Saturday, June 30, 2012

Tara Jane O'Neil - In the Sun Lines

Let me make this quick. In honor of my birthday it's only fitting to post an album that means a lot to me.  I have to say I am woefully ignorant of any other releases of Tara Jane O'Neil but this does not make the gravity of "In the Sun Lines" any less. Completely played by herself, it is a very emotional and slow burning album. Don't let that fool you though this album musically is amazing.  Think slow core post rock but with a more direct sense. See the connection we are making here is that Tara is originally the bassist from a little band called Rodan. For those that are familiar know that they were a contemporary of Slint...albeit a lesser known one.  Just give it a chance you wont be sorry, trust me.

In the Sun Lines

Thursday, June 28, 2012

toe - The Future is Now (EP)

Continuing with their domination of lite instrumental math rock, toe has recently released their newest EP.  While it doesn't really expand upon the ideas of the full length.....this is toe we are talking about here and as such its pretty damn amazing. Also amazingly short at a paltry 4 songs!!! GRRAAHH!!!

The melodies and rhythms on display here are top notch as always.  The closing song for me remains a large highlight but its all pretty flawless.  You know you've been wanting it so have the appetizer before the main dish (soon I hope).

The Future is Now (ep)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Zombies- Odessey and Oracle (1968)

Ok acerola. The duel is on. I am about to hit you with some serious pop right now. This is a forgotten blade buried deep within pop culture, an example of how fleeting fame can be to a group of ninjas that were known solely for a single technique, instead of being appreciated for the vast catalogue of skills and limit breaks they produced in their heyday. I give you The Zombies.

A British band who reached their high water mark with one hit song from a otherwise ignored yet absolutely stunning album, these dudes were serious. They were a five piece band that all sang, focusing instrumentally on keyboard, bass and drums, and featuring their skills with vocal harmonies and hooks; these dudes fully embraced choral vocal styles and interesting song structures, especially so for 1968. The only other band at the time that wrote pop songs and did not incorporate the guitar predominantly in their music were The Doors†; The Zombies were unique, smart, and catchy, and had the skills and imagination to separate themselves enough from being pigeonholed solely as "pop music". This is surely a reason they were not given more acclaim. It was not as adventurous a time for their kind of music, with classic albums from The Beatles, The Beach Boys and The Rolling Stones dominating the airwaves†, and they were never shown the proper spotlight for their work. The one small spotlight they were given came from their 15 minutes of fame with the release of Time of the Season.

Time of the Season is great enough to be a #1 hit song, yet it never rose above #3 on the Billboard charts. If you haven't heard it in a while, it is so great that you might not realistically remember how good it actually is. I only stall on sharing it with you to bide time for a quick reflection.

People unfamiliar with Odessey and Oracle may not have heard the second to last track of the album: Friends of Mine came in at track 11, right before the epic last track of the LP, Time of the Season. It is a very lovely combo of songs to feature at the end of an album, and specifically back to back. Friends of Mine is a harmless love song about being a third wheel, hanging out with various couples that you totally give props to for finding each other. It is a hopeful song, upbeat and positive, relating their awesome relationships back to your own hope of finding the right person yourself. Here you go:

And how do you follow up a super poptastic appreciation of love? You offer up the most pimptasticly smooth song about looking for summertime romance, of course. You're young, its hot outside, you want to find someone interesting, and naturally you play it super cool. For good measure, you add in some ridiculously great keyboard solos. Time of the Season:

And that is just the end of the album; the download I have linked to also includes an EP released soon after Odessey and Oracle, and that in itself is an utterly dusty blade. It was made and then no one ever saw it; it just sat in a studio and hardly saw the light of day. The entire package is full of greatness: Odessey starts the show off with Care of Cell 44, a hugely upbeat love letter to the girl for whom you are waiting to finally get out of jail and come back home to resume your relationship together. It is dark in the lightest possible sense: the EP is full of other blades that are just as pop-tastic, such as Don't Cry For Me, or the criminally unknown If It Don't Work Out.

One last song: this one you may recall from the cover of it in Kill Bill Vol 2, after the Bride puts her daughter to bed in Bills house and walks down the hallway on her way to kill him. Its a neat scene, and a neat cover, but this original is some great old school pop.

Check it, or I get a +5 bonus to all stats AND a limit break.

odessey and oracle

†These four tracks by The Doors, The Beatles, The Beach Boys and The Rolling Stones (respectively) are all taken from their 1968 releases, Waiting for the Sun, The White Album, Smile , and Beggars Banquet.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Breezin - EP

Portland Oregon's Breezin starts their EP off innocently enough with a sprinkle of cute keyboard lines and playful melodies. happens....the bass and drums enter and the proceedings become chaotic prog math workouts.  Its worth taking note that the most impressive item here is the fact that no matter how bonkers these guys get the vocals remain pretty pop to the core.

.....Listen to that bass....

seriously just listen to it fly all over the damn place....

I will say I wish the mix was a little kinder to the bass sound so we could hear those angular stabs and dagger knife turns better.  Cute and dangerous like a kittens head on a snakes body.

breezin ep

Lady Ninja Triple Threat

Ready yourselves for three albums by well-respected lady singer/ songwriters coming at your ear holes. Though this post is a little late for the release dates, it had to be done. I was very excited about the first two of these albums, and the third I do not know very well but have read some great reviews:

First off, Beach House. Aw yeah. I love both of the two previous albums that came before their 2012 release; Devotions low fi sounds showcased the duo of keyboard/ singer and guitarist making due with what they had, then getting popular and releasing a well-polished follow up with Teen Dream, adding members to their band to get rid of the programmed drums etc and fleshing out their sounds. Their new release, Bloom, just builds upon what they added on Teen Dream, not branching out much further aurally but tightening up their gorgeous dream pop. Victoria Legrand has one hell of a voice, and the guitar work that Alex Scally does compliments her melodies wonderfully. Check their new single, Lazuli:

Second, Regina Spektor. If you have a musical heart that digs pop music that can sometimes be cutesy and hilarious but is always deeply rooted in great piano work and wonderful melodies, this lady will be your new friend. She is well known for tracks like Fidelity, Samson and Hotel Song. You will probably be familiar with at least one of those three tracks, and if they tickle your fancy, give her new single, Don't Leave Me, a shot.

Third, Fiona Apple. She hopped on the bandwagon for this post; Metaghost had to remind me that she was the lady responsible for Criminal, as the only song of hers I could recall myself was the title track of her previous album, 2005's Extraordinary Machine. But, I have read a bunch of great reviews of her new album, and the comparisons to Kate Bush had me intrigued. As I don't know her catalogue at all, I don't have much to say besides that it is very lushly composed with great instrumentation and vocal performances. Interesting stuff, but I ain't hearing no Hounds of Love or Suspended in Gaffa on it yet. The single from The Idler Wheel is track one, Every Single Night. Do enjoy, fellow swordslingers.

beach house- bloom

regina spektor- what we saw from the cheap seats

fiona apple- the idler wheel