Sittin’ Heavy

#537.3: 2016 Can Suck Balls – Year End Lists, Part 3 – LeBrain

GETTING MORE TALE #537.3: 2016 Can Suck Balls
Year End Lists, Part 3 – LeBrain

Regardless of the music, 2016 will go down in history (for most of us) for just one notorious reason:  The sheer number of stars that we lost, both young and old.  Even after I had completed a list of the most significant pop culture deaths in 2016, I had to add even more names:  Debbie Reynolds, and Carrie Fisher.  Princess Leia was one of my first heroes.  I was five years old.  Carrie was an incredible woman, who lived a hard life and came out laughing.

2016

Perspective.

 


But we’ll save the deaths for last.

Ever since the Record Store days, I have always done my albums as a Top Five. We had a newsletter and employees were asked to submit their Top Fives of the year. That being the case, I’ve always stuck with that tradition even when my compatriots have submitted some pretty awesome Top Tens.

You can check out the submitted Top Ten lists here:

After much deliberation, here are my Top Five albums of 2016.

 

5. Metallica – Hardwired…To Self-Destruct

4. Tragically Hip – Man Machine Poem

3. Jim Crean – Insatiable

2. The Cult – Hidden City

1. Monster Truck – Sittin’ Heavy

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And of course, some killer runners-up.  These three releases rocked hard and were just barely squeezed out of the Top Five:

A Rebel Few – As The Crow Flies

Black Sabbath – The End

Evilyn Strange – Evilution


Top TV shows of 2016

Some extras!  The TV shows below are the only ones I bother with.  If you haven’t watched American Dad yet, after all my badgering, I don’t know what else I can say about the funniest show on TV!

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Actually I do — American Dad has the best musical jokes.  You will hear plenty of great tunes:  Metallica, The Sword, Stan Bush, Satriani, Rush, Queen, and many more.  And even the songs you don’t like (Owl City, Kelly Clarkson?) are hilarious, because of the context.  That’s what makes a musical joke work.  You can find a complete list of songs used in American Dad by clicking here.

Top four TV shows:

4. Family Guy

3. The Grinder

2. The Walking Dead

1. American Dad

Dropping off the list is the Big Bang Theory which started to suck a couple years ago, a few noteworthy episodes aside (such as any time Wil Wheaton shows up).


Top Movies of 2016
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Movies were…just movies.  There was nothing this year with the emotional impact of The Force Awakens.  The films below are not in any particular order.  They are just movies, nothing more and nothing less.  2016 was a somewhat disappointing year for the silver screen.  (I have not yet seen Arrival.)

Star Wars: Rogue One

Captain America: Civil War

Suicide Squad

Star Trek Beyond

Deadpool

 


And sadly, the real dead pool.  These are just some of the musicians, actors, writers and sports heroes we lost in the year of 2016. Many went way too young.  At the 11th hour, I received this sketch of Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia.  It was drawn by Wardy who you may know as regular reader here.  Thank you Wardy for sending and giving me permission to post this great sketch.  (Wardy is one talented guy with a pencil.)  Rest in peace to all below.

carrie-fisher-1956-2016-sketch-by-wardy

  • Paul MacLeod
  • David Bowie
  • Prince
  • Alan Rickman
  • George Michael
  • Rick Parfitt
  • Ralph “Chick” Schumilas
  • John Glenn
  • Muhammad Ali
  • Florence Henderson
  • Gene Wilder
  • Arnold Palmer
  • Leonard Cohen
  • Dave Broadfoot
  • Glenn Frey
  • Gordie Howe
  • Harper Lee
  • Phife Dawg
  • Sir George Martin
  • Anton Yelchin
  • Garry Shandling
  • Christina Grimmie
  • Alan Thicke
  • Kenny Baker
  • Leon Russell
  • Merle Haggard
  • Paul Kantner
  • Jimmy Bain
  • John McLaughlin
  • Abe Vigoda
  • Chyna
  • Pat Harrington Jr.
  • Keith Emerson
  • Greg Lake
  • David Huddleston
  • Maurice White
  • George Kennedy
  • Rob Ford
  • Ralph Stanley
  • George Gaynes
  • Alan Young
  • Frank Sinatra Jr.
  • Lonnie Mack
  • Nick Menza
  • Prince Be
  • Bernie Worrell
  • Matt Roberts
  • Mr. Fuji
  • Alexis Arquette
  • Stanley “Buckwheat” Dural Jr.
  • Jose Fernandez
  • Jean Shepard
  • Pete Burns
  • Robert Vaughn
  • Bobby Vee
  • Leonard Haze
  • James Wooley
  • Sandy Pearlman
  • John Berry
  • John Thomas
  • Dale “Buffin” Griffin
  • Carrie Fisher
  • Debbie Reynolds

 

Rest in peace, and thank you for making our days a little brighter.

LeBrain

REVIEW: Monster Truck – Sittin’ Heavy (2016 double vinyl)

“I don’t care ’bout the weather, the band’s here to play.” – Jon Harvey

img_20161113_081455 MONSTER TRUCK – Sittin’ Heavy (2016 Dine Alone 2 LP edition)

Why are you not rocking?  This is the question that Monster Truck ask to open their 2016 release Sittin’ Heavy, easily the best record the quartet have released to date.  “Rock and roll might save your life, it might save your life tonight.”  Perhaps this is the Truck’s modus operandi, because judging by Sittin’ Heavy they are interested in delivering the rock and doing it right.

From the short blitz of an opener, Truck go right into the first single “Don’t Tell Me How to Live”.  The track has been a radio staple in Canada for most of 2016, and it’s easy to see why.  The slow riffy groove is easily digestible by rock fans craving that sound, backed by a searing chorus about eagles and lions.  Some have compared this band to another Nickelback, but on Sittin’ Heavy they have moved far beyond those measures.  Nickelback has never delivered anything this classic sounding.  Track three, “She’s a Witch” has a modern swampy vibe that Chad Kroeger couldn’t hope to taint.  Three songs in, Monster Truck delivered three completely different tunes, though all with the rock solid Truck groove.  One ingredient that separates the Truck from the crowd is the soulful organ provided by keyboardist Brandon Bliss.  “She’s a Witch” is one track with a bizarrely heavy soul-metal vibe.  That vibe culminates with “For the People”, an uplifting track that closes side one of the vinyl.  The soul-rock vibe is obvious and augmented by Ian Thornley of Big Wreck who lays down some of his trademark wicked slide guitar.  The Wreck-ifying of the track unites the two bands in a cool, celebratory way.

Flip the vinyl, and take a moment.  “Black Forest” is a organ based track, slow and mournful, and very different from any of the four on side one.  When a band like Monster Truck turn down the volume, they risk revealing that there is little substance beneath the howling distortion.  This is certainly not the case here.  “Black Forest” has a more subtle touch, and the band allow it to breath.  As a result it’s one of the most stand-out tracks.

“Another Man’s Shoes” walks us back into familiar territory.   The Truck don’t make things complicated, and guitarist Jeremy Widerman’s Frehley-like solos are just what the doctor ordered for these musical bruisings.  They take a left turn down Abbey Road next by adding some Beatles-like piano vibes to “Things Get Better”, an outstanding track.  “I got a feelin’ thing’ll get worse before they get better,” sings Jon Harvey but he couldn’t be more wrong.  Sittin’ Heavy keeps getting better the more you play it, and “Things Get Better” is a high water mark.  Side two blasts its way to a finish on “The Enforcer”, which races home with plenty of the Truck’s trademark “woah-woah-woah” gang vocals.

The third and final side (we’ll talk about that shortly) begins darkly with a Sabbath-like “To the Flame”.  Widerman and Harvey seemed to study at the feet of Iommi and Osbourne when composing this menacing crawl.  “Midnight” takes the tempo back up to cruising speed.  Going in at low altitude, the Truck bomb your senses with a vinyl-only bonus track.  Considering the price you pay for a record vs. a CD, it is nice to get something like a bonus track for your dollars.  In the 80s, it was common to put a bonus track on the CD, since it was the most expensive format at that time.  Now the situation is reversed.

A choppy riff introduces “New Soul”, a purely enjoyable return to the church of soul-rock.  It’s a head-bangin’ good time.  Clap your hands for a good time (unless you’re listening to this while driving, in which case, keep ’em steady on the wheel).  Then the final track is appropriately the ballad “Enjoy the Time” which sounds like a natural way to end a soulful rock album like Sittin’ Heavy.  Its Supertramp-like keyboard tones lend it a unique sound over the rest of the album.  It also sums up the vibe of the whole album:  “Enjoy the time we have, before they’re gone away.”

But what about the fourth side?  What’s on that?  Check out the etched vinyl, baby!

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If you are looking for a new rock album that sounds classic, then you have found one.  Those who like a rock record to be a journey of highs and lows and with a satisfying conclusion, then Sittin’ Heavy is the one.  With little doubt, this one is going to be on a few best of 2016 lists at the end of the year.

5/5 stars