Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Top 5 Scariest Songs

Just in time for Halloween 2008 I have come up with a list of five songs that scare(d) the shit out of me. There are many reasons people get scared..floors creaking in an empty house(mine),a basement that is musty, old and poorly lit(mine), the wind whipping branches around causing the motion lights to go on at 3:15 in the morning(mine)..the amazing amount of people who watch Dancing With the Stars....voting machine malfunctions in the most technologically advanced country in the world.These are things that scare me....but this is a music blog for the most part...so on to the songs that freak me out.

#5) Mass Production- Iggy Pop(The Idiot,1977)-The intro to this song alone with its drawn out druggy keyboard intro..it pulls you into some burned out side room in a secret club somewhere in the mid seventies, where scenesters are strung out and strewn out all flophouse style..amidst the smoke and the coke. Iggy is your MC while people fall in and out of the frame..slurring expectations of himself in a painful howl as the soundtrack swirls off kilter behind him. Scary 8 minutes of dead end sin somewhere.

I don't think I'd last 3 minutes in that room with him.

#4)Am I Inside-Alice in Chains(Sap,1992)-The Sap EP was a precursor to their monumental album Dirt..which in its entirety can shake you to your core. But the bleakness that permeated singer Layne Staley's lyrics first came to light here. Am I Inside has an intro that framed what his life could be at times, and ultimately ended up as... A dank, dark chamber of drug fueled solitude. I was a victim of the grunge personification(without the drugs)and spent alot of time pleasantly freaked out by this song in a musty basement after my parents divorce.I get the shivers still, even when Ann Wilson kicks in with the background vocals. Booo....scary. Boo-hoo...sad.


#3)Revolution #9- The Beatles(White Album,1968)- This is the first song that ever scared the living daylights out of me. Even at 8 years old I knew something was not right with this song. The ominous MC spouting his "number nine" mantra throughout, The blips of backwards orchestration, the little Asian voice whispering something about being naked or Satan."Hold that line!" or "block that kick"..or whatever he says in a repeated bleat... I remember lifting the scratchy stylus over certain parts where I just couldn't get through..being fascinated with the fear it brought me. I still am..


#2)Black Sabbath-Black Sabbath(self titled debut, 1970)-This could very well be the most ominous song ever produced. I mean C'mon..Ozzy asks "What is this that stands before me,figure in black who points at me."!!!!!!! Look kids, Satan's standing in the doorway and he wants answers! This gives me demon-tipped goosebumps just thinking about it...and the power chords so loud and low that they engulf you in fear..as the clouds close in and you're stranded in a desolate field at dusk..with Beelzebub as your tourguide. And lets talk about that album cover for a minute...who is that gutted out ghost woman in a robe just staring at you? Her eyes follow you around the room like a husked out Mona Lisa....Ghouls Gold! Mommmyyyyy!


And the number one scariest song on my list....Wake Me Up Before You Go Go-Wham(1984)
Everything about George Michael scares me...overly bright teeth,femme lashes, the orange tint of his skin,his too perfect stubble, his penchant for entertaining in bathroom stalls and crashing cars while high...but this video with the neon, the flash of those Choose Life T-shirts, the flitty swaying,sashaying...that dude muttering "Jitterbug" for some strange reason.AHHHHHH! I was often scared right out of the room when this song or accompanying video came on..even during my brief dance club period in the mid 80s. Friends would often find me under a table muttering "make it stop!" until the neon died down and the vision of those teeth flashing in the dark subsided. Watch that video here if you dare http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wsCZ7Ft_Z8

Have a Happy Halloween my rockofiles, wherever you are!

Digg!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Orange

'Tis the season for being haunted, trick or treating into your late teens,the urban myths of razor blades in apples, launching eggs at the houses of the outcasts or curmudgeons in your neighborhood,remembering the drug store flame retardant costumes of yesteryear,smashing pumpkins on sticky sidewalks,wafting through the smells of pigskin and cider and doing the Monster Mash. Halloween is Friday....and the fun I used to have as an unruly teen running rampant with a pillow case full of Mounds, Mary Janes, Necco Wafers and unwrapped black licorice(complete with stray hairs) is gone.Long gone. I've transferred it all to my two year old son Hudson..who will be a shark this year. I don't think he even cares about how cool I will make his costume look..(bloody barbie leg and tin can strung from his "shark teeth")but he'll eventually appreciate the work I put into it as I did while my Dad made me up in the coolest homemade costumes in the entire northeast all those years ago.

It is fitting that the background color for my blog is Orange. It is a tribute to my sister who left us just two short months ago. It was her favorite color..for reasons that escape me right now.It is her presence..as I will wear her orange "Miracles are Happening " bracelets for the rest of my days..as I am reminded of our lifelong bond and the change of seasons...as I see orange everywhere now, not just around our beloved Halloween....it is noticed in an Orange swirl of leaves in the side yard in a tendril of wind..It is seen in the faded Orange lettering on my Orange amplification T-Shirt that I bought years before she fell ill but now wear whenever I am in a situation that may cast doubt or fear over me...I stop to see the blurry swatches of an orange sunset entwined in the blotted clouds on a Crisp fall day...I stop to notice the Orange hues in everything from strewn Hot Wheel Cars, to Juice in a morning glass to cat fur clusters on a hoodie. It is soothing. It warms and strengthens me. It is her presence..realized and applied to my thoughts,dreams and actions.
Orange is a combination of yellow and red..which now makes sense as to why it is symbolic of Meaghan..It is between the sunrise(yellow) and sunset(red) of life where we do our best work, our thinking and growing and nurturing.It is where we define who we are..It is not how much time we have between Sunrise and Sunset..it is what we do with it. Thanks again Meaghan....for another lesson. I will wear my Orange proud for the days I have left and always be reminded of you and what you did in between the "yellow" and the "red".

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Shine a Light, Already

There's plenty of time allotted for sarcasm, wit and nonsense on this here blog..but tonight it's all PRAISE baby. I promise.

I can worship with the best of them. I'm mighty good at it and wear the badges of my heroes on my sleeve and plant them right up in your grill thank you very much. I am a vocalist and it is vocals first and foremost which draw me towards(or repel me from)songs and groups of any genre. It could be the most melodic, raucous, lyrically beautiful thing I've ever heard but if the vocals aren't there...neither am I.

This is probably why I never dug most of everything the Foo Fighters did. Dave Grohl is one heck of a songwriter and a monster drummer....but he can't sing for shit. Lots of painful wretched screaming and whispering.. no heart..Back away from the mic Dave...but I love that Probot album you did..cuz you ain't singin'!

But that's just an example...and I did say this post would be PRAISE-a-RIFIC! So I'd like to shine a light on some vocalists from the last ten years or so who have really tugged my earlobe, tilted my head like a dog and made me listen. Listen REAL GOOD LIKE.

No classic rock vocal legends this time around....these are the new(ish) vocalists who should really be on your radar..the new breed..to be considered for the rock pantheon in my opinion. My criteria for a great vocalist is as follows...

He or she should stand alone from the music as well as enrich its message in accompaniment.
He or she should have a voice that is instantly recognizable with the rest of your ear closed.
He or she should move you with the emotion of a mini god through melody or character.
He or she will sound like their technique is non existent, but their delivery is effortless.

I'd like to start with Ben Ottewell from the British band Gomez. Gomez' music is loose, bluesy, folky and psychedelic at times and Ben's voice is this heavenly growl with a smooth push that washes over the songs he sings. He is one of three singer songwriters in the band but in my opinion, the stand out.His voice runs ragged in total control and is convincing and warm to my slightly cold ear.
Here's a track from Gomez' 2006 album How We Operate called "See The World" http://www.fileden.com/files/2008/8/31/2075145/02%20See%20The%20World.mp3

My next mad scientist of a singer is Ethan Miller from two great bay area bands Howlin Rain and the(on hiatus?) Comets on Fire. Ethan plays guitar too. Howlin Rain is spaced out boogie rock with minor hits of stoner and free jazz and Ethan's voice is a pleasant rasp wandering around the high registers..Its a meth-ed out bong hit of the blues kind of voice but I love it.It takes you places,man. Seek out Howlin Rain's two albums...Magnificent Fiend from this year and their debut Howlin Rain from 2006. This track is a nine minute ocean of an opus called "The Hanging Heart" from their debut... http://www.fileden.com/files/2008/8/31/2075145/04%20-%20The%20Hanging%20Heart%201.mp3

The next gentleman on my list is Caleb Followill from semi buzz band Kings of Leon. I loved The Kings first album from 2003 Youth and Young Manhood which showcased their rave up punchy rawk side spewing out songs like "Holy Roller Novocaine" and the single "Molly's Chambers"...but they have since cut off all their Skynyrd hair, put the U2 and Joy Division on heavy rotation..and continued to experiment.all the way up to their just released album Only By the Night..all the while Caleb's vocal style is one of a kind. Its hard to describe and decipher...sort of a gasped out drawl that creeps up on you until its got its arms around your head and is giving you a noogie. Here's a track from their 2004 Album Aha Shake Heartbreak called Slow Night, So Long http://www.fileden.com/files/2008/8/31/2075145/01%20Slow%20Night%20%2C%20So%20Long.mp3


My last offering this time around is my best offering. This man's voice has moved me more than anyone's(besides maybe Mark Lanegan) this past 10 years. His name is Ray Lamontagne. He arrived on angels wings and will go out their leader...I cannot say enough about his hushed heartfelt bleeding voice, with tinges of wear and feelings of hibernation and woe weaving in and out of extremely personal lyrics.I first heard his voice on a song called "Forever My Friend" driving around listening to KFOG in San Francisco some sun/foggy day in 2004...I had never heard anything like it. You just know when you hear greatness...like the first time I heard Buckley, this guy hit me right there in the gut where all singers field their blows... His new album Gossip in the Grain further showcases his prowess on songs like "Winter Birds" and "Let it Be Me"...and whatever he lays his nodes on.....Shine a light on this man already. This is what real sounds like. Here is a video of the song Shelter recorded recently on the BBC.


I hope you like my picks. You know I'm right. You really do.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Rock =Dust Today

Its hard to think of anything robustly rock today...In the immortal words of the Fab Four "I'm Down". I'm beat up, fat- lipped laying cerebally low, afternoon drinkin' stinkin' up the joint feeling so sorry for myself that it hurts.Pinch me so I can go back to dreaming. Swimming in a sea of algae drenched funk...drifting in dust.
My sister is not here. I feel the negative space.
In a physical place.
My lack of work has worn my motivation into a thin layer of desperate mesh . The energy plays chicken with my head and wins. I've run out of holes to dig.
I crash. Nobody laughs
I fast while progress gorges itself on somebody else.
I confound and stretch the corners of health.
I bait myself.
A two year old wastes his nap time away...he OD'ed on play
one story above
Oh the love, the trust he has in me.
He can't see the hollow
he smiles and I try to follow.
Allow me to plow through this anger fueled muck
by copping out and admitting I'm stuck
wish me luck.
as I stand uptight and make lists of the things
I need to go right
watch me take flight with one wing in a vice
contorted in "nots"
strung out on advice
feels so nice to wake up and roll the dice
wish me luck.
I'm on my way
to plowing a path through the rest of the day.

Miss You Meaghan.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Rock Star Names that Really Rock

I wish I had a cool name...a cool nickname that turned into a stage name that became engraved into the Rawk commandments..the dead( at 27 )sea scrolls...the bill of rock rights, whatever. A name that made the young girls soil their jordaches...made boys add an extra syllable onto their own to try and keep up....a name that made a proofreader jump out a window....but I just have Seano. I guess I'm one of those add a syllable guys(although my friend Anthony did it for me all those years ago)....I tried Seaneaux...but boy did that reek. I tried Benny Naked Yearrs...which is my named jumbled up...but it sounded like a bad porn box set title. So I stuck with Seano...which is slightly better than Sean-O and way cooler than Shawno so I'll take it.

But it got me thinkin' of the best rock(or general music)stage names out there and I came up with 50 or so. And lets get the worst ones out of the way first... Nikki Sixx,Mick Mars, Tommy Lee and Vince Neil...Rikki Rocket,Bobby Blotzer,Chip Z Nuff, Vikki Foxx, Vinny Vincent, Taime Downe, Oz Fox,Jake E. Lee, Zakk Wylde(don't hurt me)Jay Jay French, Tracii Guns and Kip Winger. Put a match in front of that Aqua Net and torch 'em right out of the picture.

These are the ones I like: Artimus Pyle(Skynyrd), Bev Bevin(ELO), Stiv Bators, Blag Dahlia(Dwarves), Sib Hashian(Boston),Jerry Only(Misfits),Freddy Mercury, Cheetah Chrome(Dead Boys), Izzy Stradlin, Stone Gossard, Mick Jagger, Keith Moon, Rivers Cuomo, Ringo Starr, Ace Frehley, Perry Farrell,Dean Ween, Fee WayBill(Tubes), Bun E. Carlos, Noddy Holder(Slade), Bon Scott, Barriemore Barlow(Jethro Tull), Bela Fleck, Bootsy Collins, Buddy Holly, Joan Jett, Siouxie Sioux, Joe Strummer, Nicko McBrain(Iron Maiden) Jimmy Cliff, Ginger Baker, Ozzy Osbourne, Cheri Currie, Buddy Holly, Rat Scabies(Cramps), D Boon(Minutemen), Iggy Pop, Kim Thayil, Jaco Pastorius, Johnny Thunders, Dizzy Gillespie, Eddie Vedder, Robin Zander,Geezer Butler, Ronnie James Dio, David Lee Roth, Jerry Lee Lewis, Jeffrey Lee Pierce, Mitch Mitchell, Sid Vicious, Lemmy Kilmister, James Honeyman Scott(Pretenders),Gary Ritchrath(REO), Ry Cooder, JJ Cale, KK Downing, Dee Dee Ramone, Elvis Costello, Steve Nieve(Elvis Costello), Jello Biafra, Miles Davis, Donita Sparks(L7), John Doe(X), Randy Rhoads, Aldo Nova,Lux Interior(Cramps),Simon Le Bon, Dez Cadena(Misfits), Lydia Lunch, Captain Sensible, Chaka Khan, Stevie Nicks, Herbie Hancock, Geddy Lee, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Sly Stone, Aynsley Dunbar, Elvin Bishop, Sting and Flea.

I'm sure I missed a few...The Edge, Bono(real name is Paul Hewson),Axl(or Bill as I call him)....but I think I covered some good ground, don't you?
Please send in my obvious omissions for your pleasure.........and bonus points if you can tell me the several real names in the bunch without Googling it. Your prize will be a stage name that I create for you and call you from now on against your approval.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Makes Me Wanna Cry


Do you see that rock god in the video? A blur of flannel, hair and power wailing so high and loud that he could defeather the wings of arch angels hovering over the stage? Keep that memory in a special place between your out- once- a-month- beer with the boys and the Soundgarden T shirt from '91 that you refuse to release to the Ebay hounds. Its over folks.

I've given up on several of my classic rock heroes...Sting, Eric Clapton, Rod Stewart...who are now more concerned with crisp shirts,pedicures and being on their Yacht Club committees than putting out good rock product....but these guys are grampas for christ's sake...They had some good years and they've made the decision to make flat line soft rock phoned in songs now...they are tired. They want to coast from now on...I guess I can't blame them...
But my new addition to the Makes Me Wanna Cry dept. is Chris Cornell....Chris is not geezer material...he's in his early forties..his voice is still 85% what it was in grunge's heyday...and he is super highly regarded as one of the most talented ROCK singers to emerge out of the last 20 years......So why is he doing an album with Timbaland????!!!! Timbaland works with Missy Elliott, Justin Timberdouche, insert robotic no talent pop star whoring for a beat here________. What the Fuck, Chris? You clean up, get remarried, pop out two quick kids...buy a restaurant in France and go completely limp noodle on us??!!!!

Hey I know...let's completely alienate my fan base and put hip hop beats behind my now croony like tenor..Lets phone it in and leave out ALL evidence of the ROCK that bought that fucking restaurant in the first place...that should put the grunge historians in the cheap seats huh?

I just don't get it. I've heard of curveballs, but this ranks right up there with Pat Boone's heavy metal covers album or Garth Brooks' Chris Gaines rock alter ego bullshit, except...This is Chris Cornell....millions have taken him seriously, written his lyrics on their textbook covers, mimic-ed his mane and goatee combo...blasted Badmotorfinger before sacking QBs or tossing grenades into an Iraqi foxhole.... Just his stance onstage in the first video alone sold 17 million pairs of Doc Martens!!!! I'm going to cry myself to sleep with a live version of Jesus Christ Pose surging through my headphones, wrapped in a flannel blanket that I have not washed since '92. The sky has finally started to fall.......listen for yourself.



Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Album Titles-Worst of Them

Being true to myself and anyone who may read....I'm now on to my personal choices for Worst Album Titles of all time. Regarding the best album titles list, my wife wondered why there was no explanation of my choices. I figured there were none needed...if I close my eyes and its poetry..if it sounds right...that does it for me. Some of those albums I neither have or like by the way.

As for the worst titles...if I close my eyes and smell smarmyness, idiocy, verbal diarrhea, or it reeks of lazy..its on the list. I omitted the years cuz I figured you'd stop at the title.. Here goes:

1) Self titled anything-epitome of lazy rock star.
2)Bee Thousand-Guided by Voices
3)Achtung Baby-U2
4)When the Pawn(+a hundred other words)-Fiona Apple
5)Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water-Limp Bizkit
6)Definitely Maybe-Oasis
7)Tiny Music(Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop)-STP
8)Ball Hog or Tug Boat- Mike Watt
9)Hungry for Stink- L7
10)8 Way Santa-Tad
11) Pieces of Eight-Styx
12) Atom Heart Mother-Pink Floyd
13) Trout Mask Replica-Capt. Beefheart
14) Tha Carter III- Lil Wayne
15) You Can Tune a Piano But You Can't Tune a Fish- REO Speedwagon
16) Bagged and Boarded-Goblin Cock
17) Innuendo-Queen.....ouch!
18) Adrenalize-Def Leppard
19) Slippery When Wet-Bon Jovi
20) Aoxomoxoa- Grateful Dead
21) Shabooh Shoobah-INXS
22) Under Rug Swept-Alanis Morrisette
23) Pet Sounds-Beach Boys
24) Pieces of You-Jewel
25) Hello Nasty- Beastie Boys
26)Butchered at Birth-Cannibal Corpse
27) Crooked Rain Crooked Rain-Pavement
28) Throwing Copper-Live
29) Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em- MC Hammer
30) Meat is Murder-The Smiths
31) A Nod is as Good as a Wink...-The Faces
32) Viva La Vida- Coldplay
33) Dear Science-TV on the Radio
34) Return To Cookie Mountain- TV on the Radio
35) Word of Mouf-Ludacris
36)The Bedlam in Goliath-Mars Volta
37)Steers and Stripes-Brooks and Dunn
38)Vincebus Eruptum-Blue Cheer
39) Rock N Roll Jesus-Kid Rock
40) Big Willie Style- Will Smith

I could go on and on but why ruin your day more than its already been ruined....but I would love to hear your choices than I may have missed......luv, seano

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Album Titles-The Best of Them

I like lists...I've kept them all of my life. And some I return to to tweak, re-order and downright refuse. I made this list of the 40 Best Album Titles of All Time about a year ago..but it was brought to my attention again because of how most of today's album titles are mind numbingly awful. For instance, the title of the new album from the third most pretentious band of all time(behind Pavement and the Mars Volta) TV on the Radio is called "Dear Science". Boy does that blow hard. Makes me want to hold the lead singer's face over a bunsen burner until he starts singing More Than a Feeling.

Coldplay has a real beaut in their latest "Viva La Vida" ...which translates to "Live Life". Thanks for the bumper sticker, Chris..now run off to your Pilates class with Gwyneth.

Anyhoo...here's the list. Feel free to diss me and I'll come up with 7 million more that are better than Dear Science. Tomorrow we'll do the 40 worst..but for now..the best...

1)Sticky Fingers- The Stones 1971
2) Caress of Steel- Rush 1975
3) Back in Black-AC/DC 1980
4) Astral Weeks-Van Morrison 1970
5) Quadrophenia-The Who 1973
6) The Royal Scam-Steely Dan 1976
7) Blonde on Blonde- Bob Dylan 1966
8) After the Goldrush-Neil Young 1970
9) Disraeli Gears-Cream-1967
10)The Hissing of Summer Lawns- Joni Mitchell 1975
11) Night in the Ruts- Aerosmith 1978
12) Keep it Like a Secret-Built to Spill 1999
13) Whiskey For the Holy Ghost-Mark Lanegan 1993
14) Women and Children First-Van Halen 1980
15) Intensities in Ten Cities-Ted Nugent 1981
16) Exile on Main Street-Stones 1972
17)Piece of Mind- Iron Maiden 1983
18) Shiek Yerbouti- Frank Zappa 1979
19)Summerteeth- Wilco 1999
20) Raw Power-Iggy and the Stooges 1973
21) Master of Reality- Black Sabbath 1971
22) OK Computer- Radiohead 1997
23) The Unforgettable Fire-U2- 1984
24) Physical Graffiti-Led Zep 1975
25) Sheer Heart Attack- Queen 1974
26) Let it Bleed- Stones 1969
27) Court and Spark-Joni Mitchell 1974
28) Desolation Boulevard-Sweet 1974
29) Alladin Sane- David Bowie 1973
30) Machine Head- Deep Purple 1972
31) Eat a Peach- Allman Bros. 1972
32) Amorica- Black Crowes 1994
33) Daydream Nation- Sonic Youth 1988
34) Night Moves-Bob Seger 1975
35) Remain in Light- Talking Heads 1980
36) Dream Police- Cheap Trick 1979
37) Honky Chateau- Elton John 1972
38) Marquee Moon- Television 1977
39) White Light White Heat-Velvet Underground 1968
40) A Trick of the Tail- Genesis 1976

Those are just 40 quick ones. Perhaps you have a few of your own that I may have overlooked(maybe on purpose)...send then my way........I won't bite.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Friday, October 03, 2008

Answer Me Cancer

Our cat Ruby has just been diagnosed with lung cancer. Incredibly rare in felines....just six weeks after my sister Meaghan left us from the same thing in people form.
What is the test here,cancer?
Take a feline take a dancer
you love to leave the empty answer for us to take pause
and become domestic scientists
destined for the cause
and everything we know and think turns into a race
we cradle the face that is held close to our hearts
we can't hold the paddle when one red sea parts
you hold court in our gallery
death is your art...
warm breath and cold start
you laugh in black ash as the frames fall apart
cat claws and blow darts could not keep us apart......from you.
post your lesson..I'll adhere. I will slander and smear.
the beast is besting the families here
lets be clear
you summon the fear
we run races with peers
to crush your career.....I'm sure you are reading,Cancer...I'm sure you are near.
But why us..why this family day upon day
we have memories to build and you keep them at bay
make us post up a photo...make these words that I say

you rip away...the roots the souls in cahoots with the time that you keep socked away.
The time we never get to have
the time we never get to have
the time we never get to have
with the ones we love.
You're so selfish and bleak
you lay waiting and then sneak
into bloodstream and organ and stay for the week.....month...year
we find you before we ever had time to just fear.
you are never discreet once we summon the fear.
Be agressive....be obsessive you stalk us while walking
while lower back pain leads to cursing and coughing
you disguise....you apply
the demise....alibi
you rush in like a lie
and we pile treatment on futures on which we cannot rely.
you pack poison ideas in our every goodbye
we drop poison in return every tumor denied...........we tried.
You lied
You cheated
You stole
You are rich from the taking
famous for your role.

I will find you and fight you until I am stripped of my soul.