Thursday, October 31, 2013

Vol. 4 Episode 47

I was saddened to hear this past weekend that Lou Reed passed away. He was one of my favorite artists. He was a part of The Velvet Underground and later had a solo career. He recorded many songs that were very influential in my life.

This is the Halloween post. As such Graveface Records has a special Halloween mix up that you can download here.

Sigur Rós has an iTunes Festival EP up with seven live songs on iTunes, of course.

Tears For Fears have done a cover of one of my favorite Hot Chip songs called And I Was A Boy From School. I really like the cover. I am not sure where to get a copy of the song yet though. You can hear it here.

Record Store Day has released its Black Friday list on their web site. There are only a couple of items from the list that interest me this year. Not that I am disappointed though. That means that I am spending less money on records for Christmas this year. I am looking forward to the Silversun Pickups 10” release for sure though.

Odd Box has put up for streaming the latest 100 club series. I have listened to them and although I have ordered the Gum 7” I am kicking myself for not getting the Flowers single too. You can listen to them here.

Here we go...

This is the first release from The Marshmallow Ghosts. It was released on October 20th of 2009. It is a 7” picture disc. The sleeve is covered in a glow in the dark material. I did not find out about the group until I got the charity series from Graveface Records a couple years ago now. My interest in the group did not increase until the Indie Go-go fundraiser kicked off and I was guaranteed the latest release from the group. This record does not have a paper label in the center because the picture is of a hypnotic swirl from the center outward. This record was limited to 500 pressings.

The A side track is called Shrieks. I like the opening because it reminds me of the 7” records that I use to listen to with a book. The record would tell you when to turn the page and helped you to learn to read. After the spooky opening ends it goes into an organ lead track with lots of vibrato. It is musical but spooky at the same time. There aren’t any vocals really but you can hear someone speaking in the undertow of the song at times. The tail end of the song just becomes noise between the organ and xylophone and then a loud wind sort of takes over. It is a very cool spooky song indeed.

The B side track is called Creaks. This song has a spooky bend on a guitar part that is very creepy. This track also has that person talking in the undertow of the song every now and again. Just enough so that you know someone is talking but you can never understand what it is they are saying. There is also a nice guitar playing along with the creepy. It gives and uneasy feeling. Half way through all of this stops and there is an old timey piano playing in a hall with a female vocalist but it is like your standing in the lobby of the where the hall is, very far away and lots of natural echo. This then cuts out all together again and a nice rounded guitar starts playing with and echo pedal on it. You can tell there is an echo pedal on the guitar only in the breaks of the guitar playing though. It is very pretty.

It is a very interesting single.

This is the second single from The Marshmallow Ghosts. It was released a year later in October of 2010. With this one the cover still glows in the dark. The cool thing for me was that the record, a 7”, also glows in the dark. This record was also limited to 500 pressings. This is my first glow-in-the-dark record. I was a little disappointed with this because I wanted my first glow-in-the-dark record to be the Man or Astro-Man? 10” record for Your Weight On The Moon. It took a while but I reasoned it out to be this will be my first 7” and the Man or Astro-Man? record will be my first 10” when I can get my hands on it. This record has vocals on it but at times it gets hard to listen to because of the way that they are sung, strained and pushed, if that makes any sense.

The A side of this single is Trick. It starts off with a crow cawing amongst other birds and noises. The music then kicks in with some odd noises to start off with. It then adds a distorted organ and super distorted vocals right after that. There is a drum machine that comes in there too to add that little extra unease. That is about the whole song, It is not fantastic but still interesting. It ends just as it started, with crows cawing amongst other birds and insects.

The B side is then called Treat. This one opens with what sounds like kids trick or treating with the fun Halloween toys making noises. An organ fades in playing somewhat spooky song and then a super saw toothed synth comes in to play with the organ. Then another synth comes in on top of that. They are all three playing off of each other to make a very cool spooky and creepy sound. There is some light percussion that comes in to add to the effect as well. It is a cool spooky song.

This single came with a download card that not only gave you the two tracks digitaly but also has a remix of each song. The remixes are labeled as 666GACY666 Mixes, which is kind of funny in a demented way.

This is the first full length album from The Marshmallow Ghosts. It was released on the 11th of October 2011. The album was released on vinyl and on dual disc. There were two color variants of the vinyl version. The limited record club edition version was on Halloween orange with bone white swirl. limited to 200 pressings. The standard edition was on Halloween orange with Grimace purple swirl. The dual disc came with the records but was also purchasable on its own. The DVD side of the dual disc has the movie called The Marshmallow Ghosts Present Corpse Reviver No 2. The other side is the album The Marshmallow Ghosts. Corpse Reviver No. 1 does not exist as of yet. There are talks of a new album for next Halloween and with it the possibility of another movie.

The movie itself is totally setup like a B-movie with several short stories in an arch. If you are into B- movies then this will be of interest to you. It is not really scary but the stories make you think at any rate. The movie is really just a vehicle for the music on the album but I guess that is to be expected when the movie comes with an album.

The single from the album is the song Trick. I am not going to go into that again as the song is already talked about in this post.

I do like the few opening tracks to the album though. The first song is a short track called Séance at Murder Tract. There are no vocals on this track but the lead organ has that cool spooky sound that I really like from this group. The second song is called The Hearse Song. This song has some big drum sounds but the vocals are in that pushed strained style that the lead singer likes to do but that I am not that happy with. The song is more interesting than the annoying vocals though so I can live with it. The Attic is the third song that starts off with organ and a cool synth that reminds me of the cheap keyboards of the 80s, some kind of Casio model. The vocals are a bit more smoothed out making this one of my favorite tracks on the album.

The one song that really gives me the chills is called Shall I Be “Anna” or “Anna” Be I? It has a ring of the old 70s slasher movies like Halloween or Friday The 13th. It is my favorite song on the album There are no lyrics making it even more spooky I think.

All in all it has the perfect amount of spook/scare on the album I think. I have never been into the Halloween scary music but this may have opened the door.

This is the latest in The Marshmallow Ghosts series. It was given out to those who gave money to the Indie Go-go fundraiser. You got the download of the songs no matter what you gave but you got the record if you gave twenty-five bucks or more. There were 666 copies pressed in random colors. The colors were supposed to represent the colors of the monster cereals that now are put out only for the Halloween season. I got the chocolaty Count Chocula brown swirl color. I was really hoping for a pink or blue because Franken Berry and Boo Berry are my favorites. I have only seen a graphic with four of the colors so I am not sure about the other two colors. I have seen the pink, brown, grey/blue and an orange color. They are each a swirl of multi colors with emphasis on the colors mentioned. The record also came with a download. With this record the download not only came with the two songs on the 10” but also two additional instrumental versions of the songs.

The A side of the record is called Shadow Land. This song starts off with a gong and a guy says, “lights out everybody.” Then a bell starts to toll and the guy says, in time with the bell, “It’s…later…than…you…think…” The song then starts up. There is a cool sign wave synth that carries the song all the way through. There are vocals with the song but they are the strained pushed sound that I am not really a fan of. The drums are mostly on the cymbals and high-hat. The bass kicks in later and sounds so cool, the right amount of distortion and very controlled. The song is just over nine minutes long but it is still interesting in the long run. There are parts that I like a lot though and I can live through the long song if I wan to hear those cool bits. The song does have a dramatic change at the end. It is like a new song has started. It reminds me of something that Stereolab would do.

The B side is called Light From The Other Side. This one starts off with the same gong and bell tolls and the guy saying, “It’s…later…than…you…think…” The music starts with a drum machine and a synth part that comes off a bit cheesey but I like it all the same. The vocals aren’t as bad to listen to with this one. It is a slower song that seems to pick up where the end of the A side ended. The bass comes in a third of the way into the song again and has that awesome distortion on it again. It nearly overpowers the song this time when it is being played though. There are some instruments that come in half way through the song that sound so cool. I am not sure that I would use them in my music but the sound works so well in this song. This is another long song where the last three minutes become a different song all together. There are some organ stabs that sound very cool and the drums are just the bass drum. There is also a cool sawtooth wave that is used over the top of all of this. All of this just fades out into the either except for the back ground noise that sort of stand up after everything fades away.

If you can get it I would recommend it to any Halloween music fan. Here is a link to the sampler for the 10" record.

This was a special release with the last charity series from Graveface Records. I talked about it in Vol. 3 Episode 44, "This third record in this set is from The Marshmallow Ghosts And Dreamend or Dreamend And The Marshmallow Ghosts depending on which version of the track you are listening to. The track that is on this record is called The Sneak. It is two different versions of the song though and this is the reason for the reversed naming of the bands. This record benefits the charity The Rape Crisis Center of The Coastal Empire. They are a rape crisis center started in 1975 in Georgia. 

The A side of this record is done by The Marshmallow Ghosts And Dreamend. This version of The Sneak is simple synthesized sounds. The strange part is the vocals. They seem somewhat monotone and processed through a distortion box. I think the song would be so much better if the vocalist would have tried to sing the song better or just left off the vocals.
The B side of this record is done by Dreamend And The Marshmallow Ghosts. This version of the song uses the same synthesized tones but also adds a screeching distorted guitar sound over the top. It adds a deep bass sound under the guitar part and progressively gets more intense because of this. It all then cuts out with the exception of a nice synth wave sound. There are no vocals on this version and I think that is the best honestly. It is the best of both worlds. Lots of noise in the beginning and fades to beautiful synth sounds at the end. This is the better of the two versions for sure."
The only link to a sound byte was recorded at 33 RPMs, not quite right sounding (it is supposed to be at 45) but if your interested here it is. 

That is it for The Marshmallow Ghosts Halloween post, for now... (HAHAHahahahha...)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Vol. 4 Episode 46

News will be on the halloween episode.

Here we go...

This is Poliça’s second album. It was released on October 18 of 2013. The standard version was released on Mom + Pop Music. There were a limited number of bootlegs pressed (500) in the US. Each was a white cover with a hand drawn picture in sharpie and the band autographed the back. In the UK they got a limited red pressing of the record. I got a standard version because I did not find out about the white label bootleg version until after they had sold out. A lot of the online dealers have been pixilating the graphic assuming that the red on the girls neck and back was blood. The band has stated that it is just red hair die and some of those dealers have taken the pixilation off of the graphic. The album as a whole is not what I was expecting from the group. Honestly I expected something on par or more up beat from the group. I was a little let down. The album is good but it is a little depressing.

There has been two singles released from the album digitally so far. The first single released is called Tiff. This song features Justin Vernon on vocals. His vocals are used very sparingly as background to mimic the lead singer’s vocals on the chorus. The song is very slow but has a good drum beat. The song has a cool sort of R&B feel. The chorus is a good hook but it is so short and the verse is very bland. This song becomes very forgettable.

The second single released is called Chain My Name. It is the lead track on the album and is probably the best song on the album. It has a good drum beat and the lead synth part has slightly bending notes all the time at random. It gives me an uneasy feeling but is so interesting at the same time. It is kind of a late 80s sound. It reminds me of something that Tiffany or Jodie Watley would have made back then.

There are a couple of other songs that I like from the album but mainly just for the sound that is used not for the music that was created. I think that this is why I am disappointed with the album. They took the time to make some really cool sounds but it is such a depressing album that I don’t want to listen to the songs. It could be me and where I am in life at the moment that it doesn’t sit right. I will come back to it later and maybe it will be better.Just to be clear, it is not that I don't like the music, it just wasn't what I was expecting.

I have gotten my Graveface Records Indie Go-go stuff in the mail finally. This album was one of the items that I got in the box. I got both the record and the CD. The record is hand numbered 141 out of 500 and the CD is number 375 of 500. The vinyl is a very pretty half solid grey half translucent red. The grey side is splattered with white and the red side is splattered with white and grey. It looks really cool. The reason that I got the record was that it also had two extra tracks from the CD (I also like colored records). They have been labeled as a dream pop group in the past. This still fits I think. The group originally started in 1989, formed by Slowdive guitarist Christian Savill and Sean Hewson. In this incarnation the band did not go very far. They reformed in 1999 with Rachel Goldstar. In 2009 Ryan Graveface (Graveface Records founder) and Sophie Pittaway added contributions to the group. This album was finished in 2009 and released in 2010. 

From what I can find there was one single released digitally. That song is called Bored Beyond Oblivion. The song is a cool song with the right amount of distortion on the guitars. The lyrics come off as a teen age kid looking for something to do, being that age and not being able to do anything because you don’t have a car or any money. I remember this time of my life. It was boring. You couldn’t do the fun adult things and you were too old to play with toys. I think this is where video games came into my life a lot heavier than before.

The two tracks that are added to the vinyl version of this release are All The Hurt Inside, track five on side A, and Look And See, track three on side B.

The album is interesting but, like that Poliça album it is a bit depressing. I think it is easier to take from Monster Movie because the vocals are male and therefore are automatically lower in tone. Where as the lead singer for Poliça is female and higher pitch is supposed to be happier in my head.

This is an earlier released mini album released in 2004. This was also a part of my Graveface Indie Go-go set. This album was only released on CD. There were 1000 copies of this CD put out. The sleeve is on red card stock with gold foil stamping. It is kind of unique in that way. It has been said that this album sounds like Yo La Tengo. I don’t know that group well enough to say that for a fact though.

Letting You Know is the single that was released from this mini album. The vocals remind me of something that The Beach Boys could have sang tonally from their later albums. I like this song a lot. It is slow but the vocals work on the song so well it doesn’t even matter. I got both of these albums, Transistor and Everyone Is A Ghost, solely on the backing track to the Whirr charity single. I wrote about that earlier in Vol. 3 Episode 44. The backing track was from Monster Movie. I liked the track so much but didn’t go out and get any music from them. When this Indie Go-go thing came up I felt that was the time to get more into the group. I am happy that I did so.
That is all I have until Halloween...

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Vol. 4 Episode 45

I am shooting to have a special Halloween episode filled with music from The Marshmallow Ghosts. This is a special band that Graveface Records has that is dedicated to Halloween. There are not many releases but they are pretty cool.

This means I am going to do a normal post, a Halloween post and My Bloody Valentine are going to be in concert that Friday so there will also be a review of that concert up during the weekend too!

Veronica Falls are putting out a new tour 7" for the up coming Japan and Australia tour. It will be released in the beginning of December and is limited to 300 pressings.

Here we go...

This is a new album put out by Slumberland Records. The limited version was put out on double white vinyl. The three core members of the group are Mark Van Hoen (known for SeeFeel), Neil Halstead (known for Slowdive and Mojave 3), and Nicholas Holton. The album has been labeled as brilliant space-rock/shoegaze/post-everything album. The album really is a little bit of everything that I like in music right now. The problem is that this makes it hard to listen to. There may be a single clip of music that lasts a whole ten seconds that I will never hear again on the album. It is almost like they had so many ideas and they crammed them all on the album. It makes for a great album but this could have been spread across many great albums. Not that I am complaining about a great album mind you, but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing (It's still one of the best albums I have heard all year).

There have been two singles digitally released from the album so far. The first single is called (I Don’t Mean To) Wonder. The track is a hard core shoegaze song. It starts off with a cool bubbly sound and goes straight into a massive guitar wash. It is beautiful to say the least. After the intro dies off it leaves room for the echo laden vocals. The vocals are nearly unable to be understood as there is so much echo. There is a short chorus and then back into the guitar wash. The group manages the fuzz on the guitar so well it is just incredible.

The second single from the album is called This Is How ItFeels. This track is a bit more subdued than the first single with keyboards that lead the way for the most part. This track reminds me of something that The Flaming Lips might have put together. It is sweet and soft and very dreamy. There is still a lot of echo on the vocals but a different vocalist from the first single. The song also has that 60s pop song mixed into the wash of synth keys adding to the sweetness of the song.

I think there is going to be a third single from the album called My Baby Just Sailed Away. This song starts off with a sub bass line and nearly 8-bit sounds over the top of that bass. Again the vocals are laden with echo but not as heavy as the previous two singles. It reminds me of the dark new wave of the mid 80s. It is very stylized but super cool.

I do have to say that the opening track, Stars Are Out Home, is super cool. It is like a free sonic trek into space with out leaving the planet. It is with out a doubt one of the best tracks on the album. It reminds me of something from Clinic on the album Walking With Thee. This is mainly because of the accordion that is used in the song but it is still cool.

This is a limited edition cassette single released on Treetop Sorbet Records. They are a small record company focusing on cassettes. This single was released as part of a three part series. I haven’t seen one of these cassingles since the mid 90s. I think the last one I saw was a single for the Batman & Robin movie. I can’t remember what the single was though. Anyway, this is from a limited run of 100 units created, housed in clear a purple cassette. When I listened to the two tracks I thought that it was funny that it sounded like they recorded one of the cassettes. There is a digital hiss in the dead parts of the songs. When I record cassettes this same type of noise happens. The cassette came with a download code. I also thought that it was cute but still made sense because having a analog to digital recorder is still not very common for most people. It also came with an additional download code for another band called Honey Radar. I haven’t listened to those tracks yet but free music is good right?

The A side is the song Ascend and the B side is the song Deep Moves. Both of these tracks are not anything spectacular but are at the same time totally White Laces. They have a sound that I like and I am happy to have some new music from them. I will say that the vocals on these two tracks are a bit more dull than they have done in the past sonically speaking. I feel that the lyrics are just as in depth though. If you like White Laces then this is one that you may not want to pass up on, unless they are already sold out.

This is an EP released for Record Store Day 2010. It is a 10” record with 500 pressings. The CD version of the release was originally released in 2007. I have been looking at getting this release for quite a while. When Sea Wolf did the Kickstarter I decided to get the release. The copy that I got is in perfect shape.

The EP was released to support the single You’re A Wolf. This is the first track on the record. I reviewed the album that this song comes from in Vol. 3 Episode 42. I had this to say about the song, “The first single from the album is called You’re A Wolf. I loved the simplistic sounds on this song and the lyrics work so well too. The lyrics as they are sung are very easy to understand and are very interesting. It could be about a wild wolf or a werewolf or a man searching for his girlfriend. The story is not specific but is still very intriguing.” Every time I listen to it I want to do a cover of the song myself. Maybe someday I will get around to it.

The rest of the EP has a completely different sound to it. It is more earthy, or lower to the ground. There really isn’t one track that stands out for me. The tracks aren’t sub par they just have a different feel.
Wikipedia made note of these songs being in movies and TV, “The song The Garden You Planted was featured in the movie Spread and the television series Californication.The track You're a Wolf has been featured numerous times on television, including The CW's Gossip Girl, 90210, and The Vampire Diaries. It also plays during the end credits of the movie Remember the Daze and during a scene in Zombieland.The song I Made A Resolution was featured in Friday Night Lights (TV series).”

That is all I have for now...

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Vol. 4 Episode 44

I am still waiting for my Graveface Records Indie Go-go support package with two CD and a record from Monster Movie along with the limited Marshmallow Ghosts limited release. I have seen pictures of the Marshmallow Ghosts records and am very excited to get my copy and am hoping to get the MG record up for Halloween.

As I mentioned in the previous post, Graveface Records has sent me a download for The Stargazer Lilies release.

I also have a box coming from Slumberland that has a shirt and a tote in it along with new singles from Veronica Falls and Girls Names.

I am very excited to say that I have purchased a copy of a very rare 7” record from Man or Astro-Man? called Amazing Thrills! In 3-Dimension. It was a promo that was given out with their first album. I have been looking for this for quite a while and am very excited to get it. The problem with this is that it is a Christmas gift and I can’t open it until then. This means that the review of the 7” will not be until after the New Year. Sorry folks you will just have to wait for this one.

Here we go...

This is the groups first album. It was released in June of 2007. They are a French electronic house music duo. The album was over all a great hit in both the US and The UK. It produced five singles. I found the album through my local radio station, 89.3 The Current, with the single D.A.N.C.E. It was so sharp and clean that I had to have the album. The album is supposed to be a disco-opera. The duo state that the basics of disco are present on all tracks under the distortion and eletronica. They have also stated that there are 400 albums that were sampled on the album but the samples are so short that the original artist wouldn’t even know. They call these samples micro samples because they are so short.

There have been five singles released from the album. The first single is called Watters Of Nazareth. This single was released twice. The second time with extra remixes on the release. The single has some super awesome distortion on the bass line. The song doesn’t really go anywhere but the bass line is so cool it doesn’t really matter.

The second single from the album is called D.A.N.C.E. The song is dedicated to Michael Jackson as the duo are big fans of his music. The song also recites many song titles that MJ has recorded. Vocals are provided by the London based Foundation for Young Musicians choir. I haven’t done it yet but I want to get the 12” single for this song because there is a awesome remix for this song called B.E.A.T. This song is just as good and has a cool look at the song, a different perspective you might call it.

The third single from the album is called DVNO. Acording to one of the members of the duo the title of the song relates to the fact that DVNO stands for Divino. He also states, "In most suburbs of the world, in every city, there's most of the time, a nightclub called El Divino...sometimes... Clubs where you have to wear a white shirt to get in, half the time." The song is a great dance track, another track that is easy to get along with.

The fourth single is called Phantom II. The bass in this one is perfectly distorted I think. It conveys the riff musically and sonically in perfection. The strings back up the bass. I think that it gets even better with the distortion turned way down half way through the song. There are no lyrics on this track making the music stand out even more. The creativity that went into this song is just amazing to me with the sonic changes that happen through the song to not only the bass but other instruments as they come in and out of the song.

The last single from the album is called Tthhee Ppaarrttyy. This is actually my least favorite track on the album. The track features vocals from Uffie. It is a slow track that just talks about partying and drinking. It is just not that interesting to me. I don’t want to hear about getting drunk and going to parties to get drunk. It just reminds me of all the problems that teenagers have with this and the major injuries and auto crashes that happen because of these irresponsible kids. I would just like to say that there are reasons for groups like MADD and DARE in this world and this song isn’t helping their cause.

As a whole this album is great, except for that one song. Luckily, the song has the Feat tag on it so it doesn’t get played when I listen to this album.

This is the first album from Chvrches. It was released on the 20th of September, 2013. They are a synth pop group from Glasglow, Scotland. I got this album because they did a live set for my local radio station, 89.3 The Current. They played one of their singles, Revolver, and I thought it was very unique. I actually ended up watching it a few more times because the song was so good. It was very cool watching them work the knobs and changing their sound on the fly depending on what the song needed. I really like the lead vocalists sound. It is a solid but pretty sound that she has.

There has been three singles released from the album so far. The first is called The Mother We Share. It is very electro anthemic. I am not really sure how to describe it other than it is electronic, big and a power pop epic. It is a good song simple as that I guess.

The second single, Recover, is the reason that I got the album. This is the track that I saw on The Current’s web page. There is something very catchy about this track. It is a combination of the appreciated keys and the stuttering vocals that match the beat of the keys. The chorus changes into synth pop genius. Long deliberate notes that flow with the vocals making pop cotton candy clouds. The song is soft wonderful and the backbone of the song is hard deep synth bass. It is easily the best song on the album.

The latest single from the album is called Gun. The song is happy and super danceable. I like the song, it reminds me of the dance music from the mid 80s. It is very nostalgic but still current with the distortion on some parts. I still like Recover better but this is a very close second.

This album makes me very happy and I need to listen to it more. It is that good.

This is  Decyfer Down’s third album. It was just released recently. It is the first album with a new vocalist as the original singer, Caleb Oliver, left for personal reasons. It took a while to get a new album out from the group after the 2008 release of crash and the original vocalist departure. It wasn’t until 2010 that they even started working on this album.

Mary Nikkel from New Release Tuesday stated that "Thematically, the album boldly strikes a balance between calling out the prideful while also recognizing a personal need for grace, backing it up with aggressive guitar grit and striking melodies.” I think that is a good way to look at what is contained on this album. It is good Christian music with a good point.

Fight To Win is the first single released from the album. Musically this reminds me of music from their first album, End Of Grey. There was always something special about that album. This song in particular has the easy to understand lyrics that are poignant and resonate in the heart. The song makes me want to be a better person. It is inspiring.

So In Love is the second single released from the album. This song comes off as a country song to me. It is a simpler song that strikes me in the heart again. It is a love song but it is not specific as to who he is in love with. It is a Christian song sung by a Christian group so you have to assume that it is about God, especially with references to the cross and such. It is a very good beat too. It is a song that I could easily get along with.

That is all I have for this week...

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Vol. 4 Episode 43

No new updates this week. There will be an additional post later this week though. That's right, this is a double post week. Enjoy the early post.

Here we go...

This is the debut album from The Stargazer Lilies. It will be released on October 22. I got my copy from Graveface Records a couple weeks early. It is supposed to come with a download too. There was not card with a code in the sleeve. I can only assume that I will get an email closer to the release date with a link to down load the tracks. This is what has happened in the past with other releases from Graveface. It came on red-violet vinyl. This is the first mail-order pressing. The record club version is on translucent with lavender haze in the center. I can’t justify getting on the record club for this record company because there aren’t enough releases that I am interested in getting and it is $135 to join. I will keep my eyes peeled for what they are putting out though. I found out about the group from Graveface Records. I follow them on twitter and they posted a link for the first single. I thought the video was very cheesy but I started working on something else and got lost in the music very easily. The album is wonderfully put together and has a kind of wash of musical warmth. This is just what a cool fall day needs. This will probably be my favorite fall album.

From what I have seen there have already been three singles released from this album, all have been digital only singles though. The first single is the title track for the album, We Are The Dreamers. It is a very simple track with even guitar strumming and beautiful female airy vocals. I like the guitar solo that happens about half way through the song. It mimics the vocals musically but puts a different tone on the sounds as it is a guitar and not the female vocals. It is a great song.

The second single from the album is called Endless Days. This is another simpler song musically. There is a cool synth sound that is used in the background that floats through the whole song. The guitars follow this part in the front of the song. Then the vocals float above that. The bass guitar part is played in the higher registers so it is easier to pick out in the midst of the guitar and synth. The bass follows the vocals for the most part and it works so well together.

The third single from the album is called How We Lost. This track is very floaty, as if I were in space looking at the earth. It is slow and makes me feel solitary almost contemplative. The guitars use heavy echo and almost sound like they are being played backward. It is a very interesting song. The chord progression is superb.

This is probably the noisiest chill record I have ever heard. Actually it is completely shoegaze. I could get lost in this album very easily. I like it a lot.

This is the second album from Yuck. They lost their vocalist with this album so the second guitarist stepped up to do the vocals. They have a new second guitarist to add to the group. I got the UK edition of this album. It came with a lithograph of the cover art that the band signed. Because the original lead singer left the group the distortion in the vocals is gone on the album. I liked the distortion on the last album but with this album and the new vocals it sounds pretty good with out the distortion on the vocals. I wasn’t sure that was going to sit right with me but it seems to work quite well. I think that part of why they did this was to get away from the 90s sound that they have become attached to. Honestly I think they still have that 90s sound it is just a new facet from what the first album was. I can’t exactly put my finger on what groups they sound like now but that feeling of the 90s is still there.

There have been two singles released from this album so far. The first is called Rebirth. This track smacks of something that I remember from the 80s. It also reminds me of Bob Mould’s band Sugar. Specifically the song Your Favorite Thing but just in the vocals though. It is a good pops song that will easily get caught in your head.

The second single from the album is called Middle Sea. It is a pun for those of you musicians out there. This track is back into the Dinosaur Jr. sounding guitars. It is a fun 90s styled rock track. The vocals are not distorted with this track, like I mentioned earlier, and that gives it a clarity over the songs that are on their first album. I like it.

There is another song that I like from the album called HowDoes It feel. This track has something that I would not expect from the group, horns. It is a slow song that reminds me of something that Elvis Costello would have done. I am not sure if that is what they were shooting for but that is what I get from it. The song is slow with light distortion on the guitars and horns. Even the chord changes remind me of something Costello would have done. It is still a good song though.

This is the groups first EP. It was released in 2012 in Japan and the UK on CD or as a download. You can still get the CD from their bandcamp page. I found out about this group when I was looking for music from Joanna Gruesome. They had two songs on the Art Is Hard Family Portrait EP with two tracks from a couple other bands as well. The EP has 5 tracks on it. The vocals remind me of The Silversun Pickups. It is kind of a higher male or lower female, somewhere in that overlapping range of tonality.

There are two stand out tracks on the EP for me. The first is called Anna Sang & Alison. The song reminds me of something I could have created. It is quite simple but multifaceted at the same time. Every time I listen to the song there is something new that I hear. The chorus is easy to get stuck in my head because of this. The song is very exciting in the chorus but more subdued in the verse parts, just the way I like it.

The second song that I like a lot from this EP is called Silver. There is a lot of fast picking on this song. Over all it is an even keeled song but the lead guitar is playing the same notes so fast it reminds me of the honey bee’s dance where they wiggle back and forth so fast. I like it simply because it is very rare that that style of playing is done with a slower song. It is a very cool sound that they have put together.

That is all I have for this early post. There will be a second latter this week... 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Vol. 4 Episode 42

I finally got my copy of the new Saves The Day album for the Pledge Music campaign in the mail. The sticker does say First pressing on 180 gram vinyl but I don’t know if that makes it any more unique from the versions that went out to record shops.

For “cassette store day” Art Is Hard Records had a 36 track double cassette sampler release. Cassette store day was held in Europe and so I couldn’t get a copy for my self. There were a few left over’s that they put up for purchase but I didn’t have the funds to get a copy at the time. Art Is Hard has put the tracks up on the internet for those interested as a free download.

Foxes is doing a US tour but is coming nowhere near me. It is just small sections of east and west coast dates. There is going to be a Youth EP out on October 29th. It looks like it is going to be a bunch of remixes again. if your interested in it check it out on iTunes.

There is also a free tour sampler from Surfer Blood. You can get it for free. It has a live version of Demon Dance.

Here we go...

Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience parts 1 & 2
The 20/20 Experience part 1 was released in March of 2013. It is the third album from Justin Timberlake (JT) as a solo artist. It is the first half of a two part album. The record slides through various styles of soul music. The 20/20 Experience part 2 was released in September of 2013. It is considered to be his third solo album and the second half of the two album set. After the second part was released you could also get both albums in a box set if you missed out on the first album, at a considerable price hike. There was a marketing push through Target stores where you could get bonus content. I believe it was two extra tracks on the CD for the first album. The second album also had two extra tracks on the CD. As an extra Target sold the album on vinyl and the two extra tracks came on a 7” record. I was a little disappointed with this because I got the album from the JT web store and did not know that there was going to be a free 7” record with the record if I got it at Target.

I have been sitting on part 1 of the series since it was released. I have to say that it isn’t that exciting for me. It is good music but it just doesn’t move me like so much other music that I write about. That being said the singles are pretty good from this album. There have been three of them released from this album. The first is called Suit & Tie. The song has a good beat. It is an R&B track so there isn’t much in the way of lead music. It is all drums and stabs of music to support the vocals.

The second single from part 1 is called Mirrors. The song is supposed to be about him and his wife, Jessica Biel, and a reflection of his grandparents. It is a good song and one that he saved from his work with Timbaland’s album. It is quite a sappy track that lasts way to long in my opinion.

The last single released from this album is called Tunnel Vision. This track is R&B with EDM influences. It reminds me of the pop music that was out in the early to mid 90s. I was never happy with that type of music. There was never anything interesting in the songs musically. I don’t usually pay attention to the lyrics but from what I understand of them he is singing of only seeing one girl, the one he loves, instead of all of the other girls that are out there in this world. I can understand that.

I got The 20/20 Experience part 2 last week. I was a bit skeptical about this album considering how I felt about part 1. It didn’t help that I missed out on the 7” record that came with the Target exclusive version. I am happy to say that, after listening to the album multiple times since getting it, I like this album a lot. It is ten times better than part 1. I feel that it is more pop than R&B. The album has just been released but there has already been two singles released from the album. The first single is called Take Back The Night. After the single was released the Take Back The Night Foundation (TBTNF), an anti-rape organization, expressed concerns about the songs title and the organizations name. Because of the lyrics in the song TBTNF sent Timberlake’s lawyers a letter detailing their concerns. The singer was unaware of the foundations existence and apologized. He has since come forward to support the foundation. He has said, “I wanted to take this opportunity to let all know that neither my song nor its lyrics have any association with the organization. As I’ve learned more about the Take Back the Night Foundation, I’m moved by its efforts to stop violence against women, create safe communities and encourage respectful relationships for women—something we all should rally around.” TBTNF has chosen not to pursue a legal suit and the founder of the organization said, “At this point, we’re going to bow down gracefully, and accept that fighting this in court probably isn't the best use of anyone's time.” The song is classic disco mixed with a bit of R&B. I like disco music a lot so this track fits right into my style. The song doesn’t resemble any specific disco song but instead picks up on the general style of disco making it an original disco track in my opinion. It really is a great song.

The second single from the album is called TKO. This is probably not my favorite track from the second part of the set. It reminds me of when rap went down hill at the end of the 80s/early 90s. There is a weird noise that plays through the whole song that sounds like when you clean plastic containers by hand. It is quite annoying. The saving grace of the track is the beat and the tone of the drums and Timberlake’s lyrics and delivery of said lyrics.

There are better tracks on the album. I really like the first two tracks from the album, Gimme What I Don’t Know (I Want) and True Blood. Gimme has a really good danceable beat. I think it should have been a single personally. True Blood has some really cool 80s sounding saw tooth waves being used and I like the howling wolf sound effect that is used through the song.

I also like the guitar sounds that are used in the song Drink You Away. It shows his diversity and that isn’t always about the beats with him. The chorus is awesome too. He sings, “I can’t drink you away, I’ve tried Jack, I’ve tried Gin, I’ve tried all of these things.” I have never had to do this my self but I have heard stories of other people attempting to do such a thing and it just doesn’t seem to work. It is a great song.

If you like the slow sappy R&B music then you should think about getting part 1. If you are into good pop music then you should think about getting part 2. If you’re down for both of these styles of music then maybe get the both of them.

Sea Wolf – Demo EP
Originally released in 2004 on CDr in limited quantities. It has been rereleased as a download to those who have contributed to the recent Kickstarter campaign. The files are in WAV format to provide the maximum sound quality possible.
Lead singer/guitarist Alex Church had this to say about the demo EP on the Kickstarter page, “My good friend, the post-classical composer Dustin O’Halloran took a very early interest in Sea Wolf, and in 2004 I had the honor of recording the very first Sea Wolf demos with him at the helm. It was rudimentary–two dudes with a laptop recording in the space the size of a walk-in closet–but it got the job done and helped set me on the path to where I am today. We recorded 3 songs...
‘Neutral Ground’, which wound up being largely unchanged when it found it’s way on the first album. An experimental version of ‘Leaves in the River’ that is VERY different from the album version. And a song that never found it’s way onto a release called ‘What You’re Really Thinking’, that features me experimenting with various field recordings, including that of a Pacific Northwest train.
I burned these songs onto a bunch of CD’s, hand screened some CD sleeves, and sold them at the first dozen or so Sea Wolf shows. Those demos captured my early interest in pairing intimate, folk-tinged song craft with textural atmospherics. While the CD’s are long gone, I thought that in the spirit of doing a new stripped down-album, it made perfect sense to offer this original stripped-down Demo EP as a digital download exclusively here on this Kickstarter campaign.”

Since Neutral Ground remained largely unchanged on the album I won’t go over it here. On the other hand Leaves In The River sounds quite different from the album version. There is what appears to be a click track that plays through the song that sounds like one of those eggs with sand in them that you would shake. There is also an electronic clap that sounds to help keep the beat. This version of the song is extremely mellow compared to the album version. The song is not boring but a lot of the flair is taken out of the song because it is such an early version of the song. I kind of like it but at the same time I would not go out of my way to listen to it. I am happy to have a copy of the song even though it is not the original CDR.

The last song on the EP, What You're Really Thinking, is a track not found on the album. There is a reason for this. The song starts off as a fade in from Leaves In The River with the rain. The track adds in a train warning bell and the song kicks in then with a simple drum beat and the vocals. An acoustic guitar is plucked as Alex sings. At the end third of the song a player piano sort of fades in and is not in the same key as what Alex was playing. It is kind of strange and reminds me of a horror movie to some degree.

Is it interesting? Yes. Could I have found this anywhere else? No. Discogs doesn’t even list this EP in their databases. I probably won’t ever find a copy of the original EP.

That is all I have for this week, short one I know...

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Vol. 4 Episode 41

The new John Mayer album, Paradise Valley, vinyl LP has been pushed back to the 19th of November.

White Laces have a new cassette single up for order over at Treetop Sorbet Records. There are only 100 copies so if you want one do it now or it may be too late.

Sea Wolf met the Kickstarter goal and then some. I am very excited for that. Thank you to all that helped out!

Hoping to get the new Yuck album for next week. The Justin Timberlake albums may be up for next week though.

Here we go...

This is the fifth album from Joe Jackson. It was released in June of 1982. This is probably the first and only album that I will get from Joe Jackson simply because I don’t know any of his work except the hit single from this album. I am happy that I have this album because there are some really great songs on the album aside from the hit on the album. Wikipedia says that the album reflects a transition to more sophisticated level of songwriting. I wouldn’t know this since this album is the only exposure that I have of his work. Wiki also says that the album pays tribute to the wit and style of Cole Porter. I am not a Porter fan so I would not know this either.

There were three singles released from this album. The first and the big hit from the album is called Steppin’ Out. The album has gotten labeled new wave and synth pop because of this track when this single is really the exception to the album. This is the only track that uses anything synth and that is mainly in the bass line. The song is about the anticipation of a fun night on the town. It is a song that I remember hearing on the radio as a kid. My parents were never big music buyers. It was such a good song that it stuck in my head all these years. I found it again while going through my recorded cassettes a few years ago. A while back I went to my local record store and found a copy. I found that it is a really great album but not the new wave album I thought it would be. That being said it is a really great album.

Real Men was the second single released from the album. The song was pretty daring at the time considering that the song is about gay men and the lives that they lead including when they party and the fact that it is taboo to even be gay at that time (in the 80s). Since then it has become a bit more acceptable. The track did not even chart except in Holland.

Breaking Us In Two is the last single that was released from the album. It did not chart well either. I do remember hearing it once in a while on the radio though. Now that I think about it it seems strange that it would have been played on the radio considering how jazzy it feels. I like the song though and am happy that I can remember it at all.

On a side note, the song Cancer is funny to me now that it is 30 years old. It still seems true. It helps that the song has a salsa beat and they are singing about, “Every thing gives you cancer, there’s no cure, there’s no answer.” It is very tongue in cheek.

This is their first EP. It is not their first release but rather the first released EP. It was released in December of 1985. There was a mini album and a live single that was also released this year. There are four tracks on this release. All of the songs have a sound that resembles that of the 60s rock era.

The first song from the EP is called No Place To Go. The song is the stand out track on the EP but lead guitarist/vocalist Kevin Shields considers it a complete failure and unrepresentative of what the group wanted to do. When this EP was released David Conway was the lyricist. The vocals on the tracks are tonally deep and sound nothing like what is recorded on any of the three future albums.

Moonlight is the second track and although there is a certain amount of noise on the track it is very rough. The lyrics on the other hand are very sweet and talk of moonlight and romance. These two concepts have always fit well together. He even calls it a midnight sun at one point in the track.

The third track is called Love Machine. The distortion on the guitar sounds so cool. This is really what reminds me of the 60s sound. It is very buzzy and comes off almost tinny at times. The song is obviously about a girl that a guy has fallen for. For me it is classic 60s love lyrics.

The last song is called The Sandman Never Sleeps. This track deviates from the previous three tracks in that it starts off with vocals and a simple clean sounding guitar. It is not until the open is over that the fuzzy, buzzy guitar comes in. This song is kind of strange to because the vocals seem to be out of tune but it is right.

This EP kind of reminds me of what The Ar-Kaics are doing right now. That is probably what I like about The Ar-Kaics.

This is a digital only single. It was released in October of 2011. The song itself was a taste of what was to come from the groups next album. I pulled this snippet from the Slumberland Records web page about the song, “Black Saturday is a great example of where the band is heading. The guitars are more subdued now, sharing sonic space with a gorgeously melodic bassline and subtle synths.” It is a fun dark shadowy pop song pulling from the mid 80s dark pop. You can still get it at your favorite digital shop.

That is all I have for now...