Various Artists Spin the Bottle: An All-star Tribute to KISS (Koch)
Frankly, this is one of the worst albums I've ever heard—a sonic travesty even by my forgiving '80s metal standards. Every washed-up member of every washed-up band you can think of appear in various configurations, churning out pedestrian versions of the same old KISS songs that have been remade dozens of times. So why bother? Because for KISS fans, the accompanying DVD is almost worth the price. Think of it as an if episode of "Behind the Music" without the script or narration—just a bunch of aging rockers further contextualizing KISS with sincere commentary. CD = drink coaster.
Warrant Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich/Warrant Cherry Pie/Aldo Nova Aldo Nova (Columbia Legacy) (Columbia Legacy)
Columbia's Legacy reissue series was once one of the few bright spots on the collective blemish that is the major label music industry. Among the artists revisited as part of the American Milestones series were Johnny Horton, Joe Maphis, Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash. The current spate of releases, which includes the three listed above, is titled the Masters of Metal series. For one thing, neither Aldo Nova nor Warrant can really be considered masters of metal. For another, where the hell are the reissues of the good metal albums Columbia put out 25 years ago? Pure crap.
The New Year The End is Near (Touch and Go)
On their second effort, The New Year, fronted by former Bedhead leaders Bubba and Matt Kadane along with Chris Browkaw (Come, Codeine) on drums, Mike Donofrio on bass and multi-isntrumentalist Josh McKay, sound as ominous as ever. But The New Year aren't Beadhead—the frustration and bitterness come careening down the chute rather than remaining quietly (and sinisterly) understated. The End is Near shimmers with complexity and Browkaw propels the Kadanes' songs with a new intensity, pretty much picking up where 2001's Newness Ends left off. Like Bedhead, only better.