Spiders’ Second Full Length LP Is One Of This Year’s Best New Pure Rock And Roll Records

Courtesy:  Spinefarm Records

Courtesy: Spinefarm Records

Sweden has for many years been considered one of the music world’s most well-known nations.  It has been called home by some of metal’s most aggressive names including: In Flames, At The Gates, Soilwork, Evergrey, and a number of other big name acts.  However in recent years, it seems that the tide has shifted somewhat, bringing other lesser known acts to the fore.  At one point some years ago, The Hives brought out Sweden’s more mainstream side.  The Flower Kings have represented the progressive rock world.  And this year alone, both Freak Kitchen and The Dagger have proven that Sweden offers more to the rock world than just death metal, black metal, and aggressive metal in general (I.E. At The Gates, Arch Enemy, Soilwork, In Flames, etc.)  Now another band has added its name to that growing list of bands proving Sweden has plenty to offer audiences. That band goes by the name of Spiders.  Spiders will release its second full-length studio effort tomorrow.  The album, titled Shake Electric, is even more ammunition in the argument that rock and roll is not dead nor will it be on its death bed anytime soon, despite what one Gene Simmons might like to believe.  The album’s ten total tracks will transport listeners back to rock’s golden era.  Vocalist Ann-Sofie Hoyles sounds like Janis Joplin at some points.  At others she sounds like a cross between Pat Benatar and Joan Jett.  And at a wholly other point, one could argue she sounds like Heart’s Ann Wilson.  The talents of Hoyles’ band mates–John Hoyles (guitar), Olle Griphammar (bass), and Ricard Harryson (drums)–add even more enjoyment to the songs on this record.  The end result is a work that every rock and roll purist should hear at least once.

Spiders’ new sophomore album Shake Electric is, much like The Dagger’s new self-titled Century Media debut, a record that every rock and roll purist should hear at least once.  the album takes listeners on a musical trip back to rock’s golden age.   It all begins with the album’s opener ‘Mad Dog.’  Its old school stoner/garage rock sound coupled with Ann Sofie-Hoye’s vocals make it the perfect first impression for the band on this record.  The song opens with a bombastic attack from Hoyles’ band mates before she comes in singing, “I hear you barking at my door/See you crawlin’ on the floor/I know you don’t mind/But I know your kind/The way you scream/The way you howl.”  the term bad dog is obviously a metaphor for a really bad man.  That becomes especially obvious as the song progresses.  Even with this knowledge, the song still proves to be a great addition to this record.  The power in Hoyles’ delivery coupled with the talents of her band mates in this bluesy rocker will have every rock purist jamming along both by themselves and along with other fans at the band’s live shows.  Being such a solid song both on record and for a live setting proves even more why this song is one of so many great additions to this album.

The members of Spider made exactly the right call when they opted to open Shake Electric with ‘Mad Dog.’  the song’s bluesy rock sound  coupled with Hoyles’ vocals instantly take listeners back in time to rock and roll’s golden era.  Unlike so many other bands’ albums past and present, the enjoyment doesn’t end for audiences after this track.  Rather, the band keeps the energy flowing and listeners *ahem* shaking and singing along from start to finish.  One prime example of the band’s ability to maintain that energy comes in the form of ‘Control.’  The band’s members launch right out of the gate on this full-forward rocker with Hoyles’ exhibiting her Joan Jett/Pat Benatar-style vocals.  [John] Hoyles and drummer Ricard Harryson provide most of the driving force behind this song with bassist Olle Griphammar holding his own, too.  Musically speaking, there’s almost a sort of Led Zeppelin-style sound to the song.  The energy in Hoyles’ voice as she seems to sing about a woman that drives men crazy adds even more depth to the song.  She sings of a man “calling out her name/think I need control…here I go  again/Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom.”  That could very well be the wrong interpretation.  It is merely the interpretation of this critic.  As always, apologies are in order if it is indeed the wrong iterpretation.  That aside, the song’s energy and its sheer power make it another leg of a wonderful musical trip back in time.

Both ‘Mad Dog’ and ‘Control’ serve as great examples of what makes Shake Electric one of the bestnew pure rock and roll records to be released this year.  As if those songs aren’t enough, the band’s obviously Heart-inspired ‘Bleeding Heart’ will definitely have audiences taking note.  That is because if audiences didn’t know any better, they would think that they were in fact hearing Heart in this song.  [Ann] Hoyles sounds almost identical to Ann Wilson.  Is it a coincedence that both women bear the name Ann?  Probably.  But it’s still fun to consider the possibility especically since Hoyles sounds so much like Wilson here.  The song in whole even sounds musically like Heart’s ‘Hit Me With Your Best Shot’ thanks to John Hoyles’ guitar line here.  Paying such homage to one of rock’s great names whether intentionally or not, it is one more part of the whole that makes Shake Electric a great new release from Spiders.  Together with the likes of ‘Mad Dog,’ ‘Control,’ and the remaining seven songs not noted here, the album in whole proves once again to be one that every rock and roll purist whould hear at least once before the year is out.

‘Mad Dog,’ ‘Control,’ and ‘Bleeding Heart’ are all excellent examples of what makes Shake Electric one of the year’s best new pure rock and roll records.  There are seven other tracks not noted here from which audiences will each find their favorite(s).  The album’s title track, the mroe reserved, bluesy tones of ‘Hard Times’ and the bombastic ‘Back on the Streets’ each offer their own share of enjoyment, too as do the album’s remaining tracks.  All ten tracks together make Shake Electric an album that while not a major label release, is still just as good as any other retro style rock record released via a major label this year.  The album’s songs prove collectively that this is truly an album that every rock and roll purist should indeed give a chance even if American radio stations won’t.  Spiders is curently on tour in Europe in support of Shake Electric.  The band is in Hamburg, Germany tonight and will be in Munster, Germany tomorrow.  Audiences can see the band’s current tour schedule and keep up with all of the latest updates from the band online now at:

Website: http://www.wearespiders.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/wearespiders

MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/wearespiders

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Something Unto Nothing Is Something Indeed

Courtesy:  Robo Records

Courtesy: Robo Records

The debut album from rock supergroup Something Unto Nothing is perhaps the first great rock record of 2013.  The band—Sass Jordan (Canadian Idol), Brian Tichy (Whitesnake, Billy Idol, Foreigner, Ozzy Osbourne), Michael Devin (Whitesnake, Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience, Kenny Wayne Shepherd), and Tommy Stewart (Godsmack, Lo Pro, Everclear, Fuel) have come together for a record that’s a solid, no-nonsense rock record.  The project was originally started by Jordan and band mate Brian Tichy.  Tichy notes in an interview about the album, “I had played drums on Sass’ Rats record.”  He added, “I knew she was one of the best rock singers out there.  So after many years, we reconnected and tried a bit of writing together.”

Fans of the stoner rock genre will especially enjoy this album as it opens with a sound similar to the likes of Fireball Ministry, Nebula, and others of that ilk.  Jordan even noted in an interview of how the album came to develop its sound.  “As we continued the songwriting path from the quintessential rock tunes, ‘Burned’ to ‘Mobile Again’ to ‘Nomad’ and on…The whole thing started to take shape in the form of a 70’s odyssey, a time travel trajectory”, she said.  That couldn’t be truer.  The album’s opener, ‘Burned’ will take audiences back to rock’s heyday thanks to the combination of Sass’ vocals and the band’s musical backing.  Sass sounds like some wild hybrid of Janis Joplin and fellow veteran vocalist, Geddy Lee (Rush).  Stewart expertly keeps a solid 4/4 beat for the band all while tossing in some nice little flourishes throughout.  And Tichy’s guitar work is just as solid here.  Just as Stewart’s drumming proves the K.I.S.S. formula true, so does Tichy’s guitar work.  There’s nothing overdone about what he does here.  But it’s that simplicity and solid playing that makes this the right choice for a first impression on this record.

The band follows up the success of ‘Burned’ with an equally simple yet rocking song in ‘Crazy Head.’  There’s no question what this song is about, lyrically speaking.  It’s a song about a relationship issue.  Given, that’s the most common lyrical topic of any song.  But it’s the way the topic is tackled both lyrically and musically that makes it such an interesting piece.  Jordan sings in the song, “You, You, you/You’re crazy/Don’t you call me baby/You, you , you/You’re crazy/You got a crazy head.”  It’s amazing what a few words can do.  But that chorus is enough to explain everything that’s needed to understand this song.  This is not just some “oh-woe-is-me” style song.  This is coming from the standpoint of a strong empowered individual.  It’s someone who isn’t going to take any junk from anyone.  Add in the music’s fiery exuberance, and that becomes increasingly clear.  Yet again, Brian Tichy shines on this song, adding a solo that would make any guitar purist proud.

The band continues much in the same style in the album’s very next song, ‘Nomad.’  This is one of those songs that will instantly have the horns in the air and the hair flying as heads bang.  It’s sure to become a fan favorite both from the record and both as the band hits the road to perform the songs from this album live.  And for those worrying about whether or not this first trio of songs is all that the band has to offer on its debut, those fears are instantly silenced as the band launches in the Red Hot Chili Peppers style funk-rock of ‘Did Me No Good.’  Together, Tichy and bassist Michael Devin make for a sound that would make RHCP guitarist and bassist Josh Klinghoffer and Flea happy.  The band barely lets up from here with the southern rock styling of the album’s next two tracks, ‘Mobile Again’ and ‘I’m The One.’  ‘Lynyrd Skynyrd fans will appreciate ‘Mobile Again’ with its classic southern rock sound.  The same applies with ‘I’m The One.’  There’s more than enough rock to make any rock purist happy.  For those who want something a little softer, Something Unto Nothing offers that, too as it only slows down a few times.  That slowing is just enough to let listeners catch their breath before the band launches into its next aural assault.  The last of the slower songs is the album’s closer, ‘Goodbye.’  On the surface, it would appear that this is a breakup song as Jordan sings, “I don’t want to leave you/But I’ve got to say/Goodbye.”  And given the song’s tone, it would appear even more that this is a song about a breakup.  But on a deeper level, it could also be interpreted as Jordan and company saying goodbye for now.  It’s as if she and her band mates are collectively saying, “We’ve had a blast entertaining you, and we don’t want to have to leave, but we have to say goodbye.”  On that level, it’s a fitting end to what is without a doubt one of the first great rock records of 2013.

The band currently wrapped a series of dates in support of its new album.  In order to find out when the band will next be hitting the road, fans can check out the band online at http://www.somethingunto.com, http://www.facebook.com/pages/SUN-Something-Unto-Nothing/177605938956922, https://www.twitter.com/teamsassjordan, and http://www.reverbnation.com/sunsomethinguntonothing.

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141. Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.