Saturday, February 18, 2017

Little Dots - Frank Zappa

So Gail Zappa died, and handed the vault over to Ahmet and Diva. Since her passing in October 2015, we have gotten a total of 9 releases in the course of 12 months. Now I'm not going into the, she's evil and wanted to fuck over Frank. Why? Because it's pointless, there's no need for that. What I will go into is the fact we finally have gotten lots of albums out. One of which, Meat Light, I was hoping to see the light of day. This is official release number 108, and is sort of a sequel to Imaginary Diseases. All of these tracks were taken from the petite Wazoo tour, so Fall 1972. I'm kinda curious to see what comes if this, and I vaguely remember hearing about this before Gail passed. Like months maybe, or maybe it was around when she passed.... Who cares. I also want to say if all goes well this year I'll have like 10 Zappa reviews out, and the ten are almost completely done.
  1. Cosmik Debris: Years ago I heard a bootleg taken from around this time (Fall 1972) and it had Cosmik Debris on it. Now one of my favorite things about Frank is before and after a song is released, there often are different versions or arrangements of it. Since I had heard the version from around this time I kinda figured what it might sound like. The biggest difference is this sounds much bigger, and big band oriented and there isn't those little motifs to accompany the lyrics. It's not bad, but it's kinda stripped back a bit and not as fun. The performance is pretty solid though. The solo also works fine, but it's not the best solo I've heard for this song. But I like the tone, but that's probably because of the audio quality. It's fine.
  2. Little Dots (Part 1): Sitting at just under 11 minutes this is actually very neat. There is a weird sort of avant-garde jazz/free jazz feeling to the beginning and even the bass solo feels like it could be in the style. There feels like its more rocky than jazz but I still like what I'm hearing. Also the playing could be free improvisation but I also feel like the notes aren't crazy enough or all over the place enough to be that. There is some sort of logic to the notes. And the drums have a consistent rhythm. I love the steel drum, played by Jim Gordon, that comes in, nice touch if I'm being honest. It goes back to the bass and the bass feels like its playing something from maybe Apostrophe (maybe an early idea for the title track). Its a nice calmer feeling than the previous two. The way it sounds also remind me of the way that song sounds. A calm guitar solo comes in and its quite. Maybe its just the quality but everything sort of seems quieter. There is some okay playing and the guitar also remind me of the track before alluded to ('). Though I also wanna say Zombie Woof's solo comes too. I like the song and like that it was released. Yeah the solo goes a bit long but for the most part it ain't too bad for a sort of sketch. It kind of just sounds like jamming or them trying to re create it like. There is some horns that come in at the very ending before the track segues into the next. The horns are a bit odd but I wish that would have happened longer than the solo. 
  3. Little Dots (Part 2): This is a straight blues number. Like fucking slide guitar blues rock. This is also over 10 minutes, about 11 1/2. I do like this but I don't get why it was cut into two parts. Why not make it one track unless it was supposed to replicate the way it was to be on vinyl. This track hits pretty hard and I am passed because I'm drawing a blank on what this reminds me of. If it wasn't for the driving force of the band I'm positive I would have lost interest but the playing on guitar is pretty consistent for this long of a solo. The the only other solo on record that is this consistent for this long maybe something off Joe's Garage. I like the horns then getting time to shine and love the wah on the guitar. It sounds so fucking good. Its so wet like it... Maybe I should use that analogy. But the horns are a nice touch to add a new flavor. They also have some nice soloing and sound super damp, like i think its a trumpet solo (kinda sounds, at times, like a wet fart). This track is kind of losing some of its steam at the 8 minute mark, like enough to were I kinda almost don't wanna listen any more. But the tracks almost over so trudge on. There there a riff that comes in and I like it. It isn't the greatest ever but it works as a sort of vehicle to take the track to its ending. Another solo plays over it and its for sure Frank because I know that playing, and it...... It isn't doing much here for me. So the slide was probably Tony playing.  But the track almost feels like its slowing down at one part. Like it was manually slowed down. The guitar sounds kind of terrible here its hard to make out with the other instruments and this sounds chaotic a bit but unintentionally so. Its okay I mean is skip the last solo and maybe cut the track down 3 minutes but it isn't too bad. Then of course it comes back to the word sort of Gregory Peckary "busy making them" part. 
  4. Rollo: This track includes all three sections of Rollo (Rollo, The Rollo Interior Area and Rollo Goes Out). I don't think I've ever heard all of the track before on a bootleg. I've heard the official releases and the bits played on Yellow Snow off On Stage 1 and Chicago '78 (which isn't all of it but it's a lot of it). The thing that took my by surprise was, I cant believe I never heard the lyrics to this song. Also a vocal version exists, and for whatever reason the melody made so much more sense. Like I feel like it was supposed to have words sung to it. Not taking away from other versions or usages of it, I was just like yeah I get this. It seems so weird to hear Rollo played as a bluesy number. Like I like, but its weird to wrap my head around this honestly. I didn't think I would be thrown surprises like this from the Vault anymore. Its a fun song and the story is pretty goofy. Is listen to this track and the next track for certain of any two. This also has my favorite version of the interior and I love the solo of this. Its a great vehicle for soloing. The vamp here is fucking great and the solo works very effectively. Like its out there enough to work well with what hes doing on the guitar. Even the sort of vamp change doesn't hurt anything. I love the horns coming in and I can't believe a full version of this hasn't been released sooner. This has a sort of weird thing happen I can't exactly explain before going back to the regular feeling song. It feels very 20th century to me. I really like this though. There's a lot of good shit in the song waiting for you. And this is the first track here that didn't feel a bit long.
  5. Kansas City Shuffle: I can't be the only one, but do I hear some Anything You Wanna Do in this progression. Now yeah, what you fucking stupid its a twelve bar blues progression (or something similar to that) of course it sounds similar. No like I actually hear the backing just with a different band and no vocals. And I can actually sing the song over it, so this is actually a nice little treat for me. This is also the best song on the album, and easily the most accessible. I really like the trumpet and the guitar's strumming pattern works quite well. Also killer solo, really he did a great job here. The band is working quite well together and this would be like single material. Or if this band had a live album come out, this should have been on it.
  6. 'Columbia' S.C.' (Part 1): Here we are, at the last two part song. This first half sits at just under 9 minutes (8:58) and opens with dialogue. Frank implies they make something up, so it might be improvised music. This opens very odd, there is a creeping feeling to it, and it has some nice steel drums that kind of make it even more off. This is what I would consider avant-garde jazz. It also sounds as if it's based off Rock a bye Baby, but perverted in a manner similar to Bebop Tango.... but more. I think this definitely wouldn't appeal to everyone, but I'm eating this up. It's a bit subdued, but I love it. The way the track is building and growing makes it feel like it's worth the wait. There is a section where I feel like it should be a bit louder and chaotic, but it works. I feel like I'm on a merry-go-round and I'm drunk and ready to pass out but not quite there yet. The hinge of blacking out. I also really dig that bass line, and the trumpet here reminds me of Bebop Tango. I almost wonder if this is quoting it or was a predecessor to it.... though it was performed originally around this time. It also, towards the end, reminds me of The Grand Wazoo.
  7. 'Columbia' S.C.' (Part 2): The second half sits at 16:41, the transition is quite apparent, but it isn't bad. Like you can tell this is a different section, and it feels very secret agent-y. The way it was edited has nothing to do with me knowing. I really like the guitar and I am a bit surprised he would have done something like this to be honest. Like they could be soloing over a James Bond vamp. I could see someone saying this is long, but unlike the other longer track, this kind of feels like it's paying off. This is actually a really cool track and there is some great shit that happens here, honestly one of the most exciting solos I've heard from Frank like ever. Where the fuck was this on Shut Up N Play Yer Guitar? Like This could have so easily replaced any track on any of those, with the exception of maybe Deathless Horsie, Heavy Duty Judy and Canard du Jour. And listen to those drums...... AGH! This really is worth the 16 minutes. I also like the ending quite a bit, and it's surprising he didn't do more with this band. They have some chemistry at times. I'm sure it would have even furthered if he spent more time, but then again I wouldn't have gotten the albums that follow, so... who knows.
Overall I have to give this a 8/10. While there were lower points... I gotta say this was the best album released this year by the ZTF. I wish the audio was better, but its not the end of the world, especially considering some if the shit Joe Traver's had to do to preserve/transfer the tapes. I will always be a Zappa fan, the thing is the more I listen and the more I learn about music the more I love his music. The older I get the more intelligence I gain the more I love and find humor in his lyrics. I also think if you dug ID you'll dig this. Give it a shot.

While in reality they'll never see this, I just wanted to post what I'd like to hear from the Zappa vaults. (Note: I understand things are in different stages of availability so they might not be able to recover it, but I just wanna say this). A live concert from 1966, 1967. 1969 (with Lowell George). If possible live stuff from the early pre-Mothers days. Another guitar solos album, maybe the whole Pauley Pavillion show, and the whole Auditorium Theater show on Mothers Day 1974. Another Petite Wazoo compilation and show (Bebop Tango). A concert from the 88 band, or at least an album that contains '88 versions of older songs. A concert from 82 and the July 22nd, 1984 show with Johnny Guitar Watson, George Duke, Denny, Bruce and Aynsley and Napi. Maybe a show from the Beefheart tour. I'd also be interested in more Yellow Shark material if possible. And also The Rage and The Fury album. That's all I can think of atm, but yeah stuff I think would be cool to hear.

Friday, February 10, 2017

5 Souls - Judas Priest

So I decided to break this review into two separate reviews, I originally planned to just do the deluxe version but I ended up wanting to do them separate since there is an EP of the bonus tracks. I don't really have more to add outside of the RoS album should be out soon and hopefully this once a week thing will work out I have already done an months work in advance. As in this is typed like a month before this is being posted.
  1. Snakebite: This opens with a classic 80's feeling to it. One of the slower songs along the lines of You've Got Another Thing Comin', which this isn't actually that different from in set up. That isn't a bad thing, but I just don't completely jive with this. 
  2. Tears of Blood: "Like tears of your blood, so now that your gone, embrace all that come, and die with a SMiLE". This song also opens like an 80's heavy metal cut, but the intro honestly made me laugh. There was a sort of Def Lepard feeling to it, like I could totally hear this being the rerecorded intro to Bringing on the Heartbreak. Then once the song starts it's faster and there is more agression than in the last track, but it feels like an older wearier Electric Eye. Like what Electric Eye would sound like if it was a person in it's 50's maybe. It's a solid tune if you get past that, but I just think it's okay. There is a solid solo, but honestly I can't retain a single note from it. Like Electric Eye, Living After MidnightHell Bent for Leather, You've Got Another Thing Comin', Painkiller, fuck I'd even include the section that replaces a solo in Breaking the Law there is no denying that you remember these guitar solos.They not only stick with you because they rock, there are some theory things behind it also, but point is it's very good and memorable. This sounds like a knock off of one or all of those.
  3. Creatures: This track starts and I feel a bit unsure how to feel. Like I mean I've heard this before but I don't know what to compare it to. There is quite a bit of crunch and the song is a bit off. Then the chorus comes in and I'm like Metal Gods? This is okay, but I'm pretty sure I wont remember a part of it by the end of the review. 
  4. Bring It On: This song isn't bad, but the lyrics are very cringe. The vocals also make it feel so cheesy that I can take Turbo Lover more serious. And isn't he fucking a motorcycle in that song..... Note I am aware he isn't. This is a better solo and the best thus far. This also is the most memorable that I have heard thus far, though it doesn't hold it's salt to the past solos from the bands heights. This also feels so cheesy, but I digress.
  5. Never Forget: My favorite songs is the "lame" song. Ok I'm joking, but it's the sappy ballad. Now maybe it's because I'm a sucker for a pretty ballad, but this is the best (in my eyes) song I've heard before listening to the whole entire front to back. Literally, some of my favorite songs in history are the ballads by that German group, The Hunters. Kudos if you get the joke. This really reminds me of Wind of Change for some reason, either that or The Best is Yet to Come. Maybe more the Wind of Change that was on that 2011 Comeblack album. But I could literally go on for hours about the tones and what reminds me of what, but I know I wouldn't be interested in some snobby person's review that lasts forever. But let's go back about 93 words, or so. It sucks when people, a lah The Next Day, put some of my favorite tracks as the bonus tracks (or b-sides). Like honestly, screw Just Push Play. But really, this should have been on the album, almost any song could be cut to replace this. I get maybe it's out of place, but it's far better than at least 10 of the cuts from the actual album. {7/10}
Overall I have to give this track a 5/10. As you can see if you're fan you'll love this. But if you're not hardcore then I would avoid it, because it's nothing new really. This and Redeemer of Souls feel like they were just cut to fulfill a contract, or to go shit we need to make a new album.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

For Alto - Anthony Braxton

As of late I've been listening to/downloading a lot of albums that are vinyl only/out of print/impossible to find unless your a rich mother fucker. Plus I believe, that if a collector makes more of the album then what than what the artist makes, its justified to not pay the middle man. Id rather pay $200 to the man himself, than a collector. Among these album, one of the artists is this guy. So i decided to finish this up, because fuck why not. This is one of the first records by Chicago avant/free jazz/free improvisation saxophonist and composer Anthony Braxton. How can you be so vague, and not have a specific number you ask. Well various sites have various dates ranging from 1968-1971 as the release date. Wikipedia alone has the first three years on different pages. It seems it's more likely 1970, but who knows. I know that it was recorded in February 1969 and is the second one recorded so its likely its the second album. But there is no definite proof you know. I found out about this record through one John Zorn, in a documentary he mentioned this record by name. I had to hear it, it was an influence on him. For years this record was mysterious, I couldn't find any zips/rars and I didn't want to by a vinyl I might not like. Even after I got a copy it took a year to listen to it, this is one of those "will it live up to my expectations" records. The first time I heard a note was Christmas Eve 2015. Now it only took me two fucking years to even listen to anymore or do a review of this. Also I believe that I should mention the passing of John Wetton (bassist/vocalist on such great albums as Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Here Come the Warm Jets, Return to FantasyStarless and Bible Black, Red among others I still very much so need to listen to.)
  1. Dedicated to Multi-Instrumentalist Jack Gell: Opening the record we have a 42 second long track, and it starts off well. I mean my hopes were high for this, but this opens quite promising. There are some cool things and it has a cool vibe to it. 
  2. To Composer John Cage: I like the intensity he gives this playing on the song. There are some things that remind me a bit of Ornette's playing, and also maybe Brötz. The only problem I see though is that fact this is solo saxophone and there are no overdubs and it's 72 minutes long. So far I have enjoyed and don't find problem in what I'm hearing, but I don't know if that will last the full 72 minutes. I did smile when I heard him breathing. There are some neat playing though on this cut. Plus at 9 minutes, it's a bit long.
  3. To Artist Murry dePillars: This is a bit of a nice change of pace. While yeah we get the also saxophone again, we hear him hitting the saxophone valves and it's much softer and relaxing than the last. I think this is more effective in what it's trying to do than the last cut was in trying to be punchy. I like the trills and I like the part where it gets very intense and loud to the point of over taking the track. I also am a bit impressed with how he goes back and forth so easily. I mean It might not be that impressive, but I still think it works quite well. Almost as is it's a clam person talking to a pissed off person or trying to talk him down. 
  4. To Pianist Cecil Taylor: I have to make a confession..... I am aware of Cecil. There are some solid moments on The World of Cecil Taylor, but I'm not really a fan. Yeah I mean I have only heard tracks here and there outside of that album and Jazz Composer's Orchestra but I find, when given a full front to back listen, those albums to not keep my interest. Plus I can say there exist albums that do what those two did but much better, anything Alexander van Shlippenbach or Fred Van Hove and Brötz and then for the JCO listen to The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady. But I digress, I like the introduction. Feelin' jazzy, but as the track continues I yern for more flavors outside of just saxophone, or one take alto. I mean add some tenor, baritone, bass, soprano, sopranino (I probably spelled that wrong), fuck even a bass clarinet would be a nice change of pace. This is okay, but isn't nothing more than just that.
  5. Dedicated to Ann and Peter Allen: This is pretty chill and I could see this being very effective i there was chimes or other things that add to this feeling of blowing in the wind or floating feeling. It is a weak, as in not forceful, cut and could use that. Actually I could almost imagine this being changed into having some gamelan stuff. To be fair it works as is, but it's 13 minutes long and it's atmosphere is a bit lost by the ending. I do like the clicks of the instrument as if it's like a percussive instrument, but why didn't he use that or other tricks like that more often. Like this could have been edited together or shortened to be made a bit better.
Now on to vinyl 2. Now to be fair I did have to take a break after the first side of the record. The reason being I know I would be far harsher if I didn't and I wouldn't be able to focus as easily.
  1. Dedicated to Susan Axelrod: This isn't that distant from the last track, it's just louder and more audible. I mean I like it but it again goes a bit too long. There are some interesting ideas here and there and what not, but I don't know. There is some nice fluttering but again I just kind of want this to end so I can finish the review.
  2. To My Friend Kenny McKenny: I like some of the squeaks at the beginning and they kind of make it be like, well there's 30 minutes left, let's just power though.
  3. Dedicated to Multi-Instrumentalist Leroy Jenkins: Leroy was a violinist, the most common instrument I've seen his playing for what I'm going to say, who played on a number of records with Braxton's. There is a part in the beginning that reminds me of a spy song maybe, but like the outline or rough draft. There was actually a part that reminded me of We Are Number One, and I did laugh a bit. After a while this 19 minute long track just kind of overstays its welcome. I mean there again are neat ideas, but it feels more like sketches than anything else.
Overall I have to give this a 5/10. I enjoyed this, just there is too much and not enough variety. Now I've heard some of Braxton's other work, and I've heard the different types of jazz. Now of everything I've heard of those categories, this is kind of looked at very highly and I have to disagree. The most important thing about music, unless it's breaking a rule or theoretical music (4:33), is it has to keep you entertained. It's like a movie, if you are bored while you watch its usually not very good. Now a number of things can be subjective, maybe your not into this or that, but overall you can kinda say if something is good or bad. This was just too long, too samey and didn't keep my interest. Maybe if he overdubbed or used different saxes or something, but what we have just isn't anything mind blowing to me. Maybe that's because I've heard this but done much better and much more intense and engaging. I can see how the idea of it is mind blowing to people, and still can be to this day, but I just am not fazed by it I guess.  Maybe part if the reason I gravitate towards Bailey is because he's a guitarist and I go, "Fuck How'd he do that" or originally "You can do that?". Saxophone players should listen to this, and then anything by John Zorn Pre-Spillane. Well this and really anything in the field of free and avant jazz with odd sax playing. I guess I can sum up what I said fast, if you want to have a solo instrument record this this it needs variety of to be short. Not a double albums worth. If this was a single record it would have been much more tolerable for me. If you want to hear this type of thing done right listen to Payan.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Workin' with the Miles Davis Quintet

This is a Miles Davis Quintet album. This features John Coltrane on it. I like Ole' Johnny, I happen to own Ballads on vinyl. I eventually want more (like one of the other top notch Impulse! albums) but that's all I got right now. Something that should be noted also is that this was recorded in 1956 three years before it's December 1959 release. I also like some of Red Garland's stuff, Paul Chamber has a solid solo album with Coltrane I heard and Philly Joe shows up on various albums I have heard or want to hear. This entire album, with the exception of Half Nelson, was recorded May 11th, 1956. The other track was recorded October 26th of the same year. There are also some other albums that exist that contain this same quintet and sessions. Cookin' (Oct. 26th), Relaxin' (May 11/Oct. 26th mostly) and finally Steamin' (both sessions, mostly May 11th). So, unless you absolutely love these tracks, chances are there will be duds since they spread it over four albums.
  1. It Never Entered My Mind: This is a cover of the Rodgers & Hart tune that originates from the Higher and Higher musical. There has been many versions of this song, one of which was on Frank Sinatra's 1955 classic In the Wee Small Hours. I just reviewed not that long ago. This opens with gorgeous piano arpeggios. Giving it a sort of classical, Fur Elise type feeling or Moonlight Sonata vibe. It's kind of dark a bit. There is a grit to the trumpet that I really like, that I'm sure would sound great on vinyl. By the time the drums have their brushes and the arpeggiations end, I feel as thought I want to light a cigarette. Walk down a cold street and think. This song very much fits the tone of the album cover. I like it a lot. There are also bits of New York State of Mind I hear in Red's playing. And the ending is quite fun, and has a bit of a happy feeling rather than melancholy. Kind of like while he was walking he saw something and it reminded him of something good and he was happy. Maybe he went to a friends apartment, before going to the head and having a quite phenomenal tune.
  2. Four: This is one of only three tunes credited to Davis that are featured on the record. The reason I say credited is because, up until 1983 no on claimed it was by anyone other than Miles. But I guess some blues singer, Eddie Vinton, said he wrote it and gave it to Miles because he had no use for it. The story was maybe confirmed when someone wrote a book and said, there was no problem with the false credit until now. So whatever, this has a bop feeling to it and is pretty standard in my opinion. There isn't anything here that is bad, but there isn't anything that is mind blowing. At the start it feels not as urgent as some other tracks in the style I like. Everything comes together well, and there is a nice little drum that trades 4 with the other intruments, but this track doesn't do much outside of just being standard. Probably like a 7/10.
  3. In Your Own Sweet Way: This is a cover of the Dave Brubeck tune, who sadly couldn't be there to play. That would have been fucking awesome, to be honest. Sadly I don't think Miles and Dave ever played together on the same song. But this track is just okay, it isn't blowing my mind or anything. In fact to make sure I wasn't just spacing out or not that it's just a tune I don't like, I even re listened to three other versions of the tune. The versions from Brubeck Plays Brubeck, The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery and Bradenburg Gate: Revisited. And surprisingly there exists no version of the four I have heard that I like that much. Yeah Wes is the most pleasant to hear, the 1956 BPB version is very boring because it's solo piano, this version is just okay, nothing special, and the BG:R version is actually really good but I feel like I am unsure as if I'll revisit the easy listening string section, but it probably will warm my heart a bit....... I don't know. But that's my favorite I've heard, it just needed more going on I guess.
  4. The Theme (Take 1): Here is another Miles tune. This is another chill tune, that works and is pretty solid. I can't say I'm loving it, but it is only 2 minutes long. It is weird though, there is nothing thematic or even like theme feeling about it that I'm getting. Given it could just be the name, but I don't feel like this would be a memorable tune, outside of that quote at the ending.
  5. Trane's Blues: This may come as a shocker but this track was written by Johnny. Again we get another tune that works well and is quite enjoyable, but I get nothing out of it. Honestly it just feels like a long track that comes and won't end. Johnny is great, but he isn't God and is capable of doing wrong.
  6. Ahmad's Blues: Here's another shocking writer credit, guess who this one was written by..... Ahmad Jamal. Jamal is a piano player, so I do think there are some tasty piano playin' in this introduction and it did perk my ears up after that last track. Honestly this feels much more interesting and I like the bass line and how the drums and piano play in syncopation at parts. This is fun and has a different taste to those other tracks in between the opener and this. Also I like the addition a cello, I looked it up and the instrument is clearly bowed. Plus I don't hear the bass playing while the string solo is happening.  Now my ears could be retarded but it also sound vaguely reminiscent of a quite bass clarinet. Like a muddled not as pronounced. I don't know, but I know that the piano trading with the drums works very well on this track where it was just okay on Four and I am feeling the track. It's much more inspired and lively than the other one. Philly Joe is really making me smile with all those drum rolls and the having fun. There is a nice good feeling to this.
  7. Half Nelson: This is the third and final, thought the next track is just a different take of the song of the same name, song by Miles. I know its I'm because of the wrestling move, but I always picture Willie Nelson when I hear this name :'D. Seriously. Maybe it was the shot that I needed but this drum introduction really gave me hope. Then the urgency of the the track reminds me of a straight Ornette Coleman and other good tracks that are in this fast hard bop style such as Giant Steps. This track isn't phenomenal, but is definitely was filling a void much needed on this album. It works quite well thought it's more of a 7 again.
  8. The Theme (Take 2): This is just take two of The Theme, which was by Davis. It kind of comes and goes, I don't really have much that I retained from it.
Overall I have to give this album a 6/10. Don't get me wrong, I love jazz. While I'm not as nuts about cool jazz or hard bop I do still enjoy albums like Time Out!, Heartplants, DakarJazz by Sun Ra, Pre-Bird, CarnivalThe Blues and Abstract Truth, Something Else! and Outward Bound. The stinger is that most of these are like a lot of rock records to me, they have an idea and record songs but don't really spend time pushing themselves. Now I am very aware rock records used to be put out yearly, but if you look at the sessions for any jazz musician and how many hours, songs, and takes were in thoses sessions and how much of the material was released. I'd be exhausting my creativity if I was using it too.  But that doesn't mean that this album or that album is equal, some happen to have better performances and songs and solos. This has good moments but I just don't jive with all the noise. I mean I also am not that smitten with a full front to back listen to Kind of Blue, but that's for a different reason than this which I will explain in detail in that review. Miles is great, don't get me wrong, it's just never base your opinion off praise for music.

Also I'm figuring on doing a review of Atomic Bomb in honor the the passing of WIlliam Onyeabor.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Unknown - Dillon

So over this winter break I heard a shit ton of albums, 93 to be exact. Majority were albums I have been putting off or have not been in the mood for playing. While very few were favorite album material (The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady, In the Nightside EclipseEric Dolphy in Europe Vol. 2, Unknown PleasureOutward Bound) some were very bad/bland (Charles Mingus with Orchestra, Live at Brixton, Significant Other, Red Hot from Alex) and most others were just okay (Greg Howe, Reasonable Doubt, Strictly PersonalThe Chronic). Since school has started I will have significantly less time to being listen to records, though I do listen to each album and look for things that stick out to revisit. This is one of the albums I heard during the month long binge. This is also the sophomore effort by Dillon. I found out about her a few years ago with her first album. I think she's kind of cute and I kind of sat on this review. By the time I got to listening to the album I was just hoping she isn't another Lea Michelle or any other cute girl devoid of anything interesting in her music. Well see what my findings were directly below. 
  1. The Unknown: This opens with a piano ballad introduction. So far her vocals aren't half band and I like the chords. I don't love them, but I do like what I'm hearing. Then a bass line comes in and this sort of gets a bit trippy with the electronics. I don't hate this song, but this doesn't really do a ton for me you know.
  2. A Matter of Time: This opens in a similar fashion of the last song, except the vocals and electronics come in at the same time. This is very piano led though also. The beat kind of reminds me of a heartbeat a bit. I mean this is again okay, but it isn't blowing my mind at all.
  3. You Cover Me: Three for three, this sounds very similar to the other songs. Like there isn't much substance here. I do like the patch that is used at the ending of this song, but it isn't really doing much for me outside of that specific detail.
  4. Forward: Is what I wish women would be with me... hahahahahahahahaha. That terrible joke was more entertaining to me than this song happens to be. This also feels a lot like the last songs structure. Listen to the repetition of the chorus.
  5. In Silence: This is just getting harder for me to take serious isn't it. Honestly, so far this is just warranting of an EP. Really I am kind of lost for words, I guess subconsciously I was supposed to put this off.
  6. 4ever: This is more of the same, and again I don't hate it but I'm not getting anything really out of it.
  7. Evergreen: So at this point I left the album and came back hours later, only to be as bored and uninterested if not more. Like why not make something more interesting, you can make ambient music and keep in interesting. Eno has done it, I liked The Solitude of Prime Numbers, Ambient 3 is solid, Delirium Cordia is phenomenal. There are people who have made spare albums and made them great. Possibly bad example, but The Residents have made multiple. A better example would be Klaus Schulze and company have all done minimal stuff and made it great. Like even if there was more variety this could be better but the songs are such copy paste repetition. Piano, Vocals, Bland electronics. Repeat the chorus multiple times. Verse chorus verse.
  8. Into the Deep: Refer to the last track. I think her voice is okay, but it's kind of reminds me of one of the singers on the radio, Alissa Cara?
  9. Don't Go: It sounds like a sample is being played backwards, but sadly nothing really happens with this.Add to it, make it go somewhere. I mean, yes if does grow, but please do it different than the rest of the album. There is potential I hear in this song if they added strings. At the one part that would sound great with it. Around the last 2 minutes or so.
  10. Lightning Sparked: So I realized what I needed to enjoy this album, either start smoking pot or get drunk.
  11. Nowhere: I guess this seems a bit darker, but it's just kind of bland and annoying and has over stayed it's welcome at this point. The ending though is kind of good, I wonder if Laurie Anderson inspired this track.
  12. Current Change: I like some of the textures but not enought to say I'm a fan, but I guess I can appreciate it.
Overall I have to give this album a 4/10. This album was very bland. I like some of the sounds and the ambience, but I feel that you could combine theses into longer songs with different sections. In fact some felt like the same song. Honestly this isn't terrible, and I think this could be fleshed out into something great, but I feel there isn't really anything here. Hell Blonde did something like this but much better. Also Floating into the Night is a freaking solid records in this Ambient Pop style. I know this was a very bland review but sadly I had very little to say and I figured I would clean out the draft folder.

Monday, January 9, 2017

"Awaken, My Love!" - Childish Gambino

I was hoping to do this for the second review of the new year, and I pulled it off. This is the new album by Childish Gambino. He is a writer/comedian/rapper and I guess now singer known as Donald Glover. I loved Community while it was on TV and I did see some Derrick Comedy while it was on the Internet. But I do know over the summer I actually saw his stand up special the day I broke up with my ex. I feel really dumb bringing it up but it has to do with this. I thought the stand up special was good but I also didn't expect to even think this was good. It wasn't until after this dropped and I heard Redbone I was like.... Let's peep this out.
  1. Me and Your Mama: The track opens with a sort of feeling of uncertainty. I was unsure if I would like this as much as I liked Redbone when the song started. There is a sort of waiting for something to happen. Once it does happen its sort of worth the wait, but I still wonder if the wait was shorter would the pay off be the same I guess. There are chimes and kind of a music box playing before this beat comes in and vocals and it's building up the song until the lead vocals come in. The beginning has some interesting textures and cool sounds and I think it sounds pretty damn good. I mean I don't think this is the highlight of the song, but it's still solid. My only complaint is the song takes a whole 2 minutes to start. If this introduction was an intro track I could just skip it, but I love that guitar and the fucking fuzz on it. The choir makes this feel so big and gives it that punch I need it to have. Then that scream, it reminds me so much of the scream in the beginning of (Don't Worry) If There Is a Hell Below, Were All Gonna Go. Which also happens to be one of my favorite songs off all times, so positive points there. I fucking love the keyboards that play towards the ending, the rhodes and the moog and Hammond organ all sound so good. I'm fucking jealous that he got to get his hands on those, really, the lucky bastard.
  2. Have Some Love: This track's choir has a very overy Parliment/Sly & The Family Stone vibe. The group vocal thing is something George Clinton would do all over a later record from the group. I like the way he's kind of rap singing. That organ sound is also great. I don't really know what to call it but I like it. I also like the acoustic guitar that comes in the second chorus, gives it a nice twang. I appreciate how it sort of goes into a different section after the second chrous that could be like a solo but it's got a lot of weird sort of psychedelic sounds going one. There are what sounds like hits on triangles and electronics and then it has this sort of spacy vibe. After that it goes to a group vocal of before going back to the intro and ending the song off. This is a very well put together songs. And the message is great
  3. Boogieman: The intro has a sort of Jimi Hendrix feeling and the first vocal part remind me of Parliment again. The thing though is I can kind of picture Don't Call Me Nigger, Whitey when I hear that intro. It's a bit of a stretch, but I can kind of almost say it as it was said in the original song. I don't know, maybe I just has Sly on the mind. I like the sort of weird vocals on this and I trippin' feeling of the song. The best part is the chorus, the rest of the song is just kind of okay. I like the rhythm guitar that comes in during that also, adds a nice texture. It's not as good as the last two, but I do still jive with it.
  4. Zombies: This opens with some effects before giving us the guitar and the funky track. There is a weird perverted sort of Isley Brothers vibe I'm getting from this track. I really dig the harpsichord and the backing vocals the most on the track. I also really like that second where he holds the note and they use auto tune. Nice little details like that, that also happen to work, are what makes an album so much better. I also appreciate that organ part that plays before the song changes and quiets down. That woman on this track, fuck she is something else. I'm really jiving with what she's doing. I mean it's kinda sexy, but it also adds to this song. I also love that now there is a piano and then it gets a Rhodes. This is a very well constructed song that takes a number of listens to even pick everything out.
  5. Riot: This track is based on Good to Your Earhole by Funkadelic, and it isn't that bad. To be honest I think that was a good basis to use for the track. This is a very fun track but the deatils I love are because of the direct sample. I love that clavinet though, but it is more of a rocker to shake things up from the last and the next track.
  6. Redbone: I'ma be honest, I love this track.
    I know this is an interpolation of I'd Rather Be With You by Bootsy, but I'm be honest.... he fucking out does Bootsy. It is such a good track and kind of transforms it into something different and the vocals work so fucking good. This is a much more memorable and fun and sexy song that the original. In my opinion at least. I would bone to this, I think. I am also aware of the similarities to the one Isaac Hayes song too, but this songs trumps both of them. This kind of takes the best of both worlds and makes them better. I love the details and the little chimes and just how this works so fucking well. I am actually kind of wordless to describe the song, I just love this song much. I like how there isn't a solo at the ending of the song to the outro. I think it might work better that way, though I guess there kind of is.... in the lower guitar that could almost pass as a bass. It could also be a keyboard. I don't know this thing is so layered, it's fucking great.
  7. California: This is honestly a great tune. Its weird and fun and kind of a great diddy to be had. I love weird little things like this, Masoko Tango, Wild Honey Pie, EXP, New York Telephone Conversation, Tomorrow Never Knows, The Return of the Son of Monster Magnet and I kind of guess the intro to Pena. There are tons more but just weird things that kind of don't exactly fit or seem odd you know. They add some personality you know, rather than being a one trick pony, and can kind of show a sense of humor a bit. And the more I hear this the more I hear how much time was actually spent on this. There are these bottles and these voice pops and it's got a lot more work put into the track then you might initially think. I was so glad when I heard he did stuff with his voice on this to make the percussion, I knew it when I heard it :). I also love that soul jazz organ, and the vocals that soul like woodwinds. And that guitar on the track too. The amount of effort spent on this alone should make people happy.
  8. Terrified: This is another solid tune that kind of reminds me of The Weeknd. Like his early stuff, but maybe a bit more clear and not so drowned in reverb or the effects. I like the space on this though, and when the track starts I go this is a solid ass song. I also like those chimes, and the la las. The guitar again has a great tone, and I like all these section changes thought the album. The vocals at the end though kind of make me think of Great Gig in the Sky. And it also make me think of the potential. Like I guess it could be copying, but imagine if the next song was a sort of extended version of that chill ending and it just gets bigger and the vocals fucking orgasm as they do on that track.
  9. Baby Boy: If you know me, it's hard to hate a clavinet. It sounds so fucking good, and the rhythm section works very well and I love Gambino's vocals here. The lead to the chorus has some nice textures added and then it goes into a soulful group vocal vibe in the chorus. The only complaint is during the verses it could almost be a copy and past of the last one. This is still a solid tune though. The keyboards solo in pretty solid, but I wish it was better. The organ coming in makes the solo much better but it still doesn't really fix it you know.
  10. The Night Me and Your Mama Met: Now I gotta be honest, outside of tracks and the first two records I'm not a Funkadelic fan. In fact they tighter and more together the songs got, the less I like them. But this kind of has a sort of Maggot Brain feeling that isn't so loose, but it's chill and funky and has a well enough wah/phased guitar and solo. I don't know if its better or worse that the solo isn't like a fucking mind blow. The reason being there's no way this guy can compete with Eddie Hazel so if he tried he might fall flat. But then again if he tried it might just be a "rip off". But I guess since he didn't go nuts it keeps the chill vibe rather than the emotional breakout vibe. I still dig this, don't get me wrong, just a nugget that popped in my head while listening. I love the choir in this and it adds a nice tough. I can very easily see myself making love, or see in a movie people making love, to this song. 
  11. Stand Tall: This is honestly a very strong way to end the album. I love the track and think its a touching message. It makes me hope I can pull something like this, something touching, off if I ever have a son.I really like the Rhodes and the guitar in the beginning and he does a solid job of singing. I also love the sort of use of Strawberry Letter 23 for the refrain and I love how it seems very sincere. It's not like Picasso Baby, if memory serves correctly on the title. I also think this is a solid ending to the album, because it ends on a soft note where the album opens with a fucking bang. The woodwinds, and clarinet/flute sound great and I like the autotune he uses. I'm not sure how I feel about the synth patch that plays over the backing vocals, I like it but I'm not sure it's necessary. Though it does transition into the next section of the song, but it's comes up kind of abrupt. I do think that last section of the song where he's just singing and it feels like a party, I feel like could use a clean lead guitar soloing and going crazy you know. But the ending of the song is fine the way it is.
Overall I have to give this a 8/10. The more time I spend with this the more i appreciate it and like it. While it can never be a 9 or a 10, it was originally a high 7. This is one of the contemporary albums in pop music where I would totally want to jam along with, or play a session on. Given I need to be better, but you know what I mean. I recently listened to that Bruno Mars album, and I was like.... "it's okay and kind of fun. But I have heard things that sound like this and can get more out of those albums than this". While this emulates those older styles of music quite a bit, I think it's more in line with RAM than it is with say just a rehash. Like the more I revisit these songs the more I find that I like and find this is a pretty damn good record. Probably one of my favorites of the year, if I'm being completely honest. Needless to say I'll eventually pick up a Cd and maybe vinyl of this album.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Sail Away - Randy Newman

So I am using this month to finish up some albums that can be finished either fast, or are in various stages of completion and are..... Basically I'm cleaning out my draft folder on the site. That doesn't mean I'm shitting out reviews, I am just doing ones I know I don't need to spend as much time on or i have spent the time and just need to type it out. The album I picked first is this. This is the only, besides possibly Trouble in Paradise, Randy Newman record I'll ever review. The reason being I like the title track and Political Science.  That's really the only reason, I guess that and to give this maybe another chance, considering how much I love PS. And honestly, that the only reason to do this review. Oh yeah this is album number 4th studio album.
  1. Sail Away: For this record, I feel this to be a great tone setter and terrific open to the record. It's got that wit, and the cynic inside me loves the tone. So basically this song's story is a slave trader talks to the slaves, on the boat, about how great America will be and all the great things that lie ahead. The one thing he decided to leave out, is the fact they won't get any of those opportunities because they are slaves. Kinda dark, he doesn't have an aside or anything, he just withholds that part. It makes you think a bit, I wonder if they actually did that to make the slaves less irritable or more willing to submit. I don't know, and you probably don't either (we weren't there). But still, if a song can make you think, and not about something stupid, Damn! Man I wish I came up with that. The strings on this thing are great and it just feels American, it feels like it could fit in as a Nationalist type song, though it's not really. I don't know, I just know I love it. Also Ray Charles actually did a solid more gospel inspired cover of this tune, which I'm not sure if I prefer to this version, off his 1975 record Renaissance. If I do a review of that I'll go into more detail about the song, on the Ray side of things. 
  2. Lonely at the Top: Hahaha, this was written for Sinatra. I do quite like the creeping feeling of this song. There is also a cabaret feeling to the song, if I'm not mistaken. I think this works, unlike that one song... *cough* Who Needs the Young *cough*. I wish I had more to say, but I do quite like this track and think it works for what it is. Plus this is some what smarter than some of the other songs Sinatra would sing. And it doesn't seem that pityful. I mean I like No One Cares and other tracks like that, but look at that cover.
  3. He Gives Us All His Love: Originally written for a movie, and I don't think the joke works unless you have the back story. Unlike God's Song or Sail Away this is not as clear what its about. In the movie they were saying this and it was kind of point out the foolishness of believing. I don't really know how to explain it without you looking it up or making it sound like I don't believe in God. I do, but I love this song. It has a very strong standard feeling and I think it should be. While the lyrics are simple its kind of supposed to be. 
  4. Last Night I Had a Dream: There is a slide guitar, played by Ry Cooder, present. This is a solid song, but his vocals remind me of what I think he's funny to laugh at. But this is an odd enough rocker that I think if someone else did it it'd be fucking phenomenal. Maybe someone with a larger range of vocals. Really everything else works here. I love the guitar ton, the building feeling and the anticipation I feel in my blood when the song builds to the chorus. This is also a rocker.
  5. Simon Smith and the Amazing Dancing Bear: This song is about a guy who, by use of dancing bear. There's more to the story, but I feel like this has a sort of fun feeling to the song. The piano playing is very impressive and I like the changes in rhythm. While its not as grand as I could picture it, or rearrange it in my head, it is solid. I'm not completely sold on the track, but I do enjoy it. I really think the worst part of the song is the vocals, there's a part at the end that hurts my ears. Also I guess its a bit of a let down that there aren't other instruments like horns or woodwinds and strings. That would certainly add to the track. 
  6. Old Man: I assume this is about an old man or his old man. I think ths song is a pretty sad song, and I has to have some personal meaning to it. There is something in the inflection if his voice where it sounds like a child singing to his father who is on his death bed. Honestly I could see this being a Sinatra, the string arrangement is beautiful enough to be on In the Wee Small Hours or another of his best records/ballads. There is something's very touching about this and the sole piano and vocals for one verse then the next having strings makes it more effective. I read somewhere he said after his father passed, years later, he revisited this song and pictured his father. Its funny because I hvemmave written songs where they either came true or they were more insightful of my ownself than I could have imagined. 
  7. Political Science: Quick, straightforward and to the point, possibly Newman's best song. Really, another hit to Americas ego. This is how good Rednecks should be, but it isn't. This song makes me laugh more and more with each listen. There is a sort of Toy Story feeling tie this track, but I like this a lot. I cove the brushes and the horns that are in the background. A favorite part of mine is the Australia part. This really is a phenomenal track and the ending gets big and just works so fucking well. Great, funny, and on point.
  8. Burn On: and on and on and on and on and on. This is a very piano oriented in the beginning and it has this weird cabaret feeling to it. Then the other instruments come in and I really like the um pa feeling I'm getting form the arrangement. The string/woodwind/brass arrangement on this is spectacular. Honestly I can't find flaw in it. It really is a fucking great track and I think his vocals even work well for this track. This is a pretty silly feeling song but I am pretty sure there is a son what deeper meaning. Maybe it was a topical song about Cleveland like Baltimore
  9. Memo to My Son: I am surprised that I would love this thing, but I do. There is a sort of country vibe to this track. I can't exactly point my finger on what to call it but I do quite like it. It has a sort of honky tank piano and a rocking back and forth feeling. Like I could see this being in a movie from the 70s, maybe in a sort of flashback sequence. Or it could be the theme to a TV show about a single dad who has a son. It has a sort of sentimental feeling too it. I don't have a really reason why but I just can. There is also for whatever reason, Eagles pop in my head.
  10. Dayton, Ohio - 1903: You know, this title pisses me off. It's not a bad song, it's actually quite sad, but it's also a sort of predecessor to Baltimore. This is a very mellow song and it kind of reminds me of Short People if it was depressed. I don think its that great, but it aint half bad. I could see it being in a movie or something when its someone pondering something maybe. He isn't the greatest player but he is far better than I. 
  11. You Can Leave Your Hat On: I never liked this title, that's not saying the sing it self is bad. Just my feelings of the title. There is a sleezy feeling to this song, but I kind of like that. I like guitar in this and the sort of bar band feeling with the piano. Like a sort of piano blues feeling to it. Though I woukdnt say its exactly like Eddie Boyd or someone like that. Its nice and it is not half bad. I like guitar on the track or whatever is playing that sort of motif in the verses. The bass? I don't know for certain but the only real complaint is it goes a bit long for what actually happens in the song and looking at the length of the other tracks. 
  12. God's Song (That's Why I Love Mankind): Funny idea, but I guess I feel like this is pretty dark. Its kind of like God does these horrific things to us, but we still love him. I understand that its probably pointing out people are foolish but I think its worth pondering. I also think the music is perfect for this and its a great opposition to the opening. The opening was much more cheerful and hopeful, in feeling not message. This is just a dreary and kind of straight forward song. Like it is kind of fucked to imagine like God just doing stuff to fuck with us because he doesn't actually care. I mean I myself don't think people should find value in themselves to the point if them being above someone else, but there is a part of me that makes me feel like yeah. I don't really think God owes us anything. That's a bit of a way off front the song. But the music is phenominal and his singing works very well. A great track that grows with each listen. 
Overall I have to give this album a 8/10. I don't care for Randy, his albums are structured in a similar way and his music is very samey. There are some songs here that are okay, but most are average or boring elsewhere in his discography. But the upon meditation, and the cynicisizing (?) of my heart I kind of grew to love this. It's far from the greatest thing ever, but I laugh at it and contemplate what it talks about. It's funny, it's satire, it good. The only negative is these aren't really the definitive versions of some of these songs for me. But the template here is great, and the songs are all solid and have high potential to be re-imagined. I know most of these have been redone or covered in the last 40-50 odd years, but still. This album is great and its got solid song writing, but there are other versions of the songs far more realized. I hope that nukes sense, but ill say this. If I can make something as good as this ill be happy you know. So, yeah, as we all know, Randy Newman's the best. Also as a side note, I think I might do a De La Soul review. I mean I was disappointed by The Chronic and Reasonable Doubt, so maybe their debut will fill that void. But hopefully up next was a surprise favorite of mine from last year. I was not expecting to dig it as much as I did and continue to.