Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I have been slow about making updates. For anybody that cares, I am loosing the excitement. I will still continue to do the updates just a little bit more infrequently. I have also not been listening to much new music. I have mainly been listening to the Grizzly Bear album and The XX a lot. They both fit where I am emotionally right now.

I did as I said I was going to do this weekend. I changed out the 16 gauge speaker wire with the 14 gauge braided speaker wire that I got for my birthday. I think that there is for sure a sound change. The new wire seems to have increased the volume output and it seems a little more rich and or bass heavy. This is nothing dramatic mind you but it is noticeable.

There is a new thread on Amazon about what the best rock album or what album will stand the test of time in the last decade. I put my votes in and am also enjoying taking part in the discussion.

I listened to the latest Sound Opinions today. They had a special with Rivers Cuomo of Weezer. He sang Weezer songs with a local Chicago band backing him. He had never performed with them before except to do the sound check with the band. It was a very interesting set.

Because of this Sound Opinions episode I am going to give Weezer(The Red Album) a second chance. I will talk about it here as soon as I can.

I think that is all I have for now so...

Signing off

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Episode 23

I got a set of 4 gauge oxygen free cable from a friend. I wanted to compare them to my current 16 gauge lines. The more that I think about it the more I am seeing it as to much trouble.

On a similar note. I got 50' of braided 14 gauge cable for my birthday. I think that this weekend I will cut up that cable and install it.

Today, I had some free time. I wanted to work on my most recent song. I created the file and tried to get the right tempo. I also tried to get the triplets settled. I did figure out how many times I need to get through the triplets to get it back to where I started though. I did record the bass and a lead for a Nirvana like song that I have been working on. It is good and it is simple.

I have added a lot of music over the past few months. I started adding to my 80s play lists. It is only adding a couple tracks for each year but it is sort of a fun task.

And the last little tidbit of music related news in my life is that I recently had my car stereo stolen. It happened because the front parking lot where I live was plowed and I had to park my car in a different place than I normally would have. On top of that I tend to leave my driver side car door unlocked because it likes to freeze in the winter. I wasn't as mad that the stereo was stolen (it was a cheap one) but more that there was damage done to the plastic that was unnecessary. They broke a bunch of surrounding plastic to try to get at the stereo but they could have just pulled out the stereo and unplugged the stereo instead. Whatever, I can't change it now. It is very boring now with out music in the car. : (

I also want to add that I did a short comparison of the album The Black Keys - Attack And Release. This time the comparison was with the vinyl and actual MP3s at 320kbps. There was a slight difference in the sound between the two. I think that the MP3s were slightly dull compared to the vinyl. It was mostly unnoticeable that the MP3 had a slightly lesser sound though.

So anyway, back to the music that I have been listening to.

Sea Wolf - White Water, White Bloom

This album is good, it's not great but it is good. It is not as good as their first album but I still like it. I got this album for Christmas from my mother-in-law. I was so excited that I got it on vinyl. Then I found out that it is a 3 sided album and the 4th blank side is etched with the logo for the album. This is my first album that has anything etched. It is very cool.

She & Him - Vol. 1

I actually got this album for my wife. I got it for her on vinyl. It is a very innocent, light and "girly" album. It is very sweet. I wish there was more that I could say about this (I am sure there is) but it is just an enjoyable album for me. I am excited for the upcoming release from the duo though.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Episode 22

I took a short break from posting. I have still been listening to music and keeping track of it.

I got a comment from a user called "L". I did make a reply to his comment. I replied with the data that I had available and I hope that this answered his question. I hope that he/she will continue reading and challenging my thoughts.

I also want to point out that I have been posting regularly on the Amazon.com boards. There are some very cool people who are posting on the Speaker and Home Theater communities. My user name on those boards is "KBIC". I have been visiting there for about a year. You all are welcome to check those out too.

On to the music:

I have been kind of on a Björk kick.

Björk - Post

This album, in my opinion, is heavier than her solo debut. The single Army Of Me is just super awesome and heavy. It was used on the soundtrack for Tank Girl. A great comic book movie if you can handle the camp value. The other single that was released from this album was It's Oh So Quiet. It is a cover song but she does it with such flair that the song becomes her. There were some other songs that were not exactly singles but were mad popular in dance circles.

This leads me to the next album.

Björk - Telegram

This is a remix album that was released after Post came out. It is a remix of the songs from Post. This is where the dance singles came from. These dance singles are for Possibly Maybe, Hyperballad and Headphones. My favorite track on this album is Cover Me. There is a super cool bass line that happens on this album that I can't get enough of. I got this album on vinyl when it was originally released. After I purchased it I found out that the album is missing one track that the CD has. I was slightly disappointed but it is not a big enough deal for me to go and buy the CD.

The following albums I have previously talked about but I really like them. So, I listened to them again.

Fleet Foxes - Sun Giant

Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest

Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes

The XX - XX

Man Or Astro-Man? - Experiment Zero

The white Stripes - Icky Thump

I really like The White Stripes. They make lots of great minimalist rock music. Maybe this is why I like The XX. I especially like Meg White's drumming style. She makes it happen only when it is needed. The first single of this album was the title track, Icky Thump. Jack White uses a cute little keyboard to get the cool solo stuff done contrary to popular opinion. I have actually seen this song performed on a UK show once. Somebody had the video or I saw it on YouTube or something like that. The video that I saw of this song was good but Jack's performance was awful. Anyway, I think that Little Cream Soda was the second single. I was not all that interested in that track much. Later I heard another single that I really think is fantastic. It takes the band is a very different direction. The song is Conquest. It is actually a cover song that was originally released in the 50s. It is a great song but like most White Stripes songs you will either love it or hate it. It has been reworked and used big brass and big guitar. It is quite unique and stands apart from the rest of the album.

The Gaslight Anthem - The 59' Sound

These are a group of guys from the New Jersey area. They have a sound like if The Boss were to write current indie music. I purchased the album through Suburban Home Records. I also picked up their first album and the EP from them. All 3 of them on vinyl. Anyway, the album is a lot of fun but doesn't keep me engaged as much as I would like. The first 3 songs on the album are also the first 3 singles. Although they were not released in the order that they are laid out on the album. The first single was the title track. The next was Old White Lincoln and the last was Great Expectations. I always think that it is really great to hear bands that you like when listening to the radio. I remember taking a trip to the Needle Doctor and hearing The 59' Sound on the radio. This was during last winter (2008-09). It was a cold day but hearing this song made me feel a little more warm. It was just nice.

Saves The Day - In Reverie

This is another group that falls into the Emo genre. This is their 4th full length album. The album is not super fantastic honestly. There is a change in music style for the band on this album. I do enjoy this album even though I don't think it is super fantastic. It is creative and easy to sing along with. The first single is the first track on the album, What Went Wrong. I did not buy the album for the single actually. I bought the album because I really liked the previous album, Stay What You Are. I found that I really liked the title song, In Reverie. It is very easy to sing along to, more so than the other songs on the album. The song is about a breakup and what the person in the story does after the breakup. I felt the emotion that this person was going through because at the time I was going through a divorce. This song is a lighter side of a breakup and it was what I needed at the time.

I have more albums to talk about but I will get to them in a later post.

Oh, since it was my birthday yesterday I got to get a couple albums. I went to a Half-priced Books and found an vinyl album from Stereotyperider - Songs In The Keys Of F & U. It was a chance find and it was colored in yellow and dark orange. It even has the Suburban Home logo. I also picked up Man Or Astro-man? - Is It ... Man Or Astro-man? on vinyl. It is an original pressing. This album was a limited pressing in the first place. My Mother-in-law also got me a CD called the Minnesota Beatles Project Vol. 1. It is a group of Minnesota bands that recorded covers of The Beatles songs. MPR was involved along with a couple other companies. It is a lot of fun. I did listen to it once before but maybe when I get a chance to listen to it more in depth I will give it a proper review here.

Signing Off

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Episode 21

I tweaked the Hofner bass a little bit more today. I think that I got it all set up right. It seemed to tune perfectly at the 12th fret and on the open string for each string. I am very happy about this.

I also did some comparison listening on the stereo today. I listened to the first side of Bjork – Homogenic. I compared it to the MP3 tracks on my iPod. The MP3 tracks were ripped from the original release CD. I adjusted the volume on the iPod to match the volume coming from the turntable. There was a very definite difference in the two sources. The MP3 tracks had more bass than the record and the highs seemed duller. The vinyl was tighter with the bass and there was more clarity in the highs.

I would like to compare the vinyl to the CD to see if the difference that I heard in the MP3 is actually on the CD or if it was a difference in the conversion from CD to MP3. I would also like to copy the vinyl to MP3 and compare the vinyl to the converted vinyl MP3. Maybe compare the two different MP3 versions as well. There are many combinations of comparison that can be done with this idea. All of them are very interesting to me.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Episode 20

I had my taxes done today. It did not come out as good as past years. I had plans for that tax money but I guess my plans have changed. I was feeling a bid down because of it so I started with The Posies tonight.

The Posies – Frosting On The Beater

This album was released on the upswing of the grunge movement. They were kind of under the radar for most folks. They are still making music and are still under the radar. I only have this album from them and haven’t heard anything since this album. The album is more on the slower side than the popular albums of this era. It is just slow enough that I can understand the words so I can sing along with the vocalist. It is just out of my high range so I sing it an octave lower. I really like this album because it mellows me out, especially when I sing along in that lower register. I can feel the vibrations from my own voice in my chest. I remember watching the video on MTV, back when they had great shows that would showcase videos for bands that were a little bit under the radar. One show in particular, 120 Min., would specifically showcase these underground artists. I found out about many bands from this show. This album is a very down album. Not only is it mostly slow songs or steady rockers but it does come off a little depressing. This is probably why I get so mellow after listening to it. I would recommend this album to anybody looking for some great melodic chill out rock.

I listened to the following album because I did not want to be down in the dumps the whole night. This was a level up in my emotions. It was what I needed a gradual step up from sad to normal.

Sigur Rós - Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust

Don’t ask me to pronounce it. It means in English, “With a Buzz in Our Ears We Play Endlessly.” The group has been around since the late 90s. They started out making ambient rock. This hasn't really changed much except they have gotten better at it. This album is more playful than any of their previous works including Takk… The rhythms on this album are to die for. They are so simple but yet so complex, an absolute joy for a critical listener. I did not pre-order this album. I was still lucky enough to have gotten a copy of it on vinyl. They released it in a strange way. You could only pre-order the album directly from the band. I could not find anything about the release anywhere until I ran across the album at a local record shop. I also went to see the band play live in the city. I took my father-in-law and my wife to see them. It was very grandiose, so much fun. They even popped the confetti over the crowd just like they do in the video for the first single. It was so much fun. The only thing that I was disappointed in was the sound of the bass. The bassist, I am sure, uses the actual bass used in each recording. In the older songs that the band recorded he uses a low quality bass. You can’t tell on the recordings but when played live I could hear the difference in an instant. On the newer tracks that they played he used a better bass guitar. It may just be my ear and the fact that I play bass too but I could defiantly hear the difference. I still enjoyed the concert very much and this fact did not take me out of the music enough to be annoyed by it. I am hoping to go to see the lead singer, Jonsi, perform in the next coming months as well.

Silversun Pickups - Swoon

This is their second album. I call the style that this band has, and many others in recent years, NU-gazer. They have picked up on the dream-pop and noise-pop that the Shoe-gazer movement had and made it in a new light. It is really quite enjoyable. There is not as much noise as those artists had in the shoe-gazer movement had. At least that is the way it is with this group. I was not sure about the first single. It doesn’t match with the way that the previous album was. But, it fits in with the album as a whole and it does grab the listener’s attention on its own. It got my attention when I saw the video. I decided to take a chance with this album because I liked the first full length so much. I was not disappointed at all. I bought it on vinyl and found that it was a double vinyl. This information is only relevant if you are into vinyl pressings. It is supposed to give the songs more room on the record. It is also supposed to provide more depth of sound since there is more room on the record with so few tracks per side. There is only about 3 or 4 songs per side. Either way the album is heavy but mellow with grand sweeping sounds. If you are into that shoe-gazer movement and have not given them a listen I recommend it. I like them so much that I also picked up the first EP when it was released on vinyl. There was a hidden track on the CD version that I think is also included on this vinyl version (if you’re interested in that kind of thing).

Spoken – Spoken

This is a hardcore group. There is a lot of screaming done by the vocalist. That being said, they are a great Christian alternative rock group. The vocalist probably has been taking some voice lessons since his vocals have improved over the last 3 albums. There is even a slow song where he sings instead of screams. It is really quite an amazing transformation for him. It is also in invited change for the group and shows that they have a softer side and the potential for a wider range audience. The lyrics are Christian lyrics. What I mean is that they sing about their desires to be better Christians and their beliefs as Christians. In the screaming tracks, most of the album, you can’t really understand what he is saying. Someone who is not a Christian may not even be able to tell that they are singing about God and Christianity. I see this as a benefit because I can introduce my friends who are not Christians to some really great rock and usually they don’t mind that the lyrics are Christian themed. It is a lot of fun if you like the screaming hard rock/metal sounds.

Signing off

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Episode 19

I was kind of in a “P” mood today. I went through a few artists that start with the letter “P”. I wanted to hear something from Pillar and in the search I realized that I had wanted to hear the Passion Pit album. Then I thought that I wanted to hear some classic rock and I hit on the closest thing Pink Floyd.

Pillar – Where Do We Go From Here

This is the third album from the group. This was their second album with secular crossover singles. The songs Bring Me Down and Front Line were also featured in a couple of sporting videogames from 2006, although the album was released in 2004. It is a hard rock Christian album so if you are not into the loud screaming that takes place in hard rock this album may not be for you. The song front line is a great anthem for young Christians. The song really gets you up with a desire to do all you can for God. The other single, Bring Me Down, hits the point that Christians are for God no matter what happens. There isn’t anybody that can change a Christians mind about this. That is the idea anyway. This album doesn’t quite measure up to its predecessor, Fireproof, or their competitors, Switchfoot. Who are also a great Christian themed crossover group as well. The album holds up on its own very well, it did manage some great crossover hits after all.

Passion Pit – Manners

This group started as a 1 man band. I found out about them through the SXSW podcasts from 2008 but didn’t make note of them until a year later. They were about to release this album and I heard a couple other tracks than the primary single, Sleepyhead, and loved it. The album has lots of sugar coated synth tracks. Listening to it over and over is not advisable. There is almost nothing mellow about this album. Although I can’t listen to the album continually I still love the album. There is nothing that really comes close to the light and airy sweetness of it all. You would probably know the single, Sleepyhead, from the commercial for the Palm Pixie. I would encourage anyone to at least listen to that song. If you can’t handle that track then don’t bother getting the album as it is all in that style. I would recommend the album to anybody that likes synth/electronic rock.

Pink Floyd – Dark Side Of The Moon
(DSOTM for short)

This album has been reviewed millions upon millions of times. I am not going to do so here. Instead I will tell you about how I cam across this album. I knew the popular tracks from my youth. As I have stated before, my father liked the classic rock station in our area. This is how I got to know the band. I forgot about them for a long time until my first marriage. I started lightly looking at classic rock albums. I knew I wanted something but there was so much to choose from out there. I ended up getting this album and the wall on CD as a birthday gift from my wife at the time. I listened to them and they were good. They mainly brought back a nostalgic feeling from when I was under the age of five. It was very cool. It wasn’t until recently that I found The Wall on vinyl for cheap at my favorite used book store. I then found DSOTM at my father-in-laws house. Actually I found he had both the original and the 30 year anniversary copy on vinyl. He gave me the original copy. I was very happy. I would rather have the original than the new copy anyway. I would like to compare the two but it would be difficult to do so as I would need two of the exact same turntable in order to do so. This makes it difficult since my main TT is a MusicHall mmf-7.1, a $1200 unit. Ah well, such is life.

Pizzicato Five – The Sound Of Music By Pizzicato Five

This is such a great album. It is based on the 90s retro pop feel. They are a Japanese duo. They are s female vocalist and a male musician/DJ. They make use of popular samples sped up and slowed down. Sometimes these samples set the tone for the song and others it is the live instruments that make the song. All through out the album the vocalists voice remains light and airy to the ear. There are even some guest rappers on a couple tracks. The album starts out with a group of children chanting, “We love you P5, oh yes we do.” This is done in the usual way with a group of children singing. It is not quite right but it is close enough. Then it goes straight into some real fantastic pop. The lyrics are sung in a combination of English and Japanese. In some cases English over the top of the Japanese. The liner notes are in both English and Japanese as well. They knew that they would have a lot of fans world wide. I believe that this was also an album specifically designed with English speaking fans. I can not confirm that though. One cute thing that they did was to include a credit card style membership card with this CD when it was new. It is a cute collector’s item really.

Signing off.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Episode 18

Björk – Homogenic

I remember buying this album when it was first released on CD. I still have that CD to this day. I have been a fan of Björk’s music since her first solo release. This was her third release. She has this great ability to write music that uses both electronic sounds and analog sounds. When I say analog sounds I mean real instruments not just guitars and bass but horns and accordions too. I am not aware of much, if any at all; guitar is used on this album. It is a very atmospheric album. She sets a tone at the beginning of the album and brings it back a little after about a third of the album goes bye. I have listened to this record so much over the years. I know the album so well that I have used it to demo speakers and other hardware before purchasing. My other favorite reference album is the soundtrack to Titanic (I will take a look at that one later). When I first got this album I had an inferior stereo setup. The bass on this album I remember sounding very muddy during those days. As I purchased better equipment I noticed that the bass started to not be so muddy. It was kind of a disappointment to come to the realization that the bass in this album was not meant to be so muddy but really tight and staccato. I still love this album to this day. I actually listened to it 3 times before making this post. I listened to it 2 times digitally and 1 time on vinyl.

Radiohead – Pablo Honey (Japanese import)

I remember getting this album when it was released in high school. I loved the single Creep. There were not any other hard hitting singles other than this one from the album. This was the start of my love for the band. I was just getting into the core of music when this album came out. I did not get any of the singles for this album though when they were new. It was not until after 2000 when I found that there was a Japanese release of this album with extra tracks that I purchased it again. I have still got the original version that I got while I was in high school but to have the expanded version is unique. Most fans really hate this album. I can’t find anything wrong with it personally. If you take out the single, Creep, the album flows very well. Creep is at the beginning of the album so it is not really a big deal either way.

Beck – Mellow Gold

After listening to Pablo Honey I was feeling nostalgic. I turned on the other album that I really loved from that era, Beck - Mellow Gold. Everybody knows Loser. But there is also some very interesting music on this album. His folk electric style can not be paralleled. Even if others think this album is trash it still gives me that nostalgic feeling. The album isn’t trash by the way it is very interesting music.

Dean Martin – Happiness Is

This is another original reprise vinyl pressing. Dean is such an amazing vocalist. I really like his mellow vocals. I don’t have any idea as to what were the singles off this album if there were any. I do know that I like the album with its short 2 – 3 min tracks. There is not enough time to get bored with what he is singing about. It keeps the album bouncing along in a happy light.

Signing off

Monday, February 1, 2010

Episode 17

I have been searching for a way to rate the albums that I have been listening to. I was thinking something like Buy It, DownLoad It or Garbage. I am going to keep thinking about it. I don't really like the verbiage yet but it will be something cool when I am done.

Bob Dylan - Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits Vol. II

I got this LP from a Friend of the family. He passed a way and I received a portion pf his record collection. The record is in very good condition. There are some tracks that are very well known and the vocals on this album are absolutely fantastic. Bobs voice really does sound good during this time period.My parents were not really a Dylan fan so I don't really have a history with this artist. I do also have Vol I of this series. I also purchased the 3CD box set that was released a few years ago before I had these 2 greatest hits comps.

Chicago - VII

I knew nothing about this album. I did know that it was one of my mothers favorites. After listening to it I thought this could have just been some random jazz album except for the 1 or 2 tracks that do really sound Chicagoesque. It is a good album just don't expect to hear that Chicago sound to much on this album.