Friday, February 25, 2011

FDF Volume 3 Issue 216: Chemical Brothers - Dig your Own Hole

By: March

Album - Dig Your Own Hole
Artist - The Chemical Brothers
Key Players - Tom Rowlands, Ed Simons - keyboards, synths, bleeps and bloops.
Produced By - The Chemical Brothers

Release Date - April 7, 1997

What caused me to blow off the dust? - I am not really sure. I got in to a quick phase with this band where I wanted all their stuff and the re-mix records etc, but that lasted inside six months. I can't really listen to a full album for this style of music very often either. Its been a bit.

Overview - British based electronica duo Chemical Brothers released this, their second full length, to wide critical and popular acclaim. Released when techno/dance was working on another resurgence the band blended deep grooves while avoiding many samples that are, or were, used by rap artists. In 1998, Q magazine readers voted Dig Your Own Hole the 49th greatest album of all time. In 2000, the same magazine placed it at number 42 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - The keyboards start with a deep drone before a deep grooved bass run starts. "Block Rockin' Beats" kicks it up a notch. Samples taken from the Schooly D track "Gucci Again" the duo locks in to a loop with the bass and keeping on the same melody only shifting up an oactive. After a bit a harder "scratched" portion begins. The beats per minute remain quite constant and the the bass breakdown comes back in to focus at the 2:30 mark before the keyboards change directions with a deeper tone. The title track, "Dig Your Own Hole", follows and the the first sample is a deep looped portion. The duo uses heavy bass, but not just on the downbeats. It seems to be a constant with the downbeats filled with other samples. Ali Friend is credited as playing "Fuzz Bass" on the track, and the "live" bass adds a strong touch. The dance party rolls on with referee whistles blasting over and the keyboards take a shimmering vibe before rolling back to the main melody. The track "Elektobank" starts without any gap. The only indication is a spoken introduction. The vocal introduction was taken from a live recording of Kool Herc from 1996. This has a more focused, harder techno drive to it. Samples phase from speaker to speaker but the underlying BPM is really starting to push them forward. There is a second vocal sample used. Its is from Keith Murray and it is repeated over and over at a machine gun like pace. With a few "explosions' placed in the sample the track begins to slow. The drum tempo slows down a great deal but comes back up as a fuzzy bass section takes over. We fade again right to "Piku". The subtle tones underneath keep the tracks blending together nicely. The beat on this track still has some heavy bottom, but its a little more playful at the same time. A scratchy record seems to play over the track as heavy keyboard runs swoop from right to left. One of the bigger tracks from the album comes in "Setting Sun". The first track that features "lead" vocals were done by Noel Gallagher (Oasis). (We looked at "Be Here Now" in the past.) Starting with what sounds like a deep "sitar" loop the music comes at you from all sides. Some of the downbeats seem very similar to the tones that the Prodigy used on "Fat of the Land". The screaming keyboard runs give it a great haunting feel. Still one of the bands "go to" tracks. Hi-hat cymbals click of "It Doesn't Matter" (realize they are keyboard based but just got with it okay?) Most of the stuff on this record feels "the same" but for some reason this one really seems to find its vibe and it sticks to it. The loop gets old and there is little variation to it. "Don't Stop the Rock" has a fun sounding 70's keyboard that blips over the heavier back beat. There is a few re-mix versions of this song that are all very strong. The blippy sounding loop locks with the deeper tempo as few other keyboard fills work their way in to the mix. After about 2 minutes though this bleepy keyboards will have you reaching for the skip button, yeah it gets to you that fast. Rolling on E at an outdoor summer festival might be one thing, but stone cold sober you'd be pretty close to killing yourself. "Get up on it like this" is a little more focused with Latin sounding drum beats and a tighter. There is more of street feel to the track with the more focused tempos. A good change from the prior track. The band uses a live bassist again on "Lost in the K-hole". This time it is credited to "Seggs" and they call it "acid bass". The bass lines are more "bent" at the start and then the fills start to sound a little like the bass players tones used in the early 80's goth recordings. The bass has some simple backing track and a spoken word vocal over dub. The second track that has full lead vocals comes in "Where do I begin". Beth Orton take the lead on this track. (We looked at "Trailer Park" some time ago.) The samples and fills are pushed to the background and Orton shines with her fair/wavering voice. It is not until the latter part of the song does it get a little more of the "techno" feel to it. The keyboards and samples are more fill than focus. The album concludes with the track "The Private Psychedelic Reel". This is a quieter song, at the start at least, than anything one the record. One keyboard plays a sequence while a second guitar/sitar hybrid begins to swell under the progression. The track kicks in to a little more high gear about the 2 minute mark and sits tight on its loop. This continues and the band works in some phase and fading techniques so the headphones will get a workout on this one. The track continues with the Indian feel and the loops are a little infectious honestly. A strong album closer.

Where are they now?
- The Chemical Brothers are still active. They are on tour now (or very soon) and have a sound track score due in April 2011 for the film "Hanna"

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - I've never seen the band live.

FDF Overall Take - A good friend of mine always said about this record "I don't think I could ever listen to a full record of techno music, but this about as close as I could get". There are some really strong moments on this record and others that will drive you (well they did for me) to lean to the skip/fast forward button. It is the nature of the genre. How complex can it really get. If I wanted to get a party moving I could toss a track or two on from this record and it would do the trick.


Official band page here as well as

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

Block Rockin' Beat *Spys Remix
Setting Sun
The Private Psychedelic Reel

The album is still easy to find. 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, February 18, 2011

FDF Volume 3 Issue 215: O Positive - toyboatToyBoatTOYBOAT

By: March

Album - toyboatToyBoAt TOYBOAT
Artist: O-Positive
Key Players - Dave Martin - guitar, vocal, keys, harmonica, saws??!, Alex Lob - drums. David Ingham - Bass, vocals, guitar, keys. Alan Petitti - guitar, piano, vocals, keys, cello, mandolin. Dave Herlihy - Lead Vocals, guitar, tambourine, Wrench

Produced By - Peter Walsh

Release Date - 1990

What caused me to blow off the dust? - When I worked in Boston radio we'd spin these guys from time to time (it was rare) but it always had me wondering "what if"? I bought the cd and haven't spent any time with it in a long while. So, here we go.

Overview This was the major label debut from Boston based "O Positive"

FDF Comments (aka the songs)
The album opens strongly with the track "Overflow". With strong rumbling drums and bass as the guitars chime over the top. Herlihy has a strong voice and pushes his emotions to the front. As the verses conclude each guitar gets a little more urgent. The drums are pushed high in the mix and the dark feeling of the verses is then met with some strong high vocal reaches on the chorus. It is not forced, but sounds perfect. Rather than a guitar solo there is a nice piano solo as Ingham and Lob hold things in place. A strong album opener. "Decide" is still a mid tempo track but it is awash with Petitti on mandolin. Herlihy is strong once more on the vocals and gets some help from the others. The mandolin gets a good work out near the end and the band joins in the fray. Lob gets the tempo up as "Kamikaze Dove" starts to take shape. The bass and guitars all swell and a bright acoustic guitar slices over and Martin gets to add to it with the harmonica. The guitars all seem to fight one another forming a nice wall of sound,while still remaining on task. Lob keeps everyone in check with the locked in drum beat. Local to Boston the track
"Imagine That" found some airplay. Another pretty sounding mid tempo track with nice harmonies from the band as no one instrument really seems to take over. Herlihy is really in fine form showing he is well capable of being a front man. There are musicians brought in for accordion on the track so that adds some nice fill (played by Sonny Barbato). The band sounds a little heavier on "Back of My Mind". We will have focused guitar bass and drum parts but the band seems more urgent on this one. Another very strong track giving you a good full band feel. For a strong a song as it is, the band chose to not print the lyrics to this track in the liner notes of the collection. "Innernational" has a different feel as the vocals are much more choppy, almost rapped, but not really. That makes no sense I know, but Herlihy seems to chant the lyrics. The bass and drums seem more 80's retro as well. It is a decent enough of a track, actually its cool the band tried something a little different. We also get a trumpet solo from Artie Barbato. He is so strong he gets to go twice. "On To Something" has a great urgent drum intro from Lob and the three guitars all get to ring out. One might cut to the point, a second rings over the top. It is a nice extended instrumental intro. Herlihy once again really pushes himself and the band follows suit. There are strings that bring up "Hope the Boat". Lob gets more attention on the drums again, but he is just higher in the mix, there is not a lot of flash to what he is doing. "Train Station Gone" is another strong example of the biting guitars and machine gun drums. The band has a few bars before they bear down and Herlihy gets underway. The band is in good spirits it seems as they play off one another trading guitar parts while Lob and Ingham continue to keep it all on task. The album concludes with "Holding On To You" a more acoustic sounding track with the accordion adding a lot to the sound. The band seems hesitant to come in to heavy and Herlihy is allowed to really show his vocal ability.

Where are they now? - The band released a follow up to this record in 1993 on an indie label. They'd play out some shows and decided that was enough. They surface from time to time (as a band called Toy Boat) or will appear for reunion and benefits. Herlihy has released a few solo records as well.

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

FDF Overall Take - There are some really strong moments on the record. I hate to call the band soccer mom rock, but they are pretty safe, write catchy tunes and are talented. Is there anything wrong with that? Fans of bands like Toad the Wet Sprocket, Maroon 5, and Train can hear similar styles. I could be way off here, but I think many would agree.

Short Bio here and a band page here.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

The mp3's have been removed.

Back of My Mind
Imagine That

The album is out of print but you can track it down, starting with the link 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, February 11, 2011

FDF Volume 3 Issue 214- Deconstruction - Self Titled

By: March

Album - Deconstruction
Artist - Deconstruction
Key Players - Michael Murphy - drums. Dave Navarro - guitars and vocals. Eric Avery - Bass, vocals.
Produced By - Ron Champagne, Deconstruction and Rick Rubin

Release Date - July 12, 1994

What caused me to blow off the dust? - Come you need to ask. Has anyone really ever even heard of this band? I am pretty sure they only
got this record deal due to Navarro/Avery. This is what we do, we dust em here goes.

Overview - Navarro and Avery formed the band from the dust of Jane's Addiction (FDF looked at "Nothings Shocking"). Original Jane's drummer Stephen Perkins was going to join the band, but went on to join Porno for Pyros (we looked at "Good God's Urge" here with Perry Farrell. The album was recorded and released to little fanfare. After the album was released Navarro would go on to join the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - The album opens with the long single released to radio called "L.A. Song". Navarro chimes guitar over a spoken intro. He is the lead vocalist on the track and the canned drums begin to click in. The vocals are compressed but Navarro is comfortable sounding, not pushing himself too hard. Avery and Murphy sit back, but then all of a sudden it gets rolling. Avery gets the funk out on the bass and the chops of Navarro are recognizable with the fuzzy riffs. The vocals remain semi distorted but the trio seems to be firing off one another on the opening track. "Single" also starts with spoken lyrics and a single guitar as Avery does some swooping bass fills. Murphy hits the china cymbal from time to time for the "sploosh" sound and the track slowly seems to plod along. There is no real bust out moments. After a few verses the band seems to hunker down a little more and get musically focused but it feels almost too late. On "Get At Em'" the band is more in that rock feel right from the start. The drums are heavy and Navarro once again slices over the top. Avery is wonderfully high in the mix with this cannon bass fills that at times have a much chime to them as a cymbal crash. The vocals are so muffled on the track the band should have considered leaving this as an instrumental though. Navarro has a great guitar solo on the back end of the track. First time on the record he gets to spread his wings and it is welcome. "Iris" is another real strong track musically. Navarro is able to layer his guitar work. One has high chorus effects the other more of the crunch, but Avery and Murphy fill out the intro wonderfully. The track is instrumental and it really is the perfect direction for this band. The vocals are back on "Dirge" as is the big guitar sound. After the prior song it feels less focused with the growly vocal and machine like tempo of the drum. We get the guitar solo later in the track that seems to bring it back for me personally, but at the same time it is just that "little too long" version of a solo. "Fire In The Hole" is really big sounding after a quiet intro. Once again, the band seems to negate what they are trying to do with the muffled vocals. If they'd sing, without compression it might have been better. The track has great tempo changes and dynamics, but the muffled vocal tricks are starting to wear thin. Musically, per the norm, it is very strong. "Son" is the first time we hear the acoustic guitar come out. It remains just acoustic and vocal track. Return to the quicker pace on "Big Sur" with Avery hitting the bass hard. Murphy has decent, heavy chops on the drums as Navarro puts in the quick and short guitar notes. "Hope" is a quirky, funk sounding track. As the track begins it is just the drums with a simple tempo and the guitar ringing out a few notes. "One" works to get itself moving as Navarro seems to find a place with one guitar part but Avery shoves a few bass fills that don't really move the song in to a set direction. The track feels more focused in a verse/chorus/verse setting and Navarro sounds in fine form on the guitar. There are times where he knows his limitations and on this track he holds back just that right amount. The guitar part is still really great, he just is in the zone on this. "America" starts off on a quieter note, each band member slowly finding their way before the vocals begin. This track goes up and down in musical style. Sometimes heavy, sometimes somber, but always "full" if that is a good word to use. Navarro gets to solo again while Avery and Murphy continue to remain on task holding the bottom hard and tight. "Sleepyhead" has that slow climb and yes..sleepy feel to it. The vocals continue to be the weakest aspect of the album, not that they guys can't sing, its just so effect filled it is hard to tell. This is a seemingly quick song that actually felt like it could have gone on longer. "Wait For History" has the band back on the mellower side of things and it slowly builds through the verse. Again, Avery gets much love from the mix as his bass is really prominent on the track. A good stand out track. "That is All" is a quick vocal and guitar track. Nothing too crazy. The album concludes with "Kilo", a track that swells with a big guitar sound and makes me extra happy as it remains "vocal free".

Where are they now? - This was a "one and done" affair for the band. Avery was reluctant to tour but played bass in the band Garbage, with Alanis Morissette and he even auditioned for the vacant spot in Metallica. He'd re-join Jane's Addiction for a reunion tour but would leave the band again. Murphy I haven't found much on. Navarro as noted went on to Red Hot Chili Peppers (we looked at Uplift Mofo Party Plan here) and then released a solo record. He is working with Jane's Addiction once more and the band as a new album slated for a 2011 release.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - The band never toured so there was no chance for me to see them.

FDF Overall Take - Musically there is a lot of really great stuff on here. The vocals are not the greatest but after a bit of re-listening decided that it was okay, if the band has a focused vocalist it may have taken from the output. Not terrible, but not worth paying off the chart prices for. You can probably find it in a cut out bin easy enough.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

Here is the video for "L.A. Song".

Wait for History

The album is out of print but you can buy it
here for short 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.

Saturday, February 05, 2011


Sorry for the lack of a post yesterday. Too may snow days kept me busy shovelling and not listening as much. We will be back next Friday.