Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

Hello everyone! Just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Easter!

Thank you Jesus for giving death a good swift kick in the testicles!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Believer - "Transhuman"

Believer - Transhuman
2011, Metal Blade

1. Lie Awake
2. G.U.T.
3. Multiverse
4. End of Infinity
5. Transfection
6. Clean Room
7. Currents
8. Traveler
9. Ego Machine
10. Being No One
11. Entanglement
12. Mindsteps

Sometimes it's possible to be too experimental. Case in point, Believer's new album Transhuman. I think there's a lot of interesting things going on here but I also think that most people won't give this disc the time it would take to really appreciate it. It similar in style to the last album, though it sounds a bit more "down to earth" if that makes sense. Aside from the ultra-modern "Lie Awake" (which I like, along with "G.U.T.") a lot of this music is challenging and dense. It's also short on hooks and I still have trouble keeping my mind on the music while listening to it. Most traces of the band's thrash roots have disappeared except in "Clean Room" and "Ego Machine" (two of my favorite tracks). "Ego Machine" even features Kurt Bachman's old-school growl. "Currents" is an techno-industrial instrumental and I think it's a nice interlude. However, there's also tracks like "Multiverse" and "Mindsteps" which aside from a riff here and there are pretty dang boring. The internet is pretty divided in regards to this album. Half love it, half hate it, some are in the middle. That's me... in the middle. You really have to just listen to some samples and decide whether its something you want to invest in. Honestly, it makes really good background music but I don't know if I'll go back to it again and again.

Now I'd like to discuss the lyrics for a second. Supposedly they're based on Transhumanist philosophy. That philosophy is (and I'm paraphrasing) about using technology to improve the human condition as well as what it means to be human. Okay... I'm down with that. Can't really think of anyone that's against using technology to improve the human condition. Problem is the lyrics don't make any damn sense. I'm okay with exploring other philosophies and what not but at the end of this disc you won't know anything more about Transhumanism than you did when you went in. Is the band supporting it? Rejecting it? What are they saying about it? I don't know. The band acts like this is really important to them... it's a shame I can't tell why. I don't care if they're Christian anymore or not I just wish I knew what they were trying to say! Rant mode: OFF.

Useless Fact: Like Gabriel before it, Transhuman's artwork features a model, body paint, and photography. That's it. I kind of like the similar theme.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Mustard Seeds - "The Mustard Seeds"

The Mustard Seeds - The Mustard Seeds
1996, Entourage

1. Mr. Green
2. Last Man on Earth
3. Cats and Dogs
4. Bulldozer
5. Mother May I
6. Red Mountain
7. Ordinary Man
8. Fool For You
9. Life Goes On
10. Quicksand
11. King Kong

Boy I sure do loves me some Mustard Seeds. After getting their latest album awhile back I went ahead and got their debut too. It was cheap. It's also wonderful. It's a little less commercial and the harmonies are more up-front, I think. The King's X type down-tuned riffs shine through as well. I think I like this one a little bit more than their latest - mainly because of the less commercial thing. Either one is fantastic though. *sigh* If I were in charge this band would have been huge.

Useless Fact: The band has another album called Red which is inexplicabley more expensive than the debut. Why? Hmmm... Anyway, I'll have to track that one down as well.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Panic! At the Disco - "Vices & Virtues"

Panic! At the Disco - Vices & Virtues
2011, Fueled By Ramen

1. The Ballad of Mona Lisa
2. Let's Kill Tonight
3. Hurricane
4. Memories
5. Trade Mistakes
6. Ready To Go (Get Me Out of My Mind)
7. Always
8. The Calender
9. Sarah Smiles
10. Nearly Witches (Every Since We Met)
Bonus Tracks
11. Stall Me
12. Oh Glory
13. I Wanna Be Free
14. Turn Off the Light

When I first heard "The Ballad of Mona Lisa" I was pretty excited for the album that would follow. While I liked Pretty.Odd. alright I never really found myself going back to it as much as the debut. The first single from Vices & Virtues finds the band returning to their more modern emo/pop roots. "The Ballad of Mona Lisa" is an incredible song with an incredible hook but the rest of the album? It's a bit of a grower. I was a little disappointed at first until my wife and I were driving around in the car half-listening to it - and then it clicked. I started appreciating more and more songs. The peppy "Let's Kill Tonight" and the slightly disco-esque "Hurricane" are two of my favorites. I will say the middle tracks are not quite as entrancing. "Memories," "Trade Mistakes," and "Ready to Go" are not bad tunes at all - they just don't quite hold my interest. "Ready to Go" sounds pretty 80's... I first thought this track almost sounds like The Killers instead of Panic. Things pick up again with a gentle ballad "Always." "Sarah Smiles" is the most reminiscent of Pretty.Odd. As a plus, the guys finish strong with the epic "Nearly Witches."

That's when the real fun begins. My deluxe edition contains four tracks not found on normal editions of the album. These four tracks are really awesome. So awesome that I am confounded as to why they didn't show up on the album proper. It's not like Panic has ever shied away from cramming upwards of 15 songs on a disc, so what gives? If I would have gotten the normal version of this album I would have been disappointed. With the extra tracks I feel like I'm actually getting the whole package. Seriously, if you have the normal edition you're missing out. I guess I'm saying I like my edition of Vices & Virtues but I probably wouldn't like the one at Walmart. How's that for an official review?

Useless Fact: Not only is the ! back in Panic! At the Disco, the band now only includes vocalist Brendan Urie and the drummer. Urie also wrote most of the songs on the album. "Sarah Smiles" is about his girlfriend.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Request from the Friends of Terry S. Taylor

Hey everyone! I just received a very sad update on Facebook having to do with Terry Taylor (Daniel Amos/Swirling Eddies/Lost Dogs) and his family. Here's the actual announcement:

"To any and all who been blessed by the life and gifts of Terry Talor, It is with much regret that I come to you with a desperate prayer. Our dear friend and brother, Terry Taylor, is experiencing one of the direst personal struggles of his life. Since the cancellation of Catscratch, his financial situation has been dismal to say the least. His wife and daughter both teach at a pre-school to help make ends meet week to week but it hasn't been enough and two years ago they lost their home in foreclosure. As many of you know, Terry, who is uninsured, has had ongoing medical problems for the past five years, with last year being particularly troublesome and expensive. The bills have mounted steadily and the late fees continue to add more misery. Last month their little apartment was burglarized and items of great sentiment were stolen. As an unwanted culmination to one of the toughest years in the life of his family, this past weekend his daughter Noelle was rushed to the hospital and had to have emergency surgery to remove her gall bladder. He hasn't wanted us to share his story and burden his fans and we've been trying some creative new ideas to raise Terry's income but this last blow has broken the camel's back and nearly broken Terry's spirit. I know many of you would want to help our brother in this time of personal crisis. If we all gave $10 or $20 it would go a long toward relieving this burden for their family. Some of you may be able to give more; some less. Anything would help right now."

I can honestly say that Terry's music has influenced me for the better part of my life. Let's all go over to Daniel Amos' website and donate a little something. Sometimes I feel closer to Terry (through his music) than some of my own family. Our little family is chugging along okay but only because we've had so much help. I don't usually do this sort of thing, but as I said, Terry is close to my heart.

Lord bless Terry and his family. Amen.

UPDATE! 4/6/11 - I just got a message on Facebook saying that the response to the family's request was phenomenal. They raised over $25,000 in three days. THREE DAYS! Wow! There's only one thing to say to that: Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Crashdog - "The Pursuit of Happiness!"

Crashdog- The Pursuit of Happiness!
1992, Grrr

1. Election Year
2. The Pursuit of Happiness
3. It's a Boy's Life
4. Foreign Policy
5. Life to Right
6. Dream So Vain
7. Mommy's Little Anarchist
8. Stop and Think
9. Who?
10. Kirsten
11. See the Unseen
12. 3 is a Magic Number
13. Untitled

I somehow missed The Pursuit of Happiness when it first came out. I had the debut and then later got Mud Angels but never showed any interest in getting this one. I have no idea why. I had a friend that owned a copy but I never listened to it. It's along the same lines as Human Society - old school punk with a serious message and serious music. I'm not sure I dig this one as much as the other two though. I don't think the guitar work is quite as dynamic here. They may have been going for a more old school vibe but I miss the leads and stuff. There are a few here and there, but not as many. What I do like is the fact that the band can take time off from being serious to pen songs like "It's a Boy's Life" which just about being a kid. I also really dig the cover of "3 is a Magic Number." The other thing I like about this album is Spike Nard. Once he left the band didn't hold my attention as much. If you like Crashdog, you'll like this, but it's definitely the weakest of the Nard discs. Awesome, comic-inspired cover art, I might add.

Oh... one thing I need to also applaud them for is the song "Life to Right." It's an abortion song with a little spin. It stresses the need for Christians to care about the mothers and the children so that they have a reason to have the child instead of abort. If you're against abortion, the best thing you can do is help a pregnant girl who is lost and scared. Give her support and love so that abortion won't be such an attractive option.

Useless Fact: In the liner notes the band included a plea for listeners to get involved in their government.