Quick Hitters: the ABS’s of non-singles

It’s becoming a sad fact of the music industry, people aren’t buying albums anymore. With the advances of technology resulting in being able to stream almost any song for free, there really isn’t a reason to purchase your favorite band’s album anymore. I am guilty of this myself, even though I still like to support that band however I can. With unlimited access to great music while in the comfort of your home, at work, or out and about; carrying albums around with you to listen has become a thing of the past.

That said, I’ve had many meaningful listening sessions courtesy of the albums I’ve purchased over the years. Like most, I would usually buy a CD based off of the strength of two or three songs. You hoped that the whole album was good start to finish but it didn’t always work out that way. However, there was more than one occasion where I discovered a song that I may not have otherwise found without buying the album. Sometimes they ended up being just as good or better than the “hit singles” that I originally bought the album for.

 

Therefore, we’re going to do something different in this post. I’m going to post songs from well-known bands that received little to no airplay but are remarkable nonetheless. I’m going to cover bands from A-Z. Some are going to be hard, no doubt (Q and X come to mind), but I’m willing to navigate the library in order to bring you some new, old songs that you’ll like.

 

~0-9~

311-Sever

 

This song came off of Sever, which was an underrated album in itself. Sever is a wonderfully complex, highly rocking song that delivers classic 311 beats with one of my favorite guitar solos from the band. It starts @3:30 after a climatic build-up. One of the best outros ever

 

 

~A~

Alice in Chains-Sunshine

 

My favorite song off of the album, “Sunshine” was another example of how great this band was (especially in their early years) and how vocally talented Layne Staley was as well. I thought about putting “Sea of Sorrow” in this spot but I did recall that song receiving some radio play whereas I never heard this one until I bought the album. It’s grunge at its best and features some changes of course as far as the direction the song is going in.

 

 

~B~

Breaking Benjamin-Forget It

 

A very non-Breaking Benjamin sounding song, “Forget It” is a pleasant sounding escape from their normally heavier, semi-screamo sound. This track features a few tone changes as well as some soothing vocals you’re probably not used to hearing from frontman Benjamin Burnley.

 

 

~C~

Catherine Wheel-The Nude

 

Coming off of their masterpiece of a debut album, Ferment (album review here), Catherine Wheel came out with some great songs on their follow-up album, Chrome. Namely this one, “The Nude”. Catherine Wheel sound is what I would describe as easy-listening shoegaze. There’s plenty of fuzzy guitars to satisfy your shoegaze fix; but there’s also plenty of well written and melodic vocals to please those who like a more pop style. This is definitely evident here:

 

 

~D~

Deadmau5-There Might Be Coffee

 

Deadmau5’s stock is on the rise no doubt. I’m certainly impressed with how many albums and singles he’s been able to dish out in not that long of a time period since he first hit the scene. This is one of his lesser known greats from the album, >Album Title Goes Here<. It features some great, fast paced beats. I don’t really like the high pitched keyboard that goes on for part of it, but it doesn’t ruin this song for me.

 

 

~E~

Everclear-Heartspank Dollarsign

 

A band that I’ve liked less and less over the years, Everclear once was pretty good. Sparkle and Fade had a number of winners on it. This was my favorite off of it (while “Heroin Girl” is a very close 2nd). It sends a powerful message while maintaining a gloomy, pessimistic vibe. The well thought-out lyrics and guitar riffs are brilliant in this one.

 

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Album Review: Ferment

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Ferment was the debut album of the little known or remembered grunge band Catherine Wheel. I had not heard of them until earlier this year. Even their bigger hits did not render with me the first time I heard them. But soon after I heard “Black Metallic” for the first time, I immediately started to look more into their work. Their sound would probably be best as a mix between grunge and shoegaze. Despite some high quality vocals, their sound was not completely accepted by mainstream audiences, could have something to do with the fact they were foreign. When discussing the great rock bands of the 90’s, hardly anybody mentions Catherine Wheel. This review is a small outcry against that, as this band and especially this album were truly great.

 

1. Texture (9/10)

While very few people would recognize this song if they heard it today, it is one of the best on the album in my opinion. An excellent start to Ferment, the song has many complex and fast-paced guitar riffs. They pair well with the lyrics in the chorus. It’s a song that serves as a great preview of what you’re in for for the rest of the album.

 

2. I Want to Touch You (8.5/10)

This a track that did receive some radio play and did make a mark on some of the charts. While it’s certainly not my personal favorite, it’s still a solid song. Catherine Wheel would go on to make a similar but better sounding medium paced song called “Crank” on their next album. I would suggest listening to them back to back and making the final decision on which is better, although they are both very good.

 

3. Black Metallic (10/10)

If you had heard anything from this band, this would most likely be it. This song did receive a significant amount of radio play back in ’92. It reached as high as #9 on the billboard charts. Right from the beginning, an atmospheric , semi-fuzzy guitar riff kicks in. The vocalist Rob Dickinson unique voice takes over shortly after that. It’s hard for me to accurately describe it to you. It’s certainly deep but has another indescribable quality to it that you just have to listen to for yourself. The chorus is very simple but straight-forward and effective. There’s a lengthy guitar solo and one final chorus that completes the song. It ends up being quite the journey.

4. Indigo is Blue (9.5/10)

This is a song I can almost assure you you haven’t heard yet. You’ll be glad you did after listening to the video posted below. In my opinion, it’s just as big as “Black Metallic”. This one just doesn’t appeal to the masses as much. My guess is because of the almost odd sounding vocals throughout. Dickinson’s accent really sticks out in this one, especially in the chorus. Aside from that small flaw, the song is dope. Very deep, almost ambient at times. Like the track before it, it features an awesome, but much more condensed guitar solo. It builds up the whole time until the concluding chorus which puts the finishing touches on it perfectly.

 

 

5. She’s My Friend (8/10)

 

A nice, medium paced track. It’s an angsty sounding track that is laid back at the same time, kind of a loked out Soundgarden song.

 

6. Shallow (8.5/10)

 

For whatever reason, this song really sticks out to me. Not just because it sounds different than the rest of the songs on the album (even though it still contains that lackadaisical shoegaze sound that I like from Catherine Wheel ), it’s probably because of the lyrics. Upon reading them, I have zero idea what this song is about. See for yourself. But that’s never stopped me from enjoying a song. When it comes to appreciating something, especially art/music, you don’t have to know everything about it and it doesn’t need to have a complete meaning. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying something for what you see it as and nothing more.

 

 

 

7. Ferment (6.5/10)

 

Well it’s time for the obligatory slow song to make an appearance on the album. I’m glad that it took all the way until song 7 before it happened. Now I realize that not every rock song needs to be medium or fast paced to be good, but this one is WAY too slow for my liking. Despite it picking up in a hurry and getting intense at the 3:35 mark, it’s not a song I would go out of my way to hear.

 

8.Flower to Hide (7/10)

 

Starts out very progressively. It eventually builds up to a slightly disappointing chorus. There’s a rather quirky guitar solo but other than that, not much else noteworthy.

 

9. Tumble Down (6/10)

 

Again, it appears the album is starting to falter down the stretch. Filler song, tries to recycle a riff from “Texture” but fails to deliver on the near the same level.

 

10. Bill and Ben (6/10)

Sporadic, has some good rock elements to it but they don’t really come together as a whole very well.

 

11. Salt (6.5/10)

Catchy guitar riff at the intro. The song sputters after that. The instrumentals remain good throughout, but like the previous track, they aren’t able to muster up much of a final product.

 

12. Balloon (8/10)

 

This is a worthy closing track. No one part really sticks out other than the Bah, Bah-Bah, Bah’s that occur during some crunchy guitar riffs. It incorporates many good 90’s grunge elements and works as a short yet effective final song on a stellar album by Catherine Wheel.