Saturday, July 19, 2014

Vol. 5 Episode 29

I briefly mentioned this in the previous post but here are some more details on the Song Reader album from Beck. He has recorded his Song Writer sheet music finally. It will be released on CD and DL on July 29th and sometime in September for the vinyl. Beck has invited many other artists to record the songs though. Beck has only recorded one of the songs. All of the other songs are recorded by other artists.

The Gaslight Anthem have a new album called Get Hurt to be released on August 19th

Slumberland Records have announced a new band on their roster called Literature. They will be putting out their new album called Chorus on August 19th as well.

Bleached have a new EP to be released through Dead Oceans on September 16th.

Lastly, Whirr have a new full length to be released through Graveface Records on September 23rd

Slumberland Records is repressing a couple of records for its 25th anniversary from The Aislers Set. The albums are called Terrible Things Happen and The Last Match. The third album is being repressed by Suicide Squeeze and is called How I Learned To Write Backwards. I am unsure that I will be getting these records. They are good but something isn’t sitting right with me about the music.

I have still not received my copy of The Ar-Kaics new full length. The owner has sited warping issues with the pressing plant.

I have also not received my copy of the new album from The Proper Ornaments. I had ordered something else with them and the stock for that item has been damaged. I am being forced to wait for the stock to be replenished for the damaged record before I will see that record.

Here we go...

This is the fourth album from The White Stripes. It was released in 2003 on V2 records. The album was recorded over a two week period in April 2002 at London’s Toe Rag Studios. The album was recorded on pre-1960s recording equipment and an 8-track tape recorder. This was done because Jack White decided he didn’t want to involve any computers in the writing, recording or production of the album. I really liked the first single and, although it was recorded with the guitar, I learned to play the riff for the song on the bass guitar. It wasn’t until I learned to play the part on the bass that I learned Jack White played the song with a few peddles and the guitar. I was a little disappointed because at that time I had no idea how to play the guitar. I could probably figure it out now but I haven’t taken the time to figure out what peddles he is using. I know now that it is a DigiTech Whammy pedal set down an octave.

There are four singles released from this album. The first of these singles is the amazing Seven Nation Army. This song has become the duo’s most well known song. White has said in the past that the title comes from what he used to call The Salvation Army as a kid. The video is especially interesting as it features a kaleidoscopic tunnel of mirrored black, white and red triangles. In the center of the triangles are images of Jack, Meg and other strange things such as an elephant and skeletons. The triangles come onto the screen faster or slower as the pace of the song picks up or slows down. It keeps the tension of the song in time with the graphics. The Glitch Mob did a dub step remix of this track that nearly tops the song. It is not your typical dub step remix it really just expands on what is already there. It is a fantastic version.

The second single from the group is called I Just Don’t KnowWhat To Do With Myself. It is a cover of the song written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. It didn’t chart well. Dusty Springfield was the first to cover the song and made it a hit in 1963. I think it becomes a different track with Jack White on the lead vocals as opposed to Dusty Springfield. I really like both versions. There are hints of vocals from groups that I was listening to in 1993 and 94. They were from when I was a senior or junior in high school and was dating a girl that was from a different high school. It was a strange time in my life. I had the freedom of being able to drive a car and this was why I could get away with dating someone from a different school. This was when the first Radiohead album was released as well as Beck’s album called Mellow Gold. Jack’s vocals remind me of Jeff Buckley’s album Grace and to some extent Ours album called Distorted Lullabies.

The third single from the album is called The Hardest ButtonTo Button. Jack White has said that the song is a bout a child trying to find his place in a dysfunctional family with a new baby in the family. The song has a cool bass like distorted basic riff that works well in the song. The drums are Meg White’s classic hard hitting style. The video is a very cool idea that uses multiple instruments of the same type popping up on every beat. It is a lot of fun.

The last single from the album is called There’s No Home ForYou Here. The song didn’t do very well. As a matter of fact, I have never heard the song on the radio. That doesn’t mean that the song isn’t any good. In fact it is very interesting and utilizes many different instruments and vocal styles. The chorus is very full bodied and uses drums, guitar, bass, keyboards (Rhodes) and multi-tracked vocals. Of course the song uses Rhodes keys so I automatically have interest in it.

This is one of the best albums that the group has ever put out. I still wish that they were together as they created some of my favorite music of the 00’s. I understand why jack won’t replace Meg and keep the group alive.

This is Ours first official release. It was released in 2001 on Dreamworks Records. I got into this group because one of my favorite artists had passed away, Jeff Buckley, in 1997 and I was not ready to give up his style of music. Ours had a style and sound that was very similar to Jeff Buckley and I had a way to keep a sound that I liked alive for a while longer. The lead singer, Jimmy Gnecco, has a vocal range and style that is very similar to Jeff Buckly as well. All these things worked in my favor to keep the sounds that I liked so much from Jeff alive in a way. I consider my self very lucky because of this. How many fans of artists that have passed away have been able to find a replacement so similar to the artist that has passed away?

There was only one single released from this album and it was a promo so it wasn’t fully released to the public. The single is called Sometimes. The songs guitar part in the chorus has a sound that resembles the Radiohead song Talk Show Host. The vocals are still Buckleyesque. Both styles are my all time favorites and to have them both on one song makes me feel very happy indeed.

The rest of the album is just as good or better than the single that was released from the first track, Fallen Souls, to the middle with Miseryhead, to the end of the album with Meet Me In The Tower. The album is an emotional roller-coaster with the amazing things Jimmy can do with his voice. The group is largely under the radar but deserves recognition.

This is the seventh album from Mushroomhead. It was released in September of 2010 on Megaforce Records. This is the only metal band of late that I have been actually enjoying. I bought the album on vinyl and was pleasantly surprised that the record was translucent red with translucent yellow dots. The yellow dots look brown when there is no light behind the record. I have never seen this effect before in a record. The album did really well in sales in its first week. This was particularly due to the fact that the lead single was pushed for a few months through different sources including Headbangers Ball and TNA Wrestiling with the fight of Rick Flair and Mick Foley.

There were only two singles released from this album. The first of those two is Come On. The band premiered the song themselves on Headbangers Ball. The video was later banned from air play not only on MTV but everywhere else for being deemed too graphic by network censors. It is very graphic and features people free wrestling in a warehouse. I think that Jeffrey Nothing’s butcher outfit is a bit over the top and disturbing in the video as well, not that the next evolution of the costume is any better, as seen in the video for Your Soul Is Mine. Come On is sort of an arena rock track where the crowd can chant with the group during the chorus. The song is still very heavy metal sounding even if it is an arena rock song in style. This is the best song on the album so if you don’t like this one you won’t like the rest of the album probably.

The second single from the album is called I’ll Be Here. It is a slower song that reminds me a little bit of the late 90s alt/metal drivel that was being pushed down our throats at the time. It has been over ten years since that crap was being put out so this track is not really as bitter as it could have been five or more years ago. I also think that this track sounds much better than that 90s alt/metal music ever could. This is because Mushroomhead are no afraid to use electronic sounds to make music. They can add melody parts and aren’t afraid to make a bad song better with electronic sounds at their disposal. There are so many bands out there that are still afraid of synth and samples. These tools when used properly can make the difference in any music.

This really is a great album and I hope that they keep making music. What they create is so much fun.
That is all for now...

Friday, July 11, 2014

Vol.5 Episode 28

Whirr has a new album coming out September 23rd of this year. There will be limited edition version of the LP for record club members as well as standard colored vinyl, CD DL and cassette. If you order it from Graveface. They are trying to get them shipped as early as late August.

Beck has decided to release the Song Writer album. It is not all his band though. He has invited many famous artists to take part in the recording of this album. I never bought into the selling of sheet music in current times. I can understand for schools and orchestras but for myself, no thanks. If said artist puts out their recording I am totally willing to get a copy and will be getting a copy too.

Here we go...

This is the sixth album from Stereolab. It was released in September of 1999. I had been introduced to the group many years before this album but didn’t find interest in them until Dots and Loops, the previous album. After getting into them I realized that there was something special about them. They made use of analog instruments nearly exclusively, including real brass and woodwind instruments. They also played with the stereo image quite a lot with their music. This made for very interesting music if you have the ability to pan left or right on your stereo. One could easily have three different albums by just playing with the right and left panning. I was no singles released from this album which was surprising to me. There is so much good music from this album that could have been a single.

Since there are no singles from the album I will just give some highlights of a few tracks that I really like. I like the first track, Fuses, on the album a lot. I will say that the intro for the song is not representative of the rest of the album though. The song starts off with a fair drum beat with what seems like random noise bursts from trombones and trumpets. It is kind of off putting to start an album. It all starts to clear up when the xylophones start up though, when the rest of the band kicks in the song completely smoothes over making some of the mellowest easy to listen to music ever. This is actually one of my favorite tracks for them ever.

My next favorite track is called The Free Design. This is anther smooth song that kind of floats back and fourth in the riff that is played in the track. the vocals have the, common for the group , lower toned female lead and higher pitched backing vocals. This has always seemed to work out so well for the group. I really like the horns that play in the foreground between the vocal parts. At times they are soaring and other times they are short staccato bursts. Everything seems to be meticulously picked out as to where each instrument plays. I think this is what I liked most about the group.

The next track that I really like from this album is called Italian Shoes Continuum. It is a slower track with the vocals starting off right away along with a synth part that plays with the vocals. There is also a bass part but it plays to only support the vocals and synth parts of the song. The drums are even more minimalistic than the bass with this track. The vocals are completely ululations with no discernable words at all. the song has a strange break in it and then it is almost like the song becomes something completely different. The song picks up pace and a guitar that is super modulated comes in along with the drums and an organ. The vocals even get some heavy modulation adding to the new and different feel of the song before it just completely cuts off.

Infinity Girl is the last track that I want to talk about with this album. It is pop perfection. There are so many instruments that are all playing to make this on of the smoothest tracks that I could ever think of. The backing vocals become an instrument of their own. The lead vocals are Englesh but to an extent is also their own instrument. The guitar has a cool wave sound on them. There are also xylophone and organ playing in the background. There isn’t really the signature plucked bass in this track that I really like but I don’t really miss it with how great the song is over all. There are also horn parts but they seem to get lost in the shuffle unless you’re listening for them. All in all this is my absolute favorite track from the album.

This is a new EP from Subvibe. It was released last month but I sort of forgot about it. I have remembered it now and am happy to share what I have heard. I don’t think this EP seems to be as good as the stuff that I have heard from them in the past. It certainly has the needed elements to be considered dub step but I feel like something is missing or the music has gone a little flat. I expect to hear hard hitting bass that has been modulated to pieces and it seems to be there but there is also elements of 90s techno. I think this is what is taking me out of the dub step feel. After listening to some dub step, to go back and listen to my 90s techno stuff it just seems watered down. This is the feel that I am getting from this EP.

There are four tracks on the EP. The first track on the EP is called Resurgence. The bass and drums are hard hitting but the Indian styled vocals that happen in the track don’t sit right with me. I think that the song would have been fine with out it.

The second track is called Isolate. This track has a slight reggae feel to it. I am not a fan of reggae but this seems to work well in the track. The beet feels off because of the reggae style but over all the music works.

The third track is called Overload. This one uses an old sci-fi clip repeated through the song similar to what Man or Astro-man? does but done in electronic music instead of surf music. I really like this track because of that. The music continues with the slight reggae beat but sort of evens it out a bit so it doesn’t quite feel so off. The bass line if so cool. It is loud and then soft alternating beats. It really sets the tone for the song.

The last track is called Uchigatana. This track uses lots of strings and sets the drums at the pace and style of an R&B track. The track keeps the beat but breaks in with some heavy dub step beats and fades back to the strings. The song kind of plays back and forth like that the whole way through. It is fun and frustrating at the same time.

There was also a pre-release single that is not a part of this EP called Conflict. I like this track a hole lot more than the rest of the EP simply because it sticks to strictly electronic beats and style. I could pin it down even more and call it drum and bass. It really is a smashing track that hits hard and keeps to the electronic standards that I like.

If you like Subvibe then get the EP otherwise look for some other dub step to pass the time. I do recommend the Conflict single though.

This is the eighth studio album from Mushroomhead. It was released in late spring of this year (2014). This album marks the first time since 2003 that J Mann is included on vocals. This marks the first time that the group has used three vocalists. This album also has a replacement for the original bassist and guitarist. The albums title is a dedication to both JJ Righteous, the first guitarist for the group, and Vanessa Solowlow, Skinny’s (drummer) wife who both passed away, 2010 and 2013 respectively. I did buy this album on vinyl. It sounds very good but lacks the three remix tracks that are on the end of the CD. I didn’t find this that bad though. What I did find disappointing was that there was no download card to get the tracks digitally, other than that though the album artwork is brilliant and beautiful. The album has fourteen tracks, seventeen if you got the CD. That is almost too much music really.

There has been one unofficial single released from the album at this point. That track is called Qwerty. The song reminds me of everything I like from the group. Bands like Faith No More and Mr. Bungle mixed with carnival music. It is childish and angry at the same time. That is not to say that a child can’t be angry. What I mean is that nearly insane adult anger when you nearly lose control. I like this style and not many bands can pull it off.

The only other song that really grabbed me from this album is the last track called Rumor Has It. This is a cover of the Adele song of the same name. They do such a good job changing the song to something that they would have sung in the first place. It is so different but still has the basic elements of the song. They did some really cool electronic sounds to change the song just that little extra bit.

If I had to pick a third track that is still very interesting it would have to be We Are The Truth simply because the band doesn’t usually have a female vocalist in their music. Like the cover track, this song has an element of surprise for the group making it something that stands out over the rest of the album.

This is a good heavy metal album if that is what your into. This group is one of the few metal bands that I have any interest in. This is mainly because of the vocals. The vocalist that sings clear somewhat reminds me of Mike Patton who is the lead singer for Faith No More.

That is all for now...

Monday, July 7, 2014

Vol. 5 Episode 27

Not much news news worthy right now so I will just get straight into it.

Here we go...

This is the fourth album from the duo. It was released at the beginning of 2002. Richard Ashcroft and Beth Orton were featured on separate tracks as vocalists. The album did well in the UK but not as much in the US. This album is different from their previous works in the way that the album was created and there for in the resulting sounds. They started with the drums and built chords around that. This is different because most people start with the chords and build from there. The basic sound of the album was based on the white label release called Electronic Battle Weapon 5, later reworked and renamed It Began In Affrika. For those of you who don’t know, a white label is a record of limited release similar to a test pressing but with more copies and put out to the general public. Because of the limited release they usually go out to famous DJs and radio stations to get statistics back to the band or record label.

From what I can tell, there were five singles released from the album. The first single released was It Began In Afrika. As mentioned earlier, the song was released before the album was released as Electronic Battle Weapon (EBW) 5. The song was a big hit in the UK clubs. The song uses a sample from the song Drumbeat by Jim Ingram. I could only assume that it is the only words spoken in the track as it sounds as if it were taken from a recording. The song has a great conga beat that is all over the track. I am not a big fan of the sound and as such am not really a fan of this track. Nor am I a fan of the cut up sample that repeats through out the song. This is probably my least favorite song on the album.

The second single from the album is called Star Guitar. This is the reason that I bought the album. This song is absolutely genius. The song plays at about 126 BPM (beats per minute). 120 BMP is considered average for most songs. That means that this song is just a bit peppier than an average song and makes me feel like I should be dancing somehow. It has been said that there is a sample from David Bowie’s song Starman used in the song and is how it got its name. This is unconfirmed that I know of so take that info with a grain of salt. The video features a continuous shot filmed from the window of a speeding train passing through towns and countryside. However, the buildings and objects passing by appear exactly in time with the various beats and musical elements of the track. Parts are also cut up and repeated in time with the music. The video is what got me into the album.

The third and fourth singles from the album, as they were released as a double A side, are called Come With Us and The Test. Come With Us starts off with a progressive string loop. There are noises added to give it a spacey feel then the drums give a fill and the song actually starts. There is a sample of someone talking relating to some one asking you to “Come with us and leave your hurt behind…” The song then makes use of the first three words in the monolog repeatedly in the song. The song has a good beat and beautiful musicality.

The Test features Richard Aschcroft on vocals. Ashcroft has a place in music but this may not be the right place for it. The song has a great video to go with it though. The music that goes with the song is very special though. I just feel like there is to much negative space for the vocals that go on the song. Ashcroft needs more music under his vocals for the song to work better.

The song Hoops was released as Electronic Battle Weapon 6. This was done in a similar manner as EBW 5. Select DJs and radio stations received the record. It is a good electronic track but I think that it was not as well done as Star Guitar. I do like the sparkling feel at the end of the big hits in the track though.

This is a hit and miss album and probably a part of the reason that I have never picked up a full album from the group. I have picked up a few cheap EPs and singles from pawn shops though.

This is the third album by Talking Heads. It was released in late summer of 1979 and released on Sire Records. The album was produced by the band and Brian Eno. The album did well in both the US and UK. It is considered to be one of the best albums from the group. This is the reason that I had such a hard time finding a used copy. Although the album is a favorite from fans, it is not one of my favorites. It is still a great album from their catalog of music.

There were only three singles from the album. The first of those three is the song Life During Wartime. The song has a great beat with understandable lyrics. The song has a sound that digs back to some of their other singles before this one. I think that this is part of why the song made it as a single. It also shows where the band is going as a group. The song works well to also give an idea about the dangers of war time. Especially with the lyrics, “This Ain't No Party... This Ain't No Disco... This Ain't No Foolin' Around.” It is a great song.

The second single from the album is called I Zimbra. The song is inspired by African cultural music. I have never been a fan of the African music that was brought back to the US from the 80s. I never liked what Paul Simon did at that time either. I understand what the intent was but it has never sat right with me. I have on the other hand gotten into some of the current music, the past five years or so, of artists that have used ideas that were inspired by African rhythms. It is not the use of African rhythms that bothers me but the tones that were used to represent African music in the 80s.

The third single that was released is called Cities. The song is very fast paced with the bass and keyboards leading the song. With the lyrics the song has a simple point, find a city to live in. But, Byrne’s surrealistic/humorous delivery is anything but simple. This is not the song that I remember growing up as a kid but is still a good song that I can get along with.

All in all this is a good album that I like with the exception of I Zimbra. With the magic of digital I don’t even have to listen to it though.

This is the first album from New Order. It was released in late 1981 on Factory Records. It really was the go-between album as joy division, with the death of Ian Curtis, became New Order. This was the album that helped them find who they were going to be with such a big change to the group. There isn’t any way that I could afford to get this album on vinyl and most of the singles released from this time were not on the album. For this reason I got the collectors editions that not only contain the original album but also the singles that were released that were not on the album on a second CD.

Dreams Never End was intended to be a part of an EP that was never released. The song shows where the group will go in the future. Although Peter Hook sings lead vocals on the album musically the song shows great promise for the groups future and influencing the future of new wave music.

The other song that was supposed to be released as part of the EP was Doubts Even Here. This track is also sung by Hook. The song has a more open sound scape than Dreams Never End simply because of the synth sounds that are used. The sound is super long playing string parts that remind me of the sun rise on an open field with mountains or forests in the distance.

Both of these tracks are very good but I would rather listen to Dreams Never End over Doubts Even Here given that I already know what the sound of the group would be over time.

There were quite a few tracks that were included on the bonus disc that were released as singles under the groups name but were written by Joy Division. This is because New Order are Joy Division with out Ian Curtis. This means that New Order has rights to the Joy Division tracks. New Order then went ahead and released the tracks that they were working on so that the fans could hear all the music that had been waiting for a new album. Some of these songs are good and some of them are not so good.

There were four of these singles released during the two years following the release of this album. The first of these was Ceremony. The song was played and recorded by Joy Division but never released. With the reforming as New Order the group re-recorded the song with the new lineup and released the song in spring of 1981. It was re-recorded a second time with the new member of the band, Gillian Gilbert (who later married the drummer of the group Stephen Morris).

The second non-album single from the groups early days is called Procession. Here is a good explanation of the song from Wikipedia, “This [track] shows the band in an intermediate position between [the] post-punk [of] Joy Division and [the] light electropop [of] New Order. The lighter pop [feel], with a strong emphasis on rhythm, overcomes the song's gloomy title, Procession. This mixed message may help to explain why the song remains obscure in the New Order repertoire, despite having been a single. The sound is much like Movement's opening track, Dreams Never End, but with an even more upbeat [feel] and vocals that have nearly shed the Ian Curtis imitation. The lyrics are abstract and difficult to discern, given the density of the mix and the strength of the other instruments. The song is notable, also, because there are brief backing vocals by band member Gillian Gilbert, which serve as a bell effect.”

The third non-album single from this period is called Everything’s Gone Green. This was the first single to use a sequencer. The use of the sequencer would later become a big part of their sound. The use of the sequencer and the echo on the guitar work in tandem with each other making a sound that is the basis for not only their sound but the future sounds of new wave. I couldn’t say that this is the first use of that sound but it was put out at a very early age of what is the new wave genre.

The last single released from this period is called Temptation. There were two versions of this song recorded, one for the 7” version and one for the 12” version. There have been other recorded versions of this song for other compilations as well. There is a longer nine minute version called the Alternate Version as the last track on the bonus disc of the collectors edition. The song is a fun song that is not dark as most of their music from this time had been.

All in all this is a good collection of extra tracks and the original album. If you are a fan of new wave or Joy Division/New Order this may be a needed item for your collection of music.

That's all for now...

Friday, July 4, 2014

Vol. 5 Episode 26

It seems to be the thing to do at this time of year is to do a best of the first half of the year round up. So, that is what I will do with this Episode. There really has been some great stuff that has come out. The last half of the year seems to be shaping up pretty good for the future too.

There will be a new album coming out from Philip Selway, the Radiohead drummer. I have heard the first single and it sounds like he has built on what he created from his first solo effort. I am pretty excited about this one. It will be released on September 9th, 2014 but you can preorder the album on his web site.

Top five albums of the year so far:

I had been waiting for this concert to be released since I heard that it was recorded. This was way back when I learned that it was going to be put to video. After I had seen the video I wanted an audio only version even more. It took James Murphy two plus years to finaly release this recording to audio but am I ever happy that he did it at all. That is why this is my favorite album up to this point this year.

First off, they are one of the few all time favorite bands of mine. Second they bring back some fun childhood memories with this music on this album. I was an 80s child. Lastly, I like the new sounds that Kip brings to this new album. Although I love the heavy distortion of the last two, this new album comes off lighter and somewhat child like. It is a fresh sound for the band.

3. Sea Wolf – Song Spells No. 1: Cedarsmoke
Although this has not seen a physical release, I was a contributor to the Kickstarter campaign and there fore got access to the album digitally already. This album takes the listener both back in time to the first album and into the future with new music. This is a brilliant album and I can’t wait to get my hands on the physical copy. It has been a long wait (since before December 2013).

I didn’t know anything about the band until the release of this album. I can only thank my local radio station, 89.3 The Current, for introducing me to the group and promoting the concert when it came. It is becoming more popular to pull sounds from the 60s as of late and this group is not to be left out of that swing. They have a great sound and a great look, all of which comes from the 60s and 70s. Thanks to my parents listing to the oldies station I have an appreciation of that sound.

This is the only album that has the shoegazing sound that I like so much in this list (Gold-Bears sort of falls into that category but not fully). This is another band that I had no idea about until I heard that Wirr was telling their fans to listen. After I did listen I was happy that I did. There is some great noise rock on this album that I an very happy with.

Best albums of the year (so far):
Beck – Morning Phase
The Black Keys – Turn Blue
Broken Bells – After The Disco
Coldplay – Ghost Stories
Eternal Summers – The Drop Beneath
The Faint – Doom Abuse
The Gaslight Anthem – The B-sides
Gold-Bears – Dalliance
LCD Soundsystem – The Long Goodbye
Linkin Park – The Hunting Party
Nothing – Guilty Of Everything
The Pains of Being Pure At Heart – Days of Abandon
Sea Wolf  - Song Spells No. 1: Cedarsmoke
Temples – Sun Structures
Withered Hand – New Gods

Best EPs
Black Hearted Brother – Got Your Love
Camera Shy – Jack-O-Lantern
Coil/Nine Inch Nails – Recoiled
OK Go – Upside Out
Poli├ža – Raw Exit
Squarepusher x Z Machines – Music For Robots

Best singles
The Ar-Kaics – Why Should I/Slave To Her Lies
The Ar-kaics – Make It Mine
The Ar-Kaics – Sick And Tired
Broken Bells – Holding On For Life
The Dodos – Yours Truly Session
Haim – Forever
The Pains of Being Pure At Heart – Simple And Sure
Withered Hand – Horse Shoe

Best compilations
Non Violent Femmes

This is the first album from The Proper Ornaments. The album was released in August 2013. The album was released in a gatefold LP replica sleeve with OBI strip. The sleeve also lists two bonus tracks that are not on the CD at all. I did not know this at first and was excited that there were two extra tracks. I was then let down that they were not included. I then felt enlightened after finding that they were not included on any of the CD that were manufactured.

A lot of the songs on this album I have already talked about as they were included on other releases that were put out around or before this album was released. Every song on The Proper Ornaments EP and the two songs on the Recalling/Are You Going Blind? single are on this album as is the song Nervous Breakdown which was included on the Indie Pop Lesson Compilation. This is eight of the ten songs on the album. So, since I have already talked about 80% of the album I will not re hash what has been said. Instead, if your interested in reading about the music on this album, here are a couple of links to reference this music: The EP is at Vol. 5 Episode 25  The single is at Vol. 5 Episode 24. Although I didn’t talk about Nervous Breakdown in my review of Indie Pop Lesson you can read what I did say in Vol. 4 Episode 14. It is after all a great compilation. If you have interest in Waiting For The Summer, the album it is cheap. Go over to Lo Recordings and get it there or find it on Amazon.

I have this week off. I am, there for, shooting to get two episodes out this week. I am also attending the Oh Hellos concert this week so expect a concert review as well. That is all for now…

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Vol. 5 Episode 25

A new solo album from Philip Selway, the drummer for Radiohead, is up for preorder on his web page now.

Here we go...

This is a new 10” EP released June 30, 2014. I got my copy a little early because I ordered it directly from the bands shop. There are four tracks on the EP one of which is a cover track. The four tracks are tracks 13-16 on the deluxe download edition of you already have that version. The tracks are an interesting electronic set of songs with lots of schmaltz. I am having a lot of trouble getting into the music but it is still interesting.

The first track is the title track, Raw Exit. I really like the jerky electronics with the slight echo. The smooth electric bass works well to hook up the vocals and the drums with the synths jerkyness. I think that the vocals really shine in the chorus more than in the verse though.

The second song is called Baby Blue. The bass is super funky in this track with standard bass guitar and in some parts a playful synth bass over the top of that. The drums are also a combination of samples and analog. This gives an interesting feel for the two instruments. The other synth parts are soaring but heavy but filling in the background well. The vocals add to keeping the style of the group.

The next song is called Great Regret. This song kind of taps into the 80s synth sound but still keeps the sound relevant for the time. I think that it is not only the synth sound but the vocal style that link this track to the 80s. I feel that there is something in her tonality with this track that reminds me of the new wave sound of the mid to late 80s. It works very well and is probably my favorite song of this set.

The last track on the EP is the cover of Leslie Gore’s YouDon’t Own Me. The songs delivery kind of bothers me. I know the original song so well. The slightly elongated and unmatching/unneeded pauses throw me out of the song. It is almost as if she doesn’t know how to properly breathe in a song. I do like the music in the song though. I like an electronic version of most songs and the rework of the music fits well.

OK Go have a new album coming out through Pledge Music. As a reward to pledgers, the band have put out a four song digital only EP that contributors can download. The four songs will be on the new album but the group wanted to share some of the songs early in this new EP. It was released on June 17, 2014. When I talked about the new single having the album Upside Out this was why. The new single was already associated to the new EP called Upside Out and not yet to the new album called Hungry Ghosts.

The first song is called Turn Up The Radio. The song is not so much new, sound wise for the band, but fits what you would expect from them. It is a great pop song though that talks about turning up the music and forgetting what is happening in your life and just losing yourself in the music for a while. It is a great idea and I have done this many times.

The next song is the first single from the up coming album, The Writing’s On The Wall. I had this to say about the track in Vol. 5 Episode 22, “The song smacks of early 80s sounds from Joy Division/New Order (Yes, I know that Joy Division never really made it past the 70s but posthumous tracks were released in the 80s).  The song is bass guitar lead with the guitars and synth adding to the songs background. The vocals are almost on the same level as the bass, just a little bit above the bass. This is a really great track that pays homage to a couple of my favorite bands. I can’t wait to get my hands on this album.”

The third song is called I Won’t Let You Down. I hear The Jackson 5 all over this track. It is a great style that I am happy that they brought back. I like the strings from the disco era combined with the muted guitar sounds and added synth parts to make it current. All of these things combined with all of the members of the band singing in the song like The Jackson 5 did on their big hits. It all works so well and makes me happy listening to the song.

The last song is called The One Moment. This is a slightly depressing track that could easily be a credits song to a “chick flick”. I only say this because it is a song that is heart felt and makes you think about life if you listen to the lyrics. It is a good song but a bit depressing while trying to be uplifting at the same time.

This is a great intro to the upcoming album. Go contribute to their Pledge Music campaign right now!

This is a five track EP released in 2011. It was released as a CDr promo or 12” vinyl or download through No Pain In Pop.  The groups sound is put together by the two singers’ love of the west coast sundrenched 60s sounds, the British invasion sounds and the C86 sounds. These three sounds when combined give a very unique musicscape that is absolutely delicious.

The first track from the EP is called Who Thought. It is a bright and bouncy track that ended up as the single from the album. The guitar work is absolutely amazing and the drums are just simple enough to be complicated. The bass supports the guitars perfectly and links the drums to the song the way that they should. The song works incredibly well.

The second song is called River Boat. The song is a slower track and not my favorite on the EP simply because I am not a fan of the slower song. It is still musically and technically interesting though.

The third track is called Shining Bright. This track is a poppy track with dark overtones. The vocals and guitars have a bit of an echo giving the song that darkness. The drums stand out a bit more because there are no effects on them. This is the type of song that I would have listened to in high school if it were around then. It is deep and brooding.

The next song is called You Still. This song is also a bit slower but comes off a bit more musical with the vocal slides that the boys pull off in this track. The music is a bit more simple I think because of the need to focus on the vocal slides. This isn’t a bad think either. It is an incredibly short track though.

The last song is called Drop Off. This song could have easily been a single too. The song has that special something about it but it is again a super short track. If it had been fleshed out a bit more I would have easily been a great single.

That is all I have for now...

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Vol. 5 Episode 24

The new full length Flowers album is up for preorder at Kanine records.

You can also preorder the new Spoon album in multiple different packages on their page.

The new full lenth from The Proper Ornaments called Wooden Head is up for preorder at Slumberland Records in the US. It is already available via Fortuna Pop! In the EU.

sorry for the late post... here we go...

This is the sixth album from Linkin Park (LP). It was released in June 2014. This is the first of their albums to be produced with Rick Rubin since Meteora. The name of the album is kind of a metaphor. It is said to be that Linkin Park is the party that is hunting to bring back the energy and soul of rock. They have pushed back the electronic flavor that they had been using in favor of their hard rock roots this time. There has been a lot of advertisement for this album. It has ranged from the different packages that the band has put together for the album and the special Best Buy version of the album to the new tour that they will be embarking on. All of the packages that I have seen have only been on download or CD. I have not seen the album advertised on vinyl. I am happy to say that I will be attending that concert with my son. It is his first concert ever!

There have already been five singles released from the album and it was just released in the US this week. That is nearly half of the album. The first single from the album is called Guilty All The Same. The song features the rapper Rakim from Erick B. & Rakim. The songs first appearance came on Shazam and a day later as a standard single. The song is very hard edged with stabbing guitar chords, Simple but rough guitar solo parts, and pushed to the edge vocals by Chester Bennington. Synth parts made to help progress the song and hard drumming. This is a great first single from the bands new album and shows directly where the group went for the album.

The second single from the album is called Until It’s Gone. This one goes back to the electronic style of the previous albums. It reminds me of a track that could have been a part of a sound track. It has a super polished sound that movie soundtrack makers gravitate toward. It fits with the album only because it breaks up the album. I like the song but if the group is going for a heavy rock album all the way this one doesn’t really fit the bill.

The third single, actually the third, fourth and fifth singles were released at the same time, is called Final Masquerade. This is another track that seems super polished with electronic and synth parts floating in the background with not much in the way of heavy guitars and hard hitting drums. They are there but not as heavy as some of the other tracks on the album. Like the previous single, it is good but not has heavy as the rest of the album.

The next single is called Wastelands. This is a hard hitting drum song with guitar fills and synth fills. The song hits like a light version of a song from living things but still has heavily distorted guitars to make the fans of the earlier work happy. The break down in the song is the exciting part with cool psych sounds that make your brain feel all twisted. When it comes out of that part it sets you straight and prepares you for the next track on the album.

The last single from the album is called Rebellion. The song features Daron Malakian from System of A Down who plays additional guitar on the track. The addition of a heavy guitar gives the band a new dimension. This heavy guitar sound makes this track one of my favorites on the album, although, I could due with out the synth part all together on the track. This is another great song from the album that really smacks of the System of A Down sound from the Toxicity era. Either way it is still a great LP song.

It is a great album leaning on the heavy metal sound from the first three albums with some of the good stuff sprinkled in from the last few albums. I am very excited to get to know this album.

This is the first release from the group ever. It was released in 2010. This was well before I had ever heard of the group. This is a different recording from the version of Recalling put out a few years later (2013). The two songs put on this single were recorded at a friends house and as such have a duller sound. It gives the sound a boost on the lower end. It is also a little crispy on the highs too. This isn’t necessarily a good thing but it does give it a homey feel that you usually only find on demo versions of songs.

The A side song is called Recalling. I had this to say about the re-recorded version of the song and this still applies to this version of the song, “The song starts off with a simple chord progression played in muted eighth notes. There is also a slight tinkle of piano and a good drum beat. As the song progresses the guitar parts get more complex and the piano plays more frequently. There is also an organ part that floats in the background that reminds me of the Vox organ that was used heavily in the 60s and 70s. The vocals send me back to that time as well with their lower tone and drawn out sound. The song is really great…” I think that the difference between the two versions of this song is mainly that this version was recorded at someone’s house and the newer version sounds like it was recorded in a studio. Both versions are good and I can’t say that I prefer one over the other.

The B side to this single is called Are You Going Blind? It is a slower song that matches the sound to the A side. It is a slower song that uses slow strummed chords with eighth note pick playing on the bass guitar. It is a sad song about a friend going blind and listing off things that they won’t be able to do any more. It is kind of depressing though. If you can get over the lyrics the music is very good.

This is a limited edition release of demo tracks from the group. It was released last year in the EU for their spin-off of Record Store Day called Cassette Store Day. This is the only thing that I have gotten from that event with the exception of the Bleed In Gold album that was also made available as a download through Art Is Hard. The cassette came with a download sticker in the sleeve. The downloaded tracks didn’t come in the proper track order and one of them came as an aif file. I am not sure if this was just sloppy production on the part of the record company that put this out or what. I did find it quite annoying as I had to not only correct the order of the songs and make sure that the names and other bits were labeled properly I also had to convert the aif file to MP3. An aif file is a pretty large file. It was not such a big deal for me to do but I know that not as many people have that ability or understanding to do so.

There are eight tracks on this tape. They are all demo versions but in varying state of clarity. Some of these demo tracks were re-recorded in the studio for their first album and a couple of them are used on the second album. Largely, they are only heard on this cassette. I hope that they all in some way or another get a studio treatment as they are all a lot of fun to listen to.

Shining Bright and Drop Off were given a studio treatment for the first album. Tire Me Out and Stereolab got the studio treatment for the second album. These demo tracks are very fun and I can’t wait to get the two full length albums from this group. I am just as excited to hear the studio versions of these tracks.

That's all for now...

Friday, June 13, 2014

Vol. 5 Episode 23

No real new news but there are a lot of pre-orders out there for a lot of bands. Check them out!

I do know that Slumberland Records has had to push back the pre-order for the new album from The Proper Ornaments. There was a pressing issue with the plant that was making the records. I am excited to get my hands on that record but will have to wait.

Here we go...

This is the fourth album from this Swedish group The Hives. The album was released in the fall of 2007. The album takes the group in a slightly different direction. The group made use of multiple producers for this album, the most famous of those were The Neptunes. This gave the album a sort of R&B feel of back in the late 40s/early 50s sound brought current. The music is still loud and noisy but using elements of that classic R&B feel. I really liked this album and the new direction that it took the group. I think it opened up new doors for the groups following album. It gave them new views as to how things can be recorded and the different styles that can be incorporated into the music that they create.

The big single and the first single from the album is called Tick Tick Boom. The song was pushed on Americans through many TV commercials including multiple movie spots and video games including Lego Rock Band. This is my favorite song from the album and has a very catchy guitar riff that is played through the verse sections of the song. The verse is simple musically with long notes being played while the vocalist sings the chorus. The drop off of all music at the end of the chorus while the vocalist sings, “Tick tick tick tick boom” and then the sound of an explosion really unique. It is what really makes the song.

The second single from the album is called T.H.E.H.I.V.E.S. This is one of the track that was produced by The Neptunes. This is plainly obvious once you hear that they were the producers for the track. Their style is all over this song. The song has a super smooth feel to it and almost a disco sound. It is a great song but almost sounds out of place on the record. It just doesn’t have the expected sound from The Hives. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t a good song from the group, just that it stands out like a sore thumb on the album as a whole.

The last single from the album is called Won’t Be Long. The song has the lead singer singing in a lower key than he as in the past at the start. The chorus he sings in his higher pitch. It kind of reminds me of the mock country sound that had been done in the 80s for a short while. It is an interesting way to make the vocals sound different. There is also a hint of disco in the song with the string section playing in the back ground. It is a fun track not to be ignored

If you thought that The Hives were only capable of one sound and haven’t heard this album, give it a spin. You will be surprised.

This is the third album released from Linkin Park. It was released in May of 2007. There were multiple versions of this album put out including a vinyl version and a book style format too. I don’t have a vinyl version of this but want a copy. The official copy that I do have is a censored copy. I have a CDr of the uncensored version but want an official copy still. This is the first album to show a different direction for the group, shifting away from the nu metal sound that they had been known for. Given this idea the album come off with a mix of styles, including punk and hip-hop, but going for classic rock and roll at its heart. Personally, I think it is a great album and a needed change to keep the fans interested. I really like the music on this album and my son, who was seven at the time of this albums release, loved the album too. He really latched on to the second single Bleed It Out. I was forced to listen to that song so much during the year after its release. It is a good song so I didn’t mind so much.

The first single from the album is the song What I’ve Done. The song is played in the key of G minor. This doesn’t mean much to most but it does to those out there who are musicians. Chester Bennington, lead singer, had this to say about the song, “Joe [Hahn] came up to Mike and me and asked us to take the whole idea of Minutes to Midnight and apply that to how the band has changed. So, in a way, it's us saying goodbye to how we used to be...The lyrics in the first verse are 'In this farewell, there's no blood, there's no alibi,' and right away, you'll notice that the band sounds different: The drums are much more raw, the guitars are more raw and the vocals aren't tripled. It's just us out there .... and that's how Rick Rubin wanted it.” The song has a great sounding distorted guitar. It is noisy but you can still hear the chord sound musically. The vocals are raw but controlled in the chorus and clean in the verse. It just works well in the song. The drums are based on a heavy hip-hop sound and have heavy cymbal usage in the chorus to add to the noise there.

The second single from the album is called Bleed It Out. This is the first single to be released from this album with rap lyrics. The lyrics flow so smoothly that I had never even thought of them as lyrics. The guitar work is very simple and for the most part repeats through the song. The drums consist of mainly clapping in time to the music. There is a drum kit used but is kept simple for the song to get down to the core of what music is but still keeping it complex like the band has always done. This is my sons’ favorite song from the album and I have to agree that it is the best song on the album. It is a song that I could listen to over and over.

The third single from the album is called Shadow of The Day. It is a very moving slow song. I think that the strings in the back ground help the emotional status of the song immensely. The guitar solo in this song mainly follows the vocals but expands on the vocal path a little more. The drums start off with a sample pattern but then cut into the live drums. This is a cool idea and has been used by many bands. There are no rap parts on this track but Mike does take part in the track with the background synth parts.

The next single from this album is called Given Up. This one holds on to the clapping that is also used in Bleed It Out but the song is more raw and the clapping is discarded when the vocals start up. The song of uses the loud soft loud style with the guitar dropping out during the verse to let the bass guitar shine a little. The bridge to this song is just hard quarter notes. It is smart and gets the point across very well. This is the heaviest sounding song on the album and really gets the point across.

The last single from the album is called Leave Out All The Rest.  Chester had this to say about the song, “We knew this was going to be a single from the very beginning, so we worked really hard on making sure it had great lyrics. I'm singing 'Pretending someone else can come and save me from myself' during it because it's supposed to feel like an apology letter, as though I'm moving on but I want people to remember the good things and not the bad things. A lot of the song is about humility.” For me the song is about remembering the good things about someone who has moved on. It is a request of memory in a way. It is another slower song with a lot of emotion.

This is my favorite album from the group so far. It is not has heavy as some of their other album but it is diverse in style. I really like the two albums that follow this one but this one covers so much ground.

This is the first single from the first album from the group. This A side of this single was originally released back in 2010 with a different B side, but that is a different story. I was first introduced to the group with the Indie Pop Lesson compilation last year. I didn’t know anything about them at the time. The group consists primarily of James Hoare, of Veronica Falls fame, and Max Claps. There have been other members to support these two but they are the band. I got seriously interested in the group when Slumberland Records said that they were going to put out the latest album this summer. From what I have heard of previews from slumberland and the demo track from the Indie Pop Lesson comp. I am very interested in what they will produce. The sound is very clean sounding late 60s psych pop.

The A side is called Recalling. I have the feeling that this is a slightly different version from the 2010 release. I cant as of yet say what or if there is a difference for sure. The song starts off with a simple chord progression played in muted eighth notes. There is also a slight tinkle of piano and a good drum beat. As the song progresses the guitar parts get more complex and the piano plays more frequently. There is also an organ part that floats in the background that reminds me of the Vox organ that was used heavily in the 60s and 70s. The vocals send me back to that time as well with their lower tone and drawn out sound. The song is really great and I am happy that I have a copy of this.

The B side is called Imagination. It is a super short track but still follows that late 60s sound. The composition is different from Recalling in that there is no real build to the song. The structure is already there and it kind of needs to be with such a short track. The rhythm guitar is still playing those muted eighth notes but the lead guitar picks through a higher chord set. I think that this is the basis for the music of the flower power movement. At least that is what it reminds me of. That combined with the vocal style.

Both songs are very beautiful and I highly recommend picking up the new album when it is released. It is out in Europe now but has been delayed in the us due to pressing plant issues. You can still get their first album from Lo Recordings.

That is all for now...