Lost Gems: Out With the Old, In With the New, Let’s not Forget the Forgotten! Part I
Here we are at the beginning of another new year. Recently I compiled a top 10 list of my faves from the previous year 2015. Who decides top 10? Where did that come from? Why not top 37? Decisions, decisions, decisions! Anyway, I am going to tell you about some missed out on gems by the masses over the years/decades that I have found pure pleasure in. Relax it is not that type of article or story, although the pictures you paint in that memory of yours are entirely up to you. I like to go see live music, a lot. You never know where and who, what you might listen to and where it may find you again in the future.
Here is a sampling of bands, artists, songs I think you should check out. For the most part, they were completely missed by the masses, some are still trying.
Let’s start with a band that has relevance today:
Foxy Shazam: You will know this voice; now. Sadly very few latched onto this amazing live act between 2004-2014. I never did until they opened for The Darkness and I was sold within 60 seconds. Amazing trumpet and keyboard players fronted by Eric Nally and his super-high octave vocals. You now hear him on “Downtown” with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, which I happen to love as well. Listen to everything from Foxy Shazam, they have varying song sound and structure. They self-released their last album Gonzo for free then shortly thereafter called it a day. Hailing from Cincinnati.
New American Shame: No one knew this band. Well hardly. Coming out of Seattle in 1998 with a hard rock AC/DC sound is not forgiving. By 2001, they had given up, although in 2010 they have reunited. With only the 1 self titled album release it is sad we did not get more. A solid hard rock sound, my wife found this and gave the CD to me for a birthday gift circa 1999. Still listening to this day. “Under it All” is a constant in my playlist.
Robin Black & The Intergalactic Rock Stars: Now for some Canadian content. Came across these guys and their ultimate glam rock in a dive bar in London, Ontario. Other members are Starboy and Killer Ky (who has quite a resume with ties to New York Dolls and to Hanoi Rocks)….I was sold! The music was David Bowie androgynous and The Sweet melodic hooks everywhere. The live showmanship; fantastic! Saw them many times until they gave up although they now play as Robin Black from time to time and you can catch Robin himself on many MMA shows in which he is active himself as an athlete and announcer. Both albums are killer great to me and a note; Bob Ezrin as producer on Instant Classic for us KISS/Alice/etc fans.
Rick Springfield: Give it a chance…stop whining and keep reading. This is particular to one album from 2012; Songs for the End of the World. Yes, Rick is still and has stayed very active since the 70’s and although I always enjoyed his music, this killer release for me came out just a few years ago. This is one rockin’ release, the whole way through. Not your average release from this artist. Came across this one thanks to The Rock N Roll Geek Michael Butler, thanks Butler!
American Heartbreak: Speaking of Michael Butler you should check out his former band (not Exodus, most metalheads know them, and not Jetboy who most rockers know as well). American Heartbreak should have had more listens. If you like straight ahead hook-laden songs and clean vocal hard rock, this is right up there. Check out songs “Superstar” and “Rotten Apples”. His podcast has been a staple of my listening for years simply because of his varied tastes, check out his top of 2015 for an example.
Million Dollar Reload: I cannot recall at all how I ran across these Irish rockers. Again a sound similar to AC/DC they were around from about 2007 for 5 years or so. Their release from 2012, A Sinners Saint, with the song “Bullets In The Sky” is awesome. I read they have rebranded themselves as Blackwater Conspiracy although have yet to hear the same I just see Hipster style change of image. Too bad really.
Hell or Highwater: Once again a gem discovered opening for The Darkness. They know how to pick ‘em! Still active thankfully and fronted by Brandon Saller who you may know as the drummer from Atreyu. I never latched onto Atreyu but didn’t mind them either. Brandon is a killer singer and frontman. Sadly Matt Pauling is no longer their guitarist and I noticed the difference shortly thereafter in their sound, he was a super nice guy to meet after the gig. Their first release Begin Again is pure heavy energy for anyone questioning my sugary soft side I hope, but really don’t care, you see I like it hard and heavy too! Grin!
Bad City: A long time ago a good friend, who was a musician, said around 1993 he would move to Chicago rather than Seattle. He thought that would be the next big scene and bring rock stars back to the forefront, and guitar solos…he was a guitarist after all. Not sure if he ever did move there as I lost touch. Well, Bad City is from the Windy City and sure knew how to rock from about 2008-2011. Came across these guys because of the song “Call Paul Stanley” from their release Welcome to the Wasteland. Amazing catchy rock n’ roll and a sleazy style vox while also sounding modern for their time rather than stuck in the 70’s/80’s sound.
Keep an eye out for Part II…
- Blair De Abreu