destroyer

Sunday Chuckle: Destroyer

This one was sent in by James Kalyn of the KMA.  Marketing genius.  Since 67% of US households owns pets, it stands to reason that 67% or more of Kiss fans also own pets?  (Probably cats.)

If I owned a pet, you can bet I’d have this “Piss Destroyer” at standby for any carpet emergencies!

 

 

Iron Tom’s New Sh!t That Ain’t Bad 2019

Whether you know it or not, the only list you should care about every year is Iron Tom Sharpe‘s.  If you only listen to 20 albums this year…make them these 20.


  • Brant Bjork – Jacoozzi
  • Steve Earle – Guy
  • Opeth- In Cauda Venenum
  • Death Angel – Humanicide
  • John Garcia – John Garcia & The Band Of Gold
  • Elder – Gold and Silver Sessions
  • Queensryche – The Verdict
  • Black Mountain – Destroyer
  • Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Colorado
  • Redscale – Feed Them To The Lions
  • Frozen Planet….1969 – Meltdown On The Horizon
  • Green Lung – Woodland Rites
  • Tool – Fear Inoculum
  • King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Infest the Rats’ Nest
  • Ian Blurton – Signals Through the Flame
  • Valley Of The Sun – Old Gods
  • Jimi Hendrix – Songs For Groovy Children
  • Villagers of Ioannina City – Age of Aquarius (Thanks Johnny Cheddar)
  • Church Of The Cosmic Skull – Everybody’s Going To Die
  • I concur with Meat…The Talking Heads are still the shit!
  • Add Dream Theater (Distance Over Time)…just listening to it now again.  It needs to be included.

Not a great year overall…nothing truly blew me away…these are merely ones that people should check out. – Iron Tom

 

J the Vinyl Daft Dad’s Top Ten Albums of 2019

Here is J, the Vinyl Daft Dad, with his annual Top Ten Albums list!

Hunt Sales Memorial – Get Your Shit Together 
Hunt Sales is quite an interesting fella.  He has played with Todd Rundgren, Charlie Sexton, Iggy Pop and David Bowie.  He was integral to Iggy Pop’s Lust For Life; so much so, that David Bowie asked him to be involved in Tin Machine. This, though, is his frst solo album.  It’s urgent, visceral and full of swagger – you’ll find rock n’ roll, soul, blues, punk, and truth in every groove of songs about life, addiction, relationships, and self reflection. Probably one of the best albums released this decade if you ask me.

The Claypool Lennon Dilerium – South of Reality
Better than the first album? I dunno, but Les Claypool and his pal Sean Lennon are exploring their version of this universe a bit further on their second album. Like the previous efforts, their sounds illuminate their surroundings. Absolutely exceptionally played and produced. Loads to get lost in and repeated listens really do reveal so much.

Mark Lanegan Band – Somebody’s Knocking
It’s hard to believe that this is Lanegan’s 5th album in 7 years (not counting collaborations with his cosmic soul brother Duke Garwood). While not as immedietely great as Blues Funeral, Somebody Knocking has grown on me quite a bit and it’s definitely worth sticking with.  Not just some of Lanegan’s best Lanegan Band moments, but some his best non-Lanegan Band moments too.

Perry Farrell – Kind Heaven
Say what you will about Perry Farrell, but he always aims his rocket ship at the moon and, whether he lands on there or not doesn’t really matter.  He’s fully committed.  If he ends up playing among the stars he’s in good company.  He glows when he talks about humans and the Universe and he gets to do that here.  Kind Heaven is, I guess, an extension of Satellite Party, with it evolving into The Kind Heaven Orchestra.  While Extreme’s Nuno left the fold of that band due to how it was evolving with Perry’s wife, here she’s celebrating and celebrated.  There may be no Nuno, but the support cast is exceptional.

The Flaming Lips – King’s Mouth
Released earlier in the year, King’s Mouth is a joyous return for Coyne & Co on the soundtrack for Coyne’s book and art installation.  The concept is rather brilliantly bonkers – there’s a giant King, folks love him, he dies, they cut off his head and carry it through the streets, preserve it in steel and, cause there’s all these swirling storms of psychedelic colours and suchlike inside his head, eh, people climb inside his mouth and watch. That’s narrated by Mick Jones, too.  Yeah, that Mick Jones.  Anyhoo, the songs are really rather brilliant, with “The Sparrow”, “All for the Life of the City”, “Feedaloodum Beedle Dot”  particularly being examples of The Flaming Lips at their best.

Jonas Munk & Nicklas Sorensen – Always Already Here
Sorensen’s Solo was one of my favourite albums of the last few years and it’s been a regular listen until this collaborative effort took over.  Sorensen’s trademark intricate and complex guitar tracking weaves with some subtle synth to create this beautifully melodic hypnotic 5 track long player.


Black Mountain – Destroyer
Not much to say about it’s inclusion here.  Right good slabs of Sabbath riffage with some synth shenanigans thrown in for good measure. I dig. Big time.

Keb Mo’ – Oklahoma
I’ve never really listened to Keb Mo’, but this one grabbed my attention and I thought I’d jump in.  It’s exceptional and there are strong collaborations on there. It’s a powerful album with strong messages and, hopefully, the kind that can inspire positive moments for those who delve in to its 10 songs, as he shines a spotlight on the environment, immigration, and mental health.

Big Wreck – …but for the sun
Well, this was unexpected. I can’t say I’d ever really paid much attention to Big Wreck prior to this release, but my pal SuperDekes gave this one a glowing report and I figured I’d check it out.  I’m glad I did.  It’s full of great riffs, big choruses and great hooks.  Plus, that Thornley guy has got the vocal chops to carry the tunes.  It left me wondering why no-one told me about these guys sooner.

Purple Mountains – Purple Mountains
After a 10 year absence David Berman was back with new music. The album is a remarkable and a weighty one that dealt with Berman’s struggles (including losing his mother and the separation from his wife), but he retains his wit and charm despite laying himself so bare.

 

RE-REVIEW: KISS – Destroyer (1976)

The KISS RE-REVIEW SERIES Part 7:  

scan_20170301kiss-logoDestroyer (1976 Casablanca, 1997 Mercury remastered edition)

Kiss had “made it”.  Alive! put them where they wanted to be:  on the charts and headlining concert stages coast to coast.  The financial pressure was off and they didn’t have to simply crank out new albums to keep the band afloat.  They could now take their time and make something that was more thought out; a statement.

The first issue to deal with was Kiss’ past sonic inadequacy in the studio.  Prior albums produced by Kenny Kerner & Richie Wise, and Neil Bogart did not capture the full-on Kiss thunder.  They failed to shred the speakers.  They needed somebody “big time”, to give them the punch they desperately needed.  That somebody was Canadian producer extraordinaire Bob Ezrin.  Ezrin had been an instrumental guiding force for Alice Cooper.  Now it was Kiss’ turn to receive the platinum Ezrin magic touch.

Ezrin agreed to work with Kiss, reportedly influenced by a neighbor kid who liked to discuss music.  “The kids from school love Kiss,” the boy told Ezrin.  “The problem is, their records sound so shitty.  But the band is so good we buy the records anyway.”  Working with Kiss wasn’t much different from working with Cooper.  These were not schooled musicians.  Ezrin had to take them to boot camp.  Keeping the drums in time was a challenge.  Peter Criss had difficulty maintaining a steady tempo, so Ezrin would beat a briefcase to keep him in time.  He wore a conductor’s coat and tails, and pushed the rest of the band like a drill sergeant.  Even the mighty demon Gene Simmons was chastised, for finishing a take before the producer instructed him to stop.  And when Ace Frehley didn’t show up because he had a card game?  Shenanigans were not tolerated.  When Ace wasn’t available when he should have been, Ezrin’s buddy Dick Wagner (Alice Cooper) was there.  For the first time, a Kiss member was replaced on album by an outside uncredited musician.

kiss-and-ezrin-in-tails

One innovative technique that Ezrin brought in to thicken up Kiss’ sound was using a grand piano to back up the big guitars.  The end result doesn’t sound like piano and guitars, but one solid wall of rock, like Phil Spector channelled through Bob Ezrin.  Where Kiss used to rely on rag-tag recordings they now had a big glossy sound to play with.  Ezrin was also fond of sound effects and orchestration, and he brought both to Kiss.

The opening track “Detroit Rock City” was a slam-dunk intro to the new Kiss sound.  After an extended start with the sound of a fan driving to a Kiss concert, the band thundered into focus.  That trademark riff chainsaws through, before Paul Stanley’s powerful pipes take command.  What a song.  The new Kiss had arrived, shiny and sleek, souped up and fueled, as if they were a brand new band.

detroit_rock_city“Detroit” faded out into “King of the Night Time World”, an outside song brought in for completion by Ezrin and Paul Stanley.  They turned it into something that worked for a Kiss album, albeit very different from their past.  As for Paul, he contributed a fast hard rocker called “God of Thunder”.  Though reports sometime differ in the details, ultimately the song fit Gene Simmons’ demon persona better and the song was given to him to sing.  It was slowed to a monster plod, and a few lines were changed to suit.  (“Make love ’til we bleed” was changed to “Hear my words and take heed”.)  And those little demonic voices?  Bob Ezrin’s kids, playing with walkie-talkies.

“Great Expectations” (based on Beethoven) has to be the most bizarre song on the album and one of the weirdest that Kiss have attempted.  A lush ballad with strings and choirs and Gene Simmons in crooner mode, it is definitely different.  Even one of the rockers, “Flaming Youth” written by Frehley/Stanley/Simmons/Ezrin, is different for Kiss.  It’s a rock song…with calliope.  (Picture circus music.)  Gene’s “Sweet Pain” had female backing vocals like an old Motown single.  These are all interesting experiments, but none of those three songs have become live concert classics.

Bob Ezrin tricked the band into writing “Shout it Out Loud”.  He realized they needed one more song, so he told the band that they had lost the masters to “Great Expectations” and needed a replacement.  Gene and Paul hurriedly wrote “Shout it Out Loud” with the producer and had another instant classic.  Like “Rock and Roll all Nite” before it, “Shout” was an anthemic rallying cry that a concert audience could get behind.

The album closer was a track called “Do You Love Me”, another tune brought in by outsiders (Kim Fowley) to be finished by Kiss.  Though on the surface “Do You Love Me” is a bit repetitive and dull, it was later covered by Nirvana.  There must be something to it that struck a chord.

There was still one more song on the album, a throwaway.  It was used as a B-side to “Detroit Rock City”, as the band didn’t have much faith in it.  Peter Criss had brought forward a love song called “Beck”, named for a girl named Becky, written by Stan Penridge for their old band Chelsea.  The song needed work, including a new title.  Ezrin revamped it completely, and the result was one of Kiss’ all time biggest hits:  “Beth”.  Tender and accessible, the only Kiss member on “Beth” was Peter Criss himself.  Dick Wagner played acoustic and Bob Ezrin played piano.  The orchestra finished it off.  Eventually, radio stations started flipping the “Detroit” single and playing “Beth”.  This led to Casablanca reissuing “Beth” as a single A-side, Kiss’ highest charting ever.


With the help of “Beth”, Destroyer maintained Kiss’ stardom and opened up the doors for any future musical experiments they could fathom.  Its cover showed Kiss in an apocalyptic landscape, in full super hero mode for the first time.  Artist Ken Kelly created something that helped define Kiss as larger than life…and larger than life they did become.

That wasn’t the end of the story for Destroyer.  For years it became the benchmark that Kiss albums were measured against.  In 2012, Bob Ezrin revisited the backing tapes and produced an alternate mix called Destroyer: Resurrected.  This featured some previously unheard music such as an alternate Ace Frehley guitar solo for “Sweet Pain” (Dick Wagner played the original solo).

Destroyer is far from the definitive Kiss album.  In fact, it is more like a one-off, an experiment that was never fully revisited.  Some of its songs are less than classic.  Others are so classic that you can’t imagine the world without them.  The bottom line for Kiss was that Destroyer propelled them further towards their goal of becoming the hottest band in the world.

Today’s rating:

3.5/5 stars


Uncle Meat’s rating:

4/5 steaks 

Meat’s Slice:  The general consensus of casual Kiss fans is that this is their greatest studio album.  Let’s examine this.  I’ll start with the iconic.

“SHOUT  IT OUT LOUD” – On May 22, 1976, this song went number one in Canada, the band’s first ever number one song.  40 years later and “Shout it Out Loud” might be the Kiss song with the longest shelf life.  One of two perfect “live concert” songs on Destroyer.  The other?

“DETROIT ROCK CITY” –  Thin Lizzy-esque two-guitar rock fest.   Sitting on the same shelf as “Shout it Out Loud”.  Iconic indeed.   Unperishable.   Even has a movie named after it. I have never seen  it.   Maybe it’s finally time to do so.

“BETH” – If any other member sang “Beth” it wouldn’t have been the same song, or had the same success.  Peter Criss has a special rasp in his voice that can both rock and schmaltz it up.  Like Rod Stewart, or that goof that sings for Slaughter.   I personally wish “Beth” would “fly to the angels” up in the sky, but this song did do one good thing for me.  My grandmother refused to get me anything Kiss related until I pointed out to her that “Beth”, on the radio in the car at the time, was actually Kiss.  So thanks for that at least.

“DO YOU LOVE ME” –  Perhaps this song is more iconic in my own mind specifically, since it is in my Top Five Kiss songs.  Classic Paul Stanley stuff here.

“GOD OF THUNDER” – Unique in every way for the time.  A lot of Ezrin tricks in this track including backwards drumming.  I still have not heard the great cover of this song I always thought I would from some Metal band.  There’s still time….

No wonder the casual Kiss fan believes this is the best of all of the Kiss studio albums.  It is a great collection of songs that are still loved today.  But everything else on Destroyer not listed above is average at best,  or much worse than that.  Maybe it’s because Kiss was too busy getting music lessons from Bob Ezrin while in the studio.  Maybe it’s simply that Kiss was tired of being looked at as a “joke” and wanted to get more serious, hence getting some more respect from the mainstream press.  Now again, this is my opinion and I’m sure that some might vehemently disagree with me about some of the deeper Destroyer tracks.  The best of which I think is “Flaming Youth”.   “King of the Night Time World” is pretty good, but borrowed from another song.  “Great Expectations” is blah stuff except for the melody stolen from Beethoven.  “Sweet Pain” sucks.  And “Rock and Roll Party” is just unnecessary filler, very much like “Inside”, the ending track on 5150.  Might as well take the needle off the record as soon as the song starts and put on something else immediately.

Let’s use this analogy

A couple raises 10 children.   Three of their children become world leaders.  Two others become successful doctors.  But half of their kids are in jail, some for unspeakable crimes against humanity.  Can you call them the best family overall because half of them are special?   Destroyer is definitely not the greatest Kiss album. 

Agreed?  Discuss….


 

To be continued…

Original mikeladano.com review:  2012/07/06

Part 151: 24kt KISS…cheap at twice the price

RECORD STORE TALES Part 151:

24kt KISS…cheap at twice the price

Spring, 1998.  Saturday.  A rare day off.

I was out with a friend named Shannon.  Me being the geek that I am, I thought it would be a good idea to take Shannon to a comic book store.  So I did.  Off we went to uptown Waterloo, to my favourite comic book store in the whole universe, Carry On Books.

The owner, Andy, warmly welcomed us and immediately started trying to sell me some Star Trek goods.  I said, “Not today, Andy.  Do you have anything Kiss?”

He did.  He had this Kiss 24kt gold-plated framed Destroyer CD.  It was $250.  But he was willing to sell it to me for $200 if I paid cash.

SAM_1655

Sure, why not.  Sold.

Shannon and I ran down to the cash machine, and I eagerly inserted my card.  Selected the dollar amount.  Waited.  And waited.  And waited.  The machine spat out my card, and a statement saying I’d taken the money out.  But no money emerged from the machine!

I stood there for a moment before saying, “Shannon, is it just me, or did no money come out?”

I was ripped off by a cash machine!

I repeated the transaction, this time getting the money, but my bank account was lighter by twice the amount!

Shit!

I went back to Andy’s store, told him the tale, bought the Kiss plaque, and went into the bank to get my missing money back.  Turns out I would have to wait for them to cash out that night and see if they balanced.  And I wasn’t going to be in town!  I was headed to the cottage later that day.  I had to wait the weekend through before finding out the fate of my hard-earned dollars.

Thankfully, when I called the bank on the Monday, they had found an overage and refunded my money.  But for that entire weekend, I had worried that I paid $400 for this Kiss plaque!

CODA:  And today, the plaque is still worth…just $200 on eBay.  Oh well.  An investment, it wasn’t.  But it does look cool on my wall.  Thankfully I also kept the box, these things are often only worth their full value with the box intact.

REVIEW: KISS – Wicked Lester (1972) Eddie Kramer Demos (1973)

Today, a treat:  Part 0 of my series of Kiss reviews, leading up to the release of Monster!  Yes, part 0.  Today we go right back to the beginning:  Wicked Lester.

 

WICKED FRONT KISS – Wicked Lester / Eddie Kramer Demos (1972 – 1973, CD bootleg)

Before forming Kiss with Peter Criss and Ace Frehley, Gene and Paul had a five piece band called Wicked Lester that cut one album for Epic.  That album has never been released, although a couple tracks turned up on the Kiss Box Set.

You might recognize two songs:  “She” and “Love Her All I Can” which were both recorded much harder on Dressed To Kill.  One song, “(We Want To) Shout It Out Loud” is a Hollies cover that later inspired the title of the classic hit from Destroyer. The sound is very hippy-dippy and directionless. Flutes and strings and overly sweet harmony vocals mire what might have ended up being some cool songs.  Indeed, “She” is about as vastly different from the sludgy version on Dressed To Kill as you can imagine.

The CD bootleg copy that I have is pretty lo-res.  It includes as bonus tracks the five songs that Kiss cut on their original Eddie Kramer demo, that got them their record deal.  These are fully realized rough and loose versions of the songs on the albums, and once again two have been released on the Box Set.  Some are quite a bit longer, with extended solos.

The cover art is the original art that the band were going to use.  The boy is supposed to be Wicked Lester, their intended mascot.  The artwork was later used by a band called Laughing Dogs.

1/5 stars (Wicked Lester)

4/5 stars (Eddie Kramer Demos)

REVIEW: KISS – Destroyer (and a word about that 35th anniversary Resurrected thing)

Part 6 of my series of Kiss reviews, leading up to the release of Monster!  See the end for a bit of a preview of the forthcoming Destroyer: Resurrected too.

KISS – Destroyer (1976)

DISCLAIMER: I’m not the biggest fan of Destroyer. I loved the cover as a kid, and that cover led me to expect the album to be heavier.  Also worth noting:  I got mono real bad around the time that I got this album, so upon initially hearing it, I was constantly sick.

I strongly like four of the tracks today, which unfortunately have become overplayed:

  • Detroit Rock City
  • King of the Night Time World
  • Shout It Out Loud
  • God of Thunder

And let’s face it, Kiss fans can take or leave “Beth”. Unfortunately for Peter Criss it was the only hit that he had a hand in writing, and during the reunion got way overplayed. It was nice hearing it again at first, since it had been dropped from the set for about 17 years. I’m sick of it now. We’re all sick of it. Kiss felt the song was a throwaway, and it kind of is. A novelty.

Other tunes:

  • “Sweet Pain” — not a big fan. I find it dull.
  • “Flaming Youth” — again, not a big fan. I think Ezrin got carried away with production on this one, and to be honest I’ve never been a fan of the “Mad Dog” riff in the middle.
  • “Great Expectations” — never liked it. Always thought it was a novelty even moreso than Beth. But the live version on Alive IV is stunning.
  • “Do You Love Me?” — I have no idea how this song continues to be played live. Maybe when Nirvana covered it, it got a new life? It’s just too simple.

Ezrin’s production is probably too sweet for my tastes. On the Alice Cooper stuff he was a little bit more rock, a little bit more raw. As I said, “Flaming Youth” is drenched in production. Calliope? Why? I don’t know.

Having said that, Ezrin pulled a few tricks out of the bag on this album that are really cool:

1. Grand piano subtley doubles the guitar riffs on most songs. It is audible on “Shout It Out Loud”, but you can hear it if you really listen on the other tracks. It gives the riffs a little extra BOOM!

2. The sound effect intro to “Detroit”, and the walkie-talkies on “God Of Thunder”. Genius atmospheres. No wonder this guy would later produce Pink Floyd!

3. Songwriting. Ezrin really helped Kiss learn about songwriting craft, and Kiss would never be the same.

So there you go. It is undeniably a classic, but it does not represent what Kiss really sound like. Maybe if Kiss had continued down this road immediately and tried some production stuff on their own, without Ezrin, they would be a different band today? But they didn’t, and Kiss returned to rock and roll on the next album, which I like better.

3/5 stars

AND NOW!

Destroyer: Resurrected (35th Anniversary Edition)

This baby is coming in August.  A full-on Bob Ezrin remix of Destroyer, plus unheard demos.   Now I know a lot of you don’t particularly care for remixes, but if Ezrin is helming it, I believe there will be a point to it.  Ezrin is a producer of integrity and I don’t believe he would waste our dollars or time if this remix wasn’t somehow going to be worth it. I don’t know if the original mix will be included.  But who cares?  Everybody owns that and it’s not being deleted.

Ezrin pulled the tapes from the vaults and painstakingly remixed the entire album, enhancing the sound and bringing out its rich texture and vibrancy, while keeping the integrity of the original recording intact. Destroyer: Resurrected will also include rare and unreleased recordings rediscovered during the remixing process, plus the originally intended cover artwork.

I’m now hearing it’s only going to be 1 disc, but with the original Ken Kelly cover art (Alive! costumes), read more here!