Hard Rock Daddy presents Music Discovery Monday – 4/25/16.
Music Discovery Monday shines a light on artists that are not getting the radio attention that they deserve, while also showcasing new singles by established bands that are likely to get airplay in the future.
This week, Music Discovery Monday features an exclusive interview with Nelson’s Matthew Nelson, who discusses the meaning and inspiration behind two of their most recent songs, “Back In The Day” and “Rockstar.”
In addition to appearing on the embedded YouTube playlist below, all songs featured on Music Discovery Monday can be listened to individually by clicking on the hyper-linked song titles above each review.
ADAM WALDMAN – (Publisher, Hard Rock Daddy)
NELSON – “Back In The Day”
Back in 1990, when Nelson (featuring brothers, Matthew and Gunnar) broke onto the scene, many were quick to judge them based on their looks, rather than their talent. Despite having four hit singles on their debut album – After The Rain, aided by MTV (which actually played music in those days), Nelson’s career seemed to peak just as it got started. As the saying goes, “timing is everything.”
Once the grunge movement began, two brothers with long blonde hair and colorful clothing singing upbeat melodies with brilliant vocal harmonies fell out of favor quickly. With totally unwarranted criticism from the media, and music fans who thought that it was cool to hate the band, Nelson never really had a chance at mainstream longevity. However, that didn’t stop them from continuing on, albeit with less fanfare. To their credit, they soldiered on, formed their own record label, and built a career that wasn’t reliant upon current trends, radio airplay or media acceptance.
You might expect “Back In The Day” to be a musical journey that waxes nostalgic about the band’s short-lived glory days, but it is actually a refreshing, tongue-in-cheek look at a time period that many of us remember fondly. It features the feel-good, upbeat vibe and vocal harmonies that made the band so enjoyable to listen to…“back in the day.”
NELSON – “Rockstar”
Much like “Back In The Day,” Nelson’s “Rockstar” (from their most recent album, Peace Out) has a Bon Jovi vibe, which isn’t a big surprise given that they fall into a similar category of rock. What is surprising is the Ian Gillan-esque vocal melody in the verse, which is reminiscent of Deep Purple’s 1987 hit, “Bad Attitude.”
Though Nelson is arguably the most unfairly maligned band of the past quarter century, they were undeniable rock stars when they made their debut in 1990. But unlike many rock stars of that era, they were also incredibly humble, something that I can speak of from a first-hand experience.
Shortly after their album made its debut, the band performed an acoustic show on Long Island at Bob Buchmann’s Jukebox Café (which was owned by one of the most influential DJs on WBAB). At the time, I was working for a company that recorded live music. Knowing that Nelson’s music was all over MTV and the radio, I thought that there was a chance that they would give me the rock star treatment, but that was not the case at all. Both brothers (along with guitarist/high school friend Joey Cathcart) couldn’t have been friendlier, and the chemistry between the three of them was incredible.
I’ve maintained since that performance that Nelson detractors would become fans if they got the chance to experience the band in a live setting. The vocal harmonies were some of the best that I’ve ever heard to this day. To the people who judged Nelson “back in the day,” I encourage you to listen to both of the songs featured this week with an open mind.
In a exclusive interview with Hard Rock Daddy, Matthew Nelson discussed the inspiration and meaning behind “Back In The Day” and “Rockstar”…
Both of these songs were written by my brother, Gunnar, and I put a polish on them. They come from an album that was kind of an assignment from a label that we work with called Frontiers.
“We’ve seen things come and go for the last 30 years or so, especially Gunnar. The song has to do with what people deem as being cool or hip; it’s very ‘clique-ish.’ It’s kind of like music being a big high school. I hated high school, and so did Gunnar. We were never really the popular kids in school, and that’s kind of what this was for us. ‘Rockstar’ is a subtle “F.U.” to all of those people who just took it a little bit too seriously. Sometimes you just gotta to say… ‘what the F.’ Wouldn’t it be great if you could just live like those cartoon character rock stars? That’s basically a tongue-in-cheek look at what the whole song is about.”
On “Back In The Day”…
“Everybody in their lives has one of those points in time where they feel like they were kind of in their ‘power zone.’ I think that ‘Back In The Day’ is a statement about two brothers. There have been a lot of times where we thought that we came into this world as a duo for a reason. When one of us is down, the other one picks the other one up, and we move forward. ‘Back In The Day’ is a tongue-in-cheek reflection on the heyday of After The Rain. Clearly, we’re not in 1990 anymore. It’s a whole different era, and different time. We’re grown up, have families, and I believe that we’ve definitely gotten better in our craft after seeing the world.
Both of these songs, and the whole album in general (even the title), is a sort of irreverent toss at people. I think that what’s kind of neat is that the people who understand that, understand us. They’re in on our joke a little bit.”
ANDY CHEUNG – HRD Music Scout
LAMB OF GOD – “Still Echoes”
It has been three long years between Lamb Of God albums, but for fans of the “new wave of American metal” genre, it was well worth the wait, as the band returns with their seventh studio album, VII: Sturm und Drang. “Still Echoes” takes the Lamb of God sound and condenses every aspect of this band into a four and a half minute assault on your auditory senses. The lyrical proficiency and screams of Randy Blythe, Chris Adler’s thunderous signature drum beats, Willie Adler and Mark Morton’s brilliant riffage and John Campbell’s pounding bass lines brings the Richmond, Virginia boys back into the spotlight with an outstanding, thought-provoking, well-written album. Fans of this genre, give the brutality of Lamb of God a listen. You won’t regret it!
DEVIL YOU KNOW – “Consume The Damned”
If you’re a metalcore genre fan, you probably know that Howard Jones is currently screaming in his new band, Devil You Know. For those of you who don’t know who Howard Jones is, he used to sing in Killswitch Engage and did a very fine job at it until his departure in 2012. “Consume the Damned” is off of the band’s sophomore release, They Bleed Red. This song is classic metalcore, with heavy chunky guitars, breakdowns, double-bass drumming and Howard Jones signature screams. If you are looking for aggression and slick heavy grooves, you’ve found it in Devil You Know.
ROB DELL’AQUILA – HRD Music Scout
CHRIS OUSEY – “Another Runaway”
I’ve covered vocalist Chris Ousey on Music Discovery Monday with brand new music from Ozone, from ten years ago with Heartland, and way back to the ‘80s with Virginia Wolf. Here, the melodic rock veteran strikes out on his own. “Another Runaway” is from his second solo album, Dream Machine, where he delivers more solid writing with soulful execution.
CHRIS CORNELL – “Stay With Me Baby”
The music is perfect, but still, it’s all about that voice. Chris Cornell amazes yet again with this stunning vocal tour de force on a new song made special for an HBO series about some old times, Vinyl.
CHRIS HERZEGOVITCH – HRD Music Scout
VOODOO CIRCLE – “Trapped In Paradise”
“Trapped In Paradise” is a vibrant, powerful force of a song that has it all. Fantastic organ work by Alessandro Del Vecchio, excellent lead guitar by Alex Beyrodt (Primal Fear) and the booming voice of David Readman (Pink Cream 69, Almanac). This song was the lead track off of 2015’s Whiskey Fingers. You’ll hear it once, then play it twice.
IN THIS GREY – “Empty Letter”
“Empty Letter” is an excellent, introspective, power ballad fraught with emotion. Exceptional bass and rhythm line gives this track the gravity that it requires. Very good, clear vocals from Tommy Eliasson lead this young melodic metal group from Sweden, who include Dio, Helloween and Dream Theater among their influences.
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