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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Flowerhead - ...ka BLOOM!~, The People's Fuzz*

Band: Flowerhead
Album: ...ka BLOOM!~, The Peoples Fuzz*
Year: 1992~, 1995*
Style: Alternative
Similar Bands: Ugly Kid Joe, Animal Bag, Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins
"One-Word" Review: Classic-psych-jam-rock-alternativly-reborn
Based Out Of: Austin, Texas
Label: Zoo Entertainment, BMG
...ka BLOOM! - Cover, CD
...ka BLOOM! - Inside, Back
...ka BLOOM! - Liner Notes
The People's Fuzz - Cover Fold Out
The People's Fuzz - Liner Notes, CD & Back

...ka BLOOM! (1992)~
  1. Acid Reign 5:07
  2. All Along The Way 2:50
  3. Thunderjeep 5:51
  4. Snagglepuss 5:44
  5. Everything Is Beautiful 3:30
  6. Oh Shane 7:22
  7. What?! 3:46
  8. Coffee 6:40
  9. Sunflower 5:18
The People's Fuzz (1995)*
  1. Words To You 4:46
  2. No Meaning 3:33
  3. Arise 3:51
  4. Circles 4:54
  5. Captain Cosmo's Carousel 4:40
  6. Happy 5:56
  7. Overdrive 3:25
  8. Cows 4:22
  9. Hold Me Up 4:03
  10. Sky High 3:41
  11. Trip Around the World 3:16
Album Rating (1-10): ~ - 6.0
* - 6.0

Members & Other Bands:
Eric Faust - Vox, Bass, Goofballs, Asst Mixing~*
Pete Levine - Drums, High Vox, Jonesin~
Eric Schmitz - Guitar, Vox, Grungecake~* (Cedar Park)
Buz Zoller - Guitar, Wah-Wha, Good-Cheer~*
Brian Anderson - Engineered~
Steve Marker - Engineered~
Jim Wilson - Asst Engineer~
Lou Giordano - Mixed~
Tommy "Toad" Bender - Asst. Mix~
Jack Skinner - Mastering~
Pauli Ryan - Addl Percussion~
Leslie Aldredge - Managment~
William Berrol Esq - Legal~
Scott Byron - A&R~*
Merlyn Rosenberg - Photography~
Robbie Adams - Producer, Mix, Recording*
Mick "Rockguy" Stearn - Asst Mixing*
Jim Wilson - Mix*
Steve "Stinky" Starnes - Asst Mix*
"Shoeless" Joe Barnes - Asst Mix*
Dave Collins - Mastering*
Kyle Thomas - Drums, Vox* (Course of Empire, Rev. Horton Heat)
Danny Levin - Fiddle* (Asleep at the Wheel)
K. Lee Hammond - Art Direction*
Mitch Greenblatt - Cover Sculpture*
Jeff Bender - Photography*
Scott Robinson - Management*
Scott Clayton - Booking*

Unknown-ness: I’ve had both of their albums on my shelf for a good many years, but I don’t recall how the songs go. From the looks of the first albums artwork, the song lengths, and last but not least, the name, I would bet that the music is going to be hippy psyche jam band songs. Something like Blind Melon perhaps. But the second album looks a bit more professionally done, but it looks like they’ve stepped away from the psych look, and are leaning toward a grungy low brow, hill-billy audience. The songs are shorter, so perhaps this will be a refine step in their growth. Or perhaps not. Either way, this is the prime time that alternative music thrived, so I can only look back at this as some sort of time capsule, one which I’ll never know why I bought (their second album it would seem that I got from BMG music club, I was a member of them & Columbia house)

Album Review: ~The CD opens up with “Acid Reign” featuring psychedelic bass, and launches into grungy fuzz along with trippy double layered vocals. This is updated 60’s psych-rock to the alternative age. Loud soaring guitar solos dot the soundscape. It feels like one complete headbanging mix, devoid of any verse/chorus structure, where the guitar solos take the place of the chorus. “All Along The Way” bursts out with heavy metal-like guitars, and even a metal-like scream. Then the guitars transform into a catchy melody, and the vocals are kinda spoken in the same way that Ugly Kid Joe used. “Thunderjeep” is a sleepy, stoner rock song, trying to recapture Led Zeppelin as filtered through Seattle Rock. A bit like early Pearl Jam, but everything was moving in that direction then. After about 2 minutes, the song picks up into an emotional rant. It is less nasally but similar to Billy Corgan. But the music is much more classic rock. Chugging guitars start off “Snagglepuss” a catchy whiny guitar is applied next, and reserved melodic vocals slightly distorted begin. This song represents power hard rock, slightly progressive even. It has a good groove to it, and feels like a well constructed and solid song. “Everything Is Beautiful” carried the strong melodically sung themes of the last song, with a slightly more driving and faster pace. The lead guitar sounds like they are directly from mega man. This is very much like a video game song with words. Thinking about it like that gives it an increased appreciation of the song. It is not too bad of a song in general, but the quickness and organization of the song are appealing.

“Oh Shane” is a long jammy jam song, right from the beginning, I can hear how the guitars and drumming will work together to drag this song out, which it will, cause it is over 7 min long. This is the kinda song that urges the listener to udder, just kill me now, or give me drugs. The vocals are very sedated, and the syllables are drawn out. Even the drums feel like they are falling asleep as they are played. And just when you think it is gonna end, there guitar plays in a jam-loop, and there are still 2 minutes left. “What?!” brings the album back to a power-metal-pop genre. The vocals sound terrible in the song, somewhat off key, as they are an odd sounding shout-singing style. “Coffee” enters with bass and some low level feedback. Then the slow monotonous jammy-classic rock style begins the nearly 7 minute song. The vocals are not as sedated as the other jammy songs, but you can tell it is in for the long haul, conserving energy and not exerting itself above or below a standard range. There is a spacey, vocals only section before the metal guitars pick back up, around 4 min in. The song just never gets that interesting…the parts all come together to the end, and the pace seems to pick up, but it flounders as the vocals are added. It winds down and ends with distortion. “Sunflower” has a funky bass and repetitive guitar strum. The track says it is over 19 min long, but perhaps that is the popular concept of the time of a “hidden” track. There is a chorus used in the background for small sections, and the vocals feel like they possess drive and purpose here. The tempo is slow and steady and hand claps are added as the song feels like it is winding down. The lyrics include “praise the lord,” what do we have here, then? It ends at 4:40, so what is there between now and the hidden track, when does it start, and is it actually music…around 5:20 some noise and distortion comes on followed by grumblings and slide guitar sounds. You have to turn the volume all the way up to hear it, though. The guitar turns into whining guitar, drums play haphazardly, and wind effects are layered over top of the track. It sounds like a bad Fantomas track. This is a waste of time…don’t listen through the end of “Sunflower.”

*Their second album starts with “Words To You.” It feels like another fuzzed out trippy song, continuing in the same vein of the first album’s style. I think I remember this song from whenever I must have got it. It is kind of catchy, for the slacker-rock that Alternative music was…a bit Billy Corgan, but not as creative. But it definitely shows improvement from the first record. “No Meaning” fades in with the typical grungy guitar sound, nasally vocals and a sing-song chorus. He really sounds more like Corgan here. The sea shanty keyboards begin the song “Arise.” It is a drinking song for the early morning. There are odd whispering underlayed vocals. It has a sleepy head nodding prog feel. The prog feel continues on “Circles,” and the vocals have deep liquid reverb. The song transforms into something that feels like country bar room rock. And I can only imagine “Captain Cosmo's Carousel” to be some Nemo-Genesis type music. It begins prog enough, but it continues as a slower groove, feeling like everything that was bad about radio-alternative music of the 90’s (like “Counting Blue Cars” and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”) It is not even that carnivally, and ends with like 25 seconds of pointless noise. “Happy” has swirling effects on the guitars, sounding like Buckingham green or many SFA songs. The bold, but nasally vocals enter and are harmonized in certain areas, and the slow groove progresses. It picks up a little bit and launches into more upbeat and alternative style. And like these guys usually do, just as it seems to be ending, it continues for another minute or so.

“Overdrive” has a fuzzy bass intro and is somewhat driving, but I’d dare say it is overdriving. It sounds a bit like Soul Asylum. It has a very basic structure of verse and chorus, but it is just not very interesting. “Cows” is a funky country bounce song. The vocals are gruff and nasally, and are really trying to be more country than they can be. Although the band is from Austin. From the chorus’s standpoint, this is the kind of song a friend’s band used to play, and luckily I never had to see them. Without much pause, “Hold Me Up” starts with an electric guitar hook, and dark vocals. It is tedious and has no redeeming value. “Sky High” is a power pop song with a catchy hook in the chorus. The bridge is pretty bad, but not enough to ruin the song. “Trip Around the World” ends the album, and although the song length on the back of the record says 3:16, the length says 29:44 on the player. But the beginning part of the real song is pretty upbeat (almost motowny) and the chorus sounds like a verse from the Scooby Doo song: “And Scooby Doo if you come through you're gonna have yourself a scooby snack! That's a fact.” It does end at 3:15, then clanky and jingly sound effects fill a few seconds, and the record falls silent for a few seconds before more insect/car-alarm like effects begin quietly around 4 min & last until 11 min. More effects appear scattered throughout the rest of the filler time. This time I skipped ahead, not listening to it completely. Again, it would have been a waste of time.

Stand Out Track: ~ Everthing is Beautiful

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