Friday, March 29, 2013

Vol. 4 Episode 13

The new 7” from Man Or Astro-Man? is available to preorder at the Chunklet web site now. Go get it! It is going to be on purple vinyl this time. If you order early enough you can get the super limited (200 pressed) clear version.

Expect the full length album from Man Or Astro-Man? this summer. Just in time for the tour! No word on color ways for this release on vinyl or an official release date yet though.

Sigur Ros have announced that they have a new album this year called Kveikur. You can preorder the standard release on CD, double vinyl or Download from the Sigur Ros web page now. Or you can wait for the preorder of the deluxe edition.

If you ordered it, the Death Cab For Cutie box sets from Artists In Residence have started shipping. I should get mine early next week.

I also found out today that I was one of the first 50 to order the new deluxe version of the Bleached album, Ride Your Heart. This means that I also got a limited Polaroid photo that the group did for the release.

Here we go...

Sigur Ros – Brennisteinn EP
This is a download only three song EP from Sigur Ros. It was available only to those who purchased tickets to see them on the US 2013 tour. It was released late in March 2013. I got my tickets early for the concert and had been adamantly waiting for the email months later to download this EP. The release date came and went and I never got an email with my download in it. I actually had to call Ticketmaster to get them to send me my email with the codes in it. I had previously read that the cod may not work on the first try as I was doing some research about the EP. I was happy to find out that, because I bought three tickets I would get three codes to download with. I finally got the email with the download codes in it. My first attempt to download the EP was failed. I used Firefox on the first attempt. For some reason Firefox seems to fail to download at times and this was apparently one of them. I switched to Internet Explorer for my second attempt with the second code and it went smoothly. The group has lost a member and are now a three piece group. Based on what the EP sounds like, it has put a new sound on the group. Not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing as the album has yet to be released. I am going to the concert this week and there will be a review of what is heard.

The first song on the EP, Brennisteinn, is the first song released from their upcoming album, Kveikur. The track clocks in at a whopping 7 minutes and 56 seconds. This song has a different sound than what I am use to hearing from them. The big interesting change is the electronic sounding thunder of the bass in the first part of the track. I have slowly been getting into Dub Step music and this bass sound is like something pulled from that genre. About half way this sound dies off and becomes something a bit more rock influenced. There is a lot of percussion through out the track that makes the song so interesting. They are not cymbal hits but more like metallic noises, similar to that of Jonsi’s Go album. The song then dives off into atmospheric sounds until fade out. I think it is really cool to hear the group go through its basic range in one grand song.

The second track on the EP is called Hryggjarsúla. It has a interesting start off with what sounds like stringed instruments not playing the same music. What stands out for me on this is the bass, again. This sounds like a double bass being played with a bow and a distortion box on the recording microphone. It sounds fuzzy and feathery at the same time. Then the song changes direction and becomes a full on string section playing long drawn out notes that sound beautiful together. Over the top of this is a guitar being played with a bow and distortion and long echoes coming from the guitar. It is so atmospheric.

The last track on the EP is called Ofbirta. It is the shortest of the three tracks on the EP at just a hair over four minutes. This track is even more atmospheric than the last track with reverse sounds and loops. There are no vocals on the track at all. This one reminds me of something that may have come from the Jonsi and Alex album really. It is beautiful in its own rite but not my favorite of what Sigur ros has created here on this EP.

This is a cool look at what the group has in store for us on this future release.

This was obviously a split single that was a part of the Odd Box Singles Club series of releases. This is a limited edition release, but if you want one you can probably still get one from Odd Box. My copy was in the high 300s though so if you are interested get it soon. Both groups contributed two tracks for this single. This was the only thing that I was missing from Gold-Bears. I talked to them at the end of last year. They said that they had a few of these singles and would be happy to give me one as I had made some good reviews of their last album and singles. I never got that single from them. I can’t really hold it against them though as they were still pretty busy at the time. I just decided to get an official copy from the record store instead.

The first side has the two tracks from Gold-Bears and the second side has the two tracks from Bracelettes. The first track is called You Don’t Want A Boyfriend. It is a great noise punk track from the group. The vocals are sung in a lower gone than I am used to but it gives a new facet to the groups sound. I like it too. The music behind the vocals is classic Gold-Bears style though.

The second track, called Bedroom, is a super short track. It gets its point across quickly and that is all it needs really. This track has the higher pitched male vocals that I like from the band too. It is quick, noisy and in your face with a melancholic appeal at the same time.

The first Bracelettes track is called Those Days. The song starts off with something that reminds me of something that Gorillaz did but I can’t place the track that I am thinking of. It is simple with a high pitched stringed instrument being strummed, possibly a ukulele. The vocals on this intro are high and soft. Then it kicks into a fun punk rock track. The chord progression reminds me of The Ramones but the vocals are softer with female backing vocals.

The second track from Bracelettes is called You Make Me Laugh. This track is another soft speed punk track. The lead vocals are female this time. This track reminds me more of J-pop than anything else. The fun high pitched female vocals are what give me this idea about the track. It is just a lot of fun, this track. 

This release is hard enough to track down that the songs don't exist on YouTube yet.

This is the groups first full length album. It was released in 2011. There were no singles released from this album but there are some great songs on the album that could have been great singles. I am reviewing this album as their second has bee just released. They cam on me in a fury so I am trying to get familiar with their music before I get my copy in the mail from Slumberland Records. I was on the fence about the group until I saw what the vinyl release for the second album looked like. I really like the vocals from Hether Fortune. They remind me of something between April March and Joan Jett, maybe even a touch of the Bleached girls.

The first track on the album, Dead Like You, has a really good hook. This track comes off as California punk music. It is not as dark as some of their other stuff but it instead more fun.

The second track, Hitman, is a tongue in cheek track about how a hit man lives. The verse in this one reminds me of a Ventures styled surf track. The verse on the other hand is totally 70s punk and rocks hard with it too. This is another track with awesome hooks and sweet verses.

The fourth track on the album, called Gold Sneakers, is a love song. The verse section is really just an average song with a cool riff ending on each of the lines. What this song gets me with is the verse. There is something special about the electric guitar in this section. The vocals are so sweet as well. Hether sings, “I-I La-La-La- Love You.” through the chorus. The way she does it works so well. I can’t get enough of this track on the album.

The last track from this album that I find very interesting is called Uneasy. The track is very bass driven. The verse is dark and heavy. The chorus has this supper awesome hook. The song reminds me of the music that came from the mid 90s or late 70s punk. I was heavily influenced by the music of both of these eras and that is probably why I like this track so much.

If you want to find out more about this group this is a good start. They have only put out two other 7” singles so it is really not that expensive to get caught up on their work before their second album.

This is a special Japanese compilation that encompasses the Acid Reflex EP and the Higher Than The Stars remixes. The compilation contains only remixes that have been released by the group. It was released in spring of 2012. It also contains one additional remix only found on this compilation. Because it is a Japanese release it will cost about 30 bucks. If you don’t have the three separate records it takes to get these tracks, it may be easier just to get this release instead. On the other hand, you can get the three records for 20 bucks but then you would be missing the extra track that can only be found on the compilation CD here. I’m not going to lie, I already had all of the records but I wanted the missing track. Although, I did wait about a year before I broke down and got this compilation. It is nice to have all of the tracks in one place though.

The extra track on the CD is called Strange (Totally Sincere Remix). This remix reminds me of the late 80s electro pop. I was just coming into music at that time and really like that style. The track even uses a guitar that, I swear, comes directly from a slow electro ballad from that era of music. The bass line is even a synth key bass that sounds like heaven to me. I am so happy that I finally broke down and got this CD just for that song.

This unique track is also not on YouTube at this time.

If you want to read about the other releases that are contained in this release you can read about them in the following episodes.

Coming up this week is the Sigur Ros concert review along with a bunch of new stuff that I am excited to share.

That is all I have for now...

Friday, March 22, 2013

Vol. 4 Episode 12

The Golden Grrrls US tour has started. They are offering a tour 7” limited to this part of the tour. If you are able to, go see them and get that record! (Thanks Mike for helping me out on this one!)

The releases for RSD 2013 should be up for you to look at now. Go check out all of the limited goodies that will be released. Then go drool at all of the RSD UK releases too.

There is a special release in Japan soon. It is from a company called Violet and Claire. Is a book called Indie Pop Lesson. It also comes with a 12” compilation with some interesting bands on it. I am interested in it as it has a new demo track called Sure from The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart. It is a Japanese release so if you are interested outside of Japan you will need to send an email to the company to secure a copy.

Here we go...

This is the second single released from the Atoms For Peace album AMOK. It was released in the end of march of this year (2013). It was released as a 12” single and as a download. It was also released as a limited screen printed 12”. There were only 100 of the screen printed version made. Thom Yorke pulled the name of a record store out of a hat from around the world. That record store got all 100 of the screen printed version to sell. I have seen the screen printed version up for sale already on the internet. The person listed it at $1200. I know there are only 100 copies but really?

I talked about the A side of the single, Judge Jury And Executioner, not to long ago in Vol. 4 Episode 9. Here is what I had to say about it, “This song has been floating around for quite a while. I have a live version from the recording that was done at the Orpheum Theater back in 2009. I am very excited to have an official studio version of the song. The song has a cool start off with a beat box bass line. This is used sporadically through out the song but is a cool way to start the song off. The vocals are very cool and the backing vocals are very floaty additional Yorke vocals. There is also a nice acoustic guitar that fits between the vocals and human styled bass line. The drums seem to be more programmed than real/live drums. The vocals work really well and that is why I like the song. The live version that I have of this song some how doesn’t feel as full as this studio version. I think that is because the floaty vocals are not on the live version as is the extra percussion. Both versions have their merits though.”

The B side of the record is called S.A.D (at about 2:30 the song starts). The song starts out with some smooth sounding bass. The vocals are just good ole Thom singing the way he always does. It is so easy to get lost in this song as each layer comes in and fades out. It is quite mesmerizing really. There are multiple muted guitar parts and partially distorted sounds. Then there are electronic parts that sound like percussion and other parts that pad out the back ground to make the song sound fuller. The bass guitar is really the one thing that holds the song together. It is unchanging and solid as a rock. This is really a great song that could have easily been included on the album, AMOK.

This is a cassette that was released as a part of the Birthday Tapes Horoscope series. It is the fourth release in the series. There were only 50 copies made of this particular cassette. The series is so rare that there is even a wax seal on the paper. You can also download it from the Birthday Tapes Bandcamp page. There are two tracks from each band on the tape.

I have never heard of the band Sex Hands until I read that they had toured with Golden Grrrls. The first track on this release is called Fun Bobby. The track is really just a lot of noise. There is a hint of a song with this track but the mix and general sound is just noise.

The second track, also from Sex Hands, is called Merchyd Yn Gwallt Eu Gilydd. It looks like gibberish to me. This song has the same sound issues as the previous track but sounds more like a song than the first track. That is as much as I’ll give it though.

The third track is from Golden Grrrls. It is called Xxxuntitledxxxdemo. Obviously, it is because it is a new demo as of 2012 without a name. This track sounds so much better than the tracks that Sex Hands has on this tape. The vocals are very clear for the style of the group. They are pushed back a bit into the mix is my only complaint. They still have their high gain high pitched guitar style that really works for them. As well as the lower picked single note guitar. It kind of reminds me of Heavenly mixed with Veronica Falls. It sounds really good.

The last track on the cassette, also by Golden Grrrls, is a different direction for the group. The song is called Beige Beauty. There are no female vocals on this track and it is very short. The vocals that are on the track are, obviously, male and very sparse. The vocals are also mixed so that you can hear that they are being sung but pushed back in the mix so you can’t tell what is being said. It is a bit disappointing for me because I like the female vocals with their songs.

If you’re lucky to find this then get it. If you are interested in it for one or both of the bands then get it right away at the Birthday Tapes Bandcamp page. You can listen to all four of the tracks on the Taurus page for this release.

This is Wax Idols First single released. It is a non-album single. It was released in 2011. There are two tracks on the single. The record was pressed in a few colors, gold, red and black. I have only just gotten into the group, late, and got a black copy of the single. They are an interesting low-fi/fuzzpop group from California. Their sound, from what I have read on reviews of the group, is like that of groups that are from the UK. It is very dark and fuzzy, just the way I like it.

The first track, All Too Human, works so well. The drums on this track are what kill me. it reminds me of the drumming that a friend of mine use to do in the mid 90s. It is all hits on the fours then seperates into double hits separated in eighth notes. It is brilliant. The vocals remind me of Joan Jett with extra vocal processing. Then the guitar has some super cool echo on it. It all fits together so well.

The B side track is called William Says. It is actually labeled differently on the record. On the record it reads, “Gooey Gooey (William Says)”. This one is very good too with the distortion put on the bass. The vocals are very interesting as they never seem to go where I think they should but still work in the song. The guitar on this one is lots of echo and noise. It is a good track, just not the one you want to hear day in and day out.

This is the second non-album single that the group has released. It was released in 2012. It is a two track single like All Too Human was. This one had a color release in green or black. I got a black copy through Discogs. It did come with a download so I did not need to clean the record or play it for that matter right away. I will put it away for later. They have cleaned their sound up from the last album and single with this release.

The first track is called Shadenfreude. The guitars don’t get lost in the atmospheric sound that is created like it did with the All Too Human single. This track actually comes off sounding a bit like the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs actually. The vocals are cleaned up to give the female vocals that Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs sound. I am not a fan of the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs but the clarity actually works with the Wax Idols sound.

The B side of this record is called The Last Drop. The bass has a nice slight overdriven sounding distortion at the start of the notes that are played. This is the sound that I like and use in some of my recordings actually. The guitar has a nice reverb and possibly a bit of phase shift on it. It gives the guitar a sort of psychedelic sound to it. It is very cool sounding. The vocals are the same as the previous track except there are some backing vocals done with this track giving it something extra. The drums on this track are very bold but no over the top.

I would say that both of these tracks are on track with moving the band in a better direction. It helps to have better production as a group moves forward too. I am very excited to hear what the new album has in store.

That is all for now...

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Vol. 4 Episode 11.5

Veronica Falls with opening act Cold Showers at the 7th Street Entry in Minneapolis MN 3-16-2013

This is the second time that I had been to the 7th Street Entry. The first time was to see the same band, Veronica Falls, last year. You can read all about that concert in the post for Vol. 3 Episode 6.5. The 7th Street Entry is a secondary club to the famous First Ave in Minneapolis MN. My wife was unable to attend this time so I brought my father-in-law, who loves music as much as I do. There were a group of four young adults, three girls and one guy, in line ahead of us. They had come to the concert on a whim, never hearing anything from the groups before. The girls didn’t seem to care who was playing, just that they were out of the house and doing something else. The guy on the other hand wanted to know if they were any good. I told him that I had been to see them the year before and that I had been into them since they started releasing music. This wasn’t exactly true as I got into them on their first single with Slumberland Records. This was after their first two initial singles. That little group found themselves right in front of the stage on the left side through the whole of the concert. The doors opened a little after 8 PM by my clock.

My father-in-law and I sat right behind the dividing wall that separates the dance floor from the main floor. I chose not to have a drink this time. I think that this made it easier to document what was happening during the event. My father-in-law told me stories of when he was in college out of the city. The big bands would come to play at this venue and he and his friends would come up to see these bands. They would stay up late and skip school the next day to recover from the event. That was funny to me because my view point is that of your spending how much to pay for your school and you are going to skip a day to see what ever band play music? I love music as much as most fanatics out there but I just don’t understand waiting money like that.

Just before the opening band came on stage I went to the merch table and bought the tour CD version of Veronica Falls Covers EP Vol. 2. I got number 76/100. The band wasn’t selling their own merch this time. I don’t know who the guy was that was selling at the merch table but he was not a musician for either of the bands. As Cold Showers started playing I saw James Hoare (Lead Guitarist for VF) and asked him to sign the paper slip case for the Covers EP I just bought. He was happy to do so. I asked him if the other members were going to come out. He told me that the rest of the group were going to come out to listen to the opening band play. Not thirty seconds later Patrick Doyle (Drummer for VF) walked out. I asked him to sign the case. He was just as happy to sign it. I asked him if he remembered me from last year. He gave me a, “Yeah, sure I do.” answer. Not that I don’t believe him. I then asked him why he stopped tweeting with his own account. He told me that he got kind of bored with it. I told him that he wrote some very funny stuff and missed the small conversations that we had. It was really a couple of one liners shared between us here and there, but still good stuff. I caught Roxanne Clifford (Lead singer for VF) as she was walking in from The Depot. She was totally fixed on getting in to see Cold Showers. I had to put my arms out in a friendly gesture to get her attention. I held her drink as she signed the case for me. I did not want to keep her from her mission as she seemed to want to get to a specific spot in the club. I caught Marion Herbain (Bassist for VF) a little bit after Roxanne came in. She was just as happy to sign something for a fan. So, just like last year, I got the band to sign the CD version of their new covers EP.

After getting all of Veronica Falls signatures I made my way back to my seat to watch the rest of the Cold Showers set. As I was listening to this band play it occurred to me that they have a sound that is similar to two UK bands that I really like. I heard sounds that reminded me of Joy Division. I also heard sounds that remind me of The Smiths. The drummer for the band actually used the core drum kit for Veronica falls. It has to be very annoying to lug around two kits and the stage set up for the venue is so small that they probably could only get the one drum kit up on stage anyway. The guitarist for this band played a cream colored Mosrite guitar. This is one of my favorite sounding electric guitars. The ventures and Man or Astro-Man? play this guitar. It has a very unique sound that I really like. The bassist was also the lead singer for the band. He had a deep voice like Morrissey (The Smiths) or Ian Curtis (Joy Division).  I am not sure what he was playing for a bass but it looked something like a Fender P-bass. They also had a keyboardist. He made some interesting noises but was basically there to fill in the holes. This was a good set but I have enough music from the originators that I don’t think that I will be hunting their music down. Although, I would for sure recommend them to friends, they are a good group, just not for me.

There was a bit of a change over before Veronica Falls took the stage. They opened the set with the opening track to the new album, Tell Me. I still like the fact that they can play the songs on their album the way that they sound on the album. I also thought that they did an amazing job with the feedback on the track My Heart Beats. I thought that they would get it close but the track, as they played it, was absolutely perfection, just like on the album. I did not think that there was much change in their style from one year ago other than the group seemed to have more fun on stage than they did last year. Last year was their first tour and they seemed a bit shy. This year they were dancing and swaying to their own music as they played and they seemed to work with the crowd and have fun with it. At one point Roxanne missed a chord in one of the songs and laughed at her misstep on the mic but then continued right along with the rest of the song.

The set was a good mix of tracks from the first album and from the new sophomore album. I was a bit disappointed that they did not play any super deep cuts. I am a big fan and the unheard tracks are usually not played as much. I would have been super excited if they had played Back Page though. That is one of my favorite songs but it is also like the super secret B-side too. All in all it was a great concert and I am glad that I didn’t have to miss out on it. I will go and see them every time they come to the twin cities! Thanks to Cold Showers for putting on such a great set. Also, to Veronica Falls for signing my copy of the Six Covers EP Vol. 2 and for coming to the twin cities a second time. Thanks to First Ave/7th Street Entry for the space and time. Come back soon and keep putting out more music. I will keep buying it!

Veronica Falls set list:
Tell Me
My Heart Beats
Beachy Head
Broken Toy
Waiting For Something To Happen
Bad Feeling
Found Love In A Graveyard
If You Still Want Me
Burry Me Alive
Wedding Day
Come On Over

Right Side Of My Brain
Starry Eyes (Roky Erickson cover)

If you want to see a different point of view you can read this review.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Vol. 4 Episode 11

I got my copy of the new By Bloody Valentine physical release. Some record stores are carrying a few copies for customers either at no markup or a high markup. If it is more than about 50 bucks you may as well have bought it from the MBV web page (Just so you know).

I have not gotten it, but you can now buy the new DavidBowie album in multiple formats. I am not a fan of the songs I have heard on the radio but I have read reviews that say the singles are the weakest part of the album.

I am very excited to say that the Veronica Falls concert is tonight and I am going to see it. I also want to apologize for the short post here. I have had a excessively busy week.

Here we go...

This was released in 2000. It is her first soundtrack to the movie called Dancer In The Dark. She also stared in this movie playing the part of Selma. The lyrical content of the album is considerably different than what was in the movie. For example: the track Scatterheart has completely different lyrics from what is contained in the movie. Also, points where other actors are singing on other tracks are removed.  This may have happened to prevent spoilers as the album was released weeks prior to the movie release. It could have also been done to make the album flow better. It could have been Bjork being herself. This issue has never been resolved. There are three more songs in the movie that were not included on the album. It is a disappointment that this is the case because all of the music was amazing in the film even though it is a very depressing movie.

There was one single released from this album. That is I’veSeen It All, a duet with Thom Yorke. This version was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song. The song is about coming to terms with going blind. It is a very sad song that uses man made sounds, like a train going across the tracks, and a full orchestra with electronic/synth sounds that Bjork is known for. There are actually three different versions of this song, a version taken from the movie, a version from the soundtrack album and a live version where Bjork sings all of the parts.

This is a very good album but because of the time that this album was released it is very dark. There are a lot of albums that came out in this time that are very dark. This is because the world, more specifically the US, was in a very dark place with the 9/11 crashes. The music from this time is very good but unless you are in the mood for it you may want to keep your distance.

This is their first full length album on Dead Oceans Records. It is up for preorder now and will be released on 4-2-13. If it is preordered you get the download as of march 25th. For some reason I got the download as soon as I preordered it. I did order the deluxe version. This version comes a three inch button and a pair of sunglasses. I am sure that the sunglasses look similar to the style that the lead singers like to ware. There is an extra bonus with the first 50 orders of the deluxe version. You could get a one of a kind Polaroid taken by the band. The preorder is up at the SC Distribution web page, I am sure this is the only way to get the Polaroid, or at your favorite etailer or shops.

There are twelve tracks on the album and, I am very happy to say that there were only two tracks on the album from previous releases. One of those tracks was from the last 7” that they released, Searching Through ThePast. I talked about this track back in Vol. 3 Episode 7. The other was from the Daytrotter session that they did about a year ago (4-23-2012), Looking For A Fight.

Next Stop is the first single from the album. I have not heard anything about there being a physical record or CD single being released yet. I hope that there will be though. The song is a super cool pop punk track that is easy to get along with. The song at times reminds me of something that The Go-Go’s would sing. The song is basically about someone seeing a friend off on a train but still knowing that there will be a next time. I see this as a bitter sweet song, being sad that the friend has to leave but knowing that they will be back to visit again in the future.

This was originally a three track EP released by the band. It was originally released as a record in 2003. Since the release of their new album, Lorelei have re-released this EP on the internet (BandCamp) with three additional unreleased tracks making this a six track EP now.

The band had this to say about each of the unreleased tracks:
Let's Burn Our Parachutes - A track we decided to hold back from our upcoming "Enterprising Sidewalks" LP so that we could offer it up here for you. Mixed by Guy Fixsen!

Not The Answer - Track taken from the Slumberland 20th Anniversary CD given away at those shows. If you missed it now is your chance to get this rare track.

Cicada - Recorded in 1991, this track will only be made available here.

The first three tracks, Work Where Chemicals Fall, Deliberate Speed Rupture and Monitor have the same style and sound as these last three tracks. Two of those tracks were from the same time period but Lets Burn Our Parachutes was recorded twenty years after the other five tracks. It is really amazing that they could have the same sound twenty years later.

If your looking for some good indie music for cheap ($6) this is a great place to get a good EP. You can listen to the original three tracks from the EP through the link in the title of the album. You need to buy the EP to hear the new/unreleased tracks.

Just released this week (3-12-13), this is their first full length album. There has not been an official single released from the album. I got my hazy clear copy from Slumberland Records. It is colored like the Violens second release. Slumberland has called it milky clear. I think it is more like when you put a clear vinyl product out in the sun for too long. It kind of gets a haze where you can tell it was once clear but now it is more transparent. It does have a slight yellow/white tint to it though. I was very surprised to see that the album was cut at 45 RPMs. It is a very short album and because of this they cut the album at the better sounding 45. I did have a few problems with the download of the album. You only get one chance to download the album from the supporting website, DropCards. If your browser crashed, like mine did, that is it. There is one saving grace; you can contact their help desk to get the pass code reset. This happened to me over the weekend. I got the album before the release date, so I had to wait until Monday to be able to try the download again. They did have the code reset right away on Monday morning though. There are eleven tracks on the album but they are all so short. There are four songs on this album that were released on other releases that the group has put out. That leaves seven songs that were new. Of those new tracks I had heard two of them on the Slumberland web page. That means that I had heard about half of the album. This wasn’t really a disappointment but it is too bad that they couldn’t come up with all new material. On the other hand those four tracks that were older songs were completely re-recorded for the album. It really makes those tracks more solid than their previous recordings. The original recordings are very thin and crispy. They really did need a good solid recording. I am happy that they were given that opportunity.

This is a very good album that deserves a fair chance. They aren’t the greatest band but they certainly are a fun band.

That is all I have for now...

Friday, March 8, 2013

Vol. 4 Episode 10

The preorder is up for the band Wax Idols on the SlumberlandRecords page. It is a unique pressing with black center and clear outer edge of the record. The songs that are available for preorder sound very cool.

The preorder for the new Veronica Falls single, Teenage, is also up on the Slumberland page. It is a different cover from the UK version but the same tracks.

On with the show...

This is the fifth album from Blindside. It was released in August, 2005. From Wikipedia: “The album was largely influenced by a trip to Africa that their lead singer, Christian, had undertaken. He was very unsettled by his experience and the things he saw influenced the album immensely. The song "Yemkela" was written about a young African boy he met on his trip. The boy had HIV and had less than two months to live. However, Christian Lindskog revealed that on a recent tour in South Africa, he had seen Yemkela (who Christian expected would be dead) at a show in Cape Town. To Christian's surprise, he was doing well and watched Blindside perform his song and sang along.”

The album had two songs released from it. The first being a song called Fell In Love With The Game. The song is a very straight forward hard rock song. I really like the group because they have the ability to put hard rock music to Christian themed lyrics. It is like I get the best of both worlds and this track is one of their best sounding rock tracks. It makes me bop my head and for get that the lyrics are dedicated to Christianity at times. This track contains the line "We wrestle in the mud and the blood and the beer," which references the Johnny Cash song "A Boy Named Sue."

The second single from the album is called When I Remember. The vocalist comes off a little whiney with this track. I think it is mainly because he is just talking through most of the verse parts of the track. The chorus is sung and pulls at my heart strings as it gets very emotional musically during this passage. I like the last line in the verse, “When I remember, a cloud moves in, rain falls, thunder strikes, and sunshine breaks through the clouds.” It makes me think of the hard times that I have had and leaning on god for help.

One song that I really like from the album is called MyAlibi. It is an odd way to view it but I think that the song is about spending time with our creator. The vocalist talks about planning ahead so that he knows what to say he spent his time on when he gets to “the pearly gates”. He wants his alibi to be that he spent his time with his creator. The other reason that I like this song is that they use a really cool electronic sound to create a solo in the middle of the song. It reminds me of the 90s when a program called Rubber Duck came out. I use to make sounds with that program that were very similar the solo part in this song.

This is the eighth studio album from Switchfoot. It was released in September, 2011. From Wikipedia, “The thematic core of the feeling of the record rests in the idea of the polarity of life. This idea is rooted in the entire album, from the artwork to the lyrics, including the lyric "every blessing comes with a set of curses," found on the title track. The band says that this record is different from their previous records in that it is driven more by the drums and bass, whereas their previous records were driven more by guitar. Unlike the Hello Hurricane sessions, in which the band tracked over 80 songs, the Vice Verses session saw the band taking on a more selective process. Instead of writing multiple songs and picking from amongst them the best for the album, they wrote just enough songs for one album and focused them so as to perfect each one.”

There were five singles released from the album. The first single is called Dark Horses. This track would totally fit in the late 90s hard rock/alternative sound. It is very good but fits in so many stale rock sounds. I still like it though, it is hard not to.

The second single from the album is called Restless. It is a song about how the rain falls and that rain waters desire to get back to the ocean. The singer relates this journey to his own life and desire for a better life. It is a slow track that has meaning. it is not a track that I have great interest in but would make a great song to be sung in church.

The third single from the album is called Afterlife. The chord changes in the song are interesting. They make you feel that something amazing is about to happen. The lyrics add to this because, for those who believe in Christianity, we all are looking forward to the next life. It makes you feel that this isn't all there is to life and gets you excited for what is next. it is the kind of song that makes me want to keep living this life the best I can so that I can have the best that the next life has to offer. It is an inspiring song.

the fourth single from the album is called The Original. This song reminds me of the sound that the group Mute Math creates. It has that pop feel that Switchfoot hasn't had in the past so much but it is a welcome sound that better diversifies them from other bands. it is a happy song.

The last single released from the album is called Where IBelong. The song is another slow song that gets boring for me. It sort of comes off as a Coldplay song really. The vocals are straight up front and the music has a drive to it. There is also a crowd like chant that happens between sections. I guess that is where I get the Coldplay feel. It is a good song with a cool distorted sound that I really like in the guitar.

All in all this is a good album. I personally like the previous one more but still.

This is the third and final album from Nirvana. It was released in September, 1993. The cover of the album was significant because it was meant to convey Cobain’s outlook on his publicized personal life and the band’s new found fame. The graphic on the back is a collage that Cobain created on the floor of his living room and was photographed by Charles Peterson. Personally, I never thought that this album was that great, although, I did buy this album over Nevermind. I thought that the singles that I heard were grittier than those on Nevermind and that I probably why I bought this one.

There were two singles released from this album. The first single is called Heart-Shaped Box. The song initially didn’t have a physical single release but received major radio air play. The song did get a CD, 12”, cassette and 7” releases later. The song is a down tempo track that follows the Pixies ideal of loud, soft, loud. The chorus is loud where the verse is quiet. The song is quite depressing and reminds me of someone on the edge of sanity. This is pulled about the lyrics from Wikipedia, “Cobain said the song was inspired by documentaries about children with cancer.” “…despite Cobain's explanation, the song actually appeared to be about Courtney Love.”

The second single released from the album is actually a double A side. One track was All Apologies and the other was Rape Me. All Apologies is the last track on the album and is played acoustic for the most part, the chorus has an electric guitar. It was meant to be a song that brought on peaceful, happy and comfort feelings. It does this very effectively. I especially like the end fade out lines that repeat, “All in all is all we are.”

Rape Me was designed to be an anti-rape song. Cobain intended the lyrics to be strong, stating at one point that the song was supposed to represent a do your worst to me, you will get yours in the end mentality. The song could also be viewed by Cobain’s distaste for the media’s coverage of his personal life. The song is in your face and may be startling on first listen though.

I think that the track called Dumb is one of the better tracks on the album. It follows suit from All Apologies with the mostly acoustic feel and the down tempo sound. I think it is probably my favorite track on the album.

Personally, I don’t think this is that great of an album. It is a great album for the 90s but considering what is out there, before this album and after this album, it is not that great.

This is the group’s first release. It was released in 1992, 20 years before their second album release. For some reason I thought that the record was on clear red. I was mistaken apparently.This is one record that came about in Slumberland Records early years.

There are only three tracks on the single. The first track, the title track, The Bitter Air, is a echo opus running at almost seven minutes. The drums are clear and down trodden. The acoustic guitar gets lost in all the echo except at the beginning and the end. The bass guitar sticks out just under the cloudy/misty vocals. The end result is very beautiful. I am saddened that I missed out on this when it was a new release. There is also a pretty electric guitar feedback sound that rings clear near the end of the song. The vocals are inarticulate but still serve their purpose.

The second track on the single is called Sometimes… (1965Stereo Mix). I’m not sure what the stereo mix has to do with it other than kitsch value. It is a cute jangle pop track that reminds me of R.E.M. a little but with female vocals. There is still a lot of reverb or echo on the vocals. I like this though, especially with female vocals.

The third track on the single is called Everything’s GoneRain. This track starts off a bit dark but jumps into a happier vibe after the short intro. The vocals are a little lower in tone than the previous two tracks. It gives this track a bit of a different feel. The guitar has a bit of an under water feel to it due to a pedal, I am sure. It is really a bit of a dreary track for rainy days. I like it that way.

This is an interesting look at the early 90s underground music scene. I encourage anyone to check it out.

That is all I have for now...

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Vol. 4 Episode 9

There will be a single released for the veronica falls track called Teenage. It will be released March 12, 2013. This info was officially released by Slumberland Records this week. The UK version of this single has been out for a while now. You can actually pick it up from the bands web page while supplies last. There will be a different cover used for the SLR version. It is different from the UK version. The songs will be the same though.

The preorder is now up for the new Bleached album. It comes with an immediate download of the album if you get it from Dead Oceans along with a few extra goodies. You can also get it from your favorite e-taler.

Record Store Day 2013 is fast approaching (April 20th 2013). The lists are not up yet but expect them soon! I am very excited as I will be getting my new born son his very first record! 
And here we go...

This is the first full length album from the Thom Yorke headed group Atoms For Peace. It was released this past Tuesday (February 2013). The group was formed originally as a live band for Yorkes’ solo project, The Eraser. The group worked so well together that they decided to put together an album. AMOK is the result of that time together. You can get the album in multiple formats, including a limited double vinyl version. This limited version is 100% debossed in black and white with foil stamped parts. It comes with a download card and a 12 X 12 art sheet. The UK version comes with a CD instead of a download. I whish that record companies in the US would offer a CD instead of a download. That is just me though; I like to have physical copies of music.

The first single from the album was released a few months back. That song is called Default. I talked about this single in Vol. 3 Episode50. I had this to say about it: “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.”

The second single from the album, to be released in the beginning of March, is called Judge Jury & Executioner. This song has been floating around for quite a while. I have a live version from the recording that was done at the Orpheum Theater back in 2009. I am very excited to have an official studio version of the song. The song has a cool start off with a beat box bass line. This is used sporadically through out the song but is a cool way to start the song off. The vocals are very cool and the backing vocals are very floaty additional Yorke vocals. There is also a nice acoustic guitar that fits between the vocals and human styled bass line. The drums seem to be more programmed than real/live drums. The vocals work really well and that is why I like the song. The live version that I have of this song some how doesn’t feel as full as this studio version. I think that is because the floaty vocals are not on the live version as is the extra percussion. Both versions have their merits though.

There is already a third single being pushed digitally so far. That song is called Ingenue. It is a very electronic/synth track but it works with the big drum beat that pushes its way to the front. Yorkes’ vocals are pushed back a bit with this track so you mainly just get the musicality of his voice. This is a good track from the album but I think that there are stronger stracks on the album that could have been released before this one.

They have done it again. With the release of their second album, Veronica falls have released a second volume of covers. There have only been 600 of this vinyl record pressed. They will also be selling a CD tour version of this second EP when they come to your town soon. The record was supposed to come out next month but I found my copy in the mail last week. This means that it was released in February 2013. The group took all their equipment over to the guitarists place to record this EP after finishing up the second album. All the songs were recorded in one take to an eight track reel-to-reel tape. The tracks were recorded this was because of an eviction notice on the flat and the band wanted to keep the noise down to avoid complaints from the neighbors. They also recorded the vocals in the bathroom to get natural reverb. This is an EP that is created just for the fans. There are no singles that will be released from this EP.

The first track is called Is Anybody There? The track is a cover of a cover. The song was originally recorded by Cocksperrer. Veronica Falls specifically stated on the cover of the record that they covered the Home Blitz cover version. It is a fun punk song about a band that thinks that nobody knows who they are.

The second track is a cover of a Bob Dylan track Love Minus Zero/No Limit. I have never heard the original track. This cover version fits Veronica Falls perfectly. It is a slower track that plays to their strengths. It is sweet and moving.

The third track is called Teenagers, originally recorded by The Rats. This is a good punk song that sort of fits the groups’ style. The song is interesting though and I can look past the rough sound of the track. It is a short track and it also works because of that.

The fourth track that was covered is called Burry Me Happy. This is a cover track from The Moles. This track also fits the groups’ style and reminds me a little bit of the track from their new album called Burry Me Alive. This track, Burry Me Happy, is a softer track and really stands out for me as single worthy if they were going to release one.

The Fifth track, called Timeless Melody, is a cover from The La’s. I have always liked the La’s but never got into their music. I have never heard this track but the way that Veronica Falls sounds this track apparently works very well. I think this is almost as good as the previous track.

The last track that they cover was originally recorded by Ween. The song is called What Deaner Was Talking About. I have never been a fan of Ween. That being said, This is a very slow song that sort of works for the band. I feel like they have pushed themselves out of their comfort zones for this track. This is a good rendition but not a great rendition.

I believe that Rough Trade Records has sold out on this release but if you gotta have it you can get it from Discogs. Sadly, the tracks have not been put up on YouTube yet so you can not listen to them there.

This is one of two albums that have been released as part of The Machine De Ella Project, the other being Midnight On Earthship (MOE). There was an audio book of the same name released with this project as well. Both of the albums and the book were released on a track by track schedule from the beginning of October 2012 to February 2013. These albums are the sixth and seventh albums released from the group and the third and fourth albums released from the group independently. I am very happy that they have a fan base that allows them to continue to release albums independently and that they still have a drive to do so. I really hope that they do continue to do so and that they continue to gain in popularity so that they can keep making these awesome records. As I mentioned with MOE in the previous post, both of these albums will see a physical release in a bout four months.

There has not been an official single released from this album as of yet. The album is very different from MOE. It is more rock inspired and deals with themes from the book. The book is a sci-fi based Christian novel. I have not yet listened to the book but am looking forward to it. This album musically reminds me more of their first couple of albums. I liked those albums a lot more than some of their more recent work. Therefore I like this album more than MOE. I think that it has more meaning to it musically and vocally.

This is a collection of tracks from Prince and a couple of his friends. The album was released in 1985 but originally recorded in 1977 before his break through. The project was put together by Pepe Willie, the former husband of Prince's cousin. When I was house hunting last spring my realtor and I were talking about music. I live in Minnesota, so naturally Prince came up. She told me that he knew a friend of Prince’s and that there may be a few copies of a record that he was a part of still on hand. I was excited to hear a different side of Prince and accepted without hesitation a sealed copy of this record. It wasn’t until recently that I actually got around to listening to the record. This is the only record that 94 East put out. There are a few other releases but they are just variants of this album.

There are six tracks on this record. They are all synth infused funk tracks. Prince composed one of the tracks on the album and it stands out above the other five tracks. The song is called Just Another Sucker. The song is a fun pop/funk track that really sounds like it came from the late 70s during the dance/disco craze. It has a great guitar sound, cool slap bass and the early synth sounds of the start of the electronic era.

It is really a fun funk album. If you are looking for more from Prince, this is an interesting side. If you are digging for fun funk from the 70s don’t over look this 80s release of 70s funk material.

 That is all I have for now...