Monday, 28 February 2011

changes and comments

I changed the blog a little bit in order to make it a bit more readable.

On the comments fields. A number of people have said they can't write anything. I think you need to be a follower. So i would love your comments and if you follow it, you can add yourself on the right side, then you can tell me how rubbish my opinions are!! Or , much more interestingly, have a discussion about what I have said.

Just for being cool and reading this.

here is a very cool song.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

The almost one hit wonder

I am not really a fan of mainstream music. If you have read some of the other posts on this blog you possibly would have got that. The music that i like doesn't seem to be the same as other people like. there are notable exceptions of course, Radiohead, Tool, The Black Keys, etc etc. I do get the feeling though that this is because there are enough people with similar 'taste' to buy the albums or whatever and so make them seem popular.

They do not sell anything like , 50 cent, kayne West, Rihanna, Nickelback, and the like. I do not profess to understand this in any way. I have liked bands and some of their songs over the years, who to my mind should be huge, and simply weren't.

here is a song by The Bravery.

That is a good song. In fact it is  a very good song. it has a great melody. the Bravery were tipped to be the next big thing. not just by me but by the BBC music people. their debut album, The Bravery, is a very good album. their second album has this song on it.

That is a really good song. it is a beautiful piece of bitter sweet pop. Easily able to compete with the songs i discussed here

yet they have not really made it. i do not understand this. Both of those songs should have been huge. they are good songs. I don't get it. Are they not? Is my music taste so far off that it is warped by the fact that the songs speak to me? The Bravery are still around and have released a third album.I haven't really got into that so much yet. There is still hope that the mass populous will wake up and realise how good they are.

A band I put very much in the same category is Craker. For the uninitiated, i.e. pretty much everyone, they had this song back in the mid 90s.

I love that song. Again that is a good song. but what happened to Cracker? it turns out they have released 13 albums. Which is prolific by modern standards. And yet, i challenge most of the people to have even heard of them . they must be quite good. you do not get to release 13 albums and be completely rubbish. Actually that isn't quite true is it. You can publish 13 albums and be rubbish, but you must be popular enough to do it.

Listen to this piece of transcendal angst

That is a song that makes me want to sit down and take stock of things. Contemplate whether or not I have done the right things in my life. I listened to this song a lot when i first moved overseas. i was in a very isolated spot, metaphorically speaking, i was in London in reality. I think it is an isolated song. The whole imagery of meeting up with someone you used to know in an unexpected place.

For what ever reason though, Grant Lee Buffalo didn't really make it . People didn't get it so much and so I talk about it now as a lost classic of a song. The album it comes from , also called Fuzzy, charted pretty well. Honestly this is the stand out track. probably why the record company decided to call the album that name as well.

I don't care that other people do not like the music i do. Honestly, apart from having a strong dislike for U2, I don't really care one way or another. it does upset me a little though that there is a world of music out there, that doesn't get taken up , allow the musicians to develop and give me more great music, because they do not sell enough albums to start with.

The last person i want to talk about is MC 900 Foot jesus. OK, so the name really doesn't roll off the tongue does it.

But listen to this

I honestly wake up to this song most mornings. That is the most atmospheric song I know. the imagery and the story that goes along with it are simply amazing. you get the very strong feeling of a guy walking around the deserted place sin town, looking for something to feed his pyromania obsession.

He released one album after this. One Step ahead of the spider, which i highly recommend. Then nothing he stopped. the record company dropped him and that was it. i wrote to him. Seriously, to find out what happened and he said that he was now training to be a pilot and thanks for remembering him. Like him on Facebook. He should really be given the chance to produce this great music again.

It wasn't a fluke, here is a song off the next album

Sometimes it just isn't fair.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Is Classic Rock about to die?

I was watching a documentary last night, I watch a lot of documentaries , this one was about the people in the music industry who are refusing to ' grow old gracefully'. Whatever the hell that means. What is growing old gracefully? It seemed in the show to be equated with some sort of retirement like thing. Anyway, the show had The Rolling Stones, Iggy Pop , Eric Burden (from Eric Burden and the animals) and the like in it.

Two main things struck me. The first being that most of these guys had become parodies of themselves. The best Rolling Stones cover band in the world is the Rolling Stones. They did do some good music though, here is Sympathy for the Devil

I wrote in my post about Artistic Decline about the Rolling Stones. These guys have not produced anything new of any merit for so long that they could hardly be called anything except a covers band now. Which is fine, I guess. It did strike me whilst watching the show that it is however a little bit sad. There is nothing wrong with being old and acting young. Hell, I do it every day and hope to do it until I turn 243 and am a total embarrassment to my great great great grand kids. No what I found sad was that these guys had written some great songs about being young, but nothing about the other stages of life. They aren't young anymore. Quite the opposite actually. Most are Grandfathers now. Although one wonders how it works for Bill Wyman. I guess he has kids the same age as his grand kids. I think that is a pity, not Bill Wyman, do whatever you want mate, but that they are not creative in any real sense of creation anymore. This is true of almost all these bands. the Who, Iggy Pop, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, the list is as long as the people you can remember from the late 60s early 70s legends bracket. They were great at writing songs about being young and getting across the vigour and excitement of it, but that time passed a long time ago and they haven't really grown up in the song writing.

Some other people have managed to do it a bit. Leonard Cohen's music was always a bit better geared for this to be able to happen.

I realise the song isn't really about anything other than love. And young people can sing about love as well. but at least he isn't singing about how he is is going out on the town.

It also occurred to me that these guys will not be around for that much longer. I do not say this with any relish, but will we notice they have gone? There will be a spot on the news ,  couple of film excerpts , from when they were in their hey day, and a few tribute sites. It will not be like losing Jimi Hendrix, or Kurt Cobain will it. These guys aren't producing anything new, and we have all their good stuff already. Digitally remastered for our benefit. There will not be the sense of what could have been.

What happens then? There are no more tours by The Stones, or the Who, Iggy Pop. Does classic rock as we know it die along with them? I think it is interesting, because 15 years ago I would have definitely had said yes. People are not keen to get out their parents cds or records or what ever. So people stop listening and the music , while still being there of course, drops out of the public mind space. So it dies.

But things have changed haven't they? With the great digital revolution and the benefits it brings, see here, the world has changed. You can now listen to the exact type of music you feel like on Internet radio. Classic Rock stations abound. Not that that this music suffers from being underplayed on mainstream traditional radio. So, you can hear this music all day every day and it will never leave the public consciousness.

Maybe it will change though. Not die out. But as time progresses and we all get older and younger generations come through. I doubt they will relate that much. I read Classic Rock Magazine from time to time. Even I need a break from metal Hammer now and then. Classic Rock magazine says that a band who has been around for 10 years becomes classic Rock. Now if you are old such as I am , this is a pretty scary thought.

I would not have ever put this into classic rock

But I guess it is now isn't it. Very much so. I bet most guys in their early 20 s have not even heard that song. Wow, now I sound really old don't I. My point is that this will be classic rock , it is already. When I am 60 is this what I will be tuning in to.? scary thought.

Where does this leave electronica? Classic Rock is one thing, reasonably easy to put into new, old, classic pigeon holes. Electronica though. Where does that go? I mean is this classic Electronica?

It is most definitely old enough to be classed as Classic now. Interestingly, this type of music doesn't really seem to age. maybe that is some of its attraction.

From my point of view, I love listening to new music. I think the concept of what is actually new has also changed. Because if it is new to me then what do T care when it was released?

There is some great new music out there, which I guess will also be classic given enough time.

I guess the overall from this is that the music will never die. Despite what Don McLean told us.  The digital revolution enables us to listen to what ever when ever, and as such classic rock music will always be found by new people. This is not such a bad thing, pity they aren't as creative as they could be now though.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

I hate U2

Go to Itunes, go to radio, go to alternative music - go to krock. Listen to that whilst you read this because i am not posting any music on the site in this post. it is too upsetting.

One of the things i think I should make clear to people is that i hate U2. I really do. I have for a long time.

i want to make it clear though, i love ireland. i have been to Ireland many times and I love the place and the people. irish people get really upset if you say you hate U2, it is like you are telling them their mother is a whore or something. i respect and understand national pride. But honestly they are just a band, sorry just a rubbish band and not at all representative of a nation.

So, why do i hate U2? Well in one of my favourite truisms, because they suck. that's why I hate them.

When i thought about writing this, I paused for thought. trying to work out why it would be that I still, after all these years disliked this immensely popular band so much. Maybe i am wrong? Maybe I have misjudged and i need to re-visit a long held almost cherished dislike of what is in reality a form of popular entertainment put together by four men from Ireland.

Nope, nothings changed. Still hate them.

let's start with Bono. the prentious peoples poet. I mean really what has this guy actually written lryically that stands up to greats? With or without you? Streets have no name? please . . . fortune cookie philosophy.
i usually admire a person that is able to do a lot of work for charity. But this guy, this guy preaches and preaches about how we should all be helping out the less fortunate. Sure we should, some of us do. Not him though. i do not expect him to donate all of his money, that would be unreasonable. but he doesn't actually donate. His charity was exposed for not actually making very much of a donation to the people it was supposed to be helping. Like less than 5 % actually went to the cause. What the hell is that?

here is a thought. U2 got their big break and first taste of a world wide audience during Band Aid. A cynic, i.e. me, could suggest that they realised the charity thing worked for them. So here is a publicity machine designed to generate the right kind of publicity for the band to keep them selling records. i do know that probably isn't the case, but i am a little blinded by hatred here.

Then you get The Edge. Firstly, what kind of a wanker calls himself the Edge? The Edge of what? His real name is David Evans. Which is a perfectly fine , common (as in popular) Irish name. Is it supposed to mean he is edgy? or he is at the Edge of something. let's hope it's a cliff.

I hate the way he acts so pious and so minimal. The guy is a very wealthy man, he doesn't have to be anything other than what he is, but the pretense that he lives in a hut somewhere whilst exporing the mysteries of the guitar makes me want to punch him in the face. have you seen the documentary ' This might get loud' there is a brilliant part in it. It has Jimmy Page, Jack White and the Edge in it. Jack white is explaining how he loves the guitar sound and hates using machines to generate music. Jimmy page is all over it saying there is no better sound. the Edge then talks about his love of machines and the sounds they make for him. He is just exposed as this massive fraud guitar player. I know guitar playing isn't all about shredding at 200 notes a minute, but he literally trys to explain with excitement about how he plays one note and the machines twist it up into a sound beat. pathetic.

The other guys in the band. Who cares , don't know there names, i know they must be reasonable musicians and have become hugely wealthy exploiting the lack of taste of the public.

That is it, that is what i hate. there is soo much brilliant music out there. People ignore this and go and buy U2. I want to shake them. i want to play them Sabbath. i want to play them Radiohead, the Cure, Aphex Twin, Public Enemy, Tool, Opeth, Faith No more, System of a down, Rage against the Machine, Boards of Canada, I want them to listen to music with passion, with virtuosity, with some content. Not just ' it's a beautiful day. No it fucking isn't a beauitful day mate. it is a day filled with excitement, passion, longing, brilliant sunshine or pouring rain. it is a day where we go all out in attack or retreat, do everything we can fit into it. Were we try, try just as hard as we can to be just that bit better than yesterday.

Not where sit on the fence. trying to please everyone. tryng to blend in so no one makes fun of us. Because we don't want to live like that. That is not the way you make the most of your life.

When people tell me they like U2, a little part of me dies inside if I liked them before hand. Because it upsets me they have chosen to ignore all the good stuff and go with the stuff everyone else likes.

This is just my opinion , i don't expect you to share it. i just want to give you that little shake you see.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Music as art

A thought I have had for a long time is that different forms of music and different forms of painting go together quite well. What I mean by this is that if you were explaining the difference in the sensibility between rock and electronica i would describe one as actual representation , like a painting of a landscape, or cityscape and one as modern abstractism.

This got me to thinking if you could actually equate individual musicians and artists. i think you can actually.

Here is an example. The White Stripes. People love the White Stripes. i do too, i guess. it is not that I don't think they are any good, because they very clearly are. it is just i don't go nuts for them.

 This is a great video though

When I think of their music I think of Mondrian

Specifically actually I think of Trafalgar square

The black stripes represent men and women, the colours and the squares objects.

So I spent a fair while thinking about this i I get quite a few matches, for example, here is Arch enemy and I think of jackson pollock when I hear there music

I am not entirely sure that i am not a little bit crazy here. But what i think is that the music has the metal edge to it, the pounding drums and the wailing guitar, not to mention the female dirty lyrics. Now look at the painting. it has the dark edge to it, with the almost smudge like quality, the colors bursting through or maybe sitting on top with the tinges in red over the yellow. the drums, the guitar and the vocals. No?

Ok so here is another perhaps more tangible example

Radiohead and Munch. Please this should be obvious

I realise that there are actually videos that the artists have made to represent their music, but it is not quite the same. The videos are invariably directed by someone else with a slightly different vision. I also think that, much like a book, the visual you have when you are listening to music are far better than what someone else can imply for you. it is like the book and the film if you like. The book is almost always better because you create the whole thing in your head.

This is one that came to me today actually. i was listening to Boards of Canada, i listen to Boards of Canada a lot actually.

And i was thinking of Turner

The way the music has that almost dream like quality. The fuzzy edges, the artwork has a similar quality to it. That warm slightly hazy feeling.

Does anyone else get the same sort of thing when they listen to music? I guess they must, because a lot of people can sit with headphones on and simply listen to the music, without actually doing anything else. The images in their head are almost definitely not the same as anyone else's. but I bet a lot of the concepts are the same.

The song is about war, so I get a war picture similar to this one.

I guess i have made my point on this. not a particularly complicated point as far as it goes. But fun. Anyone have any that they would like to associate?

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Zeppelin vs Sabbath

I had previously compared the grunge era titans of Nirvana and Pearl Jam, and it seems that in every era there are bands that are forever linked together for some reason. The Beatles and The Stones, The Sex Pistols and The Clash, Oasis and Blur ,sometimes there are more, Metallica, Megadeath, Slayer and Anthrax, the list can go on. This is generally because the music hipsters (geeks) like to categorise everything.

By putting two or more bands together it allows us to define an era in music by bringing together usually the two most influential, or best selling artists in one conversation. Which suits my purposes well  . .

A couple of bands that often get put together are the titans of classic rock/ metal Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. Any discussion you have about the 70s and guitar based music must include these two. It is really that simple. Many have made arguments for one or the other being the best band of all time. Arguable i guess. Why do people go so crazy for these bands, i mean are they actually any good?? If so which is better?

Well, it of course depends on your musical tastes, if you have any taste you would say yes, they are very good. If you don't and you like the catchy songs of Britney, then I guess you will miss the point a little bit.

Zep have to go down as the most influential blues based music band of the ages so far. If you say the name even people who have no interest in music of this sort what so ever will still know the band thanks to the almost ubiquitous nature of Stairway to Heaven.

Here is a version for fun

I honestly do not know what to make of that. i am not sure if it is sublimely brilliant , or a travesty of nature. . .you decide. I looked for a similar type of cover of a Sabbath song and there are almost none that are not extremely serious. I am not sure if this is significant or not.

Zep released an amazingly high quality of music across their career. If you think about it, the only really bad album is In through the out Door (Coda doesn't really count to be honest as it is a discarded songs album). I read an article where Jimmy Page agreed that Physical Graffiti is their best album. Honestly though, it is reasonably easy to make an argument for II or IV and there are some definite highlights on Houses of the Holy and on Presence.

Sabbath have a far less consistent back catalog. The first four albums they released are some of the strongest albums ever released. After that, well it does go down a bit. They have actually released 18 albums. This takes into account the many line up changes. There are some absolute gems in there. Heaven and Hell, the Ronnie James Dio (RIP) album after Ozzy was kicked out / left, is really worth checking out.

Zep have the historical edge in so far as they only ever had the same line up, released a very definite series of albums and that was it. This does help because whilst they were hitting a decline , this can be overlooked as they split up before it became too obvious.  I think the interesting part for both bands is that they released their most incredible music in a very short space in time. 1969 to 1975 basically.

That is the first song of the first Sabbath album. imagine hearing that for the first time in 1970. The difference from that to the other music that was around, even by Zep is quite marked. This is perhaps the point though. It is extremely difficult to put these two bands into the same category. Honestly, even in the areas that they seemingly have a sound that is not a million ways from each other, there is the distinctiveness of the lead vocals from Plant and Ozzy respectively that make the songs so uniquely theirs.

try this, this is from Master of Reality, Sabbaths third album, and is Children of the grave

This is Immigrant Song off of :Led Zeppelin III

Both have the driving beat and rhythm, they are clearly produced in the same sort of time, given the sound they are going for. yet one sounds far heavier and the other far more textured with the individual instruments carving their own paths through the song. Both are brilliant. I love listening and comparing like this when the music is just so good.

Popular opinion in this battle of the titans will always go to Zep. They achieved a mainstream success and a continued airplay that almost no other band has achieved.  And everywhere you look , particularly in the 80s you saw someone trying to rip them off in either the mannerisms or the sound. Jimmy Page 's guitar work has to be considered in the very top echelon. This is not to overlook the rest of the band, a group of musicians who came together and created an amazing sound.

How well does it stand up though? i am not entirely sure in 2011 that it stands up as well as Black Sabbath. Honestly, you listen to the Sabbath albums and there is a driving modernity there which has not lost the sheen even after 40 years. I think that this is because Zeppelin are so much part of the musical landscape that there is nothing much new to find in their music. Where as with Sabbath there does seem to be. Perhaps this is because like most people i went through a massive Zep stage and as such i have found all i needed to find in their music. i find myself not looking for it much anymore. Whereas i would very happily put on Masters of Reality or Sabbath Vol 4 in the car to drive around the corner.

So to answer my original questions? Are they any good? oh yes, yes indeed, they are brain meltingly good.

I can not recommend their albums more highly to anyone. This is the reason why blues based guitar music is so good. if you do not own any albums by these bands then you must be prepared for a little hit in the wallet by try to get

Zeppelin: II, IV Physical Graffiti, Houses of the Holy, III

Sabbath: Black Sabbath, Paranoid, Master of Reality, Black Sabbath Vol 4, Sabbath bloody Sabbath

As to which one is better? Well now that is far far more difficult. I am going to go against popular opinion here and say i think Sabbath are better. This is because of the point I made above about these always being something in their music to (re) discover. it is also because of an interview i saw with Rob Zombie who said something along the lines, of, there is nothing that Sabbath didn't do in the metal area. Every riff you hear is something created by Tommi Iomi which is being ripped off in some way. Sabbath are the originators of a new musical genre. Metal. Zeppelin stand alone in their virtuosity and there is a very real reason why they are so popular.

This is my favourite Sabbath song today

As a footnote, i wanted to point out that whilst Robert Plant is considered a better singer than Ozzy, he has not produced anything like the quality of this in his solo career - was he carried by Page?

Don't ever write Ozzy off as the joke character he portrayed on that terrible MTV show.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

I was so happy that I kissed the cat

When i was at uni on the indie or alternative radio station they used to have a show called 'excuse me while i kiss this guy' which was a tribute to all of those times when we get the lyrics wrong when singing along. (to get it you have to say it fast, and have a working knowledge of late 60s psychedelic rock . . no? get to the end and I will help you out. 

The great thing about the Internet and the ability to post onto You Tube has meant that this has been taken into an art form. I am not kidding the imagination of some of these guys is unbelievable.

Take this for instance. 

No I honestly do not know the words to that song, in fact I am pretty sure after watching that they didn't really change many of the lyrics. . 

And i actually think that it may be the point of this, if you do not really know the song you can actually be convinced that it is saying almost anything. for example

And there are some pretty funny ones out there

Also into Cats? That is pretty good. 

There isn't really a point to this post as such. i just wanted to re-iterate that sometimes it is a good idea not to take music too seriously. it is a great thing that enhances our lives on a daily basis, but it can also make you smile. Especially , when quite bad music is made into something quite funny. I also defy you to now hear any of these songs and not imagine the lyrics as these people have effectively changed them into. 

This is creative, and it is an art form. i am not joking, i know it if far easier to make fun of something than it is to actually create. i am not suggesting making up a funny version of a song is nearly as creative as it is to actually write the song. it is however , not as easy as it looks, if you search misheard lyrics, you will find literally thousands of songs that get this kind of treatment. Most of them are simply rubbish and not even close to what you hear.

I also wanted to see how the video post looks on the blog instead of just the link - feedback appreciated on this. 

Oh, the title of the blog is from The Fine Young Cannibals - song Good Thing. i honestly thought he was so happy that he kissed the cat, what it could be
Actually, now listening to it for the first time in years I can hear that that is about the only part of the song you can actually make out

Excuse me while i kiss this guy comes of course from Jimi hendrix and Purple Haze

I can definitely hear it there.

Enjoy your music.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011


So I was travelling again today and i broke. I wandered through the electronics store and i bought some new headphones. I think I mentioned that on a recent trip i lost a plug for my headphones. i have other plugs, which work just fine. But i saw them, the latest model of the same kind. Sony in ear buds. Slightly better, slightly easier, they have a non tangle strip instead of the usual round cord connection lead. They have a silver side panel. 

Completely unnecessary. But then, it is very important to me to listen to music as often as i can. i travel a lot, and to be honest, i think i would have hurt myself or someone else if it wasn't for the ability to close out the rest of the world and listen to some great tunes. 

You may scoff, but I doubt it yes? You are reading a blog written by a music obsessive. So, I bet you need good headphones as well. Mine are not particularly expensive. i saw a pair today at 255 euro duty free. Mine were 45 euro. Which is a lot I know. But they are important. 

So, i wanted to try out my headphones. I wanted to make sure they were that little bit better than the pair that were perfectly good sitting in my jacket pocket. Soon to be consigned to the headphone drawer . . oh yes, i forgot to tell you that didn't I. I have a problem throwing away headphones. Now i sound completely disturbed. But stay with me here. If your current favourite headphones break, which happens a lot. Then you need a back up pair, or two. Until you can get to a suitable store with a big enough range to satisfy the need. So I keep them , just in case. It is not like you can give them to the orphans in Guatemala is it now.

I digress into an area best reserved for a truly world class psychiatrist. 

Which songs should you listen to when determining a good pair of headphones? Which songs show you that a pair of headphones are great. You need to test the range. Simply easy. But how? Where do you start?

You start here, with Tool

This is a great song, because not only does it have the strung out separate notes at the beginning, it reaches a crescendo with Maynards voice going nuts. Great headphones make this a tune worth listening to on headphones. 

Then what you need is an ambient song. One that has the ever so subtle textures of a deep rythmic track, overlaid with something soaring in the high end of the scale, trying to fly almost. like this actually, by Aphex twin.

I can't find the full track anywhere - It is called curtains and It is worth every moment you spend trying to find . it is brilliant.

There is also this by Brian Eno and Harold Budd

If your headphones have so far passed the test. Then you are on a winner to be honest. But there are still some places left to go. How do they deal with bass? I mean proper bass. 

That is sly and the family stone doing sex machine. Which is awesome. You could of course also look to the electronic world for some heavy bass.

Or just for the hell of it what about this?

(Ok not much bass there I admit - cool song by the fabulous Juno Reactor though.)

Here is more Juno, just because I miss Juno

Now your headphones are either passing the test and you are having a fair bit of fun. or your bought a dud, and it is time to try again.

The last test for any headphones is Slayer. If your headphones do Slayer well, in conjunction with the above then stick with them. Stick with them forever

It is all about that bit 45 seconds in with this song. 

If you have headphones that do all of this , and do it to your satisfaction, maybe you should write to me and let me know? 

Sunday, 6 February 2011


For quite a lot of my life I have been a fan of punk. There is an energy to it that I really like. In fact anything with a bit of energy or feeling I like. Which is perhaps why I hate U2 so much.

Anyway, most people will say that the first punk band is Iggy and the Stooges or the MC5. I have written about The stooges before and so here is The MC5's most famous song. Kick out the Jams

You can see they were quite different to everything else that was around at the time. I love looking at the faces and the crowd, who possibly expected some Byrd's esq melodies and got that instead. Quality.

Punk is reactionary music. The MC5 were a very political band and much of their work was against the hypocrisy of the hippy age and the political goings on at the time.

This kind of ethos was then taken on a number of years later by The Ramones and of course The Sex Pistols. i saw an interview with Joey Ramone, where he said that their music was a reaction to the music of the time. This was the mid seventies. Popular music was simply dreadful. i think it is easy for us now, courtesy of the digital age, to look back somewhat fondly upon the 70s and think it was all Zeppelin, Sabbath, Deep Purple, Bowie etc.

One of the biggest selling tracks of all time was released in 1974, about when the Ramones formed. I think it was perhaps a direct reaction, here is that song

here is the ramones

The Ramones make a whole lot more sense when compared like that.

Then you had The Sex Pistols. They were very much a manufactured reaction to the social ills of the UK at the time. Basically the UK was falling apart. Strikes, 3 day working weeks, nothing happening and going nowhere.

It is a good song. But, and I know this isn't going to be particularly popular, but I don't see why everyone gets so excited about it. The Sex pistols often make the most influential bands, best bands etc. What rubbish. name a band that took from them? Their attitude is almost comical now. It was obviously different at the time. , but lets not forget their publicity was all entirely manufactured.

I am not going to write about The Clash, because although always lumped in with the Pistols, they were far more accomplished and different musicians.

So we can cross the pond and now go back to the States. The English punk movement was a catalyst for some great music to come out of the US. My favourite of these Punk bands was the Dead Kennedys. I still wear a DK t shirt I bought years ago. Whenever I wear I get compliments, comments. People are always keen to show they not only know who they are but they appreciate my good music taste. it is odd, i don't get comments if I wear any other band top. Ever.

Maybe this is why

So I have just spent about 30 mins going through all of the clips and I found this one

So that is the Foo Fighters and Serj from System of a Down, playing Holiday in Cambodia. How cool is that? They look like they are having so much fun. I want to punch everyone in that stupid audience for not realising how cool it is , but I enjoyed that immensely

Jello Biafra was the lead singer of DK. he ran for major of San Francisco, but lost. Imagine the difference if he had won. it does make a great deal of difference when someone is prepared not just to sneer at the system, but actually try to do something about it. John Lydon take note I guess.

It was after this stage that most people tried to disassociate themselves from punk, as it was deemed to be a dead movement, which is basically true. it has resurfaced a number of times. Nirvana described themselves as punk. i have never really been sure about this. More punky that rock I guess, but well pigeon holes are never good.

The nineties saw quite a big revival in the scene, at least in the states. Bands such as The Offspring and green Day could quite rightly claim to be punk. Obviously in a different and less political way. Although, one of the few anti iraq , second, war albums worth listening to is the American idiot album.

here is a good song off it.

Interestingly they were not allowed to use war footage and so choose to that instead.

Perhaps the not quite understood side of punk is that a lot of it has a sense of humour as well. From DK's too drunk to fuck to this by the offspring

I guess it goes to show that absolutely anything musically can be industrialised and made into a neat package that sells. The anger and the political indignation that went through The MC5 and to a certain extent to Green Day, has left us neither that changed or that different. There have been some amusing haircuts to look at. Punk was not ever about how you looked though. It was about attitude, and these guys all had it. 

Disclaimer, this is a very short and sharp potted history of punk. I have not included, great bands like Black Flag, Bad Brains, XTC,  UK Subs, The Clash, etc, etc. Perhaps I will go through it all at length soon. Could be good fun

Saturday, 5 February 2011

you know , the guys from . . .

So I was thinking about people that move bands, not so much the ones that go solo, but actually turn up in another band. Is it ever as good? Is the issue that we think and associate them with one sound and when they do something completely different that we don't like as much we pre-judge them?  Well probably, to be honest. That actually doesn't mean it is bad though, and it can work.

There are actually a huge amount of instances of this, even if you ignore bands with effectively rolling line ups like Thin Lizzy, by the way, did you know that Midge Ure was in Thin Lizzy at one stage. He was actually the replacement for Gary Moore's role on harmonic guitar. Weird or what. 

I thought I would talk about two recent and two older band shifters.

Perhaps one of the most prevalent recently is Velvet Revolver and Guns and Roses/ Stone temple Pilots. As stated before I was a huge fan of the Gunners, and a pretty big fan of STP (I am actually wearing an STP top as I write this) So you had the lead singer of STP , Scott Weiland, and the Guitar Bass and Drummer from Gunners, Slash, Duff and Matt. The Gunners need no second name as we know who they are, right.

So Velvet released a good first album, opening with this song. Slither

As always with these things it sounds more like STP than Gunners. here is Vasoline off Purple by STP

Personal opinion but neither are as good as My Michelle by Gunners

I will admit to being a little bit biased there though. i liked Velvet Revolver.  It all fell to pieces pretty quickly though. That is a recurrent theme here. It does seem to be that once they have left one band then they can do it again and again. Like a serial killer. Perhaps it has a lot more to do with making it big the first time around and so it becomes less necessary to put up with the (apparent) associated rubbish that goes with being in a band.

Another recent example, is Audioslave. This was effectively Rage Against the machine with a new singer Chris Cornell from Soundgarden. Even writing this it sounds like a somewhat unusual mix of styles. 

Ah the gentle joy of a Christmas number 1. I still think it is probably my favourite RATM song. There is so much anger in it. So RATM released four albums and then split, well Zack de la Rocha left. Their music is great, the lyrics are politically charged and the rhythm and beat of their songs is original. hard to give them a bigger compliment.

That is also a pretty early song from Soundgarden. Rusty Cage from the album Badmotorfinger (that is how it is spelt) . Not their most famous album which is Superunknown. Soundgarden were very much a grunge era band. they were a little more heavy than the punky Nirvana or the rock of Pearl Jam. None the less a very good band and i do like their music a lot. 

So these two somewhat different sounding styles came together and formed Audioslave

They can all still play, Chris Cornell can definitely sing still. But it is not quite the same is it. That song is Be Yourself, is it a great song? perhaps not, but it is a very good song. 

I want to talk about one of my favourite bands. Janes Addicition. I have spoken about my favourite song, their best in this post. They were one of those bands that had a huge influence on a number of the bands after them and as such if you come to them after you have heard everything everyone copied from them it can sound like they are derivative. Well, I am happy to slap you around to put you straight on that one. The originators , not the followers. 

Please stick with the video, it takes a while to warm up, but that is the point. Apparently shirts were frowned on in the band. Anyway , that is Flea from the Red Hot Chili peppers on bass. I am not going to go on a rant about how i think that RHCP have completely lost any interest and how much I wish Janes had held it together to become as big as RHCP became. 

So the lead singer of Janes is Perry Farrel. As Janes were falling apart he thought he would put together a music festival. So he put together, Loolapoolza. Which if you remember was pretty big. 

He then went on to form Pornos for Pyros. Who were interesting. I love this song

That is Tahitian Moon from their second album. As a massive Janes fan I obviously got these albums, they are good. Not as good as Janes though. They have a different and more hippy type feel to them. By which I mean there is a more gentle and mellow feel to them. Much more a warm summer evening on the beach, than Janes which had a much more big city feel to them. 

The last band is a bit out of kilter for what i normally write about in this blog. But well, I will reserve that right frankly.

There was a band when I was growing up, called Split Endz. They were a Kiwi band, well lets be honest here, this is the very early 80s, so they were probably the only Kiwi band. There was a TV show in Australia called Countdown. And this band were always on it. Always. Possibly because they were about the best 'local' product at the time.

Which is a very good song as you can see. Actually I think it holds up pretty well. Very very pop though. Apologies to the metal heads. 

Anyway, two members of that band went on to form Crowded House. Who pretty much everyone has ever heard of. I quite like some of the imagery in Crowded House songs. i will admit that i am not a huge fan. but i use this example to show that sometimes a band which is formed from an already successful one goes on to become much much bigger than the one it came from. 

 There is no real conclusion to this as such. People move on a go on to produce different music. Sometimes we like it , most of the time we think it is probably not as good. It is obviously all down to how much we liked the original.

As a footnote, I add a song by the once mighty Thin Lizzy, who are still going, but with no original members - how does that work? How can they still use the name?