It’s crazy to think that 25 years have passed since this now legendary debut album was released. There are lots of debut albums that I’ve heard that have stuck with me but, this one in particular is one that will always blow my mind every single time I put it on. I’m talking about the first Down album, NOLA. This album is one of the all time greatest debut albums EVER!
Before we get into the album itself, the history of the band should be discussed. Down formed back in 1991. The group was started first by Philip Anselmo and Pepper Keenan. Kirk Windstein and Jimmy Bower would join not long after along with Todd Strange. Their shared interests in bands like Black Sabbath, Trouble, St. Vitus and others would serve as the inspiration for the music they would soon begin to write. NOLA was written mainly by Anselmo and Keenan over the course of a few years and jam sessions. The band would record 3 different demos and then pass them around to friends asking if they’ve heard of this band “Down” without ever saying who was in the band. Eventually, the original demo tape was distributed throughout the United States and Down played a small concert in its home town. A record executive from Elektra Records was attending the show. When he found out who the members of the band were, he signed Down to a recording contract. Talk about a real grassroots way of getting the name out there. Now, on to the album.
The moment the first note plays there is absolutely no denying that what you are about to experience is pure and unrelenting. There is not one song on this album that feels out of place or doesn’t fit within the context of the vibe. The riffs alone on this album are astonishing. I could list all the songs but, why take away from the pleasure you’d get from listening and letting you take it all in. I’d like to take a minute and get into the overall vibe of the album. There is obviously a “metal” sound to it but, there is so much more. It’s got a southern charm to it as well as a bit of blues and a very cool sludgey sound and at times almost dare I say “grunge” sound too. The sum of all these parts not only makes this album a true standout but, one that has gone on to influence and inspire so many other bands. For all the heaviness there is also a wonderful element of ambience too. For example, just listen to the song “Jail.”
Down is a band that stands out not because of who is in the group but, rather because of the great music they created. Ever since I first heard Down in the late 90’s, I’ve been a fan. I take a lot of crap from people for this opinion but, that’s fine, Down is better than Pantera. I just think that Down is better. They have better riffs, songs, rhythm, and overall vibe. I read somewhere a long time ago back about the NOLA album and it said something to the effect of this is a landmark album that combines the talents of dedicated rock musicians, and should be included in any collection of heavy metal music. That statement is 100% true. Not only that but, this album should be in every record collection as well. Here’s to 25 great years of Down’s amazing debut!
For the past couple of weeks, The Smashing Pumpkins have been teasing something new in regards to their upcoming new album. Well, this morning they released two brand new songs, “CYR” and “The Colour Of Love.” They have an Adore feel to them along with an 80’s sensibility. It also kind of reminds me a little bit of where Billy was going on his solo album, The Future Embrace. Personally, I dig this a lot. It’s done well and the songs are well written. I look forward to this whole album which is supposed to be a double album with 20 songs. So I’ll reserve full judgement until it’s all out and I can hear it all in context. In the meantime, check out these two new songs!
So far, every song released from Greg Puciatio’s debut solo album, Child Soldier: Creator Of God, has been remarkable. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that the newest single released today, “A Pair Of Questions” is right up there with the other three. This one has bit of a vibe from Greg’s other band, The Black Queen but, with just the right amount of space from it to standout on its own. Seriously, I’m beyond excited with what I’ve heard so far. This is definitely already going to be album of the year worthy. You’ll find yourself going back to this song a lot. October 23rd can’t come soon enough.
2020 sure has been a rough year. It’s like we are living in a really crazy episode of The Twilight Zone mixed with Idiocracy. Yesterday, it was announced that Riley Gale the singer of the band Power Trip had passed away (no cause of death has been mentioned as of yet). It’s incredibly sad and unsettling. Over the past few months, I had really started to get into his band Power Trip. The bands album, Nightmare Logic has been in constant rotation while I work from home. They had a real knack for making great thrash metal with the right amount of groove to it. And from all the live videos I’ve watched, they put on one hell of a show. Riley was on his way to being one of the best frontmen as well. His presence on stage and energy was undeniable. It’s truly a shame that he has passed. It kind of hits home a bit since he was so close to my age, which is a major bummer. Hopefully, if he was in any sort of pain, he can find peace now. I know I’ll be blasting his bands albums for a couple days!
In 2015, the surviving members of Mad Season, Mike McCready and Barrett Martin reconvened for an evening to celebrate the band and it’s album, Above. This special concert titled “Sonic Evolution. At this show they were accompanied by the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. The late Chris Cornell filled in on vocals for the dearly departed Layne Staley and Duff McKagan filled in on bass for the late John Baker Saunders. This concert is quite poignant and emotional. The songs picked for this show were quite interesting and the performances by each person really stand out. It just goes to show how great these songs are and how much of a lasting effect they still have. Enjoy this show!
By now I’m sure everyone knows about Temple Of The Dog. The one off band/album that was created by the late Chris Cornell as a tribute to the late Andrew Wood of Mother Love Bone. Of course everyone know about the song “Hunger Strike” and the classic pseudo-duet between Cornell and Eddie Vedder. There is one song though on the album that has always stuck out to me and that is the opening track, “Reach Down.” This is one of the songs that is directly influenced by the death of Andy Wood but, that’s not the reason why it hit me. It’s the badass guitar solo that is in it. The solo which was done by Mike McCready (of Pearl Jam) is over 5 and a half minute long and it’s sensational. According to the story, this Temple Of The Dog album, was also the first recording studio experience for both McCready and Vedder. Regarding McCready, Cornell said, “You almost kind of had to yell at him to get him to realize that in the five-and-a-half-minute solo of ‘Reach Down’, that was his time and that he wasn’t going to be stepping on anybody else.” And the end result, well, you’ll just have to take it all in.
The wait is finally over. Deftones have announced their new album, Ohms, will be released on September 25. The first single from the new record is the title track and it’s quite good. Sure there might be some bias on that since it has been a while that we’ve had new tunes from the band. Based on the sound of this track, it seems to bridge the gap between White Pony and their 2003 self titled album. Check out the song.
Over the past few years, I’ve really come to enjoy Chelsea Wolfe more and more. I remember seeing her open for Russian Circles way back and at the time, I wasn’t too into it. Perhaps it was because of the band before her and their energy on stage was so electric that by the time it was her set, the drop in energy just dropped. That’s not to say she and her band weren’t awesome. Anyways, a couple years back, Chelsea released the album Hiss Spun, and it all finally made sense to me. One of the songs that instantly caught my attention was “16 Psyche.” This track and video are stunningly superb. This track and album are also the perfect introduction to getting into the greatness that is Chelsea Wolfe.
Yesterday evening, I was on a Deftones rabbit hole and found myself looking up a lot of Adrenaline era live videos. While on this trip, my interest in the song “Teething” peaked the most. I will always remember the song from being a part of The Crow: City Of Angels Soundtrack (great soundtrack but, terrible movie). I especially remember that they are in fact featured in the movie playing the song. “Teething” most definitely should have been included on the Adrenaline album. It’s such a cool song. So, enjoy some Deftones today!
Back in 2014 when Nirvana was inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall Of Shame, the remaining members performed with a bunch of guest singers. Joan Jett, Lorde (for some reason I can’t ever understand why), St. Vincent and my personal favorite of the set, Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth. I especially liked Kim joining them onstage because she sang my favorite Nirvana song, “Aneurysm.” This was also the most “punk” thing the band did that night and it was glorious. A few interesting tidbits about this performance, the dress Kim wore on stage is actually the same one she wore when Nirvana and Sonic Youth toured together in the early 90’s. Also according to Kim’s book Girl In A Band (which you should totally read), during this performance she channeled a lot of her anger over her divorce with Thurston Moore (also of Sonic Youth) and the grief over Kurt’s passing into this performance. This explains a lot when you put it all in context.