Sunday, March 29, 2015

Vol. 6 Episode 11



The new Mumford and Sons single is out there now. It is called Believe.

There will be a new split EP from Dott and Night School released for Record Store Day.

There is a remix for the Family Force 5 song Let It Be Love on iTunes but probably on other download sites too.

You can listen to the new Death Cab For Cutie album on NPRs First Listen now.

You can also listen to the new Runaway Brother album on AV Club.

Here we go with an all Surfer Blood episode...



This is the second official single from the upcoming album, 1000 Palms. I say official because technically the tour split that the group did before the album was talked about has a song from the album, NW Passage. It was released on the tenth of March. I found out a bit late but still got a copy from the record company. It is a 7” single cut at 45 RPMs. The single was pressed on olive and bone white vinyl. It is also limited and hand numbered out of 1000. I got number 124. The single comes with a download as well. I got an email from Joyful Noise Records with a download because I ordered the single with them. I also got a download card that came with the record. I am actually happy that I got the email because I got to hear the music before I got the record in the mail. That’s about five days of listening before I actually got the record.

Obviously the first track from the record is the song I Can’t Explain. The song is pretty mellow, as has been the case with the last single. I kind of get the feeling that the new album is not going to be as great as the last one was. I have heard a few tracks now from the new album and they have not been the fun poppy indie tracks that I liked from their sophomore album. I get the feeling that they are going to mostly be mellow and sort of depressing.

The B side of the single is called Death And The Maiden. I think that this song has a good catchy chorus and a great beat overall. I really like the chord progression in the verse a lot too but the cadence of the vocals in the verse is not quite as fun. It seems like a lot of square pegs in square holes. Where is the octagon pegs and the pentagon pegs? It is still a great song though. There is even a circus bridge in the song that is so much fun and completely unexpected.

Both are good songs but the B side takes it for me.
 

This is the first and only single released from the album of the same name. It was released for Record Store Day 2013. I actually tried to get a copy on Record Store Day 2013 but my local record store, Down In The Valley in Golden Valley MN, did not get a copy in for the special event. It wasn’t until two years later that I actually got a copy of the single. It is a tri colored vinyl pressing in white clear blue and dark blue. The picture doesn’t do it justice. It is housed in a clear plastic sleeve though to show off the colors. There were quite a few pressed, 4700 to be exact.

I talked about the song, Demon Dance, in Vol. 4 Episode 23. I had this to say about the single, “The song starts out with a nice clean electric guitar sound and a soaring high pitched distorted guitar sound. The organ sound kicks in at the start of the first chorus and sounds great floating in the background. I was very surprised when at the second half of the song after the breakdown there was an addition of screaming/growling that sort of works for the song. It is a new facet to the groups’ bag of tricks that I like.”

The B side to the single is called Slow Six. It also comes from the album Demon Dance. As the title leads me to believe it is a slower song. What I do like about the song is the distorted guitar long notes that get bent and seem to soar over all of the other music that is happening in the track. It reminds me of a distorted red laser that is somehow able to be bent in an arc over the top of the group. My imagination, I know. The song has a pretty sweet burn to it over all too. I like the addition of the piano to the track as well. It gives it a nice grounded feel contrasted to the soaring distorted guitar part.

I am glad that I finally got a copy of this single. I know that I already have a copy of the songs on the single but the record itself is so pretty.



This is the first single from Surfer Blood. It was put out in 2010. The first single from the album Astro Coast, put out on For Us Records. Originally released as a 7” only on limited clear vinyl and white vinyl, there was a promo CD put out too. You can get Swim, The A side, as a download but I haven’t seen the B side available as a download anywhere common. There were only 300 copies of the clear edition and I haven’t seen a count on the white version or the standard black. The CD promo version only has the album version and the radio edit for Swim. I really like the art work on the cover for this single as it pulls from the cover of the first Joy Division cover and changes it just a bit, making wave peaks in the lines. It is really a genius change to a classic graphic.

Swim is the A side of the 7”. The vocals use a lot of echo making it seem, to me, like the vocalist is the swimmers coach and he is yelling over what ever body of water the swimmer is swimming in. The music in the song is actually kind of fun. It is like the new surf music style. I am not sure if that is an actual movement in music but that is what it reminds me of.

The B side is a remix of the song done by Allen Blickle. This remix puts the vocals back in the mix some and pushes the distorted bass line up in the front. I am not sure that I like this so much. It is kind of an assault on my ears. The bass is turned up more than it should be I think. I guess if the bass were not so upfront I would like this remix a bit more. It is a good version of the song overall though.
 

This is the second single released from the album Astro Coast. It was also released in 2010. It was released on white vinyl. It was officially the first single rleased through Kanine Records. The first single from the album was released on For Us Records. This was also the first single to follow the art style that the full length album used. This art style is also being used on their third album which represents a return to their roots.

The A side, Floating Vibes, has nothing to do with vibes. It has a great beat in the drums and a great rhythm in the guitars. I really like the pretty melody that is used not only in the guitar but also with the vocals. The song talks about surfing a lot but that doesn’t matter as much as the great music that is happening in the song. It is one of my favorites from the album Astro Coast.

The B side track is called Twin Peaks (Allen Blickle Remix). It is obviously a remix of the track Twin Peaks. I like the addition of electronic drums and the cutting bass line change. It gives the song a more sterile approach. I also like the addition of synth keys in the song. It is not really a dramatic change it just cleans up the messy edges of the song.

I have heard a few of Allen Blickle’s remixes for the group and like what he has done with the songs.

That is all for now...

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Vol. 6 Episode 10



The Incubus EP, Trust Fall (Side A) has been delayed until May 12th. The guys in the group did a little twitter blaming each other for the delay.

SXSW is happening at the moment so most places are totally on hold as they are down in Texas making an appearance. This means there isn’t much in the music news for the rest of the world.

Here we go...



This is the second release from Echo Lake. It was released at the beginning of March 2015. This time Slumberland Records did not take part in the release from this group. I wish they had but I am sure they have their reasons. The album was released on CD and vinyl. There was a special CD version with a bonus disc that included some demos, a couple of instrumentals and a couple hard to find singles that were released between these two albums. I am currently trying to contact No Pain In Pop to find out more about this bonus disc CD version. I did get a copy of the album on vinyl though. The album as a whole is short on tracks but not short on time. There are only seven tracks but the album clocks out at about 45 minutes. This means that some of these tracks are six plus minutes and the last track is over ten minutes long. This is an album that demands that the listener listen to the whole record. I don’t think that this is a “headphones” album though. It doesn’t command the left right feel that I think other “headphone” albums do. I think that the album is beautiful and even more so in an open room setting.

There were no official singles released form the album but there are a couple of  high points on the album. The first song I want to talk about is called Waves. It is a paced rocker that will drive you on an emotional wave of love, excitement and at the same time a lack there of. It has a great beat but the vocals seem to keep the song tempered down. This is sort of like the excitement of love and the time that is life for me. I really like this song and will be listening to it more in the future.

The other song that has been talked about is Dröm. The song has an incredibly long build before the full band kicks in. That build is done with a distorted guitar that slowly fades in on the same chord. It takes about a third of the song. Once the song comes in fully though it is mind blowing shoegaze at its near best with distorted bass and beautiful guitars with reverb and echo all over them. The guitars remind me of a cotton candy sun set with hard edges to the clouds. The vocals only add to the effect with their own reverb, echo and even layers. The vocals are also high pitched and airy. The track reminds me of something Lush may have put out. This is for sure a favorite from the album.



This is a non-album single, like most singles released from the group are. It was released only in the UK on March 16th from Market Square Records.  I preordered a copy and, because I live in the US, it took about a week to get here. The record came with a numbered postcard with a slightly fuzzy picture of the band on it. The release was limited to 300 copies. If you are interested in this release, Windian Records did get a few copies for sale here in the US at a slightly higher price because of overseas shipping but they were so limited that they only offered the release through their email. Market Square may still have copies though. The single came in a 7” plastic sleeve with a plane brown paper 7” sleeve too. There was also a sticker from Market Square Records.

They have billed it as a double A side record. The A side of the record is Always The Same. It is a hard hitting slow burn track. The drumming reminds me of Meg Whites’ style but the rest of the music that this song has to offer is still that awesome 60’s vocal and music style. I don’t know how they do it but it is a smash. I think it has something to do with the equipment they are using let alone their own style of writing.

The second track on this release is Let Me In. It has a slower feel but is actually about the same. The drums are a little smoother with this one. The guitars have this cool vibey effect on them that give off this cold feeling. This is built on with the vocals, as the lead singer sings, “It gets cold, the colder it gets” in perfect clarity multiple times through the song. There is also a cool sort of solo from the lead guitar that is vibey and built on feedback. It is totally original sounding. At least I have never heard anything like it before. There is a difference between feedback to be loud and feed back to be musical. They hit the musical part and it sounds amazing in the song.


This is the first release from Restorations. It was put out in 2010 and it actually completes my Restorations collection up to date. There were 420 pressed on black vinyl and 200 pressed on clear vinyl. I was lucky enough to get a copy on clear at a reasonable price. The plastic sleeve that the record comes in has a sticker that lists both of the bands names. The back has the track names printed on the exterior paper jacket though. There is also an insert that has the lyrics for both tracks. It is a 45 RPM record although it is not listed on the printed materials anywhere. When did companies start taking that off anyway? Moving on…

The A side is from Rosetta. They are a heavy metal group mainly. This track, So Warm A Solitude, is more on the experimental side though. The song is a slow burn that has the lead vocals mashed in with the music. I don’t have a problem with this but there is also a part of me that wants to hear what he is saying as he sounds so painful and emotional, at least that is what is seems like from what I can hear of him singing anyway. This is a great song though and the song is so dreamy and atmospheric it just works. I have had dreams were there is music happening in the background and this is what it sounds like sometimes. Not this song in particular but like this style. No, when I wake up the radio is not playing. The only problem with the song is that it is twelve plus minutes long. If your not ready for the length of the song it can be a problem, i.e. never hear the end of the song because it is so long and it may get skipped half way through the song.

The B side is from Restorations. The song is called F#. This was from when they were listing their songs with next to no meaning for fans. This song is a bit heavier than most of the songs that the group has put out. This doesn’t make the song bad though. It is kind of a loud soft loud kind of a track. It is a good rock song that also follows the slow burn style. The quiet parts are sweet and the loud parts are intense with Jon’s lyrics staying on top of it all. There are extra vocals that come through on the loud parts from the other members of the band that add so much to the song. The layered guitars are a fantastic addition to the song and the group makes sure that every instrument is heard and has its own piece of the song. It is a great track and I am glad I found a copy.
 
That is all for now...

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Vol. 6 Episode 9


So, a while back I talked about the Restorations single from the Call + Response IV art project. I dug into the question that I had and found out that it was my own fault. I recorded the record at 45 RPM and it was supposed to be played back at 33. I did this because there was no indication that it should have been played back at either speed and I just chose the one that sounded right to me. I downloaded a copy from the bands Bandcamp page to verify the sound of the track. I like the song at 45 better than the way that it was originally recorded so I will keep my original copy and will keep the download just for reference.

There is a new radio station in my city called Go 96.3. I have been listening to the station on and off. I have found two new bands that I am interested in. One I will be talking about in this post (Saint Motel) the other is called Big Data. The latter will have a full length CD out later this month. The radio has been playing the singles from each of these artists and I have been enjoying them quite a bit.

One of my favorite indie bands, Golden Grrrls, broke up a while back. Two of the members have come together to form a new group called Sacred Paws. They have a new EP coming out. You can listen to the whole thing over at Clash Music and read about what is going on with this new project.

Here we go...


MC Hammer – Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em

This is MC Hammer’s third album. It is the one that put him on the charts. This album was released in 1990 and was one of my father’s favorite albums at the time. This was odd to me since I grew up hearing my dad listening to the “oldies” station in the garage. So to hear my dad pick up on something new and not rock was kind of weird to me. I do give credit because of the use of some great samples probably hooked him in. Hammer got a lot of flack for being a pop-rap artist. There were others that backed him up for doing what he does as well, Ice-T for example. The big singles from this album were utilized all over pop culture from TV to movies. You couldn’t get away from these songs.

There were five single put out from this album. The first single from the album is U Can’t Touch This. It was a major hit on the charts. Rick James has credit partially for the song because a sample from Super Freak is prominently used in the track. The lyrics for the song that became pop culture were, “Stop: Hammer time” and “You can’t touch this.” The latter is still used sometimes in today.

The second single from the album is actually a cover called Have You Seen Her. Originally recorded by The Chi-Lites. The lyrics had been updated for the 90s with references to The Cosby Show for example. The song becomes a sappy R&B track with Hammer looking for “Her”. Not my favorite track from the album but has good meaning.

The third single from the album is called Pray. This is another good song from the album. This song samples When Doves Cry from Prince as well as the song We Care A lot from Faith No More. The sample helped propel the song up the charts just like the Rick James sample in the first single. Obviously the song is about talking with the higher power before doing the things in your lives. It is a good song and he lays out his words in a way that make sense to me. I respect the song.

The next single from the album is called Here Comes TheHammer. This song samples from the song Super Bad from James Brown. It is a fun rap song with not much substance. It is mainly Hammer talking about himself and lightly taking down his competitors. The chorus and bridge parts of the song are simple lyrically but overall the song is fun.

The last single from the album is called Yo!! Sweetness. This song was not included on the vinyl release of the album. This means that I don’t actually have a copy of the song. This song uses samples from Give It To Me Baby from Rick James again and from Your Sweetness Is My Weakness from Barry White. Hammers’ song is good but basically pulls the Barry White chorus as it is.

This is a fun album even with the slow sappy tracks on it. It may be a bit nostalgic for me but it is an album from 1990. The year just before I was a freshman in high school. I think that nostalgia is OK from this album for me.

Saint Motel – My Type EP

This EP was put out last year, 2014, on both 7” and CD. The 7” is only two songs where as the CD has four different songs. They have a full length album that was out in 2012 as well. The original version of this EP has six tracks. The version that I got has only four. The two extra tracks that are on the six track version are from their full length so you don’t need to feel like you’re missing something. If you like this EP you can get the full length and have everything. I bring this up because one of those two tracks is call Benny Goodman and is a really great track too. I got both the latest version of the CD and the 7” record. The record comes with a download card. That is always nice. There are probably a lot of younger people out there that listen to music more on the go that have the time to sit down and listen to a record.

I got the EP for the title track, My Type. I have a big thing for disco and this song is totally in the vein. From the cow bell to the saxophone intro. It is so disco. It reminds me of Franz Ferdinand a little too. The opening sax intro becomes a full horn section in the choruses as well adding to that disco feel. The song also makes use of a Rhodes or Wurlitzer keyboard in the verse sections.

The second track is called Ace In The Hole. It is kind of a slow jam that talks about talking to a specific girl. The song uses gambling references to get the person in the song to talk to the girl before she leaves. It is kind of convoluted but is still somewhat entertaining. I could see this almost being a James Bond song that opens one of the movies.

The third song on the EP is called Cold Cold Man. It is a peppier track that talks about love again. It is more about the couple that are in a more permanent relationship. They sing about looking forward to and knowing that they will be sleeping in the same bed. This isn’t about sex though, it is about love and having someone to count on day after day. It is a sweet song that caters to people who in monogamous relationships.

The last track is called Midnight Movies. It is a moderate rocker that has this cool lead instrument that could be a guitar or a Rhodes like keyboard but distorted. It is a very interesting sound. I am not exactly sure what the song is about other than watching movies at midnight. I am not even sure if it is at the theatre or at home but they do talk about stories being told at the midnight movies. This doesn’t make any sense to me as the stories would be told at daytime movies as well.

I like this EP and am thinking about getting more from them.

April March & Aquaserge – April March & Aquaserge

This is the latest album from April March. This time she teams up with Aquaserge. April March wrote all the songs except for two, Des Tics Et Des Tocs by Benjamin Gilbert and How Was Your Day? by Julien Gasc. Aquaserge wrote all the music for the album except for Spirals which was written by Frederic Jean. That being said the album has a smooth feel overall that reminds me of if Stereolab wrote all the music for April March. This is a compliment to Aquaserge because I really like Stereolab. Stereolab are not together any longer so this is a nice nod to the group. I get to hear Something I never even thought about before. I really like this album but there were no singles released from the album that I know of. I do know you can still get the album either as a download or as a physical CD from the Bandcamp page. It is a genius album that deserves more attention here in the US.

That's all for now...

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Vol. 6 Episode 8



You can now pre-order the new Joanna Gruesome album, Peanut Butter, over at Slumberland Records. You can hear the newest singe from the album at Stereogum.

You can also pre-order the new Eternal Summers album over at Pledge Music. The new album is called Gold And Stone and the new single is called Together or Alone.

I am working on figuring out what the difference is between my 7” recorded version of the Call + Response IV track from Restorations verses the digital version. I think it may be a speed of the song playback thing and not missing data. I may have recorded it at 45 rpm or the digital version may be slower than 33 1/3. I am going to take some time today to compare the Bandcamp digital file to the record at both 33 and 45 to see if there is a match or if it is different at both speeds.

Here we go...



This is Perfect Pussy’s first full length album. It was released in March of 2014 in multiple formats. Those formats are Vinyl, Cassette, CD, DL and two similar box sets. The difference in the box sets is in the vinyl colors. One was white vinyl and the other was clear with red haze and some of the lead singer, Meredith Graves, period blood. The box set also contained two cassettes, one of the album and the other of a live set that they did containing four tracks. There was a lyric, credits and photos book, and an enamel logo pin too. There is also a download code included that encompasses both the album and the live tracks. There were 180 copies of the clear/blood vinyl version of the box set and 300 copies of the white vinyl version. The clear/blood version was sold out by the time I got around to getting a copy of the box set so I ended up with the white copy. This is a super short album consisting of eight songs plus the four live tracks. The album itself is only about 22 minutes. The live cassette is a bit more than eight and a half minutes. The longest tracks being on the end of the album at about five minutes and four and a half minutes each. The album is a hard hitting smack in the ear. Not something I want to listen to every day but completely enriching in the new wave of punk.

There was at least one single that was released from this album. That song is called I, or one. It was also released as a 7” and on their first EP called I Have Lost All Desire For Feeling. The track is solid noise but over that noise can be heard a beautiful melody. I can’t tell if it is a synth part or a guitar part though. Either way I like this song. Lead singer Meredith Graves vocals are completely unintelligible but add to the song rhythmically. The song is super short at one minute and forty-one seconds and leaves me wanting more.

I think that Bells was also put out as a single from this album. This track is just hard core punk. There is not much for a melody but there is defiantly a chord progression in the song. The vocals are more up front in your face with this track. It is just a fast ride.

Over the entire album is fun and cheery, if you can hear the lyrics, most of the time not. It is not an album that I want to hear all the time but when I do listen to it I find that I like it more than the last time I listened to it. It is a great album and deserves all the praise that it gets. The live EP is an extra bonus with fun cuts of Meredith speaking between the tracks.



This is an EP or a mini-album depending on if you got the 10” (EP, UK release) or 12” (Mini-Album, US release) record. It was released on CD but only as a promo; also as a download. This collection was released back in July of 2013. The A side of the 12” has four new songs. The B side has three remixed tracks from the A Side. As a bonus there is an additional remix included with the download. The track titles give a hint at Doctor Who but the songs don’t really have anything to do with the show.

The single from the album and the first track on the mini-album is called Dark And Stormy. It is a good track that seems to have elements of slasher films with the high part of the song and the bass is thick and heavy. The guitar lightens the mood until the bridge hits and the guitar becomes distorted and fades out. This seems to be a unique song style for me as I have never heard a song that used the sounds that scary movies have used in a positive way as the group have done here. I like it a lot.

The second new track on the album is called Jelly Babies. Doctor Who likes these and they are referenced in the show frequently. There are also referenced to Prince in this album, specifically the lyric that talks about Computer Blue. This is the name of a song on Prince’s album Purple Rain. The group has mentioned on occasion that Prince has inspired them so, this seems appropriate to reference in the song. Over all the song is interesting with a good drum beat and a cool echo on the vocals. The melody is kind of abstract though and seems like a child put it together. I am not saying that it doesn’t work but that it comes off as haphazard. The saxophone solo on the end doesn’t help either.

The next new track on the album is called Doctor. This continues my Doctor Who reference idea. The song opens with a marimba and gives a warm tropical feel even with the slightly distorted heavy sounding bass line riding underneath the percussion instrument. It is a fun track that does well at keeping the song in the sun even when the marimba is not used in the song. I think that keeping the bass line in a beat that follows a reggae feel. It is a fun song all in all.

The fourth new song on the album is called Flutes. It is kind of a stuttering song that has this super deep bass line that is simple but attractive. The song reminds me of the double dutch songs that girls would sing while playing the game. It is a slower song and uses that double dutch feel on the chorus. The verse part us just normal singing on the track.

I think that the song Flutes gets even better with the following track, a remix of the song called the Sasha Remix. The bass gets bigger and deeper and the drums are accentuated as well. The chorus vocals become so modulated that they are now unintelligible and become musical rhythm only. Later that modulation is taken off but it does sound very cool with it all modulated like it is.

The last three songs that have been remixed are from the previous album, In Our Heads. They are How Do You Do?, Night And Day, and Look At Where We Are. all three are great remixes and I think that Night And Day is the best of these three remixes but I wanted to talk about the new track on this mini album mainly.

This is a fun mini album but not needed unless you are a big fan of the group.


I have mentioned that Surfer Blood have gone back to a more independent label, Joyful Noise Records, so that they could have more control on their music. Their previous label, Sire/Warner Brothers, put to many demands on how they wanted the group to sound. As a result they put out a second version of that album on Kanine Records for record store day last year. I don’t know why they went with Joyful Noise and not back to Kanine. Actually, now that I am thinking about it, it may have something to do with the domestic battery charges that he pleaded guilty to against his year long girlfriend. I do my best to separate the music from the people so; I am excited to hear this new album still. This is a special single though. It is not only a CD but is also a 33 1/3 RPM lathe cut record put out through Joyful Noise Records. It will play not only on your CD player/computer but also on your turntable. It comes with an adapter so it doesn’t float around on the turntable. This is my first lathe cut record. I did play the record part. It doesn’t sound all that great. That is not to say that all lathe cut records sound bad, I think that it sounded bad simply because CD plastic isn’t designed to be used for turntable playback. I do think that it is a genius idea though. They are calling it an analog/digital hybrid. There is even an instructional video to go with it.

The song, Grand Inquisitor, is super fun and short coming in at just over two and a half minutes. The song has that classic Surfer Blood sound signified by John Paul Pitts unique vocal style. The opening synth part is sweet and romantic. The song comes in full and feeling helpful. John offers a space to rest if you need it. He offers hospitality and talks of what you, the person needing the space, smells like but does it is such a way that inspires conversation. It is a wonderful song that seems to be cut short. It leaves me wanting more.

That is all for now...

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Vol. 6 Episode 7.5



Cheap Girls with opening acts Restorations, Chris Farren, and The Slow Death at the Turf Club in St Paul MN on February 27th, 2015.

I went to this concert to see Restorations. It was the first time that they had been through the Twin Cities and I was so excited they were going to make a stop here. I was not sure that I was going to go and see them until the day before. It was kind of a tense moment making that decision, which is perfect for this band really. I hope they come through again in the future.

I took my wife to see the concert. I did not pre-order tickets like I would usually have done. I guess that added to the tension that I had mentioned previously. It was not an issue and we got in right away. We got there early and were able to get a table with stools.

I went up to the merchandise table to see what was available. I was hoping to see a copy of the first release from the band, a split 12” with Rosetta, but it was not to be. I forgot to bring my copy of Call + Response for the band to sign. They did have copies of that 7” so I bought another copy. The drummer, Carlin Brown, sold me the copy and started to tell me the story behind the release. I stopped him right away to let him know that this would be my second copy and asked if he could sign it. He said that not only would he sign it he would bring it around to the other members of the band and get them to sign it too.  That was probably the easiest garnering of signatures that I have ever had. There was a small issue of trying to find everyone though. He dropped the record off at the table and got everyone over to our table to sign it eventually before any of the other opening acts started to play. Actually, the keyboardist, Ben Pierce, ended up staying to talk to us as the other members were rounded up.

We talked to Ben about the groups first time playing in the Twin Cities. From there we moved on to talk about how a certain number of people living in St Paul have never been to Minneapolis. He looked at us a little confused. We then compared it to living in New Jersey and never going to New York City. He said that was ridiculous. We then went on to explain that it isn’t the same the other way around. Most people who live in Minneapolis have been to St Paul. We moved on from that topic and started talking about the record that I had just bought. It is two sides that make up one track. When I got my first copy I recorded the song like I usually do but I had to join the tracks together. I found that when I did this the track time comes to about nine minutes and ten seconds. I quoted seven and a half, my mistake. But the point is that the record is shorter than the digital download version. Ben didn’t know but though that I should bring this up with the lead singer, Jon Loudon. I didn’t get a chance to talk with Jon but maybe he will read this and have a possible answer. I had also asked Ben if they were going to stop over at any radio stations for an interview. He said that there wasn’t anything planned but they were going to go north to Fargo and would be talking with some folks there. I guess that I got the only interview in the Twin Cities. If only I had recorded the conversation that we had. I did get all of them to sign the book before the first opening act started.

The first act was The Slow Death. They were early on in their career as a band it seemed like. The lead singer was already drunk before they got on stage. I am not sure if they were just having a good time or if the lead singer needed the alcohol to perform on stage. Either way they were not as good as they could have been if they were a bit more serious about the situation. They had that east coast sound that I have talked about in the past that reminds me of Bruce Springsteen but more modern. The jokes between songs were so bad mainly because of the alcohol consumption.

Chris Farren took the stage next. I saw him getting ready and thought to my self, “There is no supporting members, it is just him?” He had a pretty arch-top guitar that was set to the neck pickup it sounded like. I didn’t see a pickup on the body though so it must have been some kind of internal pickup. I mention this because the guitar sound didn’t have any body to it. Maybe he liked it that way, not my style unless I have other layers on top of that higher pitched sound. It was difficult to hear him as the mix was too soft. I wear earplugs when I go to concerts and I expect to be able to hear the music with the earplugs in. I took one out to be able to listen to this guy. I just sort of lost interest in what he was doing on stage. I think that most of the crowd did too. Most of the people left the dance floor and did other stuff. I think that Chris has something with what he is doing but he needs to flesh it out with something. I don’t know if it should be a fuller tone or more members in the group.

Next was Restorations. They played eight songs in their set. All of them sounding so good and polished I felt like I was listening to a CD. I have never felt that they were a hard rock group and they proved it with this show. The songs were awesome slow burners that have emotion and feeling. They don’t make you think but give off a warm melancholic feeling. I bobbed my head to the beat as if I were saying yes this is exactly what I needed on this day and at this time. What a release.

The first song they played was Misprint from their latest album, LP3. They were supposed to play Wales but I think that they were short on time so they skipped it. Wales isn’t my favorite song so I was happy to find that they did skip it after seeing the set list. Misprint on the other hand was a great way to start off the set. It is a slow burn track that uses primarily two chords to move the song. They nailed the song with what seemed little to no effort, perfection in the making.

New Old was the second song played. This is a track off a single that never made it to one of the albums. I always like it when a group plays songs from the harder to find singles and EPs. It makes me feel like they really care about their fans and pick the tracks that will make them happy too. It is a faster song that gets me moving. I like the distorted bass just hovering under the surface. It is like choppy waters that are trying their best to calm down. The breaks in the song are sweet and meaning full. Jon’s vocals are borderline country and sound fantastic with the band backing in a rock feel, one of my favorite songs from the group.

The only other song not from LP3 was Lets Blow Up The Sun. This track faster paced rocker with slower paced vocals. The drums on this one are loud with heavy use of symbols. It is perfect for the song though. It helps to keep the intensity up on the track. I still can’t get over the way that Jon can so easily slip from clean and clear vocals to that slight raspy, almost gritty, vocal style. It is so good and helps to accentuate certain vocal lines.

The last song in the set was Separate Songs. This was the reason that I got heavy into this group. I had known about them through Side One Dummy Records with the release of their second album, LP2, but didn’t really dig into the group to much at that point. When I hear this song I had to have everything I could get my hands on from them. I am now just missing their first split single with Rosetta. This song is just perfect for me. The layers of guitar, the walking bass line that fast paced drums and the awesome vocal style all make me feel so happy.

They were going to play one additional track but like with the first track they didn’t have enough time to fit it in. The last song was going to be a song called Adventure Tortoise.

Thanks to all the bands for coming out and of course thanks to the Turf Club for having them. A special thanks to Restorations for signing my second copy of Call + Response IV.

Restorations Set List:
Misprint
New Old
Tiny Prayers
Most Likely A Spy
The Future
Lets Blow Up The Sun
All My Home
Separate Songs

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Vol. 6 Episode 7



The second single from Death Cab For Cutie has been released and it is called No Room In Frame. If you have pre-ordered the album you get a free digital version of the song along with the first single, Black sun.

Squarepusher has a new album coming out on April 20th. The album will be called Damogen Furies and will feature only eight tracks. The first single is called Rayc Fire 2.

The Lead singer for Perfect Pussy has started her own label called HonorPress. If you like Perfect Pussy you may like the new band on the label called So Stressed. You can check out the first single from the album on the Bandcamp page.

The Hives have a new single called Blood Red Moon. I read that this was for a movie so I am not really sure if this also means a new album could be dropping this year or not.

Here we go...



I got this album when it was released back in October 2014 when it was released. I have been sitting on it for quite a while. I was a bit turned off by the opening tracks intro. The sound reminded me of the sound of the ultrasound machine. It is somewhat unsettling to me and I can’t describe why. I didn’t want to mark the album off so I just didn’t review it. The album was still sitting in my list of albums to review though. I knew I still wanted to talk about it. Last night I went to a concert to see them and it has since renewed my interest in the album. Side note: there will be a review of the concert to be posted sooner than later. The album was put out by Side One Dummy on CD, DL and vinyl. The vinyl was released in multiple color variants all in a starburst style. I ended up getting the red/white/yellow/black starburst record. It is absolutely beautiful for a bad color pairing, but the other color options are not that much better. I actually think that the colors represent the band perfectly though.

The first single from the album is called Separate Songs. This is the first song that I heard from the album and fell for the song instantly. The song starts off with hard hitting drums and a plinky guitar. It develops into this amazing track with organ multiple guitars and a beautiful solo guitar part. The vocals are confounding with clarity and grit fading in to each other. It is absolutely genius what Jon Loudon can do with his voice. The song does follow the loud soft loud style and it works amazingly. It is a song with feeling and I like those songs the most.

Misprint is the next single from the album. It is a slow burning track that leads into the song with a sweet guitar solo. The layers of guitar on this track are brilliant with each having a different riff and different tones. It is a beautiful song that reminds me of dusk on a cool night in spring or summer when the day is winding down and the edge of the skyline on the horizon is nearly purple as the sun fades of the edge of the world. It is a mellow track with some power behind it.

The last single from this album is called Tiny Prayers. This track is a bit more in your face. it is not a pop track by any means. It kind of grabs you by the collar with both hands and talks to you sternly. It still has the amazing layering of guitars and the bit of grit over the smooth vocals but the song has something it wants to tell you with a bit of force and concern. You better listen because it is serious about what it has to say.

This is a truly great album and I am happy that I have such a great album.
 
This is the latest EP from SubVibe. It is 100% free. It features seven hot dub step tracks that are absolutely amazing. The download if through MediaFire and you can get there through their Bandcamp page. The duo has done some extensive promo work to get the word out about the new EP. They had given out each of the tracks digitally before the full album release sort of like Weird Al Yankovic did with most of the songs on his last album. A “one track a week” ethic up until the release of the full EP. I have been into the group since I heard that they use the same software to write their music that I use. It was actually the company that makes the software, Propellerheads, who pointed me in their direction. I really like what they have done. I hope that they continue to make this great electronic music and I can’t wait for the day that they release a physical copy to the world. For me, that says that a band has actually made it as a group. I am not trying to push them but I wait in excitement for that day.

Any way, there are some awesome tracks on this EP and one of them has become my favorite electronic song to date. I am going to save that one for last though. The first track that I want to talk about is called StepBack. It is the first track on the EP. It starts off as a great standard dub step track but takes a great turn when the music takes a step up in key. It is totally unexpected and works incredibly well. It kept me interested in the whole track just based on this musical change. It is not like the track is monotonous either there are different parts to the song that take it through other changes before coming back to the loop that goes through key changes. It is inspiring to say the least.

The next track that I like is called Pillow Fight. It starts off with a cool synth part and hard hitting drums. The intro goes through a slow build and drops off with a guy screaming Pillow Fight but modulated to sound not human. The track then kicks back in and becomes more abrasive with heavy modulated melody. In the second drop the duo make use of a beautiful guitar sound that floats in the back ground like pink cotton candy clouds. It is truly an amazing track that has links to the electronic music, techno, which I use to listen to back in the 90s.

The one track on the album that I don’t like so much is called Ape Squad. It has a brilliant intro that is similar to Pillow Fight but the instance it is done the song starts with this sound that reminds me of a dog barking and it never changes pitch. It is constant with the rhythm that it makes and is totally a turn off for me. That doesn’t mean that the song doesn’t have its merits. The parts of the song that don’t have this barking dog sound are absolutely amazing. I just wish that there was something more done with this monotone sound in the song.

Lastly, my favorite song on the EP is called Can We Talk AboutThe Mail. They took a skit from the TV show It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. It is the mail skit from season 4; episode 10 called Sweet Dee Has a Heart Attack. Now, I am not a fan of the show but this skit taken out of context is absolutely hilarious. For the duo to put this high tension skit to high tension electronic music is absolutely genius. I can’t get enough of this track and they way that they put it to music. Not only were they able to amp up the tension of the skit they also added to the comedy of the skit using music. In the chorus of the music they make a sound bite of Charlie saying the word “Shit” and added this bubbly blip sound right after it accentuating the word making it even more funny than it was for example. This song has now taken over the top spot in my electronic favorites list over District 78 – Game On and The Glitch Mob remix of The White Stripes – Seven Nation Army. If you know this skit or like electronic music you have got to hear this track, it is awesome!

This guy is the guitarist for the band Fucked Up. I have never taken the time to listen to anything from that group but Slumberland records has taken the time to put out a solo mini album from the guy. After hearing the smooth sounds from the first single, I had to get a copy for myself. After reading up on the guy, Ben Cook, I found that he has penned numerous songs for the likes of Sum 41, Kelly Clarkson, Taylor Swift, a few Canadian Idols, Snow, Maroon 5 and one or two OVO affiliates (Drakes Canadian record label). He is behind the scenes for the most part basically. The album doesn’t officially drop until March 10th but you can pre-order at Slumberland Records. The vinyl comes in a limited sky blue color if your interested in that sort of thing.

The first single from the album is called Wrong Crowd. It is a long track running at nearly seven and a half minutes. This is unexpected for me as most initial singles from new bands are short to get the listeners attention and get them to want more. This track doesn’t drag out but instead drags you in. There is an awesome bass line loop that walks all over my 80s loving synth heart through the long chorus sections. and the verse sections that are very short through some change into the mix so you don’t get bored with the smooth bass line and simple vocals. The addition of the sax solo in the middle of the song doesn’t come off as 80s TV show sound track either, just kidding, it totally does and I think it works amazingly too.

The second single from this mini album is called Crawling Back To You. This is a great rocking track that reminds me of the late 80s rock bands like Cutting Crew but with the vocals from groups like Starship or Prince. It is a great combination that seems to work amazingly well. I like all of these bands that I have listed and to have something that sounds so similar to all three of these favorite bands fills so many holes in my desires for music.

I really hope that this album catches on and that he keeps on with this solo effort because the music deserves to be heard and loved by the masses.

That is all for now. Expect that Restorations concert review soon though...

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Vol. 6 Episode 6



Surfer Blood have signed with a new record label, JoyfulNoise, and will have a new record out in May of this year called 1000 Palms. There has been a single put out called Grand Inquisitor. There has been a limited CD single put out for the song that has a lathe cut on the outside of the CD so that it can be played on a turntable and or a CD player. I wish I could have gotten a copy but they were mailed out only to members of the record club.

Passion Pit will also have a new album this year called Kindred. There has already been a couple of singles released from the album, Lifted Up (1985) and Where The Sky Hangs. iTunes has it available for preorder and I think that Amazon has just put it up for preorder too.

Apparently, New Order will have a new album out this fall. I am interested in what the line-up changes will be since Peter Hook is not with the group any more.

Blur will also have a new album out in the end of April. I am excited to hear that album. This will be their first full album release in twelve years. The album will be called The Magic Whip.

Here we go...


This is a small record label with a small back catalog. Their physical store is found on Storenvy and digital is on Bandcamp. This four way split comes in multiple color options (cloud, swamp, bubblegum seaweed, deep sea, root beer river, lavender, mermaid, moss, emerald, volcano, lake water and grape pop). None of which show a color example so I was really guessing as to what the colors of the vinyl could actually be. I took a shot at the volcano and ended up with an interesting maroon swirled with hints of black and transparent. It looked gorgeous wit a light source behind it. With all these colors available there are only 318 copies pressed of this record.

The first track is from Reservoir called Crawling Space. It is a deep brooding song that relies on the bass guitar to carry the song. The drums are sparse but clean up into a flowing beat later in the song. The guitars are sparse but use long soaring notes. The song is a slower song that makes me feel like the way that Pig Pen dances in the Peanuts’ cartoons. The song picks up just a bit in the last bit of the song and makes me feel a little better. I probably wont be searching this group out based on this track though.

The second track is from a band called Summerpunx called Local Bands. This song reminds me of the first album from Weezer. It is fast and poppy with distorted vocals. It is also over in the blink of an eye with a running time of 47 seconds. With the shortness of the track I get Tony Molina as well. I like this track a lot but want so much more from the song.

The third song is from Runaway Brother called Sap. This was the reason that I got the 7”. It is a fun track that reminds me of Restorations if they sang in an emo style. I really don’t know why I am attracted to this band because when I listen to them there is nothing special going on but I feel good listening to the group. It may be that this was the style that I was listening to in the beginning of the 00s and it transports me back there to some degree to the positive side of that trying time for me. Either way, I enjoy the music that this group puts out even though they are not super star quality yet.

The last track from this split is from Secret Grief with a song called Scandinavian Casual. I am not sure what the title of the track has to do with the song but this is another song that makes me feel happy even if it is a downer song. It is also a shorter song running at just over two and a half minutes. I think it hits me as a saves the day style song. I really like Saves The Day and thus I like this track a lot as well.
 
This is the latest album from The Dodos. It was released on January 27th on vinyl, CD, DL and cassette. The vinyl was released on red (limited to 600) and orange. I got a copy on red and there are still some available at Polyvinyl Records web site. This record was written and recorded right after their previous one, Carrier. They didn’t waist any time getting this one down. It is a shorter album though maybe because they didn’t have as much material available. On the other hand, if you had enough extra tracks to make another album and they are polished up and ready for recording, why not.

There have been two singles released from the album so far. The first is called Competition. The duo make some very attractive music and it shows with this poly-rhythm rocker. Again they have chosen to abandon the acoustic guitar with not only this track but the whole album. The track is a smash that should rival what Vampire Weekend are doing but the group just hasn’t met the public’s eye yet.

The second single is called Retriever. This track uses a bit more distortion and picks up the pace a bit more than Competition. The vocals soar over the speedy music sort of slowing down the song. It is a very cool contrast in the track though. Fast paced drums and speedy fingering guitar work with smooth slower vocals. I really like this track but still have yet to hear them on the radio. It is disappointing.


Last week I mentioned that the group put out a new single for free download, Hold Your Hand. Here it is for me to talk about. It was a free single put out for Valentines Day last week. I know that the track is up on iTunes now but I am not sure if the link that I put in to last weeks post will lead to the free download link any more. The song features the classic synth keys sound that they have used in the past. It is a sweet song about exactly what the title of the song states, holding hands. It is kind of in the young love vein. It is cute. It could also be construed as walking with God through life. This is also a good thing though. It is a good song that is heart felt and moves at a moderate pace. I like the song and hope you all do as well.


That is all for now...