Sinner’s Swing

Time to blog about Van Halen’s fourth album Fair Warning!

Fair Warning came out in 1981, this was one of the band’s slower selling albums, although I’m not sure why because it’s so f****** awesome.  However, interestingly enough this album was part of Esquire Magazine’s “75 Albums Every Man Should Own.”  So, if you don’t own this, tough luck brah.

This was also the album where if you listen really hard you can tell that Dave and Eddie are starting to butt heads.  The styles of Dave and Eddie really started to differ around this time and they would only release two more albums before splitting.

The song line up is:

  1. Mean Street
  2. Dirty Movies
  3. Sinner’s Swing
  4. Hear About it Later
  5. Unchained
  6. Push Come to Shove
  7. So This is Love?
  8. Sunday Afternoon in the Park
  9. One Foot Out the Door

I’m gonna go ahead and talk about Diver Down as well because why not…

Diver Down was released in 1982 this is the fifth album in the Van Halen saga.

Alright, so I know a few fun facts about this album.  For instance the back of the album is a picture from when they opened for The Rolling Stones.  The reason for the album cover being the diver down flag is not just because the album is called Diver Down, but it is a message that says things may not always be as they seem (pertaining to the band of course.)  The whole reason for the song Intruder was so they would have enough time in the music video for (Oh) Pretty Woman.  Eddie and Alex’s father plays the clarinet on the song Big Bad Bill.  The music video for (Oh) Pretty Woman was banned from MTV for a while haha, oh Dave…

The track listing goes like this:

  1. Where Have All The Good Times Gone?*
  2. Hang ‘Em High
  3. Cathedral
  4. Secrets
  5. Intruder
  6. (Oh) Pretty Woman*
  7. Dancing in the Street*
  8. Little Guitars (intro)
  9. Little Guitars
  10. Big Bad Bill (Is Sweet William Now)
  11. The Full Bug
  12. Happy Trails*

Five out of twelve songs on this album are covers by the way… Hmm, lemme go back and put asterisks at the end of the covers. …Okay, well I got four out of five marked… I think Hang ‘Em High might be the other one, but I’m not sure.

BY THE WAY the link on pretty woman takes you to the music video, just because I loooove you.

Hope you enjoyed another blog from me, Happy Thanksgiving.

You’re No Good

Time to cover Van Halen II!

VH2_1

(Yes, in the picture above Alex’s drum sticks are on fire.  He also had a flaming gong.)

Van Halen II was released in 1979, only a year after they released their first album. The album reached number six on the charts. This album includes the songs:

  1. You’re No Good
  2. Dance the Night Away
  3. Somebody Get Me a Doctor
  4. Bottoms Up!
  5. Outta Love Again
  6. Light Up The Sky
  7. Spanish Fly
  8. D.O.A.
  9. Women In Love
  10. Beautiful Girls

BY THE WAY: If anyone reading this or any of my past posts haven’t noticed, I try to include links in the songs, so click the colored song titles and it will take you to Youtube.  In past posts I think I’ve just included links at the bottom of the post.

Overall, this album is a great album!  Some fun facts about this album are, David Lee Roth is shown in a cast because apparently he broke his foot jumping off the stage and landing on the microphone stand (womp womp.)  Another, not so fun, but interesting nonetheless, fact is that the guitar on the back of the album is buried with Dimebag Darrell.  Also, in the United States the album went 5X Platinum!

My favorite song off his album is either You’re No Good, Beautiful Girls, Women In Love, or Spanish Fly.

Spanish Fly is another solo that is a little like Eruption, but it is played on a classical guitar instead of electric.  And yes, he KILLS IT. Can you guess what the song Beautiful Girls is about? I bet you caaaaaan.  Here’s an excerpt if you cant:

“Here I am, ain’t no man of the world, no
All I need is a beautiful girl
Yeah! Beautiful girl
Come this way, baby

Sit down right here
Ooh, la la
Think I’ve got it now”

Women In Love is about a one night stand and woman.  It’s a cover apparently, which I actually didn’t know, but whatever, if you think about it, Van Halen is kind of like Zeppelin, in that when they cover a song you initially think that they wrote the song.

You’re No Good is the song you want to hear after you break up with a woman.

“Used to be I couldn’t sleep at night, baby
Now you go on an’ do what you want to”

So yeah, there you go.  I feel like this album did a lot for the overall feel that 80’s music would bring.  Then again, I don’t think the 80’s would have really existed without the feel good and in your face attitude that Van Halen ushered in.

Your homework is now to listen to the album. GO GO GO GO GO.

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!

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!