Sunday, April 16, 2017

Done with Mirrors - Aerosmith

Today I decided to review an album that I... I don't know, why the fuck not do this. It's not painful to listen to and I quite enjoy some tunes on it, even if they aren't top notch. This is the eighth studio album released the Bad Boys from Boston themselves, Aerosmith. Yes, it is not one of my favorites. I still like it, regardless. This is both the first album after Joe Perry and Brad Whitford rejoined the band, leaving in 1979 and 1982 respectively, and first to be released on Geffen. While they were away Joe formed Joe Perry Project and released 3 albums from 1980-1982. Brad also started a band with Derek St. Holmes, singer for Ted Nugent, called Whitford/St. Holmes. I don't know if it was a group or just a collaborative album. I do know it was released in 1982, and its follow up in 2016. That being said, it has been some 5 or 6 years (1979), since these guys all played on the same album together. So I kind of look at this as a test to see if the magic was still there.
  1. Let The Music Do The Talking: This is a reworking of a songs that was the title track of the 1980 debut album of Joe Perry's solo project the Joe Perry Project. It has some different lyrics, a fact I have only ever read and not noticed. What's more noticeable is the faster tempo, kind of. That and the much more Aerosmith feelinjg to the song, which isn't solely because Steven is singing it. There is a this sort of the classic era vibe, mixed with shapes of the Geffen era to come. Well even though technically started with this album.... I mean more the good stuff from the 13 year period (85-98). This is a solid hard rock number, that while not the greatest tune, it isn't half bad. It does remind me of Draw the Line, which is actually quoted in the solo, but not nearly as good. Well maybe not as memorable as the classics would be a better way to put it. It's fun and a great way to show they're back and start the album off. 
  2. My Fist Your Face: That's for sure! This song is not too bad. It's memorable in that I know the chorus and the hook to the song. I mean maybe I listened to it more then I thought back in 8th grade, but I recognize this. The song itself though doesn't hold up. I mean I was never heads over heals, but it could easily be forgotten if I hadn't heard it and it want ingrained in me. I guess the worst part is it's kind of generic. It also kind of reminds me of Pump. 
  3. Shame on You: This is another tune, while I know it by heart and can recall what happens I can't say I love it. I enjoy it, but outside of occasion refreshers I can't say I like it. I like the riff there is some punch to it. 
  4. The Reason a Dog: "Has so many friends, is he was his tail instead if his tongue". Ouch, the song itself isn't anything special. Very bare with some arpeggios and sounds like a rehearsal or them playing it the first time before its done. Joey was right about this sound like it wasn't finished. 
  5. Shela: I like the drums on this and the guitar tone and riff, quite tasty. I like the replication of a siren with the lead in the intro. This song feels like, outside of mixing, it was done. This song isn't too bad and has a lot of nice parts. But the vocals aren't really anything that mind blowing, to me at least. 
  6. Gypsy Boots: The guitar in the beginning puts me off a bit, but I like the song itself. Its kind of fun and has a nice vocal harmony that harkens back to Toys title track or Bright Light Fright. Actually this sounds like an 80s redux of Toys in the Attic. But the head is so bland and kills the songs momentum. Doesn't murder, but halts the song. Also great solo honestly, but this "head". Are you fucking me? The solo reminds me a little of Last Child
  7. She's on Fire: There is some nice acoustic electric guitar in this tune in the beginning. This remind me of a later song but I can't think of it at the moment. This is another passible song. Nothing really mind blowing but you'll remember the chorus. The rest is kind of filler to be honest. Also there are timing and synchronization errors. And there isn't any thing wrong with my Cd because there aren't any scratches. I like the bass that thunders in the track. Nice solo, but the rest of the song takes away from my enjoyment of it. 
  8. The Hop: I really dig the drums and the dance feeling to this. Its another fun song that just needed a bit more care. Like I feel like this would be a song that was recorded during the Get Back sessions. Which this kind of could be compared to kind of.  
  9. Darkness: This is a bonus track that is exclusively on the CD version of the album. At first I didn't like this song, but then when I heard this in it's entirety, a few times, it hit me. This is one sick fucking song. I really like the band stand vibe. We also get an 80s piano ballad to end the album. Its a very welcome change of pace. I like the Duke Ellington vibe I'm getting from Steven's phrasing at parts. Reminicent of Take the A Train. I also live the tempo change and how the song actually feels urgent and flows. This could also be compared in feeling to Round and Round. This is a bit of a chaos to it but its welcome. Even if the lyrics are kind if cliche. The solo works but not mind blowing. 
Overall I have to give this a 6/10. First off, this is most definitely not one of their best albums. But one thing I love about these songs are that I still, after not hearing one of the songs for at least probably like a good year some even more, I know the choruses to almost every song and know the melody. There is also this weird sort of atmosphere to the songs. Not off putting but it feels almost like there's air. Maybe it was done digitally. I mean I enjoy this over all more than my overall experience with some of the later albums, now at least. Look at it as a transition from the band they were, to the band they would become. Not to say Pump or Permanent Vacation are bad albums, but post 89 isn't very positive in my opinion. Also I want to say I think this was important for the mere fact it was raw, like they used to make, and I guess they realized they couldn't do it anymore. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Ride the Lightning - Metallica

So I have been listening to so much Jazz lately I lost track of reviews. So I decided to pick this album because I know it quite well, and while I doubt I will have any new insight, I still wanna do it. Okay now back to the review, or into rather. A growing trend in media seems to be revamping old ideas for today's sound. Like classical music, but it's rock and is supposed to "kicks ass". Or let's revisit out 80's albums and make a new album, but with new production. Which in all fairness, sometimes you need to go back to move forward (and some people have pulled it off). Rejuvenate that love or passion you once had, and then take the drive and continue forward. So they follow the album up with a fresh sort of breathe of air. It might have been off putting at first, but there are glimpses of something nice and interesting for a thrash band to do in decade 3. Then for whatever reason they take 5 years to follow that up, but the final product just seems to take ideas from elsewhere and their 90's albums. Hardwired is not a good album, it's not terrible and I do not see it being impossible for someone to enjoy the album. I have lightened up on it, but that's because I also haven't listened to it and only remember being disappointed. The only thing is that it can never amount to their 80's out put or even their 90's. Why? Well what happens when you run out of ideas? You either go back and look at old ideas and renew them, or you push ahead and try new things and do things you never thought possible. Fuck if they put out an EDM album, it'd probably suck, but at least they weren't back tracking. So in honor of that disappointment I felt I needed to review my favorite album by the group. This is the second album by Metallica. This is also my favorite album by them. This album kicks ass. Now this album is also somewhat historical. Yes, Dave Mustaine co-wrote four of the songs on Kill 'Em All, including the first four bars of each solo. But here this is where the writing is better than on the prior album, and also you got some of the best songs Metallica ever made.
  1. Fight Fire With Fire: Opening is a great, really kicking off the start of a more focused album. I imagine it surprised some fans of the band to hear acoustic guitars opening up the record. I mean I could imagine me going what the fuck, if I want already exposed to their later stuff. Okay the drums do bother me a little bit, but the song is still freaking great and has a fucking awesome hook. The song is angry and has this energy to it that makes me wanna headbang, in usually opposed to that because I feel dumb. But this is an exception. The solo is not that memorable, well parts are, but it isn't as memorable. That is until the dual leads that are harmonized I wanna say a third or fifth apart. I could double check but I wanna be fast. I think that is the best part of the solo to be honest. And there is a great punch that comes with this song and shows that even though the opened different it still fucking rocks. 
  2. Ride the Lightning: I think that this is kind of cool. People thought this was about the horror of Capital Punishment. But James later said he supports it, and this song is about a man who faces it for a crime he didn't commit. That gives the song a story, and an interesting one. This song also paints a picture with its words and the music even has this sort of lightning bolt feeling. The fast guitar chords, the cymbal hits and even the sort of clouding up the mix a bit. and the sort of thunderous clouds that I could almost see this being (if it was an instrumental) a tone poem about a thunder storm. The guitar solo is so fucking sharp and it could be ear piercing but sounds so fucking good and is very memorable. I also love how the song has a bit of a change with the solo and then it starts up with a dual guitar thing. So freaking good. Also I think Lars drumming actually fits this songs tone and theme quite well. Also how can you not love that opening riff.
  3. For Whom the Bell Tolls: Again another nice touch having those bells in the beginning. The bass is the lead on this in the intro and the guitars power chords sounds like thunder clouds. The track really is constructed extremely well and the guitar makes you feel l your going to trudge into battle. I figure the walking pace of the drums helps that quite a bit, but again musically another stellar song. Even the lyrics and the delivery feel like its people chanting about to go to battle. Revisiting this album I wonder if Cliff was the real brains or at least creative force of the band. Well either him or Dave. This again is a very memorable solo and song in general. I love the ending and they basically do the break down of Raining Blood two years before it came out. 
  4. Fade to Black: A very nice change of pace, very sad and depressing. The song is about suicide and musically and lyrically I feel its handled quite well. Lyrically its not a master piece, but it isn't as shallow or corny as it could be. There is a real grit to the tune. I mean look at some of th later post-Black Album lyrics... Odd they'd go down that road and wouldn't progressively become better lyricists. Unless.... No, they couldn't have phoned them in on newer albums. I also want to point out on the CD this works perfectly from the last track. Also as if the soldier wants to die bow that the battle is over, for some reason or another. Like a pseudo-protoOne. This really is a gorgeous song and really evokes sadness, misery and just finality. The second half of the song, is a great change and I mean it isn't that shocking of a change but it is like a "beat change". The first half is the sorrow, and the second half is the follow though. This really is a great moody tune, as I've said now I don't know how many times, but I really have yet to grow tired of this or any tune on this album honestly. And that solo, the only thing I wish is it was turned up a tad, but other than that I mean it works.
  5. Trapped Under Ice: Based on a demo from Kirk's days with Exodus this song Impaler. Note: this demo was later released, rerecorded, on Exodus' 2004 album Tempo of the Damned. I honestly don't think this would sound out of place on Kill Em All. It's very fast and probably the best example of speed metal here. I mean not to say the songs aren't fast, but this is like a shot of adrenaline, and a much appreciated one. This song is really solid and has some great moments, but the fact that it is a bit faster than the others is a nice contrast to the slowest/"lightest" song on the album, the previous cut. Plus it kind of is a return to the charm of the last album.
  6. Escape: This is the only tune I can never remember. Honestly I just can't ever remember it, hence me not having this a "bold" track. I mean I can remember all the others why can't I remember this. And to be honest, other than it could easily be transformed into a sludge metal/groove metal tune, there isn't much here for me. I mean yeah when I hear the chorus I remember it, but it doesn't stick with me. Sadly this is the weakest cut here. But I'd prefer one weaker cut to more or less an entire albums worth. There is some nice moments, but this feels like I don't jive with it. Honestly I'm having trouble retaining anything other than the chorus, but even that I doubt I'll remember.
  7. Creeping Death: Another killer fucking tune, and possibly the best of the album. Well with the exception of maybe the closer. Written about the plagues of Egypt and Kirk co-writing the lyrics, this really is a heavy hitter. This is a song that I think even now, on newer live albums/releases, it'd be hard for even this band to fuck up. This also returns to the sort of thunderous thrashing that was earlier on the album. Great solo harmonies and this really is a great cut. I also like the change that makes it more chaotic, and yes you've basically hear this earlier on the album, it's nothing new, but it works very well here. The chant makes it seem all the more evil. Which is odd, I was always taught the Egyptians were the bad guys in that scenario. I guess it comes down to perspective, of which if you think sort of a subversion of Christianity, like what God doing is "evil" or whatever, check out Wormwood by The Residents. They got some odd stories that actually are in the bible. Judas Saves is my favorite in terms of thinking. Regardless great tune as a penultimate track.
  8. Call of Ktulu: This track was originally titled When Hell Freezes Over and was co-written by Mustaine. Mustaine later released When, a reworking I believe if I remember correctly, in 2001 with Megadeth. This is another track I can't imagine them fucking up, like really it's handed to you on a platter almost just don't fuck with it. The electric guitar arpeggios are reminiscent of what would come on the future albums and, to a lesser extent, Fade to Black. The really great thing about this is this track builds in a fucking phenomenal manner that is just a bit baffling to me. This so fucking kicks the shit out of Pulling Teeth, Orion and definitely Suicide & Redemption. This is really just a great tune that while you can argue nothing much happens, it keeps your focus for all 8 minutes. That truly is a large achievement, especially for this type of song. There isn't really anything new happening here that hasn't happened on other tracks throughout the album. It's almost like a sort of overture, but at the ending, and instead of featuring the themes it just takes that elements instead of exact notes. Killer ending.
Overall I have to give this a 9/10. Don't get me wrong, thematically the lyrics on these Metallica albums are awesome and inspiration to write better lyrics/stories. But I don't think they are the best thing ever. Now I think this is the best album by the group easily, but its not perfect. Its so fucking close, but not quite there. It's heavy, memorable, and definitely worth a listen. Also as a side note, let's hope that in 2031 they release the follow up to Lulu and not a St. Anger II in 2023. But according to past behavior (1988/2008, 1996/2016, 2003/2023?).

Monday, March 6, 2017

Can't Stop the Music - Village People

It's March, and I have been doing this now for 3 months, so let's keep up the steam and keep on going with this classic. When you find out the history of this record, its very funny that this is what its titled. This is the sixth studio release, if you include the Sleazy half of Live and Sleazy. This is a soundtrack to the movie of the same name, titled after the production company Can't Stop Productions. This movie is, how can I put it, ridiculous. This is also the first record not to feature original lead singer Victor Willis. Though he did write the words to Milkshake, Magic Night and obviously the previously released YMCA.
  1. Can't Stop The Music: The first track, which also happens to be the title track and the last in the movie (big finale). The biggest problem is this song is too long in the movie, and while is catchy, it goes a little too long. As catchy as In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida is the middle percussion solo goes a little too long, nothing really happens. This is much of the same..... In the film at least.  It wasn't until I heard the full version on its own that I really "got it". Then I realized, this song is actually not half bad. It's kind of good, which is odd, but it's good. Like I can't listen to the album 3 minute edit, I need all 7 minutes of it baby. Really it's much like hearing an edited version of Love to Love You, Supernature or any extended cut that you really need all 10+ minutes of. The song is very tastefully arranged, has some great vocals and is one of the best disco songs I have heard. It's very fun, even though I can sing In the Navy in the beginning, and you can dance to it. Wasn't that the purpose of disco? Besides appealing to Gay men. The bass on the song also tops what most rock bands could ever dream of playing. It's just I wish there was more variation. Not to say there isn't, but if I'm not in the mood the longer instrumental part can be a bit grating. It was for the review, but literally ever over time I listen and dance in the car it goes by so fucking fast. Maybe it's because I have to sit and listen and can't move you know. Fighting the natural order of the song. But at the end of the day I feel like an injustice was done, it's like an edited version of a song [on the album]. This isn't Let's Go Crazy, we need the whole thing. Plus it doesn't kill the momentum of the song having the whole thing either.
  2. Samantha by David London: With an introduction that reminds me of My Sharona, and a glam rock inspired by a Rocky Horror, this song isn't anything to rave about. Well maybe more along the lines of a chorus off the more popular Styx songs. It makes me smile a bit because of that, but they did it better than David London. This song is pretty easy to take, but as easy as it is to hear it is to forget. Like I forgot about it in between listens.
  3. Give Me A Break by The Ritchie Family: This tune isn't half bad, but there is something that keeps me from loving or wanting to revisit this track. I couldn't wrap my finger around it until listen number 3 that I understood. That's when I realized it wasn't that great of a song. I mean there are better songs on the album, why does this group have to be on the album. Really it's a pretty boring song. I mean I feel like it's kind of trying to evoke other songs that I think are better. Some songs include Bad Girls, My Prerogative (I know that's from 1989) and throw in kind of generic disco sounds. The bass also reminds me at one point of Good Times. For whatever reason.
  4. Liberation: As much as I feel this should be looked at as campy and just clearly a pro-gay song, I can't help but want to chant along. It's also pretty hilarious when in context of the film, but when not its kind of a fun song. I mean it's very very very heavy handed, but I don't care. I mean this isn't I Am What I Am. Also there is some nice guitar in this song that I didn't think I'd hear in a disco tune. Tasty. I also like the dual guitars in the song. This is like a sort of good bad. Like I roll my eyes when I hear this, but I feel like there is a possibility it could be kind of good. Not like the title track, but like, it's not the worst thing I've ever heard and it's far better than the last two songs. And also has more potential.
  5. Magic Night: This is such a happy song, this is one of two songs I bet will be stuck in your head. It's funny how simple the words are, but how infectious this song truly is. It's the kind of infectious that you only get from innocence, or ignorance (on part of the performer). Who cares, it's great and makes me want to dance and got some nice four on the floor. Thought, I don't think the drums sound that good... but that could just be the MP3. I could hear someone saying it sounds sped up, and when you pay deep attention it kind of feels a bit sped up, but when you just hear it without that it doesn't. But then again I could be a bit buzzed and that's why it feels a bit sped up, at the end of the day it's fun, dance-to-able and memorable. Nice disco tune, and nice guitar licks.
  6. The Sound of the City by David London: If anything this reminds me, vocally, of Elton John. Seriously, this sounds like his vocals on Philadelphia Freedom. In fact if this was a little more orchestrated and lavish sounding I'd bet this could be Philly soul instead of disco/dance pop.  The introductions to the songs seem top be rather weak. The thing that sucks is that I remember liking this tune so much more in the context of the film instead of by it's own self. I also can't get behind the orchestra hits. It's like over use, Horrace what the fuck were you thinking. This is a disco tune, not a Bond theme. Also the tune is far too long. But really, this has too much orchestration, it doesn't really make sense to me.
  7. Milkshake: Like most of the songs in this movie, they are so stupid. This is the stupidest, but it's also by far the catchiest. It's got that same happiness in Go West, but its so stupid. If you take the corniness of the 90s kids commercials extreme, and up the anty to making milk glamorous. Also get this, not just glamorous, the exact line in the movie for what they were going for "we're going to make milk more glamorous then champagne". This plays during the commercial that attempts to do that. This also happens to be the length of at least 3 commercials, maybe 4. I don't think I can exaggerate how dumb this is. But its also one of my favorite songs on the album, and is a favorite of all time. The intro to this is so musical, the beat and vocals work great and the strings are just ON. I can't find anything wrong with this song. On its own its great, the text of the movie elevate the like-ability of it. The only down side is I wish they took the " one more time" and repeated the song again on the album. PS they don't do it once more. 
  8. Y.M.C.A.: The only real difference between this and the Crusin' version from 1978 is Ray sings this, if I'm correct. I am saying that because the vocals sound a little different. Ray does sing in a similar style as Victor, but I don't know. I really can't say anything else other than, in the film it was PG and you see a few schlongs (not counting), and its during this number. Also the girl's (1) topless too, at a part, so I guess it's even....... Kinda. Oh I also prefer the original. When I revisited it I heard more guitar in the track, but that's really the only other main difference. Also I think i hear a clavichord in this version. The charm of the original isn't really present on this version. Maybe because Ray sounds more like a homy polone than the butch that Victor was. Ray also isn't as emotional and soulful. Like this feels less energetic.
  9. I Love You to Death: This tracks sung by the Construction Worker. Now I wasn't sure if this should be highlighted or not. This is easily the most rocking song by the group I heard. It kinda of makes me think Rocky Horror meets the Flight of the Conchords' tracks Love Is Your Weapon of Choice and Demon Woman. If that sounds interesting check it out. But in the movie it sounded a little off. I couldn't figure if the vocals were off tempo, pitch or choppy or if the instrumental was one of those. It took me multiple listens to get what the hell was "off" about this track. Also, did anyone else who saw the movie think this was one of the gayest things they have ever seen. The scene, with the imaginary music video of sorts. The sort of breakdown could so be in the Rocky Horror musical. Really it would work quite well there. 
  10. Sophistication  by The Ritchie Family: This is probably the worst track in the entire movie. It's so bland, uninteresting, stereotypical disco female vocal group. It's like a bad Donna Summer's track of the time. Even though some tracks are repetitive and some are cheesy as hell, this is the least interesting and easily forgettable track here. I mean I began to tune out about 30 seconds into the singing and, the only interesting part was the woman's breasts. Seriously. 
Overall I have to give this album a 6/10. This could quite possibly be the most consistently good album released by these guys. And with that in consideration..... That kinda makes this their best record. Now when you make pop music you want a catchy song, good hook, and for it to stick with you. There is enough variety, where there isn't on past records, and futures ones also. If you watch the movie I dare you to get Milkshake, Liberation or Magic Night out of you head. It can only be done with extensive time away from it, or therapy. And still they play in your head and don't leave when you utter the titular phrases. But seriously, this record isn't half bad. And even without the other artists considered, each song by the group isn't extremely similar. They all have their distance sound and idea. There isn't nearly as much overlap musically as on Crusin', Go West, Village People and so forth. Please do me a favor and check this out if you want to just have fun. 

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Making Movies - Dire Straits

Let's see how long I can keep this up for, who know's maybe not for long but I'm glad it's been consistent weekly reviews now for almost three months. I started in December, and I think I might actually do this from now on in general. Unless I have reason to other wise, but for this year I'll continue this for as long as I can. This was waiting till January to finish, but I guess I'll do it now since I've been busy. The third album by the Dire Straits, released in just as many years. This follows the 1979 album, often looked at as a remake of the debut, Communiqué. This album was released on October 17th, 1980 with production being handled by Mark and Jimmy Iovine. I guess after hearing the song Because the Night that made Mark want to get Jimmy to produce this album. Jimmy also engineered for Bruce Springsteen on Born to Run and Darkness on the Edge of Town and also was a recording engineer on The River. He also worked with Meatloaf as a remix engineer for Bat Out of Hell. There is other albums he has worked on, though they are less important for this review, but I digress. Speaking of notable things, Roy Bittan of The E Street Band plays piano on the record. I assume it's because the Iovine thing but who knows. This title somewhat interests me, Making Movies. It makes me think it's a concept album, or each song is a sort of mini movie within a song. They'd tell a story and take you there with vivid imagery and moving music. You later find out its a lyric, but that doesn't take away from my love of that title. Some of the songs do have a cinematic feeling, so it isn't all that off I guess.
  1. Tunnel of Love: Opening the album with Roy quoting The Carousel Waltz from the Hartz/Rodgers play of the same name, minus "waltz". I can honestly say this is one of the greatest tracks I've ever heard. It was from second one of hearing to second whatever I'm on after a few dozen listens. I really dig it, plus I'll add what an opener. That quote also helps add a lot of atmosphere to the opening, and followed by piano arpeggios reminiscent of Jungleland. I mean, it makes sense, look who's fucking playing it. I also love that organ sound and the piano and organ at the same time that lead into the guitar coming in. So good! I love the guitar on this and the song has this urgency that grabs your attention, you know like a good opener does. I also love the details like the acoustic guitar and the keys/organ in the background. This song is quite fleshed out and it shows. I don't really know exactly how to describe this song other than it's very epic you feel it. I love this and am a bit disappointed I can't find more words to describe this. The quiter part of the song works great and I love how the song builds back up. I think it'd be best if you just heard yourself.
  2. Romeo and Juliet: This opens with a similar melody to that in Jungleland. Though, that works and it isn't a negative thing. The track also features the use of a resonator guitar, the type showed on the Brothers in Arms album cover, which plays the intro to the song. I think it's a fine song, has some great parts,but that intro is great. I really like the way it sounds and there is a nice little swing to the track. I also love how the song goes up and down and doesn't really seem that forces. Everything, dynamics wise, is very natural. I like those touches of acoustic guitar you can hear strumming away at quieter parts. I also love those guitar chords and I really like the piano on the track too. This is a really good track, and I can't believe I didn't like it anymore at one point. Maybe I just needed time away in order to know what I was missing. I also like the solo and how it feels a bit distant and I think it works considering this seems to be about dying love. Or love that has already died. I think it kind of just ends, but I think it's still a great tune.
  3. Skateaway: This is another epic. An epic that a person would think, well why have them all in a row. That's what I think, and the worst part for me is this is my least favorite of the epics. It's got a great music video and great lyrics. They really paint a picture of a girl rollerskating down the busy streets of NYC. Without a care in the world, its as if its describing a scene from a movie. But I don't think this song works quite as well as the last two tracks. I dig the song, the drums a great and the guitar is great and the pre-chorus works. It's just the song seems to be like the lesser of these epics. I don't really have much to say about it, it seems like it's kind of following a formula. Maybe that's why it doesn't work for me really.
  4. Expresso Love: This is where the album starts to slide down. Am I the only one who hears this, "Because the Night belongs to lovers"? I mean it changes with the chorus and pre-chorus, but like the verses with that piano remind me of Because the Night. I mean it's not a terrible song, it kind of works as an in between of Romeo and Juliet and Skateaway but again it feels like it's following a formula. Like it's there, but the click isn't exactly. So close, but no cigar. I do like the organ and think this works a lot better than some later Bruce material, but still.
  5. Hand in Hand: "heart to heart, everywhere. That you never start". This introduction reminds me of Two Out of Three Ain't Bad. The song isn't that a bad, but again it's quite forgettable. Like I can't imagine I'll be returning to this or have an urge to hear this unless I completely forget or am just revisiting that album. The song isn't a terrible song, it's just kind of bland. The chorus is fine, but again nothing ground breaking or memorable.
  6. Solid Rock: This is a pretty good track, and as the title implies its a solid rocker. I can't say much more that that if I'm being honest. I mean it's pretty straight forward, no little twists or turns or grand story being told. Just a rocker, and I mean... what else can you actually say.
  7. Les Boys: A bizarre track that I read somewhere was a cabaret track. While I see that, I think they got that from the lyric. This is a track that kinda reminds me of Make Up or Walk on the Wild Side. This tongue and cheek style track is something that sounds similar to the tongue-and-cheekness of New York Telephone Conversation or Goodnight Ladies. This track is pretty clear about what's its about. And I don't really think it's about anything. I mean he mentions the "Les Boys" and liking whips and that they are in fact gay. I mean I think the biggest flaw here is the fact that the song sounds like it starts then when it ends it starts over with almost a loop. It plays the song basically twice. I've heard songs where that isn't a bother, Oh Well Parts 1 & 2 on the album, but this just kinda takes away from it. There at least it was a section rather than a whole entire song. I guess this feels like an outtake maybe just left on. 
Overall I have to give this album a 7/10. The biggest problem is why have Romeo follow Tunnel . The album runs out of steam by the ending. Why not put Romeo in the second side at least. I like that the Les Boys has a closing vibe, though it could literally be cut in half and done just as good a job as if it wasn't. I digress, this album is pretty solid and is a step up from the last album. 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Little Dots - Frank Zappa

So Gail Zappa died, and handed the vault over to Ahmet and Diva. Since her passing in October 2015, we have gotten a total of 9 releases in the course of 12 months. Now I'm not going into the, she's evil and wanted to fuck over Frank. Why? Because it's pointless, there's no need for that. What I will go into is the fact we finally have gotten lots of albums out. One of which, Meat Light, I was hoping to see the light of day. This is official release number 108, and is sort of a sequel to Imaginary Diseases. All of these tracks were taken from the petite Wazoo tour, so Fall 1972. I'm kinda curious to see what comes if this, and I vaguely remember hearing about this before Gail passed. Like months maybe, or maybe it was around when she passed.... Who cares. I also want to say if all goes well this year I'll have like 10 Zappa reviews out, and the ten are almost completely done.
  1. Cosmik Debris: Years ago I heard a bootleg taken from around this time (Fall 1972) and it had Cosmik Debris on it. Now one of my favorite things about Frank is before and after a song is released, there often are different versions or arrangements of it. Since I had heard the version from around this time I kinda figured what it might sound like. The biggest difference is this sounds much bigger, and big band oriented and there isn't those little motifs to accompany the lyrics. It's not bad, but it's kinda stripped back a bit and not as fun. The performance is pretty solid though. The solo also works fine, but it's not the best solo I've heard for this song. But I like the tone, but that's probably because of the audio quality. It's fine.
  2. Little Dots (Part 1): Sitting at just under 11 minutes this is actually very neat. There is a weird sort of avant-garde jazz/free jazz feeling to the beginning and even the bass solo feels like it could be in the style. There feels like its more rocky than jazz but I still like what I'm hearing. Also the playing could be free improvisation but I also feel like the notes aren't crazy enough or all over the place enough to be that. There is some sort of logic to the notes. And the drums have a consistent rhythm. I love the steel drum, played by Jim Gordon, that comes in, nice touch if I'm being honest. It goes back to the bass and the bass feels like its playing something from maybe Apostrophe (maybe an early idea for the title track). Its a nice calmer feeling than the previous two. The way it sounds also remind me of the way that song sounds. A calm guitar solo comes in and its quite. Maybe its just the quality but everything sort of seems quieter. There is some okay playing and the guitar also remind me of the track before alluded to ('). Though I also wanna say Zombie Woof's solo comes too. I like the song and like that it was released. Yeah the solo goes a bit long but for the most part it ain't too bad for a sort of sketch. It kind of just sounds like jamming or them trying to re create it like. There is some horns that come in at the very ending before the track segues into the next. The horns are a bit odd but I wish that would have happened longer than the solo. 
  3. Little Dots (Part 2): This is a straight blues number. Like fucking slide guitar blues rock. This is also over 10 minutes, about 11 1/2. I do like this but I don't get why it was cut into two parts. Why not make it one track unless it was supposed to replicate the way it was to be on vinyl. This track hits pretty hard and I am passed because I'm drawing a blank on what this reminds me of. If it wasn't for the driving force of the band I'm positive I would have lost interest but the playing on guitar is pretty consistent for this long of a solo. The the only other solo on record that is this consistent for this long maybe something off Joe's Garage. I like the horns then getting time to shine and love the wah on the guitar. It sounds so fucking good. Its so wet like it... Maybe I should use that analogy. But the horns are a nice touch to add a new flavor. They also have some nice soloing and sound super damp, like i think its a trumpet solo (kinda sounds, at times, like a wet fart). This track is kind of losing some of its steam at the 8 minute mark, like enough to were I kinda almost don't wanna listen any more. But the tracks almost over so trudge on. There there a riff that comes in and I like it. It isn't the greatest ever but it works as a sort of vehicle to take the track to its ending. Another solo plays over it and its for sure Frank because I know that playing, and it...... It isn't doing much here for me. So the slide was probably Tony playing.  But the track almost feels like its slowing down at one part. Like it was manually slowed down. The guitar sounds kind of terrible here its hard to make out with the other instruments and this sounds chaotic a bit but unintentionally so. Its okay I mean is skip the last solo and maybe cut the track down 3 minutes but it isn't too bad. Then of course it comes back to the word sort of Gregory Peckary "busy making them" part. 
  4. Rollo: This track includes all three sections of Rollo (Rollo, The Rollo Interior Area and Rollo Goes Out). I don't think I've ever heard all of the track before on a bootleg. I've heard the official releases and the bits played on Yellow Snow off On Stage 1 and Chicago '78 (which isn't all of it but it's a lot of it). The thing that took my by surprise was, I cant believe I never heard the lyrics to this song. Also a vocal version exists, and for whatever reason the melody made so much more sense. Like I feel like it was supposed to have words sung to it. Not taking away from other versions or usages of it, I was just like yeah I get this. It seems so weird to hear Rollo played as a bluesy number. Like I like, but its weird to wrap my head around this honestly. I didn't think I would be thrown surprises like this from the Vault anymore. Its a fun song and the story is pretty goofy. Is listen to this track and the next track for certain of any two. This also has my favorite version of the interior and I love the solo of this. Its a great vehicle for soloing. The vamp here is fucking great and the solo works very effectively. Like its out there enough to work well with what hes doing on the guitar. Even the sort of vamp change doesn't hurt anything. I love the horns coming in and I can't believe a full version of this hasn't been released sooner. This has a sort of weird thing happen I can't exactly explain before going back to the regular feeling song. It feels very 20th century to me. I really like this though. There's a lot of good shit in the song waiting for you. And this is the first track here that didn't feel a bit long.
  5. Kansas City Shuffle: I can't be the only one, but do I hear some Anything You Wanna Do in this progression. Now yeah, what you fucking stupid its a twelve bar blues progression (or something similar to that) of course it sounds similar. No like I actually hear the backing just with a different band and no vocals. And I can actually sing the song over it, so this is actually a nice little treat for me. This is also the best song on the album, and easily the most accessible. I really like the trumpet and the guitar's strumming pattern works quite well. Also killer solo, really he did a great job here. The band is working quite well together and this would be like single material. Or if this band had a live album come out, this should have been on it.
  6. 'Columbia' S.C.' (Part 1): Here we are, at the last two part song. This first half sits at just under 9 minutes (8:58) and opens with dialogue. Frank implies they make something up, so it might be improvised music. This opens very odd, there is a creeping feeling to it, and it has some nice steel drums that kind of make it even more off. This is what I would consider avant-garde jazz. It also sounds as if it's based off Rock a bye Baby, but perverted in a manner similar to Bebop Tango.... but more. I think this definitely wouldn't appeal to everyone, but I'm eating this up. It's a bit subdued, but I love it. The way the track is building and growing makes it feel like it's worth the wait. There is a section where I feel like it should be a bit louder and chaotic, but it works. I feel like I'm on a merry-go-round and I'm drunk and ready to pass out but not quite there yet. The hinge of blacking out. I also really dig that bass line, and the trumpet here reminds me of Bebop Tango. I almost wonder if this is quoting it or was a predecessor to it.... though it was performed originally around this time. It also, towards the end, reminds me of The Grand Wazoo.
  7. 'Columbia' S.C.' (Part 2): The second half sits at 16:41, the transition is quite apparent, but it isn't bad. Like you can tell this is a different section, and it feels very secret agent-y. The way it was edited has nothing to do with me knowing. I really like the guitar and I am a bit surprised he would have done something like this to be honest. Like they could be soloing over a James Bond vamp. I could see someone saying this is long, but unlike the other longer track, this kind of feels like it's paying off. This is actually a really cool track and there is some great shit that happens here, honestly one of the most exciting solos I've heard from Frank like ever. Where the fuck was this on Shut Up N Play Yer Guitar? Like This could have so easily replaced any track on any of those, with the exception of maybe Deathless Horsie, Heavy Duty Judy and Canard du Jour. And listen to those drums...... AGH! This really is worth the 16 minutes. I also like the ending quite a bit, and it's surprising he didn't do more with this band. They have some chemistry at times. I'm sure it would have even furthered if he spent more time, but then again I wouldn't have gotten the albums that follow, so... who knows.
Overall I have to give this a 8/10. While there were lower points... I gotta say this was the best album released this year by the ZTF. I wish the audio was better, but its not the end of the world, especially considering some if the shit Joe Traver's had to do to preserve/transfer the tapes. I will always be a Zappa fan, the thing is the more I listen and the more I learn about music the more I love his music. The older I get the more intelligence I gain the more I love and find humor in his lyrics. I also think if you dug ID you'll dig this. Give it a shot.

While in reality they'll never see this, I just wanted to post what I'd like to hear from the Zappa vaults. (Note: I understand things are in different stages of availability so they might not be able to recover it, but I just wanna say this). A live concert from 1966, 1967. 1969 (with Lowell George). If possible live stuff from the early pre-Mothers days. Another guitar solos album, maybe the whole Pauley Pavillion show, and the whole Auditorium Theater show on Mothers Day 1974. Another Petite Wazoo compilation and show (Bebop Tango). A concert from the 88 band, or at least an album that contains '88 versions of older songs. A concert from 82 and the July 22nd, 1984 show with Johnny Guitar Watson, George Duke, Denny, Bruce and Aynsley and Napi. Maybe a show from the Beefheart tour. I'd also be interested in more Yellow Shark material if possible. And also The Rage and The Fury album. That's all I can think of atm, but yeah stuff I think would be cool to hear.

Friday, February 10, 2017

5 Souls - Judas Priest

So I decided to break this review into two separate reviews, I originally planned to just do the deluxe version but I ended up wanting to do them separate since there is an EP of the bonus tracks. I don't really have more to add outside of the RoS album should be out soon and hopefully this once a week thing will work out I have already done an months work in advance. As in this is typed like a month before this is being posted.
  1. Snakebite: This opens with a classic 80's feeling to it. One of the slower songs along the lines of You've Got Another Thing Comin', which this isn't actually that different from in set up. That isn't a bad thing, but I just don't completely jive with this. 
  2. Tears of Blood: "Like tears of your blood, so now that your gone, embrace all that come, and die with a SMiLE". This song also opens like an 80's heavy metal cut, but the intro honestly made me laugh. There was a sort of Def Lepard feeling to it, like I could totally hear this being the rerecorded intro to Bringing on the Heartbreak. Then once the song starts it's faster and there is more agression than in the last track, but it feels like an older wearier Electric Eye. Like what Electric Eye would sound like if it was a person in it's 50's maybe. It's a solid tune if you get past that, but I just think it's okay. There is a solid solo, but honestly I can't retain a single note from it. Like Electric Eye, Living After MidnightHell Bent for Leather, You've Got Another Thing Comin', Painkiller, fuck I'd even include the section that replaces a solo in Breaking the Law there is no denying that you remember these guitar solos.They not only stick with you because they rock, there are some theory things behind it also, but point is it's very good and memorable. This sounds like a knock off of one or all of those.
  3. Creatures: This track starts and I feel a bit unsure how to feel. Like I mean I've heard this before but I don't know what to compare it to. There is quite a bit of crunch and the song is a bit off. Then the chorus comes in and I'm like Metal Gods? This is okay, but I'm pretty sure I wont remember a part of it by the end of the review. 
  4. Bring It On: This song isn't bad, but the lyrics are very cringe. The vocals also make it feel so cheesy that I can take Turbo Lover more serious. And isn't he fucking a motorcycle in that song..... Note I am aware he isn't. This is a better solo and the best thus far. This also is the most memorable that I have heard thus far, though it doesn't hold it's salt to the past solos from the bands heights. This also feels so cheesy, but I digress.
  5. Never Forget: My favorite songs is the "lame" song. Ok I'm joking, but it's the sappy ballad. Now maybe it's because I'm a sucker for a pretty ballad, but this is the best (in my eyes) song I've heard before listening to the whole entire front to back. Literally, some of my favorite songs in history are the ballads by that German group, The Hunters. Kudos if you get the joke. This really reminds me of Wind of Change for some reason, either that or The Best is Yet to Come. Maybe more the Wind of Change that was on that 2011 Comeblack album. But I could literally go on for hours about the tones and what reminds me of what, but I know I wouldn't be interested in some snobby person's review that lasts forever. But let's go back about 93 words, or so. It sucks when people, a lah The Next Day, put some of my favorite tracks as the bonus tracks (or b-sides). Like honestly, screw Just Push Play. But really, this should have been on the album, almost any song could be cut to replace this. I get maybe it's out of place, but it's far better than at least 10 of the cuts from the actual album. {7/10}
Overall I have to give this track a 5/10. As you can see if you're fan you'll love this. But if you're not hardcore then I would avoid it, because it's nothing new really. This and Redeemer of Souls feel like they were just cut to fulfill a contract, or to go shit we need to make a new album.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

For Alto - Anthony Braxton

As of late I've been listening to/downloading a lot of albums that are vinyl only/out of print/impossible to find unless your a rich mother fucker. Plus I believe, that if a collector makes more of the album then what than what the artist makes, its justified to not pay the middle man. Id rather pay $200 to the man himself, than a collector. Among these album, one of the artists is this guy. So i decided to finish this up, because fuck why not. This is one of the first records by Chicago avant/free jazz/free improvisation saxophonist and composer Anthony Braxton. How can you be so vague, and not have a specific number you ask. Well various sites have various dates ranging from 1968-1971 as the release date. Wikipedia alone has the first three years on different pages. It seems it's more likely 1970, but who knows. I know that it was recorded in February 1969 and is the second one recorded so its likely its the second album. But there is no definite proof you know. I found out about this record through one John Zorn, in a documentary he mentioned this record by name. I had to hear it, it was an influence on him. For years this record was mysterious, I couldn't find any zips/rars and I didn't want to by a vinyl I might not like. Even after I got a copy it took a year to listen to it, this is one of those "will it live up to my expectations" records. The first time I heard a note was Christmas Eve 2015. Now it only took me two fucking years to even listen to anymore or do a review of this. Also I believe that I should mention the passing of John Wetton (bassist/vocalist on such great albums as Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Here Come the Warm Jets, Return to FantasyStarless and Bible Black, Red among others I still very much so need to listen to.)
  1. Dedicated to Multi-Instrumentalist Jack Gell: Opening the record we have a 42 second long track, and it starts off well. I mean my hopes were high for this, but this opens quite promising. There are some cool things and it has a cool vibe to it. 
  2. To Composer John Cage: I like the intensity he gives this playing on the song. There are some things that remind me a bit of Ornette's playing, and also maybe Brötz. The only problem I see though is that fact this is solo saxophone and there are no overdubs and it's 72 minutes long. So far I have enjoyed and don't find problem in what I'm hearing, but I don't know if that will last the full 72 minutes. I did smile when I heard him breathing. There are some neat playing though on this cut. Plus at 9 minutes, it's a bit long.
  3. To Artist Murry dePillars: This is a bit of a nice change of pace. While yeah we get the also saxophone again, we hear him hitting the saxophone valves and it's much softer and relaxing than the last. I think this is more effective in what it's trying to do than the last cut was in trying to be punchy. I like the trills and I like the part where it gets very intense and loud to the point of over taking the track. I also am a bit impressed with how he goes back and forth so easily. I mean It might not be that impressive, but I still think it works quite well. Almost as is it's a clam person talking to a pissed off person or trying to talk him down. 
  4. To Pianist Cecil Taylor: I have to make a confession..... I am aware of Cecil. There are some solid moments on The World of Cecil Taylor, but I'm not really a fan. Yeah I mean I have only heard tracks here and there outside of that album and Jazz Composer's Orchestra but I find, when given a full front to back listen, those albums to not keep my interest. Plus I can say there exist albums that do what those two did but much better, anything Alexander van Shlippenbach or Fred Van Hove and Brötz and then for the JCO listen to The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady. But I digress, I like the introduction. Feelin' jazzy, but as the track continues I yern for more flavors outside of just saxophone, or one take alto. I mean add some tenor, baritone, bass, soprano, sopranino (I probably spelled that wrong), fuck even a bass clarinet would be a nice change of pace. This is okay, but isn't nothing more than just that.
  5. Dedicated to Ann and Peter Allen: This is pretty chill and I could see this being very effective i there was chimes or other things that add to this feeling of blowing in the wind or floating feeling. It is a weak, as in not forceful, cut and could use that. Actually I could almost imagine this being changed into having some gamelan stuff. To be fair it works as is, but it's 13 minutes long and it's atmosphere is a bit lost by the ending. I do like the clicks of the instrument as if it's like a percussive instrument, but why didn't he use that or other tricks like that more often. Like this could have been edited together or shortened to be made a bit better.
Now on to vinyl 2. Now to be fair I did have to take a break after the first side of the record. The reason being I know I would be far harsher if I didn't and I wouldn't be able to focus as easily.
  1. Dedicated to Susan Axelrod: This isn't that distant from the last track, it's just louder and more audible. I mean I like it but it again goes a bit too long. There are some interesting ideas here and there and what not, but I don't know. There is some nice fluttering but again I just kind of want this to end so I can finish the review.
  2. To My Friend Kenny McKenny: I like some of the squeaks at the beginning and they kind of make it be like, well there's 30 minutes left, let's just power though.
  3. Dedicated to Multi-Instrumentalist Leroy Jenkins: Leroy was a violinist, the most common instrument I've seen his playing for what I'm going to say, who played on a number of records with Braxton's. There is a part in the beginning that reminds me of a spy song maybe, but like the outline or rough draft. There was actually a part that reminded me of We Are Number One, and I did laugh a bit. After a while this 19 minute long track just kind of overstays its welcome. I mean there again are neat ideas, but it feels more like sketches than anything else.
Overall I have to give this a 5/10. I enjoyed this, just there is too much and not enough variety. Now I've heard some of Braxton's other work, and I've heard the different types of jazz. Now of everything I've heard of those categories, this is kind of looked at very highly and I have to disagree. The most important thing about music, unless it's breaking a rule or theoretical music (4:33), is it has to keep you entertained. It's like a movie, if you are bored while you watch its usually not very good. Now a number of things can be subjective, maybe your not into this or that, but overall you can kinda say if something is good or bad. This was just too long, too samey and didn't keep my interest. Maybe if he overdubbed or used different saxes or something, but what we have just isn't anything mind blowing to me. Maybe that's because I've heard this but done much better and much more intense and engaging. I can see how the idea of it is mind blowing to people, and still can be to this day, but I just am not fazed by it I guess.  Maybe part if the reason I gravitate towards Bailey is because he's a guitarist and I go, "Fuck How'd he do that" or originally "You can do that?". Saxophone players should listen to this, and then anything by John Zorn Pre-Spillane. Well this and really anything in the field of free and avant jazz with odd sax playing. I guess I can sum up what I said fast, if you want to have a solo instrument record this this it needs variety of to be short. Not a double albums worth. If this was a single record it would have been much more tolerable for me. If you want to hear this type of thing done right listen to Payan.