(Honorable Mention) SLASH ‘Apocalyptic Love’

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It’s hard to call anything Slash does “under the radar”, but this album has been just that.  A couple of singles have been released; however, hardcore fans have embraced the album more than the mainstream.  This seems to be just fine with Slash as he takes his band from city to city with front man Myles Kennedy singing his latest songs as well as classics from Slash’s Snakepit, Velvet Revolver, and of course, Guns N’ Roses.

ESSENTIAL TRACKS: “You’re A Lie”, “One Last Thrill”, “Hard and Fast”

(#3) SEX SLAVES ‘Call of The Wild’

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Over the years critics have praised the Sex Slaves as well as questioned their direction.  Does this band want to create punk, pop-rock, or a heavier sound?  The answer has always been there and the answer is YES: All of the Above.  Their latest release shows the Sex Slaves diversity at its very best.  Moving from classic heavy metal (“Lose That Dress”) to the Alice In Chains like “Call of The Wild” to the thrashing “Sik Fuk” which sounds as good as anything Suicidal Tendencies ever released.  If you haven’t checked out this band you should – there is something for everyone…and if you haven’t heard of them, well they answer this in the opening track: “We are the Sex Slaves – Who the Fuck are you?”

ESSENTIAL TRACKS: “Lose That Dress”, “Sik Fuk”, “Cool Ride”, “Call of The Wild”

(#2) THE DIRTY PEARLS ‘Whether You Like It Or Not’

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Legends on the streets of New York, The Dirty Pearls released their debut album in 2012.  As far as debut albums go this is about as good as it gets.  EACH and EVERY song packs a rock and roll sleaze and punk attitude that grabs you and puts you in a good mood.  Remember when rock and roll used to do that?  The Dirty Pearls have brought this feeling back with ‘Whether You Like It Or Not.’

ESSENTIAL TRACKS: “Who’s Coming Back To Who”, “Caffeine And Gasoline”, “Mayday”, “Love Sick Love”, “Sucker For A Sequel”

(#1)THE LAST VEGAS ’Bad Decisions’

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How do you follow up one of the greatest debut rock albums (‘Whatever Gets You Off’) without creating the same album, but also pleasing your fans?  You make ‘Bad Decisions.’  Packed with arena sized rock and roll that mixes just the right amount of blues, hard rock, and horror inspired lyrics The Last Vegas have created a special album.   It doesn’t take long to hear a new sound that compliments their glam roots with a harder edge.  The hits (“Other Side”, “Bad Decisions”, “Evil Eyes”) are there as well as hidden gems “She’s My Confusion” and “Devil In You”, straight up rock and roll that any fan can embrace.

ESSENTIAL TRACKS: “Other Side”, “Bad Decisions”, “She’s My Confusion”, “Devil In You”, “She’s My Confusion”

David S. Grant is an author of several books, rock columnist, travel writer, and NBA blogger. Follow David on Twitter: @david_s_grant