# CCCLII…Saturday Spotlight, Vol. XXIX…”Take It Like A Man”, Butcher Babies…

BB

In a post that was predicted back in 2013 (please see Post # CVII for proof), this edition of the Spotlight comes to you with the above photo…my latest acquisition…the above-mentioned Butcher Babies’ release, “Take It Like A Man” (which, is only mentioned in Track 10…more on that shortly).  When I saw this band back at RockStar Mayhem, I knew that this album, which is their sophomore release, was going to knock me out, as I expected great things from them.

The band’s name is based on thrash metal icon Wendy O. Williams’ hit, “Butcher Baby”…and this quintet from California (vocalists/growlers Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey, guitarist Henry Flury, bassist Jason Klein and drummer Chrissy Warner) are nothing short of astonishing metal genius from the opening track (and video release) “Monsters Ball” to the finale, “Blonde Girls All Look The Same”.  Reminiscent of the band I covered named Dope (you’ll love them, too), this album is a non-stop, “In your FACE, bubblegum”, stomp-fest that truly had me headbanging the entire time.

In a “behind-the-scenes” truth, this album is the first to earn five stars on every track…If thrash/moshcore is your thing (along the lines of Dope, Cannibal Corpse, Jobforacowboy, etc.), then this album should definitely be added to your collections.

Also, of note, the following tracks were my own personal favorites; Song 4: The Butcher–double bass drum opening leads into killer track; Song 5: Gravemaker–just all-around time signature madness that is awesome; Song 6: Thrown Away–awesome, 80s “hair-metal” ballad, showcasing wonderful “clean” vocals; Song 8: Marquee–4:20 of pure metal mayhem, summed up by the line “They will know my name”; and Song 10: Dead Man Walking–“Now I can say that I know what it’s like to play dead”, ‘Nuff said!!

Thanks for stopping in…I would like to thank everyone, in all 87 different countries, for making this among my best months ever…although the circumstances of THIS year’s August views has not been pretty…

/,,,/ ROCK ON DUDEZ \,,,\

TRACK LIST:  1) Monsters Ball; 2) Igniter; 3) The Cleansing; 4) The Butcher; 5) Gravemaker; 6) Thrown Away; 7) Never Go Back; 8) Marquee; 9) Blood Soaked Hero; 10) Dead Man Walking; 11) For The Fight; 12) Blonde Girls All Look The Same

OVERALL RATING:  *****

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# CCCLI…Saluting Will Shortz…

According to family legend, I have personally been an avid crossword solver since I was four years old.  That having been said, I finally have an outlet for a shoutout to one of the world’s premier crossword puzzle creators that ever lived; New York Times’ puzzle maestro Will Shortz (1952).  After starting with Penny Press Magazines, he came onto my radar as the editor of the wonderful GAMES Magazine in 1989 (which I had been a subscriber to around that time).

He is also a pioneer in education, as he is the only person to hold a degree in enigmatology, which is the study of puzzles (the curriculum that he designed).  Also in the “lesser known” category, he provided the clues for the puzzles left by Jim Carrey’s “Riddler” in “Batman Forever”, as well as the fact that he helped introduce the maddening KenKen puzzles in The New York Times in 2009.

He is also the founder of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, which he created and has been its’ director since 1978…when I was seven (about three years, supposedly after I started doing TV Guide puzzles)!  He also is credited with writing more than 100 books and has over 20000 puzzle books, dating back to 1545 (largest private library, reportedly).

I personally salute you, Mr. Shortz…for without your wonderful contributions to the world of crosswords, the world may have been more puzzling (sorry, couldn’t resist!)

Also celebrating today are; late religious figure Mother Teresa (1910-1997), late politician Geraldine Ferraro (1935-2011), late voice actor Don LaFontaine {“In a world…” started a lot of his movie trailers} (1940-2008), former Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge (1945) and singer Valerie Simpson was born in 1946.

Jazz musician Leon Redbone (1949), basketball coach Stan Van Gundy (1959), bandleader/saxophonist Branford Marsalis (1960), former Garbage vocalist Shirley Manson (1966), comedienne Melissa McCarthy (1970), singer Thalia (1971), actor Macaulay Culkin and “Star Trek”s Chris Pine (1980) and David’s daughter, Hayley Hasselhoff was born in 1992.

/,,,/ ROCK ON DUDEZ \,,,\

# CXXI…Stuff Not Covered Last Year…

Since major project is more important, a reblog to show I’m still here…

Dal's Music Note$

As I was reading today’s list, I noticed a lot of people on it that I should have covered last year.  I wrote a post on August 25th, which had to do with a report of a show that I went to the night before (“Just Some Random Thoughts”) and, due to the fact that it was a pretty long post to begin with, I only mentioned one birthday celebrant at the end.  Today, however, I feel it necessary to enlighten you with the (semi-quasi) entire list…

Starting with the 1916 birth of the talented actor that my eldest brother was named for, Mr. Van Johnson (1916-2008), and continuing with the birth of composing great Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990), original “Let’s Make a Deal” host Monty Hall was born in 1921 (92 years young), tennis pioneer Althea Gibson would have turned 86 today (1927-2003), the ever-talented and ubiquitous Sean Connery was…

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# CCCL…Saturday Spotlight, Vol. XXVIII…”Starbound Beast”, Huntress…

Back on October 25, 2013, I posted a blog about the closing concert at the famed Roseland Ballroom in New York, which I had attended with my now-late brother along with his friend, Cesar, to see Testament (well, the show had Testament, Lamb of God and Killswitch Engage, as well as the star of this week’s post)…and I was treated to California’s own Jill Janus with her awesomely rocking band, Huntress.

As they were there to promote their second album, “Starbound Beast”, I wrote that post and clearly did not do them justice…which is why I’m here because, on September 25, 2015, they will be releasing their third album, “Static” (first song/video, “Flesh”, is not for the wussies that this society has come to produce…fair warning!!!)  The second album (first album will be reviewed next week) is a beautiful dark metal masterpiece, clearly reminiscent of classic music like King Diamond (whose vocal range is about the same as Ms. Janus’).

From the opening instrumental piece, called “Enter the Exosphere”, this album is an unadulterated and uncensored exodus through the nuances of a metal masterpiece.  Also of note, for those not interested yet, is the fact that the third song, the sultry hit “I Want to Fuck You to Death”, was co-written by Motorhead frontman Lemmy Kilmeister, and (as I stated in the first post) the video for the sixth song, “Zenith”, reminded me of the cult classic phenomenon known as “Heavy Metal” (great movie, by the way).

The fact that Jill Janus has a four-octave vocal range also gives her that “King Diamond”ish feel to their music…eerie and haunting yet can grab you by your cojones and not let go…which is why I felt that, even two years after this album’s release, you should get into it now.  If Huntress isn’t a fine example of dark and heavy metal masterpiece, then I’m not a writer…but, that’s why I put it here, so you all can judge for yourselves (I’m just trying to kill the bubblegum nonsense that the “sheep” are being fed…)

/,,,/ ROCK ON DUDEZ \,,,\

TRACK LIST:  1) Enter the Exosphere; 2) Blood Sisters (great growling in here); 3) I Want to Fuck You to Death; 4) Destroy Your Life (classic line in here; “Keep your goals away from trolls!”); 5) Starbound Beast; 6) Zenith; 7) Oracle; 8) Receiver; 9) Spectra Spectral; 10) Alpha Tauri (6:25 of awesome metal); 11) Running Wild

OVERALL RATING:  *****

# CCXXIII…”Trekking” for My Friend…

Sorry, Shawn…not original but it’s been a looong month, brother…Happy birthday, old friend…

Dal's Music Note$

Today, August 19th, is the 42nd birthday of a person that was one of my earliest friends and, although we don’t talk as much as we used to, Mr. Shawn Smith and I have been best friends since the days of grammar school (so very very long ago LOL).  He is a kind-hearted, no nonsense individual that has seen me through my best (and subsequently worst) times.

Honored last year with a post, I wanted to start this post by explaining the title; it comes from the fact that he celebrates his birthday with THREE people associated with “Star Trek”.  Creator Gene Roddenberry (1921-1991), actress Diana Muldaur, who portrayed Dr. Pulaski on “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (as well as Dr. Mulhall in an original “Star Trek” episode) was born in 1938 and actor Jonathan Frakes, who played Commander Riker on “The Next Generation” was born in 1952…talk about a…

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# CCCXLIX…For My Nephew, Bobby…

Today, August 18, is the birthday of my “nephew” (by marriage) Bobby, who was around for a long time before making his decision to do his own thing, which included moving away and having children of his own.  Back in the day, however, we were all a bunch of mischievous youngsters that created havoc wherever we went.

We still keep in contact, sparingly, but I hope he reads this, as it’s the first time I’ve covered his birthday.  His mother, who is my ex-sister-in-law, and I have more contact than he and I but I’m sure that he will find out…Many happy more blessings to you and your family, Bobby.

Also on this birthday list are/were; late cosmetics giant Max Factor, Jr. (1904-1996), late actress Shelley Winters (1920-2006), former First Lady Rosalynn Carter (1927), director Roman Polanski (1933), late baseball legend Roberto Clemente (1934-1972) and actor Robert Redford was born in 1936.

Actor/comedian Martin Mull (1943), late superstar actor Patrick Swayze (1952-2009), comedienne Elayne Boosler (1952), comedian Denis Leary (1957), rapper Everlast (1969), actor Edward Norton (1969), actor Christian Slater (1969), former “Cosby Show” alum Malcolm-Jamal Warner (1970) and former New York Giant (and New Orleans Saint) tight end Jeremy Shockey (1980) also share this date with my nephew.

Until tomorrow…

/,,,/ ROCK ON DUDEZ \,,,\

# CCCXLVIII…Saturday Spotlight, Vol. XXVII…”VII: Sturm Und Drang”, Lamb of God…

Today, August 15th, is the three year anniversary of my creating posts on this particular blog.  As many of you know, I had a blog site called “thelefthandedviewofmusicbydal” but discontinued it officially by creating the much-shorter named “dalsmusicnotes” on August 15th, 2012.  As it is also a Saturday this year, I figured that I would continue the ongoing (although I have been slacking, at times) Spotlight series, featuring the newest release from metal giants Lamb of God.

The album’s title, “VII:  Sturm Und Drang”, being odd as it is, is actually the “hidden message” that people don’t realize until someone explains it.  As I usually have a knack for that, please allow me to indulge; the literal translation for the phrase is “storm and stress”, according to Wikipedia.  As such, it also explains the pent-up rage that consumed the already “angry” Randy Blyth, who was incarcerated in a Czech prison (as documented by the lyrics of the third track, “512”, which was his cell number in Pankrac Prison…kicks ass because most of his “clean” vocals are spotlighted).

This album is a nice addition to the collection because, as a long-time fan of the group (Thanks, Mikey LOL), it follows their usual modus operandi of hard and heavy time-signature changes and crunching guitar work.  The drum playing on the album is also in line with their style; fast and furious.  The band has really progressed and I would have seen them at the Testament/Huntress show from last year but my moshophobia prompted me to leave (don’t hate me…I lost a $500 pair of glasses at an earlier Godsmack concert).

Their seventh album (they’ve been doing this since 1994) is a truly brilliant masterpiece if you really read up on the album on Wikipedia…as it tells the behind-the-scenes stories of the prison and why they were written with such grace.  The music that accompanies these stories is phenomenal (if you appreciate the grindcore as much as I do) and, if you’re a fan and haven’t gotten it, you must have it (coming from, as I said, a fan).

/,,,/ ROCK ON DUDEZ \,,,\

Track List:  1) Still Echoes; 2) Erase This; 3) # 512; 4) Embers; 5) Footprints; 6) Overlord; 7) Anthropoid; 8) Engage The Fear Machine; 9) Delusional Pandemic; 10) Torches; 11) Wine and Piss (bonus track); 12) Nightmare Seeker (bonus track).

OVERALL RATING:  **** 1/2

 

# CCXXI…Int’l. Left-hander’s Day Birthday List

It’s not original (if you have been paying attention, you know why, as there is still a lot to do…) but I am still mourning…

Dal's Music Note$

As I mentioned last year, today is a day where, aside from my birthday and all of my family member’s birthdays, that I am really excited about.  In 1976, it was declared International Left-hander’s Day (by whatever Powers-That-Be) to celebrate our uniqueness and not to mention the fact that we are discriminated against (we live in a predominantly right-handed world, after all).  While people use the term “minority” to express religion or color or wealth, I consider myself (and ALL southpaws) the “only true minority”, as we consist of about seven to 10 percent of the population…Just food for thought…

Also, today is the birthday of a good friend of my family, Pakee Ristine, who (although she is right-handed) deserves a shoutout, as it is just sheer coincidence that her birthday is today. Although she has had her share of heartbreaking and soul-shaking moments in her personal life, she has…

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# CCCXLVII…”Empty Spaces”…

My title, of course, is the title of one of the songs from the soundtrack of the cult classic, “Pink Floyd: The Wall”, and, like the song from the movie, sort of describes how I’m feeling at this moment.  Although the song itself can be described as from a loner’s persepective, it really is a testament to my feelings at this time; as the song says, “How should I complete the wall?”  The answer, however, lies in seeing the following true facts.

On this date, four years ago, my late mother-in-law left this earth.  Notwithstanding, the fact that I’ve lost a big piece of my life in my brother, the empty spaces in the title are filled by the innumerable memories I have of those two.  Together, there were no more rabid Yankee fans and now they’re partying with Babe Ruth (traitor LOL) and Phil Rizzuto (who, oddly enough, I saw on Phil Rizzuto day with my brother…that was Tom Seaver’s 300th win…awesome day…), and all the great rock-n-roll stars of their time.

Although, to be brutally honest, the memories will last far beyond human comprehension and, in that, I take solace in the fact that we’re still honoring them by remembering the great times that we were all a part of…and they wouldn’t have it any other way.

The music and the memories that remain are priceless and the most cherishable gifts that they have left us…Heineken’s and screwdrivers up…

/,,,/ ROCK ON FRED & EILEEN \,,,\

 

 

# CCCXLVI…Fredrick V. Johnson (04/17/64 – 08/08/15)…

This somber post comes to you with my family’s blessings, for this world has truly lost a brilliant light by taking my brother, Fredrick, to the “Big Arena”, where he will now be partying and rocking with Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, etc.  Fred’s knowledge of music almost assuredly passes my own and he will now be able to hang out with the greatest artists of all time.

As far as memories go, there are just way too many to recant on this blog…besides, I’m still trying to absorb the fact that, after 51 years and a relatively smoking-free lifestyle, cancer has taken an individual that epitomized the phrase, “Only the good die young,” as he was nothing short of happy-go-lucky but responsible up to his untimely demise.

He was a wonderful and devoted father of two intelligent children, whom he raised much in the way my father did, and “free-spirited” child of the 60’s (although he rarely touched drugs) and his love of laughter and music (and baseball, too!) is something that the dreaded disease cannot take from any of us.

I would like to thank everyone, both behind the scenes and outside, for your heartfelt (as I can sense them) condolences, as it is (and will be for a while) a truly dark time in history…one of its’ stars has gone out…but in his memory, music will soothe us and illuminate our way.

/,,,/ ROCK ON FUZZY \,,,\