Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Lata, mon. Bob Marley and the Wailers - Legend

Released May of '84 on Tuff Gong/Island
If you asked me who comes to mind when I think of reggae, I'd say Bob Marley.  If you said "yeah, yeah, but besides Bob Marley, who comes to mind..." I'd say " McFeren?  He's reggae, right?"  And you'd say "Yeah, sure.  He counts.  Anyone else?"  Then, I'd probably frown and say "Nope.  That's all I got."

I got a crash course in Bob Marley my freshman year of college.  My roommate had a lot of Jazz and hip hop but the record that got the most play on his side of the room was "Legend."  Now, I had heard a handful of his songs over the years, but I'd never listened to an entire Bob Marley record.

It's great.  It's a really really good record.  He sings with soul and love, preaches equal rights...  I really can't think of a single bad thing to say about his music.  The fact of the matter is I don't need to listen to it anymore.  I know the songs, I can hear them in my head.  In less than a month, it will have been 30 years since he died of cancer at the age of 36.  The world has been able to enjoy his music for almost 50 years.  That's MORE than enough time.  I worry that Marley eclipses an entire genre of music.  For too many people, he is the end all be all of reggae music and that's a shame.

I wouldn't consider myself a big reggae fan.  I don't own any reggae music.  But, in the future, if I find myself in the mood for a little Rastafarian groove, I'd like it to come from new, rising Jamaican talent.  I want to hear the island nation voices of today.  I bet there's some pretty fantastic stuff.  If you know of some, please share!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Say goodbye 2 Temple of the Dog - Temple of the Dog

Released on A&M, April 16, 1991
Did anyone actually buy this album when it came out?  I certainly didn't.  Why would I when Mtv was playing the "Say Hello 2 Heaven" video round-the-clock?  According to Wikipedia, the answer is both yes and no.  The record initially sold only 70,000 copies in '91.  However, after the releases of "Badmotorfinger" (Exp. Oct. '11) and "Ten" (Exp. Aug. '11)* , A&M realized they had gold in their catalogue and rereleased the album in '92.  It went platinum.

I remember watching the video and thinking, "There are too many people in this band."  At some point somebody explained to me that it was part Pearl Jam part Soundgarden and that the record paid tribute to a friend of theirs who had died.  I know now that it was their friend Andrew Wood who had been the lead singer of Mother Love Bone.  MLB (sigh... could the Mets be any worse?) is a band I know absolutely NOTHING about.

I suppose, in a way, this record set the tone for what the 90's would become.  It at least opened the door.

Question: Does this record get radio play anymore?

*You better get to listening, because YOU'RE RUNNING OUT OF TIME!

Friday, April 8, 2011

NEW MUSIC: Boat - Dress Like Your Idols

Released on Magic Marker Records; March of '11
The other day I heard this song "Bite My Lip" on KXLU.  I arrived at work before the DJ had a chance to back announce, so the first thing I did when I got to my computer was instant message her (their AIM is kxludj) and ask for the name of the band.  It turns out the band was BOAT.  Another group from Seattle, BOAT has been around since 2006 releasing a handful of 7"'s and EP's over the years.

Their latest album "Dress Like Your Idols" is supposedly cleaner and "more mature" than their previous efforts.  However, thes lyrics seem pretty playful with equal part pop, so I'm not sure what that says about their earlier stuff's maturity level.

As you can probably tell, their album art gives a shout out to nine of their major musical influences.  I recognize five, know four, but only actually own one.*

Thanks to my buddy Wesley, I purchased "DLYI" for less than 2 bucks at gomusicnow.**  Check out their track "(bang my chest like) King Kong" which I've embedded at the top of this posting.  If you dig it and wanna hear more, go to the band's website here.

*"Time Trials" fans may smile at Center Square. ; I own the top right album.

**Have you people heard of this site?  Their prices are INSANE.  I don't know how legit the site is, but I've downloaded 15 albums for around 12 bucks.  I like to think that the artist is receiving 100% of the money.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I hardly knew you, Nine Inch Nails - Pretty Hate Machine

Released on TVT records; Oct. 20, 1989
I'm going on record as saying that "Pretty Hate Machine" is the first of my posts that really makes what I'm doing difficult, and it's not because I'm a die hard NIN fan.  In fact, I have never owned a NIN record.  (I know them almost entirely from radio play.)  The reason this stings is because, though I never purchased this record, we did have a short-lived relationship.

In high school, I worked on a driving range along with my cousin and a third guy.  We worked different shifts, but for the most part our responsibilities were identical; we drove the caged cart that swept the field for golfballs.  On busy days, I'd spend most of my time in the cart listening to my CD walkman, blasting music to drown out the constant CLANGS! and THWOPS! that are inevitable when you're a moving, metal target.

I don't remember if the walkman was communal but there were definitely a handful of CD's that lived in the cart barn.  One of them was PHM and when I'd grow tired of the CD's I'd bring from home, it was typically the next one I'd go for.  In all, I probably listened to this CD 12 times.  And each time, I'd think to myself "I gotta pick this thing up."  But I never did.  It's stupid, but one reason I didn't buy PHM when it came out was because I didn't want to be considered a poser.  (which is especially ridiculous considering that it had already been out for eight years at this point.)

12 plays of a great album is far from satisfying when you think in terms of a twenty year period.  But them's the breaks.  It will just have to serve as a lesson that when music speaks to you, do something about it.  Twenty years can go by like that.  The silver lining is that it's still the only expired NIN record. Trent Reznor's 2nd album "Broken" doesn't expire until September of next year.  Beyond that, there are 6 more studio albums spanning from 1994 to 2008.

Fun fact: I once flew first class (random/unexplained upgrade) from New Orleans to Los Angeles and sat directly across the aisle from Reznor.  He was with his girlfriend.....who was DEAF!  And though there are obvious jokes to be made about Reznor having a deaf girlfriend, I find it extremely fascinating.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

R.I.P., Michael Jackson - Thriller

Released on Epic Records; November 30, 1982
I was three years old when this album came out.  Four, when the video debuted.  I remember not watching the video more than actually seeing it for the first time.  Not only was my mom adamantly against MTV, labeling it trash, but she also hated Michael Jackson.  "Boys shouldn't wear earrings."  The fact that it could potentially give her son nightmares for months was less of an issue.   At some point, however, I did watch the video and it was pretty awesome.  If you told me that it is, and will forever be, the greatest music video of all time, I'd be okay with that.

In 32 years, I have never owned a Michael Jackson album.  I never saw him in concert.  I've never seen "Captain EO".  With the exception of Netflixing "This Is It,"* I've devoted as little time with MJ's music as possible and yet, I've probably heard each of his singles a thousand times.  It's unavoidable.  The man was a pop icon.  The pop icon of pop icons.  So, if I've had enough of his music, I can only imagine how exhausted his fans must be.  Right, Cam?

Though I'm singling out "Thriller", seven of Michaels' studio albums have expired including "Bad" (exp. '07) and "Off the Wall" (exp. '99).  This leaves us with "HIStory" ('15), "Invincible" ('21) and "Dangerous" which expires in seven months!

FYI, Michael Jackson expired 06/25/09....which eerily enough is F.Y.I.

For the record, my favorite MJ song has always been "Billie Jean."

*I really enjoyed "This is It."  With all his faults and issues, the man certainly was a genius.  It was fascinating watching Michael work.

Monday, April 4, 2011

No more NOFX - Ribbed

Released on Epitaph; Exp. 03/26/11
Punk Rock is a genre of music that means different things to different people.  Often political and usually loud, it's the bastard step child of music, and which bands qualify as "punk" is a debate that can sometimes result in a boot to the head.  

For a lot of people (senior citizens), punk rock means The Sex Pistols (Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols; Exp. '97) or X (Los Angeles; Exp. '00).  For others, it's Black Flag (Damaged; Exp. '01) or The Dead Kennedys (In God We Trust, Inc.; Exp. '01)

Me?  I'll admit it, I like my punk with melody.  It has to be fast, and I prefer it to be loud, but if there's no hook then I usually lose interest.  NOFX has always ranked #1 on my list of favorite punk bands.  Their DIY style combined with humorous lyrics and regular use of wordplay make them my go-to punk band for all occasions.  (#2 would probably be Bad Religion).

Fat Mike and his crew have produced 11 studio albums with a twelfth due to come out in 2012.  Of those albums, three have expired. "Ribbed", "S&M Airlines (Exp. 09) & Liberal Animation (Exp. '08).  I sort of feel bad for people who haven't embraced the punk rock bands from the 90's and later, because at this point they're all that's left.

Of course, that's not entirely true.  The Ramones have three studio albums left, The Stooges released an album in '07 called "The Weirdness."  Operation Ivy continues to release remastered versions of their two studio albums.*  So there's that....

Even though I'm bummed about "Ribbed" and the others, I won't REALLY be upset until next year when "White Trash, Two Heebs and a Bean" expires in November.

*I'm not exactly sure where I stand on remastered versions of expired music, but for now I will still consider them expired.