Friday, December 25, 2009
1. christmas song
2. christmas song revisited
3. christmas song, pt. iii
4. the sun is so bright...
5. falling stars
6. paper doves
7. voices in the air
8. on the bridge
9. sleep now.../lord can you hear me
running time= 52 minutes
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
1. 'the call'- zaza- cameo 12"
2. 'when i'm gone'- vivian girls- everything goes wrong
3. 'the midnight sun'- the warlocks- the mirror explodes
4. 'destroyed fortress reappears'- thee oh sees- help
5. 'the serious matter'- brian jonestown massacre- smoking acid
6. 'love is a wave'- crystal stilts- love is a wave 7"
7. 'hellhole ratrace'- girls- hellhole ratrace 10"
8. 'circulation'- deerhunter- rainwater cassette exchange
9. 'troubled, shaken, etc.'- sian alice group- troubled, shaken, etc.
10. 'middle cyclone'- neko case- middle cyclone
11. 'foreground'- grizzly bear- veckatimest
12. 'i hear the vibrations'- wooden shjips- contact 12"
13. 'walking & falling'/'over & over'- spectrum- war sucks 12"
14. 'wine'- the raveonettes- in and out of control
15. 'sweet come down'- the black ryder- buy the ticket, take the ride
16. 'satellite'- hope sandoval & the warm inventions- through the devil softly
most of my favourite tracks came from eps, 12"es and 7"es as you can see from this list. wooden shjips managed to outdo their own full-length release 'dos' with the two tracks that make up the beautiful 'contact' 12". the 'war sucks' ep would've made the list if it hadn't been an ep. an ep with only 4 tracks does not an album make. i've included 'walking & falling' and 'over & over' because personally i can't seperate the two and refuse to do so. i didn't think much of 'rainwater cassette exchange' until fairly recently- it's problem for me had been that every single song on it was equally amazing. it was tough to pick one track for this to be honest and there are only five tracks. the greatest shame about the new raveonettes album is 'wine'- because it's so fantastic and beautiful and the rest of the album is so pandering and a bit too eager to please. i wanted to put 'troubled, shaken etc.' and 'everything goes wrong' on my top five, but there were just other records that i bought that i listened to a lot more. lastly, i have wanted to buy 'album' by girls, but after buying the 'lust for life' single and being TOTALLY underwhelmed by it i figured i should skip it and just enjoy that first, brilliant 10". it's a shame they can't stick with the styles and possibilities posed by those two tracks and instead are opting for the bone-headed jangly fluff that is 'lust for life' and 'life in san francisco.' i'm sorry but 'i wish i had a pizza and a bottle of wine' just makes me bristle completely. well, that's all from me. stay tuned for the 'christmas suite' video. it's 2/3rds of the way done.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
1. thee oh sees- 'help'
holy crap is this a fantastic record! the only oh sees record that i would've rather put up here in its place is 'thee hounds of foggy notion', but it was released last year. how does jon dwyer manage to craft so many cohesive and well-crafted records full of great songs in such a short amount of time? is his reserve well that deep? i'm on pins and needles to hear 'warm slime' next year- if you don't know what i mean try and pick up a copy of the 'blood in your ear' 7"- they still have a few left at permanent records i believe. if not then you could troll around on ebay and try to get it that way or go to http://ongakubaka.blogspot.com/2009/11/thee-oh-sees-blood-in-your-ear-bw.html (this is where i've gotten downloads of all of their hard-to-find stuff).
2. hope sandoval and the warm inventions- 'through the devil softly'
one of my favourite things about this record is how it appeared so suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere after an eight-year gap between this and the breath-taking 'bavarian fruit bread.' somehow this record manages to sound similar to 'bavarian fruit bread' while also building on its brilliance in a way that's done so subtly in so many different ways that i wouldn't even begin to explain how it's different. anyone who has one of those sublime bootlegs from the last mazzy star european tour back in 2000 will recognize the heavily-delayed bass line from 'for the rest of your life.' now if the stupid record company could just cough up the vinyl version already i'd be happy to lay down some money and finally pay for this excellent release! (actually i've bought this release officially- i bought the cd as a gift for my dad)
3. neko case- 'middle cyclone'
yes, it's true that i have it bad for neko case. there are myriad reasons for this but truth be told i would have it bad for her just from hearing her music- this album and 'fox confessor...' especially. i'm not going to wax philosophical about her voice because it's been done to death. this record is an underscore to her unique talents as a songwriter as well as an arranger. all of these elements crystallise into a mass of hissy-analog-recorded warmth here in such an amazing way that it becomes an addition to what i like to call 'down comforter albums.' once it has you in its grasp it's difficult to get out because the music wraps you up in so much warmth that it's difficult to pull yourself out of because you're so warm, happy and comfortable in its arms. that said i don't think that this album is quite as strong as an album as 'fox confessor brings the flood'- but 'fox confessor...' is also the most cohesive album that anyone's made in a really long time- as in it's songs are threaded together carefully with a common thread that doesn't weigh the songs down with its own important-ness. that's going to be a tough nut to crack. probably impossible. that said this album is amazing.
4. the warlocks- 'the mirror explodes'
i got a bit cavalier listening to this for the first time. it arrived in my inbox from teepee records for some reason. apparently they believe i am some kind of music journalist and they sent me a free download of the album and i was powerless to resist it being dropped into my lap about a month before its release. i did write a review. i did send it out. it did not get published. i also ended up pre-ordering it on vinyl. upon the first listen it didn't seem that special- i think that only about three tracks leaped out at me. i'd already heard 'red camera' a jillion times because i had heard the demo on their myspace back in 2006, bought the 7" (which has a live version recorded by the 'surgery'-era group at kexp) and then heard the new version when they premiered it. it wasn't until i was driving to the spectrum show at the darkroom in april that i got it. the record sounded so GREAT blasting out of those car stereo speakers. the impression the album left stuck with me more than the rather rote and lackluster live set played by pete kember and his band that night (i ended up leaving after they played 'when tomorrow hits'). read the review that pretty much says it all. also- this is one of the saddest cases of a brilliant band who will never get their due that i've ever seen.
5. grizzly bear- 'veckatimest'
i almost didn't want to put this in the top-five given the grizzly bear fever-pitched hype that's going on as we speak. i also don't like this album quite as much as 'yellow house'- it's definitely leaning more towards the poppy side of things than that one was. even given all of this i listened to this album a TON this year and it has some songs on it that i absolutely love. plus the arrangements are still way on the weird side. i did skip out on their show at the metro despite having tickets- it was sold out, the line was full of pitchfork-reading hipster-types (who are REALLY annoying to be stuck in sold-out shows with- holy shit kids, grow a brain) and i'd just seen them at pitchfork festival a few months earlier (i enjoyed it a lot despite being in the talking section). i hold to my stance that grizzly bear are much more worthy of their hype than animal collective will ever be (the frenzy surrounding animal collective continues to confound and annoy me to this second). 'foreground' is one of the best songs they've ever done, 'all we ask' is about as sublimely weird of a pop-song as one could ask for, side two (yeah, i've got it on vinyl) is mesmerizing and the whole thing just has a beautiful flow as an album (which actually is one advantage it holds over 'yellow house'- which sags under the weight of its own sleepy weirdness from after 'knife' until before 'marla').
a few honorable mentions that i almost put in the #5 slot-
the black ryder- 'buy the ticket, take the ride'
i'm listening to this right now, actually and have listened to it about two-thousand times since it came in the mail this week all the way from australia. all-in-all i think this is a fantastic debut- the band arrives in the world almost fully-formed. almost. i feel like the less ponderously-shoegaze-y tracks are the ones that work the best- 'sweet come down,' 'the greatest fall,' (this track reminds me of what a raveonettes songs should be- i can't help but wish that 'in and out of control' had turned out as well as this song) 'outside' (churning warlocks-esque drone done beautifully) and 'what's forsaken' (that spacemen 3 tornado-wah-wah effect is fantastically done here as are the vocals). 'burn & fade' and 'rise' work beautifully as a closing couplet as well. one thing is for sure- the morning after girls should've kept these two on board and accepted their contributions- 'alone.' might've made this list if they had. on the other hand it's clear that aimee nash deserves to have her voice HEARD. and a lot. as a footnote this record works best as a headphones album- for some reason i don't enjoy hearing it come out of speakers anywhere near as much as i do through headphones. it seems that the loud shoegaze-y stuff would really shine that way, but it just works better through headphones.
the duchess and the duke- 'sunset/sunrise'
i still don't own this record, so i couldn't put it in my top five because i haven't had the time to fully dissect it. i've only heard it mostly at work played by two of my co-workers. one of them maintains that the first duchess and the duke album is probably better, but i am loving the more fully fleshed-out arrangements on this one. this is a relative term as, even with more instrumental variety over each of the tracks they still retain their sparseness- the violins, organs and tambourines tend to actually enhance the sparse, intimate nature of the songs causing the melodies to leap from the recording and hang in the air. i'm ashamed to say that i will probably end up buying this one for myself before christmas... it's okay though- no one even knew that i wanted it. not even me until about two days ago.
i have a lot to do today, and yet i'm still sitting here whiling the hours away at metropolis. listening to the hope sandoval show and dicking around on facebook. yipes. i was invited to join some sme group and found some people i haven't heard from in AGES- namely my best friend from grade school and middle school who i lost touch with once i started hanging out with mike and billy. kinda sad, but it happens a lot. people kind of suck in that they'll just kind of become wrapped up in whatever bunch of people are around them at any given time (yup, i'm one of the ones that sucks in that generalisation). i think he's a professor at ku now and married as well. we're at the age now where practically everyone is married. stefanie and i are no longer special. right now seems to be the era of people around us getting married left and right. super-weird to watch. i'm kind of enjoying it because it makes us look like veterans and people ask us for advice. we don't know what to tell them, but it's still fun.
as far as the work i have to do- i have finish 'christmas song'- i had to record over the 6-string basses in that song in order to have a functioning input to record katelyn's violin part on. kind of a bummer because if i'd just been able to get all three of them together at the same time this problem could've been avoided and it would've been done last week without much fanfare. bummah! the 5th input keeps doing this REALLY fucking annoying thing where it gets demagnetized slightly causing this odd tremolo-like effect. so now the strings are on and i have to figure out a way to get the 6-string bass back on and also duplicate the guitar track. i also have to figure out if it's possible to do all of this AND keep the guide guitar track. i've developed a tradition of trying to keep it in if i can because i've found it makes it possible to make some very nice bare-bones mixes that i've been calling 'strings mix'es. i think they'd be nice little tidbits for the future. i also was able to keep the original guide tracks intact for a few 'down to sleep' songs- a few of which have the guide vocal track as well- the first piece of the puzzle. it's very difficult to do this on the 8-track cassette machine. urgh. because of this when i practiced with katelyn on tuesday night it doubled her time at our apartment- which i felt terrible about. we did the track about five or six times. not normal for me.
i struck upon a nice idea for the 'christmas suite' single- i thought it would be cool to go ahead and make a video for 'pale' as well so that i could string the four of them together and make a dvd- which would be the perfect way to package it and sell it at shows. i wanted a double 7-inch originally, but since that costs just as much as a 12-inch it became apparent early on that that wasn't the way to go with money being as tight as it is right now. i then thought it would be better to just make cdrs of it for sale on tour, but this will be much better. i was going to go ahead and just burn them at home. i still haven't tried to use idvd on the new laptop, but i think it'll be good.
i also think that my top five records of the year list is all done as well now too. all the results are in folks! it was actually a bit difficult to figure out five of the best out of all of the stuff that i bought this year. i bought more new music than i normally do- there are a few i missed.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
i just deleted a massive out-pouring entry that can be summed up with this phrase- managers can't be friends with their employees. it just doesn't work.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
the great remastering project has been put on the back-burner. i think that my old shows sound too crappy to bother with. i tried to fix the first hope sandoval show that i taped and it didn't work. the version that i've got on my ipod right now sounds better- and that isn't saying much. i wish i'd sprung for a better microphone back then. crap! i guess it's not the end of the world, just a bit of a bummer. i'm going to have to try and trade someone for a better-sounding show.
it finally snowed today- i'm so ready for a long, cold winter. i'm looking forward to it in fact. i don't enjoy all of the whining (seriously people if it's that miserable for you just fuck off and move to california already), but winter's always been my favourite time of year. always. love it! while i liked the winter-time in portland it was nice to get back to the midwest where they have a REAL winter!
stefanie's parents are coming into town tonight- kind of dreading it a bit. mainly i'm just dreading all of the riding of the train that will be involved. they are staying wayyyyy down off of the roosevelt stop and every time we go walking around with them they ask us to ride the train back to their hotel with them and then we have to ride it alllll the way back home. it takes ages. stefanie has a really huge, packed itinerary too so it'll be a ton of bouncing around from place to place. it'd be nice if they'd spring for a cab every once in a while, but they never do. naturally i have no money right now- i wouldn't have a problem doing the springing.
we're having the first practice for the string players on saturday for the upcoming radio set. i'm always enjoying practicing with them and adding more songs to the repertoire. it's getting to the point where there are songs that we don't have to practice at all with them and the amount of those songs is growing which is just going to make playing shows with them easier and easier which encourages me to have them play more and more. i'm trying to get a show going at the empty bottle in the new year and usually i just want to do empty bottle shows as just stefanie and i but now i think i want to bring the string players along. i see little point in playing any shows where they aren't involved. they're game, so why not?
i'm going to wrap this entry up and then post the remaster of the hope sandoval recording- which sounds loads better than the previous version. plus someone let me know that the flacs in the original post were corrupted. bummer!