BETTY BOO: Boomania

BETTY-BOO

Betty Boo’s original breakthrough came with the release of “Hey DJ / I Can’t Dance (To That Music You’re Playing)” as The Beatmasters featuring Betty Boo on Rhythm King in 1989. Her debut album Boomania followed in 1990 peaking at # 4 in the UK album charts and achieved platinum status of 300,000 sales. This Deluxe Edition includes the twelve original album tracks, plus fourteen bonus tracks, it has been remastered using original master tapes, and the sixteen page full color booklet features an expanded design of the original artwork, extensive sleeve notes written by Michael Silvester and a full UK discography featuring Betty Boo’s front cover images.

I had originally heard the Beatmasters featuring Betty Boo, and was intrigued when the news of her own album was first put out. I had been into house for a while and was looking forward to her album. The good news was that it was every bit as good as her song with the Beatmasters and actually improved on the sound by being even more infectious and attention grabbing than before. Of course you get the hits “Hey DJ / I Can’t Dance (To That Music You’re Playing),” “Doin’ The Do,” “Where Are You Baby?,” and “24 Hours,” but the crazy amount of remixes makes this a treasure trove for those that wore them out back in the day, or couldn’t find/afford them all. The mix of pop, rap, and dance/house kind of dates the music, but if you were there, it sounds glorious to your ears still. It just shows how the charts actually had a mix of music back then, as well as happy music mixed in with the dour sounds of grunge, or what the media was improperly calling punk back then. The songs and the videos had a sense of sixties kitsch to them, and the hooks were huge, so big that just the titles on here alone will make the song creep into your head again and get stuck all day. The remastered sound is cleaner and clearer, adding to the sounds and effects on the album, and giving it a touch more depth.

The great mix of styles, the hook laden tracks, and the pure fun of this album will make you smile and dance a hole into your carpet. It brings back the fun and the excitement of youth, not just your own, but youth in general, hearing the songs again, or for the first time for the curious. This truly is a treasure trove and will be getting lots of plays around my house.

https://www.facebook.com/CherryRedRecords/

http://www.cherryred.co.uk/

THE DONNAS: Spend The Night

Spend the Night is the fifth studio album and major label debut by The Donnas, originally released in 2002 on Atlantic Records. It was the band’s first charting record on the Billboard Hot 200, peaking at #62, and features their most successful single, “Take It Off,” which peaked at #19 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart. Cherry Red Records has remastered the album and added five bonus tracks: “Hyperactive,” “Rock ‘N’ Roll Machine,” “Mama’s Boy,” “Play My Game” and “Backstage,” the latter taken from the soundtrack to the remake of the movie Freaky Friday.

Of course being a male and loving hard-hitting music, such as punk, metal and hard rock, as well as four attractive women in the band, (oh Maya!), I was already a fan when this originally came out and was looking forward to it. It was a bit different from their older albums, a touch of gloss here, a bit more rock, less punk, but all in all, I really liked it a lot. Now we have the re-release with added songs and I like it as much, if not just a bit more than I did at first. I haven’t listened to it in a while, so it was great to hear the album again, and rock out to the tracks that I remembered and loved from the past. The extra tracks from soundtracks and b-sides is a cool bonus since I now don’t have to buy a few soundtracks that I would have had to buy just for their song being on it. The booklet is a great touch, giving you background about the band and the process of putting this out back in 2002. The band plays tight and the vibe is hard rock with touches of metal and punk, but with enough gloss to make it shine, not overpower the songs and the playing. It has a sameness throughout, but again, not in a bad way, the way a Ramones/AC/DC/Joan Jett album has a sound that carries the entire album and makes you instantly recognize them. A feeling of familiarity and warmth that you crave and love.

The great sound, the added tracks, and the booklet make this a definite buy, as well as it just being a damn good album too. I really wish that they would get back into the studio and give us a new album, the world isn’t the same without them. In the mean time, put this on, crank it up and spend the night with them, they might scare you a bit, but oh, what a night indeed.

https://www.facebook.com/thedonnas/

https://www.facebook.com/CherryRedRecords/

http://www.cherryred.co.uk/

THE ALIENATION: No God No Religion

This trio from Amos, Quebec have just released their second album of hardcore with songs in both English and French. The trio of Peet (bass/vocals), Dom (guitar/vocals), and Matt (drums) have put together eleven songs of charged energy and thought-provoking lyrics.

I always get excited when I get punk to review, since I seem to get a lot, and I do mean a lot of metal to review, when I am way more into punk than metal. As a fellow Canadian, now living in Texas, but still love to give props to my country men putting out music, also being someone who was forced to take three years of French and remembers none of it, it is cool to hear a band doing songs in their own language, not just in English. Of course, because I failed two of the three years and they were over thirty years ago, I have no idea what they are singing about on those songs, but the English ones are clear about what pisses them off and I love to read the lyrics and get an idea of where a band is coming from. The songs are angry, gritty and hard-hitting, which is such a great thing to hear with all the wimpy pop punk and emo crap passing itself off as punk. The gruff vocals are perfect for the bitterness being spewed, as is the blazing guitar playing, the thick bass, and the pounding drums which all create a sense of organized chaos that grabs your ear holes and drags you into the pit. Every song is another spit in the face of the craptastic society that we are force-fed and they are played with the verve and power that gets your adrenalin going and makes you get mad at the shit going on too.

This is a band that is sick and tired of bullshit around them and isn’t afraid to get in the face of the fools that stand in the way of what they believe. Fast-paced and a destructive force coming at you with the power of a hurricane, but with a message……destroy the shit!

https://www.facebook.com/thealienationpunx/

https://thealienationpunx.bandcamp.com/album/no-god-no-religion

http://www.thealienationpunx.com/

THE ARCHIES: Sugar, Sugar – The Complete Albums Collection

Finally, all five of The Archies albums are released on CD for the first time which will make fans quite happy. I was, and still am a fan of the comic books and I owned two of these albums on vinyl way back in the old days. The sad thing about this collection, which I have only as a download, so I can’t comment on the booklet, is that they are sourced from vinyl, not remastered. You would think that such an undertaking would have them doing that one step to take this over the top.

Well, onto the music, which is a delight, a complete joy to listen to and will put a smile on your face and get your toes tapping and you will sing along, yes you will. Of course you get the huge hit “Sugar, Sugar,” but there is so much more on her besides that. “Jingle, Jangle” is every bit as good and I love that damn song. The songs are of course bubblegum, and I have no problem with that, but they also went a bit weirder and got into social statements as the albums progressed, so take that people who dismiss this band. Other standout songs are “Archie’s Theme (Everything’s Archie),”  “Feelin’ So Good (S.K.O.O.B.Y.-D.O.O.),” “She’s Putting Me Through Changes,” “Get on the Line,” and “This Is Love.” The male vocals for the group were provided by Ron Dante, who started his career as a member of the Detergents who did “Leader Of The Laundromat,” and was also the voice of  The Cuff Links. The albums truly are a delight to hear again, and not just have a greatest hits collection that just gives you a few songs, this gives you all of them and you can hear the band progressing and changing. Maybe they never rose to the heights of “Sugar, Sugar” again, but this is definitely not throwaway music, this is a bit of history that will never be repeated, a time of crazy pop music aimed at kids that grew up and still sounded great.

While maybe not the perfect box set, this is a pure delight that will give you smiles and if you were there, memories that will come back to you and make your heart happy. In these strange times, isn’t something that makes you happy worth owning? I think so.

https://www.facebook.com/CleopatraRecords/

http://cleorecs.com/home/

COLOR YOU: The Grand Trine

This four-piece from the Los Angeles/San Diego area have released their new eight-song album of a mixture of psychedelic rock, alternative and a touch of late ’80s British indie. The band consists of Ben Ross (vocals/guitar), Brian Han (bass/vocals), Drew Stutz (drums) and Theo Eckhardt (guitar/vocals).

The album starts off with a spoken word intro and kicks off with first real song “In Tune,” which shows off the mix of sounds perfectly. The playing is a bit gritty in places, but then becomes soft and gentle and the soaring vocals are amazing. “Empty” is a fast-paced song with wobbling bass guitar and energy to spare. This thrilling song is one that would get the audience up off of their seats and jumping up and down in a live setting, hell, it pretty much did that to me in my house. Love this song! “Same Old Story” has that great bass in it again, and really sounds like British indie with the effects added and the punkish sound. “Lady In Blue” continues in the same vein and just makes this album even better. “Savior” is a post punk song that has blistering guitar work, that incredible bass, pounding drums and edgy lead vocals mixed with some gang vocals. ending with “Again Again,” a soft and melancholy song makes sense, you need to chill out after the highs of the previous songs and the sing-song feel of this track makes you sort of smile because of the beauty of it.

All that I can really say is WOW! I mean seriously, this had the makings of a perfect album for me, except for the intro, mostly because I’m not an intro kind of guy, I like getting to the meat of the album right away. The production was flawless and the band sure can play, plus the vocals were perfect on every track, nothing over the top, just pure excellence all the way through. This will be on the replay pile for a long time.

https://www.facebook.com/coloryouband

https://coloryou.bandcamp.com/

http://coloryoumusic.com/

SAINT BLASPHEMER: Simon Templar

This four-piece from Santa Ana, California plays a mix of hard rock and alternative and consists of Thomas Monroe (vocals), John Castellon (guitar), Steve Shell (bass), and Steve Ybarra (drums). This is the debut five-song EP of this band that has been playing together since February 2016.

First song “Nullify” is a hard rock song talking about the effects of drug addiction and dying…subtle way to start off? Hell no! This is the raw sound of a band giving you their heart on their sleeve about something that may be difficult to hear, but needs to be heard. “Simon Templar” is a slower song with a ton of angst and an almost Ozzy feel to it about someone surviving the lost of someone from drugs. What a one-two punch on this EP so far. “Scarecrow” has intense guitar riffs and lyrics that go into more of the effects of drug addiction. The song just bludgeons your senses and is so tight and heavy that it will rip your ears off. “A Perfect Rose” has a melancholy feel about it and one of the best vocal performances on the album. The song has peaks and valleys that bring the intensity up and down and keeps you on a rollercoaster ride that you don’t want to stop. “Breaking Just To Bend” ends the album on a high note, with the most straight forward hard rock song that will get you head banging and your heart racing. The song has a great beat and the bass shines through

This is one hell of a debut EP, with lyrics about the effects of drugs and how bad it is for those left behind and what they have to deal with. This is something that most bands don’t and can’t handle well, but this was a masterpiece of lyrics and thoughts…plus the playing is pretty damn good too.

https://www.facebook.com/saintblasphemer/

https://saintblasphemer.bandcamp.com/releases

http://www.saintblasphemer.com/

RAHM: Between The Lines

Rahm is the creation of Israeli prog rock composer and multi-instrumentalist Rahm, and this is his five-song debut EP. He plays a mix of progressive rock the brings to mind Pink FLoyd and old Genesis, more of a mellow and flowing sound than the bombastic sounds of these bands.

Pink Floyd is the starting point, but then everything just goes into its own areas, taking them as just a jumping off point. The EP begins with “You Are Not Alone,” which has acoustic guitar, soaring melodies and vocals and vocal harmonies that you will want to play over and over again. “Between The Lines” is a beautiful song with male and female vocals that flow together, and you get a whistle solo too.”Always On The Run” is a ballad that keeps the mood of the previous song going and makes you drift along. “Coming Home” starts of with birds chirping and is a gentle and softly rolling song that has male and female vocals that are sweet and the guitar slides in and in so sinewy and slick that you just swoon. “Fool For You” is the last song and the birds are back, and this is the most peppy of the songs on the EP, but still not rocking out too hard. The female vocals are perfect in this song, adding so much texture and feeling to the song. The whole thing has a strong David Gilmour guitar sound, but that’s ok since he is an amazing player, but so is the playing on here, with the sound being so precisely laid out that you can hear everything going on, as the way that the vocals are perfectly suited for the songs.

If someone would say that this was an older prog rock album, I would believe them, but that’s not an insult, it’s praise. This sounds familiar, which will make it easier to get people to listen, but the talent and the beauty of this EP will get them to stay.

https://www.facebook.com/rahm.music

https://rahm.bandcamp.com/

http://www.rahm-official.com/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5lup2iKX4yCqLNAvEGztPw