Tag Archives: Led Zeppelin

5 Albums For A Rainy Day

It’s raining here in Baltimore –  it’s the perfect day to sit down and read a book while listening to good music.  One of the great things about music, is its ability to pick up on a particular mood and can seep into your subconsciousness.   The mood of a song may feel like raining coming down, even if its lyrical content has nothing to do with the weather.

The Waterboys – Fisherman’s Blues

Fisherman’s Blues is the ultimate rainy day album. With the exception of the title track, and “World Party”, it’s a largely stripped down affair with emphasis on violins (or is it fiddle in this case?) piano and acoustic guitars.  The rhythm of “Strange Boat” unfolds at a snail’s pace.  Elsewhere, their cover of Van Morrison’s “Sweet Thing”  brings tension like a torrential rain, but also leaves room for the inevitable clearing of the skies – reenforced by a coda that includes bits of The Beatles’ “Blackbird”.   The lyrics of “The Stolen Child” are adapted from WB Yeats, but with the dominating piano and mystical-sounding flute, its the soundtrack to the dreams you have on a rainy morning when you hit snooze and don’t want to get out of bed.

U2 – The Unforgettable Fire

The Unforgettable Fire is largely remembered as the album that contained the hit “Pride (In The Name of Love)”.   Thanks to Brian Eno’s production, it is also an album that finds U2 exploring sonic textures perfectly suited to a gray and wet day.  Bono is more hushed on this than any other U2 album – “Promenade” is  a whisper from the band that almost goes unnoticed if you don’t pay attention.  While the band occasionally slides into louder territory (“Wire” and “Indian Summer Sky” in particular) most of the album is a quieter affair with the emphasis on The Edge’s guitar effects as a musical paintbrush.

Bob Dylan – Modern Times

Modern Times finds Bob Dylan for exploring old blues records while also incorporating jazz influences. Even the blurry cover and title (which is a homage to the Charlie Chaplin film of the same name) suggest Dylan’s fascination with that era, which leads to one of his mellowest albums to date.  Even the rocker “Rollin and Thumblin” has a shuffle to it, never allowing the song to quite break through and roar. The album perfectly suits what Dylan’s voice has turned into in the past decade – a long, smoky drawl.   Dylan’s interpretation of “When the Levee Breaks”, titled “The Levee’s Gonna Break” travels at a speed which hints at the disaster up ahead, but never actually descends into it.  There might be a storm outside, but you can take comfort with this album.

Fleet Foxes

If I have any criticisms of Fleet Foxes, and their self-titled debut, it’s that their songs are hard to distinguish from one another.  But as a whole, their debut unfolds with lush harmonies and laid-back acoustics rarely since the early days of Crosby, Stills and Nash.  It’s the sound of a band searching for an overall feeling and mood as opposed to a killer single.  That may bother some, but Fleet Foxes manage to impress while being unassuming.

Tom Waits – Closing Time

Closing Time is not only one of the best debut albums of all time, it’s also one of the best of all time.  The combination of folk and jazz lends itself to just simply lounging around.  The trumpets and piano on “Virginia Avenue” and “Midnight Lullaby” get inside your soul in the way that the best jazz compositions do.  While Waits covers a lot of topics on this album, the arrangements and music say just as much.  This is the type of album where you just want to sit inside, look out the window at the rain, and simply listen.

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Top Ten Rock Band List From An Unknown Magazine

According to an article on radio station DC101, a “new magazine” put out a list of the list of the top 10 best bands ever.  Note that the name of the magazine wasn’t listed, and that the article doesn’t state whether it was a reader’s poll or a staff pick.  Either way, I’m pretty sure I won’t be reading this “new magazine”.  It’s a terrible list.

Here’s the list according to the article:

1. The Beatles

2. Led Zeppelin

3. Queen

4. The Cars

5. Heart

6. Green Day

7. Journey

8. Santana

9. Rolling Stones

10. Motley Crue

Personally, I think there’s only two bands which deserve to be there – and I’ll leave you to guess which ones.

What are your top 10 bands?

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It Might Get Loud

Not the biggest Led Zeppelin fan or Jimmy Page fan, but might have to check out this movie.

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NME Calls “Nevermind” Overrated. I agree.

Luke Lewis blog on NME’s website says what I’ve been saying for years – Nirvana’s Nevermind is overrated.  While I love lists of best albums and songs, I’m always frustrated that Nirvana is at the top of the list.  I admit that I liked them when I was younger, their music is good for that.  Many teenagers have their Led Zeppelin and Nirvana phase.  You know – the phase where all they every think about is sex (see Led Zeppelin) or feel angry (see Nirvana.)

I love when musicians talk about the album in retrospect and suggest that it was “so raw”.  Please.  Anybody ever listen to Raw Power?  It’s also laughable that Kurt Cobain is considered a great guitarist.  But as far as influence goes, I think Nirvana’s influence gave rock music one of its worst genres – post grunge.  Bands like Creed, Nickleback, Shinedown, Papa Roach and other insist on using the soft verse/loud chorus song arrangement like they’ve never a song written any other way.  

That being said, I don’t totally hate Nirvana.  I think their Unplugged CD is great.  But unfortunately at the same time, the best performances also happen to be the songs that aren’t theirs.

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