The Immortal Lee County Killers
The Black Keys
The White Stripes
A quick primer on the fusion of Rockabilly and Punk Rock, Psychobilly.
Reverend Horton Heat
I was skimming through Rolling Stone earlier and I found this article by Steve Knopper on how Universal and Amazon are slashing prices on albums and can this move save the record industry. He made an interesting argument on how albums by bands such as Vampire Weekend, Them Crooked Vultures are going for 3.99 and 2.99 respectively. When it comes to it; this decision could help a lot. I’ve had this theory for awhile.
“Okay, how can selling albums at a cheaper price save an almost bankrupt industry?” Let me give you an example, I kind of have a weight problem. So, I try to use low calorie alternatives for some snack cravings. In my case, if something is lower in calories I’ll use that as justification to eat more of said snacks because I feel that I have a license to eat more of it.
Now, you’re probably thinking “what does your penchant for low-cal junk food alternatives have to do with record buying?” Well, actually everything… here’s the point I’m trying to make.
If you have an album that’s 2.99 and 3.99 to 7.99, it’s more affordable to a short of money audience that will buy more of it whereas a 12.99 album would sell fewer copies to a cash strapped audience. In the words of Frank Zappa, “If We can’t be free, we can at least be cheap.”
As a part of Afro-Punk and UrbAlt, I’ve been acquainted with Earl Greyhound. I’ve listened to their music only in passing, but I’ve been given the opportunity to listen to Earl Greyhound’s new album Suspicious Package. For those who aren’t familiar with Earl Greyhound, Earl Greyhound was originally started by songwriters Matt Whyte and Kamara Thomas in the spring of 2002 in New York City. The pair began performing regularly as a duo on piano and guitar on the East and West coast. They crafted their sound that would become the essence of Earl Greyhound. Later on, they expanded the act into a far louder guitar based trio with drummer Ricc Sheridan. Now the line up focused on Matt on lead vocals and guitar and Kamara on Bass and backing vocals. Their sound started to change and was reminiscent of English rock bands such as Queen, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin to even T.Rex. The trio’s live performances showed a versatility of the band being able to pull off melodic touching soul to an explosion of Zeppelin styled Hard Rock.
I’m not going to bore you with more back story. Let’s get to this album!
Suspicious Package is a very progressive rock sounding album that swings like a pendulum from the more advanced sounds of jazz fusion to more balls to the wall rockers. I’m going to focus on the three tracks that I really enjoyed.
The opening track Eyes of Cassandra is a mellow track that starts with some Fender Rhodes noodling then builds into a Latin disco sound. But, the second track, “Eyes of Cassandra pt. 2” builds from the mellow ambience of the opening track…like a thunderstorm off in the distance.
Oye Vaya is a guitar driven rocker that you can either head bang to or isolate the break to dance to. Really, thinking about it, Oye Vaya is kind of reminiscent of “The Mars Volta.”
“Ghost and the Witness” is another great example of Matt Whyte’s guitar playing. It’s a great mix of hook-y riffage and a solo has some actual “soul” to it.
“Suspicious Package” is a good album for someone looking for some more blues and soul driven rock music. I would recommend this album for anyone trying to transfer from neo-soul to something heavier or just anyone that misses that Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin type of Hard Rock.
The only criticism that I have with “Suspicious Package” is that the rawness of the band doesn’t match with the hi-fi recording techniques. Personally, more lo-fi recording techniques would’ve complimented the album.
“Suspicious Package”is available now at http://www.earlgreyhound.com/looklisten/ .
My condolences to the Steele family and Type O Negative fans
Here’s a list of popular riddims from over the years.
Under Mi Sleng Teng
Coolie Dance Riddim
Martial Arts Riddim
Murder She Wrote Riddim
This man needs no introduction…all I can say is, Gil in the 70s “conscious” when everyone else was still confused.
by John M. Ellison IV
Musically, I grew up on everything. From Funkadelic, The Temptations, The Mothers of Invention, The Ramones, Bad Brains, Luther Vandross, David Bowie, James Brown, Black Box, Zapp, Iggy and The Stooges, Bob Marley and The Wailers and countless other artists have influenced me somehow. With those artists, they all have different sounds, styles and very different drum patterns.
When it comes to it, I noticed that the Soul/Funk/R&B music I remember listening had more intricate and unique drum patterns. Whether it was a swing beat, four on the floor or a straight eight pattern, these drummers were quite skilled. In fact, these patterns (in Funk for example) were so integral to parts of a song; it actually could stand on as a composition of its own. This has even spun off into different genres of their own (Rap, Drum & Bass/Jungle and Break beat.)
Whereas, I noticed with rock, a lot of the same drum patterns tend to be recycled by different bands. To be fair, there have been many exceptions to the rule though. In fact, some of the most popular “break beats” come from rock.
When I first started doing music seriously, I was looking to get a drum machine to make patterns on. It was a Roland Dr. 202. After I learned how to use it, I couldn’t stop making beats. My original set up was an old Casio, an analog Tascam 4-track portable, and my guitar in the basement. Although I enjoyed my musical experimentation, my compositions sounded more akin to Nine Inch Nails than the more Metallica-influenced sound I was aiming for. Then, fiddling around with the synthesizer sounds, I thought to experiment with some of the Casio’s pre-programmed patterns. I never noticed the rock drum patterns, I realized those were closer to the rock sound…also the polka setting was reminiscent if not identical to “Hardcore Punk.” That’s when I realized that with a good amount of rock music; the drums and bass kind of take a back seat and can be quite rudimentary and in this case highlight the guitar/s and vocal. So, I felt kind of an embarrassment when I realized this. Saying that, I never could understand how some drummers in rock could complain about the usage of drum machines or sampling being monotonous whereas those same drummers would play stand by stock drum patterns with very little to no variation and with that, the performance sounding quite mechanical and robotic themselves.
Like I’ve stated beforehand in various blog posts, I’m kind of anti-social but friendly; kind of “socially” anti-social as it were. With this, it can be awkward finding collaborators that fit what I’m trying to do musically. As humans, we’re a species that’s used to well…being human. As humans, we have flaws that can be detrimental to ourselves and others. So knowing that, I usually use programmed rhythms from a drum machine to cut to the chase and to deal with less potential bullshit from other musicians. For some songs and projects, a drum machine is essential and fits well for that project. But, I admit, that when a drum machine is used in lieu of a live drummer sometimes, the drum sound can get kind of monotonous and becomes boring and fruitless from a songwriting point of view, well for me at least. With that, I tend to lose motivation in the project all together.
So, unless you’re John Bonham, Vinnie Colaiuta , Terry Bozzio, Max Roach, Neil Peart, Billy Cobham or any drummer with a variation of influences and techniques, shut the fuck up about drum machine-driven music!