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This weeks band you should know once again hails from New Zealand (don’t worry, the next few won’t, promise!)  Shihad.  Shihad is a hard rock group and one of the most successful bands in New Zealand history.  Formed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1988 Shihad has recorded 8 studios and has produced 4 number 1 albums and 3 top ten singles in New Zealand, they also have 19 songs that charted in the NZ top 40, which ranks them as number 1 in the category..  They’ve had a long history with a few twists and turns, including a name change (thanks Al-Qaeda) and playing with some of the biggest rock bands in the world.


Shihad was formed by singer/guitarist Jon Toogood and drummer Tom Larkin in 1988 while in high school.  At the time they were big fans of the movie Dune, based on Frank Herbert’s novel.  In the movie there are a lot of Arabic words used, the end battle was called a Jihad.  Not knowing how to spell the word, or say it correctly the boys assumed it was Shihad and the band was named.  Of course a few years later this would be a small issue.  When it comes to their influences at the time, they were American metal bands such as Metallica and Megadeth.  Since the beginning they have changed their style and can now be considered hard rock or alternative rock.  Soon after forming they were joined by Phil Knight (guitar and keyboard) and Geoff Duncan (bass).  throughout the years the lineup has stayed mainly the same.  Bass guitar was a revolving door for awhile, Geoff Duncan was replaced by Geoff Daniels, who was then replaced with Hamish Laing.  Eventually Karl Kippenberger settled in and became the bass player.  With the line up solidified, it was time to release some material.

Their first album, Churn, was released on July 12 1993 in New Zealand and on June 25th 1994 in Europe.  The album was recorded at the York Street Studio in Auckland, it was produced by Jaz Coleman of Killing Joke and was released on Wildside Records.  It featured 2 singles that both charted.  The first, “Stations”, was released in February of 1994 and reached 35 on the New Zealand Top 40 Singles chart.  The second, “Derail”, was released in August of 1994 and peaked at 33 on the same chart.  The album itself hit number 9 and was certified gold in New Zealand.  Not a bad start.

The second album, Killjoy, was released in May 1995.  Killjoy was the first of the albums to go gold in New Zealand.  It was produced by Malcolm Welsford and Shihad and was also released on Wildside Records.  Killjoy went all the way to number 4 on the album charts and spawned 2 hits, “Bitter” and “You Again”, that helped establish them as a premier hard rock act.  The album garnered a little bit of international acclaim when, according to MTV Australia, both Iggy Pop and members of Metallica praised the album.

Shihad’s third album, which was self titled and is also sometimes called the fish album, was dedicated to the band’s manager who had died earlier that year, Gerald Dwyer.  The album was once again produced by both Shihad and Malcolm Welsford and recorded at the York Street Studios, Auckland.  It was released on Wildside records in September of 1996 and was once again certified gold.  While the album only hit number 11 on the album charts it spawned a handful of hits, the biggest of them was “Home Again”, which is a great driving rock song and has become one of New Zealand’s biggest hits of all time. Other notable tracks include “La La Land”, “A Day Away”, “Home Again”, “Yr Head is a Rock” and “Ghost From the Past”.

Three years after the release of Shihad, came the groups biggest album success to date, The General Electric.  There were a lot of changes since Shihad was released, first was the recording place.  The General Electric was recorded at Factory Studios in Vancouver.  It was the first album recorded outside of New Zealand.  They also had a record label change, Electric was released on Wea Records.  Even the producer had changed.  The General Electric was produced by the well respected Garth Richardson, who had produced bands such as Rage Against the Machine and Red Hot Chili Peppers.  The album released in 1999, the album contained 3 re-released tracks, “Spacing”, “Wait and See” and “Everybody Else”.  The album was a major success for the band, it spawned 3 more hits, “The General Electric”, “Pacifier” and “My Mind’s Sedate”.  It was the first album to not only be certified platinum in New Zealand, but eventually double platinum as well.  It also was the first album by the band to chart on the Australian charts reaching number 23 and also the first to hit number 1 in their homeland.

During the recording of their 5th album, Pacifier, the band decided to change their name due to the 911 terror attacks.  They originally chose the name remote, but since it was already taken, they chose Pacifier, named after the hit off of the last album.  Released in 2002, Pacifier was recorded at Pulse Recording Studios in Hollywood.  It was produced by the producer of 30 Seconds to Mars and Weezer, Josh Abraham.  The album was released on Warner.  Pacifier also featured some guest stars, such as Scott Weiland and DJ Lethal on the track Coming Down.  Once again the album smashed the New Zealand charts at number 1, and also cracking the Australian top ten for the first time at number 8.  It was certified gold in Australia and once again double platinum in New Zealand, yet the band still didn’t manage to make a dent in the US.  In fact in retrospect, The band and Jon Toogood himself have said they weren’t pleased with the effort, calling it “overproduced” and saying “bullshit, that would’ve been the wrong album to be big on.”  None the less the album still spawned a handful of hits including “Run” and “Bulletproof”.  As a side note, some editions of the album contained bonus discs.  One was Weapons of Mass Destruction, which contained the tracks “Toxic Shock”, “Early Grave”, “Analizer”, “The Wrong Idea” and “Really Glad”.  The other was the Helen Young Sessions, which contained “Run”, “Weight of the World”, “Coming Down”, “Brightest Star”, “Walls and Home”.

For the band’s sixth studio album, they returned to Vancouver and Garth Richardson.  The Album is a return to the band’s heavier rock style from the early days.  After trying to make it in the US and failing the lyrics became darker and political, mainly because of the US tour under the Bush Administration.  For me, it’s a great album, and I wish the guys didn’t tour here during a dark period in the US history, notably the 911 attacks then the following wars.  I’m hoping they try again and don’t base everything about the US and rock fans off of the people and experiences of that time.  Anyway, like I said it’s a great album that spawned a good amount of hits, “Alive”, “All the Young Fascists”, “Shot in the Head”, “None of the Above” and “Dark Times”.  The album entered the New Zealand charts at number 1, went gold in two weeks and platinum in 4.  Again it was a success in Australia as well, hitting number 11 on the Album Charts.

The 7th album, Beautiful Machine, was released in April of 2008.  Once again they changed a whole lot, starting with where it was recorded.  While not in Auckland, the album was recorded in nearby Australia at the Sing Sing Studios in Melbourne.  They also changed producers again, this time using Alan Moulder, Scott Horscott and of course themselves.  Not only was that a large amount of change, but the album left the hard rock sound of the previous album and went softer, but it also went more electronic, with sounds that were reminiscent of the 80’s rhythms.  At one point lead singer Jon Toogood even called some songs, dance songs.  Not what one would expect from a hard rock band.  The album still entered the New Zealand charts at number 1 and the Australian at 11 and even went gold in its first day.  Unfortunately it failed to go platinum, their first album in 12 years not to go platinum.  The two singles, “One Will Hear the Other” and “Vampires”, both at one point were the most played songs after their release, but still the album wasn’t the success the others had been.

For the 8th album, 2010’s Ignite, the band once again changed things up.  For this album, Shihad took control of the producing themselves and changed to The Studio in the City, Melbourne to record.  Ignite was a return to form for the boys, the album once again went gold and charted at number 1.  It was a return to a harder sound and was well received by critics.  With the debut of Ignite, Shihad became the first New Zealand band to have 4 number 1 albums.  The album is a great piece of work and one of my favorites.  The best part? It shows that they aren’t done yet.  It spawned a handful of great singles, “Sleepeater”, which is featured in Pro Evolution Soccer 2011, “Lead or Follow”, “Ignite and Engage”.  All great tracks.

So, there it is, a shortened version of a 22 year journey.  Most bands don’t stay together nearly that long, let alone stay successful.  With the last release Shihad showed that they aren’t done yet and hopefully there will be much more to come.  If you want a nice miz of their music, you can pick up their greatest hits, The Meanest Hits.  You can find the Pacifier album on iTunes, you can find some on Amazon, or you can find all of their stuff at http://www.amplifier.co.nz/ So give them a try and thanks for reading!

Games You Should(ve) Played

So today’s game is awesome and is the first article written by someone other than me.  Nick, a good friend of mine, has volunteered to help out and keep the content coming.  I mean come on, so many games so little time right?  So I hope you’re ready to enter a world of….

Swords and Samurais and Souls… Oh, My!

Onimusha: Warlords (2001-PS2)


Way back in the year 1560, there was a samurai named Akechi Samanosuke (pronounced… sah-mah-no-soo-kay) fighting alongside the Yoshimoto forces in the Battle of Okehazama.  Kind of a mouthful, I know.  The enemy is the Oda Clan and their leader, Nobunaga.  The Oda clan is winning, like post-Iron-Man-Robert-Downey-Junior-winning … until an arrow pierces the throat of a defiant Nobunaga.  He was too busy laughing at all of the death and swordplay going on to realize that an archer had gotten in throat-shooting range.  No worries, the vicious…

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Games You Should(ve) Played

Tales of Monkey Island (2009)  


Tales of Monkey Island is a 5 part episodic release by Telltale Games in conjuction with LucasArts.  It is the 5th game in the Monkey Island series.  It was released nearly ten years after Escape from Monkey Island.  Ron Gilbert, the father of the series was on board in the project planning, Dave Grossman, co-designer of the original 2 was also in and the devolopment lead.  The game was released on several platforms, including the Xboxlive marketplace and Sony Playstation Network

Story and Characters

Once again you assume the role of the bungling pirate Guy Threepwood.  The game takes place a few years after Escape from From Monkey Island.  It also no longer takes place in the tri island area that the others took place in.  The designers opted to create a new area, the Gulf of Melange.  We find out that in that…

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Games You Should(ve) Played

The Curse of Monkey Island (1997)

It was 6 long years until the release of the next in the Guybrush saga also known as The Monkey Island games.  It was only available on Windows and was only available on CD.  It was also the last game to use the SCUMM engine, which was replaced by the GrimE engine.  It was also the first Monkey Island game to have voice acting.

Story and Characters

Same basic characters, with a French Buccaneer thrown in for good measure.  The game doesn’t quite start off where Monkey Island 2 ended.  Our hero is found floating aimlessly in a bumper car with no idea what happened or how he ended up there.  In the meantime LeChuck has laid siege upon Plunder Island, which is now governed by Elaine.  During a sequence between LeChuck and Elaine Guybrush appears and is taken prisoner once more by LeChuck…

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Games You Should(ve) Played

Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge (1991)

The second in the Monkey Island series, LeChuck’s Revenge was released in 1991, just a year after the original.  It looked and played just about the same as the original and also had a remake recently.  One of the main differences was that Revenge was only availible on MS-DOS, Amiga Macintosh and eventually on FM Towns.

Story and Characters

All the same main characters, Guybrush, Elaine and LeChuck are all here along with a few others.  The location has changed and you are no longer on Melee Island, you are in the Tri-Island area of the Caribbean, although all three islands are made up.  The three islands that make up the area are Dinky Island, Phatt Island and Booty Island, although most of the gameplay takes place on a fourth island, Scabb Island.

The Tri Island Area!

The game begins with Guybrush hanging from…

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Check out my latest Games You Should(ve) Played! Thanks for reading!

Games You Should(ve) Played

So I know its been a long time since my last post, two maybe three weeks ago.  It’s been busy both at work and at home, to add to everything there was an unexpected death in the family.

This weeks Games You Should(ve) Played is going to focus on the LucasArts adventure series Monkey Island.  I decided to change my format a bit though, and instead of featuring 5 or so games in one long post I’ll post one a day to make it easier 0n my faithful readers…so come along….Monkey Island awaits……

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, after Starwars and Indiana Jones, but before Jar Jar ruined Star Wars.  Lucas made video games, and some damn good ones.  Lucasarts was one of the premiere point and click adventure game makers and the cream of the crop from them was The Monkey Island series.  The…

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This weeks Bands You Should Know takes us back to Chicago once again for another local band that I am a fan of, Kill Hannah.  Some of you may already know Kill Hannah because of their 2006 track, Lips Like Morphine.  The song hit 37 on the US Modern Rock Chart.  The other song they are known for is “Kennedy” which was featured in the show Jack & Bobby.  Sadly though, that has been the only single they had that did chart, which I think is a shame because I think they have a rather unique sound.
They also prove that sometimes a break up is a good thing.  Devine had been dating a woman named Hannah while in the band In a Jar UK.  Eventually Hannah and Mat split.  Mat decided to print up some stickers with “Kill Hannah” on them to put on the band’s 7” records.  Eventually in 1993 Kill Hannah was born.
Kill Hannah has had songs in movies, tv shows, toured the world and even opened for acts such as Papa Roach, AFI, Jane’s Addiction and 30 Seconds to Mars.  Hell, they even appeared on Last Call with Carson Daly (ok, granted nobody watched that show but still).  So it’s a bit strange to me that they’re still stuck on the runway and haven’t quite taken off.  They even hold the record for most sellouts at The Metro in Chicago.  The band currently consists of Mat Devine, Dan Wiese, Greg Corner, Elias Mallin and Michael Maddox.
Kill Hannah’s music is classic 90’s rock with a bit of industrial and electronica thrown in, there’s a hint of Stabbing Westward that comes through, though Kill Hannah isn’t quite as heavy.  The band looks like an emo act, super tight clothes and pretty hair, but thats all they share with that genre, the music is far better than almost all of those acts.  In fact, if I had to guess, I would think some of those bands looked at Kill Hannah and ripped off their style.  The guitar work is great and there are some nice electronic sounds here and there also.  The drums are pretty solid and Devine’s vocals are rather unique.

The band has released  8 studio albums, some self released and hard to find, so far and plan on recording a 9th in 2012.  The band also toured the UK in March of 2012 and is playing Wicker Park Fest in Chicago this July 28th.  If you’re going to be in Chicago, check them out, if not check out one of the 6 albums below.


The Beauty in Sinking Ships (1996)

Ah, the first album, sadly I no longer can find my copy, and can’t find a copy anywhere.  In fact, to be honest, it was self released and I have no idea how he got it.  it seems to be extremely rare and hard to find.  So all I can tell you is from memories of the day, I had been out of highschool for about a year and a buddy of mine, Bill knew I was a fan of Stabbing Westward and thought I would like Kill Hannah also.  He was right, like I said above the style was similar, Stabbing was harder rock to me then Hannah, but I thought Kill Hannah’s vocals and lyrics were slightly better.  Of course back then I never bought the album, I just copied his onto cassette tape, which I have since lost or thrown out because, well, I haven’t played a cassette tape in about 15 years.  If I ever find it or find a copy, I’ll revise this section.

Here Are the Young Moderns (1998)

This is basically the exact story as above, Bill played this one for me as well, but I have no idea where my cassette copy of his is.  I was able to find 2 of them, both used, on Amazon…for 129.99, which to me is a bit much since most of the tracks are available on two other albums. Hyperactive, Get Famous and Nerve Gas can be found on American Jet Set, the next album.  Stunt Pilots, Hummingbirds The Size of Bullets, Love Sick, Sleeping Like Electric Eels and Kill Hannah can be found on The Curse of Kill Hannah.

American Jet Set (1999)

This is the first Album I bought.  It’s a great album and I’ve listened to it many times.  In fact, you can actually still find this one, but its out of print and pretty rare.  You may be able to get it digitally on itunes or Amazon, but I haven’t checked.  I also love the cover, reminds me Throughout the album you can hear great vocals, great guitars and drums and a great use of keyboards.  Yup I said keyboards, and they’re used properly.  Like I said in the section above, 3 of the tracks are from the last album.  Most of the tracks are pretty solid, but I will admit that the song Get Famous, is a bit, well cheesy maybe, well lyrically anyway, although it still sounds pretty good.  My favorite tracks off of this album are All That He Wants (American Jet Set), Nerve Gas, Sick Boy, Los Angeles and A New Medicine.

For Never & Ever (2003)

For Never & Ever is the first major label debut for Kill Hannah.  Released under Atlantic Records and Produced by Sean Beavan, it’s the album that spawned the single “Kennedy” which was featured in the TV show Jack & Bobby.  It has a more refined and clean sound, but it still has the same power and sound that the other albums all had.  It’s kind of like waxing a Ferrari, the car looks good anyway, but it looks better with some shine.  The guitar work and drumming is as good if not better then previous efforts and the vocals are still solid.  The lyrics are deeper and more meaningful, which usually happens with age and experience. My favorite tracks off of this album are Kennedy, 10 More Minutes, New Heart for Christmas, From Now On,  Raining All The Time, Unwanted and Is Anyone Here Alive?

The Curse of Kill Hannah (2004)

In 2004 The Curse of Kill Hannah was released.  Curse is pretty much a best of, from 96-98.  Not really sure why it was put out, but 4 of the tracks were from Here are the Young Moderns and 1 from The Beauty in Sinking Ships.  I don’t have the album so I really can’t say much about it other then it seems to be rare also, as is most of their early stuff.  You can find it on Amazon, ranging in price from 13 to 30 dollars.

Until There’s Nothing Left of Us (2006)

3 years after mild success with For Never and Ever, Kill Hannah released Until There’s Nothing Left of Us.  It was the 2nd major label release, again on Atlantic and Roadrunner in the UK.  Unlike the last album, recorded in LA, Kill Hannah came home to Chicago to record this album.  Recorded at Groovemaster Studios and Produced by Johnny K and Sean Ray Molino it spawned the song Lips Like Morphine, which hit 37 on the US Modern Rock Chart.  The album itself reached 8th on the Top Heatseekers chart, but only 178th on the Billboard 200.  Once again the album was polished and sounded more atmospheric than the others and also a bit more glam rock and some tracks are a bit poppy, but it still sounds great.  Even with the minor changes when you hear it, it’s still easily recognizable as Kill Hannah.  In fact even though its a slight departure (extremely slight) from the other albums, It’s one of my favorites.  My favorite tracks?  You know I’m just going to say the whole album, not because I’m lazy, but because I think its that good.

Wake Up The Sleepers (2009)

Wake Up The Sleepers is the latest release from Kill Hannah and was released in 2009.  It was also the album that marked the return to a independent label, leaving Atlantic for Original sound.  While they “left” for an independent, Original Sound is still an affiliate of Universal.  The album itself builds on what they started with Until There’s Nothing Left Of Us and expands that sound a bit more.  The production is top notch and as good as anything out there.
Too me, most of the tracks are a bit on the mellow side but still sound good.  There is a bit more of an 80’s new wave and electronic vibe to some of the tracks on the album.  The lyrics are a bit deeper and there are a few guest artists (Benji Madden, Amanda Palmer, Chibi and Matt Skiba)  Personally I think Amanda Palmer was well worth it, but Madden was kind of a throw away for me.  All he did was some harmonies, he wasn’t really featured much.
A lot of the other reviews I have read for this album praise and say it’s the best Kill Hannah album ever, I disagree, I Like it and think it’s very solid, but not the best.  For me, I guess the best is a tie between Until There’s Nothing Left Of Us and American Jet Set.  As for the best tracks on this album, well here they are.  Radio, New York City Speed, Living in Misery, Tokyo (Dance In The Dust), Mouth To Mouth, Vultures (Be There For Me), Acid Rain and Laika.

Conclusion

Since the mid 90’s when I first heard Kill Hannah they have continued to evolve but kept their sound.  I think they have gotten better with age and with a new album supposedly coming out in 2012/2013 the future looks bright.  So if you’re looking for something new that you’ve never heard check out Kill Hannah, and thanks for reading!

-JP

 

New Blog!

So, I decided to start a videogame blog, its going to cover old and new and all systems, so if you follow me here, please come check out my new blog at http://wp.me/p2uVWl-7

Thanks! and don’t worry there will be more bands you should know every Monday!

Most of you may have noticed that I the bands I have featured here aren’t real heavy hard rock, until now.  I love rock, especially hard rock and metal and this weeks band is one of that fits that category perfectly.  Blue Gillespie.  The first time I heard about Blue Gillespie was at the 2011 Chicago Wizard World.  We were at a panel for Torchwood, the Doctor Who spin off. The two members of the cast that were on the panel were, Garetth David Lloyd, who until he was unjustly killed off in season 3, played Ianto, and Kai Owen, who plays Rhys.  Both guys were great and had a ton a fun, they even gave money to two audience members for beer.  During the conversation, Garetth mentioned his band, Blue Gillespie, and their upcoming plans.  So after the panel we went downstairs and they were signing stuff and he was also selling the cd’s so the wife bought it and he signed it.

So when we got home, we opened it up and threw it in, I was impressed, I liked it.  So I decided to find out a little more about the band so I looked them up.  This UK foursome was formed in 1997 with Gareth Lloyd on Vocals, Anthony Clark on Guitar, Rhys Bryant on Bass and Nick Harrison on Drums.  The name Blue Gillespie represents a “character” comprised of all 4 members inner struggles and anger.  The band is used as a way for them to clear their alter egos of darkness and anger and for them to become more positive.  Prior to the first full length album, Synesthesia, The band had released 2 EP’s.  Cave County 1 and Cave County 2, with the latter being more of an acoustic record.  They received mostly positive reviews and got great reactions at their live shows, which they live for.  As of this writing, their second album has been released, Seven Rages of Man, which was inspired by the Shakespeare speech from As You Like it.  We’ll start with the first full length album…..

Synesthesia 2010

This is the first full release and was met with plenty of critical acclaim from all over the world.  It is full of loud guitars, great bass and pounding drums.  The vocals help complete the package matching the band perfectly.  It all comes together for a nice tight Hard Rock/Metal package just right for anyone that likes the genre.  To be honest, after seeing Lloyd on Torchwood, it was hard for me to believe that those vocals were coming from him, but they do and it’s awesome.  The lyrics are great, somewhat dark, but that’s what you would expect from a band like them so it’s just right.  In fact its almost like a Blues band went metal….and kept their lyrics.  Its dark, brooding and moody and it’s great. The album is full of great tracks, not even kidding, would I recommend a one hit wonder to you guys?  Of course not.  The opening track, Beat Oven, is a great beginning and the album just goes like a freight train headed downhill with no brakes after that.  My favorite tracks? Well, I thought you’d never ask…..Beat Oven of course, Sugarglass, Skinned, Growsome, Making Sound, Black Waltz, and Paradox & Time Knot.

Seven Rages of Men 2012

Seven Rages is the Sophomore album by Blue Gillespie, but unlike a lot of Sophomore attempts this one is as good if not better than the original.  The album was mixed, mastered and co produced by Skindred guitarist Jeff Rose.  Like I mentioned above, its structure is inspired by Shakespeare’s Seven Ages Speech from As You Like It.  The album explores the depth of rage incorporating Shakespeare, Greek tragedy, modern philosophy and even mythology as influences.  Making a Metal opera almost, I say almost because Metal is awesome, Opera, well, sometimes I suppose.  The album contains different locations, characters and differing levels of anger and rage.  The album follows them from birth to death, complete with a prologue and an epilogue.  The tracks are all excellent and the same quality from the last album is there, in fact it’s probably a bit better.  The tracks sound great stand alone, but listened to in order give the listener a great experience….if you like Metal.  The best tracks? Well, if I have to choose it would be…..The Mewling, Interlude 1, Effervescent Youth, Sullen, Grim Determination, Interlude 2, The Misanthropist and  Epilogue.  Yup, that is almost the whole album, and with good reason, it rocks.

Conclusion

Blue Gillespie was influenced by great bands such as Tool, Portishead and Down and the influences show in their work.  They are a great Hard Rock act and from what I’ve seen on the internet and heard put on a hell of a live show.  They truly enjoy what they’re doing and it shows on both their albums and live.  So if you like Metal, give them a shot, their official website is http://www.bluegillespie.co.uk/ and you can even listen to their albums on there.  Thanks for reading, now start listening!

-John

All biographical info was gained from http://www.bluegillespie.co.uk/

This edition of Bands You Should Know features yet another Kiwi (New Zealand) band.  Why? Why not?  Don’t worry I’ll get to the rest of the world soon enough, and there is plenty out there.  So the band in this edition is a band from Christchurch New Zealand called The Feelers.  The Feelers are the most played bands in New Zealand and one of if not the most popular also.  Since 1999 they have sold more than 250,000 albums.  While that doesn’t sound impressive, remember that New Zealand only has about 4 million people and they didn’t start keep track of stats for sales until 1999.  The Feelers were around selling albums before that.  In total they have produced 5 albums and 1 best of.
The founding members of the band met the way most people do, fighting on field in primary school. James Reid and Hamish Gee obviously didn’t get along that day, but it was for the best as a few years later, in 1993 they, along with Matthew Thomas, formed the feelers.  This line up remained basically the same until 2008, when bassist Thomas left the band and was replaced with Matt Short.  They also added guitarist Andy Lynch who had played a bit on some of the tours.  The first album was 1998’s Supersystem so that’s where we’ll begin…..

Supersystem 1998

This was the first release and is still awesome today.  While it was released in 1998, it won album of the year, songwriter of the year, band of the year and producer of the year at the New Zealand Music Awards.  With a combination of plugged in and unplugged guitars, great drumming and solid lyrics the album is a winner.  With music ranging from acoustic ballads to rock that is reminiscent of the early 90’s grunge at times it’s a diverse album that I enjoy alot.  My stand out tracks are Pressure Man, Venus, Space Cadet, Honey God, From Space with Love, Pull the Strings (which has a bit of 70’s funk in it), and The Leaving.

Communicate 2001

Communicate, the second album, is another great showing.  It is a bit different then Supersystem but is still a great rock album that covers the same spectrum as the last one.  This album did contain more ballads, but they were still pretty damn good.  The title track is a nice anthem and they still have the same combination of instruments and music, and they do it just as good if not better.  You can here the growth all around, from musicality to lyrics.  The best tracks?  Well, in my opinion these are them, Sex Show, Communicate, Fragile, Just Like You, More to Prove, Astronaut and Anniversary

Playground Battle 2003

Recorded mostly at the York Street Studio, Playground Battle represents a slight departure from Communicate, It has less ballads and more straight rock songs.  The lyrics and musicality matured more as well and Reids vocals sound great, and a little like Peter Gabriel, which works well with their music.  The music shifted slightly from the 90’s grunge sound that was present in the last two albums to a straight alternative rock sound, which really helps Reid’s vocals shine.  As usual the guitar work is well done, with a few nice little solo’s spread throughout and solid drumming.  There are a lot of great tracks on this album, this is one of my favorite albums from The Feelers so it’s really hard for me to narrow down a few tracks to pick but I’ll try, so here goes.  My standouts on this album are Weapons of War, Larger Than Life, Playground Battle, The Fear, Supernova, Unleash the Fury and Stand Up.

One World 2006

After three years without a studio album, The Feelers 4th album, One World, was released in November of 2006.  From the first track, Weak and Wounded,  you can hear that they built on what they had going on in Playground Battle. The lyrics become more deep and meaningful also, not that they weren’t before,  Reid and The Feelers just keep evolving and maturing.  As with the previous albums, there is a nice mix of electric and acoustic sounds and it’s nice to hear a band that doesn’t use auto tuning.  Also the sound of this album and the lyrics match voice perfectly and what the band stands for, because of that the  whole album works well.  Weak and the Wounded has a great epic sound to it and is a great way to open an album.  The rest of the tracks?  Well, most are just as good.  I didn’t find any track that I didn’t like granted there were ones I liked more than others and here they are.  Week and the Wounded, One World, Trying to Get By, Southgate, Washed Away and Never Get Me Down.

Hope Nature Forgives 2011

It took 5 long years, some lineup changes, a marriage, a child and some jail time, but by the end of it The Feelers (with new additions, Guitarist Andy Lynch and bass player Matt Short) have released their fifth album, Hope Nature Forgives.  The Album, released in 2011 contained a cover of Right Here Right Now by Jesus Jones that was used during the Rugby World Cup.  Even though it was a great cover, good enough that Mike Edwards, the writer of the song, said that it was the best version he’s heard, even better than his own, yet it stirred controversy. Some people were upset that it wasn’t a New Zealand song.  To that Hamish said, “I think it’s ironic that people criticised it for not being a New Zealand song, I mean, the Rugby World Cup is an international event.”
The album was recorded at two studios, York Street and Roundhead Studios, but the boys produced it themselves at their home studio.  It was mixed in Austin Texas by Tim Palmer and mastered by Justin Shturtz, at Sterling Sound in New York.  It was truly a global effort and one that paid off.

This album picks up where One World left off and does a fine job of it.  The addition of two new members probably helped keep things fresh also.  The writing is once again very solid as are the vocals.  The band stretches their sound a bit, for instance, Sweet the Tempest has a bit of an Irish feel to it and is a great song.  The opening track Didn’t Want to Fall in Love is a solid opener and keeps the familiar sound.  One of the best tracks is Blue Skies, which was also the first single off of the album.  Blue Skies is a great song that just screams New Zealand and then of course there’s the kick ass remake of Right Here Right Now.  My favorite tracks? here they are….Didn’t Want to Fall in Love, Dasvidaniya, Sweet the Tempest, Blue Skies,  What’s the Meaning?, Right Here Right Now and Hope Nature Forgives.

Conclusion

So after 14 years and 6 albums, 7 if you count the best of album, do The Feelers appear to be slowing down?  I don’t think so, I think the infusion of new talent and the 5 year breather has reinvigorated them and they’ll continue on for years to come.  In fact when asked on their own website Reid said, “It’s great to have the four of us in the room playing together, we are having a lot of fun, it’s the way music should be made,” So I’m guessing if they’re having a good time, they’ll continue to.  So Give them a shot and enjoy! Thanks for reading!

-John

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