Friday, March 28, 2008

FDF Vol 1 Issue 89: Hole - Celebrity Skin

Album - Celebrity Skin
Artist - Hole
Key Players - Patty Schemel -drums*. Melissa Auf Der Maur - bass. Eric Erlandson - guitar. Courtney Love - guitar, vocals.

*Schemel is credited on the record and is on the cover but she did not play on the album, that was done by Samantha Maloney
Produced By - Michael Beinhorn

Release Date - September 1998

What caused me to blow off the dust?
- I am not even really sure. Courtney Love must have done something to get in the news, thus causing me to think of her and the band once more.

Overview - Celebrity Skin was the third and final studio album from Hole. The bands second album was loved by fans and critics alike. Between that album and this release Kurt Cobain, Loves husband, committed suicide. Some refer to this album as the "widows" album but Love is quick to refute those claims. In the three years it took to finally get this album out the band had slowly grown apart and would thus dissolve, leaving some great rock songs in their wake.

FDF Comments (aka the songs)
- Guitars crunch down, as "Celebrity Skin" wastes little time getting things started. It is easy to hear right away why this was one of the single, the guitar and vocals are the stand outs on this track. "Awful" was a little more shimmer in the guitar and Auf Der Maur has the bass line pushed up higher in the mix. As the chorus approaches the band really has a rather large and big sound. They are tight and focused on this track and Love pushes the track vocally without wavering. This is really a hidden gem on the record, see for yourself in the download section. A single, somewhat muted guitar brings up "Hit So Hard". The track is mellower musically than the previous two tracks. Its is a dark song, as the lyrics are about being hit and "seeing stars". The band shows their chops collectively with some vocal harmonies and tight musicianship. Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins) also adds bass work to this track. Another radio single "Malibu" follows and its easy to hear why it was chosen. Just the right balance of rock and pop while still keeping a "band" sound. The punchy rock returns on "Reasons to be Beautiful". Love has a certain growl to her vocals on this track. "Dying" starts off with with what appears to be some in studio banter then a quiet guitar intro with whispery vocals. The song slowly builds and by the later parts of the second verse the guitar and drums come in, but we are not at a speedy pace either. The band settles to their collective grooves and allows the vocals to remain at the forefront. The bass takes the lead on "Use Once & Destroy". There is some great chug to the track and some keyboard fill over the top. The drums hit hard as the band joins late in the first verse. An acoustic guitar opens up "Northern Star" and shorty after Love begins the vocals. The track is largely acoustic based with a few light cymbal taps during the first chorus. String sections fill some of the gaps during the interludes between verse and chorus, but also add some fill during other portions. As the song nears the end Love gives it that one final hard vocal push before bringing it back down once more. The acoustic guitar remains on "Boys on the Radio" but it is played alongside the electrics. At the outset the track has a very alt-country feel to it. The guitar have a sort of twang to them, and the chorus has some decent harmonies. The guitar line is fuzzy and has a strong presence and punch to it. As the song title would suggest it is about Courtney and company looking for a fair shot in the industry that is dominated by males. Yet another strong guitar intro on "Heaven Tonight" offers a nice change. The song has a quick tempo, but is not really a "heavy" track per se. The chorus and verses have terrific sing along moments and the tambourine actually adds quite the shake to the track (sorry). A almost sitar sound opens "Playing Your Song" and it has a lot of heavy bottom to it. The bass and whack of the drum really stand out. Granted these last two songs would never be seen as radio singles, but they are great rock songs. The final track "Petals" slowly fades up and the band has mellowed some after the last two tracks. It is a good book end to the album, the bass line stands out to these ears and come the verse the band buckles down once more

Where are they now? - The band broke up via a message board post in 2002. Melissa Auf Der Maur went on the road with the Smashing Pumpkins and has released a solo record.. Eric Erlandson works as a session musician and produces.. Courtney Love continues to act in film and released a solo album "America's Sweetheart in 2004. She has battled addiction problems in the past but as of late seems to be keeping busy with other projects. Patty Schemel has worked in various bands and played on Love's America's Sweetheart. Samantha Maloney has worked with Motley Crue as well as Eagles of Death Metal in recent years. She is currently the drummer in Peaches band.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - I only saw the band one time on July 25, 1995 as part of the Lollapalooza tour. I don't remember it really wow'ing me at the time. The band sang Happy Birthday to Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore and did a cover of "Pennyroyal Tea" from Nirvana (which was odd)

Never saw them on the Celebrity Skin tour sadly.

FDF Overall Take - Courtney Love can be too much for many folks to take, but when she fronted Hole she really was in her element. She controlled her audiences and created some really good music along the way. Hopefully there is a reunion of sorts in the cards as each member, although busy, have yet to garner this type of success.


Courtney Love official site.
Courtney on myspace.
Melissa official
Melissa on myspace
Samantha Maloney official site.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

Heaven Tonight

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, March 21, 2008

FDF Vol 1 Issue 88: Bush - Sixteen Stone

Album - Sixteen Stone
Artist - Bush
Key Players - Robin Goodridge - drums. Nigel Pulsford - guitars. Dave Parsons - bass. Gavin Rossdale - lead vocals and guitar
Produced By - Clive Langer, Alan Winstanley and Bush

Release Date - December 6, 1994

What caused me to blow off the dust? - I am not even really sure, since to this day at least one of these songs is on your local radio or being played in some stadium. Ahh well, its been a bit since this one got the "front to back" listen so here goes.

- Having no fewer than five radio singles "Sixteen Stone" the debut from Bush catapulted the band to super stardom. Flashy lead singer Gavin Rossdale flashed his good looks right along with his guitar fills. The band would release the singles, get heavy radio and MTV Play as well as tour the world during this time. The band would release a few more records before disbanding but never really seeing the wide success they had initially gotten.

FDF Comments (aka the songs)
- Opening with a trademark riff "Everything Zen" blends a small amount of pop metal and grunge, with the punch of a UK rock band. It all sounds sort of cliche but it is a pretty safe formula. Everything Zen was an early hit for the band and the guitar solos buzz and the bass and drums have the occasional break down for whispery vocals. You still hear this song on active rock radio stations (and elsewhere). "Swim" follows with a solo guitar before a second chimes over it. The simple bass and drum line lead up to the whispery vocals once more. During the chorus the song picks up a fair amount, but never really strays from the quiet loud formula. When "Bomb" opens up you think "oh this is another one of those songs I have heard' but unless you own the record there is a good chance you haven't or don't recall it. The intro is similar to those radio singles. We are three tracks in and the band has sort of grabbed on to quiet/loud thing just fine. Rossdale hasn't really gone over the top at the start of any track. All the chorus' to this point seem to open up fine, but it takes a little to get there. "Little Things" one of the five radio singles opens with big drums and guitar riffs before settling into the verse. A little flash off the guitar at the outset, but the bass and drums hold the verses together nice with some guitar over the top. As the verse swells to the chorus it speeds up some and there is a lot of urgency in voice and music. One of the bands biggest hits "Comedown" follows. You hear it still today (probably more than you even realize). The real shining moment of the song is the final verse/chorus where the band really seems to be in synch with one another and Rossdale bellows "This cloud..this cloud" as the band has their instrumental freak outs. This is probably one of the songs the band will always be remembered for. "Body" opens with a single guitar and is sort of a hidden gem tucked on to the cd. The ring of "Comedown" still in your ears you are launched pretty hard and fast into this track. Rossdale is the lone singer on the album, no member of the band helps and it seems to be fine. The guitar solo put down by Pulsford is the first real solo that stands out on the record. Most of the time leading up we are getting the dual riffs from the guitars to make a wall, not quite a solo each time. Now a stadium anthem like "rock and roll pt 2" by Gary Glitter you'd be hard pressed to take in any sporting event where the opening riff "Machinehead" is not heard. You've heard it, there are reasons I am sure it is used all over the US in stadiums. The macho sounding "Testosterone" follows the same rock formula we have found. Like "Body" the songs you don't hear so often are pretty strong. Sure, on some levels it is the same "sound" and feel track to track, but its got some big guitar riffs, some pounding drums and lyrics that are easy to figure out so you can sing along with them. At the end of the track Rossdale sort of has a scream break down but it fits with the flow of the track and record. The bass is punched up a little on the intro to "Monkey" but the guitar(s) per the norm take center stage. Rossdale has some vocal phase effect running. For the first time we sort of hear some harmonies on the chorus, but its more over dubs that actual harmonies. It gives a fuller sound to the chorus which is fine. The band really gets going towards the end, which is a strong lead in to the mellower, but far more well known "Glycerine". Like most of the big singles from this record it has been beaten in to our collective heads. Its not a bad song, but overplay hurt it. A solo guitar with a string section adds a nice touch. When the band would perform this live Rossdale would do this solo. It translates just fine to that setting. Early pressings of the cd like the one being listened to here are void of the track "Alien" which comes next. This is a long track for the band and starts off very quietly and slowly grows. Its a song continually grows with strong bass and drum work. Rossdale seems to push himself a lot vocally on the track and as the song grows one could close their eyes and see the lighters come out and wave back and forth.

Where are they now? - The band would change labels in the early part of 2001 and the subsequent release would fail with fans and the label. The band was dropped and just disbanded. Nigel Pulsford left the band to spend more time with his family. Robin Goodridge continues to perform as part of the band "Spear of Destiny". Gavin Rossdale would form a band called "Institute" that actually would get an opening slot on a U2 tour. Rossdale married No Doubt singer Gwen Stefani and the couple have children. Rossdale is rumored to have a solo album in the works.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience)
- February 28, 1997 I caught the band live at the Paradise in Boston. This was really pre-explosion for the band. Sure the band was getting more well know with Everything Zen being played more and more on radio. The sold out show was ravenous for this new band. The band played the radio hit 4th in the set, confusing some. A guy came up to me later in the show and asked "Did I miss Everything Zen". I said if you "just got here, you sure did". I braved the elements once more and on August 19,1995 I caught the band for the second, and final time, at the Aud in Worcester MA. A much larger room and more fans of the mid nineties rock were there. An odd bill with Spiritualized opening the band was really getting in to their own. What stands out most of all is that mid set a ravenous fan in the balcony jumped down to the floor. It was 25 feet I'd say at least. The audience went mental for this. The show was fine but you could tell this band was not even at the crest of their popularity.

FDF Overall Take - In all honesty this is a decent record but its been so beaten into our collective heads because of the singles. Dust it off and check out the stuff you don't always hear, you might be surprised.

Gavin Rossdale Official page
Gavin on myspace
Spear of Destiny on myspace

Curious? Check out some music!

***MP3's have been removed 5/1/08***

Check the bonus download this week for the are 2 songs that were NOT played that night.

Both those are from "Sixteen Stone" which you can find everywhere including right

This weeks extra download

The Paradise, Boston Ma
February 28, 1995

mp3's have been removed..

Broken TV
Everything Zen
Janie Jones
Little Things
Revolution Blues

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, March 07, 2008

FDF Vol 1 Issue 87: Liz Phair - Exile in Guyville

Album - Exile in Guyville
Artist - Liz Phair
Key Players - Liz Phair - vocals, guitar, piano. Brad Wood - organ, synthesizer, bass, guitar, percussion, bongos, drums, backing vocals.
Produced By - Brad Wood and Liz Phair

Release Date - June 22, 1993

What caused me to blow off the dust? - I honestly am not really sure, just was looking through the collection and this sort of jumped out.

Overview - The debut release from Liz Phair shocked and amazed fans and critics alike. Phair, who in interviews claimed this album to be a song by song reply to the Rolling Stones "Exile on Main Street", at least in the sequence of her compositions and song by song pacing unleashed this massive debut. A series of demo tapes made is way to the record label and she was signed. The bulk of the early work landed on this album and Liz would get the accolades for having the #1 album on a series of year end best of lists. The album would also reach #15 on the Spin Magazine "100 Greatest Albums, 1985 to 2005" as well as being ranked in the Rolling Stone list of the 500 (328) Greatest Albums of all time. What it may have lacked in sales, it all made up for in buzz.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - The album opens with "6'1"" a jangly guitar meets guitar crunch all at the same time, it holds a solid 4/4 back beat. The next track, "Help Me Mary" sounds like Velvet Crush are backing her up mixing low fi with pop sensibilities. "Glory" is an acoustic guitar lead up with whispery vocals. The track is very short, tracking under 2 minutes. "Dance of the Seven Veils" begins as a solo electric guitar with Liz at the start she talks about being "rented by the hour" she does use the "c" word to refer to herself as well, but the song, as angry it as it may seem hold a steady course. One of the radio singles "Never Said" follows and it is the first more "uptempo" song on the record. With the help over overdubs Liz does some harmonies with herself and after a string of repeating "I Never Said Nothing" the song gets underway. The band really doesn't break a sweat, but the guitar has a little more bite to it. The are some slick vocal effects laid down as a single guitar bites out as the song begins to come to an end. "Soap Star Joe" keeps up some of the edge of the previous track, the guitar is really the only thing running along with Liz until the listener hears a few raps on the drums, but they quickly fade. The end of the track is filled with some harmonica work done very bluesy. "Explain It to Me" fades up with a guitar that has a full sound with only perhaps a chorus effect pedal working. Like a many tracks so far, these are showcase tracks for Liz and a subtle guitar line. Many of these songs would work in a coffee house setting. Each song seems to grow, albeit subtly, both musically and lyrically. Liz is in fine form on this track. The song fades out to bring up..."Canary", which features a solo Liz on piano. It takes about a full minute of her intro before she begins the vocal portion. Guitars return on "Mesmerizing". The song has an infectious groove to it, perhaps due to the maraca's with the guitar? The hand claps later along with the acoustic guitar solo really add a nice touch. One of her most notorious tracks "Fuck and Run" follows. A one night stand gone wrong? You decide via the download section. "Girls, Girls, Girls" follows and no, it is not a cover of the Motley Crue song. Liz is a strong woman, and in this track she talks about her independence, and being able to decide on things for herself. A surprisingly upbeat track called "Divorce Song" is up next. The lyrics are dark and sad, but as noted the track has a little life to it musically. It is a song that has both a sad, yet also has, a revival feeling to it on how life would be changing for both parties. "Shatter" is slower building guitar track, once more a solo guitar with some vocals before an extended instrumental section. The track is sort of layered with a droning guitar as well both during the instrumental section, and throughout. Another track done totally by Liz, "Flower" intros with some sort of bizarre keyboard or heavily fuzzed guitar notes as she chants over it. She sings of being, ummm, fucked like a dog and being taken home and having you like it. Ummm okay Liz, this track is pretty steamy and raunchy. The rock returns on "Johnny Sunshine" as the guitars jump right out and the drum line comes high up on the mix. The guitars have a glimmering chime to them as well. The overdubs on the vocal tracks stand out a lot on this track in particular. Liz does all the vocals and it actually works well. "Gunshy" is a guitar filled track and the liner notes provide a good laugh when it lists Brad Wood as playing "sick guitar". Sort of the same casual rock format is followed on "Stratford-On-Guy". One thing to note is there is very little bass guitar any where on this album For the first time upon listening again I noticed and then confirmed via the liner notes. Much of this record is sort of like a White Stripes two person deal, only Liz takes the lead. The album wraps up with "Strange Loop" another mid tempo affair. During the final portion of the song the bass line sort of swoops over everything, but at the same time the track sort of falls apart, meaning there feels like instrumental breakdowns and the like. As an album closer it is fine, it is neither over the top nor too boring.

Where are they now? - Liz is still very active. She has released a total of five studio albums (a new one is due in 2008) as well as 2 Ep's. She has sung back up vocals for artists raging from Jimmy Eat World to most notably Sheryl Crow's "Soak up the Sun". She has done some soundtrack music work as well as tired her acting skills in front of the camera. She currently composes the original score for a "not yet on the air" CBS Program called
"Swingtown". Liz is a proud mother of one son.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - I have not seen Liz Phair in concert.

FDF Overall Take - The album, which is currently out of print yet easy enough to find is considered still her watershed release. The album still has not sold more than a million copies yet the accolades both when it was released in 1993 to current day this record is a must for music fans. The simple "DIY" aesthetic that lead up to this release as well as the no holds barred lyrics and content might turn some folks off, while it turns others on. Liz may never have another record like this in her, both others may disagree. An essential release.


Liz has an official site you can check out here.
Her myspace page is here

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

MP3's have been removed...4/24/08 12noon ET

** Language/Content Warning**

Divorce Song
Fuck and Run
Explain it to Me
Never Said

The album is currently out of print but you can find it used easily enough here for example.

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