Friday, September 28, 2018

LOVE STALLION "Unforgettable Ride"

(c) 2018 Independent Release

  1. Slow Release
  2. Ignite The Night
  3. Big Rock Radio
  4. Lazy Summer Dream
  5. Hide Me Away
  6. Tinker Toys
  7. Valentine
  8. High Time
  9. Trans Am
Aaron Hart--Lead Vocals, Guitars, Keys, Bass
Robert McLemore--Guitars, Keys
Dax Hunter Jordan--Drums

Additional Musicians
Rachel King--Guest Vocalsn on "High Time"
Ona Reed--Guest Vocals on "Valentine"

I know what some of you are thinking.  I get it.  I did the same thing.  I saw the band's name, which caused me to think of Wyld Stallyns from Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure...and then I saw the album's title, Unforgettable Ride, and my mind drifted to Steel Panther.  Just put all of that to an end right now.  This group from Denver is a REAL band, and the tongue-in-cheek humor of the album title is as close to the potty-mouthed juvenile humor as the band gets.  And while the style and sound of the band is straight from the glam and arena sounds of the late 70s and 80s, Love Stallion is not a tribute band or a cover act.  With their debut album, Love Stallion is out to show that their belief in, and dedication to, their craft is the real thing.  All they are asking for is a chance to convince you.

"Slow Release" kicks things off with a riff that reminds me of Deep Purple's "Woman From Tokyo", but quickly slides into a more glam-sounding mid-tempo rocker.  Aaron Hart's vocals are in the upper tenor range here, and despite my fears that he might try to slide up into a Darkness-styled falsetto, Hart maintains a strong, unwavering grip on his performance on the track.  Some nice backing vocals really support the sound here, and a solid, straight-forward rhythm section serves the track well.  McLemore lays a nice, simple guitar solo into the mix here, not coming off as overly flashy and sticking with the style and spirit of the song.

"Ignite The Night" is up next, and what retro-styled album would be complete without the cowbell intro to at least one track?  "Ignite The Night" is that song for Love Stallion.  Also featuring some cool bass work, "Ignite The Night" is another example of a 70s-inspired glam rock track given just enough of a modern update to keep it from sounding dated.  Once again, strong backing vocals are utilized on this track, and McLemore breaks free just a bit more on his solo here, but still doesn't give the impression he is trying to steal the spotlight here, rather feeding into the overall approach of the song itself.

"Big Rock Radio" is the song that got Love Stallion started, according to the band's press kit.  Apparently the song was written outside of a concert hall clear back in 2013, and it finally sees the light of day here.  Reminding me a bit of The Darkness, but with FAR MORE tolerable vocals, "Big Rock Radio" is a smooth listen, with a catchy guitar line and a straight-ahead rock groove, that feels very much like the type of glam rock that was transitioning the 70s into the 80s.  There's a bit of a fret run in the solo here, which is longer and more involved than most of the solos on the album, and while it's not overly flashy, it is definitely a fun listen, overall, and is a song that I am guessing gets a nice response from fans who are familiar with the band.

"Lazy Summer Dream" is pretty laid back and it's at this point that the album kind of bogs down a bit.  The songs aren't bad, but the tempos are all very similar, ranging from balladry to slower-pace mid-tempo rock.  "Hide Me Away" doesn't move a whole lot more than "Lazy Summer Dream" does, nor does "Tinker Toys", although both are strong retro-styled radio rock tracks that lean heavily on a more melodic approach, with not a whole lot of edge or bite to them, overall.  "Valentine" is also pretty slow, and really the album needs a kick in the pants by this time, just to shake things up.  Fortunately, both "High Time" and "Trans Am" pack more punch than just about anything else on this record.  "High Time" has some fantastic guitar work, which I really wish we had heard more of on this record, and "Trans Am" ends things with a bang, offering up solid reason to believe that only good things lie ahead for this band.  

The production is a bit thick sounding in places...not muddy, but lacking much in the way of sparkle or polish.  I'm okay with it, especially after several listens, and producer Steve Avedis certainly has a pedigree in the industry, so I can only surmise that the sound here is intentional and not the result of financial limitations or something like that.  I guess I was just expecting the overall sound to be a bit brighter.  In the end, it matters very little, because the songwriting here is strong enough, and the musicianship is accomplished enough that Unforgettable Ride is still an enjoyable debut from a band that really sneaked up on me despite the fact that I live in the same relative geographical region as the band and am fairly in-tune with the regional music scene.  I hope to get the chance to catch the band live at some point, as I have heard their shows are definitely a party you want to be involved in.

While an adjustment to the tracking order might have made for a more balanced listen, Unforgettable Ride is an above average debut, especially when you consider the style the band is working in.  Not an outright 70s classic rock guitar record, nor a mid-to-late-80s hair metal affair, Unforgettable Ride carves out a niche in the smoother, more laid back guitar rock of the 1979-1983 range that was so much a part of my youth.  Hart has an obvious passion and talent for this type of music, as it is extremely well-written and his vocals are spot-on for the style.  Similarly, McLemore has a knack for incorporating just enough guitar into these songs to keep them from drifting away, while also not giving in to the temptation to drop multiple masturbatory solos into songs that are not designed for excessive whammy-bar wankery.

Rating:  Not a perfect album, but still good rocking fun.  Give this a 6.5!

**RETRO REVIEW** TATTOO RODEO "Rode Hard, Put Away Wet"

(c) 1991 Atlantic Records

  1. Strung Out
  2. Sweet Little Vikki
  3. Been Your Fool
  4. Everybody Wants What She's Got
  5. Ain't No Reason Why
  6. Let Me Be The One
  7. Blonde Ambition
  8. Love Shuffle
  9. Shotgun Johnny
  10. Tell Me Why
  11. One Way Love
  12. Down
  13. Hard Like A Rock
Dennis Churchill-Dries--Lead Vocals, Bass
Rick Chadock--Guitars, Backing Vocals
Michael Lord--Keyboards, Hammond B3, Backing Vocals
Rich Wright--Drums

Additional Musicians
Ron Bloom--Guitars, Keyboards
Paul Sabu--Backing Vocals

By 1991, the Hollywood Hair Scene was in full swing, and preparing to be in free-fall.  Labels were going out of their way to sign anyone and everyone who had the big hair look, often times overlooking the fact that they weren't particularly good musicians or songwriters.  It became increasingly hard to find original sounding bands, as everyone was looking for that next big radio hit, which meant that next big paycheck.  But with Atlantic Records' signing of Tattoo Rodeo, they got a band that had the look...even the pedigree, to a certain extent...but instead of getting a carbon-copy sounding hair band, the label got a southern rock-tinged hard rock band that sounded very little like most of their contemporaries on the radio.  And that, my friends, is a GREAT thing...

For the uninitiated, Tattoo Rodeo was formed from the remnants of a semi-successful hair band known as White Sister.  That band managed to place songs on multiple move soundtracks, and seemed poised to potentially break big with a couple of solo records.  As was often the case at the time, however, things didn't go the band's way, and Churchill-Dries, Chadock, and Wright moved on from that failed effort and formed Tattoo Rodeo.

Altering their sound to a pretty large degree, Tattoo Rodeo left behind the mid-80s Hollywood sound and incorporated a lot of southern rock and bluesy classic rock into their sound, which set them apart from much of the rest of the hair scene.  Sounding more like a harder-edged Black Crowes than Ratt or Poison, Tattoo Rodeo kicked things off in their own way immediately, as a steel guitar led in the opening track, the punchy rocker, "Strung Out" which finds Churchill-Dries affecting a gritty, bluesy lower tenor range and supported by strong backing vocals...and continued all the way through to the end, with "Hard Like A Rock" starting off much like "Strung Out" does, with an acoustic steel guitar leading the way and Churchill-Dries dripping southern swagger all over the blues-stomp barroom rocker.  And as good as these two songs are, they are merely bookends on an excellent, at-the-time-original sounding record, as the shoulda-been-huge, bluesy-smooth ballad "Been Your Fool", and the catchy rocker "Everybody Wants What She's Got", are two of the stand-outs of the record.  "Ain't No Reason Why" is a fun, foot-stomping rock number with a easy to sing chorus, nice gang backing vocals, and solid bass line, and "Love Shuffle" is a rollicking drinking song that utilizes a saloon-styled piano and simple-yet-snappy drum line to move things along nicely.  "Tell Me Why" is a bit more contemporary-sounding...yet no-less effective...power ballad, and "Shotgun Johnny" is the band's southern-fried homage to Zeppelin, with some of the album's best bass and drum work and a big "Kashmir"-styled guitar hook.  Good, good stuff.

At 13 tracks, the record does get a tiny bit bloated, and I would have cut a couple of songs here...perhaps saved for the band's second (and final) effort, Skin N Bones (later repackaged as just Skin).  "Down" just doesn't work as well for me as most of the material here, and "Blonde Ambition" feels something like a redo of "Everybody Wants What She's Got" lyrically, but in a less-fun, less-catchy way.  Again, definitely not a horrible song, but not really necessary with so many other good things going on with the rest of the album.

The production is really good, overall, especially when considering this album is now 27 years old, and the style is so different from what most people were playing at the time.  The tone and sound of the guitars is especially strong here, and Chruchill-Dries has an excellent voice for this style of music, and I wish desperately that this band had managed to be bigger than they were.  

This CD is one that is a constant go-to for me, and is so painfully easy to find for under $10 that I don't know why more people don't know of it or own it.  If you are a fan of the era...and especially if you are into early Black Crowes or Bon Jovi's Blaze Of Glory stuff... but are looking for something that falls outside of the typical, I'd strongly recommend Tattoo Rodeo and Rode Hard, Put Away Wet, which is going to be much easier to track down than their later effort.  

Rating:  Still crankable all these years later!  A definite 8.5 for me!

Friday, September 21, 2018

ROYAL BLISS "Live @ Rigby Road"

(c) 2017 Air Castle Records

  1. Goin' To Hell
  2. Forever Young
  3. Into The Night
  4. Fire Within
  5. Racin'
  6. These Days
  7. Sweet Rosie
  8. Crazy
  9. Cry Sister
  10. I Was Drunk
  11. Fine Wine
Neal Middleton--Vocals
Taylor Richards--Acoustic Guitar, Backing Vocals
Memphis Hennesy--Acoustic Guitars, Lap Steel, Electric Guitar, Backing Vocals
Jake Smith--Drums, Percussion
Dwayne Crawford--Bass, Backing Vocals

Additional Musicians
Rob Moffitt--Percussion
Walker Gibson--Banjo, Piano, Keyboards, Accordian

Utah's favorite rockers, Royal Bliss, treated some lucky fans to an up-close-and-personal, mostly-acoustic live show...and were kind enough to record it for the rest of their fans to hear.  Live @ Rigby Road was recorded in April of 2017 at Rigby Road Studios in Salt Lake City, and while I don't know the exact number of people in attendance at the show, the sound of the live crowd would seem to indicate no more than 50 people, likely, although I could be way off on that number, as the crowd is not mic'ed at all.  The song selection for this live set is an interesting one, as it forgoes some of the band's better known songs in favor of older material, cover songs, and a couple of singles.  

The album opens with a brief intro from the show's emcee, before Middleton welcomes the crowd and the band launches into the rollicking acoustic rocker, "Goin' To Hell" from the band's last studio release, The Truth.  A high-speed picking affair, "Goin' To Hell" is the perfect song selection here, as it not only serves to showcase the tightness of this band as well as the power of Neal Middleton's vocals.  No studio trickery here, no overdubs, no vocal enhancements, just the band and their voices and all acoustic instruments for this particular song, and they pull things off expertly here.  Of particular note is the clean picking from Hennesy on the solo here.

Up next is a cover of Rod Stewart's classic hit, "Forever Young".  The theme song of hundreds of elementary, middle-school,and high school graduations for three decades, "Forever Young" is a great cover for this band in this setting, as it affords them the opportunity to stretch out past their country-tinged, hard rock sound into a more pop-centered style, which the crowd obviously enjoyed.  Middleton sounds excellent here, choosing to stay within his own particular range and style, forgoing the temptation to try to add unnecessary rasp or a higher tenor to his vocals.  The piano from Walker Gibson is a perfect complement to the song, as well, and really helps to pull things together.  

"Into The Night" is one of my favorite songs on this record, as it really represents how the band has been incorporating a bit more rocking country to their sound.  An insanely catchy chorus and "I know I've heard this before" songwriting give this track a fun, uptempo energy that is just infectious.  I truly hope to get the opportunity to hear this song live at some point, as you can just, much the band is enjoying themselves here.  While taken from a different acoustic show, this video for "Into The Night" captures that same magic that I am talking about on this record.

  "Fire Within", I believe, is a brand new song recorded just for this live album, and it is a good one.  Foregoing the countryesque sound of some of their other songs here, "Fire Within" is more of a modern alternative rock song.  Once again, strong vocal command from the underappreciated Middleton is really showcased here, as well as on the next song, "Racin'", another track from The Truth EP.  Don't let the title fool you, if you are not familiar with the song, as "Racin'" is anything but a high-speed affair.  Rather, the song is a poignant ballad about the loneliness of the road and the desire for the song's protagonist to get home to his loved ones.  I was somewhat surprised the studio version of this song was not released to country radio/video outlets, as I thought it would have crossed over nicely.  

Middleton tells the crowd that "These Days" was released as a single "about a month ago", which it was as a digital single.  One of the more "electrified" tracks here, "These Days" has a definite modern-Nashville feel to the hook, but Middleton's vocals have so much more soul than pretty much anything coming out of the Country Capitol...ahem...these days...that the song really wouldn't fit in with the country scene now.  The studio version of this track can be found below...

The band digs into their catalog a bit for the next two tracks, as "Sweet Rosie" comes from the band's 2006 effort,  After The Chaos II.  A stark ballad that is basically Middleton, Hennesy, and the accordian of Gibson (along with some assorted percussion), this track features some excellent Spanish guitar work from Hennesy and the always powerful, soulful, and gritty voice of Middleton.  An excellent deep cuts track from the band, which leads nicely into one of the first tracks I ever heard from Royal Bliss, in "Crazy".  Found in two different versions on my favorite album from the band, Waiting Out The Storm, this version of "Crazy" stays true to the original, but is perhaps given a bit more urgency in the acoustic setting of this record.  Once again, the piano from Gibson is an excellent addition here, and Smith's drums pack a confident punch as it teams with Crawford's bass to provide a backbone for the rest of the song to flesh itself out across.  

Another single, "Cry Sister", from Chasing The Sun, follows next.  Starkly different than the hard-hitting rock of the studio version, this live effort has a haunting feel to it, especially with the acoustic strumming, the urgent piano line in the background, and the strong support from some great backing vocals.  Kudos to the band for not playing it safe with this one, and a big hats off to Hennesy for an inspired, powerful acoustic guitar solo here.  

Fan favorite and a single from 2008, "I Was Drunk" finds its way onto the live record next, as Middleton introduces the guest musicians and the crew, the band's sponsors, and then toasts the crowd.  Taken from the band's 2009 studio effort, Life In-Between, this track has become a staple of the band's live shows, acoustic or electric, and is generally a raucous affair live, with the crowd providing much of the backing vocals on the chorus, which they are encouraged by Middleton to do here.

More conversation from Middleton and the band members brings about a brief break before the band breaks into "Fine Wine", which Hennesy tells the crowd is the "oldest song we still play".  It is given a decidedly countrified facelift on this live acoustic record, and while the band sounds like it is having fun with it, the crowd doesn't seem to indicate it is overly familiar with it, as there isn't really any crowd interaction with the song at all.  

A hidden track, "Home" closes the record, and is basically Middleton...and the crowd...singing along to a tamborine, an acoustic guitar, and an accordian.  A fun number, it is likely "hidden", as there is really no musical quality to this song at all, as everyone seems to have enjoyed their fair share of liquid entertainment by this point, and are simply wrapping things up with the band they love.

Nothing fancy, no frills, but a lot of fun and pretty entertaining, Live @ Rigby Road captures the talent and passion of a band that more people should appreciate...and likely would appreciate, if they could get any kind of consistent label support or airplay.  I've had the opportunity to meet and interact with the guys, as well as hear them perform live, and they are incredibly talented and extremely personable and friendly with their fans.  While not really a representation of what you will hear at most Royal Bliss shows, which are generally fairly hard-edged, high-energy rock shows, Live @ Rigby Road is a nice introduction to several older songs and really gives the new fan an indication of the talent of the band and Middleton's amazing voice.

The packaging here is about as simple as it can get without being a slipcase, as this is an outside/inside cover digipack with pictures of the musicians featured on the recording, and a group photo of the band and their guests, along with some thank yous to their sponsors and some recording info.  Were my scanner not on the fritz, you would see that my copy is signed by the band, which is a cool touch. You can get YOUR OWN signed copy here, if you would like.

Rating:  I have a hard time ranking live albums, especially intimate affairs such as this one, which aren't necessarily designed to be commercial releases...but what the heck.  Crank it to 7, just to have some fun.  

Friday, September 7, 2018

LUKE EASTER "The Pop Disaster"

(c) 2018 Luke Easter

  1. Life Goes On
  2. How To Die Alone And Broken
  3. Sideways
  4. As Damaged As You Are
  5. After I'm Gone
  6. Misspent
  7. Sleep
Luke Easter--Vocals
Kris Kanoho-Rhythm & Acoustic Guitars
Josiah Prince--Lead Guitar
David Bach--Bass
Jesse Sprinkle--Drums

Additional Musicians
Timothy Gaines--Bass on 1
Odalis Mandereau--Backing Vocals on 3
Phil Piserchid--Backing Vocals on 3
Jesse Roman--Bass on 6
Chris Cortez--Drums on 6
Caleb Whang--Lead Guitar on 6
Katherine Lu--Violin on 7
Rebecca Roudman--Cello on 7

I'll admit to it; I am ALWAYS a bit wary of lead singers that leave their band behind and set off into solo album land.  I mean, this site is littered with singers who have stepped away from the band they are associated with...sometimes by choice, sometimes not...and have released solo efforts with varying degrees of success.  For every Ron Keel (Keel), there's an Austin John (Hinder), for each Tom Kiefer (Cinderella), there is also a Steven Tyler (Aerosmith).  It's a total roll of the dice, really.  Do I get Donnie Vie (Enuff Z'Nuff) or do I get Chip Z'Nuff (Enuff Z'Nuff)?  As I said before, I was skeptical.

Turns out, I had no reason to fret here.  Luke Easter more than successfully surgically excises himself from his position as the twenty-plus year frontman for prog/thrash legends, Tourniquet, and seemingly effortlessly transplants himself into a band of friends willing to allow him to explore the music that is more in line with where he has stated his heart lies.  No, there is no metal to be found on The Pop Disaster...and I mean NONE AT ALL...but there is plenty of expertly crafted, hook-laden rock that ranges from the poppier edges to the harder-yet-melodic fringes of the genre.

Enlisting some pals from such well-known Christian rock and metal bands as Guardian (Bach), Disciple (Prince), Demon Hunter (Sprinkle), and Stryper (Gaines), as well as his longtime friend, Kanoho, Easter finds himself able to express his personal musical vision, rather than the collective vision of a band.  Additionally, Easter changes his vocal approach to great degree and effect on this ELP (too long for an EP, too short for an LP...), sounding a bit like Sebastian Bach on the album's opener, "Life Goes On", while regularly utilizing a more Mike Tramp-ish style for most of the record.  To say I was surprised, and pleasantly so, would be an understatement.

The album starts off with the previously mentioned "Life Goes On", which intros with a catchy riff from Mr. Prince, and a solid hard rock rhythm driven by Sprinkle and Gaines.  Again, I was pretty surprised by the style and sound of the track when it kicks off, but not nearly as surprised as I was when I first heard Easter's edgy-yet-melodic tenor slide into the first chorus.  As I said above, his approach here is very reminiscent of Sebastian Bach here, although the performance and production is a bit poppier than anything Bach has done with Skids or as a solo artist.  The last song written for this album, "Life Goes On" is a catchy, upbeat tune with a tasty little guitar solo before the final chorus, and is one of those songs that I just seem to keep returning to time and time again.

"How To Die Alone And Broken" follows up with a fun, snarky attitude delivered by that raspy-Bach-esque vocal style atop a pop-punk rhythm that finds Sprinkle and bassist, Bach, thumping away from start to finish on easily the fastest song on the release.  I used the word "snarky" to describe the attitude of this song, which Easter describes as being about people that "choose not to be good people.  They take their loved ones for granted, they mistreat and abuse people, and eventually they end up bitter and lonely."  I think this is perfectly summed up in the excellent lyrical approach used here, with such humorous-yet-dead-on passages as:
"If I came back in a million years, Chances are you'd still be sitting here, Collecting thoughts and crafting clever speeches, Ready to pontificate at anyone who'll lend a willing ear"...


"Reality is not your strong suit, You think that if you say so, the sun won't rise.  The ones you're supposed to love the most, You turned into the victims of your self-serving lies."

"Sideways" slows things down quite a bit, utilizing Kanoho's acoustic guitar as the foundation for this mid-tempo number that finds Easter removing a bit of the snarl from his voice and drifting more into Tramp territory, and doing it exceptionally well.  I keep going back and forth on which song is my favorite on this effort, and "Sideways" is always in the top two or three.  Poignantly touching on the subject of a broken relationship, this track also finds Prince delivering an great 80s-styled guitar solo that would have felt right at home on just about any melodic rock album of the era.  This is strong songwriting at its best, incorporating both electric and acoustic elements, powerful vocals, and great production to excellent effect.  If I said this track wasn't my favorite today, ask me again tomorrow, because it very likely would be then.  I just love this song.

"As Damaged As You Are" speeds things right back up in fine fashion.  Again, far poppier than anything that Easter has ever been associated with in the past, this is a shining example of what happens when an artist finds his groove.  Confidence oozes from Easter's higher-end tenor vocals on this track, and once again, Prince delivers another retro-styled solo that is almost as far-removed from his work with Disciple as Easter's vocals are removed from Tourniquet...but it works so amazingly well!  This is the sound of a group of guys having fun in the studio, and it is exactly what I feel has been missing from the last handful of Tourniquet records, in my opinion:  fun. 

"After I'm Gone" is another guitar-driven rocker, more in an 80s radio rock vein than anything else, which is pretty cool to hear, honestly, as the song just is what it is.  No pretension clouds the song at all, its just a fun, top rolled back rock song with a cool guitar riff and a straight-forward rock rhythm.  Vocally, Easter retains that slightly raspy mid-to-upper range tenor, and echoes of Bon Jovi can be heard all across the track.  While not my favorite song, perhaps "After I'm Gone" is the one song that best represents where the project is as a whole, sitting pretty squarely in the middle of the styles and tempos of everything here.      

"Misspent" and "Sleep" are songs that Easter has carried with him for several years that finally get to see the light of day on The Pop Disaster.  "Misspent" could very easily be a later-era White Lion song and is another contender for song-of-the-album.  Much like "Sideways", "Misspent" features a lot of acoustic guitar, but the pace is definitely more uptempo than the one "Sideways" utilizes.  A wistful song about youth, "Misspent" has the best lyrics of the record, for my money, with the line "I really haven't got a clue about where the time went, There are no ready answers, but I hope that it wasn't misspent" being one that I think all of us can relate to as we move along in life, hoping that we did all we could and lived with no regrets.

"Sleep" is the most stark departure from Easter's previous gig, as the big, sweeping ballad incorporates both violin and cello in place of drums and bass...and works to great effect!  Demoed originally as a full-band mid-tempo rocker, the version of "Sleep" that finds its way onto The Pop Disaster is a thoughtful piece about putting the past behind, allowing yourself to breathe, and finding peace, and hopefully, a bit of rest...a bit of sleep.  It is a marvelous close to an overall pleasantly surprising effort.

If you go into this project expecting a bunch of medical terminology and technically over-the-top progressive thrash like early Tourniquet, or punchy, metallic crunch like later-era material from the band, you are going to be sorely disappointed.  As I stated previously, this is NOT a metal album, so if that is what you are after, steer clear.  But if you are open-minded and willing to go where Luke wants to take you, I can pretty much guarantee that The Pop Disaster is going to show you something you are going to want to return for again and again.  Do not be surprised to see this ELP in Best of 2018 lists here at Glitter2Gutter, as I fully believe it has a chance to be there come December.   

If you have a few minutes, jump over and check out an interview I did with Luke a few weeks ago, and get even more insight into the songs, the album, where he's coming from, and where he wants to go RIGHT HERE.

And the winner for most incorrectly titled album of 2018?  No question, The Pop Disaster from Luke Easter has to be RIGHT up there, as there is absolutely nothing disastrous about this effort.  A+ songwriting, a name-dropping backing band, and excellent production surround Easter on his debut solo effort, giving the former metal barker an amazing platform on which to showcase where his musical heart lies.  Here's to more...much more...from the talented vocalist and his friends!

Rating:  Definitely a cranker!  Twist 'er up to 9!