Wednesday, October 27, 2010

FDF Volume 3 Issue 206 - Oysterhead - The Grand Pecking Order

By: March

Album - The Grand Pecking Orders
Artist - Oysterhead
Key Players - Trey Anastasio - guitars, vocals. Les Claypool - bass, vocals. Stewart Copeland - drums/percussion
Produced By - Oysterhead

Release Date - October 2, 2001

What caused me to blow off the dust? - With over 200 of these now done I am surprised at times when I scan my shelf what I have done, and of course what I haven't. Some weeks I am just looking for something to write about..but I actually thought of this one last week for some I am a week ahead of the game..but what to do next week remains a mystery.

Overview - Originally just formed as a "jam" the band liked what came of it and decided to record. Made up of key members of three "big enough in their own respects" bands the three would form a real true to the word "super group". Each on their own is arguably one of the best at their instrument. Les Claypool made a name for himself as the front man and bassist for the punk/funk/jam infused band Primus. Stewart Copeland was the drummer for the Police, and Trey Anastasio the lead singer and guitarist for seminal jam band Phish. The three would work on tracks in Anastasios barn in Vermont, release the album and do a brief tour. The album would crack the top 50 on the charts, peaking at #41.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - The album begins with "Little Faces" a slowly building guitar rings out a lone note before the sticcato chops of Copeland start. Claypool gears up the bass, but Anastasio is up quicker. After about 45 seconds the deep punch of Claypools bass comes out. Anastasio sings on this track and the verse is distorted and hushed as it slowly builds. Claypool comes up to sing the chorus, matching Anastasio in style of delivery. Coming out of the chorus Claypool works the bass a little more, but the band seems to be holding back some. It keeps the same formula with Copeland doing some big drum fills but its not until the end where the band feels they can bust out some. Anastasio does a quick solo, but it is so quick you'd hardly notice. The band finds an odd tempo to get "Oz is Ever Floating" started. Claypool and Copeland fire off one another as Copeland works around his kit. Anastasio has the lead vocals again on this but Claypool joins him for harmonies. This has a more "Phish" feel to it. The trademark guitar runs seem a lot more familiar and are the focus, but just as you lock in to that Claypool and Copeland seem to shout with their instruments "don't forget us" and they run an elaborate fill. "Mr. Oysterhead" is the first real time you hear the Claypool bass. It sounds real "wet" as Anastasio loops over the top. Copeland keeps basic time as it starts to feel like Claypool wants to get the bass off the ground. Claypool sings lead on this track with Anastasio adding hints of harmonies. The style is how you'd be used to with Claypool, a more spoken/chanted vocal vs. singing vocal part. After the verse and chorus Anastasio does a quick burst on the guitar. At times it feels frustrating, 3 songs in and nobody has really *exploded* liked you'd hope. The song has a fun sing along chorus and keeps your toe tapping so when Anastasio returns for a solid guitar solo you start to feel like you are going to get what you are after. At that point you realize Copeland has been filling in these odd fills at a break neck pace, all the while keeping the track in time. Claypool brings the watery bass back in before he gets a chance to solo after Anastasio. It then switches to a more slap/pop bass solo with some hard thumping at the end. Three songs in, we hit pay dirt! At the start of "Shadow of a Man" Claypool works some harmonics on the bass accented with some string pop fills. Copeland works on some percussive instruments. When Claypool starts the vocals he is not with any bass or guitar. The bass and guitar come in only after a verse, but in lieu of chorus the band plays loops and short bursts of notes. Copeland give the percussive instruments more of a work out hitting various bells and chimes as the song fades. Swirling guitar starts off "Radon Balloon" and then it gets very focused on guitar with Anastasio playing acoustic. This is the first really laid back track on the record, but Claypool and Copeland still do a lot behind the vocally lead Anastasio tune. We get a little more rocking once more as "Army's on Ecstasy" begins. Claypool has the lead vocals on this and when he has the lead he seems to be more the overall focus. The bass is up in the mix here and Claypool is all over the fret board. The bass grooves are tight, and punchy. Even with Anastasio doing a short solo Copeland pushes everyone forward and Claypool starts to pop on the bass more, before doing some cool bottom heavy runs. It has sort of schizophrenic jam but it worth the listeners time. Copeland gets to open "Rubberneck Lions" as he walks across his kit and Claypool and Anastasio ease in. Claypool takes the lead vocals on this track but does trade verses with Anastasio. The two join to sing the song title a few times (a chorus perhaps?) Anastasio gets to run a solo after the first verse while Claypool holds a tight bass groove. The first, what feels like "jam" takes place as Claypool and Anastasio feed off one another for a bit before they return to the vocals. They get a second run at jams/solos which is fun. Claypool is up and down the bass at the start of "Polka Dot Rose". With long swooping notes, he then comes in with a more punch/driven style. Claypool sings the lead and is a little laid back at the start, with a little distortion on his vocal track. Claypool seems comfortable in the groove he has found and Anastasio will splash some fills from time to time. Acoustic guitar opens a southern twangy style "Birthday Boys". I can't be 100% sure but Claypool might be on acoustic or stand up bass. It sounds a little like a campfire song. It is a nice change of pace for the record. The most challenging song to the listener comes in "Wield the Spade". Claypool finds a strong bass comfort zone, but the lyrics are spoken by Copeland. It seems to lack a strong direction. Claypool comes in singing after the two minute mark, but his style lends little to add to the song, it just remains creepy and as they sing the chorus Copeland does a few fills, but the song really feels like it can't get going. They make up for it quick on the bustling "Pseudo Suicide". A full band run with big guitar chords and drum fills. This is the song you've been waiting for I feel. The band is in full rock mode show casing the tone and sound that made "their sound". The tight drums, the soaring guitar, the funk bass, it is all here. "The Grand Pecking Order" follows and once again the band seems to take an odd direction. Sounding like a marching band tempo and Claypool singing in a quirky (well more quirky than usual) style makes it a very average track. On a high note the band closes the record with "Owner of the World". After a quick burst from Copeland the strong bass work from Claypool comes up. Anastasio is playful on his guitar and come the chorus the tandem with Claypool is nice. It just has a clear, strong sound with each instrument right at that perfect mixed level.

Where are they now? - The band has this lone studio release but did play the Bonaroo Music Festival in 2006. I had the chance to meet Trey once and I actually asked him if he ever hoped/planned to work as Oysterhead again, and he said yes he would. Since the release of this record Phish went on hiatus and came back. Trey released solo albums and toured. The Police re-formed and toured and that kept Copeland busy. Claypool has guested on dozens of records and kept busy with various projects and has also started up a tour with Primus.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - I did see the band live on their lone tour. November 10, 2001 at the Tsongas Arena in Lowell Mass. They were very tight as I had expected. All the guys got to show off their chops and were tight and cohesive. It was a stellar evening of music.

FDF Overall Take - Being a fan of all three of the players it is easy to have your expectations set high. When the band hits on it, its top notch. There just seems to overall be more "average" moments. Perhaps the bar is set too high, but as noted the stand out tracks are REAL strong, the others seem like experiments that didn't go as planned. Still, if you are curious the record is not all that bad. The strong moments will all but make up for anything that might be weak.


The band site is here.

You can also read about Les Claypool, Stewart Copeland or Trey Anastasio.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

mp3's have been taken down.

Owner of the World
Pseudo Suicide

Tracks taken from "The Grand Pecking Order" which you can buy here.

Cool video of the band doing "Oz is Ever Floating" from Conan O'Brien here

A live version of "Owner of the World" from Bonaroo is 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.

Monday, October 25, 2010

New Release! - An Introduction to Syd Barrett

An Introduction To Syd Barrett - November 9th!

An Introduction To Syd Barrett, a brand new collection that will bring together for the first time the tracks of Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett on one compilation.
David Gilmour, who originally worked on Syd Barrett's two solo albums, as co-producer of The Madcap Laughs and as producer of Barrett, is the executive producer for the album. Five tracks were remixed including 'Octopus,' 'She Took A Long Cool Look,' 'Dominoes,' and 'Here I Go,' with David Gilmour adding bass guitar to the last track. Pink Floyd's 'Matilda Mother' also receives a fresh 2010 Mix.

Brand new artwork, including a 20-page booklet with brand-new graphics and all lyrics, has been provided by long time Pink Floyd associate Storm Thorgerson and his estimable studio.

Born in Cambridge in 1946, Roger Keith 'Syd' Barrett was the primary songwriter, guitarist and original lead vocalist in [the first incarnation of] Pink Floyd. He formed the band in the mid-1960s with drummer Nick Mason, bassist Roger Waters and keyboard-player Richard Wright. With their groundbreaking, semi-improvised sets at the legendary UFO Club in London's Tottenham Court Road, they became the prime movers of British psychedelia.

Barrett wrote the warped pop vignettes 'Arnold Layne' and 'See Emily Play,' the group's two hit singles from 1967, as well as 'Apples And Oranges,' and the lion's share of the material - the dreamy 'Matilda Mother,' 'Chapter 24,' and the whimsical 'Bike' - on their debut album The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn. Recorded at EMI's famed Abbey Road Studios while the Beatles were making Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Pink Floyd's first album has proved an enduring classic.

Barrett contributed 'Jugband Blues' to A Saucerful Of Secrets, the band's follow-up, but his behaviour became increasingly erratic and he left in April 1968, a few months after the addition to the group of his Cambridge friend David Gilmour on guitar and vocals.

Syd Barrett's first solo album, The Madcap Laughs, was a long time coming but made the Top 40 on its release in January 1970. Barrett followed in November that year, and contains tracks such as 'Baby Lemonade' and 'Gigolo Aunt' that provided the names for two cult US groups in the '80s and '90s.

Over the last four decades, Syd Barrett has become the ultimate rock enigma. In 1975, he paid an eerie visit to his former band mates at Abbey Road while they were recording 'Shine On You Crazy Diamond,' the centrepiece of the Wish You Were Here album he had inspired. He never entered a studio again.

He died in July 2006 but his legacy lives on in the music of R.E.M., Robyn Hitchcock, Julian Cope, Spiritualized, Blur and countless other groups. Earlier this year, Faber and Faber published Syd Barrett: A Very Irregular Head, an exhaustive biography by long-time fan Rob Chapman.

An Introduction To Syd Barrett provides a handy overview of this visionary talent, this madcap genius whose star shone brightly yet burnt out all too quickly.

Here is the track list:
1. ARNOLD LAYNE Pink Floyd
2. SEE EMILY PLAY Pink Floyd
3. APPLES AND ORANGES (Stereo Version) Pink Floyd
4. MATILDA MOTHER (2010 Mix) Pink Floyd
5. CHAPTER 24 Pink Floyd
6. BIKE Pink Floyd
7. TERRAPIN Syd Barrett
8. LOVE YOU Syd Barrett
9. DARK GLOBE Syd Barrett
10. HERE I GO Syd Barrett (2010 Remix)
11. OCTOPUS Syd Barrett (2010 Mix)
12. SHE TOOK A LONG COOL LOOK Syd Barrett (2010 Mix)
13. IF IT'S IN YOU Syd Barrett
14. BABY LEMONADE Syd Barrett
15. DOMINOES Syd Barrett (2010 Mix)
16. GIGOLO AUNT Syd Barrett
18. BOB DYLAN BLUES Syd Barrett

An interesting addition to An Introduction To Syd Barrett is the previously unreleased 20-minute instrumental 'Rhamadan.' Produced by former manager Peter Jenner, it's rumoured to include congas by Steve Peregrine Took of Tyrannosaurus Rex. It is to be offered as an extra track with the CD, via a dedicated web page, and the iTunes version of the album.

Check the video for "Here I Go Again" 2010 remix

Friday, October 22, 2010

FDF Volume 3 Issue 205: David Byrne - Look In To The Eyeball

By: March

Album -Look Into the Eyeball
Artist - David Byrne
Key Players - David Byrne - vocals, guitars, keyboards, Mellotron and Tympani
Produced By - Michael Mangini

Release Date - May 8, 2001

What caused me to blow off the dust? - I've been hearing some Talking Heads on the radio as of late and was thinking I should do one of their cds, but then I thought since I hadn't listened to David's solo record in a long time it made a little more sense.

Overview - This is the Seventh solo album from David Byrne. Byrne who rose to fame as the lead singer with the Talking Heads worked as a solo artist from time to time, but after the breakup of the Heads Byrne would continue to work on solo projects. This album would sell moderately and David would tour behind the record. The song "Like Humans Do" is/was included as a sample track of Windows XP Home Edition (Service Pack 1)

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - The album starts off with Indian sounding tabla instruments and "U.B. Jesus" begins. Byrne is in fine, clear voice and uses some backing vocalists to push it forward. He soars on the chorus and the guitars ring underneath. The track keeps the same feel, with strings and percussive instruments holding key slots. A moody, let perky lead off track. Strings and keyboards start "The Revolution" which then leads to a pretty acoustic guitar. Byrne once more is really strong. His voice has that perfect tone as the song sounds like a coffee shop staple. After two verses the percussive instruments seem to come up more, but the strings and guitar remain the most prominent instruments. "The Great Intoxication" has a little more rowdy intro, but it quickly has layers of strings and percussive instruments. Byrne is a little more hushed at this time as the tempo slowly builds underneath it. As the chorus grows Byrne his a vocal range he hasn't hit to this point. He keeps it short, but showing off his range is a nice touch, it is so good he does it again which is a nice touch. The very fun "Like Humans Do" opens with a rat-a-tat drum and finds a fun seemingly flamenco vibe. The snare has a real punch to it and the percussive backing fills. Bassist Paul Frazier gets to show some of his chops but Byrne is quick to showcase the subtle instruments. There is no "guitar solo" if you will. The whole group is locked in, just a very good track. "Broken Things" finds Byrne running some quick guitar slides, but the percussive players are remaining strong presences on the tracks. Frazier comes up on the bass strong about a minute in to the song and as Byrne swells vocally the band plays along. The are some horns that bring the verses back in and the band gets a little more urgent, but are quick to come back to the vibe of the track. The deeper string instruments greet you as "The Accident" and it is further accented by tympani drums. The song has a haunting vibe, with strings and Byrne working the bulk and the upright bass giving thundering lows. One of the real fun up tempo tracks comes in "Desconocido Soy " The track features NRU from the band Cafe Tacuba. "Desconocido Soy" is a Spanish language song, the title means "Unknown I Am" in English. The urgency is offset by soaring harmonies on the chorus. One of the real stand outs on the album. "Neighborhood" sounds like the theme to a 1970's "adult film", but that changes once Byrne sings. It just has a fun back beat and guitar tone that has a nice "ring" to it. Once again the strong female backing singers add to the full sound. Calling it a theme to a 70's film is rather unfair actually. Strings greet the listener as "Smile" begins. By this point the listener is well aware of the system Byrne is using on this record. More a minimalist approach, at least from what you'd normally hear in a rock record. No Keyboards, or loud guitars, just the percussive fills and strings. "The Moment Of Conception" has a more frantic intro than we are used to. The bass has a real "water/bubble" sound to it and the strings work in a frantic pace. The drum kit gets its first workout as the bass pushes the song with a quick tempo. A more convention "rock" sound, albeit laid back is on "Walk On Water". The bass and drums do a nice job working in tandem. The strings are a big part but there are some nice keyboard fills at times. The album wraps up "Everyone's In Love With You" a track similar to most, with its pretty strings and percussive instruments holding a prominent role.

Where are they now? - David is a very busy man. He continues to write and perform music, but is involved in theater and film as well.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - The only time I have seen David live was May 10, 2001 at Lupos in Providence. One of the highlights of the show was his cover of Whitney Houstons "I wanna Dance with somebody" which was a pretty funny/wild treat. On top of pushing this record heavily he performed the Talking Heads tune "Once in a Lifetime".

FDF Overall Take - Musically this is a very strong record. Not something you might throw on to get a party started, but if your guests are arriving and there is some milling about you'll probably get 1-2 comments on your choice. There is no denying he is strong voice, and strong presence. A strong record worthy of your time.

Official site is here as well as his
journal. You can also check out his
myspace page.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

U.B. Jesus
Like Humans Do
I Wanna Dance With Somebody

Tracks can be heard on the studio album, 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.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Beatles - Red & Blue Remaster/Rerelease

Apple Corps Ltd. and EMI Music are pleased to announce that The Beatles’ original 1973 compilations, 1962-1966 (‘Red’) and 1967-1970 (‘Blue’) have been digitally remastered for worldwide CD release on October 18 (October 19 in North America). Both 2CD packages include expanded booklets with newly written essays by Bill Flanagan and rare photos.

The first Beatles compilations to be released after the band’s 1970 disbandment, the popular ‘Red’ and ‘Blue’ collections each feature a selection of singles and album tracks written by the band’s members.

‘Red’ and ‘Blue’ have been remastered by the same dedicated team of engineers at EMI Music’s Abbey Road Studios responsible for remastering The Beatles’ original UK studio albums, carefully maintaining the authenticity and integrity of the original analogue recordings. The result is the highest fidelity the catalog has seen since its original release.

Even more information on the official page here.

Melissa Auf der Maur comes to Boston

On Thursday, October 21 at 8 pm, Canadian musician Melissa Auf der Maur (Hole, Smashing Pumpkins) will screen her short HD experimental film Out of Our Minds (OOOM) at the Coolidge Corner Theatre, followed by Q&A and a live performance. A “28-minute rush of stunning images, expressive music, and narrative experimentation” ( Institute of Contemporary Arts , London ), the fantastical film takes viewers on a journey through three parallel worlds that brings together a Viking heart, a car crash, and a bleeding forest. Out of Our Minds is part of a multimedia project that includes Auf der Maur’s 2010 solo album of the same name and a comic book.

Conceived and produced by Auf der Maur, directed by Tony Stone, and scored by Auf der Maur and Los Angeles-based The Entrance Band, the film was shot in high definition in the Vermont woods and fueled by solar power. It premiered at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, generating terrific buzz, like this from indieWire: “In only 28 minutes, the spectacle of this film toppled almost all of the features I saw in Park City combined…crazy ambitious…easily one of the most awesome things I saw this week.”

Tickets to the event are $15 general admission and $12 for Coolidge members and students. Tickets may be purchased online here or at the Coolidge Corner Theatre box office, 290 Harvard Street , Brookline . For more information, call 617/734-2500 or visit the website.

About Auf der Maur:
Born and raised in Montreal , Canada , Auf der Maur was a member of Hole between 1994 and 1999. Her participation as bass player and songwriter culminated in the 1998 album Celebrity Skin. In 2000, she joined the Smashing Pumpkins as bass player for their worldwide farewell tour. Her first solo album, Auf der Maur, was released in 2004 by Capitol Records/EMI worldwide and featured guest appearances by members of Queens of the Stone Age, A Perfect Circle , and Smashing Pumpkins. She has made numerous guest appearances with other musical artists including Indochine, Ryan Adams, Rufus Wainwright, Ric Ocasek and K-OS. In March 2010, Auf der Maur released her second solo album, Out of Our Minds, a concept album with roots in Viking lore. Consisting of 12 powerful tracks produced and mixed by top-notch collaborators including Jordon Zadorozny (Sam Roberts), Chris Goss (Queens of the Stone Age, UNKLE), Alan Moulder (Smashing Pumpkins, Depeche Mode), and Mike Fraser (Franz Ferdinand, AC/DC), the album features contributions from Priestess's Vince Nudo, ex-Tinker member Steve Durand, and legendary goth rocker Glenn Danzig.

Friday, October 15, 2010

FDF Volume 3 Issue 204 - Tool Lateralus

By: March

Album - Lateralus
Artist - Tool
Key Players - Danny Carey - drums. Justin Chancellor - bass. Adam Jones - guitar. Maynard James Keenan - vocals
Produced By - Tool and David Bottrill

Release Date
- May 15, 2001

What caused me to blow off the dust?
- With the bands singles still in very heavy rotation on rock radio stations it is hard to really have them be "forgotten". When you listen to the album(s) front to back, which is the idea of this blog, you get some real gems. It was hard to pick the "right" Tool album, but I decided on this one. No real strong reason I guess.

Overview - Formed in Los Angeles, California in 1990 the seemingly hard to pin down genre wise band Tool was formed. The band would blend progressive rock and metal to form some of the heaviest yet melodic rock heard in some time. By 1996 the band was a household name with their 5+ minute rock songs and twisted yet visually stunning videos. The band would continue to be "mysterious" often performing on dark stages and hardly ever giving interviews. The band would battle censorship all along the way, but with both perseverance and class they'd be able to continue on doing what they felt was the best representation of the band. This album (their third) would reach #1 on the Billboard charts on its debut week. The band would also win a Grammy for best metal performance. This album would go double platinum in about two years.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - The album opens with "The Grudge". Chancellor gets some of the coolest bass sounds out. Just the "chime" to his bass grabs you right away. Carey works the drums with Chancellor as Jones begins to swirl on guitar. Keenan starts about one minute in chanting a few lines and the band does some quick loud/quiet runs. There is just this big "full" sounds to the band and even with the heaviness of it all, and the complexity at times, everything stands on its own. Jones leads the charge, but not with a solo, as the song length grows. Carey rumbles across the drum kit and you are just hit over the head before that punch of Chancellors bass rings in once more. A quick "break" and the Keenan gives a long howl as the band rumbles towards the end of the tune but not before one more big rumble from the band. A lone guitar line is quietly played as "Eon Blue Apocalypse" begins. Even when the volume is up the single guitar remains and works to find where it wants to be and you realize it was a short musical interlude (there will be a few) as "The Patient" begins. It almost sounds like Jones is using a talk box for his guitar (very faint if at all). Keenan doesn't come in until after a minute and the band is very laid back. The vocals are hushed and the guitar line remains the same as it was from the start. Carey and Chancellor are not pushing anything at the outset. That changes, but not until well after the two minute mark when the band fully comes in. The song is not very fast, but its a very heavy/sludgy sounding song. Keenan seems to keep the vibe of the song, and the band only breaks out when the time is right. The dark undertones are really starting to show. "Mantra" is another interlude track. Sounds a little like whale songs at times to be honest. This sets the tone for the first single from the album release to radio "Schism". Jones rings out some quiet chords and Chancellor plays along, but after a moment he begins his bass run and Jones feeds back underneath. Carey rolls across the drum set in an odd time signature that keeps it very interesting, yet spot on time wise. Chancellors bass rings out over the track and it slowly builds. When we pass two minutes in we are in full rock mode. This my dear readers is "Tool". They are masters of their craft and the perfection shows in the attention to detail. Even when it gets as loud as possible you can hear every cymbal crash, every bass note, every guitar chord. This is a "band" not an individual. Really listen and you'll get what I mean. The band slows it down once again, and brings it all back up for one big sounding ending. Epic stuff. "Parabol" is not as much of an "interlude" as the others. This one, although short, is just Keenan singing very hushed with some cymbal rolls and light bass and guitar chord progressions. It sets everything up for "Parabola". Talk about a massive intro. It could be because of the lushness that lead to it. The band hammers down with big guitars and drums. After a few bars Jones rings his guitar over the top. Chancellor and Carey lock in to the rhythm and Keenan joins in. The vocals are strong, but not "urgent" for the verses. Keenan will give a howl and push from time to time. Jones gets a very short guitar run early in the song, but it is a short and to the point guitar run before everyone is back to the melody of the song. The band shows their "prog" rock prowess by some great tempo changes later in the track. A real hidden gem on the album and the quiet ending is a nice touch. Carey pounces across the drums at the start of "Ticks & Leeches". Chancellor drops some big bass notes and the guitar then joins. It is a long slow buzzy build up before the guitar really chimes out and the song continues to grow. The vocal track is compressed and a little distorted. The track is heavy and driving but the band is quick to change the direction 3 minutes in with just a guitar playing some chords and ambient noise behind it. This goes on for a bit before the band hits back hard. You get caught up in the moment leading up to it, so its all the more heavy. The band goes full force the last few minutes of the song leaving you gasping for more. The title track follows in "Lateralis" (the album is LateraLUS while the song is LateralIS)*. Stretching to close to 10 minutes long Jones opens on guitar. He plays the same few notes over and over until the bass and drums slowly build. Once they hit their mark the guitar goes right up in volume and intensity. Jones is not a flashy guitar player but he really drives the point across. Keenan is hushed in his delivery allowing the instruments to set the tone. The song blends that perfect mix of heaviness with melody which is always a plus. The song continues with some good time changes to keep the listener strongly engaged in the experience. The song wraps up with some big guitar chords and swooping bass fills from Chancellor before the big punched up ending. Chancellor plays the intro to "Disposition" on the bass while Jones puts in a few guitar harmonics here and there. It is a quiet and laid back song for the band and for the feel of the album. The longest song on the album "Reflection" follows. Clocking in at over 11 minutes it, like many songs, starts off with a single player. In this case Carey does some rolls across his drum kit before the bass comes in to play along. Keyboards fill in some space and the song falls into a comfortable vibe. It keeps with the same sort of looping melody and Jones buzzes some guitar parts from time to time. Keenan is not heard until 3+ minutes in and he his muffled/hushed. The keyboards continue to drone while the bass and drums work in tandem. The somberness of this song lends itself to a great intro on "Triad". The driving, buzzy guitar, is awash with backing Indian sounding instruments and chants. The bass gives a low chug and Carey keeps things moving forward as always. Jones comes up and is able to sling some long guitar notes awash with feedback. What is nice about this tune is that is largely instrumental. Although not flashy it is something that is welcomed to hear. The band is just so "heavy" at times you don't mind hearing them take this direction. The album concludes with "Faaip De Oiad". A heavy buzz from guitar and sort of schizophrenic drums and speaking samples. It is sort of a mind scramble and honestly largely skippable.

* There was a real wild note on the Wiki entry for this record with regard to this song, just wanted to share..try to get your mind around this:
The title track, "Lateralus", incorporates the Fibonacci Sequence. For example, the syllables of the lyrics follow the Fibonacci pattern, and the time signature of the chorus rotates between 9/8, 8/8, and 7/8 time, referring to the 17th Fibonacci number, 987. The theme of the song describes the desire of humans to explore and to expand for more knowledge and a deeper understanding of everything. The lyrics "spiral out", refers to this desire and also to the Fibonacci spiral, which is formed by creating and arranging squares for each number in the sequence's 1,1,2,3,5,8,... pattern, and drawing a curve that connects to two corners of each square. This would, allowed to continue onwards, theoretically create a never-ending and infinitely-expanding spiral.

Okay...a reader made me aware of this video clip that explains it, set to music. I still am stunned with it. Dig it here.

Where are they now? - Tool are still active as a touring and recording unit. The band continues to release albums at their own pace and keep busy with a lot of other projects. Carey keeps busy following sports and collects vintage instruments. Chancellor has played with Isis and was an additional bass on Intronaut's 2010 album,Valley of Smoke. Jones is busy with his art (has been the key person with the bands videos in the past). Maynard James Keenan has been involved with "A Perfect Circle" as well as "Puscifer" and has taken a very serious approach to wine. He currently owns Merkin Vineyards in Arizona where he resides. His affection for the art was captured in the documentary "Blood In To Wine" which is out now. Click here for the trailer. There are heavy rumors that the band is working on new material.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - The first time I saw the band live part of Lollapalooza 1993. The show was July 17, 1993 at Quonset State Airport in Rhode Island. I don't recall a lot of the set, other than they played early in the day which seemed odd. The second time was July 9, 1998 at part of Ozzfest at the Comcast Center. This was really something to see as the band had many of the visuals working in full force, which are big parts of the live experience for them. The final two times were May 21, 2006 at the Orpheum in Boston and September 29, 2006 at the Comcast Center. For the Orpheum show this was a big deal as the band hadn't toured in a while and tickets were very hard to get and went quick. I just happened to luck out. They were fantastic although the atmosphere was tense due to the heavy security before entry in to the venue. For the September show the plus for me on that was that Isis was opening. Tool was good and had a very sparsely filled stage so it seemed "huge" and the swooping lights a visuals were just top notch.

FDF Overall Take - Personally I was very "ehh" on the band for a bit. Perhaps it is/was because you couldn't go very long before you'd hear the same song(s) on the radio. Perhaps they are not intended to be a 'single" band. The complexity and intensity to their music really has struck me the last few months and part of me feels bad for being so wishy washy on them. Sure there are hardcore/diehard fans but the casual fans who think they don't like loud, or "metal" music need to look to these guys as a band that does something really unique. Well worth your time.


This is the bands official site.
Also, Danny Carey has a site you can check out here.
Puscifer site.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

Tool has been pretty particular about their music being shared. This week I'll skip the mp3s and give you some YouTube clips.


You can buy the record 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, October 08, 2010

FDF Volume 3 Issue 203: UB40 - Promises and Lies

By: March

Album - Promises and Lies
Artist - UB40
Key Players - Astro - vocals, percussion, trumpet. James Brown - drums, Robin Campbell -lead guitar, vocals. Ali Campbell - lead vocals, guitar. Earl Falconer - bass. Norman Hassan - percussion, trombone, vocals. Brian Travers - saxophone, Lyricon, wind synth. Michael Virtue- keyboards.
Produced By - UB40, co-produced by Gerry Parchment and Delroy McLean

Release Date - July 27, 1993

What caused me to blow off the dust?
- I've been a pretty casual fan of the band for a while, and honestly don't own many of their cds. When I went to try to decide what to do for this week, I figured most readers would at least know this band in "name". Trying to continue being a little more broad in what we cover gets you this album.

Overview - Formed in 1978 this Birmigham, England based reggae band, has been one of the most successful international acts. Taking their name from a document issued to people claiming unemployment the band would go on to sell over 70 million albums world wide. Known for their cover versions of "Red Red Wine" (a Neil Diamond song) and "Can't Help Falling in Love (made popular by Elvis Presley) the band would be an active live band before the members have fully honed their craft. The band would become more successful in the US come 1983 with the release of "Labour of Love". This album here would be the bands 10th studio album.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - The album opens with a looping keyboard on "C'est La Vie". It slowly builds and the horns are heard in the background. Campbell comes up and immediately you know "this is UB40!". The looping keyboard is the primary instrument until the second verse when Campbell has some harmonization going on. It is a fun and bubbly song but the full band never really seems to be included. This could be how it was mixed, but Brown drums seem very canned and match the electronic keyboard from Virtue. We get more a full band feel as "Desert Sand" starts. Travers saxophone is up to get things rolling. The band still relies heavily on a very "precise" drum line. The percussion instruments fill any lulls. Campbell is playful in his vocal work with the supporting cast. The title track "Promises and Lies" has a more uptempo feel that the other two. The band is very comfortable in their roles. Each player is key to their sound, you are not going to get a guitar, bass or drum solo. The band sets the tone for the song and Campbell just lets it flow. "Bring Me Your Cup" is the first really "reggae" feeling song with some great chant singing at times and the overall vibe of the tune is what you'd want/expect. The band seem to hit their stride as "Higher Ground" is another song that picks what the band does well, and that is craft a really fine song. The laid back feel is endearing to the ears and soul. The vocals are laid back and the music will surround you. The saxophone is a lot more prevalent on this track and the keyboard portion is tight and in control through out. "Reggae Music" finds Astro taking the lead vocals. Its a choppy vocal delivery until the chorus when the band does a lot of high harmonies. The tempo is driving, but remains tight. One of the biggest songs from the band is their cover of "Can't Help Falling in Love". The tempo is a little quicker than most are used to, but it is a perfect rendition. Of the harmonies on the vocals are great and the band does a very honorable version. The horns add a great touch and are used just the right amount. The band uses a strong muted trumpet on "Now and Then". It stands out, then seems to fade, but comes right back at you. Campbell soars vocally leading in to each verse. The keyboard intro to "Thing's Ain't Like they Used to Be" has a bounce to it before the drums push the song. It seems to lock in to a tight simple beat but the band is focused on being a complete package and they continue to deliver. The keyboards keep everyone in strict time and there are occasional percussive fills, but it is not lavish. One of the songs I always really liked comes in "It's a Long Long Way". The keyboard loop starts and the horns come in with the drums. The lyrics are sung by Astro so it has an interesting drawl to them and its a lot more vocally punchy. Campbell offers the backing vocals and there is a sampled female voice crying "Oh my god" from time to time. The band comes back around to do the quick run of vocals once more and they extend the verses. My personal favorite from "way back when" still holds up. The album closes with "Sorry" another more uptempo affair from the band. Campbell seems to use Astro more on this (and likewise) as they both seem to be more in the mix. The band doesn't break any new ground on the track, but by the last song it is okay.

Where are they now? - UB40 are still active today. What many consider to be "the voice" of UB40 in Ali Campbell may be sad to learn he left the band in 2008. After 30 years Campbell left the band to pursue a solo career. The band felt that way, but Campbell said it was due to management issues. The band recently released another one of their successful series "Labour of Love" collections with the latest being Volume 4 and Ali's brother taking the lead vocal duties. Another vocalist that has been working with the band is Maxi Priest. The only other member of the band to leave has been Michael Virtue who also left in 2008.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - The only time I saw the band live as Great Woods in Mansfield on August 2, 1993. We had pretty close seats and at the end of the show one of my good friends who is/was a very big UB40 fan jumped up on stage. At least he waited until the end of the show so he/we didn't get tossed out.

FDF Overall Take - The band just has so much material that most would tend to lean towards the Labour of Love series. The band also has a best of collection that is a safe bet. From a "studio album" standpoint this a solid effort. Showcases the band as a collective unit and although its maybe not overly "interesting" it is still decent enough that many seem to skip right over them. You could play this record very easily at a gathering and not be embarrassed it is playing. Oh, one final thing, of you are in the mood, their live album is really very good too.

Official site is here and myspace is here.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

Can't Help Falling In Love
It's a Long Long Way
Bring Me Your Cup

Tracks taken from "Promises and Lies" which you can buy

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, October 01, 2010

FDF Volume 3 Issue 202: Lone Justice - Shelter

By: March

Album - Shelter
Artist - Lone Justice
Key Players - Bruce Brody - keyboards. Rudy Richman - drums. Shane Fontayne - guitars. Gregg Sutton - bass and vocals. Maria McKee - lead vocals, guitar, piano
Produced By - Little Steven, Jimmy Iovine and Lone Justice

Release Date
- 1986

What caused me to blow off the dust? - I was in the upstairs closet in our home recently looking for something and that is where many of my wife's cd's are held. This was just one that seemed to jump out as something I normally don't cover on the site, so why not?

Overview - Formed in Los Angeles in 1982 Lone Justice over a mutual love for rockabilly the band was originally a cover band. After some line up changes the band worked on their own material and became a hot attraction in Los Angeles. Rumors have it Linda Ronstadt was a huge advocate for the band and was instrumental in getting the band their first major deal. The band would release a self titled debut and it was a hit with critics but failed to really garner the band much attention. Another line up change would then spring forth the bands second (and final) album "Shelter".

FDF Comments (aka the songs)
- The album opens up "I Found Love". A very clean drum line backs the tempo before the guitars and keyboards come in. McKee is pushing herself right away. The guitars bear down between the vocal passages. As the chorus is sung there are good harmonies, but all appear to be female indicating its probably an over dub of McKee. Sutton has a strong bass line but the guitars work well in tandem. The song has a great tempo throughout and has a great alt/country feel to it. The lone single, and title track "Shelter" follows. It has a slow fade up mostly lead with keyboards before the acoustic guitars ring. It has a big sound reminiscent of the time. McKee once again is in fine form and Sutton bass work holds it together. Fontayne doesn't get too flashy on the guitar allowing Brody to fill the voids. A lot of the chorus sounds a little "Stevie Nicks" like, matter of fact there are times you'd think McKee is channeling her. It is not a bad thing mind you as it sounds strong. After the second chorus the band changes gear some but doesn't go to far allowing Brody and Fontayne to hold court for a moment. There is a very brief guitar solo before the vocals resume. "Reflected (On My Side)" opens with a little slide guitar, and opens with a fun, catchy tempo. The guitar runs are quick and McKee is singing about as quick as she has so far on the record, but it is not an overly "rocking" song. The musicians all seem to mesh well, and nobody is outdoing the other. It is evident this is a vehicle for McKee and that is also okay. The band gets frisky further along before the slide guitar comes back and the song heads to completion. The band seems to work with electric drums at the start of "Beacon". There are more sampled sounding hand claps and a very buzzy guitar. The song has an almost robotic feel to it before the strong acoustic guitar comes up 45 seconds or so into the song. McKee and Fontayne play off one another while Sutton keeps the rock solid bottom. Brody and Richman are also key on this track. For some reason, this feels like the most musically focused song on the disc (at least to this point). Another quick and to the point guitar solo runs before the vocals come back and the song starts to fade. Brody gets to showcase himself at the start of "Wheels". It is a solo piano along with McKee. McKee hits notes a little out of her range of comfort, but we haven't heard her do that. She has a little gruff, yet still feminine voice. The band slowly comes in as the song progresses keeping the focus on the Brody lead progression. On some of the harmonies in the chorus is this almost comical sounding baritone voice, its just "too deep" but it stands out. (Kevin Dorsey is credited with this). They felt they were on to something as they did this again. With the prior songs it feels nice to get a little more "rocking" and "Belfry" scratches that itch. A much more straight up rock affair. The acoustic guitar cuts through it all and Sutton gets punchy on the bass. It feels like McKee is really on target here. Singing to "someone" with that urgency is refreshing and this song is a stand out on the album. There are two strong percussive breakdowns that always have strong payoffs. "Dreams come True (Stand up and Take it)" is another slower track. The bass seems to be up in the mix a little more and Sutton has more pop on the strings. The acoustic guitar is still more of the dominant instrument. The drums feel a little "canned' at times, almost too clean sounding. Come the third verse McKee really pushes herself, and although strained, she does not waiver. We continue with a little more laid back feel on "The Gift". The bass is a little more sweeping at the outset, but come the verse it returns to single notes as the guitars work slowly. Come the chorus the band strikes up strong and McKee is the showcase with her soaring range. The band calms during the verses to allow for the diversity on the track. There is a good solo section as well, with the band really feeding off one another but it is kept short and to the point, and the chorus is done once more. "Inspiration" is up tempo from the start. The guitars jump right out. Once seems to ring the chords as a second chops through it. The bass and drums are tight letting McKee soar per the norm. The album closes with the piano led "Dixie Storms". The track is just a ballad of solo McKee and a piano. A pretty ending to a solid record.

Where are they now?
- The band broke up after only two records in 1986. The musicians found various work. Fontayne for example was a touring guitar player for Bruce Springsteen. The key players was taken from the liner notes, but what is curious is that the article on Wiki about the band, doesn't even mention any of these players as "members". Only McKee was mentioned on both the album and wikipage. She has been a solo artist since the bands demise with over 10 albums released (including collections etc).

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - The only time I saw the band was on an opening slot for U2 at the Worcester Centrum. The show was May 3, 1987. Honestly I don't recall much of them but mostly it was due to the fact they were opening for U2, and that is who I really was focused on. My now wife was the opposite, she went to see U2 just "go on after" Lone Justice on the same tour in Detroit.

FDF Overall Take - Being a "casual at best" fan of the band I was surprised at the depth of the record. There was some really great moments on the records that I've since "heard" on more recent releases. The band is hardly mentioned it seems as influences but as time passes they should, and will get the mentions and praises they deserve. There are only two studio albums so it shouldn't break the bank.

Links -

Maria McKee official page here.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

mp3's have been removed.
The Gift

Video for "Shelter" is here.

Tracks from "Shelter" 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.