Music and Stuff

Hello, and welcome to this blog , the perfect place to find reviews of all types of music; rock, electronic, hip hop, and others, reviewed by a teenager completely immersed in all music. Here I will review classic albums, both famous and obscure. So, enjoy my opinions.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Scary Monsters: David Bowie, 1980

In 1980, David Bowie was ready for a change of look. This is normal; in 1969 he was a folkie, in 1970 he was a heavy metal cross-dresser, in 1971 he was a glam folkie, in 1972 he was a glam superstar from another planet named Ziggy, in 1974 he was the ruler of Hunger City named Halloween Jack, in 1975 he was the soul man, in 1976 he was the Thin White Duke, in 1977 he was the Man Who Fell To Earth, and later in 1977 he was the cool german citizen. He had been hanging out in Germany with Brian Eno and Iggy Pop since 1977, and then he decided for a change. This time it was the new wave Bowie; minus Eno, plus guitar master Robert Fripp, he made a new album: Scary Monsters. Preceded by a number one hit single, Ashes To Ashes (A classic even today, as well as the video), the album got a lot of press, and the rest did not disappoint me. After hearing the singles "Fashion" (My second favorite Bowie song of all time) and "Ashes To Ashes", you'd think that everything else would be worse, and some of it is. "Kingdom Come" is a strange, out of place cover, and "Up the Hill Backwards" has a slightly annoying sing-a-long feel that I really don't like too much. But the rest of the album tracks are some of Bowie's best songs. The title track, a less popular single, is much stronger than "Up the Hill Backwards" (strangely a more successful single), and "Because You're Young" and "Scream Like a Baby" are two of the best songs of the 80's. "Teenage Wildlife" feels kind of like a stripped down, slowed down version of "Heroes", with Robert Fripp adding atmospheric guitar parts reminiscent of the ones he did on "Heroes". The only really disappointing track is "It's No Game, Part 2". "It's No Game, Part 1" is an amazing, edgy opener, and Part 2 is calm and sounds kinda like it's 3 in the morning and they have to finish one more song, so they do a reprise.
Anyway, this is an essential, but really only for Bowie fans. If you don't like Bowie, don't start here.
4 out of 5 stars.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Development- EP: The Development, 2010

This is not online. This is not released. There is one copy in the state of Florida alone, and a couple in Maine. I, at the moment, posess the only copy in Florida. Tomorrow I will give it back to my friend Tucker. It'll be on YouTube soon. But with four songs, they manage to make hardcore music just a little bit better. With the DIY aspect of it, they went from using laptops in their houses to a recording studio, and pumped out 4 original songs. And then Tucker (The drummer) left for Florida.
But anyway, The Development was as polished as a hardcore band can get. They played "melodic punk" (A quote from Tucker), a close mix to the style of Black Flag mixed with Green Day. I would have bought this. This is the kind of demo you send to a record label.
I'm gonna give this 3 amd a half out of 5 stars. Not the best, but really good for a band made up of high school kids that had been together for 6 months.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Songs For Dustmites: Steve Burns, 2003

This is a masterpiece. But you've never heard of it.
Of course, even if you don't know the name, you know the guy.
That's right. "It's mailtime!". Steve Burns was "Steve" from "Blues Clues", the original host of the most popular kid's show of all time. Steve was and is adored by toddlers, teenagers, college kids, and moms. And people like me. Steve was my idol when I was 5, and like everyone else, I was crushed when he "went to college" and his "brother" "Joe" replaced him. But he's still my idol. He's progressed into the coolest man alive. This album can please everyone. It has a pleasing mixture of his highly original alternative rock and songs where it's just him and a guitar. That balance makes this debut an extremely cohesive listen. On the alternative rock stuff (For example "Mighty Little Man", "What I Do On Saturday","Maintain", and "Henry Krinkle's Lament"), he shows that having The Flaming Lips members helps (Lips keyboardist/ guitarist/ former drummer Steven Drozd and bass player Michael Ivins played drums and bass (respectively) and Ivins engineered it, while Lips producer David Friddman produced it) and are able to become some of the most memorable songs of the 2000's, and the acoustic tracks (For example ">1", "A Reason") are great as well. He also manages to throw in a Brian Eno-esque instrumental ("Music For Montgomery County, PA"), an amazing cover ("A Song For Dustmites"), and an ethereal spacey alternative track ("Troposphere")
This gets five stars of five.
http://www.amazon.com/Songs-Dustmites-Steve-Burns/dp/B0000AINL3
That's a link to Amazon to buy that album. Buy it.
Don't care about the cost (It IS only 13 dollars, but some people are budget sensitive), this is too good to pass up.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Top 500!

Due to a request from my awesome follower maxgmooney, I am now going to review Rolling Stone's Top 500 Albums. That's right people. All 500. But if there's an album I have no real comment or opinion of, I just won't do it. Watch out; I'm tough.
1. Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band- The Beatles: No. That's right. I said no. Number two is right where it belongs!
2. Pet Sounds- The Beach Boy): Number three. It is very good, despite the pop sensibilities of earlier and later Beach Boys albums.
3. Revolver- The Beatles: Number 1! That's right, this is the best ever. I love it, and I have literally listened to it since I was 3.
4. Highway 61 Revisted- Bob Dylan: Not sure. I liked "Bringing It All Back Home" more. Top ten though.
5. Rubber Soul- The Beatles: Switch this with "The Beatles"
6. What's Going On- Marvin Gaye: I heard this was good, but since I haven't heard it yet, I'll stick it in the top 20 at least.
7. Exile On Main Street- The Rolling Stones: I'll keep this top 20, but I have a large bias against the Rolling Stones, so I won't actually review it because I'll just hate it.
8. London Calling- The Clash: I'm not too sure. I still hold "The Clash" UK edition in higher regard, but this was far more diverse, so I'll keep it here.
9. Blonde On Blonde- Bob Dylan: Yes. This is one of those albums that can easily be listened to from start to finish.
10. The Beatles- The Beatles: Switch with "Rubber Soul"
11. The Sun Sessions- Elvis Presley: Top 50 if it's even in the top 100 for me. I don't see what's so good about it...
12. Kind Of Blue- Miles Davis: Switch with John Coltrane's "Blue Train".
13. Velvet Underground and Nico- The Velvet Underground: Take "What's Going On"s place. This was way too good for 13.
14. Abbey Road- The Beatles: Yes. This isn't my favorite, but it was still their swansong, and it ended the Beatles phenomenon well.
15. Are You Experienced?- The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Yes. Hendrix was at the top of his skill (He would remain there until he died), and he was a master composer as well.
16. Blood On the Tracks- Bob Dylan: Yes.
17. Nevermind- Nirvana: NO! I swear, Rolling Stone is in love with Kurt Cobain! One song with a catchy riff and two or three other good songs does not make a good album! This was good, but only good enough to make the top 200 for me.
18. Born To Run- Bruce Springsteen: No. Top 100 though.
20. Thriller- Michael Jackson: I can't believe I'm saying this, but top 100. Rock and roll tears are running down my face right now...
22. Plastic Ono Band- John Lennon: I don't think so. Top 70.
25. Rumours- Fleetwood Mac: Yes.
26. The Joshua Tree- U2: Switch with "The Unforgettable Fire".
28. Who's Next- The Who: Yes, but points off for the horribly corny title.
29. Led Zeppelin- Led Zeppelin: No. Switch with Led Zeppelin II. This isn't as strong a sound as the second album is.
31. Bringing It All Back Home- Bob Dylan: Switch this with "Highway 61 Revisited"
33. Ramones- Ramones: Top 20. This started punk.
35. The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders
From Mars- David Bowie: Top 20. This was Bowie's entrance into popular music.
39. Please Please Me- The Beatles: This isn't even their best and it's still awesome.
41. Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols-
The Sex Pistols: Yes. This gave punk it's stereotype, but a good one at that.
42. The Doors- The Doors: My personal intro to psychedelic music.
43. The Dark Side of the Moon- Pink Floyd: Yes. Not my favorite prog album, but very very good.
44. Horses- Patti Smith: Yes. This started art punk.
49. Live At Fillmore East- Allman Brothers: Lower, 200's. I never got into this much, but it was pretty good, as live albums go.
54. Electric Ladyland- The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Legendary. Yes.
58. Trout Mask Replica- Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band: I can take Frank Zappa, but not this. This is just way too weird. 200's simply for influentialness.
59. Meet the Beatles- The Beatles: I don't count this as an actual Beatles album because it's an american version, meaning half of the songs are on "Pleas Please Me", and half are on "With the Beatles". Substitute with "Magical Mystery Tour".
61. Appetite for Destruction- Guns n' Roses: I hate Guns n' Roses SO much. I will not even include this at all. Nothing was good about it at all.
62. Achtung Baby- U2: Replace this with "The Unforgettable Fire"
66. Led Zeppelin IV- Led Zeppelin: Yes. This had it's faults, but was still great. Points off for "Stairway To Heaven" being on the radio every second of every day.
70. Physical Graffiti- Led Zeppelin: 200's. I've never really liked this one too much, but the best songs are some of the best ever.
73. Back in Black- AC/DC: Yes.
75. Led Zeppelin II- Led Zeppelin: Switch with Led Zeppelin I.
76. Imagine- John Lennon: 300's.
77. The Clash- The Clash: Higher. My favorite Clash album.
82. Axis: Bold as Love- The Jimi Hendrix Experience: My personal favorite by Hendrix, so higher.
86. Let It Be- The Beatles: No. This one had way too many problems.
96. Tommy- The Who: Yes.
98. This Year's Model- Elvis Costello: Switch with "My Aim Is True"
101. Fresh Cream, Cream: Sure. It's got some classics on it.
105. Rocket to Russia, Ramones: Yes. a classic Ramones album.
107. Hunky Dory, David Bowie: The most underrated Bowie album. Top 50.
109. Loaded, The Velvet Underground: Yes. This last Velvets album was a high note in their career, which is really saying something.
112. Disraeli Gears, Cream: Now that I think of it, switch this with "Fresh Cream".
115. Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, Derek and the Dominos: An Eric Clapton "Supergroup", this is one of Clapton's best releases.
125. Raw Power, Iggy & The Stooges: Top 100. This is my favorite thing with Iggy Pop on it.
126. Remain in Light, Talking Heads: Yes. This is amazing, but still ranks at number 4 on the best Talking Heads albums.
128. Marquee Moon, Television: This is awesome, top 50 at least.
136. Tim, The Replacements: Top 50. This is where the band breaks the barrier between "Great" and "Magical".
140. Parallel Lines, Blondie: Yes.
149. Houses of the Holy, Led Zeppelin: One of the best Led Zeppelin albums.
152. The B-52's, The B-52's: Yes. So weird, but so good...
155. Pretenders, The Pretenders: Top 100.
157. Closer, Joy Division: I would put their "Unknown Pleasures" album before this one.
160. Electric Warrior, T. Rex: Top 100. This is one of the best glam albums, and an essential purchase.
166. Imperial Bedroom, Elvis Costello: Yes.
168. My Aim Is True, Elvis Costello: NO. WAY. Top 30 at the very least.
170. Live at Leeds, The Who: 200's. Memorable, but it's hard to make a live album as good as a regular album.
183. Fleetwood Mac, Fleetwood Mac: Top 100.
185. The Stooges, The Stooges: NO WAY! Top 30! This is too good!
187. So, Peter Gabriel: Yes, one of my favorite 80's records.
191. Funhouse, The Stooges: Top 100. Has a different, more clean feel than other Stooges stuff, but that doesn't always help.
194. Transformer, Lou Reed: Top 50. Reed's best album excluding his Velvets work.
197. Murmur, R.E.M.: Top 30.
203. Wheels of Fire, Cream: Yes.
213. New York Dolls, New York Dolls: Yes.
216. The Queen Is Dead, The Smiths: Yes.
221. War, U2:Yes.
230. A Night at the Opera, Queen: Yes.
236. The Who Sings My Generation, The Who: Yes.
239. Let It Be, The Replacements: Yes.
243. Freak Out!, The Mothers of Invention: Top 50.
247. Automatic for the People, R.E.M.: This is one of my least favorite R.E.M. albums. I wouldn't even put it on the list.
249. Low, David Bowie: Top 100. This is one of my personal favorites by Bowie, a part of his amazing "Berlin Trilogy"/
253. Trans-Europe Express, Kraftwerk: Top 100. One of the top albums of the period.
266. Quadrophenia, The Who: Yes.
268. Psycho Candy, The Jesus and Mary Chain: Yes. Crazy but great.
277. Aladdin Sane, David Bowie: Top 100. My favorite album of David Bowie's glam rock period.
286. Los Angeles, X: Yes, a great hardcore album.
290. Talking Heads: 77, Talking Heads: Top 30. Amazingly weird.
292. White Light / White Heat, The Velvet Underground: Yes. Almost as good as the first album.
296. We're Only In It For the Money, The Mothers of
Invention: I'm not too sure, it's really weird, but okay.
301. John Wesley Harding, Bob Dylan: Yes. Bob Dylan's most underrated album.
305. Odelay, Beck: Yes. Not perfect, but Beck's best and most Beck-ish album.
313. Damn the Torpedoes, Tom Petty and the
Heartbreakers: Yes. One of my favorite albums by the Heartbreakers.
314. The Velvet Underground, The Velvet Underground: Yes.
322. Ghost in the Machine, The Police: Yes.
323. Station to Station, David Bowie: No way, this is way too good. Top 10.
329. Daydream Nation, Sonic Youth: Yes.
332. Help!, The Beatles: Yes.
340. Damaged, Black Flag: Higher. One of the best hardcore albums ever.
344. Berlin, Lou Reed: Yes.
345. Stop Making Sense, Talking Heads: No. Maybe put it in the 500's.
358. Singles Going Steady, Buzzcocks: Yes. A great example of english pop-punk.
361. Substance, New Order: Yes.
362. L.A. Woman, The Doors: Yes.
366. Mott, Mott the Hoople: Higher. An underrated album by an underrated band.
369. Reggatta de Blanc, The Police: Top 200.
371. Siren, Roxy Music: Yes.
381. Modern Lovers, Modern Lovers: Yes.
382. More Songs About Buildings and Food, Talking Heads: Top 100.
388. A Hard Day's Night, The Beatles: Yes.
394. For Your Pleasure, Roxy Music: Yes.
403. Radio City, Big Star: Top 50.
404. Sandinista!, The Clash: Yes.
407. Strange Days, The Doors: Yes.
408. Time Out of Mind, Bob Dylan: Yes.
409. 461 Ocean Boulevard, Eric Clapton: Yes.
410. Pink Flag, Wire: Yes. A great art-punk album.
411. Double Nickels on the Dime, Minutemen: Top 300. This is great.
417. Boy, U2: Yes.
418. Band on the Run, Wings: Top 100. This is why Paul McCartney is a sucessful solo artist.
425. Changesone, David Bowie: I'm not so up for best of albums being included, so I'm not sure.
433. Another Green World, Brian Eno: Top 100.
434. Outlandos D'Amour, The Police: Top 100.
436. Here Come the Warm Jets, Brian Eno: Top 100.
437. All Things Must Pass, George Harrison: Yes.
438. #1 Record, Big Star: Top 100.
440. Sea Change, Beck: Top 300. Very good.
447. Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!, Devo: Yes.
455. Synchronicity, The Police: Yes.
469. Metal Box, Public Image Ltd.: Higher.
470. Document, R.E.M.: Yes.
481. The Smiths, The Smiths: Higher.
482. Armed Forces, Elvis Costello and the Attractions: Yes.
490. Entertainment!, Gang of Four: Yes.
491. All the Young Dudes, Mott the Hoople: Yes.

Well, that's it. And may I say one thing: WHERE IS "THE SOFT BULLETIN" BY THE FLAMING LIPS?!!!! THAT'S THE BEST ALBUM OF THE NINETIES!!!! I'M PUTTING IT IN THE TOP 10, AND IF ANYONE DISAGREES I'LL BITE THEIR HEADS OFF!!!!
Thank you.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A Trick of the Tail: Genesis, 1976

In 1975, one of the worst things happened to Genesis: Peter Gabriel quit. This set them back quite a bit. Step one for them after Gabriel quit was of course to find a new singer. A rumoured 500 people auditioned. Only one came close. Mike Stanton was brought in, but after singing along (They had recorded all the backing tracks), it was realized that he couldn't sing in that key. This was not good. There was only one last option: Phil Collins. The man behind the drum kit had been singing background for Peter Gabriel since 1971. After a while, they convinced Collins to try it out, and of course he just happened to be perfect. With that said, I'm not sure Peter Gabriel would have even sounded well on this album. Unlike the previous "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway", this was focused on their instrumental ability rather than Gabriel's fantastic lyrics. This is also too far different from "The Lamb..." in its medevial-sounding instruments and Collins' bard-ish vocals. It's closer to that of a sequel to "Selling England By the Pound" from 1973. Still, Genesis were able to prove that they could be great without Peter Gabriel,and they got back on track with one of their best albums.
Four and a half stars.

Response

I can't sem to figure out how to respond to comments, so I'll just do it here.
Mr. Pippen: I have already seen most of the videos from "So" and around that period, and along with David Bowie, his video's are some of the best of that era. "Sledgehammer", "Big Time", "Shock the Monkey", "Solsbury Hill", and "Games Without Frontiers" (The only version that I could find of the last one was a version with a moody alternate version) are great. I highly reccomend you check out David Bowie's late 70's and early 80's work with David Mallet; "Ashes To Ashes", "Fashion", "Look Back In Anger", "DJ", and "Boys Keep Swinging" are wonderfully haunting.
And as to your second comment, now that I reconsider Jack Bruce's playing, you're probably right. He is better than I thought; Eric Clapton kind of just drowned him out (On a second note though, I don't think Clapton actually played to his best ability on Cream recordings. I've never heard a Cream song with a solo or anything I couldn't handle myself on the guitar, yet once Cream broke up, he was playing mind-boggling solos left and right)
And on a slightly unrelated note, Ginger Baker should be declared legally insane.
Thank you for the comments.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Skylarking: XTC, 1986

After their Dukes of Stratosphear albums, the members of XTC were ready for a fresh new start. Previous XTC albums were marred by the inescapable truth that no matter how hard they tried, it was extremely hard for them to write a really serious song. After the Dukes albums, they realized that they could write silly songs AND make them good. They also did discover how to write serious songs, but their majestic fantasy world is what really made this album great. Opening with the bookend effect that comes from "Summers Cauldron" to "Grass", many songs would have recurring themes and transitions. No songs go to waste; only one or two of the sixteen or so songs far short of excellent. Going from pop to new wave to jazz and back, they kept every song alive and kicking with a highly original riff or melody, and Todd Rundgren's psychedelic production makes this XTC album the closest one to perfect.
Five stars.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Where to start...

I have been asked a question: Where should I start with Ian Dury albums? Well, it depends. If you lean towards a more punkish/ pub rock sound, Dury's first album, "New Boots and Panties!", is the way to go. It's closest in comparison to the first album by The Stranglers (They were close friends with Dury; somewhere on youtube is a bootleg of Dury singing the Stranglers song "Peaches" with the band in honor of leader Hugh Cornwell. I think it was his birthday). On the other hand, if you prefer a more commerical sound, go with his second album, "Do It Yourself". It is more of a pub rock/ disco/ pop fusion, although the music is merely the background for Dury's lyrics, which are always the main focus.
Hope that answers your question Randy.

Sea Change: Beck, 2002

This is often called Beck's heartbreak album, and for good reason. Much like other "heartbreak" albums, basically every song is a sad lament. Which is slightly true. Only a few aren't in sad minor keys, but those that are mnake sure to let you know that Beck Hansen was pretty dying of sadness when he wrote them. To give you an idea about what the album is through use of the songs: Beck may be in "The Golden Age", but he's become a "Lost Cause" standing on the "Side of the Road" "Round the Bend" in the "Sunday Sun" at the "End of the Day" making a "Paper Tiger" because he can't cry "Lonesome Tears" anymore. When the "Little One" asks him, he just says "Guess I'm Doing Fine", because he tells himself "It's All In Your Mind" because his heart is "Already Dead".
There. That was every song title. It may not make much sense, but that's what he gave me to use.
All in all, this album really shows that despite all the weird but great indie-rap fusion of his other albums, Beck becomes a serious musician when sad. My point: This really has to be in anyone's CD collection. Just try not to cry.
Five stars.

...Nothing Like the Sun: Sting, 1987

On this album, Sting finally showed the true potential of his solo career. The previous one, "The Dream of the Blue Turtles", had been good, but was very disappointing when compared to the last Police album, "Synchronicity". Although there had been many successful jazz-rock songs (Sting's new musical direction) on "The Dream of the Blue Turtles", not many worked well enough, and the album came out pretty patchy. There are less jazzy songs on this album, with a larger focus on world music; luckily he was able the style his own twist, and avoided sounding too much like Peter Gabriel (Gabriel had been doing similar music since at least 1980, and had released the enourmously successful "So" the year before, which had a large amount of world music in its style). Although the jazzy influence of the previous album stayed, the jazzier songs (Englishman In New York, for example) were more comfortable and relaxed, and the others (The Lazarus Heart, Be Still My Beating Heart, Straight To My Heart [Yes, he has a thing for songs about hearts], and They Dance Alone, with the last featuring guitar god Mark Knopfler) were just as succesful, and the album comes to a close with a spacey cover of the Jimi Hendrix classic "Little Wing" and the closing, almost the title track, "Sister Moon"(Which includes guitar god number two for this album, Eric Clapton). Despite those great ones, there are some strange funk songs (We'll Be Together, Rock Steady), which have lesser impacts simply because they don't fit in. But even with those weak spots, the others make up for it. This is definitely the best Sting album, and certainly the best of 1987.
Five stars (I'm kinda biased: I love this album)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Poll problems

I'm not quite sure if you can see what the question is or what the answers are for my poll at the bottom of the page, so if it isn't showing up (It hasn't been for me), here it is.
Question: Who was the best Genesis frontman?
Answers: (Top) Peter Gabriel
(Middle) Phil Collins
(Bottom) Ray Wilson
The polls close on 11:59 on Halloween (Oooh! Scary!), so get vote. Unless you don't know or care. If you don't know or care, vote for Peter Gabriel. He was the best. I violently oppose you if you disagree. So vote.

Some new info

First of all, I just want to remind the people who read this blog to request for reviews (Especially follower maxgmooney). I'm willing to do stuff.
Also I'd like to welcome my newest follower. That's 2! Yes!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Mixcraft (With some Brian Eno)

As you have probably have guessed by now, my idol in the production world is and always will be Brian Eno. For a year I've studied his techniques. I've looked at colleges with the best programs for music production and engineering, I've worked with Garageband and other D.I.Y. (Do-it-yourself) music programs; I even mixed my band's only recording (It didn't do much good; my overdubs failed horribly [I couldn't actually play the song], and all I could do that was really noticeable was make it a clearly divided stereo recording). The one thing standing in my way was a program for my Windows. I have, after months of searching (Albeit very casual searching), found a program. It's called Mixcraft: It's basically the PC equivalent of Garageband. It even looks the same. So if you want to be like Brian Eno, and you are Mac-less, get this! It will be awesome (I hope; I haven't actually gotten it yet.)

Low: David Bowie, 1977

The first time I heard this I almost threw it out the window. It creeped me out. But I'm not saying this is a bad album. It's amazing. It just...it's weird. You will have to keep in mind that when I heard this, I had about five songs by him: Ziggy Stardust, Suffragette City, The Man Who Sold the World, Changes, and Life on Mars? . This sound was new to me. For those of you who don't know what this sounds like (Or don't really care enough to look the songs up), then I'll do the best I can. This the first Bowie album to have an instrumental (6 of 11 are instrumental), and the first to feature the greatest producer ever, Brian Eno (Agree with me on that or I'll hunt you down and...Actually, I don't know exactly what I would do, but you wouldn't like it at all), who turned Bowie on to bands like Kraftwerk, Harmonia, Cluster, and Can. This enabled them to get a new sound; Bowie goes to Germany. Electronics are used frequently, and vocals are short and usually heavily treated. This album was Bowie's second step towards cementing himself in the outer regions of rock music, but he stayed there, and the world loved it.
Four and a half stars of five.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Welcome Wilco!

I have added the band Wilco to my "Like" list. I highly reccomend them, especially for fans of poetry and acoustic music.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

So: Peter Gabriel, 1986

Yes, I've been doing too many Peter Gabriel related albums. But I couldn't wait to do this one. At first I thought this would be extremely cheesy because it was a mid-80's album, and it has a mid-80's sound. Not a cheesy sound though; an amazing sound. It's as good as any of his other classics. It still has cosmic dream imagery (Red Rain), and rockin' classics (Sledgehammer). In fact, every song here is classic. Not only does it retain the feel of his earlier albums, as if it was a mixture of the african rythms of Peter Gabriel (Third album, AKA Melt) and the nervous synths of Peter Gabriel (Fourth album, AKA Security), it also brings in a new, more ambient, spacey sound (Thanks to noted ambient producer Daniel Lanois, who is best known for being producing buddy with none other than ambient music's most legendary legend, Mr. Brian Eno). It makes this album have a special sense about it that none of the other albums ever had. Five stars

The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway: Genesis, 1974


Although often called Genesis's best effort, I don't agree. It is their second best. But that still makes it an amazing concept album. It tells the horribly confusing story of Rael, a half puerto rican, who becomes a victim of Peter Gabriel's mind in times square. Well, not exactly. You'd have to read the story for yourself (It's in the CD booklet, but I'm sure you could find it online). The whole reason for the story is that he's trying to find and save his brother John from the strange world they've been sucked into. The songs tell the story with incredible detail, and the original title track theme is repeated constantly through the album. Although confusing, it's a great listen. Peter Gabriel's lyrics and vocals are at their peak, and the rest of the band is phenomenal, except for lead guitarist Steve Hackett, whose role seems horribly diminished. My favorite concept album (Barely overtaking "Tommy" by The Who, because of sheer lyrical ability. Sorry Mr. Townshend. Your lyrics are good too, though.) Five stars.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Best bassists

Here's a review of someone's best bass players list. I'm only reviewing those I have opinions on. If you want to see this site, go to: http://www.musicbanter.com/rock-metal/41960-100-greatest-bass-players-rock-pop.html
The information here is the property of that person. I think. Please go to that site and rate his or her list. It is very good.
2. John Entwhistle (The Who): Yes. He was an absolutely amazing player. Very, very underrated.
4. Tony Levin (King Crimson, Peter Gabriel, session work): Great player. Also very skillful with the Chapman Stick (His instrument of choice with King Crimson; check out "Sleepless" by them)
5. Paul McCartney (Beatles, Wings, solo): Although I am a little biased (My favorite member of my favorite band), he has a lot of skill. Very intricate lines, and quick playing.
8. Jack Bruce (Cream): No. I don't think he's that great.
17. John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin, Them Crooked Vultures, session work): Yes. One of my favorite musicians ever. Also very good at the keyboard.
34. Mike Rutherford (Genesis, solo): Higher. Fast, skillful, good writer. Everything you might want in a bassist.
35. Peter Hook (Joy Division, New Order): Yes. He started the idea that the bass is as important as the guitar. A bass revolutionary. Let's have a moment of silence please...okay that's enough.
39. Sting (The Police, solo): Yes. Really good at reggae.
40. Paul Simonon (The Clash): Yes. He has more skill at bass than most punks.
43. Tina Weymouth (Talking Heads, Tom Tom Club): Higher. My favorite female bassist (Okay, I don't know of any more, but even if I did, I would still like her the best).
50. Jah Wobble (Public Image Ltd.): Yes. Very hypnotic.
51. Colin Moulding (XTC, Dukes of Stratosphear): Yes. Another revolutionary with Peter Hook at giving the bass a better role in rock.
52. Holger Czukay (Can): Higher. He influenced at least two other people on here.
64. Nick Lowe (Solo, Brinzley Shwartz, Rockpile): Faster. Mile-a-minute lines coupled with occasional key changes: all while singing.
73. Trevor Bolder (David Bowie): Higher. Fast as lightning.
Here's who I think should be on also:
Andrew Bodnar, Bruce Thomas, Glen Matlock, Herbie Flowers, Michael Ivins, and Cris Kurtwood.

Peter Gabriel (First album, AKA Car): Peter Gabriel, 1977


This is my favorite Peter Gabriel album. It still retains the magic of Genesis (It sounds quite a bit like "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway"), yet moves on to a more mature, worldly feel. It contains two of Gabriel's most popular songs (Solsbury Hill, Here Comes the Flood) that have become international classics, and other classics known only to us Peter Gabriel fans (Modern Love, Moribund the Burgermeister, Humdrum, Slowburn). There is still lots of Genesis influence in some of these songs, most noticeable on Moribund the Burgermeister and the second half of Humdrum, but he had moved on in style. The first half of Humdrum has many spanish influences, Excuse Me is a barbershop quartet song, Waiting For the Big One sounds like something Tom Waits might do, and Down the Dolce Vita has an operatic style beginning. Although not quite as avant-garde as Peter Gabriel (Second album, AKA Scratch), or as more focused on african rythms and other types of world music as Peter Gabriel (Third album, AKA Melt), but this one proves that Peter didn't need Genesis to be amazing. Five stars. Definitely one of the best of all time. Cool album cover too.

Yes!!! A follower!

Dear follower guy "Bret",
You are awesome! My first follower! Yes!!!!! It took my mom three years to get one! I will not disappoint you, "Bret"! Also, please write a comment if you want to request anything.
Sincerely, the writer of this blog.

Embryonic: The Flaming Lips, 2009

This time I'm going to do a simple, short and sweet review. Like the professionals do.
The Flaming Lips released their highly anticipated twelfth album in late 2009. I've listened to it, but not much really stands out to me. There are many good things about it though; It is very original, and it has some very good songs on it. People have said that it compares to the style of Miles Davis, John Lennon, and Joy Division. Yeah...um...no. Miles Davis is jazzy, John Lennon is cheery, and Joy Division are suicidally deppressed. This is...there is no word for what this is. I'm not saying it's bad, but really, The Sex Pistols sound more like Miles Davis than this does. Maybe I could understand if it wasn't so strangely mixed. It sounds like they just threw some random effects down on it. But at least their "Dark Side of the Moon" cover album sounds better. I expect the next one to be better produced, guys.
Two and a half out of five. You let us down, Wayne, Michael, Steven, and Kliph. Way down man.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Song Comparison: "Behind the Lines" by Genesis and "Behind the Lines" by Phil Collins

These are two classic versions of the same classic song. The Genesis version is from their 1980 album "Duke", while the version by their frontman/drummer Phil Collins is from his 1981 debut solo album "Face Value". The Genesis is a dramatic art rock piece, with a fast, upbeat intro, which progresses into the slower singing part. The Phil Collins version faster and funkier. Of the two, I prefer the version by Genesis. The intro on the Genesis version is great, and (Despite not really having the same melody as the verses) it kind of leads into the verses. The Phil Collins version is a bit faster, but a little disapointing when compared to the version he did on his "No Ticket Required" tour (Video is on Youtube). Both are awesome. Genesis version: 5 stars. Phil's version: 4 stars.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

My Aim Is True: Elvis Costello, 1977

This is a classic album. Featuring a lot of my favorite Costello songs, this is probably my favorite Elvis Costello album. Not quite punk, not quite new wave, I'm not sure any genre. It does include punk and new wave, but also rockabilly and blues. It features some great bassists (Andrew Bodnar, Nick Lowe). Anyway, here's the track by track review.
1. Welcome To the Working Week: 10/10. One of my favorite songs. Sadly, it's horribly short.
2. Miracle Man: 10/10. Another classic that focus on the country and rockabilly influences.
3. No Dancing: 10/10. This one focuses on the style of music that Costello would be making in the early 80's.
4. Blame It On Cain: 10/10. Another rockabilly type number featuring top notch guitar, and one of Costello's fisrt to have effects not created by guitars, vocals, keyboards, or drums.
5. Alison: 8/10. A slower one, and not one of my favorites.
6. Sneaky Feelings: 9/10. Another good uptempo numbers that draws on the music played by the generations before him.
7. (The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes: 10/10. One of my favorites, this one is a good example of the music Costello was playing at this point.
8. Less Than Zero: 10/10. A nicely controversial song (Most every record has one). Not about Lee Harvey Oswald, but some british politician.
9. Mystery Dance: 10/10. A nice fast-paced number that has a lot of rockabilly in it.
10. Pay It Back: 8/10. Another song that kind of reminds me of the more famous Elvis.
11. I'm Not Angry: 9/10. The only truly angry sounding song on here.
12. Waiting For the End of the World: 10/10. Another of my favorites, this has one of the best guitar riffs on the album.
13. Watching the Detectives (US Release Only): 10/10. My first Costello song. The best bassline ever on a Costello album.
Five stars. Great!!

Song: Dancing With the Moonlit Knight, Genesis, 1973

This is a classic Genesis song. Another of their early epics, it begins with lead singer Peter Gabriel singing A Capella, with drums, mellotron, and guitar slowly being added in. It soon evolves into a harder, more charging rock song. It eventually begins to slow down, and ends with a quiet instrumental part.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Rattus Norvegicus: The Stranglers, 1977

This is The Stranglers' first album, and is one of the best of the punk era. Strangely, it doesn't even really seem like punk. They seem like too good musicians. This is really the only Stranglers album that is really punk. Released in 1977, it reached #4 on the UK album charts, and eventually went platinum. This is probably my favorite Stranglers album, with some of my favorite Stranglers songs (Peaches, Grip, and my favorite Stranglers song, London Lady). This album also very prominently features Jean-Jacques Burnel's amazing bass work (I especially like this, being a bassist myself). Here's the track by track review.
1. Sometimes: 9/10. A good example of early Stranglers work, this song is about a violent argument with a girlfriend.
2. Goodbye Toulouse: 9/10. A good song about Nostradamus's prediction of the destruction of the french city of Toulouse. Don't worry, it's still there.
3. London Lady: 10/10. As I said above probably my favorite Stranglers track, along with "The Raven", "5 Minutes", and "Dagenham Dave". The most punk of them all.
4. Princess of the Streets: 9/10. A good bluesy song, featuring a great bass intro by Burnel. Known as "Pre-Stranglers". A good example of how the Stranglers were usually not punk.
5. Hanging Around: 10/10. A good song about the people who came to Stranglers concerts. Not only a classic Stranglers tune, a classic rock song altogether, beloved by even those who hate The Stranglers.
6. Peaches: 10/10. One of my favorites. About walking along on a french beach. The best bass line and the best drumming of the album. Awesome to watch them do live in the 70's.
7. (Get a) Grip (On Yourself): 10/10. Another great Stranglers tune. Awesome saxophone (Although I'm a huge sucker for a sax in a rock song).
8. Ugly: 9/10. The most underrated song on the album. Not quite sure what it's about.
9. Down in the Sewer: 10/10. What most people think of when they think of the Stranglers. Comprises of four sections: Falling/Down In The Sewer/Trying To Get Out Again/Rat's Rally. About living in London, the "Sewer".
A must have for any punk or Stranglers fan. Five stars.

Hunky Dory: David Bowie, 1971

This is David Bowie’s first true masterpiece. Although his first three albums had been commercially unsuccessful (As well as this one, which didn’t chart), and he was at the time considered a one-hit wonder (That hit being “Space Oddity” in 1969, reaching #5 on the UK singles charts), Bowie persevered. This is, as Rolling Stone magazine put it, “Where Bowie goes glam”. While his first albums had been mostly folk music, this album mixed his British music hall influences (“Kooks”, “Fill Your Heart”, “Andy Warhol”), with folk rock (“Eight Line Poem”, “Quicksand”, “The Bewlay Brothers”, “Song For Bob Dylan”), pure glam rock (“Oh! You Pretty Things”, “Queen Bitch”), and mixtures of many genres (“Changes”, “Life On Mars?”). It also was the spring board for “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars”, which he began work on before “Hunky Dory” was even released. Here’s the track by track review.

1. Changes: 10/10. A great song that Bowie says he wrote with the cabaret in mind. It really signifies his change in musical style.
2. Oh! You Pretty Things: 10/10. Probably the most glam song on the album, this is one of Bowie’s best. I have no clue as to what it’s about though.
3. Eight Line Poem: 7/10. The most disappointing song on the album. It’s way too folk-like, which is only a problem because he tries to be Bob Dylan, and that doesn’t work out for anyone except for Mr. Dylan himself.
4. Life On Mars? : 10/10. A great piano based song that goes great with movies. Used to it’s best extent in “The Life Aquatic” (A great Wes Anderson movie where all but one of the songs are by Bowie or are covers of Bowie songs by the ship’s musician character in Portuguese).
5. Kooks: 9/10. A good example of the effects of British music hall music on Bowie. Written for his first son.
6. Quicksand: 10/10. A surprisingly good song. Is basically this album’s “Heroes”, and is almost like an anthem.
7. Fill Your Heart: 10/10. A great cover that makes use of Bowie’s dynamic vocal range. Written by Biff Rose and Paul Williams.
8. Andy Warhol: 10/10. A tribute to Andy Warhol, a famous painter and socialite. Bowie got to play this for Warhol after he became famous. Apparently Warhol didn’t approve, thinking it made fun of him (By the way, Warhol is my favorite artist)
9. Song For Bob Dylan: 10/10. A tribute to Bob Dylan, the famous poet and singer. Sounds a lot like Dylan’s own work.
10. Queen Bitch: 10/10. A tribute to the Velvet Underground, although only in musical sound. Velvets leader Lou Reed would later become good friends with Bowie.
11. The Bewlay Brothers: 10/10. Said to be an autobiography of himself, this is a Bowie classic.

This is a must have in any album collection. Five stars of five!

Sorry Robbie!

I recently wrote a review of Rolling Stone Magazine's Top Guitarists of all time list. In it, I wrote that Doors guitarist Robbie Krieger didn't belong on the list. A few days ago, I was listening to the Doors' classic debut album, when I realized that Robbie Krieger was actually REALLY good. I could play very little of the stuff he was playing. And so I must apologize to Robbie. I have changed the post to show where he belongs on the list: Much higher up.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Fear of Music: Talking Heads, 1979

This, by far, my favorite Talking Heads album. It combines the use of african music that they would use to a greater extent on "Remain In Light" (1980), and the industrial music they had used on their two previous albums, "Talking Heads: 77" (1977) and "More Songs About Buildings and Food" (1978). This is also highly regarded as one of the best albums of all time, and was given reviews of favourable to highly favourable by Rolling Stone magazine, The New York Times, and The Los Angeles Times. It was given a 9/10 review by Spin magazine, an A minus by The Village Voice, and was given 4 and 1/2 stars by Allmusic magazine. It was produced by the master himself, Brian Eno. Here's the track by track review.
1. I Zimbra: 10/10. This a good opener using a highly african rythm. Features Robert Fripp on guitar, and Ari (Don't know who that is) and Gene Wilder (Yes, it's THE Gene Wilder, AKA Willy Wonka from the first Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie, the Waco Kid from "Blazing Saddles", and Dr. Frederick Frankenstein in "Young Frankenstein") on congas.
2. Mind: 10/10. A great song about how "I need something to change your mind". Play it loud in your car.
3. Paper: 10/10. This one apparently compares paper to love. I would have never guessed that. One of my favorite songs by the Talking Heads.
4. Cities: 20/10. This is probably my favorite Talking Heads song. Great guitar parts, awesome treatments by Eno. Absolutely essential.
5. Life During Wartime: 10/10. A really good song with a disco influenced beat. Gene Wilder on conags again.
6. Memories Can't Wait: 10/10. Another one of my all time favorites. I love the chorus, and I have been trying for ages to learn to play this.
7. Air: 10/10. A great example of the Talking Heads' sonwriting: It's about a world where air is toxic. I wonder where they got that song idea from...
8. Heaven: 10/10. The first Talking Heads song I ever heard, and the first I learned to play. I love the guitar.
9. Anmials: 10/10. Complains about animals. "They're never there when you need them"
10. Electric Guitar: 10/10. Another all time favorite. Seems to be about a world where the guitar is illegal.
11. Drugs: 10/10. The paranoid thoughts of a drug addict.
You must get this. It is awesome. 10/10.

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Soft Bulletin: The Flaming Lips, 1999

This is, without a doubt, the best album of the 1990's. This is the best Flaming Lips album, and I would put this in the top 10 of the greatest albums of all time. Here's the track by track review.
The UK release included the song "Slow Motion" in place of "The Spiderbite Song", the latter appearing only on the US release. They both appeared on "The Soft Bulletin 5.1", the 5.1 surround sound remix of the album. I will review the US release, but will review "Slow Motion" at the end. Also, tracks 1, 5, & 14 are remixes by Peter Mokran. Tracks 1 & 14 also appear in their orginal form, although track 5 does not.
1. Race For The Prize (Remix): 10/10. One of the best songs of all time, and this is a cleaner, more commercial mix than the original. Great drumming.
2. A Spoonful Weighs a Ton: 10/10. A little sad at first, but get's a bit faster, and has a weird instrumental part that comes up sometimes, that doesn't really sound like the rest of the song.
3. The Spark That Bled: 10/10. I just listened to the whole song, because before this I had only listened to the beginning, and I thought the whole song was like that. By the time I heard the "I stood up, and I said yeah" part, I realized how great it was. By the time I got to the "From this moment on" part, it was my favorite.
4. The Spiderbite Song: 10/10. Better than I thought. After the first verse, it get's way better.
5. Buggin' (Remix): 10/10. Included in the Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me soundtrack despite not being in the movie. And I would know. I've seen that movie dozens of times. Anyway, it's a great song.
6. What Is the Light?: 10/10. A great song about...well, light.
7. The Observer: 10/10. A great instrumental that is basically "What Is the Light?" instrumentally done, with new guitars and effects.
8. Waitin' For a Superman: 10/10. The original version. Sounds a little more mono than the remix, but still is great.
9. Suddenly Everything Has Changed: 10/10. A great song with many different speeds that they play the same melody in. Great guitars.
10. The Gash: 7/10. The only bad song on here. Certain parts are really good, but the rest is weird.
11. Feeling Yourself Disintegrate: 10/10. One of my favorite Flaming Lips songs of all time. Amazingly cool voice effects.
12. Sleeping On the Roof: 10/10. A great instrumental that sounds like, well, sleeping on the roof. Sprinkler effects.
13. Race For The Prize: 10/10. The original. This shows how good the drummer, Steven Drozd, is. I believe he is the best drummer of all time. Yes, better than John Bonham.
14. Waitin' For a Superman (Remix): 10/10. A great remix of a great song.
UK Release Track 4 - Slow Motion: 10/10. This is a great song, and I like it better than some others on the US release, but it really doesn't seem to fit in with the rest because of the use of the drum machine effects. Still, it would be worth getting the 5.1 release just for this song.
This album is as close to perfect as possible. It belongs in every record collection. Get the 5.1 release. I don't own it, but I'm going to be getting it from my local library. It includes videos, interviews, and the original album (All the songs released in both the US and the UK) in 5.1 surround sound.
You must get this album.

List Review: Rolling Stone's Top 100 Artists of All Time

Okay, this is the same deal as the guitarists list. I'm only commenting on the people I know enough about.
1. The Beatles - Definitely. No question about it.
2. Bob Dylan - Not sure. Top 10, but not #2.
3. Elvis Presley - No. He should be way lower. Somewhere in the 50's.
4. Rolling Stones - Yeah. I don't like them, but I'm sure they deserve to be here.
5. Chuck Berry - Yes. He basically invented the rock and roll style.
6. Jimi Hendrix - Best guitarist of all time. Yes.
8. Little Richard - Yes.
10. Ray Charles - Yes.
11. Bob Marley - Yes.
12. The Beach Boys - I'm not sure. If they hadn't made "Pet Sounds", they wouldn't be on this list at all. Mid 20's.
14. Led Zeppelin - Yes.
17. Muddy Waters - Yes.
19. The Velvet Underground - Much higher. Top 10. Basically every one of their songs inspired a sub-genre, and they basically started punk, noise, and alternative rock, and every sub-genre to come off of those 3.
22. U2 - Yes.
26. The Ramones - Higher. They were most likely the first punk band, and if not, the first punk band to make punk well known.
27. Nirvana - Rolling Stone loves Nirvana. They are extremely overrated, and only because Kurt Cobain killed himself. Even if Cobain was still alive, he probably would refuse to be on this list, and would probably put either the Meat Puppets, The Raincoats, or The Vaselines, or some other random indie band. I can't choose one of those, because I only listen to the Meat Puppets.
29. The Who - Higher.
30. The Clash - Higher.
38. John Lennon - I'm not quite sure. I would certainly put Paul McCartney's solo stuff before Lennon's.
39. David Bowie - Are you kidding? #2 without a doubt.
40. Simon and Garfunkel - Yes.
41. The Doors - Top 30.
43. Sly and the Family Stone - Yes.
44. Public Enemy - Not sure. My cousin thinks they're great, and he likes rock. I'll go with them being in the 70's or 80's.
47. Patti Smith - Higher. Helped inspire the british punk scene.
53. Eric Clapton - Switch him with Cream. Clapton had a wildly inconsistent solo career, in which half of his stuff was crap and the other half was sheer brilliance, and Cream was awesome all the time.
57. Aerosmith - Yes.
58. Sex Pistols - Higher. Extremely influential, and really good as a band.
63. Phil Spector - No. He's known for producing. I know he was in some band in the 50's, but no.
64. The Kinks - Yes.
66. Cream - As I said, switch with Clapton solo.
70. The Police - Higher. Great Reggae-Punk fusion.
71. Frank Zappa - Higher. Nobody realizes how great he was. Make it Frank Zappa/ Mothers of Invention, though.
72. AC/DC - Yes, although they were horrible after "For Those About To Rock We Salute You".
78. The Stooges - So much higher. So influential. So awesome. So crazy.
80. Elvis Costello - Higher. A great songwriter.
85. Black Sabbath - Yes.
88. Miles Davis - Yes. The only jazz guy on here, though. Where's John Coltrane?!
89. The Yardbirds - Yes.
90. Carlos Santana - Yes.
92. Guns n Roses - No. I hate this band. Nothing they did was good. Not even "Welcome To the Jungle".
98. Roxy Music - Higher. Inspired most punk bands. Great avant-rock.
100. Lee 'Scratch' Perry - Higher. I don't listen to him, but I know his legacy.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Comparison: "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" and "We're Only In It For the Money"

These are two very similar albums, yet are extremely different. In 1966, the Mothers of Invention recorded "Freak Out!", a satirical look at the american culture. It apparently inspired The Beatles' classic "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", an album that is regarded by some, most prominently Rolling Stone magazine, to be the best album of all time. That album in turn inspired the Mothers of Invention's third album, "We're Only In It For the Money", a direct spoof of "Sgt. Pepper". While The Beatles were into peace and the hippie movement, The Mothers made fun of the entire movement with heavily satirical songs like "Who Needs the Peace Corps?", "Absolutely Free", "Flower Punk", and "Let's Make the Water Turn Black". All of the cover art for "We're Only In It For the Money" was parodied off of the "Sgt. Pepper" artwork. In short, I will say "Sgt. Pepper" gets the upper hand, although both are great albums.

List Review: Top 100 Guitarists of all time

This is a highly contreversial list. Here's my opinion of whether or not the people belong there, although I only put the people I know how good or bad they are, so it skips people a bit.
1Jimi Hendrix: Yes
2 Duane Allman: Yes.
3 B.B. King: Yes.
4 Eric Clapton: Yes.
5 Robert Johnson: No.
9 Jimmy Page: Yes
10 Keith Richards: Yes.
12 Kurt Cobain: No way. He is no where near good enough to even be on this list.
13 Jerry Garcia: Yes
14 Jeff Beck: Yes .
15 Carlos Santana: Yes
16 Johnny Ramone: Yes. It's extremely hard to play all downstrokes (No strumming). If you try to play Ramones songs right, your hand hurts in about 30 seconds even if you have experience.
17 Jack White: Much lower.
21 George Harrison: Higher.
24 The Edge: Yes
25 Freddy King: Yes
27 Mark Knopfler: Higher.
29 Ron Asheton: Higher.
33 & 34 Lee Ranaldo, Thurston Moore: Yes to both.
37 Bo Diddley: Yes.
38 Peter Green: Yes
39 Brian May: Yes.
40 John Fogerty: Yes
42 Robert Fripp: Top 5. He is amazing.
45 Frank Zappa: Should be top 15.
46 Les Paul: A little higher.
48 Joe Perry: Yes.
50 Pete Townshend: A little higher.
52 Lou Reed: I'm not sure. The only really good guitar song I have by him is "The Blue Mask", but I've heard about an insane solo by him on the only Velvet Underground album I don't have.
56 Tom Verlaine: Should be way higher.
58 Dickey Betts: Yes.
64 Mick Ronson: Should be way higher.
70 Eddie Van Halen: Yes.
80 Robert Quine: Higher.
82 David Gilmour: Higher.
88 Dave Davies: Yes.
91 Robby Krieger: I Used to think he was average. He's really good. Higher.
92 & 93 Fred "Sonic" Smith, Wayne Kramer: Yes.
96 Angus Young: Higher.
99 Greg Ginn: He deserves better than this. Just because he was in a independent hardcore band doesn't mean he isn't good. Higher.
That's my review. If you don't like it, that's just too bad.

H to He, Who Am the Only One: Van Der Graaf Generator, 1970

This probably the best of the many virtually unknown art rock/ progressive rock albums of the seventies. Van Der Graaf Generator can be mostly compared to King Crimson (Robert Fripp guested on a few Van Der Graaf Generator albums), as both bands used woodwinds and organs more than most other bands of that time. This is a great album, and sums up the style of this band. Here's the track by track review.

1. Killer: 10/10. A killer track (Bad pun). Makes good use of singer Peter Hamill's dynamic vocal range.
2. House With No Door: 8/10. A good piano-driven song featuring great drumming and a cool melodic bass line.
3. The Emperor In His War Room: 10/10. The best song on the album. It features two parts, "The Emperor" and "The Room". Features Robert Fripp on guitar with an awesome solo.
4. Lost: 10/10. Also features two parts, "The Dance In Sand and Sea" and "The Dance In the Frost". A very good track. The beginning sounds like Gustav Holst's suite "The Planets".
5. Pioneers Over C. : 9/10. A very good song. The title refers to the speed of light.
Overall a very good album. Highly reccomended.

Band Bio: Roxy Music

Roxy Music was formed in 1971 by Bryan Ferry (Lead Vocals, Keyboards), Andy MacKay (Oboe, Saxaphone), Phil Manzanera (Guitar), and Paul Thompson (Drums, Percussion), and Brian Eno (Synthesizer, Electronic Treatments). In 1970, Bryan Ferry auditioned for lead singer for King Crimson, but leader Robert Fripp decided that Ferry would not fit the band's sound. He was still impressed by Ferry, so when Roxy Music began, King Crimson helped get them a record contract. Ferry put out advertisements for a keyboard player to work with him and bassist Graham Simpson (Roxy Music changed bassists frequently, and after Simpson quit, they would never have a permanent bassist), and MacKay responded, despite not being a keyboard player. He joined, and invited friend Brian Eno to join as a "Technical Adviser", as he could use a synthesizer, although Eno was a self-described non-musician. Their original guitarist was David O'List, but when O'List quit, they discovered that roadie Phil Manzanera, who had previously auditioned, would be a better guitarist than O'List would have been.
They released their self titled debut in 1972. It was an instant hit, reaching #10 in the UK charts. They soon released a non-LP single, "Virginia Plain", which reached #4 in the UK singles chart. In 1973, they released "For Your Pleasure". It was an even bigger hit than "Roxy Music", reaching #4 on the UK album charts, with a non-album single "Pyjamarama", reaching #10 on the UK singles charts. Soon after this, Eno left the band due to differences with Bryan Ferry. He would soon have an amazing solo career, and would produce albums by Devo, Talking Heads, U2, and, most recently, Coldplay (More on Eno later). To me, Roxy Music never really recovered. Although "Stranded" (1973), and "Country Life" (1974), were very good albums, they suffered from the loss of Eno's treatments. They finally recovered with "Siren" (1975), but afterwards broke up. They reunited in 1978 to record "Manifesto", but with some new members. It was not critically well-recieved. As Rolling Stone magazine put it, "Roxy Music has not gone disco. Roxy Music has not gone particularly anywhere else either." , and had similar thoughts for the following album, "Flesh + Blood", saying it was "Such a shockingly bad Roxy Music Record that it provokes a certain fascination". But, in 1982, they released "Avalon", which restored both their critical and commercial success. Sadly, they broke up once again afterwards, and would stay that way until 2001, when they reunited for a comeback tour (Albeit without Brian Eno). They have been touring ever since, and there have been rumours of a new album WITH Brian Eno, although Ferry says that it will be just another of his solo records, although he did confirm that Brian Eno does play on most of the tracks. Yay!

Song: "A" Bomb In Wardour Street

This is the first Jam song I ever heard, and is still probably my favorite. It's about the increasing amount of violence in London, and is Paul Weller's best protest song from that period. It is from the 1978 album "All Mod Cons", and features an intricate drum part that includes cowbell, ride cymbal, bass drum, and snare, showing the high skill level of their drummer. It also features one of Weller's best guitar solos, showing how underrated Weller is as a guitarist. This is an essential track, not just for fans of The Jam, but for fans of Punk and Mod music. 10/10.

The Stooges: The Stooges, 1969

This could be the first punk album of all time, and if not, directly influenced just about every punk band to follow. Released in 1969 by Elektra records, it peaked at 106 on the US Billboard charts. This has been cited as a direct influence to The Ramones and The Sex Pistols, and those are just two that I can remember the names of. Here's the track by track.
1. 1969: 10/10. Iggy doesn't care that it's 1969. Another year for him and someone else with nothing to do. This is the most basic Stooges track, but is still awesome. Best wah wah ever. I bought a wah wah pedal just to play this song.
2. I Wanna Be Your Dog: 10/10. Another typical Stooges track. Still is absolutely awesome. Listen to the one note piano line by producer John Cale.
3. We Will Fall: 8/10. This is a weird dirge. 10 minutes of "Oh gi ran ja... ran ja ja ran...", with strange vocals over it. It's still a good song, but not the best. Quoted by Sonic Youth in the beginning of "Teen Age Riot".
This would be the beginning of side two on the record, but all of these reviews are of albums on compact disc. Yes, I know what a record is. I have a record player in my room that I asked for for christmas a couple years ago, and I have probably 50 records I've collected myself.
4. No Fun: 10/10. The quintessential Stooges song. Covered by the Sex Pistols and numerous others. A cool quitar line. Ron Asheton was one of the best guitarists of all time. Listen to his improvised solos in almost every song the Stooges did.
5. Real Cool Time: 10/10. A great hidden gem. Deserves to be as well known as "No Fun". One of the best wah wah songs on the album. One of my personal favorites.
6. Ann: 8/10. A weird slow song. It's still not great.
7. Not Right: 10/10. One of my other favorite songs. Cool shuffling beat. The solo is awesome.
8. Little Doll: 10/10. The only slow song that really comes through. Another favorite of mine.
This album is an epic milestone in music. Extremely essential. Five stars of five.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Band Bio: The Sex Pistols

This is one of the most notourious bands of all time, although they are much better than anybody thinks. They released four singles, and one studio album before they broke up. They were active from 1975 to 1978, and originally comprised of John Lydon (AKA Johnny Rotten), Glen Matlock, Steve Jones, and Paul Cook. Strangely, despite the press that they were horrible. In early 1977, Matlock was replaced by John Beverly (AKA Sid Vicious). Sadly, he couldn't play the bass at all (I can proudly say I am most likely a better bass player than he ever was; and I'm younger than him), and Steve Jones played bass on all of their studio tracks. After releasing the amazing "Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols", they played an american tour. At the end of their show at the San Fransisco Winterland, as an encore, they played "No Fun", by the Stooges. At the end of the song, Lydon laughed and said "Ever feel like you've been cheated? Good Night." That turned out to be the last show for the Sex Pistols, as they left Lydon in the hotel as they flew back to England. Lydon eventually got back to London, formed Public Image Ltd. , and became an avant garde legend, as well as a punk legend. Sid Vicious soon died, and Jones and Cook flew to South America to find a singer they knew of, Ronnie Biggs. They also released an album called "The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle", the soundtrack to their movie. They reunited in 2007 to play a few shows and festivals, documented on "They're Always Be an England".

Song: 21st Century Schizoid Man

This is the first track on the first album by british art rock band King Crimson. From their 1969 debut " In the Court of the Crimson King", this song features heavily layered vocals from singer Greg Lake, and a layered guitar part by guitar master Robert Fripp. That part ends at about 2 minutes into it, and they start a part called "Mirrors", a jazzy instrumental with an amazing guitar solo by Fripp. This continues until 5:41 into it, when it returns to the original part. This is a legendary track, as is the rest of the album.
Five stars out of five!

Comparison: "Peter Gabriel" (AKA "Melt") to "Scary Monsters"

These are two very similar albums. Peter Gabriel's third album, again untitled, featured a melting face on the cover, hence the nickname "Melt", which hinted at the fact that he was changeing his music. Bowie's "Scary Monsters", also showed how his music had changed. Both albums peaked at #1 in the UK charts, with similar sucess in the US charts (Scary Monsters peaked at #12 in the US charts, with "Melt" peaking at #22). Both also featured hit singles (Bowie's "Ashes to Ashes" peaked at #1 in the UK, as did Gabriel's "Games Without Frontiers"), and other instant classics ("Fashion", by Bowie, a top five single, and Gabriel's "Biko", a top 40 hit). While Gabriel began to use more African music, while Bowie started to use a sound like the New Wave and New Romantics movements.
These are two classic albums. Five stars for each.

Station to Station: David Bowie, 1976

This is, without a doubt, the best Bowie album. Apparently he was on so much cocaine he doesn't remember the album. Nevertheless, this album takes the funk and groove of "Young Americans", and pairs it with the experimentation he would do on "Low", "Heroes", and "Lodger" with Brian Eno. Here's a track by track look.
1. Station to Station: 10/10. An amazing medley of styles, this track is one of Bowie's top ten best.
2. Golden Years: 10/10. The most "Young Americans"-like track on the album, this was the hit single (#10). Got him on the TV show "Soul Train", one of the few people to be on the show that wasn't african-american.
3. Word On a Wing: 9/10. Almost a hymn, this is the weakest track on the album, and still is stronger than many others.
4. TVC 15. 20/10. Yes, 20 out of 10. This is probably the best Bowie song. Based on a dream his pal Iggy (Yes, Iggy Pop. Bowie saved his career, and they became best friends) had where his girlfriend was eaten by a TV set. I wish it was longer...
5. Stay: 10/10. A great rocker. Great to play on the guitar. There's an awesome verison on the live album "Stage".
6. Wild Is the Wind: 10/10. An amazing cover of a song by Dimitri Tomkin and Ned Washington. Originally recorded by Johnny Mathis, and covered by Nina Simone, with the latter inspiring Bowie to do a cover.
This album could not get any better. I cannot wait for the Deluxe Edition remix, due out late 2010. Five discs, and a 5.1 stereo remix. That might make this album better. Maybe.