Friday, December 8, 2006

New (Old) Release: TV Eyes

TV Eyes (Dig)More than three years ago, some friends and I saw TV Eyes play up in L.A. It was awesome. I mean would you expect anything less than awesome from Roger Joseph Manning, Jr. (Jellyfish, Imperial Drag), Jason Falkner (Jellyfish) and Brian Reitzell (Redd Kross)?

Well, even though the guys are always busy, TV Eyes all but vanished after that. But now the album has finally been released in Japan. You can get it as an import. You can try Amazon, CDUniverse or Tower. CDUniverse seems to be the cheapest. Unless you want to try this Japanese site.

Busy, busy, busy

I guess we've all been busy around here. No one has posted in a month. Yipes! I'm working on a project to convert a whole bunch of Christmas music on vinyl records to CD. So I haven't been listening to much of anything else. I can tell you that the new Jars of Clay album is really good. I also have been enjoying the new one from the Scissor Sisters. Check it out. Hopefully after the holidays I'll be back more often. See ya...

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

A Partially Reunited Genesis

Genesis Reunited (sorta)A partially reunited Genesis will be touring Europe next year. Phil Collins, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford (along with Chester Thompson and Daryl Steurmer) will start the "Turn It On Again" tour on June 11 in Finland. Read more about it here.

Also, fourteen of their studio albums will be re-released next year in SACD/DVD double-disc sets with 5.1 surround and stereo mixes.

The forum at the official site is abuzz with guesses at the setlist and flame wars about the lack of participation from Steve Hackett and Peter Gabriel. I'll keep you posted on any official word about the set list.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

New Release: L.E.O. - Alpacas Orgling

Alpacas Orgling
I'm 10 days late on the release, but it's finally here: "Alpacas Orgling" from L.E.O. I don't have it yet, so read this cool review here:

Here a two excerpts in case you're not sure you want to click the link:
The phrase “pop collective” has been used to describe L.E.O., and it’s as good a description as any. The project came about courtesy of Bleu, the singer/songwriter probably best known to mainstream audiences for “Somebody Else,” the song of his that ended up on the soundtrack to the first “Spider-Man” movie. Serving as the album’s executive producer, Bleu pulled together a decidedly diverse crowd of performers, including Paula Kelley, Andy Sturmer (Jellyfish), Mike Viola (the Candy Butchers), John Fields (the Rembrandts), Tony Goddess (Papas Fritas), Matt Mahaffey (sELF), Jason Scheff (Chicago), Steve Gorman (the Black Crowes), and…wait for it…Hanson.

Sturmer even takes lead vocals during a brief portion of “Goodbye Innocence”…though it only lasts long enough for you to say, “Hey, you son of a bitch, it’s been thirteen years since Spilt Milk and, clearly, you still sound awesome, so where’s that fucking solo album already?” (Actually, you might not say that. But that’s totally what *I* said.)

Monday, October 23, 2006

MediaMonkey + = Awesome “Random” Play!

If you have diverse musical tastes, you might find that putting your music collection on "Random Play" can be quite jarring. It doesn't quite flow too well to have White Zombie's "Blood, Milk and Sky" followed by "Hangin' Tough" from the New Kids on the Block. But what if you were listening to some Backstreet Boys? Then flowing into some NKotB would make sense. Actually, I don't know when it ever makes sense to play some NKotB, but hey...

If I haven't already told you about MediaMonkey, you should just know that it is the best available software for managing large digital music libraries. It handles all kinds of file formats, including entire albums in an APE/CUE combo via a clever third-party script (Sorry - getting too technical already). Anyway, whether your needs are simple "I just want to see all my music in one place and listen to it" or complex "I want to carefully organize 50,000 tracks across a hundred genres and rate each track", MediaMonkey is your answer. And, shoot... it's free. You don't have to trust me on this, but you should. I've tried the rest (yes, even foobar2000 and songbird) and MM is the best. I wrote a review a while back. And here's a more recent one from another discriminating music lover.

Ok, so you've got your MediaMonkey going, now I need to tell you about is a social music site that tries to foster the building of relationships between people with like musical tastes. In the background it has an incredible database based on actual listening habits that links artists together. So if you like "Madonna", will be able to recommend a bunch of other artists that it thinks you will also like, based on what Madonna fans are actually listening to.

Now, for the purposes of this article, you do not need to register at In fact, you don't ever even need to visit the site, but I highly recommend that you become a member and "scrobble" all your songs. "Scrobbling" is when the tracks you listen to in your computer's music player automatically appear in your online profile. This is how links you to other people with similar tastes. But that's not important right now.

Today, I want to tell you about a script/plug-in for MediaMonkey that is amazing. It's called ScrobblerDJ. When you queue up songs to listen to in MM, they go into a list called "Now Playing". Normally, when the last song is played in this list, MM will stop and the party's over. With ScrobblerDJ enabled, something amazing happens when the last song in the Now Playing list starts to play. ScrobblerDJ will take a look at what artist it is that's playing and go out to to find another artist that's similar and that you might like. Then it looks to find that artist in your collection and play a song from that artist. If it can't find that artist, it will try another one and if all else fails it will grab a track off of a default playlist that you specify and the process starts over. And it keeps doing this until you tell it to stop... non-stop party of random, but related songs.

Another cool thing is that you can tell it to only play your high rated songs (if you're having a real party with real people). Or you can tell it to grab only un-rated songs (if you want to hear all new songs or you want to get some rarely heard songs rated). With my huge collection, I'm interested in hearing songs that I have not yet rated, so I fired up ScrobblerDJ using the second scenario. I started with "That Is Why" by Jellyfish. Here's what ScrobblerDJ picked out for me to hear after that:
"Our Love Was" by Splitsville
"Arienne" by Kyle Vincent
"The Party Rages On" by Zumpano (I didn't know I had this, it's from a Power Pop collection CD and is a great song! Thanks ScrobblerDJ)
"I Love You Better" by David Grahame (again, something I didn't know, from a different Power Pop collection CD... and also a really good song)
Then, I think it got stuck finding something, so it grabbed something from my default playlist. I told it to use a playlist that is randomly generated grabbing only top-rated songs from select genres (no audiobooks, classical music, spoken word, etc). I forgot what it grabbed, but somehow I ended up getting into a series of songs that consisted of R&B from the '80s and then that drifted into the '90s.

After a bit I stopped it and reset it using a favorite song, "Blackest Eyes" by Porcupine Tree. From there, I heard some Magellan, then Fates Warning doing a cover of "Closer to the Heart", then some Virgin Steele.

If you have a large collection, this will really be a fun way to experience your music. You can read about the plug-in here. Or just download the install package from here.

Note: You need to make sure that MM's built in AutoDJ and Random features are turned off.

Let me know if you need any help with installation or use.

Friday, October 13, 2006

All Hail The Tree

Ok, I know it ain't cool that the last time I posted anything was a month ago about the last concert I went to. We're in a real busy time at work right now... and then, you know, some new TV started up.

Anyway, Rich and I saw Porcupine Tree with special guests The Tony Levin Band on Wednesday night at the House of Blues in Hollywood. To say the least it was amazing! It was a real treat to see Levin. If I heard his intro correctly, three of the five guys up there were part of Peter Gabriel's first solo band. The real highlight of their set was a cover of "Back in NYC" (the 2nd or 3rd best song from Genesis' "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" depending on how much you like the title track). That song has never sounded so huge and epic as it did here.

Porcupine Tree was doing something really cool. The first half of the concert was all new material, not yet recorded. And... wow. The 12-minute song referred to by singer Steve Wilson as "The Beast" (a nickname given to it on the band's web forum) was unbelievable! I can't wait for the new album slated for next spring. The second half of the show was filled with familiar material, mostly from the last two studio albums (and one or two older cuts). There was none of the showmanship and theatrics that I described in the previous post about Butch Walker. These guys were all about just playing the music and playing it well. That's not to say that Wilson is lifeless on stage. He's engaging enough. The band's stage presence is not lacking at all with music this good.

If you haven't heard Porcupine Tree yet or you're on the fence about them, I really encourage you to give them a fair listen. Try their 2002 album "In Absentia", one of the greatest albums in all of rock history. Seriously.

In Absentia

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A True Rock Star and with Pick Tricks to boot

Holy crap... twenty-four hours later and I'm still feeling the high of seeing Butch Walker live last night at the House of Blues in Anaheim, CA (my bros, Dan and Rich were there, too). It was one of the best shows I've ever seen simply because he is just an amazing entertainer... a true rock and roll superstar.

The guy makes you feel like he called you up and invited you personally to come and see him go nuts. I haven't seen energy like that live since I saw Kid Rock six years ago? Butch struts and poses with sheer rock star confidence that shows he's just too huge for this little club, but dammit if he isn't going to rock the hell out of the joint anyway because he's with friends (remember, he called and invited them all over).

Then there's the pick tricks. He throws his pick in the air, bounces it off his guitar, catches it in his mouth, spits it back out, catches it and keeps playing his guitar... all while singing at the top of his lungs and bouncing all over.

Plus he's got the musicianship and songwriting skills to back it all up. Nearly the whole crowd was singing almost every song... especially during the campfire sing-a-long moment when he came down onto the floor and had us all sit down with him.

For the first of two encores, he and his excellent band ("The Let's-Go-Out-Tonites") did the most amazing rocking cover of Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy"... outta control. He introduced it like this: "Goddammit if this isn't the most covered song in the world. But we're going to play it anyway because I like it so much. (long pause and then he says through his teeth as if embarrassed by the addiction) SHIT!" and then they ripped into it.

I was already hooked on his albums and now I know what it means to see someone who completely transcends the medium of recorded music and belts out the same songs with a gripping immediacy and emotional power... you're convinced that right then and there he's feeling the same feelings he felt when he wrote the song. Amazing performer.

And here's a shout-out to opening act, Damone from Boston. Man, they were good... so much so that we all bought their CD right on the spot. Here's a good description of them from

Damone is a hard rock band that is influenced by power pop, punk rock, and most notably, classic metal. Their sound could be described as a female fronted Cheap Trick with Thin Lizzy inspired dual lead guitar.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Butch and I: Old Pals

Ok, this is weird. In the last post I mentioned that I was going to see Butch Walker in concert this Tuesday night. No big deal. I'm excited because I'm thinking that this will be the first time I see him since being turned on to his solo career back in 2004. I was late to the game on his previous band, the Marvelous 3, not learning about them until after the release of their last album. So for the past two years I'm playing catch up on an artist who I thought was new to me. I heard about even earlier bands that Butch was in like Floyd's Funk Revival and an L.A. glam metal group called Southgang.

Here's what I didn't know until my friend Scott filled in some missing details: Back on Oct. 13, 1989, I hung out with Butch Walker and the other two guys from the Marvelous 3 crammed together in the same booth at the Roxy on the Sunset strip.

As it turns out, the name Southgang was not the original name of that particular band. On Oct. 13, 1989, they were headlining the Roxy as "Byte the Bullet" and Scott's sister was dating the lead singer (whom a quick Google search tells me was Jesse Harte - the one guy in the group who did not go on to be a Marvelous 3). So she got us in for free and... we hung out.

Maybe if I print out the flyer and show it to the right people at the concert this Tuesday, Butch might get a little nostalgic and we can hang out again.
Byte the Bullet

Friday, September 8, 2006

New Release: Butch Walker

Rise & Fall of Butch Walker & The Let\'s-Go-Out-TonitesI think we forgot to tell you about Butch Walker's new album. Shame on us. Dan and I will be heading out to the show next week at the House of Blues, Anaheim. I'll let you know how that goes. In the meantime, get the new album already. Sheesh! It's called The Rise & Fall of Butch Walker & The Let's-Go-Out-Tonites.

Here's a cool bit from Butch's site:

If you live in the LA area, and you are half-way cool, you have listened to the best station in the FM world indie103. You may have heard a song getting played a lot on there called "Hot Girls in Good Moods". Yo, that's us. It's getting played a lot, so if you call them up and tell them how much you love it, I will love you forever. If you are from out of the area, do like we do on the road and stream the station on your computer (listen live). You will see a massive improvement in the sound of your computer and it will thank you and love you unconditionally forever as well.

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

BestOf: Aerosmith

I thought I'd share my list of the all-time best Aerosmith songs ever. This is, of course, personal opinion, but I'd be interested in hearing about songs that I may have missed. You don't need to tell me that a song sucks and shouldn't be on the list. If it's there, it's because I really like it. But let me know what you think you'd add if you were making the list for you.

Dream On
Mama Kin
Same Old Song and Dance
Train Kept a Rollin'
Toys in the Attic
Walk This Way
Big Ten Inch Record
Sweet Emotion
No More No More
You See Me Crying
Back in the Saddle
Last Child
Rats in the Cellar
Nobody's Fault
Get the Lead Out
Home Tonight
Draw the Line
Come Together
Heart's Done Time
Rag Doll
Dude (Looks Like a Lady)
Hangman Jury
I'm Down
Love in an Elevator
Helter Skelter
Baby, Please Don't Go
You Gotta Move
I'm Ready
The Movie

Friday, September 1, 2006

Upcoming: Ben Folds Collection

From the Ben Folds web site:

Ben To Release Rarities Collection supersunnyspeedgraphic, the lp October 24th!
Ben Folds is set to release supersunnyspeedgraphic, the lp, a comprehensive collection of original songs culled from his rare EPs, b-sides, covers and film soundtrack appearances. The album is due in stores October 24th. Boasting remastering and tweaking that was completed at Ben's own studio in Nashville, TN with bassist Jared Reynolds and drummer Lindsay Jamieson, the 12 tracks on supersunnyspeedgraphic, the lp also includes covers of "In Between Days" (The Cure), "Get Your Hands Off Of My Woman" (The Darkness) and Ben's own version of the Dr. Dre hit "Bitches Ain't Shit." The tracklisting as as follows:
1. In Between Days
2. All U Can Eat
3. Songs of Love
4. There's Always Someone Cooler Than You
5. Learn To Live With What You Are
6. Bitches Ain't Shit
7. Adelaide
8. Rent A Cop
9. Get Your Hands Off My Woman
10. Bruised
11. Dog
12. Still

Nine of these songs are from the three EPs that Ben released in the last few years. "Bruised" is from "The Bens" EP (collaboration between Ben Lee, Ben Folds and Ben Kweller). "Bitches Ain't Shit" is from the "Landed" single, can be had on iTunes and was also on a special vinyl version of Songs For Silverman. I can't find info on "Still" - is this a retitling of "Still In Love" (a collaboration between Ben and William Shatner from Ben's Fear of Pop Volume 1)? Not sure.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Valley Christian Alum

My lovely bride passed along a CD she received as a promotional item from Indie 103.1 at the Fair last month. There were several interesting bands included (which I may note at another time), but the one that grabbed my attention was a classmate from Valley Christian, Greg Laswell. You can check out Greg's music at or
Through Toledo

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Upcoming: Jars of Clay - Good Monsters

A new album from Jars of Clay called "Good Monsters" will drop on Sept. 5.

I've loved Jars of Clay since the beginning of time. It's been interesting to follow their maturity into a kind of mellow adult contemporary band. I like it, for I am a contemporary adult after all, but I missed them plugging in and speeding things up a bit. So I was pleased to here that some of the new songs on their web site sound a little more on the energetic side.

So, if you haven't been into Jars of Clay yet or if your interest waned while they got mellow, this is a great time to go to their web site and check the new songs out. I really dig 'em.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Follow Up: Genesis Reunion Rumors

Well, I'm very late on this news, but at least that shortens the time from "the next twelve months" down to less than four. It is kind of strange, though, that there are still "members of Genesis" even though the band has broken up (far as I know). From the official site:

Statement from the members of Genesis

1st December 2005

In the light of current speculation about their activities, the members of the Genesis have issued the following statement through Tony Smith Personal Management:

"There are no decisions by Genesis to perform anywhere whatsoever at this time. This situation will not alter in the next twelve months."

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Even Newer Imperial Drag Songs

You guys may have heard about Imperial Drag releasing nearly twenty songs as Weed files... and then doing it again with nearly twenty more. Well Not Lame records has exclusively released five more Imperial Drag songs. I'm not sure how new this is, but Dan just pointed it out to me today and it was new to me. So I thought I'd share. By the way, if you don't already have the first 36 Imperial Drag songs, be careful getting them from the Not Lame links... they have the same song linked for two different titles: "The Man In The Moon" where it should be "Down With The Man". So you can also find the originals (without that error) here.

Weed files are WMA music files that can be played three times before you need to buy the song. After you do that, you can share the song and have the potential to earn a little money when other people buy your copies of the song. Enjoy.

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

My Ears Are Still Ringing!

Roger Joseph Manning, Jr. by Joe Popp (c)2006Myself, three other editors here (Gordon, Joe, Dan) and Joe's wife headed out to the International Pop Overthrow show at Spaceland Tuesday night. In short... It was fantastic.

The act we were there to see, of course, was Roger Joseph Manning Jr. (Jellyfish, Imperial Drag, Moog Cookbook, TV Eyes). But we got there early to ease our feet with scant coveted bar stools and got to see five acts ahead of Mr. Manning.

First up was a band that David Bash (IPO organizer) found on myspace, the Kite Flying Society from San Diego. They were really good - kind of a softer power pop with an emphasis on driving acoustic guitar, vocal harmonies and a violin. Their self-described influences include The Kinks, The Shins, Harry Nillson's "The Point", Brian Wilson and Fruit Bats. Had I more cash on me I would've bought the CD (too bad it was $15 instead of $10). I'll have to pick it up online sometime.

Next up was the completely out-of-place folk rock of Carolyn Edwards. I'm not going to diss her or her talent, but I thought she would've been more suited for playing a park in San Francisco. Look, I'm married with kids. On the rare occasion that I get out to a rock show, I don't want to sit around listening to some woman's melancholy bitching and whining. I'm sure she has an audience somewhere, but how bad is it when the performer has to ask her friends in the audience to leave the bar and come stand in the vast empty space at the front of the stage. And she's got a big giant broken image on her web site!

Next up was the promising, but seemingly inexperienced Let's Go Sailing. I was surprised to find that the News section of their web site goes back to Jan. 2004 referencing performances. These guys are another myspace find and we really thought this was one of their first performances in public. They had no stage presence at all... unless you count the corny jokes by leader Shana Levy about being turned up to 11, no wait - 12. The left-handed guitarist was in his own little world, the school librarian keyboard player was shaking (from nerves?) when she was left standing front and center with a tambourine so that Shana could play the keys, and a little asian girl was able to keep the rhythm on her bass but she moved around like a more subdued version of the Elaine dance from Seinfeld. And every single one of them spent almost the entire show looking down at their instruments while they were playing.

This was weird to see visually, because what I heard was actually good songcraft. I liked the songs and I liked Shana's voice. I hate to gripe more at the moment when I'm focusing on the positive, but the songs really would've benefitted from layering on some vocal harmonies (Shana was filling some in herself at the end of her lines). But none of the other bandmates had mics. Anyway, I liked the songs... kind of a mellower pop sound. I just think Ms. Levy might want to surround herself with more mature and dynamic musicians.

Then, all of a sudden, Kristian Hoffman came out and kicked all our asses. The songwriting genius behind the Mumps had a tight four piece outfit... and his band was pretty good, too. He's been rocking the joint since I was a kid and I hope he keeps going. His songs were expertly crafted power pop gems - the very definition of the genre. His set was a real highlight and a welcome blast of energy.

Next was another welcome surprise in Checkpoint Charley. With non-stop energy, the heaviest twin guitar attack I've heard in a non-metal show, and fantasticly catchy songs these guys had me bouncing my head and tapping my feet from start to finish. Think the Tories meets Jellyfish. Click on the link above and listen to at least the first three songs (which should be Cardiac Arrest, Free and Bellyfish). Thank me later. After the whole show was over, we went to the merchandise table to buy their CD, but the table was already empty. But as we were doing the slow cattle-herd-shuffle to the exit, I found myself right next to lead singer-guitarist Kevin Packard trying to sneak out with a box of CDs under his arm. After adulations and handshakes, we slapped him $20 for two CDs and Dan and I were happy campers. The CD's been stuck in my player all day.

But before that happened, I stopped to ask the DJ a question. I can't remember her name, but David Bash introduced her as the DJ for the night and this gal was spinning real geniuine 1970s vinyl records of some fantastic old school power pop. After I heard a fantastic cover of The Beatles' "It Won't Be Long" right before Roger J. Manning's set, I had to stop in and ask her who the band was. It was The Quick - one album in 1977 with a line-up that included Danny Wilde (Rembrandts) and Steve Hufsteader (Dickies). I wish I could get a copy of her playlist for the whole evening.

Ok, but before that, Roger Joseph Manning, Jr. came out and killed us all. When invited to play the IPO, Roger didn't have a band, so he quickly reunited with Imperial Drag's Erik Skodis on drums and picked up a killer bassist (Linus of Hollywood) and a virtual stranger on guitar (Aaron Kaplan who was introduced to Roger through Linus). Anyway, they opened with Queen's "Fat Bottom Girls" and rocked ridiculously hard throughout. Roger sprinkled five more covers in amongst selections from his forthcoming solo album ("The Land of Pure Imagination" due Sept. 12) including Fleetwood Mac's "Go Your Own Way", Edgar Winter Group's "Free Ride", Thomas Dolby's "Europa and the Pirate Twins", The Quick's "Pretty Please Me", and an insanely killer cover of Elton John's "Funeral For a Friend / Love Lies Bleeding". And, don't forget his new songs are fantastic. Get Roger's new album, it'll be just what you're hoping for from this incredible talent.

I wish I could go to all the IPO shows (sorry, Maple Mars, we'll miss you on Thurs. at the Knitting Factory in Hollywood)! Thanks David Bash for another awesome (and cheap) show!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Bleu update

RedheadSo I saw that Chili's commercial for building your own burger and heard this great song in the background. I couldn't place it right away and I was right in front of my computer, so I IM'd Joe and he did a quick Google (why didn't I think of that; duh) and found out it was "Get Up" by Bleu. If you haven't heard Bleu, you need to do that right away. I apologize for sending you to myspace, but it's probably the quickest way to get you to hear some of his tunes. Anyway, he's playing in Hollywood at The Hotel Cafe on Thurs. Aug. 17. Let me know if you want to go. Also, he's been working on another project called L.E.O. I heard some tunes (again... myspace (different account)) and it's really good. Here's the description from myspace:

L.E.O. is a power-pop-collective..a recording project that began as a tribute to the idiosyncratic genius of Jeff Lynne and the Electric Light Orchestra. It has become a Traveling Wilburys-esque creative outlet for a gang of like-minded musician/ was originally conceived by Bleu and includes the diverse talents of Andy Sturmer (Jellyfish), Mike Viola (The Candy Butchers), Jason Scheff (Chicago), Steve Gorman (The Black Crowes), Matt Mahaffey (Self), John Fields (big-time pop-producer), Tony Goddess (pApAs fritAs), Hanson, Eric Barao (The Cautions), Scott Simons (The Argument), and Paula Kelley, among others..

Quite a few names in there I dig! Check it out. Now.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Free Download of New Slightly-Controversial “Weird Al” Song

My favorite parodist, "Weird Al" Yankovic is back... almost. His new album, due this month, has been delayed. It may have something to do with a bit of controversy over his parody of James Blunt's "You're Beautiful". Seems that, while Blunt is ok with the parody, his record label, Atlantic, isn't. And rather than get on the bad side of a whole label, Al's label would rather release the album sans Bluntness. So... Al's giving it away for free on his web site. It's funny.

For more on the controversy, check out this NPR article. I hope we see the album soon.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Jelly Jam

The Jelly JamThe Jelly Jam. For those of you not familiar The Jelly Jam is a project that drew together nearly the complete line up of Platypus. Tabor (King's X), Myung (Dream Theater), and Morgenstein (The Dixie Dregs) returned sans the keyboards of Derek Sherinian. The result is fantastic. As a long time King's X fan, I have enjoyed Tabor's solo and side project work. The Jelly Jam is the self titled first release for this line up. Though not nearly new (released in 2002), I have just managed to get a copy a few months ago. What a mistake it was to not get this sooner. The first few times through the album was familiar. It had a distinct King's X feel that I could not decide if I appreciated or not. The same harmonic flair can be found throughout the album, especially on one of my favorite tracks "Under the Tree". The more I listened the more I grew to just love this album. The crown jewel is of course the self titled song on the self titled album, The Jelly Jam. This instrumental romp showcases the musicianship of the collected masters and justifies the existence of such a prog rock supergroup (why can't they have a show on VH1). The Jelly Jam is a well crafted album that fans of Dream Theater and King's X will greatly love.

Sunday, June 11, 2006



Poor neglected web site. It's not that I stopped listening to music, it's just that I was getting back into a lot of old favorites that you guys already know about. As you might know, I like to organize my music with MediaMonkey and I like to rate my songs. It makes it so that I can make smart playlists based on what I like (or don't like). I also use the ratings as a starting point to make "Ultimate " playlists (my own custom Greatest Hits collections). So in the past 5-months, I've gone through some of my much beloved classic bands and listened to everything and rated all the tracks. This includes Genesis, Jethro Tull, Led Zeppelin, Beastie Boys, PFR, Jars of Clay, Material Issue, Van Halen and Rush. So, you know... that took a while.

But I have been checking out some new stuff here and there and my new favorite band of the moment is Wolfmother. Three guys from Australia that Rich described over the phone to me as "the second coming of Led Zeppelin". That didn't get me excited, though, because that's what people said about Kingdom Come and, well... bleccchh. But then I made the connection... Kingdom Come was a project by Lenny Wolf and the band I'm hearing about now is Wolfmother. And, you know... you can make any sort of connection you want there. I really don't have a good joke to go here, so I think I'll just get to the point. Wolfmother rocks. AMG doesn't like the album as much as I do and I can understand their problems with the album, but I'm having a good time every time I put the album on and that's what counts, right?

Saturday, May 6, 2006

King’s X - Ogre Tones

King's X - Ogre TonesThough this is much later than promised, I am finally sitting down to offer my humble thoughts on the latest offering by King's X. Actually I am stalling, trying not to start a term paper. Anyway, Ogre Tones is somewhat of a back to the basics, a return to their roots for King's X, not that much of a case can be made to say that the Texas trio strayed far from their roots. Ogre Tones finds Ty, Jerry, and Doug still powering out great progressive metal. My first time through I was not overly impressed. Other than the campiness of Bebop, the balance of this offering is familiar fare. As I continued to listen though, what was at first unimpressively uninventive, began to strike me as constitently King's X, the very King's X that drew me in some many years ago when Dan lent me Gretchen. Though I cannot say that they did much that was unique within the King's X catalogue, I have come to love this album for being very much a King's X kick butt, hard driving, musically superior album. They know their craft. They have not "grown" into something they are not. What came out of the silent planet some 16 years ago still gets the job done. A great discs from a great band.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Hal Sparks

I was just on the King's X site and discovered that Doug ran into Hal Sparks at promoting his band. Yes, Hal Sparks has a band. The sample track at at first is unimpressive. Not all that bad, just not too interesting. It is a bit catchy though and the occassional harmony works. But really you know the only reason you are going to follow the link is because dude its Hal Sparks.

Oh yeah, King's X has a new album called Ogre Tones. I have it ordered from Amazon and will report back once it arrives.
Ogre Tones

Monday, February 6, 2006

Get on Board The Blue Van

What is it about Scandanavians that kick butt? I discovered another band from that region of the world that you absoluetly need to purchase. The Blue Van is this Sweedish quartet that, unlike countrymen like The Hives, reach into the depths of 60's garage rock and don't filter it through the punk era. These guys play like a hidden track on the famous "Nuggets" compilation, full of raucous yet melodic energy that seems directly channeled from mid-60s Who, The Yardbirds, and the Kinks. The stuff is pure danceable rock 'n' roll, with a instrumental twist that seems completely foreign these days: They rock the Hammond. That's right. The dust off the ol' Hammond organ and they unleash its full power all over these songs. Plus, their drummer does the best Keith Moon impersonation I've heard in years. You all know how much I like Mooney on the kit, so that's no lighthearted praise. The guy is seriously good. The vocals are best described as sultry in the classic '60's sense, adding the occasional dashes of Eric Burdon, Mick Jagger, and the softer side of Robert Plant. If these guys make it big, this guy will have American girls throwing all kinds of undergarments at him, I'm telling you. But don't let that discourage you from buying the album. Get it today!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Pour Some Sugar(s) On Me

So which do you guys like better: the original album cut of Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar On Me" or the remix (which I believe was used in the video) that has since become the "official" version (this version is the one appearing on the latest greatest hits compilations)?

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Led Zeppelin I

Led Zeppelin 1stYou don't have to be a genius to know that FM radio sucks. When we all last talked about it (I think on Rich's blog), there was the mention of hearing the same 4 Led Zeppelin songs ad nauseum. And this is the beauty of not listening to the radio... I haven't heard any Zeppelin in a long time. So after years of searching for the next Jellyfish (something I still do) and last summer's progressive metal marathons (thanks to Porcupine Tree and a new Dream Theater album) I figured I'd take some time to revisit the first band to make me think twice about my allegiance to the Top 40 of the Mighty Six-Ninety and KIIS-FM 102.7 (in L.A.).

Let's start with the first album. When I think about that one, it doesn't pop into my head as a great album. It's definitely one of the least listened to Zep albums for me. But when I just revisited it the other day (and rated each track in Media Monkey), I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed it. Here's the breakdown (this uses a five point scale where half-points are allowed and zero is allowed for the ultimate in suck). I'd be curious to see how you guys would rate each track in the comments section.

# Title Rating
1Good Times Bad Times5
2Babe I'm Gonna Leave You4.5
3You Shook Me3.5
4Dazed And Confused5
5Your Time Is Gonna Come4.5
6Black Mountain Side5
7Communication Breakdown5
8I Can't Quit You Baby4
9How Many More Times4.5

Friday, January 13, 2006

Puffy Ami Yumi covers Jellyfish

Music From the SeriesSo one of my wife's good friends from high school is a director on the Cartoon Network show Hi Hi Puffy Ami Yumi which is based on a real life J-pop girl group called Puffy Ami Yumi. The last time I had a chance to visit with my wife's friend, I grilled her for information on Andy Sturmer who produces the band's music and, I correctly assumed, was involved to a certain extent with the music on the show. But, at the time she had only been with the show a short while and didn't really know too much about Sturmer. Anyway, it's been a while since I've seen her which you will notice by the fact that this news is already more than a year old, but it's new to me. Thanks for the info, Shelley! Not! :-)

Anyway, go to the band's web site and click on "Video" to see the video of their cover of Jellyfish's "Joining A Fanclub". Don't let the opening keep you from getting to the "rock out" part near the end. It rocks well. Not as well as Jellyfish, of course, but quite well.

The song can be had on the soundtrack CD for the show.