Monday, December 30, 2013

Vol. 4 Episode 50.5

I have one quick review before the best of 2013 lists.

I am thinking about going to see the Graveface concert at the end of february and seeing Weekend later this spring. I will keep you updated as to if this happens.

On with the show...

Odd Box Records has put out a few singles in their 100 Club Series that are absolutely fantastic. I missed out on the ones that I wanted except for this one. I have gotten the other two releases that this group has put out, the Seventeen EP and the Family Portrait compilation from Art Is Hard Records. This is the groups third release on yet another small record label, Odd Box Records. These two tracks are mind-blowingly fuzzy and warm.

The A side, Sinking, starts off with an interesting sound before the music kicks in with its wall of sounds style and characteristic female vocals that are more instrument than understandable lyrics. If you listen close enough during the chorus you can pick out the title of the song being sung. The vocals sound breathy and float like cotton candy in the breeze. It is another amazing song from this dreamy sounding group.

The B side, Over, starts off with the wall of sounds right off. It is a mellow track that kind of drones on with that same breathy vocal style. It is so mellow that I could easily fall asleep to the track if it were played over and over in my head phones while I were trying to fall asleep.

I really like everything that this group has put out so far. I am just waiting for a full-length album from them.

Best of the best, top 5 out of my best of for 2013:
For the pretty blue splatter records and an amazing live show.

One of my favorite bands of all time and seeing their live show for the first time was absolutely amazing.

For all the extra music that they put out and a fantastic live show to top it off.

The packaging alone was amazing but the absolute wall of sound created by this band is brilliant.

The cute little tote and the record and book combination, the pure twee on the record is so sweet. There is a track from The Pains of Being Pure At Heart on the album that I just had to have.

Best of for the year
Abandoned Pools - Somnambulist
The Ar-Kaics – The Ar-Kaics
Atoms For Peace – AMOK
Black Hearted Brother – Stars Are Our Home
Bleached – Ride Your Heart
Chvrches – The Bones Of What You Believe
Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
David Bowie – The Next Day Extra
Death Cab For Cutie – Transatlanticism Demos
Decyfer Down – Scarecrow
Dessa – Parts of Speech
The Dodos – Carrier
Dott – Swoon
Dresses – Sun Shy
Empire of The Sun – Ice On The Dune
Falling Up – Silver City
Falling Up – Midnight On Eathship
Falling Up – Hours
Family Force 5 – Reanimated
The Flaming Lips – The Terror
Frankie Rose – Herein Wild
Free Energy – Love Sign
Girls Names – The New Life
Golden Grrrls – Golden Grrrls
Grizzly Bear – Shields B-sides
Haim – Days Are Gone
John Mayer – Paradise Valley
Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience (Part 1)
Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience (Part 2)
Linkin Park - Recharged
Man or Astro-Man? – Defcon 5…4…3…2…1…
My Bloody Valentine - MBV
New Order – Lost Sirens
Nine Inch Nails – Hesitation Marks
The Postal Service – Give Up (Deluxe 10th Anniversary Edition)
Rilo Kiley – Rkives
Saves The Day – Saves The Day
Sigur Rós – Kveikur
The Stargazer Lilies – We Are The Dreamers
Subvibe – Everything Machine
Surfer Blood – Pythons
Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of The City
Veronica Falls – Waiting For Something To Happen
Volcano Choir – Repave
Washed Out – Paracosm
Wax Idols - Discipline & Desire
Weekend – Jinx
Yuck – Glow & Behold

Dott - Button
Girls Names – The Next Life
The Oh Hellos - The Oh Hellos' Family Christmas Album
Sea Wolf – Old World Romance: Selects And Outtakes
She & Him – The Capitol Studios Session
Sigur Rós – Brennisteinn EP/Kveikur Expanded EP
Veronica Falls – Six Covers Vol. 2
Whirr – Arround
White Laces - //////INTERZONE

Atoms For Peace – Before Your Very Eyes
Atoms For Peace – Judge Jury and Executioner
Beck – Gimme
Beck – I Wont Be Long
Beck – Defriended
Cake - Sheep Go To Heaven/Jesus Wrote A Blank Check
Foxes – Beauty Queen
Foxes – Youth/Youth Remixes
Girls Names – The New Life
Golden Grrrls - Music For Neighbours/Never Home
Gum – Odd Box 100 Club Series Number 3 (Sinking/Over)
Joanna Gruesome – Sugarcrush
Kids On A Crime Spree – Creep The Creeps
Marshmallow Ghosts – Haunters and The Haunted
My Chemical Romance – Conventional Weapons #4
My Chemical Romance – Conventional Weapons #5
Silversun Pickups – Let It Decay/Working Title
Veronica Falls – Teenage
Veronica Falls - Waiting For Something To Happen
White Laces - Ascend /Deep Moves
Ylvis – The Fox

89.3 The Current/Live Current Vol. 9
Astralwerks Music in 20/20
Bleed In Gold
Garage Swim
Indie Pop Lesson
Slumberland Records Sampler Spring/Summer 2013

Will be back with Volume 5 starting January 25th 2014.
That is all I have for now...

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Vol. 4 Episode 50

There have been a rash of new EPs and albums that are only available as downloads.

She & Him have released a live four track EP called TheCapitol Studios Session.

The Oh Hellos have released a four track Christmas EP called The Oh Hellos' Family Christmas Album. It is a pay what you want price.

Falling Up has released a Christmas album called Silver City.

Preorders are up for the new albums from Broken Bells, Foxes and The Gaslight Anthem

On with the show...

This is the latest version of the album The Next Day. This is a special box set that includes the standard album, The Next Day, along with a DVD and an extra CD filled with ten more songs. It covers the deluxe edition bonus tracks, the Japanese exclusive track, two remixes and four new songs. I didn’t review the original album because I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue collecting Bowie material. After hearing this album I am still not sure that I want to fill in the gaps in my collection. The albums that I am missing are from the mid 80s through to this album. It isn’t that many albums that I feel that I need but I am just not sure that I need them at all. I think that the album has some great points but what album wouldn’t with this much music on it. It isn’t a miss but it isn’t a hit either.

There have been five singles released from the standard album. The first of those singles is called Where Are We Now? The single was released on Bowie’s 66th birthday with no fanfare on iTunes for people to stumble upon. The song is very slow and reminiscent of the 60s style slow song. It is a song about reminiscing about time spent and time wasted. There are a lot of repeated phrases in the song. But it works well.

The second single from the album is called The Stars (AreOut Tonight). The song is fast and up beat compared to the first single. The song is kind of a pun in that the stars have a double meaning. Not only is it referring to the stars in the sky but also to the stars as in musicians and movie stars that have been and are currently living. The song also talks about the things that they get caught doing by the paparazzi. I think I would have liked this song if I hadn’t heard the lyrics though.

The next single from the album is called The Next Day. This is the first song on the album and is a great rocker to start it off. There was some controversy over the video that accompanied the song in Christian realms. From Wikipedia, “…The leader of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, heavily criticized [the video] and David Bowie, calling the video "a mess" and referring to Bowie as "a switch-hitting, bisexual, senior citizen from London".” In my opinion, the video may not be that great but I was always taught that Christians should be the ones to rise above not to sink to “their” level. To resort to name calling is completely sinking to their level or lower considering what Bowie was called even if there is some truth in it.

The Next day was the reason that I became interested in the album. I had heard it a few times in my local radio station. I really liked the hard hitting chorus and that the song seems to be all on all the time. It reminded me of the new wave music that he was putting out in the late 70s and early 80s. That was some of my favorite music from Bowie.

The fourth song from the album is called Valentine’s Day. This song has a slower beat but seems to have a good rock feel to keep it moving. The song is about gun violence and delivers a veiled anti-gun message. It is a good song but once you realize what it is about the magic fades a bit.

The fifth and last single from the album is called Love IsLost. This song is very new wave. The version that was released for the song is the version that comes on the second CD from The Next Day Extra box set. The remix is called Hello Steve Reich Mix by James Murphy for the DFA. It was released to promote the latest version of the album. The single comes with an edited version (4:10) and the standard version (10:26). The longer version is on the box set. I actually like both the standard album version and the remix version just the same. The remix version smacks of the LCD Soundsystem style of writing and is very cool to hear after listening to the standard version. The standard version has that original sounding Bowie 80s sound that I like so much. Both versions, although completely different, are supper fantastic.

If you are like me and waited to get this album you will benefit from having waited with this box set. For those of you who are missing tracks and have already bought the album, I am sorry you will need to spend more money to get these amazing extra tracks.

This four song EP was released in may of 2013. It was released as a 7” record in two different colors. The standard version was released on Oxblood and the limited version was released on clear with yellow, orange and red splatter. I was not able to get a copy when it was first released but just recently bought it used in the limited coloring. It is a very pretty record and I am very happy to have gotten a copy. The group is a four piece from Galway Ireland. Their music is summed up as indie pop or garage pop.

The first track is called Seen You Lately. The opening to the song burns as a slow rocker but then stops and changes in to a quicker paced track that is very twee in nature. I could see this group becoming very popular in Japan as with the likes of Veronica Falls and The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart.

The second track, Let’s Do It, is based on the poem called Hush And Fall Asleep To Fantasy by Elaine Cosgrove. I can only assume that is the guitarists sister but have not read that anywhere. It is a cute song about falling in love.

The third track, Leave Tonight, is a slower track that reminds me of the music from some of the cartoons that I use to watch as a kid in the late 70s. It has a sweet and fun beat that I guess if I had to put my finger on it would remind me of Scooby-doo or Josie and The Pussy Cats. The song is a lot of fun and makes me feel like a kid again. This is going to be one of my favorites for sure.

The last track from the EP is called Cherry Blossom. This track reminds me of some of the female fronted bands of the 90s. I think that this song may be something like Seether from Veruca Salt. Although the song Seether is a lot of grunge the vocals are a good match for this song from Dott. The music that Dott has with the pretty vocals is more twee than grunge by a long shot.

This is a very good lead in to the album Swoon.

This is the first full length from Dott. It was released early in December of 2013. This is another indie pop genius album from a little known group from the UK. The album was released through Graveface Records as a download, CD or vinyl. The vinyl was pressed in a translucent clear (not clear enough to be called clear) or limited white with oxblood splatter. The latter requires being a part of the record club at Graveface Records. The band overall has a great 60s/70s rock/pop sound that I really like.

Two of the songs from the preceding EP are found on this album, Leave Tonight and Cherry Blossom. Both are great songs but were not the single released from the album. The lead single from the album is the song DayThat I Found You. This song is obviously about the first time that someone meats somebody that they find they really like. It takes a strange turn though with the lyrics saying that they would do any thing to keep them in their lives. It is still a good song though with that Scooby-doo style of song writing that works so well.

The second song released to support the album with Leave Tonight was the song Start All Over. This is not one of my favorite songs from the album but it does show a different side of the group. It is a good song; it is just not catchy enough to be a single on its own. I think there are better songs on the album than this one.

They are defiantly not a Veronica Falls but still make some great music. Graveface has a gem that they can continue to polish and make more brilliant with time in this group. I am very excited to see what else they have to offer in the future.

This is a promo 7” record that was given away with purchase of their first album Is It … Man or Astro-Man? in 1993. There are questions about how many of these records were pressed. Estrus Records says that there were 200 given away with the debut album and 200 given to the band for distribution putting the total at 400. The sell sheet reads completely different. It says that there were 400 for retail sales and a total pressing of 800. This predates the actual release date though and Estrus could have pressed less or more. On top of this the old MOAM web site said that there were 1000 pressed of this record. So the total could range from 400 to 1000 of this record pressed. We may never know the true answer. The sleeve was only printed on one side in black and white. I saw this record up for sale at one point for $660 bucks at one point. I was lucky to get a copy for a fraction of that amount.

There were three songs and a special radio promo that are on this record. The first song from the record is called Out Of Limits. I really like the song Out of Limits. The title is a pun on the title of the TV show called The Outer Limits. The opening to the song is the Close Encounters of The Third Kind sound done with a guitar played by Starcrunch. It sounds real cool being played on a guitar that is set up for the surf tone.

The first song in the B side is called MST 3000 Love Theme. This is the first time this cover song was released. This version was also used in the Destroy All Astromen compilation album that contained most of the B sides that they released on all of those 7” records that they put out in the 90s. The song is the theme song for the TV show Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K). This was a great show that poked fun at the sci-fi B movies from the 30s, 40s, and 50s. This was exactly what the group is about and covering their theme song fit perfectly.

The third song from the promo was Reverb 1000 (Live). I don’t think that this track can be found anywhere else live. I believe that this version of this song is unique to this 7” record. There is a little intro to the song and a bit of clapping at the end. It is a great song and that it being a live recording makes this record super unique.

The radio promo that is on the A side is kind of silly. There is a guy talking about the new full length album in a strange voice about how you should go out and buy the album for this that and the other reasons. There is music from the full length album playing under the guy talking. I think that there are snippets from three or four different songs on the album as the guy is talking. This was the reason that I had to have this record. I wanted so badly to hear this track purely out of curiosity. I can’t say it was a let down but it certainly wasn’t what I was expecting. I really thought that it was a song that could only be found on this 7”. It is still interesting though.

This is a new single released from the band. The two track single was supposed to be released on vinyl on the 9th of December in 2013. Because of problems at the pressing plant the record will not be released until January of 2014. The band was kind enough to inform those that preordered the record and provided them with a download code to get the tracks on time. The information was sent in an email, so if you ordered the single check your email for how to get the two tracks digitally.

The A side, Nobody There, is a fun bouncy song about talking to yourself or that weird point when someone that you thought was there and suddenly they are gone. Then you’re thinking to your self where did they go? This is taken a bit farther because they are screaming and not realizing that there isn’t any body there. 

The B side, Need You Around, is the complete opposite of the A side in terms of lyrics. It is a smoother song and talks about being dependant on someone for their company. I kind of like what this song sounds like a bit more than Nobody There. But then I like the smoother sounds over a danceable beat.

They are both great songs and, if you are a fan, you should at least download these two tracks.

This is a four track 10” EP. This EPs was released in 2012. The record was limited to 500 pressings. The copy that I got may have been a repressing as the fourth track is listed on discogs as Oldsmobile Car but on my copy it is Heart Heart. I will be getting a copy of You’re Not Alone EP though and this song is on that EP. The style of music that the band is putting out is in that new folk movement that has been happening for the past few years. I like the sound of this new folk movement but at the same time I don’t want to get into it to heavy. I think it started for me with the first Mumford & Sons album. This is the first super indie artist that I have dug into. This is because Slumberland Records will be putting out their second album early 2014.

The title track, Inbetweens, is a slow track that is played in the simplest way possible. The song has an acoustic guitar, a Rhodes keyboard lead and backing vocals. It is as sweet and simple as I think I could possibly handle and still like the song.

The second track, Walls, is a slow song about putting up walls to the people around you and those people breaking through those walls to help you out. The song is inspirational for me as I have a tendency to put up those types of walls. I like the fact that they use the banjo in this song too. The instrument is not used much in my music collection and it is refreshing to hear it some times.

The fourth song on the EP is called Wonderful Lie. It is a slow song as well. It is a more intimate song breaking down barriers and talking about literally being intimate with a girl other while her parents are in the other room. This is a place that I have been my self. It is exciting and dangerous but builds a bond that is very special indeed. The song is not sappy but makes me feel. I feel joy and love from this song. It is probably one of the best songs I have heard all year really.

This is a great EP and I am excited to get a copy of the new album and of the first album in the future.

This is a four track EP on a 7” record. I got this EP for the track Heart Heart. It is a great crowd chanter if the crowd is smart enough to catch when to yell the words as it is done musically by every other word not by full phrase. The song is a lot of fun. The other three songs on the EP are completely different. Actually the fourth song is a remix of Heart Heart called Heart Rave Heart. This is a very interesting remix as the original is in the folk genre and you wouldn’t expect an electronic remix of a folk song. It is very cool that someone did remix it though. The second track has an ear catching bounce to it. It is called My Struggle. The song is like Stray Cats meets Dylan. It is very cool. The third track is a slow track called Gethsemane. It is sweet and sappy but good for a girlfriend mix tape. This is a good EP that shows some of the groups range in style.

This is a reissue out for Record Store Day Black Friday on Sundazed Music. It was released on transparent red vinyl 7” at 45 RPMs. It was limited to 3000 copies but if you’re interested you could probably still get your hands on one. The music was originally released back in 1963. I remember playing this song as a part of the pep band at school sporting events. This song is one of the best teaching tools for snare drummers. It helps them understand how to put in accent notes in appropriate spots. This is why it is used in so many schools pep bands and such. This is actually noted on the back of the sleeve of the single.

From Wikipedia, “Ron Wilson's energetic drum solo made Wipe Out one of the best-remembered instrumental songs of the period. Wipe Out is also remembered particularly for its introduction. Before the music starts, Bob Berryhill's dad broke a board (imitating a breaking surf board) near the mic, followed by a maniacal laugh and the words "Wipe Out" spoken by band manager Dale Smallin. Wipe Out was written in the studio by the four original members (Berryhill, Connolly, Fuller & Wilson) and was originally going to be titled Switchblade. It sold over one million copies and was awarded a gold disc.”

Wipe Out is one of my favorite surf songs from the era. This is mainly due to the fact that I played the song so much as a part of the pep band but also because I like surf music. There are a lot of songs that have been released from many surf bands that I really like but they were released way before my time and it is becoming harder to find them let alone hear them and recognize the band name and the name of the song.

The B side to this single is called Surfer Joe. The song is about a great surfer who ends up going into the ARMY. He still loves surfing though so sometimes he will skip out on the ARMY to go surfing. Because of this he tends to find himself stuck doing KP frequently.

Both tracks are a lot of fun and I am  happy to have this single.

That is all I have until the best of the year next week...