Slash: Slash


RIYL: Guns n Roses, Aerosmith, Alice Cooper

Duff McKagan is the newest member of Jane’s Addiction; Scott Weiland is back with STP; Matt Sorum has a Pussycat Dolls-like rock review with his Darling Stilettos, and Dave Kushner most recently co-wrote the theme song to “Sons of Anarchy.” What about the man in the top hat and the very soul of Velvet Revolver? Slash has left his Snakepit behind to release a guitar player’s record in which a different vocalist is featured on each track. So often these types of records are uneven because the vocalists skew the music so drastically apart, the end results feel like a series of singles slapped together. Most of the tracks are polished musical metal pop songs that his vocalists end up fitting into, adjusting their style to fit into his vision. On most of the songs, he doesn’t make the mistake of trying to build material for the singers except the collaborations with Adam Levine and Kid Rock, which feel more specific for those artists and sound like tracks that would be recorded by the vocalists on their records. Slash is fun, ripping good and more accessible then the two Velvet Revolver records. Contraband and Libertad had their moments, but weren’t very consistent regardless of the commercial and critical hoopla.

The formula mellows a bit for Kid Rock’s funky “I Hold On.” The Adam Levine-sung “Gotten” sounds a lot like a Maroon 5 groove. “Mother Mary” is an earthy effort by Beth Hart that conjures up a Janis Joplin vibe. “Watch This,” featuring Dave Grohl and Duff McKagan, is the lone instrumental and a tasty one at that. Slash compiles an eclectic guest list, but because the music is based on his bluesy soloing and magnificent crunchy riffs, the record has a remarkable consistency. Ozzy also appears on the very predictable sounding, “Crucify the Dead.” Doesn’t it seem like every Ozzy track these days kind of sounds the same? The copy available for this review also featured a Cypress Hill/Fergie collaboration for a cover of “Paradise City.” It has a weird sort of charm and works as does most of this record. Slash is a pleasant surprise and even with the diverse set of singers, is one of the better records thus far in 2010. (Dik Hayd 2010)

Slash MySpace page

  

Them Crooked Vultures: Them Crooked Vultures


RIYL: Queens of the Stone Age, Led Zeppelin, Nirvana

Ever since Josh Homme and Nick Oliveri parted ways, Queens of the Stone Age have been missing a certain “oomph.” It hardly seemed right to continue with the name anyway, since the dynamic between Josh and Nick was a big part of what made that band so great in the first place.

For now, anyway, Josh is putting the Queens name aside, even though Them Crooked Vultures could have easily been called a Queens record simply by virtue of the fact that Songs for the Deaf drummer Dave Grohl is providing TCV’s undulating rhythms. And although Josh is the dominant voice and guitarist of Them Crooked Vultures, to say that he is outweighed by the mere presence of his bandmates – bassist John Paul Jones and drummer Dave Grohl – is an understatement. But make no mistake, Them Crooked Vultures is very much a Josh Homme record. All the raunch and sleaze he brings to Queens of the Stone Age is here (sample double entendre: “Don’t hold it against me, unless it gets hard,” from “No One Loves Me and Neither Do I”), as is that magical de-wussified angst he does so well (see “Bandoliers,” an awesomely rockin’ breakup song if there ever was one).

But what distinguishes TCV from Queens is ultimately that rock-solid, locked-in rhythm section created by Jones and Grohl. Yes, at times it does kind of recall the groove of the groovingest Led Zeppelin, and Josh will occasionally match that with some Zep-like riffage. And though most of the songs are worthy of the musicians playing them, the record starts to drag towards the end… just like the last two Queens records. But this is a small complaint in light of the fact that John Paul Jones is playing in a kick-ass rock band once again, Dave Grohl is back behind the drum kit where he belongs, and Josh Homme is showing no signs of slowing down. Rarely does a “supergroup” get much better than this. (Interscope 2009)

Them Crooked Vultures MySpace page

  

New supergroup Them Cooked Vultures to tour

Crooked

To my knowledge, the very first legitimate “supergroup” in rock and roll was Blind Faith, a band that included Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, Steve Winwood, and Ric Grech. Then came CSN(Y), the Traveling Wilburys, and a few others that aren’t coming to mind. I’m not going to list the members’ credentials from these groups — that would take hours. Let’s just say if you’ve never heard of anyone from the Traveling Wilburys, I don’t know how you can physically perform the tasks of everyday life.

Anyway, I’ve been largely underwhelmed by the supergroups of this century. Bands like Velvet Revolver, the Transplants, Zwan, and Chickenfoot have, for my taste, never recorded anything interesting enough that confirms their collective talents. Well, a new supergroup has decided to enter the fold, and rather than dish out some lackluster effort, they actually seem intent on creating some solid music. They’re called Them Crooked Vultures and the outfit consists of Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age, Eagles of Death Metal), Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters), and John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin). As a dedicated listener of the 70s, John Paul Jones makes this band worthwhile. The band has been surprising audiences at European festivals but has yet to play a show in America. Soon, that will all change, as they’ve announced their new tour dates.

The band’s just-announced nine-date U.S. jaunt kicks October 1 with a pair of gigs in Austin, TX, including a set for Austin City Limits. The rockers will hit major Midwest and East Coast cities like Detroit and Boston before touring the UK in December, but, sadly, will skip New York and the entire West Coast. Let’s hope this brief run is just the beginning!

Them Crooked Vultures Tour Dates: 10/1, Austin, TX (Stubb’s)
10/2, Austin, TX (Austin City Limits Festival)
10/5, Nashville, TN (War Memorial)
10/6, Columbus, OH (LC Pavilion)
10/8, Detroit, MI (The Fillmore)
10/9, Toronto, Ontario (The Sound Academy)
10/11, Boston, MA (House of Blues)
10/12, Philadelphia, PA (The Electric Factory)
10/14, Washington, DC (930 Club)
12/10: Plymouth, UK (Pavilions)

12/11: Portsmouth, UK (Guildhall)

12/13: Blackpool, UK (Empress Ballroom)

12/14: Birmingham, UK (O2 Academy)

12/15: Edinburgh, UK (O2 Academy)

12/17: London, UK (HMV Hammersmith Apollo)

I’m not sure why California isn’t getting any love, but I’m sure they’ll get around to it. Their first album, Deserve the Future, is due out sometime next year.

  

Related Posts