As an addition to our monthly Quick Picks in Goldmine, here are some more 'picks' recommended by the Editor.
By Patrick Prince
(Purple Pyramid Records)
Right out of the gate, Travers comes at you with rough-and-ready, hard rocking power of the opener, “I Always Run.“ and, much like the opener, the entire album has this same kind of ‘Thin Lizzy-ish’ kick to it. Travers voice is suitable for the energy of the guitar groove and no surprise that his guitar leads are sonically wonderful throughout. It’s quite possible that you will enjoy this new Travers record like the ‘crash and burn’ ‘70s . In fact, the title “Retro Rocket” is spot-on. It’s Travers’ tried-and-true sound blasted into 2015 — classic rock for our current millennium.
Don’t overlook this one.
No better way to start off a Jeff Beck concert than with the energized “Loaded.” And, hey, great guitarists never grow old, only better with time, right? Seems to suit Beck just fine. “Live+” (recorded on US tour last summer) has all the rockin’ blues and classic electric guitar from a master; the talent can be overwhelming in a grand way and songs electrifyingly soothing — best example might be Beck's rendition of The Beatles' “A Day in the Life” but also, “You Know You Know” and “A Change is Gonna Come.” The crowd comes off a bit subdued in the mix on “Live+,” but certainly not Beck, his band and blues-throated vocalist Jimmy Hall. All you need to do is turn up the stereo for the hard ’n’ heavy closer “Going Down.” “Ain’t that right, Jeffrey?”
Note: Two bonus studio recordings — “Tribal” and “My Tiled White Floor” — close out the disc. “Tribal” is the kicker with a unique hard rock riff leading the charge (and vocalist Ruth Lorenzo belting out perfectly-timed Steven Tyler screeches).
While on the subject of great guitarists, Andy Summers' new solo disc, “Metal Dog,” is a stereophonic delight of guitar sounds. It’s quite impressive, the sounds Summers gets out of his guitar and then turns them into cohesive instrumental songs, touching on many genres — whether it’s the aggressive title cut, the playful “Animal Chatter” or the moody "Ishango Bone,” the Dog keeps your ears excited.
BUY, BUY, BUY
“Van Halen” reissue
Is it or is it not remastered? Oh, ok, they say this reissue is remastered, then it must be. But exactly how is it remastered? "Cut straight from the quarter-inch tapes for CD..." Really, it’s for the individual listener to decide if it's worth it in the end. This debut album is a sample of Rhino/Warner Bros. latest Van Halen reissue campaign. This listener felt a slight umph in bass thump (not necessarily a good thing with this particular release), however… no bonus tracks or any extras whatsoever make this reissue of a classic album (way) less worthwhile. And who could ever remaster DLR’s witty asides anyway? Besides, I always trust/prefer the original vinyl, thank you. That's where I go for my "Atomic Punk."
BORROW first, then buy if it suits you (and your stereo)
Daniel Todd Carter
LP (two long songs) of extremely ethereal expressions from musician/creator Daniel Todd Carter. Soundscape ambient Proggers will like such expansive expression. Think the opposite of Tangerine Dream’s “Zeit” — a string of sublime clouds not cold distant planet. www.soundanimator.com
"Virgin Suicides: Original Motion Picture Score" - 15th Anniversary Edition
2-CD Deluxe Version
Glossy-sounding soundtrack by French duo Air is more Prog atmospherics than their usual instrumental space-pop — with a few really nice keyboard-laden, Floydian cuts here. The 15th Anniversary edition is a remastered original album, rare outtakes, and unreleased live performances that give it even more worth. The Vinyl box set (2-CD/Vinyl/EP/Picture Disc w/Digital Download) is even better - a consumer collectible masterpiece to behold.
“Who Invented Heavy Metal?”
By Martin Popoff
(Power Chord Press)
This just may be the most fun I’ve had reading a music-related book in some time. I was skeptical at first, especially at the beginning, when it was as if 'Heavy Metal' started with the loudness of the Big Bang and not with the wit and wisdom of Lester Bangs, but it fires on pure fun after that. “Who Invented Heavy Metal?” should be a sure hit with any music history buff, too, packed with B&W images of historical items and other metallic goodies. Turn it up to 11 by getting the book at www.martinpopoff.com