Day 31: Yes - Yessongs

 

WHOA DOOD!!!!!! FAR OUT!!!!!My relationship with this album starts way back in early High School. The first Yes song I ever heard was of course "Owner of  Lonely Heart", which is 100% the opposite of all things that Yes actually are (I do love it though..and you do too). When faced with what to get next in the Yes catalog one was faced with a hard choice. Sure, they all had covers that had the most awesome space whales (see Roger Dean's work here..omg..I actualy wasn't prepared for how awesome that site is) that were available commercially at the time (I hear the black market space whales were EXQUISITE) but in the end they all looked the same, so it came down to a choice of quantity over quality, and running a RIDICULOUS 2.1 hours over two discs, "Yessongs" certainly had that. But it had more. It's the gateway to Yes. It covered all of there "hits" and some of their weirder stuff along the way. In short, IT WAS FUCKING AWESOME. ESPECIALLY for a 16 year old dood. I'm pretty sure that I listened to it at least once every day while doing my homework (which could explain a lot) for the remainder of my High School years and to say those were the my best memories of being a kid and listening to music would be a huge understatement.  

Jump now to college and my friend Chico. To say he was a stoner would be putting it mildly, but beyond that he loved good (stoner) music just as much as I did. And he had a copy of Yessong TOO. The last year at Tech we shared a house together and I can assure you that more often than not that album was playing in the back room where we played Nintendo and took bong hits...or didn't because smart people don't do that, right.

Jump forward to the aftermath of Hurricane Isabel in Richmond. I shared a house with the Wards for a good while, me living downstairs and them up,  and we had a pretty sweet backyard until the storm came through. It left us with a giant tree in the backyard and no fence. To say that house was a party house would be putting it mildly, and many (most nights) at least one or all of us could be found downright drunk in the backyard. But one of my favorite nights in the backyard was after we had returned from who knows where (probably the Taphouse) and decided it would be a GREAT idea to put Yessongs on at an UNGODLY volume and go hang out on the tree in the back. I'm quite positive the neighborhood loved us for that, and, in fact, am surprised we weren't arrested for disturbing the peace, but we weren't and it was awesome

Jump forward again to last August. I think I had known Andre for about a year at that point and we had always talked about playing music. I hadn't played in years and had my trepidations but I pulled the trigger anyways. We huddled in his basement with Bryan and Andrew and at first just tried to learn Andrew's songs, but quickly realized that there were other, stranger creative avenues to be traveled. In short, we became a band. A band that fucking LOVED music. When we weren't playing were talking about, listening to, reading about and generally thinking about music all the time. We all came from different backgrounds but all loved what we were doing equally. It didn't matter if it was more hippy, more canadian, more classical or more punk...it was all music. It was (and is) fantastic. And it only got better when I dropped the "Yessongs" bomb. First they heard it. Then they saw the artwork, then they lost there MINDS. It felt like high school again were you were free to nerd out and nert out BIGTIME. And everyone got in the band that this was CAPE ROCK. It was so bad it was good, but once it got under your skin it was GREAT.

The point of all this rambling is really the point of Rocktober this year. If it's not completely obvious to you after reading all of these stories, I reached out to a bunch of people and asked them to contribute, the only stipulation be that the album they pick have some real meaning to them, a story, and that they be able to convey that story. If you're on this list or are reading these emails I can be sure of at least one thing about you: You love music. We ALL love music. No matter how different we are from each other or how different the life I live is from yours or your neighbors or whoever you can think of, we all can sit down at the table and tell a story about why we love a particular album or band or just music in general. It can do something as huge as saving your life as small as putting a smile on an old friends face. It can make you dance around like a fool or shed real tears at the hit of a chord. To me personally it means everything. And it means everything to me that the people I know, are friends with, and love are just as excited about music as I am. 

Rocktober is over folks, but that doesn't mean that you need to stop telling your stories, stop sharing your music, stop letting people in on what makes you, you. I know I sure as hell won't, though you likely won't be getting an album a day like this till next year. Sure you may get an occasional poorly written email about some album that rocks my face off, but more than likely i'll be waiting to hear from you as I'll be busy making music...or at least trying to. And if we're very VERY lucky someday soon someone will see fit to send an email to all of their friends just to let them know that hey,  THIS FUCKING ROCKS, and keep the whole thing going.

 

Until next year

Kevin

 

 

Day 29: Grateful Dead - One From The Vault

I know.

Why this when there are HUNDREDS of shows online to choose from. Well, back in the day they weren't online and about the only thing that circulated were average sounding tapes. But not this. This was a SOUNDBOARD. And it was practically my first intro to the Dead. My real first intro, like many my age was "Without a Net", which is fantastic in it's own right, but it was a BIG release. This was smaller. It felt a hell of a lot cooler, and my god the packaging. How fucking awesome was the packaging? Anyways. My family used to own a furniture company. It was in Bedford, VA and we resided in Forest, VA...or at least we did during this time. Bedford is about exactly 30 minutes away, and for 2 summers I drove there everyday to work on the 4th (5th? Which was it?) packing up all the furniture all the people who worked for us made. I worked with a guy named Punkin', who could be recognized as such by his amazingly round beer gut. It stuck right out there like a perfect globe. Punkin' was good people...REAL good people and I learned a lot from him about how to be in the world without going crazy or being an asshole. RIP my friend. You bought me beer. You imparted knowledge. You smoked cigarettes with me. You taught me how to eat a tomato with just salt and pepper. You are a part of who I am. 

So Punkin' and I packed furniture and listened to country music. BAD country music. I heard it all. All the bad Randy Travis, Garth Brooks, and whoever else had a hit that year. Crap.."Achy Breaky Heart" broke that year... and it nearly broke me. Basically, by day I was drowning in this crap, but the ride home was where I got to forget about it all.

30 minutes starting off with "Franklins Tower" or "Must Have Been the Roses" and by the time I got home I had forgotten all about the heat, the monotony and most of all the TERRIBLE FUCKING COUNTRY. It saved, at the very least, my sanity.

I'll through this out there too. Even though there is no way  to accurately quantify this, I think I have listened to this album more times than any other album I have ever owned. EVAR. 

That's huge. 

I miss those rides. I miss the heat. And the monotony. Sometimes I even miss Punkin'. But those days are gone. LONG gone.

That part of the country sucks ass if you're looking for something to do, but my god is it beautiful. Add some good ol' Grateful Dead on top of that and I'd say you've got the makings of something that's almost perfect....and it was.

So, on what is sure to be a fine Fall weekend, roll down the windows, drop the digital needle on this baby and just roll with it....that's my plan..and it would probably be Punkin's too.

 

We're down to the final TWO folks. It can't get any worse...or can it? Mwah ha ha...hahaha..hahhaahaha..cough...dammit.

 

 

Day 28: Boston - Third Stage

I said I wouldn't do it. I promised people that this absolutely wouldn't happen. I've sent it out too many times. It contains more ASSROCK than any one person could possibly handle....but FUCK IT!! I LOVE THIS FUCKING ALBUM..

BOSTON - THIRD FUCKING STAGE MOTHERFUCKERS!!!!!!!!

I'll just lay it out like this. It's hard being a man. You want to be free. I mean, these ladies are cool and all but in the end they're just draggin us down man. And there's SO many of them. What's a guy to do? 

HOW ABOUT WRITE AN ENTIRE ALBUM ABOUT COMMITMENT THAT STARTS AND ENDS WITH TWO DIFFERENT WOMEN!!!!

That's right. I won't give my full thesis right now but it goes something like this. Track for track 

1.) Amanda - It's the hit. It's the song you know. And it's about Amanda, who is apparently being loved by someone in a very creepy fashion that involves being taken by surprise and made to realize.

2.) We're Ready - This is it. This is the L-A-D-Y. I know doods...it's lame that I'm gonna be steady with one lady, but you just don't know doods...let me EXPLAIN.

3.)  The Launch - Pretty self explanatory..and if not..IT"S SEX PEOPLE...DOIN' IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

4.) Cool the Engines - WHOA LADY! All this doing it is FANFUCKINGTASTIC but we gotta take a break...for real and maybe METAPHORICALLY (blew your mind a little bit there, didn't I)

5.) My Destination - Nope I was wrong. YOU. ARE. IT!!

6.) A New World - WHOA MAN. COMMITTED LOVE IS GROOVY

7.) To Be Man - annnnnnnnnnnnd.....now that I'm all committed what the fuck is this all about? I mean...life is so tempting and shit. 

8.) I Think I Like It  - NOPE. BACK ON THE YOU TRAIN BABY!!!! This is totally the right thing to do...for both of us...really

9.) Can'tcha Say (Your Believe in Me) Still in Love - Alright...look lady...I am pouring my fucking HEART out to you..can't you see that..I have FEELINGS. AND I'M A MAN. REAL FUCKING FEELINGS

and lastly

10.) "Hollyan" - wait...what the hell is going on here...WHO THE FUCK IS HOLLYANN???? WHAT HAPPENED TO AMANDA??? AND WHY DOES THIS SONG SOUND JUST LIKE "AMANDA" BUT IT'S CALLED "HOLLYANN"!!!!!! IT'S SO WEIRD. OMG .THE 70'S WERE FUCKING AWESEOME...EVEN THOUGH THE ALBUM CAME OUT IN 1986 THE SEVENTIES WERE FUCKING AWESOME. ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

like I said

I fucking LOVE this album...and that's that....motherfuckers.

 

 

 

Day 27: Vic Chesnutt - About To Choke

 

I first heard about this guy around '95 or so. I used to be a HUGE REM fan and generally paid attention when they either recommended or worked with another artist. I can't remember what single it was but they covered a song of his called "Sponge"...it took me 3 days to download....and it wasn't that good....so why I ever gave him a second chance I'll never know. In Lynchburg, where I grew up, as well as Blacksburg, where I went to school there was a place called The Record Exchange. It was a chain to be sure, but it was a TINY chain...and it had TONS of used music. I found Blind Melon's "Soup" there for 3 bucks for f@#ks sake...and I found "About To Choke". I don't think I had even been in Lynchburg for a few years so I don't know why I was there or why I decided to stop by The Record Exchange that day...it was like I was drawn to it or something. I don't even remember looking for anything in particular. I hadn't read any reviews of the album, in fact, I didn't even know that it was out, so it was a little odd that out of everything in that store I went, almost directly, to the used CD bins, plucked up my $2 copy of "About To Choke" and was on my very way. Now? Now that albums is part of my musical DNA. It's not so much that I consider it an impressive album by any stretch of the imagination. It just creates this...mood....like you're sitting on a porch and it's sweltering outside and your buddy is sitting there beside you singing these sometimes ridiculous, but mostly fantastic songs...and you're drinking a beer, or a tea, and sweating and probably smoking.

I project a lot onto this album because those are the things that I was most likely to be doing while listening to it. For years it played nightly on my porch overlooking Monument Avenue or in Church Hill looking out over Libby park, until I gave it away to my friend Dan thinking that I could find a new copy pronto. 

I couldn't. 

It went out of print. 

I went without it for 3 or so years. But when I finally found a copy, I picked up his whole damn catalog in the process.. and it was all incredible. It was like winning the musical lottery, and while I don't feel there was a more consistent album after this one there were always nuggets that you could find to be some of the best songs ever written. Sure this guy got ALL of the respect but how was he not bigger? Why was he not selling out shows, big shows, everywhere he went. Maybe someday he'd get his due. Maybe someday..

 .....or maybe not.....

Sadly, someday won't happen. 

Vic Chesnutt succeeded in committing suicide on December 25 of last year. And I'm sad about that. Still. But on the plane ride back from Wisconsin after the new year I put on the final track of this album, "See You Around" and was able to smile a little bit knowing that he shared his tremendous talent with us for at least a little while.

Go ahead and download this. Listen to it a few times, and after you've done this and you've let it get under skin...go out and devour his entire catalog...he deserves it...and you'll be better for it.

 

 

Day 26: Jeff Tweedy Live at The Paramount, Charlottesville, VA.

So HERE's something different. This isn't an album you can't get...until now at least...or if you're good at the internets..or if you taped the thing. It's a live show and it means a WHOLE lot.

I've known the lady now for about 9 years...I think..maybe 8...point is I've known her for a long time. From the get go we've always had a deep unhealthy love of music in common. Used to be I'd see her a few times a year when our mutual friend threw BBQ's...pretty much every holiday. It was always great because invariably we'd be the last ones up, usually trying to outdo one another with knowledge of some obscure band or some great album the other hadn't heard. This would go on for a few hours until we would eventually succumb to the multiple adult beverages we had consumed earlier that day and that was that.. For me at least it was an education, I always looked forward to the holidays because I knew I'd get the chance to see her again and find out what she was up to..musically of course.

Holy shit Rocky Horror Glee is on..this is gonna be AWESOME..

I digress 

ANYWAYS....jump forward a few years...we'd always seen each at those parties but for whatever reason I decided that it might be cool to see her outside that setting and that was that. One problem

She lived in DC. I lived in Richmond. 

Didn't really lend itself to hanging out...that is until Jeff Tweedy announced he was playing at the Paramount...in Cville. 

HOLY SHIT!! WE BOTH LOVED JEFF TWEEDY!!!! CHARLOTTESVILLE IS PRACTICALLY EQUIDISTANT FROM EACH OF US!! THIS IS THE MOST AWESOME THING THAT COULD EVER HAVE HAPPENED!!

Except...was it a date? was it not a date? What the hell was going on. This is so weird.

The day came. I figured it was all cool. I was waiting on the Downtown Mall waiting for her to arrive when I get a phone call. It's my sister. My brother in laws brother had died..and right as I"m talking to her about it up walks the lady...OH CRAP...I can't talk about this, can I? I mean you're supposed to be ON for a date...or not date...holy freaking crap. So I told her what had happened. She took in stride...gracefully even (a trait I love about her till this day)...and then we went about the evening...which was great but not eventful. A quick dinner at Miller's, a few beers and then the show...and what a show it was. We even got a "Cars Can't Escape"...if you haven't seen Tweedy solo just know that he is an entertainer of the highest caliber...but you'll find that out when you listen to this. Moving along, we got out of the show and it was time to go...we both had parked down by Water street so we took a little walk and then it was time to say goodnight...with THE MOST AWKWARD HUG THAT HAS EVER OCCURRED IN THE HISTORY OF ALL HUGS. Seriously folks...it was fucked up. 

It took a few more weeks from that night but eventually we both just sorta went for it. Now, after almost four years we both live in DC, we have a cat (well he was mine, but he likes her more, and can I blame him? She is WAY prettier) and we both survived last year. And....I've never been happier. EVER. And thanks to always amazing efforts of Taper Craig I can remember exactly what that first night was like every time I dial this album up and push play.

Oh...and for the record...Jeff Tweedy is returning to the Paramount on December 8th. Tickets go onsale tomorrow...and you can be damn sure that we'll be there.

That's it for now. We're in the final stretch for Rocktober folks and it might get interesting.

 

 

Day 25: Gorillaz - Demon Days

 

Can't lie, I don't even know what this album means to me except that it easily, out of the 200 some odd gigs of muzac I have at my disposal, the most played and most likely my favorite. It wasn't always this way. I'm notoriously and embarrassingly unexposed to all hip-hop and this thing has it running all through it's veins. So why in the world would I like it? I don't know. Maybe it's the fact that Dennis Hopper is on it? Maybe Danger Mouse's production is inescapably pleasing. I just don't know. But I do know that I hear the opening notes of "Oh Green World" and i'm locked in. And I'm liable to listen to it twice. Same goes for "Kids With Guns"....and "Last Living Souls". DAMMIT same goes for every song on this album. And don't get me started on this live performance the entire freaking album. It's utterly fantastic. It's magic. Real, honest to god MAGIC

Somehow Damon Albarn, much like James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem has done as well, has found a way to bring everything that you may not be likely to like into a giant musical stew that just barely work......but whoa daddy does it ever work. So maybe that's what it means to me. Write great songs and the people will come. Even the people you didn't invite. They won't be able to help themselves.

 

 

Day 24: The Hold Steady - Almost Killed Me

As anyone who gets this email is well aware, coming up on 1 year ago my body tried to kill me. It failed...miserably..but that's not to say it didn't give it a really fucking good try and put me through hell in the process. I don't know if I can ever accurately convey what it's like to be laid up in the hospital after that kind of surgery. To be that completely useless and be that completely unable to do a damn thing about it. And the pain? Unless you have that done to you there aren't even words, but lets just say ONE weird side effect from experiencing it is that I have a hard time watching violent films/TV now...seriously. All in all it was a learning experience..or something. A learning experience that very nearly broke me. It's unclear weather I went a little crazy in hospital....and who could tell with all the drugs, but sometimes it feels like I did. Sometimes I'm positive that I lost my mind. And if it weren't for The Hold Steady I probably would have never got it back. It doesn't make sense, because the song is not about anything that pertains to my situation at the time, but the line from the opening track that goes "gotta start it with a positive jam" and then the giant wash of guitars that follows played over and over and over and over and over and over and over..it was in my head. It was a mantra. It was simple. It was true. It meant that rock and roll could save your life. It drove out the bad thoughts, the visions of faces everywhere, the fear, the pain...

It meant that I was going to be OK.

I loved this album long before going into the hospital, and the story I'm telling you now is only about the first song on the disc, but venture beyond that and you'll find out why, even though I loathe their latest album, The Hold Steady really is one of the best bands to have ever existed. You need to hear them, and if you have already you know why you have to listen to them again and again and again and again and again and.... 

Last year I sent out "Separation Sunday", their second album, and while it's definitely a much better album, it can never take the place in my heart (see what I did there?) that "Almost Killed Me" has now.  

 

 

Day 23: The Smiths - The Smiths

It started Sophomore year with a guy named Ox. Ox could sing...really sing. Ox loved the Smiths. Soon everyone on the hall loved the Smiths because Ox would sing the Smiths. A little more time and EVERYONE would sing the Smiths. At every party. At the drop of a hat. It lived in our stereo. It never left. Invariably at every single party we threw it played and people sang, and I suspect if you mention it to anyone in the group of about 8-10 of us they'll know exactly what you're talking about. They'll think of Pritchard. Of Foxridge. Of Pheasant Run. I don't even know if we ever made it past the first track, but I can't hear it today without thinking of every good time I ever had in Blacksburg and the people I had them with. I was even IN Blacksburg last weekend for the first time in 13 years and dammit if "Reel Around The Fountain" didn't pop into my head the second I hit downtown. All songs have special and different meanings for everyone, but for me, out of all the artists whose entire catalogs I celebrate, I don't think there is a single one where I can hear it and be instantly and viscerally transported back to a specific place in my past.. A place I can see, hear, smell...a place I was really lucky to have been in. So thanks, Chris, Grant, Jeremy, Ox, Tara, Kim, Christie, Alicia, Becca, Chico, Tom, Frank, Jason and whoever else I'm forgetting....it was a blast.

 

Day 22: U2 - Zooropa

Everyone loved U2 in High School. They were fucking awesome. They had a run of badass albums from the "Boy" to "The Joshua" try that really is sort of unheard of today. And if that wasn't enough the then released "Rattle And Hum" which sort of summed up everything they had ever been while fixing a keen eye squarely on the future of U2.

And then they went away.

Seriously. WTF?

But then they came back. And "Achtung Baby" was HUGE...some even think it was their best album...but not me. No, I frakking love "Achtung Baby" backwards and forwards but it's what they did next that has continued to impress over the years. "Zooropa" was an album made by a band who was not content with their own limitations. An album made by a band that really could have done anything after "Achtung" as long as it was the same...but they didn't. "Zooropa" was wildly experimental for the time. It had electronic blips and bleeps, drum machines, weird synths...everything that U2 was not. And for the most part, it bombed with the older fans..."Numb" was TOO out there."Lemon"? Why in the hell is he singling like that. JOHNNY CASH IS ON A U2 ALBUM????? Yes people...Johnny FRAKKING Cash is on a U2 album, and that's one of the many reasons I love it so. Instead of taking the path that they could have taken, the one where they just keep following the same formula over and over and OVER...a path which they are clearly on these days...U2 decided to push the limits of pop music (at the time) while in the process pushing their own limits as to how far away from that U2 sound they could possibly get. That's some role model worth behavior folks, and I mean to tell you that whenever I wonder what an artist, or even myself, can do musically if they just push themselves I look to "Zooropa" for the answer

It should be noted also, that the very next album, "Pop" they tried again...only that time they failed...miserably...in fact it's one of the worst albums I've ever heard...but you can't hit a home run if you stay on the bench now can ya?

 

 

 

Day 21: Dire Straits - Brothers In Arms

 

First, there is the video. We all know it. All computer generated-y with an extra dose of Sting vocals. It's one of the most, if not THE most iconic music videos of all time. But how many people actually went and listened to the rest of the album. I remember this was exactly the second CD I ever bought. The first was Rick Springfield's "Tao". I know...sad...but I had this awful habit in the 80's of buying the album directly AFTER the one the hit was one...so I also have Journey's "Raised On Radio", Def Leppard's "Hysteria" (OK...I did right on that one) , some god awful Toto album...might as well throw some Asia in there too and...wait for it....CHICAGO 18!!!  But "Brothers In Arms" was the second, and it's followed me throughout my life. I could fill up Rocktober with all the stories I have around this album, but I'll just relay the most fitting, at least by my reckoning. It was sometime between Christmas and New Years and I had been playing with my MATTEL SYNSONIC DRUMS for a few days and still hadn't quite figured them out. "Money For Nothing" had been huge but the new single was "Walk of LIfe" and I was determined to learn it...in fact it was the first "rock" song I would ever learn...crazy. Anyways, cut to later that day...my friend Scott is over and HE wants to learn this shit too..except he can actually play the damn drums.....so I relent and move back to the keyboards. For the next 2 hours, white grape juice in hands, we fucking murdered that song...the things we did to it can't really be described, and probably never should be. Suffice to say I owe all apologies to my entire family, and especially our hamster who was trapped in the kitchen next door and heard every awful awful note. Pooky, you were made of steel my friend. STEEL. As horrible as all of it was, it didn't sound horrible to us..in fact, it was glorious. Scott was nailing every drum beat exactly where it should be and the pipe organ on my keyboard sounded as big as a church as I pounded out the chords...duh duh...duh duh DUH duh duh duh duh. 

HOLY CRAP!! WE WERE ROCK STARS!!! 

That's exactly how it felt.... and still feels as i'm sitting here remembering it today. It was, as far as I can tell, the first time I ever thought that I really want to make music. Sure, ALL of the other songs on this album are great. "So Far Away"? CLASSIC. "You're Latest Trick"? I can tell you that the guy who stole my first girlfriend in college listened to it over and over and over when she ultimately dumped him. "Why Worry"? Just yesterday my lady laughed at me for enjoying the smooth stylings of a song that just keeps getting better every year I get older.

Point is...this whole song cycle is fantastic, even in the shadow of such a huge hit as "Money For Nothing". It all just works, even if it is oh so very 80's...but "Walk of Life"?  "Walk of Life" made, and still makes me want to be a rock star. 

Hopefully some song, maybe even that one, will someday make you want to be a rock star too.

 

 

 

Day 20: Sleater Kinney - One Beat

Usually when I think about the artist I want to be when I grow up, it's an alt-country chanteuses along the lines of Neko Case or Jenny Lewis circa Rabbit Fur Coat.   Except when I listen to Sleater-Kinney. Then I want to be a in kick-ass-and-take-names rock band.  
The story goes that these ladies emerged from the Pacific Northwest riot grrl scene to make a name for themselves doing punk-inspired indie rock spiked with progressive politics and a decidedly feminist point of view.   But before you assume that you've already seen them at Lilith Fair, listen to Sympathy.  This song had me dancing around the kitchen like a fool on first listen.  And about 1,000 listens later, the lyrics still have me thinking about what I take for granted.  
Since falling hard and fast for the band on the basis of Sympathy and the album it lives on, I've felt a bit like a mistreated spouse.  First they announce that they're breaking up.  Then the very last show I have a chance to see is canceled due to an electrical problem at the venue.  But rumors of a reunion keep me hopeful.  As does the prospect that when they do reunite, I might be up there with them. I'll probably stick to dancing in the kitchen when no one's looking, but hey, a girl can dream, can't she?

 

 

 

Day 18: Whiskeytown - Pneumonia

I have to break theme a little bit hear and say that I don't have any story a to why this album is important to me, other then it is frakking great, unless the fact that it is a damn near perfect album can be counted as a reason for meaning. I mean, it's really not fair that even from the very start Ryan Adams killed it. Who does that? Really? Sure, he had his collaborators in Whiskeytown, but it really was the Ryan Adams show from the very beginning. And from here he just got BETTER (if you ignore "29" that is)

IT'S.NOT.FRAKKING.FAIR. 

Arguably, this isn't even Whiskeytown's best album, but does it really matter when it's this good? Crap...ALL of their albums are better then just about anything....and it's because of RYAN FRAKKING ADAMS!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. I CAN"T TAKE IT!!!!!!!

I HATES YOU RYAN ADAMS!!!!!!

But you should feel free to love him, or Whiskeytown, or both....but definitely love this album.....you have to....because sometimes things are important simply because they ARE.

 

 

Day 17: Kyuss - Welcome To Sky Valley

When I was first introduced to Kyuss a guy told me to check out this band that plays their guitars through base amps and has this wicked melodic sound (I have no way of validating whether or not this is true).  I picked up Blues for the Red Sun and fell in love.  The following album, Sky Valley, just blew my mind.  It will rock your nutz off with some of the most melodic metal/hard rock you have ever heard and this was also back when John Garcia's voice was money.  To top it all off with a super-cool effect (and one I personally hold very dear) they cut the CD with only three tracks to cover all 10 songs--they actually wanted folks to listen to the album.  I know, that's crazy talk especially these days.  Demon Cleaner is pure hard rock genius and Space Cadet will put even the most long haired tatooed satan worshipper into an acoustical trance of awe.  All ten tracks are epic rock songs (several in the 5-7minute range) and there's even a fun bonus at the end.
Aight, I'm off to prepare for another afternoon of looking at the same Hindu temple a dozen more times and acting really impressed.
Peace out

Day 16: Pink Floyd - Obscured By Clouds

Greetings from Blacksburg. Somehow I ended up here this fine day, and on Homecoming weekend no less. First time in 13 years and it's a little weird to see how this place has grown, but never mind that let's get to the muzac. I grew up on Pink Floyd. Partially because it was about the only thing to listen to in my town, partially because I was a dood, and doods listened to the Floyd. Or at least I thought I did. When I arrived on the Va Tech campus my freshmen year I thought I was well equipped. I had my Zepplin, I knew the Wall back and forth, new my Grateful Dead...shit, I had even tried pot...once...and then never again. I thought I had it made. Then I met Jeremy Mydlinski aka "Hooter". He lived across the hall from me. He had all of this down pat, sure, but he had more...he smoked A LOT of pot...i mean it, seriously. Based on what happened next and nearest I can figure is that this somehow drives a person to explore further, to push on to the weirder stuff in muzac....that the weird stuff just sounds better when you're on the pot...or so I've heard. Anyways, one day he dropped this bomb on me. There were Floyd records before Dark Side of the Moon....LOT'S of them....and man were they weird. "Atom Heart Mother"? Seriously, WTF? "Ummagumma"? ZOMG! I can't take it!!!! It was hard work, but we finally came to this album..."Obscured by Clouds". "Obscured" is actually a soundtrack to a film (cuz the Floyd did that type of thing) which is arguably weirder than ANYTHING the Floyd every came up with sonically, but on this disc they actually come at times as a serious down the middle rock band. Sure there's some spacious groovy space sounds as well as a healthy dose of weird chanting and animal songs but there was also some gorgeous piano work (Wot's...Uh The Deal), some freaky folk (Free Four) and some straight ahead ROCK ("The Gold It's In The"...which is actually one of my favorite songs of ALL TIME). This is a very different Floyd then you're probably familiar with. This is a Floyd that influenced bands like Blitzen Trapper and Fleet Foxes. A Floyd that was trying to fit in with that weird/awesome psychedlic pop sound that was going on in the early 70's. 

This is Floyd distilled down to what they really are...an undeniably great frakking band.

Whether you are on, or off the pot.

 

 

Day 15: Jodeci - Diary Of A Mad Band

I know this isn’t a “rock” album but, there’s a generation of Canasians out there that facilitated and enhanced the act of making love by playing this album for their lady(yies). “Diary of a Mad Band” by Jodeci is guaranteed to startle your nether regions into a high frequency quiver that is sure to lubricate her mojo. Every song builds upon the last to help you construct your way to that glorious climax. If this album isn’t really your thing… then it might be time to take a long introspective look into your soul and ask yourself… is making sweet sweet love to your lady, really your thing?*

 

*Kevin here...um...WOW...just WOW to the whole thing.

 

 

Day 14: David Bowie - Scary Monsters

This album was released immediately following Bowie's late 70s"Berlin" period, which saw him working with Brian Eno and mixing electronic sounds with some of his more art-rock leanings. So, what do you do next when you are David Bowie, an artist generally known to never rest on his laurels and always doing SOMETHING new or at leastdifferent than the last? Get back to pop songs, of course, with "Fashion" and "Ashes to Ashes" being probably the most well known
cuts off of "Scary Monsters". Oh, and hire Robert Fripp to add his angular, dense proggy guitar leads to over half of the record. Yeah. Not sure what's with the weird Ono-ish female vocal on "It's No Game" but even that doesn't stop me from loving this odd record that i find myself coming back to more than most other of Bowie's records.

I saw Bowie at the Roseland Ballroom in NYC back in '97 I think it was (7 rows back, GA!), and he opened with the title track, "Scary Monsters", but played it more in the style he was entertaining then - Reznor-ish heavy rock. Re-invented again. And still awesome.

 

 

Day 13: Josh Ritter - The Animal Years

For those of you who aren't familiar with Josh Ritter, I strongly suggest you give this album a listen. Although I think all of his albums are great, this is my favorite.  I like every song.  In fact, I secretly added a bunch of these songs to the dinner music playlist at my wedding in an attempt to win over more Josh Ritter fans.  I'm not quite sure Josh Ritter meets the full "Rock" level of Rocktober.  However, if you turn it up really loud, and drink a few beers it may help.  If nothing else, this cd should put you in a good mood.

If you need any more encouragement, I suggest checking out some of the YouTube clips of Josh Ritter performing live.  I think this guy takes a healthy dose of Prozac before every show.

Here is one quick example of him performing live: