Tag Archive | The Sheepdogs

Gail’s Top Ten Favorite CDs of 2012

Tame Impala Lonerism CD Cover

Tame Impala, Lonerism

People who’ve taken a lot of psychedelics (raises hand) and listened to way too much music while lounging in a room lit only by a black light bulb will often talk about how certain albums sound like they were made while the band was on drugs. Tame Impala’s sophomore album, Lonerism, is drugs.

Read my awesome review of Lonerism at This Link.

Darkness Hot Cakes CD Cover

The Darkness, Hot Cakes

Hot Cakes is my favorite Queen album since A Night at the Opera.

Read my amazing review of Hot Cakes at This Link.

Little Barrie King of the Waves CD Cover

Little Barrie, King of the Waves

Little Barrie’s King of the Waves was Number One on the list for most of the year until The Darkness nudged it from the top spot, only to be further nudged by Tame Impala. This only means it was a pretty fucking great year for Rock & Roll.

Read more of my opinion on how Little Barrie Saved Rock in 2012 at This Link.

Sheepdogs CD Cover

The SheepDogs

It is my belief that The SheepDogs operate in this realty via adept use of a well-oiled Time Machine.  Read more about my hypothesis at This Link.

Matt Boroff's Filling In The Cracks CD Cover

Mott Boroff, Filling In The Cracks EP

My mind was blown away last year by the discovery of Matt Boroff, an artist who refers to himself as a “Gold Medalist in the Best Kept Secret Olympics.” Read more at This Link.

Killers Battle Born CD Cover

The Killers, Battle Born

I like This Album.

Bento Diamond Days CD Cover

Bento, Diamond Days

I was in the process of reviewing Diamond Days when I was unexpectedly evacuated from my apartment due to the storm surge of Hurricane Sandy. Drama! Bento is the solo project by Ben Gillies, former drummer for Silverchair. I interviewed Ben once and he was hilarious. If you enjoyed Siverchair’s artsy fartsy 2007 Swan Song, Young Modern, you will probably dig this album.

Vaccines Come of Age CD Cover

The Vaccines, Come of Age

The first time I played this CD each song managed to distinguish itself from the next, so it gets to be on this list.

Lita Ford Living Like a Runaway CD Cover

Lita Ford, Living like a Runaway

No pain, no gain. Guitarist and Rock Godess Lita Ford bounces back from a messy divorce to make the album of her career. My indepth review of Living Like a Runaway can be found at This Link.

Mike Viola Acousto de Perfecto CD Cover

Mike Viola, Acousto De Perfecto

If real musical talent – quality songwriting, musicianship, charisma – were still rewarded with popularity and financial success in the way they were back in the ‘70s, Mike Viola would be as revered as Elton John and sell out bigger concert tours than Lady Gaga.

Read more from me about Mike Viola and Acousto De Perfecto by clicking Here.

Recommended Listening: The Sheepdogs

Sheepdogs Self Titled Album Cover

Back when I used to eek out a few bucks writing about music, one particularly hard ass editor accused me of being “not a real Rock Critic.” This was likely due to my unwillingness to indulge in the widespread practice of pondering the sociopolitical leanings of a band in the context of a record review rather than just basing my critique on how the music sounded to me. I never really got that approach. I’m not interested in reading paragraphs of turgid, impenetrable prose and rock-crit wankery. Just tell me how the music sounds so I know if I want to buy the record.

Along those lines, The Sheepdogs are a band that’s easy for me to write about, because their music sounds amazing. This Canadian Classic Rock quartet (who in 2011 won a contest making them the first unsigned act ever to appear on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine) have three independent albums under their belts and an EP released on Atlantic last year, but this record is their major label debut (produced by Patrick Carney of The Black Keys), and it’s beyond impressive.

“Laid Back” and “Feeling Good,” the first two tracks on the disc set the tone for the entire album: This is an exceptionally great feeling album of groove heavy tunes performed by a band that embraces an extremely lyrical approach to their playing. Lead singer Ewan Currie (whose voice has been compared to The Guess Who’s Burton Cummings) delivers the kind of quietly confident, effortlessly powerful vocal performance that is the mark of true natural talent. Guitarist Leot Hansen is doing wildly innovative stuff on the guitar while paying homage to tone masters such as George Harrison (“Never Gonna Get My Love”), Duane Allman (“Javelina!”) and of course Jimmy Page (“Sharp Sounds”). He’s amazing. Drummer Sam Corbett varies his drum feels to serve the song and his rhythm section partner, bassist Ryan Gullen holds down the bottom end while layering in adhesive hooks. This means that The Sheepdogs are just as vibrant and tight live as they are on disc, and you can’t say that about many acts these days.

What’s most impressive about The Sheepdogs is the band’s ability to integrate their influences so seamlessly that the songs are instantly familiar without sounding derivative. “Is Your Dream Worth Dying For?” feels pleasantly infused with tiny reminiscences of Todd Rundgren’s “I Saw The Light”, “While We’re Young” comes off like a revamped version of “Shapes of Things” and “In My Mind” captures the same kind of transcendent, euphoric quality as a song like Cream’s “Badge” without sounding anything like that song. As an aside, at least half these tracks indicate that The Sheepdogs should have a ready-made fan base in anyone who ever cited The Grateful Dead as a favorite band.

In their review of The Sheepdogs, Rolling Stone wrote, “Listening to the Sheepdogs is like having good luck finding classic rock stations on a long road trip.” I agree with that sentiment, but to me it feels fresher than that: as if it were possible travel back in time and actually hear new songs from a ‘70s band. It’s a refreshing reminder that the most vital benchmark of what constitutes good music is (or should be) that the music just sounds good.

Grade: A

Gail’s 2011 Pop Culture Top Ten List!

Header for Top Ten List in Starburst

Now that we are just a couple of short weeks away from kicking off a spectacular New Year, full of art, music, pink things, bacon and free food, I would like to ask you, Dear Readers, how was your year? I hope it was awesome. As you can see from this Rad Blog you are now reading, I got to do some fun things in 2011, including going on my most fun vacation in many years when my sister and I took a 7 day Caribbean cruise, with three days in New Orleans on the front end. Holy cow, was that ever fun! Such adventuring! Such fine dining! Such ridiculous humidity! I’m still sweating.

What this all means is that it’s time again for the obligatory Year End Top Ten List, so, instead of going with the predictable, rote, yawnfest Top Ten CDs list I’ve decided to do more of a Pop Culture Mixed Bag, if you will. Because that is how I roll. Let’s get started.

PunkFunkRootsRock

Best Album: Manraze, PunkFunkRootsRock. Take guitarist Phil Collen from Def Leppard, team him up with drummer Paul Cook from The Sex Pistols and add Simon Laffy, the bassist from Phil’s former Glam band, Girl (because every power trio needs a bassist), and you’ve got a record that sounds, well, like a raunchier version of Def Leppard! We especially love Phil’s Lemmy impersonation on “Over My Dead Body.” Record of The Year! Read my interview with Paul Cook at This Link.

That’s Me in the Back Row: Third in from the Left

Best Game ShowThe Kostabi Show, where a panel of three Art critics and/or celebrities compete to title the works of modernist painter Mark Kostabi for cash awards, while a jury votes on which title suits the painting best. I had the opportunity to serve as a member of the jury for a taping this past summer and went home with $6 cash more than I had when I arrived, plus a Kostabi coffee table book signed by Mark. Bonus: free pizza! Kostabi, who is an accomplished pianist, also released a swell modern classical CD, The Spectre of Modernism, this year, which has been in heavy rotation on my iPod for ages now.

Dave Depper's Ram Project

Best Beatles Thing: Dave Depper’s Ram Project, an authentically-covered version of Paul McCartney’s second solo album, complete with off-key Linda-esque backing vocals! So good!

Nick Kent Book Cover

Best Rock Book: Nick Kent’s Apathy For The Devil, a memoir of the British rock critic’s life and career in the 1970s. Everyone knows that all of the best music happened the Seventies, so I will admit that, as both a writer and fan, I certainly would have loved to have lived that life myself, save for the messy heroin addiction part.

Metropolitan Museum Exhibit

Best Fashion-Related Museum Exhibit: Alexander McQueen’s Savage Beauty at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Four words: Crown of Thorns Headdress. The Savage Beauty Exhibit set all kinds of ridiculous attendance records for the Met and was just insane. Insane!

Chris Connelly CD Cover Art

Best Homage to Eighties Alternative Goth: Chris Connelly’s Artificial Madness. David Bowie Meets Killing Joke plus Bauhaus sautéed lightly with Magazine and a little Ministry on the side. Homage!

Fix The Ministry Movie Poster

Best Rock Documentary:Fix, The Ministry Movie. Kids: Don’t Do Drugs. Or do a lot of them. One or the Other.

Best Seventies Southern Rock: The Sheepdogs, Five Easy Pieces EP. Bonus points to the band for their fan-winning appearance on the most recent season of Project Runway!

Reality TV (Competition): Top Chef, because Celebrity Chefs are the new Rock Stars!

Suckadelic Art Toy Universe

Pop Culture as Art: The Suckadelic Art Toy Universe Retrospective and Pop Up Store at Boo Hooray Gallery (NYC). The judges and critics on the second season of Bravo’s Work Of Art didn’t really dig the SuckLord’s artwork too much, but his parodies of Star Wars toys served up with a serious side of snark made for one of the most subversive, hilarious and memorable art shows of the year! Art!

Honorable Mention: Kasabian’s Velociraptor, MGMT Live at the Guggenheim, The Zombies at City Winery, Single Fare Please Swipe Again at Sloan Fine Art, Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark, Jeremy Dower’s Canis Mortuus Familiarus at Bold Hype Gallery, American Horror Story, Maurizio Catellan’s All Retrospective at The Guggenheim, Patti Smith at Webster Hall, The Wyld Olde Souls’ Ensoulment, Jeremy Fish Listen & Learn at Joshua Liner Gallery, Robot Chicken, Tosh.0.

Happy Holidaze and all the best for 2012!