I am sure we have all played this game. Stranded on a desert island, or anywhere remote without anyone to save you. The five albums that you would take with you. It is not a very realistic game; what would you play the albums on? Where would you get the power to run the device? Rules are kind of stupid, so let’s ignore them and play anyways. These albums mean different things to me, fond memories, times in my life. So here in no particular order here are the five albums I would pack if I was ever to become a castaway.


GUNS ‘N ROSES – APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION (Geffen 1987) You would hard pressed to find a better hard record than this beauty. No other album brings back as many fond memories of growing up than Appetite. The attitude and bite of this debut is unrivaled. If you are between the ages of 35-45, you probably know the words to every song on the album. Also, this is the first time I remember hearing the word ‘fuck’ on a rock song. I have probably owned this album ten times over.


QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE – LULLABIES TO PARALYZE (Interscope 2005)  It was hard to choose the QOTSA album that I would have on a desert island. I love them all, but a decision had to made. I chose Lullabies because it was the record that blends the bands raw desert rock background with the new wave type sound they have adopted for their last two albums. This is also the last album that Mark Lanegan has a large contribution on, as well as the debut of drummer Joey Castillo and multi-instrumentalist Troy Van Leeuwen.

Angel Dust

FAITH NO MORE – ANGEL DUST (Slash 1992)  Faith No More pretty much do what they want when it comes to recording albums, and it works so well on this one. Angel Dust is beautiful and ugly, complex and simple, accessible and confounding all at the same time. This was Mike Patton’s first real contribution to writing songs with the band, and it shows brilliantly. If you took almost every style of music you could think of, put it in a blender and mixed it up, you would end up with Angel Dust. RV is one of my favorite songs ever. Also, the album artwork, inside and out, is amazing and disturbing.


SLEEP – DOPESMOKER (Tee Pee 2003)  Not be confused with the album Jerusalem, which was released in 1999, chopped into multiple tracks and released without the bands input or permission. Dopesmoker is a titan, with the title track timing in at 63:31. This is Sleeps final album as a band, even though they released a single last year. This is a powerful, slow, heavy prophecy of doom, delivered by the high council of “stoner metal”. The only thing that would top listening to this on a lonely island would be to have Sleep perform. I also have a soft spot for this album because guitarist Matt Pike a guitar giant, and one of my favorites.


Mark Lanegan – Bubblegum (Beggars Banquet 2004)  I’m not sure what about this album that draws me in. It could be because Bubblegum is perfectly flawed, and from the heart. Lanegan’s gruff, soulful voice seems to make the songs have more meaning (see Tom Waits). The album features a long list of guest contributors featuring the talents of P.J. Harvey, Joshua Homme, Nick Oliveri, and Alan Johannes. A very dark, intimate record, but beautifully crafted. It is also one of the CDs I go to when driving on the highway.


SOL INVICTUS…I Have not lost my FAITH (No More)

fnmsolinvictushero-830x350When I heard there would be a new Faith No More album in 2015, I got pretty excited. New music from one of my favorites for the first time in 18 years? Sign me up. I was 21 when Album Of The Year was released. I am now 39, and music has changed dramatically. These days, you would be hard pressed to find a band that can throw five or six genres into a pot, stir it up, reduce it down, and feed you a delicious musical entrée. Faith No More were gold seal chefs back in the day. Angel Dust is one of my top ten albums of all time, and never gets cycled from my iPod playlist. These were the reasons that I was afraid a new FNM album would feel out-of-place in today’s auditory landscape. Could they be the funk/metal/alternative/experimental kings they were 2 decades ago? Edgy, creative, but still accessible? I really hoped so. They deserve to be heralded and discovered by a new generation of listeners. So the year went by. Two singles were released; Motherfucker and Superhero, two tasty appetizers to hold us over until the main course was served up on the 19th of May. I bought the album, listened to it 3 or 4 times ( a really short run time of just under 40 min), took a breath and smiled. Faith No More has returned, and they are still amazing all these years later. Here are my thoughts on each track…

Sol Invictus (2:37) – This song is perfect to kick off the album. Almost has the feel of a war cry. Each instrument fits, creating almost dream like imagery.

Superhero (5:15) – This song is an example of why I love this band. Aggressive, but beautifully arranged, and Mike Patton really shows off his incredible range. “Leader of men – get back in your cage”. Indeed!

Sunny Side Up (2:59) – This one harkens back to “RV”, the track from Angel Dust. Greasy, yet there is something uplifting here. The chorus hooked me right away. Maybe my favorite off the album.

Separation Anxiety (3:44) – A chugging, eerie track that bursts into a huge chorus. Mike Patton’s frantic lyrics and vocals are perfect.

Cone of Shame (4:40) – Plays of like an inner dialogue from an old Spaghetti western. Probably the most “rock” song on the album.

Rise of the Fall (4:09) – This is where keyboard player Roddy Bottum shines. Only this band could pull off a synth hook that sounds like your be in a French bistro, and not only have it fit, but make the song sound like it would not be complete without it. Great track.

Black Friday (3:19) –  A little folk dance number done FNM style. Seems like it could be an ode to the American tradition of mall riots and over spending that takes place on the day after U.S. Thanksgiving.

Motherfucker (3:33) – This was sort of released as the first single for Sol Invictus. Starts out very minimalist, then swirls into a beautiful shit storm, then back down to a dull roar.

Matador (6:09) – This one reminds me a lot of an early song by Alice Cooper called Steven. A lush and haunting song, perfectly placed near the end of album. The longest song on the record and easily the most epic.

From The Dead (3:06) – Mike Patton’s lyrics make this one sound like an ode to Faith No More’s resurgence and return “From The Dead”. A beautiful song to end Sol Invictus, complete with nice harmonizing and some slide guitar.

To be honest, anyone of these songs would have fit in perfectly with anyone of FNM’s albums. The band sounds great, but Patton is the star of the show. His voice is an instrument all unto its own. His voice is still incredible, this band is still incredible, and they have not changed at all.  And that my friends, is a good thing.

Sol Invictus * Reclamation Records / Ipecac * Vulcan Studios Oakland, CA * Produced by Billy Gould