Sunday, January 25, 2015

Vol. 6 Episode 3

The Echo Lake album called Era will be released on March 2nd.

The Death Cab For Cutie album called Kintsugi will be released on March 31st. 

89.3 The Current has put out a limited edition 10" record (1000 pressed) featuring The Hold Steady and The Suicide Commandos. They are all live tracks and you can pick it up at The Electric Fetus.

That is the only new information that I really have.

This is a split 7” EP from two great female lead punk groups. The record is accompanied by a comic book that tells the tail of the Captured Crusader. The record was released through Captured Tracks, Slumberland Records and Fortuna Pop! The record also runs at two different speeds. The A side is at 45 and the B side is at 33 RPM. The EP was originally scedualed to be released in early fall but because of RSDBF it got pushed back to a November release, I didn’t actually get my copy until December. Each group contributed one original track and a cover track. Some copies that were send out had the wrong record in the sleeve. That wrong record was AC/DC’s Rock or Bust single. I got the right record but I have seen some pictures.

The A side, Joanna Gruesome side, has the tracks Psykick Espionage and ...And Keep Reaching For Those Stars. The latter being a cover from the band I Hate My Self. Their original song, Psykick Espionage starts off with a grand noise and calms down just a little so we can hear the lead singer scream as loud as she can, it seems. Then it calms down a bit more so we can hear a very pretty vocal line in the chorus. Then it picks up again for the second verse and calms down again for the second chorus and the end flattens out to be a great punk song with beautiful light and airy female vocals.

The second track, ...AndKeep Reaching For Those Stars, from them is short and focuses on the female vocals with male vocals right under the female vocals giving the support that makes all vocals stand out over the noise that the group is making. Although it is short, it is one of my favorite tracks from the group.

The first song from Perfect Pussy is called Adult World (The Secret). The female vocals are so raw and unintelligible but for me work so well with the punk noise that the group makes so well. The instrumentation on the song is partially noise but mostly music. There is defiantly something special going on with this group. I look forward to hearing more from them in the future.

The second track from them is called A Leash Called Love. This is a cover from The Sugar Cubes. The first couple of times I listened to this track I actually got lost in the music and thought that Bjork was singing the song with a noisier backing band. Meredith Graves, the lead singer for Perfect Pussy, does such an exceptional job at getting the style of Bjorks’ vocals within the confines of PP’s punk style. It is a really amazing rendition of this song.

I am glad that I had to wait to get this EP. It is one of my favorites of 2014.

This is a digital only EP from Dresses. It features two new songs and three acoustic tracks. This EP is sweet and fun. The duo, who were a couple, have now apparently stopped dating but, thankfully, they are still writing music together. This is great news for fans of the music. The duo has also reportedly started branching out in their sound pallet. Jared has said that they have been listening to all kinds of music to get new inspirations for new music.

The first song and single from the EP is the title track, Lonely One. The song is about being in a relationship and remembering what is was like when they were not in a relationship. It could also be seen as being in a relationship but not sharing each others lives with each other making them feel lonely. I know both situations as I have problems sharing my life and who hasn’t been in a relationship before, everyone. So, everyone understands at least one side of the story. It is a sweet song even if it is a little depressing.

The second new song from the EP is called Duet Song. It is a slower song with a simple beat played on a guitar with the duo singing together. The way they sing together on this track is very complex and very enjoyable. They sing about a few different things in the song. My favorite part of the lyrics is when they are singing about the first time he took her home at the end of the song. They took a shower together after his parents had left the house. He sings that they only kissed but I imagine a bit more than that probably happened. I don’t know if this is based on fact or a made up story but either way it was cute and I enjoyed it.

The next three songs are the acoustic songs. I am not usually a fan of acoustic songs but these versions seem to support the duos strengths even if they are thin sounding next to the studio versions. It is after all the two of them with a guitar after all. The songs are, Sun Shy, TellA Lie and Painting Roses.

The EP is very good and I hope this means there will be more music coming from them in the future.

This is the latest single from Haim. It was put out on a 10” shaped picture disc. I am usually not interested in picture discs but I still don’t have a shaped record and I thought this was unique enough to get it. This is the sixth single taken from the album Days Are Gone. There was also a video put out to support the single.

The A side of the record is just the album version of the song, My Song 5. It is not my favorite track form the album but works well as a late single from the album. What I do like is the super bass synth that is used in the back ground. The problem with the song is the same sound. It takes the song in an odd direction for me. Either way it is still a good song.

The B side of the single is a remix of the song with an addition from the rapper A$AP Ferg, My Song 5 Feat. A$AP Ferg. I don’t know who he is or what he does but the rap that he adds to the song doesn’t exactly seem to fit the song. He talks about marriage, cheating and sex with other girls. I guess it fits but he is talking about the male side and the girls are singing about the female side where they don’t want to be in the relationship because of the things he talks about. I feel like this version comes off a bit disjointed because of the addition of the rapping.

I am happy that I have the single but confused about why they did this remix.

That is all for now...

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Vol. 6 Episode 2

There will be a repressing for the Ar-Kaics record over at Windian Records.

Echo Lake have announced a new record through No Pain InPop. No word yet if Slumberland Records will be carrying it.

Record Store Day has announced the date for 2015, April 18th. The 20th doesn’t fall on a weekend this year.

On with the show...

I have been waiting for a long time to get my hands on this split single. It was released in 2008. When I talked to Kip about the release he said that half of the 300 records that were pressed were lost. This means that there is probably only about 150 of these singles in existence. The copy that I found was number 45. I had a digital copy of the track from The Pains but I like to have a physical copy of my music if at all possible. The record was originally released on Atomic Beat Records. There was an insert that came with the record that was printed on orange paper that introduced both bands along with some liner notes about the release.

The A side is the Parallelograms side which has two tracks from the group. The first track is called 1, 2, 3 Go! It is a fun indie pop track with fun female vocals sung in a bit of a lack luster style. It keeps my interest though and that is what is important I guess, keeping the listeners interest that is.

The second track is called Pop The Bubbles. It is a bit faster of a song but keeps that innocent style of fun pop music. The singer sings about liking to pop bubbles because they are beautiful and shiny. It is cute and fun music and vocals. There isn’t really any substance behind the music, it is just simple and fun.

The B side is the song from The Pains, Kurt Cobain's Caradigan. I briefly mentioned this track in Vol. 2 Episode 7. It is a good track that reminds me of their band name song, The Pains of Being Pure At Heart. They are both great songs and both are a couple of the first songs that they ever recorded. What stands out even more is that they still stand up today and sound just as fresh and new to me. This is great music from a great band.

Obviously, you can’t just run out and get this record but you can get digital versions of these songs. I highly advise that you do get digital copies of these songs they are great!

This is her sixth album released in May of 2014. I got a special deal through Graveface Records and got the album on CD, Cassette and hand poured vinyl. My vinyl copy was a mix of dark green and baby blue. It is kind of disgusting but pretty at the same time. It is also limited and hand numbered out of 300 units. I have known about Haley Bonar for a while. As a matter of fact, she has a song on 89.3 The Current Live Current Vol. 4, Local Current Vol. 2 and a cover song on the Minnesota Beatle Project Vol. 4. So, you can see that I have known of her music for some time now. It wasn’t until this album that a couple of tracks really caught my ear. Because of this I have picked up most of her music. There are just a couple of items that I can’t seem to find. Anyway, there is something on this album that grabbed me by the throat to get my attention to listen to the album. It helps that she is on Graveface records now, one of my current favorite record companies. I don’t know if Jason had any influence on the direction sonically for the album but there are some very cool wall of sound moments on the album. This is kind of an underground thing that is happening again in music and I have documented some of the new groups that are doing this.

There are a few really great songs on this short album. The first of which is the first single released from the album. The song is called From A Cage. I first saw the video for the song and it is what got me into the album in the first place. The intro is a three no loop on a Whirlitzer keyboard. This three note loop goes through the whole song. It does change for the chorus but it is so simple and elegant. The song is built around this keyboard loop and I really can’t get enough of it. The Music that is built around the loop is so simple as well. The song itself is a bit of a downer but the video that goes with it is so interesting that I can over look the depression. Since I have seen the video already and have already over looked the down feel of the song I only see the beauty of the song. On a side note, Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) does some backing vocals on this track. Haley had said in an interview that she had written this song just to have him sing backing vocals. It is kind of silly but the song works well.

The second single from the album is the title track, LastWar. The song is about the end of a relationship. It is about when your have already given up on the relationship and this is the last straw and last fight. It is a soft song with lots of reverb and echo in the background on the chorus giving that wall of sound feel but still having clarity up front. Her vocals and the bass and electric guitars are so clear. It is a beautiful sound that people who cant handle the noise of shoegaze will like. It is a beautiful song with unusual clarity for a shogaze track.

The last song that I really like from this album is called Eat For Free. The song is also simple with just an acoustic guitar for musical support. The track also features Justin Vernon on backing vocals giving the song that little bit more depth. The song is an interpretation of the state of music where artist use the pay what you want or get it for free model of purchasing. Haley applies this to a relationship to great effect. The song becomes something unique and sweet. I think the song pulls something from, believe it or not, the song from Staind called Outside but to better effect because of the backing vocals. I think that the subject matter here also outdoes the face value style of the song from Staind as well.

I think this is a great album and I only wish I had found interest in Haley’s music sooner.

This is a side project from Haley Bonar. This is their first album and it was put out in February of 2013. I got a copy of this album with the latest Haley Bonar album. This album is on a half and half record of slightly transparent cherry and light blue. This is my first half and half record and I am happy that it is this record. I saw the group play with the Graveface Road Show nearly a year ago. I had no idea who the lead singer was at the time. I think that it is awesome that I saw Haley Bonar sing live and I can say that now that I know who she is. Seeing this group at the show was the highlight for me and having the album now just reminds me of that concert and how much fun their set was. I am excited to get more music from them as they are working on a new album that is scheduled for release in 2015.

There were two singles that were released from this album. The first single is actually two songs, I Have This Feeling and Sugar Crash!The video to support I Have This Feeling included the short song Sugar Crash! Both songs are a bit odd but this group is about having fun more than being serious. The song carries a fun groove and has pretty simple beat. The lyrics sing about her having a dream with out her friends and she kind of blames her friends for not being there like it was their fault for not being there. It is kind of silly to think like that but the way it is done is interesting and fun. The second part, Sugar Crash!, is set up to be a song about what it feels like to be on a sugar high because you have just eaten a bunch of sugar. It is a very short song and comes to an end quick to resemble the sudden low after the sugar high. Both are fun songs.

The second single is called We R Ctrl. This is another short song that is very punchy in its delivery. It is set up like a Devo track with short controlled notes to show the control that they are delivering. The vocals are bizarre, fun and interesting. The video is shot live so it sounds a little bit simpler that the nearly out of control recording that is on the album. The album version is nearly out of control and that is the comedy of the song. I like both versions but I remember the live concert that I went to and it sounded more like the video than the album version.

The other song that I really liked was the song Lazy Bones. I like the 808 style drums that underlay the actual drums in the song. The lyric to the song in the verse are silly and don’t make much sense but the chorus is repetitive and fun. It reminds me of the Soul Coughing track of the similar name, Lazybones, but this song from Gramma’s Boyfriend is a lot more fun and poppy.

I really like this album and hope that the upcoming album is filled with just as much energy.
That is all for now...

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Vol. 6 Episode 1

Here it is the very first episode of the year and as promised early!

First off, Decyfer Down are doing a new album and they are starting it off on Kickstarter. Please help them out. They are a great sounding christian hard rock group that deserves the chance to make more great music.

There is a bunch of new music coming out this year but I don't have release dates so I don't want to get anyone's hopes up yet. I will give you a short list of artists though:

The XX
Nada Surf
Faith No More
Death Cab For Cutie
Mumford and Sons
The Smashing Pumpkins

I have also got two concerts lined up but they are for closer to spring than still during winter. They are for OK Go and The Dodos. The new Dodos album will also be released later this month.

Links to hear every song on this episode are in the album headings this time. Here we go with the first episode...

Every year 89.3 The Current puts out a live album of bands and tracks that were recorded live in their studios when bands stop by before or after their scheduled concerts. Every year I get a copy. If there is a vinyl option I will get that and if there is a box set (CD and vinyl plus other goodies) I will get that. This year the radio station offered a box set with the CD, vinyl, poster and fold out box for all ten CDs to fit into. I also have the first founding member release and the 5 Year Birthday CD. Although it is tight both of those fit in this foldout box with the other ten CDs. Both of these are card sleeve CD cases and this is why they just barely fit in this case. Now I just need The Current to press the hand full of other albums on vinyl that haven’t been yet. This year the album is on black vinyl, just a bit disappointing really. I can forgive it though because they included a second album basically for free; see Cover To Cover below. Usually I get this package in early November. This year I didn’t get this album until late December because of Record Store Day Black Friday (RSDBF). The majors are jumping on this special day now just like RSD and backing up any vinyl processing. This causes problems for any small run that needs to get out like this record or a Halloween related 7” record for example.

Usually there are only one or two tracks that I look forward to hearing on these albums but this year I was excited about six tracks on this eighteen track album. The first track is from Bon Iver. It is the song Flume from the first album, For Emma, Forever Ago. This means that they have taken tracks not from the previous year but across multiple years. I think this is because it is a celebration of the past ten hears and not just the past year. This version is played slower than the album version and it is only Justin Vernon and an acoustic guitar. It makes the song starker with no multi-tracked vocals and extra guitar embellishments. It isn’t sadder than the studio version but more for The Current Studios than for the listener. At least that is how I feel about this version. I like it for what it is but the studio version I would rather hear.

The next song that I was excited to hear from the album is from Phoenix called Lisztomania from the album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. This is a mostly acoustic version of this song too. I think it gives the song a new dimension. The keyboards are still synthesized organ but the guitar is acoustic. I think that this gives the song a thinner sound but at the same time a funer poppier feel. I don’t hear any bass but acoustic bass is supper quiet. Because there is no bass in this version is the reason that the song is thin sounding to me. This is the problem with most acoustic songs in my mind. There are two acoustic guitars and the organ with the vocals though.

Beach House plays the super smooth track called Norway from their album Teen Dream. This is a recreation of the studio version and sounds just as beautiful. I actually have a second version that they played at The Current studios back in 2010. This version was given as a limited digital download for Live Current Vol. 6. Members had a limited time to get an additional six tracks as a download card with purchase of Vol. 6. I was one of those lucky members to get that download card. So now I have two versions of this song from The Current. I actually prefer the version on the Vol. 6 download because the mix is quieter and the vocals are so mellow compared to the Vol. 10 version.

Mike Doughty did an acoustic version with upright bass for the song 27 Jennifers. This song appears on both Rockity Roll and Golden Delicious. I am more a fan of Soul Coughing than Mikes solo carrier but this is still a fun song. The story is silly and makes me smile when I here it though. It is Mikes vocals though so I still get that Soul Coughing vibe still.

The next song I wanted to hear was from Spoon. It is the song Don’t You Evah from the album Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. With this live version you get right into the song. The studio version of the song has some chatter between the singer and the guy doing the recording. This is a live version not an acoustic version so it has electric guitar and bass in the song. It is very close to the album version though with some minor discrepancies. It is a good version of the song as they are a professional group and they make it all line up perfectly.

I was so excited that there was a song from The XX on the album. They did VCR from their first album XX. This is also a live track and has the group using their electric instruments too. This version is good but the mix is really hot on the intro. It backs off a bit when the other instruments come in but wow. If you’re not careful you could blow your headphones on that intro. Otherwise, the song is a bit mellower but mixed hotter than the album version. I still like the song and am happy that I have this version but I may stick to the album more often.

As an honorable mention, the song from Mumford & Sons really makes me happy. The song is called Reminder and comes from the second album Bable. The song is actually more robust than the studio version with the other members of the group adding backing vocals to the track. The studio version is just lead vocals and acoustic guitar. I actually prefer this version to the studio version because of the addition of the backing vocals. This doesn’t happen to me very often.

This is the bonus album that Live Current Vol. 10 comes with. The radio station has a daily spot where they play a track from a group that has covered a song from another group. They call this spot Cover To Cover. To support this they have put together a ten song album of cover songs that bands have come in to play in The Curerents’ studios. I was excited about a couple of tracks but there are also a couple of tracks that really surprised me.

First, I will start with the ones that I was excited to hear. Hot Chip did a cover of Nothing Compares 2 U with their song In The Privacy of Our Love at the end. It is a very simple version of the song and strange to hear male voices on lead and backing vocals. Piano and electric guitar support the track with light drums as well. I like the guitar part with a vibrato on it. It is a very beautiful rendition of the song and although it is off putting to hear male vocals I could very easily get use to this version.

The other track I wanted to hear was from Devine Fits. It was the song Shivers from the album Door, Door by The Boys Next Door. I have never heard the original but I like the vocal style of the lead singer for Spoon who is also the lead singer for Devine Fits. This song is actually a part of their album so this is a song that they would have performed regularly. It is good and straight forward. This is also an album that I should probably own at some point.

There were a couple of songs that surprised me as well. the first of those two is from Deer Tick. They covered the song Kiss Me On The Bus from The Replacements. The song sounds just like the original version, well nearly. I didn’t expect a try at mimicking the vocals from this group. It comes off a bit more gravely but it is a very good rendition.

Second was a song from The Decemberists called Crazy On You originally sung by Heart from the album Dreamboat Annie. This cover version is spot on. I get the same chills from this cover version as I do from the original. I could almost mistake this cover version as Heart if I wasn’t paying attention. This is absolutely genius so many of the nuances are included in this version. I like it so much.

Call + Response is a mostly annual art show that involves music, writers and visual artists together to create a showcase of original works. Here is the information that I got about the project from the web page, “For the first three iterations of the show, the writers called, and the visual artists responded.

In 2014, we've switched it up a bit.

For this year’s show the Philadelphia band Restorations created a single long-form instrumental track, which we sent to sixteen acclaimed, emerging and award-winning poets, fiction writers, journalists, and essayists largely based in the DC/Baltimore metropolitan area.

The writers wrote short, reactive pieces, none over one-thousand words, all in unique, original conversation with Restorations and their music. (View all of the writing for Call + Response IV HERE.)

Each written response went to one of sixteen acclaimed, emerging and award-winning visual artists who entered the conversation, too: not just with the written work, but with the music as well.

At CALL + RESPONSE IV’s opening on October 11, 2014 at Hole in the Sky in northeast D.C. Restorations will perform and each piece of writing will be displayed with their visual response. There will be a 7inch of the music packaged with all the writing from the show. (You can purchase online HERE.)

We’re extremely proud of this year’s show and we thank you for your interest and support. We hope to continue our small role in bringing together creative communities.”

The records A side is the first part of the song with a locked groove at the end of a cool loop of electric guitar work. The second side is longer and almost comes off as two different movements. It is very adventurous for the group and I am happy to have gotten my hands on a copy of the 7”. I like to record my albums to digital. The actual digital version of this track is twelve minutes long but my recording comes in at about nine and a half minutes. I guess I could have let the locked groove play a little longer to make the time up. I am just curious if there is a difference between the digital version and what is on the 7”. It is a great song and I recommend it even if you are not a fan of the group. It is that good!

This is an additional single from Thom Yorke that was not actually on the Tomorrows Modern Boxes album but comes from the same recording period. This song was released on the internet when he put the album up on the bandcamp web page for purchase. It is a slow song with deep bass and computer beeps and bloops. It is the classic Thom whiney vocals over interesting enough bass and drums with a great wave wash of synth music. I like the song but it is very slow moving.
That is all for now...

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Vol. 5 Episode 50.5

Next year (2015) I will be going to see OK Go and The Dodos. Also, the first post going up for next year will be a singles and EPs post. I got flooded with a series of both of those just before Christmas.

On With the show...

Best of the best, top 5 out of my best of for 2014:

I helped to fund this one from the Kickstarter campaign and got the album signed by the band. The records were colored, one translucent green and the other translucent blue. I have been a big fan of the group since the first album and love that they have started their own record company. The majors never understood what the group had going.

This is one of my top three groups. I like the new more pop direction that the group has gone musically. I like even more that the dark lyrics fit on top of this pop music without even noticing. The fact that they changed record labels does bother me a bit but onward and upward.

I helped to fund this one from Kickstarter as well. It took over a year to get my vinyl copy but I think it was well worth the wait. It was pressed on a beautiful translucent gold color. The album was also signed by Alex Church (the lead singer). I also got a digital download when that was released earlier in the year so I did get to know the album before I owned a physical copy.

The group has brought back that retro T. Rexy sound that I like so much. This Temples album is beautiful and fun. Seeing their live show this year was an extra bonus.


Although this album is new, it has instantly grown on me. I have been listening to the album on my way to work for the past month or so. It is rhythmically amazing and fun.

Best of 2014
Allo Darlin’ - We Come From The Same Place
The Ar-Kaics – The Ar-Kaics (self titled album not to be confused with the demo cassette)
Beck – Morning Phase
Black Keys – Turn Blue
Broken Bells – After The Disco
Coldplay – Ghost Stories
De La Soul – Smell The D.A.I.S.Y.
Death – III
Death Cab For Cutie Featuring Magic*Magic Orchestra – Live 2012
Eternal Summers – The Drop Beneath
The Faint – Doom Abuse
Family Force 5 – Time Stands Still
Flowers – Do What You Want To, It's What You Should Do
The Gaslight Anthem – The B-Sides
Generationals – Alix
Gold-Bears – Dalliance
LCD Soundsystem - The Long Goodbye: LCD Soundsystem Live At Madison Square Garden
Linkin Park – The Hunting Party
Literature - Chorus
My Chemical Romance – May Death Never Stop You
Nada Surf – B-Sides
Nothing – Guilty of Everything
OK Go – Hungry Ghosts
The Pains of Being Pure At Heart – Days of Abandon
Philip Selway – Weatherhouse
The Proper Ornaments – Wooden Head
Restorations – LP3
Sea Wolf – Song Spells, No. 1: Cedarsmoke
She & Him – Classics
Silversun Pickups – The Singles Collection
Spoon – They Want My Soul
Surfer Blood – Pythons (Demos)
Switch Foot – Fading West
Taylor Swift – 1989
Temples – Sun Structures
Thom Yorke – Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes
Ultimate Painting – Ultimate Painting
“Weird Al” Yankovic – Mandatory Fun
Whirr – Sway
White Laces – Moves (CD)
White Laces – Trance
Withered Hand – New Gods

Black Hearted Brother – Got Your Love EP
Bleached – For The Feel
Broken Bells – Holding On For Life
Brown Brogues/Eternal Summers – Brain Melter/Window
Camera Shy – Jack-O-Lantern
Coil/Nine Inch Nails – Recoiled
Dresses – Lonely One EP
Fowers – Rough Trade Bonus Disc
Joanna Gruesome/Trust Fund – Split EP
Joanna Gruesome/Perfect Pussy – Astonishing Adventures! “The Captured Crusader”
The Late Virginia Summers (TLVS) – Dreamers EP
New Order – 1981-Factus8R-1982
Night School – Heart Beat
OK Go – Upside Out
The Pains of Being Pure At Heart – Abandonment Issue
Squarepusher x Z-MACHINES – Music For Robots
Whirr/Nothing – Split EP

The Ar-Kaics – Make It Mine
The Ar-Kaics – Sick and Tired
The Ar-Kaics – Why Should I?
The Dodos Featuring Magic*Magic Orchestra– Yours Truly Session
Faith No More – Motherfucker
Flowers – Joanna
Haim – Forever
The June Brides – She Seems Quite Free
The Marshmallow Ghosts – Corpse Reviver No 1, Vol. 1
The Pains of Being Pure At Heart – Simple And Sure
Restorations – Call + Response IV
We Are Scientists/Surfer Blood – Tour Single
Withered Hand - Horseshoe

89.3 The Current/Live Current Vol. 10
89.3 The Current/Live Current Vol. 10 (Cover To Cover)
Non Violent Femmes
Beck’s Song Reader
Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1
Masrshall Teller Presents, Broken Record Label Sampler Vol. 1

This year I will be starting early, as I am shooting for new posts starting January 17th.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Vol. 5 Episode 50

On Friday I was asked to listen to an album from The Mountain Goats. The album is called All Hail West Texas. I found a copy to stream from YouTube. I got about a half hour in and found myself so bored I had to find something else to listen to. This is not to say that it is bad music it just couldn’t hold my attention. I thought about turning it off quite a few times but I was focused on other things as the music was playing. I really knew right a way that this was not for me as I am not a big fan of solo (vocals and guitar only) artists. My wife, on the other hand, loves that kind of thing, Tom Morello’s solo album, The Nightwatchmen - One Man Revolution, comes to mind.

In return for listening to The Mountain Goats album The guy I was working with promised to listen to Defcon 12345 from Man or Astro-Man. I am not sure if I will see him again in the future but I do hope that he gives that album a listen.

Here we go...

This is a new band from Graveface Records. It was originally only available through the KickStarter Archival Series that Graveface put up. I ordered my copy along with the new Marshmallow Ghosts single through this KickStarter. There were some major problems with the MG single and Graveface have just gotten the records in from the pressing plant. Because of this delay I have gotten the Night School 7” just recently. I am still waiting for the MG single though. The Night School record is a very pretty marbled pink color. It also came with a download that I promptly used.

There are four songs on the record. The first is called Best Friends. The song uses heavily distorted guitars with beautiful highs and super distorted lows. I especially like the high pitched female vocals. The vocals come close to matching the high parts on the guitar. It is so pretty. This is probably my favorite song on this EP.

The second song on the EP is called Birthday. It is a slower song that reminds me of The Stargazer Lilys. It is slow and shoegaz sounding (nugaze??), the way that I like it. The guitars are layered with different but complimentary lines. It just works very well.

The third track is called Casiotone. This song is different in that it lacks all the distortion that made the previous songs so cool and noisy. There is still a lot going on in this song but it has been stripped of all the noise. Although, the noise does creep in a little bit at the end it is not as strong as in the previous two tracks.

The last track is the title track, Heart Beat. This song is similar to Casiotone in that it has simpler beginnings with out all the noise. I like that a group can show their simpler side. Some people call this showing that they can actually play the music. The noise allows them to cover up their mistakes. I believe that it is harder to play with the noise and shows a different talent than the ability to play without the noise. It is two different sides of the same coin in my opinion.

This is a single that was released back in August of 2010. This song comes from the second album from Sea Wolf called White Water, White Bloom. I didn’t think this second album was all that great when it was released. I gave it a listen again recently and found that it was just as good as the first album. I think I was expecting a bigger change in sound when I got the second album but didn’t get it. Listening to it a few years later I think it is a pretty good album. I got this single still sealed through Discogs. When I got it I found a download code. I figured it would be out of date but I gave it a shot anyway. Turns out it still worked. Not only did I get digital copies of the two songs on the 7” but I also got a bonus track. That track, Where The Wind Blows, would be released on the Record Store Day Black Friday release a year later on the double A side 7” single called Song Of The Magpie / Where The Wind Blows.

The A side of this single, Turn The Dirt Over, comes from the second album from Sea Wolf called White Water, White Bloom. It has the same type of chugging beat that the singles from the first album had. The difference with this single is that this song moves on to winter where the first album was more of a fall type of an album. I like that Alex gives the feel of winter on this song. He sings about looking out the window and seeing the falling snow and white fields of snow and other things that remind me of winter, not Christmas but winter.

The B side of the single is a remix of Turn The Dirt Over called the Cookie Duster Remix. This remix has some cool electronic additions that don’t over power the song. It is really minimal and fits the song very well. The additions give the song a darker feel. This version reminds me of when I am up in the middle of the night looking out the windows and it is snowing, where as the album version reminds me of the day time snows that happen.

The third track that came with the download is called Where The Wind Blows. I wrote about this song in Vol. 4 Episode 1. This is basically what I had to say about the song, “The B side track, Where The Wind Blows, has a little [slower] feel but is still just as beautiful as the A side, Song of The Magpie. [Where The Wind Blows] uses an organ/keyboard of some kind in addition to the drums and acoustic/electric guitars.”

EggHunt records put out the groups latest album Trance. They also got the rights to release their first album on CD. The first album was only released on vinyl so this is brand new. They also got permission to add a few tracks. The two songs from the limited cassette single, Ascend and Deep Moves, along with a brand new track that has never been released before this called Stoked On The Chill. I wrote about the two songs from the cassette in Vol. 4 Episode 45. Here is what I had to say about the two songs, “The A side is the song Ascend and the B side is the song Deep Moves. Both of these tracks are not anything spectacular but are at the same time totally White Laces. They have a sound that I like and I am happy to have some new music from them. I will say that the vocals on these two tracks are a bit more dull than they have done in the past sonically speaking. I feel that the lyrics are just as in depth though. If you like White Laces then this is one that you may not want to pass up on, unless they are already sold out.” Obviously, you can get the two tracks on this CD but I think that is a limited run as well.

 I wrote about the album in Vol. 3 Episode 50. Here is what I had to say about the record, “This is White Laces first full length album. It was released through Speakertree Records on September 11, 2012. It has a limited pressing of 500 units and 100 of those are on green colored vinyl. I got my order in as soon as I could and was lucky enough to get a green colored record. It is colored a light grass green with swirls of darker green and yellow. It reminds me of a late spring day when the grass is just starting to come up new. The album also comes with a download code to get the album digitally. On Speakertree’s web page they gave this little blurb about the album: “The album is an undeniable force, delivering 8 well-crafted pop songs that float from the mesmerizing cool to the intensely immediate, often times within moments.” I find the music to be similar to All The Saints but a little bit lighter and more fun. I think that White Laces has more of the jangle pop influence too. Where All The Saints come off as dark shoegaze White Laces are a dark jangle pop. Two shades of the same style in my mind but one is easier to listen to than the other, as I already said.

There is a single that was released from this album called Crawl/Collapse. It did not get a physical release though. There was a video made to support the song though. The song is a very good song though. It starts off with a guitar playing with an echo pedal on it. The drums are also playing at the beginning with a straight forward rock beat that makes me want to get up and move around. There is also a cool break down where the drums drop off and it is just vocals with a little bit of guitar here and there. After that there is this part of the song where it just keeps going like it will never stop. It becomes enveloping as I keep listening to it I just don’t want it to stop. There are no vocals during this end part it is just the music. It is shoegaze magic. I hope that they keep writing music like this.”

The new song on this CD version of the album, Stoked On The Chill, was recorded during the time of this album, it was just left off for what ever reason. It is an instrumental track that uses layers of electronic sounds from strings to a kind of pinky sound. The song doesn’t really go anywhere but is great as a wind down track at the end of an album, as it is here.

That's all until the year end best of out after Christmas...

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Vol. 5 Episode 49

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. More importantly I hope you all got what you wanted for Record Store Day Black Friday (RSDBF). Unfortunately, I did not have an experience for RSDBF this year. I had to work. Instead my pregnant wife decided to go in my place. She went there after she got off from her work at some awful time in the middle of the night. She was first in line. I got short texts through the night of her saying it was so cold and I owed her big time. I also got updates as to when more people showed up. At one point after sunrise my father-in-law showed up to keep her company for an hour or so. That is about all I know about what happened that morning other than she got me exactly what I wanted and it was cheaper than I expected (extra bonus). The three albums that I got were the new Faith No More single, the New Order early singles collection and The Guardians of The Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1 on cassette. These three things plus one more item that is special are what I will be talking about in this post.

On with the show...

This was a split EP that was put together because one of the members of Whir has been playing with Nothing to help them out. Because of this a bond has been made between the two groups. This is a vinyl only release that also came with a making of DVD. The DVD is housed in the gatefold of the record sleeve. The record has been pressed in a few different color combinations with black being the rarest. I think that having black be the rare version is so boring. I like colors and colored vinyl. I have the most common version with the colors green/baby blue/yellow starburst. It is a single sided 12” record with the blank side having an etched graphic. I sort of jumped the gun with this purchase and got it from Shop Radio Cast (SRC) instead of from the record company Run For Cover Records (RFC). I was very excited for this EP the instant I found it up I pre-ordered it. I should have waited to get it directly from RFC. Either Way, I got what I wanted.

There are two tracks contributed from each band. The first two tracks are from Whirr. The first song is called Ease. It is a wall of sound that is beautiful. It has a simple melody and I can almost understand the words that are being sung in the song. Both of these songs are probably b sides from their latest album, Sway. I think that I like these two tracks a bit more simply because they are played right nest to the Nothing tracks. They have a slightly different sound than Nothing does but they are close in genre. It is a nice juxtaposition for the two groups.

The second track from the EP is called Lean. This song is a bit more drug out compared to Ease but still has that wall of sound mixed with vocals that are just barely clear enough not to understand giving the vocals more of an instrument on its own feel. This is exactly what I like about the group. I don’t need to understand what they are singing. I just need to like the music and be in the moment with it.

The first track from Nothing is called Chloroform. They make that wall of sound like Whirr does but there is a clarity with nothing that allows me to see some of the dead space in the music. They use a different distortion on the guitars for example that is more solid than fuzzy. I have always liked a higher pitched vocal with my shoegaze too. I seem to get that from the vocalist with Nothing. This song not only has that shoegaze sound but also uses the alt-rock sounds from the mid 90s. They do it so well with this track that I really feel nostalgic for some Smashing Pumpkins (SP) or Pearl Jam.

The last song on this EP is called July The Fourth. This song is my favorite from the EP and is a hard hitting late 90s styled alt-rock jam. The melody totally reminds me of something from SP in the later 90s or Nine Inch Nails. The one thing that is different is the long smooth lines of the melody.

This is a great EP and one of my favorite purchases of late. I haven’t yet watched the DVD but will soon.

This is a brand new single from Faith No More. We haven’t heard anything from them for seventeen years. They have gotten back together to create a new album. I am not sure what the release date is for the new album but this single was a special release for RSDBF with a pressing quantity of 5000. It seems like a small number but it is actually quite a lot. It was pressed in black vinyl at 45 RPM.

The A side, Motherfucker, is the version that I am assuming will by on the new album. It starts off with a repetitive noise that leads into a piano playing long bass notes with the vocals coming in and slowly each instrument comes in. The vocals are multi-layered with different sayings over each layer. The guitar solo is absolutely amazing though. The song comes off as very bizarre and not overly melodic like their music has been in the past. It is really a bit of a disappointment.

With the B side being a remix by Jim Thirwell. I had high hopes for an electronic remix to overcome the weirdness that was on the A side. I was taken in a completely different direction though. What is on the other side is a remix of the song done in a movie soundtrack style. It is absolutely what I needed to hear from this group. The remix is filled with trombone and percussion and strings and trumpet. I think the only thing it was missing was a flute/piccolo solo for the icing on the cake with this remix. It is one of the best remixes I have ever heard from any song ever.

This is a reissue EP re-released for RSDBF with 6000 being pressed for the event. This RSDBF version was pressed on clear vinyl. My copy has a slight haze in it like there were just a few white beads in the clear vinyl puck when it was pressed. I don’t mind really, it gives it character.

From Discogs New Order page, “The EP was released in November 1982, it compiles the two tracks from New Order's second 7" single (Procession and Everything's Gone Green) from September 1981, as well as Hurt and a longer 12" version of Temptation, taken from the third single, released in April 1982. Mesh was taken from the 1981 Benelux 12" Everything’s Gone Green.
The sleeve was designed by Peter Saville and uses a painting from his then-girlfriend Martha Ladly. The release is often regarded as transition away from the group's debut album, Movement, to the electronic-based sound of Power, Corruption & Lies. It also marks the band's break with producer Martin Hannett. While he had still produced Everything's Gone Green, Procession and Mesh, the other two songs were self-produced by New Order after Hannett left the recording session. Even though 1981-1982 was never properly released in the UK, it reached # 4 of the Indy Album Charts. The initial release was in the US on Factory (US).”

These five songs are not necessary to anyone’s collection unless you are a big fan of New Order/Joy Division. They are long and drawn out.

I really liked the movie. Not only that I really liked the movie but I liked that Peter Quill was plucked from earth in the early 80s and held tight to the one thing that meant anything to him at all, music, and on cassette to boot. So when I heart that they were going to mass produce a copy of the Awesome Mix Vol. 1 cassette from the movie I was very excited. It is like owning a movie prop. I still have and use my own cassettes and players, probably not nearly as much as my turntable. I am still known for buying new and used cassettes. I think that the extra with this cassette is that I don’t actually have to listen to it as it came with a download code. It is filled with great songs; I am not going to put up a track list because you can look that up anywhere at this point. I will say this, the release did not have a release number so there must be a lot manufactured. There are still some out there so go to your local record store and get a copy.

That is all until Christmas...?

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Vol. 5 Episode 48

There is apparently a Japanese The Pains of Being Pure At Heart cover band out there. It is cute. Check them out.

Along with The Dodos new album will be of course a tour. I will be attending the stop in my home town on the 7th of March.

Family Force 5 have done a Christmas single for the song God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. It is a fun version of the song. you should check it out for yourselves.

Kind of funny but the Foo Fighters have copied the now famous line from Chunklet, “Vinyl is killing the MP3 industry”, with out any mention of Chunklet.

Daft Punk are releaseing a box set on vinyl for the Alive 1997 and 2007. It is a bit expensive for just two albums though, $130.

The Nerdist talked with OK Go recently. You can hear the conversation at The Nerdist.

I did preorder the vinyl version of the Switchfoot album The Beautiful Letdown. This is one of my favorite albums ever. I think I got a copy in limited color too.

Remember this Friday, the Friday after Thanks Giving, is Record Store Day Black Friday. I want just a few items this year. I will be making a post about how my day went and what I purchased for music on the day.

Here we go...

This is a new album from the duo who started the group, James Hoare (Veronica Falls) and Jack Cooper (of Mazes). I can’t seem to find much information about the group. It is very underground at the moment. I heard about the group through a music blog and bought it that day. I have liked every thing that James has been a part of. This isn’t different but at the same time it isn’t really much of a change from his other projects. This album pulls from the music sounds from the late 60s and early 70s just like his previous projects have. With this album we do get to hear a few different vocalists though and this does keep my interest while listening. They did do a short tour of the Midwest to the east coast here in the US but did not make it to my home town during the tour. The album was pressed, limited, on solid red vinyl, CD and DL.

There was one single put up at Stereogum called Ten Street. The song has a garage rock feel with super fun guitar solos. Pickup notes are used all over the guitar parts. This is not usually something that I make note of but the pickup notes are so clear and put in the right places. It adds so much to the song somehow. The big guitar solo is actually a guitar duo and both are using the same distortion sound that brings me back to the 70s sounding guitar distortion. The very end of the song is a slow piano that actually reminds me of the end of the Faith No More song called Epic where they played the song on the piano at the end to a fade out as well.

It is a good song and a good album. If youhave interest in a modern take of the sounds of the late 60s and early 70s then this may be the album for you.

This album has finally been released. The official release date was October 24th of 2014 but there were some delays getting the vinyl out to customers. I didn’t get my copy until last week. Actually the album was fraught with delays. The band had recorded the album at the beginning of the year and didn’t have a record company to support the album. They actually asked fans for ideas on record companies because they had run out of avenues to pursue at one point. They did obviously find a record company to push the record. The vinyl was pressed on solid pink and translucent blue, 100 copies each, before going to standard black. I got a solid pink copy simply because I already had a few records on translucent blue. The album has a slightly different sound from their debut album and I kind of like it but at the same time it feels like there is something missing.

There were two singles released from the album. The first is called Skate or Die. It hits hard at the start with a super catchy synth and guitar rif. When the vocals start the synth drops off but the rif continues on. The chorus changes key but stays close to what the original rif is. It is a great song that gives a nod to the new wave and synth pop sounds of the 80s.

The whole album is really a great album filled with punk and new wave/synth pop sounds. If you like those stylesthen this is probably a good album for you.

This is an EP that supports the latest album from The Pains called Days of Abandon. There was supposed to be a few more singles after the single for Simple And Sure but they fell through. Kip knows the fans want to hear everything that they have put together so when the other singles didn’t come together he decided to push out an EP with the rest of the B sides from the recording of Days of Abandon. This is what is on the 10” vinyl EP, four B sides and a demo version of Kelly. I was lucky enough to have seen the pains while they were touring with The New Pornographers. I bought a second copy of the EP and had him sign it. I will probably give my second copy to my father-in-law to keep it in the family.

Of the five songs on this EP two have been pushed as quasi-singles. The first of those two are Poison Touch. This is a song that was supposed to be about Taylor Swift. I can see a correlation but I think that it is more about the sound that she puts on her albums than being necessarily about her specifically. The song is super new wave stutter step and has female lead vocals to boot. It is a sweet, fun and just plain new wave pop sounding. It is my favorite song on the EP for sure.

The other song that has been pushed is the demo version of Kelly called the Winter Station Demo. I think that if Kelly had been given an official 7” release this track would have been one of the B sides along with one of the other B sides on this EP. This demo version has Kip singing the lead vocals instead of female vocals that ended up on the album. The synth part is also a bit different on this version but not by much. I honestly can’t decide which version I like better. I think they both have their merits but at the end of the day I think that Kip made the right decision changing the vocals to female for the full length album.

I am so happy to have these new songs. I like to have everything that a group puts out. I like having the B sides and remixes that a group puts out whether it is an EP or a series of singles. I instantly bought this just for that reason. I am only missing the split single from early in this group’s career. I have a digital copy of this missing song but I would like to get a copy of the 7” record someday.
That's all for now...