Friday, March 26, 2010

FDF Volume 2: Issue 178 - I Mother Earth - Dig

By: March

Album - Dig
Artist - I Mother Earth
Key Players - Jagori Tanna - Guitar. Edwin - Vocals. Christian Tanna - drums. Bruce Gordon - Bass.
Produced By - Mike Clink

Release Date - August 10, 1993

What caused me to blow off the dust? - I've actually been thinking of listening to this disc for a bit. I stumbled upon a used copy on cd for $1.99 about a year ago and just couldn't pass on it.

Overview - This was the debut album from the Canadian band. The band had metal overtones but would often "jam" on tracks both in the studio and in a live setting. The name, according to the band has no specific meaning. The album would sell well in the bands home country and they'd go on to release four more records before disbanding in 2003.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - The album begins with what is referred to as an instrumental track "The Mothers". The over dubbed guitars vary in buzzy to choppy single notes. There are vocals in the track asking us to "Listen to the Mothers". Its odd they consider this to be instrumental, but I'll go with it. It offers some big full guitars and the drums are full. The bass is not really up in the mix, but there are some quick runs of guitar solos that are pretty interesting. The first song I ever recall hearing from the band was the single "Levitate" and it opens up with "Feeeeel heaaaavy" and it feels very "alternative" and blended well to the sounds on the radio. Edwin sings at a rapid pace and the band sounds great around him with some great time signatures. It has a very similar guitar run as Pearl Jam's "Even flow" with that run of guitar notes. The bass is much more up in the mix and it continues to be a very interesting track musically. This was actually a later single to be released from the record (the next three on the album were also released as radio singles). The guitar solos are very strong and Gordon and Christian hold everything together. On the final verse Edwin really gets rolling and the track ends very strong. A strong single, especially for the time. "Rain Will Fall" continues along at a torrid pace. Gordon gets to really run on the bass and sets the pace and tone of the track. The guitar is still very present but it is not flashy over the verse(s). Edwin continues to show off his vocal ability and gets up in octave and really seems to hit strong comfort point. There is a nice bass and guitar exchange with Jagori utilizing his wah-wah pedal, then going to a much cleaner sound. Gordon then hits the percussive instruments for a much more "Latin" feel even as the guitar goes the opposite way. Great showcase for the bands talents. "So Gently We Go" at the outset is a much more low key track. We start off with a laid back drum on the ride cymbal back beat and some quiet bass and guitar work. The is a very bluesy guitar sound even on the most simple of guitar parts. The vocals when they do come in are very hushed. Compared to the prior tracks it is hard to gauge what the band is doing. The skill of the players is very evident but it just doesn't have that "oomph" we have gotten on the prior tracks. Is it terrible, no, not at all, just is different. Just when you wonder, it does get much fuller (just about 4 minutes in to the 7+ minute track) and it gets you again with its big chords. Just when I felt sort of "ehh" on the track it comes back again full circle to what it was like and the intro. This is a band that is much more than a one trick pony. The fourth song that was released as a single is "Not Quite Sonic". Right from the start a big guitar hook grabs you and it slowly begins to grow with the bass and drums. There is a decent delay on the guitar and it just has you begging to "get going". The bass plays a big role again and by the time the vocals begin you are hooked. It almost feels odd that a band with this sounds/vibe has such strong musical ability. Not slagging off any band, but when you hear bands like this it can be cookie cutter for sure, but they seem to make this continually interesting. Another great track and very strong choice for a radio single. We hit the half way point of the record on "Production" and it opens right up. Gordon gets slap happy on the bass and then changes in to big booming lines, back to pops and slaps. The drums swell then the guitar and the vocals are just blasted at you like a machine gun. There is a quick lull in the action, but it comes right back after you have hardly caught your breath and runs it all down again. "Lost My America" continues with the big, full sound but the band is quick to take a more laid back approach come the vocals. It does get a little more rowdy come the chorus, but never over doing it. It gets bigger towards the end as well, but as noted, it feels "right". The band is no stranger to longer tracks on the record and the close to 7 minute "No One" wastes no time in getting in your face. The guitar playing is so perfect in the mix and it blends the right effects at the right time. Once again the band utilizes odd time signatures off set with percussive breaks to really keep the listener engaged. "Undone" begins with hushed vocals and a slow climb on bass before Gordon begins the percussive work. The guitar starts and the second verse seems a little more present. The bass and percussion start up "Basketball". By the time the guitar comes in you feel and hear a very strong "Santana" vibe to the guitar, then it really gets going. The band locks down and blasts through the intro. Gordon is all over the bass during the verse and is sort of let alone to get ripping. Ten tracks in to the record I am really wondering why we didn't hear much more about this band? They are talented and doing something pretty interesting (oh that must be the reasons). "And the Experience" continues with the same vibe as prior tracks, but 2 minutes in I was not thinking "wow did they just do that?", but that is quickly changed within the minute and we are back at a torrid clip. The album closes with the track "The Universe in You" an almost eight and a half minute track. It begins with a slow cymbal roll and the vocals go from hushed to rushed. The sound is full with big booming vocals and even bigger bass/guitar and drums. There continues to be good tempo changes and times when the band is allowed to spread out, not locked in to a verse/chorus/verse allows you to do so. There are times when its all but a solo guitar locked into a blues solo in tandem with the drums. There is nice long jam on the back side of the track, but it comes back around rock and roll style. Always on your toes I tell you.

Where are they now? - As recently as 2008 Jagori Tanna said the band could re-form, but there were no immediate plans. Jagori keeps busy as a producer and running his own record label. Christian is working in management within the music business. Bruce Gordon joined the Blue Man Group and has gone on to form a band called "Ostrich" with other Blue Man Group members. Gordon maintains the bands presence on myspace as well. Edwin left the band in 1997 and worked as a solo artist. In recent years he noted he is working on a project called "Crash Karma" with members of Our Lady Peace and The Tea Party

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - I never saw the band live, but in reading (and listening) I really wish I had.

FDF Overall Take - What can I say. I am pretty freaking impressed with this record, and angry at myself for not giving this record much of a fair shake for one reason or another. Sure part of it feels like that whole "90's alternative" but hot damn these dudes can rip on the their instruments and its always interesting. For less than $5 this is a record well worth tracking down if you were a fan of the early 90's sound, and if you appreciate substance over style, this is really for you.


The band on myspace.
A great fan page as well.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

mp3's have been removed...

Rain Will Fall
No One

Tracks taken from "Dig" which, even though it is out of print, can be found here for pretty cheap money.

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, March 19, 2010

FDF Volume 2: Issue 177 Quicksand - Manic Compression

By: March

Album - Manic Compression
Artist - Quicksand
Key Players - Sergio Vega - bass. Alan Cage - Drums. Walter Schreifels - guitar and vocals. Tom Capone - guitars
Produced By - Wharton Tiers and Quicksand

Release Date - January 1, 1995

What caused me to blow off the dust? - A friend on twitter commented recently she was listening to a song from this record. It has been a very very long time.

Overview - Formed in New York City in 1990 from the ashes of the band "Gorilla Biscuits" the post hard-core band Quicksand would go on to release two full length studio albums. Manic Compression would be the 2nd and final full length. The band would garner some attention with like minded and sounding bands in the early 90's before disbanding in 1995.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - The album opens with "Backward" a very short track that sets the tone right away. The bass and guitars have a punch to them while the drums clip over. The vocals are a little gruff, but they suit the vibe of the bands sound. There is hardly a break and "Delusional" begins. The bass chugs along with the drums as the guitars do a certain repeated fill over them. The vocals are slow and the track keeps a basic tempo "Divorce" returns to the feel of the lead off track. Quick driving and pounding bass and drums with the guitar filling in big riffs as they'd get towards the chorus. The band up to this point focus on the group vibe vs. any single player really "showing off". "Simpleton" has a stark tempo change relying more on the percussive side of the drums with the bass working in tandem. The guitars would get the push with some good size distortion on them and it is calm vocally but musically it hits pretty hard. The guitars also get the first, what feels like, solo on a song. There is a drum line breakdown before the band loops back around. Vega gets to show off during the intro of "Skinny (It's Overflowing)". Granted the bass line is not overly complicated but he is the primary instrument and Cage joins him before the vocals and guitar come buzzing in. It then hits down and gets even tighter as the song progresses. It repeats back to the bass riff and we do it all over again. The biggest song from the album and perhaps the band come in "Thorn in My Side". This is/was the perfect track to release as a single. The band utilizes some time signature changes and vocal changes for a great effect. It slowly builds to just a chaotic explosion at the end and when Schreifels counts "1-2-3-4" and the band comes slamming back in with him, you get it. You just get it. A lone guitar starts off "Landmine Spring" but before you know it we lock back in to a deep groove with thunder drums and chugging bass. The band has some very "Tool-like" moments as well with the time signatures and bass work. The only bummer to the song is the fade out, it could have had a thunderous ending. "Blister" opens back to the hard-core emotion found earlier on the record. You can mentally see the band really throwing themselves in to this track in a live setting. "Brown Gargantuan" complements the prior track with much of the same overall vibe. This track there is more of a guitar solo, as well as verse/chorus/verse set up. The end of the track is sort of odd in that a single guitar plays odd runs of single notes while a second drones over it. You almost think its the start of the next song, but its the end of this on. "East 3rd St." comes raging back in with the big wall of sound that makes the record so strong musically. If you like the genre, these are some real cornerstone tracks using the formula, melody and over all ferocity as well. A stand out track. "Supergenius" keeps up the hard vibe of the record with its wall of guitar and drums. The album closes with the 6+ minute track "It Would Be Cooler If You Did". The drums get the old "rat a tat" roll at the start with some guitar chords and bass under the hushed vocals. It starts to build up after 3 minutes with everyone getting a little more fired up. It feels like it could really get going, but the band decides to go with the feedback, loops to for a bit, before the drum clicks back in, but it doesn't really come back the way you'd want it to. Still, a decent album closer.

Where are they now? - The band broke up in 1995 and then reformed for a short burst 97-98. After a tour with the Deftones the band tried to work on a follow up but it proved to be too much on the guys. Cage kept busy in Seaweed and Enemy. Vega played bass on tour with the Deftones as recently as 2009. (We looked at "Around the Fur" on FDF, you can read about it here. He works on solo projects and also DJs in and around New York City. Capone formed the band Handsome after the split and Schreifels formed Rival Schools and has worked on solo projects with his first slated to be released in April of 2010.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - I did see the band live one time. May 29, 1995 at the Roxy in Boston as part of a local radio stations concert series. It was great because Orange 9MM was on the bill as well which made it a great night for me personally.

FDF Overall Take - Listening again some 15 years later it can feel a little date, or almost campy to some. The band has the chops and the emotion in their music, and perhaps their lack of larger success makes them more tolerable to many. Still there are some great moments on the record and is a good example of a post hard-core band from this, or any era.

A myspace page here, as well as a site for Walter here.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

Check out the band doing "Thorn on My Side" from the John Stewart Show in 1995

More stuff! (mp3's removed)
Landmine Spring
East 3rd St.

Tracks taken from "Manic Compression" which is not too easy to find, but you can start 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, March 12, 2010

FDF Volume 2: Issue 176 A House - On Our Big Fat Marry-Go-Round

By: March

Album - On Our Big Fat Merry-Go-Round
Artist - A House
Key Players - David Couse - vocals and guitar. Fergal Bunbury - guitars. Martin Healy - bass. Dermont Wylie - drums
Produced By - Steve Lowell, Steve Power and A House

Release Date - Fall 1988

What caused me to blow off the dust? - When I was in a band late in high school and for a bit of college one of the first cover songs we did was "Call Me Blue". I dug out our demo tape recently and there was a version of it on the cd (tape at the time but converted to cd). Granted it was a loose cover it still brought a smile to my face and made me realize it had been a while since I listened to the actual A House cd.

Overview - Hailing from Dublin Ireland, A House burst on to the college scene with this record. Sire records was smart in putting them on their "just say" cd compilations that were priced under $8.00. At the time compact discs were on average $15.99 so an $8.00 cd was a deal, with a blend of like minded and sounding artists from the label. A House was one, and the Ocean Blue were two of the bands that I found thanks to this series. The band would rotate a few members and release a few more records and eps the band would have its most success in the US early on. Lead single "Call me Blue" would crack the Modern Rock top 10 chart.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - A terrific track "Call Me Blue" opens the record. The chugging guitars and bass line set the tone as Wylie hammers the drums. The song is a quick burst of pop goodness. The guitars attack and the chorus Couse really pushes himself. It loops back around and it is sort of a rinse/lather/repeat deal, but one of the best alternative rock songs you've laid your ears on. The band has an aggressive and somewhat violent tone in their songs and "I Want to Kill Something" is an example. Opening with an acoustic guitar but it quickly rocks over with some great bass work from Healy and the electric guitar continues to pack a wallop. I also am reminded with the tenacity Wylie hits the drums, good lord this man is showing no mercy on his kit. "I'll Always Be Grateful" slows it down some from the prior two tracks. The guitar has less bite to it, using more chords but the bass and drums are still locked in. You get to hear more of the baritone from from Couse. There is more of a focus on the vocals again on "My Little Lighthouse". To this point the longest song on the record (at just over 4 minutes). The band is less urgent again allowing Couse to run the range from quiet to loud. During the verses he slowly builds, but when reaching the song title he'd calm down. The bass and drums are not overly complex, instead they rely on punchy moments every 4th beat. There is a short buzzy guitar piece at the end, but it is a far cry from a "solo" and then Healy gets to show his chops a little as the song ends. In a major change of pace "Watch Out You're Dead" begins with floor toms and chugging guitar lines. It sounds a little like "Do It Clean" from Echo and the Bunnymen at points and we have some big chords on the guitars and the drums roll across the bottom. Bunbury gets to unload some with big guitar riffs before coming back around. There is a splash of acoustic guitars that you can hear under all the chaos which is a refreshing touch. There is an extended instrumental section towards the end, just long enough for you to say "hmm they haven't sung in a bit". "Don't Ever Think You're Different" opens up with acoustic guitar and some percussive instrument sounding like a cowbell (which it may be). The bass once more is leading the way since the guitars come in only at times with some bigger chords, but never getting too crazy. Couse is in rare form on this, almost laughing at times while singing. The band settles in to a comfort zone on "That's Not the Truth". The song combines the elements that have worked to this point, the driving drums and bass fills. Guitar work is a little more active and consistent but the song never perks you up feeling like "wow, they are on to something here". The drums get the intro on "Love of the Eighties" before the bass comes in. After a few bars a lone acoustic guitar strums with the vocals joining. Couse shows his strong voice once more on this mid tempo stroll. It gets a little more interesting as it progresses with some cool guitar effect but it sounds more like it is on the bass guitar The band also chants something under/speaks a few lines that you can't make out too much. When you have a song about about abuse of any sort you always wonder if you should like it. I challenge you to not love "Violent Love". Listen to it once and your toes will be tapping as the acoustic guitar get a great work out with a perfect back beat. Then, listen again to the lyrics and you'll be wondering if you should like the song. All that being said, one of my favorite songs they ever did. Sorry! "Love Quarry" has two cool guitar parts. Once is chopping the notes while the acoustic guitar and bass have some good play off each other. "Clump of Trees" is another mid temp (at least for these guys) track. I've noticed the really strong bass work on the entire record. It is not slap/funk but it is that mix of punchy meets swooping. The sound mix is great if you are a bass guitar fan, it really stands out. A good ripping tune is "Stone the Crows" but it fakes you. The single guitar line before the drums and bass join, then we get the acoustic guitar for a few bars then all of a sudden..look out! We are off to the races. This really sets it up for the final two tracks on the disc. "Hay When the Sun Shines" is first and it opens up right away and everything just chugs along, the bass, guitar and even the vocals. It builds to a frantic pace as the band gets louder and faster before crashing it all down. "Freak Out" was a b'side to the first single but was added to the record and much like the title that is what it is. It starts off much like "when the sun shines" and the bass, guitar and drums don't waste any time. It has a very rockabilly feel to it for a bit. Couse gives a maniacal laugh and the band comes back to the chord progression and it all ends on a strong note.

Where are they now? - The band broke up in 1997. Finding really anything ha been sort of a task. When you search "A House" you tend to get a fair number of hits on, well, houses. Even if I tack on "music" or "band" it really didn't come up with much. There is a Wiki page, but no myspace, or facebook fan page that I could find. If you have any luck, let me know, I'd love to add more.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - I only saw the band live one time. It was in an opening slot of the band "The Go Betweens" at the Living Room in Providence Rhode Island. I went with two buddies, we stood in the front of the stage and had a blast for those 35-45 minutes and that was that. I bought a shirt and the guys ended up signing it.

FDF Overall Take - There are some really great moments on this record and I personally am taken "back" when I listen. The songs hold up well and would fit on a good alternative radio station if released today. It is apparent the band had the musical chops to pull this off, but perhaps the timing was just off and the band never really got their shot in the States.

The Last FM Page for the album.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

mp3's have been removed.

Violent Love
Hay When the Sun Shines
Call Me Blue

Tracks taken from On Our Big Fat Merry-Go-Round which is out of print but you might be able to find, starting 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, March 05, 2010

FDF Volume 2: Issue 175: Pink Floyd - A Momentary Lapse of Reason

By: March

Album - A Momentary Lapse of Reason
Artist - Pink Floyd
Key Players - David Gilmour - guitars, vocals, keyboards and sequencers. Nick Mason - drums. Richard Wright - piano, vocals, kurzwil, hammond organ
Produced By - Bob Ezrin and David Gilmour

Release Date - September 7, 1987

What caused me to blow off the dust? - Okay, it is Pink Floyd and virtually every person I know has a phase or time of the bands career they look to. This was one of the later albums. Waters had been long out of the band but the band (in name) soldered on. Of all the fans of the band I know, not a lot look to this record as being a must have. So, keeping with tradition of a Floyd cd in my collection that doesn't get played much here we go.

Overview - There was a four year lapse between the prior record (The Final Cut) and this release (and then 7 to the next studio album). This record is the bands 11th studio album. David Gilmour was looking to work on a third solo record but changed back towards Pink Floyd. Mason and Wright were brought back in to the band but Wright could not be admitted in to the band for legal reasons, but he still worked with the band heavily in the studio. The bulk of the record was recorded on Gilmour's houseboat an the band was battling with former member Roger Waters over the bands name. This issue would be resolved shortly after the album was released and although receiving mixed reviews the album would go multi platinum.

FDF Comments (aka the songs)
- The album begins with an instrumental called "Signs of Life". The spoken portions come from Nick Mason and the song slowly begins with a rowing boat and tranquil sounds. The keyboards slowly grow and it feels similar to the musical score from "A Clockwork Orange". It doesn't get overly interesting for a bit and Gilmour slowly adds guitar parts close to 3 minutes in to the track. Even though it might not be overly interesting it feels like a proper opener for this record. The big radio single from the record follows in "Learning to Fly". It is reported Gilmour was heavily into airplanes and piloting so the theme is recurrent on the record. It has more of the structure with bass, guitar drums etc with some very strong backing vocals. Gilmour never forces his vocals but they always sound full and refreshing. His gentle delivery resonates more than you'd expect. He flashes a few trademark Statocaster riffs during the song, but the real gem of the track has to be the strong chorus of backing vocalists. There is an instrumental breakdown with some keyboard fill before they come back around for a guitar solo that is very brief and the vocals return. Really, the vocals are pretty flawless on this track, perfect for the mood and setting. "The Dogs of War" starts out very tense with a slow drone of the keyboards and it comes crashing in with big chords as the vocals start. Gilmour is pushing himself vocally but the difference between this and the prior track are very obvious, but it still feels like a Pink Floyd song. The organ gets really pushed in the mix with big church like chords. After 3 minutes or so the drums come in and Gilmour tears through a solo. The strong female backing vocals sing ooh's and ahhs and sing "one" from time to time. John Halliwell has a terrific saxophone solo that blends perfect with the drums. It comes back to the keyboard style intro before the lyrics return. The song fades right in to "One Slip". This takes a bit to get rolling as there is a bounce around of musical instruments and percussive instruments but then it really opens up to a gem of a track. The song has a decent pace to it and the band is locked in. The bass and drums lock in to a decent groove while Gilmour buzzes over the top. Later in the track the keyboards get a very dancy sound reminiscent of Tears for Fears honestly when you listen. The drums are also electric, so they have a certain punch to them as well. One track I always dug is "On the Turning Away". Gilmour sings in a very stripped down setting at times, but as the song grows there gets to me more drums and keyboards, but it keeps a very pretty feel. If you really listen to the opening few lines you'll hear Gilmour taking in breaths, and even on the radio you will hear these. Sorta like once you hear it, you'll always hear it. As the track grows the keyboards and guitars all get more urgent and it gets to be pretty driving before it all mellows out once more. The big booming backing vocals add a terrific layer. One of my favorite tunes from the band that has a great solo for the last portion of the tune. The next tune "Yet Another Movie / Round and Around" (instrumental) is basically in two parts. It takes a bit to find a direction honestly and at about the 2 minute mark the vocals come in. They feel almost "chanted" for some reason. Once it does get rolling it feels sort of "droney" if that is even a word. It doesn't really get going and seems to settle until the guitar solo comes in. Per the norm, its is a decent enough solo and the band allowing it to be the showcase, but it should have come earlier as you'd be sort of bored leading up to it. The solo should have kept it moving along, but it resorts back to the early parts of the song. The later part of the song is the instrumental portion. "A New Machine (Part 1)" has Gilmour singing right from the start but this voice is blended electronically with the keyboard. It has an interesting feel to it and does do something I hadn't heard before but its not a song you rush to "get back to" on the disc. It seqways perfectly in to the instrumental track "Terminal Frost". Keyboard samples allow some piano fills and flashing of guitar to rise over from the start. The saxophone returns as well and becomes a big part of the song with a terrific solo in the middle section of the tune. Even the acoustic guitar is a focused instrument in the song as it begins to fade out. "A New Machine (Part 2)" is just a 38 second version of part 1. The album wraps up with "Sorrow". With a title like that you'd not expect the intro. A heavy single guitar going through the paces of big chords and pedal manipulation. The payoff is great though a perfect guitar solo really closes out the album on a high note. Lyrically its is the same, but the guitar gets a good long solo and its "air guitar worthy" for sure.

Where are they now? - I am not even sure the band is really sure. A lot of years of disagreement and fighting have caused issues. At one point one guy is interested in getting back together while the others are not. The closest in 25 years game at "Live 8" in 2005 when Waters, Gilmour, Wright and Mason performed live. Waters was gung ho about moving forward, Gilmour not so much. In September of 2008 Richard Wright passed away from cancer. Gilmour continues to write and perform as a solo artist and Nick Mason is an avid auto enthusiast and author.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - I have seen the band one time and that was May 19, 1994 at the old Foxboro Stadium. It was one of the more elaborate stage set ups I had ever seen. The evening was overly foggy and when the lasers shot to the sky it provided a very cool visual.

FDF Overall Take - There are books written about this band and I am not sure a lowly blog this could really add anything that has never been said or written about.

Official page is here and a very good fan site (one of many) here.