Hard Rock Daddy presents Music Discovery Monday – 2/8/16.
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.
This week, Music Discovery Monday features an exclusive interview with Ugly Melon frontman Tony LaSelva, who discusses the band’s debut single. Also featured this week (in the Hard Rock Music Time Machine section) is a musical tribute to Paul Kanter (Jefferson Airplane, Jefferson Starship), who passed away at the age of 74.
ADAM WALDMAN – (Publisher, Hard Rock Daddy)
UGLY MELON – “Leave It All Behind”
“Leave It All Behind” opens with a beautiful acoustic guitar intro by Luciano Cacioppo that captures the same emotional feel as Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters,” setting the stage for the bluesy, soulful vocals of Tony LaSelva, which are in the same wheelhouse as David Coverdale and Paul Rodgers. Even before the song kicks into high gear, you can appreciate that life experience (and not musical longevity) is the key to delivering a timeless, classic rock sound. As the intensity is dialed up, shades of Black Sabbath and DIO shine through. Yet, with all of the classic hard rock and heavy metal influences, there is something undeniably modern about the sound of the band.
Cacioppo and LaSelva are not new to the game (or to each other for that matter). Ugly Melon is the result of the evolution that has taken place for these Toronto rockers through the years. The duo started playing together as teenagers, but eventually went on to do their own thing. With an entirely different perspective that comes with the realities of life, this reunited pairing is able to tap into something incredibly powerful. A new band with a new moniker perhaps, but one listen to “Leave It All Behind” will leave you thinking that Ugly Melon is a band that somehow managed to fly below your radar back in the day. The good news is that they are just beginning, so you get to be one of the early adopters of a band that has a ton of potential. Expect to see a lot more of Ugly Melon on Hard Rock Daddy moving forward.
In a recent Hard Rock Daddy exclusive interview with frontman Tony LaSelva, he shared the meaning behind this very powerful debut single…
“The song means a lot to us. We’ve been around for a while; we’re not kids. Lu and I played together as teenagers, and kind of went our own different ways and did other things. When we got back together, I felt that I was lyrically prepared to talk about more real subjects. Because the music is a little dark, loud and honest, our partnership reallky works.
‘Leave It All Behind’ is about the struggles that everyone has in their life, whether it’s losing someone, depression or whatever the struggle is, and knowing that you have to fight to get through it. The song is not a happy song, and doesn’t end where you succeeded. Life’s struggles never end, and that’s ok. Your struggle, and everyone else’s, is hard. The idea of the song is to not hold onto the things that have happened to you for the rest of your life (even though that’s really difficult). You have to try to let go of things from the past that gave you stress, anxiety, depression or whatever the case is. It’s all about looking forward, no matter hard something might be to face.”
JOEL HOEKSTRA’S 13 (f. RUSSELL ALLEN) – “Dying To Live”
Joel Hoeskstra’s work with Whitesnake gets most of the attention, but his most recent solo work should not be overlooked. Quite simply, Dying To Live was one of the best albums of 2015. You can close your eyes and point to the track listing to find a song that is more than worthy to feature in this forum. The title track is as good a place as any to begin to showcase Hoekstra’s talent, which goes well beyond the guitar. As expected, the guitar work on “Dying To Live” is top-notch, but it is the songwriting abilities of Hoekstra that resonates the most as you delve into his most recent solo effort.
Working with two of the best singers in the genre today (Russell Allen and Jeff Scott Soto) certainly helps to bring the entire album to life. Allen takes center stage on the title track, which is reminiscent of classic DIO with a theatrical flair that would be an ideal fit within the confines of a rock opera. Of course, Hoekstra has also been associated with the two most prominent theatrical rock experiences of recent times (TSO and Rock Of Ages), so it’s not surprising that the charismatic axe slinger incorporates these elements into his songwriting. If you haven’t yet listened to the entire Dying To Live album in its entirety, this song will inspire you to do so.
JON LOVELESS – HRD Music Scout
HELL IN THE CLUB – “Shadow Of The Monster”
It’s hard for me to believe that it’s been some five years since I first heard this Italian band…definitely makes me aware of how quickly time can fly. While the sleaze elements that the band is best known for bringing to the table are present in this lead track from their recently released album, there is also a heavier feel to this, and it works very well. This underrated band has been one of my most purely enjoyable listens since I first heard them; this song just adds to that impression.
COLDRAIN – “Wrong”
Post-hardcore rock from Japan, “Wrong” is the second single from their latest album (Vena) to get a full video treatment. Formed back in 2007, the band has certainly been productive in their relatively short existence, with a catalog of three full studio albums and four EPs. They’ve also racked up an impressive array of exposure opportunities with musical appearances in anime, video game soundtracks and a European tour with genre heavyweights, Bullet For My Valentine.
ROB DELL’AQUILA – HRD Music Scout
LORDS OF BLACK – “Everything You’re Not”
I love a metal piece that tiptoes in on piano notes and then rocks out hard. Madrid’s Lords Of Black boasts lead singer Ronnie Romero, recently tapped by Ritchie Blackmore to front the long-awaited reunion of Rainbow. Their debut album was one of the best of 2014, and their sophomore effort (due out in March) will be all the more eagerly awaited after this first taste.
CHRIS HERZEGOVITCH – HRD Music Scout
STRIKER – “Too Late”
Canadian metal band Striker (together since 2007) will release their latest album, Stand in the Fire, this month. Tried and true to classic heavy metal, “Too Late” will evoke nostalgia from the ‘80s and ‘90s. The band does a great job with its driving rhythm, vocals (Dan Cleary) and guitar work, especially the dueling riffs of Timothy Brown and Trent Halliwell.
BLOODBOUND – “We Raise The Dead”
Sweden’s Bloodbound has been active since 2004. “We Raise the Dead” showcases the band’s rhythmic, power metal style with an orchestrated background. Choir/group choruses are used on this track, but it doesn’t take away from the driving force of the music or Pata Johansson’s excellent individual vocals. Notable guitar work & solo from Tomas Olsson.
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
Once again, the rock world lost another key member recently when Paul Kantner (co-founding member of Jefferson Airplane) passed away at the age of 74 after suffering a heart attack. Although Kantner’s contributions were underrated, he was known to rock audiences. It should be noted that his bandmate, Signe Toly Anderson (a lesser-known founding member of Jefferson Airplane), also died on the same day, also at the age of 74. This week, we celebrate some of the classic and lesser-known music that Kanter helped to create…
JEFFERSON AIRPLANE – “White Rabbit” (1967)
It’s rare to travel all the way back to the ‘60s in the Hard Rock Music Time Machine segment, but it seemed like the best place to start to honor Paul Kantner. Before spinning off into the mainstream melodic rock sound of Jefferson Starship, Kanter helped to shape the sound of one of the leading psychedelic rock bands of the era. More than any other psychedelic-infused song that marked a moment in both American and rock history, “White Rabbit” transcended the hippie culture and made its way into the mainstream. Nearly 50 years later, the song is still the one that puts Jefferson Airplane on the radar of many rock fans who were too young to remember this time period. Although the song was written by Grace Slick prior to joining the band, it is an important song in the Jefferson Airplane catalog, inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel, Through the Looking Glass.
JEFFERSON STARSHIP – “Jane” (1979)
The origins of Jefferson Starship date back to 1970, when Paul Kantner and other Bay Area musicians joined forces for a one-off side project under the moniker “Paul Kantner and the Jefferson Starship.” After the breakup of Jefferson Airplane, Kantner revived the name Jefferson Starship and continued on his musical journey, changing with the times and shifting away from psychedelic rock into the more mainstream rock sound of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s.
“Jane” – the first song on the band’s 1979 release, Freedom at Point Zero – helped launch a new era of the band, featuring Mickey Thomas on lead vocals. A long way from the psychedelic sound of Jefferson Airplane, this song remains an all-time favorite of mine to this day, as well as many other fans of ‘70s and ‘80s rock. Kanter collaborated on this incredibly upbeat, melodic song with guitarist Craig Chaquico and others.
PAUL KANTNER (f. GRACE SLICK & CHINA KANTNER) – “Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra” (1983)
Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra (P.E.R.R.O.) is not only the nickname given to a group of artists who recorded together in the early ‘70s, it is also the title of Paul Kantner’s 1983 solo release. Not nearly as popular as Jefferson Airplane or Jefferson Starship, it is still one of the more memorable albums (or should I say cassettes?) in my collection. Given that the album was intended to be a soundtrack to a novel that Kantner was writing, it’s not surprising that this release had such a theatrical feel. It’s been several years since I’ve listened to the album in its entirety, but the title track of this solo album is one that always brings back great memories of going to record shows as a teenager. That is where I discovered this album (which never appeared on my radar otherwise).
Paul Kantner’s musical resume is far too vast to do justice to in this forum. Suffice it to say that his contributions were far greater than the recognition that he got from the masses. Another rock legend gone too soon! RIP Paul!
SOIL – “Way Gone” (2013)
The album Whole was the first release with vocalist Ryan McCombs after his return from a seven-year absence. While the track is over two years old now, it just recently began to pick up airplay, and is being promoted with the release of a new lyric video. As an aside, I think McCombs might very well be the most entertaining social media follow of all rock musicians. I highly recommend following, liking and such on social media.
ELVENKING – “The Loser” (2012)
Italian folk/power metal band that also features the vocals of Davide “Damna” Moras (Hell In The Club). This track comes from their seventh studio album (of eight), and could easily find itself in the encore position for their set at Wacken later this year.
EDGUY – “Sacrifice” (2006)
German power metallers Edguy had one of the best albums of 2006 with Rocket Ride, which featured the incredible soaring ballad, “Sacrifice.” The composition is sublime, and Tobias Sammet’s range and passion here are everything that metal vocals should aspire to be. The band – whose moniker comes from an affectionate name for their math teacher – was founded in 1992, when Sammet and two other current members were only 14-years old.
NOCTURNAL RITES – “Me” (2007)
Simply one of the most soul-crushing ballads that you’re ever going to hear – with lyrics like “here I pave my way through filth and broken glass” – this piece comes from the Swedish band’s eighth album, The Eighth Sin. As if the despair of vocalist Jonny Lindqvist wasn’t devastating enough, he is joined by another singer in gorgeous harmony on the final verse.
FATE – “Bridges Are Burning” (2013)
“Bridges Are Burning” is a great melodic power metal track from Denmark’s FATE. The song’s intro, driving rhythm and vocals from Dagfinn Joensen are the highlights. Founded way back in 1984, they disbanded in 1993, but reformed after a one-off music festival reunion in 2004, and have been together since. This track is from their 2013 release, If Not For The Devil.
SILVERLANE – “Wisdom Lord” (2005)
Melodic power metal band Silverlane started off as The Rising Force from 1996-2005. Legends of Safar was their debut with the new name back in 2005. “Wisdom Lord” showcases the band’s tight and talented musicianship, especially in the song’s orchestrated interludes. Primarily a power metal outfit, the style of this track is rather progressive. Great vocals from Tommy Klossek.