Friday, August 31, 2012

FDF Volume 3 Issue 278 - Elastica - Elastica

 (apologies in advance..spell check is/was down)

Album – Elastica
Artist – Elastica
Key Players – Justin Welch – Drums. Annie Holland – Bass. Donna Matthews – Vocals and Guitar. Justine Frischmann – Vocals and Guitar.
Produced By – Marc Waterman and Elastica

Release Date – March 14, 1995

What caused me to blow off the dust? - I think diversity honestly. I don't tend to get to a ton of female fronted bands and really need to be more rounded.

Overview – This is the debut album from “Elastica”. Formed in 1992 by ex-Suede member Frischmann and Welch. By 1993 the band had cut a few tracks and played a series of shows. Frischmann also made the news in the UK for being romantically linked with Damon Albarn from the band Blur. Their debut (this record) was released and was the fastest selling debut album in UK history at the time. The band would struggle with plagiarism accusations, but would go on to have a successful tour. After a second album and a few singles the band decided to call it quits in 2001.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) – We are in and out of this record in just over 40 minutes. The first of the sixteen tracks is “Line Up”. It slowly builds with the two guitars and then Welch and Holland are heard as dominant instruments. Frischmann begins to sing but it feels a little buried in the mix. The band has a bit of punk vibe to them. The guitars just chop as the bass and drums continue to lay the ground work. It feels a little slow at times though but speed is made up shortly. “Annie” clocks in at just 1:15. The guitar chords punch through and again Holland and Welch shine. Holland seems to make something out of nothing with a bit more of a complex bass fill. Welch just hammers forth and Matthews and Frischmann seem to be battling with the guitars. The song that many would recognize comes in “Connection”. The big bass swoop with the guitars is a 90's alternative stand out. The song has a lot of angst to it, and the band is willing to follow suit. The guitars are big but Welch seems to want to keep things from gettng out of hand quickly and keeps the tempo very even. The guitar line is the hook that pulls you in, but Holland reminds you off that bass note a bunch of times. “Car Song” is another that got some moderate air play on alternative radio. This track is another one that is on the slower side, but when you listen the band is doing a lot. The guitar lines are more focused, and you can hear one guitar vs. the other. We also get hints of backing vocals on the track as well. The bass work from Holland continues to impress. With tracks this short, she takes it upon herself to really spread out and show her chops. The punk guitar riff opens “Smile” and we get the 1-2-3-4 count off and the band launches in to the 3 chord romp. Tracks like this add a good blend on the record and keep things interesting I find. It is quick and to the point, but that is okay. “Hold Me Now” has Welch taking the lead as the lone instrument before Holland joins in. The guitars arrive then the vocals. The track is sung a litte monotone, but as the bride appears there is more of a grind to the guitar which is nice. We keep the pounding of the drums as “S.O.F.T.” rolls out. All the guitars screetch to a halt and it just the vocals with Holland on the bass. Everyone comes back in and it crashes along. This is the second to longest track on the record, but it is still inside 4 minutes. It is nice they have a little longer of a track to spread out some. There are extended, (well as extended as you can be) guitar parts and it just makes it more interesting to listen to. “Indian Song” finds keyboard as the first instrument before the bass and drum begin. It sits on the same progression for a bit with keyboard fills seeming to be the focus. The guitars are restrained for much, only working at times to shake the chains, it keeps working to, but never does. Again, guitars seem to struggle to get off the ground as “Blue” begins. Vocals are very hushed and the band seems to be un-interested, then all of a sudden you are hit with the down beat from Welch and it takes off. We haven't been this quick in a few tracks. “All-Nighter” is another very punk fueled song, with the guitars buzzing and the bass chugging. These moments really showcase the talents of the band I feel. They can be quick, but still find a nice melody and progression. The dual guitar intro to “Waking Up” is solid and Holland wants to play along so in she comes. The band comes together and the vocals are underway. The tempo is quick, but the lyric delivery is a little slower. The keyboards return on this track filling out the sound. Longer tracks like this, as noted, provide the room and the band is quick to show off some. Welch seems in no hurry as “2:1” gets underway. Holland answers for a few bars before the guitars start. Another mid tempo (vocally wise) track. The guitars still have the tradmark buzz. “See That Animal” has Holland and Welch having a work out right from the start. The guitar parts are cut tight and the bass is bright and full of punch, even during the vocals you can really hear the bass part. “Stutter” has heavily supressed guitars and, as we like, the punk rock tempo. It quickly gets underway and its easy to hear why this made the radio as well. An angstly female fronted band..whats not to like? This would have been a solid album opener, but it is a solid track in the mix of the record. The longest track on the disc (4:27) comes in “Never Here”. The guitars feed off one another as the bass and drums are crisp and tight (as always). The ladies seem more comfortable with the vocal expectations here. They seem to layer better and work together for some solid harmonies. They close out the record with “Vaseline” a 1:20 long track that seems slow, but with the big chords and drum hits it takes right off. It sounds very pop punk and is fun to listen to. A decent album closer.

Where are they now? - Holland left the band in 1995 due to the rigors of touring, but would rejoin the band.  Matthews formed a band shortly before their demise, formed a band but that project fell flat.  According to her Wiki page she is taking college courses.  Welch married the touring keyboardist for the band and is currently working on a project with James Atkin who was the singer in EMF.  Frischmann worked with her roomate M.I.A on her 2003 album,  She is now married and lives in the US.  She is an artist.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) – I saw the band as part of Lollapaloosa 1995. July 25, 1995 at Great Woods in Mansfield MA. I thought the band stuggled on this tour. I'd need to research some more to be sure. Cypress Hill, Hole and Sonic Youth were all part of this version as well.

FDF Overall Take – There are some really great moments on this record and reviews (both critics and fans) are very positive. I like the longer tracks a bit more. Sure a quick run is all fine and good but they are quick to showcase what they can/could do. Worthy of a listen

You can hear some stuff on Myspace

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

Connection  live from Letterman
Car Song

Out of print, but still pretty easy to find.  Start 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, August 24, 2012

FDF Volume 3 Issue 277 - Remy Zero - Villa Elaine

Album – Villa Elaine
Artist – Remy Zero
Key Players – Jeffery Cain - guitars, Gregory Slay - drums, Cinjun Tate – vocals and guitar, Shelby Tate – vocals, guitars, keyboards, Cedric LeMoyne - bass

Produced By – David Bottrill with Remy Zero

Release Date – August 25, 1998

What caused me to blow off the dust? - On a recent vacation I found myself in a used cd shop..and just seemed to pass this over when I was digging. Realizing I hadn't given it the good old “once through” in quite some time. No other reason.

Overview – This is the second studio album from Birmingham Alabama based band “Remy Zero”. The story is that the bands demo was heard by Radiohead who asked them to support them on tour. Soon after they released their debut which didn't gain much attention, but this record was early on called “the next big thing”. The album was named for the apartment complex the band stayed in while recording. They'd garner critical acclaim but after the third album the band decided to call it quits. As an aside, I didn't intend to have this be on any sort of anniversary..but the album will be 14 years old tomorrow??!

FDF Comments (aka the songs) – The 11 track album begins with “Hermes Bird”. The band slowly comes together and then the guitars bass and drums find their melody. Cinjun begins the vocals and right away you hear the clean tone. He has a mid range baritone voice and seems to feed well off the instruments. Cain, Slay and LeMoyne all seem to find that real comfort zone and it is a solid opener giving a taste of what is to come. Three of the tracks on this record found their way to films. This particular track was used in “Charmed” as well as “Felicity” The track “Prophecy” is next. This is the track that got a fair bit of attention for the band as it was included on the soundtrack to a few movies (“She's All That and “The Last Kiss”). The first guitar cuts out one side of your headphone/speaker before the monotone lyric starts. Slay then gets things moving forward. The guitars buzz and the bass finds that good groove. LeMoyne has a solid bass line that seems to really spark off Slay's drum work. The hook is there on the stuttered instruments during the chorus. I think the rhythm section should get the most credit here. “Life in Rain” finds Cinjun alone with a very subtle acoustic guitar accompaniment. Shelby Tate plays a short run on the keyboards before it comes back to the guitar and some backing harmonies. “Hollow” we find the band stretching in the the six minute mark of a track. The slow quiet build up is jarred awake with the strike from Slay and Cinjun seems to push himself a little more. Cain puts some delayed guitar chops over LeMoyne and Slay's tandem. Cinjun finds the right time to push, and the band is willing to oblige, soaring to a new height. The keyboards are up in the mix and the band seems to find a solid section to stretch out on. The guitars seem to be struck harder and you can almost hear the smiles on their faces. The track “Problem” (featured in the movie “Never Been Kissed”) follows. The band is a bit more urgent and happy. It is a nice change to hear the band seem to take off some. The guitars slowly bring up the more down tempo “Whither Vulcan”. Cinjun seems comfortable with the approach and has a bit more of a drawl to his vocals. Shelby has some longer keyboard sections and the band harmonies well around the chorus portions. A piano is the first instrument as “Gramarye” gets underway. After about 20 seconds the full band comes in and it gets a bit more of a bounce in the back beat. LeMoyne finds a solid groove and Slay keeps things steady and on point. Vocal tandem is nice on this and the back fills of piano is also a welcome addition. The guitars also seem to battle at times, again, keeping things interesting. “Yellow Light” feels a little “canned” as it begins. LeMoyne seems to be the bright spot as the guitar loops on the same few notes. The drums just feel more out of a drum machine than “live”. The band seems “busier” on the track as well, and the harmonies continue to shine. We trip out some on the guitars as “Motorcycle” gets underway. This sounds like a Radiohead track with the tight playing and cool vocals. The electric and acoustic guitars resonate well on this and we hear a bit more of the percussive instruments, adding to the full sound. The fourth track on the album to make it's way on to tv/movie soundtrack comes via “Fair”. This track was used in “Garden State” (heck the soundtrack won a Grammy Award). The two guitars compliment the vocals while the bass and drums are absent for the first portion of the track. It is a pretty ballad. Concluding the album is the track “Goodbye Little World”. Clocking in at 13:29 this is one of those “hidden” track tunes. (11:15 through we get the track “Instrumental 523”). At the start of the track there is a riff/vibe totally stolen these days by the likes of Jason Marz. Just those bouncy acoustic guitars with long verses. Sorta stare at the floor and crack a smile type songs. Its harmless, but it has been so badly duplicated the last few years its hard to accept. The track fades out about the 5:30 mark and then you can fast forward if you really want to hear the “instrumental”. It honestly is hardly worth it. Tucked away for a reason some might say.

Where are they now? - After the break up the band went on to various projects. Drummer Greg Slay died on January 1, 2010 of complications from Cystic Fibrosis. The band reformed in 2010 for a few shows in memory of their drummer. The band then said via Twitter this was the “final word”.

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

FDF Overall Take – Barring the final track and the sort of senseless instrumental there are some good moments on here. I can hear the comparisons to Radiohead at times and can agree with some of the buzz. A strong record I am not sure it holds up the best today. Could be that there are too many radio friendly bands stealing this formula. Worth tracking down for “Prophecy” alone. The band had it all right there, but maybe it was before everyone else was ready.

Official Site

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!
Sorry for some reason I can't embed this week?

Fair (Garden State clips)
Hermes Bird (Live from Reunion show)

It is out of print, but not too hard to find.  Start 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, August 17, 2012

FDF Volume 3 Issue 276 - Mazzy Star - So Tonight That I Might See

Album – So Tonight That I Might See
Artist – Mazzy Star
Key Players – David Roback- guitars. Hope Sandoval – vocals.
Produced By – David Roback

Release Date – September 27, 1993
What caused me to blow off the dust? - I have a co-worker that always tells the story that a college room mate would suggest to put this disc on when it was “bah-bang bang time”. It just makes me chuckle.

Overview – This is the second studio album from California based band “Mazzy Star”. Blending Alternative with “Dream Pop” and shoegaze the band would find its best commercial success with this record. It would peak at #44 on the Billboard top 100 charts. Mostly the creative partnership of vocalist Hope Sandoval and composer David Roback the band would struggle to gain widespread attention following this album. Coming off the million selling album they they'd release another major label record, but by then Sandoval was “begging” to be released from the label. They'd go on their first hiatus in 1997.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) – The 10 track 51 minute album opens with the bands most widely known track “Fade Into You”. A very quiet acoustic guitar is strummed while Sandoval begins to sing. Its a hushed, slow, quiet song. A late night track that sets the mood right. Just the slight percussive instruments accented with some piano to fill it out, but its really Sandoval that catches your attention. The guitars are more distorted as “Bells Ring” begins. The slow drum beat follows and Sandoval seems to be signing down a tunnel. It has a hollow/echo to it, but it works. The extended guitar solo later in the track is a nice unexpected twist. “Mary of Silence” has a slow rolling drum portion over some droning keyboard lines. It has a “goth” feel to it. Sandoval is very hushed on the track and Roback finds the buzz of his guitar too hard to resist and he does some longer, fuzzed out chords. The guitar is longer on the back end of the track playing off the keyboard and drum lines. We get just Sandoval and Roback as “Five String Serenade” gets underway. Only a light tambourine strike on the 4 count is heard outside the vocals and guitar. It has that 'coffeehouse” vibe to it. After the midway point we get nice blend of strings which adds to the track. By the mid way point we are still calm, but “Blue Light” has a little more of a bright guitar. Roback is not in any sort of hurry, but the guitar has a night tone to it before Sandoval begins to sing. One can't call this track really “uptempo” but this just feels different. Perhaps due to the guitar, or that Sandoval seems to open up a little more. A pretty track and finds Roback busier with his guitar than on any prior track. Wait, hold up...“She's My Baby” finds a dueling guitar. One an electric that is distorted and a an acoustic with a deep rich tone. Toss in some dobro and you can almost tap your feet (or clap your hands) to this one. It is nice to hear the band break out of the mold and spread out some. The haunting lyrics are still present, and the undertones of their sound, but its a really solid change. The acoustic guitar is bright once more as “Unreflected” gets underway. The guitars are nice. We get electric again on “Wasted” and the drums are a nice slow burn up as Roback tries to find his way (he can, but it just feels like a slow process to get things going). Sandoval has a bluesy snarl to her voice. This, again, is a nice touch. The band seems willing to try new things and keep it interesting. We get quiet again, using strings again on “In to Dust”. This is a simple and pretty track. We conclude the album with the title track “So Tonight That I Might See”. Slow drums and guitars crest at the the song begins to develop. Sandoval seems to speak the lyrics vs. sing and the guitar and drum seem to be locked in to the same groove of repetitiveness. The second guitar gets a little more busy and we slowly wind down with the drums and percussion.
Where are they now? - During the downtime Sandoval released a few solo albums. The band has since played a few live shows and are reported to have a full length album due in 2012.

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

FDF Overall Take – There are some very pretty moments on this record. It is not a record I'd find many grabbing right away though. More a late at night, mood album. They duo find what they do well, and do it well. I'd like a smudge more variation in the tracks, but overall its a good solid listen.

Fan Site

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!
Fade Into You

You can still find the album pretty easy.  Start  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, August 03, 2012

Little time off..

Going to take the next two weeks off at the very least...just busy with work.
Hope to be back Aug 17th.

Ideas?  Anyone?  Do I start doing repeat artists?

Thanks for stopping over from time to time..I do appreciate it.