Song of the Moment

J. Cole - Lost Ones

Friday, April 29, 2011

B Side Presents, "Friday Gut Check - Buy Curious"



I love going to the record store. No - not Best Buy or Target or whatever major retailer you enjoy buying the bulk of your music at. I'm taking about a real - old school record store. The ones where you can listen to an album before you buy it. The ones that still sell vinyl...yeah, some people still buy it. In fact, I picked up an AWESOME copy of 'Hombre Lobo' by Eels in vinyl the other day. 10 bucks new. I was elated. Anyway, I'm getting sidetracked.

I've found a couple local record stores that I like to go to. And it's nice to give a local business owner some of my money, but I also like how they operate. Sell the used stuff, which of course is always worth the money. Used LP's and CD's are a great way to boost your music collection without breaking your bank. Plus, I'm a big old school when it comes to buying music. I like to have my tangible CD or album because I have something to show for my dollar. And I like being able to take the cd's on a road trip if the car doesn't have an iPod dock. (rare nowadays, I know) Regardless, I always have a list of cd's I want to buy. I'm sure you guys all do too. Like a list of..."If I had the money.." or "If I get over to the store..." that type of thing. Well, I'm going to give you guys 5 albums I need to pick up soon. Let me know what yours are too - so I can see what you all are grooving on right now...(or in the near future)

5. Radiohead - Amnesiac. I currently own every single Radiohead album except this one. And honestly, I've been resisting the urge to queue it up on Grooveshark and listen to it. Why? Because I love the surprise that comes with listening to a new cd. I still haven't worn 'King Of Limbs' out, so this isn't a huge priority. Although, I've heard the sound is most similar to 'Kid A' - which is my favorite.

4. God Is An Astronaut - All Is Violent, All Is Bright. Yeah, I just reviewed this the other day. I've been fawning over it on Grooveshark all week. It could be a temporary amorous relationship - TBD I guess. But as of this moment, I'd buy it, and wear the cd out in a week or two. I really enjoy the laidback sound and the instrumental nature of the album. I can safely say, this is the first no vocal album I'd ever considered purchasing.

3. Gorillaz - The Fall. Yeah, yeah, yeah. B Side - how have you not bought this already? You're a Gorillaz hound! Okay, so maybe none of you were thinking that, but I was. I adore the Gorillaz. And I own every single album they've dropped. Even the B Sides type records and remixes. I would have picked this up opening day, but the cheapest I found was $17 dollars! That's out of my price range. It's on sale for $11.99 at Best Buy - which is a little better, but I'm cheap. I prefer $9.99 or less. Either way, it'll get bought by me at some point.

2. James Blake - Self Titled. Holy cats. This cd is another Grooveshark staple for me. And boy do I love it. So incredibly different from anything I'd been listening to lately, and I'm infatuated with it. I probably have already listened to this 15 or 20 times, and I'm no where near sick of it. What does that add up to? Gotta buy it! And bonus, I can buy it from my local record store online, and then pick it up. No shipping, and cheaper price than in the store. Double bonus!

1. Florence + The Machine - Lungs. So, I'm slightly embarrassed. I can't believe I don't own this. I'm going to see Flo, Cage and Black Keys at Summerfest in about 2 months now. How can I not own this and be listening to it daily? Lord known the Keys get regular play on my iPod - and I literally own every cd they've ever done. Plus Auerbach's solo stuff. The album is in a word - outstanding. Worth every single penny I will be paying for it very soon.

What do you guys have on the docket? Keep the CD alive!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Papa Roach - Infest




So I've been hearing things lately, a surprising amount of things coming out of the Papa Roach camp. Now, I'm not exactly a Roach-head or anything. I grooved to 'Last Resort' back in the early 2000's like everyone else. Since? Hmm, I don't think I could even really name a song since. As I'm doing the research today, Papa Roach formed in 1993 in Vacaville, California. The four guys were from different high school in California - and it started when Jacoby Shaddix and drummer Dave Buckner met playing football. They started talking about music and formed a band. The band name comes from Shaddix's step-grandfather, Howard William Roatch - who was nicknamed Papa Roach and committed suicide in 1996. The band has paid homage a couple times since his death. They spent quite a bit of time doing local stuff and going unnoticed. They dropped a demo off at Warner Bros records in the late 90's that pretty much ended up being this album. Warner didn't see any real value in the demo tape, and declined any deal. A matter of days later, DreamWorks offered them a deal, and dropped this record. 'Infest' dropped in 2000 and is a nice 3x platinum in the US. It is hands down their best selling album. Back during this time, their music focused on metal - maybe numetal, but also added a rap type element. You can hear that style similar to Linkin Park or AAF if you're familiar. I wanted to do a current album of theirs since I'd been hearing positive things, but their latest drop was a bunch of live compliation stuff - and I have a strict policy against doing greatest hits type work. It sounds like the rapping and all that is gone, and they focus more on rock now than ever. When I go back to this, it's pretty average in general. There are a couple toe tapping tracks, but it doesn't show any range and stays pretty flat throughout. Maybe I'd like the new style better, as some of the "rap" starts to bother me toward the end. One day I'll get to more current stuff, and see how it goes down.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Infest
2. Last Resort
3. Broken Home
4. Dead Cell
5. Between Angels and Insects
6. Blood Brothers - (explicit version only)
7. Revenge
8. Snakes
9. Never Enough
10. Binge
11. Thrown Away

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Last Resort
2. Never Enough
3. Infest

FINAL RATING:
3 out of 5 stars

Adele - 21



Thanks to all the people that gave me feedback yesterday after the big five-double O. It was nice to hear all the praise - and it truly keeps me going. No rest for the wicked though, as we roll on to the next 500. And it all starts with sensation Adele. This is an English (Tottenham, England) singer/songwriter who was born in 1988. Holy cats I'm getting old. At the ripe age of four, she started singing and became obsessed with voices. She cites the Spice Girls as a major influence in her singing career - dressing up like them at parties and singing their songs. When she got a little older, Mary J Blige and Destiny's Child gave her a more R&B influence and in turn - tuned her into a little soul music. Which if you add those things all up, have a pretty accurate gauge of her sound today. A little pop - with r&b, soul mixed together to form a really cool thing. 2008 saw Adele's first drop - the album '19' which is certified platinum in the states. I decided to run with this album today, just because it's really blowing up. Having just dropped in January of this year - it's already platinum and going to go nowhere but up in sales. She performed at the Brit Awards - and right after this record spent 11 straight weeks in the number one spot on the charts. She's talked about during smoke breaks on tour, she'd be introduced to new sounds and styles. This album really does have a little bit of everything...from bluegrass to bosanova. She said what some people took as a dig, "I wanted the songs not to have anything glittery or glamorous about them, like an organic tapestry rather than like a Gaga album...I mean, I love Gaga, but I didn't want to get wrapped up in all that European dance music." I love the honestly, and I love the values. This isn't another dance album - it's so much more. The quality is second to none right now. It's worth listening to for the sole reason that you won't want to be the last person that knows about one of the most talented females out there today.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Rolling in the Deep
2. Rumour Has It
3. Turning Tables
4. Don't You Remember
5. Set Fire to the Rain
6. He Won't Go
7. Take It All
8. I'll Be Waiting
9. One and Only
10. Lovesong
11. Someone Like You

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Turning Tables
2. Someone Like You
3. Rolling In The Deep

FINAL RATING:
3.75 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

REVIEW #500!!! Stone Temple Pilots - Purple



Wow. Just a flat out astonishing number up there. Big bands, little bands, genres all across the board. 500 albums down. I haven't even scratched the surface of all the music out there. PLEASE - please keep the suggestions coming. I wouldn't have gotten this far without all you guys giving me great music ideas.

For 100 it was Weezer, for 250 it was Nirvana and for 500 - it's STP. Do you see a theme? I still can't bring myself to say 90's alternative rock is my favorite, but it has to be the genre I identify with most. I was most impressionable during that time - being a pre-teen to teenager. It's hard to imagine, but I think I have a new found respect for the music today. Don't get me wrong, back in the day I thought it was really good. But I stack up music from today and the alt rock music from then - and I hear and see and feel a quality that isn't there today. No band makes a better example of that than STP. Core and Purple here were flat out amazing albums. Stack that up to their latest Self Titled effort? Sure, it's good - but it's not these albums. I always undervalued this album growing up. I thought that 'Core' was number one and you couldn't change my mind. But listening to this again recently (I was on a big Purple kick about two months ago) - my mind might be changed. Take away the hits. Remove 'Interstate Love Song', 'Big Empty', 'Vasoline' and 'Unglued' from the mix. We all know those songs - and we could all probably belt them out as loud as we could at a show without missing a lyric. We know the value those bring to the table. My favorite song on this album isn't even listed there! 'Silvergun Superman' blows my mind right off my head! 'Meatplow' - another great track. Concluding the album with 'Kitchenware and Candybars'?? Flat out rockin'! And not even "rockin'" in the sense the guitars melt your face off or anything...just rockin' like "wow, what a great arrangement, what a great change of pace, what a great way to wrap up a FANTASTIC record!" My marquee number reviews have all been perfection - and it isn't going to change here. I think if you're about my age - if the 90's rock scene was something you really identify with too, you need to listen to this again. And don't skip tracks, and listen to them in the intended order. I think you'll be amazed by what you think today versus nearly 20 years ago when this dropped. It'll be hard for me to pick three songs - because this album truly is 11 tracks of awesome.

FIVE HUNDRED IN THE BOOKS! CHEERS B SIDERS!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Meat Plow
2. Vasoline
3. Lounge Fly
4. Interstate Love Song
5. Still Remains
6. Pretty Penny
7. Silver Gun Superman
8. Big Empty
9. Unglued
10. Army Ants
11. Kitchen Ware & Candy Bars

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Silvergun Superman
2. Interstate Love Song
3. Meatplow

4. Vasoline
5. Big Empty
6. Unglued
7. Kitchenware and Candybars
8. Pretty Penny
9. Army Ants
10. Still Remains
11. Lounge Fly

FINAL RATING:
5 out of 5 stars

Destroyer - Kaputt



Well Good Morning there B Siders! It's Hump Day - and my recent trend of super off-the-wall music continues today with Destroyer. I haven't the slightest clue how I found these guys. I was wondering around a really cool local record store the other day, and I was looking for the James Blake album used. These guys for some reason were linked to Blake in a 'you might like if...' section - and I shockingly remembered the name. This band is an indie rock group from Canada. There is this man named Daniel Bejar who is a singer/songwriter from Vancouver. I hadn't heard of him or the band before today - so it's a lesson for me too. As it turns out, Destroyer took a quick break in the early 2000's - in which Bejar lent his talents to a band I have heard of, 'The New Pornographers'. I'm not sure where he stands with that band - that review will occur some other day. Destroyer has a sound of a David Bowie or something of that ilk. Where it's kind of poppy - but still bends moreso into the rock type category. This is the ninth studio album by Destroyer - who has been making music since 1995. It doesn't appear as though Destroyer has seen much success in the states so far - but has a pretty solid following in Canada. It seems as though the success of some Bejar solo works and the Porno's helped get more fans to know about Destroyer here. This album is a fairly quick play - nine tracks coming in under an hour. It's also a very odd listen, with sounds coming in all over the place. Multiple instruments and different tempos keep the listener interested in what's coming next. Unfortunately for me, the change ups and oddness didn't add up to amazing. It was alright - but fairly bland. I'd like to give the band a second chance, so I'll have to toss on an oldie sometime soon.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Chinatown
2. Blue Eyes
3. Savage Night at the Opera
4. Suicide Demo for Kara Walker
5. Poor in Love
6. Kaputt
7. Downtown
8. Song for America
9. Bay of Pigs (Detail)

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Suicide Demo for Kara Walker
2. Song For America
3. Bay Of Pigs

FINAL RATING:
2.25 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

KMFDM - WTF?!



New Music Tuesday is here! Whooopie!! I didn't have anything planned out for this week, so it was a spurt of the moment new music day. Browsing through the new tuneage today, one band really stuck out - KMFDM. Now, I've heard of this band thousands of times, but I don't think I've ever heard any of their music. And my resident metal expert janis!...well, she hasn't told me about them. I know they are a German industrial band that started making music in the 80's. The band started as a performing arts school project by frontman Sascha Konietzko. They have gone through entirely too many line up changes to mention, as well as gone through way too many live performers. They even took a 3 year break from '99 to 2002. They are credited as first bringing industrial music to the masses - as they've sold millions of copies in the US alone. Substantially more in Germany. Their name is an acronym for Kein Mehrheit Für Die Mitleid - which translates to "no pity for the majority." They've named albums after symbols to apparently talk in code to the fans? I don't know - that's what I read. Members of the band have drummed up numerous side projects - again, too many to count. They're a heavier sound, they use a lot of sound manipulation and make anything into an instrument. I hear they even made a vacuum into a sound for a record. They do a lot of political stuff too. You can hear interviews from leaders in some of the tracks. I don't know...this album is too much for me. The musical value is very little and the music simply isn't my style. The album cover is loosely based on Madonna too - fun little tidbit. Go ahead and listen to this if you want - but it's not coming on my recommendation.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Krank
2. Come On, Go Off
3. Rebels in Kontrol
4. Lynchmob
5. Take It Like a Man
6. Vive La Mort!
7. Dystopia
8. Panzerfaust
9. Spectre
10. Amnesia
11. Death & Burial of C.R.

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Krank
2. Rebels In Kontrol
3. Vive La Mort!

FINAL RATING:
1.5 out of 5 stars

Fever Ray - Self Titled



Beatnuts rejoice! Time for a little electronic action! Techno Tuesday is a bit of a stretch today - with not as much a dance record as straight up electronic vibes. Fever Ray here (real name Karin Dreijer Andersson - yes, a woman) is quite a fixture in the music business. She is the lead vocalist of the electronic duo 'The Knife' and was previously a guitarist in the band 'Honey Is Cool'. She started the Fever Ray solo stuff while the Knife was on break - and this record dropped in 2009. Karin was born in 1975 in Sweden - which I think serves as a starting point as to where she gets her influences from. Her music is very similar to The Knife - or maybe even Bjork with more electronic influence. I'm not big on the scene - but there were a series of feminist pornographic shorts called 'Dirty Diaries'. There was a soundtrack set to those shorts - and they were done by Fever Ray here. The shorts were given fairly high marks by critics - but the music was said to be "appropriate - yet repetitive". Now, I haven't seen them to comment - but I'm kind of curious. That has to be an extremely tough task. She's performed as Fever Ray at a variety of music festivals around the world - and typically been praised for putting on a really good show. She's lent her sound to different studio film soundtracks, and sounds like she may be working on more. I certainly praise this record for doing what's it's doing - but this is fairly out there. I might be off base, but I think this would be very hard for the general music fan to enjoy. While I enjoy it, it's one of those albums I can say with near certainty would be too strange of a sound for the masses to enjoy. I still say check it out - but be weary.

TRACK LISTING:
1. If I Had a Heart
2. When I Grow Up
3. Dry and Dusty
4. Seven
5. Triangle Walks
6. Concrete Walls
7. Now's the Only Time I Know
8. I'm Not Done
9. Keep the Streets Empty for Me
10. Coconut

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Seven
2. If I Had A Heart
3. Dry And Dusty

FINAL RATING:
3.25 out of 5 stars

Monday, April 25, 2011

God Is An Astronaut - All Is Violent All Is Bright



In case you all were wondering, I can still pick up on some crazy music on my own from time to time. I still prefer getting the wacky, random suggestions out of the box - but I have a few sources on how to nab music that the casual music fan hasn't even dreamed of. One of those bands is God Is An Astronaut. These guys are an instrumental rock band from Wicklow, Ireland. Not exactly your Dropkick Murpheys kind of rock either. Very progressive, modern, post-rock kind of rock. Their name came based on a famous quote from the movie 'Nightbreed'. The quote is, "Everything is true. God's an Astronaut. Oz is Over the Rainbow, and Midian is where the monsters live." I can't say I ever saw the movie, but based on IMDB's view of it, I probably never will. These guys have seen a fair amount of play on MTV UK and other MTV based networks overseas. This was the band's second studio album, that produced one major single that saw solid airplay on the big MTV show over there called 'The Comedown'. I believe they are now signed to a larger label, and not producing albums on a record label owned by the band. But I'm not 100% certain on that. Check that, they are still releasing on their own private label. Just had to read more. Apparently their live performances are quite solid, and include a large light show. Don't expect a US tour anytime soon, as they tried it once in 2008 - and had 20,000 dollars worth of equipment stolen from their van in New Jersey. They were already touring on their own dime, and this doubled the cost of the tour. I know it's instrumental which won't be everyone's bag - but this is really good. The music is very captivating and has some sort of quality surrounding it I'm frankly not used to. There are a couple tracks worth standing on their own - but listen to the whole thing...you won't regret it.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Fragile
2. All Is Violent, All Is Bright
3. Forever Lost
4. Fire Flies and Empty Skies
5. Deafening Distance, A
6. Infinite Horizons
7. Suicide by Star
8. Remembrance Day
9. Dust and Echoes
10. When Everything Dies/Halo of Flies
11. Disturbance

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Remembrance Day
2. Fragile
3. Infinite Horizons

FINAL RATING:
4 out of 5 stars

Avett Brothers - I And Love And You



The B Side is in a good mood today. Why you ask? Well, yesterday was Easter - and instead of my normal family traditions, I went to the Brewer game. Which they won, and was awesome. (and was only $6 dollar tickets!!) So all in all, a solid weekend. My reviews today might tend to be overly positive because of my mood. Regardless, I start with the Avett Brothers at the request of my good buddy Heidi - who hasn't written in quite sometime. Need to get that back on track. I hadn't heard of this band before - turns out they are Concord, North Carolina and have been making music since 2000. They have an astounding 11 studio albums out in 10 years with three live albums. That's a crazy amount of music being produced by these people. It's a five man band including Scott and Seth Avett - which is clearly how they got the game. The employ a guitar, banjo, stand up bass, cello and drums for their normal sets - and then include more instruments while touring. Having listened to this record a meager one time now - I'm not really sure how I'd classify the music. I mean, it's got an overall country type feel, with hints of folk-y rock and kind of an old school feel. People have called them a mash up of the Beatles, Buddy Holly and the Ramones - but I won't go that far. Their grandfather was a minister, so some of their music seems to have a religious undertone - so add that into the genre mix. I think I could call this more of a bluegrass version of Counting Crows - but that's just me. This album starts off kind of slow - but it tempos up toward the middle and it displays a nice range of tuneage. I enjoy the lyrics in a couple tracks as well - making this a solid listen. I don't really think I could find anything wrong with this album - other than it's probably not something I'd listen to every single day. But start to finish - it's well worth a listen. Happy Monday B Siders!

TRACK LISTING:
1. I and Love and You
2. January Wedding
3. Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise
4. And It Spread
5. Perfect Space, The
6. Ten Thousand Words
7. Kick Drum Heart
8. Laundry Room
9. Ill with Want
10. Tin Man
11. Slight Figure of Speech
12. It Goes on and On
13. Incomplete and Insecure

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Head Full Of Doubt/Road Full Of Promise
2. Tin Man
3. And It Spread

FINAL RATING:
3.75 out of 5 stars

Friday, April 22, 2011

Rant #17 - "I Bet You Are Flying Inside, An Eels Retrospective"



Way back in August of last year, I created a retrospective of Green Day per the request of follower janis! I'm doing the same thing today with one of my favorite bands of all time, the Eels. No one asked me to do it, and as far as I can tell - I only know one other person who enjoys their music, and he doesn't read this blog. So I guess this lengthy rant will go to serve a couple purposes:

1) To one more time tell you guys how awesome they are.
2) Help my partner in crime Heidi navigate through their music.
3) Promote their show in Milwaukee coming in August. (which Heidi and I will be attending)

They're also playing a bunch of other dates, PLEASE go to the show if they're near you and you have the means. Their tour dates can be found here.


The Eels started in 1995 when a man named E (Mark Oliver Everett - pictured above) decided to form a band. He had released three solo albums, and decided to take it further when he met Butch Norton and Tommy Walter. They chose the name Eels so this band's recording would be close to E's solo work. It was realized too late that various Earth, Wind & Fire and Eagles albums would come between the two works. The Eels become one of the very first bands to be signed to DreamWorks records - of course related to the movie studio. They went defunct in 2005. Alas, that's where my love started.

1996 saw the first release by the band, an album called 'Beautiful Freak'. You can already find my review on the blog, but I'll highlight some things. 'Novocaine for the Soul' hit the radio airwaves and had a nice video on MTV. That song was enough for me to buy the album. As soon as I put it in, I knew this was one of the better albums I'd ever heard. Even though I was only 12 years old, I knew this was incredibly different and something special. Sounds wise, it's second to none and lyrically - one of the better albums ever written. While each song has a different genre of sound, they also have some lyrics that will captivate you. The album got pushed into a couple movies, which also helped the success. My favorite story related to this album was the song 'Beautiful Freak'. It was a track about E's girl at the time, and he joked in his book, "perhaps if I hadn't referred to her as a freak, she'd still be my girlfriend." Nice.

1998 saw the follow up of the successful 'Freak', with 'Electro-Shock Blues'. Now - this album. Wow. I can almost promise you that you've never listened to such a personal, heart breaking album before. E's mother was diagnosed with cancer and his sister committed suicide within weeks of each other, and he wrote all those thoughts down and made an album. The album talks about their issues and his emotions dealing with those events. DreamWorks didn't want to put this album out, because it was so incredibly sad. Eventually it was released, and critics were beyond impressed. It was hard to put it out commercially, because of the lack of upbeat singles. 'Cancer for the Cure' made an appearance in American Beauty and then one other track saw minor airplay. I can't even listen to this album for singles. I always listen to it start to finish, as E intended. It tells one of the best album stories of all time, and makes you really contemplate how bad things really can get.

2000 marked the drop of 'Daisies of the Galaxy'. This record was recording in E's basement, and was a drastic contrast to 'Electro-Shock'. E described it as, "if Electro-Shock Blues was the phone call in the middle of the night that the world doesn't want to answer, then Daisies of the Galaxy is the hotel wake-up call that says your lovely breakfast is ready." This contains the single you're most likely to have heard, 'Mr. E's Beautiful Blues' which was featured on the Road Trip soundtrack. It generated some controversy because of some censorship that happened in a couple songs. This was at a time when George W. Bush was running for president. And the album was given out to the Democratic party as a gift, when one of Bush's men (Dan Bartlett) got a hold of it, he went on a rant of his own. He called it, "an example of obscenity-laden entertainment marketed to children." That only because the image on the cover is a cartoon, and not normal artwork. What a moron. All that "negative" publicity turned out great for the band. They got a chance to be on their first international tour, and opened for Fiona Apple in Australia. Not too shabby. This isn't my favorite album by them, but it's still rock solid.

2001 saw the drop of 'Souljacker', one of the Eels heavier records. The American release was delayed again due to the lack of radio friendly singles as determined by DreamWorks. This was also the first time Everett decided to write songs about other people's lives, and not his own. You can understand what people he was looking at just by the song titles. There are a lot of really good tracks on this record. 'Fresh Feeling' was used on the TV show Chuck, and that was about it for pop culture stuff. 'Souljacker Part 1' is an awesome track, both recorded and live and 'Dog Faced Boy' seemed to really get the crowd going last concert. This is another album that normally would get lost as a "middle of the discography" type record, but it's still really good. At a time when the Eels were seriously touring hard and going through some lineup changes, it would have been easy to let the quality slip. Which, the label also seemed to want. Less quality for more poppy or radio single type music. Thankfully, E stuck to his guns, and created another stupendous record.

2003 marked the release of 'Shootenanny!' which would be the final album the Eels made under the DreamWorks umbrella. The name came from E as a moniker for, "a social gathering at which participants engage in folk singing and sometimes dancing, but mostly the shooting of guns." I have no clue where that came from in his head, but it's E. You just have to try to follow his madness. This album never really got paid any attention by critics or even the band. They were working on their next record, which was set to be this bigtime masterpiece, but they hit a few roadblocks in the creative process. The band decided to turn the attention to a different record, and they put this together in a studio in ten days. Yeah, ten days. E just jotted down some notes and put in some things he'd written in years past. I think since no one was expecting this record and anticipating the next, it was simply skipped over. It is probably one of my least favorite Eels records, but hey, it's still quite good. Their "bad" is still about a 3.5 on my rating scale. At least the songs are still written by E and weren't something that got put out because the masses needed a fix.

2005 - finally. Finally the release of the 33 track, double album - 'Blinking Lights and Other Revelations'. E wrote this album was about, "God and all the questions related to the subject of God. It's also about hanging on to my remaining shreds of sanity and the blue sky that comes the day after a terrible storm, and it's a love letter to life itself, in all its beautiful, horrible glory." Wow. That's the kind of guy E is. I got a chance to really sit down and listen to all 33 tracks about a month ago. This album is top to bottom, one of the most genre spanning mashes I've ever heard. The songs range from pop to mood to rock to soul to everything in between. E started touring with a full orchestra for this record, and they ended up releasing another album with the orchestra. A hand written lyric sheet from E sold on eBay for $600 dollars or so from this record, and that money was all given to charity.

In 2008 - something non music related happened. And normally I wouldn't talk about such non-important things as books, but E wrote a book called 'Things The Grandchildren Should Know'. Now, I didn't know this until mid 2010, and I bought it for myself for Christmas. Let me tell you - I don't read. Can't stand it. But I could NOT put this book down. It was 250 pages of a guy that has probably gone through the WORST life ever, but keeps moving and finding ways to put it all behind him. If you never have listened to an Eels album - I'd encourage you to read this first. Read the story about the man writing all these songs, and then the albums make even more of an impact. I know they did for me, when I went back after reading. Beautiful piece of literature.

Sometime in 2009 the Eels announced they were releasing a trio of concept albums - all to come out within a few months of each other. The first was 'Hombre Lobo'. I don't want to overstate this or whatever, but this album is flat out phenomenal. E states, "I wanted to write a set of songs about desire. That dreadful, intense want that gets you into all sorts of situations that can change your life in big ways." The album also served as a sequel to 'Dog Faced Boy' - The character of "Dog Faced Boy" has grown up into a werewolf and is the protagonist who experiences various types of desire throughout the songs. Talk about a neat concept to spin off an old album. I've only seen one guy give this a bad review, and he's a loser. This album is mostly rock and then a couple ballad songs that are quite amazing. It'll be tough at the end, but this might be my favorite record.

2010 saw the next two concept albums, 'End Times' and 'Tomorrow Morning'. The first being an album about broken and lost loves. It was done on a four track recorder again in a basement. There are some really reflective songs on that album. 'End Times' is a great single, as well as 'In My Younger Days'. The type of songs you put on and you just stop what you're doing, and listen. Listen to the words and you feel exactly the picture E is painting. And you feel his pain. All the weight of things pressing down on him from years of problems. It's just...captivating. 'Tomorrow Morning' saw the final of the concept albums, and it deals with redemption. This also marked the capstone in which the Eels decided to tour based off of. E wore a white suit at each performance and tossed ice cream treats out to the fans. Which was incredibly neat. I haven't listened to this record in a while, but it's certainly a change of pace from the previous two. It's finally upbeat and forward looking - but that isn't always E's wheelhouse. Sometimes it's hard for me to believe that he is experiencing the good times, because I'm used to him writing about all the bad. I don't think the music suffers, and this album is again, solid.

Albums In My Favorite Order:
1. Beautiful Freak
2. Hombre Lobo
3. Electro-Shock Blues
4. End Times
5. Souljacker
6. Blinking Lights And Other Revelations
7. Daisies Of The Galaxy
8. Shootenanny!
9. Tomorrow Morning

I would consider listening to albums in that order as well. That will provide you with a nice mix of new/old and upbeat/sorrowful. I really do recommend reading the book first too. I think it's easier to put the songs and whatnot in perspective, when you understand his life and his thought process. And I promise, it's a fantastic read. Unless you hate reading about others' lives, it's well worth your time. Heck, if I know you and you live near me, you can borrow my copy. I believe in it that much.

I know this is another shameful plug for a favorite band of mine, but I really do love them. And again, if you can - go to the show. It was one of the more energetic and overall fun performances I've seen in years. It's a bunch of guys who love to put on a real 'show' and they love the music they play. Sometimes, that's rare.

Have a great weekend B Siders!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Audioslave - Self Titled



Rap followed up by alternative rock. That's my kind of day! I think I've been typically critical of supergroups in the past - since usually they have such high expectations and then fail to live up to them. Audioslave here is 25% Soundgarden (Chris Cornell) and then 75% Rage Against The Machine (Morello, Commerford and Wilk). Their sound identity was a really good mix of those two bands. They prided themselves on the same RATM standard of only using guitar, drum and bass over vocals when producing music. No generic computer editing or sound additions done. Straight up rock n' roll. They started making music in 2001 - with this album dropping in 2002. It is a nice 3x platinum in the states, their highest selling album to date. Audioslave in it's time was nominated for three grammy awards. Not super surprising, because the album were all solid and they generated a pretty good following. They were also the first band to put on an open air concert in Cuba - I think ever. I'm not sure an open air venue was ever done there before they did it in 2006. In 2007 though, Cornell released a statement saying he was leaving the band due to personality conflicts and musical differences. The real issue was the 75% was back working on a RATM reunion, as well as two of the Rage guys doing solo work. It all worked out though, as Soundgarden is now back together and working on new music. In terms of sheer music quality - this album is up and down. There are a few tracks on here I think are flat out amazing, and then a few that are quite lackluster. Overall, it's a solid record - but not one I'd go and put in any Top whatever lists. I still feel they are one of the most successful supergroups for a reason, and their music is very worth listening to - all there albums. Start with this one though, as it was the original. There is some progression over the albums, and starting with numero uno is the way to go.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Cochise
2. Show Me How to Live
3. Gasoline
4. What You Are
5. Like a Stone
6. Set It Off
7. Shadow on the Sun
8. I Am the Highway
9. Exploder
10. Hypnotize
11. Bring Em Back Alive
12. Light My Way
13. Getaway Car
14. Last Remaining Light, The

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Like A Stone
2. Show Me How To Live
3. Cochise

FINAL RATING:
3.5 out of 5 stars

Cam'ron - Come Home With Me



Well hello there Thursday - the weekend is quickly approaching. Time to take a swing at a review in my wheelhouse again - a little rap on my cold Thursday morning. I was running through my iPod this morning, and saw this album sitting there. Now, I haven't listened to this in probably 5 years - but I do recall it being not terrible. We'll see if my tastes have changed. Cameron Giles aka Cam'ron aka Killa Cam was born in 1976 in Harlem, New York. He went to high school with two other rappers you may have heard of - Jim Jones and Mase. Mase and Cam'ron were very promising high school basketball players, but Cam had academic issues that forced him to drop out of high school. He still ended up getting admitted into a college in Texas - but that didn't last very long. He thusly returned to Harlem and began selling drugs before beginning his hip hop career. In the late 90's, Cam was introduced to Notorious BIG through Mase who was signed by Bad Boy at the time. Big was so impressed with Cam that he introduced him to a guy that ended up signing him to Epic via the Untertainment label. That label produced two Cam albums, but ended in bigtime controversy. Cam demanded out of that label and was picked up by Damon Dash's Roc-A-Fella records. (yeah, before Jay took over) The ROC was huge at the time, with success from Jay and Beanie Sigel. They signed Cam to a 4.5 million dollar record deal, and the first album produced was this very one. This is his best selling album at a simple platinum - and was released in 2002. I could talk about 10 million other things relating to Cam and his music - but I've already run long. His style is Dipset, which I consider the beginning to party rap. Some stolen samples and lyrics that don't blow your mind off. It's worth a listen, but don't expect a legendary album here.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Intro
2. Losing Weight, Pt. 2
3. Oh Boy
4. Live My Life (Leave Me Alone)
5. Daydreaming
6. Come Home With Me
7. Welcome to New York City
8. Hey Ma
9. On Fire Tonight
10. Stop Calling
11. I Just Wanna
12. Dead or Alive
13. Roc, The (Just Fire)
14. Boy Boy
15. Tomorrow

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Welcome To New York City
2. Hey Ma
3. Oh Boy

FINAL RATING:
2.5 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Dio - Holy Diver



Oh metal. I think I've talked before about my metal phases. I was recently in a pretty solid phase (mostly brought on buy picking up a Motorhead record) - but I ended up checking out some Dio as well. And I know that this band in theory shouldn't have even existed - simply because it was a mistake by Black Sabbath letting Ronnie Dio go, only to form a competing band. And yes, I know that Ronnie wanted to leave and took another member with him - but I feel Sabbath was never quite the same, and could have pushed a little harder to keep them aboard. When the change took place, the guys in Dio couldn't have been happier. This album dropped in 1983, right as the MTV craze was catching big time fire. The guys had two huge singles off this (their debut) record, and MTV was making them even more famous. The guys talked about the work ethic being amazing, and everyone felt like they were having the best time ever, and making this new band was exactly the shot in the arm not only the band, but music needed. I will say, this album has gone only platinum, which is their best selling album to date. And they've dropped 10 studio albums spanning nearly 3 decades. I have nothing bad to say about Ronnie Dio though. I always liked his music when in Sabbath, and when doing solo stuff. This was probably my favorite Dio record, and I haven't gotten the chance to get through them all. Ronnie Dio died in 2010 from stomach cancer. He was 67 years old when he passed, but he was still active in making music and touring. Dio was no longer functioning as a band, but Dio reunited with Sabbath for a tour, which I think was slated to run more shows after his death. Such a shame, as Ronnie Dio ignited crowds with his stage presence and incredible vocal. This album is pure 80's metal. If you're a fan of that type of music, don't pass this one up.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Stand up and Shout
2. Holy Diver
3. Gypsy
4. Caught in the Middle
5. Don't Talk to Strangers
6. Straight Through the Heart
7. Invisible
8. Rainbow in the Dark
9. Shame on the Night

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Holy Diver
2. Rainbow In The Dark
3. Gypsy

FINAL RATING:
3 out of 5 stars

Rascal Flatts - Me And My Gang



Hump Day is back this week...and the mid point of the week is always a nice little momentum swing to get you to Friday. And working from home on Wednesday's always is a little boost for me - sleeping in, staying in pajamas, and last but not least - BLASTING music on my 2.1 sub system on the computer. Slightly better than headphones. Anyways, it's country music day again on the B Side! Today we roll with Rascal Flatts, because I happened to hear them on satellite radio yesterday on the pop station. Even though they started making music 11 years ago in Columbus, Ohio - they have never gone though any band members. Meaning, the original three members are still the same folks making music today. Fairly impressive. What is fairly surprising to me, is how incredibly successful this band is. Nearly every album they've dropped has gone at minimum, platinum. They have two records (including this one) that have gone 5x platinum. That's incredible. Of their seven studio albums, the only one that hasn't gone platinum is the one that came out last year. Simply amazing. They also were slated the highest grossing live band in all of 2006. Yeah, that means they made more money than ANY OTHER act in music that year. That blows my mind! I mean, as a non-country die hard, especially in 2006 - I've heard of these guys many times over in my life, so maybe it shouldn't surprise me all that much. Style wise, these guys are straight up country maybe with a little pop additive. They covered 'Life Is A Highway' for the movie 'Cars' which ended up being released as a bonus track for this album. Probably contributed to some of its success, but who knows. This album has a few really nice tracks on it. Ones that I could stand to listen to over and over. Very much worth giving a shot today. Even those non-country followers out there. It's got some serious head bobbing qualities to it.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Stand
2. What Hurts the Most
3. Backwards
4. I Feel Bad
5. My Wish
6. Pieces
7. Yes I Do
8. To Make Her Love Me
9. Words I Couldn't Say
10. Me and My Gang
11. Cool Thing
12. Ellsworth
13. He Ain't the Leavin' Kind
14. Life Is A Highway (Bonus Track)

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. What Hurts The Most
2. Pieces
3. Backwards

FINAL RATING:
4.25 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Gorillaz - The Fall



YES! I think everyone that I know and all the B Side readers know by now that I adore the Gorillaz. I mean, any brand of music you like - these guys do something that would entertain you. It's so random that it's the perfect music when you don't feel like anything in particular. Which for me, happens often. This album has been making waves for a while now for a variety of reasons. First, it officially "released" back in December of last year. The band was offering it for free (well, if you were a member of their online fan club that costs 30 dollars a year). People have been eager to pick up the album - but had to wait 4 months. This album also made news because it was recorded solely on Damon Albarn's iPad. They were on tour for the 'Plastic Beach' album, and he decided to start recording stuff while in different places. As you can imagine, this isn't the most complex of sounds as being done solely with different iPad apps - but it's certainly got that signature Gorillaz sound to it. The story goes, they were just cruising along the highways of the US and different areas were the inspiration for the sound each track produced. Some of the titles reflect where they were at the time too. It's a pretty laid back album, that doesn't stray too much from the 'Plastic Beach' sound. It doesn't have that hip hop/latin feel to it - it's just a soundtrack of sorts - a musical commentary of how the guys were feeling on the trip. Similar to the last one, I might not fully appreciate this until after I listened to it 50 or 60 times. I'll need to put it on the headphones over and over and try to appreciate what they did just using a mobile device. This album is a lot more instrumental heavy than previous Gorillaz albums, so that will also take some getting used to. I'm still going to slap a "good" label on this album for now, but it has potential to be great, just like any other record from this band.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Phoner to Arizona
2. Revolving Doors
3. Hillbilly Man
4. Detroit
5. Shy-Town
6. Little Pink Plastic Bags
7. Joplin Spider, The
8. Parish of Space Dust, The
9. Snake in Dallas, The
10. Amarillo
11. Speak It Mountains, The
12. Aspen Forest
13. Bobby in Phoenix
14. California and the Slipping of the Sun
15. Seattle Yodel

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Amarillo
2. Revolving Doors
3. Bobby In Phoenix

FINAL RATING:
4 out of 5 stars

tUnEyArDs - w h o k i l l



Whoa! Today is going to be a double dose of New Music Tuesday without skipping an installation of Techno Tuesday. A while back - follower Ashley asked how I come up with new DJ's each week to share with you guys. I'll reiterate my stance that's it is simply stupid luck. Again today, I was looking through new music today (even though I knew who I was reviewing) and came across this Tune-Yards record here. It looked odd so I clicked on it, and found it to be semi-magical. It had the odd spelling thing and then the spaces between letters on the album title, so I figured it had to be some sort of electronic madness. And it kind of is - I mean, it's not techno in the standard sense, but it's very electronic and experimental. So I'm saying that classifies today. Basically, this "band" is a project of New England resident Merrill Garbus. When he does live shows, he makes up drum loops right on the spot and then layers ukulele, voice, saxophone and electric bass. That would be pretty neat to see. His first small EP was done on a recycled cassette tape and recorded with a hand held recorder. It eventually was remastered and released in 2009. There isn't a ton of information about this guy (or guys when performing live) out there. He got signed to 4AD records after they heard the potential in the tape. This album also shows promise, just because it's music that's so different. Some songs are really fast paced and fun - others are super ballads and slowed down, but they're all pretty good. This album certainly isn't for everyone - but the strangeness is right up my alley. It's like a less polished version of my band that I'll be reviewing next for New Music Tuesday. If Mr. Garbus keeps it up, he might have a similar style and sound.

TRACK LISTING:
1. My Country
2. Merrill Garbus
3. Gangsta
4. Powa
5. Riotriot
6. Bizness
7. Doorstep
8. You Yes You
9. Woolywollygong
10. Killa

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Powa
2. Gangsta
3. Killa

FINAL RATING:
3.25 out of 5 stars

Monday, April 18, 2011

Styx - Grand Illusion



Monday is going to be double Suggestion Box day. I caught that follower Ashley dropped a question asking if I've ever heard of Styx and if any album by them sticks out for me. Well first, HECK YES! Styx is one of those bands I tend to overrate a little bit. I enjoy their music, and would certainly recommend their stuff to others. But when push comes to shove, I don't listen to them overly often and none of their albums are flat out amazing 5 star-ers. Still very worth listening to though, and I'm starting with 1977's 3x platinum 'Grand Illusion'. This is one of three 3x records for Styx, tied for their best selling of all time. These guys formed in Chicago, Illinois back in 1970. They were doing progressive rock before it was super cool. They added a ton of synth to a heavy guitar, which was kind of new in the early 70's. Their music was all about American theater and performing a "show" in the literal sense of the word. Not just a simple concert. They had a variety of ballads - but a lot of them were of the "power" ballad variety. Although not on this record, their single 'Lady' personifies that idea. Sure, it's a sappy love ballad, but you drop that huge guitar over it and it sounds like hard rock almost. This record has arguably the biggest Styx hit, 'Come Sail Away'. That is an over 6 minute track of pretty pure awesome. In pop culture, I recall an episode of South Park where someone would sing the first 5 bars, and Cartman revealed he couldn't only hear the first part, but would have to proceed to sing the entire track. Pretty funny. Anyways, this is the first of many multi platinum selling records. It's not coincidence they are one of the better selling bands of all time. This album is pretty solid, one of their better non "Best Of" records. Very worth listening to, especially on a cold Monday.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Grand Illusion, The
2. Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)
3. Superstars
4. Come Sail Away
5. Miss America
6. Man in the Wilderness
7. Castle Walls
8. Grand Finale, The

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Come Sail Away
2. Fooling Yourself
3. The Grand Illusion

FINAL RATING:
3.5 out of 5 stars

Fitz And The Tantrums - Pickin' Up The Pieces



The only thing that ever makes me not look forward to coming back and running through more delicious music for you guys - is sleep deprivation. I feel like I've gotten like 4 hours of sleep over the weekend, and am considering passing out at my desk this afternoon. That's all about to change though - with Shaqwanda's request that I look into Fitz & The Tantrums here. This band formed just a couple years ago in Los Angeles, California. "Fitz" aka Michael Fitzpatrick has a cast of 5 other bandmates that make up the Tantrums. They issued a small EP in 2009 with Dreambird Records - that saw enough solid success to be signed to a full length record. That my friends is this very album - which came out in August of last year. I can't recall ever hearing their name before, which is kind of surprising. I am an avid Conan watcher, and they performed on his show not long ago. They also contributed 'Moneygrabber' to an episode of Criminal Minds - which I also watch weekly. They lent a song to Desperate Housewives - but that show isn't my style. Anyways, they had a nice tour with Maroon 5 in 2010 and now they'll be hitting the road with April Smith on an international tour. Style? Sick soul music. Maybe a slight indie rock lean after that, but it's very upbeat catchy soul music. You can even hear what sounds like a souped up church organ on a couple songs. Simply put, this is going to climb my list of music I'm obsessed with for a while. The album is sub $10 bucks at various locations, so I'm thinking I'll pick it up. You guys should all check it out - as my toes have been tapping all morning!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Breakin' the Chains of Love
2. Dear Mr. President
3. Pickin' Up the Pieces
4. MoneyGrabber
5. L.O.V.
6. News 4 You
7. Don't Gotta Work It Out
8. Rich Girls
9. Winds of Change
10. Tighter

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. MoneyGrabber
2. Dear Mr. President
3. Tighter

FINAL RATING:
4 out of 5 stars

Friday, April 15, 2011

B Side Presents, "Take A Vote!"




Happy Friday B Siders!

I was going back and looking at some albums that came out this year. In my estimation, it's been a reasonably slow first few months of the year, but there have been a couple nice albums to drop so far. I'm curious what your favorite is! I started a poll at the top of the blog that you can vote on your favorite album so far. If your favorite isn't listed, drop a comment on this post and I'll add it for you! These are only the ones I could grab off the top of my head, so I know I'm short a few records.

I like to get feedback from you guys too - so this helps me understand which albums and reviews people want to see in the future. So please help us out! Also, if you guys have any ideas or things you want to hear the B Side 'Rant' about - hit us up! We are willing to review, discuss, rant, blog about literally anything!

Have a great weekend B Siders!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Peter Gabriel - So



Sometimes there are artists out there, that are flat out amazing. They do things musically that are so different, and so great - but they don't get the recognition for being as outstanding as they really are. One of those artists is Peter Gabriel. Everytime I hear more from him - I'm simply captivated. Born in 1950 in England - Gabriel has seen his fair share of ups and downs. Gabriel founded the band Genesis back in 1967 with a bunch of guys he went to prep school with. Back in the day, their concerts were known as completely crazy and over the top. Gabriel often changed into various costumes over the course of the show and was known for being very flamboyant and theatrical on stage. Phil Collins originated as the drummer of Genesis until Gabriel left the band in the late 70's. Fans were stunned when he left. People thought the band would never go on. They all came to odds when the band felt the performances got more attention than the actual music, and when Gabriel instituted a concept album for Genesis to produce. Gabriel and his wife were expecting their first child, and upon a tough pregnancy - Gabriel stayed home with his family in lieu of making more music and touring with Genesis. That was the final straw. Gabriel's first single was 'Solsbury Hill' which was written about his departure from the band. (and personally one of my favorite Gabriel songs ever) 'So' came out in 1986 and is a resounding 5x platinum in the states. His first platinum selling album - with it being his 5th studio attempt. He had two MONSTROUS singles, 'In Your Eyes' and 'Sledgehammer' that contributed toward the success. I maintain that 'In Your Eyes' is one of the greatest songs of all time. This record is short, 9 tracks - but the quality is outstanding. It's a perfect 'mood' type record, and a great listen. Please check it out today. Gabriel deserves getting more recognition - so I'll start trying to get people on the bandwagon.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Red Rain
2. Sledgehammer
3. Don't Give Up
4. That Voice Again
5. Mercy Street
6. Big Time
7. We Do What We're Told (Milgram's 37)
8. This Is the Picture (Excellent Birds)
9. In Your Eyes

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. In Your Eyes
2. Sledgehammer
3. Don't Give Up

FINAL RATING:
4 out of 5 stars

Fergie - The Dutchess



How come every time you come around my London, London Bridge - wanna go down like... I think by now, we've all heard at least half this record. There was a time when I had a huge secret crush on BEP's hot lead singer, but now - I don't know. She looks like she's gotten too much work done and she looks - fake? Is that the right word? Anyways, Fergie. Born in 1975 in California. She grew up as a devout Roman Catholic, and was a child star. She was in the TV show Kids Incorporated, and was in an all girl band. When she turned 18, she has said she went on a huge drug and sex spree. She admitted later in interviews, "I have had lesbian experiences in the past. I won't say how many men I've had sex with — but I am a very sexual person." Probably music to the ears of her current husband, Josh Duhamel. (you know, the guy from Transformers) In 2009 she became part owner of the Miami Dolphins and recently she signed an endorsement deal with Dr. Pepper. (which features a song of this album, 'Here I Come') Regardless of all that, this album saw a TON of success. 3x platinum in the states and almost 7 million records worldwide. It had a variety of singles that saw big time radioplay. I'm really torn on this record. While the music isn't bad, it's not good either. Fergie does have a little bit of talent (not as much when she's live) and this album does a fairly nice job showcasing it. It has ballads, it has her "rapping" and it has her doing songs that are very near to her life. I enjoy that. The songs were catchy, and it was hard not to turn the car stereo up a little when they came on. I'm very much on the fence. Critics typically are either giving this 5 stars or 1 star - but I'm going to buck the trend and be in the middle. It's around average, maybe a bit above it. Unless Fergie reads this - and wants to meet up for a date, then it's a solid 5 star record. ;-) It's very worth checking out, especially if you're a pop fan. And if you're not, I think you'll find a few tracks you enjoy.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Fergalicious
2. Clumsy
3. All That I Got (the Make Up Song)
4. London Bridge
5. Pedestal
6. Voodoo Doll
7. Glamourous
8. Here I Come
9. Velvet
10. Big Girls Don't Cry
11. Mary Jane Shoes
12. Losing My Ground
13. Finally

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Finally
2. Fergalicious
3. Glamorous

FINAL RATING:
3.25 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Alien Ant Farm - ANThology



Talk about a serious blast from the past. I was sitting on shuffle yesterday at the gym, and all of the sudden AAF's 'Movies' came on, and I rocked out that 3 minutes of yogging (I think it's a soft j)...sorry. I had to slip that in there. But it made me crave listening to this record again, which I haven't done since college. AAF started making music in 1995 based out of Riverside, California. The band name has a fun story behind it. Guitarist Terry Corso had an daydream about aliens and the earth, "I was daydreaming at my dull desk job with my feet up, and I thought to myself, 'Wouldn't it be cool if the human species were placed on earth and cultivated by alien intelligence?' Maybe the aliens added us to an atmosphere that was suitable for us, and they've been watching us develop and colonize, kind of like what a kid does with an ant farm." A little on the nuts-o side, but funny nonetheless. They dropped an underground tape called "Greatest Hits" back in the 90's, which was referred to as the best indie record of the year in 1998. They were pretty good friends with the guys from Papa Roach, so they signed on to Dreamworks in 2000. This was the first release, and it has seen pretty solid success over the last decade. (wow...college was a decade ago, sick) The album is platinum, behind the lead single - a cover of Jacko's 'Smooth Criminal'. They've let their music be used in a variety of TV, movies and video games. Their style is pretty much straight up rock, and it doesn't waver. They broke for a bit in '08, but it sounds like they're back and ready to record again. I like this album, and I'd like to hear more. Someday. Until then, go "old school" with ANThology.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Courage
2. Movies
3. Flesh and Bone
4. Whisper
5. Summer
6. Sticks and Stones
7. Attitude
8. Stranded
9. Wish
10. Calico
11. Death Day
12. Smooth Criminal
13. Universe

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Movies
2. Smooth Criminal
3. Flesh And Bone

FINAL RATING:
3.25 out of 5 stars

Jason Aldean - My Kinda Party



Hump Day and I'm not at home today. It's quite a shock to the system. But it's country day - with yet another Suggestion from JenInTosa. Speaking of that, you guys haven't been dropping anything in the box lately! Hit me up with some new music! Anyways, on to Mr. Aldean. He was born in 1977 in Macon, Georgia. His parents got divorced when he was just three years old. He lived with his mother in Georgia, but would often spend summers with his father in Florida. Before his dad would leave for work, he'd map out guitar notes on a piece of paper for Jason to learn. He started out playing old country songs by artists like Hank Williams and George Strait. He performed from an early age in front of small crowds. He had such a passion for it, that he'd often end up having to get dragged off stage because he loved being up there so much. His real music career started in 2005, when he dropped his first record with Broken Bow Records. The album saw pretty solid success, but he ended up firing his management and getting a new agent. This is his fourth studio album and it dropped in November of last year. This album has seen platinum success already, which is pretty rockin' for a fairly small country album. The title track was the first single and that seemed to get people in right off the bat. The next single was 'Don't You Wanna Stay' - which features a duet with Kelly Clarkson. Overall, this album has a couple nice things going on. It's got a few cross genre tracks, which are all really good. My favorite song is track #2, which would be called country rap. Because of those things, this is going to get high ratings from me. And you guys should check it out today, country fan or no.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Tattoos on This Town
2. Dirt Road Anthem
3. Church Pew or Bar Stool
4. Just Passing Through
5. Fly Over States
6. My Kinda Party
7. I Ain't Ready to Quit
8. It Ain't Easy
9. Country Boy's World
10. Heartache That Don't Stop Hurting, The
11. Texas Was You
12. Don't You Wanna Stay
13. See You When I See You
14. If She Could See Me Now
15. Days Like These

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Dirt Road Anthem
2. Don't You Wanna Stay
3. My Kinda Party

FINAL RATING:
3.5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Foo Fighters - Wasting Light



I feel like Foo Fighters are a band that's really, really good - but consistently flies under the radar. I mean, their albums are always pretty solid, a couple of them being flat out great, yet - no one really talks about them. To celebrate the drop today, Paladia and VH1 put out a new version of Rock Docs that focused on the guys who fight foo. It was in a word, captivating. I remember them going through a guitar man a couple times, and when Pat quit the band out of no where. But the stuff Grohl fought when they formed - always having to talk about Kurt and the people that hated him because he was making "Nirvana's music" with another band. Success came so fast for these guys, it was hard to take. The drummer nearly died of an overdose - the band nearly called it quits, really quite an interesting documentary. The story goes they got a call to play Wembley Stadium in the UK. Grohl initially thought this was a silly idea - because they'd only fill 20 of the 80 thousand seats. They didn't. They sold it out, and sold it out in days. You can see a clearly emotional Grohl after the show seemingly in disbelief that this project turned so huge. They recorded this album on tape - yes, TAPE, and not digitally. Grohl wanted that old school sound and wanted the imperfections that come with not being able to simply re-record certain aspects that didn't sound quite right. They also recorded this in Grohl's garage with producer Butch Vig - whom produced 'Nevermind'. Bob Mould from Husker Du is on the album, as well as Krist Novoselic the bassist from Nirvana. Pat Smear is also back and considered a full time member of Foo again. It's early - I don't adore this record, but it's another guitar heavy Foo Fighters signature record. My toes were definitely tapping pretty much the whole time I listened to it (which is going on twice now). 'Rope' has been dropped as a single, and it's a pretty good track. 'I Should Have Known' is thought to be about Nirvana and Cobain - with Grohl writing that he should have known what would happen all in retrospect. If you listen close, it's a very reflective track that's probably the highest writing quality on the record. Bottom line, right now I like this - don't love it yet. I could be swayed the more I listen, as is the case with most Foo record I love today.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Bridge Burning
2. Rope
3. Dear Rosemary
4. White Limo
5. Arlandria
6. These Days
7. Back & Forth
8. A Matter Of Time
9. Miss The Misery
10. I Should Have Known
11. Walk

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. I Should Have Known
2. Walk
3. Rope

FINAL RATING:
3.5 out of 5 stars

Joan As Police Woman - Deep Field



It's Tuesday. Tuesday usually brings a New album and a dance album, but this week - I'm dropping the dance and adding a double dose of New Music. Why? I don't really know. I had a BIG new album that I'll be reviewing next, but then I saw this random artist "Joan as Police Woman"? I'm like, okay, I gotta listen to that. What an odd band name or artist name. So it turns out, this lady's real name is Joan Wasser - and this is her third studio album. She had played violin for a band called the Dambuilders, but branched into a solo gig. She was born in 1970 in Connecticut - and went on to attend Boston University to study music. While playing for the Dambuilders, she started to become the main attraction known for her overly aggressive style of playing at live shows. She was dating the one and only Jeff Buckley when he spontaneously drowned back in 1997. She spent quite a bit of time playing with his old band, and then even forming a tribute band to honor his legacy. After all that ended, she really hit the solo stuff hard. This is now her 4th studio album, obviously dropping today. She's classified as that 'indie rock' label that gets applied to just about anything nowadays. Her style is very soulful and mostly slow tempo. She really changes her vocal style track to track too. From what I thought would be a joke of a review, I actually am really digging this. It's like a slowed down Amy Winehouse but that kind of old school throwback feel. I'm going to have to really sit down on this again today. It's much better than I anticipated.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Nervous
2. Magic, The
3. Action Man, The
4. Flash
5. Run for Love
6. Human Condition
7. Kiss the Specifics
8. Chemmie
9. Forever and a Year
10. I Was Everyone
11. Say Yes

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:

I haven't found myself digging any certain tracks yet, but I'll try:

1. The Magic
2. Nervous
3. Forever And A Year

FINAL RATING:
3.75 out of 5 stars

Monday, April 11, 2011

Billy Joel - The Stranger



Holy cats. Can you believe that Billy Joel - BILLY JOEL has never graced the presence of the B Side? I mean, it's been over a year and not one single appearance? What a jerk. Oh wait...it's no one's fault but my own. My sincerest apologies to Mr. Joel. Seriously though, is there a single person out there who would say they don't like his music? I mean, not even 5 or 6 songs from any section of his storied career? Seems like anything he touches turns into gold...no wait, platinum. He was born in 1949 in the Bronx. His father was a classical pianist, and he's said that's where he picked up the music bug. Joel took up boxing to protect himself in the rough area he grew up in. He actually was an amateur boxer for quite sometime. He got his nose broken in his twenty-fourth match, which is when he elected to call it quits. He joined a band called "The Echoes" that specialized in British cover songs. He finally busted out into a solo act in 1971 or so, and then never looked back. This was Joel's fifth studio album, and the only reason I selected this one today was the sales. This is certified an INCREDIBLE 10x platinum. That's diamond status. Sick. Joel is no stranger to album sales, as he's had to have sold at least 50 million copies of albums just in the US. I'm going to assume everyone knows Mr. Joel's style by now...piano heavy and mostly ballads. Great songwriting that is typically modeled after his life or people close to it. This album is in a word, outstanding. It's 9 solid tracks of really good music. It's easy to see why it sold so much, and now has a Broadway musical named after it. Sweet sassy molassy, if you have never heard this, listen to it today. Get well versed in some Billy Joel..you won't regret it.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)
2. Stranger, The
3. Just the Way You Are
4. Scenes from an Italian Restaurant
5. Vienna
6. Only the Good Die Young
7. She's Always a Woman
8. Get It Right the First Time
9. Everybody Has a Dream

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Movin' Out
2. Only The Good Die Young
3. Just The Way You Are

FINAL RATING:
4.5 out of 5 stars

MGMT - Oracular Spectacular



Well good morning B Siders! It's Monday, and I'm over-the-top tired today. I need something to really pick me up. On Saturday, the HD music channel Palladia showed a documentary about N.E.R.D. Upon talking to Pharrell and Shay - they asked who their favorite new bands were. They both talked about how great MGMT is, and how their music is so fresh and new. I realized that I've never listened to this album in full, and no time was better than the present! MGMT is a Connecticut based band that started making music in 2005. Two guys were attending Wesleyan University and decided to start hanging out and jamming. They had zero intention of forming a band, they simply wanted to groove. When they finally jumped into the band pool, they named themselves "The Management", but since that turned out to be taken, MGMT became the name. They signed to Columbia Records in 2006 - but the opportunity was almost lost. When the A&R man called, they thought it was a joke and hung up the phone initially. Luckily he didn't take it too hard, and continued to pursue the group. This album dropped in October of 2007 and is certified Gold by the RIAA. Seems a hair low, just because of how amazing the track 'Kids' is. Style wise, this has that punk, psychedelic, straight up garage rock feel to it. Depending on which track you're biggest into, you could classify them into a different genre. There isn't much about this album that doesn't make you want to hear more. It's extremely fun, and it doesn't sound like they spend hours and hours in a studio making it "perfect". There are some musical flaws that might actually be intentional, which makes it even better. I have not listened to any other stuff by them, but if this is an indication of the rest, it's a pretty darn good start.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Time to Pretend
2. Weekend Wars
3. Youth, The
4. Electric Feel
5. Kids
6. 4th Dimensional Transition
7. Pieces of What
8. Of Moons, Birds & Monsters
9. Handshake, The
10. Future Reflections

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Kids
2. The Handshake
3. Time To Pretend

FINAL RATING:
3.5 out of 5 stars

Friday, April 8, 2011

Rant #16 - "Zing! Boom! Tararrel!"



It's April. That means a couple things...it means that there will be a bunch of rain and it means baseball is starting up. And I know I'm about a week late on this post - but forgive me. I LOVE baseball. I especially my hometown team, the Milwaukee Brewers. It doesn't really matter if they're good or bad or somewhere in the middle. It's fun going to games, bs-ing with good friends and enjoying a day at the ball park. In fact, they don't even always have to be good friends. Typically if you just go to the game, everyone seems to speak stadium language. Keep the conversation going and keep it light. You don't need to be at the game talking about your problems. It's a time to relax and enjoy the show. I don't want to get all nostalgic, but watch the movie 'Field of Dreams'. That's really what baseball is all about.

Alas, this isn't a sports blog, so writing two pages about why the Brewers are outstanding and the Cubs stink isn't going to happen today. But one of my favorite things to do at the park is listen to all the music that gets playing during the game. Sometimes, you probably even find yourself cheering, clapping, booing or leaving subliminally based on the music they play. You may not want to stomp your feel and clap when 'We Will Rock You' comes on - but you do. And when that guy comes on and says, "Every-body clap your hands!", you do it. And you feel good doing it.

There are some songs I enjoy hearing that I can relate to certain aspects of baseball. And I've compiled a short list of them. Feel free to add yours on or introduce new songs that I don't have listed. No matter what, get out to a game and take some friends and fire up a grill. You'll thank me later.

Best Post Strikeout Song: Hit the Road, Jack - Ray Charles. Think about it. You're a player and you just whiff with runners in scoring position. BAM! This song plays and the crowd mockingly sings along. It stings, but the song is so damn catchy, you're tapping your toes a bit. Maybe you even sing along to a couple notes. Embarrassing.

Best Walk Song: Walk Of Life - Dire Straits. This is probably my bias, because I love Dire Straits. It's a jazzy uptempo song that uses the high end synth. It's a fun little ditty that makes you feel a little better when your guy is trotting to first.

Best Stolen Base Song: Smooth Criminal - Michael Jackson. Yeah, yeah - we all know I'm not a big Jacko fan. But this song was literally meant for stolen bases. It's got that nice guitar riff and simply perfect lyrics. "You've been hit by, you've been struck by - a smooth criminal!" Yep, base stealers are criminals...and smooth at that.

Best Caught Stealing Song: Been Caught Stealin' - Janes Addiction. Duh. I mean, the title says it all. The dogs bark at the beginning which is fun, or you could play the high pitched "I been caught stealin' once, when I was five..." I love hearing it everytime I'm at a game.

Best At Bat Song: Here I Go - Mystikal. So, every player is allowed to choose what song he comes up to bat to. And last year, the Brewers had a guy Joe Inglett who was mostly a pinch hitter type guy. Well, he had this song that everyone in the stadium would nod their head to, but no one knew what it was. Well fans, it was Mystikal and it was the opening to 'Here I Go'. Flat out awesome intro.

Best 'Get Pumped' Song: Blitzkreig Bop - The Ramones. I don't really know why, but whenever the "Hi-Ho--Let's Go!" starts to blare through the stadium, I get a little extra pumped. There are a MILLION, literally a million songs you could insert here, I just feel this one is most common for baseball. Many of the songs could be played at any sports venue, but this one only gets major baseball play. Don't know why, it's a really good song.

Best Intimidation Song: Hells Bells - AC/DC. Yeah, if you're a Brewers fan or a Padres fan, you know what I'm talking about. Trevor Hoffman, the all time saves leader, used to come out to this song before wrapping up the game. As a fan, you waited for the bells to chime and you just lost it. I've heard other players talk about when Trevor was in his prime, how truly intimidating that was. The whole stadium stopped, the song played as loud as possible, and he'd come in and stare a hole through you. It worked, as he is one of the best ever.

I'd be slightly sad if I didn't mention my headline track, 'Roll Out The Barrel' to you guys. I know it's a Milwaukee thing, and you probably won't get it if you're not into polka, but it's fun. It's a great little pick-me-up during the 7th inning stretch of any Brewers home game. The fans sing along and maybe even dance along. Just makes for a fun time.

If this has done nothing else, hopefully it transformed you into thinking you were at the park for 10 minutes while reading it. I know I escaped while writing, and that made me feel all good inside.

Happy Friday B Siders!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Danzig - Self Titled



A while back I looked at an album by the Misfits, whom for a period of time were lead by one Glenn Danzig. When that ended - another band called Samhain formed, which again was Mr. Danzig. When that split, the got a whole lot less creative and formed a band called Danzig. That was in New Jersey way back in 1987. The story goes, Samhain was performing their last show - when Glenn was approached by record exec Rick Rubin. Rubin didn't want Danzig's on stage persona and great vocal style to go to waste, so he offered him a concurrent deal. Rubin wanted to form a metal supergroup, which Glenn declined. He needed to bring along long time friend Eerie Von - and that's when the 'new' Danzig was formed. This particular album dropped in 1988 and has seen VERY modest success. I think everyone in the world has at least one time heard the single 'Mother' - which was pretty huge. Yet, this record has only sold 700,000 copies or so. And that fairly easily makes it the best selling Danzig record of all time. James Hetfield (Metallica) also makes a couple cameos on this record. He sings backup vocals on 'Twist Of Cain' as well as 'Possession'. Metallica was pretty huge in '88, so that's pretty cool. They've dropped a variety of album since this one, all seeing virtually no success and being less and less acclaimed by critics. Danzig to this day will do a couple bigger shows with other groups around the US. Nothing huge. I can't say I know much about them, but based on what I read and how I feel about this album - I won't kick up too much of a fuss about them. This album is classic metal, which is fun and a nice change up, but it's not a multi platinum record. Literally or figuratively. If you're up for that old school feel, toss it on. If not, wait for some other distant day.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Twist of Cain
2. Not of This World
3. She Rides
4. Soul on Fire
5. Am I Demon
6. Mother
7. Possession
8. End of Time
9. Hunter, The
10. Evil Thing

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Mother
2. Twist Of Cain
3. Evil Thing

FINAL RATING:
2.25 out of 5 stars

Snow Patrol - Eyes Open



Sometimes I shock myself at how truly random my reviews can be. I can only imagine what it's like to be the reader, and read something and potentially listen to some techno music and chase it down with modern country. Today, I have no rhyme or reason as to why I picked this old Snow Patrol record. I was strumming through some tunes the other day and 'Chasing Cars' popped up on shuffle. So here we go...taking it back to 2006 or so. I have some conflicting reports that these guys originated in Scotland or Ireland. I know they all met in Scotland, but I don't totally see where the Ireland part comes in. Oh well. When they did start in 1994, they dropped a few very unsuccessful independent albums. It wasn't until signing with Polydor in 2002 when they dropped a 6x platinum record in the UK. Then in 2006 'Eyes Open' here dropped, and with the aforementioned 'Chasing Cars' single, it propelled them to worldwide success. They had a bunch of really strange things happen after popularity struck. They were on a tour in the US when the lead singer developed polyps on his vocal chords, and they also had to postpone a US trip due to a terrorist threat on all US bound planes from the UK. Their music got used in multiple US television shows and US based films. They've put out one other record since, and are working on another due out soon. They're style isn't entirely unique or anything, and this album isn't going to make you melt. But it's solid. There are a couple really nice singles and the overall 'mood' feel is really nice. It's a good listen for that cold, rainy day (like it is today in Wisconsin). I've never listened to any of their other stuff, so I'm band basing on one album. Dangerous - I know. But this is worth a listen today, especially if your weather is similar to mine.

TRACK LISTING:
1. You're All I Have
2. Hands Open
3. Chasing Cars
4. Shut Your Eyes
5. It's Beginning to Get to Me
6. You Could Be Happy
7. Make This Go on Forever
8. Set the Fire to the Third Bar
9. Headlights on Dark Roads
10. Open Your Eyes
11. Finish Line, The

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Chasing Cars
2. Open Your Eyes
3. Make This Go On Forever

FINAL RATING:
2.5 out of 5 stars