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Sunday, August 30, 2009

29 in 2009 - The Smiths: "The Queen Is Dead"

The Smiths: The Queen is Dead
Originally Released: June 16, 1986
Genre: Alternative Rock
Rating: 6 out of 10

Not putting a lot of thought into this article. Just writing what comes to my head. You have been warned.

I don't love this album. It's hard for me to say that I even like it. I'm giving it a 6 out of 10 simply because as far as 80s music goes, it's not half bad. But really, when I'm done writing this piece, I'll never listen to it again. It's not really my style of music, and in my opinion, there's not a great piece of music on the thing. It's best song is "The Boy with the Thorn in His Side," and there are a few comparable tracks on there as well. Unfortunately, nothing stands out. Nothing infects me or gets stuck in my head. Everything is pretty much straightforward, and nothing is special.

So this is my biggest complaint with the album. And it's the one thing that I can't get over. Every time a song starts playing, I start to wonder if I'd be better off just skipping ahead to the next song. Even the good ones get boring and repetitive half way through. Morrissey just annoys me after a while.

Is there anything positive for me to say about this album. Probably, but I just can't think of anything overwhelmingly positive about it. It's a "meh" album through and through. Nothing special about it. That's my opinion.

I don't feel like writing any more about it. Goodbye forever, album.

Verdict: Nope

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Monday, August 17, 2009

29 in 2009 - The Beatles: "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"

The Beatles: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Originally Released: June 1, 1967
Genres: Rock, Psychedelic Rock
Rating: 8 out of 10 Stars

So here it is, the album which makes it to the top of nearly every best-ever list. Quite a daunting thing for the average blogger to review without mentioning the cultural/historical impact of the record. But then again, I am not the average blogger - so I won't mention it.

Taken out of the context of the era, where The Beatles were in their career, and how influential it became, Sgt. Pepper's is still a wonderful album! And yes, believe it or not, this was my first time to ever listen to the album - ever! The only song on this album that I had previously heard was "Getting Better" which I believe I saw on a TV advertisement. Weak sauce, sure. I understand this. I am a failed music blogger.

Despite this, I would say I'm at least passingly familiar with The Beatles' earlier, poppier, more-commercial work. It is with that passing familiarity that I've always said, "Meh, I'm just not much of a Beatles fan." Blasphemy!! Cue the pitchforks and torches. Well, Sgt. Pepper's is far removed from the band's earlier career, and I like it all the better because of this.

My personal breakdown, interjected into this middle of this article for kicks:

Great Songs
"Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" (Track 1 & Reprise)
"Getting Better"
"She's Leaving Home"
"When I'm Sixty-Four"
"Lovely Rita"
"A Day in the Life"

Good Songs
"A Little Help From My Friends"
"Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"
"Fixing a Hole"

Okay Songs
"Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite"

Bad Songs
"Within You Without You"
"Good Morning, Good Morning"

I'm sure someone could argue with me about the value of "Within You Without You." Someone could also argue the value of "2 Girls 1 Cup," and honestly I'd be more-inclined to listen to this that. It's just not a very good song. Unique and experimental, absolutely! Just not good.

I once read a review (perhaps from AMG, not sure) that compared Of Montreal's The Gay Parade to this album, and I certainly see the similarities. Of Montreal is my favorite band, mind you, so listening to this album was a long-awaited treat. Of course, I prefer The Gay Parade due to its consistency in tone and, in my opinion, perfect tracklist; but Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is still a fantastic album! What The Gay Parade lacks in variety, musicality and polish, it has in spades. Both are classic albums, and I'm happy to have finally listened to both of them.

I'm also happy that the next time someone searches for "2 girls 1 cup" and "the beatles" in google, I'll likely be the top result! Score!!!

Verdict: Classic

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Get Yr Doo Doo Face On!

I try to treat all bands equally - I really do - but sometimes the prejudice side of me just comes out. It's in situations such as these that I like to give special treatments to bands that I absolutely "luuuuuv." Exhibit A: that Top 40 List of Of Montreal songs from last year. Exhibit B: this shameless plugging of the new Wallpaper album, DooDoo Face.

Wallpaper, the Oakland R&B/Pop duo has been a staple on my iPod for the last year or so, ever since I got a promo copy of their T-Rex EP. I had to go out and buy the somewhat disappoint remix album myself, and this morning I paid for a copy of the first single from DooDoo Face, titled "I've Got Soul, I'm So Wasted." The song was just released today on iTunes for the obvious price of $.99 and it was well worth the price.

Yeah, I know this sounds like I'm being paid to write this up. I'm not. Actually, I'm just really psyched about this album, and I think more people need to know about this group!! Do yourself a favor and download the T-Rex EP and the new single from iTunes. It won't put you back too far, and you'll listen to it for ages! Pinky promise.

Various Wallpaper items below...

Tour Dates:
08/21/09 - San Diego, CA @ Casbah
08/22/09 - Los Angeles, CA @ Blow Up LA (3 Year Anniversary Party)
08/28/09 - Las Vegas, NV @ Beauty Bar
08/29/09 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Standard (DIM MAK Pool Party)
09/04/09 - Oakland, CA @ Art Murmur (FREE SHOW)
09/18/09 - Edmonton, AB @ Pawn Shop
09/19/09 - Clagary, AB @ Hifi Club
09/23/09 - San Diego, CA @ Beauty Bar (DOODOO FACE Release Party)
09/25/09 - Hollwood, CA @ Bardot (DOODOO FACE Release Party)
09/26/09 - San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop (DOODOO FACE Release Party)
10/01/09 - Austin, TX @ Beauty Bar (ACL Pre-Party)
10/03/09 - Brooklyn, NY @ Cameo Gallery (DOODOO FACE Release Party)

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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

29 in 2009: Cast Your Vote for the Final 9 Albums!

[UPDATE:] I've fixed the 3rd poll. You can now choose up to 3, rather than just 1.

It's time, folks! If you recall, back in May I asked the readers of Audio Overflow which albums should I feature in the final 9 entries in the 29 in 2009 series. Below it the fruit of your labor...another opportunity for you to decide which albums will be chosen. Granted, this time things will be a bit more definite, but still.

So the rules are easy. Pick up to 3 albums in each of the polls below. The 9 albums with the highest votes will be entered into the 29 in 2009 series. In the event of a tie, I'll be the deciding vote.

So get to clickin', people. Voting ends when it ends. And remember, an artist will only appear once in this series, so vote for your favorite Pink Floyd album...not all of them!

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29 in 2009 - Miles Davis: "Bitches Brew"

Miles Davis: Bitches Brew
Originally Released: April 1970
Genres: Jazz, Fusion, Experimental
Rating: ? out of 10

Early 2oth-century jazz: THAT I get. This stuff: not so much.

If that swingin', ragtime-esque jazz from the 1920s is in fact jazz, this stuff is not. It's like calling Nickelback "rock n roll." No, Buddy holly and Elvis were rock n roll, you guys make really mindless, uncreative modern rock! There's a difference. And it may just be an evolution of the genre, but at some point you have to draw a line and say, "This is no longer the same thing. This is something entirely different." So again, I say:

Jazz I get. Bitches Brew, I do not.

Cool your jets though. That's not to say that I completely dislike what I'm hearing. I actually think that this is a fantastic album when listened to in the right state of mind. Right state of mind: needing some background music to cleaning, writing, whatever. Wrong (well, misguided) state of mind: wanting to dissect and analyze music that is probably far beyond what you can grasp without a degree in music theory.

See, I could've spent months listening to this album, reading up on other peoples' interpretation of what the hell is actually going on, and then coming up with my own unique interpretation. But I chose to take it at face value. I'm happy with that decision because while some people may find such endeavors rewarding, it probably would've ruined this album for me.

Really the only distracting thing about the record - apart from its 1 1/2 hour length - is that I kept thinking that Miles' trumpet playing sounds a lot like the music on Sim City 4. Somehow I doubt many others will be bothered by this. So with that, I can do no less than award Bitches Brew my coveted "classic" verdict if only for the fact that it was indeed groundbreaking and a catalyst for an entirely new generation of artists willing to think outside the realm of what people considered possible or acceptable.

Verdict: Classic

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