Friday, June 24, 2011

FDF Volume 3 Issue 230: Prong - Rude Awakening

By: March

Album – Rude Awakening
Artist - Prong
Key Players - Paul Raven – bass. Ted Parsons – drums. Tommy Victor – vocals and guitar.
Produced By – Terry Date and Tommy Victor

Release Date – May 1996

What caused me to blow off the dust? - I have been heavy on one “genre” the last few weeks it seems, so decided to go a little heavier. Gotta keep that broad appeal, and not get bored with what I am listening to.

Overview – This is the fifth studio album from New York based band “Prong”. Blending metal with punk and industrial the band would blend well with similar noisemakers in the early 1990's. The album would peak at #74 on the Billboard top 200 charts. Sadly this was also the beginning of the end for the band (at least in this form).

FDF Comments (aka the songs) – The opening track “Controller” opens with a big, but basic sounding drum beat. It feels a little on the “techno” side dare one say. The vocals from Victor are hushed and the bass from Raven is a little low in the mix with the focus on the screeching guitar and then buzzy bottom of it all. There is a short guitar solo that is overdubbed as the screeching continues while the buzz of the guitar remains. Parsons keeps the pace and is on task adding more of a big bottom than anything. Buzzy will be used a lot as “Caprice” follows suit with Victors guitar. Parsons keeps the drums focused and on task before Raven swirls under with the bass. Its a little slow as the vocals are sung and it is guttural howls from Victor splashed throughout. The track “Rude Awakening” has a guitar that will wake you up quickly. The heavily compressed guitar run followed with machine gun drumming from Raven is a strong opening. Once the vocals start it seems to slow down a little too much but come the chorus it gets good and rocking once more. We are deep and heavy on the bass of Raven at the start of “Unfortunately”. Victor follows suit and crunches down the guitar. Parsons really has yet to break the mode out of the standard rock tempo. There is not a lot of fills even tossed in during his drumming. The vocals are a little more rough and aggressive and the guitar riffs fell extra big on this track. “Face Value” sounds a little more towards the industrial/metal side of things. The guitar continues to crunch, the drums pummel and the bass drop bombs in from time to time. The guitar riffs are a lot more “choppy” on this track, but come around to big chords from time to time. “Avenue of the Finest” continues with the same feel. After the intro everyone slows down before Victor starts to sing. They band is big on coming back in over the top and hunkering down with big riffs and drum beats. “Slicing” feels a little more mechanic before Victor steps on the overdrive and the band hunkers down. The song has a quicker feel, but still is very much on par with the rest of the record. The vocals are a little tripped out some, but you still know this is a Prong record. “Without Hope” has the vocals start right away and Parsons and Raven join in for the big clamp down. The term “groove metal” makes sense on this track. An intro riff that would set off Beavis and Butthead comes in “Mansruin”. As soon as it started even I said “YES”. This song has a strong and tight focus on the riffs and really moves along. Parsons seems to hit them real hard, and for the first time seems to show off a little. “Innocence Gone” continues with Parsons flashier drumming which is a nice change of pace actually. Parsons and Raven shine at the start of “Dark Signs” before Parsons sets the marching tempo and Victor gives the big wall of guitar riffs that blast you right in the face. We get a little funked up at the start of “Close the Door”. It has some bigger tempo swings it seems, with some heavier “bottom” to it without being out of sorts. The album closes out with “Proud Division”. This track focuses in with the bass and drums at the start before the grinding guitar starts. Victor seems to be pushing is vocal range, but it is limited. It is still gruff and sounds like Prong. It has a bit more of the groove metal twist to it as well. A pretty solid album closer.

Where are they now? - This album was released and sold 10,000 copies during the first week. The label felt the band was not selling as well as it should and 3 weeks later the label dropped the band. This proved to be too much and the band call it quits just prior to a tour for the album. Tommy Victor would work as the guitarist for Glen Danzig with Ted Parsons and Paul Raven would join the band “Godflesh”. Since then Victor re-formed Prong with new players. Raven and Parsons would join Ministry for a bit. Sadly Raven died of an apparent heart attack in his sleep on October 20, 2007 at the age of 46. As far as Prong, they are said to be working on new material.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) – I have never seen the band live.

FDF Overall Take – Sure it has big guitars, real big and they sound very good for a trio, but wow it feels VERY much the same, over and over. I am not overly familiar with their other work so I can't say if this goes one way vs. the other for their musical style. If you like the heaviness, you will probably really like it. Check a sample, if you don't like it..well then, you probably won't like the record.


The band official site here

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

Controller, Audio only w/lyrics on YouTube here.

The song that got me in to the band.

The album is out of print but easy enought to still find here on

Friday, June 17, 2011

FDF Volume 3 Issue 229 - New Fast Automatic Daffodils - Body, Exit, Mind

By: March

Album – Body Exit Mind
Artist – New Fast Automatic Daffodils
Key Players - Icarus Wilson-Wright: Percussion. Perry Saunders: drums. Justin Crawford: Bass. Dolan Hewison: guitar. Andy Spearpoint: vocals
Produced By – Craig Leon

Release Date – March 1993 (US Release)

What caused me to blow off the dust? - I bought this cd ages ago for a single track. It made it's way on to a few mix tapes in the early 90's. I don't have any of their other music and always felt if I sold it back I'd never be able to find it again (this was before the internet kids). So, its been a very long time, and this week I don't think too many readers.

Overview – Formed in 1988 by punk rockers and students, Manchester, England band New Fast Automatic Daffodils (or New FADS) were quickly pigeonholed in to the “Madchester” scene. The band, who got their name from a poem, were never really part of the scene. They'd release a few eps, and this, their second full length, was produced by Craig Leon, who had produced the first three Ramones records as well as Blonde. The album would peak at #57 in the UK and the band would release one more full length before disbanding in 1995.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) – The album starts with “Bong”. Don't adjust your playback devices there is no sound for the first 7-8 seconds then Saunders gets rolling across the drums. Hewison tosses a few riffs but it is Crawfords bass that stands out. The band plays on then Spearpoint comes in. He sings in a low baritone voice and the band finds the tight groove. Wilson-Wright adds some splashes on percussion so that Saunders can continue with this back beat. Hewison gets a quick run on guitar as Spearpoint continues to growl out the second verse. Spearpoint says a quick “thank you” and the percussion of Wilson-Wright takes the lead. The guitar gets a bit more fuzzy but Crawford continues his rock solid bass line. “It's Not What you Know” starts with single bass notes from Crawford and Saunders and Wilson-Wright add a bit. It takes a little “Cure” sound as the vocals begin. Spearpoint speaks the lyrics at the start and the band is big on quick big riffs and guitar scratches. Wilson-Wright gets to show off some on the bongos before a guitar solo and bass rumble over it. As the song draws towards a close there is some backing vocals for the first time. The track that got me to buy the cd is next in, “Stockholm”. A single guitar plays before the slow tempo on the congas is put down. A few bell chimes before the drums come in and Spearpoint slowly builds up and then takes off. After a run of the verses the guitar, now overdubed with acoustic and electric, adds to the fill. Spearpoint gets a bit more tense and pushes the verses forward. The band responds on the chorus with harmonies. The verses are similar in style and the song just grabs and takes hold of you as Hewison works the electric guitar in to a frenzy, before the bands pulls it back in line allowing for a short, but straightforward solo. We do a verse once more and the song wraps up. A real “Forgotten” track. “I Take You to Sleep” is slow to get started with a lone guitar working off the percussion. After a few seconds the full band comes in and it is big, full and quick. Hewison takes a quick run on the guitar and as the vocals begin it is about as fast as they've been sung so far. At the chorus there is even more urgency. The track “Bruises” opens with a cowbell and a very spacy sounding bass guitar. Even with the effects on the bass it is very melodic. They toss in some crunchy guitar and the vocals are sung a little slower, yet at the same time Spearpoint seems to be singing more. This is one of the longest tracks on the album and the band has a good “jam” towards the end with a lot of congas from Wilson-Wright. “How Much Longer Must We Tolerate Mass Culture” is a short, spacy track with keyboards and bass. There are no vocals on this track and it is over in just over one minute. There are spoken vocal styled delivery on
“Kyphos”. The track is slower with focus on the bass and percussion. The drums sound a little “electric” at times. The song sounds heavily influenced from Joy Division and Ian Curtis. It does get a little more vocally aggressive as the song progresses and Spearpoint seems to soar over the top at times. “Teenage Combo” is a throw away track honestly, 30 seconds is hardly much to do anything with, or about. There is a big bass intro on “Beatlemania”with fun hand claps tossed in. This is another very strong Joy Division influenced track. The bass is the stand out and the guitar has a good run after the verses. “What King of Hell is This?” seems to be the end of the prior track but it is a 40 second track that stands on it's own. There is a lot of potential on this and it would be great if they took this further. The vocals come right up on “American Money” and the work from Crawford on the bass continues to really shine. There is a long and noisy musical section towards the end of this percussion filled romp. We get another 1 minute song in “Missing Parts of Famous People” which, again, is sadly a throw away. Slow to build, “Patchwork Lives” begins and the bass and drums work in unison. It plods along a times and there are a lot of “ooh and ahh” vocals. The music seems to be on a delay, and almost choppy at times. Nature sounds kick off the longest track on the album “Music”. There is a heavy piano bed on this track but it is a slow to build track. It feels like it is ready to burst at times, but the band seems to sit back. It does build and there is even more percussion as it continues. The album wraps up with another short interlude “Exit Body, Exit Mind”. Sort of a down way to end and overall very strong record.

Where are they now? - The band broke up in 1995. The only real resource I've found is a wiki page on what the band is up to. Those can be less than accurate. Based off that the band all appears to be doing something “music” based these days. See the links for the Wiki page.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) – Never saw the band live.

FDF Overall Take – I have to say I am impressed. This record is far better than I ever remembered. I really loved the track “Stockholm” but I guess I never paid much more attention. My loss right? Even though the band didn't get lumped in with the “Madchester” scene, if you liked that era in music, you'll dig this record. Track this down.

More about the band on their Wiki Page
Myspace page

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

The longer version

The album is still in print and you can get it

Friday, June 10, 2011

FDF Volume 3 Issue 228 : Cocteau Twins - Heaven Or Las Vegas

By: March

Album – Heaven or Las Vegas
Artist – Cocteau Twins
Key Players – Simon Raymonde – bass. Robin Guthrie -guitars, drum programming. Elizabeth Fraser – vocals.
Produced By – Cocteau Twins

Release Date – September 17, 1990

What caused me to blow off the dust? Been working on a bunch of music based “lists” with a buddy for a few weeks. A few weeks back it was to list our favorite female vocalists. I was always drawn to Elizabeth Fraser and she was on the list right away, but I realized it had been a little time since I spent any time with a full on listen. So, here you have it.

Overview – Formed in Grangemouth, Scotland in 1979 the Cocteau Twins would create lush sounds blending gothic rock, post punk and “atmosphere”. The trio would create complex works and vocalist Elizabeth Fraser would sing “non lyrically”. It is hard to describe other than it comes down to the fact you won't care even what she is trying to say as it is so pretty. They'd release ep's and albums over their career to critical praise, but chart success would elude the band. They'd break up during the recording of their 9th studio release.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) – Right from the start of “Cherry – Coloured Funk” you are stuck with the beauty of the bands sound. The guitar shimmers like water on a pond as Fraser soars over. You long to understand the lyrics, what it is she is singing, but they are hard to break down. It is not skat singing by any means, just this haunting feeling. Raymonde has a nice even bass line allowing for Guthrie to keep the guitar at the forefront. “Pitch the Baby” has a similar sound (most of the record does). The track is a little quicker tempo wise and Guthrie does a little more on the guitar, but the sound scapes just swirl all around you. “Iceblink Luck” has more of the drum programming and Raymonde has his bass brought up in the mix. Fraser sings, and her range is kept in check, but she has a nice pitch to her voice and Raymonde will compliment with a swooping loss bass run as Guthrie works the programming aspect. One of the “go to” songs on the record and in their catalog. I always chuckle during this song as I am convinced she sings about “cherry cola”. Hey, its what happens when you make up lyrics. The band has their first good “jam” as the track swells with the drums more in the mix and much more urgent. The vocals come in one more time and the song wraps up. It cools down some on “Fifty-Fifty Clown” as single note is resonated by Raymonde. Guthrie and Fraser work their way in and the song holds its own. The title track, “Heaven or Las Vegas”, follows. The guitars really have a cool early 1990's feel to them (think late 80's with the Cure's sound) but for the first time there seems like guitars are overdubbed which is a nice touch. Raymonde compliments the guitar nicely and the drum programming is basic but effective. Fraser sounds awesome on this track. As stated you are dying to understand why she is saying, but okay at the same time with not knowing. The first real “guitar” solo is a buzzy, highly compressed burst from Guthrie but the drums come back around and Fraser gives the “chorus” another run. Having a little bit of a samba feel “I Wear Your Ring” changes gears and has more of a droned out, swooping keyboard line before Fraser sings in a little lower register. This is the first track I've noticed that the vocals go in to the fade at the end. Speaking of fades we have a quick fade up on “Fotzepolitic” before the guitar hits. The bass has a neat groove to it again and that resonates for the duration. If you can say “this sounds mid-tempo” on this record “Wolf in the Breast” would find itself there. There is is a cool guitar/feedback swirl from Guthrie at one point. Musically “Road, River and Rail” the most haunting sounding but still has the shining vocals. The album concludes with “Frou-frou Foxes in Midsummer Fires” The vocals are strong and soaring once more with a big wall of guitar feel to boot. One of the longer tracks on the disc, the band chose to fade vocally to end this as well.

Where are they now? - The band broke up in 1997. The band sites internal struggles but also noted Guthrie was having substance abuse issues. Guthrie and Raymonde would form “Bella Union” and work as producers early on. They'd also release solo albums. Fraser has been working as well, providing lead and backing vocals with the band Massive Attack as well as soundtrack work (Lord of the Rings). There are rumors she has been working on a solo release as well. The band works on doing podcasts, but haven't been seen together on stage since 2007 when they accepted an award.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) – I never saw the band live. There was a glimmer the band might reform in 2005 for the Coachella music festival, but three months after the annoucment they band pulled out.

FDF Overall Take – This is a late in the evening type of band. You can't put this on at a party and expect guests to hang out any longer. Put this on later, as some candles bounce in view and you'll will find the magic right away. Not something I could listen to every day, but when the mood hits there are few bands that can scratch the itch so quickly.

Official Site here. Fan site here

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

The album is out of print but you can find it easily, starting here

Friday, June 03, 2011

FDF Volume 3 Issue 227: Inspiral Carpets - Revenge of the Goldfish

By: March

Album – Revenge of the Goldfish
Artist – Inspiral Carpets
Key Players – Craig Gill – drums. Martyn Walsh – bass. Graham Lambert – guitar. Clint Boon – keyboards,backing vocals. Tom Hingley – vocals
Produced By – Pascal Gabriel

Release Date – October 5, 1992

What caused me to blow off the dust? - I can't tell you the last time I even really thought to put on an Inspiral Carpets CD. I can't even ever really say I was all that in to them. MTV's 120 Minutes played “This is How it Feels” and I dug that track. Looking forward to checking out this disc for the first time in ages.

Overview – This is the third full length studio album from Oldham, England based band “Inspiral Carpets”. Formed in 1983 and named after a clothing shop in their home town the band would become part of the “Madchester” scene blending psychedelic and indie rock. They'd become a charting act in their homeland as well a few countries around the world. They'd release a followup to this record, then a singles collection before being dropped by their label. The band would only have three songs crack the UK singles chart higher than 20, with the highest being 12.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) – Boon is all over the keyboards at the start of “Generations” before Hingley comes up on vocals. The drums from Gill are really at the front and Boon offers some great harmonies. Walsh and Lambert are present, but we don't really hear this as a guitar and bass track. The vocals get compressed in the later verses and there are some call and response vocals but Boon keeps the track moving forward. At the start of “Saviour” we hear a lot more of the guitar from Lambert. The song is a quick romp more of bass and drum flair, there are still keyboards but the band is locked in. As the second verse progresses there is a lot more from Boon on keyboards giving a real keyboard punch. On the track “Bitches Brew” Walsh is the lone instrument at the start. Lambert comes in and plays off a piano bed from Boon. The track is a little more melodic and laid back that the prior track but you can hear a lot more of Hingley's vocal style and range. The song does get a little more rowdy but Lambert is quick to use his guitar to wrangle everyone back in check. “Smoking Her Clothes” is what you'd associate immediately to the “Madchester” sound. The keyboards just radiate and the bass guitars and drum all come together. Hingley is focused and on mark and the band seems to erupt at the chorus and the backing vocals are very strong. The band changes to a down tempo but it is only for a moment before the comes back to its fun vibe. A very strong track. Walsh is all over his bass at the start of “Fire” before Boon joins in. Gill clicks off the drums and the full band comes in. The pace is once again quick and the band seems focused and on point. Gill has a vendetta on his hi-hat and seems to hit it and rumble across his drum kit while Walsh and Lambert hammer on their strings. “Here Comes the Flood” finds Lambert on acoustic guitars and per the norm, the band seems right on task. There is no real “flash” on the song, it is pretty much a straight up rock tune. The band seems to find an extended jam at the end which is about the lone thing that really has this track stand out from others. “Dragging Me Down” has the great keyboard sound from Boon. Lambert has a guitar buzz/chime hybrid thing going on and Gill lays the track in motion. The call and response vocals at the chorus are great, and the band seems to really have a lot of fun on the track. “A Little Disappeared” is slow to open with Walsh chugging across the bass before Gill and Boon come in. The track is sung and played at a frantic pace. Gill is not flashy on the drums but he works the kit pretty well hitting them hard and having Boon do a series of runs on the keyboards over it all. The track “Two Worlds Collide” only track to crack US radio and it peaked at #8 on the US Modern Rock chart, is next. Based off the “sound” it seems like an odd choice to release to radio based of the time and the genere. The chorus is great, but the keyboards that drive the record are missing. The “Madchester” sounds you can hear in the guitar and the vocal delivery though. The crunchy guitar is back at the start of “Mystery” and Gill is all over his drum kit once more. The band locks in and takes off. Another track where the band is musically and lyrically frantic, this song moves. Lambert is alone on guitar as “Rain Song” starts and remains the lone instrument as Hingley begins to sing. It stays like this for the verse, then the band joins in, but it keeps a mellow vibe. The album concludes with “Irresistible Force”, a track that finds Lambert getting a little funky on his guitar and letting Gill and Boon join in. Hingley is distorted again on the vocals and the song has a quick tempo. A strong album closer.

Where are they now? - The band broke up in 1995 and then re-formed in 2003. They are listed as still being “active”. They have played very sporadic live dates but haven't been active (even with their web site) since 2009. The “active” band remains the same as the line up for the record reviewed here. The band has done various side projects. Two of the roadies for the band have gone on to success; one time van driver Mark Collins joined the Charlatans in 1991 and a guitar tech, named Noel Gallagher joined some band called “Oasis”.

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

FDF Overall Take – In the end I have to admit that a fair amount of this record is forgettable. Sure there are some gems, and listening reminds me of a very exciting time in music for me personally. I don't mean to slag off the band by any means and I am in no rush to “sell their cds back” it is just if I think of this “scene” I think of other bands for better or worse. If you come upon a singles collection, grab it though.

Official Site is here.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

Two Worlds Collide
Smoking Her Clothes

The album is out of print, but you can track it down easy enough starting here.