Tuesday, January 31

Mr. Dogg's Classics - Fuel For The Hate Game

I was going to write a review about the new "We Are Scientists" album, but I don't think i would be able to do a fair review of it right now. So rather than trash an potentally good album, I'm going to sing the praises of an album I allready love from a band that rarely lets me down.

Artists: Hot Water Music
Album: Fuel For The Hate Game
Year: 1997
Comments: I hate victory records. Hate it with the fire of a thousand suns, which is also proably one of the names of the bands on that suckass lable. I used to love victorty records, back before Snapcase turned into computers and broke up, and before Streetlight Manifesto got jack for all their equipemnt. These days, Victory seems to carry every single pop screamo band in the world; its a lable consiting of Taking Back Sunday and their respective clones. Its this kind of mindless repetition of style with no creativity that is killing music these days.

So you might be asking yourself, what does all of this have to do with Hot Water Music? The answer is that this album "Fuel For The Hate Game" is, in my opinion, a blueprint for all of these Victory record bands; a guide to how to make a style of music creativly without repetiton and mindlessness. "Fuel For The Hate Game" gets its strenth by playing off of its influences. In "Backjaw" and "Turnstyle", one can't help but hear a Sunny Day Real Estate style of emo, but fused with some more hardcore guitar work and furious drums. At the same time, its melodic enough not to turn off the casual listner. The vocals are raw and snarrling, with lyrics that pull at the heartstrings, all as the dueling guitars swirl around each other.

The true triumph in this album is how it sounds like a step forward. When this album was released, screamo wasn't even on the radar in mainstreem music. Hot Water Music was able to fuse their emo roots with their hardocre tendencies, and make something beautiful and strong. This album in my mind is the first real hardcore/emo/screamo album of its kind, able to appeal to casual listner and still make the snobs happy. Listening to this album makes me both happy and sad. Sad because a genre of music has been reduced to stupid haircuts and bad metaphors, but happy because it reminds me that all it takes is a little hardwork and a little creativity to breath new life into a genre.

Rating: 8.5-10
Key Tracks : "Backjaw" "Trademark" "220 Years"
Worth The Money: Yes, especially fans of At The Drive In, Sunny Day Real Estate, hardcore bands

Tuesday, January 24

Quick Note

1) Spelling Errors - I know, my posts are full of them. I would tell you all to fuck the hell off, but luckily The James has offered to help me fix errors. So WOO for The James

2) Another review should be going up Thursday

3) Fall Out Boy pisses me off, but their song titles make me giggle.

check back thursday, that it all.

Mr. Dogg Out!

Thursday, January 19

Change is Good For Former Heroes of Rock

Artist: The Strokes
Album: First Impressions of Earth

Comments: Back in 2001 when The Strokes released their first album ("Is This It?") and spearheaded a new wave and 80's influenced dance rock, they were hearled as the kings of rock and roll the band that was forever going to save and change rock and roll for all time ever and ever forever. Whether or not they did that is irrelivent, what's important is to relaize that any band that gets that kind of press over their first relases is most likly going to make one, maybe two albums and break up. But lo and behold, five years have passed since rock and roll was supposably saved, and the strokes release their third album. And I say, good for them.

The two preceding albums sound almost exactly the same, like a double disc that was just relased two years apart. But on "First Impressions of Earth" The Strokes start to show signs of change and growth in their music. Granted, alot of the songs still have the same basic sound of the last two albums; "You Only Live Once" would sound right at home on either "Is This It?" or "Room On Fire". However, "Juicebox" the first single off the album shows some balls out rock that The Strokes have not deliveder up to this point. With the driving bass and desperate guitar solos paired with Julian Casablancas's howls and growls, the Strokes show that they're more than just hipsters from New York City.

The big changes on this album seem to be the in the rythm section and in Casablancas's singing. On previous albums, the bass and drums were almost mailed in while the guitars danced around each other with a Casablancas's voice distortion leading it all. On this album, however, drummer Fabrizio Moretti sounds like he discovered that his drum set has more than just a high hat, snare, and bass drum on it. Kudos for bass player Nikolai Fraiture, who must have taken lessons over the break period between albums, because the presnece of a rythm section is much more defined on this album. And as far as Casablancas's voice goes, he dropped the distortion all together. He's not a great singer, but he's good, and it's nice to hear his voice without anything to hide behind.

The weakest points of the album are the parts that sound the same as everything else The Strokes have done. While they do show some marked growth and development, too much of this album is repetition of old material. At certin points in the album, it sounds to me like The Strokes are just covering their own songs. (See "You Only Live Once") Also, it sounds like there is no fun in this album. One of the things I really liked about the other two albums is how much fun they sounded like they were having, and how the songs seemed to be played on emotion and feeling rather than skill. Some of that youthfull feel is lost on this album.

But still, the overall growth on the ablum out weighs the loss of inocennsse. All in all, "First Impressions of Earth" is a step forward for The Strokes, who sound like they are done trying to save rock and roll, and are just ready to be a part of it.
Key Tracks - "Juicebox" "Vision of Divison" "Ask Me Anything"

OVERALL RATING - 7 out of 10
WORHT THE MONEY - Yes, if you are already a fan of The Strokes

Just A Quick Note

Hey there all you musical nuts.

I'm in the middle of an album right now, you can expect the review to be up sometime tonight or early tomorrow. My goal for this is to review a new album ever week, with a review of a "classic" album, which is more or less an album that I like that was released before this year. The point is that if you know of any new albums you would like to see reviewed, or if you want to make a sugesstion or a complaint, feel free to post on the message board or to email me at mrdogg45@yahoo.com. Also, be sure to listen to my radio show "Get Awesome" every thursday night at www.wexpradio.com It's a streaming webcast, so you should be able to hear it no problem.

Thats all for right now, see you crazy kids later

-Mr. Dogg

Monday, January 16

Best of 05

Happy new year all you musical nuts.

Because the New Year is still relatively new, and because I haven’t gotten a chance to go to the record store yet this year, I'm going to kick things off by going over some of my recommendations for the best albums of 2005. But rather than just throw a bunch of albums out there, or do a top ten list, I'd rather break them up into genre. This way, it can serve as a polite suggestions as to what album is the best for each kind of music.

As always, these are based entirely on my opinions, and if you don't like it, you can sit on it and spin.

Now on to MR.DOGG'S BEST OF 2005

Artist: Smoke or Fire
Album: Above the City
Comments: Smoke or Fire don't sound much different than your modern day punk band, and the fact that their on Fat Wreck Chords doesn't help to break them away from the pack any. But there is something about their first CD that pushes it above the pack. It might be the tight rhythm section, or the snarling vocals that are a throwback to the early 80's style of singer. In the end, I think it's just drive, ambition, and the fact that it sounds like these guys are having fun doing what they are doing. And in a time where emotion is bought and sold like appliances, any music with true emotion behind it is worth a listen.
Tracks: "Culture as Given" "Cops and Drugs"

Artist: Foo Fighters
Album: In Your Honor
Comments: Before this album was released, a lot of people thought that Dave Grohl had lost his steam. Their previous album (One by One) had sounded flat and rehashed, like the Foo Fighters were covering their own songs, and people began to speculate that Grohl was spending so much time with his other side projects (Protbot, Queens of the Stone Age) that the Foo Fighters were done. With the release of this album, the Foos get their focus back, regain their swagger, and step once and for all out of the giant nirvana sized shadow they've been living in. "In Your Honor" if full of the kind of songs you always knew the Foo Fighters could make, the kind of songs that grab you by the short hairs and don't let go. Listen to "Deepest Blues" for the best rock song they've written since "Everlong".
Tracks: "In Your Honor" "Hell" "The Deepest Blues Are Black"

Artist: Common / Young Jeezy
Album: Be / Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101
Comments: I decided to pick tow artists because of all the modern popular genres of music, no one genre is as split as hip - hop. (Besides indie music, which can fall into any genre as long as the word indie is slapped to the front of it) On the one had, hip-hop seems to be all about the hustle. Songs that make you think of street life and doing what it takes to get by. (Whether or not the artist had to live the life and get by) For the more hard aspect of hip-hop, look no further than Young Jeezy. However, hip-hop is also about poetry and history, about pain and soul. If you're looking for a more introspective and substantial brand, then Common's "Be" is the best album for it, hands down.
Tracks: "Be" "The Food" "Chi City" / "Standing Ovation" "Go Crazy" "Get Ya Mind Right"

Artist: Bloc Party
Album: Silent Alarm
Comments: The 80's are back baby! Let the bad hair, stupid keytars, and lame synth riffs reign supreme! 80's revival has been big these last few years, and lot of bands are cashing in on sounds that were recorded over 20 years ago without expanding on them or changing them in any noticeable way. The big exception in my mind being Bloc Party. I'll admit that at first listen it sounded like a band riding the wave of success created by Franz Ferdinan and the Killers. However, those willing to give it a second listen will find a group with big ideas and the courage to just rock. But overall, it will sound like a step forward, using the past as a stepping stone, rather than a throwback with no originality.
Tracks: "Blue Light" "This Modern Love" "Luno"


Artist: Sufjan Stevens
Album: Illinoise
Comments: Make no mistake, this is folk music. But it is also so much more than that. It is a well written and engaging story about the history and life of the state of Illinois. It is a cracked genius at work; with Sufjan Stevens waving his baton with a mad grin on his face, conduction everyone to play at the same time while marinating a sense order. It is an octopus, playing his banjo, guitar, piano, organ, glockenspiel, trumped, keyboard, drums, and bass; making full songs by itself. It is a choir, vaguely singing to god, but more to joy. But overall, it is an album of loss, love, regret, hope, and brilliance. My favorite album of the last five years, and the most beautiful one I have ever heard.
Tracks: "Chicago" "The Predatory Wasp of The Palisades is Out to Get Us" "John Wayne Gacy Jr." "Decatur"