The group Withered Hand has a new album coming out on Slumberland Records next year. I will be reviewing a few older items from them in the beginning of the year as well.
I got a few things for Record Store Day Black Friday. I picked up the single for Wipe Out from The Surfaris, Silversun Pickups 10” for Let It Decay/Working Title and Rockabye Baby! Lullaby Renditions of Pearl Jam. It was another cold day waiting for a record store to open. We were third and fourth in line to get in the store. I was only looking for three things this year for RSDBF. They were easy and quick to find and we spent about five minutes in the store. In and out very quickly (my wife had to work at noon and the store is a half hour away). It was a good time still with people that we see twice a year.
If you ordered the tour only single from Veronica Falls check your email as there is an offer to download the two tracks because the record will not be ready until January 2014.
On with the show...
This is the fourth album from Arcade Fire. I was released at the end of October 2013. It is a double album and co-produced by James Murphy of LDC Soundsystem fame, Markus Dravs (the usual producer for the band) and Arcade Fire. The graphics on the cover and interiors, including the record sleeves, are light reflective. The music on this album was influenced by the Haitian music called rara. The album has Jamaican musical influences as well. There has been a lot of negative reviews. I see this album as something completely new and foreign to many people, including myself, but it is still rock. Although there are styles that are new there are still things that I know and love in this album. I don’t know what rara sounds like but there is plenty of rock and disco on this album that it will keep me happy and interested in the album. On the CD there is a ten minute track in the pre-gap or negative time, as some people call it, of samples and outtakes that did not make it on the album. I bought the LP and, after learning about this, am thinking about getting the CD too. It is a double album and there are two different ideas happening on each disc. I get a feeling that the first record is smoother with disco elements and the second is more rock and edgy.
The first single released from the album was the title track, Reflektor. It is a very long song at just over seven and half minutes. It is well worth it with all the changes that happen through the song though. It is a very smooth song. It is not monotone there is emotion conveyed in the song but the chorus is only slightly more loud and emotional. I really like the use of the guitar on the track. There are only a couple of phrases on the guitar and a harmonic used as a stabbing sound. The band is so big though that the guitar is not needed as a front runner instrument as it is with so many smaller bands. The drums are key on this song though. Not only is there a drum set played but there are also bongos. I think that it is the bongos that really make the song in the quiet parts. The horns are the big attraction with this song. The saxophones are very beautiful sounding to say the least.
The second single to be released from the album is called Here Comes The Night Time. This is one of the funner songs on the album and reminds me of something from their first album mixed with a New Orleans death march. It is not depressing in any way. It is a fun song that has slow parts and fast parts. I like the piano parts. It sounds like the piano is in a cavernous place and sounds far away but close up at the same time. It is a very unique sound. I also like the sound from the bass line when both the bass guitar and piano are playing the same notes. It gives the guitar a super round and bouncy sound. I have always wanted to do something like this. It looks like they have beet me to it.
There is a third single that has been released just recently called Afterlife. It is the first single to be released from the second disc on the album. It is a simpler song but with a bigger sound. It is also a shorter song than the previous songs. It is a song that talks about the after effects of going out with out your girlfriend. The arguments that happen when someone is dating someone who has trust issues. This is obviously not what someone thinks of when the word afterlife is thrown out there. It is an interesting song but the lyrics kind of throw me off track.
I still can’t figure out why so many groups have panned this album. I really like it.
This is the fourth album released from Monster Movie. It was released in April of 2006 on Graveface Records. It was only released on CD and only 2000 copies were made. You can still get a copy at the Graveface Records web store. As I have mentioned in the past about the group, they are a two piece group that creates music in the dream pop or shoegaze genre. This album kind of reminds me of The Pains of Being Pure At Heart. They are the same style of music so an overlap would seem fitting.
The single that was put out for the album is called Vanishing Act. It is the second song on the album. The song is a moderate rocker or a slow burn. The vocals seem to melt the listener and prepare them for the slow journey through the album. The guitar solo adds to the slow burn feel of the track with its slides and high pitched soaring sounds. It is a good song to say the least.
The song 3# is an instrumental that is driven by a great drum beat that follows in that slow burn style with layers upon layers of synth sounds. It has that depressing movie music feel but at the same time it seems to uplift spirits. It is a very interesting track.
One of the highlights off the album is called DrivingThrough The Red Lights. It has a slow but actually danceable beat to it. The solo female vocals are an added pick up for the track. It actually makes me feel happy listening to her sing. The synth parts seem to shine more with this track as well. It is like a cloudy day where the sun peeks through to warm you up.
This album is a good one for those who are looking to fill in more of that shoegaze sound in their collection. It is a bit under ground but still fits the bill.
This album was released in early November to celebrate the album Shields one year anniversary. The vinyl has five of the eight tracks that were released with this album. Those tracks are the demo songs and bonus tracks. The others that were released with the download are remixed tracks. The album, Shields, was also rereleased with an additional CD that has all eight tracks. There was also a remix track that was given away free as an MP3 download to celebrate the release of the expanded edition of Shields.
There were two digital singles released from the B-Sides set. The first was Will Calls (Marfa Demo). They are labeled Marfa Demo because they were recorded in Marfa TX. The song is interesting as there are crickets in the background of the recording. It is a very sweet song and soft. It is not a loud song at all. The vocals are soft and the guitar is minimalist and soft. That is until the chorus kicks in. All bets are off for the chorus. The verse stays on the minimalist and soft side though. I think that is my favorite part of the song though. The problem I have with this song is that even in the soft quiet parts it comes off as a bit distorted overall. It is recorded just a bit to hot and is distracting for me. This could have been a great song, it’s just that the levels for each part are so completely different. Am I glad that I have the song and have listened to it? Yes. Will I be listening to it often? Not really.
The second song that was digitally released is called ListenAnd Wait (Bonus Track). It is just that, a bonus track that was not on the album. It is a nice even keeled song that follows what was put out on the Shields album. It doesn’t quite fit what was on the album and was therefore not a part of the album. The song comes off as heavy air. It is breathable but feels more dense than what I am use to. It may be that there is more back ground sound giving the song a heavier feel or maybe it is something else that I can’t put my finger on yet.
Either way it is new music that adds to the dynamic that is Shields. I am happy to have a copy for sure.
This is obviously the ninth installment of the Live Current series. I have all nine releases in both CD and Vinyl and the Founding Members album along with the Five year anniversary CD, the current flash drive release and the two Local Current albums, although the vinyl has only been pressed for the Founding members issue and volumes 5, 8, and 9. The founding members’ volume and volume 5 were on orange clear vinyl. Volumes 8 and 9 are only on black vinyl. Like volume 8, Volume 9 was released as a special box set with the vinyl, CD and Poster of the cover art. The album is filled with the past years in studio recordings from The Current. There are some absolutely beautiful songs that are contained on this album. The first chance I had to listen to the album I cried so many times just because the music is so perfect and pretty. There are eighteen tracks on this album and they all are unique and brilliant, from Alabama Shakes to Metric. It is all here on this 2013 release.
There is always at least one track that I am really excited to listen to from each one of these albums that the station puts out. This year, I was really excited to hear Night & Day from Hot Chip. Although this is not my favorite song, nor does it come from an exceptional album from the group, it is always interesting to hear an electronic group play a live set with actual instruments. This group has always put up a great live set. I have never seen them play live in front of my eyes but have seen recordings of their live sets in the past. They are amazing as a group and make the music sound even better in a live setting. It is not just push a button and sing along with the music. They actually play the keyboards and even better they play analog keyboards. This live version of this song sounds even better than the version from the studio album that I have. I really like this version.
The other song that I found that I like a lot is from the band Devine Fits. It is called Would That Be Nice. This group has members from the band Spoon. I really like that band and consequently like this one too. I have not gotten the album that this song comes from yet though. Hearing this song really makes me want to go out and get it though. The song focuses on the lyrics and is a lot of fun. There is a beautiful keyboard sound that uses a fast chorus sound. The guitar is just dirty enough and used sparingly. The bass carries the song for the most part and the drums are there to support. This song is a lot of fun and
There is an acoustic song called Little Numbers from a band called Boy that is the sweetest song. The chorus makes the song one of my favorites. It is two girls with two acoustic guitars in this live version. They sing about seven little numbers that could be lucky for you. I view it as a phone number that could lead to the best relationship one could hope for. I cry every time I hear the song because it is so sweet but on an adult curve. I guess it reminds me of my own relationship with my wife. It is a very good song. If you get a chance give it a listen.
If you are not a member of The Current become one. You can get a copy of this album with your membership. This is one of the best radio stations in the USA today.
This is a two track 10” record released for Record Store Day Black Friday. The band said that they were going to put this record out because they wanted to support the record stores as they are closing up all over the country. There were 3000 copies pressed of this record and they did not come with a download code. This is kind of a downer for most fans as most fans don’t have a way to record the music on a record to a digital format. I happen to have that ability.
The A side, Let It Decay, of the record is a slower song from the group. I am not all that impressed with this track. I guess I am not surprised by the track but it doesn’t move me. I feel like I have heard them do this type of a track before. It is good but not that interesting for me. I am not sure if this was put out just to put something out for RSDBF or they thought it was ready.
The B side, Working Title, interests me so much more. This track has the distortion that I like from the band. It is the sound that got me interested in them in the first place. The drum beat has the right pace to it as well adding to the greatness of this track for me. It is gritty, it’s smooth and it rocks. It seems like distortion for distortions sake and it sounds so cool.
This single was released back in September of 2013. It blew up around the country, around the world really. I had a friend at work bring it up to me as I hadn't heard the song yet. He sent me a link that I never listened to. He kept asking me, “What does the fox say?” after he put up the link. I didn’t get it but played it off like I knew what he was saying. It wasn’t until a week before Halloween that I heard the song in a video where the lights on a house played along with the music. I thought the song was very cool. Then some time later I saw a dance group from a TV show dance to the song. I thought that the dance was amazing and went so well with the song. I think that this is what made me want to own the song. I will have that memory every time I listen to the song now. I then found out that my wife doesn’t like the song because it has been so popular all over the world (except for the music hole that I live in). She has friends on line that are so into this song that she has been sick of it for months already. I wasn’t going to buy a physical copy of the song but once I heard that I had to have it as a joke. It is a serious one hit wonder. The CD has the song, The Fox, and an instrumental version of the song. If you haven’t heard the song you have been living in a deeper hole than I have. The song is super catchy and super annoying at the same time. Give it a listen tell me what you think in the comments.
This is the first album from indie pop duo Dresses. It was released through Sideonedummy Records in October of 2013. It was pressed on vinyl in two different colors, translucent pink (100 copies) and white (500 copies). I was lucky enough to get the pink color. It is absolutely beautiful and reminds me of the color of a watermelon Jolly Rancher. The album is super sweet pop drenched in love songs. The duo are very close, dating actually, and are able to bring up things that make people uncomfortable out side of a relationship to talk about. The female vocalist of the group, Timothy Heller, sort of reminds me of the singer for Feist and Zooey Dechanel combined. It is very sweet but able to come closer to earth when needed. The male vocalist, Jared Ryan Maldonado, has a very mellow style that helps to ground Timothy’s voice. They work very well together. I had known about the group since this summer but had never heard anything from them. I actually avoided listening to their music because I had a feeling that I would fall for their music. I finally listened to/watched the video for the single from the album. I did at that point fall for their music. The album has a sound over all but the songs talk about different aspects of love.
The first single from the album is called Blew My Mind. It starts off with Timothy’s vocals at a very high pitch and a silenced guitar being plucked. After the first sugar sweet lines sung the drums kick in with the bass. Then the rest of the backing group follows up at the chorus. It is a song about having strange dreams when your loved one leaves in the middle of the night. It is a strange idea but I can see the reality of it as I work in the middle of the night and could imagine my wife waking up and having troubles getting back to sleep simply because I am not there for the early morning. It is a nice thought that a person could mean so much that someone couldn’t fall asleep because they are not around during normal sleep times.
The rest of the album is just as fun with tracks like the danceable Sun Shy and the slow rocker in Friends Are Dead. There is also the fragile Painting Roses and the very pretty Gottta Love which always gives me warm fuzzy feelings. This album covers a lot of places that love can go that most bands don’t cover. It is a very good album and I would recommend it to anyone because every one needs love.
This is a Christmas album from Family Force 5. This was released back in early October of 2009. I always wanted to get a copy of the album but never made time or set the money aside to do so. Last year after Christmas a friend a work was able to get me a copy for five bucks on sale. It wasn’t until after Christmas that I got the CD so I never listened to the music until recently. I gotta say that having Christmas music in an EDM format is really awesome and a lot of fun.
There were no official singles that I am aware of but there are some great covers on this album. I like the re-wording that is used on Little Drummer Boy. They sing, “I play my drum machine … , I play my beats for him …” The Peanuts cover for ChristmasTime Is Here is exceptional. There has always been something special about The Beatles song Wonderful Christmas Time for me and the cover from FF5 maintains that wonderful feeling even with all the electronic sounds that have replaced the analog ones of the original.
I really like this album and am so disappointed that I had not picked it up sooner. I would recommend this to any FF5 fan and anyone that likes Christmas and doesn’t have any dance music in the Christmas genre. It is a great twist on Christmas music.
That is all I have for the Thanks Giving post. I hope all of you who had the day off enjoyed it! That is all until Christmas...