Last Rites: Accept – Devil’s Dozen

The Last Rites crew picked Accept’s finest cuts, and I wrote a few words about “Dogs On Leads”:

The Dieter Dierks produced Metal Heart was their shot at the top of the pops, with hooks that burst out of the speakers and production that verges on mid-80s parody. It’s also a classic Accept record, where the ambiguous and the catchy live in perfect harmony. Is “Dogs On Leads” about actual dogs (easily read that way) or is it Spinal Tap’s Smell the Glove in musical form? Or is it about some men who are prowling, lusting animals best kept leashed? Does it matter, when Accept kicks it off like it’s a cover of AC/DC’s “Squealer”, complete with Udo doing his best sprechgesang before rasping up the power as only he could do? “Dogs On Leads” was never a single, but it quickly and deservedly became a fan favorite. The appeal is all in the build, with its slow rise and held tension. The chorus is a limp noodle, “Balls to the Wall” writ small. But it doesn’t matter; “Dogs On Leads” already has its hooks in deep and strong long before it finally appears halfway through the song.

Last Rites: The Riff-Rock Variations – All Them Witches, The Well, Craang

I wrote about three recent or upcoming stoner rock records for Last Rites:

If only the same could be said about Austinites The Well. From the opening movie sample to the bog-standard stoner riffs that follow, The Well is treading such well-worn ground that there is nothing left but the rut they’re in. I feel like I bought this record in 1996, and 1999, and 2003, 2005, 2008, twice in 2010, in 2012, and I’m sure I already have this year’s copy collecting dust on the shelf. Or was the Uncle Acid record last year? Regardless, The Well’s full-length debut, Samsara, is as recycled as its title. The only standout is the incredibly dire cover of the Pink Floyd classic “Lucifer Sam”, and if “incredibly dire” didn’t tip you off it’s for all the wrong reasons. Put this back on the wheel of reincarnation as it’s D.O.A.

PopMatters: Music Blues – Things Haven’t Gone Well

I reviewed the Music Blues debut for PopMatters:

The bad dreams and bad vibes continue, track after track. That Cheshire Cat smile – wry, knowing and disturbing – guides the listener, if only for a while. “Trying and Giving Up” is as cheery as the title sounds, but when the knowingly inept guitar solo kicks in it’s easy to think Tanner is taking the piss out of both himself and his audience. But all too soon the smile fades, and, like a children’s story, is put aside for more serious matters.