NJ T-Shirt Tuesday 85: The Misfits Mystic Fiend
The brand new Misfits album “The Devil’s Rain,” is in stores today. Since the horror punks from Lodi, NJ always offer ghoulish graphics on their t-shirts, let’s take a look at one of the tees offered at The Misfits online store. The first tee has Arthur Suydam’s artwork from the new album The Devil’s Rain and on the right is the “Mystic Fiend” shirt. The Misfits play their annual Halloween show at The Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ on 10/28/11.
See Sweet Fix Perform!
Sweet Fix is performing their infectious brand of pop infused rock tonight at Irving Plaza in NYC at 7:30 PM. They will be giving out FREE copies of their latest single “FM RADIO/Make a Move.” Originally formed in Bergen County, NJ, and now based out of NYC, Sweet Fix’s songs have a fun energy that will make you want to jump around and sing along with their memorable choruses. If their upcoming CD is anywhere near as good as their previously released EP “Sparks in the Dark,” then we’re in for a hell of a treat. Merely listening to their songs doesn’t do them justice, you have to experience their ultra sugarbuzzed live performance. But, if you can’t make tonight’s show, make it a point to check them out on iTunes, Amazon, or CDBaby!
SIXX A.M “This Is Gonna Hurt” Review
Nikki Sixx seems to be more passionate about creating new music with SIXX A.M rather than with Motley Crue. After reading Sixx’s latest book also titled This Is Gonna Hurt, it’s obvious that lead singer James Michael is a conduit for Sixx’s musical ideas. There’s a ton of creative energy between the two of them and SIXX A.M’s accompanying album “This is Gonna Hurt” is like a Lazy Susan waiting for you to spin it around and savor all of it’s treats.
The reason why you can take my opinion about the newest SIXX A.M album seriously is because I was a fan of Motley growing up in the ’80s and I always gave it my best shot to get into all of Nikki’s side projects. Usually they weren’t very memorable. I actually enjoyed Brides of Destruction when they first formed but listening back after all these years, their tunes don’t hold up that well. When SIXX A.M hit with The Heroin Diaries not only was I blown away, but the world of rock music was pretty stoked as well. Here was a truly inspired album with feelings behind the music, all conveyed through a group of extremely talented musicians and a kick ass lead singer.
Truthfully though, a lot of the songs on Heroin Diaries were a little too dark for my taste. The more upbeat “Life is Beautiful” and “Pray For Me” are two outstanding tracks and I had my doubts that they would be able to surpass the success of those singles on their next effort. Man was I wrong! If there’s ever been a list of bands who have released a second album that eclipsed their first, let SIXX AM be in the top 5. This is Gonna Hurt has it all. Every track is a discovery and worth putting on your iPod.
This is Gonna Hurt shows that the band has expanded creatively and musically. It seems they went in a more mainstream direction this time, but the nature of the music is brighter and hopeful. The music that went along with The Heroin Diaries was appropriately darker in tone, but I think that’s what hindered it from being an outstanding album as a whole. This is Gonna Hurt succeeds because it’s one of those albums for me where I don’t need to skip any tracks. So, there’s no Sophomore slump for SIXX A.M. And although I’m already waiting to see what they cook up for us next, I’ll share with you some of the highlights of this killer summer album.
The title track “This is Gonna Hurt” is a straight ahead fast paced head bopping and fist pumping rocker. Then, on “Lies Of The Beautiful People” James Michael’s voice ascends to Myles Kennedy heights. “Live Forever” is epic and radio friendly with a little bit of My Chemical Romance sprinkled in. It also features a Slash level guitar solo by DJ Ashba. “Sure Feels Right” is one of the best tracks on the album and it’s not even a hard rocker. It reminds me of Tommy Lee and Butch Walker’s “Good Times” and it’s just as good of a time. It has a breezy quality that’s perfect for driving around on a sunny day with the windows down. “Smile” is a sweet love ballad that will make Train shit their pants in fear, but it’s still OK for dudes to listen to. The “doo do doos” in “Help Is On The Way” has hints of Marvelous 3 and helps make for another strong, rocking track. “Oh My God” mixes Springsteen caliber storytelling with a vast U2 style musical atmosphere and a guitar solo reminiscent of Richie Sambora’s on Bon Jovi’s “Never Say Goodbye.” You also won’t be disappointed in the infectious and colossal “Goodbye My Friends,” which is what I’m saying to you right now!
DC Comics Digital Subscriptions
I was never a hardcore Green Lantern fan, but I can imagine how ridiculously pumped true GL fans will be in June of 2011 when the film hits theaters. Did it really take 23 years for a theatrical version of Watchmen to hit the silver screen? Shit, the rights to make a definitive Batman film were purchased from DC in 1979 and after enough scripts to fold up an entire origami model of Wayne Manor, the movie was finally produced and released 10 years later. Anticipation counts for something, but totally frustrating the shit out of your fans is a completely different story. I don’t mind waiting a couple of years for another Batman sequel, but if I have to wait 4 or 5 years I’ll be having flashbacks to the 8 year span of time that it took for WB and DC to grow enough cajones to release Batman Begins. They clearly wanted to be sure that the public had pretty much came to terms with 1997’s farce Batman and Robin. Finally, this brings me to my point, why the hell is DC Comics taking their sweet old time in rolling out a digital subscription plan?
Rather than living in the past and pandering to the old school of fans, DC desperately needs to commit itself to using the most cutting edge technology at all times. If there are so many readers out there who only want to buy print versions of their favorite comics, then why not produce both the hard copies as well as the digitally scanned issues? I’ve read some bullshit on the Internet that DC reps claim that they haven’t found the right method of presenting a comic book via the Internet. That’s funny considering you can find almost any popular comic available for download somewhere on the Internet. Collectors are nice enough to scan them in for archival purposes rather than alternatively finding an issue on eBay and paying a ridiculous $15 or $20 bucks for a comic with yellow pages.
What better way to reintroduce lesser known characters and bring superheroes to the forefront than by revolutionizing the way we read comics books? Making the comic book relevant again should be of paramount importance to the newfangled DC Entertainment. For the past few years, DC’s Zuda imprint has been their only foray into webcomics. The only problem with it is that the comics Zuda features are all original works, none of our favorite characters from say…Justice League or The Outsiders. It’s also a competition which provides independent artists and writers the opportunity to showcase their material. Think of it as the American Idol of DC Comics.
A true comic book fan merely wants an escape. They want to experience stories of their favorite heroes while being immersed in spectacular comic art. Personally, I could care less if I have the actual issue in my hand or not. It’s even better if I don’t because I have enough crap in my bedroom and I don’t need even more stacks of comics. My large screen computer monitor is a perfect way to enjoy a comic book, and it would sure make storing and organizing your collection a breeze. Many of us have learned to let go of albums, definitely shitcanned VHS and cassette tapes, and we’re even forgetting about CD’s, so why can’t we forego comic books? The best way of making a superhero eternal is to immortalize them on the Internet, or in a more modern fashion, make them available through an easy one click purchase on iTunes. As far as I’m concerned the fact that Marvel does offer digital subscriptions is a huge win for them. If DC Entertainment wants to compete on the same level as Disney/Marvel, they need to get in the game.
Scarlet Carson’s “Burn It All” Scorches – Review by Jay Amabile
Order Scarlet Carson’s “Burn It All” at this link for $10 bucks
4/18/10 w/Papa Roach at The Starland Ballroom
4/27/10 w/Saliva at The Highline Ballroom in NYC
The Fletchers – Lights Out Loud
I could have sworn the only thing coming out of New Brunswick, NJ was the vomit shooting out of 2nd floor apartment windows like cannonballs over Hamilton Street after a night of partying, that is, up until the moment an old friend made me aware of a rock band called The Fletchers. They recently released their 2nd album Lights Out Loud, and from the moment of insertion (of the CD you scumbag!), the stereotypes of a repugnant college town cleared away like acne after being doused with Proactive. I can’t guarantee that listening to The Fletchers will work wonders on that jock itch of yours, but hey, it’s worth a shot!
The Fletchers’ Lights Out Loud ascends to heights that their debut album Bright Blue Lights did not. Lights Out Loud is a more focused outing and it’s accessibility makes it apparent that the mind and the voice of The Fletchers, Gary Kaplan, has created possibly the finest work of his musical career. What makes Kaplan different from the host of other songwriters and lead singers coming out of New Jersey is that he’s enjoyed success in bands before. In the ’90s (the ancient times), Kaplan was the singer and songwriter behind two indie bands, Dandelion Fire and Rotator Cuff. His former bands have opened for other big name bands, and Rotator Cuff’s video for “Alfa Romeo” scored airplay on MTV, way back when they still didn’t play music videos, except for a little show at a hideous hour called 120 Minutes.
On Light’s opening track, “Beaches,” Kaplan’s distinct voice almost seems too strong for it’s airy background vocals and breezy, top down instrumentation, but it all comes together less than a minute into the song. Unlike the secretive Coca-Cola brand, The Fletchers formula comes right out of your speakers for you to savor. It’s the juxtaposition of Kaplan’s raspy voice, resonant backing vocals, and music provided by Dan Coffey on bass, Rob Freda on guitar, and Cliff Heaton on drums that provides quite an addictive blend.
Kaplan’s wisdom from his invaluable exposure to the music business has undoubtedly helped The Fletcher’s hone in on their signature sound. Fresh indie rock radiates from Lights Out Loud. Rob Freda’s superb guitar work plays an integral role, but the tunes are also replete with fun choruses, harmonies, and other pop sensibilities. The band’s influences can surely be detected, but The Fletcher’s are not begging to be noticed by the similarities they bare to the groups they listen to on their iPods. Several reviews and critics have cited similarities ranging from Brit-Pop acts to XTC, REM, and The Kinks. A more prominent musical connection, at least to The Sexy Armpit’s ear, is to another New Jersey rock band, The Smithereens. To be clear, The Fletcher’s are definitely not a Smithereens tribute band, but if you punch “The Smithereens” into a Pandora playlist, The Fletchers may very well come up next.
Lights Out Loud was produced and engineered in Hopewell, NJ and mixed in East Brunswick, NJ.
The Sexy Armpit says Download these tracks: “Beaches,” “Maybe,” and “Wasted.” BUY the MP3 album of Lights Out Loud at CDBaby for only $7.99 or the CD for $9.99.Find out more about The Fletchers at their official site: www.thefletchersmusic.com. Friend them on Myspace: www.myspace.com/thefletchersmusic or Become a Fan on Facebook.
The Fletchers play The Loop Lounge in Passaic Park, NJ this Friday, March 5th.
15 Bon Jovi Songs That Won’t Turn You Into a Pussy
When We Were Beautiful sounds like a coffee table book featuring photographs comparing and contrasting female senior citizens with glamorous photos of them from 50 years earlier. When I first heard that Phil Griffin ‘s Bon Jovi documentary, that recently premiered at the Tribeca film festival, and the upcoming book with the same name (slated for Fall ’09 through Harper Collins), was to be called “When We Were Beautiful,” I seriously almost puked.
In case the folks at Harper Collins read this, here are a few of my top choices for new titles for the book:
1) When We Were Ballsier
2) Back When We Had Some Degree of BALLS!
3) When We Were a Band Who Wouldn’t Ever in a Million Years Think of Releasing a Book With a Name as Ghey as “When We Were Beautiful”
4) This Left Never Felt Right in Any Way Shape or Form, You Know What, As a Matter of Fact, Just Stop Making Turns Altogether!
Combining such a weak book title with albums like Lost Highway, Bon Jovi has certified that the band they were in the ’80s has officially been put to rest. I’m constantly hoping, secretly of course, that Bon Jovi will finally return to their rock roots and unleash an album for guys. Songs like “Wanted Dead or Alive” and “You Give Love a Bad Name” are songs that guys could rock out to because they’re bold and written from a guys point of view.
Age 4 through age 9, I prided myself on being a Bon Jovi fan, along with other rock bands like KISS, Motley, GNR and Poison. It was OK to like Bon Jovi even if you were a guy, in fact, being from Jersey even gave you street cred by association. For the past 15 years or so, that hasn’t been the case, even though Bon Jovi has enjoyed continued success from hit singles to blockbuster tours. Unfortunately, now, all they do is coddle their 40-something female fans dying to jump some Jovi ass. Sometime around 1992, every guy who liked Bon Jovi started to get persecuted for being a fan. Some blame the onslaught of Grunge, but after years of contemplation, I could tell you that Jon Bon Jovi is to blame for the whole problem.
If Jon Bon Jovi was born just a little bit uglier, oh say…more Lemmy looking, we MALE Jovi fans would have our freakin’ Jersey ROCK back. Once JBJ realized that the key to his goldmine was singing songs to wives, fiances, daughters, and girlfriends all around the world, his musical mission became melting hearts and not our faces. Dude’s 47 and women still have coronaries when he hits the stage. Dude does spirit fingers and women go into cardiac arrest. Important tip for guys: don’t do spirit fingers…ever…it won’t work for you. Unless you’ve sold 120 million albums worldwide and have appeared on Oprah, girls will not like it if you do spirit fingers. Dude kisses random women in the audience while their husbands stand beside them, faces glowing with a shit-eating grin. How many guys’ wives can you go up to, grasp their arms, and plant a nice big kiss on without their psycho hubby’s attempting manslaughter on you? Jon Bon Jovi can do that kind of shit.
Picture it: The summer is here. You’re cruising around town in your newly washed car. The light turns red, you have to stop. Your music is blasting, but wait! Oh shit! Your windows are down! You can’t let anyone hear what’s playing on your stereo! Don’t get nervous, you need not worry. Just load this playlist onto your iPod and you’ll be fine. While I can’t guarantee you won’t get made fun of for listening to Bon Jovi, you’ll definitely have less of a chance of being accused of having a vagina by the guy in the monster truck blasting Slayer’s “Angel of Death.” Don’t be afraid to crank up your car stereo because listening to Bon Jovi does not have to be an emasculating experience. – The Sexy Armpit: Helping to Keep the Jovi schmaltz to a minimum.
Click here to check out this playlist on iTunes!
15) King of the Mountain, 7800 Fahrenheit (1985) – This chest pounder will make you feel like you’re on top of the world. “Boss man says, ‘Hey boy, you’ll never be no good’…Tonight’s the night they can’t put you down, no one could.”
14) Hook Me Up, Bounce (2002) – It’s ridiculous that I’m writing a post about Bon Jovi veering too far away from their hard rock roots while critics ravaged Jovi’s half-hearted hard rock comeback album, Bounce. “Hook Me Up” opens with the line “Hello, is there anybody out there?” Not only is this similar to the line that kicks off “We Got It Goin’ On,” from Lost Highway, “Is there anybody out there looking for a party,” but also reminiscent of when Bruce Springsteen begs the question of his listeners “This is Radio Nowhere, is there anybody alive out there?” in the first track of his ’07 album, Magic. The underrated “Hook Me Up,” has a bleak, foreboding quality rarely heard in Jovi songs.
13) Blood on Blood, New Jersey (1988) – By far this is the “Bruciest” Bon Jovi song ever. In the vein of Springsteen and other Jovi songs, “Blood on Blood” tells a story using names and places: “Danny knew this white trash girl, we each threw in a ten, she took us to this cheap motel, and turned us into men.”
12) We Rule the Night, 100,000 Bon Jovi Fans Can’t Be Wrong (2004) – Thanks to it’s menacing swirl of rising and falling guitar sounds and trancelike drum beats, this reject from ’85 is easily one of the coolest finds on Bon Jovi’s box set of unreleased material, demos, and alternate cuts. The lyrics make the song sound like it could have been on the soundtrack to The Lost Boys or The Warriors: “No one can save you, there’s nothing to say, Deception’s the name of the game” The “Whoa-Oh’s” sound like the precursor to those in “Livin’ On a Prayer.”
11) I Believe, Keep The Faith, (1992) Bon Jovi used to incorporate this song into their concert set lists but has rarely been performed as of late. It’s one of their most hard rocking songs that rises to immense proportions. Lyrically, “You and Me Can Turn a Whisper To a Scream” recalls the title of The Icicle Works’ hit “Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream).”
10) Breakout, Bon Jovi (1984) Back in the day, Bon Jovi wrote songs that were all about being lied to and getting fed up with the deceptive hoebags that they were dating: “Your lies can’t hide what I see, I’m better off on my own.” The band’s mega success and bagging chicks like Diane Lane and Heather Locklear seemed to have squelched their scornful sentiments rather quickly.
9) Social Disease, Slippery When Wet (1986) – “You can’t start a fire without a spark” was ripped straight from Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark” and as eloquent as it is, “She could run the bullet train on 38 Double D’s” sure as hell wasn’t. “Social Disease” is a fun and lively romp about love, sex, and maybe even a PSA about STD’s: “You cant hide when infection starts…”
8) If I Was Your Mother, Keep The Faith (1992) – Possibly the oddest, most f’d up Bon Jovi song ever. If you don’t listen closely you might miss the pussified lyrics because they’re smothered by crunching rhythms and blistering guitars. BJ wonders “Tell me what I got to do, To make my life mean more to you, I could get so close it’s true, If I was your mother.” There are various rumors as to what the message to this song really is, but it just seems to me that Jon’s singing about seeking a deeper, more elusive connection with a woman. Or maybe he’s just being a pansy.
7) Hey God, These Days (1995) – An average guy with a family asks God why he’s making life so tough for him. The music kicks into a tornado of desperation while the lyrics describe family problems, and financial troubles: “Hey God – Tell me what the hell is going on, Seems like all the good shit’s gone” The most awesome aspect of this song is that Bon Jovi can still write songs from the perspective of the regular guy and still make them sound relatable, even though the band is worth millions.
6) In and Out of Love, 7800 Fahrenheit (1985) – I like blasting this one, and I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for a good sexual euphemism. Like Jane Lynch motioning perversly with her bagel dog in Role Models, “Shes here to make my night complete.”
5) 99 In The Shade, New Jersey (1988) in the category of carefree summer songs this one wipes the floor with Lost Highway’s “Summertime.” Remember when the band was young and had fun getting into some trouble and had trouble getting out of their spandex pants? Lines like “I got a party in my pocket cause you know I just got paid,” indicated that the possibilities were limitless. The perfect song for looking at girls in bikinis on a sunny day at the Jersey Shore. In comparison, “Summertime” is reserved for the folks relaxing in their retirement community.
4) You Give Love a Bad Name, Slippery When Wet (1986) Just as he is in “Breakout,” Jon is all tied up in those metaphorical chains again in this Jovi classic. I heeded their warning back in ’86, girls promise you heaven, then put you through hell.
3) Wanted Dead or Alive, Slippery When Wet (1986) No other band or singer should ever think of covering the ULTIMATE Bon Jovi song, Chris Daughtry, this means YOU!
2) Roulette, Bon Jovi (1984) – The purest example of what Bon Jovi did best. The driving bassline is accentuated with a gambling analogy. Apparently, banging a woman who’s in a relationship is comparable to placing bets on a roulette wheel. I’m placing all my money on the fact that she’s actually a cheating whore. “You just keep on playin’ when all the bets are down”
1) Raise Your Hands, Slippery When Wet (1986) – No, it’s not the old Sure Deodorant commercial, it’s the most kickass Bon Jovi song EVER MADE, just ask Lone Star and Barf. They had to buy new speakers for the space winnebago after cranking this one. If the heroes of Spaceballs can rock out to it, then it’s good enough for you to BLAST in your super silly smart car. Fun fact from New Jersey to Tokyo: As the song fades out, listen closely for the shout out to Jon’s hometown of Sayreville, NJ.
George Carlin: What am I Doing in New Jersey?
Carlin is at his best as he details ironic and sometimes bizarre aspects of American culture:
“This is a place where gun store owners are given a list of stolen credit cards, but not a list of criminals and maniacs! And now they’re thinking about banning toy guns, and they’re gonna KEEP the fuckin’ REAL ones!“
Later on in the show, Carlin deals with some of the most appropriate topics for a show in NJ, such as traffic and driving:
“…New Jersey deserves the title “Toll Booth Capitol” of the United States of America.”
“…you can’t back out of your driveway in New Jersey without some schmuck in a hat wants 50 cents! And i don’t mind payin’ tolls, but every 27 feet? Bullshit!“
“…so I say let ’em be honest, let ’em put it right on the license plates, New Jersey: The Tollbooth State. What does it say now? The Garden State, haha, sure, if you’re growing smokestacks…YES.”
“I like New Jersey…I even have one of those t-shirts you guys sell, “Kiss Her Where It Smells Take Her to New Jersey”…so I like the place…”
Carlin also offers some helpful tips and hints on improving your life:
“how to get rid of counterfeit money: put it in the collection plate at church. See how often the simple solution will elude us?“
“…someone asks you what time it is, say, well it’s either 6:15 or Mickey has a hard on.”
Keeping with the driving and traffic topic, signs and stickers on cars get Carlin fired up. He also offers a few suggestions on how to deal with a cop when you get pulled over.
In his review of the comedy album, JT Griffith of AllMusic.com had this to say: “The main weakness of What Am I Doing in New Jersey is that it doesn’t have any choice takes on the “Garden State” at all. What a missed opportunity. Overall, a light and entertaining comedy album, but not a groundbreaking or challenging one. ” I concur with JT. I would’ve liked to hear more of Carlin roasting New Jersey, but at the time, in ’88, making fun of NJ guido’s wasn’t as popular of a trend as it is now. Perhaps riffing on Joe Piscopo or Pork Roll sandwiches didn’t entice Carlin very much either and I think this HBO special was better off for it. Regardless of it’s shortcomings, What am I Doing in New Jersey is another quite entertaining entry in Carlin’s extensive discography. It’s available on CD and DVD.
** Built in 1931, The Park Theater Performing Arts Center features the the longest running passion play in the United States which details Christ’s last days. It’s now in it’s 94th season. Judging by their website, it looks like there aren’t many big names performing there anymore.
The Beastie Boys: From White Castle to the Nile? Scratch That. New Jersey!
Have you ever wondered what the correlation is between The Beastie Boys, South Orange, Slyders, and Secaucus? No? Well, I’m going to explain it anyway!