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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Liebster Award


Liebster AwardA few weeks ago I received a Liebster Award from the guys over at Stuff and That. I thought that was pretty awesome. I’ve never won a writing award before. Thanks a lot guys!

Then I realized that I actually had to do stuff to accept the award. I had to answer questions, come up with a few questions of my own and then send it on to eleven other people. At first I was a little disappointed, but I have to say it’s been pretty fun.

Plus it’s always nice to have an extra post to do.

The Rules:

1. Thank and link to the person who nominated you and answer the 11 questions they’ve written for you.

2. Nominate 11 different people and give them 11 questions to answer.

Here are my answers:

  1. Pitch Your Dream Movie. Actors, directors, plot, whatever. (special thanks to filmsCinefor coming up with that one) – I’d probably want to make my own movie. I’ve written one screenplay about a guy who thinks he might be a werewolf, but he’s not sure. It would be awesome if I could get David Fincher to direct.
  2. Most/Least Favourite Movie – Favorite is probably the Shawshank Redemption. Least favorite is Requiem for a Dream.
  3. Most/Least Favourite Game – Lately I’ve been getting really into Free Cell. My least favorite game is probably dating.
  4. Most/Least Favourite Band – It’s hard to pick a favorite because I like so many different things. Historically I’ve always said either Alice in Chains or Nine Inch Nails, but recently the Descendents are becoming my favorite.
  5. How, or why, did you get into blogging? And what are your favourite aspects of it? I couldn’t get a job as a writer anywhere else. I’ve always loved writing. I’d love to be a world famous novelist, but that’s about as realistic a goal as being a rock star. So, I blog. The best part is getting feedback from other writers and feeling like I’m part of a community.
  6. Last crime you committed? – Well, I do have driving privileges for work and to get groceries, etc. but I abuse the hell out of them. And since I wasn’t caught for the last major crime I committed I’ll just say driving without a license.
  7. Dream supergroup?

  1. Favourite book?Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  2. Favourite hobbies beside blogging and doing what you blog about? – Reading. Watching Movies. Working Out.
  3.  Favourite thing about Stuff And That? (give us praise) – Very in depth reviews.
  4. Least favourite thing about Stuff And That? (tell us we’re crap) – Length. I’m a big fan of posts under 1000 words.

My Questions for you:

  1. Did you go to college? What was your major?
  2. Have you ever been arrested? For What?
  3. Favorite and Least Favorite Band?
  4. Biggest Celebrity Crush?
  5. What is the airborne velocity of an unladen swallow?
  6. When was the last time you went to the hospital? For what?
  7. Who’s your favorite superhero?
  8. What’s your day job?
  9. What’s your dream job?
  10. Where would you most like to visit?
  11. If you had the chance and the time machine, would you kill baby Hitler?
  12. What’s the first thing you would do if you became independently wealthy?

And the nominees are:

Mike Ladano

1537

Stephen1001

sourgirlohio

keepsmealive

J. at Resurrection Songs

Heavy Metal OVERLOAD

Vinyl CONNECTION

Boppin’s Blog

Tangled Up In Music

Metal Odyssey

I hope you all have as much fun with this as I did. Thanks for writing great blogs and and giving me stuff to read everyday. I hope we keep this community going for at least another four years!

Marilyn Manson “Antichrist Superstar”


antichrist_superstar_4170(8 October 1996, Nothing/Interscope)

There’s something I like to call the “Smoke on the Water Principal (SWP).” You see, as a songwriter I’ve always found it a lot easier to write a more-elaborate-than-necessary guitar riff, jam packed with odd chords and enough hammer-ons and pull-offs to make your head spin than to write a simple, catchy riff. The main riff to Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water” is the perfect example of an accomplished musician opting to play something so simple that anyone who picks up a guitar can master it in about three tries, but it’s also one of the most memorable pieces of music written in the past 50 years. Some of the greatest guitar riffs in history have utilized the SWP, even if they didn’t know it. “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “Paranoid” and “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” are all prime examples.

And so is the biggest hit of Marilyn Manson’s career “The Beautiful People.”

Antichrist Superstar is a sloppy mess of an album, but that’s part of it’s appeal. It’s strange that something produced by Trent Reznor contains so much feedback and noise, but much like The Downward Spiral it serves as a record of the band at the time.

The only live opener on a studio album that I know of is “Irresponsible Hate Anthem.” I’m not sure if they couldn’t get the sound they wanted in the studio or if they ran out of time and had to pull out a live recording. Either way, it works. The only problem I have with it is the notes say it was recorded on Valentine’s Day 1997, six months after the album came out. Do I have a new pressing? Was this a typo? The world may never know.

“Tied Up, Dried Up and Dead to the World” sounds like Korn to my ears. Not so much the chorus but the ending part with the chugga-chugga-chugga squeal. That’s something I’ve heard in just about every Korn song ever. “Tourniquet” was always one of my favorites. I’m a sucker for those simple riffs with long bends. It’s like “Interstate Love Song,” but way, way darker.

 

The middle portion of the album is where things start to drag. There are a few gems in there. “Little Horn,” “Mister Superstar” and “Angel With The Scabbed Wings” are all decent rockers, but some of the stuff just seems half finished. This is one of those instances of artistic ambitions getting in the way of just making a good album.

But then the third cycle really knocks it out of the park. “Antichrist Superstar” is perhaps the strongest on the album. Drop D chords mesh with crowd cheers to make you feel like your at a Nazi rally. “1996” is great in spite of (or perhaps because of) it’s poor production. It all sounds live in the studio complete with a guitar being smashed at the end. “Minute of Decay” is the one song on the album written completely by Manson. The simple bass line and distorted guitars have always made this a favorite of mine. Plus, it’s the one place you can tell that he really does have a great voice.

“Your world is an ashtray,” is a line that’s been repeating in my head for a few days now. “The Reflecting God” may be the heaviest thing on this album. Is has a frenetic bass line that smashes into the three-chord chorus and really makes me want to smash something. I think that’s about all you can ask from a good heavy metal song. Yet again they use live material for the third pre-chorus and it makes the song that much more intense.

Antichrist Superstar Back CoverI can still remember when the Shirley Jackson inspired video for “Man That You Fear” premiered on MTV and I watched it about seven times. It’s a great closer. The slow track floats along with Reznor playing piano and ends with Manson’s distorted voice saying “When all of your wishes are granted, many of your dreams will be destroyed.”

Yes, Antichrist Superstar is a hectic, dis-joined and messy album. I can’t help but wonder what it would have sounded like if they’d spent less time snorting cocaine and destroying equipment and more time writing songs and practicing. But it stands as a portrait of what the band was like when they were young, hungry and had something to prove to the world and that’s something we’ll never hear from Marilyn Manson again.

Loneliness is not a phase…


 

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this, but I have a bit of a problem with depression. To be fair it has gotten better over the years, but it’s still always there. And occasionally it tends to flare up.

I suppose you may wonder what this has to do with a music blog. Well, this disease has gone a long way toward shaping my tastes in music. Even though I don’t listen to either artist now as much as I did during my high school years I still consider Alice in Chains and Nine Inch Nails to be my favorite groups. I’ve come across a lot of bands that I like just as much or maybe more since graduation, but I’ll always have a place in my heart for those two. Listening to them really saved my life and helped me to realize that I wasn’t the only one dealing with these demons.

And I still haven’t found anything that can make feel better when I’m down than Dirt, The Downward Spiral or Jar of Flies. Although I’ve found quite a few songs that help; The Descendents’ “Cool To Be You,” Elton John’s “Madman Across the Water” and Tom Waits’ “Train Song.”

I’ve never written at length about this for a number of reasons. For one, I’m not looking for pity. I’m a grown man; I don’t need pity. I need anti-depressants. Which is another reason I don’t often speak about it. It’s rather embarrassing to admit you need a drug to make you feel normal. I’ve heard a lot of people say they got on meds and didn’t feel like themselves anymore. For me it’s the exact opposite. I tried to get off of them earlier this year only to realize how much I need them. And it’s not just a mental thing. I mean, it is a mental disorder, but without that in my system I have trouble sleeping, near constant stomach pain, lethargy and loss of appetite. I also get this weird feeling I imagine would be like sticking my finger in the light socket.

Robin Williams Depression QuoteSo if someone says they’re depressed, sure it’s a good thing to try to cheer them up; but remember you might as well be trying to cure the flu.

So why say anything about it now? Because I’m feeling depressed. I’ve been listening to AIC and NIN. I’m thinking about putting on The Wall. I guess I hope that sharing will help it to go away. Maybe if I put it out there in the open it will lose it’s power over me. I doubt it, but it’s worth a shot.

I’ve seen a lot of posts on this subject and a lot of them are very good. But no one ever really hit the nail on the head for me.

For me, depression is like a cancer. It’s not poisoning my blood or eating away at my lungs, but it’s polluting my soul. It prevents me from being the me I want to be and forces me to sit alone in the dark wishing I could just feel differently.

I want to say it’s like a tumor growing inside me. But that’s not right. It’s more like one of the Xenomorphs from the Alien movies. I can almost feel it moving and growing in my stomach like it’s just waiting to burst out of my chest.

Some people are have strange phobias. People are scared of all sorts of weird shit; snakes, spiders, Muslims or the boogeyman under the bed. But for me, the boogeyman is alive and well inside my head.

I hope maybe I’ve written something that might make some of you understand mental illness better. And if I’ve written something that you can relate to I hope you’re seeking help and will get better. Aside from being somewhat embarrassing, depression is a royal pain in the ass.

But you know what’s funny? Loneliness has been with me for so long that I bet if it were to go away… I would miss it.

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.

Smells Like Mushroomhead…


Marilyn_Manson_Smells_Like_Children_coverThere are a few albums from about 20 years ago that I like for a really odd reason. It’s not the segues, samples and interludes so much as the unique way a few artists chose to fill up space on their albums with ridiculous recordings.

I remember a friend in junior high telling me that if I wanted to buy a Marilyn Manson CD I should get Portrait of an American Family or Antichrist Superstar. He made sure to tell me not to get Smells Like Children. “It’s shit,” he said. “It’s just covers and remixes from the first album.” He was half right. It is covers and remixes, but it is far from shit.

Despite having 16 tracks Smells Like Children is an EP. The Wikipedia page has an interesting history of how it came to be. Apparently is was supposed to be a single for “Dope Hate,” but turned into something much, much more.

The highlight is obviously the covers. Their version of “Sweat Dreams” is what propelled them from Danzig opening act to a household name. Their versions of “I Put A Spell On You” and “Rock and Roll Nigger” aren’t half bad either. The remixes aren’t quite as good. I like the “Diary of A Dope Fiend” and I prefer “Kiddie Grinder” to its original version, but I’m not a huge fan of remixes and feel the rest fall flat.

The real treat is the unusual tracks that pepper the album. It starts with “The Hands of Small Children,” a creepy synth intro to “Diary.” “Shitty Chicken Gang Bang” is a great organ interlude that doesn’t really go anywhere. I love “Fuck Frankie,” which is just a recording of a woman repeating ‘Fuck Frankie’ in an orgasmic voice. I find “White Trash,” a remix of “Cake & Sodomy” by Tony Wiggins on an acoustic guitar to be absolutely brilliant. “Scabs, Guns and Peanut Butter” is a recording onto a tape player that’s been sped up, something I’ve done a few times myself.

But now that I realize how completely ridiculous all of this sounds I’m amazed by how well the amalgamated mess of material blends seamlessly together and makes a great listening experience. I’m not sure if that’s a testament to Trent Reznor’s unearthly production skills or if everyone involved was just taking that certain amount of drugs to make a masterpiece.

Tool AEnima gifAt the other end of the spectrum (by that I mean the “Respectable”) is Tool’s 1996 album AEnima (sic). Of course, being polished professional musicians without a noteworthy history of cocaine abuse, the weird shit on this album is referred to as “short segues or interludes that connect to longer songs.” It’s all crazy shit to me.

AEnima is far and away my favorite Tool album. The songs aren’t  the cookie cutter hard rock they released on Undertow and not way out in left field prog and they did after. They’re just the right combination of pop melodies and experiments to keep me entertained.

My favorite track on this album is “Die Eier Von Satan” a track that sounds like a recording of a Nazi rally but is really just a recipe. “Intermission” is a jaunty calliope sounding track not unlike “Shitty Chicken Gang Bang” and “(-) Ions” is nothing but static. “Message to Harry Manback” was always another favorite. Quiet piano plays while a man spews insults and threats at someone, occasionally in Italian.

I wish I knew why band no longer use segues, samples and interludes the way they used to. I really miss that. I suppose like anything else, it was something that was sort of in vogue for a minute and then it’s appeal faded away.

But not before Mushroomhead could place the greatest sample ever on their 1995 self titled album. I wish I knew what movie this was from, it sounds like it would be a great one.

 

What’s your favorite example of crazy shit on an album?

#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.