Thursday, January 31, 2013

Album 365: Day 114 - Dishwalla - Pet Your Friends

Pet Your Friends

Favorite tracks: Counting Blue Cars, Charlie Brown's Parents
Sleeper tracks: Moisture

I actually like this album for what it was 17 years ago.  In fact, I always thought it didn't get a fair shake from the radio stations.  "Counting..." was a great song and there were some cooler, darker songs towards the back half of the record.  I listen to it now and it sounds like a mid-90s rock album with very little pizazz.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Album 365: Day 113 - Sunshine Behavior - Sunshine Behavior

Sunshine Behavior
Sunshine Behavior

Favorite tracks: Pedestal, Today, April's Fools
Sleeper tracks: Sentimental Gentleman, Vicodin Vicky

I recorded and mixed this record.  I had a real fun time making this album.  We tracked basics at Winterland Studios onto 2 inch tape.  Overdubs were done at Winterland (studio B) and Gettysburg Studio.  Jimmy, the man behind the July Fighter album (do a blog search) played bass for Sunny B.  Harley Wood was an awesome singer and front man.  I really liked working with him in the studio.

The only issue I ever had with the record was the amount of songs they wanted to put on it.  The band wanted 14, I thought 8-9 would have been better.  Considering they never made another record, perhaps they were right in releasing everything.  BTW, the album art design was stellar for a local band.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Album 365: Day 112 - Dream Theater - Metropolis pt. 2: Scenes From A Memory

Dream Theater
Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes From A Memory

Favorite tracks: Beyond This Life, Home, The Dance of Eternity
Sleeper tracks:

I'll make this short.

This is the best progressive album ever made.  In my opinion, it trumps Operation: Mindcrime in musical ability.  The story isn't that captivating but the total package of the record is prog perfection.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Album 365: Day 111 - Billy Joel - Glass Houses

Billy Joel
Glass Houses

Favorite tracks: You May Be Right, Sometimes A Fantasy, All For Leyna
Sleeper tracks: C'etait (You Were the One), Through the Long Night

My parents bought this album along with several million other people.  It's a great record and I liked listening to it and looking at the artwork and photos.  I remember rarely flipping the album over to side 2.  Side 1 is really, really good.  I was one of the few 5 year olds who preferred this over Billy's 52nd Street release.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Album 365: Day 110 - Gin Blossoms - New Miserable Experience

Gin Blossoms
New Miserable Experience

Favorite tracks: Hey Jealousy, Found Out About You, Allison Road
Sleeper tracks: Cajun Song, Cheatin'

I forced this album down.  Aside from "Found Out About You", I'd be happy never hearing this record again.  I'm pretty sure that if I look at the CD in my collection, it will have a BMG barcode.

Let's just move on...

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Album 365: Day 109 - Eric Johnson - Ah Via Musicom

Eric Johnson
Ah Via Musicom

Favorite tracks: Cliffs of Dover, Desert Rose, Righteous
Sleeper tracks: High Landrons, Nothing Can Keep Me From You

My friend Bryan got me hooked on Eric.  He had this album before I did and raved about the virtuosity of Eric's playing.  "Cliffs of Dover" was an awesome song and while the album is pretty dated (most of his records are), I really loved the songs and playing on this record.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Album 365: Day 108 - Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band - Against the Wind

Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band
Against the Wind

Favorite tracks: You'll Accop'ny Me, Against the Wind, Fire Lake
Sleeper tracks: The Horizontal Bop, Her Strut

My aunt Sue had this record and for some reason, I loved going to her house and listening to it.  Funny story:

We were sitting at my grandparents house one summer day.  My grandparents lived on a dead end and when a car would drive by, they usually came back a minute later.  Around this time, I was in my "Smokey and the Bandit", Bob Seger "Against the Wind" stage of my childhood.  My aunt used to tell me that Bob Seger was coming to pick us up in a black Trans Am and take us to fire lake.

On the day mentioned, a black car raced passed my grandparents door.  My aunt Sue said, 'Bob Seger is here!'.  I got all excited, remember the trip we were going to take (and forgetting my common sense for a moment).  The car came back through and drove right by the house.  I pouted a bit but we all had a good laugh at the 'psyche' she played on me.

It's a good album but not as good as I remembered.  Bob writes a good song.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Album 365: Day 107 - Brecker Brothers - Heavy Metal Be-bop

The Brecker Brothers
Heavy Metal Be-Bop

Favorite tracks: Some Skunk Funk, Sponge, Squids
Sleeper tracks: East River

I read about this album in a Modern Drummer interview with Terry Bozzio.  I went out and found the record and listened to it a few times (this was back in 94 or 95), not really getting into it as much as I thought I would.

Fast forward 10 years and I went through a spell where I loved listening to the album while riding the bus.  I came to appreciate the Brecker brothers for pretty awesome horn players and band leaders.  And yes, Bozzio's drumming is quite bitchin' on this record.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Album 365: Day 106 - The Firm - The Firm

The Firm
The Firm

Favorite tracks: Closer, Radioactive, Satisfaction Guaranteed
Sleeper tracks: You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling, Midnight Moonlight

My parents purchased this album pretty close to the release date.  Having a household of Zeppelin fans, we gobbled up anything associated with the band.  "Radioactive" got a lot of radio play but my favorite songs were "Satisfaction Guaranteed" and "Closer".  The band line up was pretty great and Tony Franklin's fretless bass sound was something I never heard before.  It gets old by the end of this record but I do like the sound on some songs.

"Midnight Moonlight" was a Zeppelin song that was re-worked for this record.  I'm glad it never made it as a Zep release because it's pretty lackluster.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Album 365: Day 105 - Styx - The Grand Illusion

The Grand Illusion

Favorite tracks: The Grand Illusion, Foolin' Yourself (The Angry Young Man), Miss America
Sleeper tracks: Man In the Wilderness

Listening to this album gave me a charge.  It took me back to my youth and left me eager to hear some of the other Styx albums I like.

I'm not afraid to admit that Styx is one of my favorite bands.  The ability to write a good song and make it interesting is pretty special.  This is the first album of 4 that marked the peak of Styx's popularity and awesomeness.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Album 365: Day 104 - Zebra - Zebra


Favorite tracks: Tell Me What You Want, Who's Behind the Door, Take Your Fingers From My Hair
Sleeper tracks: One More Chance, The La La Song

First heard this band on WAPL.  "Who's Behind the Door" was a really catchy song and the high register vocals were pretty memorable.  1 album wonders for sure.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Album 365: Day 103 - Tool - Opiate


Favorite tracks: Hush, Opiate
Sleeper tracks: Part of Me

I didn't jump on this album until after I heard Aenima.  I can say that I've listened to this more than 10 times in the last 16 years.  I am a bigger fan of the more produced Tool sound.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Album 365: Day 102 - The Cars - Heartbeat City

The Cars
Heartbeat City

Favorite tracks: Hello Again, Drive, You Might Think
Sleeper tracks: Stranger Eyes, Why Can't I Have You

My parents got this record soon after it came out.  I remember it being a highly anticipated release.  "Hello Again" is a great opening track.  I liked the album a lot back when I was a kid but now, I'm happy with only hearing the hits.  There wasn't any of the Roy Thomas Baker magic (he produced the early Cars albums).  I also thought Ben Orr should have sung on more songs.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Album 365: Day 101 - Frank Zappa - The Grand Wazoo

Frank Zappa
The Grand Wazoo

Favorite tracks: The Grand Wazoo, Cletus Awreetus-Awrightus, Eat That Question
Sleeper tracks: For Calvin (And His Next Two Hitch-Hikers)

One of the best sounding Zappa records of the early 70s.  It's really clear sounding.  

I didn't get this record until 1997 or 98.  I wasn't a real big fan of the album back then because it wasn't as intricate and technical as the late 70s albums and there weren't very many lyrics.  Later on, I came to appreciate the album and the quality of the recording.  Any Zappa with George Duke playing keys is worth listening to. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Album 365: Day 100 - The Beatles - Help!


Favorite tracks: Help!, Ticket To Ride, Dizzy Miss Lizzy
Sleeper tracks: I Need You, It's Only Love

Again, I listened to the mono version of the record.

Not my favorite Beatles album but it was a fun listen.  I can't remember when I heard the entire album but I'm guessing it was later in my 20s.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Album 365: Day 99 - Z - Shampoohorn


Favorite tracks: In My Mind, Doomed To Be Together, Shampoohorn
Sleeper tracks: Loser, Mommy

Frank Zappa had kids and they made a record or 2 with dad's fame and fortune.

I like Dweezil as a guitar player but I only like a small amount of his original songs.  I bought this album during the Zappa phase of my life and I listened to it a lot.  I thought it was a killer album.  Listening to it today, I can't believe how crappy and inconsistent the production is.  The lyrics are pretty juvenile and don't hold up almost 20 years after.  I will say that the song "Shampoohorn" is a great piece of writing and is a great homage to Frank.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Album 365: Day 98 - Incubus - S.C.I.E.N.C.E.


Favorite tracks: Redefine, A Certain Shade of Green, Summer Romance (Anti-Gravity Love Song)
Sleeper tracks: Magic Medicine, Calgone

I admit it.  I own 3 or 4 Incubus albums.  I have even seen them live two times.

I didn't get this album until after I got Make Yourself.  A guy I used to work with loved Incubus and suggested I get this release.  It's actually my favorite Incubus record and I'm glad it caught my attention 16 years later.  There are several good songs and the production is really good for the era and genre.  Great guitars and effects throughout.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Album 365: Day 97 - Led Zeppelin - Coda

Led Zeppelin

Favorite tracks: We're Gonna Groove, Ozone Baby, Wearing and Tearing
Sleeper tracks: Poor Tom, Walter's Walk

I remember the night my parents went to buy this album.  There was quite a buzz about the album since it was the first Zep record released after Bonham's death.  I couldn't believe how cool the drums sounded when I first heard it.  I didn't really mind that it was an outtakes record with songs that weren't supposed to be on any record.  They were good enough to listen to and today, it's one of my favorite Zep records to hear.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Album 365: Day 96 - REO Speedwagon - You Can Tune A Piano, but You Can't Tuna Fish

REO Speedwagon
You Can Tune A Piano, but You Can't Tuna Fish

Favorite tracks: Roll With the Changes, Time For Me to Fly, The Unidentified Flying Tuna Trot
Sleeper tracks: Runnin' Blind, Do You Know Where Your Woman Is Tonight?

My aunt Cheryl had this album and I thought "Roll With the Changes" was one of the coolest songs when I was a kid.  You have to agree that Kevin Cronin can write a good hook.

The record didn't move me like I thought it would.  I really couldn't stand some of the songs.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Album 365: Day 95 - Pete Townshend - White City: A Novel

Pete Townshend
White City: A Novel

Favorite tracks: Give Blood, Face the Face, Secondhand Love
Sleeper tracks: Hiding Out, White City Fighting

Some album concepts by Townshend are great.  Some aren't that great.

"Give Blood" and "Face The Face" got major airplay when this record came out.  "Give Blood" has some really good drumming by Simon Philips.  Other than a couple shining moments, I was never a fan of this record.  Some of the songs are really, really dated and the whole concept is kind of cheesy.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Album 365: Day 94 - Casual Confusion - Casual Confusion

Casual Confusion
Casual Confusion

Favorite tracks: Still Care, Chances, Just In Case You Forgot
Sleeper tracks: Got It In A Bad Way, Drowning In Your Sea

I met these guys while working at Winterland Studios.  I was asked to record the band and was glad I accepted.  The group was a 3-piece blues band who's guitar player/singer was an awesome Hendrix emulator.  I was impressed with his guitar chops and how good the songs were for a relatively young group of guys.

The album turned out pretty good but I think the band broke up within a year of its release.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Album 365 - Day 93 - Steve Vai - Sex and Religion

Steve Vai
Sex and Religion

Favorite tracks: Here & Now, Still My Bleeding Heart, Survive, Pig
Sleeper tracks: In My Dreams Tonight, Down Deep Into the Pain

Again, my friend Bryan influenced my affinity for this album.  We played the hell out of this record for a long time.  It's one of Vai's best albums and Devin Townsend's vocals are perfect for the record.  Having Terry Bozzio drum on the record was an awesome idea and I wish the band would have done more work together on Vai projects.

Vai stuff can (and does) sound dated but the songs on this record are good enough to rise above that.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Album 365: Day 92 - OSI - Office of Strategic Influence

Office of Strategic Influence

Favorite tracks: The New Math (What He Said), O.S.I., ShutDOWN
Sleeper tracks: When You're Ready, Horseshoes and B-52's

A less popular prog 'super group'.

Drummer and old keyboard player from Dream Theater team up with guitarist from Fates Warning.  The record was supposed to be Jim Matheos' solo album but it turned into a 'project' group/album.  There's some great prog elements to the album and Kevin Moore was able to add his signature keyboard style to the record.

I really looked forward to this album but it didn't have staying power for me.  The project released 3 other albums (with a different lineup).

"ShutDOWN" is a great song and features Steve Wilson (Porucupine Tree guitarist and singer).

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Album 365: Day 91 - Crash Test Dummies - God Shuffled His Feet

Crash Test Dummies
God Shuffled His Feet

Favorite tracks: God Shuffled His Feet, Afternoons and Coffeespoons, Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm
Sleeper tracks: In the Days of the Caveman, Two Knights and Maidens

Thanks to MTV for this one.  I will say that the first 3 songs on this album were really great records.  I dug Brad's voice but I can understand how quickly the public drifted from this band.  It's a great 'college rock' album and I'm cool with having it in my collection.  I can't say that I would listen to the whole album with anticipation.  The formula for songwriting they had got a little too predictable.

Album was produced by Jerry Harrison.  That's enough to give it at least a once-through.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Album 365: Day 90 - Space Car Driver - Take Control

Space Car Driver
Take Control

Favorite tracks: Hawk, Moon Machine, Nothing Gets By You
Sleeper tracks: Minus 10, Xigong

I met these guys through my friend Ryan.  He was friends with the bass player, Adam.  The band wanted to track 3 songs at Gettysburg Studio and by the end of the project, we ended up tracking and mixing 8 really cool songs.

The guys in the band were all really cool and great musicians.  I wasn't expecting the type of music they presented but I was a fan as soon as I heard the drummer warming up (awesome drummer).  The singer/keys player had a cool voice and had some great analog synths.  I was very pleased with how the album turned out and how much the band was open to production ideas.  We all had great laughs and it was one of the most comfortable sessions that I did at Gettysburg.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Album 365: Day 89 - Tower of Power - Back To Oakland

Tower of Power
Back To Oakland

Favorite tracks: Can't You See (You Doin' Me Wrong), Squib Cakes, I Got the Chop
Sleeper tracks: Just When We Start Makin' It, Below Us, All the City Lights

A standard for any kid who grew up drumming and listening to jazz.

I first head this album in music class...sophomore year.  Brian was a bass player, 2 years older than me.  He was probably the best musician to come out of Kaukauna High School and he just bought the CD.  Wanting to fit in, I eagerly listened and actually loved it.  I think it was my first jazz CD purchase.

Great horns and vocals.  Some of the ballads get a little boring but the faster stuff grabbed me at a young age.  David Giribaldi's drumming on this record is stuff of legend.

The sax player on Saturday Night Live...the guy in front...he was in Tower of Power during this era.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Album 365: Day 88 - Van Halen - Van Halen

Van Halen
Van Halen

Favorite tracks: Ain't Talkin 'bout Love, I'm the One, Atomic Punk
Sleeper tracks: Little Dreamer, Ice Cream Man

I'm guessing every American has heard at least one song from this album.

I think the first time I heard this was on 8 track.  Those things were awesome except for the fade out and fade in during the middle section of a song.

It's a great album.  As I wrote before, Van Halen II was my first experience with the band and I hold that record in a higher regard than this one.  Still, you can't deny the power this album has...and it was a debut release.

2 of the tracks made it into setlists of various bands I played with as a kid.

Album 365: Day 87 - The Rolling Stones - Tattoo You

The Rolling Stone
Tattoo You

Favorite tracks: Start Me Up, Hang Fire, Slave
Sleeper tracks: Neighbours, Worried About You

I first listened to this record while sifting through my aunt Sue's record collection.  The first 4 songs are really killer Stones tunes.  "Slave" has some of the best sounding drums on any Rolling Stones album.  The songs were essentially a compilation of stuff from different years.  They wanted to get an album out for the upcoming tour.  The album is a half rock/half ballad layout and it doesn't really flow like a regular album.  As much as I hear "Start Me Up" on NFL broadcasts, I still think it's one of the best Stones tunes.

Sax by Sonny Rollins, keyboards by Billy Preston, backup vox by Pete Townshend.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Album 365: Day 86 - Rage Against the Machine - Evil Empire

Rage Against the Machine
Evil Empire

Favorite tracks:  People of the Sun, Vietnow, Tire Me
Sleeper tracks: Revolver, Year of tha Boomerang

I was late to the game with this band.  I only agreed to get this album after I read that the band (minus the not singer) was into Rush.

The record sounds killer.  The bass and drums are some of the best from that era.  "Bulls On Parade" was a great single.  I feel that the album is pretty front-loaded.  It could have ended with "Down Rodeo".  You can only get so many riffs on one record when you have a band like this.  Without a vocal melody, your options for variety are limited.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Album 365: Day 85 - Fleetwood Mac - Rumours

Fleetwood Mac

Favorite tracks: Dreams, Go Your Own Way, You Make Loving Fun
Sleeper tracks: Songbird

You know it's an amazing record when only 1 of the 12 songs never made it on the radio (at least from what I remember of the last 30 years).

My aunt Cheryl and Sue had this album. I remember spinning it at parties (see Supertramp blog post) and hearing the songs on the radio all the time.  It's a very remarkable record...almost perfect.

The drama and strife surrounding this record is legendary.  "You Make Loving Fun" is my favorite Mac song because of all the stuff going on.  Christine and John are going through a divorce.  Christine starts seeing a lighting guy from the road crew...falls in love and writes a really great song about him.  John has to play bass on this song with his ex about a guy he knows that she loves.  You can't make it up.  The album is filled with really passionate songwriting and playing.

The trio of Christine, Stevie and Lindsey doing vocals together sounded great.  Lindsey's guitar tracks throughout the record are legendary.  It's a great headphones album.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Album 365: Day 84 - Rush - Permanent Waves

Permanent Waves

Favorite tracks: Freewill, Entre Nous, Natural Science
Sleeper tracks:

The first album released in the 80s (midnight on January 1, 1980) deserves a special night's reflection.

I could seriously make a case for this album being the all time best Rush album.  It started the other phase of the band.  They came off of Hemispheres and made a shift into more concise songs with pretty bitchin' riffs and technical prowess.  They were packing in a whole lot of prog into 5-9 minute tunes versus 20+ minute concept pieces that sometimes spanned 2 albums.  What they did on Moving Pictures wouldn't have worked if they didn't make Permanent Waves.  "Freewill" is one of my top 5 Rush songs.  "Natural Science" is an almost perfect prog song.