Saturday, June 30, 2012

Currently listening to:Week of June 25, 2012

This is probably the latest I have done an entry like this, but life calls. Let's see what albums I am into this week.... This has been a great month for music and an excellent year, so many great albums from bands like Assemblage 23, And One, Smashing Pumpkins, Garbage, Marilyn Manson, Men Without Hats, Offspring, Silversun Pickups and Off! to name a few..

To really hear an artist's work, you must look past the hit singles. The entire album is worth hearing to truly get a glimpse of it all in one body of work. Here are some of the albums I am listening to this week.

Devo - Something For Everybody (2010)

The most recent Devo album, and their first album of all new material in nearly 20 years. This album shows them at their most fun and adventurous. What is really cool about this album is that it's tracklisting was voted on by their fans. It was focus group tested, which as far as I know, has never happened before. Their view on the deevolution on society has not changed as evidenced by songs like Don't Shoot, and Human Rocket. To me it's right on par with Freedom of Choice as one of their best albums. It's great to see that they, like OMD, Duran Duran, The Cars and Men Without Hats still got it! Here are some of my personal favorites.
Don't Shoot (I'm A Man)
Human Rocket:

The Cars - Move Like This (2011)

What can be said about The Cars that hasn't already been said. This band has defied trends time and time again. Robert Palmer, music critic for The New York Times and Rolling Stone, described The Cars' musical style by saying: "they have taken some important but disparate contemporary trends—punk minimalism, the labyrinthine synthesizer and guitar textures of art rock, the '50s rockabilly revival and the melodious terseness of power pop—and mixed them into a personal and appealing blend. With their latest album, it is no different. Songs like Sad Song and Blue Tip bring you back to their 80s sound. I was surprised to learn these were all new songs. They song classic. Producer Jacknife Lee really shines here, the songs really stick out. You might remember him for producing REM's last album and the latest from Silversun Pickups. Here are a few songs I loved from this album.
Blue Tip:
Sad Song:

Smashing Pumpkins - Adore (1998)

I remember when I first heard this album, I wasn't quite sure what to think. They had just finished their Mellon Collie tour and I didn't know what to expect. Their follow up, Adore, sounded mellow to me, but a few songs used electronic beats, which I didn't recall hearing prior, aside from the song Eye from the Lost Highway soundtrack. I ended up not liking it at first, but it started growing on me. There are some very personal songs here such as For Martha, about his mother who had died, and other darker songs like Ava Adore and the beautiful Crestfallen. Drummer Jimmy Chamberlin was out of the band by this time because of drug use and he seems to have been replaced by a drum machine on songs like Pug and Appels + Oranjes which ended up being another favorite of mine. Though not as classic as Siamese Dream, this album does stand as one of their best and it shows them stripped down from their excesses a bit. You might not care for it at first, but it will grow on you. My favorites are as follows:
Ava Adore:

MDFMK - MDFMK (2000)

Following the breakup of KMFDM, after the album Adios, several band members left the band, leaving only Skold, Sascha and new member Lucia. They would go on to form MDFMK, which only released this one album. This album had more of a europop and electronica sound than KMFDM. They toured the US and even appeared on the TV program FarmClub, which featured up and coming bands. They broke up soon afterwards and KMFDM came back with the MDFMK lineup with Lucia becoming a fulltime member, Skold would leave the group afterwards to tour with Marilyn Manson but has since worked with KMFDM recently. This album is worth a listen, and has some really fun songs such as Rabblerouser and my favorite Torpedoes. Check out some of the songs here:
Witch Hunt:

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

New album from Dead Can Dance entitled Anastasis due on August 14th. Full album stream!!!

This album is one of the most anticipated albums of the year. Dead Can Dance has been one of my favorite bands for a long time. I cannot wait to finally fulfill my dream to see them live. Yesterday, they released their song Amnesia with Brendan Perry on vocals. Their first song in over 16 years. You can hear it here.
Very awesome song and reminiscent of Dead Can Dance of years past. The upcoming album, Anastasis will be released in many different formats, including a deluxe edition, vinyl, digital download and more. You can preorder the new album here. Brendan Perry and Lisa Gerrard are one of a kind. They have also released their entire album in streaming form,which you can hear right here. They have also released the album artwork right here:

Here is their press release for the new album:

Dead Can Dance will release their new album 'Anastasis' through [PIAS] Recordings on 13th August. Available on CD, double LP and download, the album is their first since 1996's 'Spiritchaser'. The band, who embark on a world tour in August, have confirmed a show at the Royal Albert Hall on 26th October. Tickets for the show sold-out within 48 hours of going onsale. 'Anastasis' track listing
1. Children Of The Sun
2. Anabasis
3. Agape
4. Amnesia
5. Kiko
6. Opium
7. Return Of The She-King
8. All In Good Time
On the cover of 'Anastasis', Dead Can Dance's first album in 16 years: a field of sunflowers, ripened, and then blackened, by the sun, standing with sad, slightly crowned heads. Lessdead than dormant, the heads and stems will one day be chopped, but then via the roots, will return. For 'Anastasis' is the Greek word for 'resurrection' and the seemingly dead will dance again.
"I thought 'Anastasis' was a good title given our reunion," explains Brendan Perry, who, with Lisa Gerrard, formed the band in Melbourne, Australia in 1981, releasing seven studio albums, and one live album, before going their own ways after 1996's 'Spiritchaser'. "'Anastasis' also means 'in between two stages'," he adds. "Regeneration comes with the next season."
'Anastasis' is perfectly apt given how the album is an astonishing regeneration of the legendary beauty,power and spellbinding nature of the duo's unique sound and vision. Age hasn't withered DCD, not the passing of the years; if anything, the album sounds bolder, stronger, more confident in its vision..
A Greek word to represent the album is equally derived from the music's origins. While Perry can hear echoes of DCD past, "from right across our catalogue," he reckons the core of Anastasis can be found, "slap bang" in the near-Eastern Mediterranean, from Greece and Turkey across to North Africa. "The music I listen to and research becomes both unconsciously and consciously part of a new project, and for this album, I've been fascinated by the classic immutable elements of Greek culture, the depth of their music and their love for song that you don't get as much in the west; the way they combine philosophy and love songs, and throw a bit of science in there too. I love the eastern influence that comes from being a crossroads between east and west, the kaleidoscopic mosaic of those fused cultures, while the further west you go, the more it's a mono-cultural society.
Perry says the duo have been talking about another album since Dead Can Dance's world tour of 2005. But that extensive tour was exhausting, and the incentive was lacking, so it was put on the backburner until calendars could again be synchronised - not so easy since Perry lives in the centre of Ireland (the land of his ancestors), where 'Anastasis' was recorded (at Perry's converted church studio Quivvy) and Gerrard lives in Southern Australia. Once upon a time, they left Melbourne for London, settling many floors up in a council block on the Isle of Dogs, putting whatever pittance they had into their music.
Signed by 4AD and releasing their first album in 1984, the duo drew rapturous reviews for albums that spanned neo-classical and folk across time and geography, each album selling to a progressively larger audience, the emotional drama of their coming to the attention of the San Francisco ballet, Hermes Perfume and a documentary on Hitler and Stalin; likewise motion pictures such as Heat, The Crossing Guard and Baraka. Gerrard developed her own solo film soundtracks - The Gladiator and The Insider, for example - while Perry worked on solo albums such as 1999's 'Eye Of the Hunter' and 2008's 'Ark'. The pair dissolved their physical relationship in the early ' 90s but something keeps them together - a bond of deep friendship and musical compatibility and understanding, and so Anastasis is born, and Dead Can Dance regenerated.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Punk Britannia Part 3 - Postpunk!! along with parts 1 and 2

I've already posted parts 1 and 2 of BBC Four's documentary Punk Britannia. This last part focuses history after punk, the postpunk era. After the Sex Pistols broke up, where was music headed. It shows bands' were not just limited to three-chord simplicity. This last part focuses on PiL (featuring former Sex Pistol Johnny Rotten as John Lydon), Magazine (featuring Howard Devoto of The Buzzcocks). Joy Division (who would later become New Order), Gang of Four and The Fall. Other bands which are mentioned are Human League and the emergence of synthpop. The Slits were one of the only female-led group which was mentioned here. I love the mention of the band Crass here, one of the true anarcho-punk bands and one of the best representation of punk rock, who were one of the most intelligent punk bands at the time, who continues to tour to this day. The postpunk years, 1978-1981 also led to the emergence of ska, with bands like The Specials and their single Ghost Town. Great song, infectious single. The third part ends with PiL and Johnny Rotten reunited and with a new album for 2012. Johnny Rotten (Lydon) is always fun to listen to. He may come of as a bit of a pompous jerk but he's always entertaining. I bring you part 3, POSTPUNK!

Punk Britannia Part 3 PostPunk (1978-1981)
and in case you missed the first 2 episodes:

Part 1, Prepunk, (1972-1976)

Part 2, Punk, (1976-1978)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Morrissey with Iggy and The Stooges live in Los Angeles.

Morrissey is touring again! This might as well be called the Tony Visconti tour since he has worked with all 3 artists. Morrissey last came down to Southern California a few months ago to San Diego on May 22, on his birthday. I missed that show but luckily it was just announced that he is coming right here to Los Angeles! To top it off, Iggy Pop and The Stooges are opening!!! These are two musicians I have always been dying to see live and now they are coming for the price of one ticket! Iggy and The Stooges came here last year and I was unable to make it, and Morrissey has toured Miami, Florida when I lived there and I was unable to make it as well. Morrissey has hinted that this might be his last tour, and he has no label currently. Iggy Pop is getting older so who knows when the next time him and The Stooges are coming here. I could be totally wrong and they could be going strong for another 20 years. I still find it strange that the band in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is opening for Morrissey. Many see Iggy Pop as the "godfather of punk", but I know him more for his amazing work in Berlin with David Bowie on the albums The Idiot and Lust for Life, though you cannot underestimate his great work in the 60s with the Stooges who were the original punk band. Morrissey himself has been going strong since his days with the Smiths in the early 80s. This will be epic in every sense of the word. I really dislike that Kristeen Young is opening. I know Morrissey must have a fondness for her for some reason but the clips I heard from her were unbearable. This is a show I might go late to but I will be waiting with great anticipation. This has been an amazing year for concerts, Sweet and Tender Hooligans were great and I'm really looking forward to the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Dead Can Dance especially, but this one is right up there as well. Cannot wait!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Currently listening to:Week of June 18, 2012

Another late entry to this list, but here goes!

To really hear an artist's work, you must look past the hit singles. The entire album is worth hearing to truly get a glimpse of it all in one body of work. Here are some of the albums I am listening to this week.

Smashing Pumpkins - Oceania (2012)

Billy Corgan and crew are back with their 9th album, if you don't include all the strange singles and EP they have released throughout the years. I have been a huge Smashing Pumpkins fan throughout most of their career. I saw them live 3 times, I even saw Zwan twice. I was devastated when they broke up. It's good to have them back now after the disappointing "comeback" Zeitgeist in 2007. The album starts with Quasar which recalls the Mellon collie era, followed by The Celestials, a nice acoustic track. The song One Diamond, One Heart recalls 80s postpunk such as Echo and The Bunnymen. All in all a great album, though the title track (over 9 minutes long) just goes nowhere and it shows Billy still have his selfindulgence. Billy may be one of the most egotistical rockstars ever but he has the tunes to show for it. Here are some of my favorite tracks;
One Diamond, One Heart:
The Celestials:

The Offspring - Days Go By (2012)
The Offspring return for their 9th album, also. When I first heard the new single "Crusing California", I was severely disappointed. It seriously sounded like a straight up bubblegum pop single (ala Katy Perry), then I heard another song called Days Go By, and it sounded suspiciously like the Foo Fighter's Times Like These. I really thought the band had lost it. They always had throwaway songs but it was too much. I finally got to hear some songs from the album and luckily, these two songs do not reflect on the album, so please just skip them. One thing I like about this album is how diverse it is. Secrets from the Underground sounds like an oldschool punk jam, OC Guns has a reggae vibe. The Future is Now sounds like the Offspring I loved of old. It could fit in perfectly on Americana. I expect Turning Into You to have heavy radio play as well. This album really surprised me and expect to be a huge surprise for many who have written the band off. Here are some of the best songs.
The Future Is Now:

 Turning Into You:
OC Guns:

And One - S.T.O.P. (2012)

This classic German synthpop group return with their 11th album, S.T.O.P. still crafting wonderful synthpop melodies. I first heard Shouts of Joy and was immediately wowed. They are also an incredible live band. Please catch them if they ever come to your part of town. A severely underrated group. There is a strong Pet shop Boys influence on this release but And One has it's own sound altogether. Here are some of the best songs.
Shouts of Joy:
Killing The Mercy:
 Back Home:

Rush - Clockwork Angels (2012)

Rush returns with it's new studio album after 5 years, Clockwork Angels. This is a very adventurous album, hitting new territories I have never heard the band go before. It also happens to be a concept album...what is the concept about? Here is Neil Peart to answer. " “In a young man’s quest to follow his dreams, he is caught between the grandiose forces of order and chaos. He travels across a lavish and colourful world of steampunk and alchemy, with lost cities, pirates, anarchists, exotic carnivals, and a rigid Watchmaker who imposes precision on every aspect of daily life.” There will also be a novelization by Neil Peart and Kevin J. Anderson, which should be exciting. Caravan is a strong leading single, which seems to be about travel and journeys, find the band stronger and more energetic than I have seen them in years. Expect this to become an instant classic. Other songs I really like are The Anarchist which talks about an angry man who is talking about lost opportunities. Really heartfelt stuff. Halo Effect is a truly great song, Very clean production and it talks about a man getting his heart broken. I love the lyrics ""A Goddess with wings on her heels" Look for this on many critic's top 10 lists. Here are some of it's best tracks;
Clockwork Angels:
Halo Effect:

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Song of the day: Clan of Xymox - A Day

Clan of Xymox is one of my favorite goth bands. This song is from their selftitled debut album, which was released on 4AD Records, which makes them the second band signed to the label after Dead Can Dance, which they would later tour with. This song in particular is the first single and song from this album. The song basically talks about a person pleading to find another person who seems very far away. Very passionate and brooding. It has a very distinct guitar tone, almost a staccato rhythm. This band continues to release music to this day. This song is a great representation of goth music, especially to those who have no idea what it is. Sounds magazine had this to say about A Day "Particular favourite is A Day 'which suggests so many places, colours feelings and despairs that it is totally awe inspiring'.   I couldn't have said it better myself. Here is that classic song.

and lyrics:

Where are you When I am needing you 
So far away So far away
I think you're the most important To me, To me  
Where are you? So far away It makes no sense
It makes no sense at all Ha 
Where are you? Ha Ha  
Where are you So far away
I think you're the most important To me, To me
My sunken footsteps put their selves on
Through this gallery of deceased I think their lives must be deceived 
Like the sham nowadays 
Nowadays Nowadays Nowadays Nowadays
Where are you So far away  
For Just One Day Just One Day Just One Day 
It makes no sense at all It makes no sense at all  
Just One Day In Just One Day 
In Just One Day In Just One Day In Just One Day

Monday, June 18, 2012

Original and cover: The Drowning Man

The Drowning Man is a song originally by the Cure from the 1981 album, Faith. This is a song that was not released as a single but remains a favorite to longtime Cure fans such as myself. The Cure has always been a very literate band, referencing books such as Albert Camus' The Stranger (for the song Killing An Arab) and Charlotte Sometimes by Penelope Farmer (for the song of the same name), so it comes as no surprise that the inspiration for this song comes from a book as well, in this case, Gormenghast by author Mervyn Peake. Gormenghast is a Gothic/fantasy novel. One of it's main characters is Fushsia Groan. She is describes as follows ""...a girl of about fifteen with long, rather wild black hair. She was gauche in movement and in a sense ugly of face, but with how small a twist might she not suddenly have become beautiful. Her sullen mouth was full and rich -- her eyes smoldered."

She realizes later in the novel that she fell in love with a murderer and contemplates suicide. This situation finds her standing on a windowsill over the waters that had flooded the castle.  Disturbed by someone knocking at the door, she slips and, knocked unconscious by her head striking the windowsill, drowns.

This song is one of the most emotional on this album, which is a really dark album, even for The Cure, possibly rivaled by Pornography. I especially love the twangy guitar and the hopeless lyrics. Faith is an album I can always put on and just drift away and reflect on it's soothing sadness. Here is The Cure version.

There haven't been many covers of this song, probably because it is not one of the best known Cure songs. There is a band called Unto Ashes who has done an excellent cover of it. Unto Ashes is a musical ensemble based in New York City that incorporates madrigal, folk, and elements of neo-medieval and dark wave. They use old style instruments such as the hurdy-gurdy and the hammed dulcimer, not unlike the great Dead Can Dance. They have released over 5 CDs on Projekt Records and are recording a new album currently. They are always a pleasure to listen to and I love their cover songs, Don't Fear The Reaper being one of my favorites. They covered The Drowning Man on their album Grave Blessings and have done the song justice. I love the female vocals on the song and the instrumentation, especially the guitar on the song. Very beautiful and exquisite. Here is their version of The Drowning Man.

and the lyrics:

She stands twelve feet above the flood
She stares
Across the water
The loneliness grows and slowly
Fills her frozen body
Sliding downwards

One by one her senses die

The memories fade
And leave her eyes
Still seeing worlds that never were
And one by one the bright birds leave her

Starting at the violent sound

She tries to turn
But final
Slips and strikes her soft dark head
The water bows
Receives her
And drowns her at its ease
Drowns her at its ease

I would have left the world all bleeding

Could I only help you love
The fleeting shapes
So many years ago
So young and beautiful and brave

Everything was true

It couldn't be a story

I wish it was all true

I wish it couldn't be a story
The words all left me
Breathing like the drowning man

Oh Fushia

You leave me
Breathing like the drowning man
Breathing like the drowning man

Friday, June 15, 2012

Top 20 songs from AFI (A Fire Inside) with help from Gigi Chiong

AFI (A Fire Inside) is a band from Ukiah, California formed in 1991. They have gone through numerous lineup changes but the band currently consists of Davey Havok on vocals, Jade Puget on guitar, bassist Hunter Burgan, and drummer Adam Carson. They have released 8 studio albums, 10 EPs, a live album, a DVD and various compilation albums. They were first signed to Nitro Records (owned by Dexter Holland of The Offspring) until 2002 when their major label debut, Sing The Sorrow was released which reached the Billboard top 10 and went platinum and gained the band mainstream success. This would continue on with their next album Decemberunderground and Crash Love, their latest album.Davey Havok also recorded an album with members of the Danzig and Sam Hain as the sideproject Son of Sam the album Songs From the Earth in 2001, they later released a second album entitled Into The Night with another lead singer (Ian Thorne).  Davey Havok and Jade Puget also have an electronic sideproject entitled Blakq Audio who released their debut album, Cexcells in 2009. AFI started out as a pretty straightforward hardcore band for their early releases, when the albums Black Sails in The Sunset and the Art of Drowning were released, it signified an extreme change in music and lyrical themes. The music was more melodic and at times, very mellow and lyrically it became more complex. In reference to Black Sails in the Sunset Decoy Music reviewer Aaron Yarborough praised Davey Havok's lyrical contribution to the album, commending his efforts to "find himself," saying "the way he expresses how he feels is pure poetry." I feel that Sing The Sorrow is their masterpiece. it contains more elaborate production, thanks to the production skills of Butch Vig. It also has things like keyboards, strings and even industrial sounds which the band hasn't used before. It appeared on many major publication's ten best list for the year.

Early AFI had a driving force that I know most hardcore bands have/had and although some of their songs are 'silly' ie I Wanna Mohawk but if one really listens to the bulk of it, they really have something important to say. Loyalty is such a huge part of what afi stands for and I think that sometimes that gets overlooked. There are so many sides to them. Melodic, hardcore, poetic, horror punk, gothic punk, rock, etc.. their songs are so diverse and it's very different than most bands out there. There are several themes running through their music, one major one is the feeling of being an outcast. It is not being shown as a negative thing though, they want to include you in on it, and sort of form a bond between them and you, the listener. In many of their songs they use "we" or "us" instead of I for example... Lastly, I wanted to say this is not a full representation of their entire work as a band. Instead of picking out individual songs I would listen to their complete albums to really get a full picture about what they are about. It was extremely hard to come up with a top 20 for this band, I did get some outside help so thank you Gigi Chiong for helping me come up with this list. I did not include every song suggested but I think this list is pretty comprehensive for beginners and to get a feel of what the band is all about. I didn't include certain obvious singles like Girl's Not Grey or Miss Murder. I do love those songs but I truly wanted to go a little deeper into their catalog than just their "hits". Anyways, I have rambled on too long. Onward with the list, in no particular order we begin with....

#20 100 words from the deluxe edition of Crash Love (2009)

A song originally recorded for Sing The Sorrow but later released on the deluxe edition of Crash Love. This song gives me chills. It touches on some themes which were explored through Sing the Sorrow, including that feeling of not truly fitting in. I especially love the line "see how I blend with nothing", it is just so moving.

#19 Despair Faction from the album The Art of Drowning (2000)

This is also the name of AFI's fan club, this song seems to be about pergatory. It's a moving song and another example of some great guitar work. I especially like when the song gets quiet and you only hear Davey's voice say "My whole life is a dark" which was taken from the movie Beetlejuice.

#18 Too Late For Gods from the album Crash Love deluxe edition (2009)

Davey has said this song is about the concept of corporal deities. I think it also has to do with martyrs. dying for a cause of sorts, or perhaps like many of the themes touched upon on Crash Love,it could be about a celebrity and their fall from grace due to drugs or destructive behavior. The lyrics are gorgeous and it's a shame it didn't make it to the album and appears on the deluxe edition.

#17 Morningstar from the album The Art of Drowning (2000)

Lucifer's last name though this song isn't about Satan. I think this song could be seen as a reference to being rejected, much like in the book Paradise Lost. It talks about being remembered when you are on stage and whether you are just a ghost upon the stage or the star beneath the stage. Powerful song and it also ties into Days of The Phoenix with it's line about the ghost on the stage.

#16 Triple Zero from the album Shut Your Mouth and Open Your Eyes (1997)
Shut Your Mouth and Open Your Eyes is honestly not an album I hear too often. That does not deny the beauty of this song. I feel that later on, they became much better lyrically. I do love these lyrics though "Some sedate through indifference but I withheld zero tolerance." This sounds like it's about AFI and their straight edge philosophy. Short, really punkish song about embracing who you are and about hatred for those who hurt him. A nice intro to their early work.

#15 He Who Laughs Last from the album Very Proud of Ya (1996)
It's interesting to go through all the songs and to see the evolution AFI have gone through as artists, as lyricists and and as people. I just saw this video for the song where the band have Davey trapped inside a trunk of a car and how lowbudget it is. A more innocent time. The lyrics are pretty straightforward which you will probably never see from an AFI song these days. A bad relationship where a person has broken your trust so much you can only trust yourself, a universal message for the ages. A fun, fastpaced song which always make me smile. AFI have really grown up since then. The video for the song contrasts the video for Silver and Cold. In this video the band kills Davey, in the Silver and Cold video Davey kills the rest of the band. Very interesting stuff.

#14 Porphyria Cutanea Tarda from the album Black Sails In The Sunset (1999)
Porphyria is a type of skin disease where a person can basically only be out at night. A really poetic fastpaced song. I think it's about a group of misfits or punk who only come out at night, the darkness which brings them together. "In darkness together we're bringing the light.In darkness together we are forming.The fire tomorrow is born of the night,in darkness together we ignite." Like many AFI songs its about outcasts or society's misfits finding solace in darkness, but still finding happiness in that.

#13 God Called In Sick Today from the album Black Sails In The Sunset (1999)

Darkness of the world, terrible things happening, it's almost like god called in sick today. Love Davey's vocal delivery in this. It goes from extremely mellow to loud and raw. Incredible!

#12 Torch Song from the album Crash Love (2009)
This is from their latest album, Crash Love. The song seems to be about obsession. During the song, he keeps saying all the things he would do for this person, but in the end the lyric says "Leave me. Leave me to grieve that nothing's lost.Leave me, but when you leave, know nothing's lost." This makes me think that he realizes that it was just obsession and not love, and he's ok without the other person. Extremely catchy chorus and great production on this track.

#11 Miseria Cantare from the album Sing The Sorrow (2003)

An amazing intro to the Sing The Sorrow album. Miseria Cantare is Italian for Sing The Sorrow. The intro gives the listener the impression that this is a very different band than they previously thought. It serves as a calling to the fans. You are now one of us. "Radiate, recognize one silent call As we all form one dark flame" This song is saying we all come together as one, even though we are outcasts to the outside world. Many AFI songs revolve around that theme. Truly memorable.

#10 37mm from the album Decemberunderground (2006)
One of the songs I constantly go back to from the epic Decemberunderground. This is a nice play on words as far as the song title goes. AFI has this constant theme with numerology especially with the numbers 3 and 7 on  Decemberunderground, turn the mm sideways, it turns into 2 #3s. 37mm could be referencing a gun or a camera (37mm lens?) The lyrics speak of healing and wounds. I think it's about taking anothers sins, feeling what they're feeling. I'm not sure it is religious but it could be.

#09 Death of Seasons from the album Sing The Sorrow (2003)

Chills. This is all I can say about this song. There are so many layers to it. It starts off as a hardrocking song with screaming, then it turns a bit dancy for a few seconds, then back to hard rock, with a mellow ending. It's always been a favorite and one of the highlights on Sing The Sorrow. I personally thing this song is about a person fed up with society, or perhaps an apocalyptic vision of the endtimes. A great song, and as usual, wonderful lyrics.

#08 Malleus Maleficarum from the album Black Sails In The Sunset (1999)

Malleus Maleficarum was an old book that was used to determine whether someone was a witch back in the Salem Witch Hunts. AFI really likes bringing these obscure references into their songs. I think the song is about taking pride in your own individuality and never living your life by anyone else's rules. "..and with growing pride i'll wear my scars.."
This is one of the greatest lyrics ever and truly represents this song and AFI.

#07 The Boy Who Destroyed the World from the All Hallows EP (1999)

It's crazy how many songs on this list don't appear on AFI's studio albums. It goes to show how many great songs they have. This song has always been an anthem to me. A great, fastpaced short song that is painfully sad as well. It deals with the loss of innocence, about a boy growing up and dealing with all the pain associated with growing up. Lyrically so powerful. I especially love the line "They said it hurt their eyes, but he would never know that they were claiming regret as their their own dissipated."

#06 Totalimmortal from the All Hallows EP (1999)
A song covered by The Offspring. This is a song that has always spoken to me. It reminds me of a really bad day, this song can bring you out of that and really give you strength. Music should always be this good.

#05 Silver and Cold from the album Sing The Sorrow (2003)

Another great favorite of mine. A beautiful piano intro, leading into random beats, into the guitar and song. A perfect balance. Lyrically the song talks about taking someone else's sins, it reminds me a bit of Kate Bush's Running Up That Hill, in that it talks about feeling what another person feels. Maybe I'm alone in seeing that comparison, The song also starts with rain sounds, which people associate with gloominess but also helps trees and plants grows and helps create life. Also, it might be about someone who is a "sinner" finding a likeminded individual. I love that AFI makes their songs open to interpretation and makes it somewhat vague so you can attach your own meaning into them.

#04 Now The World from the deluxe edition of Sing The Sorrow (2003)

This has always been a song I keep going back to, year after year. A song that always brings tears. A person created a scene, an atmosphere for beautiful in the beginning for this person who needed some sort of escape, but this person rejected him. He tries to go back to that summer of innocence and love but it's all faded and torn. a heartbreaking song and lyrically one of the best ever. Davey Havok is a true poet and this song is one of the main reasons why I feelt that way. The reference to seasons and summer are really something.

#03 ...but home is nowhere from the album Sing The Sorrow (2003)

I've written about this song in this blog previously. Such a fitting end to an amazing album. It reminds me of a terrible time in life where you think you cannot escape it and the feelings that come with it. For more about this song, click here to view my previous blog entry about this song.

#02 The Leaving Song Part II from the album Sing The Sorrow (2003)

The second single from Sing The Sorrow and one of my personal anthems. There is also a Leaving Song part 1 on the album which appears later. "Look what I've built, it shines so beautifully
Now watch as it destroys me" This song has an amazing prechorus and a few spanish lyrics. The line I quoted is especially important to me. I think it's about talking about the person you used to be and trying to destroy it before it consumes you. This song is so intense, I love the live versions I have heard of it. Such energy, passion. i believe Jade wrote this one. "Yo he estado aqui muchos veces antes y regreso"... this translates to "I have been here many times and come back"... there are a few AFI songs that have to do with reincarnation too, and the same themes with rabbits and the number 3. I think I read somewhere that Davey Havok's Chinese zodiac sign is the rabbit and it can't be reincarnated or something like that. Very cool song and one to get you pumped, ready to face anything.

and the #1 song is....

#01 Days of the Phoenix from the album The Art of Drowning (2000)
This song is about the Phoenix Theater in California. AFI used to play a bunch of shows here early on in their career, at one point early on, they were thinking of breaking up, after playing at the Phoenix theater, they decided to carry on. That is what the song represents to me, carrying on. Fighting back and never backing down. A powerful anthem and song.

We end with some songs that didn't make the final cut but are still extremely relevant:
We've Got The Knife

Kiss and Control

Midnight Sun

Rabbits are Roadkill on Route 37

Sacrifice Theory


File 13

It Was Mine

Reivers' Music


and of course some great cover songs AFI have done throughout the years:

Head Like A Hole (NIN cover)
Don't Change (INXS cover)

The Hanging Garden (The Cure cover)

Jack The Ripper (Morrissey cover)

Demonomania (Misfits cover)
Ziggy Stardust (David Bowie cover)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Currently listening to: Week of June 11, 2012

This week we will be spotlighting some new exciting albums from some great bands! This is an exciting time for music and I cannot wait for some new albums to finally be released, including the new Smashing Pumpkins out soon.

To really hear an artist's work, you must look past the hit singles. The entire album is worth hearing to truly get a glimpse of it all in one body of work. Here are some of the albums I am listening to this week.

Assemblage 23 - Bruise (2012)
Assemblage 23 (Tom Shear) has been making music since the early 90s. Tom Shear has released albums on his own label as well as Metropolis Records. Their style can be seen as a mixture of hard electronic in the early days and has evolved to a more synthpop style recently. Many of their singles have reached the top 0 on the US dance and singles charts. Assemblage 23 tours frequently all around the US and Europe. Bruise is their newest album and it marks a change in style for them. There is more of an emphasis on melody and catchy choruses than in the past. Storm is still my favorite from them, but this is becoming one of the albums I keep hearing again and again. This is available in a 2CD deluxe edition set, and my only con with this is that some of the stronger songs should have been included on the first cd, not just the 2nd which is mostly remixes. Here are some of my favorites.
The Noise Inside My Head:
God is A Strangely Absent Father:

Peter Heppner - My Heart of Stone (2012)

Wolfsheim was one of my favorite bands and one of the leaders in German synthpop. They had a style and a voice all their own. Peter Heppner's voice is just magical and like nothing I had heard before. When I heard they had broken up after the release of Casting Shadows (one of their strongest releases) I was devastated. Thankfully, Peter has released a new album to please me and some older Wolfsheim fans. This comes in a huge 2CD set. Peter's unmistakable voice makes this a classic. Unlike Wolfsheim, there are more German language tracks here, though you do not have to know the language to love the beauty in it. Here are some standout tracks:
Give Us What We Need:
Meine Welt:

Sugar - File Under Easy Listening (1994)

The last album from the band Sugar featuring Bob Mould. I loved Bob Mould's work with Husker Du and his solo stuff, I went back recently to hear his stuff with his band Sugar. What great stuff! I remember picking up this album originally in a tiny record store in Brooklyn, NY in 2002. I clearly remember not skipping any tracks, what a great album. It was recently rereleased on a 2CD/1DVD set including all the bsides from that period, all the music videos and a performance on MTV's 120 Minutes. This is definitely one you want to listen to and cherish. Here are some of my personal faves.
Gee Angel:
Believe What You're Saying
Your Favorite Thing

Clan  of Xymox - Medusa (1986)

We end this entry with a classic album from one of the leaders in the 1980s goth rock movement. Clan of Xymox are one of the leading darkwave/goth bands from Australia, always offering great lyrics, emotional music, and lovely vocals. This album has some classic songs from the band. I personally prefer their debut selftitled but this would be my 2nd favorite. This band defines gothic music. A wonderful mixture of Kraftwerk and Joy Divison. Here are some of my favorites:
Agonized By Love: