I was in Dallas, Tx over the New Years weekend for a couple of sporting events, while i was there i made a point to hit up Good Records, one of the best record stores i’ve ever been to. Good Records is the record label started by Tim DeLaughter of The Polyphonic Spree and Tripping Daisy, he started a record store in downtown Dallas which houses both bands releases, as well as the other artists on the label and many, many other artists. My favorite part about this store is their expansive vinyl collection, which is housed upstairs, as well as fair prices and many very hard to find items. The store has a huge variety of indie/pop/punk/metal releases, although I usually don’t find much metal i’m looking for there. While i was there this weekend I found a few amazing records, and I wanted to share my finds on here, because i’m a dork and love discussing music i’ve purchased.
I’ve been wishing for a copy of this album on vinyl since the day i got my first record player. In my opinion it’s one of the greatest rock albums of the 90′s. Ken Andrews has an amazing voice and the riffs in this album are absolutely brilliant. Also, I love the fact that A Perfect Circle covered “The Nurse Who Loved Me” even though none of their fans realize it’s a cover, or even care. The minute I put this record on and the opening riff to “Saturday Saviour” hit, it brought back some amazing memories.
This album just recently got reissued and it features some of the most crushing guitar riffs ever. This album is also one of my favorite albums of the 90′s and it’s by far one of the heaviest rock albums ever released.Fortunately I got to see them perform this whole record in New Orleans and they absolutely killed it! After giving it a spin on wax my record player melted from the sheer ferocity of Page Hamilton’s riffage, but seriously, for being a reissue, this album sounds incredibly killer.
I was a HUGE fan of Earth’s album “The Bees Made Honey In The Lions Skull”, but I don’t have any of their albums on vinyl, and i’ve always wanted to hear their first album, so i decided to pick this album up and give drone a chance. After listening to this album, I can certainly see it’s influence on bands like SunnO))) and OM. There are 3 songs on this album and it’s a double lp which gives you an idea just how long each song is. I’ve never been much into drone, but I will say that Dylan Carlson knows how to make a 15 or 30 minute song still be entertaining just by the sheer volume, anger, and heaviness enstilled in each and every note played on this record.
This has always been one of my 3 favorite Motorhead records next to Overkill and Ace Of Spades, and I was psyched to see it available at a store that doesn’t sell alot of metal. The coolest thing about this record is that it’s on white vinyl and it’s hard to find for a good price online. The other cool thing about this record is that it’s got a very decidedly punk rock vibe about it, with some blues thrown in for good measure and definitely brings you back in a time warp to the days when only budweiser and headbanging mattered when it starts spinning.
This album was recommended to me by my wife a few years ago and I remember enjoying it quite a bit, so I decided to get a record that we could enjoy together instead of me sitting around headbanging and rocking out while she finds other stuff to do. The record itself sounds fantastic, but the songs are absolutely incredible. It’s a very thick slab of indie rock with a very funky and awesome sound to it and I am definitely glad i got this album.
This is an album I wouldn’t normally listen to, but it came highly recommended to me, and I remember enjoying a few songs i had heard of theirs in the past, so i decided to check this album out. This album is incredibly wild, adventurous, dancy electronic indie pop, which, like I said, i don’t normally listen to, but this is very enjoyable. The record is packaged together nicely in a single sleeve with 2 records in it and it sounds fantastic. This album is great for listening to late at night, or with company over and it’s a good addition to add some more variety to my record collection.
Today starts my end of the year lists that i’ll be unleashing every day from now until January 1st. I’ve decided to start off with a list of the 20 best bands i saw live this year. Like any self respecting music geek, I go to shows, ALOT of shows in fact, however, this year i didnt see as many shows as i wanted to, but i saw some pretty amazing stuff nonetheless. So, without further ado, this is a list (in no particular order) of the 20 bands I saw in 2011 who helped make my year just a little better.
These guys are absolutely legendary and i got to see them on their final world tour. Thanks to a setlist spanning their entire discograhy and all the fire, lasers, video effects, and rock n’ roll mayhem of one of their shows from the 80′s, this was an incredible show.
These guys opened up for Judas Priest and they were, by far, the greatest opening band i’ve ever seen. Their setlist included all of my favorite songs, and their current lineup brings the thunder as good as can be expected, particularly because of the original members it boasts.
Dave Grohl is an absolute monster! His stage presence is absolutely unbelievable and he makes you feel like he is playing just for you. They also had an awesome stage set up and played an almost 3 hour set that included hit after poppy hit.
These guys opened for Foo Fighters, proving what i said earlier about Dave Grohl being an absolute monster. Lemmy still looks and sounds and plays as good as he did in the 70′s and 80′s and their setlist is a good mix of the old classics with their faster, heavier, newer songs. Nothing can top the moment they first launch into “Ace Of Spades”
This was their first tour in a couple of years and you could tell that their time with The Melvins has done them some good. These guys were full of thunder and nothing rules more than hearing them play “Hands Up” live.
This band is one of the loudest i’ve ever seen live. They played mostly stuff from the last 2 albums but it was so loud and heavy that it didn’t matter what they played, they could have made a set of Huey Lewis & The News covers sound brutal as hell.
Of the 3 bands i saw that night (they played with Big Business and Torche), i was surprised to find that these guys were my favorite of the evening. They play through amps that were made by Ben Verellen himself and the tone was absolutely crushing. Their album is such an awesome mix of Mastodon-esque riffs and some awesome shoegaze parts to make one of the funnest rock n’ roll albums of the year and they translated perfectly live
Saw these guys on the Metalalliance tour along with the next 3 bands on this list and Helemt were by far, the highlight for me. They played all of “Meantime” plus select songs from “Betty” and their latest album “Seeing Eye Dog”. Even though “Meantime” is my favorite Helmet album, my favorite Helmet song is “Tic” and they played it by request, which is the sweetest (and heaviest) thing ever!
It’s been a few years since i’ve seen these guys and I was terribly bummed that the last 2 times they played near me i had to miss for various reasons, so i was very glad to get to see them again, and in New Orleans of all places! They have Kirk Windstein from Down, Pat Bruders, who’s now in down, and Tommy Buckley from Soilent Green in their lineup currently which means seeing Crowbar live is like getting crushed by an asteroid. Also, their new songs translate amazing to their live show.
It’s been a very long time since Saint Vitus has toured, so i was very fortunate to get to see them live. Dave Chandler’s tone sounded absolutely amazing, and Wino’s voice sounded perfect. They played a set full of some absolutely crushing tunes, and they even played a new song which i can’t wait to hear on an album soon.
This was my second time seeing Kylesa, and this time was way better, mostly because they had the projector with the Spiral Shadow album cover spinning around which created an incredible atmosphere. Not much can be said about a Kylesa live show except for the fact that it is something I will never forget. The double drum assault sounds killer and works perfect together, and Phillip and Laura’s vocals sound perfect, and the guitars are super heavy. They are one of the best current metal bands i’ve ever seen live.
I actually saw these guys live twice this year. The first time was at Universal Studios in Orlando, Fl as part of their mardi gras celebration. The second time i saw them was in Shreveport, La with ZZ Top, and i have to say, they killed both times. There aren’t many original members except for Gary Rossington, however, most of the people that make up this current incarnation are all apart of the family somehow and weren’t just brought in to collect a paycheck, these guys absolutely kill it and they also played my favorite Skynyrd song “Gimme Back My Bullets” which rules.
Seeing these guys on the same bill as Lynyrd Skynyrd was a classic rock/southern rock nerd’s dream show. They came out with their signature beards and flashy stage show and they played every major hit they’ve ever written, and the best part is that they didn’t play an encore, which is another reason why I love these guys.
I still can’t decide whether Steely Dan or just being able to hang out on the beach in Alabama was the highlight of this weekend, but regardless, ‘The Dan killed it. These guys are one of the more underrated bands in classic rock history, but even 40 years into their career, Donald Fagen ‘s voice sounds as upbeat as ever, and Walter Becker can still shred. But the best part is that their touring lineup is full of the best jazz and classically trained musicians they could find and they certainly bring new life to songs that are already full of it.
I saw these guys at the Bealse Street Music Festival along with the next 2 bands on this list and i must say, this was by far, the most uplifting show i’ve ever seen. I don’t really listen to them much, but the combination of their beautiful music, bright lights, balloons, lasers, and many more ridiculously awesome things, coupled with a wonderful stage presence makes them a band that i must see again and am now a big time fan of.
These guys played right before the Flaming Lips and they were using the same huge screen for their set and had some amazing videos playing during their set which worked very well with their awesomely poppy music. Also, they kept updating the crowd on the score of the Memphis Grizzlies game that was going on just a few blocks away during their set, which i, as a sports fan, found to be super awesome.
Sublime With Rome
This band is the original bassist and drummer of Sublime with Rome Ramirez on guitar and vocals and they are absolutely fantastic. They played all of the Sublime songs i wanted to hear, and quite a few from their new album which turned out to be one of my favorite records of 2011.
Karma To Burn
These guys are desert rock legends and I actually saw them in Monroe which was kind of random. They are an instrumental band, but their drummer and bassist are so phenomenal that no vocals are necessary to keep these songs entertaining; their songs are full of bone-breaking riffs and dizzying tempo changes and they were definitely the best intrumental band I’ve seen all year…and the only.
Without question, this was the loudest band i’ve ever seen…not just in 2011, but EVER. Their guitarist Amber Valentine had, what seemed to me, 15 amps hooked up and every one of them was turned up to full volume. My ears were literally ringing for 3 days after this show, no lie. Their songs don’t really translate live the way they do on their records, but they were very enjoyable, and loud, and enjoyably loud, and it’s great to see a band from Relapse Records come to Monroe.
I’m not sure what made the one and only time i saw Thou weirder…the fact that it was inside a theater inside the Lsu art museum, or the fact that they only played 4 songs with a total set of about 25 minutes. Regardless of their set length, however, is the fact that they absolutely killed. They played loud and slow and let loose an almost unrelenting pummeling on the hipsters that were crowded around and it was glorious.
Sweatin To The Oldies: Helmet – Meantime
This is a column i’m doing in tribute to some of my favorite albums of all time, because nothing is more fun to write reviews for than albums you’ve been listening to for 10 or 20 years, right? I wrote this a while back regarding an album that was finally re-released on vinyl in November, Helmet’s 1992 magnum opus “Meantime”. This album has been on my wish list since the day i got my first record player, and i couldn’t be more excited about it being reissued. Now allow me, if you will, to strap on my flannel shirt and reminisce about one of the noisiest, grooviest, and awesomest albums of the 90′s…or ever for that matter.
Before i begin, i would like to state very proudly, that i got to hear this album played live in it’s entirety, and even at the age of 50 years old, Page Hamilton is the baddest guitar player in the land. The thing that strikes me the most about this album is how easily accessible it is with it’s huge hit single “Unsung”, which was featured on the first Guitar Hero game, and was a huge hit on the radio in the 90′s, even peeking at number 32 at one point. The other thing about this album is how damn heavy it is, seriously, there’s not one song on this album that won’t leave you smashing your head on any solid object within 30 feet. Whether it be the opening bassline and ensuing riffage of “Give It” or the main riff in “Ironhead” or even the riff 15 seconds into “You Borrowed” if this album doesnt leave you with a sore neck, you’re doing it wrong.
This album really is just a compilation of one heavy riff after another. Page Hamilton may not do alot of solo’s but the thing that makes him a true “guitar god” is the fact that he is a champion at writing riffs and sick rhythms that stay stuck in your head for days. Page Hamilton is also amazing at writing riffs that bounce up and down with an absolutely ridiculous tone and pace and are incredibly full of anger, specifically on tracks like “Fbla II” and “In The Meantime”. Page Hamilton isn’t the only hero on this album, however, Henry Bogdan’s bass on this record is some of the sickest you’ll ever hear, just listen to the intro to “Give It”, but the real m.v.p. of the record in my opinion is the drumming of John Stanier who ended up playing with both Tomahawk, and Battles. It would be hard to imagine this record being as good with anybody else behind the skins, the best examples of this are: “In The Meantime”, “Unsung”, “Ironhead”, and “He Feels Bad”, but really every single song on this record is full of fantastic drumming.
In my opinion, this album is the best alternative rock album of the 90′s. Sure, “Nevermind” was revolutionary and “Superunknown” and “Fantastic Planet” changed the game completely, but “Meantime” is meaner than both of those albums and neither of them name-dropped “Downtown Julie Brown”. This record may turn 20 years old in 2012, but it still crushes every skull in a 40 foot radius, and after all, killing hurts, but it has to be done.
If there is one thing in the world i love, it’s making lists of stuff, it’s fun to force yourself to narrow things down to a single list. It’s even more fun when it’s about music, particularly at the end of the year when you’re looking back on your favorite albums from the past 12 months. I’m going to be going VERY in depth with my favorite albums, shows, and random stuff of 2011 in the next few days, but before i take a look at this year, i’ve decided to take a look back at 2010 and recall some of my favorite albums from last year. Granted, 2010 wasn’t a great year for music, but some incredible albums came out. If you see any glaring exceptions from this list, please feel free to comment.
1. Deftones – Diamond Eyes
I’ve always been a huge fan of this band, but the first time i heard “Rocket Skates”, “Diamond Eyes”, and “You’ve Seen The Butcher” i knew they hit a bottom of the 14th inning game 7 of the world series grand slam. This album is easily their best since White Pony, and that’s saying ALOT. Favorite song: Diamond Eyes
2. Agalloch – Marrow Of The Spirit
This album is seriously breathtaking. The mix of throat-smashing black metal with some of the sharpest riffing you’ll ever hear with absolutely gorgeous atmosphere and scenery on this album is just unbelievable. It literally makes you feel like you are at peace in the forest one minute, and ripping off your skin and burning the forest down the next. Favorite song: Ghosts of the Midwinter Fires.
3. Kylesa – Spiral Shadow
This album was hot on the heals of their best record ever, so the bar was set high, and they nailed it. It is a little more…dare i say “90′s rock” oriented with songs like “Don’t Look Back” but this album is an absolute masterpiece. Favorite song: Tired Climb.
4. The Dead Weather – Sea Of Cowards
Everything Jack White touches turns to gold. This album has some of the sickest guitar riffs, and songs i’ve ever heard. Songs like “I’m Mad” and “Die By The Drop” make me love this album even more than their debut. It’s like psychadelic indie blues on speedballs. Favorite song: Die By The Drop.
5. Kings Destroy – And The Rest Will Surely Perish
This band is easily one of the most pleasant surprises i’ve ever heard. Pretty traditional doom metal mixed with bad ass Alice in Chains inspired vocals. I never thought i would heard doom metal and grunge mixed together, but they make for an absolutely amazing record. Favorite song: Planet XXY
6. High On Fire – Snakes For The Divine
Matt Pike and the boys achieved, what i believe to be their most ridiculous album to date. Songs like “Frost Hammer”, “Snakes For The Divine”, and “Bastard Samurai” all have their own little atmosphere and the tone on this album is absolutely killer. They managed to take their already amazing style of metal, and give it the swagger of a serial killer on meth. Favorite song: Bastard Samurai.
7. Intronaut – Valley Of Smoke
This band is so talented it’s stupid. They have a very heavy guitar tone, a bassist trained in jazz and classical music, and one of the best grind/death metal drummers of all time. There is such a smorgasbord of influences going on in this band that it meshes to make an absolute monster of a record. Favorite song: Elegy.
8. Nachtmystium – Addicts: Black Meddle Pt II
Nachtmystium are definitely one of the best black metal bands to come from the us for sure, but on this album they took their unbelievably razor sharp psychadelic black metal sound and added some elements of goth and industrial and this album is just as good as, if not better than Assasins. Favorite song: Nightfall.
9. Christian Mistress – Agony & Opium
I usually don’t like female vocalists, but Christine Davis is definitely on the short list of the ones i do like. Her haunting vocals mixed with the super old school metal/classic rock vibe is just amazing. It’s like if you took kill em all era metallica and asked them to play songs that sound like sad wings era judas priest and deep purple with a cute female singer. Favorite song: Desert Rose.
10. Enslaved – Axioma Ethica Odini
This is by far one of the best albums Enslaved has ever put out. It’s got their signature psychadelic black metal sound, but the vocals on this album are the best they’ve ever had, particularly the Mikael Akerfeldtian crooning on “Ethica Odini”. This album is a very high point in an already stunningly impressive discography. Favorite song: Ethica Odini.
11. Coliseum – House With A Curse
Really awesome punk/hardcore/classic rock sound on this album. Very haunting, scathing, beer drinking monster of a record. Favorite song: Blind In One Eye.
12. Nails – Unsilent Death
An aboslutely incredible mix of grindcore/hardcore with a swedish death metal delivery. Very short, but very very nasty record. Favorite song: Scum Will Rise
13. Helmet – Seeing Eye Dog
Ole Page has done it again. Another album full of awesomely heavy riffs and terribly bitter lyrics. Very awesome cover of “And Your Bird Can Sing”. Favorite song: So Long.
14. Haarp – The Filth
Absolute bone-crushing New Orleans sludge metal done exactly the way it should be done. Huge riffs come one after the other with no relent. Favorite song: Here In The Dark.
15. Iron Maiden – The Final Frontier
Another classic album in the Iron Maiden catalogue. The boys prove once again they are one of the best metal bands ever. Very heavy riffs and killer melodies as usual. Favorite song: Satellite 15…The Final Frontier.
16. Monster Magnet – Mastermind
Incredibly heavy riffs on this album that rip through like a cannonball with a part punk rock, part old school classic rock pace. Killer album. Favorite song: Dig That Hole.
17. October Tide – A Thin Shell
Fantastically awesome Swedish doom album featuring former member of Katatonia. I like this much better than the new Katatonia because it’s got bals…big, depressing balls. Favorite song: Deplorable Request.
18. Misery Index – Heirs To Thievery
Incredibly brutal death/grind with drums that put even the best drummer to shame. Great, angry album to listen to when you wanna smash stuff with a hammer. Favorite song: Fed To The Wolves.
19. Wino – Adrift
Probably the most menacing acoustic album i’ve ever heard. Wino just kills it with his bluesy, angry style of acoustic guitar on this album. Also, the cover of Iron Horse/Born To Lose is absolutely killer because you can tell he means every word he says when he sings that song. Favorite song: Iron Horse/Born To Lose.
20. Sleigh Bells – Treats
Indie dance pop isn’t really my thing, like ever, except when they incorporate very, very heavy guitar tone and some very abrasive guitar playing which is something this album does that has me completely sold. Favorite song: Tell ‘Em.