Album Reviews... from High School!
I was going through some old boxes recently and I came across a bunch of my old writings. Some of it was pretty good, but most of it, as one might suspect was immature. I've been writing my whole life, though, and I have boxes and boxes to prove it.
I came across these album reviews that I wrote around 1995. I used to write these during boring math class and then I'd read them out loud to my classmates. I intended to start my own music magazine. to date, that has not happened. Oddly enough, even though this list is 17 years old, I still listen to almost all of these albums, at least once in awhile.
I'm posting this for two reasons. 1.) It's fun to see what i was into a decade and a half ago, and how I wrote about it. If I can get to a scanner, I'll scan the originals into the hub so you can see my handwriting. 2.) Some of these albums are quite good and bear a good listening or two.
I had pretty good musical tastes for a fourteen/fifteen year old kid.
I am typing these verbatim. Any notes will be in standard [bracket] form.
Thank you for reading and enjoy a trip down memory lane!
Blenderhead, "Prime Candidate for Burnout"
Tooth and Nail Records, 1994
Hailing from Seattle, Blenderhead is one rad band. They bring an Extra-Angry-Punk-Rock sound. Despite the wrap Punk music has, these guys can play. The highlights being Matt [Johnson]'s drumming and both guitarists. [three guitarists are listed on the credits, Ed carrigan, Tyler Van Ploeg and Eban Haase.]
With Bill Powers' powerful lyrics about world decay, the damage trends cause, and giving money to the poor, Blenderhead is a band to watch for. The vocals are as powerful as the lyrics. Available at Christian book stores everywhere [not to mention ebay, amazon, etc etc].
For fans of: Jawbox, Fugazi, Quicksand
Highlights 'Power Trip', 'Cesspool', 'Internalise' [sic], 'Spare Change'.
[Blenderhead was the first band I saw in a club. I think it was 1994, they played at the the Push in Portland, Oregon, when they met in the basement of baptist church in south east Portland. before the show, like a star struck kid (which I was) I talked to Bill Powers and was giddy with excitement. During the show, I was right in front, dead center. During their performance of "Spare Change", Powers saw me singing and handed me the microphone. "Hey Mr, can you spare a dime?/ I'm poor I'm hungry and I've lost my mind." I sang. Proudly. Life changing moment for me.]
Collective Soul, "Hints, Allegations and Things Left Unsaid"
Atlantic Records, 1993
With Three guitarists [Ed roland, who also is the lead vocalist, Dean Roland, Ross Childress] , a bassist [Will Turpin], solid drumming [Shane Evans], and positive, happy sings, I'm surprised C.S. only had two singles [they actually had three] on their major label debut. Collective Soul is not an alternative band, which turned off some people to this band [it quickly went gold, so I don't know who those people were]. Those people are missing out on a great album. The only disappointment is that their are several slow songs which get old after awhile. An added plus, the songs are short and sweet. Available wherever you buy good music.
For fans of: Straight ahead rock music
Highlights: "Breathe", "Shine", "Scream", "All", "Goodnight, Goodguy."
Code of Ethics, "Code of Ethics"
Forefront Communications, 1993
Code of Ethics is a highly produced, post new wave band. If this band were mainstream, they would be played on both 970 AM and Z100 radio stations [Z100 is a Portland radio station, catering to pop music. 970 AM was Portland's first alternative music station. It became 94.7 FM NRK, catering to modern rock]. I like Code of Ethics. They're neat. They have cool harmonies and live instruments. Not to mention, they put on a kickin' live show. Available wherever fine Christian music is sold [back when I believed in the term "Christian music"].
Highlights: "Satellite Babies", "Chasing the Dragon", "World Machine"
Stone Temple Pilots, "Purple"
Atlantic records, 1994
What can I say? Although for the most part, this album isn't as hard-rocky as their debut album [Core , 1992], Purple is still a solid album. The rhythm section of Robert DeLeo (bass) and Eric Kretz (drums) is superb. Dean DeLeo's guitarring is very superb but it could use a lot of sprucing up [or not. He's brilliant], and sloppier playing would be a nice thing too [I seem to have contradicted myself here]. A Very solid album. Available at music establishments everywhere.
Highlights: "Lounge Fly", "Vasoline" [sic], "Interstate Love Song", "Unglued"
[This was a weird review. It remains one of the best albums of the 90's and everyone should own a copy. Luckily, I've provided links to make this possible...]
Interstate Love Song
The Offspring, "Smash"
Epitaph Records, 1994
This is the coolest album since the old days when Henry Rollins led Black Flag. Awesome guitar work by Noodles and singer/guitarist, Dexter Holland, is bad [read: good]. Everything on this album rocks. This isn't melodic punk, this is full on angst and ready to blow the crap out of your speakers. A must have! Available at most music stores.
Grade: A +
For fans of: [The] Crusified [sic], Rancid, Black Flag, Fugazi [not really any of these, except rancid]
Highlights: "Self Esteem", "Gotta Get Away", "What Happened to You."
[This is a great album, but I wouldn't give it an 'A+' now, probly a B. I think I liked it mostly because it had lots of cussing and it made me feel rebellious and cool. ]
King's X, "Dogman"
Atlantic Records, 1994
This trio from Texas is one of the most overlooked bands today. These guys combine blues, alternative and metal for a unique style all their own. If you haven't had the pleasure of experiencing this band, you're being deprived. Get off you lazy butt and go to a large music store and look for any of the seven King's X CD's. It's worth fifteen bucks. Doug Pinnick does a wicked Hendrix. [The band covers Jimi Hendrix's Manic Depression on the record, and they do it well. Also, King's X was largely marketed as a Christian band in the 90's. later, vocalist/bassist Pinnick came out to HM magazine as a celibate homosexual, causing a huge uproar in the Christian music industry.] Available at Major music retailers everywhere.
For fans of: Jimi Hendrix, Soundgarden, Candlebox
Highlights: "Fool You", "Pillow", "Black the Sky", "Human behavior"
[the] Juliana Hatfield 3, "Become What You Are"
Mammoth Records, 1993.
Highly understated. Juliana has a sweet, innocent voice, but, as you'll hear on the C.D., she does get upset. She plays upbeat and usually happy music. The guitarring is nothing special, but the rhythm section is one of the best I've heard. This is a nice blend of happy/hippyish and alternative music. It's a refreshing change from my normally moshing lifestyle. But don't get me wrong, this chick can rock!
Available at music retailers everywhere.
For fans of: The Doobie Brothers [what?]
Highlights: "This is the Sound", "My Sister", "Spin the Bottle" [from the Reality Bites soundtrack], "For the Birds"
[I'd forgotten about this record, but it really is quite good. Plus, Juliana dated Evan Dando from the Lemonheads, who were one of my favorite bands from the 90's.]
[also known as the Blue Album] Wow! this album is so cool! It has harmonies which remind me of the theme song for Happy Days and punchy power-pop(?) music. This is a classic album and will always be one of my favorites [true on both counts. This album is amazing and classic.]. I'm speechless! It's a must have! Surfs Up! [That's alot! of Exclamat!on Po!nts!]
Grade: A +
For fans of: Teenage Fan Club, Dakoda Motor Co., Plankeye
Highlights: "Say it Ain't so.", "In the Garage", "Undone-- The Sweater Song"
The Blamed, "21"
Tooth and Nail records, 1994
Old school punk at it's finest [I'm not sure I'd call this old school punk]. Cool riffs, interesting bass, good drumming. These guys show a real love of music and true emotion in their lyrics and vocals. They sing about subjects from drug abuse to their testimony's. Did I mention this album was recorded in 21 hours [hence the title]? Who cares? I recommend it no matter how long it took to record it.
Available at most Christian book stores.
Grade: B +
For fans of: Black Flag [no], Jawbox, Fugazi, Quicksand, Minor threat [no]
Highlights: "Drunk", "Walkabout", "Separation", "Abuse"
I can't find any album clips, so, buy the album and watch this clip
Mudhoney, "Five Dollar Bob's Mock Cooter Stew"
Reprise Records, 1993
This is a, uh, unique band. They remind me of Lynrd Skynrd [?] gone alternative. It has unique bass guitar and drums. The vocals, however, make me think of a dude ranch. I really don't know what to make of Mudhoney. Are they Lynrd Skynrd incarnate or are they they're own unique style [?] You be the judge.
Available at rectangular music stores [not sure what I meant by this].
For fans of Lynrd Skynrd, Love Battery [I used one band they don't sound like, and then a band even more obscure than Mudhoney for examples].
Highlights: "Six Two One", "In the Blood", "Deception Pass"
[Mudhoney was and is one of the longest lasting grunge bands. They're from Seattle and almost always perform inebriated. They sound nothing like Skynrd.]