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...

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Vol. 5 Episode 44

You can now remix the OK Go track called I Won't Let You Down from their new album Hungry Ghosts over on Blend. You do have to have an account and software to handle the stems. There is freeware out there if you really want to mess with the music.

Weird Al Yankovic has a cute cut up interview with prince from the 80s. Check it out, it is very funny.

Jonsi has updated his Spotify play list with new songs if your interested in that.

OK Go's lead singer, Damian, has a track by track commentary if your interested in that as well over at PureVolume.

Here we go with another singles post...

We Are Scientists/Surfer Blood – Tour Split 7”
This is a 7” that will be sold only on the tour that is happening right now. It is on clear vinyl and comes with a download code. The record also comes with a tour poster. The two songs that are on the single are both new/have never been released prior to this release. I picked this up when the tour came through St Paul MN. You can read about my experience at the concert in Vol. 5 Episode 43.5.

The A side is from We Are Scientists. The song is called Distillery. I don’t have much history with WAS. I knew just the few songs that The Current played and those tracks didn’t really impact me and I have never taken time to get into them. I did take some time to watch some videos that they had put out on YouTube after the concert. They still don’t interest me enough to pick up some music from them. That being said, the song on this record is really good. It is slow but the bass lead track is heavy and mellow. The bass has slight muddy distortion that reminds me of a warm rain. The guitar is only on the chorus and is kind of playful like jumping in puddles in that warm rain. The vocals are comforting even if they are talking about being far away. I like this track it doesn’t seem to be anything like their popular singles though.

The B side is from Surfer Blood. This song is called NW Passage. The song sounds like it was recorded on a 4-track recorder. I can look past this as this is a group that I really like so they get a sort of free pass on things like that. This song is good but isn’t as catchy as some of their other singles. There just isn’t that something that grabs me and pulls me into the song. It is good and I am glad to have it in my collection of Surfer Blood music but it isn’t that song that stands above the rest.

This is a single released in mid February of 2013. I got this as a freebie from Happy Happy Birthday To Me Records with my order of the Trust Fund/Joanna Gruesome split EP. I hadn’t heard anything from them before this record. They kind of remind me of Surfer Blood vocally but musically remind me of Vampire Weekend. It is a great combination of styles I think.

The A side track is called Piggybacks. The bass has a fun stutter walk with this song. It is also clean sounding. This is kind of refreshing with the popularity of using pedals on the bass guitar. The electric guitar is also clean sounding, maybe some reverb to give it some bounce. The vocals use some super bouncy reverb though. It seems to work incredibly well on this track though.

The B side is called The End of The Day. It is a slower track only by a few BPM from the A side. It is a good B side track because it is only just a bit slower than the A side. I really like the arpeggios played on the guitar with this track. I am not sure that I like the bouncy reverb on the vocals as much with this track but it is still good.

This is surprisingly one of my favorite singles that I have received for free. I am actually going to get their EP based on this single.

This is a new three track single from June Brides. It was released through Slumberland Records and Occulation Recordings on the first of September. It is supposed to have come with a full color insert and a badge. My copy did not come with a badge. I am not actually disappointed about this though. I would rather have the music anyway. This is another unexpected release from The June Brides. Maybe we will see a full album in the future?

The first song is called Being There. This song is sung by Phil Wilson. The song is fast and jangly, pulling from their past and making the music current. I am still not a big fan of the muted horn in the music but it at least seams to work well in the songs here. The walking bass lines are fun and the jangly guitar playing brings me back to the late 80s/early 90s R.E.M sounds. I like this track a lot.

The second track is the title track, She Seems Quite Free. This track is also very quick paced and uses that muted horn but sparingly. There is an odd static thing that happens in the dead spots. This seems to only be in the chorus though. I am not sure if it is there on purpose or not though. It is slightly annoying for me because I end up listening for it and not listening to the song. I like the song with the exception of that one distraction.

The last track is called I’m Undone and is sung by guitarist Simon Beesley. This is a good driving song. Not driving a car song but there seems to be a driving force behind the music or the music is a driving force. It is another fast paced song that is very fun. The problem that I have with the song is that the vocalist seems to be flat through 50% of the song. I don’t really want to hear the song very much because of this even if the music is good.

If you need some jangle in your life then get this record. If you want some different jangle than you are use to this is your 7” record.

This is a split EP between these two bands. The EP has no actual title. It was released on Happy Happy Birthday To Me Records at the end of September 2014. I had no idea what to expect from Trust Fund as I had never heard anything from them before but bought the EP based on my interest in Joanna Gruesome. I am happy to get anything from them really. I am still waiting for Slumberland Records to release the split single from Joanna Gruesome and Perfect Pussy. This EP has three songs from each group. I thought it was interesting that the A side of the record has Trust Fund but the download has the Janna Gruesome tracks first.

The first track from Trust Fund is called Reading TheWrappers. It kind of reminds me of the late 90s alternative music with the lead singer of Passion Pit singing the vocals. Not only that but there is also a female vocalist that adds to the picture. I really like this feel. This song starts off with some clean guitars and then half way through the guitars get all dirty with distortion. It is super fun and hits on the good points of that late 90s sound.

The second track is called Scared. This one starts off with bass and vocals. The guitar is distorted but played mainly in the higher registers to match the vocals. The bass is super fun but very simple and the guitar is used mainly after the vocal lines and is cool and complex. The chorus sees the guitar in a lower register and heavily distorted. It is awesome and easy to bop along to.

The last song from Trust Fund is called No Pressure. It is a slower song that makes me think of songs from the 50s but with a modern twist because of the vocals. They talk about today rather than the things from the 50s if that makes any sense at all. I guess they couldn’t do three fast songs. That would be to much to expect.

The first song from Joanna Gruesome is called Jerome (Liar). I get the feeling that they are honing their craft with this track. They are singing lyrics in a controlled fashon and don’t do much screaming with the exception of a few words after the chorus. This is the best fast paced song that I have heard them create to date. They just keep getting better and better.

The second track is called Satan (Desire Edition). This is a slower track and I like it. There is no screaming on the track but there is some distortion on the vocals at the high point in the song. This song is slowly picked and almost brings some emotion out from me. It is sweet, slow and moving.

The last track is called Coffee Implosion. It is another slower song but this one has some moderate screaming but still limited. The track also employees an organ sound through the chorus. This isn’t unheard of but is somewhat rare for the group. This is a moderate rocker that is just a good jam.

I will be looking into what else Trust Fund have released. I am also excited for that Joanna Gruesome/Perfect Pussy split still yet to be released. Come on Slumberland, what’s the hold up?

That is all for now...

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Vol. 5 Episode 43.5

We Are Scientists with opening acts Eternal Summers and Surfer Blood at The Turf Club in St Paul MN on October 9th, 2014.

I wanted to take my wife to this concert but she had to work. I then asked my best friend if he wanted to go and he declined. I thought about asking my father-in-law but just wasn’t feeling it. So, I only preordered one ticket for myself. This made going to the concert very cheap. My mother-in-law came over to watch the baby. She is the first person that we call when we need a babysitter and it seems like she always says yes. I don’t want to say that we depend on her for it but she loves spending time with the baby.

Doors opened at 7 for the concert. I got there just before 7:30. I hadn’t been to the turf club since First Ave took it over this past summer. There were some minor changes that I noticed right away. The video games were gone, not that I would have missed them. They were not all that popular of video games anyway. The sound board used to sit on a small raised area with a wood pedestal for the sound board to sit on, that was gone. It looked like the soundboard was on a table with a black cloth over it now. It seemed like the stage was bigger but I could have been mistaken. At the back of the stage was a mural of horses racing which could have lead me to believe that there was more space on the stage. The speakers were upgraded and or updated. Patrons used to be able to get to the lavatories from both sides of the stage; they are behind the stage. Now you can only get to the lavatories from the left side of the stage as the other side has been walled off. There may be just more storage behind that wall now as there is a new door in that spot next to the stage. So, some minor changes have been made but the feel of the venue hasn’t really changed at all. I forgot to check if there were changes to the basement so that will wait for another visit.

Before getting a seat I went to the merch table to see what they had for sale. I knew that I was going to get the tour split single from We Are Scientists and Surfer Blood but I didn’t know what else was going to be there. It seemed like I had, in one format or another, everything from both Surfer Blood and Eternal Summers. I was happy to see that the Kanine compilation, Non Violent Femmes, from Record Store Day was available and I hoped that they were selling. Surfer Blood also had all of their big releases up for sale including the punk version of Pythons that was released for Record Store Day. Both records were on limited run for Record Store Day. They also had the split single that I wanted. I bought it for ten bucks and it came with a free poster. it was a little after 7:30 at this time and I just found out that Eternal Summers was not on until 8 so I ran the single and poster out to my car and came back.

Apparently Eternal Summers had been to Minneapolis one other time. I may not have been into them to have known that they had been here before. I was happy to be here now to see them play. There was a malfunction on the guitar for the first song. The high E string was broken at the start of the first song and singer/guitarist Nicole Yun didn’t see it until she started playing that first song. She switched to her other guitar right after the song. I was disappointed that she wasn’t able to play the guitar because it had a great deep sound. She switched to a Fender Telecaster of some form. The bassist, Jonathan Woods, played a four string Epiphone Thunderbird that sounded amazing. I have wanted one of these guitars for a while and this just added more fuel to that fire. I am not a drummer but I thought the drums sounded pretty good and I have always liked Daniel Cundiff’s style though.

Eternal Summers played a few new songs that may be on the upcoming album that they are working on. All of the other songs were the best of the bunch it seemed like. I believe that all of the songs played were singles from previous albums except for the three songs that I hadn’t recognized before. I wish their set was longer because they have such an extensive back catalog. I mean, they have three albums, a B-sides record, an EP and a couple of singles that have B-sides not on the B-sides record. That makes a lot of music that they have released. They could have been the headliners with that big of a back catalog. I guess that I hope to see them again in the future as a headliner because I want to hear more music from them in a live setting. Keep it up guys!

After a bit of some set up/tear down from both Eternal Summers and Surfer Blood and some volume adjustments for Surfer Blood they were ready to go. Surfer Blood hit the crowd up right away with Floating Vibes and segue right into Twin Peaks. I was also very surprised to hear one of my favorite songs from the band, Miranda. That song also segues into Voyager Reprise from the same EP. The lead singer, John Paul Pitts, got down off the stage to sing and walk through the crowd on Drinking Problem and had the lead singer for We Are Scientists play guitar. Pitts then dedicated the next song, Catholic Pagans, to the lead singer/guitarist of We Are Scientists, Keith Murray, for his birthday. I really liked the clarity of Pitts vocals for this set. I am not sure what is so different about the way he sings/mix of his vocals but it truly is amazing.

Since I came to see Eternal Summers and Surfer Blood and had no back ground with We Are Scientists I left after the Surfer Blood set. Sorry We Are Scientists you have never been on my radar. I will say this, if after listening to the A-side of this tour single I have an interest I will check it out further on YouTube and see what happens. It was a great concert for me, even if I didn’t stay for the whole thing. Thanks to The Turf Club for having these great bands

Eternal Summers set list:
Jammy (new song)
Viper (new song)
You Kill
Structure (new song)
I Love You
Never Enough

Surfer Blood set list:
Floating Vibes
Twin Peaks
Squeezing Blood
Weird Shapes
Voyager Reprise
Take It Easy
Drinking Problem
Catholic Pagans
I’m Not Ready
Say Yes To Me
Demon Dance

I picked up the set lists for both bands from We Heart Music, although there were errors in the set list for Surfer Blood.

Vol. 5 Episode 43

Don Henley is suing the Duluth Trading Co. for a bad Henley shirt pun. The pun was this, “Don a henley and take it easy” in a recent advertisement from the clothing company. If you’re interested in more about the story you can check it out at The Current.

Here we go with another 80s inspired episode... 

The album was released in 1984. There were a slew of singles released from the album. The group is a quasi/super group with members of The English beat, The Clash (Mick Jones) and Dexys Midnight Runners among the members of the group. Although Mick Jones left half way through the recording process he still got credit on the back of the album cover for being a part of the group on this first album.

There were five singles released over the period of two years. The first was General Public. The song has a light ska feel, mainly in the bass line through the verse parts of the song, possibly through Mick Jones influence as he did have a thing for the reggae style music. It is a good song too.

The second was Dishwasher. This is an instrumental version of Burning Bright and was the B-side to the General Public single. It was a minor hit in the Netherlands after its use as a theme song for the pop radio show Avondspits.

The next single released was Tenderness. This was the reason that I bought the album. The song was used in the John Hues films Weird Science and Sixteen Candles. The song was also used in the 1995 movie Clueless. It is a genius song that rose above the rest of the album. although the album put out four other singles they couldn’t match the power of this song.

The fourth single was Never You Done That. The song leads off with a wooden flute or recorder that just seems to fall flat for me. The rest of the song makes very little use of the instrument sound. As a matter of fact the rest of the music for the song is kind of bla for me. They do their best to make the song interesting but there really isn’t a hook in the song to keep my interest.

The last single from the album was Hot You’re Cool. This song has some interesting keyboards and the guitars keep the song floating. The chorus works well with the use of the title of the song being used forward and backward. This is what really works for the song. It is not a single that I remember hearing on the radio though so it still doesn’t really hit me has hard as Tenderness does.

This is a good album but the singles are not as shiny as Tenderness is. This may be simply because I don’t recognize any of the other singles. The album would probably grow on me if I listened to it more often.

This is the second solo album from Don Henley. It was released in late 1984. After hearing the first single from the album reciently I decided I needed to have the album. Then after hearing the whole album I realized that there were other great songs from the album that I really liked including the second single. All of these songs I remember from my childhood and they meant enough and touched me enough that I remember them to this day.

The first single from the album was The Boys of Summer. The song appears to be about the passing of youth and entering middle age, with the theme of summer love apparent in the choruses, and of reminiscence of a past relationship. Because of this it reminds me of my summer time spent at the family campgrounds. This was probably needed since the song was released in late fall when it was getting colder in the year. This may have helped to give me ore of a nostalgic feeling for the song when I heard it recently.

All She Wants To Do Is Dance is the second single released from the album. The lyrics are a personal commentary, critical of then-modern American culture for being more concerned with self-gratification than with serious issues such as domestic and foreign policies of the US government. Ironically, it became a popular dance song here in the US. This is not really surprising, if you make a good dance song, no matter what the lyrics, people are going to want to dance to it.

The next single released from the album is called Not EnoughLove In The World. The lyrics describe a rocky relationship, where the protagonist proclaims he's still in love. It is rumored that this song was about Henley's relationship with Stevie Nicks. It is a slower song that has a good chord progression but doesn’t really have a good hook to keep my interest. Even with that little tidbit about the song being possibly about Stevie Nicks can’t really hold my interest long enough.

Sunset Grill is the last single released from this album. Patty Smyth sings harmony vocals on this song, while Pino Palladino plays fretless bass. Randy Newman arranged the synthesizer programming for the song. This is another slower song but there are musical sounds on this song that I really like. I like the sounds that the fretless bass makes and the synth sounds make me feel good too. The chorus has some really cool sounding distorted synth sounds too. Although it is a slow song Ican get into it.

This is the first album from Breathe. It was released in the spring of 1988. The songs on the album pull heavily from jazz, pop and soul influences. I don’t really remember anything from this group except for the second single. I can remember listening to this song on a road trip with my best friend at the time’s family to go to their cabin in the winter months. I was in an emotional state at the time and couldn’t talk during the song for fear of bursting out into tears that I was doing my best to not let flow in the first place. I am not sure what put me in this state thinking back to it nearly forty years ago now but the song has forever locked that feeling and where I was physically at the time in my head.

Don’t Tell Me Lies is the first single released from the album. It starts off with a great synth line that is repeated a couple times before going into the verse. The verse is good but lacks that punch that the chorus has. The chorus is preceded with the synth line from the beginning of the song. The chorus itself has a great hook that repeats the title of the song. It is perfect late 80s synthpop.  It is a surprisingly good feeling.

The second single is the superbly emotional track Hands ToHeaven (HTH). It is soft and emotional and fit exactly where I was in life. I was an emotional wreck at this point in my life as most boys were at this time in their lives but most were able to hide it better than I was I guess. I liked girls I especially liked girls that didn’t like me. I suppose that this only made it worse. I also liked jazz music and the light jazz that this song embodied worked very well to help get my emotions on my sleeve rather than hide them like most people did at my age back then. It is a sweet sad song after all.

How Can I Fall? was the next single released from the album. It is a super slow track that I don’t really remember hearing much on the radio. I do remember hearing it but not nearly as much as HTH. It has the same feel as HTH but lacks the “it” factor that HTH had. I like the song but it doesn’t have that thing that makes me feel super emotional about it.

The fourth single from the album is called Jonah. This is a bit faster song than the last two singles that were put out. It actually has a funky feel to it with a group of horns that pop in from time to time. The bass is a fun funk slap bass style that I really enjoy. The guitar pops in that same funky style but doesn’t seem to play the same thing that the bass is playing making the song that much more fun. I think the problem that I have is in the lyrics. What exactly are they saying about these two people? I think they are liking a romantic relationship to the bible story of Jonah and the wale. I guess I am a bit uncomfortable with this correlation. The music is very good though.

The last single from the album is called All This I ShouldHave Known. The song kind of reminds me of a genesis song with the synth toms that are used in the song. The music is slow and sweet making me think of cotton candy clouds. It also pulls from the feel of the second single, HTH. It doesn’t pull hard enough though and misses the mark but only just. I think that the distraction for me on this one is the use of the high gain electric guitar solo. It was a good try but they should have known that they were not a hair metal group.

This is the first album from Sheila E. The album was released in early summer of 1984. The album was very short, with six songs. The CD versions had a remix of the first single. Although not stated anywhere the album smacks of Prince. He is credited for writing the title track and can be heard on the track just barely under the music. It is a very short album with only six tracks.

There were only two singles released from the album. The first single is the title track called The Glamorous Life. The song has lyrics which reflect a cynicism for the decadence and materialism of the song's protagonist, referred to in the third person, who "wants to lead a glamorous life", although she is aware that "without love, it ain't much". The song has that prince sound and helped to rocket her to stardom. For those fans of prince this is a must to have in your collection.

The second single from the album is called The Belle of St.Mark. The song's lyrics tell of an androgynous "frail but passionate creature", referred to as "he" throughout, but called the feminine "Belle". The song implies the Belle is French but St. Mark is commonly known as a location in Venice, Italy. This song is good, lyrically confusing and poppy fun. It also still has that prince style to it.

Because she was dating Prince at the time the whole album has a slight prince sound. This is good because he was the musician to get to know at the time. This is what helped pushed the record up the charts. The problem that I have with the record is that it is so short and just doesn’t have enough power packed singles on it. That being said, I still bought the record.

That's all for now...

Vol. 5 Episode 42

OK Go will be appearing on Wits in St. Paul on November 14th. I will not be able to go as I will be getting into the busy season of my job. If you’re interested check it out at Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul

The Postal Service are putting out a documentary about the last tour that the group put on. You can preorder the DVD at Sub Pop Records.

Surfer Blood have put up a remix of Twin Peaks that sounds really cool. I didn’t see a way to actually download the track but you can listen to it at SoundCloud.

If you want to hear the new OK Go album before its release date head over to Hype Machine to hear the whole thing now.

You can get the White Laces record now from Happenin’ Records but it seems that the web site has crashed again. 

Here we go...

This is the second solo album from Yorke. It was released via Bit Torrent in late September 2014. The album was produced by longtime producer to Radiohead, Nigel Godrich. The album was made available in Wav, MP3, and Flak digital formats and on white vinyl deluxe edition with an anti-static bag. The albums release was an experiment to see how the pay-gate model would fair. The album was downloaded over a million times in the first six days of its release. Like his first solo effort the album is filled with electronic beats and sounds underneath Yokes’ vocals. Most critics are in agreement about the album being good with flashes of brilliance. Also the album as a whole being something that Yorke quickly put together before Radiohead got together for recording. I can’t say that I disagree but at the same time to have something so polished had to have taken some dedicated time to accomplish.

The first single from the new album is called A Brain In A Bottle. The song starts off with a sign wave sound that reminds me of the 70s experimentations from Pink Floyd or some other band like that. The drums kick in after a short bit and completely change the feel of the song with their sharp edges. Yorkes’ vocals are nearly 100% falsetto but soft and warm sounding. This is welcome with all of the electronic sounds that are going on that have sharp sounds.

The other single from the album is There Is No Ice (For My Drink). This song starts off again with some nice round sine wave bass patterns. A strange sample from Yorke’s vocals is patterned in over it with other ringing sounds over that. The drums are short clicks from a high had and toms. The song doesn’t seem to go anywhere after that though. Is it creative, yes. Do I want to hear the song over and over, not at all.

The album as a whole is good but I would not elect to hear this one over and over. I like Thom York and his music a lot. I especially like the work he has done with Radiohead but his solo work is still interesting for me. Unless you are a big fan this may be a pass for most people or at the very least a cheap download from Bit Torrent.

This is the second solo album from Radiohead drummer Philip Selway. It was released on October 7th, 2014. The album continues in the smooth, quiet ways that the first album went but with a peppier step than the first album. The album came to me on black vinyl with a CD in a clear plastic sleeve, very simple. I have never been happy with adding a CD to a record. I have always felt it was dangerous because if the record gets hot it could take the impression of the CD and make the record unplayable then. I have never had this happen to those records that I have that have come with a CD but it is always a possibility. Just give me a download code.

There have already been two singles released from this album. The first being the song Coming Up For Air. Selway had this to say about the song, “It's very much about taking stock of my life. I wanted to convey a sense of release and affirmation," he also said. "This was the first song that we recorded. Immediately it felt in a very different space from [the album] Familial.” I like this track a lot with its electronic wall of sound at the beginning to its affirming line, “I’m not alone.” It is positive for me to hear this song. He is showing me that I am not alone even if I feel like I am. The drums feel very earthy, the electric guitar is clear and sweet and the keys fill in the holes that are left behind. It is a very strong first single and first track on the album.

The second single from the album is called It Will End In Tears. My assumption on this track was something darker than it actually is. The song seems to be about the ending of a relationship or something like that. He is really saying don’t take it so hard, life will go on and something better will come along. He is also saying that he may be back as well. Either way, don’t take it so hard. It is a good song but I think I like the first single better.

Over all the album is very good and pretty. It is very down to earth and not many artists have the ability to make something like this sound so good. I recommend both his solo albums to anyone who enjoys emotional but down to earth music.

This is a digital only release of B-side tracks from studio sessions on the albums Let Go, The Weight Is A Gift and The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy. About half of the album is acoustic versions of the singles and the other half were songs that were released through the vinyl box set download. Although there were only 1000 released of the box set so I guess I could say that 1000 people got a preview of what the rest of the world would have access to in the future, at least that is for half of the album. I bought the B-sides album because I like their acoustic versions of the songs and I didn’t yet have the acoustic versions of the songs from the last album so I was actually gaining something from getting this album. I am a bit disappointed that the album did not come in a physical format though. I would have liked at least the option to get the album in a card sleeve from the bands web page or something. With that being said, there isn’t really any new music here for me, acoustic versions of songs that I have already heard and, because I got the box set which includes a special download, a bunch of B-sides that I already have digitally. For everyone else that doesn’t have the vinyl box set this will be a great addition to your Nada Surf collection with out having to spend an arm and a leg to get these B-side tracks.
That's it for now...

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Vol. 5 Episode 41

As you all know, Cassette Store Day was last weekend. There was one release that I was looking for that was only released in the UK/EU. This weekend Norman Records put up its left over stock from CSD on line. I got the email at 2 A.M. (but didn’t read it until 4:30 A.M.) and proceeded to go through their list for the one thing I wanted. They did have a copy. I should see it by the end of next week if not the following seeing as I live in the US and Norman Records is in the UK.

There will be a limited edition tour 7” single split put out for the Surfer Blood/We Are Scientists tour. I will be going to this concert and am excited to get my hands on a copy.

For those of you that create music, Reason 8 has been released. It is a bit cheaper for the full version but the same price for the upgrade.

The current has put out a box set for the Live Current 10. The set comes with the vinyl, CD, poster and a box to house all 10 CDs in the set. There is no room for the founding member’s album. I don’t think they quite thought that one through fully. 

Here we go...

This is the only full length album released from Scandal. It was released in late summer of 1984. When I was a kid my father bought into cable early. Even before MTV was a channel we had a small satellite dish on top of our house to get just HBO. I remember being able to watch Fragle Rock when it was a new show on HBO. Later, when cable television was new we got that and all the channels that came with it. In 1984 when the first single for this album was released the video aired on MTV constantly. I really liked the song and the dystopian future it portrayed in the video. It stuck with me since I first saw the video. I like movies that have this same style too, i.e. Mad Max and the video for the song from The Police called synchronicity II (Released just a year prior to this album).

There were three singles put out from this album. The first was the only one to make any chart success though. That first single was the title track for the album, The Warrior. The song was considered rock music. With the new wave in full effect at this time and my young mind I always considered it science fiction especially with the themes in the video. Even listening to the song now, it takes me back to the young age of nine and my love of music in the top 40s and anything to do with sci-fi back then. This was a song at the top of my list then. I was never a singer as much as I liked all of the different things they did in the music. If I had the ability I would have just taken clips of parts and looped them. If I had the technology that I have today back then I could have been an electronic artist.

The second single from the album is called Hands Tied. This is a slow song that seems to go nowhere. It is slow and the chorus doesn’t do anything. I can’t usually tell the chorus is happening until I hear the title of the song being sung. The song just had no traction.

The last single released is called Beat of A Heart. The song is good but I always imagine a saxophone being played at key parts of the song. I think the song could also use a sax solo in the bridge too. It just seems a little watered down to me. It could really use an awesome guitar solo or something when the song slows down in the middle. It has a catchy enough chorus for a slow song it just needs a little kick in the pants.

I had been looking for this album for quite a while now. I recently found a copy at a local record shop. Yes, the band is named after the Vulcan elder from the Star Trek series. The album was released under two different names. Some versions are self titled and some are titled Bridge of Spies on the bottom of the cover. The album was released in early fall of 1987. I have a big affinity for music from 87 and have been collecting certain albums from that year. This is one of them. Over half of the album was released as singles. I feel bad that I only know one song from the album, the first single called Heart And Soul.

That first single, Heart And Soul, climbed the charts to number 4 simply because of the inclusion of the song in an advertisement for Pepe Jeans. A lot of music fans call that selling out. I say, “Good for them!” I totally would do the same thing if I were in their shoes. It is hard for a band to make it with out a little help. There is something about the synth and percussion in this song that really works well. On top of that the multi-tracked vocals are absolutely amazing. Vocally, this track is not spectacular but musically this song is amazing.

The second single is called China In Your Hand. The song is a slower song that features plucked string section with piano and sampled drums. It is good and moves very well musically but doesn’t do much other than try to be creative.

The title track, Bridge of Spies, was released next. This track is also a slower song that just doesn’t go anywhere for me. It is a song that has a great start and then you wait for it to get better, for it to kick in and make you feel good. It doesn’t and it is a disappointment because of it. I will say that there is a good climax at the end but the song just doesn’t have that kick after the intro.

The next single is called Valentine. It starts off with a cool muted picked guitar and a nice echo on the starting vocals. Unfortunately, it is another slow song that doesn’t go anywhere. It doesn’t seem to go anywhere other than that initial cool opening guitar riff that plays through the whole song. This is another disappointment in music for me. It still has a good climax at the end of the song but that doesn’t make the song better.

The next song is called Sex Talk. Actually, the official single is a live version of this song. I can’t say how much the studio version differs from the live version since I don’t have the live version but I will talk about the studio version found on the album. This is a fun rock track. This is what I wanted to hear from these other singles. The music is nearly as loud as the vocals so the clarity of what is exactly being said is completely lost in the music with the exception of the title of the track in the chorus. I am curious about what is being said since the title of the song is Sex Talk but I actually enjoy the music over my curiosity so I haven’t looked it up yet and may never do so. This song is so refreshing compared to the rest of the album, with the exception of Heart And Soul. These two songs are the bright points on this album.

The last single from the album is called I Will Be With You. It is another slow song that I could do with out. It is actually better than the rest of the slow songs on the album but only marginally. I think that the song uses some interesting sounds and that is how it keeps my interest.

All in all this is an album that the masses doesn't need. But, Everyone should hear the first single, Heart And Soul, if not owning it.

The album was released in early October of 1984. The album crossed so many genre boundaries that is seemed unclassifiable. The album makes used of sounds from funk, soul, electronic, hip-hop and even rock. I can’t say that this makes the album a great album though. There were still a lot of misses. This is her first solo album after Rufus dissolved. It shows great promise and there are some strong points on the album too.

There were five singles released from the album. The first is the cover of the Prince track called I Feel For You. This is the reason that I got the album. The original version from Prince is super funky but seems to be missing something. This cover from Chaka Khan fills in what is missing and becomes something amazing. The addition of the electronic drums and the opening rap from Grandmaster Melle Mel makes the song. The addition of Stevie Wonder on the harmonica solos pushes the track even further. I actually thought that the harmonica was electronic because the sounds are so on the money, that is until I read up on the song. The synth bass and chimey keys are perfect for this version of the song too. The song has that super groove that makes me want to get up and dance. It is just that good!

This Is My Night was the second single released from the album. This track is as heavily influenced by the electronic music of the era but a smidge slower in beats than I Feel For You. This song also gave Chaka Khan the focus in the song. The mix put the vocals on top for the listener as opposed to the first single which focused more on the music than her vocals. It is still a good dance track though; the song didn’t detract from the dance floor. It even had a great distorted guitar sound and a bridge that focused on turntableism and electronic sounds.

The third single is called Eye To Eye. This song floats back to some classic R&B sounds but holds onto the synth sounds and sampled drum sounds. It is even slower to fit into the current ideas of R&B at the time. There are some cool sounds going on in the bass and guitar parts that also fit into the box of R&B too. This is overall a great song even if you don’t like the groovy jams of R&B. It is easy to see why this was released as a single.

The next single is called Through The Fire. This song is the slow song, the ballad single from the album. It is totally cliché for the time. The only exception is that the chorus has a great hook that pulls me in if I make it that far into the song.

The last single, Stronger Than Before, has a quick beat on the intro that completely fades away when the vocals start. It is good, better than the previous single, but has the same problem as Through The Fire. The verse parts don’t hold me long enough but the chorus is pretty dang good.

This is another album that most people don’t need to own but every one should hear or own a copy of the title track, I Feel For You.

This is the fourth album from The Romantics released in early fall of 1983. It is the groups’ most commercially successful album. Most of the songs had an indirect sexual over tone. It kind of made me a bit uncomfortable listening to the album all the way through. I can’t say that I am a big fan of the group but there were a couple of singles that I really like from them and one of them appears on this album.

The first single from the album, Talking In Your Sleep, is the reason that I got this album. It was a big hit and the video was played on MTV quite often. I don’t remember the video. It must have not been something that affected me as a child. I do remember thinking that they were actually The Cars. It took me a long time to figure out that this was a song from The Romantics because of that incorrect memory. It is also not that often that a good rock song uses that Rickenbacker jangle sound. This is one of my favorite songs from 1984 even though it was released in 1983.

The other single taken from this album is called One In A Million. The song reminds me of that old Mellencamp feel. The bass has a riff and the guitar plays a muted riff over the bass. It is good but I’m not really feeling it. I am not sure if it is just that that style is over used or if it is something else.

I don’t feel that this is a good album at all. With the exception of the first single I would skip this album entirely.

That is it for now...