Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

The Record Vault – AFI and Audrey Horne

When I unboxed some of the CD’s, I saw a few bands that start with A that I have missed in my Record Vault stories.

So here is a double post on AFI and Audrey Horne. And if you are interested in the previous Audrey Horne post, click here.

AFI

“December Underground” was released in 2006 and the album is a masterpiece in progressive pop song writing structures.

But if you don’t like the screamo style vocals, then you need to train your ears to ignore them in some songs, so you can appreciate the music and the song writing.

The eerie “Prelude 12/21” is a cool introduction, with “kiss my eyes and put me to sleep” being the catchcry as it morphs into the punk screamo rock of “Kill Caustic”. And when the hit single, “Miss Murder” comes up, it jars me, with its pop like vocal and addictive bass riff.

“Summer Shudder” is real cool to play on guitar, and that vocal melody for the lyric, “under the summer rain” remains with me long after the song is finished. “The Interview” is driven by a bass riff as it rolls through so many different emotions, until a brief pause and then the Chorus crashes in. And let’s chuck in a church organ for the last minute, that doesn’t make pop sense but makes musical sense.

“Love Like Winter” sounds like it came from “The Rasmus”. 

“The Missing Frame” and “Kiss and Control” have little riffs here and there which are cool to jam and they are enjoyable listens. And the haunting vocal melodies.

“The Killing Lights” sounds like it came from The Cure and New Order.

Audrey Horne

I purchased “Lo Fel” after overdosing on the self-titled album, “Youngblood” and “Pure Heavy”. So I went back looking for some of Audrey Horne’s earlier stuff. The album was released in 2007, but with all things related to music, access happens much later.

The opening track “Last Chanse For A Serenade” sounds like a Brides of Destruction track, full of attitude and industrialism. But from the outset, I was enjoying the progressive tone in the song writing. The songs don’t follow a particular formula like verse and chorus.

“Jaws” is a favourite. The vocal melody is like Tool especially in the Chorus, the riffs are progressive metal/rock, the production is top notch and the performances get me playing air guitar.

“Threshold” is a perfect blend of all the modern rock tones and song writing, with a touch to their 70’s and 80’s roots. “Monster” has a Chorus about the world closing in and everyone who was around is not around anymore.

“Afterglow” has this riff which feels progressive. “In The End” is full of different movements. “Pretty Girls Make Graves” sounds like it came from Soundgarden. “So Long, Euphoria” closes the album and after hearing the 6 minute song, I press repeat. The groove and how it builds is satisfying.

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Music, My Stories

Heavy Metal

Steppenwolf was seen as an Heavy Metal act once upon a time. Black Sabbath was more extreme. Led Zeppelin was never heavy metal, however when the 80’s MTV metal wave came, most of the acts referenced Led Zeppelin as an influence and suddenly, the Zep is metal.

Regardless, it doesn’t matter how many times the labels and the media outlets tried to kill it, mainstream it or commercialize it, Heavy Metal has remained consistent from when it began. Whenever pop music became pretentious, heavy metal was the alternative. Well at least it was it my truth.

But something changed in the late 80’s. Metal music was in the Top 10 of the Billboard charts and suddenly Hip Hop was proving to be the alternative, talking about social issues. But metal kept evolving, become even more extreme, the antihero to the mainstream hero.

When heavy metal and hard rock dropped off the mainstream, it was never gone for long. Grunge ruled the airwaves, until Industrial Metal became a thing, with NIN and Ministry. Then Nu-Metal became a thing. The lifestyle and attitude of Metal is the answer to all things corrupt. It is the soundtrack.  

Typically most metal fans come from working-class homes or changed family dynamics. The mainstream always ignored metal music, seeing it as too dumb. Of course, when a band breaks through, the mainstream are the first to jump on the wagon.

And metal music is known as so many different things.

There is Classic Metal/Rock, Thrash/Groove Metal, Melodic Death Metal, Metalcore, Black Metal, Death Metal, Heavy Metal, Alternative Metal/Rock, Progressive Metal/Rock, Math Rock/Metal, Shock Metal/Rock, Symphonic Metal/Rock, Power Metal, Folk Metal and Stoner/Sludge Metal.

Seriously do we need that many categories.

Music is music. You either like it or not.

And the term heavy metal has become synonymous with a lifestyle more than anything, of being free, having a voice, questioning everything, living within a community spirit and living the way you want to live and not the way others want you to live.

Of course elitists will always have their own truths, but hey we don’t serve them.

And in the words of Rob Halford.

When the power chords come crashing down, they go tearing through my senses. It’s for the strong, not for the weak, in a light and dark dimension.

It stimulates and regenerates, it’s therapeutic healing. It lifts our feet up off the ground and blasts us through the ceiling.

Heavy metal, what do you want?

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Music, My Stories

The Record Vault – Bee Gees

“Living Eyes” released in 1981 is a good album but the Bee Gees were never going to top “Staying Alive”, not because the song is that fantastic, but how it was packaged within a movie and released during the disco period, capturing a period of time that people resonated with worldwide.

My brothers picked this album up, a loose change pick up from the discounted stock. And then they gave it to me. And I listened to it a few times, but I didn’t like it, because it was missing big distorted riffs and it was too full of helium vocals. So it just went into the collection.

But hearing it later in the 90’s, I could relate to the acoustic rhythms, the layering of the vocals and the laid back structures. Suddenly, songs like “Paradise” and “Be Who You Are” stood out. Neither of them are hits, but good songs don’t need to be hits to be good songs.

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My Stories, Stupidity

The Shits

My wife and I do some cleaning on the side. One of the jobs we do is at a building which has a plumbing problem. In other words, when the pipes get blocked up, the overflow is in the area that holds the bins for the rubbish we need to throw.

In case you are not sure what I’m saying, when the pipes get blocked up, all of the urine and shit and paper, spill out into the storage area for the bins.

Yep.

So imagine our surprise when we open the door to the bin storage area and see the floor all contaminated with shit.

So we alerted the owners of the building about this. As far as we know, they read our texts and see the photos, but we get no reply. We turn up the following day and someone had cleaned it. We just assumed it was a plumber. Maybe the owners are thinking why we don’t clean it, since we are cleaners.

As I said to them once, “we don’t clean shit and piss”.

Then our client, the one we service who also rents a lot of floor space in the building, came across this situation a few days later. So they spoke to the owners and the owners (a husband and wife team), blamed the cleaners for putting paper in the overflow.

Yep that makes perfect sense. We turn up to clean only to sabotage and make a mess.

What the fuck?

Manipulative arseholes.

The fact that their building is dodgy, made with so many faults and leaks, well they blame the cleaner.

The fact that every time it rains heavy and the sewage overflows is now also caused by the cleaners.

The fact that the building has a moisture problem is also blamed on the cleaner.

And Five Finger Death Punch comes to mind. Hell, I thought of even doing the move that Uma pulled in “Kill Bill”.

“You’re a fake mother fucker, I hate you mother fucker, such a fucking waste of my time.”

Yep, waste is what these people are.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

The Record Vault – Babylon AD

The self-titled album released in 1989 on Arista Records is a favourite of mine. The songs, the performances, the production and the sounds all hit the mark.

I had friends who hated it because it sounded so much like Skid Row’s debut, but for me, I was cool with it.

“Bang Go The Bells” and all is well, alright especially that E minor riff. “Hammer Swings Down” keeps the tempo going, while you can hear Jack Ponti’s style of song writing in “Caught Up In The Crossfire” and “Desperate”. From memory, I think “Desperate” was a song written for/with Baton Rouge.

It’s a four punch knock out to kick off the album.

Then “Billy went driving on a Saturday night, heading for trouble with a bottle of wine” and “The Kid Goes Wild” kicks off, bringing the story of Billy The Kid into suburbia, as an angry, young teen, who is under the gun, and eventually goes wild. And “Sam Kinison” makes an appearance, telling the cops, he aint going down, because this is his life.

“Shot O’Love” has this little acoustic piece to kick it off like how “Love Song” has an acoustic piece. After about a minute and 20, the song kicks in. And its six from six.

“Maryanne” makes it 7 from 7 with its “Piece of Me” style riff in the verses. “Back In Babylon” sets the groove for a tale about getting back to the city of sin and living on the edge on the east side.

I normally skipped “Sweet Temptation” because my favourite track is “Sally Danced”. The swampy acoustic blues with the slide guitar and the vocal melodies, hook me every single time.

And that Chorus section from about 2.18 is brilliant.

Throughout it all, the guitar work of Dan De La Rosa and Ron Freschi is top level. Derek Davis on vocals delivers the goods on every track. While bassist Robb Reid and Jamey Pacheco are the unsung heroes, holding down the fort and grooving all the way.

“Nothing Sacred” came out in 1992.

But the opening track “Take The Dog Off The Chain” didn’t grab me in the same way, “Bang Go The Bells” did and neither did “Bad Blood”.

However, “So Savage The Heart” although generic, did hook me and without looking at the credits, you can hear Jack Ponti’s song writing style over it.

“Sacrifice For Love” asks to share the bed of fire, and the album is rocking now to my liking. “Redemption” is a cool song, and lyrically, it deals about abuse, as it was a common theme back then, with Skid Row dropping “In A Darkened Room” which covered a similar topic.

“Down The River Of No Return” works with the swampy acoustic guitars merged with some slide guitar and a vocal performance worthy of top spot on the Billboard charts.

“Psychedelic Sex Reaction” sounds like it was written for Alice Cooper’s “Hey Stoopid” album. “Dream Train” sounds like it came from Aerosmith’s “Permanent Vacation” album. “Blind Ambition” sounds like “All Right Now” from Free merged with Poison’s “Nothin But A Good Time”. The pre chorus sounds like it came from the “River Of Love” Chorus by Lynch Mob.

“Of The Rose” starts of as an acoustic instrumental and should have stayed that way, as the electric guitar solo didn’t work for me. “Pray For The Wicked” is a throwback to the debut, with its sleazy and loose attitude.

And while the debut is a blast from start to finish of sleazy attitude driven rock and roll, the follow up tries to deliver but misses.

I didn’t get “American Blitzkrieg” but I really enjoyed their comeback album “Revelation Highway” released in 2017.

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

The Labels Complain Again

It’s typical of the recording industry to complain about anything which benefits the consumer. They seem to forget that the profits they make is due to a relationship between the artist and the consumer. There is a zero relationship between the record label and the consumer. From the consumers point of view, the record label doesn’t even exist in their mindset.  

So the labels license their music to various streaming services for a fee and then pocket the majority of the multi-million fee instead of spreading it to the artists, because hey, why would the labels compensate the artists, since it’s the works of the artists that give them the negotiating power at the table.

Apple is considering putting a bundle together that incorporates Apple Music and Apple TV. More subscribing customers who normally wouldn’t subscribe to a music subscription would increase the pool of money. But then again, how many people would give up their Netflix and Spotify subscriptions for an Apple Entertainment bundle. We wouldn’t know because no one does their due diligence. For the record, I wouldn’t give up my Netflix, Spotify and Amazon Prime subscriptions for an Apple bundle.

So all of this is based on feelings. And somehow these feelings from the label executives that they will be ripped off are not based on any research or evidence.

Read the article.

Of course, the labels will sell the story that if they lose money, then it would have a flow on effect to the artist. But the labels haven’t been losing money for the last 5 years, so why aren’t the artists getting paid.

And artists bash up Spotify, but no one is speaking up about these bundles that Apple is proposing.

There is a blog post over at Seth’s Blog about ways to grow. It basically states that if you persist and get the word out, you will be the same. There will be no growth. This is the record label model, do what they have always done.

However to grow, they need to change something, like enter a new segment, earn trust or do work that matters to someone.

But it’s hard to grow and help the artists when the label executives are dragged kicking and screaming into a new segment.

Steve Jobs convinced EMI to sign on for $0.99 mp3 digital downloads and the rest came, only after years of negotiations. It took 3 years for Spotify to be licensed in the U.S. and during that time, YouTube became the unofficial streaming provider. And then again, they had to get a stake in the company in order to give the approval.

Artists really need to have a look at what they are signing away, because the label doesn’t care for you at all.

If they did, they would be proud to enter new market segments which could lead to more income. Instead they are scared to lose what they have, so they persist and do more of the same.

Complain.

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My Stories, Stupidity

Tournaments And Enemies

A few days ago I got back from a football tournament the kids played. The kids won two games and lost two games in the group, but their superior goal difference got them into second place and a Minor Semi Final game.

The Minor Semi game ended in a loss and the tournament was over. All good from my end, as the opposition proved to be a lot better individually and in any sport, when you have individuals losing the 1v1 battle, the problem compounds a lot all over the pitch.

And the lesson I got out of it as a coach, is to inspire the kids to work on their technical game outside of training, sort of like how guitarists practice on their own to get better and to also bring in a session that also aids their technical game. Because it’s these hard skills that need to be nurtured.

But the reason why I am posting this is because of one parent from 24 parents. There is always one parent who will cause trouble and the media that hate soccer/football will generalize it and say parents. Even coaches will apply the same viewpoint to all parents because of one parent.

Let’s call this parent “Snake”.

After the semi-final loss, “Snake” said that he asked his son, “what are the other kids thinking about the game”, and his son said that if the Goal Keeper plays with the Club again, he will leave.

The Goal Keeper’s parents (let’s call them “The Good People”) have BBQ’s and get-together’s with “Snake” and his family, however “Snake” is slithering and conniving to oust their son.

What a brilliant friend to have?

My first thought was to call “The Good People” over and ask “Snake” to repeat to them what he said to me, however “Snake” has this code name for a reason. He is very good at coming across authentic and sincere and when it comes time to be truthful, he will just slither away from it, making it a conversation about how the “Snake” didn’t say that versus mine, “yes you did say that”.

So that didn’t transpire, as a confrontation was the last thing I was looking for.

From my own point of view, I find it hard to deal with toxicity like this, and fake people.

And it got me thinking of “The Enemy” from Godsmack and the lyrics, “you’re another shit talking punk to me, you’re living inspiration for what I never wanna be.”

Communities thrive because of a communal spirit, with people helping each other and today, it feels like its everyone for themselves. In this instance, here is a man close to 50, conniving to kick out a 14 year old child in secret.

In other words, if I don’t select the child next year, I am the bad guy, and the “Snake” comes away unstained.

But the attitude of the children are so different.

The goal keeper is thankful for his opportunity, tries 150% and is respectful. Every time he turns up to training, he shakes my hand, and when it’s over, he shakes my hand again. The child of the “Snake” does none of that. And I am pretty sure, that the goal keeper didn’t want to make the mistakes that led to easy goals. No player/competitor walks out on the field with that viewpoint.

And with each loss, with each failing, there are lessons to be learnt. The “Snakes” child was missing in the game as well, however it looks like the lesson they got out of it, was to blame someone else, when the real lesson is that their child needs to improve, like all the rest of the children, and they need to do these improvements on their own, away from the 4.5 hours of training they do with me each week.

But its easier to blame, because what happened to one person, will never happen to the other person, not in quite the same way. And by relying on the story people tell themselves, the real truth is ignored.

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