Friday, September 28, 2007

FDF Volume 1: Issue 69: Yes - 90125

Album - 90125
Artist - Yes
Key Players - Jon Anderson - Lead Vocals Chris Squire - Bass guitar and vocals, Trevor Rabin - Guitars Keyboards and vocals, Alan White - Drums Percussion and vocals, Tony Kaye - Keyboards
Produced By - Trevor Horn

Release Date - November 14, 1983

What caused me to blow off the dust?
- A few reasons, most notably I think this blog was being a little narrow in its focus of a lot of bands that folks maybe had not heard of and also, a blogger I enjoy reading asked if I might have a look at this cd.

- After a three year break up the band reformed once more for this, their 11th release. Simply named "90125" for the album's number in the Atlantic Records catalog it saw the return of Jon Anderson who had left the band in 1979. The album would go on to become the bands biggest seller and score legions of new fans thanks in part to massive exposure on MTV. This would be a blessing and curse for the band as purists were unhappy with the bands sound and direction.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - This album has had a re-issue with some extra tracks. Under review this week is just the original pressing of nine tracks.

Opening with a very "canned" drum sound "Owner of a Lonely Heart" opens the album. What is immediatly evident is this album was recorded and mixed impeccibly. Everything is crisp, clear and balanced evenly. Not sure if its possible but a DVD-A or SACD mix (ie multichannel) of this album might be a perfect match. The song has what feel likes two movements as the band crescendos, musically and vocally, to the guitar solo in the middle. Leading to that it almost feels like the song could end there, but it beings almost all over again. Anderson has a strong falsetto voice, which really made a lot of the "Yes" sound. "Hold On" opens with heavy drums and when the guitars come in it sounds a little like a sappy pop ballad your mom would play in the car. For the most part this is a trend on the record. "It can Happen" has a cool bass riff that lays under the first verse. Squire does some running fills on the bass and by the second verse the band is working with more dealys on the vocal tracks. The appears to be a sitar laying over various portions as well, but liner notes do not show of a player of the instrument so it was probably done via keyboards. By the second run of the chorus the band has pretty much latched on to every studio gadget to put effects on their vocals, from dealy to phase, to loop echo. Towards the end it has a little of the progressive rock feel that long time fans would be accoustomed to, but not sure they would have waited this long to hear it. There is something about the song that strikes a chord with me personally, I think its the vocals. See for yourself in the download. "Changes" opens with some keyboards going back and forth until about the 30 second mark when the band comes in hard. Acoustic guitar rushes in, then a little bit of electric before the 1 minute mark you are back on the keyboard loop but with drums. This has a big 80's rock sound to it. Vocals are urgent and emoting, there are big cymbal crashes and tight guitar and bass lines thruout. The instrumental "Cinema" seems neither in, or out of place on the record. The band would actually win a Grammy award for this track for "Best Instrumental". The bass sound is kinda cool but it seems a little unfocused and the Squire whammy bar guitar notes that are held on occasion toss a little cheese on that pizza. The largley (and later released as such in a full form) acapella "Leave it". This is the song that had about 20 different versions of a video on MTV. It was the band upside down, standing there in dark suits with white backgrounds. I recall it being so "cool" that one night MTV ran every version of it, in a row. I bet there are only a handful of people that work at MTV that even know Yes is/are a band. I digress. Vocally its a cool track, thus its included for your download pleasure, or displeasure. What decade are we in again? Oh yeah..the 80's and "Our Song" opens having you realize that as being the case. These are some talented musicans, but honestly it sounds like they tossed all their chops aside and let the "time" take over. They keyboards "shrill" rather than chime. The lyrics are honestly a little laughable. "City of Love" is pretty much the same sadly. The album closes with "Hearts", which fans of the band, and not of this album say is the most "Yes like" track. The musicans are all in fine form and when you hear this track mixed amongst a

Where are they now? - The band is currently on hiatus. Jon Anderson has kept busy doing various performances with artists such as Trans Siberian Orchestra. Alan White and Tony Kaye are in a band together called Circa. Rabin left the band in 1995 and currently scores films. His work can be heard in films as diverse as "Snakes on a Plane" to "Con Air". Chris Squire has been active with various projects as well.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - I have not seen this band live, although there are talks of a 40th anniversary tour in 2008.

FDF Overall Take - Admittingly I was introduced to the band via MTV. Myself and many friends loved the videos and MTV never seemed to tire of showing their clips. Hardcore fans of the band cite their earlier works as being far more essentail than this and its easy to agree with them. Although many of these tracks bring a smile to your face because you think of the time you saw the clips its not a record that fans of the bands grab first, or suggest to new fans. Not a horrible record and of course check out some of their earlier works to see what may call "the real Yes".

Official band site

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

***mp3's removed on Nov 2, 2007 4:45 PM ET***
It Can Happen
Owner of a Lonely Heart
Leave It

You can buy it here
Also saving you some search time on YouTube:

Video for "Owner of a Lonely Heart"
*the stuff you remember most starts up about the 2minute mark

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, September 21, 2007

FDF Volume 1: Issue 69: Ash - Trailer

Album - Trailer
Artist - Ash
Key Players - Tim Wheeler - Guitar,Lead Vocals, Mark Hamilton - Bass, Rick McMurray - Drums
Produced By - Ash, Timothy Russell and Marc Waterman

Release Date
- October 1994

What caused me to blow off the dust? - I had read somewhere recently about the slow death of the compact disc and Ash was rumored to have said their next album would not be a real "album" it would probably be a down load version or something. It had been a while since I listened to any Ash cds so, here you go.

Overview - Picking the first short word they like in the dictionary, ASH is born in 1992. The trio of teenagers from Downpatrick, Northern Ireland would release a series of ep's before "Trailer" came out. Called "Trailer" as they viewed it as a preview of what was to come from the band in a proper debut album. The band would slowly build a larger fan base with exciting live shows and a stream of hits overseas. The band has toured extensively as both openers and headliners. Often, the band will be one of the marquee acts at European Music Festivals.

FDF Comments (aka the songs)
- Before we begin, just a note that this review is on the US Version of the album and includes 11 total tracks.

The cd opens with "Season" a crunchy and spunky rock track. You are quickly exposed to what the sound of Ash is. A technical trio they might not be, but make up for in sheer power. Launched as a single "Jack Names the Planets" is a great crunchy guitar song. After a short spoken word intro the distorted guitar fires off. The bass has the right amount of crunch and compression to complement the guitar. Still the song I reach for first for people new to Ash. "Intense Thing" has a little cleaner sound at the outset, but it doesn't take long for the band to bring it back. The vocals are somewhat buried in the mix, but one needs to remember this is basically a collection of demo tapes and early eps. The band gets a chance to play more as the song is considerably "long" for an early Ash tune (over 4 minutes). Opening with more drums and bass "Uncle Pat" follows suit of a 4/4 rock beat. The vocals are delivered a little slower and "calmer" than previous tracks. All that changes as the very punk infused "Get Out" does the old quick in and out, rocking and stopping. Its under 1:30 so the band has its punk rock moment here. "Petrol" was released as a single. It is a catchy, quick song with the bass line underneath and frantic guitars that suddenly change direction and become mellower with an occasional heavy riff from the guitar. Musically its a pretty good slice of the Ash cake. "Obscure Thing" keeps a pretty simple drum beat throughout and the vocals are more "screamed" than anything. Its a heavy track, but for some reason falls somewhat flat. What is perhaps one of the more unique song titles you'll hear "Hulk Hogan Bubblebath" begins with guitar crunching. The vocals are more 'spoken' than sung, and its a mellow, brooding track, as the vocals are delivered. The bass and drums keep somewhat of a monotone pace and the guitar has some feedback on occasion. Guitar fans may like the mid to end section of the song but overall casual fans might find it a little pretentious. Another harder, punky feeling track "Different Today" jumps out of the speakers at you. As the title suggests "Punk Boy" has that very feel. The track is a cover of the Helen Love track. Its a good version of the song and you'd be surprised to realize you probably recognize it. Closing out the cd is the dirty rocking track "Day of the Triffids" which sounds like an early Clash cast off perhaps, fun none the less.

Where are they now? - Ash are still active both in the studio and live. The major change to the three piece was the addition of guitarist/vocalist Charlotte Hatherley from 1997 to 2006. She left the band to focus more on her solo career

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - When I first heard Ash I waited and waited for them to tour and it seemed like it never happened. Then in the course of 2-3 years it was like you could not blink without the band announcing another show in the area. Somehow, I still haven't seen the band perform live.

FDF Overall Take - This is a pretty rough album, mostly due to the fact its early demos and the like. What is amazing is how success has eluded the band in mainstream America. Overseas the band has had five top 10 albums as well as 16 top 40 singles. In this day and age of "one album and you are done if it is not a hit" its nice that this band continues to get a shot. It should happen for them, or there is really something wrong.

Official Site
Myspace page
Very good fan site
Download some live stuff here
A list of links for guitar tabs, fan sites and the like can be found here

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

**mp3's removed Oct 26, 2007 3:32 ET***
Jack Names the Planets
Punk Boy

Buy it here
here or here

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, September 14, 2007

FDF Volume 1: Issue 68: The Beautiful South - 0898 Beautiful South

Album - 0898 Beautiful South (usually just shortened to 0898)
Artist - Beautiful South
Key Players - Briana Corrigan vocals, Paul Heaton - guitar and vocals, Dave Hemingway - lead vocals, Sean Welch - bass, Dave Stead - drums, Dave Rotheray - lead guitar,
Produced By - Jon Kelly

Release Date - March 1992

What caused me to blow off the dust? - I was actually singing another song, out of the blue, from this band and when I went to go review "that album" I realized I wanted to give this cd a spin again.

Overview - This is the bands third major label album. At the time it was released it fell short of sale expectations (the first 2 albums had gotten to #2) while this only made it to #4 on the U.K. charts. 0898 was the extension in the UK for telephone "sex lines" at the time. The band was formed by former Housemartins members, singer Paul Heaton and drummer David Hemingway. Although success would seem to elude the band in the USA (some later records never were even released here) the band would continue on, only losing 2 members from its run as a studio/live act.

FDF Comments (aka the songs)
- The album opens up with two of the popper, more well known (at least stateside) tracks by the band. "Old Red Eyes Is Back" and "We Are Each Other". Old Red eyes opens with a solo piano and Hemingway in fine voice. After the first verse the whole bands come in and there are more vocal harmonies. Corrigans vocals are a little buried until the track nears the third and final verse. The song as a great overall tempo to it.. "We are Each Other" opens with a crunch guitar, but has a very fun guitar pluck feel. The song has a lot of layered guitars, none of which overpower the other. The vocals are a lot of fun and the track really just bounces along nicely. Corrigan takes the lead on "The Rocking Chair" giving the album a little different feel. Its a slower track than the previous two, but none the less pretty if you will. "We'll Deal With You Later" is also a piano heavy track, at the outset. The bass is a little more up on this track and Hemingway is more the vocal focal point. The song has a slow, sludgy feel to it almost until the final minute and a half as the tempo picks up and there is more perk both from the band and vocals. Horns also was over the top as the track begins to fade out. "The Domino Man" is piano and "string section" lead. Again, the track slowly builds, lulling the listener into the mode of "here is another slow song" when they kick it up a notch. Its about as heavy/fast/hard as the band gets but its a full sound. The next track, "36D" is a song about busty models that actually is said to be one of the reasons for Corrigans departure from the band. As the songs title says its about "measurements". The longest track on the album at just shy over five minutes, it has a piano and bass guitar intro as guitars layer over top. The vocals are sung almost whispered for the first verse that is until the chorus kicks in. The line leading up to it is a fun line "I hear you've turned our young men in to dribbling clowns". Its a fun song overall, the chorus being the highlight. The final minute musical breakdown, awash with horns and chorus are also quite good. The bass takes the lead on "Here It is Again" and the piano works with the bass as it builds. Its a pretty somber/dark song for the band. The overall feel of it is just "dark". The harmonica intro to "Something That You Said" has a slight "out of place" feel, but it works. Once again the first vocal pass is somewhat subdued. There is not a lot of urgency in the vocals. Corrigan comes in and it gets a little more interesting. She has a great voice and this is really the track that she works her vocals. "I'm Your No. 1 Fan" picks up the musical tempo a little more. Its the sound, at least to these ears, you can associate easily to the bands sound. The vocals on the entire record are clear and never buried in the mix. Hemingway has a nasally falsetto that works wonderfully throughout. Corrigan also appears on the track as a front and center member. Its on tracks like this you actually wish, or wonder why she was not used more often. Good news, that last wish is granted as Corrigan takes the lead on "Bell Bottomed Tear". It sounds a little "loungy" but she is in fine voice, even going up in range on occasion. It is not until the final chorus do Hemingway and Corrigan share the vocals..they mesh so well, its a shame they didn't utilize this more. "You Play Glockenspiel, I'll Play Drums" opens with an odd keyboard intro and some punchy bass work. Piano layers underneath the looping keyboard line. The most interesting part of the song, honestly, is the title. Its "okay" but nothing too flashy either way. Closing out the album is "When I'm 84". A fun bouncy track that has a good bass/piano section at the intro. Not too flashy, not too simple either its a good end cap to the album.

Where are they now? - Briana Corrigan left the band in 1994 to work as a solo artist. The rest of the band continued on (replacing Corrigan with Jacqui Abbott who was later replaced by Alison Wheeler) and the final incarnation disbanded in early 2007 citing "musical similarities".

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - Only once, and it was memorable. July 7, 1992 the band played the Paradise. It was a great show and the stage was packed with all the gear and members. Towards the end they began to do the Bee Gee's song "You Should be Dancing" and this rather large fellow comes up on stage and sings right along. Before long the stage is overrun with fans. In the clearing off of the stage one bouncer was seen telling Corrigan to get off the stage, and she had to basically plead with him saying "I am in the band!". Still to this day one of the better live shows I have ever seen.

FDF Overall Take
- Across the globe the band has sold over 15 million albums yet fame eluded the band in America. Often times it is hidden gems like this that make you realize there is a lot of great stuff out there that begs to be heard. Radio air play then, and even more so now, means little if a band is good or not. Check out some of their other stuff, its all decent, although many argue this is the bands watermark.


Official Site here
Fan site here
Check out some art work used for each song inside the cd right here

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

***mp3's have been removed Oct 26, 2007 3:25 ET***

We Are Each Other
Old Red Eyes is Back

You can buy it here if you so desire.

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, September 07, 2007

FDF Volume 1: Issue 67: Neds Atomic Dustbin - Are you Normal?

Album - Are you Normal?
Artist - Neds Atomic Dustbin
Key Players - Matt Cheslin - bass, Jonn Penney - lead vocals, Rat - guitar, Alex Griffin - bass, Dan Warton (aka Dan Dan the fast drumming man) - Drums
Produced By - Andy Wallace

Release Date - November 3, 1992

What caused me to blow off the dust?
- It was just time, oh and what the heck did I wait for?

Overview - Neds Atomic Dustbin (who got their name from a 1960's BBC radio show) formed in 1987 in England. The band, with a silly name, and two bass players in the band gained a quality reputation as a live act that continued to spill over for years to come. This album, Are you Normal?, was the bands second major label release. Success would elude the band in America and after a third album was released the label lost interest in the band they were dropped.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) -
"Suave And Suffocated" opens up the album with some machine gun drums, crunchy guitar, swoop in bass line w/the dual layers. The two bass guitars are honestly a real treat to the ears. Alex plays the bass parts "higher up" and used a Capo on his Rickenbacker
bass. OH, the chime he got out of that thing! Matt plays the bass more as the rhythm, holding down the bottom. The track fades with a spoken word sample by Dennis Hopper from Apocalypse Now. Crunchy guitar, chiming bass and tambourine open "Walking Through Syrup". At the 2 minute mark is the best moment..the single guitar crunches then the bass chugs over the top, that one portion was "skipped back to" numerous times. (see down load). With ride cymbals fading up "Legoland" kicks off. The bass, per then norm, is up high in the mix and really is easy to focus on. Its a sound that few have experienced, or experimented with. It works. The song as a whole is average. Some bizarre underwater bubbly sound opens "Swallowing Air" that is met with the single bass work of Alex. Dan clicks down on the drums and the band locks into a pretty standard "rock" track. It has a rat-a-tat drum break down at the chorus. A solo guitar opens "Who Goes First?". Neds doesn't really have any "slow" songs and this is about as close as it gets to one. It has a cool break down towards the middle/end and Rat does some cool stuff on the guitar. With some studio wizardry and some delay and phase "Tantrum" has a guitar part that swirls over your head. Released as a radio single in the US "Not Sleeping Around" opens with a delayed, looping guitar that hits down with the drums and the dual bass. A good taste of the band for American radio. "You Don't Want To Do That" has a monster bass riff open things up. The first verse is pretty rushed but by the time the chorus rolls around it evens off a lot better. The verses are sung at a pretty good clip but the melody holds this song together. "Leg End In His Own Boots" is another "slower" track from the band. The band feels a little out of their element on this track for some reason. It holds up okay, and even with some great riffs it just doesn't feel very Neds like. A track like "Two And Two Made Five" bring the listener back in to the mold of what the Neddies do. A perfect example of the feel, look and sound of the band here. "Fracture" is an instrumental "bass" track. Its fun to listen to, but is somewhat of a throw away track. Opening with the line "Could your mind be as hollow as my 5 o'clock shadow" the track "Spring" launches. Per the norm the bass lines are pushed up in the mix. Rat extends layered wah wah riffs as the band approaches the chorus. Closing out the record was one of the bands UK singles "Intact". The high and lows of the bass pulls the track along and the track has a very light and bouncy feel. If one listens to this track on headphones the track towards the ends swirls from speaker to speaker in a phase,delay kind of mesh. Check that one out down below in the down load section

Where are they now?
- This version of the band broke up in 1995. After the band dissolved Jonn and Rat formed a band called Groundswell which basically "came and went". Rat was rumored to have drug problems and bowed out of the final US Tour with Neds. Rat has not performed with Neds since 2000. In 2000 the band started doing "one off" Christmas shows Matt also has not performed with the band in any of the reunion gigs and now works for the civil service. Alex completed a degree and works with computers and lectures on occasion. He has been active with the band for the reunions. Dan also has been active with the reunions, but following the original demise he went on to play in a few other bands. Neds have released their first single in 11 years in June of 2006. You can check it out here. As of this writing the band is working on new material

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience)
- Oh dear lord. The Dead had deadheads..I was a Nedhead..its that simple. Seven times in 4 years is not too bad. The earliest time was in the summer of 1991. They were one of the support bands on the Lollypops and Booze tour that I mention in the Velvet Crush Forgotten Disc Friday entry. That fall, October 10, 1991 the band was back at the Orpheum opening for Jesus Jones. January 9, 1992 the band played their most exciting show I think I ever saw at the Paradise. October 30 the same year they were back at Axis. It was an early show (gotta make room for the 10pm disco crowd) what stands out that night is we went for pizza after the show, then walked to the now closed "Rat" and caught The Mighty Lemon Drops. (ahh to be young). The final date was May 2, 1995 at Lupos in Providence. That night I was introduced to Orange 9MM and the band was "moderate" you could tell the clock was ticking. There was one other time and the date I can't confirm but my buddies and I saw the band play the prestigious all female college Wellesley College. We had heard about the gig and went to the campus finally finding out where the gig was. The front of the auditorium was "roped off " for students and during the opening band some women were seen working on homework. The auditorium was not very big at all, and once the Neds came on we ran down front (the seats never filled). It was a blast, we hung on to the stage and the band just rocked. One of the funniest moments was a buddy of mine, sweaty and hot from the "pit" took off his shirt and was then scolded by a co-ed. She started yelling at him to put his shirt back on, as it was a "women's college". Awesome. Freaking A I miss this band in a live setting.

FDF Overall Take - The bands sound can be heard these days on a smattering of bands. Formed, and touring the world as teenagers has to be hard and the band burnt out, but not before leaving a few really great and fun records. You can probably find one, or all the Neds cds in cutout bins so skip the Starbucks for a day and get your rock on. I know its easy for "critics" to poke fun, but F-off, Neds is and was great.


Official page - here
Myspace page here
Two good fan sites: here and here
Some pictures from the 2004 tour are here

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

***mp3's have been removed Oct 26, 2007 3:28pm ET***
Walking Through Syrup
Not Sleeping Around

All these tracks were taken from "Are you Normal?" which you can buy
here for as little as 89 cents??!

This weeks BONUS download
Neds Atomic Dustbin
Radio 1 "Sound City 1993" (Sheffield)
From the liberated bootleg "Radio-Active"

* the cd reads 1992..anyone confirm exactly?*

Sauve and Suffocated
Not Sleeping Around
Until you find Out
Kill Your Television

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.