Archive for January, 2012

January 31, 2012

Album 0012: Fantastic Plastic Machine – FPM

Release Date: 2009
Genre: House

Tracklisting:

1. If You Do, I Do (威風堂々) (04:00)
2. Without You (05:12)
3. I Think (04:43)
4. Hey Ladies (02:26)
5. Can’t You Feel It? (03:56)
6. Forever Mine (06:37)
7. Madness (06:55)
8. Sex (07:12)
9. Alphabet (05:56)
10. Telephone & Whisker (05:57)
11. No Matter What Others Say (05:19)
12. Ai No Yume (06:51)

Total Length: 01:05:05

If You Do, I Do (威風堂々) is just a fantastic song overall. Everyone should listen to it. I have a friend that doesn’t like the ending, as it is kind of an odd transition into the Star Spangled Banner, but the rest of the song makes up for it. Without You is just as awesome, the vocals and lyrics are good and the backing music is fun. I Think is in a similar vein and is pretty fun, but not quite as good.

Hey Ladies is a fun short little track, but nothing special, plus the stuttering makes me think my hard drive is having issues. Can’t You Feel It? starts off very cool, I’m not a fan of the backing vocals, but the lead vocal definitely saves it. Forever Mine starts the section of the album that is not as appealing to me. I think the song goes on a bit too long, but it’s alright.

Madness also goes on way too long, but isn’t near as appealing. Sex is the worst case scenario, it’s long and holds absolutely no appeal for me. Alphabet is better, and an alright concept, but once more goes on just a bit too long. Telephone & Whiskey is pretty cool, which gets me out of the funk the last few songs put me in.

No Matter What Others Say is very good, but kind of annoys me when I listen too closely. I know I shouldn’t judge the song based on it, but the pronunciation they use on the chorus can get on my nerves. Ai No Yume is very cool, and a perfect way to end the album. It’s nice and calm, the piano is cool to hear, and is just a great track overall. If it wasn’t for that middle section (and that section being the longest of the album) I would definitely love this. As it stands, I love certain tracks, but getting through the entire album is a tougher process.

Final Rating: 6.5/10

January 29, 2012

Album 0011: Thyrfing – Thyrfing

Release Date: 1998
Genre: Folk Metal

Tracklisting:

1. Raven Eyes (03:36)
2. Vargavinter (02:59)
3. Set Sail To Plunder (04:23)
4. Ur Askan Ett Rike (03:04)
5. Celebration Of Our Victory (04:43)
6. A Burning Arrow (02:51)
7. En Döende Mans Förbannelse (03:34)
8. Hednaland (03:34)
9. Wotan’s Fire (04:32)
10. Going Berserk (05:12)

Total Length: 38:28

Raven Eyes is an alright track. It’s got some of the charm of this band but is mostly uninteresting. Vargavinter is a bit more melodic and enjoyable, but still not great. Set Sail To Plunder is sort of fun. Ur Askan Ett Rike isn’t terribly interesting.

Celebration Of Our Victory has a few cool riffs I suppose. A Burning Arrow is sort of interesting. En Döende Mans Förbannelse actually sounds pretty good because of the piano usage. Hednaland is kind of interesting for the same reason. Wotan’s Fire isn’t too good outside of the bass solo. Going Berserk has some cool bits with backing vocals and acoustic guitars.

This album honestly isn’t that good, and so there’s not too much I can say about it honestly. It’s got a few moments where I can see what the band would become, but otherwise it’s fairly basic ‘viking’ metal and isn’t too interesting.

Final Rating: 4.5/10

Tags:
January 28, 2012

Album 0010: Oingo Boingo – Only A Lad

Release Date: 1981
Genre: New Wave/Ska/Rock

Tracklisting:

1. Little Girls (03:44)
2. Perfect System (03:46)
3. On The Outside (03:51)
4. Capitalism (03:41)
5. You Really Got Me (04:37)
6. Only A Lad (03:57)
7. What You See (03:55)
8. Controller (03:26)
9. Imposter (03:00)
10. Nasty Habits (04:08)

Total Length: 38:05

Little Girls kicks off this album with a little horn intro before the song proper. The song is fun, well arranged, well produced, and just a ton of fun. This song has unfortunately gotten some bad types of attention in recent years as people don’t realize that Danny Elfman writes his lyrics in first perspective, even if it’s something he doesn’t agree with. The idea behind this song was based on old men he had seen driving around in LA with young women in the car. This still remains one of my favorite songs ever though, it’s just too good. Perfect System is really good. It’s a song the band pretty much ignored after this album’s release, but it’s got some fun lyrics and a cool atmosphere that is kind of depressing. The gang vocals are ridiculously cool in the bridge.

On The Outside
to this day remains one of my favorite songs ever. The lyrics are great and really spoke to me back when I first heard it nearly ten years ago. It’s got a unique style and sound, the horns are great, I just love everything about. It’s even got a pretty cool bridge, which slowly got eaten away at throughout the years. I’d talk about the song more but it would just be more gushing. Capitalism is another song written in the first perspective, but this time Danny is kind of criticizing both sides. A lyrically interesting song but not my favorite musically.

You Really Got Me is a cover of the classic Kinks song, and they make sure to make it unique with heavy use of a vocoder. I think the song goes on a bit too long but is still fun. Only A Lad is another of the best songs ever written. Insanely good lyrics, cool instrumentation, an awesome chorus… it’s just an amazing song. Danny’s singing is great on it as well. What You See is probably my fourth favorite on the album, and I wish the band didn’t ignore it after this album. It’s such a cool song, especially the bridge which might be one of the best things I’ve ever heard due to the production and arrangement.

Controller is sort of similar to Perfect System in that it gives off the vibe of a depressing future, with unknown powers in control. In this song it’s about nameless figures that can come and get you at any time. Sort of paranoid, but still fun. I will say that I wish they had kept in some of the cool stuff that was in the demo version. Imposter is a song written about a very specific critic of the band, and is pretty fun but not the best of the album.

Nasty Habits is a fantastic ending song. It once again changes thing up with a new vibe/feeling, and has very fun lyrics about the things people hide in their private lives, of the sexual variety. Just such a cool song. I could write on and on about this album, whether it’s the writing, the arrangement, the musicianship, the singing, the production… I just love it. I admit that it has a few flaws, but damn if I can’t look past them.

Final Rating: 10/10

January 27, 2012

Album 0009: The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Release Date: 1967
Genre: Pop/Rock

Tracklisting:

1. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (02:03)
2. With A Little Help From My Friends (02:45)
3. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (03:28)
4. Getting Better (02:47)
5. Fixing A Hole (02:38)
6. She’s Leaving Home (03:26)
7. Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite! (02:39)
8. Within You, Without You (05:08)
9. When I’m Sixty-Four (02:40)
10. Lovely Rita (02:46)
11. Good Morning, Good Morning (02:35)
12. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) (01:19)
13. A Day In The Life (05:36)

Total Length: 39:48

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is a pretty fun intro to the album, just cool. With A Little Help From My Friends is pretty good, but I can’t say I personally really enjoy it. I realize that many of the songs on this album are considered absolute classics, but sometimes my senses just don’t match up. Cool melodies in this though, I just feel like the lyrics are cheesy. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds is a song I kind of take contention with. The intro and verse is fantastic, but the chorus is completely different and I frankly don’t care for it. If an entire song was made based off the intro and verse alone I would love it.

Getting Better has a fun chorus, but I don’t really care about the rest of the song. Fixing A Hole is alright. She’s Leaving Home is pretty fantastic, I really like everything about it. Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite! is just fun, it’s really interesting for the time. Within You, Without You is about the only song on this album I don’t enjoy. It’s possible to do an Indian-influenced song without it sounding boring and drawn out like this track. I suppose it was pretty different for the time, though. When I’m Sixty-Four is a cheesy pop song that I really enjoy.

Lovely Rita is an okay song, I feel like the ending is kind of odd, but the rest of the track is fun. Good Morning, Good Morning is okay, don’t really get the point of it. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) is a fun little track. A Day In The Life has a couple disparate parts strung together, and they are all good. I especially like the first section. The ending bit is kind of fun too.

I haven’t really been able to get into The Beatles so far. I enjoy some songs once in a while, but there’s nothing that really compels me to listen to them. I do enjoy this album though, and it took me a few spins to get into it.

Final Rating: 8/10

January 26, 2012

Album 0008: Rx Bandits – Mandala

Release Date: 2009
Genre: Progressive Rock

Tracklisting:

1. My Lonesome Only Friend (04:03)
2. It’s Only Another Parsec… (04:44)
3. Hope Is A Butterfly, No Net Its Captor, She Beats Her Wings And Softly Sings Of Summer Scent And Children’s Laughter… (Virus Of Silence) (04:23)
4. Hearts That Hanker For A Mistake (04:30)
5. Mientras La Veo Soñar (06:36)
6. March Of The Caterpillar (04:12)
7. White Lies (04:30)
8. Bury It Down Low (03:36)
9. Breakfast Cat (05:16)
10. Bled To Be Free (The Operation) (04:37)
11. Bring Our Children Home Or Everything Is Nothing (06:19)

Total Length: 52:47

My Lonesome Only Friend is an incredibly strong opening track. Great chorus, fun and melodic, just cool. It’s Only Another Parsec… shows off some of the evolution the band has had since their previous album. It’s just very neat all around. Hope Is A Butterfly[…] has some interesting vocal ideas in it, and the music backing that is really good. Hearts That Hanker For A Mistake is very good, I kind of wish that the section near the end could have been turned into a song by itself.

Mientras La Veo Soñar is a song where the rhythm, vocal melody, and chorus are so fantastic that nothing negative can be said. I can’t think of anything negative would say, I’m just saying that those elements are damn good. March Of The Caterpillar is really good, but I think the middle section was kind of unnecessary. White Lies is just funky and different from anything else on the album. Bury It Down Low is probably the first song on here that isn’t stellar, but still very good.

Breakfast Cat is very fun to listen to, but I have trouble recalling the song later. It kind of blends in with the rest of the album in a way. Bled To Be Free (The Operation) has really cool song structure, the changing dynamics are fun to listen to. Bring Our Children Home Or Everything Is For Nothing is awesome and a great end to the album. The chorus especially is very heartfelt.

This album sort of marks the end of the Rx Bandits, though they may still record, but they have stopped playing live shows. This was a fantastic end to a fantastic band. Everything is tight and well written, and the album gets better with each listen.

Final Rating: 9/10

January 25, 2012

Album 0007: Kamelot – The Black Halo

Release Date: 2005
Genre: Power Metal

Tracklisting:

1. March Of Mephisto (05:29)
2. When The Lights Are Down (03:41)
3. The Haunting (Somewhere In Time) (05:40)
4. Soul Society (04:18)
5. Interlude I: Dei Gratia (00:57)
6. Abandoned (04:07)
7. This Pain (03:59)
8. Moonlight (05:10)
9. Interlude II: Un Assassinio Molto Silenzioso (00:41)
10. The Black Halo (03:43)
11. Nothing Ever Dies (04:46)
12. Memento Mori (08:54)
13. Interlude III: Midnight – Twelve Tolls For A New Day (01:21)
14. Serenade (04:33)
15. The Haunting (Somewhere In Time) (single edit) (03:42)
16. March Of Mephisto (single edit) (03:30)

Total Length: 01:04:43

March Of Mephisto was the first Kamelot song I ever listened to, and it’s brilliant. A great riff, wonderful vocals, and the song structure is fresh and always keeps your attention. When The Lights Are Down is a pretty good song, but honestly I think it’s really the production and little touches that save it. The Haunting (Somewhere In Time) is pretty amazing. Just like the first track, the structure is fantastic and all the vocals are great. Soul Society has a really good chorus, just another great song.

Interlude I: Dei Gratia isn’t really interesting, just some flavor for the album really. Abandoned took me a little while to get into, but I love how emotional it gets at parts. This Pain is pretty good, not the best song on here. I like the production, again. Moonlight straddles a nice line between metal and ballad, I like it. Interlude II: Un Assassinio Molto Silenzioso is a weird little piece, nice distraction for a moment I suppose.

The Black Halo, despite being the title track, is actually one of the lesser songs on here. It’s still good, but nothing really shines. Nothing Ever Dies is kind of likewise. I sort of enjoy what they do with it, but something about it that I can’t quite describe puts me off. Memento Mori is a big song with a lot of cool parts. It’s not as outright engaging as some other songs, but is very good. Interlude III: Midnight – Twelve Tolls For A New Day is interesting and relates to the overall story which I didn’t really pay attention to too much. Serenade is kind of in the same vein as the last few songs, solid but not fantastic.

The last two tracks are radio edits, which I think are terrible bonus tracks. Radio edits just annoy me, especially in songs like Mephisto where it pretty much cuts out what was really interesting about the song. I won’t count it against the album though. Thia album is pretty fantastic, it just took me a while to get into. I wouldn’t think of it immediately when I think of great albums, but it is just very solid all around.

Final Rating: 8.5/10

January 24, 2012

Album 0006: Reel Big Fish – We’re Not Happy ‘Til You’re Not Happy

Release Date: 2005
Genre: Ska/Punk

Tracklisting:

1. The Fire (03:06)
2. Drinkin’ (03:26)
3. Don’t Start A Band (03:18)
4. A-W-E-S-O-M-E (03:33)
5. We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful (02:24)
6. Turn The Radio Off (02:39)
7. Talkin’ Bout A Revolution (03:25)
8. The Bad Guy (03:32)
9. Story Of My Life (04:10)
10. The Joke’s On Me (03:50)
11. One Hit Wonderful (04:19)
12. Last Show (03:03)
13. Say Goodbye (04:09)
14. Your Guts (I Hate ‘Em) (02:07)
15. Beer (03:54)
16. Way Back (15:27)

Total Length: 01:06:19

Everything that came together to make this album makes it probably one of the oddest in Reel Big Fish’s catalog. A few of the songs had been written for about 5-6 years at that point, Aaron Barrett had full control for the first time, the album ended a concept that was begun nearly 10 years prior, and the writing was more pissed off than ever. It’s an interesting album in itself and the events surrounding it. The Fire is a fun song with a cool chorus, and I like it. Drinkin’ is the first of the slightly older songs (first bootleg recordings has the band playing this live in 2002/2003) and is really good.

Don’t Start A Band starts the mean-train (Aaron calls it the meanest song he ever wrote). This song also starts the sort of ‘concept’ I mentioned. RBF have never done a full concept album in the traditional sense, but this album and two others have had a unifying sense of theme in what some of the songs are about. One album is about the rise of a band to success, another is a band that is successful and their first taste from their of going down, and this album is about a band past their prime and on the downfall. It’s a pretty neat idea, I think.

A-W-E-S-O-M-E is okay, I don’t really like the vocal production on it, and the song itself is sort of boring. The entire production on this album is kind of odd. It’s not bad necessarily, just very stylized and purposefully meant to be a certain way. Aaron’s production has definitely improved since this album, but he still knew what he was doing here. We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful is a cover, and it’s pretty fun, which is what the fans were wanting out of this album. Turn The Radio Off is sort of an older song. Aaron wanted to write a song with this title in 1998, but couldn’t really get it to work or dropped the idea for a few years. The chorus is really neat, and the horn riff is interesting in a disorienting way. Talkin’ Bout A Revolution is another cover, and provides a calm reggae point for a bit.

The Bad Guy has some more ‘mean’ lyrics, but is contrasted by the upbeat music. Kind of a staple RBF tradition. Story Of My Life is once more a cover, and I’m not terribly fond of it. I enjoy it, but I think it goes on a bit too long. The Joke’s On Me is inspired by the 80s but sadly isn’t that great. One Hit Wonderful should be better than it is. They go for a sort of ballad style on it and it doesn’t work, but I like the idea behind the lyrics. Also some cool production stuff with the radio spots and the muzak version of Sell Out. Last Show has that same contrast as The Bad Guy. It’s lyrics are about a former band member, and the music is very positive. Say Goodbye is an absolutely fantastic song, I love the music and lyrics and everything.

Your Guts (I Hate ‘Em) is kind of the last of the older songs, they had been playing this song with different lyrics since 2000, and this is the final version now as they play it live. Just a really fun short song with, again, mean lyrics. I said ‘kind of’ just a second ago because the next song, Beer, is of course a rerecorded version of that ever-popular RBF track. Aaron was going to put it on because he felt it should have been rerecorded, and to provide some sort of circular thing to that overall concept. He kind of abandoned the idea upon realizing how similar it is to the original overall. It still got released as a bonus track. The other bonus track, Way Back, I can only assume got cut as an attempt to give Japan their own bonus track, as is unfortunately per usual. It’s a fun, silly song. It only lasts about 2:35, and remainder of the track is sort a bonus thing, it has odd loops and backwards talking, and one really loud section that completely craps out to 0dB on purpose. Very weird and kind of reminds me of some post rock with the droning and voice clips. Certainly their strangest hidden track.

I enjoy this album overall, despite the odd production and a song here or there I don’t care for. I appreciate that the band tried something new, but this was kind of a low point for the band, which eventually did get better. It’s fun to listen to, but not my first choice for the band.

Final Rating: 7.5/10

As one extra note, there was one more bonus track for this album called Cannibal. It was rerecorded two years later, but the original version for this album had much more of an 80s sound and was a bit slower. As far as I know it was only available for streaming for a short period, but if anyone knows of a higher quality version anywhere, please let me know.

January 23, 2012

Album 0005: Disillusion – Three Neuron Kings

Release Date: 2001
Genre: Progressive Death Metal

Tracklisting:

1. In Vengeful Embrace (05:45)
2. Expired (03:55)
3. The Long Way Down To Eden (05:34)
4. Three Neuron Kings (06:13)

Total Length: 21:27

This is an EP that the band actually won a contest to get the money to produce. In Vengeful Embrace kicks things off very well with a great riff, and I absolutely love the vocal style change-ups. The acoustic section is also very nice. Expired brings forth a couple harsher elements, like the first appearance of blast beats. The mix and production on this whole thing is great, everything is loud and heavy, but not too harsh, and the calm moments give you a nice moment of peace before getting back into it.

The Long Way Down To Eden continues the style of the other songs, and has some very neat guitar work. I’ll contend that part of the reason this band’s music so interesting is the vocals. I’ll admit that I don’t know much about singing, but I just love the way he phrases things and his different styles. There is also a cool guitar solo in this song. Three Neuron Kings has a great amount of acoustic guitar while still being heavy, which is a cool combination. Just an awesome song overall.

The only fault I have for this is that it is just an EP. It’s short but sweet.

Final Rating: 9.5/10

January 22, 2012

Album 0004: The Misfits – Static Age

Release Date: 1997
Genre: Punk

Tracklisting:

1. Static Age (01:47)
2. TV Casualty (02:24)
3. Some Kinda Hate (02:02)
4. Last Caress (01:57)
5. Return Of The Fly (01:37)
6. Hybrid Moments (01:42)
7. We Are 138 (01:41)
8. Teenagers From Mars (02:51)
9. Come Back (05:00)
10. Angelfuck (01:38)
11. Hollywood Babylon (02:20)
12. Attitude (01:31)
13. Bullet (01:38)
14. Theme For A Jackal (02:41)
15. She (01:24)
16. Spinal Remains (01:27)
17. In The Doorway (01:25)
18. Studio Banter And Recording Outtakes (08:43)

Total Length: 43:47

I’ve always wanted to like punk, but I can’t get into it as much as I’d like. This band is fun to listen to sometimes, and especially because of how long they have been around overall. This album in particular I can’t really get into though, as my favorite songs on it are probably the least “punk” songs, where the vocal melodies are more like pop. Some Kinda Hate, Last Caress, and Hybrid Moments are pretty much the absolute highlights of the album.

The weird history of this album must be noted. It was originally recorded back in 1977 and 78, and in various studios. The audio quality is pretty consistent, but certain songs like Spinal Remains suddenly have a completely different tone to them. The actual quality isn’t too bad, especially for punk in this time frame and is kind of nice and warm. That said, it does make the album kind of an odd experience. Come Back is sort of too long. Angelfuck is a pretty good track except that the vocals are off to the left. Attitude is also a very good song.

The majority of the songs though just kind of bore me, and there are too many to go through. The bonus ‘features’ of sort are the track of banter, which is one of those things that correlates with how much you like a band, just like demos for example. If I really like and love the band, I’ll listen through those hungrily, if I don’t they are just extra crap so to speak. I enjoy a few songs off of this, but it’s mostly something I avoid listening to in full.

Final Rating: 5.5/10

January 21, 2012

Album 0003: Weird Al Yankovic – Alapalooza

Release Date: 1993
Genre: Comedy/Pop/Rock

Tracklisting:

1. Jurassic Park (03:55)
2. Young, Dumb & Ugly (04:25)
3. Bedrock Anthem (03:41)
4. Frank’s 2000″ TV (04:06)
5. Achy Breaky Song (03:24)
6. Traffic Jam (04:02)
7. Talk Soup (04:24)
8. Livin’ In The Fridge (03:55)
9. She Never Told Me She Was A Mime (04:54)
10. Harvey The Wonder Hamster (00:21)
11. Waffle King (04:26)
12. Bohemian Polka (03:40)
13. Headline News (03:48)

Total Length: 48:41

Jurassic Park is one of those great Weird Al tracks. The original song being good has a lot to do with it, but then Al’s changed lyrics are fun and the song works. Young, Dumb & Ugly is not something I can get into because I have never really liked AC/DC. Bedrock Anthem is a cool tribute to RHCP while again, being a good song on its own. Not too sure why this wasn’t included in the Flintstones movie released the next year, they changed stuff enough for the film that this would have worked. Frank’s 2000″ TV is a good lyrical idea but the song doesn’t catch me.

Achy Breaky Song is a funny parody about music in that time period. I’m also a sucker for added hand farts. Traffic Jam has no real appeal for me because I’ve never understood the love for Prince. Talk Soup is somehow the first of two Peter Gabriel sendoffs on this album, and again since I don’t like the original I can’t really like this. Livin’ In The Fridge shares a trait with Achy Breaky Song, where the factor of Al makes me like this song even though I don’t really like Aerosmith. I suppose it’s kind of odd that I would like this and not the previous track, but sometimes subjective taste is just hard to describe.

She Never Told Me She Was A Mime is okay, just kind of middle of the road. Harvey The Wonder Hamster is a fun tiny track from Weird Al’s short lived show. Waffle King is alright, but it’s the type of pop I just can’t stand. Bohemian Polka is pretty much amazing. The original song is one of the best things ever written, and this version is just too much fun. Headline News is a bonus track, and is pretty good. The child in me even likes the instrumental section that ends the track. I really like some of the tracks on here, but I find myself skipping through most of this album usually.

Final Rating: 5.5/10