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BBMak – Into Your Head

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BBMak
Artist: BBMak
Title: Into Your Head
Label: Hollywood
Rating: 5.5/10

Bbmak exploded from the UK to America with a handful of hit singles on their freshman release. Can they do it again with Into Your Head?

HOT:
“Out Of My Heart” – Will set the girls’ hearts aflutter.
“Staring Into Space” – Great melody, sure to take radio by storm.

MILD:
“Sympathy” – The only ballad that is worth your time.
“She’s Everything” – Worth a listen.
“Get You Through the Night” – Kind of dry.
“After All Is Said And Done” – They can sing, there is no doubt, but this song goes nowhere.
“I Still Believe” and “The Beginning”– A whole lot of fluff.

COLD:
“Run Away”

Unfortunate, but it seems that BBmak have not evolved. The record sounds like they’ve listened to a lot of Journey and bands of that ilk. Not good. BBmak started out strong with the first two tracks, but it goes downhill from there.

+ rae gun

BBMak – Interview 2002

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BBMak

Interview: Christian

How long did it take to put the new record together?

We started to write the new album last year and started recording January this year and spent about six months.

How did you find the pressure?

Before we started writing we did feel pressure because of the success of the first record. One of the first songs that we wrote was “Out Of My Heart” which is the first single. As soon as we wrote that, we knew we just set the standard and every other song had to be as good if not better. We got on a roll after that and wrote about forty songs and kept the best ten songs.

The last record didn’t have any filler, was that your aim with the new record?

Yeah. I hate it when you buy a record for the single and find out that is the only good song on the album. That is why we spend so much time writing the album because we want each song to be as good as the single.

You guys were originally afraid you wouldn’t break out of the boy band thing, but you did successfully.

We were worried about that because there were a lot of bands out and at the time they were huge like NSYNC, but we knew we were different. We were young guys, but we didn’t dance and we played instruments. I think fans finally got the idea that we were different. We are pop music, which means popular and that is what we do.

Or else if the Beatles came out today they’d be compared the same.

(Laughs) Yeah. Four young guys who sing.

It seems that another reason why you guys were so popular was because of your relentless work ethic.

I’m a firm believer that if you work hard you get results. We weren’t going to sell a million albums if we just released a single and disappeared. We came here in January of 2000 and we didn’t go home for a year. We did promotion, tours and the album went platinum. We were pleased. We believe the new album is better than the first. There was pressure, but we strongly believe this is the best record we could make.

What is the feeling now coming back knowing people will recognize you?

It’s cool; when we had the first album we were worried because no one knew us. Radio and others like MTV took chances on the songs and we became hits. The best thing we could do is writing a great album.

Did you have to fight to keep your image?

Some record labels want to package you in a certain way and we didn’t want that. Once the record company saw we had some substance and were not a one hit wonder. They got 100% behind us.

How much has your day to day changed?

You don’t get to see your family and friends. You don’t get home as much as you might like. When we get time off we go home. Say we get two weeks off, the first week we spend chilling out and the second week we are going up the wall because we are bored. We want to get back on the road. It’s all a part of being in a band and we love it.

Is it harder or easier to meet people now?

If someone recognizes you some will come and talk to you like a regular person which is cool and then there are some who are afraid to talk to you because they see you on tv and they think you think you are something special. I’m just a regular person, its just what I do for a living is a bit different.

How do you deal with the girls screaming? I know every guy thinks it’s the greatest thing.

It’s great. Going on stage and seeing that is overwhelming. Especially when you see a crowd of people singing your song. It’s amazing. It’s a feeling everyone should have a chance to feel.

Did the last record accede everything you ever expected?

Totally. The thing about BBMak was it wasn’t an overnight success. The first year we had no money and we played crummy gigs in England. It wasn’t a bed of roses, some hated us and some liked us. But our song writing got better and got more confident. We finally got our record deal in 1998 in the UK. It’s been a long slow road. The good thing about that is it keeps us grounded. You see a lot of bands thrown together and within four months they have a hit and everyone is telling them they are amazing. They start to believe it. They don’t have anyone to tell them it’s a slow process and things should take longer. It took us six years. We got here because of our hard work.

What is your impression about the shows were they trying to find these stars?

Those talent shows are entertaining, but as soon as you find the idol they are famous straight away and not for working hard. They are just thrown in the spotlight. I’m sure it can be daunting to be taken off the street and then on every magazine cover. If they don’t have a strong background it can really mess some people up.

Did you set a date to write the new record?

We wrote on the road. We haven’t had a single out in over a year, we toured last year with NSYNC and after that we had to do promotion in Europe. We didn’t really have much time off. So, when we did finally get time off last August we just started writing and going through songs that we wrote on the road. Finally in January we started picking songs.

When you are working on the songs, are you doing it all at once?

We have no rules. One of us might have written a whole song, but it might be lacking a bridge. We’ll sit down and write the bridge or add some melody. It’s always different. We found that we’ve been inspired by different things. I wrote “Love On The Outside” in a peculiar place. I was in the bathroom on a plane coming back to the U.S. from Japan and I recorded it on my Dictaphone tape recorder. So we always believe when you are inspired you should just go with it.

Do you hear new songs and right away you know its good or are you hard on yourself?

You have to be critical. When we narrowed it down, we might have had personal favorites. It comes to a majority vote. If we all liked it, then we knew it was a good song. If only one of us liked it then it’s okay. We wanted songs that the public would really like.

What is it like to see fans singing and knowing every word?

It’s the greatest. It’s what you dream about.

+ charlie craine

Silverchair – Diorama

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Silverchair
Artist: Silverchair
Title: Diorama
Label: Atlantic
Rating: 8/10

Silverchair is back with a new label and it sounds like a new look on life. Gone is the grinding grunge sound and here is the crisper, clearer, and more mature Silverchair where Neon Ballroom almost reached.

Strong:
“Tuna In The Brine” and “Luv Your Life” – Bigger sound that echoes in a way we haven’t heard from them before.
“Across The Night” – One of the simplest and best songs offered by Silverchair yet.
“The Greatest View” and “After All These Years” – Again nothing more powerful than a track that sucks you in on melody alone.
“Too Much Of Not Enough” – Rocks!
“World Upon Your Shoulders” – Deeper, and certainly a better shade of Silverchair.

In the middle:
“Without You” – This ballad is a bit flaccid.
“One Way Mule” – They want to prove they can still rock, well they can, but this track goes no where.

Weak:
Nothing.

Silverchair may now come off as sappy and too gentle after a career of anger and bittersweet rock. Perhaps I’m a sucker for the sound, but I prefer the more mature Silverchair. Enjoy.

+ rae gun

Queens of the Stone Age – Songs for the Deaf

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Queens of the Stone Age
Artist: Queens of the Stone Age
Title: Songs for the Deaf
Label: Interscope
Rating: 9/10

The Queens Of The Stone Age are back and they’ve brought Foo Fighter frontman Dave Grohl along for the ride from behind the drum kit.

Holy Sh*t:
“Go With The Flow” – Brilliant.
“You Think I Ain’t Worth A Dollar, But I feel Like A Millionaire” – As interesting as any rock track you’ve heard in a long, long time. Give me some more!
“Hanging Tree” – They know how to make dark delicious.
“No One Knows” – Great riff and where can you find a better track to bob your head and sing along to?
“Do It Again” – Between the grand hook and the schizophrenic riff this will have you spinning.
“Gonna Leave You” – Accessible doesn’t mean bad, here it means great.

D*mn Good:
“First It Giveth” – Very simple, but still damn good.
“Song For The Dead” and “The Sky Is Falling” – An eerie jam.

Bored Sh*tless:
If you find yourself bored you are an idiot.

Songs For The Deaf is one of the best rock records, if not the best that you’ll hear all year.

+ rae gun

Jimmy Fallon – The Bathroom Wall

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Jimmy Fallon
Artist: Jimmy Fallon
Title: The Bathroom Wall
Label: Dreamworks
Rating: 7.5/10

You know Jimmy Fallon from Saturday Night Live. He does the news, occasionally sings songs and makes you laugh more than anyone else on a Saturday night. Well he’s got a cd with a couple songs that are lacking, but the stand up completely makes up for it.

Stand outs:
“Troll Doll Jingles” – Need a reason to buy this record? This is the song. The Troll jingles by 4 Non Blondes, U2, Counting Crows, and Dave Matthews will have you on the floor holding your gut.
“Hammertime” – This has to be heard to even understand. I laughed so hard my jaw ached.
“Troll Doll” – Hilarious dialogue and Fallon does a dead on impression of Travolta, Seinfeld, and Gilbert Godfred.
“Chris Rock Was My RA” – Speaking of hilarious impressions, Fallon has Chris Rock down.

Hear it once:
“Drinking In The Woods” – Country is good for Jimmy. Anyone that has lived in the sticks can relate to this funny track.

Skip it:
“Idiot Boyfriend” – His singing is supposed to be funny, well it’s not.
“(I Can’t Play) Basketball” – Hip-hop is not his strength.
“Road Rage” and “Snowball” – Songs that aren’t very funny.

Jimmy Fallon is hilarious when doing a routine, but his original songs aren’t up to par.

+ rae gun

Aimee Mann- Lost In Space

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Aimee Mann
Artist: Aimee Mann
Title: Lost In Space
Label: Superego
Rating: 9/10

Aimee Mann is who she is; a hidden gem that the rest of the music listening world haven’t happened upon, thankfully. If you don’t know Aimee Mann’s music then you are Lost In Space.

Gold:
“Humpty Dumpty” – A divine song that seems to have fallen from a place further than our stratosphere.

“Pavlov’s Bell” – How she worked Pavlov into a song is beyond me. But between the riff that strikes right through the chorus and the spirit that marches along it just gets you giddy.

“High On Sunday 51” – Is she for real? This is what music should sound like.

“It’s Not” – “So here I am sitting in my car at the same old stop light/ I keep waiting for a change but I don’t know what”. Brilliant.

“Guys Like Me” – Mann is the queen of biting tracks that still sound as potent and truthful as if she left the bite behind.

“Today’s The Day” – Bright and brilliant.

Silver:
“Lost In Space” – “I’m pretending to care/ like I’m not even there”. Ouch.

Bronze:
Aimee Mann always comes in on top.

Aimee Mann stands tall above most music that arrives on my desk. She has a prowess with a pen and voice that takes hold of you. Lost In Space is another in the line of Aimee Mann masterpieces.

+ charlie craine

3rd Storee – Interview

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3rd storee

A chat with the group: 3rd Storee

How’s everything going?

Everyone: Great! We’re having a blast!

How was the Usher tour?

Jay-R: It was awesome. The best. Man we had Usher, Nas, and more folks, it was just an all-star lineup. It was crazy.

Did you pick up any moves?

J’son: Usher is off the hook. He is dynamic. The good thing about Usher is that he’d give ‘em something new every night. So we’d borrow some things and not tell him. (everyone laughs)

What were you doing to get signed?

Kevontay: The group, Jay-R, Dehart, and myself have been friends for a long time, since junior high. We sang back then and got serious about it we picked up J’son, we knew him for about five years. He was all over it and jumped aboard. We got Gavin’s demo through a friend of ours who gave it to our manager. We loved his voice and about a week later he was in the group and we’ve been together for three years.

How long have you been working on the songs?

Jay-R: Some of the tracks have been around for a minute. I’d say it took us about eight months to record them.

How long did it take to blend your voices?

J’son: That takes everyday practice because you can’t get good enough. We rehearse about eight hours a day.

How did you get ready for going on the road?

D-Smoove: We had a chance to get ready by doing a high school promo tour. That got us prepared. People would give us pointers about transferring that to a show like Usher’s. We work with a choreographer, but we knew what we had to do and we got serious.

How much of a difference was it from stepping out in front of a high school audience and then into an arena?

J’son: I guess one of the adjustments you had to make is with your eyes. In high schools, its fifty feet deep and at arenas, man, you’re looking out over the length of a football field. (Laughs) But it’s beautiful. The crowds, man, they’ve been great. They gave us a lot of love. We did get some people who were like ‘who are these guys?’

What was the first thing that went through your mind when you walked on stage that first time?

J’son: Man, it was raining hard when we first got on tour. The first three days were terrible, there was so much rain on stage and we had on leather and we were on our knees and we were slipping and sliding. Then we had some sweltering heat. Then the rain fell down again and the heat never let up. (everyone laughs)

D-Smoove: I kept hoping no one would pass out. (everyone laughs)

J’son: We were drowning and suffocating at the same time.

Were you on a tour bus?

Jay-R: We had a really nice tour bus.

What did you do to pass the time on the road?

Everyone: Play video games.

What was the game of choice?

Kevontay: Xbox.

Everyone: Dead or Alive 3.

Ever play Grand Theft Auto?

Everyone: Awww yeah. That is dope.

D-Smoove: I got all the secrets. (everyone laughs)

When fans get the album what do you hope they come away with?

Kevontay: I hope they like it. (everyone laughs)

D-Smoove: Yeah, because if they don’t then they’ll tell ten people, and then they’ll tell ten people.

J’son: I hope they wonder if we can dance.

Kevontay: I hope they get the message in the songs too. We don’t just sing about hot girls. Most of our songs are giving advice and trying to help.

What records influenced you growing up?

Jay-R: A lot of Jackson Five and New Edition records.

J’son: Funny you asked that. I had an album that was in my head for the longest time. Ever hear of an artist named Quinton?

No.

J’son: That’s okay, a lot of people haven’t. (laughs) Also Destiny’s Child.

D-Smoove: Dru Hill.

What are your dreams for the future?

Jay-R: That our message gets out there and hopefully we can have some nice success and enjoy the life.

Kevontay: We hope to help our families and help others like they have helped us. Someone took a chance on us, and one day we will be in the position to give someone else the chance.

+ charlie craine

Simone

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Simone
Cast: Al Pacino
Studio: New Line
Rating: 6/10

The Film Studio Synopsis: The career of a disillusioned producer, who is desperate for a hit, is endangered when his star walks off the film set. Forced to think fast, the producer decides to digitally create an actress “Simone” to sub for the star–the first totally believable synthetic actress. The “actress” becomes an overnight sensation, with a major singing career as well, and everyone thinks she’s a real person. However, as Simone’s fame skyrockets, he cannot bear to admit his fraud to himself or the world.

The Good: The concept is quite good and gets off to a great start.

The Bad: Everything after the film gets off to its great start. It falls flat even though Pacino hits his part out of the ballpark. The end drops off completely.

Frankly: Writer/Director Andrew Niccol could have made his point simply that Hollywood is dying a slow death of its stars and anything real. But he has to keep at it just in case we haven’t figured it out. If you get hit once you feel it and learn, but when you get hit ten or so times you start to get pretty damn annoyed.

+ charlie craine

Undisputed

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Undisputed
Cast: Ving Rhames
Studio: Miramax
Rating: 5/10

The Film Studio Synopsis: A heavyweight-boxing champ is accused of raping a woman and sent to prison. There he faces the prison-boxing champ.

The Good: Ving Rhames, although his character is too predictable. Nothing else.

The Bad: The entire movie builds up to the fight between Rhames and Snipes. You would expect that the fight would be the most exciting moment in the film. It’s not. In a film that is already pretty boring that’s saying a lot about a little.

Frankly: Is Wesley Snipes in this movie? Yes, but barely which begs the question, are we supposed to care about whether his character wins or loses? No we don’t.

+ charlie craine

Silverchair – Interview [2002]

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Silverchair

Interview: Silverchair
Subject: Bassist Chris Joannou

I heard about Daniel’s [Johns, lead singer] condition. How is he doing?

It’s kind of a slow process, but he is on the straight and narrow now, hopefully.

The first thing that came to mind when I heard the record is how much musical growth you guys make album to album. Does that reflect personal growth as well?

Daniel’s songwriting is growing in leaps and bounds so it’s a challenge for me and Ben [Gillies, drums] to pull it off. All of us have come a long way as musicians.

What’s it like to be surrounded by the string sections?

When Van Dyke Parks came in, I never heard of him before, they started rattling off songs he had done and I was like ‘wow, I heard of those before’. So I was like ‘why does he want to work on our recording?’ (Laughs) But the guy is a genius with his arrangements. We knew the songs would start as a three piece but when it all came together it was amazing.

On Neon Ballroom it seemed like a considerable step forward, but it didn’t go over well in America. It obviously wasn’t a concern because this record continues where Neon Ballroom left off, but was there some apprehension about the direction you took?

What we’ve always done was to not stick with one style. Like “Tuna In The Brine” could have been on any of our records. We like diversity, but really we want to keep music interesting for ourselves, and everyone who is listening.

I know Daniel brings a lot to the table in the early process, what was this process like?

Daniel had a lot of demos with the songs pretty much completed. It was a matter of working it out and making [each song] the bands. David Bottrill came in and produced and that was the biggest help. One day he’d come in and fiddle with a song and it could change ten times before it was right. We’d burn a cd after ever session and then the song would change again the next day.

What do you think when Daniel brings a song in?

I don’t think there was one song that he brought in where I didn’t go ‘wow’.

You guys are younger than most bands that are just starting today, but you have four albums under your belt. What is it like being at a point where you can do what you want?

I’m just glad we can just make music and not worry about it. I’m still happy to be able to still make music with the same blokes I went to high school with.

What is it like meeting groups who are older, but newer?

I never really thought about it. (Laughs) We just got lucky to have done it so young.

Do groups ever ask your advice?

We do get asked for our advice, but we usually tell them to keep chipping away. We really played wherever we could and kept working.

What is life like at home?

It’s pretty cool. I’m probably a lot more fortunate than Daniel. His life gets pried into more than Ben and myself. I’m glad I can kind of carry on with out anyone bothering me, but Daniel does get a lot of crap.

What do you do to keep busy?

After we got out of the studio we went to a rehearsal room, with two keyboardists, and were rehearsing right up until the point where we were to go on tour. It’s only been the last couple of weeks where we’ve been sitting around going ‘oh boy’. It’s a little disappointing that poor Daniel has this arthritis thing.

Is it something that he’ll totally recover from and never have problems with again?

They say once you have had it that its really unlikely that It’ll ever come back. The poor bugger just has to knock it on the head right now. It could take one month or twelve month. We just want him to recover.

What do you look forward to most when touring?

You work hard in the studio to get the songs done so that you can tour. It all comes down to touring. There is nothing better than getting out there and playing your songs. That is where I get the most joy.

When you first toured, you were pretty much kids, what was that experience like?

We did little tours in Australia, but our first overseas trip was my first trip out of the country. I was like ‘wow!’ We had a ball. Our eyes were wide open the whole time.

Were you to young to realize how big it was?

I think there was a bit of everything. It was more than we imagined or dreamed of. It took a little while to sink in.

What do you think about kids coming up in music and list you guys as influences?

That is a weird one because for a long time everyone wanted to know who are interests were. It’s cool.

What are you listening to right now?

I was listening to a funny one in the car today; San Francisco psychedelic like Canned Heat.

Do you listen to a lot of different things?

I can go from that to Marvin Gaye to David Bowie to Angie Stone.

What are you hopes and dreams for the future?

I just hope we can keep making music. I just want to keep this thing going even if its not a huge success. Just the joy we get out of making music with the guys you went to high school is amazing.

+ charlie craine