Monday, February 23, 2015

Trainor, Meghan - "Title"



Trainor, Meghan - Title
2014, Epic

1. The Best Part
2. All About That Bass
3. Dear Future Husband
4. Close Your Eye
5. 3am
6. Like I'm Gonna Lose You
7. Bang Dem Sticks
8. Walkashame
9. Title
10. What If I
11. Lips Are Movin'
Bonus Tracks
12. No Good For You
13. Mr. Almost
14. My Selfish Heart
15. Credit

So my wife and I were in the kitchen one day singing "Lips Are Movin'" because we are weird people. I said to her, "You know, I kind of want to get that CD." She replied, "I TOTALLY WANT TO GET IT!" Now, it's hard for me to not buy music when my wife doesn't care so imagine how little restraint I had when she said that. I bought it the very next day. If you like the two hit songs: "All About That Bass" and the aforementioned "Lips Are Movin'" you will not be disappointed by Title. Her whole retro/Motown/Hip-hop/white girl rapping thing really works for me, musically speaking. Ms. Trainor is also a great singer with a great voice and she's one of the few pop people today who wrote all of the tracks on this album herself (and her one songwriting partner). It definitely breaks up the monotony on the radio for me. So yeah... the music is great. The lyrics, however...

Oh. Gosh.

The lyrics.

How can I sum up the basic thesis of Title? I guess it would be, "I make bad choices about men and then am mad and confused by the results." Sure there's a lot of body acceptance themes in some songs and I've no problem with that. However, there's also a lot of "if you treat me like a queen the best you can expect out of me is to maybe have sex... maybe." How she expects men to treat her better when she freely admits to getting drunk and having one night stands is beyond me. Kind of sending some mixed messages there, chief. Now I don't actually know Meghan Trainor so these songs could just be a persona or character. That's all well and good but this persona is a crazy person.

In summation and in conclusion: great sounding album, annoying lyrics.

Useless Fact: The song "Bang Dem Sticks," and ode to Ms. Trainor's drummer does not actually contain any live drums.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The O.C. Supertones - "The Adventures of the O.C. Supertones"



The O.C. Supertones - The Adventures of the O.C. Supertones
1996, Tooth & Nail

1. Adonai
2. Who Can Be Against Me
3. Unknown
4. Never Wanna Fall
5. Roots
6. Heaven
7. He Will Always Be There
8. Exalt
9. Found
10. O.C. Supertones
11. I Love God
12. Blood Washed Pilgrim

I remember getting this my senior year of high school. Heavy metal had long since faded away in the Christian scene and despite the rise of alternative and grunge in the secular market, nothing really took its place. Enter ska. Ska never really caught on in the mainstream aside from a couple tunes from bands like the Mighty Mighty Bosstones and Reel Big Fish. In the Christian realm, however, it took off... like a rocket. Ska bands were numerous but the O.C. Supertones were the top dogs (along with Five Iron Frenzy). I'm not sure what motivated me to pick this up after so many years but I'm glad I did. I've never been a huge ska person but I love this debut. I think the biggest draw, for me, is the lyrics. They are very worshipful and genuine. This was before worship music became a style too. It also helps that the bass work is awesome. The mastering seems a little thin to but it's not enough to hurt my enjoyment. I never followed the band after this album for various reasons (which I may share some day), but I think I may have to remedy that.

Useless Fact: Along with the Supertones and Five Iron Frenzy were The Insyderz, B.O.B. (Bunch of Believers). I'm sure there were more but those are the ones I remember.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Killed By Cain - "Killed By Cain"



Killed By Cain - Killed By Cain
1993, REX

1. Intro to Hypocrisy
2. Burn the Church
3. Violence
4. Thou Shalt Not Kill
5. Gasoline
6. Jezebel
7. Father
8. Sin City
9. Walk the Line
10. Gun Control

Someone on a Facebook group posted a picture of this album. I suddenly remembered that Killed By Cain were actually a thing and that I had owned this particular disc (well... tape). I also remember my impressions of it being "okay, but not a frequent player." Definitely wasn't over the moon for them originally. So I bought it again to see how time has treated it. Well, like a lot of albums I rediscover, I enjoyed it more the second time around. It's has kind of that Snakes-era Bride shimmy and shake vibe but much less commercial and much more metal. The vocalist sounds like both Axl Rose (in his lower register) and the vocalist from Dangerous Toys (whose name escapes me). There's a bit of Black Sabbath in here as well with slower, doomier guitar riffs. I love the acoustic track, "Sin City." I think Killed By Cain were another band who were victims of their time. '93 was not a good year for a metal band to put out a debut album. While I don't think there's anything particularly spectacular about this disc, I think they had a lot of potential and it's too bad they never got to do a second album.

Back in the old days of the Deliverance message board Dion, from Hot Pink Turtle, had a funny story of Killed By Cain at Cornerstone. Apparently the power kept shutting off as they were trying to start their show. Each time the vocalist grew less and less enthused with his opening line.

Useless Fact: Dale Thompson of Bride produced which probably accounts for any similarities. Also, drummer Stephan Rolland was Bride's drummer on the Silence is Madness album.

Friday, February 6, 2015

BabyMetal - "BabyMetal"



BabyMetal - BabyMetal
2013, Toy's Factory

1. BabyMetal Death
2. Megitsune
3. Gimmie Chocolate!!
4. Iine!
5. Akatsuki
6. Doki Doki Morning
7. Onedari Daisakusen
8. Song 4
9. Uki Uki Midnight
10. Catch Me If You Can
11. Rondo of Nightmare
12. Headbangya!!
13. Ijime Dame Zettai

BabyMetal is quite the oddity. It's a mix of Japanese pop and metal. Don't know what Japanese pop sounds like? Well, go to your nearest arcade or Chuck-E-Cheese. Go to the Dance Dance Revolution game. Whatever music you hear pouring out of that cabinet is J-pop. Now put metal with it. You'd think that would be awful but, against all odds, it works. The songs themselves are catchy as heck - and heavy. The people responsible for the music know metal. They know how to write a riff and you can tell that they have been longtime fans of metal just by how quality the music is. The girls singing are well... totes adorbs. Also, the lead singer is fantastic - she's got the chops to handle both the pop aspects and the metal crunch. She's only sixteen (the other girls are twelve, I think), so it will be interesting to see where her career goes from here. This album also qualifies as "instant good mood" music.

Useless Fact: The girls didn't know anything about metal when they were told about the band.

Friday, January 30, 2015

I Fight Dragons - "The Near Future"



I Fight Dragons - The Near Future
2014, Independent

1. The Near Future I - Prelude
2. The Near Future II - Eighteen
3. The Near Future III - Battle
4. The Near Future IV - Another Week
5. The Near Future V - Meeting
6. The Near Future VI - Rescue
7. The Near Future VII - Time to Fly
8. The Near Future VIII - Requiem
9. The Near Future IX - Return
10. The Near Future X - Fighting On
11. No Strings
12. Pretend
13. Chicago
14. Always
15. Jimmy and Sally

I found out about I Fight Dragons through a You Tuber, The Rock Critic. Their a pop-punk band that mixes a lot of chip tunes into their music. You might think this would be annoying, but you are wrong. Mostly because the band always balances the chip tunes out with great melodies and hooks. I was sold on "Eighteen" alone. It's an amazing song. The lyrics perfectly capture what it was like young like that. I would go so far as to say it stands up there with Alice Cooper's "I'm Eighteen" in terms of perfectly capturing the angst of that age. The rest of the album is filled with catchy songs with great layered harmonies that kind of remind me of The Mustard Seeds at times. Also, the lyrics are really good - very well thought out and poignant. The first half of the album is a concept about a kid who gets superpowers, the second half is stand alone songs.

Useless Fact: As of right now there is no actual hard copy CD - only vinyl. Oh... the tragedy! What will I put in the vault?

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Marmozets - "The Weird and Wonderful Marmozets"



Marmozets - The Weird and Wonderful Marmozets
2014, Roadrunner

1. Born Young and Free
2. Why Do You Hate Me?
3. Captivate You
4. Is It Horrible
5. Cover Up
6. Particle
7. Cry
8. Weird and Wonderful
9. Vibetech
10. Love You Good
11. Hit the Wave
12. Move, Shake, Hide
13. Back To You

A female-fronted alternative rock band has a tough row to hoe these days. Mainly because they are a dime a dozen. They are everywhere. It takes a lot for a band to differentiate itself from all the others out there. Marmozets does just that. They are another of my You Tube finds - "Move, Shake, Hide" was the song. It was so raw and chaotic, then balanced out on the chorus with a little Paramore-esque melody. Don't mistake me though, Marmozets has little in common with Paramore. The guitar work is way too technical. They've got some crazy time signatures and little riffs and fills that reminded me a little of Silent Earth-era Coheed and Cambria. Vocalst Becca MacIntyre has taken up some of that intensity that Lacey Sturm had in the early days of Flyleaf. Though Ms. MacIntyre goes right off the edge and it's so cool. Definitely looking forward to what this band does in the future.

Useless Fact: This band is British. They've been together since 2007. I honestly don't know that much about them.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Freak Kitchen - "Cooking With Pagans"



Freak Kitchen - Cooking With Pagans
2014, Laser's Edge

1. Professional Help
2. Freak of the Week
3. Sloppy
4. Goody Goody
5. (Saving Up For An) Anal Bleach
6. Private Property
7. Mathematics of Defeat
8. I Don't Want To Golf
9. Hide
10. Comeback to Come Back
11. Ranks of the Terrified
12. Once Upon a Time in Scandinaviastan

Here's the weird thing about Cooking With Pagans - I'm kind of disappointed with it, but there's technically nothing wrong with it. The guitar work and vocals are stellar. The songs are good. I really like "Mathematics of Defeat" and "Hide." However, I feel like I'd pretty much digested everything this album had to offer in a few listens. It felt light... like there's not enough meat on the chicken bone. I'm not sure what the deal is. It's probably me. Kudos to them for having one of the weirdest song titles I've heard: "(Saving Up For An) Anal Bleach."

Useless Fact: There's a video for "Freak of the Week" that has some stunning animation in it. You should go watch it immediately.