CD Scavenger Hunt (December update) – The final update of 2010

2010 is almost over and it’s been a good year for buying music. There have been so many new albums, so many reissues and so many discovered treasures that it’s been hard to keep up! Actually, I didn’t keep up…..I have literally hundreds of albums  on my desk and in boxes next to it that I either bought or were sent in by bands. There is just no possible way that I can listen to every album that crosses my desk but I do make a point to give every CD I buy a listen. I’ve bought a lot this year through online stores, band websites, Ebay, private sales and…..my favorite…..the record stores! Record stores are a dying breed, more and more are closing every year, especially the mom & pop stores that cared about the music and the customer, go out and support them!

December is always my slowest month of the year because the holidays are right around the corner and the hard earned cash has to be spent on more important things…..like presents and holiday dinners and, well, more presents! This is also the time of year when not much comes out because most of the new albums have already been released and it’s time for labels and stores to focus on greatest hits packages. The problem is that there are ALWAYS great sales this time of year, especially around Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and I can’t pass things up sometimes.

So here it is, the final update of 2010…..make sure you check out my final totals and analysis at the bottom…..

Online

Lana Lane – Gemini (2006), Garden Of The Moon Special Edition (2002), 10th Anniversary Concert CD/DVD (2005) & Rocket Scientists – Revolution Road (2006) – $20: I was going through my CD collection making lists of things I was missing the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I decided to head over to Think Tank Media to see how much the Lana Lane CDs were because there are some glaring holes in the collection even after I picked up a few on Ebay this year. When I got to the website, they were having a $5 sale with free shipping on select inventory…..how could I pass up this sale? So I started going through the list and I picked up three Lana Lane releases I needed and I decided to try a Rocket Scientists album, the band that Lana’s husband, Erik Norlander founded. What a great deal! GEMINI is a covers record so I never bought it when it came out, the GARDEN OF THE MOON Special Edition is a 2 CD set, the 10 ANNIVERSARY CONCERT is a CD & DVD set and the Rocket Scientists album is a 2 CD set also. That’s like getting 6 CDs and a DVD! Plus free shipping? SOLD!

Ebay

Bret Michaels – Freedon Of Sound (Vol. 1): A Collection Of Songs Past & Present (2005) – $15: I have been on the search for all the Bret Michaels solo albums because, if Bret’s going to repackage everything with a couple extra new songs and new artwork and call it a new album, I’d rather get the out of print original. This album is interesting because it has a lot of new songs for 2005 but it also has the start of the repackaging of older material with two songs each from the two previous Bret solo albums, A LETTER FROM DEATH ROW (1998) and SONGS OF LIFE (2003). Most of these songs are out there on Bret’s newer albums ROCK MY WORLD (2008) and CUSTOM BUILT (2010) so you can definitely hear them but, if you want the originals on Bret’s label, you’re out of luck…..out of print! I have been scouring used bins and Ebay for a while and I came across this CD on Ebay as a BUY IT NOW with free shipping…..I pulled the trigger immeadiately!

Helix – Half-Alive (1998), Jackal – Vague Visions (1993), Jaded Heart – Slaves And Masters (1996), Letter X – Time Of The Gathering (1991), Mercyful Fate – In The Shadows (1993), Rattlebone – s/t (1992), Samson – Refugee (1990), Tokyo Blade – Mr. Ice (1998), Tyketto – Strength In Numbers (1994) – $27 used ($3 each): I found this lot on Ebay when I was cross-referencing a different Helix album, so I saved it and kept my eyes on it. I don’t own any of these CDs and the price was right to add all of them at once to my collection. How can you pass up 9 CDs at $3 each? I have been trying to pick up all the Helix CDs I’m missing so getting HALF-ALIVE is a big deal seeing that I’ve seen just that CD go for $20+…..the rest of the bands I’ve heard of, some like Tyketto, Samson and Jaded Heart I already own other records but this lot is more like a cool grab bag for me. It adds so bulk to the collection and maybe a hidden gem or two.

Final Stats for 2010

Total (December) = $62

Total (year) = $1820

Average Price (per item) = $10.23

Total CDs (year) = 162

Total DVDs (year) = 7

Total Box Sets (year) = 7

Total LPs (year) = 2

Lana Lane – Red Planet Boulevard (2007)

Lana Lane – Red Planet Boulevard (2007, Think Tank Media)

  1. Into The Fire
  2. The Frozen Sea
  3. Capture The Sun
  4. Jessica
  5. Stepford, USA
  6. Shine
  7. Lazy Summer Day
  8. No Tears Left
  9. Save The World
  10. Angels and Magicians
  11. The Sheltering Sorrow
  12. Red Planet Boulevard

Band Lineup:
Lana Lane – Vocals
Erik Norlander – Keyboards & Bass
Peer Verschuren – Guitars
Ernst Van Ee – Drums

Producer: Erik Norlander

Total Time = 1:08:57

Lana Lane official website
Lana Lane MySpace page
Erik Norlander official website
Think Tank Media

Lana Lane has been churning out album after album of Symphonic  Melodic Hard Rock since 1995 and RED PLANET BOULEVARD is her first album of original material since 2005’s concept album LADY MACBETH. With a collection of covers in 2006 sandwiched in between the two (titled GEMINI), it’s clear that Lana and her band have continued to consistently release superb material. Along with her husband/producer Erik Norlander, and long time band members Peer Verschuren and Ernst Vann De, Lana Lane explores the same grand soundscapes she has on previous efforts with intelligent writing, beautiful vocals, and solid musicianship.

The album kicks off with the melodic rocker ‘Into The Fire’. The main riff is heavy and the vocals soar with Norlander’s keyboards providing a lush backing. A quiet acoustic guitar opens ‘The Frozen Sea’ until another heavy Verschuren riff kicks in and the song moves ahead with a melodic sensibility. It’s almost a little deceiving because Lana’s voice is so beautiful, the melodies and hooks are perfectly aligned, and the first two songs are uptempo and are both metallic and progressive. Continuing the heaviness is ‘Capture The Sun’, a song that could be termed as Progressive Power Metal, almost Dream Theater like.

Lana Lane is a talented singer, channelling the likes of Ann Wilson (Heart), Pat Benetar, and Stevie Nicks (Fleetwood Mac), and her talent is beautifully displayed on the album’s first ballad ‘Jessica’. I especially like trade off between the guitar and the keys/organ at the solo. ‘Stepford USA’ is another uptempo rocker with a catchy chorus that tells the story that is the movie. ‘Shine’ is another uptempo song with soaring vocals and excellent riffs, and do I hear a talk box in the background? The music on ‘Shine’ weaves from subtle and almost ballady to an immeadiate heavy riff that maintains the Hard Rock tone of the whole album.

‘Lazy Summer Day’ is the album’s second ballad and sounds like an early 1960s slow dance from the high school dance until the chorus kicks in and the guitar does as well. Come solo time, the main riff picks up and Peer Verschuren plays a tight clean solo. It’s a definitely different than the rest of the album and shows some different influences. ‘No Tears Left’ is a mid-tempo rocker that continues to feature Lana’s voice against a superb musical backdrop while ‘Save The World’ continues the mid-tempo flow with a heavy guitar, marching drums, and intertwining keyboard melodies. There’s a subtle backing track on the chorus that gives it almost a “spooky” effect, very cool. The proceedings pick up again with ‘Angels And Magicians’ with a solid clean riff during the chorus that cuts out for the acoustic while Lana beautifully sings the verses. I could do without the “na na na’s” Lana employs but the acoustic guitar solo that easily moves to electric more than makes up for it.

‘The Sheltering Sorrow’ is another beautiful ballad that reminds me of Lana Lane’s earlier work and could easily fit on her BALLAD COLLECTION albums. It’s another prime example of Lana’s vocal talent as she easily sings with emotion and subtlety amid another lush musical landscape. The title track is last and I’m glad it is. It’s an instrumental that incorporates major elements of each song on the album, almost like a reprise for the entire record. It’s a nice listen but seems unnecessary, I’d rather have another proper song with vocals.

Bottom Line:
I wasn’t too keen with the last few albums, the last album I really enjoyed was 2002’s PROJECT SHANGRI-LA. The last few releases, aside from LADY MACBETH, were either live records or basically covers. I prefer original studio material and Lana and company surely delivery another superb album. The vocals are as powerful as they are beautiful while the music is grand, sweeping, and technically sound. The guitar solos by Peer Verschuren are superb and they weave in and out with Norlander’s keyboards perfectly as the two bond together to give each song a rich full sound. The drums are heavy when they have to be and are expertly done by Van Ee while Norlander handles the bass. Each song has excellent songwriting with soaring melodies, catchy hooks, and a lush full sound. Favorite songs here: ‘Into The Fire’, ‘Jessica’, ‘Lazy Summer Day’, ‘The Frozen Sea’…..actually, I think every song on the record is excellent and I would only change the ending instrumental to a song with lyrics.

Confirmed release dates for new album by Lana Lane – Red Planet Boulevard

From Bravewords:

Release dates for Japan and North American have been confirmed for Red Planet Boulevard, the new album from LANA LANE.

As previously reported, Frontiers Records will release Red Planet Boulevard, the new album from LANA LANE, on December 7th 2007 in Europe.

The album will also be available in Japan on November 23rd on the Avalon label, and in North America on January 29th on Think Tank Media distributed by ProgRock Records.

All versions contain the identical track listing – there are no bonus tracks on any edition.

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Nice to finally have a release date for this new album. Unfortunately, the U.S. & Canada have to wait close to 2 months before we can get our hands on it. My suggestion is to order the album from places like NEH Records, Sentinel Steel, and other reputable mail order stores for December 7th. Lana Lane has made a habit out of not having bonus tracks on different versions, especially on the last few albums. She’s giving her loyal fans a break and not killing their wallets! This is going to be a great record, Lana’s track record is superb.

— Steve