Monday, June 17, 2013

Album 365: The incomplete end

After months of attempting a feat that I knew would be difficult, I've decided to cease the Album 365 project.  Joe's Garage was the last album that fit into my house rules.

The listening wasn't nearly as hard as keeping up the blog.  My job allowed me to listen to an album a day.  However, I found myself not really caring to update the blog on a regular schedule and then I got bored with trying to find albums to listen to.  When I started, I wanted to allow my emotions and feeling determine what records I would choose; but I found myself selectively grabbing familiar records and shying away from new music.  I didn't think that was in the spirit of the project.

It was an ambitious task and I wasn't sure if I'd make it all the way to 365.  230 albums in 230 days is a pretty awesome thing.  I did enjoy remembering different details from my past.  Most of them were great and a couple of the albums stirred the less than savory thoughts about shittier times in my life.  It wasn't a cathartic experience; but it allowed me to remember points in my life from a different perspective.

Now, I am free to listen to whatever music I want!  I'm gonna go back and check out some of my favorite records...the ones from earlier in the blog.

It's fitting that I started with Rush and ended with Frank Zappa.  Everybody knows what my 2 desert island albums are.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Album 365: Day 230 - Frank Zappa - Joe's Garage

Frank Zappa
Joe's Garage

Favorite tracks: Catholic Girls, Wet T-shirt Nite, Watermelon In Easter Hay
Sleeper tracks: Crew Slut

I'd say that this is the best Frank Zappa album and possibly one of the best albums ever made.  That'd be a fun campfire chat argument.

This was a favorite of mine through the mid to late 90s.  It was the 2nd Zappa CD I purchased.

The music is really rich.  Vinnie Colaiuta's drumming is perfect and this is really one of the greatest drumming albums of all time.

Except for 2 guitar solos, the album contains many examples of Xenochrony.  It's a marvelous studio technique and shows how much of a genius Zappa was (as if you needed more examples).

The guitar solo in 'Watermelon...' is astounding.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Album 365: Day 229 - Rivkit - Words of Mass Deception

Words of Mass Deception

Favorite tracks: Scapegoat, Silver Tongued Devil, A Life Without
Sleeper tracks: 18 Months of Agony

I first met this band when they tracked an EP at Oarfin.  I didn't work with them but I got to know them from being around the studio and liking their music.  That was around 2001 or 2002.  After Oarfin closed, the band got in touch with Oarfin's old studio manager who owned and managed another studio, A440.  They agreed to come in and track 5 songs with me.  We didn't have a schedule to mix but we spend a weekend tracking everything for the 5 songs.  I made some rough mixes and left it at that.  That was around 2005.

Fast forward to 2006 or 2007.  The band went through some lineup changes and had some more songs.  They ended up going to another studio to record and mix.  I was fine with that.  They used the tracks I did with them...adding keys and the new guitar player to the rhythm tracks.

I was really happy with how the tracks I did turned out.  What was frustrating to hear (through the Minneapolis music grapevine) was the other engineer telling the band's manager how inferior the tones were on the stuff I did.  I heard that and was a bit put off because A) I thought the tones stood up to the stuff that was added to the record and B) the band never had an issue and C) the person who said it never bothered to tell me personally what they felt.  It was another lesson in dealing with the music business.

I talked to the band after the album was released and they were very grateful the session we did.  I still listen to the rough mixes I did with them and am proud of how they turned out.  The songs on the CD fit well too.

Overall, it was a good local metal album.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Album 365: Day 228 - Red Hot Chili Peppers - Californication

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Favorite tracks: Around the World, Otherside, Get On Top, Californication
Sleeper tracks: Porcelain

I can't believe this album is 14 years old.

This was a refreshing reintroduction of John Frusciante.  I was probably one of the bigger fans of One Hot Minute but it wasn't the classic Peppers sound people loved.  This album was a great 'comeback' by the band and I played the hell out of it for a long time.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Album 365: Day 227 - Stone Temple Pilots - Tiny Music...Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop

Stone Temple Pilots
Tiny Music...Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop

Favorite tracks: Pop's Love Suicide, Big Bang Baby, Lady Picture Show, Trippin' On a Hole in a Paper Heart

Sleeper tracks: And So I Know, Daisy

This is the band's darkest album.  It had several awesome songs but I don't think mainstream was expecting how different it was compared to the friendlier first 2 albums.  I loved the record.  'Ride the Cliche' is a great example of how the DeLeo brothers play together.  The unison guitar and bass verses is part of what I loved about this band.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Album 365: Day 226 - Yes - Talk


Favorite tracks: The Calling, State of Play, Walls
Sleeper tracks: I Am Waiting

I know 2 people who owned this album; my friend Mike and me.  Refer to my 90125 album entry about not understanding why I don't have more friends who liked Yes.

'The Calling' is one of my favorite Yes songs.  The drums are huge...almost gaudy and comical.  Their boomy to a point where we say 'Ok! We get it! You win the biggest bass drum sound on record!'.

There was some good songwriting on the record.  'Walls' was co-written by Roger Hodgson of Supertramp fame and the opening verse is a dead giveaway to his signature style and then the hook is pure Yes sounding.

This is the last Yes album I owned.  Listening to this record made me interested in hearing more of their later albums.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Album 365: Day 225 - New Radicals - Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too

New Radicals
Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too

Favorite tracks: Mother We Just Can't Get Enough, You Get What You Give
Sleeper tracks: Technicolor Lover

Gregg Alexander is a great songwriter.

I first heard this band on MTV.  I really loved 'You Get What You Give'.  Hell, I think I even heard it on WAPL early in the mornings.  I really liked the song and bought the CD.  The first track, 'Mother...' was even hookier and I played the hell out of those 2 tracks for a long time.  They're still my favorite on the record.  What amazes me is how talented Gregg was.  He was able to produce his own record and it sounded really good.  It's a shame he flaked out over the business of the music business and basically threw in the towel.  Aside from that Santana/Michelle Branch tune he wrote, he kind of gave up on trying to maintain the mystique he created with this album.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Album 365: Day 224 - Quietdrive - Into Dust Before I Fall...

Into Dust Before I Fall...

Favorite tracks: Irreversible, Everyone and Everything
Sleeper tracks: Ransom Diaries

This band was a client of ours at Oarfin.  They came in as an independent band that was working with local producer/client of the studio.  They did 4 songs and they were really great pop/rock tunes that had a bit of an edge.  I recorded bass, guitars and vocals for all 4 songs.

During the session, Will.I.Am from The Black Eyed Peas booked a night to mix in Studio A.  He was doing a remix version of the Sting and Mary J Blige tune that was popular back then (don't ask me the title).  Quietdrive was working in studio B with me and their producer Matt.  The studio manager had asked Will if he wanted to meet a band working in the other studio.  He said yes and came over.  We were doing overdubs or vocals and had a few tunes ready to play for him.  He came in and sat down while I played the songs.  He was impressed and wanted to talk to his label about the band.  That started a relationship with the band and Will.  They eventually got signed and put out several albums since they 'made it big'.  I never got into their new style but I was proud of them for having a taste of making it.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Album 365: Day 223 - Red Hot Chili Peppers - Mother's Milk

Red Hot Chili Peppers
Mothers Milk

Favorite tracks: Subway To Venus, Knock Me Down, Stone Cold Bush, Johnny, Kick A Hole In the Sky
Sleeper tracks: Higher Ground, Pretty Little Ditty, Sexy Mexican Maid

This album will remind me of my friend Josh.

Blood Sugar...was my first Peppers album.  This was my second.  I didn't like this one as much.  The songs weren't as crafted and I liked the performances on Blood Sugar...a lot more.

The cool thing about this album is how fresh it sounds.  It came out in 1989.  A kid from the midwest didn't understand the L.A. music scene and how this sound was taking off.  We get this record in 1990ish and it was super fresh and hip.  I can still listen to this record and think of how progressive it was based on what we were listening to in cow country.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Album 365: Day 222 - Foo Fighters - Wasting Light

Foo Fighters
Wasting Light

Favorite tracks: Rope, White Limo, These Days
Sleeper tracks: Alandria, Miss the Misery

One of the better albums of 2011.  The production was great and the songs were enough to make this my favorite Foo Fighters records.

I was never a huge Foo Fighters fan.  I didn't like Dave Grohl and Nirvana for the longest time.  I came to realize that he's good for music and he writes some great songs.  "Rope" is my favorite Foo Fighters song.  It's got the chorus of Rush and the riffs of Zeppelin.  The made no attempt to hide their influences and proudly stated it in interviews.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Album 365: Day 221 - The Muppets - The Muppet Show

The Muppets
The Muppet Show

Favorite tracks: Mr. Bassman, Cottleston Pie, Tenderly, Tit Willow
Sleeper tracks: I'm In Love With A Big Blue Frog, Hugga Wugga

One of the 5 albums I listened to extensively as a kid.

There was a period of about 24 years that I didn't hear this album.  I was able to get a copy and it brought back a whole mess of memories.  I would spin this quite a bit.  I remember drumming along to "Tenderly" over and over again.

It's classic Muppet humor with classic Muppet singing.  It's a great variety album and I wouldn't be ashamed to let people know I plan on listening to it a lot more this year.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Album 365: Day 220 - Santana - Shape Shifter

Shape Shifter

Favorite tracks: Nomad, Mr. Szabo, Canela
Sleeper tracks: Angelica Faith, Never the Same Again

I have 3 Santana albums.  This one, Supernatural (who doesn't have that?) and Abraxas.  I will listen to Abraxas 10 times more than this one.

I got this album based on Dennis Chambers drumming on it.  I was thrilled to go see Santana at the Excel a couple years ago and finding out Dennis was drumming for him for that show.  I was eager to get this record because I thought that Dennis would kill it on a rhythmic, vocal-less record.  I was disappointed when it was a stripped down version of his drumming.

The songs are good but nothing I would want to listen to frequently.  I would suggest giving it a listen at least once.  There are some tasty guitar solos during some songs.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Album 365: Day 219 - Tenacious D - Tenacious D

Tenacious D
Tenacious D

Favorite tracks: Kielbasa, Tribute, Wonder Boy, Double Team, City Hall
Sleeper tracks: Explosivo, Lee

A fantastic sounding record.  Nevermind the comedy aspect of it, the album sounds like a great rock record.  

I would like to thank my Music Tech friend Justin for introducing me to this band.  I remember having a class next door at Oarfin Records (before I worked there).  He popped the CD in and we were cranking it on the big speakers (I really miss those SOTAs).  Our teacher Scott didn't seem to thrilled with the stuff but I was eager to find a copy.

I remember going to the Target in downtown Minneapolis after school to get the album.  I was able to snag a copy about 4 days before they pulled the CD due to the baby on the back cover, lying in a pentagram.

Dave Grohl does a great job with the drums.  The recording sounds really nice...really thick and punchy.  I played the hell out of this record but the later D releases never got as much play.  Maybe I grew up.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Album 365: Day 218 - Pinnick Gales Pridgen - Pinnick Gales Pridgen

Pinnick Gales Pridgen
Pinnick Gales Pridgen

Favorite tracks: Angels and Aliens, Lascivious, Been So High (The Only Place To Go is Down)
Sleeper tracks: Sunshine of Your Love, The Greatest Love

A 'supergroup' if only by amount of talent.

I didn't know about this album until I was doing a search for King's X on wikipedia.  I was happily surprised that one of my favorite bass players and vocalists was teaming up with one of my favorite young drummers.

I bought the record and listened to it straight through.  I was fairly pleased.  It wasn't a great sounding album but some of the riffs were really awesome.  Eric Gales is a fantastic guitar player and in a 3 piece, he really shines.  His vocals sound like dUg's and they harmonize quite well.

Thomas Pridgen's drumming is far removed from the stuff he was doing with The Mars Volta.  It's pretty laid back and stripped down.  There are flashes of speed but for the most part he maintains a simple pocket.  It works with this blusier music but I wanted him to freak out a couple more times.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Album 365: Day 217 - Primus - Tales From the Punchbowl

Tales From the Punchbowl

Favorite tracks: Wynona's Big, Brown Beaver, Southbound Pachyderm, Del Davis Tree Farm
Sleeper tracks: Mrs. Blaileen, De Anza Jig

I went with my friend Scott to pick this record up on the day of release.  We went to The Exclusive Company.  I remember getting dropped off at my apartment and listening to the record by myself.  I wasn't too thrilled with the production or the songs.  Primus was moving into a phase of the band that I wasn't too thrilled with.  They were becoming less proggy and more 'folky' or experimental.

There are some good songs on the record but I don't listen to this release as much as other Primus albums.  The good songs are some really awesome Primus cuts.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Album 365: Day 216 - Megadeth - Peace Sells...but Who's Buying?

Peace Sells...but Who's Buying?

Favorite tracks: Wake Up Dead, Peace Sells
Sleeper tracks: I Ain't Superstitious

I was never a Megadeth fan.  Didn't like Dave's singing.  I never owned a Megadeth album until I moved out to Minneapolis.  This was the first record I bought.

I really thought the production was great.  It was considerably better than the Metallica albums from the same era.  There was more balance in the instruments and the drums sounded better on this album.  Dave was a great guitar player and could write a good tune.  I'm willing to admit that I should have listened to more Megadeth growing up.

I met David Ellefson (bass player) while working at Oarfin Records.  He produced a band and I assisted the sessions.  He was a really cool, really down to earth guy.  The other times I've met him he's been equally laid back and great.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Album 365: Day 215 - Deep Purple - Perfect Strangers

Deep Purple
Perfect Strangers

Favorite tracks:  Knockin' at Your Back Door, Nobody's Home, Perfect Strangers
Sleeper tracks: Mean Streak

My dad got this record for Christmas.  It was one of those Hurst family gift exchanges.  I remember we played it quite a bit during that winter.  It is a better album than the reviewers thought.  It's my favorite DP lineup (Mark II) and for 1984, the record is pretty heavy and dark.  I thought Jon Lord's keys were really cool and the production sounds good.  There are some Blackmore leads that sorta feel 'phoned in'.  There isn't a lot of brilliance in his playing but I'll take a C effort Blackmore over most A efforts from 80's guitar players.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Album 365: Day 214 - Spin Doctors - Turn It Upside Down

Spin Doctors
Turn It Upside Down

Favorite tracks: You Let Your Heart Go Too Fast, Hungry Hamed's
Sleeper tracks: Biscuit Head

I remember getting out of work (3rd shift), driving to exclusive company and buying this along with Dixie Dregs 'Full Circle' on the day of release.  I then drove to my friend Bryan's house to listen to the records.  I loved to go and listen to music with him.  Truly loved that part of my friendship with Bryan, Mike and Luke.

The Spin Doctors were the band that defined the sophomore slump of the 1990s.  Pocket Full...was a smash and this album was not.  It was a pretty decent record but only had a handful of good tunes.  I lost interest in the band after this record.  I still bought their albums but was always disappointed.

My friend Bryan noticed the chorus of 'You Let Your...' sounds like 'There Goes Another Love Song' by the Outlaws.  I noticed that the drums and bass on the verses of 'Hungry Hamed's' sounded like the verses of Rush's 'Alien Shore'.  Check it out.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Album 365: Day 213 - N.W.A. - 100 Miles and Runnin'

100 Miles and Runnin'

Favorite tracks: 100 Miles and Runnin', Sa Prize, Pt. 2
Sleeper tracks: Kamurshol

I had to sneak this into my house.  Seriously, I thought my parents were pretty liberal when it came to music but there were 3 albums they either wouldn't let me get or wouldn't have allowed them in the house.  This was one of them.

I can't remember who I dubbed this cassette from.  I do remember borrowing the tape for a few days and being totally blown away by the rawness of the lyrics.  As a kid, I thought they were cool and funny.  I thought I was a badass for being able to listen to something as filthy as 'gangsta rap' in the whitebread Fox Valley.

When I listened to it this time around, I really appreciated the music.  The beats are really cool and remind me of what early 90s west coast hip hop sounded like.  Fast, really rhythmic rhyming and almost lo-fi jazz loops with killer drum beats.  From what I read, it was the last recording that Dr. Dre did of fast, aggressive rapping.  This is also the album that didn't have Ice Cube in the group.  MC Ren took the reigns on this record.  He's really fun to listen to.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Album 365: Day 212 - Guns N' Roses - Use Your Illusion I

Guns N' Roses
Use Your Illusion I

Favorite tracks:  November Rain
Sleeper tracks: (pick one)

The anticipation for this album (and its companion release, Use Your Illusion II) was something I have not really experienced since.  I remember the albums being delayed.  I went with my uncle Bill to see GnR's first headlining show at Alpine Valley for this tour.  It was a big event with MTV hosting a special GnR show with some footage from the concert. The albums weren't out by the start of the tour and I can remember not really  vibing on some of the new songs they were playing.

Fast forward to release day.  In each hand you had a GnR record but one of them was boring and lame and the other was pretty rockin and hookey.  Illusion I was indeed the worse of the 2.  There's way too much filler material on the record.  'November Rain', 'Live and Let Die' and 'Garden of Eden' are the decent songs followed by 'Bad Obsession' and maybe 'Coma' just for the sake that it's a 10 minute jam.  'The Garden' is a horrible song and there are a few others that make you think this record could have been another EP of B-sides.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Album 365: Day 211 - King's X - Dogman

King's X

Favorite tracks: Dogman, Pretend, Human Behavior, Cigarettes
Sleeper tracks: Flies and Blue Skies, Manic Depression

This was the first King's X album I owned and the first King's X music I heard.  I bought the album a couple months after its release and I've been a fan ever since.

I think there was a review of the record in Modern Drummer.  I had read that a lot of bands I liked, liked King's X.  I had assumed that they were prog.  I was surprised that the record was more straight ahead rock.  The album sounded awesome (their best sounding album) and there were some cool tunes; but I didn't really dig it for several listens.  It certainly grew on me and I'm glad to have discovered them.

My only gripe with this album is the choice to put 'Manic Depression' on (the one song that will probably be in this blog the most...3 times I'm guessing).  The track was recorded in the studio but they added a live crowd to mimic the band doing a live performance.  Cheesy.  If it was done in jest, it was lame decision.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Album 365: Day 210 - Dream Theater - Black Clouds and Silver Linings

Dream Theater
Black Clouds and Silver Linings

Favorite tracks: A Nightmare to Remember, The Shattered Fortress, The Count of Tuscany
Sleeper tracks: A Right of Passage

The last Dream Theater record with Mike Portnoy.

It's a solid prog album.  I really thought the production was good and the songs were better than I expected. The last song of the Twelve-step Suite is one of my favorites of the 5 songs that make up the prog-er-piece. 'A Nightmare...' is a great prog song.  Dream Theater are the masters at crafting a 12+ minute song and not having it be boring.

I have said many times that I hate Mike Portnoy's vocals.  I hate the tone of his voice and I hate that he gets to put his voice on record.  Also, this is one of the worst album covers by the band and one of the worst I have seen from any band that's been around for over 20 years.  It will always remind me of an art student's first semester Photoshop project.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Album 365: Day 209 - Joe Jackson - Look Sharp!

Joe Jackson
Look Sharp!

Favorite tracks: Sunday Papers, Happy Loving Couples, Look Sharp!, Pretty Girls
Sleeper tracks: (Do The) Instant Mash

I never owned a Joe Jackson record until a week ago.  There were the radio hits I was familiar with but I never bothered obtaining the actual albums they came from.

I was pleasantly surprised by this album.  Overall, the album was great.  It's a bit dated and the production sounds like something that could have come from a 1980s Minneapolis studio (or vice versa I suppose.  Maybe David Kershenbaum is the hidden master of new wave pop).

One thing I did notice and should be a lesson to all bands out there:  There are some bad pitch issues with Jackson's vocals.  I get that it was a style back then but it shows that you need good songs first and singing chops second.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Album 365: Day 208 - Sting - Ten Summoner's Tales

Ten Summoner's Tales

Favorite tracks: (Prologue) If I Ever Lose My Faith in You, Love In Stronger Than Justice (The Munificent Seven), Epilogue (Nothing 'Bout Me)
Sleeper tracks: Heavy Cloud No Rain, Fields of Gold

One of the better pop records to come out of the 90s.  I'm not ashamed to say that it's one of my favorite albums of that era.

Hugh Padgham produced another grand slam with this album.  Vinnie Colaiuta on drums was what made me first interested in the record when it came out.  He does a great job on this album.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Album 365: Day 207 - Cheap Trick - Heaven Tonight

Cheap Trick
Heaven Tonight

Favorite tracks: Surrender, California Man, Stiff Competition
Sleeper tracks: How Are You

I did not own this album growing up.  I first purchased the record after I moved to Minneapolis.  It's a pretty decent record but I don't like it as much as most Cheap Trick fans do (arguing that it's the best album by the band).  The songs as a whole are better than In Color but I enjoyed specific songs on In Color a lot more.  It doesn't touch Dream Police for balls and substance. 

I wonder how many teenage girls made out with this album cover back in the late 70s.

Stupid trivia: This album was the first ever to feature a 12-string bass.  

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Album 365: Day 206 - Slayer - Reign In Blood

Reign In Blood

Favorite tracks: Angel of Death, Raining Blood
Sleeper tracks: Postmortem

In honor of Jeff Hanneman,  I thought I'd listen to some Slayer today.

I was not a Slayer fan until after high school.  A few of my friends were into them but I never gave the band a lot of thought.  I knew who they were and I knew that Dave Lombardo was a bitchin' drummer.  I don't think I liked the vocals (probably why I didn't get into Pantera until around the same time).

Once I got this album, I was able to understand what the hook was.  I can only imagine what people thought back in 1986.  Imagine being a 14 or 15 year old kid, walking into a record store and buying this...going home and blasting 'Angel of Death' as loud as your ears could stand.  It had to be a fricken trip to hear that song for the first time.  I can still spin 'Raining Blood' about 4-5 times in a row.  I will always love that song.

The album sounds pretty good for the era and type of music.  I always wonder what the records I listen to would sound like if they were recorded today.  This album might sound better but the feel wouldn't be as cool.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Album 365: Day 205 - The Police - Synchronicity

The Police

Favorite tracks: Synchronicity I, Synchronicity II, Wrapped Around Your Finger
Sleeper tracks: Walking In Your Footsteps, Mother

Really great album to go out with.  If I was going to break a band up, I'd want my last album to be the best.

I didn't own this record until high school and didn't really like the whole record until a few years later.  'Synchronicity II' is my favorite Police song but 'Wrapped Around...' would be right up there.

Album was produced by same guy that did Phil Collins' and later Genesis albums.  He certainly had the golden touch back in the 80s.  The album is one of those on my list that sounds like it came out last year.  It sounds current and the production isn't dated.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Album 365: Day 204 - John Cougar Mellencamp - Scarecrow

John Cougar Mellencamp

Favorite tracks: Lonely Ol' Night, Justice and Independence '85, Between A Laugh and A Tear
Sleeper tracks: Rumbleseat, R.O.C.K in the U.S.A

A pretty damn good album for 1985.  Say what you want about John Cougar What'sHisName.  He can write a good song.

I'm really finding it hard to figure out if my parents bought this record or my aunt Sue had it.  Sue was a huge MellenCougar fan but I think my parents actually got this album as well.  I remember looking forward to it because I had liked Uh-Huh so much and would drum along to it quite a bit.  By the way, Kenny Aronoff had one of the loudest snare drums in rock radio with this record.  I've seen him play in the studio and he hits super fricken hard.

It's hard to believe this album is almost 30 years old.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Album 365: Day 203 - Rush - Signals


Favorite tracks: Subdivisions, Digital Man, Losing It, New World Man, Analog Kid
Sleeper tracks:  The Weapon

I used to think this was the end of the 'prog' era for the band.  Over the last few years, I've come to associate the record as the start of the power pop era for the guys.

The albums sounds a bit dark and muddy.  It's quiet too and is one of the least favorable in terms of mixing.  Once thing I like about the album is that Geddy's bass playing takes a big front seat.  At the time, it was probably the most aggressive bass playing on rock radio and the best rock bass player of the day.  Not really a big deal but for Rush nerds, this subject could spawn hours of conversation and rebuttal.

The songs are solid.  The lyrics take a step back from the last 2 albums.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Album 365: Day 202 - Supertramp - Crime of the Century

Crime of the Century

Favorite tracks: School, Bloody Well Right, Dreamer, Hide In Your Shell
Sleeper tracks: Rudy

Another brilliant Supertramp album.  The record was recorded in 1974 and it surpasses thousands of records recorded after it in regards to sound quality.  Can't say enough good things about this band.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Album 365: Day 201 - Van Halen - 1984

Van Halen

Favorite tracks: Panama, Hot For Teacher, Drop Dead Legs, Girl Gone Bad
Sleeper tracks: Jump, I'll Wait

I can't remember if I got this album when it came out or a year later. I remember buying it with Christmas or birthday money.  I also remember bringing it home for the family listen.  It was a cool record but the band cheaped out and had a pretty crappy sleeve to look at.

The opening for 'Girl Gone Bad' is probably my favorite Van Halen moment.  The intro is great, the drum and guitar unison thing is great and the riff when the band kicks in is fantastic.  Conversely, 'I'll Wait' is probably the lamest song they did up to that point (and until Van Halen III came out).

Friday, April 26, 2013

Album 365: Day 200 - Opeth - Heritage


Favorite tracks: The Devil's Orchard, Slither, Nepenthe
Sleeper tracks: Haxprocess

Quite a shift of philosophy for the band.  A whole, non EP album with no heavy vocals.  The backlash from Opeth fans was pretty intense.  I love this record.  The recording is reminiscent of old 70's prog records.  The songs are great and if the band continued to do albums that sounded like this, I wouldn't have a problem with it.

The artwork is also pretty gnarly.  The skulls at the bottom of the tree represent the former members of the band.  There is one face falling from the tree.  That represents the keyboard player who told the band he was leaving after this record.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Album 365: Day 199 - Planet X - Universe

Planet X

Favorite tracks: Clonus, Dog Boots, 2116
Sleeper tracks: Her Animal

Another super group-type band.  Old keyboard player from Alice Cooper and Dream Theater, Austrailian drumming phenom and guitar player virtuoso.

I ordered this album when it was released.  I remember playing it quite a bit.  It was one of the first records I ordered after moving to Minneapolis by myself.  I didn't have a lot to do except listen to music.  I thought the drums were pretty amazing and the music was way better than I thought it was going to be.

I always liked Derek Sherinian's keyboard playing.  His lead tone is the best of all the Dream Theater keyboardists.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Album 365: Day 198 - Jason Becker - Perpetual Burn

Jason Becker
Perpetual Burn

Favorite tracks: Perpetual Burn, Opus Pocus
Sleeper tracks: Air

I was introduced to Jason's music by my friend Scott.  He let me borrow his CD of this album and I was totally blown away by the chops Jason had.  The drums were cool too and I really enjoyed listening to this record for a few weeks.

If you don't know the story of Jason, I suggest you spend some time studying up.  It's a real tragedy what happened to him but also an awesome story of perseverance.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Album 365: Day 197 - The Chicago Transit Authority - The Chicago Transit Authority

The Chicago Transit Authority
The Chicago Transit Authority

Favorite tracks: Introduction, Beginnings, Questions 67 & 68, Poem 58
Sleeper tracks: Free Form Guitar

It takes a whole bunch of balls to have your first major label record be a double album.  Hats off to them for that.

I was introduced to Chicago by radio.  I do remember my dad informing me that they used to be called Chicago Transit Authority.  Other than that, I didn't have any of their records until the late 90s.  I knew that Terry Kath was a great guitar player and wanted to hear more of the obscure songs.

The debut has a bunch of great stuff on it.  The only reason I don't like 'Free Form Guitar' is that the other songs on the records are so much better.  It's an improv noise piece and it just doesn't fit.

Lastly, I was this album cover as a throwback t shirt.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Album 365: Day 196 - Alice In Chains - Alice In Chains

Alice In Chains
Alice In Chains

Favorite tracks: Grind, Head Creeps, Over Now
Sleeper tracks: Heaven Beside You, Again

I appreciated hearing this record again.  There was a long time where I only listened to the first song.  I will attest that I'm not the biggest AIC fan and this record was pretty far from the stuff that I did like.

Now, I appreciate how dark the album is.  Some of the lyrics don't do it for me.  I'm probably jaded by knowing Layne wrote them really fast.

I'd listen to this again but it would have to be a while from now.  There isn't any motivating or inspiring shit going on.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Album 365: Day 195 - Liquid Tension Experiment - Liquid Tension Experiment

Liquid Tension Experiment
Liquid Tension Experiment

Favorite tracks: Paradigm Shift, Universal Mind
Sleeper tracks: 3 Minute Warning

In actuality, this is just a jerk-jam by 2 guys in Dream Theater, 1 that would be in Dream Theater and a bass player that didn't really bring much to this project.

At the time, this was a 'super group' started by Mike Portnoy.  Magna Carta Records gave him the cash to pick his own all star band to do a project.  He picks his guitar player from Dream Theater (John Petrucci), a solo keyboard guy who would eventually be in Dream Theater about a year later (Jordan Rudess) and Tony Levin, bass player for John Lennon, King Crimson and Peter Gabriel.  The band would write and record songs in the span of 5 days.

I was very eager for this album.  I remember ordering it and when I got it, I brought it to my friend Luke's house.  4 or 5 of us listened to it and were sort of impressed, sort of bored after awhile.  Hearing it now (and knowing how things played out in the prog family tree), you can tell that most of these songs were just Jordan and John coming up with parts while Tony and Mike played along.  The songs have a bunch of Dream Theater riffs thrown in.  There's a structure to each song but they all follow a real simple chart pattern.  The last 5 tunes are a big, 27 minute jam.  Starts off quiet, builds up, soloing, builds up...faster, soloing, BOOM!, quiet again, builds up, different riff, different solo, faster...rinse and repeat.

Aside from 'Paradigm Shift' and 'Universal Mind', I don't waste a bunch of listening time on this record.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Album 365: Day 194 - Fishbone - Chim Chim's Bad Ass Revenge

Chim Chim's Bad Ass Revenge

Favorite tracks: Chim Chim's Bad Ass Revenge, In the Cube, Psychologically Overcast
Sleeper tracks: Sourpuss, Rock Star

I bought this album based on a review and on seeing Phil Fisher in Modern Drummer product ads.  I knew of Fishbone before this record came out but I wasn't into the ska thing.

The record is pretty good and I really liked the first 4 or 5 tracks.  There are some great melodies and riffs going on.  The drumming is cool but the snare gets to be a little too clangy at times.  I always stopped listening after track 7.  The back half of the album got really boring.  I felt the same way when I listened to it this time. There is a lot of nonsense towards the back of the record.  I'll be happy keeping the front songs alive and coming back to the other half in another 10 years.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Album 365: Day 193 - Bigelf - Money Machine

Money Machine

Favorite tracks: Money Machine, Ironheel
Sleeper tracks: Mindbender

I recently started to listen to this band.  Mike Portnoy announced that he was going to drum on the next Bigelf record and that reminded me of wanting to check these guys out.  I had a chance to see them open for Dream Theater but I didn't have time to see the opening bands.  Considering how much I like what I'm hearing I sure feel like a fool for missing them.

They're a mix of Beatles, King Crimson, Yes, Zeppelin, The Flower Kings, Old Genesis, Transatlantic and...oh I dunno...Pink Floyd.  They really are a classic 70s sounding art rock band that takes some of today's prog elements and mixes it all together.  I eagerly listened to this record and look forward to hearing the other 2 that I found.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Album 365: Day 192 - Living Colour - Stain

Living Colour

Favorite tracks: Go Away, Auslander, This Little Pig
Sleeper tracks: Bi, WTFF

I was really mad when Muzz Skillings (bass player) left the band.  This Doug Wimbish guy who replaced him was a stranger to me and I didn't think he would have brought anything to the table.

I was wrong.  While he didn't do backups, his playing was way heavier and cooler.  He came from a band called Tackhead.  I bought one of their CDs and was not impressed with the album. Anyway...

This album is really heavy compared to the first 2 records.  I appreciate the move towards heavier music.  There are some decent songs and the playing is pretty awesome...on par with a Living Colour record.  There aren't as many hooks on this record so I found myself listening to it less than Vivid.

This was the first CD I can remember having a colored jewel case.  It was red and I thought that was pretty cool.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Album 365: Day 191 - Martyr A.D. - On Earth As It Is In Hell

Martyr A.D.
On Earth As It Is In Hell

Favorite tracks: Bring Out Your Dead, The Serpent and the Flower, American Hollow, Misery Dance
Sleeper tracks: Into Stone

I had the pleasure of working with this band in what would be Oarfin Records last recording session (December 2003).

Great metal band.  They booked out 14 days or so in Oarfin Studio A.  I tracked some guitars, bass and all of the vocals.  It was fun to work with them and the album sounds pretty awesome.  They ended up getting a bunch of new gear with the money they got from Victory Records.  I remember the big stack of 5150 speakers and heads.

Oarfin became one of the better places in the Minneapolis area to record hard rock and metal.  It was a fun time to be working in the music industry.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Album 365: Day 190 - Rush - Caress of Steel

Caress of Steel

Favorite tracks: Bastille Day, The Necromancer, The Fountain of Lamneth
Sleeper tracks: Panacea (Part IV of The Fountain of Lamneth)

This album gets chastised a lot.  It's not my favorite Rush album but I hold it in a higher regard than most people, certainly higher than almost all critics.

I think I got this album around 1990.  I knew of the record from listening to it at my aunt Cheryl's boyfriend's house.  The 2nd dose of the songs from this record came from when my aunt Lisa gave me a cassette of 'All the World's A Stage'.

Bastille Day is a really wonderful song.  Neil's drumming take a step up from Fly By Night.  The chorus guitar riff in "Bacchus Plateau" is one of the coolest Alex riffs ever.

Something to think about:  They went from this album to "2112" in a matter of 7 months and recorded 3 albums in the span of 13 months.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Album 365: Day 189 - Ghost B.C. - Infestissumam

Ghost B.C.

Favorite tracks: Per Aspera Ad Inferi, Ghuleh/Zombie Queen, Year Zero
Sleeper tracks: Secular Haze

Let's get it straight.  I don't care about any bullshit US trademark violations.  They're still Ghost.

I spent the last 12 months anticipating this album.  I really thought it was going to be on par with their first record.  How could you miss with a bigger budget and a pretty good producer (Nick Raskulinecz)?

I was pretty disappointed when I heard the record.  There was some engineering issues and the songs didn't have the bite that the ones from the first album did.  I don't know...I guess I'll keep listening.  Maybe when I go see them live in a couple weeks it will change my attitude about the record.  As it stands, it's a good 2nd record but not as good as I thought it should be.  

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Album 365: Day 188 - KTop - Self Storage

Self Storage

Favorite tracks: Are You Right, Takes You Away, Bend You, Make This
Sleeper tracks: Behind, Feelin' Strange

I worked with this band at A440 Studios.  They came up from Iowa a few weekends in 2005.  They would spend 3 or 4 days up here, record and then drive back.  I really enjoyed working with these guys and I'm really happy with how the album turned out.  There are some songs that I really, really love and play them quite a bit.

The band was a 3 piece.  The drummer and the guitar player were brothers.  I'm being totally honest when I say this: the band drank more beer than I have seen a band drink in my 10+ years of recording.  They would buy cases and cases of beer up here and would go home with a handful.  They loved Grain Belt Premium and took a bunch back home with them.  I couldn't believe how much they could drink and still function.

They also turned me on to Team America.  They were kind enough to buy me the DVD after finding out I never saw the movie.

There was one song on the record that included a bass drop.  They wanted me to insert an 808 bass drop into the intro of a song during mixing.  They kept asking for it louder and louder.  I mentioned that I thought it was too loud but they said keep it at the high level.  I printed the mix, made them a cd and saw them off.  They were driving back down to Ames, IA after 3 days of mixing.

I received a call about 35 minutes later.  It turns out that when they got to that song on the CD I make, the bass drop blew out both rear speakers in the car.  It was hilarious.  We were all laughing.

I really miss those guys.  Haven't seen them since 2005.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Album 365: Day 187 - Southern Culture On the Skids - Dirt Track Date

Southern Culture On the Skids
Dirt Track Date

Favorite tracks: Soul City, Fried Chicken and Gasoline, Eight Piece Box
Sleeper tracks: Make Myan a Hawaiian, Dirt Track Date

This is an album I appreciated more in 2013 than I did when I bought it in 1995.

I fell into the trap of 'Camel Walk'.  It was a strange tune that got radio play and I thought it was cool.  I spun the album a few times but didn't keep it in rotation.

I really liked listening to it today.  The guitar work and tone is really great.  The drums sound great.  The whole album is clear sounding and a well-produced pseudo-rockabilly record.  I'm glad I thought of listening to this record.  I will probably play it during the upcoming warm summer evenings at Ft. Wisconsin.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Album 365: Day 186 - The Mars Volta - De-Loused In the Comatorium

The Mars Volta
De-Loused in the Comatorium

Favorite tracks: Inertiatic ESP, Roulette Dare (The Haunt of), Drunkship of Lanterns
Sleeper tracks: Televators

Discovering this band was one of the funnest experiences in my musical life.  I remember sitting in the smoking room at Oarfin Records one night, sifting through a music magazine (probably EQ or Mix).  There was a review of this album and it described a record that I knew I needed to hear.  I went out and got it the next day and probably played it 2 weeks straight.  I couldn't believe how awesome the songs were and how killer the musicians were.  The vocal styling was right up my alley and the songs were nice and long.  I couldn't get enough of TMV and I geeked out to them over the next 3 years.

Listening to this record brings back some of those memories and feelings but the love affair with the band fizzled out years ago.  I had a hard time focusing on this whole record and I think it's one of their most interesting and captivating.  Towards the end, it's a lot of wankery and I found myself anticipating the end of the record.  It's all still great music.  It just isn't my thing anymore.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Album 365: Day 185 - Anthrax - Worship Music

Worship Music

Favorite tracks: Earth On Hell, The Devil You Know, In The End
Sleeper tracks: I'm Alive, Crawl

From the time this album came out until a year later (Sept 2011 - Sept 2012), I would say that there wasn't a better metal album released.

This was a great comeback album for Belladonna.  1990 was the last time he recorded vocals for Anthrax and this album has some great vocal moments.

I wasn't ever a huge Anthrax fan growing up.  I saw them a couple times with John Bush and was fortunate enough to see them support this album at First Ave.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Album 365: Day 184 - Dennis Chambers - Planet Earth

Dennis Chambers
Planet Earth

Favorite tracks: Dance Music for Borneo (#13, #6 and #4), Elroy, Overtones of China
Sleeper tracks: Giphini's Song

My 2nd favorite drummer.  Possibly the greatest drummer to ever live (makes for a great debate).

This album is a fun listen.  Think of a 1940s or 50s big band but funkified in the 21st century.  Great horn section, awesome drumming and a group of songs that don't get boring.

There is some classic Chambers drumming on here.  It's worth a listen if you're a drummer.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Album 365: Day 183 - The Freddy Jones Band - Waiting for the Night

The Freddy Jones Band
Waiting for the Night

Favorite tracks: One World, The Puppet, In A Daydream
Sleeper tracks: Night to Day

I'll thank my friend Bryan again for turning me on to these guys.  This was the first album I heard from the band.  I can say that despite my love for old rock, metal, jazz, etc, this band was quite a big part of the soundtrack of my late teens/early twenties.

I was pleased to hear how good the record sounded after all these years.  I don't think I listened to the whole thing in about 10 years.  The production is pretty awesome and the songs are still cool to listen to.  The harmonies are great and for having 3 guitar players in the band, everything sits well in the mix.  It's not my favorite FJB album but it's a great record.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Album 365: Day 182 - Vital Information - Easier Done Than Said

Vital Information
Easier Done Than Said

Favorite tracks: Snap Out of It, Catch 22, New Boots
Sleeper tracks: Necessary Autumn, Step Aside

Journey's old drummer didn't just disappear after he left the band.  He actually was a great drummer and started a jazz/fusion group.

I bought this during my jazz snob years.  I'm sure I read about it in Modern Drummer.  I remember an issue of the magazine with a floppy record of one of his solos.  It was all charted out and was a great example of the chops Steve had that I wasn't aware of.  Shortly after that I bought this record.

It's classic late 80s/early 90s jazz.  It's airy, has soft keyboards that sound like ass and is fit for Sunday Morning Jazz on WAPL (I'm guessing they don't have that on anymore). That being said, I love the lineup and some of the songs.  Frank Gambale is a very underrated guitar player in the non-jazz world.  The drums sound awesome and Steve's chops are cool to hear.

I actually got to see the band perform at The Dakota (when it was in St. Paul).  It was a great memory.  We were very close and the band played the shit out of the room.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Album 365: Day 181 - Pearl Jam - Vitalogy

Pearl Jam

Favorite tracks: Last Exit, Corduroy, Better Man
Sleeper tracks: Pry, To, Bugs

I spent a lot of years hating this record for not being as groovy as Vs.  I was really let down when I first listened to it.  Hell, even the case didn't fit into my CD rack properly.

Over the last 20 years, I've mellowed and have learned to appreciate the record.  I feel it's one of the band's better releases.  There are some great songs on the album and while stripped down, the production serves the record really well.  "Corduroy" is one of my top 3 Pearl Jam songs.

I was a Dave Abbruzzese fan and did not like how he was handcuffed on this record.  That was back then.  Now, I've grown to like his playing on this album more than his way too busy shit he re-recorded for the Ten radio songs.