Dilly's Albums: Them Crooked Vultures

It’s a tad overdue but I’m back with another album review!  And this album is the first in my series in reviews that comes from a “supergroup”.  We’ll head to Wikipedia for a definition:

In the late 1960s, the term supergroup was coined to describe “a rock music group whose performers are already famous from having performed individually or in other groups.”

(Side note: I never knew Journey was considered a supergroup!  I guess you learn something new every day.)

Anyways, onto the review!  The next review in Dilly’s Albums is…

Them Crooked Vultures (self-titled)

Review: #2

Wikipedia Synopsis: (Full article)

Them Crooked Vultures is the debut studio album by rock supergroup Them Crooked Vultures that was released on November 16, 2009. The first single from the album, “New Fang”, was released on October 26, 2009, followed by “Mind Eraser, No Chaser” on November 3. The album debuted at number 12 on the Billboard 200, selling 70,000 units in the US in its first week.

Discovery:  I was really excited to hear this album as I’ve listened to the Foo Fighters (Dave Grohl) for most of my music-listening life and I’ve also enjoyed Queens of the Stone Age (Josh Homme).  Adding this album to my collection seemed natural.

Ranking:  This is the one and only Them Crooked Vultures album at time of writing, so it ranks at the top!  And at the bottom.

Rating: 4 Stars

Favorites: No One Loves Me (& Neither Do I), Elephants, Scumbag Blues, Gunman

Them Crooked Vultures is a supergroup made up of Dave Grohl (of Nirvana and Foo Fighters fame), Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) and John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin).  When this group was first announced I was pretty stoked.  I’ve never been a huge Led Zeppelin fan, but to have Grohl and Homme team up again would be awesome (Dave Grohl laid down the drum tracks for Queens of the Stone Age’s album Songs for the Deaf).

One reason why this album rocks is Dave Grohl’s drumming.  The guy can lay down some seriously complex beats and it’s clear that his time as the front-man for the Foo Fighters hasn’t caused him to lose his skills on the skins.  Also nice to hear him on the backing vocals as well.

On the album’s second track Josh Homme states:

Give me a reason why the mind’s a terrible thing to waste / … / Ignorance is bliss until they take your bliss away

I think the track is a stab at those people who question the bands serious party hard attitude.  I had the pleasure of seeing QotSA a few years back and Homme was seriously intoxicated by the end of the night.  Still, it was a kickass show!

The one thing that I’m curious about is the dynamic of the band.  John Paul Jones is at least 20+ years older than his counterparts in the band.  Clearly he hasn’t lost a step since rocking with Led Zeppelin as Them Crooked Vultures have toured extensively through Europe and have played several shows in the US and Canada.

The first half of the album strings together really well, in my opinion.  Considering the caliber of the members of the band and the albums they have put out in the past, I wouldn’t expect anything less.

On the downside though, I find this album to sound much like a Queens of the Stone Age album.  With Homme’s haunting voice over the signature heavy, distorted guitar riffs, my guess is that the average listener would have a tough time distinguishing between the two bands.  And because of this, I find that I get bored of the album by the 7th or 8th track of 13.  With such a dynamic group of talented musicians I was really hoping for something that would be a bit more groundbreaking.

As an aside, during the recording process of this album Dave Grohl clearly had a caffeine addiction.  Seriously one of the most hilarious guys in rock and roll today, in my opinion.  Take a look at the video below entitled “FRESH POTS!” (link here):

Them Crooked Vultures is an album that will fit into your iTunes library if you’re a fan of any of the bands the members have previously been enlisted in.  However, I’m really looking forward to their sophomore album (if they decide to make one) to hopefully find a sound of their own.  These guys are also on my list to see live at some point.


Dilly's Albums: Rise Against

Could it be fate?  It must be fate!  As I set out on starting to review the albums in my collection I was curious what my first review would be.  My worry was that the random selection would draw an album from my collection that I wasn’t fond of, and I would lose motivation to carry on with this project.

Well my friends, I’m happy to say that isn’t the case.  In fact, as luck would happen I’ve drawn my most listened to album in my collection (as per iTunes play count)!  The first album to be reviewed is…

Rise Against - The Sufferer and the Witness

Review: #1

Released: 2006

Wikipedia Synopsis:  (Full article)

The Sufferer & the Witness is the fourth album by American punk rock band Rise Against. The album was released on July 4, 2006. It was their second release on major label Geffen Records, following 2004’s Siren Song of the Counter Culture. It sold 48,000 copies in its first week, debuting at #10 on the Billboard 200. The album has been ceritified gold by the RIAA and platinum by the CRIA.  

Discovery: I’ve been a huge Rise Against fan for many years so it was only natural to add this album to my collection.  Bonus points that made me excited for this album was that the first single was filmed in Vancouver, BC.

Ranking: Rise Against has 5 studio albums at the time of writing.  Because they are one of my favorite bands it’s really difficult to rank the albums, but this one ranks somewhere in the middle.

Rating: 4 stars

Favorites: Chamber The Cartridge, Bricks, Drones, Survive

I remember very distinctly when I added this album to my library.  I was heading up Vancouver Island for a Maylong weekend camping trip and I was in search of some fresh tunes.  I was excited to get the album the night before and proceeded to listen to it twice on the drive up, multiple times on my iPod by the campfire (completely ignoring the social-ness of camping) and on the drive back home.

The album explodes open with Chamber the Cartridge, arguably one of my favorite Rise Against songs of all time.  In fact it’s the highest played track in my iTunes library with 103 plays, and likely countless more on my iPod and in my vehicle.  In the song, Tim McIlrath questions:

Can we be saved, has the damage all be done? / Is it to late to reverse what we’ve be become?

The Sufferer and the Witness is arguably the album that propelled Rise Against into mainstream rock.  Ready to Fall was a massive radio hit, and Prayer of the Refugee got the Guitar Hero status.  It used to be one of my favorites, unfortunately I find myself skipping it.  Regardless, the album has a great flow from beginning to end.

On Bricks, which is the albums fastest (and shortest track), McIlrath sings:

We’re setting our fires to light the way / We’re burning it all to begin again / With hope in our hearts / And bricks in our hands / We sing for change

The album closer, Survive, is a motivating tune that simply states:

How we survive, is what makes us who we are.

I’ve always found this album to be very inspiring lyrically.  Whenever I was going through tough times I could throw this album on and it would begin to turn my perspective around.

As mentioned in the intro this is one of the top played albums in my library, up there with Thrice’s Artist in the Ambulance and Red Hot Chili Pepper’s Stadium Arcadium.  I really wanted to give this album five stars, I really did.  But with a few floundering tracks like I mentioned above I had to drop it to 4 stars.  I also didn’t want to start my review blogs with a 5 star review, that would be setting the bar way too high!  Still this album is definitely worth adding to your collection.

That’s all for my first review, be sure to keep checking in as we journey through Dilly’s Albums!