Saturday, March 21, 2009

New York Dolls To Release 'Cause I Sez So (And It Could Be The Album of the Year)

The New York Dolls' fourth album, 'Cause I Sez So, could be the 36-year career break they've been looking for. Stranger things have been known to happen.

One thing remains, and its the undeniable power and charm of David Johansen and Syl Sylvain - that undeniable Dolls edge is still potent, resilient and surprisingly honed and polished.

A long way from the rock'n'roll garage sound of their eponymous debut album "New York Dolls" (1973), the new album sees David Jo and Syl reunited with a producer who initially got a lot of flack for producing their first album. Enter Todd Rundgren, who many had thought he sold out after he produced Meatloaf's multi-million selling "Bat out of Hell" album.

I admit there was a lot of speculation when the initial news about the Dolls/Rundgren reunion burst on to the Internet last October. The odds were against this project taking legs.

Some critics got wet their panties, while others felt the news was nothing more then a desperate attempt of cashing in on cash money nostalgia. Sure, there were doubters who not only gave up on the Dolls when bassist Arthur Kane died a few years ago, but then again, Syl and David Jo are still very much alive.

Over the years there's been continued discussion about Todd Rundgren being one of the most talented and innovative record producers on the planet. Times changed, and the super producers became extinct to the point where the bands thought they could do it all by themselves, and in their bedrooms. Major studios closed down to lack of business, and suddenly producers like Rundgren were not on the main menu.

There was still that certain something about the Dolls/Todd reunion that had an element of promise and possibility. They had to be doing it for a reason.

The new album sees the Dolls a pop band without losing their Dolls edge. It doesn't even sound like a trademark Rundgren produced album. The only thing hits you in the back of your head is what a fantastic rock'n'roll band the Dolls really are.

The songs are addictive, full of pop hooks and they are non-stop. The title track blasts out, followed by another hit "Muddy Bones", and then it's just hit after hit after hit.

The new songs are much catchier than anything on the Dolls debut album. Classics like Personality Crisis, Private World and Jet Boy are pretty hard to beat, but somehow the Dolls take it to a completely new level on this outing.

Perhaps the oddest track on the album is slow bluesy version of "Trash" which originally appeared on the first album as a souped up rock ditty. Only the Dolls could get away with sending themselves up. It makes for hilarious listening.

This is an exciting, sexy, provocative, dirty, compelling and innovative rock and roll record from a band who has taken 36 years to find their groove.

I'll leave you with the Dolls performing "Personality Crisis" on Burt Sugarman's "Midnight Special" television show (1973).

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Who Put The Chicken Into Chickenfoot?

The news of the imminent debut album from the rock supergroup Chickenfoot leaves no room for metal trash talk debate or speculation.

The Chilli Peppers' "Chad Smith" (drums), ex-Van Halen "Sammy Hagar" (vocals, guitar) and newly departed Van Halen "Michael Anthony" (bass), plus the shredding guitar wizard "Joe Satriani" (guitar) = a shit hot Led Zeppelin personified electric rock and roll band. What else could you kill for?

The phone lines are closed, the votes have been counted...