Tuesday, July 29, 2008

** A Note on the Mp3s**


Wanted to inform you that mp3s will continue on this site, but perhaps, for the time being in a lesser capacity.

The major reason is the site I was paying to host mp3s that had the storage I needed for a fair price is shutting down. Currently I am using a free service that seems to be doing okay (for now).

That being said, mp3s really might only be up for a week, that way I can keep the files fresh and keep you coming back for more.

There are a few options thanks to some other bloggers and their host/servers..but for the next 2-3 weeks this is my plan.

As always thanks for reading and hope you enjoy the music and have blown the dust off some of your forgotten discs recently!

-March and the FDF staff.

Friday, July 18, 2008

FDF Vol 2 Issue 101: The Farm - Spartacus

Album - Spartacus
Artist - The Farm
Key Players - Ben Leach - keyboards,programming. Roy Boulter - drums. Carl Hunter - bass. Keith Mullin - lead guitars. Steve Grimes - Rhythm guitar, keybords. Peter Hooten - vocals.
Produced By - Graham McPherson (Paul Heaton and Stan Cullimore on "Tell the Story")

Release Date - April 17, 1991

What caused me to blow off the dust? - A long stare at the cd collection..scanning saying "When is the last time I listened to you?" There you have it.

Overview - The debut album from the Liverpool based "The Farm" rolled out two quick, fun and quirky singles. The album would go to #1 in the UK and lump the band in with other "Madchester" bands like Stone Rose, In spiral Carpets, Happy Mondays etc. Once signed to a major label the band would find the success short lived. Two other albums would follow before the band dissolved in 1996, but have reformed in recent years.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - Some keyboards and samples bring up the drum track heavy "Hearts and Minds". It has a pulsing beat but an infections groove to it. The track has heavy samples from "Taxi Driver" but keeps a simple tempo that will keep your toes tapping along. The backing vocals are subtle but still pushed up at times. The even more uptempo, almost dancy "How Long" follows. To keep it in the bounds of a "rock band" there are few breakdowns on the guitar and drum parts. The click of the electric drum is used, but doesn't pull from the overall feel. "Sweet Inspiration" continues with the same sort of poppy, yet trippy feel. The drums have a sort of delay and phase on them as single guitar riffs wash over the top. A back up singer named Paula David adds some real strong backing vocals. They might user her sparingly, but when she is used she is brought right up in the mix and sings harmonies with Hooten. The song that admittedly had many of the folks to get this record in the first place follows. The overly delayed swirling guitar of "Groovy Train" swirls around the listener. The second guitar punches quick chords while the bottom is held down. If you are looking for a song to add to your "Manchester sound" compilation then look no further. A real gem. (I actually played it twice on my re listen). A single guitar and drum machine start off the intro to "Higher and Higher". Keyboard flashes in some fills before the vocals begin. David returns with some strong soulful backing vocals. The song sort of plods along at times, but has sort of catchy back beat to it all. Keyboards have a very retro sound as "Don't Let Me Down" begins. The drum track has its rare time to show on this track. Most of the record the drum work just does what it needs to, but here it seems to have more punch. The chorus of the song is one of there more "anthem" sing along type chorus' on the record. The keyboard fill in the middle sort of tosses off the flow of the track, but it regains momentum quickly. "Family of Man" continues with the same feel as the prior track. The guitar has a little more crunch on it, but again, overall we keep the lightheartedness about it all. Harmonica and a tabla sounding instrument bring up the acoustic driven "Tell the Story". The song retains the sort of "Indian" feel throughout. In a sample that has yet to be lifed (at least to these ears) "Very Emotional" is quickly over your ears. The lavish guitars chime as a keyboard bops under. The drum tempo clips along nice and the samples keep the track very light and easy to tap along to. Closing out with their most successful song "All Together Now" the sample of Pachabel's "Canon" are sampled before a guitar swirls and then the bass and drums come in. The band locks in to a perfect loop flashing only and occasional guitar riff over the canned drums. When Hooten sings "We're all together now" the band stops and lets him repeat the line before folding back in. Its close to 6 minutes of bouncy bubblegum deliciousness...see for yourself in the download.

Where are they now? - The Farm are now back together as a touring a recording act. All the members from this record are currently in the fold. The band is currently playing shows in Europe.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - I never saw the Farm live.

FDF Overall Take -Perhaps victims of their own success. The band had two "bigger" singles on this record and then failed to live up to the hype in the press and in the industry. The album is currently out of print but used copies are easy enough to find and for 2 or 3 bucks you'd get the money songs and perhaps a few others you might like. An effort that might be held along side the "Manchester Bands" but there are other, stronger releases from that time/genre that are an overall more rewarding listen.

Links -
The band on myspace

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

***mp3's have been removed***

The tracks were taken from Spartacus, 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, July 11, 2008

FDF Vol 1 Issue 100 - Pearl Jam - No Code

Album - No Code
Artist - Pearl Jam
Key Players - Mike McCready -guitar, Jeff Ament - bass, Stone Gossard - guitar,vocals. Jack Irons - drums. Eddie Vedder - lead vocals, guitar
Produced By - Brendan O'Brien and Pearl Jam

Release Date - August 27, 1996

What caused me to blow off the dust? Probably the recent tour. I can't tell you the last time this record got played front to back....but hey that is the purpose of this blog after all.

Overview - Pearl Jam released this, their fourth album after a year long plus battle with ticketmaster. The band was focused on making a solid record, but tested themselves individually as well as collectively. The recording sessions took place in two locations, and bassist Jeff Ament was left out of the mix during the first few days of recording. The band had also brought in drummer Jack Irons who had played with them on the prior tour. The result was a record that left many fans unsatisfied. It would debut at number one on the billboard charts but its sales would steadily decline and this would become the first Pearl Jam record to no reach multi platinum status.

FDF Comments (aka the songs)
- A single guitar slowly and quietly brings up the lead off track "Sometimes". The band joins in as Vedder begins to whisper the vocals. Ament has a nice swooping bass line underneath it all as the the band is very laid back on the track. Quickly returning to their rock roots "Hail Hail" rushes at you. Still a live concert staple this track has good give and take on the guitars from Gossard and McCready. The guitars chime off one another via a slight delay as the song fades out. Fan favorite "Who You Are" follows. A simple click of a cow-bell like instrument begins the track. The drums slowly roll as a simple, yet articulated guitar line chimes out. The backing vocals stand out on this track as well as there is more harmonization going on. After the first verse the band comes in a little stronger with the drums and bass kicking in but it really doesn't get too crazy. There is a more tribal drum feel on the track as well. Acoustic guitars flush over some downbeats of fuzz but overall the track is very solid. Rolling drums and bass bring up "In My Tree". Vedder once again begins the track vocally laid back, almost just above a whisper. By the conclusion of the first verse the band fully joins in. The song will continually grow in heaviness and Vedder will even get hoarse at times. The guitars get more a workout at the outset on "Smile". Sounding an awful lot like a Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers tune, harmonica is played before the band claps off the verse. The harmonica returns at the end of each verse and the second verse sees Vedder pushing himself more. The largely acoustic "Off He Goes" follows. A pretty song that really shows off the baritone of Vedders voice. "Habit" brings back the heavier guitars after a few laid back tracks. Vedder has a heavy ragged voice and the guitars push him further. Irons and Ament keep the bottom tight and at a steady clip. "Red Mosquito" follows along the same lines. A sort of odd tempo begins the track, but the guitar has a heavy compression on it and with a cymbal crash the vocals start. The vocal line near the "if I had known then what I know now" sheds a lot of light where the band were at during this time. The barn burner track "Lukin" comes up. Ament has the bass pushed up in the front as Vedder is frantic on his vocals. The guitars and drums at the outset are here to compliment the two it seems. The song is a quick/in out track. "Present Tense" is a far cry from what the listener just heard. This track almost feels like the band sat on a front porch, beers on side tables and just had some fun. Jack Irons actually takes the lead vocals on "Mankind". Vedder is reduced to more of backing role but the band maintains the steady tempo. Purists may call foul but its sort of a welcome diversion. A drone guitar brings up the spoken word "I'm Open". There is not a lot to report on that. The album closes out with the mellow "Around the Bend". Once more, acoustic guitars lead the way with a laid back Vedder on vocals. Piano and acoustic guitar leads the way as Vedder leads the band down a dusty dirt road. Flashes of guitar, but not major solos. Sort of ends the record on a down swing.

Where are they now?
Pearl Jam are still active as a recording and touring outfit. The only change from this record is Jack Irons left the band and was replaced by Matt Cameron. Irons left the band in 1998 after being burnt out with touring.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience)
- The
most recent time I saw them (June 30, 2008) was my ninth time seeing them. Although each was memorable here are just a few quick comments on the shows. The first was November 1, 1991 at Walter Brown Arena. Pearl Jam was the "who the hell are they" band on the bill with Smashing Pumpkins and Red Hot Chili Peppers that night. I was at the venue and watched them absolutely kill. Vedder crowd surfed from the stage, to the soundboard and back. Not bad considering they were an opening band. The second time was July 7, 1992 on the Lollapaloosa tour. By now, "Ten" had really blown open and in a stunning move, Pearl Jam played second that day rather than a more marquee later slot. Still, the venue was packed for them. April 12, 1994 at the small Orpheum Theater. I missed both the Boston Garden shows, but they added this as a surprise show. At the time it was a phone order only deal, 2 per person (this was before the internet mind you) so I hit re-dial for 2+hours. Finally I got through and the woman told me "all we have is balcony"..umm thats fine considering the theater holds about 2800. What made this set even more "legendary" is that the band allowed the crew to choose the set list. Sept 15, 1998 and August 29, 2000 were both at the larger (then) Tweeter Center, the next two September 28, 2004 and May 24, 2006 were both at the Fleet Center in Boston. The Sept 04 show was a "benefit" of sorts for the West Memphis Three. Pre "Plans" Death Cab for Cutie and a band called "Gob Roberts" opened. Gob Roberts front man was actor Tim Robbins and I remember Pearl Jam taking the stage just "way too late". The 06 show had My Morning Jacket opening, I did a review for that here

FDF Overall Take - I recall feeling sort of let down when this record came out. There was still a massive buzz around the band, but this set sort of fell flat, and fell off the radar quickly for me as well as many fans. Upon the re listen it has some great moments and moments that sort of remind me why I gave up on it back then. A few gems as noted, but there are stronger records overall that would be suggested to new or casual fan(s) first. I am to some it is their favorite record of theirs, and that is fine too.

Links -
Official site here
Pearl Jam on myspace

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

**all mp3's have been removed***

Hail Hail
Who You Are

Both tracks taken from "No Code" which you can buy here

Special downloads

Pearl Jam Acoustic
13th Annual Bridge School Benefit
October 31, 1999

mp3s have been removed.

Nothing as it Seems
Off He Goes
Last Kiss

One more..

Rockin in the Free World taken from somewhere in Europe.

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, July 04, 2008

Happy Independence Day

We will be back next week.