Monday, December 22, 2008

Top Ten Albums of 2008

Well here it is people my top ten list for 2008. Like I've said before it was a pretty good year for new quality releases. There are many that should have made the list but there was too much competition this year. As for the list itself, my first pick is the number one of the year, hands down. Albums 2 - 10 are not to be ranked in any particular order by myself. If any readers want to rank them they can be my guest. If anyone thinks my list left off someone, feel free to leave your choices in the comments. Well this is going to be a long one so I best get a move on.

#1 Nazareth - The Newz
nazareth
After 40 years of rocking, Nazareth isn't content to sit back on their laurels and keep reissuing greatest hits packages like some bands do. Nazareth released their new album, The Newz, back in March and this is one fantastic slab of ear candy. The real newz is that this could possibly be the best Nazareth album ever released. I know what you're thinking, how could it possibly surpass the holy trinity of Razamanaz, Loud n' Proud and Hair of the Dog that are considered Nazareth's best albums. It's a massive hard rock/eclectic slab of Funk, Straight ahead Rock N Roll and with a couple ballads thrown in with their new release. Having been a Nazareth fan since 1974 I am happy as a pig in shit about "The Newz". The production is fantastic with just the right mix of instruments to vocals. The songs rock and rock extremely hard except for a few slower songs here and there. This needs to be heard because nothing even comes close this year.

A Day at the Beach
Buy It

#2 Presidents of the United States of America - These are the Good Times People
presidents
A long title for probably the most overlooked album on this list. In fact most people might not even have realized that these guys were still together. The most infectiously fun, hook laden, and can't get those songs out of your head album on the list. In fact your favorite song on the album is liable to change everytime you listen to it. This is an album I would like to post up every single song so more people could discover it and enjoy it as much as I have. This album hasn't left my mp3 player since it's release in March. If you haven't heard it then you're really missing out on something here. Of course if you don't "get" these guys then the whole album may be lost unto you.

More Bad Times
Deleter
Buy It

#3 AC/DC - Black Ice

A lot of hype surrounded this album and for good reason. After an 8 year hiatus the boys sound like they never missed a beat. No messin' around with the formula that works for them. Where do Malcolm and Angus keep coming up with those monster riffs? Did they break new ground? Nope. Experimentation? Nope. Is it a great album? Hell Yes. It is what it is, an exquisitely crafted AC/DC album. Anything Goes may be the best tune since You Shook Me All Night Long but that's just me. No samples for this album as you should already own it and putting up a clip would be redundant.

#4 Great Big Sea - Fortune's Favour
great big sea
Fortune's Favour is the 9th studio album released by Canadian folk rock band Great Big Sea which came out in June of this year. Thirteen years after releasing their debut album Great Big Sea’s first track, “Love Me Tonight,” from their new CD, sounds just as fresh as when the band first appeared on the music scene. This is a band that has never become complacent, and never taken for granted the careers that they have. The real treasure of Newfoundland and Labrador is its people, and out of that earthy, gregarious, and fun loving people, sprang a rock band called Great Big Sea, who continue to charm music fans throughout the United States and Canada, with their own special brand of folktales. Fortune’s Favour just adds to the growing legend, of this outstanding group. The second track, “Walk On The Moon,” serves as the inspiration to keep our dreams alive. It is a song about taking your best shot at pursuing your dreams. It is about not being afraid to walk through that door or out on that limb. At a time when America is experiencing the most significant economic crisis in my lifetime, Canada and the United States are at war in Afghanistan and Iraq, this is the song of hope that we all need to hear. The album is chock full of easy songs to sing along with, because they have contagious melodies and they are fun songs that celebrate life, and anyone who knows Newfies will tell you they know how to do that in fine style.

Walk on the Moon
Love Me Tonight
Buy It

#5 Hayes Carll - Trouble in Mind
hayes carll
I have done several posts on this tremendously talented musician. I don't see the need to rehash again why this individual and this album are excellent. It just is. The 32-year-old Texan's songs blend some of the finest elements of folk, country and rock with brainy, quirky lyrics. For those who may have missed those posts check out the archive and I'll up another track right here.

Bad Liver and a Broken Heart
Buy It

#6 Hank Williams III - Damn Right, Rebel Proud

I just covered this fine album not too long ago. It's a winner folks

Candidate for Suicide
Buy It

#7 Tom Jones - 24 Hours
tom jones
The Welshman refuses to age gracefully, and more power to him. His Art of Noise collaboration on Prince's "Kiss" showed the way in '88. On his 1994 album The Lead and How to Swing It, Jones teams with Trevor Horn, Flood, Youth, Teddy Riley, and Jeff Lynne.He reinvented himself again. In November the icon returned with his first album of new material to be released in the United States in over 15 years. "24 Hours" represents another milestone for Tom Jones; from interpreting a classic Bruce Springsteen track to writing and working alongside the likes of Bono and The Edge. On this album Jones returns to doing what he does best, switching between sweaty Sixties R&B workouts and breezy, free-and-easy swingers. In fact this album sounds like it could have been released in the sixties. The ballads, however, are amazing. The key ballad here is "The Road", a blue-eyed, melancholy Bacharach-style schmaltzer that pays tribute and apologizes to Linda, his long-suffering wife of over 50 years for his extramarital adventures: "I know I caused you pain/Left you shattered on the ground". Tom Jones proves once again that he is indeed, da man.

I'm Alive
Buy It

#8 Def Leppard - Songs from the Sparkle Lounge
def leppard
This just may be their hardest rocking outing since Pyromania(ok Hysteria then). And the band is in top form. Joe sounds fantastic, as always. It's amazing that after all these years he hasn't lost his range. The guitar work from Phil and Vivian is great. There are some good, memorable riffs on nearly every track, which is something recent albums have been missing. The production value is great as well. This record has strong echos from their 80's past, while still being fresh for the times we know as of now. They prove that they can write and record great songs without their former legendary producer Mutt Lange. Good to have you back lads.

Go
Buy It

#9 Sparks - Exotic Creatures of the Deep
Sparks
How can I even begin to describe the Mael brothers most recent brilliant outing. I can't. Like I've always said you either love Sparks or hate them. There doesn't seem to be any middle ground. On Exotic Creatures of the Deep they nailed it on ALL levels: lyrics, music, and vocals.

Lighten Up, Morrissey
I Cant Believe You Would Fall For All The Crap In This Song
Buy It

#10 Nerf Herder - Nerf Herder IV

Chock full of pop culture references, witty and humourous lyrics abound and the music is great. I did a lengthy post about this album earlier in the year. Worth the purchase price for Garage Sale alone.

Garage Sale
Buy It

Honorable Mention Judas Priest - Nostradamus

You have to buy full albums to really get it. A superb concept album.

Wow there it is my top ten list. This is probably my last post of the year. I believe a holiday is due for all of us. If I chance to start again before the new year then so be it. If I don't I would like to extend the best holiday wishes to all my loyal readers out there, and remember not to be afraid to take that Walk on the Moon.


Funny Toon

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Turkey

christmas turkey
Christmas Turkey is a Christmas-themed album released in 1997 by the Canadian Comedy Music group The Arrogant Worms. For the uninformed, The Arrogant Worms are a Canadian musical comedy trio that parodies many musical genres. They are well known for their humorous on-stage banter in addition to their great music. When not spoofing a particular style of music, the Worms' material pokes fun at various aspects of daily life in Canada with songs like "Canada's Really Big", "The Last Saskatchewan Pirate", "Me Like Hockey", "We are the Beaver" and "Proud to Be Canadian". In fact you haven't lived untill you've heard We Are the Beaver. It's Awesome. The Worms are frequently mistakenly credited with performing "Eskimo" (often mistakenly titled "I'm the only Gay Eskimo" or "Gay Eskimo") by Corky and the Juice Pigs, "Cows with Guns" by Dana Lyons, or "The Toronto Song" and "The White House Burned (The War of 1812)" by Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie, along with various "Weird Al" songs and many other comedies and parodies by miscellaneous bands. Great change of pace Christmas album not to mention that the Worms kick ass eh.

The Christmas Song
Vincent the Christmas Virus

Christmas Turkey

I've pretty much stayed completely away from Christmas songs this year. This will be my only post to feature any holiday music. But it has been a tradition here at Good Rockin' to post up my favorite Christmas song ever recorded every year. Before I do let me say that with the holidays descending upon us Good Rockin' Tonight will only have one or two more posts this year. The last post of this year will be my annual Top Ten of the year list which I am currently working on. Not sure when it will be up. Then homercat must take a holiday break and won't be back until the first week of 2009. Just a heads up eh. Now my favorite yuletide cheer.

It's Christmas Time by Mojo Nixon and the Toadliquors

Horny Holidays!


Funny Toon

Thursday, December 18, 2008

London Calling

Every once in a while I am zapped out of my everyday humdrum doldrums and am reminded why I started this blog in the first place. Then I realize further that I should be posting here on a daily basis. I have been trying to get at least every other day, but sometimes I even miss that. After today who knows, I may be chucking out a lot more posts (after the holidays of course). Let me tell you a story of this morning.

This morning arrived early at 3:30 AM. Our island rarely gets snow or below freezing, but this morning we had both. So an early start was in order. After an excruciating comedy of errors in the wee morning hours homercat finally got to work. Our new guy was working the graveyard. He's been with us about six months now and he's a strapping young lad of 20. As usual he had his Ipod fired up as he was cleaning up our dashing little pub. He always has his Ipod glued into his ears. Recently he told me that since he's started working at the pub, he's heard every song on his Ipod and was looking for recommendations for music. Now he's no musical slouch and we've often had conversations about music. He even plays a little guitar. My last recommendation for him was Slade and he tried them out but didn't seem to fired up about them. This morning our conversation turned to music on my top 100 albums of all time. So he says to me, what album would you consider to be #1 on your list. Now that is a tall order. Usually I would pick out 10 albums and say that these 10 are the top 10 and I couldn't possibly put them in any order. I was pigeonholed and had to pick a number 1. So without any more hesitation I proceed to tell him that my pick for #1 would have to be London Calling by The Clash. A no brainer for me. In fact if I was told I could only listen to just 5 albums for the rest of my life, it would still be #1 on my list.

You know what he says next? "The Clash, who's that?" My jaw dropped to the floor. Here is a knowledgeable young man and he has never heard of the Clash. I was stunned beyond belief. Turns out that he has heard Should I Stay or should I Go but didn't know who sang it. So I told him London Calling was my pick for best album of all time and he'd never heard of it. I can't imagine not having that album in my life let alone not ever hearing it. For my money nothing else even comes close to the assault on auditory senses that London Calling provides. Not only is London Calling one of the best-written albums ever, it's one of the best-sounding albums as well. The first time I placed this album on the turntable, my mind was blown. From the menacing opening chords of the title track, I was mesmerized. Then comes the smokin' cover of Brand New Cadillac and I was done like dinner. By the time Death or Glory was playing, I knew this was the ultimate Clash song on the ultimate album. Most of the songs are so brilliant that it seems impossible that mere humans created them. The amazing conglomeration of political and social ideas is merely one of the marks of the genius of this album. Fascists, revolutions, gangsters, junkies, race riots, nuclear destruction, rude boys, suburban alienation, consumerism, and even Montgomery Clift mixed upon hard rock, punk, snarling vocals, rockabilly, jazz, ska, and reggae. Amazing. London Calling literally changed my life. Trust me on this one. If it hadn't I wouldn't have cried like a baby almost exactly six years ago on December 22, 2002 when Joe Strummer, a man I admired greatly, died suddenly at his home of an undiagnosed congenital heart defect. Just ask Mrs. homercat. I was a mess that day.

I tend to stick to lesser known artists, oldies, out of print or the occasional new stuff. It never even occurred to me that I should write a post about The Clash. I mean doesn't everyone own this album? Apparently not. Maybe I should be writing more about what I call the biggies (the big artists). So that is how I was reminded of what prompted me to start this little old place 5 years ago. To expose a younger generation to the classics. As long as there are 20 year olds walking around this planet who have never heard of the Clash, then I suppose Good Rockin' Tonight will stay in business. Those of us who know music are obligated to expose and educate the younger generation so something like this never happens again. Even though most of you own this album (or should), it is my duty to cue up a couple tracks for the uninitiated. Rock in Peace Joe, 6 Years on: Never Forgotten, Always an Inspiration, Always Missed.

London Calling
Death or Glory

The Clash - London CallingBuy It

Funny Toon

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Pulling Rabbits Out of a Hat


In 1984 Sparks released their thirteenth album called Pulling Rabbits Out of a Hat. Coming off the heels of the commercially successful In Outer Space, in true critical fashion the album was dissed by critics. The album developed the light synthpop sound of In Outer Space but with a slightly darker lyrics revolving around Ron Maels favourite subject matter: relationships. Songs like the title track and "Everybody Move" have danceable grooves, and "Song That Sings Itself" and "Love Scenes" are surprisingly straight forward love songs. Honestly I don't know what some folks have against this album. I listen to this Sparks album more than any of their others. For some reason I am drawn to it and whenever I put it on it brings a smile to my face. Even though the songs may be simple and straight forward, they're catchy, danceable and extremely sing a longy. Very infectious. The Mael brothers trademark wit and cleverness are here in all their glory. Screw the critics, it's a great album.

Pulling Rabbits Out Of A Hat
Pretending To Be Drunk

Sparks - Pulling Rabbits Out of a Hatbuy it

Funny Toon

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Wendy and Lisa

wendy and lisa
Wendy and Lisa is the self-titled 1987 debut album by Wendy and Lisa, formerly of Prince's band, The Revolution. Wendy Melvoin (vocals, guitar, bass guitar) and Lisa Coleman (vocals, keyboards) best known for their collaborations with Prince and the Revolution in the early-mid 1980s, began their career as a duo in 1986 when (go figure)became increasingly disillusioned with Prince's decision to expand the Revolution with non-musicians, such as Wally Safford and Gregory Allen Brooks, and Prince's increasing machismo that these new members brought with them. Unhappy and vocal about their feelings, they were eventually convinced to remain with the band and to go on tour that year with the "Hit and Run" shows. However, Prince felt spurned and by the end of the tour he had already decided he would dissolve The Revolution once the tour was complete. Hence, by October 1986, Coleman and Melvoin (along with Bobby Z.) were dismissed by Prince.

The lead single for their debut album, "Waterfall" received some airplay, and the music video was played on MTV and VH1. The album was a moderate success, but did not approach the sales figures of The Revolution. The sound was a continuation of the ethereal/dance/R&B fusion that had been the hallmark of their work with Prince; many Prince fans that were more fond of his funkier music did not follow the duo's work.

Lest you think this talented duo has faded into obscurity, that is far from the truth. They currently score all of the music for the NBC shows Crossing Jordan and Heroes. Their work on Heroes won the duo the 2007 Film & TV Music Award for Best Score for a Science Fiction Television Program. Most recently they did some work on Grace Jones new album Hurricane.

Waterfall
Honeymoon Express

Wendy and Lisa

Funny Toon

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Fully Completely

Fully Completely is the third full-length album by Canadian rockers The Tragically Hip. It was released in October 1992, and was their first album to reach #1 on the RPM Top 100 albums chart. Hip fans are divided about which of their albums ranks as their best. Generally one of their first three albums is usually picked and this album is most likely cited as the best Hip album. It may also be their darkest album. A series of grisly, psychotic mood pieces that together produce an album of songs about bodies in the trunk, drowned hockey players, implied incest, doomed romance, and cold winds blowing over your private parts.

Lyrically the album alternates between pessimism and despair: "Locked in the Trunk of a Car" is written from the perspective of a serial killer, and "Courage," perhaps the album's most popular cut is inspired by a chapter in Hugh MacLennan's book The Watch That Ends the Night. It seems to detail the thoughts of a person who cannot decide whether or not to commit suicide. Other songs are inspired by real, mostly Canadian, events - "Fifty Mission Cap" tells the true story of Bill Barilko, a star player for the 'leafs who disappeared after scoring the winning goal in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Next time the team won a Cup was the year he was discovered. "Wheat Kings" is about David Milgaard, who was wrongfully convicted of murder in the 1960s. The title of "Pigeon Camera," amazingly enough, literally refers to pigeons with cameras attached to their legs that were used (mostly unsuccessfully) in the First World War as tools for aerial observation.

If you're not a fan or have no idea who the Tragically Hip are, this is probably the best place to start to get acquainted with their music. Gordon Downie's lyrical brilliance really takes center stage on this album. An essential album if you're serious about yer rock n roll.

At the Hundredth Meridian
Locked in the Trunk of a Car

Fully Completely

Funny Toon

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Once Upon A Star

Fire up your way back machine and get those tartans ready because I feel another Bay City Rollers post coming on.

Once Upon a Star is the second UK album by the Scottish group Bay City Rollers. Released in 1975, the album featured a British #1 hit single, "Bye Bye Baby", and marked the first time the group performed its own music, rather than relying on session musicians. At the point "Bye Bye Baby" hit Number 1 in the U.K., the boys were hosts of their hit T.V. show "Shang-A-Lang," and "Rollermania" was in full swing. Due to pre-orders, this release hit Number 1 on the U.K. charts on the day of its release (also achieved by The Beatles and precious few others). Finally, the boys were allowed to play on all the songs, even on the album's surprisingly complex arrangements, which include such instruments as a mandolin, a violin, and even an accordion. Eric and Woody wrote seven of the 12 tunes. The production is more sophisticated than on "Rollin'" and this record establishes the group’s trademark sound. All in all, this release marks a major step forward and it may not win over listeners who dislike sugary pop music, it does show that the Bay City Rollers stood out from the rest of the teen idol pack because of their skills as writers and instrumentalists. An interesting note: the Rollers wouldn't make it big in North America until the next year when songs from the UK releases of Rollin' and Once Upon A Star were compiled to produce the group’s first American LP, Bay City Rollers. Homercat likes these guys.

Angel Baby
Rock & Roll Honeymoon
Let's Go (A Huggin' and a Kissin' in the Moonlight)

Once Upon a Star
Funny Toon

Friday, December 05, 2008

D’Haene - Vinyl

D’Haene
Since homercat runs a music blog he gets his fair share of unsolicited emails from a number of bands wanting me to check out their music and promote it on Good Rockin'. That's a good thing and I try to listen to all the submissions I get. Being mostly an "oldies" blog, I don't spend enough time showcasing the new music that people keep getting me to listen to. So the other day I got an email from Bob D’Haene asking me to check out his bands upcoming new album Vinyl. I took a gander and on first listen liked what I heard so D’Haene gets a spin on Good Rockin' Tonight.

D’Haene (pronounced: D’Hain) is an NYC based rock band formed in ’03. Their first record, “Brother man”, was released in ’05. It was met with great reviews, plenty of college radio airplay and a trip to the “First Annual James Brown Festival”. NPR listed them as one of their “Great Unknown Artists”.

Their follow up entitled vinyl will be released in early 2009.

Songwriter Bob D'Haene (vocals, rhythm & lead guitar) writes songs influenced by classic 70's soul, standard American blues and 90's alternative rock. Backing D'Haene and bringing his lyrics the weight they deserve are Riley McMahon (lead, rhythm guitars, lap steel), Rick Guetschow (bass), Sammy K (drums and percussion) along with Tim McCracken (Keyboard & Background Vox).

Upon first listen of Vinyl my first impression was hey there's some great riffs going on here. Which loosely translated means this is a rock n roll album. There is an impressive range of styles and influences going on here. When I listen to the range of this one and the quality of musicianship, it kinda makes me wonder how this band has slipped through the major label radar. I guess they're focusing on bands that sound like Coldplay. I asked the band which songs they would like to promote and they gave me a couple suggestions but also said they would be curious as to which one I would pick. So I'm going to go with my pick, which is my fave song. It's nice to work directly with these new artists as they want promotion and it eases my mind as I have permission to put up a track here today. Keep an eye out for Vinyl when it comes out. I think we're going to be hearing more about this band in the future.

Wouldn't You Like to Know by D'Haene

Funny Toon

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Tangled

TangledIn 1984, Jane Wiedlin was the first to leave the Go-Go's to pursue a solo career. She subsequently has four solo albums to her credit. I just love Jane Wiedlin. Even after all these years I still think she's just cute as a button. The Go Go's were okay, but I really liked her solo stuff a lot better. There's something about her voice that just slays me. Not only is she cute as a bug in a rug, she was also the most talented. Forget about Belinda's solo work, it doesn't hold up at all against Jane's. Tangled was her third solo album which was released in 1990. It contains a great collection of pop songs sung in an almost angelic voice.

In 19996 she formed the band froSTed and they released one album. The reason the "ST" in froSTed is capitalized is because Jane is a big Star Trek fan, and as a result she got a small one line role in the fourth ST movie, The Voyage Home. Other movie roles include Joan of Arc (with no spoken lines in English) in the time travel comedy Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure and an ill-fated singing telegram girl in the cult comedy/mystery film Clue. Wiedlin also appeared as the bus station lady wearing a neck brace in Steve Balderson's 2005 surrealist crime drama Firecracker, a film Roger Ebert named on his list of the year's best films. Jane was ranked #76 on VH1's Greatest Women of Rock N Roll. She is a member of the fetish community. When she was on a celebrity version of "Jeopardy" (which she won), she wore leather bondage pants. One of the first songs she wrote as a Go-Go was called "Fun with Ropes".

The thing I don't get is that when Tangled came out the album received negative reviews from critics. One critic went as far to say that Jane "did not have much of a voice", and compared the album as bad compared to Go-Gos or Belinda Carlisle solo releases. He concluded the review by saying: "Between Wiedlin's weak singing and the consistently poor material, Tangled is a disc to avoid." Dude I have to disagree strongly and vehemently. I even wonder if that dude listened to it. I have listened to this disc hundreds of times and never tire of it and would rather listen to Janes solo stuff than the drivel Belinda Carlisle or even the Go Go's put out. Even without critical or commercial success, Tangled represents an artistic peak and is the most satisfying release by Jane Wiedlin as a solo artist. So poop on you Mr. music critic.

Her stuff is sadly all out of print.

Tangled
Guardian Angel

Tangled - The AlbumJane Wiedlin
Funny Toon

Monday, December 01, 2008

Word of Mouth

Toni BasilOh mickey you're so fine. This here album is a definite slice of the eighties. Toni Basil's debut album, Word of Mouth, came out in 1982 and pop-music history was made. The music video for "Mickey" was one of the most popular of the early MTV video days. Word of Mouth is an eighties New Wave classic slice of vinyl, featuring enough songs and musical contributions from Devo, that it could almost be considered a lost Devo album (no surprise that Basil and Devo's Jerry Casale were an item at the time). Actually she has had quite an extraordinary career.

After high school, she became a go-go dancer and quickly moved into choreography, working on '60s television shows like Shindig and The T.A.M.I. Show; in 1964, she appeared with Annette Funicello in the film Pajama Party, which she also choreographed. In 1966, Basil released her first single, the Graham Gouldman-penned "28"; the B-side was her recording of the title song from avant-garde filmmaker Bruce Conner's Breakaway, in which she also appeared as a dancer. Basil's acting career soon hit a peak with her role in 1969's landmark Easy Rider as a New Orleans hooker; she went on to appear with Jack Nicholson in Five Easy Pieces and Dennis Hopper in The Last Movie. During the '70s, she choreographed films like American Graffiti and The Rose, and also worked on David Bowie's 1974 concert tour.

In the late '70s, Basil formed her own urban-style dance troupe, the Lockers, and moved into music video directing as well, helming the groundbreaking Talking Heads clip for "Once in a Lifetime." In 1981, she signed to Chrysalis as a recording artist and cut her debut album, Word of Mouth. Back when MTV was new and worth watching, they actually showed videos all the time and Mickey received heavy rotation on the fledgling network. Yeah she was a cheerleader in high school and that's her actual cheerleading outfit from her high school days in the video.

As popular as this album was (#22 on the charts), it's a shame it has never been released on cd. You can kind of piece it together from different compilation albums. I would love to see this remastered and finally released on cd. If the only thing you're familiar with is Mickey, it's worth your while to check out some of the other tunes from the album which I feel are much better. Enjoy this blast from the past.

You Gotta Problem
Space Girls

The Best of Toni Basil: Mickey and Other Love Songs



Funny Toon