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.


Post a Comment

<< Home