Tag Archives: Soundgarden

Louder Than Love

After building up a big buzz on the independent Sub Pop and SST labels, Louder Than Love, the band’s major label debut, again saw this Seattle quartet worshipping at the dual altars of hard rock deities Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, as the dirge-like guitar lines attest. The production is better this time, though, and standout tracks such as “Ugly Truth,” “Hands All Over,” and “Loud Love” all showed the promise that Soundgarden would later fulfill in becoming one of the best hard rock bands of the ‘90s.

The band immediately delivers the goods with “Ugly Truth,” a chugging metal missile led by Kim Thayil’s bold riffing and Chris Cornell’s instantly awe-inspiring vocal wail. The swirling wall of sound on “Hands All Over” hypnotizes the listener, showing off the band’s sense of dynamics by presenting a nice mix of light (bright melodic riffs) and dark (Cornell’s wail from beyond and “kill your mother” lyrics) elements, while “Loud Love” offers the best evidence of the band’s primordial power. Though none of the other rather one-dimensional and at-times lumbering songs rise quite so high, this is a consistently solid set that’s much slower and sludgier than its subsequent big brothers. Of course, it’s also less polished and together sounding, as some of the music here fails to mesh well with Cornell’s histrionic vocals.

Also, though Cornell demonstrates pipes to kill for he hadn’t yet learned the value of restraint, and the band’s sound had yet to coalesce into the sleek powerhouse they would soon become. Other notable tracks include “Get On The Snake,” an impressive (and comparatively lively) grinder, and “Big Dumb Sex,” which is as deliberately dumb (and fun) as its title would suggest. The funny, punkish “Full On Kevin’s Mom” also shows Soundgarden starting to get the hang of this irony thing, but the band are definitely at their best when showing their more serious side. Still, for all its considerable strengths (clearly this was the band’s best effort yet), Louder Than Love is more an appealing appetizer for future breakthroughs than an essential Soundgarden release.

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Ultramega Ok

A continuation of the style of Screaming Life (but thankfully not Fopp), Ultraomega OK gets bogged down by its murky sound and inconsistent songwriting. Fortunately, Soundgarden’s talent shines through most of the time, though there’s not a single song in the same class as “Nothing To Say.” Unfortunately, “665” and “667” are “ironic” experiments whose best attributes are their song titles and brief running times (1:37 and :56), while bassist Hiro Yamamoto sings “Circle Of Power,” and awfully at that.

Elsewhere, the band fares much better on songs such as “Flower,” “All Your Lies,” “Beyond The Wheel,” and “Nazi Driver,” while a looser, more jam-based vibe marks songs such as “Mood For Trouble” and “He Didn’t.” In what would become Soundgarden trademarks, dirge-like attempts are interspersed with faster paced punkier numbers, but the band obviously leans far closer towards the metal side of things. Interestingly, the band covers Howlin’ Wolf’s “Smokestack Lightning,” and as could be expected the old blues song is undone by its own repetitiveness, though that’s certainly a cute Rob Halford impersonation there at the end. The band also “covers” John Lennon’s “One Minute Of Silence,” but that’s just the band being ironic again. Which only goes to show that Soundgarden are not funny, a fact that they thankfully remember for the remainder of this dirty, hard-hitting grungefest. As such, though I’d call this both their weakest and least accessible album, and therefore not the place to start for neophytes, I would still recommend it to Soundgarden fans. After all, when Soundgarden break through the murk their playing remains powerful, and it’s always cool to check out the comparatively humble beginnings of a big-time band.


Screaming Life / Fopp EPs

Combining the band’s first two EPs, Screaming Life and Fopp , these songs generally see Soundgarden finding their legs. In particular, the Fopp EP is forgettable, featuring a decent original song (“Kingdom of Come”), a good cover song (Green River’s “Swallow My Pride”), and two awful covers of the same song (“Fopp” and “Fopp (dub)”) that was originally done by the Ohio Players. Thankfully, the Screaming Life EP (totaling six songs) is much better, starting with the somewhat thin but deliciously dirty sound rendered by producer Steve Fisk (with engineering help from Sub Pop house producer Jack Endino). The songs aren’t always there, though, and the performances are hit and miss as well. For example, Chris Cornell, who would become the band’s biggest asset, all but ruins “Tears To Forget” and “Little Joe” with his horrible vocals. A shame, really, as the former has a decent punk groove and the latter melodic guitars, though they’d be better off leaving funk metal attempts to the likes of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Faith No More. Fortunately, “Entering” and “Hand Of God” suit the band’s style much better, and though neither are especially memorable from a songwriting standpoint, both feature extremely powerful playing. Better yet is “Hunted Down,” an intense grinder with an air of menace, and “Nothing To Say,” the band’s first truly classic track on which Cornell unleashes his paint peeling screeches as the guitars swirl around him. The band would get much better, but these songs prove that Soundgarden was plenty good to begin with.


Psi chapter re-activation

I remember hearing about Madison chapter being closed for quite sometime during my pledge process in 2008. So I was stoked to learn that colony was finally ready to become an active chapter in the professional fraternity of Delta Sigma Pi

I knew Cody, who was the President of all the pledges (22 in total, I think). He was able to gather good group of Business students. Much props to him how much navigated this process, starting out as a freshman.

I went with Rachel and BF (not a brother) to this event. Few other brothers (Zach, Mitch, Casey and her BF Joe (also a Brother)  from my chapter Xi Chi also joined us in. As I was standing outside the hall where pledges were suppose to have their final interview to be done, I met Kim (former VP of Great Lakes Region). Interestingly, this was my last time seeing her as words was out she was expecting. I know it will be quite a while I’ll see her next time around. So I managed to had discussion about future. She knew it that I was moving to Phoenix within two weeks. I was able to get info about Phoenix Thunderbird Alumni chapter from her. Also, I had good discussion with former Grand President, Kathy J!

..with Kim, former VP of Great Lakes Region

As I ended conversation with Kim, I spoke to Belyn who flew all the way from California to the reactivation process. Apparently, Belyn and Cody have been long time friends and she was there to support him and the colony. How cool is that! One thing I have learned being in the fraternity our brotherhood goes long ways. We’ve to stay connected to be able to help each other out. Another Brother Jacob from Georgia State University flew from Atlanta to represent the chapter. Major Major props to him. I mentioned to him that I did meet his chapter at St. Louis LEAD. Jacob was there too, but I was too much consumed with Rachael and Keayia. Hahaha

...with Belyn and Rachel

Xi Chi represent...with Mitch and Rachel

I was a bit surprised that none of the neophytes got the Purpose right. It was a bit stunning. I know everyone screws up credit and debit question. But none of neophytes got it correct in multiple tries. Perhaps nervousness finally caught up with them?

After initiation was concluded, everyone relaxed hit the bar and then to the dance in the near by club. I ended up meeting NIBs, met with Burton Bridges, 2009 COY, and lost the dance off with Dennis (newly VP of Great Lakes Region)

with Burton and Marianne

On the dance floor with Belyn.

...with Belyn, Dennis and Christine...Yeah..we rocked the dance-off party!!

All in all, a great night. Made new friends and the first experience of the reactivation of the chapter was quite amazing. Now, only event that needs to be check off from my list is, Grand Chapter Congress.

Here’s hoping I get to go to Seattle in 2013 where Grand Chapter Congress will be held. Plus, it will be a bonus to see the place, where Grunge music broke the mainstream media. I hope I get to go..I hope…I hope..


Soundgarden

August 8th, 2010 – Lollapalooza at Chicago, IL

Rumors of the demise on Chris’ vocals were greatly exaggerated. Chris does sound different. His voice when singing came across a little more horse and raspy. He can not hit all the high notes and hold them as long. But he still sounds good. And the band sounded great. Hard to believe this was only their third show this year. ‘Jesus Christ Pose’ is my favorite Soundgarden song so glad that was in the setlist. One thing I like to see is a band that can “finish with a bang.” Slaves & Bulldozers was one the best single song live performances I have ever seen. Went on for about 10 minutes. At the end, Cornell and Shepard were waving their guitar in front of and across the amplifiers much like Nirvana and Sonic Youth would do. At the same time, Kim was briefly playing his guitar with his tongue! Mind blowing.


During Outshined, Chris Cornell got off the stage and ran towards the crowd. Only after running down the fenced off area toward the soundbooth and lighting, Chris went out in to the crowd and kept singing. He came within 10 yards of me but I did not get close enough to him. 😦


The opener for the Thursday show (Aug 5th, 2010) in Chicago was Minus the Bear. Old school Seattle and new school Seattle. How cool is that? Best show of the year 2010 for me, without a shadow of the doubt.

Setlist:

Searching with my Good Eye closed
Spoonman
Gun
Rusty Cage
Blow up the Outside World
Let Me Drown
Flower
Outshined
Jesus Christ Pose
Fell on Black Days
Ugly Truth
Get on the Snake
Burden in my Hand
Superunknown
Black Hole Sun
Mailman
4th of July
Face Pollution
Like Suicide
Slaves & Bulldozers