Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The Case Against (C)Rap: Volume II

I dedicate this segment to concerts/live performances.

I go to concerts frequently- they are my favorite thing to see. Whether it's Black Label Society, Thursday, or Taking Back Sunday, I know that these guys are going to give their all and perform their asses off for my entertainment by playing the songs I like. The same applies to jazz, blues, and even folk/country artists. The crowd gets into the music and so do the artists.

Rap is a whole different ball game. Even Steve Harvey agrees (check his skit in The Original Kings Of Comedy) that Rap sucks. When you pay to see a rapper, they bring their entourage and there are a ton of people yelling the same shit. Call me crazy, but you couldn't pay me $1,000,000 to go within 5 miles of that.

I am not sure if rappers have multiple people play different sets, but in my shows, there are often 2-4 extra bands that play about a 25-35 minute set each. The headliners I have seen range from 45 min-1hr and 20min. They are not stingy when playing their hits and pleasing the fans. Most of the time, you might find a band that really sucks (Like Yesterday is one that I highly suggest that you stay away from) or a band that can headline in the future (Scatter The Ashes for those who like mostly instrumental).

When a concert is really good, you'll come out with a ton of songs stuck in your head, sweat soaked, and maybe battered (from the mosh pit or crowd surfing). My best show was in November and it was freezing outside. We didn't bring jackets because they end up smelling like smoke. We also had to wait outside for about 1/2 an hour. By the end I was sweating my ass off, and on the way home I had the windows rolled down to get cooler. Thanks TBS and Atreyu. I highly doubt rap can do that.

END OF ROUND 2: ME (2), RAP (-2)

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The Case Against (C)Rap: Volume I

I still can't figure out what people find so good about rap. It bothers me and most of my rock brethren that no-talent "artists" are making millions of dollars for doing close to nothing. People who are innovative and work hard deserve the millions, like Bill Gates and Jim Cramer, not these monkeys.

Volume I will consist of (1) of many arguments which all revolve around the same basic idea- rap is not music. In this segment, the topic will be electronic machines.

Are people just getting lazy? I think not; they are getting to the consumers at a much easier rate. There is not even a backing band playing when a rap artist is performing. Rap consists of an electronic drum machine, which in all rap songs is the same. There might be some electronic piano or strings added to make it sound more elaborate. The truth is, they might fool some people, but they certainly won't fool me.

Spinning albums I am split over. I don't think there is any skill in doing this, seeing as how I saw a program on TV which showed all the technique. It's all in the wrist, and I am a drummer. I don't like it in a regular situation, but I can make an exception. Incubus does it and it does add a little something to the track. Rap and hip-hop suck and sound awful.

In Coney Island, one of the rides that they had played loud rap and hip-hop on three loud speakers. I had the unfortunate pleasure of getting stuck in the area and had to endure a very long and excrutiating 10 minutes hearing it. I tried my iPod on all the way with some metal, but to no relief. By the end, I was deaf and even dumber for listening.

For all the (c)rap lovers who read, stick around. There's plenty more where this came from.


Wednesday, June 15, 2005

New Foo Album Out Now- Do You Feel The Love

Yesterday, the new Foo Fighters double album was released. I bought mine at Best Buy, because anywhere you go, THE FIRST DAY IS ALWAYS MARKED LOW!

I listened to each track on the rock album, and I must say, the sound of the instruments sounded great, which is something the band did work on by building a classic recording studio. The instruments sounded like they did on There Is Nothing Left To Lose and The Colour And The Shape. Vocal wise, Dave has accumulated a somewhat raspy voice since the band started, but the singing was good. They have incorporated harder guitar riffs, more instrumentals and solos.

I didn't really listen to the acoustic album fully, but the band does play; the bassist and drummer can be heard. They added background sounds as well as harmonica. Originally Dave's message on their website that some guests would surprise fans. I took this to mean rap/hip-hop people, but to my happiness I didn't see any on the credits (I think).

I am proud to say this album is better than the last; the sound is better and more classic Foo. The vocals are good. The band is good. GO GET THE ALBUM. The mainstream sound is great for all rock lovers from here to kingdomcome.


PS- another good release was the Hawthorne Heights re-release which comes with all the original songs, seven bonus tracks, a DVD, and extra SILVERSTEIN (a great band) DVD.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

NY Times Needs To Rehire

In the Sunday NY Times, Mr. Jon Parales published an article called "The Case Against Coldplay." In the article, he complements Coldplay's music ability. He also writes how the lyrics are about self-pity, which in his own words is among the top 3 or 4 things written about in most music (just look at the Blues and the whole Grunge movement.) From the piece, it sounded as though he is not a fan of self-pity bands and probably hated bands like Nirvana (a kick ass band with a personal favorite musician, Dave Grohl also in the Foo Fighters and Probot.) Parales then goes on to say that he doesn't like the vocal performance on the album because they play the songs at that transition from his lower voice to his high, and his British accent makes the singing like an annoying sound.

I am a fan of Coldplay, not one of those die hards, but I listen to some of their songs. I read the article and became furious. If the music sounds good, then it must be good. Chris Martin's voice having the heavy British accent is not his fault. The only way to get rid of it is through a speech coach, which is a waste of money. People in the north say things with a different way than south, and people in the northeast have different dialects (NYC and Boston.) It's part of who you are and where you come from.

On Tuesday, I went to iTunes and previewed the album to hear it, and indeed it was filled with some good tracks and studio stuff. If you liked the previous one like I did, you'll like this one. Although I think "Clocks" and "The Scientist" the best, the album X&Y is a good follow up album.

Parales also had a problem with Coldplay using the same drumbeat from a previous song. I don't think he mentioned, but they also used the same chord progression in "Speed Of Sound" as on "Clocks". Musicians know what I'm talking about when I say 'what is the big deal?' Do you know how many bands use similar stuff to make new songs. My favorites including AC/DC and Alkaline Trio have done this as well as The Darkness, and many others. Not only do they do it because a slight change can make a brand new sounding song, but also because they need to be able to add vocals. A singer can sometimes only really sing in one key very well. This is what limits a band's creativity to expand when playing a verse, hense why a bridge allows them to move from key to key and go back for the vocals. This is utilized a lot in metal like Metallica, Anthrax, Iron Maiden (although they guy can sing.)

For the record, I have a few questions to ask the NY Times writer.
1.) Do you like the group Five For Fighting?
2.) If yes to #1, why do you not like Coldplay? (accent is NO excuse)
3.) How about Something Corporate, do you like them?

In the end it really doesn't matter what the so called "expert critic" says, it's what people like me think of the album. Just for kicks, Five For Fighting is an immensely popular group as well as Something Corporate. And there is no doubt in my mind that X&Y is going to sell big in the UK and U.S.


Sunday, June 05, 2005

Can A Gimmick Band Be More Than That?

Gimmicks have become an essential role in the entertainment industry. A simple catch phrase can become a staple in todays society, which is for some reason, asfixiated with pop culture; or something someone does at a concert, show, or ball game; or anything else I forgot to mention. Usually people have a gimmick to promote the thing that they are doing. It also helps not only the popularity, but profits, because after all, $$ makes the world go round. In the world of rock-n-roll (not the fake stuff like rap), some bands continue to play off a gimmick. I believe The Who was the first to really have a gimmick in the world of rock- at the end of each show, they would break their instruments, a trend which continues to this day. Even greats like Hendrix (who had multiple) have had their gimmicks. The question is can (modern rock) gimmick bands be more than just a gimmick?

When the band The Darkness first was being played on the TV or radio in the U.S. there were a few things people (at least I did from parts 2-3) focused on- 1.) the singer has a damn high voice in certain parts of their songs; 2.) the singer does one nude scene in every video; & 3.) the bassist wears the same clothes. Some of my fellow Rock-o-holics said the guy sang like a freakin alterboy staying late with a priest. And so it became that The Darkness would be known for their high pitched choruses as their gimmick.

As events would have it The Darkness's popularity skyrocketed, and they were being played on every medium from here to infinity. The songs "I Believe In A Thing Called Love" and "Growing On Me" were immensly popular.

I first heard The Darkness on MTV Europe's 10th anniversary special concert special which was filmed in England. I had never heard anything like their stuff since like 80's metal and Skid Row and Iron Maiden. MTV 2's Hard Rock Live featured a live show by the band some explanations on their songs.

Well, The Darkness is a truly kick ass band. Frontman Justin Hawkins is one the best guitarists I have ever seen. He can fingertap and solo with the best of them. The rest of the band including Justin's younger brother Dan (guitarists) complement the songs. The band in an interview said they began playing because they felt rock-n-roll was somehow dying and the last great guitarist was Kirk Hammett, lead for Metallica (obviously he hasn't heard of my man Zakk Wylde.) I admire what they are doing and how they're doing it. They are bringing back the 80s metal style, selling tons of albums, getting airtime on the radio and TV, and selling out shows. They know full well that the way they sing definately got people to hear them, but the guitar riffs really let the musicians appreciate them.


Wednesday, June 01, 2005

A Wrong Way To Open A Banana

Somehow this came up at a very messed up lunch. Someone (were not going to mention any names) opened up a banana starting from the bottom, holding the stem as the handle. So for the 25 min. our table argued on the right way to open a banana. Most of us opened them from the stem. Since this person's family came from the Ukraine during the USSR times, he named it the Stalin Method. Can there be a wrong way to open a banana? I am not sure although it does seem a bit odd to not use the stem which is there and makes the opening easier. People post some comments.
Listed on BlogShares Listed on BlogShares