Thursday, September 16, 2010

Episode 49

Philip Selway – Familial

Phil is primarily the drummer for Radiohead. He has released a solo album. He is the singer/song writer for this album. He plays the guitar on this as well. It is an exceptional album. His vocals are very quiet and the drums are very sparse. It is a wonderful, quiet and subdued album from an unexpected source. This album was a big risk for Phil but I think that it was well worth the risk. The albums sound has been said to be similar to Nick Drake in style. I don’t know any Nick Drake songs but I do recognize the sound that is being produced on the album. I can only guess that this is what Nick sounds like. I can’t say that I would run out and buy any albums from Nick Drake. I love Radiohead so much that I would buy anything that any of the artists from the band would put out. I love the quiet sound of Selways’ voice accompanied by his acoustic guitar. There is something about this album that makes me feel good. I think that I would love to fall asleep to this album on a sunny Saturday afternoon repeatedly with golf on the TV.

Led Zeppelin – Presence

This album is the seventh studio release for the group. It received the least favorable reviews of all of the releases from the group. It is the second album from the group that contains all new and original material after Houses of The Holy. It is my least favorite album from the group in reference to the studio albums. I am not a fan of live recordings so I don’t usually take them into consideration anyway. This album to me after listening to it seems a bit watered down when compared to the rest of their catalog. It is a fair album but doesn’t seem to have that bite that their other albums have. That being said, there are some very cool guitar solos that happen on this album, magnificent soaring solos on this album.

Janet Jackson – Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814

This is the fourth album from Janet. It is also the follow up to Control. This is a concept album focusing on the problems of the world at the time. This is of course not what the record company wanted from her. They wanted another Control album. She basically forced them into letting her do this concept album. There is eight singles off this album. It is a fantastic album even if I don’t like a few of the songs. My favorite of the eight singles are Rhythm Nation and Black Cat, primarily because of the combination of the New Jack Swing style and the use of industrial sounds on the two songs. I remember hearing these two songs particularly and probably all of the other eight songs but they did not stick in my head as well.

Devo – New Traditionalists

This is the album that followed Freedom of Choice, one of their best albums. New Traditionalists could not be expected to be better than its predecessor and it is not. There are some good singles on the album but for the most part it is a lighter weight album than Freedom of Choice. The singles off this album are Through Being Cool and Beautiful World. I remember Beautiful World from popular radio at the time. It is still a very fun album with lots of synth sounds that bring me back to that early 80s time.

George Harrison – Cloud Nine

I have never heard this album until I recently purchased it used on vinyl. I wanted it for the single Got My Mind Set On You. I remember listening to that song on one specific trip up to my friends’ cabin at Breezy Point Resort in Brainerd MN. I was an emotional wreck at that time. At the time this was a happy song for me that kept my emotions in check. For me, this album was only purchased for that song and my nostalgic needs. This song is the last song on the album. This was quite a disappointment in my opinion. The bulk of the album is subdued and not all that entertaining. The album was recorded in an interesting way, the band is imaged in the back ground and very clear but George’s vocals are subdued, not quite as clear but still imaged in the front. I don’t know if this is just my copy or on purpose but it is interesting none the less.

Thomas Dolby – Blinded by Science

This is an EP with the song She Blinded Me With Science as the first track. It is a 5 track EP or mini LP as it is labeled on the sleeve. Of course I got it for the single. The other 4 songs on the EP are not as great or as punchy as the single but are still listenable as the extra songs. This will probably be the only set of songs that I would buy from this artist only because I don’t know any of his other music. He has put out other albums but I don’t have a interest in any of his other stuff.

Peter Frampton – Frampton Comes Alive!

That’s right the classic standard live album. This double vinyl live album is one of the best selling live albums to date. The album was recorded from multiple live sessions but only from two venues. The two venues were Winterland from San Francisco, California and Long Island Arena from Commack, New York. There are more details on this at Wikipedia if you are interested. The record was pressed in automatic turntable sequence, i.e. record 1 has sides 1 and 4. This record was also priced at lower than a single LP prices by one dollar. So, at the time it was priced at $7.98. This is a silly little fact but it shows how inflation has affected prices of albums today. I got this album simply because it is a standard. I recognize the singles and they are good but as a collector of music it seems that this should be in my collection.

That is all I got for now.

Signing off

Monday, September 13, 2010

Episode 48

R.E.M. – Out Of Time

This is an album from the early 90s, when I was still in high school. Back when music was in a downward/inward vibe. I loved this album but I had it on cassette. I remember seeing the videos for the singles on MTV. Yes they actually played music videos on Music Video Television. I liked the first single, Losing My Religion, but it was so down. The video was especially interesting though. I don’t want to dissect the video but it was not as much of a story but more of a video collage. I liked the second, Shinny Happy People, single more because one of the girls from The B-52’s did a guest appearance on the track. I really liked her voice. I think that it was the fourth single, Radio Song, that I liked after that. It did not do very well here in the USA. It featured KRS-One doing some backing vocals and he did some rapping in the song too. I had some respect for KRS-One. He was one of the pioneers for the late 80s rap scene. I never purchased any of his solo work but I had heard it and liked what I heard a lot. I was a kid at the time and could not get everything I wanted. This is a great album and there are songs that touched my heart and made me happy. There are a lot of people out there that are putting this band down right now. But, If you go back and listen to the albums that they put out you will realize that they are brilliant albums and are important to the history of music.

Cream – Wheels of Fire

Obviously the greatest song off this album is White Room. It really is a great song. The rest of the album comes in second to me. There are some really great jams on this album but they are shadowed by this one song. There is a second LP of live music included with this album. I think that this was included because they are more of a live jam band than a studio group. The four songs that are on that second disk are really great versions of their songs but they can get a bit tiring because they are so long. There are some great parts in those live songs but you have to live through some of the lagging stuff to get to them. There are some ridiculously long drum solos for example. It is all in all a great album. I want to get its predecessor. There are some great tracks on that as well.

R.E.M. – Fables of The Reconstruction

The first single from the album is a jumpy danceable pop song called Can’t Get There From Here. It is a reference to the rural colloquialism used to give directions to travelers. The second single from this album is called Driver 8. This is an abstract reference to train stations. Since trains are a big point in most American rock the group decided to give it a go. It went with great success on the radio. I was a young kid at the time of this songs release and I remember it very well. There was a third single from this album but it did not do very well and was only released in the UK. I loved the singles off this album but the rest of the album is only OK. It is hard to give any reference to any of the other tracks when the singles stand out so much.

R.E.M. – Murmur

Although Chronic Town was the bands first release, it was an EP, Murmur was the bands first full length album. I was so excited when I found a copy of this album used at Half Priced Books. My knees almost gave out on me. It is not that I need to have these records. It is more that I am chasing after a feeling that the music gives me. It is easily categorized as nostalgia. I had a conversation with a friend of mine a while back. He said that there are three things that he is trying to accomplish right now. I should re state that. There are three categories that things are falling under for him at the moment. One, projects that fall under for the maker or for god. Two, personal projects for today or the now projects. These things may be physical fitness or planning for the future. The third thing is “the feeling” or nostalgia related things. Music has always been important to me. I think that my chasing after music falls under the third thing but writing music falls under the first thing. This is difficult for me because it is so easy to just sit back and listen to music but it takes so much more effort for me to sit down and write and record some music. This is the way that life is though. Work is hard and nothing gets done if you just sit around and listen to music. Anyway, Radio Free Europe was the only single released from this album.

Led Zeppelin – I

I listened to this album with my son for the first time. It was a fantastic experience. The both of us had never heard the album from start to beginning. I had heard the songles off the album of course but never the whole album let alone all the way through. From the first riff off the first track my son says, “Wow, I like this. No, I mean I really like this a lot!” I said to him that this is what rock and roll is supposed to be. He then said to me that he wants this on his iPod. I told him that we had to record it first. Then we can put it on your iPod.

They were formerly The New Yardbirds because of a contractual obligation to tour Scandinavia. After that obligation was fulfilled they changed their name to Led Zeppelin. There was only one track, Good Times Bad Times, that was officially released as a single but every song is well known enough off the album that they all could have been released as singles.

Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti

The same can probably be said about this album. There was only one track, Trampled Under Foot, that was officially released as a single but every song is well known enough off the album that they all could have been released as singles. The song that, IMHO, everyone knows around the world is Kashmir. There is something so sexy about this song. It just washes over you. To me it is the sonic equivilant of soft red velvit. I couldn’t wear it but I love to touch it and there is something about a deep red color that makes me feel warm and fuzzy. I also really like that first single that was released off this record. I have a thing for the disco sound and Trampled Under Foot has that great sound. I think that it is because of the clavinet that was used on the track. It gives it that cool funk feel. John Paul Jones gives credit to Stevie Wonder for the song Superstition.

David Bowie - The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust

I listened to this album for the first time ever today. I recognized 2 tracks from the album. They were Ziggy Star dust and Suffregette City. I remember the first because of the guitar riff in the beginning of the song. There is something about that riff that is so simple and brash at the same time. I couldn’t pin this on any other artist. I mean, I don’t think that any other artist has done any thing with that type of riff and that sound together. On the other track, Suffergette City, this song has been used as an influence for many artists. It has that smooth swagger but pushes forward or chugs along. Kiss has this feeling frequently through their rock songs. I read that there is a line on the back of the jacket that reads, “TO BE PLAYED AT MAXIMUM VOLUME”. This line was removed from the re-released in 1999. Luckly, my pressing still has that line. I think this is hilarious and it now makes for a great collectors piece. The rest of the album is good and I am sure that it will get better with time. This is the way it is usually for me. By the way, I know the two singles that I mentioned very well but I could not place where or when I had heard them the most. I think that I have probably heard Suffregette City on the radio because of my dad but can’t pin it on that exactly.

That is it for now.
Signing Off

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Episode 47

Glacier Hiking – The Color By Number EP

I knew about this EP but was not sure about it until I read a few reviews from Abandoned Pools fans. I looked it up on Amazon but found that the EP is just a CDR. So I decided to download the EP from iTunes for a cheaper price (3 bucks as opposed to 8). I have listened to it one time through. I find it fantastic. It is very reminiscent of Tommy’s previous work as Abandoned Pools. I have visited his new web site and found all kinds of new information about what Tommy has been up to. I knew about this before but he has collaborated with Rie Sinclair to create a group called Oliver The Penguin. They have put together a full album. There is also rumor of a new Abandoned Pools (AP) album. I hope sooner than later. I find Tommy to be a very interesting and musical man.

Surfer Blood – Astro Coast

I have listened to this album a few times now. I want to not like this album quit a bit. Every time I listen to it I seem to like it more and more with the exception of a couple of songs. It is literally two songs that I don’t like off the album. This drives me nuts because I would rather not like this album. I don’t know why but it is still a great indie album. Maybe it is the cover art, an artistic photo of a great white shark. Maybe it is my music snob mentality. This album has gotten a lot of indie music press praise since its release and this may be the reason that I don’t want to like it, anyway, moving on.

Free Energy – Stuck On Nothing

This album is absolutely fantastic indie pop at its finest. There is nothing special about this album. The group is just bringing back a classic rock sound that use to be very popular in the 60s or 70s. They do it with such accuracy and still in their way that it hits me with those nostalgic feelings. From the cow bell to the vocals and guitar work it is really great indie pop with classic rock roots.

White Lies – To lose My Life . . .

I listened to this album a few times. It is not that the album is not put together well. But it did not hit me in a good way. It reminded me of The Smiths or Joy Division but the music did not quite measure up to either of those groups. It was good and produced well but the album just did not give me that feeling. Maybe that was just it. The production was done so well that it over shadowed the flat music that the group had made. I am definitely not saying you shouldn’t get this album it just wasn’t the album for me. You should really make that decision for your self by listening with your own ears.

My own work (PurelyHim), has been coming along slowly. I am not happy but I am also happy at the same time. The work that I do accomplish I love but the recording comes at such slow pace that makes me frustrated at times. I feel that this album should have been finished so long ago. I have been working on it since 2007 with short bursts of recording time. It is still fun to work on even though it is slow.

Signing off

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Episode 46

Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five – The Message
I did not know anything about this group except for the single, The Message. I loved that song growing up as a kid. The political meanings escaped me at the time but it was the beginnings of rap. I understand what they were trying to say back then now that I listen to it today. I have had many discussions with various people on the net about the fact that rap music is actually music and has come from a culture that needed a voice but had no money to get equipment to voice what needed to be said at the time. IMO the people from that time and culture got creative with what they had and found a way to voice themselves and make some pretty good music at the same time. The problem that these people on the net have is that they were not making new music they were instead stealing other people’s music and “talking” over that music. I call BS on that line of thinking. To me it was a reinvention of music in one of the most creative ways possible. To me it is kind of reverse engineering a piece of music. It is making a new instrument out of something that already existed. It took an intelligent mind that had no way out to find an unseen way out to the public. I don’t care what anybody says, rap is music and a turntable can be an instrument. Although samples can cost big bucks they are an important part of music today.

This album was not as much of an influence on me as say DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince – He’s The JD, I’m The Rapper was The Message was still a really great song. Last year I bought this album and instantly fell in love what the music that they created and what they had to say. I especially love the fact that they gave props to Stevie Wonder in the form of a love song. Have you ever heard an all male group do any song to thank another male artist, let alone to do it in a slow love song style? I also just recently bought the eighth track that was included on the CD that was reissued recently since it was not included on the record that I purchased.

Falco – 3
I heard the first single to this album on the radio, KDWB to be more precise. I really liked the production and artistry that went into the song. I couldn’t get enough of the song really. I pleaded with my mother to get me the whole album. I even recorded the song about six or seven times on my personal boom-box before she finally got me a copy of the album. It wasn’t soon after the second single came out, Vienna Calling. I remember being at a family friends house, she was probably baby sitting my sister and I at the time, and the video for Vienna Calling came on. I remember her saying that she did not want us watching that mess on TV or something like that. We tried to reason with her that I already owned the album and we knew the song very well. Of course a child reasoning with an adult never goes well for the child. The TV was turned off and that was the end of it. I never saw the rest of that video. I don’t think that I will even search it out on the YouTube either. I have the music and that is what is important.

I just read that the lead singer died in a car crash. My heart was broken. I had no idea. This was the only album that I ever got from the group and as such the only influence that the group will ever have on me but still I am saddened by the fact that he will never be able to touch the hearts of the world through live concerts again. Not that he ever did so this way with me. As a matter of fact he still has a chance to touch people through his recorded music just as he did with me. I guess what I am trying to say is that his legacy still has the chance to touch people even though he can not. The same can be said about any artist that has passed away and left behind their work for all to see.

The Soft Pack – S/T
This group was originally called The Muslims. They changed their name because of racist comments that continually surfaced relating to the bands name. They have released quite a few EPs and singles prior to this album but this is their first full length album. The group has put a really great indie pop collection together here. The first single is what attracted me to them. I first heard it on my local public radio station, 89.3 The Current. It has a very danceable driving beat with some laid back but still directing vocal performance. I am not all that excited about the group and forget that they are as good as they are. I guess that the name of the band is not indicative about what they sound like. Try them you will probably like them.

Stereolab – Margerine Eclipse

Just like with any Stereolab album, it is more of the same but from a different angle. New facets are shown with every album and every listen on each song. It is just the way that every song comes out. They are each unique and different but still the same in a way. The analogy that I have heard of the band was that every song comes from the same ice burg but each song is a different ice crystal from that ice burg. That being said, this is one of my favorite albums. The biggest highlight from this album is the triplets used in a 4/4 time signature. The way that the music turns over during this part hits me every time. It has so moved me that I am trying to incorporate something like this in one of the songs that I am writing. I am not sure how this will turn out in the music that I write but we shall see. All in all the music is fantastic, smooth and mellow. It is an album that I could listen to over and over and do at times.

That is all I have for now.