Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Plug in Your Head Break

Hey all, I'm sorry there hasn't been a Plug in Your Head recently. I have had problems with my internet and so I haven't been able to post on Blogspot. But I was able to find a brief spot where it worked in which I posted my review on Metallica and Lou Reeds "Lulu" on blogcritics.org so go check that out at http://blogcritics.org/music/article/music-review-lou-reed-and-metallica/

Finally, I am taking a holiday and Plug in Your Head will come back in January. Thank you for all your support these last 6 months, you guys rock.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from me to you.

Xtian Zzyzx

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Article first published as Music Review: Korn Featuring Skrillex - “Get Up” on Blogcritics.

I apologise for the delay in this weeks Plug In Your Head and the lack of a Plug in Your Head last week. My internet was down, and when it came back I was extremely ill. But today I am back with another Plug in Your Head- Track Review.
Today’s track review is a big one in the metal and dubstep communities: “Get Up,” by nu metal band Korn and From First To Last lead singer-turned-dubstep DJ, Sonny Moore (a.k.a. Skrillex).
I’ve heard many lesser known artists attempt, without success, creating a seamless fusion of classic wobble bass and hard-hitting guitar riffs in the past. None come even close to results achieved by the the big names involved in this track. Unlike other dubstep/metal collaborations, this track just seems so effortless! It makes me think that these two genres were meant to meet, and the brain-child of these two artists is irrefutable proof of this.
One of the things that makes this track so good is that it’s hard to tell where the dubstep ends and the metal begins. It all flows so well. The wobble and guitar fit together to create one riff of such unique sound, I don't believe I've ever heard anything quite like it.
The song builds in a gradual dubstep progression, untill finally the full force of this track makes its impact in the main riff. The song demonstrates the possibilities of this genre fusion even before the lyrics begin.
A dubstep song is nothing without a hard-core drop, and with an entire band behind Skrillex, he was able to create one of the craziest drops I’ve ever heard. The pre-chorus ends with a halt to the instruments and the dubstep loop seems to back up on itself. Then the drop comes in with Korn lead singer Jonathan Davis screaming, “Shut the Fuck Up! Get Up!”
There’s nothing but pure power in this drop and it’s sure to impress anyone who dares call himself or herself a dubstep aficionado!
Around the 2:30 mark, as the chorus appears to be drawing to an end, the breakdown makes its unforgettable mark on this track! Skrillex seems to take the lead in the breakdown, but guitar and samples of Jonathan Davis’ voice are also incorporated into the dubstep.
I assume that because of Skrillex's prior involvement in a metal band, he has the required understanding of group dynamics essential to this, and any, collaboration. And perhaps that this is why similar cross genre tracks may have failed in the past; DJs simply lack this kind of experience.
This is a great song and I would encourage these two artists (should they listen to me) to collaborate more often in the future. Korn and Skrillex did in fact work together recently on a track titled, “Narcissistic Cannibal.” However, after hearing “Get Up” it was a bit of a disappointment, but a brilliant track none the less.
Give “Get Up” a listen, as it's well worth the experience, even if you don’t like dubstep or metal because musically, this track is very intricate and well thought out. “Get Up” is truly a revolutionary song that could possibly result in the creation of a whole new genre entirely!
So until next time, Turn up the volume and Plug in Your Head.
Xtian Zzyzx

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Sage Francis- "Going back to Rehab" Our Generations Bob Dylan?

Article first published as Music Review: Sage Francis - "Going Back to Rehab" on Blogcritics.

I’m gonna try something a little different today. Plug in Your Head- Track Review! And the track in question is Sage Francis’ “Going Back to rehab,” from the album, Human Death Dance.

Sage Francis is an “indie” rapper and the only hip-hop act signed to Epitaph Records. He’s by far my favourite rapper and possibly the best artist I have come across recently.

One of the things I love about Sage Francis is his use of a live band rather than an entirely computerised backing track. This gives a lot more emotion to his music, and "Going Back to Rehab" in particular wouldn’t sound the same or have the same emotional impact without it.

The picked guitar in the beginning, together with Sage’s voice sets a mood that the flow of his words and the instrumental progression build on throughout the song, making it an epic, emotional journey.
The song starts with a voice reading out an alphabetical list of drug names. The voice then starts to fade out with an increasing reverb effect. Once the voice has been drowned out, Sage starts rapping.

The lyrics in this song are nothing short of art. Most people have forgotten that RAP stands for Rhythm And Poetry, but I believe that Sage Francis is exactly what we all need to remind us of this. I would even go as far as saying that he’s our generation's Bob Dylan. And that’s a bold claim!
When the chorus comes in, the song starts to fill out. Piano, violin and drums are added to the mix before the drums drop out a few barres into the second verse.

Around the four-minute mark in the song, it sounds as if the track is over. However, the first verse is then repeated with the vocals mixed into the background, almost joining the music in a way that makes them sound like another instrument or a sample. As the verse ends, the whole band, including the drums come back with the addition of the voice we heard in the beginning of the song, which finishes reading the list of drugs. So the song ends as it began, like a reprise.

This is the kind of song you can listen to with the lights off and your eyes closed. It absorbs you until there is nothing but the music. Mainstream rappers can take a page from Sage’s book and be reminded of the beauty that can come from this genre.

Even if you don’t like rap, give Sage Francis a listen. He is an artist in every sense of the word, and you won’t regret it.

Here's a Link to Sage Francis- "Going Back to Rehab" on Grooveshark.com

So Until Next Time, Turn Up the Volume and Plug in Your Head

Xtian Zzyzx

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Stone Sour- Come What(Ever) May

I 100% support artistic freedom and therefore I find a musician having more than one band or "Project" as they smugly call them a great idea. But what annoys me is when people pretend to know what they're talking about when talking about these other "projects" when they clearly don't. And now to the point I was about to make. Stone Sour IS NOT Corey Taylor and Jim Roots "Other Band"! Slipknot is. Stone Sour was formed first and so I maintain that Slipknot is the "Other Band."
Pedantic Ranting 1. Know it alls 0

Come What(Ever) May is possibly my favourite Hard Rock album out there. Mostly because most bands who call themselves "Hard Rock" SUCK! Unfortunately this rule also applies to Stone Sour because honestly, this is their only good album. The only creditability that their Self Titled album has is that, the single "Bother" was on the Spiderman sound track. Woopdy-Fucking-Hoo! And Audio Secrecy just... Isn't very good. So I guess this band is the Album equivalent of a One-Hit-Wonder. 

The album starts out with the cheesiest Hard Rock cliché I know of! An angry down-tuned guitar riff that tries to say, "Hey look! We've changed! We're metal now!" And then the lyrics come in and I can imagine Corey Taylor on a golf course with cocktail in hand saying, "Just Kidding!" But to be fair, as a Hard Rock song, 30/30-150 is a good song. Even though I have no Idea what a 30/30-150 is and what exactly this numeric value possibly has to "Hate" other than possibly 30/30-151! Smug bastard, always just a little better than him.

Then Track 2, the title song, Come What(Ever) May also seems to try and be (me)tal. But in the way Nickle(back) try to be (me)tal... Badly. AND WHAT'S WITH THE B(RACK)ETS!?
It seems as if this album is desperately trying to be something it's not. It should just get over itself because then everyone will "love you for you!" as Dr. Phil would say. 
The lyrics in this song make no sense and I know I may be nit-picking by this point but surely in the lyric.
"You Want the World to be free?
What the fuck is free about it!?"
The person who "Wants the world to be free" knows that it isn't free and so asking him, "What the fuck is free about it?" is just a little redundant? But hey, Just nit-picking here.

Track 4, Sillyworld. *sigh*. Please just look at the title of the song and form your own opinion because a song that can call itself that and still take itself seriously is a little eh-hem... Silly. 
However, I do like one lyric in this song.
"Peace is just two fingers now
Peace was just a phase
When someone put it on a shirt
you knew to count the days
So take those fingers tape 'em up and shove 'em up your ass and carry on"
Its kinda true cuz peace is more than wearing a shirt that says "Give Peace a Chance!" So I guess I can give Stone Sour that. They also seem to stick with the reoccurring theme that we have no freedom.

Track 4, Made of Scars is quite catchy and the lyrics are quite well written. But to be honest I can't really talk about the music in this song and this album in general because there isn't much to talk about really. It's angry, generic and would probably be great to mosh to. The entire album really is a giant Ctrl+C Ctrl+V. Sure the lyrics and the main riff in each song are different, but its all too samey! All too structured. Like every song has to follow the same pattern. 
Intro Verse Chorus Verse Chorus Solo Verse/Chorus Bridge Chorus End. EVERY SINGLE SONG! Oh! Mistake! Track 7, Your God has TWO guitar solos!

Now I genuinely like Track 9, Through the Glass. I can't say that it doesn't follow the same pattern but it just does something different. IT DOESN'T TRY TO BE METAL! This song knows that it's a cheesy rock ballad thing and as one who generally hates Rock Ballads, its hard for me to say but, I really like this song.
I hate bands like Guns and Roses, Aerosmith and Def Leppard simply because they thrive on their cheesy love ballads! And I can't stand any of the vocalists for these bands. 
Perhaps Ballad is the wrong word for this song though, because it doesn't tell a story so much as repeat the same lyrics over and over. But How the song progresses and flows is what really makes this a good song. No Chorus is the same and it's done well.

Finally, Track 12 Zzyzx Rd. As you all can probably tell, I love this song. This song IS a ballad. The kind of Wave your lighter in the air at the concert ballad. There is alot of debate about what this song is about, but my 2 theories are, 1) It's about someone in the army who just wants his tour to end. Or 2) It's about him on tour with his band and how he feels, the record label is controlling him...And wants his tour to end.
Both theories make sense so pick the one you prefer.
This song couldn't be more cheesy if you used the disk as nachos but, I love it because it felt kinda uplifting when I was in a bad place in my life. So even though I could, I won't hate on this song because it means alot to me.

All in all, If you can overlook the absolute cheese, the crappy solos and how it's not Slipknot (You Fanboys). You may love this album as I do. Because even though it isn't a "Great" album, it does have some gems and some great memories.

So give it a listen, Here's a link to Stone Sour- Come What(Ever) May on Grooveshark.com

Finally, please can you guys all go to www.sosbrunodebbie.co.zaBruno Pelizzari and Debbie Calitz were kidnapped by Somalian Pirates in October last year and a ransom of US $4 million (ZA R28-million) has been demanded by their captors. I know that their families would love to see them safe again but they are unable to pay this sum. So please go to www.sosbrunodebbie.co.za and make a donation! Ontop of that, for every new follower Plug in Your Head gets between now and their safe return I will contribute R10. If everyone works together we can bring them home.
Thank you everyone who has made a contribution and please tell your friends to follow Plug in Your Head and make their own donations.

I'll be back next week with another Recommendation, so until then, Turn Up the Volume and Plug in Your Head!

Xtian zzyzx

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

The Decemberists- Picaresque

I got alot of people saying to me that I don't recommend enough metal.So I WAS going to recommend Iron Maiden's Brave New World, but two things happened. One I couldn't find my good copy of the album. The only copies I could find would skip or were really shitty quality. HOW DOES AN MP3 SKIP!? And the Second thing that happened was that after not listening to this album for a couple months I heard it and... It's not very good. BUT I will review it at a later stage so in the mean time, I will talk about The Decemberists- Picaresque.

The Album starts out BIG with The Infanta. This song is really epic, not in the sense that it's a good song (Although it is very good!) But it just sounds very epic. Like... Damn... Um... Ooh! Like a war scene in Lord of the Rings. Epic like that. Not to say it reminds me of a Lord of the Rings fight scene.. But it does now... This metaphor really isn't going anywhere. I hope you know what I'm saying cuz I sure as hell don't.

The Hammered Organ in this song is very out of the ordinary for a song like this, but it's quite cool. It fits well.
And at around the 3 Minute Mark there's a key change and it goes into only 1 guitar strum per barre and 2 voices (Male and Female.) I love how well everything harmonises in this part of the song.

The lyrics in this album have brilliant wording and I love the lead singers rather unorthodox voice. Even though he pronounces almost every vowel like it has an umlaut. It isn't bad or annoying but kinda funny and it adds something. One song that really shows off the lyrics in this album is Track 2, We All Go Down Together.The thing I really love about the lyrics of this song is how simple they are. It's simple in the sense that a nursery rhyme would be simple with an AA BB CC etc. rhyming pattern. It's great! The instrumentals in this song and the whole album for that matter are brilliantly thought out, no song sounds the same and every instrument has it's place. I especially love when the lyrics go,
"Meet me on my Vast Veranda
My Sweet untouched Miranda."
A) because I think it's a good line and it's BRILLIANTLY simple and B) I love the drum beat at the end of each barre. It sounds kinda like cannon fire or something.

There is ONE thing I dislike about this album and this is possibly the ONLY thing I dislike. An album is supposed to be an experience. Like a ride, it has it's ups and downs in mood and for the first 3 songs, the ride is brilliant and it perfectly describes the point I'm trying to make, but Track 4 The Sporting Life is a huge jump from the morbidness of Track 3, Eli, the Barrow Boy to this super happy major key song. It just doesn't flow very well. This is especially annoying because Eli is my favourite song on the album and because The Sporting Life hits so hard it kills the atmosphere that Eli had created. But The Sporting Life is really good none the less.

In Track 5, The Bagmans Gambit, there is a brilliant crescendo that cuts out around the 6:30 mark and it's brilliantly done but it's been done before! Dear Reader and The Mars Volta are only two that come to mind, but it's still done well.

Track 10, The Mariners Revenge is an amazing folksy song. It reminds me of Misery by Green Day however it's better because you can't really take Misery seriously. But this song has Accordion and Mandolin and therefore it is, "Chocked full of win" to quote one of my friends. Tsk tsk, you know who you are.

This album is a great little Indie gem and if you haven't heard it yet DEFINITELY check it out! Listen to it and fall in love with it like I did. 

Here's a link to The Decemberists- Picaresque on Grooveshark.com Go check it out and tell me what you think! You can leave a comment, tweet me @Xtianzzyzx or email me at xtianzzyzx@gmail.com. You can also recommend me an album or ask me to review something!

Finally, please can you guys all go to www.sosbrunodebbie.co.zaBruno Pelizzari and Debbie Calitz were kidnapped by Somalian Pirates in October last year and a ransom of US $4 million (ZA R28-million) has been demanded by their captors. I know that their families would love to see them safe again but they are unable to pay this sum. So please go to www.sosbrunodebbie.co.za and make a donation! Ontop of that, for every new follower Plug in Your Head gets between now and their safe return I will contribute R10. If everyone works together we can bring them home.

I'll be back next week with another Recommendation, so until then, Turn Up the Volume and Plug in Your Head!

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Xtian On Music 2

Answer me this. Do you have to be a musician to make music?
Well let me ask you another question. Is Britney Spears a musician?

I know you all cringed a little bit when I asked that. Because you don't want to say she is a musician, (Unless you like her, then in that case get off this page.) but because you answered yes to my first questions and therefore you know that the answer to question two is yes. Unless you're being a smart ass and smugly saying, "That's not music! That's shit!"

So because of this I propose that we have a new word, because I find it insulting that Britney Spears is categorised along with people like Jimmy Page who IS a musician! Why is Britney Spears famous anyway? She doesn't write her own music, she can't sing and she isn't the most beautiful person in the world. And yet many brilliant musicians aren't given any notice! I am yet to hear The Mars Volta on the radio!

Have any of you ever noticed that Pop singers are ALWAYS coming out with new "Music." I'm sure there have been 2 new Rihanna songs in the last month and yet I haven't heard a new Raconteurs song this week or for the last 3 years for that matter. Do you know why that is? It's because pop doesn't last! For example, when was the last time you heard people talking about that Jason Derulo song "Whatcha  Say." I assume a couple months! However when it came out, it was being played ALL the time and no-one would shut up about it! I remember hearing it blaring from every other phone at school! And now it has been almost forgotten. Now do you think that in 20 years time people will still be talking about that song? No. People WILL forget it almost entirely. But 40 odd years later, I'm still listening to Led Zeppelin and I don't intend to stop! And hell, even American Idiot which came out in 2004 will still be listened to in 40 years time.

However there are also some timeless classics that aren't known about! For example, The Mars Volta! One of the best bands of all time! Possibly best musically. And yet I have NEVER hear Circatriz ESP on the radio! But why not? I have heard "Hit Me Baby One More Time" on the radio. I have heard "Whatcha Say" on the radio! So why not play good music on commercial radio? Kids these days listen to what's on the radio and what's on MTV. Very rarely do they have any other influences in their music choices. And because they listen to what they are given by MTV and the radio, they get desensitised to how shitty it is and they start to ENJOY IT! And so record companies and Music broadcasters think, well this is what the kids like so lets give it to'em!

But I am certain that if Zeppelin and The Mars Volta were played on the radio or on MTV, that's what Pop Music would sound like! They don't follow what they like, they follow what they're told to like and thus they are tricked into liking it. But have no fear! I have a solution!

Give me control of the radio stations and record companies! I will release music that will last, it will get more radio play and it will be more enjoyable for everyone. Sure at first some people won't like it but in 10 or so years everyone will like it! Therefore solving world peace! And as a plus, because the music will last, record sales will increase because music will be bought for longer periods. This will give more money to the record companies and revive the music industry!

And finally, back to my initial point. We will need a new word, or atleast we can rehash an old word. MUSICMAKERS will be the ones that me and my board of shadowy figures in the boardroom of our highrise building say are bad. And MUSICIANS will be the ones who can stay!

Problem. Solved.

This has been a Public Service Announcement brought to you by Xtian Zzyzx

Thursday, 29 September 2011

aKING- Dutch Courage

With the obvious exception of Ice Hockey, I am by no means a hardcore sports fan. Football has never done anything for me and Rugby is only fun to watch occasionally. But when any international sporting event like a world cup comes around I'm filled with this immense feeling of patriotism and I even occasionally watch a game! So in celebration of the 2011 Rugby World Cup and my very rare patriotism I recommend to you all on this Plug in Your Head Thursday, South African Melodic Rock outfit, aKING with Dutch Courage.

In 2009 at the Jo'burg Day music festival I was at the front of the crowd embarrassing myself to SA bands like Prime Circle, Just Jinjer, Freshly Ground and Zebra and Giraffe. I squeeze through the hordes of drunk Afrikaners in their deck chairs and braais to ensure my place in front for Zebra and Giraffe a band I have never heard of walks on stage shaggy looking with road worn instruments and jeans. (as opposed to the sequins worn by the shitty pop acts of the day.) The drummer has a joint in between his teeth and their look definitely tainted the family friendly vibe of the day.

But when they started playing no-one in the crowd cared about what they were wearing because they played the kinda music that makes me proud to say I'm South African! 

aKING is made up of Fokofpolisiekar member, Jaco 'Snakehead' Venter, Laudo Liebenberg and Hennie van Halen with their latest member Andrew Davenport who joined in 2010 after the departure of Hunter Kennedy.
I wouldn't say that aKING bring anything new to the music industry but what they do, they do well! I can't really compare this band to anyone, they kinda have a little bit of influence from everything in the rock music industry.

The album starts out strong with Decomposing Lullaby. A delayed, palm muted guitar and Laudo's... Grizzly voice. (I can't think of another way to describe it but that's how I've always thought of his voice.) The bass in this song is very prominent, but not very noticeable. For example, in the pre-chorus there is a little bass lick that I never really noticed until now. It isn't quiet either, it's just kinda uninteresting. I love how in the second pre-chorus, however, the Snare drum is struck on "Gunshot." Very cheesy, but very cool. I also like the Galloping guitar in the chorus. It sounds different to most galloping pieces because it's done with very low distortion.

I love the drumming in this album. It shows indefinitely that simple can be better! Snakehead isn't an amazing drummer, but he is very tight and knows how to play with his band. I always say that a good drummer knows when not to play and can make the quieter parts brilliant with a simple tapping on the rim of the drum. A perfect example of this is in Track 2, Holy Train.
His Clickety-Clack Train sounding drumming in the intro is also quite effective without sounding cheesy, (Due to the Song being called Holy Train.) He can also bring it right down and build it up again instantly and seamlessly!

My favourite thing about this band is the lyrics. I don't wanna say they're arty for the sake of being arty, because I know that lyrics can often make no sense to anyone other than the lyricist. But in this case the lyrics can really make no sense! However they are beautiful. Beautiful lyrics and an absolutely beautiful voice. aKING will also double track the voice at parts to give it more thickness and depth but not like John Lennon who will do an entire song with a double track. The backing vocals also create a great atmosphere in many songs. Laudo's brilliant vocals and lyrics are beautifully showcased in songs like Lonely Hands and Thirsty for Love.

My Favourite song on this album is Track 9, Safe as Houses. It its a duet with Laudo and Inge Beckmann. This is such a beautiful song. Beautiful Lyrics, Beautiful Voices and an AMAZING feeling this song leaves me with. It really captures you and almost hypnotises you. This is the only song I have ever seen my best friend sing along to (Other than Eluvietie.) The lyrics in this song paint a beautiful picture in my mind and I love the simple instrumentals. The guitar piece is really... Pretty! There I said it! Now I gotta get my masculinity back by means of driving fast cars and talking about girls! But I got a busy day tomorrow so forget that.

This is really a brilliant album and as far as SA bands go, aKING are possibly the best. Go check them out and support South African music! 
After I saw them at Jo'burg Day I went directly to the Look 'n Listen tent and bought both their albums! And then Laudo came out and had a conversation with me! He signed my CD along with the rest of the band and was really cool. Until my Step Dad shouted out, 
"I LOVE YOU ARNO CASTENS!" to which Laudo flipped him off and walked away. So unless you mistake Laudo for another South African Rock musician, you should have no problems with aKING!

Here's a Link to aKING- Dutch Courage on Grooveshark.com Go check it out and tell me what you think! You can leave a comment, tweet me @Xtianzzyzx or email me at xtianzzyzx@gmail.com. You can also recommend me an album or ask me to review something!

Finally, please can you guys all go to www.sosbrunodebbie.co.zaBruno Pelizzari and Debbie Calitz were kidnapped by Somalian Pirates in October last year and a ransom of US $4 million (ZA R28-million) has been demanded by their captors. I know that their families would love to see them safe again but they are unable to pay this sum. So please go to www.sosbrunodebbie.co.za and make a donation! Ontop of that, for every new follower Plug in Your Head gets between now and their safe return I will contribute R10. If everyone works together we can bring them home.

I'll be back next week with another Recommendation, so until then, Turn Up the Volume and Plug in Your Head!

Go Bokke

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

No Plug in Your Head Today

I apologise to all my readers but something came up and so I have to postpone the new Plug in Your Head until tomorrow (Thursday.)

It will definitely be up tomorrow but until then, Check out an album, Makers of High Grade Suites by The Upholsterers. It's only 3 songs unfortunately, but it is brilliant none the less.

Try to figure out who the lead singer is (Without using Google) and comment on this post or on Twitter @Xtianzzyzx or email me at xtianzzyzx@gmail.com. There aren't any prizes, I'm just testing your ear and music knowledge.

OK so until tomorrow Turn up the Volume and Plug in Your Head!

Xtian Zzyzx

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Sage Francis- Li(f)e

Xtian Zzyzx, the infamous metal head has quite frankly gotten over being angry, and has also gotten over talking about himself in the third person. I am not as angry as I was a couple months ago, so I don't listen to metal as much as I used to. And because I don't listen to metal as much as I used to, a whole music genre is kinda gone! So I've been exploring new genres. And one of them is Rap.

I was introduced initially to only two rappers, and one of them was Sage Francis. Now I was so surprised when I heard Sage at first, he just seemed so different and I couldn't place why. But them I figured it out! He isn't talking about all the bitches and brands he got up in his crib! Or his mic skills. He talks about the kinda things that a rock band would talk about and this is one of the the things that has always kept me away from rap. It is RAP, Rhythm And Poetry and so, no matter how good the Rhythm part of the song is, if the poetry sucks then I can't listen to it. And Sage Francis is primarily a poet, in fact he is actually a poet.

Track 1, Little Houdini was the first Sage Francis song I ever heard, a friend played it to me. I loved it, it was so beautiful. The song is about a man trying to escape from prison so that he could see his mother one last time on her death bed. This song moved me because I had never heard a rap song that had this much emotion and sadness in it. The only emotion I had ever heard in a rap song was anger, and quite frankly, I don't need any more anger in my life. And while sadness might suck, a sad song always makes me feel better afterwards. This song is beautifully written, the lyrics are moving and his flow is brilliant. What I was most surprised about was that this song is a true story! Christopher Gay really did escape from prison to see his mother on her death bed. And the fact that an artist chooses to immortalise such a person in a song is quite different, but quite inspiring.
The song starts out almost as a narrative, where Sage speaks his rhymes rather than rapping. But then there is a breakdown of sorts where he speeds up and starts rapping. I loved that part. That was what kept me interested in the song, because no matter how good the rhymes are, it's all about presentation.

And that's where Sage lacks quite alot. His lyrics are some of the best I've ever heard and for that I respect him immensely, but some of his songs are very underwhelming or kinda bad. And that is sad because his lyrics are always BRILLIANT.
For example, Track 3, I was Zero. It starts out really well with the line,
"If it wasn't for the bass, I wouldn't need these hearing aids.
If it wasn't for mistakes, I probably wouldn't be here today."
But then it kinda goes down hill when he starts going,
"When I came out my momma I was zero.
When I came out my momma I was zero.
When I came out my momma I was zero.
I was zero when I came out my momma, and now everybody knows."
Those lines, quite honestly ruin the song for me. This is my least favourite song on the album purely because of that part. But besides that part, the beat is good and so are the lyrics

One of the things I love about this album is the fact that, unlike normal Rappers, Sage Francis uses a live band! And you can really hear that on Track 2, Three Sheets to the Wind. This is my favourite song on the album! The flow in this song is the smoothest I have ever heard and the instrumentals are pretty sick. It starts out with this bass part and some of the craziest rhymes I've ever heard. If you listen to this song, have a copy of the lyrics infront of you, they are really brilliant and unlike most of his songs, the Chorus is really good. You really get the feeling that Sage is having alot of fun in this song.

Track 5, Diamonds and Pearls, is another case of the really crappy choruses that Sage Francis has in his songs,
"Surprising the world, with diamonds and pearls
But a song about a girl, ain't really about a girl"

That isn't a very good line... But after that the good lines come in! For example
"Got a two-way vanity mirror, I'm an amity villain
With a peeping tom complex"
Besides the chorus, I love the song!

I'm not quite sure what I think of the  chorus of Track 6, Polterzeitgeist, is... erm... Interesting. I can't say it's bad but I'm not sure if it's good? 
"Maybe he's the ghost, and maybe I'm the host
The polterzietgeist who knows the right price
To pay the priest to release me from these ropes."
It's good I guess, but what I really love about that song is the slide guitar in the beginning. It fits the mood of the song so well and the song is kinda where the song slows down and chills out and the slide fits this mood the album goes into so well too.

Finally Track 12, The Best of Times. This song is a brilliant representation of teenage life and I think it is a brilliant way to end this album. This song may not represent your childhood and teenage years precisely but at least some of it will. This song has the best lyrics on this album and I guess that is possibly because I can relate to this song more than most on the album. But everyone should be able to relate to this song somehow, young or old. So I guess this song is, in a way a representation of life in general.

I love this album, and no matter how closed minded or anti-rap some one is, everyone will certainly find at least ONE song they like on this album. If you are (like me) new to rap, then this is a great album to get you into the genre. If you are a rap aficionado of sorts, then this is a great album for you too!

Here's a link to Sage Francis- Li(f)e on Grooveshark.com

So tell me what you think of Sage Francis. You can leave a comment, you can e-mail me at Xtianzzyzx@gmail.com you can Tweet me on @Xtianzzyzx You can ALSO leave a comment on the Plug in Your Head, Facebook page.

Please +1 my blog, and follow it. And if you think it's worth a mention, tell your friends. And don't forget that you can recommend me new music as well! I'll be sure to review it!

I'll be back next week with another Recommendation, so until then, Turn Up the Volume and Plug in Your Head!
Xtian Zzyzx 

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Tell Me?

Tell me, what's your favourite album/song/artist and why? Leave a comment, email me xtianzzyzx@gmail.com tweet me @xtianzzyzx or leave a comment on the Plug in Your Head facebook page

Xtian Zzyzx

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Wolfmother- Wolfmother

Yes. I will admit it, I am a hypocrite. Every week I give you guys recommendations, but a couple of months ago, a friend recommended ME Wolfmother, and I kept putting it off. But this last weekend I decided to give this band a listen and... wow. I loved it! Alot! There are so many brilliant things about this band... And some shit ones.

Most of Wolfmother's impact and power comes from their singer, Andrew Stockdale. He has an incredibly unique voice. As opposed to all the generic Nickle Back/ Daughtry sound-a-likes out there these days. I hear Stockdale mostly being compared to Jack White and I while can definitely pick up on the resemblance. For example the iconic distorted scream that Jack White does, often with the help of a Harmonica Mick. But they are so different.

Jack White and Stockdale both have that high voice, but when White hits the much higher octaves, he struggles. Listen, for example, to the live version of Blue Orchid on the DVD, Under Great White Northern Lights. He can't hit those notes. But I do believe that in the studio version he was able to hit those notes without technological help. But Stockdale goes higher than White and stay there. And he does it more confidently with more power.
I think he shares alot of vocal traits with Iron Maiden's lead singer, Bruce Dickinson.

I think the most powerful part of this album is the first line of Track 1, Colossal.
"I saw the colossal landscape
Of which I never was a part"
The lyrics aren't one's to shake the music world to it's foundations, in fact Wolfmother's lyrics are very average. But what really wows me is his voice and the vocal melody. There's also an effect put over his voice which kinda muffles it. But the way he sings that part makes me think he was trying to overpower the effect. And I think he did a good job cuz that part is SO powerful.

This album really starts out so strong. Now I'm not saying it loses it's strength, cuz it doesn't. But about halfway through the album you get a little desensitised to it's impact. But I think that if you were to listen to a song, take a 5 minute break and listen to the next song. Each song would blow you away. You just get too used to it, kinda like AC/DC. As the guy who introduced me to Wolfmother said, "There is not ONE shit song on that album!" And he was right!

Now the instrumentals in this album are good, very good, but when I hear alot of their riffs I think, "I'm sure I've heard this somewhere before?" But there is one instrumental part I love SO MUCH! The cheesy-ass guitar riff in the intro to Track 3, White Unicorn. It is so, so, so cheesy! But I love it. On the topic of White Unicorn, about halfway through the song after the second chorus the singer goes,
"We could live together
We could live together
We could live together."
The last "Live together" is so, so brilliant! The Double tracking, the harmonies with the guitar... Wow I really can't tell you how much I love that part. His voice is amazing.
But then there's this stupid little slow section round the 3:20 mark. It sounds like... erm... An underwater Acid trip. That part annoys me. Alot. It is so generic.

Another thing that annoys me about this album is the drummer. He is really good, but so underwhelming. Not because his playing is boring, but because everything else Overwhelms the drumming. You really have to listen to notice the drumming.
What happened to the days when Rock bands used drums as an instrument and not just a time keeping utensil!? Did that die along with John Bonham? Even Hip-Hop and House appreciate drummers more. They use beats as part of the music and not just to fill a hole. Not even Green Day have that iconic drumming anymore.
I think the most noticable drumming on this album is the Kick, Floor Tom, Kick Kick, Snare part in the beginning of Track 5, Mind's Eye. I don't particularly like that song, it's not bad but it's my least favourite song on the album. It's like every rock band now-a-days has to have that token slow song and they all sound like that! Not Even Stockdale's vocals can redeem it's clichéd-ness, and those vocals are really good.

The Intro to Track 4, Pyramid, is a very debated topic in my head. I don't know if I hate it or love it. On one hand, it's impressive, but on the other... It's fucking annoying! Sound's like more of that underwater acid trip shit. Actually, come to think of it, I don' like it. It's impressive but it simply doesn't sound very good! But I'd love to know how the guitarist got that sustain. However playing guitar and singing exactly the same thing has never worked well. Ever.

Now everyone RAVES about the intro guitar piece to Track 5, The Joker and The Thief, But. Meh. It's good but it's very clumsy. But I really do love this song! It's possibly my favourite song on the album and it's once again made by Stockdale's EPIC vocals.

I think this is definitely one of the best albums I've come across recently. This band has scary resemblance to The Raconteurs. So much so that I Googled it just to make sure they weren't the same people + Jack White. If haven't heard The Raconteurs, go check out my review on them, The Raconteurs- Consolers of the Lonely and give them a listen. If you love the White Stripes, The Raconteurs and even Led Zep, you'll love Wolfmother.

Here's a link to Wolfmother- Wolfmother on Grooveshark.com

So please leave a comment telling me what you think of Plug in Your Head. What you think of Wolfmother and to give me a recommendation. (I have learnt my lesson and I will listen to whatever you throw at me.) Tell me what you want to see me review! You can also E-mail me at xtianzzyzx@gmail.com. Tweet me @Xtianzzyzx and comment on the Plug in Your Head Facebook group!

I'll be back next week with another Recommendation, so until then, Turn Up the Volume and Plug in Your Head!

Xtian Zzyzx

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Red Hot Chili Peppers- I'm With You

So from reading other music blogs I've realized that I kinda write about mainstream music... Well. Yeah, I'm sorry, I do and well I guess there has to one or two of us sickening degenerates. And with that in mind today I talk about one of the biggest bands of all time... Again.

So... The album cover is cool... I like the whole thing with the fly and the pill. And then in the inside cover the fly is sitting on all these other pills and then on like the last page the fly is dead... So yeah, that's cool... Flies. They're cool.

Oh! And they got a new guitarist! In erm... (Wiki says) 2009 they're old guitarist, John Frusciante left the band! How about that! So... Yeah, they got this new guy, Josh Klinghoffer. He isn't bad.

So... The album art is good and erm, they got a new guitarist! Ooh! And ahh, flea dyed his hair green and Anthony Kiedis grew a mustache that kinda makes him look like a mix between Freddy Mercury and some guy from a porno movie. Speaking of Freddy, it was his birthday recently, this week or last week I think.

So yeah, Plug in your head, see ya next time, I'm now gonna wallow in the remnants of the RHCP's career...


Fine, I'll talk about the freaking album!

Ok so before I start, I never had high hopes for this album. I always thought it was gonna be bad and well, it was. But lets not look only at the bad! Flea's hair is green! And well I guess some songs are pretty cool.

So it starts off with, Track 1, Monarchy of Roses. It kinda sounds like some crappy garage band that's only in it for  the "Bitches" and the partying. The kinda band that only does Sum 41 and Blink-182 covers. And then the vocals come in and it sounds like the lead singer of The Mars Volta came to play! But then BAM! The Chorus comes in and it's all ORGANISED and OVER PRODUCED! YAY! And of course in usual RHCP fashion the lyrics make no sense but... Lyrics- Good! This song honestly sounds like they're trying to go back to how they sounded before Stadium Arcadium. But eh.

Ok now I feel kinda hypocritical cuz Track 2, Factory of Faith isn't just ok. It's actually fuckin' awesome! I love the bass and the lyrics are really cool. I love his voice and the vocal melody is pretty badass. But then that generic piece of shit that they call a chorus comes in and I automatically think, Hey! I've heard this before! IN THE LAST FUCKING SONG! Now they aren't exactly the same, but for both songs it kinda seems like they put in a chorus because they thought that it's too unconventional to not have a chorus. But still, that bass is really cool! 
My Girl Friend bought the album and played it to me and my friend who's a bassist, (You know who you are!) and the next day he goes to learn how to play it and he's like, damn... This is hard. And it may not sound it but if you listen carefully, every barre is different. But I don't like the guitar AT ALL! It sounds like they recorded one guitar part and used Ctrl+C Ctrl+V throughout the entire song where they felt a guitar part should be seriously! Every part is identical.

On to Track 3, Brendan's Death Song, Eh.

Ok then there's like 4 songs until you get the next note worthy song. Track 7, The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie. This was the first single off the album and I instantly thought Ooh! I like this! Then of course the dreaded Chorus. God, just... Just stop it guys. And I know that all they're lyrics make no sense and that's excusable. But really! 

"Tic toc I want to 
Rock you like the 80's
Cock Blockin' isn't Allowed."

And then it goes on with some other crappy lyrics I can't bare to convey to you due to respect in you, me and the music industry. He then starts doing that thing he did in Around the World where he starts replacing all words with random syllables. It kinda worked in Around the World, but not in this song. So Lyrics- Bad

Finally I think that Track 12, Even You Brutus? is interesting. Not great, but interesting. It bugs me that he says, 
"God is Good and Fate is Great." Not because I am anti-religion, Not at all, in fact earlier this year I was filling in as a guitarist at a church. But I don't like it when bands flaunt their religious views in their music. I feel like it alienates a large portion of their listeners who don't have the same view points as them. That's why I try to avoid listening to Religious bands, (With exception of Die Straatligkinders (An Afrikaans Punk Metal Band) and Daemon Hunter, because they either scream so I can't understand them or it's in a different language so I can't understand them.)
The thing I find interesting about this Track is that they kinda do this Hip-Hop thing and He, well, Raps? It was weird when I first heard it because it was different, but it wasn't necessarily bad.

I feel like this whole album is like a step backwards to what they used to have and what they used to be. Like they felt that Stadium Arcadium was a mistake and that it shouldn't be repeated. But Track 12 is certainly a step forward. I've always loved it when bands try to combine genres because it shows that they aren't close minded. For instance I loved the Track KoRn did with Skrillex! That fusion between Metal and Dubstep was genius! And The RHCP have always had this combination of Rock and Funk, but a band shouldn't get comfortable with their music, it must always challenge them and I think that this song must have been quite tricky to wrap their brains around cuz they aren't Hip Hop at all!

So yes, there are, as someone said to me (You know who you are!) a few gems in this album and the other songs are kinda just there. They aren't really something special. But it's not that they are bad songs, it's just that a band of this calibre is almost expected to create master pieces. So I am not in any way saying don't listen to this album, Hell! Even buy it if you like! Just it isn't their best. But then again, at least it isn't as bad as One Hot Minute. That album isn't even just boring, it's actually bad! I find it hard to listen to. But that's all I will say on that.

I hate to say this and it may upset many people, but I feel that perhaps RHCP should have broken up after Stadium. Because all to often, bands try to keep going on and they just tarnish their reputation and keep making bad albums. ACDC for instance, does anyone REALLY like Black Ice? It has a few good songs but it just isn't great. Bands should start following the example of The White Stripes. I was sad when they broke up because they were and still are one of my all time favourite bands, but I feel they ended on a high note and if they carried on, they would have made disappointing records.

So Yeah. Here's a Link to The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie on YouTube. Unfortunately, it isn't up on Grooveshark yet.

So tell me what you think of I'm With You. You can leave a comment, you can e-mail me at Xtianzzyzx@gmail.com you can Tweet me on @Xtianzzyzx You can ALSO leave a comment on the Plug in Your Head, Facebook page.

Please +1 my blog, and follow it. And if you think it's worth a mention, tell your friends. And don't forget that you can recommend me new music as well! I'll be sure to review it!

I'll be back next week with another Recommendation, so until then, Turn Up the Volume and Plug in Your Head!

Xtian Zzyzx

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Them Crooked Vultures- Them Crooked Vultures

So today I started reading the Biography of Led Zeppelin, When Giants Walked the Earth, I've only gotten as far as the part on the formation of the band but it's really interesting! Led Zeppelin were supposed to be a super group! Page wanted Keith Moon and John Entwhistle from The Who, Jeff Beck (Former Yardbirds member and Guitar God!) and Steve Marriott from The Small Faces. And at one point, I think Stevie Winwood from... Traffic? (Feel free to correct me.)

This would have been a CRAZY line up. But of course he ended up finding Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham. This line up however is what we know today as Led Zeppelin, so in a way I'm kinda happy his original line up didn't work out. (But if you wanna check out a song done by most of this line up, Check Beck's Bolero by Jeff Beck.) Now the reason I'm bringing this up is because years later in 2009 the Bassist from Led Zeppelin, John Paul Jones some major muso's tried the same thing. AND SUCCEEDED! Their success was called, Them Crooked Vultures.

Them Crooked Vultures is made up of John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin) on bass. Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters) on Drums and John Homme (Queens of the Stone Age, Kyuss) on Guitar and Lead Vocals.
I am SO happy this band was formed! Because the last major super group was Creme and (kinda) The Yardbirds, (And who remembers them?... Except my dad.)

I think this band is brilliant. They take a little from all their bands and give it a new fresh twist. I like this... Alot. Now when I first heard this album I wasn't crazy about it, but I guess at the time I was like 13 and didn't really know Nirvana or Led Zeppelin, (I Still Don't know Queens of the Stone Age. I'm getting on it! I have a music back log.) But now I realize how brilliant this band is.

Now the first song, No one loves me, and neither do I, starts out with a 4 Bar drum line. And I love this cuz it kinda gives it this off time-ish feel, even though it isn't really. Then the guitar comes in and I find the guitar in this band really unique in a way. It just feels different to alot of samey 3-chord-pop-punk-lots-of-distortion Bullshit you find now-a-days. I just wish more bands would do this. But to be honest I can't really say why I find this guitar different? I guess it has been done before but it's quite refreshing to hear it again I guess.

Track 2, Mind Eraser, No Chaser, has an awesome intro with that guitar I love again, then the vocals come in and I love this guy's voice! It's really different, but familiar? It's good! I also love the lyrics, I appreciate good lyrics, but I think I'm gonna stop mentioning the lyrics in my reviews cuz I can never really say much about them. Lyrics are a very tricky subject to talk about cuz often lyrics won't make any sense to anyone but the lyricist. I know that if anyone listened to my lyrics they probably would think I was on drugs, but they make sense to me. So I think from now on I'll say something more basic to talk about lyrics, in an almost neanderthalic tone for all you under-developed Trolls to comprehend. From now on I'll say. Lyric Good Or Lyric Bad. Or in  some cases Lyric Shitty!

Now Track 4, Dead End Friends, is FREAKING AWESOME! It appears on the Sound Track for the game Skate 3 and when playing it I put this song on repeat... Untill I'm sick of it. Once again I LOVE the guitar. There's something very classic rock about it with a fresh twist on it and in the solo he keeps hitting dead notes which is kinda hard to notice but it gives it this raw vibe. It also reminds me of guitar hero when the game tells me I fucked up and I'm an idiot.

Track 5, Elephants, does something really unique. It has the intro and then it goes double time when the drums come in and that's impressive cuz that must have been really hard to co-ordinate! I know keeping just one tempo is difficult when in a band, but then again they do have a world class rhythm section.
And then after the sped up part they then slow it down to the same tempo as before with perfect timing, without skipping a beat. All I gotta say to you guys is... Nice!

This album is full of gems. It really is. If I were to give it a genre I'd say, Experimental-mental-rock! (You guys can use that.) This band is kinda just one big rhythm section. The lead guitar isn't that spectacular and I don't fucking care! It's good! Lead is over-rated any way! (I'm just saying that cuz I can't play lead... Sigh.) I definitely recommend this band and I hope we get more from them in the future.

Here's a link to Them Crooked Vultures- Them Crooked Vultures on Grooveshark. The songs are in a weird order, but they're all there.

So tell me guys, What do you think of the new Plug in Your Head look? And tell me what you think of Them Crooked Vultures. You can leave a comment "In the Comment section below" (lol) or you can e-mail me at xtianzzyzx@gmail.com You can also comment and follow me on twitter @XtianZzyzx. It's all in the side bar. You can also +1 this post if you like it. (You can also +1 it if you don't.) And tell your friends.

Finally, you can recommend music at the same addresses or ask me to review an album! I'm up any challenge you can throw at me.

I'll be back next week with another Recommendation, so until then, Turn Up the Volume and Plug in Your Head!

Xtian Zzyzx

P.S. Sorry if you were hoping for the new RHCP album, but I haven't heard it yet. It only came out yesterday so I couldn't buy it.
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