Category: music


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

 

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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

The Fold from left to right, Matt Pittman, Dan Castady, Mark Rhoades and George Castady

In a world where fabricated autotuned pop has become the norm, this week’s Band You Should Know defies that.  This week we finds us in my hometown, Chicago, to talk about a local band, The Fold.  This Power Pop Rock foursome and on very rare occasions fivesome was founded by brothers Dan and George Castady  back in 2005.  It was shortly after Dan’s stint in another local Chicago act, Showoff, where he was the drummer.

Dan left Showoff and pulled a Dave Grohl, becoming a guitar player and vocalist, and did a damn fine job at it.  The current line up of the band consists of Dan Castady on lead vocals and guitar, George Castady also on guitar, Drummer Mark Rhoades, Matt Pittman on bass and at times during some rare live shows, Joe Martin on guitar, although usually he’s working the merch table.  Together they form one of the best Power Pop Rock (I say Pop Punk but what do I know) bands that most people haven’t heard of.  They also happen to be one of the best group of guys you’ll ever meet (yes I have actually met them)
They released their two earlier albums, This Too Shall Pass and Secrets Keep You Sick,  on the Indie label Tooth & Nail, but decided to go their own way for their third full length studio album, Dear Future Come Get Me.  We’ll start with the first release, This Too Shall Pass….

This Too Shall Pass 2006

This Too was released in 2006, a mere year after their formation.  Even in this, their first label release, the lyrics are excellent, the vocals sound great and the guitar riffs and drumming is top notch, and this is only the first release.  The style is similar to maybe Jimmy Eat World or Fall Out Boy, well without the pretentiousness of Fall Out Boy.  Their lyrics are easy for the average person to connect with and show that they are just like us, the everyday person.  They like hanging out with friends, have loved and lost and have been through life events like the rest of us.  Its just a great, solid, enjoyable first effort that you can listen to straight through.  Since I always pick some favorite tracks, here they are….Gravity, New City, Going For My Lungs, Evermore, Stay, We’ve Been at This, Surrounded and I Believe You.

Secrets Keep You Sick 2007

Coming hot on the heels of their last well received album, Secrets, shows them grow and mature both lyrically and musically. Just like their last album, The sing what they know, and those things are what most of us can relate too.  The lyrics are more complex as is the music itself, but it still has the sound that I love from the first album.  Its a good all around second effort and won’t disappoint.  It’s upbeat and listening to it always makes me feel that no matter what happens, others have been through it and everything will work out.  As with the first album it’s very easy to listen to the whole album all the way through…..multiple times.  My favorite tracks are….. Medicine,  Your Secrets Keep You Sick,  New Skeptic, Closer, Down In Doubt and Living, Hey Rebekah, Castrophe!, and Revisited.

Dear Future, Come Get Me 2011

Well, it was 4 long years (give or take an ep or Christmas song) before The Fold released their 3rd Album, Dear Future, Come Get Me.  It was well worth the wait, because quite frankly it might be the best album they have put out to date.  It not only showed more growth lyrically and musically, but also showed how much they had matured as not only artists but as people as well.  I guess you could say The Fold grew up, then again I’ve seen and heard of some of their antics so I won’t go that far.  If you get the album from their website, you get 2 bonus tracks.  They’re parody tracks, one is Every Band in the USA, a Miley Cyrus parody which is really well done and fires shots at the autotuned bands that are so popular these days (Yeah, I’m that old that I’ll use a phrase like these days) and manufactured pop music.  And you know what? It’s great because finally someone stands up and calls them out.  The other is Can’t Stop Twitterin’, a Weezer parody and a great track about the Twitter craze and the people that twit about every little thing.  Oh and there are also a bunch of other great tracks, such as….File Under Ground (Take Me In),  Hold on,  Red Wine, Dear Future, Seventy Five Outgoing Calls, Sink or Swim, I Know Where I’m Going and Neverender.
Dear Future wasn’t just an album title, but a statement by the band.  For this release they left their label and are making the music they want on their terms and doing a damn fine job of it.  The album is also a look towards the future and the future looks bright so far.

Conclusion

The future indeed looks bright, in the last year they’ve done the theme for the 2012 Denver Broncos, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Carolina Panthers along with the tv show LEGO Ninjago.  Oh and probably most importantly, they also wrote the theme song for the Chicago Cubs that is used at the opening of every WGN radio broadcast, it’s the most important because they’re huge Cubs fans.  They also have a new EP on the way this summer.  Did I mention they also have some great videos on their youtube channel www.youtube.com/user/TheFoldMusic also make sure to check them out at www.thefoldrock.com.  So if you like non synthesized real, genuine fun punk pop rock please check them out and enjoy!

-John

 

          This edition of Bands You Should Know, feature a band I heard in New Zealand back in 2010.  We were on our honeymoon there and were in Christchurch for a couple of days before heading to Queenstown.  Knowing that we were going to be heading to temuka to spend the night at a friends then queenstown the next day, we figured we would buy some CD’s.  We went to I beleive a Marbecks music store in Christchurch.  Sadly I can’t verify if that was the name of the place because the location has been devastated by the earthquakes a couple of years ago.  Anyway we went to the counter and asked for the employee’s opinion.  She recommended a few groups to us, I liked most of them enough to buy them.  One of them was a group called Midnight Youth.

Midnight Youth was formed in Auckland, New Zealand in 2006 by Simon Oscroft, Matt Warman and Aidan Bartlett.  The three core founding members played together in New Zealands Rockquest competitions for high schools.  The group was rounded out when Jeremy Redmore and Nick Campbell joined in 2006.  Soon after forming, in 2007, they released two independandt singles, A New Day and Supernatural.  In 2008, when people still looked at Myspace, they were one of the top unsigned bands list there also.  Also in 2007 they got some notoriety playing as the opening act for Ok Go, Incubus and even INXS on their New Zealand tours.  They funded themselves, and went to New York to record their debut album The Brave Don’t Run with producer Terence Dover.  While in New York they recorded at various students throughout the city.

The Brave Don’t Run 2009

          The Brave Don’t Run was released in 2009 under Warner Music NZ, with whom they signed in with in 2008, shortly after they finished recording it.  The album peaked at number 2 on the New Zealand charts and the song, The Letter, became the bands first top 40 hit and peaked at number 20.  There were another couple of hits and he song Golden Love was used in the season finale of One Tree Hill in May of 2010, giving the band some US exposure.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to classify their music and I guess the best I could do is just by saying its rock.  The album starts out strong with Cavalry and continues the whole way through, I’ve listened to it multiple times from start to finish, I don’t think I’ve ever skipped a track.  Which in todays day and age is impressive.  The tracks range from good ol fashioned rock n roll like cavalry to slower ballads such as Learning to Fall and Golden Love.  Then there’s Tijuana, one of my favorites, it has just a hint of south of the border influence in it.  It’s hard for me to just narrow the tracks down to a few, the whole album is good, but if I have to choose my stand out tracks, the list would be the following Cavalry, Dead Flowers, The Letter, Benjamin, Learning to Fall, Tijuana and Lonely Homes.

The World Comes Calling 2011

Released on Warner NZ in 2011 The World Comes Calling opens much the same as The Brave Don’t Run, with a great rock tune, and just like the previous album it doesn’t stop there.  In fact, this one may outdo the first, something that usually doesn’t happen.  This album has a huge sound, and throughout are sprinkled influences from the 80’s bands.  It’s like a modern album of Arena Rock and I mean that in a good way.  The guitar work and drumming is top notch and the songs are all very likable.  There’s even a couple of heavier tracks thrown in.  I will say that it is a bit of a departure from the first album, and again not in a bad way.  You can tell that they are both Midnight Youth, but you can see the growth between the two albums.  The first track The Street, was great, then came Down Inside, which was even better, both are awesome.  I think this album is more of a straight rock album, although it does have its softer side also, such as World Comes Calling and Listen.  If you like straight Rock, this album does it and does it well, It’s not Metal or Hard Rock, but its damn good.  Just like the previous album I can listen to the whole album all the way through, which makes it really hard to pick a few notables, but here goes The Street, Down Inside, Won’t Stop, Who Said Your Free, and Listen.

Comclusion

Well, I think they’re great, I’ve played them for my 60 year old stepfather (who loves The Beatles and CSNY) and he loved both albums and I’ve played them for cousins in their 20’s and younger and they’ve all enjoyed them.  If you like rock music I would definitely recommend giving Midnight Youth a try.  You can find them at http://www.midnightyouth.com/, itunes and on Amazon (although they still only have the first album)  So give them a try, I’m sure your ears will thank you for it! Thanks for reading!

-John

So its been a long time since my last post (April 15th to be exact).  So I decided to start a new segment about something that I am passionate about, music.  So here is the first in what I hope is a long line of Bands you should know!

So for the first installment of my Bands You Should segment, I am featuring one of my favorite UK bands that most people haven’t heard of.  Kasabian.  I first heard Kasabian back in 2005, the first time I went over the pond to London with my now wife.  We took a train to Guildford where we were picked up by her cousin.  As we drove through the Guildford streets to his place (where I would drink Guinness for Guinness with him for about 5 hours, till our train back) I heard a band that was unique, it was like nothing I had heard before, a mix of rock, electronic and 60’s pyschedelia, it was something that I wouldn’t have thought that I would like, but I did and it sounded great and had great guitar work and bass lines.  So I asked who it was and was told that it was Kasabian.  I should’ve bought the CD there when I had the chance, when I got back I couldn’t find it and ended up buying their self titled debut CD from Rhapsody.
Kasabian did have brief exposure in the US.  The first track, Club Foot, off of the debut album was used in Pontiac commercials, I believe for the Australian built GTO (Holden Monaro) and I believe it was also used in an episode of Alias.  Other songs from the album also made it to the videogame world.  Still they never quite got the recognition I thought they deserved. They’ve gotten some US recognition over the years and just recently played at the Coachella Music Festival, but still haven’t qiute taken off, which is why I’m writing this, I hopefully can at least get a few of you to check them out.  So now onto the band.
Kasabian was formed in 1997 in Leicester England by Tom Meighan, Chris Edwards and Sergio Pizzorno.  Meighan was the lead vocalist, Pizzorno was backing vocals and guitar and Edwards was bass.  At the time of formation, they had another lead guitarist, Christopher Karloff, who left in 2006 and was replaced by Jay Mehler.  Kasabian also used a whole list of studio drummers, until 2004 when Ian Matthews became the full time drummer.  As of now, May 2012, the lineup is Meighan, Edwards, Pizzorno, Mehler and Matthews.
Back in 1997 before they were Kasabian, they were called Saracuse, at this point they started recording at a studio in Leicester where Edwards was an engineer, Bedrock Studios.  The first public appearance they made was at the Viper Rugby Club, playing for Edwards own 18th birthday, soon after they were being noticed and decided to change their name.  The name they chose was Kasabian, it was a name that Karloff picked up while researching Charles Manson.  Linda Kasabian was his getaway driver.  For some reason Karloff thought the word sounded good and it stuck with him and the rest of the band.

Kasabian 2004

Their self titled debut album, Kasabian, was released in 2004 to generally positive reviews and good sales.  They have been described as being a cross of Primal Scream and the Stone Roses, I can hear the influences there, but to me they’re a bit more psychedelic and electronic then the other two acts.  During the recording of Kasabian the band decided to live in a farmhouse by Rutland Water so they could concentrate on the album undisturbed.  At this point Kasabian still didn’t have a full time drummer, they used various drummers including their current keyboard player, Ben Kealey on drums.  While they were recording in Bristol they met Ian Matthews who played on a few songs on the debut, notably Processed Beats, Beneficial Herbs and Butcher Blues.  When they decided to tour, they asked Matthews to stay, and he’s been with them ever since.  Tracks of of the album have been in numerous movies, commercials, TV shows and video games.  My most notable tracks off of the album are Club Foot, Processed Beats, Reason is Treason, L.S.F, Test Transmission, Cut Off and Butcher Blues.

Empire 2006

Kasabians 2nd album, Empire was released in August of 2006.  The band faced some issues during the recording of Empire, which eventually lead to the departure of Karloff, who was one of the main songwriters.  It was announced on their website that he had left due to creative differences.  Even so, he had contributed to at least three of the songs on Empire.  When asked why Empire in an article in NME, Tom Meighan said “Empire is a word used by the band to describe something good”.  The recording of Empire took a mere two weeks, allegedly while on tour with Oasis.  Empire was received well also and hit number 1 on the UK Albums Chart.  While not my favorite album, I thought Empire was good, it showed growth in the group along with the growth of their music and it did have some good tracks.  My notable tracks from Empire are Empire, Shoot the Runner, Sun/Rise/Light/Flies, and By My Side.

West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum 2009

While the third release, West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum wasn’t released until 2009, there were signs of things to come when two tracks, Fast Fuse and Thick as Thieves were released on an EP in 2007.  The EP didn’t get much promotion, if any so no one really knew what was coming in 2009.
West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum was Kasabians first album without Karloff as head writer, for this release Pizzorno took over and did a fabulous job.  This is the first Kasabian album that has a theme throughout also.  The name comes from a group of mental institutions that were constructed in the 1880’s across West Yorkshire England.  When asked by NME on June 12th 2009 why it was chosen as the title, Pizzorno said “The album isn’t about the place, I just heard it on a TV documentary, and the words just struck me.  I love the way it looked and the feeling it evokes.”  In another interview, with T4, the band mentioned that each track of the album is meant to represent a different inmate within the asylum.   Once again, they debuted at number one with West Ryder.
To me this was and is a great album, right up there with the first and far above Empire.  While I thought Empire showed growth in themselves and their sound, West Ryder shows another level of writing and musicality.  The basslines, keyboards, drums and even the guitar parts are to me more complex and the production is great.  This album to me sounds like it should’ve came out in the late 60’s early 70’s.  There are still hints of Empire and Kasabian in it, but its truly a great album.  My notable tracks are Underdog, Swarfiga, Fast Fuse, Take Aim, Thick as Thieves (which my father says reminds him of a McCartney tune a bit because of the begining melody), Vlad the Imaler, Secret Alphabets (which has a great bassline) and Fire.

Velociraptor! 2011

Work on Velociraptor, Kasabians fourth release, began in late 2010.  It was the second album written and composed by pizzorno. The first track released from the album was Switchblade Smiles.  It was made available as a free download for people that pre ordered the album from their own website.  It was also made available on the Kasabian facebook page as a free download.

Once again the new album continued to show growth and excellent writing.  The sound and style changed a little from the previous albums, but still has that 60’s and 70’s feel to it.  The album garnered critical acclaim with Antiquiet giving it 4 1/2 stars out of 5 while saying “Kasabian has found a way to channel everything you love about The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and Radiohead while still keeping the unique sound that sets them apart from the contemporaries like Coldplay, Muse and The Killers.” and NME saying “Kasabian have lived up to expectations and believe the album is a huge step up from their previous albums.”

For me Velociraptor was definitely a good album, to me I think West Ryder was a bit better but still Velociraptor is a solid album with some really good tracks that makes me look forward to whatever Kasabian has coming in the future.  for me the best tracks on this one are Lets Roll Just Like We Used To, Days are Forgotten, Velociraptor!, Acid Turkish Bath (shelter from the storm) which is kind of an epic, I Hear Voices (which has a bit of 80’s synth pop in it) and Re-Wired.

Conclusion

For me there are few bands out there than can combine everything from psychedelic  60’s and 70’s rock all the way up to 80’s synth pop and get away with it.  Kasabian can.  They can hold their own with any of the big names out there today.  Their sound is different from anything I’ve heard in a while and unique.  They have great bass lines, guitar work and solid vocals and lyrically they get better every album.  I highly recommend checking them out.  I would start with the self titled release Kasabian and work your way up.  Check them out at their website www.kasabian.co.uk , http://www.vevo.com/artist/kasabian or at the online music store of your choice. You’ll hear the progression in their music from the begining to the end and it’s a musical trip well worth taking, your ears will thank you.  So give them a shot and thanks for reading!

-john

So some of may have noticed there was no What did we learn this week last week.  For Week 7.  Why you may ask? Well, for one I was short on time and exhausted from real life.  Two, after the complete and utter disaster of my Einstein post (thanks to the 4 of you that read it and are interested in science) I started to wonder if I should even bother.  Then I got some positive feedback and some view from my election blog, so I figured I would keep on going.  Plus what the hell us I’m I going to do in my free time?  So without further ado, here is What did we learn this week……week 8 (I couldn’t name it 7 since that would’ve been last weeks!)

Rich people really don’t pay attention when they drive……

So Sunday we went with my parents to look for baby furniture.  We also had to go to dinner the same night at a pretty good German place afterwards so we looked at furniture stores in that area.  Now the area we were in has a decent amount of well to do and actually rich people in it.  I hate driving around there because I maintain that the more money people have the less they care about their car (they’ll just get another) and the less they pay attention while driving.  Thus was the statement I made when someone swerved into my lane with no blinker.  As I pulled past I could see him texting away with 2 kids in the back seat.  What and ass.  So to further prove my point, after we got to the restaurant and we’re having a couple of drinks for my cousins birthday, the waiter came over and asked if we had a Mercury Milan.  I responded yes and asked why, then he told me it had just been hit….in the parking lot.

So we went out and sure enough a woman in her late 40’s to early 50’s had backed into our door not paying attention.  What was she driving? A BMW.  To further my point, she has enough money to not go through insurance, and just pay to fix our car, $1649 to be exact.  Don’t get me wrong, She is actually a very nice lady, and I feel bad for her, but she was from a more affluent part of the area and wasn’t paying attention.  Point, set, match me.

In other news….Is twitter more addictive then alcohol and cigarettes?

Well, I’m not sure, but Professor Josh has a very in depth chart on his blog that shows it just might be, why not head over and check it out at http://professorjosh.wordpress.com/2012/03/23/is-twitter-more-addictive-than-alcohol-and-cigarettes-infographic/

“no…really, follow me!”

What did the iceberg say to Titanic? Glub….Glub…Glub….

At 2:20 am on April 15th 2012 it will be the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the titanic.  To this day explorers and scientists along with Titanic enthusiasts are debating and still trying to figure out how it sunk (other than the iceberg) and why it went down so fast.  The Titanic sits more than 2 miles down and to this day there are more and more pictures and video (higher quality than anything before) coming back from the murky depths and giving us a better picture of what happened.  For some great pics and the full story check out bisarbeats blog at http://bisarbeat.blogspot.com/2012/03/unseen-titanic.html#.T2xeMOa9qTE.wordpress

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Running low on energy? Want a little snack? Then put down that banana and pick up a cookie!  Wait?! What?!

Well, yeah, kinda.  A study by the university of  Sydney did a study to see which foods would satisfy your hunger and provide you with energy at the same time, and yes it seems that cookies and bananas are about the same.  Check out http://blog.massivehealth.com/infographics/bananas_vs_cookies for the whole story.

“Bring it Cookies!”

Good news everybody, Adobe has a brand new Photoshop coming out….

Now the bad news, its still like $700!  Yup for the first time in over a decade Photoshop is getting a completely new look, to me it was a bit similar to lightroom.  It’s also getting 65 new features.  Sadly the pricing is the same.  I tried it out and liked it myself, to try it out for free for yourself, check out Adobe Labs’ website at http://labs.adobe.com/  oh and by the way it’s a really large download so grab a sandwich or something while you wait for it.

NFL Blitz comes to real life….

You would think a team named the Saints would keep their noses clean, but nope.  Apparently as incentive to the players, the coach and management instituted a bounty system.  Yup, they would get paid for hitting certain players.  Let’s just be clear though, not just hitting.  The defensive players were paid $1500 for a knock out and $1000 for a “cart-off”.  The numbers would then be doubled or even tripled for play-off games.  Some of the players that were targeted were Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton, Brett Favre and Kurt Warner.  Some of the biggest names in the sport and some of the biggest crowd draws.  Also, to make it even worse, the Captain of the Saints defense Jonathon Vilma offered $10000 to any one that knocked Brett Favre out of the 2010 NFC Championship Game.  For more on the story check out http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/7718136/sean-payton-new-orleans-saints-banned-one-year-bounties

“Wheres Bourbon Street?”

It’s a bird! An Angry bird! In Space!?

Yup Angry Birds space is now live!  For all you casual gamers or people that just want a diversion the latest in the Angry Birds series is live.  This time in space!  Do I really need to say anything more?  Go get it!

“If you think we were angry before!”

For all you TMNT fans out there…..

It looks like Michael bay is planning on resurrecting the movie series about mutant turtles, that happen to be ninjas.  My good friends over at Anomic Office Drone are under the opinion that they will ruin it, but come on guys, its about a group of mutant turtles that are ninjas, how bad can it really get?  Anyway head over to them and read all about it here  http://anomicofficedrone.com/2012/03/21/michael-bay-plans-to-ruin-teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles/

“Ruin TMNT? Really? Look at the pic and tell me that again!”

We’ve been slimed!

In food news more and more supermarkets are hopping on the “No Pink Slime” Bandwagon.  Which I am a fan of.   Granted the FDA says its safe and as far as I know in the time its been added to food no one has died from it, it’s just fucking gross.  I mean come on, you’re adding Ammonium Hydroxide to the stuff to kill germs? For a list of who does and doesn’t sell it check out Allergic’s blog at http://atomiclotusbox.wordpress.com/2012/03/20/more-supermarkets-refuse-to-sell-pink-slime-in-their-meat/

“So, they said no more pink slime, I guess this might be another option for filler!”

Did you check out the new Linux based operating system created by a group of hackers?

Yeah, I would trust them not to put any backdoors into it.  The Anonymous OS was released this week based on the Linux distro Ubuntu.  The main problem is that the hacking group of the same name isn’t the group that put it together, in fact they say its riddled with holes and security issues! So who did put it out? Apparently no ones.  For more details check out Danny Carbons blog at http://dannycarbon.com/2012/03/19/anonymous-operating-system-prompts-security-warnings/

“Seriously, this time it wasn’t us!”

So that’s it, the week in review, I’m sure I missed some things, but that’s it for me.  Enjoy your weekend and as always thanks for reading!

John

Well here we are another week of 2012 in the books, so what did we learn?

Apparently you can sue yourself…..kinda.

In an ongoing saga for the great Stan Lee, he is now being sued by himself….kinda.  He is actually being sued by a company he started…..then left…..which actually bears his name.  I wonder in the courtroom if there will be Stan Lee then an evil Stan Lee? That would be wicked….the full confusing story can be found here http://www.movieline.com/2012/03/07/stan-lee-vs-stan-lee-the-epic-legal-follies-of-a-comics-mastermind/ for those of you interested.

 

What the?! I thought I had the new iPad?!

Well, not me, I never would be able to afford one, but for millions of Apple users and fans the iPad 3 was released this week to….well…I’m not really sure.  There are some improvements over the iPad 2, but not to the extent most had hoped.  Most of my Apple friends say they’ll wait for the 4th one.  I mean it’s nice and the new display is awesome, although calling it a retina display is a bit confusing, I thought it had to do with retinal scanning for security.  I’m sure it’s going to sell, I mean for 10 years Apple could’ve sold a ketchup popsicle to a woman wearing white gloves in the desert, but the latest iPad just doesn’t seem to be a huge jump.  While the new feature set is nice, better rear camera, better and faster graphics, better display etc, I think the biggest feature is that it caused a price drop for the iPad 2’s.  Which means more people will probably be giving them a look.  For the full specs take a look here http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/the-new-ipad-3-everything-you-should-know/

 

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a Bat!

Batman Year One Deluxe edition is being released on March 14th.  For those that don’t know, year one is critically acclaimed and is one of the most important in the Batman saga.  It’s obviously about the crime fighters first year, one thing that makes this issue special is that it’s written by Frank Miller, with artwork by David Mazzucchelli.  So if you’re a Batman fan, this is a must have.  For more info check out http://firewireblog.com/2012/03/08/batman-year-one-deluxe-edition-new-printing-due-on-march-14th/

 

They do exist! Well maybe.

So, in Peru a mummy was found, nothing new there, except that it has an elongated skull.  Yup, this things skull is almost the size of its small body and as usual everyone is baffled.  Did I mention the larger than normal eyes also?

An anthropologist believes it to be a child of under 2 with an enormous head which possibly a human sacrifice.  Let’s be real for a minute, chances are it’s just a deformed human, but I’m sure that crazy greek dude, Giorgio A. Tsoukalos from Ancients Aliens (I love that show) will be talking about it soon enough!

Check out the full article at http://reinep.wordpress.com/2012/03/07/mummy-with-giant-head-discovered-in-peru/

 

I just bought the game! What do you mean there’s already DLC that I have to pay for!?

So the hotly anticipated ending to the Mass Effect trilogy, Mass Effect 3, was released this week…..along with the first DLC (downloadable content)  Some people see this as just another way to get more money from the already popular game by offering the DLC at launch.  We as gamers are always surprised to see a patch needs to be installed for a game that just came out, but to have DLC on launch day just makes it seem like we bought an incomplete game, jeese, give us a month to think that our 60 bucks bought a full game before you release the DLC! Anyway that’s just my thought on it.  As long as it’s not important to the finale I guess no one’s twisting your arm to buy it.

“What do you mean there’s already DLC?”

 

Glad you’re back from the injury, now if you would look at this pink piece of paper…….

It was announced this week that after 14 years the Indianapolis Colts decided to release Peyton Manning.  I guess the main concern was the amount of surgeries he had, but in 2011 they signed him to a 5 year deal, worth 90 million dollars.  I guess the prospect of another injury was too great for a team that went 2-14 last year.  With Peyton gone and their Superbowl winning coach, I guess it’s time for rebuilding.  I’m sure Manning isn’t retiring anytime soon and plenty of mediocre clubs would pay millions more for him.  For more about it check out http://anomicofficedrone.com/2012/03/07/peyton-and-the-colts-part-ways/ and http://www.nfl.com/news/story/09000d5d82777827/article/peyton-manning-colts-part-ways-in-most-appropriate-fashion

“Seriously, I always thought you’d get cut before me!”

 

From the “What the hell?!” department…..

Conservative Christian Pat Robertson wants Marijuana legalized.  Yeah I know of all people right?  His arguments actually make sense on this one though.  He talks about the cost of the war on drugs and even thinks the US has gone too far when it comes to drugs.  Pointing out how many juveniles are being locked up for years over a joint, unless you’re rich of course (he points that out)  He also says that he believes it should be treated like Alcohol.  He even points out that since 2006 47,515 lives have been claimed in Central and South America (granted not all are related to Marijuana)  Any way, if you’d like to read more, and I’m sure some of you would like too, here’s the full story http://20poorandfabulous.com/2012/03/08/pat-robertson-wants-marijuana-legalized/

“Is it 4:20 yet?”

 

What’s it take to be an internet star?

Well apparently not doing an informative beer show on Youtube, blogging about beer or this blog either.  Apparently you need to be a rebel leader for 20 years in Africa kidnapping and terrorizing villages oh and keeping them as slaves, normal and for sex.  In an effort to catch him a video about Joesph Kony was released on Youtube.  The 30 minute video shows his atrocities and had 32 million views by Thursday.  For more on Kony check out http://www.freep.com/article/20120309/NEWS07/203090359/Hunt-for-jungle-militia-leader-Kony-goes-viral-aiming-to-get-him-arrested?odyssey=nav%7Chead   or Wikipedia him.  If you want to check out the video of this scumbag for yourself, take a look here http://youtu.be/Y4MnpzG5Sqc

“Joseph Kony, putting the infant back in infantry since 1986”

 

Take him down Red 1!

12 years ago a little game called Counter-Strike was released, well, to be fair it was a Half-Life mod.  It quickly became one of the most played PC online tactical shooters ever, in fact many still play the original today.  Then a few years later Counter-strike Source was released, bringing a new level to the genre of tactical shooters.  Not only were the graphics better, but using the Source engine made the physics way better as well.  Even though the Call of Duty and Battlefield series have kind of taken the lime light, both Counter-Strikes are still played today.  Now, 12 years after the original, Valve and Hidden Path Entertainment are releasing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.  One of the coolest features? Cross platform play across all supported systems! Yup, whether you have a Mac, Windows machine, Xbox 360 or PS3, you’ll be able to blast your friends full of holes.  I for one can’t wait.  For more info and a trailer check out http://store.steampowered.com/app/1800/

“Here Kony, Kony, Kony.”

 

It really is bigger on the inside.

So apparently the babies room, formely my computer room/office/catch all is a T.A.R.D.I.S (Time and Relative Dimension In Space for you non Doctor Who fans) because it seemed to bigger on the inside.  For the last for weeks I have been sorting through 15 to 20 year old crap and throwing out countless garbage can loads.  I then moved the rest into a much bigger space in the basement….which apparently couldn’t hold everything, so I went through again and finally the basement is about 90 percent done.  How an 11×11 room wouldn’t fit in a 40×20 space is beyond me.  How I accumulated that much junk is also beyond me, I guess old John is less tolerant of crap and throw more away then young John did.

“Yup, there is 25 years of crap in here, including a Sony sports cassette walkman and a socket 3 486 motherboard! Old Skool bitches!”

So yeah, that’s it for this week, it’s actually kind of a lot isn’t it?  So I hope you learned something and enjoyed it.  Thanks for reading!

John

What did we learn this week? Well I learned that this is a lot harder to do when I’m in Vegas for 3 days, cleaning and painting a babies room and working all week so I don’t have time to read any blogs! But for my fans I’ll see what I can throw together.

If you’re ahead….stop! then shop!

While in Vegas I made my money back the 2nd day and decided not to gamble anymore, I did spend money on food and a shirt but that was about it.  My friend that was with me on the other hand was winning at the machines then “reinvested” in the tables….lets just say the market collapsed!

What the hell is leap year anyway?

Well, if you were paying attention to my blogs you’d know!  Yup I explained on leap day, so if you want to know the history, or at least a brief history, check the blog at https://johnsbluebox.wordpress.com/2012/02/29/leap-day-and-leap-year-why/

R.I.P Davy Jones.

Yup, no snarky comments, no jokes.  Just R.I.P Davy Jones, who was a member of the Monkees.  Davy was probably the most famous and popular of the Monkees and died way to young at 66.  You could read more about him here https://johnsbluebox.wordpress.com/2012/02/29/rip-davy-jones/

What are the odds that United would fail me 4 out of 4 times?

Apparently very good.  I’ve had 3 bad experiences on United, not horrible, just bad delays and luggage lost for a few hours.  So for the Vegas trip we booked US Airways (we were delayed leaving!)  So when we got to the airport to find that the “US Airways” flight home was actually a United flight I thought, “What are the odds I’d have bad luck with them 4 out of 4 times?”  Apparently better than I thought because we had a 2 hour delay that got me home (in my house) at 2 am instead of midnight.  Should’ve bought a lotto ticket that day! I will say the flight crew, ground crew and gate staff did a commendable job getting us off the ground and home quickly, albeit 2 hours late.

A burger by any other name…..

While in Vegas I also learned the Le Burger Brasserie has awesome albeit expensive burgers.  I had the Italian burger, that consisted of the burger, pancetta, arugula, fresh mozzerella, with tomato and red onions on the side if you want to add it, I also had my choice of buns, I picked the parmesan crusted roll.  It was awesome.  If you’re up at the casino, stop by Paris and try them out.  Oh did I mention the Waitresses look like this?

Welcome to the John Potoky Retro Junk and Computer Museum………

So as I cleaned out the closet in the babies room, I found all kinds neat old things.  The oldest was probably a light up schlitz sign from the 70’s that I didn’t even know I owned! (know to find out how much its worth!), next would be the 2nd generation Commodore 64 and 2 small boxes of Commodore and DOS software, then the pink M.U.S.C.L.E characters.  Some where in that mix was also a Socket 3 motherboard (for you non geeks that I believe was a 486 board and was probably about 20 years ago) and an even older server board. So I am glad to say that stuff is not in the closet anymore….or the house.

So thats what an F-Stop is……

I also watched a little video from B&H Photo and Video about taking portraits and started reading a great book, understanding exposure, 3rd edition by Bryan Peterson, that explains how to use the manual mode on my Canon T3, so now I can actually use the camera the way its supposed to be used.  Here’s a sample…..

That’s about it, like I said I am way behind on my reading, so next week I’ll be more on top of it.  Hope you enjoyed it and if you want more to read I did post a new post over at http://thebeershow.wordpress.com/ so have a good weekend! Oh and always, thanks for reading.

John

So about an hour ago I saw a tweet about Davy Jones being dead, I have to say I was pretty surprised by it.  For those of you who don’t know who Davy Jones was, I’ll give a short explanation.  Jones was a member of a pop rock band that was put together for a TV show named the Monkees, I believe they were the first completely fabricated band, many have appeared since then.  The thing with the Monkees was that originally only one could play an instrument or write, Davy wasn’t that one, hey usually played the tambourine or sang.  By the end of the show, they were all playing their own instruments.  Funny, in today’s world of pop music, no one seems to play their own music, but back then it was kind of a big deal.  So, in tribute to him (I always liked some of his music) I thought I would do a little tribute.

Jones was born in Manchester England in 1945.  His first acting gig was on Coronation Street, a very popular and long running soap opera, when he was 11.  Sadly, when he was 14, his mother passed away.  He soon left acting and due to his short stature, 5’3″, he started training as a jockey.

Eventually he returned to acting and played The Artful Dodger in Oliver!  After the London run of Oliver! he also starred in the Broadway version in the states, this led to him being on Ed Sullivan.  Lucky for him, it was the same show The Beatles were on, and as a young lad standing on the side of the stage watching The Beatles and seeing the girls go crazy, he decided that he wanted that.  Because of the Sullivan appearance he was noticed by Columbia Pictures who then signed him to a contract, also, at the same time he recorded an album for Colpix Records, while Davy couldn’t play instruments (well at least not well) he could sing.

Shortly after the record and signing with Columbia, in 1965, he joined the cast of the Monkees.  his popularity sky rocketed and girls everywhere loved him, giving him his wish from that day on the Ed Sullivan show.  The TV show that Monkees ran for 3 years and went off the air in 1968, but by this time the group including Davy could all play there own instruments and continued to record.  They even had there own movie, Head.  The movie was no where near successful, I’ve never scene it and I really don’t have plans to but apparently it has become a cult hit.

Davy continued to tour and record throughout most of his life, putting on a great show and playing a mix of classics from the Monkees catalog as well as from his own records.  I believe he even had a stint in Vegas.  There were multiple Monkees reunions also, some with others without the full line up.  There was even a new album in 1996.  The band reunited, all of the members, for the first time in along time, in 2011 for a North American tour and UK tour that was successful.  Sadly some dates were to be rescheduled for 2012, but with the death of Davy Jones, from a heart attack today, those shows may never occur.

So there it is, the short version.  Davy Jones accomplished quite a lot in his time, and both he and the Monkees influenced many current and past bands.  If you don’t know who The Monkees or Davy Jones are, why not give them a listen.  The most notable tracks would probably be, Last Train to Clarksville (one of my favs), I’m a believer (which was remade for one of the shrek movies by Smashomouth), (I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone (another of my favs) and A Little bit Me, A Little bit You.

Well, I hope you’ve read enough to be a little interested in The Monkees and Davy Jones.  RIP Davy and I’d like to thank everyone for reading.

John

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