Archive for October, 2010


Deftones – Diamond Eyes (2010)

Recently I was able to get my hands on the newest release from the Los Angeles-based band Deftones entitled Diamond Eyes.  The last Deftones album I listened to was the the groundbreaking White Pony (2000), so I was curious to give the latest release a listen.

I was shocked when the track “Do You Believe” began to play since it is a rather obscure cover to perfor. The song was originally recorded by the now defunct Swedish rock group The Cardigans off of their Gran Turismo (1998) album; it is simply one of the coolest songs to cover.  The Deftones do a great job of covering the song and put their own gritty spin on the original; Moreno’s haunting voice effects make the song unique, bravo!

Diamond Eyes is a solid album, it is cleary well written and well produced.  Although there are a few songs that I think are dead spots and nothing particularly ground breaking for the band, I do think that songs like the title track “Diamond Eyes” is powerful and moving.  It provides a great introduction to a new album and gears the listener for the next track “Royal” equally as powerful and classic Chino Moreno lyrics and vocals, intense and beautiful at the same time.

CMND/CNTL is a decent song but not one of my overall favorites on this album; actually I find myself pushing fast forward since it just feels like a filler song; good yes, great no.  The same can be said for You’ve Seen The Butcher; the song is ok;  the chorus is about the best part of the entire song to be honest; otherwise it seems to go on forever never really changing and keeping things interesting.  Beauty School is an interesting track, very melodic and well produced and the chorus is easy identify.  The next song, Prince reminds me of tracks off of White Pony; hints of Moreno’s whisper type vocals and the haunting guitar and bass lines in the background providing a always steady growling undertone and then exploding in an intense chorus just to dive back into a near silent tempo.  This song is classic Deftones all the way.

Rocket Skates is another song that explodes right out of the gate and has the listener shaking their head to the tempo of the guitars and drums.  I can only imagine how awesome this song must be live and the crowds reaction, amazing I’m sure. Sextape is kind of a “Debbie Downer” for the album, not much meat to it and sounds like a song designed for radio play on other formats for a general audience; this song is clearly not a typical Deftones song in my opinion, although it does keep things interesting for the listener.   What is does provide is some insight into the ability of the Deftones to write music other than just hard rock, clearly showing  a dynamic contrast to the typical Deftones song.

Risk is a fun song that again, starts right of the gate with a tempo and beat.  The song is good however I began to feel that I’ve heard this song before…or at least something like it in the album prior.  That is a problem that I’ve found with Deftones albums, they begin to get repetative and mundane; even the key the band plays in is always the same, so songs begin to sound alike. 976-Evil is another song that although a solid good song, it feels like it was written for mainstream radio as a track that the general listening audience might be into, I find it somewhat mellow, actually to mellow for my taste for Deftones.

The remaining few songs the album really don’t provide anything worth noting; with exception to “Do You Believe” mentioned earlier in this review.  The last song, Caress does breathe a bit of life in the end of the album and has a raw hardcore-punkish sound to it, definitely something different than earlier songs in the album.  I think they should have considered this song in the middle of the album rather than some of the monotonous songs that began to sound the same after awhile.

My intent is not to trounce the Deftones, I love these guys, but I do feel that the album starts off really well and then kind of sputters out in the end.  All in all the album is good, but don’t expect this to be the most amazing album you’ve ever heard from the Deftones.  Chino Moreno has mentioned that this is the best album the band has released.  I’m not sure I agree with this personally, I tend to think that White Pony is probably the most enjoyable album they have created since there is just much variety to the songs on the album.

The band recently toured my city and I was unable to see them, check them out if you can since I’m sure their live shows are great.

Deftones album Diamond Eyes gets a 6 out of 10


Southern Culture on The Skids – “My House Has Wheels”

Some readers have inquired about the band since my post this morning, so I figured I would post up a homemade video for one of my favorites called “My House Has Wheels”, enjoy.


Southern Culture on the Skids – On tour now!

I saw these guys a couple of years ago in a now defunct local dive (Revolution Hall – Troy, NY) and really enjoyed the show.  Southern Culture On The Skids (or SCOTS for short) is basically rockabilly meets country meets  B-52’s meets something entirely unique unto itself.

The band has announced some new tour dates and sadly they are not coming to Albany once again this year.  I find it amazing that so many bands overlook Albany (the capital city of  New York for God’s sake!), then again most people outside of the state think New York City is the capital.  The band Midlake, who’s album I reviewed a few months back, just got back from a tour of Europe and played a few cities in the US.  They only local appearance was 1.5 hours away in Syracuse …and they jumped right over Albany and went to Boston for the next gig, gee thanks!  To be fair, Albany does get its share of good shows but many of the bands that I would like to see often jump right over my beloved city, bummer.

If you are curious about seeing SCOTS on the road now’s the time; check the following dates and git’ yer’ tickets!

10/8       Richmond, VA  —  Plaza Duckpin Bowl
10/9       Washington DC  — 9:30 Club
10/10     Harrisburg, PA  —  The Abbey Bar
10/12     Marietta, OH  —  The Adelphia (At The Gallery)
10/13     Pittsburgh, PA  —  Diesel Club
10/14     Philadelphia, PA  —  World Cafe Live
10/15     Brooklyn, NY  —  The Bell House
10/16     Hoboken, NJ  —  Maxwell’s
10/29     Johnson City, TN  —  Casbah 
10/30     Buford, GA  —  Hell On Wheels Beerfest
10/31     Birmingham, AL  —  Zydeco
11/3       New Orleans, LA  —  One Eyed Jacks
11/4       Mobile, AL  —  Soul Kitchen
11/6       Tampa, FL  —  Skipper’s Smokehouse
11/7       Jacksonville, FL  — Jack Rabbits Live
11/26     Kill Devil Hills, NC  —  Port O’ Call
11/27     Kill Devil Hills, NC  —  Port O’ Call
12/3       Charlotte, NC  —  Visulite Theatre
12/4       Carrboro, NC  —  Cat’s Cradle
12/18    Raleigh, NC  —  The Berkeley Cafe


And the 2011 inductee is…the Beastie Boys?

I felt compelled to comment on the newly announced inductee’s to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for 2011.  One of the main acts is the Beastie Boys; talented yes, but deserving?  I’m not really sure.

I grew up listening to the Beastie Boys in high school and college; although I must admit that at this point in my life I absolutely dread when I hear “Fight For Your Right”; however, I do remember it as a pivotal song in my early adolescent years that contributed to the legitimacy of Rap as a form of artistic expression.

With that said I still find myself at a crossroads with regard to the recent announcement that the Beastie Boys will be inducted into the 2011 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  First of all, clearly the hall of fame should be “The History of Music Hall of Fame” and not Rock and Roll. Clearly the Beastie Boys are not a rock act, however they may have contributed some influences to the evolution of todays rock music, but only slightly if so.  Actually, if I were to think of a contemporary band that has incorporated both Rap and Rock and would be more deserving of this award I would consider bands like Rage Against the Machine or perhaps 311; clearly these bands have played a larger part in influencing todays Rock/Rap style, no?  Sorry, but the Aerosmith / Run DMC doesn’t count folks, actually that is probably the tipping point for any respect that I had for either of those groups (makes me cringe just thinking back, yuck!).  Yes, Kerry King of Slayer did play guitars on “Fight For Your Right” and “No Sleep Til’ Brooklyn” but I think he has contributed more to Rock than the album Licensed to Ill.

What the Beastie Boys DID do was change the social perception of Rap;  Rap was  no longer restricted or defined to be performed by African-American artists. White kids (and further, Jewish White kids!) could participate as well, and be taken seriously.  Although I’m not sure how much of the African-American community ran out to by anything they have released.  The Beastie  Boys clearly expanded the diversity of that form music as a whole.  Acts like Vanilla Ice, may have inspired some at the time, but as we all know who lived in the 80’s, that reality came crashing down in full form and very little respect was earned in the end. 

When the Beastie Boys originally entered the scene with the realease of Licensed To Ill (1986) I thought they were more of a goof act that was attempting to disassemble the Rap stereotype, intentionally or not.  Clearly after the commercial success of the Licensed To Ill and the release of Pauls Boutique (1989) they were for real, and clearly were intent on making their mark in music business.  Pauls Boutique, although not the strongest follow up album initially,  has become a landmark album for the band and is probably the most popular by hardcore fans if asked today.

Check Your Head (1992) was a much stronger album and in my opinion did much in revitalizing the band after the lukewarm reception that Pauls Boutique initially received.  Subsequent albums have been successful, actually every one going Platinum or multi-Platinum in the US.  Although they have sold millions of albums and touched the lives of many, perhaps inspiring some successful bands today, I still don’t feel that inducting them into the Hall of Fame is still deserving, if it is, ahem, a true “Rock and Roll” hall of fame.  Actually, we know that it isn’t and perhaps my blog entry should be more about bashing the Hall of Fame rather than the Beastie Boys, which is not my intention.

It has been noted that the RR Hall of Fame inductions are kind of a joke; they are not basing their decisions solely on those groups who influenced bands of today, rather on bands that will draw attention (and a crowd at the ceremony) and ultimately increase funding towards its expansion and growth.  There are so many groups from the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s that paved the road for todays music scene and will never be recognized;  the Canadian band Rush (third all  time in album sales under The Beatles and The Rolling Stones!) are not worthy of being inducted this year, but the Beastie Boys are? Huh? It just doesn’t smell right in my opinion.  “Popularity” is what reigns supreme in the induction process and not bands that no longer draw a crowd or are no longer household names.  It’s sad but true, and perhaps the the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has seen its sustainability and longevity in having to take the low road and cater to popular music of today rather than yester year.  Granted they have inducted some old timers, but its often rare.  Oh, don’t forget that LL Cool J is being inducted as well, great.

What are your thoughts about the induction process?


A tease for the senses – “Enter The Void” trailer

I saw this credit reel for the movie Enter The Void on YouTube and was blown away by the magnitude of how overwhelming this would be to your senses on the big screen.  I like how they flash the names and icons with the techno beat of the music; it is fine example of when graphic design and music can mix and compliment one another.


Rush – 40 years performing and still loving it!

I know I’m on a bit of a Rush theme in the blog lately, but after the recent announcement by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to (once again) overlook granting praise to these influential guys and the music they have created for 40 years, I felt at the very least, HiFi Central can give them some much deserved “limelight” . 

I came across a recent interview with the band on CNN; it’s an excellent look at why they still play after 40 years; how they see each other, and what their music means personally.  It’s a bit long but well worth the time.  Try not to get snagged by your boss!

Click here to see the interview.


Rush – Colbert Report

Although many of people have seen this I felt it was worth posting; especially with the recent release of the Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock on 9/28.  Rush visited the Colbert Report studios last year and had a chance to play Tom Sawyer on Rock Band (competitor to Guitar Hero), below is the clip, enjoy!

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