Days of the New S/T (Yellow)


(3 June 1997, Outpost/Geffen)

I started getting into music at a really inopportune time.

The genre of rock that first appealed to me was grunge. I’ve written about the profound effect Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” had on me and it was truly life changing. Before that, I listened to whatever my parents handed down to me. After that, I was eager to set out on my own.

So why was it a horrible time? By the time I heard that song, Kurt Cobain was already gone. Soundgarden broke up just a few years later. Alice in Chains never officially broke up, but they went into hibernation shortly after my conversion. Pearl Jam is the only grunge band who continually released new music, but they put a lot of effort into remaining obscure.

It was almost like I discovered something I really loved and as soon as I did it was stolen from me by the Backstreet Boys and Spice Girls.

When I first heard Days of the New it was a breath of fresh air. There was finally something for me to get excited about. An unwashed, detuned, yarling ray of sunshine.

They never really dominated the airwaves, but “Touch, Peel and Stand” has become a rock radio staple. I’m even hearing that track on the local non-profit station. “Shelf in the Room” still pops up occasionally, but “The Down Town” seems to have faded into the ether.

I always loved how hard this album rocked. You wouldn’t expect a tune like “Freak” from a band with acoustic guitars. It’s a dumb gimmick, but it really helped to create a unique sound and establish a place on the map.

A lot of the other stuff is more experimental. “Face of the Earth” and “Solitude” are a bit too droning for me to get it down off the shelf very often. A few are good, but not really groundbreaking. The highlight for many tracks is the lead guitar work of Todd Whitener.

I was always a much bigger fan of their second album, which I found much more interesting.

Unfortunately, by the third album they were all out of tricks and produced a lackluster effort I didn’t buy. I think this will conclude my Days of the New series, but it won’t be the last time I load these albums on my MP3 player.

 

 

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Day of the New – S/T (Green)


Days of the New green(31 August 1999, Outpost)

One of the greatest things about music is its ability to take you places. Hearing a song can make you feel like you’re back in junior high school without a care in the world. A lot of songs bring scenes in movies to mind (think of Forrest Gump). Sometimes it can take you to a whole other world. Days of the New’s second album has the power to transport me from wherever I happen to be back to Hyrule.

My mom met the man who would become her second husband while I was in high school. He was living in a small apartment above a bar with a mattress, a chihuahua/shih tzu mix and a huge stereo from Rent-a-Center. It didn’t take long until he moved in with us; and brought the dog and the stereo. It’s easy to date when he moved in because he only had four CDs: Ozzy’s No Rest For The Wicked, Yngwie Malmsteem’s Facing the Animal, Godsmack’s debut and DotN’s second album.

“Enemy” was a big hit at the time and he loved it. He would play that album over and over while drinking at the kitchen table with his buddies. Being in high school I wasn’t old enough to drink and probably spent at least a little bit of time studying. But when I wasn’t studying I was sitting in front of the television with my little brother because around the same time he moved in with that huge stereo we got a Super Nintendo and A Link To The Past. I have no idea how many times we played through that game together, but I can remember having a lot of fun with him. I think that may have been the best bonding we ever did.

And the great thing is that whenever I hear Days of the New’s second album I can think back on those days.

the_legend_of_zelda_a_link_to_the_past_snes_game_coverIt probably helps that the album starts off with the sound of horse hooves. How else can I get from the water level to the desert level quickly? I’m a huge fan of all the segues that blend the tracks together. I honestly can’t name most of the songs on this album, and probably couldn’t tell you where most of them begin or end because it works as such a great cohesive whole.

The secret weapon is Nicole Sherzinger who would later achieve mega stardom as the lead singer of the Pussycat Dolls. It feels really weird to write that because the musical styles of the two groups couldn’t be more distant. But Sherzinger does have a beautiful voice and uses it to great effect with Days of the New.

Singer/Guitarist/Songwriter Travis Meeks got a lot of grief for pulling one of those megalomaniacal stunts of firing his whole band, but in his defense did you ever listen to Tantric? That was not a band I enjoyed. Sure, they were competent musicians and their stuff was okay, but there was no fire behind it. It always sounded like safe, middle-of-the-road rock to me. I just imagine them bringing the songs to him and him saying “No. You’re all fired.”

The acoustic guitars are still front and center but there’s plenty of other instrumentation to shake things up. The acoustic guitar thing was a good gimmick that definitely got them attention with their debut, but I’m guessing that wouldn’t have kept peoples interest if they’d just repeated that formula.

I’m not sure what all the instruments were used on this album , but I’m guessing there’s an ocarina in there somewhere. It really takes me back then.

 

Bands That Need To Release New Albums


Faith_No_More_-_Sol_Invictus_Album_CoverRemember the days when bands would release an album twice every year and a few non-album singles to go along with them? Neither do I. I was born in 1983, long after rock and roll became big business and the fat cats realized they could make more money by only ponying out a new album ever 2 years. But that was 30 years ago and now we’re lucky to get a new album every 2 years. I haven’t seen a new album from some of my favorite artists in what feels like forever.

Seriously, why hasn’t John Lennon released an album of new music IN MY ENTIRE LIFETIME!

With Faith No More set to release their first new album in 18 years on May 19th, I thought it would be fun to take a look at a few other bands who haven’t given us any new material in a while and really need to make another album.

The Devil Put Dinosaurs HereAlice in Chains (2013) – It hasn’t been that long since AiC released The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here, but given the fact that we’ve only had 5 full lengths from them in the past 25 years I think they need to make up for lost time.

Fiona Apple (2012) – Yet again, the wait hasn’t been extremely long but we only have 4 full lengths to enjoy and the last one wasn’t all that enjoyable. Come on, we know you can do better than just beating on pots and pans. Who do you think you are Yoko Ono?

Soundgarden (2012) – I would have been happy to wait for a while after the dismal King Animal, but the news that Chris Cornell was working on a solo album earned Soundgarden a spot on this list. Yes Chris, you’re a very sexy man, but I’d much rather hear a new Soundgarden album than some crap you have Timberland or Macklemore produce.

Mudvayne (2009) – I really wish Hellyeah would change their name to Fuckno and go on hiatus long enough for Mudvayne to release a new album.

Metallica (2008) – Hahaha. Just kidding. Metallica have spent most of their career showing us why they should never release a new album.

10428037_10206367374689653_4174479858327646419_nTool (2006) – The Beatles recording career lasted from 1963-1970. The wait for the next Tool album has now stretched longer than that.

The Descendants (2004) – What happened to these guys? Did Milo do some Post Graduate work?

 

Butthole Surfers (2001) – I guess the waves just aren’t as good in the nether regions any more.

Days of the New (2001) – Unlike a lot of the other bands on this list, Days of the New have been working on the new album since the last one. I’m not sure if Travis Meeks is trying to beat Axl Rose’s record for longest wait between releases, but Days of the New IV is taking on Chinese Democracy-ish status.

Violent Femmes (2000) – I actually conceived and started this post three months ago. That was before they released a new EP on Record Store Day and signed up for a tour with Barenaked Ladies. So rejoice! Not all bands who seemed to have vanished into the void are gone. Go check them out this summer with Barenaked Ladies. Or do like I plan to and leave after their set. ‘One Week’ may sound better live, but I’m not taking that chance.