If you spin things back twenty years, 1996 was a strange time for me. It was the year I moved back to Illinois from Iowa, a time of self-discovery and a year before I met the girl who I'm married to today. Thing is, despite being released formally in '96, NERF HERDER's self-titled debut was very much a part of the 1997 soundtrack for me, and just as it was for many, it was fueled by a little single called "Van Halen." Commentary on David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar aside, the band garnered my immediate respect for having a STAR WARS-inspired name at a time when the Original Trilogy was just coming back into theaters as the infamous "Special Editions," and the boom of the Pop Culture "Con" was still just a few years off. Over the years, I amassed a sizable collection of NERF HERDER CDs, and after becoming a parent, frontman Parry Gripp has remained part of my daily soundtrack, not always due to his work with NERF HERDER, but as the man behind a host of televised kid's music - from Disney Junior's DJ Shuffle (which I premiered here on THE ROCK FATHER Magazine back in 2014) to The 7D, and even the MARVEL SUPER HERO SQUAD, for which he composed the theme. Now NERF HERDER is back with a new album, their first since 2008, and it's damn good.
I distinctly remember sitting back in my seat on a Chicago-to-L.A. flight back in April of 2009, watching ADIOS... PUTA MADRES, the DVD companion to MINISTRY's 2008 C U LaTOUR - what was supposed to be the band's swan song. But, if the years have taught us anything, it's never say "never" when it comes to the sonic activities of Uncle Al Jourgensen and the gang. After all, 2007's THE LAST SUCKER was MINISTRY's "final" album, until 2012's RELAPSE and 2013's FROM BEER TO ETERNITY arrived. So here I sit, just five years past viewing the DVD of MINISTRY's "final" tour, and having in my possession what is now being touted as the "final live MINISTRY release," LAST TANGLE IN PARIS - a 1 DVD/2 CD combo pack featuring video from the band's 2012 DeFiBriLaTour, and music from the 2006 and 2008 incarnations of the band.
With all the coverage area I hit here on THE ROCK FATHER, there's times when the needle is so far over to the "family" side of things that I don't get to spend as much time over here in the "grownups" section as I'd like. That said, it's time to play a little bit of catch-up on some new releases from the metallic side of things, one of which hit the streets back in May - the latest album from MUSHROOMHEAD, THE RIGHTEOUS & THE BUTTERFLY.
Watching the long-awaited LAMB OF GOD documentary AS THE PALACES BURN this weekend, I pondered what I might say about it for those who have yet to see it. For those already familiar with the band and well-immersed in the culture of metal - possibly even music in general, at this point - the story of it's creation is already one that's familiar. Band decides to partner with filmmaker Don Argott for a documentary feature that focuses on the bond between band and fans around the Globe... and then the frontman from said band lands in prison in the Czech Republic, and everything changes.
"In seven albums, none of us have ever been this proud of what we created. It feels like we channeled DH from 2018 (minus any out-of-touch old man issues that some bands face later in their career)," states DEMON HUNTER vocalist Ryan Clark when speaking of EXTREMIST. Set for release on March 18, 2014 via Solid State, I checked out an advance stream here at Rock Father HQ this weekend, and while it would be easy to discount Ryan's statement as being simply PR hyperbole... I think he's right.
Though it was released back in April, I've only recently started spinning THE WAY LIFE GOES, the long-awaited solo album from CINDERELLA frontman TOM KEIFER, here at Rock Father HQ. My earliest memories of Keifer's work in CINDERELLA were shaped in large part thanks to MTV and the local carnivals, where bands like his could be heard alongside BON JOVI, POISON, SLAUGHTER and many others of the era, blasting from the Flying Bob's or the game section, where crowds of black-shirted teens would try their hand at winning a wood-framed mirror bearing the logo of their favorite band. CINDERELLA's NIGHT SONGS was released just two months prior to my 10th birthday, and I missed out on seeing the entire "glam era" live and in-concert, and my album collection was being dominated by HUEY LEWIS AND THE NEWS and BOBBY BROWN records, along with the soundtracks to SPACEBALLS and POLICE ACADEMY 4: CITIZENS ON PATROL. By the time I'd really become aware of CINDERELLA and moved into full-on rock mode (High School), the band was nearing it's first end. Fast-forward nearly two decades, CINDERELLA has reunited and hit the road a few times, and now, here I sit listening to the debut solo album from "the voice of CINDERELLA." And it's good.
It is very rare at this point - almost unheard of - that I immediately bump something to the front of my review queue here at Rock Father HQ. With a never-ending assortment of items vying for my attention, it just never happens... except on occasions like this. Earlier today, the folks at Universal Republic sent me a digital stream of BLACK SABBATH: LIVE... GATHERED IN THEIR MASSES, the new concert film that was released last week on DVD and Blu-ray/CD Combo. With BLACK SABBATH's "13" already a highlight of 2013, I had to give this a watch right away.
Released elsewhere in the World nearly a year ago, SILENT MACHINE, the full-length debut from Australia's TWELVE FOOT NINJA has quietly been available via iTunes in the 'States despite having no "official" U.S. release. That changes on October 1, when SILENT MACHINE gets a physical release in the United States (complete with a pair of acoustic bonus tracks) and the band hits the road with PERIPHERY, BORN OF OSIRIS, and DEAD LETTER CIRCUS. Having had the original digital version of the album here at Rock Father HQ for quite awhile, I feel like I've been holding out by not sharing some words on it yet. Why, you ask? Because, I have experienced the SILENT MACHINE, and oh, what a glorious machine it is...
I don't have a definitive reason as to "why," but despite being a massive fan of the DEFTONES' early works, I have not purchased their last three studio albums (nor have I received digital promos). That places my last proper DEFTONES experience with their 2005 B-sides collection. While I've heard bits and pieces of their more contemporary works, as I said - I don't have a reason for the disconnect, but it certainly feels as if I've been unplugged from a band that I used to dig very much. My reason for deliving into the DEFTONES' rabbit hole tonight comes courtesy of PALMS, and their self-titled debut that is set for release this coming Tuesday via one of my favorite labels for recorded sounds, Ipecac Recordings. PALMS is magical.
Guitarist Marcel Neumann would like you to know that WE BUTTER THE BREAD WITH BUTTER "are NOT a joke band." I wish he'd told me that a couple of weeks ago when I was out cruising in the Mazda3 I'd been loaned, while cranking SiriusXM Liquid Metal under the cover of darkness. It was then that my ears first took in the music of WE BUTTER THE BREAD WITH BUTTER, but all I could think was - "There's actually a band called WE BUTTER THE BREAD WITH BUTTER." Much to my surprise, a press stream of their PROJEKT HERZ EP arrived in my inbox here at Rock Father HQ a few days later.
Nearly ten years ago (it was October of 2003), I stood inside a dimly-lit ballroom at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas amongst a group of Musicland employees brought together for what would be (unbeknownst to them) one of their final Annual Meetings. The major crash of the music industry was looming just ahead, and if you asked them at the time, I'm sure that few (if any) would've predicted that the eventual bankruptcy, purchase, and elimination of their brand would come just three years later. As I stood there, Martini in-hand, the lights from the stage illuminated and the curtain dropped as the unannounced "surprise" performers for the night broke into their first song with the familiar lyrics... "It's been one week since you looked at me..."
I'm late on this one. In fact, I think it's the first time in several album cycles that there's been a new CLUTCH record out that I haven't been able to get reviewed in time for release day. The reason? I'm The Rock Father now - a work-at-home Dad with two little ones running around. I'm an unapologetic CLUTCH fan, dating back to the days of the TRANSNATIONAL SPEEDWAY LEAGUE - a record that's 20 years old as of this year. As a guy that's literally worn out a few CLUTCH shirts (my favorite was the one with dual SGs on the sleeves - complete with flames) and hats over the course of two decades, I don't think the Maryland purveyors of fine rock can do much wrong. That said, I do have a problem with EARTH ROCKER, their 10th studio album...