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On Repeat: Cats In Boots

March 12, 2009

so its been a while since I last wrote. as you know, I just moved to Krakow…been here 2 weeks now. It is surreal. I feel like a different person already. In a new place, new friends, new everything…I haven’t spent much time on the computer as I usually do at home.

However, I’ve still been listening to music…I just got Cats In Boots-Kicked and Klawed, and I’m totally loving it. Its such a shame these guys have faded away…they’re actually one of the more interesting bands I’ve heard lately. Comprised of 2 Japanese guitarists who relocated to Hollywood to find stardom, as well as a couple California boys  lookin’ for a band, they spit out sleazy, trashy rock n roll in the veins of Dangerous Toys, Faster Pussycat, or Motley Crue.

You may have heard the song Shotgun Sally, there is a video for it that occassionally pops up on VH1.

I like this song ok, but its definitely not my favorite off the album. The Vince Neil influence is almost too obvious. And despite my undying love for the Crue, I really don’t like Vince. And frankly, I think Cats in Boots has terrible videos.

then there is this one:

The monkey in that video is freaky.

Yeah, I wish they hadn’t picked those two songs to make videos for, although both are really good songs. The entire album just gets better from there. My favorite song on it is “Every Sunrise,” which i have been listening to on repeat since I got the album. Its got a really haunting melody, and the piercing, dark vocals are spot on. Frankly, it gives me chills to listen to, and so far it hasn’t gotten old.

the following track, “Evil Angel” is also one of my favorites. I think since I discovered these two songs, they’ve been all I’ve listened to off this album. Evil Angel is a upbeat and catchy tune, and even includes some Michael Jackson-style hiccups and “oohs” and “oh yeah’s!” which crack me up every time. Really, someone should have blended Michael Jackson and 80’s sleaze metal long before. I wish I’d thought of it.

I wish youtube had something up for these two songs…I’m thinking maybe if I can figure out how to make a video, I’ll post them myself. Everyone who loves good sleaze metal needs to at least hear this record. I don’t know if it is going to stay in my CD player forever, but right now I’m really enjoying it and I’m sure I’ll be adding those aforementioned favorite two songs to many playlists in the future. Its not anything really new or ingenious, but its good, fun, entertaining rock n roll.

Give it a shot, see what you think 🙂


Nerd Girl Rocks Paradise City…Aka Story of my Life

February 22, 2009

As some of you know, I’m about to embark on a really crazy trip to Krakow on Tuesday. And I will be living there, 10 minutes walk from the old town historic district, for the next FOUR MONTHS. keep in mind that I have never been to Krakow before, know no one, and don’t speak Polish. In between the spazzing and stressing I’ve done over the past week, I decided to take time to calm myself by reading a book. I feel like I haven’t had a moment to spare in a long time…you’ve noticed I haven’t been blogging much lately…so this was a treat.

Nerd Girl Rocks Paradise City, A True Story of Faking It In Hair Metal LA. wow, just by reading the title I knew this was a book about me. First of all, Anne Soffee grew up in Richmond Virginia, which I know is about as boring as Raleigh North Carolina. So she came from the same background I’ve come from. Good liberal arts education, worrying parents, and an insatiable love of rock n roll…not quite understood by anyone else in the area. The whole time I was reading I was thinking “Is it possible to have a twin sister who is 20 years older than me??” No, but hey, why not dream. The only thing she did that I didn’t do is I haven’t actually moved to LA yet (would love to visit, of course, but the scene has dried up now…) and I haven’t slept with a certain unidentified editor from SPIN Magazine (though she didn’t mention a name I think I’ve got a good idea of who the editor was…Legs McNeil, maybe? the original punk? that’d be pretty amazing, anyway…). But seriously…all the other craziness is prettymuch my life, or has potential to be my life.

I don’t care a whole lot for the conversation-like style of writing (even though I’m well aware my style is probably similar), but considering the fact that the book really isn’t serious literature, the style almost seems more suiting.

I really do wish that the book branched out to talk more about the bands and the scene as a whole…it tends to revolve mainly around her life. Which is fine…it IS her memoir, afterall…but a little discussion about the music that impacted her so profoundly, and maybe some more of her insights into punk and hair metal would have been interesting to read and appreciated. I guess really, I want her book to be another Fargo Rock City, or Hell Bent for leather…partly a memoir, partly a been-there account of the music scene as a whole. Really, when I read a book like this I want to feel like I was there too…since I was born too late to really experience hair metal when it happened.

Other than that, this book was a fun, entertaining and easy read. Definitely worth picking up if you find it!

A little AOR for your morning…

February 19, 2009

Just a sidenote…but how did AOR, originally just a radio format, practically become a genre in itself?

H.E.A.T., a band I have written about a couple times in the past, has a new song out. As someone said, it looks like they’re part of the Eurovision Competition…

Yup, I like it. At first I wasn’t sure…the intro wasn’t all that strong, but once they jump into the chorus…powerful and fun. That dude can sing. He hits some notes…Im just going to make a prediction that they win this competition…

I’m not a big fan of the facial hair, though. Is that a legitimate concern? I don’t know. At least Nikki Sixx’s goatee makes him look like a pirate. arrgh. I really like that blonde lead guitarist though, so I suppose it is even.

Thought I’d dig some other AOR out of my youtube archives today. Sometimes I forget what is in there…I’ve taken to making folders for everything and trying to be organized. But really, it just means I have to dig deeper to find anything.

Here is another new album I don’t think I’ve said much about….Marcello/Vestry. Yes, you do recognize those names…Rob Marcello from Danger Danger (Naughty Naughty Bang Bang) and Frank Vestry…from somewhere. He apparently recorded with several bands throughout the ’80’s, but the album I am most familiar with is Last Temptation, from 1991.

Everything I’ve heard from this Marcello/Vestry combo has been good, nothing too shocking, but just good. melodic and easy to listen to. that is basically all I need to justify something as a good song.

Vestry embellishes a little with typical hair metal style,the guitar really doesn’t impress me either. But somehow I stick around to the next song. so they must have something going for them. I really haven’t gotten into them too much, but i really like that song. Thought I’d share.

How about one more song, eh?

Dreamtide-What you believe in

lyrics are the strongest asset to this band. A lot of them are pretty general cheesy feel-good stuff “let your dreams fly” or whatever, but they’re talented enough to pull it off, so I take them seriously. And they DO talk a lot about dreams. I wonder what has happened to these guys that has made them so very intent on singing about dreams, and naming themselves Dreamtide. good song though, good band…worth checking out, from what I’ve heard of them.

alright i have things to do today so I’m gonna run….more fun posts tomorrow!

A little bit country, a little bit rock n roll

February 18, 2009

I know, Osmonds lyrics are very rarely a good way to start a blog post about, well, anything. As far as I care, the Osmonds have one good song, “Love Me For A Reason,” and even though the lyrics are sappy sweet and cheese at its best, I rather like it. Other than that…that family is just too “safe” for me. Pardon me for liking a little badass in the people I admire. Despite my lack of interest, I have always rather liked that slogan (if you can even call it that) “A little bit country, a little bit rock n roll.”  I think it sums me up well.

I’ve spent a lot of time here trying to make a case that I know rock n roll. I don’t know if I can tell you the exact track listing every album in the Rolling Stones catalog, but despite that lack of trivia knowledge, I think I have a good grasp of what  rock is all about, and why people like it.

I mean, take Aerosmith for example:

How can you sit still while listening to that? That song is pure energy. It inspires at least some sort of bobbing along to the beat,  maybe a clap, and certainly a desire to sing along. Not to mention that it is sleazy and raw and a little scandalous.
I’m getting off topic.

Anyway, This past weekend, I drove a few hours up the road to visit my grandparents. I was alone in the car with the radio blaring, driving by miles of pastures and cotton fields, thinking about how freakin’ boring North Carolina is. Seriously. trip-to-salisbury-feb-14-17-2009-388The only real scenery change is that it gets hillier as you go west. I couldn’t help it, I felt the country girl within me come out, and I pulled one of my Toby Keith CDs out of the box of albums that rode along on my front seat.

Another aside…I really love Toby Keith.  If I had to pick the perfect male voice, his would certainly be in the running…deep and growling and dominating. I don’t always agree with his attitudes and his political leanings, but i love his songs, and I think he is one of few mainstream artists who is  following in the footsteps of the old-school outlaw country singers who came a generation earlier.

And I’m going to post this video even though I know it isn’t going to prove anything I just said about Toby Keith…but i just love it! I remember when this song came out and I watched this video on CMT…loved it then, love it now 🙂

So not only am I rock n roll…I AM a little bit country. I’ve never been the girl who tries too hard to fit into one category or another, and I don’t even own cowboy boots. But I have to admit, some of the best music I know is country music. part of the reason it appeals to me is that the lyrics are purposeful, and they’re meant to say something. I think there is a legacy of storytelling throughout the south that is preserved in the songs sung there, and thus most good country music does indeed tell a story. You don’t find country songs that ramble on about nothing. You find rap songs about nothing. Even some rock songs that seem to have no real message. But country music always says what it needs to say and it says it in the best way possible.

It is also special because it isn’t confined by the same boundaries as many other genres…for instance, rock music is music for young people. It started out as a way to rebel and to create their own path through the world. Country music is enjoyed just the same by old people, young people, whoever…some types of music are somehow ageless, and truly do benefit from the wisdom of years. This is why-as I frequently like to say-bands such as the Stones and Aerosmith are still effective. When you strip their music down to its essence,they’re really just singing the blues…and as bluesmen, Keith Richards & co are really just coming into their prime. Country music is much the same way. It isn’t definitive of an age group, its definitive of a whole culture and a way of life. Therefore, you don’t have to be twenty-something to truly relate to a good country/blues/folk/etc song. You just have to be the kind of person who likes that kind of music.

The other thing that has always interested me about country music is the dedication of the fans. If you’re a country artist, you’ve got your fans for life. They’re fiercely loyal. Your hit will be played on the radio for years to come. I’ve always wondered why this is…I don’t have an answer. But while pop artists come and go, and fade away…the artists that were on the radio when I first started listening to the radio are still on the radio today. I can go months without ever tuning in, but when I do, I know I’ll be able to sing along to the songs.

I don’t know what it is that draws me toward country. A lot of it is probably just pride in the values and traditions of where I come from. When I listen to it, moreso than with any other type of music…I think “this is who I am.” Its what I was born with and raised with.  In many ways it is where I really belong, I think…It doesn’t make my heart race or my head spin. it is comfortable. It feels like home when I listen to a good country song.

Maybe all the other things I do are a way of running away from my roots and exploring the world. It doesn’t bother me to do that, and I like experiencing as much as I can. But I always come back.

Forgotten Band: Charlie

February 12, 2009

I’ve been checking out some obscure bands lately…of course, obscure is a weird concept. what makes a band “obscure?” Just that they’re not well-known? I don’t really know about that definition…I’m sure I’m the only one of my friends who listens to Skid Row on a regular basis, and I also am pretty sure I am the only person in the town of Chapel Hill who owns a Mr. Big CD. So are Skid Row and Mr. Big “obscure?” no, they’re not. they may not be popular among people in their 20’s, who weren’t conscious enough of pop culture to see them at their peak, but among the generation before us and music fans, they are certainly popular. I can’t even tell what obscurity is anymore…maybe there isn’t such thing. So I don’t know if this band is really obscure or unknown or what…but here goes. I just know that they’re new to me and I’m not sure I’ve ever heard anyone talking about them…and if i did I don’t remember. Hopefully I’m not the only one who missed this record.

Anyway, I stumbled across this band, “Charlie” on Kissmar a week or two ago, while I was trying to replenish my music collection after my unfortunate hard drive wipe-out. They’ve got a couple songs that are really sticking out for me…”Spend my Life with You” and “The Heartaches Begin” are two that come to mind. I give those tracks 5 stars…and there really isn’t a single song on the album that I don’t like.


Charlie was evidently formed in the 1970’s in Britain, and was active through the 80’s. they had a couple hits and made several CDs, they even have a greatest hits collection…yet they never really found success, just stayed on the fringe, as far as I can tell. They were first and foremost studio musicians, the drummer eventually went on to be tech for Iron Maiden, interestingly…but that meant they were never a typical band, and maybe that is what hurt them…Its too bad, they make really good AOR together…Just pleasant love songs, sing-along choruses and great riffs and vocals. A little keyboard too…but that never hurt anyone 🙂 Fun and mellow, really.

if you’re looking for something new to listen to…this is a fabulous album to start with!

so that is the link to download their self-titled album…i’ve done a little reading and found that many people consider their album “Lines” to be their best work… and as one person said, one of the best albums of the ’70’s. That is interesting to me, considering how few people I know who have heard of them.

Anyway, if you haven’t, give this a try….you’ll like it, I hope!

And many thanks to Kissmar…not only for this album, but all the other greatness I’ve found on there.

Rock n Roll

February 12, 2009

will do a real post later…just totally obsessed with this song right now. I have the demo and I actually like it better than this, but hey…it rocks

Happy Birthday Alice Cooper!

February 5, 2009

So it came to my attention this morning (Via myspace…my main source of information) that yesterday was Alice Cooper’s birthday.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALICE COOPER! So to celebrate, of course I must write a post for him.

Some of you may remember me saying in the past that I’m not a big Alice Cooper fan. That is a partly true statement. I actually really love Alice Cooper-the person. I think he is funny and honest and interesting. I love watching interviews with him, he is so genuinely cool. Certainly one of my very favorites.

As far as music goes…I’m sometimes surprised I’m not a bigger fan. I like most all his songs, I have a ton of his stuff. Hey Stoopid is one of my favorite albums. Yet I just never attached myself to him in the same way I attached myself to Motley Crue, or whoever. Didn’t run out to buy his latest CD, or anything…in fact, I can’t even tell you how many CDs he has out. I guess I’m a bad fan, but I honestly don’t have the time or desire to be everyone’s biggest fan, and I’m stretched thin enough.

Still, I think he deserves a little recognition from me. I’m going to post a few of my favorites songs…check it out!

I Never Cry

sorry, some of the clips I’ve had bookmarked were removed because of copyright…including this one…insanity! So I’m leaving you with a live video.

I know I’ve posted this before….hands down my favorite ballad. The lyrics on this are what really capture me…”like a heartache that got caught in my eye”…what could be a more perfect line? that lyric captured me the moment I heard it and I’ve been kept captive ever since…

Love’s  A Loaded Gun

One of those songs that you just have to read the title to know exactly what the song is about. Thats ok, though. great ballad.

Teenage Lament ’74

This is the song that made me like the 70’s.

Burning Our Bed

another amazing ballad…off of Hey Stoopid. You can hold my heart for ransom, but you’ll never own my soul. maybe I might lose my head, but one thing I’ll never do is swallow my pride crawlin’ back to you…baby I’m burnin our bed…

I really do think that Alice Cooper was one of the most gifted songwriters in his genre. Despite his villain character, he is instantly likable and relatable. He isn’t seeking to offend. His lyrics are moving and the melodies catchy…a rare combination. Many artists can pull  a one-hit-wonder out of that fabric, but never can quite do it again. Alice Cooper has made a career out of doing it again. Alice, you rock.