Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Chinese Democracy Years


An absurdly exhaustive recounting of the shit gone through to make the Axl Rose Band's Chinese Democracy. It's a worthy read of something that wasn't worth the effort put into it.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

this week's gets

Bruce Springsteen- The Rising- Great album. I've had a rip for ages, but bought the CD this weekend. I hadn't heard it in awhile. Great to hear it again.

Bruce Springsteen- Magic- Haven't got into it yet. I heard a bit of it when it came out, but not the whole album.

Metallica- Garage Inc.- I so kick myself for ever parting with my Metallica collection. Having this on CD again is awesome, because I only seem to enjoy every other song on this collection and it's not good for cassettes to be rewound all the time. Plus, cheap ($7!) used Amazon purchase.

Metallica- S&M- A greatest hits and live album in one. Never really was a big fan of this, but it was cheap from the used sellers on Amazon. Some songs are great with the symphony, others are just messy, like Master of Puppets. The best tunes are clearly The Call of Ktulu and Nothing Else Matters, especially the latter since Michael Kamen arranged the strings on that one for its Black Album release.

Metallica- St. Anger- Another cheap buy on Amazon. I figured 'why not, it's five bucks.' You know, I did not give this album its proper due. A lot of the lyrics are retarded, and the lack of solos and the garage-band sound that, while a neat concept, ruined the album. If this was rerecorded with better drums and some short solos, they might have something here. But that's like expecting to hear a remixed version of And Justice For All that you can hear bass on- it ain't gonna happen.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Album of 2008

I know. Two months after everyone else, but fuck it. Many will decry this as nonsense, but hey, everyone’s opinion on album of the year is a mere opinion, after all. This was the album that brought it all back for me. I got back into my metal days because of this album, and now all of my phases can rest comfortably beside each other. I picked up my guitar again, after several years of not touching it. As much as it was a return to form for Metallica, it reminded me of how much I used to love just sitting around listening to a really great album, poring over the liner notes or just admiring the cover.

This album really needs to be listened to as a complete work from beginning to end, not piecemealed out like so much of our music today. I really like that in my favorite albums, which include Radiohead’s OK Computer, Metallica’s own Master of Puppets, Pearl Jam's Yield, and U2’s The Joshua Tree.

Most of all, it was like discovering Metallica for the first time again. Hearing this was like that first time I heard …And Justice For All. I was scarcely aware Metallica had a new album coming out this year until a month before its release. I mean, hell, they had gone off on a faux-gay tangent in 1996 (even though I like the Load album, I could do without Lars’ and Kirk’s images), Jason Newsted left in 2001, there was the Napster thing that bothered everyone but me, and worst of all, St. Anger, which I still can’t get into other than a couple of songs. I guess they just slipped off my radar for about five years while I went into other lower-decibel genres. In August of last year, my brother Andy says that the single from Death Magnetic, ‘The Day That Never Comes’ was streaming from Metallica’s website, and he showed me. I was floored, really. It was full of riffs, and most importantly, a day hoped for that never came was a particularly relevant topic to me at that point (and still is) so it was the right song at the right time.

This album still holds up in repeated listens. I listened to it nonstop for the first couple of weeks after I bought it. Then I let it rest, but eventually, I came back to it and I still listen to most of it at least once a week. I was lucky enough to see Metallica on the World Magnetic tour on its fourth stop in Des Moines, and hearing about five new songs live really helped to reinforce the strength of this album.

I was going to do a top seven of my favorite albums, but I decided to just go with a post about my favorite of this year. If you must know, numbers two and three were AC/DC’s Black Ice and Coldplay’s Viva La Vida. Believe it or not, Guns N’ Roses’ Chinese Democracy actually made my list. It’s a strong work, almost too strong. Had it been allowed to escape before 2002, it might have been pretty good.

Monday, February 16, 2009

high voltage rock'n'roll

I love rock music. I love listening to it, buying albums, searching high and low for that one album I've got in my mind that I must own. I love reading about music as well. For years, all I really paid attention to were Spin and Rolling Stone, and to put it bluntly, they're a little too snooty (I guess that's the word) for me, giving their covers to pop sensations or bands that looked a little too, well, faggy for a guy like me to carry around the magazine. So, I resigned myself to just reading about music on the interwebs. (In an ironic twist, Rolling Stone's website has some pretty good stuff on it.)

Then I found out my local bookstores had something called Classic Rock magazine. Yay me for finally looking at the big expensive imported magazines.

I probably wouldn't have noticed it if it didn't have a Metallica feature on the cover (Oct. '08), an article about the 1000 days between ...And Justice For All and the Black Album, when Metallica was still the most dangerous band in the world.

Every page of this magazine had something I wanted to read, which was stunning. I pored over this issue for no less than three hours, outlasting the included CD. Speaking of which, yes, this mag includes a CD with every issue. This one was called Guitarmageddon, and it was awesome. Megadeth, Dream Theater, Dragonforce, and Extreme, if you can believe, plus a bunch of other artists I had never heard of, but was glad to. This rock periodical had done its job- broadened my horizons, making me aware of things that I otherwise wouldn't, which never happened with Spin and RS. I was stuck reading and hearing about pop stars, rappers, and the popular like. It takes a magazine dedicated to a particular genre to excite me, I guess. I'm a rock fan; it's not like I'm going to change gears and get into jazz or hip-hop at this point. And now I have a monthly magazine written by people who are even more into this than I am, and that love shows.

this week's gets

Jenny Lewis- Acid Tongue- Great, great stuff. I'm quite disappointed in myself for taking so long to buy it.

Metallica- Kill 'Em All- yet another necessary piece in the quest to rebuild my 'Tallica catalog. Oh yeah, and it has 'The Four Horsemen' on it, not to mention the 19-year-old buffoons that made up Metallica in '83 on the back cover.

Bruce Springsteen- Working on a Dream- It's damn good, plus I got a download of the album in the package, negating the need for a seperate CD purchase. The album as a whole doesn't have anything on The Rising, but it seems to close a trilogy started with that album, continued with Magic, and ended here. There's a certain assuredness to the album as a whole, except for the bonus track, The Wrestler, which was written for the Darren Aronofsky film that everyone but me has seen. It doesn't really fit with the rest of the album, which would be why it's a bonus track.

I also scored a sampler of new music for 2009 from Classic Rock magazine, but I haven't listened to it yet.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

new Kiss album this fall!!!!!



Paul Stanley tells Page Six that he, Gene Simmons and the band are headed into the studio to grind out a new record for release this fall. "It's a KISS album in the most true and classic sense - we're recording it in analog, not digital, and writing it ourselves," says Stanley, who also paints and will hold an exhibit Feb. 27-28 at the Wentworth Gallery in Hackensack, NJ.

so I'm really into Iced Earth now

It all started with this:

It's a cover album, full of Kiss, AC/DC, Iron Maiden, and other covers (Blue Oyster Cult woo.) Then that led to me acquiring the Dark Saga CD, which has a track called 'I Died For You' which so far seems to be my favorite song from them.

Then I dug deeper, and there's an entire catalog of power metal dating back to 1991. I've got a lot of ground to cover here, and since I have a perosnality that demands I learn everything I can about something once I'm interested in it, I could be at this for a while. But it's better than listening to a Metallica album for the umpteenth time, I suppose. Onward and upwards and such.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

this week's gets

The Best of Bob Dylan- a cheap collection I found at Wal-Mart. I really can't say much, except that since FYE closed here a few weeks ago, Wal-Mart is pretty much the only place to get decent stuff. (Fuck Best Buy.)

The Flaming Lips- At War with the Mystics- I've been meaning to get into the Lips for a while, so I figured it may as well be now. It's great.

Paid download-
Metallica- World Magnetic- Des Moines, IA 10/26/08- I've been wanting to do this for a while, and I finally did it. I was surprised by it. I figured it'd be a soundboard recording with no audience track, but it was as perfectly balanced as you can hope for a live recording to be between audience noise and band sound quality. But at $10 a whack, I doubt I'll buy any more shows from the tour, even though they've played some really great tunes at all shows during the encore.