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Saving Abel – Miss America

Saving Abel – Miss America (2010, Virgin Records)

1. “Tap Out” … 4:07
2. “Stupid Girl (Only in Hollywood)” … 4:19
3. “Contagious” … 3:37
4. “The Sex Is Good” … 3:31
5. “Bloody Sunday” … 3:47
6. “I’m Still Alive” … 3:48
7. “Mississippi Moonshine” … 3:13
8. “Angel Without Wings” … 4:16
9. “Miss America” … 3:40
10. “I Need You” … 3:47
11. “Hell of a Ride” … 3:44

Jared Weeks – Lead Vocals
Jason Null – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Scott Bartlett – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Eric Taylor – Bass, Backing Vocals
Blake Dixon – Drums

Producer: Skidd Mills, Marti Frederiksen

Even if you are only vaguely aware of the current hard rock scene, it’s hard not to know who Saving Abel is. Their 2008 self-titled debut featured that ‘girl-in-tight-denim-with-a-tramp-stamp’ album cover which helped to get them noticed (which I know caused me to physically pick up the album and look). It was hits “18 Days”, “Drowning (Face Down)” and the platinum-selling single “Addicted” (which my ex-girlfriend had as her ringtone) that pushed that album to 500,000 copies sold.

While I have never listened to that self-titled debut in full, I did catch the band in concert once (as openers on a bill that included Buckcherry, Avenged Sevenfold and Papa Roach) and Miss America seems like more of the same: melodic post-grunge with a touch of southern rock. It’s all easily digestible for mainstream rock radio, not necessarily bad but not necessarily noteworthy either. It’s All-American Nightmare-era Hinder but without the hooks, aggression or attitude. While “Addicted” ending up wearing out its welcome (at least to my ears) it was at least catchy for a good while and I don’t hear anything on Miss America that grabs you like that song did.

I do happen to like “Tap Out”, seems like it would be a good choice to open a live show. It’s actually the intro to the song that holds the most promise though, as if it was a sign of something heavier coming but no such luck. “Contagious” rocks a tad bit harder and “The Sex Is Good” is a cool acoustic-based rocker that at least thematically continues on with the tradition of “Addicted” (Nickelback would be proud!). “I’m Still Alive” is the type of up-lifting anthem that is ready-made for radio. “I Need You” is another feel-good anthem, the better of the two I have mentioned and probably my favorite track on the album.

When it’s all said and done, Saving Abel is maybe playing it a bit too safe on their sophomore effort but it’s still well within the confines of what will please any fans that the band amassed with their debut. For myself, as I said before the entire album is easily digestible but perhaps it’s also easily disposable.

Highlights: “Tap Out”, “Contagious”, “The Sex Is Good”, “I’m Still Alive”, “I Need You”

Buy ‘Miss America’ on

SALIVA – Under Your Skin

Saliva – Under Your Skin (2011, Island Records)

1. “Badass” … 3:05
2. “Better Days” … 3:40
3. “Nothing” … 3:07
4. “Hate Me” … 4:02
5. “Never Should’ve Let You Go” … 3:33
6. “Prove Me Wrong” … 3:30
7. “Burn It Up” … 2:57
8. “Toxic Suicide” … 2:45
9. “Turn the Lights On” … 3:49
10. “Spotlight” … 3:11

Josey Scott – Lead Vocals
Wayne Swinny – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Dave Novotny – Bass, Backing Vocals
Paul Crosby – Drums

Producer: Howard Benson

With the band seemingly topping themselves with each new release, when I found out a new Saliva album was underway, I took notice. Cinco Diablo was easily the best of the band’s catalog so I was pretty interested in hearing this one. I first got into the band when most people did — with Every Six Seconds. Though I don’t think the band has ever delivered a knockout album, everything they *have* released has at least qualified as good.

I was kind of disappointed when I read some statements from Josey Scott where he talked about going back to the rap metal that the band originally was so fond of. Sure, it was fine for the time but it just seemed like an unnecessary step back as I don’t think the nostalgia factor has kicked in yet for that subgenre. Hopefully it never will and luckily this album isn’t really to relive 1999 or 2001. “Badass” and “Burn It Up” are really the only two songs that retread Saliva’s earlier sound and they are fine for what they are. They sound like Saliva.

As much as I liked Cinco Diablo, I like Under My Skin that much more. This is the band’s finest moment. For my money, the band has turned in their best effort yet. 10 songs and very little filler here. Whether it’s the bravado chest-thumping “Badass”, rock radio ready songs like “Nothing”, “Better Days” & “Spotlight” or the ballads “Never Should’ve Let You Go” & “Turn The Lights On” (Saliva has always done very well with their ballads), the album has stuck me and I can’t get it out of my head. “Toxic Suicide” is another favorite of mine, it has a slightly darker edge to it than the rest of the songs.

I bought this album to the day it came out and I must have listened to it nearly 10 times all the way through in that short amount of time. Some albums I listen to and even though I enjoy them I’m ready to move on to the next album but Under My Skin has stayed in my player for the majority of the week. I’m not getting tired of it and there’s no reason this album should not be a big hit. Well, other than the fact that the music industry has screwed itself to oblivion. So far, “Badass” and “Nothing” have been released as singles. I’m surprised neither has charted but I definitely think “Better Days”, “Turn The Lights On” and/or “Never Should’ve Let You Go” all deserve to get released to radio as well. Really, most of this album is radio ready though. The hooks, catchy choruses and melodies are all over the place.

Anyone who likes Saliva will like this album as well, I think. I guess Saliva is one of the more mainstream sounding rock bands that I listen to but they are so much more catchier than most of what makes it onto radio so that’s why I keep coming back for more.

Highly recommended, strong contender to make my Top 10 list for 2011.

Highlights: “Better Days”, “Nothing”, “Never Should’ve Let You Go”, “Toxic Suicide”, “Turn The Lights On”

Buy Saliva’s ‘Under Your Skin’ at

Press Release: SALIVA returns from Memphis with ‘Under Your Skin’, new album to be released March 22nd


To celebrate their 6th major release “Under Your Skin” Memphis rockers want to feature their fans in the OFFICIAL Digital Tattoo Poster. 

Pre Order Saliva’s Under Your Skin today to guarantee your spot on the poster. Upload an image of one of YOUR favorite tattoos. Your tattoo will be featured in an official Saliva collage poster. All posters will be available for download after street date!

Pre Order Under Your Skin NOW:


Produced by Howard Benson, two-time Grammy nominated alt-rock hitmaker

Moving into their 15th year together in 2011, multi-platinum band Saliva stays in touch with their heavyweight Memphis roots on their brand new 6th album, UNDER YOUR SKIN, arriving in stores on March 22nd.  Nothing,” the enigmatically titled first single pick,  is available for sale at all digital retailers now (iTunes: and Amazon:  The new album is Saliva’s first with two-time Grammy nominated alt-rock producer Howard Benson, known for his work with My Chemical Romance, Theory of a Deadman, Daughtry, Three Days Grace, All American Rejects, Papa Roach, Saosin, Creed, The Used, and others.
UNDER YOUR SKIN is the long-awaited follow-up to Cinco Diablo, the most recent studio album by Saliva, released December 2008, featuring the Top 20 Mainstream Rock singles “Family Reunion” and “How Could You.”  In the interim, Saliva released their first compilation in March 2010, Moving Forward In Reverse: Greatest Hits.  The career-spanning album included one new track, “Time to Shine,” which served as the official theme song of the 2010 edition of the WWE’s Extreme Rules all-star wrestling pay-per-view event.
Saliva is singer and lyricist Josey Scott, guitarist Wayne Swinny, bassist Dave Novotny, and drummer Paul Crosby.   The band was formed in Memphis in 1996, and issued their eponymously titled indie debut the next year. Their major label debut arrived on Island’s Uptown/Universal imprint in 2001, Every Six Seconds. The RIAA double-platinum album included their first charted rock single “Click Click Boom” and the Grammy-nominated #3 Mainstream Rock track, “Your Disease” (featured on the Dracula 2000 movie soundtrack).
The RIAA gold Back Into Your System followed in 2002, containing the #1 Modern Rock track “Always” and its follow-up, “Rest In Pieces,” the first Saliva single to crack theBillboard Hot 100.  Survival Of The Sickest was released in 2004.  Its title tune single (#1 most added at Modern Rock, Rock and Active Rock) was the official theme song of Unforgivenin September 2006, another mega-successful WWE pay-per-view event.
Blood Stained Love Story, Saliva’s fourth album arrived in January 2007.  It gave the band the highest Soundscan debut of their career (#19-bullet) and spun off one of Saliva’s highest-charting singles, “Ladies and Gentlemen,” #1 at Active Rock and #2 at Mainstream.  For more information go to

Stereoside – Stereoside

Stereoside (2010, Bieler Bros. Records)

1. “Trailer Park Scum” … 3:45
2. “Risktaker” … 3:21
3. “Black Sheep” … 2:55
4. “Walk Alone” … 3:50
5. “By Now” … 3:17
6. “Get On” … 3:05
7. “Life Goes On” … 2:59
8. “Amazing” … 3:31
9. “These Bones” … 4:12
10. “Crazy & Paranoid” … 3:28

Jeff Shields – Vocals
Ben Foster – Guitar
David Oliver – Bass
Chris York – Drums

Producer: Matt LaPlant and Stereoside

The Ocala, Florida-based Stereoside is a band that I’m surprised hasn’t taken off on radio yet. They have a sound very similar to Shinedown or 3 Doors Down, coming across as a  “post-grunge” band with some southern rock influences, the only difference is for some reason I actually like Stereoside. And I discovered them purely by chance. I happened to be browsing through some music on Amazon and this album came up as a recommend. I checked out a few samples and really liked what I was hearing.

This is the band’s third album (second with singer Jeff Shields, who has an amazing voice) but it was just released in August so I guess there’s still plenty of time for this album to “blow up” as the kids say. Probably with some major label support they could garner a larger following but the radio ready songs are already here from the rockin’ “Trailer Park Scum” and “Risktaker” to the slower paced “Crazy & Paranoid” to the ballad “Walk Alone”. Those are the four standouts to me as far as a single goes. Living in the south and being familiar with what gets play at least in my area, I can definitely see Stereoside having a following around here if people were made aware of them. The whole album is full of songs that would be good to kick back, relax and drink some beers to… it’s just too bad I don’t drink!

From top to bottom, there’s really no filler here. I can’t explain it! Usually I wouldn’t give music like this a second thought but for some reason Stereoside has grabbed me and isn’t letting go. I ordered this used off Amazon  for only a few bucks just wanting to try something new but not really expecting much and I have to say this is one of the year’s best surprises for me.

Highlights: “Trailer Park Scum”, “Risktaker”, “Walk Alone”, “Amazing”, “Crazy & Paranoid”

Pistol Shot Gypsy – Smokin’ Drinkin’ Fightin’

Pistol Shot Gypsy – Smokin’ Drinkin’ Fightin’ (2009, self-released)

1. “Trainwreck” … 4:51
2. “Just My Luck” … 4:18
3. “The Showgun” … 3:35
4. “Slave Yourself” … 5:07
5. “Sands of Time” … 4:07
6. “Midnight Rider” … 3:40
7. “H-Bomb Queen” … 4:48
8. “Baby, Come Back” … 4:56
9. “Troy City Blues” … 4:22

Ron Travis – Vocals
Ian Haggerty – Guitar
Jeff Instasi – Guitar
James Thompson – Bass
Stevie “Boom Bots” – Drums

Pistol Shot Gypsy is a band based out of Rhode Island with a style of rock that is an amalgamation of blues rock, ’70s rock, ’80s rock, southern rock,  metal and alternative rock. Based of the name and the album, I totally expected a southern rock/bar band sound but was surprised to hear the modern alternative influences as well. Despite the mix of styles PSG  manages to break it all down into a no-frills rock ‘n’ roll sound.

From the high-powered alternative rock opener “Trainwreck” and the equally compelling alternative rock of “Slave Yourself” to the bluesy classic rock of “Midnight Rider” to the rowdy barroom rocker “Troy City Blues”, the band wears many hats but wears them well and I happen to think those are the four best songs on the album. The band could easily pursue any of these directions to the fullest and come out with a collection of solid songs but it is their display of all these sounds that makes Smokin’ Drinkin’ Fightin’ so interesting. It seems a lot of young rock bands are going the route of featuring many different styles on their albums and I have absolutely no problem with this. As long as the songs are good, it shouldn’t matter and it opens the bands up to many more opportunities than they would have it they stuck to only one particular genre.

Smokin’ Drinkin’ Fightin’ is a good listen through and through for fans of meat ‘n’ potatoes rock ‘n’ roll. Regardless of however you want to tag this band — that’s basically what this band plays!

Highlights: “Trainwreck”, “Slave Yourself”, “Midnight Rider”, “Troy City Blues”

PEARL – Little Immaculate White Fox

Pearl – Little Immaculate White Fox (2010, Megaforce Records/White Fox Music)

1. “Rock Child” …  4:20
2. “Nutbush City Limits” …  3:29
3. “Broken White” … 4:35
4. “Check Out Charlie” … 3:22
5. “Mama” … 4:08
6. “My Heart Isn’t In It” … 4:48
7. “Nobody” … 5:02
8. “Worth Defending” … “4:18”
9. “Love Pyre” …  2:53
10. “Whore” … 2:33
11. “Anything” …  4:18

Pearl Aday – Lead Vocals
Scott Ian – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Jim Wilson – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Carl “Nalle” Colt – Guitar
Marcus Blake – Bass, Backing Vocals
Dominique Davalos – Bass, Backing Vocals
Matt Tecu – Drums
Eric Leiderman – Drums
Ted Nugent – Guitar (“Check Out Charlie”)
Jerry Cantrell – Guitar (“Anything”)

Producer: Joe Barresi, Jay Ruston, Pearl

When this album unexpectedly arrived in the mail, I wasn’t sure what it was going to sound like. I knew of the album’s existence but I knew nothing about it, or Pearl, really. The only thing I knew about Pearl Aday is that she is the daughter of Meat Loaf and is engaged to Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian. A new cool fact I learned is that in addition to singing back up for Meat Loaf, she used to sing back up on tour for Motley Crue. I figured her own style could fall anywhere in between the rock opera of Meat Loaf and the thrash metal of Scott Ian.

She could’ve sounded like anything but Little Immaculate White Fox is a collection of good old-fashion rock ‘n’ roll. Just pure bluesy and southern-influenced rock ‘n’ roll with classic rock vibe. Anyone who likes ’70s hard rock is going to like this disc a lot.

I typically shy away from bands with female lead vocalists. I guess that’s sexist of me but it’s not that I don’t think women should sing or play rock ‘n’ roll it’s just that it rarely appeals to me. Sorry, I prefer male vocalists but having said that Pearl can more than go note for note with the boys. I guess that’s a prerequisite if you wanna tour as a singer with Meat Loaf! She can really belt them out and just has such a powerful rocker chick voice with a song like “Rock Child” but on the flip side she play it soft and sounds downright country on a ballad like “My Heart Isn’t In It”.

The players on this album are pretty interesting. Ted Nugent plays on “Check Out Charlie”, Alice In Chains’ Jerry Cantrell plays on “Anything” and Scott Ian is actually a member of her backing band and plays throughout the whole album.

All told, Pearl’s debut solo disc is a solid rock ‘n’ roll album from top to finish. There are a number of stand out tracks that immediately grabbed me upon first listen. If you long for the days of honest, hard working and passionate rock ‘n’ roll, look no further than Little Immaculate White Fox.

Highlights: “Rock Child”, “Nutbush City Limits”, “Broken White”, “My Heart Isn’t In It”, “Nobody”

BLACK ROBOT – Black Robot

Black Robot – Black Robot (2010, Formosa Records/Rocket Science Ventures)

1. “Baddass” … 2:28
2. “Cocaine” … 2:45
3. “Momma Don’t Cry” … 4:07
4. “Girls Kissing Girls” … 3:15
5. “Money” … 2:52
6. “I’m In Love” … 4:46
7. “In My Car” … 3:33
8. “Black Robot” … 2:28
9. “Love on a .45” … 2:56
10. “Dissatisfaction” … 2:39
11. “23 Days of Night” … 3:11
12. “Stop the World” … 3:45
13. “Nervous Breakdown” … 3:21

Huck Johns – Vocals
Yogi Lonich – Guitars (Tracks 1-3, 5-10, 12, 13
Andy Andersson – Guitar (Tracks 4 & 11)
Jonathan “JB” Brightman – Bass
Devon Glenn – Drums

Producer: Dave Cobb

Black Robot (a great band name if there was one!) is good ol’ rock ‘n’ roll influenced by acts like Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Black Crowes and the Rolling Stones and even though the band doesn’t list them as an influence, I even hear a bit of Stone Temple Pilots. Much like The Last Vegas and Charm City Devils, there’s a cool retro vibe going for this band as they display a raw garage rock ‘n’ roll style that borrows from the 1970s and southern rock.

Oh, and one other band you might be able to draw a comparison to is Buckcherry. Which isn’t surprising because  Jonathan Brightman (who, along with Huck Johns, is the driving force behind Black Robot), Yogi Lonich and Devon Glenn all were members of that band up until it dissolved in 2002. Lonich and Glenn have since left Black Robot but gGuitarists Andy Andersson & Staffan Osterlind have stepped in, as has drummer Possum Hill.

To my understanding, this album was actually released in 2009 but the band went back into the studio with guitarist Andy Andersson (Osterlind hadn’t yet joined) and recorded two new tracks for this 2010 re-release.

Knowing the Buckcherry connection, I was immediately interested in hearing this band but somehow, despite the best of intentions, I ended up losing track of when the album was coming out. Luckily, the Gods of Rock had pity on me and the day after I had remembered to check them out, a review copy wound up in my mailbox! Talk about destiny!

“Baddass”, the album’s opener, sees the album off to a running start. It’s a great way to introduce people to the band. Loud rock ‘n’ roll where the singer sings about how bad he is? Who could not love it? Next up is what sounds like AC/DC doing a cover of  “Cocaine” (made famous by Eric Clapton, originally performed by J.J. Cale). Then there’s the jangly “Momma Don’t Cry” which I hear parts of STP and parts of Jimi Hendrix.

My absolute favorite track is the raucous “Girls Kissing Girls” (which has always been a favorite subject of mine) that sees the band back in AC/DC mode. The ballad “I’m In Love” is another album highlight bringing to mind ’70s southern rock and STP again. I think singer Huck Johns is a great voice throughout the whole album. He seems to easily capture Bon Scott and Scott Weiland, depending on what the song calls for.

Anyone who is a fan of the bands I have mentioned will enjoy this album. There are many great rock bands out there today, but there’s not many with as classic of a sound as Black Robot, so support real rock ‘n’ roll!

Highlights: “Baddass”, “Girls Kissing Girls”, “I’m In Love”, “In My Car”, “Black Robot”, “Love on a .45”, “Dissatisfaction”

DANGEROUS TOYS – Dangerous Toys

Dangerous Toys – Dangerous Toys (1989, Columbia Records)

1. “Teas’n, Pleas’n” … 3:11
2. “Scared” … 4:03
3. “Bones in the Gutter” … 3:26
4. “Take Me Drunk” … 3:56
5. “Feels Like a Hammer” … 4:10
6. “Sport’n a Woody” … 3:28
7. “Queen of the Nile” … 3:27
8. “Outlaw” … 3:21
9. “Here Comes Trouble” … 3:21
10. “Ten Boots (Stompin’)” … 3:12
11. “That Dog” … 3:29

Jason McMaster – Lead Vocals
Danny Aaron – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Scott Dalhover – Guitar
Mike Watson – Bass, Guitar, Backing Vocals
Mark Geary – Drums

Produced by: Max Norman

Another online grab of mine from years back. I had heard so many good things about Dangerous Toys years before even picking this up, but it was one of those albums where I kept putting it off or would find something else to order instead.

Well, despite the freaky tribute to Killer Klowns from Outer Space, this is a great release and it definitely deserved the gold status it achieved. Jason McMaster sounds very much like Axl Rose at times and it’s fitting, because the Texas-based Dangerous Toys have a ‘Guns ‘N Roses or L.A. Guns meets Southern rock’ vibe going. Don’t get me wrong, this is no Appetite for Destruction, but it’s a great blend of the South, sleaze and glam.

Supposedly, guitarist Danny Aaron did not play on the album and had actually left the band before recording even began. He is still credited and pictured though, so maybe Dangerous Toys knows a bit more about the situation than any gossipers would.

Metal band Shadows Fall did a cover of “Teas’n, Pleas’n” for the Japanese pressing of their album The War Within.

Highlights: “Teas’n, Pleas’n”, “Feels Like a Hammer”, “Sport’n a Woody”, “Queen of the Nile”, “Outlaw”

SILVERTIDE – Show and Tell

Silvertide – Show and Tell (2004, J Records)

1. “Ain’t Comin’ Home” – 4:04
2. “Devil’s Daughter” – 3:51
3. “S.F.C.” – 4:04
4. “California Rain” – 3:52
5. “Blue Jeans” – 3:09
6. “Mary Jayne” – 3:53
7. “Heartstrong” – 4:17
8. “To See Where I Hide” – 3:54
9. “You Want It All” – 3:26
10. “Nothing Stays” – 5:00
11. “Foxhole J.C.” – 5:23

Walt Lafty – Lead Vocals
Nick Perri – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Mark Melchiorre, Jr. – Guitar, Piano, Organ, Backing Vocals
Brian Weaver – Bass, Backing Vocals
Kevin Frank – Drums, Backing Vocals

Produced by: Dave Ivory & Oliver Leiber

Ugh. Hey, I have no problem against bluesy southern hard rock, it’s not my favorite sub genre, but I can deal. But this album just isn’t very good. It’s generic. In one ear and out the other.

One of my dislikes for this band stems from the fact that the local radio station where I was living at the time played “Ain’t Comin’ Home” NONSTOP. You’d swear the song went platinum based on 99 Rock airplay alone and the DJs wouldn’t shut up about them and about how it was a “real” rock record and “the best in years” and blah blah blah. I think 99 Rock practically had a collective orgasm when Silvertide came to play a show in the area.

Based on all of that hype, I bought the album for $9.99 at FYE and felt robbed!

Highlights: “Ain’t Comin’ Home” (despite hearing it a million times), “Devil’s Daughter”, “Blue Jeans”


Black Label Society – Sonic Brew (1999, Spitfire Records)

1. “Bored To Tears” … 4:28
2. “The Rose Petalled Garden” … 4:59
3. “Hey You (Batch Of Lies)” … 3:48
4. “Born To Lose” … 4:23
5. “Peddlers Of Death” … 4:33
6. “Mother Mary” … 4:26
7. “Beneath The Tree” … 4:37
8. “Low Down” … 4:36
9. “T.A.Z.” … 1:56
10. “Lost My Better Half” … 4:24
11. “Black Pearl” … 3:27
12. “World Of Trouble” … 5:20
13. “Spoke In The Wheel” … 4:13
14. “The Beginning… At Last” … 4:26
15. “No More Tears” … 6:58

Zakk Wylde – Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Piano
Phil Ondich – Drums

Additional Musicians:
Mike Inez – Bass (“No More Tears”)

Produced by: Ron Albert, Howard Albert and Zakk Wylde

Despite owning four BLS albums, I’ve never been a huge fan of ’em. Out of the four I own, you could probably make one REALLY good album. BLS tends to either be too mellow and acoustic or too sludgy for the most part. BLS songs often alternate between being southern fried Alice In Chains and sludgy Lynyrd Skynyrd. That just doesn’t work for me. Another problem I have with the album is that there’s just too many songs. 1o or 11 tracks is the best length for an album, in my opinion. Once you start going above that, you’re just adding filler.

I bought this album thanks to a lot of praise I was reading online, but it’s nothing special to me outside of a few songs. “Spoke in the Wheel” is a really cool Lynyrd Skynyrd sounding ballad and “No More Tears” is a decent Ozzy cover. Zakk’s voice isn’t all that great on this album, he would get better on the later ones, but it still has some charm.

It’s to my understanding that the album was released in the Fall of 1998 in Japan, but before the U.S. release, they decided to do some remixing of the album. So, we got a new album cover (see above) along with the “bonus track” of “No More Tears”.

Highlights: “Bored to Tears”, “Spoke in the Wheel”, “No More Tears”

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