2017 End Of The Year List: Best Album Cover

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First up on Audioeclectica.com’s 2017 End Of The Year Lists, the Top 10 Album Covers. The stipulation is that, they had to have released an album/EP this year.

Vote for your favorite Band/Album Cover in the comments section. At the end of the month, I will release the results of the readers poll.

This list is also in NO PARTICULAR ORDER!!!

 

01) With Our Arms To The Sun- Orenda:

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02) Royal Thunder- Wick:

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03) Mutoid Man- War Moans:

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04) Converge- The Dusk In Us:

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05) Darkest Hour- Godless Prophets and The Migrant Flora:

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06) Nine Inch Nails- Add Violence:

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07) Mastodon- Emperor Of Sand:

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08) Pallbearer- Heartless:

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09) Wear Your Wounds- Wear Your Wounds:

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10) Spotlights- Seismic:

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Band/Artist Of The Week: Justin Stewart Cotta

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You might remember the name of Justin Stewart Cotta from the band Memento where he was the singer or the band VAST in which he played guitar during an early incarnation of the band. It has been a little while since Justin has released new music, actually it’s been 10 years. After the break up of Memento, Justin returned to Australia and got involved with theater but he never forgot about the music. Justin’s new release, the 3 song EP Amor Vincit Omnia is a delicate and expressive acoustic offering which is the perfect way to return. His powerful voice and lyrics are ever present while the subtle acoustic guitar adds a layer of melancholy without making you feel low. There is a real intimacy to the songs (“Love Yourself,” “Miracle Man,” and “Rain”) that emit a brightness to the darkness. What a way to come back. So check out what Justin has to offer the world and enjoy!
Justin Stewart Cotta- Amor Vincit Omnia:

 

and just because Memento was awesome:

Memento- Beginnings:

 

Cover Song: The Jim Carroll Band (The Velvet Underground)- Sweet Jane

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Jim Carroll is one of the most gifted and prolific writers of the past century. His poetry has inspired countless bands and songs. His writings be it The Basketball Diaries, poetry books, or songs are nothing short of special. During his time in the 70’s, Jim spent a good amount of time with bands and musicians like The Velvet Underground, particularly Lou Reed, He once lived with Patti Smith, and was a fixture at all the local hot spots in New York like CBGB’s and Max’s Kansas City. On his 1983 album I Write Your Name, he did a cover of The Velvet Underground’s “Sweet Jane,” and it’s probably the best cover of the song I’ve ever heard. Check it out!

The Jim Carroll Band- Sweet Jane:

 

The Velvet Underground- Sweet Jane:

 

That Was A Bad Idea: Daron singing lead in System Of A Down

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The first two System of a Down records are pretty damn solid. They were exciting and filled with artistry and riffs galore. Not to mention the melodies emitted from singer Serj Tankian. Then there was a drastic change to the band as they released their third and fourth albums Mezmerize and Hypnotize. Guitarist Daron Malakian took on a more prominent role of not just songwriting but also as the bands singer, and moved Serj to the background. This was more than changed the style of the band but also saw the beginning of the end for System of a Down.

It’s one thing to add another layer of vocals to the band. Mastodon did it and they did it well. But the singer switch in System really changed the band and not for the good. Gone were the more poetic songs and melodic voice, and were then replaced by self deprecating lyrics and nasally whiney vocals. Also gone was the real artistry that the band had. Their early days featured beautifully chaotic performances which emitted a strong passion to not just their art but as a way to stand out. This “new” version of System was boring, generic and stale. Musically the songs just didn’t have the “power” as their past albums. Their live shows became utterly boring, with the band just standing there playing with no emotion at all. Looking back on this era you could see the writing on the wall that this was it for them.

Over the years during different “reunions” of the band, you can still tell that there is a bit of something off about the band. These shows also seem to be more about replenishing their bank accounts then anything else. Reading interviews with Shavo and John, you can tell that they are 100 % into the band and wanting to record new music together but, Daron and Serj seem to be the ones that are holding that back. Who knows what will happen in the future but, the time is running out for them to get back to what they did best. It’s a shame that ego’s get in the way of making great music. Hopefully they get their act together and can put out a great album again. Until then at least I’ve got their debut album and Toxicity.

 

Album Debate: Type O Negative Bloody Kisses vs October Rust

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Type O Negative, one of rock er I should say one of heavy rock’s coolest and very influential bands has quite the catalog. The band was quite the group incorporating metal, goth, post punk, and doom to their sound. They left a profound imprint on the scene. And since the passing of frontman and bassist Peter Steele in 2010, the heavy music world hasn’t been the same. Type O Negative have two albums that really stand out and are often debated as to which one is best. I too have long debated these two albums as well and go back and forth as to which one is best. So lets break it down and finally come out with a winner.

First up is Bloody Kisses, the breakthrough album that put the band on the map. This was also the first album for Roadrunner Records to achieve gold and platinum status. Bloody Kisses also saw the band fully move towards the “goth metal” realm and incorporate samples and humorous (though often dry humor) interludes. Certain songs like “Christian Woman,” “Black No. 1 (Little Miss Scare-All),” “Bloody Kisses (A Death In The Family),” “We Hate Everyone,” and “Blood and Fire,” are tremendous stand out songs and really showcase the greatness of this album. Also included on the album is a cover of the Seals and Crofts song “Summer Breeze” which is actually quite a cool version. All in all, Bloody Kisses is a landmark album that really set a bar and influenced so many.

The follow up to Bloody Kisses is October Rust. This album saw the band move more toward a solemn wavelength and get more into the goth side of things and departing a bit from the “metal” that a lot of fans had come to equate with the band. Similar themes are still present on October Rust like life, death, sex, sensuality, romance and depression. Only on this album it seems that it comes across as more personal and darker than on previous albums. Songs that have always stood out to me on this album are “My Girlfriend’s Girlfriend,” “Love You To Death,” “Green Man,” “Die With Me,” “Haunted,” and the very excellent cover of Neil Young’s “Cinnamon Girl.” Since Bloody Kisses set the bar, October Rust is the logical follow up but also the chance the band needed to take.

Choosing between these two albums is quite hard, and if pressed to pick one, I’m going to have to go with October Rust. It’s just a personal preference but, to me there is a lot more depth and darkness to this album than Bloody Kisses. Don’t get me wrong, Bloody Kisses is great and its quite possibly the bands best work but, October Rust is the one I gravitate to more and connect with.

What one do you think is best?

 

Bloody Kisses:

 

October Rust:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Underrated Band: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

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There are so many bands out there that are extremely underrated, it should be a crime. One band in particular, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club is a prime example of that. Formed back in 1998 by Robert Levon Been and Peter Hayes, they have released seven studio albums in that time and in 2018 will release their long awaited eighth album. When the band begun they had a more “hard rock n roll” sound but over time they truly found their own niche by incorporating psychedelia, space rock, shoe gaze, blues, alternative rock and even a bit of folk. It’s not surprising to see those elements in their music considering they are influenced by bands like The Velvet Underground, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Love and Rockets, The Rolling Stones, T Rex, The Call (which featured Robert’s father Michael Been), and Lou Reed.

From the moment their self titled debut was released, BRMC has played by their own rules. Never a band to compromise their art and music, they really have made a name for themselves not just with great albums but with a live show that is at times hypnotic and full of passion. When their first album came out many critics lumped them in with the emerging “garage rock” sound that was blowing up which featured bands like The Strokes and The White Stripes. Though I don’t think they ever really belonged in that. The second album Take Them On, On Your Own was a bit of a departure from their debut. It was a harder and darker sounding album and also featured  a bit of a political tinge to the lyrics. When Howl, their third album was released in 2005, BRMC had changed yet again by adding a more bluesy/folk feel to their music. A lot of “critics” loved the change in sound and said that it was “an innovative departure” for the band. Personally, I dig on Howl but, it’s not where the band really found their stride. 2007’s Baby 81 is one hell of an album and where they truly left their mark. This album featured a harder, more raw sound as well as some of the most profound and poetic lyrics since their debut. Their 2010 album Beat The Devil’s Tattoo was a statement album for the band. This one featured a more straight ahead rock approach while also incorporating a new drummer Leah Shapiro who took over for Nick Jago, who left to pursue a solo career. Their 2013 album Specter At The Feast was a bit of a solemn album and sort of a tribute to Robert Levon Been’s father Michael, who passed away following a heart attack. Michael had also been working with the band as their live sound tech, producer and sort of musical mentor. The songs released from their upcoming album Wrong Creatures are remarkable. It has been about five years since BRMC have released a new album and this new one is shaping up to be quite the album for the band. Every one of the bands albums has something special in them. They are the epitome of rock n roll.

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Black Rebel Motorcycle Club live a few times over the years and they never disappoint. Instead of having all the glitz and glamour of a bombastic rock show, they rely on the music to guide you through the show. Usually draped by minimalist lights, the band really knows how to deliver that feeling of intimacy and vitality. When BRMC comes through your city, I strongly suggest you take the time to go see them and witness a truly great and underrated band.

 

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club Albums:
BRMC:

 

Take Them On, On Your Own:

 

Howl:

 

Baby 81:

 

Beat The Devil’s Tattoo:

 

Specter At The Feast:

 

From Wrong Creatures:

Haunt:

 

Question Of Faith:

 

Little Thing Gone Wild:

 

King Of Bones:

Band Of The Week: Black Wail

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As I’ve said before, rock music is alive and well. You just might have to search for all the true gems. Speaking of gems, there is a band from New Jersey that is about to take the world by storm and unleash a fury of rock upon us all. That band is Black Wail. This four piece is quite spectacular. Mixing 70’s hard rock, psychedelia, punk rock and metal, Black Wail have created a sound that is more than needed for today. Their new album Chromium Homes is outstanding. It’s drenched in Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy and southern rock (Allman Brothers and Skynyrd) influence but also with bits and pieces of punk rock a la The Misfits and Ramones and tinges of High On Fire and Sleep. What a combination of sounds, to create something so pure and full of rock. Black Wail is a band that not only stands out amongst the crowd but also decimates them with their magnitude of sound. So do yourselves and your friends a favor and check out Black Wail and tell everyone!

 

Black Wail- Chromium Homes:

 

Black Wail- Thee Ghost:

 

Black Wail- All You Can Eat EP:

 

 

By: Brian Lacy