Sunday, December 26, 2010
Album: "Stay Asleep"
"Numbers" is a song about not conforming to acts of oppression, whether they be religious oppression, governmental oppression or societal oppression. It's really a middle finger to those who try to mold you into something that you're not and that you never wanted to be. A true punk rock rebellion song. The song features one of the best anti-establishment choruses in punk rock music: "Fuck your schools. Fuck your rules. Fuck you and your boundaries." Bigwig formed as a band back in 1995. If you took one cup of hardcore punk such as Black Flag and another cup of more melodic punk like fellow Jersey boys The Bouncing Souls, then sprinkled in little hints of metal, you'd wind up with a style that resembles Bigwig. The band very much stayed in the underground punk movement, never really crossing over with a great deal of success. This caused a revolving door of band members through the years, the only constant being lead singer and chief songwriter Tom Petta. In fact, Petta is the only original band member in Bigwig today. The band's most recent release was 2006's "Reclamation". Currently, the band has just cancelled a bunch of tour dates that they were supposed to play with Pennywise due to unforeseen circumstances. Their is no current news as to whether Bigwig is working on any new material for future release at this time.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Album: Live performance from MTV Spring Break
"Glycerine" is a song about a volatile relationship. It's a strange contradiction of a song in that, there is no person in the world that the vocalist feels more passionate about yet at the same time, the relationship is both physically and mentally abusive. Rather than making changes in order to keep the relationship alive, he seems reluctantly content to allow it to dissolve around him. The song really shows how true love could be so strong as to rise above everything yet so fragile that it could also come crashing down on those involved. "Glycerine" was the fourth single from Bush's debut album "Sixteen Stone" which was released in 1994. On the heels of the grunge movement, Bush would catch that wave and "Sixteen Stone" was extremely successful. "Glycerine" reached number one on the Modern Rock Tracks chart and stayed there for two weeks making it one of their most successful singles. Bush would release three more studio albums after "Sixteen Stone", all of which achieved some moderate success but nothing like their debut. After ten years of making music and touring, in 2002 Bush decided to call it quits. Lead guitarist and founding member Nigel Pulsford wanted to focus his attention and time on his family while lead singer Gavin Rossdale would do some acting as well as release some music both as a solo artist and with the band Institute. In 2010, Gavin Rossdale, along with original drummer Robin Goodridge, decided to reform Bush, albeit with a new lead guitarist and bassist. The band has played various reunion shows in 2010 and plan on releasing an album, tentatively titled "Everything Always Now", sometime in 2011.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Song: "New Tools"
This song appears to be about not conforming to those who think they have your best interests at heart. In life, there are many people trying to tug you in directions which may compromise your core values or belief system. It's important to trust yourself first and foremost when it comes to your work, your ideas, your relationships and your life. Sometimes it's hard not to get caught up in the current that is the machine. Often, it is those who go against that current that tend to achieve the most satisfaction in what they do, whether it becomes successful or not. Seaweed, from Tacoma, WA, formed as a band back in 1989. They were signed to the famous SubPop label in Seattle and were very much in the underground of the "grunge" movement. Their style, to me, is kind of like a dirty punk style, a definite mesh of punk attitude with a grungy atmosphere. Seaweed never attained the same successes as it's contemporaries, Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Mudhoney. Their biggest success was probably their cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Go Your Own Way" which was released on the soundtrack for Kevin Smith's underground hit movie "Clerks". For eleven years, 1989 to 2000, Seaweed would release records on various labels and tour extensively but they could never quite get over the hump as a successful band. In 2000, Seaweed broke up with all the members working on different projects, most of them staying in the music industry in some capacity or another. Lead singer, Aaron Stauffer fronted some notable acts as Not From Space, Gardener and The Blue Dot. In 2007, most of the original band decided to get back together and began performing live shows. The most current news from Seaweed is that they are working on a new album tentatively titled "Small Engine Repair".
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Artist: Jerry Cantrell
Album: "Degradation Trip: Volumes 1 & 2"
This song is about feeling as if your alone at sea or on an island. In a literal sense, feeling like you're a castaway. If you look at this time in Jerry Cantrell's life, especially the situations involving his band Alice In Chains, the song could possibly be autobiographical. Cantrell never wanted to embark on a solo career. His first love was always his band Alice In Chains, but due to the failing health of frontman Layne Staley, Chains was in limbo. Therefore, with great anxiety, Cantrell went on that island and tried to make it on his own, battling his own demons along the way. In the early 90's, the Seattle music scene was all the rage and Alice In Chains, along with Pearl Jam, Nirvana, and Soundgarden, were at the forefront of the "grunge" movement. With great success came even greater trappings of fame. Perhaps none of the Seattle band was more greatly impacted by the effects of drug abuse than Alice In Chains. The grip of heroin took it's toll on Layne Staley the most. By 1996, Alice In Chains was a shell of it's former self. Though they just released their self-titled album shortly before, Staley's health made it damn near impossible to tour in support of the album. With Chains basically on hiatus, Cantrell began focusing on a solo career which would spawn two albums, "Boggy Depot" and "Degradation Trip: Volumes 1 & 2". "Degradation Trip" really found Cantrell focusing on where his musical career was headed amongst the turmoil and ashes of his former band. Just before the release of the album, Cantrell and the music world had to come to grips with the tragedy of Layne Staley's death in 2002. Though everyone saw it coming, the death of Staley really hit hard. Some years later, Cantrell and the remaining members of Alice In Chains got together and played a benefit show with various lead singers filling in. The spark that was once there returned and rumors of an Alice In Chains reunion began surfacing. They recruited Comes With The Fall vocalist William DuVall and began touring with their new line-up. In 2009, the band released "Black Gives Way To Blue", their first studio album in 14 years and their first without Layne Staley. Currently, Jerry Cantrell and Alice In Chains are on tour supporting "Black Gives Way To Blue".
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Artist: 12 Stones
Album: "12 Stones"
This song is about having faith even in times of struggle and adversity. Know that in times of trouble and despair, God is watching over you and His love for you and yours of him will eventually set you free. 12 Stones is a band that at times wears it's Christian faith on it's sleeve and "Crash" is definitely one of those songs. Hailing from Louisiana, 12 Stones formed as a band in 2000. They have released three full length studio albums as well as an EP. 12 Stones probably caught their biggest break back in 2003, when lead vocalist Paul McCoy contributed vocals to Evanescene's 2003 smash hit "Bring Me To Life". This probably more than anything else started to shine a light on McCoy's own band. 12 Stones is a pretty much straight forward rock band. They often use a formula which consists of softer verses followed by a heavier, melodic chorus. Their record label, Wind-Up Records, has several bands that offer similar styles, including Creed, Finger Eleven, Evanescence and Seether. The band's most recent release occurred in 2010, an EP entitled "The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday". Currently, 12 Stones is at work on a new studio album which is slated to be released sometime in 2011.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Song: "Queen And John"
Artist: Good Riddance
Album: "Good Riddance/Kill Your Idols" Split EP
This song is basically about regret. Good Riddance is not really known for their relationship type songs, but every now and then they put one out there and "Queen And John" is one of their finest. In the song, the vocalist is definitely having regrets for the way he treated his girl in their relationship. He doesn't want it to end, but, to her, it's too late for him to change his ways and what they had is officially over. Good Riddance is a hardcore/punk band that got it's start back in 1986. They were heavily influenced by punk legends such as Black Flag and Bad Religion. The majority of their songs focus on social and political issues but as I said earlier, they were known to sprinkle in a love/relationship song here and there. GR spent their career on the famed punk label Fat Wreck Chords, adding some hardcore to a label which was dominated by skate punk bands. After more than twenty years, seven studio albums, several EPs and splits, a live album, cover album, and a rarities collection, Good Riddance decided to call it quits in 2007. A very sad moment in the punk rock world as GR was as solid a band as it gets. Thankfully, you can still get your fix of GR's vocalist, Russ Rankin, as he fronts another solid punk band called Only Crime. Currently, all the former members of Good Riddance are focusing on their new projects, the top dog being Only Crime.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Song: "Home Frome Home"
Album: "Home From Home"
This song is about how Millencolin's lead singer, Nikola Sarcevic, realized his dream the first time he picked up his bass guitar and started writing songs. It tells of how working regular jobs or going to school wasn't for him and that the place he really felt at home was when he was performing in his band. Millencolin is a punk band from Sweden that formed back in 1992. They adopted a "skate-punk" style similar to fellow 90's punk rockers such as No Use For A Name and NOFX. The high point in Millencolin's career came in 2000 with the release of "Pennybridge Pioneers". This was the band's most successful album, and i'd tend to agree, it is their finest effort to date. Millencolin kind of reminds me of a band such as The Living End. Not so much in style, but in the fact that they are much more popular internationally than they are here in the United States. If you are a fan of the band, you know that they are a solid band with a strong recording catalogue to back them up. Millencolin's latest release was "Machine 15" which dropped in 2008. Currently, lead singer and bassist Sarcevic has been focusing on his solo material, touring acoustically in support of his most recent album. As of now, there is no news as to when Millencolin is going to return to the studio to work on a new album, but the band is still very much intact.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Song: "One More Hangover Day (Warren's Song, Pt. 7)"
Album: "Novelty Forever"
This song appears to be about just wanting to seclude yourself in your dark bedroom for the day and just make the outside world go away. While whoever has ever had a hangover can understand the feeling, I don't believe this song is about an alcohol related hangover, but more a hangover from a broken heart. He just needs one more day to get over a relationship lost and to wallow in his own pain and sadness. Bracket hails from California and formed as a band back in 1992. Though the band has some punk elements, I wouldn't go all the way and consider them a straight-forward punk band. They remind me more of just a garage rock band with definite pop sensibilities. They are just as much Tom Petty as they are Green Day is what i'm getting at. For the majority of their career, Bracket was on the famed punk label, Fat Wreck Chords. They are a band that always seems to fly under the radar. They never really achieved mainstream success with their music. They're more of an indie type band that relies on it's small core fan base as well as touring with more successful acts such as Fat Wreck's NOFX and No Use For A Name. In 2005, Bracket left Fat Wreck Chords and moved to Takeover Records to record what would be their last studio album, "Requiem". While the band has not officially said that Bracket has called it quits, some members of the band have moved to different parts of the country making it harder to work together on new material. Currently, some members of Bracket have formed a quirky band called The Good Life Crisis, which features odd instruments such as ukuleles and mandolins. There is no news if Bracket will eventually work together again as of now.
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Song: "Give It Back"
This song is about a one-sided relationship. One-sided in that the guy has given all of his time, love, devotion and loyalty and the girl has done nothing but be unfaithful to him. He wants her to give back all that he has invested in the relationship but the fact is what's done is done and he will never get back what he put into it. Hoobastank formed in 1994. Though they self released some material, it wasn't until 2001 that the band released an album through a major label. When I think of what style of band Hoobastank is, the first comparisons that come to mind is how similar they are to Incubus. Their self-titled album was a success and definitely put the band on the map, but their major triumph was their follow-up album, 2003's "The Reason". The band's next couple of releases would not live up to "The Reason" both in popularity and record sales. Though the band's popularity has waned over the last few years, they are still very much intact and continue to tour and release new material. Most recently, Hoobastank have released an all acoustic album featuring some of the band's bigger hits in a stripped down form. The album is entitled "Is This The Day" and it was released in 2010. Hoobastank supported the album by performing several acoustic shows all over Japan. Currently, there is no news as to whether the band is heading back to the studio to work on a new album.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Song: "One Last Breath"
This song is about someone that knows he doesn't have much time left in this world, but he still believes he has so much left to live for. With each last breath, he still wants to atone for his past mistakes and he still yearns to have more time and do more thing with those around him who he really cares for. He will fight to hold on to these things until he breathes his final breath. Creed formed as a band back in 1994 and were at the head of the post-grunge movement. Much like a band such as Bush was criticized for being Nirvana rip-offs, Creed found the same problems with their constant comparisons to Pearl Jam. Though Creed was hugely successful, those comparisons never let them get any respect in the music industry. The connection to Pearl Jam does not end there however. Before the band began recording their third album, "Weathered", bassist Brian Marshall was fired from the band for saying some negative comments about Pearl Jam's songwriting style that the rest of the band members, especially vocalist Scott Stapp, wanted to distance themselves from, especially seeing that Pearl Jam was a huge influence to the band. Lead guitarist Mark Tremonti would handle all the bass duties on the "Weathered" album and the band would soldier on as a trio. In 2004, however, inner conflicts between Stapp and the rest of the band caused Creed to break up. Stapp would go on to release a solo album while the remaining Creed members, including fired bassist Marshall would form a new band called Alter Bridge. After a five year break, Stapp and the rest of the band worked out their differences and reformed Creed, releasing a new album, "Full Circle" and touring the globe in support of it. The Creed reunion will not be the death of Alter Bridge, according to Tremonti. Currently, while Creed is on a little break from touring and recording, Alter Bridge is touring in support of a brand new album. Scott Stapp is also keeping busy doing a solo acoustic tour. Once everyone is done working on their side projects, Creed will get back together and work on some new material for future release.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Album: "Golden State"
To me, "Superman" appears to be a song about the loss of youth and innocence and how, as a kid, solutions to problems are just so much more attainable. For instance, when you were young, you thought people like "Superman" could save the world so there was really nothing to worry about. As you grow older, your innocence becomes corrupted by sin and you begin having to deal with life's realities which cannot be cured by good luck charms and superheros. Life is a constant struggle of reinventing yourself to atone for mistakes that you have made and it's basically up to you to make those changes. "Superman" cannot make things better anymore. Bush is a post-grunge band from England that got it's start back in 1992. On the heels of the Seattle grunge explosion, bands such as Bush tried to jump on the coattails of the Nirvana's and Pearl Jam's of the world. Though they were ridiculed for being copycats of those bands, Bush did find much success in the mid to late 90's, mostly from their debut album "Sixteen Stone" which found lots of radio play and achieved very high record sales. "Superman" is a song from the band's fourth studio album, "Golden State". Though "Golden State" was the band's least successful album, I could make an argument that it is their second best album behind "Sixteen Stone". The album was a return of sorts to that raw, heavy rock sound that made "Sixteen Stone" a great album. After touring in support of "Golden State", the band would break up in 2002 due to the band members going in different directions, musically and in life. Frontman Gavin Rossdale would go on to form the short lived Institute which would only record one album and he also released a solo record that was supposed to be written as a new Bush album, but the other band members, most notably guitarist Nigel Pulsford, wanted no part of a reunion. In 2010, it was announced that Rossdale had reformed Bush. The only other original member in the new version is drummer Robin Goodridge. The band is preparing to have their first album in almost ten years released in 2011. The tentative title is "Everything Always Now".
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Song: "One In Ten"
Album: "Time Is The Distance"
This song appears to be about trying to deal with the loss of someone close to you. The vocalist is constantly trying to stay in a state of dream where the person's memory feels close and real. Reality, however, is that eventually you are going to wake up and when you do that person is still gone. The Deviates formed as a band in 1994, though they would not release their first album until 2000. Pennywise guitarist Fletcher Dragge was so impressed by the band that he would produce their first album, "My Life". The Deviates dropped their second album "Time Is The Distance" in 2001 and really appeared to be a band that was on the rise. They were a breath of fresh air as a punk band, influenced heavily by punk rock legends Pennywise and Bad Religion, even winding up on the famous Epitaph label along with those bands. As good as "Time Is The Distance" was, the band seemed to just disappear off the face of the Earth. After touring in support of the album, the state of the Deviates was a mystery. As far as I know, they never worked on any new material for a follow-up to "Time Is The Distance" and the band just seemed to fade away. It seems you can't find any information as to why the band broke up or even what the members are doing now on the internet. They have no wikipedia link, no myspace page (other than a fan tribute) and the few band bio's you find (such as on Epitaph's site) are not updated. Therefore, currently there is no new on Deviates. It's safe to assume that a once very promising punk band would leave us with two solid albums and a few rare tracks.
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Song: "Altered States"
Album: "The Science Of Things"
To me, "Altered States" appears to be about an internal struggle of various states or frames of mind. At one point you try to be hopeful that you will do the right thing and make it through life yet at the same time the feeling of being stuck in a constant rut of negativity weighs on your mind heavily. It turns out to be quite the struggle just to balance either extreme in your own head. Bush formed as a band back in 1992. Despite the constant comparisons to Nirvana, even called a Nirvana clone at times, Bush would become one of the most successful bands of the 90's. The band's debut album "Sixteen Stone" exploded the band to superstardom. Bush went on to release three more studio albums which all achieved some levels of success but never quite matched the popularity of "Sixteen Stone". In 2002, Bush would break-up due to original guitarist and co-founder, Nigel Pulsford wanting to spend more time with his family. Lead singer and guitarist Gavin Rossdale would form the band Institute in 2004 but after releasing one album, they would too disband. In 2008, Rossdale released his first solo album called "Wanderlust". This album was written by Rossdale to be a new Bush release, but he could not persuade Pulsford to reunite Bush. Currently, Rossdale along with original drummer Robin Goodridge have teamed up with a new guitarist and bassist and have reformed Bush. They plan to release an album in late 2010 early 2011 which is tentatively titled "Everything Always Now".
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Song: "Out Of My Depth"
Album: "Songs From An American Movie, Vol. 2: Good Time For A Bad Attitude"
Everclear's "Out Of My Depth" is a song about being in over your head. You get a sense that the vocalist is quite overwhelmed by his situation and finds it very hard to get out from the dark cloud that seems to be following him throughout his everyday life. The song definitely exudes quite the negative vibe. Everclear formed as a band in Portland, OR back in 1992. Lead singer and main songwriter, Art Alexakis toiled around in a few bands, most notably Colorfinger before finally creating Everclear. The band's roots stem from a mix of punk and grunge but as they became more and more successful, their style tended to shift to straight-forward rock with definite pop sensibilities. The height of Everclear's popularity would take place between the years 1995 and 2000. This five year span saw the band release three successful albums that spawned hit singles such as "Santa Monica", "Father Of Mine", "Wonderful" and "Everything To Everyone". In 2000, the band released two albums just four months apart. The "Songs From An American Movie, Vol. 1" would prove to be the last major success for the band while "Vol. 2" wound up being nothing more than a bad marketing ploy. Promotion was still heavy for "Vol. 1" so when the second volume hit stores, it basically confused the buying public as none of the hit songs on the radio were found on "Vol. 2". The waining popularity started affecting the band internally as well. In 2003, longtime members, Craig Montoya and Greg Eklund decided to leave the band. In the ensuing years, Alexakis kept Everclear alive though the other band members were a revolving door. Even though Alexakis is the main creative force for the band, I believe they trully lost some of their spark and energy with the departures of Montoya and Eklund. Also, since their departure, new releases by Everclear have become more and more sporadic. Alexakis seems to spend more time playing solo acoustic shows and being a staunch Democratic activist. Currently, there was some news that Alexakis has reformed yet another version of Everclear and were said to be working on a new album which was slated to be released in August of 2010. August has come and gone however with no new material from the band.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Song: "Before I Go"
Artist: Unwritten Law
Album: "Unwritten Law"
"Before I Go" is a song written as if it's someone's dying words to the person who is closest to him. It's ironic in that the person who is about to die is offering comfort and support to the person who is mourning him so. He's basically telling the person to remember the good times and that he will always be alive in the person's heart and in their memories. Though Unwritten Law's 1998 self-titled album was officially their third release, it was a defining album for the band. It was at this point where the band started shifting away from a pop/skate punk style and began branching out creatively with their music. If this album put the band on the map, it was 2002's "Elva" that really blew up success-wise for Unwritten Law. On the heels of the hit single "Seein' Red", the band's popularity would reach it's peak here in the United States as well as globally. Since forming in 1990, Unwritten Law has released seven full length albums, a live release and a greatest hits compilation included. Though it's been a little more than two years since their last release, currently their is news that the band is working on a new album tentatively titled "Swan".
Sunday, September 12, 2010
"Sick" is a song about finding out the news that you have been diagnosed with a terminal disease (cancer most likely) and the constant struggle between fighting to stay alive and beat the disease or succumbing to the disease feeling that death may be the better path just to make the pain go away. Pulley is a skate punk band from California that broke on the scene in 1996. Lead singer, Scott Radinsky got his start in the late 80's with the band Scared Straight, which would later change their name to Ten Foot Pole. Due to Radinsky's commitments to Major League Baseball (he was a relief pitcher for the Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers among others), he was asked to leave TFP so that they could focus on their music full time. Thus, Radinsky went on to form Pulley as a vehicle to put out his brand of punk music during his off-season from MLB. I believe Pulley is a very underrated band. Perhaps they would get a little more love and respect if their touring schedule and music releases were not so sporadic due to Radinsky's hectic MLB schedule. They did put out five studio albums as well as their latest EP release "Time-Insensitive Material" in 2009. Currently, Radinsky is the bullpen coach for the Cleveland Indians, so with the MLB season coming to a close, I'd expect to see Pulley either doing some tour dates or possibly even working on some new music for a future release.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
Song: "Cold And All Alone"
Album: "At The Show"
"Cold And All Alone" is yet another "relationship on the brink" type of song. It's written from the perspective of a guy who sees that he's been wrong to his partner and has been constantly struggling to change his behavior and make things better in the relationship. He probably sees that it may be a losing battle but he's not quite ready to give up and be alone. "Cold And All Alone" was originally recorded for 1998's "Slowly Going The Way Of The Buffalo". The version I chose was released in 1999 on MxPx's live album, "At The Show". MxPx formed as a band back in 1992. Hailing from Bremerton, WA, MxPx was a combination of Christian punk, skate punk, pop punk and even a little bit of hardcore on some songs. I think their longevity and their workmanlike approach to recording and touring has given MxPx a little more street punk cred than some of their contemporaries. As carbon copies such as Good Charlotte and Yellowcard started achieving crossover fame, MxPx just kept chugging along, always with their hardcore fans by their side and always showing the imitators how it's supposed to be done. Bassist and songwriter, Mike Herrera has been focusing most of his creative attention lately to his country/punk outfit Tumbledown and in 2010, original MxPx member Yuri Riley announced his retirement from the band. Currently, while the band is still very much intact, there is no news on whether new MxPx material will surface in the near future. I'm quite positive, however, that new information will surface probably sooner than later as the band does not rest for long periods of time usually.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Artist: Ten Foot Pole
This song is about a relationship that is totally failing. You get a sense from the vocalist that he is surprised that it in fact has lasted as long as it has. In the end, however, to both him and her, the relationship has turned out to be nothing more than a waste of time. Ten Foot Pole is a skate punk band from California that rose from the ashes of the band Scared Straight. Lead singer at the time, Scott Radinsky, chose to change the name to Ten Foot Pole so that they would not be confused to be a "straight edge" band. "Rev" would be the final full length album to feature Radinsky on vocals as his other career, a Major League Baseball relief pitcher, made it difficult for him to make the band his number one priority. Guitarist Dennis Jagard would assume lead vocals for the rest of the band's releases. The band went on almost a three year hiatus following the 2004 release "Subliminal Messages" but they did reunite to play a few live shows. Their is no current news as to the state of Ten Foot Pole. No releases seem to be on the horizon anytime soon. Dennis Jagard keeps himself busy as a sound engineer and has worked with the likes of Prince and many others. Former member Radinsky went on to form the band Pulley while also working as the Cleveland Indians bullpen coach.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Song: "Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window"
Artist: Jimi Hendrix
Album: "BBC Sessions"
"Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window" was originally written and performed by Bob Dylan in 1965. It was recorded during the "Highway 61 Revisited" sessions. Jimi Hendrix covered the song for the BBC, which is the famous radio program in England. To this day musician's record live in the BBC studio and the program is just as much of a big deal as it was when Jimi recorded there in 1967 as well as 1969. The song itself seems to be about telling a woman to get out of a relationship in which she may be being abused or even somewhat being used by her partner. The vocalist is saying to her to get out and enjoy life and in the end, if you're afraid of leaving, you can always go back to him if you want to. It seems the vocalist doesn't necessarily want any long term relationship with her perhaps just a fling then she can go on her way and do whatever she wants. In just seven years of making music, 1963 to 1970, Jimi Hendrix cemented his mark on the recording industry. There was perhaps no guitarist in history as innovative as Hendrix and even some of his legendary peers, Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Neil Young and Pete Townsend consider Jimi the greatest guitar player of all time. The way he experimented in the recording studio is second to none. He was always trying to make his guitar create sounds that were unique, original and atmospheric by using various effects and recording methods that have never been done before. Jimi's music has trully stood the test of time and songs like "Purple Haze" and "Voodoo Child" hold up to any current piece of music and will forever i'm sure. His music is timeless. His innovations are legendary. His guitar playing is second to none. Who knows how much further Jimi could've have taken his talents had he not passed away at the young age of 27 back in 1970. While we sit and ponder that question, we can all go back and listen to the recordings he's blessed us all with and just enjoy what he gave to the world of music.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Song: "Shoot Down"
Artist: Liam Gallagher w/ The Prodigy
Album: "Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned"
This song is a rare treat for any Oasis fans out there. The song was actually put out by English electro dance group The Prodigy and features Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher on vocals as well as his brother Noel on bass. The lyrics, also written by Liam, really don't seem to mean much. It's really about shooting a gun basically, no big obscure meaning or anything like that. Oasis had a history with performing with electronic dance groups in the past, most notably Noel Gallagher and The Chemical Brothers released the hit song, "Let Forever Be", so they are no strangers to performing this type of music. As for Oasis, their musical career was somewhat of a roller coaster ride that spanned from 1991 to 2009. There were many highs, the peak probably being the release of 1995's "(What's The Story) Morning Glory", which went on to become one of the most successful albums of that decade and really put the band on the map. There were also several lows, however, mostly concerning the inner squabbles of brothers Noel and Liam, both onstage and off. Finally in 2009, Noel had had enough of the constant turmoil and dissention between he and his brother and he officially left Oasis. Liam and the remaining members of the band would decide to continue on under the new moniker, Beady Eye, and he hopes the band will have new material out either by the end of 2010 or the beginning of 2011. As for Noel, he is focusing on a solo career and has been playing various shows, mostly performing acoustic sets featuring Oasis hits and some cover tunes. One of those performances was released as "The Dreams We Have As Children" which was a benefit show that was recorded at London's Royal Albert Hall. The performance shows that Noel is going to have no problem going it alone as it is a solid show which features some help from The Jam's Paul Weller on a few tracks as well.
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Song: "Emotion Sickness"
Album: "Neon Ballroom"
"Emotion Sickness" is an epic ballad from Australia's Silverchair. The song is about depression, addiction, disorders and hopelessness. It's about feeling trapped in your condition and feeling their is no way to escape. It could very well be about lead singer Daniel Johns own struggles with an eating disorder right around the time "Neon Ballroom" was released. Silverchair formed as a band in 1992 and were very much a product of the grunge scene when they first came out. Their first radio single, "Tomorrow" was released when the band members were just 15 years old. 1999's "Neon Ballroom" was the first album that started to show the band moving in a different direction musically as they began experimenting with more orchestration and piano in their sound. The band you hear on 1995's "Frogstomp" and 2007's "Young Modern" couldn't be farther apart stylistically. The band has stated that they are not afraid of alienating some of their old fans for the sake of pushing themselves musically. They feel they have a freedom in their band that allows them to explore different sounds. Here in the United States, Silverchair is somewhat of an afterthought. In their native Australia, however, the band is hugely popular, winning various awards for each album they've released while selling millions of albums. Currently, the band has confirmed that they are in the studio working on a new album and, to no one's surprise, Daniel Johns has stated that the new material will be even more experimental than their previous efforts.
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Artist: Pearl Jam
Album: "July 2, 03 #62 Mansfield" North America 2003 Bootleg
Though Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder claims that "Immortality" was not written about the Kurt Cobain suicide, there are many things in the song that seem to be just about that. Perhaps this is true because Eddie himself has stated that the song is more about understanding the pressures on someone who is on a parallel train. So the song may be more autobiographical yet indirectly linked to Cobain. This rings especially true in that both Vedder and Cobain rode that shaky train to superstardom and both had to deal with the enormity of success and all the dangers and pitfalls of all of the sudden being cast as the voice of a generation, without really wanting the responsiblity of being that. It was hard for them to remain true to who they were at that time and not be dangled about like a puppet on a string. There were only so many things they could do. They could have walked away from it all and seclude themselves from the world. They could pull back and take control of their lives, their band, and their direction, as Pearl Jam did. Suicide was the final end to Cobain and Nirvana. Who knows if Cobain was alive today if Nirvana could have sustained their legendary status. A lot of times, music fans and the industry tends to move on to the next big thing. Perhaps, Nirvana would have been left behind, much like bands like Pearl Jam have been in the music world today. By that tragic event in 1994, Cobain and the music of Nirvana was immortalized. "Immortality" was originally released on Pearl Jam's 1994 "Vitalogy" album. At the height of the band's popularity, "Vitalogy" was the second fastest selling album of all time, only behind Pearl Jam's "VS" album. This version I chose was recorded live in 2003 from the Tweeter Center in Mansfield, MA. Always one of my PJ highlights, the three dates the band played in Mansfield, MA on the 2003 tour featured the band only repeating one song twice, which was "Yellow Ledbetter". For the hardcore Jammer, these shows were a dream come true, and besides possibly the 10 year anniversary show in Las Vegas, these were my favorite concerts which I attended by the band. Currently, Pearl Jam just finished up touring in support of their latest release, "Backspacer", and are taking some time off to recharge the batteries.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Song: "It's All Over Now"
Artist: Social Distortion
Album: "Social Distortion" Japanese Import
"It's All Over Now" was released as a bonus track on Social Distortion's 1990 self-titled album. It was a Japanese release only. The song is actually a cover song. It was originally written in 1964 by Bobby Womack and made famous in that same year by The Rolling Stones. It would be The Rolling Stones first number one hit in the United States. The song is about a woman who treats her man badly. She runs around town with other men and doesn't take care of him like she used to. In the end, the man turns the tables on her and walks out on the broken relationship. Social Distortion formed as a band back in 1978. A product of the Orange County, California punk movement, Social D. would establish itself as a true original. They blended their hardcore punk roots, with honky tonk country and classic rock rhythm and blues to form a style all their own, sometimes referred to as "cowpunk". Lead guitarist and singer/songwriter Mike Ness is the only constant in the band since guitarist Dennis Danell passed away from a brain aneurysm in 2000. The band had somewhat of a revolving door when it came to bassists and drummers but Ness and Danell were always fixtures. 1990's "Social Distortion" album was really the pinnacle for the band. It produced such classics as "Story Of My Life", "Ball And Chain", "Sick Boy", and the Johnny Cash cover, "Ring Of Fire". The band tends to take long breaks between new albums, sometimes 5 years at a time. Currently, Mike Ness and the boys have been finishing up what would be the band's 7th studio album set to be released in the Fall of 2010
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Artist: Rage Against The Machine
Album: "Evil Empire"
With the song "Snakecharmer", Rage Against The Machine seem to be asking someone if they will continue chasing the American Dream even if it means sacrificing their ideals in the pursuit of that dream. The message seems to be don't become a slave to corporate greed and the American economy if it means selling your soul to get it. Back in 1996, "Evil Empire" was a big deal. The grunge movement that was so critical to music in the early 90's began to fade a little bit and songs of internal strife and darkness quickly turned to songs of aggression with focus on political and social issues. Rage Against The Machine was at the forefront of this shift in style. Their fusion of aggressive metal and political hip hop definitely sparked a trend that would flood the music market thoughout the rest of the 90's and early 2000's. Frontman Zack de la Rocha reminded me of Public Enemy's Chuck D. with the content of his lyrics and Tom Morello would prove to be one of the most innovative guitarists to come out in a long time. In 2000, R.A.T.M. would go on a hiatus which would last about 7 years. While de la Rocha kept somewhat of a low profile during this time, Tom Morello and the rest of the band would hook up with Chris Cornell to form supergroup Audioslave. Eventually, Cornell would opt to go solo again and in 2007, Rage would reform to perform live at select festivals. Currently, Rage continues to play some live dates but the band has not committed to return to the studio to record any new material. Morello has said his main focus is his solo project The Nightwatchman but he did not rule out creating new Rage material in the future.