Rock

Bonney Read feature in The Sunday Morning Herald & Release Lead Single from New EP

 

Bonney Read feature in The Sunday Morning Herald & Release Lead Single from New EP

Watch the official “Runaway” video on YouTube HERE
Download “Runaway” for free HERE
For more information on Bonney Read CLICK HERE

Carving out a name for themselves in Sydney’s beer-soaked, lipstick-smeared rock n’ roll scene are Bonney Read, a powerhouse (almost) all-girl quartet hailing from Sydney’s inner-west. Recently featured in the The Sydney Morning Herald around the discussions on saving Sydney’s live music scene, and fresh-off exceeding their target in their recent Pozible campaignBonney Read have released their latest single “Runaway (available for free download HERE), taken from their forthcoming EP Live to Tell.

“Runaway”:
“Runaway” is the lead single from the band’s forthcoming EP Live to Tell. Due for release on the 5th June 2014, Live to Tell features production and engineering from industry legends Mark Opitz and Colin Wynne (Rose Tattoo, AC/DC, Hoodoo Gurus, Cold Chisel, KISS), with mixing credits going to David Hemming (Harry Vanda & George Young, Bruce Brown and Russell Dunlop, Elvis Costello, Icehouse). Written by the band, “Runaway” is a hard-hitting rock tune, driven by lead-singerJess Cooper’s raw, husky vocals.

The three-minute music video for “Runaway” packs a high energy punch. Produced by Immersion Imagery the video places the band at the forefront, giving viewers a taste of what to expect from Bonney Read’s live shows.

“We really wanted people to see and get to know the band. The four of us are very proud of our energetic live shows and so it just made sense to do a clip where we were performing the single just like we would at any show – with every ounce of energy and heart!” – Jess Cooper
THE FUTURE:
Comprised of four passionate musicians – Jess Cooper (vocals), Kat Ayala(guitar), Astrid Holz (drums) and Jeremy Goldfinch (bass), Bonney Read are set to shake up the rock scene with their infectious brand of punk-tinged rock.

 “Bonney Read is an amalgamation of each of her member’s musical passions. Combine the hard hitting vocals of Pink or The Distillers, the guitar licks of The Used or Anberlin, the bass lines of the Chilli Peppers or Muse and the drumming of Paramore or Foo Fighters and perhaps, just perhaps you will get an idea of what she sounds like.” – Jess Cooper

With a new single/video released, a new EP due for release on the 5th June, and a headlining show with Battle of the Bands Australia on the 12th June, fans and rock lovers are set to see much of Bonney Read in the future.

“Bonney Read is a force to be reckoned with. She empowers four passionate musicians to blast out the power/pop/rock music that they shamelessly love. She is neither judging nor prejudiced, and she stands for the people who dare to be different. As a band we are united by our love for performing and expressing ourselves through music, and the ethos of Bonney Read strengthens this connection. Our message is: do what inspires you, do it with everything you’ve got and be true to yourself.” – Jess Cooper
Bonney Read’s new single “Runway” is out now and available for
free download HERE.
Their new EP Live to Tell is due for release on 5th June 2014.
Details for their up-coming EP-release Tour will be announced soon.

Watch the official “Runaway” video on YouTube HERE
Download “Runaway” for free HERE
For more information on Bonney Read CLICK HERE

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“Rocksmith” review

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Rocksmith is the kind of game I’ve been waiting a very long time for. Ever since I started playing Guitar Hero III, I always imagined a game that I could plug in my real guitar to help me improve my skills. Rocksmith turned out to be that game, giving me almost everything I wanted.

Rocksmith can be described as “Like Guitar Hero, but real” in some ways, but not in others. There are no plastic instruments here (but you can plug in a microphone to sing along), the game comes with a cable that converts the analogue signal from your real guitar or bass and turns it into a digital signal to be recognised by the game. Electric acoustics or regular acoustics with pickups can also be used. The game came out in the US in 2011, with only support for regular guitar. The bass DLC was added in the second half of 2012, and also released a version with the bass support. This was the version that was released in PAL regions, which is a nice way to compensate us waiting a year, as we get the patches too. You can also plug in a USB microphone to sing along during the songs, but this doesn’t really affect the game in anyway. If you haven’t got a guitar of your own, Ubisoft have a bundle available with an Epiphone Les Paul Junior guitar, strap and two guitar picks (there’s no bass bundle I’m afraid).

rocksmith-bundle-xbox

If you’re wondering about the quality of the bundled guitar, Australian television show Good Game’s resident guitar expert had this to say about it:

 

“It’s a decent brand, it’s an Epiphone junior, but as with all “cheaper” models it does have a few flaws. The action is quite high off the neck, so it’s harder on your fingers to hold the strings down when you play; and the intonation is bit out, so it doesn’t stay in tune very well, it can be fine here, but it goes out up here. That can actually be a bit of a handicap to how well you do in the game. If you can find someone who knows what they’re doing, they can do what’s called a ‘set-up’ where they adjust the bridge and get the guitar sounding and feeling a lot better.”

 

Remember that there’s nothing special about that guitar, any guitar with an input jack will work.

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As you can see in the picture, the note layout is vertical just like Guitar Hero. The effect is as if you’re looking through a guitar’s virtual fretboard. The strings aren’t labelled their actual names (EADGBE in standard tuning for example), but are colour coded. The A string is yellow for example, and the game always calls it the yellow string. It’s a fairly useful system, just like in Guitar Hero, you see the coloured notes and you know which string to hit. The dots that are on most real guitars to assist you finding frets, is represented in the game by the numbers you can see in the picture. The four lanes shown at one time represents the recommended place for your four fingers to be when strumming the notes. For example, the note about to be strummed in the picture, on the fourth fret on the yellow string, is third on the lane, meaning the game recommends you to strum it with your third finger (the ring finger). The flashing arrow markers you see indicate that the player had been playing the wrong notes previously, and the game is trying to alert the player where to correctly strum. The top of the screen shows the current progress of the song, the lyrics and your score. There are a few ways to play each song on guitar, which you choose before you play. You can choose from single note, chords, or combo (usually there’s more than one combo). Some songs don’t have chords, some don’t have single note and so on. Bass only has one arrangement for each song (although apparently there’s a Rush song that has two).

The game has a dynamic difficulty setting, meaning the difficulty is adjusted on the fly. If you’re doing well in a song, it will add more notes. If you’re struggling, the game will take away some notes to make it easier. It is a bit annoying that there are no easy, medium or hard difficulties. There is one option in the menu to change the whole game from easiest difficulty to hardest, but nothing in between and not during the songs, except during the “Riff Repeater”. This can be a problem, as some songs are really easy, while others I had no hope of doing well in.

If you are having trouble with a song, you can select the Riff Repeater, which is like a practise mode, where you can select a section of the song to practise. There are three options in Riff Repeater. In “Freespeed”, you play the notes freely – if you miss a note or play the incorrect one, the section stops until you play it correctly. “Accelerator” slows down the section and speeds it up when you hit all the notes correctly, until you can play it at max speed. If you want to get more points, you need to have more notes to hit, which is where the “Leveller” comes in. If you succeed in playing all the notes correctly, the section will “level up”, giving you more notes to play, until you’ve fully mastered a section.

The closest thing the game has to a career mode is the journey mode. I could describe it as an incredibly subtle career mode. The mode gives you a number of songs to complete and try to earn enough points. If you earn enough points, you’ll “qualify” that song for an “event”. When you’ve qualified all the songs, you qualify for the event, where you play through all the songs in a row, and if you do well you’ll get an encore and play a bonus song and unlock stuff. If you do really well in the encore you’ll get a double encore and unlock even more stuff. Through these events you earn Rocksmith Points (RSP), which levels up your rank. You can customise the event setlist, and I usually just add as many songs as it allows me (usually eight) so I can get more RSP. Once you’ve maxed out all the sections in the songs (i.e. every note is thrown at you) you unlock the master for that song. A master sees you playing the song without any of the notes appearing on the screen, meaning you have to completely memorise the song. Points are doubled during masters, and one of the ultimate goals of the game is to complete a master event.

Events are the main way to earn RSP, but you also earn them just playing through the songs. There are a few unlockable bonus songs from the developers, but all the other tracks are playable from the start if you go into the songs selection menu. RSP also unlocks the “Guitarcade” mini-games and the Technique Challenges, which also add a little RSP to your rank. Another ultimate goal of the game is to reach Rank 11. I’m up to Rank 7 on both guitar and bass. Bass seems to be a lot easier to rank up, which makes sense if you think about. I had been playing the game on guitar for months and it didn’t take me long to catch up to Rank 7 on bass.

At the bottom of this review is the selection of songs, and I thought the choices were a little bit strange. There are only a handful of classic songs, and the rest is stuff from this century. There’s a handful here that make perfect sense, such as Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama”, Cream’s “Sunshine of your Love” and Velvet Revolver’s “Slither”. However, some of the big bands present have rather strange selections. There are two songs from Nirvana, bet you can take a guess to what they are. Was it “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, the first song I fully learnt on guitar? Nope, was it “Heart Shaped Box”? “Come As You Are”? “Lithium”? Nope, first was “In Bloom”, a pretty good choice, while the other is “Breed”, an album track also from Nevermind. It seemed like a strange choice to me. Which Red Hot Chili Peppers song did they include? “Californication”? Nope. “Can’t Stop”? Nope. “Under the Bridge”? Nope. A song from the new album? Nope. It was “Higher Ground”, a cover song.

Almost any Guitar Hero or Rock Band game has a better soundtrack. I’m trying to wonder whether the developers wanted a song selection to cater to learning guitar, or that perhaps the newer bands were easier to licence. It’s not a bad soundtrack by all means, although if this was a Guitar Hero or Rock Band game it probably would be terrible, due to the lack of iconic songs.

On the other hand, the downloadable song selection is quite good. You can buy songs on their own or buy them in a pack. Some bands currently only have one song included, such as Europe’s “The Final Countdown”, while some bands such as Megadeth and Blink-182 have three. Queen and the Foo Fighters have five songs each. You can buy all the Rush songs in a pack for example, which will save a bit of money. Depending on your region there are larger packs, such as the Classic Rock Pack, which includes all the Queen songs, Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water” and Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird” among others. The great thing is that all the DLC you purchase are incorporated in the game seamlessly. The game places them in the events, and even uses them as encore songs. You could buy all the Rush songs and play them as an event if you wish (although the interface of the game makes that a bit annoying to do).

While the DLC selection is great, it’s a bit disappointing that the on-disc soundtrack is a bit underwhelming that you have to resort to buying songs. Of course this is a matter of taste; some of you may like the tracklist more than me. The songlist is pretty damn big though, and as a guitar learning tool, the songs will last you a long time. The DLC is really expensive in Australia. Most songs are $4.95, because the other nations like ripping us off digitally. I feel as if I have to buy the packs to not feel like I’m buying overpriced DLC.

For the record, where’s my AC/DC and Metallica?

There are “Technique Challenges” where a video introduces a technique to you before you start an instrumental using that technique. For example, the sustain one shows you how to perform one, and then gives you a few sustain notes to play to make sure you can actually pull them off, and then the challenge starts and you can win bronze, silver or gold medals. All the challenges have the dynamic difficulty so if you do well, more notes will appear the next time you have a crack. Some challenges are exclusive to each instrument; only guitar has chords and barre chords whereas only bass has slap and pop.

The developers may have been worried that there wasn’t enough “game” in Rocksmith and too much learning, hence the inclusion of the “Guitarcade”. The name says it all – the Guitarcade presents a series of arcade style mini-games played with the guitar. These are good for improving your skills.

Ducks is like Galaga and consists of you shooting ducks by hitting the right notes on the red string. Super Ducks is the same but you shoot ducks on all the strings and you have lives. These two games are really useful in helping you hit the notes without looking at the guitar, which is a very important skill for a guitarist to have.

Scale Runner lets you pick from any scale and any key imaginable and you guide this little runner guy through a tunnel by playing the right notes in a scale. The problem with it is you can’t really skip ahead. I imagine that this game, by teaching you scales, is meant to help you practise improvisation. Without the ability to skip ahead and play the scale as fast as you want, the game feels like it’s missed an opportunity. The actual timing of hitting the notes in the scale is fairly awkward and you have to get used to it. I think it’s a great addition to the game, if just a bit flawed.

Big Swing Baseball looks and plays a lot like Wii Baseball from Wii Sports, just replace the Wii Remote with a guitar. This one is pretty confusing for the first time player. A timer counts down to when the pitcher chucks the ball to you, the batter. As the timer goes down, the fret comes so you have to get your hand ready and then the string to strum and whether to bend it or not. Based on how good your timing is, you can get a single base, double, triple or a homerun which will determine your point multiplier. You get more points if you hit the ball multiple times without messing up. Something about this game is soooo frustratingly addictive. I think it’s because you need 2,000,000 to get the Ps3 Trophy and I’ve gotten so close so many times!! It is really annoying because there are times that you know you’ve hit the note but the game doesn’t recognise it. It might be my fault actually but it just seems that way!

Super Slider is one of those falling pieces games like Tetris and Dr. Mario. You position similar coloured blocks together to score points using the slide technique.  The playing area gets larger as you score more points. This game is ok in small doses, unlike Tetris.

Quick Pick Dash sees you playing an ostrich and you change strings as you tremolo. It’s like hurdling, but instead of jumping over the hurdles, you change lanes by changing the string you’re plucking. The lane/string you should be plucking lights up. This is one of the more fun ones.

Dawn of the Chordead is pretty much the same as the technique challenge where you play chords, only now you have to last as long as possible by killing zombies with chord powered machine guns. The way the game introduces new chords is really confusing though, you have to learn them off by heart to do well in this game. This one is obviously not playable for bass players.

Harmonically Challenged I only recently got the hang off because the harmonics themselves were giving me a hard time. Basically the game gives you some notes to copy, which you must repeat as harmonics, because otherwise the bomb will explode. Each correct note is like a wire to cut off. Each round it’s the same series of notes plus one. I never played this one much because it got so frustrating for me. I think it is great for practising harmonics once you finally get them.

These games are fun little distractions, but I preferred playing the songs. The Technique Challenges are designed to be a stepping stone for these games. Disappointingly there’s nothing bass specific. I also thought it was a bit strange that there’s no multiplayer component for the Guitarcade games, although your scores are shared online.

As you improve your scores, improve your rank and get all the medals in the technique challenges, you really feel that you are improving your actual guitar skills. There are beliefs that the game doesn’t improve your guitar skills, just your skills at the game…and I think it just improves both. I didn’t even know what harmonics were before this game, and it improved my palm muting technique drastically, as well as my speed. Guitar has been a hobby of mine that I would pick up and play, and then sometimes not play it for a long time. I never got to the stage where it became an actual skill that I could show off to everyone and confidently say that I play the instrument. Rocksmith has helped me greatly in motivating me to practise daily just by playing the game. Learning songs by tabs can be quite boring at times, so anyway to make the experience more interactive and fun is a plus in my books. The benefits will only be reaped if you actually put in the effort to play the game regularly.

I didn’t know how to play bass guitar, although my friend had shown me a few things. He lent me his bass so that I could play it in Rocksmith, and I can confidently say that the game has taught me to play bass guitar. My slap and pop technique needs a lot of working on, but I feel like I’m progressing very quickly and enjoying it too. Playing the game on guitar so much certainly helped, but I’m convinced that this game could teach anyone to learn guitar or bass.

Beginners who have never touched a guitar or bass in their life will definitely struggle more than the intermediate players. Most likely they have to look at the instrument to find the frets as well as the screen to see the notes, which can be quite difficult.

Another great value for money included in this game is the Amp Mode. This is literally a virtual guitar amp, where you can muck around with all the options available. When you play the game, you unlock new guitar, basses, pedals, cabinets and amps to help create the tones and effects you want in the Amp Mode. You can’t plug in a second instrument in unfortunately, so no jamming with friends.

If you’re thinking of inviting all your friends over for a Rocksmith party, thinking it’s the natural step up from Guitar Hero and Rock Band, I’d suggest that you’d think again. While Rocksmith does have multiplayer, the game is designed to be a single player experience. In fact, at times the game feels more like an interactive guitar teaching tool more than an actual game. This game is definitely a great example of a product made for a niche audience. Only those interested in playing guitar or bass should think of picking this up. I’m very pleased to say that those people will be very happy with what they get here.

The only multiplayer mode, aside from plugging in a microphone, is just playing along to the songs. You can do guitar against guitar or guitar against bass. I’m not sure if you can do two bass guitars up against each other. I haven’t had the chance to play with two guitars, but I played against my friend on bass guitar and it was pretty fun. Not Guitar Hero/Rock Band fun, at least it felt like a real jam.

One thing I like about Rocksmith is that unlike Guitar Hero and Rock Band, it looks as if there’s not going to be sequels and spin-offs released every year, which is what killed the plastic instrument game industry in 2009, just heaps of downloadable songs.  If the Ps4 and Xbox 720 are coming, that would be fine to release a new instalment, but otherwise I’m happy with the game, as there is so much to do. Improvements that would be great are much more multiplayer options, more bass specific challenges and mini-games. The ability to jam with friends in the Amp Mode would be cool as well. A better soundtrack would also be great. The interface in the game can also be quite confusing. How about giving us the chance to intuitively write our own songs in the game?

I own the Playstation 3 version. From what I’ve read and experienced, the Ps3 version is the most flawed. I’ve experienced game freezing multiple times, causing me to restart the console. Also the loading times are fairly long, and there’s something wrong with the in-game store. Some of the DLC doesn’t show up for some reason. I can’t buy the Blink-182 pack, I can buy the songs separately but then that’s an extra $5 or so. Apparently the Xbox 360 version doesn’t have any of these problems, nor does the PC. If I could go back in time, I’d definitely pick up the 360 version. If you only have a Ps3, Rocksmith is still worth buying, we’ll have just have to hope they fix the issues up.

Overall, as a first effort, Rocksmith is a remarkable achievement. Anyone who is interested in playing guitar or bass or improving their skills should definitely give Rocksmith a buy. I think intermediate players will definitely get the most of the game. Complete beginners may struggle a bit but the extra work in will be worth it. Experts at the guitar may still enjoy the game, as you can learn the songs off it, so it would depend on how you like the soundtrack. There are a number of flaws, but I’ve been playing the game for months, and finally plugging in the bass added even more hours of gameplay. You’ll be playing it for a very long time if you want to benefit from it. If you’re not interested in playing guitar or bass, then there’s not really enough game for me warrant a recommendation, even if you love Guitar Hero or Rock Band. Rocksmith is more of an interactive teaching tool than a real rhythm game, but a very good one at that. I’m giving Rocksmith 4.5/5.

 

Song

Artist(s)

Release year

House of the Rising Sun

The Animals

1964

“When I’m with You”

Best Coast

2010

I Got Mine

The Black Keys

2008

“Next Girl”

The Black Keys

2010

Song 2

Blur

1997

“Step Out of the Car”

The Boxer Rebellion

2011

Sunshine of Your Love

Cream

1967

“We Share the Same Skies”

The Cribs

2009

Boys Don’t Cry

The Cure

1979

“I Want Some More”

Dan Auerbach

2009

Rebel Rebel

David Bowie

1974

“I Can’t Hear You”

The Dead Weather

2010

“Run Back to Your Side”

Eric Clapton

2010

Take Me Out

Franz Ferdinand

2004

“Do You Remember”

The Horrors

2009

“I Miss You”

Incubus

1999

Slow Hands

Interpol

2004

Angela

Jarvis Cocker

2009

“Well OK Honey”

Jenny O

2010

Use Somebody

Kings of Leon

2008

Are You Gonna Go My Way

Lenny Kravitz

1993

“Surf Hell”

Little Barrie

2011

Sweet Home Alabama

Lynyrd Skynyrd

1974

“Unnatural Selection”

Muse

2009

Plug In Baby

Muse

2001

In Bloom

Nirvana

1991

Breed

Nirvana

1991

Where is My Mind?

Pixies

1988

Go With the Flow

Queens of the Stone Age

2002

High and Dry

Radiohead

1995

“California Brain”

RapScallions

2011

“Number Thirteen”

Red Fang

2011

Higher Ground

Red Hot Chili Peppers

1989

(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction

The Rolling Stones

1965

The Spider and the Fly

The Rolling Stones

1965

Play with Fire

The Rolling Stones

1965

Gobbledigook

Sigur Rós

2008

Panic Switch

Silversun Pickups

2009

Outshined

Soundgarden

1991

Me and the Bean

Spoon

2001

Between the Lines

Stone Temple Pilots

2010

Vasoline

Stone Temple Pilots

1994

Under Cover of Darkness

The Strokes

2011

“Mean Bitch”

Taddy Porter

2010

“A More Perfect Union”

Titus Andronicus

2010

“Good Enough”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

2010

Slither

Velvet Revolver

2004

“Burnished”

White Denim

2011

Icky Thump

The White Stripes

2007

Islands

The xx

2009

“Chimney”

The Yellow Moon Band

2009

Rock of Ages (2012 film and soundtrack)

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The post is a review of the film Rock of Ages and its soundtrack.

Film review

In theatres now is a film based on Rock of Ages, a jukebox musical comedy. By “jukebox”, I mean that the songs featured were not written for the musical, but are already hit songs. Rock of Ages tells the story of Drew (Diego Boneta) and Sherrie (Julianne Hough, who also co-starred in last year’s Footloose remake) and how they ultimately get together after a number of hurdles with a few subplots in between involving an ensemble cast, to a soundtrack of rock hits from the 80’s. I saw the Rock of Ages musical about 9 months ago with the Australian cast. It was quite an enjoyable experience. It had great songs and was surprisingly funny. Like most musicals, the story was basic, but the songs are there to enhance the moments. When I heard a film adaptation was coming, I was stoked to say the least. Did it live up to my expectations?

The film adaptation makes quite a few changes – with characters, musical numbers and plot lines added, subtracted or simply fiddled with. Some of these changes are good, while others are bad. The hilarious Regina, Franz and Hertz unfortunately got cut in favour of a larger role for the mayor and introducing his wife as the villain. Playing as the wife is Catherine Zeta-Jones, whose performance I didn’t like at all, which is strange because this is the actress that did an amazing job playing Velma in the film adaptation of the musical Chicago. Her role in the story seems a bit copied from Footloose. Russell Brand was perfect to play Lonny, but it’s a shame that character becomes a lot less utilised. He no longer narrates, which is a shame because the moments in the musical where the fourth wall were broken were some of the most memorable. I do like that the Stacee Jaxx character was given a larger role, and I liked his subplot with the reporter. Stacee Jaxx’s manager was also given a bigger role, and the film made good use of his screen time.

I was fairly sceptical when I heard that Tom Cruise was not only playing Stacee Jaxx, but co-starring alongside the main protagonists. Tom Cruise had never sung before, but he really dedicated himself to this role. For many months prior to filming, Cruise trained 5 hours a day to sing with assistance by Axl Rose’s vocal coach. Strangely enough, and this is not an insult to the movie or the rest of the ensemble cast, but Tom Cruise’s performances are the highlights of the movie. You will have to see it to believe it. His singing voice is actually quite good and he stays very well in character.

As I said before, I didn’t like Zeta-Jones performance as the mayor’s wife, and the leading lovers are not bad, but could’ve done a better job as they are the leads. It might be the script those two are working with, or they may not simply be strong actors (I haven’t seen Julianne Hough in Footloose, so I can’t be sure about her). The rest of the cast, most of whom I’ve already mentioned, are pretty good. In addition there is very a welcome presence of 30 Rock’s Alec Baldwin as Dennis Dupree and Mary J. Blige as the owner of a strip club.

Unfortunately, the script wasn’t written in a way that truly makes the cast standout, especially the two young leads. Tom Cruise seems immune to this, with his flawless performance. The jokes aren’t as funny as the musical. As a love story, the best moments are during musical numbers, with the only real connection between the leads felt during “Waiting for a Girl Like You”. Those are the reasons you watch a musical, rather than the script. It is the most clichéd love story ever, but it’s just there to fit the musical numbers together. Rock hits from the 80’s were a lot of fun, and that successfully transcends into this film.

The film adaptation of Rock of Ages is pretty good. A friend of mine agrees with me that the musical was much better, but we both liked this version nonetheless. Don’t think that you have to have seen the musical, or even know the songs featured, to enjoy this film. While the film doesn’t capture the same hilarity and energy of the musical, it is still a lot of fun and is worth seeing and I’d love to watch it again. There are great songs and great performances, and I challenge you to not enjoy Tom Cruise’s Stacee Jaxx. If you haven’t seen the musical, that’s even more of a reason to watch it, while you wait for the essential purchase of the recording of the musical to be released (one would hope), or better yet, the actual musical being performed in your area. If you hate the music featured, then you should give it a miss, but that would be the only reason not to watch it. I give Rock of Ages 3.5/5.

Soundtrack review

Just like the film, there are changes to the soundtrack that I liked and some I didn’t like. There were also some that made no difference to me at all. Most disappointingly cut is Europe’s “The Final Countdown”. The ending with “Don’t Stop Believin’” actually made me feel a bit cheated. It’s a lot shorter than the amazing version from the musical and also lacks the energy. I felt cheated because the film actually builds up to this finale. If you haven’t seen the musical this won’t be a problem at all most likely. I liked the addition of “Paradise City”, “Rock Me Like a Hurricane” and “Pour Some Sugar On Me”, all well sung by Tom Cruise. His version of “Wanted Dead or Alive” is much better than the musical version. A surprising highlight is the duet with Cruise and Malin Akerman (who played the reporter) in “I Want to Know What Love Is”. The shortened version of “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” is nothing compared to the extraordinary version in the musical.

While not as energetic as the soundtrack to the musical, that’s not saying the performances on this CD has no life. Most of what’s here is pretty good, some a lot better than the songs on the musical and creates a fantastic vibe when you listen to it. The same recommendations I gave to the film can be applied here. The same rating of 3.5/5, is what I give the Rock of Ages soundtrack, though I also recommend you check out the musical’s CD as well.

Here is the tracklisting, with the songs in bold my favourites.

  1. 1.  “Paradise City” – Tom Cruise
    2.  “Sister Christian” / “Just Like Paradise” / “Nothin’ But A Good Time” – Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Russell Brand, Alec Baldwin
    3.  “Juke Box Hero” / “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” – Diego Boneta, Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand, Julianne Hough
    4.  “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” – Catherine Zeta-Jones
    5.  “Waiting For A Girl Like You” – Diego Boneta, Julianne Hough
    6.  “More Than Words” / “Heaven” – Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta
    7.  “Wanted Dead Or Alive” – Tom Cruise, Julianne Hough
    8.  “I Want To Know What Love Is” – Tom Cruise, Malin Akerman

    9.  “I Wanna Rock” – Diego Boneta
    10.  “Pour Some Sugar On Me” – Tom Cruise
    11.  “Harden My Heart” – Julianne Hough, Mary J. Blige
    12.  “Shadows of the Night” / “Harden My Heart” – Mary J. Blige, Julianne Hough
    13.  “Here I Go Again” – Diego Boneta, Paul Giamatti, Julianne Hough, Mary J. Blige, Tom Cruise,
    14.  “Can’t Fight This Feeling” – Russell Brand, Alec Baldwin
    15.  “Any Way You Want It” – Mary J. Blige, Constantine Maroulis, Julianne Hough
    16.  “Undercover Love” (original song) – Diego Boneta
    17.  “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” – Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Tom Cruise, Mary J. Blige
    18.  “Rock You Like A Hurricane” – Julianne Hough, Tom Cruise
    19.  “We Built This City” / “We’re Not Gonna Take It” – Russell Brand / Catherine Zeta-Jones
    20.  “Don’t Stop Believin’”- Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand, Mary J. Blige

Tenacious D – Rize of the Fenix

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Hi everyone! This is my first blog post – hope you enjoy it!

Tenacious D are a seriously awesome comedy rock band, consisting of Jack Black and Kyle Gass. Fans are used to waiting a long time for new material from The D. Their debut self-titled album came out in 2001 and was a hard hitting F-bomb filled delight, which became most famous for the song “Tribute”. Five years later, the band released The Pick of Destiny, a soundtrack album to the accompanying film of the same name that starred the band. Unfortunately, the movie was a box-office bomb, which is a shame but perhaps not surprising because it only appealed to Tenacious D fans. This year, the band is back with a vengeance with their third record, Rize of the Fenix.

I am pleased to announce that Rize of the Fenix will not disappoint fans, and will draw in new believers. The opening title track is…an absolutely perfect opening title track. It’s self referential in nature, and consists of three parts as the band describes its return and rise to power once again. This song will make any fan be glad that The D are back. The next track, “Low Hangin’ Fruit”, can be described as a delicious, innuendo-filled, classic Tenacious D track. It rocks hard, and one can even dance to it.

The next track is a skit, and there’s another skit a few more tracks in. Both skits are funny, but neither of them are as creative or as memorable as the skits on the first album. Many of the skits on that album were based on concepts such as “One Note Song” and “Inward Singing”. Of course it’s not the skits that matter, but the songs.

There are some more really good songs on Rize of the Fenix, such as my personal favourite, “Roadie”. “To Be The Best” is the best one-minute song I have ever heard, and is a fantastic nod to the 80’s. It reminded me of Joe Esposito’s “You’re the Best”. There are also some filler tracks, such as “Throw Down” and “They Fucked Our Asses”, which lack the creative spark of the other songs. The two bonus tracks aren’t anything special, though “Quantum Leap” is pretty catchy.

Overall, I highly recommend this album to everyone. Tenacious D fans will definitely love it. The album is better than The Pick of Destiny. While the skits are not as strong as the ones on the debut, the songs are just as good, if not better. If you have never gotten into Tenacious D and are unsure if you would like them, watch the music video below for “To Be The Best”. I think it will speak for itself, and I promise that if you like it, you are officially a Tenacious D fan.

I rate things out of 5, including halves. 0.5 is the lowest score. I give Rize of the Fenix 4/5. The bonus tracks did not impact the score. See the tracklist below, the ones in bold are my track picks.

1.

“Rize of the Fenix”  

5:53

2.

“Low Hangin’ Fruit”  

2:31

3.

“Classical Teacher” (Skit)

3:23

4.

“Señorita”

3:08

5.

“Deth Starr”

4:46

6.

“Roadie”  

2:58

7.

“Flutes & Trombones” (Skit)

1:28

8.

“The Ballad of Hollywood Jack and the Rage Kage”  

5:05

9.

“Throw Down”

2:56

10.

“Rock Is Dead”

1:44

11.

“They Fucked Our Asses” (“They Chucked Our Basses” on the clean version)

1:08

12.

“To Be the Best”  

1:00

13.

“39”

Deluxe edition bonus tracks
14. “Quantum Leap” 3:50
15. “Rivers of Brown” 1:23

5:16