Friday, August 28, 2009

FDF - Special Version. Echo and the Bunnymen for a friend.

This week I am taking a slight diversion from the normalcy that readers have found but I hope you'll still read.

Like many stories, things require a little set up, or back story

For the few years now that I have been doing Forgotten Disc Friday I have never done a review of a second album in a bands catalog. Figured part of the reason for the blog was to listen to that one, perhaps "less popular" selection within the bands collection and focus on that. In some cases it may have been a bands only album, and other times I'd review, to me, a legit "big" record.

This week I want to go back and focus on Echo and the Bunnymen. I took a re-listen to "Heaven Up Here back on September 1, 2006. This week I needed to go back to Echo.

This past week a high school class mate of mine passed away after a long illness.

Flashback to high school if you will. Cliques, homework, boyfriend/girlfriend troubles and for many a turning point in their lives with regard to music. I had two older brothers that were in to music, a cousin and neighbor that were in to music even more than them and they'd tell me of these bands from the UK and they'd show me these glossy 12 inch vinyl which was of course "Heaven Up Here". It was junior high for me, so I might have been a little more ahead of the curve than some of my classmates. Trying to be cool I probably best came off as dorky and semi arrogant. As high school progressed MTV started to really have more a strong hold. Our town had gotten cable and the network was hovering at about 5-6 years old. Classmates would talk about various videos, wonder when the next "world premiere" video was going to take place, you know some of the important things in life.

I was a band geek. I liked being in the musicals our high school did and did a year with drama club as well. I enjoyed high school and really look back at it fondly. I didn't fall in to any real group. I played some sports (does the golf team count?) and was in band. I tried to be as nice and friendly to my classmates and it paid off, I'd get asked to various parties and the seemingly popular gals and guys would ask me "whats up?" from time to time.

Then there was Gayle. Much like me Gayle did what she could to make people feel at ease. She was a cheerleader, was involved as a class officer and by many accounts a popular classmate. Popular for being genuine. A real stand up classy person. I don't recall her driving a fancy car, dressing any more lavish than classmates or carrying some arrogance of any sort. She'd be cheering the football team one day, then she'd be sitting in the auditorium for the latest drama club performance.

One day, almost in passing she asks me " you like Echo and the Bunnymen"? and my glasses slid down my nose as my brace filled mouth fell open. In my mind I thought "How in the heck does someone like her know about Echo?". The odd part was that feeling never hit me. We all carry some sort of torch for a band we like from time to time, want to call them our own, and how dare someone else like them! None of those feelings struck me. I was suddenly at ease. Someone my age, a like minded non geek (cute and female to boot) liked a band I liked. The conversation might have been 30 seconds long but it was that proverbial icebreaker and from that point forward our conversations often revolved about music. MTV had 120 Minutes, a 2 hr block of "alternative music videos" and we'd check in with each other Mondays and say "did you watch?" We didn't seem to watch as much as we hoped but when an Echo video would pop up from time to time we'd both somehow seem to catch that episode. I am sure if it were now we'd probably have texted each other with giddy glee and type something like "OMG R U Watching?" etc.

We graduated and life moved on. I'd see her at our reunions and we'd chat for a short time, but music wasn't the focus. It was about family, work or what have you but that high school geek always wanted to just say "do you have the new bunnymen cd?"

So with that...a few Echo and the Bunnymen songs for Gayle. Her favorite song was "The Killing Moon" so there are three versions of that you can check out.

(all the mp3's have been removed..thank you for your massive support on this one, all 5 of the tracks were downloaded over 230 times!)

The studio version taken from "Ocean Rain"
The extended version, this was taken from the Box Set "Crystal Days 1979-1999".
Finally, a terrific Live Version taken from "Live In Liverpool" (personal favorite)

Two more, just because.
All You Need is Love (Yes a Beatles cover) taken from the Crystal Days box set
Bring on the Dancing Horses taken from Songs to Learn and Sing

May you be at peace
May your family and close friends find comfort and peace
and may you bring on the dancing horses......

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, August 21, 2009

FDF Volume 2: Issue 155 - Adorable - Against Perfection.

By: March

Album - Adorable
Artist - Against Perfection
Key Players Pete Fijalkowski - vocals and guitar. Robert Dillam - guitar. Wil - bass. Kevin Gritton - drums.
Produced By - Pat Collier

Release Date - May 4, 1993

What caused me to blow off the dust?
- I never bought this record when if was first out, then I went looking for it and it was pretty hard to find for a reasonable price. That being said, for a record I looked so hard for I am surprised I don't spin it as often as I could/should now that I do in fact have a copy.

- Part of the the "shoegaze" movement of the early 1990's (a genre the band didn't care to be classified under) UK band Adorable released a single that was wildly popular in their native country. The single (Sunshine Smile) would be re-recorded for the bands debut. The band would have moderate success, but would find a backlash from the UK Press and they'd reportedly never been interviewed by the mainstream press. They'd tour, release a second record, but by 1994 it was all over.

FDF Comments (aka the songs)
- The chime..oh the glorious chime of the guitars open up "Sunshine Smile" as the bass comes in. Fijalkowski starts to sing, and is laid back but it fits perfect with the wall of guitars. Gritton slams down on the drums and the band fuzzes it out big time. After the chorus the guitar lead goes over as the bass and second guitar sludge underneath. Gritton rides the ride cymbal a lot before the bass and drums cool things down for a brief reprise. It fires all back in for another great run, and leaves the listener satisfied. As the track begins to reach the conclusion the band really takes off, speeding up in guitar, bass and drums and it all comes down with a big chord and some delay. The perfect track to start off the record. "Glorious" begins with a quieter buzzing guitar and some ambiance with a few bass notes played but 30 seconds in the bass gets punchy and the guitars come in. Once the second guitar comes in the sound gets even more full (to be expected I realize) but it angelic. Wil gets to show off his chops on bass, even with a simple, but driving bass line. He plays well off Gritton and Dillam and Fijalkowski really shine in the dual guitar mode. They sort of do a rinse lather repeat sorta thing, but its another stellar track and your ears almost hurt from the guitars regardless the volume of your speakers. A crunchier guitar, almost punk feel to the drums fires off "Favorite Fallen Idol". As the vocals start the guitars fade but the bass and drums chug along. This is the fastest track so far on the disc. The guitars have far more bite than the prior two songs, but they still find ways to drop in long fuzzy drones. "A to Fade In" returns to form of the earlier tracks with the single guitar and the rest of the band slowly fading up along with it. Gritton works the ride cymbal once more before the vocals begin. Musically it is less urgent as anything up to this point, showing perhaps the "softer side" of the band, but the guitar has a certain bite you can't shake. Sure enough the band fires off at the chorus with the wall of guitars. This happens again on the track, but the guitar solo portion is extended and its flashed again as the song begins to reach the end. Counting off the 4 beats on the drums "I know you Too Well" begins with a lone guitar and bass before the second guitar again tosses short bursts of notes over it all. Wil is showcased on the bass once more, with a lot of play off Gritton and the two keep the song really focused. Come the chorus it gets a sort of odd time signature, but on the vocals only, before it resumes the hook of the verse. The later guitar hook is great and will get you to scan back on the cd player to hear it once more. The bass slugs along at the intro to "Homeboy" with the rolling drums for a few bars before the vocals begin. The first few lines of the verse are just bass, drums and vocals. When the guitar does come in, it is either one using what seems like an ebow then a few big riffs before the chorus where it all gets more rousing. As to be expected we settle back into the bass/drum roll for the verse and get big again at the chorus and a great dual guitar burst after the second chorus. Fijalkowski really belts it out towards the end and the band feeds from the fury to close out the song. The song that go me to pay attention to the band in the first place, "Sistine Chapel Ceiling" fills your ears with a chorused bass and squeaky guitar before the wah wah pedals get going. The bass and drums lock into the groove and the whaka whaka of the guitar runs the verse(s). The band breaks towards the chorus with big chords before rolling back into the steady bass/guitar groove. By the end of the second verse the guitars get the work out with a big wall of sound. One goes high while the second sits on the wah-wah line but the bass swoops as Fijalkowski goes crazy vocally before they rip it back around to the guitar loop, run the chorus and finish up. Hands down the "song' of the record for me. "Cut #2" starts with the lone guitar before the heavily chorused bass joins in. The drums clip off slowly as the two guitars mingle and the vocals begin. The guitars rotate from buzzy and crunchy to very melodic with that trademark long 'chime' to them. A compressed lone guitar starts off "Crash Sight" and the bass and drums trickle in. The song is another uptempo affair both lyrically and musically, the band really moves on this one. "Still Life" is the opposite with a much more laid back guitar and vocal presence. There are minimal drums (if any) and it mostly just voice and guitar (albeit electric guitar). Returning to the buzzy and swirling guitar on "Breahtless" the band doesn't go too crazy. The music would give you the sense this song could erupt at any point but it never seems to go to that next level. The guitar gets really buzzy at the outro, so that is a sweet spot. The album concludes with "I'll Be Your Saint" another track with a strong bass intro. Its simple, but punchy as the guitars come in and then the drums. The song is a good example of the bands sound, but doesn't have a blistering outro to close off the record like the opener did.

Where are they now? - The band broke up after two records, and did so on stage in 1994. The issue is reported to be both internal issues and issues with the label. Pete Fijalkowski is still writing and performing music. Kevin Gritton is now teaching math and Wil is teaching English to kids in Vietnam (at least what I could find). Robert is in the band "The Zephyrs".

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

FDF Overall Take
- For a band that only lasted these two records, if you are fan of the genre, you need to track them down. For what might feel like a light and airy rock band they can really bring it down at times with the wall of guitar sound. They influenced many bands inside the genere and out. Not the easiest to find, but worth your time, you should be let down if you like the samples you find below.

The band has an official myspace right here. This is Pete's myspace.
This site here helped with many things regarding this post. Oh, and here is Roberts band official site.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

the mp3's have been taken down.
Sunshine Smile
I know you too Well

This record is out of print. You can search ebay, or pay some pretty hefty prices on amazon. Just look 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, August 14, 2009

FDF Volume 2: Issue 154 - My Morning Jacket - Chocolate and Ice EP

By: March

Album Chocolate and Ice (EP)
Artist - My Morning Jacket
Key Players - Johnny Quaid - guitars. Danny Cash - keyboards. Jim James - vocals and guitar. "Two Tone" Tommy - bass. KC Guetig - drums.
Produced By - ? - Mastered at Abbey Road Studios.

Release Date - March 22, 2002

What caused me to blow off the dust?
- I have been meaning to do a My Morning Jacket cd for a few weeks now, and wasn't sure what was really 'forgotten'. I love the studio and live cds from this band, but hadn't listened to this ep in a while, so it was chosen.

- This is a six song ep, (the bands fourth ep) from Louisville, Kentucky band My Morning Jacket. Placed between the long players "At Dawn" and "It Still Moves" the band really shines on a 20+ minute track (Cobra) and showcases all their other talents.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - The drums roll at the start of "Can You See The Hard Helmet On My Head?" before the band comes in on acoustic guitars. Jim James falsetto rings over the band and he harmonies are with himself and mixed into separate channels on yours speakers/headphones giving a "airy" feel. The band doesn't go off on this track, instead they keep a steady back beat as James soars over the track. "Sooner" starts very similar to the prior track. The percussion and James along with his guitar open the track. One thing My Morning Jacket is always "slagged off" for is the reverb on the vocals, but it sounds quite good at times, and add to a haunting feel. There are some slide guitar runs at the chorus and some of the more subtle percussion instruments are brought out. In the end its really a pretty simple track that fills out with bass and more guitar, but never really gets too over the top. Many folks have written this ep is more a vehicle for the track "Cobra" that follows. The track, clocking in a 24:12 is longer than all the other tracks combined. It opens with a little "canned' drum sound and the bass swoops over that with some short guitar lines. It falls in to a mechanical feel after the first 30 seconds and James whispers the lyrics at the first over the robotic feel. After a verse or two the band starts to lock in to a groove. There is no flashy lead solos and the band keeps steady time, but it does not build too quickly here. About the 7 minute mark it feels like a whole different song. The guitars get louder and its a loose jam trying to lock in a direction. There is a guitar solo buried in the mix and the other guitar plays the same run of notes. It gets a little deeper later (11 minutes in). The vocals come back in and the bass gets deeper, but given some melodic runs as the drum line remains the same. The guitars are gone at this point leaving it up to the bass and percussive instruments. We shift gears again about the 14 minute mark with long keyboard notes and little else. Then a short banjo section and even more phased out vocals. It remains this subtle through its conclusion. "It's Been A Great 3 Or 4 Years" is a series of voice mails to Jim James and I *think* they might be from Johnny Quaid but I am not 100% sure. The calls are about how he was taking some time off, but how great the band has been as of late etc. Its sort of dull honestly if you are not part of their loop. The shortest track "Holy" follows. James and acoustic guitar once more. It sounds very stripped down, and bare at the outset and then some canned string sections are brought in. James seems to be struggling a little with the vocals, and it sounds very rough when it is just him and the guitar. The ep closes out with "Sweetheart" a more full band track once more. Opening with piano and a slow rolling drum line. The reverb is back on the vocals but the band is not really cutting loose on the track.

Where are they now? - My Morning Jacket are still active as a recording and touring outfit. At this time the band are taking a much needed break. Jim James just released an ep of George Harrsion cover tunes and will be releasing a record (and touring ) later this year for "Monsters of Folk".

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - The first time I saw MMJ was in an opening slot for Pearl Jam (LINK) at the TD Banknorth Garden on May 24, 2006. Even in a short set I was sold. I had longed to see them and this was just a taste as I'd need to wait until September 6, 2008 to see them doing a full set. That night was great, but it was scary to get to Boston for show as there was terrible weather the whole day, but when they played the weather calmed down. It was well worth the wait. Quaid and Cash left the band amicably in 2004.

FDF Overall Take - My Morning Jacket in recent years has really been come to be known as a stellar live act, and it is very true. This ep is more for completest of their work. If you are new to the band some of the more recent cds will give you an idea. "It Still Moves" is the cd that sold me, and to hear their live prowess check out the live cd Okonokos. There is a live dvd of the same name if you feel like tracking that down. You can't go wrong with the bulk of MMJ's work. If you like some, you'll like most and Jim James has a voice that is easy to fall in love with.

Official site here and myspace page here.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

***The Mp3's have been removed***
Can you See the Hard Helmet on My Head

The tracks were taken from the ep 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, August 07, 2009

FDF Volume 2: Issue 153: Body Count - Body Count

By: March

Album - Body Count
Artist - Body Count
Key Players - Victor Ray Wilson (aka Beatmaster V) - drums. Dennis Miles (aka D-Roc) - rhythm guitar. Moosman - bass
Ernie Cunnigan (aka Ernie C) - guitar. Ice T - vocals.
Produced By - Ice T/ Ernie C.

Release Date - March 31, 1992

What caused me to blow off the dust? - This is a record that I haven't listened to in a dogs age. I remember grabbing the cd just before it got pulled with the controversial song, and listening to that song, and the whole thing more than once and laughing my head off..and singing along at times. The cd is not for the easily offended that is for sure.

Overview - Crossing hip hop and heavy metal rap artist Ice T formed a band that would break down the musical landscape. Singing about stories from their lives, the band would be thrust into the national spotlight when the final track on the record raised eyebrows of law enforcement and politicians alike. In the late Spring of 1992 politicians raised concern over the song "Cop Killer" and the song was pulled from future pressings. It would suffer backlashes from police forces across the country as well. (see the links section for a Wiki entry or click here.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - This was a controversial record, but reviewed here is the initial run of the record including the most controversial song "Cop Killer" which was removed from future pressings.

"Smoked Pork" is a spoken "skit" that opens the record. Ice-T is a driver, broken down on the side of the road asking the police for some help. It sets the tone for the record with the cops hating Ice-T. The guitar chugs along with police sirens and Ice-T chants "Body Count" and "Body Count's in the House" kicks off. Guns fire in the background as the bass, drums and guitar chug along. The band is not all that flashy and T just keeps saying "Body Count". There is a quick guitar solo and Ice T gives the band "roll call" and chants more before returning to the main riff of the guitar and drums. It all ends with a single gunshot A second short "skit" is "Now Sports" and that just talks about how gang members had died and now it was time for sports. A solo guitar opens "Body Count" and Ice-T wonders what it would be like to live somewhere other than South Central. As the band kicks the bass rolls and the guitar keeps a very simple punk feel. The drums are simple but T rocks more than raps on this. Ice- T tells the story of the street for sure, and the lyrics are hard hitting and he uses words of the street and is not afraid to curse. The is a quick drum break down more than once and a guitar solo as well to fill out its rock feel. There is a longer instrumental break down with the band changing gears and the guitar solo is flashier than one would think. We follow the track with another skit in "Statistic" where Ice T speaks of the prisons vs. colleges. The guitar grinds at the opening of "Bowels of the Devil" and plays off some guitar before launching into a very "motorhead" like feel. The guitar line repeats over a basic, but speedy drum line. The band is playing very quickly on this, and Ice T sings faster than he has up to this point on the record. "Real Problem" is another spoken word blurb about how the problem was not the lyrics on the record, but that white kids might like what they hear. The classic "KKK Bitch" follows. Its just a funny tune about the band on tour in the south. The bass, drums and guitar keep it simple until the chorus when they explode. For the most part the lyrics are pretty hardcore. Talking about taking advantage of the women and they run the gamut of curse and slangs. Still it makes me chuckle and for some reason I recall most of the lyrics. A much mellower "C Note" follows with the two guitars and is an instrumental track just thrown in here. Its okay, and feels like a bit of a reprieve from what you have been hit with to this point. Wasting no time "Voodoo" blasts out with a full band assault. Guitars bass and drums come right up and Ice T gives it a big howl to start it off. The vocals are little more gruff this time and the song has a break neck speed both lyrically and musically. "The Winner Loses" starts out with a solo acoustic guitar and then T comes in and gives it the old college trying singing vs. rapping. Its sort of silly sounding at the start and when the band finally gets a little more rocking he sounds a little more comfortable. There are backing vocals and harmonies on the song. There is a "bigger message" on this track and although one can appreciate the band trying something different it really feels out of place. We lock back into the vibe of the record on "There Goes the Neighborhood". The music has that punk rock feel and the band chips away and T is really firing off. The song is about how people can't seem to accept the band as "rockers" and how they have fancy things. We get two guitar solos and an extended drum solo as well. There is a short skit "Oprah" and then another barn burner in "Evil Dick". We chant the song title over big guitar riffs. Its another silly song, but catchy, and even more fun if you have a few beers in you. "Body Count Anthem" is a track that just chants "BC" or "Body Count" over and over. Ice T drops a few F bombs but the song just really repeats as noted. The guitar riffs continue on "Momma's Gotta Die Tonight". The band falls into more a steady groove with a flashy guitar over the top intro. Ice T is more laid back on this track, telling a very complex story of a racist mother he wants to murder. Its scary when you really listen to the lyrics. We get one final "skit" in "Out in the Parking Lot" in which T dedicates his final song to the cops for mistreating him and or his friends. The record wraps up with the controversial "Cop Killer" a punk feeling track with quick and choppy guitars over the drums. Ice-T means business on this track, talking how he'd get the cops if need be. Most fans realized he was just telling a story and probably has the smarts to not take a shot a the cops, but that fell on deaf ears and this track was later removed from the record.

Where are they now? - Body Count are still making records although three members from this record have passed on. Victor Ray Wilson aka Beatmaster V died of leukemia in 1996. Moosman has also passed (date/cause unknown) and Dennis Miles died from lymphoma August 17th 2004. Ernie C works as a producer and has worked on demos for Rage Against the Machine and Stone Temple Pilots. Ice T has continued to release solo records and star in film and TV with Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience)
- The only time I saw the band was part of the first Lollapalooza tour. Ice-T was the "rap artist" on that years tour and he blew the doors of the place (well if they had any doors) it was August 9, 1991 at what is now the Comcast Center. Ice-T wanted to have left handed guitar players on stage in homage to Jimi Hendrix

FDF Overall Take - Sort of odd where Ice T was making money slagging cops now plays a cop on TV. Still this record is looked at as one of the records that establish "rapcore" for better or worse to some fans. Sure its controversial, it's over the top, it is silly but its fun. If you take it for what it is, you'll be like Micheal Bolton in Office Space singing along in your car. Track it down, its not that bad.

Body Count on myspace.
Ice T official and myspace pages. Also, Ernie C on myspace

To read more on "Cop Killer" and the controversy, check out this Wiki entry.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

****Language and content warning****

the mp3s have been removed...

KKK Bitch
There Goes the Neighborhood

Tracks taken from "Body Count" 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.