Song of the Moment

J. Cole - Lost Ones

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cardigans - First Band On The Moon



Ahh yes. Who doesn't remember 1996 like it was yesterday? Who doesn't remember hearing 'Lovefool' on the radio and cranking it as loud as your stereo goes? That song was simply magical back in the day. The Cardigans here are a Swedish band from, and I have to copy this name - Jönköping. How to pronounce that, don't ask me. Oddly enough, these guys formed via two guys who had been in a super heavy metal group before the Cardigans. Their sound couldn't be any further from metal. But it might explain why they covered Sabbath's 'Iron Man' on this record. They got on the map with their second album 'Life' that sold over a million copies world wide. It was that success that allowed them to sign with major label Mercury Records in which this was the first release. That's when 'Lovefool' dropped and the band really blew up. They were featured on television shows, movies and video games. I know from personal memory they were big on the Gran Turismo games for Playstation and they played themselves on an episode of Beverly Hills 90210 for a graduation band. They went at it hard for years, and decided to take a break - in which the lead singer did some solo work. They got back together for another 3 years, '03-'06, but are now on yet another break. I feel like their music can be summed up by one thing, the voice of the band Nina Persson. Her voice is very captivating and is simply a delight to listen to. A song like 'Lovefool' really captures that essence better than other tracks on this album. It's easy to see why this particular album is platinum, but also easy to understand why they haven't sold well otherwise. Their sound is pretty unique, yet common at the same time. Their biggest asset is the vocal, and I don't feel they accentuate it all that much. I'll have to listen to other albums by them, but this one is pretty okay. I like it, but not enough to buy it.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Your New Cuckoo
2. Been It
3. Heartbreaker
4. Happy Meal II
5. Never Recover
6. Step on Me
7. Lovefool
8. Losers
9. Iron Man
10. Great Divide
11. Choke

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Lovefool
2. Been It
3. Heartbreaker

FINAL RATING:
3.5 out of 5 stars

Diana Ross - Diana



Thirsty Thursday is here B Siders! I have no idea why I used that phrase just now. I guess I'll relate it to the fact I'm always thirsty for more tuneage. That thirst includes any old motown stuff like Diana Ross here. Follower Ashley asked that I take a peek at her, and I'm assuming she meant her solo stuff since she didn't ask for the Supremes. When she asked the question of what I think of Diana Ross, I have to say - the easiest answer would be nothing. I'm so ignorant to her music other than hits, I couldn't even begin to formulate a good response. But here we are, looking at this 1980 blockbuster. Ross was born in Detroit in 1944. She grew up in a tough area of Detroit and had a father in the military. Apparently her parents wanted to name her Diane, but the birth certificate got fudged by the clerk at the city hall, and it came out Diana. So that's why she is who she is, clerical error. She joined the Supremes in 1959 and obviously saw pretty solid success. The group thing lasted a wicked 11 years, until Ross decided to roll with some solo work. 11 years of Supreme work, and then this just so happens to be her 11th solo studio album. I chose this one, because it's one of only two of her records that went platinum. That's crazy. Many of her albums hit number one on the charts, but didn't sell well. I don't think I need to explain how her music is. I feel she's iconic enough that everyone at least knows what a taste of Ross feels like. I can say for me personally, every so often I like to listen to old Motown-y stuff. It's always up beat and provided the beat log for a lot of current rap tracks I enjoy. So I like to pay homage by listening to the originals. I recommend you guys do the same today with a little Diana.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Upside Down
2. Tenderness
3. Friend to Friend
4. I'm Coming Out
5. Have Fun (Again)
6. My Old Piano
7. Now That You're Gone
8. Give Up

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Upside Down
2. I'm Coming Out
3. My Old Piano

FINAL RATING:
3.25 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Saliva - Back Into Your System



Typically when I think of Memphis, Tennessee - I think of country music, acoustic guitars and big hats. Saliva is pretty much the opposite of all those qualities. (shows what I know...) This band started making music in 1996 or so, and dropping their first album in 1997. I don't think there are many people in the world that heard that first release. The next one came out in 2001, didn't see a ton of initial success though. Which surprises me, because the single 'Click Click Boom' was off that record. That album eventually went 2x platinum, which is their highest selling record. This was the follow up, and the reason I went with this record is the first single I ever heard by Saliva was off this album. The song 'Always' came on the radio one day driving back to school while visiting my girlfriend. And I thought, "man, what a great sound". Little did I know, that little single wasn't a great representation of their music as a whole. Other than 'Click', you have 'Ladies and Gentlemen' and 'Your Disease' as track they are more easily identified by. A lot of people call them "rap metal" which is a description that defies my intelligence. I'm going to put them more in the plain metal category - but they are almost more of a pop metal than anything. I think they make fast paced tracks that can be used by the WWE, UFC or boxing promotions with ease. They still have that hard sound, but you can still sing along. If that makes sense. This album is different. It doesn't contain those types of hits - and overall possesses a different Saliva sound. I like this album. It's not amazing, but I like the different nature of it. I feel this sets the standard in Saliva albums, and I don't think I'll change my mind anytime soon.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Superstar II
2. Weight of the World
3. Always
4. Back Into Your System
5. All Because of You
6. Raise Up
7. Separated Self
8. Rest in Pieces
9. Storm
10. Holdin On
11. Pride
12. Famous Monsters

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Always
2. Rest In Pieces
3. Pride

FINAL RATING:
2.75 out of 5 stars

Frightened Rabbit - The Winter Of Mixed Drinks



Hump day is back, and I'm tired. I exhausted myself digging through all that new music yesterday. Hopefully you guys dove head first into some of that good stuff as well. This review has been long overdue, as follower Shaqwanda requested I listen to this almost when the blog began. I reviewed a different FR album - not sure if that was in error or what - but it's an 'odd' review day and this certainly fits that mold. This album released in 2010 and made it as high as #84 on the US charts. Doesn't look like it reached any sort of gold status - but that's not overly surprising. For a Scottish indie rock band to sell hundreds of thousands of copies in the US, they'd have to have a couple really big singles. I really enjoyed their last album, so I'm going into this one with an open mind and high hopes. I've been jamming a TON to Mumford & Sons lately and they come out with that sort of track. Mumford is pretty folk rockish with really nice Irish beats and instruments. FR is probably lumped into that same folk rock category, but this album doesn't have the sheer high energy of M&S. This particular album is a little more laid back, which certainly isn't a bad thing. I tried to really sit back and listen to the lyrics on this one, which I commonly do with folk bands. And it feels like this album is a statement that they'll overcome past life events. That no matter what has happened, the future is bright. This album is telling a story, and I always appreciate when bands go that route. I think this is a fun album in terms of listenability and simply good music. I can't imagine you'd be angry if you gave this a go today.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Things
2. Swim Until You Can't See Land
3. Loneliness and the Scream, The
4. Wrestle, The
5. Skip the Youth
6. Nothing Like You
7. Man/Bag of Sand
8. Footshooter
9. Not Miserable
10. Living in Colour
11. Yes, I Would

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. The Wrestle
2. The Loneliness And The Scream
3. Living In Colour

FINAL RATING:
3.5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Radiohead - King Of Limbs



Installation number three today is what I consider the Cadillac of this week's New Music Tuesday trio. Why? Because I've been on this incredible 2 or 3 month Radiohead kick now. I can't get enough of these guys. Everything they do is so different and exciting for me. I adore this alternative random nonsense they do. And that's about the best I can explain their style. It changes on an album to album basis. These guys are also pioneers of offering music exclusively through themselves versus giving a big label any sort of credit for what they do. It started with their last drop 'In Rainbows' where you could go to their web site, pay whatever you wanted for the album and download it. Sure most people paid one whole penny - but that's not the point. Radiohead gave their fans an album that they didn't have to run to the store to buy and didn't have to pay 10 dollars plus. Genius. This album had a similar start. It was offered back in late January I think on their web page for a pre-determined amount. (I think it was 8 dollars) But you had access to it a couple of months before it hit the stores. Since I'm a tangible cd nerd even more than a Radiohead nerd, I will be running out to buy my copy after work today. But I got a hold of the 8 tracks a while back, and have been gingerly listening to them as to not get burned out by the time I reviewed them...yeah, like that's even possible for me. This album's art is based on the fairy tales you'd hear as a kid. The stuff that wouldn't let you go to sleep at night. Personally, I feel the music captured that essence to perfection. Absolute perfection. There are a couple songs where if you drift back and let the music take over, you could imagine you were stuck in this haunting scene and the music was merely the soundtrack of your life. It's very different from other stuff they've done, which is why I love them and this. I wish it were more than 8 tracks, but maybe that's part of the reason I enjoy it. All solid music with no filler. I love it, Radiohead fans will love it - you might too. Happy Tuesday Trio B Siders!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Bloom
2. Morning Mr Magpie
3. Little by Little
4. Feral
5. Lotus Flower
6. Codex
7. Give Up the Ghost
8. Separator

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Little By Little
2. Codex
3. Lotus Flower

FINAL RATING:
4.25 out of 5 stars

Britney Spears - Femme Fetale



Installation number two of New Music Tuesday hits with pop icon, Britney Spears. A bit of a confession first, Wiz and review 3 are "new" but I had access to them quite a while ago. This is the only cd I had to listen to in full this morning, and I just got through it now. I'm going to replay it again and I'll probably get through only 4 or 5 tracks before I'm done writing the review. So this is totally my first impression, and as always, subject to change. I want to come straight out with it though in terms of my opinion of Britney. If you asked me a decade ago, I'd have told you I can't stand her. Now, I very much respect what she's been through. I feel it's almost impossible to be young, a major pop star and not have your life get screwed up by all the attention and genuinely bad people out there giving you poor advice. Not that she didn't make any bad decisions on her own, because I'm sure she did. I simply can identify better with her now that she's shown her human side. She makes mistakes, and is trying to bounce back from all the weird things that happened in her life. I respect that. Regardless, this is her 7th studio album, and her first since 2008. Her albums have steadily declined in sales since numero uno, and it's fairly easy to see why. Her music has adapted a bit on each album and become a little more and more "adult" for lack of a better word. This album is no different. The goal of this album was to get "harder" (in her words) and dabble more into the dance/electronic world. In theory, I should love this, given my beatnut background. This has a couple good things and bad things going for it. It sounds fresh for a Britney album, but it still maintains the Britney identity that shouldn't alienate her vast fanbase. On the other hand, many of the beats sound identical or at least very similar. She also made a dance album with a couple too many "ballads" on it, to be taken overly serious in another genre. And to make sure you understand what I'm saying there, I'm talking mid-tempo dance tracks that still aren't "slow", just slow-er. In my opinion, this is a great idea. Mega pop stars should be able to make their own high selling dance albums instead of dropping bubble gum pop that some DJ remixes and capitalizes on later. I think for a first attempt, it's not bad. It's not amazing either - it's pretty middle of the road. If I could shut my eyes and think Deadmau5 may have mixed it, that's a total success in my eyes. And there are a couple tracks where that is the case. If this was a full album of that, I'd be 4 stars plus. As it stands, it's going to be above average with my opinion to keep forming as I listen more. I wanna hear the Britney fans! What do you think?

TRACK LISTING:
1. Till the World Ends
2. Hold It Against Me
3. Inside Out
4. I Wanna Go
5. How I Roll
6. (Drop Dead) Beautiful
7. Seal It with a Kiss
8. Big Fat Bass
9. Trouble for Me
10. Trip to Your Heart
11. Gasoline
12. Criminal
13. Up N' Down
14. He About to Lose Me
15. Selfish
16. Don't Keep Me Waiting

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Till The World Ends (probably the dance anthem off this record)
2. Up N' Down (nice stop and go beat with vocal)
3. Trouble For Me (great stretched out synth beat)
4. Hold It Against Me (Daft Punk-ish vocal/hard beat combo)
5. Inside Out (has that Genuine - Pony quality. could be a good single)

FINAL RATING:
3.25 out of 5 stars

Wiz Khalifa - Rolling Papers



Holy cats it's Tuesday. In what normally would be my installation of Techno Tuesday, we're going to skip that today. Why you ask? Good question. Because today there are frankly too many good looking new releases to look at. Today is a TRIPLE THREAT NEW MUSIC TUESDAY! Three reviews, all on Tuesday. Crazy, I know. It all starts with Wiz Khalifa here. Personally, I've been waiting and waiting and waiting for this album to drop. Probably 95% of you have heard 'Black and Yellow' at some point in your recent life. The single dropped in September of last year. That's almost 7 months of radio airplay before the album came out. That's a LONG time! Wiz (aka Cameron Thomaz) is from Pittsburgh, PA - hence the 'Black and Yellow' track. He's been rapping since 2005 or so, but this album is his first major label release with Atlantic Records. Wiz was born in North Dakota to two military enlisted parents. His parents divorced when he was three, but they both stayed on active duty. This caused him to move quite a bit as a kid - per usual with military families. He lived in Germany, Japan and England at different points of childhood before settling in Pittsburgh. This kid is hot. He was named hip hop's hottest rapper of 2010, which caused quite a bit of a stir. He didn't have a major label, so he was in a bidding war between multiple CEO's. Atlantic won, and subsequently - Wiz turned down a lot of great touring collabo offers by non-Atlantic artists. His style is almost second to none right now. He's got smart flow that makes you enjoy the whole rap package. It's not just beats or lyrics or flow, it's a combination of everything. It's very old school in that sense. I'm not saying it has a message or anything, because it doesn't - but it's not just talking about your paint job or weed. Needless to say, I really like this. Wiz has the promise of becoming an excellent fixture in rap for a really long time. I hope he can follow this up with another non "party rap" record. Give this a go if you like rap. And if nothing else, listen to Weezy's remix of 'Black and Yellow' called 'Green and Yellow' celebrating my Packers. Go Pack...err, Go Wiz Go!

TRACK LISTING:
1. When I'm Gone
2. On My Level
3. Black and Yellow
4. Roll Up
5. Hopes & Dreams
6. Wake Up
7. Race, The
8. Star of the Show
9. No Sleep
10. Get Your S**t
11. Top Floor
12. Fly Solo
13. Rooftops
14. Cameras

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Black And Yellow
2. Wake Up
3. When I'm Gone

FINAL RATING:
3.75 out of 5 stars

Monday, March 28, 2011

Beck - Guero



I think I've said this before, but certain acts you loved when you were a kid - always have a special place in your heart as you get older. I adored Beck's 'Odelay' record when I was younger, and everytime he drops a new one, I do my best to pick it up and give it a go. They are always so incredibly different, which makes me grow fonder of Mr. Beck Hansen here. And to boot, you talk about defining alternative rock, the picture in the dictionary should be Beck and Radiohead. Pioneers of the genre if you ask me. Anyways, I reviewed 'Odelay' a long while back, and gave it a positive review. For those lovers of that type of sound, this album I think is also for you. Not to say it's exactly the same, but it's closer to that than most other stuff by him out there. This reminds me a lot of a Gorillaz record or something, where the whole thing start to finish is rock solid, but the sound runs the gambit of any genre you can imagine. There are a couple electronic tracks here that are really fun to listen to, and then one where he collaborates with Jack White. Oh, and then throw a pop single 'Girl' in there for good measure. This is his 9th studio album and is certified a mere gold. Beck's album are typically never monster sellers, mainly because his music is semi 'out-there'. But this album is better than that. It dropped in March of 2005 and I can't find a lot of critics who didn't enjoy it through and through...which is quite strange. I love this record. I've played it over and over on my iPod and won't be putting it down anytime soon. Highly recommend you give this a shot if you're yearning for something new and different today.

TRACK LISTING:
1. E-Pro
2. Que Onda Guero
3. Girl
4. Missing
5. Black Tambourine
6. Earthquake Weather
7. Hell Yes
8. Broken Drum
9. Scarecrow
10. Go It Alone
11. Farewell Ride
12. Rental Car
13. Emergency Exit

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. E-Pro
2. Broken Drum
3. Hell Yes

4. Earthquake Weather
5. Girl

FINAL RATING:
4.25 out of 5 stars

Wreckers - Stand Still, Look Pretty



Monday is back, and ready to hopefully run by extremely fast. I don't want to be "that guy" who talks about having a case of the Monday's...but jeez. Tuesday can't get here fast enough. Musically, today it's a Country day on the B Side. I knew that JenInTosa dropped a ton of country music suggestions on the box - and that I had a few of them left...I didn't realize that was WAY back in September of last year! Time really does in fact fly. Anyways, there wasn't much left for me to choose in relation to this band, as they only have one studio album out to date. This country female duo started in 2006, and I guess you could say they stared in Arizona. Half of this duo is pretty famous for being a solo artist, maybe you've heard of her - Michelle Branch ring a bell? Yeah, I had no idea she started a country act either. Don't beat yourself up too much. The other woman's name is Jessica Harp - who also has some solo stuff, but I hadn't really heard the name before today. These two had been longtime friends when they decided to go for a little country music duet together. The consensus was this was going to be there one and only record, but Harp seems to think otherwise. She feels this will be a sort of on-going side project for both of them, and that solo work feels right today, but that could change tomorrow. Interesting. In terms of country style, it's actually a pretty solid sound. They still have that solo quality like a normal Branch record, but it's set to more country beats. And that's not a terrible idea. I could see why any country or Branch/pop fan would enjoy this. It goes down easy to even a novice country fan. The album is only certified gold, so don't expect them to go back to this based on sales. So if you like it, let them know! I could see them making a solid sophomore effort.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Leave the Pieces
2. Way Back Home
3. Good Kind, The
4. Tennessee
5. My, Oh My
6. Stand Still, Look Pretty
7. Cigarettes
8. Hard to Love You
9. Lay Me Down
10. One More Girl
11. Rain
12. Crazy People

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Stand Still, Look Pretty
2. Leave The Pieces
3. One More Girl

FINAL RATING:
3.25 out of 5 stars

Friday, March 25, 2011

Rant #15 - "Trippin' Down The Freeway"



I had to insert a photo of my car for you guys. Just so you all know how I roll down the street listening to my tuneage. =)

Last week, as you guys most likely read, I was in Colorado. And I made the arduous 13 hour drive out there in lieu of flying. I LOVE road trips, so the time doesn't bother me in the slightest. But I admit, driving through Nebraska can get a little taxing, especially if you're overly tired. But there is one saving grace B Siders...MUSIC of course!!

I drove out with two of my friends, who I didn't really know a ton about their music tastes. Now if it were just me, I'd listen to a lot of upbeat hip hop and other stuff in general that I can sing along to. That really wasn't the case with them though. One sat in the back and didn't really have anything in terms of requests or things she wanted to hear. The other LOVED techno/dance music. We must have listened to a certain Deadmau5 track a dozen times that he really enjoyed. Is that what I'd have picked given I was alone or with other people? Probably not. Did I mind it? Certainly not.

It's really quite amazing when you think about it. Any kind of music can really bring people together and make something that seemingly lasts forever go by reasonably fast. Which is awesome. There has to be some sort of line in the sand in terms of listening to stuff that people hate...but that's not too hard to do. I wouldn't want to listen to 13 hours Jack Johnson or Coldplay - but you get the idea. Road trips really are what you make of them. And if you go into it with the attitude of, "ugh, this is going to be long, boring and stupid" - no amount of music is probably going to make up for your issues with being there. But the magic is when you crank up 'Hold My Hand' by Hootie and the Blowfish, and the entire car is just rockin' along - grooving to the beat and singing along at their loudest effort. That's when road trips become what they should be...magical journey's across our beautiful nation.

Some day I'll give you my Top 5 road trippin' songs. And I think that's something everyone can chime in on. Who hasn't had a great experience behind the wheel, navigating 10 hours or more? One day B Siders...one day.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Dorrough - Dorrough Music



Well hello there rap fans. Some of you may wonder why I don't review more rap records from artists that just had one major hit. Well, so far - that describes this Dorrough fella here. And this came up because my ride back in from Colorado last week, my car mates wanted to hear 'Ice Cream Paint Job' and I didn't have it on my iPod. You would have thought I murdered someone given their reaction. Anyways, Dorrough (aka Dorwin Demarcus Dorrough) is from Houston, Texas. You can hear that signature Houston sound in his music too. It's actually maybe a little dirty dirty ATL in there too. But if you've heard Slim Thug, Mike Jones, Chamillionaire - the sound is very similar. This album dropped in August of 2009 and saw modest success and pretty harsh reviews from critics. And that's pretty easy to understand. Any lesser known rapper who puts out a 15 track album after one really successful single, people tend to expect gold. Now, I can safely say this album isn't amazing, but it's not bad either. It's just an average rap record. There are a couple pretty annoying tracks where the hook is repeated too many times for my taste, but that's pretty common in today's rap music. Party rap as some people would call it. 'ICPJ' is certainly a high end party track that would always get the crowd going. There is maybe one other track that could have that effect as well. The rest, meh. You can listen to it today if you want, but don't expect socks blown off.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Boy I Grind
2. Ice Cream Paint Job
3. She Ain't Got It All
4. Hood Song
5. Flashout
6. Never Changed
7. Feel This Way
8. Piece & Chain Swangin
9. This Time You Was Wrong
10. Walk That Walk
11. Wired to the T
12. Trunk Bang
13. What's My Ringtone
14. Whole Lotta, A
15. Caramel Sundae

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Ice Cream Paint Job
2. Boy I Grind
3. A Whole Lotta

FINAL RATING:
2.5 out of 5 stars

Everett Thomas - Visions Of The Sea



My super sincerest apologies for the late posts today. I had to sign up for our summer sports leagues this morning and the lines were incredibly long. Fortunately, I had some music keeping me company during my wait, most specifically 'Brothers' by the Black Keys. That's neither here nor there. What is here, is Everett Thomas. Now - every so often I get some really small indie artist that comes across my headphones that not many people have heard of. That's no big deal. What is extremely rare, is when I get something that shows up on Amazon but doesn't even have a Wikipedia page! You've stunned my Mr. Thomas! Album not available at Best Buy and no Wiki page. Very strange indeed. Shaqwanda suggested I listen to this today, and mentioned this fella is a friend of one of her friends. She saw him live a while back, and said his show was (and I quote) "utterly fantastic". All of you know by know that I'm a sucker for 'mood' music, so this is sounding pretty good already. Very acoustic-y and then very soft vocals. There are a couple tracks that seem to be duets, and the sounds blend really well. I feel like what he's doing in terms of sheer style isn't really unique or creative, but when you put it on and just sit back, it sounds fantastic. Track 2 has this great snare beat over his vocal and it's simply captivating. I wish I had some sort of ability to make guy more public, but I'm just a guy with a blog. So I'll give this a really good rating today, hoping to promote local music and get this guy some more followers. Check him out this morning!

TRACK LISTING:
1. New Orleans
2. Firesong
3. Beggars In A Monarch's Parade
4. Claire
5. Visions of the Sea
6. Nighengales
7. Herald Of Hope
8. Spanish Mission Bell
9. She Will Be Stable There
10. Skies Will Fall

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Nightengales
2. Firesong
3. Herald Of Hope

FINAL RATING:
4.25 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Chris Brown - F.A.M.E



Pop music and pop culture always seem to go so hand in hand together. There probably isn't a hotter gossip story right now than his episode on Good Morning America yesterday. If you were stuck in a closet at any point, he was charged with felony domestic violence charges stemming from while he was dating Rihanna. I'm sure he pleaded down to some community service, but Brown became a bit of a social pariah and a poster for anti abuse ads. Well, that happened at least a year ago now, and some reports still want to get answers on what happened. He was asked by Robin Roberts yesterday, and he reportedly flipped out. Tossed a chair at a window, got into verbal and slight physical altercations with security and producers and left the building shirtless. Very nice. His Twitter post quasi confirms the incident here - ”I'm so over people bring this past s**t up!! Yet we praise Charlie Sheen and other celebs for [their] bullsh**t.” Extra nice. This album dropped just yesterday, but I didn't really want to give it any attention. Since this happened, it's already getting plenty - so what's one more? From a music standpoint, Brown is kind of stuck between this R&B and hip hop purgatory. He'll put tracks that make you want to think he's going for a hip hop motif, but then the rest of his stuff is poppy nonsense. It's really hard for me to listen to his record top to bottom, because they're so poorly arranged. I certainly don't respect him as a person, and given what I've heard on his albums, he's not getting any of my hard earned cash anytime soon. This album is about on par with the others, where it'll have a couple "hits" on the pop charts, and the rest of it is essentially a throwaway. If you like his albums - please let me know. I simply don't get it.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Deuces
2. Up to You
3. No BS
4. Look At Me Now
5. She Ain't You
6. Say It With Me
7. Yeah 3X
8. Next 2 You
9. All Back
10. Wet the Bed
11. Oh My Love
12. Should've Kissed You
13. Beautiful People
14. Bomb
15. Love The Girls
16. Paper, Scissors, Rock
17. Beg For It

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Beautiful People (nice Benny Benassi beat)
2. Deuces
3. Yeah 3x

FINAL RATING:
1.75 out of 5 stars

Whitesnake - Self Titled



So we all know how I generally feel about 80's rock/hair metal/whatever else you want to call this abysmal decade. I have a co-worker who was bragging about how he'd recently purchased 'Whitesnake's Greatest Hits' and was super pumped about popping it in for the first time. I chuckled and commented, "how long is the cd, 4 songs?" I burst his bubble a little bit, and he kind of agreed that they aren't that great. Truth is, I don't know a ton by these guys. Follower janis! asked that I review an album by them, so here goes nothin'. I picked this one because it's their best selling - at a rockin' 8x platinum in the USA. Whitesnake was formed in merry old England, so it's surprising that's it's a lackluster 1x in the UK. Very odd. I guess it goes to show you though, having a monster single in the US can lead to sick album sales. And guess what? This album has a couple of them. None bigger than 'Here I Go Again' which I'm guessing anyone my age can belt out without missing a single lyric. Yes, even cynical me can do it. David Coverdale is one of the most signature front men in the business. I'll give him all the credit in the world for making the band as big as it is. And to show you what's happening, they're dropping another record next week. There is a TON of stuff coming out next week. It's going to be a non-stop new music fest. Anyways...this album is catchy. There are a couple really nice songs, that make you want to listen to more. This was supposedly during a 'metal' phase for this band, and it's about as metal as the 80's got. Incredibly weak metal by a Metallica or Motorhead standard since this was dropped in 1987. It's worth listening to I suppose - but don't expect nine golden tracks here. Listen to the hits, and then navigate your way through what else you can stomach.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Crying in the Rain
2. Bad Boys
3. Still of the Night
4. Here I Go Again
5. Give Me All Your Love
6. Is This Love
7. Children of the Night
8. Straight for the Heart
9. Don't Turn Away

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Here I Go Again
2. Still Of The Night
3. Is This Love

FINAL RATING:
3.25 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Strokes - Angles



New Music Tuesday is here today - and there is no shortage of hot new tracks out there this morning. I ended up picked the Strokes over a couple bands because I owe it to myself and you guys to listen to more by this band. I reviewed 'Is This It' way back in June of last year, and it got a positive rating. I think even in that review I realized I have never really given them another shot to win me over. I don't listen to that record very often, so I'm not sure what to expect with this one. Julian Casablancas does the lead vocals, and I really enjoy his work. He did a great job in the Lonely Island track 'Boombox' as well. Even though these guys are from New York - they have a much bigger following in the UK and overseas. The Strokes have been on a break since 2005 or so, and from certain message boards, a lot of fans weren't really missing their sound. Which is a bit of a bummer, because I really liked their previous stuff. Despite the fact this record just dropped today, the band already told fans about another album they want to come out this year yet. Crazy. Anyway, this is a pretty short listen - 10 tracks. It's got a similar sound to 'Is This It' and that's a very good thing. I'm still classifying this as rock music - because it's so raw and unassuming. It feels good while you're going through it and it's very easy to have this on in the background and be grooving while doing something else. No individual tracks have really stuck out to me thusfar, but the record as a whole has had a really good vibe for me. I'd encourage ya'll to try it out today - I think if you liked any Strokes you've heard previous, there is no reason you wouldn't enjoy this one also. Happy Tuesday!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Machu Picchu
2. Under Cover of Darkness
3. Two Kinds of Happiness
4. You're So Right
5. Taken for a Fool
6. Games
7. Call Me Back
8. Gratisfaction
9. Metabolism
10. Life is Simple in the Moonlight

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Under Cover Of Darkness
2. Call Me Back
3. Two Kinds Of Happiness

FINAL RATING:
3.25 out of 5 stars

Tiesto - Kaleidoscope



It's Tuesday again B Siders...and it's time to introduce some more techno music in your life. Techno Tuesday has been beating your socks off for about a year now, and it's really helped me groove on some sick beats. Hopefully it has for you guys also. Tiesto here is a Dutch DJ, musician and producer. He's gone by many other aliases, but DJ Tiesto or simply Tiesto is his most popular moniker. He was born in the Netherlands in 1969 and started getting into music at age twelve. At that point he started DJing for birthday parties and stuff of that nature. When he got a shot to DJ in a club, he never turned back. He refined his skills in the electronic forum for a good number of years before going big time. Most of Tiesto's work in the past was trance style electronic - and this being much more collaborative with popular artists. This is considered his most experimental album to date because of that fact. Tiesto enjoyed this so much, he helped Three 6 Mafia with their track 'Feel It' featuring Sean Kingston and Flo Rida. His personal life has seen some tough relationship matters. He was dating a model, that didn't work out. He was engaged to a different lady - postponed the wedding multiple times due to not having enough free time, then broke the engagement off because they kept pushing it back. It's lonely at the top for a high end DJ. There is NO question he knows what he's doing behind the turntables though. Even this record, which seemed to alienate many of his die hards, is quite exceptional. There are a ton of dance tracks that will get your toes tapping. If you're in that beaty mood today, give 'er a listen.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Kaleidoscope
2. Escape Me
3. You Are My Diamond
4. I Will Be Here
5. I Am Strong
6. Here on Earth
7. Always Near
8. It's Not The Things You Say
9. Fresh Fruit
10. Century
11. Feel It in My Bones
12. Who Wants to Be Alone
13. LA Ride
14. Bend It Like You Don't Care
15. Knock You Out
16. Louder Than Boom
17. Surrounded By Light

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Who Wants To Be Alone
2. I Will Be Here
3. Escape Me

FINAL RATING:
3.25 out of 5 stars

Monday, March 21, 2011

Led Zeppelin - In Through The Out Door



Getting back and listening to a lot of dance music and rap music through my trip, as soon as I got back I started blasting some classic rock. The people I was road trippin' with weren't really classic types of people, so I didn't listen to hardly any for the last week. A track did come on the satellite radio while I was in CO, and that track was 'Nobody's Fault But Mine'. That song made me crave some Zeppelin when I got home. Now, I decided not to review the album that track is off (Presence) but instead this nice record that dropped in 1979. Many people think Led Zeppelin lost their luster after the release of 'Physical Graffiti', but I couldn't disagree more. This was their second to last album ever made, and it's one of the most forgottenly good records of all time. Sure, the sound is a little different from I,II,III or IV - but so what? The Beatles surely changed their sound from the 50's to the 60's - but that stuff is considered gold. Getting off my high horse, I wanted to profile this particular album because the die hards seem to forget about it, and the casuals seem to have never heard of it. Put me in the forget about it category, but I'm not lapsing today. I put this one on again and it rocks my socks off. It's a solid 6x platinum in the states, and one day I'm going to look into that. I'm 99% sure that includes any previous LP sales in addition to current CD sales. But, there is that 1% doubt. Anyway, I'd be stunned if someone actually hated this record. It's 7 songs that are for the most part, all really good. Zep it up today, you won't be sorry.

TRACK LISTING:
1. In the Evening
2. South Bound Saurez
3. Fool in the Rain
4. Hot Dog
5. Carouselambra
6. All My Love
7. I'm Gonna Crawl

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Fool In The Rain
2. All My Love
3. South Bound Suarez

FINAL RATING:
4.5 out of 5 stars

In This Moment - A Star-Crossed Wasteland



Back on the horse. Back from vacation and ready to roll up my sleeves and dig back into work, and also get back on the blogging horse. My sincerest apologies for my absence, but Heidi did a great job while I was gone. One of these days I'm going to get her to review albums...one of these days. So getting back and strumming through the Suggestion Box, I came up on what follower janis! referred to as a 'fun' album here in In This Moment. These guys are a gothic metal band from the streets of Los Angeles. They formed in 2005 and signed to a fairly small label. This album dropped in mid 2010 to some fairly good feedback. A few tracks have been heard in pop culture, with the biggest being 'The Gun Show'. The lead vocalist Maria Brink was named 2010's 'Hottest Chick in Metal' in early 2010 and that's when they announced they announced the release date of this record. They've done some pretty extensive touring, and played with some really huge acts. I have to imagine if you're headed to see Korn or Ozzie, and these guys open - you're just itching to get to the main act. But if these guys live are as good as this album is coming through this morning, it wouldn't be overly disappointing. I really am enjoying this. Again, it's got that Evanescence sort of feel, which I adore. In addition to vocals, Brink also plays quite a bit of piano on this record, which sounds really amazing in spots. First review since I'm back, and I'm giving this a big ol' thumbs up. Give it a whirl today.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Gun Show, The
2. Just Drive
3. Promise, The
4. Standing Alone
5. Star-Crossed Wasteland, A
6. Blazin
7. Road, The
8. Iron Army
9. Last Cowboy, The
10. World in Flames

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. World In Flames
2. The Gun Show
3. A Star Crossed Wasteland

FINAL RATING:
3.25 out of 5 stars

Friday, March 18, 2011

Heidi Presents; Put your lips together, and blow

I have come to the point in my life where I've realized that there are things that I can do, and things that I can't. I can sing, but I can't whistle.

I'm kind of ashamed of my lack of whistling skill, mostly because I played the trumpet for 7 years, and you'd think that would require a similar skill set, but it's not so. I am able to get a whistling type sound out of my lips, but I can't control it, and I usually end up sounding like a teapot. I can't tell you what I would give to be able to whistle at a good looking boy, at hockey games or when I'm pretending to look nonchalant and innocent in a 1930s screwball comedy.

This might be the lamest blog post topic ever, but once I started thinking about the ubiquitous nature of whistle breaks in music, I couldn't stop. It's maddening - once you start to notice a phenomenon, like how many songs use whistling - it seems like EVERY song uses whistling. I don't really know anyone who whistles as much as pop music and pop culture would suggest, but popular music has used the whistle as an alternative to instrumentation, oohs and na-na-nas forever. After all of my analysis, I think there are five ways that whistling is used in pop music:

The carefree fun whistle - see Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard by Paul Simon
Note in this song how the use of the whistle adds a lightness and brevity to the bridge. It's a whistle you can get your groove on to.

The wasting time whistle - see Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding
For some reason, popular culture has repeatedly used whistling to signal idle times. I don't whistle while I loiter, but I also don't whistle while I work.

The forward whistle - see Home Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
Conversely, whether it's used in the score to The Bridge Over the River Kwai, by seven dwarves or cheerfully in this song - I love when whistling is used with a driving work song march feel. It generally makes me smile and feel proud.

The sit up and pay attention whistle - see Sissyneck by Beck
Nothing grabs your attention quite like shrill noises - this song starts with a bang of a whistle. One that I've been trying to emulate shamefully for 13 years to no avail.

The earnest whistle - see Patience by Guns N' Roses
It's unclear how GNR managed to make whistling seem melancholy, but I like this play off of the "wasting time" whistle. This song was a great moment in the evolution of the whistle in song.

Did I leave anything out? I apologize for the silliness of this post, but I'm hoping that this will get all of the whistling I've been hearing my head out of my system! After reading this, I bet you're hoping the same.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Rocky Mountain High



Hey B Siders!

Heidi has been posting this week because I took a nice trip out west to relax and get away from the daily grind. I completely forgot to mention this last week before I left, so here is my "sorry I forgot" post. =)

Heidi is going to be reviewing a couple albums this week, so for those who come here to tap their toes to music, it's coming soon! Next week we'll be back to normal and I'll be writing up some stuff about music as it related to my trip to surprisingly warm Colorado.

Thanks for reading and give Heidi the love she deserves for subbing in for me!

Have a great week!

B Side

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Heidi Presents: You should listen to this

So, I've written several stories for the B Side that have made a big deal about music that elicits nostalgia and all sorts of deep feelings. While that's all well and good and easy to write blog posts about, I don't really listen to Paul Simon and the Beatles every day (it's more like every other day). I wanted to share with you all what I listen to every day while slaving away at my 9 to 5, with absolutely no grandiose nonsense about how it makes me feel like a natural woman.

All day at work I listen to . . . the radio. I know that sounds strange, but my town has what I think is the best radio station in the world (or at least the best station I've ever listened to). Minneapolis is home to The Current - a public radio station that is exactly what I want a radio station to be. The Current is great because they play anything and everything, whether it's new music, indie, random golden oldies and, (GASP) even local music. You can hear David Bowie followed by the Decemberists followed by Girl Talk. Since it's a public station, it feels like a community and just like the B Side, it doesn't feel judgmental. And, best of all, there are no commercials!

It really works for me, because I don't like to spend money on music, and I'm too lazy to be illegal.

Anyway, I just wanted to share in my delight with some fellow music lovers.

Think you've got a better place to listen to all day . . . let me know!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Heidi Presents: Everybody Hurts . . . Sometimes

I've been pretty down this week. And, it's all because I'm sick. Usually, when I start to feel sick, I just stop being sick and be awesome instead. But I feel like I've been robbed of my mojo, and have absolutely no energy to do anything but write B side posts. I don't know about you, but when I don't cross everything off of the to-do lists that I make for myself each week, I start to feel like I'm failing and then I feel sad. As such, I've wasted most of this week feeling sorry for myself.

That sounds a bit melodramatic. And, I don't want anyone to feel bad for me. I actually kind of relish feeling sad (I also delight in melodrama). I love a good cry, and I promise you, I'm a gold medal weeper. I cry at everything - Sarah McLachlan songs, Google commercials, Pixar, live events featuring child performers (I don't want to talk about my niece's dance recital), Christmas, Janet Jackson in concert, Grey's Anatomy, emergency trips to the vet (a good story for another time) and images of abused animals set to Sarah McLachlan songs.

When I'm feeling sad, I actually start to seek out movies and music that make me sadder. Atonement and, paradoxically, (500) Days of Summer combined with a little Fiona Apple or Coldplay can create an emotionally toxic mix for me. It's worth noting that I would name these two movies and these artists among my favorites - which means my favorite art actually takes the wind OUT of my sails! How crazy is that?

But, no more B Siders! No more! I am quite determined to turn this funk around, and I think there is no better time to start than a Monday. The only way I can think to do this (and that is relevant to you) is to create a mix of perfectly happy songs. Songs that inspire me to let go and accept the facts - the laundry didn't get done this week, I don't get paid as much as I want, my nose looks red and icky, no one called me for two days - and it's all okay.

Five songs do not a playlist make - send me some more happy songs so I can add to my list! Note, Walking on Sunshine will not be accepted.

1. Baba O'Riley - The Who
While watching an I Love the Top One Hundred Greatest Music Ever show on VH1, one of the D-list celebrities said that the The Who sounds like possibility. I love that description, and it fits this song perfectly. This song feels like a breath of fresh air, it opens the soul, and makes me feel more alive. And that ending is killer.

2. Time to Pretend - MGMT
First, this song is all about being a rock star, and it's pretty damn rad. The energy behind the opening hook that is used throughout the song is contagious. I think it was written to be pumped out of your car stereo with the windows rolled down - it's just so much fun.

3. Closer to Fine - Indigo Girls
So, it's kind of a cliche, but I swear, this song is more than the thinking man's Don't Worry, Be Happy! This song is so encouraging, and is about forgiving yourself and letting go. It's only life afterall.

4. Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard - Paul Simon
I don't know what egregious crime these boys committed to get them on the cover of Newsweek, and I don't care. This song is light and fun, and shows the early signs of Paul Simon's fascination of world beats. Plus, the lyrics contain my life's motto - I'm on my way, don't know where I'm going.

5. The Dog Days are Over - Florence and the Machine
Okay, it's overused, but it's overused, because it's awesome! Mixing world music, chipper '60s girl group beats, and supernatural vocals, this song is like a spiritual experience. It's transcendent and freeing, and like that YouTube baby, I have to listen to it on repeat.

Friday, March 11, 2011

B Side Presents, "Friday Gut Check - Stay Single"



Upon listening to Spacehog again yesterday, I realized something. There are a TON of records out there that simply aren't worth the .05 cent cd they're made on. Except one singular track. Back in the day where digital stuff didn't exist, you were forced to go out and buy a whole album just to repeat one single song over and over again. What a crock! Nowadays that conundrum is fairly expired, so it shouldn't be a big deal. But I want to recognize those album that are like this. And I'm not talking about one hit wonders either - that's a cop out. I'm talking about BIG bands that dropped albums and everything else off it stinks.

This is going to prove difficult I'm finding - but I'll do my best!

5. Stone Temple Pilots - No. 4: Not only is this really a let down compared to their other works, it only had the one track on it that the masses liked. I still maintain each STP record got a little worse as they kept going, except now for their latest self titled. But this album has 'Sour Girl' and then Shangi-La had nothing worth listening to. I still have a hard time listening to this one today.

4. Lil Jon - Kings Of Crunk: How big of a hit was 'Get Low'? HUGE. You couldn't walk a good on any sidewalk in any street in America and not hear this track. To this day it still gets the crowd all jacked up. Rest of the record, not so much. And it's sad, because Lil Jon actually used to put out some good music. I haven't heard anything worth while from him since he was snappin' his fingahs.

3. Cranberries - No Need To Argue: There is no doubt 'Zombie' is a really solid song. But compare this record to 'Everybody Else...' - it's not even close. That album produced a really solid sound that people enjoyed over and over. This one produced a couple more singles - but no one cared. You bought this, you put on Zombie and then you either turned it off or hit rewind. Nothing else was really that worth while.

2. Ludacris - Red Light District: It's almost become fodder that Luda puts out really subpar albums. Usually though, there are at least 2-4 tracks that you can't help but to sing and dance along to. Not this one. His previous albums were all reasonably solid, and then when 'Number One Spot' dropped, you couldn't help to think he was on to another one. Couldn't have been more off. Three words, Blueberry Yum Yum.

1. Weezer - Make Believe: I f'n LOVE Weezer. Love nearly everything they do, no matter what and where and how and why and when. Yeah, it's that deep of a love for the W's. But Make Believe? What happened guys? First and foremost, the song 'Beverly Hills' was an abomination, and second - the rest of this album is BRUTAL! I feel sorry for those big Weezer fans that bought this thinking they had another Blue Album and found they basically had an album by a pop band. Ugh.

I'm sure there is a million other album out there like this...let me know what they are! Happy Friday B Siders!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Chamillionaire - Sound Of Revenge



Sorry for the long delay in posting B Siders! It's been a crazy day and was glad I at least got one post in for you guys this morning! Finally getting to number two, it was time for another rap review. I'm trying to feature some more artists who I haven't profiled before. So here goes Chamillionaire. What a silly name that is. How did he get that name you ask? Great question. His friends called him the first chameleon/millionaire hybrid. Duh. But they say that's because he's a solid rapper, singer, philanthropist, and CEO of his company. I'm not sure about the other prowesses, but his rapping is pretty far from solid. Maybe I'm just in a bad mood today. No - this is for certain. This record made him blow up because of the success of 'Ridin' back in the day. This was also his first record to drop and it was in 2005. It's certified platinum which isn't at all surprising. If you've listened to any of his music, he talks about being from Texas and all that goes along with it - but he was actually born in Washington DC. He doesn't really have any great stories or anything. He had a small "beef" with a rap label, but nothing big. If we're just going to talk about this album, there isn't much to talk about. Other reviewers have given this way better ratings that it's worth. In terms of sheer rap, he isn't talking about much and the beats are pretty average. I mean, it's not terrible - it's just there. A very mediocre album. I haven't listened to his other ones in full - maybe they're better. Someday...someday..

TRACK LISTING:
1. Sound of Revenge, The
2. In the Trunk
3. Turn It Up
4. Turn It Up (Remix)
5. Frontin'
6. Bad Guy
7. Fly as the Sky
8. They Think I'm Crazy
9. Void in My Life
10. Rain
11. Picture Perfect
12. Ridin'
13. Rider
14. Peepin' Me
15. Void in My Life
16. Outro

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Turn It Up
2. Ridin'
3. Sound Of Revenge

FINAL RATING:
2.5 out of 5 stars

Spacehog - Resident Alien



Oh Thursday. Today you have brought nothing on but terrible-ness so far. Fortunately, I'm finally sitting down to get to some much needed tuneage. Unfortunately for me, it's this Spacehog record. Oh, am I giving away too much too soon? Okay, I'll suck you in for the hook at the end. These gents formed in merry old England in 1994. They initially sited their influences as Queen and David Bowie - which initially was semi odd. When 'In The Meantime' dropped as a HUGE single, it didn't really have that sort of feel to it. But if you actually picked up this record and listened to the whole thing and not just track 1, you could see it. Glam rock was present all over the place. So it's kind of a bad connection between fan and band here. While you were expecting one thing, you got another when you spent the money on it, and a lot of people were angry. In fact, if you go to any used cd store today, I bet you see at least one copy of this record. No one wants it. I mean, it's not that bad - but it's not good either. They have three releases to date, this being their first from 1995. It's certified gold, which is semi surprising only because of the huge hit single. I guess if the word spread enough about the style, people may have tuned out right away. I don't know...they're back to making music I guess. They reformed after quite a hiatus. I'll have to pick up other stuff by them some time as this one just doesn't do it for me.

TRACK LISTING:
1. In the Meantime
2. Spacehog
3. Starside
4. Candy Man
5. Space Is the Place
6. Never Coming Down (Part I)
7. Cruel to Be Kind
8. Ship Wrecked
9. Only a Few
10. The Last Dictator
11. Never Coming Down (Part II)
12. Zeroes
13. To Be a Millionaire... Was It Likely?

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. In The Meantime
2. Ship Wrecked
3. Cruel To Be Kind

FINAL RATING:
1.75 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Jethro Tull - Aqualung



My classic reviews are so random. I seem to so often forget about some of the greatest bands of all time and end up doing something weird from the eighties. I'm not suggesting that Jethro here is in fact one of the best bands ever, but they're pretty solid. If you've gone this far in your life (even if you're reading this at 5 years old) without hearing the track 'Aqualung', you're really missing out. It's just a great song. They formed in 1967 in Britain - and are known for their signature flautist - which I'm only 99% sure I'm spelling correctly. This is one of few bands that was very successful at "painting" a song picture for you. They started as more of a blues based group - but then they rolled into the art rock genre, people really responded. How much so you ask? Well, they've sold over SIXTY MILLION albums worldwide. Not too shabby right? This album is a slick 3x platinum in the states, and rightfully so. Maybe should even have sold a few more copies than that. It's hard to find anything I really dislike about this record. I mean, from an instrument standpoint - it's got every sort of sound you could possibly want. With certain songs creating a crescendo by getting all of them involved. There are a couple big hits on this album, but the whole thing is really solid. It's got all the accolades, earning a spot in Rolling Stones Top 500 of all time. For the most part, all critics have been super positive for it as well. I'm not going to buck that trend. It's really good. It's a fun listen and the music is different - especially given the time. Dropping in 1971 - there wasn't a lot of this type of music going on. Zeppelin only dabbled in it and Floyd was a different style. But that's about it. I don't own this, but I need to. Maybe I'll run out and buy it today.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Aqualung
2. Cross-Eyed Mary
3. Cheap Day Return
4. Mother Goose
5. Wond'ring Aloud
6. Up to Me
7. My God
8. Hymn 43
9. Slipstream
10. Locomotive Breath
11. Wind-Up
12. Lick Your Fingers Clean
13. Wind-Up (Quad Version)
14. Excerpts From the Ian Anderson Interview

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Aqualung
2. Locomotive Breath
3. Hymn 43

FINAL RATING:
4 out of 5 stars

Distillers - Coral Fang



Hump Day arrives with a snowy morning here in Wisconsin. It caught a lot of people off guard they had to spend an extra 10-15 minutes on their commute since no one was expecting snow. I say, good - more time to listen to sick tuneage while stuck in snowy traffic. Shaqwanda may have been jamming away to the Distillers this morning on her ride, as she is the person who asked me to look into this band via the Suggestion Box. Had never heard of them before, so I'm in the new to me boat as well as probably a lot of you readers out there. These guys formed in 1998 in Los Angeles, California. I can't seem to find any reasoning behind why those chose the name, which is kind of sad. It's an interesting pick. Their early signature and claim to fame was lead singer Brody Armstrong, a woman with a super harsh punk rock voice. It sounds like she was made for this exact thing. This was their third and final studio release, not charting on the RIAA certifications. The band split up and the Brody (now knows as Dalle after her divorce to Rancid's Tim Armstrong) and the lead guitar man Tony formed their owned band called Spinnerette. I'll have to look into them someday. The cover art of this album is fairly interesting. I won't get into my interpretation of it...but it's an odd one. The music is pretty solid punk rock style music. The vocal is probably the highlight of it...and didn't pay too close of attention to the words - let me know if I should. It's something I'd listen to every so often. Give it a shot today, see what comes out the other side.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Drain the Blood
2. Dismantle Me
3. Die on a Rope
4. Gallow Is God, The
5. Coral Fang
6. Hunger, The
7. Hall of Mirrors
8. Beat Your Heart Out
9. Love Is Paranoid
10. For Tonight You're Only Here to Know
11. Death Sex

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. The Hunger
2. Coral Fang
3. Beat Your Heart Out

FINAL RATING:
3 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Avril Lavigne - Goodbye Lullaby



New Music Tuesday has needed to highlight a pop artist for quite a while now. There is a pretty huge pop release coming out at the end of this month, and I know JenInTosa is anxiously awaiting it. For those who don't know, I won't say - but if you're a pop fan you'll be excited. Anyways, I haven't even thought of Avril here in about a decade. Honestly, I had no clue she was still making music. I can safely say I've heard quite a bit of her music, and most of it I found intolerable. I recall hearing 'Complicated' on the radio back in '01 or so, and picking up the album thinking she was more of a Pink style artist. Couldn't have been more wrong on that one. Anyways, she was hailed as a tomboy - gained most of her popularity because of that. She's made a stir because of her tattoos, she did some movie work and she was married and went through a public divorce. She's frankly one of the most uninteresting interesting people I've ever read about. And don't tell me that sentence doesn't make sense...because it does. Her debut record came out officially in 2002, and this one obviously drops today. You'd think after a solid decade of growing in the business, your style and artistry would change. It really hasn't. I mean, she still seems to be singing as though she's a 19 year old pop sensation, and not singing about grown up problems. I don't respect that. The sole single so far is 'What The Hell' which sounds like something any young pop star of today would do. There are a couple of okay tracks, but in general, this is garbage. I don't recommend it...and I only recommend that Lavigne be herself in her next drop, and not try to be the old pop sensation. And if you still don't believe me, listen to track 5 'Smile'. Yeah, sarcastically enjoy.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Black Star
2. What the Hell
3. Push
4. Wish You Were Here
5. Smile
6. Stop Standing There
7. I Love You
8. Everybody Hurts
9. Not Enough
10. 4 Real
11. Darlin
12. Remember When
13. Goodbye
14. Alice (Hidden Track)

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Goodbye
2. 4 Real
3. Alice

FINAL RATING:
1 out of 5 stars

Armin Van Buuren - Mirage



After a very brief one week hiatus, Techno Tuesday strikes back with a vengeance! Mr. Van Buuren spells his name with an extra 'u', which I forget every time I type it out. So we're going to call him Armin going forward. It's just easier that way. Regardless, he's from the Netherlands and this is one of VERY few DJ's to use their actual given birth name. You never see that. He was born in 1976 and started laying down sick beats around 1995 or so. He started off small like nearly all artists, playing local clubs for hours at end. It's not rare for an up-and-comer spinner to put a nice long show on for a big club, but he talks about having played at schools for 7 or 8 hours at a time. I can't imagine for what...as even the longest school dances are maybe 3 hours or so. Of course, I've never been to the Netherlands, so maybe they do things a whole lot differently over there. This is his fourth studio release, having came out in 2010. None of them charted here in the USA, but this one seems to be getting the most popular spins on European radio. This album has gotten slaughtered by critics...with a fairly prominent review site calling it a sell out album, and that this new dance-pop genre is hideous. I guess I don't know the big difference between this and his other work, so I can't really comment. This does feel a little poppy, but that's not always bad in the dance context. I like this, don't love it...but I enjoyed it this morning. I'd say this is a medium recommend.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Desiderium
2. Mirage
3. This Light Between Us
4. Not Giving Up on Love
5. I Don't Own You
6. Full FocusListen
7. Take a Moment
8. Feels So Good
9. Virtual Friend
10. Drowning
11. Down to Love
12. Coming Home
13. These Silent Hearts
14. Orbion
15. Minack
16. Youtopia

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. This Light Between Us
2. Mirage
3. Desiderium 207

FINAL RATING:
2.75 out of 5 stars

Monday, March 7, 2011

Glasvegas - Self Titled



There has been a little of a European/foreign theme lately on the B Side. We looked at Dropkick Murphys last week and I talked about how I like their sound. We've done some other cool out of country stuff the last month or two, all of it has been pretty solid to listen to. So now, Shaqwanda asked that I look at Scottish band Glasvegas. When I saw this in the Suggestion Box, I'm 99% certain that I'd never heard of them before. Looking them up in detail this morning, I'm now 100% sure. And when you see foreign bands come up, it's very hard to know what style of music they're going to bring to the table. I was very surprised how easy to identify this one is. It's straight up rock. Good old fashioned American....err...Scottish rock n' roll. There are a couple songs that institute the piano and just a spoken lyric, which is pretty awesome too. This was their first studio drop, and they now have three out with one having come out earlier in 2011. This one dropped in 2008 and has seen very good successes throughout the entire continent of Europe. Some critics have gone as far as to say they are the best band in Europe during the last decade and they should be synonymous with music from across the pond. I'm not sure if I'd be willing to go that far, but I do really enjoy this album. American critics have been a bit more harsh on this record, only giving it a base rating of 3 of 5 stars. I think it's better than that. Much better. It was a really easy and fun listen this morning, even though I was in a mood mode. That's always telling. Check it out, I think between the two album I looked at today, you'll find at least one you'll want to buy.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Flowers & Football Tops
2. Geraldine
3. It's My Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry
4. Lonesome Swan
5. Go Square Go
6. Polmont on My Mind
7. Daddy's Gone
8. Stabbed
9. S.A.D. Light
10. Ice Cream Van
11. Prettiest Thing on Saltcoats Beach, The
12. Everybody's Got to Learn Sometime

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. The Prettiest Thing On Saltcoats Beach
2. Everybody's Got To Learn Sometime
3. Stabbed

FINAL RATING:
4 out of 5 stars

Northern Room - Last Embrace



Oh Monday - you are a cruel mistress. I'm extremely tired this morning, which always puts me in a bit of a 'mood' music mode. Follower Digger dropped this little gem by Northern Room into the Suggestion Box a while back. Now, I don't expect very many of you guys to recognize the band, as they are a local (to me) group. These guys are from good old Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They formed in 2005 and started jamming on this hybrid of mood music and upbeat indie pop type stuff. The lyrics are really good and worth actually listening to - but they don't present it in the sad fashion. It's usually over a more upbeat tempo that makes you really want to sing along. They got their big break when they won a contest in 2006 to open for Bon Jovi at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee. Over 100 bands competed in the contest, so I guess it kind of goes to show you how "good" they are. And I guess I should note "are" turned into "were" as they disbanded in 2008. The lead singer decided to leave the band, even though they'd been writing new stuff, and had a second album nearly completed. They were even signed to a record label in Japan, and were about to see a reasonably good paycheck from the new record. Only one single called 'Blacklight' ever made it to airwaves off this second effort, and it got good reviews. Regardless, I enjoy the style. I'm always a sucker for the slow tunes, and it hit me just right this morning. Give this a go today. Even if you're not local to the area like me, I think it's good music for the whole USA.

TRACK LISTING:
1. We're On Fire
2. For All These Years
3. Galaxy
4. Dutch Radio
5. Stars of God
6. Last Embrace
7. Waiting
8. Let Me Out
9. Everyday
10. This Wreckage
11. Last Embrace (Live Acoustic)
12. A Witness (Live Acoustic)
13. We're On Fire (Live Acoustic)
14. Home

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Home
2. We're On Fire
3. Stars Of God

FINAL RATING:
3.5 out of 5 stars

Friday, March 4, 2011

B Side Presents, "Friday Gut Check - X Rated"



The other day I commented how this blog has for the most part been family friendly. While I don't intend to really become full of curse words and x rated materials, I do recognize that some people enjoy more adult lyrical content. Personally, I'm by no means a prude or anything - but a lot of those types of songs make me generally uncomfortable. Now, most tracks are pretty tame and don't effect me in the slightest - for example, any of the tracks by the very sexy Nicki Minaj pictured above. In fact, the whole Young Money camp has done fairly risque tracks like 'Every Girl', 'Lollipop' and 'Best I Ever Had'. But those are all PG x-rated tracks. I know that's an oxymoron, but it happens.

Here is a list of my Top 5 songs that I generally can't listen to. At least not on any sort of regular basis. And if you're a parent and you see this song on an iPod - and let's say your kid is under 12 - you may want to dig into their personal lives a bit. Just sayin'. ENJOY!

5. How Many Licks - Lil' Kim: Of course she had to be on this list. She's the queen of female based dirty lyrics. This is probably the one she's best known for too. There are so many things she says in this songs that would make the hardest grown man blush like a little girl. This song was also reasonably popular, which blows my mind a bit. Good beat though, and is there anyone more irrelevant now than Sisqo??

4. Wait (The Whisper Song) - Ying Yang Twins: In item one of two that has top 10 beats of all time, this song from that standpoint is sick. Another rapper should really sample this beat and drop something amazing over it. What makes me think this song is so funny, is would that ever really work? I mean if a guy whispered "wait 'till you see my d**k" in a girls ear, they become smitten? I HIGHLY doubt it.

3. Pop That P***y - 2 Live Crew: The original on the list. There was probably never a song more controversial ever than this. It was banned in the USA and the group became social pariahs because of it. I was a little kid when this came out and couldn't comprehend why it was so bad. My older sister had the tape and used to run around the house singing this track. Funny in retrospect.

2. My Neck, My Back - Khia: Wow. I didn't even want to put this song on my list. It's basically impossible to listen to. I really want to find one person who hears this song and thinks, "That's my jam!!!" It's just....uhhh, no words can describe it. And by the way if you're keeping score at home, Khia is NOT Lil' Kim. Look up a photo sometime.

1. Play - David Banner: I only really put this number one because I WANT to listen to this more because the beat is just amazing. Really, really amazing. But I can't. I can't even imagine putting this on in the car given the lyrics and maybe rolling up to a grandmother driving next to me. I'd feel terrible. There is an edited version that isn't dirty - but that's like cheating. I sit through it just to get the beat.

I had a couple others that didn't make the list...and maybe you guys never even thought about this before. But hey, don't judge. =)

ENJOY THE WEEKEND!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Gorillaz - Self Titled



A really long time ago I reviewed the 'Plastic Beach' album by the Gorillaz. I gave it a super high rating and told you guys about my over-the-top love for this band. It's probably my most irrational love of any band that I do in fact love. When 'Clint Eastwood' dropped on the radio back in 2000 - it was a really fun single. Very different compared to anything else hitting the pop waves at the time. So I bought this album to drive to a vacation basically for the one song. Little did I know that I had purchased one of my favorite albums of all time. This record has EVERYTHING. Wait, I'm getting ahead of myself a bit here. I wanted to review this today because the rumor is they are done making music. Which is incredibly sad. Every album they've done so far has been really quite good. They only have three studio albums out, and a bunch of "D Sidez" and then a "new" album that you can listen to if you sign up to be an insider on their web site. Never saw a ton of commercial success, as this album is only platinum in the US - and probably their overall best album. 'Demon Days' (my least favorite) is the best selling at 2x, but was only huge because of the single 'Feel Good Inc.' While this album had two big singles, 'Clint Eastwood' and '19-2000', they were never as big as that one. And even though those were the hits, this whole album blows my f'ing socks off every time I hear it. It's probably been 100 times at least, and I still groove hard every time I listen to it. It's amazing. This is my plea that they keep making great music for everyone to hear. And my plea that you guys listen to this, and open your mind to some really cool tunes. I can't imagine you'd come away disappointed.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Re-Hash
2. 5/4
3. Tomorrow Comes Today
4. New Genius (Brother)
5. Clint Eastwood
6. Man Research (Clapper)
7. Punk
8. Sound Check (Gravity)
9. Double Bass
10. Rock the House
11. 19-2000
12. Latin Simone
13. Starshine
14. Slow Country
15. M1 A1
16. Dracula
17. Left Hand Suzuki Method

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Clint Eastwood
2. Rock The House
3. Starshine

FINAL RATING:
5+ out of 5 stars

Misfits - American Psycho



When I was looking into Dropkick Murphys the other day, I started to think about other bands where the pageantry of their live shows maybe didn't come through in their music. What I mean by that is, you go to a show, they tear the place down. Everyone leaves with a huge smile on their face and you decide right then and there that you LOVE this band. You'll be a fan of them for life. You tell your friends to pick up their latest album, and they listen and think - "What?? This is garbage!" While DM maybe isn't in that style of bucket, I've heard a lot of people say that about the Misfits. These guys are legendary for their horror film style of show and that science fiction feel to their shows. They have the movies going, lyrics all drawn out like an old school B movie. I've never been, but from what I hear - it's a pretty cool experience. (you know, if you're in to that sort of thing. if you don't enjoy horror movies, it's probably not for you) Regardless, these guys are from New Jersey and started making music in 1977. Which makes total sense given the nature of what they do. Those cheesy horror films were at an all time high in the 70's. One of the original members was Glenn Danzig - you know, of Danzig fame. They took the name Misfits after Marilyn Monroe's final film of the same name. Danzig disbanded the group after animosity between members and frustration over music abilities. They were stuck in legal battles and finally reformed without Danzig as their leader. They've never really hit the big time in terms of album sales - and I think a lot of that is due to their shows being a TON better than the actual music. I don't think this is bad, it's just not something I'd listen to often. Maybe had I been to a show and it conjured up memories, it'd be different. Let me know what you think of the straight up music, or if you'd seen them live.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Abominable Dr. Phibes
2. American Psycho
3. Speak of the Devil
4. Walk Among Us
5. Hunger, The
6. From Hell They Came
7. Dig up Her Bones
8. Blacklight
9. Resurrection
10. This Island Earth
11. Crimson Ghost
12. Day of the Dead
13. Haunting, The
14. Mars Attacks
15. Hate the Living, Love the Dead
16. Shining
17. Don't Open 'Til Doomsday

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. American Psycho
2. Hate The Living, Love The Dead
3. Dig Up Her Bones

FINAL RATING:
2 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Collective Soul - Self Titled



Do you know where Stockbridge, Georgia is? I certainly don't. Being a northern born and raised guy - I know where very few smaller cities are in the south. You know who does know where it is though? All the band members of one Collective Soul. They have been making sweet alternative style rock music since 1992. Another solid album from 1994 was their breakthrough hit, 'Hints, Allegations, And Things Left Unsaid'. That spawned the monster single 'Shine' that started their rise to success. I decided not to start with that album, because if you're new to Collective Soul, this album is probably their best and easiest to digest initially. They saw the big success from the first record, and it was fairly unexpected. The label got them a big invite to Woodstock in 1994 - and although the band didn't feel they were ready to really perform, they went for it. They ended up hitting the touring hard that year, and performing all over the US. When this album dropped in 1995 - it wasn't without it's own share of issues. The band split with their manager, and cancelled all their tour dates to promote this record. They were marred with legal battles all through 1995 and 1996. They decided to seclude themselves in a cabin in the middle of no where - in which they wrote and recorded all their stuff for the follow up album. This is their best selling work to date at 3x platinum, not too shabby. It's really a rock solid record too. Start to finish, a nice listen. If you're into rock music, this is a great one to pick up. Enjoy it. And if you own it already, toss it back on. I think you'll remember how great it is.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Simple
2. [Untitled Track]
3. World I Know, The
4. Smashing Young Man
5. December
6. Where the River Flows
7. Gel
8. She Gathers Rain
9. When the Water Falls
10. Collection of Goods
11. Bleed
12. Reunion

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. The World I Know
2. Gel
3. December

FINAL RATING:
3.75 out of 5 stars

David Bowie - Man Who Sold The World



Classic day can always be kind of tricky. Typically people think of just classic rock like The Beatles or Zeppelin - those types of acts. I've been trying really hard to come up with other not necessarily lesser known acts - but ones you might not think about on a daily basis. To me, no one fits that montra more than David Bowie. I honestly don't even know where to start with this guy. His career has done just about everything possible. Well, he was born in 1947 in London, England. He probably made his biggest splash in the music business with his glam rock alter ego - Ziggy Stardust. For those that maybe don't follow music that far back in time, Garth Brooks did something similar in the 90's. I think his thing was called Chris Gaines? I don't recall, a bigger country fan would have to correct me. Bowie started his first band at the age of 15 and played local type shows - wedding, anniversary parties - etc. When he broke out and did his solo stuff, he was a big psychedelic rock kind of act. People enjoyed it - but many say he just didn't hit the big times until the Stardust phase. This was Bowie's 3rd studio album and before the Stardust character was really born. It saw modest success in the UK - going just platinum. The only reason I really chose it, was to expose you to some early Bowie stuff, and show where Nirvana got a great acoustic cover from. The cover art of this album changed about half a dozen times over the years and based on market. All of them are pretty neat. I enjoy this album. It's different, and a fun change of pace from other classic acts. Give it a whirl today. Maybe you'll feel the same.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Width of a Circle, The
2. All the Madmen
3. Black Country Rock
4. After All
5. Running Gun Blues
6. Saviour Machine
7. She Shook Me Cold
8. Man Who Sold the World, The
9. Supermen, The

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. The Man Who Sold The World
2. Black Country Rock
3. She Shook Me Cold

FINAL RATING:
3 out of 5 stars