Sunday, September 13, 2009

Walking The Family

Kerry and I have been working on getting more exercise in and have come up with a plan. We are 3 days into our program already. We are walking for 30 minutes around our complex every day. We plan to add 5 minutes every month to build up to 45 minutes a day. The 30 minutes that she walks the dogs in the mornings is too stop-start to get any cardio out of it but we're trying to include the dogs in the walk. Bella has made it through the last two and Tulip made it about 15 minutes before we had to drop her off at home (but did so without delay.)

I keep thinking back to Lora and her late night walks and how it has helped her. I don't have the nights free but currently Kerry and I have daytime together and are using it appropriately. So far so good. I want to stay around as long as I can. B)

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Chad Smith's Bombastic Meatbats - Meet The Meatbats

It isn't often that a respected long-time member of a band to start looking for side-projects. It's not often that they release albums by two projects in one year in different genres. One such project, Chad Smith's Bombastic Meatbats, which takes the Red Hot Chili Pepper into the area of jazz. Can a funk drummer make a smooth transition into the technical genre?

If there was a song to lead this set with, it could only be "Need Strange" as it is almost a frenzy of Schroder playing the Peanuts theme and the theme from Sanford and Son. Each instrument has a showcase and there is something more than fusion jazz here. There are many other highlights including the musical journey of "The Battle For Ventura Blvd." with enunciations, lulls and tensions that take you for the ride. "Oh! I Spilled My Beer" touches on some rock guitar in some flourishes but is dominated by a keyboard groove that can be inebriating. "Death Match" starts with a little posturing and a struggle develops midway with a triumphant conclusion. All starts casually with "Night Sweats" with a few nightmarish moments, some relief, tossing and turning and the rhythmic beat of your heart as you awake. Great to see the Latin-feel of "Lola" amongst the set adding to a very diverse album.

Is Meet The Meatbats a casual album for any Red Hot Chili Pepper fan?  No.  This is what I would put in your hands if you told me you wanted to stretch your musical palate.

3 out of 5

Alias - Never Say Never

There are some things that never see the light of day. Artists get funded by a label to record an album and if the label isn't happy with the finished product, it can sit on a shelf gathering dust. This happens. The rise of grunge affected many rock releases in the early 1990s including Alias' Never Say Never which through fan fanaticism and bootleg copies has become a veritable 'holy grail.' So the album finally being released after nearly 18 years is well worth reviewing.

Alias' potency bursts out of the gate with the machismo challenge of "Woman Enough" and passing the torch to the Steve DeMarchi guitar-heavy yet chantable "XTCOI." This really does set an energy level for the release heading into the plaintive "How Much Longer Is Forever" which is one of many stand-out songs on the disc. Instead of just back-to-back rock tracks they interject the feel of a Victorian waltz on the ballad "Give Me A Reason" which also makes the next transition to the swaggering "Wild Wild One" more perceptible. "Pleasure And Pain" starts sultry in a David Coverdale delivery yielding into a few Black Crows-like moments -- vocally, this is a Freddie Curci highlight reel as well as a band that can merge genres and deliver solid songs. I could go through each of these 13 (as well as 4 assorted bonus tracks depending on which version you are purchasing) songs and inundate you with too much information.

What you need to know is Never Say Never is a bold rock album that is as diverse as it is deep. No song sounds alike or dated and each shows Alias as an act in their prime. It's a shame the album didn't get released when it was ready but maybe it took some time for people to recognize a good album for what it is. The only negative to the delay is the lack of a follow-up.

4 out of 5