Thursday, January 26, 2012

Vol. 3 Episode 3

Here it is, More music fun for most ages. Enjoy!

This is the first full-length album from Battles. It was released in 2007. This is also the first album that the band used vocals on. They had released a few EPs previous to this album but had not used any kind of vocals on them. There were only two singles released from this album. The first single is called Atlas. There is a lot of electronic sounds and looped sounds used in the music that Battles creates. This is shown at its peek with this single. The break down in this song is especially sweet. When I get that far into the song I can’t turn it off. It is just too good. The second single the band put out is called Tonto. This song doesn’t have the same magic that the first single has. It is good but it doesn’t keep my interest through the whole song. Parts of the song come off as wrong notes being played on purpose. To me it is being artsy just to be artsy. It doesn’t seem right to me. The whole album is very interesting. I know that some people say that something is interesting because it is just that interesting but they still have no interest in the subject. Personally, I say that something is interesting because I have interest in whatever I am talking about. The music that this band makes is interesting. I like it but I don’t think that I could listen to it repeatedly over and over.

This is the twelfth album from David Bowie. It was released in 1977. This was the second release in the Berlin trilogy set recorded with Brian Eno. IN my opinion most David Bowie albums are iffy. They are remembered because they have great atmospheric singles on them that seem to touch the heart. This album is no exception. The first single released from the album is the title track. There is nothing and everything special about this track. For me it is the epitome of the new wave sound. The simple soaring guitars in the background are really what push me over the edge. It is a simple two not sound through most of the song. The lyrics and the sound of the vocals that Bowie delivers work so well in the song too. It is about a couple that saves the world, or at least the city where they live. As Bowie says, “We can be heroes, just for one day.” The second single from the album, Beauty and The Beast, is really not that great of a song compared to the first single. It starts off very poorly. As the song continues it gets better. The chorus is actually very interesting. Just remember that “You can’t say no to the beauty and the beast.” It is a great album but if you are not into Bowie you should at least check out the title track to the album, “Heroes”.

This is the first album from Day of Fire. It was released in 2004. This is a group that has God in mind within the music. I think that the idea is to be Christian with out showing it directly. I think that this is the appeal for me. I am not a fan of Christian bands shoving Christianity down my throat. It makes it hard to introduce friends who are not Christians to the new music that I have found. The vocals are somewhat gravely with heavy distortion on the guitars. It is just what I like from my Christian music. There was a single released from this album called Fade Away. This is a good song with good melody to the vocals especially during the chorus. I don’t think that this is the best track on the album though. I think that the first track on the album is probably the best track on the album and should have been released as a single too. Actually I think that the first three tracks on the album could have been released as singles. It is too bad that they did not catch on as much as I would have liked. The other songs two songs that I think should have been released as singles are called Detainer and Cornerstone. The group has had fair success in the music world though because they have released a total of three albums so far.

This is the first album from Nada Surf. It was released in 1996. I loved the third single from this album. This is the reason that I got into the group in the first place. I later found out about the other singles that were released from this album. There were quite a few of them but they were not played on the radio very much at the time. The first single that was released from this album is called The Plan. This was released as a 7” record in 1994. I was lucky to get a repressed copy of this 7” when the group put out the box set of their full length albums up to the fifth album, Lucky. This track has the b-side called Telescope. The song, The Plan, is a very quick track that is really typical for the music that was coming out at the time, i.e. the mid 90s alternative music. Really the whole album is this way. I wouldn’t want it any other way but it is at the same time a bit cliché.  The next single is called Deeper Well. I like this track much more. It sounds a little bit simpler than the previous single and a little bit easier to listen to. Now, on to the track that made me buy the album, it is a very unique track for the time that it was released. The song is called Popular. The verse parts of the song are parts from the 1964 teen advice book Penny's Guide to Teen-Age Charm and Popularity, written by television actress Gloria Winters. The chorus of the song is created by the band and not part of the book. The lyrics in the verse part of the song are spoken in a very tongue in cheek way that keeps the listener interested. The fourth single released from the album is called Treehouse. There is not much to say about this track and the following track that makes them stand out. The next song released as a single is called Zen Brain. It was released with French lyrics as a promo. This is a great album but gets played out very quickly for me. I do recommend the single Popular for everyone though.

This is the first full length release from Pizzicato Five (P5) in the US. It was released in 1994. This album is a compilation put out for the USA. The album's title is a reference to the Japanese town of Usa, Ōita, and claims that products made in this town and exported to the US in the 1960s carried the label "MADE IN USA, JAPAN", in order to have an appearance of being "Made in USA". The only single that I remember ever hearing on the radio from this album is called Twiggy Twiggy / Twiggy Vs. James Bond. No, I don’t think that there is a music reference to Buck Rogers in this song at all. There is a fun dose of the James Bond theme in the song though. This is why I got in to the band. It was a very clever way to use a theme to get more fans in the USA. This is a very fun album if you don’t mind not understanding the lyrics. More than half of the lyrics are in Japanese. If you want to understand what is being said then don’t bother with this group. If you like pop music and don’t care if you understand what is being said then what are you waiting for. This is some of the best pop music ever made in the 90s. There are samples and brilliant layering of synth sounds with a superb sounding female vocal that overlays it all. It is really too bad that this group is not together anymore. They put out some of the best J-pop ever.

This is the second album from System of A Down. It was released in 2001. This was the album that I was introduced to them with. The first single, Chop Suey was the first song that I had ever heard from them. I was just getting into the harder rock (Nu Metal) music. They were an interesting band with very interesting music if this single had anything to do with what they were doing musically that is. The song has a very nice opening then kicks hard core into the rest of the song and doesn’t stop until the chorus. This is how the hole song goes. It is kind of the pixies style, loud soft loud idea. I think that this is part of why the song works so well. The next single released from the album is called Toxicity and is the title track for the album. This track is not as much of a successful hit as the first and third singles from the album but is still a good song in its own right. It doesn’t have the kick you in the gut feel of the first single or the calming swoon of the third but it is still pretty good. The third single from the album is called Aerials. The track has a nice swoon through the song but still has that hard rock sound that is expected from the group. My favorite track from this album is called Bounce. It is super simple about a guy that goes on a date and brings his po-go stick. The song is really bouncy and short. You can’t really expect much of a song that is about a po-go stick.

 All right, that is all I have for now.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Vol. 3 Episode 2

Here it is, number two, with a wide variety of music to listen to.

This is the second album from The B-52’s. It was released in 1980. This was their first album that they started using drum machines on. They recorded this in the Bahamas as was the first album. There were three singles released from this album. The first single from the album is called Private Idaho. I had no idea what the singles were off this album when I found a copy of the album. When I listened to the album I found that this song was the song that I recognized the most. I probably heard the song quite a few times on the radio. The band was thanked in the credits of the 1991 film My Own Private Idaho for the use of the singles title. The second single from this album is called Party Out of Bounds. The song is a lot of fun and has elements that become more prominent in future albums. The Third single is called Give Me Back My Man. This is a song that features Cindy Wilson on lead vocals. It is a staple in their concerts. It is a great song but is not as strong as Private Idaho. This is a great album as a whole and comes of as a part two for their first self titled album. Many of the songs are from the same era but were not recorded for the first album. This is why it feels like a part two for the first album. 

This is the second album from Basement Jaxx. It was released in 2001. They are an electronic dance group. There were quite a few tracks from this album that were released as singles. The first single released from the album is called Romeo. This song features a good female vocal lead. With a classic electronic sound the music is very staccato with buzzing synth soaring between. The second single from the album is called Jus 1 Kiss. This song follows a more standard rock sound with guitars. The vocals are very repetitive but it is still a fun dance song. The next single from the album is called Where’s Your Head At. This was the reason that I bought the album. There is something very cool and unnerving about the song at the same time. There are samples used from two Gary Numan songs, M.E. and This Wreckage. There was a video that went along with this track that was just as strange. It matched the music very well. The next single, called Get Me Off, was just a little to direct for me. The music is cool but the lyrics are just nest to being to specific. The last single from this album is called Do Your Thing. It is a fun jazz number that I really enjoy. It is totally different from the rest of the album in my opinion. It is not very often that you hear jazz electronic tracks even though they are in a very similar vein. I have a couple of electronic artists’ album that has fun jazz styled tracks and they stand out from the rest of the album. They are usually the best tracks on the album.

This is the second album from Combustible Edison. It was released in 1996. The album if filled with colorful exotic and mysterious music. The album has 13 tracks of unique lounge music. There were a few singles released from the album but none of them charted very well. The first was Short Double Latte. This is a really great short song with distorted electromechanical keyboards and guitars. It is just music, no lyrics on this one. It is such a smooth track even with the distortion on the instruments. The second single is called Bluebeard. This track features the brilliant lovely vocals from Miss Lily Banquette. She has a wonderful voice that is very easy to listen to. This one also has what sounds like a flute in the track to support her vocals. It is very easy on the ears to listen to this track. The fan favorite from this album is a track called Solid State. The track has a tiki lounge drum beat with space like sound effects in the background. Making it seem like you are at a personal wet bar on a space ship headed for Saturn or some other planet in out solar system. The whole album is a blast to listen to from start to finish. I would recommend this album to everyone who has interest in lounge music from the past or the 90s resurgence.

This is the second album from The Doobie Brothers. It was released in 1972. There were only a couple singles released from the album but There are other tracks that I remember hearing on the classic rock station that my father listened to from this album too. The first single is called Listen To The Music. For me this is a super catchy track that has elements of psychedelia mixed in with the folk stylings that were becoming popular at that time. It is the beginnings of the 70s culture in music. The second single released from the album is called Jesus Is Just Alright. This is a cover of a song done by The Art Reynolds Singers in 1966. There have been other bands that have covered this track too including The Byrds. I like this version that The Doobie Brothers put out. I like the folk pop feel that they put on this version of the song. One of the tracks that I remember hearing on the radio from this album is Rockin’ Down The Highway. I think that this song fits in with the convoy premise that was happening in America a few years later. This may be why it was picked up by radio stations after the album was put out. It is a great track that has the feel of continuously moving with its train sounding drum beats on the high hat, reminiscent of the Johnny Cash drum beats. This is a great album that has cool folk/rock sounds that I have been searching for. The singles are great and the other tracks that come from this album aren’t half bad either. I could listen to this album quite a few times before getting board with the music.

This is the seventh album from Saves The Day. It was released in 2011. The album release was pushed back because of other projects and members leaving the band. This made recording the album a little difficult thus the album release being later than expected. This album is the last in a trilogy set. The first and second of the set being Sound The Alarm and Under The Boards. This album was pressed on black vinyl only because of the “sonic superiority” of black over colored vinyl. I thought this was strange since both Sound The Alarm and Under The Boards were orange and green respectively. The first single from the album is called Living Without Love. Uppon the announcement that this was going to be the first single people interested could download the track for free from the bands website. One could also get the track free with preorder of the album along with the track Undress Me. The second single from the album is Deranged & Desperate. This track has a cool guitar part where every note is slightly bent in the verse part of the song. The chorus of the song is pretty standard but fun. The first track from the album, the title track, called Daybreak, is a very exceptional track with five distinct parts. Each part of the song has its own sub-title in the original track listing. It is really a great opening track but it can be a bit daunting to listen to with the track being nearly 10 minutes and 45 seconds long. I think that this is one of their best albums to date. I have been collecting their albums since their third albums release. I really enjoy the music that this group creates.

This is the fifth album from Spoon. It was released in 2005. This is a great album that I happen to hear tracks from just as I was getting into the new indie music of the 2000s era. I heard the first single from the album, I Turn My Camera On, on my favorite radio station, 89.3 The Current. The song has a fun staccato bass line to it. The guitar is also staccato but is only strummed on every other bass note hit giving emphasis to only parts of the music. It is a very interesting track in its simplicity. The next single released from the album is called Sister Jack. This is a more straight forward track with vocals that are slightly out of tune from each other. I think that this is where the interest in the song is. Other wise the song is just a basic rock track. It is a fun track but still the interest is in the vocals. This album has a very special track on it for me, the song I Summon You. I met my current wife when I was listening to this album in 2007. We started seeing each other and I used the title of the song in a text when I drove up to the house before a party she was having. It was cute because the instant she got the text she ran out the door to embrace me in a hug. It is a moment that will be etched in my brain for ever. I don’t have the text and I am sure that she doesn’t either because that was about four phones ago. But I am sure that the text read, “I summon you here my love!” The album as a whole is very similar to every other album that Spoon has put out but different at the same time. They seem to have a very vague style that appears to be a specific shape from far away but upon closer inspection is very different on each album and each track. I really don’t know why they are not more popular. They could rival Radiohead in my opinion and I am a Radiohead super fan.

 That is all I have for now...

Friday, January 13, 2012

Vol. 3 Episode 1

Here it is, the first episode for the third volume. It is a double size post because the last episode of volume two was so week. I decided to make up for that on this first episode. Enjoy!

This is the seventh album from The Black Keys. It was released in the beginning of December 2011. The album was co-produced with Danger Mouse. Danger Mouse was also credited with co-writing each of the tracks on this album. This was mainly because of the wide reception of their album Attack & Release and the follow up hit single Tighten Up from the album Brothers that Danger Mouse helped them out with in the past. In 2010, guitarist Dan Auerbach opened the Easy Eye Studio in Nashville TN. This new album was recorded at that studio. Although the album is called El Camino there are multiple pictures of Crystler Town & Country vans pictured all over the album. This is because they first toured in one of these vans. It is kind of an inside joke for them that everyone now knows. I thought that it was funny that the promo stickers on all of the albums say “Play Loud”. The first and only single from the album so far is called Lonely Boy. I went to my local record store for Black Friday this year for the Record Store Day Black Friday sale. I picked up this 12” single. The single contains two tracks from the album. The fun thing about this single is that it plays from the inside to the out side edge. I have played the single on both sides and you can’t hear a difference in sound because of this. It is just a unique way to run the groove. The song itself is super catchy just like any song that The Black Keys have put out. It pulls from old American Rock and uses modern sounds to keep the kids interested. I saw this song played live on SNL recently too. Dan uses a pedal to electronically bend the sound that he is making in the opening of the song. It makes such a cool sound. The sound is used a second time in the song about half way through. The drums keep the song rolling along at a good pace too. There have not bee any other songs released from the album as singles yet but the songs on this album are so good I would think that there would be more to come still.

This is the fifth album from Coldplay. It was released in 2011. This album was collaborated on with Brian Eno. The album is supposedly a concept album. Chris Martin has stated that it is about “a love story with a happy ending.” As seen with the cover the album is also inspired by American graffiti. I really liked this band when they released their first album. They seem to have slowly become full of themselves. The problem is that their fans seem to love everything they do. I suppose that I could say the same thing about my favorite band, Radiohead (RH). I don’t feel that RH stand out as starkly as Coldplay do though. That is just my opinion though. I will probably still continue to buy the Coldplay albums though so I can’t say that I am some how better than they are either. I did write a review of the first single from the album, Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall, in Vol. 2. It is still a good song musically. There have been a few more singles that have been released from this album since its release. The second single from this album is called Paradise. This song uses strings in the opening and as part of the lead as well. The bass is a nice sounding distorted bass line. The song seems to be about a female living a hard life but dreaming about a fantasy life that would be more enjoyable but not easier. The Third single from the album is called Charlie Brown. The album was written around this song. It has been called the center piece of the album. It has sort of an anthem sound to it. The song makes you want to stand up and march and do something positive with what you have been given in life. I think this is a good thing, especially in America with the high unemployment rate and the housing market as it is. The album as a whole is a positive one but this seems to be typical for the band. Have they gone in a new direction? I think they have but only slightly. I think that I also miss the warmth that this group has brought to the table in the past. I can’t say that they should return to their roots but at the same time that is what I love about them, the roots.

This is the third album from Famly Force 5 (FF5) if you don’t count the remix album or the Christmas album that they put out. This album was released in the fall of 2011. I have already written about the III EP that preceded this album by a few months. It featured three tracks that are on this album. Soon after the release of the EP they released a free lo-fi version of the song Get On Outta Here. This song is also on the album. The album has released many singles already but I can not seem to find any place that is keeping track of this at the moment. The Whole album is filled with high intensity tracks that are very infectious to listen to. I can’t recommend this album enough to fans of Christian, rap/rock and big dance tracks. The best part is that you can’t tell that they are writing music that is Christian inspired, the music it just good. They have smartly interlaced the big sound tracks with the tracks that are just a bit slow. This makes the record flow really well. The record starts off with a big sound track called Can You Feel It. There is lots of screaming and heavy distortion. The lyrics on this song are actually understandable and just hilarious to listen to. The next song, called Paycheck, really brings up the fact that there are a lot of people out there who are still dealing with having low income and just trying to make ends meet. The next song, Wobble, is a very fun song depicting a dance that they have made up. The lyrics in this one are very funny too. The fourth song, You Got It, takes inspiration from the originating R&B vibe. I was very surprised that they had come up with something like this when I listened to it for the first time on the III EP. The other two tracks that I really like are Dang Girl (I talked about this one with the III EP as well) and Get On Outta Here. Get On Outta Here Is a great end song for the album. It is another big sound song from the group that has a great 80s hip-hop sound with a very sharp ending.

This is the second album from Grizzly Bear. It was released in 2006. I was not a fan of this album the first few times that I listened to it. I picked up the album just a little after their third album was released. I have started to listen to it again more recently and have found it to be very warm and inviting. I have listened to it a few times recently actually. The first and only single released from this album is called Knife. It is a slowed down track with chorus echoes that stand out. I think that this detracts from the song but it is still very good in its own right. I think that there are better songs on this album than this one personally. I think that the B-side to this single, Easier, could have stood out on its own as a single with its Bon Iver sound (I know that Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago came out after this album but you get the sound I am referencing here). The sound is so ethereal on this song it reminds me of a wood cabin in the woods near a lake. Hence the Bon Iver reference. The music on the album is very simplified. There is electric guitar used on the album but it is not the center piece to the album. The organic sound that the group has made is really the focus of the album. For me this makes it a better album because of the focus on the organic sound. There are a few other stand out tracks on this album that I really like. I have also found that these songs were also used on the commercial spots for some of the Cartoon Networks Adult Swim spots. This probably adds to the reason that I like the songs and the album so much more.

I was actually very disappointed with the music contained on this score/album. There is technically only two new songs from Jónsi on this album. The first is called Ævin Endar. The second is called Gathering Stories. Both are very good songs from Jónsi that take the idea of what the album Go was about and takes them in a slightly different direction. There are also three other songs from the album Go on this album along with a song from Sigur Rós. From there it is all short pieces of score that were used in the movie. Personally, when I heard that Jónsi was doing a soundtrack for a movie I was a little excited. When I found out the details about what was going to be on the soundtrack I though it was mislabeled as a soundtrack.  There are 15 songs on the album and six of them are songs that Jonsi was involved in writing. I guess I am disappointed because I would rather have a full score and/or a full soundtrack. Having a half and half record is kind of a let down for me.

This is a live album released in 1995 originaly. It has been released by various other record labels including Touch and Go Records. It was recorded live in Gainsville Florida on Nov 19, 1994. All 17 tracks are classics from the group but with some funny wording replacements from the original recordings. The titles of the songs also have some slightly different titles from the originals. Here are a few examples of this: Transmissions From Venus becomes Transmissions From Uranus. Cowboy Playing Bomboro is actually Cowboy Playing Dead with Bombora being added in the middle. The Man From U.N.C.L.E. becomes The Man From F.U.C.K. Y.O.U. This is not an essential MOAM album but If you are still looking for more from them you can turn to this one.

My Bloody Valentine – Before Loveless & Things LeftBehind
Both of these albums are compilations of various EPs that My Bloody Valentine put out before the album Loveless. The best thing about these two albums is that they do not overlap each other. Because of these two compilations I can happily say that I have every thing except a free 7” single that came with the original pressing of Loveless that the group has put out. I did have to buy 3 other EPs that were not included on these two compilations though. I had to buy This Is Your Bloody Valentine, Glider and Tremolo. The mini album This Is Your Bloody Valentine is their first release. Glider and Tremolo are the last two releases that the group put out. All of this music on these two compilations sounds nothing like Loveless. It is still good music but it does not have the spacey psychedelic sound that is found on Loveless. I was lucky to find the both of these new at a local record shop. Before Loveless is actually a double LP that has one record on black vinyl and the other on red clear vinyl. I thought that was kind of fun having only one record being colored. Both of these records are only for the collector who wants everything. They are very unnecessary for someone who wants more from Loveless. There isn’t any more from Loveless. If you are interested in these albums they can probably be ordered from your local record store or I know they can be ordered online from

This is the groups second EP. It was released for the Record Store Day Black Friday special. This is the other release that I picked up for that special sale. It was pressed on a 10” record. The three songs that are on this EP are from the original recording sessions for their third album Swoon. These songs just didn’t fit on that album. The first song is the title track to the EP, Seasick. The song has a very 80s sounding synth that runs through the whole song. The song is somewhat down tempo from what they have put out in the past but it is soothing at the same time. The next song, Broken Bottles, has a quicker tempo than the first song. For an indie group this track is very up beat and danceable. This is my favorite track from this EP. I wish they could add a bit of brightness to their music. It would be a lot more fun. The last track on this EP is called Ribbons & Detours. This is another slow track but it is very stripped down. The simplicity of this song brings me down though. There are no drums on this track too. I am not sure if drums would add or be in the way though. This is a very good EP. If you are into this group I would advise getting this EP for sure. If you can’t find it at your local record shop I think they are still selling it on the groups’ web site.

This is their first EP that I am aware of. It was released in fall of 2011. I picked up the limited version of the EP that came on a teal swirl vinyl. The EP is four tracks plus two remix tracks. The limited version also came with a download card that gave you access to an additional five remix tracks. It also came with a live DVD recorded in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in the summer of 2011. I really liked the first full length album from the group and they had me at colored vinyl and bonus tracks. I was not disappointed with this EP. The new tracks from the group are fantastic. The first track, I’m Not Ready, starts off with the vocal line on the guitar. Then the lyrics pick up. It is pure indie heaven. The next track, Miranda, has a great distorted guitar sound. The title of the song always reminds me of the movie Serenity. They are trying to find the planet Miranda. It is really the way that the planet is said for the first time in the movie. The name is whispered very quietly. It is kind of funny to me. Anyway, the next song on the EP is called Voyager Reprise. The verse uses a cool electromechanical piano with a slight distortion on it. This is a sound that I adore. It is so smooth that it could be overlooked if you weren’t aware of it. It is a very nice song with up beat drums. The last song that the group put out on this EP is called Drinking Problem. It has a fun light synth sound as the lead instrument. It flows nicely with the vocals. The vocals also have a very nice harmony that flows in and out. There is also a synthetic bug/over all jungle sound that happens in the song giving the song a wild sound that flows in and out. This is a very easy to listen to song. The rest of the EP is only for those that like remixes. I like techno music and the use of it in remixed songs. Especially with the latest crop of remixed songs that seem to be coming out. From The Pains of Being Pure At Heart to the 8 disc set that Radiohead put out this past year. Remixed songs can be very fun and usually are too.

That is all I have for now...