Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Day Hangover Music: Nineties Edition

I hope everyone had a safe and happy Memorial Day filled with grotesque self-indulgence as only America can serve up.

Hopefully, somewhere between adult beverages and ill-advised water sports you had a chance to think of those who currently and previously served in our armed forces. You know, the reason the banks were closed?

Anyway, I'd imagine most people don't feel in top form today if they went all out yesterday, and there's nothing that fixes...well, anything like music.

I've chosen songs from the nineties because (excluding the very end) it was arguably the best decade of the modern music era. I've casually defined that as anything post-1975 in my own mind because tunes from before that are virtually untouchable in a critical or artistic sense.

The music of the first half of the nineties was a complete turnaround from the glossy, over-produced filth of the eighties.

Gone were the "Phil Collins drum sound" and the excessive synthesizers, replaced by angst-ridden wailing guitars, esoteric lyrics and jeans with holes and flannel shirts.

In short, people stopped being stupid and started rocking again.

I do find it odd that after getting away from the pop nonsense of the eighties, the end of the nineties and the subsequent decade saw a return to the over-polished bubblegum pop of before...but WORSE.

We can only hope these things are as cyclical as they've been in the past, but I worry as the coming generation is clearly filled with impatient knuckleheads with the attention span of goldfish who are want to babble incoherently in some kind of bastardized Internet-speak. I'm not even sure most kids today know how to use a pen and paper.

But I digress. I realize this was a bit heavy for curing hangovers.

I've tried to avoid enormous hits with these songs with some obvious exceptions. I love how nineties videos didn't need a plot or obvious meaning. Just loads of weird imagery. That should calm the nerves, eh?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Irish Lax Reaches NCAA Tournament for Seventh Consecutive Year

This Sunday at 5:15p ET on ESPNU/ESPN3 the Notre Dame Men's Lacrosse program will play host as a #4 seed to the visiting Yale Bulldogs in the NCAA Tournament.

After an opening season loss the Irish won 10 games in a row, including the program's first ever victory over the Syracuse Orange. Head Coach Kevin Corrigan couldn't refocus his team after the momentous win, though. In the quarterfinals of the first ever Big East Lacrosse Tournament as the Irish squandered countless opportunities to St. John's.

Despite the loss in the Big East Tournament, the Irish did manage to win the Big East regular-season title with a perfect 6-0 record.

What is more, they have higher hopes at returning to the national championship game over Memorial Day weekend. Two years ago they lost in their only previous trip to the title game in a low-scoring battle with the Duke Blue Devils.

The road back to the title game starts this Sunday, and here's hoping the Irish look more like the team in the highlights below than the one that fell apart against St. John's.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Former Hokie Star Austin Wates Makes a Great Catch

Austin Wates was one of many Tech baseball players I covered during my time as the "Voice of English Field".

Austin was an important part of turning Tech's ACC baseball fortunes around, and his play in college led to him be selected in the third round of the 2010 MLB Amateur Draft by the Houston Astros.

Wates hit .300 with 6 home runs and 75 RBI during his first season of minor league ball for the Lancaster Jethawks of the California League.

Those numbers earned Wates a promotion to AA ball this year where he's currently hitting .295 for the Corpus Christi Hooks.

The other day, Austin pulled off this impressive over-the-wall catch that has made him a viral star.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Tenacious D and the Rize of the Fenix

Brian and I have a special relationship with Tenacious D.

We've never met Jack Black or Kyle Gass, but it was the intensely rocking and hilariously profane stylings of their 2001 eponymous debut that inspired us to create our own comedic rock duo, and eventually, a real band.

We played that album constantly, shaking Brian's little white Honda and belting out every single lyric while shuttling back and forth between school, golf practice and local pizza joints. 

Calling ourselves "The Deuce"—likely because there were two of us and you can make a bathroom reference from it—we would get together in our free time and Brian would play riffs he came up with or actual songs by artists ranging from Green Day to Van Morrison and I would freestyle silly lyrics over them.

Windows Sound Recorder was the medium of choice at the time. Even then it was an archaic program with few features beyond the record button, but we used it to make several albums of songs such as "I'd Like to Bang the Olsen Twins" and "Putt-Putt Prostitute". 

It's a long way from GarageBand and ProTools.

It was crude and kind of good, and from those humble beginnings rose a real semi-professional band, Cutting Room Floor.

That was all thanks to the D. 

And so we followed their career as Jack Black became a big star and eventually got a movie  and album made called Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny. 

Despite being a critical and financial failure, fans like us found it to be typically gut-busting and the music was outstanding. 

Now we have been given the next chapter in the D saga, Rize of the Fenix.

The album is set for release May 15, but you can stream it all now on their SoundCloud account and watch the video for first single "Rize of the Fenix" below.

Kage (left) and Jables (right) will rock your socks off once again.

Everything about this album screams vintage D, from the extremely phallic "Fenix" on the cover  to the silly little skits between JB and KG sprinkled between songs. 

After giving this album a couple of listens I think it's very solid indeed and fits nicely with the other albums in their catalog. 

"Senorita", "The Roadie" and "The Ballad of Hollywood Jack and The Rage Kage" are outstanding tracks steeped in the flavors of the D's best work.

Jack Black shows off some truly powerful vocals and utilizes a number of styles to change the mood of several songs.

Black's vocal range is truly terrifying. He can softly croon then scream over a guitar and it all sounds beautiful. Plus, JB's classic vocal fills are back in full force.

Kyle Gass provides his delightful harmonies and adds tasty guitar while Dave Grohl's drumming is top-notch throughout. 

All in all, it makes for a well-rounded, wholly inappropriate album that will more than please any fan of the group.

At this point there's simply no denying it, Tenacious D really is the greatest band in the world.  


Related Posts with Thumbnails