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Friday, September 28, 2012

Drive-By Truckers -- Go-Go Boots

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10/10

According to legend, the French have a word for everything, but since I don't speak it, the only thing I can compare to the sense of joy and bitterness found on Drive-By Truckers' latest record, Go-Go Boots, is having sex with your spouse on the morning before your divorce is finalized. Sorry for the grown-up analogy kids, but I've already reviewed this one in a concrete matter. Here is a more metaphysical version.
Guitarist/co-frontman, Mike Cooley, sums up my thesis of this album on track four, "Cartoon Gold." "Getting all excited finding nothing that was never there before/ Is like bringing flowers to your momma and tracking dogshit all over the floor." The son in "Go-Go Boots" gets the sudden revelation that his father had his mother killed, but his mom is still dead; likewise the son in "The Fireplace Poker" takes actual justice on his father, but now both his parents are gone. "Dancin'Ricky" is sure having a good time, but his belly's hanging out for all to see. The "Assholes" might have a point against their accuser, but they're still assholes. "The Weakest Man" finally works up the nerve to leave a harmful woman, but he's no better than all the smarter guys who actually avoided her in the first place. The guy who "Used to Be a Cop" found his true joy in life, but now he's lost everything. "Where's Eddie?" asks a woman ready to give him "all the love that (she's) been saving," which is great until you realize that Eddie wrote the song. The girl from "Pulaski" gets away from the South in order to live her dream, but her dream kills her. Inversely, the owner of "Ray's Automatic Weapon" can't get over his PTSD, but at least he's got a friend to help him out. The guy who needs "The Thanksgiving Filter" might be driven crazy by his family, but at least they're 300 miles away now, and he doesn't have to see them again until Christmas.
Of course, an album that only espoused these kinds of feelings would become a little trying. Thankfully, Go-Go Boots is framed by songs of such overwhelming grace, all the sorrow and joy is changed into something incredibly uplifting and transformative. The opening track, "I Do Believe," details the beautiful, unconditional love of the singer's grandmother. "Everybody Needs Love" is such an exhilaratingly excellent song and performance about the strongest power on Earth, Letterman actually made them play it twice.

"Mercy Buckets" describes a nearly superhuman sense of forgiveness and grace. It is that kind of redemption that makes all of the hope and joy amid our sufferings seem like worthwhile things. Something you can understand, sitting on a bench outside after it all went down, suddenly realizing you are going to have a beautiful day.

2011 ATO Records
1. I Do Believe 3:31
2. Go-Go Boots 5:36
3. Dancin' Ricky 3:26
4. Cartoon Gold 3:13
5. Ray's Automatic Weapon 4:25
6. Everybody Needs Love* 4:35
7. Assholes 4:39
8. The Weakest Man 3:19
9. Used to Be a Cop 7:03
10. The Fireplace Poker 8:14
11. Where's Eddie* 3:01
12. The Thanksgiving Filter 5:34
13. Pulaski 4:24
14. Mercy Buckets 5:24

*Originally written by Eddie Hinton

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Samuel L Jackson is an Out-of-Touch Millionaire

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From Samuel L. Jackson's new pro-Obama/anti-Romney ad, gleefully reported by Yahoo, who by this point apparently realizes their bias is so obviously big, they have to recognize it in their own article,
"Sorry my friend, but there's no time to snore/an out-of-touch millionaire has just declared war/on schools, the environment, unions, fair pay/ We're all on our own if Romney has his way/And he's against safety nets. If you fall, tough luck/ So I strongly suggest that you wake the f*** up."

SAMUEL L JACKSON'S NET WORTH:
$150 Million

Thanks to celebritynetworth.com for the stat. Everybody hates an out-of-touch millionaire.

Drive-By Truckers -- The Big To-Do

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7/10

Patterson Hood's incredibly lengthy CD booklet intro to The Big To-Do reminds me of a long rambling speech I once made when giving a college biology presentation I suddenly realized I hadn't quite completed correctly. I was overcompensating. The Big To-Do is the first Drive-By Truckers album since their early work that does not completely satisfy. The worst part is, it is hard to identify exactly why.
It is certainly not for a dearth of good songs. "The Fourth Night of My Drinking," "Birthday Boy," "The Wig He Made Her Wear," "Get Downtown," "Santa Fe," are all great songs. "The Flying Wallendas" might be the most beautiful track the band have ever done.

 "Eyes Like Glue," Mike Cooley's gentle song about fatherhood ends the album on a very true and honest note. And yet the other, less great tracks do not do a good job of connecting this album together. They almost sound--and I hate to say this about the work of such a great band--disposable. On top of that, outside of "The Wig He Made Her Wear," the Truckers don't really display their renowned storytelling skills, and the album lacks the history, character, and scope of the rest of their work. There is little of the sense of time and place the Truckers' music tends to evoke. Even though The Big To-Do is set in the present, it really just seems to float in a nebulous somewhere. Overall, The Big To-Do is just not up to the high standard expected of this incredible band. It still rocks, it is still pretty good stuff, but for the Truckers, The Big To-Do is just a footnote.

2010 ATO Records
1. Daddy Learned to Fly 4:43
2. The Fourth Night of My Drinking 4:45
3. Birthday Boy 3:35
4. Drag the Lake Charlie 3:16
5. The Wig He Made Her Wear 5:47
6. You Got Another 5:17
7. This Fucking Job 4:58
8. Get Downtown 3:12
9. After the Scene Dies 4:06
10. (It's Gonna Be) I Told You So 2:03
11. Santa Fe 3:26
12. The Flying Wallendas 5:16
13. Eyes Like Glue 3:15

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Drive-By Truckers -- The Fine Print (A Collection of Oddities and Rarities)

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7/10

B-Side collections are rarely good propositions. In the case of Drive-By Truckers' The Fine Print, it's a mixed bag of decent, good, and great. Not coincidentally, these also fall under the category of alternate take, original, and cover.
The two alternate versions here, "Uncle Frank" and "Goode's Field Road" are completely negated by the originals found elsewhere. Gangstabilly's "Uncle Frank" is grittier and more real, while Brighter Than Creation's Dark's "Goode's Field Road" hits the perfect steady, inevitable march the song needs, as opposed to the loose ramble of this alternate take.
The Fine Print includes six originals that did not make it onto the albums they were recorded for. "George Jones Talkin' Cell Phone Blues" is fun, but forgettable. "TVA" is a decent tale, but told to lengthily. "The Great Car Dealer War" is again a good story (and supposedly true), but just a little too overblown. Jason Isbell's "When the Well Runs Dry" is good, but not better than anything Isbell recorded for the band that made it to an album. "Mrs. Claus' Kimono," Patterson Hood's perverse Christmas tale, is good for a laugh, but it's also good for making the listener feel like they need a shower. "Little Pony and the Great Big Horse" is easily the best of the bunch, perhaps the only originally recorded track here that could have found a place on any of the Truckers' regular full-lengths. "Little Pony and the Great Big Horse" is easily the most gentle song DBT have ever put to tape, something a child could comfortably fall asleep to. It actually makes me wish they would write from an animal's perspective more often. Well, maybe not, but it certainly works in this case.
Finally, we have this collection's strongest suit: covers. The first is a cover of Tom Petty's "Rebels," recorded especially for the excellent television program King of the Hill, and commissioned by the producers' of that show with Tom Petty's blessing (Petty was also a voice actor for the program in its latter seasons). If you buy this collection and listen to this song, you will feel like you got your money's worth.

The Truckers also do a nice, laid-back version of Tom T. Hall's "Mamma Bake a Pie (Daddy Kill a Chicken)" that sounds just as authentic as the original. Speaking of authentic, Warren Zevon's "Play It All Night Long" is an extremely cool song, but the satire sounds twice as real coming from Drive-By Truckers, and rocks a hundred times harder.

The only cover that isn't absolutely excellent is the final one, a rendition of Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone." The Trucker's version is fun, but considering Dylan's words sound like that of an alien coming out of his own mouth, it's tough for anybody else to sing them convincingly. It's still a decent closer for this decent collection.

2009 New West Records
1. George Jones Talkin' Cell Phone Blues 4:07
2. Rebels (Tom Petty Cover) 4:53
3. Uncle Frank (Alternate Version) 5:21
4. TVA 6:56
5. Goode's Field Road (Alternate Version) 4:15
6. The Great Car Dealer War (Alternate Version) 5:37
7. Mama Bake a Pie (Daddy Kill a Chicken) (Tom T. Hall Cover) 3:19
8. When the Well Runs Dry 4:09
9. Mrs. Claus' Kimono 4:25
10. Play It All Night Long (Warren Zevon Cover) 5:10
11. Little Pony and the Great Big Horse 3:37
12. Like a Rolling Stone (Bob Dylan Cover) 6:01

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Drive-By Truckers -- Brighter Than Creation's Dark

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10/10

As I look back on some of my previous "Best of the Year" lists, there are many things I would change. Labeling Drive-By Truckers' Brighter Than Creation's Dark as 2008's best album is not one of them. 2008 was an epic time for me, one of those year's where everything just seemed a little bigger and more important.  Brighter Than Creation's Dark was released January of 2008, and there wasn't a month of peaks and valleys that passed that it didn't get multiple spins from me (and seeing their incredible set at the end of that September was icing on the cake).
Brighter Than Creation's Dark contains a perfect mix of hard-rocking songs with more thoughtful, stripped down tracks. Every song is its own world, but each fits together effortlessly in a perfect four-side scheme. While any proud Southerner can take tightly to these tracks, anyone with emotion and good taste can easily connect to Brighter Than Creation's Dark's sentiments. Jeez, I hate trying to sell something. This album is perfect. Sometimes it's got that classic Southern rock three-guitar attack. Sometimes it has that down home country feeling...not radio country, but just that kind of sound that makes you feel like you are in it. The slide guitar pops up in most of the songs, and it is the album's heart and secret weapon. "Gritty, But Fatherly" Patterson Hood, "Aw, Shucks" Mike Cooley, and "I'm a Girl and I Kick Ass" Shonna Tucker make for the most compelling trio of songwriters on an album ever.  Listening to these tales of our tough times matched with feelings of defiance like "A Ghost to Most," loving character portraits of people like "Bob," an overweight single man taking care of his mother, and stories like that of the front-man of an "Opening Act" driving through the night and thinking is pretty much the same thing as eating the best meatloaf ever on top of fresh mashed potatoes under a big scoop of gravy and getting that lovely warm feeling like you are safe and home and the world might be far from a perfect place, but if you think you are going to take me out of it, you have another thing coming. I guess I prefer run-on's to salesmanship.
Now go listen to "A Ghost to Most," below and have nice day:


2008 New West Records
1. Two Daughters and a Beautiful Wife 3:05
2. 3 Dimes Down 3:20
3. The Righteous Path 4:13
4. I'm Sorry Huston 3:11
5. Perfect Timing 2:57
6. Daddy Needs a Drink 3:48
7. Self Destructive Zones 4:12
8. Bob 2:15
9. Home Field Advantage 5:01
10. The Opening Act 6:48
11. Lisa's Birthday 3:19
12. That Man I Shot 6:03
13. The Purgatory Line 3:48
14. The Home Front 3:18
15. Checkout Time in Vegas 2:41
16. You and Your Crystal Meth 2:19
17. Goode's Field Road 5:28
18. A Ghost to Most 4:41
19. The Monument Valley 4:33

Monday, September 24, 2012

Drive-By Truckers -- A Blessing and a Curse

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8/10

While Drive-By Trucker's Southern roots are still as wide as a water oak's, A Blessing and a Curse is the most straightforward, spare work of their career. Their three-guitar rock attack is still on full display, but the track times are shorter than ever, and the words and ideas are more lyrical than narrative. The Truckers were going through difficult times and splits during this recording, and it shows. A Blessing and a Curse doesn't feel like a breakup album, though. It's waking up, realizing that what you loved is still gone, walking to the window, and watching life play out in the cold light of day while you smoke your 545th last cigarette.

2006 New West Records
1 Feb 14 3:40
2 Gravity's Gone 3:33
3 Easy on Yourself 3:28
4 Aftermath USA 3:16
5  Goodbye 6:11
6 Daylight 3:35
7 Wednesday 4:04
8 Little Bonnie 3:56
9 Space City 4:48
10 A Blessing and a Curse 5:31
11 A World of Hurt 4:52

Friday, September 21, 2012

Drive-By Truckers -- The Dirty South

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9/10

And here is the album that introduced me and thousands of others to Drive-By Truckers. When I was in college, one of the best ways to find new bands was to watch late night talk shows. Conan O'Brien and Carson Daly (yes, THAT Carson daily. Say what you will about his TRL hosting gig, but the man actually likes good rock music) were the two best options. Both hosts had less well known, but excellent musical guests on almost every night. Even the bigger shows like Letterman featured some pretty sweet bands. I'm assuming all these shows still do, but now that I'm old and go to bed at 8 every night, I couldn't tell you. Anyway, one night during my final semester, I was watching Conan, when this happened:
                                                       
I immediately knew I had found a band I was going to stick with for life. Their southern attitude, outlook, and hard-rocking, feet-stomping sound were enough for me.
The Dirty South marks the moment where Drive-By Tuckers truly became a band with three frontmen. The three guitar-players all put in their songwriting time. Patterson Hood contributes six tracks, and Mike Cooley and Jason Isbell contribute four apiece. That's fourteen tracks of musical goodness, mostly centering around the dredges of Southern society, focusing on the perspectives that don't get told. Between the voices of criminals, we also get the point of view of tornado victims, steel-workers, famous dead musicians, a race car driver, and some regular old down-and-outs.Through all these tales, Drive-By Truckers not only show they are one of the most rocking bands on the planet, but also one of the most literary. Listening to The Dirty South is like reading a great book and listening to a great album at the same time. Every song includes a well-written tale, and every tale includes a well written song.
If The Dirty South contains a weakness, it's a tiny one. After the album has continuously jumped from perspective to perspective, the three song, fifteen minute-suite from the view of enemies of famed Tennessee Sheriff, Buford Pusser, which occurs during the third quarter of the album, just barely outstays its welcome. The three songs are good, especially Mike Cooley's acoustic "Cottonseed," it's just that The Dirty South almost grinds to a halt during their duration. It quickly jumps back on track with Cooley's racing tale, "Daddy's Cup," and then chugs along finely into the supremely awesome bad-attitude of the Isbell-led "Never Gonna Change," the song from Conan which is linked above. Somehow, the following track, Patterson Hood's "Lookout Mountain," takes things even further, creating a one-two punch in conjuction with "Never Gonna Change" that is almost to good to be true. I can identify with the singer of "Lookout Mountain" all to well, and every time I hear it, I am thankful for this great band who takes up, fights, and speaks for those of us who just seem to lose a little more than we win.

Listen to "Lookout Mountain"

2004 New West Records
1. Where the Devil Don't Stay 5:19
2. Tornadoes 4:15
3. The Day John Henry Died 3:48
4. Puttin' People on the Moon 4:55
5. Carl Perkins' Cadillac 5:26
6. The Sands of Iwo Jima 4:12
7. Danko/Manuel 5:47
8. The Boys From Alabama 4:27
9. Cottonseed 6:23
10. The Buford Stick 4:43
11. Daddy's Cup 5:53
12. Never Gonna Change 5:25
13. Lookout Mountain 5:02
14. Goddamn Lonely Love* 4:59

*Kudos to the band for finding the same keyboard tone as Sigur Ros' Ágætis byrjun in this song. Don't know if it was intentional, but it sure lifts the end of the album onto a higher plane, all while proving that a little band from the South can do just what a stadium-packing band of aliens from Iceland can.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Drive-By Truckers -- Decoration Day

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8/10

The Drive-By Truckers follow their breakout, Southern Rock Opera, with another great rock album. Decoration Day kicks off with a song about the only two people in America currently serving prison time for incest, eases naturally into a song about a land-losing farmer who fantasizes about murdering the banker taking everything from him, then glides into an angry, but optimistic jam about life on the road. Decoration Day continues to explore the complexities of life in the South, but does it with more of a contemporary and less of a historical edge than its predecessor. With that said, Decoration Day contains Drive-By Truckers first track that should end up in the greatest songs of all time bank, "My Sweet Annette," a tale about a surprise elopement in the 1930's. Everything about the song is perfect, from the O Henry-level storytelling skills Patterson Hood displays, to the complex, but relatively chilled out musical accompaniment the rest of the band provides.

"My Sweet Annette" is followed by "Outfit," a decent debut track by new member Jason Isbell, and then FOUR STRAIGHT breakup songs from frontmen Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley. I don't mean "boo-hoo, my girlfriend just left me songs," I mean, "We are getting a divorce, I just wasted years of my life, and I want to die" songs.  These are all great, particularly the more delicate, self-reflective "Heathens," but by the time they are over, the listener is pretty exhausted. Unfortunately, these tracks are followed by three suicide songs. They aren't bad songs (two of them are actually up-tempo), but the album could have ended with "Your Daddy Hates Me," and felt tight and complete. The opening seconds of the title track cure this malaise, though. "Decoration Day," Jason Isbell's second contribution, is an excellent song in the vein of the Grangerford and Sheperdson blood-feud in Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The three-guitar attack of the final minute of the song makes a pretty convincing argument that no other band out there could do anything like this half as well.

The album closes with Mike Cooley's "Loaded Gun in the Closet," a subtle, acoustic guitar and pedal-steel song that leaves the meaning of the titular weapon open to interpretation. Thus ends the Drive-By Truckers flawed, but brilliant fourth album.

2003 New West Records
1. The Deeper In 3:15
2. Sink Hole 3:26
3. Hell No, I Ain't Happy 4:38
4. Marry Me 5:39
5. My Sweet Annette 3:51
6. Outfit 4:04
7. Heathens 4:47
8. Sounds Better in the Song 4:08
9. (Something's Got To) Give Pretty Soon 3:38
10. Your Daddy Hates Me 6:40
11. Careless 2:07
12. When the Pin Hits the Shell 4:10
13. Do It Yourself 3:20
14. Decoration Day 5:47
15. Loaded Gun in the Closet 5:13

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Holy Crap, Deftones Have a New Song!

And it rules just as much as a Deftones song should.
I wish every band could stay this good for this long.
New album, Koi No Yokan, drops November 13th.

Drive-By Truckers -- Southern Rock Opera

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9/10

Southern Rock Opera marks the moment that Drive-By Truckers became the rock-and-roll chroniclers of The South. The more jokey songs of the past and the dominant influence of country music upon their sound vanish here. Not to say that the band lose their sense of humor--it's still one of the greatest weapons in their arsenal. A twinge of country still pops up from time to time, too, but it is more like a refreshing breeze than a direction changing wind.
Southern Rock Opera is a concept album about growing up in and the contradictions of the South, filtered through the legend of Lynyrd Skynyrd and their career ending plane crash. The Truckers weave together stories about their own band, characters and stories of their own invention, Southern history, and the history of  Skynyrd, including the unexpected friendship of Skynyrd's frontman Ronnie Van Sant with Neil Young, to somehow create a unified whole.
If that sounds like a lot, it is. This album takes a very long time to digest. It is 94-minutes long, movie length, and it plays out cinematically. Southern Rock Opera is not difficult to comprehend, though. Frontman/guitarist Patterson Hood's history lesson, "The Three Great Alabama Icons," discusses many of Southern Rock Opera's themes, and Hood's conversational tone (this and a couple of the other songs on the album are spoken word) is emotionally backed by his band.

Crashes and accidents are a major theme in Southern Rock Opera. Often they stand as a metaphor for a failed attempt to escape, whether it's one's demons, one's past, the South itself, or all of the above. "Plastic Flowers on the Highway," is a great exploration of these issues by Hood, who handles the lion's share of the material, though Mike Cooley (guitar) adds five of his own, and Rob Malone (guitar--YES, THREE GUITARISTS!!!) two.

While Skynyrd's story tangles throughout the album, the final five tracks are completely dedicated to that band's final days (at least in their original iteration), and the plane crash that killed Van Zant and several other members. The haunting coda, "Angels and Fuselage" attempts to imagine Van Zant's final moments as the plane goes down. Skeletal chords and earthly low bass and drums build up the tension of oncoming death. The sudden, brief appearance of a Neil Young-esque harmonica early in the song almost sounds like Van Zant's old buddy somehow comforting him in his final moments. Angelic female singing in the distance seems to be beckoning Van Zant home. My favorite element of the song is a piano which creeps up with stunning finality over the closing minutes of the album. It seems to embody death itself, inexorably taking Van Zant's hand, leading his spirit under.

And with the close of Southern Rock Opera, it is clear that Drive-By Truckers are now on another level, defiant, and ready for a fight.

2001 Soul Dump Records
Act One
1. Days of Graduation 2:36
2. Ronnie and Neil 4:52
3. 72 (This Highway's Mean) 5:26
4. Dead, Drunk, and Naked 4:51
5. Guitar Man Upstairs 3:17
6. Birmingham 5:03
7. The Southern Thing 5:08
8. The Three Great Alabama Icons 6:51
9. Wallace 3:27
10. Zip City 5:16
11. Moved 4:17

Act Two
1. Let There Be Rock 4:19
2. Road Cases 2:42
3. Women Without Whiskey 4:19
4. Plastic Flowers on the Highway 5:04
5. Cassie's Brother 4:58
6. Life in the Factory 5:28
7. Shut Up and Get on the Plane 3:38
8. Greenville to Baton Rouge 4:11
9. Angels and Fuselage 8:00

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Get Me Out of Here, Eddie Money!


Ten minutes of routing left to go!!!

Drive-By Truckers -- Pizza Deliverance

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7/10

Drive-By Truckers' sophomore outing, Pizza Deliverance, continues in the vein of their debut. There are songs that remind me of picking eggs in Joanie Jarreau's barn when I was six, songs that remind me of driving my car too fast over the railroad tracks when I was 17, and songs that remind me of driving too fast over the railroad tracks while I was reminiscing about picking eggs in Joanie Jarreau's barn. In other words, there are still a bunch of old country-sounding songs, still some rockers, and still some songs that combine both styles.
Guitarist, Mike Cooley, contributes a few more songs this time around, while Patterson Hood continues to contribute the lion's share. These two guys go together like peach cobbler and ice cream, and they stamp out several standouts. "Nine Bullets," perhaps the only song that could make its particularly sinister issue funny, "Uncle Frank," about a relative out of time, "One of These Days," about all manner of things, and "Margo and Harold," about two cocaine-snorting swingers, stand head and shoulders above the pack.

There are parts of Pizza Deliverance that betray Drive-By Truckers lack of a certain grace to wit that only comes with age. "The President's Penis Is Missing"'s crassness overcomes the political point it attempts to make, while "Zoloft"'s simplistic humor overwhelms the acorn of tragedy found within.
Still, in only two albums, Drive-By Truckers have established themselves as an ass-kicking force to be reckoned with. There's an obvious wave of even bigger talent lurking underneath that's just waiting to crest.

1999 Soul Dump Records
1 Bulldozers and Dirt 4:29
2 Nine Bullets 4:05
3 Uncle Frank 5:29
4 Too Much Sex (Too Little Jesus) 3:16
5 Box of Spiders 3:30
6 One of These Days 5:15
7 Margo and Harold 4:51
8 The Company I Keep 7:02
9 The President's Penis Is Missing 4:12
10 Tales Facing Up 5:03
11 Love Like This 5:23
12 Mrs. Dubose 5:40
13 Zoloft 3:17
14 The Night G.G. Allin Came to Town 4:50

Monday, September 17, 2012

Drive-By Truckers -- Gangstabilly

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7/10

I will be blunt. I think Drive-By Truckers are one of the best rock bands of the last two decades. With that said, the band's first album, Gangstabilly, sounds like the debut of a really good, Southern Country Rock bar band.
What is Southern Country Rock? I'm pretty sure I just made that up. The way the Truckers blend country and rock on their first two albums isn't easy to describe, because some songs just sound like rock songs, some only sound like country, and some sound like a perfect combination of both. While the Truckers would become a rock band with slight country leanings from their third album on, the domination of country in their sound on Gangstabilly is impossible to ignore. They still rock out quite a bit ("Buttholeville" is blistering...wow, that sounded weird), but this is a band who has always made the music that comes natural to them, and who could care less about genre. Few people who like things in neat boxes will enjoy Drive-by Truckers, anyway.
Even with their sea legs not quite under them during Gangstabilly's recording, the Truckers show they are already quite capable of writing good songs, and telling good stories. Guitarist (one of two at this point) Mike Cooley's first songwriting contribution to the band, "Panties in Your Purse," is a great character portrait of a woman who just can't get it together.

Multiple songwriters/frontpersons would soon become one of Drive-by Truckers greatest assets, but Gangstabilly is guitarist Patterson Hood's show, as he sings lead through nine of the eleven tracks. A good deal of them sound just fine to me. "Wife Beater" is a fun, slow, sing-a-long stomp, a lament to a woman who chooses her violent husband over the "potato eater" singer...yes, I said "fun." "18 Wheels of Love" is a raucous romp about someone's momma running off with a trucker, and it showcases Hood's already well-honed skill with a punchline, "She can fix him roast beast and sweet potato pie/He can eat a lot of it 'cause he's a big ol' guy."
Gangstabilly
is topically a lot lighter than and even a little juvenile compared to Drive-by Truckers' later work. This makes sense, though. I like to think of this album as a teenager showing a lot of promise. If you want to know what makes this band special, you might want to start a little later, when they are all grown up. If you're already into them, though, you should get quite a bit of enjoyment checking out the way they strut their stuff as the new kid on the block. And if you go see them in a bar today, be ready to see a band that should be packing out stadiums.

1998 Soul Dump Records
1. Wife Beater 3:33
2. Demonic Possession 4:51
3. The Tough Sell 3:41
4. The Living Bubba 5:55
5. Late for Church 5:26
6. Panties in Your Purse 4:36
7. Why Henry Drinks 4:14
8. 18 Wheels of Love 4:10
9. Steve McQueen 5:12
10. Buttholeville 5:28
11. Sandwiches for the Road 6:33

Friday, September 14, 2012

Dredg -- Chuckles and Mr. Squeezy

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6/10

Dredg's The Pariah, the Parrot, the Delusion set my expectations for Dredg's future work pretty low. When I heard that Dan the Automator, a hip hop producer, was producing their new album, my expectations dropped even lower. When Dredg announced that their newest album would be called Chuckles and Mr. Squeezy, my expectation simply turned into dread. When I saw the album cover, a girl in her underwear with a goofy mask on, my dread turned to mockery. Surely the band had consumed too many of the drugs they praised on their last album? The horrible initial feedback did Chuckles in. I gave it a quick listen and dismissed it. Quick listens aren't good for much, though. Considering Dredg created a couple of the best rock albums of the last two decades, it would be silly to dismiss any of their work without diving a little deeper into it. Every Album I Own Reviews to the rescue!
Let's do a classic, late 90's, Amazon.com customer review-style, track-by-track revew:

Another Tribe: 4/10 The Dan the Automator influence is immediately apparent. A pulsing, but throwback sounding keyboard sample and an electric drum beat kick off the song. There's just not enough to this track, though. Gavin Hayes does his best to sell the hook, but it's not there. Still, there's some Dredg-y touches around the edges that stop the song from becoming a complete wash--they're most obvious in the bridge. It's  actually disappointing when the chorus kicks back in.

Upon Returning: 7/10 Almost the opposite intro of the first song. Pulsating guitar riffs and a real, ancient sounding drumbeat lead off this one. The beat and repeating guitar riff are pretty irresistible. The keyboard in the chorus is insufferable. It needs to go. The post-chorus is where it's at. Nice soft melody from Gavin, and echoing, mysterious guitar. Nice guitar picking and old school drum beat on the bridge. Wise to end in the spaciness of the post-chorus. Definitely an improvement on the first track. "Upon Returning" is strangely addictive.

The Tent: 8/10 Old school vibe immediate. Spacey, trippy, slow. The Issac Hayesesque, wah-wah guitar chord that chimes in every two seconds is reminiscent of Portishead. Nice falsetto from Gavin. The chorus is weird, but I can dig it. Slow, grinding bass. Very interesting, chilled out song.

Somebody Is Laughing: 3/10 Now this is just bad. The electric drums do not work. Neither do the goofy keyboard samples The "oh, oh, oh"'s on the chorus and sprinkled throughout the song are even worse. The subtle guitar playing in the chorus is the only thing I enjoy about this track.

Down Without a Fight: 9/10 Now this song really should not work. Groovy, dancey-synth line and beat in the intro that slowly builds back up in the verse. Not much guitar whatsoever. And above all, it's a pessimistic track. This song is not Dredg....but for some reason I can't get enough of it. The synth and beat are remarkably well done. Gavin's hook is like candy. The pessimism is...lovely. Just because "positivity breeds positive happenings" doesn't mean everything will work out okay. The bridge is perfect and sets up the excellent outro as Gavin repeatedly sings the line "never coming back" over the chorus before the post-chorus and some suddenly live sounding drums take the song out.

The Ornament: 10/10 Dredg found the greatest (and maybe only) success  in their previous album...dredging up a new song out of a small piece of their older material with "Information." If that song was gold, "The Ornament" is platinum. Dredg use the base of the guitar outro from "Matroshka", the closer from Catch Without Arms, to craft on entirely new song. The result is "The Ornament," the most melancholy, longing song Dredg have ever recorded. The lonely saxaphone is an incredible touch. The reverb on the beat is perfect. I'd take an entire album like this.


The Thought of Losing You: 8/10 This is the album single, and it's not bad. Nice guitar riff, good mysterious keyboard work and vocals. The hook is very good. The programmed sounding drums start off as a weakness, but become an asset. Dredg usually feature some of the most innovative drum work around. It was ballsy to cut that away from their music with all this electronic work, and while they certainly suffer because of it, they don't on this track. If they ever want to have a dance party, they could easily play the songs off Chuckles and Mr. Squeezy that actually work to get people moving. With that said, this is about as close to disco as acceptable. Any more, and I'd cut this track score in half.

Kalathat: 5/10 This would be a pretty beautiful, nearly Nick Drake-like acoustic song, if not for the juvenile lyrics about someone who dedicates himself to his wife and child and I guess never really lives or something. I'm sorry we can't all be in a band and drive around the country and sleep with groupies and do drugs.

Sun Goes Down: 2/10 I like the haunting intro and its distant piano, the sitar-sounding guitar in the verse. The rest is yuck. The basis of this song sounds like something pre-programmed on a mid-90's Yamaha keyboard...while someone stands over it banging a tambourine on their wrist.

Where I'll End Up: 2/10 Oh, no! After the surge of good in the middle, the album sure went back downhill! This song sounds like a Beach Boys castoff from the 80's...with Uncle Jesse playing the bongos. Even Dredg making a brief appearance in the bridge can't help it, let alone save it. Make it stop!

Before it Began: 2/10 Is this supposed to be salsa music or something? Talk about ending with a whimper. The very distant guitar sounds like High Noon, Dan the Automator sounds like he's trying to make a throwback to early Cuban Beat or something, and who knows, it is all over before it goes anywhere anyway.

Averaged Score: 6/10
Non-Averaged Score: Tough to score this album higher than a five with how weak some of the tracks are, especially the ones found in the final stretch. Dredg tried to do something totally new, and it kind of bit them in the butt. Still, there are some genuinely good songs here, and a ghost of the good album that could have been. I'll give the band the benefit of the doubt, and let the average stand. 6/10.

NOTE: If this album worked completely in the realm it occupies best, it would qualify as a great "after the party album," which I have previously defined here. In this case, the ghosts of galaxies would drowsily drift through the room.

2011 Superball Music
1. Another Tribe 3:46
2. Upon Returning 3:51
3. The Tent 4:46
4. Somebody Is Laughing 3:31
5. Down Without a Fight 3:51
6. The Ornament 4:06
7. The Thought of Losing You 3:34
8. Kalathat 3:23
9. Sun Goes Down 3:48
10. Where I'll End Up 3:56
11. Before it Began 2:58

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Dredg -- The Pariah, the Parrot, the Delusion

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5/10

"To sacrifice oneself never made sense to me," goes the first line of Dredg's The Pariah, the Parrot, the Delusion. Considering that I believe self-sacrifice to be the highest expression of love, I immediately get the feeling that this Dredg album and I are not going to get along. "There's no guarantee of a god or longevity/admit you don't know anything/and give it up," singer Gavin Hayes belts later in the album. Well, I strongly disagree with that, but to each his own, I guess. So what am I supposed to give my belief up for? Album climax, "Quotes," offers up the obvious answer: "Our sobriety will diminish/discriminate we fade slow, fade slow/these drugs will expand us/united we will grow/let go, let go, let go." Oh, cool, I've got it, drugs. Oh well, I guess I am not going to get any lyrical enjoyment out of this album whatsoever. Let's move on to the music of The Pariah, the Parrot, the Delusion, I guess?
Let's check out the first song, "Pariah." Hmmm. Finger-snapping and children singing. A poppy chorus and white-person half-rapping. A scat-singing outro. Not good. I did not sign on for this. "Drunk Slide." A decent segue, but really just aping what worked on El Cielo. "Ireland." The best part is the verse, which is just a direct ripoff of El Cielo's "Triangle." "Light Switch." I can dig this. Weird western vibe, seventies-ish chorus. Weird mish mish, but it works. Nice outro, too. Reminiscent of their old stuff, but still sounds new. "Gathering Pebbles." Weird western vibe, too. Really poppy, kind of seventies chorus again. Strangely works. Dredg sound best when they are mysterious. This is. "Information." This intro is just Dredg's score from the movie Waterbourne, but it's pretty awesome. The entirely original song they craft around it is excellent. Really beautiful stuff. Dredg at their peak. Interesting instrumentation, a slight pop edge, but a pleasing one. Suprising bridge, too. Easily the best moment of the album.

"Saviour." Who is supposed to enjoy this? It sounds like someone pulled the band Survivor out of retirement and asked them to record the cheesiest thing they could think of. As my nephew would say, EPIC FAIL. "RUOK?" Cool little instrumental. Wish it was on a better album. "I Don't Know." It's the lead single, and a synth bass is the lead instrument. In the past, this might have been a Dredg b-side. "Mourning This Morning." Why didn't someone tell them this was a really dumb name for a song? Takes the 70's influence to the limit. Actually not that bad. "Long Days and Vague Clues," sounds like music for a chase scene in a toddler's cartoon. That isn't a compliment. "Cartoon Showroom." A really gentle song, but I dig it. Just light guitar, subtle, mystical noises, great singing from Gavin. A highlight, for me, at least. "Quotes." All the guitar catharsis one would want from a Dredg album, which is essentially absent from the rest of the album. Unfortunately, it comes at the service of the stupidest song on TPTPTD, unless you really, really like drugs, in which case you probably haven't made it this far into the review. "Down to the Celler." An okay closing instrumental. Might work a little better if it was earned at all. I didn't even mention the "Stamp of Origin" tracks because they are just filler-waste. At the point of this release, this is the most I have ever been disappointed with an album in my life.

2009 Ohlone Recordings
1. Pariah 4:07
2. Drunk Slide 1:27
3. Ireland 3:41
4. Stamp of Origin: Pessimistic 0:50
5. Lightswitch 3:30
6. Gathering Pebbles 4:59
7. Information 5:45
8. Stamp of Origin: Ocean Meets Bay 0:30
9. Saviour 3:56
10. R U O K? 2:12
11. I Don't Know 3:45
12. Mourning This Morning 5:41
13. Stamp of Origin: Take a Look Around 0:58
14. Long Days and Vague Clues 1:52
15. Cartoon Showroom 4:18
16. Quotes 6:04
17. Down to the Cellar 3:41
18. Stamp of Origin: Horizon 2:20

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Dredg -- Catch Without Arms

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8/10

One of the deepest pleasures I find in these Every Album I Own Reviews is exploring the 24th year of my life, when I was freshly graduated from college, jobless, and living with my parents. I already wrote about my descent into mental darkness that summer in this Cursive review. One of the deeper pits occurred when everyone in my rural area went on vacation at the same time, leaving me alone in the middle of the swamp for weeks. I documented my downward mental spiral on film (there was a lot of Wonder Showzen and alpha-stage Attack of the Show in the background...me imitating Clarence the Puppet and commenting on Sarah Lane's daily changing hair styles...that Puppet, that hair, and my cat were the only three friends I had...). When my family returned home, they witnessed the footage...and promptly thought of having me committed. Thankfully, they ended up taking me to Grand Isle for a few days instead. Maybe it was just having the knowledge that other people cared about me, but a few days in Cajun Paradise fired me up into getting clean...mentally. A few weeks later, Glynn, LA was again emptied of all its citizens but me, but I decided that I would not lose my mind in my isolation this time. Like a recovering addict, I sipped on the fresh coffee of optimism, actually slept at night, and even got some exercise. I also got some new music: MxPx's new, slightly disappointing album, and the newest album by a band called Dredg, who I had seen once live with Deftones, and who had a cool new video on the Fuse Channel.

 Catch Without Arms, Dredg's third album, put some pep in my step. In the most basic terms, Catch Without Arms is your average rock album with three to four minute tracks, except in this case it's the experimental, energetic Dredg creating the songs. This means you get excellently un-orthodox guitar playing, featuring a combined tone, distortion, and effect that can only be described as "brain pleasure-sensor trigger." The drums and bass are both different from the norm. Vocalist, Gavin Hayes, sings better than ever. The band perform better than they ever have before. Terry Date's production work with Dredg really pays off, as well. This album sounds like a million dollars.
The only flaws with Catch Without Arms are inherent in the format Dredg worked in for the album. In their previous work, El Cielo, Dredg seemed as floating and free as that album title itself. Following that, the more radio-friendly songs of Catch Without Arms can feel just a little constrained. On top of that, Gavin Hayes' impressionistic lyrics, which worked so well previously, occasionally sound silly on top of more conventional music.
These are minor complaints, though. Catch Without Arms is a rock-solid, satisfying album. It was just what I needed to keep me sane and energized during that long summer. As a bonus, Catch Without Arms even inspired me to pick up my guitar and play it differently, something which engaged my mind, kept it occupied, and kept me trucking to the brighter times ahead.

2005 Interscope
1. Ode to the Sun 4:12
2. Bug Eyes 4:13
3. Catch Without Arms 4:11
4. Not That Simple 4:56
5. Zebraskin 3:26
6. The Tanbark Is Hot Lava 3:45
7. Sang Real 4:28
8. Planting Seeds 4:12
9. Spitshine 3:34
10. Jamais Vu 4:55
11. Hung Over on a Tuesday 4:05
12. Matroshka (The Ornament) 5:38

Why I'll Stick With My Go Phone

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Dredg -- El Cielo

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10/10

Imagine it's about 100 years ago, night in winter, snow falling, and you are walking alone through a fancy neighborhood.  There is one old, two-story house at the end of the street, that's been abandoned for years, but tonight there is a dim light coming through one of the windows. You cannot help yourself, go in to investigate. Strangely, the inside of the house is well kept, magical, and a little haunted. Every room, photograph, and painting takes you to another time and place. It is as if you have entered the home of a mad scientist who has left to travel back in time to save the Earth. He succeeded, but now his house is abandoned, and its wonders lost to the world, except to you, lucky, inquisitive visitor.
That's what listening to Dredg's El Cielo is like:


2002 Interscope
1. Brushstroke: dcbtfoabaaposba 0:57
2. Same ol' Road 5:14
3. Sanzen 4:34
4. Brushstroke: New Heart Shadow 1:33
5. Δ 5:03
6. Sorry But It's Over 4:08
7. Convalescent 3:32
8. Brushstroke: Walk in the Park 1:40
9. Eighteen People Living in Harmony 4:28
10. Scissor Lock 3:23
11. Brushstroke: Reprise 1:33
12. Of the Room 3:44
13. Brushstroke: An Elephant in the Delta Waves 1:47
14. It Only Took a Day 3:16
15. Whoa Is Me 5:36
16. The Canyon Behind Her 6:40

A FINAL, TMI NOTE ON 2005: This album wrapped up that year for me. I'm sure to write more about that year, probably continuously until I die, but this is the album that came to me near the end. After all that I went through, and all that I lost that year, I felt a slow, continuous stripping away of myself until, by the end, I felt completely depersonalized, detached from everything in the world, including myself. I briefly chronicled the beginnings of these feelings here. For the last few weeks of that year, I actually took to sleeping naked, because I felt like wearing clothing was a lie, that putting garments on myself was a metaphorical deception because I was connected to nothing. I mean, I'm not crazy or anything. Anyway, I'd lie in my bed with nothing on in the middle of the night, watching the moon slowly rise and fall, singing the line from the song posted above, I cannot find the other half. And my mind wandered through the fields and forests, and over the river to the hills beyond in the moonlight, searching for it. And that is why only weird girls wanted to sleep with me...
The end

Monday, September 10, 2012

Dredg -- Leitmotif

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6/10

This may alienate some of my younger readers, but I know of only one way to accurately describe Dredg's debut album, Leitmotif.
In the late 90's and 00's, almost every college campus featured an experimental/alternative rock band that all of the music nerds would get excited about. We would go to every one of their shows, and talk about how insanely talented the guitar player was, and how he was so good, he was impossible to impress, how the bassist was incredible and got better every show, how the drummer's antics made the whole set, and how the singer was pretty good, but difficult to understand. The attendee's of each show would smile and nod at each other at the start of each song. The band was probably influenced by Tool, though not necessarily just a clone of them. Sometimes the band showed continued progression (Our's did, and they were awesome to begin with). Sometimes the band made it big.
Dredg have done pretty well for themselves. But before they did, they released this album, which sounds exactly like a very early show by the kind of band I just described, in a college campus dive bar, attended by some nerdy college students and some older, gruffer music fans smiling and nodding at each other in appreciation of the fact that this band is raw, but could possibly be awesome some day. Just like the previous sentence.
And it sounds like this:

1998 Interscope Recordings
1. Movement I: @45° N. 180° W 4:23
2. Lechium 1:01
3. Movement II: Crosswind Minuet 6:24
4. Traversing Through the Arctic Cold, We Search for the Spirit of Yuta 1:32
5. Intermission 6:37
6. Movement III: Lyndon 3:07
7. Penguins in the Desert 4:13
8. Movement IV: RR 2:59
9. Yatahaee 3:44
10. Movement V: 90 Hour Sleep 20:20

Friday, September 07, 2012

Don Davis -- The Matrix: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

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8/10

'The Matrix' is a landmark film. In the thirteen years since it was released, and despite two less-than well-received (Were those dashes needed, and if so, were they in the right place? Do dashes even bow to rules? Also, I actually enjoyed the second Matrix film and am still on the fence with the third, for whatever it's worth. This was a long parenthetical. Let's just start that sentence again.). In the thirteen years since 'The Matrix' was released, it hasn't really lost any of its luster. Though it drew from many wells of past creativity, it led the way in popularizing the blending of action, technology, and big ideas in American cinema. Its special effects have been knocked off, it's Eastern leanings have been knocked off, and it's technological ideas have been knocked off countless times since. Even though it cribbed entire shots from films like 'Ghost in the Shell,' it did so in ways that not only showed respect for that classic material, but pushed the envelope further. Anyway, this is supposed to be about the soundtrack.
Don Davis' score is pretty inseparable from the film. He created some easily identifiable themes: the theme of the Matrix itself, the diving into the Matrix theme, the "wow, somebody just did something really cool" theme, the fight/an Agent is giving someone a beatdown theme, and Neo's victorious theme. The music runs the gamut from huge soaring orchestra and percussion, to huge soaring Stravinsky-esque chaos, to Philip Glass- style piano runs.
Many of these elements can be found on the first track, "Main Title/Trinity Infinity."

You may notice that the soundtrack is only 29-minutes long, and seems to only cover the most major scenes Davis scored. It may be helpful to note that the Rites of Spring is only 35-minutes long. Too much of this kind of thing might be overbearing. As it stands, The Matrix Original Soundtrack is a perfect half-hour punch of nostalgia, one that quickly brings up most of the good feelings of the film in the time it takes to watch a sitcom.

NOTE: 'The Matrix' features soundtracking by additional artists for some of its most iconic scenes, such as the Propellerheads-backed lobby shootout. That music can be found on this separate soundtrack.

1999 Varèse Sarabande
1. Main Title/Trinity Infinity 3:54
2. Unable to Speak 1:15
3. The Power Plant 2:41
4. Welcome to the Real World 2:28
5. The Hotel Ambush 5:23
6. Exit Mr. Hat 1:23
7. A Virus 1:33
8. Bullet-Time 1:10
9. Ontological Shock 3:32
10. Anything Is Possible 6:48

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Dogwood -- Seismic

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7/10

Dogwood's final album, Seismic, is more punk rocking fun, but doesn't quite have the energy of the band's previous efforts. This might be because of member changes. This might be because the writing was on the wall with the life of the band. This might even be because the writing was on the wall with the life of the genre. Don't get me wrong, punk rock will never die, but by the spring of 2003, you'd have been hard pressed to find another punk band on Dogwood's label, Tooth & Nail. When Dogwood signed to Tooth & Nail, they were part of a healthy punk rock stable.
Nevertheless, despite the end having come, we get one more Dogwood release. Seismic isn't their best, but it's nowhere close to bad. It's still full of punk rock anthems, and it also contains perhaps Dogwood's best song, "Conscience in a Cave."
Listen here:

"Conscience in a Cave" is one of the most huge-sounding, psychologically complex songs Dogwood recorded. It is so good, it qualifies as one of those songs that, when you listen to it, makes you feel that you are better than everyone in the world who is not also listening to it at that exact moment. It is songs like this that made Dogwood a valuable commodity, one now sorely missed in the nearly punk-free musical landscape of 2012. Then again, that's why it's called a recording. You can spite the dumbstep, metalcore-infused fortress of modern music by listening to Dogwood's oeuvre anytime you want. I'm doing it right now.

2003 Tooth & Nail Records
1. Seismic 3:11
2. Selfish Americans 2:07
3. Conscience in a Cave 3:15
4. Sunsets Are but Once a Day 2:08
5. Absolution 2:20
6. Home Is Here 3:19
7. Your Tongue Is the Deadliest of Arrows 3:11
8. Trailer Full of Tragedies 3:28
9. Faith 3:10
10. What Matters 2:40
11. Last of the Lost 3:35
12. Crushing 0:46

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Dogwood -- Matt Aragon

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8/10

Dogwood returns with another lovely punk rock album at the end of the punk rock age. I mentioned in this Dingees review that after the summer of 2001, things stopped being as fun. Well, there were a few holdouts. Exactly two weeks after 9/11, Dogwood released their penultimate album, Matt Aragon. Around this time, Dogwood's label began to phase out punk rock and replace it with...emo, I guess. Actually, I went to Tooth & Nail day at Cornerstone the summer after this album was released, and while the majority of the twenty or so bands that played were actually quite enjoyable, there was a noticeable dearth of punk music. The end of the punk's popularity was coming, but thankfully no one told Dogwood, and with Matt Aragon, they left us twelve delectable and diverse tracks of punk rock goodness.
Fast tempos rule the day (though there are some excellent exceptions) on Matt Aragon (the name of a buddy of the band), but Dogwood make sure to mix it up with varying guitar tones and effects, and good songwriting (I just felt like putting a third parenthetical here). Special mention must be given to Jason Harper's bass playing. He does a great job not only providing rhythm, but breaking from the guitars to provide something different, all while keeping the songs going. Harper's tone is great and the bass is perfect in the mix. Also, the vocals, guitars, drums--all punk rock gold.
For anyone wanting a fun flashback to the time when good punk music was readily available, check out Matt Aragon. For the kids today who hate everything they are hearing, check out Matt Aragon. Music didn't always suck.
"Point/Counterpoint" is an example of everything Dogwood did well: blazing speed, slowing it down, getting a little trippy, attitude-packed outro.

WAHHH!!! 90's/early 00's, why did you have to end???!!!
My two-year old son knows what's up. A few days ago, I started the car with him in the backseat, and Matt Aragon blasted through the speakers. "What's this noise?" he asked. "Daddy, turn it up!"

2001 Tooth & Nail Records
1. 1983 3:26
2. Nothing Is Everything 3:20
3. Matt Aragon 2:41
4. Lonely Road 2:25
5. Juice 3:21
6. Do or Die 3:41
7. Point/Counterpoint 3:07
8. Singular 2:08
9. Challenger 1:06
10. Reasoner 0:38
11. A Hope Unseen 4:06
12. For What It's Worth 3:20

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Dogwood -- Building a Better Me

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8/10

Dogwood's Building a Better Me is the prototypical turn of the century Tooth & Nail punk record. I don't know what the label puts out today, but back then, if someone wanted a decent punk record, they could just visit a Tooth and Nail booth at their record store and grab almost anything at random. Building a Better a Better Me would be quite a lucky pick, though.
You'd get in your car, put on the CD, and immediately be greeted by awesomely gritty, yet melodic vocals, urgent guitars, and a crashing rhythm section. By the second track, you'd hear that this band can also do speed punk, but that they're not afraid to throw in a pensive moment or two, as well. By the third track, as the acoustic guitar intro gives way to roaring distortion, you'll be saying out loud, "I'm glad I bought this album."

And once you hear Dogwood include a sound clip from 'Army of Darkness' in this song, you'll be happy to know that a band can be awesome, serious, and have a sense of humor, all at the same time.
And then suddenly it's twelve years later, and bands just don't make music like this anymore. But at least we'll always have "The Good Times."


2000 Tooth & Nail Records
1. The Good Times 2:14
2. There's Room for Everyone 3:04
3. Building a Better Me 3:09
4. Comes Crashing 3:51
5. Autobiographies 2:26
6. Mycro 2:39
7. Come Back Down 1:47
8. The Battle of Them Vs. Them 3:21
9. Cheat Me 2:40
10. Someone See 2:59
11. The Bad Times (Reprise) 0:54
12. Overexposed 2:44
13. The Bad Times 2:27
14. Truth About It Is 2:20
15. Great Literature 0:31
16. Nothing New 3:24

Alive Again

Hurricane Isuck came and went, we lost power for days, lost a lot of tree limbs, lost my garden, lost a little trailer skirting, kept everything else. Thank God it wasn't anything worse than that. Also, I couldn't blog. But I can now. Thanks for the prayers and well wishes. Time to get the train rolling again.  Here's a picture, just in case you're not sure what a train is:
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