Category Archives: Country

Album Review: Me First and the Gimme Gimmes – Rake It In: The Greatestest Hits

A few weeks back, I found a photo of myself from when I was working in shipping and receiving at some internet company.

I was about 21 years old at the time and looked ever so thrilled in the picture.  The photo showed me working hard while I rocked a backwards hat as well as a Me First and the Gimme Gimmes shirt, a shirt that I basically wore in the late 90s until it fell apart.  That was almost 20 years ago.

Where am I going with this you ask?

Well, clearly I was a fan back then, and I still am today.  Ever since I heard the Gimmes play “Country Roads” on a Fat Wreck comp, I fell in love.  There was just something so appealing about hearing a song my parents listened to in the 70s altered to my standards.

For those of you who live under a rock, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes consist of Joey Cape, Chris Shiflett, Dave Raun, some guy who calls himself Fat Mike, and good ol’ Spike Slawson.  They have been taking overplayed and classic tunes and covering them the only way they know how to.  The result is catchy, likable, and just downright fun.  i should probably add that they have been doing this since 1995.

Over the years, they have tackled adult contemporary, Motown, show tunes, country, and even Japanese pop songs just to name off a few genres.  I guess you could say they are not the gimmicky type.  Hell, they have 7 studio albums under their belts released on Fat Wreck Chords.  Clearly they are pretty damn important in the punk cover band scene.

To showcase their accomplishments (and squeeze you out of your hard earned cheddar), they are about to drop a greatest hits album on April 7th full of renditions of songs cleverly titled Rake It In: The Greatestest Hits.

Featuring 17 memorable covers, the Gimmes threw together the best of the best for all to hear in one collective listen.  I am sure it was tough for the Gimmes to pick the right songs for this “greatestest” hits album, but I think they did a pretty good job.

Starting with Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin'”, the album spans the Gimme’s eclectic taste in covers.  It was great to hear “Straight Up” and “Jolene” and of course “I Believe I Can Fly”.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t stoked to hear “Desperado” as well as “End of the Road”.  I adore the Gimme’s take on these two originally over-played-as-hell songs.

As an added bonus, a few non-album tracks that I have not heard in a long time appeared.  “City of New Orleans” off of Willie, a Fat Mail Order limited edition EP, was an excellent surprise to hear.  The Del Shannon classic “Hats Off to Larry”, originally on the Live Fat, Die Young: Fat Music Vol. V, was the other.

The one track missing that I felt should have been on this greatest hits was the Gimme’s version of “Rocket Man” by Sir Elton John.  Luckily, I have Have A Ball in my collection and can listen to it whenever I please, but for those out there that are just discovering this punk rock cover band, that is one song I know they would enjoy.

To be honest, I was really hoping for the band to have a new album full of covers, but I will take this “greatestest” hits release over nothing.  I hope one day they decide to cover 90s hip hop songs in the key of punk rock, I seriously think that would be amazing and I know they could pull it off.

What I’m trying to say is simple:  Long live the Gimmes.  They are the best cover band of my time.

In support of this release, Me First are touring and have been since February.  I can not even tell you the last time I have seen these guys tour, so make sure you go see them live.  It is going to be an all out blast.  Give them your money.  All of it.  Being in a cover band can’t pay that much, can it?

Tour Dates:

04/11/17 Pittsburgh, PA at The Rex *
04/12/17 Cleveland, OH at House of Blues *
04/13/17 Chicago, IL at Concord *
04/14/17 Detroit, MI at Majestic *
04/15/17 Toronto, ON Canada at Phoenix Theatre *
04/16/17 Montreal, QC Canada at Club Soda *
04/19/17 Boston, MA at Royale *
04/20/17 Philadelphia, PA at Union Transfer *
04/21/17 Baltimore, MD at Baltimore Soundstage *
04/22/17 Asbury Park, NJ at Stone Pony *
04/23/17 New York City, NY at Webster Hall *
05/02/17 Portland, OR at Wonder Ballroom ^
05/03/17 Vancouver, BC Canada at Commodore ^
05/04/17 Seattle, WA at Showbox ^
05/05/17 Boise, ID at The Olympic ^
05/06/17 Salt Lake City, UT at The Depot ^
05/07/17 Denver, CO at Summit Music Hall ^
05/10/17 Scottsdale, AZ at Pub Rock ^
05/11/17 San Diego, CA at House of Blues ^
05/12/17 Santa Ana, CA at The Observatory ^
05/13/17 Los Angeles, CA at The Fonda ^
05/14/17 Berkeley, CA at The UC Theatre ^
05/27/17 Las Vegas, NV at Punk Rock Bowling
06/09/17 Interlaken, Switzerland at Greenfield Festival
06/11/17 Milano, Italy at Carroponte w/ Descendents *
06/14/17 Attnang-Puchheim, Austria at EQUALITY Festival
06/15/17 Nickelsdorf , Austria at Nova Rock Festival
06/16/17 Bischofsmais, Germany at Rock The Hill
06/17/17 Bischofsmais, Germany at Rock The Hill
06/23/17 Neuhausen ob Eck, Germany at Southside Festival
06/23/17 Scheessel, Germany at Hurricane Festival
06/24/17 Neuhausen ob Eck, Germany at Southside Festival
06/24/17 Scheessel, Germany at Hurricane Festival
06/25/17 Scheessel, Germany at Hurricane Festival
06/25/17 Neuhausen ob Eck, Germany at Southside Festival
07/01/17 Würzburg/Giebelstadt , Germany at Flugplatz Mission Ready Festival

* = w/ PEARS & MASKED INTRUDER
^ = w/ Together Pangea

BHP Best of 2016

It’s that time of the year again folks.  Time to sit here and type out a list of bands that have impressed me one way or another.  I am not keeping to a set number as it would take me forever to narrow it down.

A sincere thanks to everyone who’s ever visited this site – seriously.  I know I tend to say that around the time I do my best of lists, but I really mean it.  I almost called it quits  earlier this year and reconsidered at the last minute.

This blog is very personal to me and even if more people find it while Googling how to fix their headphones, it is still fun to do.  If I can turn someone on to a new band just by one post, then my job is done.

With that said, I plan on sticking around for a while.

I am sure I will add a few more as they come to me in the next couple of weeks (as I always do [up to 3 edits now]), but for now, here’s the list of the albums that really caught my attention in 2016:

[EDIT:  The year is not over yet and I needed to throw in just a couple more…]


Chandeli’ers – Breaker
-This was the album that hit me in the right way.  It was fun across the board and sounded like the Clash meets Elvis Costello.  What more could you ask for?


Run The Jewels – RTJ3
-This album was not supposed to drop until 3 weeks into the new year, but El-P and Killer Mike decided to drop it on Christmas day for all to enjoy.  I can not stop listening to it.  I know I am not the only one either.

MakeWar "Developing A Theory Of Integrity"
MakeWar – Developing a Theory of Integrity
-Hands down one of my favorite surprise releases of the year.  This punk rock band has thrown together an album I will be listening to over and over for years to come.

joe-mcmahon
Joe McMahon – Another Life
-This is another one of my favorite albums this year.  McMahon shared with the world an outstanding collection of tunes that everyone needs to check out.  His solo material is a lot different from his Smoke or Fire days and that is not a bad thing at all.

Bob Mould
Bob Mould – Patch the Sky
-Mould recorded a masterpiece with Patch the Sky.  If you have not had the chance to listen to this album, you are missing out.  This album is perfect to listen to any day.

Jonathan Richman
Jonathan Richman – Ishkode! Ishkode!
-I am kicking myself for not putting this on my list initially.  Richman is one of the most prolific songwriters out there and put out quite the release.  I loved how song his songs were fun at times while others were just complex and reached across borders.  He really showcased his musical abilities on this release.  This guy has been writing music for longer than I have been alive and still is able to put out quality albums.

Dinosaur Jr.
Dinosaur Jr. – Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not
-I have been a fan of this band for over 25 years now, so it only makes sense that this release made my list.  Oh, it also kicks so much ass.  Lou Barlow singing on it made it that much better.

All Dinosaurs
All Dinosaurs – Total Dissatisfaction
-Where do I even start with this one?  It’s like listening to the Bronx, but better, and from Cleveland.  I love this album so much that I literally just bought the LP from their bandcamp page.  No lie.

Useless ID
Useless ID – State is Burning
-This band will always be one of my favorites and this release continued to keep me a fan.  With a much more harder approach, they really killed it on this one.  I also adored the nod to the late Brandon Carlisle of Teenage Bottlerocket.

pulley
Pulley – No Change in the Weather 
This band was a huge favorite of mine in the late 90s and I thought they were done in the mid-2000s, but low and behold, they came back with an album that seemingly continued where they left off without missing a beat.  “Sometimes” is such a great track.

Beach Slang
Beach Slang – A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings
-James Alex (and former crew) have created a timeless album for music fans of all ages.  Catchy yet poignant, the album has been on a weekly rotation to my ears since the album dropped.  It may clock in at around 30 minutes, but it is a hell of a ride from start to finish.

Worship This! - Mint
Worship This! – Mint
-So what if these guys are my pals, their sophomore release blew me away.  I can not say enough good things about this album.  It is poppy, punky, and addictive.  More people need to check this album out as these Akron/Cleveland boys really know how to make sweet jams.  They are the next big thing in my mind and I love them all dearly.


Descendents – Hypercaffium Spazzinate 
-Having one of my all time favorite bands release something new in 2016 was pretty rad.  Having one of my all time favorite bands stick to their sound from start to finish and have no indication of slowing down made it that much better.

Nothing
Nothing – Tired of Tomorrow
-I never thought I would like shoegazing.  To be honest, I really never knew what shoegaze was until I heard this album and I am still not quite sure.  Indie rock and neo-psychadelica mixed with plenty of distortion and emotion made for an album that I could not get out of my head for weeks.  That’s a good thing.

Mean Jeans
Mean Jeans – Tight New Dimension 
-Mean Jeans are probably one of the most underrated bands out there right now.  This album further proved that.  A modern-day Ramones-like banger.  I loved it.


Bouncing Souls – Simplicity 
-The Souls are like a fine cheese or wine to me.  With age, this band seems to just get better.  Their latest release was just full of punk rock fun.  When I started singing along to the first song during my first listen, I knew I was going to love this album and play it over and over.

Blink 182 - California
Blink 182 – California
-I can’t help it, I got sucked in to the new Blink and I know why…  Matt Skiba.  He was the perfect addition to reinvent this band.

The Avalanches
The Avalanches – Wildflower
-16 years after their debut, The Avalanches came back with an all new release that very well probably took all 16 years to create.  I know some of my pals were not digging this release fully, but I adored it.  It probably helps that the likes of Danny Brown and Biz Marke helped make this album what it is.

Arms Aloft
Arms Aloft – What a Time to be Barely Alive
This is the one album I really need to do a proper review on, but I keep getting sidetracked.  I listen to it all of the time and it is freaking amazing.  Punk rock from the 80s perfectly blended with punk rock from the mid 2000s is one way I can describe these fellows.  The music is infections, the lyrics are fun, and from what I hear the band is pretty cool too.  This kind of sounds like a review, but it is not.  This is just me telling y’all that this album was impressive.

Signals Midwest
Signals Midwest – At This Age
-This is their third release and probably their most tied together, mature material I have heard them create.  They have pushed their limits from a one time local band and are more or less prepping themselves for what’s next to come.  I am proud of these dudes.

Arilss Nancy
Arliss Nancy – Greater Divides
-This band really should be at Lucero levels by now.  They are exceptional at what they do and it can be heard throughout their latest release.

har-mar-superstar
Har Mar Superstar – Best Summer Ever
-Har Mar continues to put out incredible material with each release.  This man is so talented that he drops albums that cover various genres and avoids any and all gimmicky sounds.

NOFX
NOFX – First Ditch Effort
-After all this band has been though, it only makes sense that they dropped a more personal album.  It took me a couple of listens to truly appreciate.  Don’t worry, it’s still crass at times as well as hilarious, but man, that Tony Sly tribute song will put tears in your eyes.

Harvey Pekar
Harvey Pekar – The Astral We
-This Cleveland hardcore band is just that…  This album was insane yet intelligent, and I loved every moment of it.

the-falcon-gather-up-the-chaps
The Falcon – Gather Up the Chaps
-I love that Dave Hause was on this album.  I love that he had to play ska riffs knowing how much he hates ska because Brendan Kelly decided it was a good idea.  This album was far from serious and a good time all around.

NOTE: I promise you, Red Scare did not pay me for putting so many albums on this list.  They just had a hell of a year with releases…  Toby, I take plastic btw.

I wanted to throw a couple of EPs on here as well:

Jonathan Richman
Jonathan Richman & Tommy Larkins – That’s All We Need at Our Party
Blue Arrow Records and the creative vinyl masters Wax Merge teamed up to put out an insane variant of this 7″.  I was lucky enough to score #100 out of 100.  It’s a thing of beauty plus the tunes on it kick ass.  I love me some Jonathan Richman.  I am sure there are a few left, so snag one if you can.

Throw Shade
Throw Shade – Self-Titled
-I have talented friends who make beautiful music.  This EP is absolute proof.


Nine Inch Nails – Not the Actual Events
-I really did not know what to expect from Reznor and crew with this EP seeing how I just lost interest in their material for the last 10 years.  Man, was I pleasantly surprised.  This EP brought me back to 90s NIN and I can not wait for their full-length to drop in 2017.

bracket
Bracket – The Last Page
-At just over 70 minutes, this is one long-ass song and it’s amazing.  The track keeps it together for the listener and takes them on a punk rock voyage.  My first listed was distracted thanks to my paying gig, but my second listen with headphones on was incredible.

Finally, I know this is a best of list, but it would not be right if I did not make mention of this:

RIP Dag House…
Dag HouseIt goes without saying, sometimes you find yourself in the right situations by chance.  Thanks to an amazing batch of pals who kept Dag House going for years.  Not everyone gets to experience basement shows, and some of that could be by choice, but goddamn, if you are a music fan, basement shows are the best shows.  Dag House threw together a hell of a rager for their last show, and I was happy to be a part of it.  Thanks for the memories Dag.

2016 was a crazy year.  If you’ve made it this far in my post, thanks for sticking around and being so rad.  It is people like you and the bands above that keep me doing what I do.  Be well.

Darius Koski Solo Debut To Drop April 7th

Hey Swingin’ Utters fans,  Darius Koski is about to debut his solo album.  Before you start throwing down assumptions that the guy is going acoustic just to to make a quick buck, please see what he had to say about the whole solo route:

“I’ve been wanting to have an outlet for it for so long—for longer than I’ve been with the Swingin’ Utters, basically. And I just hadn’t done anything with it. I didn’t really know how I was going to release it, I hadn’t done much live, I have problems remembering lyrics… So I’ve been putting it off for so many years, but it’s finally coming together, and I’m thrilled about it. I’m totally going to go for it.”

Now that you’ve read that, how about you take a listen to one of this new songs:

You’re weren’t expecting that much twang were you?  I know I was not, but I will tell you this, I love it.

Dropping on April 7th, Sisu, is in a genre really of its own with a plethora (yes I said plethora) instrument playing including guitar, piano, banjo, accordion, violin, glockenspiel, vibraphone, melodica, ukulele, and percussion.  This is not just some solo album.  This is years of built up creativity by Koski finally being released property.

I know I am stoked to hear this.

Pre-orders are up at Fat Wreck as of today.  Hurry up and get you some.

Best Of / Worst Of / Whatever Of… 2014

Well folks, it’s that time of the year.  We are wrapping up 2014.

This means I get to share my top albums of the year (with anyone who has any interest in what I have to say).

There were tons of great releases this year and honestly, I know I passed up a few.  In fact I’ve even added a few names to the below list numerous times while pondering what all caught my attention in 2014.  (NOTE:  I have even added a few more to my list that I overlooked and feel need to be included – perks of running your own blog I suppose.)

I am not putting any limits on my best of list this year as no artist should be left out.  I’m am just sharing the albums that really impressed me this past year and maybe even reasons why.

I’m not sorry for how long this post has become.  I’m actually quite pleased with what I have come up with.  It really proves that 2014 was a great year for music.  I’ve also decided to add a list of albums that just did not do it for me.


Best Albums Of 2014:

Tim Barry
Tim Barry – Lost & Rootless
-I just listened to this album in full this morning and instantly had to add it to my list.  This is the best thing he has ever done in my opinion.  Music writing doesn’t get more real than this.

Mastodon
Mastodon – One More Time Round The Sun
-This album blew me away and continued to do so over the course of the year.  I really was not sure what to expect after hearing The Hunter, but they managed to keep their style and improve it resulting in one of my favorite albums of 2014.

Cheap Girls
Cheap Girls – Famous Graves
-I love everything about this band.  I think the best part is that they are just all quality dudes who are extra loaded on talent.  I really need to snag a copy of this album on vinyl.  If you have not heard of this band, you need to change that.  This album was perfect.

Ryan Adams
Ryan Adams – S/T
-This album was thoroughly enjoyed by this music lover many times.  I can’t say I’ve been into all of his past material, but as of late I am finding myself becoming a bigger fan.

United_Nations_-_The_Next_Four_Years
United Nations – The Next Four Years
-It was only a matter of time before U.N. released new material.  This super-group of musicians really outdid themselves with their sophomore release.  In fact, I favor this release more and more with each listen.

Murder-City-Devils
Murder City Devils – The White Ghost Has Blood On Its Hands Again
-I never thought the day would come when MCD came out with new material.  After seeing them in 2011 at Fun Fun Fun Fest, I knew it was only time before they recorded new material.  The result was yet another classic album full of plenty of jams that I’ve listened to over and over without growing tired of one bit.  I just wish it were a little longer.

Xerxes
Xerxes – Collision Blonde
-This band slays.  So much.  I was not ready initially when I checked this album out and was literally just taken by surprise.  Best feeling ever.

Chris Stowe
Chris Stowe – Hollow
-This heartfelt album tops my list when it comes to one man and his guitar.  When I say heartfelt I mean sad but with true emotion.  He is the emo of emo and a class act dude as well.  This album really impressed me.

Chuck Ragan
Chuck Ragan – Till Midnight
-This album was intensified so much more thanks to his special pals he recruited to play with him throughout the album.  As big of a fan of Hot Water Music as I am, I can honestly say I am a bigger fan of his solo material.

Banner Pilot
Banner Pilot – Souvenir
-It’s Banner Pilot.  Enough said.  This band never disappoints.

Cory Branan
Cory Branan – The No Hit Wonder
-If you have not heard this album yet, stop reading right now and find it.  This was one of my favorite releases of the year.  Amazing songwriter.

Chris Cresswell
Chris Cresswell – One Week
-Intense album by a guy who usually is known to scream loud in the Flatliners.  Subtle tracks with Joey Cape helping along made for such a beautiful release.  I love that this was recorded at Cape’s house in just one week.

Afghan Whigs
The Afghan Whigs – Do To The Beast
-No lie, I was nervous about this album when I heard it was going to be released.  I am not sure why.  Lucky for me, it was solid from start to finish.

Black Keys
The Black Keys – Turn Blue
-This album was a little more Broken Bells sounding than I was hoping for thanks to Danger Mouse’s touch, but overall it still ruled.  I have found myself listening to it a lot again after taking a few months off.  It is still catchy as hell and those guitar jams are still amazing.

Mariachi El Bronx
Mariachi El Bronx – III
-How can you not like this album?  It is so good.  I loved how it just was not even so much a concept anymore as much as just a new direction for a talented group of dudes.

Swingin Utters
Swingin Utters – Fistfull Of Hollow
-This band refuses to slow it down.  This is their 3rd release in 3 years and is the best stuff I have heard by them in a long long time.

Needles Pins
Needles//Pins – Shamebirds
-DIY punk garage rock excellence is the best way I can describe this album.  I can not even tell you how many times I have listened to this release over and over.  If you dig the Ramones, I guarantee Needles//Pins are right up your alley.

J Mascis
J Mascis – Several Shades Of Why
-I have few heroes in my life.  Mascis is one of them.  This may be the most amazing thing I have ever heard him do aside from that Mazzy Star cover he recently performed.

Baby Ghosts
Baby Ghosts – Maybe Ghosts
-Pop-indie-garage-rock-fun-fueled-goodness.  I may be falling out of the scene these days and miss out on a lot of the DIY music that completely rules, but I can honestly say I am glad I did not miss out on this album.

Menzingers
The Menzingers – Rented World
Chamberlain Waits will always be my favorite release by The Menzingers, but this album is a very close second.  Very close…

Against Me
Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues
-I know this album got a lot of attention due to Tom exiting and Laura entering, but aside from that, this album is just sick.  I hated to see such a revolving door of members in the band over the years, but they still have managed to keep it together and produced an intense album.

7 Seconds
7 Seconds- Leave A Light On
-I am a huge fan of 7 Seconds and am ok with that.  To see them regroup and drop an all new release made this aging punk rocker very happy.  This album was tougher and harder than some of their past releases and did not sound forced one bit.   This album was probably the best punk record I listened to all year.  Suddenly getting old doesn’t seem so bad.

Sage Francis
Sage Francis – Copper Gold
-Sage returned and delivered.  I can still recall the day this album dropped and how excited I got.  I was live tweeting my feelings for all to read, including Sage himself.  I was having a fanboy moment.

Run The Jewels
Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels II
-EL-P and Killer Mike dropped the surprise album of the year and pretty much gave it away for free.  This should be at the very top of my list as I can not stop listening to it.  I was lucky enough, thanks to a good pal, to obtain a physical copy that I know I will spin over and over.

Tilts
Tilts – Cuatro Hombres
-This band is the definition of rock music or at least what I think it should sound like.  Remember when Queens of the Stone age were cool?  Tilts are better.

Pup
Pup – Pup
-This is the one album I sat on for too long in 2014.  I am glad for whatever reason I decided to check it out.  This is one notable debut.

Restorations
Restorations – LP3
-Take all of the music I was into in the 90s, and I guarantee you this album would have fit in perfectly.  This is one of the best bands out there.  I know they have a good fan base already, but I seriously think that not enough people are aware of how talented this band really is.

Best of EPs of 2014:

Beach Slang 1
Beach Slang – Who Would Ever Want Anything So Broken?
-Without a doubt, this is the greatest band out there right now and they have yet to release a full length.  They are not young kids and are perfectly ok with that.  They are just here for the tunes and these tunes are exceptional.

Beach Slang 2
Beach Slang – Cheap Thrills On A Dead End Street
-So gooooooooooooood.  Yes.  I adore them.  Deal.

Low Culture / Iron Chic Split
Low Culture / Iron Chic – Split
-2 of my favorite bands on one EP.  Nothing tops that, except maybe pizza or tacos.

Needles Pins Low Culture
Low Culture & Needles//Pins – Split
-Garage rock maximus.  Both bands are incredible and it only made sense for them to release a split together.

Ryan Adams
Ryan Adams – 1984
-Surprise release of the year.  I loved what he did on this EP and wished it were a full length.  Adams really is a man of many talents when it comes to music and I have a fonder appreciation for him now. 1984 carried quality similarities to so many SST and Discord bands.

The Public
The Public – Shibuya Crossing
-These guys could be the next big thing to come from Cleveland if they keep it up.  Dead serious.

Remainders
Remainders – Fine Exits
-These guys could be the next big thing to come from Pittsburgh if they keep it up.  Dead serious. (yes, I did that on purpose)

Signals Midwest
Signals Midwest – Wherever I Might Land
-Hearing these dudes cover Iron Chic’s “Time Keeps Slipping Into The (Cosmic) Future” pretty much made my year.  This was a download only release, but I hope that I can find a bag of money so that this can be pressed on vinyl.  I would need to title it SGNLS MDWST though as all the cool bands lose the vowels.

The One That Got Away In 2014:

Of Us Giants
Of Us Giants – Nova Scotia
-Seriously, what the hell was up with this band?  They started 2014 off in a good good way with their debut and disbanded before even hitting the road to tour.  It seemed almost as if they worked harder selling their merch to their adoring fans making up for lost product over keeping it together as a band.  I am sure they had their reasons, but Novia Scotia was a solid release and I really thought Of Us Giants was going to make it big.

Whatever Of 2014…

Death Grips
Death Grips – The Powers That B
-I liked this album.  A lot.  I did not like how this band went out.  Kind of pompous if you ask me.  Luckily, most folk moved on with their lives.

Rancid
Rancid – Honor Is All We Know
-I honestly hate that I am admitting this, but I only liked about 45% of Rancid’s latest offering.  I even listened to it again today and felt the same.  I just was not been overly impressed with the entire album and I really wanted to be.  There were a couple instant classics in there but some of the tracks just didn’t hit me well.  Rancid will always be one of my Top 5 bands.  Don’t you worry boys.  I still love ya.

Gaslight Anthem
Gaslight Anthem – Get Hurt
-I tried, I really did, to enjoy this album but just could not get into it at all.  At first I thought I appreciated the lyrics and just needed to get into the music, but in reality I think the Gaslight fanboy in me was just in shock on what I was hearing.  It was just too chilled out for me.  I will give it a chance again soon.

Weezer
Weezer – Everything Will Be Ok In The End
-No it won’t.  Two songs in on this album and I turned it off.  Sorry guys, I’ll stick to your older albums.  I could not get into this at all.

Damon Albarn
Damon Albarn – Everyday Robots
-I love Blur and the Gorillaz.  I can not say the same for this album.  It is different and just not what I was expecting.  I appreciate anyone who does their own thing, I just can’t say I will like it.

Pixies

Pixies – Indie Cindy
-I did not have the highest expectations for this release.  Maybe it was due to Frank Black saying that “there’s been a shift in the lineup, big woop-dee-doo…as far as we’re concerned it ain’t that big of a deal.”  Yes it is Frank.  It sure was a big deal.  It was a Kim Deal.  You should have quit when she did and stated something else.

Wu Tang
Wu Tang Clan –A Better Tomorrow
-I hate to have anything negative about Wu Tang Clan, but after hearing “Ruckus In B Minor”, I thought this album was going to be the greatest thing in 2014.  Sadly the single was the strongest track on the album with a couple of other tracks that came close.  Do not get me wrong, this was a good album but I was hoping for way more hip-hop and less R&B.

Masked Intruder
Masked Intruder – M.I.
-Sorry dudes…your first album was so much better than your follow-up.  I dug it for maybe a week and just lost interest.  It is not terrible by any means.  My review was sincere and I initially liked it but not for long.  I know not everyone will agree with me on this.  The band has major talent.  Perhaps I am old and just don’t get it.  Get off my yard!

Worst Albums Of 2014:

U2
U2 – Songs Of Innocence
-Jerks.  Rolling Stone was paid off.  Apple was paid off.  This album was not that good and I am still pissed that the Apple sponsored commercial had so many punk rock heroes in it.  I am entitled to my opinion.  Nothing like jumping on Google to learn how to remove an album from my iTunes that I never wanted.

Flaming Lips
The Flaming Lips – With A Little Help From My Fwends
-No.  Just….no.  Maybe if I was on a lot of drugs and was just an eccentric individual I might get it.  My ears were bleeding with this.  Quit trying so hard and bring back Yoshimi.  I know some people adored it.  I did not.  These Beatles covers were terrible.


I hope you all enjoyed this list/rant/babble.  I know I had a good time putting it all together.  Seeing how awesome 2014 was with music, I can not wait for 2015 to start.

Happy holidays suckers!

Album Review: Davenport Cabinet – Our Machine

Travis Stever is a pretty busy man.  You may have heard his name before as he is one of the founding members of some small, little band called Coheed and Cambria.  When he is not touring the world playing to his die hard fans, Stever has his own solo project called Davenport Cabinet.  Earlier this year, Stever dropped his second solo release titled Our Machine.  Full of a folk alt-rock sound at times, the album is quite catchy and just further showcases how great of a musician Stever really is.

Now when say I folk rock, don’t go thinking I am talking about the folk rock that is stealing the music scene these days.  This is a much more intriguing sidestep into a great genre of music.  When listening to this album, I thought of everyone from Pink Floyd to Rush, as well as Queensrÿche and even Van Halen.  Sure, combining all of those bands might sound a little off, but I tell you, this sophomore release by Stever is far from that.

Starting the album was the instrumental “Night Climb” that kind of set the level for what I was about to hear.  Acoustic guitars played over electronic sounds for less than a minute while someone beat on on a drum.  I really was not sure what to expect from this.

“Deterioration Road” was the song that for whatever reason reminded me of Van Halen and honestly, it was because of the singing style.  The music however was very much more progressive and just well put together.  In fact, the beginning of the song is where I could hear Pink Floyd.

“Simple Words” was an acoustic folksy jam with Stever’s cousin Tyler Klose (thanks for the correction via tweet Travis!) sounding a lot like Geoff Tate.  Don’t let that discourage you in any way though, this was a great jam especially when Stever’s other cousin Laura Tsaggaris met Klose making for a great duet.  The harmony those two created was just perfect.  You can tell that a lot of thought was put when recording this track, it is flawless.  If there is one track on this album you need to check out, make it this one.  Hands down, this was my favorite song on the album.

“Sister Servent” followed with a certain Coheed and Cambria sound I have grown so accustomed to but instead of Claudio Sanchez taking on vocal duties, Klose however did his own thing and pulled it off quite well.  The drumming and the guitars on this track were so captivating switching from a distorted riff to a modest jam on guitars while impressive beats backed them all up.

Stever dabbled with some electronics in “These Bodies”, and interesting track that really was a lot darker than previous tracks.  Seeming to talk about redemption and dying, the track sounded good but just caught me off guard.  Then came “Our Machine”, a poignant and fun acoustic song that really screamed folk rock but also did not let go of the progressive feel.  This track was a foot-stomping jam that I enjoyed quite a bit.  Once again, you can literally hear the all the hard work put into this track.  I especially loved hearing the banjo being plucked throughout.

“Black Dirt Burden” once continued with the banjo and one of my favorite effects that Stever played with Coheed and Cambria, the talk box.  Immediately following was his trademark tearing-apart-the-guitar-solo, but only for a moment.  Once again I am could not help but think of 80s rock throughout this track, but not without gracious amounts of guitar solos and even a little more talk box.  This track really proves how talented Stever really is and not just because he busted out the talk box.

I liked the change up in “Drown It All”, a more country folk sounding track.  Use of the slide during the song was perfectly ok to this listener.  Leaving behind the progressive sound, this track sounded quite cheerful yet I have reason to believe it was speaking of addiction.  I could be wrong of course. “Dancing On Remains” sounded like Peter Gabriel took over singing duties for a moment.  This track seemed to lose some of the momentum captured in many of the previous tracks.  I just could not get into this song at all.

Thankfully “At Sea” caught my attention again, but not entirely.  Of all the tracks on this album, this was the one I felt just had too much going on.  “Our Father” ended the album with a slow start that soon morphed to a overly-distored guitar riff that soon was met with some smooth guitar solos.  The instrumental soon faded out leaving me wanting to hear more of the chaotic experimental guitar playing.

I’ve seen Coheed more times than I have fingers on my hands and I have always enjoyed watching Stever just kill it on guitar solos and play the talk box during select tracks.  It is no surprise to hear from him the exceptional musicianship on Our Machine.  Sounding prog-rock at times, many of the songs really remind me of a distant Queensrÿche relative, but the folk sounding tracks are what captivated me the most.

If you could accept The Prize Fighter Inferno from Sanchez, then you have no reason not to do the same for Stever.  This album is full of great tunes and really should be dismissed as a solo project as Stever, with help from friends, has really put together a solid album for all to hear.