Blue Oyster Cult – The Symbol Remains (Review)

December 17th, 2020

I picked up a copy of Blue Oyster Cult’s first new album in 19 years on the day it came out.

That was a few months ago. So why did it take me so long to review it? Was it because time seems like an illusion in quarantine? Was it because I wanted to pretend that it was mine and only mine as long as possible?

Who knows, humans are weird…

In any event I have listened to the record upwards of 50 times, and it is a major accomplishment.

Musically, sonically, lyrically, all on point.

Blue Oyster Cult has been “on tour forever” as my tour shirt for their 45th anniversary reads.

There are only a few classic rock bands that still exist and even fewer who can still crush it live. Blue Oyster Cult rules.

What I love about The Symbol Remains is the way they bring their live energy into the record, somehow straddling 70s,80,s and 2020 vibes seamlessly with enough hard rock hooks, turn of phrase storytelling, pop infused choruses and of course amazing guitar work to make any fan happy.

The majority of singing duties go to original members Buck Dharma and Eric Bloom with Buck doing the softer numbers and Eric doing the rockers. Eric’s ultra cool biker swagger is always present while Buck’s virtuoso melodic guitar soars as usual, he never crowds and also seems to never run out of space! (Way easier said than done)

Multi-instrumentalist Richie Castellano who is one of the greatest rock guitar players I have even seen live shares background vocals as well as singing lead on Tainted Blood a fun little number about a vampire who dies after drinking, ya know… bad blood

Danny Miranda and Jules Radino cover the rhythm section and in short (musically speaking) make this my favourite version of B.O.C. to date.

This has been a prolific year for B.O.C. with multiple re-issues and live releases (if you can still get a copy of Hard Rock Cleveland Live… get it)

The Symbol Remains sits perfectly, with 14 near perfect tracks.

The first two tracks are: It Was Me, a straight forward pedal to the floor rocker followed by Box In My Head, a catchy, clever sing-a-long number.

These two songs tell you everything you need to know about  where this record will take you. Check the two videos out (below) and judge for yourself.

That Was Me

Box In My Head

If like me you love authentic classic rock,  then get this release before it disappears. (Special shout out to Frontier Records for continuing to put out cool stuff from new and old bands alike)

Buck and Eric… Don’t make me wait another 19 years for new music… I’m getting old dude.

4 (out of 4)



Ace Frehley – Origins Vol 2.

August 19th, 2020

ACEAce Frehley is back at it with a follow up to his last “covers” album Origins Vol. 1 (Which had a mind bending version of Emerald by Thin Lizzy… just saying).

Ace Frehley – Origins Vol 2. Due out Set. 18 2020

Right off the bat I have to give a gigantic shout out to the production on this record.

The album starts with a killer version of Good Times Bad Times (Led Zeppelin). The balance between instruments is perfect right down to the drummers kick drum work which is on point (Better not try John Bonham songs if your not ready…). The Guitars and Bass are HUGE and Ace’s voice is front and center on all tracks. Ace’s guitar work has never been technically note for note perfect it’s just nasty and cool as hell which is the embodiment of ROCK AND ROLL!

Like Origins Vol. 1 there are amazing guest musicians (Sorry no Slash or Paul Stanley on this one) like John 5, Rob Sabino, Bruce Kulick, Lita Ford and Robin Zander!

It’s clear that every song was inspirational in Ace’s early life yet it never feels like he is “just” doing cover songs. He adds the special Ace rocket sauce to every track! (Ace Frehley Rocket Sauce Hot Sauce? Do it!)

Highlights for me:

Lita Ford the first lady of metal crushes the vocals on Jumpin Jack Flash (The Rolling Stones), Manic Depression (The Jimi Hendrix Experience) with guitarist Bruce Kulick (Kiss) just shreds. Speaking of shredding the guitar work on I’m down (The Beatles) between Ace and John 5 is off the charts  and is loose in all the right ways.

Space Truckin’ (Deep Purple) is s straight punch to the face rocker with one of the best studio drummers out there Matt Star keeping it on lock down. check it out here: Space Truckin

Years ago when I saw Ace at a Horror convention in Burbank CA his assistant was telling me about how Kiss was going to re-record with original members the first three records with todays technology. I couldn’t stop myself, I rolled my eyes and said “yeah that’ll happen” at which point Ace laughed out loud pointed to me and gave me his signature thumbs up.

After hearing the bonus track She (off of Kiss album 3 Dressed to Kill) that fantasy kicked off in my brain. I don’t believe Kiss original line up will ever record or perform again but man what if? Rolling my eyes again floating back down to reality. Next best thing? Ace re-does all or any of the first three records HE SURE KNOWS HOW.

Origins Vol 3? Sure why the heck not!

Guest musicians who are out there and completely rock regardless of whether you liked the bands they are in that I would love to see on Vol. 3:

Buck Dharma (Blue Oyster Cult), Tommy Iommi (Black Sabbath), Ann Wilson (Heart), Tommy Shaw (Styx), Kevin Cronin (REO Speedwagon), Angus Young (ACDC) just to name a few…

Ok that’s it for my wish list,

Ace keep putting out new material and cover albums and we will keep buying them.

Space Ace for ever!

(5 out of 5)



X – Alphebetland (Review)

June 20th, 2020

First original album with original members in 35 years!

Wow, has it really been that long since we heard new songs featuring Billy Zoom on guitar? Yep.

Exene Cervenka – John Doe – Billy Zoom – Dj Bonebrake are back and can still pack a punch!

This is a cool 11 songs in around 27 minutes of old school vibes X. Don’t expect them to stretch too much as this original lineup stays close to the nucleolus of their collective sound.

This record makes me happy. My fave tracks so far are I Gotta Fever and Free. 

I will continue to enjoy this album over this weird ass Covid summer.

This may sound strange but i’m actually excited for the follow up to this record even more… don’t wait 35 years ok?

I Gotta Fever


(4 out of 5)


Back to the Basement! (Benefit Concert) Sat June 13th

June 5th, 2020


I’m in.








This is for a great cause, DirectRelief.


Back to the Basement – a virtual concert in support and celebration of doctors, nurses, first responders and health-care workers who are on the front lines of the COVID-19 fight.


Click here for more info:


Back to the Basement

Everybody have fun tonight…


Bob Mould – American Crisis (From the upcoming release Blue Hearts)

June 3rd, 2020

Bob Mould is back and he’s appropriately pissed off. I haven’t seen Bob this way in many years and it is a welcome return.

If the single American Crisis is any indication of  how Blue Hearts the album will be…


Check out the video, it says it all so well.

American Crisis

5 out of 5


The Who – Who (Album review)

March 28th, 2020


The Who, my favorite band growing up puts out a new record and decides not to use Zak Starkey or any real drummer for that matter. Trust me if you listen for it you can tell it’s percussion that sounds “like” a drummer but is not quite right. It is wrong!

Some very strong songs by Pete Townsend (his best in many years) ruined by his ego… shocker.

Re-release it with Zack on drums and see what happens… I dare ya Pete.

Great fun acustic pop song by his brother Simon included… does not belong on a Who album though. Ugggghhh.


(2 out of 5  J.S.L.)

KISS — END OF THE ROAD TOUR (2/12/19 Live in Anaheim)

February 14th, 2019

So my buddie and I took our sons (Age 9 and 10) to see Kiss — End Of The Road Tour.


Also because we are passing on a great tradition to our next generation of rockers. = ROCK HARD AND BLOW STUFF UP!


The show was comprised of at least one song from every Kiss era and was a big thank you to the life long fans who’s inner ten year old sometimes still screams  to be let out!

I admit from time to time to being a Kiss apologist (I have slammed them in the past as well) so when I give Paul Stanley a pass for getting some help on vocals in some of the songs (additional pre-recorded vocal tracks) it’s because they have given me so much pleasure over the past 40 years and the reality is Paul Stanley’s voice is shot. Another thing is Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss are never going to reunite SO GET OVER IT. I would also remind you that none of the Kiss Alive records are actually 100% live… (On that note if you want to see amazing classic rock with no extra tracks or tricks  I would suggest you go see Styx, Blue Oyster Cult or REO Speedwagon to name a few :) )

Gene Simmons sounds great, is fun and gross like always, this version of God of Thunder is unreal in the special effects dept.!. Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer are great players and get grief they don’t really deserve for wearing the make-up. Eric Singer also played piano and sang Beth which was needed in this goodbye set.

The End Of The Road set is AMAZING! More pyro-technics than I have ever seen used by Kiss or anyone else for that matter. Lots of moving stage pieces better seen than explained!

1. If you have never experienced a Kiss show — Go!

2. If you have kids that like Rock and Roll — Bring em!

3. If you have a chip on your shoulder because you are pining for the old days like some super annoying purist — Get over yourself and go have some fun!

Go to the show, experience the majesty of Kiss, keep rock and roll alive, say goodbye to Gene and Paul respectfully because they deserve our love and support for all they have done in the name of Rock and Roll!

And yes our boys are now proud members of Kiss Army. BOOSH!


Set List: Detroit Rock City, Shout It Out Loud, Deuce, Say Yeah, Heaven’s on Fire, War Machine, Lick It Up, 100,000 Years, God of Thunder, Cold Gin, Psycho Circus, I Love it Loud, Hide Your Heart, Let Me Go Rock And Roll, Love Gun, I Was Made For Loving You, Black Diamond, Beth, Do you Love Me, Rock and Roll All Night.

(4 out of 5)









January 3rd, 2019

Because I was a chief contributor I can’t review this objectively.

Please check it out though!

FALLING — Written by Jason Lally / Patrick Burger

Lyrics, Vocals, rhythm guitars — Jason Springwell Lally

Drums — Kelly King

Bass — Isaac Wriston

Guitar solo — Patrick Burger

Claps — Ri and Ray.

ANYTHING — Written by Patrick Burger and Jason Lally (This version is based on Anything That You Want an original composition by Patrick Burger)

Guitars, Vocals,  — Jason Springwell Lally

Drums — Kelly King

Bass — Isaac Wriston

Kamancheh — Mani Bolouri










Lunden Reign — Confessions (Vinyl Record Review)

April 15th, 2018

Lunden Reign is vocalist Nikki Lunden and Guitarist Laura Espinoza-Lunden (And some awesome studio musicians!).

This album was produced by Luis Maldonado (Train) who added great textured lead guitar work as well as co-writing credits.

Confessions is the follow up to their debut 2015 album American Stranger and it is very strong. What I really appreciate is that this record somehow successfully straddles adult contemporary and straight rock without ever coming off as cheesy. (Harder than it sounds folks)

Nikki is a GREAT singer, seriously talented and has so many shades of cool that touch great voices past like Lita Ford, Pat Benatar and of course the iconic Ann Wilson without ever sounding like a copycat.

Laura Espinoza-Lunden is the perfect match for Nikki in that her guitar playing is both understated and atmospheric without ever losing power. Laura also does heavy lifting in the songwriting department which of course no band wins without well crafted songs.

To that, upon second listen my initial favorite tracks are Coming Home tonight, Little Lost Girl, Never Ending Dream and Faded Memories. Any of which could get commercial radio airplay.

Putting out the initial release (and mastering) of this record on vinyl is brilliant because that is still the best way to listen to rock and roll and for those of us who get it’s like a big ole thank you!

There are no weak tracks on this 2nd Lunden Reign album. Well done ladies… Well done.

Keep on rocking!

(4.5 out of 5)




King Leg — Meet King Leg (Review)

March 19th, 2018

King Leg — Meet King Leg co produced by Dwight Yoakam is an interesting mix because it doesent stay confined to the easy trappings of country music yet it has an undeniable Nashville production feel which makes it familiar yet somehow fresh. Bryan Joyce is the man behind the leg and he has his influences proudly on the outside! You will hear shades of Roy Orbison, Elvis “The King” Presley, Morrissey, a whisper of Chris Isaac and at his coolest moments you may even hear the late great Jeffrey Lee Pierce  (The Gun Club) floating around. This collection of songs came out Oct of 2017 but I am reviewing it now because of the April 6th Vinyl release! The record starts with a big cool sprawling American slice Great Outdoors which does indeed make me want to take that spring road trip through the flatlands. All the songs are great because the songwriting is super tight, the band is killer, the sound is sparse and the vocals are my kind of warble! Stefano Capobianco’s guitars are understated and never step on the vocals or acoustic guitar while the bass is handled deftly by Daniel Rhine. My current favorite (Should be the next single ;) ) Your Picture starts off with a sick series of drum fills by one of LA’s premier session drummers Kelly King who I understand is in the touring band as well which is fantastic because that means when I see them live there will be no surprises in the rhythm section! (the key to a great live band) Comfy Chair / A Dream That Never Ends is way too epic to be on a country record, it starts out a sorrowful lament and transforms into a strong case for being alone as long as it takes to be in the right place only to end right back where it began, yet somehow more desperate… The strength turns to the anger of the insecure… That’s my take on it anyway but what the heck do I know? It is a GREAT song so there’s that…

Overall this one is no brainer Bryan Joyce understands who he is and is unapologetic about it. He wears his influences but isn’t defined by them because he has his own authentic mojo running throughout.

Can’t wait to see this group live this summer!

4 (out of 4)