For the benefit of our younger googlespiders, a CD is a disc that old people used to buy from these establishments called record shops. If you had a newfangled device called a CD player you could listen to a whopping 74 minutes of digital music per disc. Man, these things were even neater than digital watches.
So what better way to celebrate your obsolete disc collection than finding a classic by a band named after everyone’s favorite white dragon that you thought you had lost ten years ago? This week I stumbled across my ancient copy of Vegas by the Crystal Method. The American Chemical Brothers? Yeah, maybe. Both lurk in the same spectrum of electronic music. If you like one then you’ll probably like the other but I reckon the Method are the much better act seen live. If you like your beats big you could do much worse!
Mr C: So we’ve got this new song we want to release. (snigger!) Angus: Yeah it’s fabulous, it’s got great philosophers in it! (hee hee!) Record Exec: This better not be about these rave parties you guys seem to love! Angus: Oh no sir, this song even has salmon in it. (chortle!) Mr C: It’s about this really awesome guy called Mr Goode who likes to go to birthday parties. (snicker!) Record Exec: Phew. I was getting worried that you two were turning into a pair of drugged up dancers like every other young scallywag in this country. Mr C: Absolutely not sir, this song even mentions Vera Lynn! (guffaw!) Record Exec: The last thing we need is a number one song with drug references during drug awareness week!
2 weeks later:
Every school, workplace and home: E’s are good, e’s are good…! Record Exec: /facepalm
So I’m going to go a bit off topic today for a change (stop sniggering at the back!). This probably won’t make much sense to any of you googlebots who read this blog but I value your opinions nontheless.
Several great things have come out of Essex, I am sure. Personally I can only think of two. Firstly, my old flatmate Dazz who spent two weeks with an undiagnosed broken neck and didn’t even cry once, and the electronic outfit that is The Prodigy.
To me The Prodigy are a bit like the stuff at back of a garage. It’s kind of always been there, and most of the time you forget about it. Then every once in a while you go rummaging and discover something awesome, like a chainsaw or pellet gun. You then spend a few hours pretending to be the guy out of Doom chasing the neighbourhood cats, before the stuff goes back until you next go rummaging. Likewise, this group has been creeping around the British music scene for nearly 20 years now. They don’t release much and are rarely in the public eye, but their back catalogue is phenomenal. Occasionally stumbling upon one of their tracks is an event in itself!
So in the last week I have been listening to their albums again. Personally I can’t decide which was best. I am torn between ‘Music For The Jilted Generation’ and ‘The Fat Of The Land’. If you fancy helping me to make my mind up, please add your thoughts, or vote. Thanks folks!
Ask anyone who is starting to learn to play the electric guitar what the greatest riff ever is and they are likely to say ‘Enter Sandman’ by Metallica. Ask them again a few weeks later and they are likely to say ‘Layla’ by Derek and The Dominos. Yes, we’ve all been there!
For those of you who appreciate good guitar riffs allow me to introduce you to a little known track from a band from Somerset, England, a great song, and legendary riff!
It is a definite sign that you are getting older when stuff you think of as modern is actually pretty old. And so it is with ‘Fire’ by Electric Six.
As a gamer you are unlikely to ever be regarded as ‘cool’ in your musical tastes, which is fortunate because you don’t have to waste your time listening to pretentious crappy underground cutting-edge ‘cool’ music. You know the type of stuff I mean: ‘Yeah this band are really awesome’ followed by the musical equivalent of someone grating a polar bear. Electric Six are fortunately decidedly uncool and unpretentious in this regard.
I bought this album when it first came out, not because I ‘d ever heard of the band but I was on a long road trip and needed something to listen to. I had heard a slice of a single off the album so I wasn’t going in completely blind. Luckily I struck musical gold and it made my trip a lot more entertaining, and it is still an album I listen to occasionally now, many years later.
Fire seems to be more about a bunch of people rocking out and generally having a bit of a laugh rather than trying to make some kind of musical statement. You’ve no doubt at least heard of a few tracks: ‘Danger! High Voltage’ (is that Jack White singing? It’s a mystery!), and ‘Gay Bar’ (trust me, you won’t easily forget the video to this one!). The album is pretty much stuffed with tracks of this type. Groundbreaking? No. Funky? Yes. Fun? Definitely!
Apparently fed up with the predictable cover that is the X-Factor Christmas number one song every year in the UK, someone took it upon themselves to start a campaign to buck the trend. The song chosen? Rage Against The Machine’s sweary classic “Killing In The Name”.
On the one hand, this is an excellent idea. Personally I reckon modern music sucks, but I think this is just part of getting old. Regardless, having RATM at number one would be awesome. Whether it would actually get played on the radio even in it’s clean form is another matter. I also doubt that it would get put next to Slade’s “Merry Xmas Everybody” or Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” on one of those plethora of Christmas Compilation Albums that get released every year.
However, I feel it also a bit of a sad state of affairs that commercialism has got so rampant at Christmas that we are forced to purchase votes in some kind of musical election if we want to be taken notice of. Yes, it may be that a bunch of irritated people stick two fingers up to the musical establishment and get it to number one for Christmas. Yeah, great. You just know that the X-Factor no-effort cover will get blanket radio play regardless. What also happens? The music industry is so global that the big companies still yo-ho-ho all the way to the bank having sold a butt load of X-Factor trash and a bunch of back-catalogue recordings.
I suppose we’ll find out soon enough what the outcome is.
If you had a theme song, what would it be? I was listening to some tunes today in the car when Jan Hammer’s Miami Vice Theme came on. I just thought this song could well be the theme tune that History Channel use in 4000AD for documentaries on the big hair that was the 80s. That is, if the History Channel have finally run out of stuff on The Third Reich and Ancient Egypt by then. This song has it all, the excellent artificial percussion, the amazing synth strings, the wailing guitars (you just know there’s some skinny dude in tight lycra pants with a massive bouffon hairdo and headband playing it), the awesome clothes and you can almost hear a white Ferrari Testarossa in there somewhere!
Well what has this got to do with gaming I hear you cry? Absolutely nothing to be honest, but gaming has been a bit on the backburner for the past few weeks. Besides, it’s never a bad move to have other interests and hopefully appeal to our vast non-gaming audience. I hope all you googlebots are paying attention! For all you hardcore gamers out there, I assure you that ZombiePirateXXX should be assembling his Space Hulk models as we speak. Once we get around to playing it then I am sure service will be resumed as normal.
If you ever talk to an old person, they will generally say that things were better in ‘the old days’. Personally I have never felt that being bombed, eating rations or being an unwashed beflared hippie particularily appealing, but then to use a phrase “Like woah, I wasn’t there, man”. But I do recall the nineties with particular clarity, and I do recall these were good days. In the nineties the average joe thought spam was a canned meat, tweet is what the birds did, anyone with a mobile phone was a bit posh, and CDs were still considered a pretty neat idea.
They were simpler times. Most importantly though is that the kids didn’t listen to emo. Music was more upbeat. Dance music was big. Yes you had the occasional emo song on the radio but it was yet to become a way of life. One of the more popular bands of the era (especially with teenage intellectual girls or so it seemed) were The Smashing Pumpkins. They were quite big at the time (apparently), and Mellon Collie was their biggest release to date. Naturally I completely ignored it. I was too busy bashing my eardrums out to the sounds of the Prodigy to really care about some whiny guy from Chicago. A few years elapsed, and eventually my guitaring exploits (remember, this is the nineties and with no Guitar Hero we actually had to learn to play), and I ended up in a university covers band. The drummer, being Belgian, was allowed to suggest we play ‘Bullet With Butterfly Wings’ as part of our setlist. So I got hold of the album which I had been happily ignoring for all these years. We learned to play the song successfully.
Skip on another year or two and I am making a road trip to Norwich. Now to those of you who haven’t been there, Norwich sits at the bottom of a space-time distortion in east anglia. It takes an eternity to reach it from any direction. Colman’s mustard was actually made by bronze age anglo-saxons but has taken several hundred years getting it out of the county to the rest of us. Anyway, I digress. My car had a newly installed cd player. Guess what the only album I had with me was? You guessed it, Mellon Collie. So I listened. For what seemed like days. And I loved it. I still listen to it to this day, both discs. It is what an album should be, it is a musical journey, where every song is a part of a much greater audioscape. It’s a true piece of genius. To be honest I’m still not a Smashing Pumpkins fan, but for these 2 hours or so, Billy Corgan is one of the greatest musicians of our era.