music / Columns

The Savage Animal 11.14.12 First Impressions of Toadies

November 14, 2012 | Posted by Mikey MiGo


I’m still experiencing a “wrestling coma”. Outside of a select independent company or two, professional wrestling has grown extremely boring to me. I still like some of the WWE performers, but the pacing and current stories are just not enjoyable. I start watching and no matter how awake or how caffeinated I get myself I still drift off. It’s not even a being “bored” thing. I’ve literally found myself laying on a couch and snoring through the show. Who needs Nyquil? I know it’s really no worse than it ever is, but I just can’t stay awake. I’m going to try with Survivor Series…

The Divas Title match between Eve and Kaitlyn will be a fine chance to catch up on a few minutes of sleep. I’m being pessimistic about it, but I’d genuinely love to post next week how blown away I was by this. Eve wins. Big Show and Sheamus put on the best match at the last PPV and this time out they’ll STILL without a stipulation. I have a hard time buying that Sheamus is going to win it back so I go with Big Show. Maybe Sheamus will then snap on him and leave him lying. Could THIS be when Dolph Ziggler finally cashes in? I don’t want to get my hopes up, but it’s always a possibility. This is would be a perfect show to pin point in Dolph’s growing legacy.

I have no desire to see the WWE Title Match. How many times do we need to see CM Punk and John Cena wrestle? Adding Ryback is not going to make a difference. This can’t be good or interesting. The good guys will eventually face off and then Punk will try to take advantage. It’ll write itself and nothing new will happen. Maybe someone will get the traditional Survivor Series “Screw Job”. That could be interesting only if Cena or Ryback went evil. CM Punk winning via “Screw Job” would seriously be the lamest thing ever. Not even in a “Boo! He’s a bad guy!” kind of way. It’s a “that storytelling and pay off was bullshit” kind of thing. This keeps happening so let’s just go with CM Punk.

It’s sad to say that I’m looking forward to the R-Truth match the most. I’m not a fan of his. He’s not a bad wrestler or anything, but he just hasn’t done anything outside of smoking cigarettes as a heel tactic to entertain me. He can surprise me, but I just don’t look forward to his stuff. I do like Antonio Cesaro. He’s one of the best up and comers in the WWE and they seem to be behind him. R-Truth deserves a singles run, but I can’t see Antonio Cesaro losing. Sadly, Kofi Kingston isn’t defending the IC belt and the tag titles aren’t being defended either. These people are all crammed into being part of the Survivor Series match. When they first announced this match it was all full of main event title people. They changed it and pretty much drained the undercard and mid-card of any title matches or show stealing one on ones. “Team Foley” is stupid. Why is he around? What is he promoting? Mick Foley was such a big part of my childhood love of wrestling, but as we both grow older I just get worn out seeing him. It’s hard to get behind him after the anti-WWE/pro-WWE hypocritical slant he uses when it’s convenient. You can bet your ass he’s taking notes of any “wrong doings” going on right now so next time he’s not getting paid by them he can spout them off from his high horse on a soap box. I miss Mick Foley. Randy Orton, Kofi, Miz, Daniel Bryan, and Kane are one team? Tons of talent, but it’s just a crazy grouping. Kofi and Miz should be having a Ladder Match or Best of 3 Falls Match. Daniel Bryan and Kane should be defending their tag titles, but are not. This crazy team is going against Dolph, Alberto, Wade Barrett, Danien Sandow, and Cody Rhodes. The two tag teams take each other out, Miz and Kofi cause each other problems, Alberto and Barrett are fodder, and it all leads to the early roots of Randy Orton and Dolph Ziggler starting a long term program. I’m going with Randy Orton being the sole survivor. This is Survivor Series. It’s gotta be at least decent, right?…. RIGHT?! Ah Shit…



FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF TOADIES

Possum King! The “First Impression” series is an on-going thing where every few weeks I’ll take a listen to a band’s entire studio album discography. For whatever reason, be it avoiding them or just missing the boat, I’ve never really given every band in the world a listen. No one can claim that. As much as I love music, I still haven’t heard or taken in everything. Outside of maybe a few singles, it’s all new to me. I typically go for bands with three to six TOTAL studio albums to save on time. Sometimes I’ll listen to a band for the first time and love it and get into each album and other times I’ll hate the entire listening torture. Either way I give an honest first impression from one new listener’s perspective. I always hope for the best because why would anyone want to spend hours of their time hating the noise in their ears? I sure as hell don’t.

Why In Toadies?
Why NOT the Toadies? I know for sure I, any anyone else who has been graced with it, know and love one song by the Toadies. They were a “90′s band” and had some good success with that first album. From there, they wouldn’t release another album seven years layer, and then would wait another seven years before getting an “every two years” thing going. Why did they take that time off? Did their music suffer? That’s just an interesting release schedule. I am genuinely curious if their “90′s sound” from the first album would continue or if they’d evolve into a different direction. This could be the biggest listening risk I’ve taken so far, but so be it. Let’s just hope for the best…

Rubberneck

(1994 – 36 minutes) –
The debut album by Toadies kicks off with “Mexican Hairless”. It slowly builds into a bouncy grunge sounding song. It eventually breaks into a grooved out drum and bass beat. This turns out to be a two minute instrumental opener. It’s lively and energetic, but didn’t do a whole lot to get me excited for what’s to come. “Mister Love” was a single from 93, but it’s new to me. The song doesn’t give you much of a choice. If you’re really listening then you’re really going to head bang. It’s not what I expected, but it’s fun. About a half minute it, the song goes into a weird “spoken word over a gritty speaker” rant. I miss when all of those 90′s songs did that. “Backslider” is an interesting song. It has a grunge feel, an old school feel, and even a bit of that guttural glitter of hair metal power. It has a really big sound for a two and half minute track. The band’s biggest hit for sure is “Possum Kingdom”. It’s one of those songs that most people have probably heard and loved, but didn’t know it was a Toadies tune. I remember trying to convince a metal band to cover it a few years ago. What can you say about this song? It’s one of the best songs to come out in the 90′s hands down. “Quitter” is a pretty bad ass song too. It opens hard and breaks into a pretty vicious groove for the verses. The chorus reminds me of Nirvana, but not in a “look they’re copying them!” way. I love the break beat to start off “Away”. It’s swanky and border-line creepy. That beat pretty much pulls you along for the ride. Good stuff. The foot-tapper “I Come from the Water” is next. This song has a different tone and danceable vibe to it. It’s hard to listen to without dancing a little. The opening of “Tyler” reminds me a lot of The Pixies, ironically the “Where is My Mind Song” specifically. It goes into a distortion filled mid-tempo track. It takes a step back and plays on certain casualness well. “Happy Face” came and went without it making any impact. It’s just kind of there. Things pick up with the building opening of “Velvet”. It’s an aggressive track that meets somewhere in the middle of punk and metal. The band’s first album closes with “I Burn”, an acoustic head shaker. I can easily say it’s my second favorite Toadies song so far. Good closer! This album does sound it came from the mid-90′s. I’m not saying its “dated”, but it definitely has that signature sound. A few songs on here stand out as being really good, especially the amazing “Possum Kingdom”, but there is also some filler. Their filler is still full of solid stuff, but it’s forgettable. That said, you can’t hate on this being their first album. It’s a great start. I’m really curious to see where they take their sound in the years after this…

Hell Below/Stars Above

(2001 – 45 minutes) –
I’m not sure of the backstory, but it’s pretty interesting that this is actually a “re-do”. The band apparently recorded a second album and it was rejected by Interscope Records. This album would be what took its place a few years later. “Plane Crash” goes right into it. It’s an upbeat rock out that crams in as much as it can into its 2:10 duration. It’s a good sign for what’s to come. “Push the Hand” is a cool song. It almost feels like a classic rock throwback. It has a blues rock sway to it as the vocals are sung as if they need to be heard by people really far away. Two minutes in there is a swanky breakdown that’s heavy on soul and bass. The result is a pretty damn enjoyable song. The same can be said for “Little Sin”. It’s another good throwback. It doesn’t have as much of a “grunge” sound at all. It reminds me of a good Soundgarden song, which is definitely meant to be a compliment. The opening bass in “Motivational” rocks. The beat carries us into a frantically-cool set of vocals and a fun bit of guitar distortion. Then it breaks into a hard and chaotic chorus. It’s probably the most “metal” of their songs so far, but it still expands to a weird trippy place at the end. “Heel” is bad ass. Why the hell hasn’t any bad guys in wrestling used this song? It’s a fantastic hard rock song that makes you want to head bang and dance at the same time. The almost painful cries of “Heel!” are going to be stuck in my head for a week. The start of “You’ll Come Down” brings back that old school 90′s sound. I think it’s the bass line. It’s not as aggressive as the past few tracks. It actually sounds like it could have been on their first album in 94. It is a good song and I do like it though. The album takes a breather with “Pressed Against the Sky”. This is a slow ballad like tune. A nice down tempo into takes us into lovely ballad sung with a nice calming voice. Eventually the vocals get more emotive and passionate reaching a level of painful shrill in between Chris Cornell and Axel Rose. I am shocked this song wasn’t a single or didn’t get out there on a bigger level. In 2000 or 2001 this would have been a welcomed addition to what was on the radio. Hell, it would be now. “What We Have We Steal” is a slower rocker. It’s not bad, but the pacing of it feels a bit stalled of sorts. You hear the opening of “Jigsaw Girl” and think you’re in for an attitude-filled rock out. Instead it goes into an almost smoothing love song that just kind of floats at a good pace into the chorus. Sadly, it loses me. Not much else goes on in the nearly five minute song. “Sweetness” has a slow build up that breaks into an interesting “foot-tapper”. The bass line is enthralling and pulls you into the rest of the song. By the time you’re in the drums go crazy on you and the song goes into a different direction. The song definitely keeps you on your toes, but it all goes back to the bass line. The title track “Hell Below/Stars Above” gets cool points automatically because Elliot Smith is on piano. It’s a really weird, but intriguing song. It’s a weird cross between something like a Queen song and a gritty and dirty grunge B-side. It’s not hard to listen to at all, but there is something about it that’s almost unsettling and off putting. I suppose my mind is a little blown by its scope. The album closes out with “Doll Skin”. It’s another song of theirs that instantly reminds me of The Pixies. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. They have their own thing going on too. It’s a pleasant down tempo track with tons of distortion and bass. It’s okay, but there was some really good stuff on this album. I’m not sure if the last track did the album proper outro justice. While there isn’t a “Possum Kingdom” on this LP, I think it’s overall a much better album then their debut in 1994. They go in different directions, have better production, a fuller sound, and still hold on to the “grit” of being a “post-grunge” band. I liked this album a lot. At this point the band broke up. They’d not return until 2006 for a reunion tour. Two years later, the band’s third official studio album would be released…

No Deliverance

(2008 – 38 minutes) –
About eight years after the last album, Toadies’ third studio album kicks off with “So Long Lovey Eyes”. Its goes right into the thudding hard rock and explosive vocals. There is a little bit more anger to the vocals than I think we’ve heard so far. It breaks down into some trippy and good rock sections. Not a bad start at all. “Nothing to Cry About” starts with a really cool guitar wail and the thuds of the drum moves us right along like an assembly line. The pacing is weird, but it’s all attitude. They make it work. The title track, “No Deliverance”, has a really swanky base line and distorted vocals. It’s hard not to get into this song. The term “smooth groove” sounds a little hokey, but I mean it in all the coolest ways. The grit continues in “I Am a Man of Stone”. It’s a loud, but slow burner. It sounds like something I’ve heard before, but I can’t think of a good and fair comparison. “Song I Hate” goes back to that heavy 90′s base line and Pixies sounding fun. It doesn’t really work for me. I can’t get into it and feel it’s a bit on the lame side. I quickly forget about that song as “Flower” goes amp out with some intense rock. We’re treated to a wall of wailing sound the second the track hits. It’s one of those kinds of rock songs that you get that “serious” look on your face and head bang with manly approval. Basically, it’s bad ass. The “badass-ness” continues with “Hell in High Water”. It’s pretty much exactly as I described “Flower”, but this time you shake a fist along with the head bang. The preachy rant in the vocals and the blues-like melody is hard to deny. I found myself listening to “Don’t Go My Way” for a few, not really knowing what to think. Then about two minutes in I realize I really dig this song. It’s a nice foot-tapper of a mid tempo song with a great guitar solos, some massively emotive vocals, and I think it may be my favorite tune on this album so far. I stand corrected. “One More” is easily the best song on this album. It’s slow and brooding and forces you into a world you shouldn’t go. It’s a creepy song that just leaves you kind of spent and discombobulated. Yikes. The album closes out with “I Want Your Love”. I know this song from a pretty cool moment early in the series “Sons of Anarchy”. It doesn’t really feel or sound like anything on the album, but it’s a really cool and chaotic track. The drumming, the screaming, and distortion is just a lot. Then it just ends. This album was not as good as their first two, but it’s not bad. There’s not a whole lot on here that I’m going to remember a day from now. Its good stuff, but it just didn’t stick. It’s one of those albums you’d have to listen to a few times to really absorb. Depending on how the last two albums go, we’ll see…

Feeler

(2010 – 28 minutes) –
This is an interesting story too. The second album that Interscope canned is pretty much here. A bootleg of the original went around for a while and their fans wanted it to finally come out. The label wouldn’t let that shit slide, but the band actually went into the studio and rerecorded a good portion of the original sessions as well as laying down some fresh interpretations. You gotta give it to them for giving the fans what they want. This album starts off with “Trust Game”. Weird out of tune sounding acoustic guitars repeat a melody as the vocals join in. It’s a down tempo song that is a little unnerving. About half way through it breaks into a bigger sound and bigger tension. “Waterfall” is another slow starter. It builds into a soul filled rock out. Nothing we’ve not heard before. Distortion glares and the drums count us in to “Dead Boy”. The vocal delivery in the chorus is different and kind of interesting. A cool guitar intro starts us off on “City of Hate”. It breaks down into a pretty pimp groove. The bluesy rock vocals compliment the music really nicely. It sounds cool, but sadly doesn’t go anywhere else. The bridge of repeating of “I’m a model citizen” does actually save it a little. The opening of “Mine” makes you think it’s an 80′s song. The beat is solid and it’s a really fun 2:19 song that reminds me of Cake and Weezer at the same time. I actually wish it were longer. “Suck Magic” is a cool name for a song and here it is in the form of a cool song. It’s a laid back and mid-tempo tune with a really cool melody that breaks down into a danceable chorus. It may be my favorite song on this album. The guitar work on “ATF” changes what I just said. The music is just really really good. It’s an addicting guitar riff with just the right drums and a dominating bass like that makes you wish this just over two minute song was longer. Really solid musicianship there. The guitar melody on “Joey, Let’s Go” sounds familiar. That is a sign of a good song. It’s so good and hits on all the right marks where you’re so into it and comfortable with it that you feel like you’ve heard it many times before. That’s the vibe I got on this one. I listened to the last track on this album, “Pink”. There is a lot going on. It’s easy to nod your head along to and enjoy the music, but it’s just not sticking. I’m not going to lie. I went into this album refreshed and awake. By the end I was zoning out and getting sleepy. Even though I appreciated some of it, I don’t think there is anything on this album that I’m going to want to hear again or remember in a few hours. In one ear and out the other. Was this album supposed to be called Filler instead? One more to go…

Play.Rock.Music

(2012 – 44 minutes) –
In the summer of 2012 the band would release their most recent and fifth studio album. You turn it on and “Rattler’s Revival” gets your foot tapping, head nodding along, and groove going. It’s already cooler than everything from the last album. The guitar on “Get Low” is good stuff and guides us into a solid rock tune. The distortion is there, but the sound is still polished and well produced. The strumming to open “Summer of the Strange” signifies we’re in for a good song. It’s a really nifty blues rock tune that’s as “too cool for school” as songs can come. For such a funky and upbeat sounding song, “Magic Bullet” is a pretty damn depressing song. It makes you want to dance yourself off a tall building. “Beside You” is almost a throwback to hair ballads. It’s a pretty damn heavy song that I can see a lot of people with teased bangs loving. “Animals” has a dirty road house sound to it. By that I mean I can imagine a montage in the movie “Road House” while listening to it. The creepy start and build up on “Sunshine” is one of the highlights of this album so far. Then a minute in, it goes into different direction and loses me. It loses its tempo to something that just doesn’t fit the vocals. The album changes COMPLETELY with “Laments of a Good Man”. It sounds like a sadistic nursery rhyme. It’s a crazy delivery and really bouncy. The song then goes into a weird crazy drone thing. This all works out nicely together and paints a great picture. I like what they did here A LOT. Not many bands would take that kind of chance on a song. It panned out well for them and sounds awesome. “Epic Castles” has a break beat as the vocals express in a ranty way a story about castles. The beat is remarkable. You’d think they were a funk rock band all of the time. It might be the most danceable thing I’ve heard from these guys yet. A quick acoustic opening starts off “We Burned the City Down” and the soulful vocals join in not too long after. This is a really cool song that just gets inside you and makes you move a little. It has a rockabilly thing going on, but it’s much fuller and more electric than a normal rockabilly song. The most recent Toadies release ends with “The Appeal”. A slow drifting ballad full of emotion and a full melody. They leave it all on the table with this 6 plus minute outpour. Very nice finish. I liked this album A LOT more than the last two.

THE VERDICT
(2005 – present) –
I can easily see why Toadies has a devote cult following. They came out of the box with one of the best songs of the 90′s with “Possum Kingdom”. They set the bar extremely high and never really got to that mainstream plateau again. Not many bands would. Still, they carried on and kept evolving and growing as artists. I was a big fan of Hell Below/Stars Above as a complete album, but there are good stuff spread through-out. At the same time there was a lot of “filler” stuff that just didn’t hit on all cylinders, connect with me, or just sounded too much like everything else. The vocals are outstanding, the drumming is great, I love the bass-lines, and the distorted melodies coming from the guitars rocks. The ingredients are and were there, but sometimes it doesn’t translate to the ears. I’ll listen to these guys again in the future and give them another shot. Not bad at all, but by the third album I was ready to move on.



“3, 2, 1… FRANKIE GO BOOM”

3, 2, 1… Frankie Go Boom looked like a really off-kilter comedy based on the trailer and the description. The only thing I really knew about this movie was that the cast was really cool and Ron Perlman wears drag. That’s pretty much enough to spark my interest. 3,2,1… Frankie Go Boom is about normal guy, Charlie Hunnam, who has been harassed, tortured, and embarrassed by his brother his entire life on camera. The brother, Chris O’Dowd, has always been a screw up but seems to finally be getting his life in order. He’s out of rehab and has a new focus while Hunnam’s character has problems completing his novel and getting over his dramatic divorce. Hunnam reluctantly shows up for O’Dowd’s rehab “graduation” and things start to snow ball. He ends up meeting a hot drunken bike rider played by Lizzy Caplan. They have an awkward meeting, but end up sharing a really personal night. O’Dowd tapes this without Hunnam’s knowledge. What does this have to do with a semi-famous TV actor played awesomely by Chris Noth? I don’t want to spoil it. The cast of this movie rocked all around. Hunnam is most famous for “Sons of Anarchy” and to comedy nerds and on a lesser extend “Undecided”. Chris O’Dowd had a few funny roles in movies like “Bridesmaids”, but his best stuff was on the British sitcom “IT Crowd”. I’m a HUGE fan of both guys. It’s interesting they’re playing American brothers, but they do it pretty well. Their parents are Nora Dunn and Sam Anderson. O’Dowd’s girlfriend in the movie is played by Whitney Cummings. She’s kind of gross in it, but really funny in an abrasive way. If anything she was a little underutilized. When is Lizzy Caplan going to get her own starring roles in these kinds of indie comedies? She’s one of the most underrated young comedic actresses out there. The big shocker in this movie is Ron Perlman. He plays “Phyllis”, a tranny who O’Dowd made friends with in jail. It is a bit of a mind blower to see this mountain of a main to wear the drag and make what would typically be an odd-ball “look at me!” type of camera into a very fun contribution to the story, tone, and flow of the movie. That’s all on the subtle craziness that is Ron Perlman. Being a “Sons” fan, it’s crazy to see “Jax” as a normal guy smoke a bowl with “Clay” while in drag, but not before showing off his absent penis. Yeah, I don’t get to type THAT sentence every day. This movie is not going to blow anyone away, but it’s still a fun ride. I can imagine this movie showing up on basic cable in the afternoons or just on cable a lot. That’s where people are going to catch this movie and that’s where people are going to tell their friends to go to see it. This movie is just too enjoyable and likeable to not find a long term audience. I’d watch it again and I’d recommend it to anyone who likes off-beat comedies. B+




“LINCOLN”
Shut up world! Daniel Day-Lewis is acting! Daniel Day-Lewis is easily one of the best actors of all time. He transforms himself in every role I’ve seen him in. He’s a true artist and makes any good movie great. A Steven Spielberg directed bio-pic of America’s 16th President Abraham Lincoln is going to be great. We know this because Spielberg doesn’t mess around with shitty movies and who doesn’t love Abraham Lincoln? I’d watch that movie if “The Situation” was cast as Honest Abe. Thankfully I don’t have to prove my honesty and they cast Daniel Day-Lewis instead. Then we sprinkle in the rest of the cast made up of Sally Field, David Strathairn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Spader, Hal Holbrook and Tommy Lee Jones. It’s an all-star cast, all-star director, and an all-star story subject. It’s not too big of a shocking prediction, but this movie is obviously going to clean up come award season.



That’s #318. This one was a bit rough to get through. I’d like to say that I’m not upset that I spent all of that time with the Toadies, but it was a let-down. It just kept going and going. If you like them, awesome. I couldn’t find more than a song or two that I’d like to ever listen to again. Next week I’m going to check out the album covers of Britney Spears. She has had a lot of attention based on her videos and her image, but do her actual album covers match up? Next week we find out! From there is Thanksgiving where we celebrate family values and kindness with the Videography of Eazy-E! Until next time… Have a Great Week!

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Mikey MiGo

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