Friday, April 25, 2008

FDF Vol 1 Issue 92: Spacehog - Resident Alien

Album - Resident Alien
Artist - Spacehog
Key Players - Richard Steel - guitar. Jonny Cragg - drums, percussion, backing vocals, Antony Langdon - guitar, vocals, Juno 60, B-3, Moog. Royston Langdon - Lead Vocals, bass, Moog, B-3.
Produced By - Bryce Goggin and Spacehog

Release Date - October 24, 1995

What caused me to blow off the dust?
- I caught myself singing the lead off single "In the Meantime" a week or so ago and I was drawn back to the album.

Overview - Spacehog formed in New York City in 1994. The band members all from Leeds, England drew influences from glam rock and stadium rock to form a unique sound. The band would reach a commercial success with this, the debut. Two other records would follow along with extensive touring. The band would dissolve in 2002.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - Opening with a sample of a ring tone for UK telephones the lead off track "In The Meantime" swoops all over the listener. The bass line is smooth before the the "ooooo wwweee weee ohhhhh" fades up (come on we've all sung it). The bass actually plays a strong active role during the verses and then the chorus the band will all come in on. A great lead off track. A little more of a chaotic intro brings up "Spacehog". The guitars swirl from speaker to speaker (or headphone right to left) and the vocals are a little more gruff. The guitar has a light jangle to it but after the second first the guitar solo is brought up and it is actually quite flashy all things considered. "Starside" fades up with a single guitar with a second doing a single note slide before the bass and drums come in. Royston has a strong voice and keeps his vocals comfortably within his range. He sort of tries some falsetto moments here and that rolls in to the chorus. The song overall feels like it plods along though with some piano/keyboard before a little more hard hitting guitar solo that later sounds like a cast off solo that Queens' Brian May might do (well in sound). Another strong intro to "Candyman" grabs the listener right away. By the first verse the band has slowed it down some. Acoustic guitar sets the pace as the bass and drums hold a solid back beat. As the chorus approaches there is some more vocal swelling. For a song that sort of feels "samey" it has a pretty infections groove. You very well may find yourself singing along. The music ends but there is a short spoken section which attempts to emulate a religious service. This all leads to "Space Is The Place". This song has a more punk rock feel. The guitars move along at a good clip and the lyrics are sung just as swift. This is really the first "fast" track on the record. Counting off with a "1 -2 -3 -4" the guitar and harmonica introduce "Never Coming Down (Part I)". With hand claps and whispery vocals it feels a little out of place. "Cruel To Be Kind" quickly has you forgetting what you just heard (for better or worse). This was also a single released to radio. The piano is more up on the chorus and the guitars maintain a punch laid over a simple drum back beat. At the outset of "Ship Wrecked", the listener is back to a quiet intro. A single guitar slowly fades up before the ride cymbal comes in. This is the "sensitive side" of Spacehog..and to these ears it is just boring for the bulk of the track. About the three minute mark the band gets moving a little more but its a little too late honestly..but in saying that the guitar solo that comes in about 4:20 almost all but makes up for it. Two guitars really feeding off one another as the bass will punch up here and there. They got this song about 60% right to my ears. Oddly "Only A Few" is the first track that is primarily lead at the intro by the drums. For a good 30 seconds it is just the drums and keyboards before a few guitar riffs come in. It has a bouncy beat and Royston again shines vocally here. The song has a good feel, but feels like it would be fine in the back ground if that makes sense. You'd neither offend or impress new fans with this track, that really doesn't make sense in typing it..but it makes sense to the ears. "The Last Dictator" comes up a little more urgent. The guitar and drum gives you the feeling we are headed for a rocker, but seem to settle down some come the verse. "Never Coming Down (Part II)" is the polar opposite of the acoustic version earlier. This is a very fun and catchy track with the chorus of "ooohs and ahhs". The band is smart and they sing the chorus almost that "one too many times" but honestly you won't mind. "Zeroes" has a marching drum roll with the two guitars playing off one another with light riff work. Again they nail it on the chorus. A real hidden gem (as I add to said mp3 player!). I actually hit repeat on this when I was giving it the listen for this write up, a real hidden gem. The album wraps up with "To Be A Millionaire....Was It Likely?". The track has a happy acoustic led, hand clapping bounce to it. It would sound good around a campfire or an open mic night in some coffee shop. (there is a "hidden" track 14+ minutes after the completion of the prior song but its not even a song its a freaking waste of time)

Where are they now? As noted Spacehog disbanded in 2002. Royston has been married to actress Liv Tyler since 2003. He would also work with with some members of Blind Melon in a project later called The Tender Trio, but they too disbanded in 2006. The band has come close to re-forming as whole a few times as the band "Arckid".

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience)
- February 23, 1996 at the Paradise in Boston I saw the band (with Mr. Miranga and God Lives Underwater). The show was a packed sweaty affair and the crowd was ravenous. On September 11, 1999 I saw them open for REM and finally on June 11, 2001 opening for the Black Crowes and Oasis (i know..odd bill for sure). I don't recall much at all regarding the two opening slots.

FDF Overall Take - I'll be honest when I say I can't tell you the last time I listened to this record front to back before this "re-listen". For the most part I personally find it to be a half "great" record. The good tracks really stand out. Some of the others seem to fall a little flat with me personally. I don't own their other two releases, but honestly I am curious.


Arckid on myspace

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

**Mp3's have been removed**
In the Meantime
Never Coming Down (Pt II)

All three tracks taken from "Resident Alien" which you can buy 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, April 18, 2008

FDF Vol 1 Issue 91: Goldfinger - Goldfinger

Album - Goldfinger
Artist - Goldfinger
Key Players - John Feldmann - vocals and guitar, Charlie Paulson - guitar, Dangerous Darrin Pfeiffer - drums and vocals, Simon Williams - bass and vocals
Produced By - Jay Rifkin and John Feldman

Release Date - February 27, 1996

What caused me to blow off the dust? - Many of the music news web pages I frequent have had banners up for the newest Goldfinger record. I was reminded of them due to these messages. (good advertising, at least to get me to recall the band)

Overview - The 14 track debut from Goldfinger appeared at the right time. The so called "third wave of ska" was back in full swing. The band embraced some of the vibe of that sound, but with a harder edge. The band would get a little notoriety on college and rock radio for "Here in your Bedroom".

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - With a resonating guitar note and then drum sticks clacking off 4/4 time the band if then off to the races on "Minds Eye". The guitars, drums and bass all have very ska punch. The most notable is the punch off the snare drum. We are off to the races. No track on this cd exceeds 4 minutes in length, most are about 2 minutes 30 seconds. The band gets in, gives the hooks and gets out. It is sort of a rinse lather repeat mantra..but its fun for the 2-3 minutes. "Stay" has a more grinding guitar and the vocals are slowed down a little. The bass fills out the bottom nicely and the drum maintains the steady punch. The first single to radio was "Here in Your Bedroom" and its a very catchy song. Listeners might hear some Sublime or other bands of the sun soaked ska rock. The verses are a little restrained but come the chorus the band really opens up. "Only a Day" has a lot more a punk feel with the drums really steering the band, and even tossing in some ride cymbal clangs to the mix. Personally I find the chorus great. The longest track on the cd "King for a Day" follows. Members of Reel Big Fish help out with the horns and a keyboard slowly brings things up. The song falls in to a smooth, relaxed vibe. As the song gets to about the 2:30 mark the band unloads one more. The horns are lost but the core members fire the riffs at machine gun speed. The song actually fades out rather than having an abrupt end. The track "Anxiety" has a great pop punk feel with a sing along chorus that gets fists pumping. "Answers" starts off slower with a swooping and punched bass line before the horn section comes over the top. The Reel Big Fish guys offer up backing vocals as well. "Anything" continues the same formula with hard hitting drums pushing the other members along collectively. Another single released to radio was "Mable". It would fit on rock radio even today. Everyone knows their role in the band, and they might not be virtuosos they click together and that can speak bounds. Crunched down bass opens "The City With Two Faces" and we are speeding right along. The vocal tracks are gruff and the track is one of the faster on the cd. The comical "My Girlfriend's Shower Sucks" follows with a mellow guitar intro. It has a laid back vibe at the outset. It is sort of a silly throw away song honestly. "Miles Away" brings us back to what we have perhaps fallen in love with to this point. Quick, punchy and to the point. Check for yourself in the download section We don't even slow down as "Nothing to Prove" takes off. If you were not watching the numbers on your cd player change it would almost mesh as a second wave of verses on the song. A good and bad thing perhaps but it had me fooled. Listed on the cd the final track is "Pictures" which once more has the return of the horns. The bass opening makes way for a lighter guitar over the top. There is a cooler instrumental break down with the bass and guitar feeding off one another. As noted that was the last song listed but a track called "Phonecall" is next. Its a phone call where two members talk about a classified ad looking for band members. Its sort of odd....right when they talk about moshing on heroin or on 12 hits of acid..sort of funny. A smooth bass intro opens "Fuck You and Your Cat" with some vocal harmonies, but before long we are rip roaring right along. It is a decent end cap to the cd.

Where are they now? As noted Goldfinger has a new record due out in 2008 (April 22nd in the USA). The band has almost remained intact, losing Simon Williams after the second release and Charlie Paulson, who would later return. During this time Feldman has worked as a producer with everyone from the Used to Hilary Duff.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - I only saw the band live one time and I am not officially sure of the date. I'd have to say the early 96 at the Middle East Downstairs in Cambridge, MA. They played with Reel Big Fish who I liked a great deal at the time as well. Possibly January 25th? I wish I had the ticket stub.

FDF Overall Take
If you are "in the mood" ska music, and this version of it can be a lot of fun. Its nice to visit once and a while.


Official Site
Myspace page

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

**mp3's have been removed**
Here in Your Bedroom
Mind's Eye
Miles Away

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, April 11, 2008

FDF Vol 1 Issue 90: Run DMC - Tougher than Leather

Album - Tougher than Leather
Artist - Run DMC
Key Players - Joseph "Rev Run" Simmons, Darryl "D.M.C" McDaniels and Jason "Jam Master Jay" Mizell.
Produced By - Russell Simmons

Release Date - May 16, 1988

What caused me to blow off the dust? - I actually had this on cassette tape and about a month ago I actually played it. I realized I liked it so much

Overview - Coming off the biggest selling rap album (at the time) Run DMC had a lot to live up to. This, their fourth album, blended a rap and rock. What it lacked in sales it focued on musical growth. The band would continue to be ground breakers and influences on artists and fans alike.

FDF Comments (aka the songs)
"Run's House" fades up with sampled a sampled audience cheering. The back beat is pretty simple with a good loop. The rapping over the top is smooth and they resort to a call and response delivery, which is a trade mark. Jay and DMC alternate lead vocals on verses. "Mary Mary" which is cover and heavily sampled track by the Monkees offers some cool scratching before the verses begin. The song was released as a single and is an easy song to sing along with. "They Call Us Run DMC" is a little "darker" than the previous two songs. The track has beat boxing with scratching and despite a darker heavier intro the band still has a swift and poppy delivery to the rhymes. "Beats to the Rhyme" follows the pattern of a catchy loop and actually samples a blurb from a Sam Kinison stand up comedy routine. Up to this point its the most sample heavy track. "Radio Station" is the most infectious track on the disc. At the time it was a goal of buddies and I to be able to rap this with out missing a word or slowing down. Surprisingly, when I listened to this once recently I was able to do over 80% which was impressive for me honestly. Still, my favorite track on the record. "Papa Crazy" samples "Papa was a Rolling Stone" but only for the Papa portion. At the outset there is DJ scratching and the song has a decent back beat through out. "Tougher than Leather" has more guitar samples than we have heard to this point. The rapping is a little more aggressive in its delivery. "I'm Not Going Out Like That" starts with a sample from Martin Luther King. The back beat has a quick tight punch to it and the rapping is quite swift. There are breakdowns between verses along for some sample work but it is quick back to the fold. "How'd Ya Do It Dee" follows and its a slower track than others. Granted the lyrics are given quickly the over all song has a slower groove. "Miss Elaine" opens with guitar and drum samples (they both actually sound live vs. sampled). Its a heavier track due to the guitar/drums. "Soul to Rock and Roll" actually samples "King of Rock" at the beginning. They begin to tell the story of themselves as a rap act. They say no to drugs and hammer the point down with strong break beats. The original album wraps up "Ragtime" which has a funny, quirky sound to it. Using more horn samples with a silly vocal delivery. Not the strongest album closer, but it is okay.

Where are they now? - In 2002 Jam Master Jay was murdered and the band annonuced their retirement. Jam Master Jay was working as a producer when he was murdered. He was 37. DJ Run released a solo record and is the star of the MTV show "Run's House". DMC, who battled substances in the late 90's which may have coupled issues with his vocal chords settled down and worked as an adoption advocate. He has also written an autobiography.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - I never saw Run DMC live. I did have the chance, and had tickets for a show on the Raising Hell tour but the show in my area was cancelled.

FDF Overall Take - A corworker of mine once commented about the current rap albums saying flatly "Nobody just raps anymore" (he buys far more of those records than I ever do). For straight up rapping this is a pretty and easy and fun listen. Sure you can whip out "Raising Hell" but this is a tighter listen overall (at least to my ears).

Links -

Run DMC official site.
D.M.C on myspace.
Reverend Run official.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

Run's House
Mary Mary
Radio Station
I'm Not Going Out Like That

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.