Friday, March 26, 2010

Episode 27

I have been dying over the song from the commercial for the new Kia Sorento. I also found out that my Mother-in-law was too. She asked me to find out what the name of the song was. I couldn’t search when she asked because we were out shopping at the time. When I got home I did a frantic search of the internets to find out who the artist was. My first search was that it was some R&B group from the mid 20th century. I immediately knew that was wrong because most car commercials today are using new indie songs in them. I did some further research and found that the group and album were called The Heavy – The House That Dirt Built and the song was of course called How You Like Me Now? I quickly through together an email with this information and sent it off to her. Then since I was interested in the group (they are played on my favorite radio station 89.3 The Current) I did a search of my favorite preview sites and found a copy of the album. I have listened to it a few times now and find it very interesting and eclectic. The album has hints of alternative, R&B and funk. It is quite enjoyable.

I recently downloaded, from Amazon, the album Them Crooked Vultures – “S/T” (self titled). I have been interested in getting the album but not super keen on getting it. I got an informational from Amazon that this album, as a download, was on sale for $3.99. I couldn’t pass that up, so, I bought it. I have listened to it a few times now. It does get a bit long for me. The musicality in this album is super fantastic. What would you expect for a super group though? The group is made up of Dave Grohl – Drums (Nirvana/The Foo Fighters), Josh Homme – Vocals/Guitar (Eagles Of Death Metal/Queens Of The Stone Age) and John Paul Jones – Bass (Led Zeppelin). As you would guess the music has a definite old skool 70s influence. It is actually a very engaging album but like I said earlier it does get to be a little long. For me, it is very cool to hear that classic sound resurrected into a new rock sound. I think that Homme’s vocals lend to a near Robert Plant style of vocals. Personally, I really like anything that Grohl does. I like the way his drumming sounds and the music that he writes with the Foo too. This is destined to be a great rock album, for me anyway.

I listened to Kings of Leon – Only By Night a few days ago. I actually got this album on vinyl from my Father-in-law for Christmas in 2008. I don’t do well with family and holidays much. I am not sure what it is or at least am not willing to go into it here. Any way, I was not really interested in the album when it first came out. After opening it I knew I was going to take it back and get something else. I ended up getting a repressing of the Spoon – Girls Can Tell on vinyl and a used copy of Death Cab For Cutie – Plans. The funny thing is that one year later I bought the Kings of Leon LP again. But because I got it from my Father-in-law last year we wrapped this one up and wrote on it from 2008 Christmas and gave it to him to give to me again. We all had a good laugh with that one. Consequently, I loved the Death Cab album and bought that on vinyl too. My Father-in-law got my CD copy of that Death Cab album as well. The KOL album is not the greatest album ever but with all the singles that came off of it, to me, it would be a crime not to own it.

I listened to Joy Division – The Best Of Joy Division. I own both of the albums that this band put out on vinyl but some of my favorite songs from the group are not on either of the albums. They are found on this best of album though. The group put out some 45 only singles and they happen to be some of the best work that this group has done. Two tracks stand out the most for me. The first is Love Will Tear Us Apart. I remember listening to this song on the radio as a kid. I was 5 when this song was released. It made that much of an impression on me that 25 years later I searched for the song again. The other song is called Dead Souls. I first heard this song while watching the movie The Crow. Nine Inch Nails did a cover of this song for the movie. I loved the movie so much that I bought the soundtrack. It wasn’t until 2008 that I found out that this was a cover. I thought that the NIN version was theirs. When I found out that it was a cover I started doing some research on Joy Division. I was just in time because both of the albums that the band did were being repressed on vinyl. I bought them and the best of album. They were all that I listened to for a month after I bought them.

Here is getting around to Weezer – Weezer (The Red Album). I did not really give this album a chance when I bought it. My wife did not really get into it because there are some high pitched squeals in some of the songs at low level listening. I don’t usually listen at low levels but I happen to only listen to this album when we got it with her. She was not so into the album because of the noises and it was an album for us. So, I put the album away and forgot about it. I had a friend at work who just raves about this album. He always tells me that it is the best album that they have put out. In no way could I agree with him because I loved Pinkerton the instant I purchased it. I think that he put so much hype on the album that I had no interest in listening to it any more. Then came the Sound Opinions that had Rivers on the show. This spiked my curiosity once again for The Red Album (they talked about it on the show). I vowed to give it a second chance. I did get around to listening to the album (finally, I know). It is actually a good album. I don’t enjoy it as much as their latest, Rattitude, but I think I still have a bitter taste from the guy at work.

Well, that is all I have for now.

Signing off

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Episode 26

Lately I have been sort of busy sorting out my life. As I mentioned earlier (Episode 25) I have had a change in my work schedule. When I get home I am dead tired. I am working on figuring out my new sleep schedule. When I get that figured out and where I can fit in my writing there will be more updates.

I listened to the latest First Listen from NPR. It was for the new album from She and Him called, quite simply, Volume 2. I listened to the whole album and found it better than the first album. It was more cohesive than the first album, Volume 1. I only listened to the album once but, like with Plastic Beach, it sounded fantastic on first listen. Hence the name of the preview page that NPR has created.

I haven’t listened to it yet but NPR has also offered up a SXSW preview of 11 songs. They have also recorded the shows that were played at their booth in SXSW. So, not only to you get a 11 track sampler but you also get a live concert show of each of those bands on the sampler through their podcast. This is all a very cool way to get a lot of free music. I am especially excited to listen to the Broken Bells and the Spoon concerts.

Speaking of Spoon, The new album Spoon - Transference is really good. I was not sure that I would like it considering all of the iffy reviews that I had read. It turns out that they did a very simple demo style recording of the album. In my listening there is only 1 track with a bad hissing sound, as if from a 4 track recorder. There are also some super fantastic sounds that are created not just through the pedals that are used with the guitars but with the acoustics in the rooms that they used to record some of the music. I thought this was cool because the room that is used to record becomes its own effect or instrument in some ways. It just seems that this technique is not implemented very often anymore in music recording.

I have also listened to Vampire Weekend – Contra a bit lately. It is good but I think that the swearing actually detracts from the music on this album. It is so light and fun and the way that they use the swearing just doesn’t work for me. In my opinion there are ways to use swearing and make it not so obvious and they just did not do it. The music is still fun and I am sure that I will get into it later but I am not into it right now.

I have listened to the new Hot Chip – One Life Stand. It is good but I am just not feeling it. There are some really cool melodies that the group created with this album but I love The Warning so much and they haven’t created anything like that here. I do love the fact that they used Prince & The Revolution – Parade as an influence on some of the album but I am just not into it at this point. Maybe I will get at it later like I intend to with the Vampire Weekend album.

I finally got my copy of The Twilight Saga: New Moon. I have had a downloaded copy of the album since it was released (no there was no download code to get the album). It is so much nicer to have a copy of the vinyl than a not so legal copy from the internets. I love the sound of vinyl over any digital copy that I have the ability to replay. I understand that SACD and DSD formats are supposed to be superior to any format but I just don’t have the funds or the desire to invest in a format that seems to be dead. These formats have been around for a long time but they have not caught on in any market at this point. You can find some DVD players that are reasonable in price that will play SACD but nobody even cares.

I was supposed to get a copy of the new Switchfoot album with my copy of the New Moon soundtrack. I found out that because there was not enough preorders through Soundstage direct for them to send me a copy. They apparently needed 100 preorders to make a purchase of “a lot” of them. Since they did not get enough preorders I did not get a copy. Instead, I replaced that item with a repressing of The strokes – This Is It. This is one of my favorite indie albums and it came out around the time that I started getting interested in the genre.

I will get a copy of that Switchfoot album but probably not on vinyl since the only way that I know of to get it now is to order it online from their web site and it would cost $20 plus $10 for shipping. I am not willing to spend 30 bucks on an album that is really only worth 10 bucks to me. This is also the same with the last album that Family Force 5 put out. It is just so annoying that shipping costs 10 bucks.

I recently purchased The Jam – Direction Reaction Creation. I purchased it because it was listed as a vinyl box set for 40 bucks. I was so disappointed that what I received was a book with 5 CDs. I complained to the company and gave them a poor review as an Amazon 3rd party seller. As I did further research I found that nobody is selling this box set in a vinyl format and that the box set that I purchased is usually sold for between 60 and 100 bucks. I quickly realized that I got a very good deal. I decided to keep the box instead of sending it back. The book is basically a picture book with a few pages of information about the band and what they did as a group. The CDs have every song that the band has created and recorded. There are over 100 songs through all of the discs. I was quite amazed since I only knew 1 song from the band, Beat Surrender.

My Father-in-law gave us his copy of “Weird Al” Yankovic – Dare To Be Stupid. I had never listened to this album in a whole sitting but I defiantly knew the singles from it. The title track is a fantastic track in the vein of Devo. I knew most of the tracks on this album but I did not know the album, if that makes any sense at all. I am actually very excited to have this album to listen to now.

I am very excited to say that we now have the 89.3 The Current/Live Current 5-Year Anniversary disc. It is a culmination of live tracks from bands that have visited the studios over the past 5 years that were not on the annual live discs. I have not listened to it yet but I am looking forward to a few of the tracks from it.

I did some research on the new White Stripes - Under The Great White Lights and found that it is just a live album. It is recordings from their Canadian tour (not sure what year this was from). There is also a video that accompanies this release. I am not a fan of their live music. I also found that there are 2 songs on this album that are difficult to find. One is a cover of Dolly Parton – Jolene and can only be found on this album. The other is Lets Shake Hands found as a studio track only on one of their first singles. I have not heard the whole album yet but I have heard these 2 tracks. I do like them but still not a fan of the live experience with The White Stripes.

I am very excited about the first release of Jonsi – Go. It comes out at the beginning of next month (April 2010). I found a preview copy of the album on line. I have not had a chance to listen to the entire preview but I intend to buy both the limited edition CD and a copy on vinyl. I may give the CD to my Father-in-law. It depends on what the packaging for the limited edition is set up.

I just want to say sorry for the delay in posts. I will be working on it, but slowly.

Signing off

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Episode 25

Wow, 25 already.

I am switching time schedules and positions at work starting Monday. I am switching from 8PM - 1AM to 2:30AM – 7AM. This means that I may be starting to post more regularly as I will have a little time in the morning before I go to sleep/when I get home from work. We will see what happens.

Anyway, I have listened to a few noteworthy albums recently. I have really enjoyed them immensely. But before we get to that, why is it that whenever I see used copies of Led Zep. Albums they are always so beat up? I saw all 4 albums that I was missing from them used on vinyl. They were not super beat up but it was defiantly enough that I would be very mad at my self for spending about 20 bucks for all four of them. They were deep short gouges that would make at least 1 track on each record not playable. It is so frustrating because I really love the music that they made and I can not find the albums on vinyl anywhere. I don’t care if they are repressed or used, I just want them on vinyl the way that they were originally meant to be heard (IMO). I did find a few of their albums used in good condition in the past so I guess that it is a matter of waiting to find them. It is just so frustrating to come across them and not be able to get them because whoever had them before me did not know how to take care of a record.

I recently learned that Family Force 5 contributed a new track to the new Alice In Wonderland: Almost Alice soundtrack. I looked into this a little bit further and found that this track is only found on the special Hot Topic version. The album is just under 10 bucks but I just can’t see spending 10 bucks for 1 track. I did some research on the net and found a 20 track promo copy. All of the tracks are MP3 at 192kbps. Defiantly subpar for what I consider a good sound. I haven’t listened to the album yet but I will defiantly put forth an effort to purchase the album if I think that it is good.

I am slowly falling in love with the latest OK Go - Of The Blue Colour Of The Sky. It is completely different from the previous 2 albums that they have released. Gone are the sugar coated happy pop songs. They have been replaced with thought provoking sounds that just strike your heart with new unexpected sounds from the group. I am very happy that they took a bit of a break to regroup and create new sounds and concepts. I was actually a little bit afraid with the track that they contributed to the New Moon soundtrack. But it turns out that this track was a lead in to what they were actually working on and it is a welcomed turn from what they had bee creating.

I found a few 80s albums that I am very excited about. Not all of them that are listed are from the 80s but you should know what albums are from the 80s right?

First off, I purchased a new copy of Michael Jackson – Bad. It is a Holland import. The company remixed the album and added a bonus track on the end. I was so excited that I skipped cleaning the record (I ran out of replacement sleeves). It was just as I remembered it only better because it is on vinyl. I originally owned this album on cassette tape and listened to I a lot (I have never listened to a cassette often enough to kill the tape).

I also finely listened to Man or Astro-man? – Is It Man or Astro-man? It is a lot mellower than their following albums. There is a track on the album that showcases sound bits from one of my favorite pinball machines. My friend actually owns this machine and I am very excited to have him listen to the track. I really like this album and think that I would listen to it more frequently than the other albums that I own from them.

I recently purchased used Corey Heart – First Offense. I loved the single off this album when I was growing up but that is all it was, a single. There was never any other song off this album that was heard on the radio. I started the album and the first track was I Wear My Sunglasses At Night. I was so nostalgic when that song came on then the following tracks were just like “this is what the rest of the album is?” It wasn’t disappointing but it was not that great either.

I also listened to Stereotyperider – Songs In The Key Of F And U. I was not expecting much from this album and I was pleasantly surprised by it as well. This is the brown with yellow splatter vinyl that I got for my birthday. I can’t say that there was a stand out track on the album because I have only listened to the album once through but I did like the album enough to be happy to have spent the money on it.

I also purchased Fine Young Cannibals (FYC) – The Raw & The Cooked. I found this cheap for 2 bucks. I remember hearing the 2 singles off this album while I was in middle school. I liked them and wanted to get the album at some point but did not expect to get it in my mid 30s. It is a very good album and anybody in search of 80s music should get it.

I got Kajagoogoo – White Feathers at the same time. It was also 2 bucks. When I listened to this album and fell in love with it. It is wonderful. I can’t even think of words to exemplify how much I like this album.

I also got Twisted Sister – Stay Hungry on that purchase. I loved the 2 singles off this album too. This was when MTV was hitting it big. I remember the videos for them very well. It probably helps that I saw the video for We’re Not Gonna Take It somewhat recently. The album as a whole is fair but those 2 singles are absolutely fantastic!!

Recently NPR did a first listen for the upcoming release of Gorillaz – Plastic Beach. I spent just under an hour listening to the stream of the album while I surfed the net (what else am I going to do right?). I came to realize that there were maybe a couple of songs out of the 16 tracks on the album that I did not really like that much. I am very excited for this albums release and have been a big fan of the fictitious group since their first album

Signing off