Posts Tagged ‘glam’

Butch Walker and the Let’s-Go-Out-Tonites – The Rise and Fall Of…

April 20, 2018 Leave a comment

Sony Music, 2006butchWalker_300

It had me at “The Rise and Fall Of”, which is the opening album words from one of my favorite albums of all time.  David Bowie’s “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust” came to me late but I was immediately drawn into the tales of starmen and stardust, so with those words as well as an amusing back up group called the Let’s-Go-Out-Tonites, I figured this was a must listen.  I was also curious about the parental advisory sticker for ‘sexual content’ on the front cover, which I wouldn’t have expected from a group that looks like it’s just having a good time.  Okay, perhaps the leg featured on the front was enough of a clue, but come on, how much sexual content could be featured on a record to earn such a tag? Given that it’s 2018, I doubted that this was the second coming of Rocky Horror.

The band doesn’t waste any time getting started, as one immediately believes that Butch Walker and his crew are a glam band, as “Hot Girls in Good Moods” just oozes T.Rex all over the place with purring vocals, heavy guitar riff, and swinging chorus.  At least the inclusion of this song will satisfy any David Bowie nuts that pick up this album thinking it’s a … ahem.  “Ladies and Gentleman… ‘The Let’s-Go-Out-Tonites” and “Bethamphetamine (Pretty Pretty)” continue the buoyant mood and tales of people having a very good time.  “Too Famous To Get Fully Dressed” almost speaks for itself, for if you’ve ever woken up still at last night’s party and you need to go get breakfast without looking like a total wreck, this song’s for you.

“Dominoes” shows up at about the right time for a quiet, piano and strings ballad to break up the bedlam.  I’m usually not one to give much credence to soft tunes out of the blue, but I think Walker put together a particularly poignant song about the memories of a wife long gone.  How this fits into the album’s theme after songs about girls and parties is beyond me, but I liked it anyway.  Of course, once “Dominoes” is over it’s right into the blitzkrieg of “Paid to Get Excited” and rest of the boisterous record.  Momentary pause in the whirlwind apparently over!

The second half of the record finishes at a slightly less urgent pace as the first half, with “The Taste of Red” posing as a light pop tune including violins and an imagined summer breeze.  “Rich People Die Unhappy” is more of a country song while “This is the Sweetest Little Song” completely draws things down enough such that one gets the hint that the bar is closing on this formerly raucous record.  The album finishes with “When Canyons Ruled the City” and its nearly two minute wordless sing-along that has just enough pep to end well on the middle ground.

Check out a live version of “Bethamphetamine”, with go-go dancers and plenty of splendor:  Bethamphetamine (live).  Butch Walker also has a website where you can listen to some of his music and catch up on things: Butch Walker

Though this record didn’t end up as Ziggy and the Spiders returned, it did turn out to be a very good, entertaining album that never got too dull or rote.  There are enough catchy tunes on here that make it worth a repeated listen, especially “Hot Girls…” and “Bethamphetamine”.  Some of the songs near the end of the record lost that early spark, but I suppose one can’t keep churning out the sugar for the ears the entire 40+ minutes.

Butch Walker is still putting out music twelve years later, though of course he looks more grizzled and mature compared to the spiky haired guy in that “Bethamphetamine” video.  It’s impressive how much output he’s produced since 2002 (9 records, 2 live albums, 5 EPs) given that I, er, unfortunately hadn’t heard of him before picking up this record.  Although his recent stuff is more tempered and resembles modern rock that sounds like it wants to be on a TV show, his youthful voice has held up very well since he put out “Rise and Fall…”.  And so, regarding that particular record, for a good pop rock pick-me-up consider giving this record a spin.


The Makers – Strangest Parade

December 11, 2009 Leave a comment

Sub Pop Records, 2002

So who are these Makers and why do they look like I should already know them on the cover of their record?  They’ve all got that kind of greasy, careless long hair look that makes them appears as if they couldn’t be bothered.  The second guy from the left pulls a Paul Stanley impression and the guy to his left looks like he wants to murder me in an alleyway.  Hey, despite the ill feelings towards this music buying stranger, I picked up the disc because these guys exude a magnificent amount of confidence based on how they are lounging in shades in an inside cover picture.  I couldn’t be left out of this cool crowd.

Indeed, the Makers certainly put on an air in their music.  Michael Maker sings with a dramatic air throughout each song and, from what I can tell, doesn’t sound too happy about much.  That sentiment doesn’t mean that the music is tedious, though, thanks to the great rock n’ roll musicianship that supports him.  One of the best songs on this disc, and certainly one that I like to admit to myself from time to time, is “Hard to Be Human”.  Sometimes it is hard to be human, especially when I whack my knee on a table or lock myself out of my apartment.  That’s certainly when it sucks to be human, but the way Maker sings this song with conviction, it does sound he is having a hard time.  There there, Michael, dab those eyes with your clumped locks of hair.

Maker’s wails on “Calling Elvis, John and Jesus” rival those of David Bowie’s at his most pained, especially when he repeatedly asks “Can you heeeeear meeeee?”  Yeah dude, over and over again.  It’d have been more interesting if he was singing about some sort of space being waiting in the sky but that’s already been done wonderfully, so instead Maker loudly sighs about believing rock is dead and how futile things are without Elvis.  But the song sounds great!  Only a few songs in and I’m already grinning due to some of the ludicrousness of the lyrics, but I’m having a glam rockin’ time of it.

Despite the small bits of comedy, the Makers really do have an engaging rock record that has a lot of attitude.  Sure, much of it is posturing and over-sensation, but they certainly enjoy turning it up on other tracks like “Laughter Then Violence” and “Addicted to Dying”.  The Makers also spend a good deal of time getting sensitive with the listener during a few emotional moments sung by Maker, including a reference to a rainbow in “Dear Father, I Think I’m Falling”.  I think my dad would tell me to go sit on a rainbow if I sung that sappily but hey, we all know what this song stretch is all about, right?  The chicks.

It is certainly not a fantastic record of great success to the glam or hard rock genre, but I can appreciate the rock star image that the Makers have slicked together with leather and grimace.  You can’t always expect rock stars to be gritty and of the Springsteen ilk, so the variety of approach by the Makers certainly make things more interesting than twelve of the same songs.  And sure, it’s true that Maker does whine a little bit when he sings, but if you think of it Mick Jagger delivers his voice very similarly during certain songs from the seventies and eighties.  So, despite what appears to be a bit of a hiatus of the band, I think it’d be great if these guys burst back onto the music scene as if they owned it with another record.  C’mon guys, do you hear me on this one?  Do you heeeeear meeeee?!

Categories: TheRest Tags: , ,

The Sirens – Self-Titled

December 8, 2009 2 comments

Get Hip Recordings, 2004

Four women dressed in vinyl clothing and boots posing rather nonchalantly on the cover.  Big explosion graphics are blaring behind them.  One of them is wearing a bright red outfit that has a devil on it with the line “Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide”.  You’re going to leave this in the dollar bin?!  I certainly didn’t, because even if it turned out to be one loud, overhyped production of feeble swill I was certainly impressed with the visual introduction.

The Detroit-based Sirens turn out to be a fiery, heavy-hitting rock band that turns up the amps on some classic, and not so classic, glam rock songs.  The first one off the disc was the perfect tune to rival the pop of the cover art.  The Sirens’ version of Gary Glitter’s “I Didn’t Know I Loved You (Till I Saw You Rock and Roll)” is one of the heaviest, powerful songs I’ve ever heard blare out from a female-led rock band.  I’ve heard harder and louder, but none that matches up to actually being any good.  This cover really encapsulates what the Sirens bring, which is loud power riffs, in your face attitude, and the harsh rock chick vocals of a lead singer named Muffy (the one in red, as it so turns out).  Through some research it sounds like a much beefier Glitter version, but is very very similar to a Rock Goddess version.  Either way, I love the song as it just kills.

Other covers on the record are nearly just as fist pumping if not certainly fist tapping.  The cover of “Chez Maximes”, originally done by the Hollywood Brats, is a great, energized version of a tune not very well known.  The Sirens also do a strong rendition of Suzi Quatro’s “Glycerine Queen”, which is only fitting for them since they pick out Quatro as one of their influences on their website.  The group sometimes doesn’t stick with the glam, as they cover an oldie by Joy Byers entitled “Ain’t Gonna Cry No More” which sounds like it probably had a poppier sound originally but now has a lot more edge.  Truth is, none of these tracks lays down and dies as a piece of unlistenable filler.  If one ignores the fact that the Sirens merely a cover band, one could certainly think that this was a record from a band that was an exciting godsend of an all-girl quartet not seen since the Runaways.  In 2004, if I had heard of these ladies then, I’d have moved immediately to (a nice, plushy suburb of) Detroit!

Check them out on Myspace:  The Sirens

Unfortunately, it appears that the Sirens are no more given the fact that they haven’t updated their MySpace page and their main band address is shot.  They did manage to put out another record and never got away from doing covers.  This fact, along with the heavy rotation of group members, may have been the reason for the end of the Sirens.  It’s a pity, for this debut record really invoked a powerful combination of heavy glam rock that there doesn’t seem to be much of these days.  Perhaps Detroit will think of something else.

Categories: Bargain Tags: , , , ,

Various Artists – MOJO: All the Young Dudes

October 26, 2009 Leave a comment

youngDudesMOJO magazine, May 2009

In a total disregard to that cute, minimized phrase of “Not to be sold separately”, I’ve seen many used music stores sell these compilations that are included with monthly issues of Mojo magazine out of England.  I managed to get this one for only a dollar in Chicago, yet I’ve seen them sold for $5 around Boston and upwards of $10 in New York City.  It’s usually only worth a few quarters, if that, because I’ve found that these compilations are crummy more often than not.  I don’t think I’ve truly enjoyed a single one through and through, even if I’ve only been picking up MOJO magazines off and on for a few years.  Sometimes the magazine will entice you with the music material, or they’ll throw a few somewhat popular bands at you as motivation to buy the magazine for that month.  Usually this means that you’ll get a C-level track from the big bands and a bunch of filler that, although themed well, turns out to be a collection of tossers.  I don’t think I’ve kept, or at least listened to frequently, a single MOJO compilation.  However, I give the magazine props for trying.

Thank goodness I was not entirely jaded from previous compilation failures when I saw multiple copies of this compilation in a used bin stack.  I love that 70s British rock period, for one thing.  Something about the rock n roll combined with the sexual vibe as well as dodging the classic rock tag out of America seems to work for me.  Bowie from that time, the glam that ensued .. fantastic stuff.  So imagine my surprise when this compilation dished out some instant greatness with T.Rex, Motorhead, and some guy named Larry Wallis early on.  Even the Mott the Hoople track, which isn’t “All the Young Dudes”, holds up as a great tune.  A few songs get a little British midway through, if you get me, yet I found that for the first time in possibly ever I have enjoyed a MOJO compilation nearly in its entirety.  Even once I got past the bands I recognized, I liked what Be-Bop Deluxe and Jook brought on, as well as a high energy rocker from Bearded Lady entitled “Rock Star”.  This disc, finally, is a keeper.

Alas, with the shutdown of Lala, I’ve got nothing for you to listen to.  However, you can always search around Grooveshark and see if there’s a couple of tunes from this compilation to listen to!

Difficult thing with this review is that, though I’d like for you to go check out this fine compilation, finding it affordably is tricky. Like I mentioned before, most places don’t pawn this off for under $3, so you might just have to compile this yourself using mp3s and artwork found online somewhere. I would still caution one from buying these things for a top price since they are, usually, throwaways that aren’t all that interesting. However, if you can find one on the cheap these MOJO compilations do provide a pretty good look into the age or theme that the magazine has featured for that month. They are also impervious to age, as most compilations are based on decades in the past. So in conclusion, regardless of what you think of the cds themselves, everyone should definitely go out and pick up a MOJO magazine to experience some great music writing that will take you days to fully read over. I’m a subscription man, myself!