Dog Daze of Summer
Art Sculptures on Boonton Main Street
June 6 – September 6, 2014
Photos by Rob Watts
Visit BoontonDogDaze.org for more info.
It’s been five years since Ace Frehley’s previous studio album Anomaly was released. Prior to that, it had been twenty years since Ace had released any solo material, as Trouble Walkin’ had been released in 1989. It’s fair to say that Frehley is taking his solo career a little more seriously these days as far as creating new material for his fans, especially since he, and his fans, aren’t getting any younger.
Now, Frehley is gearing up for the release of Space Invader, an album of twelve new tracks (standard version) which promise to ride tandem with the likes of his 1978 Solo Album recorded while still in his former band KISS.
The problem is, hype seems to have come at a higher value than substance. Months back, the album cover was revealed, and the announcement of famed artist Ken Kelly designing the album artwork, excited many die hard KISS fans. Kelly, as many know, designed KISS‘ most well-known album covers, Destroyer and Love Gun. That sort of nod to the past is nice, but what we’re really interested in is how an album sounds, not looks.
As far as how the album sounds? Here’s the negative aspects:
The opening track, Space Invader isn’t the strongest track to open an album. It’s not a bad song, but it’s certainly not a powerful opener. The chorus suspiciously sounds similar to the chorus in KISS’ Young and Wasted from 1983s Lick it Up…an album Frehley had no involvement in making. Nonetheless, it sounds very similar. And this is just me, but I have a pet peeve about leading your album off with the title track. It basically says, here’s the most important song and the rest are there for your enjoyment.
I Wanna Hold You, Toys and What Every Girl Wants sounds an awful lot like Frehley’s Comet outtakes from the 80s, and reworked for this album. They sound irrelevant and don’t fit properly within the confines of this album.
The biggest negative is the inclusion of The Joker, a cover of The Steve Miller Band‘s classic tune. Frehley, whose no stranger to recording cover songs (sometimes multiple times on one album such as Trouble Walkin’) has without a doubt recorded a dog for this album. To be fair, his version is no better or worse than the original. But why on earth would one of the most influential guitar players of our time record a version of one of the most overplayed (and somewhat annoying) songs? Do you know what the beauty of Frehley’s version of New York Groove from his 1978 Solo Album was? The fact that it was an obscure song from an obscure band. I’m guessing some of you reading this had no idea that New York Groove was a cover song (originally recorded by a band called HELLO.) Regardless, that’s what makes cover songs great. The fact that many people don’t know of it in the first place and you’re talented enough to put your own spin on the song. Frehley’s version of The Joker sounds like someone’s drunk uncle got up on stage and sang a bad karaoke version of it.
The Positives, and there are positives to this:
The lead single Gimme a Feelin’ is a classic Ace rocker with plenty of loose swagger. Immortal Pleasures and Inside The Vortex shy slightly away from the usual Ace offerings and that’s what makes them great. I’ve never seen much point in serving up the same songs over and over again until they are liquified completely. Past the Milky Way is another great example (musically, but not so much lyrically) and an enjoyable listen. Straying away from his usual “Fractured” instrumental, Frehley ends the album with the stand-alone instrumental Starship. It’s a higher tempo than his usual instrumental offerings, which is probably why it doesn’t bare the title Fractured Five.
Ace’s vocals are good. He’s no Robert Plant or Freddy Mercury, nor has he ever claimed to be. Ace is a unique vocalist with his own style and delivery. On a few occasions, I found the vocals to be muddy on this album. Not as clear on previous efforts. His guitar playing is stellar. Great solos, hooks and change ups. Lyrically, it suffers slightly as there are way too many outer space references. We get it—you are the original Space Ace. None of us have forgotten. Also, I feel the subject matter of Ace’s darker days of drugs, alcohol and car accidents have now been beaten to death. I was hoping for an Ace Frehley reboot—offering us something new in light of his more recent experiences, triumphs and outlook on life. Finally, the overall production could be improved upon. I’m wondering why Eddie Kramer was never called upon. Kramer has a history with Ace and his production work on the 1978 solo album, as well as 1989s Trouble Walkin’ are home runs. I sincerely feel that he could have made this album that much better had he produced it.
All in all, I have to say this album is a 6 on a scale of 10. Rather low and disappointing for an album that took five years to make. Well, more than likely not 5 years. This doesn’t sound like the album die-hard Ace fans have been waiting anxiously for. Perhaps in the not-so-distant future, Frehley should dig into the archives and remix or even re-record some of his early Frehley’s Comet demos such as Catch Me When I Fall, The Hurts On and The Girl Can’t Dance. Fans have been craving professional recordings of these tracks for decades. Perhaps even an all covers album, seeing as Frehley is hell-bent on recording other peoples songs. Just don’t try to make a hodgepodge out of a new studio album because sometimes it just doesn’t work.
Rob Watts is a blogger at Ocean View Press and an author of suspenseful fiction. His latest book Left-Hand Path is on sale now.
Crustless Spinach and Tomato Quiche
(#gluten free #paleo friendly)
By Susan Saunders
Here is quick quiche recipe that is easy to prepare and delicious. You won’t even miss the carb-loaded crust from traditional quiche recipes. Make it for guests, and they will think you are a gourmet chef. Make it for your family, and your kids may not complain about eating their veggies! Or make it for yourself, and enjoy. It is good for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. This crustless quiche also freezes well. Reheat in the microwave for a fast meal.
You will need:
9 inch pie pan (glass Pyrex pan is ideal)
1 cup of milk (2% reduced fat milk used here)
3/4 cup of sharp cheddar cheese (grated)
1/2 cup of parmesan cheese (grated)
1 tbsp of cream cheese (reduced fat, light, or regular)
12 oz. package of frozen spinach
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup of diced tomatoes
1 tbsp chopped garlic
2 tbsp of diced onion
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Defrost and warm the spinach. Drain in a colander. Set aside.
Whisk eggs, milk; and add salt and pepper. Stir in the softened cream cheese. Set aside.
In a skillet, sauté the garlic and onions. Stir in tomatoes, do not over cook.
Coat the pie pan with cooking spray, and spread the spinach on the bottom of the pan. Then add the onion, garlic and tomato mixture on top. Add shredded cheese. Pour the egg mixture over it all.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
Let us know if you like this recipe. You can modify it in different ways. Substitute different types of cheeses, or veggies. Add bacon if you can’t face breakfast without it (you know who you are).
Susan Saunders is a blogger for Ocean View Press and a published children’s book author. Her latest work can be found at Waunders.com
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I will be signing copies of my latest Book & CD Left-Hand Path in Danvers, Ma at the Danversport Yacht Club from 4-9pm on July 30th. Other talented authors will be in attendance and the event is FREE to enter. Cash bar. Hope to see some of you there. Stop by and say hi. Can’t make it? Visit my site for upcoming signing dates or to order a signed copy of Left-Hand Path! #NewEnglandAuthorExpo
Spicy Chicken, Mushroom & Pickles Pasta
By Rob Watts
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
What you’ll need: (This shows a yield for 1 person. Determine your desired amounts)
3 OZ Grilled Chicken Breast (pre-cooked)
1 package of sliced mushrooms
Spicy horseradish pickle chips (6-8 chips)
1/2 cup of Thai Peanut Sauce
4 Tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
Pinch of Cajun powder
What to do:
Bring pot of water to a boil. Add your mushrooms and pickle chips to sauté pan. Use very little Olive oil. Just enough to coat the pan. Sauté your mushrooms and pickles, the add your chicken and add a pinch of Cajun powder. Now add your linguini to the pot of water. Stir frequently until it’s cooked. This should only take 6-8 minutes. Back to your sauté pan, add your peanut sauce and balsamic vinegar. Stir everything together evenly. Strain your pasta and add to your sauté pan. Flip everything together until the sauce and slices are distributed evenly. Serve and enjoy!
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Moonlight Carnival by Nika Cantabile
Review by Rob Watts
Montreal-born violinist Nika Cantabile has been performing professionally for many years and recording various pieces for listeners to hear on sites such as Soundcloud. Selections such as “Glass no Shinju” and “The Fall of Greygorn” have done well to wet the appetite for Cantabile’s hardcore fans base. Now, after four years of waiting, her passion project Moonlight Carnival is now available. Cantabile creates a unique soundscape for listeners to venture through as she performs her violin in such a stellar way. Augmented with a backdrop of rock, classical and Japanese-influenced performance, Moonlight Carnival is simply a delight. Available for Download Here!
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Prep Time: 10 Min
Cook Time 20-25 Min
What you’ll need:
1 Pre-Made Flatbread
Celery (2-3 stems)
6-7 Green Olives (Mine are garlic stuffed olives from Trader Joes)
Pepperoni (approx 25 slices)
Sliced Chicken Breast (3 OZ)
Soy Sauce (Half Cup)
Olive Oil (Mine was Garlic Olive Oil) (4 Tablespoons)
Sherry (4 Tablespoons)
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
Place Flatbread aside. Thinly slice your pepperoni, celery and olives. Slice your grilled chicken (pre-cooked) into half-inch slices. Add 4 tablespoons of Olive oil into a sauté pan and pre-heat prior to cooking. Place your celery, pepperoni, olives and chicken into you sauté pan. Cook for 5 minutes, flipping every minute. Add 4 tablespoons of sherry wine and a half cup of soy sauce, continue to sauté for another two minutes. Remove from heat and prepare your flatbread. Add your desired amount of sauce and cheese. Take your sauté mix and carefully distribute the ingredients over your pizza. Place in over at 400 degrees. Cook for 20-25 minutes until cheese is melted, the bread is crispy and the toppings have a slight sizzle. Remove and allow to cool before enjoying.
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