Song of the Moment

J. Cole - Lost Ones

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Reel Big Fish - Turn The Radio Off

In terms of sheer fun music, it's hard to find a band that sits above Reel Big Fish. I know I talked about that with the Presidents before, and these guys are right there too. When this came out in the 1996 timeframe, ska was becoming somewhat popular in the US. If you really like the genre, you had to dig a little to find the really good bands. Mainstream wise, you had bands like No Doubt and these guys, which was more than fine for the casual ska fan. But this was a nice break from the big grunge movement and even the big hip hop stuff that was happening at the time. 'Sell Out' made these guys huge. I think everyone knew that song. What cemented them for some others, was their appearance in the film 'BASEketball'. If you haven't seen that movie, please do yourself a favor and watch it. Alas, this isn't a movie blog, so I digress. This album is sitting at gold status, and is the best selling Fish album to date. Not for lack of trying, as they currently have 7 studio albums out there. This is 100% worth checking out. The music is fun, the band is fun and the lyrics are fun. I'm not sure if anyone can listen to super upbeat horns and at least not be fairly entertained. If you like this, check out the follow up album too. They did a cover of 'Take On Me' by A-ha. Probably the only good song out of the entire 80's decade. Anyway, Reel your way into some good music today. Let the Fish take you right into Friday.

1. Sell Out
2. Trendy
3. Join the Club
4. She Has a Girlfriend Now
5. Snoop Dog, Baby
6. Beer
7. 241
8. Everything Sucks
9. S.R.
10. Skatanic
11. All I Want Is More
12. Nothin'
13. Say "Ten"
14. I'll Never Be
15. Alternative, Baby
16. Untitled (Hidden Track)

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Beer
2. Sell Out
3. Snoop Dog, Baby

4 out of 5 stars

Trey Songz - Passion, Pain & Pleasure

Trey Songz. Have I heard the name before, of course. Have I heard any of his tracks, not looking good. Not passing judgment yet, but this is one of those artists that they'd play on the local rap station even though it's not even close to hip hop. This is very R&B, and reminds me a lot of R. Kelly. Tremaine here was born in the VA, but moved all over due to being in a military family. People started to realize he had some vocal talent around the age of 14, but he was reluctant to sing anywhere in public. Behind all the encouragement of his family, he finally started to sing and was discovered at a talent show in 2000. He signed to Atlantic Records in 2002 and dropped his first album in 2005. This album came out in 2010, in fact about 2 weeks ago. Follower Ashley asked that I take a look at this one, and most specifically, the track 'Unfortunate'. In terms of just that track, it's got a nice feel to it. It could easily pass as a track that Timbaland produced. Great beat, nice lyrics over the top. It's also got that haunting backdrop which has become more popular as of late. After Kanye had some success with that in 808's, other artists have followed suit. Love it. The rest of the album, I'll say is average. There are a couple nice tracks sprinkled here and there, but on the whole - R&B isn't really my thing. A lost of it is also fairly poppy, which I think is a dangerous line for serious r&b or soul artists. If you're a pop fan or if you like R Kelly, go ahead and give this a shot. Otherwise, it might not be for you.

1. Here We Go Again
2. Love Faces
3. Massage
4. Alone
5. Bottoms Up
6. Pain
7. Can't Be Friends
8. Please Return My Call
9. Made to Be Together
10. Pleasure
11. Red Lipstick
12. Unusual
13. Doorbell
14. Passion
15. Unfortunate
16. Blind
17. You Just Need Me

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Unfortunate
2. Unusual
3. Here We Go Again

2.75 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

MIMS - Music Is My Savior

Time for another rap review. This slot was supposed to go to Lil Wayne and his 'I'm Not A Human Being' album. Problem is, that album came out only for download this week, and the actual record is coming out in a couple weeks. So in the mean time, I realized I've never shared MIMS with you guys! (Don't be upset, but this is going to be another cherry picked hip hop record I enjoy) Shawn Mims is the real name - and he's a New York based rapper. He hasn't done a whole lot, this was his first album release and it came in 2007. I'm guessing all of you have heard the track 'This Is Why I'm Hot' and probably played it very loud in your car back in the day. He's only sold about 300k copies in the US, which is semi surprising. 'Hot' was such a huge single in 2007, but it goes to show you, if you want a multi platinum record, you have to have two big tracks. The next single (and only other single) was 'Like This' which is not going to be in my Top 3. Other than those two tracks, there are some real gems here. What I love about this is the flow. MIMS comes out hard right away with the Intro. Normally, I wouldn't put a one minute track in my top 3, but it's that good. He starts off running over some slow piano, telling a story - them BAM! He smacks you in the face with some sick flow. There are a couple other tracks like that too. Where you sit back and listen and then think "damn!" he just hit it out of the park. If you are even the most modest of rap fans, check this out. If you listen to this in full and don't enjoy at least 4 tracks - I'll be stunned. Happy Hump Day B Siders!

1. Intro
2. It's Alright
3. This Is Why I'm Hot
4. Girlfriend's Fav MC
5. Where I Belong
6. Cop It
7. Big Black Train
8. They Don't Wanna Play
9. Like This
10. Just Like That
11. Without You
12. Superman
13. This Is Why I'm Hot
14. Doctor Doctor
15. Don't Cry (Outro)
16. I Did You Wrong (Bonus Track)

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Intro
2. Cop It
3. Doctor Doctor

4 out of 5 stars

Silverchair - Frogstomp

There are songs in your lives that you can identify with certain events or periods of time. Maybe even bands. For me, Silverchair always takes me straight back to middle school. I remember having a really great time at the school dance and this band was playing when my parents picked me up afterward. (Ugh, parents picking me up - what a terrible time). Anyway - the song playing was 'Tomorrow' and for some reason, I've obviously never forgotten that to this day. Crazy. One night 15 years ago I recall this song playing. If you didn't already know, this band is from Australia, and formed in 1992. They certainly fit the same alt rock style that was sweeping the US at the very same time. There is currently a new untitled record in the works - with the only leak coming that it might be named "Album #6". According to the wonderful people at the RIAA, Frogstomp is a rockin' 2x platinum. Not super surprising it's not higher, just because of the lack of monster tracks. Other than 'Tomorrow', the only other one that saw any radio play was 'Pure Massacre'. There isn't a lot to dislike about this album. It's got that grungy style that I loved back then, and still love today. The lyrics are certainly not at all solid, but the ragged vocals of Daniel Johns - it almost makes up for it. This is 100% worth checking out today. I'm guessing many of you didn't listen to this in full back in the day, so go for it now. I think you'll be happy you did.

1. Israel's Son
2. Tomorrow
3. Faultline
4. Pure Massacre
5. Shade
6. Leave Me Out
7. Suicidal Dream
8. Madman
9. Undecided
10. Cicada
11. Findaway

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Tomorrow
2. Pure Massacre
3. Israel's Son

3.75 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Phil Collins - Going Back

I'm going to jump off and assume that Phil Collins needs no actual introduction. But one might ask, is this a classic rock review? Answer B Siders is no, Phil Collins is part of New Music Tuesday! First time he's dropped an album since 2002. First time he's seen number one on the album charts since his 1998 release of Hits, a compilation of his and Genesis's best of. This album is a bunch of covers of old 60's music. I think this is a really neat idea. Now, I'm not a big fan of that brand of music, and I wouldn't normally listen to it - but what's great, is I think Phil does the old tracks justice, while not significantly altering the standards. Best of both worlds kind of thing. This is certainly worth a listen. If you enjoy older motown and soul music, this will be right up your alley. And if you like Phil Collins, this sounds like stuff he could have written and arranged himself. Time will tell how this sells, but it wouldn't surprise me to see more imitations of this assuming it works. To this I salute Phil, and say to the harsh critics, get off your high horses. Even if this isn't my kind of tuneage (which it's not) I still think it's great. It's fun. And what is music if not fun? Yeah, that's what I thought. Check it out today. Jam like it's 1960. Happy Tuesday B Siders!

1. Girl (Why You Wanna Make Me Blue)
2. (Love Is Like A) Heatwave
3. Uptight (Everything's Alright)
4. Some of Your Lovin'
5. In My Lonely Room
6. Take Me in Your Arms (Rock Me for a Little While)
7. Blame It on the Sun
8. Papa Was a Rolling Stone
9. Never Dreamed You'd Leave in Summer
10. Standing in the Shadows Of Love
11. Do I Love You
12. Jimmy Mack
13. Something About You
14. Love Is Here and Now You're Gone
15. Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever
16. Going to a Go-Go
17. Talkin About My Baby
18. Going Back

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Heat Wave
2. Girl
3. Papa Was A Rolling Stone

3.5 out of 5 stars

Underworld - Dubnobasswithmyheadman

Boom boom boom boom boom boom, that's the sound of bass thumping over your headphones today. What does that mean exactly? Oh, you guessed it - Techno Tuesday is back! Booyah! Strumming through my dance artists this morning, I came across Underworld. Most of you probably don't know them, but I picked an album that has one track you may recognize. Take a listen to 'Cowgirl' and let me know if it sounds familiar. Anyway, this British dance group has been making tasty beats since 1980 - yep, since before I was born. That's a whole lotta rockin'! They got a big break around the time this album dropped, by providing many tracks on the Trainspotting soundtrack. They've kept at it as they dropped another album just earlier this month called 'Barking'. I didn't see that, otherwise I'd have probably done a two-fer Techno and New Music Tuesday. Regardless, their style is maybe slightly different than other beaty bands around. Nothing amazing, but every so often you'll find a track that you can't live without. That's my 'Cowgirl'. Whenever I listen to techno music, I love when that one pops up via shuffle. By no means is this a classic, or a must listen - but it's a pretty solid dance album. If you're in that upbeat mode today, check it out. This one dates back to 1994 and is gold certified in the UK. Not a ton of commercial success for Underworld, but that doesn't mean they're bad. Check 'em out today, you might be toe tapping.

1. Dark and Long
2. Mmm Skyscraper I Love You
3. Surfboy
4. Spoonman
5. Tongue
6. Dirty Epic
7. Cowgirl
8. River of Bass
9. M.E.

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Cowgirl
2. Tongue
3. Spoonman

4 out of 5 stars

Monday, September 27, 2010

Plan B - Defamation Of Strickland Banks

Some of you may not have noticed, but we've had a new follower join in the last week, and Ashley has asked that I review Plan B. I had never heard of him before today, so this is 100% new to me. I know from research that he's British, and they say he's a blend of rapper, singer, songwriter and actor. That's a lot of different hats. Maybe a British version of Drake? Seems the music is sort of like his - where you might call it rap in some cases, but from what I'm hearing on this record, I wouldn't label it strictly hip hop. It's got a blend of pop, a little darker mood music and then a few spots where he flows like a rap album. Not really standard genre fitting though. This album dropped in April in the UK, and it's already platinum. He's got a pretty nice following over there. From what I can gather, Strickland Banks is a fictional character created by Plan B - but really is living a story similar to himself (real name Ben Drew). The lyrics are pretty good if you sit down and pay attention. They might not jump up and punch you in the face - so you actually have to be in listen mode. If you do that, I think you'll be impressed. You know what this album kind of reminds me of? Like a Lenny Kravitz blending styles with Stevie Wonder and singing over an acoustic guitar strummed by Stevie Ray Vaughn. Every so often a track will jump off and go really fast paced, and it works. Arrangement wise, this is really well done. Starts slow, picks up, and goes back and forth over the last few tracks. It's one of those albums that tells a story, and I'm a sucker for those. This is really worth checking out. I think it's got a blend of something for everyone. Happy Monday and welcome Ashley!

1. Love Goes Down
2. Writing's on the Wall
3. Stay Too Long
4. She Said
5. Welcome to Hell
6. Hard Times
7. Recluse, The
8. Traded in My Cigarettes
9. Prayin'
10. Darkest Place
11. Free
12. I Know a Song
13. What You Gonna Do

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Hard Times
2. Love Goes Down
3. Stay Too Long

3.75 out of 5 stars

Merle Haggard - Big City

Country day is back, which for some reason is hardly ever a Monday. Subliminally, there must be some reason for that - but I have no clue what it could be. As I think most of you know - I'm running low on ideas for new country artists. Thanks to Jen, I think I've hit a ton of the modern stuff, and I've sprinkled in some of the old too. janis! suggested I ran with a little Merle Haggard, so that's today! Now, I've never heard any Haggard before, I just remember my father for some reason having a t-shirt of his when I was a kid. My dad didn't listen to country music, so I'm guessing it was a bar promotion shirt with some whiskey brand. Just a guess. Haggard had a tough upbringing, he was born in Oklahoma and his family moved to California during the Great Depression. Bakersfield back then was a city for midwesterners to go to and seek employment and shelter with others of their ilk. His father died at age nine and from then on, he was in trouble. Tossed in juvie multiple times - fled to Texas only to be brought back by police. His music - is well, the exact country I don't like. Only to be described I guess by the world twang, it's just not for me. I'm sure my grandma loves this - but for me, it's too slow moving and the lyrics are something I might want to listen to if I was planning to off myself. Okay, that's a little over the top - but you get the point. Speak up if you enjoy some Haggard, otherwise, I say skip this yee haw day.

1. Big City
2. My Favorite Memory
3. Good Old American Guest
4. I Think I'm Gonna Live Forever
5. This Song Is Mine
6. Stop the World and Let Me Off
7. Are the Good Times Really Over (I Wish a Buck Was Still Silver)
8. Texas Fiddle Song
9. You Don't Have Very Far To Go
10. I Always Get Lucky With You
11. Call Me (Bonus Track)
12. I Won't Give up My Train (Bonus Track)

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. My Favorite Memory
2. Are The Good Times Really Over
3. Big City

2.25 out of 5 stars

Friday, September 24, 2010

Dire Straits - Self Titled

Do you remember 1978? I sure don't. But I can tell you that a certain band dropped their first album that year - and it contained one of my favorite songs of all time. That band is Dire Straits. That track is 'Sultans Of Swing'. You have to remember that in the late 70's, stadium rock was starting to his the airwaves. You had a band like Van Halen coming out and melting people's faces off with hard guitar solos and loud in your face lyrics. Dire Straits is anything but loud, and in your face. They might have a face melting solo or two - but that's where the similarities end. Everything about their sound is stripped down. Straight up bluesy guitar, simple drum beats and attention to lyrics. Nothing controversial like stadium rock, but well thought out and well written stuff. This album today is a meager 2x platinum, but I think that's mainly due to lack of single success after 'Sultans'. There are a couple other nice tracks on here, but nothing that showed the sustainability of the big hit. Another interesting tidbit, this album came out in '78 in England (they are a British band) but didn't catch over in the states until mid '79. Took that long to get across the pond. The cover art is also a painting by Chuck Loyola, but I'm not an art person, so I have no idea who that is. Anyway, I like their style. I think for the time in which they dropped music, they were unique. They converted a little to poppish when they put out a track like 'Money For Nothing', but I'll get to that another day. You NEED TO check out Sultans, everything else you could forget about. Happy Friday!

1. Down to the Waterline
2. Water of Love
3. Setting Me Up
4. Six Blade Knife
5. Southbound Again
6. Sultans of Swing
7. In the Gallery
8. Wild West End
9. Lions

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Sultans Of Swing
2. Down To The Waterline
3. Six Blade Knife

3.75 out of 5 stars

Shiny Toy Guns - Season Of Poison

Suggestion Box time again - and another band brought to you by Shaqwanda. This is also another band based out of Los Angeles, and they formed in 2002. I think in the back of my mind, I'd heard of these guys before, but I'm not sure I could have identified anything by them. I know they had a track called 'Le Disko' off their first album that was a featured Single Of The Week on iTunes - but I only listened to that a handful of times. This is their second studio release, and it dropped back in 2008. In that couple years of existence, they only show 60,000 copies sold. To put that in perspective, larger artists sell that in a pre sale. And they sell that in a day on a pre sale. The question is, is that lack of sales justified? I say no! These guys are fairly unique and have a cool sound. I'm a huge electronic nerd, so when a rock band infuses that sort of sound, I love to hear it. I know some people created a genre called 'sythrock' or 'electronic rock', but those bands are so few and far between, creating a genre seems kind of silly. From what I'm reading though, this album is pretty different from their first, and the lead singer issues that as a reason why it might not have sold very well. "Too Different Too Soon" for the fans they established right away. Guns also introduced a female vocal on this album, and of course certain critics didn't like that either. I say give this a shot - at the very least my Top 3. I think you might enjoy it.

1. When Did This Storm Begin
2. Money for That
3. I Owe You a Love Song
4. Ghost Town
5. It Became a Lie on You
6. Ricochet!
7. Season of Love
8. Poison
9. Blown Away
10. Turned to Real Life
11. Frozen Oceans

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Frozen Oceans
2. When Did This Storm Begin
3. Ghost Town

3.5 out of 5 stars

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Goo Goo Dolls - Dizzy Up The Girl

To be honest with you guys, I never cared for the Goo Goo Dolls. Not really sure what about them strikes me the wrong way, but they're just not for me. I've actually heard people list these guys as their favorite band ever - which is semi staggering. I think some of their music is okay - but for the most part, this was about as poppy as mid 90's alt rock-ish, punk bands got. I think Goo tried to carve out a good niche given the time, and they succeeded. Anyway, they formed way back in 1986 in Buffalo. Their first three records came out in an independent, and didn't really see any success. They then signed with Warner, and starting shooting to the moon. 'A Boy Named Goo' dropped in 1995 and really put them on the map. When 'Name' came out on the radio, it was an instant success. I chose to review this record over that one, simply because it is their best selling - at a surprisingly meager 3x platinum. For a band that everyone else seemed to enjoy, you'd think they'd have more copies sold. This album didn't lack the hits either. It's been 12 years since it came out, but I can still remember hearing a handful of these on the radio. If you've never heard them, sound wise I guess I'd put them in the pop category - but with some punk rock style guitar work and drum work. Lyrically, pretty pop heavy. Maybe they're more of a chick band? You know, like a boy band or something? Hmm, maybe that's it. Regardless, going back to this a decade plus later, it's still not for me. Toss it on again if you feel nostalgic, otherwise toss in one of your faves today.

1. Dizzy
2. Slide
3. Broadway
4. January Friend
5. Black Balloon
6. Bullet Proof
7. Amigone
8. All Eyes on Me
9. Full Forever
10. Acoustic #3
11. Iris
12. Extra Pale
13. Hate This Place

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Iris
2. Slide
3. Black Balloon

2.75 out of 5 stars

Godsmack - The Oracle

Back in May, I reviewed Godsmack's first and self titled album. Devotees may recall that I did so because 'The Oracle' dropped, but no samples were out there to be found. Check back five months later - presto! Samples arrived. I also have this album on my iPod as part of my music swap with follower janis! When I reread the review from May, I was pretty happy with the self titled record, and that didn't change. I think that album still sets the gold standard for anything the band puts out going forward. I also talked about how I feel they have a more unique brand of sound when it comes to the metal genre. That audio holds true to form on 'Oracle'. Strictly from a beats and arrangement standpoint, I still feel they are fairly unique to the metal game. I can almost immediately identify a Godsmack track versus a different band. Part of it is the lead singer Sully Erma, but the major part is the guitar percussion balance. Sit back and listen to the two albums I'm referring to, then put on another band. Big difference. I'm an old drum nerd, so I notice stupid stuff like that. I find myself tapping along to something like this, because it's really motivating. That can be the beauty of metal - it can really get you going on a long day. Godsmack is perfect for that, so check 'em out. If you liked 'Self Titled', you'll like this one too. Their tracks might not be super different one to another, but that's part of what makes them Godsmack. Give this a go today - you might be pumped about it.

1. Cryin' Like a B**ch
2. Saints and Sinners
3. War and Peace
4. Love-Hate-Sex-Pain
5. What If?
6. Devil's Swing
7. Good Day to Die
8. Forever Shamed
9. Shadow of a Soul
10. Oracle, The

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. What If?
2. The Oracle
3. Cryin' Like A Bitch

3.5 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Rant #11 - "Taste Your Tastes"

Everyone likes a little something different. I don't think that's anything new or shocking. What always amazes me a little bit, is the "my music is better than yours" argument. I think I clearly have certain genres that I gravitate toward if I'm in an indifferent mood. But so does everybody. Recently, a follower discussed how I give better reviews toward the hip hop stuff, because I like it more. I talked to this person already, but I wanted to share with everyone. Yeah, I like rap. I listen to new rap a lot trying to find good stuff. Is it my favorite? Nah. I still listen to classic rock and my favorite 90's alt rock bands more than rap. I'm not at all 'easier' on hip hop artists because I like the genre. In fact, I'm probably harder on the artists I know and like because I expect more. It's hard for me to really hand it to a country or pop artist that seems good, because I don't know a lot by them. Sure, certain acts like Ke$ha - I'm going to be straight up with you guys on those. If I can't stand something, I'll never encourage you guys to listen to it. But that's the same with any genre, including rap. What might be misleading is that I don't often do 'new' albums on Tuesdays, so the rap I do review tends to be my favorite.

Anyway, this whole rant is about listening to what you love. But do it the right way. I love rap, I would never look down on someone who didn't enjoy it too. It's not for everyone, I get it. I might ask you to listen to a track or an album of something I think is amazing - and you know what? You should! If I've learned anything from my months of music blogging, it's that my tastes really change day to day. There has actually been days when I've WANTED to listen to country. I never thought I'd say that. Give everything a never know what you'll end up thinking of something new. Stick to what you love - because hey, you love it. Encourage others to listen to the stuff you love. Everyone likes talking music with a friend about their favorite band. But when they don't groove on it as much as you do, don't be mad. It happens. Ask them to give you something they love - so on and so forth. Listening to music, good or bad, is still fun. Cracking open a new album and putting it on as loud as it goes always feels like a treat.

I guess in short - I do this because I love music. I'm not here to convey my love of certain artists to you guys - my primary reason for blogging is simply to listen to music. Secondly, sharing stuff I learned about with you guys. Many of you have turned me on to new bands that I now really enjoy. Hopefully you've come up with something like that as well. If not, keep reading - eventually, you will.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Maximum Balloon - Self Titled

Oh, what's that? You thought I forgot today was Tuesday? How dare I review a mood album on Tuesday? Good questions. I didn't like any of the big music out today, so I decided to go with something TOTALLY off the wall, and it so happens it's electronic and new. So, NEW MUSIC TUESDAY and TECHNO TUESDAY all in one! How'd ya like that? Well, calling this techno is certainly a stretch, but it is full of synths and electronics. So it's kind of close. Plus, the name is Maximum Balloon. How fun is that? I mean, I've had many balloons in my life, but never one single maximum one. Now I feel gypped. Anyway, the 'band' is one guy, David Sitek. He's a guitarist and record producer who's worked with some pretty big names. Those include: Yeah Yeah Yeah's, Beck and NIN. From what I can tell, Davey never sings on this album, but gets different artists to collabo on each track. Kind of a neat idea. Can I tell you though, this is seriously out there. Out there, and yet kind of neat at the same time. This fits no genre standards - other than 'other', or 'odd'. There is a collabo with the artist known as Little Dragon which is cool to me, because she was on a Gorillaz track called 'Empire Ants' that is one of my favorites off the Plastic Beach record. This is worth a shot. I mean, it's odd and kind of interesting at the same time. I can't even describe it any further. Just check it out!

1. Groove Me - (featuring Theophilus London)
2. Young Love - (featuring Katrina Ford)
3. Absence of Light - (featuring Tunde Adebimpe)
4. If You Return - (featuring Little Dragon)
5. Shakedown - (featuring Kyp Malone)
6. Communion - (featuring Karen O)
7. Tiger - (featuring Aku)
8. Lesson, The - (featuring Holly Miranda)
9. Apartment Wrestling - (featuring David Byrne)
10. Pink Bricks - (featuring Ambrosia Parsley)

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. If You Return
2. Groove Me
3. Young Love

3 out of 5 stars

Great Northern - Trading Twilight For Daylight

Relax today with a little mood music. I'm in a really solid mood type mood today myself, so this is going to be right up my alley. Great Northern is a band that I first heard of back in the 2007-ish timeframe. 'Home' is one of my fave tracks to jam on every now and again. When I'm in that relaxed mode - putting on a band like this is simply perfect. These guys formed around 2005 or so when the lead singer of 30 Seconds To Mars was looking for a side project. They are based out of Los Angeles and recorded this album there behind the producer who worked with Queens of the Stone Age. The album actually dropped in May of 2007 and seeing modest results from a sales standpoint. What I love most about this band and this album are the vocals. Rachel Stolte's voice is mesmerizing for me. This is an album where the melodies are actually memorable, and make me want to come back for more. There are a couple tracks that stray from that mood type course, but overall - I think they still fit into the whole. I never really listened to this whole thing until today, and I'll say I'm impressed. Anytime you put incredible vocals over a slow, melodic piano - I'm going to be hooked. And this fits perfectly. You really should give this a shot. If you're gaga over this genre like I am, you'll enjoy it. I promise.

1. Our Bleeding Hearts
2. Just a Dream
3. Home
4. Telling Lies
5. Low Is a Height
6. City of Sleep
7. Sun a Sound, A
8. Into the Sun
9. Middle, The
10. Babies

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Home
2. City Of Sleep
3. A Sun A Sound

3.75 out of 5 stars

Monday, September 20, 2010

Nas - God's Son

Nas. Has there been an artist that has been so up and down? What I mean is, Nas will put out a record that will be considered one of the best hip hop albums of all time, then put two out that basically garbage. Oh, then he'll put out another classic. Very inconsistent. In terms of raps, I've always appreciated his ability to flow. And one of his better flows can be found on this album, in the track 'Made You Look'. He also showed his ability to capitalize on the hip hop/pop crossover in the track 'I Can'. Even my college roommate who only listened to country and pop enjoyed that track. My one big dig on Nas is his long lasting feud with Jay-Z. I understand as a more underground based New York artist, Nas would naturally gravitate toward dissing Jay. It makes sense from a beef standpoint. But you gotta understand, you're going after a monster. Jay is arguably the biggest hip hop artist of all time. I think if Biggie and Pac weren't to have died - they'd own that title - but since they are deceased, Jay is huge. Nas had to have known he was going to lose that battle. And some people wouldn't buy Nas stuff or even listen to it because of the Jay feud. And then no one wins. Anyway, this my friends is one of the Nas classics. Definitely one of my favorites by him, if not the best ever for me. Top to bottom, his records are never 5+ stars, but the really good ones flow so well and are a great listen. This is in that category. There are 3 or 4 tracks that blow my mind, then there are four or five weaker ones. But all together, still compile a pretty solid record. Check it out today..I'll fully concede that if you're not big into rap, this isn't for you. If you enjoy it, you'll like the album.

1. Get Down
2. Cross, The
3. Made You Look
4. Last Real N**** Alive
5. Zone Out
6. Hey Nas
7. I Can
8. Book of Rhymes
9. Thugz Mansion
10. Mastermind
11. Warrior Song
12. Revolutionary Warfare
13. Dance
14. Heaven

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Made You Look
2. Thugz Mansion
3. I Can

3.5 out of 5 stars

Patsy Cline - Sentimentally Yours

JenInTosa is running out of country music! I am too! Anyone else out there have some stuff for me to try out? If not, I'm going to end up going to other albums by artists I've already done. I'm fine with that, just thought you might have some stuff you jam on. Anyway, another recommendation by Jen was Patsy Cline, and specifically this record. I think everyone knows at least a couple tracks by Cline, as she's a mega country star. Chalk Cline up to yet another huge singer that didn't live to see all the fame. She passed in a plane crash at the too young age of 30. People who were alive in 1963 say she was at the peak of her popularity at the time too. What a shame. Cline is also in the same boat where she's sold millions of albums after her death. She's been voted into the top country musicians of all time and voted into the top female artists of all time. To me, that says a lot since she only performed for such a short time. I can't in good conscious say anything over the top bad about this album. I always have respect for artists that paved the way for others, even if I'm not a huge fan of the music. Well in this case, I can easily understand why this album, and Cline's music was so popular. It's got a classic feel to it and would be something I think anyone would have been proud to throw on back in the day. I think due to that classic feel, that probably makes it timeless as well. I'm guessing if you're a country fan, you can put this on and be totally content just getting through the tracks. Certainly worth a listen if nothing else, to educate yourself on classic country music like I did this morning.

1. She's Got You
2. Heartaches
3. That's My Desire
4. Your Cheatin' Heart
5. Anytime
6. You Made Me Love You
7. Strange
8. You Belong To Me
9. You Were Only Fooling
10. Half As Much
11. I Can't Help It
12. Lonely Street

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Your Cheatin' Heart
2. Heartaches
3. You Belong To Me

3.5 out of 5 stars

Friday, September 17, 2010

Bruce Springsteen - Born In The USA

Classic day strolls back into the B Side with the Boss today. And I want to be clear, I was recently accused as being a "homer" for certain genres of music. I want to state, I certainly am not. I like what I like. That could be any kind of tuneage out there. I don't discriminate. To make true on that promise, I LOVE classic rock. Probably my second favorite genre of all time. Bruce, perfectly good classic rock artist. Been making music since my parents were not even yet teenagers. Well folks, I can't stand Bruce. I have some tracks on my iPod - but I usually skip them. Sure, I give him credit for being a decent storyteller, but this guy should have been a poet or something, not a singer. His music is just a snoozefest for me. I know I have some readers on the east coast, and this will probably be blasphemous to them. But that's another thing I don't understand. I get that he's from Jersey, and if you're from Jersey - you love the guy. Okay, pass granted I guess. I'd be similar with a huge artist from Milwaukee. But he has this stigma about being 'americana'. Why? What about him speaks so loudly about America? I don't see it. Nor do I want Bruce Springsteen representing my tastes and views. You know what I'll always think of first, I'll think of the video of 'Dancing In The Dark' on SNL making fun of the backup dancers - and Adam Sandler doing an over the top Springsteen. Wait, over the top? He sounded EXACTLY like him. So gruff, so unpolished and forgetting lyrics. Blah. I won't bag on this any further. I think I got my point across. I'll finish by saying, this simply isn't my kind of music. I'm sure many love it - and you should continue to. In fact, toss it on today. It'll make Friday turn into Saturday for you.

1. Born in the U.S.A.
2. Cover Me
3. Darlington County
4. Working on the Highway
5. Downbound Train
6. I'm on Fire
7. No Surrender
8. Bobby Jean
9. I'm Goin' Down
10. Glory Days
11. Dancing in the Dark
12. My Hometown

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Born In The USA
2. Glory Days
3. Dancing In The Dark

2.5 out of 5 stars

Mutemath - Self Titled

Deepest apologies for the late postings today. Ended up sitting on the phone for almost an hour arguing this morning. FUN! Anyway, this review is brought to you by the letter 'S', as in Shaqwanda. Mutemath is a New Orleans based band that formed in 2003. This particular record was their first studio recording and it was released in 2006. They dropped this off an independent label - and they decided to only sell copies at their live shows. Interesting tactic, saves on shipping costs for a younger band. That might be fairly common nowadays, like when Tab the Band opens for STP. Just try to sell a bunch of records straight up for 5 bucks and not have to pay the retailers any fees and avoid shipping. Not a bad idea. I'll tell you what I like about this. It's got almost an outer space type feel. They really to a great job of running a synth over the guitar, which feels really spacey and fun. The rhythm of nearly every track is so entrancing too...which is pretty cool. While I think some of this could be considered poppy, I'm really okay with it. If you're going to run experimentals over a pop lyric or style, I think that's a fun exploration. I dig it. I would tell you to give this a whirl on your Friday. As a whole, I'm not a fan of every single song, but I think there are more than a couple iPod worthy tracks. Let me know what you think!

1. Collapse
2. Typical
3. After We Have Left Our Homes
4. Chaos
5. Noticed
6. Plan B
6. Break The Same
7. Stare at the Sun
8. Obsolete
9. Break the Same
10. You Are Mine
11. Control
12. Picture
13. Stall Out
14. Reset

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. You Are Mine
2. Plan B
3. Collapse

3.5 out of 5 stars

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Richard Cheese - Lounge Against The Machine

A super long time ago when I reviewed Michael Buble, I referenced Mr. Cheese. And for some reason, I always think of Old School when Wilson and Vaughn first reunite with Jeremy Piven's character. CheeeeEEEEEEssssee. Hopefully someone else gets that. But this guy knows exactly what his intentions are. Not make fun of alternative style tracks, but present them in a new way. I will say, the first time I heard anything by him, I thought it was brilliant. After about 10 full studio albums now, the routine does get a little old. It's always the same thing, a swing/acapella version of your favorite tracks. I hate to use this word with any artist - because it's probably the ultimate insult, but this is a novelty. There is no real musical value to this album, it's just something you might toss in with friends to maybe get a laugh every now and again. It's totally worth checking out, especially if you've never heard this style before. But in the grand scheme of things, don't rush out and buy it, because you'll never really listen to it. It's like buying a comedy album. Sure, it's good for some laughs. But how often do you really want to put that on as opposed to real music? Rare. Right. Good answer. Anyway, it came out in 2000, hasn't sold many copies - blah blah blah. Give it a shot, you might enjoy a couple tracks.

1. Nookie / Break Stuff
2. Guerilla Radio
3. Come Out and Play
4. Closer
5. Wrong Way
6. Bullet the Blue Sky
7. Creep
8. Last Resort
9. Rape Me
10. What's My Age Again?
11. Smack My Bitch Up
12. Fight For Your Right
13. Only Happy When It Rains
14. Suck My Kiss
15. Holiday in Cambodia
16. Rockafeller Skank, The

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks: (just because they're my favorite in real song)
1. Creep
2. Rockafeller Skank
3. Closer

2.25 out of 5 stars

Five Finger Death Punch - War Is The Answer

Follower Janis! is probably our resident metal expert. I would say at a point of time in my life, I used to be pretty versed - but I think my tastes changed a bit. I mean, I still enjoy some metal every now and again, but overall - the new stuff just isn't for me. And to be fair, I never liked the heavier bands that just laid on the guitar riff and shouted into the microphone. I think that's why I enjoyed a band like Pantera so much. They had a nice blend. These guys are from Los Angeles and formed around 2005. This album is their second studio album, and it dropped in September of last year. I'm going to say this, I have never heard of these guys before today. Oh, other than some dude walking around with his FFDP band t-shirt at the STP concert. Woah, that's a lot of abbreviating. I did hear 'Bad Company' on the radio a couple weeks ago as well. Had no idea it was these guys. You all know my stance of how I love when a new band pays tribute by covering an old classic - so high marks there. There are a few shouty songs here I don't care for. They might still be good tracks, they're just not my style. There are however a few non shouty tracks, and I really enjoy them. The way the album began, I was worried - but it turned out okay. I'd say check it out. I'll give FFDP an endorsement today. Check 'em out!

1. Dying Breed
2. Hard to See
3. Bulletproof
4. No One Gets Left Behind
5. Crossing Over
6. Burn It Down
7. Far from Home
8. Falling in Hate
9. My Own Hell
10. Walk Away
11. Canto
12. Bad Company
13. War Is the Answer

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Far From Home
2. Crossing Over
3. Hard To See

3 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Linkin Park - Hybrid Theory

I talked yesterday about LP putting out a new record. My intention was to review that today, but alas, no samples again. So I decided to go blast from the past today with 'Hybrid Theory'. I was slightly concerned that this album wouldn't have outsold the previous Clarkson review, but to my relief, it did. This is a solid 10x platinum after dropping in 2002. Remember that time? Remember when Linkin Park was the most original thing you've ever heard? I mean, they had rock, they had metal, they had rap - they even had a ballad or two. Well over time, I think that nostalgia has worn off a bit. I mean - I think they still put out good stuff, but that originality is gone. Sure they could have changed their style, but then it wouldn't be true Linkin Park. So I give them high marks for that. Their influence was felt even further by assisting the Transformers films in their soundtracks. I feel that turned another generation on to the band. Smart move. It's hard not to enjoy this record. It's not quite old enough to be called classic, but I still enjoy the whole thing like I did back '02. In fact, I don't think I know anyone who'd go as far as to say they hate LP. Some people might not groove to it, but I think anyone can find one track off this album to nod their head to. If you haven't heard this, I'd go as far as to say - move out of your box, parents basement or shack in the middle of Montana. Get out more. And then enjoy! Happy Hump Day!

1. Papercut
2. One Step Closer
3. With You
4. Points of Authority
5. Crawling
6. Runaway
7. By Myself
8. In the End
9. Place for My Head
10. Forgotten
11. Cure for the Itch
12. Pushing Me Away

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. In The End
2. Crawling
3. One Step Closer

4.25 out of 5 stars

Kelly Clarkson - Breakaway

Ahh yes, Kelly Clarkson. Made famous by Steve Carrell in 40 Year Old Virgin. Okay, so maybe she was made famous by some singing show. Can't recall the name of it off the top of my head. So, I took a lot of flak for putting 'Since U Been Gone' on my Top 100 of the 2000's. I can't stress enough that I'm not a Clarkson fan. But even if you dislike her too, you have to admit her rise has been nothing short of meteoric. To me, it shows what's wrong with music today, and pop music specifically - but hey, it's what the masses want. That show I eluded to above, it's a pretty big show. I mean, millions and millions of people tune in every week to watch this contest. (by the way, why do tv people still use the phrase tune in? when is the last time anyone tuned in?) Anyway, that show is huge. And in my opinion, she's the biggest star from that show. An argument can be made for Underwood, but I don't think in terms of overall success, that argument is valid. Clarkson hits a much wider audience. I think having an Idol representative was necessary, and who better than Clarkson. And what better song than her biggest. Like I said, I don't like this, but you can't deny its impact on pop culture. If you're a pop fan, check this out today. If you're not, comment back to me that you think this was a waste of a post.

1. Breakaway
2. Since U Been Gone
3. Behind These Hazel Eyes
4. Because of You
5. Gone
6. Addicted
7. Where Is Your Heart
8. Walk Away
9. You Found Me
10. I Hate Myself for Losing You
11. Hear Me
12. Beautiful Disaster (Live)

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Since U Been Gone
2. Because Of You
3. Breakaway

2.25 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Weezer - Hurley

New Music Tuesday! Hooray!! I think this might be one of the things I look forward to most - I love new music. Today had a pretty good amount of stuff. Weezer - one of my favorite bands ever, dropped a new one, as did Linkin Park. Weezer being a fave, of course I decided to run with them. And let me tell you, I'm hard on these guys. Ratitude dropped last year, and I did not care for it one bit. It's like their album 'Make Believe' which had the single 'Beverly Hills' on it. It was wasn't normal Weezer. It's like someone stole the songwriter and replaced him with this pop writer and composer. Blue, Green and Red are all very good or great albums. Pinkerton and Maladroit are also pretty solid. I'll get to them all in due time, I think I've already gotten to review two of them. Blue was my planned 100th review, for good reason. It's a classic. Is this one up on that type of status? Time will tell. Weezer left Geffen records and was talking about putting this album out on their own for a while. Instead, they signed with independent label Epitaph, and dropped Hurley. It's named this, and the album cover is of Chilean-American actor Jorge Garcia who played Hurley Reyes on the show 'Lost'. At first couple glances this morning, I'm digging this one. There are a couple tracks that fall back into the too poppy category, but there are others that are right in Weezer's wheelhouse. I'm going to have to listen to this another 10 times before I really understand what my top tracks are, but I'll come up with an initial top 3. I'm going to rush out and buy this tonight, so it's at least giving a decent first impression. Check it out. If you are like me and love Weezer, I think you'll enjoy this one too.

1. Memories
2. Ruling Me
3. Trainwrecks
4. Unspoken
5. Where's My Sex?
6. Run Away
7. Hang On
8. Smart Girls
9. Brave New World
10. Time Flies

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Unspoken
2. Hang On
3. Trainwrecks

TBD, but at first listen - 3.75 out of 5 stars

The Juan MacLean - Future Will Come

Block rockin' beats are back with Techno Tuesday! Today, I decided to run with a solid unknown techno artist. John MacLean is his real name, and he's from the Providence area in Rhode Island. This is his second album and it dropped in 2009. He used to be part of a dance band named Six Finger Satellite, but they broke up and MacLean spent several years out of the music business. At the urge of ex band mate, MacLean got back into the newer equipment and decided to roll with it. And from what I'm hearing so far, it was a pretty good comeback. I found out about this guy from the iTunes single of the week, which seems to always have a surprising amount of electronic stuff to download. I mean, it's not all that popular of a genre, so I'm guessing most listeners don't enjoy it. But I do! And I want to bring that joy to you guys on the B Side! The single of the week was 'One Day', and I have to tell you - it's a really good song. It's fun to sing along to, it's fun to tap your toes to and it's a great car listen. I really think you should check this out. Especially that song - even if you're not a beat nut. Happy Tuesday!

1. Simple Life, The
2. Future Will Come, The
3. One Day
4. New Bot, A
5. Tonight
6. No Time
7. Accusations
8. Station, The
9. Human Disaster
10. Happy House

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. One Day
2. A New Bot
3. The Simple Life

3.5 out of 5 stars

Monday, September 13, 2010

Game - Doctor's Advocate

It's a three review day on the B Side. Since Friday I did my two hundred fiftieth, I decided to highlight that by just writing up one review. So I'll make up for that today, but doing three reviews. And I thought doing a Game review is all but fitting since I did a 50 review recently, and I talked about how terrible 50 is and should have never gotten Game kicked out of Aftermath Records. Well, this album was his first release after getting the boot. Documentary was quite solid, but his follow up was even better. This album could have made Dre and company quite a bit of cash, but instead it went to Geffen. After that stunt, crazily enough - 50's career has basically gone down the toilet and Game resigned with Interscope, which controls Aftermath. And just recently, there was a pic of Game with his infamous Aftermath chain on posing with Dre and Snoop. Yep, Game is back working with Dre in the studios. Not sure about you, but I'm pretty excited about that. And why you might ask? Well, listen to this album. Game is raw, uncut and a rap phenom. At least he was. His latest works have lacked quality, and his mixtapes lack the fire that he displayed even on his studio stuff like this one. And I don't care who you like, this album has something for you. There is a track called 'Ol' English' that I'm not a huge fan, but you can't help but listen to Game's story and nod your head to the beat. Maybe even sing along with the chorus. In a word, this album is epic. It's not a five star or anything like that - it's just solid. It's something I go back to often when I want to listen to good rap. Check it out. I think you'll be surprised. Happy Monday!

1. Lookin at You
2. Da S***
3. It's Okay (One Blood)
4. Compton
5. Remedy
6. Let's Ride
7. Too Much
8. Wouldn't Get Far
9. Scream On Em
10. One Night
11. Doctor's Advocate
12. Ol' English
13. California Vacation
14. Bang
15. Around the World
16. Why You Hate The Game

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. It's Okay (One Blood)
2. Doctor's Advocate
3. California Vacation

4 out of 5 stars

Katy Perry - Teenage Dream full disclosure confession here, this album just dropped on August 24th and probably should have been a part of New Music Tuesday. Alas, the Eels dropped that day as well, and that was my entry for the day. Some of you might say, "who the hell are the Eels?" And then I'd suggest you go back and read every Eels blog entry. But this isn't an Eels post again, this is a Katy Perry post. And let me tell you, she looks pretty good on the cover. And a second full disclosure confession, when 'California Girls' comes on the radio, I might turn it up just a little. Oh, and I might sing a long just a little bit. But don't tell anyone! Hey, it's catchy. It's not the kind of music I want to listen to at work, but in the car - anything if fair game. Interesting tidbit, for as risque as Perry is, her parents were both Christian pastors in Santa Barbara, CA. Her actual name is Katy Hudson, and she released a gospel rock album under that name in 2001. The album wasn't successful - and she changed her surname to Perry because it was too close to the actress. 7 years later, she drops her first pop album with 'Kissed A Girl' on it, and bam. She takes off like Lady Gaga in an airplane dress. She's also now known for her unique style of clothing. She seems to incorporate fruit into her wardrobe, mostly watermelon. I'm going to say that I think if you're a big pop fan, you're going to like this. It's very poppy, very catchy. If you're not a huge pop fan, there isn't much here for you. I mean, as clever as the lyrics 'are you brave enough to let me see your peacock' are, it's just not that great. There are some funky beats on tracks, and the production is almost Dre like on a couple, but it's just not fantastic. I'm not 100% sure what it lacks, but it lacks something. And that's about all I can come up with. It's just not worth repeat listening I guess. Fell free to try it, but don't come back to me with anger.

1. Teenage Dream
2. Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)
3. California Gurls
4. Firework
5. Peacock
6. Circle the Drain
7. One That Got Away, The
8. E.T.
9. Who Am I Living For?
10. Pearl
11. Hummingbird Heartbeat
12. Not Like the Movies

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. California Gurls
2. Not Like The Movies
3. E.T.

2 out of 5 stars

Joe Nichols - III

Drop a knee slap and then play the spoons on your thigh. It's country day again on the B Side! Yeeeee Haaaawwww!! JenInTosa again provides a suggestion for Joe Nichols. Her suggestion this time came with one caveat, she asked that I listened to his voice first, then found a photo. Well, I tried that this morning - and I'm a bit surprised. His vocal sounds straight out of the roarin' 70s country. I'd expect him to have a big cowboy hat on, and probably even be slightly older. And yet, here he is probably in his late 20's in the photo I caught. (and then I think right around 30 when he recorded this record) Nichols was born in Arkansas, and is part native american, with the Cherokee tribe. His sound is pretty classic country, lyrically though - he's a little less old school. Much of this album is (I think) intended more for fun listening. I'm guessing it's something that you could enjoy at a party or in that type of setting. Even a nice country to drive to. There is one ballady track at the end, and it's actually a pretty good song. Something you could end a dance with. This one dropped in 2005 and is certified gold only. He has one other platinum record, but the rest didn't chart. I think what I like about this, is the humor is subtle, but still in every way funny. It's not an in your face style like maybe Big N Rich, but still carries country melodies and good music principles. I'd say check it's got some decent stuff on it.

1. Size Matters (Someday)
2. Freedom Feels Like Lonely
3. Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off
4. Talk Me Out of Tampa
5. That's What Love'll Get You
6. I'll Wait for You
7. Should I Come Home (Or Should I Go Crazy?)
8. My Old Friend the Blues
9. As Country as She Gets
10. Honky Tonk Girl
11. Just a Little More

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Just A Little More
2. Tequila Makes Her Dress Fall Off
3. Size Matters

3.25 out of 5 stars

Friday, September 10, 2010

***REVIEW #250*** Nirvana - In Utero

Unbelievable...two hundred and fifty reviews completed. It's been a really fun 6-ish months, and a big thanks to everyone who comments, suggests new music and reads on a regular basis. You all keep me going and make me want to get stuff out everyday. Thanks again.

For 250, I decided to go with probably the most iconic band of my time, Nirvana. In Utero is probably my favorite album by them, and it's fairly easy to see why. Track after track of solid, outstanding music. In Utero is considered the third and final studio album by Nirvana. For those who maybe didn't realize, Incesticide was actually a compilation album with older recordings and some radio broadcast stuff. Nirvana actually put that out because the same stuff was floating around on bootlegs and the initial thought was the band put it out in order to give fans this same stuff in a higher quality. Turns out, they wanted to have creative licensing on the not such a great thought after all. Anyhow, this album came out in 1993 and is Nirvana's best seller at 5x platinum. The recording of this album came from Minnesota, and they goal of the record was to lose the more 'polished' sound the band achieved in 'Nevermind'. They wanted a more abrasive, hard record to give out to fans. There was some controversy surrounding this, because the record execs weren't happy with that lack of production quality. So the man behind the music wanted to remix a bunch of tracks and then ship it out. Well, Nirvana didn't exactly like that - so they hired a new mixer and they made a few tweaks and sent it out. Fans didn't care much for that - as they were interested in the raw stuff. Turns out they got that years later in the box set, but that's neither here nor there. In summary, this record is awesome. It might not be 100% perfect, but it's pretty darn close. Lyrically, Nirvana lives up to the hype as one of the best bands ever. Songwriting and changing the entire music landscape was kind of there bag - you know, no big deal. There are a handful of influential bands or artists like that - and it's a short list. Beatles, Michael Jackson/Madonna, Hendrix and that's about it. Then in the 90's, everyone modeled after the success Nirvana had and wanted capture that brand of sound. Please, check out this historic album today, you won't be disappointed. Thanks again for reading and we'll check back in on Monday!

1. Serve the Servants
2. Scentless Apprentice
3. Heart Shaped Box
4. Rape Me
5. Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle
6. Dumb
7. Very Ape
8. Milk It
9. Pennyroyal Tea
10. Radio Friendly Unit Shifter
11. Tourette's
12. All Apologies

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Dumb
2. Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle
3. Pretty much any other track, but I'll go with All Apologies

5 out of 5 stars

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Aerosmith - Toys In The Attic

Ahh Aerosmith. I don't think it's any secret that similar to AC/DC - I feel Aerosmith is in a word, overrated. While I think they've been making some pretty solid music for gosh, spanning 4 decades, I don't feel that they are at all deserving of a 'best of' title for anything. I think this album is actually a perfect way to prove my thought. This album was the third studio release for Aerosmith, and it dropped in 1975. Now, this also happens to be their best selling album at 8x platinum. So if you've never heard a full length album by Aerosmith before, this would seem to be the best place to start right? I mean, if the masses dictate this is the best album by them available - logic would step in and say, sure - go ahead and give this a go. Well B Siders, this album isn't at all great. Sure, 'Walk This Way' is a solid track and the remix with Run DMC proved to be legendary in terms of crossing genres - and sure, 'Sweet Emotion' has a certain feel to it that makes you want to sing along. But then what? The rest of this album is mediocre at best, and in some cases downright bad. Now, I'll give big time credit to them for always mixing up their sound and trying new things. I think if you start with '70s stuff and then work your way up to 2000's stuff, you'll see they've mashed sounds to run with the times. They do a good job at catering to what they think the listener wants at the time. So sure, +1 to them. Beyond that, their music frankly isn't that good. Out of 14 total studio albums, there is probably enough great songs to make one amazing album. That's it. I'm sure I'll review more over the coming months/years/however long I keep doing this. But this isn't my favorite record, and neither is anything ever made by Aerosmith.

1. Toys in the Attic
2. Uncle Salty
3. Adam's Apple
4. Walk This Way
5. Big Ten Inch Record
6. Sweet Emotion
7. No More No More
8. Round and Round
9. You See Me Crying

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Sweet Emotion
2. Walk This Way
3. Uhh, I guess I'll go with No More No More

3 out of 5 stars

Sick Puppies - Tri-Polar

Thursday springs forth with a review straight from the Suggestion Box. Shaqwanda dropped in a note about Sick Puppies, and specifically this record. Which by the way is always much appreciated. I'll take anything I get, but it's always nice to get both artist and album, because often times artists have quite different styles album to album. If you're jamming on a specific record, I like to hear what you're listening to! Anyway, these fellas are an Aussie rock band that formed in 1997. They rose up to the big stage back in 2006 when a video for their track 'All The Same' was uploaded to YouTube for the Free Hugs Campaign in Sydney. Tri-Polar is their third studio album, and has not charted in the US. What's semi crazy, is I didn't think I'd really heard of this band before, but it turns out they lent out a single from this album to the WWE for a Pay Per View event. It's not a track that will be in the Top 3, but it's decent nonetheless. I'm reading that the harsher critics are saying that the Aussie band is developing a sound that's 'too American' for their tastes, and that this album has nothing at all memorable about it. I don't agree with that. I think this album is pretty solid. I won't tell you guys to rush out and buy it - but it's certainly worth a listen today if you're looking for something to get you through the day. It's got a blend of punk rock, alt rock and a touch of metal sprinkled in for fun. OH, and I need to add the caveat that I could only listen to the 'clean' version, which is missing two tracks, 'War' and 'White Balloon'. So if you've heard it and those were your faves, let me know. Give it a whirl and let me know what you think.

1. War
2. I Hate You
3. Riptide
4. You're Going Down
5. Odd One
6. So What I Lied
7. Survive
8. Should've Known Better
9. Maybe
10. Don't Walk Away
11. Master of the Universe
12. In It for Life
13. White Balloons

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Maybe
2. I Hate You
3. Master Of The Universe

2.75 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Cranberries - Everybody Else Is Doing It So Why Can't We?

How often is it that you get to review an Irish rock band? I only know of a handful, so I'm going to consider myself lucky today. When this dropped in 1993, I belonged to one of those infamous mail order cd places, BMG Music. You know, those where they'd send you a cd every month and if you didn't send it back, they charged you 77 dollars for an Elvis Costello record? But oh yeah, they'll give you 12 cd's free if you buy one. Anyway...this is one of the albums that I ordered - actually by error. Before the days of the internet, it wasn't as easy to know which songs were on what record. I picked this up because I thought it had 'Zombie' on it, so I was disappointed when I got it in the mail. 15 years later or so, I realize how great of a mix up that actually was, since I think this album is better. Something about hindsight and 20/20 I suppose. Sure this album is 5x platinum in the states and 'No Need To Argue' (the album Zombie is off of) is a better 7x platinum. Having a monster single will do that for you though. This was the Cranberries first studio release after dropping four EP's. Stunning that it saw so much success, as they were still relative unknowns until after 'No Need'. You have to remember what was big when this came out too. Everyone was on the Dr. Dre and Nirvana bandwagons, and this is obviously not those artists. I love their sound, and I hope they drop another record soon. I've listened to their first three albums and enjoyed all of them. So here is to picking this up again, and maybe to a new one. Enjoy and Happy Wednesday!

1. I Still Do
2. Dreams
3. Sunday
4. Pretty
5. Waltzing Back
6. Not Sorry
7. Linger
8. Wanted
9. Still Can't...
10. I Will Always
11. How
12. Put Me Down
13. Reason
14. Them
15. What You Were
16. Liar
17. Pretty (Remix)
18. How (Radical Mix)

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Dreams
2. Linger
3. I Still Do

3.5 out of 5 stars

Miles Davis - Bitches Brew

If peeing your pants is cool, consider me Miles Davis. Yep, that's about as much as I knew about this legendary jazz artist up until a couple months ago when follower Haypeterman Suggested this in the good ol' box. I've decided to begin with the much controversial album Bitches Brew - not only because it's one of his best selling, but because it's got such a different feel to it. After listening to a variety of Davis over the past month or so, I found this one the most intriguing. When this dropped in 1970, it got very mixed reviews. Miles began messing around with sounds that were unique to the jazz world. This album runs with the electric piano in spots, tosses in some guitar and the whole thing feels like a random jam session as opposed to composed jazz music. There is always a really funky bass line that listens like it's a couple guys just rocking out on a double bass. Pretty neat stuff there. To this day there are still critics on both sides of the fence...some see this as too obscure and not even what they would call jazz music. It's so out in left field that they can't respect it. Others though have understood over time how important this piece was to modern jazz artists. When someone comes out with something groundbreaking, it's easy to classify it as 'odd' and thusly bad, but the truth is, it's so rare to find innovative stuff nowadays. And I think the fact that Miles Davis was willing to work outside the box and try something like this, makes him the legend he was. Anyway, I think this is neat. Well worth a listen. Try to take in something innovative on your hump day.

1. Spanish Key
1. Pharaoh's Dance
2. Bitches Brew
2. John McLaughlin
3. Miles Runs the Voodoo Down
4. Sanctuary
5. Feio (Bonus Track)

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Miles Runs The Voodoo Down
2. Bitches Brew
3. Feio

3.25 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Stone Sour - Audio Secrecy

New Music Tuesday jumps into the limelight today with Stone Sour. Similar to the techno review today - I can't say I know a ton about SS except a couple singles. Once upon a time I heard the track 'Bother', and it blew my mind. I went to the only store that I could get to, Wal-Mart, but alas they didn't have the record. I must have played that track on loop for a solid week before I moved on. Beyond that, I think I've heard a couple tracks on the radio, but nothing I could immediately identify. In case you aren't aware, these guys are a metal band that formed in Des Moines, Iowa. They formed in 1992 - and played smaller shows for 5 years, before the lead singer and the backup vocalist left to join Slipknot. Stone Sour then reunited in 2002 and dropped their first album. This album is now their third studio recording, and the first two have seen modest (gold status) success in the states. That's not a dictation of the bands talent and sound, more of less poor marketing and not many radio hits. What can I say about this album? A couple times through now, and I've heard a couple tracks that seem to be very memorable. Otherwise, it seems somewhat mediocre in total. Or maybe average is a better word? Perhaps this is why the other works didn't sell so well too. Who knows. Anyway, it opens up with an outstanding piano ballad which I love. Track 4 is the lone single off the album so far, which makes sense as it has that power metal type feel to it. Other than the opener, I think my favorite tracks come at the end, as the album finishes quite strong. I'd say it's totally worth checking out. Even if you're not huge on showing your metal, you might enjoy a couple tracks. Enjoy!

1. Audio Secrecy
2. Mission Statement
3. Digital (Did You Tell)
4. Say You'll Haunt Me
5. Dying
6. Let's Be Honest
7. Unfinished
8. Hesitate
9. Nylon 6/6
10. Miracles
11. Pieces
12. Bitter End, The
13. Imperfect
14. Threadbare

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Imperfect
2. Audio Secrecy
3. The Bitter End

3.25 out of 5 stars

Basement Jaxx - Rooty

Welcome back B Siders! Hopefully the extended weekend was better for you guys than it was me. I could have used another week or month off of work, but hey - such as life. Coming back on a Tuesday is always a little jarring, simply because it's the one day each week where my reviews are already pre-determined. To start it off, Techno Tuesday rolls out of bed with Basement Jaxx. I don't know too much about them save a couple random singles here and there. This dance duo is from London, and formed in the mid '90s. Rooty is their second album and it is named after a popular club event that Jaxx holds every year in a club based out of Brixton. This album artwork features a gorilla named Snowflake, which oddly enough, is the world's only known albino gorilla. Great trivia right? What's pretty awesome about this album, is how it works on so many different levels. If you're a pop fan, you'll groove to multiple songs here. If you love a really hard techno beat - it's got a few tracks for you as well. From a sheer techno standpoint, it feels so raw that you might think it's a couple rookies putting all their emotion into a great record...but it also has that polished feel of a seasoned techno veteran. I guess what I'm trying to say is, this is a fun listen. If all you've heard is 'Where's Your Head At', you might be disappointed if you're expecting a dozen more tracks like that. This record is more than is the kind of album that makes beatnuts go nuts. Happy Thursday.

1. Romeo
2. Breakaway
3. SFM
4. Kissalude
5. Jus 1 Kiss
6. Broken Dreams
7. I Want U
8. Get Me Off
9. Where's Your Head At
10. Freakalude
11. Crazy Girl
12. Do Your Thing
13. All I Know

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Where's Your Head At
2. Crazy Girl
3. Romeo

3.75 out of 5 stars

Friday, September 3, 2010

Presidents Of The USA - Self Titled

YES! Is there any record in the history of music that is as inexplicably good as this one? There is no lyrical value to this album, there is no real musical ability or talent to here either. But man, every time I put it on, I tap my toes and sing along. I think part of the success they had when this came out (1995) was that it was totally different from the big grunge movement hitting the airwaves. There are a few tasty licks on this record - but that's not what's going to draw the crowd. It's the funny overtones to the riffs that make it great. All the songs are singable, and a track like "We Are Not Going To Make It" is so ridiculous, that's it makes you chuckle. Between taking breaks and reforming a couple times over the years, the Presidents have dropped another 5 albums with the most recent coming in 2008. I can safely say that I have not heard one song from any other Presidents record but this one. As of right now I'm okay with that - since I hear the follow ups were just not as fun as this one. Which is probably why this record is 3x platinum, the follow up 'II' is Gold and the rest didn't chart. Some tough critics call these guys one hit wonders, but that doesn't really apply. There are at least 5 songs on this record I really enjoy. If you're saying they're one hit wonders in terms of albums, well that could be true - and maybe I'll check into it. But until then, I'm going to listen to this all day today on loop. Why? Because it's fun! And singing along to stuff always makes the day go by faster. And who doesn't love singing a song about peaches? It just makes sense. Happy Weekend B Siders!

1. Kitty
2. Feather Pluckin
3. Lump
4. Stranger
5. Boll Weevil
6. Peaches
7. Dune Buggy
8. We Are Not Going To Make It
9. Kick Out the Jams
10. Body
11. Back Porch
12. Candy
13. Naked and Famous

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Peaches
2. Lump
3. Kitty

3.75 out of 5 stars

Maroon 5 - Songs About Jane

Hello Friday. An especially big hello to Friday before a Monday holiday. There is nothing better than an extended weekend. I may or may not post on Monday morning, depends how things go this weekend. If you know you'll be working unlike the rest of society and need something to read, let me know. I'll be more compelled to post if I know people need it and want it. Anyway, Friday brings another JenInTosa Suggestion, and it comes in the form of Maroon 5. This LA based band formed originally around the 1995 timeframe. Their first album as Maroon 5 was this album, and it came out in 2002. 'Songs' has since gone 4x platinum in the states, and has built up the band to where the latest 2010 5 release 'Hands All Over' is one of the most anticipated records of the year. There was no hype surrounding this album however, and it shocked the music world with 5 big time radio singles. If you haven't heard this before, it's got a pop/rock feel for the most part, but the songs I really love, are Levine's fantastic ballads. He's got a great voice, and the tracks where he shows his range are the ones I enjoy most. Now, you'll see what I rate it below - but this album by no means is one of the best of the year or anything, but it's a fun listen. There are at least 3 or 4 tracks that anyone would enjoy here. Arrangement wise, I think they did a great job of mixing up genres during the track flow - and that keeps you listening. Some tracks are worth skipping, but that's not completely unusual for a pop album. Anyway, give this a go. It's certain to make Friday turn into Saturday.

1. Harder to Breathe
2. This Love
3. Shiver
4. She Will Be Loved
5. Tangled
6. Sun, The
7. Must Get Out
8. Sunday Morning
9. Secret
10. Through With You
11. Not Coming Home (Live)
12. Sweetest Goodbye

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. She Will Be Loved
2. The Sun
3. Harder To Breathe

3.5 out of 5 stars

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Bob Seger - Against The Wind

Bob Seger is one of those guys and acts that just doesn't get the credit it deserves. Everyone knows and sings along to at least a couple Seger tracks, but very few people actually own an album. I'm just as guilty as anyone. I think I might have bought a greatest hits album years ago, but never bought anything individually. Regardless, I love Seger. No matter what mood I might be in that day, Seger has multiple songs to satisfy my listening appetite. Such a great listen. Crazy trivia tidbit, this was the album to knock off Pink Floyd's 'The Wall' which served as the number one album for a REALLY long time. I think this album is 6x platinum or so, and well deserved. I'm not sure how anyone could find something huge to complain about this record. It's just solid top to bottom. It's not an infamous 5+ record or anything, it's just solid. Like every other Seger record, it just makes you want to listen to more. Not go down in the history of best records ever, but something you love to put on and jam to. Anyway, this is a must listen. If you've never heard Seger, this is a good one to start with. If you've heard him, do what you always do - put it on and drift away.

1. Horizontal Bop, The
2. You'll Accomp'ny Me
3. Her Strut
4. No Man's Land
5. Long Twin Silver Line
6. Against the Wind
7. Good for Me
8. Betty Lou's Gettin' Out Tonight
9. Fire Lake
10. Shinin' Brightly

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Against The Wind
2. You'll Accomp'ny Me
3. Betty Lou's Gettin' Out Tonight

4.25 out of 5 stars