Song of the Moment

J. Cole - Lost Ones

Friday, October 29, 2010

Heidi Presents, "Spooky Version 2.0"

Halloween songs? YES! Unlike my co-contributor, I freaking love Halloween. It's odd, because I'm irrationally afraid of many things including natural disasters, Freddy Krueger and skiing (life's pretty cheap for that type). But, I love the supernatural, the macabre and the KitKats.

So, here's my list of top 5 songs for Halloween.

1. Thriller - Michael Jackson
No song is as synonymous with Halloween quite like Thriller. I know I mentioned that I was terrified of the video as a kid, but Vincent Price's voice still gives me the willies to this day. It's hard to imagine the audacity that Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones had to muster to make this song into a huge hit. It's about monsters on a creepy moonlit night and includes sound effects and an old man cackle. It's totally crazy and uninhibited, and that's why it works so well.

2. Monster Mash - Bobby (Boris) Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers
I'm a sucker for novelty songs. I lived across the street from my elementary school, and every year, the PTA sponsored a delightful Halloween party in the gym. This song always takes me back to those parties, complete with spider rings, peeled grape eyeballs and silly dancing to the Monster Mash. From the opening chain clang to angry Dracula whining about how his Transylvania Twist was ripped off, it's everything that's fun and childish about Halloween.

3. Enter Sandman - Metallica
Speaking of not for children, this song still scares me. I never wanted to sleep when I was a kid, because I always felt like something bad was going to happen to me and I would be helpless to stop it. I mean, even bed time prayers . . . "if I die before I wake; I pray the Lord my soul to take" that's some messed up and morbid stuff for kids to say. So, when I hear lyrics like, sleep with one eye open/gripping your pillow tight . . . I get a little nervous. But, you cannot deny the near perfect guitar riff in that song. It just feels like something bad is about to happen.

4. Hotel California - The Eagles
Are they ghosts? Is it a mental hospital? WHY CAN YOU NEVER LEAVE? It's probably just about drugs, but I love this song. The lyrics are creepy and supernatural, and the guitar banter at the end is truly out of this world.

5. Sympathy for the Devil - The Rolling Stones
Boy, the B side really blew their list missing out on this one. I have to say, that beyond tornadoes, earthquakes and black diamonds, Satan terrifies me. So, I seriously appreciate the Stones' song about evil and how we're all a little bit of the devil. The tribal feel of the opening drums mixed with random cries perfectly sets up a cool and sexy representation of evil. It's damn cool, or maybe I should say hot.

B Side Presents, "Friday Gut Check - Frightful Singles"



Ahh yes. Halloween is quickly approaching us my friends. Not typically a holiday I choose to celebrate - but many people do. And what better way to celebrate than coming up with some sick, twisted All Hallow's Eve playlists? Today a challenge was brought forth by follower janis! to spring into action on some spooky tracks. The challenge in all reality was to come up with songs that had anything to do with Halloween. Not necessarily scary songs - anything that has to do with the darkness, monsters, has names in the title that are Halloween-ish. You all get the idea.

First I want to say this was a hard list to come up with. I'm so proud of what I thought of I'm going to post my honorable mentions:

Bad Moon Rising - CCR
Black Magic Woman - Santana
Don't Fear The Reaper - Blue Oyster Cult
People Are Strange - The Doors
Twilight Zone - Golden Earring
I'm Your Boogieman - White Zombie
War Pigs/Iron Man - Black Sabbath (kind of a stretch, but maybe they work)

Now on to the classic Friday Top 5!

5. Squirrel Nut Zippers - Hell: How could this not be on the top 5? It's a song about well, hell. Except this version is upbeat and swing style. It really is a great song. I know I reviewed the album a long while back - but it's worth checking out if you missed it.

4. Edgar Winter Group - Frankenstein: Another track that had to be in the top 5 just based on name. Oh yeah, it also features probably one of the most recognized signature guitar riffs in music history. Not a fan of Edgar overall - but this track makes it happen.

3. Highway To Hell - AC/DC: Was there ever a band that conveyed more of a tough image than these guys? And I mean classic rock too - not new stuff where you have morons on stage spraying faygo dressing like clowns. AC/DC will rock your face off - then kick your a**.

2. Battle Of Evermore - Led Zeppelin: Did you think of this one? I bet you didn't. This song is about - uhh, a battle. Perhaps at Evermore? Arrangement wise, it's very brooding and different. Lyrics are very dark and set a very cool vibe. This track is amazing, and you should listen to it right now!

1. Zombie - The Cranberries: Yeah. It's a track called Zombie! What gets more Halloween than that? Zombies have pretty much taken over the pop culture scene - everywhere you turn there is another zombie movie, people are dressing like them etc etc. Vampires tried to dethrone the zombie - but there is just too much quality in eating brains. The cadillac of halloween villains!

I know Heidi has an opinion and will be chiming in later too. Give us what you got B Siders! Oh yeah, and Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Elton John - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road



I used to get chastised quite often for not being a huge Elton John fan. I know, I know - hard to believe. It wasn't as much that I dislike his music, as I just simply didn't know it. It's like Billy Joel - everytime I listen to something by him, I always find out there is another song I enjoy by him. Elton is the same way for me. I enjoy Elton. I just don't know and can't recite his works like many others can. I choose this album today because it's older, and it's his best selling at a delightful 7x Platinum. It's hard not to at the very least tap your toes to this record. It's pretty upbeat, pretty fun. Also pretty unique in terms of what else was being produced back in 1973. There really isn't anything wrong with this album. I can't critique anything negative. It's a little long, 17 tracks. But heck, I love that. I hate when artists drop 8 tracks albums. I don't groove on all the tracks here, but there are a solid number that I do. I can totally understand why this is his best selling and also why it's considered by Rolling Stone to be one of the best 100 albums of all time. Makes perfect sense. I love Elton's pure intensity on vocals. If James Brown was the hardest working man in the business, Elton couldn't have been too far behind. He seems like he poured his heart and soul into every recording and every performance he put on. He might still be that way to this day - I never paid the 900 dollars to see him and Billy perform together. Maybe when I'm rich. Regardless, check this out today. I think you'll like it, no matter what you groove on. Happy Thursday B Siders!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Funeral for a Friend (Love Lies Bleeding)
2. Candle in the Wind
3. Bennie and the Jets
4. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
5. This Song Has No Title
6. Grey Seal
7. Jamaica Jerk Off
8. I've Seen That Movie Too
9. Sweet Painted Lady
10. Ballad of Danny Bailey, The (1909-1934)
11. Dirty Little Girl
12. All the Girls Love Alice
13. Your Sister Can't Twist (But She Can Rock 'n Roll)
14. Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting
15. Roy Rogers
16. Social Disease
17. Harmony

Listen To Samples

1. Bennie And The Jets
2. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
3. Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting

FINAL RATING:
4 out of 5 stars

Kinleys - Just Between You And Me



Country day is back! As I mentioned in a non music post this week, a couple people really stepped up and gave me a TON of country to listen to. Big thanks again to JenInTosa and Shaqwanda. This one comes from Shaqwanda - who normally is the B Side resident punk rock suggester. Sounds like she spent very little time in her life focusing on country music, but gave me a few of her faves. The Kinleys here are a pair of sisters who happen to be identical twins. They are from Philadelphia and began making music around 1995. This particular record came out in '97 and is certified gold by the RIAA. Country genre wise...hmm. That's a tough one. This was probably considered pop country back in that time, but it's nothing like todays pop country style of a Swift or Underwood. This is a more upbeat (for the most part) album. 4 singles off this hit the country stations between '97 and '98 which is probably what led to it's solid gold success. I'd never even heard of these ladies before today. I know they released two more albums after this one - the most recent being in 2004 that was only on an independent label. This album certainly isn't offensive to my listening senses. It probably wouldn't be something I'd toss on during a random Thursday - but it's not bad. Not bad at all. I think a country fan would easily enjoy this. Not sure if it'd appeal to a pop crowd or not. Probably not. Country fans should really try this out today. If you're like me and haven't heard of it - it's got a certain Wilson Phillips feel to it. So if you like them, you'll like this.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Just Between You And Me
2. Talk To Me
3. You Make It Seem So Easy
4. Crazy Kind Of Love Thing
5. Please
6. The Real Thing
7. Takin' Our Own Sweet Time
8. Love Rules
9. Contradiction
10. Dance In The Boat

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Please
2. Contradiction
3. Just Between You And Me

FINAL RATING:
2.25 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Toadies - Rubberneck



Time for one of my favorite old school alternative guilty pleasures. Yay Toadies! This album dropped way back in 1994. Yep, I know. Another record that came out in that infamous year. Man - what a great year. What a great time to have been growing up. Being all of 10 - I was very impressionable in terms of music. And having SO many great albums come out that year in SO many different genres probably made me the music lover I am today. I can't imagine how anyone with their ear to the radio at any point that calendar year couldn't have come away with anything less than a huge passion for tuneage. Anyway, Toadies. 1989 in Fort Worth Texas. That's where the journey began. They broke up in 2001 for what seemed permanent after one of their members left the group. They reformed in 2006 though and have been doing shows and even put out an album. There is an album titled 'Feeler' that is the actual follow up to this album. It never saw actual release because it was never finished to the direction the band wanted it. After the breakup - it was thought it'd never come out. So bits and pieces ended out on the internet for people to listen to. With the reformation, they decided to finish up the pieces they didn't like and actually release the album. It should be out sometime in 2011 - potentially as late as the summer. I really enjoy this album. I remember buying it back in the day and playing it over and over. So much in fact that I got sick of it and sold it for 5 dollars. I kind of wish I had it back today because I miss it. It's not going to blow your socks off by any means, but it's solid through and through. A couple tracks are flat out amazing - and I'll list those below. At the very least, check those out. I think you might be a budding Toadies fan and not even realize it. Happy Hump Day B Side!!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Mexican Hairless
2. Mister Love
3. Backslider
4. Possum Kingdom
5. Quitter
6. Away
7. I Come From The Water
8. Tyler
9. Happyface
10. Velvet
11. I Burn

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Possum Kingdom
2. I Come From The Water
3. Away

FINAL RATING:
3.75 out of 5 stars

Far East Movement - Free Wired



It's tough to listen to the pop or hip hop radio airwaves and not hear 'Like a G6' right now. I will say, the beat is sick. The lyrics are pretty...umm, bad? Granted I haven't listened to it in and out - but part of it talks about drinking while driving. Or at least that's implied. I guess you can get away with that when you're saying you only care about the beats and not the lyrics. FEM began making music around the 2003 timeframe. They are a conglomerate of Asian American men that all represent a different background and culture. These guys have played some monstrous shows all over the world. They were invited to perform at the most prestigious Los Angeles hip hop show in 2009 - the Powerhouse show. That featured huge acts like Jay-Z, Black Eyed Peas and many - MANY more. In terms of that, they're certainly on the map. Does their music live up to the play time nowadays? I personally don't think so. The reason I classify them as pop and not dance, is mainly because of their lyrical content. Many tracks the lyrics are the focal point over the beats. That doesn't happen on more than a track or two with your big dance acts. Plus, I just don't think this has the block rockin' beats that other dance albums have. I mean, G6 is right up there with the better ones I've heard this year, but that's one track out of 10. I think if you're a pop fan, check this out. If you're a beatnut - you might want to skip it not causing pure frustration that pop is no invading your genre too.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Girls on the Dance Floor
2. Like a G6
3. Rocketeer
4. If I Was You (OMG)
5. She Owns the Night
6. So What?
7. Don't Look Now
8. Fighting for Air
9. White Flag
10. 2gether

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Like A G6
2. Fighting For Air
3. Girls On The Dance Floor

FINAL RATING:
2.75 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Star One - Victims Of The Modern Age



Round 2 of my incredibly strange reviews continues with Star One. These guys also have a bit of an electronic feel thusly combining my New Music Tuesday entry with my Techno Tuesday entry. These guys are more hmm, hard rock than anything though. I think they use the electronics to enhance the guitar sound. Which is pretty cool. Of the two artists I looked at today, my guess is there is a better shot you've heard of these fellas than the last guy. This almost plays through from start to finish like an opera. You could easily have some sort of crazy play going on in the background to it. It has that sort of feel. Maybe a Trans Siberian Orchestra style feel? Yeah, that's what I'll go with. It's kind of neat. I wouldn't turn it on all the time or anything, but listening to it this one time today has me intrigued. All I really know about these guys is that they are a Dutch band. There isn't a whole lot of great information about either Star One or Avey Tare. I'm really opening the door to new music today. Not just new in the sense of it being released today - but also genre wise and to your ear wise something you've probably never sampled before. Check 'em out. I cannot say with any confidence that you'll like it, but you might be surprised that music like this is even out there. Step out of your comfort zone today B Siders!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Down The Rabbit Hole
2. Digital Rain
3. Earth That Was
4. Victim Of The Modern Age
5. Human See, Human Do
6. 24 Hours
7. Cassandra Complex
8. It's Alive, She's Alive, We're Alive
9. It All Ends Here
10. Two Plus Two Equals Five
11. Lastday
12. Closer To the Stars
13. Knife Edge
14. Making of Victims of the Modern Age, The

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Cassandra Complex
2. Human See, Human Do
3. Down The Rabbit Hole

FINAL RATING:
2.5 out of 5 stars

Avey Tare - Down There



Odd day on the B Side today. It is probably the SLOWEST New Music Tuesday ever. The only mentionable album is Taylor Swift - which I should have done, but did a country review yesterday. So here I am - left holding the bag. I wasn't going to do Techno Tuesday either - only because I'm always a week ahead of dance reviews. Anyway - I'm kind of doing two of each. Both of my artists today are new, electronic-ish acts. They are both pulled straight out of a hat, and I've never heard of them before. I seriously doubt anyone has. First comes Avey Tare and his new release of 'Down There'. Boy is this different. From track one it's unlike nearly anything I've heard before. It's like if you had a classic band lead singer and echoed out his vocals and added some transing beats behind it. You can't really understand the lyrics in most songs, because they're so washed out to give you that "spacey" feel. I do enjoy the track titles, that is probably my favorite thing about the record. The music itself isn't terrible - it's got a more techno beat to it. Track one starts off like it's going to be a popping dance track, but then an instrument is introduced that I think might be the accordion. This is certainly out there. I would recommend giving it a go though. I mean, why not? It's only 9 tracks and some of you may actually enjoy it. If it catches on, it'll be mainstream in no time.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Laughing Hieroglyphic
2. 3 Umbrellas
3. Oliver Twist
4. Glass Bottom Boat
5. Ghost of Books
6. Cemeteries
7. Heads Hammock
8. Heather in the Hospital
9. Lucky 1

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Ghost Of Books
2. 3 Umbrellas
3. Heads Hammock

FINAL RATING:
2.25 out of 5 stars

Thanks B Siders!

Just a quick note to give a HUGE thanks to you guys!

I mentioned in the post that I was running low on country suggestions - and BAM! All of the sudden nearly 25 requests showed up in the Suggestion Box! JenInTosa and Shaqwanada - thank you so much!

Curt and Jeff - thanks for you entries too! I should be getting to all of them soon!

You guys are the best!

B Side

Monday, October 25, 2010

Creed - Human Clay



I think a really long time ago - I mentioned that I enjoy a good Creed based album. Alter Bridge was one of my new faves when they started dropping albums around 2004. Creed was the origination of that band and Creed started making sweet tuneage in 1997. I think they came out at a perfect time. When '97s 'My Own Prison' record came out (my favorite by the way - they just don't link samples to that record) I think the US was teetering on being ready to move on from other alt rock style bands. When this album came out in 1999 - it was really ready to explore any new styles. You saw a huge shift in pop music as everyone started to open back up to hip hop with the emergence of Eminem and then Creed burst on to the scene selling tons of albums too. Human Clay is an astounding 11x platinum in the states. It's also sold over 5 million copies in the UK and Australia too. Truly a record that made everyone jam in unison. While Alter Bridge is still alive and kicking - Creed is too. They dropped their latest studio album 'Full Circle' earlier this year - and they promise to keep touring and making more music. I think had they not split up and gone 8 years between releases, Creed would still be a monster mega hit. It's not that their music is super different, but it's really good. Straight up in your face rock n roll. Like a Godsmack heaviness without the screaming lyrics or offensive lyrics. A few poppy songs mixed in is probably what caused this bad boy to sell so many copies. You should certainly toss this on today. It still isn't as good as 'My Own Prison' but it's right up there. Creed your way into Tuesday - you won't be disappointed.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Are You Ready?
2. What If
3. Beautiful
4. Say I
5. Wrong Way
6. Faceless Man
7. Never Die
8. With Arms Wide Open
9. Higher
10. Wash Away Those Years
11. Inside Us All

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. What If
2. Are You Ready
3. Faceless Man

FINAL RATING:
3.75 out of 5 stars

Tim McGraw - Not A Moment Too Soon



Monday brings some more good ol' country music on the B Side. My apologies if this review is not up to my normal standards. The Packer game was very exciting and went in the late hours of night last night. So I'm tired - and might not be writing clearly. Regardless - I mentioned last week that my country suggestions have dried up. I'm moving to simply reviewing artists I've heard of before - but not necessarily heard any tracks. McGraw I think falls into that category. I mean, I've probably heard a few of his songs before - but for sure none from this record. I was actually quite surprised, this was Tim's first studio release - and it's a nice 6x platinum. Now, normally I'd say I for sure have heard 1 or 2 tracks from an album that has sold that many copies. Alas, I haven't heard anything off this before. This came out way back in 1994 - and I certainly wasn't listening to country back then. If I dislike country now - I really couldn't stand it back then. I was listening to mostly rap back then with maybe the grunge revolution sprinkled in. I could get into his personal life a bit, (married to Faith Hill, does some acting, some charity work) but ehh, I'm not feeling like that today. Instead - just focusing on the music, this album doesn't do it for me. It sounds like his style changed quite a bit since release, and maybe it gets better from here. This is very bland to me. There aren't any tracks that really pop to me and make me want to listen to more and more. I'll have to keep him on the docket of artists to review again some other time. Today - I'll encourage country fans to pull up their favorite McGraw record and leave this one on the shelf.

TRACK LISTING:
1. It Doesn't Get Any Countrier Than This
2. Give It To Me Strait
3. Wouldn't Want It Any Other Way
4. Down On The Farm
5. Not a Moment Too Soon
6. Indian Outlaw
7. Refried Dreams
8. Don't Take The Girl
9. 40 Days And 40 Nights
10. Ain't That Just Like A Dream

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. It Doesn't Get Any Countrier Than This
2. Refried Dreams
3. Don't Take The Girl

FINAL RATING:
2 out of 5 stars

Friday, October 22, 2010

B Side Presents, "Friday Gut Check - Art-standing Inserts"

There has always been an aspect of albums/cd's that I've loved - album covers. With today's electronic albums - you don't get any of the fun inserts that contain cool artwork, maybe a lyrics sheet and whatever else the band wants to tell you. I can't say that I've ever really bought a cd just because of the artwork - but I certainly look through it everytime I get a new one. It was always a blast reading through the booklets and especially memorizing lyrics to songs that would be tough to know. I've decided today to challenge you guys (and myself) in finding my favorite cover art of all time. Maybe Heidi can join in later, we'll see what she's got going on. Let's hear what you guys come up with!
______________________________________________________

5. Hinder - Extreme Behavior: Okay, I'm a guy. I enjoy looking at tastefully done album covers featuring attractive ladies. Is that such a crime? There are TONS of covers you could go with in this genre of artwork. There is a country album by the band Roxy that caused quite a stir for it's content. I'll let you guys look that up sometime. Other than the modeling work - it's nothing major. But I feel putting something like this in my Top 5 was worth while - as I also think an artist not fearing a stigma is bold. It's easy to get censored nowadays, and everyone likes to keep the old FCC happy. Stick it to 'em Hinder!



4. Green Day - Dookie: When I got this album as a kid - I must have spent HOURS looking at the cover. There is so much going on from the totally absurd to the absolute comical. It's fun to think about what Green Day was envisioning with this piece of artwork. Was it intended to make you laugh? Make you think about society? Maybe they put no thought into it at all...who knows? All I know is I enjoyed it - and it's my number 4.



3. Stone Temple Pilots - Purple: Why do I like this one? I'm not even really sure to be honest. It's just captivating. You've got a baby riding some sort of manticore or dragon or something. Some people looking on in the background that appear to maybe be religious and then something that looks to be Japanese. Do I know what it means? Nope. Could I find out? Of course. But what's the fun in that? I'll come up with my own story as to what's going on and keep it that way locked away in my head.




2. Led Zeppelin - I: This cover is a classic. It depicts the famous Hindenburg airship catching fire and going down back in 1937. The band had gotten its name from the incident, and the image worked well to serve the first album of one of the best rock bands of all time. If this image is part of the reason they took the name they did - I'd say it worked out pretty well. The artist did a great job designing this image, and I'd say it's one of the best in history.



1. Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here: You could almost go with any Floyd album cover here. Dark Side is up there in terms of most classic artwork ever. The Wall had probably the best total booklet in with the original LP and even the cd. But this image will forever stick with me. There is a man, shaking another mans hand who is clearly on fire. Why don't they put him out? Why are they shaking hands in the first place? Yet another great conversation piece and an amazing album to boot. This is my clear choice as number one - because I love the image. I should get a poster and put it in my bedroom.



Okay B Siders, let's hear what I've missed!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

N.E.R.D - In Search Of...



Ashley then asked me to talk about NERD, and what I think of their overall sound. First a little background. Pharrell Williams, Chad Hugo and Shay Haley are the members and they make a very different blend of hip hop and rock and pop and funk and everything under creation. These dudes are serious about their music. Everyone at this stage should recognize Pharrell as the super producer he is - but he also can lay down a tune when called upon as well. NERD stands for No one Ever Really Dies - not sure where they got that from - but that's what they came up with. This album dropped in 2002 and has seen gold status success. It was the first album by NERD - but not the last. Their fourth studio recording is due out in November of this year. They were originally signed with Virgin records - but left following their 2nd studio record. The Neptunes started their own label Star Trak to which their current releases come out. Star Trak's biggest acts today are Clipse and these guys. Robin Thicke is in there too - his albums are solid sellers. Anyways - I love NERD. I love the Neptunes, I love Pharrell and I love Clipse. Basically anything Pharrell touches is gold to me. This was one of my favorite college albums - just because it was so different. I still toss 'Rock Star' on a lot to pump me up. There are 100 different versions of that track out there - and they're all great. These guys are always making different sorts of music and it comes out so fresh and so fun. I can't wait until the new ones drops - as I'm sure it'll equate to me listening to something for a good long time. You NEED to check these guys out today. It's very worth your while - no matter what music you enjoy. Thanks again Ashley!!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Lapdance
2. Things Are Getting Better
3. Brain
4. Provider
5. Truth or Dare
6. Tape You
7. Run to the Sun
8. Baby Doll
9. Am I High
10. Rock Star
11. Bobby James
12. Stay Together

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Rock Star
2. Stay Together
3. Lapdance

FINAL RATING:
4 out of 5 stars

Five For Fighting - America Town



Today is a somewhat special day on the B Side. I'm doing two reviews based on the Suggestion of follower Ashley. Hopefully she reads this, as I enjoy her Suggestions and I'm almost out of them! This is a plea to all of you guys, keep the Suggestions coming! I need 'em! In case you didn't know, Five For Fighting is one man - John Ondrasik. He was born way back in 1965 out in LA to a musical family. He adopted the name Five For Fighting from the hockey penalty. Ashley specifically asked me to review the track 'Superman' off this album - and I don't think that's a song I'll ever forget. This album dropped in late September of 2000. And I'll remember this for two reasons: 1) the girl I was seeing at the time loved that track. She'd come into my dorm room and crank my speakers as loud as they go and bump that song. 2) A fairly big moment in US history happened that month - and 'Superman' was used very often on the 9/11 attack videos. I'll always remember that song and 'Only Time' by Enya on almost every video I watched for the following 3 months. Looking back at this album, that song is really the only one to have made an impact on society. This album as a whole is really bland. Now, 'Superman' might not be my favorite song in the world, but I cannot deny the emotion is invoked in people after the attacks. And some have criticzed that's not a good thing to have your song known for - but I totally disagree. Music can help us get through some of the toughest moments in our lives. If John is only remembered for helping one person get through the incredible pain of losing a loved one - that's a job very well done.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Easy Tonight
2. Bloody Mary (A Note on Apathy)
3. Superman
4. America Town
5. Something About You
6. Jainy
7. Michael Jordan
8. Out of Love
9. Last Great American, The
10. Love Song
11. Boat Parade
12. Alright

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Superman
2. Easy Tonight
3. Jainy

FINAL RATING:
3 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Radiohead - Kid A



I love Radiohead. Devotees will recall my excellent rating for their 'The Bends' album a while back...but I'm not even sure that's my favorite. Kid A here is right there with that one and every other Radiohead record. The reason I enjoy this one so much is the change of pace. Most people would recognize their brand as more of an anthem rock or indie rock feel. And this record was a total experiment with more of an electronic sound. It's so different - which is awesome, but it's still Radiohead. That probably doesn't make any sense to the casual listener or reader, but it really does. If you were really jacked up about Bends and then OK Computer - I'd have a hard time thinking you listened to this and didn't enjoy it. It just has that signature Radiohead strangeness to it, just a totally different arrangement. And I've said this before, but I LOVE when bands experiment like that. Especially when they lean toward the less money, but doing what you love side. They could have easily made a more poppy record and sold a ton of copies. Instead, they didn't care what people thought per se, and made what they wanted to. Turns out, it still sold like gangbusters. Just goes to show you, if you make really good music - people will still buy it. You need to check this out today. One of the most complete records of the 2000's. Enjoy B Siders and Happy Wednesday!!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Everything in Its Right Place
2. Kid A
3. National Anthem, The
4. How to Disappear Completely
5. Treefingers
6. Optimistic
7. In Limbo
8. Idioteque
9. Morning Bell
10. Motion Picture Soundtrack

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Idioteque
2. Optimistic
3. Everything In Its Right Place

FINAL RATING:
5 out of 5 stars

Toby Keith - Pull My Chain



Country music. Now, I've gotten through all of the requests in the box, so I'm just moving on to artists that I've heard of but don't really know much about. Add Toby Keith to that category. And why do so many country artists not want you listening to their music? I don't get it. Most of the bigger artists won't allow me to link samples to their tuneage. Makes no sense to me. My original review was going to be the 'Unleashed' album - but nothing. So here goes 'Pull My Chain', which I think I've heard of one track off of. This fella has a fairly quirky background. Music aside, he's made some pretty big news regarding his political prowess. He says he was a democrat but now changed his stance to independent but votes republican. He's made some patriotic music and has gone over to put on shows for the soldiers. I guess there was some feud with the Dixie Chicks, but it seems fairly boring. He owns his own restaurant in Oklahoma. He also has his own line of clothing. He's married, has a bunch of kids and his father passed in a bus accident. His family was thusly awarded millions in a wrongful death suit against the company who made the bus his father was killed in. Other than that - his music, it's really not for me. This was his first release under the Dreamworks label, and I guess the first one that focused more on jovial hits instead of country ballads. This album was meant to emphasize his playful side and his humor. Yeah - it's just kind of boring. Sorry to all the country fans, but maybe I'll have to try a different Keith album some other time. This one just makes me want to hit the skip button.

TRACK LISTING:
1. I'm Just Talkin' About Tonight
2. I Wanna Talk About Me
3. I Can't Take You Anywhere
4. You Leave Me Weak
5. Tryin' to Matter
6. Pull My Chain
7. Sha la la Song, The
8. Pick 'Em up and Lay 'Em Down
9. Forever Hasn't Got Here Yet
10. Yesterday's Rain
11. My List
12. You Didn't Have as Much to Lose
13. Gimme 8 Seconds (Bonus Track)

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. You Leave Me Weak
2. I Wanna Talk About Me
3. The Sha La La Song

FINAL RATING:
2 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Kings Of Leon - Come Around Sundown




Tuesday can only mean one thing - well two things actually, but you've already read Techno Tuesday's entry, so on to New Music Tuesday! Quick story about KoL, if you're at all into sports, you know that Ohio State played UW at Camp Randall this week in what was a huge game. ESPN's College Gameday was taped at the Camp that morning, and they almost always have a celebrity picker for the bigger games. Now, this person usually has some sort of tie to the state, the school - something. Anything. Well, it ends up being Nathan Followill - the drummer from Kings. He's not from here, he's not a fan of UW's, nothing. Biggest flop for a guest ever. Anyhow, I reviewed their previous album not all that long ago. I enjoyed it - this one doesn't seem to be too much different in terms of overall sound and style. Yet another record that was released in other countries days before the states. Still can't quite figure out why that happens all the time. The big single off this album thusfar is 'Radioactive', and it's pretty good. I don't think it has the star generating power that 'Use Somebody' had - but it's still good. I'm not sure how to grade this one. While I enjoy it, it's by no means outstanding or something I'd listen to on a very regular basis. But it's certainly above average. Tough call. I might have to give this a few more go 'rounds before I make a final decision on it. I think at some point I need to see these guys live. That might give me a better appreciation of their tuneage. Anyway, give this a shot today. Help me understand why it's better than a pretty good album.

TRACK LISTING:
1. End, The
2. Radioactive
3. Pyro
4. Mary
5. Face, The
6. Immortals, The
7. Back Down South
8. Beach Side
9. No Money
10. Pony Up
11. Birthday
12. Mi Amigo
13. Pickup Truck

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. The Immortals
2. Radioactive
3. The End

FINAL RATING:
3.25 out of 5 stars

Deadmau5 - Random Album Title



Techno Tuesday comes back with a purpose today. As someone who has loved the genre since I was probably 14 or so, I've been to a few dance/house/techno shows in my life. They're typically a lot of fun. Even if you're not trippin' on acid or dropping any E - you can still have a good time at these shows. Usually there are some fun laser shows or some funky strobes and smoke that really keep you entranced. Deadmau5 has a perfect groove to go along with a show like that. And in this crazy world, Mr. Deadmau5 will be in Madison tonight! Yeah! He'll be at the Coliseum (Alliant Energy Center) at 7pm. This show was scheduled to be at the Orpheum Theatre on State Street - but for some reason or another got moved. Kind of a bummer since the smaller venue would have been neat, but at least now there should be no issue getting tickets. I know the Orpheum show was sold out. I might be there - just look for the nerd diligently taking notes while ever so awkwardly moving to the beat. I think I made it fairly clear with my last review - but I really enjoy this guy. Great blend of synths, piano in spots, overall bass beats and then a snare kit to mesh it along. He's not a Fatboy Slim or someone that gets ever so wordy - so if that's the brand of dance you like, this isn't for you. This is just flat out funky beats for you to crank up in your car. This particular record you could put on at a salon and get a massage to. For me anyway, it's very calming and relaxing. There are a couple of pump you up-ish tracks, but for me those are in the minority. This is album 2 of his 2 total CD releases. There is some digital stuff out there too. Check this out and 'For Lack Of A Better Name'. Beatnuts love it, so will you!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Sometimes Things Get, Whatever
2. Complications
3. Slip
4. Some Kind of Blue
5. Brazil
6. Alone with You (Original Mix)
7. I Remember
8. Faxing Berlin
9. Faxing Berlin
10. Not Exactly
11. Arguru
12. So There I Was

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Brazil
2. Slip
3. Some Kind Of Blue

FINAL RATING:
4.5 out of 5 stars

Monday, October 18, 2010

Les Baxter - The Exotic Moods of Les Baxter



My 'odd' review each week usually makes me step outside my comfort zone, and listen to something that normally wouldn't grace my headphones. This week, it's this classical/background noise/elevator music artist known as Les Baxter. This is also a Suggestion Box specialty - this one coming from follower janis!. I was going to go into some great deal about his music history - but it's really not super exciting. Was going to Pepperdine to study piano - gave that up. Started doing a bunch of composing that ended up being used in soundtracks and tv themes. He's put out around 7,000 albums since 1947. His most recent being this one that dropped in 1996. Les also passed away in 1996, otherwise some suggest he'd still be making music today. I'm giving this all the respect in the world - I think people like Les were very vital to the music community in their day. Without him doing composing work and lending his efforts to the film work - you might not have guys like John Williams or the like today. Would I toss this on just some rainy day? Probably not. This isn't really my brand of music to sit back and groove to - but that doesn't make it any less worth noting. This album is 40 tracks deep, and I can't find a text track list - and I don't feel like typing them all out today by hand. So I'll link the samples, and encourage you to check them out. It might not be something you want to listen to on your iPod - but something you might appreciate in terms of music history.

TRACK LISTING:

See Samples

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Temple Of Gold
2. Voodoo Dreams
3. Pantan

FINAL RATING:
2 out of 5 stars

The Libertines - Self Titled



Monday strikes back with a vengeance, as I'm still in weekend mode. The show must go on though - and it goes on with another Suggestion Box specialty. This one again courtesy of Shaqwanda and her request of the Libertines. I'm not sure if it's a theme lately or what, but for some reason I've been hitting a lot of British acts as of late. Add these guys to that list. Also add this band to the stereotypical list of lead singers that have drug problems. The story goes, the band formed around 1997. They began to see some real mainstream success in the early 2000's and dropped a new album in '04 that saw some really positive reviews. All that ended up being for naught, as in 2004 they couldn't get past all the internal conflicts and broke up for a bit. It sounds like they've done some reunion work - and now might even be back together full time. Hard to tell sometimes though, as they make these plans but there is still some animosity left from years back. Stay tuned. Anyhow, this particular album was the 2004 release and the 2nd out of 2 total studio recordings. What do I think of this? I think it's really solid. Top to bottom, only a couple tracks that I've thought of skipping over. They have this great jam quality that makes listening to them fun - but I'm not sure that's it. I think for me it's the riffs and the old school guitar work. It's like the guitar you hear in Johnny B Good, but then made modern and catchy. This is 100% worth checking out today. You might not remember any song individually, but on the whole, an album worth noting.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Can't Stand Me Now
2. Last Post on the Bugle
3. Don't Be Shy
4. Man Who Would Be King, The
5. Music When the Lights Go Out
6. Narcissist
7. Ha Ha Wall, The
8. Arbeit Macht Frei
9. Campaign of Hate
10. What Katie Did
11. Tomblands
12. Saga, The
13. Road to Ruin
14. What Became of the Likely Lads

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Can't Stand Me Now
2. What Became Of The Likely Lads
3. Campaign Of Hate

FINAL RATING:
3.5 out of 5 stars

Friday, October 15, 2010

B Side Presents, "I Want My Retort"



I still love music videos. Heidi states they're not the same as they used to be, and maybe that is true. I personally think they're better. More artists nowadays use them to tell a story - that often actually pertains to the video now. Crazy. The biggest problem is, yeah - no one plays them on tv anymore. Seeing them on YouTube or iTunes doesn't quite have the same effect - but it's all good. Here are my Top 5 music videos of all time. (Oh, and a big shoutout to the Black Keys - Tighten Up. It almost made my list, and is my photo above. Check it out sometime!)

5. Karma Police - Radiohead: What an entertaining video. Of course, almost everything by Radiohead is entertaining. This could pass as a captivating short film, and yet it's a music video. Why is the lead singer so down? Why are we chasing someone?? Where did everyone go??? Excellent work. WATCH

4. Stylo - Gorillaz: Okay, for serious. Who doesn't love the tough Bruce Willis/John McClane type character? Gorillaz brings that in for a delightful romp in video form for Stylo. Not my favorite track, but it's a really fun video. The ending leaves something up for specutlation, but that's part of the fun. WATCH

3. Black Hole Sun - Soundgarden: Probably the most iconic video of my youth. The barbie spinning over the grill haunted my dreams for years. The 90's was filled with these sort of weird videos that had absolutely nothing to do with the actual song. It was so creepy and scary if you were little, but you couldn't turn a way. The giant smiling faces, the distorted eyes. The crazy lady chopping a fish that still alive. I watch it to this day and still laugh when the old lady is putting on lipstick watching the guy do pushups. Classic. WATCH

2. Sabotage - Beastie Boys: How can this be number two? Phenemenal video. You'd have no idea this was the actual Beasties in the cop uniforms. I'm not even sure I have the words to decribe how awesome the video is. It blows my mind to this day with how amazing it is. Yet another video you can't seem to tune out of. If it's on, you HAVE TO watch. That captivating. Great song - even better video. WATCH

1. Smack My Bitch Up - Prodigy: Okay, this is why Beasties aren't number one. You might not even recall this video, because MTV pulled it off the air due to some controversy. It's so awesome, I can't even find the real version on YouTube. I hope someone out there can find it, so I can link to the blog. Best video ever.

There are a TON of other music videos that could be on the list. I came up with almost 30 off the top of my head that I loved. Let's hear it, what are your top 5 videos ever?

Heidi Presents, "Friday Gut Check - I Want My MTV"

If video killed the radio star, does that mean that MTV killed the video?

When I was seven years old, I distinctly remember my 12 year-old sister and I sitting on butterfly-filled bellies, our eyes glued to the local Fox station waiting with intense anticipation for the world premiere presentation of Michael Jackson's Black or White video. It was an epic moment. A moment we actually planned our lives around. What could be more exciting to a seven year old than a music video starring Macauly Culkin, lovable Norm from Cheers, dancers from around the world, crotch grabbing and that awesome computer generated face morphing technology that was being used for the very first time to morph faces? I'll tell you what was better . . . nothing. It was huge, it was a music video on BROADCAST television for Christ's sake - well Fox anyway. But, at that moment everyone was watching Michael Jackson remind the world that he was the King of Video. From this moment, who could have predicted that music videos would later become so . . . obsolete?

I'll be honest here, I don't think I've seen a new music video in years, mostly because there is nowhere to watch them. I mean, I saw parodies of Beyonce's Single Ladies, before I saw the real thing (I gotta agree with Kanye, it was a cool video). But, I did watch the MTV VMAs this year (stop judging), and proceeded to see three artists win every damn award. BORING!

I think we're past the golden age of the music video, and most likely, for the music industry in general. But, damn, that golden age was awesome - filled with spectacular artistry launching unknown directors and photographers into stardom. Here's my list of my favorite music videos of all time. . .


1. Vogue - Madonna
David Fincher directed this video! What?! In fact, Fincher directed two videos on my list. Absolutely everything about Madonna is iconic, and absolutely every frame of this video could stand alone as a work of art. I don't know if y'all saw that Glee remake, but I was astounded at how much I remembered from the original video. It's a highly stylized video for a song about style. Brilliant, and unforgettable.

2. Closer - Nine Inch Nails
I was terrified by this video as a kid. I mean, I would turn the channel to make that spinning spooky mad scientist guy go away. But, as an adult, I love it. The song is gritty and layered and has to be edited anywhere it's broadcast. So, the video is equally as gritty and interesting to look with intentionally "censored" scenes.

3. Scream - Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson
Two video gods. Brother and sister for the first time. Dancing the hell out of space. I cried when Janet danced alongside this video at last year's VMAs, and realized that this was my favorite Michael Jackson video. It was a personal and angry song, and a hot video.

4. Freedom 90 - George Michael
Again, from David Fincher. It turns out that perfect way for George Michael to rebel against what MTV wanted him to be was to not appear in his own video, and just let a bunch of supermodels take over. Like Fincher's film work, the video feels dark, minimalist and industrial, while still feeling lush. Every time I hear that song (which is a favorite), I see the video in my head. I also just like to dance around like Naomi Campbell.

5. Been Caught Stealing - Jane's Addiction
A predecessor of the silly cross dressing videos from those guys who fight Foo, Jane's Addiction's Been Caught Stealing hits this list as my favorite funny video. From the guy who stuffs carrots up his fake pregnant belly, to the Grease-style grocery store aisle dancing, I hands down LOVE this video. I know I said a lot about videos that are serious art, but there is nothing cooler than rock stars with a sense of humor.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Steve Miller Band - Fly Like An Eagle



In terms of straight up classic rock, Steve Miller Band is a fairly under appreciated band. I'll admit, it's hard for me not to be slightly biased toward ol' Stevie, as he's a good old Milwaukee boy like myself. But the fact is, the music these guys put out for the most part is pretty solid. This album is a pretty prime example, as it came out on 1976 and had bluesy elements, electronic keyboards and then straight up rock all in one. Blues was and still is a big part of music, electronics and synths didn't really hit it big until the 80's and then the rock never dies. They have a very laid back style, something that probably fits anyone's music desires. They've gone through more band members than you can shake a stick at. Steve Miller himself also had a pretty nasty car wreck just a few years before this album came out. At one point, there was serious doubt if they'd ever play again - but 30+ years after, they're still going strong. In fact, they dropped another album earlier in 2010 that was all r&b style covers. I haven't gotten to that one yet, so I'll refrain from commenting until another day. It's hard not to enjoy this album. I'll be the first to tell you that I've listened to Steve Miller so much in my life - that I go through phases where I can't bear to listen to another song by them. Even putting this on today, reminds me of my high school days where I'd pop the Greatest Hits album in over and over. Now, if you're not at that point - I think you'll really groove to this. And even if you're like me, you can still enjoy this one today. If not even the spacey blues, the comfort that you can listen to a rock band and not have any of your senses offended. Solid stuff. Happy Thursday B Siders!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Space Intro
2. Fly Like an Eagle
3. Wild Mountain Honey
4. Serenade
5. Dance, Dance, Dance
6. Mercury Blues
7. Take the Money and Run
8. Rock'n Me
9. You Send Me
10. Blue Odyssey
11. Sweet Maree
12. Window, The

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Rock'n Me
2. Fly Like An Eagle
3. Take The Money And Run

FINAL RATING:
3.75 out of 5 stars

My Darkest Days - Self Titled



Thursday on the B Side brings another Suggestion Box review. This one is from follower Christina, and she recommends the band My Darkest Days. For those who live in or around the Madison area, this is the type of band that would be played on 94.1 - which is mainly a harder rock style station. That station didn't get put into my pre set rotation, as it's really not my genre of choice anymore. But like anything, I find hard rock is a nice change of pace and probably once a week that's the playlist I put on. In fact, just yesterday was a metal day for me. Are these guys right down that line? Not exactly. I guess they have a Linkin Park type feel without the element of hip hop. That's probably the best I can do. These gents are Canadian eh, and they were noticed by Chad Kroger from Nickelback. These guys are almost legendary on the concert circuit - as they've opened for some pretty big acts over the last couple years. Nickelback, Default, Papa Roach and Three Days Grace just to name a few. They have one album out - this one - and it came out just last month. I hadn't heard of these guys before, so this is 100% new to me. Is it amazing? Not really. It's got a few elements to it that I am digging though, and will consider adding this into my rotation. There are a couple tracks that I enjoy. I feel like it's certainly plausible they'd put on a solid show, as they seem like a cool jam band. I'm going to encourage you guys to give them a shot today. At the very least the Top 3 tracks.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Move Your Body
2. Porn Star Dancing
3. Every Lie
4. Like Nobody Else
5. World Belongs To Me, The
6. Save Me
7. Set It On Fire
8. Come Undone
9. Can't Forget You
10. Goodbye
11. Porn Star Dancing (Remix Feat Ludacris)

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Can't Forget You
2. Porn Star Dancing Remix
3. The World Belongs To Me

FINAL RATING:
3.25 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Bruno Mars - Doo-Wops & Hooligans



Bruno Mars is the latest pop sensation to clog my precious hip hop radio airwaves. Every city gets pretty much one real hip hop station, and yet for some reason it always ends up getting jammed by artists like Mars here, who have nothing to do with rap or hip hop - but because they're r&b, they think we'll like them too. Newsflash, die hard rap fans, hate this kind of stuff. So already I'm a little jaded toward this artist. Such as life. Pete Hernandez is Bruno's real name, and he's been sitting in the background for a while now. You might have recognized him from his background vocal on BoB's 'Beautiful Girls' or Travie McCoy's 'Billionaire'. If not, he also helped to write Flo Rida's 'Right Round'. He's done a ton of other stuff too, but those are the big ones. With that sort of success, like most other background folks - they eventually want the limelight for themselves too. And Bruno dropped this album just last week. Could it have been part of New Music Tuesday? Sure. Was it? Of course not. 'Just The Way You Are' is the big pop song today, and it's kind of blah for me. It's not overly catchy and lyrically, pretty mundane. There is one track on this album that I surprisingly enjoy - the rest are subpar at best. What I've decided to base my new pop reviews on, is how different this is compared to anything else out there. And this is flat out identical to most other Taio Cruz, Sean Kingston, BoB types out there. This album offers nothing different. I'm going to go out on a limb though with Bruno - and I think this album was solely made to get him on the map. It feels like this kid has a ton more talent, just isn't showing it yet. My guess, you'll hear a lot more from this kid in the future, and it won't at all resemble this album. He'll reinvent himself into something relevant, or so I think. Time will tell. Pop fans, have at this today - you'll love it.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Grenade
2. Just the Way You Are
3. Our First Time
4. Runaway Baby
5. Lazy Song, The
6. Marry You
7. Talking to the Moon
8. Liquor Store Blues
9. Count on Me
10. Other Side, The

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Grenade
2. Count On Me
3. The Other Side

FINAL RATING:
2.75 out of 5 stars

Thriving Ivory - Self Titled



Thriving Ivory is once again, a band I'd never heard of until today. This review comes via Suggestion Box and follower Ashley. A quick note to Ashley, and anyone else who has stuff in the box that I haven't gotten to yet - it's all coming. A lot of the suggestions getting held up in the box are more specialty requests - which are a lot of fun to do, but they take more time and they aren't solely music reviews. My main goal is still to get everyone a couple albums per day to review, with maybe one day a week on the special stuff. So it's all coming, just in time - so don't get discouraged that I forgot about it. =) Anyway, on to Ivory and Ashley's specific request to review the track, 'Angels On The Moon'. These guys are a California based band, that originally formed back in 2003. They released this same record back then under and independent label, and now come back on Wind Up records again in 2008. They just dropped another record as well, just last month. There isn't a whole lot of information on these guys otherwise. The bassist had been with the band for about 7 years - and then decided to quit once they started generating radio play, kind of an odd move there. Umm, not much else. As far as their music, kind of a quasi mood based rock? That's probably how I'd classify them. It's certainly not anything offensive. It's very easy listening, almost has a Matchbox 20 or Rob Thomas solo type feel to it. Something I could listen to for hours, and most likely not get sick of it - but not love it either. As far as the track 'Angels' - it's pretty good. I've listened to that specific track a few times now, and I guess it's more of what doesn't strike me with the rest of the album. It all virtually sounds the same. So that track might stick out to me now - because I listened to it a few times extra per the request. Overall, I think this is good - but nothing super outstanding. Worth checking out for sure, because like I also mentioned with the Goo Goo Dolls, there is a lot of good music that people kind of forget about. I'd put Ivory in that sort of category. Pretty good, but something you'd forget about. So give them a shot today, maybe you won't forget by tomorrow.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Runaway
2. Angels on the Moon
3. Alien
4. Hey Lady
5. Twilight
6. Secret Life
7. Long Hallway with a Broken Light
8. Overrated
9. For Heaven's Sake
10. Unhappy
11. Light Up Mississippi
12. Day of Rain

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Angels On The Moon
2. Alien
3. Unhappy

FINAL RATING:
3 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Lil Wayne - I Am Not A Human Being



New Music Tuesday is here! Here-ye, here-ye! I love new music Tuesday. It's always my favorite. Debuting new tuneage is so much fun - because I have no idea if I like something or not. Sure - it's also very fun to go back to old classics, but getting to the new stuff always feels like unwrapping a present at Christmas. A certain excitement comes along with it. Anyway - it's Weezy today. I think I've chronicled on the B Side before how Weezy is one of the hardest working rappers out there. He's the mixtape king in addition to dropping studio stuff usually every year. Now, he's slated to drop Tha Carter IV sometime in 2011 - and it sounds like he wanted a little something to bridge the gap between his last one and that. When 'Rebirth' came out earlier this year, it got very mixed reviews. I don't think that surprised anyone, as it was another Weezy experiment. This one is right there too. Seems to me he took a few more risks on this album too, which might yield some people to tune out. There once again isn't any signature Weezy flow and sick lyrics like he gave us with the phenomenal Tha Carter III. This album was also recorded prior to him going to prison for nine months. So as I understand it, Lil Wayne wasn't able to take part in any of the commercial production of this album. He had a lot of faith in his people to represent his tastes. And this oddly came out electronically two weeks ago - meaning they wanted to drive up the download sales and not the physical album ones. Odd move, not sure why you'd do that. Maybe it'll become more popular? Time will tell. Anyway - I think this is really close. My top track is one of the best rap songs I've heard in a while, and then the rest are all pretty good. If there were maybe two more outstanding tracks, this one would be right up there with his best of all time. But this new sound is really growing on me, and I fully expect Carter IV to be an awesome blend of new and old Weezy sound. I'm excited. Until then, check this one out. YOUNG MONEY!!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Gonorrhea
2. Hold Up
3. With You
4. I Am Not a Human Being
5. I'm Single
6. What's Wrong with Them
7. Right Above It
8. Popular
9. That Ain't Me
10. Bill Gates
11. YM Banger
12. YM Salute
13. I Don't Like the Look of It

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Right Above It
2. Gonorrhea
3. I'm Single

FINAL RATING:
3.75 out of 5 stars

Jamiroquai - Synkronized



Techno Tuesday funks its way back to the B Side with Jamiroquai. Now, I know what you're thinking. B Side, are they really a techno band? I would tell you devoted followers first and foremost, thanks for the question. I really appreciate the feedback. And then I'd say, sure. They're as much dance as they are anything else. They technically get a label of 'funktronic' which doesn't really fit my narrow minded genre scheming. So techno it is!! And please, don't focus too much that I asked myself a question up there. I know I did, let it slide. =) Anyway, as many electronic artists - they're British. For some reason the genre is littered full of Brits. I guess the whole revolution never hit the states that hard. The other thing that's odd, I've noticed most people think Jamiroquai is one man - but it's a full band. 6 members today, and they've seen their share of transfers. They have seven studio albums out there today, first being way back in 1993 and the latest coming in '05. Another new one is slated to debut in just a couple weeks - early November. I can't say I'm too geared up to listen to it, as I've never been a huge fan of the tuneage. I think this record is a prime example. There are some fun tracks to toe tap to - but all in all, falls short of being anything super memorable. 10 tracks, maybe 2 are ones I'd actively want to hear over and over. Still worth checking out today if you need something to groove on, otherwise, go back to your favorite dance album ever. You'll enjoy that one way more.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Canned Heat
2. Planet Home
3. Black Capricorn Day
4. Soul Education
5. Falling
6. Destitute Illusions
7. Supersonic
8. Butterfly
9. Where Do We Go from Here?
10. King for a Day

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Canned Heat
2. Planet Home
3. Destitute Illusions

FINAL RATING:
2.75 out of 5 stars

Monday, October 11, 2010

B Side Exclusive: Jasmine V - "All These Boys"



As most of you all know, I have been working with Sony and more specifically Epic Records on getting some of their new artists out there. Here is another one, Jasmine V dropping her debut single with Sony called, "All These Boys". This isn't commercially available until 10/19 - so don't expect to find it anywhere else! I'll drop links out for three different formats - so check it out in the one you desire most.

Big thanks to Epic for the new artists and check out Jasmine V B Siders!

(mov, QT Stream*)

(wma, WM Stream*)

(flv, FLV Stream)

Oasis - (What's The Story) Morning Glory



Hello Monday. I actually feel rested and ready for you this week. Hooray! I'm so excited that I've decided to roll with one of my favorite mid 90's albums, Morning Glory by Oasis. What a fun album. When this dropped in 1995 - you couldn't walk out of your bedroom and into the kitchen for a bowl of cereal without hearing 'Wonderwall'. Crazy stuff. Although it was a great song, it was very much in too heavy of a rotation back in the day. Going into the history of the band, I'm sure most of you already know the story. Oasis is lead by the brothers Noah and Liam Gallagher - and they've had tensions since day one. There was a lot of publicized issues with this album even, as they fought over who'd sing lead on certain tracks. Pretty silly considering the huge success they knew they had. This album is 10 songs deep, and six of them saw pretty solid radio success. If 60% of your songs are good enough to get air play, you're cooking with gas. This is by far their best selling album in both the states and the UK. 14x platinum in the UK and 4x in the states. Huge numbers. Background and issues aside, this album is great. I can't think of anything wrong with it. Even the songs that aren't radio singles are still really good. If you haven't checked this out in full before, you're in for a treat. Pretty easy listen as the ten tracks are arranged beautifully. Top notch album and a great way to start your Monday morning.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Hello
2. Roll with It
3. Wonderwall
4. Don't Look Back in Anger
5. Hey Now!
6. Some Might Say
7. Cast No Shadow
8. She's Electric
9. Morning Glory
10. Champagne Supernova

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Wonderwall
2. Champagne Supernova
3. Morning Glory

FINAL RATING:
4.75 out of 5 stars

Friday, October 8, 2010

Jesca Hoop - Hunting My Dress



I touched on this the other day with my Eels review, but I'm going to run the album past you guys. My impression during the show, was this lady was outstanding. My opinion hasn't changed all that much listening to all the tracks on this album. It's arranged very different, as her performance was simply herself strumming an acoustic guitar. That without question made her tracks better, because many of her lyrics are somewhat cold and haunting, which that set up makes you feel them better. (you know, as much as you can feel words...hard to explain that I guess). But the album here has the whole band, which is fine, but I think some of the impact of the lyrics might get lost in the fold. Regardless, Hoop grew up in rural Wyoming in a mormon family. She left the group and moved to California when she was old enough to leave. She was fairly blackballed by the family, and to this day it sounds like certain members won't talk to her. But after her telling the story and listening to her songs, she help her mom battle cancer and was there for her family during her passing, which meant a lot to everyone. This is her third studio release, and I'm excited to check out her other works. I enjoy this album very much, and would highly recommend you check her out. There is a Bonus EP that comes with the cd..I don't feel any of those tracks blew my mind as much as the regular album. So save yourself the couple bucks if it's an option. Otherwise, the 9 regular album tracks are quite good, and very memorable. Check it out, let me know what you think! Happy Friday!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Whispering Light
2. The Kingdom
3. Feast Of The Heart
4. Angel Mom
5. Four Dreams
6. Murder Of Birds
7. Bed Across The Sea
8. Tulip
9. Hunting My Dress
10. Enemy - Bonus EP
11. Inteligentacile 101 - Bonus EP
12. Silverscreen - Bonus EP
13. Wintersong - Bonus EP
14. My Boo - Bonus EP

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Murder Of Birds
2. Four Dreams
3. Hunting My Dress

FINAL RATING:
4.25 out of 5 stars

David Allan Coe - Greatest Hits



Country day again on the B Side. I'm going to briefly vent some frustrations this morning. David Allan Coe is a suggestion from the box from follower janis! (and thank you very much for the suggestion!). Anyway, he's got literally six thousand records released, so for me to pick one, is basically just a shot in the dark. Well, all of this regular albums listed on the discography, don't show up for purchase..anywhere. And you'd think that's fairly rare, but it really isn't. With classic type artists, often the material they put out 20 years ago isn't available in the same format it was back then. So after running through multiple albums, and nothing matching to the "t" of what was put out decades ago, I'm just going with a greatest hits record. I probably won't ever do this again, barring some sort of odd duck reason, so yeah. Here it is. Even though I'm irritated by his discography - I'm going to remain objective. To the point where, I actually don't mind this. It's probably because it's a greatest hits - and I'm getting the cream of the crop, some of this is entertaining. The rest is totally palatable. You're still not going to like it if you aren't a country fan, but that's the case with all of the genre. After some quick research, this guy seems to be a total d-bag. Has an album completely related to racism and sexism. Something called X Rated Hits or something. Yeah, -1 for that. Get with the times sir - I know you're 71, but get with it.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Divers Do It Deeper
2. Longhaired Redneck
3. You Never Even Called Me By My Name
4. Willie, Waylon And Me
5. A Sad Country Song
6. Would You Be My Lady
7. Just To Prove My Love For You
8. Lately I've Been Thinking Too Much
9. Would You Lay With Me
10. Face To Face

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. You Never Even Called Me By My Name
2. Longhaired Redneck
3. Willie, Waylon And Me

FINAL RATING:
2.75 out of 5 stars

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Rage Against The Machine - Battle Of Los Angeles



Seems like this is a day where I reviewed an album by a band months ago, and came back to another record today. Difference between this and Benny Fold, is this album is nothing new. I'm going to go ahead and say this, and please take offense to it. If you haven't heard this album by Rage, you're a little slow on the music uptake. Rage is in a word, amazing. Well, was amazing. RATM only dropped 4 albums in their short music lives, and all of them were outstanding. (Well maybe except 'Renegades' but that's a discussion for another day) These guys really pumped me up back in the day, and putting this on today - it still has that effect. This particular album came out in 1999 and is a solid 2x platinum. It has it's fair share of radio hits and then flat out face melting metal that wasn't heard by the masses. I'm not sure if this is my favorite, I think I go back and forth. There are at least 6 tracks on this album that I play as loud as possible when they come on in the car. True test of how great a band is. Anyway, I'm not going to get into any further detail on Rage. They're political, they're hard rock and they're no longer putting out music. They might be putting together another tour soon, and if they come to your area - you should definitely go. Worth your while every time. Instead, I'll let their music speak for them, and not me. Please listen to this today. Groove hard, and make Thursday turn into Friday.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Testify
2. Guerrilla Radio
3. Calm Like a Bomb
4. Mic Check
5. Sleep Now in the Fire
6. Born of a Broken Man
7. Born as Ghosts
8. Maria
9. Voice of the Voiceless
10. New Millennium Homes
11. Ashes in the Fall
12. War Within a Breath

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Guerilla Radio
2. Testify
3. Ashes In The Fall

FINAL RATING:
4 out of 5 stars

Ben Folds - Lonely Avenue



Thursday brings a little mood music, and specifically Ben Folds. Devotees will recall I reviewed their 'Songs For Silverman' album a LONG time ago, and it got a good final rating. This review is their current album, that just came out last week. It probably should have been part of New Music Tuesday, but alas, I went with Phil Collins that day. Getting to it today is just as good, and it will have the same impact on you guys, I promise. This record is actually a collaboration record, between Ben Folds and English novelist, Nick Hornby. Never heard of that fella before today, so I'm hoping the collabo was worth while for Ben Folds. The formula was simple, Hornby writes, Ben Folds sings. I would assume they'd want to keep it to the high standards their records normally yield, so we shall see. After listening to this a couple times now - it would almost be impossible to tell this wasn't written business as usual. Their records were always a nice blend of fun and serious, social commentary and personal happenings. This album is no different. As a whole, it's a really solid record - yet again from Ben Folds. Just when you think the album might be more poppy - it smacks you in the face with a signature Ben Folds piano ballad. Boy do I love those. Boy do I love Ben Folds. This album is no different. Check it out, it's worth your while today.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Working Day, A
2. Picture Window
3. Levi Johnston's Blues
4. Doc Pomus
5. Your Dogs
6. Practical Amanda
7. Claire's Ninth
8. Password
9. From Above
10. Saskia Hamilton
11. Belinda

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Picture Window
2. A Working Day
3. Practical Amanda

FINAL RATING:
3.75 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Busta Rhymes - When Disaster Strikes



I'm going to let you guys in on a little secret. I enjoy Busta Rhymes. That's not the secret. Wait for it...okay, I'll tell you. His albums are never good. There are always one or two really solid singles off of them, but as a whole, always forgettable. Busta has the ability to straight up spit out the fire, and he shows that a lot. Anytime I let myself forget about Busta, I immediately put on 'Gimme Some More' and then I remember he has some of the best flow in the game. He also did a mixtape with 50 Cent and Em, where they dissed Ja Rule. It's a remake of the Tupac song 'Hail Mary' and Busta again comes out with something amazing. In terms of this album, there are again, a couple solid track - then a bunch of nonsense. This is the case very often with rap albums. They make albums that are 20 tracks, and only 4 of them are worth your time. I think that's why I actually own very few rap records. It's much better to buy the singles you like. Anyway, this came out in 1997 and is certified Platinum. Actually, most of his records are platinum selling. Not too shabby. This was his 2nd studio album and I think his sound back then is better than what he's dropping today. We'll soon find out though, as ELE 2 is due to drop sometime this year yet. I'll be sure to check that out right away. If you feel nostalgic about tossing on a couple old Busta tracks, check this out. Otherwise, listen to this if you want to listen to another mediocre hip hop album.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Intro
2. Whole World Lookin' At Me, The
3. Turn It Up [Remix]/Fire It Up
4. When Disaster Strikes
5. So Hardcore
6. Get High Tonight
7. Turn It Up
8. Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See
9. It's All Good
10. There's Not a Problem My Squad Can't Fix
11. We Could Take It Outside
12. Rhymes Galore
13. Things We Be Doin' For Money, Pt. 1
14. Things We Be Doin' For Money, Pt. 2
15. One
16. Dangerous
17. Body Rock, The
18. Get Off My Block
19. Outro

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Dangerous
2. Rhymes Galore
3. Put Your Hands Where Eyes Can See

FINAL RATING:
3.25 out of 5 stars

Courteeners - Falcon



Wednesday brings another review out of the Suggestion Box. Today it's Shaqwanda again, and her request for the Courteeners. Not only do I not know what a courteener is, I've never heard of them before. Turns out they are from England and formed around 2006. A relatively new band..probably one of the newest bands I've ever reviewed. Kind of a cool story, all of the band members have known each other since they were 10 years old. I like stories like that...kind of a group of kids living their dream. Falcon is the second studio album released by these gents, and it came out earlier this year - in February. Sounds like the goal of this was to be more mainstream than their first album, St. Jude. Many artists do that, the first record sounds a little sloppy in places, or the sound doesn't quite blend for something on the radio. So the second album they're more conscious of that sort of thing. I don't think there is really anything that I can compare this to. It's fairly different. But then again, I'm not really up on what's big across the pond. I think this is alright, nothing I'd rush out and buy with my hard earned money. The vocals are solid, the arrangements are neat. One of the tracks I enjoy makes use of the xylophone as well as a triangle. You don't hear that very often. Nothing super earth shattering though in terms of lyric or sound. But good enough to give a listen to. Check 'em out, let me know what you think.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Opener, The
2. Take Over the World
3. Cross My Heart & Hope to Fly
4. You Overdid It Doll
5. Lullaby
6. Good Times Are Calling
7. Rest of the World Has Gone Home, The
8. Sycophant
9. Cameo Brooch
10. Scratch Your Name Upon My Lips
11. Last of the Ladies
12. Will It Be This Way Forever?

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Take Over The World
2. Cameo Brooch
3. You Overdid It Doll

FINAL RATING:
3 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Joe Satriani - Black Swans & Wormhole Wizards



New Music Tuesday jumps off with a rock legend, Joe Satriani. He's rocked with the likes of the Stones and was the guitar man in Deep Purple. If you haven't heard him whale before, you're in for a treat. This guy is flat out one of the best. This particular album is just an instrumental record of Joe jamming with a background band. Sometimes these records are just what the doctor ordered for me. As someone who really appreciates the older rock, when a band would just break into a 6 minute guitar solo - this makes me happy. Joe has the abilities to tell a story just with his guitar, which some bands can't even do correctly with vocals attached. I knew of Joe before, but when the Experience Hendrix tour came to Milwaukee back in March or whatever, Joe played there, and that really solidified my respect for him. I'm hoping some of you will pick this up today and garner that same feeling. A couple of interesting tidbits, Joe sued Coldplay for copyright infringement with their track 'Viva La Vida'. Word is, much of that track is sampled off of Satriani's 'If I Could Fly'. Coldplay ended up settling with Satriani for an undisclosed amount. He's now part of a band known as Chickenfoot, which is Joe, two former Van Halen members (Sammy Hagar being one) and then the old drummer from Red Hot Chili's, Chad Smith. Satriani is considered an advanced guitarist and has mastered some of the toughest techniques on the axe. This is very worth listening to, and is a very solid record. I don't often listen to pure instrumentals, but this is worth my time, everytime. Happy Tuesday!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Premonition
2. Dream Song
3. Pyrrhic Victoria
4. Light Years Away
5. Solitude
6. Littleworth Lane
7. Golden Room, The
8. Two Sides To Every Story
9. Wormhole Wizards
10. Wind In the Trees
11. God is Crying

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Solitude
2. Pyrrhic Victoria
3. The Golden Room

FINAL RATING:
3.5 out of 5 stars