Sunday, August 21, 2016

Complete & Unbelievable: The Otis Redding Dictionary of Soul

So I just listened to Endless, and if Blonde is anything like it it'll be kinda of boring and then end on a mind fuck of I don't know. But not good. So to combat that I decided to pick something that does indeed have songs, that aren't complete snooze fests. This is the fifth studio album by southern soul legend Otis Redding. Now what do I have to say about this guy.... Well first off he's amazing. This also sadly happens to be his final solo studio effort released during his lifetime (the Carla Thomas duet King & Queen album the next year, followed by Live in Europe). So why not review this and hear the last album this man made before he passed. October 15th, 2016 is the 50th anniversary of this album, but since that month is devoted to Halloween Month, I'll do this now. Something else I want to mention, just really fast, is I will review all the albums from the debut of Pain in my Heart to at least final posthumous Tell the Truth (possibly do live albums after that too). Just a side note.
  1. Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song): Opening the album is a horns that are pretty promising. I don't really like the refrain, I just can't get into it. But the song's verses are pretty solid and I like the groove. There's a chill feeling to it, and the second refrain isn't so "bad". I mean it feels like they aren't fucking up I guess. I do like the feeling though, all though it's also not the saddest song he's ever done. So I don't know if Sad is the right title for this. It's not that I don't like this song, I just think there are far stronger tunes by Otis that should be hits or more well known I guess.
  2. I'm Sick Y'all: I actually do really like the keys on this, and can totally see this song being sampled for hip-hop music. Like to be honest this is a better song to sample than say, Try a Little Tenderness just for the vocal loop *cough*. The drums have a punch to them and then once the organ plays I could so easily see that being looped, maybe cutting out his vocals though. Fuck you could use this entire track besides his vocals. Anyways I really like the feeling of this, its got some great sounds and the arrangement keeps me interested. I like how he has his vocals and there's a bit of a grit rather than say a Jackie Wilson. It works quite well. I know I barley talked about the music but I really can only say its a solid beat, groove and I really like what I'm hearing. I could picture someone crusin' for burgers in daddy's new car to a song like this. Or in a movie crusin' for chicks. 
  3. Tennessee Waltz: Here we have another cover of a tune Sam Cooke did. Yes this time it was also a cover for Sam, Pee Wee King originally performed it. Now what does this version have to add to the version I've heard. Where Cooke had a swing to his, and made you wanna dance, this feels more mournful. Now that might actually be better fit to the material, and the story presented here. The arrangement is very Stax ballad-esque like his other ballads and slower numbers. Now I do enjoy this, but I still love the Cooke version so much it's kinda hard to LOVE this. But I do quite enjoy this soulful version. The song thought doesn't hit the highs or lows or build of two tracks down, but also that really wouldn't work for the given material. I do like the contrast in terms of this and the last song though. This is a bit quieter in the beginning where the last was more of a jam or groove, and it's so much more enjoyable in the context of the album.
  4. Sweet Lorene: I like the groove to this, and totally reminds me of Booker T. The descending riff, of melody rather... Hook(?), played on the horns is really great. This is a bit more energetic than I'm Sick Y'All. The thing they have in common though, is they're both solid tunes. My only real complaint is there's like a part where its more of an interlude for the guitar or a quick fill. They could have had a guitar solo there or something. As I've mentioned it's a lively number, of which who's horns remind me of Blues Brothers (which some of this band was in). Good ole Memphis Soul jammin. 
  5. Try a Little Tenderness: He's a cover of the famous song that dates back to 1932 and was recorded by Ray Nobel Orchestra. There exists many other versions, but this arrangement in my opinion, drunfs them. Even the Jackie Wilson, Sam Cooke and Sinatra versions. The building of this song, the tension added, not one second isn't necessary to this songs progression. It's like a movie that cut the fat and only left in everything needed to get from point A to point B, but in the best possible way.... possible. I love the keys, the organ's fucking great and I love the piano in this. Isaac did a great job and the horns fucking work and there's a sort of sigh of relief and ease the pressure after that fucking drop of the title. Maybe it's because I'm stupid, but I can't really think of many songs that are this effective. This really is a masterpiece of a song and arrangement, and also not to mention execution. The only complaint is the version I got his this dead air in the track and I feel it kinda takes away a bit, but once you can't hear it it's fine (and it's the worst for this track).
  6. Day Tripper: This is a cover of the 1965 Beatles pop rock classic. Now to be completely honest,  I prefer this to his cover of Satisfaction. I like the bass in this, and it's nice to hear a different take no this track other than the one I've come to be able to play in my head without even hearing a second of it. I mean, this is much more soul and gospel inspired than the original acid/rock version. I mean I do prefer the original, but this still is a neat rendition that works and is pretty fun. 
  7. My Lover's Prayer:  This opens side 2 and is a soft ballad type song. If you've heard It's Too Late or I've Been Lovin' You Too Long then you'll know how this sounds. I do like this track, but I don't have much to describe this with. It's solid and has some nice arpeggios and it's a sweet soulful song, but I just don't connect with it the way I do some others.
  8. She Put the Hurt on Me: This has a great groove, and some nice rotor organ on it. But other than that I can't say much that I haven't already said about the other songs. This isn't that distant a cousin of earlier grooves. I like the pronounced bass on this though. This feels a bit more fun though, like goofy maybe....
  9. Ton of Joy: My Private Joy is definitely a ton of this. There is a guitar no this that kind of reminds me a bit of Dock of the Bay. I don't know it's kinda boring a bit to be completely honest. Like by this point the album has lost a lot of steam.
  10. You're Still My Baby: This is a cover of the Chuck Willis tune of the same name. This also happens to be the only cover on side two.I think the biggest problem with this is the fact that it's so easy to mix this up with just about any other track so far on side two. That's not a good sign. The problem is if you can easily mix everything up hows that good song writing. It's not.
  11. Hawg for You: I do like the bluesy feeling to this tracks intro, and hey there's something that doesn't sound like the other songs. I mean I'm not in love with the bluesy feeling, but it's a good change. It has this weird sort of Memphis soul feeling to the blues there it doesn't quite feel like Chicago blues. I mean it's pretty neat, the piano is probably my favorite part. But in reality it's kinda forgettable to me, to be honest. Like I'd be more okay with this if this was the last two songs (in terms of doing something different).
  12. Love Have Mercy: I don't remember anything about this track. It was okay, but it isn't anything to write home about. It sucks to because this could have ended so epic, but no.
Overall I have to give this album a 6.4/10. Is every song here amazing, I mean it depends on how you look at it. Overall the album is best consumed front to back, or maybe at least a full side at once (1-6 or 7-12/or my preferred 1-6 and nothing on side two). The second way is actually how I reviewed the album. Yeah there isn't a huge variety, either soft or grooves, and you could argue they almost all sound the same but Otis is a fun guy. There's a charm about him that doesn't piss me off about him you know. But this album has great moments, it's just the lack of variety outside of the fine details it kinda boring. But really side two hurts this album so fucking bad.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Frank Zappa for President

Now I have been contemplating to do this since the day it was released, I kinda wanna do The Crux of the Biscuit too, but I figured what's the real point. But I also could do a quick and easy Zappa review for both of these, since I know exactly how I felt the first time I listened to them. So in the spirit of the election year we get this, a collection of tracks with somewhat political themes and what not. So, yeah.... Let's dig in. Also to do a decent review I spent probably more time than I need to listening to the other versions of the songs.
  1. Overture to "Uncle Sam": Dated 1993, this is a Synclavier piece by Zappa. Okay so that means it'd fond it self around the time of Dance Me This or Civilization Phase III. Now I've yet to listen to either of those, completely, for the fact I'm not that big on the synclavier pieces. Some I like, like on Thing-Fish, but for the most part I'm just either in different or don't care for. When I listened to this, I have to be honest, I just though it was okay. I mean I liked it I guess, but I didn't love it. I was probably more like on a scale of 1 to 10 a 6, just over half but not much over. I think it would be better if he added something into it. Like maybe a guitar or some vocals or something else rather than just the synclavier and it's samples. All thought I guess I do still enjoy this, it's just I'd rather it be with real instruments. The biggest complaint is that it's 15 minutes long and kinda gets old a bit.
  2. Brown Shoes Don't Make It (Remix): In 1970 Frank remixed a number of tracks from the Freak Out! album, some of which later appeared on MOFO. This is a similar affair, but differs in that Dick Kunc remixed it in 1969. Now this is still the album track from November 18th, 1966 but remixed. Now to do an accurate review I needed to revisit the original mix, and the Ryko mix to be able to compare and contrast. The biggest comparison I heard was that it was cleared up. On the original it sounds much more mixed together, for lack of better word. Like if your not paying attention I could see you losing track of what's what. But for the most part you can pick out the different instruments. Now on the Ryko version they added digital reverb and I think it kinda fucks with.... Just look it up its not hard to find hate for the Ryko mixes on a Zappa fansite. But you can also hear the drums much more pronounced at certain parts and there is other louder things mixed louder in certain parts. Now this does make it a bit harder to focus on the overall but whatever. The reverb can also distract you at certain parts, but whatever. Now this version it sounds pretty good. I mean I don't know if it's all that necessary since there's... I don't know. I do like it, but I don't really see the need to include this other than the story of the song. I mean what if they included at version from 1969 or 1968 live, that would be a year that hasn't been released yet. I know I didn't really describe the song, but I don't  want to go to into the song because of next year. 2017 is the 50th anniversary of Absolutely Free review, and because of that I plan to have the review out on June 26th. I also wanna point out I really love the freak out at the end and how it sounds in this remix, you can hear everything.
  3. Amnerika (Vocal Version): Now this track, thanks to globalia, pointed out that it's the backing track to That Evil Prince on Thing-Fish or it's the music. I haven't heard that album in a long time, I'm feeling like it could be the same thing, or not, I don't know. I do know that Napoleon sings on this, and it was recorded somewhere from 1982 to 1984 (same time as Thing-Fish). The vocal version reminds me of an extension of The 'Torchum' Never Stops, the section with The Evil Prince. I guess it's nice, I could see some people hating this, but I happen to love Thing-Fish so it's a nice addition I guess.
  4. "If I Was President...": The music is dated as 1985 and the spoken word, probably from an interview, is from 1990. I've actually heard the interview that this was taken from, I don't remember what channel or radio or whatever it's from but you can find it on YouTube. As much as I don't LOVE this, I feel like this is what the album probably should have been a mix of him talking on his views over his compositions. I mean he's an intelligent man and his view take the for front over the composition in this situation. You could go, that's against what his intentions for piece so and so was, but I think the synclavier pieces work best when there's something else going on to. Maybe they didn't do it because of the Eat the Question movie thing, but you know but what the fuck. The funny thing about it though is I've seen most of these interviews in the trailer for the movie.
  5. When the Lie's So Big: This was taken from the March 25th, 1988 show at the Nassau Coliseum in New York. This track though, finds it's original album as Broadway The Hard Way. So I should touch on this, this is a song making fun of Pat Robertson, who was a televangelist who was very far right and he would later make an even bigger ass of himself. Look up his views on the ERA that he said when he ran for office in '92. Now I am not sure on the music front, if this was or wasn't more his vision of what it was to be. I mean it's welcome because it doesn't just sound like the exact same performance as the album version, which is kinda played straight. This has more changes and things that make it feel like it was the dick around that happened on songs from the band. I mean the message isn't really a dick around message, but it is a bit more fun to listen to than the original released version. This version is better at keeping my attention than the other version.
  6. Medieval Ensemble: Another synclavier piece from 1985 and unlike the last sole instrumental piece on this, sits are over 6 minutes. I do find this piece a bit more interesting than the last, it's a bit more chaotic I'd say up front. I also like the way the melody is moving. Yes this eventually starts to get old, but I isn't as bad as say the opening.
  7. America the Beautiful: Taken from the same show as Lie's So Big, this is a cover of the famous song, and it was previously featured on the AAA·FNR·AAA Birthday Bundle from 2008. Now that pisses me off a bit is they are the same fucking length, they don't really even differ at all. I dig the track, but like what the fuck guys, there's no other performance of the song. Okay now that that's over I can say, what I like. The '88 band, while his "best" I don't love everything they did. There's a lot of great shit, but not everything is as good as everything else. These the great performances, then there are the songs that have a certain charm to them. This song has that charm, for me at least and I also do like Bobby's vocals a lot. It's a nice way to end this and probably the best choice, though I'd prefer a different date or live recording. The solo also works in this song so that's a plus. 
Overall I have to give this album a 7/10. I mean it isn't terrible, no. Is there any cohesiveness, kinda. I mean I get the Presidential Year (kinda like how they released Understanding America in 2012) theme to it and the political message, though instrumental might not be the best for this type of album. Basically what it is... It's just a collection of tracks and I mean I guess you could go why? But I do enjoy it and I don't mind this album. That could be the fan boy speaking, probably, but I don't hate this album. It's not as bad as Road Tapes 3. If your a fan I'd check this out, if your not I don't know if this is the best first album for you. I mean it is easy to take, for the most part, but if you don't like it don't let it turn you off. So yeah, hopefully that makes sense. I'll probably end up doing Crux in 7 or so reviews.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Macho Man - Village People

I am almost half done with my reviews for these guys. They only released 8 albums (and one studio/live album) and I've already finished three (this being my fourth). This being the second album by New York's Disco legends the Village People. Released in February 1978, this would be followed by their biggest hit and most famous tune on the next album Crusin'. This album is notable for having the "classic" line up in full form. This album is an album that baffles me a bit, I don't get what two of them are supposed to be, be even more so this has one of the funniest songs to me, the title track. "Every man whats to be a macho man", I guess I'm not every man :D. But this is one of two album not on Spotify, so it took a few months of looking to finally acquire a copy, even thought I stumbled upon, purchased and gave a vinyl copy to my cousin as a joke. Then two months later or so, stumbled upon another.
  1. Macho Man: This song not only has a hilarious promo video, its catchy as hell. Seriously, genuinely listen to the song and it'll be stuck in your head. That chorus is so fricken epic sounding, how could it not be. The breakdown section where it vaguely reminds me of Prince and Lady Cab Driver. This song is... Why do people like Y.M.C.A. and not this. It's so much better. It's so much cornier and this is pure cheese. Like really, watch the fucking music video and try not to laugh. But regardless of anything, I do dig this song. I think it's got a great rhythm, very fun to sing and you can dance to it. It's kinda what pop/dance music is supposed to be. It's also so fucking big, I mean I'm listening to it now and picking up on shit I didn't hear before, it's almost too much. But that "too much" also kind of makes it all that much... it earns it a place in my heart even more. Plus try not to laugh at those ad libs at the ending. It's solid and fun and worth a listen or ten, and really harmless.
  2. I Am What I Am: This song flows from the last, and I think the segue is pretty nice. I mean I don't per say like this song, though maybe it could be cut a bit shorter, but that's not implying I hate it. I like the bass, but I also feel like this song feels a bit rushed. Like I almost feel like the track is sped up a bit. I think if it wasn't so fast it would maybe work better, but then again I don't really know. It could also be that there's a disconnect from the last track. I also feel I should mention this aspect of the song, this is a song that lots of homosexuals took to heart as a "I am what I am, why be ashamed". While Willis may have said it was written for anyone, not solely homosexuals, I don't think it matters. The message of a song is still in the mind of the listener. South Park did a great episode about this. The kids wrote a book to be as gross and fucked up as possible, and the adults though it to have deep messages and fit them to their views and perceptions. I mean that's the subtext or part of the subtext, people also find meaning in meaningless things, but I still think that's a point. Now stupid rant later, who really cares, You Are What You Is and you shouldn't be ashamed. I liked that sentiment, but this song.... I don't know I don't think it's as good as the last. I do really like the instrumental part of the song, I like the arrangement. It's overall I don't think this is as good I guess. 
  3. Key West: The opening could remind you of the opener, but then they have this clavinet that I really dig. This song is pretty solid off the bat to be honest, I don't think it's great great but fun. Also I guess the location of the song is a big hot spot for gay people, back then. I don't know why but these ad libs are ridiculous, you could look at this as a proto-Go West. It's not quite there, but it's almost there. Much in the same way Village People wasn't, the track just missed the spot. All thought I do like the kind of variety in the song structure. I dig the saxophone and I like the bridge section of the song, it's pretty nice.
  4. Medley: Just A Gigolo/I Ain't Got Nobody: If I remember incorrectly The Time did a cover of Just A Gigolo. I mean that isn't saying much of the famous Irving Berlin song, but I think of Morris Day when I hear this title. There is also a Bowie flick where he's in it and it's title Just A Gigolo from 1978. Now when this song opened I was a bit shocked, I could believe that it has a piano roll. Also I'm not sure if Victor is singing lead on this track. It doesn't really sound like him, but the disco feeling of this track isn't half bad to be honest. This really isn't half bad and it's kind of a great way to add variety to the record. The horns on this, while I mean I'm not blown away, I really am having fun and enjoying myself with it and that's all you can ask for this type of album. The songs work together great and I know they are sometimes done together, but who the fuck cares this just works. It's kinda great, in a laid back way (for the group at least).
  5. Sodom and Gomorrah: I wonder if this is about anal sex? Or rather, gaynal sex..... ahahahahahahahah, get it. This continues that sort of sonic laid back, and change, over the rest of their catalog. I mean it isn't revolutionary and it tells the story in the bible of Sodom and Gomorrah. I'm a bit boggling, because I don't think on a record thats to appeal to the gay community, to have a bible song. :) I mean if I have children I'll definitely play this song for them in bible school or whatever, maybe I'll do a cover. This song is a bit of a mind fuck to be honest, like I really can't make heads or tails but I do like what I hear so hey it ain't half bad.
Overall I have to give this album a 7.5/10. This is so far, the most consistent and best over all record by the group. I mean if it wasn't so fun it'd probably be more of a 6.5, but it's fun and worth a listen. I'll definitely be revisiting this. Now I wanna say I do these Village People reviews because I think these guys are fun. I need to point out, the music is average overall but it's not trying to be that serious. There is tons of people who try to be fun, have an image, and be in general like able and they fail miserably. These guys have a charm to them that, yeah you can say they're gay (which I think only two actually were) but does that matter. I mean who the fuck cares, it's fun music and I feel like if someone was hung up on the "gayness" they're missing out. On another note, I once read a review that mentioned something about Liberal in the review of this album. I think it's time for next review Phil Ochs in Concert (not really, but maybe).

Monday, August 15, 2016

Supermodel - Foster the People

So the last review was so I could clear up space on my iPod, and now I want to clear up a review that's just been sitting and doing nothing for two years. Plus last night I did get some shit done, so why not do this today. This is the second album by Foster the People. This is supposed to be a concept album about, basically, the negative aspects of society. The tracks I've heard off this so far show progression, which is always a good thing. But then once I kinda started this review I was like..... There's a reason it's taken so long to do #boring. So I decided to break up the album over a number of other tracks to "cleanse" my pallet rather than another front to back listen.
  1. Are You What You Want To Be?: I like the island influence in this song and thing it's pretty decent. It reminds me a little of The Police. It's nowhere near as good as them, but it's okay. There is a part where they cry and it reminds me of Il Buono, Il Brutto, Il Cattivo. I hope you know what I mean? Oh just to be clear, it isn't as good as the original :D. Now coming back to this album to review it, I am very much fear ful for that introduction. It's almost as if I was getting ready for a cringe. I still can tolerate the reggae vibe of the tune, but this isn't that good, and I'm pretty sure I have more of this waiting for me. It's not as bad as Let Me Be, but it's not good IMO. I hear theses little flourishes but I mean it's anything I can't here elsewhere and done better or more interesting. Like I feel like this is trying to engage you or suck you into the the song. Kinda of like a video game, I can't think of the word, but this doesn't pull me in and make me forget I'm listen to a pop song.
  2. Ask Yourself: This opens okay, I mean it isn't the best but it isn't offensive. There is a reason that this kind of reminds me of The Cure (I should do a Cure review) if they were popier. Like maybe this comparison will be bad, but maybe Friday I'm in Love (but stripped of what makes it a solid tune). There's also a bit of a Coldplay feeling.
  3. Coming Of Age: Holy fuck this intro reminds me of CP. You know, this is an okay song, but nothing I'ven't heard before. The vocals and what not just make me think of any other indie band I know. I do like the electronics and may return to this track once in a blue moon, but you know it's nothing I'd listen to like MGMT or St. Vincent along some others. The singing reminds me a ton of Mylo Xyloto, and the intro sounds like it could have been on that album. I really have taken nothing away from this track.
  4. Nevermind: Nice acoustic guitar, but really I can't remember a single thing that happened during and while I was listening to the track. Kinda trippy, but I'd rather listen to Freak Out!. It's like they watered songs down. The ending reminds me of something but I don't care enough to remember.
  5. Psuedologia Fantastica: This track reminds me a little of MGMT with the use of electronics. It actually makes me think of Alien Days if it was written back in their 2008 or earlier days. The electronic kind of reminds me of Siberian Breaks too, but not as cool. This title fits this odd song, but you know I've heard better song in this style than that and may hurt my outlook the song. Maybe The Handshake or another Oracular Spectacular track. Though I think this is cooler than Pumped Up Kicks and shows progression artistically, It just doesn't drag me in. I wish the song would have ended with those piano chords, like had them play over the solo of sorts. That would have been cool. The white noise fade is effective, but I still think that track was a little long. And by a little long it gets kinda boring, I mean the piano works but still. I don't know.
  6. The Angelic Welcome of Mr. Jones: Well this is an interlude that really does nothing at the end of the day. I mean I get the point, but I don't think it really adds to anything. 
  7. Best Friend: This is the first song that I heard off this album. It reminds me, vocal harmony wise, of Duran Duran a la The Reflex or Notorious. The horns remind me a little of Notorious. This is a pretty decent track the first time though. You can also dance to this song, which also reminds me of DD. This also reminds me of The Black Keys off maybe Turn Blue. Also not really feeling the sentiment of this song, I mean I don't need to be told to look out for strung out friends.
  8. A Beginners Guide to Destroying the Moon: I don't care for this title. I don't know why, maybe because it reminds me of Dark Side of the Moon and A Young Person's Guide to King Crimson. Actually the vocals remind me of Say Anything at points. That's really all I have to say, I mean it's not terrible, but it's not to great. I feel like if you have a title like this you should do something tongue and cheek, not stupid.
  9. Goats in Trees: This must be about The Mountain Goats covering Rush songs. It's weird, that last song wasn't terrible, but this is just like I don't even want to listen to this anymore. Like I mean, nice acoustic guitar but that's all I can take from this, and the VanWyngarden sounding vocals.
  10. The Truth: "of Life", well if you've come to find that I'll let you in on a secret. "The only truth in life is right here in this bottle. Infact, I'd rather have this bottle in front of me, than a frontal lobotomy!". Points to anyone who gets that overly long and pointless reference. Actually there was a reference within the original, so it's like a reference inception. Oh this songs kinda boring, I had far more fun typing this. I mean I like the Handshake-ness but that doesn't mean I'll ever return to it.
  11. Fire Escape: This kinda reminds me of a less tormented Elliott Smith. But with other people doing the harmonies with him.
Overall I have to give this album a 4/10. Foster have grown, but they haven't done anything that make them stick out. They have a lot of interesting things on here that remind me of things I love. They don't have anything that makes them stick out and make me love them. There are other artists who are ballsy like MGMT, St. Vincent, Radiohead this band is more in line Coldplay who have evolved, but somehow don't take extreme chances. I can't stress how little I have interest in returning or even remembering this record. Maybe I should do another Red Hot Chili Pepper's album, and also Chicago's second album too.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Torture Time! - Polly Bradfield, Eugene Chadbourne

So today, since I'm house sitting, I decided to finally review this. Plus it has to be better than that extremely boring Georgie Fame album i just listened to (sorry Oxley you couldn't even save it). Also I've been writing and I need something non-singer/songwriter or to help me focus and get inspired by music. This is the third release by Polly Bradfield. This is a collaborative album between her and experimental guitarist Eugene Chadbourne. Well kinda, she has only been credited to about 20 some odd albums, recorded, from 1978, Frank Lowe's album Lowe and Behold, to 1986, John Zorn's  album The Big Gundown (which might be uploaded soon, either that or Spillane). Hopefully those commas make sense, because i know its technically incorrect use but fuck that. If you remember three February's ago, I was feeling daring and did Environments For Sextet, (which she played violin on). She also played with the other 11 releases he is credited on (from various places, though there might be more). This is also the last album that was released where she was credited as an artist. This album was recorded on April 2, 1981 and should be noted the only instruments on here are violin and dobro.
  1. Untitled: Opening with what sounds like a crank or a wheel being turned. First time trying to do the review, I made it like 30 seconds in and my brain turned to mush thinking how the fuck Polly is doing what she's doing. I mean it could just as likely be Eugene, but Polly is the more talented one (IMO). I have to figure shes doing something with the strings on that violin, and some of these "effects" are really interesting sounding. I can't even describe some of the sounds happening because that take far too long and take away from others interpretations. The thing I like is when I hear sounds that sound like a horn, toys, whistle, saw or something not a Dobro or violin. There is percussive noise, but I assume it's achieved by hitting the instruments. At about five minutes in I'm beginning to hope it can keep this up or get better. I like the sort of sped up horse gallops part, that kept me trying to think how's it exactly done, but I think I might have figured it out. There are also parts that remind me of Mr. Bungle field recordings that find their way all over the debut.  Is that a bicycle bell. Around 13 minutes I do like what's going on, but its kind of losing me. To be honest, I'm not completely looking forward to another 20 minutes of this. It kinda sounds like a fart. I feel like if cut up into individual tracks, to sort of help only get short doses of this the track would be much better. Like maybe cut this into 5 or 6, 1-3 minute tracks. And maybe cut parts that kinda repeat you know. 
  2. Untitled: Bow by the time I'm at side two I'm like, the better be damn great of amazing to make up for the overall okay last track. And yeah it starts off promising, though it leaves me wanting more (in the this isn't enough, not I want to have more the the same or quality). Why no drums bru, that'd make it so much fucking better or something else, horns something. There is a sound that when I hear it I imagine the film being dissolved, like in movies. But in this instance it'd be the sound or music. There is a nice "banjo" type thing I hear, but it fades to fast. I like some "effects" on this track also, but I fear its going to wear thin fast. I mean the last thing wasn't so hot. It kinda sounds like someone masturbating. There's a part where the Dobro is in,  the distance and almost sounds like its over a radio. I like that a lot. But it goes to fast and isn't fully utilized. 6 minutes in, of 15, and I'm kinda picturing what could make this better. Horns would so fucking make this better, like horns that acted as a regular string section. Then maybe pizzicato horns (probably using term wrong or not ever the right term, but fuck it). At 9:24 I'm beginning to completely check out, I am glad I checked the time because that helps me know its almost done. I do like the breathing sounds and how it is chaotic towards the ending but I feel like it didn't do what I wanted it to do. 
Overall I have to give this album a disappointing 5/10. It's free improvisation, what did you expect. I mean as much as I enjoy the genre and take influence from it I can't say anything of it could really be a 10/10. I mean I bet if I was to play this and have ten people review this most would hate it and point out, its not music. The thing is, this is music, we've past the point in time a long time ago where this wouldn't be considered music per say. But that doesn't mean i didn't have hopes of it being a 7 or 8. I mean this album, to me, felt like it could be up there with European Echoes, Environment, Typography of the Lungs and so on. Sadly it's just one I heard I'll probably forget after this review. There is an art to being able to do so much with so little, and you know I learned quite a bit from sitting through this record, but I won't revisit it. Actually on that note, the fact there is so few and little also detracts from this. I mean if they added a percussionist, and he had a shit ton of things to use that'd help make this much more interesting at parts. Really, if you open minded about music I ask you check this thing out, maybe you'll get something out of it. Or if you play a string instrument you can hear weird sounds for 35 minutes. But yeah, its nothing that I'll ever want to bear again. 

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Brand New Morning - Bob Seger

This is the first solo album by American singer/songwriter Bob Seger. Released in October 1971, this is his fourth overall album, the first three being by The Bob Seger System. This is an acoustic album and its one of the early records he seems to not really like. I know everything I've heard from this period I like, so lets hope this is as good as the others.
  1. Brand New Morning: This song opens pretty interesting. I mean if you'd hear him before, its odd to hear him with an acoustic guitar. Now I do think the vocals here are great and I like the up feeling of the song. I mean this is a pretty simple song, but it works. And this sets a feeling that this might not be that bad of a record. 
  2. Maybe Today: This opens with him playing piano, and for whatever reason this reminds me of Cold Spring Harbor. I like what I'm hearing, I mean it isn't as grand as some of those songs, but its pretty bare. I do think this works here though and 2 for 2. I like the vocals and damn that guys doing a great job on piano. 
  3. Sometimes: This is a ballad, with acoustic guitar. This isn't anything to write home about, but I do like it. For whatever reason I could picture Cat Stevens singing this. Maybe it's late, and I've got a buzz, but I can see that. I guess the only complaint is I wish it wasn't so sparse. Like the song gets louder, I wish there was a bass or percussion or piano. Something to add an extra texture to this specific song. 
  4. You Know Who You Are: Alright, maybe I'm a sucker for this CSH sound, but I really kinda wanna cry. I mean this is kinda sad, and I really like the song. Though I do really appreciate how the song gets uplifted. This is a solid tune and I like the changes. 
  5. Railroad Days: This song has a nice acoustic feeling to it and I like how it could be a folk tune. Like I could very easily picture this, maybe with some different instrumentation, being a song that the rail road men would play on their banjos or whatever while they were on break. The only real complaint is the guitar kind of over powers stuff, and when he sings with his soul its muddy. I mean I'm listening to a vinyl rip, but I wish it was clearer. But then at the same time then it'd lose some of the atmosphere. I don't know, maybe turn the volume down a but would fix the problem. It does feel a little long. Maybe cut a verse, but I still like it. I get why it became popular after he blew up. Plus I feel some chord progression similarities to Still the Same? Maybe I'm wrong, but who knows. 
  6. Louise: I really like the rock and roll feeling to this song. It's a nice change of pace and I like the foot stomp. It's fun and works so much better than that one song on that one album. *cough* Open All Night *cough*. This is also nice and short and sweet. 
  7. Song for Him: This kinda feels, to me, a proto-We've Got Tonight. I do dig this, and like how its quieter. There is a nice atmosphere to it and it works. The only complaint is it would be so much better if the album wasn't like this.  It gets louder, but whatever.
  8. Something Like: This is a good way to end, and feels like the end. Other than that I've kinda of ran out of things to say about this album if I'm being honest.
Overall I have to give this album a 7/10. Okay, so this things pretty great. Now I read on wikipedia it was compared to Nebraska. These songs are not only better, but they are also far less samey than that fucking album. Check this thing out if you can, I recommend it. If I find it for the right price, I'll probably pick up a copy.  But if I don't then I won't be too disappointed. Hopefully I'll have Pet Sounds, Torture Time!, Born to Run and possibly Blood On the Tracks out this month.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Revolver - The Beatles

Fifty years ago today, the seventh Beatle studio album was released in the UK. This is the often looked at as the sequel, or part two, of Rubber Soul. While I can sort of see that now, I still think it's great in its own right. None the less this was the last album they toured for, and only played I believe one song or two off the record (the rest required too much studio trickery to do live). I can't really think of much more to say about the record, other than lets review this thing.
  1. Taxman: Opening the album, we get George's ode to Tax Collectors. A pretty  funny song, and I love the guitar and beat to the song.  I love the little double time parts Ringo plays and I love the backing "oh Mr heath" (or whatever they say). The vocals on this are great, and I think this a pretty strong track that packs a punch. This has a tasty solo and I still like it quite a bit. 
  2. Eleanor Rigby: When I first heard 1, the compilation that introduced me to the band after Across the Universe, I skipped this song. The reason was because I was seriously afraid of it. Now when I listen to it I think if all the times I heard it playing video games, bit I also hear a song that has some gorgeous string arrangements. It's a very sad and lonely sing, for a very sad and lonely woman. If my ears are correct there's viola, violin, cello and maybe contrabass (could be wrong, but hopefully my ears are right). While it's kinda repetitive, I still think it's a really cool idea for a really cool song. #ExperimentationIsKey
  3. I'm Only Sleeping: This has a very dream like quality to it, very laid back and stream of consciousness feeling. By that I feel like, even with the backmasking (used correctly this time) add to the dream quality. I also love that acoustic guitar in the track, I also love the bass pops. This is a solid tune and one of my favorites off the record. I also love the weird noises, which were backmasked as mentioned earlier. 
  4. Love You To: The second song on the record to be written by George. This song has a very raga influenced sound to it. It opens with some sitar and could actually add to the dream like feeling from the last track. I really like the rhythms on this track a lot, and like the vocal effects on this track. I doubt its only sitar, but there is some great sounds on this track. I'd love to hear a isolated version of each instrument for this track. I know sitars can have that sustain, or are supposed to rather. I also love the percussion on this. I also dig the double time at the ending g, or at least the pick up in tenpo at the ending. 
  5. Here, There and Everywhere: This is a sweet Paul McCartney tune. You can tell because its very pop like, and he's singing it. The guitar on this is so sweet and the harmonies are so fucking great. There's a dream like quality to this, but its more of a romantic dream feeling. Like what it's like to be in love and I love the arrangement here. I could easily see this being played on strings and horns but work quite well without them. Finger snaps a plus. 
  6. Yellow Submarine: I don't really feel I need to talk about this song, but I will. I really like the acoustic guitar on this track. It was written by Macca for Ringo and I love the sound effects. While I feel like, oh its this song, I still get kicks on the occasional listen. Plus, damn they really did a great job with all the effects on this thing. Honestly, listen to the non guitar, bass, drums or vocals (Ringo/harmonies) in the track. I wonder how long that took to do. 
  7. She Said She Said: This song has a bit of a punch off the bat and it has some nice acid rock guitar on it. I also really like the bands tone on the track, we get some great sounds that make it a bit more trippy, and the bass sounds great. Plus that's some solid drumming from Ringo. The vocals work well here, and I like the part that changes. I like this but I have to be in the mood for it I guess. Also the ending where it kinda speeds up a bit, I really dig that. 
  8. Good Day Sunshine: This is sunshine pop, I guess. I like the upbeat feeling of this, but for whatever reason it isn't as sunny as I feel it should be. Like if its sunshine shouldn't it be super bubble gummy. All though I love the piano work on this track. I like how the drums add a bit more punctuation to the vocals. I also really like the harmonies especially at the ending and I like the hand claps. And I appreciate that sort of loop at the end, that's really short. 
  9. And Your Bird Can Sing: This is another track in the vein of She Said She Said, all though it's more fun to listen to. Again a killer bass line and some great drums. Though in the mix they seem to be a bit more buried. I like the hand claps, they are a nice touch. And I love the riff to the track a lot. I love the bass tone though, its like an electrified upright bass without the finger hits as audible. It's nice and fast and works quite well here. 
  10. For No One: This is a bit of a baroque pop number. I really like the harpsichord on the track and its a gorgeous song that I could very easily cry to. I have heard this song a million times but that trumpet still gets me, I know its coming but I still love it. Paul feels very much like he's singing a Paul song. I think the only thing that could have made this possibly better is maybe strings towards the ending. It's still a solid track though. 
  11. Doctor Robert: I like this song, but I also feel like its kinda filler. I mean there are a number of songs that give you what this song gives you on the album. I still like the whole Beach Boys thing in the middle, but I don't fully see the point of it I guess. But what that said its still a solid acid rock tune. And I do dig the bass and organ during that one part. I also want to point out, that guitar is weird. I mean throughout but still. Kudos for getting that in a pop record. 
  12. I Want to Tell You: Another George tune, but I still dig it. This is more in the vein of say Good Day Sunshine. It's a pleasant track. I like the ending fade out, but I've kind of described what I like about it elsewhere. It's a fun song
  13. Got to Get You Into My Life: This is a great time, great bass line and great horn section featured. I could almost see this, if done slightly differently, being on a Motown album. Maybe something like Away We A Go-Go. This has a fun feeling and while it's kinda bare for how large it could be, I think it works. I also love the guitar tone on this thing. It's great. The ending is also great. 
  14. Tomorrow Never Knows: opening with a sitar drone, followed by what sounds like a drum loop with some snare. I really like the drums on this, but I'm pretty sure it's a loop. Like outside of the vocals, I'm pretty sure everything is tape manipulations. Now that's not bad, there's a great solo that is backmasked and the song keeps you interested. I mean some sounds do repeat, but I'd still pick this any day over.... Well a lot of stuff to be honest. I also bet this was fun to do when recording it, considering how this was the first time they played with tape really. I also like the thumb tack/honky rink piano at the ending. I never heard, or remember hearing, that before. Great ending and great prelude for what was to come next. 
Overall i have to give this album a 8.8/10. This is a Beatles record, so its inherently great. Well not always, but you know what I mean. They were lucky enough to not really make a terrible record, even when people fucked with the music. But this is a great, exciting record with a lot of interesting sounds and ideas. While I don't think it's perfect or mindblowing, I do like what's on the record and recommend it along with all the other Beatle records. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Rising Force - Yngwie Malmsteen

This is the debut album by Yngwie MalmsteenSwedish neoclassical metal/shredder. This album is pretty solid, I'll say that off the bat, this album also finds itself often on lists of "Best of..." lists. I figured I should do this because of my recent listening to Yngwie. But what broke the camels back and brought forth the review is to show why World on Fire not only sucks, but it causes cancer. The line up for the album is one Yngwie on guitar, Moog Taurus (a foot operated synthesizer), and bass. It also features Jeff Scott Soto on vocals, Jen Johansson on keyboards and Barriemore Barlow on drums. 
  1. Black Star: Opening the record we get a classical guitar introduction. I really like that and its a nice introduction before the bass and drums set up the actual song and the lead guitar comes in. I like the sort of building its doing and the synths acting as strings to set up the atmosphere. The dual lead guitars are great and I think add to the atmosphere and feeling. I like how this isn't overtly in your face. The guitars aren't overwhelming. I mean you can barley hear the bass, but the guitar is great sounding and the drums are still audible. There is a composition to this that is interesting and the bass during dual harmonies part that repeats is freaking great. Shame you need headphones to hear it, or maybe Jason Newson has an uncredited bass performance here :D. But this thing really is a great tune and a great introduction to what's about to come. Also I do have to admit I have a soft spot for these sort of epic early/lo-fi synth neoclassical guitar shredder type albums. I don't know who to explain it, but if they tend to have similar production. 
  2. Far Beyond the Sun: Maybe my favorite song by Yngwie, along with I'll See The Light Tonight. There's a confidence here that may have been lacking on the last track, but I love the harmonies on this and damn is this thing great to drive on a highway fast to. It's really what Yngwie is all about, well back before he became someone stuck in the 80's. I really think his tone is great here, and the composition is also more focused and "fire!". Great stuff, and possibly the best trait of it being kinda fun and exciting to hear. There's is a glorious feeling when you get that sort of return to the head in the solo. It's pretty epic. 
  3. Now Your Ships Are Burned: I hate myself, I'm a guitarist and I can't fucking think of the techniques he's using. This is the first song with vocals, from Jeff Scott Soto, but the intro is pretty great. There's a sort of Scorpions vibe, but maybe sped up, to this track. Something with Uli playing on it. Jeff is a solid singer, and the instrumental shines here to be honest. I love the sort of vamp in the middle and how it has a part for the bass to shine. That's a nice little touch, it isn't just Yngwie's guitar (though he is also playing the bass, so you could argue he's doing it to show off). I don't know, I don't think it's that. 
  4. Evil Eye: I really like this composition a lot, and it opens with a solid classical guitar intro. I don't think it over stays it's welcome but I think the transition works for the song. The down side is its based off Bouree, and since I don't know the entire composition by heart I can't say what is or isn't just a variation, or if it was just inspired by the track. When the song starts it starts out epic and feels great. I like the double hits of the drums, the gallop (can't think of what that's called). I really think the instrumentation and how everything is working together to make a sort of hypnotic feeling is great. I could almost see this taking you down to hell. The little changes here and there keep the track from becoming stale. It works well in my honest opinion. I also love the vamp section for the dueling keys and guitar and then the dual keys/guitar. Damn! This is fucking spit fire. This really is a well put together instrumental composition. The guitar solo towards the ending is nice and when the track slows down that's also a nice touch but yeah. It's solid and I love the ending, that's a really nice touch. Something different I guess you know. I've said I in this tracks review haven't I.
  5. Icarus' Dream Suite Op. 4: This track finds itself based off Adagio in G minor by Remo Giazotto. Now that being said I really dig this track and its very epic. There is a great laid back and almost heavenly feeling to the beginning of this tune. The keys almost make me wanna say Angelo Badalamenti sounding, though this predated Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks. After that some gorgeous acoustic guitar comes in with some great keys and a nice guitar wailing in the background, but not too overtly. I like when the other instruments come in, and the transitions on this is pretty great to be honest. This track feels like it deserves to be the six minutes it is. I mean I like majority of the track here, but some feel like they might go a bit long for what your getting i guess. This is justified. I really like the sequence in the track also, I mean it kinda takes you out of the song, but I do like it. I also love that guitar and the sort of like multiple guitars playing at the same time transitioning into that being played on electric guitar and a band. This is top notch bru. I do like the distant acoustic guitar sounds on this album a lot, I don't know why but I do. I also like the playful lead that comes in and it just feels fun. This also reminds me a bit of Love to Love by UFO (an all time favorite of mine). 
  6. As Above, So Below: Now this is where I think the album kind of loses some steam. Not in that this is bad, but in that I kinda feel this should end the album. The organ intro would be a great transition into the last track, or to close the album. I mean don't get me wrong I dig this tune and move the harmonies. I also like that Jeff's back, but I feel like this should have finished the album maybe. I really like the vocals on this in the chorus. I mean again Jeff is a bit confusing. I think when he's singing in there are times he doesn't sound like he's hitting the notes but then the long high notes are glorious, and I am chorus is fucking great. I don't know, also I think the sequence here works very well and doesn't take you out of the song. The guitar work and the key work on here is, guess what I'm gonna say...... Top notch. No really, this thing is fucking great. The thing I can't pin down is the vocals though, but I don't think I may ever. Now after that outro I'm kinda checked out. Like that's the most logical outro, for what is presented on the album. 
  7. Little Savage: This should be track 6. I mean yeah I like this song, but after that last track and sitting through the rest of this album I don't see how this enhances or really adds to the album. I mean there's a part of me that loves the slower solo part, but then there's a part that goes, why why why place this after that last song. I mean maybe the solo section is worth it to be here, but place it one track before. I also like the harpsichord, but yeah I like harpsichords so. I also like the keys on this quite a bit, but again at this point in the record there isn't much of a point I guess. I mean the way this ends might have even worked better if the organ followed.
  8. Farwell: I think this would work as an ending track if it sequenced from As Above, So Below. Like the organ maybe ended and the sustain from it carried over into this. Or the acoustic guitar and organ crossed and the organ became the guitar. Or maybe a few seconds of silence to let the organ die off and then you hear the acoustic guitar. Then you get the book closer you wanted Yngwie. Which yes its your first record, so I can't be super mad, but I mean I wish you would have done one of those you know. 
Overall I have to give this album a 8.8/10. My friend Justin (his review here) mentioned he didn't like virtuous-osity-ness shoved down his throat, Here it feels natural, and lacks the cockiness (though has confidence) of his later albums where he doesn't need to change his sound or style or even practice playing. I'd go as far as after Trilogy it goes down hill. This works because it's fresh, then, and well its also kinda fun to hear and maybe try to learn the lead guitar lines, licks and sweeping. Plus these are all memorable, and don't sound exactly alike. It doesn't just have one or two songs that are only revisit-able on an occasion or greatest hits/anthology collection spanning a career, there are multiple songs that should appear one of those. These songs here are all solid enough in their own right, and deserve to be heard. I like this record quite a bit.