Flowerhead – …Ka-Bloom! (1992)

by Record Facts

Flowerhead was a rock band from Austin, Texas.

The seeds of Flowerhead were originally planted deep underground by founding members Eric Faust (Lead Vocals, Bass, Guitars) and Buz Zoller (Guitars, Vocals) in 1987. With the addition of Eric Schmitz (Guitars, Vocals) in 1989 and Pete Levine (Drums, Vocals) in 1990, the roots took hold. The unassuming rock band, working in the sweaty club environments of Austin, Texas and nearby cities and states, began its campaign to enter the music world with their independently produced 4-track, cassette only release “Turmoil in the Toybox”.

After being “discovered” (buying and listening to Turmoil) by CMJ (College Media Journal) veteran Scott Byron (A&R guru for BMG label Zoo Entertainment), the band was quickly signed following feverish live performances preceding and during Austin’s popular South by Southwest Music Festival. A fast paced 1991 resulted in the rapid replacement of local management and legal representation by industry insiders in New York City and Hollywood. Riding on the “Turmoil Tapes”, the band embarked on a promotional tour before going into the studio. An East coast stint with British rockers Thee Hypnotics laid a foundation in the “cool club circuit” that made Flowerhead welcome throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Flowerhead produced their debut album at Butch Vig‘s Smart Studios in Madison, Wisconsin in the Spring of 1992. Working with engineers Brian Anderson, Steve Marker, and Duke Erikson, the band recorded Ka-Bloom within two months. Faust joined Lou Giordano at The Carriage House in Stamford, Connecticut for the mixing sessions, and mastering was at K Disc in Hollywood with Jack Skinner. However, after mastering the tracks, Flowerhead decided that the record was not complete. The addition of “Everything is Beautiful” was produced at Cedar Creek Studios in Austin with engineer Jim Wilson.

The release was followed by constant touring, including jaunts with Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, and favorite tour companions Blind Melon.

With the addition of drummer Kyle Thomas (Course of Empire, Reverend Horton Heat), 1994’s The People’s Fuzz was recorded in Austin (Willie Nelson‘s Arlyn Studio) with co-producer Robbie Adams (U2). As stated in the liner notes, Danny Levin (Asleep at the Wheel) blessed the record with his fiddle, most notably on “Cows” and the loop in “Arise”.

Mixing was done at Chick Corea‘s Mad Hatter Studios, but changes were needed as before with Ka-Bloom!. Without the presence of Adams, and again with engineer extraordinaire “Supermodel” Jim Wilson, additional tracks were added as well as remixes for many of the songs on the record.

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



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



  • Eric Schmitz – vocals, guitar
  • Pete Levine – drums, vocals
  • Eric Faust – bass, vocals
  • Buz Zoller – guitar, wah wah guitar
  • Pauli Ryan – percussion


Companies, etc.





Release Date: October 27, 1992
Recording Location
Cedar Creek Studios, Austin, TX
Smart Studios, Madison, WI
Duration: 46:08
Genre: Alternative Pop
Styles: Grunge, Neo-Psychedelia

Label – Zoo Entertainment

The The – Infected (1987)

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Infected is the second album by The The, released on Some Bizzare/Epic Records on 17 November 1986.

Infected’s sound still suggests dance-pop, especially on the title track. But don’t get the impression that it’s made for dancing. Instead of the light fare displayed on Soul Mining, Infected’s songs seethe instead of preen, and Matt Johnson’s lyrics are laced with tension. Thematically, he plunges a lance into the exposed midsection of Great Britain, analyzing the state of modern urban life in the country. “This is the land where nothing changes,” Johnson sings on the World Party-ish “Heartland.” “A land of red buses and blue bloody babies/This is the place where the hearts are being cut from the welfare state.” “Angels of Deception” matches rain-slicked verses to a powerful chorus flavored with gospel backup singers and enormous reverb percussion. With production tricks like this, Infected aligns itself with the dance-pop sound of its predecessor (and the prevailing sound of British pop music at the time). But there’s no denying the record’s acerbic lyricism or dark-toned instrumentation. “Sweet Bird of Truth” is gritty pop tinged with wartime radio chatter and muscular horns that somehow manage to be apocalyptic, and the sweaty finale “Mercy Beat” has a drink with the devil while dance-pop burns brightly in the background, sending embers into the London night sky. Synthesized horns and crashing drums converge around a mirthful Johnson lyric before the song finally fades to the weird tones of a looped guitar. Infected was the first true indication of Johnson’s mercurial nature, and established the dissonance and reinvention of his later work.

The first single from the album, “Heartland”, held particular significance for Johnson. Describing it as “probably the best song I’ve ever written”, he said, “I’m attacking those working class Tories and middle class who still think Britain is on a par economically with France and Germany… I wanted to write a classic song which is basically representative of its time, a record that in 1999 people will put on and it will remind them exactly of this period of time… you know it took 18 months to write on and off because I knew it was the most important song I was writing.”[3]

“Sweet Bird of Truth” is about the USA’s military involvement in Middle East politics. Johnson said, “The idea of that single was to provide a musical interpretation of the sort of cultural conflict that occurs when the ultimate Western power takes on the sort of Eastern fundamentalism that you’ll find in the Arab nations.”[4] Johnson wanted to release “Sweet Bird of Truth” as the album’s first single in April 1986, but this coincided with the US bombing of Libya, and with the song’s lyrics critical of US military involvement in the Middle East, CBS were unwilling to release and promote the single. In the end it was released as a low-key limited edition single and deleted on the day of release. Johnson said, “The day I went in to tell them I wanted to release the single, they’d just been told by Special Branch to take their American flags down, since, as an American multi-national, they were a possible target for Libyan bombing. So I prepared a statement for the press, but apparently the [UK national daily newspapers] were told not to print it, because they could then be held responsible if CBS were bombed.”[4]

Johnson described “Slow Train to Dawn” as “about the psychological relationship between two people and the weakness of the male in that relationship, and infidelity, which is borne from insecurity and weakness”.[5] He admitted that the song was partly autobiographical, saying, “I get myself into a lot of difficult situations. I feel I have to live out what I write about out. I don’t feel it’s fair if I’ve never done the things I’m singing about. So I’ve done everything. I’ve lived out the lives of the characters.”[3] In Johnson’s mind “Twilight of a Champion” was set in Chicago, despite filming the video in New York: “When I wrote the song, I created this scene where I was in this Chicago skyline at the top of a building and had become everything I wanted to become, but had sold my soul. There’s the young boy and the old man, and I’m in the middle, between innocence and corruption.”[5] “Mercy Beat” is “essentially about spiritual salvation which is why I wanted to do [the video for the song] in South America, because of the heavy influence of Catholicism and Americana”.[



1. “Infected” – 4:49
2. “Out of the Blue (Into the Fire)” – 5:10
3. “Heartland” – 5:01
4. “Angels of Deception” – 4:37
5. “Sweet Bird of Truth” – 5:22
6. “Slow Train to Dawn” – 4:14
7. “Twilight of a Champion” (Johnson, Roli Mosimann) – 4:22
8. “The Mercy Beat” – 7:22

CD bonus tracks
1 .”Infected” (12″ version) – 6:12
2. “Sweet Bird of Truth” (12″ version) – 7:37
3. “Slow Train to Dawn” (12″ version) – 6:36

All tracks written and composed by Matt Johnson, except where noted.

Companies, etc.

Manufactured By – CBS/Sony Inc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – CBS Inc.
Copyright (c) – CBS Inc.


Artwork [All] – Andy Dog
Drums – David Palmer
Engineer [Assistant] – Barbara Milne, Sir Barrence Clempson, Mark Robinson, Mini Matt, Pete Woodroffe, Steve Reece
Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals, Percussion – Matt Johnson
Music By, Lyrics By – Matt Johnson
Percussion – Louis Jardine
Producer – Matt Johnson, Warne Livesey


Released: 1986
Genre: Rock, Pop
Style: Alternative Rock
Length: 100:58

Label – Epic Records

The Hollies – What Goes Around…(1983)

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What Goes Around… heralded the return of Graham Nash into the Hollies fold after a 15-year (1968-1983) sabbatical. Although the absence of bassist Bernie Calvert technically disqualifies this effort as a true reunion of the “classic” mid-’60s incarnation, the quartet assembled for this album and subsequent North American tour features the talents of Nash (vocals), Alan Clarke (vocals), Tony Hicks (vocals/guitars), and Bobby Elliott (drums). The combination of decent songwriting — although there are no contributions from the band — and their densely constructed trademark vocal blend makes this oft-overlooked assemblage worthy of revisitation. The seeds of this project were planted nearly 18 months before the album was released.
The first incarnation of the band — including original bassist Eric Haydock — made an appearance on the legendary BBC pop music program Top of the Pops. This is also worthy of note as the same quintet had performed for the show’s debut episode on New Year’s Day 1964. So the timing could not have been more congruous as 1983 likewise marked the Hollies‘ 20th anniversary.

The bandmembers provided no original material, relying instead on contributions from studio musicians and keyboardists Paul Bliss and Mike Batt, who not only provide over half of the songs, they also add significantly to the album’s heavy synth sound.
So pervasive are the keyboards that at times they actually drown out the vocals. Otherwise, the up-tempo light pop arrangements on the tracks “Casualty” and “If the Lights Go Out” work well.
The sublime vocal arrangement and delivery on the ballad “Someone Else’s Eyes” is arguably the strongest moment on the disc. Additionally, there are also a few interesting cover tracks on What Goes Around… “Stop! In the Name of Love” was released as the LP’s single and indeed became a Top 40 hit.
The band also updated their version of “Just One Look” — which had been a Top Ten hit for the Hollies two decades prior.


1. Casualty – 2:55
2. Take My Love and Run – 2:50
3. Say You’ll Be Mine – 3:44
4. Something Ain’t Right – 3:32
5. If the Lights Go Out – 3:30
6. Stop in the Name of Love – 3:06
7. I Got What I Want – 2:33
8. Just One Look – 3:01
9. Someone Else’s Eyes – 3:59
10. Having a Good Time – 2:59



Released: 1983
Recording Date: 1982 – 1983
Recording Location:
– Abbey Road 2, London, England
– Audio International, London, England
– Euphoria Studios, London, England
– Marcus Music, London, England
– Odyssey, London, England
– Penthouse, London, England
– Riverside Sudios, London, England
– The White House, London, England
Duration: 35:21
Genre: Pop/Rock

Label – WEA Records