Thursday, February 22, 2007

FDF Volume 1: Issue 46: Stevie Wonder - Innervisions

Album - Innervisions
Artist - Stevie Wonder
Key Players - Stevie Wonder (he pretty much did it all on all the tracks) a few others may have sung backup, or done some bass work but this was pretty much Stevie top to bottom.
Produced By - Stevie Wonder

Release Date - August 3, 1973

What caused me to blow off the dust?
- Part of the reason was to diversify this site...and cater to more broad readership. There were a few of his records that I could have done but this one seemed to be the one from "around this time of Stevies work" that I grabbed the it won by default.

Overview - During this period Stevie was giving James Brown a run as the hardest working man in showbiz. This was his third release (of a series of 5) that are heralded as his finest period. He was releasing about 1 album per year at this point and each was as good, if not better than the one before it. This particular album would win some Grammy Awards including album of the year in 1974. Rolling Stone also voted it as the #23 of the 500 Best Albums of all time in a 2003 issue.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - The moog synthesizer heavy "Too High" begins the cd. The ride cymbal is heavily used and the slow, yet deeply funky track pulls you in. A track about drugs the lyrics speak of the dangers without being too obvious. "Visions" is a mellow track with almost swooping "jazz" guitar parts. There is a tad bit of Flamenco style guitar playing. "Living for the City" is really the first track on this album folks would identify as the "classic Stevie sound". A simple yet driving drum line with electric piano filtered over the top of the track. During the song there is a spoken word interlude that tells the story of a young man moving to the city and then getting framed for drugs. As vital a social commentary today as it was in 1973. "Golden Lady" opening with a swooping bass line and piano Stevie sings of love. The track is very strongly produced in that you can hear each of the instruments almost in front of one another without losing overall sound. "Higher Ground" probably the most known track of this album the organ/synth intro will get your groove on quick. Its got a bubbly bouncy keyboard line and it has a fantastic funk feel. "Jesus Children of America" follows and Stevie starts off singing in a low almost dark tone. The music is funk but his delivery of the vocals actually overshadows the track until he reaches the end of the first verse. "All in Love Is Fair" this particular track really showcases Stevies vocal abilities and range. "Don't You Worry 'bout a Thing" has a Latin feel to it. If you have listened to any recent Santana records you'd pretty much think most of the ideas were borrowed from each other. You can't say stolen as they were both writing and recording at the same time. "He's Misstra Know It All" is a track written as an attack on President Nixon. Unlike artists today the song, a protest song, is sung calmly yet with loads of passion. One need not scream to have us hear you.

As a side note while looking into all this I found a web page that contains a masters thesis (all 296 pages) on selections from this record. Check it out here if you so desire.

Where are they now? - Stevie is still making music today. He has won 22 Grammy awards (dating back to 1974) and won a Grammy in 2007 for "Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals". He won this award with Tony Bennett. For some reason tours seem to elude Stevie but he will perform live at the Super Bowl or awards ceremonies. Stevies official site has not been updated since May of 2006.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience)
- One of the few artists left that I feel I "need" to see live. Although I'd get a smattering of the old funk glory days those few moments would blow away the "soft rock" stuff that Stevie seemed to be doing in recent years.

FDF Overall Take - In all honesty if one needs to be told of his impact on music across the board we have a long LONG way to go. 90% of Stevies cds are less than $10.00 and any of this run from Music of My Mind right thru Songs in the Key of Life you really can't go wrong. Bag the Starbucks 4.00 coffees for 3 days and thank me on Thursday.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC! Note that Mp3s are usually taken down the following Thursday before 12noon ET. I do this to make sure I have room for the next weeks installment. So act fast.

***All MP3's are now removed****

He's Misstra Know-It-All
Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing
Higher Ground I just *had to*

All three songs/version taken from the studio release of "Innervisions". If you like/love it..need to have it
here is a place you can buy it.

This weeks bonus download...

Stevie Wonder Live at the Rainbow Theater, London England February 24, 1974

Contusion con't drum solo
Jam/Vocal Jam
Higher Ground
To Know you is to Love you
Signed Sealed Delivered I'm Yours
Stevie Speak->Visions
Stevie improv
You are the Sunshine of my Life intro
You are the Sunshine of My Life
Lot of My Dreams

Some notes - I am not sure how "in order" my cd copy was but this is how it laid out. It would be adventurous for any artist to start off a set w/2+ "instrumental" jam tracks. The "jam tracks" are the band as you'd imagine "jamming". The vocal jam and Stevie speak are what you'd think. Superstition is cool as it is a "hornless" version. The horn parts are sung at various points.

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.

Friday, February 16, 2007

FDF Volume 1: Issue 45: The Stone Roses - Second Coming

Album - Second Coming
Artist - The Stone Roses
Key Players - Ian Brown - lead vocals, John Squire - guitar/backing vocals, Mani (Gary Mounfield) - bass, Reni (Alan Wren) - drums/backing vocals
Produced By - Simon Dawson and Paul Schroeder

Release Date - early 1995 (January) in the US.

What caused me to blow off the dust?
- Found myself singing the guitar part of "Love Spreads" and decided it was time to give this record another spin.

Overview - This album came out a full five years after their landmark debut album. After some legal tie ups this album saw the light of day in the fall of 1994 in the UK and early 95 in the US. There was a lot of pressure since the bands first was seen as such a ground breaking release. It made dozens of best of list that year as well as still finding its way on to some of the "greatest albums ever made" lists. Out of the gate the critics were somewhat "blah" on the record but over time the voices of the fans seemed to ring true, this was on par with the debut, and it some eyes, better than the first. Sadly this was it as far as studio albums. The band gets a funny mention in the film Shaun of the Dead in which the characters toss albums at the zombies but Shaun can't bring himself to toss this record at them...he apologizes for his liking of the record as well.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - The almost "too long for its own good" track "Breaking Into Heaven" begins the album. It clocks in at over 11 minutes and the first part is water running, birds chirping, you name it. Once its gets going its a wonderfully "broad" song. The drums are simple yet punctuated. The bass line swoops in and holds down a steady groove. The guitar can solo here and there and not be "overdone". Once into the track its easy to see why the band went with this as the lead off. Not only is the payoff for hanging on well worth it you are dying for more as the track fades. "Driving South" has more a heavier overall sound. Squire lays down a great lead and the drums, although in a simple four four time hammer the tune along. A slight effect on Ian's vocals add a subtle faintness. By the second track you can see where egos could clash. For a band that seems so "basic" the musicians are flawless. This is the first of "many" tracks in which Squire shines. Each brings a strong influence but each holds their place. "Ten Storey Love Song" was a single released to US radio. Although a catchy song its not "faster" or "slower" than any other track. At the time it was probably one of the easier Stone Roses songs for radio stations to add to their play list and still sound hip. Its not very long and has that great "Manchester" sound so many stations loved to talk about at the time. "Daybreak" fades right up out of love song. Mani holds the court on the intro as his bass playing swoops in. The bass is not flashy but "right there" and Reni feeds off the groove. The track ends on some great guitar work by Squire. In under three minutes "Your Star Will Shine" comes and goes. This is the prefect part of the record for an acoustic interlude. "Straight To the Man" begins with some light congas drums and has a light feel to it. "Begging You" is a great great track. Its got a little more a fast techno drum beat and the guitars are put on a cool loop delay. One of the standouts on the record for sure. "Tightrope" is a far more mellow affair than Begging you. Again more "ooh-ahh" vocals and light percussion work. Squire takes to the acoustic guitar once more on the track. It translates okay to an "acoustic" portion of a live show. "Good Times" follows and Squire is just amazing on this track. Its a full guitar lead while Mani provides a great swooping bass line. The last 1:30 of the track Squire just goes off. Its not this super flashy solo but its one of the better ones you'll lay your ears on. "Tears" begins with acoustic guitar and harmonica. Ian unloads the trademark howl on this particular track and about half way into the song the band just opens up. The drums come crashing in and the band settles in to a strong groove. "How Do You Sleep" keeps with the sound we have grown to either love or dislike about the Stone Roses. "Love Spreads" will lead you to believe this is the end of the record (we will get to that in a moment). Released as a single from the album in the US Squires guitar work is right at the front once again. The radio edit strips some of the guitar work but once more Squire shines. This might be the only Stone Roses songs causal fans might be able to pinpoint as hearing before. It sums up their overall sound perfectly and would wrap the record up on a tight note. The band is nice enough to include a hidden track but it is buried (depending on your player etc) at about track 90. There are dozens of tracks that clock in at 4 seconds. Buried is the song often referred to as "The Foz". Some might say there is a reason it was hidden. It sounds like an out of tune jam honestly. You are missing zero on this one. Then we wrap it up w/more silent tracks. If you ever load this on your iTunes be sure to do some major "unchecking" before making the move.

Where are they now? - Reni left the band in March of 1995 and went on to form a band called "The Rub". Rumor has it now that he is working on a solo album. John Squire left the band in April of 1996. He went on to form the Seahorses who released just one album before breaking up. He has since release two solo albums. Mani joined Primal Scream in 1998. Ian Brown has released a four solo albums and has toured for each released. US audiences don't seem to care much for his solo efforts.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - The Stone Roses were a massive live band overseas but they were once quoted when asked "why haven't you toured the US yet" the response was "America is Not ready for us". Also they were asked to open for the Rolling Stones, to which they responded "They can open for us!". That being said the one and only tour the Stone Roses did of the US landed in Boston on May 21, 1995. I recall snatching up 6 or more tickets and when the night of the show came I went with my older brother (who wanted to go mind you) but all the other guys that wanted to go decided to go get drunk that weekend. It was a loud and smoke filled show...but..the band was off. There is a bootleg around from this very show (its this weeks special down load) but read the comments about it here. Funny thing is they graded it an "A" sound..but that is pushing it as well.

FDF Overall Takee - The UK Press felt let down on this album but some feel this is better than the debut. What is amazing is that when you really look at it, this band released just two studio albums that were pretty great. In this day and age with bands re-forming some can only hope to see the band have a go at it once more. Either the debut or this release you'd not be ashamed to have in your collection, and frankly you should have one of them. Second coming is forgotten no more..well for now.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC! (All MP3's removed Thursday Feb 22nd 1030am ET)

Begging You Taken from "Second Coming"

Good Times Taken from "Second Coming". The guitar work on this tune rules.

One of the many places you can purchase this full length cd is right here

This weeks Bonus.
Stone Roses LIVE in Boston - Avalon Ballroom May 21, 1995
*note I did not tape this show.

I Wanna Be Adored
Ten Storey Love Song
Your Star Will Shine
Tightrope/Elizabeth My Dear * 2songs on to a single track
I Am the Resurrection
Good Times
Love Spreads
Made of Stone
Driving South

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.

Friday, February 09, 2007

FDF Volume 1: Issue 45: Ministry - The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste

Album - The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste
Artist - Ministry
Key Players - Alian "Al" Jourgensen - vocals/guitar, Paul Barker - bass/programming, Chris Connelly -guest vocals on tracks 3-5, William Rieflin-drums.
Produced By - Hypo Luxa, Hermes Pan otherwise known as Al Jourgensen and Paul Barker

Release Date - November 1989

What caused me to blow off the dust? - Nothing in particular had me pull this particular record out. Sometimes when I look I try to do an FDF on a less obvious choice. Remember the idea is that you forget as a whole how a record is, not that it is/was a great record but something that you liked and maybe forgot about some.

Overview - Ministry have been making some of the heaviest industrial music since the late 1980's. During that time with various side projects and a revolving door of members Ministry have made the loudest and longest lasting impact on the genre. Ministry was more a pop/dance band in the early years. Following the release of "The Land of Rape and Honey" this particular release would continue to lock the band into a driving (and grinding) band.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - Opening with the sample laden "Thieves" you are quickly brought up to speed what is in store. Many of the samples taken from this track come from "Full Metal Jacket". At the end you will hear R.Lee Eremy's character (Gny. Sgt. Hartman) shout "I can't hear you...I STILL Can't hear you" It fits perfectly with the mix. Including lines like "get up..get on your feet" and "Pray". "Burning Inside" follows and after a few moments of a slow up build the drum line comes at you like a punching bag. Its what some could call "simple time' but its pretty much in your face. The guitars grind down and Jourgensen brings in his screaming vocals (with heavy effect mind you). The music is just pummelling at this point..its being ground down hard and fast. By the time the band reaches the chours you'd be exhausted if you were trying to dance along (which many do). "Never Believe" has almost a slight "Depeche Mode" poppy intro, but that is quickly aborted in favor of the grind you either love at this point or you've long shut off. This is the first of three songs on the album that Chris Connelly takes over the lead vocal duties. Although the same growl can be heard it offers a slight deviation from what Jourgensen gives. Its not a wild deviation but its somehow refreshing. "Cannibal Song" has a lot slower field and is more bass guitar lead. The vocal delivery is reminiscent of early Public Image Limited as well. "Breathe" is also a heavily sampled song and during the intro its almost as if you hear Indian Music and some drum stick clacks off the rim of the snare and then all of a sudden..look out ..the drums come hammering in. When the band toured for this record they had two drummers perform live and you get that feel RIGHT away on this. Jorgensen screaming "BREEEEEEEATHE" as the distorted guitars and pounding bass drive this one home sonically. "So What" is the longest tune on the album at just over 8 minutes. It takes some to get going but this is probably the real staple from this record. The payoff is well worth it. The song itself has a swooping bassline and some tightly picked guitar work over the top. After a bit of vocal samples Rieflin hammers down on the floor toms and the band erupts. The track is the most aggressively sung track on the record. Even though there are interludes, and musical breakdowns (not in the playing but in speed) when it comes time to sing you are brought back to full attention. "Test" is a different track for sure. It almost a "rap" tune. The music is true to the form of Ministry but the lyrics are more what the listener would call a very heave rap track. The vocals were done by "The Grand Wizard" aka K.Lite. "Faith Collapsing" starts off with a slow sampled count off and the bass holds this track down. The tribal sounding drums are accented with various samples. "Dream Song" concludes the album. This track as a cd exclusive (remember cds were not the dominate format at the time). The song is not really the best way to close out such a brutal album but some might say it adds a good subtle twist being slightly slower than the other tracks with some female "chanting" and a more "world" music feel.

Where are they now? - Ministry continue as a band to this day with Al Jourgensen as the sole constant member. Al has has a "rough" go some might say. He has/had battled heroin, cocaine and alcohol addiction and in 2001 was bitten by a venomous spider that almost resulted in the removal of his arm. Al maintains that since this bite he has been "sober" since 2003. Chris Connelly left the band around the time of this release. He continues with multiple other projects. In 2003 Paul Barker left Ministry to pursue other interests. In recent months there has been speculation that 2007 will be the last year for a Ministry release and tour. Ministry's "Lieslieslies" from 2006's Rio Grande Blood is nominated for Best Metal Performance as well.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - Ministry puts on one hell of a live show as I bore witness to, on two occasions. The first was August 7, 1992 as part of the Lollapaloosa tour. In this year the venue (know known as the Tweeter Center) played host and during Ministrys early evening set concert attendees in the lawn section tore up sheets of sod as well as tore down the back fence to make massive bonefires. The first of two nights (I was at night 1) was bad enough and rumor has is the second night was even worse. It was so bad that Lollapaloosa was not invited back to the venue until 1995. The band themselves were amazing, and amazingly loud. The second time was in a club setting. That was April 19, 1996. Again the band tore thru a blistering (and louder that hell) set. There have been a few occasions to see them since but part of me wonders if it will ever be "the same".

To experience this first hand check out the live cd that went along with this tour called "In Case you didn't feel like showing up". There was a concert VHS of this as well that carried the same title. It has yet to be released on DVD. One cool thing was on this very tour to keep stage divers off the stage the band erected a chain link fence from floor to ceiling (well in theory). The band would perform as overzealous crowd members would scale the fence to then "jump back down" in to the audience. A few years back "Wax Trax" label had a compilation released and inside was a form you could fill out, mail back and get a "piece of the fence".

FDF Overall Take - This is not for me. Those that like this, and music of its genre like it for what it is. Fast, in your face and even a tad over the top.
This was a start of huge barrage of very heavy music that was not quite dance not quite alternative. The next few releases for the band would see them grow in popularity and album sales but the novelty wore off. The band has been dropped from Warner Brothers and seen a lot of members come and go. That being said they are one of the most politically active bands (for better or worse) and they LOATHE George W. Bush so if you are a fan of his be careful they have something to tell you. This was "earlier" Minstry and political stuff is there but if you can decipher the lyrics over the pummelling music let me know. If you are looking to get some aggression out (or drive really freaking fast) toss this on and strap in.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC! ***MP3 links are now dead 2/15/07 12:20 ET***

Breathe taken from The Mind is...
Burning Inside taken from The Mind is...

Need more??? Ministry Live (yeah they can pull it off live).

The Missing/Deity
Psalm 69
Just one Fix
TV Song
So What

This set was recorded December 27, 1992 at the Universal Amp in Los Angeles CA. The band was on tour for Psalm 69 at the time. Even if this is "really not your bag" check out "Supernaut" its a cover of the Black Sabbath tune. This set is from a "liberated bootleg" called "Kill for Kicks"

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.

Friday, February 02, 2007

FDF Volume 1 Issue 44: doves - Lost Souls

Album - Lost Souls
Artist - doves
Key Players - Jez Williams - (guitar/vocals) Andy Williams - (drums/vocals) Jimi Goodwin - (lead vocals, bass, guitar).
Produced By - Steve Osborne and doves.

Release Date - April 4, 2000

What caused me to blow off the dust? - Not even really sure. The other day I was scanning the cds looking for a cd to loan a friend and I went past some doves cds and decided it was time to blow the proverbial dust off.

Overview - The band orginally formed as a techno/dance band in 1991 called "Sub Sub". After a little success in the UK the band lost all its gear in a studio fire and decided to go more in a rock direction. After releasing a few eps this was the first full length from the band. This record would be nominated for the Mercury Music Prize,but in the end, they lost to Badly Drawn Boy.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) "Firesuite" starts off the record being a totally vocal free track. Slow swooping keyboards, some guitar picks rubbed over strings and then the band begins with a simple 4x4 back beat to start the track. There are one or two instrumental breaks during the track to let in some ambient fills. "Here It Comes" follows and has a strong drum beat with a hard pounding, yet simple, piano part. On the record and live Andy takes the lead vocal duties on this track. Its a great "real" first track to the album. "Break Me Gently" begins again with acoustic guitars and some odd vocal effects but overall the song swells and grows on the listener. Although it never seems to break from the vocal effect its a wonderful track. "Sea Song" follows and it one of the longer tracks on the record. Using acoustic guitar and piano before coming in as a full band the overall vibe is strong. The band, although laid back some might feel, lay a solid base to work from. "Rise" has one of the cooler intros to a track on this album. Its a combination of bass and keyboards. Its a little hard to describe. Once again the band utilizes some odd vocal effects but its seems to "work". Towards there end there is some chiming guitar work but its not up in your face. It all ends the same way it began with the bass/keyboard loop. "Lost Souls" follows. It appears the band must hav gotten a deal to use this effect on the vocals at is appears again on this track. A strong acoustic guitar riff fills the middle of the track and we swoop in and out of vocal pitches. "Melody Calls" changes gears again . For a band that seems to be more generalized with "electronic" music its a full on acoustic/harmonica lead tune. There is hardly a break when "Catch the Sun" takes off. This was the lead off single in the US and its easy to see why. Starting w/a fade up and strong acoustic lead the band launches into a very catchy pop tune. The drums are strong, the bass is punchy and the guitars swoop in above you. This track in particular should have even the harhest of critics cracking a smile and tapping their feet along to. "The Man Who Told Everything" slows things down with some subtle string work (probably done by keyboards) and some acoustic guitar work once more. "The Cedar Room" follows and give it a few moments to get rolling and you will be so rewarded. This song is epic, and is honestly the cornerstone of this album as well as the bands live performance. If there were any doves songs I'd play for someone new to the band this would be the one. (see for yourself in the mp3 section) "Reprise" comes across as an interlude from the massive high one experiences during "The Cedar Room" before heading in to the track that wraps up the record. "A House" is an acoustic driven track that closes the record on down note but its not awful.

* the record does include 3 bonus tracks Darker, Valley and Zither

Where are they now? - After this record the band has gone on to release two additional albums (The Last Broadcast and Some Cities) They also released a b-sides collection in between broadcast and Cities. The band is currently working on their fourth full length album at the time of this writing and the hope is for a summer/fall 2007 release (in the US).

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - doves were a band that I caught 2 times live. The first time was February 26, 2001 at the Paradise in Boston. What made that show even more memorable is that a just beginning to get some buzz band "The Strokes" opened the show. The second time was June 17, 2002 at Axis in Boston. Again the band chose a great opener in "Elbow" and laid down another strong cd pulling from their two albums (up to that time).

FDF Overall Take - although not an earthshattering ground breaking record there are a fair number of true gems on this album. If a band can release a record with this many strong songs, as well as songs still played live to this day, there is something to be said for that. Lost Souls is worth checking out and before you know it you may find yourself gravitating to their other releases, which is a good thing.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!
leave a comment if you find issue w/any of these and I will do my best to repost. let me know if its one track or all of them. its still new to me so patience helps.

Mp3s have been removed. They were
Here it Comes
The Cedar Room

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.

Bonus Treat.

all these MP3s have been removed...
doves - Paradise, Boston MA February 26, 2001.

Sea Song
Break Me Gently
Catch the Sun
Catch the Sun jam
The Man Who Told Everything
Lost Souls
A House
New York
The Cedar Room
Here it Comes

Notes - recorded by me on my older set up. For you recording geeks ECM717->Sony D8 (DAT) @44.1 kHz.

The track after Catch the Sun (called catch the sun jam) has an overzealous fan commenting to me how its the "extended dance remix" or some crap. This show was heavily traded by me and other doves tapers/traders. I'd be curious to hear what people think as I may start posting some of my older shows. Again, like the other disclaimer if the band/management/label have issue with this let me know and it will be brought down as soon as I am made aware. Mp3's are up for about 1 week and then removed.