By Steve Newton
Popular music hit an all-time low this year with the outbreak of something called gangsta rap, an ugly, expletive-laden noise that degrades women and glorifies real-life crime and violence. We can only hope this latest strain of the rap virus will help bring down the whole sorry genre, and make more room for rock ’n’ roll in ’94.
Aerosmith Get a Grip It’s hard to believe that the exact same band that was churning out delicious R&B-laced hard rock 20 years ago can still deliver, but these rough ’n’ tumble tunes are proof of Aerosmith’s staying power.
Rush Counterparts The perennial Canadian power trio gets down to the business of making streamlined, guitar-driven rock.
John Mellencamp Human Wheels The inspiring title track and rollicking “What If I Came Knocking” received the heaviest rotation on my car’s tape deck last fall, but every single track on this finely crafted collection hits the mark.
Paul Rodgers Muddy Water Blues: A Tribute to Muddy Waters Jeff Beck, Buddy Guy, Gary Moore, Brian Setzer, David Gilmour, Slash, Brian May, Steve Miller, Neal Schon, Trevor Rabin, Richie Sambora. ’Nuff said.
Gary Hoey Animal Instinct Joe Satriani didn’t release a new studio recording in ’93, but fellow Yankee guitar wizard Gary Hoey’s solo instrumental debut made up for that disappointment.
Big Country The Buffalo Skinners The Scottish rockers return from oblivion with their trademark bagpipe-style guitar melodies at the fore of some seriously rockin’, socially conscious tunes.
The Screamin’ Cheetah Wheelies The Screamin’ Cheetah Wheelies This weirdly named outfit sounds like a rampaging cross between Lynyrd Skynyrd and Pearl Jam, and its southern-rock-meets-grunge approach is a refreshing delight.
Huevos Rancheros Endsville! Garage-y, distorted surf music never sounded better, and Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet are now my second favourite Canuck instro-rock act.
Two Trains Too Many Faces A startling Vancouver band whose bluesy fusion recalls early Allman Brothers, and whose debut CD was the best local release I heard all year.