Friday, March 30, 2012

Vol. 3 Episode 12

Here we have some really great tunes. The first two are really new and under most peoples radar. The last two are some classics that should be heart by everyone.

Folks, don't forget about Record Store Day comming up. It's only a month away!

This is their first album. It was released just a few weeks ago (March 13, 2012). I can’t remember how I found out about the group. It may have been a post on facebook or twitter from a record company. I searched them out and found that they had released a single, an EP and an LP. I found the LP and single on amazon. I bought them for my Easter present. They both have download codes so I used them before Easter when I get the physical copies. This album has 10 tracks and all are really good. The album was put out on a small record label called Tee Pee Records. The only other band that I knew from this label was Brian Jones Town Massacre. I can’t say that I have ever heard anything from them either. This group, Whirr, was originally called Whirl. They changed their name to Whirr with the released of their first album and single. The music that they are putting out is really great. They have a sound that is similar to My Bloody Valentine with beautiful sounding female vocals and that awesome wall of sound made with guitars that MBV is so well known for. They found the right ingredience and have recreated the sound very well. On all of the tracks the vocals are pushed back so they are even with the music. This makes the vocals unintelligible for the most part. This isn’t a bad thing if you like the music more than focusing on the lyrics. I have always liked the music more than the lyrics so this fits my style perfectly. This is the case even with the piano, acoustic guitar and vocals track called Formulas and Frequencies. There is so much echo on the lead singers voice that you can almost make out what she is saying but not quite. I could understand how this would be frustrating for some listeners. I have felt it my self with this track. But if you can let go and hear the music it becomes soothing in a way. The track called Toss could have been the second single if they had wanted it to. It has a very pop sounding drum track to it. It would have been a great single with the stabbing guitar stop and the viby sounding guitar solos that are sprinkled through the song. It really is a great track. Overall, the album is a bit distorted in the highs on the MP3 version of the album. I am very excited to hear what it sounds like on the record as most records are mixed differently based on the format. It seems like CDs and download tracks are mixed the same where as vinyl is mixed a little bit quieter. I am hoping that the distortion will not be there on the record.

This is their first single released in support of their first album. The song is called Junebouvier but the single is called June. I was very excited to find that this single was pressed on that cool coke glass green. This is the first record that I have in this color. This song is the stand out track on the album next to Toss which comes in as second favorite for me. This song has the bass guitar over the top of the guitar for the most part. It gives the song a flowered effect in my head. The bass is the center of the flower and the guitar and vocals are the petals of the flower. I always imagine a daisy in my head. As the song progresses the pedals slowly fall off until the end of the song. The B-side of this single is called Sundae. It is just as full sounding as the A-side but slower. It would be a really great song to put on a play list to fall asleep to. The song is slow, soaring and beautiful. There is something special about the female vocals with this band. She makes me happy even if she is singing music that sounds sad. I like that.

This is the second album from All The Saints. It was released in 2012. This was a very under ground release as I could only get my hands on it directly from the record label located in Germany. I found out that they had come out of hiatus only from an advertisement from I tried to order it from InSound but it was back ordered the instant I placed my order. I was so disappointed with InSound that I wrote them to cancel the order and to not advertise the sale of items that they don’t have in stock. I then went on to search out what the record company was that has pressed this record. I found the name of the company via All The Saints facebook page. The company is called Souterrain Transmissions. They have put out some other small bands that I recognized the names of but I do not own any of their music. Some of those bands include Zola Jesus and Moon Duo. All The Saints first album was a fusion of shoegaze and 60s hard rock. It has become an album that I could not live with out. The new album leans more on the shoegaze mixed with a bit of noise. The first track, Half Red, Half Way, starts off with their classic sound from the first album. It is heavy and lives in the 60s hard rock still. As the album moves on it starts to change. The second track, Poly Daughters, starts off with a super echo sounding guitar track that works its way through the whole track. This is the first hint that the group is leaning toward the noise side of the shoegaze genre. The third track pushes even further into the genre. This track reminds me of the Silversun Pickups. It has distorted fast guitars with the slow vocals. It is a nice track to hear and this is also why I like the Silversun Pickups. The lead vocals and guitar also use a viby pedal. This makes them sound kind of like they are under water at times. I really like the slowed down title track for the album. It is more straight forward than most of the album and the vocals are easier to hear. The other track that I really like is called Now Boy. It starts off with that heavy rock sound that I like from the first album. The beat on this song is relatively fast and makes me want to bob my head to the music. The rest of the album seems to level off  of shoegaze sound. It is really something I will have to get use to. I will like the album I can tell that much but It is not what I expected at all from them. I had a chance to listen to the album on my stereo finally and found that this record is so much smoother than I had originally thought. The bottom end is huge and makes this record perfect but it is for sure an album that needs to be listened to on a stereo not on headphones.

This is Alice In Chains second album. It was released in 1992. They have been classified as both alternative and grunge. I think that they should just be classified as heavy metal personally. They became popular more so with this album but because of the time it was released it became labeled as alternative or grunge. I bought this album on cassette when it was released. It was recently repressed on orange vinyl. I have heard that the repressing sounds very good but costs a bit more than I want to pay to buy it again. The album put out five singles. The first single from the album is the last song on the album. It is called Would? This song first appeared on the soundtrack for the movie Singles where the band made a cameo in the movie. The song was later included on this album. The writer for the band said that he was thinking about Andrew Wood (Mother Love Bone) who he had been friends with before he had overdosed on heroin and how people judge others for things that they do in life. The song was kind of an in your face to those people. This is the song that got me interested in the band. For most people it is the song Man In The Box from their first album. Although it is a good song it did not have the same effect on me as Would? The second single released from this album is called Them Bones. This song was written in an odd time signature in the verse section. It is in 7/8 time. The chorus is in 4/4 making it easy to sing along to. I think that it is interesting how even heavy metal bands will write interesting music not in standard time. It shows that musicians are called musicians for a good reason. The song is a great heavy track but too short for me. The next single released is called Angry Chair. This is a track written by the lead vocalist. It is different from some of the others because it is slowed down with a cool lead guitar part having a wave wash pedal on it. It really sounds cool. The vocals are awash in echoes as well. The next single is called Rooster. The song is about the lead guitarists father who served in the army during the Vietnam War under the code name Rooster. There are many other references to Rooster in the song but this was the primary reason for the title. The song talks specifically about the war. It is very heart felt for me because my father also served in the Vietnam War. It is another view from someone else. The last single from this album is called Down In A Hole. It is a slower song for the album but works very well. The vocals are the key to the song I think. The harmonies between the lead and backing vocals work so perfectly for the group. This is an amazing album that everyone should hear especially if you are looking for 90s metal.

This is the seventh release from Beck. It was released in 1999. I bought this album right away when it came out. I was hopping for more great music from Beck similar to the album Odelay. It was close but not exactly what I wanted. It is better than the previous album, Mutations, but not as good as Odelay. There are references to Kraftwerk, Grand Master Flash and The Furious Five, Velvet Underground, Prince, and David Bowie on various tracks on the album. The singles were exceptional though. There were three singles released from this album. The first is called Sexx Laws (yes that is spelled correctly). It is an interesting blend of brass funk, bluegrass and steel guitar mixed with elements of electronica in the song. The song itself is about bending the unwritten laws of sex. I didn’t and still don’t care about the lyrics. I love the music in this song. It is great beck music. The next single is called Mixed Bizness. There is some great funk and R&B style music going on with this song. It is another great track that shows how great Beck can really be. The third and last single from this album is called Nicotine & Gravy. This was a single released in the UK only. This song is slowed down compared to the first two singles released from this album. Just like most beck songs the lyrics are very strange. Because I bought this album when it came out the album came with a separate disc with three extra tracks. The extra CD was outside of the CD case but shrink-wrapped in together with the original case. It featured two tracks not on the album and a remix of Sexx Laws. It is something that is unique but not spectacular in any way.

That is all for now...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Vol.3 Episode 11

My first all singles post. I am not sure that this will be regular feature but it was fun to write.

This is a single from Roxette. I have a copy that I found at a cheap record store as a 45 RPM 7” record. This was the second single released from the album Look Sharp. The song was released in 1989. The single was first played in the US on the radio. More spesificly KDWB was the first station in the US to play the song. After this it spread from radio station to radio station. EMI, after hearing of the song’s success released the song in the US as a single. All this happened before the record was even released in the US. The A-side is obviously The Look. It is a super cool song that I remember hearing on the radio through the summer of 89’. The song was released in january but it continued to be played through the summer. I remember this because my family would listen to the top 40 countdown on KDWB as it was played on Sunday mornings. We would listen to the show on our way home from camping every weekend. I would read my DragonLance books in the back of our suburban and listen to music. I was short enough at that time so I could lay across the back bench with a pillow and read for an hour. It took about an hour to make the trip. It is a very enjoyable time in my life. The B-side to this single is called Silver Blue. This song is nothing spectacular. Supposedly this song is a demo that did not go very far, although it is not labeled as a demo on the sleeve that I can remember.

This is an amazing remix that started my light search into the dubstep genre. I did not get very far in my search because my money is tied up in other favorite genres. I did find a great duo through Propellerheads, the company whose software, Reason 6, I use to record music. They are called SubVibe. I will bring them up at a later date though. This Seven Nation Army remix was used in the new trailers for G. I. Joe: Retaliation. The track makes the trailer. What is really funny is that The Glitch Mob did not even know that the track was being used in the trailer. I hope that they get credit for the track at the very least.

This is the only released that the group put out. This was because of personality conflicts and recording style conflicts between the two primary artists in the group. The name comes from the initials of each of the members of the group. They are as follows: Martyn Young (from Colourbox), Alex Ayuli and Rudy Tambala (from A.R. Kane), Russell Smith (an associate A.R. Kane member and founder of Terminal Cheesecake), and Steve Young (from Colourbox). It was a double A-side single. With Pump Up The Volume gaining more success than the other track called Anitina. I did not even know that there was second track on the disc when I searched it out. Actually, I had no idea that there was not an album that this single came from. I loved this song when it was released in the late 80s. I was getting into rap and a touch of electronic music. There was no such thing as the internet at the time for civilians and it made it hard to find information on music. It was not until I went through my home recorded tapes from that time period that I remembered that I liked this song so much. I then found a copy of the CD for this song still sealed for a cheap price. Now that I have listened to the disc I find that I really like all the versions of Pump Up The Volume but could leave the other track behind. It is a great song with four different versions of the song. It is so awesome!

This is a single released from the re-release of Plastic Beach. This is another one of those marketing gimmicks that I have complained about in the past where they release an album and not six months later release the same album with one additional track. I was not as smart about it this time. I did not fall completely for the gimmick. I found a CD copy of the single and bought it separately. So, I did not buy the album twice but instead bought the album and spent a couple of extra dollars to get a separate CD with the extra song on it. The problem is that the extra CD single was not released in the US. It was only released in the UK. So not only did I get the extra single I also paid for the shipment from the UK to the US. They sort of got me coming and going on that I guess. What is worse is that the single has only two tracks on it and they are 1, the single track and 2 a remix of the same track. To me the song is not even that great. It uses staccato 80s synth lead with 80s synth violins swimming over the top. The drums are super simple too. I would not recommend this song to fans as it is not that essential. On the other hand it is a good beat and easy to dance to. Damon Albarn’s vocals are only used as backing vocals too. Now the remix of the song is even more bouncy than the actual single thanks to the revisions in the drum track. I think that the remix of the song is actually more interesting than the original song.

This is a follow up single to Mission Into Chaos. This single was released in 1995. It has unique packaging. It is encased in a manilla envelop with the string tie at the back. There were two different versions depending on what record company pressed the record. The US version reads Top Secret on the cover and the EU version reads State Secret. I have a copy of the EU version. There was a limited number pressed on clear vinyl. The inside of the sleeve was printed to look like a document that had been edited with black marker like you would see in the movies FBI documents where you can’t read most of the document. Not only is the sleeve of this record cool but the last track on the record is the theme song for Gold Finger covered by the group. I needed a copy of this song. It is a four track EP on a 7” record. The A side of this record reads, “No. 2 Side”, the B side reads, “The New No. 2 Side”. All four songs are based on the spy theme from the 60s including a song called Secret Agent Conrad Uno. This song has a little bit of a cover of the Peter Gun Theme in the middle of the song. This is a really great set of spy themed surf styled songs.

This is a remix of the Radiohead track Bloom done by Jamie xx of the band XX. It is the third part of the song. I have never seen or heard the second part of the song yet. This song was released originally as a download only with the TKOL RMX 8. Some time after this a small record label in Europe put this track out on a 12” single sided record. There was an initial release of this single but it was so limited in pressings I could not get a copy directly from the record company. I recently did a search for the record on discogs and found it for a reasonable price from a record store in Germany. After I ordered it I found that Jamie xx has released all of his remixes through this record company. If you are interested the company is called Young Turks. In some releases Young Turks partnered up with XL Recordings too. Just like the XX album the outer sleeve is die cut. Actually it resembles the other releases that Jamie xx has put out. A single color outer sleeve with a small rectangle cut out on both sides at the same spot and a different contrasting color on the inner sleeve to show through. To me it looks like a part of the X representing that he is still a part of the XX. He has used this same logo on his other releases. The song itself is called a rework so it has strong elements of the original song. I think that both part 1 and part 3 are very cool. It makes me curious about part 2 though.

This is the second release from the fantastic group Veronica Falls. Although the single is included in the self-titled album this version was recorded at a different time so it is a different mix than the one on the album. I really like the original mix on this single over the version on the album. But I like the album because it has a sound that flows across the album. It is a hard choice but if I had to choose which version I like better it would totally be the one on this single. The same goes for the B-side on this 7” record. The B-side track is called Staying here. I actually bought the record for the B-side track. I have a physical copy of the track on the tour cassette but I wanted a better sounding copy of the track. I was blown away with both of these tracks not knowing that they were different mixes from the ones that I already had. I am also very excited to say that the group is putting out a new 7” record for the song My Heart Beats. This is a non-album single with an all new B-side track that I have not heard. There are still a few other tracks that have not seen studio time yet. I have not heard if they are saving these tracks for a second album or if there will be new singles like this one. There has been light talk from other music reviewers of a new album but the group are still touring so it would be a long shot for a second album to be released so soon after the first.

I have finally found a copy of this rare first single from The Pains of Being Pure At Heart. They did have two split singles released before this but this is the first single that was all theirs. This 7” record exterior was a rich sky blue as was the vinyl it contained. The copy that I bought has a crease in the top left corner. It is not a big deal to me as you cant see it unless you are looking for it. Also, the guy that I got this single from lives in Japan so it is not a Slumberland release but instead a Fortuna Pop! release. This is not a big deal but something different anyway. The record is totally clean and sounds great. I love the sound of The Pains 7” singles from their first album. They sound more open and punchy to me than the regular albums do. All of their singles have this trait really. I still need their first EP and a Split single they did with The Parallelagrams. The latter of which was super limited as they did not get all of the supplies that were pressed. I think Kip, the lead singer of the group, told me that they were lost in transit or something like that. So, that split single has become very hard to find indeed let alone how much it would cost if I found a copy.

That is all for now...

Friday, March 16, 2012

Vol. 3 Episode 10

Here it is, number 10. Reviews and history for some common and very rare items!

This is the second album from The Breeders. It was released in 1993. The group was supposed to be a side project for Pixies bassist Kim Deal. It quickly became her primary outlet after the breakup of the Pixies. There are three singles that were released from this album. The first is called Cannonball. The title of the album was taken from a lyric in the song Cannonball. I loved this song from the first time that I heard it, from the first drum stick hits on the stem of a cymbal stand to the loud, loud chorus and driving bass line. It is a classic 90s song. The next single released is called Divine Hammer. The vocals on this track are from another world. They are just perfect. Kim’s vocals backed with her sisters are like wearing silk. It makes me so happy. The song itself is very quick paced but the vocals over the top just make it so sweet. The last single released from the album is called Saints. This track is very in your face and stands out. The mix puts the vocals right out front. The chorus is smoothed out a little bit more with her sister doing backing vocals. There is something very special when the two of them are singing at the same time. I remember hating this album when I got it. I just did not get that the rest of the album was nothing like the first single. This is why I got the album after all. It was not until 10 plus years after I bought the album that I gave it a second chance. After listening to it on the second try I found these nice sounds that I have just talked about. I find that I really like the loud soft loud aspects that Kim brought through to The Breeders very much. I would recommend this album to anybody and everybody but you must give it more than one listen to get it. Look at how long it took me to find the gems in it.

This is the third album from Deftones. It was released in 2000. I bought it right away when it came out. I really liked the first single, Change (In The House Of Flies). I was really disappointed when I found out that they re-released the album with an additional track. This track was the second single released from the album. I refused to buy the album a second time for one track. Apparently this was a marketing scheme to sell more of the same album increasing prophets for the release. There was a special red vinyl release as well as limited edition CDs with a solid red case and solid black case. Each color of the CD had different contents in the book. As I said the first single from the album was Change (In The House Of Flies). The song is very uncharacteristic of the band. The song uses the classic loud, soft, loud tactic that was made famous by the Pixies. It is really a very interesting song. The next single, which was only released on the re-release of the album, is called Back To School (Mini Magit). This single was put out because the lead singer was suckered by the record company to out another single, saying that all the other songs were watered down so they couldn’t make another single happen from the album. The song is really a rework of the last song on the album Pink Maggit. Personally, I don’t like the rework, specifically because I don’t like the rap but prefer the hard rock that they are known for. It was still a single so what do I know. The last single released from the album is called Digital Bath. This song follows the style of Change with whispered vocals in a slowed down music. I think that it is just as good as Change and actually rivals the song because it makes better use of the loud, soft, loud method as opposed to the lead single being mostly the same volume throughout. I think that this is a great album in the hard rock vein. I don’t consider it a heavy metal album at all.

This is the second album released from Eurythmics. It was released in 1983. I was surprised to find that there were four singles released from this album. I only remember the last single released from the album, which is the title track. The first single released is called This Is The House. This single did not chart at all. The song was funded not from a record company but from Stewart’s bank manager at the time. The 12” single of this song has an extended mix of the track and four live tracks. These tracks were not included in the 2005 remaster package and still remain unavailable on CD. The second single released is called The Walk. This track was also a failure in the charts. As with the previous single the B-sides were not included on the ‘05 remaster. The next single released from the album is called Love Is A Stranger. This song was as well initially a failure but charted better after the release of the title track. The song has a fairly sparse, up-tempo arrangement. It uses the rare Movement Systems Drum Computer and various synthesizers (providing bass, melody lines and sound effects), including the Suzuki Omnichord, combined with Lennox's strident multi-tracked vocal harmonies. The song is also punctuated with vocal grunts of "uh!" from Stewart. The last single released is the title track, Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This). This is the song that gave the group their breakthrough success. This is also the track that Marilyn Manson covered to propel him to stardom. He did also change some of the original lyrics to suit his needs. I love both versions of this song. Both have a special place in my heart. There are many other cover versions of this song but this is the one that stands out the most.

This is the first album from Ben Folds Five. It was released in 1995. This was released the summer after I had graduated high school. It represents a freedom for me of not being required to do anything for that entire summer. I started college that fall but only had three classes a day and was usually finished in the early after noon. It there fore represents a freedom of sorts still as it was not the formal school format that I was use to. There are five singles released from this album. The first single is called Jackson Cannery. There was a 7” record put out for this album but it was limited to 500 pressings. Ben Folds had this to say about the song,

“Well, that's one of the images that hit me. It came from a guy who was riding the bus from college to work and he kind of was losing his shit at the time and he had the bus driver pull over and let him off and he ended up in Ireland trying to find U2. He's in and out of halfway homes and he's schizophrenic. What fascinated me was not that he was schizophrenic, but that at any point in your life, you can just quit. You can quit anything you want to. And I thought it was kind of dramatic, the idea of going, "Stop the bus." Everyone has to see you stop everything, and everybody has to stop with you and they let you off. I pulled the name Jackson from someone I knew who I thought worked too hard and the Cannery was a hosiery mill in North Carolina. So I just mixed the names up and I think the defining line in that song would be, "When seconds pass slowly and years go flying by." You know, just that every moment's a fucking drag and you look back and everything passed just in a second.

The second single released from this album is called Underground. The song is about geeks and social outcasts searching for acceptance in numbers through underground music and art scenes. I identified with this in a big way. I have always been looking for the next new thing. I still do. This song is the most recognizable from the album. It is the second most recognizable in their cannon only to Brick which comes from the follow up album. I can remember singing along with this song when I would play it. I would have so much fun singing the falsetto parts. The next single from the album is called Uncle Walter. This song was released in the UK and Australia only. It is another classic story song from the group. The fourth single is called Where’s Summer B? The song is about the disappointment one finds of returning to a hometown after being away and seeing things much the same as before. The last single released from this album was also only released in the UK. That song is called Philosophy. The B-sides for this single are the same for Where’s Summer B? The liner notes for the 1998 compilation and rarities album Naked Baby Photos claim, with a hint of sarcasm, that the song is about Folds' penis, "if that's what you think it's about." This is a great album that everyone should hear.

This is a 7” vinyl EP released from Man or Astro-Man? in 1995 from Estrus Records. It was released on clear gold vinyl. There were apparently only 1000 copies of this 7” made. The sleeve was die-cut. The electric bolts in the front cover were die-cut and the top of the sleeve was cut to the shape of the record. There is a yellow insert that goes in front of the record to give the lightning bolts their yellow color. The bottom half of the insert has a graphic of a man with very beady eyes. It’s kind of creepy really. The ink used on the exterior of the sleeve has a cool metallic sheen to it. The sides are labeled C and D instead of A and B. The graphic on the back is a picture of a brain with electricity shooting out of it. This was a giant Tesla coil, built by Dale Travous, with a modeled brain, created by Katherine Cook, and the photos of the art project were taken by Arthur S. Aubry. The results are a very unique graphic that is reminiscent of some black and white sci-fi horror flicks of the 40s and 50s. The cover graphic was supposed to be very much like something that Ed Roth would have drawn. The tracks on this EP are easy enough to get a hold of it is this particular package that is difficult to find. There are 4 tracks on this EP. They are Escape Velocity and Tomorrow Plus X on side C. On the other side, Side D, are Max Q with The Quartermass Phenomenon. This is not an EP that needs to be sought out unless you are so into the band that you gotta have it all.

This is a tour only cassette tape. It was released for the winter 2012 tour. Obviously there were no singles released from this split. The cassette has no printing on it but is colored blue. The paper sleeve is a laser printer copy cut to fit the cassette case. My particular paper sleeve was hand numbered 83/100. I would assume that there were only 100 copies created of this split. I am not a fan of Brilliant Colors so I have no idea what the track name are. I am a big fan of Veronica Falls as you all know and have figured out what the track names are for their side of the tape. The first track on their side is Starry Eyes (Roky Erickson cover) (demo version). This track can be found in multiple places at the moment including the rare 5 Demos EP. The next track is called Back Page. A physical copy of this song can only be found on this tape at the moment. The next track is called Steven. This is the demo version of this song that was found on Found Love In A Graveyard 7” single released on small record labels. The next track is called Staying Here. This was originally found as a B-side to Beachy Head. The last track on the tape is called Try Again. This track was originally found as a B-side on the first single released from Slumberland Records, Bad Feeling 7”. If you are interested see if you can find a copy on the internet (Discogs or other used music web sellers). Last thing is that I am not a fan of Brilliant Colors. Not to say that I don't like them but I don't own anything from them except this tape. Therefore, I have no idea what the track names are for the Brilliant Colors side of the tape. Side note, I just saw this tape up for sale at Discogs for $100. I think that I bought it for $5.

That is all I have for now...

Friday, March 9, 2012

Vol. 3 Episode 9

I was a little late getting to this episode so there are only for albums talked about this time. It is all still good music though.

This is the second 7” that Bleached has released. It is, or I should say was, released by Art Fag Records. It may be able to be found at record stores, physical and internet, but the record company does not have it in stock any more. I found my copy at InSound. The copy I got came on purple vinyl. I think that the colored version of the record is the second pressing. Since this did not come directly from the record company it was not packaged as nicely as the last 7” from the group that I wrote about in the previous post. I have actually come to dislike InSound for their shipping practices. They have a habit of saying that a package has shipped but it is still sitting in their building waiting for shipment. They also don’t list that a record is on backorder on the page for the album or even send an email to let you know. You have to check your order in your account to find out if there is a problem or not. Anyway, there are only two songs on this 7” record, like the first and third records that the group has put out. The first song is called Think of You. This song totally reminds me of a punk song that I use to play when I was with my punk influenced band in high school. The bass line sounds just like what I use to play, from the music to the tone of the cheap bass that I played back then. I don’t have that cheap bass any more but it makes me wish that I still had that bass guitar because it is a cool sound. The second track from this is called You Take time. This track is really a fun track. It is simple but artistic making it a great song. Both tracks are a marked improvement over their first 7” record called Francis.

This is the second release from The Clash. It was released in 1978. It is the first release in the US from The Clash because the first album was not released in the US until after the second. There were only two singles released from this album. The first single is called Tommy Gun. Joe Strummer said that he got the idea for the song when he was thinking about terrorists, and how they probably enjoy reading about their killings as much as movie stars like seeing their films reviewed. While Topper Headon mimics the sound of gangster movie shootings with quick snare hits and the guitars are full of distortion and feedback, Strummer's sarcastic lyrics condemn rather than condone violence. The second single is called English Civil War. The song is derived from an American Civil War song, "When Johnny Comes Marching Home", written by Irish-born Massachusetts Unionist Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore, which is in turn derived from the Irish anti-war song "Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye". It was popular among both sides of the conflict. Having learned the song at school, Joe Strummer suggested that the band should update it. Those on the left wing saw the rise during the mid-1970s of far right groups such as the British National Front as alarming and dangerous omens for Britain's future. The song is about this state of politics in the country and warns against all things uniformed and sinister. Shortly after the song had its first live performance at a Rock Against Racism concert, Strummer said in an interview to the music newspaper Record Mirror, "War is just around the corner. Johnny hasn't got far to march. That's why he is coming by bus or underground.” I don’t really like the song. The music reminds me too much of singing the same dang songs over and over as a kid. I hated The Ants Go Marching. This is the same music that is used for this song. I would much rather hear the last song on this album called All The Young Punks. It is so much more creative and what you would expect from a punk group.

This is the first release from DJ Shadow. It was released in 1996. It is an effort by Shadow to make music entirely out of samples. The samples were used not only from various genres but also from movie clips and interviews. The album as been sited in the Guinness World Records as the first album to be created out of 100% samples. There were a few singles released from this album. The first is called What Does Your Soul Look Like. This track uses a great bass line with simple piano over the top. It is a very mellow track with soaring saxophone over the top in the lead part. It is really a beautiful track. The second single released from the album is called Midnight In A Perfect World. This track has big beat drums with an electromechanical keyboard over them. There is also some very nice soaring female vocals that float over the top of it all. There are other samples of male vocalists that are used as stabs in the songs but don’t over shadow the rest of the song. The last single released from this album is called Stem. The track is actually three parts mixed into one making the track nearly nine and a half minutes long. The first part of the song is called Stem. The second part of the song is called Long Stem. The last part is called Transmission 2. The first part of the song is spaced out speed drums and slow drums with a picked guitar and bells played over the top with violins in the back ground. It is still very beautiful music that is produced. The second part of the song uses the bells again but changes the guitar to some kind of synth sound. The vocals are a sample from a male speaking. I can only assume that it is from an interview the way that they guy is talking. There are very sparse drums in this part with soaring long notes that are used before going into the last part. This last part goes back into the use of an electromechanical piano with regular piano over the top of that. It is another beautiful piece that floats along and then changes at the very last couple of second into a distorted radio broadcast. I was not introduced to this album by any of these singles though. I was introduced to this album through the song Building Steam With A Grain Of Salt. This song was played on my local alternative radio station in 1996. The vocals were from an interview of a drummer. The song slowly builds from piano, drums and female vocals. This is all relaxing music for me. It brings me to a very calm place. I could listen to this album over and over. It is just perfect. I said to my self a long time ago that I would not buy electronic and sampled albums on vinyl but listening to this album again has made me want to hear the smooth sounds of this album on a turntable. What an experience that would be.

This is the first release from the group The Gaslight Anthem. It was originally released in 2007. I don’t think that there were any official singles released from this album. The songs on the album have great hints of the hits that are to come from the band but the album as a whole is not quite there. The first track called Boomboxes And Dictionarys is probably the best that the album has to offer. The other track that I would recommend that people who are interested in this group listen to is called.1930. This track is one of the faster tracks that the group have put out. There is something special about this track even though the sound is a little bit harder than the usual music that they put out. The other song that I would offer up to anyone who has an interest in this group is called The Navesink Banks. This track is super simple but beautiful. It features an acoustic guitar with electric guitar flourishes and the classic Jersey vocals that the group is famous for. I could listen to this track repeatedly it is so nice to hear. I bought this album because I wanted to hear more from them. I wanted to know more about their history. I was lucky to find a copy of the album on purple and white swirl. It has been labeled as blue white swirl but it looks more purple to me. I think that this is the last colored pressing that was put out. There was a solid blue pressing that was put out for their European tour but I did not really care to own more than one copy of this album considering the way that I feel about the album anyway.

That's all for now...

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Vol. 3 Episode 8

Here it is, enjoy. Some history, mine and the music.

Not only is this the first release from Bleached but this is also the first release from the record company Ooga Booga. This single was released in spring of 2011. I ordered a second pressing directly from Ooga Booga. When I got the package it was in a 7” box with a hand stamped sticker from the company. I thought it was cute. When I opened the box I found the record inside of a hand stamped paper bag, the same stamp that was used on the sticker. There was a little note on the bag from the packager saying that she hoped I would enjoy the record. I thought that was unique too. Then when I took out the record I found that they record was wrapped in a red tissue paper sash held together with another sticker. There was also an unused sticker between the sash and the record sleeve. I was very excited about that because I thought that the sticker was very cool. It is these unique touches that I love from the small record labels like Ooga Booga and Slumberland. This is, of course, a 7” record (it came in a 7” box, der). The A-side of the record is a hard core surf punk track called No Friend of Mine. There is an organ backing the track with the hard punching fast drums. The guitar on this track is totally a surf inspired pluck sound. The vocals are not as locked down as I would like though. They sound wide open and messy. If this is what they were going for they hit the nail on the head. I don’t think this is what they were after though since it is their first release. The B-side track is called Dazed. This track starts off with a cool riff that is never seen again in the song. The vocals on this track are a little bit more locked down than the first track but still messy. The guitars on this track are doused more heavily in the surf sound than the other. It is for this reason that I like this track more than the other. Both are great punk songs but I have an affinity for the surf sound and therefore like Dazed more. It is also a shorter track than the first holding with the surf style too. For a first release it is great. As a part of their cannon they are the weakest songs that I have heard from them yet. I still have the second 7” still to come. I am hoping it comes this week.

This is a cool jazz album from The Dave Brubeck Quartet. It was originally released in 1959. This album was not a hit upon first release according to current critics. It skyrocketed to success with jazz fans at the time. It was different and people got into the album because of the use of uncommon time signatures, i.e. 9/8 and 5/4. Brubeck heard some Turkish street musicians playing while he was on a tour of Eurasia and as such inspired him to compose Time Out. This album is included in the book 1001 Album You Must Hear Before You Die. Personally, I think every one should hear this album weather it is included in this book or not. I know that there are albums included in that book that I could care less to hear but this album is exquisite and should be heard at least once. One should listen to the album if not the whole half hours worth of music on the album then at least the big single from the album, Take Five. This track is one of the best known jazz tracks to come out of the US. The sax solos on this album are so perfect. It is not really a dance able track but the song does put a smile on your face. The other track that is worth a listen is called Blue Rondo à la Turk. It is a quicker track but because of the odd time signature it is not that easy to dance to. It is still a recognizable track once it has been heard. This is partially due to the odd time signature. Like I said before, listen to this whole album. It is short and you will more than likely end up liking it anyway.

This is the first EP from Veronica Falls. It is also the first release from the group that is all covers of other artists work. This EP was originally released through Rough Trade Records in the UK on vinyl only. The record was released in 2011. It is a very limited vinyl release. I was recently at a concert for Veronica Falls and they were selling the album on CD at their merchandise table. I can only assume that the CD release is for the US tour and therefore released in 2012. There are some very great recognizable tracks on this EP and some others that I had never heard of the song let alone the name of the originating band. The very first track from the EP is a cover of the Rolling Stones song Under My Thumb. This is a very interesting take on the song. It comes off very dark but kind of bland at the same time. I think that they could have done this track with a little more flare. The song that they have been playing from this album is called Starry Eyes. This was originally recorded by Roky Erickson. This was a B-side for the single Found Love In A Graveyard from the Captured Tracks records label. Trouble Records also released Found Love In A Graveyard but the B-side is a track from their first full length album. The other track that I think is pretty cool and recognizable is the song Thorn In My Side. This was a song recorded by Eurythmics. This is a very cool and unique group of songs from Veronica Falls but it is definitely not something to chase after unless you are sure that you want to have every thing that the group has put out. On a side note Slumberland is supposed to be putting out a non album single in a couple of months. Slumberland has informed me that the A-side will be a new track called My Heart Beats. They are keeping me in the dark as to what the B-side will be but it could only be one of three songs that I am aware of that haven’t been released yet; Burry Me Alive, Teenage or Last Conversation. There is one other possible track too called Back Page but I already have a copy of that song from the Demos + More split EP (Veronica Falls and Brilliant Colors). But that is another review.

This is the sixth release from The B-52’s. It was released in 1992. I bought this album right away when it came out on cassette. The cassette is clear orange with white lettering. I thought that this was so cool since most cassettes that I had were either smoke clear or solid white. I remember trying to introduce my friends to the album after Love Shack. It did not work out so well. One instance I remember specifically. After I had introduced a friend to the album I had to leave to go home. I lived, at the time, a mile and a half up a big hill. I was on my way with the cassette in my hand riding my bike. I don’t remember what I hit but I took a tumble off the bike. I must have let go of the cassette in the fall. I was totally not concerned about how I was but where was the cassette. I found it still in the case but the case had a chip in the outer edge. I felt like a moron because my father always taught me, “Treat your equipment with respect.” I couldn’t let him know that I had done such a foolish thing with my equipment. To this day he still has no idea not that he would care at this point. He doesn’t read this anyway (no computer). Anyway, There were five singles released from this album. The first single was the title track from the album, Good Stuff. This is the reason that I bought the album. This track was featured in the movie D2: The Mighty Ducks. In the video for the song RuPaul has a cameo. Cindy Willson took a break from the band on this album. She does come back for the follow up to this album though. For me this album continues in the vein started with Cosmic Thing excluding Love Shack because it stands out as the odd track on the album. The next single from the album is called Is That You Mo-Dean? This single failed to chart well. The track is actually one of my least favorites from the album. But, the 12” single has a few remixes by Moby. I like a lot of stuff that Moby has done. I have not heard the remixes but would be interested to hear them simply because Moby did the remixes. The third single released from this album is called Tell It Like It T-I-Is. This song is a super fun track. It is basically saying tell the truth. It has a great beat but remains sonically like it should be a part of the album. It is the first track on the album and a great starter. This is probably why is charted well in the dance charts. The next single released from the album is called Revolution Earth. This song is based on folk music ideas. The intro and outro to the song is completely different from the average song from the group in that they are long and meandering. I like the song for this exact reason. It is a departure from the cookie cutter tracks that they have put out in the past. The last single from this album is called Hot Pants Explosion. I always liked this track. I always imagined that there was a barrel that was packed with Hot Pants so tightly that it would explode if it were jostled in any way. It did explode in my imagination in an indoor mall. As with the song, it was always a big party because the pants were all different bright colors. It really is a great song with a great beat. It’s really a shame that the song did not chart better than it did. I never heard it on the radio when it was released as a single. This is a great album that deserves at least one listen if you are a fan of The B-52’s.

This is the sixth album released from Blur. It was released in 1999. This was a further departure from their Brit Pop/Madchester roots. It is more cerebral and denser musical territory for the group. The album is a lose concept album based on life and relationships. The album is inspired by lead singer Damon Albarn’s breakup with Elastica Singer Justine Frischmann. Two of the tracks from the album specifically reference albarn’s love for her and his struggle to move on. The group did an interesting thing by hiding short tracks between some of the songs. They are short interstitials that are obviously not a part of the previous song or the following song. Tender is the first single released from this album. This is a very heart felt song that pulls on my heart strings. The chorus to this song uses the London Community Gospel Choir. This was a different track for Blur. It gives the song an organic or more human than possible feel to the song. This is probably part of why I am so emotional about the song. The next single from the album is called Coffee & TV. The song brings back some of their Brit Pop roots. The only exception is the instrumental part of the track where the guitar parts make heavy use of distortion and feedback. The music is very up beat but seems to slowdown because of the slow speaking style vocals. It was a big on the radio but it wasn’t really my favorite track from the album. The third and last single released from this album is called No Distance Left To Run. This track and the first single are the songs that Albarn specifically wrote about his break up with Elastica’s singer. This song is super slow and emotional. It talks about the end of a relationship. This can be very painful as most people would already know. The lyrics feel like it is just the end of a life, so low. The music is just as slow. I can’t say that I love this song. It is so depressing that I can’t handle it usually. I would rather talk about the track called B.L.U.R.E.M.I. This is probably my favorite track on the album. It is filled with noise and distortion. The lyrics are nearly unintelligible on the track. The chorus uses a vocoder on a bass guitar. It sounds like a kid robot reading the letters for the song. The song itself is very upbeat with an abrupt ending. It is very exciting. This is one of the few tracks that has the bonus content after the track. It is very soft and a big contrast from the actual track. Fans have dubbed it B.L.U.R.E.M.I. exlude. This album is not for everyone. There are some very depressing tracks on the album. I do think that everyone should hear the lead single,Tender, from the album though.

This is a series of nine singles collected into a group. It was released in 2011. The first that I had heard of this group was when they did a remix of The Body from The Pains of Being Pure At Heart. I thought the remix was interesting but not so great that I would keep listening to it over and over. I did not look into the group any further because of this. Coming up in a few months Slumberland will be releasing their second full length album. I heard the first single from this upcoming album upon finding this out. I was amazed at what I heard. They are putting out and have been putting out music that is in the Nu-gaze genre. This is the same style that The Pains, Veronica Falls and Gold-Bears are classified in. I started to dig into the group a little bit and found that they had released many singles and a couple of EPs. I also found this album. This compilation album sounds very warm and inviting through out the whole nine songs. It is very nice. There are hints of 60s jangle and 70s wall of sound. Unlike the 90s shoegaze sound, you can for the most part hear what the singer is saying. It is a refreshing take on the shoegaze sound and so much easier to listen to. I don’t think that there is one particular song that stands out for me right now but each song was released as its own single during 2011. If you are into the Nu-gaze sounds that are coming out right now then don’t pass this band up!

That is all I have for now...