Song of the Moment

J. Cole - Lost Ones

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Black Sabbath - Paranoid



Sometimes old great songs get reincarnated by current pop culture. Take this records 'Iron Man' with the new Robert Downey movies. There is probably a whole slew of younger folks out there that never heard this tune before, and hopefully it allows them to pick up this album and learn about Sabbath. I feel like everyone knows these guys, but no one ever actively listens to them. I probably fall into that same bucket. I listen to classic rock all the time, but never specifically Sabbath unless it comes on via shuffle. This record is most definitely in the top 15 all time. Depending on the day, could be top 5. It's got 4 songs that will literally blow your mind. Iron Man is such a great song (granted it's a bit overplayed now) but I'm still not sure that will make my Top 3. It's only 8 tracks long, so please listen to this one. I promise that even if you hate rock music, you'll find at least 1 song that you'll enjoy. If you are a rock fan and haven't heard all of this record, go get it. If you already own it, do like I'm going to do right now, toss it on again and really appreciate it. Happy Hump Day!

TRACK LISTING:
1. War Pigs
2. Paranoid
3. Planet Caravan
4. Iron Man
5. Electric Funeral
6. Hand of Doom
7. Rat Salad
8. Fairies Wear Boots

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. War Pigs
2. Paranoid
3. Iron Man

FINAL RATING:
4.75 out of 5 stars

Fall Out Boy - From Under The Cork Tree



Fall Out Boy not that long ago announced a permanent hiatus...aka, the band is no longer a band. I have to point to this album as both their commanding rise to stardom and also their demise. I knew a lot of people (myself included) that knew of FOB and enjoyed them before this album came out. When this record dropped, everyone and their brother suddenly loved Fall Out Boy. I know I ranted about this once, but then most of the old followers dropped off the map just leaving the 'pop' fans to buy their cd's and go to their shows. The problem with pop fans, is most of them are fickle. They just move on to the next big thing on the radio. FOB never reached the success of Cork Tree with subsequent records, and here we are...standing in the mess that was a pretty decent band. I was never a huge fan, but I have to give credit to this record specifically - because it got people who wouldn't dare listen to punk/emo type music to sit down and enjoy. I don't think you went anywhere in 2005 without hearing Sugar. Who knows what the future will bring for these gents, but until we know more - toss on their best cd available.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Our Lawyer Made Us Change the Name of This Song So We Wouldn't Get Sued
2. Of All the Gin Joints in All the World
3. Dance, Dance - (remix)
4. Sugar, We're Goin Down - (remix)
5. Nobody Puts Baby in the Corner
6. I've Got a Dark Alley and a Bad Idea That Says You Should Shut Your Mouth (Summer Song)
7. 7 Minutes in Heaven (Atavan Halen)
8. Sophomore Slump or Comeback of the Year
9. Champagne For My Real Friends, Real Pain For My Sham Friends
10. I Slept With Someone in Fall Out Boy and All I Got Was This Stupid Song Written About Me
11. Little Less Sixteen Candles, A Little More "Touch Me", A
12. Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying (Do Your Part to Save the Scene and Stop Going to Shows)
13. Xo

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Sugar, We're Goin Down
2. Dance, Dance
3. Of All The Gin Joints

FINAL RATING:
2.75 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Soundgarden - Superunknown



Won't you come, wash away the rain? Man, was there a better video in the '90s than Black Hole Sun? Just one of those visionary, wacked out videos that everyone wanted to see. Now with You Tube and whatnot, you could pull it up in 10 seconds - whereas nearly two decades ago you just had to wait until MTV finally decided to put it on again. I digress. 1994 was an awesome year for tunes. Superunknown is no exception to the music greatness. Chris Cornell has a flat out, amazing voice. These guys and STP were doing it on a different level back then. They certainly weren't attempting to climb the 'popular' music charts, but you couldn't help to fall in love with them. Even your parents enjoyed this music. This is a must listen to. If you haven't heard this record, please check it out. If you have a pulse - this cd will make you smile. Start to finish, it's up there in the discussion for Top 25 all time albums. If I recall, they only made four albums, and this is probably my favorite. Get yourself through your mind numbing Tuesday with some sweet, sweet Soundgarden!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Let Me Drown
2. My Wave
3. Fell on Black Days
4. Mailman
5. Superunknown
6. Head Down
7. Black Hole Sun
8. Spoonman
9. Limo Wreck
10. Day I Tried to Live, The
11. Kickstand
12. Fresh Tendrils
13. 4th of July
14. Half
15. Like

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Black Hole Sun
2. The Day I Tried To Live
3. Fell On Black Days

FINAL RATING:
4.25 out of 5 stars

Freestylers - We Rock Hard



Sometimes it's the debut album of a band that really sticks out the most in your head. This is the case with the Freestylers. These guys are a British techno group that first rocked the house in 1998. I cannot sit here and tell you that I'm an expert on their work, but I did and still do enjoy We Rock Hard. Pretty solid beats, some actual lyrics to go along with the dance style and somewhat of a break from hard techno stuff makes these guys a should listen to type of band. They'll definitely rock your socks off with a couple tracks, but if you're not the dance tuneage type, don't rush out to pick this one up tomorrow. These came around the Fatboy, Chemical Bros, Crystal Method phase, and I would not put them up in that limelight. Sort of a second tier of dance type I suppose, but maybe they have just gotten better with age. I'll keep them on my list as they've put out 3 more records since this one.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Freestlye Noize
2. Dancehall Vibes
3. Drop The Boom
4. Don't Stop
5. Here We Go
6. B-Boy Stance
7. We Rock Hard
8. Breaker Beats Part 1
9. Spaced Invader
10. Ruffneck
11. Feel The Panic
12. Check The Skillz
13. Warning

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Don't Stop
2. Drop The Boom
3. Here We Go

FINAL RATING:
3.25 out of 5 stars

Monday, March 29, 2010

Megadeth - Countdown To Extinction



Boom goes the metal dynamite! Mustaine and company have been one of my metal favorites for over a decade now. I love his voice and the lyrics and guitar work on all of their records is always beyond solid. Even if you're not a huge metal fan, I think you can listen to a few tracks and be really surprised by how you're captivated by the music. Some tracks get a little 'talky', meaning there are too many words instead of just block rockin beats and major guitar riffs. No question he has a ton of talent on the axe, but the lyrics can be preachy sometimes. I guess it might depend on the mood you're in too. All in all, you have to respect these guys as foreman of metal nowadays. They've stayed true to form and Mustaine has showed he can generate really good music after leaving Metallica. These fellas keep putting out new stuff from time to time, but I honestly haven't heard anything remotely recently from them. I keep playing the old stuff just because hey, it's really good. Check 'em out!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Skin O' My Teeth
2. Symphony of Destruction
3. Architecture of Aggression
4. Foreclosure of a Dream
5. Sweating Bullets
6. This Was My Life
7. Countdown to Extinction
8. High Speed Dirt
9. Psychotron
10. Captive Honour
11. Ashes in Your Mouth
12. Crown of Worms
13. Countdown to Extinction (Demo)
14. Symphony of Destruction (Demo)
15. Psychotron (Demo)

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Symphony Of Destruction
2. Sweating Bullets
3. Foreclosure Of A Dream

FINAL RATING:
3 out of 5 stars

Jason Derulo - Self Titled



Monday morning brings me to the pop genre once again with Mr. Derulo. This album is starting to generate a little steam with a couple singles hitting the radio. He's got a similar feel to Chris Brown if you're into that type of tuneage. Very upbeat, dance type pop music - I'd be surprised if there wasn't already some mixes out there that they play at the clubs of at least 3 songs on this record. Whatcha Say was the iTunes single of the week a few months ago, and it also happened to be the video for free. The video is kind of neat, I watched it on the plane a couple times. The song itself is alright too - I find myself singing it every now and again in my head. Other than that though, this again lacks any major substance, and the fact you could close your eyes and you'd really think it was Chris Brown means this gets a couple points docked. Pop fans would probably really enjoy this one, it's not my favorite - but not the worst either. I think he shows some potential, I'd like to see him callabo with a rapper in the future.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Whatcha Say
2. Ridin' Solo
3. In My Head
4. Sky's the Limit, The
5. What If
6. Love Hangover
7. Encore
8. Fallen
9. Blind

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Whatcha Say
2. In My Head
3. The Sky's The Limit

FINAL RATING:
2 out of 5 stars

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Rant #6: "So Much Depends On The Weather"



S-T-P! S-T-P! S-T-P!!!

The Stone Temple Pilots had their much anticipated show at the Rave last Friday. Much doubt surrounded if Scott Weiland would be sober enough to perform, but let me tell you folks - he was amazing! The group I went with was chatting pre-show, and we all thought how this show could either rock our faces off, or it could really be a let down. Thankfully for all of us, it melted our faces off with rock legendry. They busted out of the gates with Vasoline and got the show off on the right foot. Next track turned out to be Crackerman, one of my faves off of Core. All in all, they played for about an hour and a half and played pretty much any hit you could have asked for. The only biggies I remember being left off the set list were Big Bang Baby and Lady Picture Show. The biggest crowd reaction had to have been Plush - or maybe Interstate Love Song (my personal favorite STP track). They also busted out a few new songs from their album scheduled to come out in a month or two. Those songs were also really rockin, and rest assured I'll be reviewing that the day it comes out.

I know I reviewed Core as one of my first blog entries. I know I implored you at that point to check these guys out. For the love of Pete, if you haven't gotten on the STP bandwagon yet - what are you waiting for??? These guys steadily creep up my chart of best band of the 90's everytime I listen to them again. Core, Purple, Tiny Music, No. 4 and Shangri-La Dee Da. Give them all a big time listen. If you don't find a dozen, 12 tracks that you love - I'd be flabbergasted. The amount of folks belting out the tunes with Mr. Weiland at the show made me remember how revolutionary these guys were. They impacted not only me, but seemingly everyone in my age bracket. If they ever come to your area, go to the show. You won't be disappointed. If they come back to Milwaukee or WI anywhere - you'll see me there. I'm guessing my whole group would be in again as well - we had an awesome time.

ROAMIN', ROAMIN', ROAM!

Radiohead - The Bends



So, this wasn't Radiohead's first record, but it was the first one I purchased. I have to say, way back when no one really knew who Radiohead was - and I even recall a couple friends giving me crap for buying such a bad album. Well, almost two decades later, this one sits as one of the top of all time to many people out there. I've always been a big fan of them, and I think many people discount their stuff as just pop music or don't put them as a band that will be looked at highly in the future. These guys get regular play on my iPod and that won't change anytime soon. This isn't my favorite album by them either, I think that honor goes to OK Computer. However, I have to respect the one that got me started and that's The Bends. Do yourself a favor and check this out. I have no clue how I'd classify the record in terms of genre, but just give it a listen. It's got a great bluesy feel to it and the lyrics are the type that make you think. Queue this up for your Monday morning work day, you won't regret it.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Planet Telex
2. Bends, The
3. High and Dry
4. Fake Plastic Trees
5. Bones
6. Nice Dream
7. Just
8. My Iron Lung
9. Bullet Proof...I Wish I Was
10. Black Star
11. Sulk
12. Street Spirit (Fade Out)

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Just
2. High And Dry
3. Fake Plastic Trees

FINAL RATING:
4.5 out of 5 stars

Friday, March 26, 2010

Outkast - Aquemini



So with hip hop being my sweet spot, I think I tend to review it a little less often on the blog than I should. I'm so conscious of trying to expand peoples horizons that I'm mainly just expanding my own. My reviews bounce around so much one to the next in terms of style, that I seem to forget that many of you guys don't listen to much rap. Outkast is one of those groups that even non hip hop enthusiasts can jive to. They've got the beats, flow and lyrics that make big fans drool and then the same ideals go behind what makes them great to non hip hap fans. Anyone can put on an Outkast record and instantly get up and dance to it, or even sing along. They typically don't have any super offensive lyrics to women, they don't just talk about killing people or how hard jail was. They're just wordsmiths on the mic that have a flow unparalleled by maybe anybody but Bone Thugs. This record in particular always gets the crowd moving. I remember when Rosa Parks dropped, everyone on the planet knew who these guys were. I was going to review ATLiens first since that's my personal fave, but this record really put them on the map for good. And this way, if you didn't know what you were listening to before, you can match the song with the artist here. You can even go out and buy this one, I promise you'll love it.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Hold On, Be Strong
2. Return of the "G"
3. Rosa Parks
4. Skew It on the Bar-B
5. Aquemini
6. Synthesizer
7. Slump
8. West Savannah
9. Da Art of Storytellin' (Part 1)
10. Da Art of Storytellin' (Part 2)
11. Mamacita
12. Spottieottiedopaliscious
13. Y'All Scared
14. Nathaniel
15. Liberation
16. Chonkyfire

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Da Art Of Storytellin' 1 AND 2 (Listen to them back to back, it's better that way)
2. Rosa Parks
3. Skew It On The Bar-B

FINAL RATING:
3.5 out of 5 stars

Incubus - Morning View




Happy Friday B-Siders! So, I was strumming through my rock catalog this morning, and I realized that I should do an Incubus review. That's when I thought to myself, huh - which album is my favorite? I don't think I have an answer to that question. I enjoy each Incubus work about the same. They're all really good albums, but not great albums. Morning View is right on that pace...a few really good songs, a couple good songs and a couple songs I don't really enjoy. These guys would probably be on the brink of pop music in my opinion, just because they also don't really fit into a genre. They really span the gambit of styles, which is probably why I like them so much. My favorite song by them is probably "Here In My Room', but that's on a later record. I think this one is solid, and if you're a fan, toss it on one more time. If you've never heard of Incubus, check 'em out. I think you'll enjoy not only Morning View, but all the stuff they've put out over the years.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Nice to Know You
2. Circles
3. Wish You Were Here
4. Just a Phase
5. 11am
6. Blood on the Ground
7. Mexico
8. Warning
9. Echo
10. Have You Ever
11. Are You In?
12. Under My Umbrella
13. Aqueous Transmission

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Nice To Know You
2. Warning
3. Wish You Were Here

FINAL RATING:
3.75 out of 5 stars

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Eels - Beautiful Freak



There is no question in my mind that the Eels are the best band you're not listening to. Every single Eels record out there is extremely well put together and has the creativity flowing that you just don't find in the popular genre. This review takes me all the way back to 1996 when the grunge revolution was still in full force. Maybe way back when you heard Novocaine on the radio or on MTV, but if you didn't check this full record out, you did yourself a huge disservice. Start to finish, this is one of my favorites of all time. This is another group that I put into my hodgepodge type genre because they don't really fit into anything I can pre-label. This cd is only like $7 dollars at Best Buy and well worth the price. If you're still skeptical, check out the samples below and make your call there. I'm fairly positive you'll enjoy it though, no matter what genre fits you best. They've got 4 or 5 other really solid albums out there, and of course I'll get to those in due time as well. Until then, enjoy the classic!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Novocaine for the Soul
2. Susan's House
3. Rags to Rags
4. Beautiful Freak
5. Not Ready Yet
6. My Beloved Monster
7. Flower
8. Guest List
9. Mental
10. Spunky
11. Your Lucky Day in Hell
12. Manchild

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Beautiful Freak
2. Flower
3. My Beloved Monster

FINAL RATING:
4.75 out of 5 stars

Zac Brown Band - The Foundation



Country day is back, and back with the Zac Brown Band. This was listed as 'contemporary country' which got me fairly excited since I'm typically not a fan of that old school stuff. You may recall I reviewed the Lady Antebellum cd last week...and that was very favorable with me. This didn't quite live up to that expectation though. It had a slightly different feel, but it wasn't contemporary in the idea having a solid beat and then different style of vocals. The music was maybe a little bit more fast paced, but the overall sound wasn't all that much different than the older country that doesn't fancy me ear. It's definitely a step up from maybe a Conway Twitty or Alan Jackson to me, but it's not something I'd actively toss on. Looks like these fellas are fairly new, their oldest record I can find is from 2005 - so maybe they're still finding themselves creatively. Maybe I'll check out some of their older stuff at some point too. They've got potential, but this one isn't my cup o' tea.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Toes
2. Whatever It Is
3. Where The Boat Leaves From
4. Violin Intro To Free
5. Free
6. Chicken Fried
7. Mary
8. Different Kind Of Fine
9. Highway 20 Ride
10. It's Not Ok
11. Jolene
12. Sic 'Em On A Chicken

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Violin Intro To Free
2. Chicken Fried
3. Free

FINAL RATING:
2 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Black Keys - Magic Potion



You know...sometimes it's crazy how you find out about new bands. Black Keys was a discovery I made while watching a pretty odd new show on HBO called Hung. The show is about a high school teacher who pretty much has nothing...nothing but a large member. So he turns to male prostitution as a way to get money for his kids and putting back together his life. It's a comedy, not a total perv show. Anyway...the Black Keys do the opening track and it's called, "I'll Be Your Man". That isn't on this album, but another great song by them. I picked up a couple albums and I was hooked. I fell in love with this band. They've got this dirty guitar, dirty vocals, garage band feel to them. Similar to maybe a Robert Randolph or some Eels perhaps. They're almost in a genre of their own, as those comparisons aren't even super close. There is probably zero chance you've heard any of this stuff before, so I highly recommend checking out this whole record. The Top 3 I'm sure will catch your ear and then the rest of the album is just icing on the cake. After you fall in love with them too, pick up other albums by them too. OR, of course you can wait until I review them, because hey - that's easier! Enjoy this on hump day!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Just Got to Be
2. Your Touch
3. You're the One
4. Just a Little Heat
5. Give Your Heart Away
6. Strange Desire
7. Modern Times
8. Flame, The
9. Goodbye Babylon
10. Black Door
11. Elevator

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Just Got To Be
2. Your Touch
3. Modern Times

FINAL RATING:
4 out of 5 stars

All American Rejects - Move Along



Flat out, straight up, I'm going to be honest starting out the review, I'm not a fan of All American Rejects. I'm not the most versed listener of theirs, but all the stuff I've heard is just pretty blah. Maybe this album isn't representative of the rest of their work, but Move Along doesn't really do it for me. You've heard a few of these on commercials, tv shows, the radio etc. If you haven't heard anything off of it, don't bother going out of your way to buy it or even listen to it. Unless you're a big fan of similar bands, this isn't anything to write home about. If you are a big AAR fan, let me know what you think of this record in comparison to the others. If this is a big fans favorite, I have a feeling I'm not going to like the rest. Have at it B Side!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Dirty Little Secret
2. Stab My Back
3. Move Along
4. It Ends Tonight
5. Change Your Mind
6. Night Drive
7. 11:11 P.M.
8. Dance Inside
9. Top of the World
10. Straitjacket Feeling
11. I'm Waiting
12. Can't Take It

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Move Along
2. Dirty Little Secret
3. It Ends Tonight

FINAL RATING:
1.5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Slipknot - Self Titled



Phew...went from Jack Johnson to Slipknot today. As a random viewer of the blog, you may be wondering what the heck is up with my selections. Well...basically I try to cover a little of everything. I've always been a huge advocate of branching out and trying new music. I went through a pretty big metal stage in high school, and Slipknot was on my list. They're pretty crazy and their music is definitely a reflection of their views. As a casual metal observer nowadays, I'm not sure I actively toss this in my cd player anymore..but there are a couple tracks that still can pump you up. I realize this is typically a love it or hate it genre, but I really am in the middle. As much as I think this music can motivate and get the blood flowing, I also think a lot of bands are just screaming and noises. Slipknot goes both ways for me. I'll need to review some newer stuff that I haven't heard, but for now this classic will have to do. If you're not a metal fan - feel free to skip this one.

TRACK LISTING:
1. 7426100027
2. (Sic)
3. Eyeless
4. Wait and Bleed
5. Surfacing
6. Spit It Out
7. Tattered & Torn
8. Me Inside
9. Liberate
10. Prosthetics
11. No Life
12. Diluted
13. Only One
14. Scissors

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Wait And Bleed
2. Spit It Out
3. Scissors

FINAL RATING:
3 out of 5 stars

Jack Johnson - Brushfire Fairytales



Keeping with the spirit of spanning genres, here's another mood type guy in Jack Johnson. Now, the challenge can sometimes come when I'm not in that certain mood for music but try to review it anyway - and today is that type of day. I really enjoy Mr. Johnson's work, but not really in that mode this morning. Anyhow...this is a pretty solid record. It's got two of my favorite Jack tracks, and this album seems less poppy then others. I've always liked his laid back approach to music, and that he never really puts anything out there that makes you scratch your head and wonder what he was thinking. As far as this genre goes, Johnson and John Mayer are probably the kings of record sales and probably one of few people you've even heard of when it comes to this stuff. I guess Coldplay fits here too...but they span into that pop category as well - especially current music. Regardless, check out Fairytales and I think you'll be surprised. If you're a Jack fan, you may already know a couple tracks here, but if you've never heard his stuff - keep an open mind and play it through. You'll at least find one or two that get you going.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Inaudible Melodies
2. Middle Man
3. Posters
4. Sexy Plexi
5. Flake
6. Bubble Toes
7. Fortunate Fool
8. News, The
9. Drink the Water
10. Mudfootball
11. F-Stop Blues
12. Losing Hope
13. It's All Understood

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. It's All Understood
2. Flake
3. Posters

FINAL RATING:
3.75 out of 5 stars

Monday, March 22, 2010

Foo Fighters - The Colour And The Shape




Who doesn't love the Foo Fighters? Their self titled album was one of the first cd's I ever owned. They've continued to keep making great music to this day. Dave Grohl's singing and songwriting has been unparalleled in the last decade by any other band. Not bad for the Nivrana drummer. This one is probably my favorite record, just because it has my favorite song on it. Their first two records are probably my favorites, but their newer stuff always pleases too. If you've only tuned in since the late 2000's, give their 90's stuff a whirl. You'll more than likely enjoy the older stuff just as much or more than the new stuff. I know that Grohl is currently part of the super group: Them Crooked Vultures. I'll have to get to a review for them in the near future. Until then...kick it old school with Colour and the Shape. You won't regret tossing this in one more time.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Doll
2. Monkey Wrench
3. Hey, Johnny Park!
4. My Poor Brain
5. Wind Up
6. Up in Arms
7. My Hero
8. See You
9. Enough Space
10. February Stars
11. Everlong
12. Walking After You
13. New Way Home
14. Requiem (Bonus Track)
15. Drivve Me Wild (Bonus Track)
16. Down in the Park (Bonus Track)
17. Baker Street (Bonus Track)
18. Dear Lover (Bonus Track)
19. Colour and the Shape, The (Bonus Track)

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Everlong
2. Baker Street
3. My Hero

FINAL RATING:
4 out of 5 stars

Rant #5: "I've Been Experienced"



So as many of you probably know, last night was the 'Experience Hendrix Tour' at the Riverside Theater in Milwaukee. A friend of mine first sent out the email asking about tickets I think last year. I immediately thought how neat the show could be, so I was in. I haven't been to a real concert in jeez...years. I used to go all the time and started thinking they were kind of a waste of cash. I mean, you pay $50 dollars or whatever and you many shows didn't live up to your expectations. This one just seemed too sweet to pass up. Billy Cox (from the original Experience) was there with a bunch of great lead frontmen from other bands playing different Jimi tunes. I've always been a big Hendrix fan - wish I would have been able to see him live. (He died a decade and a half before I was born) Anyway...the show was amazing! Pretty much all the songs you know were played except Hey Joe. My favorite Jimi song is 'Voodoo Child' and Kenny Wayne Shepherd of course rocked the house down with that one. Every song featured an incredible solo by any guitarist on the stage. Robert Randolph and crew had a nice showing of Purple Haze and Eric Johnson had a great rendition of Are You Experienced. You could tell all the guys in the show loved Jimi, and considered him a huge influence. Jonny Lane, Joe Satriani and Ernie Isley are other names that really stuck out with their performances. If this show comes back to MKE, or to a town near you - please see it. If you have any love for Jimi, you'll love the show.

That kind of goes along with something I always have felt strongly about. Why don't more bands do covers? I've always enjoyed when a band I enjoy recreates a classic song or even a song by a peer in their own genre. I always will recall the Deftones covering 'Say It Ain't So' by Weezer at a concert. Everyone went nuts, and they did a great job. When Metallica made the Garage Inc album - I was so impressed. The idea of an all time great band like Metallica covering Thin Lizzy or even Skynyrd to me is awesome. There's no shame in covering your idols and I think more bands could do so. I understand the need to be yourself - original and creative, but sometimes you can throw on an oldie and the fans will still love you. Granted not all recreations are good ones, but the effort is appreciated most of the time. Just make sure the kids out there know Social Distortion didn't actually write Comfortably Numb.

Long rant made short, Hendrix tribute show was a monstrous success. Go see it - worth every penny.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Lynyrd Skynyrd - Self Titled



I just typed out a super long amazing write up for this, and then Blogspot freaked out and I lost everything. So now, angrily - I need to move along with my day.

In short, this record is amazing. My Top 3 tracks are not only for this album, but they can be in the discussion for top 3 tracks ever. The band ended way too early due to tragic events - but their passion and inspiration live on. They've inspired other musicians to make great music and they inspired me to love music. Seriously amazing southern rock with great vocals, passionate singing and phenomenal guitar riffs make Skynyrd a band that everyone could aspire to be. Enjoy some southern comfort on your Saturday!

TRACK LISTING:
1. I Aint the One
2. Tuesdays Gone
3. Gimme Three Steps
4. Simple Man
5. Things Goin On
6. Mississippi Kid
7. Poison Whiskey
8. Free Bird

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Free Bird
2. Simple Man
3. Tuesdays Gone

FINAL RATING:
5+ out of 5 stars

Crystal Method - Vegas



Time for a little mind blowing beat action today. I feel like everyone heard and knew about this album back in 1997. You couldn't hop into someones car and they had their non factory cd deck bumping Vegas. This will be fairly challenging to pick a Top 3 just because the whole album is solid start to finish. Crystal Method hasn't really rocked my world with any of the albums after this, but Vegas still stands the test of time. 13 years after its release, you can still get everyone out on the dance floor playing at least half the tracks here. I'm not sure how you enjoyed the previous techno/dance stuff I've reviewed, but if you did - this is right up your alley. Even if you thought the other albums were just loud noises, give the Top 3 a sample. I have a feeling you'll notice your head bobbing and your toes tapping along with the beat.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Trip Like I Do
2. Busy Child
3. Cherry Twist
4. High Roller
5. Comin' Back
6. Keep Hope Alive
7. Vapor Trail
8. She's My Pusher
9. Jaded
10. Bad Stone

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Trip Like I Do
2. Busy Child
3. High Roller

FINAL RATING:
4 out of 5 stars

Friday, March 19, 2010

Nirvana - Unplugged In New York



So this is a little hard for me to admit, but I was never a huge Nirvana fan growing up. I mean, I enjoyed their music a lot, but I've always had them in the backseat to other 90's artists. That all changed in about 2003 or so when I really sat down and listened to this Unplugged album. I'm not sure if it's Cobain's unedited voice, if it's Grohl's outstanding drumming or just the acoustic version of already good songs that made this great - but this is easily one of the best albums ever made. This is actually what I'm talking about with artists nowadays, if a harder band did a cool change of pace thing like this, I'd love to hear it. Seems like it's all about the money, and not always stepping out of your comfort zone. (which is another reason I liked 808's so much) Anyway, it's awesome. If you don't own it, buy it. If you've never heard it, shame on you! If you have a pulse and you like music, this is certain to make you happy. It's not fair since this is kind of a 'greatest hits' compilation, but this is substantially better than any other Nirvana record out there. If you've never heard much of them, start with this then work your way to the other stuff. Note that some tracks are covers, but most of them you'll hear unacoustic and much faster/heavier. What a great way to celebrate Friday!

TRACK LISTING:
1. About a Girl
2. Come as You Are
3. Jesus Doesn't Want Me for a Sunbeam
4. Man Who Sold the World, The
5. Pennyroyal Tea
6. Dumb
7. Polly
8. On a Plain
9. Something in the Way
10. Plateau
11. Oh, Me
12. Lake of Fire
13. All Apologies
14. Where Did You Sleep Last Night?

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Oh, Me
2. Dumb
3. Where Did You Sleep Last Night?

FINAL RATING:
5 out of 5 stars

Beyonce - B'Day



A little pop in your step for Friday morning. To be honest, my plan was to review a Beyonce record, but it was going to be the Sasha Fierce one - not this. However, I can't find any links for samples, so this had to do. I was told that Sasha was a really solid album, and that even I would like it...while uncertain about that - I can safely tell you I did not like this one. I've heard most of the songs as singles on the radio for B'Day, and they're just played out pop songs for me. As usual, no substance and not even good beats. The idea that Jay-Z is on two tracks here is a little mind blowing. I'm a huge Jay fan, but even he couldn't save what are some pretty bad songs. Beyonce as a person seems great, her performances that I've seen are usually very artistic and creative. I just don't think her actual tunes are anything special whatsoever. If I can ever find the samples, I'll do Sasha Fierce and maybe that will end in a better review fate. Until then, enjoy the awful.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Deja Vu
2. Get Me Bodied
3. Suga Mama
4. Upgrade U
5. Ring the Alarm
6. Kitty Kat
7. Freakum Dress
8. Green Light
9. Irreplaceable
10. Resentment

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Irreplaceable
2. Upgrade U
3. Ring The Alarm

FINAL RATING:
1 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Blue Merle - Burning In The Sun



Here's an oldie but goodie for me. I was tuned into Blue Merle back in '05. I seem to forget about it a lot, but man is this album amazing. I'm such a sucker for slower music, or what I call 'mood' music. It's odd that I can go from hitting techno music hard at work to get a bunch done and then the next hour hit up mood music and feel more productive. If you haven't heard these guys, check this album out for sure. Some great lyrics that make you think and the lead singers voice is one of my favorites. I'll have to do a rant about lead singers someday. (I'm nerdy enough to have a list). Unfortunately for me, they've stopped making new music, but the old stuff lives on. Maybe if this review reaches enough people to start buying the old stuff, they'll make new stuff? (Don't comment on that, I know I don't have that kind reach....but humor me) Take a good long listen and hit me up with what you think. I'd be surprised if you didn't like this record.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Burning in the Sun
2. If I Could
3. Lucky to Know You
4. Stay
5. Every Ship Must Sail Away
6. Boxcar Racer
7. Made to Run
8. Seeing Through You
10. Places
11. Part of Your History
12. Either Way It Goes
13. Bittersweet Memory

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Part Of Your History
2. Stay
3. Lucky To Know You

FINAL RATING:
4.25 out of 5 stars

Lady Antebellum - Need You Now



Perhaps one of the most aptly titled songs in my blogs history, 'Love This Pain'. That's kind of what country music is to me in regards to blogging. I love doing the blog, and so many people out there have given me some amazing feedback. Including one who told me to, "Hey, just give country a chance". Most country is pretty painful for me to listen to...BUT, I think I may have found a new one to jive on. Lady Antebellum. I realized after the recommendation came that I had a single from iTunes 'Love Don't Live Here' way back in 2008. So, I decided to pull up something more current and this is what came across the desk today. Crazily enough, it's actually pretty decent tuneage. Not up at Cash level for me, but it's something I might actually spend my hard earned dollars on. Some surprising beats for country and some solid lyrics to boot has me craving more. I'll just be curious where this album rates for fans against their other work. I've given this a once over twice now, and it's still hard to find a three. I'll make it work - but know I could change my mind in a month. Give it a go non country fans, I think you'll be impressed.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Need You Now
2. Our Kind of Love
3. American Honey
4. Hello World
5. Perfect Day
6. Love This Pain
7. When You Got a Good Thing
8. Stars Tonight
9. If I Knew Then
10. Something 'Bout a Woman
11. Ready to Love Again

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Love This Pain (Come on, I referenced it above...)
2. Need You Now
3. Perfect Day

Honorable Mention: When You Got A Good Thing needs to be an acoustic version with just the piano and vocals. It would be an amazing arrangement.

FINAL RATING:
4 out of 5 stars

Taking Back Sunday - Tell All Your Friends



Lumping bands and songs into just a few genres can be kind of dangerous, but that's exactly what I've been attempting to do. I'm trying to space out so I don't go too nuts on my sweet spot genres like hip hop and classic rock. So I've got a category called 'punk' that I've lumped Killers, My Chemical Romance, White Stripes etc in. Well, I'm putting Taking Back Sunday in that category too. I guess it's like an emo type music, but whatever. The system has flaws but the end goal is I think being achieved. A friend of mine tossed this recommendation my way a LONG time ago. Sometime in 2006 I think. I don't listen often, but I've been tuned in to the band since then. They've put out 3 more record I think since then, and none of them tickled me silly. This was probably the one I find listening to the most singles off of, but that might not be saying much. Just when I think they're lyrically solid, they make a really dumb song that you can't follow. Their guitar work is pretty good and some drum beats are solid as well. Other than that, I've never seen them live - but I heard they really lack luster there too. Check out the Top 3 and make a call on that. You may want to pick out some more TBS stuff, or you may want to wait until the next review.

TRACK LISTING:
1. You Know How I Do
2. Bike Scene
3. Cute Without the "E" (Cut From the Team)
4. There's No "I" In Team
5. Great Romances of the 21st Century
6. Ghost Man on Third
7. Timberwolves at New Jersey
8. Blue Channel, The
9. You're So Last Summer
10. Head Club
11. Ballad of Sal Villanueva, The

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. You're So Last Summer
2. There's No I In Team
3. Cute Without The E

FINAL RATING:
3.25 out of 5 stars

Alter Bridge - One Day Remains



Back in the day, I was a pretty big Creed follower. Their My Own Prison album (which I'll review someday) was one of my favorites. Creed started to kinda go down in quality and obviously disbanded. That opened up Alter Bridge to form, and this was their debut. They're set to release their 3rd studio album sometime this year as well. As I've made well known, I don't listen to much radio - but I don't recall hearing this all that much back then, and still not today. There are some really good tunes if you weed through some of the weaker stuff. I feel like this record is a little better than the follow up Blackbird, but neither one is going to make you rush out to an Alter Bridge show. If you liked Creed, it's got a similar feel - great power guitar, good vocals, decent lyrics and solid arrangements. Take a peek at the samples and let me know what you think. I'm guessing a few of you haven't ever heard this stuff before and who knows, maybe you'll like it?

TRACK LISTING:
1. Find the Real
2. One Day Remains
3. Open Your Eyes
4. Burn It Down
5. Metalingus
6. Broken Wings
7. In Loving Memory
8. Down to My Last
9. Watch Your Words
10. Shed My Skin
11. End Is Here, The

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Open Your Eyes
2. Metalingus
3. Broken Wings

FINAL RATING:
3.5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Lonely Island - Incredibad



One of my followers turned me on to Incredibad a couple years ago. If you were not aware, this is a composite of tracks from Andy Samburg (SNL) and a couple other dudes just having fun. I know technically this isn't "music" but a comedy album, but having a little variety in life is nice right? Settle down. For anyone who enjoys Tenacious D, you'll probably enjoy this as well. Maybe not as crude of humor, but some pretty funny stuff nonetheless. The album also features some pretty impressive cameos, so check that out as well. I wouldn't put this on everyday by any means, but maybe a change of pace if you're tired of something and looking for a day to figure out what's next. I'll include samples, but I'm guessing they're edited and not at all representative of the actual record. Regardless, check this out and get a few chuckles. If the majority of you readers don't ever want to see a comedy album on this site again, make sure you let me know it.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Who Said We're Wack?
2. Santana DVX - (featuring E-40)
3. J**z In My Pants
4. I'm On A Boat - (featuring T-Pain)
5. Sax Man - (featuring Jack Black)
6. Lazy Sunday - (featuring Chris Parnell)
7. Normal Guy [Interlude]
8. Boombox - (featuring Julian Casablancas)
9. Shrooms [Interlude]
10. Like A Boss
11. We Like Sportz
12. Dreamgirl - (featuring Norah Jones)
13. Ras Trent
14. D**k In A Box - (featuring Justin Timberlake)
15. Old Saloon, The
16. Punch You In The Jeans
17. Space Olympics
18. Natalie's Rap

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Boombox
2. Space Olympics
3. Dreamgirl

FINAL RATING:
3.75 out of 5 stars (On a comedy album scale)

Black Eyed Peas - The E.N.D.



There are a couple of my followers that are big BEP fans, so this one is for you. And to those keeping track, this is another pop album review. (I'm true to my word) I thought Monkey Business was a pretty solid record, and to me, END didn't really live up to the same expectations. The video for I Gotta Feeling is pretty crazy and fun - but the songs didn't totally do it for me. In typical BEP style, great beats, terrible lyrics and standard overplay. All in all, not a great combo. Some tracks are pretty great just to get you pumped up in the day - so it's got that going for it. I'm not sure how many more albums they'll make - especially with Fergie having pretty solid solo success - but hopefully the next one is a little better. If not, they'll be so 2000 and late. Wow, I can't believe I just typed that. Happy listening!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Boom Boom Pow
2. Rock That Body
3. Meet Me Halfway
4. Imma Be
5. I Gotta Feeling
6. Alive
7. Missing You
8. Ring-A-Ling
9. Party All the Time
10. Out of My Head
11. Electric City
12. Showdown
13. Now Generation
14. One Tribe
15. Rockin to the Beat

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. I Gotta Feeling
2. Meet Me Halfway
3. Rockin To The Beat

FINAL RATING:
3 out of 5 stars

Monday, March 15, 2010

System Of A Down - Self Titled



Show me some metal rock fans!! System has a bigtime knack for having huge singles on mediocre albums. This is a prime example. There are 2 songs on here especially that I rock out to very often - the rest...ehh. Even if you sit down and really listen to Toxicity, there are about 4 that might blow your socks off, but the rest you either tend to skip over or you listen but are indifferent. I would have reviewed that album first, but I feel this record has the strongest singles of the discography. If there are any big fans out there, do you feel like they lost a little bit of the edge over the years? I don't know, but it kinda seems to me like they've gotten a little softer to the point where right now, I might not even classify them as metal. Regardless, solid couple tracks here - but the overall review will be fairly low. I won't tell you to rush out and buy this one, but instead, listen to the Top 3 - you can even buy only the top 2 I'll list, and you'd probably be happy.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Suite-Pee
2. Know
3. Sugar
4. Suggestions
5. Spiders
6. Ddevil
7. Soil
8. War?
9. Mind
10. Peephole
11. Cubert
12. Darts
13. P.L.U.C.K.

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Spiders
2. Sugar
3. Suite-Pee

FINAL RATING:
3.5 out of 5 stars

Sublime - Self Titled



Chalk up yet another album in which I initially picked it up just due to one song. When 'What I Got' dropped - this seemed like a must have. Typically, it seems whenever I buy something just based on one track, I almost always get the quickest feeling of buyers remorse possible. But once in a very long while, it works the other way. Book this record as one of those instances. After well over a decade of listening to this, What I Got isn't going to make my Top 3 list. There are just too many other good tracks on here that I listen to way more often. Obviously Sublime isn't making more tuneage, but I feel this is the standard for any record by them. And again, another '90s band that had a totally different sound than anything I had heard before. The guitar work, the lyrics, some use of horns in different songs - really catchy yet solid pieces of music history. If you haven't heard this one start to finish, do yourself a favor and slap yourself across the face, and then treat yourself to some gold.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Garden Grove
2. What I Got (Remix)
3. Wrong Way
4. Same in the End
5. April 29, 1992 (Miami)
6. Santeria
7. Seed
8. Jailhouse
9. Pawn Shop
10. Paddle Out
11. Ballad Of Johnny Butt, The
12. Burritos
13. Under My Voodoo
14. Get Ready
15. Caress Me Down
16. What I Got
17. Doin' Time

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Pawn Shop
2. Santeria
3. Doin' Time

FINAL RATING:
4.25 out of 5 stars

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Coldplay - Parachutes



Is it possible anyone in the US hasn't heard Coldplay by now? It seems like whenever they drop a record, you can't go 10 minutes without hearing some Coldplay song anywhere you go. This was the work that got them started. I remember watching MTV2 back when music television used to you know, still actually play music - and hearing Yellow for the first time. Way back then, it seemed like a sound that had never graced my ear before. While I'll admit I've lost a little of my love for Coldplay, I still give every record they put out a chance. Seems to me that they've lost that super unique sound over the years, and it somewhat blends with any other folk-ish songwriter out there with a blend of pop to mix in. That's neither here nor there though, and this album made me a fan for life. I can always put Parachutes on and kind of drift away. If for some reason you have lived in a box, this isn't peppy, driving type music. Listen to it when you're in that kind of blah mood and just want to contemplate life. It has that sort of feel to it. You'll find at least 4 tracks on here that you enjoy. I'll review their other albums in time, but this one is probably my favorite. Enjoy!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Don't Panic
2. Shiver
3. Spies
4. Sparks
5. Yellow
6. Trouble
7. Parachutes
8. High Speed
9. We Never Change
10. Everything's Not Lost

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Trouble
2. Yellow
3. Shiver

FINAL RATING:
4 out of 5 stars

Kid Cudi - Man On The Moon: The End Of Day



This guy really came out of nowhere...I didn't seem to hear any pre-release stuff from this record and I never heard him on callabos with anyone before Man on the Moon came out. I know he had a mixtape floating around in 2008, but that never made it across my desk to listen to. When Day N Nite first dropped, it was my jam for a couple days, but it didn't really blow my mind. It wasn't jaw dropping enough to make me want to rush out and listen to the record. When I finally got around to it, the album really blew me away. I love when rappers tell a story, and Cudi has made it an art. I'm looking forward to the 'Cudder' album slated to come out this summer. If it's half as good as this record, I'll be very happy. If you've never tried Cudi, at the very least hit up the samples. If you're a hip hop nut, you'll love this record. Give it a whirl, let me know how it flows.

TRACK LISTING:
1. In My Dreams [Cudder Anthem]
2. Soundtrack 2 My Life
3. Simple As...
4. Solo Dolo
5. Heart of a Lion
6. My World
7. Day N Nite
8. Sky Might Fall
9. Enter Galactic
10. Alive
11. Cudi Zone
12. Make Her Say
13. Pursuit of Happiness
14. Hyyerr
15. Up Up & Away

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Pursuit Of Happiness
2. Cudi Zone
3. Soundtrack 2 My Life

FINAL RATING:
4.25 out of 5 stars

Friday, March 12, 2010

Rant #4: "Remember Blackened? Yeah, I Was In On It Then"

Here's something I don't really understand - and it happens in many different genres and seemingly for different reasons, but still seems ignorant to me. Let's say I know this big 'up and comer', some rapper named Lil Schrute. Now, I've devoted two years to listening to Schrute - hitting the mixtape circuit, going to tiny venues hearing him flow and buying every piece of merchandise to help him promote to blow up. Well 2 years later I feel like I've connected with him and his music - to the point my room is cluttered with posters, I write lyrics in my notebook and don his t shirts wherever I go. All of the sudden, BAM, Schrute creates that big single. It starts seeing some radio play and I'm pumped. After all, I helped make the difference with my support and boosting. DOUBLE BAM, he gets signed by Roc-A-Fella records and is about to do some huge callabos with Jay-Z and Kanye West. Pharrell and Dre are going to produce the beats on his upcoming album, "Beat Farm" which is slated to debut easily at #1. Couple weeks before the release, I'm hearing these new tracks on the radio, they're everywhere. I see some other people wearing the gear. I go to a show at a newer medium sized venue, and then it hits me. All these teenage girls are there, people who mocked me before for loving that mixtape "Irrigation Room". And suddenly I think about it...and I can't get over the fact that my friend, Lil Schrute, sold out. A wave of sadness overcomes me as I realize, I can't listen to his stuff anymore. He's gone commercial. I knew him before that. I need to let everyone know, I was on the "Megadesk" bandwagon WAY before all these other jerks, right?

WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? Who cares? There are so many things I don't get about that. First and foremost, you didn't really do anything! Every rapper, band, indie singer - hell even Bill Shatner has dreams of being a huge music star. Sometimes it takes you a little longer than expected, but typically you don't give up on the dream. Just because you went to the garage shows and bought the mixtape, don't give yourself any credit for the guy blowing up. He'd have done it without you spending your $500 to help him make ends meet. Second, shouldn't you still be thrilled? I mean, you followed him from day one. Isn't what you want for your favorite artist to live his dream? Getting paid monstrous paychecks because you heard "Mustard Shirt" on the radio 77 times in an hour? Lastly, giving up on the music because they sell records? That just seems like one of the dumbest reasons to not listen to music. If music is good, it's good. Not giving it a chance because of who they market to or what label they're on is just lunacy! I equate this to Metallica when they made the 'Load' album. All these die hards just threw in the towel because they didn't have that hard edgy sound anymore. They made music just to sell records. DUH! Every artist wants to get rich, and party like a rock star. Get over it. Sitting back and going on a 20 minute rant about how you USED to like their stuff, but then they sold out makes you look like a tool. Telling everyone you knew them before they were cool makes you sound like a snob that wants to belittle others tastes. Choose not to listen to a band anymore, that's fine. I just don't want to hear about how they WERE good, and now they suck because they changed the style a bit.

After you calm down...listen to your 'sell out' band again, and I bet you still like them.

Carrie Underwood - Play On



Alright...it's a little lesson for me in music diversity today. I think by now, anyone who has read this blog knows I dislike pop music, well I dislike country even more. For completely different reasons though. I love Johnny Cash, always have - but I've never really found another country artist that I enjoyed listening to. Well, to keep the diversity going, I'll review a country album every couple of weeks or so too, and maybe that will help me find someone who semi compares to Cash. Well, I tried Carrie Underwood today, and.....it's not for me. It's like the worst kind of combination for me, pop and country mixed together to form a big hybrid turd. It's going to be very hard for me to pick a Top 3, because nothing after two go rounds is sticking in my head. Alas, some credit is due since most country I've listened to in the past has been down, 'my dog died' type country that is really hard to jive to. Some tracks on here are more upbeat, that maybe could at least be catchy. Carrie has a hell of a voice, and I recall hearing her 'Before He Cheats' a couple years ago and thinking hey, that's not too stinking bad. This however, was terrible. And if this is the best American Idol can do...yikes.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Cowboy Casanova
2. Quitter
3. Mama's Song
4. Change
5. Undo It
6. Someday When I Stop Loving You
7. Songs Like This
8. Temporary Home
9. This Time
10. Look At Me
11. Unapologize
12. What Can I Say
13. Play On

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Change
2. Cowboy Casanova
3. Someday When I Stop Loving You

FINAL RATING:
1 out of 5 stars

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Rihanna - Good Girl Gone Bad



Pop fans rejoice! Another pop album review is here, and I think you might be surprised by this one. As a big hip hop fan, Rihanna seems like she's here to stay with even the most credible rappers doing collaborations with the young lady. She did a great job in Run This Town on the Blueprint 3, and that stemmed from her working with Jay on Umbrella from this record. She even did the recent video for Kanye's Coldest Winter, which she didn't have any part in the album, just was cool enough to do the video. She seems like a bit of an odd duck, but I'm not a person reviewer, just tunes. Anyway, Good Girl Gone Bad surprised me a little bit. I'm not going around and bumping this album in my car or anything, but the catchy tracks are actually not THAT bad here. Any pop music is going to get your toe tapping, but there is a little bit of substance top to bottom if you listen closely. I'm not even sure putting her in the same category as Gaga or Ke$ha is fair to Rihanna, but that's the dangerous game that popular music plays. I dislike pop for the most part, but this one is worth checking out. I'm guessing even the angriest critic would find at least one song on this record they liked. Give it a go, and then never tell anyone you did (except me).

TRACK LISTING:
1. Umbrella - (featuring Jay-Z)
2. Push Up on Me
3. Don't Stop the Music
4. Breakin' Dishes
5. Shut Up and Drive
6. Hate That I Love You - (featuring Ne-Yo)
7. Say It
8. Sell Me Candy
9. Lemme Get That
10. Rehab
11. Question Existing
12. Good Girl Gone Bad
13. Disturbia
14. Take a Bow
15. If I Never See Your Face Again

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Umbrella
2. Disturbia
3. Rehab

FINAL RATING:
3.25 out of 5 stars

Union Underground - An Education In Rebellion



On to round 2 of metal reviews. Maybe this time it's a band you haven't heard of though? That's my hope anyway...as it seems like if I'm rocking out to some Union Underground, no one knows what they heck is happening to them. Just a wave of headbanging, mosh pitting, raw emotion comes over them. Really good beats and guitar on this record, surprises me it didn't see more radio play back in the day. You can probably go buy this album even at Best Buy or something for well under 10 dollars. I think I paid 7 back when it was originally released. Metal fans, check it out - there are at least a couple tracks you'll enjoy. Non metal fans - ehh, maybe sit this one out. I'm not telling you this is exactly gold, but it's not bad. If I ever get to a metal record that just blows my mind, I'll be sure to note that in a review. This is at least less 'shouty' type music, and more focused on actual vocals and heave guitar. A hidden gem perhaps in the metal garage.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Education In Rebellion, An
2. Drivel
3. South Texas Deathride
4. Turn Me On "Mr. Deadman"
5. Until You Crack
6. Killing The Fly
7. Natural High
8. Revolution Man
9. Trip With Jesus
10. Bitter
11. Friend Song, The

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. South Texas Deathride
2. Turn Me On Mr Deadman
3. Killing The Fly

FINAL RATING:
3.5 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Gorillaz - Plastic Beach



Finally, I can get to the Gorillaz since the much anticipated album Plastic Beach is here! (Well, maybe I was the only one really awaiting the release, but still) I own every album they've put together, including G-Sides and D-Sides. For some reason, I just really enjoy grooving to their unique style. I still love the original album the best, since every track on there just makes me want to listen more. Plastic Beach is a very nice album as well. I think Demon Days saw fairly substantial commercial success, and maybe even put them on the map with the pop crowd with Feel Good Inc and Dare. Even though the first album was far superior, Demon Days sold better which speaks to the pop additions. Damon Albarn is quoted as saying this is the "most pop album in many ways", but having heard it now, that isn't conveyed in the music. He collaborated a lot this time, which is new for them, but it turned out really great. As opposed to my previous review, Gorillaz put one record out every 5 years-ish, and you expect it to be great. This one doesn't fall short one bit. Another great item in their catalog. I just hope they keep rocking it out for another decade.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Orchestral Intro
2. Welcome to the World of the Plastic Beach - (featuring Snoop Dogg)
3. White Flag - (featuring Kano/Bashy)
4. Rhinestone Eyes
5. Stylo - (featuring Mos Def/Bobby Womack)
6. Superfast Jellyfish - (featuring De La Soul/Gruff Rhys)
7. Empire Ants - (featuring Little Dragon)
8. Glitter Freeze - (featuring Mark E. Smith)
9. Some Kind of Nature - (featuring Lou Reed)
10. On Melancholy Hill
11. Broken
12. Sweepstakes - (featuring Mos Def)
13. Plastic Beach - (featuring Mick Jones/Paul Simonon)
14. To Binge - (featuring Little Dragon)
15. Cloud of Unknowing - (featuring Bobby Womack)
16. Pirate Jet

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. White Flag
2. Welcome To The World Of The Plastic Beach
3. Stylo

FINAL RATING:
4.5 out of 5 stars

Ludacris - Battle Of The Sexes



Ludacris. LOODA! Umm...sorry, but I've almost had enough of him. I understand why you'd want to put out a record a year to keep the fans happy...but most of his albums are garbage! Seriously, if you took just the good songs off Release Therapy and Theater Of The Mind, you'd have ONE really good album. One that might even win some awards. But instead, you rush to get something out, and the final product shows it every single year. Regardless, I still like Ludacris. He's one of the better artists over the last decade in hip hop. Top 10 probably. I'm afraid that nothing will ever match up to Rollout or even What's Your Fantasy - which were basically his first two singles. It seemed like he was hungrier back then, and really flowed on his albums. Now, maybe it's his focus on acting, but the power just isn't there. BotS is right on that par, fairly disappointing with a couple solid tracks scattered through. Don't buy it...rent it. Listen to the samples and make your own call.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Intro
2. How Low
3. My Chick Bad
4. Everybody Drunk
5. I Do It All Night
6. Sex Room
7. I Know You Got A Man
8. Hey Ho
9. Party No Mo'
10. B.O.T.S. Radio
11. Can't Live With You
12. Feelin' So Sexy
13. Tell Me A Secret
14. My Chick Bad (Remix)
15. Sexting **This is the worst song ever made**

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Intro
2. My Chick Bad (Remix)
3. I Know You Got A Man

FINAL RATING:
2.5 out of 5 stars

Jimi Hendrix - Valleys Of Neptune



The Experience Hendrix people decided to release a few previously unreleased tracks from Jimi this week. Valleys Of Neptune is just a compilation of some unseen studio stuff, similar to what Nirvana did with a disc of their box set. This didn't really jump hugely out to me, but it's nice. There is some neat stuff on here, and any time Jimi lays down some guitar - you have to respect it and listen closely. No one in the world plays like Jimi did...and you can hear it in everything he does. A couple tracks are songs you've heard before, but just jam session type stuff. Pretty neat to hear this what, 40 years later? My only real pet peeve, is Sunshine Of Your Love is covered, but it's just instrumental. I would have loved to hear Jimi really cover Cream. Regardless, still a great jam track. Big kudos to his family for releasing this stuff, and keeping the legend alive.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Stone Free
2. Valleys of Neptune
3. Bleeding Heart
4. Hear My Train A Comin'
5. Mr. Bad Luck
6. Sunshine of Your Love
7. Lover Man
8. Ships Passing Through the Night
9. Fire
10. Red House
11. Lullaby for the Summer
12. Crying Blue Rain

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Valleys Of Neptune
2. Sunshine Of Your Love
3. Crying Blue Rain

FINAL RATING:
4.25 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Seven Mary Three - American Standard



No question you've heard Cumbersome before. Excellent track on a fairly mediocre album. I did buy this a long time ago, and popped it in recently. It's not the best record of 1995, but it's not the worst either. I've heard many criticisms of them because they were accused of trying to sounds too much like Pearl Jam - and I really don't get that at all. They've got the Virginia type sound going, not really anything like the Seattle grunge movement. I don't see how any comparison to them is applicable. These guys have continued to make music and tour, they had an album come out in 2008 sometime. They seem fairly irrelevant nowadays, but toss this back in one more time - and think about the first time you heard some of these tracks. Back when Milwaukee still had New Rock 102.1, this was a solid mainstay. There best album by a landslide, so rip your favorite tracks to your iPod and enjoy the melodies.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Water's Edge
2. Cumbersome
3. Roderigo
4. Devil Boy
5. My My
6. Lame
7. Headstrong
8. Anything
9. Margaret
10. Punch In and Out
11. Favorite Dog

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Cumbersome
2. Water's Edge
3. My My

FINAL RATING:
2.5 out of 5 stars

My Chemical Romance - Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge



Sometime in late 2004 I seem to recall hearing about this band. Didn't know much about them when I heard 'Helena'. At first, the song didn't necessarily get me to jump off the sofa with excitement, but it's one of those that as my day continued, I found myself singing the chorus in my head. After that, I picked up the whole Three Cheers ensemble, and was pretty stunned. This again isn't my most favorite genre in the world, but I do like this record. I feel Helena is one of the better songs of the mid 2k's. I would put that slightly above The Black Parade in terms of staying power - but we shall see in the future. This one is worth a listen if you're into that punkish type rock...if not, catch the next one.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Helena
2. Give 'Em Hell, Kid
3. To The End
4. You Know What They Do To Guys Like Us In Prison
5. I'm Not Okay (I Promise)
6. Ghost Of You, The
7. JetSet Life Is Gonna Kill You, The
8. Interlude
9. Thank You For The Venom
10. Hang 'Em High
11. It's Not A Fashion Statement It's A Deathwish
12. Cemetery Drive
13. I Never Told You What I Do For a Living

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Helena
2. I'm Not Okay
3. Thank You For The Venom

FINAL RATING:
3 out of 5 stars

Monday, March 8, 2010

Rant #3: "DJ B SIDE!!!"

Time for what I'll call rant number 3. And let me give you a little set up here:

I'm a big rap fan. I don't know if I'd call it my 'favorite' genre, but it's certainly what I listen to most often. I love everything about hip hop...I love the beats, rattling the trunk of the car. I love the flow, Twista rapping so fast you have to rewind the track just to catch two words out of 20. I love the lyrics, 2Pac rapping about wanting a life better than what he knows. I love putting that whole package together, and coming up with music that not only makes you want to get up and move, but also makes you think a little. That's what hip hop means to me.

A second paragraph of background for you folks, hip hop is a tough nut to crack. The way it works, unless you've had incredible commercial success - you release a mixtape. These get played regionally typically, until someone big hears it and gains radio airtime. For example, Mike Jones released 'Still Tippin' over a year before it came out on the radio. And he didn't have a record deal when you may have first heard it. But that's the way it is. Even if you're Lil Wayne, you toss a ton of mixtapes out there because if people love it, you'll put stuff on your next album like that. It's basically either a great way for an artist to get noticed, or an artist to realize how good his stuff is before it goes out to the masses.

Okay...enough background. I LOVE getting new mixtapes. The Game just put one out 6-8 months ago I listen to all the time. You can get the lowdown on beefs in mixtapes, you get just straight up raw freestyling a lot. They can be awesome. Here's what I don't like...stupid DJ's who can't keep their own name off the track for more than 10 seconds. REALLY? I need to know every 2nd word that DJ JackAss produced the track? Go f**k yourself MC Get Busy, I want to hear the actual music, not your stupid voiceover on what could have been a good song. Serious here, there are some that are so bad, you can't even understand the music. I remember when DMX put one out back in early 2000's. 'X Gon Give It To Ya' was completely unlistenable, because some douche kept yelling his name in the background. Ugh. Don't artists not want this to happen too? Why is this still going on? I understand the DJ needs a little pub for mixing the record, but at what cost? The cost to the listener not caring and then not enjoying the music and buying it when it hits store shelves. Kick this practice to the curb fellas, and give me my music from the booth, not from the DJ's over-volumed microphone.

Led Zeppelin - IV



Some call it IV, some call it ZoSo, some call it untitled...whatever it is, it's a masterpiece. Probably the crowning jewel in an amazing collection of albums created by Zeppelin. You might even think that something that's only 8 tracks can't be that amazing, but my friend, you'd be wrong. Stairway To Heaven is probably one of the most recognized songs in music history and I might struggle to put that in my top 3. Seems to me that this is one of those albums that you know exactly when the first time you heard it was, and you remember how quickly you went out and bought it, or for some - downloaded it illegally. I had Dark Side in my top 5 albums of all time, and this is right there. I'd probably have it down as number one, and I'm not sure how many others can really challenge it. For the love of Robert Plant, if you haven't heard this, go out and buy it. Immediately - go. Right now.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Black Dog
2. Rock And Roll
3. Battle Of Evermore, The
4. Stairway to Heaven
5. Misty Mountain Hop
6. Four Sticks
7. Going To California
8. When The Levee Breaks

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. When The Levee Breaks
2. Stairway To Heaven
3. The Battle Of Evermore

FINAL RATING:
5+ out of 5 stars

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Fatboy Slim - You've Come A Long Way, Baby



Wow...so I'm going to tell you straight up, flat out - I LOVE THIS RECORD! I honestly could listen to this over and over and over. It's not like I go out of my way to listen to dance/techno type stuff often, but I can be in any mood and this gets my toes tapping. When I profiled Daft Punk before, I credited them to turning me on to techno type music, but I might have to overwrite that by saying Fatboy really started the process. 'Rockafeller Skank' was the big song at the time, but I don't think that's even going to make the illustrious top 3 list. I think I own every album Fatboy has ever produced, and this one is far and away my favorite. Don't be afraid to pick up other stuff by him though, especially the Normal Cook Collection. He really has a lot of great stuff out there. Right about now, the funk soul brotha check it out now!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Right Here, Right Now
2. Rockafeller Skank, The
3. In Heaven
4. Gangster Tripping
5. Build It Up - Tear It Down
6. Kalifornia
7. Soul Surfing
8. You're Not From Brighton
9. Praise You
10. Love Island
11. Acid 8000

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Listing:
1. Right Here, Right Now
2. Praise You
3. Love Island

**Very close number 4. Gangster Tripping**

FINAL RATING:
4.75 out of 5 stars

Trio - Da Da Da



If I updated the poll to read, "How many people have listened to Trio other than Da Da Da", I'd bet maybe two other people in all the US have. Well, I'm here to tell you about a pretty solid record here. Sure, I bought this when I was in 8th grade, and sure it was just for Da Da Da (it was featured on VW commercials at the time). But hey, it's actually really good. The German background makes some of these tracks really strange, yet very entertaining at the same time. I wouldn't go as far as to call it great tuneage, but the cd really hits the spot every now and again. When there are days I just can't decide what to listen to, a little Trio goes a long way in my musical satisfaction. Admittedly, I don't know much about German music, but I feel as this is probably considered popish for natives and would probably have an 'indie' type feel listening to it in the states. Regardless, listen to the samples, and if you like them, you can probably buy this for a dollar or two at a second hand reseller. Enjoy!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Da Da Da
2. Boom Boom
3. Hearts Are Trump
4. Out In The Streets
5. Bye Bye
6. Anna - Letmeinletmeout
7. Drei Mann im Doppelbett
8. Ich lieb den Rock n Roll
9. Tutti Frutti
10. Tooralooralooraloo - Is It Old & Is It New
11. Girl Girl Girl
12. W.W.W.
13. Sunday You Need Love Monday Be Alone
14. Da Da Da (Extended Version)

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Da Da Da (Extended Version)
2. Out In The Streets
3. Girl Girl Girl

FINAL RATING:
4 out of 5 stars

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Killers - Hot Fuss



Ahh, The Killers. What ever happened to them? It's not like they stopped making really good, really original music - yet, people seemed to forget they exist. Hot Fuss is an outstanding album, and Sam's Town is either right next to it, or maybe even a little better. I got through Day and Age and it was a'ight, and I've never got to Sawdust. I'll get to all those reviews in time, but for now - one of the classics. It put the Killers on the map, has to be their best selling and most popular record in their semi brief history. Even to this day, you're more than likely going to hear one of these tracks on the radio, just because they have that much staying power. They seemed to be one of the bands that started this new wave, punkish type revolution along with bands like Fall Out Boy, Panic! at the Disco etc... I know there are a couple fans of that out there, has that died down yet? The only stuff I hear nowadays is Muse, some Modest Mouse and a little MGMT. I'm getting off topic, The Killers are outstanding, this record is outstanding - go get it and play it till it breaks.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Jenny Was a Friend of Mine
2. Mr. Brightside
3. Smile Like You Mean It
4. Somebody Told Me
5. All These Things That I've Done
6. Andy, You're a Star
7. On Top
8. Change Your Mind
9. Believe Me Natalie
10. Midnight Show
11. Everything Will Be Alright

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. All These Things That I've Done **Note that this is one of the best songs in music history**

Distant 2. Mr. Brightside
3. Somebody Told Me

FINAL RATING:
4.25 out of 5 stars