Key To Music Grades

A - You will never be whole without it
B - Highly recommended
C - Flawed, but still pretty good
D - It's your money, not mine
F - Why couldn't this have been burned in Fahrenheit 451?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Budgie - Never Turn Your Back On A Friend (1973)

Tony Bourge. Perhaps better known as the other Tony. While Tony Iommi from Sabbath was churning away some of the most tasty riffs of his era, Tony Bourge was quietly displaying his own sense of awesomeness. Of course, who knew? Within music circles -- which is to say, among respected musicians and fervent fans -- Budgie was just as vital to the influence of the burgeoning metal movement as Sabbath was. Most notably, Metallica and Soundgarden recorded cover versions of Budgie's songs. It's a shame, really, that these guys never made it.

Whatever. Do your part and listen to them. This matters much more than the stupid charts or how many albums they've sold or the fact that they probably won't ever be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum™. Fuck them. Fuck Cleveland. Fuck Clive Davis, LLC. Budgie embodies more of rock and roll than the combined efforts of Bob Seger or Grandmaster Flash or Bonnie Raitt. (That pairing of musicians was purposeful, by the way.) Since when did it become so important to institutionalize music anyway? Just ask Johnny Rotten what he thinks about that. Moving on...

Never Turn Your Back On A Friend is Budgie's finest album. Clocking in with just seven (but moderately long) songs, it begins with their most memorable tune "Breadfan" -- a nasty guitar riff if you've ever heard one.

If you like the blues standard "Baby Please Don't Go," you'll love the (ahem) slightly faster version here; it's not exactly samey like other versions and features vintage Burke Shelley thumping bass. (Think Geddy Lee before Geddy Lee existed.) "Riding My Nightmare" continues their tradition of having a great acoustic song amidst the rest of the thunder. "You're The Biggest Thing Since Powdered Milk" is a great title. So is "In The Grip Of A Tyrefitter's Hand." Oh, and they're great songs too, especially the former, which gradually builds from a warped psychedelic drum sequence to a heavy-laden bass funk and shifts to a rocking jam with some nice Bourge riffage.

Oh so tasty. I love this album. Stop relying on the stale recycled word-of-mouth from your friends, stupid best-of lists, Rolling Stone© magazine, FM radio anywhere, and especially, don't validate that artificial monument by adhering strictly to its tastes. Long live Budgie. Long live rock. A-

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Van Halen - OU812 (1988)

There's a lot of Van Halen going around; it's the end of summer and the last hurrahs with beer, barbecues and FM radio are everywhere. It's nice to hear the nastiness of "I'm The One" while at a stoplight or from your neighbor's backyard. Now, I'm not in a very good mood, and I love Van Halen (minus Hagar) without impunity, so I'm basically going to take the time to trash the most terrible album that Eddie has ever thought to commit a guitar track to -- OU812 -- the most un-Van Halen of all Van Halen records. This album is a waste of everything great about these guys. Listen to "The Full Bug" from Diver Down

and then to "Feels So Good" from this messy morass and you'll think you've got two different bands from two different eras.

The good? Well, "Finish What Ya Started," I must admit, is a pretty good song, but only because it's not annoying. Shame on Hagar for thinking we like such cantankerous caterwauling and especially, shame on Eddie and co. for thinking they needed Roth to be a successful band. Besides the insistent irritation offered by Hagar, the rest of the band seems lifeless as if they were ELP putting out Love Beach to fulfill contractual obligations. Speaking of ELP, I hate synths as filler or background or as some kind of supplemental accompaniment. But Keith Emerson rules. And Rick Wakeman rules -- because they transcended the potentially banal use of their instruments, like Max Roach did with percussion (rest in peace, man). This musical diarrhea doesn't deserve the keys it tries to embellish and should be promptly flushed into the cesspool with the other blasé buckets of musical filth produced from the 80s. Oh, and for the record, 5150 sucked, too, just not as much, but that's for later. This album merely built upon the exacting shittiness they were developing then. An F seems too nice.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Police - Giants Stadium - August 5, 2007

What's to say? Greatest. Show. Ever. For being apart for 22 years, this show didn't exactly have rust; it was just absolutely impeccable. At approximately 1 hour, 45 minutes, it was a bit short generally, but it was such a taut, tight set devoid of small talk that I will forgive them. Oh, and for the record, many may not consider Andy Summers the greatest guitarist ever, but he is without a smidgen of a doubt the greatest 64-year old guitarist in the world. He was shredding without conscience, plugging beautiful riffs and solos in every place he could fit them. Whereas the Andy of studio fame was known more for his splendid musical textures than he was for his individual showmanship and dynamism, the current Andy now indulges in both halves -- and I won't complain, especially when he jumped around stage like he was twenty again. Apparently, Andy was so much out of sorts during the concert that Sting felt it necessary to peek over his shoulders several times as if to say "Are you done showing off yet?" Words, though, really can't describe how amazing it all really was. In the event that I can't procure tickets for their MSG show on Halloween, I will ultimately have to savor this forever. Thanks guys, for getting back together, even if only for this once. A+


Message In A Bottle
Synchronicity II
Walking On The Moon
Voices Inside My Head
When The World Is Running Down, You Make The Best Of What's Still Around
Don't Stand So Close To Me
Driven To Tears
Truth Hits Everybody
The Bed's Too Big Without You
Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
Wrapped Around Your Finger
De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da
Invisible Sun
Walking In Your Footsteps
Can't Stand Losing You/Reggatta De Blanc Medley

Encore I:
King Of Pain
So Lonely
Every Breath You Take

Encore II:
Next To You