Thursday, May 31, 2012

Vol. 3 Episode 21

I went to my son's first concert today. It was the fifth grade concert to show up coming students what instruments that they could play if they were interested in being in the band. I have an app that is designed to record voice memos that I used to record the songs that were played. I am very excited to get them converted so we can listen to them on the computer. 

I am still waiting to get my copy of the new Sigur Rós LP in the mail. I am also waiting on the new single from Beck. Here's to hoping that they arrive before I move! On with the show...

This is the second album from the Go-Go’s. It was released in 1982. It was on this second single that the band started having a bit of strife. The outward appearance of the band was very happy though misleading the public to keep the success of the band. There were a few singles released from the album.

The first was the title track, Vacation. The song was a big hit for the summer of 82 and is usually considered for most 80s playlists/compilation CDs to this day. The song talks about falling in love while on vacation and having to go back with out that new love of your life. The chorus talks about remembering that vacation and that love that you had to leave behind. The music is a lot of fun but simple at the same time. This is a big part of why it was so popular.

There were three other tracks that were released from this album as singles. The second single is called Get Up And Go. The third is called He’s So Strange. Both of these songs had minor success in the charts. The forth single that was released from this album is called Cool Jerk. This song is a cover of The Capitols song originally recorded in 1966. This song was released as a single in support of the Go-Go’s greatest hits compilation released in 1990 called Greatest. 

This is the sixth album from Michael Jackson. It was released in 1982. Quincy Jones produced the album. Of the nine tracks on the album, 4 of them were written by Jackson himself. Seven singles were released from the album, all of which reached the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. Three of the singles had music videos released. "Baby Be Mine" and "The Lady in My Life" were the only tracks that were not released as singles. In just over a year, Thriller became—and currently remains—the best-selling album of all time. The album was one of the first to use music videos as successful promotional tools—the videos for "Thriller", "Billie Jean" and "Beat It" all received regular rotation on MTV.

Since its release and the two years following the album has not been repressed on vinyl. It has been repressed in a few special editions over the years with limited runs but only for collectors. From what I can tell the album was not put on to CD until 2001 in the US but as soon as 1983 in Japan and other countries.

As I mentioned earlier there are seven singles released from this album. The first of which is called The Girl Is Mine. This song is a duet featuring Paul McCartney. The song is a lot of fun given the playfulness between the two that can be heard on the recording.

The second single is called Billie Jean. The song was promoted with a video that broke down MTV's racial barrier as the first video by a black artist to be aired by the channel. The song was also promoted through Jackson's Pepsi commercials; during the filming of one commercial, Jackson's scalp was severely burned. The song itself has a slow moving bass line that is instantly recognizable to nearly anybody.

The next single released form the album is called Beat It. Eddie Van Halen was hired to add the song's distinctive overdriven guitar solo, but was prevented by his record label from appearing in the music video. The song was promoted with a video that featured Jackson bringing two gangs together through the power of dance. I remember both this version that MJ did and the parody that “Weird Al” Yankovic did they were very good. Of course the parody came out after the original.

The fourth single released from the album is called Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’. The song is about strangers spreading rumors to start an argument for no good reason. Musically, "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" has a cross-cultural disco theme similar to tracks from Off The Wall. The song's rhythm arrangement consists of interweaving drum-machine patterns, while the horn arrangement is brassy and precise.

The fifth single from the album is called Human Nature. "Human Nature" was written and composed by Steve Porcaro of Toto and John Bettis for Michael Jackson's Thriller album. Initially, Porcaro recorded a rough demo of the song on a cassette. Fellow Toto band member David Paich then gave the demo, along with two songs written by Paich, to producer Quincy Jones, hoping they would be included on Thriller. Jones didn't like Paich's songs, but enjoyed the rough demo of "Human Nature" at the end of the cassette. Jones explained, "All of a sudden, at the end, there was all this silence, there was: 'why, why, dah dah da-dum dah dah, why, why'. Just a dummy lyric and a very skeletal thing—I get goosebumps talking about it. I said, 'This is where we wanna go, because it's got such a wonderful flavor'". Bettis, who had written lyrics for hits by The Carpenters and The Pointer Sisters, among others, was asked to add lyrics to the song. He completed the song in two days. The producer asked if the song could be included on Jackson's album, to which Porcaro and Bettis agreed.

The sixth single from the album is called P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing). The original demo version of the song was written by Jackson and Greg Phillinganes. Quincy Jones passed on the song itself but liked the title and, with James Ingram, fashioned a totally new song with that title. Two of Jackson's sisters, Janet and La Toya, provided backing vocals in the guise of the P.Y.T.s. The two sisters sang "na na na" back at their brother towards the end of the song. This was one of my favorite songs on the album. There was something that made me happy about the song. It may have been that I was girl crazy at an early age or just that the song was very good to my ear.

The last single released from the album is called Thriller. It is the title track to the album. It is the best track on the album in my opinion. In the song, sound effects such as a creaking door, thunder, feet walking on wooden planks, winds and howling dogs can be heard, and the lyrics contain frightening themes and elements. "Thriller" received positive reviews from critics, though the song was outshone by its music video. "Thriller" was adapted into a highly successful music video, known independently as Michael Jackson's Thriller. At fourteen minutes the video is substantially longer than the song, which ties together a narrative featuring Jackson and actress Ola Ray in a setting heavily inspired by horror films of the 1950s. In the video's most iconic scene, Jackson leads other actors costumed as zombies in a choreographed dance routine. It garnered some criticism for its occult theme and violent imagery. In 2009 it was added to the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, the first music video ever selected. While Temperton was writing "Thriller" he stated that he'd "always envisioned" a "talking section at the end" on the song, but did not really know what "to do with it", until deciding "to have somebody, a famous voice, in the horror genre, to do this vocal." Jones' then-wife, Peggy Lipton, who knew Vincent Price, suggested Price for the vocal part, which Price agreed to do.

If you have not heard this album it is absolutely necessary that you swing by YouTube or your local record store to find a copy and listen to it as soon as possible. Yes, this album is that important in the history of music.

This is the fifth album from Alice Cooper. It was released in 1972. The original album cover (designed by Craig Braun) had the sleeve opening in the manner of an old school desk. The vinyl record inside was wrapped in a pair of girl's panties, though this was later discontinued as the panties were found to be flammable. The panties came in various colors. I have heard of them coming in blue and pink.

The single that was released from the album was the self titled track, School’s Out. It was a major world wide hit. I am sure that I had heard the song when I was a kid as my father listened to the classic rock station growing up. I think that it made the most impact on me from the movie Dazed And Confused though. The album was recently repressed on vinyl so I got a copy then. Surprisingly the album has not been repressed on vinyl very often in the past. It was repressed a few times in the early 70s once in the late 80s and just in the past few years, when I got my copy. I have seen in used in the record stores but not very often.

Cooper has said he was inspired to write the song when answering the question, "What's the greatest three minutes of your life?” Cooper said: "There's two times during the year. One is Christmas morning, when you're just getting ready to open the presents. The greed factor is right there. The next one is the last three minutes of the last day of school when you're sitting there and it's like a slow fuse burning. I said, 'If we can catch that three minutes in a song, it's going to be so big.'"

Cooper has also said it was inspired by a line from a Bowery Boys movie. On his radio show, "Nights with Alice Cooper," he joked that the main riff of the song was inspired by a song by Miles Davis.

The lyrics of "School's Out" indicate that not only is the school year ended for summer vacation, but ended forever, and that the school itself has been blown up. It incorporates the childhood rhyme, "No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers' dirty looks" into its lyrics. It also featured children contributing some of the vocals. "Innocence" in the lyric "...and we got no innocence" is frequently changed in concert to "intelligence". "Etiquette" has also been used to replace the word.

This is the first album from the group Yuck. It was originally released in February 2011 with a re-release in October 2011 that included an additional six tracks. The first two singles released were put out before the album had taken shape but were included on the album when it was released. There are six singles released from the album and you have probably never heard any of them.

The first single, Rubber, is filled with early 90s distortion. The track is slow with a clean tone guitar slowly picked between the vocals. The vocals are also slightly distorted or over driven to add interest to the track.

The second single is called Georgia. This song is more up beat musically than the first single. This song pulls even more from the shoegaze genre with female vocals backing the lead vocal. The distortion is also not so harsh on this track making it easier to listen to.

The third single is called Holing Out. This is the reason that I got interested in the band. This song reminded me of the alternative style that came from the mid 90s MTV generation. It sort of reminds me of the song Feel The Pain by Dinosaur Jr. But in reality it is nothing like the song. I think that it is the melody that reminds me of the track because Holing Out has so much more distortion in it than Feel The Pain does. I like both songs for the same reasons though.

The next single is called Get Away. This song is slowed down and has this beautiful lead guitar part with a sweet bent high pitch distorted guitar sound. I could listen to that note being bent for hours it is so sweet and smooth. The vocals on this one are distorted a little bit as well. This track reminds me of something from the Nada Surf first album called High Low. It is not exactly a happy song but has the same feel as the music coming out of the mid 90s.

The sixth single from the album is called The Wall. This song is trying to be a pop song. It does OK with it too. I am not a fan of pop in general but the song does well with what it has.

The last single from the album is called Shook Down. I think it was released as a double A side with Milkshake. The track Milkshake was included on the re-release as a part of the second 6 track disc. Shook Down is a slowed down track with clean sounding vocals and a slowed down clean backing music track. It is a very nice track in the middle of walls and walls of distortion. It has very nice placement on the album to break up all of the noise.

This is a good nostalgic album brought new. What I mean is that it is a new album with heavy 90s nostalgic influence. I really like the album but think that if you don’t know the 90s music scene you may not get the intentions of this album.

That is all I have for now...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Vol. 3 Episode 20

This will be my second attempt at a Beatles album. This one is not exactly an album but has become widely accepted as an album over time. Here we go...

This is a soundtrack and singles compilation released from The Beatles. It was released in 1967. It was released in two formats. In the UK it was released as a double EP soundtrack for the movie of the same name. In the US it was released as a 12” album. All of the tracks from the UK double EP were on side A and a short compilation of non-album singles are on the B side of the album. It has become widely accepted that the US version is the standard version. Although the movie was a complete failure the soundtrack was a huge success. At one point a couple years ago I went crazy looking for the albums on vinyl. This was probably the summer before the albums were remixed and released in 09. I found about half of them used and the others in new shrink from the 87 CD remixes. This album was one of the ones that I got in new shrink. I can’t really say if the 87 CD remix versions of the albums are better or worse than the originals. Either way the record sounds good to me. There are no pops or crackles that happen when I play it. It actually made a better MP3 copy of the album better because of this. I love all of the tracks on the album on top of this. This is my second favorite album that The Beatles put out. I am not a hard core fan but those that are would probably call me crazy for thinking that. Anyway, The very first track is the title track for the album, Magical Mystery Tour. I love how the song starts off with a short fanfare then comes down to what the song really is. The song takes off on a good beat and continues on with the fun. It reminds me of a circus a little bit in the way it tries to get the kiddies and adults interested. The next one of my favorites from the album is the song Blue Jay Way. The song plods away with organ and stringed instruments then the bass guitar plucks in with the drums following. The vocals are very dreamy sounding with what sounds like a chorus pedal on them. It really reminds me of getting ready for bed as a kid, in that sleepy haze when one of your parents is putting you to sleep because you have fallen asleep watching TV or on the way home from a party that your parents wish they could have gone to alone. The other track that I really liked from the A side of the record (the EP side) is I Am The Walrus. The song reminds me of something that would have been designed to make kids happy but the lyrical content is pushed more for the young adult and older. I thought that it was interesting to learn that Lennon composed the song by combining three songs he had been working on. When he learned that a teacher at his old primary school was having his students analyze Beatles' lyrics, he added a verse of nonsense words. On the B side (non-album singles) I find that Strawberry Fields Forever is just a perfect song. The song is inspired by Lennon's memories of playing in the garden of a Salvation Army house named "Strawberry Field" near his childhood home. I think that the idea is portrayed adequately in the song and is part of why I like it. It reminds me of playing in the woods or nearby fields of the campground that my family went to every weekend. They are happy times for me and that is how I feel about the song too. The last song from the album that I really like is the last song on the b side of the album, All You Need Is Love. The Beatles were asked to come up with a song containing a simple message to be understood by all nationalities. The BBC had commissioned The Beatles to write a song for the United Kingdom's contribution to the Our World television broadcast in 1967. It was meant to be a simple direct slogan to the world. The song reminds me of my mother who always believed that love could solve almost all problems in life. The song was just that simple, all you need is love. It is a perfect end to the album truly. This collection of songs will always have a special place in my heart, because of my mother and because of the time. Although I was not born at this time I know the songs very well. I do recommend this album if not for the singles on the B side of the album then for the childlike atmosphere on the A side of the album.

I recently purchased this compilation for a couple of tracks. There are actually a few EPs included in this package if you want to get them with out spending an arm and a leg trying to find them on vinyl. It is a two disk collection released this year in preparation for the upcoming remixes of the two full length albums. I have already reviewed these EPs in past posts but I will list the EPs that are contained on the compilation. The first EP that is included on the collection is called You Made Me Realize. There are five tracks on this EP. The second is Feed Me With Your Kiss. There are four tracks on this EP. The third EP is called the Glider EP. There are four tracks on this EP as well. The second disk starts out with The Tremolo EP. There are Four songs from this EP. Now, The reason that I had to get this two disc set was, A to have the two instrumental tracks that were originally released as a bonus 7” included with their first album, Isn’t Anything, and B to get my hands on a few alternate mixed tracks and three other unreleased tracks that are included on the end of the second disk. The two instrumental tracks were only released as a bonus 7” on the initial release of the first album. I had been looking for them as a download of some sort for some time but could only find the second one of the two. I have listened to it and it is very interesting but the first of the two instrumentals is much more elegant than the second and I am very happy that I now have a copy of both of them. The full length version of Glider is after these two instrumentals. This version of the track was only found on the remix 12” of Soon as the B side track. I would love to have the A side of this 12” but have not gotten around to it yet. This full length version of Glider is a ten minuet track of droning drawn out from the original three minute standard version. It is for sure not a track that you need to hear unless you are a hard core fan. When I listen to it I find my self waiting for the song to kick in and it never does. The last few minutes of the song just sort of fade away into oblivion. The next track, called Sugar, originally comes from the French version of the single Only Shallow. The song has a cool electronic drum track that is continuous through the song. The sound reminds me of a click track but easier to listen to. For those of you who don’t know, a click track is a musician’s marker to keep time in a song. It is usually just as it says a click sound that is played during recording to keep pace but is not usually a part of the song. The next song, called Angel, has never before been released. This song reminds me of something that the group Lush would have done. It is more straight forward than I would have expected from the group. It is still easy to listen to though. The next song, Good For You, has also never been released. This track is more on the jangle pop side than I would have expected. It reminds me of something from the mid 90s. It has distorted guitar with no lead and the vocals are more male oriented. The last track on the compilation is called How Do You Do It. This is the last track and was also never before released until this compilation. This last track is more along the lines of the usual sound from the group. The different thing about this track is the vocals. During the verse part the stand out more than I would have expected but the chorus has heavy echo on it making it more interesting in the contrast. There are some hard to find gems on this compilation for sure. It is also a cheaper way to get a few of the EPs from the group. The problem is that it was released only in the UK. You can maybe get a copy as an import from Amazon or go over to and find a used copy for a couple bucks cheaper. If you are interested in reading more about the EPs that are contained on this album you can read what I had to say about some of them here, here, and here. You can read my thoughts on their second album here. I will see if I can dissect the first album and some of the EPs in the future.

This is the tenth album from Stereolab. It was released in 2008. I got this album on vinyl when it first came out. After the release I found out that the Japanese version had three extra tracks. I then bought the Japanese import for those three tracks. They really make the album and that is why I did it. I first found out about the album from my local radio station. They were playing the song from the album called Self Portrait with "Electric Brain". There were other songs that were played/singles from the album as well. Those songs are Neon Beanbag, Three Women and one of the extra tracks from the Japanese version called Spool of Collusion. The album is standard fan fare from the group. The interesting thing about the group is that nothing ever overlaps exactly. What I mean is that although everything sounds similar from the group it is always new music from them. I had heard or read somewhere that one of the members of the group had stated that their music is like chipping a piece of the Stereolab glacier every time they make a new song. I guess that they make music that I can depend on to always be unmistakably theirs. That is the big reason that I like their music. It is a shame that they are not together any longer.
Radiohead – Kid A & OK Computer (8-Bit)
I recently found, through one of the Radiohead fan sites, that a fan had put out the full albums of both Kid A and OK Computer covered in the 8-Bit/Chiptune genres. They are both great takes on these now classic albums. For me the albums are so played out but I now have renewed interest in both of the albums because of this new covered version. They are spreading over the internet like wild fire. I got my copies as soon as I could because of the problems that Mediafire are having with their sharing and the US government. They are really a joy to listen to. I would recommend getting copies of both albums as soon as possible as they may be gone from download sooner than expected. You can “watch” them at YouTube though still.

That is all I have for now...

Remember, if you have requests for albums to be looked at just leave your ideas in the comments section.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Vol. 3 Episode 19

Alright, The Pains remix EP finaly showed up. I also got the new colored vinyl release from Violens!

This is a 12” record released in Europe for Record Store Day 2012. It is of limited release because of this. The record was pressed in purple vinyl. I think that this was done to resemble the Prilosec medication color. The tagline of which is, “The purple little pill.” If you don’t know Prilosec is a medication to fight against acid reflux. I wish that there was a way to put two gold stripes in the record because that is what the medication has on it. It would have been funny to me anyway. There are four tracks on the record. The first two were given out for free as MP3 files over the summer of 2011. The first track is called Heart in Your Heartbreak (Twin Shadow remix). The Pains toured with Twin Shadow on the first part of their US tour. This was when I saw the Pains (See review of concert here). I am not a fan of Twin Shadow but the remix works well. The second track is called The Body (Violens remix). This track is really good except for a sound effect that they used that distracts me from the song every time I hear it. It is a kind of screeching sound. It is neither an organic being sound nor an electronic sound and this is why it is so distracting. The second side of the record has the other two tracks, both of which were not released as regular singles like the two tracks on side A were. The first track on the second side is called Too Tough (Saint Etienne Remix). Saint Etienne has remixed a track (Higher Than The Stars) for the group in the past. This remix is in the same vein as this track. It is very smooth and easy to listen to. I can’t say that the remix of Too Tough is better than the original track but it is different in a good way. The last track to be given the remix treatment is called My Terrible Friend (Washed Out Remix). Washed Out are a great band that writes similar music to what The Pains write. Washed Out are a perfect match to remix a track for them. It is a good track but it is the last track on the record. All in all this is a good set of remixed tracks. Good luck trying to find a copy for less than 30 bucks here in the US though. I found my copy for about 20 bucks but add on the shipping and you will find your self at or over 30 bucks even from a private party.

This is the second album from Violens, not counting the nine song download album in 2011. This album was released just this week from Slumberland records (2012). The record was released in limited colored vinyl. I was disappointed when I learned that the record was just translucent, a slightly white color. I always hope for something more beautiful but, to me, this is a little bland. I am still happy to have gotten a limited colored record though. I previously reviewed the leading single to this album and the French released Fragment #1 siting that the tracks used on them were from the Nine Songs – 2011 download album. There are three tracks on this album that come from that download album as well. Although I would rather have all new tracks from the group I don’t really mind that there are three songs that I already know very well including the lead single from the album. The album as a whole does its best to defy genre classification. The problem is that fans and critics alike are still calling it shoegaze but with a hint of that classic 60s sound. There was also a promo track that was pre-released as a free download through some music website or other. That track is called Der Microarc. This is a great complementing track to the lead single from the album, Totally True. They are two different tracks but have a very cool similar flow. This album may not meet the needs of the average radio listener but for those of you out there looking for the new and cutting edge in music you may want to check this group/album out. It is a lot of fun for its atmospheric sounds.

On a side note, I brought this album over to my father-in-laws the other day and he loved it. He liked it so much that he wanted to know where to get it. This just proves that this is a great album that everyone can enjoy.

This is the second album from Lush. It was released in 1994. They are a shoegaze band. I knew about the group but when it was released I was getting into Radiohead and Blur. It was not until the late 00s/early 10s that I started getting into this style of music. I found the group again through the rhythm video game called Rock Band (the second version) that I found the group again. The song from the group that got me back into the group was called De-Luxe. This track was a B-side that ended up on a compilation for the group called Gala. I found most of the albums that I wanted from the group at Cheapo Records for cheap. This album, Split, was one of those cheap finds. There were three singles released from this album, the last of which was a promo only single released to radio stations. The first single, Hypocrite, was really a straight forward rock song for the group. It has a very driving beat that pushes the song along at a quick pace. The next single is called Desire Lines. This song was much slower that the lead single from the album. The track doesn’t really go anywhere; it is just slow and atmospheric. It is a track that I would like to read to. The third single, the promo track, is called When I Die. This song is kind of in the jangle pop category. It is a simple guitar part with a chorus pedal on it. It sounds very cool. The song is made even better with the two female vocals on top of it. The song is very dreamy or light and airy to listen to although slightly depressing at the same time. I think that if I were the manager of the band at this time I would have chosen different songs from the album to have released as singles. For example, I think that I would have chosen Lovelife as the second single because of the beautiful guitar part with the female vocals. This track is slightly slower than the lead single but quick enough to keep fans and newcomers interested in the group. The album as a whole is very good and gives an idea as to where the band was going on the next album. I think that the album was called split because it showed where the band was and where the band intended to go in the future.

This is the second album from the cartoon pop group Gorillaz. It was released in 2005. This is one of the albums that helped me get through a heavily depressed period in my life. The album was very dark but still had uplifting melodies. It is these melodies that helped me through to become a better person. The first single from the album is called Feel Good Inc. The song has a great bass line that makes me feel good every time I hear it. Sprinkled over the top of that is a light acoustic electric guitar and in the back ground is an 80s sounding synth, over the top of all that is the unmistakable vocals of Damon Albarn. The rap part in this song is from De La Soul, another unmistakable group to help out with the song. Then there is the big beat drums that are pushing the song along. All together a great hit song do they make. The next single from the album is called Dare. This song features Shaun Ryder & Rosie Wilson. This track has simple synth bass that blasts you from every direction. It is so huge, I love it. The vocals are mainly from the two guest vocalists with chorus support from Damon. It is a slow moving track but seems to work so well in its slowness. The third single from the album is called Dirty Harry. This was kind of a expected name of a track from the group considering that the hit single from the first album was called Clint Eastwood, although the song doesn’t resemble Clint Eastwood at all. The song is more organic than would have been expected from the band considering that there is a string quartet used in the track. It also uses a youth chorus to add to that organic feel. The last two singles released from the album were released as a double A side tracks. They are called Kids With Guns/El Manana. Kids With Guns is a slower song from the album with a simple drum and bass line. The song also has female backing vocals and a sprinkling of distorted electric guitar over it all. Damon has all the vocals on this track. The other A side track, El Manana, is an even slower track that doesn’t really appeal to me. It is a good track I am not really a fan of the Mexican influenced tracks. Although this influence is slight it makes me uncomfortable to listen to it. This album is very long with 15 tracks running at just over 50 minutes. I really need to want to listen to the album to sit through the whole thing. It is a good album but, for me, it is a long one.

That is all I have for now...

Friday, May 11, 2012

Vol. 3 Episode 18

Well, The Pains remix EP has not shown up on my door step at this time. I am very disappointed about this. I still have hope that it will show up but if it doesn't show by Monday I think there may be a problem. Anyway, on with the show...

This is the Silversun Pickups third album. It was just released this past Tuesday on May 8, 2012. I have known about this album for the past month. The group is on Dangerbird Records. I really wanted to have the colored vinyl release from the record company but they wanted to charge an extra five bucks plus ten bucks for shipping. Charging extra for colored vinyl is not so bad but ten bucks to ship, I have a real problem with that. I have never paid over 5 bucks to ship US to US. Even Slumberland Records has never charged over four bucks, thanks Slumberland. I got this at one of my favorite local record stores, The Electric Fetus. They have so much to look at, it is really great, I just don’t have enough money to buy as much as I want. I got the album on vinyl. It is a double vinyl with download. I am excited to listen to the vinyl but I am in the process of moving so probably will not get the chance to do so until the move and settle is over. That won’t be for a month probably. I want to listen to it though because the previous album sounds really fantastic on vinyl. I could only expect that this one would as well. The first single released from this album is called Bloody Marry (Nerve Endings). The song starts out with a simple two chord flow that turns into a four chord run. It is really cool but doesn’t sound like the group until the chorus hits. I like when a group tries new things just not so new that the group alienates its fans. This single is perfect and will make fans very happy. At least it makes me very happy any way. The album, after listening to it a couple times, seems to be a bit slow on the first half. The second half picks up the pace quite a bit. I really like the second half of the record for that reason. What I don’t like about the second half is that the tracks seem to be very long. It is a good record an will keep the fans happy.

This is the first single from the fifth album from The Hives. It was released for Record Store Day 2012. I did not get this 7” record on RSD. I did not have the money at the time. I went to one of my local record stores to get the Silversun Pickups album and went through the RSD leftovers. I did not see the other item I was looking for but was happy to get a copy of this record. It is a two track single. The A side of the single is the song Go Right Ahead. The song has a similar riff to the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) song called Don’t Bring Me Down. It was so similar, in fact, that The Hives actually asked members of ELO for permission to use the riff. The song is a cool song but it doesn’t seem to have the tension that I have come to expect from the group. The B side track is called 1000 Answers. This track seems to be pretty speedy. I like that it is straight forward speed punk. My favorite line is the chorus line, “I got a thousand answers, one’s gotta be right.” I wish I could have 1000 answers to every question. I can hardly get one answer out most times. The graphic on the cover was pretty cool too. It looks like it is a graphic displayed on a tube television. It is an idea that is fading as America has converted to digital programming and flat panel screens.

This is a non album single from beck. It was released in 2007. The single was released as a download on iTunes, single track promo CD and 12” vinyl. The vinyl has the single as the A side and an instrumental version on the B side. I think that I bought the download from Amazon first. I bought the download because I knew that the 12” was hard to find. I got it from Amazon because iTunes was not offering their music at a compression over 192khz at the time and Amazon was offering their MP3’s at 256khz. I loved the track when I first heard it. I did not think much of it at the time but around the time that I started looking for the 8-bit Hell Yes EP I learned that this single was released as a 12” single. I searched it out and bought it. I don’t think that I have even listened to the record but I do own it. I should record both sides and replace the single that I have in my database. The vinyl is basically a white label record. There are no graphics on it at all. It comes in a black sleeve with a hole cut out so you can read the label on the record. There is also a sticker on the sleeve with information about the record. All lettering is on a white label with black lettering. It is super basic but I kind of like it that way.

This is the second album from Jesus Jones. It is their breakthrough album though. It was released in 1991. I bought a copy of this album when I was just a freshman in high school. It was my first step into the world of electronic rock. I bought it on cassette. The tape still sounds good to this day. If I found a copy of the album on vinyl I would buy it on the spot though. There were quite a few singles released from the album surprisingly, it was not just the big hit, Right Here, Right Now, but there were others that were released too. The first single released from the album is called Real, Real, Real. The song has a good synth bass line that pushes the song along. The drums aid to the bass and keep the song moving. The vocals are pretty much the same through the album. They come off as sort of sung but with a raspy voice.  This style of vocals can get annoying but it seems to work for the album. The next single, Right Here, Right Now, was the big hit from the album, climbing up the charts in both the US and the UK. The song was inspired by political events that happened around the world in the lat 80s and early 90s such as the fall of the Berlin wall. This song was the reason that I got the album. The third single released from the album is called International Bright Young Thing. This song has a cool beat that really kicks. The song uses a sitar along with samples. This was somewhat of a new concept in the early 90s for a band to do. It made them more recognizable than some of the other new rock groups that were coming up. The last single released from the album was called Who? Where? Why? This track made use of African chanting in the opening of the track. There was also a sample of someone saying the name of the band looped. It is a song that questions who we are and why we are here. They are questions that I ask myself just about every day really. Who am I and is this where I want to be in my life. How can I change it if this is not where I want to be? It is a good album for an early 90s pop record.

Hopefully that Pains EP will come in. I am also hoping that the My Bloody Valentine rarities will be released soon. That is all I have for now...

Friday, May 4, 2012

Vol. 3 Episode 17

Here it is folks. It is a big one with a great set of records including the new EP from Family Force 5.

Wouter De Backer, AKA Gotye (Pronounced GOH-tee-yay) has put out this, his third, solo album. The album was released at the end of the summer of 2011. He is also a part of the group The Basics from Australia. I have a preview copy that I got off the internet. I knew about this album from last year but was not interested enough to have a listen. With the super hit, that has seemingly changed the world, Somebody That I Used To Know I decided to give the album a chance. I have listened to the album a few times and I find that the album is good but about a third of the album doesn’t fit. I think that this would have been a great mini LP and I would have put the other four or five tracks that don’t fit the album on the shelf for another time. Anyway, the album is out as it is and there are some really great singles that have been released from it. The first single that was relerased from the album is called Eyes Wide Open. This single was released well before the album saw the light of day. It was released in November of 2010. The song has a fun galloping beat. His vocals are so smooth making the song easy to listen to. The second single is the big hit from the album, Somebody That I Used To Know. The song has a contrasting vocal that helps the song work so well in an artist named Kimbra. The song has already had two covers done. One by the Glee cast and a second dong by a group called Walk Off The Earth. The glee version was portrayed by two brothers talking back and forth. Some fans have complained that the song was meant to be portrayed a boyfriend/girlfriend only but I personally think that it could be based on a two person relationship in general. Gotye has also said that he disapproves of the Glee cover. The Walk Off The Earth cover is really amazing though. They are a five piece group that only play one guitar during the song. It is really amazing to see ten hands playing one guitar. The third single released from the album is called I Feel Better. This is a great R&B throw back track but this is one of the albums that does not fit on the album. I think that it shows great history and where his influences are but it doesn’t belong on the album. I would have either saved it or used it for a B-side track. The last single released from the album is called Easy Way Out. This track has a super cool fuzzy bass line with a blues style guitar line that is just fantastic. I think that this track is musically better than Somebody That I Used To Know. Like I previously stated, this is a good album but there are some tracks that could have been left off.

This is the first album from Kajagoogoo. It was released in 1983. I was lucky to find an original pressing of the album that had probably only been listened to once or twice. It is in absolutely perfect condition. It is one of the most silent sounding records that I own. What I mean by that is that records have an inherent sound. This is one of the quietest records that I have, not the music but the record itself. The reason that this is important is that it makes the music stand out more clearly. The album was produced by Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran fame with the exception of the self titled track. This track was produced by the Tim Palmer and Kajagoogoo. This track was also used during the opening credits of the John Hughes film Sixteen Candles. The song was not included in the mini album for the sound track though. In 2004 White Feathers was reissued with a bonus disc of remixes and B-side tracks. I think that if I were to look for this album on CD this would be the version I would want. The big single released from the album is called Too Shy. The bass line is such a perfect new wave riff, the vocals are silky smooth and the keys sparkle and shine. The second single released from the album is called Ooh To Be Ah. This was a hit in the UK. It is a good dance track but doesn’t seem to hit the mark for me. The keys are just as sparkly as Too Shy but that is about it for me. It is a really good new wave album but doesn’t seem to hit the mark as a full album either.

This is the seventh full length album from NIN. It was released in 2008. The album was released as a free download with a physical version released in stores a couple months later. The album was originally intended to be an EP but grew into a full album. Some critics have said that the album takes elements from each of his past albums and incorporates them into this album giving the album a feeling of closing or showing memories of the past. There is a graphic representation in the book for each track. They are generally black geometric shapes on a grey background. It is an interesting concept that each track get its own graphic. There was only one single released from this album. That track is called Discipline. The single was given to radio stations around the country by front man Trent Rezner. This is the first single released by NIN after going independent and severing ties from record companies. The song has that great driving beat with fuzzy bass line through the verse, the chorus smoothes the song out a bit by adding light and airy piano and removing the fuzz from the bass guitar. Some critics have said that the song smacks of disco. This may be the case, I do like disco, but it is so hard driving that I can’t see it as a disco track ever. I think that Echoplex and 1,000,000 should have also been released as singles. They are tracks that deserved to be heard by the masses. Why they weren’t, I am not sure. It could have been a money issue or some other hurdle that Trent was not willing to jump at the time. It is a good album but not one that every one needs to hear.

This is their first album. It was released in 1998. The group was named after a drag queen that one of the band members had met in a bar. The group is visually recognized by their stylized clothing and face make up. The first single released from the album was Stitches, as it is sited on their website. Most people became interested in them when they put out a cover of the New Order song Blue Monday. The words for the cover are exactly as they are on the original but the music is what sets the track apart. The guitars are distorted and fuzzy. The chorus is louder as well. Other than that the song musically follows the original. It is a fantastic cover of a great song. It is hard for me to choose which version of the song that I would prefer to listen to. The song Stitches was re-released after the major success of Blue Monday for the group. This song showcases what the band is really about. It is not that different from Blue Monday but shows where the group is sonically. It is very polished and sounds very good. The physical release of the single did not actually have the song on the release. The physical release contained 6 different remixes of the track plus a remix of the track Dissention. I can remember listening/watching the video of this song while visiting my x-wife’s parents. I was close friends with her brother who was just getting into music. He actually led me into the world of nu-metal during a time when alternative and indie music was not that great. I really like that music but when the divorce went through all that hard music went with it. I don’t think that I have bought any music from that genre since the divorce.

This is Paula Abdul’s first album. It was released in 1988. The album has been certified seven times platinum with seven singles from this ten track album. Knocked Out was the first single released from the album. The single was not a big hit but showed the potential popularity of the music on the album. The second single released from the album is called (It’s Just) The Way That You Love Me. This single was a big flop in the UK but a huge success in the US. This was one of my favorite songs in middle school. This was before I started getting into the new alternative/grunge music and before that style of music was even an idea. The third single from the album is called Straight Up. After the release of this third single most radio stations abandoned the second single for the third as it was more poppy and easier to sell. The next single, Forever Your Girl, was released as soon as possible to satisfy the publics’ interest in the new female artist. The song is about loyalty in a relationship. The video is sort of funny in that it makes fun of the video for Robert Palmers’ Simply Irresistible with three little girls dressed in black dresses with red lipstick on. The fourth single, Cold Hearted, was also a chart topper. This was not my favorite song but was still was very catchy indeed. It is at this point that the second single was re-released. The record company wanted to make sure that everyone had a chance to hear all of the singles and since this was a good hit they decided to re-release the song a second time giving it a second chance. The last single released from the album is called Opposites Attract. The album version is different from the more recognized video version of the song. The fun rapping that happens in the video is not on the original album. MC Scat Kat does the rapping in the video. It is actually a bit of a disappointment that the interesting parts are not on the original version of the song. The intro rap part on the video is done by Romany Malco. The closest that I could get to getting the rap parts was the 1990 mix that was put out on the remix album. It is a fun version but not the right version. It does have the short rap in the beginning though. All in all this is a great album that everyone should hear.

This is their fourth and final album from the group. It was released in 2007. The CD jewel case on initial release was colored clear purple. This was to mimic the color that a black light puts out in the dark. There were three singles released from the album but I think that there should have been more. It is a very good album and I feel that it was short changed from its potential. The first single released from the album is called Silver Lining. This song features the smooth silky vocals of Jenny Lewis and a beautiful guitar line on a clear bellsey tone of a Fender Telecaster as is common with this band. The song talks about one person being another’s savior or their silver lining. But that doesn’t last as the person leaves after time. The second single released from the album is called The Moneymaker. This song has very strong funk style with the bass line standing out more than the group would not normally do. The song is about the sex industry of not the adult entertainment industry. The last single released from the album is called Breakin’ Up. The song features light airy synth sounds with the vocals of Jenny Lewis flowing between light and airy to straight forward vocals. The song is obviously about a relationship falling apart. There are also heavy disco sounds in the song making it one of my favorites. It makes me wonder if this song was about the relationship of the group as they did break up after this album was made. I can only hope that the group would be able to come together to put out that album of unreleased tracks that was rumored to be put out. There are other tracks that could have been released from the album including the title track for the album. It is a very pretty song that should have been released as a single in my opinion but with all the complications in the relationship of the band I guess that I am not surprised that there were no other singles released from the album. This is an emotional listen, a very good album.
This is a new release from Family Force 5 (FF5). Just put out on May 1, 2012. It is a five track EP with two new songs and three acoustic remixes of some of their older hits. The cover of the EP is a picture of the III album with the white back ground instead. Before the III album came out the group asked the fans to pick which back ground, black or white, should be on the cover of the album. The fans chose the black background for the new album cover. I guess that they chose to use the white one for this EP. The big single that has been released from the new EP is called Zombie. This track is super funky and a great track too. The song talks about an abstract idea about letting Jesus live in your heart. The original Idea is that you, as a human being, should let go of your earthly ways and let God/Jesus guide you and live in you. It is a fun song that takes that idea to the abstract with the idea of zombies. The nest new track is called Cray Button. The word cray is the super shortened version of crazy, if you didn’t already know that. The song boarders on the idea of dubstep but shies away from that idea just a hair. It is also a great funky song. I was just a little disappointed that there was not a super cool drop with some super cool sparkly synth part. There is a perfect point in the song for something like that to happen but it didn’t, too bad too. The song is still a lot of fun though. The other three songs are a refreshing acoustic look at two tracks from their first album and one from their second. They did this because of their most recent tour which featured the group playing with acoustic instruments. The tracks that were given this treatment are Love Addict from the second album Dance or Die. The other two tracks are Kountry Gentelman and Fever from Business Up Front/Party In The Back. These new remixes are still just as punchy as the original but with out the super fuzz from the original versions.

That is all I have for now...

If you have a request for an album to be looked at then let me know in the comments section. Coming up next week will be The Pains of Being Pure At Heart - Acid Reflex remix EP, released for Record Store Day in the UK and Europe.