Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Despair Of David Reilly

Back in the mid to later years of High School my favorite band was the overly depressing Industrial Rock unit Stabbing Westward. There was absolutely no question in my mind and they eclipsed Nine Inch Nails & Marilyn Manson (Both prior favorites) in my opinion. Years would pass and my interest in the band would lessen and lessen, due to both growth and my heavy overplaying of the bands 4 albums. Even the recent announcement of a reunion tour merely sparked interest for a few days and then I no longer really cared. Yes, I will go if it happens, mostly for nostalgia's sake, but it still finds it way at best midway up my interest plateau.

When I was younger, there were other Industrial/Electronic Rock bands that made waves in one way or another that crossed my listening path. Several I liked, several I didn't care for. Of the ones I liked, there were such bands as Econoline Crush, Gravity Kills, Pitchshifter, Filter, Godhead, VAST & Zeromancer. Other bands I heard, but lacked any real interest in, such as Machines Of Loving Grace, KMFDM, Ministry, Skinny Puppy, 16Volt, Depeche Mode and a little group from Pennslyvania called God Lives Underwater. Now, I still think very low of KMFDM, Ministry & Skinny Puppy, but the rest I at least like.

Now if you're familiar with the last band I mentioned, God Lives Underwater, then you know the name David Reilly and you already could have guessed what this entry was going to be at least somewhat about. Good for you, now shut up and keep reading!

While in my heavy Industrial/Electronic Rock hunting phase, someone who knew I really liked Stabbing Westward supplied me with a few tracks from God Lives Underwater, whose name I had previously heard mentioned, but I was unfamiliar with the bands material or what they even really sounded like. I was supplied with their lone hit 'From Your Mouth' (If anyone watched MTV in the 90's you probably saw this video, which displayed a reverse video of a man eating hot dogs. How gloomy!), a David Bowie cover in 'Fame' and a couple other tracks which I don't recall at the moment. Needless to say, I wasn't impressed. Infact, I straight out did not like it, especially the 'Fame' cover.

Years would pass and my musical library would increase and for some reason that I cannot remember, I decided to give this band of Electro-Rockers a second chance, as I had just seen that their long delayed new album (Which would be their final album, titled "Up Off The Floor") had been leaked onto the internet and I scooped it up. What I would hear would be a bit more of a different band altogether and fairly quickly my previous impressions of the band were diminished. Now, the first two tracks on the album, 'White Noise' and 'Tricked', caught my attention, but it was a song near the end of the album called 'Miss You More Than Anything' (How could I not immediately dart to a track named that ?) that put the nail in the coffin for me. I was sold. It would be a while before I actually further explored the rest of the bands albums, but I really enjoyed "Up Off The Floor" (And I don't fucking care how many of you GLU fanboys and fangirls don't like it. You can suck it!) and I listened to it on a semi-regular basis.

Some more years would pass and it was around this time when I became an overnight grocery stocker. A boring, monotonous job which I would spend 8 hours of with my headphones on. Hey, at least there was a plus there! But it was during this time when I got more of a chance to listen to a lot of the music I didn't have enough time to explore during the daylight hours of working a normal workshift. It was during this time when I found myself listening to God Lives Underwater's second release, "Empty". Unbeknownst to me, this album had a couple of minor hits on it, I had just never heard them (Mostly because I missed the mid 90's Alternative wave by a few years). This album struck further chords with me with the song '23', which I felt spoke directly to me at the time (And I still really like the song and feel some relation to the lyrics here and there.). I mean, really, how could a moderately depressed and single 21 year old not find comfort in the following ?

I'm breathing the air. the air I always breathe.
I don't have a lot. I want someone to share it with me.
I really only want a few things. They've all been taken away.
What does the next life bring? I just want to feel okay.
I'm searching forever. For someone or something.
I want to feel high. I want someone to love me.
I've spent 23 years now. Trying to get by.
Other people make it day to day. I still wonder why.
I really only had a few things. They all turned to tears.
One tried to kill me. The other kept me here.
I'm still here.

I mean, really. But yeah, so '23' was another shock to my system at the time, along with other album cuts in 'No More Love', 'All Wrong' & 'Empty'. It was around this time that I finally spun "Life In The So-Called Space Age" and although I find it to be the weakest of their 3 full lengths (Their first release was a self titled EP, which I as well enjoy), it is a good album. This album does though have my 3rd favorite GLU song in 'Happy?', which I feel fits perfectly alongside '23' and 'Miss You More Than Anything'.

I was unaware at this time (Remember, God Lives Underwater had been broken up for a little while by this point) that David Reilly, GLU's singer, had passed away in October of 2005. I was also unaware that right before he died, he had pretty much completed his second solo album (Hell, I didn't even know he had made a first one) and that it wouldn't be until early 2010 that the album would finally see the light of day. One day in 2009 I had remembered seeing something about a friend of David's writing a book about his experiences with him and in the midst of a minor GLU kick that I was on, I spent some extra money and bought the book along with all the extra things he was including in the highest tier package (Some bootlegs, an acoustic solo show David did and a couple of interviews).

The book, which although not a God Lives Underwater biography, went into a lot of emotional detail surrounding David and this writers affiliation and long standing friendship with the musician. I tend to get wrapped up in well written books anyways, but this one was an especially hard read as I began to feel connections with the people in the story and everything leading up to his young death at age 34. There's something that adds an extra aura of sorrow when you're listening to a singer who you really like who is no longer a part of this realm. Death doesn't bother me all too much most of the time, but sometimes it can strike a nerve and in this situation... it did.

After I finished the book (I went through it in like 3 days, I could not bring myself to put it down until I was just too tired to look at words anymore, heh.), I finally got around to checking out the extra material sent to me. The first thing I checked out (And still my favorite) was the recording of David Reilly's solo acoustic show, which showed him playing both solo material and GLU songs. I enjoyed the song 'Whatever You Got' prior to hearing this show, but it wasn't a favorite and I tended to go past it in favor of other songs while listening to the band. However, it was during this set where he couldn't get himself past the first line of the song after 3 attempts because he would get choked up due to a line in the song finding relation to his recently killed girlfriend. After hearing this, listening to the song has never been the same experience and it although a very depressing scenario, it added a whole new dimension to the track that I had not previously grasped.

A few months later (I had actually forgotten about this being mentioned to me), a copy of his second solo album, "How Humans R(x)" came to me in the mail from the book writer. I got one of 100 actual copies of the album and it will never leave my collection. Very exciting for me, leave me alone about it! Anyways, the album absolutely blew me away (I had heard his first album, which was a mere 6 tracks, and although it was good, it didn't really strike that big of a chord with me). Yeah, that's it! But yeah, the first actual song on the album ('My Til Tomorrow') easily became one of my favorite songs ever after a mere 5 times hearing it. It's really that good (To me). The rest of the album is solid for the most part and there are a heavy amount of good songs which speak to me on an emotional level, which I can relate to and see clearly. I love that about songs, I don't care if no one else does.

That's pretty much the end of my tale here. God Lives Underwater went from a band I quickly dismissed to possibly my favorite band out of the entire Electronic/Industrial Rock spectrum and David Reilly became one of my favorite singers/songwriters. The end! Oh yeah and per usual, you get some music relating to the entry below. Enjoy it!

David Reilly - 'My Til Tomorrow' (From his 2010 release "How Humans R(x)")

God Lives Underwater - '23' (From their 1995 release "Empty")

God Lives Underwater - 'Miss You More Than Anything' (From their 2004 release "Up Off The Floor")

David Reilly - 'Crazier Than Me' (From his 2010 release "How Humans R(x)")

God Lives Underwater - 'All Wrong' (From their 1995 release "Empty")

God Lives Underwater - 'Fly On The Windscreen' (From a Depeche Mode Tribute Album)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Beneath An Ice Veil While Re-Inventing The Grocerycore...

I've never been terribly good at painting or drawing and I haven't sewn anything since Home Ec class in Middle School, so in order for me to get any sort of creative juices flowing, I tend to have to go the way of music or written passages. More often than not, you will find me trying to figure out a guitar than with a pen in hand, so this discussion will be in a musical sense. Plus it also goes along with the current theme of the blog, so suck it.

I will be the first to admit that as far as my talents are concerned with any musical instrument, I am amateurish pretty much all around. But my thing has always been to just go forward with what i've got and over time I will pick up pieces here and there and improve. I don't not try to complete something just because I may question my abilities. In the case of my musical endeavours, I enjoy what I do and if anyone else listening actually enjoys what I do, I usually think they're either lying or mentally ill. I don't usually take a compliment and think to myself "Hey, i'm doing great!". No offense to anyone who actually likes something I do in this realm of creativity, but I don't. I play and I write because I enjoy doing it and I enjoy the constructive process of it all, regardless of how simplistic and one dimensional a lot of my material may be seen as being.

It started years back when I would play around with MTV's Music Generator, which I had on my PC. I had a friend who sang songs with no backing music whatsoever and put them on mp3.com (Oh, those were the days!) and I would download the tracks and (unbeknownst to him at the time) make awful sampled beats in the background, merge the tracks and upload them as remixes of his tracks. He was at least amused by them when he found out, but I had very minimal creative control over what I could do in terms of customization, so this was short lived. I will skip inane group projects and jump ahead to Underwater Mourning, which was constructed in early 2007. Sick name, I know, but all the same...this was my first attempts at really trying to put music together on my own. All I had was Fruity Loops, bad samples and a cheap guitar, but I did what I could with my minimal talents and lots of effects and I enjoy listening to it now and again for nostalgia's sake. It ended up becoming an 19 track (35 minutes in length) album that I had available for streaming and download online for anyone foolish enough to come across it. There was a single track out of these sessions which I actually recorded vocals for too, as a dedication of despair towards a female I had fallen for at the time, but somewhere along the lines this version of the song was lost and i've never been able to find it on any data discs i've made. Farewell, stupid dedication to Monica! 2007 says you can suck it!

The next move would be the (I still don't understand how this happened. I think everyone may just be insane. And that would explain it!) fairly popular Doug Shorts Conspiracy. I did everything I could just to be weird and off-beat and it worked to a decent degree. People liked it and the album was given away to over 50 people and downloaded by tons of others. Seriously, what the hell is wrong with you people ? I was always complimented on the humor of the shit I was saying and the way in which I vocalized and the dance-ish back beats. Several songs showed signs of assistance from a friend and former co-worker Piotr, who tried his best to keep up to par with my insanity. As time went on, the songs became a bit more aggressive (Due to the strainful situations I was enduring at work, it showed in the material) and a few months before I would be ultimately terminated from the store, the project was put to rest. I did, however, record one final song directly after my termination, but that was more of a simple 'Fuck you' directed at the people who no longer saw it fit to speak with me after my departure. And a valuable lesson in regards to work friends was learned! But yeah, the Doug Shorts Conspiracy material would end up as a 21 track (34 minute) endeavour that several people use as a drink coaster now (I wish!).

After this period, every small project I tried to create fell to pieces. I couldn't find a proper footing and I would ultimately succumb to my laziness and I made 3 more projects before declaring a long break from musical work. In this time, very few people saw the incredibly short lived projects of Dead Sky Dawning, Black Orbit & Jon Von Supersick's Magical Outerspace Rollercoaster Ride (It doesn't help when you try to reclaim some humor from a former project and end up not recording any vocals for it, heh). I still have the material from those projects and I did end up creating some short, cool ideas, but they (As already mentioned) became covered in dust and the projects would never be given any time or nurturing to actually become something worthwhile.

Move ahead to 2010. I had been working with Jesse for some time on our current musical project (Appropriately named, by him, as The R-Tards. It's a South Park reference, don't worry about it), I found myself with a newfound desire to expand myself musically again. Working with Jesse is fine, but there are far too many restrictions I feel I have placed on me in terms of things that I enjoy doing and want to do musically that he doesn't want done. So (From the Type O Negative song) Suspended In Dusk was born and although it got off to a slow start, I now have an 8 track (Although it is 7 minutes long! I am ultra fucking grim.) selection of songs that are laid down, with tons of ideas still floating around that need to get out. In this situation, I finally made use of the Boss GT-8 effects unit, I made use of post-recording effects via Cool Edit Pro and I made use of the extensive library of Industrial/Electronic samples that I obtained a couple years back and never really looked into much.

Once again, I never expect anyone to take any particular interest in what I do. I am doing everything I do musically for myself and to have an outlet to shove my creative juices out of my system and into something constructive and interesting that I can look back at. So, to push you all (Who is actually reading this ? No one!) to the brink of insanity, here are all 8 Suspended In Dusk tracks that are currently set in order of how I wanted them to be heard.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

What An Asshole!

Everyone of my friends know that for all of my diversified and open minded musical listening habits, I am a douchebag when it comes to peoples perception of what I like and people who recommend me music based on the fact that they don't think i'm listening to good enough material. I would like to note that if you recommend me something that you think i'll like, I will listen to it. But don't tell me that what i like is subpar and that you have some superior taste and are going to bless me with your infinite musical wisdom. You're a douchebag and I am going to stab you in the neck with my cassette tapes! I do my best not to do that to my friends (Although I do regularly recommend things to them, I try my best not to be an ass about it or to come off as though my taste is in any way superior. Our own tastes are our own tastes and no ones is better than the next persons.) and expect it in return. And if I ever hear 'You should listen to some real Metal like Trivium, Killswitch Engage and Shadows Fall' at another point in my life, I will slowly kill you. No joke. You get to die! I already told you, i'm an asshole. Now leave me alone!

So on to the point of this entry! A genre that I have been aware of for years, but only recently really found myself getting into is 'Death Metal'. For the longest time, I was exposed to this and that from the genres archives and it never phased me. I never cared. I mean, for a good period of time, bands like Cradle Of Filth, Strapping Young Lad, Dimmu Borgir & Hypocrisy were as heavy as I got. I had friends who liked Cannibal Corpse, The Berzerker, Cryptopsy and Suffocation and it didn't do anything for me, except show off a significant speed increase and lack of comprehension to my ears. And I was fine with this. I was happy with my Nu Metal, my Industrial/Electronic Rock and my Alternative/Hard Rock. This all changed, strangely enough, after I read a book. I've always been a fan of musically based books, mostly of the biographical nature. It came to my knowledge in early 2009, which looking into a new musically based book to check out, that there was a book written by Albert Mudrian about the history of early Death Metal. I was generally unfamiliar with the genre and on a whim decided to get the book, as it had been out since 2004 and a used copy was only a few bucks.

The book has easily become one of my favorite music-based books that i've ever read. I simply love the way it's written and the exposure I was given to bands that I probably wouldn't have seeked out on my own is a definite plus to me. It spoke of the tales of the early formations...these bands who had very little to go on as far as influences go and who just decided that they were bored and wanted to be fast and technical and angry and they didn't care about selling a bunch of records. They just wanted to have fun and be better than these other guys over here. I mean, at that time, the fastest bands in the world that people were even remotely aware of were bands like Slayer, Mercyful Fate, Testament, Metallica and Megadeth. Then in the late 80's, thanks to the tape trading underground (The earliest incarnation of mix tapes! One of my favorite pastimes), kids were starting to discover these newer, faster, meaner and nastier bands that maybe had one or two demos out and were being swapped around. Out of all this rubble came bands like Napalm Death, Carcass, Entombed (At the time known as Nihilist), Massacre, Bolt Thrower, Nocturnus, Morbid Angel, Death, Atheist (At the time known as R.A.V.A.G.E.), Brutality, Cynic and a shit ton of other bands who just wanted to play shows and have a good time and hang out with their friends and other bands.

Several of these bands would record a good number of major label albums over time. Some would record a couple albums and wither away. And even a smaller amount would get to record maybe one album and then disappear completely.

A few of these bands I actually don't like much past their first album, which is a disappoint to me as I do like all of the above mentioned bands. Two prime examples are Death & Morbid Angel. I love both of their first albums, especially Morbid Angel's "Altars Of Madness". And then, everything afterwards, i'm just not into, for various reasons. With the other band, Death, their first album "Scream Bloody Gore" is really good, albeit a bit harsh production wise and is often considered one of the key staples of the early Death Metal era. There are other bands who I actually don't really care for the early material. Notable here is Carcass and Napalm Death. Carcass's first album is just not my thing (I love the whole 'Old School Death Metal' scene, but the early stuff which is considered 'Grindcore' just isn't my thing). After the first album, they would make 4 really great albums (My favorites of which are actually their last two, "Heartwork" and "Swansong", which heavily paved the way for most of the entire 'Melodic Death Metal' scene. Beautiful blueprints, indeed.) which I listen to on a semi-regular basis. Napalm Death, I actually didn't get at first. Their earliest stuff still does nothing for me and it wasn't really until their 1994 release ("Fear, Emptiness, Despair") where I started to gain some interest and pay more attention. Soon after hearing some stuff from that release I was exposed to the next 2 albums in their discography, which have become not only my 2 favorite Napalm Death releases, but 2 of my favorite 'Death Metal' themed albums overall. 1996's "Diatribes" and 1997's "Inside The Torn Apart" are both Napalm Death's most melodic releases, but they don't lose their ferocity. Both albums are aggressive to the tip, but they're incredibly well crafted with many memorable cuts. After this period, I like Napalm Death a little less, but they still have a lot of good material here and there. And, to be honest, I do need to spend more time with the albums after those, so as to try and get a better feel for them.

I am going to cut myself off here (But I will continue) and give you guys some music based on what i've been speaking about. My plan is to coincide my rantings about the stuff I like (Or don't like) with audio examples, so that you can get a better idea of what i'm talking about. Enjoy!

Napalm Death - "Greed Killing" (From their 1996 release "Diatribes")

Napalm Death - "Cold Forgiveness" (From their 1996 release "Diatribes")

Napalm Death - "Breed To Breathe" (From their 1997 release "Inside The Torn Apart")

Carcass - "Keep On Rotting In The Free World" (From their 1995 release "Swansong")

Carcass - "Rock The Vote" (From their 1995 release "Swansong")

Carcass - "This Mortal Coil" (From their 1993 release "Heartwork")

Morbid Angel - "Immortal Rites" (From their 1989 release "Altars Of Madness")

Death - "Zombie Ritual" (From their 1987 release "Scream Bloody Gore")

To Be Continued...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My Return Was Inevitable...

I've decided to clean this out and replenish it with new rantings, ravings and opinionated ways. You will deal with it, for you are reading this and you know that there is nothing else that you would rather be doing at this precise moment. Give in to the blogmaster!

I will start you fiends off easily. I've been on a big David Bowie kick recently (Well, that is until the new Filter album came out and totally kicked my ass, but still....we'll stay with Bowie for right now) and i've finally gotten to the point where I really appreciate his stuff. I mean, I dug him before, but it was always a song here and a song there and I didn't go very deep into his catalog. No more! Strangely enough, it all started with one of his 70's discs "Low", which was always mentioned by Trent Reznor, Marilyn Manson, Trevor Hurst and Chris Hall, but I always ignored it because of the timeframe and my mindset that 'anything that old can't be that great'. I was wrong! Very, very wrong. But it was a good wrong, so I can easily admit it. I can now call some of the albums tracks my favorite songs that i've discovered in the last few years. Most notably would be "Speed Of Life" (Which is actually an instrumental track. I usually like instrumentals, but to make it one of my favorite songs of the last few years...it takes quite a bit of a push. It's really just that awesome and re-playable.), "Be My Wife" and "Always Crashing In The Same Car". So, to show you what I mean, I will embed still image videos of those 3 in here for your listening pleasure. And by listening pleasure, I mean listen to them or be a worthless speck in my world of fantasticism!

"Speed Of Life"

"Be My Wife"

"Always Crashing In The Same Car"

After getting that into "Low", I went the safe route and came back to his modern albums and gave them more attention. I first really got into "Reality" and then "Earthling" and then "Heathen" and "Hours" (With "Outside" just waiting for me to spin the majority of it). I found that most of the time, each album has several songs that I loved, but even the rest of the albums were really good and I liked listening to them all the way through. Maybe it's just that I really like his voice ? Maybe it's his direction and how back and forth he's been with his music over the years ? I don't care, really. I just know that I dig it and that he is quickly becoming one of my favorite musicians. To round out this blog entry (With many more to come!), I will shove some material from those albums down your throat. Some have music videos and some do not. Suck it up and enjoy them all or perish!

"I'm Afraid Of Americans (With Trent Reznor)" [From "Earthling"]

"Heart's Filthy Lesson" [From "Outside"]

"Slow Burn" [From "Heathen"]

"Pablo Picasso" [From "Reality"]

"The Pretty Things Are Going To Hell" [From "Hours"]

"Little Wonder" [From "Earthling"]

"Hallo Spaceboy" [From "Outside"]

"I Took A Trip On A Gemini Spacecraft" [From "Heathen"]

"Fall Dog Bombs The Moon" [From "Reality"]

"Survive" [From "Hours"]