Tag Archives: Rage Against the Machine

My Top 40 at 40!

Recently, and by recently I mean yesterday February 2nd, which just happens to be my day of birth, a buddy of mine threw down the musical gauntlet.  I have briefly and succinctly paraphrased the challenge below:

Top 40 Artists of your life. Not simply a list of 40, but a ranking from 40 to 1. You have to do it. It must be done. It’s your personal Hall of Fame. This is your preference, your jukebox, regardless of genre or generation. This isn’t educational or time relevant. It’s YOUR Top 40 of all time.

This did indeed get the blood rushing and made my musical pants go a little crazy.  I started to brainstorm a list (and by brainstorm I mean immediately sat down and pounded out 40 names, clarified his initial challenge, perused my list again, and started typing the first sentence you read. 

The initial list was not a difficult as I thought.  The ranking of 1-40 took a little bit of time as did my annotations (those are in my tiny, little head) as to why the band/musician made the list.  The list that lies before you is organic in nature and I believe it to be fairly finite to the time that it was written.  The list is not to be likened to a doctoral thesis, packed with statistics that verify the respective placement, resourced with renowned critical fawning, or any type of research other than my ears and their time on earth. 

Be mindful of the fact that there are only 40 spots on this list.  I can tell you that there are probably some glaring omissions on this list.  Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Bob Marley, Waylon, Willie, and the boys, did not make the list as well as a litany of other great, well deserving artists.  This list is completely subjective and the omission of anyone is not meant to be a form of disparagement.  It is quite simply a list of bands/musicians that I have loved over the years and also value their contributions to the musical world. 

The final piece of the musical puzzle for this list was really a late night revelation.  I realize it has only been a moment or two since you began reading this but I actually have been running the various scenarios of greatness in my head all night.  And then it hit me, the true measure of an artist’s greatness is my personal commitment to that particular artist. 

  •  How much of myself have I invested in the artists? 
  • What percentage of their catalog do I own? 
  • Would I take the time to see them live if the following were aligned:
    • They are still alive
    • They band is still together
    • The venue was geographically conducive to seeing them live
    • The cost of the ticket did not require me selling my 1st born child.  Although at 15 years of age and being really good at being 15 I would be willing to barter for a really good show right now.

Oddly enough, this revelation did not greatly alter my original list, there were a few additions and subtractions of artists and then the harrowing process of ranking them, with reason, was underway. 

No musicians were harmed in this list.  Of course, egos might be slightly bruised if they ever happen to stumble upon this little read blog and realize their spot on or omission to the list.

So, I give to you my Top 40 at 40!

  1. The Beatles
  2. Bob Dylan
  3. Bruce Springsteen
  4. The Rolling Stones
  5. Led Zeppelin
  6. The Who
  7. Pink Floyd
  8. Tom Petty
  9. The Eagles
  10. Eric Clapton
  11. Elton John
  12. Jimi Hendrix
  13. The Doors
  14. U2
  15. Metallica
  16. Pearl Jam
  17. Van Morrison
  18. Billy Joel
  19. R.E.M.
  20. Rush
  21. Lynryd Skynyrd
  22. Simon & Garfunkel
  23. John Mellencamp
  24. Stevie Ray Vaughan
  25. Prince
  26. Nirvana
  27. Uncle Tupelo
  28. Eminem
  29. Nine Inch Nails
  30. Beck
  31. The Dave Matthews Band
  32. Rage Against the Machine
  33. Robert Earl Keen
  34. N.W.A
  35. The Black Crowes
  36. The Beastie Boys
  37. The White Stripes
  38. Ryan Adams
  39. Ben Harper
  40. Joe Purdy

 

Great music awaits!


A Bloggers Musical Look at 40!

Well, my dear, sweet, gentle blog readers, today is a milestone day for me.  Or, so I’m told.  Yep, it is my 40th birthday.  Feel free to comment on how old I am or must feel.  Candle jokes are always funny, and yes, I am actually typing this attired in black and with one foot in the grave.

I like to think that I have made my musical feelings abundantly clear over the last year or so in this blog.  Songs are snapshots along our continuum that allow us to recall special times, people, and places. Music shades us in many ways, some so beautifully moving that we are overcome by emotion, others etched in our fabric like a familiar scent that recalls the halcyon days of our youth, while others are just simply attached to a moment in time.

In my forty years, I have lived and experienced more life than I probably deserve.  I know I certainly lived more than my parents deserved.  Through it all, music is the one constant that I have turned to regardless of the situation.  Adolescent love, loss, birth of children, marriage, divorce, and death, and yes, much living in between, music has been my salvation. Music resonates within me at many different levels. The basic premise behind music is notes, keys, chords, rhythm, etc….   It is analogous to food in the fact that there is music for all occasions.

So today, is my musical look at 40!  Below are 40 songs that have colored me indelibly. I will offer no explanation as to why these songs resonate with me nor will I debate their worthiness of inclusion.  After all it is my birthday, my blog and my computer at which I type. 

Below is this Bloggers Musical look at 40:

Song

Artist
  • Blinded By the Light *note* Cause Mama that’s where the fun is!
Bruce Springsteen
  • Everybody Hurts
R.E.M.
  • Simple Man
Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • Tiny Dancer
Elton John
  • With or Without You
U2
  • Louisiana Rain
Tom Petty
  • Dyer’s Eve
Metallica
  • Touch From Your Lust
Ben Harper
  • Fire Lake
Bob Segar
  • Masters of War
Bob Dylan
  • See What Tomorrow Brings
Arc Angels
  • There Is So Much More
Brett Dennen
  • Mystic Rhythms
Rush
  • Jimi Thing
The Dave Matthews Band
  • It’s In the Way That You Use It
Eric Clapton
  • Rearview Mirror
Pearl Jam
  • Sweet Child O’ Mine
Guns N’ Roses
  • The Sea and the Rhythm
Iron & Wine
  • Waiting for the Sun
The Jayhawks
  • Little Wing
Jimi Hendrix
  • Highwayman
The Highwaymen
  • Gimme Shelter
The Rolling Stones
  • Chloe Dance/Crown of Thorns
Mother Love Bone
  • When You Come Back Down
Nickel Creek
  • I’m Trying To Find It
Pat Green
  • Wish You Were Here
Pink Floyd
  • Slip Sliding Away
Paul Simon
  • Sideways
Citizen Cope
  • Wheel In The Sky
Journey
  • Sign O’ The Times
Prince
  • What a Crying Shame
The Mavericks
  • Sweet Caroline
Neil Diamond
  • Minutes To Memories
John Mellencamp
  • Band on the Run
Paul McCartney
  • Killing In the Name
Rage Against the Machine
  • Shades of Gray
Robert Earl Keen
  • Life Without You
Stevie Ray Vaughan
  • Plush
Stone Temple Pilots
  • Badfish
Sublime
  • Into the Mystic
Van Morrison

When I hear any of these songs, I vividly remember the moments, feelings, situations, and the friends I shared the moments with.  I contend that these artists and their songs do or will stand the test of time and are just as relevant today as they were in the past or will be in the future.  At least for me!

So there you go, me sharing a little of my birthday with you.  Enjoy and come over later for some cake and ice cream.

Great music awaits!


Tune In Tuesday: 6/22/10

Welcome back to another installment of Tune In Tuesday.  Today’s six albums are pretty diverse in regards to musical genre and over all style but have the commonality of not sucking at all. 

Mojo

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

This is Mr. Petty’s first studio album in eight and is well worth the wait.  The tunes are refreshingly reflective of the bands thirty plus years in the business. The songs have an air of fun and a cohesive quality that have always been a trademark of the Heartbreakers.  Heavy on the sweet southern rock sound, the songs have a classic vibe that sounds fresh yet familiar.  Petty’s voice is in fine form with the light, nasally, southern drawl, Campbell’s guitar playing is as tight as ever, and Trench’s ability to tickle the ivory brings it all together.  The album reminds you why Petty is so great and why he can take eight years off and come back just as relevant to the music scene.

Key Tracks: Running Man’s Bible, Something Good Coming, Takin’ My Time

American Slang

The Gaslight Anthem

This is the third album for the New Jersey band and a pretty dramatic departure for the heartland punk rockers.  It seems that the urgency and tension of the first two albums has dissipated and allowed them to grow as a band.  Obviously influenced by Springsteen, American Slang is a more mature sound for the band and allows them to better connect to their audience as well as bring new folks into the fold.  Don’t get me wrong, the band still rocks and a few songs have the speed and antagonism of their previous two albums.

Key Tracks: Bring It On, American Slang, Orphans

Fly Between Falls

Animal Liberation Orchestra (ALO)

Animal Liberation Orchestra (ALO) is the hippie, trippy, California band that brings the good time vibe to everything they play.  The band was formed by high school buddies Zach Gill, Steve Adams, Dan Lebowitz.  They all share vocal responsibilities and play a variety of instruments. 

Their debut album “Fly Between Falls” was originally released in 2004 and rereleased when ALO signed to Jack Johnson’s Brushfire Records in 2006.

This album is just plain fun.  Each song is up tempo and quirky yet sucks you in a little deeper each time you listen. 

Key Tracks:  Girl I Wanna Lay You Down, Wasting Time (Isla Vista Song), Barbeque

I and Love and You

The Avett Brothers

The Avett Brothers are the folksy, rocking, alt/country with a tinge of bluegrass band from North Carolina.  With such a diverse pedigree, is it any wonder the Rick Rubin took notice, signed them to his label, and produced their major label debut “I and Love and You”?

The album is sonically rich with harmonies provided by Scott and Seth.  The melodies are tight and the musical arrangement has a certain level of complication but not in an overly dramatic fashion.

Key Tracks:  Ten Thousand Words, Kick Drum Heart, January Wedding

One Fast Move Or I’m Gone

Jay Farrar & Ben Gibbard

Jay Farrar (Son Volt, Uncle Tupelo) and Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie, The Postal Service) teamed up to write and record an album for the documentary “One Fast Move or I’m Gone: Kerouac’s “Big Sur”

With Kerouac’s connection to jazz, both Farrar and Gibbard seem to be an odd choice to write and represent the spirit of Jack.  However, given the tragic nature of the book and Kerouac’s immersion into the depths of alcoholism and debilitating depression, Farrar with his naturally dour vocal styling and proclivity to writing deep emotionally damaged lyrics was a competent selection, while Gibbard seemed an awkward fit with his more melodic voice and previous synth heavy work with The Postal Service. 

Given the inspiration for the album it is no surprise that musically, the album is steeped in Americana with acoustic, electric, & steel guitar, lap & pedal steel, harmonica, piano, and percussions.  A majority of the lyrics were taken from Kerouac’s 1962 novel “Big Sur” and Jack gets writing credit on all of the songs except Gibbard’s lyrical contribution on the title track.

The irony of this project is that as dark and damaged as Kerouac was; the album is hopeful with a vulnerable beauty etched in the music and lyrics.

Key Tracks: California Zephyr, One Fast Move or I’m Gone, Big Sur, San Francisco

One Day as a Lion

One Day as a Lion

One Day as a Lion is the musical collaboration and eponymous debut EP of acid tongue, fire and brimstone, anti politico Zack de la Rocha (Rage Against the Machine) and drummer Jon Theodore (Mars Volta). 

The overall vibe on the EP is not an exodus sonically or lyrically for either musician.  The lyrics are politically and emotionally charged, the music is in your face antagonistic, and the overall delivery is the equivalent of a sledgehammer.  Bombastic drums and hypnotic keyboards bolster the fiery vocal release of de la Rocha.  The album has urgency to it in both the spirit of the music and the delivery of the lyrics. 

While the five songs seem to play quickly, what the album lacks in length, it more than makes up for with the strength of each song.  It also brings the realization the potency of de la Rocha’s delivery and the void that has existed musically since the disbanding of Rage Against the Machine.

Key Tracks: All 5 Songs!

 Great music awaits!


You should be listening to Audioslave!

Audioslave is the hard rocking, metal edged super group that is ¾ Rage Against the Machine (Tom Morello, Brad Wilk, and Tim Commerford), and ¼ Soundgarden (Chris Cornell) that formed in 2001 on the heels of the breakup of the afore mentioned Rage Against the Machine.  The fortuitous paring of the band was craftily handled by none other than producer Rick Rubin who did indeed produce the first two albums for the band.

Audioslave released three albums as well as received three Grammy nominations between 2002 and 2006.  Their sound was evocative of 70’s hard rock with a healthy dose of the 90’s alternative sound.  A source of pride for the band was the fact that all sounds on their albums were produced from one of the following sources:

  • Vocals
  • Guitar
  • Drums
  • Bass

Audioslave Discography:

  • Audioslave
  • Out of Exile
  • Revelations

Their self titled debut was released in 2002 and eventually went triple platinum and was the best selling album for the band.  The release was met with mixed reviews as some expected more based on the pedigree of the members while others heralded the band as an adrenaline shot to mainstream rock music. 

2004 saw the release of their sophomore album, Out of Exile, which was nominated for three Grammys two in 2004 and one in 2005.  Shortly after the release, Audioslave performed a free show in Havana, Cuba before an estimated crowd of 50,000 fans becoming the first American rock ban to perform an outdoor concert in Cuba.

Top 5 Audioslave Songs:

  1. Cochise (Audioslave)
  2. I  Am the Highway (Audioslave)
  3. Your Time Has Come (Out of Exile)
  4. Original Fire (Revelations)
  5. Like a Stone (Audioslave)

With the unique vocal prowess of Cornell and the immediately recognizable music of Rage, Audioslave created a distinctive sound that was both innovative and fresh yet at times had a déjà-vu type feel.

Their third album, Revelations, was released in late 2006 amid rumors and speculation of the departure of lead singer Chris Cornell.  While initially denied, it eventually came to fruition and Cornell went on to again pursue his solo career while the remaining members of the band reunited with mercurial Rage front man Zack  dela Rocha for a one time show at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. 

With the unique vocal prowess of Cornell and the immediately recognizable music of Rage, Audioslave created a distinctive sound that was both innovative and fresh yet at times had a déjà-vu type feeling.

While they made some pretty great music and filled a much needed musical void during the break up of both Soundgarden and Rage Against the Machine, I am happy that all members came to their senses and returned to the musical greatness of the former bands.  Rage has been intermittently touring the festivals and Soundgarden has recently reunited and are slated to put on a few shows this summer as well.

Check out Audioslave at www.audioslave.com

www.youtube.com/watch?v=s56RlF_D6DE&feature=related

www.youtube.com/watch?v=NEh5yS0ZjJE&feature=related

www.youtube.com/watch?v=725iONdAu9Q&feature=related

Great music awaits


Tune In Tuesday: Live Albums

Today’s installment of Tune in Tuesday features six live albums.  The live album is always a risky proposition but when it is good, it is oh, so good.

So, let me regale you with the melodious sounds of live music.

Astral Weeks: Live at the Hollywood Bowl

Van Morrison

This was an amazing studio album and only gets better with the live element.  Van is in fine form vocally and the musicians are incredible.  If you are fan of Van the Man, than you need to check this out.  If you are not a fan you need to get checked out. 

Live From Mars

Ben Harper

If you are going to own one Ben Harper album, this is the one.  A great cross section of his material, a high energy set, and a few incredible cover tunes (Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing”, Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love”, and the Verve’s “The Drugs Don’t Work”).  All of this jam packed into a double CD with 25 tracks.

Brothers of a Feather

Chris & Rich Robinson

The brotherly duo behind the greatness of the Black Crowes perform as dueling guitarists while showcasing songs from their respective solo careers as well as songs from the Crowes catalog.  Stand out tracks on this album are “Thorn In My Pride”, “My Heart’s Been Killing Me”, and “Someday Past Sunset”.

Undone: A Musical Tribute to Robert Earl Keen

Various Artists

Wade Bowen, Reckless Kelly, Cody Canada, Walt Wilkins, Chris Knight, Randy Rogers, Roger Creagar, Max Stallings, Cory Morrow, Jason Boland, and Robert Earl himself appear on this album.  If you have any understanding or appreciation for the greatness of Robert Earl Keen, then this album is for you.  Not a bad set on the whole album. 

MTV Unplugged

Alice In Chains

This album never gets old and the songs never get bad.  This was, in my opinion, one of, if not, the best MTV unplugged shows.  Layne’s vocals are just as tortured and haunting as the first time I listened to this album.  Stand out tracks “Would”, “Angry Chair ”,“ Nutshell” and every other song on the album.

Live at the Grand Olympic Auditorium

Rage Against the Machine

This is the last thing that was done before the breakup of the band in 2000 and the release was delayed three years due to the breakup and subsequent formation of Audioslave.  The performance is energetic and embodies all that was great about this band.  The mix and sound quality is not the greatest but still well worth the listen.  This performance  was also available as a DVD.

Read, review, and respond.

Great music awaits!


Tune In Tuesday: 4/20/10

Today is Tune In Tuesday.  As you might have guessed, I listen to a lot of music.  I listen at work, while I drive, while I drive to work, in the house, driving home, doing yard work, just about anywhere and anything I’m doing involves music. 

Driving is where most of my listening happens during the day and sometimes night.  My vehicle of choice and necessity, I have a brood of kids and 3 dogs, is a Chevy Tahoe, affectionately referred to as the “Ho”.  Aside from the ample space needed for carting afore mentioned brood and dogs, the Ho has a great Bose stereo with a six disc changers.  Six slots of pure musical pleasure. 

Each week starts out with me selecting six random discs from my imposing musical collection.  Once selected, they are inserted into the musical pleasure slots and then I hit the random button. 

The thought behind Tune In Tuesday is that I will tell you what is in the changer for the week and give you a little background on the album, artist and key tracks.

This week, here is what is in the changer:

 1.      Drive-By Truckers: The Fine Print (a collection of oddities and rarities 2003-2008)

This album is a collection of covers, alternate versions of songs from already released albums, and a few odds and ends.  The cover to Tom Petty’s “Rebels” is pretty cool as is their cover of Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone”.  Patterson Hood handles the majority of the vocals on the album.  For me, the stand out cover is Warren Zevon’s “Play it all Night Long”. 

 2.      Steve Earle: Townes

This album is a complete cover of Townes Van Zandt.  “Lungs” is the standout track for me.  Tom Morello (the Nightwatchman, Rage Against the Machine, Street Sweeper Social Club) plays on the album as does Steve’s son Justin. 

 3.      Amos Lee: Last Days at the Lodge

This is the third album by the Philadelphia singer/songwriter.  He has got a voice that just captivates you.  “What’s Been Going On”, “Street Corner Preacher”, and “Baby I Want You” are three really solid songs. 

 4.      Slaid Cleaves: Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away…

This Austin based singer/songwriter has a way with the words.  Lyrically superior to the vast majority of artist out there, his voice is calm and inviting in a way that brings it all together.  “Beautiful Thing: is by far the best track while “Hard To Believe” and “Dreams” are right up there.  This is an album that can easily be listened to start to finish several times.

 5.      Bob Schneider: Lovely Creatures

Another Austin icon, Bob really runs the musical gamut on this one.  “40 Dogs (Like Romeo and Juliet)” is a great song and the most Bob like song on the album.  He gets pretty musically diverse as the album progresses.  “Tarantula” is just pure fun that will have you moving wherever you are.

 6.      State Radio: Let It Go

 This is the third full length album for the Boston based sociopolitical trio.  I’m a huge fan and love all of the music that they have done to date.  Their music is a bond between my oldest son and I can’t ever here it without thinking about him and the trips we have taken to see them live.  “Calling All Crows”,” Knights of Bostonia”, and “Blood Escaping Man” are great but then again, so is the whole album.

So, check them out and let me know what you think.

Great music awaits!