TDDS - 2020 Shelter-in-Place on a Desert Island Music Draft - BONUS 5

VF21

#KingsFansForever
Staff member
JD McPherson - Signs and Signifiers


I wanted to have the backend of my draft feature albums that weren't available in 2008 the first go round, or ones that hadn't quite stood the test of time. JD McPherson has been one of my favorite contemporary artists over the last 10 years. I've enjoyed all of his albums so picking his 2010 debut is no slight to the others, it's just the one that I happen to know back to front like no-other. I actually chose to sing a song from a different album at my father's memorial service but I am giving the edge to this one on the strength of both the opener and closing tracks as well as a fantastic cover of Your Love (All That I'm Missing) (a tune by another one of my all time favorite lesser-known acts). Dimes for Nickels is the other song that I absolutely love on this album. JD is keeping the spirit of no-frills rock and roll recording alive and this is a fantastic introduction.

From the record label About the Album


Track List
1. North Side Gal
2. Country Boy
3. Fire Bug
4. Signs & Signifiers
5. Wolf Teeth
6. Scratching Circles
7. A Gentle Awakening
8. Dimes For Nickels
9. B.G.M.O.S.R.N.R.
10. I Can't Complain
11. Your Love (All That I'm Missing)
12. Scandalous

OMG. How have I not ever heard of this artist? Thank you, @pdxKingsFan, for this gift. :)
 
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Warhawk

The cake is a lie.
Staff member
Her ticket prices I saw on her last tour were insane. I don't own any of her albums or anything but I could get into the big tracks from Slim's pick back in the day.
Yeah, our tix were about $100 each (including Ticketmaster fees, etc.), for Pink tickets near the front of the upper deck at G1C. A bit higher than some? Yes. But the show was great (both musically and stage/performance-wise with sets and the aerial acrobatics) so I wouldn't consider that an "insane" price for the concert she put on. Most other concerts I've been to at the G1C were at least $75 in the upper deck, and some of those were not nearly as well known or popular (or good!). We went to (redacted)'s farewell concert tour at G1C last year and that was about 50% more for similar seats. Now those were expensive tickets!
 
Yeah, our tix were about $100 each (including Ticketmaster fees, etc.), for Pink tickets near the front of the upper deck at G1C. A bit higher than some? Yes. But the show was great (both musically and stage/performance-wise with sets and the aerial acrobatics) so I wouldn't consider that an "insane" price for the concert she put on. Most other concerts I've been to at the G1C were at least $75 in the upper deck, and some of those were not nearly as well known or popular (or good!). We went to (redacted)'s farewell concert tour at G1C last year and that was about 50% more for similar seats. Now those were expensive tickets!
I had a friend trying to get tickets for her and her daughter and they were a lot more than that. Not sure where front of the upper deck corresponds to Moda Center, is that the 300 level?

I think the most I have spent on one ticket was last year to see the one huge band that neither Spike nor I have picked yet. I used my Ticketmaster lawsuit discounts to get that under $100 on the day of the show despite seeing floor tickets for 2-3x what I ended up paying on stubhub type sites.
 
So I go back to my youth for some great music. Everyone I was hanging out with was talking about the movie easy rider. It was pretty darn good on the big screen at the theater. Sold my Indian back in October and after I move to either northern Wyoming and Montana next year I plan on getting another ride and playing these songs do not make up for it but it helps. So with my 16th pick I will take the steppenwolf album.

( BORN TO BE WILD)
A band which to me gave us some great sounds of the day while still mixing a lot of blues in alot of their songs.
It’s something that I really enjoy and the last album I bought a couple of weeks ago was one of their albums. Surprised that they are not in the hall of fame and I thought that when John Kay didn’t get voted in a couple of years ago when he should have.

1587428223082.jpg

Sookie, sookie

Everybody’s next one

Berry rides again

Hoodie coochie man

Born to be wild

Your wall’s to high

Desperation

The pusher

A girl I knew

Take what you need

The ostrich








I left out the video for the song the pusher which is a great song and it’s a shame 50 years later too many of our youth are still walking around with tombstone’s in their eyes.
 
So I go back to my youth for some great music. Everyone I was hanging out with was talking about the movie easy rider. It was pretty darn good on the big screen at the theater. Sold my Indian back in October and after I move to either northern Wyoming and Montana next year I plan on getting another ride and playing these songs do not make up for it but it helps. So with my 16th pick I will take the steppenwolf album.

( BORN TO BE WILD)
A band which to me gave us some great sounds of the day while still mixing a lot of blues in alot of their songs.
It’s something that I really enjoy and the last album I bought a couple of weeks ago was one of their albums. Surprised that they are not in the hall of fame and I thought that when John Kay didn’t get voted in a couple of years ago when he should have.

View attachment 9786

Sookie, sookie

Everybody’s next one

Berry rides again

Hoodie coochie man

Born to be wild

Your wall’s to high

Desperation

The pusher

A girl I knew

Take what you need

The ostrich








I left out the video for the song the pusher which is a great song and it’s a shame 50 years later too many of our youth are still walking around with tombstone’s in their eyes.
I love that movie! I keep telling myself I'm going to buy a Triumph Thuderbird one of these years but it seems like it would be wasted in LA. Wyoming or Montana though would be the perfect place for riding! Cheers to that!
 
I have agonized over this choice as much as one can agonize over the 15th pick in an imaginary desert island album draft.

Hope Sandoval is a living legend in some circles, and among my very favorite vocalists. I’ve learned her voice alone can help me enjoy a variety of genres ranging from dream pop to bluesy western.

As such, I knew I was going to take a project with her talents involved, but the question became which one.

There is the obvious choice with her most critically and popularly acclaimed album, but Gadget chose that one last time, and I’d like to tread new ground (And not be thought of as little more than a pirate.)

Plus, if Sandoval is on the album, chances are I’m going to like it, so I’m given a lot of space to roam here. While nothing she’s done since could be called prolific, they’re solid enough to scratch the particular itch I have.

I had an album of her’s in that vein slotted for this spot all draft, and was ready to pick it here. That is until I listened to it and the more obvious choice back-to-back, realized the former was little more than Sandoval with some atmospheric accompanying music, while this was a complete artistic expression with Sandoval included, and decided it was a pirate’s life for me.

View attachment 9781

So Tonight That I Might See - Mazzy Star (1993)

The best term I can readily apply to this one might be “heavily atmospheric.” By that I mean it feels quite like the hazy state in the morning while waking up from a particularly perplexing dream. I can’t say that feeling is always an especially welcome one, as that heavy atmosphere swirls like a hangover, but it certainly is evocative and effective.

Which might be why I was a little reluctant to take this one over some more pedestrian works that included Sandoval’s vocals. While So Tonight That I Might See is always phantasmagorically beautiful, there are times I may not have the stomach for it. Perhaps a situational listen and why I haven’t sat down to it in many years.

But again, it covers a lot of interesting sonic ground from track to track, and when going through it again for this pick, it only took until Five String Serenade before I knew this was the way to go.

Fade Into You is mystical in its beauty, and certainly deserving of its popularity and praise.


Tracklist
1."Fade into You"
2."Bells Ring"
3."Mary of Silence"
4."Five String Serenade"
5."Blue Light"
6."She's My Baby"
7."Unreflected"
8."Wasted"
9."Into Dust"
10."So Tonight That I Might See"
I don't own this album yet but I've left it sitting in my Amazon cart for the next time I purchase something. :) I know the kids these days just stream everything but I still like to do some things the old fashioned way. Anyway, I've been watching this concert video every other day for the last 3 weeks:


Thumbs up for any Hope Sandoval content!
 

Warhawk

The cake is a lie.
Staff member
I had a friend trying to get tickets for her and her daughter and they were a lot more than that. Not sure where front of the upper deck corresponds to Moda Center, is that the 300 level?

I think the most I have spent on one ticket was last year to see the one huge band that neither Spike nor I have picked yet. I used my Ticketmaster lawsuit discounts to get that under $100 on the day of the show despite seeing floor tickets for 2-3x what I ended up paying on stubhub type sites.
I'd say a little closer than that. Maybe 2/3 the way up the 200 level? Hard to say exactly. There are about 23-24 rows in the lower level I believe at the G1C.

The most I've spent for tix was the unnamed concert for about $150 each as my wife REALLY wanted to go. The $100 for Pink was probably the second most expensive, but I thought it was worth it. At G1C, I usually sit in the upper deck and I want to say tix are usually in the $55-85 range, depending on the act and seat location. Some are obviously more. But, I figure by staying in the cheaper seats I get to go to more events. :)
 

Warhawk

The cake is a lie.
Staff member
Bon Jovi - Slippery When Wet (1986)

Bon_jovi_slippery_when_wet.jpg

While I have always liked their music, the concert itself (2017 in the G1C) was a bit of a disappointment - the music was good but the singing was "off" - not sure how to describe it any better, but you could definitely tell it was a "live" performance. Regardless, I want this hit-maker with me in my time of seclusion.

From allmusic:

Slippery When Wet wasn't just a breakthrough album for Bon Jovi; it was a breakthrough for hair metal in general, marking the point where the genre officially entered the mainstream. Released in 1986, it presented a streamlined combination of pop, hard rock, and metal that appealed to everyone....

The trick paid off as Slippery When Wet became the best-selling album of 1987, beating out contenders like (redacted).

Bon Jovi wasn't nearly as hard-edged as Mötley Crüe or technically proficient as (redacted), but the guys smartly played to their strengths, shunning the extremes for an accessible, middle-of-the-road approach that wound up appealing to more fans than most of their peers. “It’s alright if you have a good time,” Jon Bon Jovi sang on Slippery When Wet’s first track, “Let It Rock,” and those words essentially served as a mantra for the entire hair metal genre, whose carefree, party-heavy attitude became the soundtrack for the rest of the ‘80s.
From Wikipedia:

Between 1986 and 1987, Slippery When Wet produced a string of hit songs, including three Top 10 Billboard Hot 100 hits, two of which ("You Give Love a Bad Name" and "Livin' on a Prayer") reached No. 1, making Bon Jovi the first hard rock/glam metal band to have ever had two consecutive No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 chart hits. The third single "Wanted Dead or Alive" peaked at No. 7, making Slippery When Wet the first hard rock/glam metal album to have had three Billboard Hot 100 Top 10 hits.

The album peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, making it Bon Jovi's first number-one album in the United States. The album spent 38 weeks inside the Top 5 of Billboard 200, including 8 weeks at No. 1. It is the best-selling album of 1987 in the United States, and eventually reached Diamond certification by the RIAA and current sales stand at 12 million copies, making it the 48th best-selling album in the United States.
Fun to listen to and doesn't get old.

Track List:
1. Let It Rock
2. You Give Love a Bad Name
3. Livin' on a Prayer
4. Social Disease
5. Wanted Dead or Alive
6. Raise Your Hands
7. Without Love
8. I'd Die for You
9. Never Say Goodbye
10. Wild in the Streets




 
Can I be real a second? For just a millisecond? Lay down my guard and tell the people how I feel a second?



Hamilton - Original Broadway Cast (2015)

I honestly worry about the optics of this pick. It has become one of the most readily known and recognizable theatre productions within the general sphere of pop culture, breaking out of the insular world of musical theatre, to the point of over-saturation in the public consciousness. Every suburbanite with a Prius could reliably be found rocking this on their iPods in the late 2010s. Such popularity has a habit of fiercely polarizing opinion, and removing any sense of clarity about the work itself. (Case-in-point, as previously mentioned, the Radiohead fandom.) Garnering such a visceral reaction is a real concern.

That said, I do have both an affinity and history with this production that I think breaks through the possible backlash it could elicit. In the end, that's what matters.

I am not a Broadway guy, as I would imagine describes the majority of Hamilton fans. During my lone trip to Manhattan during the summer of 2015, my sister, who lives and breathes theatre productions, (she insists it be spelled "theatre" and most assuredly NOT "theater") told me I absolutely had to check out this musical, telling me, accurately, it is the story of Alexander Hamilton set to hip hop.

And I thought at the time that was the most ridiculously absurd and stupid concepts she'd ever pitched to me in our long history of her dragging me to absurd and stupid theatre productions. Gave it a hard pass, and went back home without a second thought.

I don't need to tell you the cultural explosion Hamilton experienced in the months and years that followed. It became the first cast album to hit number 1 on the Top Rap Album charts, it peaked at number 3 on the Billboard 200, is certified 6x Multiplatinum, was listed by Rolling Stone as the 8th best album of 2015, and is the best selling recorded cast album of all time.

For my part, I was stubbornly nonplussed, regarding its meteoric rise with a slight shrug and a 'whaddya know' otherwise not letting it infiltrate my sphere. That would mean admitting wrongness to my sister. Ha.

Fall of 2016 rolls around and I am now a student-teacher for a San Diego City middle school trying desperately to get 8th graders to care about the American Revolution. They are predominantly Latino and African-American, the majority qualify for our free-lunch program, 10 percent are homeless. They expressly tell me they don't care about old dead white dudes.

After exhausting several other strategies, I eventually floated the idea of watching clips of Hamilton, pitching it to them the same way my sister had to me "the story of Alexander Hamilton set to hip hop" only adding "the cast is explicitly multicultural." And they bought in.

This was not a "revolutionary" idea by any stretch - countless seasoned Social Studies teachers had been inserting Hamilton into their course work long before I had the germ of the idea. But that doesn't diminish the inert joy I felt as these kids latched onto concepts simply because it was presented in an interesting and exciting way. They learned concepts of debate and the economy from the Cabinet Rap Battles. They connected with important names like Jefferson, Madison, and Lafayette. After the first day I could hear them singing in the hallway "I am not throwing away my shot."

The next year, Hamilton came to San Diego, and my wife (and I) made sure to take my sister to the show.

You were right little sister. You were right.

Some Good News, Cast of Hamilton from Quarantine:





Act I

  • "Alexander Hamilton" – Burr, Laurens, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, Eliza, Washington, and Company
  • "Aaron Burr, Sir" – Hamilton, Burr, Laurens, Lafayette, and Mulligan
  • "My Shot" – Hamilton, Laurens, Lafayette, Mulligan, Burr, and Company
  • "The Story of Tonight" – Hamilton, Laurens, Mulligan, Lafayette, and Company
  • "The Schuyler Sisters" – Angelica, Eliza, Peggy, Burr, and Company
  • "Farmer Refuted" – Seabury, Hamilton, Burr, and Company
  • "You'll Be Back" – King George III and Company
  • "Right Hand Man" – Washington, Hamilton, Burr, and Company
  • "A Winter's Ball" – Burr, Hamilton, and Company
  • "Helpless" – Eliza and Company
  • "Satisfied" – Angelica and Company
  • "The Story of Tonight (Reprise)" – Laurens, Mulligan, Lafayette, Hamilton, and Burr
  • "Wait for It" – Burr and Company
  • "Stay Alive" – Hamilton, Washington, Laurens, Lafayette, Mulligan, Lee, Eliza, Angelica, and Company
  • "Ten Duel Commandments" – Laurens, Hamilton, Lee, Burr, and Company
  • "Meet Me Inside" – Hamilton, Burr, Laurens, Washington, and Company
  • "That Would Be Enough" – Eliza and Hamilton
  • "Guns and Ships" – Burr, Lafayette, Washington, and Company
  • "History Has Its Eyes on You" – Washington, Hamilton, and Company
  • "Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)" – Hamilton, Lafayette, Laurens, Mulligan, Washington, and Company
  • "What Comes Next?" – King George III
  • "Dear Theodosia" – Burr and Hamilton
  • "Tomorrow There'll Be More of Us (Laurens Interlude)" – Laurens, Eliza, and Hamilton
  • "Non-Stop" – Burr, Hamilton, Angelica, Eliza, Washington, and Company

Act II
  • "What'd I Miss" – Jefferson, Burr, Madison, and Company
  • "Cabinet Battle #1" – Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, and Madison
  • "Take a Break" – Eliza, Philip, Hamilton, and Angelica
  • "Say No to This" – Maria Reynolds, Burr, Hamilton, James Reynolds, and Company
  • "The Room Where It Happens" – Burr, Hamilton, Jefferson, Madison, and Company
  • "Schuyler Defeated" – Philip, Eliza, Hamilton, and Burr
  • "Cabinet Battle #2" – Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, and Madison
  • "Washington on Your Side" – Burr, Jefferson, Madison, and Company
  • "One Last Time" – Washington, Hamilton, and Company
  • "I Know Him" – King George III
  • "The Adams Administration" – Burr, Jefferson, Hamilton, Madison, and Company
  • "We Know" – Hamilton, Jefferson, Burr, and Madison
  • "Hurricane" – Hamilton and Company
  • "The Reynolds Pamphlet" – Jefferson, Madison, Burr, Hamilton, Angelica, James Reynolds, and Company
  • "Burn" – Eliza
  • "Blow Us All Away" – Philip, Martha, Dolly, Eacker, Hamilton, and Company
  • "Stay Alive (Reprise)" – Hamilton, Philip, Eliza, and Company
  • "It's Quiet Uptown" – Angelica, Hamilton, Eliza, and Company
  • "The Election of 1800" – Jefferson, Madison, Burr, Hamilton, and Company
  • "Your Obedient Servant" – Burr, Hamilton, and Company
  • "Best of Wives and Best of Women" – Eliza and Hamilton
  • "The World Was Wide Enough" – Burr, Hamilton, and Company
  • "Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story" – Eliza and Company
 
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VF21

#KingsFansForever
Staff member
1587494762404.png

Dire Straits - Dire Straits - 1978

Side one
Down to the Waterline
Water of Love
Setting Me Up
Six Blade Knife
Southbound Again

Side two
Sultans of Swing
In the Gallery
Wild West End
Lions

So many great musicians came out of the 60s and 70s that it's inevitable that some of them sometimes don't get all the credit they deserve. To me, Mark Knopfler is at the top of the list. When I was looking for the video clips, I came across this comment which I am blatantly stealing because it says what I wanted to say better than I could ever say it:

"In my opinion, Mark Knopfler is one of the greatest guitarists of all time. He may not be a technical wizard or play lightning fast, blistering solos, or create music which is nearly impossible to replicate and learn to play, all of which seems to be the criteria to be a "great guitarist" by most people's standards.. But Knopfler is an amazing songwriter and in general, he has a profound musical sense. He knows what to play, when to play it, and makes his guitar sing with such gentle elegance that it allows him to communicate so many emotions to his listeners with so few notes. Some of his guitar licks are so beautiful it makes me want to weep. It's a shame he is so underrated when it comes to most people's lists of the greatest guitarists."

To me, Dire Straits always sounded a lot like Bob Dylan, but with just a little less twang and a little more clarity. I almost picked a later album, but "Sultan of Swing" tipped the scale for me. (POST NOTE: I wrote this before Capt. Factorial made his 16th pick. The album he did pick is the one I refer to here as "a later album." Good thing for the Capt.)



 
Sultans is their best song. If somehow it came down to a battle of Dire Straits.

But I definitely had a lot of memories of Money For Nothing at a time that pre-dated cable tv in my household and begging to go to Showbiz pizza or to a friend's house just to watch MTV.
 

VF21

#KingsFansForever
Staff member
Bon Jovi - Slippery When Wet (1986)

View attachment 9789

While I have always liked their music, the concert itself (2017 in the G1C) was a bit of a disappointment - the music was good but the singing was "off" - not sure how to describe it any better, but you could definitely tell it was a "live" performance. Regardless, I want this hit-maker with me in my time of seclusion.

From allmusic:



From Wikipedia:



Fun to listen to and doesn't get old.

Track List:
1. Let It Rock
2. You Give Love a Bad Name
3. Livin' on a Prayer
4. Social Disease
5. Wanted Dead or Alive
6. Raise Your Hands
7. Without Love
8. I'd Die for You
9. Never Say Goodbye
10. Wild in the Streets




I'm actually relieved that you chose this. It's been sitting on my list since the beginning of the draft. I love the album but when push comes to shove, there are just a number of other albums that I wanted more. This leaves one less agonizing decision I'm left with as the draft winds down to the final rounds. :)
 

VF21

#KingsFansForever
Staff member
So I go back to my youth for some great music. Everyone I was hanging out with was talking about the movie easy rider. It was pretty darn good on the big screen at the theater. Sold my Indian back in October and after I move to either northern Wyoming and Montana next year I plan on getting another ride and playing these songs do not make up for it but it helps. So with my 16th pick I will take the steppenwolf album.

( BORN TO BE WILD)
A band which to me gave us some great sounds of the day while still mixing a lot of blues in alot of their songs.
It’s something that I really enjoy and the last album I bought a couple of weeks ago was one of their albums. Surprised that they are not in the hall of fame and I thought that when John Kay didn’t get voted in a couple of years ago when he should have.

View attachment 9786

Sookie, sookie

Everybody’s next one

Berry rides again

Hoodie coochie man

Born to be wild

Your wall’s to high

Desperation

The pusher

A girl I knew

Take what you need

The ostrich








I left out the video for the song the pusher which is a great song and it’s a shame 50 years later too many of our youth are still walking around with tombstone’s in their eyes.
1968 was a big year for me. I started work and I bought my first car (a 65 Mustang convertible my dad helped me get). One of the first things I got for my car was an 8-track player. Among the albums in rotation was this one...driving into downtown Sacramento on a warm summer morning with "Born to be Wild" blaring from the rear speakers is a fond memory.
 

Mr. S£im Citrus

Doryphore of KingsFans.com
Staff member
1968 was a big year for me. I started work and I bought my first car (a 65 Mustang convertible my dad helped me get). One of the first things I got for my car was an 8-track player. Among the albums in rotation was this one...driving into downtown Sacramento on a warm summer morning with "Born to be Wild" blaring from the rear speakers is a fond memory.
1968 was a pretty big year for me, too. Granted, I was -7 years old, at the time, but that was the year that my mom more or less decided, come hell or high water, she had to get the **** out of rural Georgia. Had she not made that decision, she probably doesn't enlist in the Navy, which means that she doesn't meet my biological father, which means that I'm not here today, to be sheltered-in-place on a desert island.
 

Warhawk

The cake is a lie.
Staff member
1968 was a pretty big year for me, too. Granted, I was -7 years old, at the time, but that was the year that my mom more or less decided, come hell or high water, she had to get the **** out of rural Georgia. Had she not made that decision, she probably doesn't enlist in the Navy, which means that she doesn't meet my biological father, which means that I'm not here today, to be sheltered-in-place on a desert island.
I was -3 years old. That year didn't do anything for me at all. :p ;)
 
Just think what a lot of folks missed that year. It was a very interesting time in many peoples life’s and the music was fantastic, a lot of very cool cars that actually were affordable. Oh and a few other things like:

Tet offensive in Vietnam
Robert Kennedy killed
Martin Luther king killed
Chicago Democratic national convention mayor Daley riots
Hong kong flu (I think thats in China) reportedly killed millions worldwide and I do not remember lock downs
Olympic Games has the black power salute
The zodiac killer is just starting his spree

Oh and something sports related OJ Simpson won the heisman trophy

Not a lot on tv those days and if you think watching the news of late is bad, it was really something I avoided back then.

I know I am missing a lot that happened that year but I mostly remember good times and the music.
 
Death Grips - Exmilitary (2011):



01 Beware
02 Guillotine
03 Spread Eagle Cross the Block
04 Lord of the Game (feat. Mexican Girl)
05 Takyon (Death Yon)
06 Cut Throat (Instrumental)
07 Klink
08 Culture Shock
09 5D
10 Thru the Walls
11 Known for It
12 I Want It I Need It (Death Heated)
13 Blood Creepin

Genre(s): experimental hip hop, noise rap, punk

Death Grips are MC Ride, Zach Hill, and Andy Morin. If you are a fan of Sacramento alternative music, Hill's name (or at least the other bands he's a part of) may be familiar to you. But Death Grips are certainly the project where his frenetic drumming style is best contextualized. Their 2012 masterpiece brought them to the attention of listeners outside of Sac, but Exmilitary, their 2011 debut (dubbed a "mixtape" because it was given away for free due to its use of samples that were not cleared for copyright), was a brick-through-the-window of my eardrums at a time when the local music scene in the Sacramento area had grown increasingly stagnant. I had never heard anything quite like it, and Death Grips have continued to defy my expectations, as well as any kind of easy categorization, on every subsequent release.

"The new" is something difficult to conjure when it seems as if everything under the sun has been done already. But in the absence of an opportunity to invent one's way toward a unique sound, defamiliarization can have the same effect. Take something a listener thinks they're familiar with, and set it on its head. Then take something else a listener thinks they're familiar with, and flip it inside out. Then combine those elements together, and you've got something that feels new and strange and vibrant. This is harder to accomplish artfully than it may seem. Case-in-point: remember the popularity of "rap rock" at the turn of the millennium? Most look back at those bands and groan with embarrassment. But Death Grips share nothing in common with the gimmick-laden MTV bait of that era. They are an honest intellectual and visceral exercise in making hip hop as noisy as possible, with punk's defiant take-no-sh*t, give-no-f***s kind of attitude.

Exmilitary is their thesis statement, a bomb dropped on the cracked sidewalks of inner city Sacramento, with MC Ride's airhorned bellow presiding over Morin's and Hill's grainy, glitchy, schizophrenic textures. This is music for a nuclear winter, the soundtrack to a pandemic's aftermath long before the notion of viral devastation was on the mind of the average American. I suppose my desert island continues to be a rather noisy place, which makes it sound like home to me. I imagine few others would want to vacation there, though. Death Grips are not "easy listening," but they are without a doubt the most invigorating band to come out of Sacramento in decades.
 
Death Grips - Exmilitary (2011):



01 Beware
02 Guillotine
03 Spread Eagle Cross the Block
04 Lord of the Game (feat. Mexican Girl)
05 Takyon (Death Yon)
06 Cut Throat (Instrumental)
07 Klink
08 Culture Shock
09 5D
10 Thru the Walls
11 Known for It
12 I Want It I Need It (Death Heated)
13 Blood Creepin

Genre(s): experimental hip hop, noise rap, punk

Death Grips are MC Ride, Zach Hill, and Andy Morin. If you are a fan of Sacramento alternative music, Hill's name (or at least the other bands he's a part of) may be familiar to you. But Death Grips are certainly the project where his frenetic drumming style is best contextualized. Their 2012 masterpiece brought them to the attention of listeners outside of Sac, but Exmilitary, their 2011 debut (dubbed a "mixtape" because it was given away for free due to its use of samples that were not cleared for copyright), was a brick-through-the-window of my eardrums at a time when the local music scene in the Sacramento area had grown increasingly stagnant. I had never heard anything quite like it, and Death Grips have continued to defy my expectations, as well as any kind of easy categorization, on every subsequent release.

"The new" is something difficult to conjure when it seems as if everything under the sun has been done already. But in the absence of an opportunity to invent one's way toward a unique sound, defamiliarization can have the same effect. Take something a listener thinks they're familiar with, and set it on its head. Then take something else a listener thinks they're familiar with, and flip it inside out. Then combine those elements together, and you've got something that feels new and strange and vibrant. This is harder to accomplish artfully than it may seem. Case-in-point: remember the popularity of "rap rock" at the turn of the millennium? Most look back at those bands and groan with embarrassment. But Death Grips share nothing in common with the gimmick-laden MTV bait of that era. They are an honest intellectual and visceral exercise in making hip hop as noisy as possible, with punk's defiant take-no-sh*t, give-no-f***s kind of attitude.

Exmilitary is their thesis statement, a bomb dropped on the cracked sidewalks of inner city Sacramento, with MC Ride's airhorned bellow presiding over Morin's and Hill's grainy, glitchy, schizophrenic textures. This is music for a nuclear winter, the soundtrack to a pandemic's aftermath long before the notion of viral devastation was on the mind of the average American. I suppose my desert island continues to be a rather noisy place, which makes it sound like home to me. I imagine few others would want to vacation there, though. Death Grips are not "easy listening," but they are without a doubt the most invigorating band to come out of Sacramento in decades.
Impressive how much quality music has risen from our sleepy cowtown home of Sacramento.
 
The title Cromagnon is appropriate to say the least. The tracks on this record are primal and very tribal sounding. The record is split up into motifs that utilize primitive elements such as grunting and laughing vocalizations, and natural sounding, simple percussion. Each motif uses a limited number of elements that often repeat over and over to create a ritualistic feel. It's confrontational and unforgiving, but if you enjoy it, the record offers an experience like none other. However, as unique as it is, its influence is hard to overstate. The origins of many artists, records, and entire genres cannot be discussed without mentioning Cromgnon. The rules prevent me from naming artists and records that haven't been picked yet, but this record was at very least an important stepping stone for industrial, tribal, avant-folk, post-punk, noise, collage, black metal, drone, and no-wave music. As an aside, another thing I enjoy about this record is how many one star reviews people give it. I am quite fond of reading negative comments about music I like. I will however let you off easy by providing an upload of the one song on the album most people agree on as being good.

Tracklist

01 - Caledonia
02 - Ritual Feast of the Libido
03 - Organic Sundown
04 - Fantasy
05 - Crow of the Black Tree
06 - Genitalia
07 - Toth, Scribe I
08 - First World of Bronze

 
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Third Eye Blind - Third Eye Blind (1997)


(https://www.allmusic.com/album/third-eye-blind-mw0000020024)

01. Losing a Whole Year
02.
Narcolepsy
03. Semi-Charmed Life
04. Jumper
05. Graduate
06. How's It Gonna Be
07. Thanks a Lot
08. Burning Man
09. Good for You
10. London
11. I Want You
12.
The Background
13. Motorcycle Drive-By
14. God of Wine
Hailing from Berkeley and San Francisco, the members of Third Eye Blind (or 3eb for short) met in 1995 and hit the jackpot on their first album, placing 5 singles on the charts and selling 6 million copies just before file sharing blew up and killed physical album sales for good. I have a large chunk of my CDs sorted into those little IKEA boxes with the lids and one of them is labeled "Sounds Like High School" which is where you'll find Third Eye Blind's self-titled debut. This is the first album I ever bought so at one point my entire music collection consisted only of this album. I bought it at the Incredible Universe store out by Arco Arena (before it got turned into Fry's) and I knew the words to every song long before I understood what they were actually about. Which is no small feat considering how many words some of these songs have! I was proud of myself when I could actually get all the way through "Semi-Charmed Life" without messing up.

This isn't just a nostalgia pick though. If I were to rank the guitarists who have been the most influential for me, I already mentioned no. 1 -- it's Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins. No. 2 would be Kevin Cadogan who wrote the music for 10 of the 14 songs on this album and half the songs on the (arguably superior) follow-up album before being ousted by the lead singer over song royalty issues (a huge lawsuit was involved). Kevin has an extremely unique style -- almost every song has it's own custom tuning which allows him to play chords with ringing open strings all over the neck. The original band lineup also included bassist Arion Salazar who coincidentally is responsible for creating the soundtrack for my favorite video game of all-time. He would eventually get kicked out of the band too (and also had to sue to get his money) but his work played a large role in making the bass guitar the first instrument I learned to play.

So the lead singer is a massive jerk, obviously. I won't go see him perform live with whoever he's got in his touring band now though I have seen both Kevin and Arion perform this full album in sequence at the Troubadour in West LA. Regardless of what went on behind the scenes, these songs will always have a special place in my heart. All 5 of the singles are crammed into the first 6 tracks but it's the last 3 tracks on the album that elevate it to classic status for me. Sound engineer and co-producer Eric Valentine has posted a ton of info about what went into the recording process including which mics were used on the drums, how they got that weird echoing reverb for "The Background" (SM57s placed in condoms and suspended underwater), and even which multi-track tape machines were used for the tracking and mastering. It's worth reading what he has to say if you have any interest in recording music. The clarity and separation between all the instruments on this album is flawless.




 
The Bellfuries - Workingman's Bellfuries

I mentioned that my last pick covered another one of my favorite artists on his debut, that was Austin's Bellfuries. They put out three amazing, yet radically different albums over a ~15 year span in which lead singer/songwriter Joey Simeone is really the only constant member. The first was one of the best modern rockabilly albums of the last 20 years, the second a much more melodic, 60s pop-rock styled effort that could give Brian Wilson a run for his money, and the last was this album which seems to have found a comfortable in-between point.
"I want to tell the world about the Bellfuries; I've often said they're my favorite band. The vocals and music are so incredibly sharp and moving, full of exemplary song craft, devastating guitar work, and timeless cool. I'll always be their biggest fan."
— JD MCPHERSON
The album kicks off with a bang, Loving Arms may be one of the best tunes Joey ever wrote and that's saying a lot as their second album contained many masterpieces that weren't quite as well received by the die-hard rockabilly fanbase. Bad Seed Sewn, previously released as a single is re-worked here as the second track. I slightly prefer the original take but it's still a great tune. It is followed by two great breakup tunes, Why Do You Haunt Me? and Make the Mystery No More. All these songs exhibit Joey's great lyrical craft. The album also features a Beatle's cover, a great murder-ballad in Beaumont Blues, a proper release of the previous bonus-track rocker Baltimore.

This was my summer of 2015 soundtrack and one of my favorite albums of the last ~5 years.

Tracklist
1. Loving Arms
2. Bad Seed Sown
3. Why Do You Haunt Me?
4. Make The Mystery No More
5. Letter To My Maybe Baby
6. Beaumont Blues
7. Just Remembering
8. She's A Woman
9. Under The The Light Of The Moon
10. Baltimore
11. An Illusion Believed

 
Time for a little dream thrash.
I saw these guys open last year for two bands that haven't been picked - I don't think they'll be picked anyway, but I won't mention them.

Their sound is...different.
Different good. It's like if the metal gods decided to create an album of unicorns and rainbows. Without further ado:

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Astronoid - Self Titled

1. "A New Color"
2. "I Dream in Lines"
3. "Lost"
4. "Fault"
5. "Breathe"
6. "Water"
7. "I Wish I Was There While the Sun Set"
8. "Beyond the Scope"
9. "Ideal World"

Not that any of you have heard of them, but give "I Dream In Lines" a listen, and you'll get a feel for the whole album. It's incredibly soothing for a thrash album.