Top 25 Albums?


My cousin recently made a Facebook post asking for your top 25 albums. No restrictions. Just the thought that 25 is easier, yet more difficult than a top 10.

He’s right you know.

Opening up the post top 10 or eve 15 tier really digs into stuff. There are a LOT of great albums that I skipped that really deserve to be on here. This is what I was feeling recently. This may be a slightly different list tomorrow or a drastically different list next year.

I took it as 25 albums that I dig, that I like to listen to the whole way through.

Top 25 Albums (Right now, anyway.)
Top 25 Albums (Right now, anyway.)

They may not contain my favorite songs from the artist, or may not be my top favorite artists, but these are 25 dam solid albums that I have enjoyed end-to-end on multiple occasions and sometimes on repeat.

Because I like to talk (type/read) about music on the internet, here we are. I’ll drop a short explanation. They’re ina alphabetical order, couldn’t begin to order them. Please, share yours in the comments.

25 is harder than you think!

💿

  • 12 Hits From Hell – The Misfits | This was the album that never was, that should have been. Is it the ultimate bootleg? Bobby & Doyle on the same tracks? Probably Glenn & I think the producer too? At any rate, the songs shine. It’s inherently an unnatural entity, but isn’t that in the spirit of melding dark campy lyrics with poppy melodies over distorted guitars and driving rhythms? I wish this got a proper release.
  • …And Out Come the Wolves – Rancid | This album is frantic and melodic and gravely and beautiful. How do you not like the unapologetic frantic pop punk shenanigans infused with a bit of street and reggae and ska? I know this is the album that “cool” rancid fans pretend is not the best. Listen to it. It smacks you around for less than an hour and makes you happy about it.
  • American Cheese – Nerf Herder | I had a hard time picking, because How to Meet Girls could easily be here too. I think “Jacket” is my favorite track, so that slightly tipped the scale. These guys are fantastic, and Parry’s solo stuff is a trip. You can tell they’re fans of a lot of the same stuff I grew up on. It doesn’t take itself too seriously. They can really craft a powerful melody.
  • Appetite For Destruction – Guns N’ Roses | I wore out this cassette tape at least 3 times. I have bought the CD more than a few times. A friend gifted it to me on Vinyl. I bought the digital version of the new 8,479 “disc” set… even though I may or may not have had decent quality bootlegs of 99% of it. I think it’s the first album I dove into head first. Just listening to how Slash & Izzy play off of each other, Axl’s layers of vocals octaves apart with Duff & Izzzy singing, Duff’s guitar-like bass grooves locking into Adler’s swing. Lightning in a bottle may be a cliché, but it totally fits here. These guys had their finger on the collective pulse of punk, metal, glam, hard rock, classic rock, and pop culture. They rocked harder than most of their peers and these are great damn songs. The arcing overall crescendo of “Sweet Child of Mine” was just epic, and definitely contributed to my itch to pick up a guitar.
  • Bitter Tongues – Ann Beretta | I heard “Bottlecaps” on a Lookout! or Asian Man or some other comp and just had to know more. I think pretty quickly, I acquired all the albums and even Inquisition and eventually Sixer, Foundation, and Rob Huddleston’s solo stuff. It reminded me a lot of Rancid, and obviously pays homage to the Clash and some more street punk stuff, and even folk or honky-tonk. These guys took their influences and blended them together so well to make something in a voice all their own. It’s anthemic. It feels working class-ish and just relatable and super catchy.
  • Bloody Kisses – Type O Negative | It doesn’t sound like anything else. I think I heard the “Blood & Fire (Out of the Ashes Mix)” on the Mortal Kombat soundtrack first. It was dark. It was Sabbathy and Misfitsy and Metallicish. I needed more. I think there was about a year where 90% of what I listened to was Black Sabbath, the Misfits, and Type O Negative. I used to put this on low on repeat when I went to bed at night. It is best enjoyed as a whole album. Even within a lot of the songs, it’s like there are movements. The metal guitars and incredible bass vocals are fantastic. Again, they had an incredible balance of humor, a dark scary tone, and it’s just… fun. Don’t tell anyone the goth kids are having fun though.
  • Boogadaboogadaboogada! – Screeching Weasel | If the Ramones created the pop-punk template, these guys stole it and ran. This is just a fun, snotty, whiny, poppy, witty, and goofy album. What a great sense of melody mixed with suburban angst and sloppy buzzing guitars.
  • Chimborazo – Foundation | Rob can really craft a song. This is a beautiful stripped-down heartfelt collection of stories in song form. It’s awesome how much emotion can be conveyed with a few lines. Rob is definitely up there as one of my favorite song writers.
  • Countdown to Extinction – Megadeth | I know. this is the “sell out” commercial album. You can’t deny that every track is killer metal while also being commercially successful. It represents a time to me where the “underground” stuff that I was aware of became mainstream. Why not celebrate more people being able to discover something you already know is great? Dave is a monster on the fretboard and sounds like an unhinged maniac on vocals. These songs are put together really well.
  • Danzig – Danzig | When you’re 15, Danzig is the coolest thing on the planet. Punk. Goth. Metal. Badass. He reads weird books! He reads comics! Rick Rubin probably deserves a lot of credit for image crafting and turning Samhain into this. John, Eerie, & Chuck provided a killer band! John definitely had an instantly recognizable sound. It sounded like metal, but it was clearly channeling the blues and hard rock. Danzig does not seem to have a sense of humor about his music, but that makes it humorous.
  • Dookie – Green Day | This was a solid album. Again, it brought stuff I liked to the masses. It took me a while to realize what a solid album this was. I don’t even know if I’d put Green Day at the top of my Favorite Bands list… but an this is a great pop punk album. Those drums! That wild bass! The vocal harmonies are perfection. Mike Dirnt is the yin to Bille Joe’s yang. You can tell these guys loved what they do. You can tell that subject-matter wise, they’re not the Sex Pistols or the Ramones… but they loved all that stuff. Is this skate punk? I don’t care about labels. This is well-crafted end-to-end and hit the right place at the right time.
  • Energy – Operation Ivy | A great example of working backwards to find gems. Like the Misfits, it has some Lo-Fi appeal that is just hard to quantify. Energy is so appropriate. It’s like they had to let it out before it became destructive. It sounds so sloppy but it is so tight. It’s chaos. It’s chocolate and peanut butter. Watch the East Bay Punk documentary!
  • For Dancing and Listening – Guns ‘n’ Wankers | I wish more people knew about Guns ‘n’ Wankers. I wish I knew more about Guns ‘n’ Wankers. This album stands alone as incredible. It’s a bit of a mish-mash as Fat Mike could not leave it alone for the Fat Wreck release. It’s missing a few of the more metal tracks. I don’t know if Duncan Redmonds wrote all the songs, or what. His sense of harmony is fantastic. The song structure is just great. The tone is great. I love where the vocals sit in the mix. It’s another example of great storytelling with just a few lines.
  • Good Company – The Dead South | Usually I like loud distorted guitars. I like them clean too. This is clean acoustic guitars, as well as some more traditional stringed instruments, and just powerful melodies and vocal arrangements. Some of the vocals almost sound painful and sorrowful. I dove pretty hard into their discography after hearing the first few tracks.
  • High Risk Behaviour – The Chats | These kids are what I wish AiXeLsyD was! Ha ha. They are cheeky, hilarious, and totally serious. Ha ha. These songs are super fun. I need an Australian to English dictionary. This is another one that I heard an instantly wanted more more more.
  • Kill ‘Em All – Metallica | What can I say about this album that hasn’t already been said? It is the template. It is the sum of its ingredients and the sum of it’s strong-willed creators. From start to finish it just assaults your eardrums and raises your heart rate. Those riffs! That bass solo! Is he singing about the apocalypse? All killer, no filler. I think the first time Metallica hit my radar, it was …And Justice for All. When I worked back to this my mind was successfully blown. It was SO HEAVY at the time, which seems almost quaint now. Again, they get hate for success, maybe borrowing too hard from their influences, or for not being cool to Mustaine, to selling out, but… you can say they have ever compromised.
  • Licensed to Ill – Beastie Boys | The kids that are too cool for school or old heads will give you Paul’s Boutique for sure. I get that, and respect that. Again, this album brought it to the masses. This made music fans give a resounding collective “What?” Hardcore kids rapping? Sampling? Playing guitars? I don’t care if it’s hip hop or punk or pop. I love it. Another Rick Rubin album on the list? He must be on to something.
  • Master of Puppets – Metallica | This album could be included for just “Orion” and the “do-do-do-do do-do-do” double-lead part in “Master of Puppets.” This is another cassette tape that I wore out at least twice. I remember it being a go-to when I used to mow lawns for cash. Metallica matured here, but they weren’t yet racked by tragedy or swelled with excess. You could feel what I think was Cliff exerting guidance & expertise. All these songs felt great together. My favorite Metallica songs mostly reside on other albums, but this album makes a great statement as a whole piece of art.
  • Ramones – Ramones | Again. This is an iconic no-brainer. Did the Ramones start punk? People will argue to the end of time citing earlier examples. Are they what you think of when you think of punk? They are to me. It’s either that or the Sex Pistols. This album is fantastic. Guitar panned hard to one side, bass to the other… so you can play along! Cranked out in just a week, it’s frantic. It’s intimidating. Its 4 guys that have no idea what they’re doing while simultaneously knowing exactly what they’re doing. It’s loud, it’s catchy, it’s funny, it just rocks.
  • State of Discontent – The Unseen | Yeah, another “sell out” album. The dirty street punks found a producer so they must be inherently evil and capitalist and whatever other darts you can throw. Regardless, it’s an album full of screamy-yet-melodic shenanigans and I’m all for it. It’s catchy without losing it’s edge in my opinion. These guys spit fire and you’re either flammable or not.
  • Static Age – The Misfits | It’s got “Last Caress” which is probably one of their most covered songs. It’s got a bunch of stuff that is lo-fi on its way to becoming hi-fi. It’s catchy, it’s campy, it’s sort of funny, it’s melodic, it has loud guitars, it checks all my boxes. It’s just fantastic.
  • The Impossible Kid – Aesop Rock | I don’t even know if I can do this album justice by writing about it. I don’t have his vocabulary. I got this album and could not stop listening, on repeat. It’s layer upon layer in between level upon level. It’s an introspective and deeply personal look at anxiety and artistry intertwining, but it is so incredibly relatable. The tracks flow right into each other. You don’t want to stop. It lacs the guitar presence of every other album on this list… but we need a little variety, right?
  • The Ozzy Osborne Years – Black Sabbath | Admittedly, I cheated. I could not pick a Sabbath album proper and I graduated from listening to the Bootleggy-ish We Sold Our Sul for Rock ‘N’ Roll to this all the time. This collects all the Ozzy stuff. The one sentence in the Wikipedia article about it is “This box set includes all songs from Black Sabbath‘s first six albums, excluding the songs without vocals.” It’s dark. It’s doomy. Iommi’s riffs are just massive, Ozzy melodies with Geezer’s lyrics and thunderous bass lines all marching along to Bill Ward’s inimitable swing is just crushing.
  • Tweet Tweet My Lovely – Snuff | This is definitely top 5, probably top 3, or even 1. Snuff have mastered sounding like snuff whether they’re playing punk, metal, ska, or anything else they want to play. Duncan Redmonds is a mad genius. Loz’s guitars sound beautiful… jangly almost. There are horns and keys throughout, and they’re not jarring. The vocal melodies and harmonies are epic. (Green Day cites them as an influence and you can immediately hear how.) I like everything Snuff has put out, but this was my first from them and it really encompasses the gamut of their sound.
  • Within a Mile of Home – Flogging Molly | I could have probably picked any Flogging Molly album. This is where my taste in music & my wife’s taste in music overlaps. (Although, I have brought her more into punk rock and metal than she has pulled me into pop and top-4o-ish country.) We always end up with Flogging Molly, Willie Nelson, or Johnny Cash on road trips… usually all 3. Flogging Molly definitely has a punk rock ethic and bent. They have beautiful tales set to music in a traditional Irish vein. It’s sentimental. It’s raucous. It makes you tap your feet. This is a collection of bangers that also tug at your heart strings.

Honorable mentions would probably have to go out to The Sword, The Bloodhound Gang, Masked Intruder, Aerosmith, Avenged Sevenfold, Graves, Gotham Road, Dogpiss, Duncan Redmonds, Rob Huddleston, Wat Tyler, Crotchduster, ALL, Descendents, Poison, The Devil Makes Three, Alice in Chains, Warrant, Peelander-Z, Willie Nelson, Def Leppard, Johnny Cash, AC/DC, Teenage Bottlerocket, Ozzy, Jimi Hendrix, and so many more that I am probably momentarily forgetting. Don’t even get me started on greatest hits, compilations, and soundtracks.

What are you waiting for? Leave yours in the comments!

I know I just said these are solid albums, but it doesn’t negate the fact that they contain solid songs too. Check out 2 tracks from each album!

Christmas Playlist 2020


I posted not too long ago about Christmas playlists on various platforms. Ultimately most of them are frustrating because you can’t just pick a song order without signing up for a “premium” account. I’m already subscribed to enough stuff.

I have other YouTube lists (Naughty & Nice), but I decided to pull some of my favorites and put them all on one:

Christmas 2020 🎶🤘🎅🎸🎄🎵

What great ones am I missing? Drop them in the comments below!

While you’re on my YouTube Channel, don’t forget to watch, give a like, and drop a comment for “Jingle Bells” by the Christmas Carrolls! We have over 400 views already, it would be cool to hit 500 by Christmas! Please share it on your social media platform of choice.

Christmas Playlists and Streaming Services


I am signed up for too many free streaming accounts. I like raucous punk and metal Christmas music in addition to some of the more straightforward poppy and traditional stuff. I wish that all of these songs were available across all platforms. I have some stuff from the wild west days of mp3 downloading that I can’t seem to find on any platforms.

Christmas Playlists | Spotify • Amazon Music • Pandora • YouTube
Christmas Playlists | Spotify • Amazon Music • Pandora • YouTube

I do need to work on refining the lists I have. The YouTubes ones are all over the place. I hardly use Pandora enough to thumbs up or down to get it where every song is a smash. Spotify and Amazon are the ones that are easy to use… but I wish I could add more content.

I do have the free accounts for all mentioned. I don’t feel like playing for a streaming service unless it can be complete. I heard Google Music was pretty awesome, until it just became the YouTube Music thing. I need to get my personal stuff all digitized someday too. Man, I miss just running WinAmp on a giant desktop.

What do you use to listen to Christmas music? What are your favorite songs, traditional, wild, overplayed, or obscure?

Here are mine:

Spotify | Christmas 🤘🎸🎄

Amazon Music | Christmas

(WordPress doesn’t seem to want to embed the Amazon playlist.)

Pandora | Holiday Rock N’ Roll ☃

https://www.pandora.com/station/1758025359576278863

(WordPress won’t embed Pandora I guess, either.)

YouTube | Christmas Playlist – Nice

YouTube | Christmas Playlist – Nice

YouTube | ☃ ♩♫♬♪ Christmas Songs ♩♫♬♪ ☃

Finally set up a place to rock.


I finally got a permanent place set up to rock. All my guitars, ukes, amps, pedals, and even an electric kazoo are easy to quickly access and just start rocking when inspiration hits.

AiXeLsyD13's Guitar Room
Axetopia? CBGB’s (Carroll’s Big Guitar Bunker)? The Guitarmory?

I have talked about it, or even blogged about it for years.

It still needs a name. I haven’t officially decided. I have been calling it “the music room” or “the guitar room.” Both of those seem boring. Maybe this? I find it amusing but clunky.

I may make some videos of guitar shenanigans as a creative outlet. Not sure what direction they’ll take. I’m not a particularly good or technical player, but I can demo some gear or do some fun silly stuff. I do already have a YouTube playlist started for my guitar-related videos.

The Postitive Grid Spark amp & app have really made jamming quick and fun… they have a cool in-app video feature, but it’s not much different than recording straight-up with the phone’s camera.

I have been having a blast playing along to stuff on YouTube… from stuff from my old bands, to Black Sabbath, to Snuff, to the Ramones, and my new favorite song to play along to; “Bigger than Kiss” by Teenage Bottlerocket.

More setup inspires more setup. I need a way to store my physical media (mostly CD’s) so it’s easily accessible. I have a lot. Too many probably. I need to build some shelves and the stuff I’m finding online seems painfully expensive and not quite a fit. And I’d like to dump that all on a personal media server. I have a lot of stuff not available on Amazon or Spotify.

The next itch I can already feel will need scratching is some kind of recording setup. I’d like to layer stuff I can hear in my head, without the aid of a looper. I miss the days of a Tascam 4-track with a cassette tape. Maybe I’ll delve into a nice simple digital version of that.

The kids have guitars, ukes, and a keyboard too… and now we almost need drums and a bass or too, right?

At any rate… it’s important to have a creative outlet. Live isn’t conducive to me jamming regularly with a band right now. I only seem to do mazes when the inspiration hits, and I blog pretty randomly. Music is one more option for expression, creativity, and constant learning/exploring. I hope to foster the kids’ musical expression and drive home how important it is to remain creative themselves and appreciative of art in general.

Keep watching the blog, social media, and YouTube if you’re interested in the musical stuff.

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Train your miscreants young.

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Making progress.

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Gonna need more walls.

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👽

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Green LED's! #AllMyAxes

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'MURICA. 🇺🇸🎸🤘 #SparkAmp

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So, I’ll take your suggestions in the comments!

  • What should I officially call the axe-cave?
  • Where can I get cheap media shelves for over 1500 CD’s & other assorted media?
  • What do you want to see in guitar videos?
  • What’s a good cheap recording solution?

Share your space to create in the comments too!

Christmas YouTube Playlists – Naughty or Nice?


I have two playlists.

Which is better?

What would you add?

What am I missing?

The Metallica Playlist – Part II


So, did you read my last post about making a playlist of Metallica songs so Bethany will be familiar with some of the music at the show?  l grabbed a few tracks from each album, popped them into a list, & mixed ’em up a bit.  It still seems a tad unwieldy.  It’s 47 songs, and I don’t even want to know what the run time would be.  (I still need to dig out all of my CD’s & rip some of these older songs.  I live in the stone age and listen to mp3’s saved to a thumb drive plugged into the car.)

Metallicollage

How would you pare it down?  Could you get it to 30 songs?  10 songs?  60 minutes?  What is the most essential stuff you’d need to grasp their overall sound and/or appreciate a live show?

I had Alexa playing some random Metallica this morning, and it wasn’t a bad mix.  This actually really has me appreciating Death Magnetic & Hardwired… To Self-Destruct more & more.

 

Metallica 101 Playlist…

  1. “Ecstasy of Gold” (We All Love Ennio Morricone) [Ennio Morricone]
  2. “Enter Sandman” (Metallica)
  3. “One” (…And Justice for All)
  4. “For Whom the Bell Tolls” (Ride the Lightning)
  5. “Whiskey in the Jar” (Garage, Inc.) [Thin Lizzy]
  6. “(Anesthesia)—Pulling Teeth” (Kill ‘Em All)
  7. “Whiplash” (Kill ‘Em All)
  8. “Last Caress” (Live Shit: Binge & Purge) [Misfits]
  9. “Master of Puppets” (Master of Puppets)
  10. “Cyanide” (Death Magnetic)
  11. “The Call of Ktulu” (S&M)
  12. “Nothing Else Matters” (Metallica)
  13. “Seek And Destroy”  (Live Shit: Binge & Purge)
  14. “Some Kind of Monster” (St. Anger)
  15. “Fade To Black” (Ride the Lightning)
  16. “Overkill” (Garage, Inc.) [Motörhead]
  17. “Hardwired”  (Hardwired… To Self-Destruct)
  18. “The Memory Remains” (Through The Never)
  19. “Four Horsemen” (Kill ‘Em All)
  20. “Creeping Death”  (Live Shit: Binge & Purge)
  21. “Until It Sleeps” (S&M)
  22. “Altas, Rise!” (Hardwired… To Self-Destruct)
  23. “Battery” (Master of Puppets)
  24. “Die, Die My Darling” (Garage, Inc.) [Misfits]
  25. “Frantic” (St. Anger)
  26. “Fuel” (Re-Load)
  27. “Orion” (Through the Never)
  28. “Unforgiven” (Metallica)
  29. “Unforgiven II” (Re-Load)
  30. “Unforgiven III” (Death Magnetic)
  31. “Sad But True” (Live Shit: Binge & Purge)
  32. “I Disappear” (Mission: Impossible 2 Soundtrack)
  33. “All Nightmare Long” (Death Magnetic)
  34. “Mama Said” (Load)
  35. “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)” (Master of Puppets)
  36. “Commando” (St. Anger Single) [Ramones]
  37. “Now That We’re Dead” (Hardwired… To Self-Destruct)
  38. “Stone Cold Crazy” (Garage, Inc.) [Queen]
  39. “Wherever I May Roam” (S&M)
  40. “The Day That Never Comes” (Death Magnetic)
  41. “Tuesday’s Gone” (Garage, Inc.) [Lynyrd Skynyrd]
  42. “Disposable Heroes” (Master of Puppets)
  43. “Blackened” (…And Justice for All)
  44. “St. Anger” (St. Anger)
  45. “Low Man’s Lyric” (Re-Load)
  46. “Harvester of Sorrow” (…And Justice for All)
  47. “One” (S&M)

Would you skip songs & go to videos, live sets or clips, or documentaries?

 

 

Help me make a playlist: Metallica 101


So, Bethany is awesome and got us tickets to go see Metallica when they come to Pittsburgh in October.  We don’t have a whole lot of overlap in musical taste.  We have been to a bunch of concerts together, ranging from Flogging Molly, Rancid, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, & the Dropkick Murphys, to Willie Nelson, The Devil Makes Three, Poison & even (Lord help me) Kenny Chesney.  This doesn’t even count the dozens (hundreds?) of club shows we have attended for the local and national levels back when I was actively gigging… which was mostly punk or metal stuff on a more local-ish level like Omegalord and Peelander-Z.  I think I have successfully sold Bethany on the awesomeness of punk rock.  We haven’t really delved into metal past what I have played in the car.  Even myself, I have gravitated more in the punk direction than metal listening over the years.  Perhaps due to a shrinking attention span?  Metallica stands as one of those influential bands for me as far as it being one of the earlier things I “got.”  A kid in 6th grade lent me his cassette of …And Justice for All, and it was all-in from there.  It led me to stuff like the Misfits, DanzigMegadeth, Motörhead, & Black Sabbath.  I wore out multiple copies of the Master of Puppets cassette.  The black album is a hugely definitive and divisive album, but it hit right when I was headed into high school, metal ruled the airwaves and guitar magazines, and grunge hadn’t yet stomped all over the oft-mocked hair metal’s reign supreme.  A Year and a Half in the Life of Metallica and Live Shit: Binge & Purge made me want to be a rock star.  My aunt & uncle took a me and a friend to the Guns N’ Roses & Metallica concert at Three Rivers Stadium.  That was the first and only time I ever saw them live.  It was my two favorite bands at the time.  It was awesome.  I’m anxious to go again.

That brings me to this;  How do I bring the wife up to speed on multiple decades of Metallica fandom, some of which even pre-dated my time as a fan?  Dave Mustaine getting bootedCliff BurtonJason NewstedHaircutsThe Napster thingJames catching on fireGoofy psychologistsLulu?  Lars’ drumming ability vs. his business acumen?  Kirk Hammett’s appearance of total passive and obedient participation?  “Four Horsemen” vs. “Mechanix”?

If you were going to make a mix tape playlist as an introduction to Metallica, what would you include?  Jokes about St. Anger or Load/Re-Load aside, what is the important stuff?  Audio?  Video?  Live performances?  Documentaries?  Metallica covering their influences?  Other bands covering Metallica?  Related bands?  Originals that Metallica has covered?  What videos would you say are essential?  MTV IconBehind the MusicWhen Metallica Ruled the World?  I know “One” is up there in my all-time favorite songs.  Do I start there, or go in chronological order?  Which instrumentals?

Posting #25XmasSongs – Part 2 🎅


Did you see part 1?  I quickly realized I like a vast odd selection of Christmas music.  There are so many I dig that didn’t make the cut, and I’m sure ones I forgot.  Throw me your favorites in the comments!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posting #25XmasSongs – Part 1 🎄


I have been trying to post a Christmas song per day since the beginning of December.  I think I make a new YouTube playlist every year.  (I must have set YouTube to tweet when I add videos to playlists way back… because it seems to be doing that with the stuff I’m adding.)

I enjoy some Christmas albums, but seem to have found a bunch of random songs that I like over the years.  Some traditional, some quite the opposite.  Here’s the first batch.  There is no rhyme or reason or favorite order or anything.

Post some of your favorite Winter Holiday songs in the comments.  Links to videos, album names, artists, etc.  Show me what you dig!

1. No Doubt – “Oi To the World”  (Vandals cover!)

2. MxPx – “Xmas Night of the Living Dead”

3. Willie Nelson – “Silent Night”

4. Run DMC – “Christmas in Hollis” (The A.K.A.’s do a neat cover too.)

5. Johnny Cash – “What Child Is This?”

6. RAMONES – “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight)”

7. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – “This Time of Year”

8. Bing Crosby & David Bowie – “Little Drummer Boy”

9. D.I. – “Mr. Grinch”

10. Laurie Berkner – “Santa’s Coming to My House Tonight”

Reflective Retrospective Recollective


AiXeLsyD 🎸 Gasoline Dion 🎸 Ernie and the BertsSo, recently turning 40 has me reflecting on life in general (which is pretty damn great) & on my accomplishments as a “musician” even though I’m not actively gigging right now.

I’m pretty self-deprecating of my musical talents, but I am proud of the major part of the aural art that I helped create.  I compiled and uploaded a few of my favorites after using Audacity to clip out some silence and mp3Gain to try to get all the volume levels somewhat similar.

If you’ll indulge me I’d like to give my thoughts & memories on each of these songs that I was proud to be a part of with AiXeLsyD, Gasoline Dion, & Ernie and the Berts.  If I have any of the stories, names, etc. wrong, please correct me in the comments.  Being that these are punk rock(ish) bands, you may find the content explicit and/or objectionable.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

🎸

  1. Gasoline Dion – “Shameless Plug”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | Tommy came up with this cool shuffling progression and I played a super easy solo over it.  I believe we kept the first take of the solo even though at the time I thought I could do better.  It’s not perfect, but it’s fun.  It was cool to open shows with this then rip into something completely different. It was called “Tommy’s Jam” until an inside joke on a local message board inspired the new name.

  2. AiXeLsyD – “Wait”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | Probably the first song that I wrote that I liked, and probably the first original that we worked on in the band.  We dug on this & recorded it a million times.  It morphed a bit, but was basically the same simple jam.  Ben doubling the vocals an octave lower and the guitar part at the end really fills it out.

  3. Gasoline Dion – “Pickle Farm”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | Tommy had recorded this song solo, and it contributed to the itch that I needed to scratch when we formed Gasoline Dion.  I really liked the melody.  I think he stole the lyrics from Space Ghost or Brak.  This song to me is about not being a square peg that’s forced into a round hole.  I liked singing background vocals & playing guitar.

  4. Ernie and the Berts – “Toybox”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | Erin wanted to start a band to play rocked-out Willy Wonka covers.  That never happened.  This did.  It was the first original that stuck, and an early recording became the soundtrack to a friend’s video project.  Dave learned to play drums in/for this band.  This is a nice simple driving groove and is the perfect vehicle for the introduction of Erin’s gnarly gravelly voice.

  5. AiXeLsyD – “Hopeless & Heartless”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | I wrote this on the outside of seeing someone with a broken heart.  I thought it was pretty catchy.  The “whoa-oh’s” are overkill but oddly necessary in my humble opinion. I think An-Die, Ben, & I are all singing on multiple tracks here.

  6. Gasoline Dion – “Cold”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | This riff was a leftover AiXeLsyD riff that almost became part of two songs but never really went anywhere.  Mike had some leftover Who’s.Keeping.Score? lyrics that Dave & I re-arranged.  Dave & I work really well on arranging musical parts & lyrics. I really really dig Tommy & I singing together on this one.

  7. Ernie and the Berts – “Fred Rogers”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | Erin supposed that a local hero may not really be a hero on this one.  Maybe he read that weird urban legend.  I really like the guitar part here, although it’s missing some kind of effect in my head.  Wah?  Phaser?  Not sure.  Erin let me just go goofy with background vocals here.  I felt like Danzig or that Not-Danzig guy in the Cult.  I love how this song builds into chaos.

  8. AiXeLsyD – “Stand Up”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | This is where it all pulled together, and it was the last proper thing we recorded.  Ha ha. An-Die wrote the riff & lyrics, I arranged them.  Ben came up with the guitar noodling& octaves riff. I think I came up with the stupid  guitar part for the verse. I really dig my guitar solo here,even though I went too long.  (Oddly, this sounds a lot like “Anything, Anything (I’ll Give You)” by Dramarama as played by Buckcherry.)

  9. Gasoline Dion – “Political Songs (With Deep Meaning)”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | I was listening to a lot of the Unseen, I think.  I don’t really write political stuff that often.  This was taking the piss out of that genre.  Dave sounded better on it with vocals.  I scream “feet” in the background and give the creepy laugh at the end.  We lost the original lyrics, so Dave used what he remembered and made the rest up on the fly.  I don’t really think any one ever tried to intemperate a deeper meaning. If they did, they didn’t tell us.

  10. Ernie and the Berts – “Don’t Fuck With Ernie”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | It was hard to tell if Erin was serious or joking a lot of the time. He had a deadpan delivery, and it was hilarious. To deliver this ridiculousness so seriously is hilarious to me.  I think I sort of came up with this riff over top of his bass line.

  11. AiXeLsyD – “Dave Ugly’s Girlfriend”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | It’s “Dave Ugly’s Girlfriend”, not “Dave’s Ugly Girlfriend.”  People always seemed to get that wrong.  Dave Ugly played bass & sang for one of our favorite local bands, Useless Torment.  I don’t tell the story as well as An-Die, but Dave was apparently saying he loved him, and An-Die was playing the “even if…” game, and arrived at this.  I remember being “mad” when Sum 41 came out as a punk band rapping.  I think Boner played guitar on this one and Ben played Drums?

  12. Gasoline Dion – “Bitch Pants Opera”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | I don’t know if we could do this one today.  People seem so easily offended.  It’s just a joke.  We don’t really care if you wear girl pants.  We’re not insinuating or implying anything.  We look ridiculous too.  Another Dave vocals song, I am screaming the high parts.  All of us are in the beginning. I think the breakdown was inspired by hardcore /screamo kids in skinny jeans doing the windmill and Peelander-Z’s “S.T.E.A.K.”

  13. Ernie and the Berts – “Ikea”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | Dave suggested I try a little more dynamics with space and clean.  Dave is usually right.  You can do a lot with the same 3 chords over & over. This was a slice of Erin’s life, full of his observations.  We almost got permission to go in & shoot a video there.  Somebody must have really listened to the lyrics.  He had “nicer” ones prepared just in case we needed to sell out.

  14. AiXeLsyD – “Love, Hopes, Dreams, & Smiles”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] |I think An-Die hated this one.  I liked the noodling& the melody.  The lyrics are super dumb & trite.  The song was made infinitely cooler when Ben put in that volume swell in the final mix.  That was never there, then we started doing it live after he did that to the recording.  This could probably be punched-up a little bit more.

  15. Gasoline Dion – “Two of a Kind”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | Tommy sings like an angel.  I have no idea what in the hell he’s talking about here.  I think Dave & Mike made this honky-tonk-ish.  I played a little solo under Tommy’s vocals at the end because nobody ever told me not to.  The end sounds like the Misfits’ “NY Ranger.”

  16. Ernie and the Berts – “I Don’t Wanna”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | Erin stole this one from a band called Suck-Your-Brains-A-Go-Go.  I don’t know if they ever recorded it.  I should ask the man who wrote it some time.  We made it ours. I think Bengt punched-up some of the guitar & added a bit of harmonies during the recording process.

  17. Gasoline Dion – “Shameless Plug (Reprise)”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | Same thing as the first track, second solo take by me with a wah pedal this time. Dave is also on guitar making crazy noises and soloing in between all of my notes.  Ha ha.  If you don’t “get” the speaking part, watch the Josie and the Pussycats movie some time.

I’d love to know what you think, or to read/see/hear your own memories about these bands or in any bands or projects in which you have participated.   Did I miss a song or two that you may have remembered or liked?  Comments (or likes or whatever is deemed social-media-appropriate) on the songs on SoundCloud or YouTube would be awesome and greatly appreciated, too.

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Check out the playlist on SoundCloud:

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Check out the playlist on YouTube:

Can you Dig it?

I think you should be able to download a zip of the collection on Google Drive or SendSpace if you’re so inclined.  If you can’t get it there, let me know and I can email it to you.

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The AiXeLsyD stuff:

The Gasoline Dion stuff:

The Ernie and the Berts Stuff:

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Check out some related posts:

NOTE:  Edited to correct links to YouTube videos, made new ones for some slideshows that were too short.  Also, check the comments!