The Very Beast of Vol. 2
As the title indicates this album is a beast of, er, best of set from the late Ronnie James Dio that cherry-picks favorite cuts from his latter day output, drawing primarily from the Dio albums Angry Machines, Magica, Killing the Dragon and Master of the Moon. The generous 17-song compilation theoretically contains the best cuts from these releases, including "Push," "Along Comes a Spider," "Lord of the Last Day," "Fever Dreams" and "Better in the Dark" but here's the real plum being dangled for fans: three previously hard-to-get bonus tracks. A version of "Electra" taken from the ultra-rare Tournado box set is included as is a live version of "Hunter of the Heart," the studio version of which can be heard on the Dio's Inferno album. The third bonus track is "Metal Will Never Die" taken from the David "Rock" Feinstein album Bitten by the Beast, the only song on that album that Dio appears on. With Dio's fans being especially faithful there's little doubt that this collection will be very warmly received.
Yes, you better believe it; these Spiders bite. The Swedish quartet features Ann-Sofie Hoyles on vocals and John Hoyles on guitar and once they get their fangs in you'll be on a rocket ride as punky garage rock courses through your veins and classic hard rock riffs careen around on the way to your brain. The songs here are short and punchy and mostly clock in under the three-minute mark but these two-legged Spiders are just as focused on their prey as are their arachnid namesakes and they don't mess around while dealing out the venom. The set's longest song is "Above the Sky," a woozy psychedelic number where Ann-Sofie also plays harmonica. "Rules of the Game" is a little Pretenders-ish and you may hear similarities to old Grace Slick-led Jefferson Airplane in "Hard to Keep True" but Spiders have woven a nice fresh web here; don't be afraid to get caught.
Lost Lost: Demos, Sounds, Alternate Takes & Unused Songs 1999-2004
Lost Sounds is a now-defunct band that featured Alicja Trout and the late Jay Reatard and this everything-and-the-kitchen-sink compilation features a bucket full of nearly lost goodies. "A Foreign Play" is a dark number that recalls the Talking Heads while a cover of the Zone 5's nugget "I Cannot Lie" is so catchy it should have been a lead (hit) single instead of a castoff found on a last-chance compilation. Reatard sings that he's a retard on the excellent original cut "No Count" and when Trout takes the microphone, like on "Throw Away," she often sounds like she was with the Runaways. Kudos to Goner Records for giving fans a chance to hear this superior set of outtakes and oddities.
Vox E Tenebris
Radio Fallout shows a little Nirvana love on the opening number of Vox E Tenebris; "I Want to be Alright" is poppier than Nirvana's output but singer Caleb Scates approximates Kurt Cobain's tone and style throughout. "Wishing Well," though, is more Pixies-ish and the bulk of Vox E Tenebris fits into a similar literate alt-rock vein. RF seems to really like an amalgam of mid-'90s sounds and they present them nicely, especially on closing number "Status Quo."
Get it here.