The Romanelli Music Diary: Stars And Satellites

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Bone Swah


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Location: The Spokane Valley
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  • #1591
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1268


The Big To-Do by Drive-By Truckers

DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS
THE BIG TO-DO
2010 – ATO
Produced By DAVID BARBE

1. Daddy Learned To Fly
2. The Fourth Night Of My Drinking
3. Birthday Boy
4. Drag The Lake Charlie
5. The Wig He Made Her Wear
6. You Got Another
7. This Fucking Job
8. Get Downtown
9. After The Scene Dies
10. (It’s Gonna Be) I Told You So
11. Santa Fe
12. The Flying Wallendas
13. Eyes Like Glue

Eight studio albums into their career, you would think that Drive-By Truckers would be starting to run out of gas. Maybe not running out yet, but the needle may be starting to dip just a bit. Not to say that The Big To-Do is bad by any means…there just may be a bit more filler than what we’re used to from the Truckers. But there are also plenty of great moments here as well. The album has recurring circus references, and is acknowledged as having been recorded in the spirit of their respect for Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, even employing a full time keyboard player. The bulk of the songwriting is handled here by Patterson Hood, as guitarist Mike Cooley contributes only three tracks (a surprising drop off for a guy who has been steadily growing over the years as a writer). Bassist Shonna Tucker contributes a pair of tracks as well. The rest is all Hood, and he does his very best to carry the load.

Hood’s best tracks here are “The Wig He Made Her Wear”, “The Fourth Night Of My Drinking”, and “Drag The Lake Charlie”. And “This Fucking Job” could be the anthem of the working man everywhere. Both of Tucker’s contributions are very good ("You Got Another” and “(It’s Gonna Be) I Told You So”). And Cooley steps in with one of his finest tunes, the rollicking “Get Downtown”, which ends up being the real highlight of the album. On The Big To-Do, the Truckers aren’t afraid of trying new things. They rock more here, and the songs are more present tense than ever before. The sessions resulted in 25 tracks being recorded, which they split between this album and its follow up, Go Go Boots. Maybe they could have taken the best from both albums and made one killer disc…but that’s their decision, not mine. Still…The Big To Do is a good time, which all Truckers albums should be. It’s not perfect, but still very, very good.


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Romanelli
Bone Swah


Gender: Male
Location: The Spokane Valley
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  • #1592
  • Posted: 3 days ago
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1269


Silent Alarm by Bloc Party

BLOC PARTY
SILENT ALARM
2005 – WICHITA
Produced By PAUL EPWORTH

1. Like Eating Glass
2. Helicopter
3. Positive Tension
4. Banquet
5. Blue Light
6. She’s Hearing Voices
7. This Modern Love
8. Pioneers
9. Price Of Gas
10. Little Thoughts
11. So Here We Are
12. Luno
13. Plans
14. Compliments

Bloc Party is the domain of singer Kele Okereke and guitarist Russell Lissack. This British band exploded in 2005 with the release of their debut album, Silent Alarm, a collection of fast, quirky, and immediately catchy guitar driven tracks. The album was an immediate, out of nowhere hit, thanks to the band’s desire to attract fans of multiple genres and a handful of radio ready hit singles. Elements of electronic and dance music are present, with songs that were written around adding guitars to a simple drum beat. Bloc Party was able to please a lot of the people at the same time, not an easy task. The result is simple…Silent Alarm is a fine, consistent and highly listenable album. They have remained successful over the course of their on and off career, but they’ve never quite matched the energy and overall excellence of their debut. Can’t fault them for that…they did set the bar pretty high for themselves right off the bat.

The tracks that got everyone’s attention were “Positive Tension”, “So Here We Are”, and “Banquet”. These songs are catchy, upbeat, and cool as hell. “Two More Years” and “Pioneers” are also excellent. The best track here may be “Helicopter”, a powerful buzz saw of a single that brought the band an American audience. The pulsing “This Modern Love” builds to a fine danceable track. The drumming of Matt Tong is excellent throughout, but it’s the guitar work of Lissack and Okereke that really carries the album to it’s impressive heights. The interplay between the two is perfect, and although you can dance to pretty much all of Silent Alarm, it is, by all means, a guitar album. Later in 2005, Silent Alarm Remixed was released, giving the tracks more of a dance atmosphere while still keeping things rocking. The original album is the way to go, though. Silent Alarm truly does have something for everyone, and it does all of those things well.


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Romanelli
Bone Swah


Gender: Male
Location: The Spokane Valley
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  • #1593
  • Posted: 26 hours ago
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1270


Rides Again by James Gang

JAMES GANG
RIDES AGAIN
1970 – ABC
Produced By BILL SZYMCZYK

1. Funk #49
2. Asshtonpark
3. Woman
4. The Bomber: Closet Queen / Bolero / Cast Your Fate To The Wind
5. Tend My Garden
6. Garden Gate
7. There I Go Again
8. Thanks
9. Ashes The Rain And I

The James Gang came from Cleveland in the late 1960’s, and are most notable for being the band that launched the career of Joe Walsh. But the band was plagued by a never ending stream of personnel changes, and by the time they hung it up in 1977, 18 different players had been members of the band. Rides Again is their second album, and the one that put them on the map (and the one that marked Walsh as a top notch guitarist), thanks in large part to the hit “Funk #49”. (In case you wonder…there had been a track called “Funk #48” on the previous album.) The song was a hit, and made the James Gang household names for a time, and along with “Walk Away” from the next album (Thirds), paved the way for Walsh. Many see this album as the high point of the band…and as far as the Walsh years go, it is. It’s an improvement over their debut, with Walsh just beginning to blossom as a player and as a songwriter. But this lineup didn’t last long, as Walsh was gone by the end of 1971.

Rides Again is a nice slice of early 70’s rock, but it’s not great. After “Funk #49”, the songs are mostly forgettable. It’s the playing of Walsh that makes it worthwhile…there’s no doubt that the man could play. His guitar carries the entire album, and it’s worth hearing just for that. It’s notable that the center section of “The Bomber” contains “Bolero”, which was removed because of a lawsuit threatened by the estate of Maurice Revel…it’s restored on the most recent CD versions. Also, this album is almost painfully short at just 35 minutes. It is the best of the Walsh era James Gang albums (the best overall is the underrated Tommy Bolin led Bang from 1973). Walsh has, of course, gone on to fame as a solo artist and as a member of the Eagles. Bolin died in 1976, and the James Gang ceased to be in 1977. But there is always “Funk #49”. This is good…not great, but definitely worth hearing at least once.


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Romanelli
Bone Swah


Gender: Male
Location: The Spokane Valley
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  • #1594
  • Posted: 7 hours ago
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1271


Stars And Satellites by Trampled By Turtles

TRAMPLED BY TURTLES
STARS AND SATELLITES
2012 – BANJODAD RECORDS
No Production Credit

1. Midnight On The Interstate
2. Alone
3. Walt Whitman
4. High Water
5. Risk
6. Widower’s Heart
7. Sorry
8. Beautiful
9. Don’t Look Down
10. Keys To Paradise
11. The Calm And The Crying Wind

The worst thing about this Minnesota bluegrass/folk band is their name. After that, these guys are quite a find. This band came highly recommended by a friend of a former friend, and the two albums I bought by them in Albuquerque a few years back sat unheard for way too long. Dusting these off was like finding buried treasure, without a doubt. This is a band that made their way by fusing bluegrass and punk together for some legendary live shows, but on this, their sixth album, they bring down the tempo and play some flat out beautiful music. These guys can play…there are enough flurries of flying banjos and mandolins and fiddles to keep even the most down home happy, but there are also some great folk moments that are on the verge of breathtaking. These guys can do it all, and the results here are nothing short of amazing. This may be one of the coolest acoustic albums you’ve heard in a long, long time.

The upbeat and rowdier tracks here are most impressive. “Walt Whitman”, “Don’t Look Down” and “Sorry” are showcases for the bluegrass prowess of the band. But it’s the slow, almost sleepy songs where the real beauty of what these guys are capable of really shines through. “Alone” is stunning, as are “Beautiful” and “Keys To Paradise”. “The Calm And The Crying Wind” is everything a country song should be. The singing of Dave Simmonett has a lonesome, peaceful quality that doesn’t fall off into boring territory, and he’s lyrically excellent. The album alternates between upbeat and somber, giving it an interesting balance, and allowing the beauty of each track to really shine. Trampled By Turtles sticks mainly to the American market, and have released nine studio albums to date since 2004. This is a pleasant surprise of an album…under the radar for the most part. Musically exceptional, lyrically heartwarming, a perfect listen.


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