Playlist of the Week

I have a little break from all the stuff I’ve had to finish over the past week or so, so I figured I’d make a quick blog post.

Here is what I’ve been listening to and am now designating The Playlist of the Weak.

1: Royal Orleans. (Led Zeppelin/Presence)

2: The Lotus Eater. (Opeth/Watershed)

3: Sick Again. (Led Zeppelin/Physical Graffiti)

4: All Along the Watchtower. (Jimi Hendrix/The Ultimate Experience)

5: Anything of Somewhere In Time by Iron Maiden

6: Black Napkins. (Frank Zappa/Zoot Allures)

7: Dopethrone. (Electric Wizard/Supercoven)

8: Funk Volume 2012. (Hopsin, Dizzy Wright, SwizZz, DJ Hoppa)

9: BU2B. (Rush/Clockwork Angels)

10: Dogs. (Animals/Pink Floyd)

11: Women In Love. (Van Halen/Van Halen II)

12: Dig. (Incubus/Light Grenades)

13: Under A Serpent Sun. (At The Gates/Slaughter of the Soul)

14: No Love Lost. (Carcass/Heartwork)

15: Burden. (Opeth/Watershead)

16: The Necromancer (Rush/Caress of Steel)

17: Drop Dead Legs. (Van Halen/1984)

18: Stairway To Heaven. (Led Zeppelin/Led Zeppelin IV)

19: Ram it Down. (Judas Priest/Living After Midnight)

20: Big Money. (Rush/Power Windows)

Ramble On

Well folks, it’s about time I covered a bit about (drum roll please) LED ZEPPELIN!!  Led Zeppelin is one of my favorite bands, for obvious reasons.  Their combination of blues and rock and roll was unheard of and unparalleled in their time.  They do a lot of covers too, such as In My Time Of Dying, but they play the songs better than the original band does haha.

Led Zeppelin was formed primarily out of The Yardbirds.  [Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, and Jeff Beck all came from The Yardbirds.]  They got their name when Keith Moon, the drummer for The Who, said that the band would crash faster than a Led Zeppelin.  Without Led Zeppelin there would be no Black Sabbath, Rush, or even Deep Purple, so no, I’m not kidding when I say they changed rock and roll forever.

Members:

Jimmy Page: Guitar

Robert Plant: Vocals

John Henry Bonham: Drums

John Paul Jones: Bass

Jimmy Page redefined how the guitar is played.  His fast paced blues playing set the standard for rock and roll for many generations of players and still does to this day.  He started out as a studio guitarist where he played with a number of bands and ironically he also was the guitarist on The Who’s first album.  When he started Led Zeppelin he was able to really branch out to all of the corners of the musical spectrum that he needed to create his music.  He is also one of the more enigmatic members of the rock community.  There have been a lot of rumors about Page most having to do with the dark arts and Alester Crowley.  He purchased a number of “evil” properties, including one of Crowley’s mansions.  He also found the symbols that represent each of the band members such as Zoso.  I’ve also heard some other stories about Page that I’d just rather not go into…

Robert Plant was going to college to become an accountant when he left to peruse his musical career.  He had been influenced by the blues his entire life and when he met Page, they just seemed to click.  Plant was in a bunch of bands before Led Zeppelin where he met John Bonham and formed the Band of Joy.  Like the rest of the band, he likes to keep to himself.

John Bonham is my favorite drummer.  If I could jam with anyone it would probably be John Bonham.  His snare to floor tom rolls was one of the first things that caught my attention.  If you need a drummer who can play in weird timings easily, play a variety of styles, play a drum solo with his hands, and who can transition without thinking about it, he’s your guy.  He used the heaviest and longest drumsticks available at the time and you can tell in songs like When the Levee Breaks and the Ocean.  His drum solo, Moby Dick, is one of the most intense and complicated solos I’ve ever listened to.  You can watch him play it on Youtube I’m sure, or you can go and get The Song Remains The Same, which is the Led Zeppelin movie.  I wish I knew more about drumming so I could go on for longer, but alas.  John Bonham died at age 32 from alcohol poisoning.  The band broke up shortly after.

John Paul Jones is a fantastic bassist.  He also plays the keyboards, mandolin, and banjo (I think?) in many of their songs.  Led Zeppelin simply would not be Led Zeppelin without Jones.  He’s normally stage right kind of in the back.  I’ve heard multiple reasons for why he stood farther back such as, he needed to be closer to Bonham for transitions, he didn’t like being in the spotlight, or he needed to be by all the other instruments, but ultimately I’m not really sure why.  I feel like he is one of the more underrated members of the band, but he really shouldn’t be.  As I said, the band would not be Led Zeppelin without him.  He has influenced other greats such as Steve Harris of Iron Maiden and Geddy Lee of Rush.  All in all, John Paul Jones is one of the most well rounded musicians to ever play in rock and roll.

Discography:

Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin II

Led Zeppelin III

Led Zeppelin IV

Houses of the Holy

Physical Graffiti

Presence

In Through the Out Door

Coda

Led Zeppelin is mostly covers, but damn do they do a good job covering those songs.  It has a lot of their hits like, Dazed and Confused, Communication Breakdown, and Babe I’m Gonna Leave You.

Led Zeppelin II was pretty much recorded while they were on the road.  It includes such favorites as Whole Lotta Love, The Lemon Song, Heartbreaker, and Ramble on.  Pretty much every song on this album is just fantastic.

Led Zeppelin III really shows how much the band can branch out.  Its got a lot of folk influences and it’s really cool how the band fuses the folk with their traditional blues/rock style.  There are two covers for this album, one with a wheel that spins on the top sleeve revealing different pictures and the other which is black and shows each members’ symbol. (Zoso, feather etc.)  This album includes some of my favorite Zeppelin songs such as Immigrant Song, Celebration day, Gallows Pole, and Since I’ve Been Loving You.  Fun fact: Jimmy Page and Robert Plant went to a cabin in the woods and wrote the song.  This album also has one of their most underrated songs Hats Off to Roy Harper.

Led Zeppelin IV is one of my favorite albums of all time.  It has Stairway to Heaven, which is just a phenomenal song (I know it’s their most popular song, but it is for a good reason.)  There is a lot more than meets the eye on the album cover.  Unfortunately, you need the actual album to really get the feel for it, but do not fear! I have it.  Songs you should give a good listen to include, Stairway to Heaven, Black Dog, Rock and Roll, The Battle of Evermore, Four Sticks, Misty Mountain Hop, When the Levee Breaks, and Going to California.  Wait… Did I just list the entire album? Yes I did.  Go and listen to it.

Houses of the Holy is another great album.  The Rain Song is a really nice song to listen to if you’re trying to chill out, so is No Quarter.  I guarantee that you have heard No Quarter before.  This album also shows Page’s affection for the acoustic guitar, especially in Over the Hills and Far Away.  It also has Dancing Days, The Song Remains the Same, and The Crunge.

Physical Graffiti IS my favorite Zeppelin album.  It’s got two albums on it, the first with six songs and the second with nine songs.  It also has my favorite Zeppelin song In My Time of Dying on it.  In The Light is a really great song along with Down by the Seaside, Ten Years Gone, The Wanton Song, The Rover, Trampled Under Foot, and Kashmir.

Presence is a great album too.  It was recorded in Germany during a rough time for the band.  Jimmy Page was getting into the throws of heroin and Robert Plant was recovering from a pretty bad car accident.  Fun fact: While Plant was in the hospital from the accident there was a soldier laying next to him who started singing The Ocean.  The black obelisk on the cover is referred to as “the object” and it represents the presence of Led Zeppelin.  This album has Royal Orleans (a song mostly about a hotel fire and a transvestite), Achilles Last Stand, For Your Life, and one of my favorites Tea For One.

In Through The Out Door is a really Jones and Bonham heavy album because Page was really into heroin by this time.  This was also the last album they released before John Bonham died.  This album has songs; In The Evening, Carouselambra, All My Love and I’m Gonna Crawl.

Coda is the final studio album that Led Zeppelin released.  It was named coda after the musical term.  It was released two years after Bonham died and is comprised of outtakes from previous albums.  This album has Ozone Baby, I Can’t Quit You Baby, We’re Gonna Groove.

Led Zeppelin was probably the most successful rock band that has ever existed.  Through all the good times and bad times the members of Led Zeppelin have definitely kept rambling on.

Links!

Stairway to Heaven

In My Time of Dying

Rock and Roll

Kashmir

If I left anything interesting out please feel free to comment! Also, has anyone seen the bridge??

The Lotus Eater

Opeth is one of the most amazing bands that I have ever listened to.  They’re definitely heavier than most of the other bands I have written about or will write about, but they also have one of the best clean sounds that I have EVER heard.

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Band Members:

Mikael Åkerfeldt -Vocals, guitar
Martín Méndez -bass
Martin Axenrot -drums
Fredrik Åkesson -guitar, backing vocals
Joakim Svalberg -keyboards, vocals, percussion

Watershed is my favorite album by them.  It was released around the time that Mikael Åkerfeldt was going through a darker time in his life, so this album is definitely darker.  Heir Apparent and The Lotus Eater are my two favorite songs off that album, followed closely by Hex Omega.

I feel like this band doesn’t get as much recognition as it deserves.  They are one of the best progressive metal bands that I have ever listened to.  They are from Sweden and are influenced by bands like Celtic Frost, Iron Maiden, and Judas Priest.  In fact Mikael Åkerfeldt’s favorite Judas Priest album is Sad Wings of Destiny.  They have a pretty big discography and if you’re just getting into them I recommend starting with Still Life or Watershed.

Another great song that is worth a listen is To Bid You Farewell: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cm5jDbhMqEA

“I don’t see the point of playing in a band and going just one way when you can do everything. It would be impossible for us to play just death metal; that is our roots, but we are now a mishmash of everything, and not purists to any form of music. It’s impossible for us to do that, and quite frankly I would think of it as boring to be in a band that plays just metal music. We’re not afraid to experiment, or to be caught with our pants down, so to speak. That’s what keeps us going.” ~Mikael Åkerfeldt~

One thing that I really like about Opeth is that they are dedicated to the music they play.  They aren’t in it for the money, they write music they love to play and they do a damn fine job of it.

Discography:

Orchid (1995)
Morningrise (1996)
My Arms, Your Hearse (1998)
Still Life (1999)
Blackwater Park (2001)
Deliverance (2002)
Damnation (2003)
Ghost Reveries (2005)
Watershed (2008)
Heritage (2011)

My favorite part about the band is the constant switching between the types of guitar.  Songs like Burden or The Lotus Eater switch between classical guitars (nylon strings,) to electric guitar, to acoustic guitar.  If I could sing (which I cant) I would want to have Åkerfedt’s voice.  He has a pure voice, great range, and even his metal vocals are flawless.  The drumming is absolutely fantastic as well.  The drum fills and transitions are mind blowing and the technical difficulty of Martian Axenrot’s drumming I think rivals that of John Bonham (my favorite rock drummer.) [That’s a bold comparison and I’m not even worried about it.]

The band wouldn’t be the same without the guitarists (go figure…), but let me be more specific.  Åkerfeldt’s writing and masterful playing combined with their old guitarists or Fredrik Åkesson’s equally masterful playing (on Watershed) makes the band.  They have a really unique sound and that is due in a large way to the guitarists.

There isn’t really a great and accurate way for me to describe this band in writing.  I can play To Bid You Farewell, but unfortunately I don’t have the time or materials to record it and post it to this blog, so I encourage you to give them a good listen.  Not just one listen, but ALL THE LISTENS.  This is really a phenomenal band and I hope you all enjoy their music as much as I do.

Links!

The Lotus Eater (Watershed)

Face Of Melinda (Still Life)

Windowpane [Live] (The Roundhouse Tapes)

Black Rose Immortal  (Morningrise)

Feel free to comment on my posts! I encourage people to share what they know or argue with me as well!

And You and I

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I honestly don’t know much about Yes, but they definitely deserve a shout out. I kind of recently got into Yes. It took a minute to really get the feel for the music, because there is NO WAY you can listen to a song by Yes just once and hear everything that’s going on.

Chris Squire is an amazing bassist, I know that his sound has influenced lots of bassists today. He is definitely one of the driving factors of the band.

Steve Howe is a phenomenal guitarist. I didn’t expect the guitar to be that complicated, but I definitely underestimated it. Howe is an interesting guy, I heard that he was a pretty big pothead and he would often wander off and play guitar when stoned haha. Any Yes song is a testament to how great of a guitarist Howe is. His playing is fast, smooth, complex, and just all around great.

Rick Wakeman is fucking awesome. When you think about rockers from the 60’s and 70’s playing multiple keyboards at once, that’s this guy. Siberian Khatru is a perfect example of that. The keyboard solo right before the guitar solo is one of my favorite keyboard solos ever. I really wish I could say more about him, but if anyone is reading this comment and add some info!

Bill Bruford and Alan White are both great drummers. It’s not easy to play drums to progressive rock. But these guys make it look easy. The complexity of what they do is beyond me. I am not a good drummer, but I think drummers now a days should definitely check these guys out.

Frontman Jon Anderson is as my buddy said “The definition of a flower child.” His mannerisms almost say it as much as his lyrics do, but if you really listen to the lyrics you will hear the story.

I saw Yes over the summer and even though it wasn’t all the original members I will never forget that concert. They played The Yes Album, Going For The One and Close To The Edge. Whew, it was intense. I was in the seventh row and even though they’re getting pretty old they KILLED it! The new front man, Jon Davison did a really good job. Every time I listen to Yes and the song changes I always think about how they would change songs at the show. I definitely give that concert a 5 out of 5 stars.

Here’s a link to my favorite Yes song. Siberian Khatru

Another link to check out if you’re just getting into the band! Yours Is No Disgrace

Thanks for checking out another post on The Rock Lounge! See you next time.

Is There Anybody Out There?

Oh man, where do I start?  I’ve been listening to Pink Floyd since I was a kid.  It started as an obsession over Dark Side of the Moon (go figure) but once I started looking into the songs and the meanings I really, and I mean REALLY, got into Pink Floyd.  I can honestly say there isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t listen to a Pink Floyd song at some point or another.

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The members are (In no specific order):

(former: Syd Barrett: vocals/guitar)

Roger Waters –vocals/bass

David Gilmour –Guitar/vocals

Nick Mason –Drums

Richard Wright –Keyboards/other

The first two albums (Piper at the Gates of Dawn and A Saucerful of Secrets) are good, weird, but good; honestly, it’s hard for me to get into them.  Atom Heart Mother is better, but still has that super trippy feel to it.  I don’t know, maybe I’m not giving those albums enough credit.

Meddle.  Yes, Echoes is an amazing song, the rest of the album is great, such as Fearless and A Pillow of Winds, but really what better way to end an album than with a 23-minute piece like Echoes.  If you didn’t know, David Gilmour makes the squeaks and weird noises by plugging in a wah peddle backwards, (fun fact of the day).  Also, if you haven’t seen Echoes Live in Pompeii, you need to watch it now.  BAM! link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGwPSPIhohk

I know a lot of people who don’t care for Obscured by Clouds, but I love the album.  I haven’t seen the movie that it was the sound track for, but I have been looking for a copy if anyone knows where I can get one (…assuming people read this…) Anyway, Stay is one of my favorite Pink Floyd songs and The Gold it’s in the… is a good one as well.  I really think more people should give this album a good listen.

Onto Wish You Were Here.  Classic.  Amazing. Beautiful.  I can go on, but I assume you’ve all heard it before so you know what I’m talking about.  I love this album because (other than Animals) it sticks it to the man.  Have a Cigar is obviously about the music industry.

“And by the way, which one’s Pink?”

            Welcome to the Machine is a fantastic song.  I believe it’s about… well, the machine.  The government and the corporations, man.  I don’t want to rant so I’ll leave it at that.  The song Wish You Were Here always elicits a good amount of emotion from me, even though it’s about Syd Barrett, it’s not hard to think about a woman while listening to the song.  It’s not that hard of a song to play, but it seems as if it’s hard to capture the emotion that David Gilmour puts into the song through the guitar.  (Especially when you’re some dude on campus playing under a tree trying to pick up chicks, no that’s not me, but I have seen this spectacle before.)  Lastly, Shine on you Crazy Diamond (all the parts I-IX) are great songs, but personally I like Echoes more.  Shine on is a lot more laid back though, I love the use of other instruments.  Pink Floyd has always been really good at incorporating other instruments into their music.

Animals really sticks it to the man, for lack of a better term.  The album has an underlying theme that seems to be (and correct me if I’m wrong, really) pigs which represent corporate fat-cats, sheep which represent the overall masses, and dogs which represent the strong people.  Dogs is probably my second favorite Pink Floyd song, even though the whole album is f***ing phenomenal.  Dogs just really speaks to me.  It’s about a guy who is… Well this pretty much says it…

“Who was born in a house full of pain
Who was trained not to spit in the fan
Who was told what to do by the man
Who was broken by trained personnel
Who was fitted with collar and chain
Who was given a pat on the back
Who was breaking away from the pack
Who was only a stranger at home
Who was ground down in the end
Who was found dead on the phone
Who was dragged down by the stone.”

The stone is NOT referring to drugs, it IS however referring to bad blood.  Don’t ask me for an explanation, go LISTEN to the song!

Dark Side of the Moon is epic.  Don’t argue, you know it to be true.  It was mainly written by Richard Wright and it about Syd Barrett.  (Some background on Syd Barrett: He was in the band before David Gilmour and was kicked out, went crazy, and spent the rest of his life gardening, painting pictures of flowers, and destroying the paintings because he felt that beauty was transient.)

NOTE: I mean no disrespect to Syd Barrett, if I’m wrong about any of that info, comment and correct me so I can correct it.

I’m gonna come back to The Wall, just you wait.

The last three Pink Floyd albums I have are The Final Cut, which is a little depressing, A Momentary Lapse of Reason, which is good, On the Turning Away is a fantastic song, but it’s also one of the more popular songs on the album.  And lastly, The Division Bell.  The Division Bell is definitely my favorite of the aforementioned three.  With Keep Talking and High Hopes on it, it definitely is worthy of a good listen a couple times through.  But A Momentary Lapse of Reason and The Division Bell both have something missing… Roger Waters.  It’s really just not the same, still good, but not the same.

Okay, onto THE WALL.

My all time favorite song is Comfortably Numb, not just my favorite Pink Floyd song, but my ALL TIME favorite song… ever.  Yeah it’s stereotypical whatever, bite me, you don’t know me well enough to get into that.  The Wall is a story about Roger Waters’ life pretty much.  If you haven’t seen it, go watch it right now.  The movie is fantastic, the first time I saw it I was in high school, so of course I didn’t understand what it was about, but now that I have a much better understanding of things I cant get enough of it.  It’s not just a movie; it was an album first (clearly).  It came out in 1979 and is on two records (or discs).  As I said, it’s about Waters’ life, how he felt like a Nazi on stage, his school days, a pet rat, his overprotective (to say the least) mother, his father dying in WWII, sex, going crazy on a groupie, drugs, suffering, loneliness, his wife, and coming out of his shell and tearing down the wall.  Something people may have wondered, Vera is about a singer who was known as “The Force’s Sweetheart.”  She had a famous song in which one of the lyrics goes “we’ll meet again,” referring to the soldiers fighting the war, ergo when Waters sings “Remember when she said we will meet again…”  The outro to Bring the Boys Back Home into Comfortably Numb is another amazing part of The Wall.  It cycles through clips of other parts of the songs; “are you feeling okay?”

As much as I like the studio album of The Wall, I have a live album “Is There Anybody out There?” part I and “The Wall Live 1980” which is part II, which has my favorite recording of Comfortably Numb on it.

Here’s another link, BAM! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sFyXb8Q9s0

Listen to the studio recording and this recording back to back and you’ll see why I’m obsessing over it.  I’m listening to it now and I can’t really focus anymore, so on that note.  Thanks for reading another opinionated blog post by yours truly, go turn on that dusty lava lamp, sit back, and turn on some Pink Floyd.

Aces High

For my first blog post (ever!!) I decided to write about Iron Maiden.

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For those of you who don’t know, Iron Maiden has six members;

  1. Bruce Dickinson- vocals, world renowned swordsman, pilot for the bands plane
  2. Dave Murray- guitar
  3. Janick Gers- guitar
  4. Steve Harris- bass
  5. Adrian Smith- guitar
  6. Nicko McBrain- drums

Iron Maiden has been around since about 1975 and since then the band has released 15 studio albums (of which I have all but one,) and every single one is epic in its own way.  They have a bunch of live albums and best of albums, but I’m not really going to get into those.  The band really started catching a lot of attention when Bruce Dickinson (former Samson vocalist) joined the band and they released The Number of the Beast in 1982.

That album was the start of the Iron Maiden that most people know and love today.  The first two albums Iron Maiden and Killers with Paul Di’Anno on vocals are great of course, but they’re not exactly my favorite.  Same with the albums with Blaze Bayley.  To me Blaze Bayley is to Iron Maiden what Gary Cherone was to Van Halen, not the best combination.  But that’s just my opinion.

If you like epic lyrics that describe war as if you were in the battle, mystical powers and religious phenomena, assassins, the world ending, or power and greed, then you should really be listening to Iron Maiden.  Some of their songs have even been on video games like Madden NFL 10.  A lot of the lyrics are written so well that it’s hard to imagine that they didn’t take them from a book, take for example this excerpt from the song Moonchild:

The twins they are exhausted, seven is this night
Gemini is rising as the red lips kiss to bite
Seven angels seven demons battle for his soul
When Gabriel lies sleeping, this child was born to die

The lyrics aren’t the only part of the song that tells a story, the instrumental music is written so well that it seems to tell parts of the story that the lyrics cant express.  For instance in Mother Russia the guitars play Russian sounding riffs, or in Powerslave the guitars sound Egyptian!  The band writes music so well it’s mind blowing.

I’ve never gotten to see Iron Maiden in concert, but I’ve watched a lot of their concerts on DVD and they have an awesome stage presence.  Bruce Dickinson is always running around the stage waving British flags or dressed up in some awesome uniform that has to do with whatever song their playing.  All the guitarists are running around shredding their heads off while Steve Harris is blowing everyone away with triplets and amazing bass lines.  He is hands down one of the best bassists the genre has ever seen.  Niko McBrain is a great drummer as well and even though he is sitting behind his kit, he even has a stage presence through his technique.  Plus, you know the giant robotic Eddie that walks around stage is pretty damn awesome too!

This band has definitely set the standard for metal and has undoubtedly influenced music as a whole with everything they have ever written.

Here are some links!
Paschendale (My favorite Iron Maiden song) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAmdAQ4BX48

Still Life:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7OyOwIexIQ

And just because it’s well known here’s The Trooper: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQI3zS1R9jg

Now go listen to some Iron Maiden and witness the sheer power of metal!