Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Various Artists - "Ghostbusters II Soundtrack"

Various Artists - Ghostbusters II Soundtrack
1989, MCA

1. Bobby Brown - "On Our Own"
2. New Edition - "Supernatural"
3. James "J.T." Taylor - "The Promised Land"
4. Bobby Brown - "We're Back"
5. Doug E. Fresh & the Get Fresh Crew - "Spirit"
6. RUN - D.M.C. - "Ghostbusters"
7. Oingo Boingo - "Flesh 'N Blood"
8. Elton John - "Love is a Cannibal"
9. Glenn Fry - "Flip City"
10. Howard Huntsberry - "Higher and Higher"

Back in the day I was a HUGE Ghostbusters fan. Eh... who am I kidding? I'm STILL a huge Ghostbusters fan. If Ghostbusting was an actual option for a profession I would be doing it instead of writing this. I love both movies. I'm one of those people who still don't understand why everyone thinks the second one was so terrible. My love for the franchise extended so far that I bought this soundtrack on tape as a lad. I listened to it repeatedly during the summer Ghostbusters II came out. It hasn't quite held up as well as I expected. The Bobby Brown songs are good early 90's R&B/Hip-Hop but the New Edition and James "J.T." Taylor songs are kind of boring. I don't even remember them being in the movie. I also don't care for the Oingo Boingo or Elton John tracks either. "Spirit" has an appropriately creepy vibe and is one of my favorite tracks as is RUN-D.M.C.'s "Ghostbusters" which features some lines and hooks from Ray Parker, Jr.'s original. It's nice when I need a quick nostalgia fix, but overall not as great as it was when I was young.

Useless Fact: Not a fact - a challenge: which scene does each song play in? If you're correct you get nothing but my admiration.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers - "Greatest Hits"

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers - Greatest Hits
1993, Geffin

1. American Girl
2. Breakdown
3. Listen To Her Heart
4. I Need To Know
5. Refugee
6. Don't Do Me Like That
7. Even the Losers
8. Here Comes My Girl
9. The Waiting
10. You Got Lucky
11. Don't Come Around Here No More
12. I Won't Back Down
13. Runnin' Down a Dream
14. Free Fallin'
15. Learning To Fly
16. Into the Great Wide Open
17. Mary Jane's Last Dance
18. Something In the Air

If you're an avid reader of my blog you might have seen me mention my most hated radio station ever: 95.5 in Savannah. It's famous for its musical "diversity." I mean it will play AC/DC songs from both the Bonn Scott and Brian Johnson eras! Anyway, occasionally they'll play a Tom Petty song. At some point I realized that these Tom Petty songs were probably the only songs I really enjoyed (other than Pink Floyd). I also realized that "Mary Jane's Last Dance" is probably one of my favorite songs ever. So.... I picked this up while I was getting groceries one day. It's good. Though I'm more familiar with songs from track eleven and on because the others are a bit before my time. However, these have grown on me too, especially "The Waiting" and "You Got Lucky." It only goes up to 1993 which means it's missing "You Don't Know How It Feels" - another song I never get tired of. I have now made it a priority to get some more Tom Petty because I have learned that singles collections leave out some of an artists best stuff.

Useless Fact: The video for "Runnin' Down a Dream" is a tribute of sorts to cartoon/comic strip/video game  Little Nemo in Dream Land. The video for "Into the Great Wide Open" starred Johnny Depp and Petty himself as the "roadie named Bart." "Mary Jane's Last Dance" starred Kim Basinger as a... corpse.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Lust Control - "Tiny Little Dots"

Lust Control - Tiny Little Dots
2013, Rotweiller

1. Finger
2. Bully
3. Sheepeater
4. Dear John (Butch)
5. When Dan Was In the Band
6. Make Money and Die
7. As I Lay Crying
8. Faith Don't Fail Me Now
9. Fire Ants
10. There Go I
11. Meat
12. Tiny Little Dots (Oh Baby)
13. G.D.P.

While I have always been a big fan of Lust Control, their previous output could probably best be described as "an awful racket." I never in a million years thought they would put out another album, but after a successful Kickstarter they're back with Tiny Little Dots. This album is a big change for them as it is actual music (remember, I'm a fan!). Specifically, the guys have injected a lot more punk attitude a la Crashdog. Gene's vocals are a lot more gruff and raw, not unlike Spike Nard's - especially in songs like "Make Money and Die" and "There Go I." The album is a lot heavier with thicker guitars and beautiful, clean, full production. This is amazing to me seeing as the Kickstarter was a mere three grand! Oh, and I should probably mention that this is, by leaps and bounds, the best material the band has ever recorded. Like... it's even good when stacked against other bands. "Sheepeater" has a cool groove and some gang vocals. "Make Money and Die" is a monster punk tune with a killer hook. Likewise, "Fire Ants" is another pure punk ditty with a great sing-along chorus. "Finger" and "G.D.P." are downright metal. This album is so good you might not believe it was the same band. I hope this is the start of something new with these guys and not just a one-off because I would love to hear more!

I think it might be cool to hear some of the old school songs with this kind of sound and production. "Madolyn Murry O'Hair" in particular would be awesome reworked in the new style.

Useless Fact: "G.D.P." stands for "Grandpa's Dangerous Prayer" and is a song about Gene's grandfather and his ministry. The concept behind the album title and cover art is that when one is looking at pornography you're not really seeing a person. You're seeing an illusion created by millions of tiny little dots.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

O.S.I. - "Free"

O.S.I. - Free
2006, Inside Out

1. Sure You Will
2. Free
3. Go
4. All Gone Now
5. Home Was Good
6. Bigger Wave
7. Kicking
8. Better
9. Simple Life
10. Once
11. Our Town

I can definitely see why people would like Free over Fire Make Thunder. There's just so much more actual album here. It also has much more momentum. It's heavy at times and haunting at others. I really like the acoustic guitar mixed with the industrial elements. I've always wondered why people don't do more of that. It's also extremely catchy and the songs will stick in your head for days. I don't have too much to say other than I like it. I don't love it, but it is a good album.

Useless Fact: Um.... yeah... did you know O.S.I. stands for Office of Strategic Influence? You did? Well, shoot. They can't all be winners.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Haken - "The Mountain"

Haken - The Mountain
2013, Inside Out

1. The Path
2. Atlas Stone
3. Cockroach King
4. In Memoriam
5. Because It's There
6. Falling Back To Earth
7. As Death Embraces
8. Pareidolia
9. Somebody
Bonus Tracks:
10. The Path Unbeaten
11. Nobody

Haken is yet another wonderful You Tube find. Also, The Mountain is quite possibly one of the most stunning albums I've heard in quite a while. It's got so many different influences. I hear some King's X in the layered vocals. I hear a little Devin Townsend. Some Dream Theater. All of it mixed together in a potent stew of some of the most beautiful songs. "Cockroach King" is a tour de force in terms of progressive songwriting with awesome vocal interplays and heavy guitars. "Because It's There" starts with a vocal part that's almost Gregorian chant and evolves into this amazing soaring chorus. "Pareidolia" and "Somebody" are awesome emotionally charged songs that are simply mesmerizing. I know it's illegal but if nobody posted the album on You Tube I would have never known to buy this!

Useless Fact: The bonus tracks are different arrangements of "The Path" and "Somebody." Hence the titles.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Maschine - "Rubidium"

Maschine - Rubidium
2013, Inside Out

1. The Fallen
2. Rubidium
3. Cubixstro
4. Invincible
5. Venga
6. Eyes, Pt. 1
7. Eyes, Pt. 2
Bonus Tracks:
8. Chains
9. Reach Out

I'm surprised there isn't more buzz about Maschine. I found them through You Tube. The magic You Tube robot plopped "Eyes, Pt. 1" in my feed. It was an intriguing mix of progressive rock, metal, jazz, and maybe a little bit of pop. Maschine is definitely an eclectic and talented band. The songs are long, but never boring - filled with little guitar riffs and fills and a great sense of melody. The band also indulges in some 70's prog rock and pop as well. Other reviews have said they sound a little like Pain of Salvation and I'm sure that band was an influence. I do have a couple complaints. First, the vocals, while not bad, aren't as good as they could be. Sometimes it sounds like the vocalist is trying too hard to make his vocals sound "rock" instead of just singing the songs. It's not near enough to hurt my enjoyment - it's just something I noticed. Also, the lyrics really don't do anything for me as they are mostly variations on "girl, you done me wrong." I kind of expected music that's as epic and technical to have some more interesting and suitably epic lyrics. It's also entirely possible that I just don't understand what they're trying to do. Despite those nitpicks, Maschine remains one of my favorite finds of 2013. I really hope more people discover them!

Useless Fact: "Chains" and "Reach Out" are labeled as bonus tracks but I don't think there are any editions of this album without them. I can see why they were bonus tracks though as they don't seem to quite fit with the rest of the album. They're good, though.