DAY 31!!!!: THE FINAL ROCKTASTIC SELECTION: THE ROLLING STONES - EXILE ON MAIN STREET

That's it folks.. Rocktober is OVER and there's no better way to close it out then with the greatest rock record ever recorded. Think about that statement for a minute. Out of every rock record ever recorded, this one is the top of the pile, the head of the heap, the absolute NUMERO UNO.
There is ZERO chance that you haven't heard at least one or two songs off of this album, but I have to wonder how many of you have actually sat down and listened to this one all the way through. If you have, then you know....and while you may not agree intellectually with my assessment of Exile, your soul knows the truth and knows that I'm right! Remember when I said f@#@ the Stones when talking about Faces? F@#@ that. F@#@ the Faces. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY has ever managed to sound this cool, this ragged, or this on top of the world. This is a drunk trip down the highway to hell and when they reach the end, Mick, Keith, Mick, Charlie and Bill intended to make Satan their bitch and take their rightful place as rulers of hell, rock and roll and all things AWESOME! AND THEY SUCCEEDED!  So take some time today, pour yourself a drink, a strong one, turn this up to 11 and celebrate everything that is absolutely fucking RIGHT with the world as it pours out of your speakers and fills your soul with the good stuff. Doctors orders.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exile_on_Main_Street

DAY 30!: GUNS N' F@#@N' ROSES - APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION

First off, if you've never heard this album shame on you, seriously. I can almost forgive not owning it, but never hearing it? Turn in your rock card and retire to your herbal tea and Yanni records. Now. With that out of the way let it be said that this is one of the biggest motherf@@#ers of an album ever created and it quite literally woke up the music world, which was languishing in Phill Collins and Richard Marx at the time. This album defines primal. Every single note on it feels like it was ripped from the jaws of a rabid animal and it probably was. A song cycle about the excesses of 1987 LA that didn't even scratch the surface of how hard these guys were living, this is real, honest to god rock and roll. Say what you will about Axl Rose but at this point in GNR's history there was no better front man in the world. None. Axl came out and tried to kill his audience while Slash, Izzy, Duff and Steven held it down and kept him on a leash. There are moments of pure, joyous rage on this record that have never been recreated or reached and probably never will. In a word, this is perfection, which I didn't set out to write when I started this but it really is. I can think of a lot of other good albums over the years but I can't think of any albums as absolutely perfect  as this....except one, and that's tomorrow

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appetite_for_destruction


Next UP! ROCKTOBER COMES TO A CLOSE. WHAT.WILL.IT.BE???

DAYS 28 AND 29! MATTHEW SWEET - GIRLFRIEND / TELEVISION - MARQUEE MOON

I'll keep it short. Both albums are classics and you really wouldn't have one without the other. It took me almost fifteen years to follow the path back from Girlfriend to Marquee Moon, the connective tissue of guitarist Richard Lloyd that is, but once I did my mind was blown and I actually felt remarkably dumb for not having heard Television sooner. Oh well. I've heard em now and they stay in heavy rotation for me. Read on below for more

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altered_Beast_(album)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marquee_Moon

DAY 25!: THE AFGHAN WHIGS - GENTLEMEN

Upfront:Greg Dulli is a disgusting man. He drinks too much, smokes to much...he does EVERYTHING too much. This is normally not a good thing, but in his case it gave him the most lascivious, sneering, gut wrenching howl in rock, so I guess it's OK. Some of you may remember this band when they had a minor hit back in with the title track back in 1993, but after that they pretty much labored off into obscurity sometime in the early 2000's, never to be heard from again, or as a band at least. Once you get past the title track, which is rocktastic in it's own rights, you discover an album that has as much soul as it does darkness, as much self loathing as is does self realization. All of this and it rocks, from start to finish. It's a perfectly bleak statement made by a perfectly bleak band. If you enjoy this I encourage you to check out all of their albums because they truly were a force to be reckoned with and stand, at least in my opinion as one of the better bands to come along in the past 20 or 30 years.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gentlemen_(album)


Next UP!: what to do with them music pirates? KILL EM ALL!

DAY 24!!! ACDC - BACK IN BLACK

ACDC is the biggest band in the world. Don't believe me? Check out this fun fact about Back In Black:

"It sold an estimated 49 million copies to date, making it second only to Michael Jackson's Thriller as the best-selling album of all-time as well as the best selling album ever released by a band."

Got that? Good. No Rocktober, or album collection,  would be complete without this band. Sure they've only really written 3 or 4 songs over and over but those songs kick all of the ass in the world. ALL OF IT!

There's no real use going into a track by track for this thing since you've likely heard it a million times.....but I'm guessing that you haven't heard it in a while so turn it on, turn it up and rock out with your c@#@ out the way the good lord intended you to.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Back_in_black


Next UP!: Gentlemen prefer sick, twisted and self destructive

DAY 23! SLAYER - SOUTH OF HEAVEN / MASTODON - CRACK THE SKYE

Got your sacrificial goat? Spare virgin? Holy water? You're gonna need em all to protect you from these two bands. From the beginning rock n' roll has been seen as evil, lustful, druggy and noisy. Some call that AWESOME but in the early days people were so concerned about Elvis's hips that they would only allow him on television from the waste up. Well, this apparently made Satan a little angry and so he spat forth on the world METAL,  and the only rules he put on METAL were that you had to be a)loud and scary and b)make it clear that you are hailing him in your music, dress, artwork, etc....those square from the 50's and 60's should have quit while they were ahead. Because now they've got to deal with the likes of Slayer and Mastodon. I'll be honest, I didn't listen to much slayer when this album came out (1988) and I really don't know why. A friend has a theory that I was too busy listening to Wham! at the time but that's neither here nor there. Point is, I've heard them since, and they scare me. This is loud, violent, goat sacrificing, druid worshiping rock that doesn't let up and fully expects that you may not survive the listening experience. This is it folks...the essence of Rocktober. and it's not for everyone...Crowded House lovers may want to find something to hide uner at this point.....but if you haven't ever heard this album at least try it out. It's a snapshot of where this type of music was in 1988 and, surprisingly, where it is NOW. I've included Mastodon's excellent album from this year because after listening to both, I realized that not much had changed. It's still has the same punishing drums, thrashing guitars and vocals from the pits of hell. It still hails Satan, or Rasputin in Mastodon's case. It's still freaking AWESOME but in a slightly scary way. Not much has changed but maybe that's the point....this stuff is pure demon loving rock n' roll and not much needs to change. That consistency, that purity, makes me at the very least respect the genre that both of these bands operate in and at best it makes me feel really good about the fact that should I ever need to raise the dark lord he's right there on my ipod...waiting...

Anyone got a spare goat?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_of_Heaven

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crack_the_skye


Next UP: Get ready to get plugged in to the beating heart of the Rock and Roll power company

DAY 22!: PIXIES - DOOLITTLE!

There's nothing you can really say about the Pixies that hasn't been said before. They are the PREMIER rock band for a generation, and maybe for all generations. Nobody has really been able to write songs like theirs before or since and believe me, people have tried. I forget where the quote "Everybody who heard the Pixies ended up starting a band" or something like that comes from, but it is essentially true. Even if you can't play a single note their songs make you want to go out and rock something, anything, and rock it LOUD. It makes me a little sad that they are currently still doing the reunion tour victory lap (which I guess they deserve) instead of making new music, but hey, they still sound fantastic and are still as loud as ever. I'm going to assume that everyone reading this has at least heard one Pixies song, but if you haven't I'm deeply envious of you because your brain is about to be melted in the most wonderous way possible.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doolittle_(album)


Next up: HAIL SATAN!!!!! 

DAY 21! BLIND MELON - SOUP

I'll be honest, I ignored Blind Melon's first album when it came out. It was being played EVERYWHERE, but after hearing "Tones of Home" way to many times I had written them off as Jane's Addiction wannabes. "No Rain" piqued my interest a little bit my stance was firm and I continued to pretty much ignore them. Hell, I even remember when they released "Galaxie", the first single off of their second album, this album, and I pretty much ignored that, so why I went into the Record Exchange one day and picked "Soup" up out the used bin (for about $3 I think) I will never know. What I do know is that it changed the way I felt about music and making music forever. I put it on when I got home and gave it a listen..and another...and another..and it just got better and better and BETTER. Why hadn't I known this before? WTF was WRONG WITH ME??!! HOW COULD I BE SO WRONG???? 

 I don't freaking know. This s@#@ was FANTASTIC!!

There's an economy to this album that you don't hear often, but when an album is  put together this well even the lesser songs can be forgiving because the whole is just so damn perfect. In my estimation there isn't a single note out of place, wasted, or unintended in this albums 46 minute runtime, and it's a feat that Blind Melon would sadly never be able to repeat. In no particular order, I'd have to say my favorite songs on the album are:

Galaxie" – 3:3
"2 X 4" – 4:00
"Vernie" – 3:15
"Skinned" – 1:57
"Toes Across the Floor" – 3:07
"Walk" – 2:47
"Dump Truck" – 3:40
"Car Seat (God's Presents)" – 2:42
"Wilt" – 2:30
"The Duke" – 3:37
"St. Andrew's Fall" – 4:12
"New Life" – 3:35
"Mouthful of Cavities" – 3:34
"Lemonade" – 3:37 .

Get the picture? I freaking ADORE this album. It's a freakshow that somehow came together to glorious results and I'd be hard pressed to name any other album that is more important to me than "Soup". But enough of me yapping. This one will either change your life or it won't but either way now it is yours.

PS. I left off the hidden track because I didn't know about it when I first heard the album, but if you really want it then I guess you could probably (HORROR!!! SHOCK!!!) go out and buy a copy  ;)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soup_(Blind_Melon_album)

NEXT UP: With little to do you probably have no choice but to make a lot (LOT) of noise

DAY 20!: SONIC YOUTH - GOO

I'm in a hurry so I'll make this quick:

Sonic youth is a force of nature. Sonic Youth doesn't care if you like or even get what they are doing. Sonic Youth exists only to make beautiful, beautiful noise. This album is where Sonic Youth snapped itself into focus for at least a few minutes. Read on below

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goo_(album)


Next Up: Going out for the second time without a bee girl or a net.

DAY 19! CROWDED HOUSE - CROWDED HOUSE (yes...THAT Crowded House)

I'm sure you're probably thinking, "MY GOD! HE MUST BE JOKING!" but I assure you I most certainly am not. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE has heard the mega hit "Don't Dream It's Over" off of this so there is no point in discussing it, but how many people have heard the rest of the album? If, in your youth, you bothered to pick this one up you would have found out that people did in fact write good songs in the 80's...EXTREMELY good songs. It also would have been your intro into more "New Wave" acts like Split Enz, Neil Finn and Paul Hester's previous group. All in all it would have been a total win for you....but you probably didn't pick it up because it wasn't Foreigner or Brian Adams, Journey, Van Halen or whatever the hell else was out this year. Point is this is a fantastic album (with the exception of the bonus track "Can't Carry On", which is still good but one can see why it was left of the original release) that defies the time period it was released in by actually being GOOD. What's more, it's still good today. Any band could release this album today and Bob Boilen would be all over it, telling them in interviews that HE TOO is a musician....but I digress. Pretty much EVERY album Crowded House went on to make is fantastic (particularly "Woodface") and well worth your time, so ignore the stigma of "sissy rock" that this band carries with it, give this  a listen and get ready to enjoy one of the best if not more unique pop albums ever made...ever. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crowded_House_(album)


ps. in the learn something new every day column...I've been listeing to this album for over 25 years and just found out that JOE SATRIANI sings backup on this album. WHAT.THE.EFF???

DAY 18!: RADIOHEAD - THE BENDS

TRIPLE.GUITAR.ATTACK!

This album was really the only response that Radiohead COULD have had to "Pablo Honey". That album had the biggest hit of their careers to date ("Creep") and as much as I love it, it pretty much falls squarely in the Oasis mode of brit pop that was going on at the time. It's great, but it was safe. "The Bends" on the other hand, not so much. Sure it has a few hit ballads on it in "Fake Plastic Trees" and "High and Dry" but it also has the noise rock freak out of "My Iron Lung" to offset the quietness. Radiohead really began to step out of their own shadow on this one and more and more you can hear the work that they did on this album coming back into what they are doing today. Read more about the album below

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_bends_album

Next Up: Split Enz sorta reforms to make don't you dare care it sissy rock.

DAY 16!: DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS - Southern Rock Opera

This album is quite simply a love letter to Rock N Roll. Craig Finn is often quoted as saying the reason he got back intorock and started the Hold Steady was because he saw a DBT show on New Years (where they would have been playing most of these songs) and I 100% believe him. I can't really remember what was going on in music at the time I heard this, I just know that it probably wasn't good. I had heard about this album for about a 1 1/2  years before I heard it. I had missed seeing it played, twice, at a bar that was maybe 2 blocks away and smaller than my apartment. I had written the band off for no reason in particular....then one day, for no particular reason, I decided to go out and buy the damn album. I had this big weekend planned where I was going to paint my place and fix it up a little. Totally exciting, I know. I think my rational was that I needed something new to listen to, and this was before the days when I could have downloaded whatever i wanted in under a minute so I had no choice but to drag my ass to the record store and give them my cash. Got home with it, had everything prepped to start painting and then went and hit play...which is when all hell broke loose. What was coming out of my speakers wasn't new, wasn't really original...what it was was F@#@ING ROCK!!!. I eventually stopped painting and listened to BOTH albums straight through. Then I started painting and listened to it again, and again, and again. I listened to that damn album at least 10 times that day, and I can honestly tell you that whatever funk I was in at the time was gone afterwards. But enough about that. This album is one big boozy redneck storytelling opus, as much a tribute to 
Lynyrd Skynyrd
 as it is to the South as a whole. With a sound that can best be described as the Stones filtered through a swamp made out of Faulkner, (though that's probably giving Hood a little too much credit...as good a storyteller as he is, one wouldn't necessarily describe his mastery of language as "exceptional")  it literally bleeds out of your speakers. You can't turn it off and you really can't forget it. I realize that at least half of the people reading this already have everything thing the Truckers have ever done, so for them I'd remind you that this is out on VINYL now, so you can always buy it again...for the rest of you, grab a bottle of whiskey and a case of mickeys big mouth, turn your amp up to 11 and hang on because you're really, really gonna enjoy the s@#t out of this record.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Rock_Opera

Next Up: Fledgling guitar god causes heads across the world to asplode...errr....erupt.

DAY 15!: UNCLE TUPELO - STILL FEEL GONE

First, a little history. Uncle Tupelo was a band made up of what we know today as Wilco and Son Volt. Jeff Tweedy and Jay Farrar made for albums together before calling it quits, but they were good enough to supposedly start a musical movement known as "alt-country". If you want to know more, read on at the bottom.

If pressed I would tell you that Uncle Tupelo is my favorite band....ever. But I don't listen to them all the time and I'm not fanatical about tracking down each and every recorded minute, studio outtake or bootleg, but they are still my favorite band. I can put on any album by them and instantly feel pretty damn good about the world no matter what's going on. No matter how many times I hear the song "Gun", it loses none of it's rock. None of the songs do, and as much as this band could be labeled "coal miner rock" as it is labeled "alt country", it never ever gets old for me, never sounds dated, and is pretty much perfect. "Still Feel Gone" is my favorite album by them, and I think it avoids the "coal miner rock" label the best and sticks with the "alt country". WIth songs like  "Gun", "Watch Me Fall", "Cold Shoulder" and "If That's Alright", it highlights the fact that even at a young age (23-24) Jeff Tweedy was already a FREAKISHLY good songwriter and gives a little glimpse of what was to come in later years.. Jay Farrar's contributions are great as well, but this was Tweedy's record and he owned it with only a handful of songs. Later albums got back to the "coal miner rock" but for 38 minutes in 1991 Uncle Tupelo straddled the line between country and punk perfectly to deliver this masterpiece to you. Hope you enjoy it and hope that if you weren't a fan before, you will be now.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Still_Feel_Gone


Next Up: A double shot of eye opening redneck rock to save the world.

DAY 14!: NEKO CASE - BLACKLISTED

Good morning. For those of you who have never heard/heard of this album you are the luckiest people alive, because now not only have you heard of it...YOU HAVE IT!! In all honesty, Daria introduced me to this amazing singer/songwriter/goddess and I was so impressed for a number of reasons I figured it might be a good idea to ask her out (Daria that is) which seems to have been a pretty good idea so far. So that right there is reason number one for listening to Neko Case  - SHE BRINGS PEOPLE TOGETHER. 

Of course in addition to that there is the fact that she has one of the best voices of the last century (disregarding classical/opera of course), she has a wicked sense of humor, she writes great, great, EFFING GREAT songs, can perform in a variety of genres with ease, and if all that hasn't convinced you yet, doods....she is WAY easy on the eyes (sorry to all the ladies reading this but sometimes that's what it takes to get the menfolk listening to the girly singers). Point is, Neko Case is the real deal,  the whole package, the burrito supreme and if she's not in your list of favorites she soon will be.

As for the album, it's one of her best. They ALL are good but if you had to pick one to take to a desert island it would be this one. These songs are steeped in a creepy noir that is almost country, slightly gothic, but mostly just gorgeous.  It's perfect October/Fall listening and really it's the type of album you should just put on and listen to straight through. Take an hour some night this week and just do that. You won't regret it.

Also, if it seems like I gushing about her (I am) it's only because it has been decided that since Daria gets to marry Tunde Adebimpe (TV On The Radio) that I get to marry Ms. Neko Case (I'm SURE she'll say yes...SURE of it)...so I'm really just fluffing my future wife here...

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blacklisted_(album)

Next up: Fear, loathing and redneck punk in Belleville, Illinois

DAY 13!: BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN - NEBRASKA

First off, I know I've been mislabeling some of the days but with this much rock it gets confusing sometimes and I get lost. Now it's sort of appropriate an album by the Boss come directly after The Hold Steady because if you listen to them for even 5 minutes you realize they freakin LOVE Springsteen...but they don't sound like this album. This is Springsteen in soft rock mode, and by that I don't mean Air Supply, I mean that it's basically just him so at least the music in the songs has none of the volume that his efforts with the E Street Band. It's a quiet, vaguely depressing album, but one of the greats none the less. Of note is the track "Atlantic City"...if you can point me to a better track by Springsteen with or without the E Street band I would love to hear it...I'd be skeptical, but I'd love to hear it. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nebraska_(album)

Next up: Fiery haired country/indie goddess breaks hearts and keeps it creepy all for you

DAY 12!: THE HOLD STEADY - SEPARATION SUNDAY

The only thing I have to say about this album is that there are rock records and there are ROCK ROCK RECORDS....this one is the latter. Most people heard about The Hold Steady after "Boys and Girls in America", and as good/great as that album is, "Separation" is where the real s@#t lives. If this album only had "Your Little Hoodrat Friend" on it (which for rmy money is THE best rock song of the past 10 years) it would still be better than 99.99 % of everything put out in the last few years. Luckily there are 10 more tracks of AWESOME to be had. Read on below for more.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separation_Sunday


Next Up: The Hold Steady travel back in time, get legendary and go to Atlantic City

DAY 11!: MORPHINE - CURE FOR PAIN

If anyone ever told me that a band made up using the following instrumentation would be just about the coolest thing EVER, I would have laughed and made a note to never listen to that person again. WITNESS:

  • Mark Sandman - 2-string slide bass, vocals, organ, tritar (3-string slide guitar), guitar, piano (1989-1999)
  • Dana Colley - baritone sax, tenor sax, double sax, triangle (1989-1999)
  • Billy Conway - various percussion (1993-1999)
  • Jerome Deupree - various percussion (1989-1993, 1998-1999


2 string bass? Saxaphone? No guitar? Too weird to even bother with it, right? WRONG! Armed with the bare minimum of instruments Morphine relied instead on Sandman's ridiculously cool voice, great stories and the overall feeling of noir that each and every song is steeped in to produce what is likely some of the coolest, best rock music ever made. "Cure for Pain" was their second album and the first time they really got commercial appeal but the fact that anyone could ignore this album for a second is unbelievable. It's one thing to make an album that doesn't have one bad song on it, but quite another to make an album where each and every song is so good that you could put it on repeat and just listen to THAT ONE TRACK for 45 minutes. And I'm leaving out the title track, which is easily one of the top 10 songs written in the history of rock.

Where is the ritual
And tell me where where is the taste
Where is the sacrifice
And tell me where where is the faith
Someday there'll be a cure for pain
That's the day I throw my drugs away
When they find a cure for pain
Where is the cave
Where the wise woman went
And tell me where
Where's all that money that I spent
I propose a toast to my self control
You see it crawling helpless on the floor
Someday there'll be a cure for pain
That's the day I throw my drugs away
When they find a cure for pain (x2)
When they find a cure find a cure for pain


That is PURE AWESOME up above there, even with out the music. If you haven't heard this album DOWNLOAD IT RIGHT THE F@#@ NOW and if you have you already know. 


Next up: Your little hoodrat friend finds out how a resurrection really feels