How can it be that Valient Thorr has existed since 2001 and I just now heard of them? The affects of aging apparently. Wisdom and hipness must be inversely related. Thanks to the miracle of modern media consumption I can know the megarock sounds of VT!
I’ve lived in the same state as the Chapel Hill, NC-based band for seven years. That makes this oversight extra messed up. I probably missed numerous chances to see them live, without traveling the globe to do it. Looks like they are ripping up Europe this summer but I’m hopeful there will be a triumphant homecoming gig right here in Cackalacky sometime this year.
OK, here’s how I heard about Valient Thorr. I was lying on couch watching the Vevo channel on my Roku. When you search for a music video on Vevo it automatically continues playing “related” music. I started with Turbonegro. That was followed by a couple mediocre bands. Then we jumped way off the tracks and I was subjected to several seconds of Whitesnake’s “On My Own” before I could pounce on the skip button. Keep working on that algorithm Vevo! Mercifully, that was followed by Valient Thorr’s ultramega rocking, and funny, “Double Crossed.”
This Mother Love Bone record, Apple, is better than I remember. Too bad the singer Andrew Wood wasn’t able to manage his state. He died of a heroin overdose before this album was released. On the back cover there is a note: “In memory of Andrew Wood.” At the time I thought they were a little too perfect, too Seattle, too trippy. Some of the lyrics and titles still strike me as a bit uh… something, but the record has plenty of great riffs and hooks. My favorite song is a dirge, “Stardog Champion.” I’m a sucker for gang vocals from a bunch of kids. Check out the video, and stay tuned for the kinders at the end.
If you’ve heard only one song by MotÃ¶rhead it’s almost certainly “Ace of Spades” from the album of the same name. There’s an AT&T television ad in heavy rotation, or maybe it’s just the type of shows I watch, that has a burly metalhead singing the song at the end. I’ve seen it so much I had to hear the real thing again.
One fun thing about the Ace of Spades (1980, this version on Profile Records 1986) album is its copious use of that curious percussion instrument the vibraslap. Hear one at Wikipedia. No sound conjures up the spaghetti-western, guns-about-to-be-drawn vibe more than the vibraslap’s rattle. I first became intimately familiar with the vibraslap when I was a percussionist in my junior high band, and I’ve been in love with it ever since. So, it’s probably no coincidence that my all time favorite Motorhead song is “Shoot You in the Back.” Just listen to all that vibraslap.
There are a few other great songs, but despite its fame this is not a consistent record. Unfortunately, there is also some really off-putting stuff like “Jailbait.” Come on, man.
Raw, loud, fast, naked rock and roll power! I will never tire of it, or The Hellacopters. I just read that after a tour of Europe for their new album Head Off they are calling it quits. So sad. We end the week with another great one, Grande Rock, released in 1999 by Sub Pop. I got this record from Olsson’s in Old Town Alexandria, VA. Yes, it is vinyl. Olsson’s was cool enough to maintain a small vinyl section, but I think I had them special order this. My favorites are “Dogday Mornings” and “Venus in Force.” I brought this home and started playing it right away. Mere seconds after the needle hit the groove my daughter Paris, who was five years old at the time, exclaimed “I know that’s rock and roll!” I raise ’em right.
Oh my goodness, this song rocks! I’m a long time fan of The Hellacopters and “Sign of the Octopus” from their new record Head Off is already one of my favorites. Listen closely for the cutting guitar lick at the end of the chorus. It only happens twice for a cumulative four seconds of rock and roll bliss. Be ready to rewind because you’re going to want more, more and more! And more!
If you’re still standing after “Octopus” check out more of their new stuff at their MySpace page, especially “No Salvation” and “Veronica Lake” and “I’m Watching You” and, well, all of ’em. I gotta get the scratch together to add this to my Hellacopters record collection.
I typically play what I’m posting, but today I’m posting what I’ve been playing: Led Zeppelin’s Presence (1976). I had a hankering to hear “Nobody’s Fault but Mine,” but once this record started spinning I rediscovered some other gems like “Hots on for Nowhere” and “Royal Orleans.” There are only seven songs, but I was still surprised to read this album was recorded and mixed in only 17 days. I believe I bought Presence in the mid ’80s when I worked at a chain record store. I was late to the Zeppelin party due to acute punkrockitis.
When I first heard of Raging Slab they were being described as a combination of Motorhead and Lynyrd Skynyrd. That’s a dream music combo to me, but probably a nightmare to some. Some version of that description was frequently used by magazines for a number of years. When you consider that the band started in NYC and that Assmaster (1987) was put out by a punk rock label you can probably guess that the description was at best simplistic, and probably misleading. This music is weird, and truly unique. The founding band members may have had a love of boogie rock but after it filtered through their contemporary punk and noise influences the output was something completely new.
The original release of Assmaster came with a fantastic comic book produced by two artists from Marvel Comics. (Click image for larger version.) The comic book and cartoon album cover art may lead the uninitiated to dismiss Raging Slab as some stoner rock clowns, but that would be a mistake. Front man Greg Strzempka’s (a.k.a. Jagory Slab) lyrics are always interesting, often brilliant, and occasionally poignant. There have been periods where the music was more mainstream, but it was always good.
This is a very interesting band, and a favorite of mine since this first record. Raging Slab have had a long rollercoaster career of indie label obscurity and major label mainstream success. And then there’s the period where they moved into a farm house in rural PA and started a rock commune… Read all about Raging Slab at Wikipedia.
I am the master of my… aaaaass
I’m no one’s prince, and no one’s… baaaaaastard
I am the master of my ass
Long time no listen. “Good Times Bad Times,” the first song on the first Led Zeppelin album, is probably my favorite of all their music. When I see how young the guys look on the back it’s even more impressive how out there this record is. Another favorite is “Communication Breakdown.” It’s more punk than the punk music that would come along almost a decade later. I liked it so much as a punk rock teenager that I recorded my own cover of it on my Tascam Porta One cassette four track. I played all the tracks and did a good job on drums and bass. My guitar work was not uh… scintillating. And I’m pretty sure the vocals were an octave lower out of genetic necessity.
Note on the back cover:
This is a stereo recording. For best results observe the R.I.A.A. high frequency roll-off characteristic with a 500 cycle crossover.
Here is something you don’t see every day: a mini CD by The Cult packaged in something similar to a checkbook cover. A mini CD should not be confused with the MiniDisc. This little guy will play in most older CD players, but I’m scared to stick into the side of this iMac without an adapter. And I haven’t seen one of those adapter rings in years.
I don’t know if we paid for this, I hope not, but it’s on Beggar’s Banquet which probably means we bought it for the record store we had at the time. I was long over The Cult when this came out in 1989, but the cool package must have convinced to keep it. That’s not working now though. I think this is only the second time the disc has been out of the cover, and some of the ink stuck to the plastic.
There are three songs: “Fire Woman,” the big hit from the Sonic Temple record; “Automatic Blues,” a fun riff rocker that’s awfully similar to Zeppelin’s “Black Dog” (I was toggling between the two and Mary didn’t realize they were different); “Messin’ up the Blues,” an acoustic blues shout out to every American roots rock musician you can think of. That last one is painfully long and cheesy even by The Cult standards.
Hellacopters! Rocket From the Crypt! When I’m having a good day these bands are part of the imaginary soundtrack of my life. I can’t get enough roots rock/punk rock. This 1999 double band single, Hellacopters’ “Crimson Ballroom” and Rocket From the Crypt’s “Delorean,” was put out by Gearhead Magazine, and included with issue #10. In my fantasy life Gearhead is the “lifestyle” magazine.
This record is a seven inch vinyl disk to be played at 45 revolutions per minute. I’ve included a pic of the vinyl so the kids can see what I’m talking about. I’m doing it all for the kids.
Want to know what it's like to have brain surgery? Well here's the long version of my experience. Complete with pictures and videos! Read all about the Brain Surgery Experience.
"I'm Heavy Duty!" was my original blog about everything. Now it's about new music, old records, live shows, stories, memorabilia, garage band demos, anything and everything else related to music. Over 500 posts at this Music Blog!
"Heavy Duty Incorporated" is our blog about making things. It can be "art" or clothing or almost anything. If we or our friends make something I like to share it. Craft & Art Blog