Monday, June 27, 2016

Sup The Chemist - "Dust"

Sup The Chemist - Dust
2000, BEC

1. The Return Of...
2. Language of Imagination
3. My Shot
4. Gaiety
5. Interlude
6. Fresh Coast
7. Photograph
8. How Do You Like Your Hip-Hop?
9. Art
10. Walls
11. As The Sun Rises
12. Zone
13. Top Ramen Nights
14. Sup The Chemist
15. Venality
16. I-15 North (L.V. Here I Come)
17. Here
18. Is This a Dream?

Sup The Chemist is the solo name for Super C (aka Chris Cooper) from S.F.C. I'm not sure why he decided to go solo. S.F.C. was kind of his baby as it was. Maybe he wanted to try and do something different? Dust seems like a very experimental record. If you're looking for the smooth beats and easy grooves of S.F.C. you won't really find that here. It seems like there's some odd time signatures and raps here. At times it seems like Sup and the guest MCs are racing the beat to the end of the song with all the lyrics they spit out. There is some old-school type goodness to be had in the form of tracks like "As the Sun Rises" in which Jon Gibson reprises "Dust in the Wind" for the chorus. "Photograph" is another good one. If you haven't guessed, this isn't exactly my favorite album of his. I bought it a long time ago and got rid of it because I didn't like it at all back then. I do enjoy it more now but I would still probably pull out S.F.C. stuff if I wanted my Sup fix. I hope this one grows on me as it now has a place in the vault.

Useless Fact: Gene Eugene appears on "I-15 North". He's not singing or anything, he's just talking but it made me all sad that he's gone. He probably could have made some good stuff in the sixteen years he's been gone. Also, Project 86 appears on "Is This a Dream?" but I don't find their contribution to be that important, honestly.

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Genesis Project - "A Trick of the Tail"

Genesis - A Trick of the Tail
1976, Atlantic

1. Dance On a Volcano
2. Entangled
3. Squonk
4. Mad Man Moon
5. Robbery, Assault and Battery
6. Ripples...
7. A Trick of the Tail
9. Los Endos

As everyone knows, A Trick of the Tail is Genesis’ first album after the departure of Peter Gabriel. Drummer Phil Collins steps up to the microphone full time after a few cameos here and there on previous albums. There is a distinct difference in this album as opposed to the previous ones but it’s not the music. No, it’s more the feeling…the vibe. A Trick of the Tail is far more laid back than the band’s Gabriel-era output. It’s still very progressive but it’s not as…demanding. Whereas those Gabriel albums grabbed you by the lapels and screamed at you, “YOU WILL LISTEN TO THESE CONCEPTS. SEE HOW IMPORTANT THEY ARE?! THIS IS ART!! CAN’T YOU SEE MY FACE PAINT?!?!” This album is a bit calmer on how it approaches things. I can see the band quietly setting up their gear and Phil Collins comes over to you, shakes your hand, and says, “Hey, mate. We’re just going to jam a little bit here. Is that alright? You can listen or not, it’s okay. Sorry about all the face paint, yeah?”

As a result this album was a bit of a grower for me. It didn’t demand that I pay attention, so I really didn’t on the first couple of listens. I liked the music, for sure, but it seemed like the album was content to leave me alone until I was ready to invest in it. Finally, after several listens, things started to sink in. They sunk in to the point where I can honestly say A Trick of the Tail is among my favorites of the album’s I’ve listened to so far. You’ll note I said the same about Selling England by the Pound and I stand by that. I still adore that album but I love this one just as much. It’s got all the talent and progressive mastery without the high-minded intellectualism. You can definitely tell that the guys were happy just to sit down and make music.

It’s kind of funny because this album has all of the trappings you’d expect from a prog-era Genesis album. Funky time signatures, story-telling songs, an instrumental finale that reprises the opening track. Heck, Phil Collins even does some character voices for “Robbery, Assault and Battery.” But the spirit of this record is so different. I guess that’s why I keep harping on it so much. It’s such a change, but an enjoyable one to be sure.

I said earlier that this was a grower and some of the tracks that took longer to grow ended up being my favorites. Take “Entangled” and “Ripples…” for example. These are two of the album slower tracks and I kind of checked out a few times when they came on. However, slowly but surely, they imprinted themselves in my brain and now are some of my favorites. Probably the only track that didn’t grow as much was the Banks penned “Mad Man Moon.” I said “didn’t” but I should probably say “hasn’t” because this album has a knack for being kind of a dark horse. It wouldn’t surprise me to find “Mad Man Moon” being my favorite track a year from now. Also, have I mentioned how awesome a drummer Phil Collins is? I was talking with a co-worker about this when he mentioned that Phil Collins is never brought up when people think of legendary drummers. Well…he should be.

At any rate, A Trick of the Tail is an amazing, wonderful album. It’s proof-positive that all the progressive talent and drive didn’t exist solely in Peter Gabriel. It’s another album I’m sort of sad to have to move on from, but it has definitely earned its place in the vault.

Final Score: 5 out of 5

Useless Fact: Despite my remarks about the vibe being relaxed, the band was actually quite nervous about continuing on without Peter Gabriel. They'd also auditioned some other singers (very halfheartedly) until settling on Collins for the role.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

BabyMetal - "Metal Resistance"

BabyMetal - Metal Resistance
2016, Amuse

1. Road of Resistance
2. Karate
3. Awadama Fever
4. Yava!
5. Amore
6. Meta Taro
7. From Dusk Til Dawn
8. GJ!
9. Sis. Anger
10. No Rain, No Rainbow
11. Tales of the Destinies
12. The One (English Version)

I was a big fan of BabyMetal's debut because it was just so catchy and weird. I was a little nervous about this one because the first seemed like lightning in a bottle. I wasn't sure they could capture the magic a second time. Metal Resistance finds the band jettisoning some of the oddball things of the past (dub-step, gangsta rap interludes, etc.) and focusing more on metal. This is both good and bad - bad because it's not quite "Kawaii" enough, but good because overall the songs are more mature and more...well...metal. It's not the cute bouncy girls singing cute songs anymore, they are really trying to grow as artists and as a band. That's pretty admirable considering everyone probably thinks of this group as a novelty. They've even folded in some progressive metal tendencies on songs like "Tales of the Destinies." "No Rain, No Rainbow" channels eighties power ballads and sounds like something you'd hear on an anime soundtrack. It's a good album though I'm not sure I like it as much as the first one. It will be interesting to see what they do in the future.

Useless Fact: "The One" as the title says, is sung in English, though the lyrics are definitely by someone whose first language is Japanese.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Steve Taylor and the Danielson Foil - "Wow To The Deadness"

Steve Taylor and the Danielson Foil - Wow To The Deadness
2016, Sounds Familyre

1. Wow To The Deadness
2. Wait Up Downstep
3. The Dust Patrol
4. Nonchalant
5. A Muse
6. Drats

I didn't quite expect to get some more Steve Taylor quite so soon, if ever. As the name implies, Daniel Smith from the Danielson Famile joins the guys for this little EP that was successfully kickstarted last year, I think. I was a little worried because I've never been a huge fan of Danielson Famile. They were just too weird for me and Daniel's voice wasn't really my cup of tea. It doesn't bother me here though. Of course, he doesn't sing much - just backing vocals and lead on "Drats" but it actually goes together well with Steve's vocals. The music is in a similar vein to Goliath, though maybe a little rougher around the edges. Not that this is a problem. I really like these tunes. Naturally, the only problem is that it is just too short. The songs are short and there's only six of them. Hopefully we can get some more soon (as in next year, maybe?).

Useless Fact: For this album, the guys dressed up in different color jumpsuits... like indie Power Rangers or something.