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THE GRUNGE MATCH - 029

Match 029:

Alice In Chains "Angry Chair" (1992)
Nirvana "Sliver" (1992)
Pearl Jam "Whipping" (1994)
Soundgarden "I Awake" (1989)

I remember "Angry Chair" being profoundly dark when I first heard it.  Like this was what being in Hell felt like.  Not the "Oh, life is such hell right now," and not the cliché devils, pitchforks and fire, but an actual dimension where you are the only person who has ever heard of compassion and you quickly find out that's the reason you are the perfect victim.  And all the terrible in the world has just noticed you.

Granted, it's a little less scary after a few hundred listens and 25 years of growth as a person (to say nothing of the exponential escalation of terrible in the world at large), but it still builds a hell of an atmosphere.  "Little boy made a mistake" is the point where the seemingly innocuous tilts into the horrific.  It's that point where you were either doing some…

THE GRUNGE MATCH - 028

Match 028:

Alice In Chains "Hate To Feel" (1992)
Nirvana "Dive" (1992)
Pearl Jam " Nothingman" (1994)
Soundgarden "Loud Love" (1989)

*[Blogger's Note: I'm gonna break kayfabe for a minute and talk about how I put this together.  One thing I learned about the initial run of The Big Four Song Challenge Series is having to write something new every day whether you want to or not is a great way to induce burnout.  (Yay for me.)  So this time around, I wanted to get as much done before I started as I could.

The idea for this and the April Fool's joke that set it up were in late August, and I started writing The Grunge Match the second week of September.  After getting quite a ways in (i.e.: 27 matchups), I took a break because...reasons?  I did have The Big Four Update to write still because most of "Hardwired" hadn't come out yet, but I knocked most of that out on a Saturday night.  Point is, last I wrote something for this was…

THE GRUNGE MATCH - 027

Match 027:

Alice In Chains "Iron Gland" (1992)
Nirvana "Even In His Youth" (1992)
Pearl Jam "Tremor Christ" (1994)
Soundgarden "Full On Kevin's Mom" (1989)

"Iron Gland", despite having Tom Araya from Slayer on vocals, is merely interstitial bullshit.  It's 44 seconds of noise that might have been funny 25 years ago, but now is a track you either skip when it comes up, aren't paying attention enough to care, or really disappoints you when you hit it on random.  It's an artifact of the CD age: The album skit.

"Even In His Youth" is another track from the "Hormoaning" EP.  Production wise, it sounds more like "Bleach", but it's still got the energy of something from "Nevermind" or "Incesticide".  ("Incesticide" is the reason we're only covering two songs from "Hormoaning", since most of the other material from the latter ended up on the former.)  The…

THE GRUNGE MATCH - 026

Match 026:

Alice In Chains "God Smack" (1992)
Nirvana "D-7" (1992)
Pearl Jam "Not For You" (1994)
Soundgarden "Get On The Snake" (1989)

"God Smack" is actually the most upbeat song on "Dirt", and of course it's about heroin use.  And it inspired a certain band from Boston to name themselves after it, no matter how much they try to deny it.  This song is kind of a bridge between the material of "Facelift" that was a little less "Chains"-y and the morose, sludge of "Dirt".  The lyrics and delivery aren't quite right for the subject matter; they're a little too playful, especially in retrospect.  But whatev.  Drugs are fun at the beginning, I guess.

"D-7" is from an import EP called "Hormoaning", and...that's kind of the only remarkable thing about it.  It's almost a parody of a post-grunge song, but it's done by one of the originators of grunge in the year th…

EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED - Episode 087: If There Ever Was A Time...

There's a reason I used the Tenth Doctor for my episode pic: The phrase "I don't wanna go" resonated hard with me while I was doing this episode.  I recently got a job with the following schedule: Friday through Monday, 6PM to 4:30 AM.  Overtime, if mandatory, occurs on Tuesdays.  During my timeslot.  I can do prerecorded episodes on Thursdays, but only for so long since WXRW ideally wants a live host in their slots. Given that I will only have 24 hours notice if I'm working a Tuesday or not, I better get to banking some episodes.  But how long will that last?  The future's uncertain.

But the future's always uncertain.  I need to do what I need to do and WXRW needs to do what they need to do.  But it hasn't happened yet.

So I went into this episode with the mentality that this would be my last live show (which, who knows?).  If it is, I wanted to go out swining; to bring the big guns.  And for the most part, I did.  This episode is full of the kind of…

THE GRUNGE MATCH - 025

Match 025:

Alice In Chains "Dirt" (1992)
Nirvana "Endless, Nameless" (1991)
Pearl Jam "Spin The Black Circle" (1994)
Soundgarden "Power Trip" (1989)

"Dirt" is still firmly in the slow, dragging portion of the album that bares its name, but at least it has interesting features.  The chorus is good, the solo is the perfect bittersweet balance the song needs, the opening riff is distinct and sets the tone, and most importantly the lyrics aren't cringe inducing in the lack of quality sense, but maybe in the bluntness of the narrator's suicidal urges, especially in light of who's singing it.

"Endless, Nameless" is the unlabled bonus track on "Nevermind", and it's a fucking mess, but that's by design.  It's also one of the longest songs we've heard in this process, clocking in at 6:44.  Also, it's the first song I ever heard where the guitar and bass are tuned down a full octave of where they&#…

THE GRUNGE MATCH - 024

Match 024:

Alice In Chains "Junkhead" (1992)
Nirvana "Something In The Way" (1991)
Pearl Jam "Last Exit" (1994)
Soundgarden "Gun" (1989)

It's at this point I've come to realize something, and it's probably a controversial opinion, but "Facelift" > "Dirt".  Think about it.  This album slows to a crawl at track three and doesn't get over itself until track 9.  The lyrics on this album are almost comically depressing, and I know that's the point, but they're not even particularly good lyrics.  "Junkhead" specifically is about taking the drug user's side, which is an interesting concept, but the chorus is "What's my drug of choice? | Well what have you got? | I don't go broke | And I do it a lot".  You're not saying anything; you're just bragging about how good at drugs you are.  Switch that to selling drugs, and that could be any top 40 rap song of the last 15 years.…

THE GRUNGE MATCH - 023

Match 023:

Alice In Chains "Rooster" (1992)
Nirvana "On A Plain" (1991)
Pearl Jam "Indifference" (1993)
Soundgarden "Hands All Over" (1989)

"Rooster" is almost on that "Smells Like Teen Spirit" level of "I AM SICK TO DEATH OF THIS SONG.  WHY AM I STILL HEARING IT?", but not quite.  Like a sliver below.  But I think it's a better song than "Teen Spirit", because it has more raison d'etre, more pathos and a clear narrative.  Also, I found myself singing along to the first verse while I set this file up to type, so it's still a song that I can appreciate, but it's still a song I'll turn the channel on 90% of the time.

"On A Plain" has an interesting refrain: "I love myself better than you."  That's kind of messed up considering two and a half years after this album came out, the line's author committed suicide.  If he loved himself more than anyone else, how misanth…

THE GRUNGE MATCH - 022

Match 022:

Alice In Chains "Sickman" (1992)
Nirvana "Stay Away" (1991)
Pearl Jam "Leash" (1993)
Soundgarden "Ugly Truth" (1989)

I've never cared for "Sickman".  I always thought the slow parts killed its momentum, and come to think of its fast parts feel a bit hackneyed.  The drum fill at the beginning is like the one from "W.M.A." but shittier.  Plus, the lyrics are a bit try hard in the "I'm a loser; woe is me" department.

"Stay Away" is that song that drummers who like Nirvana all talk about because of the snare rolling that permeates the song.  It's probably the most energetic song they ever did, or maybe most upbeat is the best way to say it?  With some bands that'd be splitting hairs, but Nirvana had positive and negative energies warring for their attention.  It's certainly the biggest pit generator on "Nevermind", so major points for that.

"Leash" is a song I for…

THE GRUNGE MATCH - 021

Match 021:

Alice In Chains "Down In A Hole" (1992)
Nirvana "Lounge Act" (1991)
Pearl Jam "Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town" (1993)
Soundgarden "Incessant Mace" (1988)

[Quick note: Apparently the first pressing of "Dirt" had "Down In A Hole" at the end of the album, between "Angry Chair" and "Would?".  I guess I've always had a second or third pressing so that's the order we do it in.]

"Down In A Hole" is one of the songs I'm the most sick of in this whole series, but I still think it's all right.  Objectively, it's a well put together song, it's got better lyrics than a lot of shit we've already covered, and if you can pretend you've never heard the thing before (or if you haven't heard it in about five years) you can pretend to enjoy it like you haven't heard it more times than you ever needed to.  It is perhaps the most perfect example of a gr…

THE GRUNGE MATCH - 020

Match 020:

Alice In Chains "Rain When I Die" (1992)
Nirvana "Drain You" (1991)
Pearl Jam "Rats" (1993)
Soundgarden "Head Injury" (1988)

"Rain When I Die" is solidly a grunge song: it's slow, hard and it has themes of denial, isolation and death in the lyrics.  It's like a dying man clawing his way to the feet of his assailant and the assailant lamenting his bad luck.  "Aw man, it's probably gonna rain when I die.  That'll suck."  Not realizing that the dying man is about to make this come true as he claws his last into the apathetic scum that laid him low.  It's kinda like that, but with the cool vocal harmonies that you've come to expect from Alice In Chains.

"Drain You" strikes me as a lyrical treatise given by either a tired whore or a tired vampire.  It's their duty to completely drain you; it's not like they really want to or anything.  I guess it depends how filthy your mind wants t…

THE GRUNGE MATCH - 019

Match 019:

Alice In Chains "Dam That River" (1992)
Nirvana "Territorial Pissings" (1991)
Pearl Jam "Rearviewmirror" (1993)
Soundgarden "Nazi Driver" (1988)

That RIFF tho.  "Dam That River" sounds like a dam buster, am I right?  (I'll...I'll shut up now.)  A weird trick this song pulls is it has a bulldozer riff right out of the gate, then seemingly goes up an octave for the verses, almost mocking whoever they're singing the song to.  The lyrics are kinda goofy, hitting people with the rake, pissing on their candle and such, but it still works because it's catchy and the chorus is a fucking sledgehammer.  It's possible to overlook the shortcomings it has.

"Territorial Pissings" starts off side 2 of "Nevermind" with what might be the fastest Nirvana song.  It's got a shitty effect on the guitar, the vocals are mumbled, but there's just so much urgency to it you don't seem to care.  Just go …

EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED - Episode 086: Cultivators Of The Unreal

This week's episode goes for a concept: That kind of music that if you hear it at 3AM when you're halfway between sleep and consciousness is so strange you're not really sure it's happening.  That, and based on the narration (and the background music I looked up on Youtube 60 seconds before I went on air) give it a "Quiet Storm, but for Extradimensional Beings" vibe.  (Oh, and I accidentally went over time with the last song cuz I was trying to look up a picture for this episode and the computer distracted me by crashing the browser while I should have been saying the station ID, but the guy is rapping about time as he's cut off, so hey just pretend it was intentional and it'll all be fine.)



1. "Garden Of April" April March
2. "Clint" John Abercrombie
3. "Dracula's Summer Vacation" The GV Crew
4. "Euthanasia Waltz" (Live) Brand X
5. "Midnight Run" The GV Crew
6. "Snakeskin Bib" Fila Brazillia
7…

THE GRUNGE MATCH - 018

Match 018:

Alice In Chains "Them Bones" (1992)
Nirvana "Polly" (1991)
Pearl Jam "Blood" (1993)
Soundgarden "Smokestack Lightning" (1988)

"Them Bones" hits you in the fucking face as soon as it starts.  It lets you know Alice In Chains isn't fucking around anymore (which is the polar opposite of "Love Song" in the previous entry).  It's easily one of their best songs, the guitar solo slays, it's one of the heaviest grunge songs ever written, and it still manages to have good vocal harmony.  One of the reasons grunge captivated my imagination at its height.

"Polly" is an understated acoustic number with barely there bass and only a once every chorus cymbal hit for percussion (not even with a kick drum to back it up).  Is it using a caged bird metaphor to barely disguise the BDSM things happening here?  It's straightforward and a welcome respite by this point in "Nevermind".

I've never been a …

THE GRUNGE MATCH - 017

Match 017:

Alice In Chains "Love Song" (1992)
Nirvana "Lithium" (1991)
Pearl Jam "W.M.A." (1993)
Soundgarden "He Didn't" (1988)

"Love Song" is an unlisted bonus track on the "Sap" EP and it's pretty fuckin' dumb.  Fart noises, thrash metal out of nowhere with a piano, vocals through a megaphone about how his gums are bleeding...This shit is poopy.

"Lithium" is like the warm blanket, the comfort food of all grunge.  It's catchy enough to not scare away the norms yet just edgy enough to give you something to sink your teeth into.  And it's familiar.  If you're reading this and you can't reproduce the song from memory, then congratulations, you are under 21 (and I fucking envy you).

"W.M.A." is a stark reminder that police harassing black people for no reason has been going on for much longer than our selective amnesia would like us to believe.  This song was written nearly a quarter c…

THE GRUNGE MATCH - 016

Match 016:

Alice In Chains "Am I Inside?" (1992)
Nirvana "Breed" (1991)
Pearl Jam "Dissident" (1993)
Soundgarden "Circle Of Power" (1988)

"Am I Inside?" has an amazing vocal line.  The key they picked for thisis otherworldly .  And the piano adds just the right element that was missing from something like "Right Turn".  The bongos out of nowhere in the chorus threw me a bit, but hey, it's still a cool chorus, and once again, Ann Wilson does backing vocals.  It's a spooky tune with a more anthemic chorus than you might imagine, yet somehow they make it fit.

"Breed" is gnarly.  It manages to be upbeat, yet its sound is undeniably "grungy", helped along by the fuzzed the fuck out bass of Krist Novoselic.  It has minimal vocals, as the lone verse is replicated for the second, and the chorus is the same all three times, but what Cobain's saying isn't the important part.  It's a song far more con…

THE GRUNGE MATCH - 015

Match 015:

Alice In Chains "Right Turn" (1992)
Nirvana "Come As You Are" (1991)
Pearl Jam "Glorified G" (1993)
Soundgarden "Mood For Trouble" (1988)

Alice Mudgarden in full effect here.   (The song has Alice In Chains, Chris Cornell from Soundgarden and Mark Arm from Mudhoney on it, and is credited as being performed by Alice Mudgarden in the liner notes.)  "Right Turn" has an okay bridge, and the chorus is decent when everybody is belting it out at the end, but everything else about this song just screams generic acoustic jam session.

Here's another one that I'm still somehow not quite sick of in spite of it being as common as running water for a quarter of a century.  "Come As You Are" has an irresistibly dark guitar riff that is basic as hell, but fits so perfectly for the sinister tone it's trying to set.  And in a slight subversion of trope, they don't kick on the distortion until the bridge, so it's not …

THE GRUNGE MATCH - 014

Match 014:

Alice In Chains "Got Me Wrong" (1992)
Nirvana "In Bloom" (1991)
Pearl Jam "Daughter" (1993)
Soundgarden "667" (1988)

"Got Me Wrong", upon its re-release for the Clerks Soundtrack became one of my favorite Alice In Chains songs.  I think that may be a bit ambitious to say now, but it's still really good.  Unlike the other songs on "Sap" it has electric, distorted guitars for the chorus and bridge parts and an electric bass throughout.  It's the most fully realized song of the bunch, and between the vocal and guitar harmonies definitely the most anthemic.

"In Bloom" was, on my first listen to "Nevermind" at the tender age of 11, the song I most gravitated towards.  It wasn't a single yet (which, even though I lived through this, is still hard to believe such a world ever existed) and it felt like this neat, cool thing only I knew about because I was young and naive enough to not consider t…

THE GRUNGE MATCH - 013

Match 013:

Alice In Chains "Brother" (1992)
Nirvana "Smells Like Teen Spirit" (1991)
Pearl Jam "Animal" (1992)
Soundgarden "Beyond The Wheel" (1988)

"Brother" yields to us the first guest appearance on any of these songs, as Ann Wilson of Heart does backing vocals.  (Heart are not just an influence of Jerry Cantrell but a Seattle band themselves.)  The song is a laid back acoustic head-nodder with a few tricks up its sleeve: the drums do little more than keep the groove, but are mixed in such a way that they give the song guts and the choruses have belt-along power that creeps in thanks in no small part to Mz. Wilson.  Even though only two years had gone by since "Facelift", it's not readily apparent that this is the same band.

Well, here we are now.  (Entertain us.)  This is by far the most popular, ubiquitous, inescapable song in the entire list: "Smells Like Teen Spirit".  How in the hell do you listen to somethi…

THE GRUNGE MATCH - 012

Match 012:

Alice In Chains "Real Thing" (1990)
Nirvana "Big Cheese" (1989)
Pearl Jam "Go" (1992)
Soundgarden "665" (1988)

"Real Thing" is a weird way to end an album.  It's a sleazy swing number, painting a picture of what happens to people that try to live the rock and roll lifestyle but don't have the support network of record labels and yes men to support their habits.  It sadly predicts the ends of not one but two of the men that recorded the song: Layne Staley and Mike Starr.  Maybe it's not such a weird way to end an album after a...wait, what?  "Sexual chocolate?"  All right...

"Big Cheese" was a B-Side to "Love Buzz", but when Geffen reissued the album in 1992, they put this and "Downer" on the end of "Bleach" for "added value".  The song's okay, I guess; it's pretty flat in delivery, subject matter and tone.  The drums are a little too peppy for the &q…

EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED - Episode 085: 414 Day 2017

It's 4/14 on Friday, so it's time once again to celebrate Milwaukee (area code 414)!  Here's a nowhere near complete list of Milwaukee artists I remembered to play today, and there are many more I couldn't fit in.  Check on the Milwaukee scene if you don't know, there's a lot of cool, diverse things happening up here!




1. "New Memories" Canopies
2. "Fight For Our Lives" Hi/Jack
3. "Mold Mania" Bad Bread
4. "Die Today" Imperial Fall & Jahred of Hed(PE)
5. "Don't Help Pandas" The Night Howls
6. "CZ-75's & Subs" The GV Crew
7. "Where You Go" The Atomic Spins
8. "Duel" The Bang Bang
9. "Str@wberry" Cold Ghosts
10. "Over My Dead Body" Snooky
11. "And It Goes" The Delta Routine
12. "Northwest Passage" Woody Herman
13. "Fishin' 4 Religion" Arrested Development
14. "Peach" Victor DeLorenzo
15. "Over Island" Casino V…

THE GRUNGE MATCH - 011

Match 011:

Alice In Chains "I Know Somethin (Bout You)" (1990)
Nirvana "Sifting" (1989)
Pearl Jam "Release" (1991)
Soundgarden "All Your Lies" (1988)

Okay, I know I said "Put You Down" was one of the most cock rock songs in the competition, but "I Know Somethin' ('bout You)" might just out-do it in that department.  Fortunately, it's a better song than "Put You Down", and in an absolute rarity for the Alice In Chains catalogue, this song is actually kind of fun!  It's got some weird jazz and funk phrasings but with late period hair metal foundations.  It's not something that sounds good on paper, but it's actually a decent experience.

"Sifting" on the other hand, feels like a bit of a slog.  At 5:24, it's a full minute longer than the next longest thing on "Bleach".  To its advantage, it's got more of a melodic structure to it while still having some bite.  It was …

THE GRUNGE MATCH - 010

Match 010:

Alice In Chains "Confusion" (1990)
Nirvana "Mr. Moustache" (1989)
Pearl Jam "Deep" (1991)
Soundgarden "Flower" (1988)

"Confusion" is my least favorite song on "Facelift".  It's dull, drab, it drags on for six minutes when four would've done.  The chorus is all right I guess, but ultimately it suffers from the same problem "Porch" did from "Ten": it sounds too much like you've heard this song before on the same disc.  There's one like it on just about every good to great album so no shame in that, but there's a reason this never became a fan favorite.

"Mr. Moustache" is in the poopy vein of "Scoff", but it's peppy enough and the vocals are less annoying, so it's elevated off the floor of "Bleach" by virtue of feeling it has a reason to exist.  It's definitely more energetic than your average Nirvana song, and the chorus has some timely stops…

THE GRUNGE MATCH - 009

Match 009:

Alice In Chains "Put You Down" (1990)
Nirvana "Swap Meet" (1989)
Pearl Jam "Garden" (1991)
Soundgarden "Swallow My Pride" (1988)

"Put You Down" sounds more like the cock rock grunge supplanted than almost anything else in all 127 matches we have set up for this thing.  And in 1990, an A&R guy probably heard this and thought: "First single!"  But what do they know?  It's not a bad song, but it's pretty cheezy.

"Swap Meet" is one of my favorites from "Bleach", even though it's not phenomenal or anything.  It's still a song that'll make you mean mug while you bob your head.  It's got a bouncy energy and a sinister riff, never slowing down from its brisk pace.  The lyrics tell a story, and the solo sucks in just the right way where it seems like sonic sarcasm instead of just bad playing.

"Garden" is the song most grunge/post-grunge bands think they're writing when …

THE GRUNGE MATCH - 008

Match 008:

Alice In Chains "Sunshine" (1990)
Nirvana "Scoff" (1989)
Pearl Jam "Porch" (1991)
Soundgarden "Kingdom Of Come" (1988)

"Sunshine" is one of Alice In Chains's most forgettable joints, with a lazy riff and vocal line, but the chorus tightens up and gut-punches you with a dark and groovy crunch.  Unfortunately, it's gone as soon as it's there, like a drunk guy grabbed you, threatened you, then forgot he was mad.

"Scoff" is sloppy and lame.  It's forgettable, and the only thing it has going for it is it's more melodic than "Paper Cuts".  (That, and the transition into the second verse is the first use of double-bass pedals in this whole exercise.)

"Porch" is my least or second least favorite song on "Ten"; it's the song that sounds most like you've already heard it on the album before.  Its lyrics aren't that compelling, the solos are competent, but don't reall…

THE GRUNGE MATCH - 007

Match 007

Alice In Chains "It Ain't Like That" (1990)
Nirvana "Negative Creep" (1989)
Pearl Jam "Oceans" (1991)
Soundgarden "Fopp" (1988)

Weird enough, I didn't appreciate how cool "It Ain't Like That" was until Nickelback pointed it out.  For those that haven't left this blog and disavowed its existence, I'm talking about a segment the band did for MTV in 2002 when they were touring with Jerry Cantrell.  They asked if Cantrell could do a song with them onstage, and he was like "Sure, what'd you have in mind?"  This is the song they picked, and they pointed out the bendy riff at the beginning as the reason.  I'm quite inclined to agree.  It's a neat little riff with gutsy pre-chorus chugs and though the lyrics are a bit lame, Staley again saves the day with a good showing.

"Negative Creep" is one of Nirvana's heaviest songs, so heavy that Machine Head saw fit to cover it.  Again, Cobain…

THE GRUNGE MATCH - 006

Match 006:

Alice In Chains "Love, Hate, Love" (1990)
Nirvana "Paper Cuts" (1989)
Pearl Jam "Jeremy" (1991)
Soundgarden "Hand Of God" (1987)

"Love, Hate, Love" is a song that Jerry Cantrell credits with helping to define the band's sound, and it definitely would have fit better on "Dirt" than anything else on "Facelift".  It's a slow, brooding build centered around self-loathing and reflections on non-existence.  It's creepy, the parts work really well together and again, the emotion of Layne Staley's voice carries the day, except this time it elevates a three star song to a four.

"Paper Cuts" is what happens when your teenage band learns how to palm mute and use feedback for the first time and tries to write something heavy.  The attempts at creepy arpeggios sound kind of pathetic after having just listened to "Love, Hate, Love".  And the vocals are some of Cobain's most annoying to…

THE GRUNGE MATCH - 005

Match 005:

Alice In Chains "I Can't Remember" (1990)
Nirvana "Love Buzz" (1989)
Pearl Jam "Black" (1991)
Soundgarden "Little Joe" (1987)

"I Can't Remember" opens with a creepy 12-string arpeggio, then segues into a gruffer verse structure, but it's all kind of uninspiring.  The thing that saves this song is Layne Staley's passionate delivery; without it, this would be a milquetoast and forgettable deep cut.  As it is, it's still not the best: it's sludgy, and that ending comes out of nowhere, kind of like they just got bored.  Oh, hey.  Meta.

"Love Buzz" is the first cover song of this series, originally done by Shocking Blue (who were, ironically, contemporaries of the psychedelic rock band called "Nirvana" in 1968).  It's a bouncy, catchy little number and it's one of the better tracks on "Bleach".  Nirvana slurs the delivery a bit, but that's their thing, and it doesn't…

EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED - Episode 084: Jerry Nutter Was Here

Yesterday was 10 years to the day of when my father Jerry Nutter passed away, so I figured I would make an episode celebrating the man and his music tastes.  Music was one of the things he loved the most, and I do a radio show...hey, perfect fit!

So here's a cliffsnotes of some of my dad's favorite tuneage:



1. "Fat Man In The Bathtub" Little Feat
2. "Spanish Moon" Little Feat
3. "[Intro]" Les Dudek
4. "Jailbamboozle" Les Dudek
5. "Hot Water" Level 42
6. "Physical Presence" Level 42
7. "Thing Called Love" Bonnie Raitt
8. "Interlude" Thievery Corporation
9. "Pathway To Glory" Loggins & Messina
10. "Hyperactive!" Thomas Dolby
11. "Little Light Of Love" Xplorians (Eric Serra)
12. "Let It Roll" Little Feat

THE GRUNGE MATCH - 004

Match 004:

Alice In Chains "Bleed The Freak" (1990)
Nirvana "School" (1989)
Pearl Jam "Why Go" (1991)
Soundgarden "Nothing To Say" (1987)

"Bleed The Freak" is harder than I remember.  I think I had it mentally confused with "Love, Hate, Love", and maybe only remembered the intro, which has that brooding clean tone to it backed by an acoustic guitar.  The acoustic comes back in the middle, which is surprising given this song is just about 4 minutes flat.  The verses are particularly tasty with Layne's hushed melody over the jagged crunch of the riff. 

"School" may only have literally three lyrics: Verse: "Won't you believe it?  It's just my luck. (x4)"  Chorus: "No recess (x4)"  Bridge: "You're in high school again (x8)", but that shit WORKS.  Don't ask me how.  It rocks, it makes you scowl and nod your head, and who the hell in their right mind doesn't hate school?

&qu…

THE GRUNGE MATCH - 003

Match 003:

Alice In Chains "Sea Of Sorrow" (1990)
Nirvana "About A Girl" (1989)
Pearl Jam "Alive" (1991)
Soundgarden "Tears To Forget" (1987)

"Sea Of Sorrow" 's introductory riff belongs in a desert scene in some movie; it has a Death Valley flavor to it.  Then things pick up steam as they barrel into the pre-chorus and chorus and straight through the solo.  It's like a body of water gaining momentum as it churns through the area which contains it.  It's not a song I got behind right away, because I always thought the chorus lyrics were kind of dumb, but over time I've really gotten into this one.

"About A Girl" was a massive hit, but not in 1989.  The album cut only gained rotation after the spectacular collapse of Nirvana and its leader.  It's a quality piece of songwriting, and based on the other songs on "Bleach", it punches well above its weight. 

"Alive" is another one of those songs it…

THE GRUNGE MATCH - 002

Match 002:

Alice In Chains "Man In The Box" (1990)
Nirvana "Floyd The Barber" (1989)
Pearl Jam "Even Flow" (1991)
Soundgarden "Entering" (1987)

"Man In The Box" is a good song.  I can't really think or feel much more about it than that, since for 25 FUCKING YEARS I've heard it one out of every four times I've turned on the radio.  With repetition anything loses meaning, but what helps "Man In The Box"'s case is it's a really solid pop metal song.  The chorus is powerful, the melody is infectious, it has groove, the solo is on point...it's objectively well-crafted.  And I liked it to begin with, so even if I'm sick to death of it, it's still a song I can sit through if necessary, and even wring a little bit of joy out of even if the impulse is to block it out just like any other sensory input that our brains have trained us to ignore.

"Floyd The Barber" is menacing, but I can't te…

THE GRUNGE MATCH - 001

Yes.

Yes I am a crazy man.

No, this is not a continuation on yesterday's April Fool's joke.  I'm really doing this.

God help me, I'm really doing this.

Back in 2013, I came up with an exercise to get me writing something every day.  I thought "Well, what if I start with the first songs on the first albums of the Big Four thrash metal bands, pit them against each other for points, lather rinse repeat?"  I thought it'd be fun, and after about a week or two I'd forget about the whole thing and I would move on to something else.

That.  Didn't.  Happen.

I stuck with it all 171 posts and it took six months to do the whole thing.  Unfortunately, this wound up being the beginning of the end of being a writer for me, as by the end of 2013 I was burnt out and have yet to really recover.  I'm only doing this because my "OCD" demands I keep writing crazy crap like this.  (see also The Tournament To End All Tournaments.)

So anyway, I came up with…

THE NEXT FOUR SONG CHALLENGE SERIES - Matchup 001

Since dusting off The Big Four Song Challenge Series I got to thinking.  What about the other thrash metal giants out there?  There's always been a debate as to who the next four bands would be on the list.  The two constants are always Testament and Exodus, but nobody can agree who's 5 and who's 6.  Then nobody can agree on who the next two bands would be.  Overkill gets thrown around a lot, but they're not really as big as the two bands I've chosen to fill those slots.

Oh yeah.  Probably should have mentioned.  Though you've probably guessed by the blog post title, I am doing a completely new series of blogs called "The Next Four Song Challenge Series".  Same rules, same set up as before and same INSANE amount of blog posts.  The four bands we're going to be covering are as follows:

Exodus
Testament
Sepultura
Suicidal Tendencies

Why not Overkill?  For one, I could never stand the guy's voice, but all told, Sepultura and Suicidal are bigger h…