Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Forgotten Disc Friday gets a nice mention.

Boston.com has listed a group of music bloggers "worthy of your time" and I am happy to say this very blog gets a mention. See for yourself right here.

Although I don't post mp3s (mostly dude to copywrite reasons) I hope in reading some of these you go back to records you "wore out" and gave em that listen all over again.

Thanks so much for reading, clicking over etc.

Friday, August 25, 2006

FDF Volume 1 Issue 25: Miles Davis - Kind of Blue

Album - Kind of Blue
Artist - Miles Davis
Key Players - Miles Davis - trumpet, Julian "Cannonball" Adderley - alto saxophone, John Coltrane - tenor saxophone, Wynton Kelly - piano*, Bill Evans - piano, Paul Chambers - bass, Jimmy Cobb - drums
* Kelly only played on "Freddie Freeloader"

Produced by - Irving Townsend

Released: August 17, 1959

Overview - Wildly considered the greatest jazz album ever made the overview will be brief as there are multiple books on this album and recording session as well as thousands of web pages. Here is just a primer to get you started.

At this stage of his recording career Miles was working on a genre called "hard bop". It also used a term coined "modal" which had to do with altering standard scales as well as the use of major and minor keys. Miles had worked in this style a little beforehand and grew to like the direction. Kind of Blue was recorded in two sessions with little or no rehearsal at all. In the liner notes of the cd Gil Evans wrote that the band were given only brief instructions for each song and melody lines. The remarkable result was all but "Flamenco Sketches" with 2 false starts all the songs were completed on the first take.

FDF Comment (aka the songs)- The nice part of about jazz is often times its open to interpretation.

The swooping bass line intros "So What" and than does a synchronized baaa bap baa bap. After a few bars of this the cymbal crash signals Miles first lead. The sax solo in the latter part of "Freddy Freeloader" is just a flawless moment in time. The band keeps a rock solid back beat and the solo just seems to go, but with a direction. "Blue in Green" you really hear the muted horn that defines the sound of Miles Davis. "All Blues" begins with a brush on the drums and work on the piano before both saxophones come in playing the same series of notes. The drawn out muted sound of the trumpet gives the queues of both a change in direction as well as the feel for where to get louder. "Flamenco Sketches" wraps up the original version of the album. The bass intro, a light fill on the piano and then Miles. He hits a high note in the first minute or so that will get your attention no matter what you are doing. John Coltrane solos on what would really be a prelude of what was coming, him going out as a solo artist/band leader.

Where are they now? Jimmy Cobb is the only surviving members of the Kind of Blue sessions. He still drums in Jimmy Cobb's Mob and lives in New York City.
Miles died on September 21, 1991 of a stroke. He was 65. Cannonball died on August 8, 1975. He also died of a stroke. John Coltrane died on July 17, 1967. He died of liver cancer but fought heroin addiction and alcoholism thru most of his life. Wynton Kelly died on April 12, 1971. Bill Evans died on September 15, 1980. Evans battled drugs most of his life and ultimately died of pneumonia. Paul Chambers died on January 4, 1969 A hard drinker and frequent drug user, Chambers died from tuberculosis.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the live experience) - fortunately I did see Miles Davis live. It was September 2, 1990 at Tanglewood. Of the hundreds of live shows I have attended this one is the easiest to recall "little moments" as well as having it placed in a top 10 list of live shows of all time. There are a fair amount of live Miles Davis DVDs available to fans, and new comers of his material. The DVD Live in Paris gives you a glimpse to the later years of a live Miles show.

FDF Overall Take - The album was released over 40 years ago and fans still flock to this record. It is rumored to be selling, still, 5,000 copies a week. If you are looking for an intro to Miles, or jazz for that matter this is a wonderful introduction and you will thank FDF later.


Friday, August 18, 2006

FDF Takes a week off.

The massive staff here at FDF is taking a late summer break. There will be new content next week and we hope you will return. Feel free to comb the archives and as always thank you for stopping over.

Friday, August 11, 2006

FDF Volume 1 Issue 24: Jane's Addiction - Nothing's Shocking

Album - Nothing's Shocking
Artist - Janes Addiction
Key Players - Perry Farrell (vocals), Dave Navarro (guitars), Eric Avery (bass), Stephen Perkins (drums, percussion)
Produced By - Dave Jerden and Perry Farrell

Released - August 23, 1988 (cd version in october of 1990)

Overview: Janes Addiction was formed in the summer of 1985. Perry Farrell had a band that was in need of a bassplayer and he was introduced to Eric Avery. That band never played a single live gig but in the mean time Avery's sister introduced the band to drummer Stephen Perkins. Perkins in turn suggested his fellow bandmate Dave Navarro join this "new band". Dubbed Jane's Addiction for a junkie roommate of Farrells the band would go on to release only two studio albums and forever change "alternative" music. Farrell would become a household name when he created the popular Lollapalooza festival. The inaugural jaunt of this festival would be the bands "farewell tour" in this incarnation. Internal strife as well as drug abuse led to the bands break up. In 1997 the band reformed for the "Relapse" tour but Avery chose to not join the band. A few years later the band re-formed, again, without Avery to record "Strays". The band would spend 2003 on tour to promote the record and headline the resurrected Lollapalooza festival. Following this tour the band broke up again. Navarro claimed for the same reasons as back in 1991.

FDF Comments (aka the songs): "Up the Beach" starts off the record with Eric A giving a simple yet melodic bassline. After a few bars the band drops in hard. The song, having little lyrics at all, is pretty close to the feeling you'd get when you hear the music from 2001: A Space Odyssey. "Ocean Size" may fool you with some acoustic guitars in the intro and Farrell cooing, until he counts off "THEE FIIIIIIIVE" again the band hammers down hard. "Had a Dad",
"Ted, Just Admit it" once again is a song that features a strong, swooping bassline from Avery. The song is about serial killer Ted Bundy. The final chorus of the song bemoans "Sex is violence". This is also the song from which the album title is derived. "Standing in the Shower..thinking" follows and seems to be a little more of a light hearted affair. The line "standing in the shower thinking about what makes a man" let you in to the sometimes over analyzing Perry Farrell. A strong point to this record on a big level is they were not afraid to put bass high up in the mix, and out front. "Summertime Rolls" is yet another song that gets its start from Eric A. The song grows and grows all the while you can hear the punchy bottom bass by Eric. After reaching a musical peak the band mellows it back out and the song ends the same way it started. As you are lulled to rest the chugging intro to "Mountain Song" kicks it in to high gear once again. Navarro uses buzz saw like guitar riffs and we "jump out of our flesh" and we also "Cash in now baybeee". "Idiots Rule" is a very strong song on the record. The band uses the a horn section that features Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers on trumpet and Angelo Moore from Fishbone on Saxophone. Navarro shines on this song with a solo that seems to last the whole song but not over take the overall vibe of the song. Avery slaps the bass with a signature sound from bassist at this time. The next two tracks "Jane Says" and "Pigs in Zen" had appeared on the bands previous live album. "Jane Says" probably the most well known of Jane's Addictions song and the steel drums were really a unique twist at the time. The almost silly filler "Thank you boys" is a jazzy swing song that you can tap your toes and snap your fingers to but it really is here to just fill out space. Feel free to hit the next track button. "Pigs in Zen" which was a "cd only bonus track" at the time of the initial release (remember those perks?). Perry was quoted (from Dave Thomspons book):
"I read the Gita, I read Black Magic Crowley, the Bible, anything I could get my hands on. If you want to talk about reaching nirvana, reaching Zen, well, the pig is closer than we are because the pig doesn't have material possessions. He fucks when he wants to, he eats when he's hungry, and he sleeps when he's tired. That's the whole point of Zen. That's exactly what pigs do... so, 'Pigs in Zen.'" one only needs to see the lyrics to see what he was getting at:

pigs in the mud/when he tires/pigs in zen/pigs in zen
pig is nude/unashamed/pig's in zen/pig's in zen
talkin' bout the pig /the pig
the pig - uh /pa-pa-pa-pa-pig
goddamn pig!
pig mounts sow /when he's wound
pig's in zen /pig's in zen
pig eats shit /but only when he hungers
pig's in zen /pig's in zen
talkin' bout the pig
the pig/the pig - uh
goddamn pig
it looks silly in print but this song is a perfect closer to this record. After a spoken word interlude the bands storms back in to close it out on a high note.

Where are they now? After Jane' Addiction broke up the first time all the members kept busy. Farrell and Perkins formed Porno For Pyros. Navarro and Avery formed Deconstruction.

Perry Farrell has done some DJ work, worked to get the credibility of the Lollapalooza name back. He is also working with a new project called "The Satellite Party" with former Extreme guitarist Nuno Bettencourt and the bass player from No Doubt, Tony Kanal.

Eric Avery has enjoyed not being in Jane's Addiction. He did audition to be the bassplayer for Metallica, dated Alanis Morissette and has started a new side project called Polar Bear. Rumors have it, he may be the new bass player for the Smashing Pumpkins.

Stephen Perkins has worked with a band "Banyan" which has released 3 albums to date.

Dave Navarro played and toured with the Red Hot Chili Peppers for the One Hot Minute album. He released a solo album. He had a reality TV show on MTV with his (now ex wife) Carmen Electra as well as other stints on TV for "Rock Star INXS". He is rarely seen with a shirt on. He as a project in the works now called "The Panic Channel". The project is streaming (at least as of aug 2006)

FDF Comments (aka the live experience): This reviewer saw the band live on two occasions, both Lollapalooza sets. The first was August 9, 1991. This was the first year of the tour and it was an incredible day. I recall the go-go dancers, the wild stage antics and some girl at the conclusion of the show busting up on stage and flat out mauling Navarro. They made out for what seemed like ages and he took her off stage with him. The second time was on the second wave of the touring version of Lollapalooza July 25, 2003. The band was headlining once more and the set was so in your face if memory serves me correct it was Stop!->Mtn Song->been Caught stealing->Ain't No Right etc..it was just one hammer after another.

FDF Overall Take: This album always makes 2 important lists. Best albums of all time, and best album art. The band defined a new sound and a vision for the bands from L.A. at the time (if it was not this it was metal). Jane's Addiction added something new to a listless and roaming music scene. The early 90's owes so very much to this band.

Friday, August 04, 2006

FDF Volume 1 Issue 23: The Smiths - The Queen is Dead

Album - The Queen is Dead
Artist - The Smiths
Key Players - Morrissey - vocals, Johnny Marr - guitars, flute arrangements, harmonium. Andy Rourke - bass, Mike Joyce - drums.
Produced by - Morrissey and Marr

Released - June 23, 1986 (in the USA)

Overview - The Smiths were active from 82 to 87. Regarded as one of the most successful indie bands from the UK it is actually surprising to learn the band only had 3 hit singles and one was a re-issue. Adored for Morriseys witty lyrics and the musical competence of Marr the band has influenced just about every indie UK band since. Morrissey and Marr formed the band in 1982 in Manchester England. Steven Patrick Morrissey (a name he never uses) and Johnny Maher (changed to Marr to avoid confusion with the Buzzcocks drummer) had Dale Hibbert on bass after a short audition (later replaced after 2 gigs by a Rourke, a friend of Marr's.) The origin of the bands name is unknown barring a slight indication from Morrissey in an 1984 interview where he claimed "The Smiths" was a most ordinary name. They released some material in 1983 but in 1984 their first full length came out. Around this time one of the most well known Smiths songs "How Soon is Now" was released on a b'side. "Meat is Murder" followed in 1985 and the band was getting a more political voice. At this time Morrissey said that at no time should a member of this band be photographed eating meat. "How Soon is Now" was featured on later releases of the record. It was the bands only UK #1 album. Morrissey berated the Thatcher administration further adding to the angst around the band. During 1985 the band toured extensively and worked on The Queen is Dead. Things were not going the best for the band. Due to legal issues the album was delayed (by 7 months). Marr said that the tour schedule was killing him (he was drinking) and Rourke was booted from the band in 1986 for heroin problems. He found out he was out of the band via a post it note left on his car windshield. He was reinstated in the band but the replacement bassist Craig Gannon moved to guitar making the band a 5 piece but by the end of 86 Gannon was fired. The band would release one final studio album "Strangeways, Here we Come" which was not a big hit with the critics but the band members all agree it is their favorite. By the time this record was released though Marr had left the group. Accolades for The Queens is Dead roll in, and it has found its was on to "best of all time" lists both in the UK and here in America. In June of 2006 NME dedicated almost a full issue to this record.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - The album opens with a spoken word segment on "The Queen is Dead/Take me Back to Dear Old Blighty medley". Morrissey loved 60's cinema (The album cover was designed by Morrissey, and features Alain Delon from the 1964 film L'insoumis). According to Marr the vocals for "I know It's Over" were done in a single take. "cemetery Gates" was a response from Morrissey to his critics who claimed he had used the text from some of his favorite authors. Oscar Wilde once said "Talent borrows, genius steals" and Morrissey agreed. "Bigmouth Strikes Again" was the lead off single for the record. Since the album was tied up in legal issues Marr wanted the first single to be a bombastic return. Morrissey is in terrific on the chorus' to this song. Somehow he gets away with a line "Bigmouth ho ho ha ha" and makes it not sound completely silly. "The Boy With Thorn in his Side"
any psychiatrist would like to have a go with this one. "There is a light that never goes out" might be the one single song that represents the Smiths, both in sound and lyrically. "Some Girls are Bigger than Others" closes out the record on a rousing note. and as a side note was only performed live one time which turned out to be the bands final show ever December 12, 1986

Where are they now? Morrissey has gone on to release solo albums. Johnny Marr worked with Bernie from New Order to do "Electronic" a band that has released three records. He also has a project called Johnny Marr and the Healers. At this time Marr is also working with Modest Mouse on their forth coming release.
Andy Rourke and Mike Joyce have continued working together, they also worked with Morrissey as session musicians, as well as Sinead O'Connor. Rourke is now in a "supergroup" called Freebass with members of New Order, Primal Scream, Stone Roses. He also works for XFM radio in Manchester.

In March of 2006 the band was offered 5 Million to re-form for the Cochella Music and Arts Festival, they turned it down.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the live experience) - This reviewer never saw the band live. There is a live cd "Rank". At this time there is no live concert DVD of the band only a collection of videos. The last chance I would have had was in August of 86. In doing some research some shows were cut short due to "stage invasions" by overzealous fans. Morrissey would tear off his shirt and toss it in to the crowd as well.

FDF Overall Take - Like most of the albums reviewed they are often one of the first I heard or was suggested to get. When purchased on cassette tape i'd listen to side 2 over and over (not that side one was bad mind you). The accolades are right on. This really is one of the better records to come out in the 1980's. You probably hated a fan of them at the time and not the band, check this one out for tracks 5-10 alone.