Sunday, May 31, 2009

Video: Flogging Molly "Drunken Lullabies"

So in keeping with the Flogging Molly theme, here is a video from one of my favorite songs by them, "Drunken Lullabies," off the album of the same name.

I was supposed to have two more Flogging Molly-themed articles posted by now, and I have been working on them, they are both half done. Just some personal shit came and smacked me in the face this past week, so my drive to work on anything sort of fell by the way-side. I'll attempt to get back into this blog soon, but no promises. For a while the only posts may be Albums Listened To's, and the random Videos I feel like sharing.

Oh well, enjoy some Celtic punk.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Retrospective: Flogging Molly - History

I recently went on a road trip back to my parents' place, just over three hours away, and on the way I rotated my iPod through different bands' discographies; Clutch (a constant staple), Turisas, the funk genre, and Flogging Molly, all saw some valuable air-time (currently on Manowar). But what was memorable to me was how long the Flogging Molly playlist was. You see, I only put songs on my iPod that I've listened to previously and have ranked them five stars. This stops it from being filled with a bunch of crap or boring instrumentals or spoken tracks, but it also means that my collection is very eclectic, with several artists only having one or two songs in their list. The reason Flogging Molly was so long, was because I like almost every song they have. After I got home I looked through my iTunes and saw that out of their four studio albums, I only dislike six songs. This caught my eye enough for me to want to write a career-spanning article about them (in three parts):

HistoryBefore forming Flogging Molly, Dave King, the singer, was the vocalist for the heavy metal band Fastway (featuring guitarist "Fast" Eddie Clarke from Motörhead) in the 80's, later fronting the hard rock band Katmandu in the early 90's. After Katmandu disbanded, King retained his contract with Epic Records and began work on a solo album, but when the record company opposed his idea to add traditional Irish instruments to the music, he was able to negotiate out of his deal, and began creating a solo band soon after.
In 1993, King began playing at a Los Angeles pup called Molly Malone's, playing quick-punk music with a Celtic sound. He was joined by guitarist Ted Hutt, bassist Jeff Peters, and fiddliest Bridget Regan, and they began writing the music that would eventually be recorded on their debut live album, Alive Behind The Green Door. Hutt soon left that group, but he was replaced and others were added, to give the band a "fuller" sound.
Their live album came out in 1997, which is when the group decided on a name. In an interview with Kerrang! Magazine, King stated that the name comes from the pup (Molly Malone's) that supported them for years, "We used to play there every Monday night and we felt like we were flogging it to death, so we called the band Flogging Molly." Soon after the release they were signed to SideOneDummy Records, after record exec's saw their live show and noticed their intensity.

To date, Flogging Molly has released an independent live album, Alive Behind The Green Door, an online-only live EP, Complete Control Sessions (2007), four studio albums; Swagger (2000), Drunken Lullabies (2002), Within A Mile of Home (2004), and Float (2008), and an acoustic/live DVD/CD combo, Whiskey On A Sunday (2006).

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Video: Fishbone "Date Rape" (Sublime Cover)

Fishbone is a funk/ska band that was pretty big (in the ska circles) in the 80's. They started straight ska, then moved towards more of a funk sound, then got in a fight with their record company and released a couple of funk metal albums (with very little horns), then back to the funk ska. This song, "Date Rape," is from their latest studio album, Still Stuck In Your Throat, and is a Sublime cover. It's not their best song, but it is one of the best videos I found. Most of the other music videos were "very 80's" and more annoying then anything to watch.

Fishbone - "Date Rape" (Sublime Cover)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Live: MC Chris with Whole Wheat Bread

Six times.

That's how many times I've seen MC Chris live now, and I have to say I still enjoy it. I went in to this show not really excited, not expecting too much, I was going to hang out with my friends. In the almost-three years that I've been going to MC Chris shows, we've ended up getting a nice little following. Every time there are the 3 or 4 people who have seen him before, and the 3 or 4 people that we drag out to the show. It's a constant cycle. But I was happily surprised with the entire night.

The opener was some nerd-core white rapper, in the same vein as MC Chris. I didn't catch his name (well I did but I forget it), and I really don't care. The problem with going to a rap show is that if you don't know the words to the songs it's pretty boring. The music isn't good enough to keep you entertained and it's almost impossible to understand the lyrics at most venues, so the show devolves to the guy coming out making a joke, mumbling along to some blaring repeating house music, then making another witty comment, and back to the tunes. Nothing great. I'm sure if you knew the guy and his works it would have been much more enjoyable.

Next up was Whole Wheat Bread, a punk rock band with rap/hip-hop undertones, oh and did I mention that it's an all-black punk band? I had never heard of them before this nigh, and I only knew that they existed because my old roommate had one of their albums. But these guys kicked ass. All of their songs had a nice groove, I didn't know most of the words (some songs had a chant or a sing-a-long) but I still enjoyed it - a big difference between rap and rock. They played originals and covers, and their live show sounded just like their albums, just a little heavier, something I enjoyed quite a bit. During the middle of their set, they took a break and sang two or three rap covers, just the lead singer/guitarist and the drummer (who sang) and a looping-track. After that it was back to the rock. During the second half of the show a pit formed, and my friends and I couldn't let that go. I like going to punk and ska shows and going into the pit, because often times the people at these shows are not aggressive. Alot of metal shows have really militant people slamming into each other, but at this show it was skinny kids with Mohawks and tight jeans - not a scary crowd. One thing I found funny was that some of the people in the crowd started shouting the Wu Tang Clan chant, except tuned for Whole Wheat Bread: "Whole Wheat Bread ain't nothin' to fuck with! Whole Wheat Bread ain't nothin' to fuck with!" I laughed pretty hard and chanted with the rest.

After WWB were done MC Chris came out and did his thing. Before he got on stage, he opened with some mixed track of weird sounds and songs, something I see at alot of shows. It never makes sense to me, this soft open, often times the music/sounds have nothing to do with the show, and this show was no exception. But the music played and MC came out... and then the music cut quickly, to the surprise of MC Chris, and he left the stage and tried again. He was attempting to film a DVD, so I assume he wanted a solid opening, but I found it very annoying, and unnecessary.
Finally he began to sing, he said his voice was shot, but I didn't notice, as he belted out my favorite songs. It was great, his first six songs were all of my favorites, and the couple after that I knew (but not a favorite). The first half of his set done, and I knew every word to every song. Oh and he sang "Fuckin' Up My Christmas" my favorite song of his! I have seen him half a dozen times now and this is the first time he busted it out. Made my night right there. After his 30-45 min of old material he moved into his new music. I haven't heard his latest album, MC Chris Is Dead, except for one song, and he also sang from his upcoming albums, Part Six Part One and Part Six Part Two, music I have never heard, so most of it was lost on me. It was the same problem I had with the first guy, I didn't know the lyrics of the music so I was bored. This went on for about five more songs. Then MC sang another older song (I forget which one), and left the stage. The lights didn't come up, so we knew there'd be an encore, but to be fair we would have stayed and chanted til he came back out anyway, so at least they were prepared. After a minute or two not only did MC Chris come back to the stage, but he was joined by the gentlemen of Whole Wheat Bread! They all jammed out to "Fette's Vette" off of MC Chris' first album, Life's a Bitch and I'm Her Pimp. It was great. A rap song with heave drums and bass, and a continual guitar solo mixed it, it was like Rage Against The Machine without the guilt-trip. Fabulous way to end the show.

All-in-all it was a good show. I've seen MC Chris with alot of different openers from alot of different genres, but Whole Wheat Bread was by far the best. Their style of rap/punk complimented MC Chris' style, while still keeping to their own devices. I'd happily go see this show again.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Current Trend: Stoner (Sort Of...)

Now I've been talking for the past few weeks about how I was getting into stoner rock/metal and was going to donate some time to this genre. but it just hasn't happened that way. I spent a few days listening to random stoner songs, a la Last.FM, and decided to acquire some albums for myself. I got the discographies of Dozer and The Atomic Bitchwax, and cued up some Monster Magnet, Orange Goblin and Electric Wizard, for future playing. I was excited!
I began with The Atomic Bitchwax, listening to most of their four albums (I'll probably finish off the last album, just to be thorough), it was pretty enjoyable, I liked the groove sections and the vocals were pretty blurred with the music, but nothing too bad. But it was a tad redundant, good for an occasional listen, but not something I'd really want to spend all day listening too. I then began listening to a little of the Electric Wizard I already had, but I got bored. It just wasn't thumpin enough for me. I needed something with rhythm and soul...something funky. And I found it.

For the past few months I've been wanting to get into classic funk music, you know, the stuff from the late 60's and 70's. Recently I found a new way to search and acquire music, and using this method, I was able to expand my collection greatly, and have begun working my way through it. This stuff I am enjoying greatly. This time I mean it - my next Current Trend will be all about the Renegades of Funk!

Monday, May 11, 2009

New Band: Elf

Recently I have been listening to the "Recommendations" of my Last.FM account. It's their compiled list of bands that are similar to the majority of your library, but not artists that you've listened to alot. I use this station to find new bands in the same genres of the artists I already love. That's how I originally discovered power metal, three years ago, and how there were more doom bands than Type O Negative. Now, I use it to expand my knowledge of power, thrash, folk, and stoner bands (the stoner is the most recent, expect a Current Trend to appear).
Every now and then an artist pops up that I had heard of before, but I haven't seen much of their stuff over the years. Just the occasional song, or cover song, nothing to sink your teeth into, just a teaser. That's how it was with Elf.

First let me star off by saying, Elf is a fantastic band! While they only released 3 albums in their short tenure, every disc is chock-full of great songs, and catchy rhythms.

The act was founded by singer and bassist Ronnie James Dio (of future solo and Black Sabbath fame), keyboardist Doug Thaler, drummer Gary Driscoll, and guitarists Nick Pantas and David Feingstein, both of who were Dio's cousins. Originally called The Electric Elves, then shortened to The Elves, then just to Elf in the beginning of the 70's.
Elf's self-titled debut album was produced by the members of Deep Purple, who saw the group auditioning in 1972, and for the next few years, Elf had a steady gig opening for Deep Purple's world tour. It was during this time that Elf released their next two albums, Carolina Country Ball in 1974, and Trying To Burn The Sun in 1975. Also in 1975, guitarist Ritchie Blackmore left Deep Purple with the intent to release solo works. He liked Dio's soulful voice, and thought he would be perfect for his latest project, Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow. Following their band leader, the rest of Elf helped record Blackmore's then-solo project, taking time from touring and recording their own music. After the album was recorded, Blackmore decided to scrap his solo effort, and instead created Rainbow into a full-fledged band, replacing all of the Elf members except for Dio. Without a singer, and without the support of Deep Purple, the members of Elf parted ways, and the band was no more.

Elf (1972)
The band's first album, and truly their only true album. After this release the band began being influenced by Deep Purple, and because of this, their other releases sounded more like a bluesy-Deep Purple and less like the boogie-rock Elf that was founded.
This is the album that I heard when I was younger, so when I began my trek through the track list, I recognized a few of the songs off the bat. "Hoochie Koochie Lady" is my favorite off the album with "First Avenue" a close second. It's work like this that make me wish that the group had released more albums, at least one more before being discovered by Deep Purple.
  1. "Hoochie Koochie Lady" – 5:32
  2. "First Avenue" – 4:23
  3. "Never More" – 3:50
  4. "I'm Coming Back For You" – 3:27
  5. "Sit Down Honey (Everything Will Be Alright)" – 3:48
  6. "Dixie Lee Junction" – 5:09
  7. "Love Me Like A Woman" – 3:47
  8. "Gambler, Gambler" – 4:26
Carolina Country Ball (1974) - Released as L.A./59 in the US and Japan
This is the album where the sound starts changing, not that it's a bad thing, it's just different. Elf's sound started becoming more complex and layered (the Deep Purple influence), and was more rock-oriented then their debut album, for better or worse.
The best song is the title track, I really liked the groove of the entire song, I was pleasantly surprised at the sudden change of styles from the previous album - at least for this song. After the first track, the other songs I enjoyed were the more original-sounding material, "Ain't It All Amusing" and "Rocking Chair Rock 'n' Roll Blues," both classics.
  1. "Carolina County Ball" - 4:46
  2. "L.A. 59" - 4:21
  3. "Ain't It All Amusing" - 5:01
  4. "Happy" - 5:28
  5. "Annie New Orleans" - 3:01
  6. "Rocking Chair Rock 'n' Roll Blues" - 5:36
  7. "Rainbow" - 4:00
  8. "Do the Same Thing" - 3:10
  9. "Blanche" - 2:31
Trying To Burn The Sun (1975)
Elf's final release, this album made the full jump to rock with blues undertones, very little straight blues in the entire album. Again, this doesn't make it a bad album, just not the sound of the original Elf. Make your own decision whether it's good or bad.
This album had a lot more songs that I enjoyed overall, the only two I didn't really like were the somber, slower melodies of "When She Smiles" and "Wonderworld." They were just too slow and teary-eyed for me. Again, the first track was the best ("Black Swampy Water"), followed by "Shotgun Boogie."
  1. "Black Swampy Water" - 3:43
  2. "Prentice Wood" - 4:37
  3. "When She Smiles" - 4:54
  4. "Good Time Music" - 4:30
  5. "Liberty Road" - 3:22
  6. "Shotgun Boogie" - 3:07
  7. "Wonderworld" - 5:03
  8. "Streetwalker" - 7:07
So there you have it, the history and works of one of the best unknown bands of all time. While they didn't have the impact of Deep Purple, or even their follow-up act, Rainbow, Elf was still an amazing band. One I plan on listening to until I am 60, by that point the music will be over 70 years old. It'll the the "oldies of the oldies" and I'll embarrass my grandkids every day. Good times...

Friday, May 8, 2009

Video: GWAR "School's Out" (Alice Cooper Cover)

I'm not a huge GWAR fan, they make a few good singles and I hear their live show is amazing, but that about it. Although their newest album had this version of Alice Cooper's "School's Out," which is fantastic. It's so good it made my list of 20 Cover Songs That Are Better Than The Originals, from a few months ago. I like the heavier feel of the song, and I really enjoy the extra psudo-verse they add right at the end. It makes me laugh every time.

Enjoy ("Schools out for summer Kiddies...")

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Albums Listened To In April

Finals are over! Which means I finally have some free time to myself again (although I am still writing this at work). I have a plethora of half-finished articles to bang out here int he coming weeks, so hopefully this site should see alot of updates in May.

Starting this month, my goal was to listen to nothing but new albums, I was doing very well until I re-listened to Mael Mórdha's Gealtacht Mael Mórdha. I had rediscovered them (I have a ton of music, I forget about bands all the time), so I listened to their two albums - completely forgetting about my want to listen to only never before heard stuff. And then a few days later I began listening to the catalog of Evergrey, and after listening to their Recreation Day album, I remembered that I had heard this album before. It was almost 5 years ago at this point, but that's the only reason I even knew about that band (thanks be to Mike!), so obviously I couldn't overlook this. I know what some of you must be saying, "Why not just lie or leave it out?" Well I can't do that. I have a certain level of professionalism with this project (...a little), and I also like to see my progress month to month (and I've impressed a few ladies with my lists). So I will continue to dictate what I listen to, as it happens. For my adoring public!

The best albums of the month are the works of Elf (I listened to them all at the end of April, so the other albums are on the list for next month, but Elf will be one of the best then too). I love this blues-rock oriented band from the future voice of Rainbow and Black Sabbath. I'm working on a stand-alone article for them as well. I also enjoyed Dark Hours by Lion's Share, for being very Dio-ish. I'm going to try and locate some more of their albums and listen more thoroughly. Another great new band (keeping with the Dio trend) is Heaven & Hell, their album The Devil You Know was amazing. Check out my full review. The Decemberists, one of my favorite non-metal folk bands, released a new album, The Hazards Of Love, and it was great. A concept album with several singers and a twisted storyline. It's like the classic Who and Pink Floyd concepts with a folkish theme. A great idea if I've ever heard one. Also, Psychostick's two albums, We Couldn't Think Of A Title!, and Sandwich, were both hilarious and pretty decent. Give them a try.

Not too much on the negative end this month, 30 days of new music and only two albums that stood out, not to bad really. The first bad album was Cruachan's Tuatha Na Gael. Now I have heard Cruachan's later works (this was their first album) and I enjoyed the Celtic metal quite alot. But this album was more viking then folk (use of death growls and grunts), not my preferred style. I was planning on listening to more Cruachan albums, but this one turned me off from their other, early works. The second wasn't really bad, just boring. Hammers Of Misfortune are a progressive band with two singers, one male one female. The albums I listened to, Fields/Church Of Broken Glass (double disc), was an odd collection of both. The first few songs were solely a male voice, then a couple that was female only, then the rest that were a mix between. The music was long and drawn out, no real climaxes throughout their songs, just one droning melody to another. The only song that I did enjoy was the instrumental piece close to the end, it was their only piece that had any excitement to it.

All in all it was a good month for music, several new bands, 32 new albums. Not a great month for numbers, but a superb month for quality.
For May, I just "acquired" the complete works of Emerson, Lake & Palmer, so look forward to that popping up here then. And I'll probably be re-listening to alot of albums, as songs pop up on my iTunes of iPod when it is on random of bands that I haven't heard from in a while. It's time to get back to the basics. Also, I have begun to listen to some stoner rock/metal through my Last.FM and plan on finding full albums and working through that. So my next Current Trend may be stoner focused.
  1. Battlelore - The Last Alliance - Newly Listened!
  2. Circus Maximus - The 1st Chapter - Newly Listened!
  3. Circus Maximus - Isolate - Newly Listened!
  4. Cruachan - Tuatha Na Gael - Newly Listened!
  5. The Decemberists - The Hazards Of Love - Newly Listened!
  6. Deep Purple - Bananas - Newly Listened!
  7. Dio - Intermission (Live EP) - Newly Listened!
  8. Dio - Sacred Heart - Newly Listened!
  9. Elf - Elf - Newly Listened!
  10. Evergrey - Monday Morning Apocalypse - Newly Listened!
  11. Evergrey - Recreation Day
  12. GWAR - Violence Has Arrived - Newly Listened!
  13. Hammers Of Misfortune - Fields/Church Of Broken Glass (2 Discs) - Newly Listened!
  14. Heaven & Hell - The Devil You Know - Newly Listened!
  15. Holy Martyr - Hellenic Warrior Spirit - Newly Listened!
  16. Infectious Grooves - Mas Borracho - Newly Listened!
  17. Infectious Grooves - Pneumonia (EP) - Newly Listened!
  18. Lazarus A.D. - The Onslaught - Newly Listened!
  19. Lion's Share - Dark Hours - Newly Listened!
  20. Mael Mórdha - Cluain Tarbh - Newly Listened!
  21. Mael Mórdha - Gealtacht Mael Mórdha
  22. Mechanical Poet - Eidoline: The Arrakeen Code - Newly Listened!
  23. Mechanical Poet - Ghouls (EP) - Newly Listened!
  24. Mechanical Poet - Who Did It To Michelle Waters? (2 Discs) - Newly Listened!
  25. Psychostick - Sandwich - Newly Listened!
  26. Psychostick - We Couldn't Think Of A Title! - Newly Listened!
  27. Queen - Hot Space - Newly Listened!
  28. Scorpions - Lonesome Crow - Newly Listened!
  29. Scorpions - Love At First Sting - Newly Listened!
  30. Steve Reynolds - The Carnival Papers - Newly Listened!
  31. StormWarrior - Northern Rage - Newly Listened!
  32. StormWarrior - StormWarrior - Newly Listened!
  33. Warren Zevon - The Wind - Newly Listened!
  34. Yes - Close To The Edge - Newly Listened!