Monday, November 18, 2013

A Record a Week: Majority Rule - Interviews With David Frost


PROGRESS OF ELIMINATION (Written by Andy Overton)

This record was part of the beginning of the hardcore/screamo era for me and it also indirectly made me a great friend. I got into a bunch of bands from the VA/Baltimore/D.C. area all at the same time. Pg. 99, Darkest Hour, The Exploder and these guys. I noticed that they were touring up near the border and sent them an email to see if they wanted to play the bar I was booking at the time. As luck would have it, they were into the idea and came on through. Attending that show was a guy who was a friend of the band from Baltimore just happened to be visiting his friend up in London, ON and they came out to the show. We became online friends and I could never expect how hospitable he has been when I have gone to visit him in Baltimore. He even has appeared on here in this story. 

But I digress. This albums starts and ends hard and fast (it has one of my favourite endings of any style album). There is only a brief blast of feedback before the aural assault begins. It was the beginning of an era of a certain sound on recordings out of that area and with good reason. Recorded at Salad Days studio, the mix of everything was perfect for the sound and easily replicated in a live setting.The record blends punk, emo and hardcore together in an abrasive way that is less 'punk hardcore' and less Poison the Well-style hardcore/emo and more like the wonderful blend that a band like Converge creates. I can't really explain what it is that works for me about this band. While I never much got into the 'tough guy' type of hardcore and had long left behind the 'emotional' kind as well. Whatever it is that fueled the scene that these guys were in, I was into it. This record was a great nostalgic listen and a throwback to a whirlwind few years for me.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sunday Brunch: Banana Swirl

3 1/2 Bananas, peeled and put into chunks in the freezer
Berries for topping

That's right, just bananas! How much healthier could a frozen treat get?

*Note: I got this idea from the show 'Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood', which my daughter watches incessantly.

Put the banana chunks in the freezer for minimum an hour. Once the bananas are frozen, let them thaw only enough to get them apart and out of the bowl. Put them in a strong blender or food processor and pulse at highest speed for about 5 minutes. Serve immediately in a cone, waffle bowl (pictured) or a regular bowl if you want to skip the sugar. Consistency should be that of ice cream or froyo. I should note that I had to keep a spatula in the drop tube of the food processor and hover it about a half inch above the blade to keep the mixture moving along. Top with your favourite berries and enjoy! A small amount of berries may also be added to blender for a dash of different flavour right in the mix (not sure how much it could tolerate before messing with the consistency).

Saturday, November 2, 2013

A Record a Week: Madonna - Like a Virgin



Like a Virgin is the second studio album from Madonna and the one that propelled her to icon status. In fact, this record not only propelled her career, but paved the way for many shock artists after her. The likes of Lady Gaga, Ke$ha and even Britney Spears would never have existed if it weren't for Madonna pushing the envelope (take that however you'd like). Kicking off the golden age of music videos, this album was among the early provocative ones that had people talking about it as much for that as they did about the music. Her own career became a succession of shocking things and that opened the door for other shock artists to have a mainstream platform.

Now this is no knock on the music at all, it's fun 80's pop music that makes you swing your hips. An upbeat, single-filled Side 1 is backed by a slightly slower B-side, all set to the all-familiar 80's drum machine (probably an 808 or one of it's siblings).

Her register is higher on this than in her later music. In fact, I think the average frequency of her voice slowly slid downward with each album. I'm fairly certain she can't reach those notes anymore. In fact, when I was 20, I bought ridiculously over-priced tickets to impress a girl I was interested in (as well as her friends, who paid for their tickets, though I did lie about how much paid to make sure they'd be interested in coming). As with all ideas that are this horribly misguided, it didn't end so well. However, the concert was quite a spectacle. She puts on a great performance, which has kept her career going for probably longer than it might have otherwise. Of note, though, is that I'm fairly certain she lip-synced to the earlier hits like the ones from this album, even then. She started with 3-4 old ones that clearly didn't sound live, then moved on to some others she was fine with singing. I think that's a pretty clear indication that that range is in the same field as Steven Tyler and Aerosmith's Dream On.