Is”, “What Did You Expect”, “Get Me Through The Night”

http://www.myspace.com/gunfire76/

DANKO JONES – Below The Belt

Danko Jones – Below The Belt [European Import] (2010, Bad Taste Records)

1. “I Think Bad Thoughts” … 3:31
2. “Active Volcanoes” … 3:35
3. “Tonight Is Fine” … 4:21
4. “Magic Snake” … 3:19
5. “Had Enough” … 3:42
6. “(I Can’t Handle) Moderation” … 3:04
7. “Full Of Regret” … 3:58
8. “The Sore Loser” … 2:59
9. “Like Dynamite” … 3:14
10. “Apology Accepted” … 3:30
11. “I Wanna Break Up With You” … 4:56

Band:
Danko Jones – Vocals, Guitar
John Calabrese – Bass
Dan Cornelius – Drums

Producer: Matt DeMatteo

I’ve been curious about Danko Jones for awhile. I’ve heard good things about them (him?) for years and have checked the MySpace page from time to time but never got around to picking an album. A few weeks back I went to their Myspace page again and really got hooked on a number of their songs and decided to give their latest effort a try.

I really enjoy the lyrics to these songs, there’s not many bands whose lyrics I worry about reading anymore (that seems to have been more of a teenage thing for me) but I have been paying attention to the lyrics on this album just because they’re so humorous and witty. There’s a certain swagger to Danko’s vocal delivery and definitely a sense of humor in himself and the lyrics that remind me of a band like Marvelous 3.

As for what this band sounds like — it’s like classic rock, hard rock, modern rock, rock/pop and punk/pop all rolled into one. Even before noticing they cited these influences themselves, it was readily apparent to me that these guys are huge fans of AC/DC and Thin Lizzy. This isn’t retro rock though, this is an updated take on good time rock ‘n’ roll.

“Full Of Regret” really blew me away, strong Thin Lizzy influence on this one. From the collection of songs I’ve heard from this band, it’s easily one of my favorites they’ve done. It is also because of this song I was led back to their MySpace page because it was offered as a free download a few months ago, I can’t remember whether that was through their own website or not though. I think maybe it was on Amazon. So there ya go, I’m proof positive that giving away something free every now and then to music fans can actually turn out to be quite profitable.

All of these songs are high energy affairs. I supposed All Music guide might tag this album as “rowdy”, “raucous” and “guys night out”! If you’re getting ready for a night out on the town of booze, women and possibly a few fist fights — this is the album for you because this album covers all those topics though most of it seems to deal being in or getting out of a bad relationship. Hm, is someone getting their issues out in their songs?

Below The Belt may not be “metal”, but it’s definitely hard rock and one of my favorite releases of 2010 and I plan on picking up some earlier releases now.

My particular copy is a European import but I don’t think it differs from the North American version. The jewel case is a “Super Jewel Box” which is really cool with rounded corners and the case snaps shut and has a button you have to press to open it. Seems a bit sturdier than the standard jewel case too and the CD sits deep in the CD tray. I wish all jewel cases were like these!

Highlights: “I Think Bad Thoughts”, “Tonight Is Fine”, “Had Enough”, “Full Of Regret”, “The Sore Loser”, “Apology Accepted”

www.dankojones.com
www.myspace.com/dankojones

AMERICAN HI-FI – American Hi-Fi

American Hi-Fi – American Hi-Fi (2001, Island Records)

1. “Surround” … 3:11
2. “Flavor of the Weak” … 3:08
3. “A Bigger Mood” … 3:38
4. “Safer on the Outside” … 4:01
5. “I’m a Fool” … 4:00
6. “Hi-Fi Killer” … 3:05
7. “Blue Day” … 3:33
8. “My Only Enemy” … 3:27
9. “Don’t Wait for the Sun” … 3:50
10. “Another Perfect Day” … 3:38
11. “Scar” … 4:03
12. “What About Today” … 3:34
13. “Wall of Sound” … 5:48

Band:
Stacy Jones – Vocals, Guitar
Jamie Arentzen – Guitar
Drew Parsons – Bass
Brian Nolan – Drums

Produced by: Bob Rock

Another album from 2001 that really worked for me during a time of hudge drama. American Hi-Fi are a blend of alternative, power pop and pop punk (which was an extremely popular genre in the early 00s). I’ve never really cared for pop punk, but I was heavily into modern day power pop at the time with bands like Tsar, 40 Ft. Ringo, Lit, Zebrahead, Weezer and of course, one my favorite bands of all time Marvelous 3. American Hi-Fi came along went a sound that was slick and not too slick. The album has more of an alternative rock edge than the previously mentioned bands’ work and it’s not quite as cheery and carefree.

I spent a lot of time sitting on the bed with my headphones on, using a DISCMAN,  in my friend’s house in Virginia (where I stayed while going to college for a semester) listening to the melancholy/aggressive songs like “Safer on the Outside”, “My Only Enemy” (which, with a little more sprucing up, could be a NIN song) and “Don’t Wait for the Sun”. I got a lot of poetry done being inspired by the music and the word of Stacy Jones.

“Flavor of the Weak” hit #5 on Billboard’s Modern Rock charts, but it’s a shame the album wasn’t more successful, it’s definitely a worthwhile rock/pop entry for the early 2000s.

The band has been in limbo for a few years after The Art of Losing (2003) and Hearts on Parade (2005, and produced by Butch Walker!) were commercial failures. Supposedly, a new album, which was initially planned for 2008, is still on the horizon. In the meantime, Jones has gone on to produce a number of albums and is the “music director” for Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus and is also her touring drummer.

Highlights: “Flavor of the Weak”, “A Bigger Mood”, “Safer on the Outside”, “My Only Enemy”, “”Don’t Wait for the Sun”, “Another Perfect Day”, “Wall of Sound”

www.americanhi-fi.com
www.myspace.com/americanhifi

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