King’s X - "Visions" (Live Love in London, 2010)
I’ve never been a fan of this song until it breaks into the “jammy” section toward the end (as I said back in my June 13 Five). This live performance doesn’t change my mind in the least. The album, however, is one to check out for anyone with the slightest interest in King’s X.
Phil Keaggy - "Morning Snow" (Acoustic Sketches, 1996)
This “cleaning out the closet” album by CCM guitarist extraordinaire Phil Keaggy has appeared in three of my Fives—two (here and here) at Popdose and one (here) back in the IckMusic days—so I won’t belabor the point. Suffice it to say, if you are a guitar fan and you haven’t yet checked out Phil Keaggy, what are you waiting for?!
Anthrax - "Madhouse" (The Greater of Two Evils, 2004)
Interesting “live in the studio” take on a classic-era Anthrax tune featuring then-vocalist John Bush and then-guitarist Rob Caggiano. I get what Anthrax was trying to do with this album (at least I think I do), but in my opinion, despite my love for John Bush, few of the tracks are actually improved by this reimagining.
KISS - "Deuce" (KISS Demos)
Early demo on one of my favorite KISS songs (and one of my favorite Ace solos) from a collection of KISS-related demos that I acquired from a snobby music friend of mine.
John Davis - “Paranoid” (Arigato!, 2007)
Superdrag frontman John Davis’ solo album Arigato! has popped up in three of my former Fives (I’ll save you the linkage this time), so it should come as no surprise to anyone that I really like this one. You’ll have to take my word, though, as I can’t find a streaming version of this anywhere.
Telekinesis - "You Turn Clear in the Sun" (12 Desperate Straight Lines, 2011)
Given my affinity for a good pop song, you’d think that I would have given Telekinesis a much fairer shake than I have. You’d be wrong. And after listening to this, I’m thinking I need to give this one-man-band another shot.
The Beatles - “Something (Take 37)” (The Alternate Abbey Road, 1969)
I really dig these sneak peeks at the Beatles’ recording process, warts, warbles, and all. Seems to pull them down a bit from that pedestal I’ve put them up on.
Dokken - "Into the Fire" (Tooth and Nail, 1984)
Despite the constant reminders back in the day that “Dokken rhymes with rockin’,” this doesn’t rock nearly as much as I remember. Although it’s a good song, and even though George Lynch was at one point one of my guitar gods (and lays down a very impressive solo here), this really seems sterile and safe all these years later.
Jars of Clay - "Overjoyed" (Furthermore: From the Studio, From the Stage, 2003)
Laid-back, lounge-inspired interpretation of an already laid-back tune from the CCM band’s sophomore album. The first disc of this greatest hits/retrospective includes similar studio reimaginings of songs from their first four albums. I love this kind of stuff.
Superchunk - "Digging for Something" (Majesty Shredding, 2010)
Super-catchy tune from this super-talented indie band’s super-awesome “comeback” album. I’m super-embarrassed that I had not really paid attention to Superchunk until a super-snobby friend turned me onto them with this album.
The Cure - "A Short Term Effect" (Pornography, 1982)
I acquired the (at the time) complete works of The Cure from a friend back before Napster hit the scene and filesharing became the norm, but I can’t say that I’ve actively listened to much of it. Outside of Disintegration and Wish (and some of Bloodflowers), I’m mostly a fan of the band’s “hits,” though I can say there’s not much else like listening to Robert Smith wail and whine about one thing or another while banging away at website code in a dark room.
Iron Maiden - "The Duellists" (Powerslave, 1984)
By the time Powerslave was released, Iron Maiden could do no wrong in my eyes (well, maybe except for Back in the Village; I’ve never been a fan). Even the 13-minute epic “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” drew no ire from me. I love the “gallop” on this one (as the band calls it) and the staccato harmony intro to the extended (and excellent!) guitar solo section.
Van Halen - "Hang ‘em High" (Diver Down, 1982)
I was a little too young when it came out to fully appreciate Diver Down. I just remember the accusations from some of my older friends of selling out and going soft over “(Oh) Pretty Woman” and “Dancing in the Streets.” Yet those same guys absolutely loved the “Happy Trails” gimmick at the end of the album. Go figure. This track is classic VH.
The Cure - "Torture" (Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, 1987)
More Cure that I’m not familiar with despite its having been in my music library for nearly 15 years at this point.
Black Country Communion - “Black Country”/"One Last Soul" (2010)
Live performance of the two opening tracks from this supergroup’s debut. “One Last Soul” is the better track of the two, but damn if Glen Hughes doesn’t have a set of pipes on him. And Bonamassa has to be one of the best guitar players ever that looks like a normal dude you’d bump into on the street.
Still slammed at work, but I always have time to squeeze in a Five. Squeeze out a Five?! Whatever.
Led Zeppelin - "Whole Lotta Love" (BBC Sessions, 1997)
I don’t like the original much on a good day, so this is a skipper.
Led Zeppelin - "Celebration Day" (Led Zeppelin III, 1970)
Geez, what’s up, iTunes?! At least I like this Zeppelin tune.
Caedmon’s Call - "The High Countries" (Back Home, 2003)
OK, iTunes is definitely in a weird mood this morning. This is almost a little too chill for today, but I’ll let it play out.
Joe Satriani - "Summer Song" (Time Machine, 1993)
I love the original album version of this song. This live version? Not so much. I love Satch, but I really don’t see the point of seeing him live unless it’s something like G3 or a clinic.
Toad the Wet Sprocket - “Whatever I Fear” (KBCO Studio C, Volume 9, 1992)
Ahh…I love this stripped down, live in-studio version of one of my favorite Toad tunes. And bongos!
Here’s a quick Five from 12:30 this morning as I was wrapping up some work on a project that I am desperately behind on, hence the almost non-existent commentary from me. Enjoy the weekend. I know I won’t be unless I get a lot more done today than I have up to this point.
Black ‘N Blue - "Chains Around Heaven" (Black ‘N Blue, 1984)
Ah, this takes me back to my hair metal teenage days.
Andrew Osenga - "Wanted" (Letters to the Editor, Vol. 1, 2007)
Opening track of a really cool recording project by CCM artist Andrew Osenga that I wrote much more about in this Five.
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.
Where would you rather be?
Anywhere. Anywhere but here.
Amen (not here as in the Friday Five, but here as in work). And one of the stranger tracks on this (at the time) uncharacteristically different Rush album.
Ramones - "Too Tough to Die" (Too Tough to Die, 1984)
Can’t say I’m a big fan of this Dee Dee track.
U2 - "Lemon" (Zooropa, 1993)
I honestly thought the U2 guys had lost their minds when they released this album. I hated their new musical direction, I hated this song, and I hated the album, and therefore, I dismissed everything they did until All That You Can’t Leave Behind brought them back onto my radar. I’ve come to appreciate both Zooropa and Pop, and I think “Lemon,” with its electronic feel and Bono’s “Fat Lady” falsetto vocals, has actually stood the test of time better than some of their older “classic” material.
Toad the Wet Sprocket - "Walk on the Ocean" (Radio 104.5 Studio Session, 2008)
We end as we started, with one of my favorite bands, songwriters, and vocalists. I love this live performance with its lap steel slide guitar solo, but I’m not sure what I think about the song in general. One one hand, I’m grateful that FM radio and MTV played the absolute living hell out of it, because it (and a couple other Fear tracks) brought Toad the Wet Sprocket to my attention. On the other hand, I hate it, because FM radio and MTV played the absolute living hell out of it.
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.
The Wildhearts - "Bi-Polar Baby" (The Wildhearts, 2007)
I love this Wildhearts tune about exiting a relationship gone bad with a psychotic partner, complete with the NSFW lyrics and sentiments that you might imagine such a situation would elicit. In fact, much of the band’s eponymous album shares this somewhat extreme outlook, which Cardiacs founder Tim Smith captured perfectly in his live-in-the-studio film aptly named The Wildhearts: Live in the Studio - A Film by Tim Smith. Here’s the band performing “Bi-Polar Baby” for the film, but if you get the chance, you really need to watch the whole thing. Dark, weird, and awesome, all rolled into one.
Joe Satriani - "The Extremist" (The Extremist, 1992)
This one shows off not only Satch’s amazing guitar work, but his not-too-shabby harmonica chops as well. In fact, while Flying in a Blue Dream saw Joe add both banjo and harmonica to his repertoire, he also threw in dobro and mandolin on this album for good measure. The Extremist was in heavy rotation for me back when it was released.
Skillet - “Angels Fall Down” (Invincible, 2000)
This one’s a bit of a curve ball—a NIN-ish praise and worship song embedded as an album-closing hidden track from this Memphis-based CCM band. Not bad, but I much prefer their first two albums with band co-founder Ken Stoerts before his departure to start Visible Music College, a music- and worship-based arts college now located in downtown Memphis. While this third album retains most of the musical stylings of the radical shift of the band’s sophomore release, I really don’t think it is on par with its predecessors. This particular song goes almost 3 minutes too long and becomes almost unbearingly repetitive toward the end.
Toad the Wet Sprocket - “Nightingale Song” (Load and Clear)
Great live bootleg performance of the Fear track that I have long lamented is way, way too short. This is one of the first (and only) Toad songs I learned to play on acoustic guitar.
Schematic - "All the Birds Are Singing" (Color (n.) Inside the Lines, 2013)
I’ve been on a bit of a Mae kick lately. As a matter of fact, just this morning I purchased the final two EPs the band released before disbanding. After Mae’s demise, founder Dave Elkins wasn’t satisfied with simply pursuing a solo career. Instead he decided to create Schematic, which not only serves as his new musical project, but is also a recording studio, a record label, a management company, and an online community and social network, all dedicated to giving musicians (and artists of all stripes) a more level playing field in the business world and helping them pocket more of their hard-earned money. I know, it sounds complicated, but I get the feeling Dave is a complicated kind of guy. And the music is good. Just sayin’. Have a great weekend, Fivers.
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.
Caedmon’s Call - "There You Go" (40 Acres, 1999)
Lead-off track of this CCM act’s sophomore effort on a major label which saw their sound and lyrical content expand from their debut. It’s actually the band’s third album release, the first one being an independent release that has seen at least two reissues. If memory serves, their second album—the first on a major label—was actually first released independently before garnering major label attention from Warner, prompting them to re-enter the studio to re-record it properly. Of course I may be misremembering all of this. Caedmon’s early history begins to get a little confusing after awhile.
Nada Surf - "Concrete Bed" (The Weight Is A Gift, 2005)
Music discovery is still such a mystery to me after all these years of being an active participant in the process. You never when or where you’ll hear something that will stick with you and become part of “your” musical taste. Such is the case with Nada Surf. I “discovered” these guys through a bootleg of a 2008 acoustic show, and although I haven’t dug too far into their back catalog, I fell in love with the songs that were part of that show, especially this one.
Hey! Hello! - "Burn the Rule Book (F*ck It)" (Hey! Hello!!!, 2013)
Ginger Wildheart was another happy accident of my musical discovery process. After repeatedly being told of his songwriting genius from one of my favorite podcasters and hearing only a couple of Wildhearts songs, I started delving into Ginger’s work, primarily his solo albums that were out at the time. Then I started digging into the Wildhearts. Then came Ginger’s post-Wildhearts solo PledgeMusic material. And then this noise-pop collaboration with Victoria Liedtke came along for the ride, and it ended up being unquestionably one of my favorite albums released in 2013. This track is a good example of why I like this album so much.
Glen Phillips - "Fly From Heaven" (Live at Messiah College, Grantham, PA, 2003)
Glen Phillips. Toad the Wet Sprocket. Live solo acoustic bootleg. Not much else to say except that it’s probably some kind of criminal offense that I have yet to see this man perform live.
When You’re Ready - "OSI" (Office of Strategic Influence, 2003)
OSI has appeared in my Fives a couple of times at this point, but for those unfamiliar, it is a side-project of Jim Matheos, guitarist, primary songwriter, and mainstay of prog-metallers Fates Warning. Having recruited Mike Portnoy on drums, Matheos’ original intent was for OSI to be a progressive metal outfit, but the addition of former Dream Theater keyboardist and Chroma Key founder Kevin Moore—and currently the only other full-time member of OSI—shifted the focus more toward keyboard- and sample-based electronic elements. The project became a sort of playground for the duo to explore electronic soundscapes more similar to Chroma Key than Matheos’ previous work, and I for one am thankful for the shift. OSI is another of those bands I’m not sure how or when I stumbled onto, but their debut is a brilliant album, venturing off into territory that I may not have otherwise explored on my own via other avenues.
All in all a fairly laid-back affair today. Have a great weekend, Fivers!
Soundgarden - "Mailman" (Superunknown, 1994)
Um… not one of my favorites from this album. Not a bad song, but it just seems to go nowhere.
Collective Soul - "Needs" (Dosage, 1999)
I hardly ever have anything bad to say about Collective Soul. The opening of this one reminds me a bit of Big Star’s “Thirteen” until the orchestration kicks in. Not that this is anywhere near the song “Thirteen” is.
The Fixx - "Reach the Beach" (Reach the Beach, 1983)
Not necessarily the tune I would reach for (see what I did there?!) if I were wanting to listen to the Fixx, but not a bad song. Overall this is a great album.
Torpedohead - "Moonshine Highway" (Greetings from Heartbreak Key, 2012)
Fun, energetic, melodic rock ‘n’ roll from a band from Frankfurt, Germany that I’m pretty sure few here have heard of. Not a bad way to close out my Five. Have a great weekend!
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
The Mob - “I Will Follow” (The Mob, 2005)
Decent track from a Doug Pinnick (King’s X) one-off “supergroup” side-project with Reb Beach (Winger, Dokken, Whitesnake), Kelly Keagy (Night Ranger), Timothy Drury (keyboard-for-hire most known for stints with Whitesnake and the Eagles), and Kip Winger (duh!). The focus here was more about fun, 80s-influenced hair metal (and way too much guitar wankery from Beach) than anything serious, and unfortunately much of the album suffers because of it. This song is one of the exceptions, but it’s still pretty forgettable despite having one of my all-time favorite singers on it.
R.E.M. - "Pilgrimage" (Murmur, 1983)
Jangly alterna-pop from one of my favorite 80s “alternative” bands. Yeah, yeah, I know, but I try to forget about everything after 1991’s Out of Time, not being a big fan of the band’s direction from Automatic for the People onward.
Alice in Chains - "Angry Chair" (Dirt, 1992)
I can’t say I ever understood this song much (and likely neither did Layne Staley, who was high as a kite during the recording of it if the mostly-reliable Wikipedia is to be believed), but I don’t think that was ever the point. I’ve never been a fan of Staley’s vocals on the spooky-sounding verse sections, but I absolutely adore the “chorus” section with Jerry Cantrell’s harmony vocals and the “I don’t mind/Lost my mind/Can’t find it anywhere” lyrics.
Collective Soul - "Reach" (Hints Allegations & Things Left Unsaid, 1994)
Jangly alterna-pop from one of my favorite 90s “alternative” bands.
Transatlantic - "Spinning" (The Whirlwind, 2009)
We end today’s Five the same way we started—with a supergroup of sorts, although I’m sure most people would be hard pressed to name a single member other than Mike Portnoy or be able to identify the bands from which the members hail. The difference here is that Transatlantic was never intended as a one-off project, and these guys were always pretty serious about bringing prog to the people. As a matter of fact, they very nearly lost me when they cranked the prog knob up to 11 for 2009’s The Whirlwind, a one-track progfest with 12 parts. “Spinning” is special-edition bonus track with a country swing despite the classic prog keys opening and is unlike most of the album proper. Still, it’s a good song that features Roine Stolt on vocals (and the prog kicks in at about the 5-minute mark just in case you’re interested).