Frissonic Is on Facebook!

That’s right. We’ve taken the next step. Don’t see why not, right?

Wanna check it out? Feel free. I’m also gonna try to add some widgety code stuff to this site to link back to Facebook. We’ll see how that works. I’m betting it doesn’t. 🙂

Bronchitis. Hence the no-post Sunday. Kind of irritates me cuz I had a sweet streak going. Oh well. Just have to post more later.

Sorry if this post is lame. Probably is, being that I’m all under the weather like. So it’s off to bed. Hopefully, tomorrow will be a better day.

Review: Gypsy Death and You – e.p. no. 1

Well, it showed up today. I’ve ordered and won literally hundreds of CDs over the last month. Far and away, this has been the most anticipated one. I have, in my hands, the first EP from Gypsy Death and You. That’s THE BAND–not the song by The Kills.

This is why I’m a big fan of sites like Feed the Muse and Kickstarter. These guys *need* a site like that, if they don’t already have one. If they do, I’m not aware of it, but a search of both those sites reveals nothing, so … hmm.

First off, a big thanks to the band for sending this. I couldn’t imagine working or communicating with a nicer couple.

Gypsy Death and You are Alex Wilson and Emily Cahill. They’re from the Philadelphia area. If they’re any indication of the music scene in Philly, then the City of Brotherly Love is in most excellent musical hands.

The overall sound is amazing,–very raw and un-refined. I consider this to be a beautiful, beautiful thing. Here’s why.

What you hear is what you get. This music is precisely what you would hear if they decided to drop by and perform an impromptu concert in your front yard. It sounds like there is very little, if any, processing or “cleansing.” It’s real. There’s nothing other than the instruments and the band. In baking, raw, unrefined sugar is preferred to processed, white, refined sugar. Unrefined sugar has nutritional properties that are flat-out missing in refined sugars. Processed sugar is useless. I feel the same would be true if GDaY were to run their sound through a bunch of “refinement.” Their energy comes through with all the nuance and precision of a seasoned band, yet this is just their first EP. They’re not bogged down with all the baggage of someone like Bob Rock mucking up their sound (think what Metallica *could* have been if he hadn’t produced the black album. I’m just saying.)

The only exception to this is the beginning of “Capitol Jump,” where the intro is this wonderfully cacophonous noise barrage, filled with pounding drums, raging guitars, and a mix that leaves you shocked when they move beyond. They grab you with this infectious “Ah-ah-ah-ahhhh-ahhhh …” I like. A lot. Then we’re treated to the only song on the EP where Alex performs the primary vocals. On ReverbNation, they’ve uploaded a new version that has a more harmonic intro. Personally, I like the original! At least, I think that’s the original intro. Actually, I don’t know which is new version. Guess I should find out!

UPDATE: Boy was I wrong. I had it backwards. The ReverbNation version is the original. The one on the EP is the newer version. So, to be clear, prefer the newer, love the older. Capiche?

“Smile” has a very 80’s sounding, Molly Ringwald flavor to it. Odd, cuz as far as I know, she has never released a CD in her life. I don’t know if it’s Emily’s vocals or what, but the first thing I thought of when I heard this song was “Pretty in Pink.” I have no idea why. And it’s catchy. “A smile on you is a smile on me.”

The thing I like about “Sound of the Sun” is the tempo. For some reason, this strikes me as a very Lush sound to the music with a Kim Deal (though muffled through the distortion of the guitars) quality to the vocals, all the while maintaining their own sound.

If you’re a fan of The Jesus and Mary Chain, you’ll love their cover of “Something I Can’t Have.” It sounds like they’ve taken it up an octave to play to Emily’s vocal strengths, and it comes off with an awesome vibe.

In a nutshell, I *highly* recommend finding a way to pick up their CD. They’re good, they’re talented, they have more going on upstairs than most bands. They’re young, they’re inspired, and they have the potential to be around for long, long time.

There is just one small, tiny little nagging issue: the lack of availability. These guys deserve to have their music dispersed through some place like iTunes or Amazon … somewhere. They should be getting paid for their music. I don’t want to see them become another “flash in the pan,” you know?! They sent me the CD on their dime, even though I requested a PayPal address to help fund them. Were they to put their music on iTunes, I would buy it just to support them because they deserve it.

Emily, Alex … if you’re reading this, ya gotta get this out there. You are not just some other band. Your music is danceable. It’s at once up-beat and introspective. This has stratospheric potential. I’m begging you … do not quit. Do not give up. Put it on iTunes! Why not?! I can almost guarantee you you’ll have at least a favorable reviews.

Again, I want to thank these guys for the CD. I’m glad to have it, and I can’t wait to hear what else these guys come up with.

Facebook page

Muxtape page

Interview with NWSHoegazing.com

That is all.

In Honor of the Fallen

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the space shuttle Challenger’s final ascent into the heavens. With her, she took Christa McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis, Judy Resnik, Dick Scobee, Ronald McNair, Michael Smith and Ellison Onizuka on their final flight. 73 seconds into the launch, an O-ring on one of the solid rocket boosters failed, causing an explosion that destroyed the shuttle.

To those who have served in the space program, I thank you. To those who have lost loved ones to the space program disasters, I thank you for sharing your family, your friend, with us who have so much to gain from the furthering of science and education.

These 7 died in a tragic accident that sure, probably could have been avoided. But in their memory, children from around the country–probably from around the world–have taken up the mantle and have made their career choices early on. Astronauts. Scientists. Doctors. Discoverers. Some of the children who sat in classrooms 25 years ago are the pioneers into new fields of study that weren’t even around in the mid-80s. It’s possible–probable–that those children derived part of their fire and desire from “the seven.”

In honor of the fallen, I choose to remember the shuttle program with this offering from the band Rush, who were privilegdged enough to be in attendance at the first launch. Read the words. Feel them. This was the inaugural flight into a whole new era of education and understanding of space.

Here are the lyrics.

Lit up with anticipation
We arrive at the launching site
The sky is still dark, nearing dawn
On the Florida coastline

Circling choppers slash the night
With roving searchlight beams
This magic day when super-science
Mingles with the bright stuff of dreams

Floodlit in the hazy distance
The star of this unearthly show
Venting vapours, like the breath
Of a sleeping white dragon

Crackling speakers, voices tense
Resume the final count
All systems check, T minus nine
As the sun and the drama start to mount

The air is charged
A humid, motionless mass
The crowds and the cameras
The cars full of spectators pass
Excitement so thick you could cut it with a knife
Technology…high, on the leading edge of life

The earth beneath us starts to tremble
With the spreading of a low black cloud
A thunderous roar shakes the air
Like the whole world exploding

Scorching blast of golden fire
As it slowly leaves the ground
Tears away with a mighty force
The air is shattered by the awesome sound

Like a pillar of cloud
The smoke lingers high in the air
In fascination
With the eyes of the world
We stare…

 Again, a million thank yous to “the seven.” And to EVERYONE who stands up for education, science, and the determination to learn from the past and look to the future.

Take Down the Pimp RIAA!

Okay, I know that sounds a bit melodramatic, but it’s still how I feel, so … I’m leaving it.

My original intent was to write about how it seems like more and more artists are wising up and ditching the standard recording industry method of marketing and distribution for the *much* more up-to-date, modern, intelligent model of DIY distribution and funding.

Marissa Nadler and Samantha Crain are my first two examples. Here we have two amazing artists who want desperately to record music. AND THEY SHOULD. Have you heard these two?! No? Stop what you’re doing. Go to iTunes, Amazon, or wherever you buy your music. Sample their stuff. You’ll be hooked. I promise.

Anyway, these two need your support to record their music. They work hard for their art, and they deserve to be compensated. NOT the RIAA, not some label who will take their talent and rape them repatedly with some pathetic contract that will promise them pennies on the dollar. No–they made the music, they should get the royalties. Long gone are the days where a CD is the required method of distribution. iTunes has gone so far beyond the point of being a good example that I barely feel comfortable using them as an example. PEOPLE WILL PAY FOR THE MUSIC THEY WANT.

And therein lies the rub. How can you get people to want to buy music in an age where freebie sites are literally everywhere? Torrent sites are rampant. Why would someone willingly hand over cash for something that they could probably google and grab for free?

Exhibit A: Marissa Nadler’s site.

Pledge $100 or more

Dying Breeds: Autographed CD and vinyl LP, Digital Download, T-shirt, the never-before-released “Ivy and the Clovers” album on CD, and 4 tickets to a show of your choice.

Did you catch that? 4 tickets to ANY SHOW. ANYWHERE. Now … I’m guessing that if you live in L.A. and you want to see a show in the Catskills, you’re gonna have to pony up the airfare. Or bus. Train. Whatever. You will need to get there yourself. I’m okay with that! Let’s say you live in Denver and the show is in Salt Lake. Plan a road trip! Or if you’re lucky enough to have her come to your city, then you are in *such* luck.

Some of the upper-tier pledge amounts are steep, but hey … free concert? in your home? Yah. That’s worth some big cash. I’d totally do that if had a spare $3500. Not surprisingly, no one has taken her up on that one. Yet.

Exhibit A1. This article. My favorites are the paragraphs about Josh Freese and Moldover. Actually, once you get past the Reznor and Freese portions, it goes in to some amazing stories about others who have used this exact same method. AND this article was written over a year ago. In internet terms, that’s like … 300 years in real time. Or something.

Exhibit B. Samantha Crain.

Similar to Marissa Nadler though not quite on as grand a scale, there are various donation options. $10 gets you a hand-typed note. Nothing big, I guess, other than the fact that you get warm fuzzies for supporting a beautiful musician. Upwards of $75 gets you a song-ette. Now … what I want to know is if that song-ette is specifically written for you, or if it’s just a canned mini-song that says a generic “thanks for your big donation.” If it’s tailored to the person, I’m *ALL* for dropping the money for that. That’s rare, and it’s something NO ONE else will have. To me, that’s worth the money. I’d pay for that. But that might just be me.

So here it is. We’re not even in the age of digital downloads anymore. We’ve past the “free music” era and have moved into the “i’m buying this because I’m getting something rare and unique.” It’s kind of a self-serving notion, but ya know what? We’re gonna buy into this because that’s human nature. We want what others don’t have. We want to have something to call our own. And if that’s a shirt out of Josh Freese’s closet, or a hand-made PCB with light-sensitive noise making CD covers, or a personal concert in your living room, we *want* something unique. We desire to set ourselves apart from others by claiming the right to say, “Hey … someone sent me a personalized song,” or something along those lines. I know I do!

If a CD Disappears from a Band’s Website, Did It Ever Really Exist?

Today is my birthday. Hooray me.

It is also Wayne Gretzky’s birthday. He’s infinitely more cool than I could ever hope to be. I mean, hi … he’s The Great One. And for a good reason. Oddly, I didn’t know that he and I share the same birthday until today. Also, I assumed he was lightyears older than I am. Not quite so.

I *did* know that I share this special “dia do nascimento” (as say the Portuguese. And Brazilians.) with one Edward Van Halen. Yes–the very same. The guitar viruoso that brought tapping to the forefront. He of “Eruption” fame. Eddie. The chants were deafening. I only got to see him twice, both in support of their For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge CD. For all of you with sensitve eyes, don’t try to make an acronym out of that. You’ll probably cry.

The first time I saw Van Halen was in August of 1991. My buddies Eric, Steve, and Jeff  and I all drove from western New York to Akron Ohio to see them at the beautiful Blossom Music Center. Opening for them was this long-haired, weird sounding freak show that only seemed interested in swinging their heads of long hair around such that their mops would flail around in circles. It looked ridiculous. Oh. And the lead singer? Just sat on a stool. Well, bar stool. Not poop. But yah. Just sat there, wearing sunglasses and sporting short blond hair. They didn’t make it very far into their set before we booed them off stage. I do believe some gesticulations of an avian nature were directed in our direction. By “our,” I mean the entire crowd. Or at least a vast majority of us.

The band? No other than Alice in Chains.

Oh how I hang my head in shame … truly we deserved the bird we were given. In hindsight, I wish we had been more open-minded–more understanding … more tolerant. How is that for a microcosm of how life should be lived?

Alas, we were not. Oh well. Live and learn.

So ANYway, I celebrate my day with Edward. Which made me wonder what’s going on with the band. For those of you familiar with their discography, you’ll know that, after Dave’s departure, they recorded 4 CDs with Sammy Hagar and one with Gary Cherone. Take a look at their website. See the background image? It scrolls through I, II, Women and Children First, Fair Warning, Diver Down,  and 1984, then cycles back to I.  WHERE are 5150, OU812, For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, Balance, and III?! Do those albums no longer exist in Dave’s, Alex’s, and Eddie’s minds? Did they not make those albums? But where are they?

You know, I’m all for giving the band their due. They were a great, great party band. They were exciting, Eddie was and is an insane guitarist, Alex is … well, he’s a drummer, but he’s not that great. Wolfgang is … what. 19? And ignore the fact that “Diamond Dave” is so far past his prime that he’s become a caricature of himself when he tries to perform. I don’t know … it just seems childish and petty to ignore the music they made with Sammy and Gary under the Van Halen name. If I go out to Amazon, those CDs are still available because they were made. I just don’t get the immaturity factor. “Ohhhh … we had a rift with Sammy, and no one liked III, so let’s pretend those don’t exist.”

FACT: they’ve had more rifts with David Lee Roth than they EVER did with Sammy. Not to mention that Gary Cherone left the band on amicable terms. There’s no drama there. So … what the hell.

I don’t know. If, for whatever reason, I just happened to be listening to the radio, and a Van Halen song came on, I don’t think I’d necessarily kick it off. I don’t have any on my phone or ipod, so I don’t think any will becoming through my playlist any time soon … but I just don’t see myself reverting back to a point where I swoon over them like I once did. Their time has come and gone.

Upcoming Releases for Fantastic Music

This morning, as I was heading in to work, Alela Diane’s “White as Diamonds” shuffled through my phone. Having not listened to To Be Still in a while, I “unshuffled” my playlist and started from “Dry Grass and Shadows.”

There are few voices as distinct as hers. There are also few voices that can evoke such emotion–such raw, visceral feeling. She pours her soul into her music. Not that most artists don’t, but hers … sweet cabbage and mutton, how does she do it?

I started wondering if she has anything coming down the pike. In the “HUZZAH!!” category, we have this bit of news straight off her website: new CD coming out in the spring. No specific date, but her site is in a state of overhaul, I guess … at least that’s the illusion on the front page, so maybe more news will be forthcoming with the new site.

So THAT got me wondering who else has new stuff coming in the near future. Here’s a list I’ve compiled of potential releases in the next few months.

  • Alela Diane – Spring release.
  • Sarah Fimm – A new release is immenently close at hand. She’s taunting us with talk of a new song on her Facebook page.
  • Azam Ali – From Night to the Edge of Day, March or April.
  • The Dears Degeneration Street, Februray 15 (though this might just be a Canadian-only release date … not sure)
  • Dredg – early 2011 (nothing on their site other than a post from August targeting an “early 2011” release)
  • Eisley The Valley, March 1

Brief interruption … looks like the good folks from Gypsy Death and You are hooking me up with some tune-age. Again, I refer you to NewBandDay‘s post about them for “Crocus” and “Something I Can’t Have.”

And now, back to the list. On with the show, as they say, blah blah blah.

  • Samantha Crain – coming at some point hopefully in 2011, but it looks like she has a lot of projects that are keeping her well booked, so we’ll hope. She’s writing new stuff, so that’s good!
  • Well, crap. I wanted to post that Rush will be releasing their new CD this year, but it looks like they’ll resume recording in the late summer or early fall for Clockwork Angels, which will probably be released in early 2012. Well *that* sucks.
  • Howling Bells – early to mid year (?). Looks like they’re done with the recording and they’re well into the mixing stage, if not past it. Of interesting note is the fact that Mark Stroemer, of The Killers fame, is producing the CD. Hmm.
  • Marissa Nadler – Her site has a donation page set up, and the funding has been met as of December 9th. Not sure if she’s in the studio or not, but you can follow her blog here.

Honestly, I’m sure there are a ton more, and I’ll do some more research later, but for now, that’s enough to whet just about any musical appetite. Stay tuned …

Curse You, Domesticity

No fun music post tonight. Tired from failing at faucet changing, and I have to work in the morning. I *will* have that sink installed tomorrow.

I hate indoor plumbing. That is all.

My Sydney Bristow Moment

If you didn’t watch Alias, this post might not make sense to you. And if you haven’t, I highly recommend adding it to your Netflix queue. Forgive the 4th and 5th seasons … they weren’t that great, but overall the show was just … wow. Very, very wow. Also, if you intend to rent the show, quit reading this post now cuz I’m about to drop at bit of spoiler info. Feel free to come back when you’ve finished the series. Or at least the first 2 eps of season 1.

No, seriously. You really don’t want to keep reading and risk a spoiler alert, do you?

Okay … can’t say I didn’t warn you

For those of you who are either not concerned with spoilers or are familiar with the show, remember in that episode of season one where Sydney confronts Vaughn about her involvement with the CIA? She wants to take down SD-6, and she promised to do it in record time. More banter/dialog/et al, then Vaughn asks Sydney to draw a map of what she views SD-6 has as far as contacts and ancillary groups. Her map is drawn on half of a sheet of legal pad. Vaughn then pulls out a rolled-up sheet of paper that looks like it measures probably 3′ x 4-5′, very densely populated with off-shoot groups, names and splinter organizations of SD-6. Her shock is evidenced by her reaction as she realizes exactly how large the organization really is and the depth  and extent to which their empire runs.

Such was my reaction to learning how involved the members of Broken Social Scene are in other projects. I knew that some members from BSS also provide us amazing music with The Stars, but … I thought that was it.

How wrong I was. How very, very wrong.

Mind you, the line-up has changed significantly over the years, and the list includes all members–past and present. Are you ready for this? Check out this link to Wikipedia’s page on BSS. I mean … seriously? I’ve heard of like 3 of those bands or artists: Metric, Feist and The Weakerthans. I find it interesting that Emily Haines used to be in BSS. Metric is pretty much nothing like them, so it’s interesting to know her background. And Feist?! Feist. This is like the greatest musical realization since … well, in a long, long time. I’ve always liked what little I had heard of Broken Social Scene, but holy crap … they’re like a nebula, except for bands and solo artists.

Anyway, if you’re into Canadian bands, that list will help you catch up on a TON of great music. I mean, THEY’RE ALL CANADIAN. My view of Canadian music differs drastically from that of the average American; I very much enjoy musical offerings from the Great White North (eh?). For decades, Canada has provides us with some seriously fantastic music.

Review: Sambassadeur – European

The funny thing about Sambassadeur is that it took me a few weeks to actually check out their video that my buddy posted on my Facebook page. Once I did though, I immediately bought everything of theirs I could find on Amazon. So far, I’ve ended up with European, New Moon EP, Migration, and their self-titled first full-length CD. All of them are fantastic.

I got into the Cranberries in the middle of 1994. I don’t think Everyone Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? had been out too terribly long when I stumbled across that little gem. My first reaction was, “Hmm. Catchy. Sing-songy. I can get into this.”

Same thing with these guys. The difference is time and location. Delores et al are now kind of in a state of indefinite hibernation, whereas these guys had a great new release in European just this past year. Sambassadeur is from Swenen; Cranberries … still European, but from the Emerald Isle.

There sure isn’t much info to be found on these guys. The most helpful page I found was on Last.fm. Even that is kind of scant, but it’s what we have. Even their own website basically refers you out to the Myspace page. Tragic. I refuse to pull up a single Myspace page for the ridiculous amounts of virii I’ve caught from their site in the past. I’m just not willing to risk it.

Some of the standout tracks include the 3rd on the CD. “I Can Try” is up-beat with a kind of Abba sound to it, but the subject matter … not so sure. If I’m hearing the lyrics right, this is a person who’s looking for something new after wading through some pretty dark times. What those dark times are left to interpretation, but I’m guessing it’s dealing with relationships. I mean, with a chorus like, “I can try to leave behond the wishful and the wiled, the ivory skyline of your smile. I can wipe you off in time and revise the play in mind my mind. I can try. There’s another way of thinking thoughts to say–another way of knowing paths to take. I can try to find a heart, and I can find a way to make it start.” It’s a seriously catchy song.

The song that hooked me–“Forward Is All”–is another great track. I love the rumbling timpani (at least I *think* that’s a timpani …) and the string section.

This is not to say at all that Anna and the boys are a Cranberries rip-off. Far from it. Yes–the styles are similar. However, they also have their definitive sound. Lots of the tracks have string backgrounds, all of which are well-layered and mixed.

Anna Persson has her own distinct voice that perfectly blends with the mellowness that exudes from all Sambassadeur music. Seriously … this stuff reminds me of lying on a beach chair, watching and listening to the waves relentlessly crash on the sand as you sip your drink and watch the sun lazily roll across the sky, heading for the inevitable horizon that brings such incredible hues and tones to what would already be considered a perfect day.

Again, I don’t know who plays what other instruments, but I can say this: whoever plays bass is slick. I mean … the bass lines aren’t anything like Geddy Lee or Les Claypool-like in their intensity or complexity, but they don’t have to be to be excellent. They’re subtle, they’re complimentary to the strings and guitar (yes … I know that the guitar is a string instrument … shut up), which really could be said of just about any good bassist, but really … there’s something different. Something perfectly in synch with the whole band. Some bands’ bassists just seem to be there, throwing down a non-useful and very forgettable bass line (yes–I mean you, Michael Anthony. Not that it’s your fault, living in Edward’s shadow …)

All three parts–guitar, bass and drums, combined with the strings, at times add a very slight edge of phreneticism that beautifully accentuates the subject matter. The last half of “Sandy Dunes” sounds pretty similar to the first half, but there’s just a different feel. The guitar is just a bit more intense. The bass line is just a hair more accentuated. The drums fills have just that extra “oomph” to them. Combine all of that, and there’s just something that evokes more emotion than you would have assumed with the first half of the song.

I have to give my buddy Russ an incredible shout-out for these guys. He and I throw musical ideas and suggestions across facebook like Serena and Venus volley tennis balls in their free time. Except we’re guys, and we’d probably suck at tennis … but we definitely do *not* suck at music suggestions. To Russ: I owe you for these guys. In them, I have my new work music set for the foreseeable future. They’re relaxing in times of chaos. They bring a mellowness heretofore unachieved by just about anyone. Not even Alison Shaw and Cranes have this affect, and I freakin’ LOVE them.

You’ll like these guys if you like:

  • The Cranberries
  • The Sundays
  • Frente’!

If any of those band appeal to you, pick up Sambassadeur’s entire discography. NOW. If not, pick up their CDs anyway cuz your life cannot continue on its present course and not be as genuinely moved and happy as you could be if you had these guys.

Word of the Day: Deluge

From Mirriam-Webster’s website:

del·uge
noun
\ˈdel-ˌyüj, -ˌyüzh; ÷də-ˈlüj, ˈdā-ˌlüj\
Definition of DELUGE
1 a : an overflowing of the land by water b : a drenching rain
2 : an overwhelming amount or number

Thus began my extended weekend. Wednesday, the 450+ CDs showed up in the mail. Now … I must be fair. I was less than enthused when I saw the single box. I thought, “What …? How are there possibly 450 CDs in that box?” Easy. No jewel cases. Everything was in cardboard sleeves or paper/plastic sleeves. Not to mention that a lot of the CDs were compilations … mixes and such from various record companies. I *hate* compilation CDs. So, my philosophy on CD owning is this: I MUST have the full CD and, were feasible, I must have the entire discography. You can see where that would become problematic with a band like Rush, or the Rolling Stones.

So I went through the box and picked out what looked of interest to me. To be fair, there’s a good stack of stuff to still go through. This is what i still have to go through.

As you can see, there’s a lot. I’ve barely whittled down that left stack. So what I’m doing is sorting through those stacks and making piles of EPs and full-length releases.

I’ve ripped some, but not many. maybe 11 or 12. It’s good stuff.

Oh. Then there’s the NPR auction I won on eBay around the same time. 20 CDs in that stack. plus the four Sambassadeur CDs I bought on a buddy’s recommendation. *That* was a good choice. Those guys are amazing.

So, all told, I think I’ve won about 500 CDs, but I’d say less than 150 of those will ever grace my hard drive. And truthfully, I’m okay with that. the 20 I won from the NPR eBay auction only cost $7.20, so that’s a screaming deal, and even if I take away 100 CDs from that stack of 450, I’m still only paying 50 cents a CD, so *that’s* a screaming deal too.

You know I like listing what I got. I would … but that would scroll forever. No–I won’t do that to you. Just know that there’s some good stuff in here.

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