Friday, April 29, 2011

FDF Volume 3 Issue 223 - Grosse Pointe Blank - Music from the Film

By: March

Album - Music from the Film Grosse Pointe Blank
Artist - Various
Key Players - Various
Produced By - Kathy Nelson and Bill Green

Release Date - March 18, 1997

What caused me to blow off the dust? - My wife blew the dust off this one. She had a road trip she did a few weeks ago and she pulled this one out.

Overview - Soundtrack for the John Cusak/Minnie Driver film. The trailer for the film is right here if you need a refresher. The soundtrack would have mostly indie and alternative bands from the time was popular enough that a second volume would be released. Volume 1 (here) peaked at 31 on the US Charts.

FDF Comments (aka the songs)
Violent Femmes - "Blister in the Sun" - A song that you can still hear fairly often on the radio. The Milwaukee, Wisconsin, based band had actually disbanded in the late 1980's and did reform. This track, perhaps their most well known, is from their 1983 debut. It blends blistering acoustic guitars with brushed drums. An infectious groove that still sticks with fans.

The Clash - "Rudie Can't Fail" - Joe Strummer actually did the musical score for the film and perhaps as perk was able to include two of their songs on this soundtrack. This tune appeared on the bands "London Calling" record. Blending punk rock and ska they are forever credited as one of the most ground breaking and influential bands of all time. The band disbanded in 1986 and Joe Strummer passed away in 2002.

The English Beat - "Mirror in the Bathroom" - Keeping with the "ska" feel the lead off single from "the Beat" (English was added for America). The wonderful horn section is what really stands out. We swooned about this record on FDF here. The band has re-formed a few times with various members.

David Bowie & Queen - "Under Pressure" - The ever famous "Ice Ice Baby" Sample. This originally appeared on the Queen album "Hot Space" that was released in 1982. The song went to #1 and Queen would be kept out of this spot for 10 years. The bass line laid down by John Deacon could arguably called the most recognizable bass lines ever.

Johnny Nash - "I Can See Clearly Now" - Released in 1972 the single would reach #1. Nash, born in Texas, went to Jamaica to record his reggae music. A wonderfully optimistic track that gets played for various occasions. It has more of a soul sound to me personally. Nash is still alive, and although out of the spot light he scored a series of chart topping singles.

Guns N' Roses - "Live and Let Die" - One of, if not the biggest band of the late 1980's an early 90's was LA based Guns N' Roses. The song was recorded in 1991 and is a cover of the Paul McCartney song (Wings). The song was released as the second single from the Guns and Roses "Use your Illusion 1" album (and 4th single that was released from the 2 records. Shannon Hoon, late of Blind Melon fame, sang back up vocals. Izzie Stradlin, a guitar player for GnR also left shortly after this song was released. Is anyone sure what is up with GnR these days? A record decades in the making came out, but fans seemed to have turned away from the physical release.

Faith No More - "We Care A Lot" - Before the band was more well known for "Epic" this track was found on their 1985 debut. The big punchy bass stands out and the band infused metal and funk. The band as noted would become more well known (at least in the US) with their follow up and wild videos. The band broke up in 1998 but has reformed and played a few select live shows. Fans of the Discovery Channels "Dirty Jobs" may recognize this as the shows theme song.

The Specials - "Pressure Drop" - This track was released originally in 1970 by the Maytals. This version from the specials has appeared in two films, this one here, and "An Extremely Goofy Movie". The song has been covered by everyone from Izzy Stradlin to Robert Palmer, to Keith Richards. A nice mix of pop and ska to change the tempo of the collection.

The Jam - "Absolute Beginners - Released in 1981 this song is not actually found on any Jam studio album. This track was recorded close to the 1982 demise of the band. The drawl from singer Paul Weller and choppy horns make for a very strong single. US fans never really paid a ton of attention to the Jam which is a shame.

The Clash - "Armagideon Time" - The second Clash tune on the soundtrack. Sounds good along side some of the ska based tracks. A slower tune from the band, not the furious stuff the band is perhaps more well known for.

Los Fabulosos Cadillacs - "El Matador" - This track, from 1993 comes from the Argentinian based band. They have released a stream of records since 1986 and this particular song the band actually released twice to radio. It is reported that tennis star Rafael Nadal used this track as his intro music in 2010. The band appears to be on hiatus once more.

Pete Townshend - "Let My Love Open the Door" (E.Cola Remix) - Composer, guitarist, and sometimes vocalist for "The Who" Pete Townshend released this track on his 1980 solo album "Empty Glass." The song cracked the US top 10 and for some reason it is heavily used in films. It has appeared in such a wide range of films from "Look Who's Talking", "Click" and "Dan in Real Life" (and many more). The version on this soundtrack is remixed with the intro guitar, as well as the guitar that is played when Pete sings the vocals is gone. The studio version I find stronger, but this is a different take.

Violent Femmes - "Blister 2000" - A "horn" based version of Blister in the Sun. It is slowed down some and has more strings and percussive instruments. You'll scratch your head at this one. It would have been better to have put another artist/track here.

FDF Overall Take - For a movie soundtrack it is pretty strong. Blending old and new, with ska to rock there is something for everyone. Nothing you can't really find elsewhere but a solid collection worthy of tracking down.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

If you listen to any..please check out The Jam

The Specials

A Bowie-less version of "Under Pressure" but it is "live" so it is well worth your time right here

The soundtrack is still in print. You can buy it
here if you so desire.

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, April 22, 2011

FDF Volume 3 Issue 222 - The The - Mind Bomb

By: March

Album - Mind Bomb
Artist - The The
Key Players - Matt Johnson * (lots of guests we will get to that).
Produced By - Warne Livesey, Roli Mosimann & Matt Johnson

Release Date - July 11, 1989

What caused me to blow off the dust? - I was thinking of this band when I caught myself humming "Kingdom of Rain."

Overview - This was the fourth album release by UK based "The The". The "band" was largely an outlet for multi-instrumentalist Matt Johnson who would do the vocals, play instruments and co-produce. Even with the revolving door of other players Johnson would harness their skills and create many of the stepping stones for "post punk".

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - (The "band" varies by track so I'll point out some of the more notable players..apologies if I didn't mention your favorite).

"Good Morning, Beautiful" Johnny Marr is the guitar player on all but one of the tracks (track 2) James Eller is the bassist and David Palmer is the drummer for the entire record. There is a fuzzy spoken portion at the start. It is listed as a child's prayer and the piano begins at the end. Horns then feed in to the mix and the chat fades, but returns. We loop back to the piano and then Marr gets a few bigger notes as the song starts to take shape. Johnson sings hushed at times, but is clear and articulate. Palmer hits the drums hard, but it does not overwhelm the track. Mark Feltham plays an electronic harmonica which blends with the horns and the growl of Johnson comes back in for verse two. The band is very tight and it has a big sound to it. "Armageddon Days Are Here (Again)" feels like it will be laid back but Palmer clicks the drums off and we are much more uptempo that the opener. The drums have a particular punch to them and Johnson carves his riffs over the top. Johnson gets help on the chorus with a choir and string section. Feltman returns with the harmonica at the start of "The Violence of Truth". Palmer is punched up once more and "Wix" finds a tight groove on the hammond organ. James Eller keeps his bass line focused and the drums are also very simple, but are mixed so well they stand out. Marr gets a good buzzy solo run but it is not too long before Feltham is back. The band finds a tight jam I wish they did more with but it is still strong. A thunder storm starts off "Kingdom of Rain". This time we have acoustic guitar and a very hushed Johnson. Sinead O'Connor tandems with Johnson on lead vocals and backup. The band gets a little more urgent as the chorus approaches. The bass line rolls across as congas and bongos fill the track. O'Conner gets more urgent and her powerful voice really comes out during the second verse. A sort of rockabilly feel opens "The Beat(en) Generation". This track has the first real sing along moment with the chorus. The guitars have a nice ring to them an Feltham gets to play harmonica again for you. There are four additional voices singing on the chorus which adds to the sound. The shortest track ends there and we head to "August & September" . The piano works to get the track in motion as Johnson is restrained, feeding off the piano from time to time. The acoustic bass has a really haunting tone an the oboe and bass clarinet really fill out a very unique sound. "Gravitate to Me" is one of the songs you could pick out as a single from the record. In the credits Pedro Halemann is listed as playing "water percussion" and what sounds like a harmonica could perhaps be Johnson playing keyboards and/or Melodica? Marr has a sort guitar solo an the percussive instruments shake things up as well. The album concludes with "Beyond Love". A flugel horn opens the track and Eller comes in on bass whole Palmer is slower to get rolling on the drums. It is a slower track, but continues to showcase the full band which is a nice touch.

Where are they now? - The Band has released 8 full length albums commercially, and are rumored to have many unissued. The The works mostly with soundtracks these days. The most recent was a soundtrack for the film Tony in 2010. Matt the only full time/consistent member.

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

FDF Overall Take - There are some great moments on this record. Overall the band is tight an Johnson has a great idea of what and where he wants to go. Much of their domestic stuff is out of print but even with that you wouldn't have to look to far to track down on of their cds. "Infected" is on of the bands more notable songs as well. For less than $5.00 you can track this down, and it is worth it.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

The video for "Kingdom Of Rain" here.
The Video for "Beat(en) Generation here
And "Gravitate to Me" is here.

One fun thing to note. In the liner notes the band asks that "To obtain maximum joy" that you "Play very loud, very late, very alone an with light turned down very low."

The original album is out of print, but not to hard to find, and there is a remastered version out as well. Grab a copy


Friday, April 15, 2011

Bah..real life gets in the way.

I have nothing this week. Once again life gets in the way. I hope/plan to be back next week.

Thanks as always for stopping over. I do apprecaite any readers and your feedback!


Friday, April 08, 2011

FDF Volume 3 Issue 221 - An Emotional Fish - Self Titled

By: March

Album - An Emotional Fish
Artist - An Emotional Fish
Key Players - Martin Murphy - drums. David Frew - Guitars. Enda Wyatt - bass. Geard Whelan - vocals.
Produced By - Tim Palmer

Release Date - September 24, 1990

What caused me to blow off the dust? - I bought and listen to one tune of this about 2-3 times a year and figured I needed to really give it a listen.,

Overview - Formed in Dublin Ireland in the late 1980s. The band would sign to U2's label and then have this (their debut) be re-released on Atlantic Records. They'd release two more records, each failing to live up to the prior record both in fan and critical acclaim.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - The album opens up with a terrific punchy bass right up in the listeners face. "Celebrate" is the track that sold me on the record upon first listen. Wyatt has clear, fluent notes come out of the bass. After a few bars of this great bass work Frew joins in then Murphy hits down and the band is off. It has a very bright, jingle/jangle sound to it. Whelan has a deep baritone voice that alternates from brooding to powerful. Frew has a bright ring to his guitar and the bass work remains constant. As the chorus nears it gets more urgent and the band follows suit. It all ends on a high, explosive musical moment. Just a terrific lead off track. Seriously, you'll listen again. "Grey Matter" is a little more laid back of track but the mix is high on the drums. Murphy hits them sharp and Frew and Wyatt work off one another well. The vocals are not as forced, or rushed but Whelan continues to shine with his deep voice. As the song progresses the bass and drums really feed off one another and it reaches out and grabs you. A single guitar starts up "Blue" and the first really mellow track of the album. Jil Taylor lends her voice as back up on the track (she appears on a few others as well). The band is much more laid back and Whelan and Taylor sound strong together. There is an extended harmonica section played by Earmon Murray which adds another unique touch. "Lace Virginia" has more of a focus on the bright guitar from Frew and Wyatt comes in to challenge for your attention. Whelan howls and the band works towards a more fever pace but it remains intact, rather than really breaking out. The vocal howls are a little silly as the track really grows musically, still there is little to be frustrated about on this track. Murphy lightly rolls across the drums as "Julian" begins. He plays along with Frew before Whelan comes in. We are, once more, a little laid back, but the music and vocals are pretty. The gradual crescendos to the chorus are paced well. The bass once more plays wonderfully off the guitars and drums for a solid, yet really pretty sound. Sort of soft words to use I realize, but it seems to work in this case. "All I Am" begins with a very hushed Whelan singing under the guitar from Frew. It takes close to a minute before the bass and drums join in and the track continues to be on the quiet side. It is not until the second verse does it get a little more rushed. Whelan makes the strongest case pushing vocally, but the band remains steadfast. As the song progresses it gets faster, both lyrically and musically. It really is another stand out, and right as you are ready for more, it ends. "Change" opens with Murphy rumbling across the drum kit and Wyatt really showing off on the bass. That terrific bass sound from "Celebrate" returns and then guitars and vocals start. The band is in full rock mode here. Frew chimes over on guitars and for the first time you can noticeably hear the backing vocals from the band (none is individually credited). Frew also gets the first real, "rocking" guitar solo here. After the solo the bass and drums tandem once more and the verse gets another run through. "Colours" is a much more relaxed track and Frew gets a second guitar solo here, but its more of a laid back solo, not as fast as before. The song is okay, just nothing that really jumps out at you. Wyatt rings out a few chugging bass notes as "That Demon Jive" starts. Murphy continues to hit the drums hard and Whelan seems to be a bit more gruff on this track vocally. His voice sounds a little shredded (but in a good rock and roll sort of way) Eamon Murray returns again, but this time on saxophone, another really cool variation from the bass/guitar/drums mantra. The band really clicks off one another and the track is focused and rowdy. Murphy and Frew start off "Brick it Up". Once more the band mixes the harder tracks with the mellower tempo things. Don't get me wrong, there isn't a sappy love song on here, but there are noticeable musical style differences. Just as I say/type that the band will fire off a few bars of rowdy rock before regaining composure. "Move On" is the final track on the cd. It is listed as a bonus track. It feels like a filler track honestly. It still sounds like the band, and its a song (vs some odd answering machine track or something) but it doesn't ever really get anywhere

Where are they now? - There is not a ton of information to go on. Wikipedia for example says the band is still active (with the same members) but in 2002 Whelan and Wyatt formed a new band (or seem to work with one another).

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

FDF Overall Take - I can honestly tell you this was the first time this record got listened to in full in probably 15 years. Swear to goodness. Anytime I pulled the cd off the shelf it was for "Celebrate" and/or "Change". There are some great moments on this record. The band was very tight and had the talent. Some of the guitars sound like they'd fit alongside the "Manchester" sound and the same time (or near future). More ups than downs honestly. If you dig the audio samples below, you'd dig the whole thing.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

You can buy this here.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Life got in the way this week...

Sorry..nothing new this week. Work got out of hand, got a new PC as well so that might cause issues w/me posting/hosting mp3s. They are not downloaded so much so I am not sure what I'll do.

I hope to be back next week...that is the plan anyway.