New Music Roundup Part 2


Fisher-Price Little People Animal Songs Sing-A-LongI’ve seen a few posts where people list the music they’ve bought and give a little commentary on it. I find these posts pretty interesting so I thought I’d try my hand at it. I was hoping to make this a twice yearly thing, but blame the state of the music industry for not putting out anything good for me to buy.

*This list does not include anything I have borrowed from the library and ripped to my computer.

13 June 2015 (Walmart New Philadelphia, OH)

Fisher-Price Little People – Animal Songs Sing-Along     $13

Nobody told me how different my music buying habits would change when I had a child, but I can’t expect her to enjoy GWAR or Acid Bath the way I do so I had to buy her something for long car rides. All joking aside though the guitar solo on “The Farmer in the Dell” is pretty bad ass and the drums possess a great laid-back Ringo quality.

 

29 June (Browse & Buy Resale Shop New Philadelphia, OH)

Roadrunner United: The All Star Sessions      $2.50

The Jesus and Mary Chain: Automatic            $2.50

I bought the Roadrunner United album when it first came out, but lost it somewhere along the way. It’s a really unique album where the label tapped four musicians to be team captains who led 57 artists from 45 past and present Roadrunner bands and produced the album. It’s definitely a one of a kind album and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to satisfy a metal craving.

I completely forgot about the Jesus and Mary Chain album. I think I still have it…

 

Greatest Shit9 July (Amazon.com)

KMFDM: Greatest Shit   $17.49

Finntroll: Blodsvept         $8.99

I picked up the KMFDM album after seeing En Esch last year and I hate to just get one album at a time so I grabbed the next thing on my wish list.

 

25 Oct (FYE, New Towne Mall New Philadelphia, OH)

Alice in Chains – Live & Unreleased  $3.99

Nirvana – Unplugged in New York     $5

Unplugged in New York was a replacement. My copy was scratched to hell. I grabbed the Live & Unreleased promo disc and was quickly disappointed when I realized it was song that were released later on their Live album. I’ll have to put it on eBay to get some other poor sucker.

 

GWAR-Scumdogs-of-the-UniverseI went on a bit of a GWAR kick after seeing them live last November. My collection isn’t complete yet, but I’m getting pretty close.

10 Nov (Amazon.com)

GWAR – RagNaRok  $8.35

11 Nov (Ebay.com ( jnientertainment ( 17042 ))

GWAR – Carnival of Chaos  $7.34

 

14 Nov (Ebay.com (swmcom11 ( 267 ))

GWAR – Scumdogs of the Universe – $20.74

 

The Best of Mozart6 Dec (Browse & Buy Resale Shop New Philadelphia, OH)

Elton John – Reg Strikes Back  $2.50

The Best of Mozart                    $2.50

I used to wonder how Elton John could go from megarockstar 70s icon to virtually unknown in the 80s. Then I listened to Reg Strikes Back. Have you ever heard it? No? There’s a reason for that.

The Mozart album is pretty good. It features cuts from his entire career. From his humble beginnings playing cover symphonies in Hamburg nightclubs, through his time as a backup player with James Brown, Little Richard and others and even his much chagrined “Fat Mozart” period.

 

20 February 2016 (Amazon.com)

Foo Fighters – Big Me                     $4

The Tea Party – Edges of Twilight  $ 3.91

Glueleg – Heroic Doses                   $ 3.97

Stay away from mikeladano.com. Seriously. If you go on that site you’ll end up reading about some awesome band that you’ve never heard of and the next thing you know they’re on your Amazon wish list. I mean, I don’t regret any of these purchases (Except the Big Me single which is just the single and not the Maxi CD single (Who knew there was such a difference?)) But I was perfectly happy not knowing there was an awesome band called Glueleg and if it hadn’t been for that damn website I probably never would have known.

 

Beezelbubba28 May 2016 (FYE, New Philadelphia, OH)

Nine Inch Nails – The Downward Spiral $9.99

The Dead Milkmen – Beezelbubba       $1.00

I was looking to see if they had any Dead Kennedys when I came across the Dead Milkmen disc and I instantly knew I had to have it. Because it was “Buy 1 Get 1 for $1” day at FYE I replaced my old copy of the Downward Spiral while I was at it.

 

29 May (Bandcamp.com)

Mr. Clit & The Pink Cigarettes – Haircuts $5

(Amazon.com)

Local H – Hey Killer                            $8.99

The Descendents – Everything Sux   $9.49

Bad Guys – Bad Guynaecology         $8.99

Hey Killer is probably the best album of 2015 and nearly everyone missed it. Well, except for the guy that wrote that article telling me how great it was.

 

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The Best Drummers


drum-2I’m not a huge fan of the “Name Four Musicians to Form Your Dream Super Group” game. I usually just rattle off the members of Alice in Chains or Tool. Sometimes it’s fun to pick a trio or quintet and add or subtract a member, but that was never my game.

I do really enjoy “Best of…” lists though. And I thought it would be a good idea to do some for this blog. That’s not because I’m running out of ideas or anything. I swear I’m not. I’ve got tons of ideas. Make sure you check in next week when I do this with Bass Players.

 

Brooks Wackerman (Bad Religion, Suicidal Tendencies) – Wackerman lands on this list not only because of his awesome chops and stamina, but also for his great last name. It’s like his ancestors knew that someday one of their brood would become the drummer for a great punk band so they picked the coolest surname they could think of.

Frank Beard (ZZ Top) – Yet again, here is a man who’s name is as great as his ability to keep a beat. He gets bonus points for being the guy without a beard but having the name beard. God, will that ever get old?

Jimmy Chamberlain (The Smashing Pumpkins) – The best of the pumpkins if you want my opinion. And you must or you wouldn’t be reading this.

sexy drum machineMax Weinberg (E Street Band, Meat Loaf, Max Weinberg 7) – I had to add someone to make this list ten names. He was the most obvious choice.

A Drum Machine (Too Many To Name) – I was in a band with one of these for a while and I have a ton of praise for these guys. He was always on time (both for and during practice), never got too drunk to play, never had girlfriend drama and never threatened to quit. Aside from his lack of stage presence and sleeping with my old lady he was perfect.

Tommy Ramone/Marky Ramone (The Ramones) – I’m not sure if the trophy should go to Tommy for inventing the Ramones’ drum beat or to Marky for perfecting it.

Raymond Herrera (Fear Factory) – I’ll just let his feet do the talking:

 

Tim ‘Herb’ Alexander (Primus) – Both he and Larry LaLonde are pure geniuses just for being able to work with Les Claypool.

Sean Kinney (Alice in Chains, Jerry Cantrell) – Do you know anyone else who could come up with those great intros to “Angry Chair” and “No Excuses”? I don’t.

Neil Peart (Rush) – I’m honestly not a huge fan of Rush. I like them, but I can’t say I love them. Still, Neil deserves a spot on this list.

Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age, Nine Inch Nails, Probot, Scream) – I read him saying in an interview once that he is completely overrated as a drummer. And that may be true. He isn’t flashy, over the top or as machine gun fast as some other guys. But he has been very prolific as a timekeeper and has a knack for playing beats that accentuate the song without overpowering it. Sorry dude, you may be the best drummer ever.

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.

 

The Best of 2015


 

Bad Guys “Prostitutes (Are Making Love In My Garden)” Thanks 1537

 

Eyes Set To Kill – This album actually came out in 2013, but because I only discovered this band in 2015 it meets my rigorous and thorough standards to appear on this list.

Marilyn Manson  “The Pale Emperor

Ghost – Meliora

 

Coal Chamber/Fear Factory tour

Finntroll – Haxbrygd (Thanks to Mike Ladano)

 

The Death of Scott Weiland – I’m not trying to say this was one of the best things to happen this year, or even a good thing, but I don’t do a “Most Important” list so it ends up here.

 

John 5 finally goes on a solo tour

GWAR still Rocks!

Faith No More – Sol Invictus

 

Happy New Year!

 

#bottom12onthe17th


When I was preparing my list for the Top 15 on the 15th I came across a few albums that were close, but didn’t quite make the cut. I’m sure this happened to everyone and I noticed at least on person included them on their post. I didn’t do this because the original post ran long enough as it was and I didn’t want to clutter it up.

After Boppin’s Blog made the suggestion of posting the close calls I found it too hard to resist doing a second post for the almost made its. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a nice list post.

Plus I’ll milk a good idea until it’s completely drained.

 

The_Crow_soundtrack_album_coverOriginal Motion Picture Soundtrack The Crow (1995) – Definitely would have made the list if it had a better second half.

Fear Factory Demanucacture (1995) – I’m not really into heavy metal as much as I used to be, but this is still one of the defining records of the genre for me.

GWAR We Kill Everything (1999) – GWAR aren’t really a band known for their records. This one is the first I ever bought from them and features some of my favorite songs from like “Fucking an Animal” and “Fishfuck.” Classic.

Ministry Psalm 69 (1992) – Yet again, the metal thing. But this one is right up there with Pantera and Megadeth in terms of thrash brilliance.

Mudvayne The End of All Things To Come (2002) – This is what happened when good musicians played nu-metal.

Red Hot Chili Peppers BloodSugarSexMagic (1991) – I was surprised to not see more RHCP on the top 15 lists. This one is a classic, but for me it’s a Top 25 classic.

Meat Loaf Bat Out Of Hell (1977) – A classic hard rock album that has never been duplicated.

Dead Kennedys Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables (1980) – Where would punk be without the Dead Kennedys? They’re definitely my favorite socially-conscious rockers.

Ozzy Osbourne No More Tears (1991) – I was also surprised by the lack of Ozzy on most lists; but yet again, Top 20.

Tool AEnima gifTool AEnima (1996) – This was right before Tool lost me in their strange heavy prog. But I love this album. Not just for the tunes, but also for the weird interludes.

Nirvana Unplugged in New York (1994) – It’s hard to pick a favorite Nirvana album because they’re all so different. I chose this one because even though it’s missing the loud, distorted guitars and scream-till-you’re-hoarse vocals it displays the beauty of Cobain’s simple songwriting skills.

Fiona Apple When the Pawn… (1999) – This album was right there with Madman Across The Water and Temple of the Dog on my list of “OK, I’m done drinking now and I want to go to sleep” list. As I always had trouble sleeping after too many beers I listened to it a lot. And I’m still pretty in love with it.

Coal Chamber & Fear Factory @ the Agora


11270704_10153269105956061_8145256622501936446_o16 August 2015

the Agora Theater; Cleveland, OH

Madlife, Saint Ridley, Devil You Know, Fear Factory, Coal Chamber

I don’t listen to heavy metal like I used to, but I find it’s really difficult to let go of the bands I listened to in high school. So when I saw a chance to see two of my favorites from yesteryear (and for only $20) I jumped at the chance. This is how I ended up jamming to sci-fi metal and horror metal last Sunday night when I should have been in bed resting for work on Monday.

A long Burger King line and last minute bowel movement made me just a little late to the show. I only caught the last song from Madlife, which was disappointing. Judging from my Spotify research they were the opening act I was most interested in seeing. They had a sound similar to Fear Factory, but mixed with nu-metal. Not anything I’m going to run out and buy, but something that sparked my interest.

Saint Ridley

Saint Ridley

Saint Ridley was a good heavy metal band. Unfortunately they were a typical heavy metal band. I didn’t really hear anything to differentiate them from hordes of other bands vying for my attention. They played a great set and managed to keep my attention, but this is the kind of stuff I would have been into 10 years ago.

Devil You Know

Devil You Know

I can’t say that I care for Devil You Know any more than I did for singer Howard Jones’ previous band, Killswitch Engage. I’m not sure what it was that turned me off from metalcore, but I never really cared for KsE. And DYK sounds very similar (though noticeably heavier). It hurts me to say that because aside from being a fellow Ohioan, Jones comes off as a really nice, funny guy. I also have to give them props on being killer musicians (I really dug the bassist Ryan Wombacher’s backup vocals), but it’s just not my cup of tea.

But all was right with the world after the lights dimmed and Fear Factory took the stage. I couldn’t help but feel a little scared as they broke into their buzz-saw guitar riffage and the mosh pit threatened to engulf the whole floor area.

(I was somewhat disappointed that the balcony section wasn’t opened. I’m a bit older now so I appreciate being able to sit down while watching a band, even if they are one of the heaviest in the known universe. Plus I’ve had a few harrowing experienced on the floor of the Agora Theater. When Primus played “Too Many Puppies” at Tour de Fromage in 2003 I thought I was going to get crushed to death and Ministry’s C-U-LaTour in 2008 resulted in several stitches on my forehead and years of Harry Potter jokes. (That Ministry show also featured both Fear Factory’s vocalist Burton C. Bell and bassist Tony Campos.))

But still, I was pumped to see Fear Factory. The last time I saw them was in 2004 and aside from Bell, it was a completely different band.* I was a little disappointed to not be seeing Raymond Herrera’s drumming again, but Mike Heller proved to be a very talented replacement. The last time I saw them I wasn’t very familiar with their material, but I’ve listened to them quite a bit over the past 11 years so I was able to sing along with “Edgecrusher” and “Replica.” I’m pleased to say I resisted the urge to hop into the pit during “Demanufacture” and only caught one elbow to the face from standing too close to the edge.

My biggest bitch of the evening is that FF only played a 50 minute set. I was thinking that they could have been the headliners. Until Coal Chamber took the stage.

Coal Chamber Cleveland Agora 8/16/2015I’ve hear Coal Chamber slammed a few times on sites like Metalsucks for being part of the nu-metal scene, but they’ve aged really well. I find their simplistic three chord metal songs catchy and driving. Plus they’ve definitely inspired a new wave of musicians. They’re the band that every nu-metal cover band has to cover, like a 2000’s AC/DC. I found a great spot just stage left of the barrier for the beginning of their set. You could feel the tension rising as guitarist Meegs Rascon played the opening lick to “Loco” and as soon as Dez Fafara sang “Pull” the crowd went nuts. I wanted to move around to get a better look at the pit, but I didn’t have to move very far. Little mini-pits kept popping up all around me like a whack-a-mole. One minute the guy next to you is a normal run-of-the-mill metalhead and the next minute he’s bouncing Coal Chamber Cleveland Agora 8/16/2015around like a three-year-old who just chugged a Red Bull. It was awesome! Within 5 songs they covered all my favorites with “Loco,” “Big Truck,” “Fiend,” and “Rowboat.” I didn’t care what they played after that. I was surprised that they didn’t play more off the new record, but I can’t complain because I knew most of the set, which helped keep me to singing along.

Perhaps the best part, and something that led me to crack up a few times, was how Rascon would spit straight up in the air and catch it in his mouth. Gross, but hilarious.

Bitch number 2 has to do with how the crowd immediately dispersed after “Sway.” Haven’t any of these people been to a show before? You stand around and yell really loud until they come back out and play another song or two.

Really though, it was the best show I’ve been to in a long time. I have to give props to the staff and roadies for their quick set changes. And though I’m not a fan of all the bands, they all gave really great performances.

I know there are only a few more shows left on the tour, but if you get a chance- get to one! You wont regret it… well, maybe you will if you get in the pit.

 

*2004 FF featured Bell, guitarist Christian Olde Wolbers, founding drummer Raymond Herrera and bassist Byron Stroud (formerly of Strapping Young Lad) 2015 FF features Bell, founding guitarist Dino Cazeres, bassist Tony Campos (Static X, Ministry) and drummer Mike Heller.

The Top Covers


Have you ever noticed that Rock differs from Blues and Jazz in that it’s considered really uncool to do cover songs. It’s all the Beatles fault I guess. Ever since they started writing and performing their own material it’s been despicable to perform music written by others even if your own compositions are total shit (even when compared to the total shit written by Ringo Star).

Well, here are a few artists I’m glad defied conventional wisdom and chose to be themselves… by being someone else

The Beatles – Twist & Shout (Bert Russell) Before they revolutionized pop by writing their own superb material the fab four were not above recording the definitive version of this early rock masterpiece.

Ray Charles – Eleanor Rigby (Lennon/McCartney) I never cared much for the original. Too many strings and not enough of a beat. Charles solves both problems with an infusion of soul.

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Seek and Destroy (Iggy Pop) I never cared much for the Stooges. Maybe that’s because I heard this amped up version of their best known song before I heard Iggy Pop’s tired recording.

Sinead O’Connor Nothing Compared 2 U (Prince) Go on, tell me you don’t love this song.

Guns N Roses – Live and Let Die (Paul McCartney/Linda McCartney) While Paul did have a few good songs he was never my favorite Beatle. This is the only solo song of his I can say I care for, but even with it being coupled with a cool Bond flick I prefer the hard rocking GNR version.

Nirvana – Turnaround (M. Mothersbaugh/G. Casale) Nirvana did some fine covers in their short time, but this is one of my favorites from them. Probably because it’s not blown out of proportion as much as those on Unplugged and comes from an album half the fans don’t know exists.

Fear Factory – School (Cobain) Of all the Nirvana covers by metal bands (Machine Head, Otep) this is the one that seems the most natural. Fear Factory’s blazing drums match up perfectly with the buzz-saw guitar riff.

Marilyn Manson – Sweet Dreams (Stewart) They took a new wave hit that sounded like it was played by a computer and turned it into a goth rock anthem.

Devo – Satisfaction (Jagger/Richards) They took a rock anthem and turned it into a new wave hit that sounds like it was played by a computer.

Rage Against The Machine – Maggie’s Farm (Bob Dylan) The thing about this song is that when Dylan sings it I’m not convinced he won’t work on Maggie’s Farm again someday. But when Zach de la Rocha sings it you know he’s not gonna work on Maggie’s Farm no more.

Joe Cocker – With A Little Help From My Friends (Lennon/McCartney) For the longest time I thought this was just the theme song for The Wonder Years. Then I found myself surprised to find out it was a Beatles song and that Cocker’s version is much better.

Jimi Hendrix – All Along The Watchtower (Bob Dylan) What can I say about this one?