Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Episode 39

Sigur Rós - Svefn-G-Englar [EP]
I reciently found a copy of this EP for a reasonable price. This is an EP from the Ágætis Byrjun album. The EP is named after one of the singles off this album. I have recently been looking for what I have been missing from this band and found that there are 2 live tracks on this EP that I did not have. The disc only has 4 tracks on it and 2 of them are from Ágætis Byrjun. The other 1 are the live tracks of course. I have seen this band play live 3 times in the past. The first time was for support of this material. I made my sister take me to see them for this first outing. I don’t think that I stayed for the whole concert but it was a really great show that I remember. This group has slowly become one of my favorites. I am also very excited to hear the upcoming full length album. The rumors say that it should be released this fall most likely.

Mute Math – Spotlight EP
This is a 4 track EP in support of the album Armistice. The first single off the album is Spotlight. This single got a lot of air play because it was included on the soundtrack for the movie Twilight. This was the second time that I had heard of the band. The first was on a Past sampler. I did not take not of the song on the Past sampler though. I did take not of them based on the Twilight soundtrack. It was not until a year later that I actually had enough interest to buy an album. See my review of the album Armistice in an earlier post. The first track is the single track of course. The next track is a b-side called Clockwork. This song is in a similar vein to Spotlight. I think that it is a little bit softer than Spotlight though. The next track is the song spotlight with out any words and the BPM (beats per minute). It comes off as a slower karaoke version of Spotlight. I quite like this version of the song really. The last track is a remix of Spotlight by Son Lux. I thought that I had a few other remixes from this artist but I guess that I thought wrong. Anyway, the remix for Spotlight is really fantastic. It is a hard hitting full-rounded analogesque metallic driving beat. I haven’t heard anything electronic or techno like it in the past. It is very moving but still soft on the edges. To me this is so much easier to listen to than most normal techno or edgy electronic music.

Mute Math – Mute Math (S/T)
I have tried a couple times to listen to this album. The first time I tried to listen to this I got through 5 tracks. I ended up going back to the first track because it is so good. It is only about a minute and 10 second long but when you put it on 1 song repeat it continually flows into itself and is just perfect. I have listened to this one song over 60 times on repeat. I want to listen to the rest of the album it is just so hard to get past the first track. Maybe if I skip the first song I will make it through the rest of the album. I will try that next time.

signing off

Monday, May 24, 2010

Episode 38

All The Saints – Fire On Corridor X
This group put out their first album in 2008. I first heard about them through my local public radio station. They have a half hour show that reviews new music that they are playing on the radio. They reviewed this album and played a couple snip-its from the album. I was not interested in what they were saying about the album until I heard some of the music from the album. I instantly fell in love with the group. They have this classic rock heavy low sound that I loved from artists like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. It is new music though so although it has authentic roots it still has that new music sound.

LCD Soundsystem – Sound Of Silver
This is the second album from LCD Soundsystem. There are some fantastic tunes on this album. There were actually a couple of singles released off this album. To me the singles were not as good as one song in particular. That song is called Someone Great. Keep in mind that most of this music is electronic in nature. I liked this song so much when it came out that I used it as the basis for one of the mix CDs that I created for my then fiancé while she was deployed with the army over seas. I actually made a mix disc for every month that she was away. This was a little excessive especially for her. Toward the end of her deployment she just stopped listening to them all together. I did not make these mixes just for her though. It was also therapy for me in a way.

Led Zeppelin – II
There is not much that I can say about this album that hasn’t already been said. I will just say that it is a fantastic album. I think that it is altogether way to short but that was the way it was done at that time. There are some really great albums from that era that are only 8 or 9 songs long. They always leave you wanting more. Most of these bands that have left us with such great music have more than 1 album though so they can be forgiven for that at least.

Signing off

Friday, May 14, 2010

Episode 37

MuteMath – Armistice
I have a friend that has been talking about this album for months. Every time I saw him we would talk about music (that is just the way I am). He would always talk about this album. I knew of the group only because they had a single on the Twilight Soundtrack. That’s right I said Twilight. The sound tracks have been amazing even if the movies/books are so so. Anyway, the single from this album was also on the Twilight Soundtrack. The song is called Spotlight. It is a really great track with a basic clap at a rapid pace for the drums. Like I said I really like the song but I don’t usually go after artists who have songs on a soundtrack unless I am already into the artist. Well the last time I talked to my friend he brought this album up again. I had heard that I should check out this album one to many times and I finally searched it out. I listened to it all the way through and just about dropped my jaw. The musicality and layering used on this album is fantastic. I mean I want to write music like this. The group is a veiled Christian group. You couldn’t really tell unless you listened closely to the lyrics. I was actually surprised that my friend had a good choice by the way. He is usually into stuff that I don’t even want to even touch. He did turn me onto Family Force 5 though so I can’t knock him too hard. I liked the album so much that I started looking into the band. I found that they have 2 albums, an EP and a single that have been released. I also found that I could get the single and the latest (2nd) album on vinyl. I am very excited that I can potentially get the other released that the group have put out. That is if this album is an accurate comparison anyway.

Alice In Chains – Jar Of Flies
I bought this album when the CD was released but I did not end up with a copy that had the plastic flies in the binding. This was not a big deal as, at the time, I was not into getting the extras that came with stuff but more interested in the music that was on the disc. I was and have been very iffy with this band. I loved the second album called Dirt. I bought this because of Dirt. They are 2 completely different releases. To me this release has a little more levity to the songs. There are fun swing beats and country twang beats rolled into these songs. The first 2 single from this EP are what got me in though. They are I Stay Away and No Excuses. I remember watching the video to I Stay Away at home while I was still in high school. We still had free cable on our single 32” TV in the house. I remember watching it on a sunny day with the volume up pretty loud. The video, if I remember correctly was black and white with splashes of color once in a while. The title reference is about an experiment that the cofounder of the band had in 3rd grade apparently. You can find it on Wiki if you’re interested.

Switchfoot – Beautiful Let Down/Hello Hurricane
Beartiful Let Down was my introduction to Christian rock. I heard the first single, Meant To Live, on the local rock radio station. I thought that it was just a regular rock song until I started to listen to the lyrics. I realized that this was some of the most meaningful music that I had ever listened to. It was at this point that I started seeking out Christian rock and metal artists. I found quite a few actually. I remember hearing this single most frequently on the way to and from work at UPS. Coincedently, this was exactly when I needed to hear this song. When I heard the song on the way home it was usually after working hard and wondering if I am even doing the right thing in this world that we live in. At the time I had a son who was about to start school. I wasn’t looking for a companion at the moment but knew that I couldn’t handle living on my own forever. I knew that I had God on my side, even more so now with the discovery of this music. It was the start of some good times ahead.

I just got Hello Hurricane a couple days ago. I haven’t had a chance to listen to it much yet. I really like the first single off the album though. It is called Mess Of Me. There is also another son that you may recognize off this album. When the new Storm cell phone came out a few months ago the song in the background was off of this album. That song sounds really cool too. I actually ordered this on vinyl back in November of 09. Apparently there were supposed to be 100 preorders for the album at my favorite record shop before they would order it. That did not happen. I then looked into if I could get the album from the bands web site. I found that I could but the album was 20 bucks plus 10 in shipping. I talked about this in an earlier post so I won’t go over it again. I will say that it is very annoying that these record companies are charging 10 bucks for shipping when I can get it for free from other sources (making a 20 dollar album still 20 bucks).

Stereolab – Fab Four Suture
This is a compilation album of a series of six 7” records. It is 12 songs total. The music contained on this CD envelops you as you listen to it. The first and last tracks are bookends for the album. Both tracks are jarring but get your attention. To me they say the album is about to start or the album is now ending. This is a collection for the Stereolab collector in my opinion. It is a great album but not everyone can get into Stereolab. If you love analog keyboard soundscapes and horns and guitar all mashed together to make something truly beautiful then maybe this album is for you otherwise maybe take a pass on this one.

Signing off

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Episode 36

I thought that I would write a little something about Beck – Modern Guilt. It has been a few years since he has put out an album now. Modern Guilt was released in 2008. He has been busy still though. He has recently helped to produce Charlotte Gainsburg’s new album released this year (2010) for example. Anyway, this is one of my favorite albums from Beck. He had some help on the production with this one from Danger Mouse. As a side note DM also produced The Black Keys – Attack & Release. These 2 albums have a similar sound and is probably why I could listen to the pair of them back to back and would not make a second glance. In general I like Beck’s music but DM puts a certain spin on the music that just draws you in. When I listen to this album I tend to think of viewing things with green lenses on. It is not that I feel sick when I listen to the music, not at all. It is more of viewing the world with a green tinged sight.

I bought this album when it was first released in ’08 and loved it. This purchase was made on CD. It was not soon after that that I found that the vinyl release came with a download code. It was not that the addition of the download intrigued me but more of what the download consisted of. The download was a recording of a good vinyl copy of the album split up by tracks. I thought this was a cool catch of both worlds. A digital copy of an analog (vinyl) source was a brilliant idea. Sadly, no other artist has thought of doing this as well. Since then I had been after a way to convert my records to digital as well.

I do have a way to convert my records now by the way. It is an item called an i-Key Plus. It is not being made anymore. This is too bad because it is a very versatile recording unit. It will record from a mic (it came with a small stereo T mic), phono direct or line in. It will record to a thumb drive in wav, or mp3 (up to 320 kbph). It also has an AC power cord or you can put a few AA batteries in the thing for portability. After I had seen the Jonsi concert I thought that I should have brought this with me to record the concert. I felt like such a moron.

The company, iKey-Audio, has stopped making this device. I am not sure why but it is very disappointing to me. There are not many devices out there that make recording records to digital easy. This was one of them. I am sad to have seen it gone by the wayside. The only thing that comes close from the company at this point is called a iConnex. It does the line and phono recording but in order to do the recording it needs to be plugged into your computer via USB. For me this totally eliminates the convenience of not having my computer plugged into my stereo. It also eliminates the possibility of recording live concerts. What they have done is effectively converted this unit into 2 different units. They have made not only the iConnex but also the HDR7. The HRD7 is a portable digital field recorder. It is a fantastic item but they have been around for quite a while now. If you need one of these things look for the i-Key Plus first. I got mine new for 100 bucks. You could probably get one used for less. It really is a brilliant piece of electronics honestly.

Since I am talking electronics I would like to add that my Nitty-Gritty record cleaning machine needs a tune up. Over the past year that I have been using the item it has slowly been going down hill. When I got it about 1 ½ ago I bought it used. Before it came to me it went into the shop to be “detailed and overhauled”. It had a new vacuum cleaner installed for sure and general maintenance done to it as well. I have cleaned hundreds of records with the thing in the short time that I owned the thing. I have also found that the thing was like 20 years old after talking to the owner of the company (also the person that does the work on the units). I hope that this will not cost me much money to have it repaired. It is already going to be expensive to ship the thing out to California from Minnesota and back. I am always collecting records and need this record cleaning unit working in order to play those used dusty records on my stereo.

Signing off

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Episode 35

To start off with I would like to thank Victory Rose for all the work that he has done with all of the Jónsi and Sigur Rós live material. There is so much new in studio radio recordings and live concert material that he has put up to download for free. It has really opened up a lot of really cool stuff in the Jónsi and Sigur Rós world. I would also like to thank the Jó web site. With out which I would not have found all of this great material and Victory Rose.

All of last week I have had a song from Jeff Buckley stuck in my head. The song is called Nightmares By The Sea. It is my favorite song on the posthumous album. There is something about the guitar in that song that just makes me so happy. I believe that the pedals used on the guitar are a distortion box and a chorus box. It gives the guitar that wave wash sort of a sound but still with a little bite on it. I couldn’t tell you what the song is about for sure because I don’t put much weight on words. I can sing most of the song when it plays but to me they are just a part of the song. If I had to try and interpret the song I would guess it is about a couple of teens having sex and having to deal with the repercussions of getting pregnant. This could be completely wrong though.

I think that this song got wedged into my head recently because I found out that the album was repressed on vinyl. I have been looking for this album on vinyl for quite a while. Every time I found it, usually used on Ebay, it sold for way to much money. It was usually in the hundred dollar mark. I already have the album on CD so I couldn’t justify spending that much for a second copy. It was at the end of last week that I got an email from my favorite record company, It said that they were getting a few copies in repressed and remixed. I was so excited and that is probably when the song started winding up in my mind. They also have available copies of the EP box set. I would love to get a copy of that too but it will also have to wait.

Anyway, the album that I am referring to is Jeff Buckley – Sketches For My Sweetheart The Drunk. When this album was released he had just passed away a year before. It really rocked my world that he had passed away so quietly. He was an artist that I really loved, in a similar way to Jonsi really. I had just gotten married for the first time and was on the first part of my honeymoon in Duluth MN at Blue Fin Bay resort in August/September. I remember looking out the window and hearing the first single from the album for the first time. It really meant something to me that there was going to be a second album released from Jeff. I will always remember the outdoor scenery in reference to not only the single but the whole album. Although that marriage has dissolved I will always have reference to Jeff Buckley and those days on that honeymoon as well.

It is not very often that I have dreams about artists. I have had dreams about both of these artists. They are usually dreams where they are playing in a small dark club and I get to meet these artists and befriend them. I am not an outgoing person so to meet people like this never happens. To be able to control the meeting is especially nice. When I wake up from these dreams it is like I am closer to these artists somehow.

I found a copy of Prince & The New Power Generation – Diamonds & Pearls on CD recently for 5 bucks. I really like quite a few songs on that album. I remember the singles from that album and they are really funky! This album was released when I was in high school still and very influential on my desires for sex. This was because the singles that were released on the radio all had to do with sex. It is not a bad thing and the songs were not that dirty really. I guess that I am just happy that I can recall things like that through the replaying of music that I really liked in my history.

I also have been listening to Stereolab – Dots and Loops. I have been listening to the album because I started reading a book that I have associated to the album. This album came out at the same time that I started reading a Shadow Run Trilogy. This album was my introduction to the group and will always have a special place in my heart. If you remember the first Volkswagen “New” Beetle commercials, there was one that featured black cars and yellow cars that sort of reminded me flowers, here is a link to the commercial from 1999. The song in the background is a track from this album. I loved that commercial and found that the music was from Stereolab and the song was called Parsec. I went out and got that album as soon as I could. An additional funny thing was that after I got that album I told my best friend about it and he not only already had it but had me listen to the album a few months earlier to that incident.

Signing off