Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Episode 43

Jamiroquai - Traveling Without Moving
I have always liked the singles from this band but was never interested enough to actually get an album from the group. Apparently, this is typical for US listeners as they have never charted very high here. I have only just listened to this album recently (2010). My sister-in-law owned this and a couple of others that she loaned to me. I still have yet to listen to the others as of yet. She was one of the cutting edge music fans back in the day. I was and still am today but my tastes in music are different but run parallel at the same time to her tastes in music.

I loved the first single from this album, Virtual Insanity. This song was my first exposure of the band. Like most people my age, I saw the video first on Mtv (back when the station actually played music videos). The video is so brilliant that it won a Grammy and 4 Mtv music awards (at the time they actually meant something sort of). The video featured the lead singer in a white walled black floored room with various pieces of furniture. As he sang the song the floor moved and the furniture moved with the floor. All I can say is that you need to see this video if you haven’t already. Here is the link for it.

The rest of the album is just as fantastic. It is done in a funk/rock style that is really very entertaining. The standout songs are basically the singles but you can’t really go wrong with the album as a whole. The other singles are Cosmic Girl, Alright and High Times. This is really a great album and the only one that charted well in the US. This album was a 1996 release just incase you were wondering.

Tapes 'n Tapes - Walk It Off
This is the second album from the group. They are from Minneapolis MN. I was very excited to get this album after hearing the single on the radio. It has a really good beat that you can dance to (lol). The artwork on the cover is similar to the previous album in that the colors are the same. The background on this cover is white where as the background on the first one is black. The album was put together while touring in 2007. It was finalized and released in the spring of 2008.

I bought the album when it was originally released on CD. My wife likes the group more than I do and we both appreciate vinyl releases so I got her a copy of both albums for her birthday a year ago. I have listened to both albums and like them both a lot. I ended up giving my father-in-law the CD version of the album. This way it stays in the family if you understand my meaning. I am sure that he will never listen to them but if for some reason I want it back it would not be an issue.

The single, Hang Them All, is very catchy. It uses a classic organ sound that is reminiscent of something from the animals to me. It is probably something more robust or a sample of something that is so much more grand in scale but it reminds me of a cheap Vox keyboard from the 60s or 70s. I can’t really tell if the organ sound is a sample or an actual organ. My ear is not trained to organ sounds yet so I am not sure about it yet. I have not found any information relating to this organ sound on the internet yet either but I will keep searching.

Sunny Day Real Estate – Diary
Although emo music has been around since the 80s the genre was given a new face in the 90s primarily with this band and the band Jaw Breaker. I was not really into either of them at first. I did like the singles off this album though. I did not have the money to be buying albums at that time though. I was still in high school and only had a part time job at the time. I did make a note of it in my head and now, years later, the record companies have repressed their 2 albums on vinyl. I picked up this one as soon as it was re-released. I want to get the second album that they put out but have not gotten to it just yet. To me this is the heart of emo music, emotional and hard rocking. Many bands have come since these 2 groups showed the world what it meant to be emo in the 90s but, IMO, this one still stands the test. I own many albums from emo artists since this one but most of them seem to come off as whiney little brats. What I mean is that there are more emotions than just “My life sucks and there is nothing I can do about it.” Sunny Day Real Estate is proof of this.

The original pressing of this album on vinyl was missing 3 tracks. I am not sure at the moment if this is true with the repressing. I have it put away at the moment but the album also came with a download and all of the tracks came with the download of the album.

The group was so revolutionary on this album that it laid the groundwork for future artists and their albums. For example, one of the sleeper albums of the 90s was Weezer – Pinkerton. The reviews of this album were very bad indeed. But that is for another review. It was because of Sunny Day Real Estate that Pinkerton was even made.

Sub.Bionic - You I Lov///
I found out about this band from a promotional release that I got from the now defunct Extasy Records. This promo disc was basically videos for the computer. They called the disc Blue.Monster. They filmed a bunch of videos for a few of their songs, not every song on the official release. There was one particular song on this disc that fans of the group wanted on the You I Lov/// release. That song was called If Gunshy. The video is still up on YouTube here. I loved everything on this promo disc. I was very excited when I finally heard that there was going to be an official release. When it was finally released it was very difficult to find. I was scared that I would not find a copy of this album. I had to have it. I realized what it meant when people said that and album was so indie that it hurt. I was freaking out because I couldn’t find this album. I think that I found a copy on Amazon a week or two after it was released. The music has been thought of by others as a little bit of Pink Floyd, Radiohead and Jeff Buckley mixed together. I love all three of these bands so this music is right up my alley. This album is still hard to find but if you do find it the album will be super cheap. Nobody has heard of it so nobody cares about it and this is the reason it is cheap. I think I saw that Amazon had a copy of it from a 3rd party seller for a Penney.

The album is dark and depressing in nature but that is what I was after at the time. It was released in 2001. This was a dark time for me and this album fit right in with everything that I was listening to and how I was feeling. It defiantly was not what I needed. It held me down more than it helped me up and out of the depression that I was in at the time.

Falling Up – Crashings
This group is a Christian themed grace driven rock/punk group. This album was released in 2004. They were one of the first groups that I was introduced to when I started going back to church. I had always been interested in listening to Christian music but to my knowledge there was no Christian group out there that was playing in the style that I wanted to hear. My whole world opened up when I found that there were Christian groups in the world now that was playing real hard rock and punk music. I found out about this group and a few others from a concert that I went to in the city. They and a few others opened up for, oh, I can’t remember who at the moment. Maybe it was Pillar or Skillet. Any way, I was so impressed with their sound that as soon as I possibly could I picked up this album. I also picked up a few others from that concert that was either playing or I got a flier about. I bought them based on what I heard and after listening to the CDs I fell in love even more. This album is so over produced it almost sounds fake. The problem is that it is done so well that you can’t help but listen to the whole thing in one sitting. To me there is just something about this album that screams don’t stop once you have started. The songs are unique to each other but they flow into each other so nicely. This is why it is so difficult to shut it off after it has started.

That is all I have for now.

Signing off.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Episode 42

Talking Heads – Little Creatures
I came into this group a little late. Like 2009 late. My mother-in-law said that she and her family came into this group late. So I had to one up her by telling her that. I did not even know about this album until I came across it at my favorite used record store (Half Priced Books). I found this along with a couple others on vinyl in great condition for less than 8 bucks, if I remember correctly, an absolutely wonderful find in the store. I think that there is someone who is updating their record collection as the new ones are being repressed. I find more used records that are being repressed at that store. Anyway, back to the story. I remember hearing the And She Was on the radio when I was a kid at about 9 or 10 years of age (based on the release year of the album, 1985) on the radio and not thinking much of it. It was good but not superb to my young ear. The one that really hit me was from the previous album, Speaking In Tongues. Everyone recognizes it as the big hit for the band. That song is Burning Down The House. That is for another time though. I also remember another single from Little Creatures called Road To Nowhere. This is a fun one. It is kind of a marching or at least forward moving song. It is not fast but steady moving. It makes me want to get something done or progressively get what I am doing done. I recently listened to this album with my Mother-in-law, the reason I mentioned her in the first place, and my wife. We were at the MIL’s house cleaning and putting together furniture (and doing laundry). I started the album and she said to me, I love this album, how did you know that I liked it? I said to her that he has told me a few times in the past that this was her favorite and it is also my wife’s favorite album by them. It was a cute little “Of course I know you like this and that is why I am playing it for you” moment.

The Streets – A Grand Don’t Come For Free
This is a one man band that writes music in the genre of Grime. This is a subdivision of rap that has come from the UK. There are not many artists that are doing this genre that have crossed over to the US. The Streets is one of them. It is very simple music. A drum loop matched with a simple rhythm line. I think that there is just something about the way that this group writes music so simply that intrigues me. The first single is what hooked me into this group. The song is called Fit But You Know It. It is basically about a girl that is cute and she knows it and plays it up as much as possible. I can’t remember where I heard this single, probably on 89.3 The Current. It has a good danceable beat to it though so I could have heard it anywhere. This is actually a concept album. It follows a guy through some tough times and some good times. It even has a twist at the end of the story. The last 2 songs are about a different way of ending the story. One is about a negative ending and the other is about a positive ending. If you can handle the style of music it is actually a fun album. If you can’t handle repetitive music or can’t handle rap then don’t bother with this album.

Coldplay – Leftrightliftrightleft
This is a live album. You could only get this as a physical copy of you went to a concert for the band last year. Otherwise you could download it for free from the web site(link embedded in the title of the album above). The album was released to say “thank you” to all their fans. Although I am not a superfan of the group I do own all of their regular albums and the first live album that they put out, Coldplay Live 2003. Leftrightleftrightleft is a live album that features only 9 songs. 6 of the songs are from the latest album Viva La Vita (including one from the Prospects March EP) and the other three are from the previous albums. It sounds like it is a soundboard recording, a very good one too, and you can still hear the crowd clapping and cheering and even singing along with the songs. Some people think that hearing the crowd on a live album is important. It helps to get you in the mood of the concert that it was recorded at. I agree with this to an extent. I don’t want to hear so much of the crowd that I don’t get to hear as much of the music as I want to. This is actually a very good recording. I get to hear the music clearly and I can hear the crowd to an extent that I want to. I am disappointed that the album is only 9 songs considering how much music that they have created. I guess you get what you pay for and seeing as it is a free album I really got more than I bargained for. I would recommend this to anyone who loves a good live album.

My own recording (PurelyHim)
I finally did some more recording this week. I had a week off from work and I only worked on my music for a day. I take that back for a few hours really. I did record a bass line for a new song that I have had in my head for a long time. It came out pretty good. I think there was only one minor glitch. I also recorded a lead part for another song that I had mostly finished. I played this part so hard on my fingers that I ended up with a blister on the tip of my left hand ring finger. I popped it and continued playing though. I also converted 2 other songs that I did not have current copies of so I could listen to them and come up with ideas. One of those 2 I did not even remember working on. The part in question is not all that great but there are little bits in that part that I could use in the final draft. I also need to move the parts around a little bit too. What I mean by that is that every instrument is dead center. I need to move them left or right a bit depending on where I think they need to be in the song. Every song is a little bit different too. I don't have a place yet but when I think that the music is ready I will post it somewhere for all of you 2 people to listen to.

Signing off.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Episode 41

Devo - Q: Are We Not Men A: We Are Devo
This is the groups first album made in 1978. This album was reciently repressed on colored clear yellow vinyl. I was so excited to get this album. I recognized many tracks on this album. The 2 that I recognize the most are Jacko Homo and the cover of (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction. I am personally not a fan of The Rolling Stones. As a matter of fact I don’t ever want to own anything from the group. I have of course heard all of the singles from the group on the radio. So, when I heard this cover from Devo back I can’t remember when I loved it. This version is not the sleazy sexy version of The Stones. The group changed it into something square and geeky. The nerds never get any appreciation or the girls for that matter. It is just a fantastic song made for those that deserve the song. The other song is just saying that “We are Devo” and we are all welcome to be a part of it. It is brilliant in its own right. The other songs that I learned about from this album much later in life are Mongoloid, Uncontrollable Urge and Come Back Jonee. I am not sure where I heard any of these three songs but I recognize them at any rate. I remember that my best friend has an original copy of this album from his mother I think. I have always liked the band, as I said, and coveted his copy of this album. I never actually told him this because I knew that I would find a copy of it someday. Apparently that day has come.

I like the story about how they came across the logo on the front cover too. Here it is from the Wiki page about the album:
“According to an essay by Jerry Casale included on the Complete Truth About De-evolution DVD, the cover of their debut album is based on an image of the famous professional golfer Juan "Chi-Chi" Rodríguez that they had found on a golf strap. According to Casale, David Burnam, the manager of business affairs at their label Warner Bros. Records, decided the image could not be used because "he was a golf fan and felt we were making fun of Chi Chi." The band offered to contact Rodriguez personally but were faced with time constraints, due to the forthcoming production of their album. The head of the label's art department, Rick Serini, recommended an artist who could airbrush and alter the face in the picture, while Mark Mothersbaugh offered up a picture he'd procured from a local newspaper that morphed the faces of United States presidents John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. These ideas were morphed with the original "Chi Chi" Rodriguez image to create the cover of the album.
As a footnote to the story, the band did manage to get Rodriguez's permission to use the original photo. Since the "morphed" album sleeves were already in production by that time, Serini claimed it would cost the band $2,500 to halt production and reinstate the image originally intended by the band, which forced the band to keep the morphed version. According to Casale, "we were able to come out with something that by the corporate interference and misunderstanding of the business side of Warner Bros. Records, actually unwittingly produced something far more DEVO than the original [image]."
The original golf strap image was eventually used for the cover of the "Be Stiff" single.
The European version of the album, released by Virgin Records, uses alternate cover art taken from the film The Truth About De-Evolution”

How To Destroy Angels - How To destroy Angels EP
There is not much about this group as of yet since they just released their first EP. It was released as a free download through the groups’ website. The group features the lead of Nine Inch Nails – Trent Reznor and his wife along with Atticus Ross. The music is only so so in my opinion. I think that I will give it a few more listens even still. What I have found out is that the group is named after a 1984 Coil single of the same name.

Day Of Fire - Losing All
This album was released a few months ago and I finally got the chance to get it. Three of the tracks were co-written with Daughtry. I don’t think that these tracks are any better than the rest of the album by any means. I can’t say that this album is better than the previous two. It is different for sure but I really liked the previous 2. I also couldn’t expect the group to keep writing the same album over and over again. I have only listened to the album a whole whopping 1 time. I think that the album is good and it can only get better with continued listening. Then have a nice modern version of playing classic rock in a Christian view. They make some really great classic sounds in a modern light. I really like the good classic rock so to have a modern way to listen to classic sound makes me really happy.

That is all for now, signing off.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Episode 40

The Dodos – Visiter
I found out about this band from the, I think, Budweiser lime bear commercials that were out about a year ago. I loved the little clip that was used from the song called Fools from this album. By the time I got around to trying to find it in 2009 it became a little difficult. I could have gotten it on CD but that would have been too easy. I was also hard into finding albums on vinyl at this point. I was lucky enough to find it on the Amazon.CA sight. I ordered it from them back in last October or September. I was very excited. The record also sounded very nice when I played it.

There is a lot of music on this album. 14 tracks to be exact. The album is 75/80% awesome and the other few tracks are just not that great. It is all still good music but some of it just doesn’t work with the album as a whole for me. The group makes fluent use of African beats. They have done this from day one with their first album called Beware Of The Maniacs. This album is their second and because of the Bud commercial the one that they are most recognized for the start of their popularity. Although the third album called Time To Die is the one that most people would recognize the most with the exception of the song Fools from Visiter. I actually found out about this album just before the third album was released. I do have all three albums and will (I hope) review the other 2 at some point in the future.

Radiohead – Amnesiac
I remember when I got this album. Actually I did not get the album I had my sister get the album. I was fixing up my first house for sale at the time. I was on the roof patching some bricks on the fire place. I had her drive to Cheapo Records (when it was still on Central Ave). She came back not only with the album but with a few freebies too. There was a promo VHS tape with the first singles music video from the album and 2 pins with the crying demon on them. I thought this was so cool. I also did not just get the album but the limited edition of the album. It is a picture book that was covered in red fabric. It was designed to look like a book that you would get from your school library, with the library card pocket and card in the front cover. I thought it was very cool. I think that I already had the standard CD version (bought a couple days earlier). This was in the beginning stages of my depression and it was the music that was keeping me aloft.

The music on this album was actually recorded at the same time as the previous album Kid A. The first single on the album is very peaceful to my ear. Thom sings of understanding that death is inevitable and of the things he or the character he is singing of remembers of his life. The video to go with the song is very interesting as well. It is all digital and features a deep sea diver underwater in an area that has been under water, it seems, only just recently. The water is seen as ocean water and is very blue and clear. You can watch it here.

I really liked the album. It was very soothing except for a couple tracks. As time went on I started feeling like I did not like the album. This was all because of those couple of tracks. I have to remind myself that I should listen to it more often because it really is very good music. Since I have listened to it again recently I find that the songs that I did not like so much actually are not that bad. This makes the album that much better now than it did to me 9 years ago.

Death Cab For Cutie – Narrow Stairs
The first single for this album (I Will Possess Your Heart) got me on the first solo bass notes. Of course the first time that I heard this song it was on the radio and there for the song was a radio edit. The album version of this song has a very long open with the same bass line all the way through it. There are added bits of guitar and piano through the open but it is based on the guitar riff. I think that if you can’t handle the repetitiveness of techno you could probably not handle the opening of this song. I have been a long time lover of techno and other repetitive music that this song just warms my heart to listen to. It is disappointing to me that other people important in my life don’t find this as enjoyable as I do. This song came out while my then fiancé was over seas deployed with the Army National Guard. As I have spoken in past episodes, I sent her a copy of the song on a mix disc. I found out later that she hated the song. I was very disappointed in deed.

The third single was just as impressive to me. The song is called Grapevine Fires. I think that I liked this song over the second single (Cath…) because I happened to see the video that went with this song. The video was about wildfires that sweep across a populated area. At this time the regular wildfires were going across California. It kind of hit home to me that these fires were strong enough to send people packing and worse. The video showed that people could be killed in these fires. I always thought that these fires were slow moving and people could find shelter before it got to their homes. Although these people would lose all their belongings they still had their lives. This video showed me that this is not necessarily true.

I really liked this album as a whole. I bought it on CD when it first came out. Then I got into vinyl again and bought it in that format too. There are a few die cut squares and rectangles in the cover of the LP which give it that optical illusion feeling when you look at it. It also came with a 7” single. I haven’t recorded that 7” yet but it is on my schedule. So is the 7” that came with my box set of Nada Surf albums. Anyway, the whole album is really fantastic and they all flow very well in the order that they are set on the album.

Eggstone – Summersault
This is one of my favorite unknown bands ever! This album was how I was introduced to the group. When I was going to college at Brown in 95 or 96 the now defunct radio station, Revolution Radio (A.K.A. Rev 105), was playing the first single from this album. The song was called The Dog. It was very interesting to hear a group, from Sweden no less, play such interesting music and singing lyrics from the perspective of a dog owned by a human. It was so different and interesting that I had to run out and get the album as soon as I possibly could. I think that the album was not to be released for a few weeks from the first time I heard the song on the radio. It was killing me that I couldn’t hear more from this band. I did not even know that this album was the second from the group. After I finally got the album I fell desperately in love with the rest of the album. It was also at about this time that I also started getting into Hi-Fi stereos and components. I had listened to this album so much that I thought I new every nook and cranny in it. I was completely wrong. I listened to this album with my friend on his new Hi-Fi stereo. I was completely blown away. I heard things that I did not even know were there while listening through his more expensive stereo. It was door opening to say the least.

I found out near this time as well that they had an album that preceded this one. I had to have it. With a little research I found that I could only get this album from Japan. They were such an underground band that it was only being pressed still in Japan. The album, although not their greatest, was still very good. It is called Eggstone In San Diego. The only reason that I mention this is that the album came wrapped in some Japanese news paper. I had never seen a record company do this and thought that it was very interesting.

I am going to do this the easy way. This is what Wiki has on the group. It is the basics but it is the important stuff.

Eggstone is a Swedish pop music band, formed in 1986. The three members - Per Sunding (vocals, bass), Patrik Bartosch (guitar) and Maurits Carlsson (drums) - were raised in the small coastal town of Lomma, outside Malmö. In 1991 they formed Tambourine Studios in Malmö with friends Anders Nordgren and producer Tore Johansson.

Their debut album Eggstone In San Diego was released in 1992, followed by Somersault two years later. In early 1997, they released Vive La Différence!, their third full-length album, on their own (and now defunct) Vibrafon label. Spanish Slalom, a compilation album, was released on Madrid-based Siesta Records in 1998 and a second compilation appeared in 1999 under the Tricatel label, titled Ca Chauffe en Suède!.

Eggstone's songs, light and poppy on the surface, disguise great subtlety in their conception and execution. The trio delights in strange shifts of tempo, harmonic clashes and pseudo-amateurish incidental noises, whilst retaining an easy seductiveness for untrained ears; in truth, all three of them are accomplished musicians, Bartosch in particular, who has developed a guitar style entirely his own, both faux-naïf and virtuosic. A fourth album has reportedly been in preparation since the late 1990s, with some sessions taking place under the tutelage of Tricatel owner/in-house producer Bertrand Burgalat.

Per Sunding's work as an in-demand producer in his home country and Patrick Bartosch's taste for foreign trips have unfortunately prevented the band from doing more than teasing their fanatical fans up to now. Eggstone's lack of large-scale commercial success is all the more surprising since the trio was the inspiration and, to some extent, the template for a number of internationally successful Swedish pop acts such as Cinnamon and The Cardigans.

Any way, that is all I have for now

Signing off.