Saturday, September 27, 2014

Vol. 5 Episode 40

Thom Yorke just dropped a new solo album called Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes. There are eight tracks on this new solo album. You can get it on vinyl or as a download in MP3, WAV or Flak. Head over to the new albums site to find more information and to buy the album.

The Current member drive kicks off this Wednesday and that means there is a new Live Current album. This marks the tenth live album from the radio station. This year it will be a double live album, Live Current 10/Cover To Cover. You can stream both albums from The Currents web site before you buy now. I don’t know if this will be on colored vinyl as the Founding Member and Live Current 5 were.

There will be a physical release for the five new songs from The Pains of Being Pure At Heart extra tracks. iTunes has put out a deluxe version of Days of Abandon with five extra tracks. You can also pre-order a new 10” EP with those same five songs from The Pains web site. The EP is going to be called Abandonment Issue.

Today is Cassette Store Day. This is the second year for the event and the first year that it has taken place in the US. There is a store that is near me that is taking part. Unfortunately, the one tape that I do want will only be released in the UK/EU. This means that I will not be going to the one record store that will be taking part in the event. You can check out the releases and stores taking part by visiting the Cassette Store Day web page.

Here we go...

This is the fifth album from Snow Patrol. It was released in the summer of 2008. The album was put out on CD, LP and DL. There was also a deluxe version put out with a special DVD and book. The previous two albums came off as dark and depressing for me. I actually liked that sound and expected the same from this one. I was wrong. With this album came a sound of enjoyment of life and what it has to offer. There was still darkness but I could see light pushing back that darkness, tearing holes in the fabric of that darkness and leaving pillars of light. It made me feel like there was a way out if light could get in. It wasn’t revolutionary but it made me feel good inside. That is the point of listening to music isn’t it, to feel good.

There were four singles released from this album. The first is called Take Back The City. It features acoustic guitar that leads the song on its adventure. There are guitars that fill in the back ground and help to lead the song. There is also a cool synth part that is way in the back ground. The bass is a full round sound that floats between the acoustic guitar and the drums. There are also electric guitars that come in on the bridge and chorus and pop in a little bit after the first verse. The vocals have always been the fun part though for me on this track. They are clear and tell a story of a fun time in and around the city at night. It is a great song that gives me goose bumps.

The second single is called Crack The Shutters. I have always thought of this song as what happens after Take Back The City. It is a slower song and tells the story of a couple. When one of the two wakes up he feels so in love with what the other looks like that he just stare at her until she wakes up. He wants so see every detail of her that he opens the shades so he can see her better. It is a beautiful idea that can only work in the imagination.

The third single from the album is called If There’s A Rocket Tie Me To It. It is a sweet song that eludes to the break up of a couple. This is not what the bands lyricist has said about the song though. He has the attitude that the song is about saving someone rather than losing someone. The lyrics are very confusing though and easily misunderstood. Either way it doesn’t matter what the lyricist thinks, in the end it is all about how you feel about the song. I believe that the song is beautiful, sweet and endangered. It makes me feel uneasy but with a desire to save the things that remind me of my own relationships.

The last single from this album is called The Planets Bend Between Us. It is a slow song that is also sweet but because of the sluggishness leaves a bad taste in my mouth. It is not a song that I look forward to on the album and I am happy that it is at the end. I don’t usually get that far into the album before something comes up and I have to stop listening to the album and take care of whatever has come up. It is not a bad song; it is just to slow for me. The song was also a complete failure around the world as a single. 

This is a new album from Generationals. It was just released mid September 2014. The duo originated from New Orleans. They have been friends since they were freshmen in high school and formed the group after graduating college. They are a pop group that pulls influences from Britpop, dance and electronic music. The album has been put out on LP, CD, DL and cassette. The LP has been pressed in cloud vinyl (white/grey haze) for pre-orders and in green for the record stores. There were only 500 pressed in the cloud color, dubbed the early bird edition.

The first digital single from the album is called GoldSilver Diamond. The song has this plinking piano part that I really enjoy. There is also a fun slightly distorted bass line that keeps the song on its heals. There is also a sharp string stab that accents each of the chord changes. The vocals are what really push the song forward though.

The second digital single from the album is called BlackLemon. The song comes off very big with a simple mono-synth high pitched melody that sticks in your head. I like the backing synth that fills in the gaps in the background. The bass in this song is fun and bouncy, adding to the get up and dance feel of the song. This would have been a great summer single.  

I really like the album and that it pulls from the 80s new wave and later synth driven music. I don’t think that this album would entirely fit in the 80s style but there are hints that they are pulling influences from the era at any rate. I will have to check out their back catalog for sure.

This is another single from Restorations. This was put out by Evil Weevil Records in 2010. The sleeve is on chipboard and black screen printed. The record inner sleeve has a hand written number of 300 units. The single also came with a download card. I thought this was pretty unique for a single in 2010. The group has gone on to use the cover graphic as their logo. It must mean a lot to them.

The A side is Of Trees. It is a slower track. It still has all of the rock elements that the group is known for but in a slower more meaningful style I think. The background sounds are filled in by a heavily distorted guitar that really has some grit to it. The lead guitar flows in style from the nearly mandolin sounds to the clean sounds and the use of a chorus pedal even. The drums are super solid and also range from a steady beat to a fast ruckus that seems to be all over the place but still in control at the same time. It is truly a great song that is very interesting

The B side is Frankford. The song starts off in just the left channel with a soothing guitar. The rest of the band kicks in and the song fills into both channels. The song has a chord progression that reminds me of the song Lazy Eye from the Silversun Pickups. It is one of my favorite songs from SSPU and this song is like a rock version of Lazy Eye. It just hat that edge that Lazy Eye doesn’t. I kind of like both songs for different reasons I guess.

That is all for now...

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Vol. 5 Episode 39

Surfer Blood posted on twitter that they had finished their third album and put up a graphic for the cover. It seems kind of odd but there has only been one post about it so far.

Slumberland Records has put up a free 22 song compilation for their 25 year anniversary up on Amazon.

The first song from the new Abandonment Issue B-sides EP from The Pains of Being Pure At Heart has been put up to stream at The Line Of Best Fit. The song is called Poison Touch.

Shop Radio Cast is doing a series of pink vinyl pressings of some of their albums for breast cancer awareness if you are interested. They aren’t listed on the front page though so you will have to dig to find them.

Tiny Engines has repressed the first Restorations LP for the third time. There are some really cool color variations.

Here we go...

This is a single released in the UK in the beginning of September 2014. It is the first 7” from the new album from Flowers. This is one of my favorite tracks from the new album. I wrote about the album already in Vol. 5 Episode 36 and had this to say about the song Joanna, “The drums on this one have the right quick pace like Young does. The guitar work has a fun jangle feel to it. Her vocals are a bit fragile through the whole song. I think that this one is a bit more fun simply because the vocalist makes her voice jump through hoops in the scale with fun highs and lows in the chorus. This track is just the three members of the band playing, no extras. It makes the song rawer than the first single.” My feelings haven’t changed about the song It works very well for me.

The B-side track is called Rachel’s Song. This is a home recording from the group that ended up on this 7” instead of the Rough Trade free CD. It is a short song with just vocals and an acoustic guitar. The vocals are drenched in reverb/echo and give them a floaty heavenly sound. There is a slight addition of a keyboard/organ to fill in the background of the song in the middle but it is almost unnoticeable. The song is called Rachel’s song, I believe, because this is the name of the lead singer. I don’t know if they couldn’t think of a better name for the song or the lyrics have a special meaning for her. Either way, the song is a sweet and simple one.

This is a limited single from Odd Box Records. It was released in January of 2014. I didn’t decide to get a copy until August and luckily there was still a copy available to have. I have only a couple of other releases from this record label simply because they don’t put much out in a year.

The first song is called Sick. The song is simply about someone who was in a relationship and has fallen out of love so hard that the person that they loved now makes them sick. They don’t make them heart broken but out right sick. I can understand this but have never experienced it myself. Maybe this is because I have never had to dump anyone, I have always been dumped. I have never gotten tired of a relationship except for one time. But I was not sick of the girl. I just didn’t want to be around her any more. We didn’t travel in the same circles so this wasn’t hard for me to just stop seeing her. Any Way, the song is good and allowed me to see a different side of how people can feel about the end of a relationship.

The B-side is called Going Sideways. This song has the drummer on the lead vocals. It sounds like he has a chorus pedal on his vocals because it almost sounds like he is under water. There is some quiet and smooth bass and guitar on the track. But the vocals give the song that weird feel to make it just a little bit creepy. I like the song but the weird vocals with the chill music makes me a bit uneasy. I may get use to it if I listen to it a bit more.

This is a three track EP that the girls put out on Dead Oceans again. It is a 7” record pressed at 45 RPM with a physical limited release on black vinyl. It was released mid September 2014. The cover is only slightly controversial because of the naked female butt and legs. Every one has a butt so I don’t see the problem, whatever.

The title track, For The Feel, was intended for the full length album that was put out last year but didn’t seem to fit at the time. When the Clavin sisters came back from their big US and abroad tour they took time to re-record the song for this new EP and they were much happier about how it sounded. This is what they said about the track exactly, “"For The Feel is a song we originally wrote for our full length but it didn't sound right once recorded so we held off on putting it on the record. Finally when it came down to recording it again we were really inspired by the sound of The Kinks, we even used The Kinks amp. I'm really glad we waited to release this song because now it's perfect."

On the B-side of the record is the other two tracks. The first is called Poison Ivy. [It is a take on] The Rolling Stones' version of The Coasters track. It reminds me of something surf rock sounding but I don’t know much about The Rolling Stones and even less about The Coasters. That doesn’t really matter much because this version makes me vibrate with happiness with all that cool reverb and echo through the song.

The third song from the EP is called Born To Kill. This is a cover of a song from The Damned. It is a super cool punk track that these sisters make easy listenable. The style that they play this song in reminds me of Joan Jett & The Black Hearts. I like both because they work well sonically.

I am not sure how often I will listen to this EP but the music is fantastic.

This is a single that was released in different colors; forest green, white and yellow/gold. I got a copy in forest green. The white pressing was only available in record stores or in an all color bundle option. I like the group but not quite as much as to get an all color bundle. This single was released in 2013 to support their second LP called LP2.

The A-side of the record is the title track, New Old. It is a hard hitting rock track with vocals in that raspy scratchy sound that I call the Jersey sound. It is probably not good to sing in that style as it puts a lot of unneeded thrash on vocal chords but it does sound so cool if you can figure out how to do it without damaging the vocal chords. I don’t know if the group does this on purpose but it seems that the names of a lot of their songs are meaningless. For example, one of their singles has the names of each track as A and B. The A track is on the A-side and the B track is on the B-side. New Old doesn’t seem to mean anything in this song either nor does the B-side track, called 0.014 MPH. This doesn’t mean that I don’t like the tracks. On the contrary, they are really great songs that I am happy to have in my collection of music. I just don’t understand the naming of the songs that I have seen so far.

The B-side track is called, as I mentioned earlier, 0.014MPH. It is a slower track from the A-side but has a very cool driving force with soaring distorted guitar notes and a clean picked guitar on top of that. It is one of those songs that you know has meaning just by listening to the guitar solo. It makes you feel sad but empowered at the same time. I like this track a lot. 

That's all for now...

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Vol. 5 Episode 38

There is a new video for Withered Hand’s song Black Tambourine. Check it out!

There are some new/old freebies from Chunklet if you’re interested. "Just email with your mailing address..."

Eternal Summers have also put up a new video. It is for the new single Never Enough. It is a super fun video featuring the group in various genre dress.

Jonsi and Alex are doing the score for the TV show Manhattan. It sounds interesting but I will wait and see what happens.

The new single from White Laces is out on SoundCloud. It is taken from the up coming album called Trance. The album is to be released on 10/7/14.

Here we go...

This is the new full length album from Whirr. It is to be released on the 23rd of this month. I got my copy last week and it is a beauty. It will be out on DL, CD, Cassette and LP. The preorder LP is on brown/yellow bone colored vinyl. It actually looks like kaki with streaks of black and white to me. The first 300 were hand poured in what looked like black white and purple with a bit of green mixed in as well. No two are alike in those hand pours and were made available only to the record club members. The record came with a tour poster as well. There was also a “Party Pack” version of the preorder album that came with some extra goodies for some extra money. The sound of this eight track album is loud and slow with an all encompassing ebb and flow feel. Like all of their music before, the sounds wash over you and you don’t need to focus on it but you defiantly know it is there. The one thing that I feel is missing from the album though is the female backing vocals. This is something that I find I like from the current crop of shogaze groups. There are female backing vocals on this album but they are not as prevalent as on previous tracks from the band.

The first single from the album is called Mumble. It follows the somewhat limited vocal tones through out the album but it seems to work all the same. The music is slow but still moving enough to make me feel the sway of the ocean waves that the album reminds me of. The music is loud and distorted and the vocals are just under that loudness so that you know there are vocals and can nearly make out what they are saying but not quite. This makes for a lovely wave wash of sound. I would not call it a wall so much as an energetic wave that will push you but not bowl you over.

The second single, Lines, starts off a bit quieter than Mumble but it is just an illusion. The single clean guitar in the open is beautiful but don’t be fooled, the rest of the band joins in at the thirty second mark to make the solo beauty into a full band distorted noise. The group really builds on that solo opening to make something louder, fuller and more emotional. It is a sweet and beautiful sound if you can see past the noise in the track. I think that is what I like about the groups sound. If you like noise this is a great group. If you can focus on the sounds that are buried in the noise the group becomes even better. I really like the lines that the clean guitar draws but they are so fine and the distortion on the other instruments are so thick and heavy that it takes a good ear to find the lines that are drawn by the clean guitar sometimes. It is almost like a game at times to find what it is that I like about this band.

If you like slow moving noisy music, i.e. shoegaze, this album is totally for you. I like the sound and it is refreshing for me with all of the pop indie that I seem to be listening to lately.

I have found a new band to like, and I like them a lot. They remind me of The Gaslight Anthem’s early albums and Let Me Run (who have now split up). Restorations have that husky/heavy breathy vocal style that both of these groups make use of in their early albums. In the past I had labeled this as the New Jersey or just Jersey sound. I can’t really call it that any more since Restorations are from Philadelphia PA. What I really like is that they don’t over use this sound. The lead singer also uses clear sounding vocals at times too. The group has two albums out with a third soon to be released. The new album and the second are up on Side One Dummy Records as a fair priced bundle right now. The first is currently out of print but I have a feeling they will be repressed soon from Tiny Engines Records.

This single was also put out on Tiny Engines Records in 2012 as a pre-release to the first album. The record was released in multiple colors. I just ordered the blue version and got the download right away. The A side of the record, called A, showcases what the band have been working on and why they deserve a full length album. Neither of these two tracks are on the first album This first track is filled with that classic Jersey sound that started with Bruce Springsteen in the 80s. The song shimmers and wavers like a candle in the wind with a breakdown in the middle of the song that feels like that candle could go out but then explodes into some of the greatest sounds and rhythms I have heard in a while. The song does a nice fade out at the end that makes the song feel complete. I have listened to a lot of music and there are just those songs that feel like they were not ended properly, this one is proper indeed.

The B side, called B, is an explosion from the start. It starts with a hard hitting bass line and drums and they guitar kicks in along with the lead guitar in the first five seconds of the song setting the tone for the rest of the song, with almost a minute intro to the song. The song slows down just a smidge to let in the vocals for the verse where the guitars fade out. When the chorus kicks in it is all on for a great rock band sound. The break down also finds a bit of a slow down with a vocal chant for a bit to show contrast in the music. This works well in the song though and the song picks up with a great guitar solo before the end of the song.

I just found out about this group and needed a replacement for Let Me Run in my catalog and they fit the bill very well. I can’t wait to get some of their albums to listen to.

OK Go have a new album coming out next month. I put my pre-order in on their Pledge Music campaign and because of this I got their Upside Out EP download for free. I have also gotten this remix of their first single from the EP/album for free because I pledged to the campaign. The remix is called Dan Konopka’s Midnight remix. Dan is the drummer for OK Go if you didn’t know already. The remix is totally ready for the rave dance floor. It sends me back to the 90s when I was really into the techo tunes and it was cool for rock bands to get techo artists to remix the really popular rock tracks. Radiohead even had some of their track from the 90s remixed, not to mention that all of the tracks from their last album were remixed. I hope that there will be more remixed tracks from the up coming album from OK Go. This one is killer!
That is all for now...

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Vol. 5 Episode 37

I have stated in a few posts that Falling Up are putting on a Kickstarter project to fund their latest album. Apparently this latest album will be their last. I am sad to hear this and I hope that the Kickstarter pulls through with the fans. I would hate to have missed out on their last album.

Faith No More will be getting back together! They are going to start recording a new album if they haven’t already started. They will put out a new single for the album on Record Store Day’s Black Friday event. I am excited. They are one of my favorite bands and I was so sad when they broke up.

The Pains of Being Pure At Heart will be putting out an album of B sides soon. I don’t have a date on it yet. Here is an acoustic version of the track called Summers of Dreams that will be on the album.

Nada Surf will also be putting out a digital B sides album in the future. No official date on that one either. 

Here we go...

This is the second album from CCBB. There were 500 copies of the album pressed on vinyl with the pre-orders also receiving a tote bag, button, sticker, scratch card and a live cassette. Unfortunately, I didn’t find out about the band until after the third album was released so I did not get these extras. After listening to the album it comes off as a non-linear story of a dysfunctional relationship. I could probably rearrange the tracks to make it linear but the band put the songs in the order for some reason. The songs are fun either way. I actually put this album on random because of this and the album still works well.

There are a few songs that were released as singles. The first is the song called Title Track. It is a punk track that takes its style from Man or Astro-Man? There are no lyrics for the track and they pull it off well. The song is bass guitar driven with a cool distortion pedal on the bass. The guitar just hits initial notes to accentuate the bass line and the drums are for the most part the same. It is a great song and I wish there were more tracks like this, especially if they can do this so well.

The second track put out as a single is called Monster. It starts off with some movie sound effects like wind blowing and water flowing and moves on to doors creaking and floor boards creaking with reverse talking before the music kicks in. It is a cool surf style track like The Munsters opening theme song. The song is fun for me because it still keeps its comedy in the lyrics too. In the chorus they sing, “Gonna eat your brains, gonna eat your eyes, and leave you for the flies, and then I’ll smoke a cigarette.” It is a great track for Halloween with your adult friends or whatever.

The third single from this album called Lie. The lyrics talk about being confused about who is good and who is bad in this world that we live in. It totally makes sense to me because people do good and bad things in this world. It is a bit extreme to say that you don't want to be around people because of this problem though. The chorus is very catchy though and makes for a great song. I will say that the groups song-crafting has grown exponentially with this album. I like that they have kept their comic sensibilities at the same time too.

The album is full of great tracks that were not put out as singles too. They did do another track that is similar to the track Dirty Song from their first album. I think it is just as funny and it is also not approved for young ears or the work place. The song is called I Am A Slut. The chorus it hilarious and the break down is even funnier. In the chorus she sings, “I am a slut, you can bust a nut, bust it in my butt, cum all over my face.” She sings the same thing again with the last line changing to, “Piss all over my tits.” The break is a bit more graphic so I will just say that the funny part is that she says something so wrong and the other members of the band take in a sharp breath and she says “What?” like she didn’t know it was wrong to sing in the song. Way to funny! I won’t sing it but I will laugh every time.

There is so much more melody in this album and I am a slut is really the only dirty song this time. The only thing that I didn’t like was the answering machine recordings. They don’t really fit in the album.

This is the latest album from Eternal Summers, the third album not counting the single compilation. It was released earlier this year. It was released on CD, DL, and LP. The LP was put out on orange marble to those who preordered from Kanine Records. The album shows that taking a new producer can make dramatic changes that can be good and bad. I think that I like the super polish for the most part. It reminds me of the tale end of the shoegaze movement from bands like Lush and, to some extent, Luscious Jackson (who were not a shoegaze group). The album puts the lead singer, Nicole Yun, in the spotlight through the album, which may not have been needed 100% but still sounds very good.

There have been a couple of singles released from the album. The first is called A Burial. This track is more along the sounds of a standard pop track with a bit of distortion. The vocals are on the lower tones of the female spectrum. I have been getting into this style quite a bit lately. The vocals in the chorus are what really get me though. They remind me of what Lush has done with some of their hits. It is absolutely beautiful the way that she goes from the low tones to the mid tones. It is done in such an artful way. The music that is backing the vocals is still that same 90s revivalist sound. I like that an awful lot as well. That is what I like so much about the band Yuck too.

The second single to be released from the group is called Gouge. It is a quicker moving track from A Burial but not by much. Nicole sings in a higher register with this track, making me feel lighter after listening to A Burial. The guitar work is super sweet on this track with a cool phaser pedal being used on the guitar giving the song an astral feel. The lyrics are not exactly so light but the vocal sounds over power the actual words for me on this one so I can look past them and float in the music of the song.

Overall this album is really great and I hope they continue to make this great music. I will keep buying it.

Flowers – Rough Trade Bonus Disc
When I got my copy of the new Flowers album, Do What You Want To, It’s What You Should DO, I also got in the box this CD. It contains songs that I do not have from the group. These songs are not on the demo downloads that I have from the group or from any of the other EPs from the group. I am happy that I have the songs but I always hate it when a group puts out such limited songs. I guess if I didn’t know that they existed in the first place it wouldn’t matter so much but with the internet, i.e. discogs, it is hard to not know about all of the super limited releases that a band puts out in their catalog. That being said, I have this six song EP and I am glad to have it. All of the songs are super short like they were demos or the extra tracks that did not work on the album. It reminds me of what Radiohead have done in the past. They usually make so many songs more than what will be on the album and those extra songs will usually be on an EP or appear as B sides on the singles after the new album has been released. The songs on this bonus disc are probably just that. They are good songs but either didn’t fit thematically or musically with the album. They may also have not fit physically as well since the album is already fourteen tracks long. Either way the extra tracks on this disc are of varying quality sound wise like they were not produced by the same person that did the new album. They were probably recorded by the band and left off the production table. I actually like the sound of these tracks over the new album because the vocals aren’t so thick. If you like Flowers and find this CD then get it. Since it is a Rough Trade exclusive then go there and get it if you are close to one. I am still kicking myself for not getting the Odd Box single when I could have!

That is all I have for now...