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Archive for the ‘Foo Fighters’ Category

[CANCELLED: June 19, 2020] The Struts / The Glorious Sons / JJ Wilde

indexThe Struts are a young British band who opened for Foo Fighters when we saw them.  But we arrived literally just as the Foos were going onstage. We didn’t see any of The Struts.  Although they did come out and join the Foos later in the set.

Reviews have been pretty great about The Struts, and I’d like to see them.  Although it’s unlikely I would have gone to a Summer Stage show for them, (especially since I was supposed to see Primus tonight)  if they come back around and play somewhere smaller I’d consider going.

The Glorious Sons are a Canadian band who seems to play anthemic “modern rock.”  I’ll bet they are really fun in a big arena.  I’m not sure how well it would translate on a smaller stage, but if the crowd was into it they’d be fun.

JJ Wilde is a Canadian singer songwriter who plays quiet balladish songs with big choruses.  Her voice is pretty powerful, although I feel like her mood is wrong for this tour. (Nevertheless, she has toured with The Glorious Songs before).

 

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SOUNDTRACK: DANKO JONES-Garage Rock! A Collection of Lost Songs From 1996-1998 (2014).

Danko Jones has released nine albums an a bunch of EPs.  Back in 2014 he released this collection of songs that he wrote and recorded before his first proper single (1998).

This is a collection of raw songs, but the essential elements of Danko are in place. Mostly fast guitars, simple, catchy riffs and Danko’s gruff voice, filled with braggadocio.  With a cover by Peter Bagge!

He describes it:

Back in the 90’s,the Garage Rock scene, as I knew it, was a warts-and-all approach that favoured low-fi recordings and rudimentary playing over any modicum of musical prowess in order to glean some Rock N’ Roll essence. However, once a band got better at their instruments, songwriting and stage performance, the inevitable crossroads would eventually appear. Deliberately continuing to play against their growing skill would only evolve into a pose. There were a lot of bands who did exactly this in order to sustain scenester favour. We did the opposite.

What you hold in your hands is a document of what we were and where we came from. We didn’t know how to write songs and could barely play but we wanted to be near to the music we loved so badly. We ate, slept and drank this music. We still do. That’s why we have never had to reunite because we’ve never broken up. After 18 years, we’ve stayed the course, got tough when the going did and, above all else, we have never stopped. This album is the proof.

The first two songs are the best quality, with the rest slowly deteriorating with more tape hiss.

1. “Who Got It?” a big fat bass sound with lots of mentioning of Danko Jones in the lyrics. [2 minutes]
2. “Make You Mine” is 90 seconds long.  With big loud chords and rumbling bass Danko says “one day I’m going to write a book and let everybody know how to do it.  Seems to me there a lot of people around who want to see if I can prove it.  I been a rock prodigy since the age of 20 and my proof… my proof is right now.”
3. “I’m Your Man” is a bit longer.  The quality isn’t as good but the raw bass sound is great.
4. “She’s Got A Bomb” is good early Danko strutting music.
5. “Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue.”  He would name an album this many years later.  This song is fast and raw and only 90 seconds long.
6. “Dirty Mind Too” This is a fast stomping one-two-three song that rocks for less than a minute.
7. I’m Drinking Alcohol? This is funny because later he says he doesn’t drink.  I don’t know what the words are but the music is great–rumbling bass and feedbacky guitars with lots of screaming.
8. “Love Travel Demo” and 9. “Bounce Demo” are decent demo recordings.  “Bounce” has what might be his first guitar solo.
10. Sexual Interlude” “ladies it’s time to take a chance on a real man.  I’m sick and tired of seeing you women selling yourselves short, going out with a lesser man.
11. “I Stand Accused” Unexpectedly he stands accused of “loving you to much.  If that’s a crime, then I’m guilty.”
12. “Best Good Looking Girl In Town” a fast chugging riff, “oh mama you sure look fine.”
13. “Payback” This one sounds really rough but it totally rocks.
14. “Lowdown” Danko gives the lowdown: “You want a bit of romance?  I got you an bouquet of Flowers and a box of chocolates.  Why you crying for?  That ain’t enough?  Me and the fellas wrote this song just for you.”
15. “One Night Stand” garage swinging sound: Danko is a one woman man and you’re just his type.
16. “Instrumental” is great.
17. “Move On” is a long, slow long bluesy track about love.

It’s not a great introduction to Danko, but if you like him, you won;t be disappointed by this early baby-Danko period.

[READ: August 10, 2019] I’ve Got Something to Say

In the introduction (after the foreword by Duff McKagan), Jones introduces himself not as a writer but as a hack.  He also acknowledges that having something to say doesn’t mean much.  He has too many opinions on music and needed to get them out or his insides would explode.  He acknowledges that obsessing over the minutiae of bands is a waste of time, “but goddammit, it’s a ton of fun.”

So this collection collects some of Danko’s writing over the last dozen or so years. He’s written for many publications, some regularly.  Most of these pieces are a couple of pages.  And pretty much all of them will have you laughing (if you enjoy opinionated music writers).

“Vibing for Thin Lizzy” [Rock Hard magazine, March 2015]
Danko says he was lured into rock music by the theatrics of KISS, Crue and WASP.  But then he really got into the music while his friends seemed to move on.  Thin Lizzy bridged the gap by providing substance without losing its sheen or bite.  And Phil Lynott was a mixed race bassist and singer who didn’t look like the quintessential rock star.  What more could Danko ask for? (more…)

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[ATTENDED: July 7, 2018] Foo Fighters

I can recall living in Boston when the debut Foo Fighters album came out.  I had heard that it was pretty good and I bought it.  And I enjoyed it quite a lot.

Who would have guessed that the album that Grohl created to excise some demons, a small project in which he played every instrument would turn into a group that would become one of the largest bands on the planet.  This show was sold out at 25,000 people.  Which is a lot of humanity.

Despite this impressive success, Grohl himself seems to be remarkably down to earth and seems to never lose his sense of humor.  No one will ever forget the show that he broke his leg falling off a stage, went to the hospital, and came back to finish the show.  I wanted to see them when they came back to the U.S. on that tour–seeing Dave in his throne would have been super fun.  But it was not to be.

However, when they announced they were coming back again, I jumped at the chance to get tickets and scored some pretty decent seats.

I hadn’t really been to an arena show in a long time.  I can’t remember the last time a band that I’ve seen used the arena size to its capacity.  I’ve seen many a great light show, but except for Kiss, I suppose, there’s been very little in the way of excess.  And I never expected it from the Foo Fighters.

But by God if that’s not what this show was all about. (more…)

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[NOT ATTENDED: July 7, 2018] The Struts

The Struts are another buzz band from England.  Aside from having a band name that is way too close to The Strokes, I don’t actually know all that much about them.

Usually I listen to a warm up band at least a little before going to see them.  But for whatever reason, I never listened to The Struts.

And that’s all for the best, I suppose.  The parking situation outside of BB&T was crazy, bordering on nightmarish.

Sarah and I briskly walked to the stadium, glanced at merch, didn’t even stop to use the bathroom (crazy long lines) and as we got to our seat the lights dimmed for The Foo Fighters.

All I can say is that vocalist Luke Spiller did a decent Freddie Mercury when he came out to sing Under Pressure with the Foo Fighters.

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 loverboysSOUNDTRACK: FOO FIGHTERS-Sonic Highways (2014).

sonicThree years after Wasting Light, Foo Fighters gathered to make Sonic Highways. It only has 8 songs on it (3 are five minutes one is 6 and 1 is one is seven).

There is a lot of back story about this album.  And I’ll use the Wikipedia summary because it is so tidy

In writing the album’s eight songs, singer and guitarist Dave Grohl traveled to eight cities across the United States to conduct interviews with musicians, recording engineers, record producers, and other individuals discussing each city’s musical history, which he used as inspiration for the songs’ lyrics. The band and producer Butch Vig then traveled to a different recording location in each city to record the songs. Each track features contributions from one or more musicians with ties to that city’s musical history.

They made a documentary about it which I have not seen, but which I feel I ought to.

I can’t say I recognize the sound or any signs of whatever city is supposed to be represented ion each song.  I was initially concerned that it meant that the Foos were going try to make a “Chicago song” or, gasp, a “Nashville” song, but that isn’t the case.  So perhaps in that regard the traveling part was unsuccessful, although perhaps it was good for inspiration.  Plus the album is really quite good.

“Something for Nothing” [Chicago (featuring Rick Nielsen)] There’s a nice riff on this song and an interesting guitar sound (Neilsen I assume).  The first 90 seconds feel like an intro to the more chugging riff that is yet another interesting part to the song.  I love that the second repeat of that section includes a clavinet.  And with all of those parts, I love that the song turns into a hugely metal section (“fuck it all I came from nothing”) by the end.

“Feast and the Famine” [Virginia (featuring Peter Stahl and Skeeter Thompson)] has a quick and tidy introductory riff and quickly jumps into a loud chorus.  Stahl and Thompson are in Scream, the hardcore band Grohl was in before he moved to Nirvana.  You can hear their influence in the cool backing vocals during the “Is there anybody there” part.

“Congregation” [Nashville featuring Zac Brown] This song does not feel Nashville at all.  It has a simple but very catchy riff.  There’s a nice chorus which doesn’t get too heavy.   Zac Brown does “devil pickin'” and backing vocals on “Congregation.”  It has a lengthy middle section which is quite different (and angry) before returning to the big chorus.

“What Did I Do? / God As My Witness” [Austin, featuring Gary Clark, Jr.]  This song starts out with a big rumble of chords and then a nearly a capella vocal turn.  I like the way the chords build and then stop for each line.  The “What Did I Do” section feels very classic rock (the way that guitar lick is played–knowing that Joe Walsh is on the record I would have assumed he was on this song).  Gary Clark plays the solos on this song.  The middle of the song is just like the opening.  And then it segues into “God as My Witness” which seems to elevate the song in an interesting way (this is where the much longer guitar solo kicks in.

“Outside” [Joshua Tree, featuring Joe Walsh].  This song has a great fast riff (kind of like a Pearl Jam riff, actually).  The song is fast all the way through with no major distinction between verse and chorus.  Walsh plays lead guitar during the lengthy jam section–mostly just quiet bass and drums while the guitar natters away.  It’s a very different style of song for the Foo Fighters.  And while it’s a little dull at 5 minutes, it’s not bad by any means.

“In the Clear” [New Orleans featuring the Preservation Hall Jazz Band].  Despite the location and the guests, I never would have guessed the location of the song.  It has a big riff to open with but it quickly settles down to a verse that ends “god damn I swear.”  It’s a simple song but it has big catchy chorus with horns playing along with the guitars.  Although I wouldn’t have wanted to have a big jazz influence on the song (and they have done jazzy things before) it’s a little wasted to have the ensemble only add horns to the song.  I like it nevertheless, but it feels like they could have done more.

“Subterranean” [Seattle, featuring Ben Gibbard] is a slow build of a song (with two people playing eerie e-bow).  It lasts six minutes and has several stages as more musicians enter the song.  Even at 6 minutes it is still quite a subdued song with no really big chorus, the chorus is actually kind of understated and very moody.  And yet I can’t hear Gibbard at all.

“I Am a River” [New York, featuring Tony Visconti and Kristeen Young] The song is over 7 minutes and has a very slow introduction, with overlapping guitars and the vocals not coming in until about 90 seconds in.  It seems like it’s going to take off about 2 minutes in, but there’s a delay at work and the slow verses continue.  The song builds slowly to a big chorus (although it’s not a dramatic change from the verse either).  I love Kristeen Young but I can’t hear her anywhere on this song (she has a unique voice too).

This is certainly not my favorite Foos’ album but it’s very solid and despite a few songs being too long,  it’s a pretty tidy album (at 42 minutes) and could have been way overblown (the strings at the end of the album are almost too much but they are actually quite restrained for this concept album).

[READ: May 25, 2015] Loverboys

I know Hernandez’ brother Jaime’s work a little better than Gilbert’s.  And I have to say that I like Jaime’s better as well. There’s something I find lightly offputting about Gilbert’s drawing style.  It seems very boxy and childlike–despite the fact that he clearly has a great grasp of anatomy. There’s something especially odd about the faces that I just find… odd (to say nothing of the breasts on Mrs Paz and the waists on every woman in the book).

So, having gotten past that concern, what about the content of the story.

Well, I found the story a little confusing as well.  I mean, the basic premise is obvious, but there were some side issues that I thought were really weird.

So the premise is that in the small city of Lagrimas (“tears”), there are a number of characters. There are some young girls who are sill in grade school, there are some mid 20s men who are out of school and working and there are some older women–successful workers. (more…)

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secondsSOUNDTRACK: FOO FIGHTERS-Wasting Light (2011).

Foo_Fighters_Wasting_Light_Album_CoverThis summer I began writing about Foo Fighters’ albums.  Somehow I stopped before the final two.  Even though I had talked about Wasting Light before, in respect of a sense of continuity here’s more words about it.

It took four years for the Foo Fighters to release this album (I guess Grohl was doing one of his many side projects?).  The big story about this record was that Grohl wanted it all recorded with analogue equipment (in Grohl’s garage).  And he chose Butch Vig, who recorded Nevermind to do the work. Pat Smear was also included as a member of the band for this album (he even plays a baritone guitar)

Although to my ear it doesn’t sound any different from the digital recordings, there is a warmth and bigness to the album that their recent records seemed to lack

“Bridge Burning” opens with a bunch of muffled notes that give way to a big screamed opening verse.  This song grows more adventurous with some guitar harmonics at the end of the verses. The bridge leads to a classic Foo Fighters chorus (with more vocal harmonies in the background, that just seems to make it feel bigger)).  I love the descending chords in the (what, sixth?) part of the song.  Before the simple but great closing riffs.  It was released as the fifth (!) single from the album.

“Rope” was the first single.  It opens with some echoed guitar chords and then what sounds like a big old Rush riff and intro.  The riff is a little unusual but really cool (guitarist Chris Shiflett to comment that “What my guitar is doing over the bass makes no sense in a way. It does, but you don’t know how.” ) The verses have that riff in between them and a big “ow!” in the bridge.  Unsurprisingly, despite all of the oddness of the verses, the chorus is big and friendly with some great sing along parts.  There’s even a section for a (brief) drum solo.

Bob Mould (clearly an influence on Grohl) came into sing and play guitar on “Dear Rosemary.”  You can’t really hear him all that much, but when he pops up (especially near the end) it sounds great.   “White Limo” is a punky blast, with Grohl’s vocal shredding (lyrics are pretty much inaudible) right from the get go.  There’s some interesting riffs and chord changes (the music is so much cleaner than the distorted vocals).  “Arlandria” sounds like the Foo Fighters, but there’s something unusual about the feel of the song (the bridge especially).  The chorus is pure Foos, but the verse has an interesting style that’s not like anything Grohl has done before.

“One of These Days” opens with some rather unusual guitar notes (Grohl has clearly been experimenting with his guitar skills over the years).  It progresses into a smooth verse and then shifts to a big (but short) chorus with stadium chords and then another sing a long part after it.  It’s a very cool song (and Grohl has said it’s his favorite song that he’s written).

“Back & Forth” has a strange backwards kind of riff that opens the song and a kind of chugga chugga heavy metal guitar verse.  The song is one of the simplest ones on the record–almost completely poppy (if not for being so heavy).  It also seems weird that it ends with the riff too.  “A Matter of Time” starts out as mostly drums and vocals with some guitar riffs. It moves to a kind of unusual staccato riff around one minute and then turns into yes, a huge chorus.  The verses after the chorus seem bright and sweet with a newly added guitar line.

“Miss the Misery” features Fee Waybill, lead singer from The Tubes (and a friend of Grohl’s).  The opening riffage actually reminds me a song by Aldo Nova (who?).  I like the chorus (and backing vocals, although I never would have guessed it was Fee Waybill).

And Krist Novoselic plays bass (and accordion!) on “I Should Have Known.”   It has a slow echoey intro (complete with mellotron and strings).  It has an aching vocal delivery in the chorus.  The bass doesn’t really kick in until about 3 minutes (when the song really fills out)

“Walk” ends the album.  It is pretty classic Foo Fighters at this point, a slow opening and then big choruses (and was written about helping his daughter to walk).  This one even has a radio friendly pause in one of the choruses.   (I love that the final song was released as the second single, and am so glad they didn’t front load the album!).  And that the song and album end with a fast chord .

This is a solid album from start to finish.  I think when they keep their albums under 50 minutes, they keep the music tight and don’t throw in any filler.

[READ: January 13, 2015] Seconds

Wow I loved this book.

I had been reading a lot of graphic novels and I was a little burnt on them, but this one rose above everything else I’d read in a while.

O’Malley did the Scott Pilgrim series, one of my favorite series and a darn good movie too.  While this has similar sensibility to Pilgrim (including the punchline of the same joke, ha) I think this being a a single book made it more impactful.

The story is about Katie.  She is a chef.  She also looks a lot like the style of O’Malley’s characters–sort of short roundish features, bordering on anime but with his own style thrown on top.  Katie’s most recognizable feature is her awesome flame of red hair on top of her head.

Katie co-owns Seconds, a very popular restaurant.  People come for her food because she is a very good cook.  Even if she doesn’t actually do much cooking anymore–she’s more a manager than a chef (having read a lot about chefs in Lucky Peach, I understand what this whole scene is like more than I might have otherwise).  She is really interested in opening up her own place (called Katie’s) across the river.  Since she is only co-owner of Seconds, she wants to be out of it and into her very own restaurant (even if she still likes the other co-owner).

We meet the others who work at Seconds.  The new head chef Andrew (with whom there’s a bit of a romance) and the waitresses, especially Hazel, a very tall mousy kind of woman whom everyone else thinks is very strange.  Hazel is quiet, she’s really hot, and she always wants to close the restaurant at night (others have seen her doing strange things before she leaves). (more…)

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auroraSOUNDTRACK: FOO FIGHTERS-Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace (2007).

330px-Foos-ESPGIt would seem that after recording the split acoustic and rocking In Your Honor and then touring a lot of acoustic music that the Foos were ready to make an album that combined both of these dynamics into one disc.  For many of the songs it means acoustic openings and super heavy end sections.  But some, particularity at the end of the album are completely acoustic.

Of course having said that, the album opens with a great heavy classic Grohl song, “The Pretender.”  A fantastic opener with the great chorus of “what if I say you’re not like the others.”  The next song, “Let It Die” opens with a real acoustic opening–not just mellow electric guitars but full on acoustic guitars (which Grohl has clearly become quite proficient at).  The switch to the really heavy chorus (not until almost 3 minutes into the song) is pretty intense–they pack everything into one song.

“Erase/Replace” is another great song–there’s an interesting twisting riff and an awesome chorus.  There’s some very nice contrasting with the smoother sections and even a cool guitar solo (there’s not too many solos in early Foos songs).  “Long Road to Ruin” is one of my favorite Foo Fighters songs–the chorus pushes all my yes buttons with the way it speeds up and has and the staccato stops in the middle of the chorus.  Fantastic.

“Come Alive” is another song with a slow mellow acoustic opening.  It builds slowly over 5 minutes to a noisy end.  “Stranger Things Have Happened” is the first fully acoustic song on the album that stays acoustic–there’s nothing heavy in it.  It’s got a classic Unplugged type of feel with two acoustic guitars playing off of each other, and a soloing section that has several pause click click resume moments.

“Cheer Up, Boys (Your Make Up Is Running)” has a great riff and very poppy verses. It sounds like earlier Foo Fighters songs and reminds me of Cheap Trick with the “stop, stop” backing vocals.  There’s also several different sections which hearkens back to earlier songs.

And from this point on the album mellows out but in different ways.  “Summer’s End” has a folky jam band feel (even though it’s not acoustic.  It’s got a such a wonderful chorus.  It’s the first of three songs to feature Grohl on piano!  Taylor Hawkins plays piano on it too.  “Ballad of the Beaconsfield Miners” is a 2 minute instrumental written by Grohl.  There’s some lovely finger picking in the song and you can hear that Grohl has really developed his guitar playing.  Kaki King plays rhythm guitar on this song which is surprising as she is such a much better guitarist than he is.

“Statues” is a piano ballad (played by Grohl).  It feels totally classic rock, with the sound of the opening guitar solo and the chord progression.  “But, Honestly” is fast acoustic song.  The melody and backing vocals remind me a lot of Bob Mould’s style of song writing.  The song feels like it’s just going to stay in a mellow vein, but this song really ramps up at around 3 minutes with some simple but cool riffing and a big growling end.

The final song, Home,” is a pretty piano ballad (Grohl on piano and vocals) with strings.  It’s almost cheesy but avoid that trap.  It doesn’t have a  big chorus, and is rather understated.  It also provides the album with its title.

This is a really complex album that works to all of the band’s strengths and even lets them explore different styles a bit. Guests on the album include Rami Jaffee and Drew Hester from the live shows as well as Pat Smear (who is a sometimes member of the band, but only plays on one song here).

[READ: January 26, 2015] The Rise of Aurora West

I really enjoyed Paul Pope’s Battling Boy, but I didn’t really like the art work. So here’s the second book in the series with a different artist (and no color)–perfect!

I enjoy this David Rubin’s art a lot more because of his much cleaner page–it’s far easier to understand what’s happening here.  But at the same time I don’t really like the way he renders faces.  For instance, on the very first page, the bottom right image of Aurora–it’s really hard to tell what she is thinking in that image–is she angry or what (and her face seems kind of oddly misshapen).  And that is fairly consistent throughout–the eyes are too big or something?  I found it distracting but it didn’t really hinder my enjoyment of this story.

This story looks at the early life of Aurora West, the daughter of Acropolis superhero Haggard West (so Battling Boy does not appear in it at all). (more…)

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battlingSOUNDTRACK: FOO FIGHTERS-Skin and Bones (2006).

330px-FFSkinBonesI totally missed this album when it came out.  Although since I prefer the heavier Foo Fighters songs, it’s not like I was queuing up to buy an acoustic show from them anyhow.

Nevertheless, someone had uploaded the first half of the DVD (part 2 never made it online) so that was my first exposure to this collection.  Comparing the DVD to the CD, I imagine I prefer the DVD because I really enjoy the silliness and banter (I do love banter) that Grohl brings in the live show (which seems like it may have been edited out of the CD).

The songs do sound good in the acoustic format.  Unlike many shows, these song are not stripped down.  In fact they are build up with eight people in the band, including Petra Haden on violin and Drew Hester on percussion.

I really enjoyed Grohl’s banter with the audience.  And I really enjoyed the end of “See You” (about where the first part cuts off) where everyone plays solos.  Grohl laughs at his inability to solo and then encourages Hester to do a percussion solo.  I really laughed how silly Grohl is (reminding me a lot of Jack Black) yelling at Hester for the various things he tries–no, I don’t like that do something else.  And even asking if he paid money for one of his little blocks.

Maybe one of these days I’ll see if the edited CD version is as enjoyable.

[READ: January 15, 2015] Battling Boy

Paul Pope is a famous graphic novel artist.  I’d heard of him and seen some of his work although I never knew exactly which stuff was his.

And as it turns out I really don’t care for his artistic style all that much.  It is quite distinctive, but it is very dark and kind of “sloppy/ugly” and I find it very unsettling to look at.  This book also has a very “superhero” look, which I have recently discovered I don’t like in general.

Which is quite a shame because this story is really interesting.

Set in the city of Acropolis, there are monsters everywhere (these monsters wander around with purple hoods on).  They seem to be after young children especially, so the kids are naturally afraid to even go get their soccer ball when it rolls into dark alley.  But when the monsters strike, Harggard West is there to save them. (more…)

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wrenchiesSOUNDTRACK: FOO FIGHTERS-In Your Honor Disc Two (2005).

Foo_fighters_in_your_honorSo disc two is an all acoustic collection (and is actually a little longer than the rocking side, bring the total time to about 85 minutes).  Because of the guests, I tend to think of this as a less than exciting collection of songs.  But it is actually quite solid.  And even though I have always preferred Foo Fighters’ louder songs, Grohl’s voice is well suited to acoustic songs and his songwriting withstands stripping away the noise.

“Still” is a mellow acoustic opener.  Grohl’s voice is gentle.  It’s the kind of opening that on later records would lead to a big loud chorus, but this album is all mellow.  I like the way the song unexpectedly shifts chords about half way through.  The song also has keyboards done by Rami Jaffee (I believe a first for a Foo Fighters record).  It’s 5 minutes long and perhaps a little samey.

But the album perks up with “What If I Do?” a brighter song with a catchy chorus.  It is also 5 minutes but doesn’t feel long. It’s followed by “Miracle” a lovely ballad with a great chorus (and John Paul Jones on piano).  I really like the entire composition of “Another Round,” the clear guitars and the bright chorus.  And John Paul Jones plays mandolin on this one!

“Friend of a Friend” is done on just a quiet acoustic guitar. It’s a lovely, dark song.  Although it is always tempting to assume Grohl’s songs are about Kurt Cobain, this one apparently was.  According to Wikipedia, this was the first acoustic song Dave Grohl had ever written.  “The song was written by Grohl in 1990 (and recorded in secret the same year), and it was about his first impressions of new bandmates Kurt Cobain, and Krist Novoselic.”  The way it is so sparsely recorded was a really good choice.

“Over and Out” has a cool and interesting riff and a nice big chorus.  “On the Mend” has some lovely acoustic guitar pairings.

Then comes “Virginia Moon.”  It has a slow jazzy feel, a shuffling drum sound and really delicate vocals.  The biggest surprise of course is that Norah Jones (no relation to John Paul Jones) sings a duet with him.  It’s a pretty song and, while I wouldn’t want a bunch more songs like this, it works well as a one off.  The next song “Cold Day in the Sun” was written by drummer Taylor Hawkins.  Evidently they tried to make a rocking version but it never really came off so they made it acoustic.  Hawkins sings lead vocals (and has a raspy Peter Criss type of voice–is that a drummer thing?) and Grohl plays the drums.  It’s got a super catchy chorus.

“Razor” ends this disc with a neat hammering guitar line.  Josh Homme plays rhythm guitar on this song.   It’s a very pretty song, although I feel like Homme is underutilized.

For an 85 minute album, this is mostly really quite excellent.  I tend to forget about it in the Foo’s discography but there are a number of stand out tracks here.

The band did some acoustic shows following this album, and made a CD and DVD from them.

[READ: January 20, 2015] The Wrenchies

Most of the First Second books I had been reading were either for kids or young adults. This one is squarely in the adult category–and I feel you can tell that by the rather ugly style of drawing on the cover.  (First Second does an admirable job of getting books that are pretty as well as ones that are ugly).

Dalrymple has a broad spectrum of styles in this book.  He has excellent realistic characters (warts and all) but he also has really nice pretty sections as well–where the characters are quite beautiful.  The fact that he chooses to pick the uglier style more is likely a matter of the location–a post apocalyptic hell–than anything else.

This story is (obviously) quite dark.  In fact I can see a lot of readers being turned off right from the get go with how dark and violent it is.  It’s also a little confusing because the post apocalyptic world that we are introduced to is not really explained.  There are also riffs on T.S. Eliot-with lines like “In the room the children a come and go.”

The story begins with Sherwood and Orson entering a cave. It all seems rather idyllic until we see just what kind of creepy thing lives in the cave–and what it does to Sherwood. (more…)

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chunkySOUNDTRACK: FOO FIGHTERS-In Your Honor Disc One (2005).

Foo_fighters_in_your_honorIt took another couple of years before Foo Fighters’ next album came out.  Grohl was unsure what to do with the songs he had been writing.  He originally thought perhaps a film score.  But when he realized he had a whole bunch of acoustic songs, he decided to do a double album–one heavy and loud and one acoustic and mellow.

The rocking side opens with some fast guitar and Grohl’s voice kind of deep in the mix.  He is screaming as the song continues unabated.  And then about two minutes in, the song doesn’t change but the drums kick in and the song grows quite dynamic.  The song pauses near the end so that Grohl can take a breath and give a big scream to end the song.  “No Way Back” is the first great song on the album.  It’s got a fantastic opening riff and a big chorus.  It’s followed by “Best of You” a wonderful single that’s a big song with a super-sized chorus.

“D.O.A.” has a unique guitar sound for the Foos.  Not heavy metal but more punk.  Then there’s the big chorus that kind of quotes Jim Morrison “No ones getting out of here alive.”  I had this chorus in my head for a couple of days last week.  “Hell” is only two minutes long but it feels like a much more complete song–big choruses and really fast verses elevate this from what could have been filler.

“The Last Song” has a very punk feel (especially the pounding snare drums in the opening and verse).  It’s followed by “Free Me” one of my favorite Foo Fighters deep cuts.  The riff is awesome and Grohl totally unleashes as the song progresses.  There is something about the way the song seems to get busier and louder as it ends that is really cool.

“Resolve” is a nice come down from the intensity of “Free Me.”  It’s not quite as mellow as the stuff on disc two, but it definitely slows things down.  And is still very catchy.

The final two songs don’t run out their welcome (it could be that this disc is only 40 minutes, not 55 like their more recent ones)–these songs don’t drag.  “The Deepest Blues Are Black” has a cool transition from loud bashing into really grooving chorus.  It’s quite a heavy song but it’s really melodic too.  And “End Over End” is another song that gets stuck in my head over and over again.  It’s not terribly original, but it rock and is catchy as well.  I find it to be a far more successful album ender (with it’s repeating outro) than “Come Back.”

I tend to forget about this disc because the news (and guests) of disc two tended to overshadow the solid songwriting of disc one.  But this is a great Foo Fighters disc, no question.

Tomorrow’s post: Disc Two

[READ: August 29, 2012] Goodbye, Chunky Rice

I’ve read a few books by Craig Thompson and enjoyed them quite a lot.  And this one, with the strange title and cute looking characters on the cover seemed like a sure fire hit.

As the story opens, we see a deer mouse riding her bike to visit her friend, a turtle.  The turtle hops on the back of the bike and off they go.  They have a great time at the beach (we even see a heart form over the turtle’s head as he watches her in the water).

And then we learn that the turtle is Chunky Rice and he is leaving.  He asks the mouse to come with him, but she says she cannot, and that they are to have no more tears while they are together.

The scene cuts to a human guy telling the Eurydice story to a bird (we hear “doot doot”).  The man has found the bird, who was injured, and has brought him back to his place.  He has named it Merle. (more…)

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