Friday, October 30, 2009

Marked for Death

No, this isn't a post about the harrowing tale of DEA agent John Hatcher's attempt to hunt down a Jamaican drug lord named Screwface. Rather, it's about two of the dumbest people in Iowa, who brilliantly decided to burgle a home with masks that they drew onto their faces with permanent marker, and quite terribly at that. Click here for the whole story and the pictures. They're priceless. The police chief's reaction is pretty solid too.

Rocktober Album #22: Mötley Crüe – Shout at the Devil (1983)

It is with a heavy heart that I report that Rocktober will soon be over. But fear not, starting Monday, I will launch a new series called No-no-no-vember – a daily look at history's most infamous rapes. First up: Europa. I kid. I have a bit of a dark sense of humor. Hell, I like to ask anorexic women when they're due.

With the pagan equivalent of Christmas coming tomorrow, it's only fitting that that last album of Rocktober have demonic undertones. Mötley Crüe's sophomore effort, Shout at the Devil, is a solid piece of hard rock – made in an era before the power ballad (which, of course, Mötley Crüe would popularize on their next album with "Home Sweet Home"). As a result, all of the songs are heavy rockers, and there aren't and damned pianos. The version of the album that I have is part of the Crüe's recent remastering of all of their albums, so it includes several bonus tracks (tracks 12-16).

A lot of people are confused by the title of the album, believing it to be some sort of invitation to hail the devil. I always took it to mean the opposite, i.e., that you should holler at the devil. "Hey, devil, don't be such a jerk!" See, that's not so bad after all, is it?

Before getting to the songs, I need to take a minute to note that the '80s were awesome. In what other decade would an album cover featuring a barbarian tranny motif have been so widely accepted as normal? Seriously, look at these guys. Nikki Sixx's hair is simply enormous. I think he was going for the "deaf glam goth linebacker" look, as evidenced by the make-up, the eye-black, the black leather, and the fact that he is signing "I love you." Vince Neil is sufficiently creepy, and certainly appears ready to sack Troy. Tommy Lee looks like a pirate hooker, literally. In his defense, he was probably also getting a blowjob when this picture was taken. Mick Mars looks like an emaciated version of Elvira. He is the definition of a walking soul. They certainly were a – wait for it – motley crew.

1. In The Beginning
This is a fire-and-brimstone, ethereal, spoken-word intro to the album, by some Vincent Price-esque dude describing basically how the world has gone to hell in a hand basket, although you can be assured that the term "hand basket" appears nowhere in any Mötley Crüe album. Anyway, the old man encourages you all to "be strong and shout at the devil!" Real reactionary.
2. Shout at the Devil
The title track is now an '80s glam metal classic. It's biting and raw, with a great guitar riff, dark imagery, and Vince's characteristic wail.
3. Looks That Kill
This is just a great hard rock/heavy metal song. The riff is fantastic.
4. Bastard
This might be my favorite song on the album. It's fast-paced, straight-forward hard rock song with a solid refrain ("bastard"). How can you not like a song written about a child born out of wedlock?
5. God Bless the Children of the Beast
This is a weird, relatively short and slow instrumental, presumably about Uday and Kusay Hussein.
6. Helter Skelter
A mildly entertaining cover of the Beatles' song that Charles Manson somehow misinterpreted as calling for a global race war. It's about a slide.
7. Red Hot
There is almost a punk vibe to this one, at least in tempo. Its pace is very frantic, with Tommy Lee's drum work leading the way throughout the song.
8. Too Young To Fall in Love
This is a plodding, dark rocker that some have hypothesized is about me. Those rumors are false. In fact, at the time this album came out, it was clear that I was NOT too young to fall in love, as I had already fallen in love with some chick named Carissa several weeks before the album was released, on the first day of kindergarten. I even kissed her on the cheek at some other kid's birthday party. She did not return the favor, thus holding the honor of being the first in what has become a long line of ardent, recurring rejection by the opposite sex that continues to this day.
9. Knock 'Em Dead, Kid
Another straight-forward rocker.
10. Ten Seconds to Love
I find it odd that Motley Crüe wrote a song about when I lost my virginity.
11. Danger
This is kind of a cheesy song that might have fit well in an '80s B horror movie, presumably about a massacre of some sort in a sorority house or at a slumber party.
12. Shout at the Devil (demo)
As it is a demo, it sounds a lot like the final version, but not as polished. There is also some shrieking at the end that isn't in the regular version.
13. Looks That Kill (demo)
This is also virtually the same as the final version.
14. Hotter Than Hell (demo)
This song is of no relation to the KISS song of the same name. Actually, this song would later become "Louder Than Hell" on the Theatre of Pain album.
15. I Will Survive
This song is of no relation to the Donna Summer song of the same name. Thank God, or, more appropriately, the devil.
16. Too Young To Fall in Love (demo)
This is also very similar to the final version, although a bit rougher and, therefore, less fulfilling.

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Midwestern Eavesdropping - 10/29/09

Twentysomething female talking to a pregnant co-worker: "I just want to see some breast pump."
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

Guy walking down street, wearing large, Russian-style hat: "So I was a pallbearer and my mom really liked that."
--Chicago, Orchard & Drummond
Eavesdropper: Trashton

Drunk guy to a buddy: "Every time you eat a girl's ass out on the first date, you're gonna get Hep C."
--Chicago, Kelly's Pub, Sheffield & Webster
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Suit: "A miscarriage can't be good, especially for her--"
Skirt: "Already fragile mental health, I know..."
Suit (short pause): "I was going to say vagina."
--Chicago, California Pizza Kitchen, Wells & Washington
Eavesdropper: RobD

Fifth grade teacher unsure about pronunciation: "Was that i-talian or e-talian?"
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

Dude in concessions line at Carolina Panthers game: "My aunt works at Hooters so we went up there to see her. "
Eavesdropper: Yehday

Overweight female attorney to colleague: "Is it possible to take too much Imodium?"
--Chicago, 219 S. Dearborn
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Giant man at an NFL game text messaging to a woman named Becky: "Let me know when he's not around so I can comeover for fun time."
--San Diego
Eavesdropper: Tron

Fifth-grade teacher: "I woke up with pretzel sticks stuck to my ass"
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

Dude #1 at Saturday party for one-year-old, to guy wearing Notre Dame jersey: "What is that, a Ron Powlus jersey?"
Dude #2 (incredulously): "No. Lee Beckton."
--Aurora, IL
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Female teacher: "Oh look, an automatic wheelchair. You know what I can do on top of one of those things!"
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

Chick outside bar, to friend: "Did I show you my naked lady ring? The CIO of the Library of Congress gave it to me."
--Chicago, Rocks, Schubert & Lakewood
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Fifth-grade teacher: "If I'm not blacked out I don't consider myself drunk."
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

Chick on phone on State Street bridge: "Dancing might be put on hold if mom gets a hip replacement."
--Chicago, State & Wacker
Eavesdropper: GMYH

One groomsman in a tuxedo to another: "I've always wanted to put something in my mouth that's been in yours."
--Chicago, LaSalle & Randolph
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Thanks for the submissions and all that crap. If you overhear something funny, email it to Good day.

Rocktober Album #21: Sex Pistols – Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols (1977)

32 years ago today, two beasts were unleashed on the world. Me and the Sex Pistols' one and only album, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols. (There are conflicting reports about when the album was released, but I'm going to believe that it was on my birthday. Let me have this one.)

Widely recognized as THE album that defined punk and, above that, one of the most important albums in rock history, Never Mind the Bollocks is a cultural and musical institution. Of course, underneath all the angst, loud instruments, and screaming are some very well-crafted songs with hooks and pop sensibility.

1. Holidays In The Sun
Right of the bat, they come at you with supersonic speed and yelling and such. They apparently really wanted to go over the Berlin Wall.
2. Bodies
This is one of my favorites on the album. It is definitely intense. As a song about abortion, this certainly was a direct influence on the Bloomington, Indiana-based, short-lived punk sensation Cervical Implosion's hit song "Abortion Monday." In actuality, the inspiration is pretty messed up. Legend has it, the subject of the song – some chick called Pauline who – had several abortions, and one time showed up at Johnny Rotten's door with an aborted fetus in a plastic bag. Pretty standard.
3. No Feelings
Another great song, especially for those of us who care only about ourselves.
4. Liar
This is a song that I presume was written presciently about Mark Sanford. Zing!
5. God Save The Queen
This is a punk classic, summing up the English youth's collective feeling at that point in time: "No future / No future / No future for me."
6. Problems
I got a rash, man.
7. Seventeen
Any song describing oneself as a "lazy sod" has to be a good one. Oddly, Winger's cover of this song sounds nothing like it and contains none of the same lyrics.
8. Anarchy In The U.K.
"I am an antichrist / I am an anarchist." Talk about one of the all-time great lines. This, of course, is a punk classic. As I'm sure you all know, it spawned literal anarchy in the United Kingdom. The Queen abdicated her throne, Parliament closed its doors, and Pete Doherty was born.
9. Submission
This is slower than most of the other songs, almost sounding like it could be a Stooges song.
10. Pretty Vacant
This is another one of my favorites on this album. I love the intro riff, as well as the play on words in the chorus ("We're so pretty / Oh, so pretty / Vacant"). You see, Kevin, they actually don't think of themselves as pretty, but rather as pretty vacant.
11. New York
This one is basically a "fuck you" to New York scenesters.
12. E.M.I.
I bet EMI kicks themselves everyday for releasing the Sex Pistols they made this album. At least they have a constant reminder in song form.

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Shit I Hate: Strippers with Meth Teeth

For the love of God, there has to be a dentist in this town. I don't give a shit if Tail Feathers doesn't offer dental insurance or that you have a raging habit to support, because I'm not paying $7 a Bud Light to see a stripper whose open mouth looks like Carlsbad Caverns. Please take the dollar bill I stuffed into your chartreuse g-string when I was mesmerized with your ability to slowly slide down that pole while hanging upside down -- when I still thought you resembled a young Uma Thurman more so than The Leprechaun -- and put it in that empty mayonnaise jar you keep next to the barren mattress in the room you've been staying in for the past few months or possibly years (you're not sure which it is because you've only slept a total of fourteen minutes in the past in six months, and, to be honest, the rest is kind of a blur, and, no, I don't have any meth), and when you have compiled somewhere between three and four dollars in the jar, buy some Arm & Hammer Advance White Baking Soda & Peroxide toothpaste. Use it. everyday. At least twice, and preferably after every time you smoke meth. So I guess that would be more than twice a day. Just make it a habit. You've proven that you can do that. When that doesn't work, you can always buy some fake teeth from the costume store -- NOT the ones that look just like yours because I don't think that will address the issue properly. Even vampire teeth would work, considering every guy's fantasy is to bang a vampire stripper. If that doesn't work, you can buy a mouth guard. Actually, on second thought, don't do that, because guys tend not to associate mouth guards with sexual attraction, so that might stifle the prospect of being rained upon with paper currency. Actually, what I think would really help is to stop smoking meth. Then you wouldn't have to be a stripper because you wouldn't have a meth habit to support, although I think you should stick with it because you got the tits for it. Using the money you will save by not buying meth several times a day, you can get yourself some nice veneers or even some dentures. Then you would be unstoppable. Imagine how much more money you'll make when your customers aren't afraid to fall asleep because they're concerned that you will enter their dreams and try to kill them. And then imagine how much meth you can buy with all that teeth money. Everybody wins.

Rocktober Album #20: Danzig – Thrall: Demonsweatlive (1993)

Glenn Danzig (not to be confused with Glenn Gdańsk), of course, was the lead singer of macabre punk rockers The Misfits and then Samhain. He is best known for being jacked and not wearing shirts, although he has also been famously cold cocked. After Samhain, he switched from punk to metal with the formation of his eponymous band.

Produced by Rick Rubin, Thrall: Demonsweatlive is, like G N' R Lies, a hybrid studio/live album. Half of the album is in the studio, and the other half is live. Many of the songs have bluesy undertones, and, appropriately, the live songs were recorded during a 1992 Halloween show.

The cover art is enough to make a man go sterile. Is that a maenad?

1. It's Coming Down
This is a nice, hard start to the album, with a heavy riff and powerful vocals. I don't know what's coming down, but I assume he's probably referring to Christmas decorations on December 26.
2. The Violent Fire
This one is a little slower-paced, but equally as heavy. It definitely has a horror blues-rock feel to it, and that description should make some sense when you hear it.
3. Trouble
This is an old Lieber & Stoller tune that Elvis sung in the movie King Creole. Of course, Danzig's version is darker than the original.
4. Snakes of Christ (live)
This is probably my second-favorite song on the album. It's got a great riff. And for you religious nuts out there, it talks about Jesus.
5. Am I Demon (live)
This song asks the age-old line of questions, "Am I human? Am I demon? Am I just like you?" The answer for me is yes, no, and no. Frankly, I'm not sure how you can answer the first two questions in the affirmative, as they appear to be contradictory. And then, if you do, the third question would still probably be a "no," unless you were talking to another de-man hybrid. (See what I did there? Man, I love combining words.)
6. Sistinas (live)
This is a ballad, if you can believe that. It showcases Danzig's voice (which is actually pretty good and often gets overshadowed by the guitars and the anger), and it almost sounds like a Morrissey song in some parts.
7. Mother (live)
This is the song that catapulted Danzig from the fringes to MTV.
93. Mother '93
For those of you who still own CDs (I am one), the remixed studio version of "Mother" is the hidden 93rd track. For those of you who download albums, it will just be the eighth song. What's the fun in that? Anyway, "Mother" was originally recorded on the band's 1988 debut album, Danzig, it was remixed for this album based on the early success of the album, and was included from the fourth pressing on. Obviously, this is Danzig's most popular song and has become a metal classic. Some of the lines are just delightfully evil. "Not about to see your light / But if you wanna find hell with me / I can show you what's it's like / 'Til you're bleeding." "Mother, tell your children not to hold my hand / Tell your children not to understand." Oh, mother!

Interesting tidbits:
1. Glenn Danzig has written songs for Roy Orbison and Johnny Cash.
2. The time on the CD between the live version of "Mother" and "Mother '93" is 7 minutes and 6 seconds, or 6 minutes and 66 seconds.

Of course, only had a few of the songs, so deal with it.

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Rocktober Album #19: Iron Maiden – Killers (1981)

Iron Maiden are heavy metal royalty. They were the pioneers of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, speeding up Thin Lizzy's twin lead guitar attack and combining it with ridiculous bass lines, dark imagery, and often quasi-operatic musical backdrops. Their mascot, Eddie, has become a character unto himself, gracing all of the band's album covers, as well as late '80s PSAs. And the band took their name from a medieval torture device. Excellent.

The band released two albums with their first lead singer, Paul Di'Anno, who was replaced by the wailing Bruce Dickinson in late 1981 because Di'Anno was allegedly delving into self-destructive behavior (and because his voice was thought to be too punkish).

Killers was the band's second album and last with Di'Anno. The band first toured America off the strength of this album, and it is a great metal album with wicked guitars, turbo bass and drum lines, and some excellent imagery delving into the supernatural, the macabre, and, dare I say it, murder. Enjoy.

1. The Ides of March
This is a brooding instrumental that appears to be building up to something. That something is the rest of the album.
2. Wrathchild
I don't know what a "wrathchild" is, but I hope my fetus isn't one. Regardless, this song is a plodding hard rock song. And, since these guys are British, "wrathchild" sounds like "rothchild."
3. Murders in the Rue Morgue
This is my favorite Iron Maiden song. It starts with a slow, almost classical intro, then blasts into high gear for the rest of the song. There's something about the verses that are very catchy. Plus, the lyrics are based loosely on an Edgar Allen Poe poem (I would just call it a Poe-m), and revolve around a dude who hears some screams, then gets framed for murdering a couple chicks, then runs away.
4. Another Life
This is another fast-paced rocker with an insano guitar solo in the middle.
5. Genghis Khan
This is an instrumental. It reminds me of a song to which an army of zombies or mummies might march, and I mean that in the best possible way.
6. Innocent Exile
This one has a funkier beat than most of the other songs. The lyrics to this one are a bit of a downer. It's another one about being framed for murder.
7. Killers
As Iron Maiden does so very well, the bass line and drums sound like a thundering herd of rhinos, storming towards you. Not me. You. And, as the song implies, this song is sung from the point of view of a killer. "You walk through the subway, my eyes burn a hole in your back / A footstep behind you, he lunges prepared for attack / Scream for mercy, he laughs as he's watching you bleed / Killer behind you, my blood lust defies all my needs."
8. Prodigal Son
This one has almost a Zeppelin feel to it.
9. Purgatory
This is a classic, fast-paced example of the NWOBH at its finest.
10. Twilight Zone
I like this song a lot. It's got a fast-speaking verse, and is generally awesome in all other respects. And for you ladies out there, the song's about a guy who's been dead for three years who tries to show his lover that she will never be alone, but the kicker is that she can't see or hear him. Classic romantic comedy material.
11. Drifters
This is my second-favorite song on the album. As with many of their songs, the band makes use of tempo changes masterfully in this one. It's got great, catchy verses, and an awesome guitar solo.

Interesting tidbit: While Bruce Dickinson does put his pants on one leg at a time and does, in fact, make gold records when his pants are on, he is of no relation to the fictional record producer of the same name made famous by Christopher Walken.

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Monday, October 26, 2009

Follow Our Footsteps

One of the many Gregs I know and his special ladyfriend have done what many people dream of doing: they are taking a year off work and traveling around the world. To rub it in our noses, they are chronicling their journey via a "web log" called Follow Our Footsteps. (which I have added as a link on the sidebar). They are currently in Argentina.

New Book - Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer

I finally finished KISS: Behind the Mask: The Official Authorized Biography by David Leaf and Ken Sharp. It was a cumbersome book, but a good one for any KISS fan. As I mentioned before, Leaf completed his portion of this back in 1980, after interviewing the band about their rise to glory the previous year. For one reason or another, the book didn't get published, then sat dormant for about fifteen years, until Leaf and Sharp (a KISS fanatic who had written articles about the band) met. Once Sharp found out that Leaf had written a book about KISS, he demanded to read it, did so, loved it, and convinced Leaf to publish it, with Sharp contributing to the band's post-1979 exploits. After that, there was an album-by-album, song-by-song analysis, complete with detailed commentary from the band, the producers, engineers, managers, etc. Leaf's portion was particularly interesting because the band was interviewed at a time when the original line-up was still together and when they were still the biggest band in the world. All in all, I would recommend it for fans of KISS, but not casual fans, unless you feel like reading about hundreds of songs you've never heard before.

My only beef with it was that, in the third section, the book glossed over Ace Frehley's solo album (which you know I like), discussing only two songs and providing very little commentary about it. I have no idea if that was simply due to a lack of interviews or discussions with Ace about the album or what, but I was disappointed nonetheless.

Aside from heights, forgetting your credit card at a bar, and rattlesnakes, there is nothing scarier than religious zealots. That's what attracted me to the book I just started reading, Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer. It's about the extremist sects of Mormonism, focusing on a 1984 double murder of a mother and her 15-month-old daughter by two of the woman's brothers-in-law, whose only explanation for the murder was that God ordered one of them to do it.

Books read in 2009:
The Informers by Bret Easton Ellis
Oh The Glory of It All by Sean Wilsey
I Hate New Music: The Classic Rock Manifesto by Dave Thompson
Sound of the Beast: The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal by Ian Christe
Tearing Down the Wall of Sound: The Rise and Fall of Phil Spector by Mick Brown
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
Everybody Wants Some: The Van Halen Saga by Ian Christe
The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
Choke by Chuck Palahniuk
KISS: Behind the Mask: The Official Authorized Biography by David Leaf and Ken Sharp

Rocktober Album #18: Black Sabbath – Paranoid (1970)

In honor of the greatest holiday in the world, Halloween (take that, Guy Fawkes Night!), the last week of Rocktober will feature bands that delved into the macabre (with one notable exception, which I will explain when the time is proper).

We start the week off with a metal classic, Black Sabbath's sophomore effort, Paranoid. What a great album. Ozzy's vocals are creepy and excellent, Tony Iommi's guitars are predictably awesome, and the rhythm section of Bill Ward and Geezer Butler holds everything in place. It's axiomatic that this is one of the great heavy metal albums of all-time.

1. War Pigs/Luke's Wall
"War Pigs" is my favorite Black Sabbath song. It starts off slow, with air raid sirens in the background, then kicks into the main riff at about the 50-second mark. I get goosebumps whenever Ozzy kicks in with "generals gathered in their masses ' just like witches at black masses." It's right then when you realize you're not in Kansas anymore. This song has great dark imagery ("in the fields, a body's burning," "now in darkness world stops turning / ashes where the body's burning," "day of judgment, God is calling / on their knees, the war pigs crawling"). Once in high school, I wrote out the lyrics to "War Pigs" and told my mom it was a poem I wrote. Her reaction was, and I quote, "Oh. It's dark. It's good. But it's dark." Then I went away for a while.
2. Paranoid
I'm pretty sure I don't need to say anything about this classic.
3. Planet Caravan
This is a trippy, slower song that doesn't really mesh that well with the rest of the album, in my opinion.
4. Iron Man
You all know "Iron Man," and if you don't, you certainly know the riff, which is one of the most recognizable in rock history. This is a great metal song.
5. Electric Funeral
This is a badass, dark song about nuclear winter (not that there are many "light" songs about nuclear winter).
6. Hand of Doom
This one starts out kind of slow, but then kicks into gear about two minutes into it. It's another great early metal song.
7. Rat Salad
This is a completely awesome name for a song and, at the same time, something I hope never to eat. The song itself is a nice little instrumental.
8. Jack the Stripper/Fairies Wear Boots
This one (or two) is a solid end to the album. The latter half of the title is alleged to be an anti-skinhead credo.

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Undefeated After Week 8

For the first time this season, an undefeated team did not lose. Nice work, guys. Here is a breakdown of the undefeated teams and each team's remaining games (rankings are BCS rankings):

#1 Florida (7-0)
10/31 – vs. Georgia (4-3)
11/7 – Vanderbilt (2-6)
11/14 – at #22 South Carolina (6-2)
11/21 – Florida International (1-6)
11/28 – Florida State (3-4)

Remaining opponents' combined record: 16-21 (.432)

#2 Alabama (8-0)
11/7 – #9 LSU (6-1)
11/14 – at Mississippi State (3-5)
11/21 – Chattanooga (4-3) (FCS team)
11/27 – at Auburn (5-3)

Remaining opponents' combined record: 18-12 (.600)

(If Florida and Alabama both win out in the regular season, they will face each other in the SEC championship game.)

#3 Texas (7-0)
10/31 – at #14 Oklahoma State (6-1)
11/7 – UCF (4-3)
11/14 – at Baylor (3-4)
11/21 – Kansas (5-2)
11/26 – at Texas A&M (4-3)

Remaining opponents' combined record: 22-13 (.629)

#4 Iowa (8-0)
10/31 – Indiana (4-4)
11/7 – Northwestern (5-3)
11/14 – at #17 Ohio State (6-2)
11/21 – Minnesota (4-4)

Remaining opponents' combined record: 19-13 (.594)

#6 TCU (7-0)
10/31 – UNLV (3-5)
11/7 – at San Diego State (3-4)
11/14 – #16 Utah (6-1)
11/21 – at Wyoming (4-3)
11/28 – New Mexico (0-7)

Remaining opponents' combined record: 16-20 (.444)

#7 Boise State (7-0)
10/31 – San Jose State (1-5)
11/6 – at Louisiana Tech (3-4)
11/14 – Idaho (6-2)
11/20 – at Utah State (2-5)
11/27 – Nevada (4-3)
12/5 – New Mexico State (3-5)

Remaining opponents' combined record: 19-24 (.441)

#8 Cincinnati (7-0)
10/31 – at Syracuse (3-4)
11/7 – Connecticut (4-3)
11/13 – #21 West Virginia (6-1)
11/27 – Illinois (1-6)
12/5 – at #15 Pittsburgh (7-1)

Remaining opponents' combined record: 21-15 (.583)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Rocktober Album #17: Guns N' Roses – G N' R Lies (1988)

Ahhh, Guns N' Roses. How I miss thee.

Riding the success of what I consider to be the best hard rock debut album of all-time, Appetite for Destruction, Guns N' Roses released G N' R Lies in 1988. Soon enough, GNR became the first artist to ever have two albums in the Top 5 at the same time. Not too shabby.

The first half of the album is "live" tracks from the Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide EP, which was released before the guys hit it big, when they were still the darling bad boys of the Sunset Strip scene. Live is in quotes because, as with many "live" albums, the songs were recorded in the studio, and crowd noise was added in. Make no mistake, that doesn't mean the songs don't kick ass.

The second half of the album is comprised of acoustic studio tracks, with the guys showing their softer side, if you can call a song about killing your woman or a song expressing hatred for various races soft.

1. Reckless Life
The album starts off with a bang. This song is full of energy and youthful angst. "I lead a reckless life / And I don't need your advice." True.
2. Nice Boys
This is one of my favorite GNR songs. It's fast and angry, and has one of the great rock choruses: "Nice boys don't play rock and roll." But that's not even the best line in the song. How about this one to brighten your day: "But now she lays in a filthy room / She kills the pain with a fuck and a spoon." I don't know about you, but I'm interested. The song is actually a cover of a song originally done by Australian hard rockers Rose Tattoo. Coincidentally, Axl Rose has a tattoo of a rose (which I mentioned a couple weeks ago when discussing Thin Lizzy's Black Rose: A Rock Legend).
3. Move to the City
This song is about the classic story of a teenager who fights with his/her parents and isn't doing well in school, so he/she moves to the city. But is that really the solution? I think this song does an admirable job of answering that question.
4. Mama Kin
"This is a song about your fucking mother." After that introduction, the boys kick into their excellent cover of this Aerosmith classic.
5. Patience
You know "Patience." It's a classic. In my opinion, the best song ever that prominently features whistling. Sorry, Andrew Bird fans. And, let's be honest, there isn't one of you who doesn't sing along at the top of your lungs (even when you're at work) when Axl kicks back in with about a minute left in the song: "I've been walkin' the streets at night / Just tryin' to get it right . . ."
6. Used to Love Her
This is also one of my favorite GNR songs. It's got such a cheery and sing-song-y melody, but such a darkly humorous subject. "I used to love her / But I had to kill her / I had to put her / Six feet under / And I can still hear her complain." I think every guy can relate to that, especially the Green River Killer.
7. You're Crazy
This is an acoustic version of the song from Appetite. Somehow, it doesn't lose its edge.
8. One in a Million
I've never much cared for this song, mostly because Axl drops the n-bomb in it, and manages to derogate various other demographics. Apparently, Axl wrote it about an experience at a bus station in LA, and meant no harm. I have never understood how Slash (who is biracial) allowed this song to go forward, although from what I understand, he has taken a relatively zen attitude about it.

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thursday Texts - 10/22/09

I have been stockpiling texts for Thursday Texts, but have been forgetting to post them. Anyway, here you go:

312: How is it possible that marty mcflys parents would not remember him when he gets back. Yes. Whisky and vodka today already.

919: Let's hurt these smug bastards like the Enola Gay hurt Hiroshima

773: A PhD in field goals? Really Purdue?

812: It really is glorious outside
812: My dog's shit didn't even steam today
248: This conversation is over.
812: I'm just saying
812: It must be warm if the shit isn't steaming

206: Fuck the buckeyes- I got laid saying that last time

312: I'm out drinking with 60 yr old guys. Man. What you can learn.

937: They may as well just award the natl champ to florida and start next year. Tebow should have won peace prize

330: Howdy, last night was fun. Sorry I wasn't there when you woke up. I woke up starving and got food.
330: That wasn't supposed to go to you sorry
330: And that message definitely isn't what it looks like

773: Guy sitting in the IU section, IN FUCKING VIRGINIA wearing Purdue shirt and cap. Really?!?

312: Just watched the ankle snap scene from misery for the 1st time in 17 yrs. Why were we allowed to watch this?

773: Storming the field? Weak iowa...very weak

As I said in the initial Thursday Texts post, I invite you to email hilarious texts that you send or receive to, and I will post them accordingly. All texts will be anonymous, identified only by their area code. Or, I also strongly encourage people to post texts as comments to the Thursday Text posts. I will not approve any comments that contain last names.

Rocktober Album #16: Motörhead – Ace of Spades (1980)

A pillar of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Motörhead is known for their fast beats, gritty guitars, and, of course, the gravely vocals of Lemmy Kilmister.

Ace of Spades is a classic metal album, combining the NWOBH with a punk attitude and edge. If you like hard rock and heavy metal – and frankly, I don't know why you wouldn't – then you should like this album. The version of the album I have includes three bonus tracks (tracks 13-15), so that's, well, a bonus. (And it's only $7.97 on Amazon.)

1. Ace of Spades
This is Motörhead's most popular and recognizable song, and it's a fast-paced classic.
2. Love Me Like a Reptile
This is a sweet song, although I have no idea what this means, since humans do not fertilize eggs. Perhaps, they want to be loved cold-bloodedly, which would be weird.
3. Shoot You In The Back
I love Lemmy's voice because sometimes it sounds like he is straining to get the words out, such as in this song, which I would like to think is about coitus, the physical act of love.
4. Live to Win
This is another frantic rocker, with a nice message to boot. No one likes a loser. Because losers die. You can see how this song influenced the speed and trash metal that was born in the coming years.
5. Fast and Loose
This one starts out with an awesome riff, and generally kicks ass.
6. (We Are) The Road Crew
Another solid rocker, although confusing because Motörhead is not the road crew. Their road crew, incidentally, did not release a song called "(We Are) Motörhead."
7. Fire Fire
I like this song a lot. It's fast, it's ballsy, it's awesome.
8. Jailbait
I also like this song a lot. It's also fast, ballsy, and awesome. And who can't relate to the desire to bang a tawdry teenage vixen. It's as old as time, and a theme often contemplated in rock and roll (see also, "Sixteen Candles" by The Crests, "Only Sixteen" by Sam Cooke, "Christine Sixteen" by KISS, "Seventeen" by Winger)
9. Dance
Not a title you'd expect from a metal band. Rest assured, this song does not bow to disco. It's straight NWOBH all the way.
10. Bite The Bullet
Another fast-paced, balls-out rocker about leaving someone ("you," in this case).
11. The Chase Is Better Than the Catch
This one starts out with a gritty riff and continues to rock throughout.
12. The Hammer
This is another great, fast-paced NWOBH song with a punk energy. It is probably not about Greg Valentine, but what this post presupposes is, maybe it is?
13. Dirty Love
The first of the bonus tracks is another good one. Lemmy, despite his God-given homely looks, was a notorious ladies' man. In addition to clean love, he wanted dirty love as well.
14. Please Don't Touch
This is a collaboration with the female NWOBH group Girlschool (they called the collaboration Headgirl, and you know I love word combinations). I heard this one many years ago on Pandora and have liked it ever since. It's a cover of a late '50s pop song by Johnny Kidd & The Pirates, and it's pretty catchy. There are definitely some unexpected hooks in there.
15. Emergency
The album and bonus tracks end with a solid offering, with great guitars, fast beats, and a sing-along chorus.

Interesting tidbit: After guitarist "Fast" Eddie Clarke left Motörhead in 1982, he formed somewhat of a metal supergroup, Fastway (another word combination), with Pete Way of UFO, former Humble Pie drummer Jerry Shirley, and a then-unknown vocalist Dave King, who is now the lead singer for Celtic punk stalwarts Flogging Molly.

Sadly, not many songs were available on, and I mixed in the live versions of a couple of the songs, since that's all that was available.

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Rocktober Album #15: The Black Keys – Rubber Factory (2004)

This has nothing to do with Rocktober, but I begin to question advertising agencies when I see a Folger's ad centered around Riverdance-style dancing. It's concerning. But I digress.

Following the lead of The White Stripes, The Black Keys are a Midwest Rust Belt duo – comprised only of a guitarist and a drummer – that cranks out high-quality, blues-influenced garage fuzz rock.

Rubber Factory, the band's third album, was actually recorded in an abandoned Akron rubber tire factory. The result is a gritty, bluesy, stripped-down offering that I consider to be the band's best album. Patrick Carney's drumming is best described as controlled rage. Dan Auerbach's guitars are fuzzy and awesome, and his voice continues to resemble a much older African-American bluesman. If you like blues rock with fuzzed-out guitars, then you will like this album. If you don't like blues rock with fuzzed-out guitars, please go back to Canada.

1. When the Lights Go Out
A bluesy start to the album, with plodding drums and a twangy guitar riff. Auerbach sounds like he's singing at the bottom of a well, and I mean that in the best possible way.
2. 10 A.M. Automatic
This is one of my favorite songs of the past decade. It's got a great riff and great guitar work overall. I've always like the opening line: "What about the night makes you change / Oh, from sweet to deranged." For me, it's whiskey.
3. Just Couldn't Tie Me Down
This a twangy, blues-influenced rocker, presumably about a incompetent dominatrix.
4. All Hands Against His Own
This one starts off with a catchy riff and beat, and all around, it's a solid blues rock song.
5. The Desperate Man
6. Girl Is On My Mind
This is another bluesy, fuzzy masterpiece with Carney bashing away in the background. I think I just described 95% of The Black Keys' songs.
7. The Lengths
The guys take it down a notch with a slide-guitar-infused, acoustic ballad.
8. Grown So Ugly
Not only is it some hard-hitting blues rock, but it's about some dude who leaves his woman in 1942, then comes back years later. She barely recognizes him, due to his ugliness.
9. Stack Shot Billy
I love this song. It's a take on the Stagger Lee legend, which has been retold by bluesmen many times over in song. The Black Keys' version is great. The drums are excellent on this song, and I do enjoy a good wah pedal guitar solo.
10. Act Nice and Gentle
This is another ballad, presumably not about a dominatrix, regardless of her competency.
11. Aeroplane Blues
Fuzzy guitars are the choruses in this one, which is interesting because the guitars in the verses are barely noticeable.
12. Keep Me
This is another bluesy song, with a choppy guitar riff that occasionally lets itself go with a bottleneck.
13. Till I Get My Way
This is a great ending to a great album. This song is energetic. Carney is punishing the drums. Auerbach's guitars are predictably (and deliciously) fuzzy, and his vocals are solid. The subject matter of this song is nice, especially for you stalkers out there. "I will be calling on you everyday / Till I get my way."

Unfortunately, only 8 of the songs are on, which I now firmly believed is conspiring against me and, more importantly, against Rocktober.

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Drunker Than You Are

So you had a pretty killer night of partying last night. You and Liam made it through to the next round robin, so you got hammered. You may have exposed yourself to an eight-year-old. It's now 10:45 a.m., and you're still so drunk you can barely walk. No worries, though, because your ponytail is still braided very securely. You have only one option. It's not passing out. It's not drinking some water. It's not walking door-to-door in your neighborhood to tell everyone you're a pederast. No, no. You gotta keep the party going by grabbing a 12-er of Bud diesel – Liam's favorite. You can do it. In your words, "Nobody fucks with the Jesus!" So you walk into the local mini-mart near the In-and-Out Burger on Camrose. Nothing can stop you. Except you . . .

Worst Shopping Run Ever - Watch more Funny Videos

My favorite part starts at about the 3-minute mark when a worker bearing a strong resemblance to Buddy Ryan (both in stature and defensive genius) spots Jesus. Of course, Jesus waves Buddy off, as everything was obviously fine. He was just sitting down for a couple minutes, and if it weren't for this damned ninety-pound 12-pack of Bud, he would have been up and about sooner. Then he fails miserably trying to exit the store. Way to grab onto the plastic bowl of coffee creamers to try to prevent yourself from falling. Creep can roll.

Thanks to Chenandler Bong for the link.

Rocktober Album #14: The Replacements – Let It Be (1984)

Until a couple years ago, I had always heard of The Replacements, but had never actually heard a single song by them. Not unlike a disgruntled blogger you might know, The Replacements were born in Minneapolis in the late '70s. I had a notion as to how I thought they might sound, and that was confirmed when I bought 1984's Let It Be, the band's fourth album.

Listening to this album, you can hear how The Replacements influenced a lot of American "alternative" bands, both in the '80s and '90s. By this point, The Replacements had moved from the harder-edged punky feel of their earlier albums to a nice combination of punk energy and more listener-friendly tunes. The songs are generally catchy, but that doesn't mean that they lost their edge. Most of the songs are fast-paced and still have a punk feel to them, and some of the songs are straight-up punk.

All in all, this is a really good album. Plus, I used to love to hang out on roofs.

1. I Will Dare
This is a catchy '80s alt-rock song and pretty much what I expected The Replacements to sound like.
2. Favorite Thing
This is one that maintains its punk edge, but is also pretty catchy.
3. We're Coming Out
This one is definitely straight punk. The guitars are fast, the beat is breakneck. I especially like the bridge. It slows down for a while, before kicking back into gear.
4. Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out
As far as I know, this is the only song about getting one's tonsils taken out. It's a good song.
5. Androgynous
This song is slower, with just a piano accompaniment. It's about androgyny.
6. Black Diamond
You know this one rocks because it's a KISS cover. I've always thought it was odd that they would cover KISS, since punk bands were generally opposed to arena rock and such. Regardless, it's a good cover. They manage to stay true to the original, but make it their own at the same time.
7. Unsatisfied
This song is slower than most, which isn't to say it's a "slow song." It's more poppy than punky, and it's a good one.
8. Seen Your Video
Back to the punk beat with rock guitars, this song doesn't have much in the way of lyrics. Most of the song is instrumental, with a short spat decrying the "phony rock and roll" that lead singer Paul Westerberg is seeing in "your video." On behalf of all of us, he exclaims that "we don't wanna know."
9. Gary's Got a Boner
This is one of the better song titles of all-time, especially because the song was recorded in 1984, so it can be assumed it's about Gary Coleman. My favorite line? "Gary's got a soft-on."
10. Sixteen Blue
This is another ballad about teen angst, I assume.
11. Answering Machine
This is my favorite song on the album. The fuzzy riff is awesome. And the subject matter is good as well. More relationship angst. How DO you say "good night" to an answering machine? only had 6 songs, so deal with it.

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Monday, October 19, 2009

Rocktober Album #13: KISS – Ace Frehley (1978)

On September 18, 1978, KISS did something completely unheard of: each band member simultaneously released his own solo album. Whether this was brilliant or not, at this point, there were four egos in the band that needed to do their own thing. Each album eventually went platinum, although none as quickly as Ace Frehley's album.

This was the most successful and critically acclaimed of the four solo albums, even though Gene Simmons had a virtual who's who of rock and roll helping him out. I find it kind of funny that both Gene and Paul, in the book I'm reading right now, only gave Ace's solo album three stars (and each gave his own albums five stars of course). You can tell by what they say about it that they are both still bitter that Ace's album kicked the shit out of both of their albums. And with good reason.

This album is absolutely awesome. It is becoming my favorite KISS album. There is not a bad song on the album. Ace really comes into his own here. All of the songs are hard-hitting rock songs, which certainly cannot be said for the other three members' albums. The unfortunate side effect of that is that Ace saw the success of his solo album as an indicator that he didn't need KISS anymore, so he left the band a few years later. Hell, up to this point, he had only sung lead on one KISS song ("Shock Me").

This album represents the direction KISS should have gone, rather than the band's ill-fated venture into disco-rock and cheesy late-'70s/early '80s soft rock that plagued their next few albums. Thanks, Gene and Paul.

1. Rip It Out
From the opening notes, Ace grabs you by the balls and explains that, while the other members may be straying from straight-forward rock and roll, Ace Frehley will not cede to the trends of the music industry. This song is a ball buster, and it has quickly and violently become one of my favorite KISS songs.
2. Speedin' Back to My Baby
This is a catchy rocker with predictably great guitar work.
3. Snow Blind
Ace liked drugs. This song discusses that. You see, Kevin, "snow blind" is a metaphor for the effect that cocaine might have on one's mind, body, and life. Anyway, the song is gritty with a great guitar solo, and it should not be ignored. Unfortunately, only the guitar solo is on, so that's all I was able to put on the mix.
4. Ozone
The "ozone" is another metaphor for being drunk and/or stoned. For instance, you might say "Ace was in the ozone when he recorded this album." I don't know that for sure, but the fact that he is singing in this song about how high he was makes me think that was the case. Unfortunately, this is not on
5. What’s On Your Mind?
This is my second-favorite song on the album. It's another straight-forward, catchy rocker, with an acoustic guitar overlaying the electric guitar that gives the song a really nice sound. This is also not on
6. New York Groove
This was the highest charting song off of the four solo albums, reaching #13. It's a cover song, and while it may be a bit kitschy, it's also catchy.
7. I'm In Need of Love
I think this was the first song I ever heard off of this album, on Pandora a few years ago, and it's no wonder it piqued my interest. The song is spacey, which make sense give the Space Ace persona. There are some weird guitar effects that make this song very cool.
8. Wiped-Out
Beginning with an ode to the Surfaris' song "Wipe Out," this is another song about alcohol abuse. This one is also not on
9. Fractured Mirror
This instrumental provides a nice coda to the album, bringing you down after the rush of the rest of the songs.

Interesting tidbits:
1. Obviously, Ace played all guitar parts on all of the songs, but he also played bass on all but three of the songs.
2. All of the songs are backed by session drummer Anton Fig, and three songs are backed by bassist Will Lee, both of whom are now (and have been for well over twenty years) members of David Letterman's Late Show band. Fig also played some uncredited drum parts on a couple later KISS albums.
3. Ace recently released a solo album, Anomaly, which I highly recommend. You may have heard his cover of the Sweet's "Fox on the Run" on the radio. Space Ace still has it.

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Undefeated After Week 7 (Revised)

USF and Kansas, thanks for playing. We are now down to 7 FBS teams that are undefeated, all of which are in the AP Top 10. A maximum of 6 teams will be able to finish the regular season undefeated.

Here is a breakdown of the undefeated teams and each team's remaining games (rankings are BCS rankings):

#1 Florida (6-0)
10/24 – at Mississippi State (3-4)
10/31 – vs. Georgia (4-3)
11/7 – Vanderbilt (2-5)
11/14 – at #24 South Carolina (5-2)
11/21 – Florida International (1-5)
11/28 – Florida State (2-4)

Remaining opponents' combined record: 17-23 (.425)

#2 Alabama (7-0)
10/24 – Tennessee (3-3)
11/7 – #9 LSU (5-1)
11/14 – at Mississippi State (3-4)
11/21 – Chattanooga (4-2) (FCS team)
11/27 – at Auburn (5-2)

Remaining opponents' combined record: 20-12 (.625)

(If Florida and Alabama both win out in the regular season, they will face each other in the SEC championship game.)

#3 Texas (6-0)
10/24 – at Missouri (4-2)
10/31 – at #15 Oklahoma State (5-1)
11/7 – UCF (3-3)
11/14 – at Baylor (3-3)
11/21 – #25 Kansas (5-1)
11/26 – at Texas A&M (3-3)

Remaining opponents' combined record: 23-13 (.639)

#4 Boise State (6-0)
10/24 – at Hawaii (2-4)
10/31 – San Jose State (1-5)
11/6 – at Louisiana Tech (3-3)
11/14 – Idaho (6-1)
11/20 – at Utah State (1-5)
11/27 – Nevada (3-3)
12/5 – New Mexico State (3-4)

Remaining opponents' combined record: 17-25 (.405)

#5 Cincinnati (6-0)
10/24 – Louisville (2-4)
10/31 – at Syracuse (2-4)
11/7 – Connecticut (4-2)
11/13 – #23 West Virginia (5-1)
11/27 – Illinois (1-5)
12/5 – at #20 Pittsburgh (6-1)

Remaining opponents' combined record: 20-17 (.541)

#6 Iowa (7-0)
10/24 – at Michigan State (4-3)
10/31 – Indiana (4-3)
11/7 – Northwestern (4-3)
11/14 – at #19 Ohio State (5-2)
11/21 – Minnesota (4-3)

Remaining opponents' combined record: 21-14 (.600)

#8 TCU (6-0)
10/24 – at #16 BYU (6-1)
10/31 – UNLV (2-5)
11/7 – at San Diego State (2-4)
11/14 – #18 Utah (5-1)
11/21 – at Wyoming (4-3)
11/28 – New Mexico (0-6)

Remaining opponents' combined record: 19-20 (.487)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Rocktober Album #12: Def Leppard – High 'n' Dry (1981)

You know I'm a big Def Leppard fan (see Exhibit 1, Exhibit 2, and Exhibit 3). Everyone's always asking me, "Oh, hey GMYH, so either Hysteria or Pyromania must be your favorite Def Leppard album, right?" And I'm all, "Get the fuck off my lawn." And they're all, "We're in a bar, and you don't even have a lawn." And I'm all, "Whatever." But it gets me thinking, for sure.

High 'n' Dry is the band's second album, and it just may be my favorite Def Leppard album, or at least in a dead heat with Hysteria. It is the first of three Def Leppard albums produced by the now-legendary producer Mutt Lange. If you think about that, it's pretty crazy. Def Leppard's first album wasn't a huge hit by any means, but Lange – who had already produced AC/DC's Highway to Hell, Back in Black, and For Those About to Rock We Solute You – must have seen something special in Def Leppard. Of course, under Lange's tutelage, Def Leppard would go on to become the only artist to have two certified diamond (10x platinum) studio albums in the 1980s (1983's Pyromania and 1987's Hysteria). You read that correctly. It's Def Leppard, not Michael Jackson, not Madonna, not Van Halen, not Prince, not GNR, not Springsteen (although he did have one studio and one live album from the '80s to be certified diamond), and certainly not Spandau Ballet.

Before that, though, he was busy transitioning Def Leppard from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal to what would become '80s hard rock and hair metal. Some bands have a sophomore slump. Some bands do not. Def Leppard most certainly did not. This album has ten gritty hard rock songs. From beginning to end, it has energy and power. Joe Elliott's vocals really begin to shine on this album, and the guitar work of Steve Clark and Pete Willis (who would be kicked out of the band a year later for alcohol abuse, of all things, and replaced by Phil Collen) is phenomenal, and Rick Allen's drumming is right where it should be. (Incidentally, for those of you who are under the belief that Rick Allen always had only one arm, he did not lose his left arm until a car accident on New Years Eve 1984, so he was fully armed until Hysteria.) All in all, High 'n' Dry is a really good hard rock album.

My only knock on this album is that the band hasn't released a version with the much-sought-after-B-Side "Me & My Wine."

1. Let It Go
The opening riff gives you a glimpse into what Def Leppard would become, as it could have very well fit in on Pyromania. Off the bat, they come out swinging. Elliott's vocals start out kind of low in the verse, but crescendo into the choruses. I've always liked the line, "Stop your stallin' and your bitchin'."
2. Another Hit and Run
Are those dual lead guitars I hear at the beginning? Indeed. After a short tip of the cap to Thin Lizzy, the song kicks into gear. As with much of the album, it's a bit of a brooding song, with great guitars and great vocals.
3. High 'N' Dry (Saturday Night)
From the now-distinctive opening riff to the last gasp of "you gotta do it tonight!," this song kicks ass. That's all there is to it. It's about getting hammered on a Saturday night. It's gritty. It has great guitars. It's no wonder VH1 named it the #33 metal song of all-time.
4. Bringin' on the Heartbreak
This is Def Leppard's first ballad, if you can classify this as a ballad. It's dark and brooding, and it's now a classic.
5. Switch 625
Whenever I hear this song, it's impossible not to think of the late Steve Clark. (For those who don't know, Clark died in 1991 of a drug and alcohol overdose.) This is an instrumental that Clark wrote and played lead on. I also can't hear "Bringin' on the Heartbreak" without wanting to hear this played right after it.
6. You Got Me Runnin'
This has become my favorite song on High 'n' Dry, and is probably in my top 3 Def Leppard songs. There is something about it that draws me to it – perhaps because it's awesome.
7. Lady Strange
For a long time, even though I had the album, I thought they were saying "latest rage" when, in fact, they were saying "lady strange." That makes more sense, given the title of the song. Anyway, this is another great song.
8. On Through the Night
You would think that this song would have been on their debut album, On Through the Night. But it's not.
9. Mirror, Mirror (Look Into My Eyes)
This is another brooding screamer with sweet guitars and hooks you don't even know about.
10. No No No
This is a frenetic, in-your-face end to a great album, leaning much more towards the NWOBH than '80s hard rock. Unfortunately, did not have this one.

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Rocktober Album #11: Man Raze – Surreal (2008)

What do you get when you combine Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen, Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook, and Girl bassist Simon Laffy? The answer, my friends, is Man Raze.

Surreal is the band's debut (I'm not sure if this is a one-and-done type of thing for these guys), and it combines elements of punk, glam, hair metal, and even some reggae, with very good results.

Collen has a great rock voice, which didn't come as too much of a surprise to me, since he did a formidable Rod Stewart while singing lead on Def Leppard's over of Faces' "Stay With Me" on their 2006 cover album Yeah!. His guitar work is predictably good as well. Cook brings a punk drumming energy. Laffy adds a worthy bottom. (For those who don't know, Girl was a British glam band in the late '70s and early '80s that Collen was in before he joined Def Leppard.)

The band is currently doing a North American tour. I would imagine that they would be pretty good live.

1. This Is
This is a great fucking song, that's what "This Is" is. Off the bat, Man Raze blows the doors off with this punkish, fast-paced rocker with strong chords and great vocals by Collen. This song seriously rocks
2. Turn It Up
As evidenced by "Turn It Up," the group didn't blow their load on "This Is." "Turn It Up" is another great rocker that sounds like a punkier Def Leppard song. That is, it has the pop sensibilities of Def Leppard and the energy and attitude of a punk song. The result is a well-meshed
3. Runnin' Me Up
Taking a break from the straight-forward rock, this song has a Police feel to it, with a reggae beat, although the short guitar solo is more rock and roll.
4. Every Second of Every Day
This is a slower song with more of a Def Leppard ballad feel than anything else.
5. Spinning Out
Another slower song, this has a pretty heavy riff. Collen's vocals during the verses sound eerily like Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top.
6. Can't Find My Own Way
This is another one that has kind of a Police feel to it, at least in the verses. The chorus is a little more upbeat.
7. Skin Crawl
"Skin Crawl" is a droning rocker that, in certain parts, sounds like it could be a Nine Inch Nails song, but in other parts not so much.
8. Low
This song is less rocking than others, in my opinion, but it's still pretty good.
9. Connected to You
This song is fast-paced with a bit of a Clash-meets-Aerosmith feel to it.
10. Halo
This song kicks off with a raunchy, fuzzy bass, which sets the tone for a nice dirty feel to the verses.
11. It's Entertainment
Another straight-forward rocker.
12. Shadow Man
This is a slower, grunge-y song.

Unfortunately, only has three Man Raze songs. Luckily, "Turn It Up" is one of them.

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cake Wrecks

So I happened upon this website called Cake Wrecks, which takes a discriminating look at cakes that either have weird and/or hilarious writing or are just weird and/or hilarious in general. It's pretty funny, especially the ones with "Nothing" or "Leave Blank" written on them.

Crazy High School Football Finishes

I love football, and I love crazy finishes, especially in high school football. Here are two doozies.

A couple weeks ago, there was a minor internet buzz about a crazy finish to a high school football game in Vermont, where one team was up by 2 with a couple seconds left and for some reason decided to put two deep back to retrieve a missed field goal. The field goal was indeed missed. A returner caught it and spiked it, thinking the game was over, and an alert player on the opposing team picked it up and ran it in for the winning touchdown.

Then, a week or so later, a similarly bone-headed/alert play happened in a high school game in Michigan. One team attempted what would have been a game-winning field goal, but it was blocked. The ball never crossed the line of scrimmage. While the team that blocked it celebrated, the kicking team ran the ball into the endzone for the winning score.

Rocktober Album #10: Foo Fighters – The Colour and The Shape (1997)

One of the few positives of Kurt Cobain's death is that it indirectly lead to the formation of Foo Fighters, which I consider to be one of, if not the, best hard rock band of the past 15 years.

After their fantastic self-titled debut album, Foo Fighters followed with another collection of great, catchy hard rock songs. The Colour and The Shape is probably my favorite driving album. Most of the songs feature a breakneck beat, driving guitars, and Dave Grohl's controlled screaming.

1. Doll
The album starts off slowly, which is probably on purpose because it set you up nicely for the ensuing sonic rage.
2. Monkey Wrench
I absolutely love this song. It's fast, it's angry, it's catchy. I have no idea how Dave Grohl got the entire bridge refrain ("One last thing . . .") out in one breath. I've tried it, and I have failed.
3. Hey, Johnny Park!
This song is average compared to the rest of the album, although I do like the "Now that I've found my reward" part near the end of the song.
4. My Poor Brain
Another slower one (relatively), although it goes from soft in the verse to loud in the chorus, which I like.
5. Wind Up
A straight-forward hard rocker with some screaming.
6. Up in Arms
I like this song a lot because the first part lulls you into a false sense of security that it's going to be a slower acoustic song, which makes it even that much better when the second, fast part kicks in at around the 50-second mark.
7. My Hero
You all know this one. It's a great song and should always remind you of West Canaan, Texas.
8. See You
An acoustic reprieve with a bit of a hokey beat, but hey, Dave Grohl can do whatever he wants.
9. Enough Space
Another screamer. Just give the guy some f'n space already.
10. February Stars
I'm not sure if you can consider this a ballad, but I assume it's an ode to Punxsutawney Phil.
11. Everlong
An all-time great hard rock song, in my opinion. This is also a fixture on any running mix I've ever had. Needless to say, I haven't heard it in a while.
12. Walking After You
Another ballad, which I believe was featured in the X-Files movie.
13. New Way Home
This one is also a mainstay on my running mix. It might be my favorite song on the album, but I've not quite ready to make that commitment just yet. This also might be the only song that mentions the Kingdome.

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones