“You wanted the best, your got the best. The hottest band in the world, KISS!”

Hot off the 12” heels of their highly successful double live album this leather-clad band transformed themselves into comic book super heroes complete with their own campy made for TV movie and super powers. No Grammys here, just four face painted grampys blowing fire and spitting up blood all for your music enjoyment.

The band in their original line-up has a new album out this year, Monster, and founding members Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss were inducted into the Rock & Roll hall of Fame this past April, all adding another nail in the coffin of that establishment’s legitimacy. I fully expect to see Blue Man Group or if we wait another year the Backstreet Boys nominated next.

Rolling Stone ranked Destroyer 489 in their list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Times.

Detroit Rock City
King of the Night Time World
God of Thunder
Great Expectations
Flaming Youth
Sweet Pain
Shout It Out Loud
Do You Love Me
Rock and Roll Party

If that is not scary enough, enjoy some additional loud rocking, Halloweeny fun from 1976.

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When I was a kid, an old folklore was when you put a large seashell to your ear you could hear the sea, no matter how far away from the coast you were. Somehow every seashell captured a repeating audio clip of waves breaking on the shore. When I listen to this self-titled album by Allah-Las, I get that feeling.

Nick Waterhouse, who I just saw, performing in Santa Barbara, produced all of these songs by Allah-Las. He is a fine L.A. singer-songwriter whose 2012 LP “Time’s All Gone” is a spirited and record-geek friendly collection of raucous 50s-style R&B surf sound thrasher. If you missed my post on Nick Waterhouse check it out (just click here).

Allah-Las sound is vintage R&B with a tad of Bossa Nova and some very old Rolling Stones yearning for the beach. (Most of the guys in this band surf.) The seductive groove of “Catamaran” has a strong ocean riptide pull, but the instrumental “Sacred Sands” shows where the band’s heart really is at the beach. The darker lyrics lurking inside “Sandy”, with its “too close to the sun, Icarus imagery rings very true for me”. Allah-Las are ultimately preoccupied with sound above all else. So long as there are 12-string guitars, four-piece drumkits and lots of reverb. Allah-Las preoccupation to the details is like the feeling after catching that epic wave of a session. That pitching sound of a wave hitting sand or reef gets forever embedded deeply in your cortex, “aka” only a surfer knows.

Allah-Las – 2012 Tracklist

  1. “Catamaran”
  2. “Don’t You Forget It”
  3. “Busman’s Holiday”
  4. “Sacred Sands”
  5. “No Voodoo”
  6. “Sandy”
  7. “Ela Navega”
  8. “Tell Me (What’s On Your Mind)”
  9. “Catalina”
  10. “Vis-à-vis”
  11. “Seven Point Five”
  12. “Long Journey”

Go deep into this music – David

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Giant for a Day

Gentle Giant


The 70’s progressive rock band Gentle Giant was a cross between King Crimson and Jethro Tull. Their self titled debut album, released in 1970 was actually compared to King Crimson’s debut a year earlier with its similar cover art, style and design. The album was not as powerful, and the writing not as strong, however the band did attract a cult following with its mix of medieval harmonies and electric rock. Different from the other prog rock acts of the time this medieval feel, along with the theatrical melodies would continue on their next 5 albums, but the band never broke out of their cult following into popular status. They didn’t rock as hard as Tull or ELP, and they lacked the sweeping soundscapes associated with bands like Yes, King Crimson or even Camel.

In 1978 Gentle Giant put out Giant for a Day. Panned by critics as the band’s worst album, it happens to be the only one I really like. Gone is all the pretentiousness, the complex melodies and cerebral lyrics. No more difficult time changes and the heavy handed mixes that weighed the bands music down for the sake of intellectually literate ambition. What is left is a nice record of rock tunes and pop ballads that are actually pleasant to listen to. It’s got some rockers in Little Brown Bag and Rock Climber, and some beautiful heartfelt moments in Thank You and Friends. The critics would call it their worst album,”the laughing stock of the Gentle Giant discography”. I’ll tell you what, if the band had leaned more in this direction to begin with, they may have had a shot at assembling some mainstream fans during their tenure.

By the way, If you blow up the cover art – click here – and cut it out, you have your Halloween costume for this year 😉

Enjoy being Giant for a Day.

1. Words From The Wise
2. Thank You
3. Giant For A Day
4. Spooky Boogie
5. Take Me
6. Little Brown Bag
7. Friends
8. No Stranger
9. It’s Only Goodbye
10. Rock Climber

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Live at Nassau Coliseum ’78



Look what just washed up on shore!

I have been binge listening to Emerson, Lake & Palmer all week following a cocktail session of bloodies with my brother Bill last Friday. He came over at weeks end for drinks and I threw on Tarkus (what a great album) and that got me going. During my ELP gluttony, I discover this gem, Live at Nassau Coliseum ’78, which was released in 2011. It was recorded in February 1978. Previously it had only been available in bootleg form, but the group’s label went back to the original tapes, cleaned them up, and remastered this high energy phenomenal performance of the band at the peak of their artistry and popularity.

For the last 10 to 15 years ELP has put out several live recordings and reworks of their most popular songs, not really giving us anything new or of substance since Black Moon back in 1992. This recording (Nassau Coliseum ’78) is more than just a summary of their greatest hits. It is a “Nice” slice of time from a band best known for their complex arrangements of grandiose concertos. But, here the adaptations are deconstructed and performed at their core with just the instruments the three musicians are famous for. The performance by the trio is raw, almost intimate giving us a glimpse of that time and place. It’s exceptional! There is a Close Encounter, some StarWars, a little America a la Westside Story and some 2001 a Space Odyssey, all embroidered into this 2 hour performance of ELP classics from the decade of their finest Works.

On Tiger in the spotlight, Greg Lake sings:

Bass playing in my face grabbing the elastic,
Drums listen as she comes hammering the plastic
Keys, I play along with ease
Freeze she’s shaking at the knees
Doing something drastic, chasing the fantastic
To screw your shadow in the sky
But did you ever stop to wonder why?

I’ll tell you what, this set got my knees shaking, and my legs moving. Great run with this one. Enjoy!

1. Hoedown (4:46)
2. Tarkus (17:28)
3. Take A Pebble (3:13)
4. Piano Concerto #1 1st Movement (5:21)
5. Maple Leaf Rag (1:30)
6. Take A Pebble (Reprise) (2:54)
7. C’est La Vie (4:20)
8. Lucky Man (3:22)
9. Pictures At An Exhibition (15:37)

1. Tiger In A Spotlight (4:05)
2. Watching Over You (4:37)
3. Tank (2:12)
4. Drum Solo (6:49)
5. The Enemy God Dances With The The Black Spirits (2:45)
6. Nutrocker (3:48)
7. Pirates (13:31)
8. Fanfare For The Common Man (11:35)

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