Friday, November 20, 2009

Shit, We're 23-The Demon Beat

The Demon Beat, a trio from West Virginia, are what rock and roll is all about. Loud guitars, senseless lyrics, and wailing vocals. It’s not everyday that a group manages to condense everything great about 60s and 70s rock onto one shiny disc, but The Demon Beat have managed to do just that on their latest effort, Shit, We’re 23.

The album kicks off with a pounding beat, courtesy of the group’s drummer, Jordan Hudkins. Tucker Riggleman’s bass kicks in, and the songs explodes from there. The loud, obnoxious guitar riff starts up, and at once it’s clear why “Got You Movin’” was chosen for the opening number.

“Millionaire” showcases lead singer and guitarist, Adam Meisterhans’, impressive vocals and guitar work. In a world full of auto-tuned, manufactured singers, this guy is the real deal. His voice is clearly one of the best in rock.

“Memory Ain’t Enough” is an incredibly well-crafted track. The groove practically forces you to tap your foot or bob your head along. Then out of nowhere, the track transforms into a ZZ Top-esque blues number before turning things back up a notch.

The band takes their sweet time on “You Got It”. At over six minutes, it’s the longest song on the record. But it works. Not once did I think ‘this track is too long’. The track ends off with a solo that is nothing short of epic. Hendrix would be proud.

“Crawl” is another slower number, but this time features a huge build up to the solo. It doesn’t disappoint. Five killer tracks in a row!

Starting off the album’s second half is a feel good, upbeat rock ‘n’ roll tune by the name of “This Is No Fun”. The band may not have been having fun, but anybody listening to this track is sure to have the exact opposite. Yet another killer solo rounds off the song.

“Make My Move” is more of what you’d expect by now. A catchy, fun, 60s style rock song. Nothing too special, but still a very enjoyable listen.

In “The Game”, the band utilises the groove and bass from some of their slower tracks, with the guitar work and vocals of their more fast-paced songs on top. It turns out to be quite effective, but this is one of those tracks that I can’t quite peg to a certain genre. I eventually decided on ‘kick-ass’.

“Can’t You” is a strange song. Imagine a blues track with haunting, echo drenched vocals. It’s not really something that can be described in words. Odd, yes, but it’s a song that you want to keep listening to, if even just to see what will happen next.

The band took another stab at “Bad Man”, a song from their 2008 EP for the record’s final track. The blistering guitar work, thundering drums, and groovy bass are brilliant, but what makes the song incredible is the vocals. I’m actually convinced that Meisterhan might commit some dirty deeds (and for dirt cheap at that). I really cannot think of a better way to end this album.

Shit, We’re 32 is a musical journey. Each song is unique and flows seamlessly. I’d recommend this album to anyone without hesitation. You can download Shit, We’re 23 for eight dollars (less than a dollar per song), or pick up a physical copy of the record for ten.

The Demon Beat Website:

Big Bullet Records:

My Rating: 4.5/5

Have the album? Let me know what you think! And if you’d like your band’s album to be reviewed, feel free to e-mail me at

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Kiss-Sonic Boom

I’ve written up most of my review for Sundrown’s ‘The 8th Day Bliss’, but for now here’s a review of the new Kiss album!

1. Modern Day Delilah-A fantastic way to open up the album! A dark riff that wouldn't be out of place on Revenge kicks off the song, and it just explodes from there.
Rating: 5/5

2. Russian Roulette-Another dark song, and one of the better Gene tunes out there. Great bass from Gene, a catchy chorus, and Tommy's awesome solo really make this a great track.
Rating: 4.5/5

3. Never Enough-A more lighthearted tune that combines the upbeat nature of their 70s tracks along with a huge 80s chorus. Three winners in a row!
Rating: 4.5/5

4. Yes I Know (Nobody's Perfect)-Sonic Boom was billed as a return to the classic 70s sound, but I haven't been getting that vibe; that is until this track. Sleazy lyrics, great guitar work, and a solid chorus. Is this a (great) leftover from Rock & Roll Over?
Rating: 4.5/5

5. Stand-I was worried about this track, to be honest. I sort of expected it to be a flop, but instead the trade-off vocals and God Gave Rock & Roll To You style chorus seamlessly interact. Overall a solid track, but not among the best.
Rating: 3.5/5

6. Hot And Cold-A Gene song with some silly lyrics and yet another great chorus... when will this album let up?
Rating: 4.5/5

7. All For The Glory-Eric takes a shot at lead vocals this time, and it's a winner! I was not especially fond of this song upon first listen, but after another try my opinion has been reversed. Overall, All For The Glory is a solid track with some great vocals.
Rating: 4/5

8. Danger Us-Tommy shreds out another fantastic riff; one of the best yet! A humorous play on words and, you guessed, another great chorus. What's not to like?
Rating: 5/5

9. I'm An Animal-Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new Gene anthem! There's been War Machine, Unholy, and now I'm An Animal. This is a song that I can see Kiss playing live for a long time.
Rating: 5/5

10. When Lightning Strikes-Tommy gives vocals a try here, and boy does it work well! An awesome guitar riff, a huge chorus, and best of all, a killer solo. Everything is here. Brilliant.
Rating: 5/5

11. Say Yeah-A simply incredible way to finish off the album. If this is not played live I will die. It's quite possibly the best song Kiss has recorded since I Love It Loud. It is seriously that good. They would be foolish not to end concerts with this.
Rating: 5/5

Overall Rating: 9.5/10

This is clearly the best Kiss album since Creatures Of The Night.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Slightly New Format

Instead of reviewing any album I feel like I’m going to try and review only new albums, that is unless there is no new material coming out.

-Taylor, Blog Creator/Manager

Sunday, August 30, 2009


I recently discovered a really cool band called 'Sundrown'. Their bluesy psychedelic rock is some of the best I've heard. Best of all, their music is available for free.

They have two albums out so far, the first named 'As We Watch The Sun Drown' and the second effort called 'Something Or Another'. Both albums are great, but I personally recommend starting out with the latter.

Also be sure to look out for their new album, 'The 8th Day Bliss', which is to be released soon!

Official Website:
Audio Download:

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Rancho Texicano Review


Rancho Texicano (2004) Review

Many people may be thinking “Ugh, another ZZ Top compilation?”, but this one is the best yet.  Spanning from 1971-1992, “Rancho Texicano” covers the band’s blues and MTV years.  However, the biggest reason to buy this album is for the mixes…

In the late 80s, ZZ Top’s back catalogue was released onto CD.  In an attempt to ‘modernize’ the albums, many changes were made.  Drum parts were replaced completely by reverb drenched drum machines, guitar parts were re-recorded, and vocals were changed.  This makes the albums sound dated and loses much of the original mood.  “Rancho Texicano” restores the original mixes, making this purchase well worth the money.

Disc 1:

“ZZ Top’s First Album”: Brown Sugar, Goin’ Down To Mexico, Just Got Back From Baby’s

A good selection of songs from the band’s first album.  However, it is slightly disappointing that Backdoor Love Affair is not included.

“Rio Grande Mud”: Francene, Just Got Paid, Bar-B-Q

I can’t complain about the song selection here.  All three are among ZZ Top’s best.

“Tres Hombres”: La Grange, Waitin’ For The Bus, Jesus Just Left Chicago, Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers

All four of these songs are perfect choices.  From the great guitar of La Grange to the swagger of Jesus Just Left Chicago, “Tres Hombres” is covered perfectly.

“Fandango!”: Mexican Blackbird, Tush, Thunderbird, Blue Jean Blues, Heard It On The X

Tush and Heard It On The X are two ZZ Top’s best songs, while Blue Jean Blues might just be their most bluesy and heartfelt song.  The other two tracks are good, but I do feel they could have been left out. 

“Tejas”: It’s Only Love, Arrested For Driving While Blind

This is one of my favourite albums, yet it seems to go unnoticed and unappreciated.  The two selections are clearly the best songs, but I would have liked to see a little more coverage.

“Deguello”: I Thank You, Cheap Sunglasses, I’m Bad I’m Nationwide, A Fool For Your Stockings

The last of the blues albums is covered well.  Cheap Sunglasses and I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide are two of my favourite songs, and the other tracks are great too.

Disc 2:

“El Loco”: Tube Snake Boogie, Pearl Necklace

“El Loco” really was a pivotal point in ZZ Top’s history.  They embraced new technology, but weren’t quite in the “Eliminator” phase yet.  The two best cuts are here, but I really would’ve liked to have seen Party On The Patio.

“Eliminator”: Gimme All Your Lovin’, Sharp Dressed Man, Legs, Got Me Under Pressure

All three MTV hits are here along with the severely underrated Got Me Under Pressure.  I do wonder why TV Dinners was not included.

“Afterburner”: Sleeping Bag, Stages, Rough Boy, Velcro Fly, Woke Up With Wood

This album took the synthesizers and drum machines to a whole new level, basing the songs around them rather than using them to compliment the tracks.  This and “El Loco” are arguably the band’s weakest efforts, so I wonder why this album gets so much attention?

“Recycler”: Doubleback, My Head’s In Mississippi

ZZ Top’s return to blues-rock does not get the coverage it deserves.  Doubleback is a great all-around rock song, and My Head’s In Mississippi is one of the band’s best tracks, but where are the other songs?  Give It Up, 2000 Blues, and Burger Man are all great songs that could have been included.

Misc. Songs: Viva Las Vegas, Cheap Sunglasses (Live), Legs (Dance Mix), Velcro Fly (12” Remix)

All useless songs.  The cover of Viva Las Vegas and the live performance of Cheap Sunglasses aren’t bad, but completely unnecessary.  The two remixes are just plain stupid.  Why were this included?

High Points

  • Every song is good (at the very least)
  • Original mixes restored
  • The best retrospective of the band available

Low Points

  • Song selection is questionable at points


Overall, this is a great compilation that showcases some great songs from the little ol’ band from Texas.  My only problem is some of the song choices.  Personally, I would have removed Mexican Blackbird, Thunderbird, Velcro Fly, Woke Up With Wood, and the four non-album tracks.  This opens up about 38 minutes of space.  In that space I would add Backdoor Love Affair, Snappy Kakkie, Pan Am Highway Blues, Party On The Patio, TV Dinners, Give It Up, 2000 Blues, and Burger Man. This leaves about 15 minutes for new material.  As for newer material, I would add Pincushion, Rhythmeen, Poke Chop Sandwich, and Two Ways To Play.  This leaves it just a couple of minutes over the original.

Keep in mind I’m just showing you what the perfect compilation for me would be.  I would still recommend this fantastic collection to anyone.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Black Ice Review


Black Ice (2008) Review

I'm going to put aside my chronological AC/DC reviews and review their newest release, “Black Ice”.

AC/DC fans have waited eight years, and it's finally here. “Black Ice” is the band's first album since their 2000 effort, “Stiff Upper Lip”. Recorded in Vancouver and produced by Brendan O'Brien, “Black Ice” is the longest AC/DC album to date, spanning fifty-five minutes. “Black Ice” has sold at least six million copies, so it's off to a great start in sales. The cover of the album features AC/DC in large letters and a very complex black background, which is very cool. The three singles that have been released from the album are Rock 'N Roll Train, Big Jack, and Anything Goes. All of which are radio friendly, making them smart choices.

“Black Ice” hits you hard, starting of with Rock ‘N Roll Train. It’s amazing how the Young Brothers can still come up with killer riffs like this after so many songs. Next up is the bluesy Skies On Fire, which features another great riff, as well as solid backing vocals. Big Jack is fast paced song with an incredibly catchy chanting chorus, reminiscent of Hail Caesar. Anything Goes is a tad more mainstream than what the boys usually pump out, but still hard rocking. Overall, it's a really enjoyable track. War Machine is one hell of a song. It attacks with precision, starting out with a pounding bass line, erupting after Phil’s snare fill. Smash ‘N Grab, in similar fashion to Skies On Fire, is another great bluesy song, featuring yet another great gang chorus. After three solid but forgettable tracks (Spoilin’ For A Fight, Wheels, and Decibel), we are treated to an incredibly unique song. Stormy May Day has Angus playing slide guitar while Brian screeches his heart out about water, wind, and lightning. After the generic She Likes Rock ‘N Roll, the Young brothers pound out yet another fantastic riff on Money Made. The following track, Rock ‘N Roll Dream, is the closest AC/DC will ever get to a ballad. But don’t be fooled; this mellow rockers hit hard once it reaches the chorus. Rocking All The Way is really the only song that feels like filler, which doesn’t make sense on an album with fifteen tracks. “Black Ice” finishes off with the title track, which is a bluesy, foot tapping tune that provides a strong end to the album.

High Points

  • Rock ‘N Roll Train, Skies On Fire, Big Jack, Anything Goes, War Machine, Stormy May Day, Money Made, Black Ice
  • Cool album artwork
  • Sounds great; excellent production

Low Points

  • Rocking All The Way
  • Too many songs
  • Bad track listing
Bottom Line

“Black Ice” is an excellent comeback for AC/DC. It is definitely their most consistent effort since “Flick Of The Switch” in 1983. Really, the only problems are the abundance of songs and bad track listing. “Black Ice” is a fine addition to any rock fan’s collection.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap Review

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (1976) Review

“Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” is AC/DC’s second international album. Like the previous album, “High Voltage”, changes were made from the original (although not as drastic). Two songs, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap and Ain’t No Fun, had their length shortened. Two other songs, R.I.P. and the incredible Jailbreak were removed from the international copy, replaced by Rocker, from the Australia only T.N.T., and Love At First Feel, which was never released in Australia at all.  For some reason, “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” was never released in North America when it should have been. Europe received the album on time, but we didn’t actually get it until 1981.

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap starts off the album with a great riff and pounding drums, making for one of the best songs ever recorded with Bon Scott.  The chorus, “Dirty deeds, done dirt cheap/Dirty deeds and they’re done dirt cheap” just about sums up what AC/DC is all about; dirty, hard rockin’ songs.  Love At First Feel, in similar fashion to the album opener, features a cool riff and pounding drums.  I’m really glad AC/DC pulled this song out for the international release; it and Dirty Deeds make for a great one-two punch to start off the album.  Next up is a song that can only be described with one word… hilarious.  Big Balls is a giant double entendre that compares social gatherings with Bon’s junk.  Rocker goes about it’s business in a way similar to Can I Sit Next To You Girl; with a real 50’s vibe to it.  Problem Child starts off with the basic three-chord riff you will be accustomed to by now and the immortal first line, “I am hot/but when I’m not/I’m cold as ice”.  There’s Gonna Be Some Rockin’ is nothing special, but overall a nice bluesy tune.  Ain’t No Fun (Waiting Round To Be A Millionare) is a song that drags on for far too long, really testing my patience.  The only thing even remotely interesting about it is the guitar, which sounds eerily like You Shook Me All Night LongRide On is regarded as one of the most unique and interesting AC/DC songs.  With only gentle strumming from the brothers, the real star hear is Bon, who really gets to showcase his vocal and song writing ability.  The band is definitely a lot more restrained on this number; just as it’s building up and about to explode, it calms back down.  The album finishes off with Squealer, a song that features one of best basslines in an AC/DC song.

High Points

  • Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, Love At First Feel, Problem Child, Ride On
  • Awesome album artwork
  • Good combination of bluesy and hard rocking tunes

Low Points

  • Some filler songs
  • No Jailbreak

Bottom Line

“Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” is an excellent album, featuring a good mix of songs, including one instant classic (in the title track).  The biggest problem is the abundance of filler, but to be honest, it doesn’t bother me much.  A filler for AC/DC could be a hit for any other band.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

High Voltage Review

High Voltage (1976) Review

AC/DC’s first international album, High Voltage, was not well received by music critics when released in 1976. Rolling Stone even called it an “all-time low” in the hard rock genre. However, this album was the starting point for AC/DC, one of the greatest rock bands of all time, so it can’t be all bad. Before High Voltage was released internationally, AC/DC had already recorded two albums in Australia, a different “High Voltage” and “T.N.T”. However, our “High Voltage “ only shares two of its nine tracks with the original. Basically what we got was “T.N.T”. with a little “High Voltage” thrown in.

It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘N’ Roll) is the rousing album opener.  Featuring a fantastic riff that would be the basis of many more guitar licks to come, this song is pure classic.  It’s A Long Way is really the only time I can stand bagpipes.  Next up is Rock ‘N’ Roll Singer.  It’s nothing fancy, but it does what it needs to do and does it well.  The Jack features some of Bon Scott’s best lyrics, comparing a card game to a venereal disease.  Combined with a great, bluesy guitar riff, The Jack makes for one of the best numbers on the album.  Starting out with a pounding bassline, Live Wire builds up the tension nicely.  It’s no wonder why it was used as a concert opener in the early days.  T.N.T. is the AC/DC song every knows.  Malcom Young pounds out one of the greatest riffs of all time while Bon Scott screeches his heart out.  Can I Sit Next To You Girl has that excellent 50’s rock ‘n’ roll style to it that almost warps you back in time.  After several fantastic songs, we reach the low point of the album, Little Lover and She’s Got Balls.  I love bluesy songs, but these two are just so boring I can barely stand to listen to them.  The only redeeming factor is the jokes about balls in the latter.  Disheartened by the last two snore fests, I was really hoping the album would end on a high note.  High Voltage fits the bill.  With a great riff and a cool gang chorus, I couldn’t have dreamed up a better closing number.  Simply brilliant.

High Points

  • It’s A Long Way To The Top, The Jack, T.N.T., High Voltage
  • Great start for a great band

Low Points

  • Little Lover, She’s Got Balls
  • Not enough original “High Voltage” songs

Bottom Line

“High Voltage” was a solid start for AC/DC, providing three classic songs (The Jack, T.N.T., and High Voltage), two if which are still performed at AC/DC concerts today, thirty three years after the album’s release.