Song of the Moment

J. Cole - Lost Ones

Monday, May 30, 2011


Well hello there! I'm going to be out on a vacation the next couple of days, so I won't be posting. =( I know, I know. Normally I'd take the time to post while on break, but I'll be without a computer for a couple of days. I'll be sure to jot down what I listen to while I'm out, and hit the posts hard next week again!

In the meantime, jot down what you're listening to also! I'm getting a bit low on Suggestion Box items, so hopefully you all can drop a couple in there for me when I get back!

Hope you all get through the week with a breeze! See you on June 6th!

B Side

My Morning Jacket - Circuital

There were a few New Music Tuesday albums to choose from today, including a neat looking ukulele album from Mr. Eddie Vedder. Maybe I'll get to that next week though. I decided to go with MMJ today - frankly because of my lack of knowledge about them. I did an album by theirs a while back titled, 'Evil Urges' - which I really enjoyed. That album came out all the way back in 2008, and this is their first drop since then. I haven't really heard anything else by them, as it's pretty hard to hear anything by them in pop culture. At least nothing in my pop culture world. I'd like to get to know more by them, as it seems to be a style of music I could really jam with from time to time. So here we are. The band was doing something pretty cool, releasing a free track once per week leading up to the release date of the record. Which is pretty genius, because it slowly leaks tracks so people retain interest for a number of weeks, and then it builds hype for the actual release. Sure it may cause a slight drop in total sales, but with this crazy internet based system nowadays, I wonder how much bands really care. You're seeing more and more groups give away tracks at no cost or much smaller cost. For some reason, MMJ and the tv show 'American Dad' have teamed up a few times, and they were featured recently again with a track from this record. Overall, I'm not sure how often I could listen to this, but I enjoyed it. I've ran through it twice now, and both times I've found myself singing along. I'd encourage those others followers who've heard of MMJ but don't know a bunch by them to check this out. I think it's something everyone can enjoy.

1. Victory Dance
2. Circuital
3. Day Is Coming, The
4. Wonderful (The Way I Feel)
5. Outta My System
6. Holdin' On to Black Metal
7. First Light
8. You Wanna Freak Out
9. Slow Slow Tune
10. Movin' Away

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Movin Away
2. Slow Slow Tune
3. Circuital

3.75 out of 5 stars

Bassnectar - Cozza Frenzy

Hopefully everyone had a nice, long holiday weekend. And hopefully everyone stayed well out of trouble and listened to some of their favorite tuneage! I decided to bump the latest Kanye album over the weekend, which was a nice little gift to myself. Anyways, it's Tuesday, so Techno Tuesday is back in full effect. And today we get to a DJ named Bassnectar - real name Lorin Ashton. He's from Santa Cruz, California, and has been dropping phat, funky beats since the 90's. I think any beatnut would know by know, but the casual fan probably doesn't - but dubstep is all the rage right now. What is it you ask? I'll tell you. It's basically very tight productions with really sick bass lines and then reverbed drum patterns with usually sampling over the top or lyrics over the top. While I wouldn't necessarily call Bassnectar dubstep, he employs the wobble bass that many dubstep producers use. He's fairly well known for some sick shows, and performed a greatly reviewed show in Broomfield, Colorado last year. That's cool for me, because a friend of mine lives maybe 5 mins from the First Bank Center. He uses a lot of light based stuff and supposedly interacts with the crowd well. I'd love to see a show someday, I'll have to keep posted to the CO scene now. Anyways, this is a pretty solid record. If you're into dance music, this is beyond solid. There are some really great tracks individually, but as a whole this really stacks up too. Well worth a go today if you're in that beaty mood.

1. Boombox
2. Cozza Frenzy
3. Cozza Frenzy (Mega-Bass Remix)
4. The Churn of The Century
5. Love Here (Remix)
6. Backpack Rehab
7. Teleport Massive
8. West Coast Lo-Fi Rides Again
9. When I Grow Up (Remix)
10. I Am A Laser Feat. Double You
11. Window Seat
12. I Wish I Was A Hipster
13. Are You Ready
14. Boombox (Remix)
15. Before We Dissolve

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. I Am A Laser
2. Window Seat
3. Boombox

3 out of 5 stars

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day B Siders!

Remember to take some time out today and thank all the amazing men and women that serve to protect our country and make frivolous things like music blogs possible. Defending our freedom is something that I firmly believe Americans don't understand in full how tough and arduous the work really is.

Keep it safe today and don't go overboard with the celebrations. Listen to your favorite music while having some fun in the sun. Don't hesitate to wear your american flag sweatpants or t shirts out to your events!

We'll be back to normal tomorrow, hope everyone enjoys the extended weekend!

B Side

Friday, May 27, 2011

Lit - A Place In The Sun

It can be quite staggering how you roll up on some old music, and are completely taken aback by what constituted as popular decades ago. While flipping through my satellite radio the other day, Lit's 'Miserable' came on and it took me all of 30 seconds to recall how much I couldn't stand the song back in the day, let alone now. I decied to give the band a real shot though, and not judge them on one track. Hopefully they don't let me down. These guys were based out of Fullerton, California and started making music ni 1989 or so. The formed as "Razzle" but they changed their name to "Stain" shortly thereafter. They didn't officially become Lit until 1996. This was technically their 4th studio drop, and it came out in 1999. It is sitting at a platinum status here in the states, which isn't shocking due to the two big singles off the record. Digging through this album, I'm not really sure what's it's offering to me. It's got that wannabe alt rock feel to it, but nothing of real substance beyond the looks. They definitely have a pop feel also, which doesn't add up to anything other than a bunch of nonsense. The album comes out with a big old fat rock track, making you believe that something big is on the way. But then you follow up with 'My Own Worst Enemy', which is nothing more than a bubble gum track you'd expect from any crappy band trying to sell a record. It pretty much continues on that theme for 11 more tracks, all of which sounding exactly the same as the previous. They've put out a handful of record since this one, none selling any large quantity. They're working on another one too, maybe I'll come back some day to see if the music got any better. I won't be holding my breath.

1. Four
2. My Own Worst Enemy
3. Down
4. Miserable
5. No Big Thing
6. Zip-Lock
7. Lovely Day
8. Perfect One
9. Quicksand
10. Happy
11. Best Is Yet to Come Undone, The
12. Place in the Sun, A

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Four
2. Miserable
3. My Own Worst Enemy

.75 out of 5 stars

Suzanne Vega - Self Titled

What's my problem lately? I've been violently ill twice in the last month - and I'm a guy who normally doesn't ever get sick. I'm really sorry for not posting yesterday, but I was having major issues just sitting upright. Although I'm not 100% today, I'm going to post! And I'm starting with peterman's suggestion for Suzanne Vega. It's an interesting choice - not an artist I would have thought in a million years to review. She was born in 1959 in Santa Monica, California to a computer systems analyst father. At 2, her family moved to New York which would prove to serve as inspiration for music later on in her life. This album was her debut drop and it came out in 1985. This record is very straight forward - mostly acoustic guitar and soft vocals. Although this album was very well received by critics, it didn't sell overly well in the states. She hit it big a couple albums later with the track 'Tom's Diner' - inspired by the iconic Tom's Restaurant in New York City. (The same backdrop restaurant used in Seinfeld). Tom's Diner was also used as an early trial for the MP3 compression system, and thusly Vega has been called "The Mother of the MP3". She's still making music today, with a perspective record due out this year sometime. There certainly isn't anything to really complain about with her style and this record. It's a little bland, but it's a fairly solid 'mood' type record. Certainly worth a listen today, but don't expect to have your world rocked.

1. Cracking
2. Freeze Tag
3. Marlene On The Wall
4. Small Blue Thing
5. Straight Lines
6. Undertow
7. Some Journey
8. The Queen And The Soldier
9. Knight Moves
10. Neighborhood Girls

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Straight Lines
2. Marlene On The Wall
3. Freeze Tag

2.25 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ludacris - Word Of Mouf

Where'd you get that platinum chain with them diamonds in it? Where'd you get that matchin' Benz with them windows tinted? Is that your wife, your girlfriend or just your main b***h? Seriously, 'Rollout'? Top 50 raps songs of all time easily. Maybe even top 10. I'll have to formulate that list someday. I've only done one LOODA album since starting the blog, and it was a New Music Tuesday entry. Well that's all changing today, since follower peterman asked that I kick it old school today. Remember the days when Luda rocked the serious dreads or the fro? When he wasn't rhyming with T-Pain or focusing so much on acting? Yeah, that Ludacris. This was one of the first albums to fall victim of illegal downloads on a high end basis. The record got leaked and ended up getting traded hundreds of thousands of times on Limewire. You have to think some of those would have turned into sales. Regardless, it made the album huge. I don't think you could walk two steps in my dorm back in 2001-2002 without hearing a Ludacris song being played at the loudest level the stereo went. I know I fell into that same category too. The album is a solid 3x platinum today, which is not at all surprising. It matches his highest selling album with his original 'Back For The First Time' drop - with a steady decline after that. See Luda, put out quality albums not quantity! Anyways, this one reminds of an easier time. And there are a couple "anthem" type tracks in terms of my life. I'll always remember events of my life based on these tracks. That's saying something. And for that reason, I'll probably rate this a little higher than it should be, but so what? Sentimental value my friends. This isn't an amazing overall record, but the singles are bumpin'. Put it in today, I promise you'll feel the same.

1. Coming 2 America
2. Rollout (My Business)
3. Go 2 Sleep
4. Cry Babies (Oh No)
5. She Said
6. Howhere (Skit)
7. Area Codes
8. Growing Pains
9. Greatest Hits (Skit)
10. Move B***h
11. Stop Lying (Skit)
12. Saturday (Oooh Oooh!)
13. Keep It on the Hush
14. Word of Mouf (Freestyle)
15. Get the F*** Back
16. Freaky Thangs
17. Cold Outside
18. Block Lockdown

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Rollout
2. Saturday
3. Move Bitch

4 out of 5 stars

She Wants Revenge - Valleyheart

A long, long time ago - in a land far, far away, I reviewed a band titled She Wants Revenge. I talked about how I really enjoyed the album after randomly hearing a crazy single off iTunes. That particular record was pretty dark, and although punk rock - not necessarily what you'd think of when that genre gets tossed out there. They're still a duo, and they quietly dropped this record yesterday. I didn't get to it on New Music Tuesday because frankly, I didn't have the time to devote to two new records. And we all know how big Gaga is. Had I not reviewed her, my blog would have been systematically shut down. Anyways, this is the third album from SWR - and the first since 2007. To show you how under the radar this release was, there is NO Wikipedia page for it. Yeah. Let that marinate in your brain for a minute. They did drop a video in February of this year to mark the release date. And the lead singer Justin Warfield directed the video - making his debut in that medium. This particular album is again pretty dark - but not nearly as dark of a vibe as the self titled debut. I'm sure any random person could pick this one up and find the music to still be a touch 'out there', but not at all strange in the way I'd call the first album strange. Which in and of itself, is kind of sad. This album is a little more upbeat and a little more poppy, which I can't roll with. That means my dark, beloved band isn't the band I loved - and that makes me sad. And yes, using the terms loved and sad are exaggerations, as I didn't really listen to these guys very often. Heck, I didn't even know a 2nd album existed. Anyways, it's Hump Day - so give it a go. What else do you have to do?

1. Take the World
2. Kiss Me
3. Up In Flames
4. Must Be the One
5. Not Just a Girl
6. Reasons
7. Little Stars
8. Suck It Up
9. Holiday Song
10. Maybe She's Right

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Little Stars
2. Suck It Up
3. Up In Flames

1.75 out of 5 stars

Lady Gaga - Born This Way

Not sure if it's this way for anyone else, but my Blogger is really screwed up again today. I keep getting strange errors when I open it up in certain browsers. Regardless, I can post - and it's New Music Tuesday! And who's bigger than Gaga right now? No one in the pop world at least. (odd side note, I accidentally typed "poop" right there, and was tempted to leave it) I've been hypercritical of pop music since I started the blog, and my opinion hasn't totally changed on it. I do respect Gaga for what she does, and how she breaks the stereotypes of what a pop star should be. So, mad props still for that. What you always worry about as a fan of any artist, is overexposure. Gaga has now dropped three full length albums in essentially two years, and it's hard for any artist to have that much material. Gaga claims she writes new music every single day of her life, so I guess I could give her a pass on putting out music she doesn't really believe in. Three singles have dropped off this already: 'Born This Way', 'Judas' and 'The Edge Of Glory'. The only one I haven't heard yet is the last one. And I can safely say, the first two are missing something as compared to previous Gaga anthems. The title track is a sample of a Madonna track, and it's almost so sampled that I can't seem to groove to the new arrangement by Gaga. And frankly, 'Judas' is one of the few songs by her that I simply cannot tolerate. If it comes on the radio, I have to turn it off. It's repetitive in a bad way, and there is no redeeming quality. All in all, listening to this record, my first impression is holding true. If you're a Gaga nut - you'll find a few jams on this album that you'll workout to, blast in the car and share with your friends. If you're just a casual fan, this isn't nearly the same quality as the first two records. Regardless of what Gaga says, this feels rushed to the fans and not held to any standards of quality. I have confidence this will go platinum in a week, but I highly doubt the long term shelf life of this record.

1. Marry the Night
2. Born This Way
3. Government Hooker
4. Judas
5. Americano
6. Hair
7. ScheiƔe
8. Bloody Mary
9. Bad Kids
10. Highway Unicorn (Road To Love)
11. Heavy Metal Lover
12. Electric Chapel
13. You and I
14. Edge of Glory, The

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Hair
2. Born This Way
3. Highway Unicorn

2 out of 5 stars

Skrillex - Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites

Feel the bass hitting hard, feel your body wanting to move to said beat, and just let it all out. Boy do I love mixing it up with a little dance music every now and again. That's why I started doing Techno Tuesday, and that's why I hope you guys enjoy listening to some of the dance music too. And today we profile Skrillex, aka Sonny Moore born in 1988 in Los Angeles. He was the former frontman of a band called 'From First To Last' - but ended up leaving that band in 2007. Like many other solo artists, he got his start by creating a Myspace page and profiling his DJ work. After months of just putting stuff on Myspace, he went on tour with a full band. Skrillex made his cd's available for purchase at the show, but only 30 per show and they were beautifly packaged in baby blue envelopes. They each contained a unique drawing by himself or a bandmate. Just recently (April of this year) Skrillex posted to his Facebook page that the new album and his laptops were stolen. He was in Italy for a show and they were taken from his Milan hotel room. He spent a lot of time after that being mad and "pulling his hair out" but is now back focusing on the music. In May he's been touring Australia, and getting really solid feeback down under. Although this is just an extended play, it's still pretty rockin'. Beat wise, one of the better dance albums I've heard in a while. I think this guy has MAJOR potential. I'm hoping the new album comes out soon, as I really like this style. Until then, enjoy the EP!

1. Rock N' Roll (Will Take You to the Mountain)
2. Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites
4. All I Ask of You
5. Scatta
6. With You, Friends (Long Drive)
7. Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites [Noisia Remix]
8. Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites [Zedd Remix]
9. Kill EVERYBODY [Bare Noize Remix]

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Rock N' Roll
2. All I Ask Of You
3. Scary Monsters

3.75 out of 5 stars

Monday, May 23, 2011

Bush - Razorblade Suitcase

If there is one thing that hold true to any media you listen to music (except your own iPod), no matter what, you always hear the same things over and over. Since I'm on my satellite kick lately, there is a station called Lithium (channel 34 on Sirius) that plays solid alt rock type music all day long. It's nice, except they've been really overplaying Bush tracks off this album in particular. Now, I enjoyed Bush when I was younger, bought the first couple of records. I look back on them today, and I wonder why I was so much enamored. I bought this record for one of my first real girlfriends back in the 7th grade. It was probably the best gift she'd received at the time, as she also really loved the band. Regardless, I was pretty pumped about this album too. I was still riding the high off 'Sixteen Stone' and this one seemed to be a lovely follow up. There is no denying the drop off between those two records though. In terms of sales and overall sound. This album is a mere 3x platinum compared to the 6 of 'Stone'. This record was so beaten by critics that Bush dropped the remix album 'Deconstructed' to quell some of the musings that they were trying too hard to be a grunge band from Seattle. While I don't think this album is bad, the dropoff is substantial. And although I'm leading in too much, the sound didn't get any better during the next couple of drops. But I'll get to those in time. Go ahead and queue this up if you feel nostalgic today, but don't expect it to be the gold that you perceived 15 years ago.

1. Personal Holloway
2. Greedy Fly
3. Swallowed
4. Insect Kin
5. Cold Contagious
6. Tendency to Start Fires, A
7. Mouth
8. Straight No Chaser
9. History
10. Synapse
11. Communicator
12. Bonedriven
13. Distant Voices

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Greedy Fly
2. Mouth
3. Cold Contagious

2.5 out of 5 stars

Sugarland - The Incredible Machine

Crazy thing last night. I was sitting down after a long day, flipping through channels, and what do I see? The Billboard Music Awards are on tv! Can't say I even knew they were approaching, so my apologies for not getting you all a rundown of nominees. Sugarland popped up on the nominees for Country album of the year, and I realized that I've only briefly heard of them in passing, and I should take a peek at this record today. Everyone knows of the sick hip hop music coming out of the ATL, but country music? Apparently since 2003 there has been at least one band making yee haw music coming from the dirty dirty. This band is a duo, that used to be a trio - but got into an ugly battle with former member Kristen Hall. I guess she is engaged in a lawsuit against the current Sugarland and it's really messy. This is their fourth studio album since 2004, and every one of them is multi platinum except this one, but it only came out in October of last year. And it's already single platinum, so good start. This is a tough one to look at objectively. Some critics are 5 out of 5 stars and some are as low as two. Makes you wonder. Since I'm completely unfamiliar with the rest of their work, I'd like to think I'm just listening to the music, not taking anything else into account. There is some fuss over production of this album and then the overall sound compared to previous works. There are a couple tracks that remind of the band 'Train' a lot, and it's sort of a country hybrid. I find this album to be fairly solid, and not lacking anything major. This is well worth a listen, no matter what some critics say.

1. All We Are
2. Incredible Machine
3. Stuck Like Glue
4. Tonight
5. Stand Up
6. Incredible Machine (Interlude)
7. Every Girl Like Me
8. Little Miss
9. Find the Beat Again
10. Wide Open
11. Shine the Light

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Incredible Machine (Interlude)
2. Tonight
3. Little Miss

3.25 out of 5 stars

Friday, May 20, 2011

B Side Presents, "Friday Gut Check - Picture Paragraphs Are Loaded"

It's been a while since I did a Gut Check Top 5 list, so why not right? And why not pay a little respect to one of my favorite artists of all time, Mr. Tupac Shakur.

I think everyone knows a Pac song or two by this point. Since he dies in 1996 at the ripe old age of 25 - you've had plenty of time to hear some of the old classics and not be bombarded with new albums year over year. Sure, they have dropped a bunch of posthumous albums in his honor, but that doesn't count. I want to go back to the original 1991-1996 albums, and come up with my Top 5 Pac songs of all time.

5. Ambitionz Az A Ridah - One thing for certain, every Pac track has a sick bass line. But that's not what makes his songs amazing, it's the lyrics. This isn't short of any solid lyrics anyone can't rap along with. You have the really hard beat with the piano compliment - just sick. I won't deny it, I'm a straight ridah - you don't wanna f**k with me.

4. Me And My Girlfriend - YES! All the haters didn't take the time to hear this song and think about what it was all about. Can you believe some people to this day don't know what he's singing about? Hint, it isn't a lady. Incredibly clever track that was very well written. Great background beat that's been reused countless times. My girlfriend maybe 45 but she's still live, one shot make a n***a heartbeat stop.

3. Hit 'Em Up - You hear about rap "beefs" all the time, and how terrible they are for the industry. Well, which one was ever bigger than Biggie versus Pac? And which one ended more tragically than this one? Two of the biggest guys in the game go down. This is by far, the BEST "diss" track ever made. If you ever have someone at work or wherever that you can't stand, put this track on as loud as it goes in the car on the way home. I promise you'll feel better getting it off your chest.

2. Got My Mind Made Up - I don't really know why exactly, but I adore this song. 'All Eyez On Me' was probably the most overplayed album for me, and this was my saving grace. When this song came on and everyone else would stop paying attention, I'd appreciate I didn't have to deal with everyone else ruining it with their rendition. Sick, sick beat, and excellent arrangement. Lyrically, maybe not his best song, but great cameo by Method Man and an irrational favorite from me.

1. Hail Mary - Was there ever really a question? I mean, this song just kills it. There is a reason I picked it for my headlining quote. In terms of beats, probably the best of all time. Any artist, any producer, any genre. Lyrically, probably the best hip hop song ever wrote. If nothing else, you should put this on today and simply listen over and over to what Pac was talking about. It's just a flat out phenomenal song. Gives me chills listening to it right now - awesome stuff.

There are a bunch of good tracks put out after he died, and that could be a separate list itself. Maybe I'll do that someday. Until then, hit me up with your favorite Pac songs. I'm curious how many people will crush me for leaving California Love off the list...TBD!

Happy Friday B Siders!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bill Evans - Everybody Digs Bill Evans

It's a peterman two-fer today, with another one of his suggestions. I needed to do a classic review today, and it doesn't get much more classic than Mr. Evans here. I'll fully admit that jazz is way out of my comfort zone - but on the occasion I don't mind saddling up with a little smooth piano. In fact, I adore the piano when used properly in rock or rap songs. I tend to gravitate toward them as my favorites on any current records. Bill was born in 1929 and died in 1980 at age 51. He was born in New Jersey from parents that migrated over from other counties. He got his start at a very young age playing piano in other bands as a fill in. His first professional job was in Chicago playing backup for Billie Holiday. As most young males, he got drafted to the army in the 50's which put a temporary halt on the music game. He got back to work with Miles Davis and play with him on stage a few times. Davis said in his autobiography how much he loved Evans play, and said he had a fire for the piano unmatched by anyone else in the business. Of course Evans started getting heavy into drug use around this time, and people around him seemed to know he was heading down a bad road. He ended up suffering a slow, painful drug related death - mostly due to heroin and cocaine. This album was considered to be completely fresh and new when it came out in 1958. His expert pedal use and block chord style was unseen before to even the best pianists. The proof is in the pudding here, as even a novice like me can sit back and enjoy the melodies. It's not something I'd choose to put on frequently, but when the mood struck, it would certainly do the trick.

1. Minority
2. Young and Foolish
3. Lucky To Be Me
4. Night and Day
5. Epilogue
6. Tenderly
7. Peace Piece
8. What is There To Say?
9. Oleo
10. Epilogue
11. Some Other Time

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Oleo
2. Young And Foolish
3. Tenderly

3.25 out of 5 stars

Limp Bizkit - Three Dollar Bill Y'all

Thursday has arrived, and Friday can't come any sooner. Not sure about you guys, but it feels like it's been a 9 day week already. Peterman asked that I get to a little Limp, and specifically this album - and this album only. I reviewed 'Significant Other' quite a while back now, and it received praise from the B Side. This one I'm much less familiar with. I recall hearing 'Faith', and that's about it. I seem to recall these guys kicking up a big fuss only when they started touring, especially at venues like Ozzfest. I remember hearing about putting a giant toilet on stage and having the band crawl out of the toilet to start the show. Fans being enamored with lines like, "we're coming to you straight from the sewer." and Durst saying, "I'm a piece of sh*t and this whole band is a piece of sh*t!" They dropped 'Counterfeit' as the lead single from this record, but it wasn't until 'Faith' dropped that it started leaving store shelves. It didn't sell well at all at first, but combine the touring with the pop culture shock Faith did have, it started steadily selling. It currently sits at a nice 2x platinum in the states. This album came out in 1997, and it sounds like Limp will be reuniting and putting yet another record out this year sometime. We'll see if it gets delayed or not. Anyhow, I think you all know Limp's style. They were still dabbling a bit more in the rap genre with this record, and it's frankly not my favorite. That's why you bring in Method Man on the next album, for some credibility. By no means is this bad, it's simply not the best Limp album out there.

1. Intro
2. Pollution
3. Counterfeit
4. Stuck
5. Nobody Loves Me
6. Sour
7. Stalemate
8. Clunk
9. Faith
10. Stink Finger
11. Indigo Flow
12. Leech
13. Everything

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Faith
2. Counterfeit
3. Sour

2.75 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Nelly - Country Grammar

Hot s**t! Seriously, I know I've said this before, but I can't believe I haven't reviewed some albums. And being a big rap fan, this album should have at least come in the first year of reviews. Jeez. Follower peterman dropped this one in the box, and I was stunned to see it hadn't made my list yet. A while back, I reviewed Nelly's latest drop - 5.0. It didn't get a good review from me, mainly because it has strayed so far from the original Nelly stuff - and not in a good way. Well friends, this is the original. When this dropped in 2000, who wasn't bumpin' this in the car? At the very least bumpin' the title track off a mix cd. Recently Nelly was left off the best rappers today list via BET. And he pointed to the fact the only artist that has outsold him in the 2000's is Eminem. And if Nelly was still dropping records like this one, he'd have the respect. This is a crazy 9x platinum in the US - which is a crazy number for a hip hop record. Nelly did a great job back in the day not alienating the rap fans while still appealing to the pop crowd. I think nowadays, he's lost the hip hop community. I'm stunned to see this album got pretty beaten up by critics. My guess is they didn't really listen to the whole thing. The big time poppy tracks aren't amazing, but there are a couple really solid sleepers on this record. It was a great introduction for the Lunatics who dropped a pretty solid album in their own right. No one was coming out of the Midwest at this point and hitting it hard like Nelly was. I respect that. And this album was very much different in its time - and it stands the test of time today. Gets a slight reduction for the stupid Ced The Entertainer quips - but otherwise this still hits hard on the car system.

1. Intro
2. St. Louie
3. Greed, Hate, Envy
4. Country Grammar (Hot Shit)
5. Steal the Show
6. Interlude
7. Ride Wit Me
8. E.I.
9. Thicky Thick Girl
10. For My
11. Utha Side
12. Tho Dem Wrappas
13. Wrap Sumden
14. Batter Up
15. Never Let 'Em C U Sweat
16. Luven Me
17. Outro

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Steal The Show
2. St. Louie
3. Country Grammar

4. Batter Up

4.5 out of 5 stars

Sepultura - Roots

Hump Day is going to be a metal day here on the B Side. And yet another review courtesy of our resident metal expert, follower janis!. Sepultura. I know I've heard of these guys before, but I probably couldn't have picked them out of a crowd. Even a crowd of business men. Turns out they're from Brazil! Who'd have known?!?! They've been steadily making hard rock since 1984 with no end in sight. Since I know some other languages, I can tell you Sepultura is Portuguese for "grave". A couple of the members were sons of an Italian model and well off diplomat. The father had a fatal heart attack, and left his family in poverty. They have been on record as calling iconic bands like Motorhead and Iron Maiden "light" or "soft". That's pretty nuts. This record came out in the mid 90's, when the band was going through a phase. They started dabbling outside of the death metal world, and started exploring more music relating to their culture and Brazilian lifestyle. Now don't get it twisted, this is still a very heavy album. And I can't say for certain since I haven't listened to previous works, but this album just appears to be a bit lighter than the others. Roots is their best selling album in the states, RIAA certified at gold status. They have a couple other albums at gold, but nothing higher. It's easy to understand why this album has gotten very positive feedback from critics. Although it's still hard, it's tolerable to the casual listener. And the offset of indigenous music is actually really cool - and it works together. This is very much worth a go today. Don't be shy at the metal table, eat up!

1. Roots Bloody Roots
2. Attitude
3. Cut-Throat
4. Ratamahatta
5. Breed Apart
6. Straighthate
7. Spit
8. Lookaway
9. Dusted
10. Born Stubborn
11. Jasco
12. Itsari
13. Ambush
14. Endangered Species
15. Dictatorshit
16. Canyon Jam (Hidden Track)

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Breed Apart
2. Attitude
3. Ratamahatta

3.75 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Moby - Destroyed

As most of you guys probably know, I love Moby. And it's not even because I celebrate his entire catalog, and could recite every lyric to every track by him. I own two albums, 'Play' and '18'. That's it. I love both of them. Honestly, I'm not sure I've heard anything else by him - and he was an array of studio recordings. Now is as good a time as any to start with other works, so let's get to today's drop, 'Destroyed'. In January of 2010, Moby announced he was working on a new album. He stated this one would be more acoustic and less electronic than previous records. Although he gets that reputation, nothing I've ever heard was too electronic. Moby described this album as, "broken down melodic electronic music for empty cities at 2 a.m." Not entirely sure where he's going with that, but I'll run with it. This is in fact his tenth studio album, which seems kind of crazy. The album cover came from NYC's LaGuardia airport, and is the sign that you see if the baggage ends up being destroyed because it went unclaimed. He took that photo while his plane was delayed. If you buy the album, it comes with a photobook of all the pictures he took that day. Which is actually really neat. He says he recorded this while on tour, and he barely slept at any points while making it. And you know what? It honestly has that feel to it. It's very much a moody/atmospheric record. You could put it on at a classy dinner party, in a rec room or basically anywhere. Lots of instrumentals again here, but that's more than okay with me. I can very much picture myself listening to this in the car or while at work and jamming away. The arrangements and sounds are simply entrancing - and make you want to contemplate life. Critics have been tough on this album, but I won't be. It's solid and worth a listen.

1. Broken Places, The
2. Be the One
3. Sevastopol
4. Low Hum, The
5. Rockets
6. Day, The
7. Right Thing, The
8. After
9. Victoria Lucas
10. Blue Moon
11. Lie Down in Darkness
12. Stella Maris
13. Violent Bear It Away, The
14. Lacrimae
15. When You Are Old

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. The Broken Places
2. Lie Down In Darkness
3. Rockets

4.5 out of 5 stars

Danger Mouse - Rome

It's an odd Tuesday for me. Normally I'd be at work, all snuggled into my cube - listening to music. But today, I'm at home, in my pajama's and blasting music on my 2.1 sub system. Which hopefully, the music rewards me by being awesome. I've decided to run with two New Music Tuesday entries today, and no Techno entry. Sorry beatnuts - but I'm ahead on my Techno reviews. So we start here with Danger Mouse. His real name is Brian Burton, and my guess is you've heard of him a time or two. No? Let me elaborate. He's the other half of Gnarls Barkley with Cee-Lo and he also produced the Gorillaz 'Demon Days' record. Although he grew up in New York, he lived most of his life in Georgia. He DJ'd for a UGA radio station, and that's where he started using the name Danger Mouse - because he was too shy to show his face. He took the name from the popular cartoon of the same name. Then around 2001 he moved to Britain for a while, and did something small that ended up being monstrous. He mixed some Jay-Z acappella stuff from the Black Album with the Beatles White Album and called it cleverly, 'The Grey Album'. It was never released by a label, but was downloaded like mad, including by yours truly. It was a pretty awesome idea. I could go on and on about his accomplishments, as they go on forever. But I want to get to this record, which features Jack White and Norah Jones. It's really different, and pretty cool. The record took five years to make, and was inspired by the old spaghetti westerns. This is very much worth a listen today, and very worth some research by you guys. Look up the stuff he's produced, you'll probably love 90% of it.

1. Theme of Rome
2. Rose with a Broken Neck, The
3. Morning Fog
4. Season's Trees
5. Her Hollow Ways
6. Roman Blue
7. Two Against One
8. Gambling Priest, The
9. World, The
10. Black
11. Matador Has Fallen, The
12. Morning Fog
13. Problem Queen
14. Her Hollow Ways
15. World, The

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Two Against One
2. Black
3. Theme From Rome

4.25 out of 5 stars

Monday, May 16, 2011

Chickenfoot - Self Titled

Since I've been running through a steady stream of "supergroups", I might as well continue the trend. And with this band, I'd never even heard of them until they did a special in the HD music channel, Paladia. All of the sudden I flip it on, and see Sammy Hagar performing what looks to be a current stage and venue. Finding out it was the band Chickenfoot, and finding out it's two old Van Halen members, one Red Hot Chili Peppers and then the timeless Joe Satriani. Hagar states they're not a super group, but just a bunch of guys that like to hang out, who make music, and happen to have been in other groups. Whatever Sam. Chickenfoot is another name for a peace sign, which is shown in the album cover. They also started calling themselves that in jest, and then the press got a hold of it - and the name just stuck. It all started at Hagar's club in Mexico, and they haven't really put it down since. Chad Smith from RHCP left to work with them again briefly, but returned to record a second Chickenfoot record due out this year sometime. There isn't a lot of other information that you guys need to know. In terms of style, they're pretty much just a straight up rock type band. Some of it might be a little heavier, but not enough to call it metal. Like most supergroups, this album isn't amazing. For whatever reason, a bunch of stars can't get together and make really good music. I don't get it. Anyways, it isn't terrible, but it's not worth listening to really. You might tap your toes here and there, but when the day is said and done, it's pretty forgettable.

1. Avenida Revolution
2. Soap On A Rope
3. Sexy Little Thing
4. Oh Yeah
5. Runnin' Out
6. Get It Up
7. Down The Drain
8. My Kinda Girl
9. Learning To Fall
10. Turnin' Left
11. Future In The Past

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Future Is The Past
2. Learning To Fall
3. Soap On A Rope

3 out of 5 stars

Jeff Buckley - Grace

It's Monday, and Blogspot seems to be up and running again. And my fear of losing those two posts vanished, as they crack staff found a way to replace all the entries without my intervention. Which is always appreciated. Anyhow, I'm getting back on to music reviews today - with peterman's suggestion of Jeff Buckley. Mr. Buckley here was born in the mid 60's in California to a father who was also a musician. Buckley was known as Scotty Moorhead as a child, which is his middle name and then his stepfathers last name. When his real dad died in 1975 - he decided to go back to his birth name in a quasi tribute, even though he'd only met his real father once. Buckley certainly put in his work, doing a bunch of local shows and singing backup for bands for years. He started gaining fame by putting on small shows in NYC and California, and people admiring his on stage persona. Record execs started showing up to the shows, and he finally got signed to Columbia Records in 1993. He put together a three piece band, and put out Grace here in 1994. Which sadly, would be his only studio release. He toured all over the world for two years promoting this album, and although is only went gold here, it is 6x platinum in Australia. In one of the more creepy deaths of all time, Buckley was happy go lucky, singing a Led Zeppelin chorus and decided to go swimming in the Wolf River in Tennessee. He went in with all his clothes on and boots - and ended up drowning. No alcohol or drugs or anything were found in his system, he just went in happy and singing, and never came out. He gets a lot of play today, when anyone covers his slower version of 'Hallelujah' - as his sales on iTunes jump drastically. And it's hard to find anything wrong with this album. It's just one of those solid "mood" type records. I trust that if you haven't heard this before, you'll pick it up soon. It's too good to have you not listen to it. There is a reason most everyone gives this a perfect rating.

1. Mojo Pin
2. Grace
3. Last Goodbye
4. Lilac Wine
5. So Real
6. Hallelujah
7. Lover, You Should've Come Over
8. Corpus Christi Carol
9. Eternal Life
10. Dream Brother
11. Forget Her

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Hallelujah
2. Lilac Wine
3. So Real

4.75 out of 5 stars

Friday, May 13, 2011

Um...What Happened?

So blogspot was going through a bit of a meltdown today.

My two reviews from yesterday are magically gone, and I don't really feel like doing anything today that might still be removed. It wouldn't let me post at all this morning, saying bugs were being worked out.

Sorry guys, but hopefully blogspot is fixed by Monday and we'll be back on!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Veruca Salt - American Thighs

My adoration for 90's alt rock has certainly not gone undocumented on the blog. In fact, most of you are probably incredibly tired of hearing about it. But that doesn't mean it won't spur you on to listen to something really cool from back in the day that you may have forgotten about. Take this Chicago based band Veruca Salt as an example. They started making music in 1993, and this album came out in 1994. Who didn't crank up the track 'Seether' whatever age you were, wherever you grew up? It was a flat out rockin' track! Anyhow, they named themselves after the spoiled rich girl in Roald Dahl's 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory'. They originally signed to Minty Fresh records, and independent label. After the initial success of 'Seether', they toured around the US with Hole (Courtney Love's band). They really saw major success by signing with Geffen and then dropping their next album, and I'll get to that someday. They've seen an incredible amount of turnover in their band. Seems they've gone through more members than most alt bands I enjoy. They're still going strong today though, putting out new music and touring every so often. They're latest record came out in 2006, and I don't see a big plan to drop another one anytime soon. The style is pretty standard for the time. Very alt rock-ish. Very grunge sounding. It's a great sound, and the lead vocals are pretty hot too. It's certainly an album worth putting on, especially if you didn't check it out nearly 20 years ago. Man am I old.

1. Get Back
2. All Hail Me
3. Seether
4. Spiderman '79
5. Forsythia
6. Wolf
7. Celebrate You
8. Fly
9. Number One Blind
10. Victrola
11. Twinstar
12. 25
13. Sleeping Where I Want

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Seether
2. All Hail Me
3. Celebrate You

3.5 out of 5 stars

The Lonely Island - Turtleneck And Chain

Every so often I like to drop a comedy album in here. I think it's important to mix up your music with a little oddball stuff every now and again. And a good comedy record is a perfect cure for the indifference. Lonely Island's 'Incredibad' was an absolutely hilarious record. I got into a conversation with a friend just the other day, and I was talking about how all of their stuff is better in video form, because you have the visual assistance to make the words a little funnier. Sometimes they even talk about something that doesn't make sense just in words, like the awesome track 'Threw It On The Ground'. There are lyrics something to the effect of "I threw that on the ground! And that on the ground!" - which if you're not watching something, makes no sense. And even on Akon collaboration 'I Just Had Sex' - it's a funny song on its own, but it's that much better watching the video. Also the same with 'The Creep'. I wasn't as big a fan of that song in general, but when you watch the video - it makes a little more sense than just listening to the song. On an interesting sidenote, Lonely Island decided to release this one with a clean version, which they hadn't done in the past. They are starting to recognize they have young fans too, which makes sense. I'd have to listen to this a few more times, but at first couple listens, I don't think it's quite as good as the original. But it has time to grow on me, and I'm sure a couple tracks will get funnier and funnier.

1. We're Back!
2. Mama
3. I Just Had Sex
4. Jack Sparrow
5. Attracted to Us
6. Rocky
7. My Mic – Interlude
8. Turtleneck & Chain
9. Shy Ronnie 2: Ronnie & Clyde
10. Trouble on Dookie Island
11. Falcor vs. Atreyu – Classy Skit #1
12. Motherlover
13. The Creep
14. Watch Me Do Me – Classy Skit #2
15. Threw It on the Ground
16. Japan
17. After Party
18. No Homo
19. No Homo Outro

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Threw It On The Ground
2. Jack Sparrow
3. I Just Had Sex

3 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Foghat - Fool For The City

Good old fashioned classic rock. Who doesn't enjoy putting on an old school classic? One thing that will always stick out in my head about Foghat - well two things. 1) At one of the MTV movie awards, Jim Carrey dressed up as an old hippie and made a remark something like, "Come on MTV. Where are the classics? Would it kill you to play a little Foghat?" And then 2) every so often when I'd get home from school - my father would be blasting music as loud as our old ginormous stereo would go. And half the time, it was Foghat. One thing I didn't know about them, is they're British. You really would have no inclination of that from their sound and lyrics. They started making music in the early 70's, and found most of their popularity during the disco era. Odd - I know. But then in the 80's when rock started to come back to the forefront, they disappeared into the darkness. Double odd. They disbanded for a couple years in the 80's but then got back together. They have been touring and making music again since 1986. I can't recall having seen them come to Summerfest recently, but I know they used to come by every so often. I don't think there is any way a person or critic could make an argument this album was bad. With the exception that it's only 7 tracks - which again was commonplace back in the 70's. And this came out right in the middle in 1975. The album has gone platinum and probably put Foghat on the map for good. It's a pretty solid 7 tracks. It's got that blues-rock, anthem rock type of feel to it. Well worth a listen today.

1. Fool For the City
2. My Babe
3. Slow Ride
4. Terraplane Blues
5. Save Your Loving (For Me)
6. Drive Me Home
7. Take It or Leave It

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Slow Ride
2. Fool For The City
3. Terraplane Blues

3.75 out of 5 stars

Jack Ingram - Big Dreams & High Hopes

Hump Day is here. Sorry for the late posts, I was struck with an illness last night, and decided to sleep in a bit today. Nothing like being up at 2am and being sick! Anyways, it's a two-in-a-row JenInTosa suggestionathon! She's my country music expert, and I'm still working through a bunch of her suggestions from last October. Craziness. Anyways, Mr. Ingram. Born in 1970 in Texas and started making music in 1992. He attended SMU (Southern Methodist) in Texas and studied psychology, but focused a lot on his music. He got his start by singing in a bar near the TCU (Texas Christian) campus down in Fort Worth. He toured the state of Texas, opening up for other local country acts. His first studio record dropped in 1992 on an independent label, eventually getting signed by Warner Bros records, and hitting it big. He's now with a label called 'Big Machine Records' - which I don't think I've ever heard of. I'm reading that this album was a bit different than his previous works, with critics saying it had "more guts". Whatever that means. Unanimously though, it seems to lack any sort of distinctive sound, which most people are pointing out. I'm not really sure what I'd classify it's definitely country music, but seems to have a little pop/rock flair to it. This came out in August of 2009 and it doesn't look like it has been certified by the RIAA. It made the Top 20 on the country charts, but that's about it. I'm not sure this album will be very memorable for me or not. It's certainly not bad, but I'm tending to agree with others, in that nothing really sticks in my head.

1. Free
2. Barefoot and Crazy
3. That's a Man
4. Seeing Stars
5. Not Giving Up on Me
6. Barbie Doll
7. Big Dreams & High Hopes
8. Heartache
9. Man in Your Life
10. King of Wasted Time
11. In the Corner

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Big Dreams & High Hopes
2. Heartache
3. Barbie Doll

3 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Hugo - Old Tyme Religion

New Music Tuesday! All hail New Music Tuesday! So - you guys probably don't remember, but a really long time ago, Epic Records sent me the video for Hugo's '99 Problems' which is a cover of Jay-Z's track. I know a bunch of you watched the video and all that, and I promised that I'd have his album to debut in the near future. Well, the future is now! JenInTosa either remembered the track from the B Side, or heard it elsewhere - as she dropped this in the Suggestion Box. I also got an email from Epic 3 days ago, asking to profile the release. So here it is! So Hugo is Chulachak “Hugo” Chakrabongse - which I have no clue how to properly pronounce. He was born in England, but was raised in Thailand - near the Mekong River jungle. As a teenager, he released four records with a band called Siplor, which I'll have to investigate someday. He first rose to prominence when a song of his, 'Disappear' was featured on Beyonce's album 'I Am Sasha Fierce'. That began to a series of collaborations with Jay-Z's Roc Nation label starting in 2010. He then got a nice boost when it was decided his '99 Problems' cover was to be featured in the film 'No Strings Attached' featuring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher. I'm not really sure how I'd classify his music, but he calls it "gangsta-rock". I suppose I can run with that. All the songs have a very signature sound - which is very fun and different. I think this album could work it's way up my list of albums to tell others about. I always like to help out artists who are going against the grain, and making music that isn't already out there. Give this one a nice go today. I think you'll be impressed.

1. Old Tyme Religion
2. 99 Problems
3. Bread & Butter
4. Rock 'n' Roll Delight
5. Hopelessly Stoned
6. Hurt Makes It Beautiful
7. Born
8. Mekong River Delta
9. Sweetest Cure
10. Different Lives
11. Just a Shred
12. Wake Alone

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. 99 Problems
2. Hopelessly Stoned
3. Walk Alone


3.5 out of 5 stars

Beastie Boys - Hot Sauce Committee Part 2

Tuesday. Boom. As I think most of you know by now, sometimes Techno Tuesday can be just a straight up electronic sound, versus true dance music. I'm okay with that, hopefully you guys are too. Today, it's this funky, electronic record by an old favorite - The Beastie Boys. Who doesn't own at least one Beastie record? They seem to be "one of those bands" that everybody likes, but nobody seems to love. Anyway, this record actually came out last week. You probably didn't know, but this album was nearly two years in the making. They talked about dropping it in 2009 - and calling it Tadlock's Glasses. And there is a story behind that name, but who cares - it didn't make the cut. They announced on Jimmy Fallon's show in May of '09 that it changed to Hot Sauce Committee, and it was due out soon. Then MCA was struck with cancer in his lymph nodes. That pretty much put a halt to all things Beastie. So Part One is on a permanent hiatus, and part 2 came out last week. There have been a ton of confusing statements by the Beasties, leaving fans scratching their heads. Whatever this is, it could be Part One, Part 2 or mixes of both, it's the only new thing you're going to hear from them for a while. Basically this album is a hodgepodge of sampling and experimental work with random sounds. And honestly, it's probably the most refreshing Beastie's record since 'Hello Nasty'. I've only gone through this once so far, but it's going to be on my list of things to continue with. It honestly is rocking my socks off pretty hard this morning. Just a different record, which is nice.

1. Make Some Noise
2. Nonstop Disco Powerpack
3. OK
4. Too Many Rappers
5. Say It
6. Bill Harper Collection, The
7. Don't Play No Game That I Can't Win
8. Long Burn the Fire
9. Funky Donkey
10. Larry Routine, The
11. Tadlock's Glasses
12. Lee Majors Come Again
13. Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament
14. Here's a Little Something for Ya
15. Crazy Ass Shit
16. Lisa Lisa/Full Force Routine, The

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Too Many Rappers
2. Make Some Noise
3. The Larry Routine

4.25 out of 5 stars

Monday, May 9, 2011

Warren G - Regulate...G-Funk Era

Wow. I'm going back to the old school again today. It seems to me that at least half of the world at one point was absolutely obsessed with 'Regulate'. Go ahead, admit you were too. Even today, if that track comes on the radio - most people would turn it up as loud as the stereo goes. I can't say I used to be any different, I bought this cd when I was 12 years old or so. Probably wore out the 'Regulate' portion of the cd. I'm going to get into some details of rap you guys may not have known. Try to follow along. Warren G, Nate Dogg and Snoop Doggy Dogg (known by at that time) all used to be part of a rap group called 213. They were in search of a record deal, when Warren G approached his stepbrother, Dr. Dre. Now, even though Warren had the connection, Nate Dogg and Snoop were the two signed to deals with Dre's Death Row Records. Even though he wasn't signed by Death Row, he contributed material to many of their albums. So then in 1994 - Warren signed with Violator Management which connected with Def Jam Records, released this album. My guess is in hindsight, Death Row had wished this would have dropped under their label. This album was a major success, as 3x platinum in the states. What's actually kind of crazy though, is this album is solid. 'Regulate' is an obvious choice for great song, but there are some other really amazing Southern California feel rap tracks. In fact, the whole album is very laid back West Coast feeling. Honestly, if you like that type of rap, this is probably a 5 star album for you. It's like laid back old Snoop songs with less crazy flow. A solid jam album. Warren is a gangsta thug - he enjoys music, and it shows on this album.

1. Regulate
2. Do You See
3. Gangsta Sermon
4. Recognize
5. Super Soul Sis
6. '94 Ho Draft
7. So Many Ways
8. This D.J.
9. This Is the Shack
10. What's Next
11. And Ya Don't Stop
12. Runnin' Wit No Breaks

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Regulate
2. Do You See
3. This DJ

4. What's Next

3.75 out of 5 stars

Rise Against - Appeal To Reason

Just another manic Monday. It's a really nice day out there, so I'm a little more upbeat than normal. Although, work still sucks. Would prefer to be out golfing today or something. Regardless, it's music time. And follower peterman dropped a little Rise Against in the Suggestion Box. I think he literally put every album they ever made in the box too - so I'll just do the first one mentioned. These guys are a punk rock band from Chicago, Illinois that formed in 1999. These guys started with an indie label called Fat Wreck Records. They dropped two records, that were huge underground successes. It wasn't until their third studio album and ~2004 that they signed with a major label in Geffen. For some reason though, I'm looking and these guys aren't big record selling phenoms. They actually sell more albums in Canada versus the US - which is very strange. This particular record is gold status in the US, which is their best selling album ever. They recorded this album in Fort Collins, Colorado - which is a lovely town. If you've ever been there, they have a ton of breweries - if you're into that sort of thing. I don't really know how to put this in perspective, because I've never heard any of their other records. But what I'm hearing, is solid. There is no filler - it's all straight up rock. For some reason - listening to it the second time now, I get an old school Offspring type feel. Not sure why exactly. I'm not in love with this, but it exceeded my expectations. There isn't any track that sticks out as a signature that will become a new anthem for me or anything - but it's an album that I'd consider dropping in every now and again.

1. Collapse (Post-Amerika)
2. Long Forgotten Sons
3. Re-Education (Through Labor)
4. Dirt Whispered, The
5. Kotov Syndrome
6. From Heads Unworthy
7. Strength to Go On, The
8. Audience of One
9. Entertainment
10. Hero of War
11. Savior
12. Hairline Fracture
13. Whereabouts Unknown

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Savior
2. Re-Education
3. From Heads Unworthy

3.25 out of 5 stars

Friday, May 6, 2011

Rant #18 - "What Is There To Idolize?"

Okay...I get that there is a show out there that has millions and millions of people watching it each week. I get it. It's a big show, and the masses have spoken - it's a hit. I do know the number of viewers has been going down since season six, but that's neither here nor there. 26 million viewers is still a TON of people watching the show for a Wednesday night.

I'll admit that I'm not a regular. I used to watch the show when I was in college with a couple of my friends and we'd make fun of the crappy people. But the show - even back then - was really unwatchable. Take this season for instance. I happened to tune in a couple nights back to watch the contestants perform. Is there anyone left in the top 5 or whatever they're at now that you'd honestly listen to? Would you really go buy a record from Haley? I nearly wanted to gouge my eyes out watching her perform. And this Jacob fella who I believe got eliminated - what the heck was he doing out there? I heard his rendition of 'I Believe I Can Fly' by R. Kelly and was moderately impressed - but what else? What else has he done that would make you want to listen to more? Oh wait, I know...NOTHING!

And it's not just this year. I'm looking at the winners. You've got Clarkson. Okay, she's sold a bunch of albums and won a couple awards. But is her music really any good? Seems like every time her name is brought up on conversation - I can't seem to find anyone who actually likes her or her music. Jennifer Hudson - sure. She seems to have some talent. Won awards for both music and acting. She doesn't sell records! Both her albums went gold status, and I don't think I could name a single hit off her two drops. That tells me a something. Then you've got Underwood. She's sold a bunch of albums and really seems to appeal to the country crowd. Since I still consider myself a country novice, I won't comment to how the general fans feel about her.

But my point is, this show is supposed to appeal to music fans. Well - I LOVE music. Maybe I don't enjoy pop music, but it seems the show really doesn't focus on that. I see a lot of R&B stuff, country and some rock. But you know what the kicker is? When Simon was on the show, he always would deny some people and tell them they were "Broadway singers" at best. Take a look at how many contestants end up on Broadway! It's at least 20 of them! So what is this show really producing? It's clearly not generating huge record selling artists, and not even making artists that you can't live without. It seems to me the show has basically become an attraction for people to watch each week - with no real threat of good music occurring.

I hear each and every year how the talent pool is the best it has ever been and how this year is the toughest competition yet. It's bull plop. Stinky, smelly, slimy bull plop. I don't think there is one person on the show whose music I'd listen to right now. And based on how many albums I own of previous winners, it shouldn't be a shock. My number is an astounding zero. I'm guessing many of you are the same way.

The only way to make it go away, is to stop watching it. Stop letting these people make money and think they're doing something that benefits the music industry. And most of all, stop letting them think they can come up with spin off shows that will also be successful. I don't want an X Factor and I don't want a Seacrest show. I just want it all to end.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Iron Maiden - Number Of The Beast

Have I ever mentioned to you guys how much I love reviewing albums out of the Suggestion Box? If I haven't, well I do!! And here is another one, from resident metal expert - janis!. She recommended that I give some classic metal a go, and I have been as of late. This is probably the last classic metal installment, as I think I'm out of suggestions from her. I still have a ton of newer metal to get to, so that installation will start next metal review. Anyways, who hasn't at least heard of Iron Maiden. Show of one? That's what I thought. 1975 - London, that's when and where these guys started. The lead singers name is Bruce Dickinson. Yes, the Bruce Dickinson. Cock of the walk baby! I really hope I'm not the only one who gets that joke. Anyways, it's not that Bruce Dickinson, but a guy who was the lead singer for years, and then quit to do his own thing. But that wasn't until 1993 and this record came out in 1982. He came back again in 1999 - but that's also neither here nor there. This was the third studio album from Maiden, and has seen a very solid amount of success over the world. Mainly behind the raging success of 'Run To The Hills' - which is simply a hard rock anthem. If you don't think you've heard that track, please - pretty please listen to it. Do it now. I'll wait. Pretty great right? This album went through all the trials of the general public calling it "satanic" and getting banned from places. Typical metal fare. The bottom line really is, this album is rock solid. It might be the very definition of classic metal. I can't immediately think of a record that signifies that sound more than this one. Just for that reason, check it out. Even if you're not a metal fan.

1. Invaders
2. Children of the Damned
3. Prisoner, The
4. 22 Acacia Avenue
5. Number of the Beast, The
6. Run to the Hills
7. Gangland
8. Total Eclipse
9. Hallowed Be Thy Name

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Run To The Hills
2. Hallowed Be Thy Name
3. Children Of The Damned

4.25 out of 5 stars

Jamiroquai - Travelling Without Moving

It's Thursday. And upon waking up this morning and checking the good old Suggestion Box, I've noticed that follower peterman has dropped a solid variety of artists and albums in there. Delightful! I continue to encourage all of you guys to do the same. I love the new ideas! Anyways, starting off number one, peterman asked that I do this Jamiroquai album. Devotees may recall I reviewed his 'Synkronized' or some odd spelling like that - album a while back. It got a fairly harsh review by me - and for good reason. Jamiroquai's music tends to be - hmm, what's the word? Boring? Lackluster? Repetitive? One of those words has to fit. This record goes 12 tracks deep - with everyone and their mother knowing track one 'Virtual Insanity'. It was a pretty revolutionary video back in 1997. This album is a solid platinum in the states, with a 3x rating in the United Kingdom - where the band originated. This album is probably the most diverse from the band, with some added instrumental tracks and a more heavy electronic influence. There are some really nice jazz elements on the record too - if that's your bag. The lead singer, Jay Kay - has a fascination with sports cars, and that's the story behind the cover art. A slightly modified Ferrari logo. I think overall, this is probably Jamiroquai's best record. It's still not in the upper echelon of albums in any genre, except maybe funk. But then again, I don't listen to a lot of exclusive funk records. Definitely check this out today - but note that it's pretty genre bending and for most people, tough to listen to start to finish.

1. Virtual Insanity
2. Cosmic Girl
3. Use the Force
4. Everyday
5. Alright
6. High Times
7. Drifting Along
8. Didjerama
9. Didjital Vibrations
10. Travelling Without Moving
11. You Are My Love
12. Spend a Lifetime
13. Do You Know Where You're Coming From

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Cosmic Girl
2. Virtual Insanity
3. Alright

3.25 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Asher Roth - Asleep In The Bread Aisle

I've noticed that with certain things I'm old school - but not too old school. Does that make sense? Well I'll explain. With rap - I still identify most with 2Pac, old Dre and Em, you know - that brand of rap. The newer stuff nowadays I still feel is mostly dance rap or party rap - stuff that isn't intended for lyrical quality but sing along quality. Which is fine, there is a market for that. Every so often an artist sneaks in like Kid Cudi or someone that impresses me as a true lyricist and hip hop artist. Follower Angie suggested that I take a look at Mr. Roth one day, and I was more than skeptical. I had only heard 'I Love College' which basically made me cringe at first. Roth was born in Pennsylvania in 1985. He says he never even heard rap until 1998 when Jay-Z dropped the 'Anything' track on Beanie Sigel's album that used the sample from 'Annie'. He had some interesting things to say about suburbs and rap - which I can very much relate to. Where I grew up, a lot of white kids enjoyed listening to rap, but were almost confused as to how to react to that. Maybe you dressed different or acted different because of this image you wanted to portray in order to be "accepted" in listening to a certain artist. Asher states he realized he didn't have to dress that way or act that way. And that he could make rap music that was geared more toward the experiences of a suburban kid. He's obviously drawn comparisons to Eminem - just because of his voice and his color. He devoted a song to it on this album called 'As I Em' and it's frankly an outstanding track. Em even endorsed Asher in XXL Magazine, stating he didn't feel he was an impostor and that he was doing his own thing. Very cool. I think I hear the 'I Love College' tracks, and I made too rash of a decision at first. While I don't really identify with that kind of song - because that's not how my college experience was, I understand others do. But if you make those kind of tracks AND the nice lyrical, beaty tracks, I'm all for it. The new game might be a combination of styles, and I have to adapt to that. Anyways, I'm not saying this album is Pac-ish or anything like that. It's simply better than I thought it'd be, which means some of you would probably think the same thing.

1. Lark on My Go-Kart
2. Blunt Cruisin'
3. I Love College
4. La Di Da, La
5. Be By Myself
6. She Don't Wanna Man
7. Sour Patch Kids
8. As I Em
9. Lion's Roar
10. Bad Day
11. His Dream
12. Fallin'

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. As I Em
2. Lion's Roar
3. I Love College

3.5 out of 5 stars

Mad Season - Above

Hello Wednesday...good to see you again. It's always slightly gratifying knowing that the week is half over. In music news, I've been dabbling a bit in supergroups as of late. And while this might not be a widely known one - it is one nonetheless. Mad Season here consists of some Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains and some Screaming Trees. Most notably, Layne Staley. Remember him? Yeah, he was the 'other' vocalist of Alice in Chains before the widely known Jerry Cantrell took over full time. Mike McCreedy (formerly Pearl Jam) formed the band while he was doing a drub rehab during the production of 'Vitalogy'. He met a bassist in rehab and decided to form a band. That was back in 1994 - and the guys didn't even have a song to rehearse. They put on in impromptu show regardless, and it was met with solid reviews. The band also didn't have a name at that time, and finally landed on 'Mad Season' which is and English term for when the psychedelic mushrooms come into bloom for the year. This album dropped in 2005 and has seen gold selling success. Mostly backed by the big singles 'River of Deceit' and 'I Don't Know Anything'. And reading more about the band, a lot of apparently success was that on the radio, many causal listeners thought the songs were by Alice in Chains, and went out to buy this album when they it was something else. But I imagine that also meant people went looking for an AIC record that didn't exist. Regardless, this was a nice mid 90's album. It's by no means amazing, but for a supergroup, one of the better records out there. Worth a listen, but not up to the standards set by the original bands.

1. Wake Up
2. X-Ray Mind
3. River of Deceit
4. I'm Above
5. Artificial Red
6. Lifeless Dead
7. I Don't Know Anything
8. Long Gone Day
9. November Hotel
10. All Alone

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. I Don't Know Anything
2. River of Deciet
3. Long Gone Day

2.75 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues

Phew! What a long delay! Finally got out of my meeting, and am getting around to posting New Music Tuesday! And I have a slight confession to make. This album did in fact come out today - but my partner Heidi told me to listen to this quite some time ago. Two months in fact. So I ended up getting this album right around then and have been picking it up here and there over that period of time. So it's not really new to me this morning. Anyway, Fleet Foxes formed in 2006 or so out of Seattle, Washington. Originally going by the name "Pineapple", a name clash with another local band prompted a change and Robin Pecknold decided upon Fleet Foxes. He suggested that it was "evocative of some weird English activity like fox hunting". Very nice. They were another band that got big because of the Myspace revolution in 2007. Bands were taking advantage of free listeners and took up quite a following. The word of mouth alone generated a contract with Sub Pop Records - which is an offshoot of Warner Bros. Their first album dropped in June of 2008 and is certified platinum by the RIAA. This album was slated to drop in 2009, and has been frustrating fans for multiple years now. They had some touring conflicts that actually cost the band $60k of their own money. Not good. But the goal of this album was to be less poppy and more of an old school groove record. Critics have all been mostly positive with only one site giving them a 4/10 rating. And for me, I think this is good music. It's not an album that I'd listen to daily or anything -but it's a nice change of pace on a random day. Certainly worth giving a shot if you've never heard their style before - but I wouldn't suspect you'll fall in love with the band, but rather a song or two. Just my two cents.

1. Montezuma
2. Bedouin Dress
3. Sim Sala Bim
4. Battery Kinzie
5. Plains/Bitter Dancer, The
6. Helplessness Blues
7. Cascades, The
8. Lorelei
9. Someone You'd Admire
10. Shrine/an Argument, The
11. Blue Spotted Tail
12. Grown Ocean

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Helplessness Blues
2. Lorelai
3. Sim Sala Bim

3.25 out of 5 stars

Fatboy Slim - Halfway Between The Gutter And The Stars

Woah! It's already 8am and I haven't posted! Sorry B Siders, but I'm going to have to do my second post later this morning. I have a meeting at 8:30am so only the installation of Techno Tuesday is going to get posted before that timeframe. My sincerest apologies - but I can promise I'll do it by lunch. Anyways, Fatboy Slim time. Techno Tuesday time! I reviewed his 'Long Way Baby' album a while back - which is one of my favorite dance records of all time. That one came out in 1998 - and this one dropped in 2000. It hasn't charted in the United States - but I guarantee nearly each and every one of you has heard at least one song off this album. Don't believe me? Look up the video for 'Weapon Of Choice'. Yep, Christopher Walken doing some crazy stuff on the video. Very awesome watch. Otherwise, I remember buying this album when it came out. I was very excited about it, but it didn't really meet my expectations. Not to say it's a bad album, because it's not. It's just different. Norman Cook (Fatboy Slim) did a lot of sampling and collaboration work on this album, trying to do something a little out of the norm. His work with Jim Morrison's sample on 'Sunset (Bird of Prey)' is interesting - but kind of strange. As someone who loves the Doors, I'm not sure the repetitive nature of that track makes it worth while. It's just a contrast from the previous record, I'm not sure fans knew what to think. Macy Gray makes an appearance, Bootsie Collins, Roland Clark and Roger Sanchez are all here too. I still enjoy this album from time to time, but it's not a Fatboy staple like the other albums are. Very much worth a listen though.

1. Talking Bout My Baby
2. Star 69
3. Sunset (Bird of Prey)
4. Love Life
5. Ya Mama
6. Mad Flava
7. Retox
8. Weapon of Choice
9. Drop the Hate
10. Demons
11. Song for Shelter

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Weapon Of Choice
2. Sunset
3. Star 69

3.5 out of 5 stars

Monday, May 2, 2011

Creedence Clearwater Revival - Cosmo's Factory

Upon looking through my genre reviews, I noticed that I needed to get a classic review in today. Then I was looking through artists, and shockingly, I haven't done any Creedence reviews yet! That seems silly and unbelievable. These guys formed in California in the late 1960's. The four band members knew each other since middle school - and played in a band together long before CCR was formed. They did "juke box standard" covers and called themselves the Blue Velvets for a while. When they got signed to a major label, the studio hated their name, so that's when they changed it to CCR. The name comes from three parts. Firstly, Tom Fogerty's friend Credence Newball, (to whose first name Credence they added an extra 'e', making it resemble a faith or creed); secondly, "clear water" from a TV commercial for Olympia beer; and finally "revival", which spoke to the four members' renewed commitment to their band. Cosmo's Factory here came out in 1970 when the band was probably at their peak of popularity. They had already sold 8 million albums in the USA, and the growth wasn't seemingly going to stop. What's interesting, is John Fogerty kind of got hosed when he first signed the record deal. He didn't keep ownership rights of the music, so the studio owned everything. In pop culture, CCR songs have been used in terrible movies, tv shows and commercials. All of which, Fogerty was against. 'Fortunate Son' was used in Wrangler jeans commercials, and finally Fogerty got to speak out in an LA Times interview. To his surprise, Wrangler understood he didn't like the use, and pulled the ads, even though they had already paid a handsome sum of money. Regardless, CCR is a rock music institution. When I hear the word "classic", it's hard not to think of these guys as icons. Give this a listen today, I promise you'll enjoy it.

1. Ramble Tamble
2. Before You Accuse Me
3. Travelin' Band
4. Ooby Dooby
5. Lookin' Out My Back Door
6. Run Through The Jungle
7. Up Around The Bend
8. My Baby Left Me
9. Who'll Stop The Rain
10. I Heard It Through The Grapevine
11. Long As I Can See The Light

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Long As I Can See The Light
2. Who'll Stop The Rain
3. Lookin' Out My Back Door

4.25 out of 5 stars