Thursday, August 20, 2009

Retrospective: The Beatles 1963-1964

The first Beatles album, the beginning of the British Invasion Revolution. I'm not a fan of this style, I like a few songs sure, but overall the genre is dull and boring. I guess I just grew up in a different age and it taints my view. Although all the groups did it in this era, I dislike how over half of the tracks are covers - some of the songs covered were barely a year old at the time. It strikes me as very odd. Out of this release six of 14 songs (at least) were covers. Some of old blues melodies, but some from rival bands, who were tearing up the charts within the past year. I'm glad we got away from this practice.
Another British Invasion album. I'm sure to someone who grew up in this era (such as my mother) or someone who enjoys this style (like my friend Clayzone) it's a good album, but With The Beatles strikes me as more plain then Please Please Me was. The songs seem very repetitive and similar sounding. I look forward to the rock/experimental phase that The Beatles went through, something new and different. The album does pick up a bit in the second half, but that could be due to all the covers that grace the second side of the album. Covering old blues-rock songs seem to be a help to the group. Their next album is their first 'all original' release, and so I look forward to what that brings.
As the first all-original Beatles album, A Hard Day's Night is a solid effort by the band. It's a soundtrack to the movie of the same name, but it doesn't sound like a planned soundtrack (as in it's not full of songs that don't make much sense without visual cues), more like a full album. Many of the songs are slower then previous efforts, and the sound seems more stripped then their other works in this era. More focus on the vocals and less on the instrumentation - often the only instrument that is easy to hear is the drums and the backing line of the bass, very little guitars overall. Although Beatles For Sale seems more of a transition album then this one (see below), A Hard Day's Night seems to be the transition album for the transition album.
I'm going to call this album a transition album. It still holds to the British Invasion mentality, but it also begins to showcase the sound that The Beatles would soon be releasing. This first and last quarters of the album are mostly originals, and they are actually good originals. The middle of the record is another collection of covers, and while they are pretty decent, they fall behind the other tracks - a first! All in all, this is the first Beatles recording that I enjoy, something that I could listen to again without any negativity.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

New Band: The Reverend Horton Heat - The Best In Psychobilly

...Well I guess it's the only in psychobilly, that I know of anyway. Looking it up on Wikipedia, I see a long list of bands through the ages, but as it stands, The Reverend Horton Heat is the only one I've ever heard.
Now, Psychobilly is a blending of genres, seeming to spawn from country/southern rock and punk rock. It's hard to accurately describe, but to me it sounds like a modernized Elvis. If you took his sound, added a bit of the punk sound, and kicked up the volume, that is psychobilly. While it isn't anything I could really see myself getting attached to, swing-rock is a nice sound to turn on while you walk around the house, making food or cleaning. It's amped-up chill, if you can imagine it. 60's with a kick.

I only know of The Reverend Horton Heat from the Playstation 2 game, Guitar Hero, their song "Psychobilly Freakout," was a catchy but difficult song to master. Here we are almost five years later, and it is still just as catchy, but as the game series increased, so did the difficulty (to a level where I don't enjoy it anymore).
But that's neither here nor there. I enjoyed this song quite a bit, and I also liked any other song by them I heard over the years (few and far between, but that's why I have "Psychobilly Freakout" appears on the first TRHH album, Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em, and cements their sound throughout their career.
At the time of this article, I am only half-way through their discography, listening to two of their earliest album, and then two of their most recent, and I am liking what I hear. Their beginning tracks seem more laid-back, living more in the southern feel, while their most recent album is much more heavy and rock oriented. Every album (so far) has had at least one instrumental, sometimes they are just filler songs, and sometimes they are full-blown works of art. And most of the discs have some sort of 'joke track' in some from or another, whether it be a humorous-lyriced work, or a 'sermon' about how a man is addicted to women. It all seems like good fun.

So if you have some free-time, a couple of bucks, and want to hear something old become fresh again. Check out The Reverend Horton Heat.

Needless to say, this has slowed down my speed in which to listen to The Big Three of The British Invasion a bit, but I will get around to it.

Monday, August 3, 2009

British Invasion - The Singles

Alot of songs that I know and love by the big three of the British Invasion - The Who, The Beatles, and The Rolling Stones - never made it onto an actual album. I guess it was the style then (and a style some feel we should get back too) to release just singles, with no tie to an album. The only way I hear these songs is randomly on classic rock stations or on greatest hit collections. I'm not going to go into depth into these singles, and I am 100% sure I am missing alot, but these are the singles that I have (from greatest hits collections) and have listened to:

  • The Beatles
  1. Hey Jude - One of my favorite Beatles songs. It is a beautiful song about love. Also at the time it was the longest radio-single released, clocking in at over seven minutes
  2. From Me To You
  3. I Want To Hold Your Hand
  • The Rolling Stones
  1. (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction - One of the best known Stones songs, I am very surprised this never made it to an album. It would have really helped sales, instead of making the five dollars for a single (or whatever it was then), you could be pulling in fifteen for the whole album.
  2. Honky Tonk Woman - A great blues-inspired rock song. Covered many times by bands like Humble Pie to Tesla
  3. It's All Over Now
  • The Who
  1. Substitute
  2. I'm A Boy
  3. Happy Jack
  4. Pictures of Lily
  5. Call Me Lightning
  6. Magic Bus - All the songs above (including this one) are very much British Invasion pop. Some are decent, but I like Magic Bus because of the meaning behind it - a man going to see his gal by means of the bus. And so he falls in love with the bus, that 'magically' takes him there every day, so much that he buys the bus to continue up the drive.
  7. The Seeker - A song I continuously get stuck in my head, The Seeker is a great rock song. It is a tad confusing, one second he is saying how everyone hates him and then in the same line he states that they want to shake his hand (while he ransacks their homes). I like this version, I like the Rush version, I think I'd like any version.
  8. Summertime Blues - A cover from Eddie Cochran, who originated it as a blues-rock song. I think this version is a cover of a cover, it is very close in style to that of Blue Cheer, but that is a good version to take your influence from.
  9. Let's See Action
  10. Join Together - Let's See Action and Join Together are two of my favorite songs by The Who, and they both are semi-similar in meaning. They are hippy-rock anthems (as much as hippies can have an anthem) about sticking together and getting stuff done. Good driving music (I'd say good walking music, but who walks anymore)
  11. Long Live Rock

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Albums Listened To In July

God this was a long month - although it has been my only good month so far this summer - got a new job, moved into the new place, graduation is four months away, its all looking up. Musically, it was brutal as well. My "Month of Dio" plan sounded grand at the beginning, but by the end it was like homework, something I knew I had to do but I had no drive to do it. I did like setting a goal though, I'll have to do that one again, just something either not so grandiose, or at the very least something with a little more options. I'm thinking a month of the Big Three of the British Invasion - The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and The Who. The original idea was for a month of 90's alt-rock that I listened to growing up, but after listening to a couple discs (see below), I found out that these bands suck. I only like the singles for the nostalgic value, but the rest of it is garbage. So that one is out the window. I still have some time, I'll think about it.

For the best of the month, nothing really stood out. I really enjoyed listening to the rest of the sHEAVY discography (not too much Republic? but Synchronized was pretty kick ass), and the second disc of the new Dream Theater album, Black Clouds & Silver Linings. It's a cover disc of some killer heavy metal staples (Rainbow, Queen, Iron Maiden), as well as some I have never heard (Zebra, Dixie Dregs) and one song from the grand-daddy of prog, King Crimson. The Abramis Brama album was pretty solid too, I wish they had more then just two English speaking albums. Also, as a parting note, Black In The Mind is a band I saw at a live show in Orlando, and they gave me a free disc. That was pretty cool, and their music has a couple of good licks throughout. Give them a listen if you can.

So I had that post of the Mastodon video a while back, saying I'd give them a shot. Well I did, and I have to say I really didn't enjoy them too much. They had the decent song here or there, but nothing that really stood out. I only listened to two albums, so I'll try out some more and see if it grows on me, but I'm not holding my breath. I did like Crack The Skye alot more then Remission though, I have heard that this new album was a new style of the group.

PS 2 Things: 1) This is the most albums I've listened to in a month (57), the previous best was 55 in February. 2) This is the soonest I've had an 'Albums Listened To' article completed in the month. Kudos for me on both accounts.

  1. A Perfect Circle - Mer De Noms
  2. Abramis Brama - Nothing Changes - Newly Listened!
  3. AC/DC - Back In Black
  4. Alabama Thunderpussy - Fulton Hill - Newly Listened!
  5. Barenaked Ladies - Stunt
  6. Black In The Mind - Black In The Mind - Newly Listened!
  7. Black NASA - Deuce - Newly Listened!
  8. Black Sabbath - Dehumanizer - Newly Listened!
  9. Black Sabbath - Heaven And Hell
  10. Black Sabbath - Mob Rules
  11. Black Water Rising - Black Water Rising - Newly Listened!
  12. Chumbawamba - Tubthumper
  13. Dio - Angry Machines - Newly Listened!
  14. Dio - Dream Evil
  15. Dio - Holy Diver
  16. Dio - Killing The Dragon - Newly Listened!
  17. Dio - The Last In Line
  18. Dio - Lock Up The Wolves - Newly Listened!
  19. Dio - Magica - Newly Listened!
  20. Dio - Master Of The Moon - Newly Listened!
  21. Dio - Sacred Heart
  22. Dio - Strange Highways - Newly Listened!
  23. Dozer - In The Tail of A Comet - Newly Listened!
  24. Dream Theater - Black Clouds & Silver Linings (Disc 2) - Newly Listened!
  25. Elf - Carolina County Ball
  26. Elf - Elf
  27. Elf - Trying To Burn The Sun
  28. Firewind - Forged By Fire - Newly Listened!
  29. Five Horse Johnson - The Last Men On Earth - Newly Listened!
  30. Guns N' Roses - "The Spaghetti Incident?"
  31. Heaven & Hell - The Devil You Know
  32. Hawkwind - Quark, Strangeness And Charm - Newly Listened!
  33. Helloween - Walls of Jericho
  34. Judas Priest - Defenders Of The Faith - Newly Listened!
  35. Kyuss - ...And The Circus Leaves Town - Newly Listened!
  36. Mastodon - Crack The Skye - Newly Listened!
  37. Mastodon - Remission - Newly Listened!
  38. Nanowar of Steel - Triumph Of True Metal Of Steel (Demo) - Newly Listened!
  39. Opeth - Damnation
  40. Pavlov's Dog - At The Sound of The Bell - Newly Listened!
  41. Pavlov's Dog - End of The World (EP) - Newly Listened!
  42. Pink Floyd - Atom Heart Mother - Newly Listened!
  43. Rainbow - Rainbow Rising - Newly Listened!
  44. Rainbow - Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow
  45. Rainbow - Long Live Rock 'N' Roll
  46. The Rolling Stones - Let It Bleed - Newly Listened!
  47. The Rolling Stones - Sticky Fingers - Newly Listened!
  48. sHEAVY - Blue Sky Mind - Newly Listened!
  49. sHEAVY - Republic? - Newly Listened!
  50. sHEAVY - Synchronized - Newly Listened!
  51. Uriah Heep - Demons And Wizards
  52. Warrel Dane - Praises To The War Machine
  53. Weezer - Weezer (The Red Album)
  54. The Who - Tommy
  55. Whole Wheat Bread - Hearts of Hoodlums
  56. Whole Wheat Bread - Punk Life (EP)
  57. Whole Wheat Bread - Minority Rules