Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Cool cover alert...

Check out a cover version of R.E.M's "Driver 8" done by "The Walkmen" here

Friday, August 27, 2010

FDF Volume 2: Issue 197 Nine Inch Nails - Broken EP

By: March

Album - The Broken EP
Artist - Nine Inch Nails
Key Players - Trent Reznor - guitars, keyboards, programming
Produced By - Trent Reznor, Flood

Release Date
- September 22, 1992

What caused me to blow off the dust? - I have been meaning to do a Nine Inch Nails pick for some time. Often times its picking the "right" record to look at. "Pretty Hate Machine" as well as "The Downward Spiral" are held in pretty high regard with the bands fan base so I decided to stay "early" with them.

Overview - Reznor was asked by his label to make another record quickly in the same vein as the debut "Pretty Hate Machine". Reznor was upset the label only wanted him to go in one direction asked to be let go from his label. While in arguments with the label he'd record this ep. The label was hesitant at first, but decided to release the record. Originally released as a fold out digi-pack there was a full sized cd with 6 tracks a well as a 3 inch mini cd that would contain two additional tracks.. There were issues with this, so the ep was reissued as one single cd with 99 tracks. Tracks 7-97 were silence. This didn't stop fans from buying it and it would chart has high as #7 on the Billboard charts. It would spawn two singles. The first being "Happiness in Slavery" but the video for the song was banned by MTV. "Wish" would be the second single and it would catapult Reznor even further in to stardom. The song would end up winning a grammy award for "Best Metal Performance"

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - The first track on the album is the very short (1:02) "Pinion". It takes close to 30 second before it even really becomes audible. From what you can make out it just some guitar chords that are slowly chugged out that are then sliced a little before "Wish" begins. Reznor uses drummer Martin Atkins on the track and as soon as the swooping keyboard starts it begins it torrid pace. The drums click off the noise and each of the verses are sung with little musical accompaniment. Between each there is just a pummeling wall of sound. By the time of the chorus it has more of a full band sound, with the guitars really crunching down. Reznor screams "I hate everyone" and you really believe him. This is some fast, angry stuff, but it is what the direction of "Industrial" music takes. Stinging highs, and rock bottom lows the band will lull you for a moment before driving the spike of the guitars once more. The tail end of the song is total chaos but it all ends like you slam in to a wall. "Last" has a similar "big" sound. The guitars are massive on this song, but the tempo is less chaotic. Reznor is still yelling at you, and the down beat will make your head hurt from bobbing along with it. After the verse the guitars are more a focus, with some quick solos rather than the big power chords. The drums feel more "canned" this time, probably due to them being programmed, but the tempo is still frantic. "Help Me I Am in Hell" feels totally opposite than the last two songs. A lone guitar strums calmly before some faint percussion is brought up in the background. It is more of an "interlude" song having no noticeable verse/chorus/verse format. The guitar just continues to increase in intensity before the track fades. The second single from the ep "Happiness in Slavery" follows. "Slave Screams!" is barked from the start and the track plugs along. The keyboards find a little more of that 80's synth pop at times, but don't let that fool you. The vocals are distorted and the guitars and drums are high in the mix giving you a wall of sound to wade through. The vocals are even more distorted around the 3 minute mark before the bass seems to get a work out. Heavily distorted and punched it clears the way for the guitars to riff over the top. Reznor screams Slavery as the song begins to fade out giving it a tense final few bars. On "Gave Up" a live drummer is used again. This time it is Chris Vrenna. The drums have a similar feel to the opening of "Wish" and once again the vocals are heavily altered. This time it almost is like Reznor is singing through bubbles. After a verse the guitars and pounding rhythm jump in. The live drums, although somewhat basic sounding, are a strong touch. It adds just that *much*. The verse is done again in that bubble sound before it crunches down. At this point you either need to put in the 3 inch cd, or skip up to track 98 to hear the Adam Ant cover "Physical". It is slow to build with the guitars ringing feedback before it begins to form. The guitar is real heavy and the cover is pretty true to the original which is a nice touch. The ep concludes with a cover of the Pigface song "Suck". The track feels right at home with the industrial feel of the rest of the ep. It has the screaming guitars and hard percussion so even if you didn't know it was a cover song it wouldn't matter all that much to your ears. It fits just fine.

Where are they now?
- Reznor is/was Nine Inch Nails. Often referred to more as a "project" than a band this allowed for Reznor to bring in whom he felt would best work on songs or albums. As far as the "project" Reznor did say in February 2009 that he'd take a break from touring and wouldn't be forthcoming with the status of the band. Reznor, who is very active with the official web site began to post pictures of instruments and teasers. In June of 2010, a project he worked on with his wife, Mariqueen Maandig called "How to Destroy Angels" was released for free to the internet as a self titled 6 song ep.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - The very first time was at the first Lollapalooza on August 8, 1991. The band played a daytime set and just went insane. The entire thing was just chaos...but organized chaos. During the set the band would take those "keg cups" (20oz plastic beer cups) and they'd be a little less than 1/2 full of water..and they were just launching them in to the audience. They were going what appeared like 30+ rows..and it just kept going. They'd take gallons of water and pour them over their gear. The set ended with Reznor taking his keyboard and standing it up on one end between his legs and just running his foot down the keys tearing them off. The next time was May 11, 1994 at the Cyclorama in Boston. This was a different show just for where it was. A large room that wasn't really a music venue. Still the band was up to their antics with punches being thrown at one another, hair pulling etc. Reznor took his heavy microphone stand at one point and raised it high above his head, then let it fall right in to the drum set. Marilyn Manson opened the show and I recall it being particularly awful. So bad we actually took to boo'ing the band. Manson as well as the Jim Rose Circus Sideshow opened for Nine Inch Nails the final time I saw them on December 3, 1994 at the Boston Garden. Bands were running through the Boston Garden one last time before it was torn down. This show was rough. There were seats on the floor and Reznor got all upset there was no room for the fans to "mosh" so next thing you knew, the folding chairs were getting torn up and moved out. I was in the lower bowl further back in the arena and just had a "bad feeling" about it. This was when moshing was at an all time high for the shows I went to and it was also beyond played out (even then people!). More than anything I was pissed at how crappy the venue sounded for a show, it always had, but throw this whole chair issue and I left with a bad taste in my mouth.

FDF Overall Take - Although not a huge difference between the debut and the follow up Nine Inch Nails brought, and kept this mash up of industrial, dance and metal to the masses. They made it cool to like hard rock. The ep really only scratches the surface but you can't go wrong with it. The later records Reznor started to work on doing more instrumental pieces and what have you. If you are after sheer angst...ie a great driving record....grab it.

The official page and then myspace

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

Here is a live clip for Wish
The band doing a very muddy and chaotic version of Happiness in Slavery from Woodstock 94.
A short, grainy video of Adam with Nine Inch Nails doing Physical
This clip is Adam Ant doing "Physical" if you care to hear the original.

You can still by "Broken" very easily. Here is a link to buy it.

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.

Friday, August 20, 2010

FDF Volume 2: issue 196 - Weezer - Pinkerton

By: March

** thanks for your help on our poll. If you haven't taken it, look on the main page I appreciate your feedback!**

Album - Pinkerton
Artist - Weezer
Key Players - Matt Sharp - bass, synthesizer, vocals. Brian Bell - guitars,vocals. Patrick Wilson - drums. Rivers Cuomo - lead vocals, guitar
Produced By - Weezer

Release Date - September 24, 1996

What caused me to blow off the dust? - Over the years I've grown apart from Weezer for some reason or another. I loved the debut, was confused with Pinkerton and haven't been overly wow'd since. Still, I understand what they are trying to do, and have done. People always talk about what a watershed record Pinkerton is/was....so with that I decided to give this one a front to back.

Overview - Coming off the multi platinum debut album Weezer released Pinkerton. A legal issue at the inital release with a security company cause the record label to delay some of its promotions for the record. It will still crack the top 20 in the US (Peaking at #19) but the band and fans were used to success at this point. The album was much darker than the "blue" album and many fans were turned off with the direction of the band. It got even worse for the band when Rolling Stone called it one of the worst albums of the year. The album would be the last with bassist Matt Sharp. The band would struggle for a bit, but would regain traction and the album is now considered a cult classic. By 2001 the album had gone gold, and in 2002 Rolling Stone magazine readers voted it the 16th greatest album of all time. The album would chart on many "essential" lists when best of the 90's were complied. The band is planning a major re-issue of the album in October 2010. Oh yeah, this album is also considered "the" album that introduced "emo" to a wider audience.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - The album opens with "Tired of Sex" a distorted keyboard and bass are the focus at the start, then the drums come in. Cuomo is a little hushed on his vocals allowing Sharp, Bell and Wilson to grow around him. By the chorus Cuomo is yelling and the band hits down hard. Vocals are strained, but the backing vocals are smooth to offest the buzz and urgency of the track. The title of the song is never mentioned and the band is in and out of the song in 3:01. This is a trend for the record, with nothing going much beyond 4 minutes. "Getchoo", is another shorter track. The music is pushed up and Cuomo is in fine form. The guitars form a wall of sound. Sharp and Wilson have some fun around the chorus working on some chopped time signatures, which puts the punch on the track. By the time "No Other One" begins fans of the last album realize there has been some changes. The songs all blend in to one another and do feel darker. Cuomo is more laid back on the song, but the guitars still have a heavy tone to them. The songs don't really seem to have a "verse/chorus/verse" either. Sure the music seems to change in volume, and tempo, but there hasn't been a real "sing along" moment yet, and I, like most fans at the time, have been taken off guard. Sharp rumbles across on the bass as "Why Bother?" starts. This is a catchy, pop/punk song that has a first glimpse of a "guitar solo" albeit very short. The band strums the chords and it marches along very quickly (its the shortest track on the record). A much calmer "Across the Sea" follows. After a quiet intro a lone guitar plays along with piano. The guitar is distorted, but doesn't take from the feel. Wilson breaks out a simple, yet very steady beat. "The Good Life" has a fun lone guitar intro. The fingers snap and the bass starts up. Cuomo is quick and to the point with a machine gun vocal delivery. The band feels at time ready to break out of a shell. The lyrics are "aggressive" from such a fun band. The band is chaotic at times, but come the 2:45 mark they fall in a laid back set, where vocals are hushed, percussion instruments come out, but before you know it..it grows in urgency. The band all comes firing back in for a rousing final verse to the end. The one song that was released first from the album "El Scorcho". It takes a moment to get rolling and a the guitars are playful off each other. The tempo is laid back but it still sounds like "Weezer" which, to this point makes the most sense to have released this as the first single. The three vocals on the chorus add a full sound. Cuomo is in confession mode, trying to woo a girl. The band keeps it playful, but knows the best times to kick in. The track, upon listening back is flawless. It follows the same pattern but about 2 minutes in, the tempo goes up and it gets a little wild. It is timed perfectly and the band goes back to the early formula of the track. Cuomo feeds off the backing vocals of Sharp and Bell once more as the song begins to run towards the end. There are not fancy harmonies, but the band seems to be working in various ranges which adds a nice touch. Two guitars chime together as "Pink Triangle" begins. After a few bars the full band comes in and one guitar goes over the top with higher notes as the second locks into the tempo with the bass and drums. The song an homage to a sticker indicating someone is homosexual offers a funny look of how Cuomo had no idea a person of interest might not be interested in him the same way, until he saw the sticker and "got it". It is a funny, but kept classy, song. It was released as a single, but failed to chart. The band has one of the longer guitar breakdowns of any song on the record and during that time Sharp's bass is really locked in. After the interlude they come out a little slower, but slowly build and fall back to the great tempo that was laid out. Another very strong track on the album. Hardly slowing the band goes right in to "Falling for You". Wilson hammers out the drums and Cuomo and Bell work the guitars off one another. The full band chimes in vocally at times. Bell is given a shot to solo quickly before the second verse is sung, and it keeps everything flowing well. It really fails to crack its own shell and it is sort of one of those what you hear is what you get tracks. Not terrible, but not a stand out either. The album concludes with "Butterfly" an acoustic guitar with just Cuomo on vocals. A quiet and fitting end to the record.

Where are they now? - Weezer are still active both in studio and as a touring act. They have a new cd called "Hurley" that is due on on September 14 in the US. Matt Sharp left the band in 1998 to focus on the band "The Rentals" as well as some solo work. He continues to be active in projects but it has been reported the Rentals are on hiatus.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - I have only seen the band two times and both were pretty early on in support of the Debut. The first was November 22, 1994 when the band opened for "Live" at the Orpheum Theater. The second time, and by this time the band was bigger than the venue, was March 26, 1995 at the Avalon Ballroom in Boston. The place was packed, and the "Sweater Song" was beyond huge. The show was fun and I recall the band being comfortable with their success.

FDF Overall Take - This is/was a big departure for the band at the time and it is easy to see why many turned away from it. With the progression of music in years following it is easy to go back and find this album had a lot of redeeming qualities. The cult status shouldn't be even a tag any more since the band is now talking about doing a tour in which they'd play the album in full. This one, shouldn't be missed.

The official Weezer site.

News and video of the band talking about doing a tour for Pinkerton can be found here.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

Video for "El Scorcho" here.
Video for The Good Life and "Tired of Sex" live in Japan.

You can buy Pinkerton here

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.

Friday, August 13, 2010

FDF Volume 2: Issue 195 - Mike Watt - Ball-Hog or Tugboat?

By: March

Album - Ball-Hog or Tugboat
Artist - Mike Watt
Key Players - Mike Watt - bass. (the album is full of guest spots so see track by track break down for more info!)
Produced By - Mike Watt

Release Date - February 28, 1995

What caused me to blow off the dust? - For the longest time I wanted to get this on cd. I liked a few songs that I had heard but never bought the whole thing. I stumbled upon a used copy about a year and a half ago and was honestly very impressed with the diversity. In the spirit of being a broad as I can with this site, I figured I'd take a chance and see if anyone else wanted to read about it.

Overview - This was the first solo release from California via Virginia bassist Mike Watt. Mike Watt was a co founder of the band "The Minutemen". After that band disbanded in 1985, Watt formed fIREHOSE and would release five albums. He'd then begin his solo career and this album featured here was his first.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - Still will be song by song, but I'll note some of the guests on each track. Watt enlisted a lot of friends for the recording of the record and when he toured for this record Grohl and Vedder actually toured with him pushing him further in to the mainstream conscious.

The album opens with "Big Train" - Dave Grohl played drums and lap steel, Nels Cline (Wilco)(we did an FDF of Summerteeth) on slide guitar, Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam)(check out FDF on No Code) on guitar and backing vocals, J Mascis (Dinosaur Jnr) lead guitar and Cris and Curt Kirkwood on banjo and lead guitar respectively (Meat Puppets). The track opens with Watt strolling up and down the bass and his gravel voice comes in. Grohl gets it moving along and then it seems to fall in to a rock-a-billy groove. The bass sticks out, but the slide guitars are fantastic. There is a great interlude with the banjo and a dual bass before a great guitar solo rips over the top. The best part is we get this not once but twice. There is what feels like a false ending and the track gets quicker with another run of solos and one big jam session. Watts bass slides are just monsters swooping in and punching things up. The next track is "Against The 70's" - Vedder sings lead, Grohl on drums, Gary Lee Conner lead guitar (Screaming Trees) and Krist Novoselic (Nirvana)(the very first FDF was on In Utero) on farfisa organ. This was released to radio as a single and Vedder sings after a quick buzzy guitar intro. The track sounds like Pearl Jam to me. Vedder is backed up on vocals by Carla Bozulich and she offers just that perfect harmony. Grohl hits out a simple sounding drum part but Watt really shines on bass leading the melody. Check the the music sample section for a clip of this tune. Its a real hidden gem. Cline appears again as the guitarist listed on "Drove Up From Pedro". This track is more laid back than the previous two songs, but only at the intro. It gets a much more complex sound with 7 musicians listed as performing on the track. Bozulich who made her name famous with the band "Geraldine Fibbers" has a soothing, yet husky sound to her voice. The music around her is full but keeps a bit restrained until the right times, allowing the vocals to be the focus. Cline has a great give and take solo with Watt before the track falls back in to it's light feel. Evan Dando (from the Lemonheads, check out the FDF for "Come on Feel the Lemonheads") offers the lead vocals on the over the top catchy rocker "Piss-Bottle Man" The fun comes in the chorus where Dando is flanked with three female back up singers all three spent time with the band "That Dog". Anna Waronker Petra Haden as well as Rachel Haden offer the harmonies. Barring the song title it could have and should have been played on radio, its wonderfully catchy. On "Chinese Firedrill" Frank Black (Pixes, the FDF of "Doolittle" is here) sings, Cline on guitar and Stephen Perkins (Jane's Addiction)(a very early FDF look at Nothings Shocking) percussion. We are more acoustic guitar based on this track and it has more of a "sit around a campfire" type feel. The track "Intense Song For Madonna To Sing" has you wondering, could she actually sing it? The bass rumble from Watt is way up in the mix at the intro of the song, and its all over the map tempo wise. The band is all in, then everyone backs off, it speeds up, then slows down. Madonna might be able to sing to this instrumental track, but people couldn't really dance to it. The track "Tuff Gnarl" follows. J Mascis is listed as the drummer for the "1st Part". Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth) on guitars, Cline on guitar. Bozulich returns on vocals. It doesn't have that Sonic Youth noise to it and the track is heavy on the tambourine. Sure there are moments where there is just a wall of guitar, but it feels in order, nothing overpowers the direction of the song. Paden is given the green light as well towards the end and runs a great violin part. Henry Rollins (FDF listened to "Weight" here) helps out on "Sexual Military Dynamics". Giving his all right from the start the bass is complex and really funky. Henry gives his trademark yells and commands the band to order. Its goes along at a good steady pace keeping it as about as basic a rock track for this record as can be. This is four guys, rocking out. It sounds perfect. On the track "Max And Wells" Mark Lanegan (Screaming Trees) (check out FDF for Uncle Anesthesia) on lead vocals, J Mascis returns on guitar. The drums are slow rolling and Lanegan has the deep whiskey soaked howl to his voice. He is more in the vein of speaking vs singing, but as one of my favorite vocalists of all time he can do whatever he wants. Mascis solos from time to time, but the track is a pretty mellow affair for this record. "E-Ticket Ride" Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers on "Lead bass",(check out FDFs take on The Uplift MoFo Party Plan Perkins on drums). A baby cries then Tony Atherton comes in on his alto sax. Mike D from the Beastie Boys is on lead vocals and the track is a funky and percussive track. The bass line from Flea is pushed up in the mix, but Perkins percussion work is right along with him. They have Atherton solo again as the band jams around. A prank phone call is the signal for the end, but the music comes back up and the band has a good musical interlude to wrap the track up. Pat Smear (Foo Fighters) sings on "Forever... One Reporter's Opinion". Cline returns as the guitarist but its the bass and drum that are the most playful at the outset. Cline riffs over the top, but Watt and drummer Michael Preussner really have good time with each other. The music is strong on this and actually having vocals take from it. On "Song For Igor" there are alto and tenor saxophones, bass and drums. It has a fun tempo to it, and sounds very different from the other tracks. It doesn't seem out of place, and shows the diversity of who Watt had in the project. Watt has some phase on his bass at the outset of "Tell 'Em Boy!" Dave Pirner (Soul Asylum) on vocals, John Molo on drums and then there is a "liquid" bass effect used. It is a very neat retro sound Watt uses. This doesn't sound at all like a Soul Asylum song and I kept having to say "who is singing?". Flea appears again on "Sidemouse Advice" but as the trumpet player. Perkins is also on drums. Bozulich sings as well and it has a lounge feel to it. The trumpet work is very up front and Flea plays well with the piano work. The bass is deeper on "Heartbeat". The song takes a bit to find a direction with the bass, viola and drums looking for a direction to take the song in. Tiffany Anders offers up some vocals, but the song doesn't really find a groove until about 1:20 in when Watt takes the lead. The track ends but there is a call from Kathleen Hanna declining the offer to be on the record. In a curse laded message she pretty much says no thanks...in more ways that one. (Hanna on Wikipedia). "Maggot Brain" is a terrific cover of the Funkadelic song. Mascis channels Eddie Hazel for a spot on guitar solo to open the 12+ minute long track. Watt walks the bass calmly under the guitar and Bernie Worrell fills the voids on the B3 Organ. Mascis really is the prize on this. The record concludes with "Coincidence Is Either Hit Or Miss". Adam Horovitz (Beastie Boys)(check out FDF on Check Your Head) on drums and guitar and Watt sings on this track. If you ever heard the instrumental stuff the Beastie Boys have done it sounds similar. Ronda Rindone adds some bass clarinet sections for a fun twist on the rock format. About 1:20 the cello and viola get frantic and there are a series of start/stop moments with whip cracks tossed in. It is a quick track that fades out, almost leaving you wanting more.

Where are they now? - Watt has never slowed down it seems. He is currently the touring bass player with Iggy and the Stooges.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - I have never seen Mike Watt live. I really should.

FDF Overall Take - There are some really REALLY great moments on this. Watt surrounds himself with gifted players and there are a lot of hidden gems on here. A few bumbles along the way, but those are more the "unique" tracks where he tries to spread his horizons some. This is worth your time because chances are you like at least ONE of the guests on this record and they are all given their just due.

An official page for Mike Watt
This is a Wiki Article about the players and recording of the record.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

Here is an audio only version of Kids of the 70's
A cool (but gritty footage) live version of Big Train that features Vedder and Grohl
Something else to listen to Chinese Firedrill.

Tracks are all from "Ball-Hog or Tugboat?" that you can buy here.

Oh yeah..thanks for reading..for real..can you go to our main page and take the quick survey? (please?)

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.