Lest You Think I Was Kidding

See? New CD. Most excellent.

Sunday Morning …

Ed. note: “Sunday Morning” has now become Monday morning due to an unforeseen, unfortunate event yesterday morning that put the writer in a state of discontent for a vast majority of the day.

So today, I seemingly have a kidney infection. Nothing too out of control … for some reason, I get these with alarming frequency. And the pain absolutely sucks. Extremely sore lower back, excruciating joints and stuff … it’s probably the least fun anyone could have without actually dying. If any of you out there have had a kidney infection, you know what I mean.  Anyway, since I’m kind of penned up in the house for who knows how long, I thought I’d tackle the stack of new stuff I haven’t written about yet and get these imported into iTunes.

Oh. And I can’t sleep, which is the main reason I’m sitting here.

List.

  • Beak
  • Raveonettes – In and Out of Control
  • Vue – Vue
  • Lois – Strumpet
  • Corder0 – Lamb Lost in the City
  • Heather Duby
  • Heather Duby – Come across the River
  • Of Montreal – The Sunlandic Twins
  • Beth Gibbons and Rustin Man – Out of Season
  • The White Stripes – Under Great White Northern Lights
  • Katherine Whalen’s Jazz Squad
  • Regina Spektor – Soviet Kitsch
  • Plastiscines – LP 1
  • Flyleaf – Memento Mori
  • Von Iva – Girls on Film
  • The Music
  • The Music – Welcome to the North
  • Fang Island
  • Cloudland Canyon – Lie in Light
  • Golden Smog – ANother Fine Day
  • Elf Power – In A Cave

Over the course of the next week, I expect about another 10+ CDs to show up in the mail. Lots of ordering based upon recent purchases. Especially Cordero, Vue, Plastiscenes and The Music.

Of other note, we have tickets to the BNL show in Boise on May 21st. If any of you are going to be there, please let me know! We’d love to meet up with fellow fans.

Same for the Muse and Silversun Pickups show in Utah on April 5th (ONE WEEK TO GO!). Let me know if you’re going!

Barenaked Ladies – All in Good Time

When last we heard from our boys au naturale, they had put together a solid, eventual two-disc set that was both emotive and frolicking. With humourous bits on “… Are Me” such as “Bank Job” and “Bull in a China Shop,” and with such whimiscal, fanciful songs as “Everything had Changed,” we were treated to some fantastic music by a great band.

Then we were treated to an entire new CD in “… Are Men.” Kevin Hearn took the lead with “Serendipity” and “Another Spin,” while Steven page and Ed Robertson took the reigns on pretty much everything else.

In 2009, Steve and the band parted ways. Many among the faithful shuddered in fear for what the future of the band would hold.
Barenaked Ladies are back. To the faithful who endured the wait, wondering with baited breath what would become of the band, the payoff is … well, it’s fan-frickin’-tastic.

Fare thee well, Steven Page. We will miss you.

For the rest of us, please join me in ushering the new era and welcoming the revamped band to the limelight, which they richly deserve.

In Steve’s absence, Jim Creeggan and Kevin Hearn have stepped up to the plate with a force that I really think few doubted. Jim has two tracks and Kevin has 3 on the new, non-bonus track CD. If you’re one of the few who can find the bonus track disc,  you’ll be treated to 1 additional track from each Jim and Kevin.

See my earlier post regarding Kevin and Jim’s side project material. If you have any doubt that they have earned their right to pen at least a couple of Ladies tracks, please find a way to (legally) acquire their material. You won’t regret it.

Now for the CD review …

I could be wrong about this (but I’m probably not), but I’m willing to stake a dinner at Flemings for the entire band that the opening track, “You Run Away,” is a graceful tribute to the departure of Steve. Emotionally charged with lyrics like, “You turn and run away from me. I’ll give you something to cry about. One thing you should try out: hold a mirror shoulder high, when you’re older, look you in the eye.”

To say that it is blatently transparent is akin to saying something like “an elephant is large and gray.” You can actually hear the pain in Ed’s voice as he laments the loss of his long-time band mate and friend. Tremulous and shaky at times, traumatic and tortured, the band gives us a brief glimpse into the hell the band went through.

As the CD progresses, it’s evident that the band went to great lengths to maintain an air of familiarity so as not to alienate its original fan base, but at the same time they have taken on the daunting challenge of making a CD that’s different than anything they’ve done previously. With tracks like “Summertime” that has a rather heavy guitar riff (well, okay … heavy for them), though complimented with synth and keyboards from Kevin that help guide the fan back the the comfort of the old while experimenting with the new. Jim and Tyler provide some really fantastic back-up vocals. “So bundle up and hunker down. Here it comes again, just one more round. See you on the other side. Mercury falls, so how do we make it through the days? How do we not give in and bottom out? well you have to understand that soon enough you’ll wake  up from such a daze thanks to all the many ways we’re all pushing through for summertime.”

Track 3 is Kevin’s first song: “Another Heartbreak.” There’s something about his voice that is just so … different. Airy and light, moody and soothing, he navigates his way through they lyrics. “Now here you stand in front of me in all your complexity that I’ve mistaken for simplicty.” Again with the heavier guitars, but this time they’re in the background as Kevin pounds away on the keyboard.

“Four Seconds” is like nothing they’ve ever done.  It kind of reminds me of a creepy mix of “One Week” and “For You.” I can’t even keep up with the lyrics. “I’ve been away for years and a day. You’d be thinking I’d be lonely, but I’m not here to stay. Wouldn’t have it any other way.” The best part of this song is the prominent vocals of none other than Tyler Stewart. What a rare treat. “One Missississippi, two Missississippi, three Missississippi, Foooouurr …”

They played this song at their show at The Depot back in December. I remember thinking at the time that I couldn’t wait to hear it on the CD. That has not changed one bit. It’s just so funky. And DIFFERENT. This one has radio potential written all over it. It’s short, too: less than 3 minutes.

Jim gets the nod on track 5, “On the Lookout.” I love how this kind of has a 70s vibe to it. The use of strings completely makes the song. The other 3 band members take point on harmonizing. “This all will pass, just like us. Just like this thought. Don’t miss this; we’ve only got one shot.”

Like always, I don’t want to go through and review the entire CD. I just want to give you an idea of what you can expect when you play this for yourself. My personal opinion is that, if you like BNL in the past, this CD will amaze you. If you haven’t liked BNL in the past, well … I can’t help you there. This CD, on the other hand, can and will.

Dangerous Amazon One-Click

Yah … so, I got a copy of Barenaked Ladies’ new CD, All in Good Time. I’m not going to sugar-coat it; I actively went out and looked for it on various torrent sites. I don’t have a problem with this because I plan on getting it first thing Tuesday morning before I even come to work, unless crappy Walmart doesn’t have the bonus track disc, in which case I’ll look elsewhere later in the day. We’ll see.

Anyway, so I was listening to that CD this morning in the car (the review of which is forthcoming). It got me thinking about the other band members’ contributions to this CD. Kevin Hearn and Jim Creeggan both have other projects: Thin Buckle and Creeggan Brothers respectively. Both have multiple CDs to their credit aside from their joint offerings with the Ladies. I, being the music junkie that I am and thoroughly enjoying their scant songs over BNL’s previous releases, finally decided to get their solo stuff.

All of it. At once.

Curse you, one-click button. Curse you.

Granted, it took 7 or 8 times of gently touching that button (iPhone … not a lot of pressure needed at all), but you get my point. I ordered both of their back catalogs in their entirety, if Amazon’s listings are to be believed.

The really dangerous part is the fact that all this was accomplished between home and work, driving in traffic and construction. Dumb, yes … I know. Would I do it again? Probably. I’m a cautious driver (“says the guy buying stuff left and right while he’s barreling down the highway at 65+ MPH …”). I check my mirrors, I look around me, I keep my speed relatively in check … hey, not one accident in over 22 years of driving, so say what you want.

Anyway, just thought i’d

New Music: Saturday and Mail Edition

So I took my daughter to Graywhale on Saturday. What a joke that day was. I tried finding ONE copy of “Princess and the Frog” for my kids. I ended up buying it 4 times, two of which were the 3-disc blu-ray version. One of the single-disc versions which went back to a store, the return on which I actually made $10. Don’t ask how … I’m not even what happened. All I know is that I got back $10 more than I paid. It was really weird.

Anyway, the reason for going to Graywhale was an attempt to return one of the blu-ray3-disc copies. I definitely did not need two, so I figured I’d just take it back. Unbeknownst to me, they have a no-cash-return policy, and offer in-store credit. So I figured, “Well, I might as well peruse their CDs while I’m here.” Yah. Try that with a 4-year old hyper child.

I managed to escape with some good stuff though.

  • Sigur Ros – Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust
  • Sigur Ros  – (  )
  • Dioramic – Technicolor
  • Silversun Pickups  – Carnavas

Not a bad haul. Then in the mail, I got some more!

  • Foma – Phobos
  • Foma – Ice Caves
  • Great Northern – Trading Twilight for Daylight

There’s more coming in the mail.

So, here’s what happens. I go to … wherever. I get new music. I bring it home, listen to it, and if it’s *really* good, I’ll hop on Amazon and see who has what. Sure enough, most artists have a whole catalog of stuff, most of which can be had for pennies plus shipping.

Such is the case with artists like Great Northern. I picked up their “Sleepy Eepee” at Gray Whale a few weeks back. The guy at the counter kept raving about them, so I figured they’d have to be worth a shot.

Come to find out, they’re really awesome. Solon Bixler, former 30 Seconds to Mars guitarist, is the band’s male vocal frontman. Rachel Stolte is the female singer. The two of them together create some really ethereal, atmostpheric vocals that really mixes with with the strings, drums, guitar and piano. Rachel’s voice is vaguely similar to Scarlett Johannson’s.

Anyway, highly recommend them. Much goodness is to be had.

New Music Friday … on FRIDAY

HOLY haul. I swear, I don’t get how more people aren’t raiding Graywhale. Such an amazing collection of music. What is the matter with you people?!

So I was on the second floor, raiding the indie section, as often I am wont to do on my Friday lunch break. Over the in-house stereo, I hear this voice that sounds like the chick from Bat for Lashes. I ask the guy at the counter who it is. “Yah … umm, this is Portishead.” Now … granted it’s been a while since I’ve listened to them, and I do enjoy Beth Gibbon’s voice, but … really? It didn’t sound like anything of theirs that I have. “Is this their new CD?”

“No, it’s like their second or something.”

“Really! I have most of their stuff, but this doesn’t sound familiar.”

“Yah … you should check it out.”

So I grab my stack and head down stairs to pay. As always, the guy at the counter and I banter about what CDs I’m getting. Invariably, he’s heard of and listened to almost all of them. Luckyyyy (it’s hard to impersonate a “Napoleon” voice while typing, ya know?). Anyway, he was ecstatic that I picked up Saharah Hotnight’s Jennie Bomb CD. “Dude. These guys totally owned when they opened for the Hives. You’ll love ’em.” Sure enough, very cool Swedish chick band. That’s hard to not like. Not to mention they have  a vibe very reminiscent of Juliette and the Licks. Again, hard not to like, right?

Upstairs guy comes down and says, “Hey, do you want that Portishead CD?”

“Sure. Why not?”

So he goes and gets it. Sure enough, it is indeed “3,” which they released in 2008. Downstairs behind the counter guy says that he heard that they’re working on new music, too. Much awesome-sauce! According to some articles, we can expect new P music in the last part of 2010. *Happy dance*

So here’s the list for today.

  • Portishead – Third
  • Cordero –  En Este Momento (really excited to listen to this one)
  • All Smiles – Ten Readings of a Warning
  • The Appleseed Cast – Two Conversations
  • Saint Etienne – Finisterre
  • Sahara Hotnights – Jennie Bomb
  • CIAM – Anonymous
  • Beep Beep – Business Casual
  • Bettie Serveert – Dust Bunnies
  • Blue-Eyed Son – West of Lincoln
  • Books about UFOs – Let the Bridges Ignite (local Utah band!)
  • The Beautiful Confusion
  • Land of Talk – Applause Cheer Boo Hiss
  • Layton – Grand Design (no, not a Utah band)
  • Heloise and the Savoir Faire – Trash, Rats and Microphones
  • Heather Duby – Post to Wire

See what I mean? AMAZING list. I also picked up the new “The Princess and the Frog” blu-ray for my girls, which has most excellent music by Randy Newman.

So there ya go. Can’t wait to dive into this stuff. I have a lot of Bettie Serveert already, so I’m sure that’ll be cool.

Funny Work Place Convo

So, my buddy Howard and I were chatting over our inter-office chat doohickey. Noticing the time, I realized how much I still have to get done (yet here I am, taking time to post a new blog entry).

Conversation:

Chris: okay,  i *must* get this crap done

Chris: refocusing …

Howard: k

Howard: gl

Chris: yah … thanks.  i’m going to need it

Chris:   🙂

Howard: np mp glot

Chris: dude

Chris: that looks like a sigur ros song

Poor guy had no clue what I meant. 

It looks like Sigur Ros “lyrics” to me, anyway.

New Music Friday, Bought on Saturday, Ripped Sunday, for Monday …

Yah. That title even confuses me.

So I got some new stuff on Saturday. EXCELLENT stuff, too. I’m telling you … my methods are fool-proof. Check out the list.

  • Audrye Sessions – Self-titled
  • Apollo Sunshine – Shall Noise Upon
  • Clinic – Walking With Thee
  • The Dead Trees – King of Rosa
  • Dizmas – On a Search in America
  • Division Day – BearTrap Island
  • The Rocking Horse Winner – Horizon
  • Pronto – All Is Golden
  • Pony Up – Make Love to the Judges with Your Eyes
  • Persephone’s Bees – Notes from the Underworld
  • Neva Dinova – The Hate Yourself Change
  • Van She – EP
  • Straylight Run – Straylight Run
  • Earlimart – Hymns and Hers
  • The Elected – Sun Sun Sun
  • Goldspot – Tall of the Yes Men
  • Dragonette – Galore

Count ’em … 18 CDs for about $60. And this stuff rocks. This stuff all got ripped and loaded Sunday morning before we went to my sister in law’s house for her birthday. My wife commented on the Audrye Sessions CD, which, for being on random, got a lot of airplay. Weird. She liked everything she heard of theirs though, which is awesome.

Far and away, the most interesting cover was the Dragonette CD. Glossy pink and black. It looked like a vinyl purse, for all intents and purposes. And I mean *glossy*. It’s like someone took shellack to the jewel case insert. The two songs of theirs I sampled while ripping were cool. Kind of electronica with a twist of angry female pop. Not bad.

More later. Just thought I’d share the good news.

a-HA!

There are some bands that you just never out-grow. They stay with you for life. Regardless of what others may think, you stay true to your bands for whatever reason.

So it is with a-ha and me. One of the first tapes I bought was their Hunting High and Low release from 1985. Really, I only bought it for “The Sun Always Shines on TV,” but I quickly started listening to the whole thing.

Because I enjoyed their first offering so much, when Scoundrel Days was released in 1986, I figured it had to be pretty good, so why not give it a shot. On the strength of HHaL and their first single from SD (“Cry Wolf”), I went to my local music store and bought it. Same style of typical 80s synth-pop, but SD seemed to have a different feel to it. I don’t know … maybe “meloncholy” is the right word. It’s a great listen.

Time marched on, I started listening to different music, like Van Halen, The Cult, Rush, Led Zeppelin … stuff like that. Meanwhile, Norway’s best-kept musical offering kept marching on. They released Stay on These Road, East of the Sun West of the Moon, and Memorial Beach between 1988 and 1993. I had known about SoTR, but I never picked it up. Not even recording the newest Bond film title track (“The Living Daylights”) got me to purchase it.

My roommate in college and now brother in law has been into them for a number of  years. Through him, I actually discovered that they had 3 additional CDs between 2000 and 2005 –  Minor Earth Major Sky, Lifelines and Analogue respectively. I tried listening to all 3 of them. Not bad recordings … just not my cup of tea. My problem with them was that I wanted them to sound like 1985. That doesn’t work.

Until they released Foot of the Mountain last year. A full return to their original synth-pop roots. And it totally works. The first track on their newest CD, “The Bandstand,” has a great keyboard sound to it. Extremely catchy, easy to hum and remember. But in the background is layered some subtle bass lines that keep the track flowing nicely. There are also some strings that I’m sure are born of another midi keyboard, but whatever. The drums sound processed as well, if not programmed. Again, whatever.

The amazing thing to me is that Morton (lead singer), sounds the same now as he did 25 years ago. If you mixed tracks from HHaL with FotM, you’d be hard pressed to separate which tracks are from which CD without prior knowledge. It’s really impressive.

Saturday Morning Rip Session

So, I’m finally getting around to ripping all the music I bought 3 Fridays ago. I’ve sampled songs from The Happies, Inkwell, Josephine Foster, and Foma. Again, not a let-down amongst them.

A friend of mine was right about The Happies … they’re a great local band. Well, local to me, anyway. Used to be local to her. Anyway, as I typically do with music that I like, I tried finding more of their recordings. Either there are other bands with the same name, or they’re pretty diverse. Based on the fact that their label only has If I Were Really Here listed as their only CD, I’m guessing these guys are a completely different band. Interesting …

Anyway, on with the ripping!

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