As I've been saying all year, 2011 really is ''The Year that Pop-Punk Strikes Back.'' Alongside quality releases from genre heavyweights like NEW FOUND GLORY, YELLOWCARD, and UNWRITTEN LAW, comes YOUR NAME ALL OVER IT, the debut-ish release from Chicago outfit KNOCKOUT KID. Not to be confused with their self-released effort of the same title, this new EP hit iTunes this week via THC:Music/Rocket Science Ventures.
To approach the release of MICHAEL JACKSON - IMMORTAL as just another ''greatest hits'' or ''best-of'' set would be a mistake that more than a few people are destined to make when they see the disc on shelves this holiday season. Released this week in a 27-track collection or as a 20-track ''highlights'' edition, IMMORTAL re-imagines classic songs from every era of Jackson's storied career by drastically shifting arrangements, and crafting a seamless soundtrack for the Cirque du Soleil production based on the legacy of Jackson as a performer.
VANESSA CARLTON takes a guitar-driven indie-rock approach to a pair of Holiday classics included on the release of her HEAR THE BELLS EP (out now via Razor & Tie). Do You Hear What I Hear? and her rendition of JOHN LENNON's Happy Xmas (War is Over) take their place in-between acoustic re-imaginings of the title track, Hear the Bells (originally from her recent RABBITS ON THE RUN album) and her breakthrough hit A Thousand Miles.
It's no secret that I love MEGADETH, and I'll forever be grateful to Dave Mustaine for giving a 16-year-old kid (me) a chance to interview him for a half-hour back in 1993. TH1RT3EN, however I like, but it's definitely notloved. In a lot of ways it reminds me of the feelings I had about YOUTHANASIA when it came out when compared to it's predecessor, COUNTDOWN TO EXTINCTION... good, but can't help wondering if maybe it could've been better.
I distinctly remember the morning of August 28, 2001. I was in a weird space at the time - technically unemployed, yet I still found myself at Best Buy when the doors opened to score a copy of IOWA, the second album from SLIPKNOT. The Heretic Anthem was already on my computer as a pre-release MP3 at a time when digital singles were still a frightening prospect for the music industry, and having already been hooked by the band's self-titled debut just a couple years prior, I had to get my hands on the new record. A decade later, IOWA still holds up, and remains my favorite release in the SLIPKNOT library of audio domination.
When LESS THAN JAKE decides to put out a DVD, they don't just put out a DVD. For ANTHOLOGY, the long-running ska-punk outfit performed six albums in their entirety and filmed the whole thing. As with most ''full album'' performances, the LTJ crew tossed in a few bonus track for the crowd, with the end result contained on the first three discs in the ANTHOLOGY set.
There have already been a lot of track-for-track ''tribute'' albums released to celebrate NEVERMIND, the landmark album by NIRVANA. At least four strike my mind as being released this year alone - all marking the two decades since the record with the familiar floating baby first hit stores unceremoniously on a September Tuesday back in 1991. A bit belated to market, Reimagine Music's COME AS YOU ARE: A 20th Anniversary Tribute to NIRVANA's NEVERMIND is one of the better ones, but it hasn't arrived without fault.
DUB TRIO's IV is easily one of my favorite records of 2011. Packing 40-minutes of music into a 9-track package, IV is a freight train of sound that demands to be played loud. As much as have been enjoying IV, I can say with relative certainty that my neighbors have not been.
I am indeed one of ''those people.'' Yes, ''those people'' that rabidly look forward to the release of anything involving FAITH NO MORE/TOMAHAWK/FANTOMAS/MR. BUNGLE/LOVEAGE/MONDO CANE/PEEPING TOM/countless other projects' frontman MIKE PATTON. Where I differ from many is that I will not claim ''genius,'' upon every release. There have been some projects that I've liked less than others (ADULT THEMES FOR VOICE, WEIRD LITTLE BOY), but as a a whole - the complete body of work will forever remain impressive for both quality and quantity.
A lot of people have said that STEEL PANTHER ''would've been huge'' had they hit the scene within the mid-late 80's hair metal boom. While entirely possible, the more likely scenario is that they wouldn't have been nearly as good as they are now because they'd think that they were being serious in '87 as opposed to a parody in 2011. Now, unless ''Ted'' Theodore Logan and Bill S. Preston, Esquire show up with that Phone Booth Time Machine and try snatching the boys for a tour with WYLD STALLYNS, we probably won't know a definitive answer to how STEEL PANTHER would be received in the 80's. For 2011, though - STEEL PANTHER is back and going dick-tucked for their new album... BALLS OUT.
If they didn't make it clear on 2009's WAR IS THE ANSWER, FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH are a divisive outfit when it comes to their sonic merits. If you didn't like the band then, you sure as hell won't enjoy AMERICAN CAPITALIST, so you might as well close your browser or surf elsewhere rather than reading any further. For their third album, the band builds upon the structure of their first two and comes off bigger, badder, and ready to aim and fire at detractors.
I've been sitting on a copy of FIVE SERPENT'S TEETH, the third album from UK thrashers EVILE since early September and almost feel a bit bad that I'm just throwing down a few words about it right now. Almost. I'm a busy guy, so I get to things when I get to 'em. That said, EVILE should be proud of themselves, as they've crafted a very entertaining record.