Hard Rock Daddy presents Music Discovery Monday – 5/23/16.
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’s Music Discovery Monday features an exclusive interview with Blacktop Mojo frontman Matt James, who discusses the meaning and inspiration behind the band’s latest single, and the decision to cover one of the greatest hard rock songs of all-time.
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)
BLACKTOP MOJO – “Where The Wind Blows”
There’s always a risk when a band straddles different genres of rock because it makes it difficult for them to fit neatly into a radio format box. However, every once in a while, you come across a band that is able to deliver impressive songs, regardless of the radio “fit.” Texas rockers Blacktop Mojo have no trouble straddling a variety of genres with both original songs and inspired covers.
If you’re a fan of the “Seattle sound” of bands like Soundgarden and Alice In Chains, Blacktop Mojo’s “Where The Wind Blows” will definitely resonate with you. However, this doesn’t mean that the song sounds like a throwback to the ‘90s, just the influence of that time period mixed with some southern rock flair (another area where the band excels).
Because of the band’s tight, driving rhythm section and the soulful, rangy vocals of Matt James, complemented by Ryan Kiefer’s impressive lead guitar work, Blacktop Mojo is able to incorporate a number of different influences into their music. In addition to their powerful original songs, the band’s shining moments extend to some brilliant covers ranging from country rock to classic rock.
In an exclusive interview with Hard Rock Daddy, Blacktop Mojo frontman Matt James discussed the meaning and inspiration behind “Where The Wind Blows”…
“The inspiration for ‘Where The Wind Blows’ comes from watching buddies of mine in college chasing wild women (who didn’t really want to be tied down) in the bars every night. Nothing really came of it but one-night stands. Back then, as a guy in that situation, you’re pretty much willing to chase those woman to the ends of the earth to try to “get to know her a little better” (if you will). I think that every guy can relate to that in some respect.”
BLACKTOP MOJO – “Dream On”
Like many others, Aerosmith’s “Dream On” is near and dear to my heart. It is a song that has more than withstood the test of time, and is largely regarded as one of the greatest hard rock songs of all-time. Anyone with the guts to take on a cover of this song should be commended, because they risk ridicule for tampering with a classic. It was one thing when Ronnie James Dio and Yngwie Malmsteen covered the song. Both of them had already been long-established as rock and roll icons by the time that they recorded their interpretation. It is something entirely different when an up-and-coming band like Blacktop Mojo rises up to the challenge.
Knowing that Steven Tyler has recently put out a country album, your first impression of the song might be that the legend himself re-recorded his own song with a new twist if you didn’t know any better. While the recent rumors of Aerosmith possibly considering touring with another singer doesn’t sit well with most (including me), with this cover of “Dream On,” frontman Matt James proves that there are people out there who are vocally talented enough to handle the gig.
When listening to this cover, there are two distinct thoughts that came to mind. The first is that the band did an outstanding job of staying true to the original, while also infusing enough of themselves into it to make it unique. The other is that James absolutely killed the ungodly high notes that Tyler delivered over 40 years ago when the song was released, so much so, that it’s almost indecipherable from the original.
Matt James on the decision to do a cover version of this Aerosmith classic…
“We chose to do a cover of ‘Dream On’ because of our producer, Philip Mosley, who brought up the idea. All of the guys in the band have always been fans of Aerosmith; we thought it would be a challenge for us to take on such an iconic song. I think that it was important to us to stay as true to the original as we could. I don’t really think that there’s much you can change or add to a song that so many people know and love. Everything from the finger-picked guitar part at the beginning, to the high notes at the end are irreplaceable, so it was important for us to do our best to capture all of that.”
ANDY CHEUNG – HRD Music Scout
MUDFACE – “Anthem”
With so many genres of metal, finding a new band to listen to nowadays is pretty difficult. Face it, most new metal bands end up sounding pretty generic and fail to excite me. When I was sent a link to check out “Anthem” from Mudface’s album, The Bane of Existence, I was skeptical at first, but I was impressed within the first 10 seconds of this song. “Anthem” has everything that I love about metal; heavy, thick guitars, talented guitar solos, aggressive, pounding bass and drums, technicality, politically charged/dark subject matter, great sound production, and most importantly…it’s loud! In fact, “Anthem” is the heavy metal song, and Mudface is the heavy metal band that I have been searching for forever. Kudos to the band for keeping the spirit of metal alive. This is a must-listen for any and all fans of metal!
AMORPHIS – “Sacrifice”
This Finnish band is back with their 12th studio release, Under the Red Cloud. Fans of melodic/death metal will love Amorphis’ return to their form. “Sacrifice” is a catchy tune with hard rock roots, rather than their trademark death metal style, but still exhibits the band’s style of darkness and foreboding. Not afraid to explore their different musical styles, ranging from death metal to folk and hard rock, Under the Red Cloud takes all of their styles from previous albums and encompasses them all into this album. “Sacrifice” is a great example of Finnish metal being alive and well.
ROB DELL’AQUILA – HRD Music Scout
IRON SAVIOR – “Way Of The Blade”
German power metal veterans Iron Savior have just released their ninth album, Titancraft. Heavy riffs, a galloping pace, and melodic choruses are married to mythical themes. Founder, vocalist, and lead guitarist Piet Sielck delivers the iron, with enthusiastic support from the rest of the band.
DECYFER DOWN – “Burn Back The Sun”
North Carolina’s Decyfer Down returns with their fourth album, The Other Side Of Darkness. It’s chock full of pounding drums and aggressive riffs, but here, on the album’s closer, they take a step back. This is an acoustic makeover of one of their earlier hits, and it works quite well.
CHRIS HERZEGOVITCH – HRD Music Scout
MOB RULES – “On The Edge”
German melodic power metal band Mob Rules is back with their 8th full length album, Tales From Beyond. Klaus Dirk’s powerful vocals lead a talented group in this driving force of a song with terrific guitar work by Matthias Mineur and Sven Lüdke.
PROJECT AEGIS – “Angel In The Ashes”
“Angel In the Ashes” is the work of Project Aegis, an all-star power metal ensemble that came together in charity for homeless and refugee families in Greece. This tremendous line-up is led by Theocracy vocalist and songwriter Matt Smith, with Rob Rock (Solo, Impellitteri), Daísa Munhoz (Vandroya, Soulspell), Vasilis Georgiou (Sunburst, Black Fate), Leah McHenry (LEAH). This kickass song for a worthy cause features excellent guitar work by Gus Drax (Sunburst, Black Fate).
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