Author: mikeladano

Metal, hard rock, rock and roll! LeBrain's Record Store Tales & Reviews!

REVIEW: KISS Crocs – Classic Kiss clog

Crocs – Classic Kiss clog (2019)

One of the most hard-to-find rock collectables this season has been…a pair of shoes?  Crocs, no less?

Well folks, at mikeladano.com we are profoundly pro-Croc.  If you are among the many who think the shoe should not even exist, then this review will not be for you.  Just letting you know.

Kiss, who will put their logo on everything from condoms to coffins, have now finally completed the triumvirate with the venerable Crocs.  This crossover, almost as monumental as Spiderman joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe, should have been obvious.  Kiss Crocs took everyone by surprise and the shoes quickly sold out.  They are a sleek, black shoe with the classic Destroyer-era logo emblazoned on the front.  The same logo can be found on the heel.  This all ties in with Kiss’ epic End of the Road final tour.

If you’ve never worn Crocs, be assured they are a durable shoe.  They are ideal for housework, camping, and swimming.  The plasticy-rubbery material is both soft on the foot yet offering firm support.  There is no-slip traction on the inside of the shoe and a decent tread on the sole.  This makes them ideal for river-walking while visiting Sausagefest 2019.

The Kiss Crocs come in four different styles, including one with an Ace Frehley moon boot look.  This one, the “classic clog”, is the only one with holes in the front of sides of the shoe.  This makes it better for water, as the others will simply fill up instead of draining out.  The choice is up to you — we recommend the classic.

5/5 stars

 

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#761: Gimme Some Reggae!

GETTING MORE TALE #761: Gimme Some Reggae!

Like many things, I was first exposed to reggae music as a child.  And like many things I was exposed to as a child, Catholic school did not approve!

It was grade six, the same year I discovered Quiet Riot and Van Halen.  The ironic thing was first hearing reggae in class.  There was a film we were watching, the details of which are now lost.  Most likely religious in nature.  The music might not even have been specifically reggae.  It was Caribbean music of some sort, and I remember steel drums, but what I remember most was the teacher’s comment.  A few kids mentioned that they liked the music in the film (I was one).   The teacher responded, “The music was fine, but that kind of music is usually about drugs.”

She kind of put a wet blanket over it.  I felt deflated.

At home, I asked my mom if this was true.  “Some is,” she said.  “Some.”  The door was left wide open.  My mom was good to me.

The following school year, MuchMusic debuted on Canadian television.  It began as a pay TV channel, but we had it as part of a package including movie and sports channels.  We had to talk our parents into getting it, but the fact that there was a package with sports made it easier.  My mom could watch more Blue Jays, at least when my sister and I weren’t hogging the TV with music videos.

In 1984, MuchMusic played music videos and nothing but.  Now it’s the opposite.  In 1984, there weren’t many music videos to choose from.  There are two specific videos that I remember Much playing in regular rotation right from the beginning.  They were “Voodoo Chile” by Jimi Hendrix and “Buffalo Soldier” by Bob Marley.  I didn’t care for Jimi (way too advanced for my age) but I loved Marley.  “Buffalo Soldier” clearly had nothing to do with drugs.  And that hair!  I couldn’t figure out dreadlocks.  What were they?  How did they do make them?  Dreadlocks looked cool, in an alien way.  Novel and interesting.  My sister and I loved watching Bob Marley videos on Much.  He was one of the few artists we actually agreed on.  I hated her Corey Hart and she hated my W.A.S.P.!

She and I were always in tune with each other on reggae.  There are no other genres of music that we agree so much on.  In the 90s, we rocked it to Inner Circle.  Like everyone else on the planet, we discovered them via Cops.  My dad watched Cops a lot!  He loved that stupid show and it became a Saturday night ritual.  We’d play a game where we’d point out any time a male was not wearing a shirt.  When “Bad Boys” came on at the beginning, my sister would hit that floor and dance!  And she did the same at Bob Schipper’s wedding, where she requested the DJ play that song.  We tore up the floor for that song, and avoided dancing completely otherwise.  Some may forget this, but Inner Circle had more than just one hit.  “Sweat” is actually a way better song than “Bad Boys”.

She had the cassette single for “Bad Boys” and in the summer at the cottage, we’d be cruising with my old buddy Peter in his car.  She always wanted him to blast her tape of “Bad Boys” any time we were stopped at a red light on the main drag.

I didn’t buy any Bob Marley until I was in my 20s.  Until that point, I adopted a pretty strict “metal only” policy to my music collecting.  There were few exceptions.  Kim Mitchell wasn’t metal, but he’s still firmly in the rock camp, occupying a quirky Zappa-esque corner to himself.  The kind of thing that some more adventuring metal heads were into.  The 1990s forced me to loosen my “metal only” policy.  When I began at the Record Store, I befriended Aaron and acquired my first Marley album from him.  It was the deluxe edition of Catch A Fire.  Go big or go home.

There was a kid at work, Matty K, who was way, way, way into reggae and all the associated activities.  He was whiter than white, but damn he sure knew his rap and reggae.  I began to enjoy Snoop Dogg because of him.  At night before closing the store, he always liked to play one of DMX’s prayers.  Ironically, of course.   It is reggae music that I always think of when I think of Matty K.  Listening to Marley and Peter Tosh at the store.  One of the few things we agreed on musically.

When I need something lighter, particularly for summer drives, I have a lot of genres to choose from.  Marley’s One Love compilation usually does the job.  I find it palatable to just about any passenger.  It raises the spirits and raises the roof!

Video: Sunset & Song

They say it’s the greatest sunset in the world.  You be the judge.

The location is Lorne Beach near Kincardine, Ontario. The song is “Leave You Now”, a very rare track by Gypsy Jayne from their 1992 cassette Alive and Wandering.

#760: Eliminated Headlight

GETTING MORE TALE #760: Eliminated Headlight

As children, we were told many stories of what being a kid was like in the 1940s and 50s.  The greatest toy was Mecanno.  (My dad’s Mecanno #7 set was a treasured possession.)  Movies were 12 cents on Saturdays, and you could stay as long as you like.  (Once my dad went to go see Red Rider with his pal Jerry Irwin.  He stayed for four — well, three and a half — showings.  Then his father phoned the theatre looking for him, as he was supposed to home a long time ago!  Boy did he catch hell at home!)  One thing my dad always emphasized to us was how sad he was that all his childhood toys were gone.  His little brother wrecked some, and his dad threw out the rest.  He says they’d be priceless today.  All gone; somewhere in a Guelph landfill.

When kids move away from home, they don’t take everything with them.  Things like old toys get left behind.  That’s how my dad lost all his stuff.  I had trust in him that the same wouldn’t happen to me, and my sister.  The number of times we had to hear about his lost toys, his Mecanno #7 set, and all that stuff…I assumed he wouldn’t do that to us.

I assumed incorrectly.

A few months ago my sister was over at his house, went down into the basement to look at the board games…our old childhood board games…and they were gone.

We found some of them in a storage bin, but the rest had been thrown out.  That included my copy of Chopper Strike, a turn based combat strategy game that came with intricate little pieces and a massive two-level board.  I bought it at a garage sale for a couple dollars in the early 80s.  It was complete.  The game came with an army of plastic jeeps and helicopters.  The copters had rotating blades, and the jeeps had moving anti-aircraft guns.  Lots of easily lost components.  Rare for an such an old game (1976).  We played it over and over and over again as kids.  I thought it would remain safely stored at the old house.  It cost over $50 to replace it with a complete one again (thanks, Mom).

At least my dad saved some of the obviously valuable games, like our original Star Wars and Transformers.  Everything else from Admirals to Careers ended up in the trash, lost forever.  Feeling bad, my mom bought my sister a new Careers game on Ebay (and replaced my Chopper Strike).

I thought that was it.  I thought the point was made.  I thought our possessions were safe again.

Wrong again.

Some of my old model kits are at the cottage.  The cottage is a great place to build a model.  My ZZ Top Eliminator kit has safely lived at the cottage for 30 years.  A few years ago I took it out, dusted it off, and secured a few loose pieces with glue.  The last time I saw Eliminator, it was fine.

This time, I noticed a few things on my shelves had been moved.  When I returned them to their proper places, I saw Eliminator was now a one-eyed cyclops car.  A headlight came off and was nowhere in sight.  It’s gone.  If it had simply fallen off, it would be on the shelf, next to the car.  I only had two suspects.  One of the two was more credible, while the other claims to know nothing.  I know it was my dad!

“You can always pretend it was in an accident,” said my sister.

I used to think my stuff was safe in the hands of my dad.  Now I realize I need to keep valuables far, far away from him!

Sunday Chuckle: Lord Stanley’s Blues

It’s an obscure but not unknown fact:  I kind of like the Boston Bruins.  I don’t do it just to be a contrarian; I genuinely like Zdeno Chara and enjoy the team.  I especially liked them when Rene Rancourt used to sing the national anthem.  When the Toronto Maple Leafs aren’t playing, I’m “allowed” to cheer for whoever I want.  Obviously I was cheering for the Bruins to win the Stanley Cup.

The day after the Bruins lost to the St. Louis Blues, I found the paper below taped to mt computer screen at work.  Please note the misspelling of the word “your”.  Pointing this out to the gloating perpetrator, I sort of turned my loss into a small victory!

REVIEW: The Sword – Greetings From… (2017)

THE SWORD – Greetings From… (2017 Razor & Tie)

This is one clean sounding live album.  Yes it’s live, and you can tell, but there’s not a lot of crowd noise or wasted time.  Opening with a full-on “Buzzards”, The Sword sound made for the stage.  The Sword may not have invented the guitar riff, but they have certainly mastered the art of creating them.

“The Chronomancer I: Hubris” (from Warp Riders) has a slower Sabbathy groove circa Ozzy, but rendered heavier on the metal scale.  They’re tight live, but there’s a certain rock n’ roll loosey-goosey vibe on this album as well.  “Maiden, Mother & Crone” is another hot riff, amplified by the live environment.

New material is rolled out, with “Tears Like Diamonds”, “Mist & Shadow”, and “Agartha” presented in sequence.  “Tears Like Diamonds” combines hook and groove into one steamrolling song.  The heaviest track could be “Tres Brujas” from the third album which flies at Warp speed.  Then they go into a cover of “John the Revelator” which works amazingly well as a heavy metal celebration.

The only track to appear from the debut Sword LP is “The Horned Goddess”.  It ends a pretty steady onslaught of riffs with…even more riffs.  If you’ve endured it, congratulations — you just might be a rocker!

No fluff, no filler.  Greetings From… flies by just as fast as the spaceship on the awesome cover art.

4.5/5 stars

Gallery: Cheap Trick, Kitchener Ontario, 6/10/2019

Dr. Kathryn saw Cheap Trick at the Centre in the Square and has returned with photographic proof.

Comments:

“Cheap Trick were great! They played for about an hour and a half straight with no encore. It was a good mix of old songs and new. There were a bunch in the middle I didn’t know. Robin Zander can still sing pretty well, but his shortcomings were very obvious when he started to sing ‘The Flame’ with just himself on guitar. When he has all the other players behind him, his voice sounds much better and you can’t hear where he’s lacking. There was an extra guitar player (Robin Zander’s son Robin Taylor Zander) in the back and Tom Petersson played a twelve string bass. Rick Nielsen threw picks into the audience and I caught three!  Looking back, I didn’t get any close ups of Robin Zander! He was right in front of me plenty.”

Setlist:

  • Hello There
  • Way of the World
  • Oh, Candy
  • Big Eyes
  • California Man (The Move cover)
  • On Top of the World
  • Stiff Competition
  • Downed
  • Ain’t That a Shame (Fats Domino cover)
  • High Roller
  • Lookin’ Out for Number One
  • Stop This Game
  • I’m Waiting for the Man (The Velvet Underground cover)
  • The Flame
  • I Want You to Want Me
  • Dream Police
  • Surrender
  • Clock Strikes Ten
  • Goodnight Now

REVIEW: Raw M.E.A.T 3 – Various Artists (1992)

RAW M.E.A.T 3 (1992 M.E.A.T Magazine)

It took a while to be able to review this CD for technical reasons.  From day one, this disc would not play smoothly in any computer.  Most CD players could handle it, but no PC could without skipping horribly.  Independent CD production had iffy quality in the early 90s.  Now using external components I’ve finally been able to rip the album to PC.  I have not played some of these songs in decades!

Raw M.E.A.T 3 was different from the first two volumes.  The first focused on hard rock, the second on thrash.  One band from Raw M.E.A.T 2 went on to big things, that being Varga.  Volume 3 combined all genres of heavy music together on one disc.  From the heaviest of bands (Mindrape, Sinister Fiend, Hanker, Vertical After) to pop rock hooks (Deadline, Raw Trixx, Tryton) and progressive (Destiny, Justin Sane), all bases are covered.  The bands span several provinces from British Columbia to Quebec, whereas the first CD only had groups from southern Ontario.

Highlights are numerous.  Perhaps Russian Blue came in strongest with opener “Mama’s Love”, a modern twist on hard rock.  Deadline were right up there too, with a re-recording of “Friction Addiction” from their excellent first CD.  Raw M.E.A.T 3 is the only place you can get the re-recording, which is slicker and punchier than the original.  Tryton, the only female-fronted band, kicks serious ass on “Burning the Cradle”.  Singer Nina Zzo had the lungs for it!  (They later made an album as Loudshine.)  “A Wonderful Day” by Tempted Fate is another genius track, sounding a bit like “When Death Calls” by Black Sabbath before exploding into a punk rock chorus.

It’s a very diverse CD.  The bands Raw Trixx and Stone Valley both put in strong entries with “Time” and “Forever Gone” respectively.  These groups employ older hard rock sounds in spite of the changing tides of rock.  Slam Glory’s “Say It Like You Mean It” also fits that mold.  Fans of early Queensryche and Scorpions might enjoy Destiny’s “Man Alone” which brings to mind the trademark sounds of those bands.  Old-school thrash fans will dig the traditional speedy chug of Hanker and Vertical After.  The Cult-like No Morals had an enjoyable, unconventional 90s edge.  For Faith No More funkiness, it’s Sinister Fiend.  Overlord’s “Never Enough” has a tough metal punch but with punk-like recklessness.  “And if I sound bitter, it’s because I am!”  Even Christian rock makes an appearance.  Thunder Rider’s “For Christ’s Sake” isn’t bad, but the Quebec band had an early unfortunate image including swords, shields and hammers.

My favourite track of them all is “Illusion” by Justin Sane, which should have become a massive hit in 1992.  The four piece band combined modern metal grooves with quality lead vocals and musicianship to create a nearly seven-minute behemoth of a song.  It was recorded (like several of the songs here) at the renowned Metalworks Studios in Mississauga.  Shame the band had a jokey name, as it does not accurately depict their music.  There is a Justin Sane EP out there, reissued in 2006 as a split album with a band called Native Tongue, but it’s impossible to find.

I also approve of the names of the members of Vertical After:  Kick, Stu, Rhys and Odd.  I definitely want to be friends with anyone named Odd.

For the variety of quality hard rock, heavy metal and miscellaneous good stuff, Raw M.E.A.T 3 serves as an enjoyable listen and gateway to some bands you’ve never heard of before.  Off to Discogs to look for more!

4/5 stars

#759.5: Getting There

Didn’t get much writing done this weekend — sorry about that.  It’s the time of year when the annual Sausagefest begins to dominate my creative time.

I finished all my recordings this weekend, though I’m going to sit on them a few days before I submit them to Uncle Meat.  I want to make sure they’re perfect and I’m happy.  Nine songs/nine intros plus associated sketches and bits.  63 meg; over an hour of play time.  Several months of recording dating back to last year, with one track having over 100 layers of audio!

I say this every year, but I think these are my best Sausagefest intros and bits yet. Next task: new tent and new camping equipment. 2019 is gonna rock. Less than a month to go!

Sunday Chuckle: Meat’s New Tent

On Monday I bought a new car.  I look forward to taking it up to Sausagefest in a few weeks.  Uncle Meat will not be allowed to sleep in my car.

Look what shit-disturber Tom Morwood wrote!