Song of the Moment

J. Cole - Lost Ones

Friday, May 28, 2010

Powerman 5000 - Tonight The Stars Revolt!



Honestly, doing the Nickelback review got me so angry that it's going to carry over into this next one. I'll do my best to shake that piece of terrible out of my head, but no promises. Anyway, I figured I'd move on to something a little heavier with Powerman 5K. This is their only record that made any sort of noise on the charts and in sales. (for the record, they have 7 studio releases) They even put something out as recent as late 2009. For some reason, their music isn't that bad if you're a metal fan, but they can't crack the mainstream. It isn't exactly like they're underground either. They're not even more industrial which tends to make casual fans turn away. They're metal, but they're kind of poppy at the same time. I mean, they covered The Cars on this record! There are some cool cameos here, one by Rob Zombie, one by DJ Lethal of Limp Bizkit and one by Ginger Fish from Marilyn Manson. I enjoy this record, and I think it's safe to assume any hard rock fan would like it too. It lacks a bit of repeatability, which is similar to all their stuff. They might have one track that really jumps at you, but the rest can be kind of flat. The heavy riffs are often overly simplistic but catchy. The lyrics and pretty bland, but that's to be expected from this genre anyway. Check it out if you're feeling heavy, otherwise, just kick back with your other favorite album on Friday!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Eye Is upon You, An
2. Super Nova Goes Pop
3. When Worlds Collide
4. Nobody's Real
5. System 11:11
6. Tonight the Stars Revolt!
7. Automatic
8. Son of X-51, The
9. Operate, Annihilate
10. Blast off to Nowhere (Featuring Rob Zombie)
11. They Know Who You Are
12. Good Times Roll (Featuring DJ Lethal)
13. Watch the Sky for Me (Featuring Ginger Fish)

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. When Worlds Collide
2. Nobody's Real
3. Good Times Roll

FINAL RATING:
3 out of 5 stars

Nickelback - The State



So upon getting into a discussion with a friend the other day, I've decided I simply don't care for Nickelback. Their first record dropped in 1996 and had zero impact on the music world. (and upon thinking about it, '96 was such a great time for music - so why would a who cares kind of band like Nickelback make a splash?) They didn't gain any sort of notoriety until this album came out in 2000. My thought was, golly - I should go back to their first record prior to when I thought they started making really stupid pop music. So this is where I am. I'm going back to the music that made them get noticed. My logic was people really must have liked this, since it put them on the map. I don't understand how anyone could enjoy their current music, since most of it is udder garbage. These fellas are Canadian and their records sell MONSTROUS numbers there, and even in the US they seem to always go platinum. All The Right Reasons being the highest selling, and truth be told, probably their only tolerable record. I don't know. Nothing about them is unique. Nothing about them is fun to listen to. Nothing about them makes me want to rush out and pick up an album. Just flat, boring, ridiculously lyricised nonsense. If you enjoy their music, please feel free to let me know why. I simply don't see it. Their current record is one of the worst I've ever heard, and it's not that much better than the rest of their discography. I could keep going, but I'll simply let you decide for yourselves.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Breathe
2. Cowboy Hat
3. Leader of Men
4. Old Enough
5. Worthy to Say
6. Diggin' This
7. Deep
8. One Last Run
9. Not Leavin' Yet
10. Hold Out Your Hand
11. Leader of Men (Acoustic)

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Leader Of Men
2. Breathe
3. Old Enough

FINAL RATING:
1.25 out of 5 stars

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bill Withers - Just As I Am



It was time for another classic review today, and I've decided to go with Mr. Bill Withers. He's got three hits that probably everyone in the world knows, one of which is on this record. The crazy thing about this album though - it seriously is amazing. This was his debut studio release back in 1971. For a guy whose career has been noted as one of the best soul singers of all time, I can't quite fathom how this record doesn't get talked about more often. I mean, maybe not even in the conversation as best album of all time, but just in the conversation of best debut album ever. This is really that good. Plus you think about the other greatest records ever, and very rarely if ever do you see it being the first in a discography. It will be incredibly difficult to select a top three because it is just that good. I feel like I'm overselling it - so I'll just tell you to take a listen. I'm sure you've heard 'Sunshine' before, and if you loved that - you'll love the whole thing. I promise. It's got the soul, it's got the R&B and it's got a little blues/folk music with it too. I need to note to myself to check if Bill is still touring. I'd love to see him live. This is a must listen B Side! Groove your Thursday!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Harlem
2. Ain't No Sunshine
3. Grandma's Hands
4. Sweet Wanomi
5. Everybody's Talkin'
6. Do It Good
7. Hope She'll Be Happier
8. Let It Be
9. I'm Her Daddy
10. In My Heart
11. Moanin' and Groanin'
12. Better Off Dead

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Ain't No Sunshine
2. Hope She'll Be Happier
3. Moanin' And Groanin'

FINAL RATING:
4 out of 5 stars

Angels And Airwaves - We Don't Need To Whisper



The Blink 182 spin off tree continues today with Angels and Airwaves. In addition to having the lead singer of Blink, they've got the drummer from Offspring, guitarist from Boxcar Racer and the bassist from 30 Seconds to Mars. Whenever I get into a subgroup of a band I was never a huge fan of, I always get a little worried. Coming into today, I had no idea what type of music these guys were putting out and no clue what style would be influenced the most out of the supergroup. This was the first A&A album put out, and it came out back in 2006. My first go around with this - wow...it's nothing like any of the 4 bands mentioned above. It's actually a lot more synth than I was expecting for a mid 2000's record. I haven't heard this that much electronics in a rock band since Boston. I've always felt that the Blink music was really hmm...what's the word? Immature? This record is simply the opposite from that word. This is like a Blink meets Styx meets U2. I'm not a huge fan of the songs all being fairly long with 2 minute intros, but I guess that's probably something that wears off in time. This seems to be one of those albums you've probably only heard if you were a big time fan of one of the other bands and you heard a member formed this group. Similar to 'Crooked Vultures' I did a while back - I'm amazed how I've gone years without knowing this even existed. Well, I'm glad my followers have shown me the light, because I actually dig this record. I think that different sound is pretty cool - and I'm always a sucker for drawn out synth stuff. I mean, I made my own Boston Greatest Hits record while in high school. Go figure. I highly recommend checking this one out, as I intend to get to their other two albums sometime soon as well. It's a great start to your Thursday!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Valkyrie Missile
2. Distraction
3. Do It For Me Now
4. Valkyrie Missile
5. Little's Enough, A
6. War, The
7. Gift, The
8. It Hurts
9. Good Day
10. Start the Machine

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. The Adventure
2. Distraction
3. Do It For Me Now

FINAL RATING:
3 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Blake Shelton - Startin' Fires



Nothing like a day where you go from reviewing a hard rock record to a country album. Makes this job/hobby/venture all the more exciting. The last couple country reviews via the B Side have been pretty favorable. Maybe you could say my musical interests have turned the corner. I'm growing as an individual and my tastes are becoming all the more sophisticated. ....well I wouldn't go that far. This particular record is tolerable for me. I wouldn't listen to it over and over, but it didn't annoy me either. I'm hearing a big knock on this fella is that his singles drastically outweigh his albums. Meaning, what you hear on the radio is great - makes you rush out to buy the record...and then BAM! It's like a punch to the gut. You realize you just spent 10 bucks on garbage. It happens to everyone. Problem for Mr. Shelton is, this stigma is kinda stuck to him. I mean, I knew nothing about this fella until reading various web sites - and most of them say the same thing, "don't buy the records". I won't say that this is that bad, top to bottom it has a certain feel to it. I guess I'd have to investigate which songs were the hit singles and see if those are the better ones in my head too. Ahh well. Country fans will more than likely love it...the rest of you can probably do without it.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Green
2. Good At Startin' Fires
3. She Wouldn't Be Gone
4. I'll Just Hold On
5. 100 Miles
6. Never Lovin' You
7. Country Strong
8. Home Sweet Home
9. This Is Gonna Take All Night
10. Here I Am
11. I Don't Care
12. Bare Skin Rug


Listen To Samples


Top 3 Tracks:
1. 100 Miles
2. She Wouldn't Be Gone
3. Home Sweet Home

FINAL RATING:
2.75 out of 5 stars

Seether - Karma And Effect



Time to bring a little metal back to the B Side. Seether put on a show at the Rave last Saturday, and unfortunately, I couldn't make it. I didn't really pay a ton of attention to them until a couple years ago. Not even sure why...I had heard them in the past and just didn't give them a fair shake. I LOVE the track 'Broken' with Amy Lee..one of my favorites. Originally, I thought their sound was too similar to Staind, but the more I listen, I retract that a little bit. It's certainly similar, but all around a bit different. They don't allow Amazon to link samples to many of their records, so for right now this is the only review I can do. (Seriously, what's up with that anyway? Just let people hear previews...it's 2010 people!) I don't feel like this is their best record ever, but it's worth a listen. I think it's a pretty good representation of what they're all about. If you've never heard Seether before, they're certainly worth a look. Hopefully one of my readers who went to the show can't post a little something about it. Maybe that person would encourage other to get into Seether as well - and hit up a show next time their in your town. Happy Hump Day!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Because of Me
2. Remedy
3. Truth
4. Gift
5. Burrito
6. Given
7. Never Leave
8. World Falls Away
9. Tongue
10. I'm the One
11. Simplest Mistake
12. Diseased
13. Plastic Man
14. Secret Song (Hidden Track)

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Remedy
2. Burrito
3. Plastic Man

FINAL RATING:
3.5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Stone Temple Pilots - Self Titled



Well hello there New Music Tuesday! Good to see you again! It's been way too long... Does it get any better than the new music being one of your favorite bands of all time? STP is making a monstrous comeback by touring the good old US of A and dropping a new album for the first time since the disappointing Shangri-La Dee Da back in 2001. I know I've talked about it 100 times now, but the show they put on at the Rave back in March was outstanding. There is a channel dedicated to music called Paladia in high def, and they replayed a the concert from the next night in Chicago last weekend. The energy at the shows was so incredible, and I think that was mostly because fans have wanted this for SO long. Someone like me, I never got the chance to see them live back in the day - and I always regretted it a little bit. Well, I got the chance now - and was super pumped. Just like I'm super pumped about this new release. Let me start by saying, this isn't your fathers STP. You have to remember that almost all of Weiland's lyrics were written while on every drug in the book. So this album loses that sort of craziness lyrically. What it may lack because of that, it makes up in extremely close attention to detail on the music side. A couple songs have incredible riffs that make you hungry for more. None of these songs were written by Weiland, so it gives the other guys a chance to shine. There is only one song that I have been kind of skipping over, but the rest I think are very solid. If you're looking for volume 2 of Core, you'll be unhappy - but if you sit back with an open mind, you'll enjoy this one. It's going to be interesting to see how other large sites review this album in time. I'm guessing a lot of people will feel jaded by it, but they shouldn't. If you're an STP nut like me, pick this one up today. Make sure you give it a shot, it might surprise you!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Between the Lines
2. Take a Load Off
3. Huckleberry Crumble
4. Hickory Dichotomy
5. Dare If You Dare
6. Cinnamon
7. Hazy Daze
8. Bagman
9. Peacoat
10. Fast As I Can
11. First Kiss On Mars
12. Maver

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Between The Lines
2. Hickory Dichotomy
3. Huckleberry Crumble

FINAL RATING:
3.75 out of 5 stars

Apollo 440 - Gettin' High On Your Own Supply



Techno Tuesday sprints back into the limelight with a band that probably every single one of my readers is familiar with. Assuming everyone has seen the film 'Gone In 60 Seconds' - then you more than likely recall Stop The Rock from that. I can't say I know a ton about 440, but I know they've been around a really long time, and I know that they keep putting out music. This one was their third studio recording, and one of their most popular on the UK charts. They sample beats and riffs from everybody under the moon, and turn them into a super upbeat, funky new groove. I think dance music was really brought to the forefront in the late 90's by the bigger acts like Daft Punk and Crystal Method. At that point, I think kids were looking for a very specific type of dance music. And this fit right into that criteria. The shocking thing is, even while trying to appeal to the masses, they also made a really solid record. They didn't give in on the regular principles to make this one. ...and that's nice and refreshing. Beats on this one will surely make you move. It's fun to see if you can spot the sample too. They've got another record coming out this year sometime as well. If you're at all in a dance mood today, check this out. You'll most certainly enjoy it. Happy Tuesday!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Are We a Rock Band or What?…
2. Stop the Rock
3. Crazee Horse
4. Cold Rock the Mic
5. Lost in Space (Theme)
6. For Forty Days
7. Heart Go Boom
8. The Machine in the Ghost
9. Blackbeat
10. Stadium Parking Lot
11. Yo! Future
13. High on Your Own Supply
14. The Perfect Crime

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Stop The Rock
2. Lost in Space (Theme)
3. For Forty Days

FINAL RATING:
3.25 out of 5 stars

Monday, May 24, 2010

Ben Harper - The Will To Live



I could start a 'Mood Music Monday' but I think I've locked myself into enough review certain things on a certain day. If people asked for it, I'd do it - so let me know. Well, this week brings me way back to Ben Harper. Is it a fair statement that everyone finds out about Mr. Harper while in college? This particular record came out way back in 1997 - and I easily went the next 5 years without hearing a single note from it. It's fair to say that none of his music gets any radio play - with the exception of the local oddball type stations out there. None of the major stations seem to be interested in what he has to share with the masses. This was his fourth studio release and in my opinion start to finish one of his better works. There are a couple tracks that seem to be out of character for him - but they seem to work out with the album. I love some of the background stuff with his vocals. Nothing overdone though - with him the simpler the better. My top track will be his voice over a violin arrangement. Incredible. If you've still never heard of him, he's like a Lenny Kravitz voice meets the lyrics and arrangement of a Coldplay. Then at times toss in the bluesy of a Clapton and the guitar of also a Clapton like blues era. Some pretty cool music when you sit down and give it time. So I highly recommend this one - check it out. You won't be disappointed with what you hear.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Faded
2. Homeless Child
3. Number Three
4. Roses From My Friends
5. Jah Work
6. I Want to Be Ready
7. Will to Live, The
8. Ashes
9. Widow of a Living Man
10. Glory & Consequence
11. Mama's Trippin'
12. I Shall Not Walk Alone

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. I Shall Not Walk Alone
2. Roses From My Friends
3. Number Three

FINAL RATING:
3.5 out of 5 stars

Lady Gaga - The Fame Monster



It was about time for another pop review, and even though it's only been like 3 months since my last go round with Gaga, I still can't seem to go anywhere without hearing her tunes. And I understand why people (women especially) enjoy her stuff. Even if not her music, but what she stands for. She's not "hot" in the commonly used sense of the word - and she stands up for whatever it is she believes in. I think the statement of Lady Gaga is substantially better than Lady Gaga herself. She lists a couple of her influences as Freddie Mercury (Queen) and David Bowie. Which to someone like me is pretty cool. She also lists Michael Jackson and Madonna - which is totally a cop out. It's like if I started my band, and I said I was most influenced by the Beatles. Well, so was everyone else. Although I still am not a huge fan of her music - the idea that this unique artist is having her way with the fickle pop fans is semi amusing. Presuming that her pagentry and her whole act is something she created and not some music executive, I'm more than okay with her super odd performances and very strange wardrobe. If she truly is expressing herself, I get it. The other irritation I have with her is the excitement over the video for 'Telephone'. Kill Bill Vol. 2 is seriously one of my favorite movies. How in the heck did they get to use the 'Pussywagon' truck? And for what purpose was it needed for the video? It's like most hip hop videos back in the 90's. They're these overpriced, super high effects and budget 4 minutes of nonsense. They claim to be telling a story - but it typically never has anything to do with the lyrics of the track and it usually leaves a loose end that they say will be tied up in a subsequent video. Garbage. Plus, they found a way to make Beyonce, BEYONCE, look unattractive in the video. Shameful. Anyway, if you're in to Gaga, check this out. Don't pick up the Deluxe edition because most of what is deluxe was found on her original album. Also lame. Happy Monday!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Bad Romance
2. Alejandro
3. Monster
4. Speechless
5. Dance in the Dark
6. Telephone
7. So Happy I Could Die
8. Teeth

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Telephone
2. Bad Romance
3. Alejandro

FINAL RATING:
2.75 out of 5 stars

Friday, May 21, 2010

Them Crooked Vultures - Self Titled



Ahh supergroups. Is the music world still reeling from the awful that was the Damn Yankees, or are we ready for another attempt to form something good? I guess for every Yanks there is a Temple of the Dog or a Traveling Wilburys. Well, the Vultures are not short on star power with the band featuring Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters), John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin) and Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age). So far with this one, I'm not sure what to think. I guess with somewhat different backgrounds, I wasn't sure what style they might incorporate. I mean, it always seems in a supergroup one personality bursts through a little more than others. I guess you look at all of Jack White's callabos and it always seems they sound exactly like the Stripes. I don't see that as much on this one. I think they did a pretty good job and mixing it up and coming up with someone reasonably unique. Now having said that, it's by no means going to melt your face off with rock dominance. It's good, and I enjoyed my couple go rounds with it so far - but something isn't clicking with me. Not even sure what that is yet. I hear little riffs of Zeppelin in certain spots and that kind of makes me go one way - then I pick up on some Grohl and I get confused again. Lyrically it's not all there, but there is no question from a guitar standpoint - it's spot on. If you simply focus on that side of the record, I think it stacks up with anything ever done. Arrangement wise, they're all about the same and I could have gone for more variety. I'm hearing that they're working on a second record to be due out either late this year or early 2011. Maybe they'll mix it up a bit more on that one and people will have actually heard of these guys. Until then, give it a shot, let me know what you think.

TRACK LISTING:
1. No One Loves Me & Neither Do I
2. Mind Eraser, No Chaser
3. New Fang
4. Dead End Friends
5. Elephants
6. Scumbag Blues
7. Bandoilers
8. Reptiles
9. Interlude With Ludes
10. Warsaw Or The First Breath You Take After You Give Up
11. Caligulove
12. Gunman
13. Spinning In Daffodils

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Spinning In Daffodils
2. Elephant
3. Gunman

FINAL RATING:
3.5 out of 5 stars

Cage The Elephant - Self Titled



Friday brings a recommended review via JenInTosa again - and surprisingly, it's not country! I had never heard of these guys when she brought them to my attention, so I had no idea what to expect. I went on a rant the other day while reviewing Panic! that was talking about how bands who just blend their identity with other groups kind of drive me nuts. Well, I'm going to do a bit of a 180 with this review. It seems very evident to me that these guys are a blend of pretty much every rock band over the last 50 years. They have elements of classic rock, alt rock and straight up rock anthem rock. If I had to name bands I'd compare them to - it would be like a Sublime meets The Strokes meets Supertramp with a splash of Hendrix's guitar on tracks. And the crazy thing is if you put all that into the musical blender and hit puree, it comes out with something pretty different and cool. The only issue I have with this group is they've been making tuneage since 2005 and have only released one album. This came out in 2008 and they are STILL dropping singles on the radio in 2010. I can't even find an in production status for anything they might be working on. Regardless of that though, this is certainly worth checking out. I think people who enjoy grooving on new stuff will especially enjoy this. I'd put them in similar status as someone like Tab the Band who I reviewed a couple months ago. Kick back and enjoy B Siders!

TRACK LISTING:
1. In One Ear
2. James Brown
3. Ain't No Rest For the Wicked
4. Tiny Little Robots
5. Lotus
6. Back Against the Wall
7. Drones In the Valley
8. Judas
9. Back Stabbin' Betty
10. Sail To the Sun
11. Free Love

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Ain't No Rest For The Wicked
2. Back Stabbin' Betty
3. In One Ear

FINAL RATING:
4 out of 5 stars

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Rant #8 - "Put Me In Coach, I'm Ready To Play.."



As some of you may know, in my spare time when I'm not listening to tuneage, I enjoy sports. Since I'm based in Wisconsin I mostly enjoy the Brewers, Packers, Bucks, Badgers etc... I still play sports in my free time too - and between my playing and my watching, I notice there is one thing that kind of unites all sports and their players - music!! Knowing how many football players operate (including friends who played), almost all players get jacked up listening to tunes. This happens in a couple different scenarios: 1) Many guys have a 'pre-game anthem'. One person I know listened to 'Paint It Black' by the Stones before every game. It got him all ready to go and hit somebody. 2) In the weight room. When you're trying to muster the strength to put up that last rep of 250 on the bench, your favorite lyric or hardcore guitar riff may give you the drive to make it.

In baseball, one of my new favorite things to do at the park is listen to the 'at bat' song choice. Most guys pick newer, typically hip hop type songs - but some guys make different choices. Since I only really know the Brewers, I'll share about them. Corey Hart always picks a summer country melody. Jody Gerut picks 'Groove Me' by King Floyd. Craig Counsell has used Hendrix's 'All Along The Watchtower' for as long as I can recall. The cool thing about that is it's a little extra pump you up before an at bat. And with baseball being one of the more superstitious sports, if you have a hot streak going with it, many guys will go back to older songs because they hit well with them when the track was popular. Prince Fielder for instance has gone back to 'Can't Tell Me Nothing' by Kanye West. Song is obviously 3 years old or whatever, but he brought it back.

The list goes on, runners use music to give them the motivation to complete that last mile. Basketball players use the same hype up method as football. Music can make you feel invincible if the song fits your needs. Music has that intense ability to completely change your state of mind and make you feel exactly what you need to feel. They could probably easily do a quick study on this and take someone hitting a baseball or something with and without their favorite music. I'm guessing the performance in almost every case would go up with the background tracks. This my friends is what gets me going so much on music. I can come into work, be tired, be sick - just feeling like garbage in general. The last thing I could want to do is sit here and work. Music can turn all that around.

So just remember - next time you go to any game, try to focus on the music surrounding you. It's playing for a reason. And next time you're playing in your rec sports league, pump yourself up by listening to something in the car as loud as possible on the drive over. I'm betting you'll feel the difference and perform because of it.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Rush - 2112



Ahh Rush. Very undervalued band for me. Everytime I listen to a little Rush - I feel like I should listen to them more. Is there a better drummer than Neal Peart?? Seriously, this album (pronounced Twenty One Twelve) is simply outstanding. The title track and opener is broken down into 6 parts:
* I: "Overture"
* II: "The Temples of Syrinx"
* III: "Discovery"
* IV: "Presentation"
* V: "Oracle: The Dream"
* VI: "Soliloquy"
* VII: "Grand Finale"
They each build on one another and flow into about 20 minutes of amazing music artistry. It's like a mini Dark Side of the Moon. It runs gambits of style, emotion and arrangement. Brilliant. The rest of the album is pretty solid too. You might feel like this being only a few tracks is a rip off - but it's well worth it. I have to imagine that if you're into classic rock as a whole, you'll love 2112. I encourage you to take a listen and let me know what you think. I know people get irritated with Getty Lee's vocals, but there isn't a lot of singing on this one. Mostly rock solid instrumentals that make you want to get up and move. Listen to this while getting out on this sunny day!

TRACK LISTING:
1. 2112
2. Passage To Bangkok, A
3. Twilight Zone, The
4. Lessons
5. Tears
6. Something For Nothing

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. 2112 Overture
2. 2112 Overture
3. A Passage to Bangkok

FINAL RATING:
4.25 out of 5 stars

Panic! At The Disco - A Fever You Can't Sweat Out



It would seem to me the whole 'punk' or 'emo' phase really hit an all time high as a genre in 2005. While it had solely underground success before, it hit the big time around that year. Commercially it seemed people couldn't get enough of bands like Fall Out Boy or Panic. The problem is, many of those bands had solid followings before the commercial breakthrough. That meant there would be a lot of imitators. Granted I don't know a ton about the genre, but it looks to me like this was Panic's first record - and it came after the big success of other groups. To me, they have a sound, a statement, a style and even the way they name songs were just copies of whatever other bands were doing. I don't feel this album was any more unique than the thousand other records put out in that genre in 05. Maybe it's because I didn't hear this until later that I formed my opinion. Either way, I don't feel their music is great - and I wouldn't actively listen to it. I guess if I were to go out and start my own band - I'd want to have my own identity with songs that people for sure knew was MY BAND when hearing it on the radio. Even when I hear a song like 'I Write Sins...' it could be anyone. I could name 15 bands that it might be. Given that and my general indifference of this brand of music, don't expect high rankings. Happy Hump Day!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Introduction
2. Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide Is Press Coverage, The
3. London Beckoned Songs About Money Written by Machines
4. Nails for Breakfast, Tacks for Snacks
5. Camisado
6. Time to Dance
7. Lying Is the Most Fun a Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off
8. Intermission
9. But It's Better If You Do
10. I Write Sins Not Tragedies
11. I Constantly Thank God for Esteban
12. There's a Good Reason These Tables Are Numbered Honey, You Just ...
13. Build God, Then We'll Talk

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. I Write Sins Not Tragedies
2. Lying Is The Most Fun...
3. Only Difference Between...

FINAL RATING:
1.75 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Nas and Damien Marley - Distant Relatives



Due to my lack of posts, I'll go with another New Music Tuesday entry. That brings me to a hip hop and reggae mash-up that features Nas and Damien "Jr Gong" Marley. A little background on each fella, Nas has been putting out rap records since 1994's 'Illmatic'. The knock on Nas is simply that he goes from dropping top 10 of all time type records and then the next one will be total trash. For that reason, I've never been a huge Nas guy, but I admit that when he drops a mixtape or a new single, I'm all over it. He's done some great callabo work in the past, so this cd doesn't surprise me all that much. Damien however is as much known for his humanitarian work as his musical prowess. (and if you think that's no big deal - he's won 3 grammys) Bob Marley had about 2,000 kids, and Damien is one of them. Devotees know that his name was Bob 'Tuff Gong' Marley, so he's got a play on that going. He only has 4 studio records including this one, and all of them have gotten solid reviews. Anyway, the marriage seems to kind of make sense - Damien has done some really hard hitting stuff with The Game in the past that everyone enjoyed. Nas is a fairly spiritual man as well - which seems to flow into Damien's beliefs. My comment on this album is - I don't get it. I mean, I expected each track to have some influence of each artist, but that isn't the case at all. Some tracks have a beat and a hook and some tracks are pure reggae that Nas isn't featured on. I think the best selling callabo record ever is Jay-Z and Linkin Park - and they did a nice job at imposing each style on the listener at every turn. Even if the result was less than stellar, that was the style. This one can't seem to make up its mind. They should consider sticking to individual works, as that will sell better. I'll give this one a couple more chances, but I don't expect to jam on it too much more. Check it out as it's semi neat - just don't expect the world.

TRACK LISTING:
1. As We Enter
2. Deadly Equation (Tribal War)
3. Strong Will Continue
4. Leaders
5. Friends
6. Count Your Blessings
7. Dispear
8. Land of Promise
9. In His Own Words
10. Nah Mean
11. Wisdom
12. My Generation
13. Africa Must Wake Up

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. As We Enter
2. My Generation
3. Tribes At War

FINAL RATING:
2.25 out of 5 stars

Black Keys - Brothers



First and foremost - my sincerest apologies to my fans. I haven't been posting on the weekends because viewership seems to really drop on Saturday and Sunday. I'm usually busy anyway and I figure if no one is reading, I might as well wait. Well, I didn't get to posting anything yesterday either, as I had a late night on Sunday and also had some crazy stuff come up yesterday. Well, thanks for understanding and BOOM!! New music Tuesday is back. Seems like forever ago now that I profiled the Black Keys as a great band you're not listening too. That statement stands true with the May 18th release of Brothers. It's another solid album from guys who don't seem to understand what bad music is. I fell in love with that dirty guitar and raw vocal from these guys since day one - and this record has a lot more than that. The album takes a little of a swirly trip at times and then seems like it's going spacey too. They added some resounding drum work with this also, and I love how that blends with some of the electronics they're using. Bottom line is, this didn't disappoint. It's hard for me to pick up a new record by a band that I love. I always feel like I'm going to end up disliking it because of my own incredibly high standards I have for groups. This one actually passed my expectations. For me to say that - it's a little surprising to my keyboard. I encourage and implore you to check these guys out. If you didn't at my request last time, do it now. Do not pass go, do not collect $200 dollars. Happy New Music Tuesday B Side!!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Everlasting Light
2. Next Girl
3. Tighten Up
4. Howlin' for You
5. She's Long Gone
6. Black Mud
7. Only One, The
8. Too Afraid to Love
9. Ten Cent Pistol
10. Sinister Kid
11. Go Getter, The
12. I'm Not the One
13. Unknown Brother
14. Never Gonna Give You Up
15. These Days

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. These Days
2. The Only One
3. Tighten Up

FINAL RATING:
4.25 out of 5 stars

Friday, May 14, 2010

Eminem - Relapse/Refill



After many years of not releasing any music, Eminem struck back with this Relapse piece, and then the Refill side a few months later. Being a pretty big Em guy, I was expecting big things from this. My stance is, as an artist if you're going to take years off and not keep your fans happy, then you do release an album finally, it better be really good. And this showed a ton of promise, since everyone knew it would be a double album and that he'd been writing and working in it for quite some time. At first listen of just Relapse, I was disappointed. It didn't seem to have that flashy Em style that we've all grown fond of. It grew on me as I kept going with it, and I find it okay if I toss it on today. The Refill side though - for the most part was just trash. 'Forever' is an outstanding song, but it was already released on Drake's record and was on some sports soundtrack. Putting it on Refill was pretty lame. 'Elevator' was the next biggest single, and it was simply one of those get his name out on the pop charts type songs. You know, similar to "Real Slim Shady' and those types of tracks. Not a big fan of those. I'm also done with him using that stupid voice. Fans will know what I'm talking about, and I'm not really sure how to explain it for those that aren't fans. He just gets this alternate ego type voice and it's annoying. He's due to drop another record this summer, and I'm hoping the voice is gone, and he goes back to murdering tracks like he did back in the day. Gosh, even like he did on 'Forever'. Even like he's been killing singles like Weezy's 'Drop The World' and BOB's 'Airplanes 2'. We still love ya Em, just bring back the real Slim Shady. Happy Friday!

RELAPSE TRACK LISTING:
1. Dr. West [Skit]
2. 3 A.M.
3. My Mom
4. Insane
5. Bagpipes From Baghdad
6. Hello
7. Tonya [Skit]
8. Same Song & Dance
9. We Made You
10. Medicine Ball
11. Paul [Skit]
12. Stay Wide Awake
13. Old Time's Sake
14. Must Be the Ganja
15. Mr. Mathers
16. Deja Vu
17. Beautiful
18. Crack a Bottle
19. Steve Berman [Skit]
20. Underground

REFILL TRACK LISTING:
1. Forever
2. Hell Breaks Loose
3. Buffalo Bill
4. Elevator
5. Taking My Ball
6. Music Box
7. Drop The Bomb On 'Em

Listen To Samples

Top 5 Tracks: (since it's a double album)
1. Forever
2. Beautiful
3. Underground
4. Stay Wide Awake
5. Old Time's Sake

FINAL RATING:
3.5 out of 5 stars

The Fray - How To Save A Life



Ahh, The Fray. I would say they are a pretty good way to run through your Friday. I think I mentioned this before, but I was stunned and irritated when their show was nothing but teenage girls screaming about how hot the lead singer is. Maybe it's just me getting old and crotchety, but it really annoys me. I don't remember ever being that way going to shows when I was younger, plus - The Fray doesn't even seem to be that poppy that tweens would enjoy them. I guess if that's all you ever listened to was the title track, you may think that's the case. Truth is, I wanted to review this particular album because it's actually really good. I didn't really jive on the newer one thusfar, so I figured I'd pop on a golden oldie to start my day. Most of the tracks really are a 'mood' type genre. If you're in that rainy day mode, this cd will satisfy your hunger for methodical tuneage. I'm going to say most of the songs you've heard on the radio aren't the best on here, and they're not really a representation of how their music seems to be. The best I can say is check it out, you'll enjoy it. On a side note, I hated when they covered 'Heartless' by Kanye West. I mean, I get it that the song was ripe for covering and slowing down - but it was semi uncreative. The song was already very passionate and dark - so slowing it down and adding an acoustic guitar is a cop out for me. It's tougher to make a song like that work on a hip hop album. There was some guy who did a slow acoustic version of Kast's 'Hey Ya' a few years back, and that was visionary. Something like that, makes me lose respect. But this album is still good anyway, so groove through your Friday with it!

TRACK LISTING:
1. She Is
2. Over My Head (Cable Car)
3. How to Save a Life
4. All at Once
5. Fall Away
6. Heaven Forbid
7. Look After You
8. Hundred
9. Vienna
10. Dead Wrong
11. Little House
12. Trust Me

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Hundred
2. Heaven Forbid
3. Over My Head (Cable Car)

FINAL RATING:
3.75 out of 5 stars

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sublime - 40oz. To Freedom



Getting to an album requested by follower Janis, my headphones are once again brought to Sublime, and the 40oz record. You may recall I did their self titled work a month ago now, which was the final entry in their discography. This was the first entry, and I think it's somewhat clear they were still working to find their style here. Sublime isn't really my favorite band ever to begin with, but to me this record is substantially worse than the self titled one. The only reason I say that, it doesn't really have that guitar anthem like 'Pawn Shop' it doesn't have that incredible sing along track like 'What I Got' and it doesn't have that super awesome one like 'Santeria'. Don't get me wrong, I still think this is a good record, it's just not my favorite. Most of the songs are kind of silly and don't contain any substance. And for that reason, it's a pretty good jam record. If you're cleaning your house and want to put some background music on really loud, this would be good for that. As far as me sitting down and listen while working, there are a million other albums I'd put on first. It seems like this one has picked up popularity over time, as it was considered a flop initially, but has now sold over 2 Million copies in the US alone. It's a blend of a lot of styles, has some reggae, rock, alt rock, punk etc all mixed together. It's a little different, but kind of neat. If you've never picked this one up before - it's certainly worth checking out. I'd get to it after the Self Titled if I were you, but hey - it's your life. Happy Thursday B Siders!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Waiting For My Ruca
2. 40oz. To Freedom
3. Smoke Two Joints
4. We're Only Gonna Die For Our Arrogance
5. Don't Push
6. 5446 That's My Number / Ball And Chain
7. Badfish
8. Lets Go Get Stoned
9. New Thrash
10. Scarlet Begonias
11. Live at E's
12. D.J.S
13. Chica Me Tipo
14. Right Back
15. What Happened
16. New Song
17. Ebin
18. Date Rape
19. Hope
20. Krs-One
21. Rivers of Babylon
22. Thanks

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. KRS-One
2. Scarlet Begonias
3. Date Rape

FINAL RATING:
3.75 out of 5 stars

Conway Twitty - Hello Darlin'



I have to apologize to my country fans out there again. I have about 5 or 6 requests for reviews to get to yet, but I had to sneak this one in. As some of you may know, I enjoy the weekly shenanigans of Peter Griffin and friends on the TV show 'Family Guy'. In case you're not familiar, when Peter gets into a jam, or wants a distraction, he turns to the camera and says, "Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Conway Twitty" - and then an actual performance made for TV is shown on the episode. What was more funny - there was an episode titled "The Juice Is Loose" and they aired the entire video for "I See The Want To In Your Eyes". I recall this specifically because it prompted the people who were watching with me to stop their conversation and say, "What the hell??? This is still going??"" Hilarious. Anyway, I figured - why not give Conway a shot on the B Side? One thing I have to say, his voice is mesmerizing. Since I have a problem with that monotone type of vocal, he changes pitch and shows some range in just about every song. I only chose this record because it has probably his most famous track ever, in Hello Darlin'. Most of his music sounds the same, which is really about the only negative I can come up with. Crazy enough, I'd probably listen to this in my free time. Weird huh? I was doing some reading on Mr. Twitty, and he did some covers that I'd like to hear someday. Those include: 'Slow Hand', 'Heartache Tonight' and 'The Rose' by The Pointer Sisters, The Eagles and Bette Midler respectively. I encourage everyone to go honky tonk today and try a little Twitty. It might brighten up your Thursday!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Rocky Top
2. I'll Get Over Losing You
3. Up Comes the Bottle (Down Goes the Man)
4. You and Your Sweet Love
5. Hello Darlin'
6. Rose
7. Reuben James
8. I Never Once Stopped Loving You
9. Will You Visit Me on Sunday
10. Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain
11. I'm So Used to Loving You

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Hello Darlin'
2. Reuben James
3. Up Comes The Bottle (Down Goes The Man)

FINAL RATING:
3.25 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Metallica - Load



So this is I guess the second "sell-out" record by Metallica, since all the die hards thought they sold out with the Black Album. I've commented on how stupid that is before, but just in case you don't remember, that's stupid. The Black Album was awesome, regardless of how 'poppy' Enter Sandman was. Load came out 5 years later, and a lot of those fans refused to even listen to it. Rest assured B Side, I was not one of those people! I picked this up a couple weeks after the release and fell in love. One of my favorite records by Metallica. Looking through other review sites and getting others feedback, so many people think it's garbage. I'm curious if any of them really listened to this, or just passed judgment. C'mon, I find it hard to think anyone popped this in and became disgusted. There are a few really great tracks here. It's not up there in the conversation for best album of all time, but no Metallica albums are. They rely on a few really awesome hits and then settle into mediocrity for the other few tracks. That's the way it works for them. You don't even have to be a 'metal' fan to enjoy this record...since there are a couple tracks that slow it down and are just as good. Check out my Top 3 if you've never heard it before, I think you'll like what you hear. Then go out and pick this up, as you'll for sure enjoy it. To me, we need to reward artists for trying different things and reinventing the wheel sometimes. Prime example. Happy Hump Day B Side!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Ain't My Bitch
2. 2 X 4
3. House Jack Built, The
4. Until It Sleeps
5. King Nothing
6. Hero of the Day
7. Bleeding Me
8. Cure
9. Poor Twisted Me
10. Wasting My Hate
11. Mama Said
12. Thorn Within
13. Ronnie
14. Outlaw Torn, The

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Bleeding Me
2. King Nothing
3. Hero Of The Day

FINAL RATING:
4.25 out of 5 stars

Usher - Raymond v. Raymond



Nothing is blowing up the pop charts right now faster than Usher's March release, Raymond v. Raymond. I've heard at least 3 singles off this on popular radio airwaves already. That's actually quite crazy for a record only out for a month now. Usually they try to leak singles very slowly so you can promote the record over the course of time. This typically means the artist has another follow up coming out soon, but that does not seem to be the case. Not sure what his label is thinking, but I'd seriously expect sales to diminish once the singles stop coming out. That's just the way the business works. So, I've never been a big Usher fan. Other than the song "Yeah" (which come on, doesn't everybody like that song???), I don't care for his singles. I can safely say I've never analyzed a full Usher record before - but part of that is his style. He tries to be an R&B guy with a little mix of pop and hip hop...and I guess it never really worked for me. I didn't really know, but it sounds like he went through some heavy personal stuff while writing and making this album. A messy divorce mainly, which certainly comes through on a couple tracks. I guess I've never been a big fan of airing your dirty laundry in your music, unless you're telling the story. And this just seems to be complaining or whining almost. If you're an Usher fan, check it out...although I think you'll be disappointed. It must be selling well based on a couple singles, so we'll see how it's received 5 years from now.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Monstar
2. Hey Daddy (Daddy's Home)
3. There Goes My Baby
4. Lil Freak
5. She Don't Know
6. OMG
7. Mars vs Venus
8. Pro Lover
9. Foolin' Around
10. Papers
11. So Many Girls
12. Guilty
13. Okay
14. Making Love (Into The Night)

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Lil Freak
2. There Goes My Baby
3. Guilty

FINAL RATING:
1.5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Wolfgang Gartner - Bounce/Get It



Techno Tuesday is back with a semi odd caveat just like the new music review today. Wolfgang Gartner puts out a lot of music every couple of months, but the releases are all in separate EP type records. So I'm reviewing an 'album' that only has two tracks on it today. Strange right? Well, I'm doing this for two reasons. 1) Typically his albums only have one actual song on them, just mixed 3 or 4 different ways. I figured that's even less good, because you're really not getting introduced to anything new that way. 2) I'm hoping it will inspire people to go and listen to other stuff by him. If you've been grooving to my house/techno/dance day, this will get your toes tapping for sure. I first found out about Mr. Gartner about a year ago. I've been trying to get my hands on more stuff by him, but honestly he's hard to find. He has no entry on Wikipedia for cryin' out loud!! Who isn't on Wiki nowadays? He has a couple tracks on iTunes for purchase and then a few on other sources, but not easy to come by. Best Buy appears not to sell his stuff as I can't find it in the store or online. Not sure why I'd want to remain so out of reach if my goal was to make music to get rich, but that's another story. Anyway, dance nuts unite and check this out. I'm a little curious how many people I reach that are actually into this type of music. Maybe shoot me a post that gives me a yes or no. I really enjoy this genre, but maybe my recommendations are being passed over. If you've even got hooked on one song of one record I put out there, I'd love to hear that too. Happy Tuesday B Siders!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Bounce
2. Get It

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Bounce
2. Get It
3. Uhh....Bounce Again?

FINAL RATING:
Only because it's two songs:
2.75 out of 5 stars

Crash Test Dummies - Oooh La La



New Music Tuesday returns with a semi odd album. I think we've all heard of the Dummies before with such monstrous hits as MMM MMM MMM MMM and God Shuffled His Feet - but I'm not sure how many people have ever actually listened to an album by them before. I know I did back in the day - but being so young it was probably hard for me to appreciate their style. Side note for the day, what a SLOW new music day today. My choices were either this, Meat Loaf or something really - really obscure. Must just be one of those weeks. So back to CTD's, this album is very strange. It has a lot of big band type elements to it and then a couple songs that could pass for modern folk music. I can tell you this record was inspired by some old toys that used to produce music - but quite honestly the story is fairly boring. I can tell you the lead singer, Brad Roberts has one of those voices that is so intruiging, it makes you want more - but you probably already know about that. I can tell you that I was watching this channel called Paladia that shows only different concerts and then music videos late at night, and one day they had a CTD concert on. It was them playing at some church in the middle of Tennessee I think, back in the early 2000's. How weird is that? I think even the most religious of artists wouldn't play a church, and I know that Mr. Robers isn't that into the lord because he used the GD phrase in his tuneage which is typically a no-no. Very odd. Well anyhow, maybe one day I'll get to the old stuff by them, but until then give this one a shot. It's almost genreless with it's movement all over the music world. Kind of a neat idea, also kind of odd. So I'll have to rate it as such. I encourage you to check it out though, as it is kind of cool.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Songbird
2. You Said You'd Meet Me (In California)
3. And It's Beautiful
4. Paralyzed
5. In-Between Place, The
6. Not Today Baby
7. Heart Of Stone
8. Lake Bras d'Or
9. What I'm Famous For
10. Now You See Her
11. Put A Face

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Songbird
2. Heart Of Stone
3. And It's Beautiful

FINAL RATING:
3 out of 5 stars

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Who - Who's Next



So, it seems quite a few people were actually introduced to The Who at the Super Bowl this year. It's one of those bands that if you're not into classic rock, you've heard a dozen songs by them but don't have any idea who sings them or anything about The Who. Well, clearly they are a great band. I don't think they get the credit they deserve sometimes. I feel so many people point to Baba O'Riley, call it 'overrated' and say they're not that great. But here is a prime example of why that view is ridiculous. 'Who's Next' is simply put a rock solid record. In addition to O'Riley, it has a monster ballad in 'Blue Eyes' and then an amazing guitar anthem with 'Fooled'. I feel that people who refer to The Who as overrated or not that great are just ignorant people who don't actually listen to music. Or hear the "hits" on radio and pass judgment. Truth is, they are just as good as any classic rock band out there. The show the range and have different sounds and styles that make them great. Now, I'm not saying I enjoy them as much as Zeppelin, Floyd, Hendrix, Beatles etc...but I can see why anyone would. They have a sound that is easy to enjoy and fun to listen to. If you're a Who newbie, check this record out first. It would be easy to pick up a greatest hits record, but what fun is that? Enjoy this on your Monday B Side, and rock your way into Tuesday!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Baba O'Riley
2. Bargain
3. Love Ain't for Keeping
4. My Wife
5. The Song Is Over
6. Getting In Tune
7. Going Mobile
8. Behind Blue Eyes
9. Won't Get Fooled Again
10. Pure And Easy
11. Baby Don't You Do It
12. Naked Eye
13. Water
14. Too Much Of Anything
15. I Don't Even Know Myself
16. Behind Blue Eyes (Alternate Version)

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Baba O'Riley
2. Won't Get Fooled Again
3. Behind Blue Eyes

FINAL RATING:
4.25 out of 5 stars

+44 - When Your Heart Stops Beating



In the ongoing saga of Blink 182 and their band and their side projects, I was asked to review this record by +44. This group features Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker from Blink. To be honest, I'm just not feelin' it. I believe I mentioned that I was never huge into Blink, and this has a very similar sound to it. Hoppuses vocals sound almost identical to Tom Delonge to me, almost eerily the same. Maybe it would take a true Blink fan to recognize the difference? The record seems pretty poppy for the most part, but then has a couple tracks that slow it down. For those fans out there, did anyone like the side projects more than Blink itself? It seems to me when the group imploded and went separate ways, all these little side bands didn't compare to the real deal Holyfield. But maybe that's just my opinion. I still have to get to Angels and Airwaves as well as Boxcar Racer - and on top of that, I need to get to Blink's 'Dude Ranch' album, that some claim to be their best of. I'm confused, you're confused - let's just wrap this review up. Check it out if you're a Blink fan already - if you aren't, I'd pass it up. Doesn't seem to have anything great to go gaga over.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Lycanthrope
2. Baby Come On
3. When Your Heart Stops Beating
4. Little Death
5. 155
6. Lillian
7. Cliffdiving
8. Interlude
9. Weatherman
10. No, It Isn't
11. Make You Smile
12. Chapter 13

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Make You Smile
2. 155
3. Lycanthrope

FINAL RATING:
2.5 out of 5 stars

Friday, May 7, 2010

Aqualung - Magnetic North



I had a nice post about Aqualung's 'Strange and Beautiful' record back around the Easter timeframe. That review was incredibly positive and I told you to rush out and buy it. Well, that brings me to his new album that just came out April 20th of this year. (I know, I know - I dropped the ball on a New Music Tuesday entry...) I was inspired by Mr. Nail to do another mood type review - and I've been meaning to get to this for a while now anyway. Well, at first glance here - I'm pretty disappointed. One of the greatest pieces of Aqualung's previous work was the complete mix-up of different arrangements. This one is all pretty much the same - all piano, all the time. Usually that would score an extremely high mark from as I love piano compliments, but this just feels ordinary to me. For someone who has such great lyrics and a great voice, my expectations were much higher. About the only song that switches it up is the opening track, which I encourage you to take a listen to. For some reason it sounds exactly like Beck. The style and the lyrics actually sound like Beck...very odd. I would say if you were already a die hard Aqualung groupie, you may like this. I'd say if you REALLY liked S&B - you should give this a shot too. But if you didn't really care for the last one, this one is drastically worse. If you check out my Top 3, only what I'll be listing as my number one has the feel of his previous record. Let me know if you think I'm way off base. It pains me a little to write this because I always told everyone to check him out before. Puzzling.

TRACK LISTING:
1. New Friend
2. Reel Me In
3. Sundowning
4. 36 Hours
5. Fingertip
6. Lost
7. Time Moves Slow
8. California
9. Remember Us
10. Hummingbird
11. Thin Air
12. Magnetic North

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Sundowning
2. Fingertip
3. Remember Us

FINAL RATING:
3 out of 5 stars

David Nail - I'm About To Come Alive



Country day is back on the B Side - and today David Nail's one and only record came across my headphones. For my non country fans, I'm going to try to explain his style to you. He's different. His music has a different feel to it than typical country. If first starts out with great beats in the background. It kicks up with pretty good harmonized vocals - that are always complimented by something...there is some very well played acoustic guitar on some tracks, piano arrangement, harder electrics and then some flat snare. Very pleasing to the ear in almost all cases. Every site flat out lists this as country, but I think there are a few other elements in there. Mr. Nail has a 'mood' type feel to it in some spots, which has a little sound like a Ben Folds. I just reviewed Brandi Carlile the other day, and he has some elements of her too. Very strong on the mic and then passionate lyrically. I have to say I was pretty impressed. Part of it was I listened to track 1 first, and it really caught me. Loved the piano arrangement and the slow methodic vocal. For that reason, it will have to be my top track. To my country fans (JenInTosa recommended this one), I have to imagine you like this album. Seems like it can please both country and non-country fans alike. Non country groovers, check this one out too. I think you'll enjoy at least a couple tracks on this record as well. Happy Friday B Side!!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Mississippi
2. I'm About to Come Alive
3. Red Light
4. Again
5. Clouds
6. Summer Job Days
7. Strangers on a Train
8. Looking for a Good Time
9. This Time Around
10. Turning Home
11. Missouri

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Mississippi
2. I'm About To Come Alive
3. Clouds

FINAL RATING:
3.5 out of 5 stars

Thursday, May 6, 2010

B.O.B - The Adventures Of Bobby Ray



I don't care what anyone says, this record is pop music through and through. I know that he's signed to TI's Grand Hustle and they bill him as a 'rapper', but let's be honest - that's ridiculous. It brings up and interesting point, a guy like this from the dirty-dirty in the ATL, he drops a record like this, does he lose all street cred? I mean, every rapper has a slower ballad on a record, but this is full of them. There are some pretty Neptunish beats on a couple tracks which is kind of cool - but this record doesn't even have any cameos by credible rappers. Craziness. I do enjoy that Bobby Ray callaboed with Rivers Cuomo from Weezer. That will put this up just a quarter of a notch in my mind. And I know I already ranted about this, but man - when I pop on the charts, this is killing the HIP HOP charts. Ugh. I want all my rap moguls on the blog to listen to this one and tell me if it has any elements of rap to you. The album is kind of garbage, if it wasn't so catchy in spots and have those couple redeeming tracks where it sounds like someone actually cared about the arrangement. Most tracks I find simply annoying and if I bought it would skip them in heartbeat. Maybe someday Bobby Ray will put out a deeper record (similar to a Kid Cudi maybe) and I'll give him another go. Until then, have fun with this one. I know I won't.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Don't Let Me Fall
2. Nothin' on You
3. Past My Shades
4. Airplanes
5. Bet I
6. Ghost in the Machine
7. Kids, The
8. Magic
9. Fame
10. Lovelier Than You
11. 5th Dimension
12. Airplanes, Pt. 2

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Airplane 2
2. Nothin' On You
3. Magic

FINAL RATING:
2 out of 5 stars

Brandi Carlile - The Story



This review is probably long overdue. If my goal is to turn you on to solid, different music - Brandi should have been my first review. You probably have to listen to her music to truly understand it, but her lyrics are great, her vocals are flat out phenomenal and her passion for the music is second to none. She is another artist that I got in touch with via the freebie of the week on iTunes. The song they released is called 'Closer To You' and is also very solid. The only reason I'm not going to review that album (her self titled debut) is simply because I don't know it as well. I've put it on a couple times but have not gotten to it as much as The Story. The title track has been used in a TON of tv shows, commercial advertisements and in sports. Due to such monstrous demand, a huge chunk of her sales came from online downloads - of course directly correlating with when people heard it on the television. Brandi does a little bit of everything. She's a bit folky, she's got some country elements to her, she's a bit poppy and a bit alternative at times. I'm pretty sure you'll find something you'll like. If she did a straight up country album, I'd have a very favorable review for that genre for the first time in a while. Her storytelling is amazing and when you hear the passion she brings to the mic, I promise you'll be impressed. Check it out B Side - and almost to Friday!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Late Morning Lullaby
2. Story, The
3. Turpentine
4. My Song
5. Wasted
6. Have You Ever
7. Josephine
8. Losing Heart
9. Cannonball
10. Until I Die
11. Downpour
12. Shadow on the Wall
13. Again Today

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. The Story
2. Again Today
3. Turpentine

FINAL RATING:
3.75 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Godsmack - Self Titled



As a continuation to what has carried over into 'New Music Wednesday', Godsmack put a new record out yesterday called The Oracle. Problem is, I can't find links to samples for you guys anywhere! I've vowed to myself that if I can't provide you a link to what I'm reviewing - I'll do it later. Maybe that's silly, but if you don't have your own way to get a taste, I figure I owe it to you for reading. Anyway, since I can't get to the new stuff - I'll do the old stuff. This was Godsmack's first record, and by far their best selling. I've noticed that some people have given this album really poor reviews, and I'm not quite sure why. I think there are 4 legitimately good songs on this one. Sure, I wouldn't put it up there in the music hall of fame or anything, but it's solid. To me, this is a good way to introduce yourself into the world of metal. It's kind of a gradual step, since they combine a lot of funky electronic stuff in their guitar work. They lay down some really fat beats to lay over the vocal side which is pretty unique. I don't think they have the really hard sound of other bands and they certainly don't have the shoutish vocals. I'd say if you're leery to dive into hard rock, check this album out. I think you might find you can get along with the genre, and find a happy medium. Don't go out and pick Gwar as your first listen. After all of this new music shenanigans, enjoy your hump day!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Moon Baby
2. Whatever
3. Keep Away
4. Time Bomb
5. Bad Religion
6. Immune
7. Someone in London
8. Get Up, Get Out!
9. Now or Never
10. Stress
11. Situation
12. Voodoo

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Voodoo
2. Whatever
3. Keep Away

FINAL RATING:
3.75 out of 5 stars

Deftones - Diamond Eyes



It's a bit of a 'New Music Wednesday' as this has become carryover. I had this album written down as a 5/25 release, but it turns out it dropped yesterday. That's a big B Side "Whoops" ladies and gentlemen. My source turned out to be not credible for album release dates. Ahh well, live and learn right? So - straight up, the Deftones are a pretty good band, wouldn't go as far as to call them great. I enjoyed the White Pony album the best, and Around The Fur had some decent stuff on it. They haven't put anything out since 2006 - and that was a record I'm yet to hear anything off of. This one seemed to have a little more hype surrounding it, as I've heard from a couple sources they were looking forward to it. I really enjoy the sound of this record, but I'm not sure I'll listen to it a ton. The backdrop is pretty awesome and some of the lyrical effects are pretty neat. I just can't see myself popping this in any more often than White Pony which seems to be once a year or so. My best Deftones memory was them covering Weezer's Say It Ain't So at a show years back. Maybe they'll put that on an actual cd someday. Until then, let me know what you think of this one. I'll say it's a fairly average record - but check it out. If you already loved the Deftones, this might be a home run for you.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Diamond Eyes
2. Royal
3. Cmnd/Ctrl
4. You've Seen the Butcher
5. Beauty School
6. Prince
7. Rocket Skates
8. Sextape
9. Risk
10. 976-Evil
11. This Place Is Death

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Diamond Eyes
2. Prince
3. This Place Is Death

FINAL RATING:
2.75 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Deadmau5 - For Lack Of A Better Name



Sorry new music fans, but I couldn't just up and do away with Techno Tuesday! Since I'm only doing 2 reviews a day, it's going to have to be one of each (barring me just going crazy on writing one day). This Tuesday brings up Deadmau5. (It's actually pronounced dead mouse) But this guy is a Canadian based house and dance emcee, with some pretty crazy mixes. He'll have dropped 10 albums in 4 years when his anticipated and currently untitled work comes out in 2010. If you don't know anything about him, check out his bio sometime. He's got some fairly interesting things to say in addition to some monstrously fat beats to throw down. I can't claim to celebrate his entire catalog - I just really started listening to him about 1 year ago. I can say that his dance mixes are very unique and really span some genres. He'll be up in your face with a raging beat and loud vocals and then slow one down and put you in that mode. This record kicks off with a crazy snare solo beat that just keeps repeating and adds little elements here and there. Again, neat concept. Check this out sometime if you're in need of a pick me up. I think this would help anyone get through the day - just listening to the new and different stuff. Enjoy!

TRACK LISTING:
1. FML
2. Moar Ghosts n Stuff
3. Ghosts N Stuff (Featuring Rob Swire)
4. Hi Friend!
5. Bot
6. Word Problems
7. Soma
8. Lack Of A Better Name
9. 16th Hour, The
10. Strobe

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Ghosts N Stuff
2. Strobe
3. Lack Of A Better Name

FINAL RATING:
3.75 out of 5 stars

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony - Uni-5: The World's Enemy



NEW MUSIC TUESDAY is back! Today unleashed the first Bone Thugs album since 07's Strength and Loyalty. If I recall, this is the first time the original five members have put something out in quite a while. And to add to that, they intend to tour all together this year. They came to a show at the Rave back in March - but no one I knew wanted to go or could go. That was a bummer. I have been looking forward to this for a while, since as you've read - it's been a really slow time for hip hop. I've heard a couple singles and have been so far less than impressed. This almost seems to be something like a concept album - as there are a lot of strange and new gimmicks on it. A few songs are way too poppy for my tastes and don't feature the signature Bone Thugs flow. For that reason I'd expect it to sell fairly well, but maybe rap moguls would feel jaded - time will tell. I'm going to have to give this a few go rounds before I really pass judgment on it - but as of these couple listens it's so far not amazing. Come back in two weeks and ask me what I think of it and my opinion could be totally different. Check out the top 3 or the whole album if Bone Thugs are your boys, and let me know what you think. E99 and Creepin were my favorite BTNH records, and I don't think this one will sneak up there. Enjoy new music fans!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Law, The (Intro)
2. Rebirth
3. See Me Shine (Featuring J Rush)
4. Only God Can Judge Me
5. Wanna Be
6. My Life
7. Everytime
8. Fearless (Interlude)
9. Gone (Featuring Ricco Barrino)
10. Meet Me In the Sky (Featuring K-Young)
11. Universe
12. A New Mind = A New Life (Interlude)
13. Pay What They Owe
14. Facts Don't Lie

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Rebirth
2. Only God Can Judge Me
3. My Life

FINAL RATING:
3 out of 5 stars

Monday, May 3, 2010

***REVIEW #100*** - Weezer - Blue Album




In case you didn't notice my huge review title, this is the B-Side's ONE HUNDREDTH REVIEW!! Honestly I cannot believe it's that many already. Seems like just yesterday I was thinking about starting this up. Crazy. Anyway, since it's a fairly good milestone, I had to select one of my favorite records of all time. I have to tell you, I absolutely love Weezer. They've only tossed out a couple records I didn't care for, so for the most part if they drop something, it's gold. Quick backstory on the Blue Album here - one of my good friends was having his 11th birthday when this came out. We knew Buddy Holly from the radio - and that was probably about it. Well, I went over to the local Best Buy and picked this up for his bday. I recall him semi looking at me like, "Weezer, are you kidding me??" And to be totally honest, I had no idea if this would be any good or not. I mean, I liked the one song - so it had to be solid right? Little did we know that 16 years after the release - we'd still be jamming to this on a very regular basis. Seriously, this record is outstanding. Every track start to finish has its own unique identity of greatness. If you've heard this before, put it on again and really listen to the lyrics. Especially in a song like 'Only In Dreams'. Great stuff sitting right in front of your face. To get sentimental, this was one of my first cd's as well - and it was a great purchase. I can't say I've worn out the cd since I've been an MP3 man since 1998 or so - but it has to be the most played record on my iPod. If you haven't heard this, buy it right now. I have to put my B Side guarantee that you'll love this one. If you're facing a rough Monday morning, put on the Blue Album to take care of your case of the Mondays.

AND CELEBRATE 100 REVIEWS!!

TRACK LISTING:
1. My Name Is Jonas
2. No One Else
3. World Has Turned and Left Me Here, The
4. Buddy Holly
5. Undone -- The Sweater Song
6. Surf Wax America
7. Say It Ain't So
8. In the Garage
9. Holiday
10. Only in Dreams

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Say It Ain't So
2. Only In Dreams
3. In The Garage

FINAL RATING:
5 out of 5 stars

Death Cab For Cutie - Plans



Back in the 2006 or so timeframe, I had no idea who these guys were. I think I'd heard the name before - but for certain none of the actual music. A friend of mine made an MP3 cd of all music she enjoyed, which was almost all punk/emo tuneage. I was schooled on quite a few new artists while listening to that - these guys were one of the many bands teaching class that day. I like their sound. They've got a bit of a Jack Johnson meets Coldplay thing going with 'Plans'. Very laid back guitar riffs, some solid beats on tracks and then some pretty solid lyrics and vocals you can sing along to. Death Cab never seemed to reach huge numbers for album sales, this one is their best selling just making platinum. I guess thinking about it, I don't seem to know anyone who is overly gaga over them, so maybe it makes sense. If you didn't already know, the lead singer is also the frontman for the Postal Service, so maybe I'll do a review of them soon as well. If you're in that laid back kind of mode today, toss this one on. I think you'll groove along with a few tracks. Looks like they have not put anything out since 2008 - so I'll have to do some research on whether or not they intend to soon. Happy Monday!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Marching Bands of Manhattan
2. Soul Meets Body
3. Summer Skin
4. Different Names For the Same Thing
5. I Will Follow You Into the Dark
6. Your Heart Is an Empty Room
7. Someday You Will Be Loved
8. Crooked Teeth
9. What Sara Said
10. Brothers on a Hotel Bed
11. Stable Song

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Marching Bands Of Manhattan
2. Different Names For The Same Thing
3. Crooked Teeth

FINAL RATING:
3.25 out of 5 stars