Damn the Years!


bargain_binI’m not the only person who tends to browse through CD bargain bins at gas stations and dollar stores, right? Even if I go in for a 12 pack of pop and a few rolls of toilet paper I still usually end up in front of a rack of CDs for the low, low price of $6 a piece.

It’s kind of a silly thing to do when you think about it. It’s not like I’m going to find some lost gem lurking among Joe Walsh’s But Seriously, Folks… or the Best of Linda Ronstadt. It’s just something I’ve always done. I don’t think I’ve ever bought anything from any of them aside from maybe a Bob Marley cassette. That was years and years ago. You can tell from the fact that I bought a Bob Marley cassette.

But a few months ago I was in a Dollar General and I noticed something really strange. Sure, there was still Fleetwood Mac, Black Sabbath Vol. 4 and numerous unofficial greatest hits releases, but there was also Soundgarden’s Badmotorfinger, Nine Inch Nails’ Pretty Hate Machine and Stone Temple Pilots’ Tiny Music… 

That just didn’t make sense to me. These bins are for the music of old people. Poison, BTO and Neil Diamond. Young people music doesn’t belong in these bins. When did they change that rule? Wait… did they change that rule? I’ve been denying this for years as I heard Nirvana and Weezer in Walmart and Pearl Jam started playing on the muzak at the gas station, but I think I listen to old people music now.

Soon they’ll start calling it classic rock and I’ll have to start browsing a different section at the record store. Damn. You live long enough and just more and more bad stuff starts happening.

I always hoped I’d die before I got old…

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#top15onthe15th


I love a great list post. They’re easy to do and usually get a respectable number of views. So when I read about the Top 15 for September 2015 over at 1001albumsin10years I was ready to go. I immediately began compiling the list of my favorite albums of all time (at this particular moment). This was a massive undertaking that took me about the same amount of time as any other post.

And don’t try to argue with me about the order and/or inclusion/exclusion of any particular album. I used the highly scientific method of my own personal preferences so you can’t argue with me! The only condition I set was that I wouldn’t include two albums by the same band. Looking back, I wish I’d set a limit on years (It’s almost exclusively 1994 and 1996).

But enough preface – Let’s Go!

 

the offspring smash cover15 The Offspring Smash (1994) The crown jewel in the early 90’s punk revival.

14 Acid Bath Paegan Terrorism Tactics (1996) The crown jewel in southern-sludge-doom metal.

13 Pink Floyd The Wall  (1979) This was one of my favorite albums in high school. Does everyone go through a time in their lives when this album describes everything you feel about the world? It sure seems to touch on some pretty universal themes.

12 Queens of the Stone Age Songs For The Deaf (2002) Oddly enough, I’ve never been able to get into any QOTSA albums aside from this one. It’s just so great that all of their other work pales in comparison. It’s definitely one of those ‘lightning in a bottle’ albums.

11 Pantera The Great Southern Trendkill (1996) You know the big 4 of 80’s thrash metal? Fuck ’em. Pantera could chew them all up and spit them out. Trendkill makes this list because I find it to be the most cohesive of their albums and it contains Dimebag’s best solo, “Floods.”

 

10 Soundgarden Superunknown (1994)

9 Pearl Jam Ten (1991) – I can still remember the first time I heard this album. I’d already heard a lot of hullabaloo about Pearl Jam and after listening I just though ‘So that’s what all the fuss is about.’

8 Weezer S/T (The Blue Album) (1994)

Electric Larryland7 The Butthole Surfers Electric Larryland (1996) This album is the greatest mixture of noise rock and pop punk ever recorded. I did have Nirvana in this slot, but I think I like the Butthole Surfers better.

6 The Beatles S/T (The White Album) (1968) The Beatles should appear on every best of list. The trouble is that it’s extremely difficult to pick just one Beatles album to put on a best of list. I cheated by choosing the double album.

5 Elton John Tumbleweed Connection (1970) I find it extremely difficult to choose between this, Madman Across the Water and Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. I could have easily put them all on this list, but I didn’t want it to just be a list of my favorite Elton John albums. This one wins because there are no songs on it that I don’t love. I don’t love “Indian Sunset” or “Gray Seal.”

4 Nine Inch Nails The Downward Spiral (1994) I was a really depressed teenager. This album helped me to make it through those dark years by letting me know I wasn’t alone in feeling the way I did.

Ramones_-_Ramones_cover3 The Ramones S/T (1976) The prototype for the greatest American rock and roll band… and for the thousands who would imitate them.

2 Alice in Chains Jar of Flies (1994) This album makes it onto this list for the same reason as The Downward Spiral, but appealed to a different part of depression.

 

1 Temple of the Dog S/T (1991) May not be the #1 album ever, but it’s definitely the best album from the 90’s. And probably the 80’s too.

 

So there’s my list. What do you think? I love this event and I’d be down to doing it every few years. Mainly just to see how these lists change. And the best part is that now I have a pretty cool list of albums to review in the near future.

Make sure you stop by Lebrain’s site as he did the heavy lifting and linked to all the sites of people participating in this event.

 

Happy Ocean Day


So today is Ocean Day, but only in Japan. It makes alot more sense to have Ocean Day instead of Earth Day. I know Earth Day is supposed to be for the whole planet and all, but it doesn’t seem like planting a tree is going to help out the large bodies of water that make up 71 percent of the surface of our planet. I wonder how they celebrate Ocean Day in Japan. Do they eat extra whale? Or do they make sure to recycle plastic to prevent it from flowing to the Great Pacific garbage patch?

I think it would be a good day to clean up a stream to prevent more trash from flowing into the ocean. Or just to listen to this Pearl Jam song.

Mad Season – Above


above-Mad Season

Platinum Anniversary Album Series

(14 March 1995 Columbia)

This post is not about the Matchbox Twenty album Mad Season, but about the grunge super group Mad Season.

I seem to remember liking the album Above a lot more when I was younger than I do today. That could be due to a number of things. The most probable is just a change in musical taste.

Of course, I believe I also got this album before the passing of singer Layne Staley. I think the opener “Wake Up” is probably the best song he ever penned. It’s a slow number with Staley telling someone to wake up from the struggles and pitfalls of drug addiction. The line “slow suicide’s no way to go” is made even more poignant by the fact that slow suicide is just the way Staley met his death. Heroin overdoses have killed far to many rockers people over the years, including the bands bassist John Baker Saunders, but I think the story of one of rocks biggest stars of the 90’s becoming a recluse and poisoning himself over a decade until his body couldn’t take any more abuse is perhaps the saddest story in rock.

 

Mad Season began when Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready met Saunders in rehab. They recruited drummer Barrett Martin from Screaming Trees to start a side project and thought it would be good for Staley to spend some time with sober friends. The results are a much more mellow and bluesy record than any of them produced with their main bands.

This isn’t really a big rock record. It’s more of a laid back coffee shop record. There’s a bit of distorted guitar on songs like “X-Ray Mind,” “Lifeless Dead,” and “I Don’t Know Anything,” but the band really shines on the clean ballads like “River of Deceit” and “Artificial Red.” There’s just something about McCready’s clean jangly guitar work mixing with the heartfelt lyrics Staley wrote that produces a heartfelt vibe. When you hear the words “my pain is self chosen” on “River of Deceit” it’s hard not to feel something. It can be hard to feel sorry for the death of a heroin addict. Once you go down that road there aren’t too many options left, but I think Staley knew that by the time he made this record.

600full-mad-seasonScreaming Tree’s front man Mark Lanegan guests on the songs “I’m Above” and “Long Gone Day,” but the Staley/Lanegan vocal harmonies don’t really hold a candle anywhere near the Staley/Cantrell team. “I’m Above” also suffers from some weak guitar tone from McCready. The saving grace of “Long Gone Day” is the saxophone. The saxophone is not heard nearly enough in rock music anymore.

I recently read a list of the top “drug” songs in rock and the entire Dirt album was at the top of the list. I’m sure more than a few parents would make the argument that Dirt was a glamorization of heroin and drug culture, but Above is the exact opposite.

This definitely isn’t an album for a hard rocking good time, but if you’re looking for something to chill out to on the way to or from an AA meeting I’m not sure you could do any better.

 

For more Platinum Anniversary Albums:

Weezer – The Blue Album

Soundgarden – Superunknown

Original Motion Picture Soundtrack “The Crow”

The Summer Nationals Tour 2014 

Marilyn Manson- Portrait of an American Family

Korn-Korn

Hole – Live Through This

The Best of 2014


The best thing about the end of the year is all the “best of” lists that help you catch up on the great music you missed in the past twelve months. My favorites so far are the ones from Loudwire.com here and here. As these are my favorite thing about New Years, I though I would try one myself.

Best of 2014:

11) Marilyn Manson “Deep Six” While I don’t expect The Pale Emperor to be 2015s album of the year, I was pleasantly surprised by this track. It’s actually pretty good. Which is more than I can say for most of what Marilyn Manson does these days.

 

10) Bastard Friendly Lost in Translation Hahaha. Just kidding. This band sucks.

 

9) BABYMETAL

 

8) Alice in Chains “Phantom Limb” The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here came out last year, but I only saw this video a few weeks ago. Just like all the other videos from that album, it’s pretty amazing.

 

7) Faith No More “Motherfucker”

 

6) Kyng “Electric Halo” This is one that slid under my radar until I got to the “best of 2014” lists. Now I can’t get it out of my head.

 

5) Pearl Jam Lightning Bolt (2013) Pearl Jam deserve a big pat on the back for doing something they haven’t done in 20 years and releasing an album worth listening to. Way to go guys! I knew you had it in you!

 

4) Killer Be Killed

 

3) The Last Internationale Usually when I hear about a drummer’s side project I think… well, I don’t really give it any thought. But when that drummer is Brad Wilk from Rage Against The Machine and Audioslave I figure it’s worth a listen. This band doesn’t disappoint.

 

2) The Pretty Reckless Going to Hell

 

1) Monster Magnet “The Duke” A few sites have called this the best video of the year. And I’m inclined to agree with them.