Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Quest for Rock

Let the mad rambling begin...
I have spent the majority of my life searching for music, always with a seemingly never ending and ever evolving wishlist. Looking for this or that obscure record by whoever, sometimes finding the most amazing mindblowing music, and sometimes getting home, excited about a new score, only to drop the needle and be sorely disappointed. But that's what it's all about now isn't it? The search. The hunt. Finding that hidden treasure.
These days, you can find out a little bit of information about most albums out there. That information is sometimes helpful, and sometimes not. When I was a kid buying records, the internet didn't exist. You just had to jump in and take a chance. How many times did I buy an album just because it looked cool or the band had a cool name? How many of those cool looking records sucked? Asia anyone? I guess it's still true that you have to take a chance a lot of times when you buy records(like I said, when I first started listening to music, it was the days of vinyl, so I still refer to albums, whether they are vinyl or cd, as "records." That's what it is. A Record). Music is so subjective, and not everyone is looking to get the same thing out of it. As is probably obvious from the sound of my band, Wo Fat, I have a huge love for the blues, 70's hard rock and the early foundational days of metal, which is where a lot of my musical quest is spent these days. Because of this I am always looking for information about this music. Stonerrock.com has a Classic Album reviews section in it's forum that is a good place to find reviews of lots of albums. One thread in particular that asked for reader's votes for the best obscure heavy 70's albums turned me on to a bunch of records I didn't previously know about.
Another resource I found is a great book by Martin Popoff entitled "The Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal, Volume 1: The Seventies." In this book, Martin Popoff has done an amazing job of writing excellent brief reviews of thousands of records from bands you've heard of and a bunch you haven't. As cool as Martin's book is and as cool as the Stonerrock.com forum pages are, not to mention lots of other online sources, they sometimes fall short for me, either because of lack of the specific information that I'm looking for, or the fact that the reviewer is, like I said earlier, listening for other things than I am, or just percieves things differently. There are a number of records that I think are pretty much on the lame side and would have left in the record bin had it not been for some Martin Popoff and Stonerrock.com review. Some examples:

Heavy Metal Kids
-Do not buy this record if you see it at the used record store. Put it down, back away from it slowly and pretend you never saw it.It will hurt you inside.
-Martin said "if more people new this existed, you'd have to add it to the short list of important and first heavy metal records of all time..." I beg to differ, but maybe I'll give it another spin;
Hard Stuff-Bulletproof - yeah, this will piss a bunch of people off. Everybody lists this as one of the top 10 obscure 70's heavies. I don't know man, I think it sucks, but that's a subject for another blog entry. Stay tuned...
Therefore, I have decided to add my voice to the din. I am going to dedicate this blog primarily to giving my take on bands and their albums from the 60's and 70's that laid the foundations of all Heavy Metal and today's Stoner Rock, thus hopefully giving another perspective and opinion to anyone interested in this music.

Martin Popoff, in his book, uses a rating system consisting of 2 numbers for his album reviews. The first number is the Heaviness rating, and the second number is a reflection of how much he likes the record. For example, Martin gives Black Sabbath - Master of Reality a 9/10, ZZ Top - Tres Hombres - 7/10, Led Zeppelin II - 5/7,and AC/DC-Let There Be Rock - 9/10. Inspired by Martin's rating system, I have come up with my own rating system that is a little more detailed and has more factors in an attempt to describe some of the things that I dig in a rock and roll record.

Because I have been rambling for awhile here and also in order to have the rating system explanation more accessible, I will make that it's own blog entry.


Zischkale said...

Heavy Metal Kids - Haha, I bought it on vinyl about a year ago and still haven't listened to it...sounds like my procrastination was a blessing in disguise.

Asterix - I only really cared about the opening (might have been bonus) track with Lawton. Everything else was mediocre; there might have been one more Hawkwind-esque (non-stop Kyuss pounding) heavy track. Lucifer's Friend would be the album missing in the history of metal.

Bulletproof - Haven't heard it in its entirety, but I'd put "Sinister Minster" next to a number of quality hard rock songs. It's got a real snarl to it.

Anonymous said...

Hard Stuff rocks. As does Asterix. Heavy Metal Kids are very good music too. All way better than big bands like Led Zeppelin and even The Who.