Friday, June 22, 2012

FDF Volume 3 Issue 271 - Spiritualized - Let It Come Down

Album – Let It Come Down
Artist - Spiritualized
Key Players - Jason Pierce (aka Spaceman) – electric and acoustic guitars, banjo, farfisa, piano, harmonica, vocals. Thighpaulsandra – Hammond Organ, Keyboards, piano. Doggen Foster – guitars. John Coxon – guitars, piano. Martin Schellard – bass, banjo, piano. Tom Edwards – vibraphone, marimba, timpani, tubular bells, percussion. Kevin Bales – drums. Raymond Dickaty – saxophones.

Produced By – J Spaceman and K.Coxon

Release Date – September 17, 2001

What caused me to blow off the dust? - A good friend of mine has been talking about their new cd (which I need to get) and it got me to thinking it had been some time since I listened to them.

Overview – This is the fourth album from the UK Band “Spiritualized” the band broke the mold on this release. The band used to the long drone guitars, known by many as “shoe-gaze” on prior releases. Using over 100 session musicians, including orchestras and choirs and taking over four years to complete it. Jason Pierce, the band leader would sing the orchestral parts in to a microphone, transcribe to piano and then get to the players. The result blends, and seemingly created new genres such as “space rock” and “symphonic rock”. This would be the bands highest charting album in the UK (#3).

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - “On Fire” opens with a piano section before the full band comes in. There is a wall of guitar and an awful lot going on. The vocals are high in the mix as expected, but there is so much to listen to. The drums, the trumpet, it really grabs the listener at the start. After a run of the verse a female backing section augments with the guitars. “Do It All Over Again” also begins with the chiming guitar and piano. The timpani drums roll in and the vocals start. This track feels even more expansive with guitar chords layers on long sustained trumpet notes. There is a short and distorted guitar solo on the back side of the orchestral section before the guitar returns to normal. The vocal layers on the back side of the track are a solid end cap. The soothing strings intro “Don't Just Do Something” before Spaceman sings in a hushed and slightly altered vocal. The vocals clean up and the song is a soothing light track. A few guitar sections come up at the second verse, but the song keeps an even keel. The layers grow and grow to a really outstanding track. Two electric guitars bring in “Out of Sight”. After a verse the listener is given a blast of the full brass section. The guitars work to cut through that, but it is so full it only seems to let up as the strings come in and the second verse starts. The good part is we get that brass section all over again, with more of a guitar section involved. Its big, heavy and loud. The harmonica section runs in two sections as well. This, dear readers, is symphonic pop! “The Twelve Steps” is more a straight up rock and roll song. The guitars are driving from the very start and this continues for the first minute before the band cools back some,but a police siren seems to call in the string section and the band has fun working in and out of that portion of the song. It is a rowdy and welcome change of pace. “The Straight and Narrow” is a cleaner and quieter track than the previous. The vocals are clean over the ringing guitar line. The horns are bright and the track swells at all the right times. More piano lead the next track is “I Didn't Mean to Hurt You”. Spaceman sings along with the piano before the strings come in and the slow rolling percussion. The texture of the horns with the slow keyboards. The song doesn't have lot of speed to it, but it is a full sounding track as always. “Stop Your Crying” has hushed vocals with piano and organ accompaniment. The long slow cymbal rolls with the mallets pull in the choir and big timpani drums. This is a real big sounding track that must have taken ages to put to tape, it sounds great. Distant sounding strings swell as “Anything More” starts. The track is quiet with Spaceman delivering in a relaxed tone. The horns offer the long sustained notes under the guitar chords and slow drum tempo. The track is in no hurry allowing for the strings to really fill out the track. “Won't Get to Heaven (the state I'm in)” starts off very quiet, sounding like a clock winding and chimes it doesn't seem to resemble much for close to a minute in as the lone piano part begins. Then there is a second, a guitar and things slowly add on. String and the choir are the solid portions to this and the horns swell to increase the power of the song. It retreats some, but knows when to come back with big swelling passages. The track has loose jams that really seem to build in to complicated sections filled with keyboard to saxophone solos. The final few minutes are worth the ride. The album concludes with the track “Lord Can you Hear Me”. Opening with sustained organ notes before the vocals began. The song continues the path of being quiet and mellow and is a perfect album closer. Having a rowdy blow up at the halfway point with dueling guitars and swirling horns accented with the organ gives it a church revival send off.

Where are they now? - Jason Pierce is the lone member since the bands inception. Pierce has had some health issues, but has continued to work and the band released “Sweet Heart Sweet Light” in April of 2012.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) – I have not seen the band live.

FDF Overall Take – This can be a little bit of a challenging listen at times. If you are looking for simple rocking tunes, this is not for you. This is a band/album that is pushing itself in new directions. Does it work? Most of the time it does. A few lengthy sections might seem tedious, but it all comes together so well. A record that might not get put on too often, but the end result is really rewarding.

Official site

On Twitter the band is @spiritualized

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

Don't Just Do Something

Out of Sight
Documentary on the making of the album

You can buy the album  here

Disclaimer – I am just a music fan. Feel free to comment about something that may be written incorrectly about the band/members etc. I strive to have a fun and enjoyable site. This site used to post mp3s but ran in to many issues. The audio clips provided are usually from YouTube. No copy write infringement is intended. Please alert me if something should be pulled. Finally, support the artist featured, or your favorite artist by purchasing their music, seeing their shows if possible and saying hi. They need your support.

Friday, June 15, 2012

FDF Volume 3 Issue 270 - A Perfect Circle - Mer de Noms

Album – Mer De Noms
Artist – A Perfect Circle
Key Players - Troy Van Leeuwen – guitar. Josh Freese – drums and percussion. Paz Lenchantin -backing vocals and bass. Billy Howerdel – guitar, backing vocals, keyboards, piano. Maynard James Keenan - vocals

Produced By – Billy Howerdel

Release Date – May 23, 2000

What caused me to blow off the dust? - For some reason the topic of this band came up in conversation a few weeks ago. I am amazed its already twelve years old!

Overview – Formed in 1992 by a former guitar tech (Howerdel) this is the debut album from the band “A Perfect Circle”. The album, translated from French is “Sea of Names” and the symbols on the front of the cover translated read “the waterfall of first names” (many tracks on the album are single male/female names). The album would debut at #4 on the Billboard charts. It was the highest debut rock album ever. Selling close to 190,000 copies in the first week it would remain on the charts for 51 weeks. Before the end of the year it would be certified platinum in the US.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) – The guitars are nice and full as “The Hollow” begins. Drummer Tim Alexander (the only track he is credited for) puts down a solid, yet simple, drum line. Once Keenan begins to sing the guitar effects of Howerdel kick in some and once the chorus hits the band has fully come together. Each layer is there. From the deep bass to the drums of Alexander the roles are perfect. The production is solid with each instrument seeming to be equal in the mix giving it that big full sound. Howerdel plays bass as well and has a deep bass intro on “Magdalena” as Freese strikes the drums. Howerdel has a haunting ring of guitar notes chime out as Keenan slowly starts to sing. Its a dark sounding track, sort of slow and plodding for the first verse before Freese pushes it at the chorus. The same guitar vibe returns later in the track. It has this really big arena rock sound. You can almost see the lights cutting through the stage fog. Howerdel works well with Freese on the tempo changes and Keenan finds a new level on the second part of the track, pushing even harder. Acoustic guitars ring as “Rose” starts. Layered with electric guitars and the slow start of distorted guitar lines this has more of a crunch on the guitar, but the acoustic guitar keeps the balance. Howerdel has a short electric solo that is at the right time and it gets even heavier. Coming out of the solo the overdrive on the bass and Freese rumble things forward. The string section on the outro is a nice touch. The big single from the record comes in “Judith” which is a track about Keenans mother who suffered a stroke. Freese fires off quickly and the wall of guitar and bass hits you. This is a perfect lead off single for a rock record. Big feeling, with a bit of easing up on the verse, only to really to punch the chorus. Keenan sings this with abandon and then will soar, holding long sustained notes. Freese and Howerdel really shine on the track. “Orestes” is a much more laid back track. This is the first “quieter” song on the record. It has the slow build into the later verses, but Howerdel seems content on holding the guitars back some. Freese finds a comfort zone on the cymbals and his drumming continues to be very strong. Howerdel solos briefly in two sections and Keenan has his usual strong moment as the song heads to the finish. “3 Libras” was another track released as a single that also shows the calmer version of the band. Freese keeps very quick time on the drum line with the slow build from Howedel (pulling bass and guitar duties). The guitars are quieter on the track with a heavy nod going to the downbeat on the snare drum. The chorus finds them all coming together a bit more stern and Howerdel seems to switch on acoustic to electric. The climax of the chorus finds Keenan in his usual strong form. “Sleeping Beauty” is another dark feeling song, but the guitars have a bit more bite. Keenan seems to be pushing himself and he is pulling it off very well. There is no vocal strain and he feels okay with his range, or limitations if there are any. A track that could have been a single to these ears. The track “Thomas” has a quiet solo guitar for about 20 seconds, then the full band comes in. Big rock riffs here. The vocals are awash with effects. Its rare as most of Keenans vocals are left alone. This one is noticeable at times. The track continues to do the quiet to louder push and Howerdel really gets loud. Acoustic guitars return at the start of “Renholder”. Here we have the first noticeable keyboard portions as well. This is a very loose track, filled with guitars and strings and a mumbling Keenan. It could have passed as an instrumental, but there are some vocals. Its over quick and that is okay. Keyboards play along with a punched up bass line from Lenchantin during the intro to “Thinking of You”. The drums feel a little “electric” for the first of any track on the record. Dare I say it sounds like a remix of another track. Odd vibe to this one, but come the chorus it regains the focus. Van Leeuen has the extended solo on the track and its really solid. For an odd sounding intro Keenan really shines (as always) but the vocals are really great and by the end it is really one of the songs that stands out. “Brena” slows things down some but maintains that really “full” sound before the band fully takes off. Freese sets the pace here, but Howerdel is on the money on this track. Closing out the collection is the track “Over”. Sort of a throw away track, with piano and percussion instruments with just a very muffled Keenan. Ending with Brena would have been fine.

Where are they now? - The band released three albums and went on hiatus in 2005 Lenchantin left the band to join Billy Corgan's project “Zwan” and Van Leeuwen left to join Queens of the Stone Age as a touring guitar player. Both of them left after the debut. For about four years the band wavered from being “done” to “not done”. In 2011 the band hit the road and again talked of new material being possible. Keenan is busy with various side projects as well as his vineyard and Howerdel is busy with another band “Ashes Divide”. The band may (or may not) release more music, but if they do it would be at their own relaxed pace.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) – I have not seen the band live.

FDF Overall Take – I knew the story that this was a “roadie” that formed a band. Howerdel is very skilled and it wasn't until I really looked at the liner notes did I realize this was really largely his thing. Freese played drums and Maynard sang. The other guys credited (on Wiki for example) didn't seem to play on the tracks. It is impressive he had this much vision and talent to go with it. A good solid rock record worthy to check out, in full, all over again.

Official Site

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

Judith (Official Video)

Judith (Live)


Orestes (Live)

Thinking of You (Official Video) might be a little NSFW

Grab your copy from

Disclaimer – I am just a music fan. Feel free to comment about something that may be written incorrectly about the band/members etc. I strive to have a fun and enjoyable site. This site used to post mp3s but ran in to many issues. The audio clips provided are usually from YouTube. No copy write infringement is intended. Please alert me if something should be pulled. Finally, support the artist featured, or your favorite artist by purchasing their music, seeing their shows if possible and saying hi. They need your support.

Friday, June 08, 2012

FDF Volume 3 Issue 269 - Matthew Sweet - Girlfriend

Album - Girlfriend
Artist – Matthew Sweet
Key Players - Richard Lloyd – Guitars on 1,2,4,6. Ric Menck – drums on 1,2,4,11,12,13
Robert Quine – lead guitar 3,4,5,7,9-11,13-15. Lloyd Cole – rhythm guitar on 4,7,8,11,12
Greg Leisz – lap steel 3,5,9,12. Fred Maher – drums on 3,5,6,7,9,10, 14 and acoustic guitar on 13. Matthew Sweet – lead vocals on all tracks, guitars, bass, piano

Produced By – Fred Maher and Matthew Sweet

Release Date – October 22, 1991

What caused me to blow off the dust? - The album recently celebrated it's 20th Anniversary and Matthew is touring right now performing this album in it's entirety. Just felt it was time.

Overview – This is the third album from Matthew Sweet. Sweet recording this album after a divorce and found modest chart success with the album charting at #100 on the Billboard 200 Album Chart. Fueled by an animated video, the title track would find Sweet performing to larger crowds. Major commercial success has eluded Sweet, but his hardcore fan base is steady. This album is looked at as a pop masterpiece from the 1990's and it was re-issued in 2006 with a bonus disc.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) – The 15 song album opens with “Divine Intervention” a track that finds a lone guitar working up the gusto and then Menck clicks off the drums. Sweet puts forth a nice bass line as the band all comes together. The song is a slow builder, with a lot going on with the guitars and drums. Sweet has a solid and clear vocal delivery. A quick guitar solo is placed perfectly and the walking bass line really stands out. Fuzzy and chaotic everything comes back with a delayed and fuzzed out chorus. The layers are complex and the track is incredibly interesting to listen to. The false ending, the extended solos, a great album opener. Lloyd and Menck return on the second track, “I've Been Waiting”. The guitars are bright and there is a more “pop rock” feel. The bass again is up in the mix but the chime of the guitars is bright and again the harmonies are solid. The track is far more “to the point” than the opener with the verse/chorus/verse solo portions used at the right time and length. Sweet has surrounded himself with a solid cast and it only seems to get tighter. The “big” single from the record comes in “Girlfriend”. The guitar intro and the Maher drum line are instantly recognizable. Sweet sounds a little more grizzled on his vocals, but the harmonies are gain very solid with a fair bit of pitch bending. When you really listen to what the background folks are doing its very complex and once you hear it, you won't “un-hear it” if that makes any sense. A great solo on guitar leads to another run at the chorus and that heads to the verse. The rumbling drum break, short but none the less filled with perfect timing is all the better when the guitar answers and it all comes back with the shakers and bass line. Maher loves the ride cymbal and gives that a heavy work out as the band harmonies that one last time and we are done. “Looking at the Sun” is a bit more laid back with the guitar, bass and drums all calmly laying the bed of music for the vocal track. The track doesn't jump out as overly interesting per se but the band is solid throughout. “Winona” follows (and is not about the famous Ryder either). A more southern twang track with Leisz setting that tone on the lap steel. Sweet again is someone laid back and the band follows his lead not really taking things out of the laid back feel. There is a nice longer acoustic guitar solo that blends well with the drums and bass. Clicking off “Evangeline” it finds itself quickly in the zone with the guitars and tight drumming. Sweet sounds great vocally mixing his range and really finding his comfort zone. Again the harmonies are solid and the backing players just add to the overall solid track. “Day for Night” is the shortest track on the record at 2:55. The drums are slow to get things going and the blues guitar is just begging to be let out of the barn like a cooped up horse, but it is held back. As Sweet sings he seems to want to keep it with a bit of a mellow blues vibe even with the drums seeming to pound otherwise. They are kept in check and the guitars all seem to find their one common place and allow it to blossom nicely. One false start on guitar doesn't see to hold “Thought I Knew You” back. The hand claps under the guitar push the track. There appears to be a layer of acoustic guitars with Sweet on vocals for the first minute plus before one seems to break off a little and the vocal layers begin. The slide returns on “You Don't Love Me” and Sweet finds the right tempo with a deeper vocal tone. The slide resonates well with the acoustic guitar and Sweet seems to really find his comfort zone having a nice slide guitar section wash over with the acoustic guitars. Piano adds even more filler to the track. We pick up the tempo some on “I Wanted to Tell You” as the guitars work with the drums to get things started. Sweet hardly hesitates on most tracks to get the vocals going. Rare is it for a song to go a few bars before he sings. The drums seem to lead the charge here with a lot of cymbal crashes and ride cymbal strikes. As noted the harmonies on this track, like the other tracks, are really solid. Bands don't seem to do this enough, and it is very interesting when done well. It is done well here. Menck clicks off “Don't Go”on his drum sticks and you'd think it was going to take off, but the song is mid tempo awash with acoustic and electric guitars. After a wave of vocals there is a longer than expected electric guitar solo before the acoustics come back and the harmonies return. “Your Sweet Voice” is another track with the compliment of slide guitar with a secondary electric guitar. The vocals are really hushed on this, but layered so perfectly. It even has a Crosby Stills and Nash type feel. The guitar solo later takes from that, but vocally its layered like a classic CSN tune. The dueling guitars sound great at the start of “Does She Talk?” The blending of two electrics and an acoustic fill the track. The drums work to wrangle the guitars, but they seem to be having a lot of fun firing off one another. The band seems to really be playing off one another and the results are a fun, loud romp. “Holy War” is a heavy, driving track with Maher hitting the drums hard and the guitars filling the gaps. Concluding the album is “Nothing Lasts” a quiet solo acoustic track.

Where are they now? - Matthew still writes, records and tours. In 2006 he paired with Susanna Hoffs (The Bangles) to record a collection of cover songs. It was fun for both and a follow up was released in 2009. His most recent album “Modern Art” was released in September of 2011. Matthew is currently on tour performing this album in full.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) – I have never seen Matthew Sweet live. The chances are “probable” for (as noted) he will perform this album in full on June 19th at the Paradise here in Boston.

FDF Overall Take - Chances are you have this, own it, or have heard it in full.  Do it again, the harmonies alone are worth your time.  Great stuff.

Official Site
Matthew on Facebook

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!


Divine Intervention (solo/acoustic)

I've Been Waiting

Evangeline (Live)

The album is still pretty easy to find in both the standard and deluxe versions.  Give
this a shot.

Disclaimer – I am just a music fan. Feel free to comment about something that may be written incorrectly about the band/members etc. I strive to have a fun and enjoyable site. This site used to post mp3s but ran in to many issues. The audio clips provided are usually from YouTube. No copy write infringement is intended. Please alert me if something should be pulled. Finally, support the artist featured, or your favorite artist by purchasing their music, seeing their shows if possible and saying hi. They need your support.