Whatever Happened to Skee-lo?

April 7, 2008

It seems like almost everyone has got a shitty gift at one point in their lives.  While my grandma has bought me some cds that surprised me (such as Sublime’s self-titled album) she also had bought me a few cds which I initially thought were jokes.  If you are reading this blog I’m pretty sure you know the album is Skee-lo’s “I Wish”.

I remember not minding the song when it came out but the rest of the album is horrible.  It’s almost like a parody of a rap album.  It seems like Skee-lo hasn’t done much since this album came out in 1995.  He released an album in 2000 and that’s about it.  Maybe I’m being optimistic but I think Skee-lo’s busy in the studio crafting what he believes to be the next “Pet Sounds“.  It’s more likely that it will have more in common with “Metal Machine Music” though.

Here’s the video in all it’s uhh… ‘glory’:


Atmosphere – Strictly Leakage

April 4, 2008

Atmosphere has a cd available for download on the Rhyme Sayers website titled “Strictly Leakage”.  Here is the link to the page where you can download the album (and also check out their new single “Shoulda Known”).  Scroll down a bit and you will see the link to grab “Strictly Leakage”.  While the album title is a bit odd (<insert feminine hygiene joke here>) I really enjoyed it.  Most of the tracks have a funky vibe to them which I love.  I think I have an odd attraction to rap songs that use horns and guitar stabs.  It kind of reminds me of DJ Shadow’s School House Funk albums.

I mean how can you not these lyrics from the song “The Things That Hate Us”:

“As American has herpes and hot dogs/Got lost between the mustard and hot sauce/Unprotected sex with that one you just met/You ain’t even got all your Hep shots yet”

damn, heh.


Bass

March 26, 2008

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I got my bass back from a friend the other day and started playing again.  I haven’t really played bass (or guitar for that matter) in the last six months due to not having much time and ambition to play.  It is kind of nice to start playing again but it is also kind of frustrating to get back to the point I was at before.  When I started playing bass my biggest goal was to play fingerstyle.  The reason for this being that I prefer the tone that comes from the fingers and felt it could also help my fingerstyle playing on guitar. 

While it’s frustrating at times trying to play something that is faster with the fingers and not a pick, the challenge is nice.  Now if I could only play some decent slap bass…


Wilco

March 25, 2008

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Although the album has been out since 2006, I still really like Wilco’sSky Blue Sky” album.  However is there anyone else who when they listen to “You Are My Face” think of Steely Dan?  Maybe it’s the influence of Nels Cline that leads me to think of it.  I dunno, just at the turn around in the song it has a Steely Dan vibe to it for me.  Not that it’s a bad thing.

If you haven’t heard the song “You Are My Face” here’s a live version of it:


Pitch Correction on a Polyphonic Level

March 14, 2008

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Pitch correction is a process in which out of tune notes are corrected to sound in tune.  Primarily it is used in recording albums where if a certain note is out of tune, software can be used to correct it.  This is controversial to some musicians as they feel it allows singers who do not possess a great voice to come off sounding like they do.  However this was only done with a single note until now.

I was sent this a link yesterday that pointed me to video demonstrating Melodyne’s Direct Note Access.  It amazed me what it is capable of.  An example they give is say a guitar is playing a C major triad (C E G).  The program is able to analyze each individual note within the chord.  This allows the editing of a note within the chord such as its pitch, timing, note lengths, etc…  That means this C major triad could be changed into a C minor triad (C Eb G) simply by moving the pitch of the E note while the tonal qualities of the original C major triad remains. 

The video best demonstrates what is possible with the program and isn’t theoretical.  It is amazing and scary at the same time.  While some of my favorite musicians keep the mistakes they make on their albums (such as Neil Young or Tom Waits) it also allows musicians to remove say an open string ringing by accident in a chord in what would otherwise be a perfect take.

Any thoughts on this?


Extreme is Back

March 12, 2008

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Arguably the second most famous band from Boston (next to Aerosmith), Extreme has announced a reunion tour and a new album in the works.  They have been a guilty pleasure for me since High School and my friends bugged the hell out of me for it.  Then again some of them listened to Poison so who are they to judge.  At least they didn’t listen to Winger or Grim Reaper though.

The odd thing is I didn’t get into them through their biggest single “More than Words“.  I actually dislike the song.  Although More than Words was most likely the first song I heard by them, the song that made me go out and listen to them some more was “Hip Today” which is from their final album Waiting for the Punchline.  This is my favorite album by them and the critics hated it.  There are other albums are more in the hair metal genre (III Sides to Every Story arguably fits in here too). 

 After Waiting for the Punchline the band broke up.  Gary Cherone had a short stint singing for Van Halen (he was on the album III), Paul Geary (the drummer) went on to manage some bands including Godsmack and the Smashing Pumpkins and the guitarist Nuno Bettencourt did some solo work and formed a few bands.

Unfortunately the band does not get as much respect as I think they deserve.  Although they began as a hair metal band they branched out.  Gary Cherone has an amazing voice (reminds me of Freddie Mercury from Queen) and Nuno can shred like mofo on the guitar and still be tasteful.  Listen to the following video to hear not only his great riff writing but his tasteful chops.

Here’s the video for Extreme’s “Hip Today”. 


Guns and Roses – “Chinese Democracy”

March 10, 2008

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Am I the only person who has heard enough about this album?  I’m not a big fan of Guns and Roses to begin with and this album is so overhyped that it is going to disappoint almost nearly everyone.  “Chinese Democracy” has been recorded for more than 10 years now yet all that has come out so far have been some demos and I wasn’t that impressed by them.  The band isn’t really Guns and Roses any more either.  Where’s Slash and Duff?

The album has turned into something you would expect in This is Spinal Tap.  Except that movie was intentionally made as a parody. 

For an interesting interview with a session drummer who played on some tracks for Chinese Democracy, go here: http://www.eqmag.tv/ Click on Brain and then Chinese Democracy (sorry, I don’t know any other way to get to it).  Also his tracks may not be on the album if it is ever released.  Who knows what the hell is going on with the album anyways.