Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A-Z PROJECT: 165-169

170 days ago I started listening to all of my CDs in alphabetic order to see if I could do it. I found myself bored with what I was listening to and spending more and more time deciding on what to listen to. I realized I had a lot of CDs I never listened to, stuff I never had the urge to put on, and decided to just listen to all of them in order instead. My goal was to listen to everything in a year, or at least to see how long it would take me to accomplish this. I’ve been tracking my progress on Facebook by posting daily playlists and giving my immediate thoughts on what I was listening to as I was listening to it. I de-activated my Facebook page last week and thought I’d post my progress here instead since I need to make more use of this Blog site anyway. I don’t consider myself to be a writer, a music critic or an authority on music. This is simply a way to alleviate boredom at a job in which very little is expected out of me. I’m also not posting these playlists to brag about my music collection and I’m not burning copies of this stuff for people, so don’t ask.

(*) asterisks note things that are burned copies and not an original release. CDRs without asterisks behind them were originally issued as CDRs.

Day #165

LOVE - "Da Cappo" CD (Their second album and the one with the track from the Nuggets box set that sparked my interest in them. A lot more rock than their debut, but the ridiculously long ending track sort of drags this album down a bit. The more mellow songs on this album sound like parodies of other bands in contrast to ragers like "Seven & Seven is" and "Stephanie Knows Who", but together it makes for an interesting album.)

LOVE - "Forever Changes" CD (This is a fantastic album. The song writing is better, the playing more fluid, acoustic guitar takes a more prominent role and the added instrumentation (strings, mariachi horns, etc) are a nice touch. Mainly, though, this is a better album because the songs are better and it flows as an album instead of a collection of songs. The music spans rock, folk and singer/song writer territory, the vocals are excellent and heart felt. The added bonus tracks give us a glimpse of the songs as a work in progress and show just how much of a difference the overdubs made. This is great stuff, no doubt about it.)

LUCIFER'S FRIEND - s/t + "Mind Exploding" CDR* (The first Lucifer's Friend album is a great piece of bluesy, heavy rock/proto-metal from Germany released in 1970. Heavy riffs, thick slabs of keyboard and a singer that could easily be mistaken for Bruce Dickenson. I found a copy of the original LP years ago in Chicago and snatched it up. I downloaded this album and "Mind Exploding" to fill put the disc. Released in 1976, it's a bit more "slick" sounding and nowhere near as heavy. It times it reminds me of Boston, but not as pop sounding. I used to hate this album, but today it sounds okay. I was expecting an unpleasant experience and was surprised by how much I liked it. The singer left after this album to join Uriah Heep. )

LUDICHRIST - "Immaculate Deception" + Demo 1985 + Live @ CBGB's CDR* (This first Ludichrist album is a classic, one of the finest crossover thrash albums ever recorded. I owned it on cassette as a kid, and then later found an immaculate (heh) copy of it on LP at the Record Collector in Iowa City for cheap. These guys had serious chops, especially for a HC/thrash band. Some of this stuff borders on blurrcore it's so fast. I downloaded the CD for portability reasons, and then added the demo and live set I found online also. The live set has tracks not released on any of their albums. I still have "Powertrip" on cassette, bought it later on CD, but found I didn't like it enough to keep it. I ended up giving it to my friend Brian. This first album, though, never gets old and is always fun to listen to. I don't think Ludichrist got the attention they deserved.)

LULL - "Cold Summer" CD

LULL - "Continue" CD

LULL - "Dreamt About Dreaming" CD

(Lull is Mick Harris of Napalm Death fame's dark ambient project. I'll start by saying that I really enjoy all three of these CDs, but I'll also add that I don't know enough about this genre to elaborate on it enough to cover each CD separately. Rarely does the mood hit me to put this stuff on; in fact, it's probably been 10 years or more since I've listened to these. Years ago I was introduced to this dark ambient stuff by way of my friend Nick in Minneapolis. Not all of it stuck with me, but Lull and Yen Pox I listened to often back then. This is mellow, but not at all soothing. I suspect this stuff would be great to study to or to fall asleep to, but it might induce some strange dreams as a result. Lots of deep rumbling noises, scraping metallic sounds and different textures going on throughout these CDs. Mick Harris is a talented guy and kudos to him for branching out into different areas.)

Day #166

MACABRE - "Dahmer" CD (I picked this up in Holland while vacationing there with my older brother in 2000. I didn't even know it was released when I saw it there in the shop. It killed me not being able to listen to it until I got back to the states a week later. After being a huge fan of their previous albums and finally seeing them live in 1999, the anticipation was unbearable. When I finally did get to hear it, it was a bit of a letdown. Macabre are a great band when they write their own songs, but when they do parodies of other songs it's annoying. I can take one or two parodies an album, like on "Sinister Slaughter", but about every third song on "Dahmer" is a parody of something. The original songs on here are absolutely crushing. Slowing down from their previous releases didn't take anything away from the power of their songs. The recording is spotless, too. When I put this album on my iPod years ago I left off all the filler tracks on this and it's just as powerful as their previous albums. Listening to it today in its entirety isn't nearly as good. Still, there's at least 30 minutes of solid material on this CD.)

MACABRE - "Gloom / Grim Reality" CD (It took some talking, but I convinced my friend Nick in Minneapolis to sell me his copy of this CD. Not long after I plunked down $20 for this used, the band reissued "Gloom" on CD. No big deal, my copy had more songs on it. This is Macabre's earliest stuff and my favorite. The songs are more fun than on their later releases and still retain somewhat of a punk feel. Macabre are in a class all of their own. You can't really call this stuff death metal, grindcore, thrash, etc but it contains elements of all three. I guess that's why they're so respected; they're doing what Macabre does, not following trends. The best music is always hard to describe.)

MACABRE - "Sinister Slaughter" CD (This was the first Macabre album I heard after the "Nightstalker" 7" and their track on the first Slap a Ham compilation. My brother bought this CD (not sure why) and I eventually bought it from him years later. This is a mean sounding album, fast as hell and played with lazer precision. The first time I saw them live they were all piss-drunk and I was upset because I figured they would suck by the time they hit the stage. I was wrong. They killed live, played everything completely accurate and faster than on the album. I guess they could handle their liquor okay. My friend Jake, the sometimes drummer for C3L, hates death metal and grindcore but loves Macabre. Jake is a musician and appreciates their musicianship. Their talent is undeniable.)

THE MAD - "We Love Noise" CD (Another great band I was introduced to via the "New York Trash" compilation. Absolutely, "I Hate Music" was the defining track on that comp, a real gem. I spent years wondering if they had recorded anything else, but these were pre-Internet days and researching such things was difficult. Sometime in the 90s I saw an LP of theirs listed in someone's distro (can't remember who, now) and bought it immediately. The rest of their songs were great, too, and the LP included a thick informative booklet with discography notes, bio, photos and even comic book pannels. I found this CD listed on Slippytown's website on sale for $6.00 so I snagged it up as it was a Japanese import and usually sold for $30.00+. The Mad were a NY punk band with an abrasive sound and roots in special FX and theater. Screaming Mad George's vocals sound similar to Blaine Fart of the Acc├╝sed's. The music isn't quite HC, but there's enough metal elements and distortion in the guitars to make you wonder if some of the key players of the harsher HC/crossover bands didn't hear this stuff, pick up the ball and run with it. This shit smokes, it's too bad there isn't more of it.)

MAGGOT SHOES - "[f]Ear Terrorism" CD (I got this in a trade I did with the label. I don't always keep stuff I trade for, but this was pretty good. Nice old school grindcore from Germany (I think?) with dual vocals and silly intros from the Simpsons and Futurama breaking things up a bit. Nothing too technical or all that memorable, really, but it goes by quickly and not once did I get bored while listening to it. I can't say the same about a lot of other grindcore these days, including some bands people shit their pants over. If anyone has the ANAL MASSAKER / MAGGOT SHOES - split 7" and wants to sell it, get in touch.)

MAGGUT - "Into the Gore" CD (Bloodbath's releases are usually pretty great, this one is no exception. Top shelf Japanese goregrind with ridiculous pudding vocals, but rooted in the old style of Regurgitate. This short 20 minute CD is filled with great metal riffs and brutal drumming. My interest in this stuff has really wained over the years, but when it's done right, like this, it's still very enjoyable. I could do with a little less "wet" on the vocals, though.)

MAGIC ELF - "Heavy Meddle / Elf Tales" CDR* (This is the sort of thing that happens when talented people get bored with playing metal. The drummer of Ludichrist and other people I can't remember now started this instrumental jazz/prog/metal band sometime after Scatterbrain. There’s loads of complicated stuff going on here, more than I'm aware of, probably. Some of it is really heavy, some sounds like the kind of music you'd hear on the Weather Channel as they're displaying the forecast. All of it is pretty great, though. I'm not sure why I didn't pick up real copies of this stuff, but I'm sure lack of funds played part in it.)

Day #168

MAGNACITE - "Safety in the Wrkplace" CD (Decent grindcore from Australia with crust parts utilized not unlike Napalm Death. Nothing particularly stands out on this release and I don't listen to it very often, but I quite enjoyed it today. I wanted the vocals to be more brutal than they were, that's my only complaint.)

MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA - "The Inner Mounting Flame" CD (My first exposure to these guys was their great "Birds of Fire" LP at my friend Jake's house. His dad was a fan and was playing it one day while I was there. This is awesome jazz fusion stuff played by people on top of their game. This is their first album and it's great from start to finish.)

MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA - "The Lost Trident Sessions" CD (I don't remember the story, but for some reason they didn't think this session lived up to their previous albums so it sat shelved for a couple of decades. This stuff is just as good as their other albums and the recording us great. Sometimes bands are full of shit and make stupid decisions.)

Day #169

MALICIOUS GRIND - s/t CDR (These guys had the stand out track on the great "Always Catching Snot in the Wind" compilation, an LP full of great extreme thrash bands that never went anywhere. The whole LP was great and as a teenager I always wondered if any of those bands recorded anything else. Years later while flipping through Wild Rags' huge mail-order catalog I found a Malicious Grind 12" and sent away for it. It's one of my favorite LPs now and every song was as great as the one I had heard on the comp. Fast-forward another 10 years and I found this CD while doing an Internet search for more info on the band. This CD is a home made job from the band, but I didn't know it at the time. It contains their 12", their demo from 1987 and live tracks. The whole CD has added reverb on every song, even the live stuff, and it's almost unlistenable because of it. I was so pissed about it I ended up ripping my LP just so I could listen to it the way it was supposed to sound. I ended up getting a dub of the demo sometime after buying this CD, too.)

MALICIOUS HATE - "In the Name of Hate" CD (Great mid-90s death metal from Michigan. The singer released this on his label, Grinding Peace, after a 7" that was just okay and a cassette single that smokes this CD and most other death metal from that time. Tight, fast, lots of start-and-stop action and growls that sound like an angry bear. The recording is a bit too clean for this sort of stuff, but that's a small complaint. This album has the full demo of their noisecore band (can't remember the name right now) and a Summon song added on as unlisted bonus tracks. I read somewhere these guys have started playing again. I hope they keep it going long enough to do another release.)

MALIGNANT TUMOUR - "...And Some Sick Parts Rotting Out There 1992-2002" 2CD (At one point I owned all of Malignant Tumour's releases, but the eventually turned into an Agathocles clone and I lost interest in them. After revisiting that material recently I've found I really liked that material, too, and now I feel stupid for abandoning them. This two CD set contains all of their releases from the first 10 years of existence, including early noisecore tracks that weren't on the Extremist Records discography released before this. The older Carcass-clone tracks are the best, in my opinion, but all of this is great. After their mincecore phase, they changed members and style again into more of a straight up grindcore sound with little or no mince or gore influence at all.)

MALIGNANT TUMOUR - "Demo/Singles Collection '94-'98" CD (This one came out years before the above 2CD set, but it's essentially the same release, just with less material on it. Rather than describing the same material again, I'll take this opportunity to praise Extremist Records for being one of the few labels to make his releases available basically at cost. $5.00 CDs were unheard of when they were doing it. It was nice to see other labels following this model, though eventually it led to him closing up shop. His releases were great, though. It's a shame more people didn't take advantage of his great taste in music and generosity. Another casualty of the Internet age...)

MALIGNANT TUMOUR / SQUASH BOWELS - split CD (This split makes perfect sense, both bands in their prime and mining the same territory. MT's mouth-stuffed-full-of-ham sandwich vocals are great on this release. I had a later version of this once, traded it, then found a first original pressing later somehow. I'll never get rid of this again. It's just too damn much fun.)

MAMARRACHO - "Unreleased EP" CDR (These guys are hard to pin down to a genre, but their stuff is always super noisy and always great. They recorded this stuff for a 7" on the great Psychomania Records, but the label ceased to exist before it was released. Someone sent this to me years ago, but I can't remember who it was or how they acquired it. The band told me about this 7" when I was in contact with them and told me it was their harshest stuff they recorded.)

MAMMUT - s/t + PELL MELL - "Marburg" CDR* (A friend of mine sent this to me as part of a trade. Mammut's sole album from 1971, obscure then, obscure now. A CD reissue was withdrawn due to legal troubles, so time has garnered them no fame or recognition. It's scarcity has made this desirable to Krautrock fans, but the music is sloppy jazzy folk/blues stuff that sometimes gets heavy, but not often. Overall this is pretty forgettable. PELL MELL, on the other hand, are pretty terrific. Also from Germany, this 1972 album is full of great heavy psychedelic prog rock with nice singing in English, lots of ripping guitar solos, slabs of organ and the occasional flute and violin.)

MAN IS THE BASTARD - "Sum of the Men / The Brutality Continues" CD (I've never been hugely into M.I.T.B., certainly not to the point of fanaticism like a lot of people are. I own a few of their releases, mostly as splits, but this is the only CD I own of theirs and I picked it up because it was $5.00 including shipping. When I listen to heavy music I'm looking for speed, riffs or noise and M.I.T.B. are lacking all three for the most part. Their music is slow and lumbering, but lacking the repetition I'm looking for when I listen to sludgy doom stuff. They're in a weird middle ground that just doesn't work for me. I want to like it more than I do, but can't. Also, I've never once read any of their lyrics (I rarely ever read lyrics) and I suspect their subject matter/politics is a lot of their appeal to some people.)

MANDATORY -"Exiled in Pain" CD (Old school German death metal with a guitar sound that matches "Symphonies of Sickness" almost exactly. This CD collects all of their demos, plus a couple unreleased tracks.)

No comments: