Alice In Chains - "Brush Away" (Alice In Chains, 1995)
We start this Five the same way we ended last week’s—with a spooky sounding AIC tune. On second thought, is there any other kind of AIC tune?!
Collective Soul - "Skin" (Blender, 2000)
Say what you will about Ed Roland and Collective Soul, but I used to have a huge crush on this band and tried to get my hands on everything they put out. But things started falling apart, Ross Childress left, the band started running into label issues, and I lost interest. As an aside, I think some of Ed’s solo projects held more interest for me than latter-day Collective Soul, especially his Sweet Tea Project. Anyway, at this point in the game, Collective Soul was experimenting with electronic textures and drum machines, but I still like this.
Victor - "The Big Dance" (Victor, 1996)
There’s no way you could convince me that this is Alex Lifeson if I didn’t already know it. Victor is all over the sonic map, some of it really good, some of it not so much. This tune finds Alex and I Mother Earth’s vocalist Edwin channeling their inner Nine Inch Nails. Good for an occasional listen, but not something I would go to often.
Judas Priest - "(Take These) Chains" (Screaming for Vengeance, 1982)
One of my all-time favorite Priest songs!
Scorpions - "Holiday" (Lovedrive, 1979)
Ditto for this Scorpions tune, and a fine way to end this Five. Have a great weekend, Fivers!
Here’s another PledgeMusic campaign for you to contribute to. This time it’s Devin Townsend with a project he is calling Casualties of Cool. He describes it as
…this weird, dark, not evil but verging on it, bluesy, Johnny Cash-y, strange, quiet folk record. But I love it, it’s the one record that I’ve done over the past 10 or 15 years where I can truly say, ‘This is where I am right now.’
Apparently Devin met his goal in mere hours, and with 3033 pledges at the time of this writing, he sits at 275% of the goal. Excess funds will go toward future projects like the upcoming massive Ziltoid sequel Z2. Additionally, a percentage of pledges will help charities that work with animals that are homeless or in shelters.
Devin will be singing on about half of the material, with the remainder featuring Vancouver artist Ché Aimee Dorval, who sang previously on Devin’s album Ki. You can check out a sample of the new album (as well as Dorval’s singing) at the Casualites of Cool project page—the bluesy, ethereal “Forgive Me.”
Here’s what Devin has to say about the project:
Casualties Of Cool has been something I’ve been working on for years, a real passion project. Not since Ocean Machine (my first record) have I had the opportunity to do music for the sheer sake of the love of it…
It’s not a metal album, nor is it meant to be a statement about my interest in metal. It’s a side project from my work with DTP, Ziltoid and my touring band. I love that music, and always will…this is something different. This is something that I would write late at night while working on other projects as sort of a ’release’…a way to make music for myself, without pressure from ANYONE to do things a certain way. It’s an independent release, and it’s dark, quiet, and special…
Casualty is something that I’ve done without any pressure, without anybody telling me what to do, without showing it to anyone, it’s just what evolved when I wasn’t thinking about it…
What we are trying to prove with this pledge campaign, beyond raising funds, is to make a statement to the industry at large that we have a killer fanbase, an army of folks that prove the worth of this type of thinking that will tell the industry it is a force to consider. I know we can do it.
Go pledge to get access to the album and any of the extras or if you simply like Devin and want to help him achieve his artistic vision and goals.
The Beatles - “She’s Leaving Home” (Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, 1967)
I have a cover of this tune that Billy Bragg did for something called Sgt. Pepper Knew My Father where his accent is much thicker than Paul’s ever was.
Ozzy Osbourne - "Little Dolls" (Diary of a Madman, 1981)
That may be a “guide” solo on the track (per the AllMusic guide), but Randy’s work on this album is stellar. Funny story—just last night I was driving with my 14-year-old son with the radio on one of the local classic rock stations, something I almost never do (because for the most part, those stations suck balls). “Over the Mountain” came on, and Randy’s solo was enough to pull his face out of his new-to-him iPhone 4 long enough for him to exclaim, “Whoa!” And this is a kid who is mostly into hip-hop and rap.
Dierks Bentley - "Draw Me A Map" (Up on the Ridge, 2010)
I know next-to-nothing about Dierks Bentley, but I love this song. As I mentioned before, I’m not much of a “new country” fan, but this has enough of the elements I really like in country music to make the cut and remain in my library.
Alice In Chains - "Dirt" (Dirt, 1992)
An archetypical spooky-sounding AiC song with a burning Cantrell solo. Not sure what else to say.
The Future of Music Coalition has posted an interesting article on its blog detailing the legal entanglements De La Soul may have put themselves in by offering up free downloads of their back catalog for 24 hours last week. I’ve sampled (see what I did there?!) some of the meat of the issue, but to get the whole gist, you really need to read the entire post over at their website.
This giveaway comes with a complicated backstory, one marked by deep frustration with the state of sample clearances…
Contrary to many headlines, De La Soul didn’t actually give away their entire catalog, rather the portion controlled by their former label Warner Brothers Records—albums currently unavailable on any digital service… It seems the WB material is stuck in a sort of major-label license-negotiating purgatory due to De La Soul’s jazzy sound collages…
…It’s unlikely that De La Soul were within their legal rights in making their own catalog available for download. Their former label Warner Bros likely own the master recordings of the De La cuts; various parties control the sound recording and composition copyrights for samples running the gamut from from Steely Dan to Billy Joel to Kraftwerk. (And contrary to what many internet users believe, you don’t have to be making money to be committing copyright infringement and ultimately liable for statutory damages). On the other hand, it’s possible that by framing the giveaway as a “gift to their fans,” De La Soul have created a situation where any potential litigant would face a PR nightmare if they filed suit.
(Bizarrely, the MP3s distributed by De La Soul seem to be sourced from illegal Russian sites; did no one have a CD copy available? Or is this perhaps a subtle dig at Warner Bros and/or sample rightsholders, implying that their failure to clear samples over the last decade drove consumers to obtain the music unlawfully?)
When music sits in record company vaults or is relegated to the grey market of free downloads, no one makes any money (except perhaps online ad services and file sharing sites): not the artist, not the performers or composers of the original samples. Artists, record companies, and publishers all have an incentive to make it easier to solve these problems. As Posdnous has said in an interview for Kembrew McLeod and Peter DiCola’s Creative License: The Law & Culture of Digital Sampling, “We understand that if you sample someone, you should pay for it. If someone wants to get paid for it, I understand. They made it.” It’s not as if any party is claiming the samples are fair use…
So the question becomes: are there policy provisions that could allow for some kind of sensible middle ground, making it easier and more economically feasible for diverse kinds of musicians to license samples, driving more content out of the grey market of “mixtapes” and toward legal licensed uses that generate revenue for musicians and songwriters? Might there be ways to do this that still allow artists to say no to uses they deem offensive?
Yesterday Michael Butler posted the latest Rock and Roll Geek Show episode, an epic two-hour interview with Georgia Satellites frontman Dan Baird and Warner E. Hodges, former guitarist of Jason & the Scorchers. The interview touches on songwriting, influences, touring, and living in Nashville, but the main focus is a track-by-track discussion of the latest Dan Baird and Homemade Sin album Circus Life. The three examine the songs’ meanings and origins, who plays what, technique, and gear choices, all while Michael literally gushes—in typical Rock and Roll Geek fashion—about his love for the album. In all honesty, it’s a great stripped down, straight-ahead, country-influenced rock ‘n’ roll album, and the interview is a must-listen for any rock geek that enjoys deep dives into an album and dissecting its songs.
What happens when you shuffle a playlist of songs from my iTunes library containing terms of endearment and love?! Not your set of typical love songs, that’s for sure.
Atomic Opera - "Love Is As Strong As Death" (Gospel Cola, 2000)
No chugging, down-tuned guitars here. And no sappy, puppy-love, sweetheart lyrics, either. Instead you get atmospheric ode to love that transcends life itself, more akin to an orchestral number than the band’s typical rock groove, and complete with cello, recorder, and other instruments not normally heard on a rock album.
The Cars - "Bye Bye Love" (The Cars, 1978)
Always it’s some other guy. More like an unrequited love song, but this is one of my favorites from the Cars’ excellent debut.
Whitesnake - "Hungry for Love" (Slide It In, 1984)
I don’t think it’s love you’re hungry for, David.
Shandi’s Addiction - "Calling Dr. Love" (Kiss My Ass: Classic KISS Regrooved, 1994)
This track is the lovechild of Tool’s Maynard James Keenan, RATM’s Tom Morello and Brad Wilk, and Faith No More’s Billy Gould for the KISS-endorsed, -sponsored, -directed, and -created tribute album Kiss My Ass (think about that for a second—what other band on the face of the planet would be so in love with itself that it would create its own tribute record?!). Definitely not the best track on the album, but given the members in this one-off “band,” it definitely could have been a whole lot weirder than it ended up.
Hayseed Dixie - "Love Gun" (Kiss My Grass: A Hillbilly Tribute to KISS, 2003)
This country/bluegrass unit slows the pace a bit on this KISS concert staple and gives it a yearning vocal delivery that puts a twist on Paul Stanley’s original over-sexed execution.
The Wildhearts - "The Jackson Whites" (Chutzpah, 2009)
I’ve been on a bit of Ginger kick lately with the release of his Albion PledgeMusic project, so this is a welcome way to start off my Five.
Styx - "Mr. Roboto" (Kilroy Was Here, 1999)
And just like that, the mood changes. “Mr. Roboto” is not a bad song (I have always quite liked it, thankyouverymuch), but I agree with Tommy Shaw—it must have been maddening to come up with synth-laden songs about robots when you were coked out of your mind and just wanted to rock.
Miranda Lambert - "Makin’ Plans" (Revolution, 2009)
Genre whiplash! I have very few songs in my library that would be considered country, and most of them are actually of the bluegrass/newgrass persuasion or guys like Willie Nelson or Johnny Cash. So I was a bit surprised when this popped up. Where did I even get this?! Turns out, it’s not even in my local library but is a song that resides in my iCloud storage. I’m not a fan of the country whine and drawl—that only works if you’re Hank Williams. Sr., that is.—but if I’m going to listen to country, this is the kind of song I would pick.
Pink Floyd - "Run Like Hell" (Delicate Sound of Thunder, 1988)
Snap! Whiplash again. I have always liked this live album, but this song just seems to be missing some of the energy of the album version.
Hüsker Dü - "She’s a Woman" (Warehouse: Songs and Stories, 1987)
Short, sweet, and catchy. Seems to be as good a place to end this all-over-the-map Five as any. Have a great weekend, Fivers!
Leaving Araby - “I Hurt. Can I Hurt You?” (Slightly South of Scene, 2006)
If you can get past the monotonous refrain “I’m not quite sure what you’re waiting for,” this is a great track from this indie band’s 5-song debut EP.
U2 - "Love and Peace or Else" (How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, 2004)
Despite my waning interest in U2 by this point, I thought HTDAAB was quite a good album. This however is not one of my favorites.
Tool - “Faaip De Oiad” (Lateralus, 2001)
OK, so this isn’t a real track, but it totally freaked me out the first time I heard it.
King’s X - "Pray" (Live Love in London, 2010)
30 plus years on, and this trio shows it still has the chops in this 2009 show at the Electric Ballroom in London. Need proof? Watch the show here.
Jars of Clay - “Crazy Times” (The White Elephant Sessions, 2000)
A (very polished) demo version of the lead single from Jars of Clay’s second album Much Afraid from a demos and rarities companion piece to their 1999 third album If I Left the Zoo. Over the years, The White Elephant Sessions has actually become one of my favorite “albums” from the band.
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.
Tesla - "We’re No Good Together" (Mechanical Resonance, 1986)
Ah, a good ol’ tender jam to start things off today. I normally skip right over this one, forgetting how good it is in a cheesy, schmaltzy ’80s ballad kind of way. Such a good debut, and to think I picked it up at a record store (remember those?!) along with Anthrax’s Among the Living without ever having previously heard a single note of either album.
The Cult - "Aphrodisiac Jacket" (Electric, 1987)
A good friend of mine and fellow musical misfit—we were the oddball metalheads in our very small Mississippi Delta private school, though I definitely didn’t look or act the part—very nearly burned me out on this album after its release. There was a point in the late ’80s and early ’90s that I couldn’t even listen to it, familiarity breeding contempt and all that. I still alternate between cringing and loving it when a track from this album pops up.
Atomic Opera - "Fade" (Penguin Dust, 1997)
Speaking of oddball, Atomic Opera is one of those bands that elicit strange looks when I bring them up (I mean, Atomic Opera, what the hell kind of name is that?! Then again, what about Foo Fighters or Toad the Wet Sprocket? Not exactly marketing-friendly, either. Just ask Dave. But I digress). Then I mention their pedigree as being part of Sam Taylor’s “Houston” triumvirate along with King’s X and Galactic Cowboys (funny since none of them originally hail from Houston) and their Christian leanings and spiritual themes. Then the litany of non-rock instruments—many of them run through distortion or other effects—the band incorporates into its heavy, chuggy, detuned low-end groove: cello, organ, recorder, basouki, dulcimer, jembe, ocarina, mandoin, and Chapman stick, just to name a few. You get the picture. Anyway, decent tune from a great album. That is if you are into weird, rule-breaking rock bands with a spiritual message.
AC/DC - "Back in Black" (Back in Black, 1980)
What can I say that hasn’t already been said? One of the greatest “comeback” albums of all time. Who would have thought AC/DC could have bounced back from Bon’s death like this?
KISS - "Strutter" (Alive, 1975)
One of my favorite KISS songs ever. “You wanted the best, and you got the best!” If only that were still true.
It’s a great day to be a Sabbath fan, especially if you are also a consumer of iTunes media on shiny iThings with Apple logos. The entire Ozzy-era Black Sabbath catalog was made available for the first time yesterday on iTunes in the U.S. These first eight albums have been Mastered for iTunes, and the songs are available individually, as full album downloads, or, if you are a completist, as part of an iTunes bundle called Complete Studio Albums 1970-1978 for $59.99.
Quoth the Ozzman in typical fashion:
It’s about f*cking time…
Just in case you aren’t intimately familiar with Sabbath’s output, the albums we’re talking about are:
PFR - "Home Again" (Pray for Rain, 1992)
Average song from this very good 90s CCM band.
Anthrax - "Panic" (The Greater of Two Evils, 2004)
I can only think of a few reasons a band covers itself, most of them having to do with money. In this instance, it was a marketing stunt by the band (or their management, or their label, but I digress) to have fans vote on their favorite songs from the Neil Turbin-fronted debut Fistful of Metal and the classic—and more familiar—era with Joey Belladonna and have the band cover them “live” in the studio. I think the true purpose of the effort was to act as the exclamation point on the “We’re Anthrax, we’re back, we’re better than ever, and we’re not looking back” statement made by the excellent We’ve Come for You All. Unfortunately the band imploded soon after, with Frank Bello leaving for awhile to join Helmet, an Among the Living “reunion” of sorts with Belladonna and guitarist Dan Spitz that ultimately led to John Bush’s exit from the band, and the disastrous comedy of errors surrounding the hiring and firing of Dan Nelson and the shelving of what would later become Worship Music, the band’s “comeback” album with Belladonna. Anthrax caught a fair amount of flack for having Bush cover the Belladonna material, but despite that (and the eventual drama), The Greater of Two Evils stands as a testament to how good a “live” band Anthrax is and Bush’s strengths as a singer and frontman, even when covering songs that were originally in a vocal range way above his husky baritone growl. “Panic” is not the best of the bunch—frankly, none of the Turbin-era material was ever that strong—but the album is solid throughout and a must-have for any Anthrax completist.
Black Sabbath - “A Hard Road” (Symptom of the Universe: The Original Black Sabbath 1970-1978, 2002)
Huh. Can’t say I’ve ever heard this one. According to (the mostly reliable) Wikipedia, this is the last song Sabbath recorded with Ozzy until 13. After listening, I find it a bit surprising to learn it was the second single from Never Say Die! but not surprising at all to find that it was Ozzy’s farewell with the band.
Glen Philips - “Simple” (Glen Phillips with Nickel Creek Live at the Red Light Cafe, Atlanta, GA, 2003)
Live performance of a love song—at least as much of a love song you’re going to get from Glen—that would eventually make its way onto Glen’s criminally overlooked solo disc Winter Pays for Summer. Several tunes have popped up from this particular bootleg over the years, so you should check it out over at the Internet Archive if you haven’t done so already.
Caedmon’s Call - “Open Letter” (The Guild Collection, Vol. 1, 1997)
Introspective, if not completely impenetrable, navel-gazing-ish pre-Caedmon’s statement on the music industry from Derek Webb on this fan-club-only release.
The Beatles - “I Will” (The Beatles (White Album), 1968)
I love this McCartney-penned tune from the White Album. Simple, short, and sweet, I would never have guessed it took 67 takes to get it right.
Cheap Trick - “You’re All Talk” (In Color: The Unreleased Steve Albini Sessions, 1998)
Late 90’s as-yet-officially-unreleased version re-recorded by Steve Albini that supposably captures a sound much closer to what the band originally intended before Tom Werman managed to castrate the band, their fiery live sound, and the entire album. According to (the mostly reliable) Wikipedia, Rick Nielsen claimed in 2010 that Albini’s version of In Color had been finished and would be released “in the not so distant future.” Still waiting…
The Police - "King of Pain" (Message in a Box: The Complete Recordings, 1993)
I was totally infatuated with everything about this song back in the day.
R.E.M. - "Stumble" (Dead Letter Office, 1987)
From back when I still liked R.E.M.
Queensrÿche - "9:28 a.m. / I Am I” (Promised Land, 1994)
Funny how the Beatles did so much more with 1:45 than Queensrÿche did with album opener “9:28 a.m.” Since this is basically a throwaway track—and makes no sense to whatever supposed theme or concept the album pretends at—I included the next song “I Am I.” I appreciate this much more than when it originally came out. Back then I thought the guys had lost their minds.
The Beatles - “Got to Get You in My Life (Take 5, 4/7/66)” (The Alternate Revolver, 1966)
It’s interesting to see how these iconic songs came together in the studio. It’s clear that by take 5 the boys still weren’t sure exactly where this song was going even though they had the basic structure down.
Moke - “Fluicide” (Carnival, 2001)
I picked up this Moke album based on the fact that they opened for King’s X and after listening to a couple of soulful, funkier tunes of theirs somewhere. This song turns out not to be soulful or funky, but more atmospheric and, unfortunately, monotonous.
Audioslave - "Gasoline" (Audioslave, 2002)
This one is in my library mostly because of the hype and my unnatural curiosity of what a RATM/Soundgarden mashup would sound like. I like the groove on this, but the song nor the album have aged well for me.
Teenage Fanclub - "Tears" (Grand Prix, 1995)
Sweet little ditty from everyone’s favorite Britpop/powerpop band once hailed by Oasis’ Liam Gallagher as “the second best band in the world.”
U2 - "I Will Follow" (Boy, 1980)
Not sure if I like this one because I actually like it or if I’m just that familiar with it. Unfortunately that seems to be a trend with me and U2 after awhile.