Saturday, December 5, 2009

Savatage & The Trans Siberian Orchestra - Believe

The Trans Siberian Orchestra:
I normally try to wait until January when I review the entire year by picking out what I thought to be the very best album of the year, but I don’t need to wait, I already know the best album of 2009 is “Night Castle,” by The Trans-Siberian Orchestra. I don’t believe 2009 was a great year for music, especially when compared to last year. 2008 had Avantasia’s rock opera extravaganza “The Scarecrow,” Kings of Leon had their biggest commercial success album which was very good, Frightened Rabbit broke onto the scene with one of the cleverest smart ass songs I’ve heard in years, MGMT come out of nowhere and made pop music enjoyable again, bloody hell even Pink had a good song in 2008, and I never thought I would be saying that.

But 2009... a little lacklustre. There is probably a lot of good music that came out, but it was too cult, too foreign, or I just missed it, but when I look over 2009 all I can think of is those gods among men The Trans-Siberian Orchestra came out with their best album to date.

Seems like every December I end up talking about the same group; the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Sure the holiday season contributes to me thinking a lot about the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, what with their whole rock and roll Christmas theme, but for me personally, the reasons run much deeper than that.

The Trans-Siberian Orchestra really speaks to me because it is a combination of the two genres of music I most revere, Rock and Roll and Classical. The new album “Night Castle,” is a brilliant showing of both genres meeting in harmony and creating something truly awe inspiring. The Trans-Siberian Orchestra tackles famous composers’ work such as Mozart, Bach, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, and my personal favourite Orff, but at the same time O’Neil and Oliva of The Trans-Siberian Orchestra have not forgotten their rock and roll heritage, and classic Savatage tunes come out in full force on this album, now dramatically done with an entire army of musicians. I couldn’t be happier about it.

It’s hard, very hard to pick out which song I should tell you about, I mean you really should hear the version of “Carmina Burana,” they have done, or what they have done with “The Hall of The Mountain King,” and of course there is their symphony based around the “Moonlight Sonata,” the whole album is bliss. But in the end, I believe I will do two version of the same song, so make sure you download both.

One of my favourite Savatage songs is redone on “Night Castle,” the song “Believe.” I think this is as good as a time as any to try to turn people onto both the awesomeness that is The Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and the rock band behind it all, Savatage. So I give you both, Savatage’s classic hit “Believe,” and the modern retaking of the same song done by The Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Both versions are great, it’s a beautiful song, and I am certain you will agree.

Until next year, keep on rocking in the free world.

- Colin Kelly

Thursday, November 5, 2009

David Sylvian - For the Love of Life

I’m a pretty stressed out guy. I think about the little things that... probably most of you never consider. I put entirely too much effort into everything. I lay awake some nights restlessly trying to think up solutions to scenarios, sometimes real, sometimes fictional, just wanting very badly to make everything right. In the end, all I really accomplish is a little bit of understanding, and sometimes I notice things most of you miss, about each other, and about yourselves, and I don’t always have the words to explain such complicated little things; especially when nobody cares.

Then I remember to take a step back and refocus, rethink things, and slowly I come to realize, it’s all as it should be, I can only do so much. The world is a fairly simple place, full of simple people, composed mostly of simple thoughts and motivations. It’s only the sheer volume that makes things so confusing, well that and crazy people.

David Sylvian started his career back in the 1970’s in a group called “Japan” not too surprisingly they became very popular in, you guessed it, Japan; and also in England. “Japan” was very much a glam rock group at the time, not unlike T-Rex. I was never big into glam rock, and as such I never really noticed David Sylvian until; a) I was born, b) he started his solo career, and c) he wrote the closing theme for the suspense thriller TV show, “Monster,” which I’m sure none of you have seen. Apparently Mr. Sylvian has written a lot of songs for movies and television in the last twenty years, and while I cannot recall I believe the song “For the Love of Life,” has appeared in one other television show or movie.

“For The Love of Life,” is a very moody song, in a very positive way I believe. It draws you into a very relaxing state. I believe it is very much a thinking song, a song you play in the background while you study or meditate; that’s what I think anyway. It has become something of a mantra to me in recent years, a quiet phrase to remind me, that I’ve done enough.

“How can the right thing be so wrong?
I’ve found mistakes, where they don’t belong.”

I let myself feel horrible about a lot of stupid things, as if I had the omnipotence to fix everything, and I guess I remember not to feel that way whenever I hear, “For the Love of Life.” Makes me think that my life, has never been about dark themes, rather it has been about overcoming them, and in spite all my mistakes, stumbling forward, is still moving forward, and the slightest improvement is still an improvement. That’s how this song makes me feel anyway; feels pretty fucking good.

How does it make you feel?

Until next month, keep on rocking in the free world.

- Colin Kelly

Monday, October 5, 2009

Power Symphony - Lightbringer

October... This means Halloween... So let’s talk about Satan. It’s close enough of a connection for me.

A recent trend in metal (at least in Europe) is having a lead singer who is also a trained opera singer. Tarja Turunen of Nightwish is a trained opera singer, Sharon Den Adel of Within Temptation is a trained mezzo-soprano singer, and last, and possibly least, Michela D’Orlando of Power Symphony is also a trained opera singer.

The first real contact I had with symphonic metal was Power Symphony, way back in the twelfth grade. This misfit Italian metal group was formed basically in defiance to their hardcore Catholic upbringing, which only goes to show the harder you push someone to be something you run the risk of pushing them to become the exact opposite.

Compared to Nightwish or Within Temptation, which are similar in that they are power metal groups with female opera style lead vocalist, Power Symphony comes off as amateur. Their songs are just not as well thought out or composed as their Finnish and Dutch equivalents. But they are still a tonne of fun.

My favourite song of theirs’ is probably “Lightbringer,” or “Lucifer,” the title track of their second album and one of the best songs about Satan. Now I know what most of you will probably say, “What about The Rolling Stones – Sympathy for the Devil,” and yes, well played, defiantly one of the most famous and best songs about the prince of Darkness, but you should already have that song on CD or at least on your computer.

I think Satan is interesting for a lot of reasons, but more than any other he is the original counter culture icon. God is good, and Satan is bad, it’s easy to see the fascination there within, because truth be told the bible says very little on the subject on Satan, he only makes brief cameos at best, and his motives and overall character is never fully developed, which has left writers, artist, poets, and other creative people to imagine what the fallen angel must be like, and often times we try to project out own humanity onto him. So much so, that Satan has become a far more of a relatable character in the works of fiction then God.

I like Lightbringer a lot for its lyrical content about the King of Lies, very sympathetic and relatable.

“Do you remember when I was but a thought,
In your mind of god,
Prime Evil in your thought.
Beautiful as only I can be,
I seduce the foolish mortal being (as is thy will of god)
My name until the end of time
Is Lucifer (your angel of sin) that brings the light”

You may also note that their English is not particularly good.

I think our fascination with Satan has always been we see ourselves in the corrupted angel. We have humanized the devil to represent the evils and mistakes committed by man, convincing ourselves that Satan is manlike, but we have never seen the similarity between our great accomplishments and god, which is interesting when you think about it. Because it is just as plausible to relate amazing feats like nuclear power, modern genetic studies, and walking on the moon, as godlike, but I guess it is just like all of us to dwell on the negative isn’t it? I like to believe that the impossible is just something we haven’t figured out yet, and frankly being able to do the impossible is really the very substance of being a god.

Power Symphony is an interest group of amateurs who never got any attention outside of Europe and even then they were a cult group at best, and I hope you enjoy them. There is a charm to being amateuristic, there is raw grittiness that manufactured music rarely has.

Until next month, keep on rocking in the free world.

- Colin Kelly

Saturday, September 5, 2009

David Bowie & NIN - Hurt

Holy crap it’s the 23rd and I still haven’t gotten around to my monthly review. I guess two jobs and school will do that.

I haven’t talked about enough live music, so today I shall. When I began to look over the large amount of live tracks on my computer there were quite a few that stood out as unique; strange covers, rare performances, last shows ever, things like that. But there is one that really is special.

According to Johnny Cash it is the greatest anti-drug song of all time, The Tea Party drew a lot of inspiration from the song to write “Psychopomp,” and even though the song is an almost obnoxious example of 90’s emo whining, it really is a great song. That song of course is Nine Inch Nails – Hurt.

Apparently David Bowie was a big fan of Trent Reznor, as you may remember they did do a duo on the song “I’m Afraid of Americans,” featured on Bowie's 1997 album “Earthling.” But what you probably didn’t know is the two went on tour together. Must have been a crazy show, Nine Inch Nails followed by Bowie, that would have been something to see.

Now I did not have the privilege of seeing Bowie and NIN together in concrete but thanks to the wonder of modern technology someone shared some of the live tracks over the internet, further proving the importance of online music sharing, because there is no way in hell any of us would be able to enjoy it otherwise.

One of the songs Bowie and Reznor sing together is, you guessed it, Hurt. While I love the Johnny Cash version, and I am also very fond of the original (except for the last screeching note), I have to conclude this version to be my favourite version of the song. I am fully willing to admit that it might be my favourite just because it has Bowie, and I freaking love Bowie.

It’s pretty far out and it is god damn awesome.

Until next month, keep on rocking in the free world.

- Colin Kelly

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Frightened Rabbit - Keep Yourself Warm

I am a very disenfranchised person. I can typically understand the motivations behind most actions, but it is often hard for me understand the level of ignorance, incompetence, or inconsideration, required for accomplishing some petty cruelties. While I can empathize with just about any person in any situation under any circumstance, I often find it difficult to sympathize. I’ve spent many moments in my life saying “well what did you think was going to happen?” I find a lot of it stems from two shortcomings, one a lack of empathy for other people, and two a lack of understand that there are consequences for our actions.

In my endless search for good music for both mine and your benefit, I have gotten into the habit of every year searching critics’ and fans’ review of music for the year. Top 100 lists and things like that. Well last year I went through one critics entire top 100 list, excluding only the songs I had already heard and hated. Other then MGMT and a track by The Cloud Cult I was not very impressed with the list. However as is the point of this review, there was one track that did stand out to me, an indie rock song out of Scotland called “Keep Yourself Warm,” by Frightened Rabbit.

"Keep Yourself Warm" comes to us from Frightened Rabbit's 2008 album "The Midnight Organ Fight" which is yet another fantastic candidate for best album name ever.

I do not know very much about Frightened Rabbit and as of this date I have only heard a couple other songs by them and all and all, they seem fair. On a scale from one to ten I’d give them a six, better than average. Nonetheless “Keep Yourself Warm,” really hit a cord with me.

The chorus is as follows: “It takes more than fucking someone to keep yourself warm.”

I like that, I like that a lot.

The lyrics are bold. The lyrics are offensive insofar if vulgarity offends you, or if you are such a witless child that mature subject matter frightens you. Naturally this song is not on the radio. Still the commentary being made here is certainly relevant in our modern society that has glorified sexuality in any dynamic, people seem to have forgotten what actually companionship is.

They are good lyrics, so here they are;

"My hole, I'll get my hole, I'll get my hole,
Get my hole, get my hole and I'll find out more.
It's a choo-choo train, a rocket launch
If we have a hormone race,
I'm bound to finish first.

Can you see in the dark?
Can you see the look on your face?
The flashing white light's been turned off,
You don't know who's in your bed.

It takes more than fucking someone you don't know to keep warm.
Do you really think that for a house-beat you'll find your love in a hole?

Oh, you won't find love in a,
Won't find love in a hole.
It takes more than fucking someone to keep yourself warm.

I'm drunk, I'm drunk,
And you're probably on pills.
If we've both got the same diseases,
It's irrelevant girl.
And the room fills with steam,
Oh, evaporates disappears,
My point of entry is the same way,
That I leave

Can you see in the dark?
Can you see the look on your face?
The flashing white light's been turned off
You don't know who's in your bed.

It takes more than fucking someone you don't know to keep warm.
Do you really think that for a house-beat you'll find your love in a hole?

But, you won't find love in a, won't find love in a hole.
It takes more than fucking someone to keep yourself warm.

You won't find love in a, won't find love in a hole.
It takes more than fucking someone to keep yourself-
SEE in the dark!
Can you see the look in your face?
The flashing white light's been turned off
You don't know who's in your bed.

It takes more than fucking someone you don't know to keep warm
Do you really think that for a house-beat you'll find your love in a hole?"

Not only is "Keep Yourself Warm" a fantastic indie rock song with a charming Celtic sound, but it also makes a very relevant social commentary.  How many people, perhaps mostly men, think connecting their sexual organs together qualifies as a relationship?  Have we grown so fond of sexual satisfaction have we forgotten the cure to what ails us is something else?  What grieves most our souls is not a lack of untested lust, but a void in our emotions a lack of something rather obvious.  It takes more than fucking someone to keep yourself warm.

Until next month, keep yourself warm.

- Colin Kelly

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Willie Nelson - Poncho and Left

I think as a species too many of us take progress for granted, and I mean that in every way possible. Go back fifty years and people thought marijuana was a form of Mexican chemical warfare and having long hair probably meant you were a communist and therefore Satan. Someone once said to me that Willie Nelson was the first ever popularly accepted pot smoker and hippie and after some time of thought I have to agree, I can think of no better diplomat for the gentle hippie ways more so than Willie.

You have to remember that Willie started his musical career in the mid 1950s; radical notions of legalizing marijuana and having long hair were frowned upon with contempt. Yet somehow this mellow songwriter managed to become a household name and loved by everyone. The average Willie Nelson fan ranged from radical left wing hippie, to conservative cowboy, to this day we see very few people pull off that kind of unique popularity.

Probably most famous for his “outlaw” brand of country music, the majority of Willie songs I personally enjoy do fall under that category. My dad’s favourite was always “Pancho and Lefty,” and I agree with him, it is my favourite too. My dad always said it was a great drinking song, and god damn it is.

Powerful moving lyrics in this ballad, it tells you just enough to understand the full story without actually having been told the whole story. Very well done, probably the best “outlaw” country song there ever was.

I think the lyrics are worth a read so here they are;

Living on the road my friend, is going keep you free and clean,
Now you wear your skin like iron,
Your breath as hard as kerosene.
You weren't your momma's only boy, but her favourite one it seems.
She began to cry when you said goodbye,
And sank into your dreams.

Pancho was a bandit boy, his horse was fast as polished steel.
He wore his gun outside his pants,
For all the honest world to feel.
Pancho met his match you know on the deserts down in Mexico.
Nobody heard his dying words, ah but that's the way it goes.
All the Federales say, they could've had him any day.
They only let him slip away, out of kindness I suppose.

Lefty he can't sing the blues all night long like he used too.
The dust that Pancho bit down south, ended up in Lefty's mouth.
The day they laid poor Pancho low, Lefty split for Ohio,
Where he got the bread to go, there ain't nobody knows.

All the Federales say, they could've had him any day.
They only let him slip away out of kindness I suppose.

The boys tell how old Pancho fell, and Lefty's living in cheap hotels,
The desert's quiet, Cleveland's cold,
And so the story ends we're told.
Pancho needs your prayers it's true, but save a few for Lefty too,
He only did what he had to do, and now he's growing old.

All the Federales say, they could've had him any day.
They only let him go so long, out of kindness I suppose.

A few gray Federales say, they could've had him any day.
They only let him go so long, out of kindness I suppose.

Until next month, keep on rocking in the free world.

- Colin Kelly

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Cult - Sun King

There is one thing you’ll never hear me bitch about, and that’s the weather. If it’s cold, then its cold put on a jacket and get on with your life. When it’s hot, I love it!

I love it when I can open the windows fully open in my apartment and let the sun shine in. I love letting a nice windy draft flow through the apartment. I love going for a run around Prince Island Park. I love going to my pool and enjoying a nice swim and soak in the sun, plus the girls in bikinis of course. I love walking around with no shirt on and letting the hot sun beat down on my naked skin. I love the girls in short shorts. I love having no fear of dying if I pass out drunk walking home, though that hasn’t been a concern for a very long time, still. I love summer! And it’s finally here… I think, we never know with Alberta do we?

I woke up a few days ago and felt bloody great, the sun was shining through my window and I just felt pumped full of energy. Feels like I’m solar powered sometimes, I swear. While I tried to do some school work the sun was calling me, so I put on my shoes, went to the gym, powered through one set of everything and then ran a few miles around the Bow River. Since there are nearly two thousand songs on my mp3 player it seemed like something of a coincidence that The Cult’s “Sun King” played twice on two such runs on random.

Hell yeah! Not only is “Sun King” highly appropriate for how I was feeling at that moment, but it is one of my very favourite Cult songs, plus I’ve grown some sentimental attachment to the song since a fictional character I write about I crowned the sun king long before ever hearing the song.

The Cult is an awesome group that never seem to get the full recognition they deserve, making them perfect candidates for a music in review. Sure most of you probably know “She Sells Sanctuary,” which is awesome, and most of you probably also know “Firewoman” (kind of a reoccurring theme of fire and sun there) which is also totally badass, but how many of you know “Love Removal Machine,” “Sweet Soul Sister,” “The Phoenix,” or “Sun King” baby!

Yeah that’s what I thought, pretty much no one.

I highly advise you to spend the summer running, swimming, fighting, dancing, drinking, passing out, or whatever in the hot sun. Believe me it’s even better with The Cult. I’m the Sun King baby, let me take you by the hand.

Until next month, keep on rocking in the free world people.

- Colin Kelly

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Black Label Society - In This River

Who is the greatest guitarist right now? There is a long line of super amazing guitarist but most of the truly legendary best are old now, past their prime, so I ask you, who is the best guitarist in the world at this moment?

The answer is simple if you know it, and you shall now;

Zack Wylde.

As near as I know Zack made a name for himself by replacing Randy Roads as the guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne, he spent a lot of time kicking ass and writing awesome rifts with the prince of darkness. But genius is hard to contain in the background of a lead man, even if that lead man is freaking Ozzy Osbourne, so it came to pass that Black Label Society was born. Zack Wylde’s own group where he was lead guitarist and singer, a great side project for a man destined to rock.

I’ve lost count of how many Black Label Society cds there are, it might be as many as twenty, there was a period where Zack was coming out with two albums a year under the title of Black Label, yet he still found time to help Ozzy record all his great work and tour with both Ozzy and his own group. Hardworking dude, you have to know I respect that.

I was introduced to Black Label Society through my good friend Gary, who really loves the guitar. Everything I heard out of Black Label was good, great even, but there was one song that stopped me in my tracks at work and forced me to listen to every note on the first listen I had. That song was “In This River.”

Like Gary I too am very fond of the guitar, but I have to say there has always been something about the piano that captures me. There’s a reason I love music like Meat Loaf, David Gray, and Mozart’s piano concertos so damn much, there is just something beautiful about the piano, and when we combine electric guitar and piano together it is like heaven is down on earth. In the example of “In This River,” we are treated to a great combination of slow sympathetic melody with the powerful and hard electric rifts of Zack godlike guitar playing. Add in the third element of an extremely soulful signer and you have one of the best songs ever.

“In This River,” was written in memory of Zack Wylde’s good friend Dimebag Darrel best known for his work in Pantera, there is nothing like the death of a friend to stir up some sombre feelings in one’s soul. I can think of no greater tribute or memorial to a lost friend then such a masterpiece of music.

So in conclusion, remember these points always for they can only help you;

Zack Wylde is the greatest active guitarist right now on earth, actually until we meet an alien civilization that can rock as much as humans can, we can probably assume Zack Wylde is the greatest active guitarist in the universe.

Black Label Society is freaking amazing and if you ever have the chance to go see them live, freaking do so, I missed them twice now when they came to Calgary and to be honest I lost a little respect for myself for it.

In This River is an awesome song, download, listen to it, love it.

Until next month people, keep on rocking in the free world.

- Colin Kelly

Sunday, April 5, 2009

ACDC - For Those About to Rock

I have an idea for a movie, the concept is a science fiction documentary about ACDC.

The movie opens with the “If you want blood you got it” concert and ACDC is rocking the house. We get a nice backstage scene with the group all hanging out and having a good time, and then cuts to sad news reports about the tragic death of Bon Scott and how the world’s most rocking, rock group is no more.

Then we cut to outer space. Aliens are waging a huge intergalactic war. The good guys are mostly super sexy babes, with the only exception being their high general who will hopefully played by Alice Cooper. These good aliens will discuss how they are going to stop the evil aliens. The evil aliens will all be generic stereotypes of evil conformed corporate culture business men, faceless men in suits and ties, all wearing whatever happens to be the most common hair cut at the time, you know the one, the everybody haircut. The leader of the evil aliens will be a big ominous featureless face on a computer screen constantly talking about the good of the all powerful dollar. This scene will serve pretty much as our only plot device, as the good aliens will explain how the spirit of rock and roll powers their secret weapon; the more absurd the explanation the better. The high general will then send three super sexy babes to earth to find the super human rock gods known as ACDC!

Meanwhile back on earth the Angus brothers and Cliff Williams discuss what they are going to do with their lives since their lead singer and friend Bon Scott is now passed. Now our three super sexy alien babes show up and explain to ACDC why they are needed in outer space to power the secret weapon to stop the evil aliens from destroying all emotion and creativity, or something like that. All hope will seem lost when ACDC explains they cannot help since the loss of their close friend Bon Scott.

For one moment we will actually introduce a slight sense of realism and have an overdramatic version of what kind of happened in real life. Bon Scott’s father will tell our heroes that they need to find another, as Bon Scott would have wanted it that why. Of course in real life hot alien babes probably weren’t there to witness it.

With the help of our sexy entourages from space, ACDC will eventually find the great Brian Johnson, who is the only other man on earth who can rock as much as Bon Scott. We should probably have some bogus technology the girls will use to track down and “measure” Brian Johnson’s rockability. “It’s over 9000!” You know something like that.

Having found the chosen one our heroes rush to outer space and are attacked by the evil aliens before they can rendezvous with Alice Cooper’s battleship, but ACDC will use the power of Rock to freak out the corporate culture aliens and escape safely.

The evil aliens prepare to attack earth but with ACDC together again they power up the super cannon with rock and roll and start destroy the evil alien’s main fleet. It will go back and forth between ACDC and the good aliens destroying the evil aliens, and the evil aliens bombing earth and destroying the good alien’s vast fleet. Explosions everywhere while ACDC plays some of their classic tunes.

After about a half hour of explosions it will start to seem hopeless because the enemy simply out number our heroes far too much. Brian Johnson will then have some absurd speech about the true spirit of rock and roll, people all over the world will be gathering in the streets cheering for ACDC.

“For those about to rock” starts to play and all of a sudden the combined force of ACDC and all of humanity cheering them on has an effect on the aliens. Their faceless faces begin to melt off revealing unique human beings underneath. They start wearing torn jeans and leather jackets and their hair will unexplainably grow long into badass rock and roll hair dos. For this is the true power of rock!

The now turned rock and roll aliens turn their battle ships around and start firing upon the giant evil alien mother ship. The face on a giant computer screen on board the main alien ship will be screaming about MTV awards, top 40 hits lists, and sales charts, as it screams in agony and then dies in a huge explosion just as “For those about to rock” ends. For effect the mother ship should probably explode into money.

“Ride on” plays quietly in the back ground while our heroes are celebrating by the aliens and all of earth. To end on a lame, but fun note someone will ask ACDC,

“You saved the universe; you are earth’s greatest heroes! What can we ever do to repay you?” to which Brian Johnson will respond, “Let there be Rock!”

“Let there be rock” plays and the credits roll.

You'd go see the ACDC save the universe movie, you know you would.

Until next month, keep on rocking in the free world.

- Colin Kelly

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Bob Seger - Fire Inside

There has been a reoccurring conversation that I have now had with at least three people about Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band. I seem to like good old Seger a lot more than the average person, and I think I know why.

When I ask someone what their favourite Bob Seger song is, I typically hear “Turn the Page,” “Like A Rock,” or “Old Time Rock and Roll.” Which is fair those are all good songs, but my two favourites have always been “Still the Same,” and “The Fire Inside.” Some people know “Still the Same,” which is a great song, but for whatever reason at least three people, who really should know the song, are not familiar with “The Fire Inside.”

If you have never heard “The Fire Inside,” which is probably by far Seger’s best song ever, then you probably do not realize quite how good he is.

This changes now.

There is honesty to Bob Seger I really love. He is not trying to convince or persuade you of anything. The way he makes statements in his music, it is more like a matter of fact, and it is completely irrelevant if you agree or not, because this is the way it is. In “The Fire Inside,” the pace is fast, maybe not obnoxious gibberish fast like some rap music, but intelligently fast. It says a lot about the dismay of life and the desire to try regardless. There is no time taken to stop and describe intricate details as to why things are the way they are, this simply is the way it is, and if you can’t see that then you are not looking hard enough. The whole life of bars, clubs, gambling, and cheap thrills, is an empty existence, and I worked in bars for five to six years, the statements in “Fire Inside” are so true.

Know now how totally awesome and cool Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band are. Fire Inside is a true gem of classic rock.

The lyrics in this song are powerful, so here they are;

There's a hard moon rising on the streets tonight,
There's a reckless feeling in your heart as you head out tonight.
Through the concrete canyons to the midtown lights,
Where the latest neon promises are burning bright.

Past the open windows on the darker streets,
Where unseen angry voices flash and children cry,
Past the phony posers with their worn out lines,
The tired new money dressed to the nines,
The low life dealers with their bad designs,
And the dilettantes with their open minds.

You're out on the town, safe in the crowd,
Ready to go for the ride.
Searching the eyes, looking for clues,
There's no way you can hide.
The fire inside.
Well you've been to the clubs and the discotheques,
Where they deal one another from the bottom of a deck of promises.
Where the cautious loners and emotional wrecks,
Do an acting stretch as a way to hide the obvious.
And the lights go down and they dance real close,
And for one brief instant they pretend they're safe and warm.

Then the beat gets louder and the mood is gone,
The darkness scatters as the lights flash on,
They hold one another just a little too long,
And they move apart and then move on.

On to the street, on to the next,
Safe in the knowledge that they tried.
Faking the smile, hiding the pain,
Never satisfied.
The fire inside.
Fire inside.

Now the hour is late and he thinks you're asleep,
You listen to him dress and you listen to him leave like you knew he would.
You hear his car pull away in the street,
Then you move to the door and you lock it when he's gone for good.

Then you walk to the window and stare at the moon,
Riding high and lonesome through a starlit sky,
And it comes to you how it all slips away,
Youth and beauty are gone one day,
No matter what you dream or feel or say,
It ends in dust and disarray.

Like wind on the plains, sand through the glass,
Waves rolling in with the tide.
Dreams die hard and we watch them erode,
But we cannot be denied.
The fire inside.

Freaking awesome.

Until next month, keep on rocking in the free world.

- Colin Kelly

Thursday, February 5, 2009

MGMT - Time to Pretend

I should probably do music in review here before time runs out for February.

I felt very torn this month, I had five or six ideas of what I wanted to do and could not decide on which song to review. I think I should try to remain relevant so the most relevant song should do.

Last year there was quite an unusually group to form, hell for all I know they have been around for a while; Management is not like anything else I have ever heard before. To describe them as electronic, or dance, or pop, would probably be inaccurate. While I have perhaps heard some similar background rhythms before from something like “Jackyll and Hyde,” or maybe “Kraftwerk,” but I think it’s safe to say MGMT is different.

As always I‘ll tell you a story. I was listening to some guy’s top 100 songs for 2008 in November, so clearly he got a little impatient as there was two months remaining for him to add to the list. Anyway “Time to Pretend” was on the list, so I gave it a listen, and it was the best song of the bunch. There were a lot of uninspired pop tracks, I liked about five of them. MGMT managed to stand out in my ears, and was probably the very best song out of the 100.

A little time later my big brother Sean is commenting on the song “Time to Pretend” and was surprised I had heard the song but had not seen the video.

That video... wow... just wow.

I haven’t seen a mind fuck that crazy since the ending of RahXephon.

Things started making a lot more sense after I saw that video. MGMT’s music was strange and hypnotic, like cell phone ring tones meets video game music... on drugs.

After watching that video, I was like, “oh they are totally on acid.”

I guess what I find so charming about MGMT is not only their fairly catchy psychedelic music, and there super tripped out music videos, but also the fact they are so blatantly high out of their minds. It’s not like they’re being subtle, if the brutally insane visuals in their videos was not enough to tip you off, they drop freaking acid in the video! I just find it amusing that something “pop” culture could be so obviously created by and supporting the use of hardcore hallucinogenic drugs.

Listen to the song, but more importantly watch the video, and yes the monster explodes into dolphins, hundreds of thousands of dolphins.

I guess the moral of the story is we should enjoy MGMT now while they are still alive, because they are totally going to die from drug abuse.

Until next month, keep on rocking in the free world.

- Colin Kelly

Monday, January 5, 2009

Avantasia - Lost in Space

As I reflect over 2009, I think about what was the most important music of the year to share with others.

There is probably far more music created every year than anyone will ever manage listen too. Most good music discovered by myself is already a minimum of two years old. Other times I’m a little luckier.

Apparently Germany is where it is at.

The proud nation that gave us some of the greatest classical composures of all time, such as Beethoven, Mozart, and Orf, and also gave us some of the most badass rock groups of all time, The Scorpions, Rammstein, and UFO.

My little exploration into European symphonic metal began back in April. I reviewed Nightwish – Deep Silent Complete, for those of you who don’t remember, it was a metal opera group out of Finland. My good friend Rick as a surprise rather enjoyed the song and the band as a whole when he began to look into them further. This really touched my heart, since it is exactly what I wanted to accomplish in the first place, but more so because Rick mostly just reads the music in review because he liked the analytical way I ranted about things that pissed me off. Anyway having never seen eye to eye musically it sure was nice to break ground with Rick, who told me his favourite genres of music just so happened to be metal and opera.

Well that got me looking for more, because who can’t help but love metal and opera combined?

I Google searched “metal opera” only to find there is already a rock opera in existence titled “The Metal Opera.”

Upon further investigation I learn about Tobias Sammet, German rock god. Tobias leads the German rock group Edguy, which may be a stupid name for a rock group, but don’t let that distract you from the fact they are very good. But Tobias Sammet being a rock god and all found it hard being settled to writing just good rock music, he wanted to do more, he wanted to tell stories on a grand scale through the cryptic art of rock operas. Not wanting to alienate the rest of Edguy by forcing the group into a direction they may or may not have wanted to go, he started a side project titled “Avantasia.” Avantasia is a combination of Avalon, and Fantasy. For those who don’t know Avalon is the mystical island the sea nymphs take King Arthur after his final battle against the forces of Mordred. Legend has always been that time does not pass on Avalon and when Britain needs him most Arthur will return. Just some interesting trivia, just in case you wanted to know.

Anyway back in 2000 Avantasia released “The Metal Opera,” which rocked. But we were lucky enough in 2008 to be treated to Avantasia’s second masterpiece “The Scarecrow.”

Tobias did something interesting when releasing “The Scarecrow.” He started work way back in early 2007, and while some songs were already seeing the final publish, he couldn’t wait for the album’s release to come to share it with the world. So he released two LP “Lost in Space” Part 1 and 2. Some of the tracks on those two LPs were amazing, and interestingly enough other then the track “Lost in Space,” only one other song off the LPs made it to the album “The Scarecrow.” It takes a special kind of musician to make so much good music he can’t fit it all on his albums.

So this month everyone rock out to Avantasia - “Lost in Space.” As near as I know “The Scarecrow,” was the best album of 2008. If you enjoy “Lost in Space,” half as much as I do, I highly recommend also by Avantasia; “The Story Ain’t Over,” and “Promised Land.” But honestly anything by Avantasia is freaking awesome. All three songs are linked on my facebook page.

Until next month, keep on rocking in the free world.

- Colin Kelly

Also, the extended version featuring Helloween's Micheal Kiske:

Also, the "epic" version, also known as "Alive at Gatestudio":