Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Joe Dodge's "Hell Outta Dodge" CD!

Joe Dodge, after all of these years, has released a new CD! It's a heavy metal psychedelic pop rocker. It has a real commercial sense about it; Joe knows how to write a song. Overall, the sound has a lot of the '80's hard rock in it. I don't want to name all of the associations that this reminds me on in this first paragraph; truss me!

And it is excellent!  It's also recorded really well. It's got a real, full sound. Lotsa power.

Tucsonans will remember Joe from Jonny Sevin and Yard Trauma. Joe's a solid songwriter, and he's also a very good singer. He's not a screamer, and he's not punker...he actually sounds more like Stan Ridgeway from Wall of Voodoo (similar type of voice).

The cover of this CD shows him looking like a real bad ass dude...I wouldn't want to mess with him! He's got a picture of himself looking looking very tough and scary, leaning against a wall with his geetar.  Other images that adorn the cover are dripping blood lettering, a picture of a grinning devil, and a cover photo of billowing rain clouds.  

The lyrics and the liner notes would lead you to believe that Joe has has gone off the deep and, and that his life is basically over...he's even used a creepy dripping blood font for the albums title...but this this album is a solid work of rock n' roll! Catchy licks! Hooks! Harmonies! Clear enunciatoion of lyrics! There's a really attention to the songwriter's craft here. 

The album as 10 songs on it. Let's review each one, briefly....
1. Rainy Afternoon: Starts out brooding, ominous metal...then it turns into psychedelic metal when Joe starts singing. Lots of layered vocal; Joe harmonizes throughout with himself. I can't get over the feeling that this is psychedelic rock (from the '60's) with heavy metal drums and '70's hard rock noodling leads. It's quite good!

2. My Demons Are Chasing After Me:   starts out with some throbbing pounding metal (ala Van Halen or KISS).  I keep thinking of Stan Ridgeway(from Wall of Voodoo) singing with Van Halen. The chorus is "I live in fear when they get near". Great lead solo!

3. Into My Hand: Starts out with some heaving riffing. Sounds like a hardcore break, with the  counting off the tempo on the high hat before going into the song.  On this tune, the singer/narrator details all of the way that his life has gone wrong, and how he's always ending up with a drink in his hand. The subject matter is rough, but hey, this stuff was written for the dance floor! It's impossible to not start playing air guitar to this song! Very catchy!

4. My Addiction: Nice acoustic intro. Nice acoustic rock tune. A "slow song".  Well put together. Harmonies on the chorus! Catchy, with lots of hooks: "Myyyyyyyyy Addiction!"  Joe does a great job harmonizing with himself.

5. Evil Spirits: Starts out really cool; pounding and understated, like a toned down Iggy Pop. Has a restrained, ominous feel to it. Starts out a bit paranoid: "They watch me from the shadows..." Builds up intensity as it goes into chorus, "I've got evil spirrrittss!!" Another great lead solo. Van Halenesque once again. Joe also knows how to end a pop song! These are very well put together (insert cheering crowd noise)

6. The Eyes of Spanish Girls:  This tune has a touch of "Zorro" in it; Spaghetti western surf fuzz...
It really starts sounding like Wall of Voodoo on this tune. There's also this "backwards masking" sound that's shows up here..."Shhhhhhhhhh-oop!"   Very cool

7. The Lonely One: This one is homage to the early Beatles! Complete with the clacking on the wood block. Sounds sorta like "Till there was you" from "Meet the Beatles", and the lead solo sounds like George Harrison made a guest appearance. And the best yet: the " la la la!" background vocals! Obviously, Joe Dodge is a fan of the early Beatles! Boy, was this one a surprise! The CD cover leads you to believe that you're about to get stuck in a rainstorm...and what a surprise! Fun in the sun, and love on the beach! The lyrics are sad, but the music sounds like hot coco. Sweet! Innocence is back!

8. Johnny: This song is built around some crunchy Neil Young -styled riffing. Reminds me of Neil Young's "Ohio" in places, but with a little more rust. The song is about a 17-year old dreamer; a kid who later in life ends up being a has-been. A guy who gives up on life.  Depressing stuff, but again, the band and the song writing are great. Another really good lead break too. It's odd listening to this music, because lyrically, they're often about a guy who can't get it together. But musically, they are very together. Great stuff, especially for an overcast day.

9. Mystery To Me:  This sounds like a hit! Reminds of something that Jonny Sevin might've done, with that creeping riff, that reminds of something that Dr. Dre might do; very contemporary! This is solid songwriting. Great performances by everybody. (Joe, send this one to Jonathan L!)

10. Running Out of Time: Powerful riffing intro. Choppy riffing predominates throughout.  Joe's message in this song is that "we're running out of time, time is running away". So true! This song has a real urgency to it, but it also cares a lot about being a great rock pop tune.

....and that's it, in a nutshell! Joe Dodge has put out a really great album. Every song has hooks, great riffs, energetic playing, and some winks at some of the greats in rock's past.  Solid, all around. Great work, Joe!

(I have now idea where to find this album, however! But it's out there, and rocks, with real musicians playing real instruments!)

story and illustrations (c) 2013 by Howard Salmon

1 comment:

  1. Who else would illustrate each song ... Howie this is brilliant.