Thursday, December 25, 2014

Vol. 5 Episode 50.5

Next year (2015) I will be going to see OK Go and The Dodos. Also, the first post going up for next year will be a singles and EPs post. I got flooded with a series of both of those just before Christmas.

On With the show...

Best of the best, top 5 out of my best of for 2014:

I helped to fund this one from the Kickstarter campaign and got the album signed by the band. The records were colored, one translucent green and the other translucent blue. I have been a big fan of the group since the first album and love that they have started their own record company. The majors never understood what the group had going.

This is one of my top three groups. I like the new more pop direction that the group has gone musically. I like even more that the dark lyrics fit on top of this pop music without even noticing. The fact that they changed record labels does bother me a bit but onward and upward.

I helped to fund this one from Kickstarter as well. It took over a year to get my vinyl copy but I think it was well worth the wait. It was pressed on a beautiful translucent gold color. The album was also signed by Alex Church (the lead singer). I also got a digital download when that was released earlier in the year so I did get to know the album before I owned a physical copy.

The group has brought back that retro T. Rexy sound that I like so much. This Temples album is beautiful and fun. Seeing their live show this year was an extra bonus.


Although this album is new, it has instantly grown on me. I have been listening to the album on my way to work for the past month or so. It is rhythmically amazing and fun.

Best of 2014
Allo Darlin’ - We Come From The Same Place
The Ar-Kaics – The Ar-Kaics (self titled album not to be confused with the demo cassette)
Beck – Morning Phase
Black Keys – Turn Blue
Broken Bells – After The Disco
Coldplay – Ghost Stories
De La Soul – Smell The D.A.I.S.Y.
Death – III
Death Cab For Cutie Featuring Magic*Magic Orchestra – Live 2012
Eternal Summers – The Drop Beneath
The Faint – Doom Abuse
Family Force 5 – Time Stands Still
Flowers – Do What You Want To, It's What You Should Do
The Gaslight Anthem – The B-Sides
Generationals – Alix
Gold-Bears – Dalliance
LCD Soundsystem - The Long Goodbye: LCD Soundsystem Live At Madison Square Garden
Linkin Park – The Hunting Party
Literature - Chorus
My Chemical Romance – May Death Never Stop You
Nada Surf – B-Sides
Nothing – Guilty of Everything
OK Go – Hungry Ghosts
The Pains of Being Pure At Heart – Days of Abandon
Philip Selway – Weatherhouse
The Proper Ornaments – Wooden Head
Restorations – LP3
Sea Wolf – Song Spells, No. 1: Cedarsmoke
She & Him – Classics
Silversun Pickups – The Singles Collection
Spoon – They Want My Soul
Surfer Blood – Pythons (Demos)
Switch Foot – Fading West
Taylor Swift – 1989
Temples – Sun Structures
Thom Yorke – Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes
Ultimate Painting – Ultimate Painting
“Weird Al” Yankovic – Mandatory Fun
Whirr – Sway
White Laces – Moves (CD)
White Laces – Trance
Withered Hand – New Gods

Black Hearted Brother – Got Your Love EP
Bleached – For The Feel
Broken Bells – Holding On For Life
Brown Brogues/Eternal Summers – Brain Melter/Window
Camera Shy – Jack-O-Lantern
Coil/Nine Inch Nails – Recoiled
Dresses – Lonely One EP
Fowers – Rough Trade Bonus Disc
Joanna Gruesome/Trust Fund – Split EP
Joanna Gruesome/Perfect Pussy – Astonishing Adventures! “The Captured Crusader”
The Late Virginia Summers (TLVS) – Dreamers EP
New Order – 1981-Factus8R-1982
Night School – Heart Beat
OK Go – Upside Out
The Pains of Being Pure At Heart – Abandonment Issue
Squarepusher x Z-MACHINES – Music For Robots
Whirr/Nothing – Split EP

The Ar-Kaics – Make It Mine
The Ar-Kaics – Sick and Tired
The Ar-Kaics – Why Should I?
The Dodos Featuring Magic*Magic Orchestra– Yours Truly Session
Faith No More – Motherfucker
Flowers – Joanna
Haim – Forever
The June Brides – She Seems Quite Free
The Marshmallow Ghosts – Corpse Reviver No 1, Vol. 1
The Pains of Being Pure At Heart – Simple And Sure
Restorations – Call + Response IV
We Are Scientists/Surfer Blood – Tour Single
Withered Hand - Horseshoe

89.3 The Current/Live Current Vol. 10
89.3 The Current/Live Current Vol. 10 (Cover To Cover)
Non Violent Femmes
Beck’s Song Reader
Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1
Masrshall Teller Presents, Broken Record Label Sampler Vol. 1

This year I will be starting early, as I am shooting for new posts starting January 17th.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Vol. 5 Episode 50

On Friday I was asked to listen to an album from The Mountain Goats. The album is called All Hail West Texas. I found a copy to stream from YouTube. I got about a half hour in and found myself so bored I had to find something else to listen to. This is not to say that it is bad music it just couldn’t hold my attention. I thought about turning it off quite a few times but I was focused on other things as the music was playing. I really knew right a way that this was not for me as I am not a big fan of solo (vocals and guitar only) artists. My wife, on the other hand, loves that kind of thing, Tom Morello’s solo album, The Nightwatchmen - One Man Revolution, comes to mind.

In return for listening to The Mountain Goats album The guy I was working with promised to listen to Defcon 12345 from Man or Astro-Man. I am not sure if I will see him again in the future but I do hope that he gives that album a listen.

Here we go...

This is a new band from Graveface Records. It was originally only available through the KickStarter Archival Series that Graveface put up. I ordered my copy along with the new Marshmallow Ghosts single through this KickStarter. There were some major problems with the MG single and Graveface have just gotten the records in from the pressing plant. Because of this delay I have gotten the Night School 7” just recently. I am still waiting for the MG single though. The Night School record is a very pretty marbled pink color. It also came with a download that I promptly used.

There are four songs on the record. The first is called Best Friends. The song uses heavily distorted guitars with beautiful highs and super distorted lows. I especially like the high pitched female vocals. The vocals come close to matching the high parts on the guitar. It is so pretty. This is probably my favorite song on this EP.

The second song on the EP is called Birthday. It is a slower song that reminds me of The Stargazer Lilys. It is slow and shoegaz sounding (nugaze??), the way that I like it. The guitars are layered with different but complimentary lines. It just works very well.

The third track is called Casiotone. This song is different in that it lacks all the distortion that made the previous songs so cool and noisy. There is still a lot going on in this song but it has been stripped of all the noise. Although, the noise does creep in a little bit at the end it is not as strong as in the previous two tracks.

The last track is the title track, Heart Beat. This song is similar to Casiotone in that it has simpler beginnings with out all the noise. I like that a group can show their simpler side. Some people call this showing that they can actually play the music. The noise allows them to cover up their mistakes. I believe that it is harder to play with the noise and shows a different talent than the ability to play without the noise. It is two different sides of the same coin in my opinion.

This is a single that was released back in August of 2010. This song comes from the second album from Sea Wolf called White Water, White Bloom. I didn’t think this second album was all that great when it was released. I gave it a listen again recently and found that it was just as good as the first album. I think I was expecting a bigger change in sound when I got the second album but didn’t get it. Listening to it a few years later I think it is a pretty good album. I got this single still sealed through Discogs. When I got it I found a download code. I figured it would be out of date but I gave it a shot anyway. Turns out it still worked. Not only did I get digital copies of the two songs on the 7” but I also got a bonus track. That track, Where The Wind Blows, would be released on the Record Store Day Black Friday release a year later on the double A side 7” single called Song Of The Magpie / Where The Wind Blows.

The A side of this single, Turn The Dirt Over, comes from the second album from Sea Wolf called White Water, White Bloom. It has the same type of chugging beat that the singles from the first album had. The difference with this single is that this song moves on to winter where the first album was more of a fall type of an album. I like that Alex gives the feel of winter on this song. He sings about looking out the window and seeing the falling snow and white fields of snow and other things that remind me of winter, not Christmas but winter.

The B side of the single is a remix of Turn The Dirt Over called the Cookie Duster Remix. This remix has some cool electronic additions that don’t over power the song. It is really minimal and fits the song very well. The additions give the song a darker feel. This version reminds me of when I am up in the middle of the night looking out the windows and it is snowing, where as the album version reminds me of the day time snows that happen.

The third track that came with the download is called Where The Wind Blows. I wrote about this song in Vol. 4 Episode 1. This is basically what I had to say about the song, “The B side track, Where The Wind Blows, has a little [slower] feel but is still just as beautiful as the A side, Song of The Magpie. [Where The Wind Blows] uses an organ/keyboard of some kind in addition to the drums and acoustic/electric guitars.”

EggHunt records put out the groups latest album Trance. They also got the rights to release their first album on CD. The first album was only released on vinyl so this is brand new. They also got permission to add a few tracks. The two songs from the limited cassette single, Ascend and Deep Moves, along with a brand new track that has never been released before this called Stoked On The Chill. I wrote about the two songs from the cassette in Vol. 4 Episode 45. Here is what I had to say about the two songs, “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.” Obviously, you can get the two tracks on this CD but I think that is a limited run as well.

 I wrote about the album in Vol. 3 Episode 50. Here is what I had to say about the record, “This is White Laces first full length album. It was released through Speakertree Records on September 11, 2012. It has a limited pressing of 500 units and 100 of those are on green colored vinyl. I got my order in as soon as I could and was lucky enough to get a green colored record. It is colored a light grass green with swirls of darker green and yellow. It reminds me of a late spring day when the grass is just starting to come up new. The album also comes with a download code to get the album digitally. On Speakertree’s web page they gave this little blurb about the album: “The album is an undeniable force, delivering 8 well-crafted pop songs that float from the mesmerizing cool to the intensely immediate, often times within moments.” I find the music to be similar to All The Saints but a little bit lighter and more fun. I think that White Laces has more of the jangle pop influence too. Where All The Saints come off as dark shoegaze White Laces are a dark jangle pop. Two shades of the same style in my mind but one is easier to listen to than the other, as I already said.

There is a single that was released from this album called Crawl/Collapse. It did not get a physical release though. There was a video made to support the song though. The song is a very good song though. It starts off with a guitar playing with an echo pedal on it. The drums are also playing at the beginning with a straight forward rock beat that makes me want to get up and move around. There is also a cool break down where the drums drop off and it is just vocals with a little bit of guitar here and there. After that there is this part of the song where it just keeps going like it will never stop. It becomes enveloping as I keep listening to it I just don’t want it to stop. There are no vocals during this end part it is just the music. It is shoegaze magic. I hope that they keep writing music like this.”

The new song on this CD version of the album, Stoked On The Chill, was recorded during the time of this album, it was just left off for what ever reason. It is an instrumental track that uses layers of electronic sounds from strings to a kind of pinky sound. The song doesn’t really go anywhere but is great as a wind down track at the end of an album, as it is here.

That's all until the year end best of out after Christmas...

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Vol. 5 Episode 49

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. More importantly I hope you all got what you wanted for Record Store Day Black Friday (RSDBF). Unfortunately, I did not have an experience for RSDBF this year. I had to work. Instead my pregnant wife decided to go in my place. She went there after she got off from her work at some awful time in the middle of the night. She was first in line. I got short texts through the night of her saying it was so cold and I owed her big time. I also got updates as to when more people showed up. At one point after sunrise my father-in-law showed up to keep her company for an hour or so. That is about all I know about what happened that morning other than she got me exactly what I wanted and it was cheaper than I expected (extra bonus). The three albums that I got were the new Faith No More single, the New Order early singles collection and The Guardians of The Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1 on cassette. These three things plus one more item that is special are what I will be talking about in this post.

On with the show...

This was a split EP that was put together because one of the members of Whir has been playing with Nothing to help them out. Because of this a bond has been made between the two groups. This is a vinyl only release that also came with a making of DVD. The DVD is housed in the gatefold of the record sleeve. The record has been pressed in a few different color combinations with black being the rarest. I think that having black be the rare version is so boring. I like colors and colored vinyl. I have the most common version with the colors green/baby blue/yellow starburst. It is a single sided 12” record with the blank side having an etched graphic. I sort of jumped the gun with this purchase and got it from Shop Radio Cast (SRC) instead of from the record company Run For Cover Records (RFC). I was very excited for this EP the instant I found it up I pre-ordered it. I should have waited to get it directly from RFC. Either Way, I got what I wanted.

There are two tracks contributed from each band. The first two tracks are from Whirr. The first song is called Ease. It is a wall of sound that is beautiful. It has a simple melody and I can almost understand the words that are being sung in the song. Both of these songs are probably b sides from their latest album, Sway. I think that I like these two tracks a bit more simply because they are played right nest to the Nothing tracks. They have a slightly different sound than Nothing does but they are close in genre. It is a nice juxtaposition for the two groups.

The second track from the EP is called Lean. This song is a bit more drug out compared to Ease but still has that wall of sound mixed with vocals that are just barely clear enough not to understand giving the vocals more of an instrument on its own feel. This is exactly what I like about the group. I don’t need to understand what they are singing. I just need to like the music and be in the moment with it.

The first track from Nothing is called Chloroform. They make that wall of sound like Whirr does but there is a clarity with nothing that allows me to see some of the dead space in the music. They use a different distortion on the guitars for example that is more solid than fuzzy. I have always liked a higher pitched vocal with my shoegaze too. I seem to get that from the vocalist with Nothing. This song not only has that shoegaze sound but also uses the alt-rock sounds from the mid 90s. They do it so well with this track that I really feel nostalgic for some Smashing Pumpkins (SP) or Pearl Jam.

The last song on this EP is called July The Fourth. This song is my favorite from the EP and is a hard hitting late 90s styled alt-rock jam. The melody totally reminds me of something from SP in the later 90s or Nine Inch Nails. The one thing that is different is the long smooth lines of the melody.

This is a great EP and one of my favorite purchases of late. I haven’t yet watched the DVD but will soon.

This is a brand new single from Faith No More. We haven’t heard anything from them for seventeen years. They have gotten back together to create a new album. I am not sure what the release date is for the new album but this single was a special release for RSDBF with a pressing quantity of 5000. It seems like a small number but it is actually quite a lot. It was pressed in black vinyl at 45 RPM.

The A side, Motherfucker, is the version that I am assuming will by on the new album. It starts off with a repetitive noise that leads into a piano playing long bass notes with the vocals coming in and slowly each instrument comes in. The vocals are multi-layered with different sayings over each layer. The guitar solo is absolutely amazing though. The song comes off as very bizarre and not overly melodic like their music has been in the past. It is really a bit of a disappointment.

With the B side being a remix by Jim Thirwell. I had high hopes for an electronic remix to overcome the weirdness that was on the A side. I was taken in a completely different direction though. What is on the other side is a remix of the song done in a movie soundtrack style. It is absolutely what I needed to hear from this group. The remix is filled with trombone and percussion and strings and trumpet. I think the only thing it was missing was a flute/piccolo solo for the icing on the cake with this remix. It is one of the best remixes I have ever heard from any song ever.

This is a reissue EP re-released for RSDBF with 6000 being pressed for the event. This RSDBF version was pressed on clear vinyl. My copy has a slight haze in it like there were just a few white beads in the clear vinyl puck when it was pressed. I don’t mind really, it gives it character.

From Discogs New Order page, “The EP was released in November 1982, it compiles the two tracks from New Order's second 7" single (Procession and Everything's Gone Green) from September 1981, as well as Hurt and a longer 12" version of Temptation, taken from the third single, released in April 1982. Mesh was taken from the 1981 Benelux 12" Everything’s Gone Green.
The sleeve was designed by Peter Saville and uses a painting from his then-girlfriend Martha Ladly. The release is often regarded as transition away from the group's debut album, Movement, to the electronic-based sound of Power, Corruption & Lies. It also marks the band's break with producer Martin Hannett. While he had still produced Everything's Gone Green, Procession and Mesh, the other two songs were self-produced by New Order after Hannett left the recording session. Even though 1981-1982 was never properly released in the UK, it reached # 4 of the Indy Album Charts. The initial release was in the US on Factory (US).”

These five songs are not necessary to anyone’s collection unless you are a big fan of New Order/Joy Division. They are long and drawn out.

I really liked the movie. Not only that I really liked the movie but I liked that Peter Quill was plucked from earth in the early 80s and held tight to the one thing that meant anything to him at all, music, and on cassette to boot. So when I heart that they were going to mass produce a copy of the Awesome Mix Vol. 1 cassette from the movie I was very excited. It is like owning a movie prop. I still have and use my own cassettes and players, probably not nearly as much as my turntable. I am still known for buying new and used cassettes. I think that the extra with this cassette is that I don’t actually have to listen to it as it came with a download code. It is filled with great songs; I am not going to put up a track list because you can look that up anywhere at this point. I will say this, the release did not have a release number so there must be a lot manufactured. There are still some out there so go to your local record store and get a copy.

That is all until Christmas...?

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Vol. 5 Episode 48

There is apparently a Japanese The Pains of Being Pure At Heart cover band out there. It is cute. Check them out.

Along with The Dodos new album will be of course a tour. I will be attending the stop in my home town on the 7th of March.

Family Force 5 have done a Christmas single for the song God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. It is a fun version of the song. you should check it out for yourselves.

Kind of funny but the Foo Fighters have copied the now famous line from Chunklet, “Vinyl is killing the MP3 industry”, with out any mention of Chunklet.

Daft Punk are releaseing a box set on vinyl for the Alive 1997 and 2007. It is a bit expensive for just two albums though, $130.

The Nerdist talked with OK Go recently. You can hear the conversation at The Nerdist.

I did preorder the vinyl version of the Switchfoot album The Beautiful Letdown. This is one of my favorite albums ever. I think I got a copy in limited color too.

Remember this Friday, the Friday after Thanks Giving, is Record Store Day Black Friday. I want just a few items this year. I will be making a post about how my day went and what I purchased for music on the day.

Here we go...

This is a new album from the duo who started the group, James Hoare (Veronica Falls) and Jack Cooper (of Mazes). I can’t seem to find much information about the group. It is very underground at the moment. I heard about the group through a music blog and bought it that day. I have liked every thing that James has been a part of. This isn’t different but at the same time it isn’t really much of a change from his other projects. This album pulls from the music sounds from the late 60s and early 70s just like his previous projects have. With this album we do get to hear a few different vocalists though and this does keep my interest while listening. They did do a short tour of the Midwest to the east coast here in the US but did not make it to my home town during the tour. The album was pressed, limited, on solid red vinyl, CD and DL.

There was one single put up at Stereogum called Ten Street. The song has a garage rock feel with super fun guitar solos. Pickup notes are used all over the guitar parts. This is not usually something that I make note of but the pickup notes are so clear and put in the right places. It adds so much to the song somehow. The big guitar solo is actually a guitar duo and both are using the same distortion sound that brings me back to the 70s sounding guitar distortion. The very end of the song is a slow piano that actually reminds me of the end of the Faith No More song called Epic where they played the song on the piano at the end to a fade out as well.

It is a good song and a good album. If youhave interest in a modern take of the sounds of the late 60s and early 70s then this may be the album for you.

This album has finally been released. The official release date was October 24th of 2014 but there were some delays getting the vinyl out to customers. I didn’t get my copy until last week. Actually the album was fraught with delays. The band had recorded the album at the beginning of the year and didn’t have a record company to support the album. They actually asked fans for ideas on record companies because they had run out of avenues to pursue at one point. They did obviously find a record company to push the record. The vinyl was pressed on solid pink and translucent blue, 100 copies each, before going to standard black. I got a solid pink copy simply because I already had a few records on translucent blue. The album has a slightly different sound from their debut album and I kind of like it but at the same time it feels like there is something missing.

There were two singles released from the album. The first is called Skate or Die. It hits hard at the start with a super catchy synth and guitar rif. When the vocals start the synth drops off but the rif continues on. The chorus changes key but stays close to what the original rif is. It is a great song that gives a nod to the new wave and synth pop sounds of the 80s.

The whole album is really a great album filled with punk and new wave/synth pop sounds. If you like those stylesthen this is probably a good album for you.

This is an EP that supports the latest album from The Pains called Days of Abandon. There was supposed to be a few more singles after the single for Simple And Sure but they fell through. Kip knows the fans want to hear everything that they have put together so when the other singles didn’t come together he decided to push out an EP with the rest of the B sides from the recording of Days of Abandon. This is what is on the 10” vinyl EP, four B sides and a demo version of Kelly. I was lucky enough to have seen the pains while they were touring with The New Pornographers. I bought a second copy of the EP and had him sign it. I will probably give my second copy to my father-in-law to keep it in the family.

Of the five songs on this EP two have been pushed as quasi-singles. The first of those two are Poison Touch. This is a song that was supposed to be about Taylor Swift. I can see a correlation but I think that it is more about the sound that she puts on her albums than being necessarily about her specifically. The song is super new wave stutter step and has female lead vocals to boot. It is a sweet, fun and just plain new wave pop sounding. It is my favorite song on the EP for sure.

The other song that has been pushed is the demo version of Kelly called the Winter Station Demo. I think that if Kelly had been given an official 7” release this track would have been one of the B sides along with one of the other B sides on this EP. This demo version has Kip singing the lead vocals instead of female vocals that ended up on the album. The synth part is also a bit different on this version but not by much. I honestly can’t decide which version I like better. I think they both have their merits but at the end of the day I think that Kip made the right decision changing the vocals to female for the full length album.

I am so happy to have these new songs. I like to have everything that a group puts out. I like having the B sides and remixes that a group puts out whether it is an EP or a series of singles. I instantly bought this just for that reason. I am only missing the split single from early in this group’s career. I have a digital copy of this missing song but I would like to get a copy of the 7” record someday.
That's all for now...

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Vol. 5 Episode 47.5

The New Pornographers with opening act The Pains of Being Pure At Heart at First Avenue in Minneapolis MN on November 12th, 2014.

I don’t usually go to concerts in November or December because I have work obligations through both of these months that take up all of my time. I usually end up working ten to fourteen hours a day. This is also why the writing of this blog takes a nosedive during these two months. That being said I couldn’t miss one of my favorite bands play at a great venue like this. This is the first time that The Pains of Being Pure At Heart (The Pains) have played at First Avenue (1st Ave). The other venue that they have played at was The Triple Rock Social Club. I hope that they get to headline at 1st Ave some day.

I took my wife with to see The Pains. Because of my additional work schedule, we ended up getting to the venue fifteen minutes late. We missed the first three songs because of this. The doors actually opened at 7 for the concert and The Pains went on at 8. We got there at 8:15. I was disappointed that we got there late. I did hear the end of Kelly as we were walking in though. When we got into the venue it was totally packed. The concert was sold out. It had to have been even worse when The New Pornographers started their set. I wouldn’t know as we got out of there soon after The Pains were done playing.

Once we got settled in a spot to watch and listen to the concert, the balcony on the right side, I realized that there was not a keyboard and there was a new female vocalist. She had an interesting “R” sounding vocal style. I liked the style as it gave a different sound to the music. Also, without the keyboards, Kip, The lead singer for most of the songs, had to focus on the lead guitar parts to cover for the missing keyboards. This also gave a whole new dimension to the music. I think it is very cool to hear different ways that the music can be played.

After the set, we went down to the merch table and saw Kip right away. He must have gone directly from the stage to the merch table. I had sent a twitter to him earlier asking if he would be there to sign a CD for me. He said he would be happy to sign what ever I had. I brought my copy of their first release as a band on their own label, Painbow Records. He was blown away to see a copy of this CD as there weren’t that many pressed. He signed it, “To Painfully PurelyHim Love Kip” I also bought a second copy of the new 10” tour EP and he signed that as well. I want to get all of my Pains collection signed but I don’t want to be the guy that brings his whole collection to a concert to have the band sign every single item. So, I’ll settle for bringing an item with to a concert when they come through town.

I am always excited when the Pains come to town even if they are opening up for a more popular band. I will go to see them no matter what is going on in my life. I like them that much. Now maybe next time it could be scheduled for a summer show? I think every show in Minnesota the weather has been cold. Could you work on that for the next tour Kip?

Thanks to The New Pornographers for having The Pains open for them. Thanks to First ave for having both groups. And, thanks to The Pains, Kip and the ghost members, for playing the music that I love so much.

Set List:
Until The Sun Explodes
Heart In Your Heartbreak
Simple and Sure
Come Saturday
Young Adult Friction
Coral and Gold
Life After Life
The Pains of Being Pure At Heart

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Vol. 5 Episode 47

It looks like Weekend will be starting to record for a new album. They have a December recording session set up.

If you haven’t seen it yet you should stop what you are doing and check out the new video for I Won’t Let You Down from OK Go.

James Hoare got together with another friend to create a third group called Ultimate Painting. They have put out an album on a small record company called Trouble In Mind. I don’t know much more than that.

Cream bassist Jack Bruce has died at 71. "A great musician," says band-mate Eric Clapton.

Here we go...

This album started over at Pledge Music. This company is similar to Kickstarter with the exception that you get all of the money raised even if the goal is not made. This still gives the artists something to get the project going even if they don’t meet the goal. OK Go did make their goal and I got my copy of the album recently as well. I opted for the vinyl copy signed by the band. The album is a double LP with one record pressed in translucent green and the other in translucent blue. The group signed the front cover of the album and each member signed over their picture on the album. As a member of their Pledge campaign I also got a special remix of The Writing’s On The Wall by the drummer of the group.  The album over all is just as smashing and harsh as the previous album, Of The Blue Color of The Sky, but not as in your face. It is still dancy but not as hard core. If the previous album turned away any fans they will come back with this one.

So far there have only been two singles released with this album. The first single from the album is called The Writing’s On The Wall. Vocalist, Damian Kulash, said that the song was written around "that moment in a relationship when you realize it’s coming to an end and that it’s inevitable", where there is the "feeling of having something coalesce and fall apart, like chaos and order". He said the song is written to be "melancholic and jubilant at the same time". I had this to say about the track in Vol. 5 Episode 22, “The song smacks of early 80s sounds from Joy Division/New Order (Yes, I know that Joy Division never really made it past the 70s but posthumous tracks were released in the 80s).  The song is bass guitar lead with the guitars and synth adding to the songs background. The vocals are almost on the same level as the bass, just a little bit above the bass. This is a really great track that pays homage to a couple of my favorite bands. I can’t wait to get my hands on this album.”

The second single from the album is called I Won’t Let You Down. This track is so much fun. I talked about this track when the EP Upside Out was released. I wrote about it in Vol. 5 Episode 35. Here is what I had to say about the track, “I hear The Jackson 5 all over this track. It is a great style that I am happy that they brought back. I like the strings from the disco era combined with the muted guitar sounds and added synth parts to make it current. All of these things combined with all of the members of the band singing in the song like The Jackson 5 did on their big hits. It all works so well and makes me happy listening to the song.”

As with all OK Go Songs You have to check out the videos. They are on the links for the song titles. The rest of the album as just as good so go get it!
OK Go – Of The Blue Color Of The  Sky (Extra Nice Edition) database access music
The music that you get access to through the OK Go Database is the digital album Twelve Remixes of Four Songs and the contest winners through the five weeks of remixes of White Knuckles, which equals an additional 13 remixes of the song.

The official release of Twelve Remixes of For Songs contains Sixteen tracks but four of those are the studio versions of the four songs. Since those four songs are already on Of The Blue Color of The Sky they are not included in the download of this database version. If you really wanted to have them in their right spots you could make copies of them from the album and add them to their right places. The only duplicate track from this Twelve Remixes of Four Songs is the Passion Pit Remix.

The remixes from the contest winners is very interesting. It is a little overwhelming listening to the same song remixed thirteen different ways though.

This is the ninth album from Switchfoot. This album coincides with the release of their surfing/music documentary movie of the same name. The album was released in January of 2014. I didn’t get the album until after I watched the movie for free on Netflix. It struck me and I decided I needed to have the album. This album didn’t go through the normal creation process that the previous album have done. The songs were mostly created during the filming of the movie and were there for given the freedom and space needed to allow the members to create instead of just the lead singer to bring something that the group works on together. This gives the album an new feel and somewhat of a new direction. It is a new feel for the group and gives a deeper emotion to the music I think.

There were three singles released from this album. The first is called Who We Are. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Switchfoot bassist Tim Foreman said, "This song takes me back to when our band was first starting out – driving around California stuffed into a minivan with guitars and drums, ready to take on the world. Armed with nothing but a few songs and a wild hope, we were dumb enough to think that it could work. Maybe that's the only way that the world has ever changed, by people dumb enough to try. So here's to everyone who's young and dumb enough to ignore the crowd and believe in who they are." The song features vocals of Switchfoot members' children. One of the scenes in the Fading West film shows the recording of the song, with vocalist Jon Foreman sitting in the studio on the floor, conducting the children's choir. It is absolutely adorable.

The next single from the album is called Love Alone Is Worth The Fight. This song is a sweet slow opening to the album but at the same time is hard hitting with one of the best messages I have ever seen or heard. The group always claims that they are not specifically a Christian group. But with songs like this it is hard to believe that they don’t have a Christian heart and mind. I have always followed the belief that God wants to love us and for us to in turn love him and our fellow man the same. I always feel horrible when I sit down and think about not only my self and my sin that gets in my way of doing just that but that everyone has the same problem in some way. This is a great song that makes me think about things like this.

The third single from the album is called When We Come Alive. It is a slower song but gives energy and power. The song sings, “We are fire … when we come alive”. It is an empowering song designed to do just that. It is a beautiful song that the world needs. We especially need songs like this for people who are mentally beaten down. I was verbally beaten down but when I look at some of these underground people trafficking problems that we have in this world. the people that get free from them need songs like this and people that can bring them back up and properly integrate them into their societies.

This is a great album with everything that people should hear in music today. Get a copy, it will help you live better.

The album was released in October of 2014. Slumberland records and Fortuna Pop! put this out on DL, CD and LP. The LP was pressed on limited light blue and white vinyl. The sound on this album is slightly different from the second album. I think it comes off simpler but earthy while still keeping the lovely airy female vocals. It is a sweet record that I find hard to listen to. I think I just need more time to get into it. It is a bit difficult for me as I am use to this sound coming with male vocals and a lot less electric guitar. I like it and want to hear it though.

There have been two singles that I am aware of digitally released from the album so far. The first was Bright Eyes. This is a bit of a duet with Elizabeth Morris and Paul Rains, both members of the group. It is not a reference to the band with the same name. It is a sweet romance track that is a lot of fun. I probably would have been into the song when I was in high school or earlier if it were on the radio or what ever.

The next single from the album is called Romance And Adventure. This track reminds me musically of Veronica Falls. The song is about remembering romance and realizing that the relationship is over and the things you did with that person can’t be done anymore with them. It is a sad idea but one must consider that life moves on and you must too.

This is a good album with interesting twists. I wish SLR would put out the singles for this album the way they did for the last album. I may need to hunt them down from Fortuna Pop!

That is all for now...

Vol. 5 Episode 46

The Dodos will have a new album out sometime next year. The video that has this announcement only says out 2015.

There are six different color variations of vinyl colors for the new Restorations album called LP3

The Joanna Gruesome/Perfect Pussy comic book split is up for preorder at Slumberland Records now.

Kanine Records will have their band September Girls album Veneer up for sale for Black Friday Record Store Day.

She & Him will have a new record called Classics just in time for Christmas. It also looks like they have changed record labels too. This one will be released on Columbia. You can get it from their web page.

Here we go...

Brown Brogues/Eternal Summers – Brain Melter/Window Split EP
This is a split cassette that was put out for Cassette Store Day only in the UK/EU. I was happy to hear that Cassette Store Day had come over to the US but disappointed that the releases were so different in both regions. I had to wait a week after Cassette Store Day to buy a copy of this online from one of my favorite UK record stores, Norman Records. I think that the packaging for this Cassette is awesome. It is a charcoal grey paper sleeve that is open on one end. There is silver printing on both sides, a graphic for both bands. There is also in insert that has the track listing for each side. The cassette itself is also split. One side is blue and the other is yellow.

The Brain Melter side of the cassette sounds like classic punk music recorded on a four track In their living room. I know, I have done this before. The first track is called You Don’t Know. It is fast paced and what sounds like distorted guitar, drums and vocals. The music is super simple but still fun, even if it sounds like it was recorded in black and white.

They then take a shot at classic R&B sound with a muted guitar and minimal drums but with rough vocals on the track Don’t Dance With My Girlfriend. I don’t feel like it goes over that well. It is a valiant effort though. I think that the next track called Still of The Night, with its bluesy overtones, works so much better. This may be because of my exposure to The Black Keys though.

The last track from Brown Brogues is called Where My Mouth Goes. This totally reminds me of music that I recorded with my band when I just got out of high school. It is really sad because we were not good at all and never could have gotten a record contract but 22 years later groups are doing the same thing and getting contracts.

Anyway, the second side of the cassette is the Window side. Eternal Summers had released Window as a digital only single previously. I was happy that there was going to be a physical release for this song. This is the reason that I got this split EP really. The song is a slow jam that I really like. It has an ethereal float to it that reminds me of staring at the night sky in the middle of summer. It is very pretty and the tape hiss only adds to the songs night time sky watching feel.

The rest of the songs for the window side of the EP come from the groups’ latest album. All of the tracks are great and most of them have been released as singles from the album already. You can check out what I had to say about the album these songs come from, The Drop Beneath, in Vol. 5 Episode 37.

This is a single that was only released in Europe for some reason. Since getting the new album, Hungry Ghosts, I have gotten into the band a little bit heavier. I have since found out that a lot of their singles were only released in the UK/EU. I find this dissatisfying. I really like the group am curious that Capitol would only advertise this group across the pond. Did they think that they had enough popularity already here in the US that they didn’t need to advertise here but felt they needed to push harder in the UK/EU or was it reversed and they thought they needed to push harder there because they were more excepted across the pond. Either way, I have more music that I can explore from OK Go and I am excited to get a hold of these new tracks. This is a 7” record on white marbled vinyl. There was also a purple single sided 7” vinyl but I wanted the B side track.

The A side is the first single from Oh No called A Million Ways. This was not my favorite song from the album but it did get me to buy the album when Oh No was released. I have been into this group since their first album. What I didn’t like about this song was the background vocals. It is not that it isn’t creative to count out the numbers; it just didn’t make me feel good like they have done in the past. There are other songs that I really liked from this album though.

The B side of the single is the song This Will Be Our Year. This is a cover of The Zombies song. It is a slower song that is bass lead with guitar and Rhodes keys. It is beautiful slow and down to earth. This, for me is classic OK Go and it is somewhat of a rare track. It can also be found on The Extra Nice Edition of Of The Blue Color Of The Sky and on Twelve Days Of OK Go.

This is the latest released from the Halloween super group. The physical version has not shipped yet. The pressing plant is being slightly uncooperative. The sleeve will be like the book & 45s that I got when I was a kid. It looks like so much fun. I am excited to get my copy to look through the book and see what strange things Ryan has come up with for this year. Because of the delay the two tracks that are on this release have been given to those who have preordered the record as a digital download.

The first track is called Pulling The Rivers Teeth. The vocals are the standard pushed vocal from Ryan Graveface. The style works for the group and I wouldn’t expect anything less. The music comes off eerie with the use of cheap sounding synth that reminds me of my youth. The drums are the sounds of that same cheap keyboard from my youth but programmed better. The song is creepy but fun.

The second and last track from the single is called A Long Day At The End of The World. This track uses the same drum sounds but still programmed better than the standard cheap keyboard tracks. This song also makes use of banjo and acoustic guitars. This gives the song and the and a new aspect that I didn’t expect. There are still the keyboard and other distorted sounds. There is also live drums that come in later that work in tandom with the electronic drums giving a cool effect. Over all I think that this track shows a slightly new direction for this group.

I hope they continue and that we get more volumes through the next year. I would hate to get a new volume, if this is the start of a volume series, once a year.

This is a four track EP from the group. It was pressed on translucent blue vinyl. It was released in 2010 on Paper + Plastic. I wasn’t sure I was going to get a copy of this record. I finaly found a copy for a reasonable price. The color of the vinyl was just a bonus I feel. The band has almost stuck with the lifeless song titles with this EP as well.

The first track is called Title Track. It is not that I hate the naming conventions that they use but more that they are meaningless to the songs. It is the whole, “we don’t have a  name for the track so we will just call it something that would be fitting for a star track on an album.” They have done this with other singles as well. For Example: the single called A/B features songs called A and B to coincide with the sides of a single. There is no emotion or meaning for these titles and gives me a bit of a disconnect to the music. The music is still good but I have less of a connection to it.

The next track on the EP is called Linear Notes. This title again seems like it has nothing to do with the song. The music is good and super creative with the growly vocals that I like from the group though. It just bothers me that the title of the song has nothing to do with the song.

The next to songs don’t have that song title disconnect it seems or I like the songs more than the first two. Either way, the next two songs seem to work out a bit better for me.
I really like the vocal style, gravely and growly, but it makes my own throat feel like I need to clear it if I listen to them for too long. An EP is a perfect length for this reason.

This is a double post weekend, so, that is it until the next one is up...

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Vol. 5 Episode 45

There is a new video up for The Pains of Being Pure At Heart song called Kelly. Check it out, give them your love.

The list is up for Record Store Day Black Friday. Check it out and check out the Awesome Mix Vol. 1 cassette for Guardians of The Galaxy. I am so getting that!

Here we go with a short but long post...

This is the first single from Let Me Run. It was released in 2008 on Devildance Records in association with XOXO Records. It is a 7” record on white vinyl. This single was released to support the album Meet Me At The Bottom before it’s release. This is completely different from the band released CDr EP from 2011. There was also a limited numbered version of this single that had a different cover. This different cover more closely matched that graphic that would be the cover for the full length album Meet Me At The Bottom. Both tracks that are on this single, Like A Fish and  Don't Stomp, I Battle, have been released on the full length album. I just wanted to get everything that I could in relation to the band as they have now broken up. I really liked what they created as a group and I stuck with them even if they never got out on tour as far as my neck of the woods. They primarily toured the east coast only. I really like this group and I am happy to have a copy of this single to round out my collection of their music.

So, a long time ago I briefly mentioned the standard release of this album (my first year writing, episode 25). I have recently picked up this version of the album and will give it a proper review now.

This is one of the groups first releases on their new label, Paracadute. I believe they bought the album back from Capitol so that they could put out this release. This is a two CD version with access to extra downloadable content from the record companies’ web page. I have not had a chance to listen to all of the downloadable content yet, there is a lot, but it looks like it is mostly remixed songs. Some of those remixes are done by fans and some by other artists and professional remix artists. Those tracks from that download content may be talked about at a later date but I just want to talk about the content of the two CDs that came on this Extra Nice Edition.

The album was released in early January of 2010 through Capitol. It was then re-released through Paracadute on April first of the same year with two extra songs. The new independent label took over all responsibilities for the album from Capitol around the same time. I bought the standard CD version when it was released through Capitol but didn’t get the Extra Nice Edition or the Capitol released vinyl until recently. The Extra Nice edition was released on November second of 2010. This version of the album has a second CD with 22 tracks. The first third of the second disc is rare versions and cover songs. The second third is demo tracks and the last third is an interview. It is talked about that the sound of the band has changed to have a sound that resembles Prince. They have embraced this idea citing that Prince is a major influence from their childhood.

For me the important tracks are in the first third of this second disc.  The first track is an acoustic version of Skyscrapers. I think this gives the listener a better view of the basics of the group. It strips back all of the electronics and lets you hear exactly where the band is at musically.

The next track is the song that the group included on the soundtrack for Twilight: New Moon called Shooting The Moon. This is a good song but doesn’t really get me moving. I also already had a copy of the New Moon soundtrack so this wasn’t really new to me.

The next track, Louisiana Land I had never heard before. It is an acoustic track with a chord progression that reminds me of The Velvet Underground track called Sweet Jane. This OK Go track spins away from what Sweet Jane is but the essence is still there and makes it a bit distracting listening to the song.

The next track is the marching band version of This TooShall Pass from the video that was done for the song. I like this version of the song mainly because I played in pep band and marching band in high school. The video that goes with it is a lot of fun too.

The next two tracks are both covers. The first is a cover of the Pixies song Gigantic and the next is a cover of the Zombies song This Will Be Our Year. Both are great covers.

The last track that I find important on this second disc is a remix of the song This Too Shall Pass by Passion pit. It is called the Sunday Hangover Remix. It has a lighter feel to it than the original version with the addition of high pitched synth and some drums added and subtracted at certain parts during the song. I like it, it is a lot of fun in a new way.

Now, let’s get to the singles on the album. There are a whopping eight singles released from this album. The first single from the album is called WTF? We all know what the initials mean, if you don’t ask an adult. The song starts off and runs with some amazing distorted guitar that runs through the whole song. It escalates on the guitar solo that just melts my face it is so hot. The song is just a bunch of awesome and caught me by surprised after hearing the song that was included on the soundtrack for Twilight: New Moon.

The second single from this album is called This Too ShallPass. This single has a big beat that works so well for me. The song is not as heavily distorted as WTF? and includes the use of piano and other electronic sounds. The group is famous for the Rube Goldberg machine video that accompanied the song on its release date. There was also a second video that was also released on the same date. This video employed the University of Notre Dame Marching Band. Obviously this is the alternate take that is included on the second disc of this expanded album that is talked about above.

End Love was released as the third single. This song has a definite Prince vibe through out the song. It reminds me of that 1984 prince sound let alone the general pop sound of that time period. The song is about the end of a relationship and the heart ache that follows. The video is nearly 200 hours of footage compressed into a four minute video. It is quite amazing the amount of effort that the band puts into making their videos. It just shows that they have as much creativity and drive for creating videos and other arts as they do in making music.

The next single is called White Knuckles. This track is even heavier on the Prince influence. It is awesome how much a group can sound like another group but still retain the original sound of who they are. The music is simple but big and fun. The guitar solo in this track is also just face melting but very repetitive. This is one of my favorite tracks on the album. The different distortion sounds on the track are also just killer. I am not sure what it is that they do for their distortion but I really like the original sounds that they come up with. With this track the video is absolutely adorable. They employ the cup stacking art but make it bigger and employ the use of highly trained dogs to take the video up a notch. Absolutely genius video, give it a watch.

The fifth single from the album is called All Is Not Lost. This is not really a slower track but maybe has more breath in the music giving it a slower feel. It still has that big sound that the previous tracks have had but seems to provoke more emotion from me giving me the feel of a slower more meaningful song. I like the song and how it makes me feel. Even the guitar solo makes me feel a little more emotion than I have on any of the previous singles. The video for the song is also special as the members of the group and performing members of Pilobolus 7 have created a video together dressed in sea-foam green jumpsuits. The video was commissioned by Google Chrome as a Chrome Experiment for HTML5.

Last Leaf is the sixth single from the album. This song is an acoustic song that talks sweetly about waiting for the person that you love. Damian sings about waiting for ever if needed for that person to come back. It is super emotional with just his vocals and an acoustic guitar. It is a lovely song with great verbal visuals. The video that accompanies the song brings those verbal visuals to a new simple level. The video was shot in stop motion on toast. Each piece of toast is laser etched with a graphic. It is fun and simple and emotional at the same time. Watch it, you’ll love it.

The next single from the album is called Needing/Getting. The song starts off with a fast picked intro that shows where the song is going to move to. It then kicks hard into big drums and heavily distorted bass guitar. It is absolutely fantastic. The song talks about wanting to be with someone in a romantic way, classic rock and roll in my book. The song is done well though and makes me feel good at the same time reminds me of being a young adult and having these desires to be dating girls that were out of my range. It is really cool how some songs can bring out the strangest feelings from when I was growing up. Anyway, the video for this one is very different as the group doesn’t actually play any instruments; they drive a car that plays the instruments. It is so cool!

The last single from the album is called Skyscrapers. This is a slower song from the album with a great synth bass line. The drums are a bit subdued as it is a slower more emotional song. Damian is asking that the skyscrapers forgive him as he couldn’t see what was right in front of him. I get the feeling that he had a partner that he could have had the hole time but he kept looking for something else, something bigger and as a result lost what he already had. This happens to people a lot. I am sure that it has happened to me but I can’t think of anything specific at the moment.Again, the video is very intelligent. It features a couple dancing the tango and as the background changes the outfits that the dancers are wearing change as well. It kept my interest to say the least.

This is one of my favorite albums of all time. I think that I am even happier now that I have this Extra Nice Edition. There is so much more music and an interview to delve into. There is also that extra bit of downloadable content that I haven’t even gotten into yet as well. If you haven’t heard the standard album yet then do so. Also, this version is only twelve bucks on Amazon right now! Go get a copy while there are still some on the shelf!

That is all for now...