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VELVET REVOLVER – Libertad

Velvet Revolver – Libertad (2007, RCA Records)

1. “Let It Roll” … 2:32
2. “She Mine” … 3:25
3. “Get Out the Door” … 3:14
4. “She Builds Quick Machines” … 4:04
5. “The Last Fight” … 4:03
6. “Pills, Demons & Etc.” … 2:54
7. “American Man” … 3:56
8. “Mary Mary” … 4:33
9. “Just Sixteen” … 3:59
10. “Can’t Get It Out of My Head” … 3:58
11. “For a Brother” … 3:26
12. “Spay” … 3:06
13. “Gravedancer” … 8:42

Band:
Scott Weiland- Vocals, Keyboards
Slash – Guitar
Dave Kushner – Guitar
Duff McKagan – Bass, Backing Vocals
Matt Sorum – Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals

Produced by: Brendan O’Brien

The second (and final) Scott Weiland-fronted VR album sounds a lot like his old band Stone Temple Pilots. The band seems to have traded some of the heaviness of Contraband for a bit more melody that showcases Weiland’s voice much better with its diversity. This isn’t surprising though with longtime STP producer Brendan O’Brien producing this record.

The album didn’t fare as well as their debut, as of this writing it hasn’t even gone gold (their debut was 2x platinum), but it’s just as strong. It took some time for Contraband to grow on me, but I immediately loved this album for it’s similarities to STP (“She Builds Quick Machines”, “Pills, Demons & Etc.” and “American Man” sound like they would’ve fit on No. 4). I was surprised and disappointed this album didn’t catch on despite debuting at #5 on Billboard and that Weiland left the band less than a year after this release. I know drugs played a part in that, but I’m sure if the album had been more successful, the group would’ve been more determined to work things out.

There is a hidden song on Track 13. It starts at about 4:43 and is called “Don’t Drop That Dime”.

This is one of only two albums Weiland claims to have recorded sober (STP’s Core being the first).

Highlights: “Let It Roll”, “She Builds Quick Machines”, “The Last Fight”, “Pills, Demons & Etc.”, “American Man”, “Mary Mary”, “For a Brother”

www.velvetrevolver.com
www.myspace.com/velvetrevolver

STONE TEMPLE PILOTS – Core

Stone Temple Pilots – Core (1992, Atlantic Records)

1. “Dead & Bloated” … 5:10
2. “Sex Type Thing” … 3:36
3. “Wicked Garden” … 4:05
4. “No Memory” … 1:20
5. “Sin” … 6:05
6. “Naked Sunday” … 3:50
7. “Creep” … 5:33
8. “Piece of Pie” … 5:24
9. “Plush” … 5:13
10. “Wet My Bed” … 1:36
11. “Crackerman” … 3:13
12. “Where the River Goes” … 8:26

Band:
Scott Weiland – Vocals
Dean DeLeo – Guitar
Robert DeLeo – Bass
Eric Kretz – Drums

Produced by: Brendan O’Brien

If you know me, or have read this blog for a period of time, you know I’m not a big fan of alternative & grunge music. That whole scene made it a crime to actually have FUN with your rock, but even so, a very select few bands slipped through and rose above it all to create some great music. Stone Temple Pilots was one of those bands and they are easily one of my favorite bands of all-time and certainly my favorite alternative act.

This debut album is a classic hard r0ck release, regardless of genre. Tons of songs were and still are radio staples, but it’s actually quite different, being heavier than the later STP albums that blended hard rock with pop and psychadelia. Although I consider STP to be “alternative” and not “grunge”, the grunge sound is quite strong on this album with Pearl Jam and especially Alice In Chains influencing the sound.

Great release, and the band would only get better as time went on.

In addition to producing the next three STP albums, Brendan O’Brien has gone on to become very in-demand having produced albums for Pearl Jam, Papa Roach, AC/DC, Bruce Springsteen, Korn, Velvet Revolver, My Chemical Romance, The Offspring, Incubus, Aerosmith and Audioslave.

Highlights: “Dead & Bloated”, “Sex Type Thing”, “Wicked Garden”, “Naked Sunday”, “Creep”, “Plush”, “Crackerman”, “Where the River Goes”

www.stonetemplepilots.com
www.myspace.com/stonetemplepilots

VELVET REVOLVER – Contraband

Velvet Revolver – Contraband (2004, RCA Records)

1. “Sucker Train Blues” … 4:28
2. “Do It for the Kids” … 3:56
3. “Big Machine” … 4:26
4. “Illegal i Song” … 4:18
5. “Spectacle” … 3:42
6. “Fall to Pieces” … 4:35
7. “Headspace” … 3:43
8. “Superhuman” … 4:16
9. “Set Me Free” … 4:08
10. “You Got No Right” … 5:35
11. “Slither” … 4:08
12. “Dirty Little Thing” … 3:58
13. “Loving the Alien” … 5:49

Band:
Scott Weiland – Vocals
Slash – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Dave Kushner – Guitar
Duff McKagan – Bass, Backing Vocals
Matt Sorum – Drums, Backing Vocals

Additional Musicians:
Douglas Grean – Keyboard

Produced by: Velvet Revolver, Josh Abraham, Douglas Grean, Nick Raskulinecz

I was slightly disappointed when this album came out, which I’m sure stemmed from my extremely high expectations. 3/5 of Guns ‘N Roses (Slash, Duff, Matt) + Stone Temple Pilots (my favorite alternative band) singer Scott Weiland sounded like it could’ve been one of the best hard rock releases of the decade.

I don’t quite think the album is that good, but it’s certainly a well-done release with very little filler and it was nice to hear songs like “Slither”, “Set Me Free” and “Fall to Pieces” on the radio besides the usual nu-metal/post-grunge garbage. If you’re looking for something as ferocious as Appetite for Destruction or any of the blues-influenced GNR hard rock, you’re not gonna find it here (though I suppose “Slither” comes close). If anything, Contraband is a mix of modern alternative rock and the melodies of Stone Temple Pilots (“Loving the Alien” could’ve easily been on a STP album). It’s an album well worth exploring.

The album was released with three different color sleeves: red, white and black. I picked up the black version.

Highlight: “Sucker Train Blues”, “Do It for the Kids”, “Big Machine”, “Illegal i Song”, “Fall to Pieces”, “Set Me Free”, “You Got No Right”, “Slither”, “Dirty Little Thing”, “Loving the Alien”

www.velvetrevolver.com
www.myspace.com/velvetrevolver

Metal Excess News Desk #3

Chinese Democracy unleashed upon the world and debuts at #3 on Billboard, world calls it a complete failure! Axl still in hiding, label angry!

So the numbers finally came out for GNR’s Chinese Democracy… 261,000 copies putting it at #3 behind Taylor Swift (#2 with 267,000 copies sold) and Kanye West, the week’s other big release, who came in at #1 with 450,000 copies sold.

People are blasting this #3 debut as if it’s the end of the world because they didn’t get #1. #1 would’ve been great, but for a group that hasn’t released a studio album of new material since 1991, and seeing as how this is essentially The Axl Rose Band now, the #3 spot and 261,000 copies is exceptional, as far as I’m concerned for a group that has had virtually zero precence in the mainstream since the early 90s and it considered by some to be an “80s hair band”. 261,000 copies + praise from highly respected industry critics = good enough for me. What, were people expecting this album to ship diamond to make up for that $13 million+ that has been sunk into this album? Even if this was a hugely anticipated album: perspective, people…

By the way, Axl has been incommunicado with the label pretty much since handing the album in, so it’s been said. Universal/Interscope/Geffen/whatever execs are miffed about Axl’s disappearance and lack of promoting the album. Yes, I’ll agree with that, he should be out there promoting this. But knowing Axl (which I don’t), I think he’s probably just sitting up there in his mansion reading every word people are saying about the album and taking that into account for the band’s next move (which I hope is to tour). After the world waiting 17 for new original material, I think he decided it would be best to let the music talk for him. He’s never been a fan of the press anyway.
Now, as much as Axl is to blame for not helping to promote this album, I have to point a finger at Best Buy as well. Where were the commercials for Chinese Democracy? Where were the huge in-store banners and special sections of GNR merchandise & albums? There weren’t any. Not at my local store, at least. I go to Best Buy frequently, and you wouldn’t have known the album was even coming out if you weren’t on top of the situation already. There was NOTHING there to let you know “HEY! GNR is BACK!!! And it’s EXCLUSIVE RIGHT HERE at BEST BUY!!!!”
I picked my copy up the day it was released. I came in about an hour and half AFTER the store had already opened and they were just then starting to put up a (small) cardboard stand to put GNR’s albums (including the new one) on. I mean, I know Best Buy isn’t Wal-Mart, but should have at least *tried* to follow the extremely successful formula that Wal-Mart used for AC/DC’s Black Ice.

Eleven Seven Music rock label performing well thanks to Motley Crue, SIXX: A.M. and Buckcherry

Blabbermouth

Eleven Seven Music, the independent rock label, dominates the iTunes Critics Picks for 2008. BUCKCHERRY’s “Black Butterfly” is named the Best Rock Album of 2008, MÖTLEY CRÜE’s “Saints of Los Angeles” is the top rock song, SIXX: A.M. is named a Best New Rock Artist of the Year and SIXX: A.M., BUCKCHERRY and MÖTLEY CRÜE top the sales chart. Eleven Seven Music’s releases comprise 25% of the Top 20 Best Rock Songs as selected by iTunes’ Editorial Board with MÖTLEY CRÜE’s “Saints of Los Angeles” at #1, BUCKCHERRY’s “Too Drunk…” at #2 and their “Rescue Me” at #8, SIXX: A.M.’s “Life Is Beautiful” at #10 and TRAPT’s “Who’s Going Home With You Tonight” at #17. iTunes Best of 2008 can be seen in its entirely at this location (you may have to re-enter link address once iTunes opens).

Eleven Seven Music is among the best-performing rock labels, taking hold on a good portion of the rock charts since its inception in January 2006. With the recent #1 independent release from MÖTLEY CRÜE (the label scored the #2 position last year with SIXX: A.M.’s “The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack” and BUCKCHERRY’s platinum and Grammy-nominated “15”), Eleven Seven continues to build on its model of research-based marketing strategies targeted directly to the fans and building out from that base. At rock radio, SIXX: A.M.’s “Life Is Beautiful” was the most played song of the year. Helmed by President Nikki Sixx, the label’s roster includes MÖTLEY CRÜE, BUCKCHERRY, SIXX: A.M., TRAPT, DROWNING POOL, MARION RAVEN, THE LAST VEGAS, CHARM CITY DEVILS and THE EXIES.

Really happy for all these bands and the label. Hopefully the label won’t fizzle and Nikki can stay interested enough to help keep it afloat. Great roster of talent.

Stone Temple Pilots a thing of the past… again?

USA Today

“When you commit to a band that big that sold so many records and touched that many people, you can’t easily get out of it,” he said. “I’m finally on my own, at a place I’ve wanted to be for so long.”

On being gun-shy about band duty, he said, “There’s a beauty in being part of a band, when there’s equality and trust. But at this phase of my life, I want to write and not have to think about whether a song is going to be a hit. I want to explore the music that inspires me, and I don’t want to ape myself.

“I’ve been saying for a long time that I couldn’t see myself shaking my (butt) in leather pants when I’m 40. My goal in STP was to leave an imprint. That was done. I want to move forward and be in control of what I do musically. I have kids, and I don’t want to spend my life on the road.”

This is kind of disappointing to read. STP are my favorite alternative band (probably because they had so little in common with most of the bands from that genre). As much as I don’t like Weiland these days, STP always delivered great music and I’m sure they could do it again.

These comments are quite odd though considering the band still has a few dates to play this month and Weiland has already gone on record to say the’ve written tons of new songs while on the reunion tour… Bait and switch?

And the 2008 Grammy nominees are…

A few categories in which some of the nominees are relevant to this blog:

Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals

* Rock N Roll Train – AC/DC

* Violet Hill – Coldplay

* Long Road Out Of Eden – Eagles

* Sex On Fire – Kings Of Leon

* House Of Cards – Radiohead

Best Hard Rock Performance

* Inside The Fire – Disturbed

* Visions – Judas Priest

* Wax Simulacra – The Mars Volta

* Saints Of Los Angeles – Mötley Crüe

* Lords Of Salem – Rob Zombie

Best Metal Performance

* Heroes Of Our Time – DragonForce

* Nostradamus – Judas Priest

* My Apocalypse – Metallica

* Under My Thumb – Ministry

* Psychosocial – Slipknot

Best Rock Instrumental Performance

* Castellorizon – David Gilmour

* Suicide & Redemption – Metallica

* 34 Ghosts I-IV – Nine Inch Nails

* Hope (Live For The Art Of Peace) – Rush

* Peaches En Regalia – Zappa Plays Zappa

Best Rock Album

* Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends  – Coldplay

* Rock N Roll Jesus – Kid Rock

* Only By The Night – Kings Of Leon

* Death Magnetic – Metallica

* Consolers Of The Lonely – The Raconteurs

It’d be really cool for Priest to win at least one of the awards they’ve been nominated for. I listened to Nostradamus again two weeks ago and I’m becoming a big fan of it.

THE CROW – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

The Crow – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1994, Atlantic Records)

Track Listing:
1. “Burn” – The Cure … 6:39
2. “Golgotha Tenement Blues” – Machines Of Loving Grace … 4:01
3. “Big Empty” – Stone Temple Pilots … 4:56
4. “Dead Souls” – Nine Inch Nails … 4:54
5. “Darkness” – Rage Against The Machine … 3:42
6. “Color Me Once” – Violent Femmes … 4:09
7. “Ghostrider” – Rollins Band … 5:46
8. “Milquetoast” – Helmet … 3:59
9. “The Badge” – Pantera … 3:55
10. “Slip Slide Melting” – For Love Not Lisa … 5:48
11. “After The Flesh” – My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult … 3:00
12. “Snakedriver” – The Jesus And Mary Chain … 3:42
13. “Time Baby III” – Medicine … 3:52
14. “It Can’t Rain All The Time” – Jane Siberry … 5:35

I don’t know why I own this. I guess it was just me trying new things, even though I wasn’t a fan of grunge/alternative. I took this from my sister’s collection years ago… She never knew it was missing! BWA-HA-HA!

This is a real moody bit of a soundtrack, but that’s appropriate considering the movie it was spawned from. To me, this is pretty much the good, bad, and the ugly of the early 90s alternative scene. STP, The Cure and NIN deliver in spades, but the rest..? Pass. Never could really get into the whole depression rock stuff.

Highlights: “Burn”, “Big Empty”, “Dead Souls”, “It Can’t Rain All The Time”

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