Category Archives: Music

Eight H Songs

So I am double linking this idea for maximum exposureness, and also because inspiration came from all angles!

First, would be for From My Write Side, who in turn linked from Ambling & Rambling. Songs with an H theme. Since H is the 8th letter of the alphabet, my twist is 8 songs/albums/bands that start with the letter H.

Also since this is a numbered list, it goes along with Ms ODNT and Melmags in their June Blog Post by Numbers Month activity (and you thought they were just about Ketchup and angry letters.)

Sorry but I will not link these up to Youtube or something, because coding gives me headaches sometimes. If you are curious go for it!

1. H. by Tool – From the CD Aenima, it was one of my favorite albums of the mid 90’s. I played this straight through pretty much every day, and then the favorites over again. My friends and I put our own interpretations on the lyrics, a typical fawning gesture. Yet we were the same people who rolled their eyes when people would go on in the same manner about Radiohead. Looking back, yes we were those obnoxious fans. Such is life. Anyway H. is about inner conflicts, ‘the snake’ is mentioned throughout the song, likely a symbol of temptation and self-serving choices, which even if good or bad for us, are to our benefit first and foremost. With the drowned snake at the end, we have regret. The song fades into the sound of a record reaching the end, and the needle cycling through white noise.

2. Hope Tonight – a new CD (and a title track) by my friend Melanie Penn. What’s it like? Well I’ll tell ya…

Maybe things haven’t been going so well lately. After a gloomy end to 2013 (from Fall through November), and a snow filled start to 2014, as early as February, things may have looked to be just more of the same. Even the few nice days have been bookmarked by rainy weather. We deserve more. A song perhaps. One that doesn’t force rhymes, and that doesn’t take too long to learn.
But now it’s Spring (I think it is), the days are lasting longer, and now something else has come up among the flowers. Right now, you can purchase “Hope Tonight”, Melanie Penn’s sophomore release! It will remind of you of the hope, happiness, bittersweetness you have, and how much wiser you are from family and your own experiences. I was lucky enough to get a copy some time ago, and it is absolutely brilliant.
So download, listen, listen again, and you’ll hear it, see it, feel it.
It’ll turn around.
Things always turn around.

3. Hurt – Nine Inch Nails. Later Johnny Cash offered his own rendition, probably the best cover of any song, IMHO. The Downward Spiral was brilliant in its raw sound, which I don’t feel they duplicated afterwards. Like with garage bands, when the tech production goes up, and songwriting becomes a process, that cheap, dirty anger gets buffered. Still, this haunting track completed an incredible dark concept album.

4. Heaven Can Wait – Meat Loaf. Bat Out of Hell was a brilliant record. Yes record. I still have it, salvaged from the ol’ heave ho that your record collection rightfully deserves. Anyway, Heaven Can Wait, is the first of two love ballads on the record that are ironically sandwiched in between songs about horny teenage boys and bad bikers looking to score and split on innocent girls. Still, the emotion and sincerity stand out for Mr. Loaf, and I’m sure this song made it’s way onto many wedding dance floors back in the day.

5. High and Dry – Radiohead. The other band that has the annoying fans. The Bends was a foreshadowing of the complex style and vague lyrics that would grow (at least to me) incomprehensible, or at least an in-joke that I wasn’t going to pretend I got. Released in the midst of grunge, it did not fold to that pressure or sound and that’s why its still listenable.

6. Hung – Napalm Death. My first deep foray into grindcore/death metal and it happened by ‘accident’. At the time, I was into Metallica, pretty much the first step in any teen’s basic metal comprehension. Megadeth, Iron Maiden and Sepultura were also staples. Slayer was harder, faster and darker. So when we came across a cassette given to one of us, we put it on and were dumbfounded by the guttural vocals, chaotic guitars and lyrics that were sputtered out, and would stop mid sentence. We smirked, shook our heads, and were going to eject it, when I convinced everyone to just give it a few more minutes. After all what the hell else did we have planned that day? No foreign diplomats were waiting on us to arbitrate any peace treaties. So we sat there, and suddenly, as the song chugged along to the 2:50 mark of the song, the riff comes in. Jaws dropped. Heads banged.

7. Hats off to the Bull – Chevelle. An obvious reference to bullfighting and rooting for the underdog, this album and title track are built around the state of society and culture these days tied in with a traditional ‘sport’ that is criticized for its cruelty and machismo. Probably my favorite CD by Chevelle since Point #1, as they seemed to return to those roots indirectly, but keeping the sound fresh and perfectly done (see my note on NIN about stale, repetitiveness).

8. Head Down and Half – Both off Soundgarden’s Superunknown. This came out 20 years ago and damn I remember buying it with some of the last crumbs of my lean college student budget. The rest I spent on dinner out at Pizzeria Uno’s with my friends, while we listened to it on my portable CD player. I nod and smile just thinking about how dated that sounds. Anyway, those songs in particular were written by bassist Ben Shepherd, and were seemingly out of place among Chris Cornell’s memorable riffs and structure. It took me a while, but I would later get into them, as I would refrain from hitting the ‘skip’ button. That button made things much easier – no need to wear out the ‘ffwd’ button.

(Hidden Track- various) Ahhh you see what I did there?! Hidden tracks are fun things. Nothing was a better sight than when the track listing was different than the listed version. Even better was when there was no extra track, just the last song having seemingly endless minutes of silence before these odd outtakes or messages. There’s an angry parent calling Marilyn Manson’s hotline, a poetic, if not disturbing phone message 15 minutes after track 69 (as if ‘Disgustipated’ wasn’t disjointed enough, and yes we waited those extra 15 minutes- see #6 again for our work schedules), “Iron Gland” stuck between songs on Alice in Chains’ Dirt, a hidden track before the firts track on Korn’s See you on the other Side and Nine Inch Nails, who on Broken, dragged you out to tracks 98 & 99 for the last songs.

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Filed under Life, Lists, Music, Reviews, Writing, Writing Challenges

WayBack Wednesday – Richer for Knowing

This installation of Wayback Wednesday (yes it’s back!) is another look back at times/places/people from my past.

You may remember the band Sixpence None the Richer. “There She Goes”, “Kiss Me”, the cover of “Don’t Dream it’s Over.” Ah yes I think that’s the light bulb flickering in your mind.

Well, I am a fan, which surprises many people, since SNTR have no direct ties to Star Wars, or zombies. I think one of them likes bunnies (but not zombunnies).

As  you know, liking one band, then seeing them tour with someone else, or when members work with other projects, you follow them, which leads you to more exposure (their plan works perfectly). So in one form or another, I have seen them whenever they come to NYC, going back at least 12 years.

About a month ago I found out, after looking around for bands that I used to follow, but have fallen out of touch with (pretty much every single one of them – Fear Factory, Aphex Twin, Joe Satriani, Nine Inch Nails, Pearl Jam) and noticed that they pretty much all have new CD’s, tours and news which I missed out on. All except SNTR, who were coming to the Mercury Lounge two weeks from that very moment, the same day their new CD came out. Talk about perfect timing! So I snagged a ticket, barely wincing at the 25% in surcharges from fucking TicketBastard (Yes I paid $20.50 for a $15.00 ticket), and last Tuesday, headed to the show.

Mercury Lounge is a small, cozy space, one block from Katz’ Deli, and some other LES venues that I catch shows at from time to time; especially and including some friends and locals. The show was lively and people were really into it. It wasn’t a show you stumbled upon; everyone there was a fan.

Another great part about non-arena bands is that the chances to meet the musicians afterwards is pretty good. The singer for SNTR, Leigh Nash, is particularly accessible. I’ve actually met her several times after shows. So after this show, I did the same as usual, waiting a few moments and finding out she was signing CD’s and taking photos by the front area. So after a bit more waiting, I met Leigh once again.

Hurray! She recognized me immediately! I mentioned some early shows they have played, congratulated them on the new CD and thanked them for coming back to NYC for a show. I got my fan experience and all was well with the evening.

So I started thinking, where are the other pics I have with her. There was one signing where I met all the members but no pics of that one.

Well I found them and decided to post!


Leigh and I, February 2003. There’s my chubby mid 20’s clean shaven face (back then I would have never considered beard-dom). I am wearing my winter coat and have a couple extra lbs on me. It was a snowy winter (the show was a day after a big snowstorm, so maybe I was getting my hibernation gut together).


October 2008. BB Kings. She was singing with Delerium and Conjure One on this tour. Sixpence had broken up and she was doing side/solo work, so the chance at meeting again was there.


And finally Leigh and me 2012. She signed the CD for me, also a picture that I had taken of her during the ’08 show, and was genuinely grateful for my continued fandom.

All in all, a good night of music, that took me back to how I enjoyed music, and the reminder that great experiences don’t have to just be memories.

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Filed under Concerts, Life, Music, Reviews, Wayback wednesday

Musical Memories (Scintilla Project)

One of today’s themes is about a song that brings back a memory or a moment when you heard it.

While I will go to the 80’s any time I need good music, I do not equate them with any particular moment/memories; maybe sitting around my bedroom with a stack of cassettes, or a ride in the car, wherever we were going. The opening chords of “Welcome to the Jungle”. Rick Astley (the first time around). George Michael wanting your sex (yes YOURS!). Even though I look back on it oh so fondly, does it mean that it was a better time? No, the world had terrorism, political scandals, famine, and a nuclear power plant exploding back then too. But hey, we had a great soundtrack to it.

The Ozone layer never stood a chance.

As I reached adulthood in the 90’s, any hit song from that decade gets me nostalgic; even the ones I couldn’t stand. Like that song by Blind Melon that nobody cares about; just that “The Bee Girl” is in it. I heard it the other day and it’s still…wait for it…buzzing in my head. Searching the internet about that gal I learned a few things;

  • She got cute
  • She inspired more awkward teen girls than Baby and Laura Ingalls, combined.
  • People still dress like her for Halloween

None of which I can brag about accomplishing (I have ALWAYS been cute).

Even during that phase in college when I looked like Ace Ventura.

Then there is Faith No More’s “Epic”. This is from the time at the strip club many moons ago, when the next girl up asked if we had any (musical) requests; we wanted metal! So she indulged us with Metallica, then FMN. “You want it all but you can’t have it/It’s in your face but you can’t grab it”. Consider the moment – have there ever been more fitting lyrics?

These days, anything that is popular is due to it being awesomely awesome (very rare) or awesomely bad (daily basis). A Friday cannot go by without Rebecca Black’s song banging through my head. The “Climbin through yo’ window” rap/newscast song has made me paranoid about locking my windows. And my constant fear that anyone from the cast of Jersey Shore will make a music album.

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Filed under Creative Writing, General Nerdliness, Humor, Life, Music, Retro