rockyvotolato.com ♥ myspace.com
For a while, it seems that Seattle, Washington could do no wrong in terms of producing some of most diverse bands: everything from metal (Queensrÿche and Nevermore) to indie, punk rock (Harvey Danger, Goodness, and The Presidents of the United States of America) to grunge (Nirvana and Soundgarden). Waxwing was among those bands, and for a while they were rocking it on radio and TV show ("The OC").
By 1999, lead singer/songwriter/guitarist Rocky Votolato, was starting to write gentle songs that didn't fit in the style of Waxwing, and before you knew it, by 2003 the band band broke up. Votolato, himself, is still going strong and will be releasing his latest album, True Devotion, on February 23rd on Barsuk Record.
Unlike the synth-pop sound of youth with their recent release, Votolato is more like folk-like sound of aged. Usually with his acoustic guitar and with the help of percussions. Songs like "Fragments", "Sparklers", and "Red River" are typical Votolato songs, illustrating a story, but hearing the passion in his voice, it sounds like the story is being told by someone who experienced the story.
Sometime I imagine Votolato to sound like another favorite, Don Henley. I don't know if this is a bad thing, since this will conjure up images of "oldies". Nothing wrong with that, I think, like Votolato and Henley's voice, that they are a voice of trust and experience. If you like storytelling, if you like folk and country music, I think you'd love Rock Votolato.
If you pre-order now, you get access to the MP3s of the album (free download of Red River is available at Barsuk) while you wait for the record to be sent to you. You're also given a bonus 7" single with two non-album tracks (while supplies last), and a chance to have a private free house show for you & twenty of your closest friends. I did read the finer details, and if you win, you can choose to cash out of $250.00... and you also do not have to pre-order to be entered. You can simply submit a postcard with your full name, email address and phone number to Barsuk Records PO Box 22546 Seattle, WA 98122 to be entered.
PS The harmonica on "Instrument" is even gentle, and does not remotely bring up any Bob Dylan!
hereisnirvana.com ♥ myspace.com
Undoubtly, the band that put Seattle on the musical map is surely Nirvana.
Between the official three studio albums that the band produce, I would have to admit that I like Bleach the least, even though some fans might protest that I've sold-out. In fact, I think In Utero is Nirvana's finest hour, go Steve Albini!
The thing about Bleach, was that I did visit it after Nevermind, because, like most people, we were unaware that there was an album previously. Bleach, at the time that I listened to in the early 90s, was too raw and borderline metal. When I say raw, I mean the music really sounds like it wasn't recorded in a proper studio or something.
Thankfully, Sup Pop Records decided to revisit the album and release it in a deluxe 20th edition format. Since I'm assuming many of you already own a copy of Bleach, I'll be talking mostly about the extra new stuff in the Deluxe Edition.
First of all, the packaging is pretty sweet. The paper package folds out to reveal a picture of the band in a car (see picture). The square-bound 50+ page booklet contains some nice rare early photographs of Kurt Cobain and the gang (including Chad Channing, who also clearly signed the Sub Pop contract). They all look so young in these pictures, I'm pretty sure many casual fans have never seen them before.
Anyway, there are "new" bonus 12 live songs included on the deluxe Bleach. The recording comes a Portland show at the Pine Street Theatre in 1990. The live audio sounds surprisingly crisp (although the audio starts to degrade with clicks "About a Girl" and onward), I particularly enjoyed hearing their cover of Shocking Blue's "Love Buzz" and The Vaselines' "Molly's Lips" live.
Chances are, you probably already own Bleach, but I suggest you look into the deluxe edition. It's remastered from the original master tapes and it comes in a nice package. Plus, I believe the album retails for only $12, which is an unbeatable price for any deluxe editions... now if only Giffen would do the same thing for Nevermind and In Utero (I suppose that would also mean that Courtney Love would have to approve of such things).