It was nearly a year ago that I first took to this space to share my thoughts on the self-titled debut EP from NOTAR. We've welcomed a lot of new readers to the site over the course of the past year, and with the overdue release of the full-length DEVIL'S PLAYGROUND finally taking place this Tuesday (Sept. 13, 2011), this is a chance for all of you to get caught up.
The New York City-based emcee has returned, and believe me when I tell you that he's hitting hard.
There's an early-80's disco feel to the handful of songs provided to accompany the score to Filmdistrict's DRIVE. Having not yet viewed the film (it's out September 16th), I'm making an assumption to think that they fit with the film in a kind of GRAND THEFT AUTO way, juxtaposing the modern day setting of the film (about a movie industry stuntdriver by day/organized crime wheelman by night) with some retro sounds as backing. Presented as the first five tracks on the DRIVE - ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK, previously-released album cuts from KAVINSKY & LOVEFOXX, CHROMATICS, and COLLEGE feat. ELECTRIC YOUTH set the tone as a lead-in to the fourteen-track score by CLIFF MARTINEZ.
I'd imagine it would be hard to entirely avoid making country music if your name was HANK WILLIAMS III. But, with more than 50% of the recorded output from HANK3 hitting the market today being very non-country in the traditional sense, those looking for some of the picking and stomping you'd expect from the clan will be happy to know that the double-album GHOST TO A GHOST/GUTTERTOWN contains some of that and a whole lot more.
There's beauty in the fact that sometimes you get to do certain things just because you can. For Shelton Hank Williams III, that means getting to record four albums worth of material and release them on the same day. Crossing genres for the sake of expelling all available artistic juices, perhaps the most bizarre entry into HANK3's release schedule is that of the 3 BAR RANCH CATTLE CALLIN' album. Out this week on Williams' own label aptly dubbed Hank3 Records (distributed through Megaforce), this sonic oddity is the first entry in a new genre classification: Cattle Core.
It would be easy to imagine a mid-1970's van with some sweet landscape painted on the side, sitting ominously alone in a parking lot while the sounds of ATTENTION DEFICIT DOMINATION penetrate the thick cloud of smoke being emitted from it's slightly-cracked windows. The horns get thrown up in Satan's honor as I Feel Sacrificed crackles from the speakers with a tale of being "beaten black and true."
On the surface it's easy to see why so many people are considering Atlanta's MonstrO to be just another solider in an army of classic rock revivalists. While the band certainly raises a flag for big rock riffs, ground-shaking drums, low-end groove, and arena-echoing vocals, they have a lot more in common with the 90's than the 70's. In their own bio, the band drops nods to BLACK SABBATH and PINK FLOYD, but what's really telling is the inclusion of SOUNDGARDEN and MARK LANEGAN in their stable of influences. On their self-titled debut (out this week on Vagrant Records), there's a lot of Seattle by way of Georgia in there, along with other elements of the 90's indie rock sound.
My unabashed love of FANTOMAS has made its way into the virtual pages of my writing on more than a few occasions, specifically for that of their 2001 album THE DIRECTOR'S CUT. A record dedicated to classic cinema by re-imagining a collection of famous film scores and themes, THE DIRECTOR'S CUT has become a classic in itself - respected by music and film buffs alike.
Choosing the words with which to describe my feelings about WORSHIP MUSIC (order now on iTunes), the long-awaited and severely-overdue new album from ANTHRAX has proved challenging. In title alone, the album lends itself to a barrage of cheesy, overtly punny phrasing involving imagery of religion, worship, praise, and prayer - none of which you will find me slathering upon it like many of my peers no doubt will.
For the past two years I've been telling people that my first job is that of being a a father - The Rock Father - to my little daughter. Everything else I do is secondary, whether it be my normal gig in being a jerk on the music side of this website, directing videos, or whatever other adventures happen to come my way. During the daytime (when weather allows), the little one and I can usually be found outside, spending time in our ever-expanding garden. From vegetables to flowers, annuals to perennials, we spend time together while learning and sharing in a variety of plant-based adventures and projects. With Fall fast-approaching, we've already begun turning our spring and summer flowerbeds, planters, and hanging baskets into arrangements best-suited for what happens to me my personal favorite of all the seasons. For this particular project, there's a little family history involved for us, but it's something that any of you can do as well.
Cover sets are a great way for bands to fill the gap between studio albums while connecting with listeners to and old to bond over their shared love of the source material. Much of the time however, the end result comes in with questionable results. A few good tracks, a couple stinkers, and a 'what-were-they-thinking?' tends to be commonplace. On RE:(DISC)OVERED, PUDDLE OF MUDD shatters the mold by delivering a stellar collection of classic rock covers that remain faithful to the originals while getting a 21st Century revamp.
It's been nearly 18 years since COUNTING CROWS released their wildly-successful Geffen Records debut, AUGUST AND EVERYTHING AFTER. While the album would go platinum seven times in the U.S., I was not one of the millions who embraced it the first time around. In fact, it wasn't until I bought my wife a copy of THIS DESERT LIFE in 1999 that I paid the band much attention at all. When AUGUST first hit the streets, I was in the midst of a heavy music phase that ignored bands like the 'Crows.
Having been in love with THE MUPPETS for the better part of the past 34 years or so (yes, that is ME pictured with Kermit the Frog below right), it's pretty much a given that MUPPETS: THE GREEN ALBUM would be something I'd be looking forward to. Originally announced in 2009 as MUPPETS REVISITED, the album underwent some tweaks before making it's way to market this week.
There's a interesting connection between KITTIE and their labelmates in CHIMAIRA - both bands initially got early career boosts through appearances on a short-lived USA network series called Farmclub. Additionally, both bands have been through the ringer when it comes to labels and lineups, and both chose August of 2011 to release their sixth studio albums - both through eOne Entertainment.
The little one just turned two last week, and with the turn of age comes even more curiosity. As she inspects her surroundings, The Toddler Jukebox is growing - a selection of albums (literally) hand-picked by my little daughter. The way it works is simple: she pulls an album from the archives and Daddy has to listen to it. It's an interesting way to re-discover some music that I may not have spun for quite some time. Today's pick? IMPERIAL TEEN - SEASICK.
It's hard to believe that it's already been nearly twelve years since a then-unknown band called CHIMAIRA rocked the stage on the short-lived Farmclub on the USA Network. I was watching the show as it aired for the first time - when the band performed Dead Inside, a song that I later acquired through Napster in demo form and would later appear on their Roadrunner debut PASS OUT OF EXISTENCE in 2001. Now the Cleveland band finds themselves re-birthed with a new lineup, a new label, and a new album that just may be their best since 2003's THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF REASON.