Friday, September 29, 2017

FDF Volume 4 Issue 384 - Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings - Dap Dippin'

Album – Dap-Dippin’ With…
Artist - Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings
Key Players – Otis Youngblood – tenor saxophone. Jack Zapata – baritone saxophone. Binky Griptite – guitar. Bugaloo Velez – congas. Earl Maxton – organ.  Bosco Mann – bass. Homer Steinweiss – drums. Anda Szilagyi - trumpet
Produced By - Bosco Mann

Release Date-  2002

Overview – This is the debut album from the band.  This also helped launch the label (Daptone). The funk/soul band was based out of New York.  

FDF Comments (aka “the songs”)
– The album opens with a track called “Introduction”.  Griptite emcees and introduces the band over a real funky beat.  The song fades and then “Got a Thing on My Mind” comes up.  The deep funk bass and off tempo back beat finds Jones quickly singing her verse.  Your head, your feet (or both) all follow the tempo.  The band is TIGHT.  The band does a solid cover of “What Have You Done for Me Lately” that actually has more funk to it than you’d ever believe.  To me, its better than Miss Jacksons…there..I said it.  “The Dap Dip” follows.  The band has created a dance (and the steps on how to do it are in the liner notes).  Jones gives instructions over a funk bed.  Basic idea, just cut loose. “Give Me a Chance” has some great conga work and the chopping guitar really grabs you, but as always Mann’s bass stands right out.  The horns into “Got to Be The Way it is” and the backbeat is held with percussion instruments and Jones is spitting lyrics with venom, but it all is charming and wonderful.  It has to be the funk right? Maxton gets showcased on the organ for the first time as a “lead”.  “Make it Good To Me” and “Ain’t it Hard” are two different spectrum's for the band.  “Make it” is similar to much of the record while “Ain’t it” has a great long organ intro and a rumbling bass line that finds Jones in much more of laid back delivery. Slowest track on the album to this point and Jones sounds great.  There are even some backing vocals to fill it out nicely.  We are back to what makes the album so great when “Pick it Up, Lay it in the Cut”.  If you are not moving when you hear this, I really can’t help you.  The album ends with “Casella Walk”, an absolute burner of a track.  It has it all!  Tucked 7 minutes after the song ends there is an instrumental song.  Focus’ largely on the bass and guitar yet is awash with horns.  There is a reason some of them ended up playing on “Back in Black” released a few years later by Amy Winehouse.
Where are they Now? -  Sharon Jones died on November 18, 2016 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.  Nothing specifically has been confirmed with regard to the status of the band.

FDF Overall Take/Was it worth Dusting Off?
– This is a fun record.  Sharon Jones was an absolute powerhouse and presence in a live setting and it actually works on the record too.  A talented crew of band members and a charismatic singer with catchy hooks.  Grab this, throw it on at a party and count the number of people who will ask you “who is this..its great”.

Links, find out more, follow em, buy

Friday, September 22, 2017

FDF Volume 4 Issue 383 - Hoodoo Gurus - Stoneage Romeos

Album – Stoneage Romeos Artist - Hoodoo Gurus Key Players – James Baker – drums. Clyde Bramley – bass, vocals. Dave Faulkner – guitar, lead vocals, keyboards.  Brad Shepherd – lead guitar, vocals, harmonica, percussion.
Produced By – Alan Thorne

Release Date
- 1984

Overview – This is the debut album from the Australian band.  The band took the name of the album from a Three Stooges film.

FDF Comments (aka “the songs”)
– The 11 track 37 minute album opens with “I Want you Back” a very catchy, bass fueled track.  The acoustic guitars have a great ring as Faulkner comes up in a strong powerful presence.  Sends a strong precedent for the record.  “Tojo” is just a great pop song with the urgent lyrics and punchy drums.  “Leilani” is also similar with a punchier chorus just ripe for sing alongs.
“Arthur” opens with the guitar ringing and Faulkner giving a hearty yell.  Bramley locks a groove and Baker is there to oblige, hitting them hard but keeping in check at the same time.  Shepherd has a great little slow after the chorus.  “Dig it Up” has a bit more of a darker, slow roll to it.  Sort of the first “gear shift” to this point on the record.  The tempo is up for “(Let’s All) Turn On” with Faulkner repeating “cuz that’s what I like…that’s what I like….” To a break neck toe tapping drum line and “Death Ship” is also very similar. The band has found a groove.  Bramley’s bass is a bit more evident here as well. “In the Echo Chamber” and “Zanzibar” are two different tracks.  The first follows suit of the record while “Zanzibar” has a much more mellow approach. Faulkner is in no rush, the bass rings out with more chords and the drums are just a simple back beat.  The bands “quiet” moment.  “I Was a Kamikaze Pilot” (one of the more unique song titles ever..) finds the band back with the buzzsaw guitars and driving beats.  “My Girl” closes out the record on a little more of a mellow tone.  The focus here would be on the vocals, just a pretty song that is not too rushed.  It’s a nice tune, don’t get me wrong, but the rumbling they’ve given us would have been more what I’d have expected as a closer.
Where are they Now? -   After a hiatus that ran from 1997 to 2003 the band has been active.  Faulkner, Shepherd are the two original members.  The band was inducted in to the Australian Recording Industry Hall of fame in 2007.  Their last studio album was “Purity of Essence” released in 2010.

FDF Overall Take/Was it worth Dusting Off? – This is a good “rock” record.  They got to be more popular in the states with their follow up record, but there are few solid gems here.  If you are a completest I’d recommend it, but you probably have it already.

Links, find out more, follow em, buy

Buy It!

Official Site

Wiki Page


Friday, September 15, 2017

FDF Volume 4 Issue 382 - Ben Folds Five: The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner

Album –  The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner
Artist -  Ben Folds Five
Key Players – Ben Folds – vocals, piano and keyboards.  Robert Sledge – bass and backing vocals.  Darren Jessee – drums and backing vocals.
Produced By – Caleb Southern

Release Date-
April 27, 1999

Overview – This is the third studio album from Ben Folds Five.  The band, based out of Chapel Hill North Carolina would release four studio albums and take two hiatus sessions.  This was the last album for over 10 years until “The Sound of the Life of the Mind” was released.

FDF Comments (aka “the songs”)
–   The 40 minute 11 track album finds Folds on solo piano starting up “Narcolepsy”.  He is a very accomplished player and does a few pretty runs before the band full comes in with a fuzzy bass and gong crash.  There is a string section playing along with all this thundering bass and drum rumble.  By the time Folds sings the first lines we are close to 1:30 in.  The vocals seemingly secondary to the instruments as the bands plays with much fervor whole Folds never seems to break his steady vocal pace, until the song gets even livelier with the vocals and instrumentation.  “Don’t Change Your Plans” follows.  In is interesting that the first two tracks are the longest tracks and the focus is on the full band experience. No one instrument seems to be “the leader” and the group seems ready to explore on this record.  “Mess” has a bouncier feel, but the band hasn’t really varied a lot from the previous two tracks.  “Magic” is a little on the mellow side and I am waiting for things to get rolling by this point. The opening track had a lot of potential, but since then we’ve been sort of “just there”.  Another orchestral tune.  Ready to move it here…but “Hospital Song” is not going to get us there either.  We finally get there (to these ears) when “Army” starts right out of the gate.  This is the Ben Folds Five I find the most fun and interesting.  Fun lyrics with some great stuff from three guys.  A nice full sound with some great bass and drum breaks as well as some great sing alongs (as evident when the band would pair off the audience against one another in a singing battle on future tour dates).  The horn section really fills this out nice.  A tremendous/stand out track.  “Your Redneck Past” is another fun track so we have a great duo here at the mid-point of the record.  The track “Your Most Valuable Possession” is a phone message played over a smooth jazzy back beat.  “Regrets” is back to the earlier portion of the album, until Folds seems like he wants to take it elsewhere, and it has a good clip to it and we get more of a percussive back beat pushing it along.  Sounds more like an electric piano for “Jane” than the standard grand Folds plays.  Jessee and Sledge continue to be solid cast members, on this track and for the entire album.  The album concludes with the aptly titled “Lullabye”.
Where are they Now? -  The group has taken a few years off on two occasions.  They released a live record in 2013.  Sledge keeps busy teaching music and playing gigs in Chapel Hill.  Jessee works a lot as a sideman.  He’s played with Sharon Van Etten’s band and Hiss Golden Messenger.  He also is on the latest War on Drugs LP.  Folds has released a few solo records and continues to tour at his own pace.  Ben appeared in the second season of the Showtime series “Billions” playing himself.

FDF Overall Take/Was it worth Dusting Off? – Even when this record came out I wasn’t floored and it didn’t do a ton for me on this recent revisit.  At the time the band was in a transition.  They’d done three records, toured heavily etc and this was a departure for them.  Admitting I have not even heard their “latest” record which I sort of want to do now.  The first two records are ones I’d suggest to new fans.

Links, find out more, follow em, buy

Friday, September 08, 2017

FDF Volume 4 Issue 381 - Goatsnake - Flower of Disease

Album – Flower of Disease
Artist - Goatsnake
Key Players – Pete Stahl – vocals, harmonica. Greg Anderson – guitar.  Stuart Dahlquist – bass. Greg Rogers – drums.
Produced By – Nick Raskulinecz

Release Date- October 31, 2000

Overview – This is the second album released from LA based metal band.  They formed in 1996 after the previous band “The Obsessed” disbanded.  They have released 3 albums total and have taken one hiatus since their inception.

FDF Comments (aka “the songs”) – The 8 song 44 minute album opens with the title track “Flower of Disease”.  The intro is all reverse loops of guitar/bass and drums.  It then fires off with its deep swampy riffs.  The track is a slo-burn with the music heavy but no real push vocally from Stahl.  He has sort of a deep growl that fits the track perfectly.  The harmonica solo is an interesting touch that surfaces a few times on the record.  “Prayer for a Dying” continues in much of the same vein.  The heavy churning guitar with Stahl pushing himself a little more with vocal range. We get the rare mouth hard (Chad Essig) at “Easy Greasy” rumbles along.  There is a slight vocal effect giving it a “warble” sound but once the chorus comes around it has a more full effect.  The guitars on this track are so on point with the right blend of chorus and fuzziness.  When Stahl sings “Eassssssssssssaaaaaaaayy” you want to put down your whiskey and sign with him (trust me, you’ve been drinking whiskey).  We get another big harmonica, this time at the intro as “El Coyote” builds.  The band falls in to place behind the harmonica, a little plodding at times it is just so heavy that come the 1 minute mark it then starts to rumble forward.  Folks if you are looking for stoner rock, I give you this.  To me this has all the elements of that genre, and is just a killer track.  From the rumble of the bass, to the fuzzy guitar solo, you get it all.  “The Dealer” is much of the same, but that is a good thing. A little slower, but no less as heavy, than the last few tracks. On top of having one of the coolest song titles “A Truckload of Mamma’s Muffins” has such a massive guitar intro you can’t but move.  It is impossible.  The vocals are a bit more “soaring” too, this is a stand out track. “Live to Die” brings the harmonica back.  Even run through a wah-wah pedal it plays second fiddle as the band just explodes around it.  This is a quick in and out track (for the band at least) just over 3 minutes it the shortest track, proving the band can get it done as they see fit.  Closing out the album is “The River”. A bit more of a slo-burn for them, but you still get what you came for.

Where are they Now?
– The band is slow to release records but they are still active.  The most recent record was “Black Age Blues” which was released in 2015

FDF Overall Take/Was it worth Dusting Off? - Yeah. It scratches every single itch you have. Do it.

Links, find out more, follow em, buy
The band is pretty inactive it seems on line (especially social media) but here goes.

Friday, September 01, 2017

FDF Volume 4 Issue 380 - Mastodon - Leviathan

Album – Leviathan
Artist – Mastodon
Key Players – Troy Sanders – bass and vocals. Brent Hinds – Lead guitar and vocals. Bill Kelliher – rhythm guitar. Brann Dailor - drums
Produced By – Mastodon, Matt Bayles

Release Date – August 31, 2004

Overview – This is the second album from Mastodon.  This is a concept album loosely based on Moby Dick.  It did win a few album of the year awards

FDF Comments (aka “The Songs”) – The album is 10 tracks and opens with the powerful “Blood and Thunder”.  The track features Neil Fallon of Clutch as well.  The buzzing and heavy guitars are right along with the growling vocals and “all over the kit” drumming of Dailor.  “I am Ahab” showcases the, already dominant, dual guitar attack while “Seabeast”, although heavy, seems a little more subdued that the first two tracks.  To these ears, the great part is the complexity of this track.  It almost as that “math” feel to it.  Very technical (almost choppy) tempos, but the guitars punch right along with the drums. “Island” might fall in to “what you think heavy metal is”.  The vocals are really growled and the speed of the music is there, yet it all seems to hold together pulling you in to listen for each technical part. “Iron Tusk” has you reaching for your guitar (air or not) to riff along with the guys.  One of the stronger tracks on the album.  “Megalodon” starts off with the softer side of the band, but that does not last long.  The fun, almost country riff, in to the driving tempo has you perk up, and hit the skim back button on your cd player to see just what it was they did.  “Naked Burn” sets up “Aqua Dementia” really well that also features Scott Kelly of Neurosis.  Musically it’s Mastodon, vocally its all Kelly.  A noticeable change. The longest track (13:39) comes in “Hearts Alive”.  The band is in no rush for the first few minutes.  Sort of finding a comfortable spot and looping on a riff then its time to get down to it.  The track is almost exhausting at times, but so interesting.  The tempo changes, the complexity is there, the instrumentation of it all.  Doing lengthier tracks can be hit or miss, but they seem to have got this down pat.  The album ends with the track “Joseph Merrick”.  This is the real name of the individual most commonly known as “The Elephant Man”.  Mastodon closed out their first three records with an instrumental that in some form references him.  The track is a change from what you’d expect.  Organ fills, acoustic guitars and the like.  It’s a great way to exhale after being beaten up for the last 30+ minutes.

Where are they now? – The band is still active both in the studio and on the road.  They released their latest album “Emperor of Sand” in March of 2017

FDF Overall Take/Was it worth Dusting off? – Its hard to realty put this in a “forgotten” slot since it is just such a solid record.  The good thing is Mastodon continues to keep releasing interesting (and good/great) records to always keep you interested.  This is a perfect one to start with!

Links, find out more, follow em, buy
Official Site
Mastodon on Facebook
Wiki Page
Buy It!