Sunday, April 20, 2014

Vol. 5 Episode 15

As you all have read in my past notes sections, yesterday was Record Store Day 2014. I made my usual trek over to Down In The Valley in Golden Valley, MN. I take my family with every year (and Black Friday, so, twice a year really). It is a fun family outing and it maximizes the amount of music that we come home with. At the same time it limits my personal intake of music because I also need to buy records for each member of the family too. I am not mad about this though because it keeps the family involved in the festivities.

This year we decided to get there at 5 in the morning. We were surprised to find that there were six people in line already ahead of us, the first five of which apparently were there at midnight. The sixth person was someone that we had seen in past years and he usually did not have any interest in the items that we wanted. This was the case this year too. It was good to see him though. I am bad with names but have good recognition of faces. Sorry to all you folks in line that I remember from past years but can’t remember your names. The sixth person was looking for a couple of soundtracks and a heavy metal album I believe.

The five guys in the front of the line seemed to be all friends. When asked what they were getting, they all said that they were looking for some indie records but wouldn’t say what they were except for the Ghostbusters 10” record and the Chvrches record. I was a bit nervous about that since my son was looking for the Ghostbusters record too. I was also a little nervous that they were looking for indie records because that was most of my list. As it turned out there were enough Ghostbusters records available for us to get one too. I was also relieved that there idea of indie music was not that deep. It helped that they were shopping for them selves so they could only get three items each before they had to go to the end of the line. The reason that I take my family of four is so that we can maximize our purchase power. So, while they could only get three items each we got 12 items in one go (my wife, my 13 year old son, my one year old son, and myself). Yes, my one year old gets his own number, he gets the record from the Rockabye Baby! series when they are put out.

My 13 year old got a long board for Christmas this year and he has been itching to give it a try since he has gotten it. I told him he could bring it with for record store day because the snow should be melted off the parking lot by then. We had just gotten 12” the peek prior but it had been warm enough to melt off the roads and such during the week after. He got on it like it was a standard board and pushed around a bit. He got a little over confident after that and at one point didn’t move his feet and fell off. I went over to talk to him, advised him on how better to stand on the board after giving a few pushes and had him stretch out his hip so that it wouldn’t hurt and loosen up the muscles where he fell. Usually he would have stopped right there but he got back up and pushed on for another fifteen to twenty minutes. I was proud of him for getting back on.

My wife had to be to work early again this year so we couldn’t stay longer than to pick up the limited RSD14 items again this year. So we made our purchases and drove home so she could get to work. Maybe next year she will have the day off and we can stay longer to look at what else is in the store.

Those records that we picked up I am very excited to talk about. Some of the highlights are the Ghostbusters glow-in-the-dark 10" record, the LCD Soundsystem Last Goodbye box set and the Kanine Records compilation called Non Violent Femmes.

Here we go...

The Dodos – Truly Yours Session
This is a single released for RSD 2014. It is performed with the Magik * Magik Orchestra. This released was limited to 1000 units on translucent yellow vinyl (it looks more orange to me). The release came with a download code for the two tracks. The sleeve is just a fold over piece of tag board but it is housed in a plastic outer sleeve. There is a yellow promo sticker on that plastic sleeve stating information about the release. This is the first single that I have ever bought from The Dodos. The addition of the orchestra really helps the group sound fuller than it has in the past with the exception of the Time To Die album which added more color with the use of the Vibraphone.

The A side of the record has the track Substance. The song is played, it seems, the same way that it is on the record but the orchestra takes over for any of the background sounds on the song as it is a two piece group. The string add more emotion to the track. It is a small change that makes for big dramatics. It is truly a beautiful version of this song. I hope that radio stations are able to get their hands on these tracks and can play them.

The B side of this record is the track The Ocean. The original version of this one already had a limited string section. I think that having Magik * Magik play as a part of this track adds to the sound giving it even more dimension and definition to the track. It has become something better and bigger and again more emotional than the original.

Both tracks are absolutely beautiful and I wish that they could have recorded more tracks for a full length album. If that is what is in store great, if not that is too bad, a missed opportunity for sure.

This is an EP release for spoon. It was originally released on CD only in 2000. It was pressed on vinyl for the first time ever for RSD 2014. The A and B sides have the same content. I think that there may have been a screw up at the plant and it probably should have been cut at 45 RPM to spread the music out to two sides. There were only 700 units pressed of this record as per the RSD web page.

There are five tracks on the EP. The first of those is called Change My Life. I feel that this was just where they were getting into their groove. It is a little bit fuzzy but I can see where it lines up and starts to become clear as to where the group is going. It is really exciting when you sit and listen to the music from a groups past and can see where they are going and compare it to the current music that they have made. It is a drum noisy track but still very good.

The next track is called I Didn’t Come Here To Die. This track is bluesy in nature with the drums squaring up and the guitar riff very straight. This is a track that I would expect the group to have come up with. I really like that blues lick. I wish they would put out some more tracks with that style. It is a good groove. In the latter half of the song there is a floating additional guitar noise that is really loud but spacey. I dig that sound too. The song is too short for me it is such a cool riff.

The third track is called Jealousy. This one is kind of bland, like I have heard it before. It kind of reminds me too much of The Beatles. This may be what they were going for but it is too over the top for me. It is a good song but not one that I like too much.

The next track is called The Figures of Art. This one has a good rock and roll guitar sound. The drums are a bit more fuzzed out but it works well with the song. I guess it has a Rolling Stones kind of a feel to it. It is big and the guitar highs are right there in the front. I am not a big fan of the Rolling Stones but I like this track a lot.

The last track on the EP is called Chips and Dip. It is a slower track with a piano in the lead. It has an arena rock feel with the slow tempo and subdued instrumentals. It doesn’t have the chanting element that the greatest arena rockers have but it does support the crowd sway effect that others of that genre have. Again, not one of my favorites but it has its place.

This EP has some good tunes and I am happy that I have gotten a copy finaly.

This is a RSD 2014 release. It is pressed on pink and white swirl vinyl. It is a compilation put out by Kanine Records. I found out about this from the record companies twitter post about the release before the RSD list was even put out. The record company posted the information about the record early. There were a couple of bands that I recognized and wanted it for them. I already had the track from Joanna Gruesome but had to have it after I saw that Flowers had a track on it that I didn’t have. I didn’t know any of the other artists that are on the album. After giving the album a good listen, I am happy to say that this is a killer all female lead compilation album that I can’t live with out.

The first track is from Speedy Ortiz. It is called No Below (Ocean Shitty Demo). I recognize the group name but I can’t say that I have heard or liked anything from them. This still stands true as this is my least favorite track from the album. It is a simple track with acoustic and electric guitar and multitracked vocals. There are drums added in about half way through the track but incredibly simplified. It is a fair track, with its saving grace being the electric guitar.

The next track is from Flowers and is the reason that I bought the album. The Track is called All I Want Is You. I love the way that the vocals are so high pitched and have a sweet echo that aids the vocals in floating through the song. I like light and airy vocals that have echo on them. The music that accompanies these vocals just adds to elevating them. This song makes the album and I am very happy that I have this track.

Then something unexpected happens. The next track is from a group called Eternal Summers. It is called Goodnight Goodbye. They hit the surf chords and sounds that I love so much but keep it in the realm of shoegaze at the same time. I think that I have found my next favorite band. The vocals have that echo that I like so much and the guitar is so surf sounding with the reverb and echo on it. It is absolute perfection in my opinion. I will be looking into this group and you readers will be hearing more from me about them in the future for sure.

Joanna Gruesome contributed the track Secret Surprise which is from their debut album, Weird Sister, that was released last year (2013) on Slumberland Records. I talked about the album in Vol. 4 Episode 37. I had this to say about the track then, “This song is very punk with what reminds me of The Runaways vocal style with high pitched guitar work. It is a fun track with cool punk sounds. This song is easy to get along with.” I still think this is a great track with great punk sounds. I can’t recommend this track or the album Weird Sister enough.

I like the song that precedes this track a lot. It is from a group called Beach Day and the song is called All My Friends Were Punks. I can identify with the claps that go through the song as it reminds me of The Go-Go’s music. It is like they took that sound and added some noise to it with guitar distortion. This track is right up there for me with the Flowers and Joanna Gruesome track, which are the reasons that I got this album in the first place.

There are eleven tracks on this album and all are very good. These are just the highlights from the album. If you can find it and you are into the girl group DIY sound I highly recommend getting this album.

This is the fifth vinyl pressing from Rockabye Baby! They have been putting out CDs for quite a long while but it is only in the past few years that they have been putting out records and only for RSD and BFRSD. This one is pressed on white vinyl. I don’t know how limited they are, I did get the first two that they pressed directly from the web site a year after they were released, but it is fun to get something for the baby on RSD. The renditions are perfect for children and have enough of the elements of the original songs that parents won’t get frustrated or bored listening to the music. I really like the way that the music is put together, especially since I know all of the music. It makes me feel good knowing that I can listen to the music and have my nostalgic feelings and the baby will have his first experiences with these artists that mean so much to me in a subdued format to prepare him for the real thing later in life. If you have kids, love music and want to pass that on to your kids, I have found that this is the perfect launching pad for that idea. This is a great release and I can’t wait for the next one!

This is basically a greatest hits album done in lullaby form. Some of my favorites are on this album including Heroes, Let’s Dance, Rebel Rebel, Fame and Young Americans. There are twelve tracks spanning from his start to about the mid 80s with Let’s Dance. I can’t wait to play this for my son.

There are still plenty more RSD albums in my back pocket to talk about and the Temples concert is this week. There will be a lot more to come…

Friday, April 18, 2014

Vol. 5 Episode 14

There has been a second new Pains of Being Pure At Heart single called Eurydice.

Slumberland has also announced that it will press a 7” single for The Pains, Simple and Sure.You can preorder it now!

Slumberland has also announced that they will be releasing the new Gold-Bears album and a new album from The Proper Ornaments featuring James from Veronica Falls.

It also sounds like Steady Sounds Records will be putting out The Ar-kaics single early for RSD2014 in their shops. Jealous!

Sigur Ros have put out a new song for Game Of Thrones. They played the song on the show and you can download it from iTunes or your favorite MP3 etailer. it is called The Rains of Castamere.

Don’t forget, Record Store Day is tomorrow!!

Here we go...

This is an EP that Squarepusher wrote the music for and the Z-Machines who play the music. The Z-Machines are a Japanese trio of robots, a guitarist, a keyboardist and a drummer. The vinyl is supposed to be released in blue vinyl but I haven’t heard anything from the record company, Warp, about this specifically. There are five tracks on this EP. The style comes off as electronic jazz with the robotic way that the music is played. It is a very cool.

The first track is called Remote Amber. The song is sparse and reminds me of some of the music that I have from Dave Brubeck. It is interesting but I wouldn’t consider it great by any means.

The single if the next track called Sad Robot Goes Funny. This is the track that showcases what the trio can do. It is robust and engaging jazz music. There are no lyrics but the music is so good it doesn’t need it. I can’t recommend this track enough to those who are interested in rock, jazz or EDM. It is a really good track and I would recommend it to anyone interested in music really.

The third track is called World Three. The song gives a larger than life feel with the big organ sound, like it was a song in a cathedral being played back in the 1500s. This is another one that is good but not great. I like it but it is certainly not single worthy.

The next song is called Dissolver. There is a cool echo sound on the guitar part that drives this track on and on. The echo sound is just a smidge off for me but that may be what they wanted to accentuate that echo sound. It bothers me that it is off but at the same time it works well that it is off because you can hear the echo better. The drums come in at about the second half of the song and help the drive the song forward. This is a great song and I think is as good as the lead single.

The last track is called You Endless. It is a slower song and takes a bit to get it going on top of that. It is one of those good tracks to fall asleep to with the exception of the big pop sound on the bass drum hits. I want to see if this changes with the release of the record. These things usually get tamed down with a vinyl mix.

It is a pretty good EP. I am curious to know if there will be a full album or if this is just a one off project.

This is the first release from .Moneen. It was released on Smallman Records in 1999. This is another one of those groups that I had a single release from and wanted to get more from them but have never looked into it until now. I picked up this release for a reasonable price. It was only released as a CD.

The EP has four songs. The first is called How Many Other Girls Are There In The World Anyway? This song reminds me of something that Jimmy Eat World could have written. I don’t think that they are a knock off but similar sound any way. It is a good song but sounds dated.

The second song is called Wrath of The Donkey Remix. I think that it is not an actual remix but part of the name of the song. The song is just as good as the opening track but a little bit quieter. There is still plenty of distortion on the track but I think that because the vocals are partially whispered the song gives off a quieter feel. I like the style it reminds me of Trust Company.

The next track is called The Passing of America. This track is kind of the same sounding as the previous track. It is very even with out much dynamic range. I don’t think this is  a bad thing but it does give it that dated late 90s early 00s feel.

The last track is called This Year I’ve Had Enough. This is a quieter track than the previous two. It starts off with vocals and two clean sounding electric guitars. Drums and bass are added later in the song but don’t add to the volume of the track.

I like the EP for the nostalgic feel (it is 15 years old now). If your into that sound and are still looking for music from that era check them out.

This is the second single and the title track from the new upcoming album from The Black Keys. I actually like this track better than the first single. The both of these new singles have been released together in CD format. The CD single comes with a discount coupon for the new album. It is a unique little something that I have not seen. The new title track song, Turn Blue, has a really smooth blues feel that I like a lot. The drums and bass combine to make this awesome sounding drive. There is also this digital distortion that floats in the back ground that I really like. The guitar work on the track reminds me of the old school R&B sounds. This track really works well and I am excited for the new album based on these two new tracks.

This is a cover of the same song by The National. The band played the song on the second episode of the fourth season of Game of Thrones. This is the second time the group has appeared on a TV show in recent times. The first was on an episode of Simpsons last year. This new cover song comes off very sad but this is typical for the group. The song is simple and encompasses a pump organ and a squeeze box along with vocals from the artists. The pump organ bellows make some really cool wheezing ambient sounds which is unexpected but adds to the sadness of the song. The vocals are in both Hopelandic and English. All in all it is a great song but not one I will be listening to often as it is very sad sounding.

That is all I have for now. There will be more following RSD2014...

Friday, April 11, 2014

Vol. 5 Episode 13

The Ar-Kaics will have two new 7” records released this month. One on Steady Sounds Records. The songs Make It Mine, the A-side, and Movin On. The other on Hidden Volume Records. The songs Sick and Tired, The A-side, and Cut Me Down. They are also working on finalizing the details, artwork and such, for their full length album on Windian Records. There is also still slated another 7” on Windian Records. So much music that they are putting out. I am very excited for them.

Insound Has a special Death Bundle featuring their first album the new album, yet to be released, and a compilation album for just under 50 bucks after shipping.

The Silversun Pickups are making an apperance on Video Game High School next season. One of my favorite internet shows and one of my favorite bands, exciting.

Don't forget, Record Store Day 2014 (RSD 2014) is next weekend. Lots of very cool releases coming out next Saturday. I will be at my favorite record store early to get everything I want.

Here we go...

This album was released this past Tuesday (4/8/2014) officially. This is the groups sixth album not including the remix albums. The deluxe version comes with a copy of the Evil Voices EP. It has a gloss and foil cover sleeve. This version was also only pressed to 500 copies. I have been into this group since I first heard the single I Disappear from the album Wet From Birth. I still need to get the back catalog though. The album has the sound from the band that I have come to expect but seems to come off a little bit lighter. The album doesn’t seem to have that mind blowing single that Wet From Birth did or Faciinatiion did. That doesn’t make it any less of a great electronic rock album though.

Evil Voices is a vinyl only tour EP that was originally only pressed to 1000 copies. The EP was also included in the deluxe version of the Doom Abuse album. The EP is only four tracks long and two of the tracks are included on the Doom Abuse album.

Evil Voices is the first track on the EP and exists on the new album so I am calling it the first single from the album. It is the song that packs the most punch on the album with a super cool sawtooth synth bass open. The song kicks in after that and just keeps going. The chorus packs that same bass synth sound that just kicks my butt. This is probably my favorite song on the album. I also like the break down and the bass synth solo part with the high pitched noises that are created.

Unseen Hand being the other track that is included on the EP and on the album, I would consider to be the second single from the album. It is a fun poppy track that comes off a little lighter than Evil voices. It doesn’t really do much for me because I expect more heavy rock than a pop track with sci-fi tendencies. I could get use to this type of a track from them though.

The third single is called Help In The Head. This is the first album only track that the band has put out as a single. I kind of like this track, it has the hard rock feel that I like from the band. It also combines that pop feel that I like. The song also talks, as you can get from the title of the track, needing doctoral help for the psycho problems in ones head. it is an interesting way to say that you need a shrink or worse.

At first I wasn’t sure about this album but it is starting to grow on me. I would recommend this album along with anything from their back catalog to anyone who is looking for something new in the world of heavy metal or electronic.

This is a remix EP released back in February on Cold Spring records. It was released after the members of Coil had passed away. The EP features five remixes of four songs, two versions of Eraser. These remixes are pre-laptop generation. This release has been a long time in coming. Fans new of their existence but they were never released. I always thought that I had the track that was used in the movie Seven but apparently the version on this EP was the version. There is a colored vinyl version of this record but I was too late to get a copy. It was sold out by the time I had the money to get a copy. I also just got my copy in the mail this week, so there must have been a pressing problem for me to not have gotten the vinyl copy until now. The digital version has only four tracks but the CD and vinyl have five tracks. That extra track is called Eraser (Baby Alarm Remix). All five of the tracks are stripped down versions of the original with very cool atmospheric sounds in the back ground. It is exactly what I would have expected as I have many different remixes from the Nine Inch Nails (NIN) back catalog.

The first track, Gave Up (Open My Eyes), is the only track that really has a good beat to it. It is really unexpected for me as I would have expected that all of the songs would have a stripped down slower beat feel. I guess it starts on a high note and comes down from there.

The second track, Closer (Unrecalled), was supposed to be the version used in the movie Seven. I always thought that it was Closer(Precursor) but I guess I am wrong. Neither version was ever included on the soundtrack for the movie Seven but the song can be heard in the credits and in another part of the movie, I can’t remember where though.

The other tracks are good and remind me of when I listened to The Downward Spiral during the year after it was released but it is primarily nostalgic for me. The music isn’t new enough to take me somewhere else. They are remixes from back in the day so I wouldn’t really expect a mind blowing experience.

This is the seventh album from The B-52s. This album was released in spring of 2008. I gave this album a miss for a long time. I finally broke down and got a used copy for cheap. It had been 16 years between the release of this album and the previous album, Good Stuff. I have always liked the music that they have created and still can’t figure out why I didn’t get this one. I guess that the music just didn’t fall on my radar. I had heard the first single but maybe at the time was not impressed.

The first single from the album is called Funplex and is the title track. The song is about shopping at the mall really. It has a great poppy sound that I really like. I can’t figure out what it was that I didn’t like about this song. It hat the guitar sound that I have come to love about the group and the fun vocals from all three members. I don’t get what I didn’t like other than I am not a teen ager anymore. It is still a lot of fun and can be enjoyed by all ages.

The second single is called Juliet of The Spirits. This song is a bit slower and has a nice plunking bass line with drums that push the song along. The song reminds me of something that could have come from the 80s but with current sensibilities. It is a good song but not a great song.

The album is a log of pop fun and if you like what the group has done in the past you should like this album too. 

This is a 10” single released from Blackest Ever Black records. It was released in January of this year and is limited to 500 pressings. The tracks are considered to be Ambient and or experimental. I got this EP as a freebie because the owner of the record company never sent out the Weekend record that I reviewed last week. As an apology they included this record. As it turns out this is a very interesting couple of songs. I probably never would have bought them on my own but I really like the first track.

The A side is a song called Thus They Sang In The GoldenAge. There is a lot of echo on the lead part which sounds similar to a saw being played but with heavy echo processing. There are other back ground sounds going on to help progress the song but it is a no frills ambient track.

The B side is a bit more jarring. This one is called Up ToThe Skies. The lead part is a saxophone playing a trill and a heavily echo processed one note. There are also some backing saxophone parts but this is all that is on the song, Saxophone and echo processing.

Note: who ever uploaded these two tracks got the track names backwards.
I am thinking about doing a double post the week with RSD 2014. That is all I have for now...

Friday, April 4, 2014

Vol. 5 Episode 12

Slumberland Records has announced that they will be releasing the first single from the new Pains of Being Pure At Heart album. I jumped off my seat with excitement after hearing this news.

The Wizard Of Oz will have a soundtrack pressing for Record Store Day in emerald green vinyl. It is an interesting release.

Here we go...

This is a greatest hits album from the group. It was released on the 25th of March. It features an unreleased track as the lead of song on the album. The last three tracks on the album are the rare Attic Demos. The album comprises a total of 19 tracks; because of this the album is a bit too long for me. The album also comes with a DVD of various video footage of the band.

The previously unreleased track, Fake Your Death, is not my favorite by any means. It doesn’t have the sound that has made them popular at all. It is just too grand and arena rock style for me. It is like they were going for something that was bigger than they actually were. Maybe this is a part of the problem with the group and why they broke up. They were getting too big for their britches. Either way the rest of the album is a great walk through all their big hits.

This single was supposed to be a part of last weeks singles post but didn’t arrive in time to get it on the post. This is also a picture disc that has the same type of graphic as the Future Foe Scenarios 7” single. This one is not limited by number though. It was only released in the UK though. The song was released as a single nearly a year after the album it comes from was released.

The song Well Thought Out Twinkles is probably one of my favorites from the group. The song is filled with controlled distortion. It is a very fast track that I can listen to over and over again. All I can really say about this song is listen to it and you will probably agree that it is one of the best underground hits ever.

The B-side is a slower song called Mercury. This is another track that doesn’t seem to go anywhere. it is a good slow song but doesn’t keep my interest. The drums are simple, the bass is repeating and there really isn’t a hook in the song that keeps my interest.

I cant say that this single is a necessary item to get. The album that the song comes from, Carnavas is more worth your time.

Black Hearted Brother have a new digital only EP out as of the first of April.
I actually preordered this EP from Amazon. This is the first time I had ever preordered a digital anything ever. I felt kind of dumb preordering a digital album because it is not like they will be out of a digital product ever. This leads me to what I wish would have happened. I wish they would have released this EP at least on CD so I could have had a physical copy, even if it was on CDr.

Anyway, the EP features an edited version of Got Your Love from the album The Stars Are Our Home.

It also features a non-album track called Don’t Take The Weight. It is a slower track that keeps with the theme of the album with the synth sounds and drum hits. The tone of the vocals fits very well with the music. It actually reminds me of the way that Damon Albarn sings on the slower Blur tracks. It is very relaxing and the sounds that swirl around the vocals are dizzying and intoxicating.

The last two tracks are remixes of Got Your Love and are very long. The first of the two remixes, Ricardo Tobar remix, has a lot of noise and becomes distracting and hard to listen to, not my favorite. The second of these two remixes, Ultramarine remix, comes off as somehow more of a shoegaze sound than the original. It is pure genius. The vocals have a spacious echo on them that sounds like your taking a walk through a heavy mist in the forest. The echo on the drum sound adds to the feel. The piano part rings out clear as day and gives me the feel that the sun is about to come out and burn back the mist. I really like this remix and hope that there will be more from black hearted brother in the future. It is hard to say as the members have their hands in so many other pots.

As I have found out after getting this album, this is not the band named Weekend that Slumberland Records have been supporting. Instead this is a band called Weekend that originally released music in the early 80’s. I will admit that I was suspicious that Slumberland’s Weekend had even been together in 81’. I had not found anything on Discogs about this release until after I got it in the mail. Once I had gotten the album and listened to it I was very happy. The music has a light sound that is reminiscent of today’s indie music. I guess what is old is new again. This is the first time that these select songs have been released on vinyl. This set of songs has been previously been released on CD and had also been tacked on to a reissue of the groups first album, La Varieté.

The first track on the album is called Drumbeat. The lyrics don’t come in until the last half of the song and are vary sparse. They are very pretty though and are like a light snow on a frozen landscape. The music is also sparse, the drums are electronic but the guitar is smooth and sexy.

The second track, Red Plaines, reminds me of the tiki music that was popular back in the day. There are no lyrics to this song and this actually works to some extent. The riff is repeated a bit too often for me. It is a good song but I wish it was a bit shorter.

The third track is called Nostalgia. This track has a similar feel as the previous track except it has lyrics. The vocals are very pretty again with this track. I also like the muted guitar part. This song fits a style that I really like.

The last track is called Summerdays (Instrumental). This track is very long and if you have no interest in music that runs into and loops over itself this may not be the track for you. This nine minutes of smooth music that works very well for me. The vocals only add to the song but I could just as easily due without them.

All in all, this demo album is very nice. If you’re into 80s or current independent music this may be the album for you.

With the announcement of a new album from The Black Keys, a new single has been released called Fever. You can get an instant download with the preorder from The Black Keys web page. The song is fun and takes the group in a new direction. The first time I heard the song I was a bit hurt because it was not the sound that I was expecting from them. On further listens I have opened up to the idea that they can branch out into different avenues of old school blues music and use keyboards in a star roll for example. The song lets the bass take the lead for the most part on this track too. I think that Danger Mouse taking the producer position helps to advance this group in those new ways again. I am very excited to get my hands on this album when it is released!

That is all for now...

Friday, March 28, 2014

Vol. 5 Episode 11

The Black Keys have also put out the first single in support of the new album. It is called Fever and may see a spot on next weeks post.

Other than that there is not much new news that I have felt was noteworthy since the last post a few days ago.

I have gotten in the new album from The Faint two weeks early though. Excited to hear it, just got it in literally today. Thanks to Insound for that one.

Here we go...

This is one of two EPs released last year. It was originally released on Melters Records. It has recently been re-relased through Slumberland Records. Slumberland has released this on Cassette and on translucent red vinyl. I think that the cassette is translucent red too but I can’t pinpoint any text stating this. What I do know is that there will be a full length album out on slumberland later this year. This EP is super short clocking in at just over 12 minutes long. I am still not sure if this is punk genius or complete laziness in music history.

The shortest song on the album is the lead off track, Nowhere To Go. It is a whole 48 seconds and totally reminds me of a snip-it from a Weezer track. I think this is one of my favorite tracks on the album.

The second track is called Change My Ways. This also has a lick of the Weezer sound. in the guitars. It is a longer song but not by much. The vocals are multi-tracked giving the vocals more presence.

The sixth track, Sick Ass Riff, is another short track but you get a nice acoustic solo part that is completely unexpected considering everything has been distorted guitars up to this point. It is a nice quick break from the distortion.

The Way Things Are follows in the multi-tracked distorted guitar theme that seems to run through the EP. The guitar solo on the track is truly brilliant. I think that I can pick out three separate guitar parts but there could be more that that.

The last song that I want to mention is another acoustic track called Wondering Boy Poet. My favorite lyrics are when he sings, “This is not reality, this is just formality.” It reminds me of my job that pays the bills. It is another short track at 47 seconds but the lyrics are genius and the acoustic guitar is a welcome change.

If you like punk and 90s alt music this is the best combination of both styles of music that I have ever heard.

This is the second album from Withered Hand. It has been released through Slumberland Records in the US and Fortuna Pop! in EU. The EU limited version is gold metallic vinyl, like the 7” single that was released, in a gatefold black sleeve. The US limited version was pressed on gold and black splattered vinyl with a chip board sleeve. Slumberland offered a special bundle that included the first album from Withered Hand, Good News. Since I still have yet to hear anything from Absolutely Kosher Records, the company that put out Good News on vinyl in the US, I decided to get the bundle from Slumberland Records. I still can’t express how annoyed I am with Absolutely Kosher Records that I still haven’t heard anything from them since November of 2013. When I first heard that this album was going to be released last year and heard a couple of songs from the album I was really excited. I was so excited in fact that I researched the group and got a few singles from them.

The first single released from this album is called BlackTambourine. It features Pam Berry of seminal 90's US noise-pop band Black Tambourine on the track Black Tambourine. The song is sweet and fragile at the same time. The electric guitar is clean and clear with the acoustic just underneath supporting the electric guitar. The electric guitar solo on the other hand is distorted but fun and short. The vocals work so well but come off a bit sappy.

The second single from the album is called Horseshoe. I had this to say about this song recently in Vol. 5 Episode 8, “It is mainly an acoustic based track with organ and piano floating in the back ground. The drums come off very big sounding and take over most of the track. The drums are simple but big. There is also electric guitar but it is kept simple to focus on the vocals. The vocals are the star of the show next to the big drum sound. It is a good song that I can get use to hearing quite frequently.”

The song Heart Heart was previously released as its own 7” EP in 2012. I talked about this one in Vol. 4 Episode 50, “It is a great crowd chanter if the crowd is smart enough to catch when to yell the words as it is done musically by every other word not by full phrase. The song is a lot of fun.” The version on the record is a little different though. This new mix has the piano part further forward on the mix. I am not sure if I would like this version more had I not already heard the previous mix.

This is a really great album. It does get sappy in some parts but for the most part it is a happy loving album. I just hope that the group comes to my home town so I can see them play live.

This is the first full length album from Nothing. It was released early in 2014. Previous to this album they had released three EPs one of which was on cassette. I found out about the group from one of my favorite bands, Whirr. The album was released through Relapse Records. The vinyl version of the record was released in many different colors; black, white, half black/white and clear. The clear version is the most limited version and the black and white version was for the deluxe package. I had no idea what the band was going to be like so I opted for the standard black version. I think that the group are a great band for noise rock but not exactly the best. It is very hard to match the likes of My Bloody Valentine for example. But, for the new crop of Shoegaze music that has come about in recent years they sound very good. The first few times that I listened to this album I listened at quieter volumes. The last time I listened to the album I turned up the volume a bit and found the music to be somehow better. I am not sure if it is that I have gotten to know the music and then to have the volume louder somehow engages me more or if it is something else within me that I can’t describe.

There are no official singles from the album. This seems to happen with Indie groups. It is like they know that there will be no radio play so why bother putting something out as a single. There are some great songs on the album though. One of my favorites is called Get Well. The vocals are what make this song for me. The music is just a hard rock song but the male whispered vocals make the song stand out as something to listen to. It is just perfect.

I also like the slow song on the album, Guilty Of Everything, for the clean guitars and the continued breathy vocals. The music for the song reminds me of the song Under The Bridge from The Red Hot Chili Peppers. I think that it is the drums that lead me that way. The song changes direction a bit when the full band plays during the chorus. It really just gets louder during the chorus though.

The third track that I really like is called Beat Around TheBush.  This is also a slower song but the distortion on the guitar is near perfection. It has that alternating current feel to it. The vocals also continue with that breathy style that seems to run through the whole album. This is a consistent sound through the album keeping the group grounded even though I call the vocals airy they have also got this earthy quality about them. I guess you could call the vocals airy but swirling with lose dirt, like a dust bowl.

Anyway, this is a great album that I have enjoyed listening to over the past few weeks. I waited so long to write about this one because I wanted to be sure that it was something that I liked. So, it kind of grew on me.

That is all I have for now...

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Vol. 5 Episode 10

It has just been announced that The Black Keys will be releasing a new album called Turn Blue on May 13 of 2014. They have also just released the first digital single called Fever. The cover is a very dizzying blue and purple swirl. You can preorder it at The Black Keys web page with or without a T-shirt. It is produced by Danger Mouse and The Black Keys so it should be a very good album. 

Sea Wolf is still working on an acoustic tour. He will be in my home town on April 27th but Tickets are not yet on sale and it is on the Sunday night after my vacation. I may not be able to go because of this. I also don't know how much the tickets will be yet either.

Here we go...

This is a single released in support of Carnavas in 2006. It is a picture disc. I am not a fan of picture discs usually because this style of record manufacturing has inherent noise. This is because the picture is paper and the vinyl is pressed over that. The vinyl that is on top of the paper is very thin and has the potential to have the grooves go down to the paper. The only reason to do a picture disc, it’s pretty. This single is limited edition of, possibly, 1000 pieces. It was released in the UK only. It comes in a clear plastic sleeve with a sticker. The white bar on the sticker has the number of the order that the record was pressed in. There are four digits, leading people to believe that there may be a total of 1000 pressed.

The A-side is Future Foe Scenarios. The song has a lot of guitar noise. Underneath all the noise is a great melody. I think that this is what attracted me the most to the group. I like noise and I like a good melody. The vocals are also very interesting. it has been said that they are big fans of The Smashing Pumpkins and try to emulate them as much as possible. I think this is the case with the vocals as they are on the higher side of the male vocal range. This is the same with all of their songs. I don’t have a problem with this either.

The B-side is called Table Scraps. The song is a slower song than the A-side of the single and doesn’t have the same noise either. The only thing that is noisy on this track is the bass guitar; it has a distortion pedal on it. Every other instrument is clean sounding. I cant say that it is a pretty song but it is interesting still.

This is a promo single released with the last album, Neck of The Woods. It was given away at retailers selling the album or with an online purchase at the Silversun Pickups web store. Some retailers had overstock on the single. The copy that I got has some bad record noise. I did my best to clear it up on the computer when I recorded it but I can still hear it. I don’t know if this is the case with all copies of the record though. The copy that I got was also housed in a clear plastic sleeve. I was very discapointed that it was also packing tape sealed. When I opened it, it left a sticky residue that I had to get off, very annoying.

The A-side is the single as it appears on the album. I had this to say about the song in Vol. 3 Episode 18, “The song starts out with a simple two chord flow that turns into a four chord run. It is really cool but doesn’t sound like the group until the chorus hits. I like when a group tries new things just not so new that the group alienates its fans. This single is perfect and will make fans very happy. At least it makes me very happy any way.”

The B-side is a remix of Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings) remixedby Math Bishop. This version has electronic drums giving the song a more danceable feel. The bass guitar has been replace by a synth bass sound that is more bouncy. There has also been added a high pitched plinking sound that seems to fit the song well. There is also a background soaring synth that has become common in pop music but still fits well in the music.

This is not a necessary single unless you’re a collector. I do recommend hearing the remix if you can find it though. It is very good.

This is a CD promo single for Substitution. It was released in 2009 in the UK. The copy that I have has a sticker on the front with promo information about the album and the single. This is the only version of this song put out as a single. This is a very good song so it is a little bit disappointing that it didn’t get a regular release.

The A-side track is the album version of the song. It has a nice flow and a good riff. The vocals blend so well with the music. The song just gives me that warm feeling. The music is very simple but complex at the same time. This is one of their best songs from that album and that is why I got the single.

The B-side track is the instrumental version of the song. There are no vocals at all. Listening to this version just shows how perfect the music for the song is. I could listen to this on repeat over and over.

This is a compilation CD EP that was released in Japan. It was released in late 2013 and compiles the B-side tracks from the four main singles from the new album Sun Structures. By getting this EP I have probably saved myself a few hundred dollars trying to track down the vinyl singles.

The title track, Shelter Song, is the first song that they released way back in 2012. This is the song that introduced me to the group. It is very beatlesesque sounding. I really like the pairing of the distorted guitar with the clean jangle sound of the second guitar. I really like the music that this group has put out and am glad that there was a B-sides collection available, even if it was only released in Japan.

The second track, Prisms, was originally the B-side for the title track. It is a pretty song that makes use of the flute in the song. The song overall is very fluffy and uses vocal harmonies making the song so easy to listen to. Not my favorite song on the EP but still very pretty.

The third song is called Colors To Life. This is a track that is already on the new album. I think this track was included because it was going to be a single or just to introduce people to their music. It is still good music so it doesn’t really matter to me.

The fourth track is called Ankh. It is the B-side to Colors To Life. This track has a fun almost electronic bouncy drum track. The song also has an over the top synth sound that actually reminds me of something that Faith No More would have used in a song. It is almost like a circus sound but not quite.

The last track is called Jewel of Mine Eye. This track is the B-side to Keep In The Dark. The song isn’t as fun as the other couple of B-sides. It is just kind of bla. It has a good marching beat but that is really all that I like about it.

If you are into the group this is the cheapest way to get the B-sides from the singles that have been released.

Simple and Sure is the first single for the new album. The music for the song is happier than the music that has been released from the group in the past. It is for sure more pop and I think that is what Kip is aiming for. The specific parts are more bright and different as his backing band line up has changed since the last two albums. I look forward to hearing the rest of the album and seeing them in concert.

Coming up is some new music from Slumberland Records and a good shoegaze group recommended by the band Whirr. That is all for now...

Friday, March 21, 2014

Vol. 5 Episode 9

As of the 20th of March the list for Record StoreDay 2014 (RSD 2014) has been released. It is 13 pages long this year and seems to be filled with a lot of stuff that I wouldn’t buy. There are always a few gems that I do want and will easily spend some money to get them.

The preorder is up at Insound for the new album from The Pains of Being Pure At Heart called Days of Abandon. There are 500 copies on bone white vinyl if your into that kind of thing.

There is also a preorder up at Insound for the new album from The Faint called Doom Abuse. There are both deluxe and standard editions. The standard edition will cost a few more bucks though.

here we go...

This was the first album released from US3. It was released in late 1993. The album was focused on a lot during this time because of the use of live jazz musicians and the use of samples from Blue Note jazz records. It was unusual during this time to have live musicians playing on a rap record. This was because it was so much cheaper to just use samples. Because of these unique sounds that the group was able to create it grabbed not only my attention as a teenager who played jazz for the school but a large part of the world.

There were three singles released from this album. The first is called I Got It Goin On. This song has a fun funky bass groove that the trumpets follow on the solo bits. I am not usually a fan of organ parts but when the organ plays with this song it seems to work well. It is a rap song and the back ground music gets repetitive after the first couple minutes. This means that they need to keep me interested with the lyrics and it takes a lot to get that to happen.

The next single is the big hit, Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia). The most famous sample used from the album was on the hit single Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia). The sample used was from the song Cantaloupe Island by Herbie Hancock. There is something special about this sample as it keeps me interested all the way through the song. They don’t use the exact same part of the sample over and over and this helps the song in a major way. The sample stabs that are used remind me of bits that were used from the late 80s adding to my interest as that was when I was introduced to rap music. All these things combined to make one major hit in my music background. The vocals don’t really mean much to me but there are points where I catch a few words as I fade focus back and fourth from the music to the lyrics. All said, a very great song.

The third single from the album is called Eleven Long Years. The song has a good beat but loses me completely with the lyrics as it is partially in a different language and partially sung with a heavy accent reminding me of Bob Marley or something similar. The music, on the other hand is genius. The trumpet solo is completely awesome. I could have just had the music with the trumpet playing over the whole thing as the trumpet sound is near perfect, so much style.

This is not really a necessary album but Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia) is something that you should listen to at least once.

This is the sixth album from Gloria Gaynor. It was originally released in 1978.  The copy that I ended up with is the re-release that has the hit single, I Will Survive, at the longer version of eight plus minutes. The first release of this album originally had the song at about four and a half minutes. The longer 12” single version replaced the shorter version after the song became a big hit.

There were three songs released from this album as singles. The first single released from the album was the cover song called Substitute. The song is a typical disco track that heavily uses layered instruments ranging from strings to conga. The lyrics talk about stepping in for someone’s lover if they are away for a period. It is a fun song and shows what was in store for fans of disco from Gloria.

The second single, I Will Survive, is the big hit. Wikipedia has this to say about the song, “The song's lyrics describe the narrator's discovery of personal strength following an initially devastating breakup, delivered with increasing confidence and backed by a stirring instrumental accompaniment. It is one of the most famous disco songs of all time and remains Gaynor's biggest hit…The song is also frequently recalled as a symbol of female strength and as a gay anthem [more reciently].” The song was originally released as the B-side to Substitute. DJs started flipping over the single and playing that.

The third single from the album is called Anybody Wanna Party. This song was a hit on the dance charts but didn’t really go anywhere in any of the other charts. This song is good but doesn’t seem to have that groove that pulls at my heart.

Over all the album is very good if you’re into disco music. If you haven’t heard I Will Survive you should. The song is very important in music culture.

This is the soundtrack for the movie Spaceballs. This album was released to coincide with the movie. It features songs used in the movie along with three tracks from the score for the movie. The album was released in 1987. I finely, after saying to myself I want that album so often, bought the album. It was not the movie that put the desire to get this album in my head. It was because my sister, who was a dancer for many years in our public school days, did a lyrical dance to The Spinners song Spaceballs from the album. It is such a great song and will always remind me of not only traveling to competitions to support her but hearing the same song over and over as she practiced the dances over and over in the basement of the house.

I can’t find anything stating what songs were put out as singles but I think that the song from The Spinners was released as a 7”. I would consider that to be a single for sure. The song is a great dance track that I have gotten to know very well. It is perfect 87’ pop/dance. It doesn’t really stand up to today’s music as the song is heavily laden with synth sounds of the time but I have lived with it for so long that the song has found a place in my heart and I couldn’t live with out it.
That's all I have for this week. It may be a double post next week though, a singles post and a regular post...