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Thursday, March 28, 2013

In Praise of....

the heavy metal ballad or power ballad. There was a time back in the 80's basically and perhaps for a little bit in the early 90's when some of the heavy metal acts were the biggest bands in the land. These bands shared a responsibility to not only rock your faces off but to also tenderize your hearts with the sweetest of love ballads. Why don't we climb back inside the old mystery machine and give a few of these a listen. You may not be better off afterwards but you will probably enjoy the experience just a little bit. (I hope).

These are in no particular order. But they are the ones I enjoyed the most. 

Love Hurts - Nazareth - This is arguably one of the first of the power ballads. It came out in 1976 and you can feel the pain of unrequited love from it. So emotional and dripping with teenage angst. 

Beth - Kiss - One of my favorite power ballads of all time. So good. So over the top. 

Home Sweet Home - Motley Crue - One of the great ones and probably my favorite Motley Crue song. Which probably says something about the kind of music that I emotionally connect to. But I am not ashamed. Not one bit. 

Close My Eyes Forever - Ozzy and Lita Ford - Ahhh such a lovely duet and almost guaranteed to get you to 2nd base with that sweet chick you made the mix tape for. 

Don't Close Your Eyes - Kix - Does anybody remember Kix? 

Catch you later folks. 

Random Music Thursday

Much like Dewey Finn I serve the world by Rockin. So lets get it started.

Celebration Day - Led Zeppelin - Nothing more can be said, but this band rocks. I may not always be in the mood for Led but I am always willing to at least try to get the Led out. 

What Do I Care - Johnny Cash - Mr Cash is always welcome here and I love the sentiment behind this song. "You love me, and I love you. So what do I care." You tell it like it is John.

Time After Time - Ozzy Osbourne - I still have a soft spot after all these years for the love songs of Ozzy. I don't know what it is about them. But I really like his ballads. 

Offering - The Avett Brothers - This is a just plain good band. They are also a band that can have a really emotional effect on me. I like their music so much that at times it is a painful experience for me that speaks of lost love and love never found. 

Jolene - The White Stripes - This is a cover of a Dolly Parton song and they do it so well. The White Stripes are one of my favorite bands and really I can enjoy pretty much everything Jack White has ever done. This live version of Jolene is amazing. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Getting a Little Jazzed

So I have a few friends that are fans of Jazz music. But it has not ever been something that I have been fully able to get into. Though thanks to their encouragement, I try to listen to it now and then. So in the spirit of that, I decided to give the album Oh Yeah by Charles Mingus a listen. Please do yourself a favor and put some headphones on and give it a listen.

I honestly do not have the words to describe the experience I hope this gif can began to do it justice.

Random Music Tuesday

Ok rambler's...lets get ramblin,

Supertzar - Black Sabbath - The father of the heavyiest of metal. I love earl, early Sabbath. Nothing else needs to be said. There are some great new metal bands, but honestly nothing comes close to the heavy grungy make your balls vibrate pounding of the early Black Sabbath records. NOTHING!!

Broadsword - Jethro Tull - Oh I like the way the music is flowing today. The winners of the first Grammy for Heavy Metal, Jethro Tull. This was a travesty but they do have some great songs and this is one of them. It thumps and rumbles and thunders along.

Eldorado Overture - ELO - Prog Rock at its finest and the music streak of excellence keeps thundering along. I love the strings in this song.

On My Radio - The Selecter - I love, love, love SKA! This song is great and a great example of the so called 2nd wave of Ska in the mid to late 80's. So good.

In My Life - Johnny Cash - An excellent finisher and a lovely song by a real legend. Thank you for finishing the list gracefully Mr Cash.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Random Music Thursday

Are you ready to rock?

Out On The Town - Fun - I like this band. I do not feel like they put on a very good live show. But as far as this album goes and I do not know much of their earlier stuff, I like it. But after hearing them perform live on several different things I was pretty disappointed with their lead singers abilities. I think he owes a fair amount of what he does to auto-tune and that is unfortunate. But, it is a good album and nice to listen too.

Champagne Supernova - Oasis - I hate this band and this song must be coming off of a soundtrack or something. I am not even going to look. I think the the Gallagher brothers are overrated and I am so glad that their moment in the sun is gone. WASTE OF TIME.

Farewell To Earnest - Darjeeling Limited Soundtrack - This is a nice track from an interesting film. I think what I like best about the films by Wes Anderson are the soundtracks. They never fail to entertain.

Dust Bowl Dance - Mumford and Sons - This is a band that I like a lot. I was surprised at how much I liked them and when I saw them in concert that feeling did not change one bit. They are just a solid and fun band and their sound grows on you. This song is off of their first album and their second album is just as good. I highly recommend seeing them live if you get a chance.

Strange Days - The Doors - This is a great, great song. I really like everything by the Doors even if Jim Morrison was a big fat drunk. The band itself was really solid and the sound they put out without a bass player was really impressive.

Catch you later cats. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Bruce Springsteen

I must be honest and very clear about this, I have never been a big fan or honestly really a fan of any kind of Bruce Springsteen. Now, I suppose that is a great musical failing on my part. I am totally willing to take ownership of that. But, in my defense, I tend to listen to music on such an emotional level that if it doesn't click with me then I sometimes close it down completely. I do not say that to defend myself or claim it as a good thing. It is just the reality of how I listen to music, or enjoy film and other things.

But! As a fan of blue grass and that style of music in general I am a little mad at myself that I just found this amazing album. What is even more upsetting to me is that I was introduced to it while reading the latest Rolling Stone and the album was mentioned as one that inspired Marcus Mumford (lead of Mumford & Sons) when he was a youngster. The album is called Bruce Springsteen with the Sessions Band - Live In Dublin. It came out in 2007 and I had never heard of it. I am listening to it now and I am loving it. I am almost unable to put into words how much I am enjoying this. So, you guys are going to get some video clips of this concert if I can find them and if not then I will highly recommend you purchase this or at the very least use Spotify to give this whole album a really good listen.

Oh Mary Don't You Weep - I just can't. So good. I am in the Broadway Coffee Shop right now and I wish that I could remove the headphones and let everyone else experience the amazingness of this. In my my brain I am watch the whole place erupt into swing dancing. It is all so very exciting. There is also a New Orleans big band style to this song as well. Which is something that I never complain about.

Erie Canal - So good. Such a classic song. I am kicking myself for not finding this sooner. It is such a great performance and one that I am sure I am going to be listening to again and again. "You'll always know you neighbor, and you'll always know your pal."

If I Should Fall - I am just being blown away. So much fun and goodness in these performances.  I hope you are enjoying them as much as I am.

I am going to stop writing and post this now. Because I could spend the next couple of hours just writing and posting videos but I want people to check this out. 

Random Music Tuesday

And away we go......

The Way Life's Meant To Be - ELO - I am generally speaking not a big fan of disco but there is something that ELO brings to the table that I really like. I like their music. All of it. Sure there are songs that were bigger hits then other songs. But as a whole I just plain enjoy their sound.

Big Guns - Skid Row - Ahhh classic 80's metal. I am not totally sure but I think he is talking about more then just actual guns in this song. It does brings back some fond memories that is for sure.

240 Years Before Your Time - The Black Keys - This is interesting and not a song I have listened to much of. But I like it because the Black Keys are totally unafraid to experiment with their sound.

You And Me (But Mostly Me) - The Book of Mormon Musical - This was an interesting musical. There are better ones but this one has some pretty good songs in it. I do not think that this is the best work done by Matt Stone and Trey Parker but it is pretty cool.

Rescue Me - Madonna - Classic Madonna but not one of my favorites that is for sure.

Today's random list was not one of my favorites. But this experiment isn't always one that I enjoy though I always find it interesting. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Decemberists

I have written about this band before and I am sure that I will do so again. But thanks to some random occurrences in the last couple of days they are on my brain today. One of those random things being on the television show The Office last night. The episode last night was them attempting to start a spin off of of called The Farm. It was not picked up by NBC so there will not be any further adventures of the Schrute family and life on the beet farm. But one of the cooler things that they did on the show, was that they sat around as a family and sung a song by The Decemberists called "Sons and Daughters".  That was a small moment in the show, but I am a sucker for those kind of small musical moments in television shows so it totally worked for me.

Then this morning I read a review of the episode at AV.Club and the reviewed mentioned the entire album that the song came from. The album is called The Crane Wife and it is an awesome concept album. It isn't a concept in that the whole album covers one story but their are three kind of story cycles. The first one being a Japanese folk tale called "The Crane Wife"  about a man who heals a wounded crane and releases it. When the crane leave a young women appears at his door and they fall in love. They need money and the wife offers to weave some lovely silk clothes to sell at market but tells the husband that he can't ever watch her sew. As time goes on they begin to sell more and more clothes and the husbands greed begins to grow and the wife begins to grow sickly. He decides to peek in and watch her sewing because he is wanting more and more cloth from her and it turns out she is a crane and is sewing the clothes from the feathers that she is plucking from her own body. She sees him and flies away, leaving him eventually broke and alone. The song "When The War Came" is about the siege of Leningrad  and  "The Shankill Butchers" is a song set during the problems in Ireland and tells a story about a gang made up of members of the Ulster Volunteer Force they were Protestants and kidnapped and killed several Catholics as well as setting off explosives and may have killed as many as 32 people during their activities. All these stories together on the same album just make for a perfectly mixed album. So being thus encouraged I decided that I was going to listen to the entire album and not just put the music player on album. 

The whole album is like reading a book. In fact I would love to see a stage show or film made of the whole thing. It could be a Quadrophenia for the post millenium generation. Here are some videos.

All three parts of The Crane Wife sung by Colin Meloy.

When The War Came

The Shankill Butchers

Sons and Daughters

Listen to these and enjoy them, I know that I will be over and over again. 

Friday Random Music Filings

Special random music Friday since I missed yesterdays.

Well this is interesting. I found for the first time in this process a song that is not on YouTube. That song is "Know Who You Are" by Supertramp and it is really a lovely song. I am not sure what to do about that. I would love for you to hear it. So I guess if you have Spotify I would recommend looking it up there. I do not think you will regret it.

Please Pardon Yourself - The Avett Brothers - This is a great band and I generally like all that they have put out with the exception of their big radio single whose name escapes me. But I did not care for that song. But I do not blame them. I blame the studio and the record company. It is pretty much impossible for any band to bat 1000.00%. I mean even David Bowie had "Dancing in the Street"

Which Way is Up - Cause Co Motion - I do not know much about this band and I am not even sure where this came from and why it is even in my collection.

You Won't Make A Fool Out Of Me - Flogging Molly - I enjoy this band greatly. But I have to be in the right frame of mind to fully enjoy their music.

United Kids - CIV - Punk, punk ,punk that is all.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Heavy Metal Wednesday

Today feels like a good day for some heavy metal. It started when my friend Eric sent me a link to this video by the band Clutch. The song is called "Earth Rocker"

I need to follow that up with this one called "Subtle Hustle"

Now, I enjoyed that little metal excursion very much and their sound reminded me of one of my favorites Red Fang. Now, I have no idea who came first and I do not really care. I am in the midst of enjoying both of their sounds and I look forward to exploring more of Clutch as things go on.

One of the things that I love about Red Fang is that I can listen to and really enjoy their albums but I also am able to watch their videos and that is what I decided to bring you today. So get ready to bang your head and pump your fists because as Dewey Finn said in School of Rock  "Lets get rockin"

Red Fang - Prehistoric Dog

Red Fang - Wires

Red Fang - Hank is dead

and finally and only because it popped into my head and if I have to deal with it then so do you. I leave you with this classic number.

Wow, nothing says rocking like three, count them, three synthesizers. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Beguiled

The 70's were a different time in the world. I know that sounds funny. But what I mean is that there are things that were kind of taken for granted in the world of film and music that would not happen today. Thanks to Netflix I stumbled across one of those gems this weekend. Now, I am not advocating this as a masterpiece of film making by any means. It is an interesting film and an interesting story. But, it feels to me like it was one of those things that sounded better in the pitch meeting or on paper then it translated to on film. It was in fact based on a 1966 novel written by Thomas P. Cullinan, originally titled A Painted Devil.

As I understand it, there is not much difference between the book and the film though there was some argument about the ending of the film vs the book and I believe that the final ending version of the film is closer to the book. One of the biggest problems with the film was that it was pretty poorly marketed and it was not a film role that the typical Clint Eastwood fan was going to buy into. In the poster up above Eastwood is holding a gun. But in the film he never wields one. But as far as strangeness goes there is one moment that stands out for me.

I am just going to leave that there and let your outrage run it's course. 

Random Music Tuesday

And away we go...

Hyper Chondriac Music - Muse - This was a trippy, trippy number. It very much feels like put the headphones on and smoke a bowl kind of music. I do not mind that but I do not listen to this type of music very often. It reminds me of one of my favorite ABC' Afterschool Specials'

Lift Us Up - Bonnie Prince Billy - I do not have the words for how much I love this entire album. There is a depth to it that I find so fulfilling and I love just closing my eyes and letting the whole thing envelop me. If you have the chance I highly recommend giving it a listen on Spotify. So good.

Kentucky Mandolin - Bill Monroe - One of the masters of bluegrass and boy does he light this Mandolin up. WOW. I can only imagine how fast his fingers are moving over the strings. Look out! I found a live version and now I do not have to imagine it and neither do you. I bring it to you below.

Okay, now that was legitimately impressive I thought. The whole thing. On we go with our regularly scheduled programming.

Secret Loser - Ozzy Osbourne - Classic Ozzy. Bang those heads folks. Bang those heads and check out that album art. Wowie wow wow.

The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight - R. E. M. - Classic song and off of an amazing album Automatic For The People. I think that pretty much their whole discography is very good.

I really enjoyed today's mix of music. So good.

Thursday, March 07, 2013


is the greatest rock band in the world!! There I said it and I do not feel ashamed about saying it. I am not going to write a big defense of the band here or try to detail for the doubter why I think this. I am just going to put up some songs from their very first album. I realized as I was listening to 'Finding My Way" on my earlier post from today that I really, really like basically their entire first album. So I thought I would share some highlights of it with you.

What makes this debut album different from their other albums is that they had a different drummer on it, John Rutsey, and the music was written by Lifeson and Lee. The majority of the rest of the Rush albums were written by Neil Peart and you can really see the change in influences with his arrival. This first album is more of a typical mid 70's hard rock album and they hadn't become the prog rock gods that they were destined to be. The two biggest hits on the album were "Finding My Way" which I detailed in a previous blog post and..

"In The Mood" and do not pretend that you didn't dig the cowbell.

But I think there are several solid rock songs on the album. One of my favorites and I love the guitar on it is "Take A Friend" it isn't anything fancy but there is something about the basic straight forwardness of the rocking that I really can get behind.

The song that follows "Take A Friend" is the almost Black Sabbath copy "Here Again", it just chugs along and if you are at all familiar with early Black Sabbath you can totally hear the similarities. Which really isn't that much of a surprise because by the time this album came out in 1974, Black Sabbath had already put out five albums since the release of their debut album in 1970. 


Up next is another song that I just plain really enjoy and that one is called "What You Doing" and this one is more of a faster and harder edged song then the last one. Another solid head banger. I love Lifeson's guitar work on this one. 

The final song on the album is a classic and one that never fails to get me going. I think it is one of their best songs and one that they tend to play in concert pretty regularly because the crowd never fails to get up for it. It is called "Working Man"

Enjoy your day and enjoy listening to one of the great bands. Rush! 

More Random Music Wednesday

Going On - Dark Moor - This is one of my favorite epic metal bands. If there is one thing that I miss about the newer more modern music is the state of heavy metal. I miss this kind of power ballad metal and I wish that there were more American bands who played this way. But at least there are still some Northern European bands that can still bring the thunder.

Kisses Sweeter Than Wine - Jimmie Rodgers - This is a great, great early folk song. I can't recommend it highly enough. If you like folk music at all please give this one a listen. It really brings a smile to my face.

Finding My Way - Rush - This is the first Rush song off of their very first album and it rocks so hard. If you can't at least enjoy some of what Rush has brought the world musically then I have some doubts about you as a person and because I am a gentleman I am not going to express them right now. But I will be thinking them.

Despicable - Eminem - Ummm, this one is not safe for work at all. I had forgotten that I even had any Eminem in my collection. I enjoy him but he is for sure not for everyone. I think he has some real talent but I am not a big fan of the constant flow of profanity. But that is just me. The beats he uses are funky fresh.

South Bound Saurez - Led Zeppelin - This is a great song and to be honest there is not a song by Led Zeppelin that I do not enjoy in some form. The piano on this one is very good and kind of reminds me of Elton John

That is it for today folks and I think that today the selections showed how varied my musical tastes are. I hope you enjoyed it.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

The Violent Femmes...

I really, really like this band. I am not totally sure what it is about them as a whole and the only album of theirs that I own is the compilation one titled "Add it Up" which compiles their music from 1981 to 1993. Which is actually kind of lame of me now that I think about it.

There are a lot of people who feel that "Blister In The Sun" is their best song and don't get me wrong. I like that song quite a bit but I like "Gone Daddy Gone" even more. But for me the songs that I am most interested in and fascinated by are when the lead singer Gordon Gano became a Christian. There is almost an old time gospel feel to them and I really enjoy that kind of music.

Another song of theirs that I really enjoy is more of a classic 80's punk song called "Old Mother Reagan". The song seems dated now in 2013 but at the same time there is a certain energy and anger to it that still resonates with me today.

Their second album had a little bit of a twangy country feel to it. But, the first song on the album was called "County Death Song" and it for sure has an ironic feel to it. That being said I still think it is a good good song and it is obvious to me that someone in the Decemberists was inspired by this song when they wrote their big family murder ballad "The Rake's Song". That isn't a slam on The Decemberists by any means. I really, really like them and the live video I posted below is amazing.

I actually really enjoy listening to those two songs back to back. They just work well together. There is another song that for me just kind of transcends description and that is "Black Girls"

I can't fully explain it but the song just rollicks along and the drums are amazing. Their is just an upbeatness to the final part of this song that I really, really enjoy.

Thanks for joining me on this little musical journey through the Violent Femmes and please if their is a band that you think I should check out. Then please let me know about them in the comment section. I love learning about new bands. 

Random Music Tuesday

Happy rainy Tuesday folks. Lets get to the tunes, shall we?

Forever - Supertramp - I like this band but I am not in the mood for this kind of music today. Wow, it almost sounds like a song by the "Honeydrippers" which is interesting but at the same time this song does absolutely nothing for me. Wow. I hope song number 2 is a little more to my liking.

Do Your Thing - Charles Wright - Aaaah yes, the 'Boogie Nights' soundtrack. Such a good movie and such a good soundtrack. The funk of this song is soooo good. The thump and dirty growl of the base is totally right on. "In the jungle, baby"

Am I Not Merciful - Hans Zimmer - This too is a good soundtrack to a film that I thoroughly enjoy. It is a far different kind of soundtrack then the previous one but one that I still enjoy listening too. There is a majesty to this piece that I really, really enjoy.

Cherish - Madonna - Classic, classic Madonna. Say what you want about her personal life and her attempts at acting but this lady can craft an excellent pop song. So good, this is just upbeat and the chorus is toe tappin good. What more can you ask for in a pop song?

Toy Heart - Bill Monroe - Ricky Skaggs tribute - Classic solid bluegrass.