A Good Haul


I had to take the girlfriend to a doctor appointment in the big city on Friday. You’d think this would be a pain in the ass, but I love having an excuse to stretch my legs and see something new. Aside from the appointment only taking 10 minutes it was also nice to check out a different Mexican restaurant and get caught up on my comic books.

I’m not sure if the last minute decision to stop by the music shop was good or bad. I spent way more than I intended to, but I made out really, really well.

I ended up buying four CDs. Three were only $1, so it’s hard to complain. I have come across a few discs that were a ripoff at that price, but I don’t think that’s the case.

I bought a School House Rock! album with a bunch of nineties artists playing “Conjunction Junction” and “I’m Just a Bill” for my girlfriend. We listened to it on the way home and it’s pretty cool. I’ve never been a big fan of Better Than Ezra or Biz Markie, but this is good stuff.

I also bought Slick Idiot’s DickNity. This is the band singer En Esch and guitarist Günter Shulz formed after KMFDM disbanded. I’m not as big on the industrial/electronic music as I was in high school, but this has more than enough guitar on it to keep me happy. It sounds like KMFDM but without a lot of the snobby industrial attitude and a lot more riffage. 

Plus, how could I pass up an album called DickNity? Not only am I a fan of horrible puns but I also possess the sense of humor of a 13-year-old boy.

I bought Spin Doctor’s Pocket Full of Kryptonite mainly for the song “Two Princes.” I’ve been sharing romantic songs on my girlfriend’s Facebook page for a while and that was the most recent one. Plus, it always makes me think of the scene from the Sarah Silverman program with Brian Posehn frolicking through the playground and how can anyone not love that?

 

The best CD has to be Nine Inch Nails featuring David Bowie Look Back in Anger. This is taken from a live 1995 performance when NIN were opening for Bowie. There are a few Nails songs I’ve never heard live and a lot of Bowie that I’ve never heard, but the best part is when the two collaborate for “Reptile,” “Scary Monsters” and “Hurt.” I have a feeling this will get a lot of play over the next few months.

And that’s one of the reasons I love browsing around in record shops. I wasn’t really looking for anything in particular. I did check to see if they had any cheap Descendents, Dead Kennedys or GWAR, but didn’t see any. Instead I came across a rare bootleg that I didn’t even know existed. That never happens to me on Amazon.

But the biggest purchase was a Crosley Rochester CR66 Audio System. I’ve had my eye on one of these for a while. I wanted something that plays records, but could also play AM/FM radio and CDs and wouldn’t take up a whole lot of space. Every time I saw one the price was a little too high, but this time it was low enough I had to pick it up. I’m sure more than a few of my audiophile friends will turn up their noses at it, but so far I’m happy. I’d say it’s a good beginner record player. The sound is good and I can still enjoy my CDs and radio without excessive clutter.

Now I just need to get more vinyl. All I have at the moment is a NIN single for “The Hand That Feeds” and Richard Pryor’s Bicentennial Nigger.

Thrift stores here I come!

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The Best of 2016


Ahhh, it is finally time for my favorite blogging activity of the year: the “best of” list. I’ve come across a few already filled with death metal and/or indie rock that I have never heard, but I hope this list will have a little something for everyone. Then again, I didn’t see anything from my Amazon wishlist the last time I went to FYE so I’m pretty sure I’m out of touch with the times.

Bloody Hammers Lovely Sort of Death – This album popped up on my radar courtesy of Mr. 1537 and managed to beat out Al Jourgenson’s Surgical Meth Machine and Green Day’s Revolution Radio for the low spot on this list. I’m sure those artists will be pretty upset about that.

 

The Descendents  Hypercaffium Spazzium – This was a pretty good record, but it felt a little too of the moment. This album definitely sounds like it was made in 2016 and you can hear a lot of modern influence. For my money, I’d recommend Cool to be You.

Otep Generation Doom I got a little grief for enjoying this one, but I’m a sucker for militant, butch lesbians with anger problems.

Helmet Dead to the World – I managed to catch these guys live twice this year, which is unheard of for me at the ripe old age of 33. But they managed to impress both times (even with their singer being at the ripe old age of 56).

 

David Bowie Blackstar I would have loved to have listened to this one more, but I stayed away from it because of recent problems with depression. Hopefully next year I’ll get to spend a little more time with it.

 

Garbage Strange Little Birds

 

Weezer – The White Album After several lackluster albums Weezer have somehow managed to redeem themselves with the awesome Everything Will Be Alright In The End and now this one.

 

Rachel Bloom – My new favorite Jewess. Is that a racist term?

Local H Hey Killer (2015) This is one I picked up after reading a best of list for last year and it’s remained in constant rotation. This is my favorite track off the album. I was more disappointed that they didn’t play this when I saw them open for Helmet than I was by the omission of “Bound for the Floor.”

 

Leonard Cohen You Want it Darker – I’m not going to lie, when I listened to Popular Problems in 2014 I wasn’t thrilled. I’m not sure why, but something about it didn’t resonate with me. That’s definitely not the case with this album. This would still be in the top spot even if he hadn’t died this year. But it’s as great a swan song as anyone can imagine.

 

January Review


Dues to circumstances beyond my control January turned into a month of tributes. I had meant to do a few posts on Lemmy, but that expanded into posts on Bowie and Glenn Frey also. About halfway through I realized that I had a common theme going and I decided that my last post of the month should commemorate it. I also didn’t even touch on a few other musicians like Blowfly, Paul Kantner or Jimmy Bain.

I was going to post the Tenacious D song “Tribute” because I couldn’t think of anything better, but then I did think of a better song as a send off for all those we lost in January.

Good luck not getting this stuck in your head.

David Bowie “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars”


ZiggyStardustAt some point during my high school years I came upon my parents’ collection of vinyl tucked away in a closet. So I did what any young man in my situation would do: I went to the flea market and bought a record player. I can’t remember all of the titles but there were about a dozen. The Rocky Horror Picture Show Soundtrack, Deep Purple’s Purple Passages, Alice Cooper’s From the Inside, Space Oddity, The Door’s LA Woman and a CCR Greatest Hits. A few were just sleeves with no records inside. At the time I was really disappointing to not be able to listen to Lace & Whiskey or Diamond Dogs, but they did make cool wall art.

Of course I can still remember my favorite of my parents’ old record: Pink Floyd’s The Wall. I listened to that album all the time. My high school years consisted mostly of smoking pot and listening to that album. But I also spent a lot of time listening to my second favorite of those albums: Ziggy Stardust.

When it comes to David Bowie I’m more of a greatest hits fan than a hardcore fan. Changesbowie was replaced in my collection only recently by the 2 disc Best of Bowie. And honestly, I could do without a few of the big hits. I’ve never been too keen on “Fashion” or “Let’s Dance.” I’ve listened to a few of his albums (Hunky Dory, Station to Station, Heathen) but never felt the need to buy any. Except for Ziggy Stardust. Something about that album has always spoken to me on some Sci-Fi nerd level.

 

I’m guessing most of my interest has to do with the Sci-Fi connection. That’s probably part of my interest in Fear Factory and GWAR too, but Bowie managed to mix that imagery and persona with really good pop rock music. It’s like if Captain Kirk were a rock star (and not just a pretend one like William Shatner).

“Five Years” has to be one of the best openers I’ve ever heard. Something about the way the piano chimes in and then builds up to the ‘Five Years, my brain hurts a lot’ pumps me up and gets me excited for the rest of the album. “Moonage Daydream” is my favorite love song ever. I’ll know if I ever meet the right girl because she’ll agree to have this be the song we first dance to at our wedding. I always think of the John Carpenter/Jeff Bridges film of the same name when I hear “Starman,” though neither has anything to do with the other. Boy that’s a catchy feel good tune though. It’s crazy to think that it’s still popular enough to make an appearance in a big budget movie like The Martian. 

Bowie with Eyepatch

I think this is from the ‘Rebel, Rebel’ video shoot, but it still looks pretty cool.

I find it weird that the concept album includes a cover. I’ve never seen that before, but “It Ain’t Easy” is a good side closer and who am I to question Bowie?

I quickly discovered that the cool thing about vinyl was listening to one side over and over without having to rewind like a cassette tape. I listened to side two much more than one. This is one of the few albums I know of that ends stronger than it begins. “Lady Stardust” is a good side opener. It has a nice mellow vibe to lull me in and get me unconsciously singing along so my coworkers start laughing at me. The title track is the best of this side. I love that main guitar riff and Mick Ronson’s lead work over the bare acoustic track is magical. Very few guitar players could come up with something that great.

I’ve never understood where “Suffragette City” fit in with the story. Maybe I should look into the lyrics a little deeper. And how can you end any better than “Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide.” That’s an album closer if I ever heard one. The only problem with it is how much it leaves me wanting more. I’m listening to Diamond Dogs as I type this and I think that’s about as good as I’m going to get.

One of the coolest things about Ziggy Stardust is that while I’ve heard the album on Vinyl, CD and digital it always sounds the same. I’m not sure If I’ve just never heard a remastered version or it the grooves and pops are so embedded in my mind that I can’t hear it any other way.

The good thing is, that I don’t really want to hear it any other way.

 

An Early Contender


Last year I began working on my year-end top ten list in April. By that time I had heard several tunes I didn’t want to forget by December so I copied a few YouTube videos into a post and continued to work on it through the year.

It looks like this year I’ll have to start even sooner!

Granted, David Bowie does lose a few points for the whole dying thing. That seems to be a common trick to boost record sales. I’m sure STP and Motorhead are both seeing surges in revenue now, but I have to say Bowie put out some great stuff on his swan song. I listened to Heathen a few years ago and wasn’t really impressed. Honestly I like his hits but the only album I love front to back is Ziggy Stardust. That might change after I check out Blackstar.

I know the first single has everything I love about Bowie. Hooks, lyrics and being really, really fucking weird.

 

The sad thing is that I’m sure I wouldn’t be having the same reaction to this song if Bowie were still alive. I’m sure that opening line “Look up here, I’m in heaven” wouldn’t have the same impact.

I hope any of you who haven’t listened to him yet will take this time to check out some of his work. Over a 50 year career I’m guessing there’s something for everyone.

Fuck Censorship


 

Don’t you just love censorship? I know I do. I don’t think there’s anything better than being told that even though I’m legally old enough to smoke, drink, rent a car, marry or die for my country I’m still not responsible enough to decide what goes into my ear holes. Seriously, I like a good ‘fuck’ or ‘shit’ or ‘cock knuckle’ as much as the next guy. So who does Walmart or the FCC think they are trying to hide all this shit from me? Are they trying to protect me? Or do they just want to not offend people?

I think the most common form of censorship is probably the BEEP! You know, the one you hear when Johnny Cash sings “I’m the BEEP! who named you Sue.” It was so popular that Queens of the Stone Age copied it on my copy of Songs For The Deaf. The crazy thing is how cool it sounds on the song “Six Shooter.” The tune starts out quiet and distant, but whenever Mark Lanegan says ‘fuck’ they cover it up with a BEEP! loud enough to cover up all the ‘fucks’ in the song.

parental_advisoryI have a 20th Century Masters CD of Monster Magnet that does the same thing. I don’t understand why they BEEP! out the word ‘drug’ in “Tractor.” At first I thought he was driving a tractor on the goddamn farm, but according to google it’s a drug farm. I didn’t realize drug was a dirty word.

And while we’re on the subject of Monster Magnet, has anyone ever heard a version of “Space Lord” where he sings “Space Lord Motherfucker”? Or is it always “Mother Mother”?

According to the liner notes in the Ziggy Stardust movie when ABC aired the film as a movie of the week they put the annoying BEEP! over all of the mentions of death and suicide. I’m not sure how they managed to cover up the overall homo eroticism.

Then there’s censorship by omission. Sometimes instead of a BEEP! they just remove the offending word from the album. I was really surprised to hear how many times Corey Taylor says ‘motherfucker’ in the song “Get Inside” from Stone Sour’s debut five years after I first got my Walmart copy! Seriously, I had no idea there were so many mother f-bombs on that song. I was also always very confused by the line “So you fed me to digest” from “Bother.” Of course, add the word ‘shit’ and the line make sense.

RATM PMRCI think the worst is when they sort of dodge or scrub the offending word out of the song. If you’ve ever heard the song “Everything Zen” on the radio you know Gavin Rossdale is thinking of flying to Los Angeles to find his Ershrole brother. Or have you ever heard the Stabbing Westward song “Save Yourself”? You have to save yourself because he is not your savior, he is just as fushshcked as you. Seriously censors, go with option 1 or 2. Door number 3 is just awful. At least NIN changed “Starfuckers, Inc.” to “Starsuckers, Inc.” it’s still a word. I’m not sure how the Rolling Stones got away with it.

I remember someone telling me that even after 400 years America still hasn’t shaken off the puritan mindset that originally brought the ultra religious to our shores. I know watching MuchMusic back in the day it was always cool to see the different Canadian videos. I remember Radiohead’s “Paranoid Android” had some mermaid boobs that were covered in the US version.

So is censorship bad in other countries? Do any of my international readers have any idea what I’m writing about? Do they BEEP! ‘bloody hell’ and ‘bollocks’ in England?

We all know that the only things that really need to be censored are David Bowie’s crotch from the movie Labyrinth and the Adam Sandler song “Ode To My Car.”