Hard Rock Daddy presents Music Discovery Monday – 7/13/15.
Each week, the HRD team shares songs that fly below radio’s radar, ranging from lesser-known artists to deeper cuts from both up-and-coming and established artists.
In addition to exposing the Hard Rock Daddy audience to new music that isn’t getting the attention that it deserves from radio, Music Discovery Monday also features a segment called “Hard Rock Music Time Machine,” which showcases older songs (from the 70s to today) that hard rock music fans may have missed at the time of release.
In addition to appearing on the embedded YouTube playlists beneath each section, all songs featured on Music Discovery Monday can be listened to by clicking on the hyper-linked song titles.
Hard Rock Daddy was inspired by a co-worker from my Billboard days. This week’s featured artist, Thunder, was inspired by another Billboard co-worker. My history with both of them dates back nearly as far as Thunder’s debut album. It’s hard to imagine more appropriate cover art (see above) for this week’s Music Discovery Monday.
ADAM WALDMAN – (Publisher, Hard Rock Daddy)
THUNDER – “Wonder Days”
Rock music may never produce the paydays or fame that it once did, but anyone who thinks that rock is dead should listen to bands like Thunder. Unfortunately, timing prevented them from ever achieving the success that they deserved in the U.S., but that speaks more to the missteps made by the industry than the talent of the band. In retrospect, the decline of the hair metal movement was inevitable. Not necessarily because of the music, but rather the image that ultimately seemed like a parody of itself. The rise of grunge created a paradigm shift, but also resulted in metaphorically “throwing the baby out with the bath water.” Thunder’s debut album featured one of the best power ballads of all-time (“Love Walked In”), but there was something much deeper to their sound than many of the formulaic ballads of that era. While the band has remained largely unknown in America, these vastly underrated British rockers have released new music with regularity from 1990-2008. After a seven-year hiatus, and a recent cancer scare for guitarist, Ben Matthews, Thunder is back with music that is much more Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Whitesnake than it is anything resembling “hair metal.” Bluesy, soulful and nostalgic, “Wonder Days” (the title track off of the band’s latest album) offers further proof that rock is alive and well. Like fine wine, frontman Danny Bowes seems to get better with age. If you haven’t yet delved into what Thunder has to offer, “Wonder Days” provides an excellent introduction to the band.
U.D.O. – “Pain”
To many, Udo Dirkschneider will always be thought of as the frontman of Accept. He played a pivotal role in turning the band into a household name before departing in 1987. Although Dirkschenider had some reunions with Accept, for the most part, he has been actively releasing music for nearly three decades under the U.D.O. moniker. “Pain” – off of the band’s latest album, Decadent – is as good as anything that he released with Accept. His distinct, gritty, ballsy delivery literally has not changed a bit through the years. The beauty of “Pain” is that it easily could have been released in the 80s and been just as relevant as it is today. Because U.D.O. has had numerous lineup changes through the years, and because the band bears his name, it feels like solo work, but rest assured, this current lineup is much more than just hired guns. In fact, if you didn’t know any better, you might think that “Pain” is an unreleased Accept track from the Balls To The Wall / Metal Heart era. Aside from Dirkschneider’s outstanding vocals, the infectiously melodic guitar work is particularly noteworthy on a song that would have been a huge hit if it was released in the 80s.
JON LOVELESS – HRD Music Scout
RED SKY MARY – “Gone”
New Hampshire newcomers come out strong with the lead single from their debut album. A definite 70s / classic rock vibe, but with enough things going on that it feels more like classic PLUS. On the road with Texas Hippie Coaltion this summer…definitely a band worth keeping an eye on. Although it didn’t strike me initially, I have to give a nod to fellow Music Scout, Chris Herzegovitch, for pointing out that there’s a vocal similarity to early Dave Meniketti (Y&T) present here.
FROM ASHES TO NEW – “Downfall”
Hailing from Pennsylvania, this six-member rap-rock/alt metal outfit brings a shot of positivity to the genre. Several songs from their recent EP have attracted radio attention; this might be the best of the bunch (but that’s largely a matter of taste). The quality is consistent no matter what aspect of their style(s) you favor, making this a recommended starting point for you to sample and season your personal playlist to taste. Regardless, give them try. Active Rock fans should find something that they enjoy.
ROB DELL’AQUILA – HRD Music Scout
ROYAL HUNT – “So Right So Wrong”
Danish band Royal Hunt returns with their trademark blend of progressive and symphonic metal with this first single from their upcoming album, Devil’s Dozen. This will be the third album since the return of D.C. Cooper as lead vocalist. He’s in top form here, as is the rest of the band, with some interesting gimmicks that always manage to coalesce into that signature wall of sound that just lifts you away.
CONSTANCIA – “Hang Tough”
Swedish melodic metal band Constancia has just released their second album, Final Curtain, and with it this second single. I reviewed a single from their first album (2009) in a prior edition of MDM, and I’m happy to report that they continue to strike up an impressive blend of keyboards and guitars, with David Fremberg’s vocals smoothly gliding over them.
CHRIS HERZEGOVITCH – HRD Music Scout
DIEMONDS – “Over It”
Diemonds is a Toronto-based metal band fronted by the talented Priya Panda. Named for their excellent lead guitarist, C.C. Diemond, this Canadian band is melodic and hard-driving. “Over it” is an up-tempo anthem to the free-spirit. Never Wanna Die, (their 4th studio album) will be released in a few weeks.
THE V – “Again”
The V’s “Again” sounds like it belongs in the Hard Rock Music Time Machine section of MDM. It has all the traits of 90s metal from the sound to the lyrics, but with the benefit of the sound quality of today. Solid, melodic metal with skilled guitar work that shows influences of TNT’s Ronni Le Tekrø and George Lynch.
To be considered for Music Discovery Monday, please e-mail a link to the song being submitted on YouTube and an artist bio to – submissions@MusicDiscoveryMonday.com
HARD ROCK MUSIC TIME MACHINE
FASTER PUSSYCAT – “You’re So Vain” (1992)
In 1972, “You’re So Vain” became a huge hit for singer/songwriter, Carly Simon. Simon has managed to keep the intrigue about the inspiration for the song alive for many years, and still has not publicly revealed who inspired it to this day. Most hard rock music fans probably don’t care about the inspiration for the song, only that an inspired version of it was released two decades after the original by Faster Pussycat. Taime Downe gives the song an edge with his gritty vocals that takes it to an entirely new level. I decided to feature “You’re So Vain” this week after hearing it on the radio as I was driving around a place mentioned in the lyrics.
LITTLE CAESAR – “Chain Of Fools” (1990)
There was a time when being a tattooed band from Los Angeles was all the rage. Unfortunately for Little Caesar, they arrived on the scene just as Seattle replaced L.A. as the hard rock capital of the U.S. They did, however, make an impact with their first album, which featured a rockin’ cover of Aretha Franklin’s “Chain Of Fools.” The backing vocals are in the same wheelhouse as the original, but frontman Ron Young takes things in a totally different direction with his David Coverdale-influenced vocal style. The band has gotten back together in recent years, but unfortunately, still flies under the radar to this day.
3 YEARS HOLLOW – “Chemical Ride” (2011)
Old? New? Whatever! The current single now impacting radio is a favorite of longtime fans of this mid-western U.S. band, dating back to their earliest days. For early adopters, it’s a trip back in time. For new arrivals, it’s one hell of an introduction. Their catalog is shockingly deep (something a live show highlights strongly) for a relatively young band, but this track rises to the top no matter when you first heard it. The diverse musical backgrounds that the members bring to the table keeps you engaged sonically. The raw passion that they capture when recording is what makes members of the “Hollow Nation” proud to claim citizenship.
THEORY OF A DEADMAN – “Drag Me To Hell” (2011)
While the Canadian quartet celebrates another #1 Active Rock hit (“Angel”), I’m reminded that we’ve previously seen more from the band than their trademark sneering lyrics. The bad relationship aspect that we’ve heard before is present in this song from an album ago, but it’s a story told with a heavier sound and harder edge than might be associated with the band by casual fans or those who only know them from their radio hits. It’s a side of the group that I wish we heard a little more often.
TONY MARTIN – “Surely Love Is Dead” (2005)
Everybody knows Black Sabbath, but not everybody knows Tony Martin, which is a shame, considering that he boasts one of the best voices in metal and released five studio albums and a live album with Sabbath. In 2005, he released the solo album Scream, which proved to be another great vehicle for that powerful voice. This plaintive ballad was a favorite. Also check out the title track and the opener, where the late Cozy Powell (Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Whitesnake) appeared on drums. Tony Martin has a new album in the works entitled Book of Shadows, with a release date yet to be announced.
SAINT DEAMON – “My Judas” (2008)
In 2006, drummer Ronny Milianowicz, coming off a seven-year run with the the Swedish/German power metal band Dionysus, put together the Swedish/Norwegian power metal band Saint Deamon. From their 2008 album, In Shadows Lost From the Brave, comes this powerful, pounding song of betrayal.
STRATOVARIUS – “Chasing Shadows” (1994)
Going back 20 years to the early days of Stratovarius. This is the lead track from their third album, Dreamspace, and first with Timo Kottipelto on vocals. “Chasing Shadows” is less orchestrated and more straight-forward metal than usual for them. Great guitar (especially on the intro) and drum-work throughout, in addition to Timo’s outstanding vocals.
BRUCE DICKINSON – “Tears Of The Dragon” (1994)
“Tears of the Dragon” is a tremendous, soul-searching epic from Dickinson’s second solo album (Balls To Picasso) while on hiatus from Iron Maiden. Dickinson is at his best, accompanied by Roy Z (Halford, Judas Priest, Glenn Hughes) on guitars, who weaves a broad range of acoustic, blues and flat-out shredding masterfully into this terrific tune.