Monday, July 25, 2011

Devin Townsend Project - "Deconstruction"

Devin Townsend Project - Deconstruction
2011, Inside Out

1. Praise the Lowered
2. Stand
3. Juular
4. Planet of the Apes
5. Sumeria
6. The Mighty Masturbator
7. Pandemic
8. Deconstruction
9. Poltergeist

Being the third album in the Devin Townsend Project four album series, Deconstruction is the heaviest, most dense, most progressive entry. It's demanding and uncompromising. Is it good? I honestly don't know. I was absolutely overwhelmed the first few times I listened to this - especially during the longer songs. There were times during "Planet of the Apes" and "The Mighty Masturbator" where my brain literally could not keep track of the song. I was totally lost. It gets easier with more listens but the fact remains - this disc is a challenge. You literally have to plan a day to listen to it. The concept invovles a cheeseburger, the devil, and the meaning of life, but I couldn't really tell you how it all fits together.

I really like some of the shorter songs "Juular," "Sumeria," and "Poltergeist." It honestly makes me wish Devin would do a really heavy Addicted-type album. It's weird because I usually like Devin's sprawling epic songs but there's usually something to latch onto or a hook that keeps me coming back. Here, though, there's just too much going on. It doesn't seem as cohesive or connected. Of course, I think that's kind of the point but it doesn't make for a frequent player for me. I like all the songs under 8 minutes long. I don't hate the others, though. I hope that as time goes on I can foster more of an appreciation for what's going on here but right now it's work to listen to. Wonderful and strange work, but work nonetheless.

Useless Fact: The album boasts a bevy of guest vocalists including the guy from Opeth (forgot his name) and Floor Jansen who's frequently seen in Ayreon and Star One.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Crash Test Dummies - "God Shuffled His Feet"

Crash Test Dummies - God Shuffled His Feet
1993, Arista

1. God Shuffled His Feet
2. Afternoons and Coffeespoons
3. Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm
4. In the Days of the Caveman
5. Swimming In Your Ocean
6. Here I Stand Before Me
7. I Think I'll Disappear Now
8. How Does a Duck Know?
9. When I Go Out With Artists
10. The Psychic
11. Two Knights and Maidens
12. Crash Course

Have you ever bought a used CD and wondered just how it ended up in the store? How many hands it passed through? Was it liked? Ignored? I only bring this up because I bought this CD at Goodwill for $1.50 and by the looks of it I'm pretty sure it's made the rounds of every pawn shop and Goodwill in whatever cities it's been in. I got this album for three songs: "Afternoons and Coffeespoons," "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm," and "When I Go Out With Artists." The rest of the album is decent but I love those three songs for some reason. These guys are generally considered a one-hit wonder in the states due to the popularity of "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm."

I looked up the meaning to "God Shuffled His Feet" because I was really curious about the lyrics. I didn't find anything definitive (i.e. from the band themselves) but those who claim to be in the know say this song is about there not being a God at all. I guess the video would back that up as it's about a crowd of people entering a theater to see God only to have Him be a puppet controlled by a man behind a curtain. Before I read that I thought the song was about how God doesn't have to prove himself to us or answer our stupid, asinine questions. Oh well... like I said, I only bought this for three songs and the title track wasn't one of them.

Useless Fact: Weird Al did a parody of "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" called "Headline News" in which he sang about various news items of the time (Tonya Harding was one, if I recall).

Friday, July 15, 2011

Scaterd Few - "Jawboneofanass"

Scaterd Few - Jawboneofanass
1994, Faceless Gen

1. Witchcraft
2. Dreams
3. Sinking in Sorrow
4. Sheets
5. Stretch
6. Once Upon
7. Oom Pah Pah
8. Reel Not Real
9. Holding Stare
10. Dame
11. Ransom
12. Pinnacle

Back in the day I was really miffed that I never got to hear Jawboneofanass. Sin Disease ranks as one of my favorite albums of all time so I always wanted to hear the follow up. Sadly, no Christian book store anywhere near me carried it so I went without. I was sad. However, the band has recently released their entire back catalogue online! Now you can get everything. I quickly bought Jawbone and sadly, was disappointed. This album is far more melodic and mellow than the previous one. Where the first one was filled with short, punchy songs, this one is filled with longer, sprawling compositions that didn't really grab me. It makes me a little sad inside. I'm hoping that this will grow on me over time but right now I can't say it does much for me.

Useless Fact: Rumor has it Jawboneofanass was recorded three times before it was finally released. That may be some of the reason this doesn't quite jibe with me.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Jughead - "Jughead"

Jughead - Jughead
2004, Inside Out

1. Halfway Home to Elvis
2. C'mon
3. Snow in Tahiti
4. Promise
5. Bullet Train
6. Waiting on the Son
7. Yesterday I Found Myself
8. Be Like You
9. Flowers
10. Shame On the Butterfly
11. Paging Willie Mays

My good friend Uvulapie suggested Jughead to me as we are both fans of the Mustard Seeds. I've learned that when Uvulapie suggests a band, you should just go out and get it without asking questions. So was he right? Sure was! Considering Jughead consists of Ty Tabor (King's X) along with members of the Mustard Seeds it's, like, mathematically impossible for this album to suck. In fact, it's a great combination of Ty's style with the accessibility and catchy hooks of a Mustard Seeds album. The album closer "Paging Willie Mays" manages to somehow be both laid back and totally epic at the same time. Quite an enjoyable little album. Too bad they only made one.

Useless Fact: Ty only sings on two songs, "Promise" and "Shame on the Butterfly."

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Yankovic, "Weird Al" - "Alpocalypse"

Yankovic, "Weird Al" - Alpocalypse
2011, Volcano

1. Perform This Way
2. CNR
3. TMZ
4. Skipper Dan
5. Polka Face
6. Craigslist
7. Party in the C.I.A.
8. Ringtone
9. Another Tattoo
10. If That Isn't Love
11. Whatever You Like
12. Stop Forwarding That Crap To Me

There's just something comforting about listening to one of Weird Al's polka medleys of today's hits. I suppose it's because in the ever-changing world of pop music there's one person we can always rely on to make fun of it: Weird Al. I'm happy to say that after countless albums and nearly 30 years in the music industry Al's still got it. He can still make me smile. That's quite an accomplishment if you ask me. This album is a bit different for me in that I like the originals and the parodies equally. That's not to say the originals aren't as good - I'm saying the parodies are better. Though some of my favorites are originals. Take "CNR" for example, a guitar-driven take on the White Stripes with lyrics about the amazing feats of one Charles Nelson Riley. I also like the somewhat melancholy "Skipper Dan." I don't think I've ever had an emotional connection with a Weird Al song but I guess I can relate to the subject matter. The Hanson-esque "If That Isn't Love" is another highlight as well. Probably the only songs on here that I don't like are "Ringtone" and "Stop Forwarding That Crap To Me." The former is a Queen style parody which seems to be all over the place and the style the song is in actually annoys me(but I don't really like Queen anyway so there's that). The latter is a piano ballad about hating forwards. I started hating forwards in 1999 so this song is nearly 11 years too late. It's not bad, I just don't find it as amusing and not a great way to end an album (at least for me). Aside from that I think Alpocalypse is a strong album and I'm happy to welcome Al back to the spotlight for another fifteen minutes.

Useless Fact: Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek actually plays on the Doors homage "Craigslist." Also, there is a video for every single one of the songs on the album. "Perform This Way" and "CNR" are particularly funny.