• Front Stage Music Blog

    Front Stage Music Blog

    Front Stage Music Blog will continue to bring music reviews on your favorite recording artists, along with updates on touring schedules, dates, and news from all your favorite artists, along with Amazon MP3 links.

  • Adam Lambert: The Quest for Platinum

    Adam Lambert: The Quest for Platinum

    Adam Lambert, the successful runner up from American Idol (Season 8) is on a quest for platinum. Adam's debut album "For Year Entertainment" is close to reaching platinum status in the US.

  • Black Sabbath: The Reunion

    Black Sabbath: The Reunion

    Black Sabbath: The Reunion

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Top Five Songs of All Time

Recently, I was asked to contribute to an article about the best songs ever written. Since I was thinking on the subject, I thought I would write a piece on what I believe are the Top 5 songs of all time.

Any list about the best songs ever is subjective. It's an opinion list and, by its very nature, the list is subjective. I invite all of the suggestions and critiques you may have.

Let's begin.

The first song on my list that can always be found on a list of the Top 100 songs of all time is Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here. I heard a remake of this after the 9/11 attack and was driven to tears. Wish You Were Here was written by Roger Waters in the wake of the death of a band member. It is such a simple verse but resonates with anybody who has lost someone...which is everybody.

There are many people out there who think Pink Floyd's music is only for certain types of people. If you are one of those people, you need to reconsider. Pink Floyd's music, and especially the song Wish You Were Here, is timeless and will appeal to anybody with a soul.

The second choice in my Top 5 comes from one of the all time greats, Bruce Springsteen, and it is none other than Born To Run. I recently saw Bruce perform his Superbowl act and was amazed that he can still jam so well at his age (there were times when I thought he might not get up from some of those dance moves though).

Born to Run resonates with just about everyone. There are always times when we want to abandon our current situation and hit the road thinking, "baby, I was born to run." Then, we probably turn the car right around thinking I have a mortgage and credit card bills to pay.

Bob Marley's No Woman, No Cry earns my top spot for number 3 on the list. The Bob Marley Legends CD was a mainstay in everyone's dorm during my college days. In fact, I recall having an argument with my girlfriend and I wrote in my journal, "Perhaps I should follow Bob Marley's advice: No Woman, No Cry." My girlfriend later found this entry and it did not lead to a great day.

I was wrong however. The song actually means, "No, woman, don't cry" which is what I ended up saying to my girlfriend after she found my journal.

Number four on my list of all time favorites is Johnny Cash's I Walk the Line. This is perhaps on my mind because I enjoyed the 2005 movie with Joaquin Phoenix and it got me listening to this song, and many others of Johnny Cash, again. This song is quite the opposite of Born to Run as Johnny Cash attempts to straighten out his life for his beloved wife. It is quite life's dilemma, is it not? Stay or Go?

Fortunate Son by Creedence Clearwater Revival earns the fifth spot on my list. It summarizes the experience of a man faced with the prospects of going to the Vietnam war. He is not a "fortunate son" in that he has no means (does not come from a privileged family) to get out of the war. This song truly captures the emotions of the time.

Well, that is my list of the Top Five Songs of All Time. As you can see, it does not include any of today's Top Rap Songs or new hits, just the classics. As I said, it's subjective. What is on your list?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Music Review of Fantasy Black Channel by Late Of The Pier

“Late Of The Pier” are a four-piece indie rock band from Castle Donington, London. Late Of The Pier are Samuel Eastgate (Vocals, Guitar and Synthesizers), Andrew Faley (Bass and Synthesizers), Sam Potter (Sampler) and Ross Dawson (Drums). All of them have pseudonyms and known as Samuel Dust, Francis Dudley Dance, Jack Paradise and Red Dog Consuela respectively. Late Of The Pier are very much into electronica and their music genres cover indie rock, electronica, synth pop and dance-punk.

Late Of The Pier’s Fantasy Black Channel opens with roaring guitar instrumental “Hot Tent Blues”. It seems that Late Of The Pier have been using a sampler to make this track. The guitar on this track revives the 80s rock scene where it’s filled with pitching and echoic guitar. The bass and drums provide cushion in the background as the guitar plays on. Once it reaches the remaining 13 seconds, the track gallops again but this time, with some start/stop guitar riffs. It’ll gradually bring you to the next track. Very energetic opening!

Once entering “Broken”, oh my god the guitar just brings you on. You couldn’t help it but to move your body to this crazy filler track. Very awesome guitar work i would say. Shortly after that, it’s followed by a series of music created by synthesizers and sampler. Only by the time Samuel enters with his vocals, Broken seems to slow down a bit to allow him to express himself. Broken is filled with various guitar playing, you can’t help but to love this track. Just my first listen, Broken already got me wanting for more. Very addictive!

“Space And The Woods” comes in right after Broken. If i’m not mistaken, it sounds like Late Of The Pier are playing keyboards here. Catchy keyboards playing by them. Samuel has a robotic voice-like as he sings on. When it comes to the part which i assume is the chorus, the guitar just comes in, without affecting the earlier keyboards that we first heard. In the bridge, Samuel sings in a very ignorant voice that goes, “I’m shit hot so say what you think about me, i’m not gonna cry because I don’t care…” It sounds kind of cool here. The music on Space And The Woods definitely matches the previous track. Love the keyboards!

“The Bears Are Coming” has a very cool opening. African-influenced percussion belting with the synthesizers. Once Samuel comes in, it just adds extra weight to the already really good music. After each paragraph of his singing, the music just plays on. And it’s not just some ordinary music, it’s the type of music which is going to at least make you nod your heard. The Bears Are Coming also vibrates some disco-feel to it. In the bridge, Late Of The Pier just takes a short break with the slow tempo and Samuel enters with his yell-like vocals layered with heavy-heart elements, “I saw you wading in the water, i saw you ride along the sea, shine on a nightmare, shine through the trees…” Once after that, the music again kills me on the spot. With some voice in the background, it’s like a party track in the making. Before ending, it seems that Late Of The Pier are not done with the track yet, they just play around with their synthesizers and sampler. Amazing feeling!

On “Random Firl”, the music in the beginning is just way too cute. The synthesizers-influenced guitar are very cheeky as well. If you pay attention, you would notice a slight sound of exclaimation (Like a woman’s gasp) in the background when the music are just warming up to get to the verse. It just sounds so funny to me. Slowly, Late Of The Pier seem to be adding more instruments to this track, making it sounds much better gradually. The cheeky and catchy guitar just work its way throughout the track, very sweet feeling.

“Heartbeat” begins with some 80s-like music before the real deal comes in where Late Of The Pier enter with loud guitar riffs. When it gets to the chorus, Heartbeat seems to get into another level, it gets rougher and groovier here with Samuel going, “A heartbeat, a flicker, a line…. It’s just a line…” in repetition. The best moment on Heartbeat definitely. Entering the second verse, the bass also gets groovier and louder. It just never fails to pump up my blood and the volume. It’s not a line, it’s the music!

“White Snake” has a somewhat slow beginning. But it suddenly bursts with the loud guitar of Late Of The Pier. Samuel also seems to be gasping for air when singing as it’s fast and loud here. The guitar also plays at a speedy rate. When it gets to the chorus, the whole track just loosen up slightly. Piano can be heard playing in a repetition of notes rapidly as the track goes on from here. In the bridge, Late Of The Pier add some creepy music to White Snake, it comes in as a surprise, really. But it’s still good as the track is so fast until it gets you rocking as well. Even Samuel sings and yells like a true rock star!

“VW” continues with some clever music playing. Horn can be heard here as the music goes fast and slow throughout the track. When it’s fast, the horn seems to be louder and the music sounds kind of eerie, as if something bad is bound to happen. When it gets to the slower part, Later Of The Pier seem to be getting ready for the next speedy break. Listening to VW makes you think that you’re running out of time and something bad is about to happen. Dangerously fast!

“Focker” has a very strong electronic influences to it. On the verse, Samuel sings very fast as if he’s gulping down the lyrics. However in the chorus, things get a different approach. Samuel just sings and drags on, “I wanna be you friend… Oh yeah…” With the heavy electronic music in the background, sometimes it just drowns out the voice of Samuel. Focker can be said one of the wildest tracks on Fantasy Black Channel. Even the remaining 30 seconds are filled loud guitar and synthesizers, looping and echoing to the end.

“The Enemy Are the Future” has a cute beginning. You would know what i mean after listening to it. It seems that this time Samuel share his vocals part with other members of Late Of The Pier. It has a deep and playful voice once it comes in. As the chorus comes, the whole track as i never expect, sounds very good with the bass going on. With Samuel going catchily in repetition, “Easy life, is it an easy life?…”, i feel obliged to sing along as well. I just don’t know why, the way Late Of The Pier play and sing is really good! Needless to say, the music is just great on The Enemy Are The Future. Deeper into the track, it just turns into another track totally. The sampler and synthesizers just hit the invisible magic button as it’s no longer a rock track, it’s a dance track. Very, very highly evolved.

“Mad Dogs and Englishmen” starts with a bell chiming from afar. Sooner than later, the bass comes in and eventually it gets louder with a certain rhythm to it. The guitar and the bass on this track seems to be working together here, layering and covering one another. When the bass goes, the guitar waits; when the guitar goes, the bass waits. The bass especially, makes me smile as it possesses some funny elements in it. In the bridge and until the end, Late Of The Pier just play their stuffs which resulting in some playful and great music. It makes you want to play…

“Bathroom Gurgle” opens with steady drum beats (That resembles “Chelsea Dagger” by The Fratellis) and soon joined by synthesizers. The music itself is already catchy enough to make me want to get up and dance. It’s infectiously groovy! In the chorus, Samuel yells, “Find yourself a new boy…” with the music adding in some xylophone-like sound. I really enjoyed myself listening to that particular moment. Other than that, Late Of The Pier’s Samuel also plays around with his vocals on Bathroom Gurgle as he imitates the voice of females at some points of the track. Few seconds after the chorus, Bathroom Gurgle surprises us with a cheering part that goes, “So put your hands on your waistline, and move you body to the bassline, and get your hands on some cheap wine…” Late Of The Pier really show everything they have on this track. One track that covers a variety of singing and playful music.

Darren Tan

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Review Of Alestorm - Captain Morgan's Revenge

Release Date: 25th Jan., 2008


1. Over the Seas
2. Captain Morgan’s Revenge
3. The Huntmaster
4. Nancy the Tavern Wench
5. Death Before the Mast
6. Terror on the High Seas
7. Set Sail and Conquer
8. Of Treasure
9. Wenches & Mead
10. Flower of Scotland

Hailing from Bonnie Scotland, Alestorm are one of a new breed of bands bundled into a genre known as “Pirate Metal.” After some promising demo releases two years ago under the moniker “Battleheart”, the band generated quite a lot of interest on the internet. Partially due to this interest, they were snapped up by Napalm Records and promptly changed their name to Alestorm.

While there is no doubt that their appearance and (terrible) lyrics seem to justify this genre attachment, after one listen to their latest album, CAPTAIN MORGAN’S REVENGE, it becomes apparent that “Pirate Metal” is in fact a whimsical nonsense. For what we have here is, plain and simply, an overblown folk/power metal album.

However, that’s not to say that this is a bad album. It is actually a partially interesting listen. It starts out with what is arguably the best song on the album, “Over The Seas,” with it’s inevitable sing-a-long chorus, cheesy lyrics, chirpy keyboards and soaring guitars. And I love it.

Next up is the title song, and it provides more of the same. Track three, while not quite as good as the opening two songs continues this trend. These first three songs are sure to leave the listener salivating for more, but unfortunately the aforementioned formula starts to get very boring, very quickly. The next three tracks, while good in their own way, simply fail to deliver and the album starts to lose momentum. Track five, “Death Before The Mast,” is one of the weakest songs on the album and by this point, I was begging for something more engaging and epic.

I did not get what I wished for. The next song, “Terror On The High Seas,” is dreadfully tame. It’s pretty much the same riff played for the duration of the song, with the vocalist babbling about some rubbish. Did I mention how bad the lyrics are? I don’t know how many variations of “fight and die, for we are pirates, yarrrrr” they managed to come up with, but I guarantee it’s a lot.

Anyway, the seventh track, “Set Sail And Conquer,” recaptures the atmosphere of the first few tracks and gives me hope for the rest of the album. “Of Treasure” is a folk song, with parts of the tune taken from the traditional Irish song “Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye,” and the lyrics of course changed to a pirate theme. It’s a nice change from the standard power metal, but maybe being Irish makes me biased.

“Wenches & Mead” is an incredibly fun and fast paced song, utilising keyboards more that guitars - an enjoyable chantey that leads into the final song.

Last up is the band’s interpretation of the Scottish national anthem, “Flower Of Scotland,” which is a song I greatly enjoy and is usually very emotional when sung before a sporting event. However, Alestorm fail to capture that same feeling and it doesn’t really come off right.

Despite what may seem like an overly critical review given that this is their debut album, there was still several parts of the album that I really enjoyed. A dull middle section was the major downfall, and being tagged as “Pirate Metal” instead of just power metal probably raises expectations for something new and unique, when in reality it is neither. Still, a decent effort overall.

Rating: 6.5/10

By: David Williamson

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Thrash Metal Reviews

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

7 Must Hear Albums From 1967

These seven "must hear" albums really tell you a lot about what 1967 means in the history of rock music and it means quite a bit. The Beatles, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, The Velvet Underground, Pink Floyd, & Frank Zappa's The Mothers of Invention are the bands that created these albums. These are without a doubt some of the most important rock bands ever.

Amazingly four of the seven albums I'm including in my list are debut albums by some of the most legendary bands in history of rock music. I think that's a good indication of just what a breakthrough year 1967 really was. Who are those four bands? Pink Floyd (who were known as The Pink Floyd at the time), The Velvet Underground, The Doors, and The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Pretty amazing, isn't it?

These great albums are listed by their title alphabetically. It was difficult enough to pick only 7 albums for this list, so I decided to just list those 7 albums by the alphabet rather than trying to put them in some sort of order of greatness!

Absolutely Free by The Mothers of Invention (Frank Zappa) - This album could be looked at as merely a "joke" (and sadly many people do dismiss Zappa's music as just that) but the music is just too good to be dismissed in that sort of way. This the perfect album for anyone who is under the false impression that '67 was only about "flower power."." Zappa brought the weird with force, but he also brought sophistication and complexity. The music on Absolutely Free often referenced Stravinsky and other classical music.

Are You Experienced? by The Jimi Hendrix Experience - This was Hendrix's debut album and what a way to start a career. It included the classic Hendrix tracks "Foxy Lady," "Manic Depression," & "Red House" (these are actually the first three songs on the album) along with "Fire" and of course the title track. While I don't think it's his best album, it's definitely a great album. Without a doubt 1 of the 7 essential LPs of '67.

The Doors by The Doors - This is the band's debut. It was recorded in 1966 and released in January of '67. It includes some of the band's most well known like "Break On Through (To the Other Side)", "The Crystal Ship," "Light My Fire," & "The End." Many fans & critics consider it to be The Doors best album.

Magical Mystery Tour by The Beatles - Certainly not the masterpiece that Sgt. Pepper is, hell it wasn't even really an album but an EP. But so what? It still contains a whole lot of incredible songs like "The Fool on the Hill" & "Blue Jay Way," & "I Am The Walrus."

Piper at the Gates of Dawn by The Pink Floyd - This was Pink Floyd before they got rid of Syd Barrett (due to his mental issues and erratic behavior) and the The at the beginning of their name. In some ways they were a completely different band than the one that would become hugely popular in the 1970s with Dark Side of the Moon. But while they do sound very different, the seeds for the '70s Pink Floyd can be heard in this album which is brilliant in it's own right. If you are interested in experimental psychedelic music then you must listen to this album.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles - Sometimes people say Sgt. Pepper is "overrated." I say nonsense! Any album that contains songs as great as "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," "With a Little Help From My Friends," & "A Day in the Life" cannot be overrated. It was a big step forward for The Beatles, not so much in that the songs were better or even more complex (listen to Revolver after all) but because the songs all fit together in a new way. Sgt. Pepper was the arrival of the album as "art" and not just a collection of songs. To me it still stands up as an incredible work of art today.

The Velvet Underground & Nico by The Velvet Underground wasn't a huge commercial success but it is arguably the most influential album on this list. It includes "Heroin," "Sunday Morning," "European Son," & "I'm Waiting for the Man"" among its 11 tracks.
About The Author

Marvin J. Markus recommends going to http://www.HomeStudioEssentials.com if you want to learn how to record your own music at home.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Pearl Jam - A Moment Frozen

Rock and roll posters run the gamut of utterly ridiculous, to vaudevillian hilarity, to visually arresting in their sheer and utter genius. While Pearl Jam Posters can be said to fall into this literary sphere, they are also an intriguingly blend of infinite energy and desperately prophetic soul adventuring. The sheer energy, and edgy grunge of PJ, is quite often reflected in the visually stunning eye artistry of every album cover.

Favourite Jam

One of my favorite Pearl Jam posters, has to be the one of their live concert posters. The camera view is from behind the band facing out towards the audience. In the shot, we see an empty microphone and a light mist rising from the audience. Not far from the microphone, is a spent Eddie Vedder leaning backwards at a gravity defying impossible angle. If not for another band member, Eddie would most surely collapse backwards onto the stage. A stage slick with the dewy remnants of the mist is also stylized here. But, if we allow our imaginations to flex a little, that wet slick, could be the sweat from a band and vocalist that has given it's all in a obviously exhilarating performance. Dripping onto the stage with a sheer veracity, with nothing left of their physical essence. Everything has been paid to the audience. This image captures the essence of what all great concert posters should. The deafening all embracing sound of a great band cranking out great sounds, and now on the verge of consensual collapse. Emotionlly, physically, and spiritually drained.

Pearl Jam Moment

This imagining, is not the type that could be conceived from an artists brush in isolation. It needed the soul of the band, the rapture of the audience, the hum of the music and the audacity of the lyrics. Pure raw passion and emotion. This poster, like few I have seen, makes me wish that I had been there. To feel what the audience feels, to emote what the band emotes, to be Eddie Veder, or simply to be caught in the moment. One of rocks many defining moments. It's a Pearl Jam poster that creates a sense of longing, and a wondering for what it must have felt like. It's artistry, it's music, it's emotion, it's everything it means to be human. It's not just Pearl Jam, it's a fleeting insight, that captures a moment, captures an audience, speaks to generations, and leaves us wanting more. Isn't that what art and music are all about?

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