Friday, December 28, 2012

Vol. 3 Episode 50.5

Here it is, the best of post.

Best of albums for the year (In Alphabetical Order):
Abandoned Pools – Sublime Currency
All The Saints – Intro To Fractions
Echo Lake – Wild Peace
Frankie Rose – Interstellar
The Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten
Grizzly Bear – Shields
The Hives – Lex Hives
Hot Chip – In Our Heads
John Mayer – Born And Raised
Let Me Run – Mad/Sad
Linkin Park – Living Things
Lorelei – Enterprising Sidewalks
Nada Surf – The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy
Passion Pit – Gossamer
Sea Wolf – Old World Romance
Sigur Ros – Valtari
Silversun Pickups – Neck Of The Woods
The Soft Pack – Strapped
Violens – True
Whirr – Pipe Dreams
White Laces – MOVES
The XX – Coexist

Best of singles and EPs (In Alphabetical Order):
Atoms For Peace – Default
Beck – I Just Started Hating Some People Today
Blur – Under The Westway/Puritan
Family Force 5 – III.V EP
Family Force 5 – Junk In The Trunk
Foxes - Warrior EP
Foxes – Youth
Frankie Rose – Night Swim EP
The Gaslight Anthem – Hold You Up EP
Gorillaz Feat. Andre 3000 and James Murphy – Do Ya Thing
Lilys/Big Troubles Split Single
Man or Astro-Man? – Analog Series Vol. 1
Man or Astro-Man? – Analog Series Vol. 2
My Chemical Romance – Conventional Weapons #1
My Chemical Romance – Conventional Weapons #2
My Chemical Romance – Conventional Weapons #3
The Pains of Being Pure At Heart – Acid Reflex EP
The Pains of Being Pure At Heart – Jeremy
Rachel Crow – Rachel Crow EP
Sea Lions/Golden Grrrls Split Tour EP
SubVibe – This Is SubVibe EP
Veronica Falls – Covers EP
Veronica Falls – My Heart Beats
Violens – Fragment #1
Violens – Totally True
Whirr – Distressor
Whirr – June
Whirr - Part Time Punks Session EP (Live Cassette)
Whirr/Anne Split Double 7”
White Laces/Arches Split 7”

I want to thank Graveface records for putting out the charity series. I only picked up one of the trio sets but the music on those three 7” records is amazing. I am seriously thinking about picking up the full set if they do this again next year.
The bands on the set that I got are:
Ian McCutcheon and the Astral Rangers
Dreamend w/ The Marshmallow Ghosts
The Marshmallow Ghosts w/ Dreamend
monster movie

I also want to thank The Glitch Mob for remixing The White Stripes song Seven Nation Army as a Dub Step track. That was awesome!

I have also got a bonus reviews here.

The album was officially released last August (2012). The record company, Devildance Records, was not able to put out a vinyl edition of the album right away because of complications. First it was pressing problems then it was the storm that hit the New England area. On the day that they put up the vinyl purchase I happened to be waiting to train a new employee and caught the update on Twitter on my phone. I was parked on the side of the road, luckily. I literally jumped in the drivers’ seat and gave a big fist pump. I surfed over to the page and made my purchase for the limited color variant, (79 in Light Bear with red). After making the purchase I read that there were going to be ten that would come with additional stuff (T-shirt, stickers, pins, patches, etc.). They were also giving a test pressing to someone at random. I wanted both but figured I wouldn’t get either. I start getting worried when I don’t get the package within a week so I sent an email to the folks at Devildance. They responded quickly stating that they went in the mail the previous week. The person that wrote back also informed me that I was one of the first ten to make the purchase and I would be receiving a pretty nice package soon. I was very excited to hear that. The record actually came the following day. It was filled with some very cool stuff. It also came with the bands last EP, limited and numbered. I already have a copy of the EP but don’t know if I should even give it up because it was a part of the package. The first one that I got was actually a freebie from the band so I don’t really want to give that one up either. I talked about this EP in Vol. Episode. The album did come with a download code so I have listened to the album but not the record yet.

There has not been an official single released from this album as of yet and I don’t think that there will be as it has been out since August of this year. The album is very good and comes from the New Jersey punk scene. This is also where The Gaslight Anthem came from. I think that they could do very well if they could get the right single out there on the air waves/internet. I really like the group and what they have done especially since they changed the vocal style (Right after the first album). They have become mediocre because of the vocal change but they have the potential to hit it big if they keep working at it. The songs on this album are catchy but none of them stand out on their own to be a great single. I wish them the best and will still follow them and buy the music for sure!

I have also got in a bunch of singles and here are their reviews.

I did some research on White laces and came up with this split. It is two tracks put out by the Harding Street Assembly Lab (HSAL). They are an indie record label that I had never heard of. They have some association to Speakertree Records as they have put some concerts up together. The song, Dissolve Into Color, from White Laces has some cool droning sounds lending to the shoegaze style but still has a great pop styled lead and vocal melodies. The second side of this record is by Arches. The song is called Late Last Night. The song is slower than the White laces song but the song somehow doesn’t need to be fast. The song seems to be like a lost friend. It is something I know and could listen to for hours. I have never heard of this band before this song but this song is probably something I could listen to a lot going into the future. I think they have a full length out last year or so. I may be getting it if it is still available. HSAL has a thing where they only do limited runs of records. It drives me nuts really. In my opinion, when you put out a full length album you should be pressing more than 100 units.

With the White Laces/Arches split the company also sent me, for free, this additional 7”. I actually sent them an email thanking them for sending me this 7”. I told them it was a great way to hear new music and they agreed and thanked me for the purchase. This 7” did not have a title when I looked it up. The first track on the record is called Pebble Azalea Starfish. It is a short acoustic track with out any vocals. It starts off quiet with an acoustic guitar and builds in volume until it just stops all of a sudden. It is a great opening track but hard to listen to over and over because of the sudden stop. The second track is called Golden Cypress. This track has more of a drone across it in a string section and an electric guitar with a slow echo pedal on it. This second song is a smooth slow song that I could melt into. This group also has a full length out that I want to try and get. This was also put out by HSAL so there may not be any available.

Tender Trap are the third incarnation of Heavenly. I found out that Slumberland Records had put out an album for the group so I picked up this single to check out what the difference was between the two bands. The vocals are just as clever as what is found in Heavenly I found and the vocals were there too. The same vocalist for both bands is the reason for this. This group is only a three piece where as Heavenly was a five piece group. The single, Do You Want A Boyfriend?, is a funny and clever track listing off the things that a girl would want in a boyfriend. The B side of this record is a fast punk track called The Sun And The Difference. It is so fast that I can’t pay attention to the words but the music is pop/speed punk and it is so different from the classic angry speed punk that I have heard in the past. It is refreshing, happy and unconventional.

I heard a track from the up coming GOLDEN GRRRLS album and thought it was very cool. I also did some further reading and found that Slumberland Records will be adding GOLDEN GRRRLS to their roster of bands. I then remembered that Slumberland had put up in their other stuff we sell list this split tour EP. Since I liked the track that I heard I picked this up to get a step ahead. I also did some research and found out that GOLDEN GRRRLS put out a few 7” records prior to this. I couldn’t find them for sale anywhere though. Maybe when the first full length comes out I will be able to find them.

The first two tracks are by Sea Lions. The first of those two track is called On And Off. It starts off with an out of tune guitar being strummed badly. It is just awful. The song kicks in after that and sounds right. The vocals for this song are sung by a male and sound lame and slightly out of tune through the whole, very short, song. The second song is a cover of a Black Flag song called Nervous Breakdown. The music is on point for an indie band. The vocals are just as lame as the previous song. The vocalist puts the whole song off. I will not be looking up anything from this band in the future.

The last two tracks are from GOLDEN GRRRLS. The first track is called Billy. The music starts off with a solid pop song. Then the vocals kick in. The male vocals are just out of tune from the female backing vocals. The female vocals are in tune, I know that much. I really want to love this group but if this is the way the vocals are going to be on the full length I am not sure I want to get into them. The second song is a cover of another indie group called Look Blue Go Purple called I Don’t Want You Anyway. On this track all the vocals are in tune. This gives me hope that the group can record a good album. The song is so much better than the first track, Billy. I want to hear more from them like this, not the cover but the cohesive style. I really hope that this style is going to be on the forthcoming album.

The latest 7”/Download have been released from My Chemical Romance (MCR). I have to say that I really liked the hardcore feel of the first one. The second one was OK with the Queen feel of the tracks. This one falls flat on its face.  The first of these two songs is called The World Is Ugly. I am so sick of bands that project a hard face then put out these tracks that are so dang slow but still hard rock sounding. It is not a track that I would want to slow dance to but that is how slow this song is. I get that they want to show the soft side but then make it a slow song that I would want to dance to. The vocals are perfect but the hard sounding guitars ruin it for me. Maybe it is just that I haven’t listened to the song long enough but it is not my favorite of the set so far. The second track is called The Light Behind Your Eyes. This track was done right. There is an acoustic guitar paired with a clean sounding electric guitar. It helps the song that there is a string section supporting the band giving the song an elegance that is needed in this type of slow song. 

That is it, until next year...

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Vol. 3 Episode 50.25

I thought that I would give you this update.

The band Saves The Day needs your help. They have a Pledge Music drive to help gather funds to make a new album. Every pledge gets a new demo version of the song Ain't No Kind Of Love that will be on the new album. Every pledge amount gets a gift. Gifts range from CD pre-order to private electric full band house show. The former is 15 bucks and the latter is 5000. I did give to the band some money ($25 for the vinyl record). I don't expect you all to but sometimes good music needs help.

They also have a cover of the Misfits song Skulls up on their web page for free download. Just scroll down under the music drive posts.

The other item that came up is that Falling Up have been in the process of a new internet project called The Machine De Ella Project. They are releasing a digital book and album through the internet. You can purchase the album for $10 and the book at $15 or you could buy them both together for $20. The thing with this internet project is that they are releasing both the book and the music piece by piece. I have not seen a release schedule at all but there are four tracks of the album out of the ten so far and five chapters out of twelve of the book. I have not started to read the book yet but the music sounds very good. A full review will happen in volume four.

I also wanted to let you know that little tidbits like these will continue to be updated on my facebook page through the break and into the future. So, like me on facebook to keep up with my music world.

That is all till the best of list at the end of the year.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Vol. 3 Episode 50

Alright, Here it is, The last post for the year. Remember, there will be a New Years post with a round up of the good stuff that was released last year. Then volume four will start up sometime in the middle of January.

In my previous post I mentioned that I was still waiting for four items to come in the mail. Well, 8 hours later two of them showed up in my mail box. Atoms For Peace 12” and the White Laces album. I am still waiting for the new Let Me Run album and the delayed Whirr/Anne double split 7”.

This is the official physical release for the first single from the up coming Atoms For Peace album called AMOK to be released early next year. I am not sure yet of a release date as XL Recordings have put up multiple dates over the past few weeks. The latest date that I have seen is Feb 18, 2013. I am happy to have the single though.

This was taken from Vol. 3 Episode 35 about the song Default: The song is super glitchy sounding. As a matter of fact the opening few notes are so dizzying your head will spin until the whole track kicks in to straighten it out. The bass line sounds very similar to something that Radiohead wrote but there is enough difference with the other parts of the song that it is easily over looked. There are vocals on this track and they are silky smooth Yorke vocals. I know that the group is supposed to consist of other members but this song seems like it is all Thom like the album that He put out as his solo effort, The Eraser. I like it but was also looking forward to hearing some bass lines from Flea.

There are two B sides to this single. The first and most important is called What The Eyeballs Did. This is the first of the two B sides. I was very happy to hear Flea playing bass guitar on this track. It adds so much to the reality of the track since every thing else in the song is synth or electronic it seems. The bass line is quite funky too even if it repeats the line over and over. The drums are a mix of programmed and live. It is really the bass line that drives the song. The synths in the background just kind of float there like wispy clouds. Thom’s vocals are almost grounded, somewhere between the synths and the bass line. The drums are just there dancing around the whole scene.

The last track on the single is an instrumental edit of Default. It is interesting but without Thom’s vocals on the top I lose interest quickly.

This is White Laces first full length album. It was released through Speakertree Records on September 11, 2012. It has a limited pressing of 500 units and 100 of those are on green colored vinyl. I got my order in as soon as I could and was lucky enough to get a green colored record. It is colored a light grass green with swirls of darker green and yellow. It reminds me of a late spring day when the grass is just starting to come up new. The album also comes with a download code to get the album digitally. On Speakertree’s web page they gave this little blurb about the album: “The album is an undeniable force, delivering 8 well-crafted pop songs that float from the mesmerizing cool to the intensely immediate, often times within moments.” I find the music to be similar to All The Saints but a little bit lighter and more fun. I think that White Laces has more of the jangle pop influence too. Where All The Saints come off as dark shoegaze White Laces are a dark jangle pop. Two shades of the same style in my mind but one is easier to listen to than the other, as I already said.

There is a single that was released from this album called Crawl/Collapse. It did not get a physical release though. There was a video made to support the song though. The song is a very good song though. It starts off with a guitar playing with an echo pedal on it. The drums are also playing at the beginning with a straight forward rock beat that makes me want to get up and move around. There is also a cool break down where the drums drop off and it is just vocals with a little bit of guitar here and there. After that there is this part of the song where it just keeps going like it will never stop. It becomes enveloping as I keep listening to it I just don’t want it to stop. There are no vocals during this end part it is just the music. It is shoegaze magic. I hope that they keep writing music like this.

I am very interested in this group and they have put out a few EPs on cassette and 10” records. I am going to try to get some more music from them. We’ll see what happens.

This is the third album from Incubus. It was released in 1999. It was one of the few albums that were really good that came out that year. This album was never released on vinyl. Let me rephrase that, it was never released on vinyl until this year. The album was released for the first time for Black Friday Record Store Day. The band put out 5 of their first six albums for the event this year. The only album not released on vinyl for the event was Fungus Amongus. There was special care put into these releases. Each album was foil stamped and numbered. Each of these albums was cut as a double LP at 180 grams. Just listening to this album, it is one of the quietest LPs I have ever heard. What I mean is that the vinyl itself is super quiet in the silences between the songs and at the silent parts of the song. Sometimes a pressing is bad and the record can be noisy. The record that I have seems to be near perfect. It sounds great.

With this album the group seemed to switch from a funk/metal sound to an alternative rock sound. Some of the tracks still had influences of that funk/metal sound that they started with. This would be expected of them though I would think. This album also has a new turntableist in Chris Kilmore. The album seems to have an overall sound that makes the album easy to listen to in my opinion.

There are three singles that were released in support of this album. The first is called Pardon Me. This is the first of the music that they had put out to receive heavy rotation on radio stations. The song describes a state of confusion and alludes to spontaneous combustion. This has always been an interesting idea but one that nobody can seem to prove. Brandon Boyd, the lead singer, wrote the song after reading about the phenomenon after a tour. He also had some problems after the tour in that he found out that his girlfriend of 7even years had been cheating on him. He also found out that his grandmother and a close friend had died. He wrote the line, “Pardon me while I burst into flames.” after reading the article and finding all of this information out. It is a great song.

The second song released as a single is called Stellar. This song references to outer space and watching the earth from a distance with a significant other. The song is a loud soft loud type of song. Just that alone makes it very easy to listen to. The chorus is the loud part and the most meaningful to me. Brandon sings, “How do you do it? Make me feel like I do. How do you do it? It’s better than I ever knew.” This is easily relatable to any intimate relations ship that I have ever been in. Yes, I get choked up listening to this song every time. The video for the song is what I first heard/saw of the band. I loved the song and instantly related it to my then wife. I don’t think that she saw the song the same way that I did though. She seemed to be into country at the time if I remember right. and did not understand this group because of it.

The last single released from the album is called Drive. The song is about how most people live life in fear and conversely what it would be like to live life with out that fear driving your life’s decisions. I like the message that the chorus brings. Brandon sings, “What ever tomorrow brings, I’ll be there with open arms and open eyes.” I think he is saying that he doesn’t want to be afraid and will take on what ever comes his way with out fear. It really is an amazing message to come from a rock group. I am not saying that other bands can’t make messages similar to this but this one in particular is a very powerful message for me. The music for the song is very elegant with basically just drums an acoustic guitar and vocals.

If you can find it, the record sounds so much better than the CD or the MP3. I highly recommend getting a copy of this album if you can afford it let alone find it.

This is a compilation released by the band this past summer (2012). It contains tracks that have been hard to find for over a decade, probably longer. I found out about the group through Slumberland Records over the summer. If you are interested you can download the album through the groups Bandcamp page. The album is filled with indie jangle pop from the late 80s and early 90s. The group did not put out much music back then but this album has fifteen tracks on it. You can download the album at a pay your own price method. There is no actual single from this album but it is a collection of B sides and rarities. It is a lot of fun to hear what was under ground during that time period. So, swing over to their Bandcamp side and get a copy, free is also an option.

That is all I have for this year... Remember if you have requests please leave a comment.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Vol. 3 Episode 49

I still have not gotten the few records that I have been so excited to write about. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have anything to write about though.

Yesterday was black Friday. More importantly, it was BlackFriday Record Store Day (BFRSD). I went to The Electric Fetus, one of my local record stores. The store had previously posted on its web site that they would hand out numbers starting at 8:30. I got the family ready and we were at the store by 7:30. We got up to the door, there was no one there yet and waited for the numbers to be handed out. An employee came out at about 7:45 and gave us our numbers starting at 16. He also told us that they started handing out numbers at 7 instead of 8:30. I was a little miffed about that but 16 was still a good number. We went and got a quick breakfast and came back to the line. The other thing that they did that was different this year was to allow each person to pick up seven items. This sucked because everything was totally picked over of the things that I wanted. I got one thing for my wife of the six things we wanted. I was pretty pissed about that.

We then decided to go over to another local record store, Down In The Valley. They opened an hour later than The Electric Fetus. We got there and got better numbers. We started at number 8. We were only allowed to pick up three items per person as well. We were able to pick up every item that we wanted this time. It was perfect.

Incubus released five of their past albums for BFRSD. We picked up four of them; S.C.I.E.N.C.E., Make Your Self, A Crow Left of The Murder and Light Grenades. We have an original copy of Morning View so we did not get that a second time. We also picked up The Gaslight Anthem acoustic 10” and the Leonard Cohen/Jeff Buckley split single for Hallelujah. The last two of which I talk about in this post.

On a side note I found out that Death Cab For Cutie are putting out a box set of the albums that were released under the Barsuk label through Artists In Residence. The box will cost about $250 though. I am going to try to get one on order as soon as I can. The reason this is so important is that if you were to try to buy any two of the albums in this box used on the third party market it would be nearly as much as this box set costs.

On with the show…

This is a new single released in support of the NGen radio show that Family Force 5 are doing. It is also in support of Black Friday. It is free through the same page as Phenomenon. You do have to sign up again to get this extra track called Chainsaw though. This track is not as electronic as Phenomenon is and it reminds me of Wobble a little bit in that it is another song describing a dance to a degree. The song uses a super cool electronic saw tooth sound to represent the noise that a chainsaw makes. It is a lot of fun and takes from the 90s dance/rap music. Get it if you can, it is up for free until Sunday.

This is the second 7” from this series. It was released to coincide with Black Friday. The record consists of two songs just like the previous one. You can get this as a download or as a record. I have not heard of a CD release still as of yet. There may be one in February when all five of the records have been released.

The first song off this record is called AMBULANCE. This song starts out with a queen styled ahh chorded through all members of the band. This queen style of singing and playing goes through the whole of the song. A piano is also added in the background to add to the Queen sound of the song. That means that this is not a power rock song like on the first record that was released. It is refreshing to hear them show their appreciation for another band. The song is a moderate rocker at best but it works for the song.

The second track on this record is called Gun. The bass line has a distortion box on it. I have always loved this idea and I love that they have done this on this song. The tempo is just slightly faster that the previous song. It makes you want to bop your head a bit. The song seems to be about a kid who wants to shoot up the town but doesn’t have a gun and certainly doesn’t know where to get one. It is sort of funny to me because it really is not that difficult to get one if you really had to have one here in the USA.

This is a split single released for BFRSD. It is numbered with a foil stamp on the back above the barcode. I have number 684. It is a black record cut at 33 1/3 RPM with a 45 RPM hole in the record. I don’t have many records that have a 45 hole that are cut at 33 1/3. I don’t think that this happens very often. This split single is in support of a documentary that is coming out in December called The Holy or The Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley and the Unlikely Ascent of “Hallelujah”. The documentary is going to go over the making and remaking of the song. It will have interviews with the likes of Bono and Bon Jovi. I have interest in the documentary but I am not sure that I will buy it.

The A side of the record is the original version of Hallelujah as sung by Leonard Cohen, who originally wrote and sung the song. This was originally recorded in 1984. Personally, I dislike the original version. I don’t like the way that Leonard’s voice sounds and I don’t like the lack of musicality that the song has. Leonard speaks most of the lyrics except for the chorus and the guitar/synth is too simple for my tastes. I got the split because I still respect Leonard as a musician still.

The B side of the record is Jeff Buckley’s famous cover version of the song Hallelujah. I have been a fan of Jeff Buckley ever since his first album and I have talked about some of his work here in the past. This version has become the standard for me. His voice musically is unmatched. The song is only helped by his guitar playing and the beautiful tones that he sets his Fender guitar to for this song. It is truly angelic in tonality both vocally and instrumentally. Every time I hear this version of the song tears stream from my eyes.

I will always recommend hearing the two songs back to back so that a true comparison can be made and so that the listener can make their own choice as to which one is preferred.

This is a 10” clear red record that comes in a clear poly outer sleeve with a sheet of paper folded in half to mostly cover the record in the sleeve. This is also a BFRSD release. It was pressed in limited quantities but not foil stamped like some of the other releases. This was a last minute decision for me because I did not know about it when I went through the list of releases the first time. I think it may have been added to the list after it was published to the internet.

It is a three track record with both sides having the same content. It is an acoustic set of songs. I thought it was strange that there was no A or B side marked when I first looked at it out of the sleeve. The first track on the record is called Hold You Up. I am not a fan of acoustic tracks but these are pretty good. I think that the production adds to the songs a lot though. On this first track the vocals have a bit of an echo giving them a bit more presence. There is also an electric guitar used but it is used so sparingly with no effects that it appears to will be acoustic still.

The second track is called Misery. It is a slower song with a melancholy feel. The song seems to be about a guy wishing his ex-girlfriend the best. It is really sweet. He misses her but knows she is not the right one. He wishes she would find someone better than he was who will treat her better than he could. He is still living in misery though because he has not moved on yet.

The last song on this record is called Skinny Love. It is a cover of the Bon Iver song of the same name. I love the Bon Iver version of this song. I like The Gaslight Anthem and thought that they may have been able to do a good cover of the song. This is actually why I got the record. As it turns out they did not do the greatest with this song. The vocals are what really through me. They are just not solid enough. The lead singers’ vocals are shaky and too growly for me. The other thing that I am not to happy with is the tone of the guitar is too dull. I am still happy that I have the 10” but just a little disappointed over all. It may be that I have heard Bon Iver’s version so many times that I have come to expect that every version should be that way. But, like I said, it is a good version; I was just expecting something more stable that what was recorded.

That is all I have for now... Only one more post for this year folks.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Vol. 3 Episoce 48

It was just announced this week that Veronica Falls will have a new album out this coming February. It sounds like Slumberland Records will be supporting the release of this album and will have pre-order information up as soon as they can. In the mean time you can stream the track called Teenage from the upcoming album. I am hoping for a 7” release for this single but haven’t yet heard anything.

Sigur Ros world tour tickets have gone on sale, in most cases yesterday or today (Saturday). I got my set of tickets yesterday. Actually, I got them the day before but they were standing room only. I had them switched for seats the following day. There will also be a three track digital EP given out with the tickets but the EP will not be released until a month before the tour starts. The EP will have all new music from the group.

It looks like Devildance Records is back up and running. You can now order the new Let Me Run album, Mad/Sad from them.

Here we go...

The lead singer for Family Force 5 (FF5),Soul Glow Activator, is hosting a show on the online radio station called Ngen radio. The show is called Phenomenon. He has put together a song to promote the show. You can download the song still here for a limited amount of time. The song is simple in the lyrics department but still meaningful. The title of the song is repeated as it the additional lyric, “I’ll show you love if you show me love.” There are some other lyrics to the song but those are the ones that stand out in my head as important. The song is excessively electronic and is the direction that the group seems to be going recently with their music. That has always been their direction I think anyway. I have had some friends complain that the group are becoming too dub step. I don’t think that a rock group can be too dub step since most rock groups, even with electronic influences, don’t want to be fully electronic. I think this song is more like Justice or Ratatat than anything like a Skrilex. All I can really say is keep making music FF5 I will be the one buying it for sure.

This is a digital only EP from Foxes. I will never understand why they started calling a single song with remixes of that same song an EP. It should be called a single. Anyway, There are four songs in this collection. The first song is called Echo (Radio Edit). It is a little disappointing that we couldn’t get the original studio version of this song. It is done in her usual style, electronic style drums with a good beat, synth backgrounds and bass with twinkly sounding piano. It is a really great song that I like a lot. I think that this song will be on her futured full length album. I think I heard a release time of next summer.

The next version of this track is called Echo (MONSTARemix). It is a big beat version of the song. I am not sure that I like it all that much really. It is just a lot of big hits in a row that follow the tune of the music. Some of the lyrics are included but are a bit sped up to follow the speed of the remix. Foxes was happy with the remix but I think it is a little over the top.

The third song on the EP is called Echo (French FriesRemix). This version seems slower than the Radio Edit version but I think it is just as fast. This version is mainly a drum and bass version of the song. I like this remix a lot better than the previous remix. Not much on the words but the bass line reminds me of a camera taking multiple shots in a row. It is the same repetitive sound happening all through this remix. Some would get board or cringe at the repetitiveness of this song. I think that it is perfect.

The last version of this song on the EP is called Echo (Instrumental). Obviously this is the music to the studio version of the song. I love it when artists are willing to put out just the music behind the song. I usually love the music more than the lyrics for most songs anyway. This is no exception either. The music behind this song is beautiful and has a great beat behind it. It reminds me of the ends of movies that have people standing on the edge of a cliff with a sunset going down behind the mountains. All of the beautiful oranges, reds and yellows that shine out from behind the mountains as the sun goes down.

I would recommend downloading a copy of this if at least to hear the instrumental version of the song.

It is here, it is here, it is finally here! Volume two if the Analog Series is out and I have my copies. The sad part is that I will probably never listen to them on vinyl because I would have to break the foil seal to get them out. It is not a big deal because I can download the music without a problem and hear the music that is contained that way.

This is a three track 7” record that contains three tracks. The first two tracks will be on the up coming full length album and the last track is only to be found on this 7”/download. The first track is called Communication Breakdown Part II, as of this point there is no part one to this song. The group likes to make titles of songs like this. For example, on their last full length album, A Spectrum of Infinite Scale, they have the title of a song called: Obligatory Part 2 Song In Which There Is No Presently Existing Part 1, Nor The Plans To Make One. I can only assume that there will be no part one to Communication Breakdown Part II. The song starts with an electronic wind down. The song kicks in at a low point in the wind down. It seems like a slower song and sort of drags along. Surprisingly this song has lyrics. There was also a track with lyrics on the previous album. This means that the full length will have two tracks with lyrics on it. This has been a rarity in the past. Maybe there will be more than just the two tracks on the album that will have lyrics? Anyway, the song is about losing contact with head quarters via their only contact, the radio. It is a simple song, not their best, but a good song still. I think that the music, when they include lyrics, suffers a little and becomes not so interesting. Maybe if they had a extra person dedicated to lyrics and other instruments it could work. On the other hand, I really like what Starcrunches (Lead guitarist and vocalist) voice sounds like when he does sing.

The second song on the single is called All Systems To Go. I really like the soft tones that are used to start this song out. They remind me of the racing video games that I played in the 80s. It is a soft beep, beep, beep, beep where the last beep is in a higher tone to signal start. Coco The Electronic Monkey Wizard (the bass player) uses the electronic vocalizer that they have used in the past to get the words for this song. The system says the title of the song, All Systems To Go, along with other words that seem unintelligible with the music playing over the top. I think that it may be counting down from nine but I am not sure. The song is very interesting but kind of mellow for the group. I would think that this song and the previous song were written at about the same time because they have a similar flow. I have done this in the past. What I mean is that I have written a song and still have other ideas that I want to get out at the same time. This leads to two songs that have a similar feel but are still different music.

The last song on the single is called Chemical Cats. This song can only be found on this single. I usually think of The Cure when I think of a two word title with the last word being cats. This is because of the song they did called Love Cats. This song is nothing like Love Cats. This song is deep with great guitar pops and fun drum lines. The song is short but drills into your head then makes its way into your heart and sits there for a while making you think about what you just heard. It is a great song and is classic MOAM?

This is really great stuff but if you are not a super fan then just wait for the full length next year. Four of the six songs contained on these two volumes will be there.

Don’t forget, if you missed out on the orange version of the first volume they were repressed on red vinyl so you can still get your hands on a limited color version of Volume One.

This is the eighth edition of the Live Current series. My wife and I have been collecting this series since the start of the radio station eight years ago. It all started when she got the founding members album. She got two copies of that, one on vinyl and one on CD. It continued from there. After she met me we started collecting them together. We have even picked up a memory stick that had an extra 5 tracks on it and the special birthday album. This volume was available on vinyl, CD and a box set. The box set has a vinyl copy, CD copy and a limited poster with the cover art on it. It was not so much of a box set as it was a record packaged separate from the CD and the poster rolled up in a shipping tube. I got all the things it said I was going to get and I guess that is what counts.

I am never a fan of many of the tracks on these compilations and this is no exception. Although there are seventeen tracks on this compilation. There are just a couple of tracks that I really like from this compilation. The first track that I really like from this is from Nada Surf. I have been a fan of their music since the first album that they put out, High/Low. The song that is on this album is called Waiting For Something. This song comes from their album The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy. This album was released in early 2012. I wrote a review about it in Vol. 3 Episode 4. The song that is here on this album is an acoustic version. It is really just as good as the album version. I have a problem with acoustic versions though. They always seem to lack the presence that the original studio versions have. I am not sure if that is because of the production or if it is something else. I am leaning toward production because if you record something live, acoustic or not, it can sound amazing. With this The Current version it seems a bit flat.

The other track that I really liked from this collection is from Polica. They are a local band from Minnesota. The group was pushed very hard in the local scene and as a result I never bought the album (if you are pushing that hard it must be mediocre). The song that is on this collection is called The Maker. It is a simple song with the chorus switching between two chord changes in a lower bass register synth sound. It becomes mesmerizing. There are a few more instruments that come in over the top of that and it then becomes a smooth rock song. This song is so good that I am going to look up more from the group. Maybe the group was pushed for a good reason, they are that good. I will look into them more and give info as soon as I can.

That is all I have for now...

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Vol.3 Episode 47

If you all have been following my postings over the past two years, we are coming up to the end of this volume. Every year my job needs me to start putting in more hours because of the christmas rush. This year they have started me working those extra hours earlier than in the past. I have started those extra hours this past Thursday. I will be working to get the last few posts out sooner than later but they will be going up on Saturdays at the earliest. I will also do my best to get up a good Thanks Giving post and dont forget about the 2012 round up after Christmas but before New Years.

There are quite a few releases that are coming out this month that will probably be put up in posts in Vol. 4. They will also probably show up in the 2012 round up list too.

Well, the chunklet orders for the Man or Astro-Man? 7" have shipped. Some floks have gotten their orders already. I am still awaiting my order to come in the mail. maybe later today? I am hoping to get this included in the last three posts for the year. The third will probably be in the first few posts for Vol. 4 as, of course, will the new album coming out next year.

On we go...

This is a split 7” released this last week on SpeakertreeRecords. I have been a fan of Big Troubles since their release on SlumberlandRecords last year. As a matter of fact, Slumberland turned me on to this release. You can get this release not only from Speakertree but Slumberland is also selling it through their web page too. I had never heard of Speakertree until this 7”. They are a small record company that has only put out a few releases. I believe that this is number six of all of their releases. I will be keeping my eye on them in the future and checking out their previous five releases as well. I think that there is for sure one other release that I am interested in from a band called White Laces. I listened to the track on the record companies’ page and liked it a lot. It is limited in pressings though so I may have to get it sooner than later. This split single comes in many color combinations. The one that I got is light blue with just a little bit of grey swirl mixed in. It is very pretty and simple. The outer jacket is just a folded piece of paper with a graphic on each side representing each band and song. The colors are the same on each side with slightly different art work.

The first song, the A side, is from Lilys. The song is called Well Traveled Is Protest. I am not sure what that even means but the song is good and that is what is important to me. The song is a very smooth song that makes use of acoustic guitar and bass along with a processed organ sound that has a high pitched ring. I am not sure if that was intentional or not but it gives a very different organ sound. The first time I listened to the track I wondered if the organ part was a mic feedback sound. As the song progressed I could hear the actual organ behind the ringing sound and that was when I knew what it actually was. They lead singers voice reminds me of some of the alternative singers from the late 90s. I like the song but I don’t think that I will be hunting anything down by the group in the future.

The second song, the B side, is by Big Troubles. The song that they gave for this release is called Comb My Hair. The song starts out with some clear tones and breaks into some really nice guitar distortion. It next to the 60s style distortion that makes me feel warm and fuzzy. I think that this song is actually better than anything they put out on their slumberland release except for the first single, Sad Girls, from that release. There was something special about that single. This single is very close to being just as good as Sad Girls if not on an even keel with it. There is something very mellow about this song and its composition that just works.

I would recommend both of these songs to anyone looking for mellow current shoegaze styled music.

This is their third album and the only album that got them any accolades. It was released in 1986. They were a synthpop group that had Latin freestyle influences. This album was their first major label release. I picked this record up last summer when I was buying some 80s releases that I had on my list for years.

There were three singles released from this album. I think that it is interesting to note that Shep Pettibone did the mixes for each of these singles. He was responsible for many of the popular remixes that were done in the 80s including the most famous versions of New Orders Blue Monday and Bizarre Love Triangle.

The first single released from this album is called I Can’tWait. The song was originally recorded in late 1984 and was featured on the band's now-rare second album Tha's Right the following year. It became a popular radio track in and around the band's hometown of Portland, Oregon. Credits on the back of the single indicate that the Poolside LP was originally to be called The Point of No Return. The song was remixed overseas, and this new version connected with the rest of the nation. This remixed version is the one that appears on Poolside.

This was a song that I remember recording on cassette tape as a kid. This is part of why I picked up the album. As a kid I always thought that the version that I had recorded from the radio was a remix of the original version. It was a remix of the original version but the original version appeared on the previous album. After listening to this track from the record, I found that the version that I had been listening to from that cassette was probably an edited radio mix. The original version of the song on this album is longer but still keeps to what I had as a kid. So, the version of the song that I remember as a kid was not a remix but an original edited for time version of what is on Poolside. When I write my own music I always find it hard to cut parts out. I guess I am not a very good editor but how do artists and mixers know the best parts to cut out of a song and still make it work? It has always been an audio mind bender for me.

The second single released from this album is called Pointof No Return. It is a good dance track but the song is not all that great. Shep did his best to give it a good remix to keep the public interested in the group but sometimes it is hard to put a good shine on crap. It is a good beat with classic 80s synth sounds though. It is hard to say no when the music is better than the vocals/lyrics.

The third single from this album is called Don’t Let Me BeThe One. This is another track with an awesome beat and classic 80s synths. That is really why I like this album. great beats and classic 80s synths. The vocalist has a very nice voice but I just cant get myself to care about what she is saying. Maybe it is because when I try to focus on what she is saying all she is saying is about relationships, whether about breaking up or getting together. It is just so boring the way she lays it out.

This is a great album if you are looking for great 80s music. There is only one hit on here but the music is still good enough to get the whole album in my opinion.

This is the groups’ fifth album. It was released in 1985. This was a breakthrough album for the group. They had a huge hit with What You Need. I thought that the only album that I needed from this group was Kick. How silly was I? Then, about six months ago I heard What You Need on the internet and thought to my self that this was an amazing song. I thought I had the song but couldn’t find it any where I looked in the house. When I ran across it in my local record store I snapped it up quickly and am very happy that I did. It is not as good as Kick but there are some great tracks on this album especially at a price tag of only a couple bucks.

There were three singles released from this album. The first was What You Need (the opening to the video in this link is not the version that I talk about in this post). From Wikipedia: After the album Listen Like Thieves was recorded and ready to be given to the record label for inspection, producer Chris Thomas was worried that the album didn't have a hit. As Andrew Farriss recalled in a 2005 interview; "What You Need is another example of a huge hit that essentially took no time at all. We'd already finished the Listen Like Thieves album but Chris Thomas told us there was still no hit. We left the studio that night knowing we had one day left and we had to deliver a hit.” They obviously made a hit because this song is amazing. The opening of this song is amazing but simple. It is a drum fill to a guitar chord that hangs there and another guitar note that gets played in an odd pattern. There is some perfection in those opening measures of that song. Then the actual song kicks in and it is pure bliss of a rock song. If you haven’t heard the song you should. If you have you already know what I am talking about.

The second single from this album is called Kiss The Dirt(Falling Down The Mountain). The guitar tone on this track is wonderful. If I could get that tone I would totally use it in one of my songs. I have talked about this in the past but it makes me feel warm like when I have a fleece blanket on while watching TV. The backing of the song is done with what sounds like a classic 80s wood pipe synth sound. I have problems picking the right sounds for my own music and probably would not have picked this sound for the song but it works so well within the song. I guess I could have messed up the whole thing if I were the producer.

The last single from this album is called Listen Like Thieves and is the title track for the album. This track is good but lacked something to make it stick in the charts longer. I can’t even remember hearing it on the radio as a kid and I listened to the top 40 channel at the time. It is a good song but not a great song.

I think that with the lead single, What You Need, this album is good enough to own. It is not a great album but that single makes the album.

That is all I have for now...

Monday, November 5, 2012

Vol. 3 Episode 46

Here is a bonus post or a late Halloween post, enjoy.

I keep forgetting to bring up the fact that my local radio station, 89.3 The Current, has put out a new Live Current album, 89.3 The Current: Live Current Vol. 8. They pressed this one in vinyl and on CD. I was told by some of the DJs that the last time a Live Current volume was pressed, Vol. 5, that it did not sell very well and that they would probably not do a vinyl release again. I was very surprised to find that this one was on vinyl because of what I was told. Needless to say, I took advantage of the offer right away. The station not only offered the album in both of these formats but also offered it as a box set. The box set comes with both the CD and the Vinyl along with a poster of the cover art. I did order a copy of the box set but have not recieved it yet. I read that the vinyl pressing is delayed on the web site, just like the Vol. 5 edition was. That is OK to me as this is such a limited run. I just hope to get it before Christmas.

There is going to be a new Minnesota Beatle Project album for sale soon. This one is the fourth volume of the series. It will be released on December 4, 2012. You can get it through Target or your local record store. The cover art comes from mixed-media artist Gregory Euclide, who landed on many music lovers' radars back in 2010 when he created the cover art for Bon Iver's first album Bon Iver. The proceeds go to local area schools to fund their music programs. All but one contributor are from Minnesota. DeVotchKa are the only band not from Minnesota contributing to this album. You can see the track listing and artists along with a graphic of the cover here.

XL records has put up a release date for the new Thom Yorke album, going by the band name Atoms For Peace now. The album will be called AMOK and it will be released on January 28, 2013. There is no a preorder up yet but I will keep you posted.

The next Man or Astro-Man? single, Analog Series Vol. 2, will start shipping this week. I am very excited to get my hot little hands on that when it arrives! Here is a graphic of what Chunklet posted for the vinyl colors.

On with the show…

This is the tenth album from Prince. It was released in 1988. This album was released as a substitute album when The Black Album was suddenly canceled. The two albums, Black and Lovesexy, are completely opposite but fans consider them companion pieces. I do not have The Black Album at present to say whether I think this is true or not. The album was recorded at Prince's new Paisley Park Records, and most of the album is a solo effort from Prince. Interesting fact about the initial release of the CD version of this is that it was released as one track with no gaps in between the tracks.

There were three singles released from this album. The first single is called Alphabet St. Initially written as an acoustic blues song, the song's final version includes a rap by Cat Glover and is full of samples, and generally repeats themes from the song Lovesexy. The song is meant to stand in contrast to the gospel of the track I Know which plays off of the Christian ethics describing Prince's personal belief in Christian concepts of Heaven, Hell, the Devil, and God. The song is classic Prince and The NPG fair before The NPG was even named. It is a good fun song but may not be fore the younger crowd with all of the sexual references. I was in middle school when this was on the radio and it did not really effect me but I was into it for the music not the words.

On a side note about this song, 1990s hip-hop group Arrested Development sampled a word from Alphabet St. for their breakout song Tennessee in 1992. The group were sued for their unauthorized use of the word "Tennessee" and had to pay Prince $100,000. It just shows that samples cost money if you did not create them originally.

The second single released from this album is called Glam Slam. The title originates from the sexual quote "Wham, bam, thank you, ma'am". The song has sexual overtones with a spiritual undertone and fits the Lovesexy theme of integrating God and sex. The song is complex musically, recalling "Life Can Be So Nice" from Parade. It ends with a chorus of strings. The song is kind of strange in that it is very slow and mellow in the vocals but has a strong beat behind them. It works but still feels weird at the same time when I listen to it.

In late 1989, Prince opened a nightclub in Minneapolis named after the song and partially decorated with paintings by Brian Canfield Mitchell. After eight years of frustration vis-a-vis its more established rival First Avenue, he sold it to new owner, Gilbert Davison, former Prince Manager and President of Paisley Park, who renamed it The Quest. The club became one of the premier nightspots in the Twin Cities, rivaling First Avenue as a live music venue, before closing in 2006 due to a fire in the club. The building was reconfigured following the closure and reopened as the nightclub Epic.

The last single released from this album is called I Wish U Heaven. It is another slow song from the album. It is a happy song with Christian overtones. It is a happy track wishing the best for the people. It is not necessarily a close relative or significant other but every one since the lyrics are basically just the title of the son sung over and over. 

Side note: This is prince so there are no videos for the singles on line anywhere.

It is an interesting album and deserves a fair listen.

This is the first full length album from Pretty Poison. It was released in 1988. The group consisted of Jade Starling and Whey Cooler. Over the summer I made a trip to my local record store and searched for some records that were released in the late 80s. I had a specific set written down. I found about half of them. This album was one of them. I only remember hearing one of the three singles released from this album on the radio and I got this LP for that one song. It cost me a mere three bucks. I looked at it as buying the single for a buck and getting the rest of the album for two bucks. It is still cheaper than paying five bucks for a cheap MP3 album on Amazon and I get a physical product too.

There were three singles released from this album. The first single was the title track, Catch Me I’m Falling. It was included on the soundtrack to the film Hiding Out (1987), which starred Jon Cryer, The song was later released with this album. In 2009, VH1 ranked Catch Me (I'm Falling) number 47 on its program 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders of The '80s. It is truly a great song and makes use of as much of the current music technology as possible. For me this was out on the radio stations when I was feeling like I was in a rut musically. Everything sounded the same and I did not know where to go to find new music. I was stuck on the top 40 radio station and did not know where else to look. This was one of the lights in music simply because it was pop but still interesting because of the use of samples, electronic drums and cool sounds in general.

The second single released from this album is called Nighttime. This was actually a remix of the 1984 version of the song. The song references Whodini’s 1984 song Freaks Come Out at Night. I don’t remember hearing this song ever. It is a cool song but not as good as the first single. It is all electronic sounds through the song. I really like the sound of the bass in this song.

The last single from this album is called When I Look intoYour Eyes. The song did well in the dance charts but not in the top 40 charts. This is probably why I had never heard this one either. I don’t see much special about this track as everything is synth including the horn pops. It just comes off as 80s plastic. Her vocals are great though. It is probably the only thing authentic in the track.

I am happy that I have the album but for the casual listener the title track is the only thing needed off this album.

This is the first album form C+C Music Factory. It was released in1990. The album was released during the rise of house music to commercial acceptance throughout Europe and North America. The group was following on the success of contemporaries Black Box and Technotronic. The album was a whirl wind success and took the world by surprise. I remember the singles from this album being played on the radio during the Sunday morning Top 40 shows during the summer months. My family, mom and dad included, loved the singles from this album, along with the singles from both Black Box and Technotronic.

There were three singles released from this album. The first of which was Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now). The rap was performed by Freedom Williams and the vocal "Everybody Dance Now" by disco/house music artist Martha Wash. The official music video features Zelma Davis lip-synching to the actual Martha Wash vocal parts. Wash, perturbed by the fact that her image had been labeled "unmarketable" due to her weight, successfully sued to receive proper credit (and royalties). Wash's courtroom efforts spurred legislation making vocal credits mandatory on CDs and music videos. What really mattered to me was the music. The video in this case was very boring which made the music stand out even more. I particularly liked the line, “It’s your world and I’m just a squirrel, trying to get a nut to move your but to the dance floor.” It was cute and wasn’t offensive in the least. It is a clean song that has a great beat. That was all I needed at the time.

Here We Go (Let’s Rock & Roll) is the second single released from this album. This song has the same style as the previous single with the repetitive drums. This song just didn’t seem as strong as the first single though. It is a good song but it lacked something that the first single had. It still has the strong female vocals and the male rapping but was not as good to me for some reason.

The third single released from this album is called ThingsThat Make You Go Hmmm… The single features Freedom Williams and he is also seen in the song's music video. The song was inspired by a running gag on The Arsenio Hall Show, whereby Arsenio, while on an alleged long drive, ponders certain thoughts and refers to them as "things that make you go hmmm....".

There are a few stories that happen in this song. The first tells of a guys girlfriend’s best friend who is sent over to try to seduce him. He doesn’t fall for it but she keeps pushing. Finally the girlfriend walks in and finds that her friend is serious about getting him in the sack.

The next story is about a guys friend who ends up crashing at his house for a period. The guys wife ends up having a kid that looks like his friend instead of him.

The third story is about the guy as a kid in high school. He was involved sexually with her and he assumed that he was her first. He asked her if this was true, she had a look that said yes but her response was, “Damn, why you guys always ask me that?”

The last story was from the opposite perspective. A woman who loved her man but her man seemed to love not only her but other women that he did not talk about. There were clues to this as well, phone calls in the middle of the night and mysterious underwear showing up.

I also remember hearing a fourth song from this album a lot. That song is called Just A Touch Of Love (Everyday). I don’t remember if my sister had this on cassette or if I heard it on the radio/MTV but I really liked the synth/organ part that was on this track with the staccato style that it has. It is a beautiful song with wonderful female vocals.
This is a great album and should be heard at least once even if it is just to learn about music history.

This is the fourth album from Heavenly. It was released in 1994.

Entertainment Weekly said that the music, "adds spice with two harmonizing female vocalists sweetly delivering dry, sarcastic lyrics about things like trying to get a lover to leave so you can wake up alone.”
From Allmusic said that the album was, "...a cleanly produced sequence of bouncy, guitar-based pop songs — and fans of the band know just how good they are at writing bouncy pop songs. The only problem with the album is that it's so painfully short."
There doesn’t appear to be an official single released from this album. The album as a whole is exceptional with its tongue in cheek approach to lyrics and music. This is one of my favorites from the 90s indie music. This is an album that I have come to poses because of the Heavenly/Bis split 7” that I got over the summer. I am still waiting to get the first two albums from this group. I love these last two, this one and Operation Heavenly, so much that I am very excited to get the other two along with any other singles that they have put out.

I think that the lead track from the album would have made a great single if it wasn’t already. It is called Me And My Madness. It is about a person with schizophrenia from what I can tell. It is a light hearted song that is easy to see where the madness peeks in with the song. It is my favorite from the album.

That's all I have for now...