Tag Archives: Muse

Muse Release New Album Drones


Masters of Arena Rock Release their 7th Album Today


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Over the past few weeks, we’ve been treated to a few glimpses of excellent new material from Muse, including the huge alternative rock hit “Dead Inside.” The single has sat atop the modern rock charts for the past month and for good reason. It’s another killer dose of anthem rock from the UK trio who have made a habit of delivering powerful rock ‘n roll anthems.

The Warner Bros. Records release is available today on iTunes:

Drones was co-produced by the band and the lefendary Robert John “Mutt” Lange. Frontman Matt Bellamy shared, “To me, ‘Drones’ are metaphorical psychopaths which enable psychopathic behavior with no recourse. The world is run by Drones utilizing Drones to turn us all into Drones. Drones explores the journey of a human, from their abandonment and loss of hope, to their indoctrination by the system to be a human drone, to their eventual defection from their oppressors.”

Additionally, today the band revealed a new music video for the song “Mercy.”


Drones Track Listing
1. Dead Inside
2. [Drill Sergeant]
3. Psycho
4. Mercy
5. Reapers
6. The Handler
7. [JFK]
8. Defector
9. Revolt
10. Aftermath
11. The Globalist
12. Drones

Rock On!

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Muse – Amway Center Show Review

Editor: This is what happens when you’re a small website on a tight budget. Denied press coverage for the Muse show, we reached out to our intrepid Canadian Beat Reporter, Luc to crash the party. ¬†He wasn’t familiar with the band, but as you’ll see quickly figured them out.

Muse- A perfect combination of music, lights and atmosphere

Being one who had never heard of Muse, I didn’t know what to expect. ¬†I had heard that tickets sales for the band’s ¬†show in Orlando was low (6,000 or so), so I knew getting a ticket would not be a problem. So, I headed down to The Amway Center¬†to check out the show.

In relation to this band, I wondered: “Was ¬†this going to be a grunge rock band, heavy metal, easy listening or a scream fest?” ¬†What I didn’t expect was what I experienced at the Amway arena on Monday night. ¬†A great show that was a collection of ¬†electric, modern and symphonic rock. ¬†Matthew Bellamy (guitar) Chris Wolstenholme (bass) and Dominic Bellamy (drums) had a mind blowing show for me to experience. ¬†With the combination of lasers, lights, sound and smoke, not only was the show incredible to watch, but incredible to listen also.

One of the highlights of the show was the audience participation, and how much they loved the band.  Just watching the crowd rock back and forth to the music was fun to watch.  As for the excellent music, the band reminded me a little bit of RUSH.  Very precise with all the music, sound and show. 

They opened with “Supremacy,” the latest single release off of their 2012 release The 2nd Law, one of RARA’s Farm’s Top 25 Albums of 2012, and featured a number of songs off of that excellent album, as well as a good selection of their earlier stuff from across the prior decade.¬†¬†They closed¬†their¬†set with “Uprising,” before their encore of “Starlight” and this year’s¬†Olympics¬†them “Survival.”

Trust me when I say that I was pleasantly surprise and know that if Muse ever comes back, I will make sure I get my ticket.


Check out a video from the show: Time Is Running Out

Map of the Problematique
Supermassive Black Hole
Panic Station
Knights of Cydonia
Monty Jam
Follow Me
United States of Eurasia
The 2nd Law: Unsustainable
Undisclosed Desires
Time Is Running Out
Stockholm Syndrome
The 2nd Law: Isolated System




Central Florida February Rock Calendar

This month sees the concert scene heat up tremendously. Lots of good stuff and many classic rock bands joining the snowbirds this month.

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02/04 – The xx, The Beacham

02/07 – Reel Big Fish, House Of Blues

02/09 – The English Beat, The Plaza Theatre

02/10 – Old 97’s, The Social – Jeff Tweedy and Company always put on a good show, seeing them in a small venue like The Social is a nice bonus.

02/11 – Flogging Molly, House Of Blues – One of RARA’s Farm’s all-time favorites, they always put on a great show and pack the house.

02/14 – Fishbone, The West End (Sanford)

02/15 – Imagine Dragons with Atlas Genius, House Of Blues – Two excellent Alt-Rock acts playing to a sold out crowd at HOB.
02/15 – Johnny Winter, The Plaza Theatre

02/16 – Alan Parsons ‘Live’ Project, The Plaza Theatre
02/16 – The Beach Boys, Sea World Orlando Adventure Park Bands. Part of the Brew & BBQ Concert Series”
02/16 – Jefferson Starship, Mt. Dora Music Festival. Paul Kantner and David Freiberg lead this version of Starship/Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship in an acoustic set.

02/17 – Anberlin, The Beacham. Strong Alt-Rockers from the Sunshine State, always put on a good show. Check out a recent review of Anberlin.

02/20 – Jukebox The Ghost and Matt Pond PA, The Social

02/24 – Pink and The Hives, Amway Center
02/24 – The Queers, Will’s Pub

02/25 – Muse, Amway Center – They may be the biggest name in rock music today, and they are excellent live.
02/25 – The Irish Rovers, The Plaza Theatre

02/28 – Ed Roland & The Sweet Tea Project, Hard Rock Hotel. The former Collective Soul front man headlines this month’s Velvet Sessions. Check out our recent review of Collective Soul
Cheap concert tickets


02/03 – The xx, Florida Theatre

02/05 – The English Beat, Jack Rabbits

02/06 – Soul Asylum, Freebird Live

02/07 РJimmy Buffett, Jacksonville Veterans Mem. Arena РParrotheads invade the East Coast. Check out our recent Buffett review. 

02/08 – Willie Nelson, Florida Theatre

02/10 – Reel Big Fish, Freebird Live

02/14 – Holopaw, Nobby’s (Saint Augustine)
02/14 – Johnny Winter, Ponte Vedra Concert Hall (Ponte Vedra Beach)
02/14 – Steve Miller Band, Florida Theatre

02/20 – Alan Parsons ‘Live’ Project, Florida Theatre

02/21 – The Queers, Jack Rabbits

02/22 – The Lovin’ Spoonful, Times-Union Center For Perf. Arts

02/27 – The Aggrolites, Cafe Eleven (Saint Augustine)

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Cheap concert tickets

Tampa Area

02/02 – G. Love & Special Sauce, Jannus Live (Saint Petersburg)
02/02 – Willie Nelson, Ruth Eckerd Hall (Clearwater)

02/06 – Paul Revere & The Raiders, Stanleyville Theatre

02/07 – The English Beat, Jannus Live (Saint Petersburg)
02/07 – The xx, The Ritz Ybor

02/08 – Reel Big Fish, State Theatre (Saint Petersburg)

02/09 – Frankie Valli, Ruth Eckerd Hall (Clearwater)
02/09 – Old 97’s, State Theatre (Saint Petersburg)

02/10 – John Kay & Steppenwolf, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

02/11 – Starship Starring Mickey Thomas, “Florida State Fair” Florida State Fairgrounds. Thomas still has a¬†phenomenal¬†voice, Check out our recent review.

02/12 – Frankie Valli, Van Wezel Perf. Arts Hall (Sarasota)
02/12 – Jonathan Richman, Skipper’s Smokehouse

02/13 – Steve Miller Band, Ruth Eckerd Hall (Clearwater)

02/14 – Sheryl Crow, Ruth Eckerd Hall (Clearwater)

02/15 – Alan Parsons ‘Live’ Project, Ruth Eckerd Hall (Clearwater)
02/15 – Jefferson Starship, Skipper’s Smokehouse – four days after the other Starship hits Tampa. Interesting…
02/15 – Sheryl Crow, Van Wezel Perf. Arts Hall (Sarasota)

02/16 – The Marshall Tucker Band, Florida Southern College (Lakeland). Unbelievable talent in the band’s current line-up. Check out our recent review of their show in Orlando.

02/17 – The Beach Boys, Van Wezel Perf. Arts Hall (Sarasota)
02/17 – Johnny Winter, Capitol Theatre (Clearwater)

02/19 – Jukebox The Ghost and Matt Pond PA, The Crowbar

02/23 – 3 Doors Down and Daughtry, Ruth Eckerd Hall (Clearwater)
02/23 – The Irish Rovers, Capitol Theatre (Clearwater)
02/23 – Muse, Tampa Bay Times Forum
02/23 – The Queers, Local 662 (Saint Petersburg)

02/27 – Pink and The Hives, Tampa Bay Times Forum

02/28 – Foreigner – “Florida Strawberry Festival” (Plant City)

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Top Rock Albums of 2012

As I looked back on the 2012 rock landscape and reviewed the year’s best rock music, I realized that I’ve definitely become more of an Indie Rock fan over the past few years. 2012 brought us lots of great Indie rock, but we also heard some rocking albums in the mainstream. ¬†You may see a few albums here that you’re not familiar with, but I implore you to check them out. You’ll open your ears to some killer new rock, and impress the hell out of your friends. (After each selection, you’ll find a link to check them out on iTunes as well as our recommendations if you just want to grab a few tracks off of each album).

So, here are the Farmer’s Dozens in reverse order.¬†The two dozen best rock albums of the year:

Bonus Selection: Each farmer’s dozen comes with a bonus, so here are two: ¬†Grouplove, ¬†Never Trust a Happy Song and The Black Keys, El Camino. ¬†Both of these albums would be at the top of our 2012 list… if we had not already recognized them in 2011. ¬†Here’s our Top Rock Albums of 2011, to see what else we visionaries were thinking last year.

24. The Lumineers, The Lumineers – Impressive debut album from these “pop-folk” rockers out of Denver. Best tracks: “Hey Ho” and “Stubborn Love.” The Lumineers - The Lumineers

23. Lovedrug, Wild Blood – These Indie rockers out of Ohio are powered by Michael Sheppard’s unique voice and a nice Kickstarter campaign. Best tracks: “Premonition” and “Ladders.” Wild Blood - Lovedrug Read our full review

22. Halestorm, The Strange Case of… Lizzy Hale’s powerful vocals lead the way for these masterful metal rockers. Best tracks: “Love Bites… So Do I” and “I Miss the Misery.” The Strange Case Of... - Halestorm

21. Green River Ordinance, Under Fire – Great rock ‘n roll harmonies from this quintet out of Forth Worth. ¬†They offer up a diverse selection of tunes on another self-funded effort. Best tracks: “Dark Night” and “Lost in the World.”¬†Under Fire - Green River Ordinance¬†Read our full review

20. Mumford and Sons, Babel – A nice follow-up to their hugely successful 2009 release Sigh No More for these barrier-breaking folk rockers. ¬†Best tracks: “I Will Wait” and “The Boxer” (Simon and Garfunkel cover). Babel - Mumford & Sons

19, Dinosaur Jr., I Bet on Sky – The Massachusetts Alt-Rockers continue to put out solid Alt-Rock with¬†their¬†distinctive¬†brand of guitar rock. Every song is good on this one. Best tracks: “Rude” and “Pierce the Morning Rain.” I Bet On Sky - Dinosaur Jr.

18. Luke Dowler, Polarized –¬†Dowler‚Äôs music offers raw vocals with an urgent passion, mixed with poignant lyrics about world affairs, relationships and deep personal faith: Good stuff from Big Sky Country. Best tracks: “Polarized” and “Gun.”¬†Polarized - Luke Dowler Read our full review

17. Jack White, Blunderbuss – White breaks away from the shackles and structure of his former band mates in The White Stripes and¬†Raconteurs¬†and it works¬†nicely.¬†Best Tracks: “Love¬†Interruption” and “Trash Tongue Talker.” Blunderbuss - Jack White

16. The Shins, Port of Morrow – Fantastic lyrics, beautiful harmonies and rock and roll that just oozes¬†likability¬† I¬†just¬†wish these New Mexico natives would put out album more often than every four years. Best tracks: “Simple Song” and “It’s Only Life.” Port of Morrow - The Shins

15. Muse, The 2nd Law – The band, built for stadium rock, took some chances on this, their sixth release. This stuff is nothing like what we’ve heard from them before, but it is intriguing and captivating. Best tracks: “Madness” and “Survival.” The 2nd Law - Muse

14. The Gaslight Anthem, Handwritten – Talented New Jersey rockers who offer up their most polished record to date. Strong heart felt rock and roll with excellent lyrics. Best tracks” “Too Much Blood” and “45.” ¬†Handwritten - The Gaslight Anthem¬†Read our full review

13. The Killers, Battle Born – Brandon Flowers and the band never disappoint. ¬†One of the year’s best produced albums and it shows the band moving in a more mature direction. Best tracks: Runaways” and “Miss Atomic Bomb.” Battle Born - The Killers

12. Neon Trees, Picture Show – Everybody talked about “Everybody Talks,” but this album was much more than one hit. ¬†Tyler Glenn is a future superstar and highlights his broad talent throughout the band’s third album. Best tracks: “I am the DJ” and “Everybody Talks.” Picture Show - Neon Trees

11. Django Django, Django Django – Hip, cool, groovy, rock ‘n roll with an oddly familiar feel considering this is the band’s debut. Mixes the best of the sixties, eighties and modern times. Best tracks: Default” and “WOR.” Django Django - Django Django

SMS Audio STREET by 50

10. Metric, Synthetica – From the opening lines of “Artificial Nocturne,” where Emily Haines offers “I’m just as fucked up as they say,” this album demands your attention. ¬†Some deep introspective tracks disguised as excellent pop rock songs. Best tracks: “Youth Without Youth” and “Breathing Underwater.”

9. ¬†Thousand Foot Krutch, The End is Where We Begin –¬†The songs are positive Christian rock but these guys don‚Äôt slam you over the head with their beliefs.¬† It‚Äôs solid, active rock music that any hard rock fan will enjoy. A very diverse selection from a band returning to their Indie roots. Best tracks: “War of Change” and “All I Need to Know.” Read our full review

8. The Wallflowers, Glad All Over – Jacob Dylan continues to evolve as a musician and has never sounded better than he does now. ¬†Excellent music with soulful vocals on a selection of tracks guaranteed to grow on you with each listen. Best tracks: “It’s a Dream” and “Reboot the Mission.”

7. The Drowning Men, All of the Unknown –¬†They‚Äôre back with their second full-length¬†album¬†release, their first on Flogging Molly‚Äôs Borstal Beats label, which builds on the success of their fantastic debut album¬†Beheading of the Songbird,¬†and shows the talented quintet continuing to grow. These¬†Indie rockers remind me a bit of the layered harmonies of Arcade Fire, with a clear West Coast U.S. bent. Best Tracks: “A Fool’s Campaign” and “Lost in a¬†Lullaby.” Read our full review

6. Green Day,¬†‘¬°Uno!‘ – Billie Joe Armstrong needs to be recognized as the prolific rock songwriter he is. ¬†He and his longtime band mates never fail to put out good music and this is another prime example. ¬†A great fresh punk/pop sound from our favorite So Cal trio. They released three good albums this year, this one was the best of the bunch. Best tracks: “Oh Love” and “Let Yourself Go.”

5. Fun., Some Nights – So much more than “We Are Young.” This masterfully produced album is¬†a great vehicle for the talented vocal¬†stylings¬†of Nate Ruess and is packed with¬†memorable¬†addicting ditties.¬†Jack Antonoff and Andrew Dost round out the trio and lend their voices to create impressive harmonies throughout. ¬†On Some Nights, Fun. has developed a unique sound and carved a nice niche in today’s Alt-Rock landscape. Best tracks: Why Am I the One” and “Carry On.” Read our full review

4. Of Monsters and Men – My Head is an Animal. This talented Icelandic band has taken advantage of the revitalized interest in folksy rock courtesy of Mumford and Sons, but have kicked it up a notch. ¬†Great, fun rock songs with amazing boy/girl vocals and meaningful lyrics; as well as a few tracks that are strictly fantasy adventures like the addictive “From Finner.” Best tracks: “Mountain Sound” and “Little Talks,”

3. River City Extension, Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Your Anger – The second release from this talented octet out of New Jersey is a musical and lyrical journey well worth a listen. It‚Äôs a folk rock/Americana album packed with original sounds and with each listen a different track stands out.¬†Joe Michelini, the band‚Äôs singer and guitarist is the primary songwriter and he takes us through a varied collection of memories. He offers: ‚ÄúHalf of this record is love songs, and the other half is ‚ÄėI‚Äôm sorry that I fucked up‚Äô songs,‚ÄĚ and he writes about both in a compelling way. Best tracks: “Glastonbury” and “Ballad of Oregon.” Read our full review

2. Bruce Springsteen, Wrecking Ball – I had just about written off the sage of the Garden State, but this is one of Springsteen’s best efforts in years. ¬†The music is superb, and the lyrics even better. ¬†It’s a bitter, but honest look at what Corporate Greed and idiot politicians have done to his country, and Springsteen pulls it off by surrounded the words with excellent music At times, he evokes memories of the E Street Band’s greatest anthems, at other times he has us heading down an entirely new path, such as the Celtic rock feel in the fantastic “Death of My Hometown.” Best other tracks: “We Take Care of Our Own” and “Wrecking Ball.”

1. Shinedown, Amaryllis – I loved “Bully” the moment I heard it and was pleasantly surprised to hear the excellent diversity on the rest of the album. ¬†It’s aggressive, powerful, passionate rock that’s impossible to put down. ¬†The¬†Jacksonville¬†based band has only put out four albums in their decade plus together, and each one has gotten just a little bit better. ¬†Rolling Stone hated the album, which in itself is proof that it’s mainstream rock for the masses. ¬†Amaryllis is one of the best hard rock albums in years and it’s packed with great songs. ¬†Best tracks: “Unity” and “I’m Not Alright.”

There you have it Рthe best rock albums of 2012, according to me.  Let us know your thoughts in the Comments section.

Click here for the Top Rock Songs of the Year

Rock On!

The 25 Greatest Rock Albums Ever, According to Me

A few years ago, I started jotting down thoughts about the seminal albums of my lifetime, the pieces of¬†musical¬†genius that helped shape my musical being. ¬†What better time to dig out that list and freshen it up, as RARA’s Farm posts our one hundredth article.

As a self-described rock ‘n roll freak, there were many fantastic albums to choose from, but what set these apart was that every song on every album was great. Not just one great “side” for you old timers. I will admit first that for most of these, there’s no great deep personal meaning, and for some, I don’t even know the lyrics – but hey, I liked the MUSIC, and it’s my list…

My self inflicted rules: No compilations, which ruled out Bob Marley, The Baby’s, Ramones and the Beautiful South; and no live albums eliminating Neil Young, Johnny Cash and Cheap Trick.¬†Also, I only allowed myself one from each artist. So, with all of those considerations, I think what follows would better be described as 25 Great Albums, not quite the 25 Greatest.

The albums are listed in the order that I fell in love with each of these masterpieces. You can click the iTunes link after each album to check them out yourself.

Moody Blues – Days of Future Passed – my Uncle turned me on to this one and it was my first taste of album rock – a great suggestion by a smart man. Classic rock with a full orchestra, and some pretty diverse stuff. This¬†psychedelic¬†treat is an amazing headphones experience. It was a tough choice between this and Long Distance Voyager, only because Voyager bridged the gap from my Aunts’ and Uncles’ musical era into the 80’s and was the first big concert I attended. Days of Future Passed - The Moody Blues

Who – Who’s Next – sure I was first attracted to “They’re all wasted”¬†from “Baba O’Reilly,” ¬†but this album is packed with nothing but great rock, “The Song is Over” never gets enough credit – but it’s my favorite Who song of all-time. Most of these songs were penned for Lifehouse, Pete Townshend’s failed follow-up to Tommy. This was¬†Townshend’s first major foray into integrating synthesizers and it works perfectly. Who's Next (Remastered) - The Who

Queen – Night at the Opera – My brother loved this album before I did. I actually liked the non-Freddy tunes at first, like Roger Taylor’s “I’m in Love with My Car”, or Brian May’s “39,” but later came to appreciate Freddy’s pure genius on songs like “Love of My Life” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Another very diverse collection. I’m bummed that I never got to see these guys live. A Night At the Opera - Queen

Kansas – Leftoverture – this album was the second album I heard where everything seemed to fit together perfectly (after Nights in White Satin). The best album ever for headphone listening – can’t imagine how many times I fell asleep to this one with those soup bowl sized headphones still on, as the eight track continuously clicked through the tracks. To give you an idea how good this one was, “Carry On My Wayward Son” is the only hit, but probably my least favorite song on this great concept album. Leftoverture - Kansas

Bruce Springsteen – The River¬†– I loved everything Bruce did before this and a few after. With so many great albums, this was a tough decision – but this is a rarity – a double album where every track is strong. The album featured Bruce really diving into relationships and telling stories we could all relate to. “Sherry Darlin,” “Ramrod,” “Crush on You” and “I Wanna Marry You” are in my all-time list for Bruce. Born to Run didn’t exactly suck either. The River - Bruce Springsteen

Cars – Cars – an amazing debut album, and although they followed this with many hits, they never came close to a collection as complete as their initial effort. This is a rarity on the list, an album that I admire, performed by a band that just sucked live on stage. Absolutely love “All Mixed Up/Moving in Stereo,” and not at all because of the Fast Times flashback… The Cars - The Cars

Tom Petty – Damn the Torpedoes – This was fabulous the first time I heard it and grew better every time I listened to it. I remember playing this often when I first moved away from home to live at college, and the familiar feel eased the transition. Such a smooth diverse album. It starts off with “Refugee” and EVERY song after is better. Great stuff! Damn the Torpedoes (Remastered) - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

Meatloaf – Bat Out of Hell – Meat sure could sing, but the arrangements and musicians on this album overshadow his great voice. This is one of the few where I knew every word to every song. These are still classic and timeless party songs, including Phil Rizzuto’s captivating play-by-play and¬†the perfect boy/girl trade-offs of “Paradise by the Dashboard Light.” And, “No,” you don’t sound just like the record when drunkenly singing this at late night karaoke! Bat Out of Hell - Meat Loaf

Beatles – Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – My first words as an infant were actually “Yeah, Yeah. Yeah,” from their 1963 hit “She Loves You,” but I never realized how great the Beatles were until I got this album. McCartney and Lennon at their best, but this one also features Ringo’s best “With a Little Help from My Friends.” The way the album ends with “A Day in the Life” is the best ending to any album EVER, which is appropriate, as this just might be the best of the best, from the best. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - The Beatles

Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here – I loved all of their efforts, including The Wall, Dark Side of the Moon and 1990’s under appreciated Division Bell. But this one, a tribute to the mercurial Syd Barrett is their most musically packed. This classic features “Have a Cigar” and “Welcome to the Machine;” then there’s all nine parts and 26 plus minutes of “Shine On You Crazy Diamond,” ¬†just¬†amazing… Wish You Were Here (Remastered) - Pink Floyd

The Alarm – Strength – One late night on my first shift on college radio I popped in the cart for “68 Guns” and fell in love with this unknown band – two years later, they released Strength, and played close by. I skipped the show because the $3.00 price tag was the equivalent of 30 beers at the Bus Stop – figured I’d have plenty of other chances. Unfortunately a few years later Mike Peters walked off the stage in the middle of “Blaze of Glory” and they were done. This album features the classic “Spirit of 76,” and the song I walked down the aisle to: “Walk Forever by my Side.” Strength 1985-1986 (Remastered) - The Alarm

REM – Reckoning – yeah, I confess that I don’t understand the lyrics to half of these songs – but does anybody? Every one of the tracks off of the band’s second album is a memorable ditty. Simple, catchy and fun. My first “go to” album as a college DJ. “Pretty¬†Persuasion,” “So. Central Rain (Sorry)” and “(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville” were the classics, but “Harborcoat” and “7 Chinese Bros.” were just as good. Reckoning - R.E.M.

Prince – Purple Rain – Truthfully, a girl named Nikki turned me on to this one, but I did not meet her in a hotel lobby… ¬†Before this, I thought Prince was a flash-in-the-pan pop star. This album proved he was a rock legend, and that my first impressions were pretty pathetic and way off-base. Solid from the first note of “Lets Go Crazy” through the final chords of “Purple Rain;” and it includes my all-time favorite Prince song, “Baby I’m a Star.” Purple Rain (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture) - Prince & The Revolution

Alice Cooper – Schools Out – Didn’t listen to this until long after it was released when I stumbled across it on my late night Heavy Metal show. It’s another great concept album, with lots of creative stuff complementing the title track. “Public Animal #9” is pure rock, and “Grande Finale” is fantastically diverse! Mr. Furnier never got enough credit for being a great musician, and this classic never gets its just due. School's Out - Alice Cooper

Dire Straits – Love Over Gold – 5 songs. “Industrial Disease” is the only one that ever got any airplay – but this is packed with amazing guitar work from Mark Knopfler. The 14 minute “Telegraph Road” is one of my Top 10 all-time songs, and one of the great drum songs of all time from Pick Withers. It was hard not selecting Brothers In Arms,¬†too. Love Over Gold - Dire Straits

U-2 – The Joshua Tree¬†– I loved Boy, too, and Achtung Baby and Unforgettable Fire, and… This one edges them out because the non-hits are better, including “Trip Through Your Wires,” “Running to Stand Still” and “Red Hill Mining Town.” The album was driven by the band’s new found infatuation with America, but starts off with an amazing song about Belfast, a place where the streets had no name.¬†The Joshua Tree (Remastered) - U2

Thrashing Doves – Bedrock Vice¬†– I’m about to leave the Chestnut Cabaret after an energy packed Chasers show, and these “kids” get on stage pimping their first album. I decide to hang around and loved their stuff. If you ever see this one in a bargain bin grab it. “Biba’s Basement” and “Beautiful Imbalance” were addictive, but “Jesus on the Payroll” was the most intriguing. Definitely the most obscure album on the list, but it’s an unknown treasure.

Paul Westerberg – 14 Songs – I know this will piss off Replacement fans, but I think this is better than any of his efforts with the quartet from Minneapolis. The first time I listened straight through I assumed this was a greatest hits CD – lots of great stuff. “World Class Fad” is tremendous and “Things” is a beautiful ballad. 14 Songs - Paul Westerberg

Barenaked Ladies – Gordon – I bought it for “$1,000,000” – but there were so many more valuable tunes in store. “Enid,” “Grade Nine,” and “Yoko Ono” are just a few of the fun ones. ¬†The album also features the magnificent “Brian Wilson, and some of BNL’s most touching stuff. ¬†The best song is the under-appreciated “What a Good Boy.” Gordon - Barenaked Ladies

Stroke 9 – Nasty Little Thoughts – another band I found by mistake. They opened for someone else – I think Lit – and I loved their stuff. Yup, this is the one with “Little Black Back Pack,” but it’s packed with a bunch of other great tunes. Still amazed this band never took off. On this album, we also get to listen to “Letters,” “Washin’ and Wonderin'” and my favorite S9 tune, “Not Nothin’.” Nasty Little Thoughts - Stroke 9

Flogging Molly – Within a Mile of Home – They admittedly get extra points because of my Irish romanticism. I love the diversity on this one, and the lyrics touch my soul. “Factory Girls,” with a guest spot from Lucinda Williams is a great ride. We get to see the band stretch themselves in new ways, and it works throughout. ¬†“Tobacco Island” is a historic flashback sure to get your Irish up. Within a Mile of Home - Flogging Molly

Green Day – American IdiotDookie and Nimrod were great, too, but I selected this one because it showed how the band was growing and adjusting to the times, and because it absolutely kicks ass. The album is written around a fictitious character “Jesus of Suburbia” and his trials and travails. ¬†The title track is great, and one of a handful of true classics, including “Are We the Waiting,” “Holiday” and “Boulevard of Broken Dreams.” ¬†The non-hits include some of the band’s most creative efforts to date, as well. American Idiot - Green Day

Muse – Black Holes and Revelations – One of the first songs I heard on XM’s old Alternative Rock station Ethel was “Starlight.” I went out and bought the album the following day, and it is packed with hard charging rock and roll, pre-Twilight fame. The final track, “Knights of Cydonia” is one of the best songs of the new century. Black Holes and Revelations - Muse

Arcade Fire – Neon Bible – This one is a reflection of the times – The first selection on this list where I don’t own this album, but instead have the MP3’s. Haven’t seen them live yet, but I’m sure they’ll blow me away. From “Black Mirror” to “My Body is a Cage” – they are all powerful songs. Funeral,¬†their debut album, was another great collection. Neon Bible - Arcade Fire

Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend – A surprise quirky Indie-Rock hit in 2008. This eponymous debut album was packed with gems that dominated Indie and Alt-Rock radio for a few years. ¬†“A-Punk” was the biggest hit, but there were plenty of other excellent tracks. “Oxford Comma,” “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” and “Walcott” highlight the band’s diversity. Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend

Just missed – The Clash – London Calling¬†– should have been a single album, there are a dozen or so great songs, but they unfortunately stretched it out to 4 sides, and Armed Forces by Elvis Costello – loved the songs and sang along, even though I still have no idea what “Green Shirt” and “Good Squad” were about…

So, there you have it – a bit longer than I thought, but that was fun for me. If you made it through the entire list, thanks for your patience, and let me know your thoughts in the comments below…

Rock On!