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Old 07-04-2008, 08:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Three J: Random Album Reviews

Three J: Thank Goodness My Name isn't Kyle

Random album reviews.

Last edited by Son of JayJamJah; 08-10-2008 at 05:37 PM.
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Old 07-06-2008, 11:01 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Vanilla Fudge - Vanilla Fudge (1967)

1. Ticket to Ride
2. People Get Ready
3. She's Not There
4. Bang Bang
5. Keep me Hanging on
6. Take me for a little While
7. Eleanor Rigby

1967 was a big year for Psychedelic Rock. Pink Floyd, the Doors and the Dead emerged on the scene, they would come to represent the movement in progressive, hard and jam rock respectively over the next decade and beyond. The Beatles Magical mystery Tour, Captain Beefheart's Safe as Milk, The Velvet Underground and Nico and Jimi Hendrix' Axis: Bold as Love, four of the greatest Psych-Rock albums of All-time also emerged. So with all this happening what was my brother listening to...Vanilla Fudge. Well all that other stuff and Vanilla Fudge.

The Fudge trackers major claim is having headlined Zeppelin's US debut tour in 1968. There music was a sort of obvious psych-rock played without consideration to technical merit. They were obsessed with the Beatles, often times their shows would feature over 50% Beatles covers. However they lack of personal creativity, which lead them to cover songs in their own tripped-out way made their music instantly identifiable and fairly popular for about 18 months.

I got this album from aforementioned Sibling sometime in early 1969 i believe, but I could be off by a year either way. He tired of it so I gave it a few plays and threw it in a crate. My guess is the last time it was listened to gasoline in America was probably 80 cents a gallon. (appx 1.5 #'s a liter)

The record still plays pretty clean, I think they were going for the distant echoy sound. Anyway it opens with a Beatles cover after about 90 seconds of feedback and distortion of course. The melody is very similar to the actual song not much change at all. Next is Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready" which opens with an extremely over the top grandiose 2 minute explosion of fanfare and haunting Organ chords straight out of Phantom of the Opera. The the group harmonizes the chorus line and delivers a somber interpretation of the song. You can't get through this stuff without laughing. That's not to say I don't love it, it's just hilarious is all. "She's not there" is next and it sounds remarkably like the last two songs. The side one close is a version of Sonny Bono's "Bang Bang" that reinforces just how good Nancy Sinatra's version is. The reimagining includes another superfluous introduction with the signature marching style rhythms of Carmine Appice as well as more of the group 'harmonizing all four members on the vocal tracks"

On Side Two "You Keep Me Hanging On" The Supremes number was the only song to hit the charts for them, it's pretty catchy actually. A little cleaner then the other songs and more upbeat but of course does include another big time introduction. "Take me for a while" is their most straight song on the track and I suppose their attempt at a love song. It's not bad, it's not good either though. Finally "Eleanor Rigby" as only Vanilla Fudge can deliver it.It takes the typical two minutes to get to the point as the band must uphold their dramatic reputation first. Distant and dark, if you are partially in the barrel you'll enjoy it, otherwise you might fall asleep.

Overall I give 2 out of 5 Timothy Leary's

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Old 07-06-2008, 12:04 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I know that was a mostly quite negative review but it sounds quite interesting!

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Old 07-06-2008, 03:35 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Geeze why so many covers? I liked the organs tho.
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Old 07-06-2008, 08:27 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default The Seeds - The Seeds (1966)

1. Can't Seem to Make You Mine
2. No Escape
3. Evil Hoodoo
4. Girl I Want You
5. Pushin' too Hard
6. Try to Understand
7. Nobody Spoil My Fun
8. It's a Hard Life
9. You Can't be Trusted
10. Excuse, Excuse
11. Fallin' In Love
12. Mr. Farmer
13. Pictures and Designs
14. Tripmaker
15. I Tell Myself
16. A Faded Picture
17. Rolling Machine
18. Just Let Go
19. Up in Her Room

Seeing as how good things come in threes, two more mid-1960's Rock debuts are in order and we'll start with a Seed, or four of them rather Daryl Hooper (keyboards), Jan Savage (Lead Guitar) Rick Andridge (Drums) and front man\bass player Sky Saxon (Obviously his real name), The Seeds, the band dubbed by Muddy Waters as "America's own Rolling Stones"...that's why Muddy wrote music and not reviews. This is their 1966 debut "The Seeds", I have no idea where I got it and only recognize the name of one track on this album. I thought the Seeds were a psych-rock band, and eventualy they would be, but didn't know I had their LP or that it was more of a R&B on steroids or pre-punk then anything. This should be easier to chew on since I already stuffed myself with Vanilla Fudge, here goes the nothin' ...

The album opens with a song that we (the royal we of course) didn't even know how much we liked. "I can't seem to make you mine" is a fun, simple song that is actually pretty disciplined musically. This was a major rarity for the majority of the mid-late 60's acid bands. The next three tracks are pretty bland, we'll evil hoodoo is not bland, it's just bad. Sounds like someone is playing a sort of early 70's Super Mario brother beta and keeps eating the mushroom and getting shrunk. (There may have been some Mushroom eating going on while this album was made)

After all that comes the biggest "hit" the Seeds ever had, "Pushin' too Hard" is sort of the lone ranger on acid south of the border. It's a fine time, but don't make a habit of it. "Nobody Spoil My Fun" is a song that's almost there but leaves you disappointed. "It's a Hard Life" is another solid effort, sounds like a song 10 years ahead of it's time. The bands carries that momentum and finds a nice rhythm with the next three tracks including "Falling in Love" a laid back simple blues diddy that irresistible to a blues-rock guy.

Mr. Farmer is next and keeps the train rolling, this is starting to feel like a 70's punk album got kicked in the nuts by the mule of the Blues. The album continues to surprise and evolve as it starts to learn psychedelic with far out beats and ambiguous lyrics. "I Tell myself" is the first miss or near miss in a while. "A Faded Picture" is a slow and "Rolling Machine" up tempo and both thinly veiled references to LSD. It's like this band got more stoned as the Album went on. The final track is the fifteen minute jam "Up in her room" and starts out pretty solid. It's repetitive to no end, but it's a jam and kudos to them for tossing in the end of the album, more bands should follow this lead. Even if it ain't much, lets see what you got, this song answers the bell for that challenge.

This band stuck to their strengths on this album and while no one is going to accuse them of being musical prodigies they produced a quality 19 track album spanning genres from the popular of the time to those that were not even invented yet. Maybe it's the Pilsner talking but I really enjoyed the shit out of this album. I gotta give it high praise

Three and a Half Crazy Tim Leary's and a presumptuous Muddy Waters to be shown later.


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Old 07-07-2008, 09:33 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Piss Me Off View Post
I know that was a mostly quite negative review but it sounds quite interesting!
It's very interesting, it's just not that good.

Originally Posted by bsmix View Post
Geeze why so many covers? I liked the organs tho.
It was 1967, Bands still made a habit of regularly covering 3-5 songs an album, a lot of bands did what Fudge did and packed earlier albums with mostly covers so that more people would try them.
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Old 07-09-2008, 05:34 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I had originally planned on doing another 60's review, but instead I'm breaking form and reviewing an album that I had forgotten about but come up on shuffle the other day...

1. "Fade Into You"
2. "Bells Ring"
3. "Mary Of Silence"
4. "Five String Serenade"
5. "Blue Light"
6. "She's My Baby"
7. "Unreflected"
8. "Wasted"
9. "Into Dust"
10. "So Tonight That I Might See"

This was the second and ultimately by far most successful album for Mazzy Star. They are most often classified as Dream Rock, which sounds like a made up genre to me, nonetheless to the point. The band burst onto the mainstream and my own conscious in 1993 when "Fade into You" became a moderate hit and a part of regular rotation on alternative and light rock stations. The song and the album both hold up pretty well.

"So Tonight That I Might See You" is an exercise in the pursuit of ultimately relaxing music. Combining sounds to create spiritual silence and while not a musical masterpiece a serviceable piece of art that can not be considered a failure in many if any respects. "Fade into Me" opens the album and perfectly sets the tone while more then peaking the interest of the first time listener. It's a wonderfully soothing track with a catchy but understated hook. There is uniformity throughout the tracks in the sense that regardless of timing or fullness of sound the melody i gentle and comforting, still there is variation between the style of the individual tracks. There are gentle electric tracks like "Blue Light" also"Unreflected" one of the standout acoustic led track and numbers like "She's My Baby" that have that familiar electric pulsing feel. Even the traditional 16 bar is re-imagined here with "Wasted" a sort of blues on Vicodin number. This is part of what drew me to this album, the ability of the band to use so much sound without crating any noise so to speak. "Into Dust" is maybe my favorite track and the one that brought me back to this album. It's not that it's an amazing musical composition it's just a song that really understands it's purpose and is executed to perfection. Musically this album is all over the place with elements of folk, psych, blues and pop rock music. It's a fascinating if ultimately forgettable record worth listening to. What more can you ask for?

Favorite Tracks: Into Dust, Fade into Me, Blue Light

Grade: B
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Old 07-17-2008, 09:35 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Islands - Arm's Way

1. "The Arm"
2. "Pieces of You"
3. "J'aime Vous Voire Quitter"
4. "Abominable Snow"
5. "Creeper"
6. "Kids Don't Know ****"
7. "Life in Jail"
8. "In the Rushes"
9. "We Swim"
10. "To a Bond"
11. "I Feel Evil Creeping In"
12. "Vertigo (If It's a Crime)"

Time to try and expand my horizons again, this time with some new music. 2008's "Arms Way" the second album by Indie-rockers Islands. Got this album based on a strong recommendation from a former student.

Have to admit I really like the complex and full well orchestrated sound, still there is some ways to go for this band as far as writing songs that flow together well and fitting the vocals with the music. At times it feels a little forced sure, but it does not totally distract from the enjoyment of the music. It's a front loaded album with a lot of memorable riffs and melodies contained in the first 3-5 tracks.

This seems to be a band with a wide array of influences searching for their own identity as something other then talented young musicians. Trying to find a collective face to put on the music will be their primary charge for future albums. The addition of classical influenced strings as a backdrop to many of the tracks gives them a memorable sound, but generic vocals and guitar leads sort of trap them in as just another sound on the modern landscape. It would be nice for them to embrace their pop influences a little more in terms of writing composing shorter more direct numbers. A lot of tracks go on too long and descend into complacency.

Overall it's far from a stinker, but still at this point more deliberation is requred before the jury comes to a verdict.

Tracks I enjoy: "The Arm", "Pieces of You", "Kid's Don't Know ****", "We Swim"

Grade: B-

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Old 07-20-2008, 02:38 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Camel - Breathless

1. "Breathless"
2. "Echoes"
3. "Wing and a Prayer"
4. "Down on the Farm"
5. "Starlight Ride"
6. "Summer Lightning"
7. "You Make Me Smile"
8. "The Sleeper"
9. "Rainbow's End"

Genre: English Progressive Rock
Year: 1978

Camel was a sort of under the radar band for most of the 70's and a had a few pretty good albums. This I'd say, while not the best, is one of the good ones. Guitar player\Frontman Andrew Latimer is a founding member and still performs under the name Camel with a new band. The rest of the line-up consisted of the late Peter Bardens on keyboards\piano\organs. He would leave the band following the release of the album to join Van Morrison's newly assembled Wavelength band. Also Mel Collins on flute and saxophone. Collins spent time with several 70's prog giants including The Alan Parson's Project, Caravan and King Crimson. Richard Sinclair who had come out of retirement to fill in on this album on bass and then mainstay Andy Ward on drums

Camel's sound was typically driven by heavy harmonies and technically proficient musicianship. They were often times an instrumental heavy band and much to the delight of their fans. This is true in both "echoes" and "Sleeper" perhaps the two best tracks on the whole. Still, this album experimented a little more with the different influences of their overall sound. Spanning jazz and country as well rock style songs with more vocals then the norm, the album moves at a more brisk pace then fans of the group were accustomed to. Tracks like "Breathless" and "Wing and a Prayer" are the type of symphonic odes you'd expect, but the heavy handed "Down on the Farm" is an anything but subtle landslide of sound. Contrasted with the slower melodic "Starlight Ride", "Rainbows End" and "Summer Lightning" it's a nice change of tempo . Throw in the jazzy "You make me smile" and you got a full plate and worthwhile album.

I give it Three out of Four Humps.

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Old 08-18-2008, 03:15 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga

1. "Don't Make Me a Target"
2. "The Ghost of You Lingers"
3. "You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb"
4. "Don't You Evah"
5. "Rhthm & Soul"
6. "Eddie's Ragga"
7. "The Underdog"
8. "My Little Japanese Cigarette Case"
9. "Finer Feelings"
10. "Black Like Me"

Genre: Indie Rock
Year: 2007

Out of the gate there is a sense of a new and more confident group here. Evolved and polished from previous work Spoon's sixth studio effort dwarfs there previous work with complex and creative themes and musical progressions and overwhelms most doubters with a feel good nature that's too fun to resist.

There is a sense that everything on this album was sort of casually thrown into place, and even if it's not completely essential to the music it fits comfortably. The vocal delivery is very casual and confident, the music is full and forceful without stepping on toes. This is a band that appreciates the art of making music and making a whole album. This will go down as the album that makes me appreciate this band.

The opening track is a clunky electric stampede that bleeds into the rest of the album. Ranging from somber to giddy mundane to eclectic it's exactly what it is supposed to be, bursting with creativity and confluence. Rhythm and Soul is a wonderful song that you have to play over and over again at first. Underdog may be my favorite single song from 2007. Every song stands on it's own merit's there is no reason to skip a track on this ten song opus.

Great work that has made me want to revisit there previous efforts.

Not hard to give this one 5 teaspoons out of an ounce.

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