Tag Archives: Zack de la Rocha

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


You should be listening to 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 band’s namesake is homage to a black and white picture taken by photographer George Rodriguez that had the verbiage “It is better to live on day as a lion, than a thousand years as a lamb”.  Zack and Jon have known each other for a few years and have a mutual admiration for the other’s musical work. This led to informal jam sessions at a friend’s studio and culminated in the recording and release of the five song EP. One Day as a Lion was released on Bad Religion guitarist’s label ANTI-.

Tracks:

  • Wild International
  • Ocean View
  • Last Letter
  • If You Fear Dying
  • One Day as a Lion

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 of the potency of de la Rocha’s delivery and the void that was created musically by the disbanding of Rage Against the Machine.

There had been initial discussion/rumors of a follow up full length album in 2009 but it seems that the long overdue reconciliation of Zack and his former band mates from Rage have derailed those plans. 

While I am a fan of reconciliation and Rage Against the Machine, I’m selfishly and momentarily disappointed because there is no new music from either group at this time.

Check out One Day as a Lion at www.onedayasalion.org.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mKtt7F0rPU

Great music awaits!