Monday, April 26, 2010

Episode 34

I had the most wonderful time at the Jónsi concert. It was so much.

I sat with my wife on the right side balcony. It was a very good view of the stage even if it was off to the side a bit.

The opening act was a one man band called Death Vessel. He sang in a falsetto that reminded me of Melisa Etherege. The guitar playing was in a classical style but in a modern way of playing. The guitar itself was interesting. It was a steel string arch-top or classic style guitar. His playing was very good. It was enjoyable but not quite to my tastes. I was very surprised to find that the guy had vinyl albums for sale. It raised my respect for the guy a bit.

There was a brief intermission between the one man band and the heart of the concert. This is when we stopped at the table. There were some cool shirts and albums but I have never been one to get any of that stuff. My wife decided that she wanted a tote bag. It was a very cool bag. The graphic was that of paint runs. It appeared that the paint runs were hand made but the logo in the lower corner was probably silk screened.

I don’t remember everything that happened and if anybody can fill in gaps that would be very helpful. Thanks.

The show opened with 2 very quiet songs that were fantastic. The visuals that went with this were very simple but elegant. It appeared as though it was a graphic of paper printed with animals on it. Then this paper started to burn (don’t worry it is just a graphic). After the burn it was revealed to be butterflies behind the paper. It was just amazing and that was just the beginning!

The grey curtain dropped to reveal the rest of the stage the way I had seen in the preview information on the web site. I thought that I was jipped because the big stage set wasn’t there on the first two songs. I did not say anything but I was embarrassed for myself for thinking this.

The next video set was a bout a dear and a wolf. The wolf tracked the dear and began chase. Just before the wolf caught the dear the dear turned around and started charging the wolf. Just before they crashed into each other the dear turned into an owl and flew off. All of the video for this part was in black and white. As it started it was an average fall day and as the video progressed it became a winter blizzard (the black background became white).

There was another video that showed all the screens filling with water. It was unique in its own sort of way. It started with water running down the screens so that it looked like windows. But then the water started filling up at the bottom of the screens.

The next songs showed a plant starting to grow. The plant then flowered a few times. Then there was this beautiful red, orange and yellow humming bird that started getting nectar from the flower. Then suddenly there was so many hummingbirds that one couldn’t even count. It was an explosion of hummingbirds in the various red hues. It was beautiful.

There was another rainstorm that progressed into a snow storm for the next song. I did not think that this was so spectacular but still impressive considering how and why the graphics were created.

The next few songs incorporated graphics of colored smoke. It came in yellow, green and blue. The smoke looked so real and the colors were so vivid. This was yet another beautiful display from the set designer company.

There was an encore of a couple of songs.

The first had a really fin graphic of ants crawling across the screens. At first it was just the ants. Then they started carrying items. The first items were the normal items that you would see an ant carry; leaf parts and small rocks. Then they started carrying some odd things. They carried pieces of paper (with music on them), screws (point side straight up) and even a soda can. The very end of the video was very cute. It showed a can being rolled across the screen with an ant walking backward on the top of the can.

The last song was some really fantastic and realistic thunder storm. Lightning flashes and huge thunder sounds. There were heavy dark rainclouds that scrolled across the screens. At the end of the song the rain storm abated and little patches of light peaked through the clouds. All in all the video truly set the whole concert apart from any other that I have seen before.

On to the music. This is the set list. I don’t really want to do a song by song review here but I do want to point out some beautiful things that happened musically.

1. stars in still water
2. hengilás
3. icicle sleeves
4. kolniður
5. tornado
6. sinking friendships
7. saint naive
8. k12
9. go do
10. boy lilikoi
11. new piano song
12. around us
13. animal arithmetic
14. grow till tall

I remember that the first 2 songs were very quiet songs. It was very peaceful in nature. Not much in the way of drums at all but the first song used a xylophone. The drummer played the instrument with a pair of violin bows. It was a very beautiful sound coming from the instrument.

The drummer was absolutely fantastic through out this whole concert. So many different symbols used in perfect ways all the way through the concert. He also had exquisite use of silences.

I though that it was very cute the way that the bass keyboard was placed in a suitcase. The bassist was good. He not only played the bass guitar but also the keyboard in the suitcase and another instrument that had lights on it. I could only assume that the latter instrument was some kind of bass frequency emitter. He blended with the music so well. He was almost transparent in his playing as was the guitarist when playing the guitar. They were both flawless when playing these instruments. The guitarist also played the piano on some songs.

The xylophone was played by a few of the musicians. They seemed to switch around instruments depending on the song.

The concert was wonderful, beautiful, colorful, elemental and animalistic and amazing. I can’t recommend enough that everyone should see this group play these songs at least once!

I would like to add that if you are interested in listening to a concert there are some free downloads to have at Victory Rose blog

Signing off

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Episode 33

I listened to NPRs first listen of LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening. I loved both of the albums previous to this one. I think that this one could be just as good as those two. It is of course just the initial listen of the album and it needs time to get into I think. But that being said I am really liking this album and can’t wait for it to be released so I can get it. I love the opening track especially. The hard pounding distorted bass and lead parts are awesome!

My new copy of The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Are You Experienced is super fantastic. I have owned a copy of the original release for a long time but there are 3 tracks that are unplayable. So to get a repressing that I can listen to all the way through is fantastic. It is recorded from the original tapes and when the record starts you can hear the tape his start up before the song starts. I love it, it sounds to cool. It is truly a fantastic studio album. There are so many artists that I listen to from today and I can hear that so many of them are influenced by this group. It is uncanny. For me this is an important album to have to track the history of music but more importantly the utter genius of the music that was created on this album. I love the infusion of R&B into the rock. I don’t think that most people would get that. I think that most people just see it as classic rock. I see it as R&B and Rock and Folk all fused together to create something that has influenced generations of music lovers and writers alike.

On the other hand, The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Electric Ladyland is not quite as fantastic. There are some serious gems on this album but I think that the illusion of live tracks and standard sounding studio tracks could have been separated a bit better or the removal of the cheering and clapping could have been removed. If it was intended to be there I think that it is a bit cheesy or cheap sounding. I am not all that familiar with this album except for the Bob Dylan cover of All Along The Watch Tower. I do like the jam songs that happen twice on this album. They are the 2 songs that are over 10 minutes long. They show his understanding of jazz soloing with the infusion of other genres in the songs as well. They are just fantastic in my opinion. The reason that I got this album is for the Bob Dylan cover but I knew that there would be some other super cool stuff happening on here just because of the stuff that I have heard on the groups first album.

The Dylan cover always reminds me of my father and other references to the Vietnam conflict. My father was a part of this conflict. Every movie that I have seen that has anything to do with that “war” uses that song in it. At least that is what it seems like to me. I am not a war movie censure but every war movie that I have seen has used the song. I link my father to the song only because he was actually there and the movies use the song. So, A references B references C, if you get my meaning.

In reference to the Oingo Boingo – Oingo Boingo EP, I haven’t listened to it for a while. After listening to the 10” inch version, I find that I like the slight difference in the versions from the Demo EP versions compared to the Only A Lad Full length album versions. The Demo EP versions are a little bit more live or active. They don’t sound so stifled. I still like the first full length album but it is refreshing to hear some of the tracks in a different light.

I haven’t written about this yet and I am surprised that it has slipped my mind. My wife and I are going to go to see Jónsi this Sunday. This tour that he is on is to support the new album Go. The set is supposed to use new techniques in concert going. It is mainly using video really but the animation and live action usage is supposed to be done in a completely new way for concert goers. Either way I am very excited to see him play this new music live.

I found out recently that Alice Cooper –Bilion Dollar Babies is going to be repressed. I am pretty excited about this one. We will see what happens.

Signing off

Thursday, April 22, 2010

episode 32

I haven’t been listening to music at the moment. Netflix has been getting in the way. I really find this annoying because I love music but there is also so much that I can now watch that I have wanted to see for cheap.


I recently purchased 2 Jimi Hendrix albums. The first was to replace my super beat up copy of Are You Experienced and a copy of Electric Ladyland. They are both high quality repressings on vinyl. I think that I will clean them tomorrow and maybe record them too. I may add to this after I listen to them

I also found a copy of the Oingo Boingo EP in a 10” vinyl version. I have this already in the 12” version. The difference is that 3 of the tracks are from the Demo EP on the 10” version. On the 12” version there is only 2 from the Demo EP the other 2 are from the album Only A Lad. I was very excited to find this copy. I really love the group. This EP is the first official release from the group. 3 tracks are from Danny Elfman (Oingo Boingos lead singer) an

I have also been working on creating a lead part for a song that I have been working on called The Bad Things We Do. It is going very slowly at the moment. I am not disappointed but it is not that interesting at the moment either. So I will keep working on it.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Episode 31

Records Store day is this Saturday! Don’t forget to visit your local record store for some great deals and prereleases.

Radiohead - OK Computer
In my opinion this is their brightest/fuzziest album ever. The last album, although fuzzy, was not bright and shinny. This was the last album before they changed the ball game completely. To many fans this is and always will be the best Radiohead album. I do not think this way. I love this album for the sound that they created on it but it is a third place at the moment with In Rainbows in 2nd and Kid A in 1st.

This album was released in 1997. This was a year when I was actually working a full time job, married for the first time and able to do the things that I thought were important to me. I was finaly able to skateboard. My parents did not let me do things that were associated with the punk movement in the past. Since I was living on apart from them I could persue the things that I wanted to do and skating was one of them. I skated with my then brother-in-law. He was still early in high school at the time. I also started getting into the idea of a dedicated stereo. I had a room all to my self where I would read and listen to music. In this room was a comfy padded chair, an integrated amp, a CD player and 2 speakers sitting on empty Rubbermaid bins to bump the bass from the speakers. I had an incredibly easy life at that time. All I had to do was to work my full time job and do what ever I felt like doing after my 8 hours were up. I am not saying that I don’t like my life now but it is more difficult to make things work.

When I started writing my own music with a program called Reason, from a company called Propellerheads, I decided to call my one man band LetDown after the Radiohead song from OK computer. I have never released any of this music. I have created some interesting stuff through the use of this software but because it is all synth and sampled sounds it sounds fake to most people’s ears. I have since renamed the band because I am now recording most of the music with real instruments using ProTools to record. The name of the band, just incase you were wondering, is now PurelyHim.

The stand out tracks on this album for me are first Electioneering, Let Down and Lucky. None of these are singles released for the album. They are all just standard album tracks. Electioneering was the first song that I fell in love with because the guitar is so cool sounding distorted. The other 2 are really lead ins to the Kid A album that followed this one.

Random – Happy Ending After All
This is an 8-bit or a Chip Tune EP that was released on the 8Bit Peoples web page. I have been collecting music from them for a few years now but this one is the best one that I think I have heard. Everything that has come from this web site is based on the original Nintendo or the Nintendo Gamboy sound applications. For most this music is absolutely abrasive. For the most part I agree but this EP in particular I think every one should listen to. There are not any abrasive sounds that stand out the way that the 6 songs are arranged. All of the music reminds me of Mega-Man music. This music is easy to listen to bubbly sounding and not jarring at all. I highly recommend this EP to anybody who has an interest in new and different music.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Episode 30

New to the blog, pictures! I am going to try to work out how to get them to link directly to Amazon but haven't gotten that far yet.

I listened to a couple of albums yesterday while waiting for the laundry to finish. We usually wait about 3 weeks before going to the Laundromat. It actually only takes us about 2 ½ hours to get 3 weeks of laundry done. It is so much less time and money than it would take to do it every couple of days.

Anyway, on to the music.

The Clash – London Calling
Jim and Greg from Sound Opinions did a dissection of this album recently. It got me to thinking that I haven’t listened to this album in a while. This is their third album and the most recognized album from them in my opinion. I bought this album a few years ago as a used CD. I bought it simply because it is a classic UK punk album along with the UK release of their self titled album (there are different tracks from the US release). I thought that it was really cool that on the original release of this album the band forced the record label to price this as a single LP even though it was a double LP.

Every time I listen to this album I am so surprised at how many songs I know from the album. I loved punk music as a kid growing up but I had no way to listen to the really cool stuff because my parents limited the music that I could listen to. It was really limited to what they wanted to hear. This was usually limited to their collection of music or what was on KDWB with my mom or KQRS with my father. I probably heard a smattering of punk music from KDWB in the transition from punk to new wave in the early to mid 80s and this is where I would have heard the singles from this album. I am still confused as to where I would have heard any of the other songs that I know so well from London Calling though. On perusal of my iTunes library I found that there is Rudie Can’t Fail from the Grosse Pointe Blank movie. It is not listed as a single on Wikipedia but how much can you trust that. I can only guess that the songs have been marketed in advertising or something like that. I never had any friends growing up that were into punk music really. Well, not until I met my best (male) friend, which was after high school. I am just really confounded as to why I know most of the music from this album. Either way, it is really fantastic punk music that bends the genre away from the boring and into new territory.

My favorite songs on the album are the title track, London Calling, Clampdown and Lost In The Supermarket. London Calling is absolutely the best way to start off a punk album. It is basically saying that London is burning and I could care less because I am in the safest place in the city, next to the river. Clampdown is about working for “the man”. This is fort of funny to me because everyone is working for the man in some way. Lost In The Supermarket is basically a love song when you get down to the heart of it. I think it is the guitarist who wrote this song about the lead singer and of course the lead singer sings it.

Lets move on.

Death Cab For Cutie – Transatlanticism
This is really not a stand out album for me. There is nothing on this album that jumps out at me and says this is so awesome. Don’t get me wrong, I really like what this group does and has done, especially of late. But this album is really a sleeper. The strange thing to me is that so many music reviewers put this album on their greatest albums of the last 10 years. Personally, I would have chosen one of the last 2 albums to put on that list since there was actual single material on both of those 2 albums. This could all just be me and the mood that I was in or the fact that I was reading at the same time as I was listening to the music too. It was the second album that I listened to while I was reading. I think that it is more that this is just a melon collie/sleepy album that helped to lead them on the way to a better sound. It is a great sound that they have put together here on this album there is just nothing that jumps out and grabs me like with other albums and bands that I collect.

I can’t say that anyone shouldn’t get this album but I do think that one would be better to really like the band before getting into their older music, before the album Plans any way.

Signing off.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Episode 29

Rilo Kiley - More Adventurous

This album was released in 2004. It seems so long ago and at the same time it was just yesterday. The single that got me into this album is called Portions For Foxes (released in spring 2005). I had just started listening to The Current (89.3). Either that or I was listening to yahoo music at work. My best friend was dating a girl who was completely wrong for him. This song, to me, was their relationship to a T. I am not sad that He was dating her because it was through her and her friends that I met my wife. It seems sad that my best friend had to have a bad relationship for me to find my wife. It was a really great time for me, the years between 05 and 07. This song and this album were the start of that great time. It is so twisted and convoluted along with the great stories that came from the friends that I made during that time. This is only a small part of the stories that come from that period. The girl ended up being a close friend for a while. She ended up moving to Cali. and I haven't heard from her for a while. I did feel left out for a long time with them. I felt this way because there were times when I was not invited to stay after church when I knew that others were allowed. It was at the same time selfish of me to feel that way because I knew that I needed to be home to get some sleep to be to work on time. I also had my son with me on those days. There may have been a little jealousy in my heart as well because I did not have a girlfriend at the time either. I had not even met my wife yet. I am not mad about it but my friend was trying to shield me from all those people because they were such a strange diverse group that conflicted in so many different ways.

Any way, I will try to get into this stuff more in later posts. It is just to much to get into at this point. I will try to chip at it once in a while. This is just one glimpse into the start of that wonderful time for me.

I want to talk about Jónsi - Go more. I really love this album now that I have given it a chance to sit and soak it in. It is really so much fun and very playful. It reminds me of being a kid between the ages of 5 and 10. I think about doing the stupid things that I did when I was that age. going over to the park and just having fun with whoever was there. It did not matter who was there just that there was someone there and it was always fun. whether it be making noise building a sand castle, playing tag or some other organized sport that we organized as kids (football or baseball for example). It is just all over the place and crazy kid like stuff. I can remember going over to Keys park with my mom before the metal castle was taken down. That was the coolest playground that I can ever remember seeing. I really liked that place. It also had the biggest hill in the local area. I can remember walking the mile and a half with my sister on Saturday mornings. we would stay until either exhaustion or starvation would drive us home. The hill is still to this day the best in Columbia Heights. The second best and not as well known is the hill at Silver Lake. Not many go there and so the snow is always fluffy. I remember making a jump in the middle of the hill that stood 2 to 3 feet high. We used some warm water to get the thing to be solid. I remember going over that jump and landing on my feet we got so much air off that one. I think that this album reminds me more of the great winter time snow sledding days more than the the park at Keys. I think that the memory of Keys park was evoked because they had to tear down that awesome metal park. I am not sure but I believe that the castle was so tall that when a kid fell from the top he/she died. I think that my mom told me that was the reason. This memory was brought up because there are some down songs and these are the memories of my childhood. I did not see the kid fall so that did not mean much to me really just that the park had to be torn down and replaced by a plastic thing. Like they all seem to be doing or have already done to them. It is sad really.

That is all I have for now.

Signing off.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Episode 28

My latest purchase in music has been the limited edition of Jónsi - Go. When I purchased it I got a 3 track EP download. It featured 3 songs from the full length. The day of the release of the album I got an email with a download code. I just assumed that it would be the album on the download. I was wrong. Not only did I get the whole album (at 320kbps) but I also got the video of an acoustic 4 song set and a preview/trailer of the upcoming video for Go Quiet. I am excited to say the least about this limited edition version of the album. I am also hoping to get the album on vinyl too (but we'll see).

I realized that I have not talked about my favorite album of 2009. I have mentioned it but not directly talked about it. I purchased a lot of music in 2009 and not all of it was released in 2009 but my favorite album released in 2009 that I purchased first on CD was Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest. I actually was not all that interested in the album when I first listened to it because I thought that the highs were too harsh. I started to listen to it in the fall of 2009 while at work at a lower volume level. Once that harshness was removed I fell in love with the whole album. I found myself listening so often that I started memorizing the words to most of the songs. It was just fantastic. I had not listened to an album so often in a very long time. This is because, as I mentioned earlier, I had purchased so much music last year. The music really reminds me of the soft rock/folk of the late 70s. That style music was all over the popular radio stations. I have no idea what the bands were called from that time but I remember the peaceful feeling that the music gave to me. This style music has come back to me in the indie folk rock that has become popular of late. Although the lyrics may not be exactly peaceful that is where the music puts me. I found that I not only loved this music so much that I bought it on vinyl too but I searched out the first 2 albums on vinyl from the group as well.

Here is the video for the song that I love the most from the album.

Grizzly Bear - While You Wait for the Others

Signing off