Thursday, October 27, 2011

Vol. 2 Episode 45

This is the second album from Big Troubles and the first album that I have ever heard from the group. It was released in 2011, obviously. The album is so new that they are still releasing singles from it. The first single from the album is Sad Girls. It is the first song that I had heard fro the group. I was surfing the Slumberland records web site and they had a link to the sound cloud where the track was up. I loved the song and bought the 7” single as soon as I could. I made a recording of the 7” tracks and listened to them non stop for a few days after it. I found that I really liked the quiet sounding lyrics on the two tracks that I had from the 7”. I purchased the full album, on red limited vinyl, a couple weeks after it was released. I also found that Slumberland will be releasing a second single later in November for the song She Smiles For Pictures. This song doesn’t have the same feel as Sad Girls but is still a good song. I look forward to hearing the b side that comes with the new single. I have actually talked to the guy that runs Slumberland a couple times via email and a phone conversation as well. It was a bit of an effort to find the phone number to the offices but I have a background in finding addresses and phone numbers so it was not that difficult really. He is a good guy and I hope that he continues to put out some great releases and I hope that there is also a release for the last b side from The Pains of Being Pure At Heart. I want a physical copy of the song Steel Daughter so bad. You hear me Ma and Pa Slumber!!!

This is the first album from the strange group, Mr. Bungle. It was released in 1991. This album was introduced to me in my second year of high school. We used the single Quote Unquote (Travolta) in our homecoming showcase. I was part of the group that made the showcases every year for homecoming with the exception of freshman year where it only took 2 people to create it. I can’t remember what team we played for my sophomore year but I think that the tag line that we used was something like electrocute the ….  We had a fake skeleton being electrocuted in the chair. We had the song playing on a loop before and during judging. We won the showcase for homecoming every year. Sometime later in the year I dubbed a copy of this album. The music is so odd that once you start listening to it is hard to turn it off. It is sort of like watching a car wreck, you just can’t turn away. I later found out that the lead singer was also the lead singer for the band Faith No More. I thought that the vocals sounded similar I thought when I found this out. I made me like the group even more because I have such a love of the group Faith No More, I especially the vocal styling of the lead singer Mike Patton. Warner had the track Travolta renamed to Quote Unquote for legal reasons. There are many strange samples used in this album as well. Examples include parts from the movie Blue Velvet, various video games and pinball machines including Altered Beast and Cyclone. The Cyclone pinball machine is my all time favorite pinball game. This is just another reason for me to like this album. I want to buy the Cyclone pinball machine someday in the future too. There are a lot of sexual references in this album. For example the song Girls of Porn uses samples directly from the pornographic movie called Raw Footage. The lyrics are very disturbing describing specific sexual acts that seem ridiculous but may be real fetishes too. The album as a whole is so strange and has many different types of music interwoven into this indie rock album.

This is the absolute first released from Nada Surf. It is a 7” released in 1994. It is a two track single. This single was repressed for the Nada Surf box set that also contained the groups first five albums and a special download of a group of rare and live tracks. Both tracks are easily found. The plan, the A side, is a track on their first album, High/Low. Telescope, the B side, can be found on their first EP. The first EP was recently repressed on clear red vinyl. I guess it was actually a couple years ago now that the EP was repressed but I am sure that you could find it if you wanted it. For me, this 7’ was a nice bonus in the box set along with the bonus download album. I love the two songs because they bring me back to my high school days. Some of my favorite high school memories are of finding new music via MTV’s 120 Minutes and other shows that were on MTV including Beavis and Butt-head. 

This is the second full album from Nine Inch Nails (NIN). The album was released in 1994. This is yet another album that brings me back to my high school years. I remember talking to a fellow class mate about this album in an art class that I was taking. He made fun of me for getting into the latest fad. I had purchased the album but did not know the history behind the band or very much about the previous album and EP. I knew the singles but, at that point in my life, I did not always keep track of my favorite artists back catalog. But, because of this conversation with this fellow art student I now have an incessant urge to fill out an artists back catalog when I find a new to me artist in the middle of their career. This goes the same for a series of movies too. I recently purchased a back catalog of James Bond 007 movies on laser disc. I purchased a ten movie lot and then proceeded to fill out the five missing movies on laser disc along with the non-EON produced movie as well. The album was pretty hard core to me at that time in my life. There are some very interesting things that are going on with the album. It is not so freaky as to make me feel uncomfortable but it is, for me at least, very hard core. There were two singles that were released from this album. The first single is called March of The Pigs. This is a very fast paced and hard sounding song. The saving grace of this song is the piano/synth breakdown in the song. I think that the song would be almost too hard with out those break downs. The single was released as a two disc set. The first disc is packaged in a double disc eco pack so that when you bought the second disc you could keep the two discs together in the same case. They did the same thing with the second single as well. The second single is called Closer. This was the bigger hit of the two singles released from this album. The most memorable part of the song is the disco beat used in the drums. The lyrics in the chorus are a little bit raw for most teenagers though. I suppose that I was old enough to get away with purchasing this album as it did have the parental guidance sticker on it. There is also a deluxe version and a dual disc version of this album that was put out. I think that the 5.1 mix of the album is interesting but I think that the standard stereo version is still more fun to listen to and I would choose it over the 5.1 version 99% of the time. The deluxe version has a second disc with all of the B sides from the album along with movie soundtrack songs like the Joy Division cover of Dead Souls that is contained on the soundtrack for The Crow.

That is all I have for now...

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Vol. 2 Episode 44

 I had a bit of a delay getting this one out with MEA in the schools and all, sorry.

This is the second album from Fatboy Slim. It was released in 1998. It is considered to be a big beat electronic record. The album had issues with profanity, primarily for the track Fucking In Heaven where the word “Fucking” is spoken 108 times from a sample of DJ Freddy Fresh. The album was given a parental advisory sticker because of the profanity issue. There are four singles that were released from this album plus a fifth promo single. The first single is The Rockafeller Skank. Because of the four samples used in the song, Fatboy Slim (Norman Cook), does not receive any royalties for the song. The royalties are split 25% to each of the owners of the songs that are sampled. It is a great song with a great beat. I think that he got robbed with the ownership of this song. I think that he should have gotten to keep at least 25% of the profits on this song. The song couldn’t have been made with out his creative ideas to put the samples together to make the song. He should have gotten paid too is all I am saying. The next single from this album is called Gangster Tripping. This song uses samples mostly from other DJ artists. I think that, by using other DJs works, the royalties mainly remained with Fatboy Slim on this track. This song has a cool funky beat to it with no swear words in it (kid friendly). The third single, just about everyone from the 90s should know, is called Praise You. The song is supposedly about praising the clones, if science was successful, as normal human beings. The video, also very memorable for the time, was made by Spike Jones. It featured a “dance troop” that was seemingly home video taped while they danced a routine to this song. The video was kind of quirky but still funny to me. The next single released from the album is called Right Here, Right Now. This song has a really cool beat that is backed by a building string chord progression. It has a great sound and makes me want to, if not dance, bob my head to the driving beat. The repetitive word through the song is “Bounce”. There have been some musicologists that say the echo of the word has been edited to sound like the name of Norman’s favorite author, Ben Elton. I think that this is a bunch of baloney because who in their right mind would try to edit the echo of a word. That is ridiculous in my mind. But who am I to second guess a musicologist?  Anyway, the song is another fun song to bob your head to. The whole album is fun really. With the exception of the song Fucking In Heaven the album is pretty clean in my opinion.

This is the eights album from R.E.M. It was released in 1992. There were a whopping six singles released from this album. This album was released on the heels of Out Of Time. The first single, Drive, was not the hit that the band thought that it would be. At least, it was not the number one single that past albums initial released singles have been. It is still a good track in my opinion though. The next single from the album is called Man On The Moon. The song is a reference to Andy Kaufman and his crazy antics ranging from Elvis impersonations to his work with wrestlers. The song also references the conspiracy theory that the moon landings were faked. The song also lent its name to the movie from 1999 that is based on Andy Kaufman’s life. I like the music for the song but I could care less about the lyrics. The band has a tendency to make songs about reality though, such as *69 and this song, so you kind of have to live with them if you are going to be a fan of the group. The next single from this album is called The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight. This is not a great song but it is a good song. It is classic R.E.M. Sometimes, when this song is on, I find myself thinking that this is a good song but when is it going to be over. I like the track but it is not a song I want to hear all the time. What I do like is the organ. I don’t usually like the organ played in a song but this organ sound is very sweet. The fourth single is called Everybody Hurts. This was a track that stood out in my life during high school. It was played to no end it seemed on MTV. The video took place in a major traffic jam on a major highway during rush hour. The video moves by many cars with people in each car. Each car is different and each person in each car is different. The band and the people get out of the cars and start walking. It is really a do nothing, go nowhere video but it somehow still has meaning. That meaning is that we are all the same in some way. By the lyrics we are all the same in that everybody hurts. There are, of course, more ways that just this that we are all the same but just as many that show we are different as well. The next single is called Nightswimming. This is my favorite track on the album. It reminds me of something that I always wanted to do. The lyrics perfectly depict what I would imagine it would be like. The song is a slower song with a wide array of instrumentation. I particularly like the string arrangement when it is accompanied by the Obo. The song also reminds me of the last scene in the movie Hackers. The pair are in a pool that is closed and across the way the buildings light up with their alias names. It was a cute end to the movie. Anyway, on to the last single. It is called Find The River. This song is not one of my favorites. It is still interesting though. It kind of has a Midnight Cowboy feel to it. I really like the theme to Midnight Cowboy. I think that I am not a fan of the song because of the lyrics. Midnight Cowboy theme is just music. It just doesn’t seem to work for me to add lyrics to the song. I think it would have been better if Find The River would have been remade into an instrumental track. This album seems to be very depressing. If you are in that mood then, by all means, go and listen to the album. 

This is OK Go’s first album. It was released in 2002. I fell in love with them on their first single, Get Over It. The song features the classic Bass drum hit and clap alternating similar to the song We Will Rock You from Queen but a bit more simplistic and rhythmic. I really like the song because I can easily sing the lyrics as they are annunciated very clearly through the song. The next single from the album is called Don’t Ask Me. This is a song that has a great beat to dance to. It is yet another song that is clearly annunciated and easy to sing along with. The lyrics to this song lead me to believe that they are singing about someone that seems to think that they are better than the singer is and the lyricist can’t stand it and lets them know that they can’t stand it too. Singing this song, for me, is a good way to get my angered emotions out. It is also just a lot of fun to sing along with these songs too. There was only two songs released from this album as singles. I will say that when I was wooing my wife I made her a CD with the track called C-C-C-Cinnamon Lips on it. It is a track that describes parts of the body, nothing explicit mind you, in a delicious way. It was a cute way to say to her that I thought she was cute. Her sister did not really like the track but then I was not trying to woo her sister. It all worked out in the end I guess. The album was very indie for the time I guess. I always seem to have been on the lookout for underground music I guess but I have said that in the past very frequently too.
This is the first album by the artist known as Kenna. It was released in 2003. I found out about Kenna from MTV. They had put out the video for the first single about a year before the album was released. I remember being fascinated with the video. I wanted more from this new artist. Then I found out that the album had been delayed. I kept my eye out for the album though. The video is brilliant and everyone should watch it. The name of the first single that was released is Hell Bent. The second song released from this album is called Freetime. This track is more upbeat than the first single was and the video to go with it seems to be happier as well. The video for this one is just as creative. It is viewed from a worms eye view. What I mean is that the video is shot from the shins of the actors down. The video is also a love story. It is a very interesting way to view a love story at that. You can see that video here. The last single released from this album is called Sunday After You. The release version of this song is actually a remix of the song by Chad Hugo. This version is very different from the album version. This is a really great dance album with a wide variety styles on it. It is a lot of fun but can be a downer at the same time. 

Well, That is all I got for now...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Vol. 2 Episode 43

Here is the review that I have been avoiding for a few years now. I am not sure why I have been avoiding it but here it is in its full 20 years later experience. There are, of course, some other goodies included after it.

This is the second album from Nirvana. It was released in the fall of 1991. It is now 20 years later and everyone is doing reviews on it. I have been avoiding doing the review since I got a repressing of the album. There is not much to be written about this album that will change anybody’s personal view. It is and always will be the album that started grunge and alternative music to me though. It is also just as iconic today as it was on its release date. Surprisingly, I never owned this album until a few years ago when I purchased it as a repressing on vinyl. I always felt that there was no reason to get it since all of the good songs were already played on the radio. I could just about turn on the radio and hear one of the songs almost instantly. The songs from the album were overplayed enough to me to justify not getting the album. I do remember hearing the first single, Smells Like Teen Spirit, in the fall of my freshmen year in high school. I can even pinpoint where I was at the time. I was in the car, a station wagon I think, at the grocery store parking lot, Rainbow Foods (Cub was not near by then), with my mother and sister. I asked my mother to keep driving around the parking lot because this song was on and I wanted to hear it very badly. It sounded so cool and different from what I had been listening to in the past. The time was probably after dinner, mom worked during the day, but it was still light out. It had to be the end of summer or early fall. What I can’t remember is if the new school year had already started. I think that it would have had to have started already. But this, along with everyone else in the USA, was a start to a new world in music for me. The second single from this album is called Come As You Are. The song features a chorus pedal being used on the guitar and in parts of the song on the bass. I think that it is because of the sounds on this song that I became infatuated with the use of the chorus pedal on the bass guitar. I bought the cheapest pedal I could find, not knowing much about pedals, and it worked. The problem I have is that the pedal eats nine volt batteries for lunch. I never did get a power cable for that pedal either. Lithium is the third single from Nevermind. This song follows in the classic Pixies sound, loud soft loud. I loved the quiet parts of this song. It was so mellow and melodic, these parts spoke to me. The hard parts, especially the break in the song, were hard edged perfection to me. I also like the sound of the Fender Precision Bass that the bassist used on this album. I don’t own one, I have a Fender Jazz Bass, but the sound works so perfectly with this group. The last single to be released on this album is called In Bloom. Apparently the song was about those people who were not into the underground music at the time and did not understand the groups’ message. The video that went with this song was parodying the variety shows of the 60s’.The video was quite funny, I recommend seeing it as it is the funnier video of all four songs.

This is the third album from Oingo Boingo. It was released in 1983. This is one of my favorite albums from Oingo Boingo, next to           Nothing to Fear (the second album). I bought this album in the early 00s’, I know, it is a little late, My point is that I am not sure about what the singles were on this album. I have some favorite tracks but I don’t know if they were the singles or not. I do have some interesting facts about some of the songs though and will pass them on here. First off, the album has been out of print since 2009. You can still get it as a download though. You could also probably find it used if you looked for it too. One of my favorite tracks is the first track on the album. It is called Who Do You Want To Be. The song basically asks the question, “Who do you want to be when you grow up?” It is more specific about time though, replacing “when you grow up?” with “today.” The lyrics then go on to offer some ideas of what you may want to be to day, such as someone on TV or a stranger in a strange strange land. The next song, called Good For Your Soul (The title track), is about trying new things to see if they should be things that you are doing. The full line goes, “Once or twice is good for your soul.” I think that for the most part it is an interesting way to live life, finding out the things that you should and should not be doing in life. The next song, No Spill Blood, is an interesting song based on the H.G. Wells novel The Island of Dr. Moreau. It would seem that they are taking lines from the 1933 movie adaptation of the novel called Island of Lost Souls. I have not seen this movie but would be interested to for this reference alone. The next song that I like is Wake Up (It’s 1984). This song is obviously a direct reference to the George Orwell novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. There are references to Big Brother and that everyone is watching you. I had to read this book in high school (I am sure that everyone did) and I thought that it was an interesting concept. To have a song reference the song makes a link to that time in high school and of course to the book. The last song that I want to share as a favorite is called Pictures of You. It has a repeating bass synth line that is so simple; I can’t get enough of it. There is also the use of the Rhodes keyboard that also gets me. There is also something special about this song. It could run on forever and I would not mind at all. I think that some songs have a certain cadence that really attracts me to them. This happens to be one of them. The description of the strange pictures in the song is also very intriguing. They are very interesting view points.

This was his second solo album apart from The Smiths. It was released in 1994. This is a very dark album. This may have been because he had lost three people very close to him. This was a perfect spring album for me. I was in a depressed moo at the time of this albums release. I would go walking by myself for long periods of time with just this album playing. This was released at the end of my senior year of high school. I fell in love with the sounds and stories on this album. The first single, The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get, always reminded me of my first girlfriend. When we stopped dating (in seventh grade) she did just that, ignored me, and I just kept pushing for us to get back together. It did not work of course. It is not that I pushed to get back together for six years but that the song put a reminder about that first girl I was interested in. There were two other singles released from this album. The second single was called Hold On To Your Friends. This was not one of my favorite songs from this album but it does have a very catchy guitar riff which is its saving grace. The tone of his vocals also works very well in the song. I think that the song doesn’t work for me because I never thought that I had many or any real friends. Every one in my school were more like acquaintances than friends. Aside from my wife, who I met more than a decade after high school, my best friend is someone that I met almost at the end of my last year of high school and did not really get to know him until after I graduated. This song did not really apply to me when it was released. The last song released from this album is called Now My Heart Is Full. This is a beautiful song in its entirety. It is beautiful. Morrissey’s voice works so well with the other tones that are used by the guitar and background synth sounds. The song comes off as happy and sad at the same time. It just works so perfectly to my ears. What a great way to start off an album, this is the first track on the album.

This is the third album from The Hives. It was released in 2004. For me, this is a fun album with lots of music to behold. There are four singles released from this album. The first is called Walk Idiot Walk. There is an awesome sounding distorted bass in the song that hits like a brick. The song takes hints from the previous album and builds on them while having fun at the same time. The next single is called Two-Timing Touch and Broken Bones. This song has been compared to (I’m Not Your) Stepping Stone from The Monkees, Kicks by Paul Revere & The Raiders and in general sounding like Devo. The song has been compared to these bands because of certain similarities to the songs or artists. I can totally see the similarities but The Hives are a garage rock band with interest and influences in these types of bands, similarities are bound to happen. The third single released is called Abra Cadaver. For me this song is just another fast paced punk song from the group. It is not great, it is not awful, it just is. The good part is that it is very listenable and leads into the rest of the album. The last single from this album is called A Little More For A Little You. This song is a very bouncy fun song with a early 50s’ style pop sound mixed with the punk sound. It gives it a very unique sound. This album went right under most people’s radar. The singles were hardly played on the radio. I would recommend this album to anybody interested in punk or indie in the mid/early 00s’.

That is all I have for now...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Vol. 2 Episode 42

I have for you here some really cool and really new music. With the exception of the Weekend album, which was released in 2010. I am a big fan of Slumberland Records since I have found The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart anyway.

This album was just released from my current favorite record company, Slumberland Records. They, Slumberland Records, have been around since the late 80’s. they have put out some great albums in the time that they have been around. They are also responsible for putting out all of the albums and singles from one of my favorite bands, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart. This Veronica Falls album and a few others that I will talk about here also are from the most recient crop of shoe gaze and noise pop that they have released. Surprisingly, Wikipedia has no page for Veronica Falls as of this posting. The album was released in October, 2011. The album is very mellow for a shoe gaze sort of sound. I think that they are more like The Smiths than any of these low vocal groups that seem to be popping up are though. My first taste of the group was with the first 7” released on Slumberland called Bad Feeling. The song has that sound that comes from the end of the classic beach blanket bingo feeling but it is mixed with a dark sound from the 80’s. That 80’s sound that I am thinking of is either like The Smiths or early Cure sound. It seems strange to me that this sound works so well. The b-side to that track is more like the beach boys early songs to me. The two tracks work well together too. I could listen to them over and over and have. This is the only song that has been released as a single from the album so far. I am hoping for a few others to pop up. I know that the group has released a few singles/EPs on CD in the UK before this self titled album was released. Most of those songs have ended up on this self titled album though. I am hoping that they do put out more than this one single and that those tracks that were on the CDs released in the UK only are put on as b-sides for future singles. I will add that I think that I think the first two tracks, Found Love In A Graveyard and Right Side Of My Brain, and the song Stephen, track 6, would be great singles for this album. I think that they did right in choosing Bad Feeling as the first single though. I picked up my copy in the limited blue colored vinyl directly from Slumberland Records.

They are a low-fi, noise pop group formed in 2009. This album was released in 2010 on Slumberland Records. It was put out on vinyl as a double LP cut at 45 RPMs. I thought that this was an interesting point. This album is on the edge of difficult to listen to because there is so much noise. I like noise pop but I need to be in the right mood to listen to it. There was one single that I am aware of that was released off this album. That song is called End Times. The song has a super catchy bass line that rings clear through all of the noise that happens in the background. There is something special about this song that is for sure. It is the only song that I think I could listen to from the album more than once. Don’t misunderstand me, It is a great album with all the effects that are used but the noise is over the top and if you do not like the overuse of effects or the noise that it creates then this is probably not the band for you. I am looking forward to their up coming EP called Red. I have preordered the limited version of this EP on vinyl. It is supposed to be a clear vinyl with gold splatter. The sleeve is also special in that it will be hand painted red. 

This album was released in May 2011. I had only recently heard the song Record Store on the Slumberland web page for the album. I fell in love with the song and had to have the album. They are again a shoe-gaze band with a little bit of noise pop thrown in for goo measure. There is not as much noise as Weekend making them more listenable in comparison. They make use of an acoustic guitar in the music. I think that this fragile sound in the middle of all of that electric noise helps to make this a more listenable group. I also think that having the vocals in front of the music also helps this group out. There was a couple of 7” singles that were released. One was from the album the other is a non album track. The 7” from the album is called Tally. It is a three track 7” record on white vinyl. I hope to get these two 7” records soon. The song Tally uses strings and keyboards along with the electric noise that is their standard sound. There is also some clean fender sounds thrown in at the quiet spots of the song. It is a sweet fuzzy sound with a little bit of the classic jangle pop sound. I personally think that the song All Those Years should be released as a single. There is a pattern that is used in the verse that is super catchy. It would sell like hotcakes if it were played on radio or other types of the format since radio has broadened its spectrum, HD Radio, Internet Radio and Satellite radio too. It was released on a pink and white swirl vinyl. I was lucky enough to get a copy of this limited colored vinyl six months or so after the release of the album. I live getting the limited/colored editions of records. I don’t really care if there is a potential for lesser sound quality. It is the collectability of it all, besides, black is boring.
The last of the 12” remixes have been released and here they are. This two track release is one of the best to have been released. The first track, remixed by Modeselector, is so easy to listen to with a great beat to go with it. It is my number three favorite of all 19 tracks that have been released from this collection. It is not super loud or noisy. It is a classic build and fall track. The vocals are used in a minimalistic way as well as used in a rhythmic way. It is very cool and unique to this set of songs. The second track was remixed by Object. I have never heard of this remix artist before but I like the track a lot. The only problem is that it takes about a minute to get into the track. It does have a great beat and a few break downs in the song that seem to work well. Usually there is only one break down in a song. Each time the song comes back from a break there is something added that makes the song that much better. It is really a great couple of songs.

The last remix 12” in this series is a three track. The first track is unique to the whole of the series. It is a “rework” done by Jamie XX of the band XX. To many fans this track was a big let down because it doesn’t have that big backing beat that is well known for an electronic or remixed track. The song flows very nicely because the rhythm backing the song is very subdued. The track is also very short and kind of stops when you would expect more from it. The next track was remixed by Anstam. This track also does not have the big beat behind it but it is more noticeable than the first tracks drum work. The last track was remixed by SBTRKT. I would say that this is my fourth favorite track in this series. It is very simple with a great bass drum beat. It also has a simplistic bass line and a consistent backing sound that works well with the song. It all just works so well. Remember, If you are interested in these songs they will all be released on CD next Tuesday as a double CD for regular CD price.

That is all I have for now...