Sunday, 29 July 2012

10 Easter Eggs In Songs Or Albums

The term Easter Egg has transcended the colourful chocolate globes youngsters scan their homes for on Easter Sunday morning. It has been recently applied to any hidden gem tucked away in a form of entertainment. Something in the background of a movie, maybe a hidden special feature on a DVD. They're usually rewards for eagle-eyed fans who take the time to not only purchase the medium but fully absorb them. Musicians have been known to do similar things throughout the decades and while some or more interesting and intricate than others, here are 10 Easter Eggs found in songs or on albums.

1. Joe Walsh - "Life's Been Good"

This one isn't really tough to find. Nowadays, or at least when albums were still being purchased quite regularly, it isn't uncommon for an artist or band to include a song after the last track on an album. Perhaps it's just a song that isn't listed or maybe it appears after a few minutes of silence. Well what appears after the last track on Walsh's But Seriously, Folks... released in 1978 isn't really a song. I am not sure i'd even call it a reward for not stopping the album after a little bit of silence. Joe Walsh comes in after "Life's Been Good" fades out and says "Uh oh, here comes a flock of wah-wahs" and then multiple voices chime in and began to imitate duck sounds. You can't make that up folks. Why is it there? No one knows...Walsh himself probably can't even remember, but i'm sure at the time it was funny to him and maybe one other person. Thankfully it's been edited out in the single version for radio play.

2. Led Zeppelin - "In Through The Out Door"

Zeppelin's final album with the original four members was 1978's In Through The Out Door. Musically it was solid, though it did deviate slightly from the jazz and blues inspired rock that Zeppelin fans have come to know. The album sleeve itself was somewhat different. Gone were the intricate pictures, colourful spreads or even the number system that the band would assign to previous albums (1 through 4). In Through The Out Door merely featured black and white photographs of a smoky bar and inside it had bland black and white pencil drawings. Bland until that is someone had the idea (probably by accident) to get those pictures wet, for once they were wiped with water they would become permanently colourized. It was never mentioned in the liner notes and the band never officially announced the trick. It was simply just meant to be accidentally discovered.

3. Moist - "Creature"

This one is probably not a true Easter Egg as it appears it wasn't done deliberately. There a few hidden vocals on Moist's sophomore album Creature that it seems were picked up by in studio microphones and either not noticed in post or simply left in. At the end of track 2 "Theme From Cola" as soon as David Usher stops singing and the music ends turn the volume way up and hear the other band members' reactions to Usher's over eager performance. Also on the soft, piano-driven track "Disco Days" when David stops singing and the piano continues for another few minutes a faint conversation can heard behind the music, though what is being discussed is impossible to make out. Again, nothing too mind-blowing here, but sometimes it's the little things.

4. Damien Rice - "9 Crimes"

I've talked about Damien Rice's 2 albums before O and 9. On the second album there is a little treat for fans if you look in the pre-gap. Now a pregrap is essentially track 0 on a CD. Like how most songs have a second or two of silence between them track 1 usually has the same, but CD players typically are programmed to began playing on track 1 and skip the pregap all together. On Damien Rice's 9 when the first track starts playing, press the skip back button and hold it down to rewind the CD. You'll have to rewind through the 3 minute pregap, but it's worth it as there is a demo version of "9 Crimes" waiting to be listened to.

5. Radiohead - "Kid A"

Radiohead have always done things their way. From songs, to albums and videos Radiohead have been in a category all their own. When Kid A was released in 2000 it was noted to be quite a departure from their previous albums. While Radiohead albums have typically been a little left of center they always had the draw of mainstream radio and video play. Kid A seemed to be more experimental, a trait that would stick with the band for the next decade, but it's the album sleeve that caught people's attention here. There were no lyrics or band photos, just a few blank pages and some landscape paintings. Oh and a cryptic little swimming pool of blood...that's for another list. If you cracked the jewel case open however and looked under the CD tray, you would find a second booklet filled with poetry, original artwork, political satire and commentary and some truly bizarre scribblings. Don't go running out to buy a copy and see for yourself though, as the hidden booklet was only featured on original pressings of the album back in 2000.

6. Korn - "Daddy"

Korn are another band that used the album format to it's fullest extent. They usually include full, lush booklets with imagery relating to the album's themes. On 1998's Follow The Leader the first 60 seconds of the record is complete silence in honour of a fan that had passed away. And on their breakthrough self-titled album when the last track "Daddy" comes to an end it's followed by about 5 minutes of dead air, after which a hidden track begins to play. It isn't one of the most bizarre hidden tracks, but it could be one of the most disturbing. Producer Ross Robinson claims he found it on some old tapes as he was mixing in the studio and felt it needed to be heard on the record. It seems to be a recording of a husband and wife arguing while attempting to fix a car, but the way in which the man speaks to his wife is what makes it almost unlistenable. Add that to the fact that "Daddy" itself is an intense, personal track for Jonathan Davis, when the album is truly over you may need a moment of silence for yourself.

7. Incubus - "Chuck"

Chuck isn't a song by Incubus or an album, but rather a moustached, smirking face that seems to appear in their album sleeves. He is prominently featured on the cover of 1997's S.C.I.E.N.C.E and also makes appearances inside of the booklets for their next two albums. Who is he? No one really knows, Incubus' lips are sealed, but there are theories of course. Some say he was one of the band members' high school gym teacher. Some say he is Brandon Boyd's father's longtime friend. Others think he is the morphed combination of all 5 of Incubus' members faces. Perhaps it's one of the world's great mysteries that we are destined to ponder over forever.

8. Pearl Jam - "Yield"

Pearl Jam is another band who's albums are usually just as interesting and in depth as their songs. Who can forget the polaroids that came with No Code? Or the ancient textbook on the human condition known as Vitalogy? But did you know about the Yield game? Pearl Jam's 1997 album Yield was hyped more than any of their albums since their first, they even made a music video for a song off of it...the unforgettable "Do The Evolution". Next time you've got the album and booklet in front of you though, take a look at the yield sign on the cover. Because hidden in every picture inside that booklet is the same yield sign. Some are more obvious than others, but it's there. Something to accompany your next Yield session with.

9. Tool - "Lateralus"

I don't know if i'm smart enough to explain this one, but i'll try. In 2001 Tool were ready to release their first album in 6 years. 1995's Aenima was the last they did with Zoo Entertainment and they were stuck in legal red tape trying to get out of the contract for years after. So when they announced that recording for Lateralus had begun they wanted to make a special album for their fans. Tool is fronted by human enigma Maynard James Kennan and has the brilliant Adam Jones on lead guitar. Upon listening to Lateralus you can detect something is a bit off...the songs are incredible, don't get me wrong, but there's almost a formulaic undertone in some of them. The title track itself apparently uses a mathematical equation in it's rythym section. One fan discovered if you rip the songs, eliminate all the dead space and rearrange them in an order similar to that equation it creates one continuous song that transitions itself seamlessly. Again the band isn't budging on whether it was intentional or not, but it's quite a brilliant Easter Egg if it's legit. Way better than syncing the album up to an old timey movie.

10. Jimi Hendrix - "Third Stone From The Sun"

Here's one that might be hard to hear for yourself in these modern times. On Hendrix's album Are You Experienced the song "Third Stone From The Sun" was known as wildly psychadelic and instrumental track. Jimi's typical guitar swimming over a myriad of bizarre sounds just begging for a hallucinogenic background. That is until you sped the 33 1/2 RPM LP up to the 45 speed and discovered that those bizarre sounds is actually a conversation between two aliens orbiting the earth. Jimi never ceases to amaze m, even all these years later.

Hope you enjoyed it!

Make some requests!!


Thursday, 19 July 2012

10 Days Of The Week Songs

Sometimes I put quite a bit of effort into my lists. Try to keep them topical, on track with whats going on around me and in the world. Sometimes it's a personal list...songs that have been burning in my mind, fused together with each other through a common thread. Other times....I just feel basic and wanna get a quick list out for my loyal followers. Today is a basic day, but it's good. There's still good songs to be found in the basic. Beauty in the simplicity. 10 Songs that feature days of the week!

1. Marcy Playground - "It's Saturday"

Mention the name Marcy Playground and everyone is quick to mention "Sex & Candy" the ultra hit of 1997 that put this little band from a big city (NYC) on the map. Their second album Shapeshifter didn't quite capture the masses as their debut did, but it did provide this quirky little ditty, that features yodeling among other things. Check it out.

2. Hayden - "Home By Saturday"

Well it is a pretty awesome day, so let's give Saturday another song. Hayden is a great Canadian singer-songwriter. He's been all over this blog on numerous occasions so I know I don't have to say much about him. This song is from his damn near perfect album Elk Lake Serenade.

3. Simon & Garfunkel - "Wednesday Morning, 3 AM"

Also the name of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel's first album way back in 1964.  The song itself was buried at the end of side 2 and nearly forgotten under the colossal success of "Sounds Of Silence", but it fits perfectly with this list and is a sweet little track worth a listen.

4. Dredg - "Hungover On A Tuesday"

Dredg are a band that have been around for a long time, since the early 90's. Though they've never really gained widespread attention, they've maintained their goals and had the success they desired. "Hungover On A Tuesday" is from their 2005 concept album Catch Without Arms. If you're looking for a new band to get into and a good album to take off from, that is the album to listen to.

5. Finley Quaye - "Sunday Shining"

Finley Quaye is one of those nondescript artists. He was born in Scotland, yet his music style seems to vary between jazz and reggae, soul and folk, never settling on one defined genre. I think that's great, but it could be the reason he never found a big audience on this side of the Atlantic. North American masses tend be to be fickle and turn on an artist if their songs aren't of the same vein. "Sunday Shining: was Quaye's biggest hit in the US and Canada, but he's another artist worth a listen.

6. The Cure - "Friday, I'm In Love"

The Cure were one of the 80's biggest groups and to this day they have a style and cadence that has gone unmatched. Cure songs will never be dated and will live on forever. It's no surprise either with songs like "Friday, I'm In Love" simple, uplifting and unapologetic. This song is also a bonus as it mentions EVERY day of the week in it's lyrics...even the un-artsy Thursday.

7. Thursday - "Counting 5,4,3,2,1"

I couldn't think of a good enough song with Thursday in it's title, so I had to turn to New Jersey group Thursday to save the list. They're full of great lyrics, high energy live performances and have been involved in the screamo/hardcore scene since the late 90's. Plenty of great songs to choose from in their library "Jet Black New Year", "Division St." and "Counting 5,4,3,2,1". Would have been good for a counting list too. Hmmm.

8. Tegan & Sara - "Monday Monday Monday"

I will always be a fan of anything Tegan & Sara do. Even the collaborations are great. Tegan has done guest vocals on songs by Against Me!, Astronautalis, and Rachael Cantus. While Sara has worked with Theophilis London, Sara Baraielles and Kaki King. "Monday Monday Monday" is actually from their 2002 album If It Was You, which was released before they exploded in 2004 with So Jealous.

9.  I Mother Earth - "Another Sunday"

Sunday is another of those days that had a plethora of songs about it that could have been included here. It's usually the morning after or the laziness or the stillness and realizations that occur on the sabbath that gets the artists' minds working. Canadian group I Mother Earth released their masterpiece Scenery And Fish in 1996 which also produced 3 other hit singles and countless more lazy Sunday memories for their fans.

10. The Rolling Stones - "Ruby Tuesday"

Nothing to say about this one. Had to include it, but for personal reasons I shall let the song speak for itself.

Happy Friday!


Wednesday, 11 July 2012

10 Great Songs In Other Languages

Music is the universal language. You don't need to understand something to enjoy it. That's why when I hear people putting down heavier music or even some rap music saying things like "If I can't understand what they're saying it's not music" I always ask them about songs in different languages. There's some good stuff all over the's 10.

1. The Brilliant Green - "Ash Like Snow"

Hailing from Japan The Brilliant Green have modeled their craft after Western music which is why Tomoko Kawase sings almost half of the band's lyrics in English. "Ash Like Snow" is predominately in Japanese however and puts some of it's western inspirations to shame.

2. Noir Desir - "Le Vent Nous Portera"

The English translation is "The wind will carry us" and it's one of Noir Desir's biggest hits in the 21st century as this French band enjoyed the majority of their success in the 90's. Though they haven't been to widely known outside of France, Noir Desir are responsible for inspiring many young French groups. This song won them Album of the year and music video of the year (which left me quite sad, actually) in their native land.

3. Voodoo Glow Skulls - "El Coo Cooi"

Taken from their 1995 album Firme. The Voodoo Glow Skulls are from California and have a few members of Spanish decent. The term "El Coo Cooi" I believe is a term that Spanish people use to refer to monsters to scare kids into behaving. I could be wrong though.

4. Olivia - "A Little Pain"

I'm beginning to find that there are many songs by Japanese artists that not only have English titles, but are also sung partially in English. I suppose it has to do with the worldwide popularity of anime and Japanese culture. As it is it's almost impossible to find some of these Japanese songs that aren't mashed together with scenes from various Anime movies. Great song though....

5. Ashley MacIsaac - "Sleepy Maggie"

Looking back it was very impressive that MacIsaac's debut pop album Hi, How Are You Today was as successful as it was. Not surprising though, the songs were great. However, they were heavily influenced by East Coast celtic music and it's first single "Sleepy Maggie" had only Gaelic lyrics, sung by the talented Mary Jane Lamond. It's almost a shame he couldn't recapture the magic of it.

6. Hakan Hellstrom - "Kann Ingen Sorg For Mig Goteborg"

Sweden is generally known for giving the music world ABBA and Ace of Base, but it's also produced Hakan Hellstrom who sings in his native tongue. I'm not going to pretend I know what he's singing about, but I believe he is lamenting for his hometown of Gothenburg. More of this please

7. The Mars Volta - "L'Via L'Viaquez"

This song is one of the masterpiece opuses from The Mars Volta's album Frances The Mute. The album itself is extremely experimental, hypnotic and addicting. "L'Via "L'Viaquez" clocks in around the 12 minute mark, features RHCP's Jon Frusciante on solo duties and has singer Omar Rodriguez-Lopez wailing in Spanish.

8. Perfume - "Chocolate Disco"

I don't know if this song is actually called "Chocolate Disco" or that's just how it's known outside of Japan because thats what it sounds like they're saying. Either way you will listen to this song and you will watch it again...and it's not just because the girls are insanely cute. Ok, maybe it is....

9. Vanessa de Mata - "Boa Sorte" feat. Ben Harper

de Mata is a Brazilian singer with a slew of hits under her belt. "Boa Sorte" or "Good Luck" was introduced to me as I was heading to a Spanish speaking island for a relaxing vacation and I was in search of music to get me in the mood. It didn't take Ben Harper's contributions to get me hooked, de Mata's soulful voice and the songs peaceful cadence were more than enough...been a fan ever since

10. Sublime - "Caress Me Down"

Bradley Nowell had a one track mind...well ok, maybe a two track mind, but in this song he got into explicit detail about one of his favourite pass times. Check out the English translation for the song's Spanish finale to get what I mean

Merci mes amis!!