Thursday, March 30, 2006

FDF Volume 1 Issue 2: Orange 9mm Driver*

Album - Driver* Not Included
Artist - Orange 9mm
Key Players - Chaka Malik- vocals, Chris Traynor- guitars, Matthew Cross -drums, Davide Gentile - bass
Produced by - Dave Jerden

Released Feb 28, 1995 by Atlantic Records.

Overview. This was the first major label record for Orange 9mm. An early ep had wow'd the record execs and, Chaka, who had worked with the band "Burn" was ready to take the rock world by storm. In the days before the internet if you wanted to find out about new music you'd have to do some research, even if you lived in a large population. FDF was lucky to subscribe to CMJ New Music Monthly. One issue arrived and on the "metal' page there was a review for this very album. In closing it said "This band out rages Rage Against the Machine". Those were some strong words and I wanted to see badly how far off the reviewer was. Honestly not far off at all. Musically both bands have similarities, four members, angry fast lyrics, but O9mm were a lot less political. So if you wanted to take the education out of rock (not dumbing them down at all) Orange 9mm was the way to go. With the some funk, and metal it was the pre-cursor of the rap-metal thing we all got inundated with in the late 90s.

FDF Comments. The dozen songs that make up this record all pack a very heavy punch. From the opening riff/drum intro on 'Glistening'. The hi-hat intro on "Pissed" will have you looking for something to push over. The final track is called "Cutting and Draining" and the bass is so up and in your face with a whack-a-whacka guitar chop backing it up that when the chorus arrives you have your head and fists waving so hard you look like a fool. 90% of these songs need to be played at sporting events.

Where are they now. After this record the band released 2 more full lengths and an ep but the constant rotation of band members made it hard to continue. Soon after the band split Chaka went back and sang with Burn, but that only lasted another record. A recent search of the web found that Chaka is doing some DJ'ing in New York City and working on new music. For his DJ stuff you can check here
and for his music he has a myspace page with some stuff here

Chris Traynor played on the follow up to Driver but never toured on that. He joined Helmet for the Aftertaste record and tour and then joined Bush.

Matthew Cross, FDF was unable to find anything current on Matt. I had the chance to meet him a few times and he was always a perfect gentleman. .This is an article I found on Matt and drumming

Davide Gentile only played and toured on this record. Again, nothing other than a blurb on him producing records now is all I could find.

FDF's personal experience with the band - The very first time FDF saw O9mm was opening for Ned's Atomic Dustbin at Lupos Heartbreak Hotel in Providence Rhode Island. When the band completed the set the crowd was so ravenous they all but demanded an encore. The band obliged, plugged back in and rocked the living piss out of the place. Thus began a love affair with them. They toured CONSTANTLY it seemed for 3-4 years and FDF saw them with such acts as Downset, The Deftones and many others. All told FDF counts seeing Orange 9mm live 11 times. The final few shows I saw them I actually taped their shows, wish I had a rig earlier. Chaka and Matthew even grew to know me by name I showed my ugly mug so much at their shows.

FDF Overall Take - This really is a "hidden gem" of a record. If you are looking for the soundtrack to a speeding ticket look no further. I have seen this used on Amazon for less than $2.00. Do you ears and anger a favor and click on "buy now".

Thursday, March 23, 2006

FDF Volume 1 Issue 1: Nirvana - In Utero

Album - In Utero
Artist - Nirvana
Key players -Kurt Cobain, Krist Novoselic, Dave Grohl
Produced by Steve Albini

For the first in a weekly series I will go with In Utero from Nirvana. This record followed up the massive "Nevermind" cd and was released on September 21, 1993 (the vinyl version was released the week before). The album was recorded in about 2 weeks for $24,000. Kurt has been quoted as saying it was the easiest recording process the band had ever done. The end result was the bands second major label release for Geffen and there was some controversy on the record from the get go. Rumors that Geffen was unhappy with the product and Scott Litt was brought in to "pop up" some songs. When the album did come out there was issue with the cover art, and the song Rape Me. The song title was edited for chain store sales. The band felt this was okay as Midwestern America may not have any other choice than K-Mart or Wal-Mart to buy cds. The song lyrics were not changed.

FDF's comments: (shying away from track by track review)
Serve the Servants - The opening line says it all "Teenage angst has paid off, now I'm bored and old". The band coming off massive success with Nevermind had more money and popularity than they'd ever expect.

Heart Shaped Box - this was the lead off single for the record and it was one of the songs that was "redone" by producer Scott Litt. The song, if anyone needed to be reminded, showcases the heaviness the band brought on their previous efforts, but under a lot more polished studio sound.

Rape Me - probably one of the most played songs from this record on radio to this day (at least in Boston). Cobain has said its an "anti rape" song. The drums on this track hold the song together. The guitar solo break down, but heavy handedness during the chorus show the give and take of this song.

Dumb - this is one of the first times I heard the expression "Quiet is the new Loud".

Pennyroyal Tea - the biggest memory I have of this song personally is Hole performing it during Lollapalooza one year.

All Apologies - When done on MTV Unplugged viewers were treated to such a hauntingly beautiful song.

Where are they now? After Kurt committed suicide the band folded. Bassist Krist Novoselic has had a few side projects come and go. Dave went on to form the Foo Fighters and has worked with Beck, Tenacious D and Queens of the Stone Age to name but a few.

FDF's overall take:
There are dozens if not hundreds of fan sites and information on this record and Nirvana. You can get song meanings, you can figure out what the symbols mean on the back of In Utero. All that if you just put the cd on overall its still a very strong record from a band thrust even further into the lime light. Most folks that have nevermind, have this and for good reason.

Friday, March 17, 2006

What is this??

Each week, myself as well as (at least right now one blogger) will go into our vast cd libaries, blow the dust off the case and give it a much needed front to back listen. As noted in the header, we tend to load a cd on to our ipods and then just store the cd and then the song(s) come up in a shuffle mode.

Being music geeks (and geeks in other ways) we wanted to post.

Anyone that wants to add something drop a note in the comment and we can post your review as well.

First installment..well next friday.