Saturday, September 20, 2014

Vol. 5 Episode 39

Surfer Blood posted on twitter that they had finished their third album and put up a graphic for the cover. It seems kind of odd but there has only been one post about it so far.

Slumberland Records has put up a free 22 song compilation for their 25 year anniversary up on Amazon.

The first song from the new Abandonment Issue B-sides EP from The Pains of Being Pure At Heart has been put up to stream at The Line Of Best Fit. The song is called Poison Touch.

Shop Radio Cast is doing a series of pink vinyl pressings of some of their albums for breast cancer awareness if you are interested. They aren’t listed on the front page though so you will have to dig to find them.

Tiny Engines has repressed the first Restorations LP for the third time. There are some really cool color variations.

Here we go...

This is a single released in the UK in the beginning of September 2014. It is the first 7” from the new album from Flowers. This is one of my favorite tracks from the new album. I wrote about the album already in Vol. 5 Episode 36 and had this to say about the song Joanna, “The drums on this one have the right quick pace like Young does. The guitar work has a fun jangle feel to it. Her vocals are a bit fragile through the whole song. I think that this one is a bit more fun simply because the vocalist makes her voice jump through hoops in the scale with fun highs and lows in the chorus. This track is just the three members of the band playing, no extras. It makes the song rawer than the first single.” My feelings haven’t changed about the song It works very well for me.

The B-side track is called Rachel’s Song. This is a home recording from the group that ended up on this 7” instead of the Rough Trade free CD. It is a short song with just vocals and an acoustic guitar. The vocals are drenched in reverb/echo and give them a floaty heavenly sound. There is a slight addition of a keyboard/organ to fill in the background of the song in the middle but it is almost unnoticeable. The song is called Rachel’s song, I believe, because this is the name of the lead singer. I don’t know if they couldn’t think of a better name for the song or the lyrics have a special meaning for her. Either way, the song is a sweet and simple one.

This is a limited single from Odd Box Records. It was released in January of 2014. I didn’t decide to get a copy until August and luckily there was still a copy available to have. I have only a couple of other releases from this record label simply because they don’t put much out in a year.

The first song is called Sick. The song is simply about someone who was in a relationship and has fallen out of love so hard that the person that they loved now makes them sick. They don’t make them heart broken but out right sick. I can understand this but have never experienced it myself. Maybe this is because I have never had to dump anyone, I have always been dumped. I have never gotten tired of a relationship except for one time. But I was not sick of the girl. I just didn’t want to be around her any more. We didn’t travel in the same circles so this wasn’t hard for me to just stop seeing her. Any Way, the song is good and allowed me to see a different side of how people can feel about the end of a relationship.

The B-side is called Going Sideways. This song has the drummer on the lead vocals. It sounds like he has a chorus pedal on his vocals because it almost sounds like he is under water. There is some quiet and smooth bass and guitar on the track. But the vocals give the song that weird feel to make it just a little bit creepy. I like the song but the weird vocals with the chill music makes me a bit uneasy. I may get use to it if I listen to it a bit more.

This is a three track EP that the girls put out on Dead Oceans again. It is a 7” record pressed at 45 RPM with a physical limited release on black vinyl. It was released mid September 2014. The cover is only slightly controversial because of the naked female butt and legs. Every one has a butt so I don’t see the problem, whatever.

The title track, For The Feel, was intended for the full length album that was put out last year but didn’t seem to fit at the time. When the Clavin sisters came back from their big US and abroad tour they took time to re-record the song for this new EP and they were much happier about how it sounded. This is what they said about the track exactly, “"For The Feel is a song we originally wrote for our full length but it didn't sound right once recorded so we held off on putting it on the record. Finally when it came down to recording it again we were really inspired by the sound of The Kinks, we even used The Kinks amp. I'm really glad we waited to release this song because now it's perfect."

On the B-side of the record is the other two tracks. The first is called Poison Ivy. [It is a take on] The Rolling Stones' version of The Coasters track. It reminds me of something surf rock sounding but I don’t know much about The Rolling Stones and even less about The Coasters. That doesn’t really matter much because this version makes me vibrate with happiness with all that cool reverb and echo through the song.

The third song from the EP is called Born To Kill. This is a cover of a song from The Damned. It is a super cool punk track that these sisters make easy listenable. The style that they play this song in reminds me of Joan Jett & The Black Hearts. I like both because they work well sonically.

I am not sure how often I will listen to this EP but the music is fantastic.

This is a single that was released in different colors; forest green, white and yellow/gold. I got a copy in forest green. The white pressing was only available in record stores or in an all color bundle option. I like the group but not quite as much as to get an all color bundle. This single was released in 2013 to support their second LP called LP2.

The A-side of the record is the title track, New Old. It is a hard hitting rock track with vocals in that raspy scratchy sound that I call the Jersey sound. It is probably not good to sing in that style as it puts a lot of unneeded thrash on vocal chords but it does sound so cool if you can figure out how to do it without damaging the vocal chords. I don’t know if the group does this on purpose but it seems that the names of a lot of their songs are meaningless. For example, one of their singles has the names of each track as A and B. The A track is on the A-side and the B track is on the B-side. New Old doesn’t seem to mean anything in this song either nor does the B-side track, called 0.014 MPH. This doesn’t mean that I don’t like the tracks. On the contrary, they are really great songs that I am happy to have in my collection of music. I just don’t understand the naming of the songs that I have seen so far.

The B-side track is called, as I mentioned earlier, 0.014MPH. It is a slower track from the A-side but has a very cool driving force with soaring distorted guitar notes and a clean picked guitar on top of that. It is one of those songs that you know has meaning just by listening to the guitar solo. It makes you feel sad but empowered at the same time. I like this track a lot. 

That's all for now...

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Vol. 5 Episode 38

There is a new video for Withered Hand’s song Black Tambourine. Check it out!

There are some new/old freebies from Chunklet if you’re interested. "Just email with your mailing address..."

Eternal Summers have also put up a new video. It is for the new single Never Enough. It is a super fun video featuring the group in various genre dress.

Jonsi and Alex are doing the score for the TV show Manhattan. It sounds interesting but I will wait and see what happens.

The new single from White Laces is out on SoundCloud. It is taken from the up coming album called Trance. The album is to be released on 10/7/14.

Here we go...

This is the new full length album from Whirr. It is to be released on the 23rd of this month. I got my copy last week and it is a beauty. It will be out on DL, CD, Cassette and LP. The preorder LP is on brown/yellow bone colored vinyl. It actually looks like kaki with streaks of black and white to me. The first 300 were hand poured in what looked like black white and purple with a bit of green mixed in as well. No two are alike in those hand pours and were made available only to the record club members. The record came with a tour poster as well. There was also a “Party Pack” version of the preorder album that came with some extra goodies for some extra money. The sound of this eight track album is loud and slow with an all encompassing ebb and flow feel. Like all of their music before, the sounds wash over you and you don’t need to focus on it but you defiantly know it is there. The one thing that I feel is missing from the album though is the female backing vocals. This is something that I find I like from the current crop of shogaze groups. There are female backing vocals on this album but they are not as prevalent as on previous tracks from the band.

The first single from the album is called Mumble. It follows the somewhat limited vocal tones through out the album but it seems to work all the same. The music is slow but still moving enough to make me feel the sway of the ocean waves that the album reminds me of. The music is loud and distorted and the vocals are just under that loudness so that you know there are vocals and can nearly make out what they are saying but not quite. This makes for a lovely wave wash of sound. I would not call it a wall so much as an energetic wave that will push you but not bowl you over.

The second single, Lines, starts off a bit quieter than Mumble but it is just an illusion. The single clean guitar in the open is beautiful but don’t be fooled, the rest of the band joins in at the thirty second mark to make the solo beauty into a full band distorted noise. The group really builds on that solo opening to make something louder, fuller and more emotional. It is a sweet and beautiful sound if you can see past the noise in the track. I think that is what I like about the groups sound. If you like noise this is a great group. If you can focus on the sounds that are buried in the noise the group becomes even better. I really like the lines that the clean guitar draws but they are so fine and the distortion on the other instruments are so thick and heavy that it takes a good ear to find the lines that are drawn by the clean guitar sometimes. It is almost like a game at times to find what it is that I like about this band.

If you like slow moving noisy music, i.e. shoegaze, this album is totally for you. I like the sound and it is refreshing for me with all of the pop indie that I seem to be listening to lately.

I have found a new band to like, and I like them a lot. They remind me of The Gaslight Anthem’s early albums and Let Me Run (who have now split up). Restorations have that husky/heavy breathy vocal style that both of these groups make use of in their early albums. In the past I had labeled this as the New Jersey or just Jersey sound. I can’t really call it that any more since Restorations are from Philadelphia PA. What I really like is that they don’t over use this sound. The lead singer also uses clear sounding vocals at times too. The group has two albums out with a third soon to be released. The new album and the second are up on Side One Dummy Records as a fair priced bundle right now. The first is currently out of print but I have a feeling they will be repressed soon from Tiny Engines Records.

This single was also put out on Tiny Engines Records in 2012 as a pre-release to the first album. The record was released in multiple colors. I just ordered the blue version and got the download right away. The A side of the record, called A, showcases what the band have been working on and why they deserve a full length album. Neither of these two tracks are on the first album This first track is filled with that classic Jersey sound that started with Bruce Springsteen in the 80s. The song shimmers and wavers like a candle in the wind with a breakdown in the middle of the song that feels like that candle could go out but then explodes into some of the greatest sounds and rhythms I have heard in a while. The song does a nice fade out at the end that makes the song feel complete. I have listened to a lot of music and there are just those songs that feel like they were not ended properly, this one is proper indeed.

The B side, called B, is an explosion from the start. It starts with a hard hitting bass line and drums and they guitar kicks in along with the lead guitar in the first five seconds of the song setting the tone for the rest of the song, with almost a minute intro to the song. The song slows down just a smidge to let in the vocals for the verse where the guitars fade out. When the chorus kicks in it is all on for a great rock band sound. The break down also finds a bit of a slow down with a vocal chant for a bit to show contrast in the music. This works well in the song though and the song picks up with a great guitar solo before the end of the song.

I just found out about this group and needed a replacement for Let Me Run in my catalog and they fit the bill very well. I can’t wait to get some of their albums to listen to.

OK Go have a new album coming out next month. I put my pre-order in on their Pledge Music campaign and because of this I got their Upside Out EP download for free. I have also gotten this remix of their first single from the EP/album for free because I pledged to the campaign. The remix is called Dan Konopka’s Midnight remix. Dan is the drummer for OK Go if you didn’t know already. The remix is totally ready for the rave dance floor. It sends me back to the 90s when I was really into the techo tunes and it was cool for rock bands to get techo artists to remix the really popular rock tracks. Radiohead even had some of their track from the 90s remixed, not to mention that all of the tracks from their last album were remixed. I hope that there will be more remixed tracks from the up coming album from OK Go. This one is killer!
That is all for now...

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Vol. 5 Episode 37

I have stated in a few posts that Falling Up are putting on a Kickstarter project to fund their latest album. Apparently this latest album will be their last. I am sad to hear this and I hope that the Kickstarter pulls through with the fans. I would hate to have missed out on their last album.

Faith No More will be getting back together! They are going to start recording a new album if they haven’t already started. They will put out a new single for the album on Record Store Day’s Black Friday event. I am excited. They are one of my favorite bands and I was so sad when they broke up.

The Pains of Being Pure At Heart will be putting out an album of B sides soon. I don’t have a date on it yet. Here is an acoustic version of the track called Summers of Dreams that will be on the album.

Nada Surf will also be putting out a digital B sides album in the future. No official date on that one either. 

Here we go...

This is the second album from CCBB. There were 500 copies of the album pressed on vinyl with the pre-orders also receiving a tote bag, button, sticker, scratch card and a live cassette. Unfortunately, I didn’t find out about the band until after the third album was released so I did not get these extras. After listening to the album it comes off as a non-linear story of a dysfunctional relationship. I could probably rearrange the tracks to make it linear but the band put the songs in the order for some reason. The songs are fun either way. I actually put this album on random because of this and the album still works well.

There are a few songs that were released as singles. The first is the song called Title Track. It is a punk track that takes its style from Man or Astro-Man? There are no lyrics for the track and they pull it off well. The song is bass guitar driven with a cool distortion pedal on the bass. The guitar just hits initial notes to accentuate the bass line and the drums are for the most part the same. It is a great song and I wish there were more tracks like this, especially if they can do this so well.

The second track put out as a single is called Monster. It starts off with some movie sound effects like wind blowing and water flowing and moves on to doors creaking and floor boards creaking with reverse talking before the music kicks in. It is a cool surf style track like The Munsters opening theme song. The song is fun for me because it still keeps its comedy in the lyrics too. In the chorus they sing, “Gonna eat your brains, gonna eat your eyes, and leave you for the flies, and then I’ll smoke a cigarette.” It is a great track for Halloween with your adult friends or whatever.

The third single from this album called Lie. The lyrics talk about being confused about who is good and who is bad in this world that we live in. It totally makes sense to me because people do good and bad things in this world. It is a bit extreme to say that you don't want to be around people because of this problem though. The chorus is very catchy though and makes for a great song. I will say that the groups song-crafting has grown exponentially with this album. I like that they have kept their comic sensibilities at the same time too.

The album is full of great tracks that were not put out as singles too. They did do another track that is similar to the track Dirty Song from their first album. I think it is just as funny and it is also not approved for young ears or the work place. The song is called I Am A Slut. The chorus it hilarious and the break down is even funnier. In the chorus she sings, “I am a slut, you can bust a nut, bust it in my butt, cum all over my face.” She sings the same thing again with the last line changing to, “Piss all over my tits.” The break is a bit more graphic so I will just say that the funny part is that she says something so wrong and the other members of the band take in a sharp breath and she says “What?” like she didn’t know it was wrong to sing in the song. Way to funny! I won’t sing it but I will laugh every time.

There is so much more melody in this album and I am a slut is really the only dirty song this time. The only thing that I didn’t like was the answering machine recordings. They don’t really fit in the album.

This is the latest album from Eternal Summers, the third album not counting the single compilation. It was released earlier this year. It was released on CD, DL, and LP. The LP was put out on orange marble to those who preordered from Kanine Records. The album shows that taking a new producer can make dramatic changes that can be good and bad. I think that I like the super polish for the most part. It reminds me of the tale end of the shoegaze movement from bands like Lush and, to some extent, Luscious Jackson (who were not a shoegaze group). The album puts the lead singer, Nicole Yun, in the spotlight through the album, which may not have been needed 100% but still sounds very good.

There have been a couple of singles released from the album. The first is called A Burial. This track is more along the sounds of a standard pop track with a bit of distortion. The vocals are on the lower tones of the female spectrum. I have been getting into this style quite a bit lately. The vocals in the chorus are what really get me though. They remind me of what Lush has done with some of their hits. It is absolutely beautiful the way that she goes from the low tones to the mid tones. It is done in such an artful way. The music that is backing the vocals is still that same 90s revivalist sound. I like that an awful lot as well. That is what I like so much about the band Yuck too.

The second single to be released from the group is called Gouge. It is a quicker moving track from A Burial but not by much. Nicole sings in a higher register with this track, making me feel lighter after listening to A Burial. The guitar work is super sweet on this track with a cool phaser pedal being used on the guitar giving the song an astral feel. The lyrics are not exactly so light but the vocal sounds over power the actual words for me on this one so I can look past them and float in the music of the song.

Overall this album is really great and I hope they continue to make this great music. I will keep buying it.

Flowers – Rough Trade Bonus Disc
When I got my copy of the new Flowers album, Do What You Want To, It’s What You Should DO, I also got in the box this CD. It contains songs that I do not have from the group. These songs are not on the demo downloads that I have from the group or from any of the other EPs from the group. I am happy that I have the songs but I always hate it when a group puts out such limited songs. I guess if I didn’t know that they existed in the first place it wouldn’t matter so much but with the internet, i.e. discogs, it is hard to not know about all of the super limited releases that a band puts out in their catalog. That being said, I have this six song EP and I am glad to have it. All of the songs are super short like they were demos or the extra tracks that did not work on the album. It reminds me of what Radiohead have done in the past. They usually make so many songs more than what will be on the album and those extra songs will usually be on an EP or appear as B sides on the singles after the new album has been released. The songs on this bonus disc are probably just that. They are good songs but either didn’t fit thematically or musically with the album. They may also have not fit physically as well since the album is already fourteen tracks long. Either way the extra tracks on this disc are of varying quality sound wise like they were not produced by the same person that did the new album. They were probably recorded by the band and left off the production table. I actually like the sound of these tracks over the new album because the vocals aren’t so thick. If you like Flowers and find this CD then get it. Since it is a Rough Trade exclusive then go there and get it if you are close to one. I am still kicking myself for not getting the Odd Box single when I could have!

That is all I have for now...

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Vol. 5 Episode 36

Prince has a new record coming out on called Art OfficialAge on September 30. He will also release an album with Third Eye Girl called Plectrum Electrum on the same date.

June Brides have got a new single coming out. You can get the digital single Tuesday and the 7” preorders are being taken now from Slumberland Records.

White Laces will be putting out their first single from the new album real soon.

Here we go...

This is the first album put out by Flowers. They have put out a quite a few EPs and singles before this. I have talked a bout a few of them. It is not officially out until the 9th of September but I got my copy a week and a half early. It will be available on LP, CD and DL that I am aware of. The LP is only fifteen bucks, very reasonable. I preordered my copy and it came on a beautiful bold pink with white swirl. It also came with a download card but I can’t use it until the release date. So, in order to get this review done I digitally recorded it. It sounds pretty good except for the static pop that I couldn’t get rid of when I scrubbed the audio. The songs over all are absolutely beautiful but there isn’t much variation in the music. I think that what I am saying is that it seems like all of the songs are similar in style. This is of course only my first few listens so the album may just grow on me.

There are already a couple of singles released from this album digitally. The first of the two is called Young. This is the lead track from the album. It is a great moderate rocker to start the album off right. It has a quick bass drum beat to start the song off with electric guitar playing chords that ring out perfectly. The vocals are so pretty. Her voice reminds me of a beautiful pink sunset that is rich and deep in color. As the song progresses there are strings added in the background giving the song a fullness that matches her vocals. the end of the song is just as minimalistic as the opening with piano taking the place of the electric guitar giving her vocals a fragile feel.

Joanna is the other single that has been put out so far. The drums on this one have the right quick pace like Young does. The guitar work has a fun jangle feel to it. Her vocals are a bit fragile through the whole song. I think that this one is a bit more fun simply because the vocalist makes her voice jump through hoops in the scale with fun highs and lows in the chorus. This track is just the three members of the band playing, no extras. It makes the song rawer than the first single.

I would like to add that the last track, Stuck, on the album is super sweet and minimalistic. It is just the vocalist and her bass guitar. It is a creative bass line that works so well with her vocals. The bass not only plays notes but also keeps the beat with percussive notes. This is probably my favorite track on the album.

This is a great album that I have been very excited about for a while. I am very happy that I finally have a copy in my hot hands.

This compilation was just released. I got my copy this week. If you got the physical album you were supposed to get a limited poster and a set of pins. I did not get the pins in my package but it was shipped from over seas in a weak outer sleeve to save on cost I am sure. I am actually glad that I did not get the pins because they probably would have damaged the record in transit. For those who preordered the physical record you were also supposed to get some extra tracks on the download, three of them to be exact. I ended up only getting two extra tracks and only one of them was on the labels list of tracks web page. Not that these extra tracks really meant anything to me. The only reason that I got the album was because Echo Lake had contributed a track. I really like Echo Lake and have been waiting for something new to be released. This is the first new music that I have heard from them since their debut album, Wild Peace, in 2011.

Echo Lake contributed a song called This Year and is the song that is being pushed as a single on the internet. It is a very melodic song with double tracked female vocals that have heavy echo and reverb on them. Giving me the feel of cotton candy laced with string steel, almost hard to bite but still very beautiful. The guitar is sweet too, just the right amount of distortion. The solo guitar part is like candy floss too. The unexpected part is when the harmonica comes in during the break. It comes off very light and fits the song well. The rhythm section, drums and bass, are easy to overlook. They do their job well and that is all that is really needed I guess. The song works so well that I can’t wait to hear more from the group. I hope it will be in the near future.

I Know You So Well is done by The History Of Apple Pie. I had never heard of the group before this song and am pleasantly surprised. The song is smooth and reminds me of the groups from the mid 90s alternative groups fronted by girls. It is boring as most of those acts were in the 90s though. They make use of the sounds but make the song so much more interesting. They also take from the shoegaze movement from the late 80s that I like so much. This may be why I like the song so much. It has a mellow smooth sound but still could be played very loud to get all new sounds.

The group Parlour put the song Slow Down on the album. It is a hard hitting track that reminds me of the Go-Go’s if they had been a part of the alternative music in the 90s. It is a really fun track that has a great beat. The vocals are multi-tracked and harmonized giving the vocals something special. It is a great track that I am happy to have heard.

You can hear all of the songs on the record at the Marshall Teller soundcloud page.

I got this album as a freebie when I bought the The Late Virginia Summers (TLVS) cassette from Harding Street Assembly Lab. They for got to send me the TLVS cassette and as an apology they sent me the three cassette combo pack. I wasn’t going to say no. Of the two extra cassettes this one was the one that struck me the most. The cassette came in a silk screened sack that had in it the cassette, a sticker and a unmarked CD in a white slipcase. The CD is supposed to be a mix-disc that is one track but many tracks from different artists mixed like it was a radio show or something. There are no commercials or anything just music mixed with no breaks. The plastic on the cassette is a smoky clear with a red metallic sheet underneath. It is pretty for a cassette. The cassette came with a download card but it didn’t seem to work when I tried it. So I recorded the cassette to digital myself. I found that there were three extra tracks. I think that the echoes on the end of side A were just to fill out the end of the tape. These same echoes happen just before the extra track called Stickers. The echoes don’t actually have a name so I labeled them Echoes 1 and 2. The music on the tape is very atmospheric but the drumming is excellent and makes the album stand out from other atmospheric albums that I have heard. No track specifically stands out above the rest though as this is an album that I would probably put on while I was reading a book. It is just something to have in the background. I think that is the way it was designed though.
That is all I have for now...

Thursday, August 28, 2014

vol. 5 Episode 35.5

Linkin Park with opening acts AFI and 30 Seconds To Mars at the Grand Stand in the Minnesota State Fair in St. Paul MN on August 26th, 2014

I pre-ordered tickets, as I always do, to the concert as soon as they went on sale. As I mentioned in past posts, this would be the first concert that I will take my thirteen year old son to. We, the family (my wife, my two children and myself), spent the day at the fair leading up to the concert and would meet up with my father-in-law for the concert. We had a great time at the fair chasing down all the foods that we wanted to eat and seeing the sights with the toddler and teenager. My favorites that I get are honey ice-cream with sunflower seeds, deep fried Twinkie and fried cheese curds. I also took the toddler down the giant green and yellow slide for the first time. It always freaks me out but the toddler didn’t seem to mind, it didn’t even faze him. We did find the Linkin Park tour bus and took pictures of us standing next to it.

The concert promptly started at 6:30 with AFI on the stage. Every concert I have ever been to, the doors open at the time on the ticket and the first act doesn’t start until an hour later. I did hear music at the 6:30 mark but just thought that it was some other music to satisfy the people coming to the concert. Apparently it was AFI starting to play. I wasn’t mad about missing them play because we were there to see Linkin Park any way. After AFI was finished with their set we met up with my father-in-law and said good-bye to my wife and toddler.

We entered the grand stand just after 30 Seconds To Mars started their set. I of course mistakenly thought that they were AFI but later during their set found out that they were 30 Seconds To Mars. I was actually happy about this because this meant that I didn’t have to sit through an opening act that I didn’t know or have any interest in. I know that they are pretty popular and have heard some of their music but I don’t have any interest in them or the music they make. The 30 Seconds To Mars set wasn’t that great though. I am not all that familiar with their music but what they played was not inspiring in anyway. The songs that I do remember were set up for the arena rock style. The crowd was able to sing and sing in tune but I want to hear some good music not the crowd singing your songs. The song that I didn’t like the most was near the end of the set. The lead singer said it was from their new album, I can’t remember the title of the song but it was basically the crowd singing with the lead singer repeating the same two lines after the crowd singing. It was so boring for me.

We found our seats, they were close to the middle but three rows from the top. It was sad to look down at the crowd and the artist on the stage and they seemed like tiny little ants. I am so use to going to the smaller venues and being able to touch the artists if I wanted to. They even had the jumbo-trons (giant LED screens now) up to allow people in our seats to see the artists playing and singing.

I was in such a rush to get in that I didn’t see the merch booths until we found our seats. I told my son that we would stop by after the concert. Unfortunately, the merch booths closed just before the concert ended and we didn’t get to go and see what they had for sale.

During the set up for the Linkin Park set my son nearly fell asleep waiting. It was about a half hour set up. I thought that this didn’t bode well for him staying up to watch his favorite band. I didn’t understand how he could be tired with his favorite band about to take the stage. Now, I haven’t seen my favorite band play live ever but I have seen the close second and third play and I was nearly bananas being able to see them live and talking to them in person. It could possibly put a damper on the situation being at the top of the stands and not being able to see the members up close. We could still see the jumbotrons clearly.

They opened up the set with the hard hitting single, Guilty All The Same, from the new album.  It sounded very similar to the studio recording with the exception that Rakim was not a part of the tour. The song was super hard especially in the drums. The hits were so loud and coming from the low end of the sounds. It may have been that there was an effect on the drums for this track that gave it that sound. It was a great rendition.

I also liked the Blackout intro that was played. I am not sure if they intended to play the whole song but the intro was very cool to hear. It was like it was just a impromptu section played to give the group some time to set up for the next song though. I didn’t know it was a part of Blackout until I came home and had a chance to figure out the set list.

I also liked the way that they did Robot Boy. It wasn’t the full song but instead was basically the opening of the song before the lyrics come in. I have always liked the music more than the lyrics in most music. Instead of the lyrics there was a very cool keyboard solo that lead into Joe Hahns’ DJ solo. This was a very cool electronic driven solo that progressively got more drum oriented and hard hitting before it faded into Numb.

I was very surprised that there were six songs in the Encore. I was even more surprised that they played New Divide as this is a track from the Transformers soundtrack. Most bands don’t play their B-sides are rare tracks. So this was a pleasant surprise. I an not necessarily a big fan of the track but the crowd recognized it right away and sang along.

The last track is my sons’ favorite track from the group ever, Bleed It Out. It is from Minutes to Midnight and was hilarious to hear him at the age of seven sing this song along with the lead singer. He doesn’t sing it so much now but every time I hear the song I think of him at that age singing along with the music. When the group started singing the song at the concert I expected him to be standing up right next to me to sing the song with the crowd. I was so disappointed to look over and then down to seem him sitting in the seat. I bumped him and said, “Come on, stand up, this is your song!” He begrudgingly stood up but had his head tipped down with his eye half open.

I probably won’t be taking him to any concerts any time soon because of the way he acted. I don’t see why he was so tired because he is usually happy to stay up and play video games or watch movies way past his bed time especially during the summer.

Either way, the concert was very good even if we had nosebleed seats. I probably would not go and see them again though because I like the smaller venues. I would say that if my favorite band came to town I would get tickets what ever venue it was. I would probably pay a bit more to see them too. This concert was more for my son than it was for me though.

Set List:
Guilty All The Same
Given Up
With You
One Step Closer
Blackout intro
Castle of Glass
Leave Out All The Rest/Shadow Of The Day/Iridescent
Robot Boy
Joe Hahn Solo
Waiting For The End
Final Masquerade
Skin To Bone/Remember The Name (Fort Minor)/Lying From You
Somewhere I Belong
In The End

Burn It Down
Lost In The Echo
New Divide
Until It’s Gone
What I’ve Done
Bleed It Out

Thank you City Pages and Adam Degross for the images. If you want a different perspective on the concert you can check out the City Pages review although their set list is a bit off.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Vol. 5 Episode 35

If you want to hear the song from Eternal Summers that will be on the cassette single from Haus Of Pins it is up on Heartbreaking Bravery now.

This is an extra post this week. There will also be a concert post this week too barring that I don't mess up the recording of the concert like I did on the last concert for the Oh Hellos.

Here we go...

This marks the fourteenth album from Weird al Yankovic and his first number one album in that time. The album has parodies from Pharrell Willianms, Robin Thicke, Iggy Azalea, Lorde and Imagine Dragons. There are also pastiche songs that imitate Pixies, Cat Stevens, Foo Fighters, Crosby, Stills & Nash and Southern Culture On The Skids. Yankovic created the originals first and wrote the parodies last to get the parodies to be as relevant as possible. It was decided by Yankovic to not release a lead single. Instead eight music videos were released one a week after the release of the album. Each video was released through a different video portal. I have always liked the music and lyrics that Yankovic has created but this new record hits that right chord for me and will sit on top of the stack of his albums for a while. The songs are so much fun.

The eight videos that have been released are some of the best spots on the album. I will go over a few of my favorites but there are also some great ones that have not been put to video and may not be. First, my favorites that were put to video. Word Crimes is my favorite song from the album. It is a parody of the Robin Thicke track called Blurred Lines. I did not like the lyrics that Robin sang and stayed away from the track even though the music was amazing. It then makes me very happy that Yankovic made a parody of the track because I can be happy listening to the song makes fun of people that don’t understand how to write. I don’t claim to be the best writer on the planet but the stuff that he sings about are hilarious simply because they happen all the time because people seem to forget the rules to writing.

Although Tacky is a great song I think that the twist that happens through Foil is so much better. It starts off simple with favoritism toward using aluminum foil to cover uneaten foods. It twists after this to talk about conspiracy theories and using foil as a hat as many conspiracy theorists seem to think is needed to protect them from mind control. It is a straight forward song with fun twists.

I really like the style parody of the Foo Fighters called MyOwn Eyes. The music may match the Foo Fighters but Yankovics’ vocal sound is more like Chad Kroeger from Nickelback. This isn’t a style thing because I might like Kroegers’ vocals if he had Yankovics’ style. I have always been a fan of the Foo Fighters and this song makes me feel a bit odd. I think that is what Dave Grohl would want any way so this song fits well I think.

This is the eighth album from The Smashing Pumpkins. It was released in June of 2012. The album was released as a part of the ongoing 44 song box set called Teargarden By Kaleidyscope. Billy Corgan sort of abandoned the idea of singles and EPs after realizing that he wasn’t getting the exposure that he expected. This is the reason that Oceania was released as an album. The album, over all, is not as heavy as albums in the past. The new guitarist mentioned that this was because of the political and social climate. The band thought that the album should be more spacey and dreamy. I think the band needs to revisit what spacey and dreamy sound like if that is the case. They should look up shoegaze and where that style has gone to better understand what those terms mean in music today.

There were two singles released from the album. The first single is called The Celestials. It is actually a promo single from the album to try to gain some interest through the radio stations. The first third of the song is done in acoustic instruments. The last two thirds of the song are focused on flowing into a rock song then into a heavy grunge song with a not to the Smashing Pumpkins hey day in the mid to late 90s. I was not all that happy with the track as it took to much time to get to what the song was meant to be in the long run. It did accomplish the slow build though. I wouldn’t have done the build the way that he did it I guess.

The second single from the album is called Panopticon. This track was also released as a promo single to the radio stations. This is the type of song that I would rather hear from the Pumpkins. It is hard and emotional at the same time. The beauty comes from Corgans’ movement from a major key in the verse (D) to a minor key in the chorus (A). the song truly embodies what the group were in the 90s and that is what Corgan wants from the group I think.

In December 2012 beck released the art and sheet music that is Song Reader. It was released as a compilation, meaning that different artists have recorded each song including one from Beck. All twenty of the songs are represented on this compilation from some famous and some that I have not ever heard of, not to say that they are not famous. Some of the artists that I recognize are Fun, Tweedy, Norah Jones, Jack White, Beck (of course), Laura Marling, Jarvis Cocker, Jack Black and Loudon Wainwright III. Honestly, I can’t say that I like this album all that much. There are some special tracks on the album that I do like but, I think, less than a hand full. I am not a big fan of the alt-country genre and that is where most of this music falls. It is twenty tracks of music that I don’t really have any interest in. This doesn’t mean that it isn’t good music and I may come back to it some day and find that I was completely wrong and like the music a lot.

I will highlight the few tracks that I do like though. The first song that I like from the album is called The Wolf Is On The Hill sung by Tweedy. This is the father son duo of Jeff Tweedy and his son, Spencer. The pair will be releasing an album together this September. The song has Jeff’s amazing vocal style combined with slow music that still keeps my interest. I am not a fan of Wilco but There is something special about the delivery of this track. It may be that Beck composed the song and Tweedy’s interpretation of the music is a perfect storm of music. Either way It is a nice spacious track that I do like.

The second song that I like from this album is called Just Noise sung by Norah Jones. I like what Nora has created in the past. I have never liked her solo work enough to buy anything my self though. This song would be the same. I like the track but if it were an album of this type of music I would not run out and buy it. That being said the chorus is what grabs me. The chorus is a call and response where her vocals are echoed by the music. It is a short track but it gets the point across.

The third and final song that I actually like from the album is called Heaven’s Ladder by Beck. It is all Beck and this is probably the reason that I like it. Beck wrote the music and has played the song making it everything that I like from beck not just the song writing. It is sweet and reminds me of the album that he put out at the beginning of the year. It could have easily been a part of Morning Phase. The song is sweet and slow and uses the sounds that you would have expected from beck and his backing group.

I can not recommend this album to anyone unless you are into compilation or cover albums.

That is all I have for now...

Friday, August 22, 2014

Vol. 5 Episode 34

Joanna Gruesome will be part of a split EP with Perfect Pussy. Each group will contribute a cover track and a brand new track. This will be put out through three different record companies; Slumberland Records, Fortuna Pop! and Captured Tracks. At this time there is not a release date. Perfect Pussy will cover a sugarcubes track called Leash Called Love and J. Grue. will cover a track from I Hate Myself called …And Keep Reaching For Those Stars. Pitchfork has all the details that have been released on their page.

I don’t often cover info on mainstream artists but I caught the new song from Taylor Swift and it is pretty good. Because of this song I am actually considering getting the record. You can check out the video for the new song called Shake It Off.

I wasn’t able to attend the OK Go concert as it was sold out when I was able to purchase tickets. But, the group stopped by The Current studios to do a three song set on the following day. You can check it out the set on their web page.

Eternal Summers are also doing a split single with the band Broun Brogues on a label called Haus Of Pins. This is a UK record company and will be put out on cassette probably for Cassette Store Day coming up this fall.

OK, here we go...

This is the second album from Literature. The album was released this week (Aug 19, 2014) on Slumberland Records. The limited edition version of the vinyl is on translucent purple with solid pink splatter. It is also available as a DL and CD. The album overall has a great sound of the mid 80s indie scene. It is perfect for me because that is some of the stuff that I liked the most. The sound has been compared to The Feelies, Johnny Marr and the Buzzcocks already.

There has only been one single released from the album but there has also been a previously released 7” plus a track that I really like that probably should be released as a single. First the official single from the album is called New Jacket. The song right off reminds me of a cool mix of The Cure and The Smiths. It starts off with a quick beat and long guitar and 80s synth sounds. It is warm and inviting. I am not sure why this track was chosen as the first single though. It is very pretty but I would have thought that one of the other two singles that I am about to talk about would have been selected as the first single and this one as the second or third.

The English Softhearts is the song that I would have chosen as a first single from this album. The synth flute sound that follows the vocals through the chorus works better than can be expected in any pop song. This song is just as beautiful as New Jacket but comes off a bit catchier in the chorus. It also makes use of the jangle pop sounds of R.E.M. along with the sounds of The Smiths making this one of those special gems that shines very bright. This is my favorite track from the album.

Tie-Dye (Your Life) was originally released as a 7” single in 2012. The version on the album here has been re-recorded and completely sonically cleaned up. Better equipment means better sound, right? I talked about this single in Vol. 5 Episode 31. Here is what I had to say, “It is a fun pop track that makes reference to tie-Dyeing as if it were something fun to do. I don’t understand the reference but it seems like it is not referring to coloring clothing in an interesting way. This song kind of reminds me of Black Flag but with a happy fun feel. It is punk gone happy I guess. I really like the song.”

This is a great jangle/indy pop album. This album is probably the best of the year maybe even of the last decade or two.

This is the groups first album. It was released on Happy Happy Birth Day To Me Records (HHBTM) back in 2005. I got a repressing of the album with a different cover that was also limited to 200 copies. The repressing was done in 2009. I found out about this group from Odd Box Records. Their second 100 Club series had a single from this group. I hadn’t heard of the group before but was interested with the name of the group. I looked up their Bandcamp page and listened to this album. It was funny and fun in so many ways. There is a lot of talk of sex in pretty graphic ways, if you are an adult though these songs will be hilarious. They are probably not songs that you want to be listening to at work though. The album has twenty tracks and none of them are over two and a half minutes.

There are some great tracks on this album. I am not sure if there were any official singles released from the album so I will just highlight some of my favorite tracks. The first track on the album, I like, is a great introduction to the band. The song smacks of the sounds found on the 60s and 70s opening songs for the Saturday morning cartoons. It goes hand in hand with the cover for the album. It talks about the simple things in life that one would like to do with their best friend. I am not as much of a fan of the chorus with the simple la-la-la’s that happen but the lyrics of the song are what touch my heart.

The next song that I really like is called Dating Batman. It is a slower song that rhymes on every line. The lyrics talk about meeting Batman and dating him. She then goes on to say that things got strange because he would come back at night smelling like the bad guys. She then goes on to tell the listener that she broke up with Batman because that was uncomfortable in a relationship. It is a very silly story that has very good imagery in my mind.

I really like the cover of the cartoon version of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme song. It is simply labeled TMNT on the record. To hear a girl sing the lyrics with super indie music in the background is just fun. With the new TMNT movie just out in theaters this was the perfect time for me to have heard this song too. They didn’t change the lyrics either. This version is pop perfection with the right amount of nostalgia.

I like the song Abortion from this album too. The lyrics portray something that has been happening in this country for a long time. The lyrics talk about a boyfriend/girlfriend/couple that are both working part time jobs and can’t afford any kind of insurance who have gotten pregnant. Because of their situation they feel that their best course of action is to just have an abortion. I can’t say that I agree with the people that are being talked about but every ones situation is different. I think that it helps that the groups’ comic spin on the song helps to get the idea across.

I think that the funniest song on the album is one that should only be heard by adults. I don’t feel that it is meant for kids still in high school or below. It is also recommended that the song not be listened to in the work place. The song is called Dirty Song for a reason here folks. The song literally and comically talks about having sex and different ways to do so. The delivery of the lyrics is what I like the most about the song. It also helps that the music backing the lyrics is a fun romp from back in the 50s and 60s.

D In The P is a silly song also about sex but more veiled about what it is talking about. It is a short 33 second track that literally sings “Put the D in the P” in the first half and in the second half sings “Put the D in the P or the A.” The letters mean exactly what you think they do too.

The last song that I am going to talk about is called Do You Want It? (The Sex, I Mean). The song directly references the R&B sound that comes from the likes of artists like D’angelo. The music is programmed drums with a synth bass line. The lyrics are funny in the delivery with this track as well. The drummer sings, “Do want it?” and the guitarist replies “Oh Yeah.” The fourth time around with this the drummer singes, “The sex I mean” and she replies, “No.” The way that she says “No” is so funny. It makes the song perfect.

This is a very funny album with some points that shouldn’t be crossed but they seem to get away with it because of their comedic delivery. I can’t wait to share more albums from them in the future.

The group recently did an audio session for Audiotree. They have been on tour and I did get to see them on their stop to my home town but I had an error in my recording so I did not write about it. I am happy to be able to write about this live EP that Audiotree have put out instead though. All of the songs in this set are from their first and only album except one, Dear Wormwood. They actually played two new songs, this being one of them, during the concert that I went to. I am very sad that I don’t have copies of those two tracks from my own recordings but such is life. The group has stated that the groups sound is rooted in Irish Folk sounds. I would have said that plus a bluegrass sound but Irish Folk is what the band claims and so they are.

The EP has six tracks with little bits of talking between the songs. The EP also comes with a video of the whole session. This means that the download is a very large zip file, just so you are aware.

Because the EP is songs from their first album I will only be talking about the new song, Dear Wormwood. Sonically the vocals are very smooth and remind me of something from the soft rock era of the late 70s. Musically the song is very busy filling in where the smooth stretched out vocals leave space. There is so much going on at some points that it is distracting from the song as a whole. I like the song but I hope that the arrangement will not be as busy in the final mix of the song. It doesn’t help that there are thirteen members in the band at this recording.

All in all this is a great EP especially if you are into the alt-country sounds that are very popular at the moment.