Song of the Moment

J. Cole - Lost Ones

Monday, January 31, 2011

Metaform - The Electric Mist



Sometimes any day of the week can be like a New Music Tuesday for me. First it was Bobaflex (which was new to me) and now Metaform. Which safe to say - I can't say I'd ever heard of before. Having listened to this once now, I can say that a song or two sounds very familiar to me - but the name didn't ring any bells. This one is straight from the keyboard of follower haypeterman. Peterman does a great job of cluing me into some new, odd stuff. This certainly would fall into the odd category - just because it's so genre bending. Is it rock? Electronic? Maybe a touch of soul music? I couldn't tell you how to classify it. Regardless, Justice Aaron is the real name of this American born musician, songwriter and producer. Metaform grew up in California - with his father playing Simon & Garfunkel, Leonard Cohen style albums, while his mom was listening to Whitney Houston type stuff. His parents divorced in the 80's and he moved from LA to San Francisco. This ended up being a big key in his music career, as he got an internship at Spark Studios. This allowed him to work with people like Scarface and E-40. He then worked as a freelance sound engineer for some very prominent hip hop artists. There really isn't any information about this album. It's not available at Best Buy - and there is nothing about it on Wikipedia. And we all know, if it's not on Wiki - you don't exist. But being a Milwaukee Brewers fan - I believe track 2 - 'Revenge Of A Nerd' was an at bat song for my main man Prince Fielder. So - HUGE props for that. This whole album is in a word - addictive. I listened to it once, and I was so blown away/confused/sad/happy - I had to flip it on again. And the second time, it's still just this conglomerate of different sounds. It's a very neat listen. I'd say go out and buy it, but I don't know where. I'll have to check iTunes when I get home - because I'd like to hear more. If you're on Grooveshark, give this a go today. Well worth your time.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Electric Eyes
2. Revenge Of A Nerd
3. Candy
4. O.C.D
5. My Love
6. I Dreamt Of The Machine
7. It's Gotta Be
8. Secretly Alone
9. Pop The Trunk
10. Door Number One
11. Introversion
12. Premonition 2010
13. Strange Girl
14. The Machine Approaches

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Revenge Of A Nerd
2. Premonition
3. Electric Mist

FINAL RATING:
3.75 out of 5 stars

Bobaflex - Tales From Dirt Town



We're back with another Monday morning. Certain genres of music can be especially jarring in the early mornings of a Monday. I think I'd put metal into that category. Reader Christina asked me to review Bobaflex this morning. Which is pronounced this way (bō-bŭ-flĕx). Can't say I'd ever heard of these gents before - but there is only one real devoted hard rock station here - and it's not on my rotation. The few times I listen to it, a lot of tracks just aren't for me. Christina asked that I pay closest attention to the track, 'Home'. Will do. These guys are West Virginia based, and started making music all the way back in 1998. The two frontmen of this band are brothers, Shaun and Marty McCoy. Hmm, West Virginia and the McCoys? Yep. Turns out these guys have direct ties to the infamous Hatfield and McCoy feud from the 1880's. You know, the one that almost caused a war between Kentucky and West Virginia? No? Alright - well this isn't a history blog, so I digress. They've done some pretty big shows over the years, and then some pretty small ones too. They seem to run the gambit of hanging on larger bands coat tails and then drifting back into obscurity. None of their albums have ever charted - including this one that came out in 2007. Strange this single is still on local metal airwaves too. They've got that nu metal style sound - probably not super popular with the metal enthusiast. 'Home' is a pretty solid track - the rest haven't thrilled my ear. Riffs are alright - lyrics are pretty awful - which meshes into a pretty mediocre record. Give it a shot, but don't expect much.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Sellout
2. Born Again
3. That Old Speed
4. Satisifed
5. Need a Drink
6. Savior
7. Be With You
8. I Still Believe
9. Goodbye
10. One Bad Day
11. Feelin' Paranoid
12. Home

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks;
1. Home
2. Satisfied
3. Born Again

FINAL RATING:
2 out of 5 stars

Friday, January 28, 2011

Rant #14 - "I Miss The Comfort In Being Sad"



When you're a child, you're very impressionable. Sometimes the things you love when you're 8 can be the very same things you love when you're 38. Or if you tried Chinese food for the first time when you were 6 - and hated it - there is a good chance you hate it still as an adult. Sometimes that's the way it goes.

However, some things can change. Maybe bologna was your favorite meat when you were a kid. Couldn't get enough of the stuff. But then somewhere along the lines, you ate filet mignon at a nice restaurant. All of the sudden a wave of emotion came over you. What have I been missing? What other delicious non-processed meats exist out there? Did I waste many years of my life gnawing on Oscar Mayer's finest? It hurts - and I know your pain.

The picture above is a poster I had on my walls when I was all of 12 years old. Now - Cobain died when I was 10. But I still recall the day I bought this poster. I went to the mall with a friend and stopped at Spencer's Gifts. He really enjoyed Nirvana, and thought this poster was amazing. So of course, I had money - he didn't that day. So I had to buy it. I had to make my friend envious of this outstanding piece of art. Got it home, hung it up. Stared at it. Problem was - yeah, I wasn't in love with Nirvana. Every day I looked at that poster and thought - "what's the big deal?"

Well, my friends - sheer ignorance. Yep, that's all I can claim. And maybe because I was just a stupid kid who didn't get it. I made a big effort to listen to Nirvana again - a decade and a half after these moments I described. If I learned one thing from this exercise - it's simply that re-listening to music as an adult can have a profound impact on you. I threw on 'Unplugged' first. It was the album I found most tolerable as a kid. I listened to it at least 30 times in a week. I was STUNNED to find the brilliance that lied inside that hard plastic jewel case. It was like a little slice of heaven came down and was put here for all to enjoy. In music form of course. The covers of the Meat Puppets, the slowed down versions of already great tunes - it was perfection.

I had to go back again - and this time I started with Bleach. How can you listen to a song like 'About A Girl' or 'Downer' and not think about how outstanding it is? Another great record. Moving on to Nevermind - I can't recall a full length album that had so many incredible hits on it. Track after track of songs that I knew - from a band I never gave the time of day to. 'In Bloom' blows my mind every time I hear it. Then the crown jewel. 1993's In Utero. A total contrast to Nevermind. A whole cd of songs I rarely heard except a couple. I know I reviewed this before on the B Side - but if you haven't listened to 'Dumb' and 'Frances Farmer' - you might be the 12 year old version of me. And you need to listen again now. With fully grown adult tastes.

I guess the whole point of this is - give old music a shot. Some of the very bands that made your ears bleed 20 years ago, might be your favorite bands today. Listening to Nirvana so many years later - made me realize that I've missed out on some incredible music for so long. All time I could have spent enjoying a great band. What band will have the same impact on you?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Fugees - The Score



Since I did Sandler, I decided to do a rap album from way back in the day too. Who didn't fall in love with The Score as a young teenager? I mean, it was a huge record. This also happened to be a Suggestion from follower Digger as well. I actually recall us both listening to this record and the Sandler album as young kids back in the mid 90's. I don't think either of us respected Pac as much as we do today - but if you sit back and listen to this today, it's got much more value than just listening to the hits years ago. Wyclef is never short on great lyrics that make you want to keep listening to more. This trio actually formed in 1992 as a Bee Gees tribute band. Do you believe that?? That's kinda crazy. This album dropped in 1996 and saw probably the biggest amount of buzz surrounding covers ever. It was their version of Marley's 'No Woman, No Cry' and Flack's 'Killing Me Softly' that put this album on the map for critics everywhere. And with the latter, it put this on the map for good in terms of the fans as well. That is never more evident than in the 6x platinum status. They reunited briefly in the mid 2000's, but it lasted about a year, and they all have moved on and confirmed the Fugees are "dead". There is NOTHING about this album that isn't great. It's classic hip hop, some old school rap, some R&B and some indie music all rolled into one really fun album. No, it's not perfect - but it's not far away from it. HIGHLY recommend this today. Sorry to Mr. Sandler, but if you only have time for one - pick this. Doesn't matter what you're into, you'll like this. I promise.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Red Intro
2. How Many Mics
3. Ready or Not
4. Zealots
5. Beast, The
6. Fu-Gee-La
7. Family Business
8. Killing Me Softly With His Song
9. Score, The
10. Mask, The
11. Cowboys
12. No Woman, No Cry
13. Manifest / Outro
14. Fu-Gee-La (Refugee Camp Remix, Bonus Track)
15. Fu-Gee-La (Sly & Robbie Remix, Bonus Track)
16. Mista Mista (Bonus Track)

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Killing Me Softly
2. Ready Or Not
3. Fu-Gee-La

FINAL RATING:
4.25 out of 5 stars

Adam Sandler - They're All Gonna Laugh At You



Sometimes changes of pace are really necessary during the week. And every so often I flip on a comedy album to change my pace. I know Shaqwanda has mentioned in some suggestions that she feels the same way at times. And this album is an oldie but goodie. This came out WAY back in 1993 and frankly, I was too young to really understand half the jokes. Here I am now, nearly 17 years older and I get all the jokes, and thankfully - my sense of humor is still sophomoric. So yeah, I can listen to this today, and it's still hilarious. This album is a shocking 3x platinum - which is HUGE for a comedy album. Sandler hasn't dropped an album in nearly a decade, and from what I understand, his latest ones weren't as good as this one. Maybe he's grown up a little too much? He did after all have a movie called 'Grown Ups'...so who knows. Almost every track on this makes me laugh. All the silly voices and the crazy ideas behind it...they really make you wonder. I mean, Tenacious D might lead the world in odd ideas to sing about - but this isn't too far behind. I mean, who thinks about putting on an old man voice, and shout into the phone about being confused over a dial tone and the lady that tells you to hang up the phone. We've all heard the Thanksgiving Song too...which is a holiday staple. Grab this one today...it's a good one.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Assistant Principal's Big Day
2. Buffoon and the Dean of Admissions, The
3. Buddy
4. Longest Pee, The
5. Food Innuendo Guy
6. Beating of a High School Janitor, The
7. Right Field
8. Buffoon and the Valedictorian, The
9. Mr. Spindel's Phone Call
10. Thanksgiving Song, The
11. Beating of a High School Bus Driver, The
12. Oh Mom...
13. Fatty McGee
14. At a Medium Pace
15. Beating of a High School Science Teacher, The
16. Cheerleader, The
17. I'm So Wasted
18. Lunchlady Land
19. Beating of a High School Spanish Teacher, The
20. Toll Booth Willie
21. Teenage Love on the Phone
22. My Little Chicken

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Toll Booth Willie
2. Lunchlady Land
3. At A Medium Pace

FINAL RATING:
4 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Steve Winwood - Back In The High Life



Sometimes there is an artist or two out there that you like, but maybe you don't even know it. Or maybe a few songs that you jam out to when they get played on a radio station, but you don't know who they're by. Let alone that 3 or 4 of them are by the same band. I'll put Mr. Winwood here in that caterogy. And this album is a perfect example. He was born in 1948 across the pond in England. He started making music in the 60's at a fairly young age with the band Spencer Davis Group. He played keyboards and other instruments for that band. He then went on to make music with Clapton in the band Blind Faith and then joined Traffic in the late 60's. Alas, this isn't a review for any of those bands, just Winwood's solo jams. This particular album came out in 1986 and is a solid 3x platinum in the states. He won a couple grammy awards for this record too. Not super surprising, because it was probably the biggest hit of 86. This was an incredible record not only because of the success, it marked the first time the popular world saw some huge collaborations. Chaka Kahn sings backup in 'Higher Love' and the one and only James Taylor sings backup on 'Back In The High Life'. I mean, Winwood was a pretty well known and respected musician, but Taylor to sing backup? Wow. Flat out amazing. I have to say, my dislike for 80's music stops with this album. It's just fun to listen to, and has that signature style of the decade. It's short, which is nice and a good - solid listen. Check it out today. You'll find yourself tapping your toes to songs you already love.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Higher Love
2. Take It as It Comes
3. Freedom Overspill
4. Back in the High Life Again
5. Finer Things, The
6. Wake Me up on Judgment Day
7. Split Decision
8. My Love's Leavin'

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Higher Love
2. Back In The High Life
3. The Finer Things

FINAL RATING:
3.75 out of 5 stars

Brand New - Your Favorite Weapon



The B Side makes every attempt to be a 'blog for the people, by the people'. And followers janis! and Shaqwanda have been obsessed with me reviewing Brand New for quite a while now. Shaqwanda specifically asked for me to hear this record, while janis! asked that I look at 'Deja Entendu' but followed that up by saying, "any of their stuff really". So here I am - getting to Brand New. The samples will show up a little different...you'll have to open up a page and click 'Play All' and then you'll have the same functionality as the other ones. Okay - so these guys better be amazing. For all they hype I've now built up in my own head. These gents are a New York based band, that formed around 2000. In the 90's, half of Brand New was part of a different band called The Rookie Lot. They decided to split from the dead weight and form Brand New. This was their first album, coming out in October of 2001. It hasn't sold a TON of albums, but it was recognized enough to help them seal a new record deal with Interscope. We all know my opinion of punk/indie/emo rock. It all sounds very similar to me. These guys don't buck that trend. I could honestly not really distinguish them from Taking Back Sunday or something of that ilk. Most of that is probably just my ignorance of the genre though. Listening to this a couple times, it seems to be mostly about break ups? Like a teenage angst record about that hard high school heartbreak? I don't know - I'm just picking that up in some of the lyrics. By no means is this bad, or not easy to listen to. It just doesn't blow my mind. I wouldn't turn it off, but I wouldn't buy it. Which to me, means an average album. I'll listen to their second release sometime too...see if that tickles my fancy.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Shower Scene, The
2. Jude Law and a Semester Abroad
3. Sudden Death in Carolina
4. Mix Tape
5. Failure by Design
6. Last Chance to Lose Your Keys
7. Logan to Government Center
8. No Seatbelt Song, The
9. Seventy Times 7
10. Secondary
11. Magazines
12. Soco Amaretto Lime

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Soco Amaretto Lime
2. The No Seatbelt Song
3. Jude Law And A Semester Abroad

FINAL RATING:
3 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Iron & Wine - Kiss Each Other Clean



New Music Tuesday! Also a fun excerpt every week. Today was two new to me albums - but this one is new to everybody. How many of you have even heard of Iron and Wine before? Probably a reasonably small number. For those who don't know, Iron and Wine is one man - Samuel Beam. He is a singer/songwriter from South Carolina. He typically takes a different route in terms of releasing music. This is one of few albums that was made commercially available ever, let alone right away. Normally he does download only stuff from his website. Although he was born in and raised in SC, he moved to Florida to go to school and now resides in Austin, Texas. So he's seen a variety of areas in the south - and in my opinion samples a little bit of flavor from each of those areas. Samuel is also a very accomplished painter/artist in his own right. He attended VCU and Florida State on art scholarships. He's also used that background to create a couple of films. That's how he made money during his college days. He has been featured on a TON of soundtracks. There is a list out there some place - and I encourage you to find it if you feel you may have heard his tuneage before. I've heard a few songs from him in the past, and this doesn't vary too much from his usual work. It's very unique, and fun to listen to. I won't say it's amazing or anything - but for those who haven't heard his work, it's certainly worth a listen. You might really enjoy it.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Walking Far from Home
2. Me and Lazarus
3. Tree by the River, The
4. Monkeys Uptown
5. Half Moon
6. Rabbit Will Run
7. Brother in Love
8. Big Burned Hand
9. Glad Man Singing
10. Your Fake Name Is Good Enough for Me

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Walking Far From Home
2. Tree By The River
3. Rabbit Will Run

FINAL RATING:
3.5 out of 5 stars

Little Louie Vega - Dance Ritual



Often times, things don't go as planned on the B Side. Techno Tuesday is one of my favorite weekly happenings, but it's very hard to find music to share with you guys each week. Although I have lists of DJ's I enjoy - they don't often put out albums to share. Quite the conundrum. While looking up a different favorite this morning, I came across Little Louie here. Never heard of him before - but it got some positive reviews from the website I look at. So here goes nothing. Vega has to be the oldest DJ I've heard of, having been born in 1965. You don't see a lot of 40 somethings still dropping dance music. He grew up in the Bronx in New York and started playing sax for his fathers band. As his name may suggest, he's of Latin decent, and has some inspiration from that and it shows in this record. He also has worked with some prominent hispanic artists like Gloria Estefan among others. In terms of this record, hmm - I just don't know. It's a dance album, no doubt about that. But it's very different. There are some tracks that the beat is hot - but the lyrics are just too much over the top of it. I don't care for some of the arrangements here, which is a bummer. I can't find much else about this album - so I'm not sure how much of it is Vega versus other collaborations with other DJ's. I'm going to tell you to pass on this today. Go ahead and give it a shot if you'd like - I just don't see the appeal.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, The
2. Just Dance
3. Traveling
4. Love Will
5. Traveling
6. Free
7. Somethin'
8. Olinga
9. Like a Sunshine, My Memory
10. Back to the Raw
11. Love Will
12. Thousand Fingered Man
13. Spread Love
14. Back to the Raw
15. In the Real World
16. Somethin'
17. Still a Dancer
18. Special
19. Like a Sunshine, My Memory
20. Sayaji
21. Portuguese Love

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Special
2. Traveling
3. Somethin'

FINAL RATING:
1.5 out of 5 stars

Monday, January 24, 2011

Gary Jules - Trading Snakeoil For Wolftickets



Recently, a reader of mine Christina was singing the lyrics to 'Mad World' which is a Gary Jules cover song. I wasn't sure if she had only heard the Jules version, or a different one. I remember being hooked on that track after seeing Donnie Darko years ago while in college. It really is a great song. She asked that I review an entire album by him and I thought, "what a great idea! I literally know nothing by Mr. Jules other than that one song!" Oh and by the way, I should drop that the cover is a Tears for Fears song originally. I mean, it's good too - but not as good as the Jules version. Jules is from Fresno, California originally, and from everything I'm reading, is known pretty much only for the one song. There is a SICK list of all the movies, tv shows etc that have featured that song. I mean, it's too many for me to even sit here and count. Quite amazing. He's got four albums out there, but nothing sold except for gasp, the one that had Mad World on it. It's gotta be extremely frustrating being known for that one song. I mean, I know one hit wonders are all over the place - but this guy could maybe have some real talent. At least that's what I want to find out today. This album is very folk-y. It certainly has a blues element, especially with the huge track that I think inspires people to break down into tears. This has a very natural feel to it. Jules isn't trying to do anything crazy, and therefore this makes for a pretty easy listen. There is one track that sounds like Jimmy Buffet - which is very puzzling. But all in all, this is worth listening to. Don't get your hopes up that it's as amazing as MW - but hey, what is?

TRACK LISTING:
1. Broke Window
2. No Poetry
3. Dtla
4. Lucky
5. Something Else
6. Pills
7. Boat Song
8. Umbilical Town
9. Princess of Hollywood Way, The
10. Patchwork G
11. Barstool
12. Mad World
13. Keep (Hidden Track)

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Mad World
2. Mad World
3. Something Else (which is a real song, not just saying that phrase)

FINAL RATING:
3.25 out of 5 stars

Immature - We Got It



Monday is back. And in case you still weren't aware, this blog is headquartered in the great state of Wisconsin. So kind of a big deal yesterday, the Packers made it to the Super Bowl! Pretty awesome if you're a sports fan. So today the office has been a little nuts in terms of people chatting all day about the Pack. Sorry for blogging a little late this morning, but I wore my Packers polo which draws people to give me high fives and then talk about America's Team. Anyways, going on to music - janis! requested that I review an old school pop/R&B record. Who doesn't remember Immature? I found out today these gents changed their name, formerly going by the name IMx. Not sure why...maybe because they've matured? No way to tell for certain. This came out in 1995 which again was a big time for alt rock. But that didn't mean these guys got swept under the rug. They were pretty big for an R&B group. Listening to this a couple times today now, I don't really recall any of the songs, but I understand why it would sell well with the pop crowd. Got a pretty laid back, easy going feel to it. And although these guys were around 13-14 when this album dropped, it's got a more adult contemporary feel to it. I mean, it's not Kris Kross singing 'Jump' or something to that effect. They broke up in 2001 or so, and aren't making tunes anymore. It says they have a TBA due out this year, but I can't find anything about it. Which makes me think that's not going to happen. There is a greatest hits album out there too, which is surprising. I thought you had to have at least one hit to make a greatest hits. Ah well. Check it out today. Kick it old school for an hour.

TRACK LISTING:
1. We Got It
2. Lover's Groove
3. Just A Little Bit
4. Please Don't Go
5. I Don't Know
6. Pager
7. Crazy
8. I Can't Stop The Rain
9. A Boy Like Me
10. Candy
11. When It's Love
12. Pay You Back
13. Feel The Funk

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. We Got It
2. Please Don't Go
3. Feel The Funk

FINAL RATING:
2 out of 5 stars

Friday, January 21, 2011

B Side Presents, "Friday Gut Check - teRIFFic sounds"




Happy Friday B Siders! It's been a little while since we ran a Friday Gut Check top 5 piece. So today brings me to a couple items of business: 1) This gut check was inspired by JenInTosa. She dropped a link to Spinner's Top 50 guitar riffs of all time. PLEASE! Feel free to do the same. If you read a great music article and want to share it with me and then talk about it here, by all means! The suggestion box covers more than just album reviews. And 2) I absolutely LOVE, ADORE, CHERISH guitar riffs. I love songs that are 15 minutes long and do nothing but have a slick guitar solo for half of it. I'm a sucker for them. There are soo many off the top of my head I can think of...but to put them in some sort of Top 5 order? Phew, that's going to be tough.

I will follow my one artist per list rule, because I could probably drop 10 Clapton songs on here or something. I have to expand to 10 just because there would be too many to leave out. I'll also give some Honorable Mention nods. I think you guys should make a playlist today of these tracks. You'll love 'em all!

I'll share a link from Spinner below - but here is my Top 10. We'll see if we can get Heidi in on the action today too. But please, let me know what your faves are!

HONORABLE MENTION

Free Bird - Lynyrd Skynyrd
Eruption - Van Halen
Enter Sandman - Metallica
Hells Bells - AC/DC
Heartbreaker - Led Zeppelin
War Pigs - Black Sabbath
Iron Man - Black Sabbath
Funk 49 - James Gang
Satisfaction - Rolling Stones

TOP 10 LIST

10. Alive - Pearl Jam: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I don't care for Pearl Jam. But this riff, especially the opening...man. It's just awesome. Great lyrics over it too. And what a great message to send to the haters, "I'm still alive." WATCH

9. Seven Nation Army - White Stripes: There is a reason you hear this at every sporting event too. There is just something about this SUPER simple bass riff played over a standard electric. It's mesmerizing. It makes you want to get up and fight and yell and cheer. It's hits you hard and you hit back. Great riff. WATCH

8. Layla - Derek And The Dominoes: Okay, so maybe the second most iconic riff behind Smoke On The Water. Sure, Clapton stole this riff from Duane Allman - but Clapton plays it like his own. Love the story about him stealing George Harrison's wife too. Sad, but funny. WATCH

7. Day Tripper - The Beatles: Probably the funkiest of Beatles riffs. The arrangement of this song is flat out amazing. It was recorded with dual guitars each coming out of a different speaker. Turn off one speaker once and see what you hear. You should only hear half the track. WATCH

6. Sweet Child O' Mine - GNR: Yeah, you've heard this and it's amazing. Slash can flat out whale on the guitar, and this is a prime example. Love the story posted by Spinner, so I'll let you read it. WATCH

5. Sunshine Of Your Love - Cream: This seems to be a guitar hero favorite of just about everybody I know. It sounds so simple, but it's so pleasing to my ears. Funny story about this too, we were sitting in a friends basement in high school. Pretty much the first time we'd both really sat down and listened to Cream. I heard this song, and asked him if this was a sample from the song 'Blue Moon'. He said "NO WAY" with all certainty. Well, turns out it is. But that doesn't make the riff any less awesome. WATCH

4. Dazed And Confused - Led Zeppelin: Another lower keyed riff. This has got to be my favorite Zeppelin song and I think it's solely because of the opening jam. Apologies to Heartbreaker for not making my Top 10 list, but hey, it's mine and not yours! ;-) WATCH

3. Ace Of Spades - Motorhead: Down and dirty, in your face metal riff. I'm guessing a lot of people haven't ever heard this song before. PLEASE check it out. It's my third best riff for a reason. I don't get to Motorhead often, but when I do, this song is a MUST. WATCH

2. Smoke On The Water - Deep Purple: Duh-duh-duh, duh-dud-da-da, duh-duh-duh, duh-duh. Come on. Is there a more recognized riff in music history? I hear this all the time at sporting events to get the crowd pumped up. True story, I heard a friend singing this riff on the walk back after a football game, and I asked if he knew what song that was from. He had no clue. Just that the riff was outstanding and got him pumped. Always a good sign. WATCH

1. Voodoo Child - Jimi Hendrix: There is little secret this is my favorite Hendrix song ever. It's also my favorite guitar riff ever. The opening alone gives me chills everytime I hear it. Compliment that with the lyric, "Well I stand up next to a mountain. And I chop it down with the edge of my hand." Amazing stuff. The guitar work start to finish on this track is flat out phenomenal. Sit back and really listen and enjoy this one. WATCH


THANKS FOR READING!

Spinner Link

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Everclear - Sparkle And Fade



When it comes to 90's rock, if you're a big fan - or grew up during that timeframe, you know Everclear. In 1995 - you rocked yourself out bigtime to 'Santa Monica'. And don't act like you didn't. Because the song was pretty outstanding. These guys formed in 1992 in Portland, Oregon. Hey! Second Portland based band this week. That's gotta be some sort of B Side record. The lead singer Art Alexakis has seen his fair share of troubles since a very young age. His father left the family when he was very young and financial hardships pushed the leftover family to move to the slums of Los Angeles. Art got heavy into druguse and the problems escalated from there. He even got moved down to Texas to live with his fathers new family. The drug use persisted there, and he nearly died of a cocaine overdose. He finally got clean in the late 80s and started to get into music. In 1994, Everclear was trying hard to find a label to attach to. After a small bidding war between labels, Capitol Records ended up winning. This is the same label that signed Nirvana, Counting Crows and Sonic Youth. Since alt rock was so huge at this point in time, Everclear got lumped into that genre. They also were given a huge comparison to Nirvana for some reason. I guess myself and Dave Grohl totally disagree with that, and Grohl made that opinion clear after a Foo show in '95. The problem I have with Everclear and this album is, it's very flat. There is one song I might listen to, and the rest are swings and misses. In terms of the quality coming out during that time, this fails to meet the very high bar standards. Go ahead and listen to this, but don't expect to fall in love with it.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Electra Made Me Blind
2. Heroin Girl
3. You Make Me Feel Like a Whore
4. Santa Monica
5. Summerland
6. Strawberry
7. Heartspark Dollarsign
8. Twistinside, The
9. Her Brand New Skin
10. Nehalem
11. Queen of the Air
12. Pale Green Stars
13. Chemical Smile
14. My Sexual Life

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Santa Monica
2. The Twistinside
3. You Make Me Feel Like A Whore

FINAL RATING:
2 out of 5 stars

Coal Chamber - Self Titled



Way back in 1999 or so, my metal tastes were really being formed. I was working at Cousins Subs and we used to toss on our favorite albums after we closed, crank them to 11 and then rock out until everything was cleaned up and ready to go for the next morning. Let me tell you - sometimes when you're just listening to loud music and working to get not fun stuff done, metal can really motivate you. Especially a band like Coal Chamber. We had this manager named Jim who LOVED metal. And this album was one that he used to play fairly often. Coal Chamber has this alt/industrial/nu metal combo platter that is pretty intense. You really feel like punching someone in the face - or just cleaning harder. These guys formed all the way back in 1992 and were known as Seal Chamber. 1994 saw some lineup changes and the Coal Chamber brand formed. They rocked out at Ozzfest in '95, their first big gig. Finally the dropped this record in 1997. Since I'm guessing many of you haven't heard these guys before, I'll compare them to more familiar acts. I think they have a bit of a White Zombie/Korn blend. They're a little harder than most Korn but not quite as dark as Zombie perhaps. But in terms of industrial style metal, this album is pretty awesome. I won't say it's the best - but it's up there. I've played a couple tracks off this for other people (one being totally anti-metal) and he even found himself singing 'Big Truck' throughout the day. Gosh, I love that track. Give this a go today. You might be surprised how a little metal can find its way into your heart.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Loco
2. Bradley
3. Oddity
4. Unspoiled
5. Big Truck
6. Sway
7. First
8. Maricon Puto
9. I
10. Clock
11. My Frustration
12. Amir of the Desert
13. Dreamtime
14. Pig

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Big Truck
2. I
3. Loco

FINAL RATING:
3.75 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Joni Mitchell - Ladies Of The Canyon



I did a Janet Jackson review a while back - where I really enjoyed one track called 'Got Til It's Gone'. Well, that song sampled an old Joni Mitchell track, which just so happens to be on this record. Follower janis! asked me to review the original, just to get my feedback on it. So here I am...getting to Joni Mitchell. Is it just me, or have my reviews been even more erratic lately? I mean, in a fun way - just really off the wall. Anywho - Mitchell was from Toronto, but moved to New York City in her 20's so she could be a part of the booming folk rock revolution. She dropped her first album in 1968 - which saw moderate success. It wasn't until Woodstock one year later, where she got noticed, and in a big way. Her career overall has seen TONS of ups and downs. She settled in California during her career. Changed her sound to a jazz style for a while - and then had a large series of music industry 'flops'. Her career saw a very successful resurgence in 2006 or so - but I don't think she's done anything huge in the last half a decade. She now is fighting an incurable disease known as Morgellons syndrome. I don't know much about it, but she has made public comments stating that it is slowly killing her. Very sad. She has a very unique guitar style, and it's fun to listen to. Big Yellow Taxi is one of very few songs I know from her. It's a solid song - nothing I'm in love with. It's clearly given many other artists ambition to cover it - not just Janet. For that reason, I encourage everyone to give her a listen. She's provided a model for many other artists to follow - and given plenty of inspiration. Let me know what you think!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Morning Morgantown
2. For Free
3. Conversation
4. Ladies of the Canyon
5. Willy
6. Arrangement, The
7. Rainy Night House
8. Priest, The
9. Blue Boy
10. Big Yellow Taxi
11. Woodstock
12. Circle Game, The

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. For Free (love the piano and vocal)
2. Ladies Of The Canyon
3. Big Yellow Taxi

FINAL RATING:
3.25 out of 5 stars

Dwight Yoakam - This Time



Remember WAY back in the day when I started the blog? I had a little poll up asking all of you guys what your favorite genre was? Well, the overwhelming response was pop and alt rock music. Since I wrote it down, only 3 visitors marked 'country' as their favorite. Now, I have no clue who actually put down what responses - but in terms of sheer Suggestion Box volume, many of you guys listen to country - even if it's not your favorite. Today, the suggestion box entry for country comes from haypeterman. Which is I believe the 5th person who's dropped that genre in the box. Way more than any other genre. Good work guys! Anyway, Yoakam. I've heard of him - but not sure I've heard his tunes. I most remember him from his role in 'Panic Room' as a crazed killer. But that's neither here nor there. He was born in Kentucky but his parents thought moving to Ohio could lead to a better life. So he grew up in Columbus - even briefly attended the Ohio State University before dropping out to try out the music biz. Reading his bio, the industry has a lot of respect for Mr. Yoakam. They called his music very different and new back in the 80's. And for the most part, I hear a bit of a combo between bluegrass and honky tonk. It's pretty cool to listen to. This particular album came out in 1993 and is 3x platinum in the states. I can easily see why. This is a fun listen. All you country supporters, pick it up today. Don't just listen, buy it. It's only 5 bucks at Best Buy. Seems worth every penny.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Pocket of a Clown
2. Thousand Miles From Nowhere, A
3. Home For Sale
4. This Time
5. Two Doors Down
6. Ain't That Lonely Yet
7. King of Fools
8. Fast As You
9. Try Not To Look So Pretty
10. Wild Ride
11. Lonesome Roads

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. A Thousand Miles From Nowhere
2. Fast As You
3. This Time

FINAL RATING:
3.75 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Decemberists - The King Is Dead



New Music Tuesday kicks into gear with the Decemberists today. This is a band that I've enjoyed for years, but haven't shared with you all yet. What better time than to roll with a new album right? Exactly! These guys are an (of course) indie rock band from Portland, Oregon. Frontman and singer/songwriter Colin Meloy is a pretty solid leader. His voice is very fresh and unique. If I hear a song by them, right away I know it's Decemberists. I like when you've got that distinct of a vocal. They have been around since 2000 making good mood style music. I've heard them use a HUGE range of instruments, including accordion, different organs, upright bass and plenty of others. Putting that kind of sound in modern music is something I'm a big fan of. I'm not really sure if you'd recognize any of their stuff to date. I can't seem to recall hearing them on the radio or in any other pop culture setting. This particular album is pretty folk-y, and almost a standard Americana blues-y album. Not like BB King blues, but a modern blues feel to it. I've gone through it a couple times now and I've enjoyed it a bunch. They've dropped a couple singles from it already, and I'm hearing they've gotten good reviews from the masses. I'm also reading that one of them might be an iTunes single of the week right now. I can't confirm this, but if that is true - go ahead and download it. Probably worth your zero dollars and 1 minute to download. Just sayin'. Anyhow - this has been a fun listen this morning. Give the Decemberists a shot today. I don't think you'll be disappointed. Happy Tuesday!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Don't Carry It All
2. Calamity Song
3. Rise To Me
4. Rox In the Box
5. January Hymn
6. Down By the Water
7. All Arise!
8. June Hymn
9. This is Why We Fight
10. Dear Avery

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Down By The Water
2. Dear Avery
3. Jane Hymn

FINAL RATING:
3.5 out of 5 stars

Eric Prydz - Call On Me



As one of my favorite followers Angie put it: unst unst unst unst wicky wicky - yeah, those are DJ sounds. It's Techno Tuesday! Eric here is a Swedish DJ and producer that is living in London, England. His surname has caused a bit of a stir in terms of pronunciation. It's actually "prids" but his stage name alias is Pryda or (pride-ah). So yeah, call him whatever you want. It's all up in the air. It was in 2004 when Prydz got his big break. And wouldn't you know it - it's on the song and album I'm showing you guys today! How lucky for you! It's a beefed up remix of Stevie Winwood's "Valerie". And I know all you guys know Stevie. He made hit after hit after hit. Okay, maybe not that many - but I do need to review him soon. This mixtape album sold over 4.5 million copies on Europe. Crazy big numbers for a 5 track mix of the same song. Part of the current success of this song is brought forth by the YouTube music video. The video is a provocative music video featuring an aerobics class of 1980's style leotard-clad women and a sole man. They are performing a series of sexually suggestive gym routines - which obviously gets a lot of attention all around the world. I found the video to be more funny than "hot" or whatever other word you'd care to use there. It's a nice play on even such current lame exercise videos like Shake Weight. Prydz has a huge fear of flying and until recently, never played a show outside of Europe. Still no plans to come to the US that I can see, but maybe one day he'll cross the pond. You really need to check this out today. If you liked the Winwood track, this is a fun listen.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Call On Me (Prydz vs Retarded Funk Mix)
2. Call On Me (Radio Edit)
3. Call On Me (Filterheadz Remix)
4. Call On Me (JJ Stockholm Club Remix)
5. Call On Me (Red Kult Dub Pass 2 Mix)

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Call On Me (Funk Mix)
2. Call On Me (Radio Edit)
3. Call On Me (Red Kult)

FINAL RATING:
3.75 out of 5 stars

Monday, January 17, 2011

Souls Of Mischief - 93 Til Infinity



This review marks a significant day in the B Side for a couple reasons. 1) I haven't reviewed old school rap in forever. For all those hip hop fans, I apologize. But this ones for you. 2) This marks the first (in hopefully many) suggestions from follower Digger. Props to Digger, as I didn't know he was even a casual reader. The B Side thanks you! Anyways, on to Souls of Mischief. They are comprised of emcee's A-Plus, Opio, Phesto, and Tajai. They are part of the bigger hip hop group known as Hieroglyphics. This album came out - big shocker here, in 1993. It was very well received by media and critics. As a guy who doesn't identify a ton with old school stuff, I was fairly leery of this album. I mean, I love rap. You all know that. But the old school NWA, Run DMC stuff - it just doesn't ring through to me like Pac and after. I've run through this a couple times now, and it's well, really well done. Beat wise, it's what makes hip hop great. Every beat is a little different but very deep bass usually with a funky horn compliment. It just fits together well. The flow over the top is all pretty solid as well. I won't say lyrically it's the best album ever - but it's not the focal point of the album. These fellas are from Oakland, and that west coast sound really vibes through. I have absolutely nothing negative to say about this. It's really good. Even if you're not a rap fan, this is fun to listen to. Rap fans, you'll love it. I promise.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Let 'Em Know
2. Live and Let Die
3. That's When Ya Lost
4. A Name I Call Myself
5. Disseshowedo
6. What a Way To Get Out
7. Never No More
8. 93 'Til Infinity
9. Limitations
10. Anything Can Happen
11. Make Your Mind Up
12. Batting Practice
13. Tell Me Who Profits
14. Outro

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Let 'Em Know
2. That's When Ya Lost
3. 93 Til Infinity

FINAL RATING:
4 out of 5 stars

Fall Out Boy - Take This To Your Grave



Monday strikes back with a vengeance today. Not sure about you all - but I need some really good tunes to get me going this morning. My resident punk rock guru Shaqwanda tossed another Fall Out Boy record into the box. She states this is the only album they have that's worth listening to. Well, I'll be the judge of that! (I'm kidding, I'm not that self centered) FOB and I have an odd relationship. In general I don't care much for their music, but I do find myself listening to their stuff every so often. It's very strange. I don't know what it is about their sound - but it gets my toes tapping. I reviewed their 'Cork Tree' album months ago now, and it got a very average review from me. I brought up in that last review that they're no longer making music. That appears to be even more permanent now too. They've started other projects after the breakup, and I understand a couple of them are going pretty well. So for all you FOB fans (if there are any left) don't hold your breath for another record. This album dropped in 2003 and is a mere gold status. Normally when I listen to FOB - I don't listen to full albums, just a bunch of tracks on shuffle. There are two or three from this album that I recognized off the top of my head. Which was nice. It's surprising to me then, that this album saw such poor sales. Plus the fact Shaqwanda still enjoys it, and she loves this style of tuneage. I'm actually going to encourage you to pick this up today. It's pretty upbeat and not at all offensive. It's not amazing, but I'm tending to agree this might be their best work.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Tell That Mick He Just Made My List of Things to Do Today
2. Dead on Arrival
3. Grand Theft Autumn / Where Is Your Boy
4. Saturday
5. Homesick at Space Camp
6. Sending Postcards From a Plane Crash (Wish You Were Here)
7. Chicago Is So Two Years Ago
8. Pros and Cons of Breathing, The
9. Grenade Jumper
10. Calm Before the Storm
11. Reinventing the Wheel to Run Myself Over
12. Patron Saint of Liars and Fakes, The

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Grand Theft Autumn/Where Is Your Boy
2. Saturday
3. Chicago Is So Two Years Ago

FINAL RATING:
3.25 out of 5 stars

Friday, January 14, 2011

B Side Presents, "2010, We Hardly Knew Ye"



2010 seemed to have been a solid year in terms of music. I need to assemble a more comprehensive list of what all dropped - and then I'll put together some sort of Top 50 list or something of that nature. Until then, I was looking at what was the best in terms of sheer sales, and I was fairly surprised. There are a couple albums on here that I never even heard of. (or at least never listened to) But today is just going to be a reporting day - for those that care to know what sold and what didn't. I'll add my little quips of course at the end.

TOP SELLING SINGLES:

10. Need You Now - Lady Antebellum, 3.1 Million
9. Break Your Heart - Taio Cruz, 3.2 Million
8. Just The Way You Are - Bruno Mars, 3.2 Million
7. Not Afraid - Eminem, 3.4 Million
6. OMG - Usher, 3.7 Million
5. Airplanes - B.o.B, 4 Million
4. Dynamite - Taio Cruz, 4 Million
3. Love The Way You Lie - Eminem, 4.2 Million
2. Hey Soul Sister - Train, 4.3 Million
1. California Gurls - Katy Perry, 4.4 Million

COMMENTS:
Nothing too surprising on this list. In terms of sheer popularity, the top 3 seem to make total sense. Personally, I couldn't go 5 seconds without hearing Dynamite either for a while there. Huge song. By no means do I feel there are the 10 best songs of 2010 and in fact, I doubt any of them would make my personal list. Maybe Lady Antebellum, but that's about it. Alas, sales are a funny thing. Lots of artists making better quality music, but not getting the recognition. Happens all the time.

TOP SELLING ALBUMS:

10. Animal - Ke$ha, 1.1 Million
9. Raymond v Raymond - Usher, 1.1 Million
8. Thank Me Later - Drake, 1.2 Million
7. Soldier Of Love - Sade, 1.3 Million
6. The Fame - Lady Gaga, 1.6 Million
5. The Gift - Susan Boyle, 1.9 Million
4. My World 2.0 - Justin Bieber, 2.3 Million
3. Speak Now - Taylor Swift, 2.9 Million
2. Need You Now - Lady Antebellum, 3 Million
1. Recovery - Eminem, 3.4 Million

COMMENTS:
Personally, I'm stunned by some of these. First and foremost, who's Sade? Why have I not heard anything off this album? How did it sell over a million copies this year? That's nuts. I get people love Boyle's story, and she can certainly sing. I haven't heard this, but she outsold Gaga? Really? Wow. Recovery makes sense, it was a huge album. Probably Em's best ever. Two country music albums rounding out 2 and 3 is a little surprising, but those are in that contemporary category that has a lot more people buying than just country fans. Not surprised my buddy Ke$ha made the list, surprised she's so low. Figured she'd be higher. Drake above Usher and even on the list at all is shocking. He didn't have the huge pop singles like Usher did. Yeah, that's about it. Again, Recovery would be up there for me, and maybe Lady Antebellum again - but otherwise, I don't think any of the others make my Top 10. Thank Me Later gets better the more I listen, but there has to be 8 other gems out there.

What do you guys think?

Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Fleetwood Mac - Rumours



Been down one time. Been down two times...mmmmmm - never going back again. Let me make this totally clear, I'm not a huge Fleetwood Mac guy. I honestly respect everything they do though. It seems like they've been very instrumental in influencing many artists I love today. Their songs are typically pretty catchy, and lyrically very solid. This album dropped in 1977 and is a SICK 19x platinum. And even if you think you've never heard a Fleetwood song before, listen to this. I can promise that you'll hear at least 4 songs that you've heard before. It actually even surprised me how much I knew off this record. Love it. These guys formed in 1967 London. The drummers name is Mick Fleetwood - and that's where the name comes from. He's the only original member still in the band. Stevie Nicks is a fairly well known member of the band at this point. If you've never heard her flat out sing - she's got a great set of pipes. Very unique voice too. I can't think of anyone else that sounds quite like her. She started with the band just a couple years before this album dropped. Prior to her joining, only one album (out of 10) had gone even 1x platinum. This is BY FAR their best selling album, but 4 others after Nicks joined have gone at least 2x platinum. Maybe that's coincidence, maybe she's just that good. Who knows. But I really enjoy this. I don't think I own it, but I'm going to pick it up. That's my testimonial. I'm going to spend real money on it. Listen to it today!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Second Hand News
2. Dreams
3. Never Going Back Again
4. Don't Stop
5. Go Your Own Way
6. Songbird
7. Chain, The
8. You Make Loving Fun
9. I Don't Want to Know
10. Oh Daddy
11. Gold Dust Woman

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. The Chain
2. Never Going Back Again
3. Don't Stop

4. Go Your Own Way
5. Second Hand News
6. You Make Loving Fun
7. Gold Dust Woman

Yeah, it's that good!

FINAL RATING:
5 out of 5 stars

Mike Posner - 31 Minutes To Takeoff



This is my first pop review post since my rant last week. I know that write up was somewhat controversial, since I got "told" by multiple people. Which was awesome by the way. I'm glad it was a topic of discussion. But I noticed that Mr. Posner here had what was said to be one of the top 50 tracks of 2010. That made me think I should look at his whole album. So what's I've learned is Mike is a 23 year old Michigan man. He then ended up graduating from Duke University in North Carolina. Pretty impressive. He decided to make music while chatting with Don Cannon and some other prominent producers. His goal was to "make something that didn't sound like anything that was already out." I'm not sure in terms of overall sound that he was successful at that. I mean, you've got guys like Bruno Mars, B.o.B, even maybe a Asher Roth that are fairly similar. Robin Thicke or Timberlake also come to mind. That kind of laid back pop or laid back dance pop. As a whole, to me this isn't anything brand new. Especially the big single, "Cooler Than Me'. To my ear - that sounds like 100 other artists out there today. Posner feels he did succeed though, saying he wants to make sure his music stays different from the rest of the stuff on the charts. I call it delusional, he calls it art. This is worth picking up today and listening to, but take it for face value. This isn't anything that's going to rock your world.

TRACK LISTING:
1. 31 Minutes to Takeoff
2. Please Don't Go
3. Bow Chicka Wow Wow
4. Cooler Than Me
5. D¿j¿ Vu
6. Do U Wanna?
7. Cheated
8. Gone in September
9. Save Your Goodbye
10. Synthesizer
11. Delta I406
12. Falling

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Cooler Than Me
2. Please Don't Go
3. Delta 1406

FINAL RATING:
2 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Green Day - Insomniac



A really long time ago now, I did a little Green Day introspective. From that, you may recall my adoration for older Green Day albums. When it was time to review an alt rock record today...I was just strumming through my list. I contemplated doing some other bands today - then I came across this album. It's literally been forever since I listened to this start to finish. I bought this right away when it came out in 1995. I was so high on the Dookie album I figured anything put out by them as a follow up had to be just as solid. Well back when I was all of 12 years old...this didn't quite satisfy my music palette. I thought this was a bit of a let down. Yeah, I know - shameful. As I'm older and I listen again, I really appreciate the sound. It's just like Dookie, except maybe a little less pop and a little more heavy rock than punk. And it rocks your socks off at different points. It's only 2x platinum in the states, which tells me a lot of you guys probably don't know about this. You may have listened to the popular tracks and didn't figure it was worth the purchase. Well - you're wrong! I checked Best Buy, and it's only 7.99! It's so incredibly worth that price! That's almost like going to Half Price Books or something and picking up up used. Highly recommend. The cover art is fun, and the booklet opens up into a larger poster. Even though I didn't love the record, I loved displaying that poster when I was a kid. Kick it old school today and pop this in. And listen to it one more time. You'll be surprised.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Armatage Shanks
2. Brat
3. Stuck With Me
4. Geek Stink Breath
5. No Pride
6. Bab's Uvula Who?
7. 86
8. Panic Song
9. Stuart and the Ave.
10. Brain Stew
11. Jaded
12. Westbound Sign
13. Tight Wad Hill
14. Walking Contradiction

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Brain Stew (toss Jaded in there since it came out as a double single)
2. Walking Contradiction
3. Stuck With Me

FINAL RATING:
4.25 out of 5 stars

Black Stone Cherry - Self Titled



Phew...Good afternoon everyone! Sorry to all those that are morning readers and didn't see any posts today. I was having some major issues with Blogger this morning and couldn't post anything! My sincerest apologies for the technical issues. Anyway, on to Hump Day reviews! I probably haven't shared anything Earth shattering with you guys in terms of hard rock lately. I noticed that most of my bands were pretty mainstream and not anything the metal followers were too leery of. Well today I run with a band Black Stone Cherry. I heard of these guys right around the time of this album dropping, which was 2005 or so. I learned today though, they've been a band since 2001 when they formed in Kentucky. Normally when I think of KY, I don't think of hard rock music. So these guys really broke from the social norms of that state. In terms of style, I'm not sure who I'd liken them to most. They have the southern anthem sound similar to Skynyrd - but I'd say they might most sound like the Black Crowes. Except maybe a little harder. I like the overall sound though. The breakthrough song I heard was 'Lonely Train'. When that was the iTunes single of the week forever ago, I was pretty hooked. That song isn't totally indicative of the rest of the album though, which is kind of a bummer. They didn't keep that same punch to the face throughout. I still like this though. It hasn't charted, so if you like it - go pick it up. Help a potentially up and coming band out!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Rain Wizard
2. Backwoods Gold
3. Lonely Train
4. Maybe Someday
5. When the Weight Comes Down
6. Crosstown Woman
7. Shooting Star
8. Hell & High Water
9. Shapes of Things
10. Violator Girl
11. Tired of the Rain
12. Drive
13. Rollin' On

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Lonely Train
2. Hell And High Water
3. Rain Wizard

FINAL RATING:
3 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Cake - Showroom Of Compassion



Round two of New Music Tuesday is a little Cake. Red velvet? Yellow? Chocolate? Carrot??? Nope - none of those. Just some silky smooth beats and lyrics from the band. I reviewed 'Fashion Nugget' months ago, and it got a positive review. Mainly because I like the fact Cake spans so many different genres. They've got a little bit of everything in terms of overall sound. They have been on a LONG hiatus, not dropping an album since 2004. This album was slated to be very different from past Cake records - for two reasons. 1) They've never used acoustic piano before. The band thought that sound was too "classy" for one of their records. 2) They've never used reverb in any tracks before (which is basically playing a note and then allowing that note to repeat to fill the space) because they thought too many bands used reverb to sound "grandiose". So in terms of just overall feel, I'm expecting something new and fresh. Although, the only Cake record I've ever listened to start to finish is the aforementioned Fashion Nugget. So maybe I won't be as blown away as others might be. One thing can be certain though, it's going to have a strange conglomerate of sounds and lyrics. That's something they never seem to disappoint on. Running through it now a couple times, it's got a cool feel to it. I'm not sure I'd rush out to the store to buy it, but I certainly want to listen to it again. Maybe a few more 'mood' tracks than I thought - but they're all pretty good. If you listen to this today, expect to be entertained. There are a couple almost electronic type tracks that are also fun. Check it out!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Federal Funding
2. Long Time
3. Got To Move
4. What's Now is Now
5. Mustache Man (Wasted)
6. Teenage Pregnancy
7. Sick of You
8. Easy To Crash
9. Bound Away
10. Winter, The
11. Italian Guy

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Sick Of You
2. Teenage Pregnancy
3. Federal Funding

FINAL RATING:
3.25 out of 5 stars

Cage The Elephant - Thank You Happy Birthday



No Techno Tuesday today, just a double dose of New Music Tuesday. I've been so obsessed with the new Deadmau5 record for the last month, I can't bear to listen to anything else dance music related. Although this didn't come through the Suggestion Box, I should probably thank JenInTosa for this review today. Almost a year ago now (hard to believe) she turned me on to Cage. And here they are finally dropping their sophomore record today. When I reviewed their self titled drop months ago, I only talked about how they'd been together since 2005 and only had released one album. It technically came out in 2008 and they were still releasing singles off of it in 2010. These guys got their start in Bowling Green, Kentucky. What's odd is, that is the same hometown of one of the Milwaukee Brewers - Corey Hart. Small world I suppose. They don't really have any crazy/fun stories to share. Just straight up music. Most of the guys were part of a different band that split up and then they formed Cage - but that's about it. This drop is off the same label and saw Cage working with the same producer. I was a big fan of the first one, so I will be of the second one too right? Let me start off by saying, this album is on sale today at Best Buy for only 6.99. That's crazy cheap. To generate some buzz, Cage dropped 'Around My Head' as the Free Single of the Week on iTunes a while back. All these things make you wonder. Well - relax! It's a solid album again. Got a similar upbeat feel to it, and overall just a fun listen. I've gone through it twice now, and I enjoyed it both times. I'm not sure it has AS many hits as the self titled, but it's still toe tapping good. Check it out! Heck, at 7 bucks, buy it!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Always Something
2. Aberdeen
3. Indi Kidz
4. Shake Me Down
5. 2024
6. Sell Yourself
7. Rubber Ball
8. Right Before My Eyes
9. Around My Head
10. Sabertooth Tiger
11. Japanese Buffalo
12. Flow
13. Shiver

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Shake Me Down
2. Rubber Ball
3. Around My Head

FINAL RATING:
3.5 out of 5 stars

Monday, January 10, 2011

Band Of Horses - Cease To Begin



When I do 'Odd' reviews every week, they can be any genre. I think the purpose of them is one of two things. It's either: 1) to introduce you to new bands that you may have never heard of - or 2) get you to listen to music that doesn't fit into regular radio play genres. Band of Horses pretty much fits into both categories. Thanks to peterman for the request in the Suggestion Box. Those are rare from peterman, so keep 'em coming buddy! These guys are a Seattle based band that used to go by the simple name of 'Horses'. For only being around since 2004 - they've gone through a shocking number of band members. Cease to Begin is their second studio drop, and for some reason, after the first album - they decided to up and move to South Carolina. I can't say if their sound changed after their location did, as I never heard their first record. How to describe these guys...hmm... Umm, I guess I've read comparisons to My Morning Jacket or maybe even a band based Neil Young. Okay, I guess I can roll with that. The MMJ comparison I guess feels pretty good, just from an overall sound standpoint. They've got a very indie rock feel, but then also a similar spacey arrangement which I always enjoy. Plus, this album has a track titled 'Detlef Schrempf'. I mean come on...it doesn't get any better than that. A couple tracks almost have a Mumford and Sons feel too. I really like this. The Top 3 tracks are all songs that I fully intend to download today if the album is too expensive on iTunes. This is rock solid, check it out to make your Monday fly by.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Is There a Ghost
2. Ode to LRC
3. No One's Gonna Love You
4. Detlef Schrempf
5. General Specific, The
6. Lamb on the Lam (In the City)
7. Islands on the Coast
8. Marry Song
9. Cigarettes, Wedding Bands
10. Window Blues

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Is There A Ghost
2. Marry Song
3. The General Specific

FINAL RATING:
4 out of 5 stars

Little Big Town - The Road To Here



Welcome back B Siders. It's Monday, and it's Country music day. Another review courtesy of my favorite Country fan - JenInTosa. Can't say that I'd ever heard of Little Big Town before. The name doesn't register. Going through the album this morning, I don't think I've heard any songs in passing either. These guys formed in 1998 in a state that I'd like to think really represents Country music. I feel if you're from Alabama - you're country. There are no impostors when you're from the deep south. Half of the band met during their years at Samford University. Naturally, if you want to make it big - you move to Nashville. That still seems to be the gold standard when wanting to begin or revive your music career. From a personal standpoint, two of the band mates are married - and just recently had a baby together. The other ones are also married, and seem to have spouses that are successful in other industries in their own lives. Which I think can be kind of nice. If you're a musician and don't have to bring home the dollars, there is less pressure and you may be more likely to take musical risks. I decided to review this album as it is their best selling at 1x platinum. (It's their only album to chart) I feel like these guys really are what you'd think of with Country music. A throwback of sorts in addition to capturing a newer 'contemporary' sound too. They've got the upbeat tracks and then the slow ballads, and it seems to come together pretty well. Take a track like 'Boondocks'. It's got that classic country feel to it - but then lyrically and with the arrangement, it's got the newer style. Then 'Bones' sounds like it could easily be a Fleetwood Mac song. I enjoyed this. One of the better country albums I've picked up recently. Check it out!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Good As Gone
2. Boondocks
3. Bones
4. Bring It On Home
5. Wounded
6. Little More You, A
7. Live With Lonesome
8. Mean Steak
9. Looking For A Reason
10. Lost
11. Welcome To The Family
12. Fine With Me
13. Stay

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Stay
2. Bring It On Home
3. Boondocks

FINAL RATING:
3.75 out of 5 stars

Friday, January 7, 2011

Rant #13 - "You And Me Could Write A Bad Romance"



Pop music. What does it mean to you?

I bag on pop music a lot. Not just here on the blog, but in real life too. Often when a song comes on the radio or on someones iPod or anything, I turn it off. And you might sit back and think, "B Side, aren't you just being narrow minded? Why can't you open your ears to a new, rising culture of music?" Well friend, I'm about to tell you.

Pop music to me isn't even so much a genre anymore. Pop music means to me one simple thing....making money. And the reason I think that is wrong, as a consumer - you're not getting what you paid for. Since I used her photo above, let's talk about Britney Spears for a minute. 1999 and '....Baby, One More Time' dropped. Whether you like that album or hate it, it's irrelevant. Someone in a studio decided to find some really hot and willing woman and completely exploit her. Did Britney write any of those tracks? Do you think it was her idea to dress up like a school girl? Do you think any of what she was singing about or the image she was portraying was the real Britney Spears? Think about it. When the cameras shut off for 20 minutes - she shaved her head and starting driving around without undies on. She was huge - dropped pretty much all the way to the bottom with the K-Fed show and marriage, the baby on the lap thing - and what happened? 90% of those "followers" dumped her as soon as that image wasn't there. Nobody wants to listen to an old, beat down pop star. (Take note Ke$ha, your time is coming too.)

Is Spears sans any talent? I highly doubt it. She's a solid dancer, she's got a pretty decent vocal and she has a knack for getting play in the club. What if she wrote some lyrics? What if she produced her own image? Would it be a little crazy? Of course! But what fan doesn't like that? Almost everyone I know LOVES when their favorite artist is real. Not just the persona the record label created. To this day, Spears only got 1 or 2 writing credits on her latest album. Might it be a train wreck if she did her "own" record? Who knows? We probably never will...

Record labels hold ALL the power. If I'm a young artist with a style, a vision and a sound. That doesn't mean anything. If I walk into a studio and lay some sick tracks down - it's up to some guy in a suit to determine if I have a future. If he thinks we've got talent, but not enough to sell - there is an option. Sell out. Turn my great garage band rock style and start singing some other guys song to a jazzed up beat. Why? Because they'll make money. Will I too? Sure. A little bit. But when I sing 'I'm A Slave 4 U' it's pretty hard as an artist to come out the next album and drop a really serious work. It's almost impossible. Once you go pop, you lose street cred with the other fans. And all because you didn't see the light right away, or because some guy told you that your sound wasn't good enough. I'll never stand by that.

It wasn't always this way. Madonna did what she wanted and it was pop and it was a beautiful marriage. Some band are in the pop category, and still are making the music they love. It's just really - REALLY rare. Gaga today seems to be conveying her message through her work. And some things she does might be overdone to stir up more controversy, but overall - what she's saying seems to be what she really feels. She just found the stage for it. In a sense, she's exploiting the record label and using it for her platform. I actually respect that. When someone goes up to Eminem, and tells him he needs to drop another album - because "it's been too long", what happens? Relapse/Refill comes out. If you listen to that, do you really think he was ready to hit the studio again? Of course not. It was a double album of really subpar or even bad music. And he knew it. He addressed that a million times. But hey, gotta keep the checks coming in right?

So in summary, it's not that I'm saying the music itself is BAD. Hell, I tap my toes to it sometimes too. I'll admit it. It's the way it happens that bothers me. It's the filter put on artists, not only in the studio - but in real life too that bothers me. How many really creative and new tracks have we missed out on because a studio didn't think it would sell? Makes you wonder. I don't ever want to congratulate a record exec for creating something like Ke$ha. It's sad. It's sad that she very well might be a totally intelligent, respectable woman. But she was told to convey the image of a party girl to sell records to teen girls and college girls. It's all a game. And it's not right.

Have a great weekend B Siders!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Meat Puppets - Too High To Die



We all know by now that 1994 is the best year for music ever. One day, I'm going to run a top 50 albums of that year. You'll be STUNNED how many amazing records came out that year. Maybe not so much amazing, but really solid here is the Meat Puppets. These guys were based out of Phoenix and started making tunes in 1980. They stuck it out for well over a decade before they really hit it big. The only reason they got big? Not because of a monster single or because they did something big in pop culture. Because of Nirvana. I chose to do this album because of the track 'Backwater'. That was pretty much the Puppets only big single that saw radio play. Otherwise, I will do the album Meat Puppets II sometime soon. That houses three tracks: 'Oh, Me'; 'Plateau' and 'Lake Of Fire' that Nirvana all used to play on live shows. Meat Puppets would often join Nirvana on tour - and on stage when these tracks got played. The Puppets started to pick up a huge following in '93 because of those live performances. 'Lake Of Fire' is a hidden track on this album as well, and the song did see some airplay after Nirvana covered it. I think people wanted to hear how Nirvana's compared to the original. But I like their story. Work hard, let others collaborate with you - good things can happen. This album is by no means one of the best you'll ever hear - but the Puppets are solid. I've been listening to them for a few years now, and I usually leave happy. Check this out today. I'll get to the 'II' album soon as well. I think you'll enjoy it.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Violet Eyes
2. Never to Be Found
3. We Don't Exist
4. Severed Goddess Hand
5. Flaming Heart
6. Shine
7. Station
8. Roof With a Hole
9. Backwater
10. Things
11. Why?
12. Evil Love
13. Comin' Down
14. Lake Of Fire (Hidden Track)

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Backwater
2. Lake Of Fire
3. Severed Goddess Hand

FINAL RATING:
3.5 out of 5 stars

Florence + The Machine - Lungs



Another Suggestion Box review kicks off my Thursday - with Shaqwanda's entry of Flo and the Machine. It's probably my second favorite machine based band name after Rage. There are many bands out there that are just impossible to classify. Standard genre's don't fit. That's why people just label bands indie rock or something of that nature - because it means nothing. Are these guys all rock based? Nope. They have a nice bit of mood music and Florence's voice is very soulful. She has a very bold and powerful tone that is fairly entrancing. It's a semi interesting story how the name came about. Florence used to jam with a childhood friend Isabella Summers. Back then, they referred to each other as Florence Robot and Isa Machine. So that was the name of their band at first. When she realized that name was too long and would drive her nuts, it went from Florence Robot/Isa Machine to just Florence and the Machine. Isabella left the band and came back - but Flo runs through a variety of session musicians for her shows. It will be hard to find an artist that receives so much praise as her right now. Everyone is on board with the type of music she's making. The last person who was so unanimously liked for her music that I can recall was Amy Winehouse. Too bad she couldn't keep it going. Hopefully similar doesn't happen to Flo. She's working on a second album, due out this year. This is very cool. It's got multiple feels and all of them go down smooth. Drink it in B Siders. Happy Thursday!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Dog Days Are Over
2. Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)
3. I'm Not Calling You a Liar
4. Howl
5. Kiss with a Fist
6. Girl with One Eye
7. Drumming Song
8. Between Two Lungs
9. Cosmic Love
10. My Boy Builds Coffins
11. Hurricane Drunk
12. Blinding
13. You've Got the Love

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Kiss With A Fist
2. Cosmic Love
3. Dog Days Are Over

FINAL RATING:
4 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Janet Jackson - The Velvet Rope



My second Hump Day post is another Suggestion from the Box. This time it's follower Ashley and her request for me to listen to this album - and most specifically Janet featuring Q Tip and 'Got Til It's Gone'. I'm 99% positive that I've heard this song in the past, but like I've stated before, I'm not exactly Janet's number one fan. I've always respected her music - mainly because she's so iconic, but it's just not something I personally groove to. But hey, anyone who can step out of the shadows of the King of Pop and make a huge splash in the industry - big props. In the grand scheme of Janet, this is her 6th studio album and it came out in 1997. The album is a modest 3x platinum for Janet. Just a note from listening to it a couple times - it's very up and down. There are songs - some of the beat-y and uptempo, then it's just some slow spoken word type things (rap music would call them "skits"). Janet calls them 'Interludes'. It's very odd. And I haven't heard the sound of connecting to the internet via dialup in years. If you wanted to hear it again, check out track 12. I had high speed internet in 1998, come on Janet. Get with the times. As a whole, I can see why the sales of this record dipped for her by comparison to earlier records. It doesn't really have that classic Janet dance jam. And the mood type tracks - frankly, aren't any good. They're not memorable and it's just vocal. Usually I'm more than okay with that, but Janet's voice isn't exactly angelic. In terms of just the song that Ashley asked about - it's a bit of a saving grace. There are literally three tracks on this album I might listen to, that being one. Q-Tip does a nice job on it, and it's a good twist on a classic track. Like the beat over the vocal, and it's a track you could hear on the radio today and it would sound current. That's always a plus. Anyways, I'd skip this. But you know my stance on the Jacksons.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Interlude: Twisted Elegance
2. Velvet Rope
3. You
4. Got 'Til It's Gone
5. Interlude: Speaker Phone
6. My Need
7. Interlude: Fasten Your Seatbelts
8. Go Deep
9. Free Xone
10. Interlude: Memory
11. Together Again
12. Interlude: Online
13. Empty
14. Interlude: Full
15. What About
16. Every Time
17. Tonight's the Night (Gonna Be Alright)
18. I Get Lonely
19. Rope Burn
20. Anything
21. Interlude: Sad
22. Special

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Got Til It's Gone
2. What About
3. Every Time

FINAL RATING:
2.25 out of 5 stars

Story Of The Year - Page Avenue



Getting back to real music the last couple of days has been really nice. I always enjoy picking out music I've never heard before out of the Suggestion Box. When it comes to new to me punk rock type music, Shaqwanda is no doubt my go-to expert. Today it's Story Of The Year. And as a quick side note, Shaqwanda requested this way back in September of this year. It's not that I was ignoring this posting, sometimes it just takes time to get to all of them. Or, they don't link samples - and that's one of my requirements. For example, Brand new doesn't link anything to Amazon. They are currently on my ban list. Sorry for the couple that asked for them. Anyways, I've been known to maybe not enjoy the punk genre as much as others in the past. These bands really have to do something different to impress me anymore. These guys started as 67 North (which I believe is a major highway in St. Louis where they are from) then they changed to Big Blue Monkey and now SOTY. I like Blue Monkey they best - but what do I know? These guys started around 2002 and have seen a little bit of oddness. They got into a big fight with the roadies for Godsmack - apparently got beat up pretty good. A couple of the members seem to go in and out for side projects too. I guess what's different about these guys, is they have a little metal element to them. Very similar sounding to a Hoobastank in my opinion. So in the grand scheme of things, it really isn't anything earth shattering in terms of sound. It's not something I'd actively turn off, but I also wouldn't be able to pick up that it's these guys if a random song came on the radio. Seems like they've made a few more album, so I'll have to check those out someday.

TRACK LISTING:
1. And the Hero Will Drown
2. Until the Day I Die
3. Anthem of Our Dying Day
4. In the Shadows
5. Dive Right In
6. Swallow the Knife
7. Burning Years
8. Page Avenue
9. Sidewalks
10. Divide and Conquer
11. Razorblades
12. Falling Down

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Dive Right In
2. Burning Years
3. And The Hero Will Drown

FINAL RATING:
2.5 out of 5 stars