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  • Every silver lining has a cloud.

    15 Abr 2008, 10:38

    Inspired by this journal, I'm posting this journal. Follow with me now as I swipe the pedestals out from underneath my top 20 artists!

    1. The Fall of Troy
    They refuse to hurry up and revisit the Ghostship demo's, and Thom got annoyed about those online who complain. But... dammit... want... oh and also COME AND PLAY IN NEW ZEALAND.

    2. Say Anything
    I can't listen to older Say Anything without thinking of my ex, since they were one of very few musical artists we mutually liked. The bitch.

    3. Alexisonfire
    As much as I like his guitar-playing and his outward personality, I HATE Wade's singing. And I hate that nothing they've released since has been as awesome to me as their self-titled record.

    4. Boys Night Out
    Half their music bores me to tears. Thankfully the other half is invigorating and awesome, but still. If both halves were the latter, Boys Night Out would be higher in my charts. Yes, higher than 4th.

    5. Brand New
    "Hi, we're Brand New. This is our first and probably last time ever in New Zealand, and... zzz...."

    6. Coheed and Cambria
    Thanks for not playing Time Consumer for me guys.

    7. The Lawrence Arms
    Despite being awesome, Brendan's vocals wear on my nerves after awhile. This has led to me being predisposed to not fully enjoy The Falcon, and this sucks.

    8. Sigur Rós
    I can't hate anything about this band, no matter how hard I try. I hate that I missed seeing them live here back in '06, for reasons purely out of my control. But still.

    9. Drive By Punch
    Get back together for fuck's sake. One LP is not enough to last me.

    10. Cutting Pink With Knives
    I love you. I really do. But what the hell are half your songs about?

    11. No Trigger
    Here's a band I'd like to see live MORE than a few of the artists ranked above them in my charts. Make it so.

    12. Fall Out Boy
    There isn't a song on Infinity On High that I even remotely enjoy. Make more The Patron Saint of Liars and Fakes and Tell That Mick He Just Made My List Of Things To Do Today awesomeness so I can not feel guilty having you so high in my charts.

    13. Whole Wheat Bread
    FREE DIRTEE $KEET!!!

    14. Silverstein
    Quantity does not equal quality, guys.

    15. Billy Talent
    I liked their self-titled album, but the one after it was disaster to my ears. So I'm torn, and I don't like being torn.

    16. Hopesfall
    Everything up until The Satellite Years was great. THAT album was incredible, and is easily one of my top five favourite albums ever. Then they switched out the entire band and turned into some Cursive-Creed-crappy alternative stadium rock rubbish. Now they've broken up. What's to like?

    17. The Receiving End Of Sirens
    Why did I even listen to this band in the first place? Yawn.

    18. Between the Buried and Me
    NOTHING bad to say. At all. Please come to New Zealand so that I might worship you in close proximity.

    19. R.E.S.
    Nothing lasts forever, I guess. Legendary but sorely lacking in longevity. The comeback is awaited with baited breath, but I really wish Veni was back. And Kalista too.

    20. Funeral for a Friend
    See 'The Receiving End of Sirens'.

    And I'm done.
  • Flash Te Hira's top FIVE rap/hip-hop songs of all time!™

    27 Jun 2007, 10:40

    I was thinking about this while driving home from the supermarket today. As you do. One of the songs on this list was playing, and as I mentally shuffled it into a rough top list of favourite songs, the idea for this journal was born.

    I grew up listening to rap music. When I first seriously got into music at the tender age of about nine or 10, I enjoyed pop and R&B mostly - typical pre-pubescent fare. A couple of years later, friends introduced me to a genre of music that would dominate my teenage years. I began listening to tapes of what was big at the time, including Naughty By Nature, Ice Cube, and Snoop Doggy Dogg. Lighter Shade Of Brown, Brotherhood Creed, and Positive K were on the radio. Kris Kross and Cypress Hill videos were on tv. I soaked it all up. As time wore on, I floated towards the West Coast style of rap that was prevalent on the scene during the mid-90's. As the millennium drew to a close, I became more infatuated with the styles of the Midwest. To me, the 1990's were definitely the halcyon days of rap and hip-hop music. Whether it's to do with the impression the music had on the formative years of my life or not, nothing released since, no matter how awesome or popular, could hold a candle in my heart to the rap music I enjoyed back in those days.

    And so without further emotional ado, here is a list of the five absolute best of the bunch, with a small description and blurb about each.

    #5: On Tha Grind, by Daz Dillinger (feat. Kurupt)
    from the album R.A.W. (1999)

    Daz produced two of my top five tracks here, this being the effort for a track of his own. Mind you, this track also turned up on a Kurupt CD a year or so later, credited as Kurupt featuring Daz, with the only palpable difference being the lack of "CRIP!" being yelled right at the end. So it may as well be considered a Tha Dogg Pound song anyway, but the former is what I have and so I'm reviewing it based on that version.

    ANYWAY. In my mind Daz has produced some incredible tracks during his career, and he's also cooked up some distinctly average beats - this one, however, is right near the top of the former category. This is the type of music I think of when I hear the term "gangsta" being bandied about, none of this modern day rubbish. It's a laid back groove with some old school keys and stabs, and probably the most ridiculous live bassline I've ever heard in rap music. I'm not sure who's playing bass on this, whether it's Daz or not, but whoever it is kills the track cold. It's that awesome. Daz and Kurupt combine to drop some simple yet effective verses, and Daz delivers with a typical post-Dogg Food hook. Everything just effortlessly falls into place to create a fabulous song, mellow yet intense, still fresh and bumpable all these years later.

    And did I mention the BASSLINE?!

    #4: High Come Down, by Chico & Coolwadda (feat. Nate Dogg)
    from the album Wild 'N Tha West (2001)

    I suppose it might be hypocritical of me to include a song from the 00's, after going to reasonable lengths to big up the 90's just a few paragraphs up. This song stands in direct contrast to my feelings though, proving that quality tracks have been laid down in more recent years! And this one is a doozy. Riding a silky Battlecat beat that borrows subtly from Love Come Down by Evelyn "Champagne" King, and with a verse AND hook by the master of the latter, Nate Dogg, the song is undeniably addictive. It's smooth, it's Summery, it's catchy, and it's ridiculously HAPPY! Chico & Coolwadda add their own touches on their verses, but Nate owns this one, pure and simple. I've yet to meet anyone who hears this song that doesn't get soaked up in it's infectiousness, whether it's singing along to the unforgettable chorus or just bobbing their head along with the bassline. Summer 01-02 was a particularly good one, and this track sums the good memories of that period up nicely. Incredible song.

    #3: Shoot 'EM Up, by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony
    from the soundtrack of The Great White Hype (1996)

    1995 and 1996 are marked as years that Bone Thugs could do no wrong in my eyes, or in my ears for that matter. They'd released E. 1999 Eternal in the former year, with ridiculous tracks like 1st of tha Month and Mo' Murda on it. Then came '96 where they released Tha Crossroads and Days of Our Livez as singles. My mind was truly blown. They were the most awesome thing to happen to music since the year dot as far as I was concerned! And with a new album just around the corner, the beginning of 1997 saw me pick up a soundtrack CD for a terrible movie that I didn't even like, solely because there was a Bone track on it.

    Boy oh boy oh boy...

    Let's Fall in Love by The Isley Brothers was interpolated by DJ U-Neek into a slow, bass-heavy groove with a light hearted melody featuring sweet sounding keys and almost a music box-like accompaniment. And it's over this unlikely yet beautiful instrumental that the group, sans Flesh, wax lyrical about what they always waxed lyrical about back in the old days: smoking weed and killing people. Honestly, it's never sounded this good. All four Bones flow ridiculously on point, even Wish, but especially Layzie and Krayzie. They're all so mellow and matter of fact about everything and it's stunning. I flipped my lid when I first heard this song, and despite having over 700 Bone Thugs tracks at the height of my fandom, none of them ever moved me as much as this one. The combination of unmatched smoothness and flow in the delivery, with an incredible beat to back it up floors me to this day. And of course it hurts to see Bone Thugs in 2007 as such shells of their mid-90's selves, but I still have tracks like this from back when they were Godly with their music, and so there'll always be a place in my heart for them.

    #2: Thug Passion, by 2Pac (feat. Dramacydal, Storm, & Jewell)
    from the album All Eyez on Me (1996)

    If there is any song that sums up high school to me, this is it. All Eyez on Me was released in early '96, just after I'd turned 15 and shortly after I started 7th form. I remember a dude bringing the tape along to 7th form leadership camp, and most of us were mesmerised with what we heard. There was just flawless hit after hit on that album, with most of the standouts (including Thug Passion) being produced by Johnny 'J'. Pac completed the thing in a fortnight, and it was certified diamond within three years. To this day it makes for almost unreal listening, a rapper in his prime dropping such an incredible double album that is timeless still. They could release this album anew today and it'd kill everything on the charts without exception! Rushing out to buy it as soon as I got home from camp, and bumping it almost endlessly in the months that followed is a cherished memory.

    As for Thug Passion however... to me, it's the pinnacle. Johnny 'J' serves up a masterpiece of an uptempo beat with a funky guitar backing as well as the bassline and some percussion from the Zapp classic Computer Love. Jewell sings a strong sing-a-long hook, and Dramacydal and Storm (who would all later become Outlaw Immortalz) deliver appropriate verses. Pac comes in at the end and drops a few typical commercial Pac bars that round things off perfectly. The song is just so slick! It's amazing. The instrumental is ridiculous, and the vocals fit to a tee. It takes me back to a time in my life when I'd just decided not to give a fuck for a few years, and besides the last two years, those were easily the best years of my life. This is the soundtrack to that time. Love it to bits.

    #1: Big Pimpin', by Tha Dogg Pound (feat. Snoop Dogg, Nate Dogg, & Big Pimpin' Delemond)
    from the soundtrack of Above The Rim (1994)

    And finally, the second Daz-produced track in my top five, not to be confused with the Jay-Z song of the same name. I remember watching Above the Rim at the time, thinking it was a reasonable movie. At one stage however, towards the end, a whole bunch of cars and jeeps and whatnot pull up outside a basketball court, and one of them had the most incredible music playing on it's stereo. I had to rewind and play it over and over again, just to get a taste of that sound. I'm not even sure I watched the end of the movie! Two weeks worth of pocket money later, and I went out and brought the soundtrack, just for the chance to find out what that song was and who it was by.

    The rest is history.

    I could not comprehend what I was hearing at the time, and more often that not when I listen to this song now, I still have to wonder. It's HYPNOTIC. It just floats along breezily, with typical early 90's synths and keys. The bassline is again killer, and there are shakers and friggin' bongos with the drums. It's G-Funk and yet it's not. It's melodic and it's funky and it's simply mind blowing. I don't have appropriate adjectives. Whatever Daz was smoking when he composed this instrumental, he got the first and the last of it. Nobody before or since has made music this incredible, not even Daz himself.

    And I haven't even got to the vocals yet...

    This was '94, a couple of years before Daz decided to change up his flow to the abrupt delivery he continues to use today. He comes in first and drops a smooth as all hell verse, closed out by Snoop before Nate comes in and wrecks it completely with his bridge. Snoop then drops an early-90's Snoop verse, back when he actually sounded like he really believed and lived in the gangsterisms he was spitting. Delemond finishes the track out, and I can't help but wonder what another Nate bridge and perhaps a Kurupt or even a Lil' Malik verse would have done for the song overall, as it's pretty anticlimactic listening to someone just talking pimp nonsense for a minute and a half over such a wonderful beat! It's kinda wasted really, but the first half of the song more than makes up for it. This is when the Death Row camp were in full swing and the music just flowed like water. There's a radio version where everyone breaks into song halfway through Daz' verse, and it is ridiculously awesome as well. Words just can't describe how amazing this song is, they really can't. It has to be heard to be believed.


    And there we have my top five favourite rap/hip-hop songs of all time. Go download them, burn them to a cd, and think of me. :)
  • I don't even know what to call this...

    8 Jun 2007, 10:18

    ...despite it being pinched from other profiles. People just don't come up with creative names for quiz type filly-out things. As I obviously do. Still if you haven't anything nice to say, why say anything at all, as my koro would tell you.

    Anyhow, it's going to be a matter of me listing my top 30 artists, the first song of theirs I heard, my favourite song of theirs overall, and my current favourite song by that artist. Rulin', right?

    Well I think so.
    It's an exquisite time waster.

    1. The Fall of Troy
    First song: Mouths Like Sidewinder Missiles
    All-time favourite: Ghostship Part V
    Current favourite: Seattlantis

    2. Alexisonfire
    First song: 44. Caliber Love Letter
    All-time favourite: Polaroids Of Polar Bears
    Current favourite: Passing Out In America

    3. Brand New
    First song: The Shower Scene
    All-time favourite: Me vs. Maradona vs. Elvis
    Current favourite: Moshi Moshi

    4. Say Anything
    First song: Belt
    All-time favourite: Spidersong
    Current favourite: Signal The Riflemen

    5. Coheed and Cambria
    First song: Time Consumer
    All-time favourite: Time Consumer
    Current favourite: Um... Time Consumer

    6. The Lawrence Arms
    First song: Porno and Snuff Films
    All-time favourite: Quincentuple Your Money
    Current favourite: Key to the City

    7. Drive By Punch
    First song: A Good Start To A Bad Day
    All-time favourite: Coffee
    Current favourite: Consider This (A Reminder)

    8. Sigur Rós
    First song: Starálfur
    All-time favourite: Samskeyti
    Current favourite: Ó Friður

    9. No Trigger
    First song: Neon National Park
    All-time favourite: Owner Operator
    Current favourite: Hail Mary Leakey

    10. Fall Out Boy
    First song: Grand Theft Autumn/Where is Your Boy?
    All-time favourite: "Tell That Mick He Just Made My List of Things to Do Today"
    Current favourite: Of All The Gin Joints In All The World

    11. Boys Night Out
    First song: Where We Breathe
    All-time favourite: The First Time It Shouldn't Taste Like Blood
    Current favourite: Shudder. Get Your Head Straight

    12. Whole Wheat Bread
    First song: Old Man Samson
    All-time favourite: Old Man Samson
    Current favourite: Holly

    13. Billy Talent
    First song: Try Honesty
    All-time favourite: Try Honesty
    Current favourite: I don't really care to be perfectly honest.

    14. The Receiving End Of Sirens
    First song: Planning a Prison Break
    All-time favourite: Heh, Intermission
    Current favourite: Intermission

    15. Silverstein
    First song: Smashed Into Pieces
    All-time favourite: Three Hours Back
    Current favourite: Sound Of The Sun

    16. Funeral for a Friend
    First song: The Art of American Football
    All-time favourite: Rookie Of The Year
    Current favourite: ???

    17. Mikoto
    First song: Blessed Are the Broken
    All-time favourite: Blessed Are the Broken
    Current favourite: Blessed Are the Broken
    (Mikoto are 17th on my charts solely BECAUSE of that one glorious song.)

    18. R.E.S.
    First song: R.E.S.pionage
    All-time favourite: Silence of tha Beef
    Current favourite: Monkey Business

    19. Straylight Run
    First song: Mistakes We Knew We Were Making
    All-time favourite: Existentialism On Prom Night
    Current favourite: Existentialism On Prom Night

    20. Spitalfield
    First song: Those Days You Felt Alive
    All-time favourite: Leaving Home
    Current favourite: Better Than Knowing Where You Are

    21. Hopesfall
    First song: The Far Pavilions
    All-time favourite: Andromeda
    Current favourite: Escape Pod For Intangibles

    22. Anberlin
    First song: Readyfuels
    All-time favourite: Naive Orleans
    Current favourite: Dismantle.Repair

    23. Hawthorne Heights
    First song: Life On Standby
    All-time favourite: Silver Bullet
    Current favourite: ???

    24. Cutting Pink With Knives
    First song: My Head Is Full Of Teeth
    All-time favourite: Airz
    Current favourite: Airz

    25. PNC
    First song: Welcome to Raptorville
    All-time favourite: Day in a Life
    Current favourite: Just Roll

    26. Moneen
    First song: Are We Really Happy with Who We Are Right Now
    All-time favourite: Thoughts Weigh Heavy... Don't Get Drowned in the Weight of it All
    Current favourite: The Song I Swore To Never Sing

    27. Burns Out Bright
    First song: Watership Down
    All-time favourite: Nothing Keeps The Werewolf Away Like A Silver Bullet
    Current favourite: Nothing Keeps The Werewolf Away Like A Silver Bullet

    28. Acceptance
    First song: Seeing is Believing
    All-time favourite: Take Cover
    Current favourite: ???

    29. Copeland
    First song: Testing the Strong Ones
    All-time favourite: When Finally Set Free
    Current favourite: Brightest

    30. Taken
    First song: Never an Answer
    All-time favourite: Eternity Was on Our Lips
    Current favourite: Eternity Was on Our Lips
    (Another one song band... good job Ray Harkins, 2/2!)

    Actually, whew...
  • Get Your Head Straight.

    23 May 2007, 4:03

    I'd like to bring some attention to the first track from the new self-titled Boys Night Out album: Get Your Head Straight. Something seriously weird is going on with this song and I'd like to discuss that here and now.

    I CAN'T TURN THE BLOODY THING OFF.

    There's little doubt that the song rules. It's upbeat and rockin' and super catchy, as Boys Night Out songs are wont to be. It's a thoroughly excellent housework song, the sort of track you throw your head around violently and shake your ass to while vacuuming (and I can personally confirm this). But it's also as if this song is imbued with some weird sort of hypnotic properties, perhaps a kind of viral marketing technique by Ferret Records to sell more records or drive people crazy. I don't know. I just can't bring myself to do anything but listen to it over and over and over and over and over and over again.

    It's not fair, I want to listen to Alexisonfire since I'm seeing them next week, and I want to listen to Say Anything just because, and I can't because I'm inexplicably addicted to Get Yooour Heaaaaaad Straaaaaaaaight!!

    Thanks alot, Connor and co..