• Ranking Iron Maiden's albums

    3 nov 2006, 02:16

    OK I'm bored and my only other option to do is work. So I thought I'd sort all my Iron Maiden studio albums from least favourite to favourite
    Iron Maiden is excluded because I've never heard it as are the live ones

    13. The X Factor
    Actually at the time I got this I quite liked it but over the years its started to sound cheesy and as such I only have Blood on the World's Hands, Lord of the Flies and Sign of the Cross on my i-Tunes and haven't listened to the album in its entirity for a long time.

    12. No Prayer for the Dying
    This was the second Iron Maiden album I got, it was on vinyl and cost $3.99 NZ (which is about $2.50 American or 2 euros) and I only liked a couple of songs from the start (Run Silent, Run Deep and Mother Russia). Apart from Iron Maiden, this is the only other studio Maiden album I don't have on CD

    11. Somewhere in Time
    There's a big gap between this and the previous two, I still like this one, especially Wasted Years and Alexander the Great but some of the others drag a bit for me.

    10. Virtual XI
    OK others hated it but I don't mind Futureal, Angel and the Gambler and the Clansman. There are a few skippable tracks but otherwise passable in my opinion.

    9. A Matter of Life and Death
    Time might change my opinion of this one. But at the moment it doesn't have as many songs that jump out and grab me as the albums above. Brighter than a Thousand Suns is emerging as my favourite.

    8. Piece of Mind
    Bogged down by a couple of weaker tracks (IMO Revelations, Quest for Fire and Sun and Steel) but I still give this one regular listens. Flight of Icarus and Where Eagles Dare are my favourites.

    7. Killers
    In my opinion the best non-Bruce album (at least that I've heard). Sometimes I feel in the mood for a bit of rough or raw music, this does the trick. Murders in the Rue Morgue and Genghis Khan are the standouts IMO.

    6. Number of the Beast
    Don't find myself listening to this as much as I used to but still enjoy Hallowed be thy Name and Invaders.

    5. Powerslave
    Probably I would have rated this below Number of the Beast had it not been for Rime of the Ancient Mariner which I consider to be the best song Maiden have ever done. Outside of 'Rime' my favourite tracks are Aces High and the title track.

    4. Dance of Death
    After a few issues with the "copy protection" on this disc which I had to get around by downloading the album and burning it onto CD (You have to ask the RIAA and other similar bodies why we should pay money for CDs which don't work the way we want when we can get ones that do for free) this has become one of my favourite albums. Montsegur, Dance of Death and Paschendale get regular plays.

    3. Fear of the Dark
    The first Maiden album I ever got. Probably only owes its place because it was the album that got me into the band and therefore brings me back to when I was an annoying spotty teenager. The run from 'Afraid to Shoot Strangers' through to 'Wasting Love' is my favourite part.

    2. Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
    I only recently got the CD of this (though I've had the vinyl version for some time) and have just remembered what an awesome album this is. I think the synths credit the Maiden sound and IMO it was a worng move to try and go back to a 'raw' sound as they did on No Prayer. Best tracks - Moonchild, the title track and the Clairvoyant.

    1. Brave New World
    Why is this my favourite album?, well even on my most restless, impatient days I don't skip tracks on this one and it gets heavy rotation in my car as well. I think I like the epic quality of some of the tracks which is married to some great hooks. Picking out my favourites is hard but I'd go with Wicker Man, Ghost of the Navigator, Blood Brothers and The Thin Line between Love and Hate.

    Well that wasn't a bad way to spend Friday afternoon. Maybe I should do this more often!.
  • Battle of the Bands Group B

    14 jun 2006, 22:09

  • Classic Rock Battle of the Bands Intro

    6 jun 2006, 23:49

    An introduction to some of the less familiar (but no less rocking) Classic Rock bands who will be in Group A of the Battle of the Bands.

    The Mamas & the Papas
    60s vocal group whose songs become synonomous with Flower Power

    California Dreamin'
    Monday, Monday

    The Byrds
    American Vocal Group who pioneered Folk Rock and Country Rock. Sometimes referred to as the American Beatles.

    Eight Miles High
    Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season)

    The Who
    British Rock group famed for smashing their instruments and for releasing one of the first singles which used a synthesiser as its beat.

    My Generation
    Baba O'Riley

    Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
    Supergroup comprising former members of the Hollies, The Byrds and Buffalo Springfield


    Creedence Clearwater Revival
    California rock band who performed songs with Cajun influences

    Fortunate Son
    Proud Mary

    The Yardbirds
    British rock band best known for its string of outstanding guitarists, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page

    For Your Love
    Heart Full of Soul

    The Kinks
    British Rock group best known for their riff-heavy early hits.

    All Day and All of the Night

    Buffalo Springfield
    Highly influential folk rock group of the mid 60s whose members included Stephen Stills and Neil Young

    For What It's Worth
    Expecting To Fly

    Jefferson Airplane
    Pioneering psychedelic group of the 60s

    White Rabbit
    Somebody to Love

    The Small Faces
    Leading band from the British mod scene of the 1960s

    Itchycoo Park
    Tin Soldier

    The Association
    Pop band from the 60s that specialised in vocal harmonies.

    Never My Love

    The Beatles
    Really need no introduction

    A Hard Day's Night
    Eleanor Rigby

    The Beach Boys
    60s Harmony group who provided the soundtrack for the California summer

    Good Vibrations
    Wouldn't It Be Nice

    Simon & Garfunkel
    1960s New York pop vocal duo who occasionally stopped arguing long enough to record some of the finest pop songs of the 60s

    The Sound of Silence
    The Boxer

    The Rolling Stones
    British rock group who formed in the 60s and are still going strong 4 decades later

    Paint It Black
    Sympathy for the Devil

    Bob Dylan
    Highly influential folk rock pioneer whose poetic lyrics inspired many bands.

    Like a Rolling Stone
    All Along the Watchtower

    The Battle of the Bands is on now at Classic Rock - Check it out.
  • Top 150 - Part #4 105-91

    30 maj 2006, 23:03

    Oops, this is taking longer than I thought, anyway here's the next 15 of my top 150.

    105 : Them – Gloria
    A stunning RnB hit from the 60s and still Van Morrison’s finest hour.

    104 : Otis Redding – Shake
    Otis is one of the greatest live performers ever and this song just bristles with energy. Lets hope that somebody decides to release the Hendrix/ Redding Live at Monterrey album that I have on vinyl, that album is just amazing.

    103 : Marvin Gaye – I Heard it Through the Grapevine
    Love the intro to this song and I can always count on Marvin to get me out of a bad mood and into a good one.

    102 : Thin Lizzy - Rosalie
    Not the studio version but the stunning ‘Live and Dangerous’ version. Thin Lizzy are sadly under-rated and everybody who is into Classic Rock should get the Live and Dangerous album.

    101 : Johnny Cash – Hurt
    Maybe this should have been in the Top 100, but whenever you write one of these things someone has to miss out. Top class music video for this, it will be years until a song and video has the same emotional impact and how many artists record their greatest song as their last?.

    100 : Bad Religion – Sinister Rouge
    A snarling, angry opening to the Empire Strikes first album. My favourite Bad Religion track by far.

    99 : Crosby, Stills & Nash – Long Time Gone
    I first heard this song watching the video of Woodstock and fell in love with it, a really beautiful harmony that still deserves to be heard today.

    98 : Caroline’s Spine – Nothing to Prove
    A band who never really made it in the late 90s which I never understood since IMO they are far better than the likes of Fuel or Third Eye Blind. I always liked the singer’s voice, especially in this song and their other minor hit ‘Sullivan’.

    97 : Audioslave – Like a Stone
    This earns its place on the back of Tom Morello’s solo and the fact it is one of my favourite songs for driving.

    96 : Blink 182 – All the Small Things
    More to do with reminding me of my last slacking year of university than for its musical prowess. Can’t remember if it was actually on the soundtrack or not but this song always reminds me of the American Pie movies

    95 : Heather Nova – London Rain
    This is definitely the best Heather Nova song and it has one catchy chorus and beautiful harmonic vocals.

    94 : Rammstein – Links 2 3 4
    It does sound a little bit like some army marching song (maybe that’s what its meant to be, I can’t understand the words at all) but is the quintessential crunching Rammstein song.

    93 : Jethro Tull – The Whistler
    Jethro Tull is one of my top three favourite bands and this particular song comes off their best album ‘Songs from the Wood’. This song epitomizes the folksy feel of Songs and probably wouldn’t sound out of place at a medieval convention.

    92 : Led Zeppelin – Ten Years Gone
    A-ha – another of what Led Zep are best at, sweeping epics and one that hasn’t suffered from overplaying on radio.

    91 : Aerosmith – Dream On
    Brutally murdered by Eminem not too long ago, this is IMO the best song from a band that I don’t usually get too excited about. I think part of the reason I like this one is that it sounds nothing like any other Aerosmith song

    Otis Redding
    Marvin Gaye
    Thin Lizzy
    Johnny Cash
    Bad Religion
    Crosby, Stills & Nash
    Caroline's Spine
    Blink 182
    Heather Nova
    Jethro Tull

    Led ZeppelinAerosmith
  • Rarghhh

    30 maj 2006, 21:56

    I have just brought home a new copy of Iron Maiden 'Dance of Death' and the bloody thing won't play in my computer thanks to the "Copy Protection" it has. Well thanks a lot EMI, punishing me for being honest - in the future I think I will just stick to Limewire.

    Iron Maiden
  • My Top 150 - Part #3 120 -106

    25 maj 2006, 02:02

    Oops this is taking longer than I thought, anyway here is the third installment of my top 150

    120 : Cat Stevens – Lady D’Arbanville
    In spite of the strange lyrics (which hint at necrophilia) this is by far the Cat’s best song. A haunting yet catchy melody

    119 : Dido – Don’t Leave Home
    One of only two songs on this list that I have seen performed live by the original artist (thanks mostly to many of the artists being dead or retired). Dido may be a little mainstream and sound monotonous but I quite enjoy her voice on this song.

    118: Placebo - Every Me, Every You
    This one here was one of my favourites at university, perfect parent-shocking androgyny (well at least it would have been if my parents hadn’t grown up being fans of David Bowie), combined with a catchy tune make this one an essential for a 90s compilation.

    117 : Rammstein – Moskau
    OK its all in German and Russian, but this is close to the best Rammstein song – really dark, brooding singing (though apart from Moskau I wouldn’t have a clue what he is saying) and crunching guitars. What makes this one special is the helium voiced girl who sings in Russian thus providing a perfect contrast to Till Lindemann’s ridiculously deep voice.

    116 : Snow Patrol - Run
    It’s a shame that the once mighty British music scene has been reduced to novelty shit like Crazy Frog, girl bands that look like they’re borrowed from the local strip parlour and depressingly whiny singers. But Snow Patrol, although a few of their songs do veer close to whiny territory, are at least proof that there is some good music still being made in Britain.

    115 : Staind – So Far Away
    I’m not really a big fan of Staind normally but this song is different. OK it still sounds like the singer is about to slash his wrists but this is a high standard power ballad and is one of my favourite songs so far this decade.

    114 : The Pogues – Fairytale of New York
    The only song I don’t groan about at Christmas time. Shane MacGowan sounds like he’s smoked several cigarettes prior to the recording. The late Kirsty MacColl provides a perfect foil for Shane’s lived in voice.

    113 : The Yardbirds – Heart full of Soul
    The Yardbirds are a consistently under-rated band from the 60s, one which spawned guitarists Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton who of course all went on to bigger things. This is the Yardbirds finest moment, a kind of psychedelic soul song that makes me feel much better when I listen to it.

    112 : Eminem – Lose Yourself
    Like Staind, I largely can’t stand Eminem’s music except for this one which is streets ahead of anything else that he has released. A positive(ish) message and it sounds like for once Eminem is singing from the heart rather than going through the motions.

    111 : Joe Cocker – With a Little help from my friends
    Before Joe Cocker fried his brain with a little help from his friends and became a maudlin MOR artist, he was one of the most dynamic singers in the 1960s. Unable to write quality material of his own, Cocker instead concentrated on giving 60s hits a bluesy tinge. This particular song was just a Ringo throwaway off Sgt Peppers until Cocker turned it into an 8 minute blues workout. The performance at Woodstock of this song is magical.

    110 : Che Fu – Chains
    Apart from a few isolated songs, I haven’t got into American hip hop since 1990 when the whole ‘gangstas n’ bitches’ stuff started to become a parody of itself. In contrast I’ve never stopped listening to New Zealand hip hop which largely consists of rapping around harmonies, writing their own backing music and largely having a positive message. This song is the best example of New Zealand hip hop around so if you are interested in listening to some – start here.

    109 : The Doors - Waiting For the Sun
    I first heard this song when I was an exchange student in France (about ten years ago now. Its become my favourite Doors’ song now, perhaps due to it not being overplayed on the radio and perhaps due to the memories it brings back from when I was in France.

    108 : 10,000 Maniacs – Because the Night
    When the unplugged series first hit MTV it became kind of customary for the unplugged artist to cover a classic rock song in their set. This was by far the best of them, with the song suiting Natalie Merchant’s voice perfectly.

    107 : Simon & Garfunkel – America
    Simon & Garfunkel were one of the bands that I grew up with, perfect harmonies and songs that take you back to what seems like a simpler time. America is off the Bookends album and would be perfect for a Road Trip with its story of a long journey searching for the real America.

    106 : The Kinks – Lola
    OK, well this was a bit controversial at the time of its release, which of course made it popular, but that shouldn’t take away from the fact that it is a great song with a catchy chorus and a rather interesting story about a transvestite making up the verse.

    Cat Stevens
    Snow Patrol
    The Pogues
    The Yardbirds
    Joe Cocker
    Che Fu
    The Doors
    10,000 ManiacsSimon & GarfunkelThe Kinks
  • Top 150 - Part #2 135-121

    18 maj 2006, 23:44

    The second installment of my Top 150

    135 : The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Hey Joe
    Not so much the studio version but the awesome live on the BBC sessions.

    134 : Queen – Great King Rat
    An obscure song from their very first album but IMO it is by far the standout. It really showcases Freddie’s theatrical vocals. If you’re a Queen fan give it a try.

    133 : Melissa Etheridge – Come to my Window
    This is a fine example of Melissa’s slightly weathered voice. The line ‘Just to reach you’ really jumps out and grabs me

    132 : The Cranberries – Animal Instinct
    OK here’s a band you either love or hate. I guess I picked this one over Zombie since it hasn’t been overplayed on radio and has the same grit and power as Zombie

    131 : Kings of Leon – Molly’s Chambers
    I hope we hear more from these guys, they have a fine old-fashioned rock swagger and their music is quite uplifting in the sea of negativity that modern music has become.

    130 : The Exponents – Why does love do this to me?
    OK I’m a New Zealander so I have heard this song at just about every event that we have down here. It should be the new national anthem, everybody knows it and it’s a hell of a lot more enjoyable than our current one. This is Pub style rock at its best.

    129 : Joni Mitchell – Urge for Going
    When I’m in a bad mood after coming home from a days work this is a great song to unwind. Its kind of like a dream – escaping the damn rat race and getting out.

    128 : Barry McGuire – Eve of Destruction
    Its rather ironic that this song is 40 years old, yet if someone re-released it now it would still be relevant.

    127 : Queens of the Stone Age – I Never Came
    I quite enjoy the harmonies in this one, Would like to discover more QOTSA as I’m only really familiar with this one and Little Sister.

    126 : Janis Joplin – Flower in the Sun
    This is a great example of Janis’ well lived in voice. I’m hoping (but not overly confident) that Pink will do a good job of playing Janis in the proposed biopic, if it ever gets completed.

    125 : Bruce Springsteen – No Surrender
    When I was a child, my parents loved to listen to the Born in the USA album and whenever I hear the songs nowadays it kind of reminds me of those simpler times. This has become my favourite off the Born in the USA album in recent times, it doesn’t sound quite as dated as some of the others and has a brooding, mysterious quality to it.

    124 : Iron Maiden – Blood Brothers
    I really love the guitar interplay in this song.

    123 : Neil Young – My My Hey Hey
    My favourite Neil Young solo song. Rust never sleeps is easily my favourite Neil Young album and this song just sets off the album in a nice way

    122 : Metallica – For Whom the Bell Tolls
    I go through phases of listening to Metallica and not, currently I’m in a not phase. This song is the only one I really enjoy whatever phase I’m in, it has a riff heavy intro that I really love listening to.

    121 : Cream – World of Pain
    The greatest band in the world IMO, even this – the third best song on Disraeli Gears still rank in my top 150.

    The Jimi Hendrix Experience
    Melissa Etheridge
    The Cranberries
    Kings of Leon
    The Exponents
    Joni MitchellBarry McGuire
    Queens of the Stone Age
    Janis Joplin
    Bruce Springsteen
    Iron Maiden
    Neil Young
  • My Top 150 (Part one 150-136)

    17 maj 2006, 02:31

    Right I've decided to try and rank my favourite 150 songs, split into ten different journals. My favourite type of music is classic rock from the 1960s and 1970s but my taste is not exclusive and a bit eclectic. Anyway, without further ado lets start at 150.

    150 : Eve 6 – Bring the Night On
    I always loved the phrasing and clear pronunciation of this band, this is my favourite track by them.

    149 : Travelling Wilburys – Tweeter & the Monkeyman
    Why oh why doesn’t this get released on CD. Dylan at his troubadour best and of course the sensational backing band.

    148 : Shiva Burlesque – Do the Pony
    Out of the ashes of this band came Grant Lee Buffalo, but I always preferred this underrated gem from their last album

    147 : Wolfmother – Minds Eye
    A bit of a mish-mash of sound on their first album, I guarantee they will get better. This one however has the makings of a real classic, real Black Sabbath sound and killer chorus.

    146 : PJ Harvey – The Sky Lit Up
    Alternating low and high, showing her fine range plus boasting a catchy chorus. This song off Is this Desire?. pointed to the direction her next album would take.

    145: Sleater-Kinney – Modern Girl
    The best song IMO, in Sleater Kinney’s most recent album, The Woods.

    144 : Lifehouse – Just Another Name
    I didn’t think too much of this song when I first heard it, but its definitely grown on me.

    143 : Them – Its All Over Now Baby Blue
    This song kind of reminds me of my first relationship breakup as a teenager. I’d just got the album before it happened and remember Van Morrison’s plaintive tones in the song just matched what I was feeling perfectly.

    142 : Pearl Jam – Inside Job
    The stunner off their recent release just beating off Come Back and Marker in the Sand. This song IMO is a future classic

    141 : Alanis Morrisette – Utopia
    A lot of the songs in here are among my favourites not because of musicianship but because of what they remind me of. This one here reminds me of my trip to London about three years ago and I recall it playing on my MP3 player while I was taking a relaxing stroll alongside the Thames

    140 : The Byrds – John Riley
    I haven’t heard this one for several years since my record player blew up. But the great harmony still sticks in my head and one of these days I will finally get the CD.

    139 : Thea Gilmore – Mainstream
    A heavily under-rated British singer –songwriter (at least in this part of the world), Mainstream has a catchy chorus and is an uplifting tune for a sad day

    138 : Tool – Vicarious
    Another recent release that will be a future classic. Dark, brooding and melodic – classic Tool

    137 : Outkast – Hey Ya
    About the only hip hop song in recent years that has found its way into my collection. I love to dance to this one and in a hip hop world of bitches, guns and gangstas its welcome light relief

    136 : Guns ‘n Roses – Estranged
    A common theme you will find in my music is that I love epic songs like this one. Without a doubt my favourite GNR track from my early teenage years and it’s a doozy, another of their sweeping epics.

    EVE 6
    The Travelling Wilburys
    Shiva BurlesqueWolfmother
    PJ Harvey
    Pearl Jam
    Alanis MorrisetteThe Byrds
    Thea Gilmore
    Guns N Roses
  • The Meat Journal - Meat causes colon cancer, yeah whatever

    8 maj 2006, 23:04

    One of the common claims of vegetarians is that eating meat (or specifically red meat) increases the risk of colon cancer. What most of them don't know is that the evidence for this is pretty damn flimsy.

    The conclusion is based on a study published in the American Medical associations journal in 2001. That study involved 148,000 adults aged 50-74 who provided information on their meat consumption in 1982 and again in 1992. Of this 148,000, 1667 subjects developed colon cancer.

    Taken straight from the study, the result was found as follows “High intake of red meat reported in 1992/1993 was associated with higher risk of colon cancer after adjusting for age and energy intake but not after further adjustment for body mass index, cigarette smoking and other [risk factors],”. In plain english, this says that there is no evidence that meat caused any of the cancers. Faced with the prospect of getting a no result (a big no no if you want to keep on getting funding) the researchers took a razor to their data and cut vast sections out until they could find a result.

    What they did was pick on three specific types of colon cancer where there was something resembling a result. Meat was supposedly found to increase the cancer risk in the three types by 50%,53% and 71% respectively. Sounds impressive, not really, in statistics increases of less than 100% are of borderline significance and highly likely to be the result of chance. They had after all sliced their data so much that with the specific types of cancer they were now talking about 79 cases out of 148,000 people.

    The weak statistics are made even worse by unreliable data collection. No data was collected on how much the subjects smoked, drank and exercised (smoking, drinking alcohol and lack of exercise are all proven to cause colon cancer, without amounts there is no way to determine if any of these factors caused the colon cancer). Also family history of colon cancer was not even considered, even though this is believed to be a major risk factor.

    So to conclude, all we really can tell from this study is that the researchers were too busy looking for media attention and their next grant to present honest facts in the study. Of course the media picks up on it because it gives them a sensational headline. But the stats are weak and inconsistent and essentially prove no link, you can grill up your steak safe in the knowledge that there is no increased cancer risk.