Category Archives: Highly-Unscientific Rock Poll

HIGHLY-UNSCIENTIFIC ROCK POLL: Do You Pay For Streaming Music?

Sometimes there are questions too big for one man. Sometimes, in the search for ultimate truth, we must seek the guidance of others. And then there are times when one wants to increase traffic to one’s blog by actively seeking participation of one’s small readership by stoking the fires of eternal debate…

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It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these polls, but I think the time is right to do another one (i.e. I don’t know what else to write about). I pay for Spotify and use a premium Pandora account at work, and I feel that both are worth the money. But I’m really out of touch when it comes to what normal people do, so I’m curious: does anyone reading this blog pay for streaming music? Chime in.

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Black Vendetta vs. Online Music Critics

As part of the Defending Axl Rose 2.0 initiative I’ve taken to social media to increase my site hits.   Facebook has successfully monetized itself in regards to brand promotion and no longer offers much in the way of free promotion for us little guys.  I decided to start using Twitter and Reddit to get the message out about my posts, and for the most part it’s been successful.  I find that Twitter is cool because you often have a chance to actually connect with bands/artists.  There’s a gent I’ve started following calling himself Review Rhino who tweet 140 character reviews of songs that bands send him.  Recently he managed to ruffle the feathers of a struggling band calling themselves Black Vendetta.  They’ve had a back-and-forth exchange that I got in the middle of quite by accident.

Here is Review Rhino’s review of the band’s song “Tennis Girl”:

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Now, that might seem like a harsh review, but there are a couple of factors one needs to take into account.  Firstly, Review Rhino has 140 characters by which to mention the track name, the band, a brief review, and then give a numerical score.  There’s no pussyfooting around because there’s no space for Review Rhino to gently say “I don’t like your song.”  The second thing that you must consider is that Review Rhino does not seek out songs to review, instead bands willingly send their songs in for review.  As you can imagine, Black Vendetta weren’t thrilled by the review, but the band really got upset when Review Rhino tweeted his “best” and “worst” tracks of the month:

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Now, even though I don’t want to side with someone complaining about a bad review, I can see Black Vendetta’s point.  I struggle to keep it positive here at Defending Axl Rose, and tend to shy away from things like “worst of” lists because it’s easier to just be positive.  That said, I can see Review Rhino’s point of view, too.  The market is saturated with a lot of mediocre, delusional people making a god-awful ruckus.  For the record this is how I got involved:

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There’s a lot more after that, Black Vendetta goes on and on about how unfair it is to pick on unsigned bands.  He/she/they also take time to point out that they have a degree in journalism…it’s really very unfortunate.  This is the part of being a critic that’s a frankly a little scary to me.  I’ve been getting lots of requests to review things lately, and some of what people want me to review/write about isn’t very good.  Unlike Review Rhino, I don’t have the stones to play Simon Cowell and crush someone’s dreams.  Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem telling you that the latest Megadeath album is an utter piece of garbage.  Or that I have desperately tried and failed to listen to all of Black Sabbath’s latest album 13 more than thirteen times.  I’m just not sure I could tell that to an unsigned indie like Black Vendetta.

However, as the saying goes: there’s no such thing as bad publicity.  This Twitter thread got me interested in Black Vendetta’s song “Tennis Girl.”  So I fired up Spotify to see if the band was streamable, and sure enough they were! So I listened to “Tennis Girl,” and so can you! I’d like to give the band a chance and put it to a Highly-Unscientific Rock Poll: Does “Tennis Girl” by Black Vendetta suck or not?

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Highly-Unscientific Rock Poll: All-Time Greatest Front-Man

Sometimes there are questions too big for one man. Sometimes, in the search for ultimate truth, we must seek the guidance of others. And then there are times when one wants to increase traffic to one’s blog by actively seeking participation of one’s small readership by stoking the fires of eternal debate…

Yes friends, it’s time to review the lastest statistical disaster I like to call my HIGHLY-UNSCIENTIFIC ROCK POLL!  It’s been a while since this poll was conducted, sorry that it took so long for me to get my act together but I had some stuff come up and I wasn’t able to devote myself to DEFENDING AXL ROSE like I should have/like to. I knew that this poll would be controversial but I didn’t know just HOW near and dear Rock Frontmen were to people’s hearts. What makes a good font-man?  He (or she) has to be charismatic in addition to being a good singer/performer.  A good front-man is like an ambassador for his/her band.  Musicians can be pretty difficult to get along with and some of the best technical players are completely unable to connect with human beings–and that’s where a front-man comes in.  Unlike just about every other part of a band, a front-man is really hard to replace  (more on that later). Anyway, I opened Pandora’s box and asked DEFENDING AXL ROSE’s followers “Who is the All-Time Greatest Front-Man?”  Here are the results:

8, 7, and 6 (no votes) Mick Jagger, Roger Daltrey, and Kurt Cobain:  Honestly, these were all solid choices and the fact that MICK JAGGER got ZERO votes should tell you how cut-throat this poll was.  Jagger pretty much came to define the classic rock front-man: the swagger, the bat-shit crazy dance moves, the delivery. Roger Daltrey is another excellent “classic” front-man in the same tradition as Mick Jagger.  The Who was an explosive band (literally, go ask Pete Townshend about how explosive they were–if he can hear you) and to front a band like The Who was no easy task.  More than just being a rocker, Daltrey paved the way for more theatrical front-men when The Who started doing rock operas. Kurt Cobain was the most modern front-man on the list and as such, Cobain’s role in Nirvana was much different than tossing his hair and strutting around like a rooster.  Cobain helped popularize the “tortured” front-man.  By making himself less accessible to fans, Cobain drew us all in closer.  That’s very different from Jagger’s chicken-dancing.  Still, as awesome and important as these front-men were (seriously, try to picture their respective bands without them) they got no love from my poll-takers.

3. (TIE one vote each) Axl Rose, Robert Plant, and Lemmy Kilmister: I bet you thought I voted for Axl Rose, didn’t you?  Well as much as I love and respect Axl, I didn’t vote for him.   And from the way this poll panned out, not very many of you voted for him either.  Robert Plant, Led Zeppelin’s self-proclaimed “Golden God” only got one vote as did Motorhead’s fugly metal-head Lemmy Kilmister.  Lemmy and Mick Jagger are the only two front-men on this list that I’ve actually seen in person and let me tell you–Lemmy was waaay cooler in person.  He’s ugly, loud, brash and he know it. Robert Plant’s mellowed significantly over the years, so I can understand why many people don’t hold him in as high regard, but in his hey-day he was considered a force of nature.  Guitarist Jimmy Page has spent the past 30 years trying to find someone as dynamic as Plant to front his music–and he’s come up dry.

Axl. Axl, Axl, Axl…what happened?  He’s a bit like Mick Jagger mixed with Cobain’s stand-offishness, mixed with a gallon of gasoline and asshole.  I think he’s a brillant front-man but I think he shot himself in the foot with his inability to work well with others, a trait that every good front-man needs.  A front-man fronts a band, he doesn’t just represent himself–which Axl is often guilty of doing.

2.  Ozzy Osbourne (2 votes):  The Oz Man Commeth! I recently took a long car trip and one of the things I listened to was Ozzy-era Black Sabbath, what a band that was!   Ozzy’s great because he has fantastic range both vocally and the kinds of songs he can do–scary ass Satan songs? Check.  Whistful ballads? Check.  Rockin’ anthem? Check.  The bitting the heads off stuff sure helps, too.   He’s a legend of hard rock and I was not surprised he came in second.  There’s a reason he’s got an entire FESTIVAL named after him (he married a pushy ball-buster, I kid! I kid!).  There’s a (mostly complete) Black Sabbath reunion hitting the road right now and I would love to check them out.

Before I talk about the #1 I feel that I should acknowledge that there were a few requests that I add a few font-men, specifically Thom Yorke of Radiohead fame and Bono from U2.  I didn’t add these two because frankly, I’m not a Radiohead person (nothing wrong with them) and Bono slipped my mind.  Initially I wasn’t going to do anything but ignore these requests…then I thought about it and decided that what I would do is have another poll and then have the winners of each poll battle it out.

But that was before Freddie Mercury swept this poll.

#1. Freddie Mercury (13 votes): This doesn’t really surprise me.  When the topic of font-men come up, Freddie’s name always comes up.  You want charisma? Mercury had more than enough, he was oozing charisma.  Queen’s a awesome rock band because they were so many different things: gay/straight, operatic/balls-to-the-walls rocking, playful/dead serious–but despite their duality, they were always amazing.  How badass was Freddie Mercury?  He was still writing and recording music right up to his death.  How committed to his art was Freddie Mercury? Doctors told him for years to fix his overbite and he refused, he was worried correcting his teeth would change the sound of his voice.  That’s commitment.  That’ s love.  And you know what? He did it all for you, the listener.   If I was on my deathbed, you better believe this blog would be the last thing on my mind.  Freddie just wanted to make music and he did.  He complimented his bandmates and helped make them superstars. A few years ago, Queen re-formed and tried to solider on with Paul Rodgers, a legendary front-man in his own right (he was in Free and Bad Company).  How did that go?  Not so well…it wasn’t that Rodgers was bad–he just wasn’t Freddie Mercury.  Freddie Mercury is the greatest rock front-man off all-time.

Poll Closed.

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Highly-Unscientific Rock Poll: All-Time Best Song of Summer

Sometimes there are questions too big for one man. Sometimes, in the search for ultimate truth, we must seek the guidance of others. And then there are times when one wants to increase traffic to one’s blog by actively seeking participation of one’s small readership by stoking the fires of eternal debate…

Yes friends, it’s time to review the lastest statistical disaster I like to call my HIGHLY-UNSCIENTIFIC ROCK POLL!  With the temperatures rising and the days lasting longer, I found myself in a summer mood.  I have a lot of fond memories of sitting by an inflatable kiddie pool listening to the radio.  I also spent an inordinate amount of time driving around the suburbs listening to an assortment of shitty pop stations.  Anyway, summer means many things to many people, which meant choosing an all-time best song of summer wasn’t going to be easy–luckily I had some help this week.

9, 8, 7 and 6 (no votes) “Let’s Go Surfin” and “California Girls”  by The Beach Boys, “Summertimes Blues” by Eddie Cochran, “The Boys of Summer” by Don Henley, and “Summer Mood” by Best Coast: So I guess I should start off by saying that this poll is full of meddling.  Even though about the same number of people participated in the poll as usual, meddling was up 300% from my last two rock polls.  Initially I only had one Beach Boys song on the list, but one of my relatives on Facebook (where these scientific polls are conducted) asked me to add “Let’s Go Surfin,” which is fine but after I added it–she didn’t vote.  So technically “Let’s Go Surfin” should have one vote, but I’m a stickler for the rules and just commenting on a poll does not equal an actual vote. I’m a Beach Boys fan, as cheesy as 99.999% of their songs are–you have to give them one thing: they own the summer.  They have so many songs about the beach, summer, waves, surfing, riding around in cars, etc. that to exclude them from your summer music mix would be a crime.  “Summer Mood” by Best Coast was my attempt to add something a bit newer (less classic rock-ish) to the poll, though I can see why they got no votes.  I absolutely love Don Henley’s “The Boys of Summer.”  That song really takes me back to high school and all the things I should have done, could have done…it’s a very bittersweet song and whenever I hear it I think about those high school summers. I’m a bit surprised it didn’t get a vote (I couldn’t vote for it because it makes me a bit sniffly).

“Summertime Blues” by Eddie Cochran, are you fucking kidding me? No votes? Clearly this poll is unscientific because we all know that song kicks-ass–there ain’t no cure for the summertime blues!!!!

3. “In the Summertime” by Mungo Jerry: Alright, more meddling, but this was meddling of the welcomed variety.  One of my poll-takers added Mungo Jerry’s laid-back classic to the list, how I forgot this tune I’ll never know.  I heard it again on the radio and it pretty much sums up the summer experience.  I don’t know a thing about Mungo Jerry, and I bet you don’t either, but we’ve all heard the song.  If I could have had two votes I definitely would have voted for this song.  I also love how creepy/fucked up it is towards women.  It’s such a happy-song and then bam! The singer give you advice about how to treat the daughter’s of rich and poor men (“if her daddies rich, take her out for a meal/if her daddies poor, then do what you feel”).  I always like a little creepy in my summer.

2. “It’s Raining Men” by The Weather Girls: Sigh, this was more meddling on the part of my poll-takers.  I guess this is what I get for allowing people to add their own options.  DEMOCRACY: IT JUST DOESN’T WORK.

1. TIE: “School’s Out” by Alice Cooper and “Summer in the City” by The Lovin’ Spoonful: I voted for “Summer in the City” because it’s catchy and a little scary sounding.  That keyboard riff is iconic, you hear it and you instantly know what song your hearing.  Mungo Jerry’s song perfectly captures the easy-going nature of the country in summer  and The Lovin’ Spoonful do the same thing for the city.  Except the city is not easy-going.  The song rhymes “city” with “pity” so  you know dark shit is going on.  Whenever I hear this song I think about that dirty mixture of smog and sweat.

Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out” is a fantastic choice for #1 as well.  We’ve all been there–counting down the days until school was out for the summer.  Remember cleaning out your locker? I used to gleefully throw everything away. School is out for the SUMMER!  It’s been a few years since I was “out for summer” so this song has lost a little of it’s appeal, which is kind of sad now that I think about it.  Like “Summer in the City,” “School’s Out” has a dark edge to it as well (what with all the talk about school being blown up and the chuggy-guitar riff). When I think of summer, I don’t think of “dark” or “gritty” so why did these songs end up getting the most votes? I suppose it’s the highly-unscientific nature of the poll, but I also think that as a species we’re attracted to the macabre…even in the middle of summer.

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Highly-Unscientific Rock Poll: Best Psychedelic Rock Band

Sometimes there are questions too big for one man. Sometimes, in the search for ultimate truth, we must seek the guidance of others. And then there are times when one wants to increase traffic to one’s blog by actively seeking participation of one’s small readership by stoking the fires of eternal debate…

Yes friends, it’s time to review the lastest statistical disaster I like to call my HIGHLY-UNSCIENTIFIC ROCK POLL! This week I wrote a nerd-tastic article about NUGGETS, a boxset of trippy psychedelic rock from the 1960’s. It got me thinking about psychedelic rock bands in general and thus was born a poll.

Let’s break-down/over analyze what happened:

7, 6, and 5 (no votes) Iron Butterfly, T. Rex, and Steppenwolf: all three bands received exactly zero votes. Now, it should be noted right off the bat that only 10 people (myself included) participated in this survey (hence the “highly-unscientific” nature of the poll results) however I strongly agree and disagree with the votes these bands (didn’t) got.

First, let me address T. Rex. Marc Bolan and company were the last band I added to the list. I basically ran out of bands and didn’t want to add a band like The Beatles (which would have been too obvious and would have sweeped the poll). So I reluctantly added T. Rex. Although, to be honest, I don’t think T. Rex fits. They were more “glam” than “psychedelic” rock. True, they have some pretty trippy songs (especially in their early stuff). But for the most part, I think T. Rex was a mistake on my part. They didn’t belong on the list.

Iron Butterfly, and to a lesser extent Steppenwolf, didn’t get any votes probably because they were too psychedelic. I think most people dismiss Steppenwolf outright because their singles have been played so much on the radio they’ve lost their edge and have been relegated (unfairly) to parody. Iron Butterfly is a one-hit wonder–but that one hit “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” is probably the greatest pscyh-freakout song ever. But one song does not a “greatest band” make, does it? I approve of Iron Butterfly’s lack of votes, but feel bad for The ‘wolf.

3. (tie) Cream and The Strawberry Alarm Clock: all three bands (ironically)tied for third place. Just to be completely transparent in my reporting, let the record show that the one vote for Cream was my vote. I think that Cream should have been #1. I think that in general Cream has the best psychedelic songs of the bunch. As a power trio, Cream created the most dynamic, textured, weird-ass sounds of any band on the list. But that’s just my opinion. The Strawberry Alarm Clock are, like Iron Butterfly, one-hit wonders. Their one-hit, “Incense and Peppermints” is pretty much a textbook example of psychedelic rock. And like Steppenwolf’s many radio hits, the song has been over-played and (thanks to use in films like AUSTIN POWERS) is now a parody of the era in which it was created.

2. The Grateful Dead: The poll was dominated by bands with a massive cult following, which shouldn’t be too surprising. The Dead are a another band that I added to the poll but ultimately regretted, like T. Rex. I don’t think they’re the best example of psychedelic rock. Still, they made some freaky-ass music and God know’s their is a massive contingent of people that worship they at their tied-dyed altar.

And the winner…

1. Pink Floyd: Winning by a landslide, Pink Floyd came out on top as the “greatest psychedelic rock band ever.” While I didn’t vote for them, I can’t help but approve of this choice. Pink Floyd have always been innovators in sonic freakiness. Whereas psychedelia might have been a fad or genre that some bands might have tired (like The Beatles), for Pink Floyd psychedelic sounds were a way of life. Hell, founding member Syd Barrett did so much LSD that he completely lost his mind. DARK SIDE OF THE MOON is pretty much universally regarded as the freak-out album. Earlier Floyd albums are even trippier and go to even darker places.

So there you have it. Disagree with the results? Well then head on over to Facebook and “like” DEFENDING AXL ROSE. Then the next time I have a poll you can VOTE!!!

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Highly-Unscientific Rock Poll: Dynamic-Duos

In honor of the new Sleigh Bells album, REIGN OF TERROR, I took a Facebook poll asking fans of Defending Axl Rose to vote for their favorite 2-member rock band.  I’ve always had a soft spot for 2-member rock bands that are able to sound like regular full-sized bands.

Anyway, below are the results which are SHOCKING and as always…highly unscientific.

5, 6, & 7. (3-way Tie):  The Ting Tings, Japandroids, and Tegan & Sara: This one bums me out the most, because I think Tegan & Sara are amazing.  They’ve put out more records than the Ting Tings and should not have tied with them.  I never got around to hearing the second Ting Tings album (did it ever come out? I’m too lazy to Google this) but their first record was catchy enough.  I saw ‘em live and they were okay.  Kinda the reverse of The White Stripes with the dude on drums.  Actually, the drummer for The Ting Tings was pretty badass, playing both a guitar and the drums at the same time.  Still, Tegan & Sara should have been ranked higher.

Canadian indie rockers Japandroids also tied for last place, which is a little less-surprising as they were the most low-profile band in the poll.  I really dig their crunchy garage rock sound and I gotta agree with the person who voted for them: “Heart Sweats” of POST-NOTHING is about as awesome as awesome gets.

 

4. & 3. (2-way Tie): The Black Keys and Death From Above 1979: I’m super-biased here because I actually voted for Death From Above 1979.  I am surprised to see that The Black Keys didn’t do better as they’ve got a lot of heat right now.  I dig their down-and-dirty blues rock swagger—but I think that personally they’re assholes (go read any interview the band has ever given).

While Death From Above 1979 only put out one album (well, they also released a second album that was a remix of the first one, but who counts that shit?) but they made a big impression on me.  DFA1979 sounds like way more than two dudes.  They’re noise-rock at it’s finest and super-underrated.  Go listen to “Romantic Rights” or “Black History Month” it’ll knock your socks off. Two people? Woah.

 

2. The White Stripes:  What the hell happened here?  I pretty much came up with this question with Jack and Meg in mind.  When I think of 2-piece rock bands, The White Stripes are THE first band I think of.  What’s worse about this is the band they lost to (more on that later) not to mention that one of my friends (who voted for Tegan & Sara) went out of her way to inform me that The White Stripes are just as crappy as “Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing” by Aerosmith.  That’s just disappointing.

Even if you ignore the fact that Jack White is this generation’s greatest songwriter (and a helluva guitar player), The White Stripes should still be #1 for their ability to sound like an entire 7 Nation Army when they play.

 

1. Tenacious D:  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that The “D” came out on top in this poll.  After all, all my friends are stoners…just kidding. Tenacious D is a pretty sweet band, although they get a LOT of help from really famous rock/metal musicians, so I’m not sure if it’s 100% fair to give them the crown in the “Best 2-Piece Rock Band” category.  That said, Jack and Kyle have done a lot of good for rock music, acting as metal-ambassadors to the world.

We fucking win!!!

Do you disagree with these findings? Then head on over to Facebook and “Like” Defending Axl Rose, then the next time I have a Highly-Unscientific Rock Poll you can add your two-cents.

 

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