On Black Tie Love Affair, the last 3 Pill Morning album, vocalist Jeff Stebbins portrayed a guy just a little bit upset with his lover, indicating in "Rain" that he was going to look for alternative fun at the strip club and then, to top the evening off, burn down his girlfriend's house. Relationships gone bad are certainly no fun but they do provide inspiration for some good songs, and here Stebbins takes a prima donna lover down a few pegs in "The Queen" and slams another with a great putdown that also serves as the title of "Bottom of the Barrel." The band, rounded-out by bassist Ryan "Riplee" Lee and guitarist Jon Stephenson, is perhaps a bit heavier and more adventurous with their melodies this time out but they retain the classic hard-hitting alt-rock sound they established on Black Tie Love Affair, and Stebbins still can scream with the best of them and then slide effortlessly into a smooth and catchy chorus. Among the best cuts are the opening track, a juiced-up thumper called "Electric Chair," the (mostly) quiet ballad "Tonight I Wrote a Song For You" and "Vultures," a commentary on those who thrive on other's misery.
Live @ Sweden Rock 2015
This German band never really broke through to the mainstream despite having a couple of acclaimed albums in the '70s; still they have enough of a cult following that they regrouped recently and put out four new songs, three of which are included on this live release that's billed as an "official bootleg." Don't let the "bootleg" appellation fool you though; the sound here is good as the band rocks through longtime favorites like "Fire and Rain," "In the Time of Job," "Keep Going" and the Led Zeppelin-like "Ride the Sky." Yes you will hear other sounds that recall everyone from Jefferson Starship to Blood, Sweat and Tears to their fellow countrymen the Scorpions, but considering that most of these tunes were written nearly 50-years ago, it's hard to say who influenced who. While Lucifer's Friend is certainly in the twilight of their career, this release is a good place for new fans to begin.
Out-Sider is a label that specializes in unearthing rarities, and here they rerelease the only album ever recorded by New York's Cal, sometimes also known as Cal Rock & Roll. Released in a very limited quantity in 1980 when acts like Bob Seger dominated the airwaves, Cal were an early example of a stoner band that had a big following among bikers, with songs like the slightly psychedelic "Rock & Ride" no doubt being big with the Harley set. "Key to My Heart," "Hard Day," the patriotic "What's Going On" and "Courageous Cat," all '60s-leaning psych rockers, make this title well worth seeking out.
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