Thursday, March 1, 2012

Wow,179 Page Views in Three Days (More King's X)

I ought to mention King's X more often.

Of course, I tend to think most of those page views were already "the converted." By that I mean, people who are already fans of the band, and who don't need to be encouraged to go to a show, or pick up the latest release. As much as I love to connect with those folks, that's really not gonna help the band.

In all seriousness, they're a band you should check out, if you haven't. I did find myself thinking I should offer up good places to start with the discography....

Now, I can ALMOST say "anywhere." I think their catalog is that good, and that strong. That's one of those absolutely not helpful things to say in a situation like this. I understand that, so...I offer my five favorite King's X albums.

(I'm sure fans will think I'm crazy with this list...everyone has their favorites right?)

Number Five - Black Like Sunday
Released in 2003, I believe, this is a collection of songs from the very early years of the band, before they were even called King's X, rerecorded by the band now. Some of the songs are a little simplistic, and the lyrics a little silly, compared to where they ended up. That said, I find a lot of these tracks very catchy and fun, with nice groove and melody. .

Favorite tracks:
Black Like Sunday, Danger Zone, Working Man, Finished, Bad Luck

Number Four - Tape Head
To be honest, this was the album that turned me into a rabid fan. I had liked the previous album (wait for it) a whole lot, but when this was released in 1998, I kinda went apeshit for the band. Part of it has to do with the fact I really started working out about that time, and this album became the soundtrack for many, many workouts.

Favorite Tracks;
Groove Machine, Fade, Ono, Ocean, Little Bit of Soul, Higher Than God

Number Three - Ear Candy
When I bought this album in 1996, I hit the track "Picture," and I immediately knew i was listening to one of the best record of the year. This album marked the end of their Atlantic contract (a greatest hits would follow), and there is a real sense that the band felt it would be their last. The lyrics to opening track "The Train" clearly send that message. Thankfully, that didn't happen.

Favorite Tracks:
The Train, Sometime, Looking for Love, Mississippi Moon, Picture

Number Two - Dogman
There's a real sense that Dogman's release in 1994 was King's X trying for the top. Grunge was everywhere, and the band shared a lot, in terms of tone and sound, with what was coming out of Seattle. They recruited Pearl Jam producer Brendan O'Brien and crafted perhaps their best sounding album. It's also strange that they populated it with songs that were almost brazenly crafted out of fits of depression. It's a dark album, but exquisitely executed.

Favorite Tracks:
Dogman, Pretend, Black the Sky, Fool You, Complain, Cigarettes

Number One - XV
I can hear a bunch of fans out there right now..."What, no Gretchen?!?!" Yes, in many ways Gretchen Goes to Nebraska is King's X at their best, but for me, personally, I've loved the way the band has evolved in the 2000's. On this, their most recent album, the melodic sense has remained strong, but the groove and heaviness has just become more pronounced. The band feels more powerful than ever, to my ears.

Favorite Tracks:
Pray, Blue, Rocket Ship, I Just Want to Live, Move, Go Tell Somebody, Love and Rockets (Hells Screaming)

Now, this list is clearly biased to the latter half of their career, which shouldn't be construed as to say I don't like their early albums, because I damn well do. It's also striking me right now that my favorites of  their albums all fall around the mid-to-late 90's, when I discovered them. I suppose that's true of any music fan. You like what originally drew you to the band.

If you're looking for a pretty decent overview of the band's early career, their tenure with Atlantic records, there's the collection with the shockingly original title The Best of King's X. It's a good set. I'll always recommend getting the full albums, but it would give you a really good overview of what the band is about, including a classic tracks like King, Goldilox, Pleiades, It's Love, Black Flag, Lost in Germany, and a truly epic live version of their signature track, Over My Head, recorded at the 25th Anniversary Woodstock Festival.

(Yeah, some of those linked videos are's was the 80's)

This is a GREAT band, and you could do worse than give them your ear for a while. Plus, with the current situation with Jerry's health, and cancelling the tour, it'd be nice to see a few scheckles find their way to this very deserving group of artists. So, please, buy the albums...don't pirate them.


  1. Have you ever heard their old "Sneak Preview" album? One of the songs on Black Like Sunday was on that album, and bits of two more tracks made it into songs on Ear Candy and Faith Hope Love. I've got a to hear, but WAY different from what they became...the seeds were there, though.

  2. I liked 'Ear Candy' when it came out. But, it didn't light me on fire. I bought the "Best of" just for the live version of "Over My Head" from Woodstock 94. I really had grown tired of these guys. Thanks to your blog, I have gone back and have started listening to these latter day releases. I'm discovering a few gems in this new quest.