ZZ Top & The Best Of The Year So Far
This is another magazine comp that Mike sent me. It is Classic Rock Magazine issue #174. It’s all over the map, so let’s get to it!
First up is ZZ Top with the first single off their most recent album (La Futura) called I Gotsta Get Paid. I bought the album on the strength of this sngle, it’s a great ZZ Top blues song. The words were a little weird, though, so I looked it up. Turns out the (seemingly) nonsensical lyrics are from an old rap song. Click this link and have your mind blown. Great tune, all the same!
Next is The Darkness, doing Nothin’s Gonna Stop Us. And you know what, if you know the Darkness at all, it’s another song by them. There really is no one else who sounds like them. And this tune is pure mid-90s.
Cory Branan is next with Survivor Blues. This song was actually a perfect follow-up, musically, to the Darkness track in the mix. It’s an interesting mix between a rock/pop tune and a whiskey-soaked, country-tinged vocal. Tremonti follows with Leave It Alone, a big-sounding 90s rap-rock-metal sound. You know that sound. It’s not a bad tune, but it’s hard to believe it came off a record that was released any time recently.
Howlin’ Rain lets off all the steam from the previous track with the totally mild Strange Thunder. Whomever put this mix together didn’t actually listen to the songs they were pasting together. This is a very pretty song, but it never amounts to much and I think that’s the point. I think this one will require repeated listens. Then we have Def Leppard. Yes, those guys, with a song called It’s All About Believin’. It has a U2-like build and tune, yet it somehow still totally sounds like them. It was very disorienting. The chorus is pure Def Leppard, even if you haven’t heard them since Pour Some Sugar On Me. It’s not their best track, surely. But it isn’t bad, either.
Phantom Limb’s Gravy Train is a country-tinged, very soulful tune. I could totally hear the Black Crowes doing this song (or Sass Jordan, since she’s a Crowes rip-off). One of the better tracks here so far. The Van Hertzen Brothers’s Let Thy Will Be Done is next, and it’s full-on rock out time. It’s another tune that would have been very popular mid-90s. I liked the soaring vocal on the chorus and the quick, slippery guitar riff.
Squackett is an unfortunately-named band (it’s an amalgam of the band members’ names, but still a bad idea). Their song Storm Chaser is very Faith No More without FNM’s edge of weirdness. Does that even make sense to read? It’s not really as ballsy, somehow. Maybe if you pictured Pink Floyd and FNM together, you might have a picture of this song. Still… weird. Joe Bonamassa featuring Jimmy Barnes’s Too Much Ain’t Enough Love goes on far too long, but it’s a smooth blues song we’ve heard a million times before. Excellent playing on the part of Mr. Bonamassa, but this tune is really a showcase for the growly deep vocals.
The Treatment’s Run Run Run is pure 80’s-s rawk. Mikey would like this one! It comes complete with “doo doo doo’s” too! Fang Island’s Asunder (Radio Edit) is a pretty pop/rock song (with more emphasis on the pop) that would be right at home on the venerable Mint Record label. LONG LIVE MINT RECORDS! I did find this song’s riff very repetitive, though.
We Are Augustines’ Juarez has a slow build that eventually becomes a very interesting tune. It’s simple, but arresting. There’s just something about it… The Night Flight Orchestra offers up Siberian Queen, which starts out with a promising instrumental but then the vocals are totally incongruous. It’s an 80s rawk tune and the vocals are not at all what I was expecting. It’s melodic but just… odd. And finally we have Asia’s Face On The Bridge. I thought, could this really be the band of old? I listened, and sure as hell it is! The song’s lyric “…and time stood still” really told the tale here, as I was transported back to Asia of, well, all of their career. What a flashback.
In sum, this was a cool mix, a bit jarring at times but that’s what most of these magazine comps are like. There were several good tunes here, some of which will surely get better with repeated listens. There were several bands here that I’ve never heard before, and a few I may never hear again. It was fun! Thanks Mike!