Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Specials Drummer John Bradbury Dead at 62


We end the year on a sad note. The Specials drummer John Bradbury has passed away. He was 62 years old. This comes in light of the death of Lemmy, and Scott Weiland this December. It's been a tough month for music fans. As a ska fan, I am saddened to hear of the passing of Bradbury. I hope you're skanking in the sky, and hopefully we'll hear The Specials again up there.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Lemmy of Motorhead Dead at Age 70


Lemmy of Motorhead fame died yesterday. He was 70 years old. Rest In Peace. Perhaps we will see you one day. Rock of Ages, show mercy!

Haven't listened to Motorhead lately? Pick up some records, support the band.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Top 10 Records of 2015 As Chosen by Sell Out Records

The year is ending, and that means that we once again will unlock the vault and pick out 10 of the best records of 2015. A ton of music was released this year, and a lot of it I covered, and a lot of it I didn’t. There was so much that you may find yourself wondering what was the best. Then again, you may not even know that I exist, and that’s fine too. Whatever the case is, here are the top 10 records in no particular order of 2015. These are chosen by popularity, frequency of play, and my criteria of randomness.



Murs “Have a Nice Life”

The first major record I recommend as the best, is none other than this one from Murs. Murs signed to Strange Music and dropped what very well may be the best hip hop record that Murs has put out in a long time. Every track on this one is a banger, and the music videos are absolutely grand. If you have yet to listen, go for it, it’s an incredible record with a lot of attention to lyricism, unique beats, and high quality production. Order it here, via amazon.com



Czarface “Every Hero Needs a Villain”

You already know that I love Esoteric, so when he teamed up with 7L again for the second Czarface record, you knew I was all about it. This time around, however, I didn’t get into it as well as the first release from the duo. However, as you start to listen to the mix, and the guests on the album, you realize that this is a great record with a lot of hip hop flow from the mighty team. You can order it here, via amazon.com



P.O.D. “The Awakening”

P.O.D. still has some powerful music behind them. This concept record is absolutely a rock powerhouse. Even though some people thought that this was a failure because it didn’t hit number one in the charts, I thought it was a great one. The musical approach is great. It’s an amazing album with some incredible drumming, backed by Sonny’s powerful delivery. A message heard, with conceptual storytelling, and great guitar notes. There are some great songs on this one. Order it here, via amazon.com



Children 18:3 “Come In”

Children 18:3 was an incredible band that I first met at Tomfest or whatever it was called when I showed up. The bass player had me completely head over heels. I wish I had an opportunity to spend more time with her, and perhaps get to know her better. But alas, that’s what happens in life, we miss out on opportunities. Either way, this is by far the strongest effort from the trio. It’s a powerhouse of punk rock, and pop glory, with strong vocals, great rhythms, and a message of peace. It’s a beautiful record, and one of my favorites of this year. Order it here, via amazon.com



Local Resident Failure “This Here’s The Hard Part”

One of my absolute favorite new bands coming out of Australia is none other than Local Resident Failure. These guys put on a showcase of punk rock and pop that no other band is doing right now. The drums are incredible on this record, and the lyrics are a mix of personal and political movements that are second to none. They supported Nofx and Pennywise in Australia, so you know they are not just another band of punkers. These guys really are great, and the record is absolutely fun to listen to. Order it here, via amazon.com



Matisyahu “Live At Stubbs Volume 3”

As if you needed an introduction to this one, Matisyahu put on one of the best live shows of his career and it was recorded on this record. Live at Stubbs 3 is an incredible journey of reggae, roots, and hip hop from the amazing artist known as Matisyahu. Shaking the strict Jewish persona, to a more free formed spiritualist, this guy really shocked me once again. This is a record that makes you think, and love, and find peace. It’s a great one. Order it here, via amazon.com



Against ME! “23 Live Sex Acts”

Well, well, another live album? Yep, Against Me put out a great record here, and I loved it. Some reviewers had negative things to say, but not me, I loved the interaction with the crowd, the sound of the recordings from various shows, and the great intensity of the mix here. 23 tracks that span the best of the band live, and I truly enjoy it all. If you’re a fan of the band, there’s no introduction needed, you already have this, and if you don’t, what are you waiting for? Order it here, via amazon.com



Strung Out “Transmission.Alpha.Delta”

Oh man, this is one of the best punk rock releases of this year, and it still hits hard. The record has great production value, but it’s the fast guitar work and the drums that keeps you coming back for more. There are 12 tracks here, and it’s a tribute to the fans, or rather it’s just a record that feels so alive, you’re bound to want to listen to it on repeat. When it came out, I didn’t hear much from music critics, but now, people are starting to go back and listen to this surprisingly good record. Order it here, via amazon.com



Faith No More “Sol Invictus”

It came and it went. Faith No More put out one of their best records, and yet I didn’t hear nearly as many people talking about it. Mike Patton and crew put on a showcase of production here, with great overall rhythm, guitar work, and the signature metallic sounds of the band. If you hadn’t listened to the band in a while, this got you back into the groove, as the band showed off just why they are legends in the metal and hard rock world. You won’t want to miss this one. Order it here, via amazon.com



Kendrick Lamar “To Pimp A Butterfly”

Do I need to say much about this one? “To Pimp A Butterfly” is perhaps one of the best hip hop records ever put to wax. Kendrick pulled through a lot here, from fame to fortune to so much more of an inner struggle. There’s bravado here, but there’s also optimism, and there’s a lot to this record. The beats are fascinating, the song structures are crazy, and this is one of the best and perhaps the most debated records that you’re going to listen to this year. If you haven’t yet, pick it up, it’s a fascinating journey from start to finish. Order it here, via amazon.com

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Jars of Clay Much Afraid (1997) Review

Jars of Clay "Much Afraid" - Available Here 
Even though Jars of Clay received platinum certification for “Much Afraid”, and was at the eight spot on the Billboard charts when this came out, this album was seen as disappointing for a lot of fans. I wasn’t so quick to judge it. I was 14 years old when this came out, and I needed something to help me through a life in the suburbs. My family moved 40 miles north of Los Angeles to a place that I was unfamiliar with. The home was in shambles emotionally, with abuse running rampant, and this record had me comforted. We stopped going to church, but I held a spiritual element to my world, and the words of Jars of Clay seemed to fit holes in my proverbial bucket. It’s a softer record than their previous one, and while the singles that they put out had electric guitar, it was the lyrical and spiritual blends that made this one a stand out for me in my collection, at the time. A lot has changed since I first heard this record, but the message remains, one of hope, amidst darkness.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Fury of The Aquabats! By The Aquabats (1997) Review

The Fury of The Aquabats (1997) 
From the very first thing that you hear on this record from 1997, you know you’re in for a fun time. The Aquabats are a ska band that got big in the 1990s and are still kicking today. They play a fun type of music where they are superheros and they take on the super villains. The songs all have a fun pace, mixing punk, third wave ska, and lots of great story telling. “The Fury of The Aquabats” was the first major exposure any of us punk kids got to a man by the name of Travis Barker. Surely, you don’t mean Travis Barker of Blink 182 fame, do you Jorge? Yes! That very same guy is on this record playing drums, long before Blink called him up, he was the drummer for this recording, and super group The Aquabats!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Top 8 Alternative Rock Christmas Tracks

As you have been seeing, I’ve been posting reviews of alternative Christmas records. I have been listening to so many, that I’m kind of burned out, to be honest. I didn’t think the whole thing through. But not to quit and run, I decided to post a new update for today. This is a list of the top 8 alternative Christmas tracks that you can listen to right now. These include all sorts of different sounds. You will be able to download them via the links if you’d like, or pick up the records themselves depending on whether or not you are still buying records. As such, consider the following 8 alternative Christmas records and tracks, or rather tracks not records…ugh, I’m tired.


Mxpx "Christmas Day" From "Punk Rawk Christmas"


Mxpx put out the track "Christmas Day" a long time ago on a BEC Recordings release. I had the cassette tape when I first heard this one, and wow, I was blown away. The introduction is poppy, and the guitar and drums on this recording is in the style of what you'd expect from the band. It's a solid release that deserves a lot more praise. Get it via amazon here.


Blink 182 "Boxing Day" From "Dogs Eating Dogs EP"


"Boxing Day" is a different kind of track for Blink. It's not their only Christmas track, but it's my personal favorite. Yes, I like "I Won't Be Home For Christmas" just fine, but this one has a little bit of a nicer touch overall. It feels more like a Box Car Racer track, to be honest. Get it via amazon here.


Julian Casablancas "Christmas Treat" From "Phrazes For The Young"


Even though the vinyl version is different, you can pick up "Phrazes For The Young" and still get this track included. It's the classic SNL riff, only with Julian doing vocals. If you're not familiar with this singer, he's the lead singer for the Strokes. His record is incredible, and this single is amazing. It's perhaps my all time favorite Christmas recording, ever. Pick it up from amazon here.


The Dingees "We Three Kings" From "Happy Christmas Volume 1"


This is one of those rare B-sides that you are not going to find anywhere else but here. The Dingees put on one of the best renditions of this song for this release. This compilation features a "who's who" list of punk rock and alternative bands from BEC and Tooth and Nail records. It's one of the best Christmas compilations ever. The Dingees nailed it here, in their own dub way. Pick it up on amazon here.


Fenix Tx "Feliz Navidad" From "The Real Slim Santa" KROQ Compilation


Here is another rarity. Fenix Tx put a whole new spin on this track. They do it in traditional style, but with a punk twist, and then changed the lyrics to highlight sleeping with an ex girlfriend's sister, giving and receiving an STD and much more. This is a rare record with a lot of Christmas themed alternative tracks. You owe it to yourself to get this one, if only for the Fenix Tx track. Get it via amazon here.


The Almost "Little Drummer Boy" from "No Gift To Bring EP"


The Almost has the best rendition of "Little Drummer Boy" ever. I talked about it in the review of this record this month. However, I have to put it on this list as well. It's a mix of traditional and new school alternative rock, with a punk twist. You'll hear it, you'll shed a tear, you'll love it. It's a great one. This whole record screams of Christmas in a "Christian" tone. Pick it up via amazon here.


Jars of Clay "Wonderful Christmas Time"


Jars of Clay is one of my guilty pleasures. I love hardcore, punk, and heavy music, but they have my heart. The lyrical content, the compositions, and the songs that they play just hit my heart a lot. This is a record that absolutely does that. It pulls at my heart strings, and it showcases a wonderful time of year, and I love it. "Wonderful Christmas Time" is a more traditional track on this one, but it's a great one none the less. Jars of Clay really do great things on this record. Pick it up via amazon here.


No Doubt "Oi To The World" From "Everything In Time" 


No Doubt doesn't need me to write up a huge thing about them. This is a song that is absolutely fun. It's a cover song from The Vandals, but No Doubt puts on a showcase of greatness with it. Ska, punk, and flamboyantly fun, this is one of the best alternative Christmas songs ever put onto wax, or plastic. Pick it up via amazon here.

There are a lot more tracks that didn't make this list. But maybe next year I will update this one, and we'll see more punk, hardcore, and more. I'm tired of Christmas music, after listening to no less then 37 themed Christmas alternative records. I'm done. I'll be back to regular posts sooner, than later. Until then, check out these records via the links, and enjoy the holidays.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Alternative Christmas Records: The Vandals Oi To The World Review

The Vandals "Oi To The World" LP - Available Here
“Dude, how old are the goddamn Vandals? Are they in wheel chairs yet?”, now that’s a way to talk about punk rock. My friend Mike totally had me dying after he said that recently. While sipping the last of Dewar’s Honey Whiskey here in Indianapolis, we discussed this fine record, one of the classics from the old timers, The Vandals. “Oi To The World” is the premier punk rock record that you will have to no doubt talk about at one point or another. This originally came out in 1996 and it received a TON of negative reviews. In fact, All Music said it was completely stupid, and it was terrible. Well, a big middle finger to Stephen Thomas Erlewine, and All Music. You bunch of hacks. Then again, here I am writing to an audience of one, since no one seems to read this diatribe of mine. But that’s not what I write, right? No, I do need fans, come back, please, please…we’re talking Christmas.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Alternative Christmas Records: Richard Cheese Silent Nightclub Review

Richard Cheese Silent Nightclub - Available Here
Here we go, perhaps one of the coolest alternative Christmas records that you can play right now. You can play this with the whole family in place, and not scare your mom or dad. This is a lounge act from the past, but modernized. Richard Cheese is a singer that plays the hits kind of like Weird Al, but all lounge style. That being said, you can get an idea as to what you’re in for in this record. This is one of those records that has reworked classics, and then some personal touches on songs that you wouldn’t expect around Christmas. 15 tracks, and some incredible covers, and new renditions.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Alternative Christmas Records: The Almost No Gift To Bring Review

The Almost "No Gift To Bring" EP - Available Here
The year was 2008, and The Almost was splintered from the Underoath camp. This is a band that took a piece of Underoath and made a whole new rock and roll band. Now, with the release of this record, “No Gift To Bring” The Almost put on a showcase of holiday music that is nothing short of fascinating. The songs to me are sincere, and just beautiful. “No Gift To Bring” is a wonderful little record that features a whole heart of the Christmas season, especially if you’re of a religious inclination.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Alternative Christmas Records: James Brown The Christmas Album and The Complete Christmas Box Set

The Christmas Album LP - DL Here
The Godfather of Soul puts on a showcase for Christmas in "The Christmas Album". The aplty titled record is none other than a shining example of what you can do with the Christmas spirit, and soul music. This is 11 tracks and 44 minutes of James Brown pulling through the world of the holidays. The thing with this record is that it’s not all “traditional” songs. This is a soul record that seems a bit disjointed at times, and sometimes, just odd.

Take for example the song “Clean for Christmas”, which regales in the fact that Brown wants to be “clean” on Christmas. Like by taking a shower and dressing nice. Of course there are other moments on this record that are odd, but hey, who am I to say a think about alternative records for the Christmas spirit. James Brown puts on a showcase of his classic rhymes, singing, and spoken word. The production is a bit odd to me, though. The vocals are turned up way high compared to the music, and it seems like it’s more of a hip hop compilation in the way that some of the songs are put together.

Stand out tracks on this record are definitely the ones that are more “traditional”, if you can even call them that. The good tracks include, “Sleigh Ride”, “Spread Love”, “Not Just Another Holiday”, “God Gave Me This”, and “Reindeer on the Rooftop”.

But that’s not all!
James Brown Complete Christmas LP - DL HERE

In 2010, another collection of songs from James Brown came out in a box set. This was 37 songs and
over 2 hours of music from the Godfather of Soul. I found this at a Hastings in Moscow Idaho for a whopping 5 bucks. Now this record is something else. It has outtakes, it has singles, it has new and old tracks. Now this is the Christmas record that you want to pick up from James Brown. It collects all of the tracks that you may or may not know about, including some from “The Christmas Album” mentioned above.

Now here are some stand out tracks and better recording overall. Perhaps the earlier release was late in his life and the production had suffered. This however has that classic production and good overall tone that you’d expect from the Godfather of Soul.

Some of the stand out tracks amidst this 37 song release include, “Let’s Make Christmas Mean Something This Year”, “Signs of Christmas”, “Please Come Home For Christmas”, “Christmas In Heaven”, “I’m Your Christmas Friend, Don’t Be Hungry”, and a lot more.

Ok, so there you go, 2 special records from James Brown. If you’re a big fan of soul, these two are very well worth it. If you don’t like soul, or you just can’t get over the stop and go traffic of James Brown’s delivery, you may not like these records.

You can pick up all the James Brown Christmas music you can handle by clicking here.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Scott Weiland Dead At 48

If it weren't for the 1990s alternative music scene, I wouldn't like music at all. Stone Temple Pilots were one of the many bands that I grew up listening to. It's sad to hear that Scott Weiland has died.

I saw Stone Temple Pilots play the Harley Davidson festival in 2002, I think. I asked this girl out that turned out to be using me, and well with that I lost some friends that sided with her. There's no statute of limitations when it comes to these things.

In honor of this day, and to just remember how powerful of a singer and person Scott Weiland was, I want to share with you this clip of Stone Temple Pilots from 1994. The band was scheduled to do the song "Unglued" live, and before they did so, they played a stirring rendition of "Christmas Time Is Here".

R.I.P Scott Weiland. You'll be missed.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Alternative Christmas Records: Trojan Christmas Box Set - Various Artists Review

Alright, this is one of the most expansive of Christmas records that I will be reviewing this month. This is 50 tracks of alternative Christmas music from the Trojan record label. Trojan and Studio One are the most famous and iconic of labels from Jamaica. They specialize in reggae, ska, and dub music. These tracks aren’t new, they are from back in the day, and they all represent that Jamaican flavor that you would expect from reggae records. As far as I’m concerned, the Trojan Christmas Box Set is perhaps the best stocking stuffer you’re going to get today.

I first caught wind of this in Idaho. I was miserable one Christmas, and they had this for 5 bucks used, so you know me, I had to purchase it. It cheered me up that Christmas as 50 tracks of compelling Jamaican flavor came coming through my stereo. There are some traditional elements here, but for the most part, each single artist does their own rendition of the classics, and sometimes, they completely butcher what you would expect. That’s not done on purpose, it’s just how the bands and artists decided to cover the songs. There are a few originals found in here with a twist, like “Santa Claus is Ska-ing To Town”, “Santa Claus Never Comes To The Ghetto”, “Ding Dong Bell”, and so many more.


If you’re not familiar with any of the artists from the Trojan Christmas Box Set, don’t worry. These guys are household names when it comes to ska, reggae, and dub. No, not DUB STEP! Some of the artists found on the records include John Holt, Yellowman, Granville Williams Orchestra, Peter Broggs, The Ethiopians, Pablo Black, The Tamlins, Desmond Dekker, The Aces, Hopeton and Primo, and so many more. There are 50 tracks on this box set, and if you love Christmas and reggae together, this is going to be one of your favorite records to play all year long. I love it. It’s not for everyone mind you, but it’s awesome none the less.

If you’re going to pick up a seriously alternative Christmas record, then pick up the Trojan Christmas Box Set, it’s 50 tracks of reggae, ska, and dub Christmas songs from Trojan to you.


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Alternative Christmas Records: Falling Up Silver City Review

Falling Up put out a Christmas record in 2013, and most people I know were too old to care. In fact, what is it with people getting old and forgetting about music? I don’t know, it’s just something that I can never do. I know, I’m getting older, but I always strive to listen to the songs that people are putting out. That aside, Falling Up put through one of the most beautiful records for Christmas, and it’s definitely left of center. This takes on an approach of arranging Christmas tunes with a hint of rock, a hint of pop, and a reverence and care that the season certainly deserves.

Silver City by Falling Up LP
The compositions are layered with keyboards, drums, singing, and melodies that you expect from the band. If you’re new to Falling Up’s music, then you may not immediately understand what I mean. However, as you progress through the tracks, and the way the band has faithfully arranged many to fit both the traditional and alternative worlds, you will be captivated. If you like Christmas music, then you no doubt will love how “Silver City” pulls on your heart strings.

Some of the songs that continue to cloud my mind today, as I write this review include, “Emanuel”, “Oh Holy Night Reprise”, “Sugar Plum Fairy”, “Silver City”, “Silver City Sleeps”, and “The Little Robot”. It’s a shame that more people aren’t listening to this Christmas record, as it truly captures the spirit of the season in a whole new way. Falling Up has found a way to tap into the seasonal arrangements and make them all their own, without destroying the value of the notes. Sometimes with these alternative records, the songs get thrown into a trash compactor for the sake of having a Christmas record. That’s not what you get here, “Silver City” is a true gem of an alternative Christmas record.

I highly suggest that you pick up “Silver City” from Falling Up, as it is a stellar alternative Christmas record. You can do so by clicking here, so go for it, and enjoy the holiday season.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Alternative Christmas Records: Jars of Clay Christmas Songs Review

Jars of Clay "Chrismas Songs" LP
In 2007, Jars of Clay put out a very cool Christmas record out. I actually was able to pick this up for free because I sent in a letter to a televangelist. Anyways, this is quite possibly one of the more traditional “alternative” Christmas records. I say that because Jars of Clay’s sound lends itself very well to the traditional sounds of Christmas. That’s not to say that this is a record that is full of boring music. That’s actually not the case at all. There are some great moments on this record. The arrangements of the songs are well structured, acoustic, full of instrumentation and absolutely grand.

What you’re going to find with some of these songs is that they stick with you. There’s a certain reverence that is paid to these songs. Jars of Clay finds a way to amaze, and create elemental music that is just amazing. Some of my favorite songs on this record include, “The Gift of St. Cecilia”, “Wonderful Christmastime”, “Winter Skin”, “Drummer Boy”, “Hibernation Day”, “Evergreen”, “Peace is Here”, and “In The Bleak Midwinter”.

As far as alternative Christmas records are concerned, Jars of Clay puts on a more balanced showcase than some of the other records that I will be talking about this holiday season. With the traditional arrangements and mix of instruments, it’s a much lighter solution than most.

If you’d like to pick up “Christmas Songs” by Jars of Clay, pick it up or download it by clicking here.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...