Sound — 8
Most people haven't heard of the "album" "Pocketwatch" or Late! for that matter. However the person behind this recording was and continues to be one of the biggest names in rock and alternative music. Late! is a pseudonym for Dave Grohl who released "Pocketwatch" in 1992 on the record label "Simple Machines" whilst still in Nirvana. The album was recorded solely by Dave Grohl apart from some of the backing vocals and production. The main reason for the obscurity of this album is due to the fact that it was never actually released on CD - only on cassette tape and copies of it nowadays are quite rare/expensive. The album is available however in parts on a number of bootleg recordings. The sound of the album is what you would come to expect of Dave Grohl. It has the sound of the first Foo Fighters album and highly resembles the work of Nirvana who Grohl was still playing with at the time. Although this album seems to be lost to time or too expensive and rare for purchase a number of the songs are actually already commercially available but published under the Foo Fighters or Nirvana name. One of the songs is the original version of "Marigold" which was re-recorded as a Nirvana B-side (or as it was originally titled: "Color Pictures Of A Marigold". Another of the songs is "Friend Of A Friend" which was re-recorded for the Foo Fighters album "In Your Honor". The song "Winnebago" was also recorded and released as a B-side to "Exhausted" from "Foo Fighters". With these songs there are very little differences between the re-recordings and these originals apart from production quality and how the performance sounded - most of these songs were probably first takes. The album then has 7 other tracks which are not to be found on any other Dave Grohl release. A quick description of all the tracks will be detailed below: The first track is "Pokey The Little Puppy" which sounds like a traditional Foo Fighters fare. It has few parts and tends to repeat itself and has no vocals, it does sound quite abrasive or dissonant in parts. The second track is "Petrol Cb" which is slightly more Nirvana reminiscent. The verse part consists of shouted/distorted vocals with a 3 note guitar lick with bent notes. The chorus then becomes cleanly sang with strummed distorted guitars. The song then has a cleanly sang bridge and an outro which is a two chord riff followed by acoustic guitars and drum solo continually repeating. The third track is "Friend Of A Friend". This version sounds great just due to the way it is sang and harmonised, acoustic guitar all the way through. The best version of the song by far. The fourth track is "Throwing Needles" which is a heavy punk song. It isn't particularly special and I would generally skip it. The fifth track is "Just Another Story About Skeeter Thompson". This isn't really a song. It's essentially spoken word with a metal backing track. It tells the story from the perspective of Dave Grohl. Once you've heard it once you've heard it a thousand times. The sixth track is "Color Pictures Of A Marigold". This like "Friend Of A Friend" is my favourite version of this song, it's just a great performance. The seventh track is "Hells Kitchen". This song sounds like "Kick Out The Jams". It follows the typical Nirvana fashion of quiet verse and loud chorus - the riff literally sounds like "Kick Out The Jams" and is really quite dull. The eighth track is "Winnebago". Jazzy intro chords. It fits in well with the sound of the early Foo Fighters records - hence why it was a B-side. The ninth track is "Bruce". It starts out with feedback which fades out to bass and guitar. The best way to describe this track is to think of it as a "Endless Nameless" or "Gallons Of Rubbing Alcohol..." It's just bass and drums with noisy guitar over it. However I like those sort of things. The tenth and final track is "Milk". This again sounds like an early Foo Fighters song or that it could be an outtake off their first album. There is basically a mixture of sounds on the album but it fits in more with Nirvana and early Foo Fighters.
Lyrics — 9
As some of the songs don't have lyrics or not traditionally sang it's difficult to provide a score for this. "Friend Of A Friend" and "Marigold" has great lyrics though. The former is about Grohl's first impressions of Kurt Cobain. The vocals on this album are great. It is one of the reasons why I would recommend listening to this. The singing just sounds great! It's just such a raw recording with so little production done it that it sounds good. The lyrics unfortunately not available online or can be hard to decipher in parts to really understand them - like in "Petrol Cb" verse.
Overall Impression — 8
To the best of my knowledge this is Dave Grohl's first release as the "frontman", "singer" or "primary songwriter". In that respect it is a pretty solid release. To describe this album in a nutshell: It is a good album, however it has "filler" material on it. It has the original versions of "Friend Of A Friend", "Winnebago" and "Marigold" which are definitely worth a listen and it has some other great heavy rock tunes like "Petrol Cb" and "Milk". The other material is certainly not bad but there in cases is nothing very remarkable about it. I'd definitely recommend a listen to this - if you cannot find a copy you can probably listen to it online or on Spotify!