Gem of the Week: “Wild in the Streets” by Circle Jerks

19 Nov


My gem this week goes to the album Wild in the Streets (1982) by hardcore punk band Circle Jerks.

The band is from L.A. and are a great old school punk band. Frontman Keith Morris was originally the vocalist and co-founder of hardcore band Black Flag before he founded Circle Jerks.

Sometimes I just have to pop in this album to get through a crap day and it’s one of my favorites in my collection.

The entire album has an uncompromising mood and vents through common frustrations. The tracks I listen to the most are: “Leave Me Alone” which says it all, “Trapped,” “86’d (Good as Gone) and “Letter Bomb.”

I think Morris has a great voice made for venting as his lyrics seem to roll off the tongue.

So far I have never disliked any band Morris has been a part of. His most recent project is a band he formed in 2010 called Off! According to the band’s website, their latest album release is Wasted Years (2014) and the band is also currently touring.

I listened through Wasted Years and I think Morris can still crank out hardcore gems with Off! while staying rooted in his classic brash style.

Below is a link to listen to Wild in the Streets shared from R.A.C. and Roll Pride’s You Tube channel.

Gem of the Week: “Words As Weapons” by Seether

12 Nov


My gem this week goes to “Words As Weapons” by alternative rockers Seether.

I’m really digging this song currently which is off the bands latest and sixth studio album Isolate and Medicate.

When I first heard Seether on the radio back in the early 2000s I did not care for them too much.

But over the years their songs started to grow on me like “Broken” featuring Amy Lee from Evanescence (2004)  Even their known hit “Fine Again” (2002) also grew on me.

The bands songs in general carry that melodic catchy vibe that I like.

I also love frontman Shaun Morgan’s vocals because I hear the passion and yearning in his vocal delivery.

I think “Words As Weapons”  has the impact to linger in your head.

According to the bands official site, Seether will be touring with Papa Roach. I checked the dates and their Detroit show is January 23rd. With this stellar combo I have to make it to this show.

Below is link shared from the SeetherVEVO You Tube channel for “Words As Weapons.”


Gem of the Week: Static-X “Black and White”

5 Nov


My gem this week is “Black & White” by Static-X, in tribute to the metal bands former frontman Wayne Static who passed away on Saturday November 1st.

I first read the sad news on, stating that he was only 48 and how he was getting ready  to go on tour with Powerman 5000 and Drowning Pool. After Static-X disbanded in 2010, Static had a successful solo career going releasing his album Pighammer in 2011

Static-X is one of those bands I briefly got into back in 2001 when they released the album Machine and were becoming more popular. I liked their brand of goth/metal sound, not to mention Static’s notable wild spiky black hair. actually posted the press release stating that Static passed quietly in his sleep and cause of death is not listed but it specified that it was not drug related.

I’m glad I got to see Static-X perform live during The Family Values Tour in 2001. I remember they rocked through a quick set but I did get to hear them do my favorite gem “Black & White,” which I still think is a great metal song.

Below is a link for “Black and White” shared from MetalAndRockHUN’s You Tube Channel.

Gem of the Week: Clutch’s Album “Earth Rocker”

29 Oct

Shot I took from their live show at The Fillmore in Detroit back in ’07 or ’08

My gem this week goes to bluesy hard rockers Clutch and their most recent album Earth Rocker which is hardcore at its finest and has been one of my favorite’s this year.

They released the album in 2013 and it is the bands tenth studio album. According to their official site, they currently have dates scheduled for their north america 2014/2015 winter/holiday tour.  I have seen them a couple of times in concert and I know first hand that they put on a great live show.

Earth Rocker is consistent hard rock throughout the album and I love lead singer Neil Fallon’s deep, preacher style vocals. My favorite song is “Gone Cold” I cannot resist the bluesy guitar riff and I feel it’s the most catchy song on the album.

I usually listen to this album while driving to work because It helps me feel pumped up for the day while venting some aggression too.

Clutch is actually my husbands favorite band and when we started dating they had released the Robot Hive/Exodus album (2005) and we used to listen to it all the time.  That whole album is the gem that started it all with my favorites being “The Incomparable Mr. Flannery,”  “Burning Beard,” and “Gullah.”

I would say the bands more recognized hits are “The Incomparable Mr. Flannery,” from Robot Hive/ Exodus and “Electric Worry” off their 2007 album From Beale Street to Oblivion.

I’ve been a Clutch fan for the last ten years and I consider their albums rock masterpieces in my collection.  I also thank them for still making awesome music that is true hard rock.

Below I have the link to listen to “Gone Cold” shared from Sakaros Rockaine’s You Tube Channel!

Legends of Rock: Henry Rollins

22 Oct


This past Friday I saw former Black Flag frontman Henry Rollins perform his spoken word show at the Royal Oak Music Theatre. (Royal Oak, MI)

I’m a huge fan of Black Flag’s music and my favorite album that I still listen to is Damaged. (’81) Songs like “Rise Above,” “Depression” and “Gimme Gimme Gimme,” are gems. I also listened to the Rollins Band which he fronted during the 90s, I loved the music video to “Liar” which was off their ’94 album Weight.

Aside from being a musician, Rollins is also a writer, activist, actor, publisher and radio host. (to list a few of his titles) He is certainly a well-rounded guy that I have been a fan of since I was a teen.

His spoken word shows involve a raw-in-your-face direct account of him sharing his views, travels, and experiences. This past show did not disappoint with his latest stories about Lemmy from Motorhead, travels to Cuba and Haiti, past work with National Geographic, current work with the History Channel and his friday nights at Starbucks where he sits writing his 1,500 words among an atmosphere of screen writers and biker gear heads.

Also, once on stage Rollins goes non-stop for over two hours without even a water break. He gets pretty intense and passionate and I think it’s cool.  As Rollins likes to put it, he considers himself a work slut not a workaholic.

During this recent spoken word show, I loved when he stated:

“Rock ‘n’ roll will not die not as long as I am here and you are here. It’s not going to happen…not on our watch!”

I appreciate Rollin’s for being honest and sending a message to live without fear, to do good and look for good in the world, to step outside your comfort zone and most important be yourself no matter what anyone thinks of you.

At one point during his show he talked about how he enjoyed taking on jobs that he is not qualified for and how he is doesn’t worry about it because he figures if he screws it up it would be pretty funny. I laughed when he said this because I take myself way too seriously and somehow coming from him the advice to not take yourself seriously but take your work seriously just hit home.  Thank you Mr. Rollins for that much-needed inspiration.

You can keep up with Rollins on his official website, He also has a bunch of video clips through vimeo on his site.

Below is a link shared from his website that gives you a good impression of what his spoken word shows are like.

Gem of the Week: Guitar Duo Rodrigo y Gabriela

15 Oct


My gem this week goes to the stellar mexican guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela and their latest album 9 Dead Alive.

According to their official site, this is their fourth studio album. They are also currently on tour and do have a Detroit show scheduled for October 25th at The Fillmore.

I came across their music recently through a live public television special and I thought they were truly awesome to watch.

I heard mostly a flamenco style influence which is one of my favorite styles. I think Rodrigo y Gabriela are impressive and skilled in the art of classical guitar playing.

I downloaded the album  9 Dead Alive and it has been my current favorite this week. I especially love the song “Misty Moses” and I can’t stop listening to that one over and over.

I also think its cool that they are exposing newer generations to flamenco and rumba styles.

I am looking forward to exploring more of their albums and I’m hoping to go to their upcoming show here in Detroit.

Below is a link for “The Soundmaker” shared from Rodrigo y Gabriela’s You Tube channel.

Gem of the Week: Jimmy Fallon Feat. Will.I.Am “Ew!”

8 Oct



My gem this week goes to Jimmy Fallon and Black Eyed Peas singer, Will.I.Am’s official music video for “Ew!” based off The Tonight Show sketch.

If you are not familiar with the sketch Ew! it’s Fallon’s alter ego as a teen girl named Sara who says Ew about everything she dislikes.

The first Ew! sketch I watched featured Will Ferrell and First Lady Michelle Obama talking about being active. I thought it was absolutely hilarious.

Yesterday Fallon premiered Ew! on his show and I instantly loved it. He also talked about how the collaboration came together after Will.I.Am told Fallon that he was a fan of the sketch.

Will.I.Am did a great job making the song catchy and of course he added some old school influence which I think he is good at.

The video is hysterical with Will.I.Am wearing a headgear retainer and tights while Fallon has a pink bow and shows off his decent rap skills towards the end of the song.

Fallon also stated yesterday on his show that his goal for the song was to break into the Billboard top 100 and he asked fans to download the song and to call local radio stations to request it.

Below is the link to the video shared from The Tonight Show You Tube channel.

Gem of the Week: Aretha Franklin’s “Rolling In The Deep” Cover

1 Oct



My gem this week goes to Motown legend Aretha Franklin and her passionate cover of Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep.”

The queen of soul is releasing a cover album on October 21st called, Aretha Franklin Sings The Great Diva Classics. I can already tell by hearing her do Adele’s song that it’s going to be a great album.

As a fan I have always loved her voice because it’s so soulful and powerful.

I have some of her compilation albums and I love all of her well-known hits like “Respect,” “Natural Woman” and “Chain of Fools.” But my favorite has always been her version of “A Deeper Love.”

I’m looking forward to this cover album especially after I clicked the iTunes link from Franklin’s official website and read the fantastic track listing!

On iTunes you can only listen to “Rolling In The Deep”  for now but the listing shows all the songs which includes classic covers like “Midnight Train To Georgia” by Gladys Knight and “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” by The Supremes.

I also must add how flawless the soul queen looks on her new album cover and of course her voice can still bring the roof down.

Below is a link from her official site that shows her recent live performance on David Lettermen.

Pop Culture Reflection: Schoolhouse Rock!

24 Sep

My collector thermos that I’m not ashamed to still use

My reflection this week goes to my early childhood memories of the Schoolhouse Rock! series. If you were a kid growing up in the 70s or early 80s then you would remember these musical educational cartoon shorts that would air between Saturday morning cartoons.

Schoolhouse Rock! was a great idea because those short catchy tunes did teach me information that I can still recall as an adult.

Unfortunately there is not an official Schoolhouse Rock! website. I only came across Wikipedia facts which states that the series creator was David McCall and it ran from 1973 – 1985.

There is a 30th anniversary DVD released in 2002 that has all original 46 shorts. I own the collection and it’s sold by Disney. You can also look up any Schoolhouse Rock! video on You Tube.

Some of the more popular Schoolhouse Rock! shorts were: “Three Is A Magic Number,” “I’m Just A Bill” and “Conjunction Junction.” My favorites included: “Interplanet Janet,” “Figure Eight,” and “Unpack Your Adjectives.”

Now, “Interplanet Janet” appealed to me the most because I use to love drawing planets and learning about the solar system as a kid.

On wiki it states that Lynn Ahrens wrote and performed “Interplanet Janet.” (1978) And thanks to “Interplanet Janet” I will always remember facts about the sun because:

“She’s been to the sun it’s a lot of fun. It’s hotspot!  It’s a gas! hydrogen and helium in a big bright glowing mass.”

Below is the “Interplanet Janet” video shared from Us Chronicle’s You Tube Channel.

Gem of the Week: The Living End

17 Sep


My gem this week is Australian punk/psychobilly band The Living End.

This is a great band that I dug out from my collection to feature because I’ve always admired their style which fuses 50’s rock, punk and rock-a-billy all into one.

I first got into The Living End in 2002 when I was in a band and listening to everything experimental and punk hardcore for inspiration. I heard their hit Prisoner of Society and I liked it right away and bought their album Roll On (2000).

I loved that album and listened to it a lot. My favorite tracks included Astoria Paranoia for its catchy drum opening and Roll On. My other favorite album is Modern Artillery (2003) I absolutely loved the track End of the World.

I was fortunate to see them live in 2006 when the band had released their State of Emergency album. I carry a memorable experience of how-spur-of-the-moment decisions got me to that show.

Basically, I had found out the band was playing in Detroit a day before their show and on such short notice I didn’t have much hope that I would make it to the show. I also worked retail then and was working that day until 9:00 p.m.  At work I started telling my manager about how upset I was that I was going to miss seeing this great band live because I found out about it too late. My manager sympathised with me and decided to let me go home early so I could make it to the show. I couldn’t believe my luck, so I called my then-boyfriend-now-husband to pick me up and we raced to the show hoping they didn’t sell out of tickets. We walked in just as the openers finished playing and tickets were still available! We paid at the door and I’ll never forget how awesome It felt to know I wasn’t going to miss this after everything that happened.

I can say first hand that they put on a great live show! The Living End put that punk rock attitude, rock-a-billy swagger and hardcore energy in their performance. Another cool thing about them is the bassist plays an upright bass and it’s a different touch that I liked about their stage presence.

Since 2006 and aside from touring with The Warped Tour, I have noticed The Living End has not played Detroit since then.

I am really glad I made it to that show and even though I don’t follow their music as closely these days, I still have great albums by them that are gems and I’ll never forget the memory of going to their show.

Below is an old clip of the band performing on Letterman shared from Raffaello.35’s You Tube Channel.