Tag Archive: rock


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

 

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

 

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

Einstein, born in 1879, was born in Germany and was the son of an Electrical Engineer.  Most of his childhood was spent in Germany and Italy, but he eventually would move to Switzerland.  His move to Switzerland was prompted by his desire to study mathematics and physics at the Federal Polytechnic Academy located in Zurich.

Many of you know that he worked as a Patent Clerk, which was true, but many of you might not know that this was also in Switzerland, Bern to be exact.  He would also become a Swiss citizen and receive a PHD from the University of Zurich, all of this was before he was 30, 26 I believe. That very same year, 1905, turned out to be a great year for old Albert.

In 1905, Einstein would publish five papers that would affect and some say change the physics world.

“On a Heuristic Viewpoint Concerning the Production and Transformation of Light,” was the first paper published that year.  Basically this paper said that light was made up of photons, and that light, and these photons had particle like properties, yet worked as a wave also.  He also observed that some solids, when struck by light, would emit electrically charged particles.  While he didn’t get much recognition when published, he would eventually win the Noble Peace Prize in physics in 1921 for this paper.

The second and third paper would go together and help prove the existence of atoms.  While common knowledge know, Scientists back in the early 20th century were still disputing their existence, Einsteins papers settled it.  The second paper changed the way atoms and molecules were counted.  It also changed the way that the size of them were calculated.  The theory in the third paper would eventually become known as Brownian Motion.  In short Brownian motion is a mathematical way to explain the erratic and constant movement of particles in fluids.  These two papers would eventually be used to put to rest the arguments that atoms didn’t exist

The fourth paper is one of his most well known, its the special theory of relativity paper that most of us have heard of.  This paper along with the fifth are probably the two most well known to the general public.  The fourth paper, special theory of relativity, states that in special relativity, time and space are not absolute, but relative to the motion of the observer.  Which means that two people traveling at high speeds might not always experience the same events and in fact  wouldn’t even observe the same measurements in their space.  In this theory Einstein argued that the only constant to the two people would be the speed of light.  The speed of light is also the limiting factor in any mass, stating that nothing can travel faster.  The fifth paper expands on this and offers the most well known mathematics equation in history, E=MC².

Sadly it took years for Einstein to be recognized for most of his work.  He was always welcome in physics circuits and continued to write papers for years.  Einstein would marry, father a child, divorce, then marry again, to his cousin….  He would also become known as one of the greatest minds of all time.  His theories would help crack the atom, both for good (atomic power) and bad (atomic weapons)  He became the poster child for science, a virtual rock star, to this day he still appears on shirts, posters and even in video games.  Microsoft used his likeness in old versions of office (you had to chose it over that stupid paper clip.)  There’s way more about Einstein then I listed here worth looking into.  You could always wikipedia or google him, you can also check 0ut the official site http://einstein.biz/.  I also recommend this book Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson http://www.amazon.com/Einstein-Life-Universe-Walter-Isaacson/dp/0743264746/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1331742336&sr=8-4 It’s a great read and gives a lot of insight into his personal life.

“Time to party like its 1899!”

Well I hope you learned something and thanks for reading!

John

So for the first time in years I watched the Grammy’s, and to be honest I was pleasantly surprised by the performances, well at least most of them.  I also determined the way to get a nomination and too perform twice is to beat the crap out of a famous singer the year before, nice to see a few slick dance moves and slick beats and all is forgiven (yeah, I’m talking about Chris Brown) So below is my assessment of them.  If I miss one or two, sorry but sometimes nature calls!

Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band, performance wise it was good, lots of energy and great musicians as usual.  The problem is I just don’t like Bruce Springsteen,  sorry, just don’t, I respect him as a musician but just don’t care for most of his work.  Not a bad performance overall.

Adele, Great performance, even though she hasn’t sang in like six months due to vocal chord surgery.  Great voice and a great performance.

Rhianna, I liked her performance, not my favorite of the night but it was solid.

Glen Campbell, sorry but I could really care less, I feel bad for the guy having Alzheimer’s but still, the last time his music was relevant was what? 1979? I’m sure in country circles he was a big influence and what not but just doesn’t appeal to me.   That being said, he still sounded good and performed much better than I thought he would.

Bruno Mars, Bruno looked like he was trying to channel James Brown.  His performance was pretty good and I liked the song.  I didnt really know much about him before, so I’m new to him, but I enjoyed it and liked the retro look he was going for….and what a pompadour!

Alicia Keys and Bonnie Raitt, Bonnie Raitt still has it after all these years and Alicia still sounds good.  The two of the them put on a classy performance in memory of Etta James.

Foo Fighters, Maybe not their best two performances, but two completly solid and enjoyable performances from one of  my favorites rock bands of all time!  One of my favorite performances of the night, even the one with Deadmau5, who had a totally bitchin’ moushead and even rocked a cylon graphic on it!

Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson,   I personally don’t know who Jason Aldean is, but I know Kelly Clarkson.  For me she looked very pretty and to me sophisticated, she also sounded great and the two of them put on a nice duet.

The Beach Boys and friends, amazing that after 50 years the Beach Boys still sound pretty good, Maroon 5 and Foster the people did a nice job complimenting the performance, although Adam from Maroon 5 has a very unique and strange way of standing and singing, kind of like if Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory was singing.  Overall a good performance, and enjoyable, even the audience seemed to enjoy it.

Paul McCartney, While his solo performance wasn’t as good as the closing one, I thought it was nice a classy.  McCartney has always been one of my favorites and at his age I still think he did a nice job.

Taylor Swift, as usual Taylor Swift put on a good performance, I’m not a country fan, but there are a few I like and Taylor is one of them, I think she has a great voice and so far seems to be getting better as she matures’s, so overall it was good.

Blake Shelton, never heard him till last night other than on the voice.  Was hoping for more to be honest, it was good, but not great like I expected.

Jennifer Hudson, Hudson has been through a lot in her life, but she has contiued to make it through.  She performed a great and touching tribute to Whitney Houston, and come on lets be honest, its not like Jennifer had a lot of time to prepare.  She did a great job.  One of my favorites of the evening.

Tony Bennett and Carrie Underwood, Another old timer showing that he’s still got it.  It was nice to Carrie Underwood also, some complained that it should have been Gaga out there since she was on the album, but I think for the performance Carrie and him were perfect together.  Another very enjoyable performance.

Chris Brown, really? I’m not even going to get into why I don’t think he should represent the Grammys, but all he did was lip sync (poorly) and jump around.  Horrible and almost as bad as…..

Niki Minaj, WTF was that? Song? Horrible.  Performance? Horrible.  Niki stop trying to be Lady Gaga or Madonna and try to be yourself…ok?

Coldplay, Another band that I really try to like, I like a couple of songs, but I always thought they were a bit boring and dull….this appearance shows that once again.

Katy Perry, didn’t start off real strong but I thought overall it ended up being an ok performance, I thought she looked good and performed well enough, the blue hair? I liked it, wife hated it.

Deadmau5, Chris Brown, David Guetta, Lil Wayne, Foo Fighters…..Not sure what to really say, Guetta was the only saving grace of the Chris Brown Lil Wayne act, Foo’s were good, Deadmau5 was good, together it was interesting, not really sure what to make of the whole thing.  I guess it was alright and interesting, Deadmau5 did rock a Cylon effect on his mousehead so that was cool.

So thats about it, that’s my take.  A guy at work pointed out that most of the acts seemed to start a bit flat, which I would kind of agree with, but that being said I thought most were still pretty good.    So I pretty much enjoyed it and thought that most of the right people won.

Still looking for more to do? Checkout my youtube page, http://www.youtube.com/user/NervousDogProd

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