Song of the Moment

J. Cole - Lost Ones

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Eric Benet - Lost In Time



Have you ever heard Eric Benet before? If you're anything like me, you knew him for two reasons: 1) he was from Milwaukee (so maybe you didn't know that if you're not from Milwaukee like me - but go with it) 2) he was married to Halle Berry. That was significant, because it gave any random Milwaukee guy hope that he could marry a girl like Halle. I knew he was a musician, but I had no idea what genre he was in, or ever heard anything by him. Well, that's the fun part of having a music blog. I stumbled upon him dropping a new record today and though, why not? Turns out this is his fifth studio release since 1996. Not too bad for a guy I'd never heard of. This guy has seen a myriad of tragedy over the years. His father died of cancer, his girlfriend was involved in a bad car accident, was in a coma for five days - then finally passed on. This all happened while he was trying to get noticed and make music. He turned his back on music for a brief period, and started working for UPS in Milwaukee. He didn't give up on the dream though, and the rest is history. I'm not really sure how to classify this one. It's got a Ne-Yo type feel to it, without the poppy backdrops. Very soulful, and probably something that wouldn't get major airplay on the radio. Maybe some specialized stations that focus on R&B - that's about it. I like it though. I like his vocal, his voice and I like the arrangements. Who doesn't love that old school Marvin Gaye vocal over the horns? It's timeless. Check this out today. Even if your only reason is to support a Milwaukee guy. You might be impressed.

TRACK LISTING
1. Never Want To Live Without You
2. Feel Good
3. Sometimes I Cry
4. Always A Reason
5. Paid
6. Take It
7. Stir It Up
8. Summer Love
9. Lost In Time
10. Good Life
11. Something's Wrong

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Never Want To Live Without You
2. Sometimes I Cry
3. Lost In Time

FINAL RATING:
3.5 out of 5 stars

Justice - †



I think I've mentioned before how I sometimes run across new music via iTunes. Wait, I know I did - because follower Mith told me how lame I was for liking iTunes. Maybe he'll rehash that discussion today. Anyway, Justice is a band I caught up with via the 'Single of the Week'. If you don't know, Apple sets up free downloads of the week, that tend to feature some pretty out there stuff. Fortunately for me, I love the out there world of music. The single they featured was 'D.A.N.C.E' - which I encourage you to listen to. Luckily for me, I didn't give up hope based on one of the more annoying dance tracks I ever heard. I looked deeper into Justice, and I was served. (YES! Sometimes I amaze myself with my wordplay) This is a French band that started disco breaking around 2005 or so. These guys started off producing and mixing only - and saw some pretty solid success. They mixed for well known acts such as Britney Spears, NERD and Daft Punk. Pretty high marks from those people too. That's partially why I was pumped to listen to this. I simply had to get past the one track being really bad. I've brought up the Dracula Musical from the film Forgetting Sarah Marshall before - and these guys had a similar idea. This was intended to be a concept album, that was based on a "opera-disco". Crazy stuff. I challenge any beatnut to listen to this and not tap your toes. It's got a very electric dance feel, which I really love. Very Daft Punk-ish, and who doesn't like what they put out? High marks from me on this record, and you should check it out. Very well done.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Genesis
2. Let There Be Light
3. D.A.N.C.E.
4. Newjack
5. Phantom
6. Phantom Pt II
7. Valentine
8. Tthhee Ppaarrttyy
9. Dvno
10. Stress
11. Waters of Nazareth
12. One Minute to Midnight

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Genesis
2. Phantom I or II
3. Stress

FINAL RATING:
4 out of 5 stars

Monday, November 29, 2010

311 - Self Titled



I challenge to find someone who was big into music, and didn't listen to this at least once. I mean come on, this was almost an anthem during its day. Of all places for hardcore alternative bands to form, these guys came from Nebraska. Yeah - Nebraska. Lovely Omaha. Been there. Great town if you're a farmer. Just kidding Nebraskans. I love all midwest states. There has been a ton of speculation where they got their name from. I remember back in the day, being called a racist for having a 311 band t shirt. Why you ask? Because the letter 'K' is the 11th letter of the alphabet. 3-11 broken down could then mean KKK. A bit of a stretch for me, but whatever. I'd been called worse. The real deal is 311 is the police code for indecent exposure. They got caught by police swimming nude, so they stole the band name from that. Many people call this the 'Blue Album' - but that distinction can only go to one band, and even if Weezer wasn't first, it's still a WAY better record. That doesn't mean I don't still enjoy this one, because I do. It's a solid 3x platinum, with one of those copies being mine. (And I still actually own it) It's not something I listen to super often, but I do occasionally toss it on. It's got a decently cool feel to it. Definitely alternative style, but also a little Sublime-y and punk rocky too. My guess is when you listened to it 15 years ago, you skipped to 'Down' and 'All Mixed Up' - and rightfully so. Those were great songs in the day. The rest of the album doesn't really stray from that style. For that reason, it's worth listening to. Check it out today and go back to '95. Feel young again.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Down
2. Random
3. Jackolantern's Weather
4. All Mixed Up
5. Hive
6. Guns (Are For Pussies)
7. Misdirected Hostility
8. Purpose
9. Loco
10. Brodels
11. Don't Stay Home
12. Dlmd
13. Sweet
14. T & P Combo

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. All Mixed Up
2. Down
3. Don't Stay Home

FINAL RATING:
3 out of 5 stars

Blues Traveler - Four



Coming back off a holiday is always hard work. Waking up whenever you want to, not having any real responsibilities - it's nice. I listened to a TON of music over the holiday weekend, hopefully you guys did too. We come back today with Blues Traveler. I'm guessing that most of you are familiar enough with them. I mean, who didn't hear 'Run Around' back in the day? I chose this record specifically because it came out in the illustrious 1994 year and it's their best selling album at 6x platinum. For those who maybe don't know - these fellas are from New Jersey. Classifying them in a genre is pretty tough. They have a very jam band indie feel, with some blues and southern rock mixed in. Maybe a BNL or Dave Matthews kind of feel? That's the best I can do in terms of comparisons. But like I said, I think most of you know who they are. Their lead singer John Popper - he used to be something like 500 pounds and has dropped at least a couple hundred. He also is an avid collector of weapons, including owning a working American Civil War cannon. Seems like an interesting dude to get a beer with. Regardless, they make music - and that's why we're here. I used to be pretty into Blues Traveler. I believe I even went out and bought this album back in the day. If I still have it, no idea where it is. For as unique as their sound might have been back then - it's just not that unique today. It's still a cool vibe, and this cd certainly isn't bad...it's just for me, it's a little played out. I think I flat out played it too much as a kid. Listening to it again today, it's got some tracks that I'd still listen to, but not the mainstream ones. I'll still recommend those to you guys, as I think you could enjoy this one. Give it a go today.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Run-Around
2. Stand
3. Look Around
4. Fallible
5. Mountains Win Again, The
6. Freedom
7. Crash Burn
8. Price to Pay
9. Hook
10. Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, The
11. Just Wait
12. Brother John

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Look Around
2. Fallible
3. Hook

FINAL RATING:
3.5 out of 5 stars

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving B Siders!



As always, Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for all you have in your life. Given the nature of the blog, I'm extremely thankful to music to help get me through various pieces of my life, and how it continues to bring people together in good conversation.

I'd be silly to miss thanking all of you who continue to make the B Side possible. Heidi and Mith - thank you so much for your help with writing, helping with the site and your general feedback. JenInTosa, Shaqwanda, Ashley, Angie, janis! - thank you so much for you continued feedback and readership. Your suggestions always make my writing more fun. I certainly would not be able to keep going everyday without your support!

To anyone else who stumbles on the blog and reads - thank you. Thank you for reading and thank you for sharing. A couple of you (Kate and Jeff) I'm not sure who you are or where you're from - but thanks for your recent suggestions too! Keep 'em coming!

Be sure to play your favorite tunes no matter if you're in the car, driving to families homes, cranking it up while preparing the meal for your family, of if you're just sitting at home eating a Hungry Man Thanksgiving TV Dinner. Be yourself, put on your favorite album and drift away.

Happy Thanksgiving!

The B Side

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cher - Heart Of Stone



Time to review this small artist - you've probably never heard of her. Cher? I'm a pronouncing that right? No, no, I kid. Everyone knows who Cher is. She was the amazing actress in that movie The Mask. And I guess she put out a couple records too. I will say right off the bat, I've never cared much for her music - but what she does on a personal front and stance, she does some great stuff. For those who don't know, she's a huge advocate for the LGBT community. Her daughter, Chastity (aka Chaz) first came out when she was 17. Cher at first didn't take it well, but to her credit, ended up really understanding and looking into the challenges she faces. Since then, has really stepped up for the gay community. Turns out Cher is also loaded. Her personal wealth is estimated at 600 million dollars. Wow. I'm kinda stunned by that. She's known for being very provocative, and a very secure woman. Kind of a pioneer in that regard. This particular album came out in 1989 and is a fairly low 3x platinum. Not at all a knock on her, but this album is very 80's. I'd expect to hear half of these songs in some sort of cheesy movie montage. Rocky could work out to half of them. I don't feel this album did anything new and crazy...it seems pretty standard given the time. I think she's a less talented version of the band Heart, and possibly capitalized on their style and success. This music simply isn't for me. I recall when she did 'Believe' in the early 2k's, that song was remixed into a pretty techno heavy track, and I enjoyed that style. But like most 80's, I just don't groove to it. Follower janis! asked me to review this one, so I'm going to assume she loves it. I'll be anxious to hear her follow up opinions to this. I'll tell you to go ahead and listen to it, as I feel I'm in the non-Cher loving minority. Happy hump day!

TRACK LISTING:
1. If I Could Turn Back Time
2. Just Like Jesse James
3. You Wouldn't Know Love
4. Heart of Stone
5. Still in Love With You
6. Love on a Rooftop
7. Emotional Fire
8. All Because of You
9. Does Anybody Really Fall in Love Anymore?
10. Starting Over
11. Kiss to Kiss
12. After All

Listen To Samples

1. After All
2. If I Could Turn Back Time
3. Heart Of Stone

FINAL RATING:
3 out of 5 stars

Jukebox The Ghost - Let Live And Let Ghosts



Time for the crazy, oddball, off the wall review of the week. This oddball review is courtesy of Shaqwanda, and a band she heard while seeing a Barenaked Ladies show recently. Jukebox opened for them, and Shaqwanda says they were amazing. Well let's see if their liveness comes through via album form. Turns out these fellas are a trio from Washington DC. In 2003 they met while students at George Washington University - and played for a couple years then taking a brief hiatus. What's interesting is, sound wise - they sound fairly similar to Ben Folds. Not AT ALL lyrically, but just piano and vocal wise. They toured with Ben Folds quite a bit in the late 2000's. This album dropped in 2008 and they did release a second one this year. So I'm not sure how much of this album was played at the BNL show. I'll have to review the other one sometime too. I guess this one is just - well odd. There are a couple songs where it seems they're a legitimate group making really good music. Then there will be some wacky - no lyrical value and not particularly catchy song to follow up. Nothing wrong with that - but from a me buying your music standpoint, I wouldn't do it. BNL is probably the most mindless music I listen to, and I only ever picked up their 'Stunt' album. I never listen to it though. Regardless, I'm going back and forth on this. I guess it might depend on the mood I'm in. At 7am this morning when I went through it the first time, I must not have been ready for it. I'm going through it again now, and some songs I'm tapping my toes to. Maybe I'll have to see them live, as Shaqwanda did.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Good Day
2. Hold It In
3. Beady Eyes On The Horizon
4. Under My Skin
5. Miss Templeton's 7000th Dream
6. Static
7. Victoria
8. My Heart's The Same
9. Lighting Myself On Fire
10. Fire In The Sky
11. Where Are All The Scientists Now?
12. Matter Of Time, A

Listen To Samples

1. My Hearts The Same
2. Beady Eyes On The Horizon
3. Miss Templeton's 7000th Dream

FINAL RATING:
2.75 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy



Of course my top New Music Tuesday spot had to go to Kanye. My fellow writer Heidi and I were chatting about him yesterday. He's a very unlikeable character to most people. His arrogance, selfishness and cockiness seem to be projected across the US. Couple things on that - 1) I couldn't care less - I'm all about his music. 2) Part of that arrogance etc is part of the act. It helps sell albums. 3) You really have to listen to his music. I'm not saying that he tries to redeem himself or apologize in his music, but if you listen to 808's and now this album, you hear the Kanye coming through that you don't or hear in the general media. It's actually crazy. It's like a night and day change in mentality. I enjoyed Kanye's first couple albums too, they were poppy and fun. But 808's and now this album - wow. A whole new level of amazing. I know a lot of people didn't get 808's or didn't like his overuse of autotune. That's okay, I understand where you're coming from. But the pure subject matter, and the pure music behind it is so powerful. This album at first glance, is hitting that same stride. So much so, I'm going to spend my hard earned money on it today. I'm going to go to Best Buy, and proudly give more money to Mr. West. Why? The sheer hope he keeps making music like this. Not 'Good Life' with T-Pain - more dark, brooding beats with all the lyrics of what he's going through. That's the reason I love Em, and that's the reason I'm starting to love Kanye. Right now, I'm in love with this album. Maybe in a week or two I'll re-review this and Minaj. See if my first impressions hold true.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Dark Fantasy
2. Gorgeous
3. POWER
4. All Of the Lights (Interlude)
5. All Of the Lights
6. Monster
7. So Appalled
8. Devil In a New Dress
9. Runaway
10. Hell Of a Life
11. Blame Game
12. Lost In the World
13. Who Will Survive In America

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Runaway
2. So Appalled
3. Power

FINAL RATING:
4.25 out of 5 stars

Nicki Minaj - Pink Friday



New Music Tuesday begins with Nicki Minaj. I think I talked last week about her a little bit. She was supposed to drop this last week - but for some reason she pushed it back a week. Maybe for Thanksgiving sales - I'm not really sure. If you guys didn't know, it's a pretty big shopping week this week. FYI. Anyway, I'm excited for this. I've been waiting for a sexy, talented female to compliment hip hop since Lil Kim stopped being her edgy self. Nicki Minaj has all the tools, and is running with the Young Money juggernaut. They are probably the hottest group in the rap game right now with Weezy, Drake and Minaj. I'm hoping that this album doesn't have too many ballady tracks for the sole reason of Nicki being a lady, and selling those sort of songs to the females. I understand that you have to have some, but true rap fans I think want to hear her straight up flow. Her part in Trey Songz 'Bottoms Up' was really sick. If you listen to it unedited, you'll love it. I promise. Getting to this album, the track 'Blazin' might be the best example of her flowing. She really has some mic skills - which is great. You have the couple obligatory chick/poppy songs in 'Your Love' and 'Right Thru Me'. Neither of those are terrible songs, just not ones that I'd actively listen to. Although the beat on Your Love is pretty sick. Regardless, I want to run through this a few more times before I really pass judgment on it. Right now, my first impression is of positive review. I think this could end up being in the top 10 of rap albums this year. That might not be saying a whole lot though, depending on your rap tastes. Give this a whirl today, let me know what ya'll think.

TRACK LISTING:
1. I'm the Best
2. Roman's Revenge
3. Did It On'em
4. Right Thru Me
5. Fly
6. Save Me
7. Moment 4 Life
8. Check It Out
9. Blazin
10. Here I Am
11. Dear Old Nicki
12. Your Love
13. Last Chance

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Roman's Revenge
2. Check It Out
3. Blazin

FINAL RATING:
3.75 out of 5 stars

Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma



Boom boom boom boom boom boom. That's the bass line of Techno Tuesday kicking in. I was having a discussion with a certain follower (who shall remain nameless) last week. He was saying how he can't stand the repetition of most dance tracks. I certainly understand where he's coming from - I just don't necessarily agree. While listening to a band like Daft Punk - you might hear the title of the track and very few other words repeated on loop throughout the arrangement. But the actual music is usually quite varied from start to finish. But my main point is, not all techno is that way. Certain techno or dance artists don't even use words. Take this Flying Lotus gentleman for example. He uses sick experimental beats and sounds and very rarely uses lyrics. Flying Lotus is the stage name of one man - Steven Ellison. He's been making this kind of music for years, with his first album actually dropping in 2006. He's quite popular because of his contribution to television. He creates the background music for the Adult Swim commercials. Crazy huh? Cosmogramma here just came out in May of this year, and has seen typical techno modest success. What I really enjoy about this - is how very obscure and different it is start to finish. It might start off to be a more beaty, dance album - and then it breaks into horns and that sort of odd natured dance melodic. This has a very spacey feel at times too - which pretty much puts this in a genre of its own. I love it. Very worth a listen today - if nothing else just to expand your music horizons!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Clock Catcher
2. Pickled!
3. Nose Art
4. Intro//A Cosmic Drama
5. Zodiac Shit
6. Computer Face//Pure Being
7. ..And the World Laughs with You
8. Arkestry
9. Mmmhmm
10. Do the Astral Plane
11. Satelllliiiiiteee
12. German Haircut
13. Recoiled
14. Dance of the Pseudo Nymph
15. Drips//Auntie's Harp
16. Table Tennis
17. Galaxy in Janaki

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. ...And The World Laughs With You
2. Nose Art
3. Clock Catcher

FINAL RATING:
3.5 out of 5 stars

Monday, November 22, 2010

Faith No More - Real Thing



I honestly can't believe I haven't reviewed this band before. I was checking my records and sure enough, nothing. Shocking. Anyway, this band is kind of a tough one to figure out. They fall into that metal type genre, but they don't always. Back when I did my Top 5 music videos ever, one of them on my list was the video for 'Epic'. The fish flopping around by a refrigerator will forever haunt my childhood dreams. Crazy. Anyway, this came out WAY back in 1989. Can you believe that's over 20 years ago? Yikes, I'm getting old. Internal reflections aside, this is a very undervalued album. How this album is only platinum is a bit of a head scratcher. I mean, if you're a metal fan, you have to appreciate this to the point you bought it right? I'm not a huge metal enthusiast, but even I have it. It's that great. This has a laundry list of accolades to its credit - including Top 100 albums of all time. Very high praise. I mean, they covered War Pigs. Who doesn't love that song? I know I do. Anyway, this California based band started making tunes in 1981. They kept going until around 1998 when they took what they thought would be a permanent hiatus. They reformed just recently, and intend on going back on tour. Good news for metal fans - or FNM fans like me. Mike Patton's voice is something amazing. Very distinct, and very awesome. A track like Epic smacks you in the face with it's craziness - both lyrically and sound wise. Then the follow up 'Falling To Pieces' is maybe a little more conventional, but certainly not wholly metal. It's got an almost funky baseline to compliment the vocal. But then you get to track 4, and BAM! metal again. This album is crazy different and good. Please check it out today. I'm guessing you haven't heard it before, and you should. It's fun and great.

TRACK LISTING:
1. From Out Of Nowhere
2. Epic
3. Falling To Pieces
4. Surprise! You're Dead!
5. Zombie Eaters
6. The Real Thing
7. Underwater Love
8. The Morning After
9. Woodpecker From Mars
10. War Pigs
11. Edge Of The World

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Epic
2. Falling To Pieces
3. War Pigs

FINAL RATING:
3.75 out of 5 stars

Brooks & Dunn - Brand New Man



A little bit of country to start my Monday. JenInTosa tossed this band in the hat because I'd never gotten to them before. I know I've heard of B&D about a million times before, but couldn't immediately tell you any specific songs by them. Since Jen just gave a plethora of bands and no albums, those are all up to me. I decided to run with their first release, which just so happens to be their best selling. This dropped in 1991 and is a very appealing 6x platinum. These guys formed in Louisiana, and were making music a very long time locally before getting noticed. From what I can read, they had been making music for nearly 20 years before getting a record deal. That's actually pretty crazy. I can't believe sticking with it after so long and not at all moving toward your goal. Good thing they stuck with it, and good thing they had one MONSTROUS hit for their debut drop. From what I didn't think I knew anything - turns out 'Boot Scootin' Boogie' is a B&D track, and on this record. How fantastic. I've heard that song in many a bar during my tenure in life. Sound wise...hmm. How to describe. Nothing blazingly different - that's for sure. Seems to be an older school country of the, "my dog is dead" mentality - and that sort of tone to it. Maybe a little more upbeat then you'd expect from such a down lyric. Maybe a dance country? Does that exist? Anyway, this is tolerable on my country scale. I wouldn't put it on, but I could listen to it and not want to punch anyone. Maybe not 'Boot Scoot' on loop, but the whole album. I'd say this is worth a go today. If nothing else, be educated in country like me.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Brand New Man
2. My Next Broken Heart
3. Cool Drink of Water
4. Cheating on the Blues
5. Neon Moon
6. Lost and Found
7. I've Got a Lot to Learn
8. Boot Scootin' Boogie
9. I'm No Good
10. Still in Love With You

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Boot Scootin Boogie
2. Still In Love With You
3. My Next Broken Heart

FINAL RATING:
2.75 out of 5 stars

Friday, November 19, 2010

Oh Baby, Give Me One More Chance

I was wrong about Mad Men.

A few years ago, I was working in an ad agency, and got a chance to see the pilot for Mad Men before it aired in a meeting at work. I watched the show, and thought, meh. I mean the high point was that it featured John Slattery, who I'm sure you will all remember played Dennis Martino, the love to hate principal on my favorite show of all time that is not on DVD, Ed. But, I was convinced that I wouldn't be able sympathize with a married main character juggling three chicks, no matter how classically handsome he is. Plus, Peggy's bangs.

So, this summer when my roommate borrowed the entire series from a co-worker, I wasn't enthused. She started to watch the first episode as I made dinner, when the second episode started, I decided it would be perfect background noise while I gave myself a french manicure. At the end of the third episode, I said, "we're going to watch another, right?" I was hooked. We watched all three seasons in like a week. I currently think it's the second best show ever made, behind Ed.

This wasn't the first time that I've had a bad first impression with pop culture. In fact, I've been wrong a lot. I'm ashamed to admit that I have had attitude about Harold and Kumar, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Anchor Man, scary movies, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Glee, Arrested Development and The Office (U.S., seasons 1-4). I'm sure I have described everything on this list as both lame and my favorite. (Author's note: I tend to call too many things my favorite.)

There are two reasons why I do this. First, someone I know likes it too much, and thinks that I would LOVE it, if I just gave it a try--and then they tell me that like 10,000 times to the point where their requests just become noise. And, second, I can be a judgmental bitch. I may be stubborn in my resistance to art that I deem unworthy to me, but I do understand that first impressions are not always accurate. Sometimes things grow on you, your relationship with a show, movie or artist evolves or your life changes and you begin to appreciate things differently. So, I'm sorry, Harold and Kumar - I usually hate the glorification of drug use on screen and I was mean to you in the beginning, but goddammit, you are HILARIOUS!

More than anything, I tend to be wrong about music. A lot. So, here's this week's list. My list of shame. Music that I was totally wrong about. What are you ashamed of fair readers? Sound off below. Tell me how wrong you've been.

1. Britney Spears' "Toxic" - When I first heard this song, it was for a project I did for school about censorship and the FCC. Apparently, the video was banned or something, and I am a nerd. I originally thought this song was shrill, the lyrics were unintelligible and, well, it's Britney Spears. But, in the years that followed, it's totally become my booty shaking anthem. And, I learned to lighten up, and enjoy this purely fun pop song.

2. Bruce Springsteen - The Boss was one of those artists that caused me to immediately change the channel/radio station, most likely because people call him The Boss, and I think that's stupid. But, something has happened in the past couple of years, and he's been growing on me. I heard Born to Run on the radio a few weeks ago, and even though, I've heard it before - it just blew me away. That band! That energy! Those lyrics! It's totally changed how I feel, and has since caused me to start a Springsteen Pandora station. I only know the hits, but damn . . . good stuff.

3. The Decemberists - I've resisted nothing more in my life than one of my friends' insistence that I listen to The Decemberists. (I'm actually trying to get this friend to listen to Mumford and Sons, and he's totally resisting, which is the inspiration for this article.) I don't fancy myself a hipster, and I thought they were a total hipster band. But, my friend hounded me for a year and went as far as giving me their entire catalog, which I immediately put on my iPod and didn't listen to for another whole year. Then one day, on shuffle, I heard The Rake's Song, an awesome song about a guy who kills his kids (which I probably shouldn't admit to people). All of a sudden, they were cool with me, and they're one of the top bands that I'd like to see live.

4. The Rolling Stones - This is embarrassing. You know who likes the Stones? Old people. My parents' friends. So, basically, they were the definitive lame old person rock band. But, in my post-college years, I started to listen to a lot of classic rock. Then I heard it. The boys choir opening to You Can't Always Get What You Want. It was totally my gateway into developing mad respect for a band that I had previously been happy to make fun of to anyone who would listen. I was so wrong. I actually hope this list is almost done, because I really want to go listen to Paint it Black.

5. Kanye West - I'm not a big rap fan, and other than Jesus Walks, the first thing I knew of Kanye was his relationship with the media and that he seemed like a selfish and disrespectful person. But, then I started to really listen to his music - his lyrics are so smart, the hooks are amazing, and it totally transcends his well publicized beefs with MTV, George Bush, Taylor Swift, The Grammys, Matt Lauer . . . you know, on third thought, no. It doesn't. Yeah. Sorry. I can't stick up for this one, no matter how much I want to. Looks like I was right after all.

Happy Thanksgiving, folks!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Killers - Sam's Town



As much as I do not have a 'punk rock' prowess, I have a big ol' soft spot for the Killers. I reviewed 'Hot Fuss' way back in March, and it got favorable reviews. As most of you know, I have a man crush on 'All These Things That I've Done'. I simply think it's one of the best songs ever created. I own that album, but I don't listen to it nearly as much as I do this one. Quite frankly, this album is rock solid. 100% pure old fashioned fun listening. Plenty of tracks to sing along with, and to tap your toes to. I picked this up not really having heard anything off of it. I mean, years later I think the only song that really hit mainstream is 'When You Were Young', which honestly isn't one of my favorites. It shocks me that this album is only platinum in the states. Hot Fuss was 3x platinum in the states, which I suppose speaks more to the fact it had the three big singles. People couldn't get enough Mr. Brightside for some reason. I didn't really get it then, and don't get it now. When you go to a dance club, and you hear your rock track remixed into a techno gold mine, you know you've hit it bit. Just sayin'. Anyway, this album is pretty different from the first. I feel like their sound matured a little bit, and created something more powerful. Not just pop sensation-ish. This is very much worth a solid listen today. Not just a background piece while working. Really give this a go and listen to what they're telling you. There are only 1 or maybe 2 tracks that I tend to skip. The rest I really enjoy. I think you will too. Happy Thursday!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Sam's Town
2. Enterlude
3. When You Were Young
4. Bling (Confession of a King)
5. For Reasons Unknown
6. Read My Mind
7. Uncle Jonny
8. Bones
9. My List
10. This River Is Wild
11. Why Do I Keep Counting?
12. Exitlude

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Why Do I Keep Counting?
2. Read My Mind
3. My List

FINAL RATING:
4.25 out of 5 stars

3 Doors Down - The Better Life



I feel like at this stage of product cycle, everyone knows about 3 Doors Down. These Mississippi boys started making music around 1996 or so, and they were not even well known in their home town. When this album dropped in 2000, they pretty much blew up. It was the 11th best selling album of 2000. Which, I'm not sure what else came out that year, but that's pretty high praise. I mean, any time you can be in the top 15 in something - it's usually a good thing. Anyway, instant success pretty much. Part of the assistance in my opinion is the fact these guys are VERY hard working. They've been known to put on over 300 shows per year. Yeah, 300. That's nuts. Most bands will tour for maybe 6 months and take nights off between every show. I hope none of them actually have family - yikes. I really go through phases with this record. There are times when I can't stand to hear another track off of it, and then times where I actively listen to it. Especially when it came out, if I heard 'Kryptonite' - I wanted to cut my ears off. I still don't love that song, but now that I don't hear it 100 times per day, it's alright. There is no question this album has a lot going for it - it just may have been overplayed back in the day. Style wise, it's very rock. Nothing grandiose or anything, just straight up rock. Okay, maybe a little pop mixed in. 6 million copies means lots of people like it. Check it out today. Might make your day go by just a hair faster.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Kryptonite
2. Loser
3. Duck and Run
4. Not Enough
5. Be Like That
6. Life of My Own
7. Better Life
8. Down Poison
9. By My SideL
10. Smack
11. So I Need You

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Loser
2. Be Like That
3. Duck And Run

FINAL RATING:
3.75 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Foo Fighters - Self Titled



Nothing like cleansing my Michael Jackson soured palette with some Foo. Going from bad situation to making something great out of a bad situation. When Cobain died, I think a lot of people thought the decline of the alternative movement was approaching. Little did they know the long haired, hippie looking drummer was going to break off and form something great. I reviewed 'Colour And Shape' months ago, to a very positive review. And 'Everlong' is one of my favorite tracks ever. They recorded an acoustic version I have and also really love. This was the original though. When this album dropped, no one really knew what to expect. The only song I'd heard when I bought it was 'I'll Stick Around' which is very heavy and almost metal-y. Not really what the rest of the album is about. They made a bigger name for themselves with the video for 'Big Me'. Yeah, the Mentos one. You all remember it, just think back. This dropped in 1995 and is single platinum - oddly enough, the same as every other Foo album put out in the states. Kind of crazy. For a band that everyone seems to enjoy at least a little bit, not huge sales. I watched a recent show from them in the UK - which I also think I've talked about this before, but their huge over there. I don't fully get it, but the Brits love Foo. Maybe I should move there, I'd fit right in. Anyhow, they still play the classics off this album and seen to really enjoy it. I can't blame the fans for wanting to hear this album live still, because it's really good. Top to bottom, probably my favorite. Doesn't have any single amazing tracks like Everlong, but solid overall. Highly encourage you to pick it up today. Remember your youth that was '95.

TRACK LISTING:
1. This Is a Call
2. I'll Stick Around
3. Big Me
4. Alone + Easy Target
5. Good Grief
6. Floaty
7. Weenie Beenie
8. Oh, George
9. For All the Cows
10. X-Static
11. Wattershed
12. Exhausted

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Big Me
2. Alone + Easy Target
3. I'll Stick Around

FINAL RATING:
4 out of 5 stars

Michael Jackson - Invincible



Okay - so this one requires some explaining. I've talked before about how I'm not a big Michael Jackson fan. At some point, my plan was to review one of his highest end albums and explain myself in greater detail. Well, follower Ashley asked me to review a certain track off this album, so I'm just going to run with it. Of course without giving away my big post in the future. The track she asked me to pay close attention to is 'Whatever Happens'. And the reason for that is she read my post about Carlos Santana, and that I really enjoyed his guitar work. Well, he provided the guitar for that track, and Ashley insists the track has it goin' on. Well, I'll be the judge of that!! No - I'm not that self centered. Before I get to that, let me talk about this album as a whole. Is there any Jacko fan that owns this? This isn't his worst selling album at 2x platinum in the states, but it's pretty far down the list. Only better than his super early stuff. All pre 'Off The Wall' album. This is really not good. I mean, it's like he totally lost his swagger and made an album. And to show you how irritated I am, I used the word swagger. I hate that word. This is all slow, melodic nonsense. What happened to the flamboyant, crotch grabbing, high note hitting pop genius? This album shows a brief shell of that man. Now sure, he got older - and went pretty nuts. But still. Why didn't someone at a studio listen to this and say, "yikes mike. not good". Oh yeah, money. That's why. Anyway, the specific track. I want to try to set aside the album as a whole here - which is hard to do. It's got that very Santana-esque feel, which anyone who's a fan of Carlos will know what I'm talking about. That being said, this track is the best of a bad situation. Lyrically pretty good, beat wise mediocre and arrangement wise the best of the record. I've spent more time analyzing this track, and after I listened to the rest, so my judgment might be clouded. FYI. I'd be curious what other people think of this album...especially his fans.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Unbreakable
2. Heartbreaker
3. Invincible
4. Break of Dawn
5. Heaven Can Wait
6. You Rock My World
7. Butterflies
8. Speechless
9. 2000 Watts
10. You Are My Life
11. Privacy
12. Don't Walk Away
13. Cry
14. Lost Children, The
15. Whatever Happens
16. Threatened

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Whatever Happens
2. Cry
3. Heartbreaker

FINAL RATING:
2.25 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Nelly - 5.0



I get so excited for New Music Tuesday. I hope you guys do too. Something about popping open a fresh album with no expectations and an open mind. Always fun. Well today, I was intending to review the latest Queen of hip hop - Nicki Minaj, but they delayed her release to next week. Which I think is silly, because Kanye is dropping his next week too - which has already seen AMAZING reviews on the pre release. Regardless of all that - Nelly dropped his first one in a couple years. Remember Nelly? Remember the SICK 'Country Grammar' and solid follow up 'Nellyville'? Remember that guy? Well don't get that guy confused with this guy. This isn't your fathers Nelly. This is some pop/r&b replacement. 'Just A Dream' being one of the most overplayed songs on the radio right now - which I'll admit, isn't a terrible song, but the rest...uhh, yeah. I loved when Nelly would show his sick flow on tracks and maybe have a couple poppy tracks to compliment. Well, that's gone. There are tracks where he seems like he's trying to be hard, but it's almost laughable. He was recently left off the Top 10 rappers of the 2000's by BET, and he was pretty upset because of all the albums he's sold. Which yeah, the only artist who has sold more was Eminem. But Em RAPS, Nelly - you've gone pop. Remember Grillz? Yeah, we all do. That's not hip hop. Neither is this album. For an R.Kelly/Usher style album, yeah - this is pretty solid. For a rap album, sub par at best. Since I'm basing my opinion off this as a pop record, I'm going to be generally positive. But I want the old Nelly back. Hot Ish!!

TRACK LISTING:
1. I'm Number 1
2. Long Gone
3. She's So Fly
4. Just A Dream
5. Making Movies
6. Move That Body
7. 1000 Stacks
8. Gone
9. Don't It Feel Good
10. Broke
11. Liv Tonight
12. Nothing Without Her

Listen To Samples

1. Just A Dream
2. Nothing Without Her
3. Gone

FINAL RATING:
3 out of 5 stars

Crystal Castles - Self Titled (II)



I missed Techno Tuesday last week - and miss techno in general. It's been a good month or two since I sat down to my techno jam playlist. Usually when I'm the busiest at work is when I put it on. There's nothing better to have going in the background and stay upbeat in order to get work done. I really encourage everyone to try it out. So recently - I was running through a favorite of mine - the techno artist Caribou - and found these guys. "These guys" are a pair of Canadians - producer Ethan Kath and vocalist Alice Glass. Around 2004 - they got together and started laying down some funky fresh beats. Now - I'm no expert, but there used to be an old Atari game called Crystal Castles. Do you think their name came from that game? I'm not totally sure, but the sound they have is very similar to that from the game. No, not cheesy eight bit sound quality, but that really high pitched repeated backdrop. It's actually really cool. Anyone who played Atari or even the original NES - I guarantee there was one game you played that you'd be whistling or humming the music to after you were done playing. You didn't even know that it was affecting you, but all of the sudden you're singing the Mario Bros theme. They've gotten into some legal disputes over some copyright, but who cares. Techno and dance is all about sampling and turning good beats into great beats. I really enjoyed this album the couple times I've went through it now. It's different and fun. If you're in the mood to groove today - pick up this new find like I did today. You won't be depressed!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Fainting Spells
2. Celestica
3. Doe Deer
4. Baptism
5. Year of Silence
6. Empathy
7. Suffocation
8. Violent Dreams
9. Vietnam
10. Birds
11. Pap Smear
12. Not in Love
13. Intimate
14. I Am Made of Chalk

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Baptism
2. Fainting Spells
3. Empathy

FINAL RATING:
3.75 out of 5 stars

Monday, November 15, 2010

Looper - Geometrid



I think I've mentioned before how odd it can be sometimes finding new music. Back around the 2000 timeframe - there were some DARE or anti drug ads on television that used this sick beat and crazy vocals. Back in 2000, I think for most people they were just turning to the internet for their music questions. You know, because most people were just getting high speed internet at that point. I'd have it for a couple years, so I remember immediately going to the computer and trying to find out what and who this was. Turns out, it was a band known as Looper that was comprised of two Scottish fellas. I can safely say that if I put this song on for someone in the car or something, they'll recognize it, but have no clue from where. If not the drug free ads, it's been used in multiples commercials, tv shows and movies. They had one other track, 'My Robot' that has seen some success too. Much lesser scale though. Anyhow, I picked this album up a long time ago - but for some reason don't listen to it very often. I think it's a solid 'mood' type record - mainly because it's so out there. It has some elements of rock, techno, blues, pop and flat out indie-ness. I was checking my iTunes and realized I hadn't shared this with you guys yet, and how selfish that had been. I'm not sure if you can find this at a store or not, it's pretty rare. BestBuy.com lists this at a sickening 50 dollars for purchase. No cd is worth that much. But it's a fun listen. 'Mondo' is flat out amazing, and the rest all fit the part. This is certainly worth a go today - just so you can say you tried something new. Pass it along and Happy Monday!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Monder 77
2. On the Flipside
3. Modem Song
4. Uncle Ray
5. Puddle Monkey
6. These Things
7. Bug Rain
8. My Robot
9. Tomorrow's World
10. Money Hair

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Mondo 77
2. Tomorrows World
3. My Robot

FINAL RATING:
3.5 out of 5 stars

George Strait - Carrying Your Love With Me



B Siders - it's Monday. The cure for a tough Monday ahead is always a little tuneage right? Exactly. Blog devotees will recall I reviewed George Strait WAY back in April. Hard to believe it's been so long. His 'Blue Clear Sky' album received a generally positive review from me. That album was requested by JenInTosa - and oddly enough, this album came out directly after that one (1996 and 1997 respectively) but this album was requested by Shaqwanda. By the way Shaqwanda, this was the last of your country based suggestions - so if you have more, let me know. Now, I recall being positive about Strait because it wasn't an annoying country music. He switches up the melodies and arrangements and also doesn't keep up the same tone while singing. I wasn't sure back then if it was just one album, or if I'd maybe grow to enjoy Mr. Strait since that had been the first album I'd ever listened to by him. Well, I think he might be growing on me. This record is also very tolerable. Country never will be my go to genre, but every so often I throw on some Cash - and I'd always be willing to add an artist or two to that rotation. Strait would now be on my list. A couple tracks on this album are very captivating lyrically - which I don't frequently identify with this brand of music. I'm impressed. I highly recommend giving this a shot today. If you're a country fan, I have to think you've already got this someone tucked away. If country isn't your thing, give it a shot. I'm surprised Strait doesn't get more publicity than he does. He's worth it.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Round About Way
2. Carrying Your Love with Me
3. One Night at a Time
4. She'll Leave You With a Smile
5. Won't You Come Home (And Talk to a Stranger)
6. Today My World Slipped Away
7. I've Got a Funny Feeling
8. Nerve, The
9. That's Me (Every Chance I Get)
10. Real Good Place to Start, A

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. The Nerve
2. Carrying Your Love With Me
3. She'll Leave You With A Smile

FINAL RATING:
2.5 out of 5 stars

Friday, November 12, 2010

B Side Presents, "Friday Gut Check - Run Forrest Run!"



I've been going strong on the Friday Gut Checks - and Heidi has been great helping me out. Today, an Anonymous reader suggested that I review the Forrest Gump Soundtrack. Now since it was without identification, I don't know if this person has been a long time reader or stumbled upon lately, so I'll add a little narrative. Back a while ago, Heidi and I did a Gut Check on soundtracks. Forrest Gump was my third favorite of all time. So, I'm a fan. When they asked me to review, I wanted to take it one step further...

I'm going to give you my Top 5 songs off the soundtrack (there are 32 songs total) and then my Top 5 favorite parts of the movie. (a film that I do enjoy quite a bit) Here is a complete list of the songs first - in case you don't recall:

Disc One
Hound Dog performed by Elvis Presley
Rebel Rouser performed by Duane Eddy
(I Don't Know Why) But I Do performed by Clarence "Frogman" Henry
Walk Right In performed by The Rooftop Singers
Land of 1000 Dances performed by Wilson Pickett
Blowin' in the Wind performed by Joan Baez
Fortunate Son performed by Creedence Clearwater Revival
I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch) performed by The Four Tops
Respect performed by Aretha Franklin
Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 performed by Bob Dylan
Sloop John B performed by Beach Boys
California Dreamin' performed by The Mamas & the Papas
For What It's Worth performed by Buffalo Springfield
What the World Needs Now Is Love performed by Jackie DeShannon
Break On Through (To the Other Side) performed by The Doors
Mrs. Robinson performed by Simon & Garfunkel

Disc Two
Volunteers performed by Jefferson Airplane
Let's Get Together performed by The Youngbloods
San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair) performed by Scott McKenzie
Turn! Turn! Turn! performed by The Byrds
Medley: Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In performed by The 5th Dimension
Everybody's Talkin' performed by Harry Nilsson
Joy to the World performed by Three Dog Night
Stoned Love performed by The Supremes
Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head performed by B. J. Thomas
Mr. President performed by Randy Newman
Sweet Home Alabama performed by Lynyrd Skynyrd
It Keeps You Runnin' performed by The Doobie Brothers
I've Got to Use My Imagination performed by Gladys Knight & the Pips
On the Road Again performed by Willie Nelson
Against the Wind performed by Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band
Forrest Gump Suite composed and conducted by Alan Silvestri

I'm even going to take it one step further, here are songs in the film, but not on the soundtrack:

Lovesick Blues - Hank Williams
Sugar Shack - Jimmy Gilmer And The Fireballs
Hanky Panky - Tommy James and The Shondells
All Along the Watchtower - The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Soul Kitchen - The Doors
Hello, I Love You - The Doors
People Are Strange - The Doors
Hey Joe - The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Where Have All the Flowers Gone? - Pete Seeger
Love Her Madly - The Doors
Let's Work Together - Canned Heat
Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree - Tony Orlando & Dawn
Get Down Tonight - KC & The Sunshine Band
Free Bird - Lynyrd Skynyrd
Running On Empty – Jackson Browne
Go Your Own Way - Fleetwood Mac

Okay, so here we go. Top 5 in each category - GO!

5. Ping Pong With Son - Toward the end of the film, Forrest is letting the audience know how things are going with his son. They have a part where they cut to them playing ping pong, and little Forrest smacks a point right past him. Funny, because he was a world class player for the US Army. Cute scene and fun.

4. Black Panther Fight - Jenny and her boyfriend at the time were at a Black Panther Party, showing their support for minority rights. Forrest came along in his Army uniform, which already riled up the attendees who didn't support an Army that allowed minorities to die on the front line, but not have equal rights back home. Well, the boyfriend slaps Jenny, Forrest rushes in and bloodies his nose. Shows Forrest's passion and his love for Jenny.

3. Not Enough Rocks - Forrest getting back together with Jenny, he takes her back to the shack she grew up in. Jenny stops, you can tell she's getting emotional just looking at the house. She picks up rocks, throws them in fury. Get one to break and window and collapses. There is a line, "sometimes there just aren't enough rocks". A great quote, great scene.

2. I GOTTA FIND BUBBA! - War in Veitnam. Charlie all over the place. Forrest runs out of the jungle to find he's outran everybody. He has to go back and find his dear friend Bubba. I just love this scene. He keeps going back, finding more army mates that need his help. Gets Lieutenant Dan out and then Bubba, who doesn't make it. Touching stuff.

1. You'll never sink this boat - Dan versus God. A battle of a man who lost his faith because he lost his legs and the big guy above. They're out on the shrimp boat and a nasty hurricane hits. Dan is perched up in the sails cursing at any power that exists above him. Bottom line, Dan finds his faith again - shrimp boat is the only one left standing.

Now on to the good stuff - the music. Here are my 5 favorites:

5. For What It's Worth - Buffalo Springfield: Comes out hard with the beat and and backdrop. Lyrically one of the better songs from its time too. I remember hearing this song when I was a kid and was hooked. Still enjoy it today.

4. Hey Joe - Jimi Hendrix: It's Jimi. This was the song that came on during the Black Panther scene too. The passion that Jimi brought forth when playing this track, always made me wonder what the real story behind it was. Hearbreak and revenge, to things that can make a song amazing.

3. Mrs. Robinson - Simon And Garfunkel: Yeah yeah, this song is also what made a certain Dustin Hoffman movie huge. I get it. But it's really good in this movie too. I think it simply speaks volumes of the song in general, very good and very identifiable for its time.

2. Free Bird - Lynyrd Skynyrd: Okay, so you all know I adore this song. It's not a secret. It also was PERFECT for when Jenny seemed to be contemplating suicide jumping off a high balcony at a hotel. If I leave here tomorrow, would you still remember me?

1. Against The Wind - Bob Seger: I'm a sucker for this song. It can be very emotional if you listen to the lyrics and take it all in. I think this came on when Forrest was running for no real reason across the country. I equate what he was going through an this song and it's just perfect. Hard to imagine a better song to sum it all up.


Well B Siders, I love this soundtrack and I love this movie. What do you think?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

NIN - Pretty Hate Machine



Oh hard rock. You're a mysterious friend of mine. For a while I love you, then for a while I hate you. You toy with my emotions and make me feel great when times are good and horrendous when I get to my lowest. A band like NIN can bring out emotions that you never thought you could feel. I think I talked about that a little bit with Downward Spiral when I reviewed that a couple of months ago. This album is right up there on the same plain. This album dropped back in 1989 - and is a nice 3x platinum in the states. For as huge as 'Spiral' was, it only sold an extra million compared to this. With less of a monstrous hit. Whenever I listen to a record by old Trent, I seem to be incredibly impacted by the music. It's like I feel what he wants his audience to feel. It isn't so much just they lyrics, it's also the music accompanying the lyrics. If he wants you to feel down - he has a way to make it so. It's almost as if a spell is cast over you when you put it on your headphones. It's kind of crazy. When I gave very high praise in the last review, follower janis! asked that I get to this one as well. And I'll say, I own this album - have for years. It's VERY hard for me to listen to it a lot - simply because of the emotions it brings out in me. Depending how my mood already is, it could be anger, sadness or even a little motivation to get something done. A track like 'Something I Can Never Have' and the way it haunts me - it always puts me on the path to thinking. Thinking about anything really. I guess you could probably tell - I enjoy this quite a bit. I completely understand that it isn't for everybody - but if you can get through it, it's worth it everytime. If nothing else, see if it has the impact on you as it does me and others I know enjoy it. Listen to it straight up too, no shuffle and no skipping. See how you do. Enjoy!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Head Like a Hole
2. Terrible Lie
3. Down in It
4. Sanctified
5. Something I Can Never Have
6. Kinda I Want To
7. Sin
8. That's What I Get
9. Only Time, The
10. Ringfinger
11. Get Down Make Love

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Something I Can Never Have
2. Head Like A Hole
3. Sanctified

FINAL RATING:
3.75 out of 5 stars

The Cure - Disintegration



Thursday brings a fresh peak into the Suggestion Box - and as always, keep 'em coming - but Shaqwanda noticed that I'd never reviewed any Cure. Probably the biggest reason for that, I honestly don't know much by them. I mean, I've heard of them - heard a few songs in passing, but never really sought them out before. UNTIL TODAY! Big dramatic caps entry there! These guys have been around literally forever. They come from England and have been making music since the '70s. They went almost two decades without seeing any mainstream success - which I give them huge props for. It's very easy to pack it in and call it quits when you don't feel your music isn't reaching anyone. Kudos. People always want to crown Nirvana as the kings of alternative rock music. Well, I think that title goes to the Cure personally. As much as I don't know by them, I do know about them. They really changed the view of alternative rock when it was a time of super heavy riffs and big hair. Imagine listening to Van Halen and then The Cure. What a drastic change in styles. Obviously, the Cure didn't have the same cultural impact as Nirvana, and hence the reasoning. Plus, Nirvana was all about the grunge movement, we label it alternative. Anyways, I like this album. I picked it because it's their best selling at a nice 2x platinum. Hard to believe, but they don't have any other platinum selling records. Craziness. This has a really dark, almost gothic rock style feel to it. Shaqwanda mentioned she'd only been jamming to their greatest hits, and I have no clue if any of these tracks are on her GH album. I hope a few are, because there are a few tracks that would seem worthy. Happy Thursday B Siders!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Plainsong
2. Pictures of You
3. Closedown
4. Love Song
5. Last Dance (Bonus Track)
6. Lullaby
7. Fascination Street
8. Prayers For Rain
9. Same Deep Water as You, The
10. Disintegration
11. Homesick (Bonus Track)
12. Untitled

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Love Song
2. Fascination Street
3. Closedown

FINAL RATING:
3.75 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Silversun Pickups - Carnavas



I was introduced to the Silversun Pickups fairly recently. After I started the blog, so sometime in 2010. These guys are an indie rock band from the Los Angeles area in California. They got a pretty slow start back in 2002 or so. They were calling themselves 'A Couple Of Couples' back then, and playing small shows in that area. They changed their name based on a liquor store near where they lived at the time. This album dropped in 2006 - and that's when they started to blow up a bit. They did a lot of touring with rock group Wolfmother, and saw a solid following. Then they decided to tour across the pond, and then they made it. If you ever open for Foo Fighters overseas, you're going to get a HUGE audience. Foo Fighters over there are just gigantic for some reason. Never did figure that out. They've made a lot of pop culture cameos too. You can find their music in a variety of movies, tv shows and video games. Style wise, they use a lot of guitar distortion - and I'd maybe put them in a similar style as the Pixies. Their vocal is a little cleaner though, which is I suppose why some people put them in a pop genre. I disagree with that though - as I'd roll with Indie Rock all the way. There isn't a whole lot to not enjoy with this album. Maybe my only complaint would be it isn't longer. It's only 11 tracks, and I'd love to have listened to 15. This album is arranged perfectly and flows so well. Not a solid seller by any means, so check this out today and pick it up if you love it. They've dropped another album since this, and I'll check that out soon too. Until that day - bring on the Pickups!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Melatonin
2. Well Thought Out Twinkles
3. Checkered Floor
4. Little Lover's So Polite
5. Future Foe Scenarios
6. Waste It On
7. Lazy Eye
8. Rusted Wheel
9. Dream at Tempo 119
10. Three Seed
11. Common Reactor

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Lazy Eye
2. Little Lover's So Polite
3. Rusted Wheel

FINAL RATING:
3.75 out of 5 stars

Alanis Morissette - Jagged Little Pill



First and foremost, my biggest apologies again for yesterday. Not only did I post super late - I also only posted once. That is the first time in the history of the B Side that I only got to one post. Shouldn't be happening again any time soon. I promise. Anyways, Alanis. If you're approximately my age, you heard this growing up. And you heard almost every track off of it. It was huge. Alanis is Canadian, so naturally you'd think her giant album would sell more copies over there than in the US. Then you'd look at the Canadian sales for this record, see it's a beautiful 12x platinum, then you'd be certain it outsold there. But curiosity gets the best of you - and you look up the US sales anyway. Boom! 16x Platinum in the states. That's a huge number. For the women, I think she was an inspiration of sorts. She was very vocal, outspoken and seemed to be very powerful. When 'You Oughta Know' came out over the radio, what a powerful song - and an anthem for a few women I knew at the time. For guys, I think even though she's not traditionally "hot" by others' standards, she had that rockstar hotness quality to her. Enough that men weren't afraid to admit they bought the album. You wouldn't have been saying the same thing about Britney - maybe make nasty remarks about what you'd do alone in a room with her, but never say you bought 'Baby..One More Time'. I don't think I need to get into her style, because like I said, you had to have heard this a billion times. And going back on it today - 15 years later - it's still good. I don't know much by her before or after this, but I'll check it out sometime. I'm going to listen to this all day today in tribute, you should too.

TRACK LISTING:
1. All I Really Want
2. You Oughta Know
3. Perfect
4. Hand in My Pocket
5. Right Through You
6. Forgiven
7. You Learn
8. Head over Feet
9. Mary Jane
10. Ironic
11. Not the Doctor
12. Wake Up
13. You Oughta Know (Alternate Take)

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. You Oughta Know (Alt Take - because of the SICK bonus track)
2. Head Over Feet
3. Ironic

FINAL RATING:
4 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Kid Cudi - Man On The Moon 2: The Legend Of Mr. Rager



HUGE apologies to my B Siders today. It's 11am or so central time and I'm finally getting to review some music. Needless to say, it's been a super busy day so far for me. Heidi didn't have time to write something up for you guys this morning either, so here I go. I knew Cudi was dropping this today anyway, so I knew what I was getting into. I reviewed his original Man On The Moon record quite a long time ago, and gave it a very favorable review. I think Cudi is one of the most fresh up and coming rappers out there. For my money, his flow and lyrics are a TON better than Drake. This album is a little different, as it's not just a concept type album, this really goes into a story detail. After his success with last years drop, he went into a bit of a tailspin. This album - is in fact that story. How he reached the fame and fell victim to a young person getting huge in the industry. I think it's really well done. The singles off this record so far have been 'Erase Me' and then 'Mr. Rager' - which are both okay tracks, but maybe not the best. The problem with some of the songs, they can't be played on the radio. Not without really censoring them hardcore. I don't think Cudi wants that. I'm not sure yet if the change in attitude on this album is for the better though. While I think it's a great concept and I love when rappers tell a true story - this has a drastically different feel to it. I loved the original, and I'm having trouble finding tracks that I'll really identify with. I think I'd have to listen to this start to finish every time, and in today's single world, that's hard to do. I've even gotten sick of Erase Me, and I loved that song a couple months ago. Time will tell I guess.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Scott Mescudi Vs. The World
2. REVOFEV
3. Don't Play This Song
4. We Aite (Wake Your Mind Up)
5. Marijuana
6. Mojo So Dope
7. Ashin' Kusher
8. Erase Me [Main]
9. Wild'n Cuz I'm Young
10. Mood, The
11. MANIAC
12. Mr. Rager
13. These Worries
14. End, The
15. All Along
16. GHOST!
17. Trapped In My Mind

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Wild'n Cuz I'm Young
2. Marijuana
3. Erase Me

FINAL RATING:
3 out of 5 stars (on first impression)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Marshall Tucker Band - Self Titled



Classic review day was almost not going to happen. It fought me through and through today. Every band I wanted to review didn't link any samples. Brutal! Finally I got to Marshall Tucker Band - and one of my favorite classic songs ever - 'Can't You See'. If you haven't heard this track, I promise you'll love it. But my guess, is at some point in your life you have, maybe without knowing it. Way back in 1972 a few fellas from South Carolina got together and started jamming. Their style is a blend of rock, blues, gospel, jazz and a little country. Mixed together it goes down smooth. You might be led to believe someone named Marshall Tucker is in the band. Well my friend, you couldn't be any more wrong. They were sitting in a warehouse where they practiced trying to come up with a band name. Someone looked down at the warehouse key, and had Marshall Tucker inscribed on it. They were later informed that he was a local piano tuner - that had rented the space before the band did. The owner just never got around to making a new key. If I was a betting man, I'd guess Mr. Tucker was pretty excited to have his name grace a band for no reason. They have never stopped over the years either. They still put on a solid number of shows around the US to this day. They even had a studio release back in 2004. That's almost 40 years of playing and making new music. Pretty cool. I'm not super familiar with the rest of their catalog, but I enjoy this album. It's different. Unlike a lot that was coming out in the 70's. If not even just for the one track, this is totally worth checking out today.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Take the Highway
2. Can't You See
3. Losing You
4. Hillbilly Band
5. See You Later, I'm Gone
6. Ramblin'
7. My Jesus Told Me So
8. AB's Song
9. Everyday (I Have the Blues) (Bonus Track)

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Can't You See
2. Take The Highway
3. Hillbilly Band

FINAL RATING:
3.5 out of 5 stars

Savage Garden - Self Titled



I'm in a rockin' good mood for it being a Monday. Took a trip down to West Lafayette to see the Wisconsin Badgers take care of Purdue - and watched the Packers destroy the Cowboys last night. Makes waking up on Monday a little easier. Speaking of mood though, the definition of mood music might be Savage Garden. Follower Ashley asked me to get to these guys - so here we go. The band consists of two men from Australia that started making music back in 1993 or so. This album was their first ever studio release in 1997. It couldn't have gone much better - as it sold a righteous 12x platinum down under and then a solid 7x here in the states. Really nice sales for a debut drop. All that success and love was very short lived, as the band decided to take a break in late 2000. At first, it was just a hiatus to start some solo projects - but in mid 2001 it was decided that they were done for good. Kind of a shame I suppose, as I'm a sucker for a good mood track. Everyone knows they've had a few solid hits over the years. I did my best to remove myself from any Savage Garden for the longest time. Why you ask? Because my sister used to play 'Truly Madly Deeply' OVER AND OVER AND OVER in the morning while getting ready for school. I was trying to sleep - and she's have it cranked to 11. I promise anyone can only hear that song 5 or 6 hundred times in a row before you want to commit a crime. Looking back on the track now, it's pretty good. This album as a whole is again, pretty good. Not great, but has its moments. Worth checking out today, especially if you're in that slow jams mode. Happy Monday!

TRACK LISTING:
1. To the Moon & Back
2. I Want You
3. Truly Madly Deeply
4. Tears of Pearls
5. Universe
6. Carry on Dancing
7. Violet
8. Break Me Shake Me
9. Thousand Words, A
10. Promises
11. Santa Monica

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Truly Madly Deeply
2. I Want You
3. Universe

FINAL RATING:
3.25 out of 5 stars

Friday, November 5, 2010

B Side Presents, "Friday Gut Check - Shove Dollars In Your Ears"

It was asked of me recently to run through some of my least favorite albums ever. And at first, I thought - oh, okay. That'll be easy right? So turns out - there is a TON of really bad music out there. I'm not even talking about music that I don't particularly groove on - I'm talking about bands that I love, that missed a step with an album or two. For example, I love STP - you couldn't pay me to listen to Shangri-Ladi-Da. It's bad. Real bad.

So to make this list more fair, more appropriate - I've decided to document the worst 'best selling' albums of all time. The criteria for me is, these albums had to have sold more than 20 million copies worldwide. Yeah, that's 2-0 and then MILLION. And you're thinking - jeez B Side, how can a record sell that many copies and be bad? Wait and see my friend, wait and see. Now of course, these artists couldn't care less, as like my title indicates they'll just count the money. I've learned, that if I'm busy counting hundred dollar bills, the rest of the world is tuned out.

So here they are, in order in which they sold - least sales to most.


5. Billy Ray Cyrus - Some Gave All: You might notice that a lot of these albums coming forth are big time sellers due to one track. This record might be the definition of one hit wonder. Achy Breaky Heart, not a great song, very iconic. This album sold 20 million, right on the threshold. This album is bad. He covers 'These Boots Are Made For Walkin'. Seriously? That's a great song done by a woman - made for women. Stay out of it Billy. Please, don't listen to this!


4. Ace Of Base - Happy Nation/The Sign: So these albums are really the same thing. Labeled different sold the same, blah blah blah. Either way, it sold 23 million copies. Sit back and really listen to Ace of Base. Go ahead, I'll wait. ..... ..... Yeah, that's what I thought.


3. Santana - Supernatural: Okay, I love Santana. Top 5 best guitar men of all time. This album though - big time miss. 27 million copies. Huh, how strange. I must have heard Rob Thomas's 'Smooth' about 27 million times too. Oh, what's that? I also heard "Maria Maria" 24 million times? Oh wait, both songs are bad? I see a recipe for disaster here. If you can still tolerate this record, kudos.


2. Bee Gees - Spirits Having Flown: Yeah, no one really likes the Bee Gees. Contrary to what Wayne had to say in Waynes World. You might be lead to believe 'Stayin' Alive' or a huge single was on this album - nope. Just 10 tracks of basic garbage. Oh, and a grown man singing in way to high of a key. That didn't stop it from selling a ghastly 30 million.


1. Celine Dion - Falling Into You: Was there ever any real doubt? I mean, who ACTUALLY enjoys listening to her? I'll give you the 'Titanic' song. Even if you really hate that song but love the movie - fine. I'll give you that one track. The music, the cover art - it all makes me want to barf. 31 MILLION copies. This dropped in 1996 - and let's say conservatively this was 10 bucks. Almost a billion dollars??? Are you kidding me? I'm going to fly to Vegas, ask her to borrow a few million - she can spare it. WAIT!! She also covers ALL BY MYSELF! What a joke!

As always B Siders, let me know what I missed! I know this is a really broad spectrum - so even if you have a terrible album that didn't sell, let's hear it. I'll do that list sometime too!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Usher - Versus



Country and pop both in the same day?!?! Have I lost my marbles? Nope, it's just what came across my headphones today. When I review pop, I try to grab the hottest artist of the moment. (if I do current pop) And right now, Usher is on a really solid run. Back when I first started the blog, Usher dropped Raymond vs Raymond. That was in March or so. When I reviewed that, I recall mentioning something about the label flowing singles off that record too quickly, and that the sales would diminish after the singles stopped. Well - little did I know - they had an EP right around the corner to follow it up! EP = Extended Play for those who may not know. In the pop world, EP means a follow up to an album of tracks that maybe didn't make the original CD - or a way to generate smaller buzz after an album. In rap terms, and EP is usually a mixtape that generates buzz for an upcoming album. Slightly different. But all in all for Usher, this means he's been clogging the radio airwaves for a good 8 months now. I don't have specific issue with this, other than what he says the subject matter what about. He says it was an album exploring his life and newly single father. This album has nothing to do with that. He also put 'There Goes My Baby' on this again - which can be found on Raymond vs Raymond in the exact same form. That's lazy. Otherwise, I think Usher is also trying to appeal more to the hip hop crowd again - which is a bad move. His bread and butter is clearly in the pop area. Not many rap die hards take him seriously. Just sayin'. Anyway, this is mediocre - but worth a listen. 3 of the 9 tracks here will be (and already are) huge singles. I'd pay 4 dollars for it - that's all it's worth.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Love 'Em All
2. DJ Got Us Fallin' In Love
3. Hot Tottie
4. Lay You Down
5. Lingerie
6. There Goes My Baby
7. Get In My Car
8. Somebody To Love (Remix)
9. Stranger

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Hot Tottie
2. DJ Got Us Fallin In Love
3. There Goes My Baby (liked it last time, like it this time)

FINAL RATING:
2.5 out of 5 stars

Bryan White - The Right Place



Country day. If I had to pick a day of the week that symbolized country music, it'd be Thursday. I have NO idea why. And I also have no follow up on that. It's just a statement - run with it. Shaqwanda asked me to take a listen to this Bryan White fella. As usual, he's another country act I'd never heard of before. I can tell you this Oklahoma boy started making music in 1994 though, and it couldn't have come at a worse time. If I haven't beaten into your heads yet, '94 was a PHENOMENAL year for music. People were grooving to new and fun sounds - I feel the last thing people wanted was another sappy country record. Obviously not the case for everybody in the world, as Shaqwanda says she had this way back in the day. Ol' Bryan was pretty young when he started the music biz. So after some pretty tough roads in terms of future sales and popularity - he hit a pretty deep depression. Had to take about 6 years off of recording and music in general to get straight. He is now back on the horse, putting out new stuff. He dropped something last year in fact, again not to much success. It's a vicious cycle. Anyway, this dropped in 1997 and is certified Gold. Actually pretty bad for having a Top 5 single like this did. I'm pretty sure I know why. Sorry to put my two cents in, but this is really bad. It feels like 80's music meets country meets pop and mashes together with a guy singing that has ZERO pizazz. The vocals are good - I mean the guy has a solid voice, but they're just...boring. I mean, listening to this album is basically listening to the same track over and over for an hour. There is no breakup of style or arrangement track over track. This isn't for me at all. For those that do enjoy it, tell me what you like about it - I'm struggling on this.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Love Is The Right Place
2. What Did I Do
3. Never Get Around To It
4. Leave My Heart Out Of This
5. The Natural Thing
6. One Small Miracle
7. Tree Of Hearts
8. We Could Have Been
9. Bad Day To Let You Go
10. Call Me Crazy

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
Might as well take 1-3, they're all the same.

FINAL RATING:
1.75 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tool - Undertow



Tool. Great band name - one of my favorite hard rock acts of my time. These fellas are based out of Los Angeles and have been making music since 1988 or so. They have been branded as a metal act, but they could fit into the progressive rock or art rock standard. They've cover art is almost always a topic of conversation and they seem to always dabble in new visual stuff at shows. A TON of people love their shows because of that. They institute a lot of creative imagery that often gets censored by the mainstream. For example, they posed for a photo wearing nothing but a 'Parental Warning' sign over their junk and tape over their mouths. They also had a "tool" that was very phallic they displayed for years. These censorships have led to them having a very ambivalent attitude toward the mainstream music culture. Has it resulted in less music output? Perhaps, who really knows. They took a break recently and have stated that they're just starting to get back in the studio to potentially write another album. They last toured in 2008 and no one has seen or heard from them since. There is a lot of good music and talent behind this band. Some albums aren't as good as others, but the writing and style is always very creative. They're not the NERD equivalent in metal terms, but they're usually very fresh lyrically. And vulgar not in a demeaning sense toward anyone, just in a speak the mind type of sense. I enjoy that. This is very much worth a listen today. You might have to be a metal fan to love it, but I think non metal persons can at least enjoy it. Check out the Top 3 if nothing else.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Intolerance
2. Prison Sex
3. Sober
4. Bottom
5. Crawl Away
6. Swamp Song
7. Undertow
8. 4 Degrees
9. Flood
10. Disgustipated

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Sober
2. Prison Sex
3. Flood

FINAL RATING:
3.5 out of 5 stars