Archive for arts

Staind/The Illusion Of Progress

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , on 150000006-04:00 12 by marky7235

Staind are an American Rock Band from Massachusetts. Staind are leaders in the Alternative Metal scene, sporting 6 releases to date, multiple chart toppings and 15 million units sold.

This Is It—-Continuing in the vein of recent release, the band and the vocal is somewhat sedate. The chorus is an overwhelming journey into pain and heartbreak. Lewis delivers a vocal that is so emotive and expressive, words cannot give it justice. The musical backdrop is just as powerful as the vocal and it takes you on a nice journey.

The Way I Am—-Beginning somewhat loud, the song calms down with the entrance of the vocal. The chorus is so damn catchy that you will relive it for days. The song is deep and intense in content, the lyrics are not light fare. Truly wonderful.

Believe—-The song has a nice rhythm section sound to it that is nice against the guitar. The lyrics and vocals are stadium sized emotion. The song will play well live. Lewis again delivers a vocal that just expresses heavy pain and despair. Magical!

Save Me—-Sedate and introspective, the song again opens up to a chorus that is huge in sound and begging for attention. The music never overwhelms the vocal, it is kept pushed to the back of the vocal. The song at times becomes almost acoustic and quiet and the builds and smashes you heart on the sidewalk. Great!

All I Want—-Another Alt-Rock ballad….sometimes, I must admit, I would like this band to just let loose and rock out. Aaron Lewis has a deep, dark streak in him that has taken over Staind’s sound for the last three releases. Perhaps he needs to go solo and let this band rock out like they did on their first release.

Pardon Me—-Extreme in emotion and mood, the song is a haunting journey into the center of Lewis’s mind. The music comes out of the darkness slowly and takes on a more up front approach. I love how the music plays perfectly with the vocal…all instrumentation. WOW!

Lost Along The Way—-Although still sedate in lyrical content, the band is able to open up and rock out for portions of the song, giving this release some life. Lewis is clear in voice and deeply introspective, as usual. The chorus has a nice double style vocal that just makes the song large. Nice.

Break Away—-Finally, a song to really sink your teeth into. Sometimes reminding me of Breaking Benjamin, the song has that familiar crunch to it that a lot of Alt-rock bands have. Masterful in tone and delivery, the song is a nice release after all of the darkness.

Tangled Up In You—-Very acoustic, with an almost Alt-country feel to it, the song is stripped bare and extremely intense. The lyrical content is so deep and introspective it either makes you love you partner even more, or wish fervently that you had someone like this in your life. MY FAVORITE TRACK!!

Raining Again—-Somewhat generic in sound, the band does suffer from the ‘sameness’ factor. At least the chorus opens up with aggressive guitars and some more emotional, angry vocals…before falling off into the quiet delivery that marks so much of the release.

Rainy Day Parade—-Somewhat more aggressive, the guitar is a driving force of the song. The drummer must go mad not being able to REALLY play. The vocal is masterful in delivery albeit somewhat safe in form.

The Corner—-Very quiet and intense, Lewis again conjures up an Alt-Country styled track. Featuring some nice slide guitars and heavy piano, it suits his voice perfectly. Perhaps he will go the Darius Rucker path and record something in Nashville?

Nothing Left To Say—-Too much of a good thing….that describes this release to a tee. Finally, you are greeted with another mellow sounding Alt-Rock delivery. Too many ballads and not enough straight forward rock plagues this release. 13 tracks of sameness becomes tiresome!

*** out of 5

Sinead O’Connor/The Lion And The Cobra

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on 150000006-04:00 12 by marky7235

Sinead O’Connor is an Irish Singer/Songwriter from Dublin, Ireland. O’Connor hit the mainstream alt-rock movement in a big way with her 1987 debut. Garnering huge public and critical acclaim, this debut showed off not only her unique look, but an exquisite vocal delivery and songwriting talent. O’Connor has had career ups and downs, huge record sales and minimal record sales as well as public outcry for her legendary ‘performance’ on Saturday Night Live. Despite all her career and personal twists and turns, O’Connor continues to record, tour occasionally and still outrage the public. Both an ordained Episcopalian Priest and Political Activist, Sinead set the bar high with this debut.

Jackie—-Immediately, one is welcomed with the haunting sounds of O’Connor. The voice shines through the gentle musical landscape. As the song progresses, the strings swell with the emotion of the vocal delivery. O’Connor can deliver a haunting whisper of beauty, but she can also wail with the best. This song beautifully displays both of those attributes.

Mandinka—-With an unforgettable dance oriented musical track, O’Connor again displays a controlled and wonderfully delivered vocal. At the second bar, the strumming guitar enters and brings the song to life. I love the timbre of O’Connor as she delivers the chorus and the music is at once laden in your brain cells. Excellent.

Jerusalem—-Beautifully instrumented, O’Connor delivers a vocal that is quiet and introspective…as the music builds, the vocal intensity build with it. The song is really masterful…it has many moods and that voice!!! The music does open up throughout the composition, becoming even slightly funky at times. O’Connor wails and you actually FEEL the song.

Just Like U Said It Would B—-Stripped down and acoustic in sound, O’Connor again delivers vocal that says even more than the lyrics do. Her emotion is so clear in the controlled delivery of her vocal. You feel hurt, sad, angry and disappointed right along with her. And don’t forget the sarcastic tones either!

Never Get Old—-Beginning with what sounds like an Hebrew cantation, the song is mysteriously quiet and calm from the onset. The vocal has a slight echo to that adds to the serene effect. O’Connor delivers some wails that will live in my memory forever. I have owned probably three copies of this in one form or another and I have never gotten tired of reaching back for it from time to time. That is the mark of a true classic. When O’Connor lets loose with her voice, it sends chills to every part of your body. Magical!!!

Troy—-Coming out of a silence that slowly build with strings and orchestration, the voice is quiet, calm but with a slight edge of hurt and dismay. The song is a masterpiece and a favorite of many people who discovered this release. I’m not sure that it ever charted, but I always though with some radio play, this could have been huge. O’Connor remains calm throughout most of the song, but there is an edge to her voice and you just know an outburst is coming. When O’Connor does let loose, in perfect accompaniment with the strings, you realize how pissed off she is about stuff. Unforgettable!

I Want Your Hands On Me—-Enjoying numerous remixes, this floor stomper gained even more life in dance clubs throughout Europe and the U.S. Slightly funky, with a slight African energy, the song moves along at a nice pace despite the relaxed vocal. This is great, but i prefer a more moody O’Connor.

Drink Before The War—-Full of solace and emotion, the song begins with an eerie quiet. Mere instrumentation allows an almost whispered vocal that is so serene and melancholy, you feel the tears in the back of your eyes. I love how she sings in the masculine prefix. The song does not really pick up in speed or mood, the voice matches the minimal instrumentation perfectly. This is CLASSIC! We all fight our own wars…they just don’t always involve warfare.

Just Call Me Joe—-A heavy bass guitar with a distorted fuzz greets you at the onset of the song. The melody is pretty and shines through the ‘noise’. O’Connor again delivers a vocal that is controlled and serene. The mood of the song seems a little sunny….perhaps it is the pace of the song that gives it that feel. Remarkably good!

***** out of 5

U2/No Line On The Horizon

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , on 140000006-04:00 12 by marky7235

U2, arguably one of the biggest bands in the world, was formed in Dublin, Ireland in 1976. The band floundered for years beforehitting it big with the release of The Joshua Tree in 1987. The band sports sales worldwide of 145 million unit, has won 22 Grammy Awards and were inducted to The Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. The band is known for it’s activism and humanitarian efforts throughout the world. This is the bands 14th release.

No Line On The Horizon—-Greeting the listener with the familiar jangly guitar sound that made the band huge, Bono delivers a vocal that is familiar and comforting. At times he almost channels a Springsteen style vocal delivery. The chorus is pleasant and the great musical landscape continues throughout. In my opinion, one of the most accessible tracks they have released in years.

Magnificent—-With a heavier bass ridden sound, the guitar shines through after the first 45 seconds or so and the song is catapulted into a Indie Anthem. Bono sounds just as fresh as he did in 1980 and the band is in top form. The whole feel of the song takes me back to classic Boy era U2. Nicely done!

Moment Of Surrender—-Serene and sedate, the music has a slight electronic edge to it, but still allows room for the instrumentation. Bono delivers an odd vocal that is a little to forced for me, but overall the song has an air of beauty and peacefulness.

Unknown Caller—-An odd intro, with birds and such, the jangly signature guitar sound enters from the edges and you feel comfortable and cozy. Bonoappears with an odd falsetto type vocal that fortunately does not last for long as the song opens up and becomes more familiar in sound. The lyric is intense and heavy in delivery. Bono sounds so comfortable at this range and it again takes you back to earlier glory days. The song evolves into a nice  anthem type of delivery that is catchy and pleasant.

I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonite—-Nicely delivered, not one of my favorites on the release. The song is very subtle in instrumentation, Bono does evolve his vocal into a more stadium friendly refrain as the song continues. The music is nice, but it seems to lack emotion which is one thing I have always liked about this band.

Get On Your Boots—-I never clicked with this song…I prefer U2 when they are more introspective than loud and brash like this song. Oh well…that’s just me.

Stand Up Comedy—-Political and brash in delivery, the song is a little toned down but still comes across as to loud and brash. The song features some nice overdubs on the vocals that add a nice flair, but all in all the song is just so-so.

Fez—Wow! Swirling with calmness and atmosphere, the song progresses until it evolves into a more bass heavy instrumentation that gallops along. Bonoenters at the 1:30 mark with some nice yelps and a relaxed vocal that immediately draws you in. Very Nice!!

White As Snow—-Beginning serene as you would expect from the title, the music is sparse and allows for a nice acoustic guitar intro. Bonoenters the picture with a serious, seductive styled vocal that is heartfelt and dreamy. Wonderfully constructed and delivered, one of my favs on this release.

Breathe—-Somewhat ranting in style, Bono does reach a nice tone upon the onset of the chorus. The music is very drum and percussion heavy….the vocal is layered and layered at times but really nicely done. The song touches on many of the things going on in the world today and fits well on this release.

Ceders Of Lebanon—-Nicely delivered musical landscape, the vocal is so clear and in front of the instrumentation. Bono is the new Springsteen as he delivers a tale of loneliness and solitude of separation.

*** out of 5

Rickie Lee Jones/Pirates

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , on 130000006-04:00 12 by marky7235

Pressured to repeat an exceptional sophomore release, Jones struggled with her second release. Most of her inspiration came from her public split from musician Tom Waits. When the final product emerged in 1982, the 2 time Grammy award winner did not disappoint. The blues-soul tinge to the release remains classic today, even as Jones embraces a three decade old career.

We Belong Together—-One of my favorite Jone’s tracks of all time, she delivers a slight blues tinged tour de force of emotion. The music is slow, moderate and flowing. The tempo of the song relies heavily on the blues influence of Jones at the time, but the emotion is so powerful. The harmonies are exquisite and when the chorus breaks forth, you are transported to places you wish you could forget. The hurt and longing for love are overwhelming and you cringe when you recognize behavior that you displayed that you wish you had not. I think back on those awkward years when you used to beg for someones attention and didn’t realize you were embarrassing yourself.

Living It Up—-A post modern 60’s story song, the delivery is bluesy and lazy in feel. The lyrical interplay is exquisite….Jones has a way with words and phrasing that is only matched by such artists as Joan Baez or Joni Mitchell. When the chorus kicks in, it is so emotional that you want to grab your head and scream and them the song dissolves into a blues/scat delivery of refrain once again. Who else can do this? Incredible!!!

Skeletons—-Again, featuring exquisite wordplay and phrasing, Jones sounds so good at this point in her career. The song offers a nice piano base with pleasant strings that compliment the overture. Jones sings at a natural, slow pace that is rounded with a slight blues and soul twinge. This is a masterpiece that has not been heard by enough people.

Woody And Dutch—-Unabashedly bluesy and jazzy, Jones embraces her white girl soul to the max on this song. It took some time for this song to grow on me, but it is now a favorite of mine. I love the free flowing nature of her interaction with the instruments and her unabashed embrace of culture’s that defy her. Most excellent.

Pirates—-incredibly catchy from the onset, this is even better, to me, than Chuck’E’s In Love. The song not only displays Jones versatility, but her range of vocal emotion. The song has ups and downs that make you really feel what she is singing about. At times her voice is so pained it sends goosebumps up your back , arms and other unmentionables. Fantastic, wonderful…marvelous!!!

A Lucky Guy—-A laid back jazz fused blues song that makes you again think about the times that you embassed yourself for the sake of love. The song finds Jones in rare vocal form…clear and controlled…nice harmonies amd an exquisite sound that brings tears to your eyes!

Traces….—-I don’t know who provides the vocals on the beginning of this track…perhaps I’m too lazy to find out, but the interplay between Jones timbre’ and the alter vocal are exquisite. A beautiful song that is literally a musical sculpture, the delivery is pained and happy at the same time. Wow!

Your Return—-Full of melancholy and introspective, Jones delivers a vocal that is so hurt and sensitive it gves you razor bumps. Magnificent…..wonderful…fantastic!

****3/4 out of 5

The Queers/Munki Brain

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on 130000006-04:00 12 by marky7235

The Queers are an American Pop-Punk band formed in 1982 in New Hampshire. Although the band split in 1984, Joe King[aka Joe Queer] resurrected the band in 1990. The band has had a large, revolving cast of band members but has always revolved around founder Joe Queer. The band plays a Ramones  style Pop Punk and has often said their records are in the vein of The Ramones meets The Beach Boys. Munki Brain is the bands 11th release. A new CD will be released in 2009 on Asian Man Records.

Overdue—-Beginning immediatelyout of the gate with a surf-punk sound, Joe has a pleasant delivery and the song is very catchy. There are some nice vocal harmonies and a great fun summer vibe to the song. Not as brash as The Ramones, this is much more poppy.

Houston, We Have A Problem—-Faster and more straight forward, the song has an incredible pace. It still has a mop top kind of feel, and the melody is irresistible. The chorus will stick with you whether you want it to or not. I love the fun element of the song and the beachy feel still pervades. The lyrics are hilarious at times especially when Joe asks “…where is my Ativan?”

Don’t Get It—-A slower punkylove song. I love the way Joe delivers his vocal and there is again a nice harmony that runs through the song. The music is a tad slower but still has a sunny feel to it. This band rarely does wrong by me. Great! Sometimes, Joe manages to conjur up a Mike Ness vocal.

Duke Kahanamoku—-Very tropical and fun. The song is full of pogo style guitar and fast fun lyrics that make you want to shake your head back and forth sideways like they did in the 50’s!! Nice.

Think She’s Starting To Like Me—-Wow…straight out of the past with an overly 50’s style vocal and musical backdrop. The harmonies are exquisite and the music is a slower keyboard driven helping of pop cheese. Awesome!

About Town—-More aggressive and fuzzy, the song starts off strong from the first chord. The fun vibe is still there, but the song has a little bit more edge to it. The lyrical content is more of the same but damn catchy none the less. Sometimes the guitars really remind me of early Social Distortion.

Whatever Happened To PhilthyPhil—-Loud and abrasive, nice and a little different than previous tracks. The guitars are turned up a little more causing a fuzzy sound and the lyrical delivery is fast and profane. Nice!! A nice guitar solo adds depth to the song and shows you that despite the fun, these are serious musicians also.

Can’t Stay Bad At You—-Full of throwback 50’s elements…including Shooby DooWops…etc, the song reminds you of leather jackets, girls with poodle skirts popping their gum and hamburger joints full of classic cars. How Fun!!

Tangerine—-Nice vocal harmonies in this song are propelled by a great fast drum track and a pushed back fuzzy guitar. I love how the vocal harmonies are at the peak when the drums go crazy..it gives the song some nice depth. The guitars are given a chance to shine nicely between verses. Pretty cool!

Something In My Heart—-Another punk rock love song that is accented by a slower guitar sound. The drums again shine really nicely. The 50’s feel is overwhelming but not tiresome. Really pleasant.

To Be In Love With You—-Nicely delivered but a little overdone at this point in the CD. I would prefer a little more of a serious edge sometimes…but it is POP-PUNK!

MunkeyIn A Suit—-The song begins with a sound bite of George W. Bush, I’m not sure where it came from but it is classic….”If this were a dictatorship it would be easier, just as long as I’m the dictator.” Hilarious and apropos. The song is a certain bash of the past president and a nice change from the safe delivery that the band has displayed thus far on the CD. The music is aggressive and the lyrics are brash and appropriate! Nicely done, guys!!!

Brian Wilson—-Somewhat different than the rest of the CD, it is a slower more mellow version of the suny sound. The tale is a sad one…and a dedication to a genius. A great end to a great release.

***** out of 5

Muse/Black Holes And Revelations

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , on 120000006-04:00 12 by marky7235

Muse are a British Alternative Rock band formed in 1994. The band has been hugely popular in Great Britain and a favorite staple on American Alternative Rock radio. Black Holes And Revelations, the bands 4th CD, sold an astounding 1 million units in the UK alone. The band is currently prepping their 5th release, The Resistance, for a September 2009 debut.

Take A Bow—-Beginning with a stringlike overture, the vocal comes out of the dark at a pleasant, overdub style delivery. The song takes you along as it increases in speed and vocal intensity. The lyrical content is dark and dismal….and the song magically opens up after the first minute or so. The vocal is unmistakable and near perfection. Wonderfully executed with a nice variety of sounds…electronic and organic. Masterful!

Starlight—-The introduction is a nice fuzz bit that allows the enters of an almost 80’s electronic beat. The vocal is outstanding and incredibly well delivered. The voice is an acquired taste, but it never fails to soothe me in a way. The song opens up in a grand way, allowing mood and atmosphere. The pleasant tenor of the voice is remarkable. This is classic stuff!!!

Supermassive Black Hole—-Again, successfully shifting between electronic sounds and a strong guitar prescence, the track opens up with an interesting falsetto [more than normal] vocal that keeps up with the pace of the music nicely. The combination of vocal harmonies again makes me think of classic Queen. Their sound is that big and controlled.

Map Of The Problematique—-Sounding huge and slightly bombastic, the musical landscape is arena size. The vocal is almost whiny with a sense of desperation. Remarkable and large….the band has a big sound that is best suited for huge play venues. As usual, the track is an epic opus..long in length and mood….the harmonies are nice and subtle and the keyboard adds an inescapably catchy run that makes the song what it is. Wow!

Soldier’s Poem—-Beginning with a beautiful acoustic styled intro, the vocal is raw and vulnerable. The guitar is gently strummed and the drums are so far removed they are less than obvious. In headphones, the vocal overdubs play from ear to ear in a pleasant almost sad manner. Beautiful..in content and delivery. Again very Queen inspired.

Invincible—-Sounding almost like a funeral march, the vocal slightly builds in intensity as the song progresses. The musical landscape continues to evolve in a psuedo-psychedelic styled swirl. The voice is so pained and emotive you feel sad for awhile after the track is finished. I guess that means it was a success?

Assassin—-Beginning with fancy finger work on the guitar, the song opens up in a bombastic style. The drums are huge and the guitar faster than usual. A nice romp of metal tinged styling, the vocal is erratic and out of control from the onset. I mean that in a good way, mind you. The frenzied pace of the song…the heavily dubbed vocal that seems like a hundred voices again hearken back to stadium age Queen. Marvelous!

Exo-Politics—-Rather generic in sound, the song is heavy on kick drum and staccatostyled guitar. The vocal rises above the musical delivery with the exception of an odd electronic hum that runs through the back drop. Mid point the song becomes somewhat more electric in sound with a more straight forward guitar delivery. The vocal choruses are masterful and the blend of overdubs are nicely done.

City Of Delusions—-Musically more paired down, the guitar has an almost Spanish feel to it. the vocal is predictable and monotonous at this point. I’m glad when the music opens up and takes the forefront. Some nice strings and a great drum beat lead into a noisier chorus point. Not a bad composition, not a favorite though.

Hoodoo—-Featuring a large mishmash of sounds…middle Eastern, Blues…the music almost comes to a stop as the vocal is introduced in a quiet introspective manner. The song takes on a more groovy, atmospheric tone at the minute mark and the vocal allows for the introduction of both strings and piano. Never one to stay quiet for too long, the band delivers an end to the song that is noisy and bombastic. Great!

Knights Of Cydonia—-Epic in production, the intro to the song features horses and orchestration! The song takes on a galloping beat that drives it at a great pace, the guitar delivers a slight psychedelic mutation that just adds to the mood. The first half of the song sounds like a movie soundtrack, the vocal enters and matches the tempo of the song wonderfully. There are layers upon layers of different sounds and moods all coming at you at once. The ‘chorus’ is so Queenin nature that you can’t help but make comparisons. A masterful end to a really solid release.

**** out of 5

Ian Brown/The Greatest

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , on 120000006-04:00 12 by marky7235

Ian Brown is an influential English musician and former lead singer of the British band The Stone Roses. Since the demise of the ‘Roses’, Brown has released 5 solo albums, and scored an impressive 12 UK top 40 singles. The Greatest is a collection of singles. Brown is scheduled to release new material in August 2009.

My Star—-Beginning with a decidedly Eastern flair, the song becomes a mish mash of sound bites and suddenly ushers in the unmistakable vocal of Brown. Displaying an easy gait and pleasant harmonies, Brown sounds top notch. The musical landscape is decidedly English in sound and pleasing to the palate.

Corpses In Their Mouths—-Admittadly, my favorite track from Brown thus far in his career. I’m still not really sure what this song is about, but the delivery over rides the confusion. This track has a remarkable early Stone Roses feel to it. The vocal is slightly muted, the music is breezy and easy to digest. The vocal delivery is natural and, it seems. with little effort. Most excellent!

Can’t See Me [Remix]—-Sounding somewhat psychedelic and progressive, Brown has a real up-front vocal that skims over the spacey soundscape. The vocal again is controlled and delivered with pleasure and ease. The chorus is a catchy little ditty that stays with you. Very Nice.

Be There [With UNKLE]—-Beginning muddled and noisy, the track clears up to allow the presentation of the vocal. The backdrop is decidedly trippy garage house, but Brown has a vocal delivery that fits the music wonderfully. A little overproduced, with the annoying hum running in the far background, but none the less a pleasure to revisit.

Love Like A Fountain [Single Mix]—-Bass heavy and slightly tinged with psychedelic dance rhythms, Brown displays a vocal distortion that is somewhat annoying. The music has a nice progressive push to it, the drum machine/track keeps the track fresh.

Dolphins Were Monkeys [Single Mix]—-I think all of the ‘monkey’ euphemisms associated with Brown somewhat humorous. Am I the only one that thinks Brown really does resemble a simian? Brown returns to clear voice on this track and the music is propelled by an in your face drum beat. Brown sounds WAAYYY better on CD than he does live, obviously the production team tweaks his vocal a lot in the studio. I am always impressed by how clear and in tune his voice is when recorded.

Golden Gaze [Single Version]—-Beginning with a sound that I’m sure someone borrowed from some Led Zeppelin song or another, the pace is constantly increasing in temp without ever going any where. The vocal is fantastic and I can remember how much I loved this single from Brown’s first release after The Roses split. It was something I was craving and needing, and the song still feels fresh today.

F.E.A.R.—-Featuring strings at the intro, the quick string delivery ushers in another drum track heavy song. The strings stay throughout most of the track, but pushed down in the mix. The song is pleasant, yet somehow unremarkable.

Forever And A Day [The Greatest Version]—-Beginning electrically acoustic, the guitar has a nice soar to it at times that makes the track more aggressive. The song is an interesting introspective lyrical journey and Brown has a top notch vocal. Very nice, even some horns and a subtle blues touch.

Keep What Ya Got—-Sounding a bit muddy musically, Brown again appears with a vocal that is excellent. No sour notes or hollers, the vocal is clear, concise and controlled. I like the easy going laid back tempo of this song. Great!

Time Is My Everything—-Beginning with an odd assortment of horns that just disappears upon the onset of the vocal, brown sings a nice intro and suddenly the horns reappear and introduce a nice rhythm section that is completely different from anything else on this compilation. Very nicely done, the vocal is pleasant but the song remains stellar because of the instrumentation.

Longsight M13—-A nice psychedelic, middle eastern groove ushers in the vocal and the musical mood comes and goes throughout the song. Brown is a little more upfront and aggressive in his vocal delivery on this composition. The sound effects in the song ride along the whole time in the backdrop, telling us that this is a diverse studio band. Nice!

REIGN [With UNKLE]—-Much more electronically based, the strings are probably manufactured sounds. Ian delivers another vocal that is easy going and clear. The shifting of the music becomes annoying at times, but never so distracting that you turn the song off. The tracks becomes much more vibrant and alive towards the middle and the music seems turned up and competing with the vocal. Very nice though!

Lovebug [The Greatest Version]—-Somewhat funky, the over present horns are reminding me of Mark Ronson production. The backtrack is heavy on bass and horns, the vocal pushed some too the back is slightly stomped on by the horns. Tone it down and it would be another classic.

All Ablaze—-Featuring a rather electronic backbeat, the drug haze shines through in a subtle psychedelic way. I love the really relaxed, haze filled vocal delivery. This CD does a nice job of highlighting some excellent output from the former frontman of one of the most important bands in British history. I eagerly await the next chapter!

**** out of 5

Theory Of A Deadman/Scars & Souvenirs

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , on 110000006-04:00 12 by marky7235

Theory Of A Deadman are an Alt-rock band formed in Delta, British Columbia in 2001. Since the release of their debut CD, the band has scored 5 top ten singles and a huge fan base. Scars & Souvenirs is the bands third  and bestselling release with sales just over 500,000 units.

So Happy—-Sounding like a modern day Alice And Chainsduring the first few moments of the song, it quicky detours into a great Alt-Rock song that is guitar driven and powerful. Sounding better than most steadfast Alt-rock bands of the modern day, I really enjoy this track.

By The Way—-The only complaint I have about this band? They have the unfortunate mishap of sounding like every one else…or like so many other bands. They will have to do something really radical to maintain their integrity. The song has a nice ballad feel to it, some classic double tracked vocals that will not play well live but none the less really shine on CD. This is a great song…but it HAS been played before.

Got It Made—-An interesting vocal from the onset, it seems almost muted and pushed away from the mic until the chorus breaks through and gives us a Nickelback styled delivery. The drum track on this song is outstanding and appreciated. The vocal returns to the odd delivery after each chorus but it is pleasant to listen to.

Not Meant To Be—-Unfortunately generic in sound from the onset, the band sounds like too much other stuff that is flooding the market these days. Granted, it IS a great song..but it is to predictable. I need something to shake me up!!

Crutch—-More aggressive from the onset, the vocals are more machine sounding and in your face. The guitar crunches in a pleasant manner and the chorus is damn catchy. This is what I mean….this song is different in sound…more driving and not as ‘safe’. I like this.

All Or Nothing—-A piano based balled that allows some electric sounds to intervene but relies on the safe alt-rock recipe that so many bands adhere to. The familiarity will be the downfall.

Heaven—-More frustrating predictable material….the ballad style that opens up some with the chorus is so cliche’…I guess I just demand more than this band is willing to give. Pleasant but somewhat disappointing.

Bad Girlfriend—-Definitely more metal and driving, the song has a nice feel to it from the very beginning. It is a pure in your face rock and roll song with nice subtle tinges of blues. I love this…this is what I neen, something unpredictable and different. Very Nice.

Hate My Life—-Beggining almost acoustic, the guitar only plays in one headphone until the second bar when we are graced with musical harmony. The song, to me, is stupid! Whatever…this is like an Alt-Rock remake of take This Job And Shove It!!!!

Little Smirk—-More of a ‘balls to the walls’ rock feel, the song delivers a nice blues touch that the band d\oes really well. I like the musical tempo, the vocal is pretty generic.

End Of The Summer—-A really nice feel good song—–for a Mountain Dew commercial. Really kind of ridiculous to me, I am continually disappointed with this release and really don’t envision myself listening to it again!

Wait For Me—-Quieter and with a slight country tinge, the vocal is nicely delivered at an almost deadpan at the very onset of the song. Some nice overlays and a shifting guitar adds to the bluesy country feel. I like this song!

Sacrifice—-Returning to the same old recipe, I just breath a sigh of release that this song is over.

** out of 5

Eminem/Relapse

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , on 110000006-04:00 12 by marky7235

Since hitting the mainstream population in 1999, Eminem has enjoyed a tremendous and unstoppable recording career. Sporting 9 Grammy Awards, an Academy Award and sales worldwide of nearly 100 million units, Eminem went on ‘hiatus’ in 2004 to face his own demons. Relapse marked his return to recording in 2009.

Dr. West [Skit]—-As expected, Eminem opens his release with a skit that is dark and disturbing. Eminem pokes subtle fun at his sobriety and melds this skit into…

3 a.m.—-With an inescapable catchy beat, Eminem adds layer upon layer of vocal accents. The song…darker than what you are accustomed to. The entire CD, for the most part, has an edgier feel to it. The basic message of the song is lessons learned from the stupid things you do when you are trashed. Eminem is in fine form, lyrically he spits remarkable lines, musically the song is a lazy made for head bobbin’ beat.

My Mom—-Ah…familiar and safe territory.The song has a remarkable horn line throughout it. Not something you would expect. Of course the song basically blames Em’s Mom for the drug problems he has had. Probably valid, but it is a little played out. Only the remarkable beats make the song fantastic.

Insane—-Incredibly dark and disturbing. Eminem being who he is, it is difficult to know if any thing in this song is true, but with his uncanny ability to write vivid pictures, you tend to believe it. The beats are Mark Ronson styled horns and with a nice jazzy feel. You can’t help but enjoy the chorus even though it has it’s disturbing elements…it does stick in your brain. Remarkable!

Bagpipes From Baghdad—-Beginning with a Middle Eastern flavor, Dre has his fingerprints all over the musical mix of the song. The lyrical content is slam-min against numerous people…which is typical. I’m sure Em enters into the studio wondering who he can piss off this time. Sometimes hilarious and sometimes disturbing, Em never fails to deliver!

Hello—-Marking the return of Slim Shady, Em’s alter-ego, the song has a spastic type of deep bass beat. Em delivers a rapid fire, drug fueled lyric that references about every kind of drug you can imagine. The chorus is a sing song type of delivery that fits him well. This is classic Marshall Mathers!

Tonya [Skit]—-Again, disturbing and dark…murderous and villainous….the mind of a genius?

Same Song & Dance—-I guess this is a Eminem styled ‘love song’ albeit perverted and dark. The lyrical delivery is fantastic, Em delivers lines that are almost like a ‘real’ song. The beats are inescapable and addictive. Nice!

We Made You—-Oh Yeah! The Eminem that we all expect to hear. Perverted, hilarious and damn catchy. I love the video and was primed for this release because of it. Again, the music reminds me of the stuff that Mark Ronson has been doing. Unforgettable and timely.

Medicine Ball—-Deeper in sound with a nice groove, Slim appears yet again with disturbing lyrics, homophobic themes and serial killer leanings. I really like Em, but sometimes his love of the underbelly of the world grows tiresome. I like when he says “…I guess it’s time for you to hate me again….” Obviously he manages to do exactly what he wants to do…outrage and sell records. Although the whole Christopher Reeves thing is a little over the top.

Paul [Skit]—-Another apperance from the record Exec. Outrage and disdain.

Stay Wide Awake—-With a slower beat at the onset, Em delivers vocals that belie the beat and drives it on. The song is damn catchy and really sticks in your head. Again, the material is even darker than usual but the music is so freakin’ great. Em manages to keep up a great pace while rapping….in fact, he belies the beat and sets his own pace. Perfect!

Old Time’s Sake—-With a nice throwback beat, Em ushers in a special appearance from Dr. Dre. It is nice to hear that voice after so long. The ability of these two to play off of each other is uncanny. Two completely different vocals that work so well together. A favorite of mine!!

Must Be The Ganja—-With an incredible sharp high-hat beat, Em is again facing his drug demons. The music is loud, the vocals seem a little moved to the back. The lyrical content is almost anti-drug, but that would be so predictable. Em delivers a chorus that sticks in your brain and wakes you up in the middle of the night—to smoke of course!

Mr. Mathers [Skit]—-A hallucinated drug overdose nightmare…you know whats going on but you can’t respond.

Deja Vu—-Another journey into the underbelly of drug use…the over use, the overdose, the overplay. The trials of drug abuse that leaves you cold and lonely…that drives you away from everything that you care about. The battle to become sober and the battle to remain sober. The song is dark and intense. I admire the guy for facing his demons.

Beautiful—-Marvelous!!! A ballad style delivery with a rapid fire lyrical release, Em again tries to exorcise his demons. The song traces the decision to retire, the ensuing difficulty of not working and the triumphant return. A really great composition.

Crack A Bottle—-Featuring cameos from Dre and 50, the music is again heavy with horns and bass. Em delivers a familiar up and down type of vocal that matches the upper registers of the horns. Dre delivers a classic old school styled vocal that is reminiscent of the old days, 50 surprises me…almost singing his verse. Nice!

Steve Berman [Skit]—-Hilarious and sarcastic…Berman blames Em for the entire downfall of the recording industry . So funny…..so egotistical.

Underground—-Lighter and more fun than most of the tracks, the track is heavy musically….the verses are spastic yet enjoyable. The song is full of every negative euphemism that you can imagine…from Satan, lesbians, Faggot this and Faggot that..even more Christopher Reeves references. Disgusting yet hilarious and catchy!

****1/2 out of 5

Ade Fenton/Artificial Perfect

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on 90000006-04:00 12 by marky7235

It has proved difficult to find significant information about said Ade Fenton. I’ll tell you what I know…he has been around for awhile…used to be a ‘Techno God’…..sucmmed to Industrial sounds in the latter 90’s…..joined Gary Numan on his industrialized Jagged release [reviewed earlier]…released his own CD with Numan on some tracks and is working with Gary on his new CD Splinter, to be released in 2009. If you hold any other info, please let me know. I thirst for the knowledge.

The Leather Sea—-Beginning with a ddep. dark and desolate landscape, it is familiar territory. Perhaps a ‘toss-away’ from Numan’s Jagged release, it would have fit perfectly. Fenton pulls from all of the Industrial sounds capes that have been used before. The drive, the desolation, the lonliness, the isolation all produced by sounds-capes of music. Numan provides the essential vocal that brings the song to life. With lyrics again borrowing on his “God Complex”. Numan berates the believer by proclaiming “….Your God Is Guilty, Your God Is Nothing…..”. Remarkably emotion filled and desolate, this is masterful!!!

Truth—-Machine generated and NIN influenced, the song is an Industrial definition!!! The sounds are pure classic Industrial Masterclasses. Numan again supplies a vocal that is so distant and removed that you feel cold from the onset. I can’t quite find the words to express the icy delivery that you feel in the sound. The emotion is clearly there, yet somehow magically removed. The vocal is a whispered masterpiece of hurt, denial, lonelinessand desperation. WOW! The song builds and builds with layer after layer of sound until you feel like it will burst, then suddenly disperses. Mag-freakin’-nificent.

Healing—-Whoa! Much more techno in sound, the music is layered and intricate…the beats are dancable, without losing the Industrial sounds that are in the backdrop. Numan has a vocal that is classic in delivery. I have not heard him sing like this in a while. The delivery is contencious and self-effacing. The style is classic Numan all the way…layer upon layers of tracks with layer and layers of musical sounds on top. The music literally gallops at an alarming pace until you feel like you might not be able to take anymore…..only the vocal keeps you at an even keel, because it is at it’s classic best deadpan. Fantastic….you must hear this if you love Gary!!! Perhaps Fenton will re-invente this man yet again.

Everything Changes—-Featuring a female vocalist, the music is hard and cold but looses much of it’s power due to the vocal. I just don’t feel the isolation and desperation in the pretty vocal. A real disappointment for me…this does not work for me at all. The music is driven by a piano that is way up front, but with a low machine generated hum in the background that reminds you that this is not a pretty sound. I wish he would have let Gary have this!

One Day—-An absolute noise fest!!! Magnificent and minimal in vocal delivery, it only last a minute or so but makes an impact on your ears and brains instantly.

Recall—-Again, featuring the remarkable vocals of Numan, the song contains all the best elements of the ‘Industrial Sound’ that you would expect. I wonder what would happen if Gary and Trent would make a CD together. I think I may have wet dreams about that one. Numan delivers a classic 80’s styled vocal that is more talk than singing…it fits perfectly with the music. The sound scape is noisy and layered and tuned to perfect noise. Brilliant!

Slide Away—-Beginning in that quiet, industrial noise way….leading you to feel that the song will explode at any minute…it makes you wait and then you are welcomed by the machine generated bass sounds. Numan again sings in perfect symmetry with the noise. The music drives and drives, yet Numan refuses to give up any of the emotion that he has control of in the delivery. The sound slows to a piano chord or two, the sounds in the backdrop….Numan again surfaces with a displaced chorus that is not the focus, but works anyways. Marvelous in mood and delivery.

Machine—-Again returning to a misplaced female vocal that just does not work with the music, I am really disappointed. This is not Portishead!! I do not like this at all and was really mad when I first heard this. The excellent musical soundscape almost drowns out the useless vocal and it would have been beautiful with no vocal at all!!!

**** out of 5