Friday, March 29, 2013

FDF Volume 3 Issue 298 - Jawbox - Novelty

Album - Novelty
Artist - Jawbox

Key Players – Adam Wade – drums. Bill Barbot – guitar, backing vocals. Kim Colletta – bass. J.Robbins – guitar, vocals.

Produced By – Iain Burgess
Release Date – May 1992

What caused me to blow off the dust? - Combing the shelves one day. Simple as that.

Overview – Jawbox was formed in Washington D.C. By 1989 J.Robbins, who was in the longest running DC punk band “Government Issue” had joined forces with Colletta and Wade. They'd record a demo and single was released. They'd continue to work and tour and would get singed to a major label where they'd release two records more. By 1996 they found their label was not pleased with “no single” and they were dropped. They'd disband in 1997.

FDF Comments (aka the songs)-  “Cutoff” opens up the 12 song 43 minute albums almost as expected, with some guitars and thumping bass. After the verse they buzz saw the guitar lines. The dual layers of guitars are a nice touch. One is melodic, the other choppy. Wade keeps it in check and Colletta seems to find an easy and tight groove on the bass. A quick solo near the ends wraps it all up. That same bite comes in “Tracking. Colletta's bass has a bit more of a ping/ring to to it whole Robbins and Barbot seem to go right after it. Robbins has that gruff howl to his voice, but it suits it all perfect. The tempo keeps up, as expected as Wade counts off “Dreamless” and everyone comes in. The two guitar attack continues to bode well and keep it all interesting. “Channel 3” still has the big band feel/sound, but the tempo is a little laid back. Its by no means “light” but a nice change of pace. The band seems to balance the backing vocals well here, and Colletta and Wade shine as solid carriers of the flow. “Spiral Fix” is even more quiet at the outset. Just Robbins and a lone guitar, then the full band comes in on the down beat and it has a swirling wall of guitar and slow bass/drum line. They do this a few times, leading to both a haunting and chaotic feel. “Linkwork” goes back towards the heavy feel. The drums from Wade are on mark and the dual guitars really grab the listener. Ranging from long chords, to the biting sharp notes. Its right at you on the attack. “Chump” continues with the rapid attack and Wade seems to get the biggest workout, seemingly all over the drum kit. Colletta seems to be the lone instrument as “Static” begins. Robbins speaks the lyrics and then Wade gets it going. Barbot jumps in and we are back in full rock mode. This song feels the most “clean” to me, the balance is great and the band seems to be doing some other things. Just stands out upon the listen. The go after it again on “Spit-Bite” with Wade taking the lead. Robbins there at the start with the guitars seemingly under the drums. Colletta's bass rings over the vocals as well, and it has a long delay to “take off” and with a squeal it does. One of the stand out tracks on the record. The anger is there on “Send Down” as Wade is all over his kit. Robbins has more aggression in his voice for the verse. Around the bridge section he eases off and Wade gets on the ride cymbal. Colletta's bass has a cool fill under it all as Barbot and Robbins trade off one another.  “Tongues” has the snap on the drum kit and driving tempo we've gotten accustomed to. Closing it out is “Ones and Zeros”. A great closer that keeps with the tempo and feel of the record. Its right at you, leaving you exhausted and excited all at the same time.

Where are they now? - The band broke up in 1997. In 2009 the band announced they'd reform for a one night only performance on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. The band would perform “Savory”.

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

FDF Overall Take – This is a hard and very clean record. It is well produced and its easy to hear how they influenced other bands at the time as well was today. There is urgency to it all that doesn't seem to have aged. It really is a pretty solid straight up rock record. Maybe I don't know “punk” but this just seems more polished and focused on the instruments. Grab this one, its solid.

Their site on Dischord

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!
Static (Live)

Buy it direct from Dischord

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, March 22, 2013

FDF Volume 3 Issue 297 - The Hummingbirds - loveBUZZ

Album - loveBUZZ
Artist – The Hummingbirds
Key Players – Mark Temple – drums. Robyn St.Clare – bass, vocals. Alannah Russack – guitar, vocals. Simon Holmes – guitar, vocals.
Produced By – Mitch Easter

Release Date – Late 1989

What caused me to blow off the dust? - This one has been sort of staring at me for a bit, but honestly I wasn't sure what I'd find on them. Well finally I decided I just had to.

Overview – Sydney, Australia jangle pop band “The Hummingbirds” were formed in 1986 and quickly became a very popular band by the late 80s. Once signed the band would release this record to solid reviews but despite such praise the band didn't sell well in the USA. The band would struggle after the release of a second full length with label and some internal issues. They'd disband by the end of 1993.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) – Right out of the gate you are hooked as “Blush” starts up.
Great harmonies, gritty guitar, but layers of acoustic and a super catchy chorus.  Really, just listen to the clip below and you'll get it.  “She Knows....” starts with layers of acoustic and electric guitars. There are a few overdubs on this section as layer upon layer builds. The group sits on that main riff for some time before Temple clicks it off. St. Clare and Russack give the subtle layers underneath Holmes. With each breathy line, they'd then soar and be right on the side with Holmes. A perfect blend or harmonies. “Hollow Inside” has more electric feel at the outset with Temple working around the kit. As with the other tracks Holmes will sing the first layer while the backing vocals remain strong. St. Clare and Russack have unique styles of both rough and tumble to soaring high harmonies. The vocals actually seem overly complex at times, but always interesting. Holmes takes the first run at any sort of guitar solo, but Temple gets it all back to the initial vibe of the track. As the track draws towards a conclusion the Holmes seems to repeat his “ooh/ahhs” while the ladies sing in the round. A frantic closing ensues. The tempo is a little lighter as “Tuesday”beings. This time Holmes is not the primary vocalist. Russack and St. Clare take those duties. Holmes is not left out, taking to his guitar with a little more of a distorted delivery. Temple is after it a bit more as well, but the ladies keep it all very clean. Holmes is back as the primary vocalist on “Word Gets Around”. The guitars seems a bit more “in your face”. We are not that deep in to the record and its easy to hear what set this band apart, really solid focus on the harmonies of the vocals in this rock setting. No one member seems to outshine, or overtake the other, they all mesh so well. “House Taken Down” is a slower tempo song, but still full of big sound. Temple seems to want it to get rolling, but the band is okay with the smoother/calm delivery. The guitars get big later in the track which is a great touch and Holmes to get after it some, but the long chord drones are something to listen for. “Get On Down” is a quick romp with the guitars in the front. The bass levels are lacking I've realized by this point. The vocals make up for it, I guess. Temple clicks off the side of his drums as “Alimony” starts up. The guitar tone is great here, with that perfect blend of jangle and fuzz. A sound many guitarists look for. Holmes seems a little monotone, but the ladies again make it all very interesting. St.Cllare takes the lead on “Everything You Said” another easier feeling tune. The drums sound solid, but everyone is pretty held back. Short guitar chords, 2-3 bass notes, but nothing overly complex. After the second verse the band seems to find a fun groove and within the mix you hear St. Clare get a little bit on the bass, fun line she lays down. The verse is done, they come back to this fun jam, then Temple seems to want it to break down more and goes after it on the kit and the band joins in for a fun run on the hook. The guitars do the slow fade up and “Barbarian” gets underway. Again you can hear some of the bass work which is nice, but the dueling guitars stand out here. Temple keeps it pretty simple, not over doing it. The guitars are the showcase here, really playing off one another. Key word here is guitars...a decent solo from Temple towards the end before it layers nice to the end. Acoustic guitars seem to be a bit more prevalent as “Three in the Morning” gets underway. My desire to hear bass is now being answered as St. Clare has some solid fills under the jangles of the guitar. The harmonies continue to be solid, always catching your ear and then the guitar attack happens and suddenly ends as the bass and drums get the verse back going. An organ opens up the track “Michelle As Well”. It is short and then Temple does some cymbal strikes and off we go. Another mid-tempo track that fits with the albums mood. “If You Leave” starts with acoustic guitar layered over by electric guitars. It seems like an ebow but the ring is not there. The ladies work in tandem here and Temple is careful to not over do it. Holmes will sing a line before another sung line from Russack. The layers are overwhelmingly complex, and the band makes it all seem easy. The 14 track album concludes with “Miles to Go”. A hushed vocal delivery accented with the solo acoustic guitar. This is how it is laid out but then the guitar picks up and the vocals get quicker, almost in the round singing, but then it goes back to the feel of the intro. The “in the round” was more fun, but I can see them ending calmly.

Where are they now? - The band re-formed for an appearance 2011 as part of the Big Day Out Festival in Sydney Australia. In the early part of the break up Holmes and Russack played in bands or as solo artists. St. Clare wrote “Into Your Arms” for the Lemonheads and had recorded with other bands.

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

FDF Overall Take – If you like a jangle to your guitars and solid male/female harmonies this is something worth searching out. Overall its “decent” but for the most part the first track is their gem. Not sure how easy to find, but those in the know appear willing to spend the dough, so be careful.


Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

Blush (live)
She Knows

It is out of print but can be found.  If you look at The only issue is you are paying collectors prices it seems.

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, March 08, 2013

FDF Volume 3 Issue 296 - The Wedding Present - Bizarro

Album - Bizarro
Artist – The Wedding Present
Key Players – Simon Smith – drums. Keith Gregory – bass. Peter Solowka – guitar. David Gedge – vocals and guitar.
Produced By – Chris Allison

Release Date – 1989

What caused me to blow off the dust? - Some times I am just looking for something to write about. This band I found out about from a video on MTV. I went hunting and grabbed it. Its been a while since I've spent time with it.

Overview – This is the second studio album Leeds England band “The Wedding Present”. Formed in 1985 this foursome would cull influences (Gang of Four/The Fall). Gedge and Gregory were in a band together prior to this and Gregory would ask an old friend Solowka to join. The band would catch interest from legendary Radio DJ John Peel, but they'd avoid working with any labels at the time to self release their material. The band would then begin to work with Smith on drums. This would lead to a major label deal with RCA records, more singles, eps and touring. By 1992 the band left RCA and headed to Island records. They'd continue to work, in various versions of the band under various labels before taking a break in 1997. They'd reform in 2004 and they continue to tour.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) – The fourteen track just over 60 minute album opens with the ripping “Brassneck”. The band is in full tilt mode with the guitars chopping over the Smith drum line. Once Gedge starts to sing you hear the drawl and a tint of swagger. The lyrics are as quick as the music that accompanies it. Solowka seems to lead the attack with the guitar and Gregory has a solid bass line keeping it right on task. There is an acoustic break down towards the end of the song, but Smith keeps rolling across this drum kit and it swells and swells in urgency before the guitar strikes again and it suddenly ends on one chord. Solowka is right at it again as “Crushed” gets underway. After it as if it owes him money he slices the guitar before Smith and Gregory follow. Gedge adds the second layer of guitars and continues to attack his lyrics. We seem to mellow some as “No” beings, with a little more ring and melody to the guitar lines. Gregory has his bass line a bit more up in the mix. The band seems to mix the tempos well and this shows a different side. You can't mistake Gedge, but this is a nice change of pace on the album. Smith gets the lead as “Thanks” takes off. We are back at the races and full band assault. Personally, I like this side. The guitar is awesome on this. “Kennedy” opens similar. I recall seeing this on MTV's 120 Minutes. Remember when they used to...ahh forget it. The late night and just that blast of guitars was the catalyst that had me looking for this record to begin with. Bordering on punk rock for it speed and perhaps perceivable simpleness the guitar and bass is so “at you” its just worth your time. To hear Gedge say “apple pie” is also worth it. One of the most “repeatable” songs you'll ever hear. “What Have I Said Now?” takes it down a notch from the prior track. The band finds the one groove for the few opening bars before the vocals begin. You can hear Gregory throw some progressions in there, but the guitars seems to be the brunt of the volume. It feels a bit laid back for the band, but still is interesting, and it really gets cool at the end. “Granadaland” just continues with the guitar attack. Gedge always comes off as being angry, but it comes off more as impassioned. He wants to spin the lyrics at you at the pace of the band tempo, and it always seems to work. The band seems to slow you in to a sense of ending, then BOOM right back at you. Top notch.  “Bewitched” is the first track where the band goes beyond the 5 minute threshold. Just shy of 7 minutes we found the band at its most laid back to this point. The guitar has a bring ring to it, and Gregory seems to walk all over the fret board but Gedge doesn't seem as after it for the first verse, then we hammer down. Big ringing guitars and Smith keeps it on the level, but you can almost feel the band ready to explode, before it cools down again. We get this a few times, but its in a good way. A great track. “Take Me!” just erupts off the speakers. A perfectly named track as they just lay it out there for you to take. They have a long jam on this track (its over 9 minutes long) so its a fun blast of guitars.  “Brassneck” appears for the second time. This version was engineered by Steve Albini so the focus is a bit more on the drums, which is fine. The vocals have a slight modification as well, but its similar to the album opener. We get a single guitar at the intro for “Box Elder Mo”. Smith and Gregory hold a solid bottom, but the attack is missing on this one. I guess I've gotten used to this and needed a little break? That passes quick and we go to the next track “Don't Talk, Just Kiss”. Gedge is still laid back some on the vocals, but the guys are all otherwise busy. They take off some, but come back around. Another solid example of their diversity on the record. Smith and Gregory get to open “Gone”, a track that has a frantic back beat and solid bass fills. By the time the two guitars come in you are in a punk rock mode. This just doesn't slow down and you almost feel tired just listening to it. The album concludes with “Be Honest”. The last four songs on the record are all under four minutes and we get that rapid attack, until this one. A false start with some in studio laughter and banter before they set the song off. Acoustic guitars are the norm here with nice layers over electrics. A solid and refreshing closer.

Where are they now? Simon Smith's tenure with the band ended in 1997 with the “break”. Gregory left the band in 1993 due to a lack of “enthusiasm”. Solowka left the band in 1991. Gedge is the bands only constant member.

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

FDF Overall Take – Honestly I got through about half this record and got pissed this is the only thing I own from them. I need help!! What to get next??! There are just some really great guitar sections and it I don't know what else to say. Really glad I got back to this, and it won't be this long again.



Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

Live version of Brassneck 
Kennedy  Live
What Have I Said Now?  Live

The album reviewed here went out of print but the reissue can can get a copy at a place like amazon
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, March 01, 2013

FDF Volume 3 Issue 295 - The Seahorses - Do It Yourself

Album – Do It Yourself
Artist – The Seahorses
Key Players - Stuart Fletcher – bass guitar. Chris Helme – vocals, acoustic guitar and backing vocals.  Andy Watts – drums, backing vocals. John Squire - guitar
Produced By – Tony Visconti

Release Date – June 1997

What caused me to blow off the dust? - I think it has to do with the hub bub about the Stone Roses playing Cochella this year.

Overview – John Squire formed the band in 1996 after he left the Stone Roses. He met Fletcher and Helme soon after. Fletcher was a guitar tech for a band that Squire saw by accident and Helme was found signing in the street. Watts auditioned and the band was set. They'd release this lone album, tour some and break up while writing the followup.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) – Right out of the gate “I Want You to Know” grabs you. The guitar tone from Squire is to die for. Helme has a perfect voice for the music and Fletcher seems to walk all over the fret board with the bass line. Watts keeps it largely in check, but Squire just seems like a caged animal, tossing out the big riffs. The guitar is busy,but so perfect all at the same time. There is a break down where Watts and Fletcher have some interplay before Squire gets to take off on the solo, which is short, before they return to the verse/chorus and a second breakdown and it slowly swells back for a rowdy conclusion. “Blinded By The Sun” starts a little more subtle with Squire and Fletcher working in Watts at the intro. Watts gets around his kit, and Fletcher puts down some quick short fills and then Helme begins the vocals. Its a calmer and mellower tune. It has that Manchester ballad feel, with the big guitars and soaring choruses. We pick up the pace on “Suicide Drive”. Squire attacks the guitar and Fletcher is always right along with him. Watts doesn't do anything too crazy, he just keeps perfect time. It seems to have a little bit of a 12 bar blues feel towards the end. Helme puts on the acoustic guitar as “The Boy In The Picture” begins. Its another pretty sounding tune, with the cockney vocals and some of the chopping guitar licks from Squire. Fletcher continues to shine, seeming to find the right place to put everything down. The track, for me, that is the stand out comes in “Love Is the Law”. Did this ever end up on Guitar Hero, or Rock Band? Man it is good. The guitar sound is just to die for, A solo Squire goes after it before the others join in. The tempo is moderate, but its a busy song, just really interesting. The vocals, and harmonies are perfect to. This is late 90's alternative rock...plain and simple. It follows the verse/chorus/verse pattern until Helme decides to push himself as the band sits back a little, but its just a build up! Fletcher helps Helme by adding some nice bass work and then the support on vocals and it crashes back in before the big set up, another run of the chorus and then its the Squire show..from 3:09 just dig it. The band goes towards this great instrumental break down. Fletcher goes first, but when Squire comes in strap it on. Enjoy. Its a blast. I could listen to a whole album of this. The guitar sounds fucking aces. The big guitar comes back as “Happiness Is Eggshaped” gets going. There are hand claps and general good vibes on the track. Squire gets after it again, this time with Watts using his hi-hat and ride cymbals as the steady back beat.  “Love Me and Leave Me” is a tune that was co-written by Liam Gallagher (Oasis) finds the band surrounded by some strings and more work with the backing vocals. The band is pretty laid back for the tune. “Round the Universe” has Squire back attacking his guitar. He is alone at the start and then Watts gets it all going. The vocals are sung pretty quickly and its a pretty standard “rock” song. “1999” is not a cover of the Prince song. Squire takes the lead again and Fletcher follows suit with Watt putting down a solid back beat. This is a fun and choppy sounding tune. Choppy not in a bad way, just the way the guitar is played, more on the attack. It has an over all good vibe with some decent playing and vocals. We have a little more of a deep groove on “Standing On Your Head”. Fletcher has a melodic bass line that he branches out and the tempo follows suit. Watt keep things in check as well as Helme keeps his vocal part somewhat laid back. As the chorus nears its gets to be a bit psychedelic and has a cool 60's vibe to it. The album closes with the quiet “Hello”. Nothing either here nor there to these ears.

Where are they now? - This is a “one and done” album from the Seahorses. Watts was asked to leave the band very early on due to “tour behavior” as well as not fitting with the bands image. He'd front a band called Mozer for a bit but they'd never release anything. Helme went on to a solo career. Fletcher is still in his local music scene After this band Squire worked as a solo artist and even “quit” music for a bit before deciding to come back to the Stone Roses.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) – I actually did see this band live. Their lone US tour August 1, 1997 at the Paradise in Boston.

FDF Overall Take
If you like/liked the Stone Roses you need this record. If, for anything, Squires guitar work.  The vocals and bass are very good too.  Some folks said "well if you want Stone Roses just listen" but that is not the point.  Its a decent moment in time.  If you can find it, and its probably cheap, grab it.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

Love is the Law   This is the studio version w/the long solo.  Dig it.

You can still track down the record 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.