Month: May 2019

Cover Song: David Bowie (The Velvet Underground)- White Light/White Heat

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David Bowie was a huge fan of The Velvet Underground and Lou Reed. So much so that Bowie often tried to emulate Lou. The Lou Reed album TRANSFORMER, was also “produced” by David Bowie. The classic Velvet Underground song “White Light/White Heat” had been part of Bowie’s live repertoire since 1971.  The Velvet Underground originally released the song in 1968 on their second album, White Light/White Heat. Bowie’s version wasn’t released officially until 1983, on the Ziggy Stardust – The Motion Picture soundtrack. Interestingly, Bowie’s version was supposed to be released on Pin Ups. Anyhow, enjoy David Bowie’s take on one of my all time favorite bands songs.

David Bowie- White Light/White Heat:

 

 

The Velvet Underground- White Light/White Heat:

 

 

Alternate Versions: Lou Reed- Heroin

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In 1967, The Velvet Underground released their seminal debut album. This album is said to have influenced everyone that bought it, to go out and start a band. On this album is the song “Heroin.” Written by singer/guitarist Lou Reed, this song tells a very dark and deep tale about the use of the drug. The version that most people are familiar with comes from the 1967 album but, there is another version that takes it further down the hole. The 1974 Lou Reed album Rock n Roll Animal, features a new take on the song. This version is almost double the length of the original and it’s a different take on the original. Lou Reed has often been misunderstood (more on that for another day) but, he’s the epitome of what an artist is. Anyways, this is one hell of an alternate version that should be heard and enjoyed.

Lou Reed- Heroin (from Rock n Roll Animal):

 

 

 

The Velvet Underground- Heroin (from The Velvet Underground & Nico):

 

Band Of The Week: Alphamega

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There is truly something great about heavy bands that can add in the right amount of melody to their sound. Whether it’s rock, metal or whatever, it’s the melody that ties it all together. I’d like to introduce you to Alphamega. These gents have that perfect balance of heavy rock/metal with just the right helping of melody to complete their sound. Alphamega is made up of Adam Ryan (Vocals), Michael Muenzer (Guitar) and Chrissy Warner (Drums). Their first single “Lords Of The Flies” is melodic metal done right. The song has a catchy hook to it that is memorable without being over the top or cheesy. On the band’s site they have a quote that says “Beautiful things come from ugly places.” That couldn’t be more true about this band, as there is a positive and bright element about Alphamega that separates them from the pack. Look for more new music from Alphamega soon.

Alphamega- Lords Of The Flies:

 

Live Review: Birds In Row at Bootleg Theater

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When I first heard Birds In Row’s new album, We Already Lost The World, I knew I had to go see them live. There is this electric energy about this record and a sense of urgency to it that really was compelling. It’s like that book you’re reading and can’t put down. So, the moment I saw they announced a Los Angeles date, I was going to have to be there.

Around 9:15 on a cool May evening, the crowd moved in closer to the stage, the three members of Birds In Row took the stage and then an ferocious explosion occurred. For the next 50 minutes, the intensity that radiated from the stage to the audience was astounding. Blasting through their album We Already Lost The World with songs like, “We Count So We Don’t Have To Listen,” “We vs Us,” “15-38,” “I Don’t Dance,” “Love Is Political,” “Remember Us Better Than We Are,” as well as “O’Dear,” and  “You Me & The Violence,” showed that the punk spirit they inhabit is alive and well. These songs are more than just songs, they are anthems. This wasn’t just a show, it was an exercising of anger and frustration and a coming together of like minded people. Members B (guitar/vocals), Q (bass/vocals), and T (drums) are beyond tight and together as a band. They played off each others energy and absolutely crushed. As I mentioned above, the sense of urgency that they play with comes through in their performance. The songs live have a different vibe and really come to life.

 
Birds In Row are the type of band that take a chance and create something that is full of vigor and vision. The bands sound definitely blurs the lines of punk and hardcore but has a helping of melody to balance the aggression. They are definitely one of those bands that when they come through your town, you should run and go see. This performance last night is in the top 3 of the shows I’ve been to this year. I can’t wait for them to come back.

 

Review By: Brian Lacy

Birds In Row- We Already Lost The World:

Those 90’s Songs: Cracker- Low

 

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Those songs you heard back in the 90’s really have a lasting impression. At times I find myself randomly singing a part of some song from that time. One song that I can’t seem to get out of my head is “Low” by Cracker. The song from the bands 1993 album, Kerosene Hat, has become one of the 90’s most recognizable songs. The song itself is a catchy yet keeps with the alternative nature of the band. David Lowery’s voice is the perfect compliment to this song as well.  The memorable video had singer David Lowery losing a boxing match to comedian/actress Sandra Bernhard. I still remember that video. The song has also been featured in countless films and TV Shows like Hindsight, Rectify, The Wolverine, and The Perks Of Being A Wallflower (which on a personal note, is my favorite book and the film is pretty damn good as well). So take  a moment and revisit this classic 90’s jam.

 
Cracker- Low:

 

 

Great Debut Albums: Silverchair- Frogstomp

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I know I keep going back to the 90’s but, it truly was a magical time. Just like the 60’s and 70’s for our parents (well most of ours), the 90’s was a revolution musically for a generation and then some. The sheer amount of groundbreaking and legendary albums from this time is astounding. The legacies that those bands have to this day are beyond what many of them ever expected and the influence and inspiration that those bands and albums have had on countless other bands, well, that’s the gift. There was a band that came out during this time, made up of three teenagers that really left a mark. That band was Silverchair and their debut album Frogstomp, was quite the exceptional record and one that, to this day, still excites people.

Recorded in 9 days in December 1994, Frogstomp would go on to put Silverchair on the map. At the time of recording, Daniel Johns (vocals/guitar), Ben Gillies (drums) and Chris Joannou (bass) were all 15 years old. John’s would later comment on the recording “The songwriting might not be genius, but I think sonically, the performances are really good. It’s really honest; it’s just three Australian kids thrashing it out in the studio and that’s exactly how it sounds.” I couldn’t agree more. Some critics wrote the band off as Nirvana/Pearl Jam wannabes but, they were not some flash in the pan copycat band. These kids had depth and substance to what they were writing. The song “Tomorrow” is a great example of the power and intensity they had. I will admit, when I first heard this song, I thought it was Pearl Jam but, after it was done and they announced who it was, I knew I had to go buy the album. Rolling Stone magazine’s David Fricke had said about the album  “Truly shameless wanna-be’s like Bush should be so lucky to have the hard smarts that Silverchair – particularly the band’s main writers, singer-guitarist Daniel Johns and drummer Ben Gillies – show on such Frogstomp-ers as “Pure Massacre” and “Israel’s Son.” When these guys turn 18, they’ll really be dangerous.” Which is quite interesting because by the time they were 18/19, they had released Neon Ballroom, and that album is an Unsung Masterpiece.

Frogstomp is to this day one hell of an album. Everything from the songs, tones, style, grit, and so much more have made this an everlasting album. Songs like “Israel’s Son,” “Pure Massacre,” “Tomorrow,” Shade,” “Suicidal Dream,” “Findaway,” and “Leave Me Out” have stood the test of time and continue to influence and inspire. One of the songs that always grabbed me besides the ones above was the instrumental track “Madman.” The energy of this track is exhilarating and I’ve always wondered what the lyrics and vocals would have been for this song.

This album laid the groundwork for what was to come for this three piece. The strong songwriting ability of Johns along with the powerful tenacity of Gillies and Joannou made this band what it was. If it were anyone else, this band wouldn’t sound the way they did. Throughout their career, they would constantly push themselves to get better and mature. And they did with Freak Show, Neon Ballroom and Diorama. Their album Young Modern, was a strong departure from what the band once was but, it still showed how great of a band they were. Now, if only they would get back together and celebrate what they created, that would be amazing.

Silverchair- Frogstomp:

Songs In Film: Metallica- Master Of Puppets in Old School

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Old School is still one hell of a funny movie. I was watching it recently and made a note to include the scene with Metallica’s “Master of Puppets” as part of this topic. This scene is funny and shot very well, and the use of “Master of Puppets” is perfect.

 
Metallica- Master of Puppets (in Old School):