On Friday I was asked to listen to an album from The Mountain Goats. The album is called All Hail West Texas. I found a copy to stream from YouTube. I got about a half hour in and found myself so bored I had to find something else to listen to. This is not to say that it is bad music it just couldn’t hold my attention. I thought about turning it off quite a few times but I was focused on other things as the music was playing. I really knew right a way that this was not for me as I am not a big fan of solo (vocals and guitar only) artists. My wife, on the other hand, loves that kind of thing, Tom Morello’s solo album, The Nightwatchmen - One Man Revolution, comes to mind.
In return for listening to The Mountain Goats album The guy I was working with promised to listen to Defcon 12345 from Man or Astro-Man. I am not sure if I will see him again in the future but I do hope that he gives that album a listen.
Here we go...
This is a new band from Graveface Records. It was originally only available through the KickStarter Archival Series that Graveface put up. I ordered my copy along with the new Marshmallow Ghosts single through this KickStarter. There were some major problems with the MG single and Graveface have just gotten the records in from the pressing plant. Because of this delay I have gotten the Night School 7” just recently. I am still waiting for the MG single though. The Night School record is a very pretty marbled pink color. It also came with a download that I promptly used.
There are four songs on the record. The first is called Best Friends. The song uses heavily distorted guitars with beautiful highs and super distorted lows. I especially like the high pitched female vocals. The vocals come close to matching the high parts on the guitar. It is so pretty. This is probably my favorite song on this EP.
The second song on the EP is called Birthday. It is a slower song that reminds me of The Stargazer Lilys. It is slow and shoegaz sounding (nugaze??), the way that I like it. The guitars are layered with different but complimentary lines. It just works very well.
The third track is called Casiotone. This song is different in that it lacks all the distortion that made the previous songs so cool and noisy. There is still a lot going on in this song but it has been stripped of all the noise. Although, the noise does creep in a little bit at the end it is not as strong as in the previous two tracks.
The last track is the title track, Heart Beat. This song is similar to Casiotone in that it has simpler beginnings with out all the noise. I like that a group can show their simpler side. Some people call this showing that they can actually play the music. The noise allows them to cover up their mistakes. I believe that it is harder to play with the noise and shows a different talent than the ability to play without the noise. It is two different sides of the same coin in my opinion.
This is a single that was released back in August of 2010. This song comes from the second album from Sea Wolf called White Water, White Bloom. I didn’t think this second album was all that great when it was released. I gave it a listen again recently and found that it was just as good as the first album. I think I was expecting a bigger change in sound when I got the second album but didn’t get it. Listening to it a few years later I think it is a pretty good album. I got this single still sealed through Discogs. When I got it I found a download code. I figured it would be out of date but I gave it a shot anyway. Turns out it still worked. Not only did I get digital copies of the two songs on the 7” but I also got a bonus track. That track, Where The Wind Blows, would be released on the Record Store Day Black Friday release a year later on the double A side 7” single called Song Of The Magpie / Where The Wind Blows.
The A side of this single, Turn The Dirt Over, comes from the second album from Sea Wolf called White Water, White Bloom. It has the same type of chugging beat that the singles from the first album had. The difference with this single is that this song moves on to winter where the first album was more of a fall type of an album. I like that Alex gives the feel of winter on this song. He sings about looking out the window and seeing the falling snow and white fields of snow and other things that remind me of winter, not Christmas but winter.
The B side of the single is a remix of Turn The Dirt Over called the Cookie Duster Remix. This remix has some cool electronic additions that don’t over power the song. It is really minimal and fits the song very well. The additions give the song a darker feel. This version reminds me of when I am up in the middle of the night looking out the windows and it is snowing, where as the album version reminds me of the day time snows that happen.
The third track that came with the download is called Where The Wind Blows. I wrote about this song in Vol. 4 Episode 1. This is basically what I had to say about the song, “The B side track, Where The Wind Blows, has a little [slower] feel but is still just as beautiful as the A side, Song of The Magpie. [Where The Wind Blows] uses an organ/keyboard of some kind in addition to the drums and acoustic/electric guitars.”
EggHunt records put out the groups latest album Trance. They also got the rights to release their first album on CD. The first album was only released on vinyl so this is brand new. They also got permission to add a few tracks. The two songs from the limited cassette single, Ascend and Deep Moves, along with a brand new track that has never been released before this called Stoked On The Chill. I wrote about the two songs from the cassette in Vol. 4 Episode 45. Here is what I had to say about the two songs, “The A side is the song Ascend and the B side is the song Deep Moves. Both of these tracks are not anything spectacular but are at the same time totally White Laces. They have a sound that I like and I am happy to have some new music from them. I will say that the vocals on these two tracks are a bit more dull than they have done in the past sonically speaking. I feel that the lyrics are just as in depth though. If you like White Laces then this is one that you may not want to pass up on, unless they are already sold out.” Obviously, you can get the two tracks on this CD but I think that is a limited run as well.
I wrote about the album in Vol. 3 Episode 50. Here is what I had to say about the record, “This is White Laces first full length album. It was released through Speakertree Records on September 11, 2012. It has a limited pressing of 500 units and 100 of those are on green colored vinyl. I got my order in as soon as I could and was lucky enough to get a green colored record. It is colored a light grass green with swirls of darker green and yellow. It reminds me of a late spring day when the grass is just starting to come up new. The album also comes with a download code to get the album digitally. On Speakertree’s web page they gave this little blurb about the album: “The album is an undeniable force, delivering 8 well-crafted pop songs that float from the mesmerizing cool to the intensely immediate, often times within moments.” I find the music to be similar to All The Saints but a little bit lighter and more fun. I think that White Laces has more of the jangle pop influence too. Where All The Saints come off as dark shoegaze White Laces are a dark jangle pop. Two shades of the same style in my mind but one is easier to listen to than the other, as I already said.
There is a single that was released from this album called Crawl/Collapse. It did not get a physical release though. There was a video made to support the song though. The song is a very good song though. It starts off with a guitar playing with an echo pedal on it. The drums are also playing at the beginning with a straight forward rock beat that makes me want to get up and move around. There is also a cool break down where the drums drop off and it is just vocals with a little bit of guitar here and there. After that there is this part of the song where it just keeps going like it will never stop. It becomes enveloping as I keep listening to it I just don’t want it to stop. There are no vocals during this end part it is just the music. It is shoegaze magic. I hope that they keep writing music like this.”
The new song on this CD version of the album, Stoked On The Chill, was recorded during the time of this album, it was just left off for what ever reason. It is an instrumental track that uses layers of electronic sounds from strings to a kind of pinky sound. The song doesn’t really go anywhere but is great as a wind down track at the end of an album, as it is here.
That's all until the year end best of out after Christmas...