Wednesday, February 29, 2012
While on a much needed hiatus after hating each other's guts to the point of punching one another out, Green Day released the obligatory greatest hits package aptly titled International Superhits.
Packaging all of the Berkley pop-punker's 19 radio singles plus 2 unreleased songs seems like it's acknowledging the end of an era. Without any remastering (most noticeable on the Dookie singles here), any imagination in the track orders and the absence of anything from their first 2 albums makes Superhits a bit of a miss for any dedicated Green Day fan that all ready owns all the albums but a great compilation for housewives and little girls to sing along to.
2 lazy asses out of 5
Songs Of Note: Maria; Poprocks & Coke
Written and recorded in 2 weeks, Pink Floyd worked with More director Barbet Schroeder once again to score his film La Vallée. This resulted in the tie-in album Obscured By Clouds, Floyd's 7th studio album which would be nearly buried in the sands of time had it not been for remasters and re-issues in box sets.
The 2 weeks they spent on it really shows. It feels rushed, yet hushed and floats around with no real purpose other than to entertain those folks who just want to smoke a joint and watch the clouds go by.
2½ Men in trees out of 5
Songs Of Note: The Gold It's In The...; Free Four
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Songs of Note: Take Off Your Shoes; The Wolf is Getting Married
4 sips of piss and coffee out of 5
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
There's a lot of rehashed material from the glory days but it's too layered, cranked louder and much of it blends together into noise. The lyrics are still poetically criticising commercialism and the underlying problems of society in an entertaining way, but they're too often buried under the fuzz of the guitars. It's a less welcome side of Carter that we hadn't heard before.
Songs of Note: Lean on Me, I Won't Fall Over; Travis
3 (we know who Lenny and Terrence really are) out of 5
Sunday, February 19, 2012
5 Needlessly Counted Days out of 5
Songs Of Note: This River Is Wild; Why Do I Keep Counting?
Nutted by NEG
Songs of least fail: Tag, You're It; I'm Alive
1 dead pet back from the dead saving your life out of 5
It has some catchy moments but mostly it's safe and repetitive. The Cult cover (Rain) is the highlight for me.
Songs of Note: Rain; Two Seconds
2 chipped nails out of 5
Saturday, February 18, 2012
Songs of Note: Grave Ride; Dog
3½ it's not a real world out of 5
After the departure of Syd Barrett, Pink Floyd released a series of great, but directionless, albums. Everything changed in 1971.
1971's Meddle showcases Floyd's new songwriting maturity with a strong sense of purpose and confidence. Instead of allowing the atmospherics to lead the music, they finally learn it's best to allow the music itself to be put in the foreground and the effects to merely compliment the compositions.
If you're looking for pre-Dark Side Floyd then this masterpiece and The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn are the best places to start.
5 Returns of the Son of Nothings out of 5
Songs Of Note: One Of These Days; Echoes
Friday, February 17, 2012
Pink Floyd's 1971 compilation Relics is a bit of an odd one. As it says on one of the multiple album covers, "A bizarre collection of antiques & curios".
Compiled of non-album singles, b-sides, rarities and some "best of" cuts from their earlier albums, Relics is a wonderfully solid sampler of Floyd's earlier works for anyone curious to see what they were all about in their early days or the collector seeking out songs only available on this disc.
4 Nick Mason's wonderful whatthehellisthatthing out of 5
Songs Of Note: Julia Dream; Biding My Time
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
With blink-182 threatening to take the pop-punk crown away from them, Green Day played by their own rules and released an album that sounded like they didn't give a damn about their genre stature or what their ADHD mall-punk fans would think.
2000's Warning is a brave move by the band, blending acoustic ballads, Tom Waits styled polkas and channeling Bob Dylan & Bruce Springsteen instead of The Ramones or Twisted Sister.
With tracks that are easily some of the best written songs in their career, the fanboy in me wants to give the album a solid 5 but unfortunately the album comes with quite a few throw away songs as well.
3½ punk rock mandolins out of 5
Songs Of Note: Misery; Macy's Day Parade
Nearly disowned by the band members themselves, Pink Floyd's highly experimental 1970 LP Atom Heart Mother isn't as bad as they make it out to be.
It's not all that great either.
The title track is muddy 23 minute long opus that shows shades of brilliant experimentation but they get lumped together and lead us down aimless roads offering no real conclusion. The songs on "Side B" do pretty much the same thing but are much more cohesive and enjoyable as separate listens.
A bit of a dip in The Floyd's career but is forgiven seeing as what is to come in the following decade.
2½ Clockwork Oranges cameos out of 5
Songs Of Note: If; Fat Old Sun
Monday, February 13, 2012
Alice's vocals play games with the listener, a technique that he would use many times thereafter. It's also the album that really exposed the sick side of his brain, which is something that had been touched upon in previous albums. Songs about the apocalypse, dentistry and loving necrophilia have never been so much fun.
Songs of note: I Love the Dead; Billion Dollar Babies
5 militant mothers out of 5
Friday, February 10, 2012
Pink Floyd's first double LP, 1969's Ummagumma is a bit of a difficult album to give a firm rating to or condense in a tight little Nut, considering both LPs being so very different from each other.
The first portion of the album is a haunting live performance of 4 of Floyd's most popular songs at the time. They are incredible and vast in sound, with 2 out of the 4 songs putting the studio recordings to shame. The second portion of the album is made up of studio recordings broken up into 4 parts, each part a solo effort of sorts from each band member. It's a little fragmented at times and is made very apparent that the Floyd still don't know what to do with out the likes of Syd Barrett as their leader. However, with Roger Waters and David Gilmour's stronger submissions it shows who will be the duking it out for the throne in the future.
Ummagumma might not be a perfect album front to back but it's interesting to hear Floyd in their final moments of the transition into what they'll soon establish as the Pink Floyd sound.
4 mad rants of a pict out of 5
Songs Of Note: Careful With That Axe, Eugene [live]; The Narrow Way
Thursday, February 9, 2012
It occasionally sounds like Nirvana minus the grunge production, or Sex Pistols minus the essential attitude. In short, it's rock n roll with power-punk overtones.
Songs of Note: Nasty Ho; Six Feet Under
3½ nods to old band mates out of 5
Americana singer-songwriter, Ryan Bingham returns with his whiskey n' cigarette gravelly voice on his third album Junky Star.
This time a little more mature and confident with his songwriting but still sounding like he's lived just as rough as Steve Earle or an alcoholic Bruce Springsteen. With his feet still firmly placed in country and roots rock, Bingham crafts some finely written lyrically timeless songs about worn-down folks born on the road of dusty depression.
A true musical storyteller, like Springsteen, Dylan or Cash, Bingham might be a little young in his career to stand amongst those mentioned but give him some time and he'll do just fine.
3½ murder ballads out of 5
Songs Of Note: Yesterday's Blues; Depression
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
After being dragged through the mud by the controversy surrounding his first major label album The Slim Shady LP, Eminem stepped out from behind his fictional character and unmasked himself as Marshall Mathers on his 2nd LP.
The Marshall Mathers LP blurred the lines between reality & fantasy, horror & comedy, satire and truth. With an angry smirk and quick wit, Mathers makes you chuckle and uncomfortable simultaneously with precise spitfire vocal performances over clever production and backbeats. It's morally wrong, shocking and tasteless but it's honest anger in it's purest form that unfortunately Mathers wouldn't repeat for another 10 years.
Love him or hate him, it can't be denied that The Marshall Mathers LP is one of the first true classic albums of the new millennium.
5 Marilyn Mansons out of 5
Songs Of Note: Bitch Please II [featuring Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Xzibit & Nate Dogg]; Criminal
After going on a 2 year hiatus following the back to back releases of Dookie & Insomniac and over 2 straight years of touring the world, pop-punkers Green Day returned with 1997's experimental Nimrod.
Throwing strings, horns, harmonicas and ballads into the mix, Green Day appeared to be maturing in their songwriting and attitude. With the exception of a few crude songs scattered into the playlist, the album is a step into a different direction that was a bit much for a lot of fans who wanted more of same bouncy melodies related to masturbation and getting high.
Jam-packed with 18 songs, Nimrod is a bit much at times but with a few edits it could have been another near-perfect album.
3½ No Doubts out of 5
Songs Of Note: The Grouch; Uptight
There's a lot of repetition, apparent very quickly. Nevertheless, there's just enough maturity and seduction to sustain interest part of the time. It's not perfect but it has a certain slithery something that worked its way into my head.
Songs of Note: Summertime Sadness; Blue Jeans
2½ bitch is off to the races out of 5
The first full-length Floyd album recorded without Syd Barret, Music From The Film More is a bit of a bump in the road for the band and the direction they were heading.
More might have some really great jewels in the rough on here but it's also filled with too many overly simple throw away songs that serve as boring background score cues to the "hippy drug" film they were written for.
It's great for the hardcore Floyd fan but for a casual listener looking to explore their earlier efforts I'd go searching elsewhere.
3 EMI birdcalls out of 5
Songs Of Note: Cirrus Minor; Main Theme
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Breaking into the mainstream like nobody's business, Green Day's third album Dookie is easily one of the essential albums of the '90's. Their major label debut gives the drums more punch, the bass more bounce, multi-layered guitars for maximum crunch and the songwriting is tighter than ever. With no time between songs to catch your breath, Dookie is one melodic pop-punk hook directly after another.
With it's snotty, apathetic attitude and a middle finger up the nose, this album has been imitated on several occasions but has yet to be one-upped by anybody in the pop-punk world.
4 Bans from 924 Gilman Street out of 5
Songs Of Note: She; When I Come Around
Songs of Note: Living in the Shadow of the Terrible Thing; Why Turbulance
4 dead hands and treacle feet out of 5
Recorded during the difficult transitional period of replacing troubled frontman Syd Barrett with David Gilmour, Pink Floyd still managed to put out a stellar album in the process.
1968's A Saucerful Of Secrets begins showing glimpses of the darkness that would shadow the Floyd for the rest of their career. Moody, spacey and terrifying at times, it's really the only Floyd album to have all 5 members playing on it. It's a psychedelic masterpiece that defines my high school years and the title track still makes my head dizzy, disturbed and emotional. Add this album to my desert island discs.
5 Chinese poems out of 5
Songs Of Note: A Saucerful Of Secrets; Jugband Blues
Saturday, February 4, 2012
Songs of Note: Kids of the Century; Heavy Metal Hamsters
2 once bought, quickly regretted out of 5
The Limited Edition release is reviewed here. Go read it instead. :)
The standard edition of the Bloody Kisses album, which came out first. It has fourteen tracks, whereas the Ltd Edition only has nine. Although eight of them are also to be found here, it has a different running order. The tracks that were later removed actually bring the album down a notch; they're either pointless and irritating interludes or much too fast and only serve to interrupt the flow of the better tracks. It may sound odd, seeing as the regular edition has almost the same tracks, but I'm judging it as a whole, not as a collection of songs. If I could only choose one, I'd choose the Ltd Edition over this. It scores higher, too.
Songs of Note: Same as the other version.
3½ deaths in the family out of 5
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Songs of Note: Check My Brain; A Looking In View
3½ desperate plans out of 5