Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Taylor, Terry Scott - "Avocado Faultline"



Taylor, Terry Scott - Avocado Faultline
2000, Stunt

1. Cowboys With Engines
2. Startin' Monday
3. Capistrano Beach
4. Pie Hole
5. The Afternoon
6. Built Her a Cloud
7. Angels Must Smile Like That
8. With What I Should Have Said
9. Pretend I'm Elvis (For Just One Night)
10. Papa Danced On Olvera Street
11. Kind Word

Listening to Avocado Faultline after just having come off John Wayne was a bit of a gear shift. Whereas the latter album was raucous and loud, Faultline is more mellow. It's sort of a combination of country, folk, and Americana - a bit more like a Lost Dogs album perhaps. "Built Her a Cloud," the sole "rock" track could also have been a shoo-in for a Dogs disc. Surprisingly, I like some of the "country" songs the most, like "Cowboys With Engines" and "Pretend I'm Elvis (For Just One Night)." While I always enjoy whatever Uncle Terry has to bring to the table, I do have to be in the right mood for this one.

Useless Fact: Speaking of the Lost Dogs, they pretty much all show up on "Pretend I'm Elvis."

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Taylor, Terry Scott - "John Wayne"



Taylor, Terry Scott - John Wayne
1998, KMG

1. Writer's Block
2. Mr. Flutter
3. Too Many Angels
4. Boomtown
5. You Told Them Exactly What I Didn't Say
6. Big Shot & Miniature Girl
7. Ten Gallon Hat
8. Hey John Wayne
9. Chicken Crosses The Road
10. You Lay Down

I tried buying this awhile back but the webstore I used told me they didn't have it in stock! So... take two? I guess? John Wayne should be pretty comfortable listening to fans of Daniel Amos' Kalhoun, or Bibleland, or even Dig Here, Said the Angel. It's pretty straightforward alternative rock. That's not to downplay how good it is though. It's so good, guys. Tim Chandler's warbly wandering bass lines are all over this disc. The hooks are strong as well, especially on tracks like "Mr. Flutter" and "Boomtown." The disc veers over into some country-lite territory with "Ten Gallon Hat." This album has kind of a melancholy tone as a few of the songs seem to be about Taylor's lack of mainstream musical success. It's totally worth picking up.

Useless Fact: Terry Scott Taylor wrote the soundtracks for both The Neverhood, Skullmonkeys, and the upcoming Armikrog - games by Doug TenNapel. TenNapel also contributed some art to the liner notes.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Haken - "Visions"



Haken - Visions
2011, Sensory

1. Premonition
2. Nocturnal Conspiracy
3. Insomnia
4. The Mind's Eye
5. Portals
6. Shapeshifter
7. Deathless
8. Visions

My good buddy recommended I check out Visions as we both went nuts over the band's latest full-length album, The Mountain. So I bought it, because if he says I'll like it, chances are at least 98.9% that I will like it. Surprise! I really like it! It's actually a good deal heavier overall than The Mountain. Whereas the newest album falls a bit more on the "progressive rock" side of the spectrum, this one is more on the "metal" side. The shear amount of talent here boggles the mind. The bass playing is astounding and the sense of melody is captivating. Emotion just pours out of this music. Remember when I was just getting into Dream Theater? I have to say, Dream Theater sounds almost sterile and antiseptic compared to some of the stuff I've gotten into since then. Especially this. I think I might actually like this better than The Mountain. Though I don't know... I'd better listen to The Mountain again...

Useless Fact: This does seem to be a concept album about time travel, vampires, and murder, but I'm not exactly sure what the story is.

Haken - "Resoration EP"



Haken - Restoration EP
2014, Inside Out

1. Darkest Light
2. Earthlings
3. Crystallised

Holy cow! I can't believe I didn't review this! I've had it since around Christmastime of last year. Well, let's remedy that right now shall we? Restoration is a nice cheap little EP and it is well worth your time. "Darkest Light" is heavy - more akin to some of the stuff on Visions. It's a good song but it doesn't blow my socks off or anything. "Earthlings" is a ballad that is, honestly, kind of boring. The final track, "Crystallised," however, is amazing and wonderful. The whole EP is only like $2.67 on Amazon last time I checked. Worth every penny I'd say.

Useless Fact: I don't really have anything else to say about this album.... sorry.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Immortal Souls - "Wintermetal"



Immortal Souls - Wintermetal
2015, Rottweiler

1. First Snow of Winter
2. Calm Before the Snowstorm
3. Dawn of Northern Coldness
4. The Trail in the Snow
5. Inverno
6. Snowstorm
7. Cold and Barren Land
8. Northern Star
9. The Grave of a Poet
10. Solitude
11. Wintermetal

I've never really liked melodic death metal. Of course, I've never really listened to a lot of it but what I had heard never really grabbed me. Except for Immortal Souls, that is. Immortal Souls has been around for a good long while but this is the first album I've heard of theirs. I listened to some samples and was impressed enough to buy the whole album. It smokes! I think what I dig about this album is that it seems to be a bit more rooted in thrash at times. Let's not forget some cool riffs and blast beats - though the blast beats aren't overused. The vocals are of the growling type but a couple of songs ("The Trail in the Snow" and "Northern Star") feature clean vocals which adds some variety. As one could guess by the album title and song titles, the theme of this album is "winter: it's way cool, man." I understand these guys have been writing about winter for their entire careers. I mean, I love winter too but I don't know how many songs I could write about it. I'm a little bummed that it wasn't actually winter when this came out. I feel like it's kind of blasphemy to listen to Wintermetal while in the peak of spring!

Useless Fact: This album shares a label with Grave Robber and Lust Control. Several of the label's bands are charting on the Christian Hard Rock charts. They're starting to turn into the modern equivalent of Intense Records!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Beastie Boys - "Ill Communication"



Beastie Boys - Ill Communication
1994, Capitol

1. Sure Shot
2. Tough Guy
3. B-Boys Makin' With the Freak Freak
4. Bobo On the Corner
5. Root Down
6. Sabotage
7. Get It Together
8. Sabrosa
9. The Update
10. Futterman's Rule
11. Alright Hear This
12. Eugene's Lament
13. Flute Loop
14. Do It
15. Ricky's Theme
16. Heart Attack Man
17. The Scoop
18. Shambala
19. Bodhisattva Vow
20. Transitions

I think Ill Communication is my favorite Beastie platter so far. It starts off with, what I think, is one of their best songs ever - "Sure Shot." The album continues the somewhat experimental approach that began with Check Your Head. There's a lot of funk, alternative, some hard core punk, and even more world music. Though I actually think this one is a bit more cohesive and there's a lot more actual rap songs. I also like the instrumentals better - especially the violin's on "Eugene's Lament." This album is most well-known for "Sabotage" and its video. Hey remember when "Sabotage" was in the Star Trek reboot. As much as I love that song I hated that they put it in Star Trek. A young Jim Kirk rocking out to the Beasties after stealing a car. Seemed very un-Star Trek to me. Anyway... this is a great album and it's too bad the only thing people have heard off of it is "Sabotage."

Useless Fact: Q-Tip guest raps on "Get It Together" and Biz Markie makes another appearance on "Do It."

Monday, May 25, 2015

Beastie Boys - "Check Your Head"



Beastie Boys - Check Your Head
1992, Capitol

1. Jimmy James
2. Funky Boss
3. Pass the Mic
4. Gratitude
5. Lighten Up
6. Finger Lickin' Good
7. So What'Cha Want
8. The Biz Vs. The Nuge
9. Time For Livin'
10. Somethings Got to Give
11. The Blue Nun
12. Stand Together
13. Pow
14. The Maestro
15. Groove Holmes
16. Live At P.J.'s
17. Mark On the Bus
18. Professor Booty
19. In 3's
20. Namaste

Paul's Boutique, the B-Boys' sophomore album was a critical success even if that didn't translate to spectacular sales. For their follow-up, Check Your Head, the band picked up instruments and decided to be all experimental and what not. The result is, not surprisingly, very experimental - mixing their old school hip-hop with funk, alternative rock, and even some world music. I remember I had a friend at church once that had recently got the album and was like, "Man... I don't know what's going on with them!" I could see where it could be quite a shock to someone not prepared for it. Let it be known that the instrumentation is stellar and, might I say, who knew Adam Yauch was such an accomplished bass player? Honestly, though, I don't like this one quite as much as Ill Communication because I think there could definitely stand to be a bit more actual rap on here. That being said, I can also see why a lot of people cite this one as their favorite.

Useless Fact: Biz Markie does some "singing" on "The Biz Vs. the Nuge." It's awful... or sublime. I depends on what you think of Biz Markie.