Friday, July 30, 2010

FDF Volume 2 Issue 194 - Johnny Marr + The Healers - Boomslang

By: March

Album - Boomslang
Artist - Johnny Marr and the Healers
Key Players - Zak Starkey -drums. Alonza Bevan - bass. Johnny Marr - vocals and guitar.
Produced By - Johnny Marr

Release Date - February 5. 2003

What caused me to blow off the dust?
- I played this cd about a year ago at a cookout and had 2 or 3 people ask me who it was. Many folks know Marr because of his work with "The Smiths" and "The The" and "Modest Mouse" and a ton of other bands. It has been a good year since this had the front to back treatment.

Overview - The band began to record the album as early as 2000 and would release a single in 2001. The Manchester England based band was put together by Marr and it took him two years to do so. The band would release this lone record to mixed reaction (pitchfork didn't like it but would still promote the record strongly in the US with singles released to radio and some late night tv appearances. It is rumored the band have completed a follow up as early as 2005, but Marr has decided to put the band on hold. See where are they now for what they are up to..they've been busy.

FDF Comments (aka the songs)
- The album starts with a lone guitar to bring up "The Last Ride" before the band comes in. It sounds immediately like the "Manchester" sound that Marr made famous. It has a few tings of "Stone Roses" as well. Starkey and Bevan keep steady pace and Marr doesn't get too flashy with the vocals or guitar work. The vocals are semi distorted as well before Marr brings a quick solo on about 1:15 in. The track keeps a pretty steady clip allowing each instrument to find a niche and hold that place. Marr gives another buzzy guitar solo, but what happens in the background seems to be even more interesting for some reason. Perhaps it is Bevan working the bass, but it stands out considerably. "Caught Up" also starts with a lone guitar, but it is not a buzzy on this track. The band seems to be a little more playful. The over dubbed acoustic guitars a a nice touch as Marr runs a phased and delayed guitar solo over the chorus. The lyrics are simple and repeated often so lyrically it is not overly complex. The band is a little more creative on its interludes at times so the music continues to be interesting. The radio single comes with "Down On the Corner". Third track in a row that opens with a single guitar, acoustic this time, that is quickly met with a second electric guitar and after a run of the verse a piano joins the guitar. The drums are absent until 1:20 or later and it does add that more "fullness" to the song, but Starkey plays more of a secondary role, which he appears to be comfortable with. It ends on quiet note, but to this point it made the most sense to be a single. Sticking with acoustic guitars "Need It" slowly builds. Marr plays harmonica on this track along with his guitar and there are synthesizers to fill out the sound. The percussive roll of the track will get your toes tapping and Starkey seems ready to really break it out, but it held in check until Marr pushes a solo. During this time Bevan comes up in the mix a lot more and you can hear the bass work he is putting down is more complex than one may have imagined. It returns to its rock-a-billy sort of feel and it has this run for the duration of the track which seems to grow on you as a listener. The longest track on the album, with a run time over 7 minutes is "You Are the Magic". Acoustic guitar starts this one off and there are a few short cymbal clangs, but it slowly gains momentum. The electric guitar does a little more but the acoustic seems to lead the way. After minute or so the keyboards come in with some simple single notes that ring over the bottom of the track. Starkey once more keeps a steady swing and Bevan tosses a few bass riffs, but hold them to more of the final few bars before the lyrics start. The title of the song is really the lone lyrics of the song and it is more of a free jam on the song. The band has the chance to really stretch out it seems, but never do so. "InBetweens" is the first more "rocking" track in some time. The buzzy guitar right at the start has been missed and Starkey hits the tom toms to set the wheels in motion. It quickly falls back to a comfortable tempo which almost feels like a rip off to the listener. About one minute in Marr works a much buzzier guitar run before easing up and having the band fold back in. "Another Day" finds Marr more hushed vocally. The band is more comfortable in this acoustic setting. There are flashes of electric guitar and one can wonder why Marr seems to not want to use it, but also be okay with him changing things up. It seems to get a smidge of a lap steel sounds to it at one point, but the band seems like they are more suited for a campfire sing along than full out rocking. "Headland" is an instrumental track. The liner notes give no credits, but its a simple, actually rather dull, acoustic guitar tune that repeats the same 6 notes it seems. Fill, dull, boring, skip this. The chopping guitar opens "Long Gone" a more rowdy song from the band. Nine songs in to the collection we have yet to really get up tempo and rocking. Starkey who now lays down the drums for "The Who" feels kept back. The bass of Bevan will perk up from time to time but we never really get a good representation of what this band can really do. "Something to Shout About" works with a harmonic guitar opening before Marr comes up with the vocals. This appears to be a full solo Marr track with no bass or drums heard on the track. The album concludes with "Bangin' On". Once more guitars are the focus with a few over dubs with acoustic and electric. When Marr sings its hushed and compressed. Finally the band comes in and they seem to find a quick and up tempo groove. They embrace their roles and for the first time you really feel like Starkey is attacking his drums and pushing the other two along. If the album had more tracks like this, or intensity, it may be a little more interesting.

Where are they now? - The band released this record and did tour, but that has been it so far. Starkey is devoted to "The Who", as their full time drummer and Bevan is back with the reformed Kula Shaker. (we looked at "K" from Kula Shaker a while back). Marr worked with Bernie from New Order on a few records under the name "Electronic". Marr later joined the band Modest Mouse for two records. He now works with a band called "The Cribs" who released "Ignore the Ignorant" in 2009.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - I did see the band live. They performed one of the radio festival shows when I was working in Boston radio. I don't recall a ton about it, but there was a buzz about the band performing mostly due to the legacy of Marr.

FDF Overall Take - It is a listenable album with much of it suited for background music that won't offend anyone. The good moments on this are really good, but there are just not enough. Marr is a talent, and has a great supporting cast, but it is not holding up well. Perhaps that other cd will see the light of day and we'd better get an idea of what they wanted to do as a group.

The official Johnny Marr site.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

You can see the band do "The Last Right" on Late Night here.

This cd appears to be out of print. You can get an mp3 version from here. You can also find a physical cd if you look on the site.

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 23, 2010

FDF Volume 2: Issue 193: At the Drive-In Relationship of Command

By: March

Album - Relationship of Command
Artist - At the Drive-In
Key Players - Cedric Bixler - Lead vocals. Jim Ward - Guitar, keyboards, backing vocals. Omar Rodriguez - Guitar, backing vocals. Paul Hinojos - Bass.
Tony Hajjar - Drums.
Produced By - Ross Robinson

Release Date - September 12, 2000

What caused me to blow off the dust? - This is a head scratcher since this record is/was just astounding to me. The band was so amazing live and this record just seemed to him them at the right time, then poof, they disbanded. I can't tell you the last time I went front to back on this.

Overview - Hailing from El Paso Texas "At the Drive-In" was formed in 1993. Combining odd time signatures and frantic vocal runs they quickly became fan favorites in the post-hardcore scene. Rumors have it the band took its name from the Poison song called "Talk Dirty to Me". Ward and Bixler met in school and began to get to work. The band would end up releasing just three studio albums, with the one here being the last. Just as the band was really ready to explode to mainstream audiences they went on "indefinite hiatus". The album continues to inspire bands and is also seen as a masterpiece. Critics and fans adored the record and it landed on many "year end" lists as well as "best of the decades" lists.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - The album wastes little time setting the tone of collective work. Hajjar rolls across the toms as the guitars screech and buzzy slowly building before the Hinojos bass comes blasting over the top and "Arcarsenal" blows you back. When Bixler howls "I must have read a thousand faces" at the immediate halt of the band the chaos that consumes you is invigorating. The band seems to toss out choppy drum, bass and guitar parts but it is all a cohesive unit that mashes and gets you whole body moving is spastic rhythm. Bixler screams "Beware" six times and the 1-2 punch concludes, a juggernaut of an opener. Hajjar gets to work out the drums at the start of "Pattern Against User". Hinojos bass is high up in the mix as he lays the ground work. Ward and Rodriguez work in tandem. One taking the guitar over choppy runs while the other gives big chords. Rodriguez is more the "noodler" and effects pedal player so his style is more atmospheric. Bixler is comfortable in the music, pushing himself forward, and, still as a rocker it has a different feel than the album opener. Instrumental break downs and a "mellow" side of the band is in the mid section of the track, but it all comes screeching back. There is a lot of phase on the bass and guitars adding to an even more drastic "swoop" across the speakers as the band runs the chorus once more before wrapping up. The song that pushed the band towards the forefront comes in. "One Armed Scissor". On this the band is more "stand offish". Hajjar, Hinojos and Bixler work together for the verse with a real tight bass sound before the explosion of the chorus comes in. The band retreats again for the verse. The second verse has more guitar in it. To me this is "At the Drive In". Want to know what they are like this is it. "Sleepwalk Capsules" comes up quick because a percussive out tro on the One Armed has you thinking it is a new song. The band continues to push each other on this track. Considering the band is as rowdy as they are each instrument seems to stand on it's own. Once again the band takes a frantic pace then changes it up considerably just 1:30 in with the tempo dropping and a more "soft side" coming out. It is by no means soft rock and before you know it the band is right back at it with Rodriguez tossing bird chirp guitar riffs over the churning rock bottom. The longest track on the record is "Invalid Litter Dept." at just over 6 minutes. The track opens with piano and drums. After a musical portion the vocals come up and Bixler "speaks" the lyrics more than sings and does so until the chorus. For the chorus the band does come in and offer more of a heavy dose of music, but for the verses they are comfortable with allowing the lyrics to just be in the forefront. It is a style they maintain for the entire song and shows the diversity and talent in the band. "Mannequin Republic" starts with a buzzy screeching guitar and then the bass and drums kick in. Hinojos is locked in to a tight groove on bass and the band the vocals are about as fast as any on the record so far. The band works some start/stop methods with big downbeats but the bass just sticks right to your ribs on this one. It is a strong return to the stuff that "really works" for me personally. This crew of guys can play I tell you. A phone ringing and an odd conversation start "Enfilade". At the end of the "call" Rodriguez gives some buzzy guitar and Bixler has some effect on his voice that causes it to "waiver" in a trembling tone. The bass and drum work continues to shine. The verse is pretty simple, but come the chorus the bass gets really funked out. It sounds like a mash of wah wah and phase, but its just so right up in your face. This is another very strong "image" song for the band. Iggy Pop guests on "Rolodex Propaganda". What is really nice about the record is the record is one song in to the other. You really need to look at your player to see that the "new song" has started. Pop adds some vocals to Bixlers over the top screams keeping it all in balance. Thunderstorms open "Quarantined" and then the deep bass of Hinojos comes in. The song is slow to get rolling, keeping more atmospheric with guitar fills and drums taking more of a back seat. A frantic guitar and drums intro to "Cosmonaut" get things rolling. Again, the bass finds a way to punch through at all the right times. Ward and Rodriguez continue to feed off each others intensity and the band just continues to showcase their strong suit...rocking the ever living fuck out of it. The album concludes with "Non-Zero Possibility". A far more laid back affair with more focus on piano. All the instruments seem to settle in to more of a role here, with no one instrument trying to outshine the other. Bixler is given room to sing, feeding off a percussive fill or piano chord. The song ends on a quieter note with the band focusing on a more atmospheric feel.

Where are they now? - The band went on "indefinite hiatus" in early 2001. A few months leading up to the "hiatus" the band was in a van accident and then part of a festival show in Australia at which a fan died of asphyxiation. During that show the band asked the audience a few times to "calm down" and actually left the stage after three songs. Bixler and Rodriguez formed "The Mars Volta" who continue to write and perform. Jim Ward is the lead vocalist and plays guitar with the band "Sparta". Hinojos worked with Sparta first, and then joined the Mars Volta. He also works with Rodriguez on his solo projects. Hajjar, the bands fourth drummer, also worked with Sparta and is associated with two additional projects "Nakia" and "The Strange Atomic". Sparta is also on hiatus at this time and Ward is working with "Sleepercar", Hinojos with "Dios Kilos"

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience)
- October 29, 2000 at Lupos in Providence was the lone time I saw the band live. This to me was really a show that I thought was going to launch the band. Surprisingly the show was grossly undersold. If memory serves me correct the band played in Boston either the night before or would the night following. The band came to the stage and started. After the first song Bixler started to talk to the audience in one of the most memorable stage rants. The first tune had the audience moshing and going crazy. I wish I knew it all..but basically he said it bummed him out that his music caused people to want to hurt one another. Also, if he saw people crowd surfing he'd stop the show. He was cool with people jumping up and down and having fun, but he wanted everyone to be safe. From that point on the band just unloaded. I've hardly ever seen a FULL band as animated on stage. Rodriguez was spazzing out, Bixler whipping his mic in Roger Daltry like twirls and just jumping off anything and everything in site. Everyone on stage didn't stop moving. It was fantastic. I ran in to a friend that I had interned with in Boston radio. He was working for the label at the time and got me backstage to say hi to the guys. They signed my "Relationship of Command" poster and what made it even funnier (the band was sort of adamant to do it to begin with) was they all just signed first names...and not overly "big" or "flashy". After seeing this show I vowed to never miss another local At the Drive-In show. If they do it again..I'll be there.

FDF Overall Take - Plain and simple if you even like a single song off the record you'll love the whole thing. This record, for it's genre, is nearly flawless. Top to bottom side to side this is a record that begs to be heard. Singles like "One Armed Scissor" sure do stand on their own, but as a collective whole there are few records that can touch this.

At the Drive-In on myspace
The Mars Volta on myspace
Sparta on myspace.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

Some YouTube Action:
One Armed Scissor live on Letterman. Good clean, rocking version.

A balls to the wall live version of "Arcarsenal" here. This is a great example of what the band was like live.
An "in studio" yet live version of "Arcarsenal" here.

There are a few decent live clips from a particular show. This is "Cosmonaut". The band is pretty wild on this clip.

All the tracks are on "Relationship of Command" 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 16, 2010

FDF Volume 2 Issue 192 - Soundgarden - Down on the Upside

By: March

Album - Down on the Upside
Artist - Soundgarden
Key Players - Matt Cameron - drums, percussion. Ben Shepherd - bass. Kim Thayil - lead guitar. Chris Cornell - lead vocals and guitar.
Produced By - Soundgarden

Release Date - May 21, 1996

What caused me to blow off the dust? - I have been meaning to do a Soundgarden one for a bit. This was just the one I went with for no real reason.

Overview - This is the fifth and final studio album from the Seattle based band "Soundgarden". Formed in 1984 the band would be come one of the biggest bands in the "grunge" era with heavy guitars and soaring vocals. The band would sell over 8 million albums (and counting). This would be the final album for the band due to a clash of creative differences and the bands legacy would only grow. In early 2010 Cornell announced via his Twitter account the band was set to reform and perform a few shows live. In August 2010 the band will headline Lollapalooza in Chicago.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - A solo, really swampy sounding guitar brings up "Pretty Noose" a track that was released as a single to radio. The same guitar plays a few bars before the band comes in. The band works on some time signature changes on the track as well, with drum and bass fills playing a large roll. Cornell is in fine voice, and has a very distinct voice that is hard to replicate. As the chorus is sung there are a few subtle backing vocals sung but they are more hushed yet still add a very strong vibe. They take a tempo and key change as well which is not what you'd expect from a "heavier" band, but they were in the midst of changing musical direction with this record. We get a quick solo on guitar before the verse/chorus is done again and the song ends. "Rhinosaur" has a full band intro and they get locked in to a tight groove before Cornell joins in. Cornell is more "gruff" on this, but can still show off his pipes. The track itself keeps a steady pace before Shepherd and Thayil get the chance to show off. Shepherd lays down a tight bass riff and Thayil rushes a quick solo over the top of that. "Zero Chance" starts off a bit more subtle. Cameron does some rolls and splashes on the drums almost begging Thayil and Shepherd to join in. It is a little slow to get rolling but it falls back some with acoustic guitars and more more introspective vocal delivery. It is not a rock ballad per se, but this is the softest moment so far on the record. There are flashing of acoustic guitars and mandolin is heard deep in the mix. The track builds slowly, but they don't really break out. Cameron gets things rolling on "Dusty" with some great play off Shepherd and Thayil. The rhythm section falls in to a tight groove and Cornell doesn't really rush things vocally but joins in the fun and feeds off the band during the chorus. Another song that was released as a single (but failed to do well) is "Ty Cobb". The song starts off surprisingly mellow, but 25 seconds or so in, the band comes at you about as fast as they ever have. The odd part is this was the track where the band really experimented with Mandolin and it can be heard prominent in the mix even as the guitars wail over the top and the bass chugs like a freight train over it all. Another big single for the album comes in "Blow Up the Outside World". Another song that starts off one the softer side before filling your ears with a chaotic storm. Acoustic guitars can be heard heavily as the verses are sung and it slowly builds to the chorus with a stunning sense of urgency. Another big single was "Burden in My Hand". Cornell comes right up on the vocals and is trailed with guitar and sings the entire first verse like this before the band joins in. Even with that it takes a while before the song really takes off. The ring that Cameron gets off his ride cymbal has always stood out to me personally on this track. Even in the guitar and bass wall that is thrown up, you can hear it punching its way through. "Never Named" is another song that starts right away. Barreling out of the gate the vocals and instruments hit you and it is off to the races. The band does a nice job of mixing things up on the record. Blending a good mix of quiet/loud and heavy/mellow. "Applebite" has a slower intro as well. Cameron just hits out drum beats before a guitar plays 2 or 3 notes at a time. The intro seems to remain the same for over 30 seconds before it feels like it is going to change, but it doesn't. The vocals are so heavily distorted in this haunting song it pretty much renders itself "filler". Skip this one. We return to the sound(s) that probably got you to buy the record on "Never the Machine Forever". In reading this was the last song that was recorded for the record and it is what Thayil had in mind for this entire record. It sounds like older Soundgarden with the buzzy guitar and the pounding drums. Shepherd seems to be high up in the mix and runs the bass ragged with his notes. There are some great time signature changes that keep the song interesting. This is good hidden gem on the record. "Tighter & Tighter" has a slower intro with the bass and drums working off one another before the harmonics of the guitar chime in. A second guitar runs a solo. For the chorus there is a unique vocal effect used when Cornell sings. The song seems to plod along, not really breaking any new ground. The one thing that does stand out is this is really the first song that has any sort of extended guitar solo. When I listened I noticed saying "hmm we haven't had one go this long yet". "No Attention" is another retro sounding song (for the band) for a focus on their hard rock sensibilities. It feels more a like a loose jam than a song, which is refreshing. Cornell even gives a booming scream a few times. The bass is dark and murky sounding at the start of "Switch Opens". A light guitar comes in before the full band comes up. The song itself is actually interesting with a warbly voiced Cornell leading the way, but the band seems to feed off one other in this song. Cameron rolls out marching drum beats, but it is answered with the guitars perfectly from an aesthetic setting. Just a different sound from the band that works really well. Overfloater" begins as a solo guitar slowly building and Cornell comes in sooner than you'd expect. The Shepherd is locked in to a melodic bass run while the tempo is kept in check. After a few verses it gets more chaotic and the band fully comes in. The bass fills from Shepherd fill in the back side and Thayil does some cool harmonics on the guitar before it returns to the earlier tempo. "An Unkind" is a frantic hard rocking track but the band is comfortable sounding. Cornell leads the pack but the guitars buzz underneath along with the driving tempo from Cameron. The guitars riff off each other before the chorus comes back around, there is a great outro on the song as well. The album concludes with "Boot Camp" a mid tempo song that showcases Cornell more than anyone. The whole band is involved but this is more a vocal showcase with instruments kept in their place rather than being pushed to the front.

Where are they now? - The band was active for 84-97 before they took a break. During that time Cornell released a few solo records and worked with the band "Audioslave". Matt Cameron became the full time drummer for Pearl Jam. (We looked at "No Code" before). Thayil worked in a few side projects and Shepherd kept busy as well in a band called "Wellwater Conspiracy". The band will have a new song on a Guitar Hero game due in 2010 called "Black Rain".

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - I only ever saw the band live once as part of Lollapalooza. The biggest thing I recall was many people were walking around and Cornell took issue with people not paying attention to them. They were pretty decent from what I recall live.

FDF Overall Take - Modern rock radio still plays at least three songs off this album in its rotation so it is easy to get burned out on them and feel like they never really "went away". If you like the singles you really can't go wrong. Some of it feels played out, but Cornell is pretty amazing and the more you listen the more you realize how good the band is.


One site is here as well as a fan page here. Chris Cornell has a page you can check out here.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

There is stuff you can find on their myspace page.

Also, check out these two awesome covers of Chris Cornell doing solo versions of:
Billie Jean (very cool version of the Michael Jackson song) and also a stunning version of Thank You by Led Zeppelin. Check em BOTH out.

You can buy "Down on the Upside" pretty much everywhere, but try 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 09, 2010

FDF Volume 2 Issue 191 - Big Wreck - In Loving Memory Of...

By: March

Album - In Loving Memory of...
Artist - Big Wreck
Key Players - Forrest Williams - drums. Brian Doherty - guitar. David Henning - bass. Ian Thornley - lead guitar, vocals, mando guitar, keyboards.
Produced By - Matt DeMatteo and Big Wreck

Release Date - October 7, 1997

What caused me to blow off the dust? - I am not really sure. As I fast forward to doing 200 of these (with no bands repeated) you'd think there would be "tons" to still do. I loved the single(s) off this record and it really had been a very long time since I had played it front to back.

Overview - Formed in Boston in the mid 1990's the four members were all friends and students from Berklee College of Music. The band would gig out extensively in the area and in 1997 would release their major label debut. The album would go on to sell very well in the states, and even better in Canada where singer Ian Thornley was from. The band would release a second album in 2001, but would disband in 2002.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - "The Oaf" begins with a slightly delayed choppy guitar before the whole band comes in. The band has a full sound with each instrument prominent in the mix. Hennings bass can be heard cutting across the bottom as Doherty and Thornley strike the guitar chords. Williams keeps a fine back beat, but keeping in check. The band works in some harmonies on the chorus. The same looped guitar that was at the intro gets a second, lengthy run through about the 3 minute mark and the band does the big final run of chorus before the song ends. The "big" single from the record (at least in the States) is next in the form of "That Song". Opening with hard driving drums and some big guitars. Williams hits the drums with authority, but they are not flashy. Thornley really stretches vocally, soaring over the swooping guitars. It is about as catchy, sing-alongy as you can get for a harder rocking tune. They work with a false ending before throwing out the big hooks again. A great "lost" track. "Look What I Found" has a lap guitar sound to open before the track gets underway. Thornley is more relaxed vocally at the start with a much more baritone howl to his voice. After the verse, they hit a part that is not really a chorus, but the guitars and bass get "bigger". I'd like to know the effect used on Hennings bass as it mixes a real punch, with a ring. It stands out quite clearly at times. The band runs some acoustic guitars in the over dubs. The band works a series of different guitar solos and various sections which showcases some of their talents. The slide guitar returns for another little bit to close out the song. A slow drum roll starts off the first "mellow" song on the record "Blown Wide Open". This track was also released as a single and does show a different side to the band. Thornley has a strong voice and it is what you'd expect for that mid tempo, not quite ballad track from a harder rock band. Its a longer track and the band does mix it up tempo wise, but it keeps pretty tame until the big guitar build up at the end. Thornley gives it his all for the climactic ending. Guitars get some unique effects at the start of "How Would You Know". It sounds like they are working to get in tune just as much as get the song going. The drums are laid back, but the guitars run some bigger riffs and the bass is more up in the mix. The song is not overly complex, but has a good vibe to it. Acoustic guitars and drum brushes are the norm on "Oh My". Another semi ballad, but more with the tastes of the quieter musical interludes, but it perks up repeatedly during the song. "Under the Lighthouse" was released as a single in Canada and it would crack the top 20, peaking at #12. The slide and acoustic guitars are the norm on this. The band is showing their softer side once more. There are layers of keyboards that are noticeable for the first time on the record. The driving rock comes back on "Fall Through the Cracks". The guitars and drums fire off one another and the big stadium rock sound comes. The vocals once more are soaring and the guitars feel like they are working overtime (as are the bass and drums mind you). "Waste" begins with a lone guitar before the second comes over and the drums and bass then join. The band is settled back in to a more mid-tempo track again. The album is a pretty steady mix, trying to showcase. They work to change tempos and complexity of their songs and once again, they have succeeded in mashing tempos with some strong musicianship. Acoustic guitars chime bright at the start of "By The Way". Thornley is channeling Chris Cornell on this track with some operatic range. This is really a song for him as the music is much more laid back. The buzzy guitar comes back on "Between You and I". The hi-hat on the drums clack together and as the verse starts everyone sits back, but comes back up full after a few bars. As the verses end and heading to the chorus the guitars get big once more, and in the chorus they wait, but are equally as booming. "Prayer" is the first track to start out right away with lyrics. A lone guitar plays along with Thornley as the track grows. After a bit the second guitar comes in and the song gets a bit heavier and more rocking, but it keeps that steady feel. The album closes with "Overemphasizing". The ride cymbal is struck a steady beat as the vocals and guitar begin to build. The guitars get buzzier and then we get the big rock sound that has been found on the record. Its a decent closing track.

Where are they now?
Thornley returned to Canada and continues to write and perform (see links). Doherty teaches guitar in his community. Henning was rumored to be is the touring bass player for Slash (of Guns and Roses) band in early 2010, but the that rumor was put to rest within a few weeks there was some additional info on their wiki page.

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

FDF Overall Take - When I listen to stuff like "That Song" it does sound similar to a band I can't effing stand (Creed). There is just something about this band that is so much more appealing. It feels a little campy, a little played out some 12+ years later but this band did have some talent and I don't feel like I need to tear my ears off as if I were listening to Nickleback or Creed. If straight up rock and roll is your thing, check out this disc.

There is no Big Wreck myspace page but you can see pages for Thornley and his myspace page.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

Considering I have gotten two cease and desist orders for the same blog post (System of a Down, which I removed when asked) I am hesitant to post samples. So, here is a you tube clip of the bad doing "That Song" here.

The record is out of print, but you can get it for cheap 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.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

R.E.M - Fables of the Resconstruction gets a re-do!

A classic disc gets a nice repackage and re-issue.

In honor of the 25th anniversary of the release of R.E.M.'s third album, Fables of the Reconstruction, MOG is now streaming the entire 2-CD reissue exclusively on their site one week prior to its July 13th release date.

The new edition features the digitally remastered original album, plus 14 previously unreleased demo recordings, cut prior to the album's studio sessions, including one long-sought track that has never been released. The album will also be released on 180g vinyl.

Stream the full album here

Check out the track listing below -

R.E.M.: Fables of the Reconstruction (25th Anniversary Edition) (2CD, digital)

Disc One: digitally remastered original album

1. Feeling Gravity's Pull
2. Maps and Legends
3. Driver 8
4. Life and How To Live It
5. Old Man Kensey
6. Can't Get There From Here
7. Green Grow The Rushes
8. Kohoutek
9. Auctioneer (Another Engine)
10. Good Advices
11. Wendell Gee

Disc Two: "The Athens Demos"
1. Auctioneer (Another Engine) [demo version]
2. Bandwagon [demo version] [final version was B-side to "Can't Get There From Here"]
3. Can't Get There From Here [demo version]
4. Driver 8 [demo version]
5. Feeling Gravity's Pull [demo version]
6. Good Advices [demo version]
7. Green Grow The Rushes [demo version]
8. Hyena [demo version] [album version appeared on Life's Rich Pageant]
9. Kohoutek [demo version]
10. Life and How To Live It [demo version]
11. Maps and Legends [demo version]
12. Old Man Kensey [demo version]
13. Throw Those Trolls Away [demo version] [previously unreleased]
14. Wendell Gee [demo version]

Friday, July 02, 2010

FDF Volume 2 Issue 190 Flowerhead - ...ka BLOOM!

By: March

Album - ...ka Bloom!
Artist - Flowerhead
Key Players - Buzz Zoller - guitars. Eric Schmitz - guitars and vocals. Pete Levine - drums. Eric Faust - Lead vocals, bass.
Produced By - Flowerhead

Release Date - October 27, 1992

What caused me to blow off the dust? - To me this is a perfect example of what this blog sets out to do. My buddies and I spun this cd over and over and over. We lived for it for a good year. I can't even tell you the last time I played even a song off it, let alone the whole thing front to back. The band only has two cds and this one I always liked better for some lets go have a listen.

Overview - Formed in Austin Texas Flowerhead were quick darlings to A+R Reps. Their live shows were all out musical assaults and labels worked hard to sign the band. They'd release this record and follow it up with a second a few years later. They'd tour heavily for the albums but it would never transfer to album sales.
The band is mentioned in the chorus of the Foo Fighters song Wattershed: "I wanna swim in a watershed, I wanna listen to Flowerhead."

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - The album starts with "Acid Reign" a bass lead intro as the guitars slowly swirl up and in. Levine hits down on the drums and the wall of sound hits you. Its a very big/full sound from the band. Faust is a little laid back on his vocals. His vocal abilities work well within the feel of the track and the backing vocals are decent with the harmonies. There is a short guitar solo about 1:40 in to the track before it slapped back in twice from Faust. His drum hits beg for the guitars to answer before a second more grinding solo is laid down. The band follows a similar pattern with the vocals, a solo burst, then back in to the verses. The track is a solid album opener and sets a perfect tone, I mean come on, at least four guitar breakdowns! The shortest track on the disc, the 2:50 "All Along the Way" also wastes little time in getting rolling. The two guitars work in tandem with the drums before the lyrics come in. Faust sings quickly and feeds off wonderfully from the other guys. Levine punches the drums letting Zoller and Schmitz grind the gears off one another. Its quick, dirty, and to the point. The up-tempo kick on the final choral run ending with the super punched up guitar is to die for. Faust opens "Thunderjeep" with some harmonics on his bass, before the guitars and drums come in. The tempo is very slow at the outset, slow to build, with the lyrics hushed and this rolls for a bit before the band fires off the drums of Levine and before you know it there is a wall of guitars, bass and drums. It really kicks down and the buzzy guitar is just a perfect touch. If you like your guitars big this is a record for you. There is a solo (of course) but they do something with these long notes that drone over the guitars as well. The looping riff on the guitar is a juggernaut. As a funny side bar to this song name when I saw the band one of my buddies was chatting with the guys and asked "Where the heck, or what the heck is a Thunderjeep?" We were then told that a buddy of theirs always sang the song "Dirty Deeds and Done Dirt Cheap" by AC/DC, but he didn't know those were the words, so, he sang "Dirty Deeds and the Thunder Jeep". I can't listen to the AC/DC song anymore and not sing it that way. A song that actually got a video made for it "Snagglepuss" is next (see the video below). Gives you a good idea of their love for the guitars. One chugs along, the drums come up everyone works it in. This is a little more "focused" version of the band. It seems like more of a focus was on the vocals on this track. There is also what sounds like a sitar section of the tune. This seems like the most even keeled song up to this point. Shows the band can play, and can sing etc, but it feels a tad dull to me for some reason. "Everything is Beautiful" picks up the pace once more with the guitars and drums quickly setting the pace. This is another "on the short side" length wise for the band. About 3:30 the band is quick and to the point with their ferocity. It is about as fast as the band plays on the record. "Oh Shane", the albums longest track (7:22) gives us that big guitar sounds we have come to love. Its a little slower than other tracks, but not less as heavy musically. Faust has some phase on his vocal tracks. He sings the lyrics and the last word of each line is held and drawn out some giving it a spaced out vibe. It is sort of run of the mill, until a musical interlude at 2:45 where the guitar riff is repeated over the Levine tempo and Faust comes back in with the spaced vocals. The band gets a bit playful about 5 minutes in. Going with a cleaner guitar solo and the band letting that one go for a bit before the band all comes back in. The final 2-3 minutes are really a terrific payoff. "What?!" is a buzzy guitar run through with the obligatory guitar pick down the strings slide. Once again, the band is quicker on this. More a direct approach. We don't break any new ground but per the norm the band is comfortable in their roles and each seems to shine when called upon and the catchy monster riffs always pull you in. Faust gets to show some of his bass work on the intro to "Coffee" with some bass riffs before the band joins in. The guitars sound exactly like you'd think a Marshall Stack and Gibson Les Paul would sound like. It just this big full in your face wall of guitar. The band won't always rush the notes rather giving you some big stadium rock chords to drive the music home. They once again do a nice job in changing up things with a musical stoppage and some phased vocals before letting the guitars do their magic to wrap up the tune. They hit this really tight jam for the last 1-2 minutes and I recall some guy at a live show shouting "Jam out that last part all over again!" Its a hook filled jam for sure. The album closes with "Sunflower" and at the outset you'll wonder if you are listening to the same band/record. The guitars are still there, but more of a clean sound. I find it to be sort of an "ehh" closer honestly, but they were being diverse. There is also a hidden track that begins about 4 minutes after the song (still the same track) and its just a feedback wall of noise that lacks any direction (and it goes on for some 15+ minutes).

Where are they now? - The band has been on "hiatus" since 1995. I think its time to bring out the guitars and get in the van.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - In March of 1993 I saw the band open for Blind Melon at TT The Bears in Cambridge, MA. I had recently started dating my now wife and she came along. Wasn't sure if she was just being nice, but she seemed to like the show. It was short and to the point, but they were terrific. (We actually left about 3 songs in to the Blind Melon set). I saw them one other time at Club Babyhead in Providence. I don't have a ticket stub, so the date eludes me..but its where the "Thunderjeep" story came from.

FDF Overall Take - A serious gem of a record (to me anyway). I love when music can take you back to specific moments and this record played a big part in a few months of my life. It didn't break musical ground but it always gave me what I was looking for. If you like guitars, I mean big non flashy guitars, this is so worth tracking down. You can thank me later.

Links -
Barring a Flowerhead wiki page there is nothing. No myspace or otherwise.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

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

Acid Reign
Oh Shane

Tracks taken from ...ka Bloom! which is out of print, but you can track down

Video for Snagglepuss:

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.