Monday, December 31, 2012

Album 365: Day 83 - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Damn the Torpedoes

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Damn the Torpedoes

Favorite tracks: Here Comes My Girl, Even the Losers, Shadow of a Doubt (A Complex Kid)
Sleeper tracks: Century City, You Tell Me

One of the best albums of the 70s.  Hands down, a really great pop-rock record.

My parents had this album and I listened to it quite a bit with my aunt Cheryl when she would babysit.  We loved this album and would sing along all the time.

I've always held this record in high regard.  The production is slick.  The drums are fat, the keys are pretty epic and the hooks really make for some great moments.  I liked "Refugee" as a kid (I remember seeing the video on Friday Night Videos one night and totally flipping out with joy) but "Even the Losers" is my favorite Heartbreakers song.

I urge all the Album 365 readers to watch the Classic Albums episode of the making of this record.  It's on Netflix and it gives some really great insight on the making of this record.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Album 365: Day 82 - Stevie Ray Vaghan - Couldn't Stand the Weather

Stevie Ray Vaghan
Couldn't Stand the Weather

Favorite tracks: Scuttle Buttin', Couldn't Stand the Weather, Voodoo Chile
Sleeper tracks: The Things That I Used To Do, Tin Pan Alley

My mom and dad had SRV's Soul To Soul album.  I listened to that a bit but I really got into Stevie after I saw him at Alpine Valley 2 nights before he died.

Couldn't Stand the Weather is a decent album.  It has some really good tunes and the best cover of a Hendrix song I've ever heard (besides SRV's "Little Wing").  It's not groundbreaking songwriting but the style of Stevie was apparent and still growing by the time this record came out.

Album 365: Day 81 - Black Sabbath - Mob Rules

Black Sabbath
Mob Rules

Favorite tracks: Turn Up the Night, The Sign of the Southern Cross, The Mob Rules
Sleeper tracks: Voodoo, Country Girl

One of the scariest album covers I saw as a kid.

My aunt Lisa got this album around the time it came out.  She was the one who introduced me to Sabbath and I really, really liked listening to them with her.  I remember hearing this record up in her room at my grandparents' house.  We stared at the album art for a long time and while I didn't remember the whole album, I thought "The Mob Rules" was really cool.

It's not my favorite Dio fronted or Sabbath album but it's worth listening to.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Album 365: Day 80 - ZZ Top - Fandango

ZZ Top

Favorite tracks: Thunderbird, Backdoor Medley, Heard It On the X
Sleeper tracks: Mexican Blackbird, Tush

Before Billy Gibbons discovered drum machines and synthesizers, ZZ Top was a pretty kick ass band.

This was the first ZZ Top album I owned.  It was my parents but I listened to it enough to call it my own.  I loved "Backdoor Medley".  The live songs are really tight.  Frank Beard's drumming is awesome and for the longest time I wondered why it wasn't that good during the 80s albums (see drum machine comment).  Heard It On the X is my favorite studio cut of ZZ Top's.  Great guitar, bass and drum song with cool licks.  I would be happy if I didn't hear Tush again.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Album 365: Day 79 - Prince and the Revolution - Purple Rain

Prince and the Revolution
Purple Rain

Favorite tracks: Take Me With U, Darling Nikki, I Would Die 4 U, Baby I'm a Star, Purple Rain
Sleeper tracks: Computer Blue, When Doves Cry

My parents bought this album around the time of release.  It was a pretty far-out record for them to buy.  I remember the first night we all sat and listened to it.

I really enjoyed listening to the record again.  With headphones, I heard some really cool guitar work that I never noticed before.  I'll admit, the mixes of some of the songs are pretty bad.  It doesn't take away from the great songwriting and musicianship but there are things lost in the crappy mixing levels.

My favorite part of the album is "Purple Rain".  There was a great youtube video explaining some of the history of the live take of the song for the record.  It was done in a Pop Up Video style and had some very interesting facts about the performance.  Of course, Mr. Purple had it taken down.

I'm still amazed by Prince's talents.  Great musical icon.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Album 365: Day 78 - Whitesnake - Slide It In

Slide It In

Favorite tracks: Slide It In, Slow An' Easy, Love Ain't No Stranger
Sleeper tracks: Guilty of Love, Spit It Out

The first 3 songs on this album are my favorite Whitesnake tracks.

I first heard this album driving to Red Granite with my uncle Bill.  It's the best Whitesnake album and the band lineup is one of my favorite from any Whitesnake release.  "Slide It In" is going to be one of the songs played at my funeral.

Yay for Cozy Powell and John Sykes.  Boo for Coverdale's passion for firing people.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Album 365: Day 77 - Guns N' Roses - Appetite For Desctruction

Guns N' Roses
Appetite For Destruction

Favorite tracks: Mr. Brownstone, You're Crazy, Rocket Queen
Sleeper tracks: Nightrain, Anything Goes

It's amazing how an album has the power to change the future of music.

I can't say for sure if I got this album when it came out.  I doubt I did since I was 11.  However, I remember having a copy before my 13th birthday.  It was a really heavy and seedy album to have as a kid.

Listening to it now, I can appreciate how much of an influence it was to music and pop culture.  I can also say that the music was a little juvenile or maybe it just seems like that compared to today's music.  I really liked the guitar pairing of Stradlin and Slash.  With headphones on, you can hear the cool styling of each player.  Duff's bass playing in "Rocket Queen" is pretty slick and for rock bass players, he was solid.  Axl's vocals are great and of course, there's enough cowbell to satiate.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Album 365: Day 76 - Dream Theater - Awake

Dream Theater

Favorite tracks: 6:00, Erotomania, Scarred
Sleeper tracks: Lifting Shadows Off a Dream, Space-Dye Vest

The best prog album in the last 20 years but another shitty album cover.

I gorged on this album during the winter of 94 and throughout the rest of the 90s.  I couldn't believe how awesome the record sounded.  My friends (bandmates) were just starting to get into Dream Theater so that would allow us to sit around and talk about how this band is the greatest thing to ever happen to music.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Album 365: Day 75 - North Styrenn - North Styrenn EP

North Styrenn
North Styrenn EP

Favorite tracks:  Someone Like You, Touch the Ground, Coming Back
Sleeper tracks: New World, North Styrenn

"It's not a new note."

I met these guys when working at Oarfin Records.  Ryan, the lead singer and rhythm guitar player, was an intern for a spell.  He was able to book time in studio B for a great rate.  That moment started a friendship and musical partnership that has lasted over 10 years.

***Search this blog for Victor Johnson.  He was the original bass player for North Styrenn and played guitars on this release.  You'll have a better understanding of the history I have with these guys.

We recorded this album at The Hideaway Studio.  I fondly remember the sessions as being really productive and fun.  We worked together in various studios before the record so we were all comfortable with the process.  I think we captured the best moments of the band and all learned a lot about production.  I can say that I am very, very happy with the results of the album (despite not being given official production credits.  Ooh am I still chapped about that).

We tracked to 2 inch and transferred to Pro Tools.  This was the first time I recorded a nose hair trimmer.

Album 365: Day 74 - Puscifer - Conditions of My Parole

Conditions of My Parole

Favorite tracks: Tiny Monsters, Toma, Condition of My Parole
Sleeper tracks: Horizons, Oceans

I knew of Puscifer before yesterday but never heard a second of the material.  I didn't care for it that much but a few of the songs stuck in my head.  I guess Maynard did win this round.

It was a little to 'electronica' for me.  At times, it felt like somebody got Ableton and Reason software for Christmas and wanted to use it really, really bad.  It worked for some songs but other tracks left me bored.  There are some cool vocal melodies that Maynard doesn't get to do in Tool but then there are songs that could have been Tool vocal takes.

I probably won't listen to another Puscifer album for Album 365.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Album 365: Day 73 - Yes - Fragile


Favorite tracks: Roundabout, Long Distance Runaround, Heart of the Sunrise
Sleeper tracks: Cans and Brahms, We Have Heaven

An iconic album and the one record that made me fantasize about being an organ player.

I think my aunt Lisa introduced me to this album.  I remember that it was one of the first CDs that I bought.  "Roundabout" is probably Yes' best song and Rick Wakeman's organ leads were an inspiration to me.  This is also the first album that introduced me to Bill Bruford's drumming (see King Crimson entries in Album 365) and the stuff he does on this record is truly amazing.  Chris Squires' bass line in "Roundabout" is fantastic and I urge everybody to search for the isolated bass track from the recording.

This is one of those albums that defines a band and the musicians in the band.  The shit they were pulling off in 1971 makes it extra special.

This was a record I looked forward to listening to.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Album 365: Day 72 - Flying Colors - Flying Colors

Flying Colors
Flying Colors

Favorite tracks:  Blue Ocean, The Storm, Infinite Fire
Sleeper tracks: Kayla, Love Is What I'm Waiting For

Another prog supergroup that enlists some of my favorite musicians.

Flying Colors is Mike Portnoy on drums, Neal Morse on keys and vocals, Dave LaRue on bass and Steve Morse on guitars.  There's also some dude named Casey on vocals but he doesn't have the prog pedigree.

For as much as I get annoyed by Mike Portnoy, I still find myself grabbing anything he's associated with.  This album is a really good prog record.  It's not too heavy and it only has 1 song over 10 minutes.  The one thing that bummed me out is that it sounds like a record made by Portnoy and Neal Morse with 2 members of the Dixie Dregs.  One thing about Steve Morse is that his sound is so recognizable.  That's not bad but I wanted to hear riffs that didn't sound like him.  Hard to explain I guess.

This album would appeal to a lot more people than any of the bands that the Flying Colors members came from (except maybe that Casey guy.  I'm not sure what he did before this).

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Album 365: Day 71 - Smashing Pumpkins - Siamese Dream

Smashing Pumpkins
Siamese Dream

Favorite tracks: Cherub Rock, Rocket, Geek U.S.A
Sleeper tracks: Disarm, Luna

Another band that I refused to like early on.

I didn't pick this album up until 10 years ago.  I always liked "Cherub Rock" and "Rocket" but I wasn't the biggest Pumpkins fan.  I loved Jimmy Chamberlin's drumming but couldn't get past Corgan's persona.  There are some really good songs on this record.  The production is pretty cool (produced by Butch Vig, a college friend of my uncle.  More on that later in Album: 365).  Sometimes the guitars are a little too muddy and constricted but it works for the Pumpkins.  It actually became a signature sound of theirs.

This is probably my favorite Smashing Pumpkins album.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Album 365: Day 70 - Rush - Power Windows

Power Windows

Favorite tracks: The Big Money, Manhattan Project, Marathon, Territories
Sleeper tracks: Middletown Dreams, Emotion Detector

If I would have done this blog 15 years ago, I would have passed this album up.  Now, it's one of my favorite Rush albums.

This album garnered enough publicity to have a couple videos made.  It also pushed a lot of Rush fans away because of the pop sound.  If you dig just below the surface, you can hear awesome songwriting.  The drums and bass are really killer on this record.  "The Big Money" got radio and MTV play and it's amazing that such a cool song was popular back then.  There are a lot of really good hooks throughout the album.  Power Windows could almost be in my top 5 Rush records list.

On their last tour (2012), the band performed 4 songs from this release.  It was a real treat so see some songs I've never heard in person.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Album 365: Day 69 - Spock's Beard - Day For Night

Spock's Beard
Day For Night

Favorite tracks: Day For Night, Gibberish, The Healing Colors of Sound
Sleeper tracks: Skin, The Distance To the Sun

I read about Spock's Beard in an issue of Hit Parader back in 1999.  It was a review of this album and the description of the record intrigued me.  The first listen blew me away and I've been a fan ever since.  The lead singer, Neal Morse, was a major influence in my personal and musical career since I heard this album.  He left the band in 2002 but put out 6 or 7 solo albums (all really good prog records) and fronted Transatlantic (past Album: 365 entry).

The band isn't for everybody.  The aren't prog metal.  I'd say more Genesis/Yes and a bit of ELP.  The songs have great melody and a 22 minute epic doesn't keeps you entertained with great lyrics and awesome time-changes.  The bass and drums are a blast to listen to.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Album 365: Day 68 - John Waite - No Breaks

John Waite
No Breaks

Favorite tracks: Saturday Night, Tears, Dreamtime/Shake It Up
Sleeper tracks: For Your Love, Love Collision

My mom purchased this album probably based on a crush and John's most successful song, "Missing You".  I used to listen to it quite a bit.  John writes good songs and even back in 84, I was familiar with his work with The Babys.

The guitar work of Gary Myrick is really good.  The drums are dated but tasty.  "Saturday Night" is a killer tune to open the record and makes up for the sleeper tracks.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Album 365: Day 67 - Blackfoot - Strikes


Favorite tracks:  Road Fever, Left Turn on a Red Light, Baby Blue
Sleeper tracks: I Got A Line On You, Wishing Well

Another great 70s record.

My aunt Sue had this album.  I thought it was cool that a bunch of indians (feather, not dot) could write and play cool, riffy music.  It's really a good album of rock tunes.  Rickey Medlocke is a great front man and has an awesome voice.  His song writing fit the times and selling a million records isn't something to ignore.

I would suggest people give this at least one listen.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Album 365: Day 66 - The Cult - Love

The Cult

Favorite tracks: Nirvana, Big Neon Glitter, She Sells Sanctuary
Sleeper tracks: Brother Wolf, Sister Moon, Hollow Man

I didn't own a Cult album until I started my internship at Oarfin Records.  Todd, my friend and chief engineer, was a big Cult fan.  Love is one of his favorite albums.

I wasn't a fan of the 80's sound but the production of this album is pretty killer.  The drums sound really cool.  The songs are great, the singing is great and the guitar playing is great.  Still, I don't seek out The Cult when I want to listen to great music.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Album 365: Day 65 - 12 Rods - Separation Anxieties

12 Rods
Separation Anxieties

Favorite tracks: Kaboom, What Has Happened, Marionette
Sleeper tracks: I Think I'm Flying, Your Secret's Safe With Me

Minneapolis' hidden gem of a bitching pop band.  One of the tragedies of the fickle music biz.

This is the 2nd 12 Rods album I owned.  I don't like it as much as Split Personalities (I'll be playing that later in Album: 365) but it has my favorite 12 Rods song, "What Has Happened".  Actually, it's probably one of the top 10 songs to come out of the non-major label music scene in the last 15 years.

I can't tell you how happy I was to discover this band when I moved here.  There is nothing that compares to the song writing where I came from.  The band had hooks for days and Ev's voice was really cool for the music they were doing.  This album had more sleepers than Split Personalities but it still delivers a great listening experience.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Album 365: Day 64 - Heart - Dreamboat Annie

Dreamboat Annie

Favorite tracks: Magic Man, Crazy On You, Sing Child
Sleeper tracks: Dreamboat Annie (Fantasy Child), Dreamboat Annie (Reprise)

Ann Wilson is the best rock n roll female singer ever.  End of discussion.

I never heard this album all the way through until high school.  I was familiar with "Magic Man" and "Crazy On You" from radio play and I heard one of the 3 versions of "Dreamboat Annie" more than once.

As a concept album, it was a cool first release from a band.  I still don't get the 3 versions of "Dreamboat Annie" and how they all made it on the record.  The other songs make up for the repetitiveness of the "...Annie" melody.

I will always have a crush on Ann Wilson.  I don't care if she's way larger now than she was back in the 70s.  She was hot and had a killer voice.  

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Album 365: Day 63 - Cheap Trick - Dream Police

Cheap Trick
Dream Police

Favorite tracks: Dream Police, I'll Be With You Tonight, Voices
Sleeper tracks: The House Is Rockin', I Know What I Want

Arguably the best album/gate fold design of the 1970s.

My parents had this album and I'm thankful they did.  I loved how cool the cover art was and how kick ass the music was.  I remember listening to it, following along with the lyrics and playing air guitar to the record.  It is one of my top 25 albums, not only for the music but for the memories that come with it.

The band asked Steve Lukather to play guitar on "Voices".  I love Rick Nielsen's playing and song writing but Steve's solo on "Voices" is pretty damn bitchin.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Album 365: Day 62 - Quinn Sullivan - Cyclone

Quinn Sullivan

Favorite tracks: My Sweet Guitar, Cyclone, Weekend Uniform
Sleeper tracks: Buddy's Blues, Summer of Love

A company I worked for distributed this album.  That doesn't make me like the album.

I never bought into the 'young man singing the blues' phenoms.  We get it, you play the guitar better than most people and you're only 12 or 13 or whatever.  I don't need to hear about how bad you think you have it or how in love you are with somebody.

Specifically, this kid's voice is pre-pubescent and while in tune, is hard to listen to at times.  The lyrics to some songs are cheesy and the ones that aren't were probably written by somebody older.  My favorite tracks are great tunes with great hooks.  If this kid would just play guitar, I would like this album more.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Album 365: Day 61 - Stone Temple Pilots - Purple

Stone Temple Pilots

Favorite tracks: Meatplow, Interstate Love Song, Big Empty
Sleeper tracks: Lounge Fly, Pretty Penny

I think I bought this record when it came out.  It was the summer after high school graduation.  I didn't own Core right away but I became a fan of STP after hearing songs off of this record.  "Interstate Love Song" is one of the best pop songs to come out of the 90s and is one of my favorite STP songs.

I still say that aside from Flea, Robert DeLeo was the best bass player to come from 90s rock radio and MTV.  Being the brother of the guitar player allowed him to know where to place his riffs and I learned that bass players can be fun to listen to in other forms of music other than prog or jazz/fusion.  The album is more stripped down than Core and pretty dry when it comes to vocal and drum effects.  I will say that some of the mixing isn't that great.  The vocals tend to be quieter than the snare and some of the guitar leads are buried.  I'm nitpicking.

Album 365: Day 60 - King Crimson - Discipline

King Crimson

Favorite tracks: Elephant Talk, Frame By Frame, Indiscipline
Sleeper tracks: The Sheltering Sky

My second favorite King Crimson album.

My aunt Lisa was a King Crimson fan.  I think I first heard this record while hanging with her.  I liked this version of the band better than the 60s and 70s version.  The decision of Robert Fripp to reform the group was well worth it and what we got was a band that sounded totally different and cool.

Fripp and Adrian Belew are 2 of the best guitar players in rock.  I love their style and ability to make something really complex sound grooving.  This record (made 7 years after Red) redefined progressive music in the 80s.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Album 365: Day 59 - Dream Theater - Images and Words

Dream Theater
Images and Words

Favorite tracks: Take the Time, Metropolis Pt. 1: (The Miracle and the Sleeper), Under A Glass Moon
Sleeper tracks: Another Day, Wait For Sleep

Arguably one of the most important progressive rock/metal albums of all time.  One of the worst, dated album covers of the 90s.

I read about Dream Theater (not Theatre) in a Modern Drummer magazine back in 93.  The article about Mike Portnoy caught my eye because his drum kit was big and his listed influences included Neil Peart and Terry Bozzio (among other drummers that I loved).  After reading the article, I went to Shopko and bought the CD.  Yes, I bought a Dream Theater CD in a Shopko store.  That was back when the CDs came in those cool cardboard sleeves that you could cut out and hang in your locker.

The middle of this record blew my mind.  "Metropolis..." and "Under A Glass Moon" are some of the coolest prog songs I ever heard.  The guitar solo in "Glass.." is Petrucci's best.  The album had everything I was looking for in a band and I have been a fan ever since.  I've mellowed my intensity over the last couple years but I still can listen to a Dream Theater album and find myself air drumming.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Album 365: Day 58 - Journey - Escape


Favorite tracks: Don't Stop Believin', Stone In Love, Escape
Sleeper tracks: Keep On Runnin', Lay It Down

"Come on ladies! It's Journey!"

I never owned a physical CD of Journey besides their last greatest hits album.  There was enough Journey on the radio to keep me satiated.  I'm a fan of the band but never really thought it was important to have a studio album.

Escape is a really good record.  It has my favorite Journey song, "Stone In Love".  The album has a bunch of killer tunes on it and 9.5 million copies sold isn't something to ignore.  The Cain/Perry/Schon trio wrote awesome songs.  Ross Valory's bass playing is at its peak on this album.  There are a bunch of really, really good hooks in the songs and the guitar parts are pretty tough/cool.  It's hard for me to choose this or Frontiers as the best Journey album (I might lean a bit to Escape).

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Album 365: Day 57 - Run-D.M.C. - Raising Hell

Raising Hell

Favorite tracks: Peter Piper, Walk This Way, Hit It Run
Sleeper tracks: Perfection, Dumb Girl

One of a couple rap albums I'll be listening to for Album: 365

I first heard this album in Wild Rose, WI.  My grandparents had a trailer in a camping community.  There was a kid that had parents who owned a trailer there as well (I think Frankie was his name.  He was bad news...smoked cigarettes and played cards for money with adults).  He was digging a trench for a water line to his trailer and was blasting this record.  I think this was around 86 or 87.

I got my hands on a cassette from somebody from school (Dave Vanden Heuvel) and dubbed it.  I played the hell out of it that whole school year.  It was something dangerous and cool.  A white kid listening to black rap AND they said 'fuck' a couple times.

Listening to it now, I can't believe how safe the album really is.  It's pretty iconic and for its time, was an awesome cross-culture phenomenon.  Now its more of a nostalgia thing.  There isn't much substance but the lyrics are catchy and Rubin's horrible guitar playing makes me shake my head.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Album 365: Day 56 - Porcupine Tree - In Absentia

Porcupine Tree
In Absentia

Favorite tracks: Blackest Eyes, Trains, The Sound of Muzak, Prodigal
Sleeper tracks: Wedding Nails, Collapse the Light Into Earth

Considering my prog affinity, I was really late to the Porcupine Tree fan club meeting.

I heard about these guys through the forum that inspired me to start Album: 365.  A guy and I were exchanging CDs (yes, like pen pals. Corny but in the days of dial-up, it was kinda cool).  He sent me this album and after I heard it, I quickly took the bus down to Cheapo and found a copy.  I think I listened to it 6 times that night.

I quickly learned that Steve Wilson was a friend of the lead singer of Opeth (search Album: 365 for reference).  He produced and engineered some Opeth albums.  Steve has a great sense of melody...classic English prog vibe in his voice; and his song writing is catchy as hell.  This isn't my favorite Porcupine Tree album but it's the first one I heard and is quite special to me.

I still kick myself in the balls for not going to see them in 2005.  One of my biggest regrets in a year of a lot of regrets.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Album 365: Day 55 - Dixie Dregs - Bring 'Em Back Alive

Dixie Dregs
Bring 'Em Back Alive

Favorite tracks:  Odyssey, Kat Food, Cruise Control
Sleeper tracks: Kashmir, Medley (Take It Off the Top)

I was introduced to this band by a guy that worked at the local music store.  We hung down there a lot during the summers.  They had this CD playing one day and it sounded awesome.  It was cool to hear tight, live music that wasn't jazz.  I knew of the drummer, Rod Morgenstein from Modern Drummer magazines and I quickly became aware of guitar legend Steve Morse and bass player Dave LaRue.  Actually, I think my friend Bryan might have had a Steve Morse solo album before I heard this record.  The band influenced a lot of prog bands that I like so it was extra special to discover this record.

There's so much good playing and it's mind boggling how tight the band is.  I was able to see the band open up for Dream Theater in 2000 and was thankful for the opportunity.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Album 365: Day 54 - Rush - Presto


Favorite tracks: Show Don't Tell, The Pass, Presto
Sleeper tracks: Scars, Hand Over Fist

Can you believe it's been 40 days since the last Rush album in Album 365?!

Screw the critics.  This is a top 5 Rush album.  "The Pass" is the band's best song to date.  "Presto" is also a great song.  The drumming is awesome and the vocals are great.  The guitar is classic 80s Lifeson sounding (thin and not tough) but there are some great lead moments.  I remember hearing "Show Don't Tell" on the radio for the first time and giggled with delight.

This is another album recorded at LeStudio in Quebec.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Album 365: Day 53 - The Police - Ghost In the Machine

The Police
Ghost In the Machine

Favorite tracks: Spirits in the Material World, Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic, Omegaman
Sleeper tracks: Demolition Man, Rehumanize Yourself

My aunt Sue had this album.  I listened to it as a kid but didn't really think it was a great album (in my snobby, 7 year old attitude towards music).  As I grew older, I kept pushing the album down on my favorite Police records list. I played it for Album 365 and thought that it was their best sounding album.  Funny.

Recorded at LeStudio.  That defunct Canadian studio is going to be prevalent in this blog. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Album 365: Day 52 - Supertramp - Breakfast In America

Breakfast In America

Favorite tracks: Gone Hollywood, The Logical Song, Goodbye Stranger
Sleeper tracks: Breakfast In America, Casual Conversations

I was introduced to this album by friends of my aunt Cheryl and FM radio of the 80s.  I remember being in charge of changing albums at a party that my aunt had in her apartment.  Somebody requested this album and while I recognized the popular songs, I didn't have the patience for the other ones.  Years later, I learned to appreciate this album for being the best thing the band did.  It's a great record that's filled with awesome music and equally awesome lyrics (and I'm not much of a lyric guy).  I have Supertramp songs stuck in my head and they'll probably be there for the next week.

Davies and Hodgson were a really awesome song writing duo.  It's a shame they were both stubborn pricks when it came to reforming the band and releasing live shows on DVD.  Seriously, their disdain for each other is disgusting and really makes me mad as a fan. Maybe that's why most of the music they made together sounded amazing.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Album 365: Day 51 - Frank Zappa - Sheik Yerbouti

Frank Zappa
Sheik Yerbouti

Favorite tracks: Broken Hearts Are for Assholes, Rubber Shirt, Wild Love
Sleeper tracks: I'm So Cute, Sheik Yerbouti Tango

You either really like Frank Zappa music or you hate it.

This album is very special to me.  It was my first experience with Frank Zappa and I will have to give all the credit to my aunt Lisa.  She played this for me when I was 5, 6 or 7.  We were sitting at my grandparents house (she was babysitting) and I can remember her cleaning up after supper and playing this album.  I really liked the lyrics as a kid and the music was funny and interesting.  It took me a lot of years to understand the complexity of the music; but once I did I couldn't get enough.   I think he's one of the best things to come from American music.  He was an absolute genius and most people don't realize how insanely talented he was.

Sheik Yerbouti wasn't the best Zappa album but it was a great record and is probably the most friendly album for non-fans of Frank.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Album 365: Day 50 - King's X - Black Like Sunday

King's X
Black Like Sunday

Favorite tracks: Black Like Sunday, Working Man, Bad Luck
Sleeper tracks: Rock Pile, You're the One

I started to get into King's X after the release of Dogman.  That was a great album and I became a loyal fan very quickly.

King's X is a hard luck rock group.  They have been placed on a pedestal by other musicians but never really broke through to the mainstream like they deserved.  They're a great band that I love listening to both live and on record.

Black Like Sunday wasn't a memorable release.  For me, each album after their 1998 Tape Head record contained only glimmers of greatness.  There are some good songs on Black Like Sunday but I wouldn't pick it as one of my top 5 King's X albums.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Album 365: Day 49 - Red Hot Chili Peppers - One Hot Minute

Red Hot Chili Peppers
One Hot Minute

Favorite tracks: Warped, Aeroplane, One Hot Minute
Sleeper tracks: Pea, Falling Into Grace

I'm proud to say that I'm one of the few who thinks this is a bitchin' album.  I would put it number 2 after Blood Sugar... for my favorite Chili Peppers albums (I am not as much a fan of the stuff after this one).  I know the band wasn't happy with it and all that shit; but I'd gladly take this over By The Way...critics and morons be damned!

I remember eagerly counting the days to this album's release.  I was very pleased with the record and loved the band with Dave Navarro.  I think this album contains Chad Smith's best drumming.  The songs were more rockin' thanks to Dave's influence.  There are about 3 songs too many on the record.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Album 365: Day 48 - John Prine - Bruised Orange

John Prine
Bruised Orange

Favorite tracks: There She Goes, Sabu Visits the Twin Cities Alone, Crooked Piece of Time
Sleeper tracks: Iron Ore Betty, The Hobo Song

The only folk album you'll find in my collection.

This album holds a special place in my heart.  My parents owned it and I played the record a lot for a few years.  There was something about John's voice that was easy to listen to.  He told great stories that even a 4 and 5 year old could understand (while totally missing the puns meant for 'adults').  The music is catchy, the songs aren't long and there's a lot of stuff going on in each cut.  I don't get bored listening to this record.  I could probably play it through 3 or 4 times in one sitting, I enjoy it that much.  It will always remind me of my childhood and how good things were.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Album 365: Day 47 - Great Girls Blouse - 147471

Great Girls Blouse

Favorite tracks: He Played, 147471
Sleeper tracks: Guilt Trip

I met this band through the studio manager of A440 Studios.  I agreed to work with them because I liked the band's vibe, I liked the tunes and we liked some of the same music.  The singer and bass player were married and that was a funny aspect of the recording/producing process.  The album was recorded live with minimal overdubs.  I thought the drums turned out really good.  Amy had a great voice and the middle part of 147471 is my favorite spot of the album in my favorite song of theirs.

Amy and Jason moved to the left coast and I never worked with them again.  I have fond memories of joking around and hanging with them.

Album was recorded, mixed and mastered at A440 Studios, Minneapolis, MN

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Album 365: Day 46 - Deep Purple - Burn

Deep Purple

Favorite tracks: Burn, Lay Down, Stay Down, You Fool No One
Sleeper tracks: Mistreated, A 200

This is my favorite Mk III album from Deep Purple.

My parents and rock radio introduced me to Deep Purple.  Everybody knows the hits but this album doesn't get as much respect because there wasn't a single that came from it.

I will say that I like Coverdale in Whitesnake more than Deep Purple but his singing on this album was a good transition from Gillan.  Glenn Hughes was brought in to replace Glover.  I've been known to chastise Hughes for milking the fact he was in Deep Purple.  I don't like the guy but listening to this album allowed me to appreciate what he brought to the band.  His bass playing was different than Roger's and some of the bass runs he does are really cool.  He sang quite a bit on this record and the harmonies are cool.  I'm not a fan of his lead stuff; especially live where he tried so damn hard to match Gillan's power.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Album 365: Day 45 - Primus - Pork Soda

Pork Soda

Favorite tracks: Welcome To This World, DMV, The Ol' Diamondback Sturgeon (Fisherman's Chronicles, Part 3)
Sleeper tracks: Pork Soda, The Pressman

The best sounding Primus album.

I really gravitated towards this band when I heard Sailing the Seas of Cheese in high school.  All my band/musician friends couldn't get enough of it.  When this album came out (and I can't remember when I got it.  I'm sure it was the day of release) a lot of people were like, 'wha?'.  I loved it.  It sounded huge, the drums and bass were awesome and the songs were fun to listen to.  Sailing has more party friendly tunes but Pork Soda was the zenith of the bands creativity.  I'm happy that I got to see the band support this album when they opened for Rush.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Album 365: Day 44 - Genesis - Abacab


Favorite tracks: Abacab, No Reply At All, Dodo/Lurker
Sleeper tracks: Me and Sarah Jane, Man On the Corner

(Thanksgiving trip back home is done.  I didn't have the time to type out entries each day but lying in a guest bedroom with no tv allowed me to listen to each day's selection with great concentration)

I started to appreciate Genesis at an early age.  My aunt Sue had Phil's Face Value album and local rock radio played quite a bit of Genesis.  Being a young drummer, I thought Phil's drumming was unique and sounded cool.  After I graduated rock n roll school, I came to learn the genius in engineering that was Hugh Padgham.  The Phil Collins drum sound was just as much his creation as it was Phil's playing.  I like the tales of Hugh placing a snare next to Phil's drum set and capturing the snare vibrating from the sound of the drums.  Listen to Genesis albums on headphones and you can hear how the 'side snare' adds to the resonance of the drum sound.

Abacab was an album I listened to a lot while working at Oarfin Records.  I used to play it while doing studio clean up.  It's a good pop album but it also allowed early Genesis prog to blend with great song writing.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Album 365: Day 43 - The Darkness - Hot Cakes

The Darkness
Hot Cakes

Favorite tracks: With A Woman, Everybody Have A Good Time, Street Spirit (Fade Out)
Sleeper tracks: She's Just A Girl, Eddie, Forbidden Love

One of the few bands that I gravitated toward despite me trying to avoid popular bands.  They were pretty refreshing in 2003.

This is their 3rd release and while it isn't as good at Permission To Land, it's a great record considering the band broke up for 5 years.  "Everybody Have A Good Time" is one of their top 3 songs.  

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Album 365: Day 42 - KISS - Destroyer


Favorite tracks: King of the Night Time World, Shout It Out Loud, Beth
Sleeper tracks: God of Thunder, Sweet Pain

(I just finished Peter Criss' autobiography.  I thought it would be fitting to honor him with an Album: 365 entry)

I can't remember when I first heard this album.  I do know that my first introduction to KISS was from my uncle Bill.  He is 10 years older than me and was the perfect influence for a lot of the music I grew up with.

I always thought "God of Thunder" was lame.  Maybe I'm still bitter at Gene for being a major prick to Ace and Peter.

I Rock N Roll Over way better than Destroyer.  However, I dig this album for the impact it had on the legacy of KISS and the impact it had on rock music.

Album 365: Day 41 - Jackson Browne - Running On Empty

Jackson Browne
Running On Empty

Favorite tracks: Running On Empty, Shaky Town, The Load-out
Sleeper tracks: You Love the Thunder, Stay

My parents had this album.  My aunt Cheryl and I would listen to this album all the time when she would babysit me.  I really loved playing this record and reading along with the lyric sheet.  

The songs were all recorded live in various places/venues.  "Nothin' but Time" was recorded on a moving bus (you can hear the bus engine throughout the song).  Really great song writing and musicianship.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Album 365: Day 40 - Alice In Chains - Jar of Flies

Alice In Chains
Jar of Flies

Favorite tracks: Nutshell, I Stay Away, No Excuses
Sleeper tracks: Rotten Apple, Swing On This

I remember going to The Exclusive Company to grab this CD on the day of release.  It was cold as hell and I think I actually skipped out of my 2 study halls to go and get it.

It's not my favorite AIC album but it has my favorite AIC songs ("I Stay Away" and "No Excuses").  It's an EP (first to debut at no. 1 on Billboard) but I don't really think of it as one.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Album 365: Day 39 - July Fighter - July Fighter

July Fighter
July Fighter

Favorite tracks: Know You, Old Town, Joke
Sleeper tracks: Dreams, White Lilies

This is another band that I recorded and mixed.

I met Jimmy (July Fighter singer) back when he was the bass player in Sunshine Behavior.  After that band broke up, Jimmy asked me to record his first solo CD.  He played acoustic guitar, bass and sang.  I was really happy with how the songs turned out.  His guitar player (Nick) sang backups and did a great job with harmonies.  I'm glad Jimmy was able to form another band and get his music out to the public.

The album was recorded at Gettysburg Studio, Winterland Studios and Audio Altimeter.  Mixed at Gettysburg Studio and mastered at Winterland Studios.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Album 365: Day 38 - John Cougar - John Cougar

John Cougar
John Cougar

Favorite tracks: Miami, Do You Think That's Fair, I Need A Lover
Sleeper tracks: Great Mid-west, Taxi Dancer

(Weekends aren't the best for posting updates)

My aunt Sue had this album and I really enjoyed listening to it when I was a kid.  It was my first introduction to John and I will openly admit I was a fan for a long time.

The album has lost its lustre over the years.  As I listened to it, I realized that the songs were kinda weak.  "I Need A Lover" is a great tune but that was produced by a guy who didn't produce the rest of the album.  Kenny Aronoff was not the drummer on this record.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Album 365: Day 37 - Sting - The Dream of the Blue Turtles

The Dream of the Blue Turtles

Favorite tracks: If You Love Somebody Set Them Free, The Dream of the Blue Turtles, Fortress Around Your Heart
Sleeper tracks: Russians, Moon Over Bourbon Street

I remember it was a pretty big deal when Sting released this album.  I thought "...Set Them Free" was a great tune and Omar Hakim's drumming on mainstream radio was refreshing.  "Fortress..." has a really cool, big chorus.  That song is classic Sting and is very Police sounding.

This isn't my favorite Sting album.  I can't get over the soprano sax sprayed all over the record.  I'd be happy not hearing this album for a couple years.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Album 365: Day 36 - Joe Carey - Wondervibe

Joe Carey

Favorite tracks: Wondervibe, Superhuman Strife, The Divide
Sleeper tracks: Let Me Go, Rise Again

Another album that I recorded...another great experience with cool dudes.

I met Joe at Oarfin Records when he was tracking some stuff for his brother's album.  He came in some time later to record his full length in studio B.  I'm starting to forget some of the details of the sessions but I do remember a few things:

  • Great drum sound (drummer was laid back and tasty), great guitar playing and great Carey brothers vocal talent. 
  • Laughing our asses off referencing Steve Perry and Air Supply for a week (and beyond. They played "Oh Sherrie" at the CD release party as a surprise to me)
  • Nights at the Monte Carlo (and being a bit too hungover 1 day)
  • 1 take vocals on a couple songs because the passion and grit was there
  • Headphone bleed that changed the end of a song for the better (happy accident)
  • Drummer Michael with his wit and humor (Monte Carlo's maitre d wouldn't agree with this)
  • Zippo falling into piano during a keeper take.  If you listen closely you can hear it. 
It was a really fun session that produced a great album.  I miss sessions like that.  I'm happy that Joe is still making music.  I'm going to have to sneak and see his band play some night soon.

Record done to 2 inch tape with Pro Tools for extra tracks. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Album 365: Day 35 - The Freddy Jones Band - Lucid

The Freddy Jones Band

Favorite tracks: Wonder, Better Tomorrow, Mystic Buzz
Sleeper tracks: Come On Back, C MInor Contribution

A band that helped start the 'roots rock' assault of the 90s, carved a niche and quickly faded.

Got hooked on FJB because of my friend Bryan and Kaukauna River Fest or Jam or whatever it was called in 1994 (was a volunteer "roadie" when they played there the summer after senior year).  Lucid came out in Sept. '97 and I remember spinning the CD quite a bit during parties and hang-out sessions with my friends.  I went to 3 or 4 shows on the tour supporting the album and was able to get backstage at Summerfest to briefly hang with the bass player and drummer.  I really love the memories this album produced.

It's good radio rock music.  Good hooks and vocal harmonies.  "Better Tomorrow" is probably their best song.  It was a shame they couldn't ride the wave of momentum they created with this album.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Album 365: Day 34 - Quicksand - Manic Compression

Manic Compression

Favorite tracks: Delusional, Thorn In My Side, Brown Gargantuan
Sleeper tracks: Simpleton, It Would Be Cooler If You Did

This is another band I heard about via a friend on Facebook.  I have never listened to them before tonight.

Quicksand is a (looking at my notes) post-hardcore band.  I'm not too familiar with bands in that genre.  The album is actually pretty good and delivered more than I was expecting.  The mix is dated but it doesn't take away from the cool guitar, drum and bass grooves.  You can hear everything well although the vocals are a little buried.  I think my favorite song I heard tonight was either Thorn In My Side or Gargantuan.  I came away from this one wanting to hear it again.