2016 will mark 20 years since Fiona Apple’s debut album Tidal was released. Recently I was compelled to take a listen back to this angsty masterpiece. This album is one of the most profound albums of the 1990’s and it is drenched in sensuality, danger and depression all in a good way. Songs like “Criminal,” “Shadowboxer,” “Sleep To Dream,” “Slow Like Honey,” “The First Taste,” and “Never Is A Promise,” have long been stellar tracks on this album. Fiona’s voice shows so much vulnerability and despair, it’s no wonder she was able to connect with so many people that listened to her. There is so many adjectives to describe her and this album. Instead of me going on and on, I’ll stop and let you all take a listen to Tidal and you can soak it all in!
The ability to redeem one’s self in music is a very rewarding thing to accomplish. Last year the Foo Fighters released their very disappointing album Sonic Highways. Sadly that album doesn’t have the legs (get it since Dave only had one leg on tour… shameless pun) to stand on. Thankfully during the Foo Fighters time in Austin for the Austin City Limits Festival, the band gathered at the Saint Cecilia hotel and made an EP that redeems the less fortunate previous album. The five songs on the EP are chock full of riffs from throughout the bands 20 year career. Some of the riffs and ideas have been around since the inception of the band when it was just Dave doing everything. The first song “Saint Cecilia” is 3 and a half minutes of classic Foo Fighters. “Sean” is a little fun fast paced song. “Savior Breath” is the type of rock song that the Foo’s need to base their next album on. This song is beyond a rocker and is sure to be a crowd favorite for years to come. “Iron Rooster” is the weakest song on the collection. The lead guitar parts are really sweet and full of great melodies though. Closing song “The Neverending Sigh” is the best song on the EP. This is another of those songs that needs to usher in the next Foo’s album. The sheer magnitude of bombastic rock that comes out of this song is grandiose.
The Foo’s are on the right track with this redemption EP. That’s what the name of it should have been. It’s great to see a band 20 years into their career and they still have it in them to put out quality. I really thought that with 2011’s Wasting Light, they were on the right track. Here’s to hoping they get back on that track and keep on rolling through.
One of the most fulfilling things about writing this blog is the chance to hear new music all the time. Sometimes out of the bunches that are sent my way, there are those that really stand out amongst the pack. Over the weekend I received that debut album from Despite The Raven. I’ve been looking forward to this album for a while now. After hearing Craig Cirinelli in his other bands (Damn) This Desert Air and Hidden Cabins, I had a feeling that this new project would be the next step in his musical path. Teaming up with guitarist Chris Homentosky, this dynamic duo has created an album that stretches past the influences of the 90’s contemporaries and pushes deeper with each song. The eleven songs on this album are full of great rock n roll with added elements of ambience and soulful melodies. Song’s like “Where Fear and Courage Meet,” “Contrition,” “Tarred and Feathered,” “The Opportunist,” “The Maven,” and closing track “Walk Alone (The Unapology)” really showcase what this band is all about. Craig’s lyrics are personal yet open to interpretation allowing an added sense of discovery throughout the album. Despite The Raven are one of those bands that when they start taking the stage you’ll be wanting to pay attention. By the indication of listening to this album, you’ll get swept away by the sheer beauty of it. This album is definitely a cause for celebration. Do yourself a favor and delve into this.
Since last Friday when I saw Socionic, I’ve been listening to the band that opened the evening Here Lies The Hero. Their blend of metal and post hardcore is quite exceptional. The band formed in 2010 in Texas and relocated to Los Angeles in 2013. Since that time the band has really pushed hard to make a name for themselves, playing shows with the likes of Trivium, Norma Jean, Letlive and countless others. Their 2014 EP Adrift, is a very vulnerable yet full of optimism. Musically this band especially the guitars are technical and precise while full of heaviness and melody. Amongst their peers in this genre of music, Here Lies The Hero are quite the band to watch for. And by the indication of the new songs they played at the show I saw them at, they are moving in the right direction with what they are doing.
The Velvet Underground is in my top 10 of favorite bands of all time. Lou Reed has always been an inspiration to me in the way he writes music and tells stories through his lyrics. Almost 15 years ago Dave Navarro released a solo album called Trust No One that was really quite good. On this album he included a cover of “Venus In Furs.” This is a different approach to this song than the original, and is quite good. Take a listen to Dave’s and the original, and experience something intriguing. On a side note, Roy Mayorga (Soulfly, Stone Sour, Nausea, Abloom) played drums on this track.
One of the best bands from the early 90’s alternative scene has to be hands down Jane’s Addiction. They were such a bright spot for artistic imagination. Their influence of many genres allowed their music to go beyond the norm. During their brief early career, they managed to release two of the most iconic alternative albums ever, Nothing’s Shocking and Ritual De Lo Habitual.
Nothing’s Shocking is their absolute gem in their catalog. There is something truly spectacular about this album. A good portion of the best songs on the album were written by Eric Avery. Dave Navarro’s guitar playing has always been underrated in my opinion. And Stephen Perkins drumming is always right on. Songs like “Mountain Song,” “Had A Dad,” “Ocean Size,” “Pigs In Zen,” “Ted, Just Admit It,” and the ever overplayed “Jane Says,” are all complete standouts. The entire album start to finish is great.
Ritual De Lo Habitual really took a chance in exploring where the band could go. They really experimented with genres mixing in a bit of funk to their vibe. It’s this album that I think persuaded the Red Hot Chili Peppers to ask Dave Navarro to join the band for One Hot Minute (another unsung masterpiece in my humble opinion). There was also an added element of pop music in the way of really catchy choruses in songs like “Stop!,” and “Been Caught Stealing.” But there are such other great songs on this album like “Three Days,” “Obvious,” Ain’t No Right,” and “Of Course.”
Jane’s Addiction through all their ego trips and break ups have remained one of the most influential bands of the last 30 years. These two albums have helped influence countless bands over the years. The way they kept to their artistic integrity shows how creative they really are.
If I had to pick between these two I’d go towards Nothing’s Shocking. I jut love the purity in that album and the songs. That album has always stood out to me amongst their catalog and holds up beyond them all.
I’ll admit I was late to the party with Type O Negative. Any of the songs I heard growing up I enjoyed but I never delved into their albums until a few years ago. With all that in mind going back and listening to albums such as Bloody Kisses and October Rust, really cemented in my mind that, Type O Negative is one of those bands that were underrated and influenced so many bands. Peter Steele’s voice was something special. His deep monotone voice carried bits of melody making it gentle to listen to but also presented a sensual experience while the music of Josh Silver, Johnny Kelly and Kenny Hickey was sonically dark, heavy and beautiful. The haunting eerie soundscapes that were a part of their sound made listening to them quite pleasant. Sadly in 2010, Peter Steele passed away from heart failure. This also meant the end of Type O Negative. Thankfully their catalog is so good and still packs quite a punch to this day, that Peter’s legacy carries on.
Live shows are beyond powerful. There is something really special when you can have a deep connection with an audience no matter how big or small. Friday night was an evening that belonged to the very deserving Socionic. Their new album Dividing Horizon just came out and it is spectacular. Their performance this night was outstanding. I’ve seen a lot (and I mean a lot) of bands in my life and Socionic just left a mark in my mind. Just as With Our Arms To The Sun has been able to do, Socionic grabs you from the first note all the way to the end. As they were the highlight of the night, there were a few other bands that really hit it home.
First up was Here Lies The Hero. This 5 piece post hardcore band similar to the likes of Letlive and Norma Jean, took charge to the stage. You could tell by watching them on the Viper Room’s stage that they are a very energetic band. I was waiting for them to lash out and go nuts, but they restrained themselves and focused on delivering a solid performance of mainly new material that sounded great. They really set the tone for the night.
Next up was the very interesting prog rock band Elixir On Mute. Guitarist Jordan Ferreira is a shredder amongst the best. His command of the guitar is captivating. Joining them for their live set was bassist Matt Denis (also of Socionic). Their set was very free flowing, allowing for the music to do the talking. Granted I wasn’t a fan of the vocals from the recordings I heard before seeing them, this band live really kills it.
The highlight of the night was Socionic. They are the real deal. They made the small Viper Room stage seem huge as they delivered on every song with tight precision and gusto. Singer Michael Meinhart, is so passionate in his delivery. Vocally he has range and personality along with solid melodies. Musically the band is tight and full of the prowess needed to deliver the lie performance. Their set consisted of songs from their EP Identity and new album Dividing Horizon. One of the coolest things I saw during their performance was the guy standing next to me. He had to be no older than 21 and was singing along to all the songs he knew. It was one of those moments that reminded me of myself when I was younger. Socionic has the music and live show to really leave a mark amongst all their peers.
It’s nights like this that make me long for the days of going to shows and being wowed by the bands I see. The entire night was filled with one good band after another. On an interesting note as well, The Viper Room is fast becoming the it place to play in Hollywood now.
Since starting Audioeclectica, I’ve developed a more mature appreciation for instrumental bands. In the past I would generally bypass them, unless I were at a festival or needed background music. The great thing about instrumental bands is the journey they take you on, leaving it all open to interpretation and your imagination. This weeks band of the week, If These Trees Could Talk, hooks you in with their gentle sounds, then pulls you in further as the music gets deeper and heavier. The band sites Mogwai, Tool, Red Sparowes, …And you will know us by the trail of dead as their main influences. And you can tell that there are elements of each of those bands in their music. If These Trees Could Talk released 3 albums through The Mylene Sheath before signing to Metal Blade records. Their new album is slated to be released late 2015 or early 2016. Keep track of this band, as I’m sure they will be a band to look out for in the post-metal world.
I remember the first time I heard Spineshank’s version of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” from their first album Strictly Diesel. I was absolutely mortified. And this is coming from someone who isn’t much of a Beatles fan at all. I’d also like to mention that I really do like Spineshank. Especially their albums The Height Of Callousness and Self Destructive Pattern, but this is just bad! So without wasting anymore time writing anything, take a listen and you’ll hear why this is one of the worst covers ever.