CD Scavenger Hunt – First trip of 2010

I waited until I couldn’t wait any longer…..I finally went out and spent the $90 in gift cards to the local record store that I received for Xmas. Do you know how hard it is to actually NOT go out and spend them right away? Usually, my gift cards are spent within a couple of days but I decided to wait, get my want list together and let the stores’ inventories re-stock.

Being a lifelong Rhode Island native means that any trip longer than 20 mins is a “day out”. There are two local Newbury Comics stores near my house: the one 5 mins up the road in North Attleboro, MA and the one 20 mins away in Warwick, RI. Like I said, for most Rhode Islanders, a 20 minute drive I way too long so I made sure that there were errands to run in that area and my wife and kids came along for the “day out”. I decided to go to the store in Warwick because I know the inventory well in North Attleboro and the Warwick store always seems to have those extra special releases that I’m looking for.

Newbury Comics

W.E.T. – s/t (2009) – $17: Finally! After weeks of waiting and trying desperately to order online, I finally acquired the debut from W.E.T.! I had tried four times to order it from a certain online retailer but the order kept getting cancelled due to the CD selling out. I went straight to the ‘W’ section and found this right away for the same price that was online. I saw this make a bunch of year end lists and MelodicRock.com gave this a perfect 100 score on their review so this was a very important album to pick up. Add in the Jeff Scott Soto factor and it was a must buy!

W.A.S.P. – Babylon (2009) – $16: Another 2009 release that I missed out on because it was out of stock everytime I ordered it online. BABYLON and W.E.T. were always in the same order that kept getting cancelled by my favorite online rock shop. I saw this record make a lot of Top 10 lists at the end of the year and it was definitely a must have. I’ve been a W.A.S.P. fan since the first record, actually before that when I acquired the ‘Animal’ single as an import, and I always look forward to a new W.A.S.P. record. Price wasn’t bad here, only a dollar more from the store I kept trying to order from and $5 less than NEH Records.

House Of Lords – Cartesian Dreams (2009) – $16: I completely missed this album in 2009, I didn’t even realize House Of Lords was releasing a new album! I go back to 1988 & 1990 with the band’s debut and SAHARA but I haven’t really kept up with the band until the last couple of albums. I was impressed with what I heard on WORLD UPSIDE DOWN (2006) and COME TO MY KINGDOM (2008) and this also made a lot of year end lists.

The Last Vegas – Whatever Gets You Off (2009) – $10: Taking a chance on a band that i have never heard before but seems to be on the rise. When I read all the Best of 2009 lists, this CD ended up being on quite a few, and it has been highly recommended to me by more than a few people. Sleaze Glam here so it’s music I like but I hope the band is not the usual L.A. Guns/Guns ‘N Roses/Faster Pussycat clone. This was the last CD I found and the price was right for taking a chance.

Steel Panther – Feel The Steel (2009) – $12: Danger Kitty…..Metal Shop…..Metal Skool…..now it’s Steel Panther! I didn’t bother buying this when it came out because the import price was way too high but I saw this finally got a U.S. release and the price today was more than half than the import. I know there are a few different pressing of this, my copy only has 11 songs…..I’ve seen a 12 song pressing and a 14 track issue.

Epica – Design Your Universe (2009) – $12: Wanted to buy it and should have bought it when it was released but for some reason I passed. I like epica a lot so I’m not sure why I passed on this before but, when I saw the sale sticker still on it, I couldn’t pass it up this time around. The CD rang up regular price ($16) when they scanned it at the register but that old sale tag saved me $4. It always pays to get the sale price…..even if your weeks after the sale!

Charm City Devils – Let’s Rock ‘N Roll (2009) – $7 used: I had $90 in gift cards and I had two CDs in my hand: Saga – The Human Condition (2009) and this one. Both CDs were used and both were $7…..making my overall total $90. I have the Saga album already, I received a promo from the label but it’s not an official pressing and I like the real CD with the booklet and packaging, etc…..but I passed. I found this copy of LET’S ROCK ‘N ROLL and it was the only used one in a bunch of regularly priced copies at $15 each. I couldn’t pass up the price and the new music and I’ve passed on this album so many times that I figured it was finally time to grab it.

Total = $90 (- $90 gift cards) = $0

Total (year) = $0

Total CDs (year) = 7

Killer Klown – Gain (2009)

kkgain

Killer Klown – Gain (2009, Street Symphonies Records)

  1. Monster Idiot
  2. Bloody Velvet
  3. Tropical Disease
  4. Big Town
  5. Broken Silence
  6. Too Bad
  7. Joker
  8. Smoke This
  9. Acid Rain
  10. Gangster
  11. Demolition Man

killer-klown-2009

Band Lineup:
Gabry – Vocals
Diablo – Guitars
Andy K. – Drums
Nicoch – Bass

Produced by: Killer Klown

Country: Italy

Total Time = 36:32

Killer Klown MySpace page
Street Symphonies Records

There seems to be a big Hard Rock/Heavy Metal scene coming out of Italy lately because I’ve been sent a lot of new albums from there recently. Killer Klown are the newest band to hit my radar with their debut record GAIN. The band plays a dirty brand of Sleaze/Glam/Hard Rock and that they profess to be “the pure essence of rock ‘N Roll with no compromises” and “a great Rock ‘N Roll explosion in your face!”. I like the attitude and cockiness and it translates straight into the music because they seriously rock! The band reminds me of big time acts like L.A. Guns, Skid Row and Guns ‘N Roses, as well as, rising stars like Gypsy Pistoleros, Dirty Penny and Wig Wam.

Opening track ‘Monster Idiot’ features blazing guitars and crashing cymbals around lead singer Gabry’s Axl Rose/Sebastion Bach style delivery. High powered energy with screaming guitars solos, Killer Klown set the bar high to open GAIN. ‘Bloody Velvet’ slows down a little but it has that dirty ’80s Sunset Strip sound while ‘Tropical Disease’ chugs along with speedy precision. One of my favorite tunes on the album is ‘Big Town’, it has this infectious chorus and backing vocal while the guitars swirl around until the solo. This has APPETITE era GnR written all over it, it has that catchy hook with a big time swagger.

‘Broken Silence’ slows down to mid-tempo/ballad speed with a cool melodic sense and harmony that reminds me of the power balladry of classic Skid Row and Bon Jovi. This song definitely has that ’80s feel to it and it’s probably my favorite song from the album…..it has crystal clear guitars and melodic vocals. The band picks up speed again with the hard rocking ‘Too Bad’ and the playful GnR styled ‘Joker’, another major highlight for me on GAIN! ‘Joker’ has that playful Nuno Bettencourt influenced guitar, with an awesome solo and big gang vocals at the chorus…..it just sounds like one of those Hard Rock party songs we all listened to.

Killer Klown get back to a mid-tempo groove with ‘Smoke This’, a song that has more of a edgy modern Hard Rock sound, while ‘Acid Rain’ is more of an instrumental/spoken word piece that serves as a dark intro to the following song….’Gangster’. The first time I heard the vocal effects on ‘Gangster’, I immeadiately thought they sounded familiar to the effects used on Motley Crue’s GENERATION SWINE (1997) when Nikki Sixx would sing. I like the trade-off between the effects and Gabry’s regular voice and the guitars are definitely intense. Closing song on the record is ‘Demolition Man’, another high energy song with serious drum pounding and gritty vocals. The song gets very melodic around the chorus and it’s instantly catchy, the guitar solo is one of the best on the record. I have to say, I’m impressed with Killer Klown.

Bottom Line:
If you like ’80s Hard Rock with a lot of Sleaze/Glam attitude, and solid musical performances, then Killer Klown’s GAIN is worth checking out. I hate to keep comparing Killer Klown to the likes of GnR and Skid Row but the proof is in the music and you can definitely hear the influences. The band sounds tight, the songs are well written, and the production is top notch…..GAIN is one of the best CDs I’ve heard this year! For a debut album the band has hit on all cylinders and I will be anxiously waiting for future releases.

Favorite Songs:
‘Joker’, ‘Broken Silence’, ‘Demolition Man’, ‘Monster Idiot’

Teaser – No Big Deal (2008 demo)

Teaser – No Big Deal (2008 demo)

  1. Tease Her
  2. Make Up Your Mind
  3. Guilty Of Love

Band Lineup:
Josef Banovitz – Guitar
Mike – Lead guitar
Vinnie Lee – Bass guitar
Dave – Drums
cAndy – Vocals

Total Time = 17:28

Teaser MySpace page

Swedish melodic rockers Teaser have been on the scene since 2006 and released this 3 song demo, NO BIG DEAL, back in May. The bio on the band’s MySpace page cites influences from Journey, Def Leppard, Talisman, Hardline and other ’80s Melodic Hard Rock bands and the proof is in the music. All three songs fit easily into this style with plenty of melody and hooks to keep fans entertained but I hear some other bands in Teaser’s music. I can definitely hear some Scorpions, Whitesnake, and even some Extreme in their sound…..bands that feature strong songs, vocals, and guitarwork.

The opening track ‘Tease Her’ has that sleazy Whitesnake vibe to it where the song slowly builds up to a powerful chorus but retains a melodic sensibility that reminds me of Extreme. Lead singer cAndy has this interesting cross between Jeff Scott Soto, Gary Cherone, and David Coverdale going for him and the guitars are very good with a solid solo section. ‘Make Up Your Mind’ has a harder guitar sound, that sounds like the rockier side of Journey with a touch of mid-80s Scorpions and more Jeff Scott Soto. The guitars are what lead this song along to heavier ground until the infectious melodic chorus and the Scorpions influence is evident with both guitarists providing rhythm and lead in the same way Matthias Jabs and Rudolf Schenker have done throughout the Scorpions’ glory years. Last song, ‘Guilty Of Love’, starts out with a slow beginning and builds into an uptempo ’80s-tinged Hard Rock number with a simplified straight forward approach. This song doesn’t grab my attention right away, maybe around the chorus. Of the three songs, ‘Guilty Of Love’ sounds like it needs a bit more work to it.

Bottom Line:
A lot of new Scandi bands are exploring the seedier and sleazier side of ’80s styled Hard Rock, many of them follow the footsteps of Faster Pussycat, Guns ‘N Roses, and Pretty Boy Floyd. It’s nice to hear a band like Teaser embrace a more melodic style with some fine guitarwork and harmonies. NO BIG DEAL is a demo so I’m positive that with a little extra work in the studio these tracks will jump right out of the speakers. Definitely a new band to keep an eye on!

Favorite song:
There’s only 3 songs here so I’m going to pick just one: ‘Make Up Your Mind’. I like the harder edged guitar with the solid melodies and harmonies, it sounds like what good Rock was like back when I first started out in the early ’80s.

Gypsy Pistoleros – Para Siempre (2008)

Gypsy Pistoleros - Para Siempre (2007)

Gypsy Pistoleros – Para Siempre (2008, Bad Reputation)

  1. Shotgun Kiss is Ay Que Dolor
  2. Un Hombre Sin Rostro, Pistolero
  3. Forever Is Para Siempre
  4. Senor, Mangi Acqui
  5. What’s It Like To Be A Girl In The House Of 1000 Dolls?
  6. Jet, Jet, Jet Boyz
  7. Una Para Todo Es Bandido!
  8. Livin’ La Vida Loca
  9. Chicas Peligrosa
  10. Moonchild
  11. The Crazy Loco Loquito
  12. Switchblade Kiss Comes Close
  13. 1-2-3-4 Kiss Me Then I’m Damned For Sure

Band Lineup:
Lee J. Pistolero – Lead Vocals
Iggie Pistolero – Guitars
Angel Pistolero – Bass
Leeroy Pistolero – Drums

Producer: Joe Gibb

Total Time = 49:50

Gypsy Pistoleros MySpace page
Bad Reputation

One of the bands that is taking the Hard Rock world by storm is Gypsy Pistoleros. Taking ’80s style Hard Rock and mixing it with sleazy Glam and Spanish flavored music, lead singer Lee Pistolero and his gang of bandidos are taking no prisoners with their latest album, PARA SIEMPRE. 

PARA SIEMPRE is considered the band’s latest release but it is a reissue of the Pistoleros’ debut, WILD, BEAUTIFUL, DAMNED (2007, Evil Boy Records), remastered with two additional songs added in for good measure. I’ve never heard the first release but, listening to PARA SIEMPRE, it’s easy to recognize that this is a band with talent and a unique sound. Imagine early Motley Crue, some Guns N’ Roses, Hanoi Rocks, a dash of Ramones, and Flamenco…..the Pistoleros are covering all the old school bases and then adding their own stamp. The lyrics are a mix of Spanish and English…..depending on the song you get a serious mix of “Spanglish” and that lends another unique characteristic to the band’s identity.

I wasn’t sold on the concept of taking traditional music from Spain and blending it with Hard Rock but I was surprised at just how well the two styles actually came together. Songs like ‘Un Hombre Sin Rostro, Pistolero’ and ‘Jet, Jet, Jet Boyz’ show the bands Sleaze Glam roots while ‘Una Para Todo Es Bandido!’ is THE prime example of of to blend flamenco, Spanish horns and guitar to early Motley Crue from the TOO FAST FOR LOVE era. Listen to Lee Pistolero’s vocals especially on this track and tell me he doesn’t sound like a really young Vince Neil.

The two additional songs are ‘Chicas Peligrosa’ and a rocked out cover of the Ricky Martin hit, ‘Livin’ La Vida Loca’. ‘Chicas’ has Punk elements mixed with Metal while the rendition of the Ricky Martin tune shows that the band is just out to make music and have fun. I’m not a guy that enjoys covers over originals but I have to admit that the Pistoleros’ version is better than Ricky’s, even if it is just for a laugh. My favorite track is ‘Moonchild’. It has that Vince Neil vocal but it has a really nice acoustic guitar in the middle and that shows a bit of diversity.

Bottom Line:
The Gypsy Pistoleros have been the talk of the town in Hard Rock circles for a few months now and all the accolades are well deserved. Instead of re-hashing what has been done over and over again, the Pistoleros decided to blend styles and come up with something different. Lee Pistolero sounds like Vince Neil but there is enough separation between the two to hear the difference. Iggie Pistolero is an absolute monster on guitar and shows a diversity by going from electric to acoustic, from Hard Rock to Flamenco. And I also dig the Spanish horns that back half the tracks up. It’s not hard to hear that Gypsy Pistoleros have brought something new to a genre that can become stagnant very easily. Favorite songs here: ‘Un Hombre Sin Rostro, Pistolero’, ‘Moonchild’, ‘Forever Is Para Siempre’, ‘Una Para Todo Es Bandido!’ and ‘Switchblade Kiss Comes Close’.