Saturday, June 28, 2014

Vol. 5 Episode 25

A new solo album from Philip Selway, the drummer for Radiohead, is up for preorder on his web page now.

Here we go...

This is a new 10” EP released June 30, 2014. I got my copy a little early because I ordered it directly from the bands shop. There are four tracks on the EP one of which is a cover track. The four tracks are tracks 13-16 on the deluxe download edition of you already have that version. The tracks are an interesting electronic set of songs with lots of schmaltz. I am having a lot of trouble getting into the music but it is still interesting.

The first track is the title track, Raw Exit. I really like the jerky electronics with the slight echo. The smooth electric bass works well to hook up the vocals and the drums with the synths jerkyness. I think that the vocals really shine in the chorus more than in the verse though.

The second song is called Baby Blue. The bass is super funky in this track with standard bass guitar and in some parts a playful synth bass over the top of that. The drums are also a combination of samples and analog. This gives an interesting feel for the two instruments. The other synth parts are soaring but heavy but filling in the background well. The vocals add to keeping the style of the group.

The next song is called Great Regret. This song kind of taps into the 80s synth sound but still keeps the sound relevant for the time. I think that it is not only the synth sound but the vocal style that link this track to the 80s. I feel that there is something in her tonality with this track that reminds me of the new wave sound of the mid to late 80s. It works very well and is probably my favorite song of this set.

The last track on the EP is the cover of Leslie Gore’s YouDon’t Own Me. The songs delivery kind of bothers me. I know the original song so well. The slightly elongated and unmatching/unneeded pauses throw me out of the song. It is almost as if she doesn’t know how to properly breathe in a song. I do like the music in the song though. I like an electronic version of most songs and the rework of the music fits well.

OK Go have a new album coming out through Pledge Music. As a reward to pledgers, the band have put out a four song digital only EP that contributors can download. The four songs will be on the new album but the group wanted to share some of the songs early in this new EP. It was released on June 17, 2014. When I talked about the new single having the album Upside Out this was why. The new single was already associated to the new EP called Upside Out and not yet to the new album called Hungry Ghosts.

The first song is called Turn Up The Radio. The song is not so much new, sound wise for the band, but fits what you would expect from them. It is a great pop song though that talks about turning up the music and forgetting what is happening in your life and just losing yourself in the music for a while. It is a great idea and I have done this many times.

The next song is the first single from the up coming album, The Writing’s On The Wall. 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 third song is called I Won’t Let You Down. 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.

The last song is called The One Moment. This is a slightly depressing track that could easily be a credits song to a “chick flick”. I only say this because it is a song that is heart felt and makes you think about life if you listen to the lyrics. It is a good song but a bit depressing while trying to be uplifting at the same time.

This is a great intro to the upcoming album. Go contribute to their Pledge Music campaign right now!

This is a five track EP released in 2011. It was released as a CDr promo or 12” vinyl or download through No Pain In Pop.  The groups sound is put together by the two singers’ love of the west coast sundrenched 60s sounds, the British invasion sounds and the C86 sounds. These three sounds when combined give a very unique musicscape that is absolutely delicious.

The first track from the EP is called Who Thought. It is a bright and bouncy track that ended up as the single from the album. The guitar work is absolutely amazing and the drums are just simple enough to be complicated. The bass supports the guitars perfectly and links the drums to the song the way that they should. The song works incredibly well.

The second song is called River Boat. The song is a slower track and not my favorite on the EP simply because I am not a fan of the slower song. It is still musically and technically interesting though.

The third track is called Shining Bright. This track is a poppy track with dark overtones. The vocals and guitars have a bit of an echo giving the song that darkness. The drums stand out a bit more because there are no effects on them. This is the type of song that I would have listened to in high school if it were around then. It is deep and brooding.

The next song is called You Still. This song is also a bit slower but comes off a bit more musical with the vocal slides that the boys pull off in this track. The music is a bit more simple I think because of the need to focus on the vocal slides. This isn’t a bad think either. It is an incredibly short track though.

The last song is called Drop Off. This song could have easily been a single too. The song has that special something about it but it is again a super short track. If it had been fleshed out a bit more I would have easily been a great single.

That is all I have for now...

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Vol. 5 Episode 24

The new full length Flowers album is up for preorder at Kanine records.

You can also preorder the new Spoon album in multiple different packages on their page.

The new full lenth from The Proper Ornaments called Wooden Head is up for preorder at Slumberland Records in the US. It is already available via Fortuna Pop! In the EU.

sorry for the late post... here we go...

This is the sixth album from Linkin Park (LP). It was released in June 2014. This is the first of their albums to be produced with Rick Rubin since Meteora. The name of the album is kind of a metaphor. It is said to be that Linkin Park is the party that is hunting to bring back the energy and soul of rock. They have pushed back the electronic flavor that they had been using in favor of their hard rock roots this time. There has been a lot of advertisement for this album. It has ranged from the different packages that the band has put together for the album and the special Best Buy version of the album to the new tour that they will be embarking on. All of the packages that I have seen have only been on download or CD. I have not seen the album advertised on vinyl. I am happy to say that I will be attending that concert with my son. It is his first concert ever!

There have already been five singles released from the album and it was just released in the US this week. That is nearly half of the album. The first single from the album is called Guilty All The Same. The song features the rapper Rakim from Erick B. & Rakim. The songs first appearance came on Shazam and a day later as a standard single. The song is very hard edged with stabbing guitar chords, Simple but rough guitar solo parts, and pushed to the edge vocals by Chester Bennington. Synth parts made to help progress the song and hard drumming. This is a great first single from the bands new album and shows directly where the group went for the album.

The second single from the album is called Until It’s Gone. This one goes back to the electronic style of the previous albums. It reminds me of a track that could have been a part of a sound track. It has a super polished sound that movie soundtrack makers gravitate toward. It fits with the album only because it breaks up the album. I like the song but if the group is going for a heavy rock album all the way this one doesn’t really fit the bill.

The third single, actually the third, fourth and fifth singles were released at the same time, is called Final Masquerade. This is another track that seems super polished with electronic and synth parts floating in the background with not much in the way of heavy guitars and hard hitting drums. They are there but not as heavy as some of the other tracks on the album. Like the previous single, it is good but not has heavy as the rest of the album.

The next single is called Wastelands. This is a hard hitting drum song with guitar fills and synth fills. The song hits like a light version of a song from living things but still has heavily distorted guitars to make the fans of the earlier work happy. The break down in the song is the exciting part with cool psych sounds that make your brain feel all twisted. When it comes out of that part it sets you straight and prepares you for the next track on the album.

The last single from the album is called Rebellion. The song features Daron Malakian from System of A Down who plays additional guitar on the track. The addition of a heavy guitar gives the band a new dimension. This heavy guitar sound makes this track one of my favorites on the album, although, I could due with out the synth part all together on the track. This is another great song from the album that really smacks of the System of A Down sound from the Toxicity era. Either way it is still a great LP song.

It is a great album leaning on the heavy metal sound from the first three albums with some of the good stuff sprinkled in from the last few albums. I am very excited to get to know this album.

This is the first release from the group ever. It was released in 2010. This was well before I had ever heard of the group. This is a different recording from the version of Recalling put out a few years later (2013). The two songs put on this single were recorded at a friends house and as such have a duller sound. It gives the sound a boost on the lower end. It is also a little crispy on the highs too. This isn’t necessarily a good thing but it does give it a homey feel that you usually only find on demo versions of songs.

The A side song is called Recalling. I had this to say about the re-recorded version of the song and this still applies to this version of the song, “The song starts off with a simple chord progression played in muted eighth notes. There is also a slight tinkle of piano and a good drum beat. As the song progresses the guitar parts get more complex and the piano plays more frequently. There is also an organ part that floats in the background that reminds me of the Vox organ that was used heavily in the 60s and 70s. The vocals send me back to that time as well with their lower tone and drawn out sound. The song is really great…” I think that the difference between the two versions of this song is mainly that this version was recorded at someone’s house and the newer version sounds like it was recorded in a studio. Both versions are good and I can’t say that I prefer one over the other.

The B side to this single is called Are You Going Blind? It is a slower song that matches the sound to the A side. It is a slower song that uses slow strummed chords with eighth note pick playing on the bass guitar. It is a sad song about a friend going blind and listing off things that they won’t be able to do any more. It is kind of depressing though. If you can get over the lyrics the music is very good.

This is a limited edition release of demo tracks from the group. It was released last year in the EU for their spin-off of Record Store Day called Cassette Store Day. This is the only thing that I have gotten from that event with the exception of the Bleed In Gold album that was also made available as a download through Art Is Hard. The cassette came with a download sticker in the sleeve. The downloaded tracks didn’t come in the proper track order and one of them came as an aif file. I am not sure if this was just sloppy production on the part of the record company that put this out or what. I did find it quite annoying as I had to not only correct the order of the songs and make sure that the names and other bits were labeled properly I also had to convert the aif file to MP3. An aif file is a pretty large file. It was not such a big deal for me to do but I know that not as many people have that ability or understanding to do so.

There are eight tracks on this tape. They are all demo versions but in varying state of clarity. Some of these demo tracks were re-recorded in the studio for their first album and a couple of them are used on the second album. Largely, they are only heard on this cassette. I hope that they all in some way or another get a studio treatment as they are all a lot of fun to listen to.

Shining Bright and Drop Off were given a studio treatment for the first album. Tire Me Out and Stereolab got the studio treatment for the second album. These demo tracks are very fun and I can’t wait to get the two full length albums from this group. I am just as excited to hear the studio versions of these tracks.

That's all for now...

Friday, June 13, 2014

Vol. 5 Episode 23

No real new news but there are a lot of pre-orders out there for a lot of bands. Check them out!

I do know that Slumberland Records has had to push back the pre-order for the new album from The Proper Ornaments. There was a pressing issue with the plant that was making the records. I am excited to get my hands on that record but will have to wait.

Here we go...

This is the fourth album from this Swedish group The Hives. The album was released in the fall of 2007. The album takes the group in a slightly different direction. The group made use of multiple producers for this album, the most famous of those were The Neptunes. This gave the album a sort of R&B feel of back in the late 40s/early 50s sound brought current. The music is still loud and noisy but using elements of that classic R&B feel. I really liked this album and the new direction that it took the group. I think it opened up new doors for the groups following album. It gave them new views as to how things can be recorded and the different styles that can be incorporated into the music that they create.

The big single and the first single from the album is called Tick Tick Boom. The song was pushed on Americans through many TV commercials including multiple movie spots and video games including Lego Rock Band. This is my favorite song from the album and has a very catchy guitar riff that is played through the verse sections of the song. The verse is simple musically with long notes being played while the vocalist sings the chorus. The drop off of all music at the end of the chorus while the vocalist sings, “Tick tick tick tick boom” and then the sound of an explosion really unique. It is what really makes the song.

The second single from the album is called T.H.E.H.I.V.E.S. This is one of the track that was produced by The Neptunes. This is plainly obvious once you hear that they were the producers for the track. Their style is all over this song. The song has a super smooth feel to it and almost a disco sound. It is a great song but almost sounds out of place on the record. It just doesn’t have the expected sound from The Hives. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t a good song from the group, just that it stands out like a sore thumb on the album as a whole.

The last single from the album is called Won’t Be Long. The song has the lead singer singing in a lower key than he as in the past at the start. The chorus he sings in his higher pitch. It kind of reminds me of the mock country sound that had been done in the 80s for a short while. It is an interesting way to make the vocals sound different. There is also a hint of disco in the song with the string section playing in the back ground. It is a fun track not to be ignored

If you thought that The Hives were only capable of one sound and haven’t heard this album, give it a spin. You will be surprised.

This is the third album released from Linkin Park. It was released in May of 2007. There were multiple versions of this album put out including a vinyl version and a book style format too. I don’t have a vinyl version of this but want a copy. The official copy that I do have is a censored copy. I have a CDr of the uncensored version but want an official copy still. This is the first album to show a different direction for the group, shifting away from the nu metal sound that they had been known for. Given this idea the album come off with a mix of styles, including punk and hip-hop, but going for classic rock and roll at its heart. Personally, I think it is a great album and a needed change to keep the fans interested. I really like the music on this album and my son, who was seven at the time of this albums release, loved the album too. He really latched on to the second single Bleed It Out. I was forced to listen to that song so much during the year after its release. It is a good song so I didn’t mind so much.

The first single from the album is the song What I’ve Done. The song is played in the key of G minor. This doesn’t mean much to most but it does to those out there who are musicians. Chester Bennington, lead singer, had this to say about the song, “Joe [Hahn] came up to Mike and me and asked us to take the whole idea of Minutes to Midnight and apply that to how the band has changed. So, in a way, it's us saying goodbye to how we used to be...The lyrics in the first verse are 'In this farewell, there's no blood, there's no alibi,' and right away, you'll notice that the band sounds different: The drums are much more raw, the guitars are more raw and the vocals aren't tripled. It's just us out there .... and that's how Rick Rubin wanted it.” The song has a great sounding distorted guitar. It is noisy but you can still hear the chord sound musically. The vocals are raw but controlled in the chorus and clean in the verse. It just works well in the song. The drums are based on a heavy hip-hop sound and have heavy cymbal usage in the chorus to add to the noise there.

The second single from the album is called Bleed It Out. This is the first single to be released from this album with rap lyrics. The lyrics flow so smoothly that I had never even thought of them as lyrics. The guitar work is very simple and for the most part repeats through the song. The drums consist of mainly clapping in time to the music. There is a drum kit used but is kept simple for the song to get down to the core of what music is but still keeping it complex like the band has always done. This is my sons’ favorite song from the album and I have to agree that it is the best song on the album. It is a song that I could listen to over and over.

The third single from the album is called Shadow of The Day. It is a very moving slow song. I think that the strings in the back ground help the emotional status of the song immensely. The guitar solo in this song mainly follows the vocals but expands on the vocal path a little more. The drums start off with a sample pattern but then cut into the live drums. This is a cool idea and has been used by many bands. There are no rap parts on this track but Mike does take part in the track with the background synth parts.

The next single from this album is called Given Up. This one holds on to the clapping that is also used in Bleed It Out but the song is more raw and the clapping is discarded when the vocals start up. The song of uses the loud soft loud style with the guitar dropping out during the verse to let the bass guitar shine a little. The bridge to this song is just hard quarter notes. It is smart and gets the point across very well. This is the heaviest sounding song on the album and really gets the point across.

The last single from the album is called Leave Out All The Rest.  Chester had this to say about the song, “We knew this was going to be a single from the very beginning, so we worked really hard on making sure it had great lyrics. I'm singing 'Pretending someone else can come and save me from myself' during it because it's supposed to feel like an apology letter, as though I'm moving on but I want people to remember the good things and not the bad things. A lot of the song is about humility.” For me the song is about remembering the good things about someone who has moved on. It is a request of memory in a way. It is another slower song with a lot of emotion.

This is my favorite album from the group so far. It is not has heavy as some of their other album but it is diverse in style. I really like the two albums that follow this one but this one covers so much ground.

This is the first single from the first album from the group. This A side of this single was originally released back in 2010 with a different B side, but that is a different story. I was first introduced to the group with the Indie Pop Lesson compilation last year. I didn’t know anything about them at the time. The group consists primarily of James Hoare, of Veronica Falls fame, and Max Claps. There have been other members to support these two but they are the band. I got seriously interested in the group when Slumberland Records said that they were going to put out the latest album this summer. From what I have heard of previews from slumberland and the demo track from the Indie Pop Lesson comp. I am very interested in what they will produce. The sound is very clean sounding late 60s psych pop.

The A side is called Recalling. I have the feeling that this is a slightly different version from the 2010 release. I cant as of yet say what or if there is a difference for sure. The song starts off with a simple chord progression played in muted eighth notes. There is also a slight tinkle of piano and a good drum beat. As the song progresses the guitar parts get more complex and the piano plays more frequently. There is also an organ part that floats in the background that reminds me of the Vox organ that was used heavily in the 60s and 70s. The vocals send me back to that time as well with their lower tone and drawn out sound. The song is really great and I am happy that I have a copy of this.

The B side is called Imagination. It is a super short track but still follows that late 60s sound. The composition is different from Recalling in that there is no real build to the song. The structure is already there and it kind of needs to be with such a short track. The rhythm guitar is still playing those muted eighth notes but the lead guitar picks through a higher chord set. I think that this is the basis for the music of the flower power movement. At least that is what it reminds me of. That combined with the vocal style.

Both songs are very beautiful and I highly recommend picking up the new album when it is released. It is out in Europe now but has been delayed in the us due to pressing plant issues. You can still get their first album from Lo Recordings.

That is all for now...