An audio exploration

I walked out of Easy Street Records with a very odd mix of CDs. I thought it was odd anyway. You tell me.

First, I found MC Hammer’s absolute classic album, “Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ’em.” Straight outta ’90! I used to love this album when I was a kid and practically had every lyric (or at least what I thought were the lyrics) memorized. It was right up there with The New Kids on the Block “Hangin’ Tough” album. I just listened to it, and it’s really pretty fun and oh so very tame. It also strikes me as very cheesy too. I also bought Scary Kids Scaring Kids’s album, which is a fairly decent screamo album (nothing unusual there), and Ratatat’s “Classics” album, which I would recommend to anybody who likes chiller instrumental music with some electronic elements on top of guitars and drums. Also bought a greatest hits album of Roy Orbison of “Oh Pretty Woman” fame. Finally, I bought Strapping Young Lad’s new album “The New Black” which is, well, a really heavy speed metal album. So, today I purchased an old skool rap album, an emo screamo album, an indie electro-rock instrumental album, a oldies crooner album, and a death metal album. If that’s not evidence of an eclectic musical taste, then I don’t know what is.

Some other quick audio tidbits from around the Intertubes:

Bride of Monster Mash has a free album for download of techno/electronic mixes and re-mixes centered around a Halloween theme. The re-mix of the classic song “Monster Mash” is pretty good.

A nerd buddy of mine pointed out that archive.org is a great resource for old radio programs. I’m looking forward to listening to the original broadcast of Orsen Welles’s famous “War of the Worlds” and the late ’40’s horror radio series “Inner Sanctum.”

Dragonforce ftw

A new Dragonforce music video is out in the wild. This one is a little bit stranger and is a 5 minute abridged version of one of their better songs. The original version clocks in at almost 8 minutes.

I’ll be seeing these guys live a week from tomorrow, and I can’t tell you how excited I am. I’m also seeing my all time favorite band, Zao (music video), again in about 10 days. I just might OD on metal and hardcore next week. Now, that I think about it, I better start stretching my neck in for the intense headbanging that will occur.

Dragonforce!

Behold, your new metal master! It’s like these guy sat around one day and came up with the answer to the question of “What music will Steve like best?” “Iron Maiden on speed” is the correct answer. Pretty much all my other music seems pretty boring after discovering these guys.

Check out this killer video:

I’m not sure if I’m laughing because it’s so ridiculous or so awesome.

Rockin’ the free world

The demons living in my computers have pulled off a real coup. Somehow they managed to screw up my connection to World of Warcraft and only my connection to World of Warcraft. If anybody has any idea how I can break their little blockade, I’m all ears/eyes. Anyway, since that’s going on, I’m watching a movie that got on my Netflix queue and I honestly have no recollection putting it on there. So, I’m watching a movie that looks like it’s going to be some chick flick . . . and there are no chicks around.

. . . oh wait, this is definitely not going to be a chick flick . . .

On Sunday I found out about a large tour coming through town literally an hour before it started, so I went. I knew the show was going to totally rock because there was some dude face down on the sidwalk outside the doors with 3 or 4 cops around him and tazer wires coming out of him. Apparently, it was not a good night for him, and I resolved to make sure that I had a better night. I saw a bunch of bands, but I’ll just highlight the important ones and keep it short. As I Lay Dying was the first band I saw and it was good. As I Lay Daying are masters of the metalcore genre, and their live performance drew three black lines under the “metal” in metalcore. There’s nothing quite like dudes in black chugging out big riffs while in the guitar power stance and headbanging in synchrony with big hair flailing. It was pretty killer. Story of the Year played too. Yawn. Thrice played, and they were quite good. Their live and studio sounds are quite similar, and they were backed by an impressive set of lights. The headlining band was the Deftones who are okay I guess, but about halfway through their set it all sounded the same to me and I swear they played the same song twice.

Zao ’06 and more

The past few days I’ve spent probably close to 90% of my waking hours out of the apartment. I’ve been doing more important things with my life besides being a lump at home. Aside from work, I’ve been spending considerable time getting cultured. I’ve been to two rock shows, one play, and a couple of social occasions. The first rock show was a Zao show. Even after all these years, even after seeing them more times than I can remember, Zao still is a real hoot to see live. I thought I was too old to for the pit, but there’s something about Zao that sucks me in and brings out a side of me very few people have seen (and I’d like to keep it that way). My right shoulder is still jacked up by something that happened that night, but at least I didn’t get a nose bleed uncorked like some poor kid at the show. Blood was all over the sink in the bathroom. My only frustration with Zao shows is that I get so excited and caught up in the energy of the pit that I almost always forget most of the words to most of the songs. This only seems to happen with Zao, and it’s really annoying.

I also saw a small play called Beau Jest in which my friend Nic starred. It was a romantic comedy that involved a fake boyfriend who’s supposed to be Jewish but really isn’t, a stressed out Jewish daughter trying to impress her parents who are bent on preserving the Jewish bloodline, and the ensuing familial chaos that goes along with love, relationships, deceit, and male escorts. I’m not sure what it is about romantic comedies, but I find them very entertaining. I get into them, which seems very odd to me.

Thrice: Vheissu

Any, and I do mean any, hard rockin’ band that dares to put a spiritual’s call-and-response section on an album is cool in my book. They should be cool in your book too. That’s why everybody who likes hard rockin’ bands should buy Thrice’s latest album, Vheissu. I’d say it’s one of the cooler albums I’ve bought in a while. Also, it’s great to find out after I bought it that a portion of the sales goes to benefit good organizations (for the record, I’ve bought one album that after I saw what the band supported, I refused to listen to the album and I wish I could have returned it). It’s so relieving to buy an album that supports the advancement of writing rather than the advancement of PETA. And then on their site they also link to the Invisible Children site. I had the opportunity to see that film (trailer here) at SPU a few months back, and it’s a heart breaking story about the current situation in Northern Uganda. To be honest, I’ve felt some pangs of guilt because I never blogged about the movie. It really needs to be promoted, and people do need to be made aware that thousands of children in Northern Uganda are being kidnapped into a slave army. This is the type of social activism I can get behind, and I wish more people would.

Writing about the album may seem utterly trivial now, but I think the album has a lot to offer the listener. Thrice didn’t change their sound too much from their previous album, The Artist in the Ambulance, though it may have gotten a little softer. It still definitely has some rock out moments, but they are a bit fewer and farther between than Artist. The lyrics are positive and consistently offer hope, which is welcome change from the normally depressing lyrics of other bands in the genre. Many of the songs express a yearning for something better, completeness, or a higher truth. The whole feel of the lyrics is undeniably spiritual. For example, they basically quote a famous passage from the Good Book in “Of Dust and Nations”:

so put your faith in more than steel
don’t store your treasures up, with moth and rust
where thieves break in and steal
pull the fangs from out your heel
we live in but a shadow of the real

And in the “Image of the Invisible” also hints at some deeper truths:

we all were lost now we are found
no one can stop us or slow us down
we are all named and we are all known
we know that we’ll never walk alone

we’re more than static and dial tone
we’re emblematic of the unknown
raise up the banner, bend back your bows
remove the cancer, take back your souls
we are the image of the invisible

though all the world may hate us, we are named
though shadow overtake us, we are known

It’s been a long time since I’ve felt this satisified with an album purchase. I hope some of you can share in my satisfaction.

Meat Loaf!

As Phildog notes on this day in 1947 Marvin Lee Aday, a.k.a. Meat Loaf, was born. I celebrated by listening to “I Would Do Anything for Love” while I had breakfast and got ready for work. That song rocks!

The Poison Picker asks you to reflect on this song and what you, a love-soaked person, would do for love.