Song of the Moment

J. Cole - Lost Ones

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Weepies - Be My Thrill




New Music Tuesday is back with a bit of an off the wall band. Now, you might be led to believe that it's a slow music release day, but it really isn't. Heart, Disturbed and the Goo Goo Dolls are released new stuff this morning, but none of them wanted their samples released on Amazon. So - that drops me down to the Weepies. Not sure about ya'll out there in reader land, but I've never heard of this band before. They have that indie pop/rock sound, similar to hmmm, maybe an early Sheryl Crow? This is the fifth studio album recording by them, and they are signed to the 'Nettwerk' label. Sarah McLachlan probably being the biggest name to grace that particular label. iTunes releases a couple of these tracks in anticipation of the release, and they've gotten generally positive reviews. All in all, this album isn't all that bad. It's got a pretty fun feel to it, doesn't seem to take itself too seriously. Lyrically it's not going to haunt your dreams, but it's something you could tap your toes to on a Tuesday. Hey! You're in luck! It's Tuesday and you want to tap your toes! So check this out today. Let me know what you think!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Please Speak Well of Me
2. When You Go Away
3. Red Red Rose
4. I Was Made For Sunny Days
5. They're In Love, Where Am I?
6. Add My Effort
7. Be My Thrill
8. Be My Honeypie
9. Hummingbird
10. Hard To Please
11. Not a Lullaby
12. How Do You Get High?
13. Hope Tomorrow
14. Empty Your Hands

Listen To Samples

1. Please Speak Well Of Me
2. Be My Thrill
3. I Was Made For Sunny Days

FINAL RATING:
3 out of 5 stars

Autechre - Move Of Ten



The last couple Techno Tuesday entries have been a different brand of techno. Aphex and now Autechre are more of that industrial beat machine type dance, not lyrical and certainly not meant for the pop masses. It goes back to that IDM label (intelligent dance music) that I brought up last week. This EP/album came out just this year. Autochre is a group of guys that like to mix up styles quite a bit, and there is some speculation as to that being the reason they titled this record as such. Move Of Ten could be because it's the year 2010, it has 10 tracks or because they're 'moving on' from the style of their 10th album. Either way, give this a go. I do know that die hard fans of this band complain about them dropping so many little EP's that are only a few songs and don't live up to the main attractions. Well, I don't think that could be an issue here. Even though it's only 10 tracks, it translates into almost 60 minutes worth of tuneage. And I can't compare it to previous works (since I don't know anything else by them yet), but the only thing that could be old is this is VERY percussion heavy. If you're more into the standard bass beat, you're going to get a lot of snare hits and other instruments one wouldn't necessarily expect in a dance record. Anyway, I'll close it by of course saying to listen and then let me know what you think. It's by no means great, but it's something beatnuts could jam to.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Etchogon-S
2. y7
3. pce freeze 2.8i
4. rew (1)
5. nth Dafuseder.b
6. Iris Was a Pupil
7. No Border
8. M62
9. ylm0
10. Cep puiqMX

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Etchogon-S
2. nth Dafuseder.b
3. y7

FINAL RATING:
2.75 out of 5 stars

Monday, August 30, 2010

Garbage - Self Titled



Sometimes when I'm going back on my old alternative rock collection, I skip over this album. And then when I finally get back to giving it a chance, I remember how great it is. The music is really good, and what 12 year old boy didn't have a super crush on Shirley Manson? I know I did. Plus, these guys formed right in my current backyard of Madison, Wisconsin! You have to love that! Garbage has four studio records out, with this being number one and being 2x platinum. Garbage hasn't put anything out since 2005, but are currently all back in talks to putting something out again as early as end of 2010. Not sure about you, but that makes me somewhat excited. I haven't really heard any of the more recent stuff, but I feel like they have a sound I can always jive to. Manson's voice will never get old, as long as they have a nice backdrop and sweet vocals, I'll be a fan. This album has been reissued more times than I can count, due to label changes and all that jazz. It was recorded at the infamous Smart Studios here in Madison, and if you don't know, that building has been the birthplace of many epic albums. Do a Wiki search on it sometime, you'll be impressed. If you have not heard this album, check it out. It's a fun listen. And if you haven't heard it since 1995, pick it up again - totally worth it.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Supervixen
2. Queer
3. Only Happy When It Rains
4. As Heaven Is Wide
5. Not My Idea
6. Stroke of Luck, A
7. Vow
8. Stupid Girl
9. Dog New Tricks
10. My Lover's Box
11. Fix Me Now
12. Milk

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Stupid Girl
2. Only Happy When It Rains
3. Queer

FINAL RATING:
3.5 out of 5 stars

Pitbull - Rebelution



I understand that sometimes with my open promise to review anything that comes into the box, sometimes a person may toss something in there just to make me listen to something they think will be terrible. Well, that's actually not the case with Pitbull, as follower Mithrandr thought this could be somewhat good upon his suggestion. I personally have never been a big fan of Pitbull's work, and can safely say I'd never have listened to a full album had it not been suggested. Some folks might want to call this rap, but I whole heartedly disagree. This a pop record, or at most bend a dance album. Interesting tidbit, Pitbull was born to a Cuban mix family, and he is a white, blue eyed and Cuban American. It's hard to have any street cred when you kind of pretend to be hispanic and then people learn you're white. Anyway, the long and short of it is, this is pretty bad. I mean, if you're at the club and you hear half the tracks on this album, you'll probably get up and move. But from a sitting at my desk and wanting to listen to tuneage standpoint, this would be nearly last on my list. I guess it could be good driving music too, but it's not really for me. I'll tell Mith and the rest of you who enjoy a good dance track to try it out, but don't expect gold.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Triumph
2. Shut It Down
3. I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)
4. Girls
5. Full of S**t
6. Dope Ball (Interlude)
7. Can't Stop Me Now
8. Hotel Room Service
9. Juice Box
10. Call of the Wild
11. Krazy
12. Give Them What They Ask For
13. Across the World
14. Daddy's Little Girl

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Hotel Room Service
2. I Know You Want Me
3. Krazy

FINAL RATING:
2.25 out of 5 stars

Friday, August 27, 2010

NIN - Downward Spiral



Metal fans, wake up. Another crazy realization the other day was when follower Janis! mentioned that I hadn't done any NIN yet. NIN of course being Nine Inch Nails for those who don't like to show your metal... But man, does any band hit harder than them? And by band and them, I actually mean one man, Trent Reznor. Probably unknown to most of you out there, this is actually a concept album. The goal of this record was to document the fall of man. It starts with his downward spiral in life and climaxes ultimately when he attempts suicide. Trent talks about how because of this 'theme' and the goal of the record, he wanted to tone it down a bit and not be so hard and so metal. Maybe I stand alone on this opinion, but that almost makes it harder and MORE metal. Maybe not in terms of just the sound of it, but the message, lyrics and vibe is totally something I expect and long for from the genre. This album in a sense, it quite simply a classic. The flow, the arrangements - everything about it is just about perfect. Even if you don't like metal in the classic sense, this record tells a story, and tells it brilliantly. Forget about all the mainstream success this saw due to 'Closer', it's not about that. Don't listen to this record just for the one track. Listen all the way through and listen in order. By the time you get to the end, I think you feel the emotions that the album was intending. Very few records can have that impact on you. I might feel a certain way when listening to a record, but it probably isn't what the artist intended. Not the case here. Reznor shot for something new and undone, and he got it. I can only close by saying please, give this a whirl. I promise you'll if nothing else be very intrigued.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Mr. Self Destruct
2. Piggy (Nothing Can Stop Me Now)
3. Heresy
4. March of the Pigs
5. Closer
6. Ruiner
7. Becoming, The
8. I Do Not Want This
9. Big Man With a Gun
10. Warm Place, A
11. Eraser
12. Reptile
13. Downward Spiral, The
14. Hurt

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Closer
2. Hurt
3. Reptile

FINAL RATING:
4.5 out of 5 stars

Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More



Why not end the week with something straight out of left field? Not sure about you guys, but I feel the oddball style reviews every week can almost always breed some of the best tuneage. Let's hope that trend continues with the recently suggested Mumford & Sons. JenInTosa has been grooving on one specific track from this album lately, and requested that I run through an album to give my input. So, I picked this up today - and I'm still a little unsure. These guys are a London based folk rock band. At first couple listens, it seems to have a pretty cool feel to it. I love the use of a banjo on multiple tracks - an instrument that if played right, and make for an epic track. On top of the banjo, some of the chorus arrangements backing up the banjo sound almost like a huge symphony are accompanying the band, and it sounds so thick and full. I enjoyed that as well. There are a couple ballad tracks, that you all could have guessed I love. The one crazy thing, this album is twelve tracks, and after track 7 - it seriously slows down. Maybe a poor track selection by the band. Regardless, this is pretty neat. It's another new band for you guys to check out, and I'm guessing a few of you will really love them. I'd put M&S in a similar category to Sigur Ros from last week - you may not fall in love with them, but there are certainly a few readers that will. I'm going to give this a pretty positive review, because I think this album is pretty good and the potential is certainly there to make an epic one. The sound is there, the lyrics are there - they just have to wrap all that up into a better record next time. Happy Friday!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Sigh No More
2. Cave, The
3. Winter Winds
4. Roll Away Your Stone
5. White Blank Page
6. I Gave You All
7. Little Lion Man
8. Timshel
9. Thistle & Weeds
10. Awaky My Soul
11. Dust Bowl Dance
12. After the Storm

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. White Blank Page
2. Little Lion Man
3. Winter Winds

FINAL RATING:
3.75 out of 5 stars

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Santana - Abraxas



So this last weekend, follower Janis! and I got together for a music swap. I encourage everyone to get together with friends and do that. I mean, keep coming to The B Side as your source of new music ideas and ways to get through your day - but swapping with friends is a great way to learn about new stuff. Janis and I have very similar music tastes, but even between us - much music was swapped. One thing that came up, a little Carlos Santana. Now, he's on my short list of best guitarists of all time. Janis realized she had little or no Santana, and I had a few tracks to swap. I then realized that I'd never reviewed an album by him on the blog! Well here comes classic rock day, and Carlos Santana. Abraxas is his second studio album. Carlos had released his first album that saw moderate success due to the track 'Evil Ways'. Then he played Woodstock, and decided to capitalize on that show by dropping a second record. If you've never heard of Santana, he blends latin music super great beats and a very heavy guitar. His solos are some of the best in the business. You pretty much have to check this out. You may not fall in love with it, but just to say you're familiar with Santana is a good thing to be able to tell people. I enjoy it, enough to buy it. So I'll pass it on to you that way. Groove your way into Friday with some Santana.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Singing Winds, Crying Beasts
2. Black Magic Woman / Gypsy Queen
3. Oye Como Va
4. Incident at Neshabur
5. Se a Cabo
6. Mother's Daughter
7. Samba Pa Ti
8. Hope You're Feeling Better
9. El Nicoya
10. Se a Cabo (Live)
11. Toussaint L'Overture (Live)
12. Black Magic Woman / Gypsy Queen (Live)

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Black Magic Woman
2. Oye Como Va
3. Hope You're Feeling Better

FINAL RATING:
4.5 out of 5 stars

Big & Rich - Horse Of A Different Color



Unknown to me until this morning, I'm out of JenInTosa based Country suggestions in the box! My country knowledge is quite limited - so basically that's what brings me to Big & Rich. Let me start this review by saying I absolutely loathe Save A Horse. Loathe it. And really, I should right? I mean, that's a chick song - and guys shouldn't love it right? Okay good. Glad we agree on that. So I decided to finally listen to this whole album today. Never thought about it in my life before today. I just figured I'm all out of Jen's stuff - who else have you heard of other than Johnny Cash? These guys popped into mind. This certainly isn't your grandma's country music. Although at times, the beat and melodic guitar may give you that impression, it's really never at any point that brand of country. Lyrically - it's almost mixing some pop music or even some tacky hip hop in spots to country backgrounds. Kind of a neat idea and very unique - which is probably why they have sold so many records. I tell you what's crazy, I don't hate this as much as I thought I would. I mean, this isn't exactly something I love - but it's more than tolerable. Still don't care for Save A Horse, but I understand the redeeming qualities in that you can get out on the dance floor and yell the lyrics as loud as you can. The underlying message of the day is, "Wow, this album ain't so stinkin' bad." Happy Thursday!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Rollin' (The Ballad of Big & Rich)
2. Wild West Show
3. Big Time
4. Kick My Ass
5. Six Foot Town
6. Holy Water
7. Saved
8. Real World
9. Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)
10. Drinkin' 'Bout You
11. Love Train
12. Deadwood Mountain
13. Live This Life

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Deadwood Mountain
2. Wild West Show
3. Six Foot Town

FINAL RATING:
3.5 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wallflowers - Bringing Down The Horse



Kind of like Hootie - go ahead and admit it, you love this album. Who didn't? When this came out in 1996, I think everyone and their brother was grooving to the Wallflowers. To this day if any of these tracks comes on unexpectedly in the car - I sing as loud as I possibly can to them. They have that effect on you. Some people hate on these fellas because they're big Bob Dylan fans, and feel his son Jakob doesn't live up to those high expectations. Or people can't stand Bob and take it out on Jakob in turn as well. That's what we call a lose, lose. Give him and the Wallflowers a break! They might not be the best band ever, but this record is more than worth listening to. If you like Bobby's gruff voice, Jakob does something similar. Maybe a little more smooth during the chorus, but still very raw sounding in most spots. They actually have five studio albums out, with this being the 2nd and most successful at 4x platinum. I can't say I've heard anything else by them, so maybe I'll check them out soon. If I enjoy them half as much as this record, it'll be worth my while. This is a great way to make your hump day fly by right here. Put on 'Horse' and sing your way through Wednesday!

TRACK LISTING:
1. One Headlight
2. 6th Avenue Heartache
3. Bleeders
4. Three Marlenas
5. Difference, The
6. Invisible City
7. Laughing Out Loud
8. Josephine
9. God Don't Make Lonely Girls
10. Angel on My Bike
11. I Wish I Felt Nothing

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. 6th Avenue Heartache
2. One Headlight
3. The Difference

FINAL RATING:
3.75 out of 5 stars

My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges



Going to be totally candid today, my head feels like it's going to explode. The quality of my posts yesterday, today and possibly tomorrow could be seriously lacking. Anyway, MMJ. These guys formed in good old Louisville, Kentucky back in 1998. The story goes the lead singer saw the letters MMJ on a discarded jacket and just had to run with it. I'm not really sure how I would classify these guys. Probably just straight up indie rock. They've got a few tracks that are harder, more fast paced - but they certainly know how to slow it down. I feel like these guys started to grow at the wrong time. They came on quick during that big punk revolution and they simply don't fit that bill. If you tossed on this record and expected FOB, or Panic, you'd be quite disappointed. I like this album. I like that it starts out with a huge instrumental number. There are only a couple tracks that I tend to skip. This could potentially be classified as a good band you're not listening to, but I honestly have no idea how big these guys really are. Hit me up if you enjoy some MMJ. Otherwise, rock your Wednesday out!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Evil Urges
2. Touch Me I'm Going to Scream, Pt. 1
3. Highly Suspicious
4. I'm Amazed
5. Thank You Too!
6. Sec Walkin
7. Two Halves
8. Librarian
9. Look at You
10. Aluminum Park
11. Remnants
12. Smokin from Shootin
13. Touch Me I'm Going to Scream, Pt. 2
14. Good Intentions

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. I'm Amazed
2. Touch Me I'm Going To Scream (Both Parts)
3. Aluminum Park

FINAL RATING:
3.75 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Eels - Tomorrow Morning



New Music Tuesday is slapping me across the face with one of my favorite bands this week. This is the final leg of a trio of concept albums that started with Hombre Lobo, proceeded by End Times and now this. The goal of the concepts was to explore desire, loss, and redemption during each album. They all came out in the late 2009 to mid 2010 timeframes. This one has a bit of an electronic feel to it, fitting for Techno Tuesday. A couple of the tracks are really into the background beat and then E dropping lyrics over the top. But of course, it wouldn't be an Eels record without some signature ballads - in which it has a couple of those too. There are certain artists you identify with, and they can do no wrong in your eyes. The Eels are that way for me. At first couple listens (big shock coming) I love it. It wraps up the trio very well, and blends in with their style perfectly. The Eels are coming to the Pabst in October this year, and I can't wait to hear some of this new stuff live. Of course I would also enjoy them playing nothing but 'Beautiful Freak' over and over as well. I still think these guys are the best band you're not listening to. I know I've persuaded a couple of you to listen to them, and so far so good. I think they have a style that anyone can jive with. I do NOT recommend starting with this though. If you're going to begin your Eels adventure, pick up BF first, then work your way into the new stuff. Let them take you on the magical journey in which it was intended. Enjoy B Siders!

TRACK LISTING:
1. In Gratitude For This Magnificent Day
2. I'm a Hummingbird
3. Morning, The
4. Baby Loves Me
5. Spectacular Girl
6. What I Have To Offer
7. This is Where It Gets Good
8. After the Earthquake
9. Oh So Lovely
10. Man, The
11. Looking Up
12. That's Not Her Way
13. I Like the Way This is Going
14. Mystery of Life

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Oh So Lovely
2. The Morning
3. Spectacular Girl

FINAL RATING:
4.25 out of 5 stars

Aphex Twin - Drukqs



Techno Tuesday is back with Aphex Twin. That is really a pseudonym for one man named Richard D. James. He is an Irish born artist, known for crazy, electronic beats. This is actually his last studio album to ever came out - and it was released in 2001. I'm not even sure if there is a phrase to describe his style. He's got a very unique blend of beats and synth. Some call it 'intelligent dance music' - but I don't really subscribe to that term. Some of it is almost background techno - as in something you could sit down and eat dinner to. Or maybe something that could be on in a store while you're shopping. It's not that loud, in your face techno you're probably used to. This is more subtle, and unknown to you, you've been toe tapping the whole time. I don't have a ton to say about Aphex Twin, only because it's just that different. I won't come out and tell you that you'll love it, because quite honestly - most of you won't. This brand of dance isn't for everyone. But I think it's neat. It's certainly a cool change of pace to whatever I'm grooving to at the moment. I recommend checking it out, and then let me know what you think. Happy Tuesday!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Jynweythek Ylow
2. 54 Cymru Beats
3. Vordhosbn
4. Btoum-Roumada
5. Kladfvgbung Micshk
6. Lornaderek
7. Omgyjya Switch
8. Qkthr
9. Strotha Tynhe
10. Meltphace 6
11. Gwely Mernans
12. Bit 4
13. Bbydhyonchord
14. Prep Gwarlek 3b
15. Cock/Ver 10
16. Father
17. Avril 14th
18. Taking Control
19. Mt. Saint Michel Mix + St. Michaels Mount
20. Petiatil Cx Htdui
21. Ruglen Holon
22. Gwarek 2
23. Afx237 V7
24. Orban EQ Trx 4
25. Ziggomatic V17
26. Aussois
27. Beskhu3epnm
28. Hy a Scullyas Lyf a Dhagrow
29. Nanou 2
30. Kesson Daslef

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
Just listen to the whole thing. It all flows together. Hard to pick any individuals.

FINAL RATING:
3.5 out of 5 stars

Monday, August 23, 2010

Heidi Presents, "Monday Gut Check - Seeing Singles"

Attention all haters: I love greatest hits albums. There, I said it. I love the hits. I love singing along with a song and knowing the words, and I refuse to be ashamed of it. You know what's even worse? I like plain old songs more than I like entire artists' catalogs and entire albums. Yeah, take that!

I always think of songs as little portals to a specific time and place in our lives. Celine Dion's Power of Love reminds me of middle school dances, and that's why I love it and that's why it's on my iPod. I just connect with songs . . . so, sue me!

Honestly, I don't even think that iTunes is to blame for my love of individual songs. (Mostly because I'm too damn old to be considered the iPod generation). Instead, I will blame my mother. When I was a kid, my sister and I would spend hours holed up in the corner of our basement between the green chair and the wood stove listening to my mother's collection of 45's on the turntable. This happily resulted in several dramatic interpretations of Leader of the Pack and Chapel of Love. Not to mention, at age 7, every trip to the mall eventually found me wide-eyed in front of the single cassette tape wall at Sam Goody with a sweaty five dollar bill in my hand deliberating the merits of Janet Jackson vs. Bryan Adams. (Everything I do, I do it for the Rhythm Nation).

So, today I consider single songs that I love because I heard it in a movie. I don't know any other songs by these artists, and I really don't care to. I don't even think that they're necessarily the best use of a song in movies. I just remember seeing them on the screen, and thinking that those songs were awesome. You never know where you're going to find your new favorite song of the week, but because I'm such a movie person, it's usually on the screen.

Here goes. . .

Tracks of My Tears - Platoon

I don't really like Platoon. I don't particularly like Oliver Stone. I don't particularly like drug use in movies - which is the scene its used in. But, this song is great, and the first time I heard it was in this movie. Now, it's in constant rotation on my iPod. Go figure. Check out this random YouTube movie montage thing. . . (honestly, who has the time and will to put these videos together?) Link

Try a Little Tenderness - Pretty in Pink

Pretty in Pink sucks. (Sorry John Hughes, but you didn't direct, that must be why it's so lame.) However, this movie has some great moments, including Jon Cryer's Otis Redding impression. Great song, blah movie. Link

This Woman's Work - She's Having a Baby

I'm sure that all of Kate Bush's music is this emotionally charged and heartbreaking. But, I don't really know. Because the only song of hers I've ever heard is This Woman's Work which scores a hysterical crying Kevin Bacon as he recalls why he loves his wife while in a hospital waiting room. Sigh. Another music moment that elevates an otherwise okay movie. Link

Ask Me Anything - Dedication

Dedication is actually a great movie. It's basically a hipster's take on As Good As It Gets. The music used in it is pretty pretentious, but one song had me all a-google after I saw the movie. It's the Strokes Ask Me Anything and it hits at about 1:30 in this clip. You can YouTube the whole movie, I seriously recommend. Link

Stuck in the Middle with you - Reservoir Dogs

This song will make you move and dance . . . even if you're a dancing while torturing someone! Again, I'm not using the real clip here, for fear of squeamish readers. Link
_________________________________________________________

Songs I learned about in movies is somewhat tough. I think nowadays it's harder to do that - simply because the medium available to listen is so huge. I think it's harder for an artist to breakout by debuting in a film, only because odds are at least some people would have heard of you via Pandora or Myspace or something like that. Anyhow, here are my Top 5 songs I only heard of because of movies.

5. American Beauty: The Seeker by The Who

I saw this movie when it came out and blew my mind. When the seeker came on, it was during Lester's realization he could take his life back. I loved the way I imagined that felt, and loved the song that went with it. I knew other stuff by The Who - but not that track. It immediately made me go out and pick up a Who album.

4. American Psycho: Hip To Be Square by Huey Lewis And The News

"Try getting a reservation at Dorsia now you f***ing stupid bastard!" Yeah, I love this movie. I saw this in high school, and can really say anything by Huey Lewis wasn't a priority for me in life up to that point. I mean, I'd heard of them - but Patrick Bateman gave me a nice lesson in their works during that film. I didn't run out to buy any Huey, probably never will, but hey - lesson learned.

3. Wayne's World: Ballroom Blitz by Sweet

So yeah, I was maybe 10 when I saw this? It always takes me back. But I recall even at my young age thinking they could have gotten a hotter actress to play Cassandra. Anyway, her band Crucial Taunt played Ballroom a couple times during the movie. I enjoyed tapping my toes to it, and then BAM! I learned it was a cover. I checked out the real version, loved it more - picked up a Sweet record. Thanks Mike Myers.

2. The Matrix: Wake Up by Rage Against The Machine

I also love The Matrix. I think the way the movie ended was great, and it was perfectly complimented by Rage rocking it to the credits. I don't think I was really at all into Rage yet, as my love for them didn't start up until right before I went to college. I made my own generic greatest hits record, and this was probably track 1. Neo saves the world, listens to Rage. I had to too.

1. Closer: The Blower's Daughter by Damien Rice

If you haven't seen this movie, you need to check it out. It's a very dark story about relationships, romance and the twists your life can take. All the actors in the movie do a phenomenal job - and the story keeps you very interested. This is another one that the movie ends and climaxes with a song, and in this case - Damien Rice. It's a perfect ending to a great movie. And yes, had certainly never heard of Damien before, or this song. I immediately went to iTunes and downloaded it. Been in love ever since.

Do you have any songs that you checked out solely because it was used in a movie? Tell us about it!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Dr. Dre - The Chronic



Ahh yes. Doesn't matter if you are a straight up country lover, an indie rock junkie or if you simply love Michael Bolton. Everybody could throw on 'The Chronic' and groove. I think this album made hip hop huge. I know people give a lot of credit to NWA, and that is well deserved - but The Chronic was so mainstream and once again the video for 'G Thang' made Dre and Snoop just blow up. Dr. Dre is probably the hardest working man in the rap game. Sure, he hasn't dropped a lot of his own stuff, but he's the guy behind pretty much every beat going. It's either Dre, Timbaland or Pharrell - or you've got an imitator. (Sorry Swizzy, Kanye and Cannon) This album is so iconic, that there isn't really anything bad you can say about it. Going through it - it's not like every song is amazing, or that I listen to this on a regular basis...but I have to give it all the respect in the world. Why? Well, this is what probably turned me on to rap. If not for Dre and G Thang, I'd probably never fell in love with the genre. Don't get me wrong, the album is still very good, but maybe not what you'd expect by its popularity. This album is actually only 3x platinum, versus his only other record 2001, being 6x. Is that album better from a music standpoint, sure. Is it better mixing in the timing and originality - not a chance. In 1992 everyone was still trying to figure out what would sell in the mainstream. Dre took a chance and succeeded. By 2001, rap was a mix of hip hop and pop, and that was a much easier sell. If you haven't heard this, check it out. You may not fall in love with it - but give the album the credit it deserves, for making hip hop great. Enjoy your weekend!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Chronic, The (Intro)
2. Fuck Wit Dre Day (And Everybody's Celebratin')
3. Let Me Ride
4. Day the Niggaz Took Over, The
5. Nuthin' But a "G" Thang
6. Deeez Nuuuts
7. Lil' Ghetto Boy
8. Nigga Witta Gun, A
9. Rat-Tat-Tat-Tat
10. $20 Sack Pyramid, The
11. Lyrical Gangbang
12. High Powered
13. Doctor's Office, The
14. Stranded on Death Row
15. Roach, The (The Chronic Outro)
16. Bitches Ain't Shit

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Nuthin' But A G Thang
2. Fuck Wit Dre Day
3. A Nigga Witta Gun

FINAL RATING:
4.5 out of 5 stars

Live - Throwing Copper



Throwing Copper. Such a big album back in the 1994 timeframe. Crazy thinking back on it, but half this record came out as big singles. I certainly recall picking this album up and thinking it was one of the best albums I'd ever heard. Well - as I stated yesterday, my musical tastes have changed, and I wouldn't put this album so high today. While it's still good, it's not the great record people made it out to be back then. I definitely played it too much and got tired of it, and looking back on it now, the songs that I overplayed - I still don't really enjoy. But it speaks volumes of the album when I dislike 4 or 5 tracks and it's still worth listening to. This album 8x platinum, and by far their best selling of the 7 albums they've dropped. Probably also the best album, but I enjoyed Secret Samadhi too. Turns out, they took a 2 year hiatus back in 2006 or so - and that hiatus is now permanent. The lead singer of Live is pretty much a total piece of you know what. He demanded lead singer bonuses and wanted guaranteed money for making another album. The other guys said no thanks, and the band broke up. Probably for the best, as I'm guessing most fans haven't really listened to anything by them in nearly a decade. Such as life. Anyway, give this one another go 'round. Relive what was probably the best decade for music, 1994. Happy Friday B Siders!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Dam at Otter Creek, The
2. Selling the Drama
3. I Alone
4. Iris
5. Lightning Crashes
6. Top
7. All Over You
8. Shit Towne
9. T.B.D.
10. Stage
11. Waitress
12. Pillar of Davidson
13. White, Discussion
14. Untitled

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. The Dam At Otter Creek
2. I Alone
3. Selling The Drama

FINAL RATING:
3.75 out of 5 stars

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sigur Ros - Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust



Another fun part about having a music blog - going from Backstreet to Sigur Ros. I'm not sure I could have picked any further of opposites. This is a shoutout to my former follower Rick, who claims he didn't drop the blog and the blog dropped him. Crazy, I know. But he played this album over the weekend and maybe this will convince him to read on a more regular basis. These guys are an Icelandic band that has hmm, kind of a classical/melodic/minimalist type feel to it. Very soothing, very calming and very neat. After I heard this once, I had to listen to it again on my own with just my phones on - not any other background noise. Totally different feel to it than when it was on in the car with other stuff going on. I jumped on the bandwagon too late though, since in January of this hear they announced a hiatus - to spend time with family and work on solo stuff. The old stuff is still new to me though, and they have five studio albums in total. If you're curious, this album title translates to: "With a Buzz in Our Ears We Play Endlessly". That's pretty cool. Bottom line, this is extremely captivating music. If you're not even the slightest bit intrigued, I'd honestly be stunned. This album has me craving more, and I will do just that - keep listening. I love the feel of the album, I love how it's got a classical mood to it - yet it's not. I feel like you could put this on to work, to study, to jam around the house and in the car to drive. Any record that's good for all those thing, it a-okay with me. Big time check it out B Siders. I think you'll enjoy it.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Gobbledigook
2. Inn¡ M¿r Syngur Vitleysingur
3. G¢dan Daginn
4. Vid Spilum Endalaust
5. Festival
6. Med Sud I Eyrum
7. Ara B tur
8. Illgresi
9. Flj¢tav¡k
10. Straumnes
11. All Alright

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. All Alright
2. Fljotavik
3. Festival

FINAL RATING:
4 out of 5 stars

Backstreet Boys - Millennium



Hooray. Backstreet Boys. A big thanks to JenInTosa for asking me to review one of my least favorite bands ever. This takes me back to the 2000ish time frame working at Cousins Subs. This would come on the radio - and you almost couldn't help but to sing along after you'd heard 'I Want It That Way' for the twenty second time. Anyhow, I'm pretty sure most of you are already more than familiar with these guys. Formed in Orlando - the definition of pop music. Millennium is their third studio recording and has gone 13x platinum in the states. Sad part, that's not even their highest selling record of all time. They have another album that is 14x. Sickening. So, this is basically why I dislike pop music. Of all those people that bought the album, I bet that a fine majority tossed it away, gave it away or sold it for one american dollar to a half price store. This album has zero staying power. I'm afraid when aliens inhabit our planet, they'll look back on our 'popular' music and realize how terrible of a society we were. Okay, that might be over the top - but my point is, pop music such as this is good in the moment. I get that it's catchy and you like to sing along in the car - but that's about all it's good for. Just a straight up guess, but I think Jen will place much higher value on her favorite country records 10 years from now versus this album. Maybe I'm wrong and maybe I'm just missing the Backstreet Boat. Either way, I say pass - but if you want to listen to it, more power to you.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Larger Than Life
2. I Want It That Way
3. Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely
4. It's Gotta Be You
5. I Need You Tonight
6. Don't Want You Back
7. Don't Wanna Lose You Now
8. One, The
9. Back to Your Heart
10. Spanish Eyes
11. No One Else Comes Close
12. Perfect Fan, The

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. The One
2. Show Me The Meaning Of Being Lonely
3. I Need You Tonight

FINAL RATING:
2 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Rant #10 - "Dancing Days Are Here Again, Covered"



One more time...STP!! STP!! STP!!

The evening of Monday, August Sixteenth kicked off with the anticipation of STP performing yet again this year at The Rave. This time, no Tab the Band but a real juggernaut in Cage The Elephant opening up. I didn't know until we got there, but another band called Fang Island was the first act. Wasn't thrilled about it - but hey, you deal with it for STP.

So Fang is jamming away at the beginning of the night. Larger band of like 6 people or so on stage. I have to say, I was impressed. Their sound was fairly unique and they had a ton of energy on stage. I fully intend on reviewing them very soon.

Cage came up and I was pretty juiced. I listened to half the album on the drive into Milwaukee, and got myself energized. Maybe I was too pumped...or maybe too pumped for STP to come on. Or maybe just tired... As you can probably gather, I wasn't impressed by Cage. For some reason, they seemed flat to me. The biggest cheer they got was when they announced there were from the same hometown as the Milwaukee Brewers right fielder. I know the words to multiple songs, and I just wasn't in the singing vibe. Kind of disappointing.

On to the main act. STP! They built the anticipation up by coming on about 20 minutes late. Didn't make me mad in the slightest, as I recalled how awesome the March show was. They came out and BAM! smacked the crowd in the face with 'Crackerman'. If there is any STP song that makes you want to scream stuff out, it's been that one for me. I'll post the whole set list at the bottom, but I have to say - it was very unexpected. They played many songs that only STP die hards would really groove on - which was awesome for me, bad for others who just wanted to hear the hits. They played quite a few off the new record, which again was cool with me - but many fans didn't want to hear it. (or so it seemed) Weiland announced that he was going to play a track that they hadn't played since their first tour, (and as you may have figured out from my teaser headline) they belted out with Dancing Days covering Led Zeppelin. I thought that was awesome. A surprising number of folks seemed to know the words too, which was cool. Still, the response was never bigger than Weiland letting the crowd sing the whole chorus to 'Interstate Love Song'. Crowd went nuts, I went nuts - Weiland seemed to love it. Smack dab in the middle they played 'Silvergun Superman' off of Purple, and I thought that was also fantastic. Such a great song that most people probably didn't recognize. All in all, I thought the show was again fantastic. It made me further realize how much I love STP. It was evident by some of the clear out, that many fans either didn't jam with the lesser known stuff - or didn't care to stay up too late on a Monday. Regardless, if they come back, I'd see them again - and again - and again. If you didn't see the two shows in 2010, go see them in 2011. You won't regret it.

SET LIST:
Crackerman - Core
Wicked Garden - Core
Vasoline - Purple
Heaven and Hot Rods - No. 4
Between The Lines - Self Titled
Hickory Dichotomy - Self Titled
Still Remains - Purple
Cinnamon - Self Titled
Big Empty - Purple
Dancing Days (Led Zeppelin cover)
Pretty Penny - Purple
Silvergun Superman - Purple
Plush - Core
Interstate Love Song - Purple
Huckleberry Crumble - Self Titled
Dare If You Dare - Self Titled
Down - No. 4
Sex Type Thing - Core

ENCORE:
Dead & Bloated - Core
Trippin' On A Hole In A Paper Heart - Tiny Music

Hooray Posts!

Okay, so a quick explanation to yesterday and this morning.

There was a bit of miscommunication between myself and Heidi for posting yesterday. Long story short, we got our wires crossed and nothing was posted for you guys. My sincerest apologies.

Today, as I was sitting down in my pajamas to crank out some stunning material, boss called me into work. So - I will post today, and make up for yesterday, it'll just be in a couple hours.

For those who don't know, I went to STP at the Rave on Monday night and am quite anxious to tell you all about it! Soon!

Thanks!

B Side

Monday, August 16, 2010

Jimi Hendrix - Are You Experienced?



If mood music makes your Monday go down smooth - Jimi Hendrix makes your Monday the best day of the week. I think I've shown my colors for Jimi already on the B Side, but I love his music. Easily in the top 3 guitarists of all time - probably number one on most days and most lists. Way too talented to have died so young. Such was life in that decade though. 1967 saw the release of this album, which was the first for Jimi and his band The Experience. This is a SHOCKINGLY low 4x platinum in the states. Really? Boston (don't get me wrong, I enjoy Boston) is like 16x or something like that, and Jimi is 4? That sickens me a little bit. Anyway, if somehow you've never heard Jimi - and I guarantee you've heard at least 3 songs of this record, he has a very in your face and ballsy guitar riff in just about every song. He also has some of the most delightful lyrics on certain tracks. Lyrics that make you scratch your head and sing along. The short of it, this album is amazing. Is it my favorite Jimi album? I don't know. That's like asking if I want a new Mercedes or a new BMW - I'm happy no matter what. This is probably the best debut album of all time, and certainly in the discussion of best album of all time. Please listen to it. If you've never heard this whole thing, you need to check it out. And if you have, be like me today and listen to it again. It's still amazing. Happy Monday!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Purple Haze
2. Manic Depression
3. Hey Joe
4. Love or Confusion
5. May This Be Love
6. I Don't Live Today
7. Wind Cries Mary, The
8. Fire
9. 3rd Stone from the Sun
10. Foxey Lady
11. Are You Experienced?
12. Stone Free
13. 51st Anniversary
14. Highway Chile
15. Can You See Me
16. Remember
17. Red House

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Are You Experienced?
2. Hey Joe
3. Purple Haze

FINAL RATING:
5+ out of 5 stars

James Morrison - Undiscovered



Monday morning always starts off smooth with a little mood music. The only part you need to be careful on is not picking up some depressing stuff - since Monday morning is already too much of a downer. Anyway, James Morrison is a singer songwriter straight outta the UK. From just a sheer sound standpoint, I don't think he is totally unique. You could toss on a Jason Mraz album or something of that ilk and probably not know the difference. To me, the difference comes by the way of lyrics. These 11 tracks not only sound terrific, they also make you want to hear more. Lyrically, I think Morrison is one of the better up and coming songwriters out there. This was his first album that dropped in 2006, and he's got one more that came out in 2008. I haven't gotten to that one yet - so hopefully soon. The one knock on this record and him seems to be his lack of soul in what many consider to be soul music. And soul without soul, typically falls into the pop genre. I don't think those critics are very fair - since I think there is passion in his vocal, he just makes passion sound good and clean. This of course is by no means a 5 star record, but it's really solid. I don't think there are any tracks I skip - they all flow so nicely. I guess I'll need to get to his second record to make a real judgment on Mr. Morrison. Until then, I'll keep telling you to try this one out, it's a keeper.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Under the Influence
2. You Give Me Something
3. Wonderful World
4. Pieces Don't Fit Anymore, The
5. One Last Chance
6. Undiscovered
7. Letter, The
8. Call the Police
9. This Boy
10. Better Man
11. Last Goodbye, The

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. You Give Me Something
2. Undiscovered
3. Better Man

FINAL RATING:
4 out of 5 stars

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Gufs - Self Titled



Crash into 1996 again with The Gufs. These guys were my first ever show. If you've never heard of them - first of all, shame on you. Second, they're from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. My back yard. They formed while playing soccer for the University of Milwaukee's team. It's always worth while to see the Gufs play a show in Milwaukee, because they're always super energized when they play in front of a home crowd. This cd made them huge with a couple great singles. They've put out 7 total albums over the years, this one being the most popular. In 2008, they celebrated their 20th anniversary by playing a bunch of free shows in the area with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra as a backup band. Pretty cool stuff. When I went to see this show way back in 1996, Lazer 103 was giving out the cassette single of 'Smile' except it was an acoustic version. That version to this day still makes me smile, pun specifically intended. Anyway, this cd is like 7 bucks at Best Buy - and that's probably about what it's worth. They get brownie points for being local guys, but this album is pretty average top to bottom. The singles are quite good, but I don't often listen to the whole thing. While good, it's got nothing that amazes me. Totally worth checking out, and especially the Top 3. Rock your way into the weekend with The Gufs!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Smile
2. Lost Along the Way
3. Sunday Driver
4. Crash (Into Me)
5. Out Somehow
6. Wasting Time
7. Listen to the Trees
8. Life's Sweet Sound
9. Die Away from You
10. Let Her Go
11. Loser's Love Song
12. Fear Me Now
13. So Easily

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Smile
2. Crash (Into Me)
3. So Easily

FINAL RATING:
3.5 out of 5 stars

Gretchen Wilson - Here For The Party



JenInTosa is back with a country suggestion. I don't know much about Gretchen, other than the track 'Redneck Woman'. Slight rant on this, is it really cool to call yourself a redneck? I mean, I recall that being a slur almost toward white people who you thought might be a racist. Then Jeff Foxworthy comes along and makes jokes about it, then presto! it's almost 'cool' to be one. I don't really get it. I'm not sure I'd ever want to be classified as a redneck - but if the shoe fits... Anyway, this was Wilson's debut album and by far her best selling. (2004 and 5x platinum respectively) I also typically associated rednecks with the south, but Gretchy here was born in Illinois. Yep, a good ol' midwesterner like myself. She has a povertish background and ended up doing some waitressing in Illinois and then St. Louis for cash to live on. Interesting tidbit, she is being sued by one of my faves, the Black Crowes for her track 'Work Hard, Play Harder' being a copy of the BC track 'Jealous Again'. Currently no resolution, but the BC manager stated they expect a quick, out of court settlement. Anyway, this is a real country album. No crossing over, no sampling other genres. Country through and through. The last few country reviews have been pretty favorable - but this isn't for me. (Is there such a genre as chick country?) I don't really identify with the lyrics and the beats aren't anything to write home about. I can see the appeal to women, just like Save A Horse, Ride A Cowboy. So based on gender, I'll bow out of this record as saying it isn't for me. Ladies, enjoy!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Here for the Party
2. Redneck Woman
3. When I Think About Cheatin'
4. Homewrecker
5. Holdin' You
6. Chariot
7. What Happened
8. When It Rains
9. Bed, The
10. Pocahontas Proud

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. What Happened
2. Here For The Party
3. Redneck Woman

FINAL RATING:
2.75 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Rant #9: "Do You Have The Time, A Green Day Retrospective"



When I asked you all last week to refer me to some music, follower Janis! took it one step further - she asked that I compare Green Day's discography. (At least that is how I'm interpreting her note). So here it goes. My thoughts on one of the most popular bands in the 90's and 00's.

Green Day started off in 1990 very humbly with 39/Smooth. Now - I don't want to give the impression I dislike this album, because I don't. I think every band has to have a beginning, and this showed that Green Day maybe wasn't ready to hit it big. It's probably more of a reflection on the production quality of the album than their actual talent. But even lyrically, this record doesn't have anything that makes you sit back and want more. Now, you'll notice a theme might be people saying Green Day's music all sounds the same - well that is most evident here. Bottom line, this just didn't have anything great about it to give it staying power. 10 basic tracks that if you look back on them now, would only wet your appetite for some real, solid Green Day.

1992 then brought us to Kerplunk. The lack of great production still lingers a little bit with this album, but you can tell it's getting better. I think if you look back in hindsight, you'd think Kerplunk and 39 were the 'experiments' leading up to hitting it big. That is also somewhat evident by the track 'Welcome To Paradise' here and then on the next record. Some pretty drastic arrangement changes if you sit and listen closely. All changes (in my opinion) for the better. I think Kerplunk really identifies with Green Day's signature sound though. Even right now you can go back to this album and know, with certainty it is Green Day. This record might also be a little silly in spots, which was a nice change of pace back in the day. Kind of pointing that out is their outrageous cover of The Who - which is fun, not necessarily good. You compare that to super serious, super political current Green Day, and I long for the past. This album is solid..not their best - but solid. And truly a lead in to what is about to come next...

SLAM BANG POW! 1994's Green Day is all over the media and right in your ear with Dookie. I've said it before, and I'll say it again right now, one of the best albums of all time. Top to bottom, start to finish - just great. All those production quality issues are gone, vocals are polished - the sound seems to be perfected. Alternative rock meets punk rock meets garage band combined into one amazing sound. A sound that in 1994, was not only needed, but incredibly unique. I truly believe that MTV helped make Green Day with the video for 'Basket Case'. That turned a whole generation of young people on to them that for the most part, all still love them today. You can't name a track on this album that isn't good. They're all flat out, on fire. 'Pulling Teeth' really slows it up in the middle and makes you tap your toes. The hits are all the hits, and would still be hits today. Putting in the 'All By Myself' bonus after F.O.D. was something every kid looked forward to and waited for if their cd player didn't have a seek function. Everyone loves this album and yet it doesn't seem to get the recognition it deserves. Sure, it's not IV, Dark Side or Unplugged in New York (Nirvana) but it's right there.

Devotees didn't have to wait very long for the next installment, a small album called Insomniac. I'll fully admit, I loved Dookie so much I ran out and picked this up right away. I remember pulling the insert out, and it unfolded into a nice sized poster. I put that up immediately, and tossed the album on. My 12 year old mind seemed to comprehend that something was different. Did I like it? Did I hate it? I couldn't decide. I think this record is maybe a little harder top to bottom - but still typical Green Day. Light hearted and fun, fast guitars and clean vocals. A few nice sing along tracks as well with 'Stuck With Me', 'Geek Stink Breath' and 'Walking Contradiction'. If you think back really hard, they combined 'Brain Stew' and 'Jaded' into one really long video and track for the radio. That heavy riff always got me going - not even sure why. It's simple and kind of plain - but even to this day, I adore it. I think this album gets some unfair criticism. You can say sure, it's not as good as Dookie. Who cares? If you make a phenomenal record, you can't always expect the follow up to be as outstanding. This is very good in it's own right. Probably my second favorite Green Day album. If you disagree, listen to it again. I'm guessing you'll be pleasantly surprised by how pleasing it is to your Green ears.

Two years later, Nimrod spews into the music landscape. One of my friends picked this up right away. I didn't have to look past track 1 to know that this was going to be different. 'Nice Guys' was like everything I hated in 1997. I was even more jaded on pop music back then versus me now. This whole thing started out as a pop record and you could have convinced me it wasn't even Green Day. If not for the signature Billy Joel voice, I'd have believed it. What happened to that fast paced guitar? What happened to the harder tracks? You get through 15 tracks of mediocrity and then slap to the face. Here comes 'Good Riddance'. And then it hits you...wow, what a change of pace. Green Day has a sensitive side? This punk band can put out a ballad that will forever change music? I was stunned. Happily stunned. Don't get me wrong, a couple of those tracks in the first 15 are fairly good, but nothing compares to Riddance. It's just on a new level. All in all, the album was a let down - but you could see that if that one song could be SO huge, it was going to happen again. Fans just knew that Green Day would start to rock out with these slower, more meaningful tracks.

Flash forward another 3 years. Fans were yearning for another Green Day record. Then Warning drops. Is it too early in the review to tell you this is my least favorite album by them? I guess not. This album in short, isn't good. The issue of Nimrod went a little more to the pop side - which wasn't overly bad, because it was almost a Green Day version of pop. Tolerable. Then with 'Good Riddance' I thought the next album would be a pop/ballad/punk hybrid. Pretty exciting right? Warning ended up being a pop-festival of average-ness. 'Warning', 'Waiting' and 'Minority' were all just radio hits. They aren't good songs, and to this day I skip them everytime my iPod tries to make me listen. Nuts to that! I enjoy 'Macy's Day Parade' and maybe 'Misery' off this and that's about it. All in all - the album was weak. Sales reflected that too. Worst selling worldwide album for them ever (after the conversion to a major label). Fans spoke. They didn't want this poppy Green Day. I certainly didn't anyway. I was heading into college and all of my tastes were getting more sophisticated. I just wish Green Day was following suit. Regression is always unfortunate.

2004 comes around and here comes American Idiot. It had been so long (11 years) since I rushed out to pick up a Green Day record, I was pretty ambivalent to this one. I heard the tracks on the radio and thought, they didn't really change. They're still poppy and this is nonsense. Well, I was somewhat wrong. This album is less poppy, and more political. This album sparked a big change for Green Day - they started to become a more activist punk rock band. That isn't necessarily my cup of tea, but I get it. What a crazy leap though. A poppy record to a political album in a few years. While this is no where near as good as 90's Green Day, it's got some staying power. The reintroduction of a couple more power ballads was nice. That's probably what got this record so high in sales too. Top to bottom, still not a great album, but it was getting better. It seemed like as a band, they were going to turn the corner onto a new phase, and I think it's safe to say they have. It's almost like this was a 39/Smooth reprise in terms of experimenting with yet another new sound. And yeah, they had a couple misses on this album, but it was just a set up for what the future holds.

The longest release hiatus came for fans when they waited 5 long years for 21st Century Breakdown. I think it's fair to state that most fans by this point, wanted perfection. Another Dookie if you will. To show you the change in time spans, if you wanted 39, you went out and bought the tape. Dookie, you went and picked up the cd. Warning, you downloaded it illegally. And then with 21st Century, you picked it up on newly DRM free iTunes and sent it to everyone who wanted it. That's how I got this, and at first blush - was NOT impressed. But then I kept going. I kept giving it chances. One after another. And it started growing on me. I'd find myself singing songs in my head well after putting the album down for the day. Could it be? Could Green Day finally have gotten it right again? I'm not sure I can really answer that question, but I can say they're getting closer. From a new sound standpoint, this is rock solid. It's got the poppy tracks, it's got the solid punk ballads and it's got that signature Green Day sound of old. In terms of turning the corner as artists, I think they've done it. And they've done it fairly successfully. They've reinvented themselves without really pissing anyone off - which is a nice feat. Would I classify this as one of the best album ever? Of course not. It's it really good, oh heck yes it is. Does it make me more excited for a subsequent album from them? Sure. I have faith that now I'd actually want to pick up the next one - instead of being indifferent. Green Day is back on my radar, thanks to this record. It's not a STP like rebirth, but it's a nice one nonetheless.

Albums In My Favorite Order:
1. Dookie
2. Insomniac
3. Kerplunk
4. 21st Century Breakdown
5. 39/Smooth
6. American Idiot
7. Nimrod
8. Warning

Sales Order:
1. Dookie - 18 Million Worldwide
2. American Idiot - 14 Million Worldwide
3. Insomniac - 5.5 Million Worldwide
4. Nimrod - 5 Million Worldwide
5. 21st Century Breakdown - 3.6 Million Worldwide
6. Warning - 3 Million Worldwide
7. Kerplunk - 2 Million Worldwide
8. 39/Smooth - 1 Million Worldwide

Green Day fans unite - let me know what you think. Happy Thursday!

Kings Of Leon - Only By The Night



Okay, I'll have to admit - I was a little late on the Kings Of Leon bandwagon. I know some people have been digging their groove for at least 5 years or so, but I didn't ever catch on to them until recently. I think much of it, when 'Use Somebody' came out, I was hearing it so much that I never actually listened to it. I'd always turn it off if it came on in the car. Finally about 6 months ago, I gave them a real chance. Turns out, I enjoy 'Use Somebody' quite a bit, and the rest of this record is pretty decent. This is a tough one, they've sold a ton of records in Australia for some reason. These guys were from and formed in Tennessee. Yeah, USA. Yet this album has only went platinum in the states versus 10x that down under. Kind of odd. In terms of sound, they have an alt rock type feel - maybe a little arena rock too. Not really, but I'll run with it. In terms of just this album, I'm a little mixed on it. I don't think it's great, but it's not bad either. For those that just heard Use Somebody and think the other 10 tracks will be like that, you're in for a surprise. The rest are quite a bit different. I highly enjoy the lead singers voice though. He can turn mediocre into gold in my opinion. He sings with that passion that can be rare for male voices. I think if you haven't heard it, check it out. I think it's different than you'd expect, and you may like it. I'd overall say it's a fairly average record. Worth listening to, not worth buying.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Closer
2. Crawl
3. Sex On Fire
4. Use Somebody
5. Manhattan
6. Revelry
7. 17
8. Notion
9. I Want You
10. Be Somebody
11. Cold Desert


Listen To Samples


Top 3 Tracks:
1. Use Somebody
2. Manhattan
3. Crawl

FINAL RATING:
3 out of 5 stars

Gomez - Bring It On



Ahh Gomez. I knew one day I'd get to these guys. This was a suggestion from follower Haypeterman. Now, I've known Mr. Peterman for many years. Decades even. And for the longest time, many of us would give him crap for always wanting to play Gomez in the car. None of us of course had ever actually heard them - it was just funny to always put aside a band he seemed so overly passionate about. In secret, I've listened to them a little here and there over the years, and they've got an interesting vibe to them. This was their first studio release back from 1998 and has gone platinum. They were formed in England and have a pretty solid indie rock type feel to them. They do mix in quite a bit of bluesy type stuff as well. I love how this album can have a really light sound and then smack you in the face with a very gritty guitar riff. As opposed to other recent reviews where I've been critical of arrangements, Gomez did it well on this record. Everything has a nice flow not only in terms of album placements, but also arrangements within the tracks. I wouldn't put Gomez up there with the Eels or the Black Keys in terms of best bands you're not listening to - but they're pretty cool. It's a unique sound that I think anyone can jive to. Definitely check them out. If not this record, something else by them. Maybe Haypeterman can expand on which album is his favorite too. We'll see. Happy Hump Day!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Get Miles
2. Whippin' Piccadilly
2. Brother Lead
3. Make No Sound
4. 78 Stone Wobble
5. Tijuana Lady
6. Here Comes The Breeze
7. Love Is Better Than A Warm Trombone
8. Get Myself Arrested
9. Free To Run
10. Bubble Gum Years
11. Rie's Wagon
12. Comeback, The

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. 78 Stone Wobble
2. Here Comes The Breeze
3. Get Myself Arrested

FINAL RATING:
3.5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Black Label Society - Order Of The Black



OOOOOOkay - nevermind. Amazon started working, so here we go. Happy New Music Tuesday to all you B Siders!! And thanks again for being patient with me today. I didn't get any nasty comments, emails or death threats - so thank you! I'd never heard of these gents until today (or I guess the other day when I saw they were putting out something new...) Regardless, they were new to me. Turns out they've been making music for over a decade! Crazy right? They're listed as heavy metal and hard rock - but they've got a couple nice ballads on this album. Some of the hard tracks, yeah - they hit hard though. I'm not really sure I'm in love with the lead singers voice. Seems silly, but it detracts from the music for me. He's like a less talented Ozzy. I think if you're a big metal follower - this is probably a band you're familiar with and you'll enjoy this album. For me however, it's just not something I think I'd ever put on. Mainly - it's just kind of odd. I mean, you go from hard hitting metal to ballad to a fiddle(?) played track on number 11. And then bam, back to metal. I don't know...I might give it a couple more goes, but I think the best I'll do is grabbing a single or two. I certainly won't be doing the whole album anytime soon. Let me know what you think...maybe I'm off base. Happy Tuesday!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Crazy Horse
2. Overlord
3. Parade of the Dead
4. Darkest Days
5. Black Sunday
6. Southern Dissolution
7. Time Waits For No One
8. Godspeed Hellbound
9. War of Heaven
10. Shallow Grave
11. Chupacabra
12. Riders of the Damned
13. January

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Darkest Days
2. Black Sunday
3. Chupacabra (why not?)

FINAL RATING:
2 out of 5 stars

Frightened Rabbit - Midnight Organ Fight



Okay, so I lied. I lied on multiple accounts. First off, I'm much later posting than I thought I'd be. Sorry about that. Computer didn't come back until later. Second, I said I'd come through with Black Label Society and their new album today. Well, Amazon is freaking out on their samples for some reason - so they'll have to wait. Brutal! Anyway. My esteemed follower Shaquanda recommended this band a pretty long time ago now. The album she requested is not available either, but this one is. So I figured why not? Seems like an interesting band - might as well give them a go. They're a Scottish indie rock band that has been making tuneage since 2006 or so. I have to say at first two listens, this is pretty f'n awesome. Exactly the kind of indie music I love. It's kind of like a Counting Crows meets REM type vibe. The arrangements are pretty neat on various tracks, the lyrics are solid and the overall feel makes me want to listen to more and more. I'm not really sure what else I can say except, check this out. If you're like me and never heard of them, it's a worth while listen. If you're Shaquanda or anyone else that's heard them, what do you think of the other albums? Are they just as worth while? I really dig this and will probably get to the other ones fairly soon. It's a great way to mellow out your Tuesday.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Modern Leper, The
2. I Feel Better
3. Good Arms vs. Bad Arms
4. Fast Blood
5. Old Old Fashioned
6. Twist, The
7. Bright Pink Bookmark
8. Head Rolls Off
9. My Backwards Walk
10. Keep Yourself Warm
11. Extrasupervery
12. Poke
13. Floating in the Forth
14. Who'd You Kill Now?

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Modern Leper
2. Fast Blood
3. Head Rolls Off

FINAL RATING:
3.75 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, August 10th



Good Morning B Siders!

Today's posts are going to be a little late - I am in the process of moving. I don't currently have access to headphones which will hinder my ability to listen to anything. =)

I should have my computer back sometime in the afternoon at the latest. If you've come looking for something to groove on, check out Black Label Society - Order Of The Black. It's new today, and I intend to review it this afternoon.

See you in a bit!

B Side

Monday, August 9, 2010

Notorious B.I.G. - Ready To Die



Anonymously I got a request to review some Biggie. Somewhat surprising I haven't gotten to anything by him yet - but it happens. I will say, I was never a huge fan of Biggie back in the day. Since I was a Pac fan, it was hard to really enjoy Biggie. Not even so much from the beef standpoint - but because their styles are so different. Biggie relies a lot on a sweet background arrangement for him to flow over, and he has a lot of rhythm to his raps. Pac on the other hand just went hard, and he had that raw emotion quality. I think I started to respect Biggie more after college when I really sat down and listened to the lyrics. Juicy is one of the best rap songs ever, regardless of what coast you vibe with. Conversely, I think Big Poppa is one of the more overrated hip hop tracks ever. I also quite enjoyed the film 'Notorious' that came out a couple years back. Biggie certainly has that typical rap story - big into the drug game, has kids, get noticed and makes it big. Regardless of what I feel about his raps, he died way too early. I'm glad that whole beef until guys get shot thing is over. I don't doubt Pac and Biggie would be friends again today and making phenomenal music together. This is shockingly only 4x platinum, but plays much better than that. There are probably a few tracks that could have been cut from this, and it'd have been a 5 star record all the way. A couple too many weaker flows on here to be really great. Still a very good record, one that you need to hear if you haven't already. This had a huge influence on modern hip hop and molded many artists into what they are today. Enjoy!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Intro
2. Things Done Changed
3. Gimme the Loot
4. Machine Gun Funk
5. Warning
6. Ready to Die
7. One More Chance
8. #!*@ Me (Interlude)
9. What, The
10. Juicy
11. Everyday Struggle
12. Me & My Bitch
13. Big Poppa
14. Respect - (Patois)
15. Friend of Mine
16. Unbelievable
17. Suicidal Thoughts
18. Who Shot Ya
19. Just Playing (Dreams)

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Juicy
2. Who Shot Ya
3. One More Chance

FINAL RATING:
4 out of 5 stars

Janet Jackson - Rhythm Nation 1814



So Friday I asked all of you to drop some suggestions in the good ol' box. Well I'm happy to report - you guys responded nicely! Keep them coming though! Anytime you're listening to something you think I've never heard, or something that I haven't gotten to yet - drop it in there. With all the music out there, I know I've completely missed reviewing some pretty big bands/acts in the 6 months I've been writing. Anyway, first up is follower Janis! and her suggestion of Janet. She specifically put this album down, and then said do anything by her - so I'll stick with this. Now, obviously I know who Janet is. I've heard a few tracks off this record before, but never the whole thing. I was never a big fan of hers growing up, and can't say I know much current stuff by her. This came out in 1989 and is a nice 6x platinum in the states. Getting through this now, seems like I don't recall as many singles as I thought I would - which is kind of nice. The one thing that strikes me - a couple of the songs sound exactly the same. Escapade being the huge single off this record, that has virtually the same beat as State Of The World and Miss You Much. If you sit back, you could sing the same lyrics over those beats and it'd sound perfect. Personally, I hate when artists do that - but I get it. Even Love Will Never Do has a very similar arrangement. That's fairly lazy if you ask me. Anyway, this is fine. This was certainly the late 80's version of pop music, and I'm not sure it stands the test of time or not. I guess I'll let you guys be the judge of that. This is considered one of her best records ever, so I'll tell you to give it a listen - but I think it's an average record all in all. I guess I'll have to listen to more Janet to confirm my suspicion that she can do better. Happy Monday!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Interlude: Pledge
2. Rhythm Nation
3. Interlude: T.V.
4. State of the World
5. Interlude: Race
6. Knowledge, The
7. Interlude: Let's Dance
8. Miss You Much
9. Interlude: Come Back Interlude
10. Love Will Never Do (Without You)
11. Livin' in a World (They Didn't Make)
12. Alright
13. Interlude: Hey Baby
14. Escapade
15. Interlude: No Acid
16. Black Cat
17. Lonely
18. Come Back to Me
19. Someday Is Tonight
20. Interlude: Livin'...In Complete Darkness

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Escapade
2. Come Back To Me
3. Rhythm Nation

FINAL RATING:
3 out of 5 stars

Friday, August 6, 2010

Heidi Presents, "Friday Gut Check - Sounding Off On Soundtracks"

I really like going to the dentist, and it's mostly because of Julia Roberts.

Like most kids, between the ages of 8 and 14, I must have been in the dentist's chair once a month. But, I never really minded it. Going to the dentist meant getting out of school early, enjoying happy gas (I always felt like my limbs were being twisted like a balloon animal, but in a good way.) and of course, picking from "the list."

Before every appointment at Dr. Bob's office, the hygienist would give me a laminated list of cassettes to listen to while I was under nitrous. And being a total dork, I picked the exact same tape every single time . . . the Pretty Woman soundtrack. Looking back, I think that having the picture of Julia's gaping wide pearly white smile was somehow comforting, and inspiring for a girl in the dentist's chair. But, mostly the soundtrack was just kind of happy. The track list includes David Bowie, Roxette and Peter Cetera! For me, a great soundtrack takes on the film's theme and spirit, and the Pretty Woman soundtrack is like a big toothy grin. It's awesome.

But, Pretty Woman doesn't make my list of the top 5 soundtracks of all time:

1. Reality Bites - One of my absolute favorite movies and my favorite soundtrack! Turn it up, you won't be sorry. The movie is a great depiction of the pop culture influence on Gen X, and their reluctance to enter adulthood. To get that same feel, the soundtrack mixes late 70s/early 80s hits like Tempted and My Sharona, quirky artists like Julianna Hatfield and hits like U2's All I Want is You. But, of course, we remember the huge hit Stay from the very quirky bespectacled Lisa Loeb. Oh, Gen X! Your soundtrack rocks. I wish every soundtrack were this good, and that Ben Stiller still made great movies.

Link To Video


2. Footloose - Holy God do I love this soundtrack. Now, this movie is pretty ridiculous, and you know what? So, is the music. Almost Paradise and Holding out for a Hero could easily be the most cheesy melodramatic songs ever written. But somehow, we love that Footloose is cheesy, and by the end of the movie, we feel as exuberant as the title track sounds. But my personal fave is the use of Let's Hear it for the Boy in the best dance scene ever filmed, thanks to the late great Chris Penn. I WILL sing that song in a karaoke bar someday, it's a dream of mine.

Link To Video

3. Juno - It's a gimme. I mean, The B Side and I actually agree on this one! I can't imagine everyone's favorite teenage pregnancy romp set to anything else but this. Every song choice used in the movie is perfect, and the soundtrack stands on its own as totally listenable - even that weird vampire song! Cat Power's Sea of Love makes me teary eyed every time, and the driving opener, All I Want is You, sets the tone for the whole movie.

Link To Video

4. (500) Days of Summer - Any soundtrack that features Hall and Oates AND Simon and Garfunkel HAS to make every best soundtracks list. Much like the Reality Bites soundtrack, the mix of classic songs with modern indie gems fit perfectly with the film's tone. I can listen to this soundtrack over and over, and not get tired of it. It's just lovely. Plus, Regina Spektor is my personal hero, and I've loved The Smiths' Please, Please Please Let Me Get What I Want pretty much forever. Don't just watch the clip for this one, go watch the whole movie!

Link To Video


5. Pulp Fiction - Iconic music for an iconic movie. I honestly don't think Pulp Fiction would have been as successful without the use of C'est la vie and Girl, You'll be a Woman Soon. But, what I really love about the soundtrack are those great instrumental surfer tracks. For a movie that exists solely to be cool, the soundtrack is a perfect match. I always catch myself doing the cool guy nod when listening to it.

Link To Video

Honorable mentions go to Garden State, Romeo and Juliet and Jackie Brown - love those Delfonics. I probably have more movie soundtracks than actual albums, so this was really tough for me.
________________________________________________________

So Heidi caught me a bit off guard again and this was totally off the top of my head - but here are The B Side's Top 5 Movie Soundtracks:

PS...big time props to American Beauty, Menace II Society and Pulp Fiction. I love those too!

5 - Batman Forever. The movie is a little underrated to me, but it's still not good. What is good is the soundtrack. U2's Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me was huge. Smash It Up by Offspring is simply an awesome song. And who didn't love Seal's Kiss From A Rose back in the day? Heck - still today! Toss in some Method Man and you've got a soundtrack.

4 - Requiem For A Dream. It isn't so much a soundtrack as it is a score. But quite frankly, this is one of my favorite movies ever. And the soundtrack matches perfectly to the darkness of the film. I have many of the samples on my iPod and I listen to them often.

3 - Forrest Gump. Just look at this soundtrack. Seriously. Some of the greatest classic rock ever. Great movie, and the sounds mingled in with the times.

2 - Juno. I know most of it was done by one artist, but it's great. Mott The Hoople was a great sprinkle add and Sonic Youth covering the Carpenters blew my f'ing mind. Thank you Jason Bateman!

1 - Dark Knight. Duh. I didn't appreciate this nearly enough the first time around. I can crank this movie with the surround sound on and it blows my mind. If you really pay attention to the backgrounds especially when the Joker is about to do something crazy - it just fits. The music made the movie a 5+ star film.

Don't forget to tell us what we forgot, and share your lists!

I'm Almost Out!!

Hey there B Siders!

It's Friday, and I was going through my list of Suggestions today, and I'm almost out of them! I'm going to ask a small favor from all of you - go ahead and drop in either a comment or hit the Suggestion Box link with whatever you're jammin' to right now. I promise I'll get to it in the next two weeks! Doesn't matter how many you toss out there, I'll review 10 albums a day if I need to! Even if you're just grooving to one song at the moment, toss that out too! I'll pick up the album it's off of and review it.

This will serve as my post today, as my creativity seems to be left behind with the no sleep I got. So if you've come this morning looking for something to listen to, go ahead and pop in your favorite album of all time. And then send it on over to me.

Have a great Friday and enjoy your weekend!

Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy day to enjoy music with the B Side!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Eels - Hombre Lobo: 12 Songs Of Desire



The Eels. I'm doing this review today for a few reasons. First being, the Eels are still amazing. I've profiled them before, but I don't think a lot of readers have given them their due yet. Second, they're putting on a show in October at the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee, WI. Everyone who lives in that area should be there. It's been said before, but I'll say it again - this is the best band you're not listening to. Thirdly, I needed to run an 'oddball' type review today, and the Eels will always fit that mold. They still don't fit into any sort of genre that I can pick up on. Their music is just a ride down great roller coaster, you go up the ramp and when you start coming down the big drop - you have no idea what's ahead. You just know you're going to love it. Hombre Lobo was their 7th studio release back in 2009. This was part of a trio of concept albums released by the Eels in late 2009 through the beginning of 2010. 'End Times' dropped in January of this year and then 'Tomorrow Morning' will be released here in a couple weeks. I'll need to make sure I'm well versed in all their tuneage for the show, so I'll try to get to all those albums this month/next month. You'll recall I reviewed their first studio release, 'Beautiful Freak' and gave it great reviews. Nothing is going to change with this rating. I'm not sure it's AS good as that one, but it's certainly not behind my very much. The Eels always have such great arrangements and such a fantastic sound that it's hard not to enjoy what they do. I know you'll love them too, so please check this one out. And please, enjoy them and come to the show. Good times shall be had by everyone! Blast your way through Thursday with all the Eels greatness.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Prizefighter
2. That Look You Give That Guy
3. Lilac Breeze
4. In My Dreams
5. Tremendous Dynamite
6. Longing, The
7. Fresh Blood
8. What's a Fella Gotta Do
9. My Timing is Off
10. All the Beautiful Things
11. Beginner's Luck
12. Ordinary Man

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Ordinary Man
2. The Longing
3. All The Beautiful Things

FINAL RATING:
4.5 out of 5 stars