Audio Lore

A Positive Music Blog

Monday, December 16, 2013

My Favorite Albums of 2013: One Blogger's Opinion ( No Arcade Fire or Daft Punk inside)

1- Warm Soda “Someone for You” (Castleface Records) - In 2011 I had the 70’s AM radio sounding Power/Pop band Bare Wires on my list. Guitarist Mathew Melton’s new band Warm Soda makes the jump to the FM dial with a fuller sound and even sharper hooks. This was definitely my favorite release of the year.


2- Mixtapes “Ordinary Silence” (No Sleep) - Punk guitars playing pop hooks with crystal clear male and female vocals singing tongue in cheek sarcastic lyrics. Plus they like to curse a lot. Why have I never heard of this Cincinnati band before?





3- Palma Violets “180” (Rough Trade) -
While The Vaccines inherited The Libertines guitar hooks, it seems The Palma Violets inherited their drunken swagger. Throw in a bit of a Lloyd Cole and the Commotions influence and you have a great debut album.



4- Iceage “You're Nothing" (Matador)- In 2011 everyone put the Denmark band Iceage's debut album “New Brigade” on their Best of lists leaving me scratching my head wondering why. Sometime within then and this year's ‘You're Nothing” I finally got this (Early) Cure meets Christian Death inspired band. Anxiously waiting what they do next.

5- The Maine “Forever Halloween”(Rude) - The Goo Goo Dolls started out as a fun thrash band. Somewhere in the middle of their transformation into the hugely successful rock band of today, they released the very good Power/Pop "Superstar Carwash" album and most people missed it. Thankfully The Maine did not. This Brendon Benson produced album is literally a million times better than The Maine’s previous releases.


6- California X “S/T” (Don Giovanni) - There are only two things in a song I like more than loud driving guitars. Anathematic vocals and strong hooks. Luckily this Amherst, Massachusetts band posses all three. I can’t wait to see them live in February.





7- The Strokes “Comedown Machine” (RCA) - Sometimes you just have to hear an album in the right place before it clicks. When this album was released in March, I thought it sounded weird, kind of disco-y and a bit unlistenable. It wasn’t until July when I was in Vancouver’s Zulu Records and heard this album playing throughout each room that I realized how good it was.


8- Oblivians “Desperation” (In The Red)- There is no arguing this Oblivians "reunion" album is tamer then the raucous garage rock/demented blues of the Memphis, Tennessee band's nineties output. But Jack, Greg and Eric Oblivian are a decade older and calmed down a bit. Even at the lesser intensity the Oblivians would still blow most of the bands playing this genre today right off the stage

9- Crystal Antlers “Nothing Is Real” (Innovative Leisure)
You could look at
Crystal Antlers as having been unlucky because Touch and Go folded shortly after releasing their 2009 debut or lucky enough to have a released an album (and a EP) on such a great label at all. Either way, after a short stint on Recreation Records, Innovative Leisure picked up the reins and released this album full of Sonic You influenced noisy guitars and Trail of the Dead psychedelica.



10- Vampire Weekend “Modern Vampires in the City” (XL Recordings)- I really wanted to like Vampire Weekend after lead singer Ezra Koenig sang the Descendents “Parents" during F*cked Up’s 12 hour show a few years back but could not get into the “trying too hard to be The Police” fake reggae of their first album. The super annoying song “Cousins” on their second album “Contra” almost made me give up on the band forever. Luckily on “Modern Vampires of the City” they have replaced most of the reggae sound with a cranked up bass and loud drums. Great album that has me dancing all the way to the train.

With so many of the same bands ending up on peoples lists year after year, I try to keep my list to ones that have not been on my before. But there are two which have been who that deserve at least a mention:

11- Milk Music – Cruise Your Illusion (Fat Possum) - On the new album this Olympia, Washington band further expands on their Dinosaur Jr/Neil Young/ (early)Buffalo Tom style buzzing guitar hooks that made their 2011 debut album “Beyond Living’ so special. Only this time because of Fat Possum’s RED distribution, this one you can actually find in a store.


12- Wild Moth “Over Again” (Asian Man)- This San Francisco band follow up their two “Revolution Summer” influenced 2012 EPs with a louder and more mature full album, 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

How I Got Through My M.R.I. or Josh "Vicious" and Ativan Rewrite The Sex Pistols

Since I have been having some problems with my eyes, my ophthalmologist wanted me to get and M.R.I. done of it. Because I am semi claustrophobic it took me a little while to get it done. There was even a failed try a little while back.

Today I finally got the M.R.I. done all the way through and even wrote this song in my head (with a little help from Ativan) while taking the test. 

If you are not familiar with the original song, check it out on Youtube, Spotify, iTunes etc 

“M.R.I. “

By Josh "Vicious" Greenbaum (to the tune of “E.M.I.” by the Sex Pistols)

(guitar intro)

I was having problems with my eye. And there was no reason why. 
There were so many possibilities they could name. They said it could be because of my brain . What?

M.R.I. M.R.I. M.R.I.

So many people had this test. Then why was I so anxious and such a mess?
Too many minutes in that tube. My mind is what I might lose. What?

M.R.I. M.R.I M.R.I. 

And certain friends said I have to try. They said if "you don't do it you could die". I tried once but left and it never got done. Never ever never!

(awesome guitar solo)

And you thought that I was a baby. Because of this test I wasn't taking. You do not believe my panic attacks were real. Or you would understand just how I feel

Then my doctor gave me Ativan for a panic cover. He said that if one wasn't enough to 
take another. 
And I took this test of mine. When it was done I was just fine. What --

M.R.I. M.R.I. M.R.I. 

Now I know what's going on with my head. Now I know what's going on with my eye.That was the only reason I had to take an MRI

Problems with my eye (M.R.I.)

No reason why (M.R.I.)


Many Possibilities to name (M.R.I.)


Could it be because my brain? (M.R.I.)


Problems with my eye (M.R.I.)

Hello M.R.I.

Goodbye Cat-Scan

(Yes. I know “baby” and “taking” do not really rhyme”)










Friday, April 19, 2013

Why I am not at all upset about the closing of Bleecker Bob's House of Golden Oldies Record Store


On Saturday April 13th Bleecker Bob’s record store closed its doors after 46 years. The location will soon be taken over by a frozen yogurt shop. Frankly I could not care one bit. Bleecker Bob’s is probably one of the worst record stores I have ever been to.


First of all they had one of the worst record store staffs. Bleecker Bob’s staff would not even look at you when you walk in the door. Then when someone did strum up enough nerve to ask a question they were met with the minimum amount of a response as possible, always delivered in an obnoxiously demeaning tone.

Even though the “holier than thou” attitude displayed by Bleecker Bob’s staff is a record store employee stereotype I greatly tried to dispel during my days as a record store owner outside of Baltimore, I could probably disregard it in order to pick up some new or long sought out records. The only thing is Bleecker Bob’s had the worse selection of music of any of the many record stores located in New York City.

Even though the rock section had some bigger named acts written on the dividers, try finding most of those acts actually in the bins. With the exception of some of the extremely big named band, what was usually found was an act somehow connected to that band. But even then it would usually end up being a “Limited Edition European Promo” pressing or some other title only a completest could possibly want.

Picture Courtesy of Turntabling.net
Even if you did manage to find something you were looking for, you just knew the record would be extremely overpriced. Bleecker Bob’s had the most ridiculously high prices around. In 2003 after reading an article about the 60’s garage band The Count Five in a collection of writings by rock critic Lester Bangs, I was set on acquiring a copy of their "Psychotic Reaction" album. I found a copy at Bleecker Bob’s in far from mint condition. With creases over every edge, dinged corners, a few spine splits and even a rip where the original price tag had been located, Bleecker Bob’s price tag displayed across the albums cover read $75 dollars. I soon located a copy elsewhere for much less. Today, ten years later, the record can still be picked up for around only 40 bucks.

Picture Courtesy of Flaming Pablum
The CD section was even worse. The rock section had a very small random selection of titles, heavily made up of badly recorded “European Import” bootleg live discs. The separated New Wave, Punk, Kraut rock etc. sections had a small amount of totally random titles, most of which were inaccurately placed in the category Bleecker Bob’s chose to place them.

When the store’s closing was announced, huge amounts of people took to the web declaring how much of a tragedy it was to be losing such a long standing historic New York City institution. I am one of the biggest offenders when it comes to being upset when something historic or traditional in New York City becomes closed or torn down, only to be replaced by something more cold and modern. I still get a little irritated when I think about the old Penn Station that was torn down and replaced by the dirty crowded structure which stands there today, asking myself “Why would they have ever had wanted to do that”. And that was ten years before I was born. This time I ask myself, “How did Bleecker Bob’s hang on for so long”.

People say one of the things that killed Bleecker Bob’s was online music markets. I think this is entirely not the case. During the early 90’s so many Saturdays were spent taking the train into the city and hitting all the record stores before going to see shows at CBGBs and other New York City clubs. Even back then, long before iTunes or even the internet altogether, Bleecker Bob’s selection was very sparse, leaving me wondering how the store was still able to survive.

Picture Courtesy of Tripwithmarty.com
So to Bleecker Bob’s “Golden Oldies Record Shop” I say "Good riddance".The next time I go record shopping at the nearby Generation Records where whenever I go there I chat with a clerk for twenty minutes about  everything from Australian noise bands to mutual people we know in punk bands, or House Of Oldies where when I first moved here the clerk held a copy of the Bo Diddley’s  “You Can’t Judge a Book by the Cover” 45  until I found a job, or Rebel Rebel Records where I watched a clerk stunned and impressed by the knowledge of The Beatles recorded history by a fourteen year old kid that was shopping there, or even Bleecker Street Records where they may not be the nicest people, they do keep a steady flow of new merchandise and a large stock of used CDs to browse through, I will definitely make time during the day to enjoy some nice refreshing frozen yogurt.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Iceage -You're Nothing - One Blogger's Opinion


Iceage - You're Nothing  - One Blogger's Opinion


In the past I have been pretty hard on the band Iceage. I actually never heard of them before everyone started putting the Danish band’s debut album The New Brigade on their “Best of 2011” lists. Then when I gave the album a listen I was shocked to hear how unlistenable the it was.  I thought they sounded like The Cure’s Robert Smith singing in the shower while bassist Simon Gallup, really needing to get use the facilities, repeatedly bangs his bass guitar on the door (“White Rune”, “The New Brigade” and “Total Drench”). I could not figure out how this album was lauded by so many when I thought songs like “Eyes” and “Count Me In” made New Brigade sound like the worst train wreck in Denmark history since the Vigerslev train wreck of 1919.

 

Soon I would be eating crow, or how they say it in Iceage’s native Danish, Jeg ville være at spise krage

 

Sometime during the fall of 2012, after countless attempts to like New Brigade, it finally clicked. I still thought they sounded like “The Cure: The Shower Demos” but somehow it worked. And that train did eventually get back on track. Especially the triumphant album closer “You’re Blessed”.

 

Now when I found out Iceage was going to release their new album You’re Nothing on Matador Records I was “spændt” for its February release.


My Review:

     \                         

The first twenty second into “Ectasy” may scare you that the band has gone shoegazer on us. Then the drums kick in and Iceage announces they are back but when singer Elias sings “Pressure, pressure. Oh god no”, you can’t help to wonder if the band is up to the challenge of following up such a well revered record as New Brigade. “Coalition” (Track 2), faster and catchier then anything the band had recorded before, proves they are.

 

 After a mysterious one and a half minute track, the very Bauhaus-esque “Burning Hand” comes on. There are even some My Bloody Valentine fly buzzing guitars during the chorus. You can really hear the desperation in singer Elias’s voice, especially when towards then end of the song he asks, “Do you hear me?”.

 

“In Haze” is where the album really takes off. Thick and almost melodic guitars guide the strong drunken vocals as they knock down everything in their path as song moves forward. Those ringing guitars return for “Wounded Hearts” (Track 8) and the drunken vocals show their face again on the pounding and very urgent “It Might Hit First” (Track 9)

 

 Now I have heard Iceage compared to so many different bands from Christian Death to Black Flag and The Necros to Killing Joke and Wire (who doesn’t get compared to Wire these days) but I have not seen anyone else compare them to the band which to me is an obvious influence: The Cure. “Morals” (track 6), although a bit harsher, could just as easily fit alongside  “The Funeral Party” on The Cure’s Faith album,

 

Very Black Metal photo

The (pre-Big Country band) Scottish band The Skids is another band I am surprised no one has ever brought up. Listen to The Skids “Scared to Death” album (available on iTunes and Spotify) and you will see exactly where I am coming from.

 Just two albums and an Ep in, Iceage is still working out their own sound. You can still hear pretty well were their ideas and influences for some of these songs are coming from. If you ever wondered what Mike Skinner’s band The Streets would have sounded like if they were a punk band instead of a hip-hop band, “Everything Drifts” (Track 7) will give you a pretty good idea. The chorus sounds like it’s taken right out of that band’s Original Pirate Material album. On “Awake” the band goes almost all out indie guitar rock. The guitars even verge into Dinosaur Jr territory.

 

Honestly, how many bands are there out there that had their own sound worked out at such a young age?

 

The album closes with “You're Nothing” where they take all the aspects of what made the other 11 songs stand out and have them come crashing down on top each other all around you. This, along with “In Haze” and “Wounded Heart”, is my favorite song on the record.

 

Although I like to keep this blog positive, there are two things just slightly bringing down my overall enthusiasm for You're Nothing 

 

Upcoming New York City shows

The first is I can’t figure out why the band would want to place a minute and a half industrial factory sounding “Interlude” just three songs into the album. It totally breaks up the continuity of the album. I could understand if there were one or two more interludes on the album equal distance apart on the record but just the one sounds awkward and out of place.

 The second is Iceage chose to sing track 10 in it’s their native Danish language. “Rodfæstet”, which I think translates to “Deep Seated”, and it almost sounds like it does not belong on the album. The song is to smooth and zippy . It’s as if the band loses their uncomfortable edge because they feel more secure singing in their first language. The uncomfortable edge it what makes me like the band.

 

Again I apologize to guys in Iceage for once  saying they sound like The Stone Roses after their van drove off a cliff. You’re Nothing proves this band will continue to be a “tvinge” in the punk/noise world.

 

(All Danish translations are brought to you by Google)





   


Friday, February 15, 2013

Just Can't Get Enough: New Wave Hits of the 80's Vol. 11 (Out of the Vaults with a twist #4)

Just Can't Get Enough: New Wave Hits of the 80's Vol. 11 

There is a Nigel Tuftnel joke in there somewhere.

I was pretty shocked to see this series made it to Volume 11. Even more shocked to learn it  topped off at Volume 15!

Surprisingly the first song on the disc is “In a Big Country” by Big Country. I would have thought the song would have made the cut a lot earlier in the series then Volume 11. The same could be said for Nena’s nuclear war pop-protest song “99 Luftballoons” (Track 2), The Fixx’s plodding “One Thing Leads to Another” (Track 9) or The Romantics’ catchy in a stalkerish kind of way “Talking in your Sleep” (Track 6)


99 Red Jumpsuits"
Most surprising of all is Spandau Ballet’s “True”. This song, which I have an agreement with my coworkers that I am allowed to sing along to it when it comes on the satellite radio (in turn they are allowed to sing along to Gwen Stefani when that comes on), is one of the songs I most affiliate with the whole new wave genre, not only did not make series cut until Volume 11 , but it is also the last track on the disc, making it almost have to wait until the slightly more demeaning  Just Can’t Get Enough: New Wave Hits of the 80’s Volume #12.     


They don't look so scared
I can understand why the Tears for Fears and Squeeze songs are so far along in the series. Even though they are two big names in “New Wave”, their contributions here are a not the cream of their catalog crop. Squeeze’s “Black Coffee in Bed” (Track #14) is okay but Tears for Fears’ “Change” (Track 5) is just flat out boring. I’m sure both bands have better songs somewhere among the Just Can’t Get Enough New Wave of the 80’s previous ten volumes.


JoBoxers take Fun Boy Three's old clothes
Two bands in the “I Didn't Know They Sang That” category are The JoBoxers and The Flirts. The English (with an American singer) JoBoxers do “Just Got Lucky” (Track 3), another song that my coworkers have consented to let me sing along to when it comes on, is a soul filled song with a singer that you can tell is a natural. This song to this day still turns up in movies and television shows; usually after a scene where someone loses their virginity or just got lucky.


Not the people who sing on the record
I knew “Jukebox (Don’t Put another Dime) (Track 4) was recorded by a band called The Flirts but I didn't know they weren't a real band. It turns out they were an ever changing group whose songs were really written and recorded by one person. Kind of like and American Menudo, if they were female. Real or not, check out their great video for this song, filmed on the streets of New York City’s Greenwich Village. House of Oldies, the store where they sell back the guy’s records is still there today.

But there is one more winner among the songs on Volume 11. Australia’s Real Life includes their hit “Send Me An Angel”. Although this song has been recorded, released, rerecorded, rereleased many times, it will always remind me of the dancing bike prom scene with my preteen crush Lorrie Loughlin in the movie Rad.


These THREE don't look like much FUN
In the  “How the mighty have fallen and/or sold out” category: Terry Hall, Lynval Golding and Neville Staple all left their very cool sleek suits they wore while in The  Specials to form the embarrassing dressed, yet very successful, Fun Boy Three. Their “The Lunatic Have Taken over the Asylum” (Track 13) I find pretty unlistenable. 


I'm a Fanatic
There is actually not one but two bands that could not decide whether they wanted to be The Clash or The Rolling Stones. Felony’s “Fanatic” (Track 10), which actually sounds vaguely familiar, succeeds a little bit more than the ridiculously named DFX2’s “Emotion” (Track 7). Both bands would probably have been better off deciding on one band to copy.


Haysi Fantayzee: Not even cool in the 80's
No matter how off those two songs may sound or the “New Order doing New Wave Karaoke” sound of Dollar’s “Mirror, Mirror (Mon Amor)” (Track 12), none can touch the straight out awful “Shiny Shiny” by the even more terribly named Haysi Fantayzee. The song sounds like a bad white rapper hosting a game show. It’s kind of scary that (after a quick Wikipedia search) I find out the band’s singer Jeremy Healy (now a DJ),in 2009 married another one of my pre-teen crushes: Patsy Kensit.


          They have since separated.



Here is the classic "Bike Boogie" scene in the movie RAD featuring Real Life's "Send Me An Angel"