Friday, June 13, 2008

Far Behind...


In the early 90's there were so many grunge bands, that some could sell millions of copies, and still be under appreciated. One band that really captured the time in particular was Candlebox. Their debut album was released in 1993 during the height of the Seattle movement. Candlebox's sound was heavy but poppy at the same time. They mixed a sense of blues, grunge, jazz, and metal, showing their lack of care for what was going on around them. Their lyrics were filled with attitude about sour relationships, drug addictions, and overall anguish. Nearly every song on this album includes a massive guitar solo among its structuring, which is not as conventional as the other radio friendly bands of the era. With almost every song on the album nearing in on the five minute mark, Candlebox make sure their ideas comes across complete. The album went on to sell over two million copies and remained on the Billboard Top 200 chart for well over a year.

Take for example "Cover Me." The song begins with a simple acoustic guitar melody and Kevin Martin's exceptional voice. Sounding like a potential ballad, the song winds its way into a storm of deceitfulness. Martin's vocal acrobatics are at their best as he goes from soft and delicate to an uproar with no warning. The song kicks up into a bluesy fury as the songs form constantly shifts while remaining accessible all the same.

"Far Behind," was their super smash hit, and well deserves to be. With a melody that will stick in your head for weeks, Martin and the band create an upbeat sound to accompany the lyrics, until the chorus breaks. Martin's voice belows with lament as his relationship has turned for the worse. Peter Klett's guitar solo is one of my personal favorites, reminding me of some of Slash's best work, and making this just as memorable as the choruses.

"You," is a wistful vengeful track with a blues undertone that separates Candlebox from most of their peers. Another sliding guitar solo that can easily rattle brains as it soars to new heights. The lyrics are about a loved one who fell into the abyss of drug addiction, and the pain that causes everyone around. Candlebox were the first band signed to Maverick Records by Madonna, and the raw passion and aggression shown here makes it an easily understandable decision. Candlebox come across at times as a grungier version of the early days of the Black Crowes, with their soulful aspects sounding fairly similar.

"Change" is another great track with an aggressive building affect throughout the entire song. Klett's guitar work is catchy yet scathing, complementing the intensity of Martin's vocals greatly. Anger and hostility blends with soulfulness as Candlebox like to dip their hands in as many emotions as they can.

"Blossom," is the ever progressing song of growth and renewal. With a positive theme, this songs gives the listener a more soul infused break in the angry madness of the rest of the album. "Rain," serves as a very straight forward blues/alt track that is the perfect calm between the storms. Martin's vocals are ranging from delicate to powerful, showing off his lengthy range.

Candlebox made pure Rock N Roll music that no one should be without! They have their first brand new album in ten years coming out on July 22nd, called "Into The Sun." You can purchase three tracks from it on iTunes already for a preview. The songs sound incredible, and it doesn't appear Candlebox have missed a step since "Happy Pills" was released in 1998. I can't wait for this release as it sounds like it's going to be their best since the debut! Check them out at www.myspace.com/candlebox and help support true, genuine rock music!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Walkin' Tall Machine Gun Man


While Nirvana's MTV Unplugged in New York has received countless accolades since it was released, it does not stand as the best example of the now defunct MTV show/special. At least not as far as I'm concerned. The honor of best Unplugged, for me, goes to Alice in Chains! They recorded a set in 1996 that little would we know would serve as their final album together with Layne Staley. The album was one of their first shows in over three years time due to problems within the band, mainly Staley's health. You wouldn't be able to tell that though, as they sound tighter than ever before. The acoustic atmosphere allows for them to really showcase Jerry Cantrell's masterful songwriting, including the incredible harmonization between Cantrell and Staley. Some songs that were released on their almost entirely acoustic EPs "Jar of Flies," and "Sap," didn't over-go the biggest transformations to the acoustic realm, while tracks from their grunge classic "Dirt," have dramatic differences, all of which are very positive.

They do a great job of mixing their hits (Rooster, Got Me Wrong, No Excuses...) and their fan favorite album tracks (Nutshell, Brother, Frogs...) all with exceptional emotion felt from the somber but passionate acoustic recording. If you are a fan of Alice In Chains or any rock from the 90's, I highly recommend you check this out either on CD or DVD!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

It's Been 7 Long Years...


...but the wait to hear NEW Toadies recorded music is OVER! Travel on over to www.spin.com and stream their brand new title track, "No Deliverance," in its entirety!! I have listened a few times and love the track. Very different than what I expected, but great and just as enjoyable as I hoped! Listen for yourself...

Here is the direct link... http://www.spin.com/reviews/new-toadies-mp3-no-deliverance

THE TOADIES ARE BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Don't Miss the Boat!


The Toadies recent tour dates have been selling out quickly, as they damn well should, and New York, Fort Worth, and Boston are already completely gone. Luckily there is still a small remainder of tickets available to the following shows...

Jun 20 2008 8:00P
Sunset Station San Antonio, Texas

Jun 24 2008 8:00P
Masquerade Atlanta, Georgia

Jun 25 2008 8:00P
Black Cat Washington DC, Washington DC

Jun 28 2008 8:00P
Trocadero Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

This is a tour that you're not going to want to miss! I know that I will be attempting to catch the Washington, DC show, depending on my work schedule. Either way I'll be seeing them in New York and Boston! I strongly recommend you catch as many Toadies shows as you can because they are a band that's raw energetic live shows are not to be missed! Lions, another great Texas band, will be opening on the dates, and they have a live show that is worth getting there early for. I caught them for the first time last month when they were opening for Local H, and it was a great set! Get your tickets soon, as they won't be around much longer!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

I'm Not Dead & I'm Not For Sale


I had the pleasure this weekend of attending K-Rock's Return of the Rock concert. K-Rock is New York's premiere rock radio station, and they know how to set-up a show! The concert featured Ashes Divide, Filter, and Stone Temple Pilots, and they all put on great performances.

Ashes Divide kicked off the festivities with a short but great sounding set including "Enemies," "The Stone," and "Too Late," amongst others. They also threw in a cover of Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain," which got a great remaking for the Ashes Divide sound. If anyone doubted Billy Howerdel's ability to make a band on his own without superstar help, rest assured, they sound great! I've seen them twice now and was extremely impressed with the entire band's effort at both shows. If you liked A Perfect Circle, you will like Ashes Divide as Howerdel has retained much of the same songwriting techniques he used in his former band.

Filter came on next with a very fan friendly setlist. They opened with the greatly progressive "Welcome to the Fold," and then played through all their hits, "Dose," "Jurrasitol," "Hey Man, Nice Shot," "Take A Picture," "It's Gonna Kill Me," and their hit collaboration with The Crystal Method, "(Can't You) Trip Like I Do." They also included their current single, "Soldiers of Misfortune," and a few other new songs. All in all it was a good set, but I feel that Filter's sound is much better captured in a club than a wide open amphitheater.

The stage was all set for Stone Temple Pilots to grace us with their music, and it seemed to be taking longer than expected. Fans grew restless as they booed and chanted "this is bullshit" after about an hours break since Filter. I began to grow concerned for a potential riot as moods turned real sour on the rainy night. As fans have waited for over six years since the last STP tour, people grew worried that the band was not going to show up. Not to disappoint, STP finally came out after an hour and a half wait. Scott Weiland was clearly under the influence of something, as he stumbled out onto the stage, mumbling something indecipherable to the audience as the band broke into "Big Empty". Weiland seemed to struggle singing throughout the song, but shortly after picked it up to near perfection. Yes, some of his melodies didn't quite match the album quality, but after playing the same songs for 15 years, you grow tired and look for some different embellishments. The changes sounded great and the setlist included everything you'd imagine it would. At one point Weiland began to apologize for something, but was quickly cut off by Robert DeLeo who said, "Apology accepted, brother!" After the opener they continued with...

Wicked Garden
Big Bang Baby
Vasoline
Lounge Fly
Lady Picture Show
Sour Girl
Creep
Crackerman
Plush
Interstate Love Song
Coma
Down
Trippin' On A Hole In A Paper Heart
Sex Type Thing

ENCORE:
For the Love of Money (O'Jays cover)
Dead & Bloated

It really is remarkable how many classic hits that STP has, and they still sound just as fresh as ever! The set was only made more powerful by the uncanny relationship between the DeLeo brothers. They play and feed off each other with an unparallel relationship sounding as if they're one gigantic incredible person. Really though, they're two awesome musicians that have been playing together their entire lives, and it shows! Extended solos during Lady Picture Show, Dead & Bloated, and Down were amazing sonic additions to the already great songs! I am concerned about how long this reunion will last, and I hope more than anything Weiland can pull everything in his life together. Maybe a 60+ date tour at the moment wasn't the best idea, but they keep adding dates, so let's just hope for the best, and catch them live while you can! They truly put on an amazing show, and are without a doubt one of the greatest bands of our generation!