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.