Friday, September 28, 2012

Vol. 3 Episode 40

I just got the new Soft Pack album called Stripped. I am excited to hear it but haven't listened to it yet. It will probably be set for next weeks update. 

There has been a repress of the Man or Astro-Man? Analog series Vol.1 single in red vinyl. The next single, Analog Series Vol. 2 will be released in early to mid November. This single will have a clear version limited to 200 pressings, a translucent green version and the common black colors. The tracks will be as follows: "Communication Breakdown Pt II" and "All Systems Go" are two tracks that will appear on their upcoming full length and "Chemical Cats" is exclusive to this release. I am very excited to get my hands on this 7" record.

On With the show...

This is the second album from The XX. It was released in September 2012. This album was released on CD, standard vinyl and deluxe vinyl. I preordered this one in advance and got the deluxe version at a reasonable price. It came with a 12” booklet with additional pictures and lyrics for each song. It also came with a download so I don’t have to wait to get my record cleaner fixed before I can listen to it. It is said that they pulled from electronic dance music but I don’t really hear it. They do continue with their minimalist musical style though. The album is specifically about heartbreak, loneliness, and intimacy. The lyrics address failing relationships and changes in romance with inner monologues and simple metaphors.

The album's title was inspired by their idea for the cover artwork, which depicts an iridescent oil spill in the shape of an "X", a variation on the group's white-on-black "X" logo. Croft compared the mixture of oil and water to her holistic view of the group, saying in an interview for Grantland:

“You see a puddle of petrol on the floor — it can look sort of beautiful with the colors that come through it. I looked it up on Google or whatever, and it said oil and water don't mix, they peacefully coexist? And that's what it is when you see those colors. I liked that idea: those two things coming together to make something more beautiful than they are. And I liked the idea of us three coming together; only when the three of us are together, that's when it exists.”

When they informed them of the title, their record label's American office e-mailed them about there being a "Coexist" bumper sticker. Croft said that "I know it has that connection, but it felt like the right word. It's cool, I guess? It's a nice message? Everybody getting along?"

This album seems like a continuation of their first album. I wouldn’t exactly call it a sophomore slump but it doesn’t exactly push the envelope of new music either. It is what I wanted really. The only real difference between the two albums is that the production is better on this one. There is only two things that I don’t like about this album. The first problem that I have is the reversed sounding guitar on the track called Try. It just makes me sick hearing the same loop of reversed guitar over and over through the track. The other problem that I have is the steel pans used on the track Reunion. It really detracts from the song. I can’t think about anything but that instrument when ever the song starts playing. If it is a necessary part of the song then sink it town so it is not right on top of everything.

There are already two songs that have been released as singles from this album. The first is the song called Angels. It is also the first track on the album. It is a song about being in love with someone. It is a pretty song with female vocals. I like the way that she plays her guitar too. I have actually tried to emulate this sound on at least one of my own tracks. Both the vocals and the guitar have a beautiful amount of reverb on them and the bell like tone of the guitar is just perfect. The song itself is very minimalist with lots of dead space between the notes.

The second single released from the album is called Chained. This is a duet between the guitarist and the bassist. It is about a relationship that has fallen apart. They are reminiscing about the relationship and how close they were. This track uses a drum machine that has a big sound but still remains quiet. It is a very cool drum beat too. The bass is simple eighth note pattern for the most part. There is also a beautiful keyboard part that floats over everything on this track. The guitar has a similar tone as the previous track but is used very sparsely through the song.

I like both of these tracks very much. I like the whole album with the exception of my complaint on the two tracks above. I would recommend this to anyone interested in music really. It is a pretty and relaxing record.

This is the fifth studio album from Nine Inch Nails (NIN). It was released in 2007. The album is a concept album written from multiple perspectives of fictitious characters. The idea of this album was to write about what the United States would look like in fifteen years time.

The story goes like this (taken from Wikipedia), “The story takes place in the United States in the year 2022, which has been termed "Year 0", by the United States of American government, being the year that America was reborn. The United States had suffered several major terrorist attacks, apparently by Islamic fundamentalists, including attacks on Los Angeles and Seattle, and in response, the government seized absolute control on the country. The Government of the United States is now a Christian fundamentalist theocracy, maintaining control of the populace through institutions like the Bureau of Morality and the First Evangelical Church of Plano. The government corporation Credocore distributes the drug Parepin through the water supply, making Americans who drink the water apathetic and carefree. There are several underground rebel groups, mainly operating online, most notably Art is Resistance and Solutions Backwards Initiative. In response to the increasing oppression of the government, several corporate, government, and subversive websites were transported back in time to the present by a group of scientists working clandestinely against the authoritarian government. The websites-from-the-future were sent to the year 2007 to warn the American people of the impending dystopian future and to prevent it from ever forming in the first place.”

There was also an alternate reality game developed for the web that expanded on the story laid out above.

There were two singles released from this album. The first single is called Survivalism. A clip of the chorus to "Survivalism" was first heard by fans calling the telephone number 1-310-295-1040, which was found by joining discolored numerals on the back of a tour t-shirt. This was before the single and album was released. The song is interesting with the rhythm that is used. It marked a new NIN sound. The song also used the loud quiet loud style of writing music.

The second single from the album is called Capitol G. It is a slower song than the first single. It also makes use of the staccato rhythms in the verse, the chorus smoothes out the feel of the song. It is industrial music so there is a lot of noise. The vocals are very clear in the song even over the noise of the music.

This is an interesting concept album that I would recommend reading the lyrics if not listening to the album.

This was originally released as an EP. It was put out in 1997. There was a US version put out on Nothing Records that added five tracks to the EP making it more of an album than an EP. This version was released in 1998, a year later. This is the version that I have and will be talking about. The rearrangement of the tracks is to highlight the Come On My Selector video, directed by Chris Cunningham (whose work also includes videos for Aphex Twin, Autechre and Bjork), and which was included on the re-release. Tracks 8, 9 and 10 make up the full Port Rhombus EP, Jenkinson's first release on Warp. Tracks 11 and 12 are two B-sides to the "Vic Acid" single.

There were no singles released from the album but the song that was pushed was the song Come On My Selector. It is a hard hitting track with fast hard hitting beats and speed bass guitar playing. It is one of the best tracks on the album. The only problem that I have with this track is that the F-bomb is dropped once. It is totally unneeded.

My second favorite track from this album is called A JourneyTo Reedham (7 A.M. Mix). I remember driving to work with this album on and when this track would come on It would be so easy to sing along with. This is actually one of the primary inspirations for my writing music. I want people to sing along with the music that I write. I want people to feel the pull of the music and make up their own lyrics or to at least to be vocal about the music. That is how this song makes me feel anyway.

This is a great album that I think everyone should hear if not for the first to songs then for the whole album.

This is the second album from Devo. It was released in 1979. The album was not very popular but signaled the onset of the new wave genre and sound. It was one of the first albums to use primarily synthesized sounds for music. I picked up a copy of this album on vinyl but it is not in the greatest of condition. The outer sleeve is pretty fuzzy on the edges but the record itself is pretty good. The starting of both sides is a bit fuzzy sound wise but the rest of the record is in very good condition. I am happy to have a copy but a little disappointed that it isn’t in better condition. The US edition of this album has a different cover from the version that went out around the rest of the world. The US copy has barcodes all over it. the rest of the world got a black and white drawing of an atom, a man and a beaker, bla, boring.

There were only two singles released from this album. The first is called The Day My Baby Gave Me A Surprize. The song is not very exciting and is difficult for me to keep my concentration on the song. The song is not up to the standards of the great classic Devo song. It is very disappointing indeed.

The second single released from the album is called Secret Agent Man. This is a cover (with modified lyrics) of the song by P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri and performed by Johnny Rivers in 1965. The song is done in Devos’ famous style so the song is nearly unrecognizable to the original version. I personally prefer the original version with the surf style but respect this new wave version too.

This is not an album that is necessary for any one but fans of the group. I don’t think that it is needed to even hear. The songs are sub par that are on the album.

That is all I have for now...

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Vol. 3 Episode 39

 It looks like I am back on track with the posts for the year. I think that I will have it planned out to have a Thanks Giving close for the year. 

I am very excited for the upcoming releases for the Man or Astro-Man? analog single series through I saw some previews as to what the next single colors will be. It looks like a green and silver metallic seal with a red window, don't know about vinyl colors yet though. I don't know what the track names are going to be quite yet either. I am still waiting for the pre-order for the Atoms For Peace single. There is also a new Pains of Being Pure At Heart single coming out next month along with a single and album release coming from Weekend off of Slumberland Records soon. My Chemical Romance have announced a 7" box set to be released over a period of 5 months too. I have also purchased the Live Current Vol. 8 box set. It is a limited compilation of live tracks taken from the year at 89.3 The Current. My wife and I have been members since the station started and have been collecting these compilations over the years. They have even put out three of these compilations, including this one, on vinyl. The box set will have a copy of the double vinyl, a copy of the CD and a limited edition poster. It should be here next month depending on how swiftly the vinyl gets pressed.

So, here we go...

This is the groups’ fourth album. It was released September 18, 2012. InSound has an exclusive gold vinyl release of the album. I was able to get a copy of the colored vinyl. I was also able to listen to the album in full on the NPR first listen special that they do usually a week before an important release. I did not write about it then because I knew that the following week the album would be on my door step. The album has been described by the members of Grizzly Bear as their most collaborative album, with vocalist and guitarist Daniel Rossen noting that their aim was to "write and make music that is as collaborative as possible, so that we have a product that we all feel a sense of authorship over as a collective."

There have not been any official singles released from this album but there have been two songs that have been available to listen to before the album was released. The first of those two songs is called SleepingUte. It is very different from the singles from the previous album. The vocals are great but the music is different than what I was expecting. I like it though. There are more electronic sounds I guess are what are really different. I was expecting more acoustic sounds but this change in direction is actually welcome.

The other song that has been put out for fans to hear early is called Yet Again. The song is very pretty and moves along at a slower clip. The drums push this song along and that is a good thing as the song would drag if they didn’t.

I really like this group a lot. They have made some very beautiful music through all four albums that they have put out. If I were to recommend an album I think that this would be my first recommendation as it combines the different sounds from all three past albums and adds to it. Although my favorite is the third album, it is nothing like the previous two.

This is his fourth album. It was released in 2001. I found out about this album from the facebook game app called Song Pop. I got the electronic bundle and heard sample for the song Drop a few times during various games. I really liked the sound clip that was played for the song and decided that I had to have the album. I had already owned his fifth album and thought I would give it a try. The album makes use of sounds in nature, including bird sounds and water drops, which is unheard of in electronic music. Cornelius has a very unique sound in his music. It is not only on this album but also on the fifth album that he put out in 2006 called Sensuous. I like both albums because of this. I will probably look into earlier albums too because I like both of the albums that I have. Unfortunatly, he is no longer associated to Matador Records, so, there may not be any more music from Cornelius. The future is unwritten though.

There were two singles released from this album. The first is called Drop. This song features lots of water sounds through out the song. The sounds are not just random though. The sounds were sampled so that they could be set to the beat of the song. It makes for a great sounding natural song. This is the song that was introduced to me through the Song Pop app. After hearing the whole song I was just as amazed and tickled as I was when I heart the song Music from the follow up to this album. Any fan of electronic music will love this album because of its use of analog nature sounds within the beat of the music.

The second single released from this album is called Pointof View Point. I love the use of the acoustic guitar in electronic music. This song showcases the acoustic guitar along with the layered vocals to give harmony’s in the song. There is also sparing use of a synth bass sound. He does such as great job of keeping the music so light. It reminds me of some of the earlier work of Pizzacato 5.

This is a really amazing album and I would recommend it to anyone who was skeptical of electronic music.

This is the third album from The Streets. It was released in 2006. This group is not considered by most to be a part of the grime genre but is a way into the grime genre as the music is influenced by the genre completely. Grime is a form of rap created in the UK. The streets style is more of story telling than anything else. The story streams from one track to the next making the album as important as the song.

The first single released from the album is called When YouWasn’t Famous. The song is about how the singer finds it easier to have relationships with non-famous females as opposed to the famous ones now that he is famous. It is still unclear as to if this song is about someone specific. The song itself is incredibly simple with a big up-beat sound. The song comes off as innocent but with adult content. He is talking about one night stands after all.

The second single from the album is called Never Went ToChurch. This song is a tribute to Skinners’ father who passed away. It is an emotional slow song. The song seems to follow the chord progression to The Beatles song Let It Be. The song also gets inspiration from gospel and R&B music. It is quite a good song but a bit depressing. This is to be expected I guess as it is a remembrance of his late father.

The third single is called Prangin’ Out. This song brings back the simplistic music that The Streets are known for. It is his usual style of rap verse and vocal chorus. There is something refreshing about how he writes his music. There is just the right abount of dead air space between the notes to make the music interesting and his raps are mostly about the real world. It is nothing like the gangster rappers in the US where it is all about the money, girls or cars. This is what I love about The Streets. He shows you the reality of his life not the fluff that I and most people just don’t care about (cars, money or girls) This is why I stopped listening to US rap.

The last song that I am going to talk about is called War OfThe Sexes. This was my introduction to The Streets. It was not actually released as a single that I am aware of. It was played on my local public music station, 89.3 The Current. This song rang so true and hilariously at that. The song uses some very clever and funny lines. The song is basically sung from the male perspective and about trying to get a woman back to your flat. The last line of the song is absolutely hilarious. He says at the end of the song, “Remember not to get hammered, cause’ people who get hammered don’t get a nail!”
This was a limited release from Squarepusher. The album consists of twelve tracks recorded from Squarepusher's September 2007 live performance at Cité de la Musique in Paris, France, as part of the Jazz à la Villette 2007 festival. The release is limited to 850 copies worldwide. The album sounds nothing like what Squarepusher is known for as it is just what it says, solo electric bass. I really like his electronic work but this really shows how good of an artist he is with the bass guitar. I would go as far as to say he rivals Jaco Pastorius. The problem with this album is that it all sort of blends together. There are no real songs in this collection. The tracks are not even named uniquely. If you like Squarepusher for his electronic music then this is not the album for you. If you just want to fill out your collection or you have a good understanding of how the electric bass works this may be for you. I am a bassist and think that this is a great inspiration but it is not an album that I will be listening to very often. I would like to make note that the cover art is similar to the graphics used by My Bloody Valentines’ second album, Loveless. I am not sure if this was on purpose but it sure looks cool.

That is all I have for now...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Vol. 3 Episode 38

I am sort of playing catch up as I am behind on posting episodes at this point. This is why there have been double posts these past few weekends.

I went to a record only garage sale today. I got there and was told that I would have about three hours to go through what was there. The garage was full and half of the drive way was filled with records. About ten minutes into looking through the records I was told that they would be closing up because someone was going to buy the whole lot. I though OK I still have a little bit of time. Then three minutes later was told that was it I had to stop because "dude" was taking the lot at this instant. I was pretty irritated. I still walked out of there with 27 records that I had been looking for though. I don't know what he paid for the lot that was out there but he really messed up when he took out the owners' minivan rear-view mirror. Probably cost him half of what the lot was worth.

Anyway, I put my name on a list for them to call me when they put out the 45 rpm records and the rest of the collection of LPs. The dude was actually kind of mad that he did not get everything that they had. He said, "You mean that I did not get everything?" and the owners said, "Nope, you just bought the stuff in the garage and on the driveway." I bet he was right ticked off about that. I felt a little happy that I had an in for more records from this family in the future. You can bet that I will be there as soon as they call to let me know when the next sale will be on!

This is the second album from Decyfer Down. It was released in 2009. I got this one from an online Christian music store. The copy that I got was signed by the band. I thought that this was a cool idea. Although it has to be hard on the musicians signing hundreds of small CD covers. When I listened to this album I couldn’t figure out what it was that I wasn’t comfortable with. It wasn’t until I read the information about the album that I realized that they changed the lead singer. I knew that I liked what the music sounded like though. The new lead singer has a bit of a whiney voice without the power that the original vocalist had. The new singers’ vocals set me off just a little too. I still like the over all music though. I have always found this group inspirational and still do for the most part.

There were three singles released from this album. The first single is called Crash, the title track. This song has a very cool distorted guitar. The song is pretty heavy musically. The vocals are a little flat. There are a few points where the singer could have pushed his vocals to the limits and it would have had a great effect and matched the intensity of the music. All in all the song is good and the story pushes the point of using the creator to push through the hard points of life. The Bible tells us that we should give the problems that we can’t handle to God and he will take care of them. That is the point of this song I think.

The second single from this album is called Fading. This song is just as hard as the first single but has a loud soft loud feel to it. The chorus is louder than the verse parts. This is something that the Pixies were doing in the late 80s. The song is in the vein of metal though so this is sort of a refreshing take on the idea. The song is not all that solid lyrically. It seems to be about a person doing bad things and in doing so their soul is fading away. But, they find god and are saved because they found god. It is very unclear though and that is just how I guessed the story would go.

The last single from the album is called Desperate. This song is also a very hard hitting song. The song is about wanting to be with God. The chorus sings, “ I desperately want you, I desperately need you, ”They are a Christian rock group so it is assumed that what they desperately need is God. It is a super heavy song and I can feel the intensity of the song because of this.

This is a good album but the vocals need to be worked on if they are to measure up to what the first album had. Hopefully the upcoming third album will be better vocally.

This is the second and last album from Servotron. It was released in 1998. On this album they continue their robotic crusade to free machines from their human oppressors and convince humans to voluntarily become cyborgs. The only alternate option given is death.

The outer sleeve is interesting as it reads, “This, the second step of the inevitable Robot Revolution, soon all machine-based life will be free of organic tyranny. Servotron Robot Allegiance. Join us or Die!”

There is further information that is as such, “The lyrics to "Serve, Obey, Guard Men from Harm" were taken from the novel With Folded Hands by Jack Williamson. "Pet Machine" was inspired by an Onion article entitled "Hunter Soldier from Future Warns: Beware the Digital Pets", which appeared in the August 13, 1997 issue.”

Both of these clips are pulled from the Wikipedia site for Servotron but can be found on the back cover from the album.

I don’t know if there was a single released from the album but the music that is on the album is a marked improvement over their first album but still maintains the robotic Devo like sound from the last album. This is an album that I would recommend for fans of both Man or Astro-Man/ and Devo as it is a combination of the two ideas.

There are a few songs that I really like. They are, I Sing!The Body Cybernetic and Phonetic Lecture.
This was an EP released between the second and third albums from Heavenly. It was released in 1995. After I got that split 7” record with the song Trophy Girlfriend I went out and looked for more from the group. This EP was the first thing I picked up at a local record store. I first looked for anything on vinyl, I knew it would be a long shot and I didn’t find anything. I found this EP on CD though and snatched it up right there. The store also had their last album on CD too but I want it on vinyl. I have actually bought the third and fourth albums from the group on vinyl but am waiting for then to come in the mail.

This is a five song EP that takes a great picture of what the band were doing between those albums. The title track, P.U.N.K. Girl, is a fun twee punk song, with pretty female vocals. It is a fun and bouncy track. I really love the vocals that this group has put out.

The second track on this EP is called Hearts & Crosses. This song is a little dark in the lyrical content department as it deals with date rape. The song is a little confusing musically because of the cute but fun keyboards that are used. It is easy to over look the lyrical content and just focus on the music though.

The third song, called Atta Girl, is a little more rockin’ and brash. The guitar work on the song is very cool and discordant in places. But it works for the song. The two female vocals cross over each other through the song and it makes it very interesting. It seems to be about a girl who has a boyfriend but still wants her independence from that mantel. It is a really great alternative styled twee track.

The other two tracks are very striped down. Dig Your OwnGrave is just the two female vocals with a straight electric guitar. The last track, So?, is just a solo with no accompaniment. Both are good songs but are almost to simple for what the band is.

This is the sixth EP from Radiohead. It was released only in Japan and Australia in 2004. I found a Japanese copy of the CD when it was released. This is a compilation of B-sides from the Hail To The Thief album (HTTT). All of the B-sides are not contained here but the unique track on the EP is the live version of 2+2=5. This live version of the track was recorded at Earls Court, London, 26/11/03. Is this the easiest way to get most of the B-sides from HTTT? Probably. The problem with getting this EP for the content is that there was a sound issue with some of the tracks. I think that there was an error in the pressing of the CD that was not caught until after it was released. The reason that I got the EP was for the first track, 2+2=5. I knew that there was a problem with the sound on the later part of the disk but I already had the B-sides from the singles that were previously released so it didn’t matter if there was a problem or not. I do not know if there were any pressed that corrected this error or not. The only B-side that was not included from the short list of HTTT B-sides was the extended version of There There which was the first demo version of the song. This version is nearly eight minutes long and can be found on disk one of the 2+2=5 single. Half of this EP is remixes and the other half are actual B-sides (Songs not found on the album). The B-sides that are on this EP are amazing The couple of live tracks are just as good but the remixes are just OK. Tracks worth having on this EP are Paperbag Writer, I Am A Wicked Child, I Am Citizen Insane, Gaging Order, Fog (Again) and Where Bluebirds Fly.

Paperbag Writer and Where Bluebirds Fly are from There There single. Remyxomatosis (Christian Vogel RMX), Skttrbrain (Four Tet Remix) and I Will (Los Angeles Version) are from the two 2+2=5 singles. I Am Citizen Insane, Fog (Again), Gagging Order and I Am A Wicked Child are from the two Go To Sleep singles. The extended version of There There can be found on 2+2=5 CD1.

Edit: The seventh track, Skttrbrain (Four Tet Remix), is the only track with the noise problem on the Com Lag EP.

That is all I have for now...

Friday, September 14, 2012

Vol. 3 Episode 37

Fall and spring are my favorite times of year. This is because of all of the great music that comes out during these times. Fall especially because most artists want to get out their albums before Christmas so they can be given out as gifts. I am waiting for a good stack of stuff to come in the mail soon and I am very excited to write about them. The first of which is my first album in the list here.

This is the long awaited third album from Abandoned Pools. It was finally released on August 28th 2012. I just got it a few days ago. I purposefully did not listen to any of the singles on this album. I really wanted to be surprised and hear the whole album in one shot. I have always liked Tommys’ style of music writing and I have been pleasantly surprised by what he has created here. There are a few reasons that this album was delayed though. The biggest was that he switched record labels for this album. The group is now on Tooth and Nail Records. This is actually one of my favorite Christian record companies. They don’t do strictly Christian records but they seem to do a lot of them. I am happy that he is on this label and hope that they do Tommy right since he has been jacked around by the previous two record companies that he has been with.

There were quite a few singles released for this album, the first of which is called In Silence. This track is very sweet and smooth. It is in the classic Abandoned Pools sound. It is a welcome track and doesn’t alienate the original core fans. He talks of silence and having halos. I think it is sort of a reference to what may have happened to Romeo and Juliet after the end of the play. It May not be those specific characters but a similar ending.

The second single released from the album is called Marigolds. This song has a super cool sound that is used through the melody. It is a kind of ghostly vibrato sound that I kind of like. It is a very brash sound but unique enough to keep my interest. This song also has the classic Abandoned Pools sound.

The third song released from the album is called SublimeCurrency. This was originally released to be heard on the internet through Alternative Press web site. This has become a new thing recently, To have a song either downloadable as a promotional thing or to be able to listen to it for free through various music promotional sites. This song was released as a free download. It was later released officially as the third single. The song starts out with some classic synth sounds and drums. Actual drums kick in over the top with guitars. What I really like about this track is the 80s inspired arena rock harmonies on the chorus. It totally reminds me of Queen or Journey. I love it!

The second track released in this manor is called Unrehearsed. This song reminds me of a song that would have been released in the late 80s on the pop charts. I can’t really put my finger on it exactly but I am sure that I would have listened to it as it is the style of music that I was listening to at that time. I really like this song.

The last song that was released to the internet world is called Behemoth. This track starts out with piano and adds into it the drums that push the song along. The vocals are double tracked on this song giving it a fuller vocal sound. This is a new technique for Tommy and I like the idea a lot.

I would also like to mention the tracks 9 Billion and FromLong Sleep. The latter is a hard hitting track that uses some hard hitting distorted bass and squealing dizzying sounds that work really well together. The bass line is very hard and driving. It is a really great song. The former is a soft sweet duet with Paris Carney. I have no Idea what she has done in the past but she really makes something special happen on this track. 

This is the first album put out from Interpol. It was released in 2002. I found out about the album later than 2002 but for some reason though that it was released around 2004 when I heard about it and its singles through my local indie radio station, 89.3 The Current. I never even gave second thoughts to the fact that their second album cam out so soon after the first, obviously it didn’t since it was released in 2002. I bought the album on CD and loved it. When I went on my honey moon we went to a record store in Daytona FL and I picked up this album new on vinyl along with a few others, including the Velvet Underground & Nico album. This album has a special place in my heart because of that as to the other few albums that were bought on that trip.

The first single released from the album is called Obstacle1. The band had said that the song was written after they had watched a new clip about a model’s recent death. The song is not exactly a downer but is also not the happiest either. The way that I the song makes me feel is if this model died and video clips of her were still on TV or played on the internet. It is just sort of an uncomfortable feeling. I like the song though.

The next two songs were released as a double A side single. The first of the two is called Say Hello To The Angels. This track did not get as much air play as the second track. It is still a good song though. It is faster paced than the first single and has a bouncy feel to it. The bass on this track seems to stand out a bit more since it is played at eighth notes almost through the whole song. It keeps the song fun and energetic.

The AA side to this track is called NYC. This track is slower than the fun bouncy A side track. It is actually a depressing song, I think, for a rainy day. I really like the song but stay away from it because it is so depressing.

The last single from this album is called PDA. This was the song that introduced me to the group. I fell in love with the way that this song sounded. It is part of what started me on the indie music track that I am now on. It has a great drum beat that starts off the track and continues through the song. The bass line is so much fun. It is not bouncy but is very creative. The guitar parts are simple but fit perfectly over the bass and drums. It is a great rock song really.

This is a great album, better in my opinion than the much hailed Arcade Fire album called Funeral.
This is the first full album from the Pixies. It was released in 1988. This is a hugely influential album for many of the grunge/alternative artists of the early to mid 90s, including Billy Corgan and Kurt Cobain. I knew of the few singles that were released from this album from some friends in high school after the album was released. I also had a friend try to turn me on to the group but that is not where I was at the time. It was not until the album was repressed a third time in the late 00s that I got into the group. I really like the music on the album but the lyrics are quite questionable. On the other hand they are things that need to be brought to the attention of the general public and what better way than to ease it in than with music.

The first single released from the album is called Gigantic. This song has lead vocals sung by the bassist, Kim Deal. The bass line is played through the whole song and doesn’t deviate much at all. During the verse just the bass is played and for the chorus the guitar is added. I remember hearing this song on the radio. I thought that it was cool and it reminded me of the old Japanese cartoon Gigantor.

The song Where Is My Mind? Was never released as a single but I have heard it on the radio many times. It has become a fan favorite I guess you could say. The song could have very easily been a single from the album though. The song was inspired by a trip to the carabean that the lead singer of the band, Frank Black/Black Francis, took during is time at University of Massachusetts Amherst. He said this about the scuba trip, “this very small fish trying to chase me. I don't know why — I don't know too much about fish behavior." It is kind of a cute line.

An interesting not to be heard on the song Cactus. Between the second verse and chorus of "Cactus," the band and the studio members can be heard spelling out "Pixies." John Murphy, then-husband of bassist Kim Deal, later commented on the interlude: "You can hear them spelling 'Pixies' in the break, which T. Rex did in one of their songs, The Groover, 'T-R-E-X,' and they were copying it. I was against it, I was like, 'No way I'm not doing it,' because that's so trite. And I'm the only one that didn't do it. Steve Albini went along with it and liked it. So I'm the only one that never got on the records.

David Bowie recorded a version of Cactus song for his Heathen album in 2002. This version features D-A-V-I-D spelled in the break. Bowie performed the song live on his 2002 Heathen Tour concerts and the A Reality Tour. A 2003 live version is found on the A Reality Tour DVD.

This is the seventh 7” single released from Man or Astro-Man? It was released in 1994. There are four songs on this single. It was released in a set of four colors. The colors are translucent orange, a swirly silver and two colors of black. If you held the black ones up to the light you had one of two colors, either a dark orange/red or a dark grey tone. I think that I have the dark orange/red color. The cover graphic is based on a 1960s tin toy that was made by Ohio Art, the same company that created the Etch-A-Sketch.

The first track on the record is Philip K. Dick in the PetSection of a Wal-Mart. It is a funny title. I am not sure that Philip K. Dick was around to see a Wal-Mart but I like the silly idea. There are no lyrics to the song but the ideas that float around in my head simply because of the title of the track are more than enough.

The second track on the 7” Is called The Man From U.N.C.L.E. This is a cover of the theme song for the TV show. I did not know that I knew the song until the first time that I heard it played by the Astro-Men. I don’t remember anything about the TV show itself but the song is classic surf tunes.

The next song on the record is called Transmission FromVenus 94’. It is a re-recording of a song they recorded for a compilation for Roger Corman tribute compilation in 1993. It was such a good song that they decided to re-record it and re-released the song outside of the compilation. It was also included on both of the Australian compilations and Project infinity.

The last song on this single is called Time Bomb. This track has a very fast drum beat and is a very short song. It is reminiscent of some of Dick Dales famous surf songs in that respect.

This is a great view of their early work. If you are not sure about the group this would be a cheap way to check out what they sound like as it is a common 7” record that found pretty easily.

That is all I have for now...

Monday, September 10, 2012

Vol. 3 Episode 36

I have some mondays off comming up so here is a bonus episode. I am waiting for some new music to come in the mail this month, Sea Wolf, XX and Grizzly Bear for example, and they will be good ones but this is what I have been thinking about lately.

I also found a clear vinyl version of the new Man or Astro-man? single. I am very excited to get my hands on that one.

So, here we go...

This is Paulas’ second album. It was released in 1991. I really liked this album but in 91’ I ran from dance and soft rock toward the harder sound of the grunge/alternative rock movements. The songs on this album are truly amazing though. I remember listening to this album all throughout the summer of 91’. I would listen to it on my walkman as I fell asleep while camping on the weekends specifically. I couldn’t listen to the album at night through my small boom box because I was not the only one in the four bunk room. My sister slept in one of the beds on the bottom and I slept on one of the beds on top. I can’t remember for sure but I either used my walkman or had a headphone out jack on the boom box. I like to read with the music on too so any chance I had to read I had to have the music on. I don’t have a book associated to this album though.

There were five singles released from this album. The first single, Rush Rush, is a slow ballad. Many were surprised and thought that it was a risky strategy that the first single released was a ballad. This was also her first ballad released as a single. The video helped to push the song further in the chards with its Rebel Without A Cause styling. Keanu Reeves stars along side Paula in the video.

The second single, Promise of A New Day, was released on the heals of the first single. Actually, Rush Rush was still at the top of the charts when this single was released. It is a single that I did not really like simply because of the wood pipe synth sound that is used in the opening and sprinkled throughout the song. It is still a good song I just don’t like that particular sound.

The next single from the album is called Blowing Kisses InThe Wind. I like the opening of the song with the harpsichord playing. The song is heart felt for me because I just wanted to love someone and most of the girls I dated did not seem to understand love. It has taken quite a long time but I have found someone that understands the way that I am. The words to this song just stab me in the heart though. They ring too true. It helps that the backing music is so organic with the use of the piano and stringed instruments. It gets the point across so much easier for me anyway.

The fourth song released as a single from this album is called Vibeology. This is my favorite song from the album. It is a song that brings back her dance roots. It is a fun dance song that seemed to not do so well in the US but helped kick the album up the charts in the rest of the world. The way that she sings on this track, she seems happy. It has a good beat and is just a great dance track. The lyrics do lean toward the sexual side but are not specific.

The last track that was released as a single is called WillYou Marry Me? This is another ballad from the album. It was a dedication to her up coming marriage to Emilio Estevez. Stevie Wonder played the harmonica solo on the track. It is a sweet song that easily moves me as it is a female making the request. It means even more to me now as my wife was the one who asked me first.

There is one other track that I want to make mention of. That is the song U on the album. This song was written by Prince. It has his sound all over the track. I like most of the stuff that prince has done and this track is no exception. It is super funky and having a female sing a Prince style song is so cool.

This is a great album that I guess most would consider a guilty pleasure. I just call it a great album that doesn’t get enough praise.

This is the groups first album. It was released in 2009. The reason that I got into this group is that they are also from New Jersey and have a similar sound to “The Boss”. Although I am not a fan of Springsteen, He has a unique sound in his vocals. It also helped that I had not heard anything from him in over 20 years. I felt that I could handle the sound of his voice especially coming from a couple of underground groups. At this time I had gotten in with a small record label called Suburban Home Records. They sold this record on the limited color scheme of clear with black and gold splatter. It was my first unique record of that caliber. I am not sure how limited that record is but I think that it is very pretty indeed. I have since gotten a couple other colored records like this but this is still my favorite to look at. The group has put out two EPs and a new album has just recently been put out. I am waiting for the vinyl version to be put out for the new album before I get it.

I don’t think that there was a official single released from the album but there was a Devildance sampler put out and one of their tracks was on it. That track was called Like A Fish. This song is a great rocker with cool guitar solos that remind me of the mid to late 80s rock brought back. The song has a great nostalgic feel for me. I think that they may have gone a little to far with the band all together singing on the chorus though. It gives the misleading feel that they want to be arena rock stars right off the bat. I don’t think that is how they meant it to be but it does come off that way.

I really like this album, especially the track Live Grenades. I like this track because of the break down where they sing, “Oh, safety, give me danger, I don’t need no relief.” It is funny and sort of tongue in cheek with the backwards talk. It is also a very short song at 2:20.

This is a great album. I have read reviews that complain of the sound over the album being to much the same. I would not agree with this view with the exception of the vocals. Through out the album the vocals are gritty and breathy. The vocalist needs voice lessons for sure. There is a dramatic change though in the following two EPs that have been released and I am very excited to hear what has changed on the new album.
This is an EP released after the album Narrow Stairs (2008) in 2009. The songs on the EP were recorded during the same recording session as Narrow Stairs. I liked Narrow Stairs so much that I wanted more music from that album. That is why I got the EP. Since the songs on this EP were recorded at the same time as Narrow Stairs they would have the same atmosphere. The only thing that was not recorded at the same time was the first track called LittleBribes. The EP was first released as a digital download then later on CD. After the CD was released it was put out on LP. I did not know that there was going to be a vinyl release of the EP and I got it on CD. I am a little disappointed about this but not enough to go out and find it on LP. I have the music on a physical format and that is good enough. There is also a demo version of Talking Bird on this EP too. There was not a single released from the EP. It was over shadowed by the single, Meet Me On The Equinox, that was put out in support for the movie Twilight Saga: New Moon. This EP is good, the songs are good but there is not really a cohesive sound throughout the EP. It is not a group of songs that I go back to. Although it does have the DCFC sound that I like. This is an EP more for the collector than the casual listener.

This is the groups first EP. It was released in 2008 after their first album. It was originally released as a double 7” record and on CD, soon after it was released on a 10” record. I got a 10” version that is transparent red. I got the 10” version because I like all my music in one place (four tracks, one record). This was put out to tide fans over until the second album was released. The funny thing is that I was introduced to the group on the second album, The 59’ Sound. I liked the album so much that I looked into their past, like I normally do. I found their first record, Sink or Swim, and bought it. Then I found this little gem and bought it too. There was no single off of this EP though it is good music.

The title track is a good rocker. Great for an opening track. It gets your juices pumping and excited about the rest of the EP.

The second song, Wherefore Art Though, Elvis?, is a bit slower track with space between the notes. This track shows that the group can expand its craft. It is a good track that shows they are capable of creating good, interesting and fun music.

The third track, Say I Won’t (Recognize), is a banging track. It is not a rocker but the drums are hit hard and are really what make the song move. In the break the tempo changes and slows down. This shows to me that they have good music cred. It does come back though at the end.

The last song, Blue Jeans& White T-shirts, is a slower song. It is not my favorite but it is elegant. At least as elegant as a group that sounds like “The Boss” can be anyway. It is simple with easy drums and guitar and a tinkle of high pitched guitar at the end.

This is a good EP but was mainly set up for fans who wanted more.

That is all I have for now...

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Vol. 3 Episode 35

Alright, some new things have come up, I am doing a very important second singles and EPs issue right on the heals of the first one for the year. Enjoy.

First up, the new Man or Astro-Man? single has been released. It has been released as a download and as a vinyl 7” record. The record comes in multiple colors, black, transparent orange and clear, the clear version being the more limited color. I got the transparent orange version but am on the lookout for the clear one. I was too slow on the draw to get the clear one and am kicking my self for it. The record sleeve comes with a metallic seal sticker on the top of the sleeve. I am refusing to open it. I therefore also downloaded the tracks from iTunes. There is no CD version of this single being sold.

There are three tracks on the single. The first two will be on the new album to be released in early 2013. The third track will only be found on this single. The physical version of this single is still available from in both black and orange.

The first song on this single is called Defcon 5. The song starts out with an analog saw tooth wave and crashes into the song. It isn’t a hard smack you in the face song. It is a steady surf track that pushes the listener along on a smooth ride. The new member of the group, Avona Nova, adds so much to this track with out even trying. There is a special flourish that happens on the verse part that I love. Avonas’ playing is the only way that this could have happened. There are no words on this track but I think I like it even more than the other stuff they have put out. This could be because it is just new music though.

The second song that is on this single is called Anti-Matter Man. This is one of the few tracks with lyrics that the band has put out. This track is faster than Defcon 5. There is something special about Starcrunchs’ vocals in general. I am sure that he doesn’t like to sing and that is why there are so few tracks with vocals that the group has put out. Maybe this is why they mean so much to me. The songs with vocals also seem to be simpler in composition when they have lyrics but I actually like it that way. I also know how difficult it is to play and sing at the same time. All I can say is Go Starcrunch Go!

The last song on the single is called Dr. Space. This is the first song from Man or Astro-Man? to feature an accordion. I am not a fan of the accordion or the harmonica for that matter. There are exceptions though. I think that this is one of them. The accordion fits well within the composition of the song. It seems to embody the character of Dr. Space as the rest of the song backs up the story. This is all in my head as there are no lyrics on this track either. It makes me imagine what is actually taking place through the song. I imagine that Dr. Space is on a space ship traveling to who knows where but the way that he flies the ship is so crazy but it works. I love it!

Whirr and the group Anne have a split double 7” single coming out in October. I preordered it and got a download for the tracks right away. The single was put out on Run For Cover Records. There are a couple of versions being put out for this single in black and white variants but I do not have a copy yet so I am not sure what the records will look like. I do know that there will be a artwork etching on the fourth side of the double 7”. I do not know what it will look like yet but I am excited to see it. The first 7” will have the tracks from Whirr and the second 7” will have the tracks from Anne. I am assuming that the A side of the second 7” will have both of the tracks from Anne because of the etching on the B side of the second record. I did have a little trouble with getting the downloads to work right away. The problem was fixed though and they sent me an email with how to download the tracks.

The first track from whirr is called Twist. This track can also be found on the Run For Cover Summer Sampler 2012. I actually ordered this compilation from Run For Cover and got it with a crack in the outer edge. This was because they shipped it in a thin manila shipping envelope. I don’t blame the record company for this because 50% of the time when I got a CD in the mail that was not packaged in cardboard it was cracked. The problem with this is that most of the CD that I did get in the mail like this were freebies. I actually spent three bucks for this compilation. I did send them an email about this and they have since sent me a new copy of the CD. I haven’t gotten it yet but here’s to being hopeful. Anyway, the track is a beautiful soft shoegaze track that seems to have a hazy cloud feel to it. It is noisy but I could just as easily fall asleep to it. It is slow and dreamscape like. it is also heavy like a warm winter blanket. I like it a lot.

The second track is called Between Asleep and Awake. This track is slower than Twist and has an even heavier sound to is. They are both tracks that I would love to fall asleep to. Both tracks also have unintelligible female vocals attributed to them. I guess in this respect they would remind me of my mother reading to me as a child and falling asleep to her reading the stories. Nice and soft and floaty just like when I fall asleep at night.

The third track is from a group called Anne. I had never heard of them until I got that Run For Cover compilation. Both bands had a track on the comp. I did not listen to the track from the group yet on the comp but I have listened to the tracks that come on this single. The third track on this spilt from Anne is called Pet Names. They have a darker sound that is more rock n’ roll than Whirr could ever be but the two groups sound good together. They remind me of some of the later new wave groups of the 80s, almost like a lower toned The Cure. I like this track a lot because of this. I am trying not to hunt out new bands but when they just fall in my lap what am I supposed to do?

The fourth track on this double 7” is called Occasional Lovers. This track is similar in tone from the previous track. This one seems to remind me of something that may have been on the soundtrack for the movie Pretty In Pink or The Breakfast Club. It is supper cool with drums that stand out in front of the music for the most part. There is also a clean sounding guitar part that fades in and out that makes the song perfection. I like this a lot!

Atoms For Peace - Default
The big news of the week is that the Thom Yorke fronted band Atoms For Peace have/are putting out a single in support of the new forthcoming album as yet untitled. iTunes has the track available for download four days ahead of schedule. The song is called Default. It can be streamed at the moment from various sources on the internet if you search for the band name and the song title. You may be able to find a free download in MP3 format if you look hard enough too. XL Records has the single set for release on 9/10/2012. it is just one song that I am aware of but this may change on the actual release, who knows but Thom.

The song is super glitchy sounding. As a matter of fact the opening few notes are so dizzying your head will spin until the whole track kicks in to straighten it out. The bass line sounds very similar to something that Radiohead wrote but there is enough difference with the other parts of the song that it is easily over looked. There are vocals on this track and they are silky smooth Yorke vocals. I know that the group is supposed to consist of other members but this song seems like it is all Thom like the album that He put out as his solo effort, The Eraser. I like it but was also looking forward to hearing some bass lines from Flea. I hope there will not be all electronica in the forth coming album.

Edit: I just found out from DAS that there will be a 12" vinyl pressing to be released in October.

I have been sitting on this EP for quite a while. I guess I sort of forgot about it. It was an afterthought purchase for me though too. It is their first release ever. It was originally released in 2005 on CD but was rereleased on vinyl in 2009. I got the vinyl version because A I couldn’t find it on CD and B I love vinyl. All of the tracks from the CD are on the vinyl release. The CD had 17 tracks with 45 seconds each of dead time. This was done for the bonus track at the end. Obviously, the record doesn’t have any dead time between the tracks. The album is named after a friend of the group that died. It was his nick name. The EP name is actually pronounced “pie-kull”. Most fans mispronounce the name as pickle.

There are seven tracks on this EP and two of them made airplay on the radio. The first single that was released from the EP is called Kissing Families. The song and the EP as a whole really has a slightly gritty sound. The group has their song figured out but not completely polished on this EP. It is their first release though so I can give them that. This song is not quite as deep sounding as they will become but the song is very enjoyable to listen to still.

The second single released from the EP is called ComebackKid. This song has a very good pushing rhythm that the group will be known for on future albums. It is nice to see the foundation that an artist builds on sometimes. This song is really good and every time I hear it I think about how much better the group will become on their future albums. This isn’t a bad thought because the song is really good.

This is of course something for the hard core fans of the group but it really is a good EP from the group.

Sorry folks, I could not link some of these songs to an audio file on the net because they are so new there is nothing up yet.

That is all I have for now...