I’m not going to lie. This week’s entry was thrown together at the very last minute because I’ve had very little time to even think about what I wanted to write. In reality this was an entry I did want to write, but didn’t think I had enough random albums to write about, so I figured now would be a good time to do this. Just to clarify, these albums were all done by bands that were signed to major or semi-major labels that I actually went out and bought. I hope you enjoy.
I bought this album in 1999 when swing bands were big, and I came across this band somewhere on the Internet. I liked what I heard, so I bought the album. I think it was one of, if not the first album I ever bought online. Sometimes I wonder why I bought this album, because I rarely ever listened to it, and still don’t. In reality it’s not a bad album at all, but it’s also nothing amazing, especially compared to other swing/jump big bands like the Brian Setzer Orchestra and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. Still, the band had chops and some killer songs. The best track on the album is “Man With The Hex,” which opens the album, and if I recall correctly, was what got me to by the album. Unless you are totally into this type of music, there is zero reason for you to go out and buy this album.
This band is from Germany, and I first them on an alternative rock sampler from the BMG Music Club. There were two songs from them, Hum, Sleeper, Truck Stop Love, and Wanderlust. I’m guessing Hum is the only band anyone might have heard of out of that group, even though Wanderlust did have a minor hit with “I Walked,” but I digress. I loved the two songs on the sampler from FITS, “Milk & Honey” and “Dancing In The Sunshine Of The Dark,” and decided to order the album from the music club. I remember I listened to the album a bunch when I got it, bunch soon after stopped, and have barely given it a listen in about 15 years. Going through the album, there isn’t much that really grabs me. The band seems to lack a focused “sound” and most of the songs sound like rip-offs of other European bands, like U2, Pink Floyd, Scorpions, The Cult, and The Police (they actually cover “Next To You”). “Dancing In The Sunshine Of The Dark,” is probably the best track on the album, but it sounds so much like something from U2’s Achtung Baby that it’s a bit annoying. Another album I suggest skipping.
I almost didn’t include this band because I have no clue if they are still around or not, and I just bought the album two years ago. Still it is kind of random and after checking their website, they are either no one has updated their website or they are on a break. Anyway, I bought this album on Record Store Day in 2010 on a whim when one of the employees at Melody Record Shop in DC (which I just found out has closed; sucks) recommended it to me based on the fact that I liked Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings. I went home, listened to it, and enjoyed it thoroughly, and still do today. It’s not the greatest album, but it’s a solid mix of funk, soul, R&B, and world music, which is probably why David Byrne signed them to his label. I highly recommend this album for people who enjoy Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, The Budos Band, and old school soul/funk. If anything, at least check out “One Day.”
In reality these albums aren’t random to me, but since I doubt anyone (except my cousin and brother) know who the hell these guys were I will write about them. I saw Moke open for The Black Crowes in 1999, and they blew me away, with their solid mix of blues, rock, and a bit of hip-hop; just a straight balls-to-the-wall performance. Yet, it was when I randomly heard their song “Down” on the radio that I decided to get their first album. I remember not being too enthralled with the album, except for the first two songs, “Down” and “Wheel In Motion.” Still, their sound was pretty awesome, and I absolutely loved John Hogg’s voice. I don’t remember when or how I bought Carnival, but I can easily say I like it better than Moke. I pretty much love the first eight songs on the album, with my favorites being “My Degeneration,” “Hanging Around,” “Liar,” and “Strange Days.” I definitely recommend checking out both of these albums, particularly Carnival.
Man, did I love this album. I mean I LOVED this album. I remember playing this non-stop in junior high school and just jamming out in my room. This is the only album from the California band, who I first heard about when the opening track, “Mountainside,” was played a lot on WDHA, a local radio station. Listening to it now, it’s still a damn good album. For the most part, the sound of the band is pure 1970s blues-rock, with a heavy emphasis (whether intentional or not) on the Allman Brothers, Humble Pie, and Free. Hans Eberbach’s voice is fantastic, capturing the essence of Steve Marriott and Paul Rodgers, though never reaching the heights of those two legends, while Nate Dale’s guitar evokes the ghost of Duane Allman, and Gary Frank Skaggs’ organ reminds one of Gregg Allman. “Mountainside” is easily the best song on the album, but other standouts include “Candy for Fools,” “Three Times Denied,” and “Ever Made Love To Be.” If you’re a fan of southern rock, blues rock, or any of the bands listed previously, check out this album.