Saturday, June 23, 2012

Vol. 3 Episode 23

All right, back up and running. It has finally calmed down enough that I can write something. The move is 99% complete but there is still work to be done at the old apartment, cleaning mainly. The house has full boxes all over it at the moment but we can live here now. I have a couple of new albums to review and am awaiting the arrival of others to the house in the near future. I am very excited for these future albums. I also have a stack of 80s albums to record and talk about too. The stereo is not quite set up to play music yet. There is a couple of things that have to be done yet to the audio room before I can get to those 80s albums yet.

OK, lets get a move on, here we go...

This is the fifth album from Hot Chip. It was released in June 2012. I have written about the group in the past but they are a great electronic rock group that put together perfection on a keyboard. This new album is no exception. There has been only one single released from the album so far but I expect that there will be more.

There was a free download of a track from the album if it was pre-ordered. That track is called Flutes and is found on the album. This track seems to do nothing but the repetitiveness of the track makes me want to sit through it to see if something will change. It is a long track at 7:05. There is a brief climax at 4 minutes then the track goes back to the same flow from the first half. If you like trance music you may like this track with the repetitive go nowhere theme.

The first actual single released from the album is called Night And Day. This single was released on Record Store Day 2012. I am not sure if it was just released on this day or if it had a limited release for RSD 2012. The song is very up beat and from what I can tell has to do with living, working and having fun 24 hours a day. There is a video for the track but I did not think that it was that interesting.

The album starts off with a track called Motion Sickness. It does not give me motion sickness to listen to it though. The song has some very cool synth brass on the low end and classic synth trumpet sounds. The song is a lot of fun. I think that this track could be a single but has yet to be released as such.

I also think that the second track on the album, How Do You Do?, could be a single too. With this song it is the lyrics that pull at me. The singers sing, How do you do it. Make me want to live again? It makes me think about what is it that makes me want to continue living this life that I am living. It is the songs that make me think that make me like them the most.

This is the fifth album from John Mayer. It was release in May 2012. This is the first album from Mayer since his two year break because of the surgical removal of a granuloma near his vocal chords. With this album he confronts a different musical style than what he has done in the past, using elements from folk and Americana styles. He does them well with the help of some professionals from the past (Crosby and Nash). I think that most would classify this album as alt-country.

The first single from the album is called Shadow Days. This is a slow song that fits the folk profile. The song has classic country elements with the use of a steel/lap guitar. I like the song and the album follows suit making the album just as easy to listen to as this song is on its own.

I hope that the title track, Born and Raised, will be the next single. There is something special about this song. It could be just that Crosby and Nash are featured on the track or it could be the old school country feel to the song. It just pulls at you emotionally and you instantly understand what he is talking about. Even with the harmonica, I hate harmonica, it sounds good. The acoustic guitars, organ, vocal harmonies, it all just works so well together.

This is such a good album. Even if you don’t like country give it a try.

This is a compilation album that contains track from Conumber E:P and Alroy Road Tracks. The latter of which was released under the pseudonym Duke of Harringay. There are also three previously unreleased tracks on this album, all of which are labeled Untitled. All of these tracks use influences from electronic breaks and jazz.

The first track, Central Line, has a very fast beat. It also makes use of my favorite instrument, the Rhodes keyboard. It has that smooth jazz feel with speed and hard breaks. This track is great fun.

The first untitled track has a funky bass line that I really like but you have to listen to it through the other noise on the track. This doesn’t really bother me as I have had to listen to music on radio stations that always had static. I have learned to listen through the noise to the bits that I want to hear.

One of the tracks that I really like is called Eviscerate. I like this track so much because he uses the drums as part of the music, not just as a unit to keep time. The tones of the drums become the leading part of the song. The drums are fast too making the track more exciting. There isn’t much else to the song though. It is very interesting though as it is.

The album as a whole is not a necessary purchase unless you are after more from Squarepusher like me. There is some very interesting stuff on the album though and I do recommend the album if you are into jazz and electronic music. The two styles are related after all.

This is the sixth album from Ani DiFranco and my introduction to her. The album was released in 1995. This album was recorded with just her and her guitar and the drums. As a side note, the art work was designed to be looked at as a left handed album, meaning the spine is on the right hand side and opens from the left.

This was a fresh look at music for me. Before this all I had ever listened to was electrified fuzzy guitar that was grunge/alternative. One of my local radio stations, Rev 105, introduced me to the song 32 Flavors. This was the first single from the album. There is something special about this track. The lyrics make me think. More importantly I want to experience exactly what she is talking about. The words almost become physical in my head as she says them. Even the ululations as she sings them. It is a beautiful song and she is a brilliant word smith especially with this song.

The track Shy was made popular through her double live album called Living In Clip. The song was not released as a single but I do remember hearing the song on the radio. It has a quick beat and makes you want to move. The song seems to be about a women who has cheated on her man with another woman. It is an interesting twist considering the time that the song was put out.

All through the album Ani has a very unique way of playing the guitar. It is very mind blowing and has influenced many guitarists since including Trace Bundy (a friend of mine, Koz, thinks he is the best thing since sliced bread). 

I am hoping to get the new Echo Lake album in time for next weeks post.

That is all for now...

Friday, June 8, 2012

Vol. 3 Episode 22

I am moving next weekend and will not be putting up a post next week for sure. It will all depend on how long it takes to get my internet running at the new place before I get a new post in after this one. On with the show...

This single was released as a part of Third Man Records Blue series. It is a non-album single with a B side called Blue Randy. It is the first release of any kind from Beck since the album Modern Guilt and any singles releases from that album. The single was released just a couple of weeks ago on May 28, 2012. The A side of the 7” starts off with a serious country vibe. Even becks vocals are in the style of old country with a violin and an acoustic guitar. When the song kicks it feels closer to Becks normal style. There is a heavily distorted bass guitar and standard no frills drums. A harmonica is used in the break for a solo instrument. Actually two harmonicas are used for this part. He also makes use of a lap guitar and continues the use of the acoustic guitar. The closing of the song changes into a punk style. Jack white does the screaming on the punk part of the song. It is very short. The song then slows to a lounge/smooth jazz sound with a female vocals floating over the top. The B side track, Blue Randy is a folk-rock song with a slow beat that trudges along. Beck has changed is vocal styling for this song too to be more along the country style. He has nearly lost his slack jawed nasal vocal styling. I was not expecting the old style country sound to come from beck. It is odd because he is talking about things that are current but using that country style. I am use to hearing Johnny Cash or Marty Robbins and the country things that they talk about from the early 70’s and back. It is a very refreshing take on what country could still be today. I really like it.

This is the ninth album from beck. It was released in 2005. The album was released in multiple formats. I never got it on vinyl but I would think that it would sound fantastic. I actually got the limited version of the album. It came wit the CD and a DVD. The standard CD came with thirteen tracks, this limited version came with 20 tracks. The DVD came with 5.1 version of the full album plus pictures and a couple of Easter eggs of the videos for E-Pro and Black Tambourine. The album was mixed by The Dust Brothers. They also mixed Odelay. The two albums show similar sounds because of this.

There were three songs that were released as singles from the album. The first single is E-Pro. The rhythm track from The Beastie Boys’ song So What’cha Want was used in the song. The song has a very catchy guitar riff with big beat drums underneath and a simple double hit bass guitar between the two.

The second single released from the album is called Girl. This song starts out with a simple chiptune style and progresses into standard rock riff. The song has a smooth feel to it with that Beck/Dust Brothers sound. It is a good song that I could listen to over and over. It is one of my favorite Beck songs.

The third and last single released from the album is called Hell Yes. The 8-Bit/chiptune version was released as the lead single instead of the album version but the album version was included in the physical CD release as track two. The song is very playful in both versions but more so in the 8-bit version. The vocals for the 8-bit version use a robot developed by Sony to repeat and dance to what is said. There is a section of the song where the robots echo back what beck sings and it is very cute and funny. In the standard track an Asian female echoes what beck says.

There are some other great tracks on this album that I think should have or could have been great singles but were not released as such. The first of those songs may have failed as a single in the US but I think may have been successful out side of the US. The first of those tracks is called QuĂ© Onda Guero. I think that this translates as, “Where are you going white guy?” The vocals com off as abstract and are very interesting to listen to. The line that kills me every time goes like this, “I saw a puppet, a tangs with a mullet and a popsicle.” I giggle to myself every time I hear that line.

Another song that I really like is called Missing. This song reminds me of something that may have come from Mutations or Sea Change. It is slow, very slow and deliberate. It relaxes me and makes me feel comfortable. It also makes me think because he talks about something always missing from his life. He uses different analogies but it makes me think about the song in a spiritual way in that what most people are missing is just that religion and faith. It is really a beautiful song that makes use of violins. It is the violins that probably make me feel so comfortable with the song.

I really like the song Black Tambourine too. This song follows Missing on the album. This song brings up the beat from the song missing. It makes use of not only the tambourine but the deep sounding toms in a drum kit. It gives it a kind of tribal or swing feel. It doesn’t get your blood boiling but it is a very good beat to move around to.

The last song that I wanted to talk about is the song called Clap Hands. This is one of the extra tracks from the extended album. IT kind of sounds like Hell Yes but the backing vocals and cow bell turn it into a song of its own. It is a song that makes me want to sway like a snake, even with its stutter starts of samples.

The four remixes that are included on the extended album are very grand indeed. I recommend this album to everyone. If you can afford it I recommend finding a copy of the extended album because the extras are very good.

This is the first album released by Steely Dan. It was released in 1972. The album was put out before I was born but the songs have such a smooth sound to them. Pretty much the whole album is very good and flows like water in a river.

There were two singles released from the album. The first is Do It Again. This song uses my favorite instrument, the Rhodes keyboard. There is something especial about this instrument for me. This song uses a vibrato on the keyboard along with a little natural distortion. It also use an organ in a solo part that flows really well in the song. Donald Fagan has such an original voice with a heavy New York accent that makes the album stick out as well.

The other song that was released as a single is called Reelin’ In The Years. This song has one of the best sounding guitar parts that I have ever heard. It uses Donald Fagans’ piano part to drive the song. The vocals are still the classic sound of New York. This is just a really great song. I have heard it said that the song is about recalling times with a girlfriend and a romantic breakup.

The rest of the album is good but not quite as good as these two particular tracks. In some instances there is a bit of Billy Joel in the songs and others it is all Steely Dan. I like the album either way. 

This is the fifth album from The Hives. It was released just recently on June 5, 2012. So far there has only been one single released from the album. That song is called Go Right Ahead. I have already talked about this song as it was released as a 7” record for this past Record Store Day. I wan to be sure to note that Jeff Lynne has partial writing credit for the single as it shares similarities to the Electric Light Orchestra song called Don’t Bring Me Down. The B-side to that 7” record is also included on the album. I am not mad about the fact that there was not a unique B-side for the 7” record but it was a little bit disappointing to find out. The album was produced independently by the group. Part of the reason that the album took so long to get out was because it was produced by five  different people with each different ideas of their own as to what the album should sound like.

I really hope that there are more singles released from this album as there are some very good tracks on it. One of my new favorite songs is called I Want More. The chorus is so simple but instantly hooks the listener in. It is just so awesome, classic Hives styling.

The other track that I really like is called Wait A Minute. The title is repeated in the background in harmony through out most of the song. Then the chorus is just repeating that line a few more times. It is so awesome and catchy and hooky and just perfection. I love the song!

The last song that I really like from the album is called These Spectacles Reveal The Nostalgics. This song has that classic speed Hives sound that came from their second album. The second album will always have a special place for me because this was the album that I was introduced to them on. So to have a song or two on this album that reminds me of that album will instantly have a link back. This is probably the reason for the title as well.

The album covers what they have done in the past and points to the future of the groups sound. I really like the album and hope that it gets more listeners because of it.

That is all I have for now...