All posts tagged: Kiss

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Kiss Go Through Hell For “Hotter Than Hell”

It is nearly impossible to imagine a world without Kiss at this point. Whether you are a full-on soldier in the Kiss Army or you can’t stand them at all, you are always made aware that they exist even now. Gene Simmons’ combination of business savvy and brazen brand-whoring assures that. In October of 1974, however, things were much more tentative. A small group of fans had gravitated to that weird first album of theirs, more than a passing nod to one of Simmons’ idols The Beatles. The demonic kabuki makeup and glitter-bomb logo told a different story. Even in the rough ‘n ready world of hard rock in the early 1970s, the eponymous debut rougher, which is a polite way of saying it was recorded on the relative cheap and sounded that way. Even with the benefit of a little more money and a better recording studio, 1974’s Hotter Than Hell still wasn’t going to become an audiophile’s demo disc for their “killer stereo setup.” The material that would comprise Hotter Than Hell would …

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Review: Cheap Trick – The Classic Albums 1977-1979

Record Store Day isn’t just in the spring anymore. The annual tradition now happens twice a year, once in the spring, and once on Black Friday. Since you’re already out spending enormous amounts of money on enormous electronic devices, seek out your local independent record store and buy some gifts for the music geek, or, let’s be honest, buy it for yourself. Because a box set is the greatest gift in the world. The record labels have put together some impressive, huge, and gift-worthy sets specifically for “Back to Black Friday” (November 29th) this year, including this lovely, limited edition, individually numbered box set featuring Cheap Trick’s first five albums remastered and pressed onto that ultra-thick, luxuriant 180-gram vinyl. (Thank you, Legacy Recordings.) Cheap Trick’s tight pop-meets monstrous rock finally sounds as important as it ought to be in the greater rock pantheon. Cheap Trick’s first five albums, in original packaging, are accounted for: the self-titled, In Color, Heaven Tonight, Dream Police, and, of course, the classic live album At Budokan. Consider for a moment that this band …

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You’re Dead to Us…Movies Starring Pop Stars

In which we look at once common curiosities of pop culture that don’t exist anymore, be it because of changing tastes, the fragmentation of culture, or merely the fickle nature of fads.  Teen idols come and go, but the concept never leaves us, because there will always be hormonally crazed young people with questionable taste in music. Sometimes the pop star breaks free of their teen idol years and becomes a legitimate artist (Frank Sinatra, Ricky Nelson, Justin Timberlake); the rest are temporary, ephemeral, and cheesy: Fabian, Andy Gibb, the DeFranco Family, Rick Astley, Philip Glass, etc. Right now, we’ve got quite a few, and a solid 25 percent of social networks would appear to be teenagers just saying that they enjoy the music and/or appearance of, variously, One Direction, the Wanted, Justin Bieber, Cody Simpson, three more that have become popular between when I wrote this article yesterday and it published this morning. And these pop stars, up until the moment in which they choke under the pressure of fame and their souls, minds, …

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The Popdose Interview: Jimi Jamison of Survivor

In more than four decades in the music business, Jimi Jamison has worn quite a few different hats. While perhaps best known for his work with Chicago-based AOR rockers Survivor, his trademark vocals also helped to power albums by ZZ Top (take a fresh listen to “Gimme All Your Lovin’,” for example), George Thorogood and Joe Walsh, among others. When he stepped into the lead vocalist slot for Survivor in the mid-’80s, following the departure of original vocalist Dave Bickler, it was an important addition that would bring the band a second lease on life and add an extra five Top 20 hits (four of them went Top 10) to their resume. The road-worn huskiness of Jamison’s vocals helped make him one of the most distinctive vocalists of the decade, instantly identifiable on a crowded radio dial, where sounding different was the key, especially considering the hefty amount of competition that he was up against. Never Too Late, the new solo album from Jamison, plays out like a lost chapter from the Survivor discography and …

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Popdose at Kirkus Reviews: The “KISS FAQ” Gets Its Licks In

 For almost 80 years, Kirkus Reviews has served as the industry bible for bookstore buyers, librarians, and ordinary readers alike. Now Popdose joins the Kirkus Book Bloggers Network to explore the best — and sometimes the worst — in pop-culture and celebrity books. This week! You wanted the best, and you got, well, this… In the year or so that I’ve been writing this blog solo, I have taken delivery on hundreds of books—more than I could ever read, let alone review. Some of them I’ve had to ask for, but a surprising percentage are simply sent out blind by hopeful publishers. I redistribute some of this bounty as I can to friends, and a lot of it I donate to my public library, but much of it I simply leave at the curb for recycling. (In all likelihood, mine is the best-read garbageman in the county.) Lots of the show-business books I get are packaged as series; written by numerous hands and covering a variety of topics, but sharing a distinctive format and trade …