De La Soul - “I Can Do Anything (Delacratic)” (3 Feet High and Rising, 1989)
Ugh. Does this have to count?! I grabbed this album a couple of months ago when De La Soul offered up its Warner Bros back catalog for 24 hours. I remember liking this album back in the day way more than I do now. Memory is a funny thing.
Queensrÿche - "Neue Regel" (Live at L’Amour East, Queens, New York City, 2/13/1987)
Very rough (and often off-key) live vocal performance of a track from one of my favorite Queensrÿche albums.
Jimi Hendrix Experience - "Hey Joe" (Are You Experienced?, 1967)
I much prefer it when Hendrix actually focuses on the song rather than using it as a vehicle to indulge in his guitar wankery. And I like this cover tune more than most of his original material. I know, sacrilege.
Metallica - "Of Wolf and Man" (Metallica, 1991)
I like the main riff and the galloping rhythm of this “Black Album” tune.
Led Zeppelin - "Down by the Seaside" (Physical Graffiti, 1975)
I don’t usually listen to this one all the way through for some reason, but today I’m glad I did. I like the “so far away, so far away” transition the song makes in the middle. Now I’m wishing I were down by the seaside instead of stuck here indoors in a corporate cubicle. A nice finish to a rather odd Five.
I love the original (and I love Placebo’s take on it almost as much), and while I can’t say I’m crazy about Jenn Wasner’s voice (or her neck movements, or the faces she pulls as she sings, or the fact that their version really doesn’t go anywhere interesting), I do dig her distorted bass in the middle.
Ginger Wildheart - "The Beat Goes On" (Albion, 2014)
We start off today’s Five with a slab of pure power-pop from Ginger’s latest PledgeMusic-backed album. Of course, with Ginger, he just can’t resist the urge to change the key or time signature a couple of times or to insert a little weirdness into the mix. This track is light on the weirdness, but there are other tracks on the album that seem to go in several different directions all at once. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Rage Against the Machine - "Renegades of Funk" (Renegades, 2000)
I can usually only take RATM in small doses. While others might consider this Afrika Bambaataa cover track Rage Lite, I could listen to more of their stuff if everything was like this.
Keaggy, King, Denté - "Angel Treads" (Invention, 1997) Invention is a Dove award-winning, mostly-instrumental collaboration between CCM guitar wizard Phil Keaggy and fellow CCM artists Wes King and Scott Denté of the husband-and-wife duo Out of the Grey. Keaggy is a criminally underrated and overlooked guitarist (if you don’t believe that, just spend a little time on YouTube watching live performance videos of Keaggy playing along with himself by means of a looper) who has been on the music scene since the mid-60s. Apparently urban legends abound of Hendrix crediting Keaggy as the best guitarist in the world. Lest you think this is simply a vehicle to showcase Keaggy’s six string prowess, King and Denté are both amazing guitarists in their own right, and each of them brings a different approach to the instrument. It was interesting to me at the time to hear how King and Denté responded to the opportunity to show off and shine on the guitar in a way that was different from what I had heard previously as part of their “day jobs.”
Faith No More - "The Morning After" (The Real Thing, 1989)
I love this song—I think Billy Gould’s thumping, driving bass is what does it for me—and I love this album. I had a hard time getting into FNM’s subsequent releases, but The Real Thing was the perfect mix of weirdness, heaviness, and pop sensibilities, and it was way more approachable and accessible than some of their other work. I wonder if things might have gone better for them had “Epic” not completely blown up the MTV airwaves.
Tony Bennett - "Indian Summer" (Perfectly Frank, 2006)
Tony sings Frank. This was a purchase for my wife, whose musical tastes run completely different from mine. She’s not a huge fan of vocal standards like this, but she often likes to chill out to laid-back older tunes like this one. And it just might surprise you to learn that I’m not completely put off by this.
Les Claypool’s Frog Brigade - "Pigs on the Wing, Pt. 1" (Live Frogs: Set 2, 2001)
Opening track of Les Claypool’s excellent live cover of Pink Floyd’s Animals. Short and sweet, just like my comments today.
Smashing Pumpkins - "Bury Me" (Gish, 1991)
Yes, Michael, Billy Corgan can be totally insufferable at times. Good thing this isn’t one of them. Not going to skip forward on this one.
Ace Frehley - "Fractured Mirror" (Ace Frehley, 1978)
After all these years, Ace’s solo album is still one of my favorite KISS albums. Read an interesting pieces recently that compared his album to other KISS releases and argued that he was more the soul of KISS that he gets credit for. It would have been interesting to see where KISS could have gone had Ace managed not to completely destroy himself with drink and drugs.
Kindled Imagination - “Cowboy & Indian Scene” (Cracks in the Sidewalk, 1980)
Whaddya know? I always thought this was an SST compilation, but it turns out it was actually the first release on D. Boone’s and Mike Watt’s New Alliance Records label. It looks like my copy comes from a 1988 CD re-release (at least that’s what the MP3 says). Typical of similar SST EP releases, this is a 6-track affair of nonsense “songs,” the longest of which clocks in at a mere 2:06 and the best (and honestly the only real song in the bunch) being a track from some version of Black Flag.
Toad the Wet Sprocket - "P.S. (New Version)" (P.S. (A Toad Retrospective), 1999)
I’m sorry, it’s Toad, so there’s no way I can be objective other than to say it’s not one of their best songs, but it’s definitely not bad by a long shot.
Megadeth - "How the Story Ends" (Endgame, 2009)
I guess I had higher hopes for this—as well as the reunited team of Mustaine and Ellefson on TH1RT3EN—but Megadeth’s modern-day output has left me a bit cold. Not that there’s necessarily anything wrong with it. The songs are good, with good riffs and even some moments of groove-iness, they are executed well, and Dave’s vocals sound great (methinks there is some studio trickery going on however), but for the most part, I can take it or leave it. It just doesn’t have that special something that early Megadeth had, especially albums like Rust in Peace. “How the Story Ends” is one of the better tunes from this album, and I think it would have been a better album closer than “The Right to Go Insane” (I mean, c’mon, how can you not end an album called Endgame with “How the Story Ends?!”) but I can’t help feeling a little “meh” over the whole affair.
The Beatles - “Mr. Moonlight” (Beatles for Sale, 1964)
Although a bit “crooner-ish” for my tastes, it’s the Beatles. What else can I say?
Ty Tabor - "Freakin’" (Trip Magnet - The EP, 2010)
Weird little 2-minute closing track of an experimental EP from one of my all-time favorite guitarists. This entire album is a bit of a left turn from what you would expect from Ty, but I’m somewhat of a completist when it comes to King’s X.
Scorpions - "The Zoo" (Animal Magnetism, 1980)
Classic plodding riff and excellent wah-wah-drenched lead from the Scorpions. This album gets a big of a black eye in the band’s catalog, but I love it.
Lecrae (feat. Andy Mineo and Papa San) - "The Fever (feat. Andy Mineo and Papa San)" (Church Clothes, Vol. 2, 2013)
Um, yeah. So this is in my library because I bought it for my teenaged son who is infatuated with Christian rap. Can’t say I’ve ever heard this before, or that I like it much, or that I will ever listen to it again on purpose. I’ve tried to turn him onto “real” rap/hip-hop like the Beastie Boys, but he just won’t have it.
At the Drive-In - "Proxima Centauri" (Vaya, 1999) Vaya is my second favorite ATDI release, and this song is one seven reasons why. It has the polish of their follow-up Relationship of Command combined with all the raw punk energy of their earlier releases. But heaven help me if I can make any sense out of any of Cedric Bixlar-Zavala’s lyrics:
I can’t believe
The feeble recipe
Civilization tastes so good
Nero has conquered the stars
No one ever saw the spacesuit togas
Wreaths around the head like Saturn’s rings
The Beatles - “Money (That’s What I Want)” (With the Beatles, 1963)
A Barry Gordy song covered by many artists, including the Beatles. Apparently this version was a big deal back in the day while today it seems fairly tame.
Devo - "Fresh" (Something for Everybody [Deluxe Edition], 2010)
Lead-off track of the first studio album in two decades (with a funny tongue-in-cheek video to boot), “Fresh” gave Devo super-fans—as well as casual fans—something to get excited about. While it didn’t garner the same attention as “Whip It,” it contains many of the same elements that made its predecessor a mega-hit back in the day. Funny how that works.
These are nights I’ll never remember with friends I’ll never forget
Genius. This is from a 6-track recording of a live acoustic session (betcha figured that out already, huh?!) the band sold as a limited edition CD during a 2008 acoustic tour with Ginger Wildheart and later released on iTunes.
Tsar - "Punctual Alcoholic" (The Dark Stuff - EP, 2012)
Tsar is another band whose lyrics can sometimes lean toward the obtuse, although this little nugget appears straightforward enough:
I wanna waste my time and waste my money
And do stupid things that get me in trouble
Slammed at work today, so this will be a short on commentary…
Joe Satriani - "Secret Prayer" (Crystal Planet, 1998)
I started losing interest in Joe somewhere around this time. Not sure why now that I listen back to this. The man has such great phrasing and taste in his selection of notes.
Queensrÿche - "Spreading the Disease" (Operation: Mindcrime, 1988)
OK, joke’s over. Can I have this version of Queensrÿche back now, please?!
Ginger Wildheart - “Unlucky in Love” (Potatoes and You, 2011)
Live acoustic cover of a song that came out of Ginger’s Clam Abuse project with Alex Cane of Life, Sex & Death. More from Ginger’s Bandcamp store where you can purchase the “album”:
Recorded at TJ’s in Newport, Wales during an acoustic tour in 2005, this album was released as a tour only CD, and was sold on subsequent acoustic tours, but never in shops or iTunes. Now deleted, we want to make the recording available to everyone.
Tommy Stinson - "Something’s Wrong" (Village Gorilla Head, 2004)
Tommy runs hot and cold with me. I think I remember not liking this whole album much despite quite a few good songs and a couple of excellent ones.
From the Remain in Hope PledgeMusic campaign site:
During our Pledge campaign, superfan Lee pledged for us to do a cover of one of his (and our) favourite songs, ‘Heroes’, by David Bowie (thanks Lee). We’ve souped it up a bit and overlayed it with a video retrospective of the year with our pals at AshTV. Here it is.
Trivium - "Like Callisto to a Star in Heaven" (Shogun, 2008)
Hang on, boys and girls, we’re off to a thrashy, growly start. This might get interesting. For some reason Shogun is the only Trivium album I’ve been able to really get into, and I love nearly every song on it. “Like Callisto” has an almost epic feel, and despite the Cookie Monster vocals, it has a lot going for it—harmony vocals, harmony leads, and yes, even a groove.
Hüsker Dü - "I’m Not Interested" (Live at Mabuhay Gardens, San Francisco, 1981)
Are you awake yet?! Maybe a small shot of noisy live Hüsker Dü will help help.
Apocalyptica - "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)" (Apocalyptica Plays Metallica by Four Cellos, 1996)
I think I like the mood iTunes is in this morning. One of my favorite Metallica songs performed on cello. I can’t help but think Cliff Burton would have approved.
The Wildhearts - "Nita Nitro" (P.H.U.Q., 1995)
I only recently discovered P.H.U.Q. despite its containing one of my favorite Wildhearts songs, “Caprice.” “Nita Nitro” is another winner on this disc, and I just love how Ginger is able to combine crunchy guitars and catchy (almost poppy) melody hooks with utterly bizarre lyrics. That sweet Nita Nitro is locos tambien.
Gin Blossoms - "As Long As It Matters" (Congratulations I’m Sorry, 1996)
I hate to say a Gin Blossoms song is a let down, but after the previous tunes in this Five, this one is a bit of a downer. Any other day I would have welcomed this one.
Trivium - "Insurrection" (Shogun, 2008)
Well that’s one heck of a way to start a Five! If I wasn’t awake before, I surely am now.
Lenny Kravitz - "Deuce" (Kiss My Ass: Classic KISS Regrooved, 2009)
Lenny puts the groove in regrooved on his rendition of one of my favorite KISS tunes.
The Gap Band - "You Dropped a Bomb on Me" (Gap Band IV, 1982)
From one groove to another. This is shaping up to be an even stranger Five than last week.
Whitesnake - "Spit It Out" (Slide It In (UK Release), 1984)
Now iTunes is reading my mind. Just this morning I was going over the opening bars of the solo of “Here I Go Again” (the ‘87 hair metal version) in my head as I was listening to podcasts on my commute into the office (don’t ask, I’m weird like that). Anyway, I was thinking just how great Vandenberg’s simple, melodic solo was and how I wish I could come up with something like that. This, however, is just simple, generic Whitesnake—nothing too bad, but nothing too special—from what I think is a very uneven album. Slide It In definitely has its upside with some very strong material, but the downs are just too low and mediocre for me to care much about.
R.E.M. - "Pale Blue Eyes" (Dead Letter Office, 1987)
Maybe I just haven’t given this Velvet Underground cover much of a chance, but it just doesn’t do anything for me.
Spock’s Beard - "Beware of Darkness" (Beware of Darkness, 1996)
This title track of the Beard’s second album popped up on a Five just over a year ago. My opinion hasn’t changed much since then. While not my favorite track on the album—that honor would be a toss-up between “The Doorway” and “Walking on the Wind”—I love just about anything from the ambassadors of the early 90s prog revival.
Frente! - "Bizarre Love Triangle" (Marvin the Album, 1994)
I much prefer this Frente! cover version to the original, and at this point I’ve heard it so many times that I tend to forget that it’s not their song. And anyway, Angie Hart is way cuter than any of the New Order guys.
America - "A Horse With No Name" (History: America’s Greatest Hits, 1975)
As much as I really liked this song at one point, it would be fine with me if I never heard it again.
Teenage Fanclub - "What You Do To Me" (Bandwagonesque, 1991)
I was a relative latecomer to Teenage Fanclub, but I quite enjoy their brand of simple, fuzzy alterno-power-pop on Bandwagonesque.
PFR - "Wait for the Sun" (The Late Great PFR, 1998)
CCM-ers PFR have popped up here several times in my Fives lately for some reason. This one is a slow starter with a bit of a half-time feel, but it kicks into gear at about the 2:00 mark with full-on 4/4 and eventually segues into a version of “Let The Sunshine In” complete with Hammond(-ish) organs and and a horn section before the ride is over. Nice.