Posts Tagged ‘Queens Of The Stone Age’

BOULEBLOG 100! WE CELEBRATE THE MILESTONE BY GIVING UP!

November 22, 2019

The seventh studio album from Peter Gabriel, UP, deals with the delightful topics of birth, life and death.

You are reading the 100th blog post at BouleBlog. Thank you for your support. In celebration of this milestone, I want to present this Friday Flashback-style review of an album that meant a great deal to me when it came out as I am somewhat the death hag. So when an artist like Peter Gabriel comes out with an album aimed at the topic of death, named UP, I am all on board.

But when I played the album (over and over, I might add), I began to have some subversive thoughts enter my mind. Why, I was making music all wrong! The arrangements, the sonics, the patches and voices of the synthesizers, the processing of the drums, my methods were all outmoded.

Leave it to the guy in Genesis who bailed out right as the band hit their artistic peak to show me how it’s done…

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KING QUEEN JOSH HOMME RESSURECTS DESERT SESSIONS FOR VOLUMES 11 AND 12

November 2, 2019

The return of Desert Sessions features a cast of characters rival to the Wacky Racers. Photo courtesy Desert Sessions Facebook page

I took this summer off to do some more repairs/renovations around my house. This was messy stuff, and I like to have music playing when I do work like this as I am often by myself so it keeps me from going nuts. So I tend to pick the long stuff, or stuff I have made into long play lists.

Josh Homme’s Desert Sessions fits that bill. Each volume is equivalent to one album. So volumes One and Two came out together as one release, so on all the way up to the last, volumes Nine and Ten. Each volume featured famous guests and residents at the studio the series is named after, Rancho De La Luna in the Palm Desert, CA area. For the first volumes, the guests were people who were either recording in Rancho, or were friends of project pioneer Homme. But what a rich pool to pick from, bands like Kyuss, Fatso Jetson, and many of these players would also go on to form Queens Of The Stone Age.

Over time the guest list expanded exponentially, drawing in people like Mark Lanegan, Alain Johannes, and P.J. Harvey. The Desert Sessions provides scouting for new members of QOTSA, as the lineup often mutated until the most recent lineup formed and has remained consistent to this day. This lineup may experience shakeup after Homme’s announcement that the two-year long tour for the disappointing album Viliains proved to be too much for the health and well-being addled Homme. Near death experiences, health scares, losses of close friends and near misses of very close friends at the hands of international terrorists can take a toll on a man. He was recently quoted in the online edition of NME that he wouldn’t mind if QOTSA were a touch smaller, in terms of audience size, reach, etc.

I see this as fulfillment of my expectation that working with Mark Ronson would damage QOTSA in some way. They’d either get too commercial, or too popular, and I totally get where Homme is coming from. I have had some really bad experiences in a couple of QOTSA Facebook groups. But I shouldn’t saddle QOTSA fans with that distinction exclusively, animosity exists in pretty much all of the Facebook fan groups regardless of the artist. With the possible exception of the Mark Mulcahy/Miracle Legion group.

In order for Homme to clear his head of all the Ronson-generated nonsense, he retreated to the desert to collect some hefty names for the most recent edition of the sessions, that being Desert Sessions Vol. 11 & 12. But before we get into those names, let’s further examine what the Desert Sessions are:

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CONVERGENCE ALERT! ADRIAN BELEW JOINS WITH POLICE DRUMMER STEWART COPELAND AND LEVEL 42 BASSIST MARK KING TO FORM THE SUPERGROUP OF ALL TIME, GIZMODROME!!

May 26, 2018

What happens when a goofball drummer joins a funkoslap bass player, a happy-go-lucky noisemaker guitarist, and a virtuoso keyboardist? Gizmodrome! Photo courtesy Gizmodrome and the internet.

You hear me going on about convergence all the time. This artist I like works with that artist I like. Convergence. Laurie Anderson and Peter Gabriel, the artist who will no longer be named in this column and The Residents, Robert Fripp and Daryl Hall, Talking Heads and Eno, Eno and Devo, Fripp and Bowie, Bowie and the guitarist who is a member in this most unusual band we are about to review, Adrian Belew and if you want circular closure, Adrian Belew and Laurie Anderson.

Slap bassist extraordinaire Mark King has had his unique sound in every household guaranteed. If someone can honestly tell me they haven’t heard the song “Something About You” before, they are either VERY old (and I’m 55, so I know old) or live under a rock. King is one of those ‘taught-myself-how-to-make-a-living-at-this-thing’, type of players. Sophisticated playing with an innovative knack. I could go on about his co-collaborators outside Level 42, but this will be long enough.

The one member I know little about it Vittorio Cosma. He is the host of the band, in Italy. Italy is key to this band’s story as Copeland used the Italian backdrop to lure Belew to compliment the existing band Gizmo. King had opened for The Police back in the day, so Copeland recruited him and with those additions, the band Gizmodrome was born!

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DEVO TOIL THROUGH SADNESS AND ADVERSITY TO BRING THE SPUDS SOMETHING ELSE FOR EVERYBODY

December 30, 2017
Bastardizing the cover for Something For Everybody, Devo once again poke fun at themselves while delivering cutting room floor songs. Cover photo courtesy of Devo Obsesso

Bastardizing the cover for Something For Everybody, Devo once again poke fun at themselves while delivering cutting room floor songs. Cover photo courtesy of Devo Obsesso

This may be one of the saddest reviews I’ve ever written about Devo. This upcoming February will be the four-year anniversary of the death of Robert Casale, better-known to Devotees as Bob 2. Devo have named his live performance replacement as Josh Hager. While Hager may possess certain self-destructive tendencies, and feels free to use them onstage with the band, no amount of broken limbs will replace the every day contributions Robert Casale made to Devo. He was more than just the fourth member of Devo. He was instrumental with instrument sounds. Programming patches (voices) on keyboards, being of service not only to Devo, but also Musika Mutato, Mark Mothersbaugh’s commercial music production company.

But even more disheartening, Devo, at its core, is formed by the combining of two sets of brothers and a drummer. Robert Casale’s brother is bassist, vocalist and co-pioneer, Jerry Casale. The other brother duo is lead guitarist extraordinaire Bob Mothersbaugh, and keyboardist/guitarist/vocalist/visual artist/film maker/eye glass designer/painter/cultural wunderkind Mark Mothersbaugh.

The add-a-drummer position is alternately filled by former Nine Inch Nails and current Vandals drummer Josh Freese. When Freese is unavailable (we can most likely presume from prior commitments), Devo call on Jeff Friedl of Ashes Divide, Filter and two Maynard Keenan groups, Puscifer and A Perfect Circle. (Is it me or does that band have a revolving door in its rehearsal studio? Friedl, Freese, Troy Van Leeuwin of Queens Of The Stone Age, James Iha formerly of Peter Pumpkinhead’s band Smashing Pumpkins, Danny Lohner ex of Nine Inch Nails and Tim “Herb” Alexander of Primus. Makes me think Maynard J Krebs is as big a douche with Billy Howerdel’s Perfect Circle as he is with his other  band, Tool. Grow yer grapes Maynard, stick with your vineyard and let all the musicians you suck into your quagmiric vortex do meaningful things with their lives… Like play in Devo!!!)

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FUCK YOU, FUCK THIS, FUCK THAT AND FUCK THEM. NOW THAT I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION, FATSO JETSON’S “IDLE HANDS” IS WHAT YOU NEED TO HEAR!!!!

August 8, 2017

If you see this disc on sale anywhere, buy it and play it everywhere. Photo courtesy Fatso Jetson

I have long been fascinated by the Desert Rock scene emanating from the Palm Desert area in California. So many quality acts have come out of there, Queens OF The Stone Age (QOTSA) most notably. But there are more acts, Kyuss made a mark, The Dwarves, and some of the names read like a who’s who of music: Nick Oliveri, Blag Dhalia, Alain Johannes (who is currently on tour with P.J. Harvey), and everyone knows this band’s name thanks to global terrorism, Eagles Of Death Metal (if you live under a rock, this was the band that was targeted at the Bataclan massacre in November, 2015).

But there is one band I have not mentioned. Fatso Jetson (FJ). Out of all the bands that rose out of Palm Desert, FJ have to be the heaviest, most groove oriented of the lot. Yes, I know QOTSA are quite heavy on their new album, Villains but I can’t make any judgement on that, it’s not out yet, save for the few songs that have been leaked. I prefer the whole package…

It can be told that I got my hands on the latest disc from Fatso Jetson called Idle Hands. It would seem that all the time spent in the desert ingrained in these guys a rough, take no prisoners approach to song crafting. It comes through during the entire disc.

I know these guys aren’t household names. But they should be. Maybe it’s that familial connection that makes these guys so tight. The lead vocalist and guitarist is Mario Lalli, guitar is also played by Dino Von Lalli, bass is played by Larry Lalli, and drums by Tony Tornay with the addition of Mathias Shneeberger keyboards, guitars, bass and vocals. As it turns out my favorite lyrics on this album were in fact written by Sean Wheeler who also wrote words for “Portuguese Dream” and “The Vincent Letter” (later on in the album).

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THE MUSICAL COMET THAT IS LORD RUSS RETURNS WITH FUTURISTIC VISIONS OF THE PAST. HAVE YOU HEARD???

July 17, 2017

The newest take on some established songs, done Lord Russ style! Photo courtesy Russ Brooks

Lord Russ has a past with this blog. That sounds so sordid, doesn’t it? But that ‘past’ is a good one! Lord Russ found me while I was still with Princeton Record Exchange. He took advantage of my open position that “if you have the balls to accept what someone who knows something about music has to say about yours, bring it!” and brought me his first delightful album Heir Of Mystery! Easily the best “indie” (in the truest sense of the word, Lord Russ’ neighbor, Mark Mulcahy and his band Miracle Legion roadied for themselves on their recent reunion tour, set up, tore down, and loaded out, here’s a band that’s been on TV, David Letterman, Adventures Of Pete and Pete, too numerous to list, having to roadie their own shows because that’s how the record industry is now) disc to come my way this year. The fortunate part of the Miracle Legion show was the availability of two new releases, two double live CDs, one from Miracle Legion, and one from Polaris. The difference being, no Ray Neal in Polaris, his place was filled by another Lord Russ neighbor, Henning Ohlenbusch who played lead guitar and allsorts. The CT/Mass music scene is a very intriguing one. If what Fatso Jetson leader Mario Lalli claims is correct, the High Desert/Wonder Valley scene is dead.

But I digress…

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THE MASS EXODUS I HAD FEARED SINCE CHILDHOOD IS HERE NOW!

April 4, 2016

Sorry folks, no photos of album covers or artists performing live in this blog. In fact, we are embracing the here and now, with a morose eye towards the future. I never thought I would be posting something like this, but in the light of recent events (read: the massive amount of influential musicians who are passing away at a pace none of us can keep up with), I really had no choice. This was a necessity above and beyond my ordinary macabre nature.

For me, I think it started with the death of Alan Myers, the original drummer for Devo. It was a severe blow when a short time later, his bandmate and co-founder of Devo, Robert Casale also (and most definitely unexpectedly) passed away.

Then the onslaught began.

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EAGLES OF DEATH METAL REDEFINE ‘ROCK OUT WITH YOUR COCK OUT’ WITH ZIPPER DOWN

October 8, 2015
Eagles of Death Metal's newest album Zipper Down has what it takes to lift you up as well!

Eagles of Death Metal’s newest album Zipper Down has what it takes to lift you up as well!

Eagles of Death Metal, better known as Josh Homme and Jesse Hughes (or even further known as Baby Duck and Boots Electric, respectively) have coexisted with Homme and Hughes’ other projects such as Homme owning Queens Of The Stone Age and being a part time member of Them Crooked Vultures, as well as captaining the ground-breaking desert love songs that amount to the Desert Sessions. If you are not knowing about the Desert Sessions, grab your phone, your tablet, your watch, your crotch and look them up. Hughes, besides being heavily involved with his solo career as Boots Electric, finds the time to be a hardcore right wing enthusiast while still proclaiming to be socially liberal (as does Homme). But Hughes has taken it to another level, even going head-to-head with liberal mouthpiece, actress and comedian Janeane Garofalo on her radio show.

Of which I know nothing about, nor do I care to. We’re here because there’s some killer music you have to hear…

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THIRD TIME IS TRULY A CHARM FOR ALAN PARSONS I ROBOT

October 9, 2013
The revised cover for the newest version of The Alan Parsons Project, released earlier this year.  Bonus tracks, in-depth booklet and sanitized sound make this version the definitive for those yet to be initiated into the Parsons pack!

The revised cover for the newest version of The Alan Parsons Project, released earlier this year. Bonus tracks, in-depth booklet and sanitized sound make this version the definitive for those yet to be initiated into the Parsons pack!

My story begins many years ago, 1977 to be exact.  One of my early relaxation techniques was to enjoy some classical music, played at low volume, audible enough to induce calm, not loud enough to encumber sleep, at bedtime.

One night during my second year living in Scranton, my usual FM refuge, the local classical station made the industry standard decision of changing format to MOR Rock.  MOR standing for Middle Of the Road as in, they’ll play your average hit, something by Led Zepplin, ELO (who I love), Bruce Springsteen, but at the same time, play an entire album from time-to-time, some prog stuff, the average, Yes, Rush, Pink Floyd (often) and if they went deep with acts like Genesis or King Crimson, it would be “Lamb Lies Down” or “Follow You, Follow Me” from the former (one for the Gabriel era, one for the Collins era), or ONLY selections from In The Court Of The Crimson King from the latter.

I happened to tune in for my nightly fix of musical sedation on one particular night and I heard a 70’s Macho-Manned-Deep-Voiced DJ bring a song from break and announcing that the new 107 was fast-approaching a new feature for their new format, their weekly album show featuring an entire album with only commercial breaks at the flip of side one to two (yes kids, we used to have to get up after a set number of songs and turn this big wax/vinyl disc over and reset it for the last batch of tunes).  I wasn’t sure of what to make of it, where is my usual monotone, refined, and in his own way, sedate radio personality who announces my FM version of Valium?

Testosterone Tom, my new night-time DJ at bedtime was saying the upcoming album was by Alan Parsons who engineered Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon, was being featured with his second album (the first with enough mainstream success to garner being considered a weekly album feature) I Robot and yes, it is of the same concept as Asimov’s epic, classic novel I, Robot.  Notice the only change between the two titles is the removal of the comma after the “I” in the title.  This came about to the thinking of the late Eric Woolfson who, after a phone conversation with Asimov himself, came to the mindset that to circumvent the legal issue, the comma would be sufficient change enough to warrant an individual copyright.

They start to play the album while I am still trying to figure out where my symphonies went.

“Holy shit this music is amazing”, I thought to myself.  Sequencing synths cascading between individual headphones (closed ear, of course) ushering in dissonant organ tones, giving way to elegant soprano female solo vocal ad-lib.  I was hooked.  I sat through the entire album transfixed.

This memorization led to the purchase of one of Arista’s first acts signed to the fledgling label.  On one of those plastic discs.

The sound of the vinyl on my Krebstar (thanks Pete & Pete) HiFi was about the same as the FM broadcast, sans a few pops and clicks…  So I was elated to get my copy of the primary issue of I Robot on CD.  Then thirty years later an anniversary edition came out in 2007 with five bonus tracks, an unreleased track experiment that turned out to be the intro to the ‘rock’ structure of “I Robot”, three demos and a mash-up of examples or demos of each song into one, continuous song.

Well earlier this year, they came out with a thirty-fifth year anniversary version that has fourteen bonus tracks contained on a second CD, and an expanded booklet with new liner notes written by Parsons.  The above factoids about the album came from those liner notes.  These are worth the price of the disc alone.

Granted, some of the bonus tracks on the thirtieth anniversary edition are the same as on the thirty-fifth anniversary edition.  Those aforementioned five tracks, then some goodies we will discuss later on in the review.

Let me just say, if you need a reason to justify purchasing this new re-issue beyond new liner notes, (that is, for those of you who are not rabid Parsons fans) and nine new bonus features, in side-by-side comparisons in my usual review setting, the mastering on the new release was out of this world!!!  Then when you listen to the album tracks, astonishingly enough, they are cleaner than the thirtieth anniversary version!!!

The saying goes, ‘So clean you could eat off it’ but in this case, it is ‘So clean you can perform surgery on these tracks’.

Prepare the patient…

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QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE BEAT THE BLUES WITH THE BLUES …LIKE CLOCKWORK

June 14, 2013
Illness, depression, failure, all rolled up into one bad trip.  Queens Of The Stone Age and Josh Homme will take you along...

Illness, depression, failure, all rolled up into one bad trip. Queens Of The Stone Age and Josh Homme will take you along…

Where does one begin to detail the woe that begot …Like Clockwork?  For Josh Homme, the woe begins with a relapse of his knee ailment that had been plaguing him since the Lullabies To Paralyze era when he was on tour in Europe.  The concert tour for Lullabies To Paralyze yielded a DVD, Over The Years And Through The Woods, which was released on both video and audio.  During the video, at a point around “I Never Came”, he asks the audience who wants his cane and throws it out to the crowd, then instantly winces as it flips precariously into the sea of craniums.

During this tour, Homme was also infirmed with a respiratory ailment.

Not to mention, it can’t do one’s mental state any benefit to run out your label contract.  Interscope had been micromanaging Homme about how they wanted this album to sound, to the point where Homme FIRED (yes, the final word out there is Homme fired) drummer Joey Castillo about ¾’s of the way though the process of making …Like Clockwork.  So it is no surprise that this record is on both Homme’s ‘Rekords Rekords’ label, and new Queens Of The Stone Age distributing label is Matador out of New York City.  An upstart indie label, not exactly the powerhouse that Interscope was.

More reason to worry.

Be mindful of the fact that Homme and wife Brody Dalle (Distillers fame) have two children now.

So it was to his additional terror that Homme spent four plus months bedridden following surgical difficulties and complications.  This sent Homme into a funk of uncertainty.  It then fell on to the four core members of Queens Of The Stone Age to cajole Homme into making more Queens music.  He agreed, but there were conditions…

First, Homme initiated all four into his own personal anguish.  Homme felt that for the band members understand why he would be writing some dire, introspective and (even for Queens) unusual music, they needed to walk the proverbial mile in his shoes.

Once he took the members down to his level, emotionally speaking, he took them with him all the way back to the first album.  Homme secured the rights to the first Queens Of The Stone Age self-titled album, remixed it, added bonus tracks and distributed it from his own Rekords Rekords label.  Yours dubitably managed to see this tour at Terminal 5 in New York City.  The review was posted here recently as part of our Friday Flashback.

Then came what was perceived by uninvolved band members as the unthinkable.  Homme fired long time drummer Castillo.  Songs For The Deaf drummer Dave Grohl was called in to play on some of these quirky introspective tunes.  As the album was recorded in Homme’s Pink Duck Studios in Burbank, a cast of quality performers and old friends were brought in.  Friends like Nick Oliveri, Alain Johannes, Mark Lanegan, Trent Reznor, Scissor Sisters’ Jake Shears, Dalle, Elton John, Alex Turner, James Lavelle, and two drummers of note: first, Joey Castillo.  Some of what he did was good enough to make the final cut.  Second, former Mars Volta drummer Jon Theodore.  Theodore is of note because he is the touring drummer for Queens Of The Stone Age now!  Will he be a member?  You need to recall that Queens started as a rotating band.  People came in, people went out.  No telling if Queens will become the new Spinal Tap…

This cast of rock royalty is joined by the four full-fledged members, Homme, Troy Van Leeuwen, Mikey Shuman and Dean Fertita.  Let’s see where this musical mass carries us on its rampage to ruin.

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